Saturday, December 31, 2011

As It Stands Wishes you a Happy New Year and Positive Paths

We all must travel paths that will lead us to crossroads in our lives

Choices to be made challenges to accept

Some of you are on paths to destruction and others to enlightenment

Today we all set out on a new path… 2012

With all of the hopes and fears of prior years

That were full of laughter and bitter tears

Happy New Year’s!


‘May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions’


quote by Joey Adams

Previewing new laws – and new movies - for 2012

    Good Day Humboldt County!

As we prepare to say good bye to 2011 today, I thought a quick glance at some of the many new laws that will go into effect on January 1st, 2012, would be worth the read.

I also threw in some new movies to look forward to in 2012. Enjoy…

New laws toughen rules on abortions, immigrants, voters

About 40,000 state laws taking effect at the start of the new year will change rules about  getting abortions in New Hampshire, learning about gays and lesbians in California, getting jobs in Alabama and even driving golf carts in Georgia. Several federal rules change with the new year, too, including a Social Security increase amounting to $450 a year for the average recipients and stiff fines up to $2,700 per offense for truckers and bus drivers caught using hand-held cellphones while driving.

NBC News, the National Conference of State Legislatures, The Associated Press, and other organizations tracked the changes and offered their views on the highlights. Many laws reflect the nation's concerns over immigration, the cost of government and the best way to protect and benefit young people, including regulations on sports concussions. Jan. 1 is the effective date in many states for laws passed during this year's legislative sessions. In others, laws take effect July 1, or 90 days after passage.

       Movies to look forward to in 2012

The world's supposed to end in 2012, if you believe certain folks. But before it does, there's a boatload of big movies to eagerly anticipate. I tried to pick just one per month, but my resolve quickly fell apart there.

There's plenty of Oscar talk surrounding Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." As an Anglophile as well as a person who doesn't mind getting often-grossly-error-ridden history from movies, I can't wait for this one. The hilarious, though, disagrees, writing, "Can you imagine fast-forwarding through scenes about proper elocution lessons ('King’s Speech' much?) to get to the F***ING FALKLANDS WAR? This makes Ken Burns look like Michael Bay." I'll still be there, Union Jack in hand. (Jan. 13) (Read more here)

Time to walk on down the road…

Friday, December 30, 2011

‘A Bunch of Crock’: A look at the absurdities of our bullshit society

Graphic designer and satirist, Safwat Saleem, concocts a series of retro images and poignant words to highlight the absurdities of our bullshit society. He calls his creation: A Bunch of Crock.












Thanks to Time Soak

A helpful guide: Zombies vs Supermodels in the 21st Century




When sports fans attack, Combat Marine shot stateside, and Babysitter charged with murder

Sharks fans   Good Day Humboldt County!

 Thanks for stopping by. Today’s theme is violence in our society. I’ve selected three current stories that illustrate how much it plays a part in all of our lives.

 No matter where we go, or what we do, or how young or old we are, we all can become victims of random violence…


When Sharks fans attack… A teenager with a brain tumor

Fans behaving badly isn’t anything new these days, but sometimes there are stories that just make you shake your head. One such story concerns 16-year-old Canucks fan in California Maggie Herger. Herger was attacked by a fan during a recent Canucks-Sharks game in San Jose that resulted in her being taken to the hospital and diagnosed with a concussion.

That might not sound so bad until you consider Herger’s recent battle with a benign brain tumor. Attacking a teenager is one thing, but one that’s already dealt with a lot of crap in life? That just makes this whole thing a lot uglier. Fans in California have had a bad  run of late when it comes to doing awful things at sporting events. Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death at a Giants-Dodgers game in L.A., some fans shot each other after a 49ers-Raiders preseason game plus a stabbing at a Raiders-Chargers game, and now this case.

As Herger told Mike Rosenberg of the Mercury News, ”I was just really disappointed. I didn’t think that hockey fans were as bad as the baseball fans,” she said, recalling the Stow attack, which drew national headlines. “I didn’t think that anyone would physically hurt me.” Sharks fans don’t have that reputation of being jerks the way others do, but having one of your own attack a girl with a brain tumor is a good way to earn a really bad rap.

