Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Morsel of Astound

Thanks to Noelle in Michigan for this astounding story which screams for wider attention. It is an amazement and a delight to all. Savor please.

Man in Wheelchair Takes Ride on Semi's Grill. Hell-to-the-yeah, he's a Pepper, too.

"The driver did not believe them until he stepped out of the truck and saw the man still sitting in his wheel chair."

Now that I think about it, I've heard this one somewhere before, only the guy had a hook on his hand.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Joey Chestnut Broke My Hibernation

This miscellaneous guy is not a champion, merely a devoted patriot and wiener-eater.

Not hibernation exactly, more like estivation, that being animal dormancy during a hot or dry period. Many reptiles burrow down into coolness and cheese it in the summertime, so I'm not alone, even if I still haven't found a new snake den to call my own. But this news shocked me out of my posting torpor.

JOEY CHESTNUT has broken KOBAYASHI'S Hot Dog Eating Record!

As you may know, this currently infrequently-updated blog has in its storied past devoted space and awestruck affection to the phenomenon of Competitive Eating. (Great sport and competitor background from Larry Getlen of Black Table linked here, other posts with follow-up and related items here, here, here, and here.)

At last year's Nathan's Famous 4th of July Hot Dog Eating Contest at Coney Island, the pinnacle event of the hot-dog-and-bun calendar, young gobbler Joey Chestnut made a very strong showing in 2nd place, but failed to unseat the Master, Kobayashi, who exerted himself to a new record of 53 and three-quarters in 12 minutes. Yesterday in Phoenix, Joey finally lived up to his hype by setting a new record of 59 HDBs in the standard 12 mins.

I have nothing against champ Takeru Kobayashi, far from it. His fantastic tenacity and versatility at the acme of competitive eating achievement, as well as his willingness to be its ambassador in international media, have earned him lasting legend. It's just that true fans love to see heated competition emerge, even if it means temporarily toppling greatness, to push the sport and its champions further. And at 23, Joey C. has a lot of runway in front of him. Realize that just two years ago, I was posting a Kobayashi July 4th win with a record 49 HDBs. In slightly less than two years, the record has gained 10 dogs, a 20% performance increase! I have to believe it's at least partially the result of titan Kobayashi feeling the hot breath of a usurper on his neck and rookie Joey's passion to be the sport's newly crowned king. Where are the limits of human endurance and elasticity? Perhaps this July 4th, we'll see the competitors finally hit the wall, or just perhaps... greater amazements yet await.

For both athletes and afficionados, the next month will be a nail-biting agony of training, mental preparation, and building anticipation. Ladies and Gentlemen, on this July 4th, 2007, Coney Island will sizzle with the sounds of a Wiener Battle Royale!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend- I Just Do Like It

Lots of nice things have happened to me and other fine folks I know at this time of year. Most recently, I've been racing around looking for a new reef to call my own, and so neglecting absolutely all duties administrative. But even if my whizzing head is void of rage and novelty, shouldn't there be cute pictures anyway? Thanks, Bonnie for sending this one along, and I hope that it gives you all the whimsical romantic feel that it did for me, and glug glug.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Insurance Rants Abound, Oddments at Top and Tail

I refuse to explain how my search for sexy insurance pictures led to this site for mirowaveable food, but it did, so here's HeatEatReview. They treat the foodstuffs to taste tests and in-depth discussion, and the lower the ratings, the funnier they get. Too bad, Gardenburger Margherita Pizza Style Veggie Wrap- one star.

I've not posted here in so long. I've been on the run, but wanted to give you an overdue, infuriated libertarian-ish rant for the nonce, and something much funnier and odd is at the post's bottom, if this political/econ stuff glazes your eyes.

1) Allstate stops writing new homeowners policies in California, like they've done to reduce their financial exposure in other catastrophe-prone states. Is it because they don't want customers? No. It's because state governments pressed by residents who've been undone by natural calamities have meddled inordinately in insurers' abilities to do profitable business there, one egregious example (that I will salt liberally into the mix here) being that insurers after big FL hurricanes were forced to pay flooding damage claims from policies that specifically excluded such. That means that any existing policy is an uncertain and expanding risk, and those companies make money by managing risk. If suddenly your contracts mean nothing, regardless of how clearly stated, and state officials will pressure you to pay for coverage that the homeowners didn't opt to purchase, any insurance policy could result in huge claims, no matter how small the premiums or limited the terms. In this case, Allstate wasn't allowed to raise its rates in order to cover its increased risks in CA. More money paid than collected sounds like an unsustainable business plan, but I guess people working in insurance company offices don't deserve Christmas bonuses, only homeowners are noble here. But soft. What if the over 2.3 million people employed in the insurance industry need access to affordable health, auto, and home coverage, too? Could that many people possibly have families and homes and be mostly well-intending professionals rather than soulless jerkoffs? Nah.

