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On Monday June 18 something despicable happened. On their bus ride home, a group of middle school kids (mainly two boys) ganged up on and harassed 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein. They said things that would make most parents cringe if they knew their children were saying them. They threatened her. They taunted her. Someone recorded it with a cell phone video camera and posted it to YouTube.

On the following Tuesday and Wednesday, something amazing happened. The video went viral, which in and of itself is not amazing with how connected the world is these days, no- the amazing part was the outpouring of support for Karen and the generosity shown to her by complete strangers the world over.

This story is riveting. Here are ten things you may or may not know about this fascinating chain of events:

People from all over the world have recorded video responses.

Students and adults from Europe, Australia, and many more places have recorded their own video responses to the original bus monitor video. Click here to see some, there are 289 responses and counting.

There is a petition on change.org calling for punishment for the kids responsible.

Right now there are 570 signatures with a goal of 1000. I’m not sure what this would accomplish, but it certainly shows that the public wants to see these kids pay for what they did.

Someone started a fund on indiegogo to raise money to “send Karen on vacation”.

Max Sidorov, originally from Ukraine, says that when he heard of what happened to Karen he decided to create a fundraiser to “show her the power of the internets and how kind and generous people can be”. He set a goal of $5,000, with the intention of giving the bus monitor a vacation. The goal was achieved within hours, and as of now (with 30 days still to go) the fund sits at $150,000, clearly on pace to reach $1 million.

When you set up an indiegogo fundraiser, they typically run for a 30 day window. If the project hits its financial goal, all of the supporters who pledged funds are charged at that time and the money is deposited in an account specified by the administrator. At that time, the money is under Max’s control. No word yet on Karen’s response to this fundraiser.

MSNBC and The L.A. Times have picked up the story.

National outlets have run this story, but not just the part about the bus incident. They are reporting on the fundraiser, which is serving to help garner global support for it. If Karen accepts the funds raised for her, she can retire, which brings me to my next point – which is purely speculation:

Karen won’t accept the funds.

At one point in the video, which I still haven’t gotten through (it’s gut wrenching)- Karen responds to the children by saying she tries to live by the saying on her purse, but it’s hard sometimes. We as viewers can’t see what the saying is, but we’ve got to assume it is some inspirational “live and let live” type of positive message. Just from her general demeanor, her responses to the kids, and her brief appearances on local news since the incident, she seems like the type of person that does not relish all of this attention, and just wants it all to go away. My guess is she rejects the money, and then eventually agrees to accept but donates a large portion to charity.

I wasn’t aware that ‘bus monitors’ were even a thing.

Karen was a bus driver for most of her Greece School District career. Three years ago she became a bus monitor. This is something we did not have when we were kids. Knowing from personal experience that school districts are not in the practice of creating unnecessary jobs, there must have been a need for this position. What could a bus monitor be needed for? To watch for and discipline misbehaving children.

Karen Klein should not have been on that bus.

It was truly a shame what happened to Karen on Monday. It makes me sick. I just don’t think she should have been there in the first place. I’m not trying to take a paid position away from this woman, but sometimes you have to make sure the person is qualified to do the job. If I’m on a commercial airline, the last thing I want is an air marshall on my flight who is afraid of confrontation. These people are not just decorations, they are supposedly there for a reason. Karen never tried to defend herself or tell these kids to shut up. We are hailing this as angelic patience and saintly behavior, but no one who has watched that video would have blamed her if she snapped on those kids. As fun as that may have been to watch, I’m not condoning it, but she really could have just informed them of the consequences of their actions, told the bus driver, or told them to stop it. If she’s being paid to maintain order on the bus, surely she must have a few proverbial bullets in her gun. Why she chose not to use any is beyond me.

Someone gave out the offending kids’ names and contact information.

One of the first comments on the original YouTube page where the video was posted contains the names, phone numbers and addresses of the offenders. Since then, there have been so many additional comments posted that the info has slowly been buried, and may have since been deleted, but it was there for most of Wednesday. So many sites and Facebook comments are calling for the offenders information to be released, and it has been right there the whole time.

