Category Archives: Snopes

Beautiful Ohio, thy wonders are in view; land where my dreams all come true!

There is some weird shit going down in Ohio today.

Ohio, you say? Whatever could be going on in Ohio? Ohio is such an innocuous state! Their motto is “With God All Things Are Possible!” I mean, really! What could POSSIBLY be happening in such a God-fearing state, home of the Wright brothers, where the state insect is the cheery ladybug, the state flower is the most benign flower known to man, the carnation, and the state song is “Beautiful Ohio,” for the love of Cincinnati?

Well, an entire jungle menagerie is on the loose, how about THAT.

Here’s the scoop. Yesterday, around 5:30pm, people started calling the Zanesville, Ohio, police department and saying there were wild animals roaming around the highway. Now, if I was a police officer and I got that call, I’d think, hmm, probably a deer, or maybe a coyote, or something.

Nope. Not in Ohio!

Lions, tigers, cheetahs, wolves, giraffes, camels, and bears.

Now, what happened, you might ask? Was there a mass prison break at a zoo? Did a circus train go off the tracks?


Well, KIND OF. We KIND OF know. Here’s the thing. OHIO SUCKS WHEN IT COMES TO REGULATIONS ON WILD ANIMALS. So this weird rich guy, Terry Thompson, who just got out of jail on weapons charges or something, decided to randomly start a wild animal preserve. He gathered up the animals listed above (as well as at least a few others that were housepets – the only ones listed were orangutans and chimps, but “other severely wild animals” are mentioned, which is worrisome, what were they, honey badgers? Wolverines?) and started his own little personal menagerie.


Nope! Not Ohio! With God, all things are possible in Ohio! Even owning your own personal zoo! Not a single law stopping you, in Ohio!

So sometime between Monday and Tuesday, Mr. Thompson died. It hasn’t been released how. I’m really hoping his face was eaten by one of his own animals because I hate animal hoarders. And SOMEHOW all of the cages of all of those animals got opened. Either this is a finely-orchestrated plot by a really intelligent member of the menagerie (coughhoneybadgercough) or Mr. Thompson decided to kill himself and his last action was to free his animals. Who knows. I see conspiracy theories on Sesame Street (Oscar is OBVIOUSLY the most intelligent denizen of that street so of COURSE the MAN marginalizes him by making him live in a GARBAGE CAN) so I wouldn’t take much of what I say too seriously, people.

The police began shooting the animals on sight last night. Jack Hanna was called in to help, but I don’t know how much help he’ll be at this point. I mean, these are wild animals running away from people with guns. Jack Hanna deals with cuddly things that pee on his shirt on Letterman. (Although I totally love Jack Hanna. Don’t get me wrong. I think he seems like the kindest, sweetest man, who just adores animals and loves his job. And he has the BEST job. I would cut off an ARM to have that job. Probably only my left arm, though. I don’t use it as much.)

Ohio, apparently, has some of the most lax rules and regulations on exotic animal ownership, and some of the highest death rates due to people being murdered creatively by exotic animals in the entire United States. WHO KNEW. This is really a statistic that should be presented to everyone who is thinking of moving to Ohio. I mean, people should know this. THIS should be the state motto. Not stupid “With God All Things Are Possible” which is just LAME and also NO ONE CAN PROVE IT’S TRUE. Also, doesn’t that fly in the face of separation of church and state? I mean, it’s about CHURCH and STATE. That seems to be the exact THING that “separation of church and state” is TALKING about.

Here, Ohio. I made this for you.

Ohio’s new state motto: “Ohio! You might be flayed and eaten by a tiger when you go out to get your mail. Ohio!”

That is totally jaunty. I think it will catch on. You can add more exclamation points if you want to. Or maybe an interrobang? Those are totally underused in this day and age and that saddens me.

