A magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano on Wednesday, sending a plume of ash and rock about 10,000 ft. into the sky. Scientists are still measuring volcanic activity, with cracks continuing to spew the destructive molten rock. Geological Survey geologist Wendy Stovall said it is “really impossible to tell” when the volcanic activity will end.
More than 400 homes have been destroyed since the lava started surfacing around a month ago. While no deaths have been reported, the disaster is thought to be the most costly and destructive volcano incident in US history.
– www.independent.co.uk, June 7, 2018
I get Entertainment Weekly magazine and, a while back, I noticed that for the most part the magazine seemed to be coming once every two weeks rather than once a week as it always has. At first I wondered what was going on and then I noticed that on the cover it said “Special Double Issue!”
Even though Entertainment Weekly has “Weekly” in its name, the special double issue claim means it really just comes about every other week, and those “special” issues don’t seem any thicker than they used to be; so basically they just started sending me a magazine once every two weeks rather than once every week.
It kind of reminded me of when the candy bar companies began making the exact same candy bar one-third smaller and then advertised it as, “Now one-third fewer calories! And 33 percent less fat!” and then they charged you more for it because it’s not as bad for you.
Rather than try to fight this trend, I’m hijacking the technique for myself and this week, I’m going to knock out not just one column, nor just two – but five columns! Believe it: Five!
For the exact same price you usually pay for one column.
So with such an incredibly jam-packed Yost column – excuse me, I mean incredibly jam packed columns – we’d better get right to it …
Netflix right now is running a Netflix Original show called Evil Genius: The True Story of America’s Most Diabolical Bank Heist. You have to admit that’s a pretty intriguing title, and, for me, it was one of those shows that I just turned on to see if it was any good, but then, within five minutes, I was utterly transfixed and not going anywhere until I knew what had happened.
I found it captivating and there are a great deal of twists and turns and fascinating events in the story, but, for me, the most amazing thing in the whole show was this: The bank robbery note the robber handed the teller was nine pages long.
You know how crazy people always write really long letters and notes? Well, I get that but, even given that, nine pages is way over the top for a bank robbery note. I’ll bet that, when the robber – Richard Wells – handed the teller the note, she was terrified. And, then, after she started reading it and after she had drudged through the first four pages, boredom hit and she probably said, “Look, I think I have a pretty good idea of where you’re going with this. You’ve got a bomb or a gun or something and you want me to give you all the money? Is that the main part of it? Do I really need to read this whole thing? I kind of know how this goes.”
Now I was so fascinated by the idea of a nine-page bank robbery note that I looked up the note to see what all it said and it was as you might imagine a rambling monstrosity. It instructs the teller not to set off an alarm, not to panic and not to call the police after the robbery. The money is going to be inspected by the thieves, it explains, so don’t put any dye packs in the bag. The bank now has its customers’ lives and employees in its hands – not to mention the bank’s reputation, so the bank employees better do what we say. (“You’re customers will be attacked and the press will condemn you,” the note warns at one point if they don’t go along.) Oh, and don’t worry about the bank losing the money, the note says, because the money is insured. And, over and over it says things like, “If you [deleted] up this robbery, it will be our life’s mission to [deleted] up your lives.”
After a few pages, when it kind of feels like maybe the note is drawing to a close, it says at the bottom of the page: “Detailed instructions on the next page.” And then it goes into even more agonizing specificity.
Please, for the love of …
My favorite part of the entire note is toward the end when it says, “Act fast, think later, or you will die… Proceed to vault now! Time is running out!”
The teller probably got to that part, and she was like, “OK, so you want me to make it quick? After I’ve spent an hour reading War and Peace here? And don’t draw attention to us now – now that we’ve been here half the day and there’s a line of 75 people behind you pointing at us and asking what the hell is going on? OK, sure.”
Listen folks: You should never be robbing banks in the first place but if you do, remember that less is more.
Every time I turn on the television there is more news of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano destroying more homes and businesses in Hawaii. The TV is constantly showing newscasters with the erupting volcano on-screen behind them yet again destroying more of the island.
The latest article I read in the British online newspaper The Independent was a story headlined, “River of lava engulfs entire Hawaii neighborhood.”
Look, I’ve never seen it this bad before in Hawaii, which is a beautiful place that we need to protect. I know no one wants to face the tough decision to address the volcano problem, but, at this point, there’s really no choice in the matter: The people of Hawaii just need to bite the bullet, choose a virgin and throw her in.
The Miss America Pageant is getting a major makeover including doing away with the swimsuit competition. It’s also basically eliminating the evening gown competition. Now they’re going to judge the contestants more on talent, question answering ability and their contributions to society.
Listen, I understand that this is a new era when people have to be more sensitive and aware, and I know it’s wrong to judge people on their appearance, but I just worry that if we aren’t careful we could end up with an ugly Miss America.
I’m an avid fan and reader of the News & Record, so I get upset anytime I wake up and the paper isn’t sitting there in my driveway waiting for me.
Until a few months ago, that never ever happened. I had the same paperboy for two decades and he was simply fantastic. I honestly can’t remember a time in 20 years when my paper wasn’t there waiting for me. And if it was raining, the paper was always double-bagged for extra protection. If I called him when I was going out of town, he always stopped and started the paper at the exact right times. He was terrific but, in over 20 years, I never ever met him once.
A couple of months ago, for the first time ever, I started having all sorts of problems with my newspaper delivery and I called him and asked what was up. He said he’d stopped doing the route and someone else was doing it now. I asked him why he’d stopped and he said – and this is no joke – that he had turned 80 and he decided it was time to slow down.
I have no idea who my paperboy – or paperperson – is now, but I could certainly tell I had a new one because all the sudden my paper was in the street getting run over by cars or was thrown straight into puddles, or, some mornings, not delivered at all.
One Sunday morning about 11 a.m., I was finally frustrated enough to email customer service and ask them to bring out a Sunday paper that day. They responded that I was notifying them too late in the morning for that. So I made a mental note to complain earlier next time.
Then, six days later, on Saturday, I was up at 7:45 and there was no paper again. I will just let you read the actual email thread.
To: News & Record Subscriber Services
Subject: Re: No Saturday paper was delivered today.
Sent: 7:45 am.
Me: It is 7:45 and there is of yet no newspaper at [my address] in Greensboro. Can you please have them bring one out. It is the house on [street name] with the white picket fence. Thank you. Scott Yost.
News & Record [a few hours later.]: A message has been sent to your carrier and a request to have today’s paper delivered with Sundays paper due to the fact we’re past the redelivery cut off time for today.
Me (later that night): Can you please tell me when the notification cut off time for redelivery is. Thank you.
News & Record: Good morning Mr. Yost. Our cut off time for redelivery is 9 a.m. Monday through Friday and 10am on Saturdays and Sundays.
Oh, OK, so that explains it.
All right, I’d better end this column here; I can’t go on forever. I mean, it’s not like this is a bank robbery note or something.