Sunday, May 28, 2006
Wildlife Gone Wilder, Part XXIV
Seems Southern Illinois University (motto: we can puke more than you, dude!!!) has been having a problem with attack deer. White Tail does are launching unprovoked attacks on passersby, causing injury. In fact, one student, from China, is suing the University, seeking more than $50,000 in damages. (I’m so glad she got an A in American Studies: The Litigious Society That Can Make You Rich.)
And of course, this is the University that also brought you Sgt. Dan Kennings, so take the revenge of Bambi's mother thing as divine retribution...
Saturday, May 27, 2006
While some schools are all atwitter over My Space, School Board 214 member Leslie Pinney wants nine books removed from the reading list. Of course, Leslie has not read all of the books, but knows they are inappropriate for students. I’ll let you draw your own conclusion from that fact, but I’d also like to point out that one was just voted the Best American Fiction of the last twenty-five years.
Let’s see – another two deal with war. Hmmm… ironic she doesn’t want students who may be facing the draft soon reading about anything as thought provoking or icky as war. One is an economic book. Oh, let’s not challenge statistics. Just believe whatever the latest Fox News Poll tells you is true.
What is heartening is the fact that 500 people showed up at a meeting to debate the issue.
What books did Ms. Pinney find acceptable? I tried finding the complete list at the District's website, but was unable. If anyone can provide me a copy, I'd be most appreciative. Our buddies over at Freakonomics have risen to the occasion with a generous offer of free books to students.
Saw the Da Vinci Code, and I wasn’t that impressed. Choosing Tom Hanks was a very calculated move – they wanted someone beloved and non-threatening. They gave him lines that soft-pedaled the whole controversy over the divinity of Christ. I give it two yawns.
Have to say I’m still extremely satisfied with this RSX S-Type. The Toyota GTS turned a few heads, but this one is being challenged to drag races. I can’t drive across town without some young guy in a modified Honda gunning the engine as they pass me, hoping I’ll engage. Sorry, all stock here. Besides, no desire to get a ticket. See you at the track.
The new wheels are proving a challenge, however. The rust from the brakes somehow leaks out the lug-nut holes when wet, causing an unsightly stain. Please let me know if you’ve encountered this problem and if there is a solution other than carrying Q-Tips around and fanatically swabbing.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
My Space. Not the School District's Big Brother connection.
Seems Lake Community wants to hold students accountable for what they post on the web. Sorry, I don't agree. As a former seventh grader who meant every word doodled on my Trapper Keeper (Hey, Susie Smith was a slut. And Aerosmith rocked!) I just don't agree with all the witch hunts to head off the next Columbine. Here's Tribune reporter Eric Zorn's take, with which I agree.
I can't wait until the 'pledge' doesn't apply to the captain of the football team because, darn it, we need him for Friday night's playoff game.
Monday, May 22, 2006
A recent survey shows 79 percent of Americans believe in angels*. Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t that the same amount that believed there were WMD in Iraq? Or that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11?
Coincidence? I think not.
*Source? Fox News. The same folks that convinced you of the the other two tidbits I just mentioned.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Seems Florida residents are uptight about the rash of alligator attacks, but as this article points out, deer are the real threat to humans... Plus, they carry deer ticks. Do your part. Eat venison!
Many innocent alligators are being killed as a result of the hysteria. Again, it points out how humans are to blame for their own behavior, says the woman with half a raw chicken in her purse. Aw, come on, you know the little ones are cute.
Your mission, should you accept it, is to suspend disbelief
Saw Mission Impossible III. Stupid, tired plot. No surprises, very formula. Ok for an escapist few hours, nothing spectacular. The image of Auto Abuse was a bit disturbing, however. I’d like to see the Da Vinci Code, despite the horrible reviews. One of my favorite trashings stated Monty Python’s Holy Grail was “more historically accurate”. That’s funny, but what I don’t get is why something like MI3 or James Bond doesn’t get reviewed as “technically ludicrous” or “defies laws of physics”. Why aren’t there law enforcement agencies decrying the portrayal of secret agents? No, we’ve got religious fanatics whining about the possibility of Jesus being married. Who said anything about married? Maybe he had a bunch of kids out of wedlock.
