Archive for: February 2017

Support Group For Rare Photogenic Disorder Offers Hope to Many

by Coma News Staff

Micah Horncraft decided enough was enough. After years of having his photo taken and being constantly disappointed in the results, Horncraft thought there had to be a better way. Horncraft deals with a rare condition known as Startled Retentive Photogenic Disorder, or SRPD for short.

Like others who suffer from SRPD, things like selfies and photos at family get togethers can cause anxiety and stress.

“I look incredibly surprised in every photo,” Horncraft said. “I realize my picture is being taken. I am looking at the camera when it happens. And yet, my photos always make me look like I’m totally caught off guard.”

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ABOVE: Horncraft (far right), mingles with other SRPD survivors at a recent support group meeting

Horncraft has started a support group for those who suffer from SRPD. The group recently held their second meeting that attracted more than a dozen participants who shared stories about their experiences in living with this rare condition.

According to local physician, Dr. Jimmy, SRPD can strike at any age, last for many years and cause debilitating side effects.

Some of those side effects include a reluctance to be photographed, some light-to-nonexistent anxiety regarding cameras or smartphones and a “constant” surprise at seeing how startled you look in every photograph.

“There is a saying in the SRPD community,” Dr. Jimmy said. “We may look shocked, but we’re likely just mildly surprised. Treat us like other humans.”

Horncraft, who has battled SRPD for nearly five years, said he decided to start the support group because he was tired of being the “most surprised-looking guy in every photo.”

“There had to be other people that deal with this disorder,” Horncraft said. “I thought it would be good to get together. If you take pictures of us together, it might not look so unusual. Maybe people would think we were just told the world is ending in five minutes or something. You never know.”

Horncraft first began to notice symptoms of SRPD following a family reunion in 2011. As he looked through photographs of the event he realized he appeared somewhat confused or slightly bewildered in every photo.

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ABOVE: Horncraft (far left) first discovered the severity of his condition at a friend’s wedding in 2011

“That’s how it starts,” Dr. Jimmy said. “The early stages of SRPD generally include a confused expression. It looks like the subject doesn’t quite understand the technology or the concept of photography.”

It was in the fall of 2011 that Horncraft’s condition took a dramatic turn. As a member of a friend’s wedding party, Horncraft was repeatedly photographed throughout the day. The wedding photographer pulled him aside at one point and asked him if everything was all right. The photographer then shared many of the photos with Horncraft, who was shocked to see his repeatedly shocked expression.

“I think I’m smiling in the photos,” Horncraft said. “Like, I realize they are taking my picture. I think I’m presenting a normal expression, but I’m not.”

Horncraft said he has learned to live with the condition and has made some improvements. With precise and severe concentration, he can maintain a “mildly confused” look in most photographs. But relapses still occur and Horncraft is hopeful the SRPD support group can help each other living with the rare condition.

“My hope is that by sharing stories and photos of our experiences we can help each other to live normal lives,” Horncraft said. “Ultimately, we just want to be treated like normal people and not be cropped out of every Facebook post.”

The SRPD support group meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Coma Community Center.

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ABOVE: A group of SRPD survivors gather at a recent support group meeting. Horncraft said he hopes the meetings will offer hope to the many people afflicted with the rare condition

Artifacts: Most Wanted

Coma Sketch Artist 04 25 16

Rare Hollywood Merchandise Goes on Sale this Weekend

by Coma New Staff

Just in time for the Academy Awards, local memorabilia collector Dee Collins announced this week she is selling select pieces of her vast collection of extremely rare Hollywood merchandise.

“These are pieces that capture some of the most memorable moments in film making history,” Collins said. “The craftsmanship, quality and nostalgia are impeccable.”

english patient soap dispenser

ABOVE: “The English Patient” hand-soap dispenser features actor Ralph Fiennes as the lovable burn victim.

Among the items Collins is offering is a throw pillow featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass from the film “The Revenant,” a limited-edition “Benjamin Button” lampshade, an imported hand-soap dispenser featuring Ralph Fiennes as the burn victim from “The English Patient” and a Talented Mr. Ripley’s Chef’s Choice Diamond Hone Electric Knife Sharpener 310 featuring Matt Damon as Tom Ripley.

According to Collins, it is not uncommon for film studios to make limited-runs of merchandise to help promote their films. Collins has spent years building her collection, which also includes a “Howard’s End” toothbrush set, a comforter featuring the cast of “The Insider” and a beer cozy from the film “Milk” featuring Sean Penn as Harvey Milk.

the revenant throw pillow

ABOVE: The intensity of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar-winning performance is captured perfectly in this cozy, soft throw pillow.

Collins said she has spent nearly 15 years assembling her collection and hopes to one day open a museum dedicated to motion pictures and film memorabilia. Part of her motivation for selling select pieces now is to raise money to help make that dream come true.

Talented mr ripley knife sharpener

ABOVE: This electric knife sharpener was part of a limited “The Talented Mr. Ripley” series of knife sharpeners that also included Jude Law and Kate Blanchett.

“I want a place for people to go and be able to see things like a child’s sippy cup featuring the movie poster for ‘Cold Mountain,” Collins said. “I want to create that magical experience for people who love movies as much as I do.”

Collins, who is a noted children’s author and who has scripted more than 400 screenplays, said the sale will run through this weekend to coincide with the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday. Prices range from $500 to $2,500 for more rare items.

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ABOVE: Brad Pitt’s famous turn as the adorable Benjamin Button is forever memorialized on this exquisite and stylish lamp shade.

