Saturday, August 28, 2010

This crazy world: Lennon's toilet sells for $14,740 at auction

 'I think it's the most unusual item we've ever  had in our auction'

Hard to believe someone paid this much for a crapper – even a famous one!

Lennon image source

toilet photo source

Attack ads surpass 2006 levels as November draws near

It's not even Labor Day and negative political ads are muscling in on your TV time. Across the country, ad spending is up and attack ads lead the way.

“As of this week, candidates for state and federal office had spent $395 million on ads for the November elections, compared with $286 million at this point in the 2006 midterms. More than half the ads have been negative.”

Pet Psychics – do they really talk with the dead and heal all sicknesses with their hands?

Coming Sunday Aug. 29th in The Times-Standard:

As It Stands explores the murky world of pet psychics who perform miracles. They can talk with your pet via the phone (just provide a pic of the pet), or find your lost pet. They dredge up spirits of past pets and even tell you what they were reincarnated as in case you want to continue your relationship with that special pet.


Judge: Video game addiction suit can go on

Player claims he is unable to bathe, dress himself or wake up in the day due to 'Lineage II'

“A Hawaii man who says he is unable to bathe, dress himself or wake up in the day because he is addicted to the video game "Lineage II" may proceed with his suit against the game's South Korean developer, a federal judge has ruled.”

Image source

Friday, August 27, 2010

Be sure to watch the sky tonight – it will look like we have 2 moons

UPDATE!cid_1_1000357995@web180107_mail_gq1_yahoo : this turned out to be a viral hoax.

Sorry about that…. 

Tonight the Whole World is waiting for...

the planet Mars to be at it’s brightest.

It will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye tonight when it comes within 34.65M miles off earth.

 The next time Mars may come this close is in 2287.

Elder financial Abuse: Stealing from Grandpa and Grandma

What will happen when you die?

Who will get your personal belongings and whatever money you have?

Do you even care? Should you care? Do you have a will? Even if you do, will it be carried out like you intended?  

The story plays out thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands of times every year across the country, a scourge of old age

America's vulnerable, graying population, and the concentration of wealth among older adults, has created a massive opportunity for fraud. Hard statistics are not available, but experts suspect that perhaps half a million elderly adults are ripped off by family members, lawyers and accountants every year, potentially taking $2.6 billion from infirm older Americans. The crime is known as elder financial abuse. Financial expert and consumer advocate John Wasik has called it "the crime of the 21st century."

Image source

Want to be class president? Not if you're black, in one Miss. school

Mother moves her family after learning about segregation in class elections

It’s hard to believe such blatant racism is tolerated today, but as this article points out, it’s just the way things are in Nettleton Middle School in Nettleton, Miss. The fact of the matter is racism is rampant in America today, and to prove my point look at Glenn Beck’s plans for this weekend (see Post below). 

Beck and Palin to lead ‘extreamist’ rally – they have a dream, but unlike King, it’s only for wealthy white America

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Beck’s bogus “God inspired” idea to overshadow Martin Luther King’s famous speech is based on nothing more than prejudice and hate. Beck loves the limelight and has no trouble calling Obama a racist or anyone else. It’s the pot calling the kettle black – but Beck seems to get away with it. At least with his rabid followers who want to “take America back!”

We're about to crash, jet passengers told in error

'They said the pilot hit the wrong button'

A while back I wrote a column about flying in airplanes and how I dread the experience.

I can just imagine if I’d of been on this flight!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Revenge of the Cat: ‘Cat Bin Lady's’ Internet infamy grows

The Internet abhors a cat dumper.

Never was that sentiment more clear than in its ongoing outrage over the infamous "Cat Bin Lady" of Britain, who made international news after video captured her petting an unsuspecting cat, then incongruously dropping the friendly tabby in a nearby garbage bin.

Gawker's Adrian Chen, himself a victim of the /b/board Internet horde, reports on 4chan's rapid identification and dissemination of the woman's identity, including her name and contact information, as well as that of her employer. Fitting, considering 4chan is responsible for the LOLCat phenomenon enjoyed by the general Internet population today. As was the case when 4chan targeted adolescent viral video star Jessi Slaughter,

Guess who is going to reclaim the civil rights movement?

Glenn Beck University grad: double-major in Religious Studies and Hyperbole Science

Just when you thought you heard it all from Glenn Beck he comes up with shit like this. The sad part is, he has a willing (and extremely stupid) audience.

What’s next? No! Don’t tell me.   