I do NOT argue that insurers are saintly philanthropists, Hell-to-the-No, and plenty of claims and legal actions have been taken against them for wrongly obstructing payment in certain instances. (We spit on their damned delays and evil evasions.) But there are mechanisms to address these things, not least that they are, if you read the links above, sensitive as businesses to the impression of being dishonest, heartless bastards. Furthermore, wronged claimants have a legal leg to stand on because of the integrity of their policies as contracts in the eyes of the court. We continue to need firm, transparent oversight and penalties for misdeeds in this arena. However, when you decide (even for the most humane reasons) to perpetuate unjust dealings by shafting insurers as a group and invalidating their contractual agreements with their customers, the poorest people will eventually suffer most. Corruption always hurts the poor. Because things inevitably change in response, and they don't have the money for work-arounds and extra homesteads on flat lands that the rich do.

Insurance is not a right, it is a business model that operates on companies earning more from investments than they pay in claims. The money needed for investment (the paid premium) and the amount of coverage redeemable for each policy are calculated in numbing detail by pointy-headed types analyzing and putting dollar values on the risk of highly-specific calamities. Purchasing insurance coverage represents a spending priority, a perspective on life and personal assessment of one's own charmed life. I have known plenty of people spending more on their toys (like shiny motorcycles) than even a basic, catastrophic health care policy to cover them if they fell badly (a not uncommon occurrence). If such decisions work out badly, I'd like to see help available through charitable giving and emergency aid, even low-cost long-term loans. But I don't think all the other taxpayers should be paying even more to the bloated G-O-V-T out of their checks to finance Thor and MamaBelle's freedom of choice.

Actually, where private insurers have indeed feared to wade, federally subsidized flood insurance has been widely available, but strangely, mostly the well-heeled seem to be purchasing it. I consider that scheme one super-giant boondoggle against taxpayers because it indemnifies risks that businesses would never stomach to underwrite because they're too Freaking Risky- like building mansions on the slippery mud canyons of Malibu. But okay.

If you don't believe the rain will fall, do without coverage. If and when the rain does fall, some government help will probably arrive (less and worse than you'd likely prefer), and charities and private organizations and even big, bad corporations will mobilize to help out, and many good-hearted individuals will find ways to assist their fellows in need as they always do. But will you be made whole, or come out even better than you went in? Well, you can't expect civil society to value your health and possessions more than you did yourself when you opted not to buy a tarp, or even a cheap umbrella.

What about the poor who must choose between insurance and subsistence? That's why I'm for a government insurance spending allowance for individuals (a redirection of other, much less efficient forms of public aid) to dole out for the most appropriate coverage as they see it, rather than government-provided health care. I believe the market does it better, faster, and cheaper when it's actually allowed to work, and people are always more selective about spending on things they pay for themselves. Instead of the lousy, inefficient government administration, I'd prefer good (or even lousy) private administration that we can at least audit, sue, fine and lambast in the public square to enforce fair dealing.

If the IRS is deeply dishonest, what can you do? It's a relatively impenetrable, unaccountable bureaucracy. And the same people complaining about VA hospital conditions want gov't to handle the whole enchilada of personal health care? Madre de Dios! Even Channel 2 won't handle those kind of dissatisfied consumer scams, but give them a nice public company with an address and letterhead and stockholders, and maybe things can be leveraged for the powers of good.

