Saturday, October 9, 2010

Remembering John Lennon on what would have been his 70th birthday

It seems like everyone is playing “Imagine” today so I thought a change of pace might be nice. 

Take a minute and enjoy Lennon’s wizardry with words and musical beat.


While not as popular as “Imagine” - “Instant Karma” still rocks with a universal message.

“Come Together” is another iconic song that millions have listened to. Lennon’s main message was Peace.

That’s why his lyrics still resonate today.

I like to think he’s now “shining on” in a better place.


Half Man Half Ape: Scientists to look for China's Bigfoot

A group of Chinese scientists and explorers is looking for international help to mount a new search for the country's answer to Bigfoot, known locally as the "Yeren", or "wild man.

“Over the years, more than 400 people have claimed sightings of the half-man, half-ape Yeren in a remote, mountainous area of the central province of Hubei, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday.

Expeditions in the 1970s and 1980s yielded hair, a footprint, excrement and a sleeping nest suspected of belonging to the Yeren, but there has been no conclusive proof, the report added.

Witnesses describe a creature that walks upright, is more than 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) tall and with grey, red or black hair all over its body, Xinhua said.

Now the Hubei Wild Man Research Association is looking for volunteers from around the world to join them on another expedition to look for the Yeren.

"We want the team members to be devoted, as there will be a lot a hard work in the process," Luo Baosheng, vice president of the group, told Xinhua.

But the team will have to come up with about 10 million yuan ($1.50 million) first, and is talking to companies and other bodies to secure the funding, so there is no timetable yet for when they may start, the report added.

Friday, October 8, 2010

John Lennon would have been 70 Saturday…

Like many people tomorrow, I’ll spend a few moments remembering John Lennon – the man, and his music. 

This B&W photo was taken days before his murder.

Pictures: John Lennon
Pictures: Beatles Through the Years

I always thought Paul was the most talented of the group, but I liked John’s music,voice, and creativity nearly as much.

FBI busted tracking student, demands GPS spy gear return

After Web uproar, feds reclaimed magnetic tracker found under car

“Several days ago a 20-year-old student discovered a GPS tracking device hidden on his car.

After his friend posted a picture of it online, speculating about its ties to a secret FBI investigation, the feds themselves came a-knockin', according to They wanted their toy back.”

AND Something else to think about…

“What's impressive is how quickly Afifi got an identification of the gadget by crowdsourcing it on the Web.

On the flipside, that kind of exposure isn't good PR for the FBI. Surely the revelation of the magnetic tracker will cause many people to check under their own cars. Like many noble efforts to keep us safe from terrorism, this one may be turning out to not be so effective. After all, those who already know they're involved in illegal activity probably check their cars every day, rain or shine.”

"What Are Your Measurements?" 50 Most Sexist Quotes On the Campaign Trail

Endorsing a woman because of her "tight little butt" may be the latest in a string of sexist things said about female politicians, but it is by far not the worst that has been heard.

With the help of the "Name It, Change It" campaign to bring more awareness to sexism when it comes to women in politics, The Stir has posted a list of the Top 50 Most Sexist Quotes Heard on the Campaign Trail.

Another example: "I think I'm going to send Sotomayor, and her club, a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meetings." ~ Rush Limbaugh about Sonia Sotomayor

Prominent neurologist says animals have spiritual experiences

Image: Dog

Ever have an out-of-body experience? Your dog may have too

Animals (not just people) likely have spiritual experiences, according to a prominent neurologist who has analyzed the processes of spiritual sensation for over three decades.

Research suggests that spiritual experiences originate deep within primitive areas of the human brain — areas shared by other animals with brain structures like our own.

The trick, of course, lies in proving animals' experiences.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Southern Baptist leader nixes yoga for Christians

 “A Southern Baptist leader who is calling for Christians to avoid yoga and its spiritual attachments is getting plenty of pushback from enthusiasts who defend the ancient practice.

  1. Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler (right) says the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God. Mohler said he objects to "the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine." "That's just not Christianity," Mohler told The Associated Press.

Carl’s corner: first time fingerpainting for granddaughter

finger paint 064

finger paint 057 finger paint 050

Proud grandpa, Carl Young, was Johnny-on-the-spot in documenting his granddaughter Emily Rose’s first experience with fingerpainting.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

No kidding! Spaghetti Tacos Are Sweeping the Nation


Spaghetti tacos. Like every good trend, this one started with the kids.

After the character Spencer on Nickelodeon's iCarly cooked up the unusual pairing--a beautiful marriage of two beloved cuisines--kids everywhere demanded it be on their dinner plates.

