Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Office Worker Shoots Self in Legs

Corporate America is a dangerous place to work. You can stifle nearly any spirit within a cubicle's three walls, grind it down with daily routine. Days, weeks, years settle on your shoulders and accumulate there like the dust that covers your desk. Nothing exciting ever happens.

Well, usually nothing exciting happens but that all changed for the co-workers of one man in an insurance office in Fort Worth. Their day got injected with a little startle factor when a 47-year-old office worker shot himself in both legs while sitting at his desk.

The man draped his coat over the back of his chair when he arrived at work. When he sat down in the chair, the .45 caliber gun that was in his coat's pocket discharged, sending a bullet through both legs, through a bookshelf and into the wall of a female co-worker's cubicle.

The man may be charged with carrying a concealed weapon without a license, and could also get a bad performance review at work this year. His employer has a strict company policy about carrying weapons to work. Seems like a sound policy given the possible dangers in this unforeseen event.

On the other hand, at least no one was sleeping at their desks that morning.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Train of the Living Zombie

Halloween is a very dangerous holiday, fraught with more hidden risks than you might think. But most people don't expect to declared dead.

A German man found out that his Halloween costume was a little too convincing. Having partied with friends, the man fell into a drunken sleep on the train home during which time, fellow passengers assumed the unresponsive man was deceased.

It may have also had something to do with his costume. Dressed as a zombie, the 24-year-old had fake blood smeared on his hands and face. Other passengers on the train thought that he had been a victim of a murder and called police.

A first aid team called to the scene were thankfully able to determine that the man was still alive, therefore averting an unnecessary trip to the morgue.

Police instructed the man to remove his gory makeup, after which he was allowed to continue his journey and the passengers were assured he was not a real zombie.

However, should you encounter a real zombie, remember these important points:

1. Zombies are usually already dead, so you can't "kill" them.
2. If your best friend becomes a zombie, it won't do you any good to yell "Craig, man, remember all the good times man, don't kill me man!" because zombies have had a brain wipe and they don't remember people from their former life.
3. Zombies are emotionless, so don't bother telling them that if they kill you, your fish won't get fed and your mom will cry.
4. Zombies don't have libidos so don't think your lacy baby doll jammies are going to distract them long enough for you to get away.
5. To disable a zombie, you must destroy his brain completely. Cutting off the head is recommended. You will need a very sharp tool for this task. Your zombie emergency kit should always contain a machete or a chainsaw.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Aliens Blow Up Italian Toasters

For years in the little village of Canneto Di Caronia in Sicily, homeowners have complained of mysterious and spontaneous explosions in everyday appliances, from toasters to refrigerators. Even mobile phones and stoves have gone up in flames.

The townspeople were convinced that forces of the supernatural were at work. The Vatican's chief exorcist said the problem was demonic pranking.

Because the problem was clearly not just one or two isolated incidents, the Italian government assigned dozens of scientists, military experts and engineers to determine the cause of these spontaneous ignitions. They sank $2m into a two-year investigation to solve the mystery.

...Italian officials say aliens are testing secret weapons...

The Italian media have reported that the results of the report have been leaked to them and the mystery has been solved. According to the head of the Civil Protection Department, the problem isn't demons or ghosts at all. It's aliens testing secret weapons.

Of course, why didn't I think of that? That's so much more reasonable than testing for power surges or other sources of electromagnetic energy. I now know why my toast has been getting slightly scorched and my coffee pot just mysteriously gave up the ghost one day. My house has probably been targeted for destruction when aliens attack. Tom Cruise was right after all, Xeno is coming.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rash of Nude Sleepwalkers in British Hotels

Employees at the Travelodge chain of hotels across Britain will be receiving some specialized training in dealing with an unusual type of problem customer: the nude sleepwalker.

Travelodge employees report 400 instances of nude sleepwalking in just the last year alone. The hotel chain's research discovered instances in 310 hotels and these somnambulant travelers can show up in all areas of the hotel, including the front lobby where they often ask for a newspaper or try to check out. The advice to hotel workers is to keep a handy supply of towels at the reception area, to protect the dignity of the guest.

The Somnambulist by Sir John Everett Millais

According to Chris Idzikowski, an expert at the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, sleepwalking occurs during the first one to two hours of sleep as the brain shifts into deep sleep mode.

"Part of the brain switches into autopilot and can manage well-learned movements such as walking, bending or sitting."

