Monday, March 30, 2009

New Rykas!

I may still be the klutziest one in aerobic class, but I now have the cutest shoes!
Isn't that what really matters?

Highly Recommended!

Tortoise Torturer Sentenced, but Supporters Threaten Revenge

How sick is this?

Jose "Tony" Mosqueda, who was 18 at the time of his arrest, pleaded no contest in September and was sentenced on Nov 5, 2007 to 270 days in jail and five years probation for felony animal cruelty. Mosqueda was prohibited from owning or having access to pets. His jail will be reduced for time served -- 110 days -- and good behavior -- another 55 days.Prosecutors said Mosqueda snatched the 40-pound African spurred tortoise from a back yard on July 7, slashed its legs and neck, punctured its shell and threw it against a wall.The tortoise survived, and Mosqueda was also ordered to pay $5,400 in veterinary bills and other associated costs of treatment.

Meanwhile, the family who owns the tortoise says their pain continues, and the ordeal has been particularly hard on a 12-year-old autistic boy who was making great strides in his development before the vicious attack. The boy's mother, Dorothy Sullivan, said the tortoise, named Bob, was her son's lifeline "out of the silent world of autism," KNBC's Chuck Henry reported."Bob brought out my son's speech, and allowed him to interact with the world," Sullivan said. "Since Bob's attack, my son has struggled; he has regressed tremendously."

Sullivan also claims the family has been threatened, and she says the family's dachshund was poisoned because she refused to drop the charges against Mosqueda. Police said they were continuing to investigate.

"We have received death threats, and I was told [my son and I] would 'Get one in the head if we did not drop the charges'... " Sullivan said. "I have had to put my son in therapy, and his seizures have returned. He had been seizure-free for a year prior to this event. After years of working with my son, he was having his best year. [But] ... now my son is afraid that he will be taken and harmed. It is difficult for an autistic child to trust enough to leave the silent world of autism, and my son had finally emerged into our world. Now we have to fight to keep him from going silent again."

Some People Love Turtles

Paterson, USA - Members of a Buddhist sect bought hundreds of eels, frogs and turtles and set them free in the Passaic River, hoping they would survive in the once-polluted stream and realize their karmic potential.

The act did nothing for the karma of the state Department of Environmental Protection, which said the Amitabha Buddhists did not have a permit and may be subject to fines up to $1,000. Permits are required for releasing critters into the wild, and New Jersey is reluctant to issue them for anything beyond stocking fish ponds because of concern that nonnative species could harm the local ecosystem.

"We're dead-set against it," DEP biologist Mark Boriek told the Herald News of West Paterson. "It's even illegal to stock any kind of carp or goldfish in New Jersey in a place with an inlet or outlet." The Passaic has been cleaned up in recent years and Boriek said the animals released Sunday might have a chance of survival.

Authorities said they had not found members of the New York-based Buddhist group yet, but the newspaper said it talked to one member, Ann Chin. She said their intent was save the animals, bought in New York's Chinatown, that had been destined for dinner tables. "When I pass by the fish market, I cry," Chin said. "I tell people: 'Stop killing them.' Then: 'Don't eat them.' Then your heart goes to mercy."

Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Turtle Killer to Live

There's disturbing, and then there's this article which will keep me up nights, well, forever.

So of course, I'm compelled to share it with you. Your reaction may vary, but I think you'll understand the part that bothers me! To bring you up to speed, a Wilmette man named Wiley killed his second wife and stepson on February 28. He then spent a day or so composing a 43 page manifesto of hurts and observations before turning the gun on himself.

His wife Kathy was a employee and member at the First Presbyterian church next door. And yes, she knew all about those pesky fifteen years her new husband spent in prison for stabbing his first wife 23 times. But she married him three months after release, claiming she could handle anything that came their way.

Wiley used a Civil War replica rifle his stepson loved to use in historical reenactments for the human killings. (I'm surprised a bit that it was a working firearm - do they shoot blanks at events?) But wait. The loss of a seriously-look-on-the-sunny-side-type of woman and her Boy Scout volunteer son is only part of the tragedy. There's more...

The rambling 43-page suicide note left by a man who killed his wife and teenage stepson last month in their Wilmette home is peppered with self-pity over his broken ankle, treatment for bipolar disorder and what he described as a crumbling marriage."I could not fight off the suicide dreams," wrote Richard Wiley, 54, who police say murdered his wife Kathryn Wiley-Motes, 50, and her son Christopher Motes, 17, on the afternoon of Feb. 28, and killed himself the following evening. (To see a page of the letter click HERE.)

Wiley also described how he killed the family's turtle, three cats, four small birds, and a parrot and wrote, "Our little loved ones could not be trusted to anyone else."He told police where they could find the animals' bodies, along with those of his wife and stepson.In some ways, Wiley seemed more upset about killing the pets than his wife and stepson."She looked at me when I caught her with a knowing look," he wrote of a cat. "When I stabbed her she looked again. This one hurt me deeply."

Sicko. Can you just imagine the little terrapin trying to run away? Sniff. I have to go now. This is too upsetting!

Auto Abuse!! Repeat Offender!

FT. LAUDERDALE -- A Porsche apparently involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that made headlines in Florida and England belongs to the son of a wealthy Chicago-area family, authorities said today. Police said the sports car, which they believed mowed down two British tourists as it raced along State Road A1A on Feb. 13, belonged to Ryan LeVin, a Hoffman Estates man who is heir to the Jewels by Park Lane fortune. LeVin, 34, said he was not behind the wheel that night.
Witnesses called 911 minutes before the two businessmen were struck to report that a Porsche appeared to be racing another light-colored sports car along Seabreeze Boulevard.The Porsche jumped the curb, cutting the men down from behind, within 50 yards of the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, police said.LeVin's damaged Porsche 911 Turbo was found abandoned less than an hour later on the northbound ramp of Interstate Highway 595 to Interstate 95.
Cook County court records show that LeVin was sentenced to 30 months' probation in November 2007 after leading Chicago police on a high-speed pursuit in a blue 2001 Porsche Targa. Police estimated he reached speeds of 100 m.p.h. during the July 31, 2006, chase, and he struck several vehicles and injured a police officer and two motorists, according to police reports.After the Chicago chase, police found cocaine in LeVin's car, according to court records. He initially was charged with seven felonies and ultimately pleaded guilty to one of them: aggravated fleeing.
Illinois: Land O' Graft

Sounds Like a Deal to Me...

NEW ORLEANS — A Louisiana woman is accused of trading two young children in her care for a pet cockatoo and $175 cash from a couple who had been trying for years to have their own child, authorities said Thursday.

The transaction for the 5-year-old boy and the 4-year-old girl was negotiated by phone after Greenwell spotted a flier posted at a livestock barn selling a cockatoo for $1,500 and called the Romeros on Feb. 18, Dupre said.

Surprised? I'm Not

Maytag Corp. of Newton, Iowa, is recalling about 1.6 million refrigerators due to an electrical failure in the relay — the component that turns on the refrigerator’s compressor — that can cause overheating and pose a serious fire hazard. What's a few flames between friends??

Maytag has received 41 reports of refrigerator relay ignition, including 16 reports of property damage ranging from smoke damage to extensive kitchen damage. Try more like HUNDREDS of reports before they would do anything. These 41 are just from people with lawyers and airtight cases. The other several hundred could be dismissed as "consumer negligence". I mean, who leaves an appliance plugged in all the time? You should unplug it when you leave the house. To get the mail.

The recall includes certain Maytag, Jenn-Air, Amana, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag and Crosley brand side-by-side and top-freezer refrigerators.

Moral of the story: Maytag sucks harder than an open door on the space shuttle.

Oh, I Can So Relate!

PHILADELPHIA - A man enraged by a noisy family sitting near him in a movie theater on Christmas night shot the father of the family in the arm, police said.
James Joseph Cialella, 29, of Philadelphia, told the man's family to be quiet, then threw popcorn at the man's son, police said. The victim told police that Cialella was walking toward his family when he stood up and was shot.

Hey, he just wanted a Silent Night. Is that too much to ask? A jury of MY peers would never convict this guy. I think he should get three years probation - and a Netflix account.

Dream Job

I love fossils! I'm obsessively clean. I'd love to clean Sue the Tyrannosaur at the Field Museum!

Happy Ending

The nightly news gave this story a large segment. It seems 67 dogs were stacked (some in birdcages) in a West Englewood home.

The camera did a slow pan of all these tiny Chihuahua and other toy-breed puppies... stopping at a snake tank, where a lone (rat?) snake looked for an escape. Immediately, as a snake lover, I wanted to adopt that poor serpent stuck amid the squalor. Then I thought for a moment... hmmm... lots of puppies. One snake. No mention of rats.... Wonder what our slithery little friend has been eating lately?? Would he turn up his tongue at "real" snake food?

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. You'll note a local herpetologist stepped forward and took the snake. A pack of dog lovers has descended on the shelter to take in the other victims.

Anniversaries of Note

Anniversaries of Note:
Very Hungry Caterpillar - 40 years old
You don't look a day over metamorphosis
Sponge Bob - ten years old Time to put him in the microwave
Dilbert - 20 years of working in a cubicle


Could Contend!

After reading this fantastic review, the new Volkswagen CC could be a contender for my next new car purchase.

It's Almost May(tag)

This cartoonist has been reading my blog…

Maytag sucks! Maytag sucks!
Maytag sucks! Maytag sucks!

Painting Themselves Into a Corner

From WGN News:

The Chicago Park District Board this afternoon unanimously approved a 50 percent increase to the Art Institute admission fee.

The 6-0 vote means the fee will rise to $18 from $12 on May 23. (To see a comparison of museums' ticket costs click HERE.)

"We recognize how difficult the economic situation is now for everybody," Meredith Mack, the museum's deputy director and chief operating officer, said this morning as she explained the proposed fee increase to the Committee on Programs and Recreation.

"There is no good time to introduce an admission increase," she said, explaining the raised fee "is essential to allow us to uphold our mission and serve the community."

It's now cheaper to get in the Louvre. Great. But could they add Child-free Wednesdays? NOOOOOOOO!!!! You want me to pay? Give me something of value. It always costs extra for the special exhibits to begin with, and now I have to finance your expansion? Sad to say, families will spend the money at the Multiplex for Monsters 3D and not take their kids to an art museum. Except for the days I attend, of course. You would think the 'cultured' parents would have better-behaved tykes, but they don't.

Man Robs Credit Union, Dies in Crash

Where to begin with this one??

Harvard police officers arrived at the credit union, 1200 S. Division St., about 9:10 a.m. and saw a Toyota Prius driven by Menk leaving a business that was closed at the time, Kazy-Garey said.
Kazy-Garey said police officers tried to stop the vehicle, but Menk failed to pull over and fled.
The vehicle then crashed into a tree just north of 2513 Route 23. Harvard Fire Protection District crews were dispatched to the scene about 9:15 a.m.
Menk was killed in the crash, the McHenry County Coroner’s Office confirmed.

A) the police in this small town have a strangely convenient reputation for 'dead perpetrators'.
B) Check out the comments to the news story! They've taken some of my best material for comments, such as: Who would use a Prius as a getaway car?, the observation that the tree-hugger was done in by a tree, and Goin' Green for the Green!

I guess I really don't have more to add. Just thought you'd enjoy this.

Team Stephen!!!

Whoo Hoo! A literary cat fight. The best kind!

Seems Stephen King has made the oh-so-obvious observations that JK Rowling is truly a great writer while Stephenie Meyer is... well, merely popular. I'm sure Steph is crying all the way to the bank. Right after making a vampire voodoo doll of King. (I've heard tell she's quite a diva. I've also heard Stephen is the most regular guy you'd love to share a beer with)


I'm Just a No Book Wonder

Here's an excellent Op-Ed piece from the Timothy Egan in the NYT that really captures how I feel about slaving over a cold blog while some idiots make millions.


The unlicensed pipe fitter known as Joe the Plumber is out with a book this month, just as the last seconds on his 15 minutes are slipping away. I have a question for Joe: Do you want me to fix your leaky toilet?

I didn’t think so. And I don’t want you writing books. Not when too many good novelists remain unpublished. Not when too many extraordinary histories remain unread. Not when too many riveting memoirs are kicked back at authors after 10 years of toil. Not when voices in Iran, North Korea or China struggle to get past a censor’s gate.

Joe, a k a Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, was no good as a citizen, having failed to pay his full share of taxes, no good as a plumber, not being fully credentialed, and not even any good as a faux American icon.

With a résumé full of failure, he now thinks he can join the profession of Mark Twain, George Orwell and Joan Didion.

Next up may be Sarah Palin, who is said to be worth nearly $7 million if she can place her thoughts between covers. Publishers: with all the grim news of layoffs and staff cuts at the venerable houses of American letters, can we set some ground rules for these hard times? Anyone who abuses the English language on such a regular basis should not be paid to put words in print.

Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.

Writing is hard, even for the best wordsmiths. Ernest Hemingway said the most frightening thing he ever encountered was “a blank sheet of paper.” And Winston Churchill called the act of writing a book “a horrible, exhaustive struggle, like a long bout of painful illness.”

Not disgusted yet? How about this?


It’s official: The book world has gone crazy. Here we are, a few weeks after some of the darkest days in publishing—both in layoffs and in actual sales—and along comes the newly revamped HarperCollins imprint William Morrow to give more than $3 million to Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the admittedly genius pilot who saved 155 lives by landing USAirways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in January. Yes, Sully’s a bona fide hero, and after hearing his testimony in Washington about the conditions pilots work under, I believe a grateful nation owes him a big payday.

But wait: The crazy part is that the Sullenberger deal was for two books. The first will be a memoir, and the second is a collection of Sully’s inspirational poems. Who knew that next to the heart of a hero lurked the soul of a poet?

This is the kind of book deal a publisher makes in order both to make a balance sheet work—the $3.2 million goes down on two different lines, for two different titles, and thus each book “only” has to earn back half of the total—and also to humor a would-be author or, in this case, poet. (And make no mistake, if William Morrow had not signed up the second book, many other publishers would have, just to get Sully’s memoir.)

The auction, conducted by Texas-based agent Jan Miller, was a hot one, with many publishers bidding. What better way to sweeten the pot for an aspiring author—who, as a HarperCollins editor told Crain’s, “has more substance than most people getting their 15 minutes of fame”—than to grant his fondest wish? (Miller could not be reached for comment and a spokeswoman for William Morrow could not confirm that the second book will be poetry.)

But the rest of BookLand doesn’t have this pandering rationale to blame for some of the nutty deals that have gone down in the last few weeks. $2.5 million to comedian Kathy Griffin? (Who, with that advance, goes from Hollywood’s D-List to publishing’s A-list.)

Poetry? Please. I'm very surprised it wasn't a children's book. Have you ever met a grandparent that didn't have a children's book they couldn't wait to publish? Illustrated by their daughter? I haven't .

My favorite observation on the Sully book deal came from KaneCitizen. He predicts the book will be a runway bestseller.

Back With Some Posts

Sorry I haven't posted in so long - a certain somebody has been tying up the computer as of late. That would be AL, the same guy who left two used Kleenexes on the desk here. Yuck. Between work projects and my yet-to-be-delivered Christmas gift of digital recording of the TV on our PC, Al has had the computer in use the past few weekends. I decided to take a day off work and see if I can catch up around here a bit.

Here's something sad: Watched Super eat himself to death yesterday. It was awful. I had moved him to a larger tank with two female Bettas. Usually, I wouldn't keep a male in with the females, as they could get aggressive and pick on them to the point of killing them, but Super was not the most robust fish as of late, and seemed mild enough to get along.

For about a week, things went swimmingly. No problems, everyone happy. Then for some reason I gave out the pelleted food for a change of pace. Three fish, four or five pellets. Simple. Until Super decided he had to eat ALL the pellets, all at once. Why? Suddenly some competition thing kick in? Afraid he wouldn't get anything to eat? I never noticed a problem with the flakes. Everyone seemed to get their share. Strange. The directions said "Do not feed more than fish will eat in two minutes". It said nothing about "Fish will eat to bursting. Do not exceed one pellet." Perhaps I have a lawsuit?

About thirty seconds later, Super hit the bottom of the bowl and passed away. Weird. The females don't act like this at all...

#1: Oh, look, food at the surface.
#2 You go ahead, I'm watching my scales.
#1 No, really, you first. These fins make me look fat.
#2 Is that a low-carb pellet? I'll wait for a flake.
#1 I think it's shrimp, but where's the sauce?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Barbie!

Don't You Just Hate ...

People who look better drunk than you do sober?

Chicago Police busted busty brunette Playboy centerfold Crystal McCahill for driving her 2005 VW Passat through a red light, while drunk and mumbling incoherently.

Don't you make enough from a centerfold to buy a cool car???

Tuesday, March 03, 2009