Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Well they were doing something about how the ancients had steam engines, and how they found the prints for tanks, cars, subs, etc. in Da Vinci's notebooks, etc. The best thing was some little golden 'insects' found in South America that at first glance were representations of bugs. Upon further inspection, they share more features of modern fighter jets than bees. That had some promise, and I was intrigued. But the worst part was saved for last. They wasted all this time on Did the Ancient Egyptians possess flight?
Seems in one of the oldest pyramids a wooden bird on a stick was found. Looked like a child's toy. Perhaps a model of a bird. Oh, no, contended a few 'experts' trotted out by HC. This crudely carved stick (with painted eyes and mouth, no less) wasn't just a bird. It was an aerodynamically designed glider. The Egyptians unlocked flight 2500 years before the Wright brothers.
Sure, I think the ancients had many things we don't know about. But finding a whittled falcon does not an air force make.
So they spend all this time reconstructing the bird in a larger scale and putting it in a wind tunnel. Gee, turns out the thing had no stability. But wait! Looks like something broke off the artifact. Why, it must be the rudder needed to fly as a glider! Yes, yes, that's it!
If that's not enough to turn you off the HC forever, they had this new age hippy 'expert' Dr. Ruth Hover showing a hieroglyphic of...(are you sitting down?) a helicopter!! Yep. Hand, bird, ankh, helicopter! It's right there! I'm going to bed. See you in spring.
Monday, January 29, 2007
About 70 reptile species including snakes and lizards are known to reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora’s virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon in April at the London Zoo, are the first documented in Komodo dragons.
PHILADELPHIA, United States (AFP) - Barbaro lost his eight-month battle for life this morning when the Kentucky Derby winner was put down after a major setback in his recovery from a broken leg.
University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center surgical chief Dean Richardson was near tears and choking up as he spoke about Barbaro, who was put down at 10:30 Monday morning.
"I really didn't think it was appropriate to continue with this treatment because the opportunity for recovery was so poor and his condition was not going to improve very much," Richardson said.
"We all recognized this day could come. We got through it and made the decision I'm comfortable with. We're very comfortable we made the right decision... You have to do what's best for the patient."
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Three years ago, Joann Mead found her daughter's goldfish, Raven, floating on the surface of the water, but still alive. Fearing her daughter would be upset to find Raven in such a condition, Mead contacted Helen Roberts, a fish veterinarian in Orchard Park, N.Y., and made the six-hour drive to her clinic. Roberts inserted a quartz stone inside Raven's swim bladder, weighing Raven down so she wouldn't float to the surface. The X-rays and surgery cost well over $200. Mead said her friends told her she was crazy for spending so much time and money on a fish. But Mead feels she has a responsibility as a pet owner. "Fin, feather or fur, there is a moral obligation to take care of that pet, no matter what," she explained.
Hmmm. Isn't flushing fish down the toilet an Important Life Lesson? Some toddler rite of passage whereby we learn about death? And how else would parents deny you a puppy, unless they could point to the poor care you gave Spot the Goldfish?
Did you ever see the episode (#50) of Malcolm in the Middle where the parents do just that? They told Dewey if he kept a pet fish alive for a month, he would earn a bigger pet or something. So it shows the parents trying their darnedest to kill the fish, only to have Dewey produce a new one every morning.
Actually, the biggest impact this article had on me was the desire to become a veterinary fish specialist. Now that would be cool. I'd have a swanky office on Lake Shore Drive and treat wealthy ladies' Koi between 'tank calls' at the Shedd. Now that would be the life!
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Achieved my latest shopping obsession, a Barbaro Beanie Baby by Ty. A portion of the profits from this collectible will go to Barbaro Fund University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.
In other shopping news, Louise and I went to a jewelry show and spent an entire day buying jewelry and accessories. A low point was when I bought two scarf headbands for $5 only to find another booth selling them 3 for $5. Grrrr!
Finished the audio of Monstrous Regiment by Terry Prachett. Wow! That makes the tally Books 2 and Shoes 0 for 2007! I may be in recovery! That's almost four weeks without a new pair of shoes! Now to stop the clothes buying...