Just not getting dressed, apparently.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

OJ Cohorts Give Him Up in Plea Deals

Just as I predicted early on, OJ Simpson's co-defendants in the Las Vegas robbery, have copped a plea and will testify against OJ in exchange for a lighter sentence and possibly no prison time. In addition, the district attorney will drop the more serious charges against them, those of attempted murder and kidnapping.

Both Charles Cashmore and William Alexander will testify that OJ knew that guns were being used and that he in fact, requested that the men bring the firearms to the room. OJ's attempts to claim he didn't know what was going to go down will fail, as will his argument that the items he took were his in the first place. You simply can't get away with bursting into a hotel room and taking items at gunpoint, even if you think they belong to you.

One would like to hope that when OJ finally does go to prison, that Fred Goldman would be able to find peace and try to go on with life, instead of obsessively pursuing justice against OJ for the murder of Ron Goldman. Instead, it will probably turn into a scenario where an elderly Fred Goldman shows up to protest at any parole hearing for an equally elderly OJ Simpson and so the saga continues.

Hey, maybe OJ can write another book from prison: "If I Really Meant To Rob Someone" or something similar and then Fred can go to court to get the rights to that book too.

The robbery only seems to make clear what we already know about OJ. He is a loose cannon. He acts out of what he believes is righteous indignation, therefore he is always going to believe he was justified in his actions. He doesn't mind threatening people nor deadly weapons being used in his pursuit of justice. He smiles and jokes and still doesn't understand what the fuss is all about.

Another good reason why it's better if he is behind bars once and for all

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More News-sense

Rollo was feeling lazy today. I didn't even want to bother to read the stories accompanying the sensational headlines in the news. Then I realized it's more fun if you don't actually read the stories. So here are a few of my favorite headlines of the day culled from news sites all over the net.

NASA Finds Ice on Shuttle Plumbing
Ooh, that toilet seat's bound to be chilly

Man, 24, loses 82-year-old wife
At her age, how far could she wander? Maybe he isn't really looking very hard. 82? Ewww...

Obama Hits Hillary in Postcards
Didn't his mother teach him not to hit girls?

Teenager Hospitalized after Panda Attack at Chinese Zoo
He should know better than to attack a panda, even if the bear is a dirty communist. Those things are huge...

World Series Ticket Sales Suspended After 'Malicious Attack' Crashes Computers
Are there any computer attacks that are not malicious, I mean why even bother to use the word "malicious"? Is someone out there sending beneficent viruses that improve the functionality of your PC? Do people ever hack into a system to fine-tune it so it will run better as an act of goodwill?

But my favorite headline and story of the day:

Wild Elephants Get Drunk - Die on Power Lines
40 wild Asiatic elephants tromp into town and bust into the village's version of a liquor cabinet, drinking the rice wine that farmers ferment themselves and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts. Six of the elephants let the partying get out of hand, uprooting and carrying off a utility pole until they were electrocuted by the power lines. It's like a story about gang looting or the old west, rampaging elephants who booze it up and cause mayhem.

Yeah, okay, I read that one.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Litter-ally Speaking - Hillary and Socks the Cat

The political pundits have raised the specter of Sock the Cat, a potential political cat-astrophe for Hillary Clinton. Socks was the official White House cat during the Clinton administration, a stray kitten of just two months when he was adopted by the Clintons at the insistence of Chelsea, who fell in love with the furry creature on first sight.

Socks became a major focus for children throughout America. Hillary even wrote a book "Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets", published in November 1998. Of course, that was before the First Lady gave the cat away to former secretary Betty Curie when the Clintons left the White House.

And it's this cavalier way of dealing with an inconvenient pet that could convince voters that Hillary's emotional side isn't all it's cracked up to be. Often viewed as cold and calculating, Socks gave her a perceived warmth and humanity. Hillary said of Socks that his arrival finally made the White House feel like a "home".

Socks the Cat was a much-liked and admired White House pet, and there weren't many cats who could claim that distinction, presidents usually displaying a preference for dogs. It was the problem of keeping both the dog and the cat that Hillary cited as one reason for having to find a new home for Socks, the kitten so beloved by daughter Chelsea, in favor of keeping Buddy, the chocolate lab that Bill Clinton said slept with him for 16 months (presumably, he needed some warm body on chilly nights).

