Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bulwer-Lytton Award for Writing An Awesomely Bad Sentence sounds like fun

The Bulwer-Lytton award is given annually for the worst first sentence of a novel. Contestants craft deliberately bad opening lines. Molly Ringle (Seattle, Washington) took the 2010 prize with this gem:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss — a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC) is a tongue-in-cheek contest that takes place annually and is sponsored by the English Department of San Jos̩ State University in San Jose, California. Entrants are invited "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels" Рthat is, deliberately bad. According to the official rules, the prize for winning the contest is "a pittance",or $250.

Kinda strange: woman 'found frog in bottle of wine'

Asda, the supermarket giant, is investigating a woman’s claim that she found a frog in a bottle of wine.

“Isolde Beesley, complained that the creature fell out as she poured a glass of Moscatel de Valencia, a white Spanish dessert wine, at a family celebration.

She claims has suffered stomach pains since drinking some of the wine, having initially failed to see the thumb nail-sized amphibian floating at the bottom of the bottle.

Miss Beesley, from Liecestershire, said she had bought the £3.58 bottle on December 23 last year and opened it on Boxing Day.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Obama Administration Opposes Legalization - So Tell Us Something We Didn't Already Know


By Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

“The mainstream media is in a frenzy over statement's issued today by the Justice Department alleging that the office will "vigorously enforce" federal anti-marijuana laws in California, regardless of whether voters enact Proposition 19 this November.
To which I'd respond: So what? Of course the Obama administration is wedded to America's failed prohibition policies. After all, it is their policy. And of course the voters of California cannot change the federal Controlled Substances Act via a statewide vote. Nobody ever claimed that they could.
However, here's what is noteworthy. Despite the claims of various Prop. 19 opponents that the measure is in direct conflict with federal law or is somehow ‘unconstitutional’ and would thus be 'preempted' by the Feds, at no time today did the federal government challenge the fact that Californians have the legal right to determine their own marijuana policies. Rather, the federal government simply reinforced that they remain of the opinion that marijuana ought to be criminally outlawed - a position that is out of step with the American public’s sentiment.

Furthermore, Californians have been here before, and not just in 1996. Seventy-eight years ago this November, Californians overwhelmingly voted for the repeal of a morally, socially, and economically failed public policy - alcohol prohibition. Voters did not wait for the federal government to act; they took the matter into their own hands. And they will do so again this November.
Finally, it goes without saying that the federal justice department - verbal bluster aside - lacks both the resources and the political will to take on the role of targeting and prosecuting the estimated 3.3 million Californians who are presently consuming cannabis for non-medical purposes. These duties are relegated to state, not federal, law enforcement officials. Just as medical marijuana has existed as a legal market in California, in obvious violation of federal Controlled Substances Act, Prop. 19 will too remain the law of the land post-November 2.
Which ultimately begs the question, "If a government's legitimate use of state power is based on the consent of the governed, then at what point does marijuana prohibition - in particular the federal enforcement of prohibition - become illegitimate public policy?"

Perhaps it is time to ask President Obama and United States Attorney General Eric Holder?”

Lawsuit over condom in Whopper settled out of court

Vermont man claimed he got more than he bargained for in the burger

“The lawyer for a Vermont man who claimed he bit into a Burger King sandwich and found an unwrapped condom says his lawsuit's been settled out of court.”

PHOTO - In this Dec. 6, 2007 file photo, Van Miguel Hartless looks at the Burger King sandwich he claims contained an unwrapped condom in it


“Maybe next time he should order his burger condom-ints…”

“Don't lie you bit into a condom and found a disgusting Whopper inside.”

“Why put a condom in a Whopper? To prevent a Whopper Junior, of course..... Do you want fries with that?”

Fail: Stabbed — during anger-management class

A 19-year-old woman was charged with second-degree assault after allegedly stabbing another woman during an anger-management class, the Seattle Times reported.