Greece Central School District has asked YouTube to take the video down.

With as much traffic as it is generating, that’s like asking Kim Kardashian to lay low for a while. I can see why the district wants to minimize the damage from this PR black eye, but it’s not gonna happen.

The police are investigating the video.

Greece Police are questioning four middle school students and will decide if charges will be filed in juvenile court.

Some of the comments that the kids made hit too close to home.

Karen said the comment that hurt the most was when the kids said “you’re so ugly your kid should kill themselves.” Her son took his own life 10 years ago.

Thought I’d fire up the old Upper Deck for this extra-special occasion!

If you were alive in the 80s, surely you remember the fast-talking pitchman for companies such as FedEx and Micro Machines. He also appeared in Transformers as Blurr, on Saved by The Bell, the A-Team, 321 Contact and Ally McBeal.

This is how I pictured him when he was on the phone with us.

Today he appears on such shows as Family Guy, Robot Chicken and Adventure Time.

He is Guinness World Record holder John Moschitta, Jr., and he visited UnderScoopFire for episode #31!

We put away the adult themes and bad language for this episode (but that didn’t stop John from dropping a few bombs), so feel free to listen with confidence in the company of friends, family and coworkers!

Even if you are not a podcast person or a regular listener, check out the first 22 seconds of this episode. John’s intro is too good to pass up!

As always, thanks for reading, commenting, listening and supporting!

Click here to check out John Moschitta Jr on the UnderScoopFire Podcast – for Children of the 80s!

 

See ya soon!

Howdy Upper Deckers!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here, as I have focused all of my creative efforts on our pop culture/children of the 80s site UnderScoopFIRE.com. For those who have made the switch with me, I graciously thank you. I have been extremely fortunate to have the support of my friends and family through this venture.

I want to take a moment to thank Corey Chapman, Joe Zicari, and Chris Tanski. These three guys have been with me from the start(up) and have contributed countless hours to improving the site’s content and our podcast. Corey deserves extra credit for the hours of podcast surgery (editing) he has spent behind the glass.

I love our readers as much as I love this tiny fawn.

We are pleased to present the work of some very talented contributors on UnderScoopFIRE. If you’ve seen any of Dan Fogarty (Fogs’) movie reviews or articles, you know how entertaining his columns are. Jason Gross has added some 80s mojo to our site with his rad weekly column, and Corey Pung brings his vast comic book knowledge to our humble table.

Since our launch on August 1st, we’ve had over 15,000+ unique visits, which is amazing. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from readers via Twitter, and our podcast has had a handsome number of downloads on iTunes and BuzzSprout.com. We want to be able to continue providing original content to our readers and listeners, and that is why you see Amazon.com ads placed in the sidebar of our site.

This brings me to my request. If you do any of your holiday shopping this year on Amazon.com, please enter the site through the clickable Amazon search box on UnderScoopFIRE.com. You can search for any product, or if you just want to log into your Amazon account, you can still use the search box to enter a “dummy” search and once you are re-directed to Amazon.com, just go ahead with your business. It will still recognize that you came from our site.

Although we only make a few cents on the dollar for every purchase made on Amazon via our site, it does add up, and it would help cover the costs of maintaining our site (the hosting, the podcast storage, and keeping the domain name are the primary expenses).

Please feel free to spread the word, and again, thank you for your support.

Your feedback is welcome!  Feel free to hit the comments or email me at howard@underscoopfire.com

Hello there! How have you been? I just wanted to take a moment to check in with the folks who supported this blog from the beginning. This past June I started this personal blog and thought that my friends and family would get some small amount of amusement out of it. I never dreamed that it would have any appeal to people who didn’t know me.

Less than three weeks into the life of the Upper Deck, I had over 5,000 views. It occurred to me that sites with that kind of traffic could make a few advertising dollars if operated and managed properly. The Upper Deck, however, was and is hosted by WordPress.com. WordPress is an awesome site for hosting blogs, and I would recommend it to anyone starting out, but if you are going to pour your heart and soul into your content, shouldn’t you at least be able to call it your own and have the potential to make a living from it?

