Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Hobie Call the most fit man in the world? Some think he is…

The "Death Race," a 24-hour obstacle-course competition that began Saturday in Vermont, is advertised as so difficult it "will make giving birth seem like a walk in the park."

Typically, fewer than a quarter of participants are able to finish, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

This year's 200 competitors were set to include accomplished triathletes, military special forces and a person who has been called the "world's fittest man."

The race's organizers, though, were focused on Hobie Call, a 34-year-old father of five who installs air conditioning for a living.

When Call learned that owners of a series of obstacle-course races were offering a $100,000 prize to anyone who can win 14 of them in the US this year, he announced he was going to pull off a sweep.

"I didn't believe him," said Joe De Sena, co-founder of the Death Race. "There just are not that many people who have that drive."

But so far, Call has won six in a row. Now, the race owners are intent on stopping him, saying that if he wins Saturday's Death Race, they will give $20,000 to anyone who can beat him in the future.

The Death Race is part of a circuit of obstacle-course competitions in the US, Canada and the UK known as "Spartan Races." They are as frustrating as they are physically grueling. Details of each Spartan Race course are kept secret so competitors cannot specifically train for them.

Organizers force racers to do just about anything, including crawl through muddy troughs covered in barbed wire, jump through flames, solve puzzles, chop wood, carry water and learn Greek. It also helps to be very fast.

The Death Race, the longest of the Spartan races, usually covers 45 miles. It lasts at least 24 hours, but has gone on for as long as 72. (Participants will not know exactly how long until it's over; they are given instructions during the race.)

"It emulates life," said De Sena. "Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong."

In February, Call left the suburbs of Salt Lake City in a 10-year-old Dodge Caravan and drove 11 hours to Temecula, Calif., to compete in his first Spartan Race. Call, who has the fastest known time for lunging a mile (24 minutes, 56 seconds) and has run marathons, thought it would make for a fun vacation. He packed his own food and slept in his car. The next day, he blew away his competition in a race that involved climbing a slippery wall, running through flames and solving one side of a Rubik's Cube.

Since then, Call has gone to extraordinary lengths to win six Spartan Races in a row. He sold his TV, he said, to buy a plane ticket to a race in Austin. Thanks to a cult following, fans and competitors helped cover some expenses and offered up their hotel rooms so he does not have to sleep in his car.

Race organizers are looking for someone to defeat him. De Sena, an institutional trader, said he invested his life savings in the series and will have to pay $100,000 out of his own pocket if Call reaches the goal.

"We were told we should get insurance," he said. "We laughed and said no one could do this."

Spartan Race staffer Jason Rita has been charged with finding the perfect athlete to beat Call. He has asked everyone from mixed martial-arts studios to the Navy SEALs to send someone. All have declined. In one race, Call nearly lost when he was asked to drag bricks using a rope. A competitor caught up to him, but Call out-sprinted him to the finish.

Call looks nothing like the hulking Spartans in the Hollywood film "300." He has the stature of a distance runner, wears glasses and has a quick smile.

"I don't have that rough look, but when it comes time for the race, I have that rough mentality," he said.

He said runners do not have the upper-body strength to beat him, and the buff guys are too slow.

"It's my combination of strength and speed," he says. "Good luck finding somebody."

story source       Google Images

NY passes gay marriage bill, treasure found, and man hides in toilet

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Grab a cup of Joe and take a load off this morning. There’s always something happening of interest. For example:


Cuomo signs NY gay-marriage bill

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed New York's gay marriage bill into law late Friday, paving the way for what is expected to be a crush of gay weddings starting in 30 days.

New York will become the sixth state where gay couples can wed and the biggest by far.

I have a niece who is going to be glad to hear this news.

 Image: ancient gold ring with a rectangular cut emerald$500,000 emerald ring — and it's a real treasure

Salvors searching for a sunken 17th-century Spanish galleon said they found a gold and emerald ring with a rectangular cut stone estimated at 10 karats while diving 35 miles west of Key West Thursday.

They say they believe it is from the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, which sank off the Florida Keys during a 1622 hurricane.

The ring was found by divers from Mel Fisher's Treasures, who were looking for the sterncastle of the Atocha.

