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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 8-1-16: The Old Man In The Cave

A guy in Argentina has been living in alone in a cave for 40 years. When he gets hungry he picks up his rifle and goes hunting or heads on a three-hour trek down the mountain to the nearest settlement, and he has a creek nearby for all of his drinking water needs. He’s definitely roughing it. No phone, no lights, no motor cars, not a single luxury. Like Robinson Crusoe, as primitive as can be. I have to be honest with you, the way things are going, living in a cave doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.

JetBlue is offering flights to Cuba for $99 one-way or $210 round-trump starting August 31st. How long do you think it will be before someone says something the Castro brothers don’t like, and they end up thrown in a gulag, bringing this thing to an end? The over/under is 3 months…

Donald Trump is upset about the Presidential debate schedule this fall, mostly because two of them are on a Sunday and Monday night respectively. He says he’s not alone, because the NFL wrote to him complaining about it as well. The problem is the NFL has responded and they say that while they would prefer a different night for the debates, they never complained about it to Trump.

A daredevil skydiver jumped out of an airplane without a parachute from 25,000 feet over the weekend, successfully landing in a net instead. I have at least two people I’d like to see give that a try.

Speaking of the wild blue yonder, the Air Force has decided to raise their enlistment age limit from 27 to 39. So, enlisted recruits can now experience the joys of basic training in their late 30s. Actually, it is good to know that’s still a valid career option for me.

One more thing to worry about: According to a new report, logging on to public WiFi could potentially pose a catastrophic risk. Basically, there’s no way to know if the connection is actually secure or not. Gabatron.com is always secure though.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-26-16: Be Like Mike

Michael Jordan is condemning violence against both African-Americans and police. His forceful and emotional statement, released by ESPN’s The Undefeated, is a marked change for the NBA legend. Jordan says he’s making $1 million donations to two organizations, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Institute for Community-Police Relations, which was recently established by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The aim, Jordan writes, is to help “build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement.”

A 30 year old man in Florida really didn’t want to have Chick-fil-a decided it was a good idea to headbutt his mom. Dude, you’re 30. No one can force you to go to Chick-fil-a.

Sarah Silverman spoke at the Democratic National Convention for some reason. She said that Bernie Sanders supporters refusing to support Hillary Clinton are “being ridiculous.” I’m sure that will win people over. (Michelle Obama did a much better job)

It turns out there were charges against the Star Wars production company over the Harrison Ford accident. Do you think that ended up leading to Han Solo’s fate in the movie? “Hey, let’s make sure this doesn’t happen to the old guy again”

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-25-16: Lightning Crashes

One of the EL lines in Chicago was struck by lightning on Sunday. It caused part of the station to actually collapse on the tracks. That’s one thing I’ve never run into on the Red Line.

Verizon will reportedly buy Yahoo for $5 billion on Monday. High school-aged Keith would have thought this was big news.

Police in Tampa arrived at a park to close it for the evening and found 150 people wandering aimlessly playing Pokemon Go. 149 of them dispersed without incident, but one of them absolutely refused to leave. They ended up having to tase him.

Athletes from all over the world converged on Rio for the 2016 Olympics. The tried to check in only to find out the Olympic Village was still uninhabitable for humans. There were reportedly blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors. How is Chicago looking now, IOC?

Attention K-Mart Shoppers: Kmart employees believe the company is nearing bankruptcy and is in the process of shutting down all its stores. The chain has closed one third of its stores in the last decade, and sales have been cut in half in the same time period. Would you miss them? The last time I made use of a K-Mart was as parking for a Cubs game, and even that was several years ago.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 718-16: Mike Pence Hates Mulan

Mike Pence is officially Donald Trump’s VP choice, after some wailing and gnashing of teeth on Friday. Naturally, everything he’s ever said or done is being looked at. Not only does he have a long record as a politician, but he was also a radio talk show host before that. So you just know there’s going to be some good stuff out there. Back in 1999, he wrote an op-ed piece saying that the animated movie Mulan was evidence that women did not belong in the military. Not only that, but it was supposedly liberal propaganda gone wrong. You see, according to Pence, those leftists at Walt Disney intended to indoctrinate a whole generation of the women folk that they could serve in the military. Unfortunately, once again according to Pence, it did the opposite because Mulan fell in love with her commander. So this is proof that if women are allowed to serve in the military, they will immediately fall in love with their superior officer. Or something.

The Illinois National Guard has a new enemy: Pokemon Go. The public isn’t allowed on its facilities statewide to access the virtual Pokestops and gyms that are part of the game. Guard officials said several players have appeared at the gates of Illinois National Guard facilities and training centers asking for access.

Meanwhile in New Zealand, a guy has quit his job to devote all of his time to hunting Pokemon.