Regiment was good, but not the best I've heard of his. I think Going Postal was even better, and I love the Tiffany Aching series. One of the most memorable lines of this book was when they were eating a 'hearty' stew. It also was 'lung-y' and 'liver-y'. Somehow this is quite hysterical when read with an English accent. Trust me.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Be careful Barack! Sleep with one eye open!
Carroll Shelby, 84, who created the Cobra in the '60s using Ford engines and a British sport car chassis, said he built the Super Snake — with twin superchargers on a 427 cubic inch V-8 — and drove it for years.
“A Division of Maytag”
(Soprano Southern Drawl) I swear, with God as my witness, I will never by a Maytag appliance again…
Oh, I will get you; evil, large corporation. I swear it.
If Dolores Piscotta has her way, milk will soon find its way from your dinner table to your closet. Piscotta is the owner of Piscotta Cashmere, a company in New York that sells clothes and spa accessories derived from the dairy staple.
“I’m always looking for something new,” said Piscotta, who prides herself on her continual quest to discover innovative materials. It was during one of her frequent online searches that she discovered a Chinese company manufacturing fabrics out of milk.
For the past two years, Piscotta has been selling milk cloth T-shirts, pants,camisoles and eye masks to shoppers online and to boutiques across the country. Piscotta isn’t the only one. Magaschoni, a luxury knitwear brand sold at department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, introduced a sweater made of knitted milk and silk last fall.
This soft and creamy fabric is breathable, holds dye well, and feels luxurious to the touch! No word yet if wearers suddenly crave grass. Or take a really long time chewing...
Pros: Babies Love You!
Cons: So do alley cats.
Can this process relieve the strain on the grasslands of China? Will Wisconsin dairy cows put Tibetan goat herders out of work? One can only hope. Click here to to shop. (Please be sitting when looking at prices.) Bet she'd make matching outfits for me and my lizards, too.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An administrative judge has denied unemployment benefits to a woman who was fired from her job for keeping a journal detailing her efforts to avoid work.
Emmalee Bauer, 25, of Elkhart, was employed by the Sheraton hotel company as a sales coordinator in Des Moines. While on the job, she kept a handwritten journal. A supervisor told her to stop writing on company time, but instead, Bauer wrote her journal, all 300 single-spaced pages, on her work computer.
In the journal, portions of which were introduced during a recent hearing regarding Bauer's request for unemployment, Bauer describes her efforts to avoid work.
"This typing thing seems to be doing the trick," she wrote. "It just looks like I am hard at work on something very important."
Bauer also wrote: "I am only here for the money and, lately, for the printer access. I haven't really accomplished anything in a long while ... and I am still getting paid more than I ever have at a job before, with less to do than I have ever had before. It's actually quite nice when I think of it that way. I can shop online, play games and read message boards and still get paid for it."
In her journal she speculated it could someday be published. *
Bauer was fired for misuse of company time after a supervisor discovered the journal late last year.
Administrative Law Judge Susan Ackerman denied Bauer's request for unemployment last week, saying she the journal demonstrated a refusal to work, as well as Bauer's "amusement at getting away with it."
*Yeah, good luck with that sweetie. I thought that too, once upon a time...
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Yep. I should have a big black snowflake when I'm done. Well, let's hope the U.S. and Britain are still legible...
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
See, we just broke a record here in Chicago for most consecutive winter days without measurable snowfall. Heck, I can remember quite a few years when it snowed plenty of OTHER times than just 'winter'. We went like 40 some days between our big Dec 1 snow storm and yesterday's storm. Makes me love all the environmental damage causing global warming so I can bask in its unseasonable warmth. Heck, think I'll go idle my car some more...
Anyhoo...You know Blinky? The three-eyed fish from the Simpsons? He's so cute! But would I eat him? No way! However, a
guy in Fond du Lac Wisconsin doesn't seem to have a problem with it. What with Chronic Wasting Disease and West Nile Virus, he's not going to let a little thing like seven legs or dual sex organs keep him from a good venison dinner.
Seems he hit the deer in his own driveway while driving his truck. Upon examination:
... he noticed three- to four-inch appendages growing from the rear legs and later found a smaller appendage growing from one of the front legs.