Life Hacks Volume I

by Stan Bargmeyer

There are a lot of things I have discovered over the years that make my life easier. Small, simple tips that can help you be happier and make life just a little more enjoyable. I want to share some of these “life hacks” with you. Maybe, like me, you weren’t aware. But that’s okay. Now you are.

How to quickly capitalize a letter or word while typing. This one comes in handy if you want to write sentences that use proper capitalization. There are two ways to do this. First, there is a button on most standard keyboards called “Shift.” If you hold this button down while typing a letter, the letter becomes a capitol letter! If you want to write in all caps, there is another button called “Caps Lock”. If you press that button, you will write in ALL CAPS. JUST LIKE THIS! To disarm this function, simply click the “Caps Lock” button a second time and you return to normal.

life hacks caps

How to repair and extend the life of damaged prescription eyewear. I have had to learn this little trick over time as I’ve been a prescription glasses-wearing person for years now. The secret to this little life hack is Scotch tape. I’m not joking! Take some Scotch tape and tape the glasses back together. Use it liberally to ensure it holds. Your glasses will be like new!

life hacks eyewear

How to make chocolate snack stand displays. If I’m hosting guests I like to make them feel welcome and find that these easy-to-make chocolate snack stand displays really do the trick. You just take one of those power adapter thingies from a smart phone, set it on its end and tuck a square of chocolate between the “prongs”. I hope that’s not too technical. This is a cute and clever way to add some fun to your next party or when hosting company.

life hacks chocolate stand


Artifacts: Thomas Paine

Coma Thomas Paine 04 28 16

Women Letters Campaign Knocks Toenails, Weather, Traffic

Jax Owen was sitting in his office at Jax Used Cars of Coma this week and contemplating how many mule carcasses to accept in trade for used cars. He never expected that important work to be interrupted by a letter-writing campaign.
Women from around Coma this week deluged Owen and other members of the Town Council with multiple letters about their feelings on the winter, ingrown toenails and migratory patterns of local wildlife.
“They were writing me stuff about the favorite colors and their grandmothers hysterectomy and it was hard to figure out what policy issue they actually wanted changed,” Owen said. “One woman wrote in all caps that she didn’t want her uterus pulled out but I’m pretty sure that’s already illegal.”
Coma Sheriff Paul T. Frostnib said no uterus thefts have ever been reported in Coma.
“The only organs taken that I can recall was the theft of some calf kidney’s a few years back,” Frostnib said. “But that was from a cow was already slaughtered so I’m not sure if cannibalism is a concern that these women are raising–is it?”
One of the organizers of the local letter-writing campaign, Councilwoman Natalie Peters, said the goal was for local women to “speak out.”
When asked what specifically women should speak out about, Peters said, “everything.”
Owen said he will be able to better understand what concerns local women are talking if they attach their picture to their emotional plea. He promised to select “the cream of the crop” to visit him personally at the Town Council chambers, where he promised to offer “therapeutic hugs.”
“If we can’t figure out what specific policies they want to change at least we can help them hug it out,” Owen said.

Artifacts- Randy Crockett

Coma Randy Crockett 04 25 16

Mayor Downplays Second Altercation Involving Primate

by Coma News Staff

Coma Mayor Dave Anderson is refuting reports that he had another incident involving a primate last week, despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary.

The alleged incident occurred last Thursday while the mayor was meeting with local business leaders for his monthly “Drinking Coffee with Mayor Dave Anderson” event at town hall.

According to eyewitnesses, the mayor was fielding questions about potential tax breaks for local businesses when a Barbary macaque entered the room and began taunting the mayor.

“It was the weirdest thing,” said one eyewitness who wished to remain anonymous. “At first I thought it was a Rhesus macaque but upon closer inspection I was like, ‘nah, that’s definitely a Barbary macaque.’”

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ABOVE: Witnesses say Anderson (left) had an intense altercation with a Barbary macaque (right) last week during a town hall-style meeting

The small primate approached Anderson and extended his small, furry hand. Anderson extended his hand to shake and before completing the gesture, the macaque withdrew his hand, slid his hand past his head and then turned and strutted away.

“It was pretty funny,” said one eyewitness. “I’ve seen that gag before. But something about that little macaque doing it was very refreshing.”

Anderson attempted to continue his presentation but appeared flustered. Moments later, the macaque approached Anderson a second time. According to witnesses, the monkey began to mimick the mayor as he spoke.

“He had it down pretty good,” a witness said. “Hand gestures, arm movements. It was just like Dave.”

Anderson allegedly became increasingly agitated as the small primate continued to mock his movements. At one point, Anderson stopped, placed his hands on his hips and shook his head at the monkey. The monkey gave Anderson a “thumbs up” gesture.

“That seemed to cut a lot of the tension in the room,” one witness said. “But then it got ugly.”

According to onlookers, the monkey began to twist his hand slowly. What started as a “thumbs up” became a “thumbs down” gesture. Anderson rushed the monkey and had to be restrained by several advisors and staff members.

“At one point Dave yelled ‘I’m going to cut you mother fucker’” an eyewitness said. “He grabbed a chair and started swinging but fortunately his staff held him back.”

The macaque, according to witnesses, extended a middle finger to the mayor before exiting the room through a side door. Anderson recently admitted to an unfortunate ordeal nearly 12 years ago in which he punched a monkey in the face, knocking out two of the animal’s teeth.

The mayor told reporters on Tuesday the recent incident has been exaggerated and that there was really nothing to talk about.

“Did I go after a monkey with a chair?” Anderson asked. “Maybe. But who is to say that in some alternate reality the monkey didn’t try to attack me with a chair? Why is no one talking about that possibility?”

Anderson refused to comment further. The macaque has not been seen since the incident occurred last week.