Saturday, January 15, 2011

60 days of nothing but spuds leaves advocate 21 lbs. lighter

I think that if I went on a diet like this I would soon be seeing eyes (right) in everything I ate. I’m a meat and potatoes guy, but this is just going too far. Gotta love what some people will do to keep their jobs however:

‘No toppings, no sour cream, no butter’: The rigors of the all-potato diet

“As the head of the Washington State Potato Commission, it’s the job of Chris Voigt to promote the spud as a nutritious, cost-effective, easy-to-grow vegetable that should be part of a well-balanced diet.

To hammer home his message, Voigt ate nothing but potatoes between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. He had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner — about 20 potatoes per day prepared in a variety of ways.”

Canadian radio stations told to censor Dire Straits

Former "Dire Straits" lead singer Mark Knopfler performs during a concert in Bombay March 5, 2005. K..

The slippery slope of rewriting history is not good for anyone. One American scholar recently wanted to rewrite Huckleberry Finn because it used the “N” word. This latest attempt at historical censorship in Canada really surprises me.

Why is it that people feel they have to rewrite history to make it acceptable by today’s standards?


“Canadian radio station have been warned to censor the 1985 Dire Straits hit "Money for Nothing," after a complaint that the lyrics of the Grammy Award-winning song were derogatory to gay men.

A St. John's, Newfoundland, station should have edited the song to remove the word "faggot" because it violates Canada's human rights standards, according to ruling this week by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

Forget about man biting dog for a story – try Fox shoots man!

A wild fox cub lies outside its burrow near the village of Khatenchitsy north of Minsk

I remember the old journalism saying; “It’s not a story when a dog bites a man. It is a story however, if the man bites the dog.”

“MOSCOW (Reuters) – A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday.

The unnamed hunter, who had approached the fox after wounding it from a distance, was in hospital with a leg wound, while the fox made its escape, media said, citing prosecutors from the Grodno region.

"The animal fiercely resisted and in the struggle accidentally pulled the trigger with its paw," one prosecutor was quoted as saying.

Fox-hunting is popular in the picturesque farming region of northwestern Belarus which borders Poland.”

(Reporting by Amie Ferris-Rotman; Editing by Matthew Jones)

I was a Scropio & now I’m a Libra because experts say that a wobbly earth means our horoscopes are wrong!

Stars shifted over 2,000 years so horoscope signs are nearly a month off

If you look to your horoscope for a preview of your day, look again: You're probably following somebody else's supposed fate.Thanks to Earth's wobble, astrological signs are, well, bunk. (Or even more bunk than you might expect.) Astrological signs are determined by the position of the sun relative to certain constellations on a person's day of birth. The problem is, the positions were determined more than 2,000 years ago. Nowadays, the stars have shifted in the night sky so much that horoscope signs are nearly a month off. [Read: Why Your Horoscope for 2011 Is All Wrong ]

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Billionaire Koch Brothers Fulfill Father's Campaign to Segregate Public Schools, End Successful Integration Program in NC

Just in case there’s any doubt that racism is still rampant in America check out this story…

In their quest to end the diversity policy, the frustrated parents have found some influential partners, among them retail magnate and Republican operative Art Pope. Following his guidance, the GOP fielded the victorious bloc of school board candidates who railed against “forced busing.” The nation’s largest tea party organizers, Americans for Prosperity – on whose national board Pope sits – cast the old school board members as arrogant “leftists.” Two libertarian think tanks, which Pope funds almost exclusively, have deployed experts on TV and radio.”

The Tea party group founded and funded by the Koch brothers, Americans for Prosperity, led the way in destroying what was a model integration system in Wake County. 

“Today in the Washington Post, reporter Stephanie McCrummen detailed how a right-wing campaign in the Wake County area of North Carolina has taken over the school board with a pledge to end a very successful socio-economic integration plan. The integration plan, which created thriving schools in poor African-American parts of the school district along with achieving diversity in schools located in wealthy white enclaves, was a model for the nation. However, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the Tea Party group founded and funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, worked with local right-wing financier (and AFP board member) Art Pope to fundamentally change Wake County’s school board.”

Proof that the Koch family bigotry infects each new generation:

“… the Koch brothers are simply fulfilling their father’s legacy. In 1958, Fred Koch — the founder of Koch Industries — joined a group of manufacturing executives and Robert Welch to found the John Birch Society, a virulent far-right group that dominated the civil rights debate.”