The incident occurred Saturday while a video on anger management was being shown, the Times said. Police said Faribah Maradiaga walked into a classroom at Bellevue College and started complaining about the video. The victim told her "to give it a chance," according to charging documents.

After words were exchanged, Maradiaga pulled out a knife with a 3-inch blade and stabbed the other woman, police and prosecutors said. Maradiaga also is accused of threatening to kill the other woman's family, the Times said.

Maradiaga told police that the other woman threatened her first. She was being held on $50,000 bail.

Stone Age Parents: Is it time to return to caveman parenting?

Stone Age families didn't spank and relied on multiple caregivers to raise their kids, studies suggest


“In fact, that's just how doting Stone Age parents reared their children, according to three new studies presented this week at a University of Notre Dame conference. While our hunter-gatherer ancestors may not have been big on dental hygiene, they did get it right when it came to raising well-adjusted, empathetic children, says lead researcher Darcia Narvaez, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame, whose research focuses on moral development of children.”

image source

Thursday, October 14, 2010

No kidding here: Whitney is 'Whitey' on some ballots in Chicago

“The last name of Green Party gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney is misspelled as "Whitey" on electronic-voting machines in nearly two dozen wards -- about half in predominantly African-American areas -- and election officials said Wednesday the problem cannot be corrected by Election Day.

The misspelling turned up on touch-screen machines in 23 wards overall. Whitney's name is spelled correctly on the machines' initial screens showing all of the candidates' names, but it is misspelled on review screens that later show a voter his or her choices, said Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Elections.”

Image source

Guest Opinion: Drug decriminalization policy pays off

user81126_pic472925_1283219083 By GLENN GREENWALD

“Ten years ago, Portugal became the first Western nation to pass full-scale, nationwide decriminalization. That law, passed Oct. 1, 2000, abolished criminal sanctions for all narcotics — not just marijuana but also “hard drugs” like heroin and cocaine.”


“Portugal, whose drug problems were among the worst in Europe, now has the lowest usage rate for marijuana and one of the lowest for cocaine. Drug-related pathologies, including HIV transmission, hepatitis transmission and drug-related deaths, have declined significantly.”

Read more

Obama Rally Streaker: Man Short of Requirements for $1 Million Prize

Image: Obama rally streaker

You can color this cat desperate.

Anyone willing to strip down naked and run in public for money is, at very least, a thrill-seeker.

But to try and get within sight and hearing distance of one of the most closely guarded men in the world while buck naked is…well, desperate.

Billionaire who made challenge settles with New York City man

“A New York City man who ran naked through President Obama's campaign rally in a bid to win a $1 million Internet challenge will not receive the full prize.

British billionaire Alki David, who initiated the publicity stunt, said 24-year-old Juan J. Rodriguez didn't meet the requirements for the full prize because he didn't get within eyesight or earshot of the president.”

Gladiator days: Colosseum's dungeons opening to visitors

Image: Tourists visit the Colosseum in Rome

ROME — Underground dungeons at Rome's Colosseum, considered to be one of the great feats of Roman architecture and where gladiators once locked in mortal combat, will open to the public for the first time next week.

An upper area of the ancient monument that had been closed since the 1970s will also be accessible to visitors and offer them a view over Rome's ancient forum, Italian culture ministry officials said on Thursday.

Photos: When in Rome ...

Bakersfield, CA is #1 on list of most pollutred cities in America

California has five of the 10 most polluted cities in the nation. Why is that?

The American Lung Association released their 2009 State of the Air report recently, listing the cities with the most polluted air in the country. This is a shameful list to be on.

#2 Los Angeles, CA

The Official Website of the City of Los Angeles

#3 Fresno, CA 

#4 Visalia-Porterville, CA

#5 Birmingham, AL

#6 Hanford-Corcoran, CA

#7 St. Louis, Mo

#8 New York, NY

#9 Pittsburgh, PA

#10. Sacramento, CA 

A number of factors contribute to what makes up a dirty atmosphere, including ozone pollution (which contributes to smog and triggers asthma), and particle pollution (which includes dust, pollen, and mold in the air). Find out why these cities were picked. Click here.