The New York Times reports it's the most requested dish for slumber parties and there is even a Facebook page with over 1,200 fans and climbing. The dish has had a re-occuring role on the sitcom, appearing in six episodes since 2007. Though the writer of the show Dan Schneider hasn't tested it out, he is married to the woman behind Hungry Girl. They plan to prepare the meal at home and post a video on YouTube.

Panel results: Feds blocked worst-case Gulf spill figures

This information comes as no surprise to many scientists who were involved with the clean-up and tracking of the spill. It’s probably news to the average American, who should be outraged.

The stinking mess from this spill is going to carry over into generations of fish and wildlife. 

Interviews reveal that the White House denied a request to make discharge numbers public:

“The Obama administration blocked efforts by government scientists to tell the public just how bad the Gulf oil spill could become and made other missteps that raised questions about its competence and candor during the crisis, according to a commission appointed by the president to investigate the disaster.”

Supreme Court weighs arguments over 'Thank God for dead soldiers' funeral protest


Westboro Baptist Church says war deaths are punishment for U.S. immorality

Supreme Court justices Wednesday struggled with the free-speech question of whether fundamentalist church members have a right to picket funerals for dead soldiers.

See my column: Snyder vs Phelps: a case of free speech or harassment?

The justices heard arguments in the emotion-laden case of Albert Snyder of York, Pa. His son, a Marine, died in Iraq in 2006. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas, protested the funeral to make their point that U.S. deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are punishment for Americans' immorality, including tolerance of homosexuality and abortion.

Report: Taliban chiefs enter secret talks with government to end war

Hamid Karzai

Sources say that for the first time negotiators authorized to speak for Quetta Shura

Secret talks to end the war in Afghanistan have begun between representatives of the Taliban and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, The Washington Post reported on its website Tuesday night.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My What Big Eyes You Have! New species from New Guinea

Scientists found at least 20 new species of katydids in Papua New Guinea's Muller Range, including this pink-eyed Caedicia. ;Click through a slideshow of new species found in Papua New Guinea.

“Alan Boyle writes: Conservationists are celebrating the discovery of more than 200 new species in the remote mountains of Papua New Guinea, ranging from flowers to frogs to mice.

The island of New Guinea and its surroundings have been a biological gold mine for more than a century, going back to the expeditions of Alfred Russel Wallace, a pioneer in evolutionary biology and contemporary of Charles Darwin who cataloged hundreds of species throughout the Malay Archipelago.”

Have you ever visited the Moreton Bay Fig Tree off Hwy. 101?

The next time you’re in Santa Barbara stop by the Moreton Bay Fig Tree 

There are a lot of giant trees in the world (like our beloved Redwoods) but this one in Santa Barbara is big in a novel way.

Just off Highway 101 you can see this fig tree, which was planted by a little girl in 1874, who got the seed from an Australian sailor. On the Mapquest aerial photos you can see it as a big dark round spot. The branch span is 170 feet and they claim that 16,000 people could stand under the tree.

You used to be able to climb up the buttresses, and see homeless people camped out in the hollows. Not sure if that’s still happening.The picture doesn’t do it justice. I’m just saying…

Ayn Rand Conservatism at Work -- Firefighters Let Family's House Burn Down Because Owner Didn't Pay $75 Fee

 The other day I saw a post on SoHum Parlance about firefighters letting a house burn down because the owner didn’t make his $75 payment to the department.

 I looked into the situation and was pretty disgusted at what I found out. Just as I was preparing to write something about it someone emailed me this link which sums up the situation better than I could.


Talk of limited government is appealing until you see what it actually means in practice: a society in which it's every man for himself.

“Thanks to 30 years of right-wing demagoguery about the evils of “collectivism” and the perfidy of “big government” -- and a bruising recession that’s devastated state and local budgets -- we’re getting a peek at a dystopian nightmare that may be in our not-too-distant future. It’s a picture of a society in which “rugged individualism” run amok means every man for himself.

Call it Ayn Rand’s stark, anti-governmental dream come true, a vision that last week turned into a nightmare for Gene Cranick, a rurual homeowner in Obion County, Tennessee. Cranick hadn’t forked over $75 for the subscription fire protection service offered to the county’s rural residents, so when firefighters came out to the scene, they just stood there, with their equipment on the trucks, while Cranick’s house burned to the ground.

According to the local NBC TV affiliate, Cranick “said he offered to pay whatever it would take for firefighters to put out the flames, but was told it was too late. They wouldn't do anything to stop his house from burning.”

Driver cuts off suspect in California kidnap case

Image: Gregorio Gonzalez

This scum was sloppy and got caught. It’s scary to think about how child predators are so prevalent in our society today.