Something apparently happened in the feud between Taylor Swift and Kanye West. Yeah, I don’t care either.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-14-16: I For One Welcome Our Alien Overlords

A group of eagle-eyed YouTubers have uncovered evidence of the greatest conspiracy in history: Aliens are approaching Earth and NASA is covering it up. Apparently they have been shutting off the live stream from the ISS at strategic times to keep people from seeing it. I for one welcome our new alien overlords.

These candidates make me want to vomit in terror. There’s only one option that will make all of us happy: Sweet Meteorite of Death 2016.

Donald Trump will announce his running mate on Friday. Can you feel the excitement?

Pokemon Go continues to dominate the news cycle, cementing its place as the “Ice Bucket Challenge” of the summer of 2016. Senator Al Franken wants an investigation into what kind of info they are collecting through the app. Because he’s a serious United State Senator.

Hoping to capitalize on nostalgic millennials who now have some extra spending money, Nintendo is releasing a working mini replica of their original gaming system.

Nearly 8 of every 10 U.S. drivers admit expressing anger, aggression or road rage at least once in the previous year. I’m guessing this includes middle fingers. I just wish some of those people would use their turn signals.

Remember how shocked Disney was when an alligator ate a small child on their property? Firefighters at Walt Disney World were warned to stop feeding alligators at one of the resort’s fire stations two months earlier.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-13-16: Flyin’ With Mr. Cooper

The FBI has closed the books on their 45-year hunt for skyjacker D.B. Cooper. Cooper is an absolutely amazing story, no matter what happened to him. Over the years he has become a folk hero to some people – he swiped a bundle of cash before jumping out of a jetliner destined for freedom. He was also considered the world’s most infamous skyjacker – he held a plane hostage until his demands were met. Most experts say he probably died when he jumped out of the airplane, but they never found a body or all of the money. So I guess he officially got away with it.

How bad is the economy? Some towns have decided to abandon paving roads because it’s too expensive. So instead they’ll go old school with gravel roads.

The 9th circuit court of appeals has ruled that it’s a crime to visit a website if someone tells you not to. Basically, if I own a website and I for one reason or another ban you from visiting, and you do it anyway, you are actually accessing my computer without permission and that is a Federal crime.

The group that sang the Canadian National Anthem at the MLB All-Star Game is taking some heat for altering the lyrics. Instead of signing the original lyric of “With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free!” the group sang “We’re all brothers and sisters, All lives matter to the great” before eventually getting back to the actual lyrics.

Pornhub has announced that had a massive spike of Pokemon searches since Pokemon Go debuted. I realize that at this point there is a porn parody of literally everything, but that’s a little creepy.

Also, apparently most of the reported crimes involving Pokemon Go appear to be hoaxes.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-12-16: The Great Pokemon Hunt

Thanks for taking a break from Amazon Prime Day to read some of my snarky comments…

We’ve all seen eyeroll-inducing stories about Pokemon Go this week. Stories have ranged from annoyances to people actually being robbed while they were distracted by their phones. Now the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC has been forced to ask visitors to put down their phones and stop chasing Pokemon in there.

Taylor Swift is the top-earning celebrity in the world. She earned an estimated $170 million in the past year, driven in part by her very successful 1989 World Tour. Swift more than doubled her take from last year, when she earned $80 million. If aliens landed on Earth tomorrow, how would we explain that?

A new survey says 62% of Americans don’t have at least $1,000 in savings. I currently do, but obviously that won’t be holding up for long… or will it?

Bernie Sanders has officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. So that means he’s finally done, right? The whole “Feel The Bern” movement gets talked up a lot, but keep in mind that if it weren’t for the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton would be the least-liked Presidential candidate in history, and he couldn’t beat her.

Meanwhile on the other side of the aisle, Donald Trump tweeted about violence while he was on his way to Chicago for a fundraiser. Violence is always cromulent when you’re talking about Chicago. He said he’s going to make America safe again for everyone. So we have that to look forward to. Why didn’t any of our elected officials every think about just making thing safe again? Sad.

Cubs stud Kris Bryant says he’s never had an alcoholic drink in his life. He’s 24 years old. Luckily, he plays in Chicago so the fans are willing to pick up the slack.

Tim Duncan has decided to call it a career after 19 seasons in the NBA. The NBA kind of lost my after Jordan’s second retirement ended the Bulls dynasty, which actually makes this one significant even for me because Duncan was one of very few players from that era still playing. You have to be impressed by the way both he and the Spurs stayed together all these years. It’s rare in sports and even in life, I’ve had three employers in the last 2 years.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-11-16: Vlad Is Listening

I appreciate you taking time away from Pokemon to read some of my thoughts this morning…

A Russian company has devised a gadget that allows employers to monitor cell phone calls made in their office. That seems like an invasion of privacy, but at the same time if you’re using said cell phone on company time don’t they have some right to know what you’re doing and who you’re talking to? Of course if you don’t want your employees to hate you, this probably isn’t the way to go.

