Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dunkin' Driving Arrest

SALISBURY, Conn. - Police say a man's excuse for speeding through a small Connecticut town takes the cake — or, at least, the cookie.

A state trooper who stopped the 1993 BMW last fall says its driver, 28-year-old Justin Vonkummer of Millerton, N.Y., blamed his driving problems on an errant Oreo.

Vonkummer told the trooper that an Oreo had just slipped from his fingers as he dunked it in a cup of milk, and that he was trying to fish it out when he lost control of his car.

Prosecutors learned in court this week that Vonkummer had been charged with speeding and driving under a suspended license — not driving under the influence, as a clerk had mistakenly noted in the court records.

Vonkummer's attorney declined to comment. The case is pending.

The Economy on a Shoestring

Once again, a shooting has occured at a shopping mall near me...

Two Carpentersville men have been arrested on charges of attempted murder in Thursday's shooting of a 19-year-old man in a parking lot outside Spring Hill Mall.

Spring Hill was a huge part of my formative retail years, but I haven't been there in ages - precisely because the neighborhood around there has gone downhill...

Once again it has become apparent that I will meet my demise while shopping. plunging the nation even deeper into recession. Have you ever heard of a little shoe store called Nine West? They'll be Chapter Nine West without me!

Spring Break

My New Business Venture: Get A Life Gift Cards for All Occasions

Book sales in the fourth quarter were down slightly and same store sales fell 1.6% at Books-A-Million. Revenue in the period fell 3.4%, to $168.3 million. Excluding the extra week in the 2006 quarter, which generated sales of $9 million, sales were up 3.0%.

For the full year, total revenue rose 2.9%, to $535.1 million, while net income fell 12.7%, to $16.5 million. Same store sales for the year, on a 52-week basis, rose 1.4%. In addition to the extra week, earnings in 2006 benefited from $1.5 million in income from unused gift cards.

Sad But True

A big insurance company just announced they will give $10 million to anyone who can invent a car that gets 100 miles per gallon. Meanwhile, Exxon says they'll give $11 million to anyone who kills that guy." --Conan O'Brien

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snow Thanks

Well, it's official. We've exceeded all previous snowfall totals for this area, and more is on the way. I'm taking my fish (and lizards, and turtles, and...) and moving far, far away. Near the equator.

Friday’s half-foot of snow pushed the county’s average winter total to 77.8 inches, topping the previous mark of 74.5 inches that fell in the 1978-79 winter season

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Harry Potter and the Coven of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists

Nothing like owning half of Scotland to help you keep a stiff upper lip...

NEW YORK — JK Rowling has revealed that she thought of killing herself while suffering from depression as a struggling single mother.

The Harry Potter author says she was prescribed cognitive behavioral therapy after suffering “suicidal thoughts” in the aftermath of separation from her first husband, Jorge Arantes, a Portuguese journalist.

She is now one of the world’s richest women, but at the time lived in a cramped flat in Edinburgh with her baby daughter Jessica. Rowling was only able to afford the rent after a friend paid the deposit. It was there she began writing the first Harry Potter book.

While Rowling, 42, has spoken before of her battle with depression, it is the first time she has admitted that she contemplated suicide. She said she finally sought professional help.

“Mid-twenties life circumstances were poor and I really plummeted,” said Rowling. “The thing that made me go for help . . . was probably my daughter. She was something that earthed me, grounded me, and I thought, this isn’t right, this can’t be right, she cannot grow up with me in this state.”

Rowling said her usual GP was away, and the replacement doctor sent her away. “She said, ‘If you ever feel a bit low, come and speak to the practice nurse’ and dismissed me.”
Rowling added: “We’re talking suicidal thoughts here, we’re not talking ‘I’m a little bit miserable’.

Two weeks later I had a phone call from my regular GP who had looked back over the notes . . . She called me back in and I got counseling through her.

“She absolutely saved me because I don’t think I would have had the guts to go and do it twice.”
Cognitive behavioral therapy typically involves a series of sessions with a counselor and is designed to help patients control negative thoughts. The technique is recommended by the health department for depressive disorders, anxiety, bulimia and posttraumatic stress disorder.
Rowling, whose Harry Potter novels have sold more than 400m copies worldwide and spawned a billion dollar industry, said she was happy to discuss her mental health problems to challenge the stigma associated with depressive illness.

“I have never been remotely ashamed of having been depressed. Never,” she said in an interview with Adeel Amini, 22, for a student magazine at Edinburgh University.

“What’s to be ashamed of? I went through a really rough time and I am quite proud that I got out of that.”

Mental health campaigners welcomed Rowling’s decision to speak publicly about her struggle with suicidal depression.

Celia Richardson, campaigns director of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “JK Rowling is a wonderful role model and it’s brilliant she has chosen to talk about this.”

You know what depresses the heck out of me, Jo? The fact that I could never sell a millionth of the books you have! The unfairness that I don't have your talent! The bleakness of knowing I will never own a castle!! Heck, Bob Costas is one of the few people you didn't have to sue for copyright infringement... How do you think that makes me feel, Ms. Successful? Happy now???!?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm Egg-ceptional

What Your Easter Egg Says About You

You are whimsical, spontaneous, and fun loving.

You connect well with people, but nature is your true love.

Changing locations and scenery is important to your creativity.

You are inspired by the surroundings around you

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Tell if Your SPF* is Too Low

*Stingray Protection Factor

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A woman sunbathing on a boat died after a stingray leaped from the water off the Florida Keys on Thursday and struck her, officials said.

The dead stingray lies on the deck of a boat in Florida.

"It's just as freakish of an accident as I have heard," said Jorge Pino of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "The chances of this occurring are so remote that most of us are completely astonished that this happened."

He said it was not clear whether the 55-year-old Michigan woman died from the blow to her head, from the ray's barb piercing her or from her fall backward.

The accident happened off the coast of Marathon Key, in the Florida Keys about an hour's drive south of Miami. The woman, who was with her husband and children, was taken to the Mariner Hospital in Tavernier, where she was pronounced dead.

Pino said he had seen stingrays leap into the air, but added, "it's very rare for them to collide with objects."

Results from an autopsy to be conducted by the medical examiner will be combined with witness statements and evidence from aboard the vessel to determine the cause of death, he said.

The spotted eagle ray weighed about 75 pounds, said Becky Herrin, a spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

The species, also called a leopard ray or bonnet skate, can measure up to 8 feet in length, with an 8-foot tail, and weigh up to 500 pounds, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History's Web site.

They tend to swim close to the surface and can leap out of the water when being pursued, according to the site.

I Know You Are, But What Am I ?

'But it's one thing if somebody just sets up a blog from their mother's basement in Albuquerque and they are who they are, and they're a pathetic get-a-life loser, but now that pathetic get-a-life loser can piggyback onto someone who actually has some level of professional accountability and they can be comment No. 17 on Dan Le Batard's column or Bernie Miklasz' column in St. Louis. That, in most cases, grants a forum to somebody who has no particular insight or responsibility. Most of it is a combination of ignorance or invective.'' Bob Costas

Sorry Bob, didn't know your PhD in Punditry was so sensitive to the great unwashed with a modem and an opinion...

Perhaps what you object to is the way commentators can hide their true experience level? Sound authoritative on a subject? Obscure their true credentials or identity?

[Costas] Doctored his college radio highlight tape to make himself sound older, which led to a job at KMOX-AM in St. Louis, broadcasting ABA basketball.

Yep. That must be it.

You talkin to me Costas? I resemble that remark...

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Storm Watch

The winter that will never end rages on... Daytona looks suspiciously perky, so I'm guessing a big snowstorm is on the way.

Sorry I've been too depressed to post, but I swear time flies when you can't make a dent in any of your household chores because you're working overtime.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Clot Again!

Hope springs eternal... but not the weather.

However, today was pretty decent in comparison to the never-ending Gulag of winter we've been having, so I stopped in at my local blood drive to
try, try, again.

Thanks to taking YOUR advice, dear readers, I've really been hitting the spinach, and was able to successfully give away a pesky pint of platelets that some needy stranger could put to use.

I even got to keep the little rubber ball for my dog!

Now if they could just give out bumper stickers that say I Give For Free Juice or something...

This Stuff NEVER Happens When I Am There

You may recall my recent trip to the Mall of America and the huge aquarium there. Seems back in January, one large shark scooped up a smaller shark in it's mouth. Now I think if this Sandtiger really wanted to dispatch the the little gal, she could have. The alert staff was able to dislodge Fish Stick before any permanent damage was done. As per usual, the excitement doesn't happen when I'm around. (Need I mention the uneventful evening with Sigfried and Roy where no one was hurt?) Many lucky visitors obtained photos and videos of the event. I think this is an excellent opportunity to study 'shark memory' and 'shark grudges'. You go, behavioral ichthyologists!

Officials at the Mall of America announced the small shark that was attacked by a larger shark last month has made a full recovery.

Little Shark 54, a 50-pound female White Tip Reef Shark, spent 20 minutes in the jaws of Jesse, a 300-pound Sandtiger Shark, in January.

A special team of doctors at Underwater Adventures was able to nurse the Little Shark 54 back to health.

Officials announced her name would be changed to Fish Stick.

"Fish Stick is the name that won our hearts over," said Todd Peterson, CEO of Underwater Adventures. "She almost became lunch for Jesse, but she survived. We'll remember forever that vivid photo of her tail hanging from Jesse's mouth."

Fish Stick and the other four sharks, which have been isolated in a separate tank since the attack, were released back into the mall aquarium’s Shark Cove on Wednesday.

They're back swimming in the large 500,000-gallon salt-water tank with stingrays, turtles and sharks, including Jesse.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I Was Saved...By a Cross-Fire Hurricane

Had the Hells Angels been a Yacht Club, we might not have Mick any more!

LONDON: Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger escaped an assassination plot hatched in 1969 by the Hells Angels, a new British Broadcasting Corp. documentary has claimed.

"The Hells Angels were so angered by Jagger's treatment of them that they decided to kill him," Tom Mangold, the presenter of the program, was quoted as telling Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Mangold said the men tried to reach Jagger by sea. "The boat was hit by a storm and all of the men were thrown overboard," he was quoted as saying. They all survived but made no other attempt on his life, Mangold said.

Cashmere Karma

As I've mentioned
before, my lust for cheap Cashmere has helped fuel an environmental disaster halfway across the globe. Now comes reports that thousands of the shaggy goats face starvation due to blizzards in India (Or is that Pakistan? Both claim the region). These are the Real McCoy goats - China can produce wool, but it's technically not 'Cashmere', now is it?

SRINAGAR, India—More than 100,000 Himalayan goats -- famed for their pashmina wool -- or cashmere -- face starvation after their desert habitat was blanketed with snow, while three people died during the region's worst storms in three decades, officials said Thursday.

"This is the heaviest snowfall in the last three decades in the region.
Being a cold desert, Ladakh usually receives about 10 centimeters (4 inches) of precipitation in a year, but this year about 2 feet of snow has accumulated,"said M.K. Bhandari, a local government official.

Sounds like my area! Somewhere, Al Gore is doing the I Told You So dance...

For Those About to Shop

We Fear For You...

Yet another shopping mall scare in our area!

A man who spent several hours at the Old Orchard shopping center on Saturday bundled in a long wool coat, wearing a scarf over his nose and a stocking cap over his head was acting strangely but posed no threat, Skokie police said on Sunday.

That's OK, I've come to terms with being killed while shopping. Beats having to see the Master Card bill at the end of the month. Think I can request burial in a big shoe box?