This little girl is already an accomplished artist at eight-years old

I first saw Autumn a year ago on TV when her paintings started selling big time. She’s truly an amazing, unique, and natural artist. Some people are born with this kind of talent…but not many. She’s unique in her vision and application. No formal training. At five years-old, she asked her Dad if she could have painting supplies and immediately turned out masterpieces!

I imagine her parents are proud of her talent. Dad owns an art gallery, and the family home is covered with paintings by the masters. Autumn grew up looking at those great paintings, so it’s fair to say early influence had a lot to do with her interest in painting. If you’re an art collector you might want to purchase one of her paintings now, they go for about $20,000 each. Years from now, that purchase is bound to increase in value.


This car was spotted at the Eureka Target parking lot yesterday


The question is …what’s their house look like?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fraud franchise: Armenian gangsters busted in largest Medicare scam ever

Authorities are accusing a network of Armenian gangsters and associates

“A vast network of Armenian gangsters and their associates used phantom health care clinics and other means to try to cheat Medicare out of $163 million, the largest fraud by one criminal enterprise in the program's history, U.S. authorities said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors in New York and elsewhere charged 73 people. Most of the defendants were captured during raids Wednesday morning in New York City and Los Angeles, but there also were arrests in New Mexico, Georgia and Ohio.

The scheme's scope and sophistication "puts the traditional Mafia to shame," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a Manhattan news conference. "They ran a veritable fraud franchise."

Mid term elections draw near as candidates circus continues


The Merry Game of politics, so much like circuses, is really about entertainment. Don’t let the hollow rhetoric you hear detract from how amusing our clown-like candidates are. Meg and Jerry are both In search of a game-changer in California and the GOP groups plan $50 million advertising drive 

Then we have clowns garnering our support Candidates go from rich to regular, with a little help or warnings like Keeping an eye on South Carolina , or predictions like Poll: Republicans likely to take House, or how desperate the Democrats are when The first lady hits the stump to get voter turnout.


Meanwhile, Across the U.S., long recovery looks like recession No wonder Americans are pessimistic and unhappy ... We are entering a period of austerity

We might as well enjoy the antics of our would-be public servants. For example, how about  Christine O'Donnell - Delaware Candidate for the Senate? Witchcraft…hmmmmmm. That’s special. I hear she’s just like you and me (sans practicing witchcraft and being against masturbation).


Pumpkin chic: there’s more than one way to carve a pumpkin

Spooky Skeleton Pumpkins // "10 Scary Pumpkins You've Never Seen Before" // Photo: Country Living 




It just takes an imagination, a carving knife, and the will to experiment to make a great Jack-O-Lantern

image source

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

As It Stands goes au natural…


The blue morpho butterfly, which lives in Central and South America, has tiny ears on its wings and can distinguish between high- and low-pitch sounds.

The butterfly may use its ears to listen for nearby predatory birds.

The ochre starfish or sea star pumps itself up with cold seawater to lower its body temperature when exposed to the sun at low tide.

It is equivalent to a human drinking 1.8 gallons of water before heading into the midday sun, scientists say.

Bagheera kiplingi, a jumping arachnid from Central America, is the first known vegetarian spider.

It eats nectar-filled leaf tips rather than other animals.


The eyes of the mantis shrimp possess a feature that could make DVDs and CDs perform better.

By emulating this structure, which displays color wavelengths at all ranges, developers could create a new category of optical devices.

Alert! Be on the look out for two people in gorilla costumes and third one in chicken suit

I guess the Halloween pranks are coming early to one little town in Suffolk County. I know it’s not funny, but the idea of three costumed thugs stealing a person’s bike while they’re on it is kinda bizarre. Don’t you think?

