Saturday, August 9, 2014

Playing with Butterflies, Bombing Children, and a Weiner Turned Restaurateur

Good Day World!

What a crazy world it is.

One moment the media is talking about little Prince George playing with butterflies on his first birthday, and the next we see thousands of innocent children dying in Gaza during that dirty little war.

In the latest news, The World Health Organization declared an international public health emergency Friday over the Ebola outbreak in western Africa. Meanwhile, a girl thought to have died in the Indian Ocean tsunami has been reunited with her family after being found alive nearly a decade late.

Yin Yang. Positive and negative news.

What story interests you the most:Image: A clown is part of the cabin crew on select El Al flights from Tel Aviv to New York and other cities this summer.

U.S. Navy Planes Drop Bombs on ISIS Forces

or

Clowning around: Airlines expand in-fight entertainment for kids

 

Photo: A clown is part of the cabin crew on select El Al flights from Tel Aviv to New York and other cities this summer. Courtesy El Al Airlines

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ON THE WRY SIDE:

WEINER TO TAKE HANDS-ON APPROACH TO RESTAURANT

Remember Anthony Weiner who resigned his seat in Congress in 2011 after admitting to sending explicit photos of his weiner to women who were not his wife?

He’s decided politics aren’t going that well (He ran for mayor last year and led the field before more sexting allegations sank his bid) and has decided to open a restaurant in Queens.

The eatery, which Weiner wants to open in the Rockaways, will be named The Rockaway Restoration Kitchen and will offer locally sourced food.

No word yet if they’ll be offering weiners. Stay tuned.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, August 8, 2014

How to Become an Instant Vegetarian

Good Day World!

I’ve been thinking about becoming a vegetarian for several years now.

One of the reasons is the high price of meat. There’s other reasons of course, but I can’t seem to summon the strength to eliminate meat from my diet.

Then I ran across the story below. I was astounded to find out that there’s a bug that can make a person a sudden vegetarian!

After reading this story however, I think I’ll just live with my meat-eating habit. Bugs creep me out.

HERE”S WHAT’S HAPPENING

Doctors across the nation are seeing a surge of sudden meat allergies in people bitten by a certain kind of tick.

This bizarre problem was only discovered a few years ago but is growing as the ticks spread from the Southwest and the East to more parts of the United States. In some cases, eating a burger or a steak has landed people in the hospital with severe allergic reactions.

Few patients seem aware of the risk, and even doctors are slow to recognize it. As one allergist who has seen 200 cases on New York's Long Island said, "Why would someone think they're allergic to meat when they've been eating it their whole life?"

The culprit is the Lone Star tick, named for Texas, a state famous for meaty barbecues. The tick is now found throughout the South and the eastern half of the United States.

HERE’S HOW IT HAPPENS 

The bugs harbor a sugar that humans don't have, called alpha-gal. The sugar is also is found in red meat — beef, pork, venison, rabbit — and even some dairy products. It's usually fine when people encounter it through food that gets digested.

But a tick bite triggers an immune system response, and in that high-alert state, the body perceives the sugar the tick transmitted to the victim's bloodstream and skin as a foreign substance, and makes antibodies to it. That sets the stage for an allergic reaction the next time the person eats red meat and encounters the sugar. (Read full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, August 7, 2014

From a Roar to a Hum: The New Electric Harley-Davidson Will Take Time to Embrace

                                             Good Day World!

Have you ever ridden on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle?

I’ve only had an opportunity to do so twice in my life. A big and brawny Harley-Davidson Electric Glide was my first time on a Harley. It was a great experience. The Softail I later rode on was fun to cruise around town in. It’s loud guttural grumbling enthralled me.

But Harley-Davidson has decided it’s time for a change. A Big Quiet one that I’m not sure Harley  enthusiasts are going to embrace.

The new model sounds like an airplane starting up!

It’s a far cry from Motorcycle Image GalleryHarley’s classics, like the 1952 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide. (photo right) with it’s loud and proud purr!

Nevertheless, history was made when Harley-Davidson unveiled its first electric motorcycle on June 4th, 2014.

Harley showed handmade demonstration models at an invitation-only event in New York. The company took several dozen riders on a 30-city tour to test drive the bikes and provide feedback.

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Here’s a link to every motorcycle Harley has produced.

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Harley will use the information gathered to refine the bike, which might not hit the market for several more years.