Colorado Toilet Tank Arrestee Is A Wannabe New Age Pornographer

The man arrested for hiding in a toilet tank at a Colorado yoga festival is a New Age transient who aspires to operate a “spiritual porn site” and describes himself as a “worshipper” of women.

Luke Chrisco, 30, was arrested recently and charged with hiding inside a toilet tank at the Hanuman Yoga Festival in Boulder. A woman about to use the toilet, cops reported, noticed “movement in the tank” and alerted a man who spotted the feces-covered suspect “hiding inside the tank.

Time for me to head on down the road…

Friday, June 24, 2011

We can thank this moron from Texas for blocking federal legalization of marijuana!

lamar smith flames

It seems that the opinion of one good-old-boy Congressman from Texas outweighs yours. Meet the asshole who is making sure the failed War on Drugs never ends:

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), also known for his anti-immigrant policies, has said his House Judiciary panel will not consider the Barney Frank/Ron Paul bill. Period.

Now, we all know that this half-wit Texan already has his mind made up, so maybe there’s not much we can do about that. HOWEVER. What we CAN do is to make every single day of the rest of his life an occasion upon which he was reminded of his rank stupidity.

(Information and photo source here)

Here’s Rep. Lamar Smith’s contact info. Let him know what you think of the fact that he is now, by his own choice, the man responsible for continuing marijuana prohibition in the United States.

You can get started by emailing Lamar (click here), but this “man of the people’s” website makes you put in your zip code to do so (handy way to reduce citizen input), so you’re going to need to be from the 21st Congressional District of Texas to do that.

Meanwhile, you can call and write his offices: Washington, DC Office
2409 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 - ph: 202-225-4236 fax: 202-225-8628
8:30 am- 6:00 pm EST, or

San Antonio District Office -1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio - TX 78209 ph: 210-821-5024
fax: 210-821-5947 8:00 am- 5:00 pm M-F

Kerrville District Office
301 Junction Highway, Suite 346C Kerrville, TX - 78029 ph: 830-896-0154 fax: 830-896-0168
8:00 am- 12:00 pm M-Th

Austin District Office
3532 Bee Cave Road, Suite 100 - Austin, TX 78746 - ph: 512-306-0439 fax: 512-306-0427
8:00 am-1:00 pm M-Th

As It Stands turns back the clock to 2009 when I warned readers about suspected cell phone health risks

 The subject of harmful effects from using cell phones has recently been in the news. Two years ago I wrote about them and got a divided response; some people thought I was crazy, and others agreed problems could exist.

Has anything changed since I wrote this column? Sadly, there’s very little progress to report.

On March 31st of this year CNN reported radiation from cell phones can possibly cause cancer, according to the World Health Organization. The agency now lists mobile phone use in the same "carcinogenic hazard" category as lead, engine exhaust and chloroform.

June 7, 2009

   By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard

It always troubles me when people get sick, or even die, from a product that hasn't been thoroughly tested.