“It’s a pretty weird deer. It kind of gives you the creeps when you look at it,” said Lisko, who described the extra legs as looking like “crab pinchers.”
The appendages were moving when he first saw them, Lisko said.
“They were actually functional,” he said.
"And by the way, I did eat it," Lisko said. "It was tasty."
Sunday, January 14, 2007
From Wire Reports:
Barbaro had another section of his laminitis-stricken left hind hoof removed Saturday, and a cast was placed back on his right hind leg for additional support.
The Kentucky Derby winner had a significant setback this week in his recovery from laminitis — a painful, often fatal disease — in his left hind foot. Chief surgeon Dean Richardson removed more of the hoof Saturday.
After his injury in the Preakness, Barbaro developed severe laminitis, which is caused by uneven weight distribution in the limbs. The result was that 80% of his left hind hoof was removed in mid-July.
"We do not believe that this setback puts him all the way back to where he was in July," said Richardson in a statement. "He has much more healthy tissue on the bottom of the left foot than he had at that time. He spends part of each day in his sling, and he is eating well and acting bright."
Hang in there, buddy, we love you!
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
By DAVID GRAM, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jan 9, 6:33 PM ET
MONTPELIER, Vt. - The scorpion bit David Sullivan on the back of his right leg, just below the knee, crawled up through his crotch and down his left leg, he thinks, before getting him again in the shin. Not what he was expecting on his flight home from Chicago to Vermont.
Sullivan, a 46-year-old builder from Stowe, was aboard the United Airlines flight as the second leg of his trip home from San Francisco, where he and his wife Helena had been visiting their sons. He awoke from a nap shortly before landing and noticed something strange.
"My right leg felt like it was asleep, but that was isolated to one spot, and it felt like it was being jabbed with a sharp piece of plastic or something."
The second sting came after the plane had landed and the Sullivans were waiting for their bags at the luggage carousel. Sullivan rolled up his cuff to investigate, and the scorpion fell out.
"It felt like a shock, a tingly thing. Someone screamed, 'It's a scorpion,'" Sullivan recalled. Another passenger stepped on the two-inch arachnid. Someone suggested Sullivan seek medical help.
He scooped up the scorpion as a specimen and headed to the hospital in Burlington. Mrs. Sullivan stopped at the United counter and was told the plane they were on had flown from Houston to Chicago. The Sullivans surmised the scorpion boarded in Texas.
"The airlines tell you you can't bring water or shampoo on a plane," Mrs. Sullivan said, referring to recent security restrictions. "All the security we go through" apparently didn't apply to the scorpion, she said.
United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said the incident "is something that we will investigate and look into. We're very sorry for what happened. Our customer safety and security is our No. 1 priority."
Scorpion bites are rarely fatal, most often only to babies and older people with other medical problems, said Dr. Stephen Leffler, director of emergency services at Burlington's Fletcher Allen Health Care hospital.
"We don't see many scorpion bites in Vermont," Leffler said. Last week's prompted him to do some research. To a healthy adult, a scorpion bite can mean numbness or shooting pain extending out from the bite, or flu-like symptoms, which Sullivan said he had the next day.
"You're much more likely to die from an ... allergic reaction to a bee sting," the doctor said.
Sullivan said he was taking the experience in stride. "I've traveled enough in tropical climates, Argentina, South America, to know about the risks from insects and animals and microorganisms. ... It's a dangerous world out there."
He said he hadn't seen the recent movie, "Snakes on a Plane," starring Samuel L. Jackson. "I'm pretty selective about what I see," Sullivan said. "Maybe I have to see it now."
(And you thought I was out of Snakes on a Plane references for the new year! Ha!!)
Headline: Value of Older Workers Likely Will Increase
Between the Lines: As Demand for Soylent Green Rises
That’s just one of the feel-good articles in the Business section this week. Another detailed the job growth prospects of various occupations in the coming years. Wave good - bye as anything decent boards a slow boat to China…
What's left? Why these hot prospects!
