Everyone has resold something in their lifetime. Even if it's selling your old CDs or books to a friend, you've participated in what may soon be illegal. Right now it is legal to sell your things because the original copyright is only valid for the first sale, or when you buy it originally. There is a case coming before the Supreme Court later this year in which an argument will be made that people should get permission from, and pay royalties to, the original copyright owner for products that are made outside of the United States. Brendan Spaar believes that this is an attempt by the government to encourage consumers to purchase more American made products. The only problem with this is that when it comes to electronics like your iPhone or computer, even though it was designed in the United States, it was manufactured overseas for cost reasons. Most foreign cars are assembled overseas so this would be an added cost when you go to trade in that old Toyota. This is going to be a tough law to enforce with all of the garage sales and yard sales out there. It would definately put shows like American Pickers and Antiques Road Show out of business. Then what about eBay and Craigslist? This country has a huge resale industry and you have to wonder if giving more money to foreign copyright holders would do more harm to our economy than the stimulus that it seeks.
You may have been to an all you can eat buffet and noticed that they attract "large" customers. These people are the ones that appear to live at the buffet and it shows. They take their time in line and pile their plate sky high. People like Brendan Spaar are a buffet's best friend because he only makes 2 or 3 trips back to the line.
Well two people in England named George Dalmon and Andy Miles found out that sometimes All You Can Eat buffets have their limits. These guys have been going to the same restaurant for years and getting an average of 5 plates each visit. The owner finally had enough of their "greedy munching (mouching?)" and banned them from his establishment. This seems a little unfair. You will lose money on guys like George and Andy but you'll make it up on people like me.
So this guy in Jacksonville Florida was arrested the other week for riding his horse around town while allegedly intoxicated. Brendan Spaar had no idea that you couldn't ride a horse in public but apparently it is illegal in Jacksonville. Not only was the man arrested for DUI, he was also charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest without violence, aggravated fleeing and eluding, petty theft and cruelty to animals. The aggravated fleeing and eluding has me a bit confused. How can you elude sherrif's deputies while on a horse? That must have been some slow speed chase he lead the officers on! The man's name is Charles Larkin Cowart and his mug shot is available on the source link.This story gets even more strange. Cowart was riding the horse down the road with the police in slow pursuit when he wandered onto railroad tracks. Apparently they had to stop a train so that he was not injured. During the "chase," Cowart's headphones stopped working (WTF?) and an onlooker gave him an extra pair (double WTF?!). The police didn't even try to stop this guy. It was Cowart's father that caught up to him and pulled him off of the horse. So the next time you are in Jacksonville, be on the lookout for slow speed horse chases. Oh and bring an extra pair of headphones just in case you get caught in one of them.
You know the old saying "gone to the dogs?" Well that saying has literally come true in this one New Mexico town. You see, for some reason the town of Vaughn, a town outside of Albuquerque with a population of about 450, only had one police officer. The sole officer, Police Chief Ernest "Chris" Armijo, was forced to resign earlier this year when word got out about his criminal past. Apparently Armijo faces some felony charges for selling a town owned rifle. The only other officer on the force was arrested, charged, and convicted of assault and battery last year and is no longer able to carry a firearm. That leaves the town in the hands of Officer Nikka, a drug dog. Brendan Spaar guesses that the town of Vaughn has more of a need for a drug dog than a gun carrying officer.
If you are traveling by plane anytime soon, you'll want to make sure you don't pack any of the following items in your luggage. Brendan Spaar recenty took a trip to Florida and did not have any room for any of the following:
* A pyrotechnic smoke grenade capable of covering an area of 40,000 cubic feet with smoke
* Three lead-filled, leather-coated billy clubs
* A collapsible baton
* A full-face respirator
* Various knives and a hatchet
* Body bags
* A Tyvex biohazard suit and various masks
* Duct tape and batteries
* Oven mitts and cooking tongs
* Hand cuffs, leg irons, and plastic flexi-cuffs
* A device to repel dogs
All of the above items were found in the luggage of a US citizen flying into the country from Japan. He apparently made it from Japan to Korea and then on to the US. Customs officers found the contraband when he arrived at LAX and asked him if he had anything additional that he wanted to declare. When the 28 year old only declared an additional knife, they arrested him on the spot.
