This is True #1303: Keep Up the Good Work?

Randy Cassingham
Jun 8 · 7 min read

And He Had Fun Fun Fun ’til Daddy Took the T-Bird Away: Nicholas Jones, 19, was pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy in St. Johns County, Fla. But, Jones said later, “as he was walking up to my car I did a donut around him and left him.” The deputy wasn’t able to get the license plate number from the car, and Jones made a clean getaway. So how do we know his name? About an hour later Jones got nervous and called 911 to ask, “Like, what are you guys doing?” because “like, he definitely got the plate number.” Jones said he ran because he thought it would be “fun.” Dispatchers simply looked up the location of his phone and sent deputies, who arrested Jones on charges of reckless driving, fleeing and eluding, misusing 911, and violating his probation from a previous case. Deputies told him they didn’t know who he was until he called in. “That’s funny,” he replied. “So I told on myself?” (RC/WESH Orlando) …Yep. And now the real “fun” begins.

Paradise Lost: The Paradise Inn in Spenard, Alaska, was built in 1962, marked by a 22-foot-tall neon palm tree sign. Over the years the neighborhood and hotel deteriorated, and two years ago the owner was jailed for dealing meth. Cindy Berger was able to buy the property from the government in the hopes of restoring the inn, but because of updated zoning laws, she will instead demolish the building — and convert the property to a public parking lot. “It’s one of those funny things,” Berger said. “Oh, I really am ‘paving Paradise and putting up a parking lot’.” She hopes, though, that the neon sign that someone else bought will find a home in the lot as well. (MS/Anchorage Daily News) …It’ll be a great place to catch a Big Yellow Taxi.

WTF (When Teachers Fail): Melinda Smith, the mother of a student at Rutherford High School in Panama City, Fla., is upset with one of her son’s teachers. “I think for sure she needs to be reprimanded,” she said. “I believe that something should be placed in her file.” She held up a paper her son had turned in; the teacher wrote on top in red, “WTF is this? Absolutely no credit”. WTF, of course, means something rather vulgar. The principal said the teacher is being “investigated,” but refused to identify her or say what discipline, if any, she may face. “That was very inappropriate and not acceptable for a teacher whatsoever,” Smith said. “It wasn’t anything about not getting the credit, it was more so the language.” (RC/WJHG Panama City) …In other words, she isn’t surprised that her son would get no credit whatever for an assignment.

WTF kind of teachers work in Florida high schools?

Missing the Implications: “‘If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.’ — Adolf Hitler.” That misattributed paraphrase of Joseph Goebbels ran as someone’s senior quote for the yearbook of Southwest High School in Green Bay, Wisc. After it came out, a parent objected. Deciding which quotes could and could not be run had been a problem, a district spokeswoman said, so a decision was made: from now on, there would be no senior quotes in yearbooks. Local rabbi Moishe Steigmann suggested the publication was a teaching opportunity, saying “Part of the responsibility of the school is … building levels of tolerance and understanding.” (AC/Green Bay Press-Gazette) …Like understanding that when people talk about the “Big Lie,” it’s usually to warn against Nazi tactics, not endorse them?

Nine More Stories! Yep, we went overboard this week, so you missed: Police found out about kids left in a hot car in a most delightful way. Woman allegedly discharges a can of bear spray in a college library, and runs. A mind-boggling on-the-record statement by a Facebook lawyer about your privacy. Judge rules that another lawsuit against Facebook over privacy violations may proceed. Yet another person busted trying to hire a hitman, but this woman really should have known better! Drunk driver arrested, and boy is her daddy mad. Political official arrested after a most bizarre crime. Florida man takes exception to guys riding an ATV near his house — enough so that he’s arrested. And state legislature has lost track of the many Task Forces it created, so here’s what they’re gonna do…! Well of course you can still read all of these stories! Just ask for your upgrade to start with the 2 June issue, and get a full year of expanded issues for just $32 (still!)