You see that kind of thing often in the pharmaceutical market. Big companies are more concerned about releasing new products to make a profit than they are about the long-term effects these products may have.
Despite the Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) efforts, the practice of releasing products to the public before their long-term effects have been thoroughly studied, continues to this day.
Take cell phones for example. The FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) is supposed to make sure that radiation-emitting products, such as microwave ovens, TV sets, cell phones, and laser products meet radiation standards.
According to the CDRH Website ( “the center monitors devices throughout the product life cycle, including a nationwide post-market surveillance system.” If that's the case, why are the FDA's only studies relatively short term, with absolutely no data available on the consequences of childhood exposure to cell phones?
The majority of published data has been concentrated on a small number of outcomes, especially brain tumors and leukemia. Recently, there have been some studies of residential exposure to radio and television, that have focused on leukemia.
There have also been studies of cell phone users, particularly for brain tumors and less often cancers or other symptoms. These studies have shown no consistent or convincing evidence of adverse health effects from radio frequency field (RFs) exposure, according to the FDA. Not everyone agrees.
Critics of these limited studies point out that they are too deficient to rule out an association. The fact is that very little is known about new technologies using RFs. There haven't been any definitive population studies, but other statistics indicate concerns about cell phones being dangerous to one's health.
Recent statistics show that more than 30 percent of children under 13 years of age in the U.S. own their own cell phones. One-out-of-two American teenagers have their own cell phones. By next year, even more of those populations will get cell phones.
Why? Cell phones are getting cheaper every day. We like being connected to our children at all times. and, let's face it, a cell phone is nice to have in case of an emergency. Warning signals can be seen in current studies that indicate negative effects from electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation.
The head of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, recently told reporters there is a clear possibility of a direct relationship between cell phones use and the risk of cancer.
Worldwide, health researchers are taking a harder look into the adverse effects of constant cell phone use. International findings suggest that, if nothing is done about the matter, we may see an epidemic of brain cancer among the planet's youth.
Studies have shown significant correlation between electromagnetic radiation on our cells and our DNA. These studies also show that children are at the greatest risk to radiation damage because their brains are still developing and skulls are very thin.
Evidence is building that shows extreme low frequency (ELF) waves may not only be related to cancer, but may speed up the aging process, increase anxiety, depression, anger, and irritability.
A study by Dr. Neil Cherry, of Lincoln University in New Zealand, suggests that exposure to ELF waves alters calcium ions in our cells. Dr. Cherry's contention is that cell phone use may alter the delicate melatonin/serotonin balance in the brain, which would explain mood disorders and sleep problems.
I could cite other studies, but I hope you get my point. The FDA is lagging behind in studying adverse cell phones effects. So we won't hear from them soon, if ever. Until more is known about prolonged cell phone usage, we should encourage young people to use them less often or not hold them as close to their ears. I know that's easier said than done.
But what if your child comes down with brain cancer some day? Then it will be too late to do anything. At least now you can err on the side of caution.
As It Stands, technology brings benefits, but it also can bring grief if we don't fully understand it.

 image source #1    image source #2    Image source #3

The passing of an icon: Don Knotts gives up the ‘Ghost’ at 81

"The Incredible Mr. Limpet"

"The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" star left audiences howling with delight.

Don Knotts, the saucer-eyed, scarecrow-thin comic actor best known for his roles as the high-strung small-town deputy Barney Fife on the 1960s CBS series "The Andy Griffith Show" and the leisure-suit-clad landlord Ralph Furley on ABC's '70s sitcom "Three's Company," has died. He was 81.

Don was one of my favorite comedians of all time. I loved every movie he ever starred in.  The Incredible Mr. Limpet" was one of his funniest movies in my opinion. RIP Don Knotts…you’ll be missed.

Finally Friday: Did you ever laugh so hard you thought you’d die?

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Glad you could join me this morning. The coffee’s hot and we’re burning daylight so let’s get with it shall we?

Have you ever laughed so hard you couldn’t get your breath and thought you were going to choke to death? A comedian named Jim Dailakis knows what that’s like. According to Dr. Martin Samuels, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, blacking out while laughing may be related to over-breathing, and is probably not too dangerous.

Store clerk opens up a can of you-know-what on assailant

Sorry Charlie! But no robbing this guy’s liquor store!

In what became the fight of his life, Benyahia grabbed something he knew might help, the hardest item on the shelf — a metal can of tuna.

In the video, you can see Hakim Benyahia hit the would-be robber on the head, just enough to shake him.

Dude! Tossed pot lands on police cruiser!

AP - State police say a man's effort to ditch some drugs from a moving car in western New York didn't exactly go as planned. Troopers with the state police Thruway detail say 20-year-old Sean Schmidt was standing with his upper body sticking out the sunroof of a vehicle traveling on Interstate 190 in Buffalo late Monday night.

When a trooper following in a state police cruiser activated the car lights to pull the other vehicle over, Schmidt threw a small bag of marijuana, which landed on the hood of the trooper's car.Troopers say Schmidt was ticketed for marijuana possession and not wearing a seat belt.

The coffee has kicked in and it’s time for me to head on down the road…

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer by the Sea is Magical - Awash in Warm Colors and Mystery


Google image/ Anonymous Photographer

What America Needs: Young Entrepreneurs With Visions for a Future


From time to time, I talk about jobs in America. I’ve written why it’s so hard for young people today to find a job in this extended recession.

