The Baltimore Sun wants to protect me from ‘fake’ news?

I got an email from The Baltimore Sun with a special offer. The title of the email was, “2017 resolution: No more fake news! Only read trusted stories, $1.25 a week for a year.” In the body of the email was the following image:

We believe tall tales belong in libraries? Don’t they know that lots of people read The Baltimore Sun in libraries? When I was a kid, I liked going to the library to read newspapers and magazines. It was long before libraries became official unofficial daytime homeless shelters that they are today. At least the public library in Hagerstown is. I liked reading the newspapers at the library because they put them on long wooden poles. It made for a better, neater reading experience.

What I find hilarious with something like this is that the biggest propagator of “fake news” is the online version of traditional mainstream news media. For example, the following appears on the front page of The Baltimore Sun website:

The Baltimore Sun wants to protect me from 'fake' news? - Bent Corner

Really? What Angie Harmon looks like now is “insane”? What exactly does a person have to look like to be characterized as insane? Is she strapped to a special dolly wearing a no-bite facemask like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs? That’s what it looks like to me when someone looks insane.

The Baltimore Sun wants to protect me from 'fake' news? - Bent Corner
Angie Harmon is that you?

Unless Angie Harmon now looks Hopkins in the above photo, the paid post on the front page of The Baltimore Sun website is highly misleading. I would even say that the paid post is fake. It’s not even an ad for Your Daily Dish. Not really. It’s a post like other posts on The Baltimore Sun, but what sets it apart from the others is that it’s a paid post.

Even a Jimmy Buffett fan can tell you that the Angie Harmon post is an ad, but The Baltimore Sun is pretending that it’s not an ad, they’re pretending that it’s a post.

Is Angie Harmon even financially compensated for having her image used in a paid advertisement? If it were an actual pure ad, she would need to agree to have her likeness used and whoever placed the ad would need to compensate her financially. If her photo appears in a post, she wouldn’t need to sign off on her likeness used, nor would the newspaper need to compensate her.

It’s stuff like this that gives me zero faith in the mainstream news media.

Target puts nonexistent New Nintendo 3DS XL on sale

From Target’s weekly ad published today:
Target puts nonexistent New Nintendo 3DS XL on sale - Bent Corner
How is Target allowed to put something on sale they don’t have? Target doesn’t have the New Nintendo 3DS XL. They’ve been out of stock since Black Friday.

Here’s a recent photo I took at the Hagerstown Target. It’s the locked case that normally has Nintendo handheld consoles:

Target puts nonexistent New Nintendo 3DS XL on sale - Bent Corner
The Nintendo handheld console case at the Hagerstown, Maryland Target.

I could take another photo this morning and it would look actually the same. Target doesn’t have any New Nintendo 3DS XL consoles for sale. Target hasn’t had any New Nintendo 3DS XL consoles for sale for nearly a month. What does Target do? They lower the price of the non-existent game console from $199.99 to $174.99, saving the consumer $25.

If Target had any. Which they don’t.

If Target is going to place nonexistent products on sale, why lower the price only $25? Why not lower the price all the way down to $49.99? It’s not like they will have to sell any units at that price.

They don’t have any.

Goodbye Dish, I’m cutting the cord

We currently get TV through Dish. To save money we have the cheapest plan they offer, the Flex Pack. The base price for the Flex Pack is $34.99. It’s limited in what it offers. For instance, it includes CNN, but not MSNBC or Fox News. It also doesn’t include any local channels. For that, it costs an extra $10. The local channel pack for the Washington DC area includes:

  • CBS
  • NBC
  • ABC
  • Fox
  • Univision
  • Ion Television
  • Telemundo
  • Unimas
  • PBS

Three of these local channels are Spanish language channels, a language I do not speak or understand. I live in Hagerstown, Maryland. I don’t live in Juárez, Mexico.

Missing from the local channel pack are the local sports networks, MASN and Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. Currently, I’m unable to watch the Baltimore Orioles, the Washington Nationals, the Washington Capitals, The DC United, or the Washington Wizards. To add those local channels, I would need to upgrade from the Flex Pack to at least America’s Top 120 Plus just to add the Multi-Sport package. When you have Flex Pack or even America’s Top 120, the ability to add the Multi-Sport package is grayed out.

Here is what it would cost to make the switch:

Goodbye Dish, I'm cutting the cord - Bent Corner

This means that if I wanted to watch the Washington Capitals, my local hockey team, I would need to pay an extra $38 a month.

That’s ridiculous.

It gets worse. It would actually be cheaper to buy a year of NHL.TV.  I could then watch every NHL game in full HD on my TV, computer, iPad, or iPhone. I could watch games live or later at my convince. I could choose the home or away TV coverage. With my military discount, a full year of NHL.TV would cost $90.97. It would pay for itself in less than three months.

The only problem is that Washington Capitals games would be blacked out. The reason? Because the Capitals are my local hockey team, I can only watch them on Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic. It’s a channel Dish doesn’t consider a local channel. I would only be able to watch Capitals games on NHL.TV 48 hours after they originally aired.

The cable and satellite TV industry is an anti-consumer racket. I’m more than happy to pay for the TV I want to watch. What I resent is being forced to pay for channels I don’t want or need.

