Entry 739: But Maybe No Teachers from the Art Department

The latest bright idea out of the White House is arming teachers to discourage school shooters. This logic is similar to ending cafeteria food fights by serving cream pies for lunch.

As the parent of a teacher, let me be among the first to say this is a horrible idea.*

My daughter is a high school video teacher, and if she carried a weapon, she’d be as likely to accidentally shoot herself as to put a bullet in an AR-15- toting gunman. But in fairness to President Trump, he did specify that the armed educators should be highly-trained. “This would be obviously only for people who were very adept at handling a gun,” Trump said, speaking on behalf of the NRA. “It’s called concealed carry, where a teacher would have a concealed gun on them. They’d go for special training and they would be there and you would no longer have a gun-free zone. Gun-free zone to a maniac — because they’re all cowards — a gun-free zone is ‘let’s go in and let’s attack because bullets aren’t coming back at us.’”

I have a few thoughts of my own about this:

  1. If the teachers are carrying concealed weapons, how would prospective shooters know the school was heavily defended by math teachers? Shouldn’t the teachers be carrying their guns out in the open, across their bodies, Rambo-style?  Otherwise, the schools would have to post signs outside the buildings saying “STAY OUT. WE’RE ARMED!” so that mass murderers will know it’s dangerous for them to enter.
  2. If the shooter is a maniac, as we assume all of them are, will he really consider his chances of escape before beginning his attack? After all, most mass shooters seem to be crazy people seeking revenge with the school for some real or perceived slight. It’s not like they shop around for the least-defended school.
  3. Why should teachers be responsible for protecting the students? Let the kids carry their own guns. Perhaps schools could offer firearm training as an elective. And with fewer parents wanting their kids to play football for fear of concussions, perhaps schools could have shooting teams. (“Duck, cheerleaders!”)**
  4. How long would it be before some second grade teacher says, “Johnny, you have to calm down right now” and lays her pistol on her desk.
  5. Wouldn’t it be dangerous for chemistry teachers to be carrying guns around in the labs? I mean, things are already blowing up in there!

And, finally, let me just say that teachers already do enough for our children for relatively little pay, and that the job of keeping our kids safe should fall to lawmakers who have the power to ban assault weapons.

IN A RELATED STORY…

A Congresswoman from New York, Claudia Tenney, appeared on radio after the Florida school shootings to make this well-informed comment: “It’s interesting that so many of these people that commit the mass murders end up being Democrats. But the media doesn’t talk about that.”

Well, okay Claudia, this blog may only marginally qualify as “media,” but I’ll be happy to talk about it.

Tenney, it will come as no surprise, is a Republican and a recipient of over $46,000 in campaign funds from the NRA.*** She was apparently basing her remark on a list that has been making its way around the internet for a few years, purporting to link high-profile murders with Democrats going back to 1865, and including John Wilkes Booth, who was an actor, not a real person. But here’s the thing: according to the fact-checking site Snopes, the list has a number of errors such as simply leaving out any mass shooting known to be committed by someone with Republican or conservative views. It also identified shooters who were not Democrats as Democrats.

So now that we’ve established that Rep. Tenney, like our president, doesn’t know what every nine year old knows–that you can’t believe everything you see on the web–I’ll mention that there’s something even more imbecilic about Tenney’s comment.

Let’s say for argument’s sake that most mass shootings are committed by Democrats. What the hell difference does it make? I don’t think those kids in Parkland were wondering about Nikolas Cruz’s political affiliations while he was firing at them.

Tenney’s stupid comment indicates that politicians are running out of ways to defend the NRA’s position and they’re grasping at straws.

Which brings me to my big idea for ending gun violence in schools: have everyone carry straws so they can fire spitballs at gunmen. Everyone knows maniacs hate being hit by icky things.

There–problem solved.

See you soon.

*Okay, maybe it’s too late to be among the first.
**You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t be) how many schools in America already have shooting teams. As of 2016, there were at least 2,000 of them. Sadly, one of those schools is Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, thanks in no small part to a generous grant from the NRA. And guess who had been a proud member of that rifle team . . .
***Congresswoman Tenney represents New York’s 22 Congressional District, which is upstate somewhere. And she’s up for reelection this year. So if you live around Utica, you might want to do something about this idiot.
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Entry 738: Ivy League Lunkheads

This is the time of year when anxious parents are waiting for acceptance letters from the prestigious universities they want their children to go to so they can pay a fortune to have the kid spend four years majoring in something that takes exactly four years to discover they don’t much like.