The captured girl in this case was lucky a good Samaritan recognized the truck she was taken in and ran the driver off the road. Of course, there was some luck involved when no one was hurt during that quick maneuver.

Police: 8-year-old escapes from captor after good Samaritan's quick thinking

“An 8-year-old girl who was abducted while playing outside a Fresno home escaped from her captor Tuesday morning after a driver cut off the suspect's vehicle, police said.

Elisa Cardenas was found in Fresno about 11 hours after she disappeared around 8:30 p.m. Monday, triggering a statewide Amber Alert. Police arrested Gregorio Gonzalez, 24 (pictured here), of Fresno.”

How long can state governments stand plump pensions, double-dipping, boffo bonuses?


State and local government budgets are by all accounts in dire straits.

Last year, collectively, they faced a $100 billion budget shortfall.  After 12 months of belt tightening, emergency aid, layoffs and tax hikes, things are even worse. 

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said in a report this year that the gap could be $140 billion. And last week, respected analyst Meredith Whitney suggested that state governments will collapse unless the federal government offers a trillion-dollar bailout  that will rival the bank bailout of 2008.

 And yet, across America, many government workers are getting rich off taxpayer-funded salaries. City managers get free luxury cars, firefighters get half-million-dollar lump payments and, in California, one city worker is being paid $500,000 annually during retirement.  In New York state, $100,000 salaries can’t be called rich, but at a time when unemployment remains near 10 percent, there are 99,000 state and local workers bringing home six figure salaries.

1. Phoenix – double-dipping top cop

Two frequent causes of outsized government worker pay are so-called “double-dipping” and lump sum retirement payouts due to banked sick time, vacation and other benefits. In the case of Phoenix top cop Jack Harris (pictured above), we have both.

Go here to see more examples.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Say Goodbye to 10 Common Misconceptions

1. Muscle does not turn to fat if you stop  exercising
2. The red juice in raw meat isn’t blood
3. Ostriches don’t hide their heads in the sand
4. Shaving does not affect hair growth
5. Sushi is not raw fish
6. The Sun isn’t yellow, it’s white
7. You actually use all of your brain, not 10%
8. Twinkies go bad after 25 days
9. The direction water spins down your drain has nothing to do with the hemisphere you are in
10. The tongue doesn’t have taste zones

Casino owner, 4 state senators, qualify for coveted ‘As It Stands’ Scum For October

Image: Milton McGregor at VictoryLand

This is an impressive case of corruption – buying and selling votes -and will be remembered for a long time in Alabama:

“The owner of Alabama's largest casino, four state senators and several lobbyists face federal charges of conspiring to buy and sell votes for millions of dollars to get electronic bingo legalized, according to an indictment released Monday.

One lobbying firm employee has pleaded guilty to offering $2 million for the vote of an indicted senator.”

Photo: VictoryLand owner Milton McGregor (waving like an idiot above) and four state senators and several top lobbyists have been indicted on federal charges accusing them of vote buying on a bill to legalize electronic bingo

Update on Sunday’s column about prescription drug disposal

I’ve been getting a lot of interesting feedback the last 24 hours about my column  Humboldt Officials miss drug disposal opportunity.

Perhaps the best bit of news I’ve heard thus far comes from Supervisor Jimmy Smith who emailed me this morning regarding the column.

In it, he admitted not knowing anything about the program, but he also got proactive real quick – and is checking with the Humboldt Health Department to see what they know about the prescription drug disposal program, and why our county didn’t get involved.

I want to thank Jimmy Smith both for his honesty and his proactive reaction. He’s always had my vote, since I first met him at the 1st Humboldt County Stand Down for veterans in Ferndale. Like all politicians, he has his critics. It’s part of the game. I’m really hard on most politicians because I don’t believe half of what comes out of their lips. Every now and then though a good one comes along like Jimmy Smith.

How did the rest of the nation do on that big prescription disposal drive? Here’s some links to very impressive results from the program:

Arizona residents dispose of over three tons of prescription drugs

Virginians turn over two tons of prescription drugs

Residents turn in 24 pounds of prescription drugs during 'take back' day

prescription drug take-back nets over 5 lbs.

6K lbs of Mich Take Back meds collected

DEA destroys 160 pounds of pills from Cowlitz County

Statewide 'take back' nets tons of prescription drugs

Statewide Prescription Drug Roundup Nets 389 Pounds of Medications

It’s down to this - parties' economic plans: blame the other guys

What can Americans expect from the upcoming Nov. 2 elections? Answer: the same old shit! Isn’t that encouraging?