Consumers should be able to pick the channels they want without being forced to pay for other channels they don’t want. Instead of including three Spanish language channels in my local TV package, Dish should include regional sports channels. Do they not understand what the word “regional” means?

Because of this regressive way cable and satellite TV providers deliver content to consumers, I’m going to become a cord-cutter.

A cord-cutter is a person who doesn’t have a satellite or cable TV subscription. It shouldn’t be that hard to make the switch. We already watch a lot of our TV shows on Hulu, streamed to our TV through a Roku device. The problem is, we have channels on Roku that we’re only allowed to watch because we pay for Dish. Before accessing some channels on the Roku, you have to log into your Dish account and activate an access code.

There’s ways to get around that. I need to familiarize myself with those ways.


Why I hate voting at elementary schools

People are going to the polls today to choose our next president. No matter who wins, Donald J. Trump or Hillary Clinton, I firmly believe they will go down as our worst president of all time. And that’s saying something because we’ve had some awful presidents.

Sheri and I voted early. If I’m ever allowed to vote again, if I don’t get thrown into a Trump re-education camp for things I’ve said on social media about Trump, early voting is the only way I will ever vote again. It’s a pretty spiffy way to vote. Here in Hagerstown, there is one central place to early vote. It’s a permanent facility maintained by the Washington County Board of Elections.

To vote on election day, we have to go to a nearby elementary school. I try to stay away from elementary schools, not because I was ordered to do so by a judge or anything, but because as a kid I hated elementary school.

I attended Quartz Hill Elementary School located in the high desert of southern California.

I grew up in an era where teachers could hit, beat, whip, or punch students. I don’t think the term “verbal abuse” was even invented yet. I was called derogatory names on a daily basis. Not by other students, but by the teachers.

When I was a kid, the only bullies we had at our school were the teachers.

Nobody at the school ever whipped me, but my entire 4th-grade class had to watch one of our classmates, Danny, get whipped by the 6th-grade teacher who taught next door, Ms. King.

Ms. King was a terrible, mean person. She wore the same clothes every day. She smelled of cigarettes and Brylcreem. She looked like a fat version of Adolf Hitler, only without a mustache.

Ms. King whipped Danny because he walked by her classroom coming back from a bathroom break and had to audacity to run his hand along with window panes of her classroom. Ms. King followed Danny back to our classroom and asked our teacher, Mrs. Gibson, if she could discipline Danny for disrupting her class. Mrs. Gibson agreed and Danny had to stand bent over while Ms. King whipped him on the back with her leather whistle lanyard.

Danny had welts on his back, but it was determined it was his fault because he was moving (he was not) when Ms. King administered her leather lanyard justice. She claimed to be aiming at Danny’s ass, not his back. Plus, Danny was a foster kid, so it’s not like he had parents that would raise a stink with the school.

Back then, teachers could beat students as long as it was focused on the ass. The 70s were a weird time. My 5th-grade teacher, Mr. Brock, would hit students on the ass with a wooden paddle. He would take us down to the principal’s office where he would use the principle’s paddle. It didn’t hurt that much because Mr. Brock was old and feeble. Plus, my parents “spanked” me with a leather belt.

A wooden paddle is some weak-ass shit compared to the sting of a leather cowboy belt.

I still remember the feeling I got when I learned Ms. King was going to be my 6th-grade teacher. My grammar school had two 6th grade teachers. I was just one of the unlucky half who was assigned to Ms. King’s classroom.

By the time I was in the 6th-grade, I think Ms. King’s whipping privileges had finally been revoked; I don’t remember her ever whipping anyone when I was in the 6th-grade. Maybe that was a punishment she reserved for just 4th-graders who lived in a foster home. She would still hit kids. She once punched me in the face for talking to a kid next to me. She was mean. She called me stupid on a daily basis.

So yeah, I don’t like elementary schools. I also don’t like women who look like Adolf Hitler. A coincidence? I think not.

The Game Hub: ‘odors tend to linger’

I was walking past one of Hagerstown’s two game stores, The Game Hub. It’s located in downtown Hagerstown on Franklin street.

They sell Magic The Gathering cards and have a play area in the back of the store. According to the above sign, they have a problem with customers in the play area not practicing  good personal hygiene. The problem is so bad, they have to post a sign at the door.

I don’t know anything about the store. Not really. I know it used to be called Mystikal Keep. I stopped in a few times, although not when it was at this specific place. Mystikal Keep was located various places, all in downtown Hagerstown. The last time I stopped in at Mystikal keep was when it was catty corner from the Hagerstown branch of the Washington County Free Library. It could have been a nice shop. The problem was that it reeked of cigarette smoke. The owner chained smoked cigarettes.

When I noticed the name changed from Mystikal Keep to The Game Hub, I assumed there was a change in ownership. I also assumed it wouldn’t smell like a dirty ashtray. That may be true, but they’ve evidently swapped one awful smell for another. Then again, maybe the Mystikal Keep had a problem with customers not showering and wearing deodorant, but the pungent smell of pre-lung cancer masked it.

deodorI can’t imagine having to display a sign telling customers to take a shower and use deodorant. And this sign is displayed to everyone, not just customers. How many prospective customers have read this sign on the door and changed their mind about shopping there?  Without stepping foot in this business, you learn they have poor ventilation and their customers have a problem with personal hygiene.

There has to be a better way of telling nerds not to smell bad.