Can you envision the person in the chicken suit barreling down the road on the purloined bicycle? Didn’t this person think anyone would notice the costume? Or, is it possible that was the whole point? Punks will be punks at any time of the year.

(AP) Police say the thieves who stole a New York teenager's bicycle were, well, animals.

Suffolk County police say two people in gorilla costumes and a third in a chicken suit took the boy's bike Monday in Rocky Point, on the north shore of Long Island.

Police say the three confronted him while he was riding along Route 25A around 1:15 p.m. Police say one of the gorilla-suit suspects punched the teen in the head and knocked him off his bike, and the person in a chicken costume rode off on it. The ape-suit duo ran away.

The teen was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. He's been released.

Detectives are searching for the suspects.

Mati Suri Illusion is unsettling…like it’s suppose to be

Mati Suri Poster IllusionSeeing an optical illusion in this “new” poster for “Mati Suri” the movie, shouldn’t be too hard.

It works in the same way the Premonition poster did, only there are skulls.

This is my last movie poster for the day…

In honor of endless summers and surfers…

With this Indian Summer were experiencing in Humboldt County, I thought it would be fun to share an iconic surfing poster in honor of THE ENDLESS SUMMER. If you recall seeing this poster when it came out, then your a Boomer like me…


poster source

U.S. failure to retaliate for USS Cole attack rankled then — and now

Image: Bombing of the USS Cole

Declassified docs show U.S. officials urged Clinton, Bush to strike al-Qaida

The US government failed to go after Bin Laden when they knew (almost immediately) that his followers were responsible for the attack on the USS Cole.

Two presidents let the ball drop and the next terrorist attack (perhaps emboldened by their success with the Cole) was 9/11. If our top leaders would have listened to their security sources, and Yemen officials who captured two of the terrorists, we would have struck the al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan right after the Cole attack. But no.

Instead, President Clinton, and Bush, spewed plenty of patriotic rhetoric and then did absolutely nothing after the Cole attack. Zero. Nada. Both presidents claim they didn’t have surefire evidence of who attacked the Cole. This claim is bullshit, as the released documents show in this article. Was the fate of the 9/11 victims assured because of this terrorist success? You have to wonder.

Here’s some really cool tree houses for adults who never grew up

fairytale tree houses08Children’s play and children‘s joy in tree houses are eternal.

So eternal, that some adults build them in honor of their childhood.

Some of them are restaurants and hotels with magnificent views and the twittering of birds instead of alarm clocks. Some are comfortable homes for the holidays and some are primary homes.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Woman in labor robs Walmart, police in Ohio say

Some moms-to-be like to stay active right up until delivery

“Police in Alliance, Ohio, say a woman in labor robbed a Walmart with an accomplice, reported.

Katurah Petty and Staniel Petty were arrested Thursday and charged with theft and forgery.Police say the women stole $271 worth of computer software. The two women used computer-generated serial number adhesive labels to steal the merchandise, reported.Katurah Petty was in labor during the theft, and police transported her to the hospital after the arrest, according to No information was available on the condition of mother or child.”

Photo source

Some returning veterans get pink slips instead of their jobs back

Image: Veahey returns from duty

Prolonged wars, poor economy create tough situation for returning soldiers

“Last year Mike Vahey returned from a four-year enlistment, including duty in Iraq and Kuwait, where he was a sergeant on an Army diving team inspecting ports for bombs. When he returned home he expected his job as an engineer at a General Motors plant in Newport, Del., would be waiting for him.

“There wasn’t a doubt in my mind that my job would be there when I got back,” said Vahey, 40, who had worked for GM since 1997, most recently as a quality launch engineer. “I didn’t give much thought to it. I felt I was protected and had nothing to worry about.”

Unfortunately, instead of getting tickertape for serving his country Vahey got a pink slip. Soon after he got back, the plant where he worked was shuttered, leaving Vahey and hundreds of other civilian autoworkers jobless.” Read the rest here.