For instance, I happen to know several people who went to Cornell who aren’t doing anything remotely related to what they studied. One, I think, ended up being a park ranger somewhere. Other Cornell grads I know seem to spend an inordinate amount of time watching birdcams that broadcast live from the Cornell campus.

But all the people I know who went to Cornell are pretty smart, just as you’d expect Ivy League graduates to be. Which makes you wonder about the members of Zeta Beta Tau, a fraternity at Cornell that is currently under probation for a particular hazing ritual which I’ll let the school’s own report describe for you:

“…the chapter conducted a contest in which new members could accumulate “points” by engaging in sexual intercourse with women. The contest was referred to as a “pig roast.” In the event of a tie, additional points were awarded to the new member who had had sex with a woman who had weighed the most. The new members were told not to inform the women of the contest.”

I’m going to ignore the obvious questions about confirmations or size qualifications because they are besides the point. Nor will I dwell on the scene that I have in my mind of a Zeta Beta Tau pledge concluding his lovemaking and asking his date to step on the scale in case there was a tie.

I’m also going to mention that this event occurred last spring before Harvey Weinstein and #metoo, and that, hopefully, young men’s consciousnesses have been raised (or “woke” as the kids say today) since then to make this sort of thing unthinkable now, although it should have been pretty unthinkable before, too.

Still, while other Cornell hazing rituals such as:

“…a variation on the game “pin the tail on the donkey,” in which members were blindfolded and had to kiss, as close to his crotch as possible, a poster of a man who was wearing only his underwear.”

and another in which pledges were told to…

“…sit naked in an ice bath in a bathroom during an organization trip; apply Icy Hot to their genitals; and, race up and down a street and then consume foods.”

…would possibly make even community college students think twice, at least you can say that young men who apply Icy Hot to their genitals are only hurting people who truly deserve it. I mean, it’s one thing for a pledge to demean himself, but it’s quite another to involve other, presumably unsuspecting people. Especially when such a “game” carries the implication that the fine fellows of Zeta Beta Tau consider themselves to be gifts to be bestowed upon any woman who does not meet their standards of appearance, that, in fact, these women, assumed by the ZBT numbskulls to be desperate, are lucky to have such a paradigm of manhood for an evening.

The irony, which I’m sure is totally lost on these fools, is that this and other hazing rituals are just indications of how desperate they are to spend time with men who meet their standards.

Why else, after all, would someone willingly…

“…extinguish a fire in the ground floor fireplace by spitting out water they had carried in their mouths from the third floor.”

…which is a charming tradition at Cornell’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

What really gets me about this whole thing are the reports of the incidents (quoted verbatim in this post), in which Cornell’s Office of Fraternities, Sororities, and Independent Living (OFSIL) so matter-of-factly describe events that it should find horrifying. The penalties for such actions are always things like mandatory completion of an anti-hazing course. The pig roast fraternity received a particularly harsh punishment: in addition to being put on probation, they had to hire a live-in advisor.

Really? You have the money and SAT scores to get into Cornell but you need an advisor to suggest that perhaps singling out large women for predatory practices is not a good idea? How does a respected institution like Cornell not say “we do not want the likes of you associated with our school; you are expelled effective immediately”?

This seems like a good time to quote Cornell’s mission statement “…to discover, preserve and disseminate knowledge, to educate the next generation of global citizens.”

Yikes, are we in trouble!

See you soon.

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Entry 737: Room Occupied–Please Come In

In the wake of last year’s mass shooting from a window in a Las Vegas hotel room, sane people figured Congress would finally have to take action to prevent a similar tragedy.

Americans, however, knew better. We knew Congress wouldn’t do anything but send out some thoughts and prayers. So we  looked to another great American institution to take steps to prevent gun violence.

Disney.

No, the Disney Company did not ban assault rifles. But it did ban “DO NOT DISTURB” signs.

Now the door hangers in Disney resorts say “room occupied.” The idea is that guests can use the new signs to let the maintenance and housekeeping staff know that they are still in their rooms (or flying around London, evidently), but it will not prevent employees from entering.