The aftermath of the attack in Dallas has led to an unlikely debate: Some people are upset that police used an armed robot to kill the suspected shooter. It was a bomb disposal robot with a bomb on it. The robots have done amazing work in battlefields as well as situations here at home, keeping soldiers and police officers safe. But to some people, the idea of using a robot to proactively kill a suspect is a step too far and little too “Terminatory.” The worst part is that robot was only three weeks away from retirement.

A Delta Airlines flight landed at the wrong airport over the weekend. It was supposed to be going to South Dakota’s Rapid City Regional Airport, but instead landed at Ellsworth Air Force Base. They are about 10 miles away from each other and their runways face the same way. So if you’re doing some dead reckoning navigation. I can see how that would be somewhat confusing. How do you think that in-flight announcement went?

A group of inmates broke out of a holding area to help a guard who was having a heart attack. Other guards thought it was a fight and the jail went on lockdown. Thanks, now get back in your cells.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-7-16: I Am (Iron) Woman, Hear Me Roar

Today’s completely pointless controversy? Marvel has announced that the new Iron Man will be a woman. Her name will be Riri Williams. Some people will undoubtedly be upset about it. I’m just happy there’s a nice role model for young women who want to be snarky engineers.

A South Carolina town passed an ordinance on Tuesday banning saggy pants that “intentionally” display undergarments. The ordinance bans people from being naked in public, showing pornographic material and from wearing pants that show their underwear. Good to know the lovely town of Timmonsville doesn’t have any more pressing issues to deal with.

A man captured on cellphone video scaring his dog with fireworks on the Fourth of July is now facing animal cruelty charges. He says the video is “not reflective” of him at all. I’d say the fact that there’s video evidence of it would suggest otherwise.

It’s been a year since Indiana decided to start ticketing drivers for being “slowpokes” in the fast lane. They’ve issued about 100 or so tickets at this point.

Disney has responded to the death of the small child in a completely reasonable manner: They’ve removed all crocodiles and alligators from their theme parks.

A new study says the dinosaurs died from a “one-two punch” of an asteroid strike and climate change. Really, they were the same thing. Giant rocks slamming into the Earth tend to change the climate. Either that or dinosaurs invented SUV’s.

The KKK is trying to adopt-a-mile in Georgia, and the state isn’t too happy about and are trying to block it. They’ve taken it all the way to the Georgia Court of Appeals, who will rule on Thursday. Here’s a potentially controversial idea: Wouldn’t you like to have the KKK spend all of their time cleaning up roadsides as opposed to their other activities?

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 7-5-16: People You May Know

Every once in a while, another story surfaces that makes Facebook look even more creepy and big brothery. Now they were tracking users to see who they were in close proximity to in order to suggest potential new friends. The feature used to be automatic, but will now be up to the user to turn it on. I was wondering how some people seemed to be showing up in the “People You May Know” area, especially when I didn’t actually have any common friends with them.

There has been lots of speculation about what President Obama will do when he leaves office. He’s obviously one of the youngest people to take on the role of “former President.” There have been serious suggestions, like running for Illinois Senator again and actually completing a full term this time, and a few people have thrown out the idea of Obama serving on the Supreme Court. But it turns out he may have slightly less ambitious plans: He and Rahm Emanuel used to talk about moving to Hawaii and opening a t-shirt stand. In an effort to avoid having to make any tough decisions, they’d only sell medium-sized white t-shirts.

According to a new survey, more than 50% of Americans are now streaming content on their TV’s. A quarterly study of audience viewing habits by The Nielsen Company said that for the first time on-demand subscription services have reached a 50% penetration rate in American TV households. According to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report Q1 2016, the use of subscription-based services in the home has caught up to the number of households that use DVR devices to watch content on demand, both of which now show 50% penetration rate in the home.

Remember the guy last week who became the first person killed when their car was in “autopilot” mode in his Tesla? It turns out he was watching a Harry Potter movie at the time.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter after a five year trip. Juno’s supposed to take a close look at Jupiter and hopefully give scientists an idea of how the planet was former, and whether it actually has any solid mass or really is just all swirling gasses.

The state of New Jersey has decided that being murdered is no reason to stop paying off your student loan. They’ve ruled parents have to pay for the loan they co-signed for despite the fact that their son was murdered.

A Minnesota man decided it was a good idea to stop on the interstate to allow a group of ducks to pass. He ended up causing a Blue Brothers-like multiple car crash. The driver and his teenage son were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Interesting/Slightly Horrifying Stat of the Day: More than 5,300 U.S. water systems violated lead-testing rules last year.