Buddy the dog fared much worse, however. He was hit by a car and killed not long after the Clintons took up residence in their new home in New York.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Viagra Side Effect is Silent

The FDA will now require warning labels on Cialis, Levitra and Viagra stating that they may cause hearing loss. All three drugs are for treating erectile dysfunction.

Am I the only one who thinks the warning labels will have men lining up for these drugs? I mean, not only do they guarantee a successful night of love-making, they may succeed in doing something even more important for the average hen-pecked middle-aged husband.

What's more, the hearing loss though sudden, seems to be temporary. Okay guys, you know what I am saying. In the afterglow, when you want to fall asleep, you can. No noise. No sound of her voice endlessly in your ear. She wants to talk, let her. Smile and nod if you see her lips moving. Later, when it's more convenient, your hearing will return.

The new labeling will explain the risk and what to do if you experience sudden hearing loss. What to do? Roll over and get a good night's sleep for a change!

Some of Clinton's Campaign Contributions Untraceable

An article in the LA Times tells a familiar story: a candidate named Clinton receiving large campaign donations from people who may not even exist, are not registered to vote, say they were pressured into giving and in the case of one listed contributor, deny having made any donation. The contributions come from those who list their occupations as unlikely sources of large donations, yet these people are listed as having donated $1000 to $2000 each.

Dishwashers, waiters and others whose jobs and dilapidated home addresses seem to make them unpromising targets for political fundraisers are pouring $1,000 and $2,000 contributions into Clinton's campaign treasury. In April, a single fundraiser in an area long known for its gritty urban poverty yielded a whopping $380,000. When Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) ran for president in 2004, he received $24,000 from Chinatown.

....some of the poorest Chinese neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, have been swept by an extraordinary impulse to shower money on one particular presidential candidate -- Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton...

Attempts to track down contributors led to addresses where neighbors living there for years said they had never even heard of the alleged tenant. Listed employers denied knowing other contributors.

In the busy heart of East Broadway, beneath the Manhattan Bridge, is a building that is listed as the home of Sang Cheung Lee, also reported to have given $1,000. Trash was piled in the dimly lighted entrance hall. Neighbors said they knew of no one with Lee's name there; they knocked on one another's doors in a futile effort to find him.

That isn't to say all the names are bogus, some are real and the contributions can be accounted for. Most are interested in Clinton because she has promised family reunification for immigrants, they want their families together in the US.

But what of the names of people that don't exist or are not eligible by law to donate? It reminds us of Johnny Chung and brings back memories of illegal campaign donations made by Chinese nationals to Bill Clinton.

Why should anyone be surprised? Hillary has no problem with shady dealings and flouting the law. Hillary is the one who was unable to find files under subpeona for two years during the Whitewater investigation until they magically showed up in her bedroom. It was First Lady Hillary packing up items from the White House that tallied $190,000 - furniture, flatware, rugs, televisions, etc. - and having it shipped to the Clinton's new home.

Does anyone even remember any of this? Is it that the media, by blowing up one story and having it dominate headlines until another such story comes along, conditions the public to be able to focus on only one thing at a time. Have we lost our collective memory and ability to think?

It is unfortunate that the Monica Lewinsky affair took up so much of our limited attention span. In an administration that did not have the obvious advantage of such a scandal to divert us, we would have paid more attention to detail. Instead the country was divided over being shocked or allowing that a man's sex life is his own business. Perhaps we would have noticed the Clinton administration facilitating the transfer of satellite technology to Red China, for instance. But we're glued to our headlines, and the devil is in the details.

Like whether or not campaign contributors actually exist.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bid over $2mil for Dem Letter to Limbaugh

Recently the media and the blogosphere have been abuzz about Rush Limbaugh's comments on "phony soldiers", a comment that many said was insulting to our troops and intimated that any military personnel who were opposed to the way were not real soldiers.

Limbaugh denied this and said that he was referring to only one phony soldier, Jesse Al-Zaid (a.k.a Jesse MacBeth) who was indeed a phony soldier, having never served in Iraq although his "eye-witness" accounts of soldiers murdering children were carried by major news outlets in both English and Arabic. In response to Rush's comments a letter was sent to Limbaugh, signed by 41 Democratic Senators, denouncing him for his comments and demanding he retract them.

...Bid for Limbaugh letter $2,100,100...

Rush is having the last laugh though, as he has put the original letter up for sale on eBay, with this morning's bid over $2 million. The money from the sale will be donated to The Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation.