This is a great concept, because if somebody is firing weapons from their room at, say, The Grand Floridian in Orlando, I’d hate for the staff not to be able to stop him because there was a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door. (“Oh, yes, the gunman is in here, but he doesn’t want to be disturbed.”)

I know, I know. It’s a legal thing. The hotel wants to be able to enter a room, but employees barging in on a guest that has told them not to disturb might be a sue-able offense. Whereas interrupting someone’s $150-an-hour one-on-one character meet and greet with “Snow White” will be fine if the sign just says “Occupied.”

So let’s play this out. A guy checks into a hotel at the Disney complex. Like Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas, he somehow manages to get 20 rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, scopes, tripods, handguns and AR-15-style assault rifles up to his room without anyone noticing (hope he tipped the bellman well). Once he unpacks, he wants to visit The Magic Kingdom (he has purchased a FastPass in advance) and doesn’t wish to schlep all his guns with him on Space Mountain. So he leaves them in his room and hangs the ROOM OCCUPIED sign on the door even though he’s not headed for Neverland.

Okay, so here comes housekeeping. In the old days, she would have bypassed the DO NOT DISTURB room, but now it’s only “occupied.” So does she:

  • a) Knock, and when there’s no answer, enter the room hoping that no one is in there sleeping or so deeply involved in a romantic liaison that her knock was not heard over the cries of “Do it to me, Prince Charming.”
  • b) Treat the new sign exactly as she would have treated the old one and move on to the next room.
  • c) Knock and then run quickly down the hall in case it turns out she has woken someone up, and the someone has 20 rifles, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, scopes, tripods, handguns and AR-15-style assault rifles in his room. And is somewhat angry.

I think the answer would be “B.” Because I think the new wording will only come into play if it is already suspected that something nefarious is going on.  Maybe they need a warrant if it says “Do Not Disturb” but not if it says “Room Occupied.” I guess if the bellman informs the hotel manager that the guest in 807 for a one-night stay had 47 pieces of luggage, the manager would not be able to authorize entry if a DO NOT DISTURB sign was on the door.

But wouldn’t the disclaimer they added to the back of the new sign cover “Do Not Disturb,” too?

“With ‘Do Not Disturb,'” I imagine an attorney explaining to the hotel people, “you have a directive not to enter or even knock, whereas ‘Room Occupied’ is merely stating the condition of the room at the time.”

This is what happens when you allow lawyers free reign to ignore common sense. Frankly, I think the country would be a much better place if we had the same number of crazy shooters and a lot fewer attorneys.

If nothing else, cutting down on lawyers might eliminate a large part of Congress (which is about 40% attorneys), hopefully the part that is beholden to the National Rifle Association. That would then eventually cut down on mass shooters like Nikolas Cruz, the nutcase in Florida, who, at the age of 19, was able to casually walk into a gun shop–no wait, a “Tactical Supply shop”–and legally purchase an AR-15 assault rifle without so much as a special permit or a waiting period.

That, my friends, is disturbing.

See you soon.

P.S. Here’s an idea: Print up “Not Occupied” pins and make Republican lawmakers wear them on their chests over the area where their hearts would be.

P.P.S. Caesar’s Resorts, too, has eliminated DO NOT DISTURB signs and has instituted a policy of entering each room every 24 hours. I’m guessing that their new signs don’t say anything about Neverland.

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Entry 736: A Few Unromantic Valentine’s Day Thoughts

Why It’s Cruel to Give Candy to Your Christian Valentine This Year–This year, Valentine’s Day falls on Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and a day of fasting among Christians. So that candy may be underappreciated.

Back in the days when I actually left the house to earn a living, Ash Wednesday always took me by surprise. Each year, while going to work in Manhattan, I’d come close to saying to people, “Pardon me, but you’ve got some schmutz on your forehead” before I passed the third or fourth schmutz-faced person and realized what was going on.

In any case, when your lover glares at you over the heart-shaped box of chocolates, remind her that Ash Wednesday is also a day of penitence and apologize.

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The Bronx Zoo Gets Romantic–If you’re looking for a truly unique present to give your love, you’ll be happy to know you can name a roach after them. This is something actually offered by The Bronx Zoo, with sexy, jewelry-ad-like promotions. For a mere $15, the zoo will send you a certificate to give to that special someone, notifying them that there is a bug somewhere in the Bronx with their name on it. For a couple of bucks more, you can add a box of roach-shaped chocolates to fully set the mood. Of course, if you live in the Bronx, you can probably save the money and just name the roaches in your apartment.

