Citizen WTF?

The Citizen app is available in NYC and the SF Bay Area. The app is designed to alert you when crime happens nearby with location-based push notifications. But, because the platform is crowdsourced, it exposes all the idiosyncratic definitions of “crime” that you would expect from its voyeuristic users.

Here are some of my favorites. If you have a good one, send it my way and I’ll add it.

We used to have Florida Man stories. Now we have Citizen.

The week that was (06-01-2018)

Arlington National Cemetery, where the US buries its war dead, is running out of room. Already, family members who ask to be buried next to their relatives who have died in the service of their country are being denied and space is being saved by burying relatives in stacks, instead of side by side.

Hormel recalled more than 220,000 pounds of Spam.

A hospital in Scotland is checking in patients who are addicted to checking their cryptocurrency share prices.

It was reported that, “More than 40¢ of every dollar consumers spend on the Internet already goes to Amazon.”

A television evangelist asked his followers for $54 million so he could buy a Dassault Falcon 7X jet (he already has three other private jets). “I really believe that if the Lord Jesus Christ was physically on the Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding a donkey”

The United States Geological Survey reminded everyone that it is not a good idea to roast marshmallows over an open lava pit.

While politics divide us, a 14-year old who set up a twitter account dedicated to getting her favorite band, Weezer, to cover Toto’s Africa brought us together in celebration of her triumph.

A Tesla in autopilot mode crashed into a parked police car in Laguna Beach.

Drought-stricken Cape Town began publishing a map to enable residents to check up on their neighbors’ water usage.

A New Zealand man, frustrated at the lack of attention given to the poor roads in his community found a way to get the city council’s attention. He spray-painted giant, lime green penises around each pothole.

A suspicious package cleared out an area of Atlanta’s busy Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Further investigation uncovered the source. A pair of battery-operated vibrating slippers.

Photo credit: Reddit user bgarza18

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Social Shaming in Cape Town

Cape Town South Africa is facing the third year of an unprecedented drought. Water levels have dropped to such levels that city officials predict the city wells will run dry sometime in 2019. There is, of course, a ban on filling your swimming pool or washing your car and individual consumption is limited to 50 liters/day.

In order to “raise awareness” the local government has created The Water Map where anyone can see how much water their neighbors are using.

Dark Green is within limits, Light Green is over

Zara Nicholson, spokesperson for the Mayor, said, “This behaviour-modification tool attempts to acknowledge good savers and encourage those who have yet to join the efforts.”

So far there’s been no mob-based Mad Max event and city officials say that consumption has fallen.

Anna Sorokin – a story for our age

Grifters. The term seems to belong in the past. A word used to describe men in zoot suits and fedoras. Three-card monte guys hustling on turned-over cardboard boxes in front of Penn Station or the guy in the parking lot trying to sell you a “used” laptop for cheap. That was then.

This is now. Why waste time short-changing someone for a $20 when you can promise them a Deutsche Bank wire transfer instead? Why spare change someone when you can just say you’re on the cusp of pulling together a round of early investors for a new project? In a day and age where everyone is hustling, the line between hustling and ripping people off is sometimes fuzzy. Especially when you delude yourself into believing your own lies, then the distinction is moot.

In this city, where enormous amounts of invisible money trade hands every day, where glass towers are built on paperwork promises, why not? If Aby Rosen, the son of Holocaust survivors, could come to New York and fill skyscrapers full of art, if the Kardashians could build a billion-dollar empire out of literally nothing, if a movie star like Dakota Johnson could sculpt her ass so that it becomes the anchor of a major franchise, why couldn’t Anna Delvey? . . . She saw something others didn’t. Anna looked at the soul of New York and recognized that if you distract people with shiny objects, with large wads of cash, with the indicia of wealth, if you show them the money, they will be virtually unable to see anything else. And the thing was: It was so easy.

“Money, like, there’s an unlimited amount of capital in the world, you know?” Anna said to me at one point. “But there’s limited amounts of people who are talented.

Read this fantastic tale. Anna Sorokin is just another version of Elizabeth Holmes, a reflection of our times.

Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It

NHL – Vegas Style

I have not been paying attention to the inaugural season of the new expansion NHL team in Las Vegas, the Golden Knights. You can imagine my surprise when my sports fan son gave me a taste of how hockey has changed when he showed me how hockey has been transformed for the Las Vegas audience.

It’s totally over the top as only Vegas can do. Think Cirque du Soleil meets Medieval Times Dinner Show on ice.

The game did not disappoint either. 4-6 is one of the higher scoring games I’ve heard of. The first goal was just seconds into the first period and it didn’t let up with the lead rocking back and forth all through the game.

A box of popcorn flies up into the air in front of the press box from the stands. Battle towels are twirling, fans are chanting, the drummers in the plastic castle in the nosebleeds are drumming, and if you could take the blood pressure of T-Mobile, doctors would be alarmed…I wouldn’t be surprised if the streets of Vegas are on fire when we all leave this building.

