too soon to talk about death by killer whale? oh…

i’m going to have to run the risk of making light of a concept that might annoy people, but this is what we’ve got for the week, so here goes, try not to take it personally. so the other day our hero Zippy asks me “have you heard of this Shamu?” i have no idea where this question is going; i HAVE heard of “this Shamu,” but i have also heard of many other random things. is Shamu a particular famous whale that’s super-old and or may have died years ago? or is it a random, rotating title like Uga? (it turns out it’s the latter.) Zippy tells me “well, this Shamu killed somebody today.” and i have to admit, when they told me that it was a trainer, i felt disappointed, as if this wasn’t really news.

when i see this face, i want to scream “that thing is a KILLER” like the mayor in RoboCop 2

now, i admit this is a little harsh and probably somewhat unfair to the lady in question, and it really IS news, so despite the fact that i generally like to be hostile and rude and whatnot, let me be clear that i’m not making light of the fact that this whale killed her … totally. or maybe i am, because i don’t know why this is breaking news when you consider the fact that giant, murderous animals are always in a position to suddenly murder you; the fact is, i assumed a whale somehow killed a customer at the park, which WOULD be crazy and shocking. but maybe i should just start mocking someone who didn’t get killed in this scenario: SeaWorld President Jim Atchison.

from this article: “We will only resume in-water interactions with our killer whales after the review is complete and we have implemented any changes in procedure we feel will ensure the safety of our trainer staff,” said Atchison, reading prepared remarks during a brief press conference in Orlando on Friday.

what i am saying is, doesn’t it seem like the changes that would ensure the safety of your staff is to keep them the hell away from these whales? they’re killer whales! look, i think elephants are awesome, but if i was riding them and shooting little cannons off them and everything else, and then an elephant had enough and crushed me, would we really be surprised that such a thing should happen? and would my ghost lobby against elephant-related shenanigans? doubtful. plus, then Atchison gets contradictory on us when asked about the whale that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau:

“Tilikum is an important part of our overall team,” Atchison maintained. “Those [previous] incidents and the nature of them had nothing to do with the nature of this event. They are not relevant to this particular altercation.”

okay, slow down: you JUST said you’d implemented any changes in procedure you feel will ensure the safety of your trainer staff. it seems to me that working with a killer whale who has possibly killed not one, but THREE people is not going to ensure the safety of your staff. plus, what is with this weird enabling of the whale’s murder spree? everyone’s saying that this whale with the weird name Tilikum killed a couple of people, and that’s not relevant?

when you do this kind of thing for a living, knowing whether or not the whale in question has killed multiple people seems COMPLETELY relevant

also, it seems completely relevant because while one death was apparently that of a trespasser in 1999, the other was of a TRAINER in 1991. now, if you trespass into a killer whale enclosure, you deserve whatever happens to you. i recall a story from my youth (that i CANNOT find on the internet, so maybe it never actually happened) about a kid getting into a polar bear enclosure at a zoo around here and getting killed by the bears, and i have to tell you, that’s what happens when you fuck around with bears. although all that being said, the bolded part here is just weird:

“Authorities later concluded that the man, Daniel Dukes, likely suffered hypothermia in the 55-degree water and drowned, but they said it also appeared Tilikum bit the man’s body and tore off his swimming trunks after he had died.

tore off his swimming trunks? what exactly was this whale trying to do?

anyway, the part where this whale (and two other female whales, so maybe this was all about peer pressure and putting on a show for the ladies) drowned a trainer seems perfectly relevant. so yeah, i get it, this whale is worth tons of money and mostly behaves and trainers that feel confident will work with it in the future like Brancheau did, and more power to those men and women and their massive balls that i know they must need wheelbarrows to tote around. i suppose i have the same reaction to whenever animals do this kind of thing:

-bear eats a guy who’s always hanging around bears? should have seen that coming, as bears are only going to take so much of your nonsense.
-bear kills guy who feeds bears as the government tells him to please stop? well… you KNOW you saw that coming.
-tiger bites the hell out of a Las Vegas magician? seriously… we were all surprised that it took that long to happen.

