Monday, April 28, 2008

You Go, Gill

This is disgusting!!! A massive fish hunt is underway to try and kill the 16ft. Great White suspected of killing a swimmer off the coast of California. Swim, swim little shark! Go to Australia! Cuba! Just get away!!

Authorities now are convinced the shark that attacked Martin was a 15- to 16-foot great white because of the marks it left on Martin's legs.

Witch hunt is more like it... there's no way they are going to find the right shark, and even if they did:

A) There's no proof it would ever attack a human again (which is why the entire person is never consumed, the shark is looking for seal, and humans aren't as fatty and thus tasty as a seal)

B) It wouldn't stop any further attacks, as there are other sharks out there

C) After a few days, the human remains would no longer be in the shark's digestive system, making positive identification impossible.

Some species, such as the great white and mako, ensure food is dealt with quickly by having a body that is warmer than the surrounding seawater and a warm stomach. A Mako, therefore, is able to digest a meal within one or two days, whereas other hunters, such as the blue shark, take an average of three days to digest a similar quantity of food.

Have none of these people seen Jaws?

California authorities closed 17 miles of San Diego County beach during the weekend as they searched for the shark.

Sorry, Police Chief Brody, we can't close the beaches on a holiday weekend! Imagine the lost tourist dollars.

It's just going to be a circus of slaughter, with innocent sharks as the losers. Does no one watch the Discovery Channel? Sharks do not acquire a taste for human flesh. Sharks do not hunt man as prey. Sharks are endangered!! People are taking a bath in their living room and then complaining about the hospitality.

For stupid media accounts, click here and see Barbara Walters make unfunny jokes about sharks and the family of the deceased's devotion to the ocean.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cue Music

Although I am saddened by the death of a retired veterinarian training for a triathlon off the coast of Southern California, I must admit to being somewhat heartened by the thought of a 17-foot Great White Shark. These magnificent creatures have been hunted to near-extinction, and a fish of this size is unusual today.

The shark was likely an adult female about 12 feet to 17 feet (3.7 meters to 5.7 meters) long, and probably mistook Martin for a seal, Rosenblatt said.
``We think it's mistaken identity,'' Rosenblatt said. ``The white shark hunting method is be down relatively close to the bottom and looking for silhouettes and then coming up to attack the seal. A human swimmer is not too unlike a seal.''

Read a full account of the accident here.

and of course there's those that disregard the Shark Advisory...

There were surfers Saturday who would not be discouraged. Several dozen paddled out at Swami's, the well-known break north of Solana Beach.

and my favorite:

A friend offered a novel take: "A bear kills a guy at Big Bear, a shark kills a guy at Solana Beach, both in the same week," said Glen Forest, 45, a carpenter. "There's a strange vibe out there."

Like maybe Nature is fed up?

and this -

On Saturday, only a hardy few Southern California paddleboarders ignored signs warning that the great white shark could still be in the area.

"It's like going to see 'Jaws' -- getting in the water the next day, all you could think about was the music," said Bob Rief, 63, who was teaching a friend how to stand up on a paddleboard. "But if you're afraid of the ocean, you shouldn't be in it."

Farther north, Orange and Los Angeles county beaches were packed with people Saturday and lifeguards were more concerned with crowds and riptides than sharks.

"The most dangerous part of the day, if you're going to the beach, is getting on the freeway to come here," said Garth Canning, section chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department Lifeguard Division.


My great hope for another Triple Crown winner has been sidelined indefinitely with an injury!
No War Pass? Now what?

War Pass to miss Kentucky Derby with leg injury
The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. --One-time Kentucky Derby favorite War Pass will miss next month's Run for the Roses because of a leg injury likely to sideline the colt for a few months.
Trainer Nick Zito said Saturday that X-rays revealed a small fracture in the left front ankle of last year's champion 2-year-old.

How Not To Work Out

Could I make this up? Not likely.

I'm minding my own business at the health club (read: cringing internally over having to interact with The Public) when I become involved in the episode of What Not To Wear being broadcast over one of the three TVs at the front of the room. Since I don't have a radio to tune into the sound portion, I just read the closed-captioning while plugging along on the treadmill.

Soon I'm so invested in the plight of the single mom who loves loud pants and socks with cutesy themes* that I decide I'm going to stay on the treadmill until they all fill up and the only polite thing to do is get off so someone else can have a turn. Fortunately for me, that moment never comes and I spend the entire hour walking and reading, two of my favorite pass times.