So, I’m always on the lookout for some good news on this subject. I recently read about a young entrepreneur who started an offline business at 16 years-old (in 2006), and who has steadily built his t-shirt business into a viable profit source online.

Graphic:  a screenshot of ooShirt’s Design Lab

Lei now employees six people, all current students or recent graduates from UC Berkeley. His company is called ooShirts, and he started out with $2,200 seed money. The UC Berkeley sophomore, who started in his junior year at Cupertino's Monta Vista High School, represents a new wave of startups that require little or no capital.

“We're an "ultra-light" startup, meaning that we spend no money on direct advertising and generally make every penny count,” said Colleen Fitzgerald, an employee I recently talked with. This new business model requires a lot of hard work, but anyone with the desire could go the route that Lei has chosen.

One of the many aspects about Lei’s business is that he’s getting all of his t-shirts printed in locations throughout the USA. Lei couldn’t find inexpensive custom-shirts when he started out, so he built an easy-to-use website and found reliable suppliers who provide speedy deliveries.

Lei, a sophomore business major at the University of California-Berkeley, says his revenue is continuing to grow. "We grew from having about $30,000 in revenue per year all the way up about $2.2 million at the end of 2010," he says.

As It Stands, Lei is on the frontline for the new millennium of entrepreneurs that hopefully will generate more jobs during these hard times.

(Go to Custom shirts for more information)

Ammonia Treated Meat: Yummy! Some Pink Slime In That Burger?

Yummy! Some Pink Slime In That Burger?

Pink Slime? What’s That?

This product is actually called ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings. Still not sure?  This is the cheapest, least desirable beef on offer – fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, which are notoriously rife with pathogens like E. coli 0157 and antibiotic-resistant salmonella. Once swept up, the scraps are sent through a series of machines, which grinds them into a paste, separates out the fat, and laces the substance with ammonia to kill pathogens.

Sounds Tasty? It Gets Better!

The USDA allows this ammonia treated meat to enter the marketplace and with no labeling requirement on the packaging to inform the consumer that the meat they are about to buy contains ammonia. It is used to stretch the actual ground beef, and the USDA shockingly allows up to 15 percent of a ground beef product to be this filler and still be labeled ground beef.

On the premier of “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution,” the British chef showed how “nasty pink slime,” as one FDA microbiologist calls it, is wrung in a centrifuge to remove the fat from the meat scraps, and then treated with ammonia to “retard spoilage,” and turned into “a mashlike substance frozen into blocks or chips”. You can view his show clicking here.

So if you are eating a burger, there’s a good chance that you are also eating Pink Slime. How yummy is that?

According to a New York Times article, The “majority of hamburger” now sold in the U.S. now contains fatty slaughterhouse trimmings “the industry once relegated to pet food and cooking oil,” “typically including most of the material from the outer surfaces of the carcass” that contains “larger microbiological populations.”

Read more here

Thursday Talk: Top FBI fugitive captured and some other stuff…

Good morning Humboldt County!

Pull up a chair and join me for some coffee or tea.  It’s another beautiful day in paradise. After being in the big city again, my appreciation for this area comes in waves of gratitude this morning for the opportunity to live here. Let’s get with it, shall we?

Three photos of Boston mob boss James J. "Whitey" Bulger: in 1983, left, in an undated image, center, and in 1996, right.

Fugitive mobster James 'Whitey' Bulger arrested

James "Whitey" Bulger, a notorious Boston gangster on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list for his alleged role in 19 murders, has been captured near Los Angeles after living on the run for 16 years, authorities said Wednesday.

Image: Two giraffes

The world's most adorable — and photogenic — animals

Ever heard someone say they don’t like animals? It’s a rare occurrence, and typically met with confused looks and protestations.

That’s because animals steal the show, drawing gasps and smiles from giddy onlookers, who scramble for their phones to snap photo after photo of each endearing or goofy expression.

Slideshow: World's most adorable animals

I'll have a 'Big Dirty' -- stirred, not shaken

Next time you’re in Washington, D.C., you can get down with the “Big Dirty.”

Wrap your arms around a hefty 48 ounces of your favorite cocktail — for just $80. And for $10 more, you get to keep the glass.  (Or save the money and the memory with a snapshot from your smartphone.) 