bear attack results
yeah, never fuck around with bears

of course, if it’s true that this trainer’s ponytail is the reason why this whale killed her (as has seriously been suggested), then all bets are off, because that sounds like a concept i should ABSOLUTELY be allowed to make fun of.

fencing > Winter Olympics. that is all

well, it’s that time of the year again: time for the Winter Olympics! or, rather, i suppose it’s that time of every-four-years again or something; i don’t know if there’s a word for that, but a) i am sure there is one, even if it’s hopelessly obscure and b) i don’t know what it is. now when i say that kind of thing, the most common response is something about “how could a person with an English degree not know what that word would be,” to which i state: i am a person with a worthless diploma, not a magical living dictionary. i apologize. i wish i WAS a magical living dictionary, as i would probably be leading a much more successful life and/or have been trapped and locked away by the US government, but i’m not one and i don’t know every word ever. anyway… we were talking about the Winter Olympics.

…and to be perfectly honest, i’m finding it difficult to care about them. instead, what i have been doing is trying to find reasons to care about the Winter Olympics, something i have often done by asking people i catch watching the Olympics to, quote, “tell me why i should care about these here Winter Olympics.” i will now attempt to recapture some of the best attempts at answers.

the US' Mancuso and Vonn celebrate their medal wins
Americans doing what they do: winning motherfucking gold medals

“because the Americans are doing well! don’t you want the Americans to do well?”

this is a pretty common one so far, and my stock answer to it is generally something like “so… i’m supposed to be emotionally involved in this due to some random nationalist sentiments,” which makes me seem like a HUGELY witty individual and not at all like some self-absorbed hippie fuck. actually, i walked in on my grandmother watching a medal ceremony and asked “so… could you tell me what i am supposed to be feeling right now as i watch these girls cry?” when this led to the expected “happiness Americans doing well”/”RRR NATIONALISM” exchange, her response was something along the lines of “yes, that is correct.” old ladies have no time for my sarcasm!

but all that aside, it’s a pretty common notion for me to be rooting against America in sporting events (a prime example of this, for which i get mocked at work, is my devotion to the lovable Brazilians of Black House who fight in MMA events; sorry, i cannot help that Black House is awesome), so while i don’t approach the Olympics TRYING to do that, conversely, it doesn’t make me care. sorry.

Canada's Maelle Ricker went on to win the gold medal
yeah! snowboarding! snowboarding is awesome and cool! and i care deeply about it!

“because (insert random Winter Olympics sport here) is totally awesome!”

i don’t hear this one as much, but it’s sometimes thrown at me (generally from stupid kids regarding snowboarding), so let’s field it. there are basically two responses for it:

01. “eh, such-and-such sport does nothing for me.” this is generally the case for a sport that i can see SOMEONE enjoying (let’s say skiing) mainly on the grounds that i know people who really like it and maybe, just maybe, i have skied myself. i still find the concept of the sport boring (as in, i don’t ski anymore), but i try to empathize because this argument is completely reversed when it’s time for the normal Olympics and i want to watch fencing events and everyone is telling me that no one cares. FENCING IS INTERESTING AND I WANT TO WATCH IT ON TELEVISION. (that situation also sometimes results in my usual rant about electric/tournament fencing, which anyone i know who fences has already heard and discarded … and yet which i’ve managed to hint at here.) so, in summation, i respect your interests, but i won’t watch downhill skiing because of them.

02. “no… no, it’s not.” you and i know exactly what i’m about to refer to: figure skating. it’s not awesome. no one really thinks it’s awesome. the absolute best you can do is get ladies to say that it’s beautiful, and that’s not a reason i should care about the Winter Olympics.