Anyway, a couple years ago, many buyers in Florida skipped the extra premiums for flood policies, and found happily (as happy as one can be after a devastating hurricane) that the state strong-armed companies like Allstate into paying the water damage claims anyway. Well, that's this week's disaster. What about the next? As a result, insurance businesses-- employing millions of fine people who are by-and-large just as worthy as their neighboring policyholders--took a defensive strategy against ballooning claim costs. Now, new homeowners in certain areas, even if they're willing to pay for a full menu of coverages, may not have the option as the biggest players pull out of these markets. The smaller firms or others that stay will likely be able to jack their prices through the roof if they're willing to keep writing policies in those jurisdictions. Competition diminishes, demand outstrips supply, and prices will go up. Simple. Someday, and very soon, California will have to approve that detestable rise in insurance rates or few new policies will be issued or available in the state. That is, except from Al's Fly-By-Night Friendly Insurance Corp, premiums payable by money order or auto pink slip. Will the consumers and homeowners be happy for the protections of their benevolent state legislature then?

In the case of claims awarded contrary to policy terms, the resulting rate increases due to increased business costs, reduced competition, and downright policy shut downs will be especially painful for those poor people who suffered the initial damages without coverage. What are their long-term prospects? Selling their homes because they can't afford to insure them against the next downturn? What happens to the sale value of homes that simply cannot be insured because states can't be trusted not to inflict unpaid-for "meteor-damage" claims on insurers and also won't let them charge enough to offset the risk created by the legislatures' own whimsies? Will it be easy to get mortgage companies to lend money for property purchases where they can't protect their collateral asset with insurance? Will that cause the mortgage rates in those areas to rocket because of the higher risks incurred by the lenders on property there? Will that create more flight of working people from those states to those with lower housing and insurance costs (and therefore with lower costs of operation making them more attractive to new corporate facilities, and so on- you get the idea)? Will the next disaster, and there will be one, likely find those states with more self-sufficient, prepared, and insured property owners or fewer? Will we face a downward spiral of ever-worsening outcomes for homeowners in ghettos of damaged property that no one can afford to leave and no one else can be persuaded to buy, no matter how cheap? Possible consequences of all this aren't unfathomable, they just suck.

Many, many people warned that this short-sighted state beneficence with someone else's dollars would cause insurers to flee those states where the legislative climate proved as hostile as Mother Nature's. Now, these states with very large populations and tendencies toward dramatic weather have helped make themselves even less safe havens for their residents. Totally predictable and Just great.

2) This is a very funny interview of the recently demoted Pluto by John Scalzi.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Have I Spilled the Existential Beans?

A quickie. I'm in frenzied preparation for a houseguest, two actually, in series. I'm advising them not to dig too deeply beneath the surface tidiness, which has been steam blasted and sanitized, to the deeper archaeological rubble of persons beneath. Dark corners should be feared, obviously. Every 6 year-old knows that.

Here are a couple of sites to help moderns make philosophical sense of the world. However, we're not going to be referring back to those pompous old Greeks or Enlightenment know-it-alls. We're going to use the materials closest to hand: monkeys and Stooges.

Inside the Monkeysphere is self-explanatory, but for Dr. Will's take on men and Stooges, you'll have to scroll down to April 18th. (Think about permalinks, Doc.) Also, I'm not the only one of the XX crowd I know who finds the world of the Stooges muy agradable, so put that one in Larry's hair-do and smoke it.

Disclaimer: I do not necessarily adhere to the rationales presented by these websites, though they each make compelling points, but we're talking about YOU here, the grasping you who do not yet have all the answers, not me, cheerily self-satisfied in my omnipotence. From these sites' meanderings, you may perhaps assemble a little more of the grand mosaic of Meaning. Will the final picture look like a cow in a meadow or an interstellar jet ski? Cow on jet ski? Telling you would ruin the surprise, but such investigations as these make the process of discovery more than half the fun.

Thanks to April and Noelle for the links. A Dogpile image search for the terms "interstellar cow jet ski" yielded no results, which may indicate I've loosed a bit more out of the bag of Being than this world is prepared to know. I did, however, find the above book of indoctrination for children. Given the number of current technologies envisioned by sci-fi writers as long as a century ago, you may decide for yourself if William Sleator is a madman or slightly under half-a-prophet.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Eat, Drink, Overflow Your Bookmarks

I haven't completely adapted to the new math of my blogging. I'm group blogging over at Women of Mystery, which I continue to flog for obvious and silly reasons. But that's not really the place for the odd, thematic collections of pages I somehow continue saving. Here's where I've learned to unburden myself of those items, and still find myself enjoying it. Onto the goodies.