Yes, I'm here to buy some books?

Believe me, I’m no where near making a living off of writing, but that was the goal when I decided to launch underscoopfire.com. You guys were the inspiration. I’m surrounded by very talented and dedicated friends and contributors who want this website to work as much as I do. I was fortunate to have input on the site’s name (a very youthful inside joke we may divulge details on some day), categories, and content from very trusted lifelong friends partners, and they continue to help make the website better everyday. I can’t thank Corey Chapman enough for his leadership on the podcast, and Joe Zicari and Chris Tanski for making it fun and entertaining every week. You can read about all of the talented underscoopfire.com team here. As for the site’s name making no sense, a wise man once said to me, “What does ‘Amazon’ have to do with books and dvds?”

I am continually trying to improve the users’ experience, and provide reasons for readers to come back. We post new content everyday, multiple times on most days. Every column we run on the site is posted on the underscoopfire Facebook page wall, and the link is tweeted to our 530+ Twitter followers.

In an effort to reward our repeat visitors and in an attempt to grow readership, I have installed a REWARDS program. This program is legitimate, no strings attached. You just click on the small rewards banner on the left sidebar, sign up for a free account, and it does the rest. The program tracks how many time you visit, and you get points for things like:

  • Commenting on a post
  • Liking a post
  • Forwarding the link to a friend, and more
You can check the leaderboard, and when you hit certain milestones you earn a gift card to places like Best Buy, eBay, and Groupon. FREE money just for visiting our site. I hope you like it. If not, or if you have other ideas, please contact me. I’m always trying to make the experience better.
As always, thanks for reading.

The Terrible Twos

For those who follow underscoopfire.com, I apologize for the repetition. I know some friends and family members have subscribed to The Upper Deck to keep in touch and hear about recent stories and developments. For a story about toddlers, bats and hash browns, click here

Thanks again for reading. I look forward to your feedback!

 

Just a quick update for those of you who haven’t made the leap over to our new site, underscoopfire.com

We have a PODCAST coming soon!  Two shows recorded and being edited. We’ll keep you posted.

Here’s the latest: (click the titles to be taken to the page)

First Look at Henry Cavill as Superman in The Man of Steel

Five E-Rated Characters that Deserve M-Rated Games

Who Will Face Extinction First? Tom Brady vs Evangeline Lilly

A Zombie Infested 5k Race and Festival

and much more!  Thanks for checking us out, have a great day!

 

LIKE our Facebook page here

Follow us on Twitter here

how we feel when you don't visit underscoopfire

 

 

This weekend my family and I paid a visit to The Edwards family, and two important discoveries were made. One by me, one by my two-year old son.

First:

It was brought to my attention that many people who clicked ‘SUBSCRIBE’ on the  under..scoop..FIRE! website when it was first released are not actually receiving new content. We are publishing 2 to 3 new articles & columns per day, and if you haven’t gotten them everyday for the last 2 weeks there is something wrong. I had an issue with the subscription service, hopefully it is fixed. Today is the official launch!

There are a few ways to make sure you get your daily dose of the best content on the net:

Go to under..scoop..FIRE!’s Facebook page and click ‘LIKE’ – every time a new column publishes, I post it on the Facebook page, so it will appear in your news feed!

Get on Twitter and follow @underscoopfire – I know you don’t “get” Twitter, or think it’s silly, but you don’t have to ever “tweet” anything, it’s free, and you can just follow people you are interested in (including us, obviously) and you will see what they are up to! Everything we publish gets tweeted out throughout the day! 282 followers and counting!

If none of this works for you, leave me a comment below or shoot me an email and I will put you on my own personal email list and make sure to forward you the new content every morning. Now that’s love.

 

Ok, thanks for everything and… what’s that? Oh, the second important discovery from our visit?

My son spotted “somebody’s mommy” hanging out in the Edwards’ garage. You guys might wanna lock your garage door at night.

 

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