65-foot polar bear appears during the performance of
to be honest, this has nothing to do with the following section; i included it because of the phrase “65-foot polar bear appears”

“because this is your chance to watch some of the world’s greatest athletes test their skills against the stiffest competition they will ever face”

this is an argument i can respect, in that i do respect the athletes involved (even if i don’t care about their sports or their nations) and i can appreciate, on an intellectual level, what this means to them in terms of their devotion to their particular sports. but i don’t CARE. plus, frankly, since the time of the first Olympics (or first Winter Olympics, even), we’ve developed a variety of professional sports leagues that allow me to watch the same concept that’s stated in bold above, and yet involve sports that i actually give a damn about.

so, there it is, Winter Olympics: i’m sorry, but i don’t care, and no one has been able to make me care yet. i guess i’ll just continue to spend my sports-watching time on watching Brazilians deliver crushing Muay Thai strikes to random Americans and/or random fencing events that i hate but still appreciate.

i don’t understand how these things could have possibly occurred

with week two of our snowmageddon upon us, our hero janklow found himself trapped inside by repeated and ridiculous flurries of snow (well, ridiculous for Maryland, anyways), and as we all know, that’s when it’s the time of year to drink lots of various forms of alcohol and watch ridiculous foreign films. well, at least, that’s what janklow does when he’s not shoveling snow and/or having ridiculous midnight “snow adventures,” in which sometimes we fall down snow-covered hills and lose our hats (but find them later). but i digress.

ANYWAY, over this indoors week i chanced upon a couple of things while flipping through channels or perusing the internet that struck me as, shall we say, improbable and weird. or, to state it slightly differently, things that i cannot fathom the reasoning behind. let’s now make fun of some of those things.

unicorns are bad-ass!
yeah… what the hell is going on with these unicorns

unicorns on this 1970s/1980s Chicago gang business card

so i’m on the internet and i read a link to something purporting to discuss “gang cards” (of business card size) of Chicago gangs from the 1970s and early 1980s. now, okay, this in and of itself seems highly ridiculous: Chicago gangs had business cards? why? what did they do with these cards? but i suppose if you take the gangs as minor issues of kids fucking around (which the cards make them out to be), it’s just goofy fun. except for one thing…

…those unicorns. look, crossed rifles? okay, i get that: rifles are cool. and most of these cards have more reasonable things like skulls and leprechauns and devil’s heads and top hats and crowns and two apparent KKK members who call themselves “gaylords” killing a humanoid rabbit (well, okay, they’re not ALL reasonable). but even in the latter case, there’s sort of an explanation (the Almighty Gaylords were a older gang that could have been feuding with another Chicago gang using the Playboy bunny as a symbol prior to said Gaylords going the People Nation) … whereas in the history of the world, there have NEVER been any bad dudes who thought unicorns were cool. seriously. your sister thinks unicorns are cool, and although i don’t know you, internet reader, i know your sister is not a bad dude. actually, strike that: i DO know the sisters of the majority of the readers of this site (all two or three of you) and while they’re very nice girls, none of them could beat me up. so there!

Rosie's Family Cruise?
from this photo alone, i can tell that this documentary was not a good idea

the existence of All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise
this is where we come to the aforementioned “flipping through channels.” generally as one randomly browses channels, you notice programs with weird names or something along those lines that cause you to briefly pause; when i saw this one, i asked myself “did someone make a documentary about Rosie O’Donnell being on a cruise?” after having this thought, the following things happened:
01. i THEN thought “that’s a ridiculous concept that makes no sense”;
02. it turns out that this is, in fact, exactly what happened.
because according to the primary source of scholarship on the internet: “All Aboard! Rosie’s Family Cruise is a 2006 American documentary film that follows Rosie O’Donnell and her family along with several other families on the first ever cruise specified for gay parents and their families, which was arranged and planned by Rosie O’Donnell and her life partner Kelli O’Donnell.” note that i object to the final part there, Wikipedia, as Rosie and Kelli are no longer together and thus they are not “life partners.” but i digress… because i am mainly confused as to WHY this documentary was made.