Also, these two paragraphs in the article I linked to above, about another Ohio resident, really stood out to me. (Backstory, in case you didn’t click the link – he also had a menagerie, one of his workers was eaten by a bear, but he wasn’t charged with anything – it was deemed a “workplace accident.” Oh, OHIO.)

This summer, Mazzola was found dead on a water bed, wearing a mask and with his arms and legs restrained, at his home in Columbia Township, about 15 miles southwest of Cleveland.

It was unclear how many animals remained on the property when he died, but he had said in a bankruptcy filing in May 2010 that he owned four tigers, a lion, eight bears and 12 wolves. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had revoked his license to exhibit animals after animal-welfare activists campaigned for him to stop letting people wrestle with another one of his bears.


First, “found dead on a water bed wearing a mask and with his arms and legs restrained?”

This has every sign of being the work of that crafty honey badger again.

Also, people “campaigned for him to STOP letting people wrestle with another one of his bears?” Another one, because the first one was the one who ATE HIS EMPLOYEE? He was letting visitors WRESTLE BEARS? Is this a John Irving novel come to life?


At the end of the article, it says Ohio requires permits for bears, but has no regulations on other nonnative pets such as lions or tigers.

OK, I’ve said this before. I didn’t think I’d have to say it again, because who the hell isn’t listening when I give this excellent advice? But EXOTIC ANIMALS ARE NOT YOUR PETS. Here. I’ll do it in photos, if words are totally hard and hurting your head.





And here! Here are things that are OK. Ohio! TAKE NOTE OHIO.

Pets! And also friends! Bonus!

Kind of sad, but totally pets.

Also kind of sad, but a valid pet. Caution: pinchy.

If you think you can keep an exotic animal as a pet, this is going to be the last thing you see before you die.


The honey badger has a long memory, people. And the honey badger is badass. And DOES NOT GIVE A SHIT.


Today’s wedding cautionary tale for Kickass McGee is one near and dear to my heart. Kickass McGee, please inform your betrothed that, should the two of you go ahead with the “shove cake in each other’s face” ritual, he’d better do it with decorum. Otherwise, there could totally be A WEDDING BRAWL. I’m not making this shit up. There is a precedent.

Per Snopes and Forever Wed:

From the Chicago Tribune, August 3, 1993:


A bride and groom in Westport, Conn., got into a fight over the tradition of cramming wedding cake into the face of one’s beloved.

Tracey and John O’Donnell were arrested at their wedding reception Saturday for disturbing the peace. Tracey O’Donnell said her husband fed her the cake too roughly, after she had told him to take it easy, police reported. Fighting ensued when she responded in kind, police said. The couple was later released. They are due in court Sept. 14.

So, Kickass McGee, although I am highly against the tradition personally, should you CHOOSE to go forth with it, please caution your groom that if he decides to do any “cramming” that the retaliation will be swift and brutal, and unless he wants to bring your undoubtedly awesome wedding gifts to the pawnshop to pay for bail, he should probably nicely and romantically PLACE a TINY BIT of cake in your mouth, thank you much.

Also, I’m kind of in love with Tracey O’Donnell. She TOLD John to take it easy. He didn’t. So she responded in kind. I think she was completely within her rights. STOP THINKING SMUSHING CAKE INTO A BRIDE’S FACE IS A FUNNY TRADITION BECAUSE IT IS MESSY AND A WASTE OF DELICIOUS CAKE.

I totally just won the U.K. Lottery. SEE YOU LATER LOSERS.

Confession: I got suckered recently.

My dad told me a story the not-too-long-ago on the phone. It was funny in a kind of weird, distressing way, so I passed it along to someone.

The story my dad told me?

“This woman who works with your aunt has an autistic son. One day, after he’d gotten home from school, he called her at work. ‘I caught a troll,’ he said. ‘I’ve got him locked in the closet.’ She thought he was making things up, but he was very insistent, so she called her husband at work and asked him to go home and check on their son. He did, and heard banging coming from inside a closet. When he opened the closet, over his son’s protests, he found a very indignant little person, who had been going door-to-door working for the Census bureau. The son had thought he was a troll, overpowered him, and locked him in the closet.”