Glenn Beck Says Obama’s Not a Muslin But a Perverted-Christian Whatever

Prominent theologian Glenn Beck has been busy hanging streamers and making his favorite Metamucil-infused punch in preparation for this weekend’s “Restoring Honor” rally, where he and Ted Nugent will reclaim the civil rights movement from the Ghost of Martin Luther King Jr. and riddle it with bullets. Beck says his festival is going to be “the Woodstock of the next generation,” as well as “the anti-Woodstock.” He’s also calling the event an “American miracle,” which sounds more credible than the Woodstock stuff given Beck’s an expert on religion.”
Read more here.

Real tiger cub found in luggage with stuffed toys

Bangkok airport officials got suspicious when suitcase was X-rayed

A live tiger cub was found drugged and hidden among stuffed-tiger toys in the luggage of a woman at Bangkok's airport, a wildlife smuggling watchdog group reported Thursday.

Photo -This two-month-old tiger cub was found in a woman's suitcase at the airport in Bangkok, Thailand

Meet Lorenzo the cat, a complete clotheshorse

Image: Lorenzo the cat in Rasta outfit

This feline loves to wear fancy shirts and mug for the camera

Not many cats have thousands of fans and a couple of museum exhibits under their belts.

Of course, not many cats could wear belts.

Lorenzo is a 2-year-old Maine coon who happily models the latest fashions for his owner, photographer Joann Biondi.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mendocino County: There’s a Whole Lotta There There

Max Hartshorne

I found this author’s observations/conversations to be interesting. You can go to his website and read the whole article. I was researching alternative vacations when I discovered: 

Max Hartshorne (shown here) who is the editor of GoNOMAD and his blog Readuponit. 

Hartshorne’s description of Mendocino sounds a lot like Humboldt. I suppose they are somewhat akin.


However, in my experience, when I tell people I’m from Humboldt County they automatically think “Marijuana.” If you say Mendocino, the odds are some people will relate it to wine. More informed types will know better, because bud production is a primary crop there


I asked Richard about the topic that many people quickly associate with the name Mendocino: Marijuana. “Oh, that. Let’s not go there. There are many things more important than that.”

But what he’s referring to is an underground economy of nearly $1.5 billion. Scores of local residents have good jobs trimming the marijuana buds, easy work that pays $25 per hour.

“Try hiring somebody to clean motel rooms, if they can make that for trimming,” an innkeeper told me that night.

In November 2010, an initiative on the California ballot will give voters the chance to legalize pot, both growing it, smoking it, and owning it will be legal. Most people said they thought it was a good idea, eyeing the tax revenues that would be produced for the state.


Everyone here is plain sick of the mess their state finances are in... looming giant deficits and cuts that go far beyond the acceptable. So this new source of tax revenue has to be tempting.

Yet when I visited a winery and spoke to people there, they said that they feel that legalization would kill the many pot businesses, and then big conglomerates would come in and take over the growing operations.

There are already plenty of Mexican drug gangs profiting handsomely from ‘illegal grows’ in the huge state forests of the county. Many people told me about how they showed the DEA where to find the growers who were invading their land with illegal planting...and they said they were fed up with it.

Who knows what will happen? At GoNOMAD we’re interested in promoting tourism, travel and spreading the gospel of going. I think if Mendocino follows the example of Amsterdam, it might be the biggest tourist draw since Disneyland. "This Bud's For You!" might be the perfect slogan for California's new tourism campaign.”

New treatment for advanced melanoma shrinks tumors

Drug reduced tumors in 80 percent of patients, study says, but effect may be fleeting

“An experimental targeted cancer drug shrank advanced melanoma tumors in 81 percent of patients with the deadly and hard-to-treat cancer, doctors said Wednesday.

The findings were part of an early phase study used to determine the best dose of the experimental drug PLX4032, now in late-stage clinical trials. It is designed to target tumor cells with a mutation in a gene called BRAF. The drug is made by Roche and privately held Plexxikon.

In two patients, tumors went away completely. In 24 others, the tumors shrank by more than 30 percent, the team reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The team said 81 percent of 32 patients with a BRAF mutation showed complete or partial shrinkage of their tumors.”

I enjoy looking for unique vintage movie posters

This movie poster came out when I was a junior in high school.

1967 USA, documentary

(Don't Look Back)

Director D.A. Pennebaker

featuring Bob Dylan

1974 reissue
20×30 $200

From The Posterman

Cat-tossing lady: I didn't mean to cause 'distress'

I’m filing this story under “I’ve Seen It All.”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

U.K. woman says 'it's just a cat' in response to uproar; she later apologizes

“Cat got her tongue?