Absolutely Amazing Photography by Edgar Moskopp



‘Spirit of Adventure: British cruise ship dodges pirates in Indian Ocean

Spirit of Adventure approached by speedboat; passengers, crew are safe

“A British cruise ship avoided potential attack in the Indian Ocean yesterday when it was approached by a speedboat manned by what is thought to have been Somali pirates. The 9,570-ton, 348-passenger Spirit of Adventure, a sister line of Saga Cruises, was en route from Madagascar to Zanzibar when a suspect vessel came suspiciously close during dinner, having followed the ship at a distance for some time beforehand. A spokesman for Spirit of Adventure told Cruise Critic: "As a pure precaution, passengers were moved to the lounge and full security measures were put into place."

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Abandoned buildings in America that are good for urban exploration

Abandoned Military Island Buildings

Abandoned Man-Made Military Island

Baltimore, Maryland has a number of interesting abandonments, but none so sizable and prominent as Fort Carroll (right). Over a century old, this for was constructed in the middle of the 19th century though it never saw war. In WWII it was briefly used as a firing range for the Army and a checkpoint for ships, but has been abandoned ever since. Developers have failed to find uses for it and it has since become a habitat for numerous animals and the site of occasional urban explorations.

Abandoned Luxury Hotel Building

Abandoned Historic Hotel Building

Mineral Wells, Texas is home to a grand old abandoned hotel with the first Olympic-size swimming pool in the United States. Opened nearly 80 years ago, the 14 story Baker Hotel (above left) had visits from celebrities including Judy Garland, Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, The Three Stooges, Bonny and Clyde, Helen Keller and even Ronald Reagan before closing its doors. As per a strange promise made to the public, the hotel’s founder Earl Baker closed the hotel on his 70th birthday. The hotel was auctioned and reopened under new ownership but in the late 1960s Baker had a fatal heart attack (strangely enough) in his own grand hotel’s Baker Suite. The hotel closed shortly thereafter for good, leaving behind only pictures of this wonder. GO HERE TO SEE MORE

Art Corner: Los Angeles muralist, 94, paints the seasons of her life

Neighbors encouraged Erma Winfield's at-home project, and even the police hovered overhead to monitor her artistic progress.

House paint on fiberglass

The mural outside Erma Winfield's Mid-City home has a Grandma Moses look to it. And not just because the artist who painted it is 94, either. Story here.

PHOTO - Mid-City Artist Erma Winfield is a self-taught artist who celebrates life with paintings based on photos and her memories. She spent eight months completing the mural at her home. “It turned out great,” a neighbor says. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / January 5, 2011)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I think it’s time for some laughter on this wet Tuesday afternoon

Funny Quotes

Image source

It was that close: Hero was almost a heel for shooting the wrong man

You aren’t going to stop crazies like Loughner from killing soneone by carrying a gun.

As the dust settles on the shooting rampage in Tucson one thing is becoming clear; someone else was nearly killed by someone packing a gun while coming to the aide of the fallen Congresswoman.

Joe Zamudio’s actions have spurred some to look at Arizona’s liberal gun laws (you don’t need a permit to carry a concealed weapon) and to see if they need tightened. Others, to my amazement, are looking at ways to expand gun accessibility in the state. 

 Armed Giffords hero nearly shot wrong man

Joe Zamudio rushed to the scene and saw a man with a gun — but he wasn't the shooter

“Now comes the tragedy in Tucson. And what do gun advocates propose? More guns. Arizona already lets people carry concealed weapons without requiring permits. The legislature is considering two bills to expand this right, and as Slate's David Weigel reports, the Arizona Citizens Defense League is preparing legislation that would require the state to offer firearms training to politicians and their staff. The bill is tentatively titled the Giffords-Zimmerman Act in honor of the wounded congresswoman and her slain aide. "When everyone is carrying a firearm, nobody is going to be a victim," argues the state's top pro-gun legislator. Beyond Arizona, at least two members of Congress say they'll brings guns while traveling their districts.”

You can arm every man and women in Arizona and it’s not going to stop a determined shooter from walking up and blasting away. Unless the targeted person has their weapon out and are ready to shoot it instantly, it doesn’t do them any good according to law enforcement and government authorities. When your talking about a true “headcase” they aren’t going to care if everyone else is carrying a gun. Most of the time they expect to die, or even kill themselves after inflicting their damage.

“The new poster boy for this agenda is Joe Zamudio, a hero in the Tucson incident. Zamudio was in a nearby drug store when the shooting began, and he was armed. He ran to the scene and helped subdue the killer. Television interviewers are celebrating his courage, and pro-gun blogs are touting his equipment. "Bystander Says Carrying Gun Prompted Him to Help," says the headline in the Wall Street Journal.”