Through the continuous support of our donors, we have distributed aid with a value of more than $29,000,000.00 to eligible children. This assistance was primarily rendered to children of Marines or Federal law enforcement personnel who were killed on duty or died under extraordinary circumstances while serving our country at home or abroad. from The Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation website

Pete Stark Raving Mad

Congressman Pete Stark has accused President Bush of getting amusement out of American soldiers getting their heads blown off. Here's what Congressman Stark said during debate on the SCHIP children's health care legislation:

"You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the President's amusement."

*Click here to see the video

This is not the first time that Pete Stark has gone overboard, give a listen to Pete Stark leaving an insulting message on the answering machine of veteran Staff Sgt. Dowd of the California Army National Guard, as he responds to a letter faxed to him by Dowd regarding a recent vote on prisoner abuse. Stark accuses him of not writing the letter himself, saying Dowd probably doesn't even know how to spell half the words he used.

*Go here to listen to the message

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Space Communists

China may be a latecomer to the space race but they're catching up quickly and intend to maintain a presence in space. In fact, China is considering setting up an extra-terrestrial Communist Party branch.

China's astronauts now number 14, many more than necessary to meet the three-member requirement for setting up a branch of the Party.

According to Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut in space, a communist space party would conduct party business in space "in the way we do on Earth".

I suppose that means no reincarnation for dead astronauts, no freedom of speech or freedom of the media, and no internet that reaches outside China. I wonder if China will relax the one-child policy for future space colonists, so they may populate outer space for the PRC?

However, never let it be said that China forbids religion.

"Like foreign astronauts having their beliefs, we believe in communism, which is also a spiritual power. We may not pray in the way our foreign counterparts do. But the common belief has made us more united in space, where there is no national boundary, to accomplish our missions." Yang Liwei

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Fat People: They're Coming For You Next

The Foresight Obesity Project has some large numbers for us on the global obesity epidemic. According to the World Health Organization, over a billion people worldwide are overweight, and at least 300 million are obese. Obesity is both a major cause of chronic ill health and “considered a disease in its own right” (WHO 2003). They stress that obesity leads to more chronic illnesses like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

They report that obesity shortens life span by 10-13 years and that in the UK, half of all the population will be obese by 2050. WHO reports obesity-related deaths are 320,000 per year in Europe and 300,000 per year in the US. This is truly disturbing news.

Or is it? child dies of starvation every five seconds...

Obesity may shorten lifespan according to the report, but how much more is it shortened by starvation? Every day across the globe, 16,000 children die of starvation, one every five seconds. That's 5.8 million children dying of starvation annually. 854 million people across the world are hungry, each and every day. Malnutrition is a much larger problem than overeating. A lack of food can stunt growth, slow thinking, sap energy, hinder fetal development and contribute to mental retardation.

So basically, what this report tells us is that we live in a prosperous society, where people have luxuries like cars and public transport, as well as large, well-stocked supermarkets and do not need to physically labor daily just to secure enough food to eat. We have more than we need and perhaps over-indulge. We are privileged to be able to over-indulge.

The main problem here is health care costs. The governments do not want to spend money treating diseases caused by obesity, even though many of these same diseases are found in people of normal weight. The government now wants to eradicate fat people, as it wants to eradicate other segments of society.

No surprise then that an investigation by Britain's ITV found that one in ten National Health Service (NHS) trusts restricts operations for obese people or smokers (heaven forbid you are both). That means, as I warned previously, that it isn't just smokers they are coming after any more. Society is not a pretty place, new underclasses are being created constantly. Even the Foresight report contains references to lack of education and poverty as related to obesity. Smokers have long been categorized thusly.

What does this report mean for thin people? Does this report grant them the same rights to incivility that reports on the dangers of smoking grant to non-smokers? Will thin people be able to walk up to overweight people in the street and tell them to stop eating or it will kill them? Will there be "sin taxes" on chocolate cake and ice cream as there are on cigarettes and liquor? Will chocolate donettes become taboo when they are $7 a pack and only available to those over 18 years of age?

I can see the signs in the local convenience store now: "No ID, No Twinkies".

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Paranoia and Air America

The news hit the internet and the blogosphere with a big bang. Liberal radio host Randi Rhodes of Air America was mugged on the street and seriously injured.