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You’re One in 190 Million–It is estimated that over 190 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year in the U.S. That’s roughly 1.7 cards for every man, woman and child in America. Which makes it even more depressing if you don’t get one.
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Children Not Included–That 190 million figure does not include the billions of Valentines that are given and received by schoolchildren. There’s a tradition that cannot be done away with fast enough. Especially in today’s #metoo environment, parents must be fully up-to-speed on the social etiquette of preschool and elementary school Valentine exchanging. Does everyone in the class get one? Just the opposite gender? Just the same gender? Is it a secret Valentine where each child draws a name? Is it laissez-faire with every little kid giving Valentines to whoever they please? Surely not; it would be sheer anarchy!

Wait, I’m not done yet. Does your kid have to sign each Valentine? Are store-bought ones okay? Are computer printouts acceptable? Or should they be cut out from red construction paper and adorned with lace hearts? Does each one need to bear the name of the recipient, or can they all be the same? And how can you possibly console a 7-year-old who has given a Valentine to someone who has not reciprocated?

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Risky Endeavors–For single people in the early stages of relationships, Valentine’s Day can be truly treacherous. A card must be chosen with the utmost care, its message exactly appropriate to the perceived state of the relationship. Is it too mushy? Too definitive? Too cutesy? Too immature? Too risque? Is it an invitation to take things further? An indication of interest? A declaration of love? Will it scare the recipient off? Give the wrong impression? Commit either party to a monogamous relationship?

This is, indeed, an awful lot of pressure to put on a $3.00 purchase decision.

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That’s Not Creepy at All–Valentine’s Day isn’t associated with romance everywhere. In Norfolk, England, a character called Jack Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses and leaves sweets and presents for children. That tradition is not likely to spread to the U.S., however, possibly because of national registries that discourage that sort of thing.
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Flying Chaucers–In 1382, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote:

“For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.”

That translates to either “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate” or “…when every bird cometh to make cheese.”

Many historians believe that this was the very first association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love. And bad spelling.

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What to Assume When You Get an Extra Large Box of Chocolate–Finally, a personal story. When I was a teenager, I worked in a local drug store (this was before CVS and Walgreens took over the world). Valentine’s Day was our busiest day of the year . . . after four o’clock. That’s when the men started coming in on their way home from work to purchase a Barricini or Barton’s heart-shaped box of chocolates. The smaller boxes sold out first, then the mediums, then the larger ones, until the last straggler came in just before closing to find that the only heart-shaped box we had left was a 3-level behemoth with enough candy to feed a family of four for a year. He had to buy it, of course, even though it cost like $499.99 in 2018 dollars, because at that point we were usually sold out of perfume, too, so it was either the gargantuan heart or a bottle of Mylanta.

So if your lover arrives late on Valentine’s Day driving a forklift with your box of chocolates, you can safely assume he totally forgot it was Valentine’s Day until the last possible minute.

See you soon.

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Entry 735: And He Finishes With a Perfect Triple Axel!

As you watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics Friday night, as you gazed at all the pageantry, as you marveled at the technology on display, as you viewed people of all cultures and beliefs coming together in peace and harmony, I’m sure you shared with the rest of the world this unifying thought:

Are all these people having sex with one another?

In answer to your question, I offer this statistic: the organizers in PyeongChang intend to distribute 110,000 condoms among the athletes. Yup, they’re coming together, all right.

Consider this: there are 2,925 participants in the games, which comes to more than 37 condoms apiece.

That’s a shitload of sheaths.

Now, I realize that not all of the prophylactics will be used in the manner for which they were intended. Let’s assume, for instance, that some of the rubbers will become souvenirs (“I didn’t bring home a gold medal, but I brought home this red Trojan.”), and others will be used for pranks such as decorating the figure skating rink with inflatable Kim Jung-Un heads. That still has to be about 25 condoms for every ice dancer, ski jumper, luger, curler, snowboarder and overly enthusiastic high jumper (one guy from Azerbaijan who’s early for the 2020 Summer games, not to mention in the wrong place).