After saying "it's just a cat" in response to the uproar over her decision to throw a neighbor's cat into a trash bin, Mary Bale apologized Tuesday for her actions and said she will work with investigators who are looking into the matter.

"I want to take this opportunity to apologize profusely for the upset and distress that my actions have caused," Bale said in a statement.

“I cannot explain why I did this, it is completely out of character and I certainly did not intend to cause any distress to Lola or her owners. It was a split second of misjudgment that has got completely out of control.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dog who ate beehive wins unusual pet insurance award

“A Labrador that ate a beehive containing pesticides and thousands of dead bees won an award on Monday that recognized the most unusual pet health insurance claim in the United States.

Ellie, who fully recovered from her encounter with the beehive in southern California, beat a border collie that ran through a window to get at a mailman, and a terrier that bit a chainsaw.

She won a bronze trophy in the shape of a ham, and basket of toys and doggie treats.

The winner was announced on Monday by the Veterinary Pet Insurance Co (VPI) and selected from a dozen pets nationwide.”

photo source This smiling girl is a stand-in for Ellie.

Mother Nature to the Rescue: new microbe discovered eating Gulf oil spill

Image: Oil broken up by microbes

Is this to good to be true? Is it possible the environmental impact from the spilled oil will be considerably lessened by this tiny microbe?

Read on and see what you think.

'Great potential' for dispersing oil in deep sea, researchers report

“A newly discovered type of oil-eating microbe suddenly is flourishing in the Gulf of Mexico and  gobbling up the BP spill at a much faster rate than expected, scientists reported Tuesday.

Scientists discovered the new microbe while studying the underwater dispersion of millions of gallons of oil spilled since the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Also, the microbe works without significantly depleting oxygen in the water, researchers reported in the online journal Sciencexpress.”

More tainted food: Meats sold at Walmart recalled for bacteria

If it’s not eggs (see below), then it’s meat (see below).

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

380,000 pounds of deli products possibly tainted with listeria

Roast beef and ham that was distributed to Walmart delicatessens nationwide and sold in sandwiches has been recalled because it might be tainted with potentially harmful bacteria, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Tuesday.

No illnesses have been reported from the 380,000 pounds of meat products that were made by Zemco Industries in Buffalo and may contain Listeria, agency spokesman Gary Mickelson said.

"It's believed most of the affected products have already been consumed," he said. The sandwiches have been removed from store shelves nonetheless.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Incoming aircraft is part of the fun at the noisiest beach in the world


Imagine the perfect vacation. Sunny weather – check, sand volleyball – check, nice white beach – check, and an airplane is landing right above your head?!

That is what you’ll get if you are staying in Maho Beach resort in the Caribbean.


Even with the warning signs (shown above) people act like this is a great way to play! They pull out their cameras and get all crazy taking photos from odd angles. Call me picky, but this beach is too insane for me!


Growing Monument: slow, steady progress with Crazy Horse

The giant face of Chief Crazy Horse is slowly taking shape at the Crazy Horse Memorial that is being carved out of Thunder Mountain in the Black Hills near Custer, South Dakota. The massive undertaking, originally the creation and idea of Polish-American artist and sculptor Korczak Ziokowski, was started in 1948, and it might be the largest sculpture in the world measuring when completed at 641 feet wide and 563 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse is 87 feet high. In comparison, the faces of the US president carved in Mt. Rushmore are 60 feet high. Ziokowski with approval from Chief Standing Bear and other Native Americans envisioned not only a monument to Native Americans, but also an educational and cultural center that currently includes the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Cultural Center as well as workshops for Native American. Ziokowski and his relatives have refused government funding for the non-profit project and instead rely on donations and admissions to the memorial for funding to complete the Crazy Horse Memorial.

(Bottom) The Crazy Horse Memorial at Thunder Mountain is lit up in the evening prior to the laser light show in the Black Hills near Custer, South Dakota on Aug. 11, 2010.

Carl’s Corner: A sampling of Dahlias from his backyard

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My friend Carl Young has been having a lot of fun with his camera lately. He has over 200 varieties of Dahlias and about half are in bloom right now. The rest are late bloomers for a variety of reasons. One has been the erratic weather. Photos by Young.

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Here’s a list of 10 Controversial Psychiatric Disorders

The proposed revisions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) have spurred debate over what illnesses to include in the essential psychiatric handbook. Everything from gender identity disorder to childhood mood swings has come under fire, and it's not the first time. The history of psychiatry is littered with impassioned fights over controversial diagnoses.