1) A food writer realizes he has a disposition towards gout and sky-high cholesterol right before he goes on a week-long exploration of Edwardian eating: formal dress, 5 viscous and multi-coursed meals a day, no liquid but hooch and coffee. For once, a supersizing experiment with class and pedigree, until he describes the digestive effects, that is.

2) Just because I like the phrase, read how binging tipplers may benefit from a "liver holiday".

3) The Celebrity Weighing Scale doesn't bother you with all those confusing digits. Rather, it supplies your notoriety coefficient in mass. Do you weigh as much as Goldie Hawn or Mr. Ed, Trump's Combover or Yoda? Cheap at $34.95.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Here's Where

I remind you and myself not to Borrow Trouble. You know what I mean. If you follow every horror that occurs somewhere, many of which we only now discover in real time due to the successes of technological civilization, you'll spend (okay, I'll spend) days following coverage of nothing else in a torpor of morbid empathy. But plenty enough people will be weeping today. If you don't have intimate cause to do so, help counterbalance the world's sorrows with your own cheer. There's nothing wrong with being glad, as long as you're not an insensitive jerk about it. Nature agrees.

These glorious moths drink the tears of sleeping birds. Some butterflies drink antelope's tears, or even the legendary ones from crocodiles. Amazing. If you are down today, may a greedy and magnificent butterfly suck out the sadness with his proboscis of joy.

Image of Peacock butterfly from this site with other lovely flora and fauna pics.
For fresh scriveno-centric,biblio-centric ,and crimino-centric content, refer to Women of Mystery.

Friday, April 13, 2007

At Least One New Place For Posts

Though posting through Firefox is better, recently I've been posting most frequently at a new group blog for female crime writers called Women of Mystery. I'm only obliged to post once a week, but there are enough people to create a steady flow of fresh entries. You may guess for yourself which one I am. No prize, since it's not that big a secret.

Yes, there's much less of an odd-news focus there, but I am trying to make tangible progress in publishing this year, so I'm keeping my focus tightly on my creations and less of the wild-and-wooly-gathering that I'm prone to indulging. I will also be setting up a site under my own name as a writing site and another for the graphic novel, which is currently being inked and is, therefore, in perilous danger of actually existing.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

WHO AM I????

Image from here.

If you're like me, you spend a fair bit of life piddling away spurts of your own actual potential, taking quizzes to figure out what you're really like when you already know what the answer is: LAZY BASTARD.

In that spirit, via Bonnie, here's a detailed quiz by actual dog show people to discover what kind of dog you are, personalitywise. According to them, I'm a Golden Retriever, but I have my doubts. It was surprising to me how extensive and undoggy the personality questions are, but the Golden's fabled industry and constancy don't exactly seem to mesh with my incredible failings in those areas.

Of course, this other, shorter quiz (not by dog show people) says I'm a Jack Russell terrier.

Who can I trust to tell me the truth when the dog-personality quiz people can't even agree? I do believe, however, that self-absorbed emo about my schizophrenic failure to be genuinely grasped in a canine analog can divert me from productivity for another hour or two. Too....sad....and write. Pass the broken cookies, and rev up the Murder, She Wrote. I am bereft of hope and require comfort!

P.S. Firefox works way better for posting in the new Blogger. So that's good. But I'm still not working.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Go For the Hoax, Redoax

Newest Hoax: That "updating" my template per the new Blogger would help the awful HTMLriffic posting I have to do myself now, part of the reason I blog so seldom lately. didn't work. New blogs ahead, I promise again, but I still mean it and things are still happening.

Here at the Museum of Hoaxes you can see many famous foolings- which makes me feel slightly better for being faced again- including spaghetti trees and the recent big You Tube hit, the screamingly acrimonious break-up of a couple that, in fact, never dated. Even real reality TV is fake. The couple claims now some philsophical purpose like to show the power and money involved in its vast internettiness, but I think it was to make fun and see if people would believe. They did and did.