As time before midterms draws short, lots of charges but few solutions

“If you don't like the economy, blame President Barack Obama and Democrats because they're making times tougher, Republicans are telling voters entering the four-week homestretch to an election the GOP hopes will return the party to power in Congress.

Look, Democrats say, it's the Republicans who caused the financial meltdown and recession. Do you want them to do it again? As bad as high unemployment, record home foreclosures and bankruptcies are, they'd be worse if the GOP had succeeded in blocking financial and auto industry bailouts and Obama's stimulus plan, Democrats claim.”

Image source

America is next: No joke! Illiterate clown triumphs in election

Like voters all over the world, I think most politicians are clowns. I’ve said so numerous times on this blog and will continue to. I fully expect more than one “clown” to be elected on Nov.2nd.Image: Brazilian clown Tiririca

'What does a congressman do? The truth is I don't know, but vote for me and I'll tell you'

“Voters the world over complain about having clowns for politicians, but Brazilians embraced the idea on Sunday by sending a real one to Congress with more votes than any other candidate.

Francisco Everardo Oliveira Silva, better known by his clown name Tiririca, received more than 1.3 million votes in Sao Paulo state in Brazil's presidential and congressional elections. That was more than double the votes of the second-placed candidate in Brazil's most populous state.”

Sunday, October 3, 2010

As It Stands: Humboldt officials miss drug disposal opportunity

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 10/03/2010 01:22:36 AM PDT

Humboldt County and city officials, along with local law enforcement let an important day pass without participation. Sept. 25th was National Prescription Medication Drop-Off Day, a program sponsored by the DEA in conjunction with states and cities nationwide.

I called around that day and checked with the sheriff's office to see if they knew anything about it. No one knew anything. I called the Eureka Police Department and spoke to a very courteous woman who informed me no one was working there that day, and I could try calling local pharmacies to see if they knew anything about the program.

I called a pharmacist at Walgreens. He told me he checked online and there were no prescription drug drop-off places set for Humboldt County that day (or any day). He did offer an alternative; the Crescent City Police Department was participating in some nationwide program, and I could go there to drop off old medications.

Say what? What happened here? Apparently a few people locally knew about this program because I checked out the blog, “Humboldt Online,” and it was mentioned there.

 A short blurb contained a couple of paragraphs about an upcoming prescription drug drop-off program available in Crescent City on Sept. 25th. The headline said, “Fighting prescription drug use” and attribution was given to the Daily Triplicate.

The blurb quoted Sheriff's Cmdr. Tim Athey as saying, “It's an open day where people can bring in and dispose of their outdated prescriptions.” What a good idea, don't you think? I can't understand why we didn't do that here.

What's wrong with this picture? Why didn't someone in this county care enough to get involved in this program? Don't they think we have a problem here? Perhaps local law enforcement already has prescription drug drop-off spots they've forgotten to share with us? I doubt it.

 Think about the pharmacies robbed at gunpoint in recent months by desperate criminals seeking OxyContin. Most local pharmacies have stopped carrying it to protect their employees.

Humboldt County has its share of prescription drug abuse. Ask any of our local law enforcement officials if they think it's a problem. Don't be surprised at the answer. I wonder why they didn't get involved?

Overall, 6.2 million Americans abuse medicine that is not prescribed for them. A 2008 national survey on drug use noted that more Americans currently abuse prescription medications than those who abuse cocaine, hallucinogens, and heroin combined.

Health officials nationally have asked Americans not to flush unwanted medications down the toilet because they'll wind up in our waterways. They also strongly urge people not to throw them out in garbage that ends up in landfills.

There were 10 locations for drop-offs in San Francisco. Sgt. Ardraychak of the SFPD told the press, “Three quarters of prescription medicines that are abused in the United States actually come from family or friends and often times from family medicine cabinets.”

On average, Americans buy about $250 billion worth of medicines per year. When people stop taking their medication, for whatever reason, the remainder sits in the medicine cabinet until its safe date passes, or the wrong person takes it.

The city of New Orleans went to great lengths to make sure everyone got a chance to dispose of unwanted medications. It offered free rides to the disposal stations set up citywide on Sept. 25th. And so it went across the country, concerned cities trying to do something about a huge problem. But not here behind the Redwood Curtain.

About the only thing I think people can do locally is to call their doctor's office and see if they have the means (and desire) to safely dispose of outdated and unwanted prescriptions. I wish I could offer more help, but there must be qualified people in this county with answers ... somewhere.

As It Stands, I'm waiting to hear any explanation. Why didn't Humboldt County get involved?

It's Time the Mainstream Media Admits This is not a Normal Election

The mainstream media is sending signals that they don't know what to do about the most corrupt presidential candidate in history. Trump ...