So let me get this straight: the President makes a speech about the need to tighten borders and clamp down on illegal aliens, and less than a week later a little old lady is killed by someone who most likely doesn’t have legal status, scaring a huge block of senior voters… Hmmm. Coincidence? I think not. Enjoyed this viewpoint.
To the spider I squished in the bathroom this morning: If I can see you from eight feet away without corrective lenses, this house isn’t big enough for the both of us. Sorry.
We’ve been trying to decide what to do for vacation this year, but with the high cost of gas I hesitate to plan any cross-country extravaganzas. As I said to Mr. Right, let’s start the procrastination and argument part of the vacation right now. Procrastinate as in let’s not have any plans so hotels are sure to be sold out (ever sleep in an old Corvette? Can’t be done. The steering wheel is huge and the seats don’t recline.) and argument as in let’s blame each other for why we never (fill in the blank: go abroad, visit a particular city, take a vacation that doesn’t involve driving, go three days without wanting to kill each other)
I sat down and thought about the kinds of things I wanted to do: relax, spend quality time with my car, and enjoy nature. That’s when it hit me – I needed a specialty vacation. There are vacations for people who want to unwind at a spa, mountain climb, scuba dive, whatever. I’ve even seen places where you can vacation with your dog. It’s like a summer camp you attend with your four-legged friend. Why not a resort for me and my four-wheeled friend?
Americans are in love with their cars, so why don’t I open a vacation destination for drivers? A spa out in the desert somewhere, accessed by long twisty mountain roads! (With no speed limits!) While you get a hot stone massage, your car is being detailed! There’s a road track behind the four-star hotel where you and your car can refine your skills and learn to work as a team. A rocky patch to the south lets the off-road enthusiasts enjoy their four-wheel drives. Complete with mud pit! A full service resort with golf course and tuner’s shop. After a few laps you might want to modify your ride (at extra cost, of course). Who’s with me on this? I’m looking for investors.
Smells Like Preschool Spirit
Play-Doh has released a fragrance to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Now who exactly wants to smell like Play-Doh? Women say they are tired of men who act like little boys, so why would they specifically try and attract that demographic? Now when they come out with a perfume that smells like fresh permanent marker, call me.
But Does Paris Hilton Have One?
Far be it from me to invoke the name of PETA, but after reading this article on live roaches as brooches, I really have to wonder if “the cockroaches aren’t hurt”. A glue gun to the head? Naw, can’t hurt. And yes, the only reason I don’t have one is the price. But I do have a glue gun…
How to Pick a Pup
Take scrap sample of your carpet to the local pound. Use color swatch to match the appropriately colored pooch. Adopt. Take my word for it, says Black Dog White Carpet Owner.
No Joy in
Yes, I bet against Barbaro in the Preakness, but was absolutely aghast at the tragedy that befell him. Another sad day for racing and horse lovers everywhere. Sadly, he’s not out of the woods yet.
As Mr. Right observed: That’s the closest Chicago will come to a hockey playoff game this season…
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Well the media reports on the Marengo killing are flooding in. Seems the suspect ‘confronted’ police and was shot. If by confronted, you mean ‘raised hands in air’…
My coworker said, “I’d feel a lot better if the police had some evidence linking him to the crime scene.”
“They’re putting it there now,” I assured him. How they will explain why the suspect lost his right hand in the car chase I’m not too sure, but I’m confident they’ll think of something.
Again, what if this is all some big set up? What if the real killer made it look like a home invasion, threw some jewelry in the car and left the keys in it not far away, betting that someone would take the car with the police in hot pursuit?
Let’s ask Robert Blake and OJ Simpson to take a little time out of their busy schedule of looking for the real killers of their wives and see if they have any insight.
