Just your friendly neighborhood arson

Fire Brookline Chestnut Hill Spooner Road House Illegal Arson Boston Massachusetts MA Picture Photo After Weekly Show

Update: Police have made an arrest, charging a local man with two counts of arson and one count of burning a building to defraud an insurer. The man was first seen in the neighborhood when a resident dialed the police to report someone with serious burns. The man was allegedly crying and asked the resident where he could find water before running off. Soon after, smoke was seen coming from the vacant house. Later in the evening, authorities responded to calls about a man with severe burns in a neighboring town.  As the man is not an owner of the house, the next question is who enlisted him to burn it. He is currently receiving medical treatment. More to come.

Original post as follows: On my drive home last night, something smelled odd. The air seemed smoky, almost like an old fireplace. As I opened the back door, I noticed black clouds billowing above. I peered around the corner and this is what I saw.

Fire Brookline Chestnut Hill Spooner Road House Illegal Arson Boston Massachusetts MA Picture Photo After Weekly Show

The house across the street.

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The five craziest stories of 2012

The year 2012 has come and passed, another page in the volumes of history. Before jumping into 2013, let’s take a moment to look back on the year and some of its most mind-boggling headlines. Some are truly amazing, while others make us scratch out heads in wonder. Please share stories you can think of in the comments section below. Happy New Year! Don’t forget to check out Part II!

5. North Korea discovers unicorns

Unicorns are real, and they lived in North Korea. At least that’s what the country’s state-run media wants you to think. On December 3, the secretive dictatorship announced to the world that its archeologists had uncovered what they believed to be an ancient unicorn lair. The cave, which sits two-hundred meters outside the capital city of Pyongyang, is reported to be the home of the unicorn ridden by ancient ruler King Tongmyong, a popular figure in Korean folklore. Even more amazing is that the archeologists located the cave by stumbling upon a rectangular rock inscribed with the words “Unicorn Lair.” Though most critics dismiss the discovery as an attempt to legitimize young leader Kim Jong Un, many twelve-year-old girls insist it is real. After all, this is not the strangest thing we have heard out of North Korea.

Dear Unicorn will be the new Secretary of Sparkles and Rainbows.

Dear Unicorn will be the new Secretary of Sparkles and Rainbows.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey tops becomes a New York Times Bestseller

Was 2012 the year of mommy-porn? Judging by the bestseller lists, yes. Popular among housewives who have not discovered the internet, this erotic novel took the literary world by storm. The trilogy found its way into millions of homes, most likely hidden behind mom’s nightstand. Widely criticized for their lack of literary merit, the novels (i.e. soft-core pornography) offered many mothers the excitement (i.e. crazed sex scenes) missing from their lives. Fifty Shades of Grey topped the New York Times Bestseller list in March, and the trilogy nabbed four of the top ten spots on Amazon’s Bestsellers of 2012, causing writers across the globe to cry. Writer E L James plans to publish more novels in the coming year, which will reveal how large the mommy-porn market really is.

Who ever thought pornography would be so popular?

Who ever thought pornography would be so popular?

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A strange twist of fate

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The month was September, the year 2011. After beginning the season as a favorite to win the World Series, the Boston Red Sox had suffered the worst collapse in baseball history, losing almost every game in the final month of the season. “Well,” All-Star slugger Adrian Gonzalez told reporters, “God didn’t have it in the cards for us.”

Gonzalez’s comment sparked rage throughout the Red Sox fan base. Perhaps it was his dismal performance at the end of the season. Maybe it was the fact that the pitching staff had been sitting in the clubhouse drinking beers as the team floundered. More likely, however, is that fans were reacting to Gonzalez’s characterization of the collapse as inevitable.

"Please, I swear, this isn't my fault."

“Please, I swear, this isn’t my fault.”

Gonzalez’s refusal to accept responsibility for failing represents a common human desire. Whenever possible we try to avoid blame, escape culpability for mishaps. This makes sense: nobody wants to be held accountable for actions she did not commit. Admitting fault is an unpleasant experience, one we generally try to avoid when unnecessary.

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The trouble with tradition

“Oh, that? It’s just tradition.” “Well, yes, but we’ve always done it that way.” Have you ever heard somebody say this? Tradition pervades our culture, plays a significant part in our lives. Many of our beliefs and routines stem from what others have done. But why do we adhere to tradition? What makes us follow precedent even when it seems illogical or wrong? Let’s take a closer look at this.

Happy Thanksgiving Cornucopia

Happy Thanksgiving from The Weekly Show!

People enjoy traditions for various reasons. Many rituals hold sentimental value. Others we subscribe to for convenience. A prescribed routine removes uncertainty from our lives, lays the foundation for a familiar lifestyle. Following these customs allows us to enjoy our days without worrying about how to structure them. In most cases, we follow precedent for comfort.

Many traditions, such as giving thanks or aiding the poor, benefit society at large. Oftentimes, families or communities adopt precedent they deem admirable or exemplary. Tradition can represent the best of the generations before us.

Some traditions benefit everyone involved.

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Why I hate Call of Duty

With the annual biggest entertainment release of all time slated for next Tuesday, there’s something I need to get off my chest: I hate Call of Duty. Yes, it has defined the modern shooter. Yes, it has revolutionized multiplayer in video games. Even so, the idea of purchasing Black Ops 2 (COD 9, for those of you who have been counting) seems seriously unappealing. Here is why I can’t stand the best-selling game franchise of all time. Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

So…hard…to…resist…

It’s the same game. Every. Time.

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was amazing. The atmosphere, gameplay, and progressive multiplayer structure introduced gamers to a new world of strategy and competition. But what about its sequel? Other than reverting to the WWII setting and throwing a few tanks into the mix, it offered an identical experience. This is what drives me crazy about Call of Duty—each iteration contains the exact same game. Sure, the developers throw in new weapons or killstreaks here and there, but the structure and gameplay remain unchanged. I loved the first Modern Warfare for its innovative approach to online multiplayer. It’s been five years since that game came out. Isn’t it time the developers build on the formula?

Modern Warfare Call of Duty Black Ops Screen Shot

Modern Warfare 1? 2? 3?

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