After surviving combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Karl Trenker came home to Deerfield, Florida and was shot three times. His training probably saved his life.

Babysitter charged with killing, dismembering girl

Image: Mike Plumadore

Prosecutors on Friday charged a babysitter with murder and two other felonies Friday in the bludgeoning and dismemberment of a 9-year-old girl just days before Christmas.

Michael Plumadore, 39, was charged in Fort Wayne with murder, abuse of a corpse and removing a dead body from the scene in the Dec. 22 killing of Aliahna Lemmon.

Time to walk on down the road…

Thursday, December 29, 2011

When people pay for nothing you have to wonder…

A man in China, recently spent $16,000 for a virtual sword on a game that has not even been released yet. "Age of Wulin," by California-based company Snail Games, has not even been released on mainland China but that isn't stopping some from spending serious cash on the game.

The game is a role-playing one that is set in ancient China and is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game, or better known as MMORPGs.

article source

How a tooth got stuck in one man’s foot, and a man lives 80 years with bullet in his skull

                Good day Humboldt County!

Welcome to my humble abode/blog. Today I’ve got a couple of stories about unusual wounds. Sometimes people suffer weird injuries that they miraculously survive from, and then there are those with (shall we say) unusual wounds. Do you know of any incidents of wounds that would qualify as weird or miraculously? If so, please share them here. 

How a tooth got lodged in some guy's foot

Not much good can happen when you send a bare foot smashing into someone's jaw. But during a summer beach brawl, a kick to the face caused one man to get part of his opponent's tooth stuck in his right foot.

Published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery, this case is the first to report a tooth "traumatically implanted in the foot." The case describes a 29-year-old Croatian man who came to the hospital emergency room complaining of swelling and severe pain in his right foot. At first, he claimed he had stepped on a piece of glass while walking on the beach.

The man had a wound on the sole of is right foot in the gap of skin between his third and fourth toe. When doctors x-rayed the foot, they didn't find a shard of glass but saw "an opaque object" that resembled a human tooth. So, they questioned the patient again and this time he came clean.

He admitted that two weeks earlier he had been involved in a fight with another guy on the beach. He had been wearing flip-flops but they flew off during the scuffle as he kicked his opponent in the jaw with his right foot. That strike to the jaw broke off one of his opponent's teeth, which then embedded itself beneath the man's right foot. (Photo)

Engineer lived with bullet in his head for 8 decades

When a Russian man was only 3, his older brother accidentally shot him with a pistol. More than eight decades later, the bullet was still there, according to a case report just published online in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The bullet hit the little boy right below the nose and eventually lodged itself in his foramen magnum, the opening in the bottom of the skull that allows the spinal cord to pass through and connect to the brain. The 3-year-old lost consciousness for several hours. At the time, a doctor examined the poor kid, but didn't remove the bullet for fear of causing more harm than good, says Dr. Marat Ezhov of Moscow's Cardiology Research Center, who examined the patient more than 80 years later. Incredibly, the boy recovered completely.

Time to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Do you know what’s causing the waves in California to glow?

Bioluminescent waves in California

It looks like something from the movie "Avatar": ocean waters that light up like neon glow sticks when they splash. Beaches across southern California have recently been alight with eerie, glowing waves. What could be causing such an otherworldly phenomenon?

A recent report by Discovery News has provided an answer. According to marine biologist Jorge Ribas, the glowing is caused by a massive red tide, or algae bloom, of bioluminescent phytoplankton called Lingulodinium polyedrum. The microorganisms emit light in response to stress, such as when a wave crashes into the shore, a surfboard slashes through the surf, or a kayaker's paddle splashes the water. The result is a wickedly cool glowing ocean.  Photo: msauder/Flickr

Five top science journal retractions, and ‘Dino-chickens’ for pets

                  Hello Humboldt County!