Somewhere towards the second half of the show this woman comes in and picks an exercise bike directly beneath the TV set I'm watching. One glance at her and I'm looking at the buttons on my treadmill in the hopes that one will summon the producers of the show for an emergency intervention. The closest I can find is Emergency Stop, but I know that will just turn my treadmill off. It won't erase the hideous image before me from my retinas.

The woman was about mid-thirties. She had on a white tank top, and it was not the type you would wear to a health club... it was lacy with lingerie straps, and form-fitting. Showed off that huge midriff bulge quite nicely - a perfect little spare tire, that when viewed from behind as I was doing, looked like the inner tube worn by a toddler to the kiddie pool. Beneath was a non-sporty bra, complete with gold metal hardware accents.

Denim shorts were the next thing I noticed. Not short-short cutoffs, but not health club material, either. The only 'appropriate' piece of gear was her grey and pink athletic shoes. But it was hard to notice them, as most of my attention fell on the chocolate-brown knee-high socks she was pedaling away with.

Could someone please open an expensive, exclusive, proper attire required health club near my home PLEASE?

*Apparently, there's quite a few things that need to be purged from my closet as well.


No, this is not an abandoned blog. Between being thoroughly disillusioned with the planet and the strange weather we've been having, this is my first attempt to sit down and sort it all out.

I just saw a recent survey where 50% of people reported having problems sleeping. Insomnia? Not me. I have no problems falling asleep. It's the 'getting up' I object to... What is there to get out of bed for in the morning? A crumbling ecosystem? Further decent of the U.S. to a fourth-world nation? Record high gas prices? Runaway food inflation? Rice shortages? Violence? Overpopulation? Unemployment? High Speed Internet that is only high in price, not speed?

Despite all this malaise, I do owe my loyal readers some interesting insights. So I promise to return and make a sincere effort to post more regularly. I have some great stories to tell, so let's get started, shall we?

Monday, April 07, 2008

Don't Take a Pass!

War Pass

Archaeologists Unearth 35,000-Year-Old-Tools

SYDNEY, Australia - Tools dating back at least 35,000 years have been unearthed in a rock shelter in Australia's remote northwest, making it one of the oldest archaeological finds in that part of the country, archaeologists said Monday.

Scientists have yet to determine if they were borrowed and never returned...

Of course you'll get it back... it's a boomerang...

Hope Springs Ephemeral

After a perfectly lovely weekend during which both the car and dog were washed, we are now plunged back into a cold, dreary, windy slog of a week with no warm up on the horizon.

Maybe May.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Blind Editors?

As "Not Yet Published", it outrages me when I see articles like this pointing out the spate of bogus memoirs now littering the market.

The fake memoir wave continues. In Tuesday’s Times, Motoko Rich reports that contrary to the premise of her new memoir, “Love and Consequences,” Margaret B. Jones is not half-white, half-native American and was not raised as a foster child by a black family in South-Central L.A. Her real name’s Margaret Seltzer and she’s from Sherman Oaks. (Click here for Rich’s Wednesday follow-up, and here for today’s
story on how Seltzer apparently fabricated a charitable foundation.)

This follows on the case of Misha Defonseca, who fessed up last week not to have been raised by wolves in the forests of Europe during the Holocaust — a story Blake
Eskin untangled in Slate
here and my colleague Greg Cowles blogged about below. Two years ago, it emerged that J.T. Leroy, the celebrated author of the gritty novels “Sarah” and “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things,” was not in fact a gay, truck-stop prostitute from West Virginia, but rather the assumed identity of a San Francisco writer named Laura Albert.

Hellloooo? What part of 'raised by wolves' failed to raise a red flag during the editing process? Did the author present an affadivt from Professor Remus Lupin?

Hand me a rough draft and an internet connection, and I could have prevented these fiascos and more. What is wrong with this Make a Buck mentallity? I suspect the root lies in TV theory: If the other channel is doing it, we should be too! Memoirs selling? Buy more! Fiction not so much? Make them Memoirs!!

Yes, I think these authors are ill and seeking attention. Perhaps they are accomplished actors as well. But properly classifying literature is a burden that falls beneath the job of a professional publishing house. Sure, authors can be quirky, prima donnas, or mentally unstable. That doesn't mean their writing lacks merit. or their story needs to remain untold. Buying a book classified as non-fiction, however, implies basic fact-checking was performed on the manuscript.

I don't want an innacurate history book. I might love a fictious accounting of the Lincoln assination. I certainly don't care to confuse the two.

I think it is telling that after Frey was exposed, he claimed to have shopped his book as fiction at one point. The further lies of a man squirming beneath scrutiny? Or an actual anecdote about the sad state of publishing today?

The fact is, publishers edit most books and lawyer some — but they rarely ever fact-check. It’s seen as too time- and cost-consuming. The average magazine article is fact-checked far more rigorously than the average book.

As for me? I don't have a life. But I promise not make one up and try to pass it off as real.

At Least it Wasn't a Shooting

Friends and family are remembering Charlton Heston, who diedlast (Saturday) night at his home in Beverly Hills, California, his wife at his side.

Might I suggest a certain Michigander to succeed him?

Snape Headquarters!

Check out the awesome website Illuminated Dungeon Windows for all things Harry Potter and Snape!

You may recall this site as enjoying my Potter post, and as an excellent information source on the impending Lexicon trial. But the reason I visit again and again? Why, the photos of Alan Rickman, of course!!

Fell in love with him as Sheriff Shaggme...

Swooned over Sense and Sensibility...

and shuddered over Snape!

Brake-ing News

Fiendish Fiat tries to Finalize Funnyman?

East Hampton's police chief yesterday praised comedian Jerry Seinfeld for avoiding a potential collision by managing to stop his 1967 Fiat when the brakes failed.Thanks to Seinfeld's quick response, police said, the car flipped over Saturday night before it could shoot out of a side street and plow across Montauk Highway."He avoided a catastrophic event," Chief Todd Sarris said, calling Seinfeld a hero. "I can't imagine the damage had that vehicle gone into the intersection."

Seinfeld, 53, who was being followed - possibly by his publicist - as he was taking a test drive in his new car, was on Skinhampton Road approaching Montauk Highway when he realized the brakes were not working, police said.Seinfeld immediately downshifted, pulled up the parking brake, and turned the wheel sharply to the right, Sarris said. The car went into a skid, flipped over at least once and ended up on its side. The comedian was wearing both a lap belt and chest restraint, and did not appear to be injured.

Because I know there are kids out there, I want to make sure they all know that driving without braking is not something I recommend, unless you have professional clown training or a comedy background, as I do," Seinfeld said. "It is not something I plan to make a habit of."

I'm very glad Jerry is OK. No word yet on final arrangements for the car. In fact, there's a bit of debate regarding exactly what model Fiat it was...

No Comment

LANSING, Mich.—A woman stole a boa constrictor from a pet store by slipping the snake down her pants, the owner said. The animal was stolen Thursday afternoon from Preuss Animal House in Lansing.
more stories like this

"I am far less concerned for the person than for the snake," owner Rick Preuss said. The 20-inch snake was worth $174.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why Do I Even Get Out of Bed in the Morning?

Let's see.... It's April and I'm still driving around with snow tires on my car. Which is a good thing, since IT'S STILL SNOWING!!

Then this disheartening news from the worst administration ever when it comes to protecting wildlife:

FORT IRWIN, Calif. - Scientists have begun moving the Mojave Desert's flagship species, the desert tortoise, to make room for tank training at the Army's Fort Irwin despite protests by some conservationists.

And a few angry bloggers...

The controversial project, billed as the largest desert tortoise move in California history, involves transferring 770 endangered reptiles from Army land to a dozen public plots overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

These are animals that it is illegal to even touch, they are that sensitive.

Fort Irwin has sought to expand its 643,000-acre training site into tortoise territory for two decades. The Army said it needs an extra 131,000 acres to accommodate faster tanks and longer-range weapons used each month to train some 4,000 troops.

Twenty years of chomping at the bit, and then lo and behold! George Bush! Enemy #1 of the planet. How handy. Oh, and why are we training troops domestically? Why invade foreign soil if you can't put it to use?

Desert tortoises are the longest-living reptiles in the Southwest with a potential life span of 100 years and can weigh up to 15 pounds. Their population has been threatened in recent years by urbanization, disease and predators including the raven.

That's so Raven...

Weeks before the relocation, two conservation groups threatened to sue Fort Irwin. The Center for Biological Diversity and Desert Survivors contend that the land set aside for the desert tortoises is too close to an interstate highway and is plagued with off-road vehicles and illegal dumping that would disturb the animals.

But let's face it, that would be spitting into the wind.

The groups served Fort Irwin with a 60-day notice of intent to sue and plan to file the lawsuit after the desert tortoises have been moved.

"There's still a lot of work that needs to be done to make the relocation site more habitable ... so the animals would survive better there," said Ileene Anderson, a staff biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity.

Fort Irwin lawyers and federal wildlife officials determined the claims were unfounded and decided to go ahead with the $8.5 million project. The process began last weekend and will last two weeks. The tortoises, including about 67 babies, are being moved into habitats approved by the U.S. Geological Survey and other experts.

George Bush's lawyers and people whose paychecks he signs capitulated last weekend...
And not one of the baby turtles will live to see 100, I can guarantee it.

"The translocation of tortoises is a very complex process," Fort Irwin spokesman John Wagstaffe said in a recent interview. "You have to move them gently and make sure they don't get stressed during the move."

I'm stressed just reading this. What are they feeling?

About a year before the transfer, biologists tagged desert tortoises living in the proposed training expansion area with radio transmitters and took blood tests to make sure they were healthy.

Scientists have a short window to relocate the animals, which recently awakened from winter hibernation and will return to their burrows in the summer.

Last weekend, a group equipped with receivers scanned the desert for signs of the tagged tortoises, placed them in plastic containers and hauled them to their new home. They were given water and released.

Not stressful at all. Just as Stacy Peterson how comfy that blue barrel was...

Scientists will continue to monitor the relocated tortoises for signs of stress.

But will be unable to report these signs, as they are being paid by the government and are not allowed to use terms like 'extinction' or 'big mistake'. Other banned themes include anything that may contradict the Biblical explanation of creation.

Research studies show relocated tortoises typically spend the first year roaming. Over time, they settle down and survive as well as tortoises that stayed put, said Roy Averill-Murray, desert tortoise recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Reno, Nev.

Roaming, grieving, disoriented, confused, miserable, whatever.

"We're plopping them down in a new area that they're not familiar with so they spend the first year or so learning their surroundings and where the good burrow sites are," Averill-Murray said Thursday.

Averill-Murray helped plan the Fort Irwin project, but is not involved in the actual move.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How Many Tax Dollars Went for this Hearing?

WASHINGTON — Top executives of the country's five biggest oil companies said Tuesday they know record fuel prices are hurting people, but they argued it's not their fault and their huge profits are in line with other industries.

Try - "but they just don't care..."
It's not our fault we have all the could we say no to Daddy's help? Why, that would be un-Bush-like.
"in line with other industries" that exploit child labor, indentured servitude and environmental ruin

Appearing before a House committee, the executives were pressed to explain why they should continue to get billions of dollars in tax breaks when they made $123 billion last year and motorists are paying record gasoline prices at the pump.

Pressed as in 'asked a polite questions in a non-binding forum by a bunch of people up for reelection that also depend on the oil industry for their jobs'

"On April Fools' Day, the biggest joke of all is being played on American families by Big Oil," said Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.).

Who then went on to do absolutely nothing about it for his constituents.

"Our earnings, although high in absolute terms, need to be viewed in the context of the scale and cyclical, long-term nature of our industry as well as the huge investment requirements," said J.S. Simon, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., which made a record $40 billion last year. "We depend on high earnings during the up cycle to sustain … investment over the long term, including the down cycles," he continued.

This explains why the industry is so well-prepared for natural disasters like Katrina and are so state-of-the art that they pollute less now than twenty years ago. Yeah, that's it.

Several lawmakers noted the rising price of gasoline at the pump, now averaging $3.29 a gallon amid talk of $4 a gallon this summer."I heard what you are hearing. Americans are very worried about the rising price of energy," said John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co., echoing remarks by the other four executives including representatives of BP America Inc., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips.

If by "echoing", you mean "winking knowingly at..."

While Democrats hammered the executives for their profits and demanded they do more to develop alternative energy sources, Republican lawmakers called for opening more areas for drilling to boost domestic production of oil and gas.

Wow! Who could have predicted that? Nostradumbass?

Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, the committee's ranking Republican, asked what would bring lower prices.

My vote is "Riots at the capitol rotunda in Madison"

"We need access to all kinds of energy supply," replied Robert Malone, chairman of BP America, adding that 85 percent of U.S. coastal waters are off limits to drilling. But Markey wanted to know why the companies aren't investing more in energy projects other than oil and gas or giving up some tax breaks so the money could be directed to promote renewable fuels and conservation and take pressure off oil and gas supplies.

We haven't bought all those up yet, that's why. As soon as we can patent the sun and own the wind, we're good to go, he guffawed...

"Why is Exxon Mobil resisting the renewable revolution," asked Markey, noting that the other companies together have invested $3.5 billion in solar, wind and biodiesel projects. Exxon is spending $100 million on research into climate change* at Stanford University, replied Simon, but current alternative energy technologies "just do not have an appreciable impact" in addressing "the challenge we're trying to meet."

*How it is so Chevron's fault

As the three-hour House hearing came to a close, the price of oil settled at just over $100 a barrel.

The three hour transcript can be summed up as, "Because we have the oil, and you don't! Nyah, nyah, nyah!"

Markey challenged the executives to pledge to invest 10 percent of their profits to develop renewable energy and give up $18 billion in tax breaks over 10 years so money could be funneled to support other energy and conservation.They responded that their companies already are spending on alternative energy projects and argued that new taxes could lead to even higher prices.

Oh, yes. Tax breaks for oil companies posting record profits. Heck of an idea, Brownie. I'm sure there's some Bush progeny out there to run for office well into the 3000s...

Dying by Degrees

Now our cheery weather people inform me that we are on track to have gone the longest ever between seventy degree days. Tidbits like that just make my day.

In like a lion, out like a lion...

Lamb? What lamb?

Bow to Me, Retail Giant

CINCINNATI - Associated Press
Terry Lundgren, the top executive of Macy's Inc., received compensation valued at $14.4 million in 2007, an 11 percent decrease from the previous year, as the retailer continues to struggle with its acquisition of May Department Stores Co.

Ok, so getting an 11% pay cut isn't fun for anybody - but when that painful slice takes you down to a mere 14.4 million? Waa-waa-waa. Have to drive the Maybach for a second year, you poor darling! Would you like to see the view from down here, buddy? Where gas is $4 a gallon?

Sales at the Cincinnati-based retailer have disappointed, especially in some markets where the Macy's name replaced local favorites when it bought May in 2005. As the economy faltered, its 2007 earnings fell 10 percent.

Could that market be... Chicago?? Yes, yes, it could!!! Guess standing on a street corner with a Keep it Fields sign works, eh, Terry? I know I haven't set foot in the State Street store since your callous disregard for a Chicago institution!!

Lundgren received more base pay in 2007, with a salary of $1.49 million, up 7 percent from $1.38 million in 2006, according to the company's proxy statement filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

So let me get this straight - his performance sucks, but his base pay goes up? So that's what I'm doing wrong at work!! I knew it had to be something.

But he received nothing from the company's 2007 incentive plan, which is linked to performance.

Cry me a river. Try taking my damn coupons, Lundgren! I went to your shitty store and found nothing but exceptions!! Oh, your coupon isn't good on makeup or perfume. Sorry, that's our store brand, coupon no good on that. It's already a value. Well if you VALUED my business, you'd have been way damn nicer to me and my consumer dollars.

In 2006, Lundgren received about $2.7 million through the plan.

Lundgren had $290,945 in perks such as $95,699 for air travel, $86,956 for a car and driver, $52,019 in merchandise discounts and $15,575 for financial counseling.
His stock and option awards for the year were valued at $12.6 million on the dates they were awarded.

Sob! Having to fly commercial! Poor baby didn't get a private corporate jet. However do you expect him to get his job done if he has to sit on a plastic chair like the rest of us flying cattle class? Merchandise Discounts? For what? Like his house isn't filled with 'free samples' from manufactures begging him to carry their lines? Financial Counseling? So he can feel less guilty about making 7 million times more than the hourly cashier at his stores? Yeah, it feels good to talk that out.

His total pay fell from $16.2 million in 2006, according to a calculation by The Associated Press.
The AP's total pay calculations include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations may vary from the totals in the summary compensation table of proxy statements filed with the SEC.
Lundgren, 55, has been chairman of the board since January 2004 and president and chief executive since February 2003.

Macy's compensation committee compares his compensation with a group of major retailers and vendors including J.C. Penney Co., Target, Wal-Mart and Nordstrom Inc. and with large national consumer products companies including Procter & Gamble Co., General Mills Inc. and Coca-Cola Co.

All noted for the CEO making over 132 times the pay per year of an hourly worker... yep, I'd say that's comparable.

Macy's shares rose $1.61, up 7 percent, to $24.67 in trading Tuesday. Shares have traded between $20.94 and $46.52 the past year.

There's a rumor afoot I really want those black pants I tried on your Woodfield store. I do, but not for $80. Try tempting me with half off, and YOU BETTER HAVE MY SIZE!! It's an Extra-Short Sarcastic.

The company operates more than 850 department stores in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico under the names of Macy's and Bloomingdale's. The company also operates, and Bloomingdale's By Mail.

Hmm. But no Marshall Field's. Interesting.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Wish I'd Said That

It was hard for Satan alone to mislead the whole world, so he appointed priests and prostitutes in different locations.

Sebastian Horsley