I actually have saved up bunches of other links, some mildly amusing and provacative, to post about, but I can't bring myself to go through all the hassle. The image above was purported to be Baby Hitler until an unfortunate mother (in may ways) from Connecticut recognized it as a doctored picture of her own little Johnny. Image comes from the museum's photo gallery. Be patient with their site; it's their big traffic season. Please enjoy this simple and sparse pre-April Fool's dose of fraud and have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bummer, I Warn You, but Cathy deserves the Props

Cathy Seipp, one of those contrarian non-smokers with lung cancer, has died at 49, five years after her diagnosis gave her only six months. Though current postings at her blog are filled with sympathy from myriad friends she never met (I met her once in 2005, so there!), her archives are a great place to discover her unique, funny, and well-reasoned perspective on LA life and media. Besides, it would be the coolest twenty-first century-style tribute to hoist her to number one on Technorati today. She was already ahead of Paris Hilton by yesterday. Click a link and share the love. Also, consider the horrible fate of lung cancer victims- frequently stigmatized as morally-corrupt smokers- though Cathy never was (nor was Dana Reeve) and always lived a healthy lifestyle. This disease is aggressive, painful, and greedy to kill. Once my great aunt Katherine was diagnosed, they simply tranked her to the gills on morphine, and she never saw her own bed or home again. I hope Cathy is pleased to know that she's brought today's spotlight to this disease that's quite underfunded and studied compared to its virulence and the number of yearly fatalities it causes. Maybe the needle will move a little today.

Cathy's World

Update March 23: Cathy's Number 1! Take that you vapid celebritards. Back seat to a real human. Shine on.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

BLAMMO, Einstein, and Og

Update: I never did get the Og pix figured, but this post now provides a handy spot to park a miscellaneous Hamburglar picture I needed. Don't ask.

Through image search, I think I've learned that 'og' means 'and' in German. It also clearly means something in Japanese, something occasionally tagged on NSFW pix. This captures the spirit of Og as I intend him. It'll all make sense by the post's end.

Ever written a whole mess of verbiage, then just flitted away for a picture, and BLAMMO went all your text? Ever tried to post pictures repeatedly without success? Ditto. Ever hated the new Blogger?

Apre BLAMMO, I was just writing that today's both Houdini's and Einstein's birthday (1874 for Erik Weisz and 1879 respectively), and that I'm reading an occultish novel about one of them. Did you guess right? It's Einstein. It's Three Days to Never by Tim Powers. a creative fuser of the fantastic and historic who happens to write well, too. He irritates me that way, and I'm compelled to read everything he writes. Eventually, of course. I'm a juke box that doesn't play album sides, if you know what I mean.

Do you find it amazing that I began reading an Einstein-centric time travel book about unmaking existence yesterday after I was commenting on a philospohical argument against existence, and that I'm still reading the book and it turns out to be Einstein's birthday today? Me neither. I have certain fascinations, reflected in the books I have waiting to be read, the articles that provoke me, and the dates I'm likely to notice. This confluence would mean more if I'd just found the book abandoned in a public place, the article had been forwarded by a stranger who didn't know my tastes, and I didn't regularly read my This Day in History e-mail for the kinds of birth-and-deathiversaries I like to know. (Today's also the 1833 birthday of America's first woman dentist, Lucy Hobbs Taylor, but what am I gonna do with that? Can't think of a thing, so I ignore it.)

The novel's good so far, and I respect the way Powers is willing to hang things out, incomplete and unexplained, for many pages. If I like the writing and subject, that approach engages me, makes me dig into the story further, but some people may find it frustrating. This is a somewhat confusing time travel a-go-go kind of tale where (unlike the rules in Back to the Future), your future, present, and past selves from varying parallel existences may be grousing next to each other at the blood-stained skeezy bar before the end of existence. No mere white-tableclothed restaurant at the end of the universe, this.

(Note the way I'm not using 'Anyhoo' to begin this paragraph, even though it beckons me like a blazing finger). The tendency as displayed above for humans to selectively self-filter what we conncetrate upon is exactly the reason a movie like '23' blows emu sack. Oh I see, we add up a number series and get 23! Why didn't we subtract or long divide or do anything consistently from our arithmetic or even algebraic bag of tricks? Frankly, I think algebra's the better method here. If I know I need the answer to be 23, what maneuvers and variables will it take to get that outcome from the address of the Chinese take-out place down the street with their accursed Kung Pao of existential doom?! Can it possibly be entertaining watching someone disappear that far down his 23 millimeter navel?