Gosh! Will this cast a negative light on ‘upscale Marengo trailer parks’?
Earlier I alluded to a pattern of suspected murderers of the elderly turning up dead. I tried to find a link to the specific story, but was unable to locate one.
To recap: In 1997 an 80-year-old Harvard woman was found dead in her home, suffocated and bound with a telephone cord. About nine days later police surrounded a suspect – a 41-year-old drifter with no permanent address – who supposedly stuck a knife in his own chest rather than be captured by police. He too had the victim’s car.
McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren was quoted as saying, “I wish we had been able to talk to him. I'm sure we could have gotten a confession." I am too.
How hard do you have to push a knife into your own chest to die? Pretty hard. Feel your sternum. Hard to hold your hand that high, isn’t it? Easier to do your belly, right?
Yeah. I thought so.
It’s Okay now residents, go home. You’re safe. Nothing more to see here. Keep moving.
But keep your doors locked.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Ok, here’s the words you never thought you’d hear me utter: “I really agreed with everything in President Bush’s speech tonight.”
I know, I know. It was just a cheap ploy to get the Republicans back in the game, but, hey, go ahead and waste my tax dollars on securing our borders. We spend billions fortifying 38th parallel, so it’s about time we did something over here. Wonder if ‘old Vincente will have a scathing rebuttal. Or if the next terrorist attack will come from Mexico.
Either way, I’m dreading the next presidential election. I fear the Democrats will run Hillary, and there’s a decision I really don’t want to face in the booth. I have no problems voting for third (or seventeenth) party candidates, but the corrupt Bush machine is stealing too many elections. Jeb thinks he’s next and I beg to differ.
I was kind of surprised to see Bush going after English as the official language. Despite my knee-jerk reaction of agreeing immigrants should learn and use English, (my ancestors did, thank you) I have read some provocative essays arguing that countries who try to enforce one language fare poorly and we should not let that issue guide us.
I certainly see how my substandard language skills hold me back in life (If I was any good in my native tongue, I would have had a publishing contract by now, eh?) and think our schools should teach other languages. Like Arabic. Once we secure that southern border, we should concentrate on teaching useful languages, ones we may need when invading other countries. Or ones that plain old hate us. I took German in high school. Figured two world wars were enough of a deciding factor for me. When was Spain or Mexico going to assert global dominance? Pretty stupid of me not to see that coming. What an idiot.
Ah, Yes. So Many News Stories, So Little Time.
Revenge of the Reptiles
Seems Snacky the Alligator has really acquired a taste for the young ladies of Florida. Now comes news out of Miami that a 23-year-old woman was found dead near Lake George. She seems to have been attacked while snorkeling at a recreation area. Hey, Snacky deserves to vacation too. Alligators may have also played a role in the death of drug-abuser. Couldn't possibly be the drugs.
Gypsies, Priests and Thieves
An area municipality wants to pass an ordinance requiring the fingerprinting and background check of carnival workers. This way they could forbid any worker who has an active arrest warrant, is a known child sex offender, has had a felony in the past five year or is a suspected gang member. Now, far be it from me to suggest carnies are the most wholesome lot, but let’s be realistic. The carnival comes to town once a year. That Catholic Church down the street is operating 365 days a year. Who really needs to be monitored here?
Breaking (me up) News
Front Page headline of the local newspaper: Woman, 83, found slain
Opening sentence: “The slaying of an elderly woman in an upscale Marengo trailer park had neighbors reeling Sunday night with fear and sadness, and police promising extra patrols.”
No one I spoke with could even get to the next paragraph in the story. We were too struck with the oxymoron: Upscale Marengo Trailer Park. The word ‘upscale’ should never be uttered with either Marengo or Trailer Park, and here they all are in the same line.