Sound familiar?

It should. It probably happened to a friend of a friend of yours, or your brother-in-law’s cousin, or your hairdresser’s son.

It’s a goddamn urban legend. 

Now, you’re reading this and thinking I’m a complete dumbass. And honestly, I have no idea why this didn’t raise a red flag to me. I think because it was my father telling it to me, and my father doesn’t usually fall for garbage. And he heard it from my uncle, who is very serious about things. As is my aunt. They are not the usual people who are suckered into crap.

It didn’t even hit me until a week later, when the person I’d passed the story along to said, “You know what’s funny? I told that story to my aunt, and she told me it also happened to a friend of a friend of hers! She must be friends with your aunt’s co-worker!” Ding ding ding! FRIEND OF A FRIEND. Shit shit shit. I’d passed along an urban legend. I’d become THAT GIRL. I was one step away from forwarding chain emails WRITTEN ALL IN CAPS WITH EMBARRASSING TYPOS and LOTS OF LOLS and HEARTS and CARTOONS OF FLAGS telling people that Obama is a terrorist because I’d read it somewhere on the interwebs. I might as well start wearing kittycat sweaters and getting a blue rinse in my tight old-lady perm.

What’s even more embarrassing is that I’m a huge fan of urban legends. I love to debunk those stupid emails. I’ve read books on the genesis of urban legends. I used to be obsessed with that awful show Jonathan Frakes hosted, Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction. Did anyone else ever used to watch this? Apparently it aired from 1997 to 2002, but I caught it on reruns years later. It was horrendous. It had about six segments per episode, and you watched each segment (the segments were about ghosts, psychic phenomena, urban legends, and various other odd occurrences) and decided if it was a fact or fiction. Then at the end, Jonathan Frakes told you if you were right. Only, sometimes the show was wrong, and it would tell you that an urban legend was a fact, and that was off-putting. What can you expect, it was on FOX. The reenactments were horrendously produced, too. They were about as low-budget as they come. Like, people would run across a “set” and the walls would shake because they were made of cardboard. That bad. I LOVED IT. It was one of those shows that aired in repeats on Sunday afternoons when there was nothing else on and I’d get suckered in and I’d yell at the television. “THAT IS NOT A TRUE STORY JONATHAN FRAKES!” I would gleefully shout, as my roommate shook her head and wondered why I watched something that was obviously incorrect and awful.

I like urban legends because they are our generation’s version of fairy tales, passed from person to person, like back in the day when our ancestors would sit around the campfire telling stories to one another. Only they’re usually pretty stupid. But the ones that aren’t entertain me to no end. I love the creativity involved in them! The good old fashioned storytelling!

My favorites are the scary ones – like the gang initation/headlight thing (which many people I know ARE CONVINCED IS TOTALLY TRUE!!!) – or the really stupid ones, like the woman who dried her poodle in the microwave. I’m easily amused.

I get a lot of urban legend email forwards from people, which I like to forward back to them, with the Snopes article debunking their claim attached. The top ones they send are that Facebook is going to make us start paying for content (no they’re not), that Obama is a terrorist for so many reasons (I get this one because I’m one of those goddamn liberals and I live in the most goddamn liberal town full of goddamn liberals who are goddamn brainwashing me using their goddamn liberal brainwashing tactics – since I’m originally from a bastion of conservatism, people there think it is their duty to educate me that my beliefs are WRONG and I am SUPPORTING TERRORISTS) (and Obama isn’t a terrorist, so STOP IT PEOPLE), and a million of those chain letters telling me that if I don’t forward them, everyone I love is going to die in a horrible bloody chainsaw tractor accident and then get hit by a meteorite sent by a  vengeful God.