“It’s a good novelty thing, and a good way to brand ourselves,” said Walter Rhee, managing partner and director of operations at Dirty Martini, which sells about 35 to 40 of the supersize-me cocktails a week.

That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by. Time for me to head on down the road…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Some common sense please: What will get you kicked off US Airways? Saggy pants or underpants?

I like to share stories like this where people simply don’t use common sense. You can’t tell me this guys get-up is better than saggy pants. I’ll take those baggy trousers every time. Can you imagine being the person sitting next to this cutie? I think he out-weinered Anthony Weiner!

US Airways has acknowledged that less than a week before having a college student arrested for allegedly refusing to hike up his saggy pants while boarding, the airline allowed a man (photo by another passenger, Jill Tarlow via AP) wearing little more than women’s underwear, black thigh-high stockings and heels to fly.

On June 16, University of New Mexico football player Deshon Marman was removed from a US Airways flight at San Francisco International Airport and arrested for refusing to follow crew members’ requests to hike up his saggy pants.

Members of Congress to introduce Historic Legislation Ending Marijuana Prohibition Thursday


This news just in:

The Legislation, Modeled after the Repeal of Alcohol Prohibition, Comes on the 40th Anniversary of the Failed War on Drugs and on the Heels of a Global Commission Report Recommending Marijuana Legalization
Teleconference: Rep. Barney Frank and Leading Organizations Working to End the Failed War on Marijuana Explain the Significance of the Legislation
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) will introduce bi-partisan legislation tomorrow, June 23, ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax, and control marijuana without federal interference. Other co-sponsors include Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). The legislation would limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition.
Leading critics of the war on marijuana will explain its significance for state andnational marijuana policy at a national tele-press conference on Thursday.
What: Tele-Press Conference on the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011
When: Thursday, June 23. 2:00pm EST / 11am PST
Call-in Info: 1-800-311-9404; Passcode: Marijuana
  • Representative Barney Frank (D-4th/MA)
  • Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)
  • Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project(MPP)
  • Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
  • Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
Last week marked the 40th Anniversary of President Nixon declaring a war on marijuana and other drugs. In an oped in the New York Times last week, timed for the 40thAnniversary, former President Jimmy Carter called for reforming marijuana laws.
The legislation also comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a report on June 2 calling for a major paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including calling for legal regulation of marijuana. The reportsent a jolt around the world, generating thousands of international media stories. The commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Representing the U.S. on the commission are George P. Shultz, Paul Volcker, and John Whitehead.
46.5% of Californians voted last year to legalize marijuana in their state, and voters in Colorado, Washington and possibly other states are expected to vote on the issue next year. In the past year at least five state legislatures have considered legalizing marijuana, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Washington. 16 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use, but the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) continues to arrest people under federal law and U.S. Attorneys have in recent months sent threatening letters to state policymakers in an apparent attempt to meddle in state decision-making.
Rep. Frank's legislation would end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, reprioritize federal resources, and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens.

It’s good to be back! Let’s see what’s happening today…

Good Morning Humboldt County!

Good to see you this morning. Grab a folding chair, stool, or beanbag and join me in having a cup of steaming hot Java or tea and we’ll see what we can see:

Spider Man sued for illegal Poker games 

Looks like actor spider man actor Tobey Maguire is in hot water over an illegal poker game in California.

Image: A replica of Noah's Ark built by Johan Huibers in the Netherlands

Biblical proportions: Man builds full size Noah’s Ark

Imagine going for a cruise on this boat!

Tiny art critics: Babies pick Picasso, study finds

The littlest art critics -- a bunch of 9-month-olds in Switzerland -- preferred the works of Picasso over Monet in a recent study.

Paintings by the Spanish artist appealed more to the diaper-clad set than those by the Frenchman in a series of five different experiments published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

Now, you may wonder: How much insight can an infant offer when comparing cubism to impressionism?

"At 9-months of age, infants' vision is already much the same as in adults," says Trix Cacchione, a psychologist at the University of Zurich, and the study's lead author.

"To an infant, a painting is most likely only a perceptual pattern and their aesthetic preferences are most likely guided by low-level functions of the visual system."

That’s all for now. It sure is good to be back. Time for me to head on down the road…

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...