Predictions are they’ll sell based on performance, not environmental awareness.

With no need to shift gears, the slim, sporty bike can go from 0 to 60 mph in about 4 seconds. The engine is silent, but the meshing of gears emits a hum like a jet airplane taking off.

One hurdle the company has yet to address is the limited range offered by electric motorcycles. The batteries must be recharged after about 130 miles, and that can take 30 minutes to an hour. That kinda puts a crimp on hitting the open rode like in Easy Rider.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An argument for neutrality: ‘Will America ever stop waging wars?’

 Good Day World!

Do you think it’s possible America could withdraw from all the dirty wars it’s involved in across the globe and embrace an isolationist policy?

It’s a possibility – perhaps even a long shot – but if things keep going the way they are anything could happen.

It’s helpful to remember that during the 1930s, the combination of the Great Depression and the memory of tragic losses in World War I contributed to pushing American public opinion and policy toward isolationism.

In essence, isolationists advocated non-involvement in European and Asian conflicts and non-entanglement in international politics. That was then. This is now:

A December Pew Research poll “determined that more than half of Americans now think the United States should mind its own business and let other countries ‘get along the best they can on their own.”

History reminds us that President George Washington once advocated non-involvement in European wars and politics. The “father of our country” knew no good would come from meddling in other countries wars and affairs.

President Woodrow Wilson made a case for U.S. intervention in WWI. He argued that it was in the America’s interest to maintaining a peaceful world order.

All that happened was the American experience in that war served to bolster the arguments of isolationists; they argued that marginal U.S. interests in that conflict did not justify the number of U.S. casualties.

As a combat Vietnam veteran, I can tell you that wars don’t solve anything.

The earth’s map constantly gets rearranged by the emersion of new governments seeking power periodically. Like addicts, the American hawks keep us mainlined into the global war machine …which in turn feeds the international (and U.S.) weapon and ammunition manufacturers.

It’s no secret that these corporations have no conscience.

Even though I’m encouraged that more Americans are waking up to the fact that we need to mind our own business, I know it’s going to take a much higher percentage (like 90%) to even bring our government to the negotiating table.

Our gun culture, the NRA, weapons and ammunition manufacturers, and hawks in Congress are responsible for waging war worldwide. It’s profitable. How can that be changed?

Will the day come that the majority of Americans say “no more wars?”

Sadly, I don’t think so. 

Time for me to walk on down the road…    

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Wine for the dying, prayer discounts, and smoking human remains

Good Day World!

I’ve got a few interesting stories for you on this terrific Tuesday.

From a hospital that serves wine to terminally ill patients; a restaurant that gives discounts for praying; and a case where a burglar smoked human ashes; you’ll find these off-beat stories either fascinating or weird. Maybe both:

“A hospital in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand is to open a wine bar where terminally ill patients will be able to enjoy a "medically-supervised" glass or two with their families.

"Why should we refuse the charms of the soil to those at the end of their lives? Nothing justifies such an prohibition," the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital Center said in statement. (the rest of the story)

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http://cdn.ph.upi.com/sv/em/i/UPI-9931407009355/2014/1/14070098127814/Diners-get-discount-for-praying-at-restaurant.jpg

Diners get discount for praying at restaurant

The owner of a diner in North Carolina said she and her servers will often give customers a 15 percent discount for publicly praying before eating their meal.

Mary Haglund, owner of Mary's Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, said she's been giving the discount for four years, but the tradition made headlines last week after one customer posted her receipt on Facebook. (the rest of the story)

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Alleged Alabama burglar smoked dead woman's ashes thinking they were drugs

Vietnam War veteran Phillip McMullen likely saw some bad things during his time in the service, but what he saw when returned to his Alabama home ranks right up there.

McMullen came back to his Citronelle residence after visiting some friends out of town and discovered that his home had been burglarized.

The gun safe at McMullen's house had been damaged, but it wasn't broken into. The same could not be said for the plastic box which held his deceased wife's ashes.

"They even took my wife's ashes off my headboard, strewed them around, looked like they tried to smoke some of them or something," McMullen told FOX10 News.

"I bet that was a nasty taste when they (did) that."
McMullen and his wife were married for 22 years and he says the violation makes him "want to fight again."

If the Mobile County Sheriff's Office is able to catch the crook, it's possible they will be charged with desecration of a grave.