10 hot jobs in Illinois
1. Registered nurses - sick people? I don't think so!
2. Retail salespeople - been there, done that, quit that
3. Business operations specialists - if you can't tell what the job is from the title, good luck!
4. Janitors and cleaners, except maids/housekeepers - huh?
5. Customer service representatives - Customer Clueless
6. Waiters and waitresses - I can so relate
7. Food prep/service workers, fast food - Would you like fries with that?
8. General and operations managers - barely managing now as it is...
9. Cashiers - sorry, I'm over-qualified: I can make change for a $20
10. Truck drivers, heavy/tractor trailer - this is out, I can't parallel park let alone back a trailer
Source: State of Working Illinois Report
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Interestingly enough, Wikipedia notes:
The phrase "There is balm in Gilead" also appears in a Roald Dahl short story, as words of consolation from one inmate of a mental asylum to another.
There indeed is balm of Gilead. An enterprising restaurateur in Glenview is serving reindeer hot dogs.Those vile creatures called deer in search of sexual satisfaction cost me $520 out-of-pocket costs again by running into my car.With more than 1.5 million accidents caused by these sex maniacs, it is time they were eradicated. After all, 90 percent of Earth’s original species now are extinct.Adding these to the list will hardly be noticed and will save the nation $1.2 billion a year worldwide and countless deaths.Would it be correct to say we have a pandeermic?
No one loves to say I TOLD YOU SO more than me, but could you simmer down on the whole global warming thing for a little? I'm afraid someone might just try and prevent it.
Just heard 2006 was the 15th warmest year on record and 2007 is on track to be number one!!! Yay heat wave!! Makes living in Chicago almost bearable.
Monday, January 08, 2007
One of my best purchases ever!
Bought the jacket long before the shoes,
and then found the shoes for $10!
As a reader so kindly pointed out, my life would be so much easier if I simplified my wardrobe. I agree, but the urge to accessorize is pathological with me. Yes, mix and match with a few basics would save so much time, thought, and money; but as my new buddy Monk has found, some of these OCD habits are extremely hard to break.
Saw this book today about dressing sexy for every body shape or something, by some guy who dresses all these celebrities. At the end was this Dream Closet check list. Things like black wool pants, fitted white blouse, etc. All essentials needed for a good wardrobe. Then I get to the shoe part. He had two shoes. What? Go through life on two pairs of shoes? What was dreamy about that? He must have meant buy two dream pairs of shoes, like some Jimmy Choo boots and Manalos or something. Two pairs? I took that to work today! (Boots for outside, although it didn’t snow, I was wearing a skirt so they were warm, and leather pumps for indoors). Yep. I can’t leave the house on under two pair. I was asked last week how many I had. I’m not sure, I admitted. I stopped counting at a hundred. I think it’s 120.
As for Johnny Cash, it’s great to make a statement. Can I help it if mine changes hourly?
Still working on Crossroads and Monstrous Regiment.
Saw Pirates of the Caribbean 2. Good, but not great. This has to be the biggest, longest, most expensive commercial for Movie 3 ever produced, and thus ultimately unsatisfying.
Cinderella Man. An Irish boxer who in the course of a two hour movie has exactly one beer and cheats on his wife never? File this one under Fantasy. Moving story, nice thought. Could he have been that great a guy? Over all, good entertainment. B.
Monk, the First Season
I LOVE this show!! A-
I love Tony and the whole concept. Al says it reminds him of me! My budding OCD traits are the ‘orderly’ and ‘germaphobe’ thing, so I agree! Highly recommended!
It’s very attractive, and was easy to clean with a kitty litter scoop. They recommend complete change every 4 to six months and it takes about 15 pounds for my enclosure. The best part really is the natural look. I haven’t seen it after a dish of water is spilled yet, but so far I love it. Especially how now it looks like little teeny dinosaur tracks. Nothing like watching two lizards exchange the: “Here comes Mrs. OCD to smooth the sand again” looks.
On another reptile note: Could Eve have been banished from the Garden of Eden for admitting the snake was more witty and communicative; thus better company, than that Adam dude?
