Saturday, February 18, 2012

Guest Corner: Sports Illustrated bikini model sparks a debate

Kat Upton, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model

I’m an unabashed fan of David Horsey. He’s the kind of witty writer/artist I can only aspire to be in my dreams.


By David Horsey

“Kate Upton, the model splashed across the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, is at the center of a hot debate that has nothing to do with birth control, Mitt Romney’s tax returns or how the heck Newt Gingrich persuaded three women to marry him.
Some among the sleek set in the fashion industry think the 19-year-old, self-promoting model is too chubby to be chic -- their definition of hefty encompassing 99% of the nation’s females. The fashion mavens denigrate Upton’s whole look – her too-blond hair, her generic, pouty cheerleader face and her long legs that one critic described as looking as if they belong to a player for the WNBA. The casting director for Victoria’s Secret fashion shows said she’d never allow such a skank to darken her runway. (We all know how Victoria’s Secret is the epitome of haute couture.)”

(Read the rest here) art by David Horsey/Los Angeles Times

Keeping up in the New Millennium: More than half the births in America occur outside of marriage

For better, or worse, I’ve watched six decades fly by with new cultural twists and mores. What was once controversial and scandalous, is now commonplace. The lines of morality have been blurred in the national eye. New attitudes have emerged that speak well for the changes, however. You might even say the public has become more tolerant of human rights and differences. Gays and Lesbians have been able to come out of the closet nationally and take their place in society. Woman aren’t judged as harshly for having babies out of wedlock. 

“The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.”
( Lyrics from: Bob Dylan’s - The Times They Are A-Changin' )

Yes, “The Times They Are A-Changin’,” and it’s a whole new world now.

It’s certainly not the world I grew up in during the fifties and sixties. Back then, if you had a baby out of wedlock it was the most scandalous thing that could happen to a woman. Society isn’t as judgmental now.

News Snippet:

“It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.”

Exposed: PAHs in pavement poise significant health risk to public

            Good Day Humboldt County!

  Our travels today, are taking us down a polluted path that we all unknowingly walk on every day. Beware when you get out of your car in a store parking lot, or your own driveway. It was probably sprayed with a common deadly sealant still available in many stores!

It’s waste from steel mills that should have been safely incinerated instead of spread on the ground we all walk on. It’s another tale of collusion between government and corporate interests to the determent of the American public.

The stuff that’s been spread on our parking lots, and other surfaces, has the known cancer-causing  agent “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” or PAHs in it.

The thing that bothers me, is that this is not breaking news. People have known about problems that go with the use of these sealants containing PAHs for years. That means you, and I, and the rest of the population, have been blissfully exposing ourselves to bad things. Worse, these toxic sealants are still legal in most states.

Now, after four new major studies, people are getting concerned. Warning: the more you read the more angry you’re going to get. Informational links are provided after the following news snippet:   

“When you think of pollution, you might picture an industrial center like Camden, N.J., or Jersey City. But new research shows that when it comes to a potent class of cancer-causing toxic chemicals, many American parking lots are a lot worse.

New studies paint an increasingly alarming picture – particularly for young children – about how these chemicals are being spread across big swaths of American cities and suburbs by what may seem an unlikely source – a type of asphalt sealer. These sealants are derived from an industrial waste, coal tar.

Four new studies announced this week further implicate coal tar-based asphalt sealants as likely health risks.  The creosote-like material typically is sprayed onto parking lots and driveways in an effort to preserve the asphalt. It also gives the pavement a dark black coloring that many people find attractive.

Coal tar is a byproduct of the steelmaking industry. In 1992, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared that it would not be classified as a hazardous waste, even though it met the characteristics of one, because it could be recycled for uses that include coating asphalt. That meant steel mills didn’t have to pay for costly landfilling or incineration of the waste.

The new research, published in peer-reviewed science journals, focuses on a class of chemicals found in coal tar and known as “polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons,” or PAHs. Previously, researchers believed that people’s exposure to PAHs came primarily through food, which contains trace amounts produced primarily from smoking food or cooking it at high temperatures in practices such as grilling, roasting, and frying. PAHS are produced when any organic matter burns.” (Read whole story here)

Here’s Some More related Links

Study sees parking lot dust as a cancer risk

State bans coal tar sealants in big win for foes

The four studies announced this week appeared in the science journals Environmental Science and Technology, Chemosphere, Atmospheric Environmentand  Environmental Pollution.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, February 17, 2012

Here’s one animated reason not to trust your eyes…

                                                By Arjen Goldschmidt color optical illusion 

Below - example showcases embedded lines of seemingly different colors. The reason they look different is because our brain judges the color of an object by comparing it to surrounding colors. So without us even knowing it our brains compare the flowing red stripes to the yellow stripes, forcing us to think they are orange. The blue stripes make the red ones appear much darker -almost purple, even though they are exactly the same color!

This is just one example why you cannot trust what you see even with your own eyes. Next time someone swears they saw Jesus, UFO, or a ghost, show them this animation…

‘Not in my State’ : Pig Eyes Christie vetos same-sex marriage in NJ

Take a look at the face of intolerance. Not very pretty.

He’s, New Jersey Gov. “Pig Eyes” Christie who vetoed the same-sex marriage bill and upheld the Republican’s righteous religious agenda.

Pig Eyes gets his way this time and tells the majority it doesn’t matter what they want. Once again, he prevents marriage equality for gays and lesbians in the state of New Jersey.

I know his intolerance gives him major points with some Tea Party groups and right wing extremists, but in the end…this is America and there’s no place for marginalizing people because of their sexual orientation. It’s just a matter of time before same-sex marriage is legal there.

