It is an odd, odd world out there


Poor, poor Gaylord.

The ostrich was just hanging out at his home near San Francisco one night when four drunken youths trespassed in to check out the wonderful world of ostriches. Scared, Gaylord attacked the two young men in the group — Timothy McKevitt, 19, and Jonathan Porter, 21. Gaylord reportedly kicked McKevitt in the ribs and knocked him over, and Porter suffered scrapes and bruises, according to a Reuters report on Monday, citing coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle.

It’s kind of funny, when you think about it. Two young guys trying to be hotshots in front of two young girls, and an ostrich attacks them out of fear. Heck, I would have laughed had I seen it happen. And the girls found it funny, too, as they reportedly laughed pretty hard, as well.

And that’s when things got bad for poor Gaylord.

Steaming that they had been embarrassed in front of the ladies by a flightless bird, the two morons, um, young men, returned to the ostrich ranch armed with a shotgun and rifle and reportedly fired seven shots into Gaylord, taking his life.

“The whole thing is about male pride,” said prosecutor Steve Wagstaffe.

And alcohol, testosterone, ignorance, brains filled with jelly krimpets, misplaced machismo, thought processes that border on the criminally insane and self-respect that adds up to about two pounds of smoldering ...

But I digress.

For their troubles, McKevitt was sentenced to five months in jail and Porter seven months. Who’s laughing now?

Man, sometimes research projects can just drive me crazy. University College London recently conducted a study on the link between bad relationships and heart attacks. The study, I’m supposing, was to conclude whether or not an individual can indeed die from a “broken heart.”

Well, as Reuters reported (don’t they report on the oddest stories?), the study of 9,000 British civil servants revealed that bad personal relationships raised the chances of a heart attack or chest pain by 34 percent when compared to people with good personal relationships.

So, um, stress can cause a person heart problems? Seems I’ve already heard that before — like maybe a million times.

“A person’s heart condition seems to be influenced by negative intimate relationships,” researchers wrote, and Reuters happily quoted. “We showed that the negative aspects of close relationships ... are associated with coronary heart disease.”

Really? How about stress at work? Or a sick family member? Or rising bills? Haven’t we heard for years that stress is bad for your heart? And, what are we supposed to do with this information? Avoid relationships? Dump our spouses if we have an argument?

Couldn’t this money have been better put to use, say, locking up McKevitt and Porter for longer than a combined year?

It would seem that Reuters was on a role the other day, as far as stories that raised my hackles. In fact, as I’m sitting here writing this, I’m wondering if it was my bad mood in general this particular day that got me ranting about these stories, or if they’re really that offputting. Let me offer one more from their service, and let you decide for yourselves.

You know what, I’m just going to quote the lede sentence in this story, and see if it causes the same reaction for you that it did for me.

“Former Miss USA Tara Conner, who nearly lost her title for alcohol abuse, is joining several other beauty queens on a new MTV reality show that follows what happens to the pageant winners when their crowns come off.”

First off, from the way it’s worded, I had to question whether Conner lost her crown as beauty queen, or for winning some kind of alcohol abuse contest. Personally, I was never invited to such a contest, so I have to question the credentials of the entrants, but that’s neither here nor there.

My second problem with this was that it was yet another sojourn into the insipid. A reality show based on a handful of former beauty queens living in a high-rise apartment in New York City for a year seems to be about as mentally stimulating as watching two dogs take a nap after eating a big bowl of table scraps.

What are we supposed to be watching here? Pretty girls talk about their hair? Well, maybe the voyeuristic thrill to the show will be watching them simultaneously melt down and succumb to the tempations of the Big Apple. Nope, they’re going to be having a very respected and responsible individual dropping by from time to time to keep an eye on them.

Donald Trump.

Isn’t that similar to having a hyena guard a room of gazelles? Or Shaun Lambert defending a plate of corn dogs? Or Sussex County Council putting together a comprehensive land-use plan?

And, more over, why do I care?