Sunday, January 07, 2007
My friend Martha loves ones with flowers or serene scenes to put up at work for a calming effect. Kane Citizen has Escher-a-Day this year at his work station. I gave out a Cubs calendar to my girlfriend the sports nut, and a horse calendar for the one who loves all things equine. Louise gave me a great one, Anne Taintor. * It’s these retro pictures she sardonically captions with things like: it would of course, have to look like an accident and she had not yet decided whether to use her power for good or for evil.
So this year I have:
Corvette A Day – why do I keep buying these? They suck! This year’s is defective in some strange way. There’s this little plastic tray whereby the pad is propped up with a picture frame back to sit upon your desk. This stupid thing has the prop UPSIDE DOWN and therefore there is no way to place it vertically. The pad is stuck to the tray and even ripping it out and turning it over doesn’t work (tried that) since the tray is built with a ledge on one side only. Sucks. It’s at home by this computer. D+
The Onion Page A Day – not bad, but not as good as Kane Citizen’s Daily Show from last year. Did they make one this year? I didn’t see it, and grabbed The Onion instead. That’s at work. B-
Turtle a month – beautiful, but they seem too similar year to year. This old standby needs some more pep. Two-headed turtles or something. B+
Once every two weeks, I’ll spend an hour or so creating outfits for the coming days. Armed with Lucky magazine pages, I pick and choose colors and fabrics to create outfits for the coming work weeks. By planning in advance, I can (barely) get out of the house in about an hour or so in the mornings. No plan? Seriously late!! I envy those people who tell me they ‘just grab’ or ‘whatever I feel like that morning’ it. Wow. Come the weekend, it takes me forever to pick something! For some reason I rarely plan weekend clothes. I have to know where I’m going, and my weekends aren’t that structured. Some I don’t even get dressed at all. When cleaning the house, sometimes my sweats don’t really match my T-Shirt. Don’t tell anybody! Please! It’s my little secret.
Anyhoo, I created some spectacular ensembles yesterday, and I’m quite proud of myself! Turquoise and brown, Fuchsia and dark olive, animal print vests, and even a subdued navy with grey. Found some awesome combos using an oriental-themed scarf with several turquoise and black pieces. Why does this excite me? Why can’t my passion be curing AIDS? Saving orphans? When they were handing out ‘sense of direction’ I was in the ‘fashion accessorizing and color sense’ line, and I got so turned around, I went through about three times and never did find that directional line…
Stop me before I shop again! Or should I say, before I have to take Mr. Right shopping ever again…
Al said he needed some new pants for work. So we agreed that would make a great Christmas gift, and that waiting until after the holiday would be best. I envisioned taking him to a ‘real’ store, but he suggested a Friday night excursion to Kohl’s. Ok. Whatever. We meet there after work, each in our own vehicle.
Taking a bored eight-year-old would have been easier. A little more whiney, but they most likely would have let me do the picking. Al is from the Homer Simpson school of pants.
“What do you mean they don’t make those any more? I’ve been buying them for twenty years! No more blue? What do you mean I need a bigger size?”
Yep. Fifty thousand pairs of pants in twenty seven colors and we’re there to get two in black, maybe one in navy, too. Just compare that with the above, and you’ll wonder how on earth we ever got together. It’s easy, really. He has the most wonderful sense of direction.
Now Al might be many things, but tall is not one of them. So why is he enamored of pants with pleats?? Or in denial about his inseam? You know the old joke about women lying about their age? I’ve yet to meet a man who doesn’t lie about his height. Ok, some of the tall ones don’t, but stay with me here.
So loaded up with sixteen permutations of black, pleats, machine wash; he enters the changing room. Only to re-emerge moments later asking me to go over to the shoe section and grab some dress shoes. Oh, and a dress shirt, too. For try-on purposes.
“You shop once a year, and can’t dress properly for the occasion?” I grumble.
“Do you like these?,” he asks. No, I say, stifling a snicker as I look at the cuffed bottom that is bunched above the shoe, and the billowing pleats that make him look like MC Hammer. “Well, they’re really comfortable,” he sniffs, heading back to the cube. Hey, at least I know enough to pull over and ask for directions. Why can’t he accept my help?