What makes a trailer park upscale? The tornados call first before touching down? Now living next to Joy and Crabman might be a hoot, but it’s not what I’d call the American Dream. As Mr. Right said, “That’s all you need to know about Marengo. Oh, and they have better schools.”
I see from an on-line update that the suspect was shot dead by police. Hmm. Mighty convenient, wouldn’t you agree? Fox News Chicago reported the man killed was unarmed, but in her car. Stealing a car? Or fleeing a murder scene? Fox says he was from Mexio, married, and lived in the area. Tribune report here.
How unlike ME to suggest a conspiracy theory, but don’t you find it odd that a pattern of suspects in elderly killings end up dead hours after the body is discovered, setting local resident’s mind at ease that it was just a freak occurrence?
I think it was a son. He’s in his 50s and lives with her in the trailer. There was an altercation over the TV clicker. She wanted Wheel of Fortune. He wanted Cops. Things got ugly. (Insert Dragnet theme here) As my buddy Martha observed, “Well that was some Mother’s Day”.
57 Reasons it’s All My Fault
Mr. Right just informed me it’s Ketchup Season. Oh, you don’t recall the great ketchup famine of ‘91? Yep. We ran out. Totally my fault. How unlike me to display such poor shopping skills. Now he hoards those little take-out packets in a cupboard. Once in awhile I toss them out and clean the brown ooze left behind. Yick.
We Needed a Government Grant for This??
A recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says young rural men who drive pickup trucks don’t wear safety belts. I could have told you that from watching one episode of the Dukes of Hazard.
Nicole Richie says in a Vanity Fair article this month that she is being treated for ‘possible anorexia’. Nice to know she will be in hard labor when she checks into the hospital for ‘possible pregnancy’.
Just Cooked Your Own Goose
The Chicago Tribune reports today that a proposed .25 percent increase in Cook County Sales Tax would go to help fund zoos and museums in Chicago.
Excuse me? Have you gone to one of these institutions lately? Count on about a $26 entrance fee!!! What do you mean they can’t fund themselves? The places are packed every time I attend.
I just read a wonderful letter to the editor in the Tribune that expressed concern over the loss of a ‘free day’ at the Art Institute. The writer told of how the artwork there inspired her when she was broke and that by taking the art away from struggling young people the world would be poorer place indeed. I agree. What exactly is costing so much?
Membership fees are astronomical. Fundraisers are occurring twice a week. People are standing in quarter-mile lines for two hours to enter on the weekends. What exactly is going on? First off, I’m going to research what these museum directors and officials make as a salary. Is that the problem?
Want more revenue? Make me want to give you money. How about “No Child Thursdays” so I can enjoy your exhibits in silence. I’d pay extra.
Now the Shedd has many costs far and beyond that of feeding their charges, but that can’t be exactly cheap either. Many of their sea life eat shrimp and squid, things you and I can’t afford every day, that’s for sure. So why not charge me twice the cost of chopped fish to feed them? They have just such a program in place, and I want to look into it. You get to play zoo keeper for a day: arrive early, chop dead fish, feed the display animals. Sounds like a blast. Except you know if I’m forking out $200, I want to feed Nickel the sea turtle. Or at least one of those cute little Bonnet Sharks.
Over at the Field they could let me touch Sue. And the Art Institute? Hmm. They could just hand out smocks and tempera paint just like kindergarten and let the public try their hand at creating the next masterpiece. Beats anything done by elephants or monkeys. Or cats.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Aruba, Jamaica, ooo I wanna take you
To Bermuda, Bahamas come on pretty mama
Key Largo, Montego baby why don’t we go
Ooo I wanna take you down to Kokomo…
Here’s another appalling report regarding the stupidity of Americans… seems only 37% of young adults ages 18 to 24 could identify Iraq on a map of the middle east. (A whopping 69% could find China…) It’s downright amazing any of them find your house with a pizza, isn’t it?
“Despite intensive media coverage of the damage from Hurricane Katrina, nearly
one-third of young Americans recently polled could not locate Louisiana on a map
and nearly half were unable to identify Mississippi.”
