May 18, 2010

Cheating wife misses the point...

I wanted to just write "really" for this post and nothing else. But I wanted to write it in italics and all caps, followed by a string of question marks and exclamation points, kinda like this...REALLY?!?!?!

But I couldn't resist a classic example of missing the forest for the trees.

A Canadian woman is suing her phone service provider for consolidating her cell phone bill with her husband's TV and high speed Internet bills. Yeah, her husband. Same household, save an envelope, save a stamp, etc. And Rogers Wireless says the couple asked that their bill be consolidated for convenience.

That's what Rogers did "wrong." What the woman is saying in her suit though is that Rogers streamlining of bills inadvertently tipped her husband off to the affair she'd had with another man.

So, by her logic, Rogers is responsible for her husband saying Seeya! and leaving her after he discovered the affair.

Apparently the husband went over the itemized cell bill, noticed a bunch of lengthy calls to a strange number, called the number, and the guy who answered admitted an affair.

In court documents the wife said that after her husband left her and the kids in '07 (I hope he's keeping up the child support), her life began to suck, and she became so bummed out without her husband around that she couldn't function well or lead a comfortable life. So Rogers owes her $600,000 for indirectly tipping off her husband. She also says they caused her emotional pain by making it easy for him to find out about the affair through the bill. And that's not the way she wanted him to find out.

I'm no relationship expert, but I'm thinking that Rogers could have consolidated all this couple's household bills - including water and sewage and mortgage, and her husband wouldn't have found about the affair...IF SHE HADNT CHEATED!

That's all for me, tonight folks. Gotta keep the dog from eating Scrabble pieces as Mrs. B and I play. And then I have to go hide the cell phone bill.

It should go without saying, but I am, of course, kidding about that last line.

Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 10:27 PM in Current Affairs, Ethics and Morals, Family, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, News, Numbnuts and Morons, Pop Culture, Relationships, Romance, Stranger than fiction
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May 05, 2010

Miami club goer killed for not being a smoker

Remember when I wrote a column about being too old for nightclub craziness? This scenario wasn't in it. But may as well add it to the list.

Posted by James B. at 09:54 PM in Crime, Current Affairs, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, Numbnuts and Morons, Stranger than fiction, Urban Living
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April 30, 2010

Texting While Driving...and my lovely voice

The two do not go together. Trust me.

First things, first: My Friday column is about texting while driving. Do I really need to tell you it's a bd practice? And I swear I'm not just asking 'cause Oprah says it ain't right. Seriously. I'd have said so anyway. For reals!

Anyway, researchers at the University of Utah say texting and talking on cell phones can cause drivers to be as distracted as if they were legally drunk.

More than 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 killed each year in car accidents involving a driver who was texting while behind the wheel.

I confess, I've done it waaaaaay too many times. And I'm fortunate I didn't kill someone or myself. I've stopped, unless I'm at a red light or in a parking lot, or stopped somewhere else. No more texting in moving traffic for me.

In fact, I'm not sure I should even talk on my cell phone in the car. Yeah, I have speakerphone, headsets, etc., but I can't tell you how many times I've gotten so engrossed in a conversation that I've arrived at Point B not even remembering a single detail of the commute from Point A. I'll have to think about cutting back on or cutting out the cell talking while driving too.

So the Florida Legislature had a chance to vote in committee this week on a bill that would ban texting while driving in the Sunshine State. Instead the bill died before a vote, 'cause one lawmaker decided it was silly  to go after texting without also going after other behaviors distracting to drivers. In theory she's right. But why not start with texting and work on banning those other things later?

You can read the full text of my Friday column here.

On to my pipes: You can hear me and colleagues discuss this, Gov. Charlie Crist's ditching of the GOP, and other topics from noon - 1 p.m. today - Friday - at wlrn.org, or if you're in South Florida, at 91.3 FM.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 10:40 AM in Current Affairs, Education, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, Numbnuts and Morons, Politics, Pop Culture
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April 26, 2010

Stephen Hawking got some bad granola

I have no problem admitting that I have always believed in aliens.

Seriously, since I was a kid and even with the religious and spiritual indoctrinations I received, I've always found it difficult to believe that humans on earth are it for intelligent life in the universe.

I even once drew the ire of a visiting minister who was delivering a sermon at my dad's church when I was a kid, 'cause I after the service I asked him what he thought Jesus's name and appearance might be on Jupiter.

He got flustered. I thought it was a fair question.

It just seems like a waste of space if there aren't other planets out there with their own intelligent creatures, economies, vehicles, stupid politicians, religious charlatans leaders, lazy relatives, etc.