PHOTO: Soon after returning from service, a GM plant closure left Mike Vahey jobless.

Too much screen time can psychologically harm kids

Negative effects occurs no matter how active children were during the rest of the day, study finds

“More than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems suggests a new study. British researchers found the effect held regardless of how active kids were during the rest of the day.

"We know that physical activity is good for both physical and mental health in children and there is some evidence that screen viewing is associated with negative behaviors," lead researcher Dr. Angie Page of the University of Bristol told Reuters Health in an e-mail. "But it wasn't clear whether having high physical activity levels would 'compensate' for high levels of screen viewing in children."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

As It Stands: 10-10-10: What are you doing today?

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 10/10/2010 01:24:54 AM PDT

There are three possible outcomes for today's unique date, 10-10-10. Something good will happen, nothing special will happen or something bad will happen.

There's something special about dates: George Orwell's “1984”; the cannabis culture's call to action -- 420 -- and Proposition 19; the Y2K Bug in 2000; and the world coming to an end in 2012 are examples that seem to spark the imagination.

We respond to the date 9-11 with anger and sadness. We call 911 when we're in trouble and 10-4 is a common police, ham radio, and military term for “I hear you” or “yes.” Cats are reputed to have nine lives.

One national thing happening today is an environmental event titled “Global Climate Awareness Day.” The organizers ask the public to “Please leave your cars at home (can you imagine everyone walking to work on the freeways?) and consider your impact on the environment.”

An environmental group, (named for the targeted number of CO2 particles per million in the earth atmosphere), is sponsoring a Global Work Party Day today. It's an Earth Day of sorts for companies and organizations -- a time-out for employees to work together on a green solution for their company or to go out into their community and participate in one of the thousands of events listed on the group's website.

I think it's a good idea to be as environmentally conscious as possible without joining groups. If we recycle and pay attention to other small things in our everyday life, we can make a difference. I'm all for getting rid of the “throw-away mentality.” Fix things instead of buying new ones.

Moving on, here's another interesting thing about today: Both a yin and Yang situation are incorporated into this date. For example, 10-10-10 (base two binary) equals 42 (base 10). Oddly enough, this is evenly divisible by the number of days in the week (the lucky number 7); and equally as odd, it's also divisible by the number 6, thought to be an unlucky number.

 In addition, the binary attribute of 101010 lends itself to use by the sciences of fractals (recursive geometric shapes) and chaos theory (the butterfly effect). When you think about it, this day sums up to be interesting.

The number 10 is considered special for many other reasons, but think how often we hear it nearly every day. For example, how about those ubiquitous Top 10 Lists? You know the ones I mean.

We have the Top 10 Musical Hits for the Year; Top 10 Jokes of the Year; Top 10 Dumb Things to Do; Top 10 Serial Killers; Top 10 Cake Designs; Top 10 Amusement Parks; and countless other Top 10 lists of activities involving animals, people and travel locations.

The only exception to the number 10 as something positive occurred when I was in Vietnam. The locals told us GIs our trading offer was “Numba 10” when they thought it was a bad offer. If they didn't like you, they'd say you were “Numba 10.” For whatever reasons, the Vietnamese thought the number 10 sucked.

Just because we have an unusual date doesn't mean something will happen. However, if something really fantastic happens today, we won't have any trouble recalling it years from now.

Remember 10-10-10 when the Democrats and Republicans finally agreed on a law that actually meant good news for the average American?” Now, that would be something, don't you think?

I don't ask for miracles today. However, I allow my innate optimism to have its way and I won't be too surprised if something good does happen.

 I hope something good happens for you today, making it a day to remember. I heard somewhere a lot of weddings are planned for today.

I want to give a shout-out to my good friend, author/ editor Margaret Searles of McKinleyville, whose birthday is today!

As It Stands, more than likely, for me, it will be just another day in paradise -- Humboldt County.

UPDATE: web sites carrying this column:

Yahoo Answers

Action News Now (Oct.10)

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...