"It's hard to put in words, it makes me want to fight again, and I don't like to fight," McMullen said. "I don't know if God will forgive them for what they've done or not." (source of article)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 


Monday, August 4, 2014

Did ‘Edible Arrangements’ Support Hamas Through Donations?

Good Day World!

Urban legends, and rumors, are often interesting reads. There’s usually just enough truth in them to tweak our curiosity. Examples abound on the internet.

Today, I’m sharing one of those – shall we say rumors? – with you. It’s a recent story that will cause many Americans to pause before patronizing this business.

This story also serves as a backdrop for the war between Israel and Hamas.

THE CLAIM

Since at least as far back as 2012, rumors have circulated claiming that brothers Tariq and Kamran Farid, who founded Edible Arrangements International, are "devout Pakistani Muslims" who have, through their Tariq Farid Foundation, donated money to organizations linked with Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic fundamentalist movement engaged in armed resistance and terrorism against Israel.

Edible Arrangements International is a U.S.-based business that specializes in selling "fruit bouquets," fruit baskets designed like floral arrangements. As of 2014, the company was a 1,200-store chain with outlets in 14 countries, including the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Italy, Turkey, Hong Kong, Oman, India and China.

IN DEFENSE

The Anti-Defamation League (whose stated mission is to "stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all citizens alike") said of such rumors back in 2012 that:

We have received several such inquiries regarding recent allegations by Debbie Schlussel in an article critical of the owners of Edible Arrangements, which sells fruit baskets and the like. Schlussel claims that the owners of Edible Arrangements are funding Palestinian terror organizations, including Hamas, through their Farid Foundation.
In our judgment, Schlussel's allegations lack context and nuance and she does not offer any clear evidence to support them. Even if the Farid Foundation has provided funding for some of the American Muslim groups she references, we believe it is an unsupported stretch to conclude that the Foundation or Edible Arrangements is funding Hamas.

AGAINST

In June 2014 Islamic Relief WorldWide (IRW) was banned from operating in Israel due to that country's belief that IRW "funnels cash to Hamas":

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon [has] signed a decree banning Islamic Relief Worldwide from operating in Israel.

Israel believes IRW, which markets itself as a charitable agency that solicits donations from all over the world, funnels cash to Hamas. Ya’alon’s ban was decided upon after the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), the coordinator for government activities in the territories, and legal authorities provided incriminating information against IRW.

The organization has representatives worldwide, including Australia, the United States, and Britain, where it is headquartered. Some of their local branches in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria are run by Hamas operatives.

Ya'alon's decree makes it illegal for IRW to function anywhere in Israel, Judea, and Samaria. It will also be forbidden from transferring funds to any destination in Judea and Samaria.

“The IRW is another source of funds for Hamas, and we have no intention of allowing it to operate and assist terrorist activity against Israel," Ya'alon said.

"This is another in a series of steps that we are taking against Hamas in Judea and Samaria and the pressure we are applying, the goal of which is to harm the organization’s leadership and rank-and-file as well as its civilian infrastructure. These serve as the foundation from which Hamas operates among the local population."

WHO GOT CHARITY DONATIONS?

Farid Foundation makes significant contributions to Islamic causes and organizations, including the Farid Foundation Pakistan; the Salma K. Farid Academy; Islamic Circle of North America Relief; the Muslim Coalition of Connecticut; the Inner-City Muslim Action Network; the Wallingford Islamic Center; Masjid AI-Islam; and the Islamic Association of Southern Connecticut.

WHAT’S THE BOTTOM LINE?

SNOPES isn’t really sure who’s telling the truth, and who’s lying. Read full article here.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Virtual Therapist Will See You Now

 

                                        Good Day World!

In Afghanistan, a new therapist is talking with soldiers. Her name is Ellie. She is the face of a computer program and she could be the key to identifying PTSD in America’s military.

Equipped with a Microsoft Kinect motion sensor, she nods at the right time, urges patients on with a well-timed “uh-huh,” and knows when to stop talking.

A study released earlier this month found that patients were more willing to open up to Ellie than to a human therapist, mostly because they felt like they were not being judged by the computer program.

Ellie isn’t designed to replace therapists. Instead, her program, called SimSensei, could be used as a screening tool for the military and hospitals.

Currently, it’s being tested by members of the National Guard in Afghanistan, but eventually it could be used by civilians suffering from everything from depression to cancer. Other technology, like the Oculus Rift virtual reality glasses, is also being tested by researchers to help treat PTSD.