Good day to you. I’m going to quit saying good morning,  because my posts of late, have been made in the afternoon. Maybe it’s a sign. Time for change.

With a new year around the corner, changes are inevitable. To make these changes, and to survive another year full of question marks, I’ve written up a Survival Guide for 2012. Look for it in this Sunday’s Times-Standard.

Here’s today’s offerings: 

     Top science journal retractions of 2011

Bad science papers can have lasting effects. Consider the 1998 paper in the journal the Lancet that linked autism to the MMR vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. That paper was fully retracted in 2010 upon evidence that senior author Andrew Wakefield had manipulated data and breached several proper ethical codes of conduct.

Each year hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific articles are retracted. Most involve no blatant malfeasance; the authors themselves often detect errors and retract the paper. Some retractions, however, as documented on the blog Retraction Watch, entail plagiarism, false authorship or cooked data.

No journal is safe from retractions, from the mighty "single-word-title" journals such as Nature, Science and Cell, to the myriad minor, esoteric ones. Here are the top five examples:

#1: Chronic fatigue syndrome is caused by a virus.

#2: Litter breeds crime and discrimination.

#3: Treat appendicitis with antibiotics, not surgery.

#4: Butterfly meets worm, falls in love, and has caterpillars.

#5: Los Angeles marijuana dispensaries lead to drop in crime.


Image: Rooster.

Dino-chicken: Wacky but serious science idea of 2011

Paleontologist Jack Horner’s newest idea takes iconoclasm to a new level. He wants, in short, to hatch a dinosaur.

Use the living dinosaurs among us to recreate creatures dead for millions of years. Anyone who's seen "Jurassic Park" knows that birds are dinosaurs, part of the evolutionary line containing those toothy Velociraptors.

LiveScience talked with Horner about his "chickenosaurus" plan and what sort of dinosaur he'd like to keep as a pet. [ Infographic: How to Make a Dino-Chicken ]

Time to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One for the cynics…

 Originally titled “Even God has a sense of humor”, this photo shows a horrible aftermath of a location devastated by heavy floods.

Cynics among you will spot it immediately, while for the rest it will take few moments before they can see it.



via Mighty Optical Illusions


Tea Party Pol Calls for Killing Obama Family

Tea Party Pol Calls for Killing Obama Family

In another of the long line of racist comments directed at President Obama and his family, a wannabe Tea Party politician and supporter of Ron Paul called for the assassination of the first family.

Jules Manson, who fell flat on his face when running for California City Council years ago, went on a Facebook rant that makes Rush Limbaugh's and Matt Drudge's comments about the Obamas look mild. "It must be countered with assassinations onto them and their children," he wrote in the original posting, which has since been scrubbed from his Facebook profile.

"Assassinate the f----n (N-word) and his monkey children," he prodded, according to a screen grab obtained by

An angry backlash followed on Facebook, and Manson apologized for his words but defended his right to speak freely. "Once you have taken the position that anyone should be imprisoned for careless emotionally driven remarks that had no real substance, you deserve what your government has become," he wrote in the new Facebook post.

This isn't the first time Manson attacked Obama: He put up a picture of the president dressed as Hitler earlier in the year.

Read more at the Daily News.

Have we met before? and new ‘Museum of Clean’ ready to shine

       Good Afternoon Humboldt County!

 Forgive me if you stopped by this morning and didn’t find anything new. I got a late start today. I think the holidays are catching up to me. I do have hot chocolate and cold beverages so feel free to share some with me while you check out today’s offerings:   


      Tracing the origins of face blindness

Close your eyes. Picture your closest friend. Maybe you see her blue eyes, long nose, brown hair. Perhaps even her smile. If you saw her walking down the street it would match your imagined vision. But what if you saw nothing at all?

James Cooke, 66, of Islip, N.Y., can’t recognize other people. When he meets someone on the street, he offers a generic “hello” because he can’t be sure if he’s ever met that person before. “I see eyes, nose, cheekbones, but no face,” he said. “I’ve even passed by my son and daughter without recognizing them.”