Bastard Stepchildren: After nine months of negotiations, the Connecticut Conference Of Municipalities, unions, and legislators announced they had come to agreement on legislation to make post-traumatic stress disorder a “compensable claim” under the Connecticut Worker’s Compensation program for police officers and firefighters. Emergency responders witness some terrible things that can easily lead to PTSD, such as “viewing a deceased minor” or “witnessing the death of a person,” the legislation says. In a statement, Cohanzie Waterford Fire Co. 5 decried a glaring omission in the legislation. “Connecticut’s Legislatures have left out the first responders who are most likely to be impacted by these traumatic events,” it said: “those working in Emergency Medical Services,” who are “most involved in these incidents,” yet they “are not included in this legislation.” Witnessing death? Medics “most commonly witnesses it, often with their hands on the victim trying to save them.” (RC/WVIT West Hartford) …Legislators don’t care about medics …until they need to call 911 for a critically ill or injured family member.

“Top 10 Humorous Awards”: On Monday, the Youtube channel “TopTenz” listed what it thinks are the “top 10” sites online that give out humorous “awards”, which you can watch on Youtube or on my blog copy of these comments.

I’m honored (I suppose) that my True Stella Awards came in #4 (starting at the 8:00 minute mark, if you want to skip to it), and that the guy pronounced my name correctly. It made me look at the Stella site …and lament that it was so freaking ugly: I hadn’t updated the look since I retired the Awards, and it looked, well, kinda turn-of-the-century.

Figuring that the video would drive some traffic to the site, I took a half-day to modernize it. While I was at it, I updated the Stellas’ Overall Awards page to say “what happened” with the various winning lawsuits, which was possible now that it’s been quite awhile. I got the resolutions for every case but one — and the plaintiff in that one is dead. Though I can’t imagine she won anything….

I rolled my eyes that the Darwin Awards only came in #2; they’re #1 in my book, even though their site is quite irregularly updated: there’s an entry dated last month, but their “Daily News” is dated April 28, 2018. Oh well, but I sure understand that kind of project can get old. I retired the Awards since my Stella book covered everything I wanted to say on the subject.

TopTenz (somewhere in the top 10 of awful site names) gave the #1 spot instead to “The Razzies” aka the Golden Raspberry Awards for bad movies. Eh: boring. Still, it’s amusing that the True Stella Awards came in #4 considering I closed it down after the 2007 Awards — 12–1/2 years ago(!). Either there aren’t very many still-running “awards” sites these days, or the ones that are running are spectacularly bad.

Comments on this? You can on add them to this on the blog: True Stella Awards: Still in the Top 10.

I get Messages Like This all the time, this one in an unsubscribe note from a very long-term subscriber: “Hi Randy, I’ve been a reader for approximately forever, and I’m going through a phase of trimming my online subscriptions. This is a definite case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. Keep up the good work, the world needs a good dose of common sense.”

Well, here’s the problem: without support, True can’t keep up the good work! The era of rich ad income is long gone: as I’ve said for many years, the vast majority of True’s budget comes from Premium subscribers. In a few weeks, this publication hits its 25th(!!) anniversary, and I absolutely could not have done it without the Premium subscribers. This reader never upgraded his free subscription, so how, exactly, did he expect me to “keep up the good work”?

What has worked to get new readers signed up in the past is two things: 1) current readers recommending it to their friends and colleagues, and 2) publicity — newspapers, magazines, TV shows, etc. writing about True, the oldest entertainment publication on the Internet. The easy way to recommend it to others is to point them at the free edition on Medium (see link below) or on True’s web site. And if you have any ideas about #2, when there’s not much attention given to any content site other than Facebook, please let me know.

Which Takes Us To two readers who talked about this newsletter in their blogs this week, which definitely helps bring in new readers to help me to “keep up the good work.” Ron in Saskatchewan, Canada, talked about ’three of my favorite things on the internet”: This is True, the Uncommon Sense podcast, and Randy’s Random. And Neil and Connie’s travel blog detailed their trip to my area (including some great photos), and who they saw along the way….

This Week’s Uncommon Sense Podcast: “Your attention please!” Isn’t that what everyone seems to want online? They call you “eyeballs”. Meanwhile, “they” say our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. But I don’t think that’s true for people with Uncommon Sense. Here’s why. It’s 12 minutes, or you can read the transcript: Taking Control of Your Attention.

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Copyright ©2019 by Randy Cassingham, All Rights Reserved.

Randy Cassingham

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Author of Weird News feature This is True — — and creator of the Get Out of Hell Free card: