Thursday, December 27, 2007

What's in a Name?

Hmmm… Any relation?

If you’ve been anywhere but under a rock for the past few months, you most likely are familiar with the sad case of the 24-year-old missing mom, Stacey Peterson. As I live in the area, you’ll have to take my word for it when I say coverage has been INTENSE. As in, “Stacey’s last grocery list found!!” and “Drew’s third wife’s second cousin once-removed speaks!!”

So the fact that I was spending yet another night in front of the info-tainment that passes as my local news watching some new “clue” exposed was no surprise.

The anchor was discussing rumors that neighbors might have seen Drew taking a large blue barrel or tub – that could have weighed 115 pounds!- from the house. Right then, the image on the screen changes to that of men in white haz-mat suits pushing a BLUE BARREL on wheels while the voice-over is President Bush declaring
Iran is still a threat whether they have nuclear materials or not!

It suddenly hit me. We have to go to war with Iran to save Stacy Peterson!!! It’s that simple, folks. What are you, against motherhood?

Coincendence? I Think Not!

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan -

Enraged crowds rioted across Pakistan and hopes for democracy hung by a thread after Benazir Bhutto was gunned down Thursday as she waved to supporters from the sunroof of her armored vehicle. The death of President Pervez Musharraf's most powerful opponent threw the nation into chaos just 12 days before elections, and threatened its already unsteady role as a key fighter against Islamic terror.

Wow, what are the chances al-Qaida would be linked to a spectacular act of terrorism days before the Iowa caucauses?

Tiger: 0 Stupid Humans:3

June 27, 2003-December 25, 2007

Oh, where to start with this fiasco? Poor Tatiana the beautiful Siberian Tiger was senselessly slain Christmas night. The unarmed feline was gunned down by four uniformed police officers who emptied their guns into her tawny fur. Her crime? Being a tiger.

First, the zoo was fined $18K over an incident whereby Tatiana ripped a female zookeeper’s arm open during ‘public feeding time’.

“The California Division of Occupation Safety and Health said the zoo was responsible for the incident because Komejan was inadequately trained for the task and the cages were set up in a manner that facilitated the attack.”

So… they closed down the exhibit for three months. (And hopefully made a note that Tatiana didn’t ‘play well with others’.) Now this tragedy occurs.

Currently it is under investigation as to how Tatiana escaped. Preliminary findings indicate it was not keeper error; the doors were closed and locked.

That leaves the cat leaping a 20 ft. moat / scaling an18 ft. wall… or the cat being assisted out of the cage – either by humans or poor cage design.

Wait! This just in! The 13 ft. wall was three feet below the minimum height recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums!! This contradicts the San Francisco Chronicle’s report of 18 ft high!!

“Since the investigation began Tuesday, officials have given at least five different measurements for the enclosure”, I thought they had re-vamped the enclosure; this report claims it dates to the 1940s! (Tigers didn’t do steroids then)

Whatever the cause, Tatiana killed one young man and pursued his two friends some 300 yards to maul them as well. Now zoo animals are very well fed; and the tiger wasn’t munching on the first guy, or hiding the body away for later, but continued to attack, so let’s conclude this wasn’t hunger.

That leaves anger.

Seems to me the fact that the tiger ONLY attacked three that were visiting the zoo together could be a) opportunity: they were the only spectators near the enclosure b) selection.

I pick b.

Do not taunt the tiger, idiots! Did you not hear what happened to Roy Horn? Police are now investigating a footprint at the scene.

The exact sequence of events may never be known, and “sources close to the investigation tell The Chronicle that the surviving brothers have not been entirely forthcoming during interviews with police”.

Marian Roth-Cramer recalled the day she and her son, who was 4 or 5, visited the tiger exhibit in 1997.

"My son had his hands on the metal bar,"
said the San Francisco woman, a children's dance and family programs coordinator at a branch of the YMCA. "All of a sudden, I saw the tiger leap over the moat, put a paw on the dirt (and hang on). I screamed and grabbed my son."

The animal slid away. She turned to a zookeeper and asked if he'd seen what she had.

His reply: "She always does that. She hates my guts."

She wrote a letter to David Anderson, the zoo director at the time, about the incident and canceled her membership. She said she never got a reply.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Peace On Earth, Goodwill to Lizard Kind

How many times do I have to tell you, Don't Get My Hopes Up!!