I even get them at work. It’s gotten so bad that my IT department had to send out a memo earlier in the month telling people the signs to look for that what you’re forwarding to people is probably an urban legend and not a very hot tip that your friends need to know in order to survive and not die screaming.

The tips from the IT department:

It suggests tragic consequences for not performing some action.

It promises money or gift certificates for performing some action.

It claims it’s not a hoax.

There are multiple spelling or grammatical errors, or the logic is contradictory.

There is a statement urging you to forward the message.

It has already been forwarded multiple times (evident from the trail of email headers in the body of the message).

These are good tips, IT department. However, people don’t pay attention to them. They read these tips, they think, “Hey! Good tips!” and then forward the next damn hoax that comes along, because they think that the tips don’t apply to them. People think they are exempt from the rules of urban legends. Much like me and my stupid passing along of the troll story, they think “but this will not happen to ME! I would not pass along an urban legend!”

Let’s look at these tips in more detail.

It suggests tragic consequences for not performing some action/It promises money or gift certificates for performing some action/There is a statement urging you to forward the message.

People still think – STILL, and this started happening EONS ago – that Bill Gates is going to send them money for forwarding an email. It’s not going to happen. Also, those chain emails that say that if you don’t forward an email to the ten most fabulous women you know within the next fifteen minutes or you will NEVER FIND LOVE EVER and also, if you don’t send it back to the person who forwarded it to you, SHE WILL KNOW WHAT A SHITTY FRIEND YOU ARE? Well, color me shitty, because I just hit delete, asshole. STOP SPAMMING ME. Seriously. Why are you wasting our mutual time on this? Why aren’t you WORKING? At WORK? I mean, I know why I’m not. I’ve got a very important and socially-relevant blog about important things like whorish Halloween costumes and pie charts to write and if I don’t write in it, there are literally TENS of people who will be disappointed. But you? And the worst thing, one of the people who sent me the most of these, before I completely blocked her email, was in the medical field. Um. You’re supposed to be saving people’s lives, I think? And also, years of medical school, and you still think that chain letters both work and are something that you need to fill your friend’s email inboxes with? If I ever get injured, please bring me to any hospital but yours. Thanks in advance.

It claims it’s not a hoax.

I love this. That’s someone sending you an email telling you you’ve won the British Lottery, or someone telling you that they’re the Prince of Uganda and you need to deposit their check into your bank account, or a homeless person coming up to you, smelling of beer, telling you they just need $20 for a bus ticket to visit their sick mother. “But it MUST be true! It SAYS SO! Right HERE!” Yes! Yes it does. Well! Then how could it be A COMPLETE AND TOTAL FALSEHOOD. Because NO ONE HAS EVER LIED TO ANYONE EVER IN PRINT.

There are multiple spelling or grammatical errors, or the logic is contradictory.

Well, if it’s coming from one of the people who usually send me this kind of crap, the spelling errors could either be in the original message, or coming from them, honestly, so this one’s hard to tell. And as for logic – well, logic isn’t really the strong suit of people who are sending these things. People who are sending these things think that a multitude of celebrities died falling off of cliffs, that black and white caterpillars are poisonous, and casinos pump extra oxygen in to keep gamers awake and playing longer.

It has already been forwarded multiple times (evident from the trail of email headers in the body of the message).

Then it MUST be true. Look at all the people who have already seen it! THIS IS A FAMOUS EMAIL.

Here’s my urban legend advice.

If you hear “friend of a friend” – GO TO SNOPES.COM.

If it sounds overly jingoistic and suspect – GO TO SNOPES.COM.

If you get an email forward with a lot of caps, misspellings, and teddy bear cartoons – DELETE IT.


Now, send this post to everyone you know within the next ten minutes or you will not get the money that’s coming to you, you will get boils on your face, your hair will fall out, your prince will NEVER come, and you’ll get crabs the size of cockroaches. A friend of a friend told me so. IT MUST BE TRUE.

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