This very normal human tendency to tune out what we don't need as noise can tempt us to overemphasize, but it has its distinct upside, too. For example, the ability to pick out your plane's gate from a static-filled departure display listing hundreds while ignoring the squeaky-wheeled cart nearly clipping your heels and the five people shouting into their cell phones. But, it's not just an adaptation for modern life. Heck, no. In a wild savannah, the landscape teems with thousands of specific details to see, but what about young Og who spends his time looking down a lot, poking at smelly piles with a stick? We hope he's using a stick. Instead of butterflies or leaf varieties or the clouds in shapes of bunnies or cappucino machines, young Og sees only scat. The fresh scat of either juicy, prancing prey or razor-clawed predators. We might call him poopy-brained, but he might survive long enough to become old Og.

May we all be old Ogs who've earned new sticks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I Find Today a Fine Day to Exist

Can flocked wallpaper be so bad it's good? Well, ahem, someone (I'm pointing down the page) doesn't see it that way. Things do seem black and white to him, I guess. But definitely not a groovy swirl of overlapping and constrasting moments, just unrelieved black mostly. The black of nonbeing so unbeen that it might even be lavender.

Sure, it's just my opinion, but I do prefer being to the alternative, now that I'm in the swim of it. However, not every deeper thinker feels that way. Prompted by an article on odd book names, the crack team (or meth, whatever makes the links quiver) at James Taranto's Best of the Web for the Wall Street Journal did further investigation on one particularly prickly title: "Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence"

This tome was written by David Benatar of the University of South Africa at Cape Town, and I'm sure if I had a sister that rockin' and popular, I might feel so insignificant as to prefer the winking-out. To his credit, rather than becoming a bitter suicide, the professor's decided to plod on, contributing to the intellectual content of our unthinkingly cruel species with his philosophical treatise against being. That's right. Being At All. Yes, you too. The WSJ's link is (personal html skillz not mad today), and I think it's a freebie, but in case not, I will extract freely and tell you how darned interesting and funny the column in total usually is, so you should subscribe yourself, blah....or just pluck the book's description from Amazon like they did.

Most people believe that they were either benefited or at least not harmed by being brought into existence. Thus, if they ever do reflect on whether they should bring others into existence--rather than having children without even thinking about whether they should--they presume that they do them no harm.

Better Never to Have Been challenges these assumptions. David Benatar argues that coming into existence is always a serious harm. Although the good things in one's life make one's life go better than it otherwise would have gone, one could not have been deprived by their absence if one had not existed. Those who never exist cannot be deprived. However, by coming into existence one does suffer quite serious harms that could not have befallen one had one not come into existence.

Drawing on the relevant psychological literature, the author shows that there are a number of well-documented features of human psychology that explain why people systematically overestimate the quality of their lives and why they are thus resistant to the suggestion that they were seriously harmed by being brought into existence.

I'm quite sure I'm missing the brilliant subtlety of the "anti-natal" argument: No one will ever experience suckitude if there is No One to know what sucks, but I don't know how he could attest that non-existence sucks less. All of us doing the arguing are too late to the party to know, pre-birth memories being widely faulty for other than a few bestselling hosts of costly weekend seminars and consciousness props. To my unsophisticated perception, life strains everywhere to be fecund, whether in blossoming flowers or the mold on leftovers, whether in termites, kudzu, or those fish that hibernate under mud flats for years. Mayflies. The lengths to which life will adapt (most unattractively) just for the briefest, longest-shot to make more life from itself seems to show that living must be cool, or at least preferred. Otherwise, why would so many vile and perfectly natural things from plague viruses to deadly bacteria keep trying so hard to make it here in LifeTown. I'm a crude instrument for philosophy, I'll admit, but there's one other refutation I can make.

A bestest friend of mine is having a birthday today, and I'm extremely pleased not only that said friend ever existed, but that many suckfests were able to be shared and survived together, as I find that surviving long enough to laugh, sometimes just a second or two past the sucking, is half the fun. And so I praise this one laudable existence by sharing a gift of unalloyed happiness with you. Dare I say, it may even serve as healing balm for your existential harm.
Hopefully, what will quickly load below is The awesome Wallpaper video of Do What you Want by OK GO.

Just for a nanosecond of your intrisically-harmfilled slog, I dare you to dodge the sweet lightning of joy. Go on, try.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Not-Fake Ubercute Tiger Cub Story

Bottom AP photo by Achmad Ibrahim- don't sue, please.