see, as far as i can tell from the internet, the ONLY things that happen are “Rosie and Kelli’s family, along with several other families on the cruise are interviewed” and “”in the Bahamas, the cruise members are met with protests from some local Christians, though interviews show that there were many locals who didn’t have a problem with LGBT people.” and i have to assume that the latter wasn’t PLANNED (as in, it’s not fake and they didn’t go to the Bahamas with the express purpose of getting protested) and thus wasn’t why they made the documentary … so why did they make it? just to show off the cruise to people? and this shit got nominated for Emmys? terrible. and actually, step past that, since garbage gets made all the time … why is All Aboard! being broadcast on my satellite television currently? why?

side note: there’s a part in this documentary where Rosie keeps insisting that a young girl looks like she (Rosie) did when she was young, and then demanding to know if people have ever told the girl that. look, Rosie, i don’t want to be taking cheap shots here, but you’re an ugly woman. please don’t tell little girls they look like you.

what's cooler than cool? ICE COLD!
janklow hard at work on his blog: cooler than a polar bear’s toenails, oh hell, there he go again, talking that shit…

something about blogging not being cool anymore?

what? blogging isn’t cool? does this mean, by extension, that i’m not cool? or, at the very least, that i am not currently maximizing my internet coolness? what the hell, young people, blogs are still cool! …aren’t they? well, great, now i am having my hopes dashed AND being drowned in snow. sometimes i really hate this country.

actually, what this article claims is that teenagers have abandoning blogging for social networking sites and that blogging has increasing become the purview of adults. which, actually, i am totally fine with on the grounds that teenagers are garbage and don’t have any kind of taste. if they did, they’d read my blog. actually, i’m totally self-centered in that if this article said all the same stuff but added “but those cool teens READ a lot of blogs,” i’d be very impressed with myself. oh well!

seriously, look at the ridiculous amount of ice i have collected around these parts and tell me i’m not cool:

goddamn ridiculous icicles

get it? cool as in cold as in the temperature that caused all this ice being cold? oh, hell, here i am making terrible puns. either i’m suffering from a little bit of cabin fever or i’m an uncool adult blogger making bad puns. either way, this update ends on a low note. see you guys next week.

EDIT: for those of you who want to know what the “exploring kit” that i use during my “snow adventures” contains, here’s a short list: a sturdy Mag-Lite flashlight; a flask containing a quantity of Michael Collins whiskey; .45 ACP handgun and associated magazines and Hydra-Shok rounds (we’re rocking the compact Colt 1991A1 right now); one of my random Spyderco knives (Tenacious, probably); that good old battered Sony camera; some rope, i think; a Zippo lighter, and a note from my grandmother saying “this frozen or otherwise damaged corpse belongs to an American, please return it to us.” my trusty snow shovel comes along, but is technically not considered part of the exploring kit. there it is.

janklow in… Barrack Obama’s SNOWMAGEDDON

as you may or may not know, my beloved state of Maryland has once again been slammed with what is really just an excessive amount of snow and frankly, i’ve had it with all the snow and the shoveling and the lack of driveability, and now i am going to rant about it on the internet until i feel better! or maybe just complain, as i don’t know if i truly have a rant in me.

13 thoughts i have on all this 2009-2010 winter weather

janklow's snow-covered car
awww, that poor little Civic… still, through it all, the stickers promoting the Wolverines and/or assault rifles come shining through

13. i don’t understand the rush to panic-shop in advance of a snowstorm Marylanders seem to have. now, if you’re going to the store to get something you don’t have at the house, that’s fine, as this is not panic-shopping, just regular shopping. but do you really need all that bread? is it really a big deal to not have Devil Dogs at your house for upwards of two days? and why are you going through so many Devil Dogs anyway? maybe i’m just biased because my house is generally always stocked with canned pasta and rifle ammunition, but it seems excessive to me. every home owner should have a week’s worth of food in it at any given time, i think, and yet a hint of snow in the air sends everyone running to clear off the shelves.