 (Read the full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

About fist bumps: the new etiquette instead of shaking hands

U.S. President Obama fist bumps the cashier after paying for his order at Franklin Barbecue in Austin

Good Day World!

Have you ever met someone who refused to shake hands with you? If you have, were you offended?

Did they explain why they wouldn’t?

I expect to see less handshaking among people when they hear about a new study in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The researchers found that fist bumps, where two people briefly press the top of their closed fists together, transferred about 90 percent less bacteria than handshakes. What a revelation!

A fist bump (also called dap, pound, fist pound, brofist, donsafe, spudding, fo' knucks, box, Bust, pound dogg, props, Bones,respect knuckles, bumping the rock, or knuckle crunching) is a gesture similar in meaning to a handshake or high five.

Fist bumping will probably take a while to catch on. Until it does you might want to check out some information on handshaking etiquette that’s in the upper right hand corner of this page under “Dave at Learnist” – Handshake Hack: Origins, Etiquette, Secrets.

DID YOU KNOW?

Fist bumping first appeared in America in the 1940s, as biker gangs were becoming popular in southwestern areas of the United States.

Motorcyclists sitting next to each other at traffic lights would be unable to perform a proper handshake, due to riding stance, so a quick bump of closed fists was an easier way to greet a fellow rider at a stop.

The "fist bump" or "pound" can easily be traced as far back as the late 1800s and early 1900s to the boxer's handshake as a way to greet when hands are gloved. via Wikipedia

I’ve never been a big hand-shaker, but not because of fear of getting bad bacteria. I’m just not a touchy, feelie kind of guy. I seldom hug anyone, with the exception of my wife, Shirley. So, if fist bumps become the new greeting etiquette…I’m good with that.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, August 1, 2014

A case of the ‘runs’ led to one of Raiders of the Lost Ark's most memorable scenes

I turned to Snopes.com today to verify the following urban legend.

Surprisingly, it’s true.

In the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, one particular scene consistently brings the house down: Indiana Jones, having survived an elaborate chase through a casbah, is confronted by an Arab swordsman whipping through a flashy routine with a scimitar.

Indy initially squares off against the deadly swordsman bearing only his trademark whip in his hands; then with a look of infinite fatigue and disgust, he casually pulls out his revolver and blows the bad guy away as seen in the video below:

That bit of unexpected humor flowed not from the pen of a screenwriter but from the desperation of Harrison Ford. His desire to spend less time on this scene and more in a washroom led to an actor-inspired script change that was ultimately worked into the film. (Read the full story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…


Court Protects Gun Owners From Common Sense

Good Day World!

Today I’m sharing this outstanding editorial because it highlights the realities of living in a gun-crazy state – Florida.

From the state that brought us the Trayvon Martin trial, we now have a new gun law.

But it’s not the kind you’d think, like a bill to do away with “shoot first, ask questions later”  aka "Stand-your-ground" law.

No. The madness continues. Once again common sense is trumped by the gun culture in Florida.

Florida is considered "accommodating" to guns, by national standards. This opinion piece addresses that fact.

By Francis Wilkinson

“U.S. federal courts have issued two noteworthy rulings on guns. One is constitutionally significant: It overturns the District of Columbia's ban on carrying handguns outside the home, while showcasing the gun-rights movement's aggressive legal and political efforts to eliminate virtually all regulation.

It may go all the way to the Supreme Court, where the justices could potentially use it to establish ground rules for concealed and open carry.

The other case has all the gravity of a Daffy Duck cartoon. It exposes an insular gun culture, addled by paranoia and determined to shut itself off from even the most anodyne expressions of common sense.

A three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit issued a split ruling reversing a federal court decision and upholding Florida's "gun gag" law, which prohibits -- sort of -- physicians from inquiring whether a patient has firearms in the home.

The legislation is such a sloppy mess that it's impossible to tell exactly what it does and doesn't forbid. Now, two judges on the appeals panel have added to the legal buffoonery.

"The Act seeks to protect patients’ privacy by restricting irrelevant inquiry and record-keeping by physicians regarding firearms," the ruling states.

OK. Then it gets weird: "It is no exaggeration to state that a patient may be in some cases essentially at the mercy of his or her physician."