But before we embrace Zamudio's brave intervention as proof of the value of being armed, let's hear the whole story. "I came out of that store, I clicked the safety off, and I was ready," he explained on Fox and Friends. "I had my hand on my gun. I had it in my jacket pocket here. And I came around the corner like this." Zamudio demonstrated how his shooting hand was wrapped around the weapon, poised to draw and fire. As he rounded the corner, he saw a man holding a gun. "And that's who I at first thought was the shooter," Zamudio recalled. "I told him to 'Drop it, drop it!'"

But the man with the gun wasn't the shooter. He had wrested the gun away from the shooter. "Had you shot that guy, it would have been a big, fat mess," the interviewer pointed out.

Tactically speaking, if the Congresswoman and her aides, were all carrying weapons, they would still be at a hopeless disadvantage with respect to a sudden gun-reveal and attack by a determined or crazed assailant in a crowd...unless they have those weapons at the ready, and their primary function is armed security, and there is a physical separation between the assailant and the protectee, and the protectee has cover available.

"I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky."

Zamudio knows he was lucky. He’s never had any formal firearm training, but told reporters he grew up with guns. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean he knows what to do in a shoot-out with civilians everywhere. Right now the NRA and gun proponents are tooting his horn because he had a gun – despite the fact he didn’t use it and almost shot the wrong person – when he (and another man) subdued the shooter who had run out of ammunition for his semi-auto Glock.

One last thing: the shooter bought his ammo at a Wal-Mart hours before the killings. He went to one and they (for reasons still unknown) wouldn’t sell him any. So he went to another Wal Mart nearby, and bought 200 rounds there with no problem. That tells me that if there was a safeguard (showing ID - like we have to do in California as of this year) it worked in one place and not another. So what does that tell you about the effectiveness of that supposed safeguard?

Monday, January 10, 2011

‘As It Stands’ Comeback Line For 2010 is a true classic…


If you ever testify in court, you might wish you could have been as sharp as this policeman. He was being cross-examined by a defense attorney during a felony trial. The lawyer was trying to undermine the police officer's credibility ... 

Q: 'Officer --- did you see my client fleeing the scene?' 
A: 'No sir. But I subsequently observed a person matching the description of the offender, running several blocks away.' 
Q: 'Officer -- who provided this description?' 
A: 'The officer who responded to the scene.' 
Q: 'A fellow officer provided the description of this so-called offender. Do you trust your fellow officers?' 
A: 'Yes, sir. With my life.' 
Q: 'With your life? Let me ask you this then officer. Do you have a room where you change your clothes in preparation for your daily duties?' 
A: 'Yes sir, we do!'

Q: 'And do you have a locker in the room?' 
A: 'Yes, sir, ... I do.'

Q: 'And do you have a lock on your locker?' 
A: 'Yes, sir.' 
Q: 'Now, .. why is it, officer, if you trust your fellow officers with your life, you find it necessary to lock your locker in a room you share with these same officers?' 
A: 'You see, sir -- we share the building with the court complex, and sometimes lawyers have been known to walk through that room.'
The courtroom EXPLODED with laughter, and a prompt recess was called.

This comeback line came from Rolex Forums

If you enjoyed this comeback try going here for a great collection of comebacks compiled at PuzzList

8 Psychotic Overreactions by Adults at Youth Sporting Events

article image

Anybody who played sports as a kid has probably had one or both of their parents behave in such a ridiculously embarrassing manner during a game that it still makes us cringe just to think about it. So it should come as no surprise that on athletic fields around the world, the phenomena known as Sideline Rage (that is, adults acting like unbalanced assholes during children's sporting events) seems to gotten even more terrifying since we were kids.

#8 Dentist Dad Rigs Helmet to Make Opposing Players Bleed

As much as every parent says, "It doesn't matter if you win as long as you have fun," nobody wants their kid running around picking daisies in the outfield and taking fancy-pants swings at the ball. Sure, you can make your kid do extra practice at home, or maybe even spring for a personal trainer. Or, if you're like dentist and overzealous sports dad Dr. Stephen Cito, you can weaponize your son's football helmet before a big game
Taking a page out sports legend Ty Cobb's playbook, Dr. Cito sharpened the face guard of his son's football helmet so it would slash any opposing players that got close enough. His son wore the death helmet in a game against high school rival Albuquerque Academy. After five players were taken off the field with lacerations, referees halted the game, and an inspection of the Cito's super-helmet revealed it was "sharp enough to shred a magazine cover."Let's make it clear: He didn't rig this thing to scratch up some arms and hands and make the game a little tougher on the other team. One opposing player had to be taken to the hospital to get 10 stitches on his arm. Yes, this is a real thing that happened.