One big question is raised in this whole story: Why does the story make mention of the oven mitts and cooking tongs the guy had in his luggage? Did the alleged baggage-terrorist have plans to serve up a delicious meal and then attack all of his dinner guests? Other theories include: the guy was super paranoid, going to a counter-terrorism trade show, or was really up to no good. If you happened to be sitting next to him on the plane you were either on the most dangerous or safest plane in the world.
This story is one that would make consumer advocate Clark Howard proud. You know the expiration date on your bottle of prescription medication? Turns out that date is just a hoax to get you to throw your meds away and buy more. A study has found that medication 28 to 40 years past the expiration date (40? who keeps things that long?) has just as much kick as when it was first made. Now the key ingredient to this study is that the meds were unopened and in their original container. Now that's great for individually sealed pills. Your results may vary with that half used bottle of pain killers. Brendan Spaar has been known to throw things away when they reach their expiration date. We all have the sense that a Best If Used By date means the product will harm you if used after that date. Turns out it is only best for the seller if the consumer throws out the product after that date.
When was the last time you thought about the DMV and smiled? Brendan Spaar does not think that the DMV is a happy place that you would make someone smile. New Jersey wants people to stop smiling so much. Literally. The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is banning drivers license applicants from smiling when they have their photo taken. The reason? Smiling apparently interferes with facial recognition software. Why is the DMV using facial recognition software? They claim that they run your photo through their database to make sure that you only have one driving record. Do you buy that? Could it be linked to Homeland Security or some other government monitoring agency? Conspiracy theorists will charge that the government is building a huge database of our faces. Whatever the reason, getting a drivers license in New Jersey is nothing to smile about.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, known for his portrail of war, baseball, and even jazz music, has a new documentary project that is getting him into some hot water in New York City. Burns recently made a film called The Central Park Five, about a group of men that were wrongly arrested, charged, and convicted of raping a woman in New York City's Central Park back in 1989. The men, who were boys at the time, just happened to be causing mischief in the wrong place at the wrong time. Deputies arrested all 5 of them and somehow got confessions out of them which lead to their conviction. Later, another man confessed to the crime and his DNA was linked to the sexual offense.
So why is NYC so upset with Burns? Well the wrongly convicted men are suing the state for more than $5 million. The city wants Ken Burns to turn over all of his video footage from the film including unaired portions of the interviews so that they can use it to defend themselves. Now here's where things get a little tricky. Burns is claiming that he made this film as a documentary and is protected by New York State's shield laws which would allow journalists to keep their sources confidential. The city is claiming that this film was not a protected documentary but instead was an advocacy film intended to free the men. Brendan Spaar has not seen the film but is interested to see how this one plays out. Burns appears to have had a bias toward the innocence of the men and may not have been objective in the making of his film. But don't most documentary filmmakers have a bias when making their film?
If you think the world has gone into full on freak out mode then this story will be even more evidence to back up your claims. A school in Southwest England has decided to require people attending children's sporting events to be vetted by police before being allowed in. That's right, you must pass a background check before you can watch your own child compete. The school has backed up the rule by saying they want to prevent people from commiting child molestation in other parts of the school away from the field. Brendan Spaar feels that this is an over reach of authority that will do little to stop a problem that may or may not even exist. The article linked below does not mention if there has been many pedophiles arrested recently for this type of activity at schools or why this rule has been put in place. Instead of mandating that everyone be background checked, why not lock all areas of the school that aren't in use or have staff or cameras monitoring the facility? This is either an extreme case of paranoia or a knee jerk reaction to a problem. Either way, harrassing law abiding citizens and restricting their rights is not the answer. Hopefully this is something that we as Americans can learn from our oppressive former parents.
Brendan Spaar is an avid photographer and tech blogger from Forsyth County, Georgia since 2012. When he's not working or volunteering, you might see him exploring all the great places in search of things to share in his blog.Favorite quote- "If you call failures experiments, you can put them in your resume and claim them as achievements."