In effect, the court ruled that when gun-owning adults are asked about firearm ownership by the race of superhumans known as doctors, they are powerless to resist.

Really, no exaggeration.

Doctors are expected to ask about your sex life, your relationship to illicit substances and how often you go to the bathroom. But for those delicate Floridians who own guns, being asked if they keep firearms in a gun locker is more trauma than they can bear. (And for those patients so seriously ill that a doctor holds the key to "mercy," firearms protocol is no doubt top of mind.)

The case stemmed from anecdotes of gun owners taking umbrage at routine questions, including the rote variety that appear on standard questionnaires issued by some physician offices. The emotional distress was so intense that the National Rifle Association begged the Florida legislature to intervene.

Why do these nosy docbots want to know about firearm ownership, anyway? For the same reason they ask about drug and alcohol use and the storage of poisons in homes with small children: They prefer living patients to dead ones.

And 30,000 times a year in the U.S., a firearm doesn't just reduce a patient's life expectancy, it eliminates it. Earlier this month, a Florida three-year-old shot herself in the stomach with a loaded, unsecured gun in her home.

Last month, a 15-year-old Florida boy died of a gunshot wound, apparently after playing with a similarly "accessible" gun. ("Child kills self with irresponsible parent's gun" is a story that never gets old in Florida.)

As a lengthy dissent, written by a flabbergasted Justice Charles Wilson, stated: "A vivid imagination is not required to think of the innumerable adverse health consequences that go along with unsafe firearm ownership."

Even Florida legislators, who seem to specialize in harebrained gun laws, appeared to grasp that logic. They added a condition to the law:

Doctors could continue asking about firearm ownership in cases in which such a question was "relevant" to a patient's care. When is it relevant? No one, least of all Florida legislators or doctors, appears to know.

Physicians challenged the law on grounds that it's both unconstitutionally vague and a blatant, four-alarm abridgment of free speech (let alone professional responsibilities).

But put aside the subjugation of the First Amendment to the Second, and other constitutional issues. How did a modest, discrete effort to limit morbidity and mortality ever inspire such an overblown reaction in the first place?

If you live in fear of being questioned about your conduct, or readily confuse common sense with condescension, you might be suffering from insecurities associated with dubious public policy positions. See your doctor.”

You can contact the writer, Francis Wilkinson at fwilkinson1@bloomberg.net. This article originally ran in Forbes.

Time for me to walk on down the road….

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lawsuit against Obama: Ruminations on Republicians & Democrats

Good Day World!

Opening Act:

A cry comes down the corridors of Congress;

“The sky is falling…the sky is falling!

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: “Boehner is planning to impeach the president.”

The GOP base meanwhile is loving all the impeachment talk (via Sarah Palin, Allen West, Drudge, and the rhetoric from some sitting House members).

Another example of pathetic politics. Both parties engage in lies and rhetoric.

House Speaker, John Boehner, has used the threat of impeachment to galvanize conservative enthusiasm for the midterm elections and get them to open their wallets and donate to the cause.

Pelosi’s tactic was to motivate the liberal base by parroting “The president is going to be impeached. Help him out! Contribute money” 

The cynical game took on new legs Wednesday when the House voted to sue Obama for supposedly exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority - 225 to 201.

Republicans said the legal action, focusing on Obama's implementation of his prized health care overhaul, was designed to prevent a further presidential power grab and his deciding unilaterally how to enforce laws.

Democrats say the lawsuit will go nowhere. It was, they claim, designed only to encourage conservatives to vote in this November's congressional elections.

In an AP article, Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y. said: "The lawsuit is a drumbeat pushing members of the Republican Party to impeachment."

Because the Democrats are already using that argument to mine campaign contributions, the game goes on. "The GOP is chomping at the bit to impeach the president," Democratic staffers wrote. A common email theme: "We've got to get the president's back."

Meanwhile, this latest demonstration of pathetic politics continues to rankle the American public. It means another partisan battle when they should be serving the nation by passing laws and getting important things done.

Researchers know why more Americans are choosing not to vote.

But it doesn’t take a degree in political science to know why. People are fed up with politicians and their lies. They’re electing not to participate in a corrupt and partisan system because they know it isn’t working.

Broken.

Time for me to walk on down the road….

 

 

How The Crazies Found Their Voice in America

I miss the good old days when the crazies in our society wore tinfoil hats and communicated with aliens from another galaxy. Whenever they ...