The important thing though is that I haven't the slightest bit of evidence to support any of this. And that leads me to my point:

Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, supposedly the smartest person on Earth, has a new Discovery Channel documentary coming out about space in which he warns that there are probably aliens out there and if we ever made contact with them the encounter would be more like Independence Day than E.T.

Hawking not only speculates that there are hater aliens out there who can't handle just how cool we are on Earth and that they might want to eat us, he also says we'd freak out if we saw how advanced alien technology is, and that aliens might look something like this - alien herbavores and alien predators, respectively (courtesty of Discovery Channel):

Alien Herbivore   Alien Predator

Now, I'm a big fan of what work of Hawking's that I understand. He's also been great on The Simpsons. But seriously, the smartest people on earth are now guessing at what man-eating aliens might look like?

Anyway, even if you believe Hawking's great imagination, he fails to explain one thing: what reason do we have to think that aliens are smarter than us or have better technology than us? Really, how does he not know that other planets are populated by billions of guys from Deliverance? Maybe on Planet X, the aliens are dumb as dirt and named Cletus D. CousinKisser. Maybe their vehicles are all wagons with square wheels.

I still believe in aliens, but till I see proof to the contrary, I'm assuming we're smarter than them.

P.S. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett

Posted by James B. at 11:01 PM in Current Affairs, Environment, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Pop Culture, Science, Stranger than fiction, Travel
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Bad Samaritans - 20-plus walk past dying man on NYC sidewalk

Have you heard about this one?

Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax, a 32-year-old homeless man in New York, saw a woman being attacked and intervened to help her. Tale-Yax managed to stop the assault and rescue the woman, but the assailant turned his knife on Tale-Yax, who, fatally wounded, collapsed on a nearby sidewalk.

Over the next couple hours, at least 20 people walked by Tale-Yax, as he lay in a growing pool of blood - some throwing quick glances his way, others oblivious to him or ignoring him. One man took a cell phone picture of him lying on the ground. Another man eventually tried to roust him. Eventually 911 was called. By the time they arrived, Tale-Yax had bled to death.

My instinct is to get on the bandwagon and say all the people who walked by him are A-holes who should be ashamed of themselves.

My good sense though says that I might have done the same thing: walked fast about my business, and made a snap judgment about him as I walked by, or pretended not to see him in case he wanted money or might try to engage me in conversation.

What?!?! You know I'm not writing anything you haven't thought yourself.

I walk around homeless people like Frogger dodging cars, when I stroll through downtown Miami on an average day. Sometimes you have to, or a theoretical 10 minute walk can turn into a 30 minute walk because you're stopping every few seconds to make a donation or engage in conversations about the mysterious black helicopters, or the aliens who are trying to land spacecraft at Bayfront Park or take over our brains.

I wish someone had stopped sooner to help Tale-Yax, but given all the wackiness out there, just how mad can we Monday morning quarterbacks be at those folks in the security video?

Face it: they probably assumed he was passed out drunk. Who knows? Maybe that block is known for hosting a gauntlet of passed out drunks.

One thing realllllllllllllllllllllly bothers me about the inaction though: News reports from NYC say that Tale-Yax was in a pool of blood. How do you miss that? How do you ignore that? Granted, he was stabbed at 5:40 a.m. Maybe it was dark outside yet. Still....

Question of the day - Under the same circumstances, would you have stopped to check on Tale-Yax, or would you too have zoomed right by?

I like to think I'd have stopped, but that's because it feels better to tell myself we all care. I can't swear that I would have. In fact, there's at least a 50/50 chance that I might have walked on by.

At any rate, kudos to Tale-Yax for being a hero. May he rest in peace. And may his killer get caught and get what's coming to him.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 03:16 PM in Crime, Current Affairs, Environment, Ethics and Morals, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Manners, News, Numbnuts and Morons, Pop Culture, Urban Living
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April 23, 2010

Bullies and Bad Hair in Philly

What's crackin', friends and frienemies?

Another Friday, another day, another 90 cents.

My column in today's Miami Herald is about the sad likelihood that a recent victim of hardcore bullying will be menaced again by knuckleheaded kids, and how the bullies are driven by pack mentalities.

Wherever you live, over the past few months you've probably heard or seen the story of Michael Brewer, a 15-year-old South Florida kid who was surrounded by five now-former friends in his neighborhood, ranging in age from 13 - 15 and set afire for reporting them to authorities for trying to steal his dad's bike and for allegedly owing one of 'em money for a video game purchase. Brewer suffered severe burns and was in the hospital for months recovering. He's out and started at a new school a couple days ago. The kids who torched him have been charged with crimes. But I spoke with experts who say a new pack of bullies will probably single him out 'cause they think he's vulnerable now. Hope the experts are wrong, but these are people whose expertise is built on preventing new Columbines from happening.