Keeping in mind that only one condom is necessary for each “pairs event,” that means the folks who do these kinds of calculations are anticipating well over 70,000 matchups between some of the best physical specimens of humanity the world has to offer. (Fortunately, as I pointed out in my last post, Matt Lauer is no longer covering the Olympics.)

It amounts to roughly 4,500 opportunities to go for glory each day of the games. No wonder it takes a lifetime of commitment to compete in the Olympics. You need extraordinary strength, stamina and grace. And then you have to go out and ski down a mountain!

And in case you’re wondering, most studies now show that having sex the night before competition does not affect performance . . . unless you have so much sex that you don’t get a good night’s sleep. So athletes should immediately go their separate ways afterward, with the next day’s competition providing a great excuse to do so.

Then there’s this thought: if you think representing your country on the slopes is a lot of pressure, what about representing it in bed? Yes, that’s right, Mr. U.S. Speedskater: that cute biathlete from Norway will always remember you as the epitome of American sexual prowess. Or lack thereof. (“Oh, yes, he sure was fast.”) And when you quickly hop out of bed to leave (because you want to turn in at least one decent performance during the Olympics), don’t forget–that biathlete has a gun and knows how to use it!

I do have a few questions about this rubber revelation:

  1. Like seemingly everything else in he games, do the condoms have Nike logos on them?
  2. Are points awarded for difficulty?
  3. Are there three- and four-person events like there are with the bobsled?
  4. Are there compulsories?
  5. Is there judging?

That last one could give a whole new meaning to the phrase “stick the landing.”

See you soon.

P.S. In the photo above, is it somewhat disconcerting to note that there has to be a sign telling the biathlon competitor which way to shoot?

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Entry 734: Why It’s a Good Thing Matt Lauer Won’t Be Covering the Olympics

Every time the Olympics roll around and I’m confronted with spectacles like ice dancing (winter) and synchronized swimming (summer), I wonder just who decides what a sport is.

It’s not the International Olympic Committee; they’re only in charge of deciding what sports are in the Olympics and taking bribes from cities that want to host them.

But who determines what activities are sports in the first place? I mean, you just can’t go around calling anything a sport. Otherwise you could end up with people playing billiards in loud, skin-tight uniforms. That would be silly.

Fortunately, there is an organization called the Global Association of International Sports Federations (because the International Association of International Sports Federations would sound ridiculous) that is in charge of determining what is a sport.

Unfortunately, the GAISF seems to have a problem differentiating between a sport and a game. As proof of this, it includes the aforementioned billiards in its list of sports.

GAISF’s membership also includes many sports I’ve never heard of, like (and I’m not making any of these up): bandy, dragon boating, icestock, and just about any nonsensical game anyone has ever created involving a round object, such as korfball, floorball, netball, sepaktakraw (a combination of volleyball and soccer pictured at left–and that net is not on the ground) and fistball, which, for all I know, is a combination of basketball and boxing.

The GAISF even has a sport called casting, which is fishing without the fish. Or the water. Really. It’s a bunch of people standing around on dry land with fishing poles. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

But evidently, there still aren’t enough sports in the world, because new ones are being nominated all the time.  For instance, one potential sport currently under consideration is Foosball.

You may be thinking, “But that’s crazy. How would each country choose which little people are good enough to hang from the rods?”

Well, you’re getting ahead of yourself. Before a meta-sport even thinks about international competition, it has to be recognized. And, in order for that to happen, it has to have an international federation and a sporty-sounding name. Which is why Foosball’s petition for sportshood came from the International Table Soccer Federation.

I bet you didn’t know that Chandler and Joey have been playing table soccer all these years. Maybe they can try out for the Olympic team.

But it’s not a sure thing that Foosball will become a sport. It’s going to have to fight off other contenders, such as foot golf.

What the hell is foot golf, you ask? Well, it’s almost exactly what you’re imagining. There are no clubs; you just kick the ball. And it’s not a golf ball; it’s a soccer ball. Oh, yeah, and you sink a putt into a hole that’s about the size of a sink. This is a real thing. The only way it could sound dumber is if there was a goalie. Or a holie.