But the attack and mugging seem to have all come out of the paranoia of Jon Elliot, another Air America radio host. He announced on-air that Rhodes had been attacked and mugged on the streets of New York and speculated that the crime was perpetrated by a right wing conspirator, to stop the liberal left from airing their views.

This was all news to the police officers of the 17th Precinct who had received no report of a crime and called Rhodes' lawyer to inquire.

It seems that not only was Rhodes not attacked by a rabid right-winger, she wasn't mugged at all. According to her lawyer, she was walking her dog and fell. The official statement from Air America Radio is this:

Air America host Randi Rhodes experienced an unfortunate incident hindering her from hosting her show. The reports of a presumed hate crime are unfounded. Ms. Rhodes looks forward to being back on the air on Thursday.

However, that doesn't mean that Jon Elliot has to withdraw his inflammatory and insane accusations. After all, maybe a conservative Republican tripped her dog as she walked it.

More Toilet Crime

Toilet crime is up all over America and many people are not even aware of it.

We have already learned that you can't tap your toes in a toilet, but the case of a Pennsylvania woman points out another toilet offense that will result in criminal charges: swearing at your toilet.

Dawn Herb of West Scranton was more than slightly dismayed to find her toilet overflowing and flooding into her kitchen. While attempting to clean up the mess, she let a few choice words fly at the offending fixture. Unfortunately, the bathroom window was open and a neighbor didn't like the way she was insulting the toilet. The neighbor, an off-duty police officer politely advised her to "Shut the f--- up!" to which Ms. Herb replied that he might consider minding his own business.

...woman charged with swearing at toilet...

Apparently, in defense of the toilet, the neighbor called police who gave Ms. Herb a citation.

The charge for yelling obsenities at your toilet in West Scranton, PA is disorderly conduct which carries a possible penalty of 90 days in jail and a $300 fine.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Dentist Accused of Fondling Patients

Mark Anderson, 48 of Woodland, California is a dentist with a unique approach to treating patients, well female patients anyway. Dr. Anderson is accused of rubbing the chests of female patients. Twenty-seven women have filed complaints that they were molested in the dentist's chair.

Dr. Anderson's defense is that chest rubs are a well-known treatment for TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint disorder) and his rubbing of their breasts was all in the line of duty. Uh huh.

On woman complained of having undergone Dr. Anderson's chest rub technique six times over two years. She said that despite wearing tight shirts (?) and high necklines that the dentist still managed to get his hands in under her shirt and bra.

It's not going to be a popular question but I have to ask it. Why did she go back the second time, let alone the four after that? Why return so often, wearing ever-tighter shirts?

Anderson's attorney has asked that the dentist's license be reinstated while the investigation and disciplinary process continues so that the doctor can provide for his seven children.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

How to be Stunning

There has been a surge of reports in the news about police officers using tasers, often in situations where it seemed to be unnecessary or dangerous and in some cases, fatal to the tasered suspect. The highest-profile case was University of Florida student, Andrew Meyer, whose antics at a John Kerry forum on campus got him tasered and hauled away by police. But there are other incidents that are more disturbing. The case of the man who was tasered while holding his newborn child, causing him to drop the infant, and the case of Emily Delafield, disabled and in a wheelchair who died as a result of having been tasered. used as shield, hit by taser...

A wider problem that has not been so well publicized is the fact that it isn't only police officers who have tasers in their arsenal. Out of Oklahoma comes the story of a bounty hunter whose attempt to taser the suspect he intended to apprehend was deflected by a woman companion who held her baby up to shield the suspect. According to police, the baby was hit by only one probe and suffered only an injured hand.

And it isn't only law enforcement and bounty hunters who may be carrying tasers and stun guns. Who may own a stunning device varies from state to state. In some states, like Massachusetts, they are illegal and completely banned. In other states, such as Illinois, a buyer must present an FOID card, there is a 24 hour waiting period and records must be kept ten years as with gun purchases.

The stun gun or taser was supposed to work as a lower level of enforcement, to subdue someone who was agitated, fighting or likely to harm himself or others. Too often, the taser appears to be employed before other lower level tactics (like talking and negotiating with the suspect) have had an opportunity to work to stop the escalation of violence in the incident.

Recently there was the case of the woman who was repeatedly tasered even though she was already handcuffed. She was seen on video to have been tasered again while being transferred from one police vehicle to another which led to her falling and sustaining further injury.