Anywho, you can read the whole column here. Check it out, come back here, tell me what you think.

Moving right along, here's an interesting story: A cop in Philadelphia bought a hair color kit, 'cause she thought crimson - the color labeled on the box - would be neato. She dyed her locks, showed up to work the next day, and was quickly confronted by a supervisor who told her to lose the purple hair 'cause it was a violation of the Philly Police Department's rule against officer's having "unnatural" hair color. The cop said her hair wasn't purple, but rather red. They bickered for a bit over the fine points of hair dye and the difference between crimson, red, and purple. In the end, the supervisor sent the officer home a couple of times and even had her photographed mugshot style for evidence. So she sued, arguing it was a hair color she'd worn for seven years prior as a cop and had never gotten a complaint from the bosses.

My first reaction is that this was a silly fight. I really don't care what color a cop's hair is. I honestly don't think I'd view that officer as more or less credible or authoritative based on his/her hair color. If it was lime green or something, I might find it distracting and annoying, but I'd still probably listen if a lime green-haired cop weilding a nightstick or mace...or gun, was headed in my direction.

My second reaction though is this wasn't a rule the supervisor pulled out of his wig. This was a written rule in the PDP and had been in place long before Ofcr. Purple decided to get creative. So what's her beef? It was a rule. The supervisor thought her crimson was a little too out there. At worst it was a difference of opinion over purple and crimson. No?

Anyway, Philly PD has a hair problem. A year or so ago, another cop showed up with braided/cornrowed hair, and he was put on desk duty till he agreed to cut it. Think you know what his beef was about? If you guess race, you guess wrong. Ofcr. Cornrow was a white cop!

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 09:56 AM in Current Affairs, Education, Environment, Ethics and Morals, Family, History, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, News, Numbnuts and Morons, Politics, Pop Culture, Race and Race Relations, Schools
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April 16, 2010

Nightclub Murders - What gives?

Happy Friday, people.

I have lots to say 'bout lots of stuff, but first I need you to indulge me a bit: Talk to me about the topic of today's column.

To read the whole thing follow that link. Please do read the whole thing! But if you don't have time, here's a synopsis: Over the past 12 months there have been at least eight murders or major assaults at South Florida night spots. With one exception, all of these incidents were sparked by verbal spats - someone calling someone else a name, someone looking at someone else the wrong way and then making a snarky comment, someone flirting with someone else's signficant other, etc.

There is an element out there - usually of the elected variety - that take these incidents to be signs that nightclubs are inherently unsafe, especially if they play "angry" music.

I don't see it that way. This isn't a club issue. It's a good sense issue. Sure, nightclubs need to provide adequate security, but you can't fault clubs for ignorant people who patronize the places and then act out.

Would you fault a restaurant owner if a series of jackasses choose to frequent his place and end their evenings by turning over tables and throwing dishes on the floor?

And when you come across a neighborhood that has a crime problem, you don't blame the officials who represent that 'hood or the cops who patrol it - not if you have good sense, anyway. You blame the people committing the crime.

Anyway, follow that link if you have a moment, then come back here and weigh in.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 09:41 AM in Crime, Current Affairs, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Manners, My Articles and Columns, News, Numbnuts and Morons, Politics, Urban Living
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April 13, 2010

Obama Wizardry

So apparently my secret is out.

I'm in my neighborhood grocery right now to pick up things to set me right after a sick day.

And as I was parking my car a few minutes ago, a guy driving toward me the wrong way up the one-way lane called me a nigger - that's right; "N-word" is too sterile, inaccurate. Makes us squirm less- as he passed by me. Guess i was in his way.

I'm assuming Jesus is polishing my Sainthood plaque right now, 'cause my inner Madman begged to come out and beat him like my name was Daddy and he owed me money.

Alas, I am too pretty to go to jail, so I simply offered him a salute of sorts, and as he weezily dragged his considerable heft into the store I gave him a look and told him "I heard you," grumble, grumble - loosely translated: I heard you, and I'm telling you as much from just 10 feet away, so that you realize if I didn't have self control I could easily take three big steps and punch you in your chins." I pray he read between the lines and interpreted my hidden meaning.

But even richer than his calling me a nigger was his walking-rapidly-away political commentary that "Obama gets elected and you guys think you own everything!"

I didn't pursue. Again, I'm too pretty to go jail.

But you see why I'm so distraught. My secret is out. Since Obama took office I've taken ownership of nearly everything around me. Much like my toddler nephew I need only point at something and shout "mine!" in a shrill voice. And it happens.