Considering that regular golf was just reinstated to the Olympics in 2016 after an absence of 112 years (after a major scandal when 1904 Gold Medalist George Lyon [pictured at right] was nearly disqualified due to a non-regulation pocket handkerchief), it seems unlikely that foot golf will appear anytime soon. Frisbee golf, on the other hand, or some disk-based sport that is not discus throwing, may soon be on the way.

That brings me to two more not-quite-sports actually under consideration by the GAISF. One of them, believe it or not, is poker. My first reaction upon hearing this was: if I’ve been playing a possible Olympic sport every other Thursday night for 30 years, I should be in much better shape. My second thought was that the guys at my game would test positive for whatever the opposite of a performance-enhancing substance is.

But, alas, the poker nominated for sportsdom is not regular old poker; it’s match poker, and, according to the International Federation of Match Poker website, it’s a “mind-sport of strategic skill.” It’s also a team sport that does not involve gambling and uses “digital technology.” In other words, it’s multi-player video poker. Which means there is no physical activity whatsoever–not even so much as picking up real playing cards. That can’t be a sport, right? I mean, a sport has to require you to at least move, doesn’t it? Not only is this not a sport, it’s barely poker. The only reason it’s even remotely poker-like is that it is somehow based on Texas Hold’em.

Personally, I think the use of the term “mind-sport” should automatically disqualify Match Poker from sportsiosity. Because that means you’d have to include chess, checkers, Go, and so on.* And I do not want to have to sit through Bob Costas covering the Olympic Monopoly competition.

There’s one more thing the GAISF has on its agenda, and I’ve saved the best for last.

Pole dancing.

It has actually been granted “observer status,” which is the first step in becoming a sport, but which is frankly the status that pole dancing has had since it was invented. Except in places where touching is allowed.

And, that, dear reader, explains the title of this post.

See you soon.

*Frighteningly, chess, Go and checkers are GAISF members, so they are, technically, sports, although checkers is referred to as “draughts,” and is represented by the World Draughts Federation which, for some unexplained reason, has the acronym FMJD.
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Entry 733: Something About Mary

Perhaps you’ve heard about the fake social media accounts that were set up to influence the 2016 election by flooding Facebook and Twitter with pro-Trump messages.

Well, I’m here to report that at least one of those bots is still active. I know because I recently had an exchange with one of them.

Its name is Mary Velegol.

Actually, I first mentioned “Mary” almost a year ago in a piece about how Donald Trump’s then-nascent presidency was ruining my mornings by filling my Facebook page with all sorts of horrible news items. Among the things learned in just one morning, I listed:

That somebody named Mary Velegol, who I’ve never heard of and yet is somehow a Facebook friend, wants me to “Stand with Trump” merely by pressing “like.”

I didn’t hear much from “Mary” after that, except for an occasional recipe. But then, last month, I posted a list of Trump’s accomplishments in his first year, which prompted this rather heated (not to mention insane) discussion:

Aside from the fact that she knows how to spell Mark, can you even imagine more stereotypical comments from a Trump supporter? You can almost picture “Mary” sitting there with her “Make America Great Again” cap, an American flag in the background, typing away with righteous indignation. Except that…

…her comments seem kind of scripted, don’t they? Almost as if they were written by a robot. Or perhaps by Trump himself. You can just about see Trump tweeting about how Obama wanted all of us to become “musulims.”

The complete non-sequiturial nature of “Mary’s” response was my first clue that she might be a bot. Perhaps it was even programmed to seem semi-literate to better impersonate a member of Trump’s base.

But the true giveaway was this: Mary Velegol is an anagram for “very mole gal.” She’s a gal who’s a Russian mole, a double agent. A very double agent.

I investigated further by going to her Facebook page. How about this for incriminating evidence: she went to Weirton Madonna High School in West Virginia . . . a school that has this as its logo>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Dons? I mean, come on! A football team called the Dons? “It’s Friday night, folks, and the Dons are taking the field!” Seriously? What do they call the girls’ teams, the Ivankas? That’s got to be some sort of Russian joke, right? “The Weirton Madonna Trumps” would be too obvious.

Then something occurred to me. How, I wondered, did somebody (or some bot) like Mary wind up on my Facebook page in the first place?

That’s when I noticed her profile picture . . . with a shetland sheepdog. Which means she’s probably in one of the sheltie groups I belong to . . . a sheltie lover like myself.

And a fine human being.

See you soon.

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