Now, I’m not one to talk when it comes to being in denial as to one’s waist size, but inseam? Finally, he finds some a little shorter, and some that have the Magic Adjustable Waistband. This is the male version of ‘downsizing’ that has been taking place in ladies clothing since the 1950s. Back then a size ten fit most starlets, and Marilyn Monroe was frequently larger. Now that same size has been repurposed to about a size 6, to give women a psychological boost in thinking they are a small size. In Hollywood and the local high school, the prestige size is a 0. That’s right, 0. Much has been made of the psychological angle of striving to be a nothing, and the marginalization of women, blah, blah, blah. Hey, I’d be thrilled with a big fat 2.
I try handing Al some other suggestions. You know, colors. Rejected. Wait! He takes a dark green! Whee! Four Pants! It’s only three hours later, and we’re ready for socks! ZZZZZZZ….
Men’s socks are another way the industry takes advantage of the fact men only shop once a year. They are bundled in units of three, then the store runs ‘buy two, get one free’. The packages are $14 each! Most of my socks come from the clearance rack and cost a buck, perhaps two at the most, a pair. But of course, I have what, 50, 60 pairs? So do the math.
I see Al buys two black packages and one green. I don’t even argue. It is a pretty dark navy, but I would die of mortification if caught with black socks and blue pants.
Whatever. At least I got to follow him home that night, so there was a lesser chance of getting lost…
No, I wasn’t held at gunpoint away from the computer. More like snooze napping – asleep at the keyboard. As Mr. Right pointed out, all three of my loyal readers most likely didn’t notice.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Al. I love you too.
But a new year is the perfect time for reflection. And resolutions. Is anybody reading this crap? Does anybody care? Have I enlightened or enraged you? Amused or engaged you? Or did this site just come up in a search for Nature Gone Wild?
This year I want to keep a better chronicle of the books I read here, and at the end of the year, perhaps I can compare the number of books read to shoes bought. Should I be expanding my mind or my closet? At the end of the day (one’s life) does it really matter?
The first book I’ll count as an 07 poses that question, after a fashion. It’s I Feel Bad About My Neck, by Nora Ephron. Grade: B- . A nice light collection of little essays about life in New York, aging, and ultimately “the D word”. Death.
Does it matter if you die beautiful? Accomplished? Known for charitable works?
I liked the book. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but good. Several flashes of true worth, so probably far beyond my humble blog. Hell, even if my blog were better, this book was PUBLISHED, so right there, she’s ahead of me. Should that be a 2007 resolution? Get published? Or is Get A Life sufficiently encompassing?
Actually, the one real thing I have been pursuing (so far…, let’s see, it’s only the seventh…) is healthy eating and exercise in the hopes of weight loss. Yes, like every other American female, I dread the thought of a Fairy Godmother appearing with a Stockton-esque bargain.
Would you like ten more IQ points, or to lose ten pounds? Which would you pick? (For sake of argument, let’s assume IQ here really means a measure of intelligence encompassing things like knowledge, skill, logic and even a dash of common sense; things a standardized test cannot measure.)
Hmmm. Let’s face it – right now you’re brighter than about 90% of the idiots you are forced to come into daily contact with. Do you really need that extra ten points? Is that even measurable on a day to day basis? Would you really be able to lord that extra ten over one or two percent more people? How would it change your career? Love life?
I’m not a fan of the singer/musician John Mayer, but from what little I saw of him on a talk show, he seems pretty smart. Well, at least he possessed a decent vocabulary, and could hold a basic conversation. Who have the tabloids linked him to romantically? Jessica Simpson. I suppose we could argue she’s “smarter than her public persona”, but c’mon. Isn’t this just further confirmation that men see better than they think?
For the Average (Corn-fed, Midwestern) Jane like myself, wouldn’t the ten pound make the only noticeable difference? Would my self-esteem be more enhanced by finally finishing the ‘easy’ Sudoku or buying the smaller size jeans?
I know what a ten-billion-dollar a year beauty industry wants me to pick.
So, what of it, dear readers? Shall we improve our minds or our bodies this year?
Does it really matter?
Tally for January 7, 2007: Shoes: 0 Books: 1