#10. Hysteria -

In the Victorian era, hysteria was a catch-all diagnosis for women in distress. The symptoms were vague (discontentment, weakness, outbursts of emotion, nerves) and the history sexist (Plato blamed the wanderings of an "unfruitful" uterus).

The treatment for hysteria? "Hysterical paroxysm," also known as orgasm. Physicians would massage their patients' genitals either manually or with a vibrator, a task they found tedious but surprisingly uncontroversial. More contentious was the practice of putting "hysterical" women on bed rest or demanding that they not work or socialize, a treatment that often worsened anxiety or depression.

According to a 2002 editorial in the journal Spinal Cord, the diagnosis of hysteria gradually petered out throughout the 20th century. By 1980, hysteria disappeared from the DSM in favor of newer diagnoses like conversion and dissociative disorders.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

As It Stands - A 'Traveler's' tales and the free ride

By Dave Stancliff

For the Times-Standard

Posted: 08/22/2010 01:26:50 AM PDT

Summer, 1985 -- People were frying eggs on the sidewalk outside the newspaper office. It was a blatant attempt to get me to photograph them.

As the editor of The Desert Trail, a weekly newspaper in Twentynine Palms, Calif., I'd seen my share of filler photos showing how hot it was.

Frying eggs on sidewalks was a passé photographic experience. I wasn't eager to go outside in that 115-degree furnace, either, but I knew it was going to be a big newspaper that week (we had lots of advertising) and I needed extra stories and photos to fill the additional editorial pages that would be available.

About the time I gathered my camera, notebook, keys, and briefcase, a man walked into the office. He was tall, string-bean thin, had long wild looking hair popping out of his skull at all angles and a deep tan laced with road-weary wrinkles.

As he talked with Nell, the secretary at the front desk, I studied him. He showed her a tiny rocking chair and was explaining how he made it out of tin cans when inspiration struck, and I saw an interesting feature story. I enjoyed interviewing people. I'd met a lot of local desert rats who could entertain you for hours with their stories.

I let him finish his spiel to Nell and spoke up. “Excuse me. Would you like to go to lunch and tell me a little more about yourself? I'd like to do a story on you.”

He looked startled for a moment, and then smiled and said, “Sure. My name is John.”

We went to a local Mexican eatery and over lunch he told me his life story. He started by telling me a few childhood experiences. I figured he was about my age, mid-to-late thirties. I asked him if he ever lived in a house after leaving home?

He considered my question between bites of taco. “A few times, for short periods ...” I wondered how he had made a living during his adult years and finally asked, “Those things you make from tin cans are really nice, but surely this hasn't been your only means of supporting yourself?”

He grinned happily and said, “No. I've made lots of things for money and worked in all kinds of jobs.”

When he didn't elaborate I prodded, “Such as?”

He pushed his empty plate aside, took a drink of his sun ice tea, and rattled off his resume: “I mowed estate lawns in Hollywood and weeded them too. I worked as a pump jockey in gas stations from New Mexico to Vermont. I dug holes and hauled rocks in some rural towns in Tennessee with names I couldn't pronounce. I gave blood at blood banks in Florida. I worked as a store greeter, and once as Santa Claus in Ohio. I washed idling car windows in the streets of New York and cut wood in Washington for nearly three years.”

I watched his face light up with memories and it struck me he was a happy man, despite his poor circumstances. He had a knapsack of World War II vintage to hold the sum total of his wealth.

As we walked outside into the blinding light, he mentioned that he would really like to see his sister in Arizona.

I mulled that over and said, “If you can wait until Thursday, when the newspaper comes out, I'll ask readers if anyone is interested in giving you a ride. It couldn't hurt. There's some churches in town that would probably put you up until then.”

He considered my request and replied, “I'll try my thumb, thank you, but if that fails, I'll come by your office on Friday.”

When the newspaper came out, a local resident called and offered to give John a ride. I looked at his photo on the front page, holding that little rocking chair, and wondered if John was already gone? About 10 a.m. Friday, to my surprise, he showed up at the office.

I hooked him up with the kind reader/caller and felt kinda good about the results. Life however, is more complicated than that. The good Samaritan who took John to Arizona showed up the following Monday to tell me John didn't have a sister in Arizona.

As It Stands, I learned a lesson from less-than-honest John, but I don't regret having met him and having the opportunity to listen to his stories.

Photo source

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...