And better yet:
“While the outsourcing of jobs to India has been a major U.S. business story, 47
percent could not find the Indian subcontinent on a map of Asia.”
What I don’t get is why are armed forces recruitments down? (I know, let’s blame Cindy Sheehan!) It’s not like these young people know where the heck they are being shipped out to!
My New Career!!
Why do domestic pets think puddle water is a gourmet delicacy? It’s as if they want worms…
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
If I put a chicken coop in the back yard, will people stay away in fear due to Avian Flu? Exactly how many chickens would I need? Also, can I interest you in some fresh eggs?
Lard Doesn’t Smell Nice, But I Bet it Works
Why can they put a man on the moon, but can’t make a scented hand cream that doesn’t dry your hands out? How much alcohol is in fragrance anyway? Must be a lot. What about essential oils? Do they feel dry after a while as well?
That Sinking Feeling
How many sinking ship movies do we need? Titanic III – Global Warming! Tink. A tiny cube hits the bow... (product placement: Sanka)
Is making your own gas illegal? What if it’s just for personal use?
Wonder what the Homeland Security worker listening to my call thought yesterday as they caught this snippet…Hello. Yes, I’m glad you called. No, I was going - Splooop!
Yep. Dropped my cell phone into a bucket of bleach water I was using to disinfect the bathroom. I now have the cleanest phone anywhere. Hats off to the crew at Samsung for creating such an indestructible product. I just kept pushing the buttons to squeeze the water out and it seems ok. The display had that hazy condensation around the perimeter, but it seems to be fading.
If I opened a magically addictive shoe store in Harry Potter’s fictitious Diagon-alley, would I be spoken of in hushed tones as She Who Must Be Well-Shod?
Wildlife Gone Wilder - or - As If You Needed an Excuse Not to Exercise
Trappers hunt alligator suspected of killing jogger
Published May 13, 2006
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Trappers using pig lungs as bait scoured canals and other areas Friday as they tried to find an alligator that killed a woman out for a jog. Are a jogger’s lungs well-developed to the point of resembling a pig’s? What made that good bait?
Yovy Suarez Jimenez's dismembered body was found in a canal Wednesday. The 28-year-old resident had left Tuesday night and did not return. Was she going out for an alligator handbag and matching shoes?
Dr. Joshua Perper, Broward County's medical examiner, concluded Thursday that "the alligator attacked the woman while she was on land" and then dragged her body into a canal. Who recreated that scenario? What led to that conclusion?
He added that she "died of traumatic injuries sustained by an alligator attack." You’re sure it wasn’t a flock of flamingos gone bad?
Suarez's mother told WFOR-TV she last spoke to her daughter by phone Tuesday night when she was sitting under a bridge by a canal. Not the dock of the bay?
Witnesses saw a woman matching Suarez's description dangling her feet over the water's edge, but no one saw an attack, said a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Ever see a great white shark jump? Wonder if the alligator leapt straight up? They lie really still and then…
Authorities killed two alligators but determined they did not kill Jimenez. Innocent blood spilled!! One had only tennis balls and a football in its stomach, said a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman. Were there any missing tennis players lately? Poor thing had a stomach ache, I’m sure.
Suarez's death is the 18th confirmed fatal alligator attack in Florida since 1948. In an unrelated story: the homeless population has been declining steadily thanks to the efforts of the Tourism Board/Association of Alligator Farms of Florida.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
When the meek inherit the earth, I just figured I’d take it from them by force. Never gave much thought to the fact that it was my fellow bloggers I’d be fighting against…
Seems all this talk about Avian Flu has me treasuring my anti-social ways. Saw this scary segment on the NBC news Sunday morning about a potential Bird Flu outbreak that could affect millions. Now, to date, only about 91 people world wide have died of avian flu in the past few years, far fewer than plain ol everyday influenza. BUT IT COULD HAPPEN!!! Yeah. Right up there with finding WMD. Could happen. As you well know, I’m a big proponent of fewer people on the planet, so a killer mutation isn’t a big concern of mine.