As you may recall, I've highlighted the fake grieving-tiger-raising-disguised-piglets-in-California story, which turns out to be the case of some well-meaning folks subverting natural wild animal behavior. The Thai tiger in question there was raised with and by pigs, so that plunking some into its cage later didn't excite predatory behavior.

I'm happy to report that the following story generating seriously cute tiger pictures seems authentic, well, depending how much one trusts the AP, but it does feel more likely.

Within an Indonesian zoo nursery, very young tiger twins have bonded with 5-month old orangutans. We can enjoy the unusual sight with the knowledge that the animals aren't being made vulnerable by the early contact since they'll live in habitation, also knowing they'll be separated by the time the cubs reach 3 months of age, about the time they'd start eating meat. For now, it's very sweet.

CNN Article Link

Update: Added top two pictures from BBC article I saw at
Permalink's not working for me and I can't stomach all the HTML again, so type in the name if you want.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Holy Day Yawns, Sunglasses, and Man Boobs

Today's Ash Wednesday, so I salute all those dusty ones who shall return. And if the following image of the current champion, Don, doesn't cultivate 40 days' worth of pensive humility, item 3 has the link for more.

1) I was reading the following item from "Yawning is an involuntary action that causes us to open our mouths wide and breathe in deeply. No one knows for sure why we yawn, but there are some interesting theories. One states that yawning is physiological: we yawn to draw in more oxygen or remove a build-up of carbon dioxide. Another theory states that we yawn because we are bored, fatigued, or drowsy, while a third suggests that yawning is evolutionary; according to this theory, our ancestors used yawning to intimidate others by showing their teeth, or to signal a change in activity. The use of yawning as a form of communication would also explain why some people find yawning contagious; 55% of people will yawn within five minutes of seeing someone else yawn."

I found myself yawning even before I got to the following part: "Reading about yawning usually makes people yawn as well. The average yawn lasts about six seconds. All animals appear to yawn, too!"

Did you yawn reading that, too? Sure it's boring, but more than that, I think. Doesn't that strange contagious reflex seem like more than just a simple form of communication? I don't talk or even grunt back to the computer screen usually anyway. So why did the translation of dark squiggles into meaning in my brain cause me to yawn? I don't sneeze when I read that word. Anyway, here's to the deep mysteries inherent in the everyday.

2) I don't think I could live through the original, almost eight-minute version, but as someone who's mocked David Caruso's woodenly humorless "acting" on CSI:Miami for as many seasons as it's existed, I adored this video compliation of his "Sunglass Method". See 24's Keifer Sutherland for "Whisper Method."

Defamer: Caruso One-liners, Endless Sunglass Edition

3) Via April, if the Valentine's Post left you hungry for more man-meat stew, here's your cup-overflowing helping of mannery glands.

"Man Boobs UK

The tastelessness of today's post merely documents my need for penitential contemplation.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Super Sexah Valentine's Ya'll

What else is there to say? Except that I'm waiting amid a snowstorm with freezing rain for furniture delivery, which seems stupid, so I tried to talk the companies taking the old stuff and bringing the new out of it, but no dice. Yet. In the meantime, enjoy the hotness.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Joining the Club While On the Road

I'm currently in Ventura County, California. I've been visiting family and risking my life on Grimes Canyon Road, but today I'll be flying out to Seattle for the Left Coast Crime convention of mystery writers, fans, adoring hangers-on (as if).

Here's an article about the doings with links to the conference homepage.

Now, Ann Althouse and her 7,000 daily visitors have switched over to the new Blogger and hate it, too. Perhaps, there'll be some fixes forthcoming now? Right. But here's the poop on this crap from a big, reputable blawg who's having different, but equally or more annoying, problems from mine. Here are her several posts, ugly links because I don't have time for the HTML today and because, as she puts it-

New Blogger is Driving Me Crazy

I Hate Blogger

You Might Be in Blogger Hell if...

Don't be fooled by the puny number of commenters, more like this site's than hers. It's another part that's broken.

Enjoy your weekend. I'll be Reading in the Rain!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Dunking's Too Retro and Exhausting!

And think of what we'll save on redundant neon!

So, this lazy bastage still hasn't set up the new blog home page and referred over to it, but it's still happening. In geological time, you won't be able to sense any delay. Although, now Blogger's dangling a new template change which will wipe out my current look but offer better editing, they say. We shall see. Got less to lose now that I'm unenchanted.