12. if you’re worried about losing power (as i used to have happen all the time, and which can really be less than fun when it’s 20 degrees out or something along those lines), before the next crazy storm, you should really, really get yourself a solid generator to at least do the bare minimum stuff you need: a little water, a little power, and so on. because if you DO lose power all the time, and you then get a generator, you’ll never have your power go out on you again! not that this is what has happened with me or anything…

11. during the snowstorm last night, i was outside and there was this crazy bit of “thunderstorm plus snowstorm” weather that was going on. i don’t know what causes this exactly or how hazardous it might or might not be (as in, i couldn’t flee lightning very easily in 20 inches of snow, but then it didn’t seem to be anywhere near me), so i am just going to say that it looked cool as all get out. that is all.

10. do i not approve of the media’s use of the term “snowmageddon?” for a large snowstorm that will eventually be cleaned up? i think i don’t. it’s either excessive (the likely answer) or just the most terrible jinx EVER.

channel through the snow
a current view of the walk to my residence. AWESOME

09. i have really, really had enough of shoveling snow for the winter. but i think i’d had enough of that during the last storm, so i suppose this is not exactly news.

08. related observation #1: the single most annoying thing in life is when the snowplow damages your property or fills in shoveling you have already done. this is ESPECIALLY aggravating when you live on a small road and the plow doesn’t really clear both lanes (leading to trouble when people try to rush out on the newly-cleared road) and yet STILL manages to damage something or fill in your work. i think i shoveled halfway across the road to prevent that this time, but it still won’t. it still won’t.

07. related observation #2: while i was out shoveling a mass amount of snow for the third time this weekend, there were some kids across the street laughing and sledding down a hill and just generally being ridiculous. and i was SO JEALOUS. snow is the same for kids and dogs: it’s never not fun, not ever. unless maybe you’re one of those crazy dogs that just starts freaking out at random stuff like snow or wind or tall people.

06. related observation #3: so after i did an obscene amount of shoveling last time there was a crazy snowstorm, i discovered there is a neighborhood kid with access to a Bobcat that will clear your roads and driveways in return for cash money. needless to say, i now rank this kid up with Abraham Lincoln and Batman in my pantheon of Greatest American Heroes.

see, if the bottle had the word “COOLANT” clearly printed on it, there wouldn’t have been an issue. wait…

05. so if you happen to run out of windshield wiper fluid and you run out to get some, you shouldn’t buy coolant accidentally. this is probably pretty clear. but if you DO, you should probably put it into your car in a well-lit area so that you can realize your mistake before it’s too late. still, if you don’t follow any of that advice, it’s okay, i won’t judge you.

04. after the last snowstorm, i happened upon the fairly bleak sight of a snow plow … jammed into a snow bank, waiting for rescue. if the plows can’t best the snow, what hope do the rest of us have?

03. alright, i mock this all the time, but seriously, Maryland peoples, it’s time we learn how to drive in the snow. and driving slow in the snow out of caution, while maybe a little annoying at times, is fine. it’s the driving 75 miles per hour in a snowstorm on snow-covered roads that are not. if you do this, i guess it’s your prerogative, but you should know we’re all rooting for you to skid off into a ditch and stand there in the snow, looking depressed, until emergency vehicles arrive to help you out. we’re all trying to live in a society of rules, guys, and we need to work together.

02. i have a sneaking suspicion that when you’re snowed in and you’re not actively shoveling snow, you’re wasting valuable time. considering that i have spent my snow days lying in bed, halfway sick, eating soup and drinking and watching random documentaries and foreign and/or violent films, i feel like i have MAYBE wasted my valuable time. so the question is: have i done so?

janklow hates snow
a blurry action photo of janklow “having had enough of this snow-related nonsense” circa 2010

01. seriously, enough with the snow already. it’s CLEARLY making me crazy.

EDIT: snow just got me out of work on Sunday as well? cancel all my anti-snow comments!