Cito's son was expelled from St. Pious High and banned from competition for a year. Dr. Cito himself was charged with conspiring to commit aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to two days in jail, one year probation and 400 hours community service, presumably teaching little leaguers how to file down a toothbrush and hide it in their glove.

Read the other 7 crazy reactions here.

Humans first wore clothing 170,000 years ago

Image: Body louse

Scientists track louse DNA to determine people got dressed after second-to-last Ice Age

“Humans began to wear clothing 170,000 years ago, according to a new study that suggests our ancestors first put on clothes after the second-to-last Ice Age, when being nude must have been too cool for comfort.

The evidence comes from seemingly very unfashionable lice, since scientists tracked when head lice evolved into clothing/body lice around 170,000 years ago. So lice have been with us since the world's first clothes were made.”

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Airing out citizen concerns about PG&E's SmartMeter Program

By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 01/09/2011 01:26:13 AM PST

It's been a year since PG&E's SmartMeter Program was introduced in California. We got ours in early December. I went outside and talked with the young lady while she installed the controversial new technology for monitoring energy use. She was from Oregon and wasn't bothered by rain coming down while she did her job.

At the time, I was unaware of the controversy regarding the new SmartMeters. When I mentioned I got one recently, a friend told me to Google “SmartMeters.” He hinted darkly that there were big problems with them. He didn't even want to talk about it.

Curiosity properly piqued, I got on my computer and surfed through reams of stories about SmartMeters. I've concluded there are three main issues associated with them: The first is questions about their accuracy. The second concerns health hazards from their microwave radiation emissions and the third is privacy concerns. Apparently anyone can read your personal meter.

PG&E's SmartMeter program initially came under attack because of reports about accuracy that were largely refuted when an independent study found the technology to be fundamentally sound. Having said that, I know there are still problems with accuracy. The electric bill for my son's employer's house has been about $25 a month for the last two years. When he got his new SmartMeter, his first bill for the month skyrocketed to $700!

Yes, it was taken care of. I've read and heard about other cases of overcharging throughout the state during my research on this subject. The word from PG&E is they're still working some bugs out of the system. Doesn't seem to me like a smart business move to install a system that wasn't 100 percent ready to go.

There have been protests in 22 counties in California (including here in Humboldt County) about health concerns regarding the SmartMeters. There's probably a protest going on right now somewhere. Many PG&E customers have reported headaches, dizziness, nausea, tinnitus and heart palpitations that allegedly began when the new wireless meters were installed.

SmartMeters use 1-watt radios to transmit energy data over wireless networks. Those radios emit low levels of radio waves. Some studies have linked these radio waves, like those that transmit cell phone communications, with illnesses such as cancer. To be fair, other studies have not found a connection between low levels of radio waves and life-threatening illnesses.

The long-term health effects of radio waves from SmartMeters have not been studied. At least I couldn't find any studies. If there are some I'd like to hear about them.

Finally, there's the privacy issue. For the record, digital meters have been around for about 30 years. The only thing new is the ability to communicate with PG&E. It's that ability that has people worried.

I've read numerous reports about how easy it is to hack into wireless networks. The residents' usage data becomes available to anyone nearby with a laptop. That could become a security concern, because usage data gives information about when residents are home, asleep, or on vacation. This kind of information could be valuable to criminals.


Having looked at the three concerns I've mentioned here, it's important to realize how widespread this technology has become. Advanced Metering Infrastructure, also known as SmartMetering, is currently used in Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Malta, Ireland, UK, Italy, and France. It's also being installed throughout Australia.

New technology often spawns concerns. Real and imagined. From all accounts, PG&E did a lousy job of educating the public when the installations began. They've been playing catch-up since. Whether or not these concerns prove to be true remains to be seen. This is not a comforting thought because I now have one outside of my house.

I can't help wondering what's going to happen to all those meter readers who will no longer be necessary because of this new system. Will PG&E give them some other job to do? My guess is they'll become casualties like so many other workers who lost their jobs to new technologies.

The traditional electrical meters only measured total consumption. They didn't provide information as to when the energy was consumed. Experts say the SmartMeters measure this information, allowing price setting agencies to introduce different prices for consumption based on the time of day and the season.

As It Stands, in a perfect world this would mean everybody saved money and energy usage was more efficient.

UPDATE – web site that’s carrying this column today

Googlyfish – an Australian Blog

Google News – search engine


GOP Governors Unite in Fight to Stop Unions in their States

Six Republican Governors have gathered to warn their residents against the evils of unionization which they claim would threaten their jobs...