However, I couldn't wait for a new or improved blog home to post the most important scientific development ever! You know I love the medicine, the gadgetry, the transports, and GPS. I likee this modern world of advancements so beyond or beside my core areas of expertise that they Do look like magic- thanks, Asimov. But, despite the saturation of hype, it is rare that an innovation arrives with the true greatness of the "sliced bread" category. Sandwich slices are so simple and elegant, yet it took 20th century machining to make them possible for John and Joanie Q. Public. Now, the wonders of cutting-edge molecular massage and Dr. Bohannon- may his name live in legend- birth an elegantly simple and transformative new necessity:

The Caffeinated Donut.

(Yes, I pasted up some HTML backstage, because I couldn't take the ugly links anymore. No, I won't make a habit of it. Too much like welcoming my ant overlords and volunteering to toil in the sugar caves.)

Anyhoo, let us hope one of the fine mass pastry purveyors steps boldly into the glorious future of breakfast and road food. I'm going to scroll up Donald Fagan's New Frontier on my iPod and dance around the dome in me rocket suit, lads.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Magic 8 Ball Says Migration Time

I have a few things I'd like to post about, but I can't stand the ongoing and absolute lack of response to, even acknowledgement of, the amputation of my Compose mode which forces me to deal in HTML code or nothing. I hope to get this thing switched over to a friendlier domain next week- at least getting the home page redirected- if the archives won't be transferred yet. In the meantime, I thought I'd provide a fact of the day about the Magic 8 Ball from (don't even hope for a live link, look it up, I'm limited here).

"The Magic 8-Ball, invented in 1946 by Abe Bookman of the Alabe Toy Company, is a novelty version of the crystal ball. It is a hard black plastic sphere, the size of a small grapefruit, which reveals answers to life's most perplexing issues when it is turned upside-down. The answers are on a white plastic die made in the shape of an icosahedron and floating in a blue liquid. Of the twenty possible answers, ten are positive, five negative, and five neutral. The name of the novelty comes from its resemblance to the ball used in pool and billiards."

I also learned (disclaimer: dubiously) from Wikipedia that it isn't necessary to shake it to get a new answer, as was my habit just like shaking Polaroids, baby. Wiki has the list of the twenty answers and also go there for a list of media appearances by the Magic 8 Ball on screens everywhere, big and small.

Does the current blogging situation blow? It is decidedly so.
Will 2007 bring offerings enhanced in coolness and vim? Signs point to yes

Got the picture here:

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Still TRYING- NO Help Forthcoming

I can easily post this pic, but not link to where I got it, but it's an all Russian language site, so maybe no big deal.

OKay- Now that Blogger Beta (to which I will remind you I was extremely reluctant to migrate) is now simply Blogger and not working right, I'm experiencing the unparalleled service I have every right to expect with a free product. Since it's been free for me to use, I try not to strain the system and not to ask too much or complain too loud. However, this is a new low in non-functionality.

The posting window I'm using here doesn't have my usual set of easy, WYSIWYG controls. No, this beast digests raw HTML which I'm lousy at writing. I could go into my old posts and do the copying and pasting of the appropriate code for alignments and fonts and links, but I don't want the hassle or to have to become an HTML hexpert. Due to some of my background projects in the works, I may be able (very soon) to point this blog from Blogger to a different platform- another one of my strange fruits- that won't be any worse. At this moment, it would have to be much better.

For the record, I went through all the Help files and then to Google's moderated Blogger forums, and while 5 or 6 other users Amened my post saying they'd seen the same thing, no one authoritative, so to speak, has replied with any useful advice. I'm having the problem on multiple browsers, both PC and Mac. The situation makes for ugly, link-poor posts filled with my whining. I'll be addressing the fixes this week and next, but I apologize now. I just knew the new Blogger would implode somehow. Boom.

Friday, January 05, 2007

National Bird Day

I can't seem to post anything but raw text and pictures (still no links yet or easy formatting) in the new version of Blogger, so you'll get this uncredited picture of other eager birders while I'm trying to get my functionality back. You can look up the "holiday" to your own satisfaction. Cheep. Cheep.

However, many new online offerings are in the clockworks behind my lazy posting. As I said in reply to a post on another site, this blog will eventually be but one strange fruit on a kaleidoscopically varied tree. So there.