Two Lizards Tinkering

O! You better watch out!
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why…
Tainted Toys are coming
to your town!
They’ll poison you while you’re sleeping,
The Saftey Seal’s a fake…
They’ll toxify you to your toes
Cause dangerous is all they make!
The CEOs making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out whose
labor rates are nice.
Tainted Toys are coming
to your town!
The sweat shop’s working when
you are sleeping
And even times when
you're awake…
The orphan knows that
bad or good
He’s working a 16 hour shift,
for goodness sake!
You might want to pass
On gift-giving this year,
Haven’t got a chance with
the lax FDA here…
Tainted Toys are coming …
Tainted Toys are coming
to town!

This year’s card is brought to you by:
Ma-Tell You Months After We Knew There Was a Problem
and Cheaper-Price Toys.

Copyright 2007
Dressed Dragons Productions

Wish I'd Said That Half as Well

Gosh, here's some surprising news: Stephen King wrote an insightful review about the Clapton autobiography that expresses everything I wanted to say only about 50 million times better. (But really now, can the man dress up dragons?) Read the review here.

Excerpt:"...and the result is an honorable badge of a book. He may not have the skill of a Mary Karr or Frank McCourt, but I’m sure he writes better than most memoirists play guitar."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Can't Lay Off Just One!

Jays To Close South Side Potato Chip Plant

Company Facing Bankruptcy, 220 Jobs Will Be Cut

CHICAGO (STNG) ― Jays Foods Inc. will permanently close its plant on 99th Street on Wednesday, displacing about 220 union employees, the company told union workers Monday.


I know this is really old news,
but I did want to point out this
horrible example of Auto Abuse.
Very sad.
Rust In Peace
Read the latest here and here

O Why Not?

So I tried to donate blood the other day. Let’s face it, that’s the only nice, self-sacrificing thing I would ever do for another human being.

That’s only because:

A) Blood is self-renewing when taken in small amounts
B) It’s relatively painless and not terribly time-consuming
C) It goes to another human only because interspecies blood transfusions don’t work, otherwise I would have insisted mine go to Barbaro the racehorse.

First off, the nurse quizzes me about my weight. Of course, I give her my Driver License weight. You know, the fantasy weight you wished you were at 16 when they first issued you the license. I think my eye color changes more than that first weight figure. As I’ve noted before, they should consider this a real source of revenue down at the DMV. Just put up big signs – Eye Tests, Photos, Weigh Station… then tell people for an additional $20 they’ll put any 3 digit number on you like.

The nurse looks at me with skepticism. Are you sure? Well, uh, maybe ____ (I admit to ten pounds more). Why? She explains they take less blood from lighter people and some aren’t allowed to donate at all. She thought I was too slight? Woo hoo! I will have that juice and cookie, thank you! I think the cutoff was 110 lbs or something. I assure her I’m in no danger of failing the parameters and she proceeds with a finger stick.

So they tell me I’m one lousy point too low in iron to donate! As someone who consumes so much red meat the danger of Mad Cow disease is a greater than anemia, I find this very hard to believe. Finding rust in my blood seemed more likely. Dejected, I shuffle out. The least they could have done was give me an “I Tried to Give” sticker with a little sickle cell cartoon figure on it or something.

Great. Now I’ll have to give money to that creepy bell-ringer in front of the grocery or something.

Does Rachel Ray Call Her Mother?

Actual Conversation

Me: Wish me luck, I’m cooking salmon for the fist time.

Mom: Is it fresh or frozen?

Me: Fresh? That’s for rich people. I guess it was fresh when it was full price. By the time I came along and found it on the clearance rack it had already spawned…

Mom: Do you write this stuff down? It’s pretty funny.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I've Been...

Ive been reading and watching plenty of great things, what with my computer being down and all, so I’d like to try and recap a few here. Do weigh in with what you’re currently enjoying – I’d love to hear from you. Here’s a link where you can buy cool T-Shirts like “Guess What I’m Reading” and “Read Irresponsibly”.

I’m researching which reader’s shelf website to go with for my blog. I’ll try to have something up by the new year and start one where just the things read that year will reside as a widget of some sort on my side bar.