In fact, thanks to Obama I have no rules! I can run red lights, pimp slap your mom and skip her in line at my favorite restaurant. Once I pretended like I was gonna run over a guy in a wheelchair in a crosswalk marked by a sign of a guy in a wheelchair. And when a cop approached, I cackled insanely and flashed "the sign" (it's really just a big "O" formed w/ both hands.) and watched h shrug helplessly as I drove away. I don't even plan on paying taxes again till he's out of office, 'cause well, you know...the "brotherhood?"

Now the president is gonna have to change the number to that red bat phone in the Oval Office, 'cause a racist, bad driver at Publix discovered our secret alliance.

Seriously, I hope Jesus and the rest of the Super Friends remember my patience some day.

PS. Follow me, please, at Twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Blog posted here.

Posted by James B. at 05:29 PM
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April 09, 2010

FLORIDA LEGISLATURE PROPOSES MANDATORY CIVICS TEST FOR SCHOOL KIDS

Happy Friday, folks. My Friday column this week is about exactly what the title says.

Here's the first few of grafs:

As cliches go, ``what you don't know can hurt you'' would be an ideal motto for some members of the Florida Legislature this week.

Because while it is often great fun to take jabs at the august body in Tallahassee that found it necessary to pass laws prohibiting the sale of one's children and engaging in sex with porcupines, this week lawmakers hit a home run.

State Sen. Nancy Detert, a Venice Republican, has sponsored a bill -- the Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Civics Education Act -- mandating that middle-school students pass a civics test in order to advance.

Current state law prescribes social and civics studies for middle schoolers but doesn't require the test, which, if Detert has her way, will factor into overall grades by the 2013-14 school year and comprise 30 percent of final grades...

Read the whole thing here.

Your thoughts on such a requirement? I like it. In terms of the future of the management of this country, few things are scarier than kids who don't know and/or don't care who's running their government - local, state, federal - and what their elected officials are up to.

Look at what we have now among voting-aged adults: a mishmash of lethargic people who don't care, too-trusting people demonstrating blind loyalty along party lines, and hyper-enthusiastic people who are angry but not knowledgeable enough about the issues to know exactly what/who to be angry with.

If a mandatory civics test helps give 8th-graders a head start to learning all this stuff, I'm all for it.

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 08:12 AM in Current Affairs, Education, History, James Burnett is a know-it-all, My Articles and Columns, Politics, Pop Culture
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April 06, 2010

What Tiger Woods Should Have Said to Reporters During Monday's Press Conference

I know you guys are here to ask questions about my relationship with my wife, the sex I had with several women who aren't my wife, the freaky text messages and emails I sent to some of them, and then, maybe, about my golf game. But I'm not going to satisfy your curiosity. Before we open the floor to questions, let's get a couple things straight for the last time, because after I clear the air here, unless I backslide and resume my recent-past cheating ways, then I will take no more questions - ever! - about my sex life.

So here's the deal. I have apologized repeatedly to my wife for cheating on her with other women. My apologies are clearly just words. But she'll need to observe my actions over time to trust me again. I have apologized to my fans for displaying bad character and tarnishing the clean, disciplined image they had grown to expect of me. I don't think I owe you guys any apologies, because most of you were hired or assigned to cover my life in the context of golf, not keep score of who I cheated with...unless you know something I don't about how such a tally relates to golf. To a lesser extent, I have offered a general apology to the women with whom I cheated. And that's all I intend to offer them. Yes, I treated them as sexual objects and in that context I used them. But I did not kidnap any of them. I did not hold them against their will. They are all grown women. They all knew that I was married when they agreed to have sex with me. If anything, they need to offer heartfelt apologies to my wife for scheming with me to cheat, and thus partnering with me to jointly disrespect Elin. I'm not afraid of anything they may leak to the press. Nothing they say or show you guys can be more humiliating than the messages they've already released.

By the way, don't ask me about other so-called celebrities' sex lives either. Their problems are theirs, whether they swing a club, shoot a ball, or build motorcycles for a living. If they're sucker enough to keep talking to you about the stuff that doesn't relate to their work, then more power to them. But unless - God forbid - I cheat again, then I'm done talking about it.

And that, guys, is all I have to say about my sex life...ever...unless, like I said earlier, I backslide. And if that happens, I deserve all the tabloid-like trashy coverage I get.

So, let's talk golf and only golf....

PS. Follow me, please, at twitter.com/jamesburnett.

Posted by James B. at 11:14 AM in Current Affairs, Ethics and Morals, Etiquette, Humor, James Burnett is a know-it-all, Media Industry, Numbnuts and Morons, Pop Culture, Sports, Stupid celebrity tricks
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