He is not the only one. Those with prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, can see perfectly well, but their brains are unable to piece together the information needed to understand that a collection of features represents an individual’s face. The condition is a neurological mystery, but new research has shed light on this strange malady.

One of the keys to understanding face recognition, it seems, is understanding how the brain comes to recognize voices. Some scientists had believed that faces and voices, the two main ways people recognize one another, were processed separately by the brain. Indeed, a condition parallel to prosopagnosia, called phonagnosia, similarly leaves a person unable to distinguish a familiar voice from an unfamiliar one.

Idaho man's Museum of Clean ready to shine

Don Aslett may be more than a half century into his fight against dirt and clutter, but he still can't take a stroll without bending to pick up litter from the sidewalk.

As a child, he can remember cringing at the site of spilled coffee grounds and in high school, finding it strange the other boys didn't like to clean their rooms. Even now at the age of 76, his battle against grit and grime has yet to relent.

Those who may not understand his devotion, he reasons, have likely never felt the satisfaction of making a toilet bowl shine. "I'll tell you, clean is a hard sell," said Aslett, who has written 37 books on the topic and founded a janitorial business with branches in most states and Canada.

While mothers may threaten their kids with having to clean their rooms as punishment, Aslett knew he was different from an early age. "I love to clean," he said with a shrug.And now, he has a six-story shrine dedicated to his craft — the Museum of Clean — that recently opened to the public in southeastern Idaho.

Among the exhibits: A horse-drawn vacuum dating back to 1902 ( see graphic above); a collection of several hundred pre-electric vacuum cleaners; a Civil War-era operating table; a 1,600-year-old bronze pick that was used to clean teeth, and an antique Amish foot bath.

Time to walk on down the road…

Monday, December 26, 2011

Researcher says that medieval knights may have had PTSD


Medieval knights may have had PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. Often portrayed as courageous and cold-hearted killers, knights were human, too.

In movies, medieval knights are portrayed as courageous and loyal heroes who will fight to the death without fear or regret. In reality, the lives of knights were filled with a litany of stresses much like those that modern soldiers deal with.

They were often sleep-deprived, exhausted and malnourished. They slept outside on hard ground, fully exposed to whatever weather befell them. And their lives were full of horror and carnage as they regularly killed other men and watched their friends die.

Faced with the trauma inherent in a life of combat, according to a new look at ancient texts, medieval knights sometimes struggled with despair, fear, powerlessness and delusions. Some may have even suffered from post-traumatic stress or related disorders, argues a Danish researcher, just as their modern-day counterparts do. (Read more here)

When tattoos aren't nearly enough, and a 1941 Fruit cake sold for $525

          Good Morning Humboldt County!

How are you this morning? C’mon in and have a cup of hot coffee with me. Are you going to be one of the thousands of post Christmas shoppers today? Many Americans have today off and retailers are trying to cash in one more time before the year ends.

As for me…I’m content to stay at home and relax. Whatever you decide to do, make it a good day.

      When tattoos aren’t nearly enough

In some primitive cultures, beauty and status are displayed via large holes in the earlobe from which to hang heavy ornaments or to insert jewels or tokens, and BBC News reported in November that an "increasing" number of counterculture Westerners are getting their lobes opened far beyond routine piercing, usually by gradually stretching but sometimes with a hole-punch tool for immediate results. The hard core are "gauge kings (or queens)," showing a "commitment" to the lifestyle by making holes up to 10 mm (three-eighths inch) wide. (Cosmetic surgeons told BBC News in November that they're already preparing procedures for the inevitable wave of regretted decisions.) [BBC News, 11-21-2011]

           1941 Fruit Cake Sold for $525

A 1941 fruitcake has sold for $525 to an Arizona man in an Ohio company’s online auction, and the money will go to the homeless in southwest Ohio.

Elite Estate Group sold the cake in an auction on its website. Company owner Larry Chaney says the man, who wanted to remain anonymous, probably bought the cake as an investment.