Super Crunchers: Why Thinking By the Numbers is the New Way to Be Smart
by Ian Ayres
Cool look at how those billions of terabytes regarding my shopping habits are helping the evil superstores guide my every move. Fun and educational! I give it an A.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
By Sherman Alexie

My pick for YA book of the year about a teenage boy on a Reservation who aspires, and how the cards are stacked against aspirations, no matter what they might be. A.

I Am America and So Can You
by Stephen Colbert
It’s no America the Book. C+

Clapton the Autobiography
Good, but of course I wanted a tell-all with more name-dropping. Still, if he truly is in recovery, this is a great achievement. He spent enough on therapy to get to the point where he knows what his problems are, and I do hope he is overcoming them. B

Our Dumb World – The Onion
Funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I’m deep-green with envy. A+

All The Rage
By Aaron McGruder

Loved it! Wish he were still doing the strip. Flagee and Ribbon were pure genius. B+


The Golden Compass
(Audio, narrated by author Phillip Pullman)
What can I say? This is a very ‘different’ read for youngsters, and I’m reserving final judgment until I finish the His Dark Materials trilogy. So far, I’m impressed. It’s so refreshing to see a child protagonist that is not an orphan. (That’s so Disney. Or horribly Harry.) On the contrary, Lyra’s parents are supposedly live and well – and total jerks that want to use her to advance their own diametrical causes. There’s lots of cloak and dagger, and a Snow Leopard thrown in for good measure. Lyra herself has more than a few flaws, as do the people she encounters. I’m awaiting what the summation will be, as the books are taking some big digs at religion. After all the Lord of the Rings and Narnia dogma will this be a departure? Or will it rush back at the end? I’m now working on The Subtle Knife, and I don’t think that’s as powerful as the first one, but I’m not quite done. A-

Introducing Joss Stone
Love her voice, but hated these songs. Sorry. C+

Raising Sand – Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Despite my initial misgivings, I really like this album! What saved it for me were the instrumental arrangements – very Strange Sensation. As for the chick, she can stay home next time. Just Robert. All Robert. B


Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth
Excellent! What’s not to like? Costumes. British Accents. A few horses. Oh, and just show me an English Country manor and I’ll show you acceptance to your marriage proposal so fast it’d make your head spin! A

Bleak House with Gillian Anderson
Nothing says ‘snowy weekend’ like a 32-part BBC miniseries!
And you thought Gillian Anderson was just some hot flashlight-wielding FBI agent chasing aliens in high heels? Well, she’s also a hot chick hiding a deep, dark, only offensive to the British aristocracy-type secret, too! A

The Mist
This was a Twilight Zone episode that stretched to two hours, and bore no resemblance to the Stephen King short story. It was one of those movies where you shout out directions to the imbeciles on the screen who are, of course, going to go into the dark basement alone. If nothing else, it confirmed what I always suspected. If any crisis happens, I want my friend Louise at my side. She wouldn’t have put up with Preachy Lady either, and we both would have spent some time THINKING things through. At least it didn’t have a happy ending. C.


Found this adorable plush dino at a restaurant gift shop and decided to buy his little friend the Woolly Mammoth, too! I did a Dinosaur display on my mantle that looked very nice. I put the mammoth off to the side, over on the stereo, since I wanted to include him but am a bit of a purist when it comes to large mammals shown alongside dinosaurs. (Please ignore the fact that I totally mixed eras on the dinosaurs.)

I don’t have an Ice Age genre yet, so do let me know if you see a nice Saber-Toothed Tiger or Dyer Wolf anywhere. Cavemen need not apply.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Go Green, Young Man!

Saving the Planet - One Super Car at a Time

Check out Jay Leno's new wheels!
600 HP, 585 lb torque - and - the ability to run on
E85 fuel! Awesome!!

Ok, it's a beautiful car, I want one, I want to protect the environment, reduce dependence on foreign oil, etc. etc., but I still think we're being sold a phony bill of goods on E85.

I mean, more cornfields? Yes!!

But of course it is our government bureaucrats and a few factory farm owners that will benefit, not small farmers. Plus, it's very costly to create and there are much better choices for alternative fuels and modes of transportation.

That said, I'd be happy to do my part by driving one of these lovely Vettes and using 105 octane E85 to save the environment.

One muscle car at a time.