Web sites such as this one caution you to find out if the weapon you want to buy is legal in your state. But since the list of states with restrictions is short, one must assume it is legal in most states to own and carry stun devices. There's even a petite, 4 inch tall stun device that would fit neatly in your purse. It delivers an impressive 80,000 volts and runs on a 9-volt battery. Equally handy might be the stun gun disguised as a cell phone.

The Taser website confirms these weapons are legal in most states and municipalities, although they caution that even if they are legal where you live, you should find out if carrying them concealed is restricted. They also have an impressive line of "defense" weapons, although with a slightly higher price tag.

At least police officers are trained on these weapons but even with that training, tragedies and misuse occur. How safe are we when anyone could be carrying such a device?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ted Kennedy Has Surgery on Blocked Artery

Senator Ted Kennedy underwent surgery today for a blocked artery. The blockage was found after a routine exam and MRI relating to a back injury that Kennedy sustained in a 1964 plane crash.

Doctors said that the left carotid artery had a 70% blockage. The carotid artery supplies blood to the head and neck. That could explain a lot.

Kennedy, who is 75 years of age, has served in the US Senate since 1962. He is the sole surviving son of the Kennedy political dynasty started by his father, Joseph Kennedy Sr.

In 1969, Kennedy and a companion, 29 year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, went off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in his home state of Massachusetts. Kennedy reported he was able to swim free of the vehicle but after several dives was unable to free Mary Jo. He reported returning to the cabin where they had been attending a party to seek help. Two friends from the party joined him in diving for Mary Jo but without success. Although there was a phone at the cabin, no one remembered to call the police. Kennedy returned to his hotel room for the night, leaving Mary Jo in the submerged vehicle. He contacted his lawyer and some political advisors before remembering to report the incident to the police the next morning. Not surprisingly, Mary Jo Kopechne was deceased when the car was finally pulled from the water.

Kennedy's current term in the Senate ends in 2013 when the senator will be 80 years old. It is not known if he will remember to run for re-election.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Robots and Humans Will Marry in the Future

In the future, humans will marry robots. This is the subject of a thesis by David Levy, a British artificial intelligence researcher who has been awarded a doctorate by the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Levy has done a lot of research into marriage relationships and what he believes future robots will be capable of and sees no reason why a human might not want to settle down with an android.

Actually, I can see a lot of benefits to human/robot marriages. Robots never get tired, they will always do their share of the housework and probably will be pretty handy at fixing things. Plus, robots don't get headaches.

But awarding the guy a doctorate for this idea which he has clearly stolen from a season 3 episode of Star Trek is a bit over the top. Actually the doctorate should go to Jerome Bixby who wrote the episode, Requiem for Methuselah. Kirk et al beam down to a planet where a very old, but extremely immortal guy lives. Being immortal, he needed a companion who was also immune to the effects of aging and so he built himself an android wife, Rayna. This would have worked out very well, if only James Kirk hadn't shown up. It is well known throughout the galaxy that Kirk always gets the girl, or in this case, the girl robot. Yup, Rayna the robot falls madly in love with Captain Kirk.

And that's another problem. If someone steals your robot wife, do they have to buy you a new one?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Whoopi Goldberg to Al Sharpton - Apologize!

Video from The View as Whoopi Goldberg publicly asks Al Sharpton to apologize for remarks made about the Duke Lacrosse players.

Although Sharpton was quick to condemn the Duke Lacrosse players as "rich white boys" when they were accused of rape of a black stripper, he has never apologized for having excoriated them in the press, accused them of racist crimes and proclaimed their guilt before the case went to trial. Since the three have been exonerated and the prosecutor has actually done jail time for the prosecution persecution of these kids, Sharpton has not uttered one word of apology for his heavily biased and inaccurate statements.

Update: Al Sharpton has sent Whoopi Goldberg a letter telling her that he never apologized because he did not feel he needed to apologize. Sharpton responded by saying no apology would be required since he had never taken a position on the Duke rape case and had turned down invitations to travel there.

Here's what Sharpton said on Bill O'Reilly's show after the Duke Lacrosse players were arrested:

BILL O'REILLY, HOST: Two Duke lacrosse players have been arrested and charged with rape among other violent crimes. They are free on $400,000 bail. As you may know, the students attended a party where a stripper hired by the lacrosse team said she was raped. With us now civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton. Is this a racial issue?

REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I think that there are certainly a lot of racial factors. Whether it is directly in the case, we'll see, because some reports said that there was racial language used. But I think that when you look at the racial atmosphere, when you look at the fact that there again were the allegations of racial statements, when you look at a lot of people feeling that they have been treated differently, where this girl has basically had a character charged in the media, there is a lot of racism that's in the air. Having said that, I commend a lot of the blacks and whites who stood vigil and to come together in that community to stand up for this girl. So I think in the midst of this, there is some good.

O'REILLY: Why are we standing up for the girl if there is the possibility, based upon evidence, that the girl may have fabricated the story? Why don't we all pull back and let the authorities investigate and let the legal system work?

SHARPTON: Well, first of all, the authorities have charged there was a crime, so they are not saying that at all. Second of all, people on any side of an argument have the ride to advocate on behalf of who they believe. Thirdly, I think that when the prosecutors went forward, they clearly have said this girl is the victim, so why would we be trying the victim...?

As it turns out, the girl had fabricated the story and the charges were dropped against the Duke lacrosse players.

Watch Your Habits - They may become illegal

A man's home is not his castle, at least not in Belmont, California. The City Council there has just passed a smoking ban that prohibits people from lighting up in their own homes if they live in multi-unit housing complexes.

...California city bans smoking at home...

Smoking will still be allowed in single-family homes and in their yards (amazing) and in condominiums and townhouses that don't share ceilings or floors with other dwellings.

Smoking is banned outdoors in parks, stadiums, sports fields, trails and outdoor shopping areas. You may get away with smoking on the sidewalk, as long as you aren't close to any of these areas.

City officials have said that the enforcement of the ban will be complaint-driven. That's a way of saying: We aren't policing but if someone decides to rat you out, we're on it. It also opens the way for vengeful neighbors to punish one another.

But will they run to the defense of the neighbor who is subjected to noxious barbecue smoke every weekend that permeates the entire block and if they are using wood charcoal or lighter fluid, contains toxins of its own? What about those who live in densely populated areas and whose neighbors use wood stoves in the winter to heat their houses? On an overcast day, the heavy atmosphere keeps the smoke from their chimneys hanging over the neighborhood like a noxious cloud.

The point is that it is highly unlikely that the neighbor who complains about the smoke from one cigarette wafting over the balcony from next door will call the cops when the grill is fired up for the Labor Day weekend party, or will refrain from such activities himself.

What much of the smoking legislation does is to make bad neighbors, an uncivil society and creates an underclass of citizenry who can be deprived of basic rights simply because we disapprove of their indulgence in a perfectly legal product.

If the government truly fears for the health of the public at large, why do they not make tobacco products illegal? The answer to that is simple. Revenue.

Taxes fuel their raises and pet projects. The easiest and most popular way to raise revenue is to raise the taxes on cigarettes. They know there will be no hue and cry from the vast majority, and their only concern must be to avoid raising taxes so high that everyone quits. No smokers, no easy tax money to spend.

As an example of the breeding of incivility, think a bit and be honest. Have you ever preached at, shown disdain for, complained about or otherwise chastised a person for smoking? Chances are, you have if you are a non-smoker. Now think, when was the last time you walked up to a fat person you hardly knew and in the same spirit of kindness and concern told them that the cheeseburger they were eating was going to kill them and that they should go on a diet? Probably never, that would be far too offensive for you to do - unless you are truly a rude person, in which case this doesn't apply to you. The point is that it is rude to comment on the personal habits of people you hardly know, regardless of your opinions about those habits.

It may be that it is the inevitable future of smokers to be cast out of society and looked down upon as dirty, uneducated, lacking in willpower or morals and generally inferior to the rest of the population. But that is today - never fear, there will be other campaigns in the future. Take stock of your habits now, tomorrow they may be unpopular.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...


Posh's Pathetic Bid for Attention

The second most comical occurrence in Paris this week, after the bus carrying the Diana inquest jury crashed twice outside the Ritz hotel, was the sight of Victoria Beckham trying to get in on the publicity.

Her timing was impeccable. Just as the paparazzi gathered to snap photos of the inquest jury leaving on their journey to trace the route that Diana and Dodi Fayed took on their last fateful trip, out pops Posh Spice to scurry across the street and grab a little attention.