Oops! Teen swipes tomato plant he thought was marijuana

Tomato plant (© Victoria Firmston/GAP Photos/Getty Images)The first rule of stealing someone’s marijuana plant is “Don’t run past their house yelling ‘I have your pot plant.’”

The second rule is “make sure you didn’t swipe a tomato plant instead.”

Call it a case of mistaken plant identity.

A 15-year-old Florida boy climbed into Angela Cartwright's kitchen window thinking to make off with a marijuana plant, but instead the young thief was actually stealing a potted tomato plant, a sheriff's arrest report shows. The unnamed teen was charged with unarmed burglary of an occupied dwelling, his first offense, the report states.

I don’t know…maybe it’s just me, but it’s hard to believe a 15-year old would mistake a tomato plant for a pot plant. There’s ton’s of images of marijuana around us at all times. You see the weed in the news, and there are countless items of clothing with marijuana plants cleverly displayed on them. You see pot plants on CD discs, calendars, magazines, cups, shot glasses, posters, video games, books, movies, comics, etc.

I’d hazard to say it’s a pretty well exposed plant in our society. Apparently this 15-year old leads a cloistered life with no images of pot plants in it. Which leads me to wonder why the heck he wanted it in the first place????

I’m just saying….

A Buddhist monk invented the popular 5-Hour Energy drink

               Good Day Humboldt County!

Today’s road leads us past the path to enlightenment, and turns off into a less heavenly highway lined with greenbacks.   

Since those wild sixties, when I experimented with every popular drug out there, I’ve been fascinated with oriental religions. In particular, I thought Buddhist monks were totally cool back in the day.  

  During the seventies, I was a die-hard “Kung Fu” fan (the series ran from 1972-75) and loved watching David Carradine play the wise Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine.

Caine/Carradine traveled through the American Old West armed only with his spiritual training and his skill in martial arts, as he sought his half-brother, Danny Caine. Along the way, he kicks numerous asses and imparts his unique wisdom in less violent moments.

Which leads me to another Buddhist monk today. You might say, a guy for our times. Michigan resident Manoj Bhargava, 58,  a former member of the Hanslok Ashram order and who lived the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk for 12 years, invented the 5-Hour Energy drink!

No kidding.Forbes reporter Clare O'Conner discovered that's exactly who is behind the phenomenon that has a 90%-near monopoly of the energy shot market.

I have to admit that I’m puzzled. Guess I’m not sure how Bhargava's billion-dollar energy drink invention ties in with the teachings of Confucius. In a recent interview he said that his “5-Hour Energy” is not a energy drink… it’s a focus drink.

Now that sounds Buddhist-like and mysterious to me. Apparently the FDA doesn’t like him using the word “focus” and he lamented that fact. “I have no idea why,” he told the Forbes reporter.

Bhargava is no Kwai Chang Caine. This guy pops up in the morning takes a pull of his 5-Hour Energy beverage and spends the rest of the time comparing himself to Matt Damon's character in Good Will Hunting. He refers to himself as "the richest Indian in America," and hasn't been shy about taking out the competition, filing 91 lawsuits.

A case of capitalism overcoming religion? Perhaps a case of a new religion? What do you think?

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Treat Feature: Wonderful 3-D Chalk Art by Kurt Wenner


(Photo left) Take this installation at the Waterloo Station in London, for example. Sure the man on his couch watching television has a lot of depth, but by adding a truck full of 3D animals crashing through the wall, it’s easy to feel just as shocked as the man in the artwork.

(Photo right) Zip-lining across a city street can be fun, but it’s nothing compared to flying across wild terrain. For those that don’t have the time or money to get away from it all though, Wenner offers a grand compromise with this gorgeous canyon advertising the beauty of wild British Columbia.

For more great works by Kurt Wenner visit his website.


Gas prices on rampage: at least smile while you’re getting robbed



I checked today in downtown McKinleyville and gas was $4.15 a gallon. Can anyone in another city, anywhere in the entire country beat these gas prices? I’m waiting….


One small handshake…as robot greets human commander in space

Image: Robot shakes astronaut's hand

      Good Day Humboldt County!

Our path leads to the stars today, as another piece of space history is enshrined in the halls of science.

I’ve wondered for a long time when this day would arrive, and we’d see robots becoming crew members on space missions.

This kind of thing was science fiction when I was growing up. It seemed like all the comics I read treated robots as threats to mankind. Flash Gordon (who fought his fair share of robots) must be turning over in his grave to see robots helping mankind now! I think the great thing about having them aboard is that they’ll do most of the work while the humans sit around telling jokes and discovering stuff. Hey! I’m just saying…   

“A NASA robot built to ease the daily lives of astronaut in space greeted its human commander with a hearty handshake Wednesday, along with a silent message: "Hello, world."

The historic handshake between man and machine —a first in space —was shared between NASA's humanoid robot, named Robonaut 2, and American astronaut Daniel Burbank on the International Space Station. NASA delivered Robonaut 2 to the space station in February 2011 during the last flight of the space shuttle Discovery. The robot consists of a torso, arms and camera-equipped head. It is 3 feet, 4 inches tall and weighs about 330 pounds. Station astronauts powered up Robonaut 2 in August and have been testing it ever since. NASA also has a twin of the robot on Earth for use in field trials of a wheeled mobile base that allows the automaton to drive around different terrains.” Rest of the story here.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Deep in the forest….


Can you see the illusion?

It’s really quit simple when you squint your eyes.

Karl Kwasny is an Australian illustrator, currently based in Manhattan, New York

“Deep in the forest where heavy feet sink

You mightn’t be alone as you think!”

Spring Songs: Political Loons Are Tweeting Fresh Lies

As spring unfolds across the country making flowers bloom and right-wingers tweet gloom, we take the good with the bad. A recent book rele...