I don’t know if the news broadcast was being informative or inflammatory. I do know it got my attention. They suggested stockpiling two months worth of food, water, and prescription drugs. Among the tried and true advice of ‘don’t touch live chickens’ and ‘wash hands frequently’ was another little gem: ‘practice social isolation’. Sounds like the blogging community to me! Bloggers shall inherit the earth!
Hmmm. Now to some folks, that might mean avoid crowds. To me, that’s the best excuse yet to skip Aunt Tillie’s eightieth birthday party, Sally's big wedding extravaganza and Percy’s graduation gift grab. Oh, sorry….I’d love to come to your baby shower, but I’m practicing social isolation for the good of the country. Can’t let those Asian fowls win. Maybe next year. Give my love to Grandpa Joe. Heh, heh, heh.
Speaking of prescription drugs…
The Chicago Tribune ran an article on the front page regarding the fact that you have to sign your life away to by Sudafed, but Vicodin isn’t tracked at all. Hopefully this will change, as Class II drugs are now being entered into computer databases.
My last trip to a pharmacy was less than pleasant. I tried a new one to get away from the evil Wal-Mart in my town. I went to the new store and saw only a Drop Off window. I stood politely until the man on duty acknowledged me. I asked if my prescription was ready. This is the drop off window, he observed tersely. He then walked away, leaving me to think I was in a Monty Python skit.
He re-emerged some 20 feet away where I saw another cash register. Oh. That must be Pick Up. Well aren’t we off on the wrong foot. So now I see that the Pick up isn’t part of the little filling station booth and come to the right register. He then starts shaking his head and gasping at the cost of the drugs. This is not good. This man has been filling six-thousand dollar heart meds all day, and thinks mine is too much.
Do you have insurance? Yes. Oh, well your doctor didn’t say that. I’m glad. These are very expensive. Yeah, well, don’t get me started on that topic either, buddy. Besides, why would doctor’s office give you my insurance? They don’t care. Not their problem. I present my card. He says they used a generic to fill one med, do I mind? Not at all. In fact, the only thing in my life I would never use a generic on is birth control pills. Wonder how many little Genericas and Genericos were born last year as a result of less-than-effective generic equivalents?
At any rate, this made me think about what I would do without insurance. Suffer from seasonal allergies, that’s for sure. Or would I? If I had no insurance, I most likely would have no job, and if I had no job, I’d be homeless, and if I were homeless, I’d move somewhere warm, like Arizona, and my allergies might not be so bad there, if I kept out in the desert areas. But not Phoenix. That's gotta be bird flu central. Right up there with the Canary Islands...
Sunday, May 07, 2006
What's black and white and rented all over the U.S.?
Apparently those cuddly pandas visible at four zoos across America.
Like you, I once thought the pandas were gifts or loans from China. You know, a 'thank-you for not invading us when we smashed the students in Tiananmen Square like the insignificant bugs that they are' kind of a thing.
Well it's come to my attention that the pandas are rentals. Seems Beijing charges about a million dollars a year for a pair of the cuddly critters, and if they do the impossible and reproduce, that'll be another $600K, thank you. Nice to know it took our crack intelligence agencies years to figure out we were getting the occidental rate - Thailand pays a bear minimum of $25K a year for the privilege. Didn't take that closed society long to get the hang of price gouging your rivals, now did it?
While I was wasting my time wondering if they were bears or raccoons, China has been raking in the dough. Supposedly these funds are to finance preservation programs in China, but I for one am skeptical that the money is being spent on bamboo reforestation, or that loaning pandas is little more than a political gesture.
Seeing that we've started global turbulence for less (like imaginary WMD), I suggest stopping the extortion payments. Issue the little furballs political amnesty and let them apply for citizenship. Bet they can learn the Star Spangled Banner in English.