The Stanley Cup Final Display Is for Vegas Locals and Game 1 Gave Them Ultimate Show

The NBA is going to have to step it up. NFL? No one’s going to care.

The week that was (05-25-2018)

Last week we learned of a 69-year old double amputee that climbed to the summit of Mt. Everest. This week it’s a veteran Sherpa guide who just finished his record 222th time up the mountain.

For the first time in its 226-year history, a woman will lead the New York Stock Exchange. Also, the Fearless Girl statue will be moved from her spot staring down Wall Street’s bronze Charging Bull to a new home facing the New York Stock Exchange.

An estimated 177.7 million U.S. adults, 70.3% of the total population, regularly use another digital device while watching TV.

Last quarter, cinema box office sales were greater in China than in the United States.

A sinkhole opened up on the White House lawn, in front of the press briefing room.

At least 445 billion dollars were lost last year due to cybercrime. Up 30% from just three years ago.

China’s second largest, state-owned bank, offered wealthy clients the opportunity to have dinner with the Donald Trump for $150,000 a ticket.

Two Toronto police officers have been formally charged with eating edibles on duty. The officers were busted back in January when they called for emergency assistance at about 1 a.m. because one of them got stuck in a tree.

A hotel in England finally put an end to a man’s 5-day drug binge when they stopped him while he was carrying a large bag of potatoes up to his room while wearing a bra over his shirt. When asked what he was doing, he responded that he was filling his bathtub with the spuds because, “it felt like the right thing to do at the time.”

Chinese facial-recognition cameras have been working overtime picking out fugitives in the crowds. At a concert one man was picked up when he was leaving a concert. His crime? “Not paying for about $17,000 worth of potatoes he had bought in 2015.”

The DEA has confessed that it raided the wrong house in Tennessee. A father of four says a team busted through the front door, threw flash bangs, knocked pictures off walls, damaged the ceiling and burned holes through clothes and carpet. “I am okay and could have easily been killed just thankful to be alive and my family okay,” he wrote.

Scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife have discovered trace elements of the opioid oxycodone present in mussels and other shellfish in the waters off Seattle.

The Journal of Neurosurgery published a paper that finally explained how Michael Jackson was able to lean 45° forward in the Smooth Criminal video.

Photo credit: The Shark from the 1975 Spielberg film ‘Jaws’ (via Reddit)

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Robin Williams – little spark of madness

How did I make it this far without ever hearing this Robin Williams bit? I really miss him. The world is a darker place without him.

You got to be crazy,
It’s too late to be sane, too late
You got to go full-tilt bozo
Cause, you’re only given a little spark of madness
If you lose that, you’re nothing
Don’t ever lose that cause it keeps you alive.

The week that was, Royal Wedding edition

The United Kingdom will shut down this weekend for the Royal Wedding. Punters are betting on everything with 2:1 odds that the queen will be wearing a blue hat while the appearance of a white hat is a long 33:1.

While doing research for the wedding, a staff writer for The New Yorker discovered that Her Majesty The Queen, “owns all porpoises, whales, sturgeon, and dolphins that pass within three miles of Britain’s shores.”

Sweden is well on its way to becoming a cashless society. Fewer than half of Swedish banks keep any cash on hand. In other news, thousands of Swedes are implanting microchips under their skin to save having to carry around ID cards.

The city of Chicago is selling more than 3,200 vacant lots on the city’s South and West sides for just $1 each.

A robotic dragon burst into flames during a parade at Disney World. On-lookers, unaware of the calamity, thought the pyrotechnics were all part of the act.

West Japan Railways issued a statement after one of its trains mistakenly departed a station 25 seconds early. The company spokesman said the incident was, “truly inexcusable.”

A family in China was dismayed to discover that their adopted pet dog with a ravenous appetite was, in fact, a bear.

Watching Westworld? UCLA neuroscientists reported Monday that they have transferred a memory from one animal to another via injections of RNA.

A member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology skeptical about climate change suggested that perhaps the sea level was rising because of “rocks” in the ocean.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is using doughnuts and bacon to lure black bears into an enclosure where they can get a sample of their fur.

Boeing predicts that over the next two decades China will need 110,000 new pilots. To this end, China is buying up flight-instruction schools in the US, Europe, Australia and Canada.

Xia Boyu, a Chinese climber who lost both legs climbing Everest over 40 years ago, successfully summited the mountain at the age of 69.

Photo: Special marmite packaging ready for the royal wedding this weekend

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Tony Hawk at 50

Tony Hawk turned 50 last Saturday. To celebrate, he did 50 of his original tricks, in succession.

“Maybe I can raise some awareness about being active and old,” Hawk said with a laugh (interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune)