Saturday Morning Open Thread

It’s a rainy day in Boston. I don’t know if it’s from the tropical storm or what, but it’s nasty out there, and I guess it’s going to rain all night and tomorrow too. It’s a good day to curl up with a good book. Or maybe just surf the internet for weird news….

There have been so many cases of people eating other people lately, that New York Magazine decided to do some research on the topic. It turns out this behavior is fairly common.

In just the past week, a naked man ate a homeless guy’s face in Miami, a New Jersey man threw his intestines at police, a Canadian porn star killed a man and ate parts of his body before mailing other parts to government officials, a Maryland man killed his roommate and ate his heart and brain, and a Staten Island pizza parlor owner nommed a dude’s ear. It seems clear that this sudden burst of zombie activity points inexorably to the beginning of the end for mankind. But we started to wonder this morning — from inside our fortified, WiFi enabled, mountainside bunker — whether the only thing that’s changed is that, in the wake of the headline-grabbing Miami incident, we’ve suddenly started paying a lot more attention to zombie-esque stories than we had in the past. After digging around, we found that while the frequency of cannibal stories over the past week is unusual, this kind of stuff happens fairly regularly.

Go read the examples if you dare!

The victim of the face-eating attack in Miami was a homeless man who had abandoned his family years ago and was presumed dead.

“I tried to reach him, but I just thought he killed himself,” said Ronald Poppo’s sister, Antoinette. “And we really thought he was no longer on this earth.”

Antoinette Poppo said the family hasn’t heard from Ronald, 65, in 30 years. Details of his life after he attended New York’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School in the 1960s remain scarce, traced in a string of mostly petty arrests, hospital records, and a call to the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust last week from the Jungle Island zoo, where Poppo had been sleeping on the roof of the parking garage.

According to the Miami Herald, Stuyvesant’s records show Poppo enjoyed an above-average IQ of 129, and a former homeroom classmate said he enrolled at nearby City College before the pair lost touch.

Arrest records show Poppo spent some time in New Orleans before making his way to Miami, where he was shot in Bayfront Park by an unknown “John Doe” in 1976, spending five days at Jackson Memorial Hospital — the same place he now lies in critical condition with much of his face gone and only one remaining eye.

Poppo will need a complete facial reconstruction if he survives. There is a fund for people who wish to donate to help him.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: The Jackson Memorial Foundation has set up a fund to assist Ronald Poppo in his recovery, which experts in facial reconstruction have said will include lengthy treatment, staged reconstruction, and psychological care. Donations can be made by check or online at

Poppo’s daughter has also been located.

Janice Poppo DiBello, 44, told the New York Daily News that Ronald abandoned her family when she was just 2-years-old. She said she was stunned to find out her absentee father was the homeless man who was attacked and eaten by the Causeway Cannibal.

“Since I was like two-years-old, him and my mom got divorced and there was no – like how normal divorces are, where you see your father,” DiBello told the NY Daily News. “Nobody ever heard anything from him, so I’ve never met him. I didn’t know if he was alive or dead.”

DiBello told the Daily News she knows Ronald is in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital and he’s missing between 75 and 80 percent of his face. DiBello called her mom to confirm the details about the victim, which her mother did.

“It was a complete shock, because like I said, I’ve never had a relationship with my biological father,” DiBello told the Daily News. “I have never heard from him. I have no idea what happened to him.”

What’s happening where you are?


20 Comments on “Saturday Morning Open Thread”

  1. RalphB says:

    Good commentary on the election campaign thus far, and for the past three years.

    The Insane Scenario Unfolding Before Our Eyes

    Because reelection campaigns are often a referendum on the incumbent, it doesn’t actually matter that Republicans lack a plan for generating broad-based growth. All that matters is that they aren’t Democrats.

    The GOP plan has been to capitalize on this, and obstruct government to the point where voters will mindlessly bring them back to power. That’s what they announced at the beginning of Obama’s term, and it’s working—the presidential election is very close, and Republicans have a chance at winning unified control of government. To many of our pundits and reporters, this is business as usual. In reality, it’s absolutely insane.

    To my mind, this fits with cannabolism of a sort.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Our culture is completely deteriorating. People are seemingly out of control, just responding to the demands of the id, Freud would say. The superego has been erased and the ego is overwhelmed.

      • RalphB says:

        The Romney campaign has reminded me of something like a primal scream so far. Maybe that’ll work and maybe not, but it’s scary anyway.

    • dakinikat says:

      This analysis is spot on. The Republican party has morphed into something beyond contempt.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Mitt Romney “scuttled Massachusetts’ affirmative action policies with a few strokes of his pen on a sleepy holiday six months after he became governor.”

    No news conference or news release trumpeted Romney’s executive order on Bunker Hill Day, June 17, 2003, in the deserted Statehouse. But when civil rights leaders, black lawmakers and other minority groups learned of Romney’s move two months later, it sparked a public furor.

    Romney drew criticism for cutting the enforcement teeth out of the law and rolling back more than two decades of affirmative action advances.

    Civil rights leaders said his order stripped minorities, women, disabled people and veterans of equal access protections for state government jobs and replaced them with broad guidelines. They complained Romney hadn’t consulted them before making the changes, snubbing the very kind of inclusion he professed to support.

    “It was done under the radar and there was a big backlash,” said Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “It was clear Romney really did not have an appreciation for the affirmative action policies long in place.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      Romney never seemed to grasp that the aim of the state’s affirmative action policies was to protect people who were wrongfully denied equal rights in the workplace.

      “I felt that the governor was out of touch,” said Alkins. “He was very uncomfortable with the issue of race and how you would address issues such as affirmative action.”

      • Seriously says:

        Good for Deval Patrick for reinstating the policies, instead of keeping to the time-honored Democratic tactic of hand-wringing about the awful changes and then failing to do a damn thing to reverse them.

  3. dakinikat says:

    Anatole Kaletsky on A New Capitalism

    The next phase of capitalism will involve a new balance between government and markets – something different both from the market fundamentalism that failed in 2008 and from the overweening government that failed in the 1970s. To put it another way, in the 1930s the world discovered that markets made disastrous mistakes. Forty years later, we learned that governments made disastrous mistakes. Now, after another 40 years, we have learned that markets and governments can both make disastrous mistakes. This sounds terribly depressing and paralysing, but actually it can be empowering, because whatever makes mistakes can be improved, and now we can demand improvements and reform in both politics and previously unquestionable markets.

    The minute we learn that every market and situation is unique and deserves a unique response rather than some ideological knee jerk bow to market superiority the better off we will be. For some reason, we’re having a difficult time convincing people of the middle way.

    • RalphB says:

      Great interview.

      Price volatility and financial speculation are necessary features of the market system. But politics needs to step in, to prevent this volatility and speculation from getting too far out of hand. It was not greed and irrationality that turned the routine financial bubble of the last decade into a global disaster. It was the quasi-religious belief among politicians that “the market is always right”.

  4. dakinikat says:

    I love this one from Scientific American … speaking as the mom of Karma who can be both good and bad:

    Do Dogs Feel Guilty?

    • ecocatwoman says:

      I’m siding with the original expert, Konrad Lorenz. I have had many dogs in my life and each of them have been distinct individuals, not unlike people. Some have no guilt, period. If “it feels good, do it” was their motto. And dogs don’t always consider what we humans find socially unacceptable behavior to be bad behavior. Food, in particular. Food is food, all food is their food. The other factor in this experiment that wasn’t discussed was the “owner.” How sensitive are they to body language? Can they actually “read” their dog? Again, in my experience most people are completely oblivious to a dog’s or cat’s body language.

      • northwestrain says:

        Konrad Lorenz was a wonderful observer. The “tests’ that some experimenters use are mostly useless. They try to remove so many variables that the result become almost meaningless.

        Also IF the experimenter has a bias — and basic ignorance of the animals he/she is testing that the results are again meaningless.

        My cats rarely if ever show guilt — dogs often show guilt –just like they would show guilt to the alpha bitch if they were part of a pack.

  5. Mubarak was found guilty and given a life sentence and then there was some kind of “medical event” and now protest in the square: In Egypt, Thousands Protest After Mubarak Sentencing

  6. bostonboomer says:

    CDC formally denies rumors of a zombie apocalypse.