Chaney says he doubts anyone would eat a 70-year-old fruitcake even though it was vacuum packed and contained rum that probably helped preserve it.The cake was made in 1941 by The Kroger Co. It was returned unopened to a Kroger store in 1971. The manager took it home and kept it until recently when his son was helping him get rid of some things and gave the cake to Chaney.

Time to walk on down the road…

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I wish you a Merry Christmas and memorable traditions

        By Dave Stancliff/For The Times Standard
Christmas traditions.
Sometimes solemn. Sometimes silly. Always special.
Presents for my two sisters, brother, and me always appeared under the tree on Christmas morning. Never before.
On Christmas Eve we each got to open a present. Without fail, it was pajamas for all of us. Santa always wanted us to look good on Christmas morning. He also didn’t want us poking and prodding presents to see what they were until that magic morning.
My mother, never one who liked surprises, always opened her Christmas presents while the rest of the family were supposedly sleeping, then carefully re-wrapped them. We were all wise to that game but never said anything. Sorry Mom; I had to share your touching little holiday habit.
In the winter of 1979 my wife and I wanted to start a new tradition. Cutting down a real Christmas tree. Both of us were raised in the city and the only Christmas trees we saw were for sale on wooden stands in corner parking lots.

 We went with another couple who were longtime residents of Humboldt County, to a thick strand of trees on the side of a mountain on Highway 299. We took our three young sons, who eagerly anticipated the new experience of cutting down a tree for Christmas.
It was cold and snow blanketed the ground. And the tree tops. My wife, sons and I went in one direction, and our friends the other. We agreed to meet back at the pickup trucks. The crisp wind made me wish I’d remembered my gloves, but I didn’t let that dampen my spirits.
My little family was out in the woods on an adventure and I felt pretty good about it. The boys and my wife plowed through snow drifts with laughter that never seemed to stop. What a day. The stuff memories are made of.
 After a free-for-all snow fight, we walked around until we found the right tree. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Christmas Vacation” there’s a part where Clark cuts down a monstrous tree that barely fit in their house. I did not make that mistake.
 The tree we selected would easily fit into our little house. It was on a steep incline, but no problem. I  cautioned my family to step back. It was time for the man of the house to take care of business.

Despite my friend’s advice, I had not brought a full sized ax to cut down the tree. Instead, I had a recently purchased hatchet, and was confident of my ability to get things done with it. I was just cutting down a spruce, not a Redwood!
  There were a few things working against me as I peeled off my jacket and took up an awkward stance in preparation for the assault. The tree stood on a steep hill. I missed my first mighty swing and rolled a short way down the hill! I jumped up instantly as my concerned family looked on.
“Just playing around,” I joked and trudged back up to the tree whistling “Silent Night.” My hands were really cold by now so I wanted to make short work of the job. On my next swing the sharp hatchet bit into the bark with a satisfying thunk.

 I swung again, suddenly confident, and the hatchet glanced off the tree and struck my left shin with a sickening smack! My wife and the boys were at an angle that prevented them from seeing where the second swing landed. I gritted my teeth and felt real stupid as I smiled down at them and tried to staunch the blood with a handful of snow.

 They all looked so innocent. So trusting of my abilities, that I knew I had to conceal the wound. At least until we got home and I could take my dear wife aside and get some medical attention.
  I stood on one leg and one knee hacking away like a man possessed. The tree couldn’t withstand my ruthless attack for long. It finally fell over and slowly slid down the hill. I pulled it over to the truck as my wide-eyed sons babbled happily. With my friend’s help we hefted it into the back of the truck.
 No one noticed my bloody shin in all the excitement and I managed to drive back to the house with my secret intact. Afterward my wife treated the deep cut (right to the bone) on my shin between fits of laughter. We agreed not to share what happened, but the story came out the following year when we didn’t cut a tree for Christmas and our sons wondered why.
  As It Stands, sometimes traditions are short-lived, but none the less memorable. Merry Christmas to you from the Stancliff family!

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...