Diana - What The Inquest Won't Accomplish

As the inquest into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Fayed gets underway, there are few questions being answered and one gets the feeling that it doesn't really matter what the jury finds, Mohamed Al Fayed will always believe it was a plot by the royal family to get rid of Diana and his son.

...bus has two accidents on way to Paris crash site...

In a particularly fitting and yet comical twist, the bus carrying the jurists from the Ritz hotel in Paris to the site where Diana's car crashed, has already itself been involved in two accidents. There are the usual outbursts from the sidelines. The paparazzi who took the photographs of Diana and Dodi through the windshield of their car are angry that their photos are being released to the press. Mohamed Al Fayed is angry that the photographers were only fined one euro each for having taken the photos, which violate privacy laws.

But perhaps most importantly, one person who may know more about what happened in that tunnel than anyone else still alive, won't even testify. The authorities cannot compel Le Van Thanh to testify at the inquest. Le Van Thanh is the taxi driver who is suspected to be the driver of the white Fiat Uno that may have collided with Diana's car in that tunnel, although he refuses to discuss anything regarding the case. What is known is that in the middle of the night, only hours after the crash, Le Van Thanh woke up his mechanic brother to help him spray paint the Fiat red.

What we do know is that Henri Paul, Diana's driver was seriously intoxicated and that possibly he was in the pay of the paparazzi, giving them information on when Diana would be leaving. There is the now famous video of Henri Paul waving at photographer Jacques Langevin, before the ill-fated trip. It was Langevin who took what is probably the last photo taken of Diana while she was still alive, as they sat in the car, surrounded by paparazzi just before they set out from the hotel.

Was it a set-up? Was it a murder? As a method of killing someone, a car accident is not a very good bet. You cannot be sure what damage will be done, or be sure that no one will survive. In fact, one person did survive the crash and Diana might have survived had she worn a seatbelt.

Conspiracy theories are the fodder of tabloids and the recreation of vivid imaginations, but it is unlikely that anything new will come of this inquest to fuel any one of the conspiracy theories about Diana's death. What will probably be decided is what we already know: she was in a vehicle being driven very fast by a drunken driver that crashed into a cement pillar at a high rate of speed and Diana, who was not wearing a seatbelt, sustained mortal injuries.

Unfortunately, that won't be enough to stop the conspiracy theories, those will always be with us. Unlike Diana, they will never be laid to rest.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Have You Seen Him?

...Interpol releases images of sex offender...

Interpol is looking for this man, wanted for sexually abusing at least 12 boys, some as young as 6 years old. Extensive police efforts around the globe have failed to yield any information on the suspect so Interpol has taken the unprecedented step of releasing these photos on the internet, hoping that someone will be able to help identify the man. The photos were "unscrambled" by experts. The original photos had been digitally altered to conceal the man's identity.

If you have any information, please contact INTERPOL. You can view the rest of the photos in large size at their site.

Danny Bonaduce and Jonny Fairplay Brawl at Really Awards

There won't be any charges filed against Danny Bonaduce for his bodyslam of Jonny Fairplay at the "2007 Really Awards" ceremony. If you are among the very few who haven't seen the above video,let me explain.

Fairplay was being booed by the audience and Bonaduce came out to explain to him "They're booing because they hate you". Fairplay called him back and tried his signature monkey hump on Bonaduce who then un-ceremoniously tossed him over his head. Fairplay landed on his face, knocking out at least one tooth and loosening others which required several hours of dental surgery to repair.

Bonaduce has come a long way from the 12-year-old who played the wise-cracking Danny Partridge and travelled with the TV family whose musical motto was "c'mon get happy". Currently Danny is a radio show host but has done some boxing in his time, mostly celebrity matches for charity. His autobiography "Random Acts of Badness" was on the New York Times Bestseller list. What is most impressive about Bonaduce is that he is one of the few former child stars who doesn't blame his subsequent problems in life with having been a child star.

"Most child actors were lucky enough to get the part in the first place. They cry and complain that now they are no longer little and cute Hollywood has no use for them. What we often fail to appreciate is that being little and cute may have been their only skill. Now that we are not so little anymore, and certainly not cute, some of us may have to face reality, stop whining, and get real jobs."

His lack of self-pity is refreshing in Hollywood.

Jonny Fairplay is the former cast member of survivor who lied about his grandmother dying to garner sympathy. There's no love lost between the two although they have met only briefly before.

So when Jonny jumped on Bonaduce, Danny did what seemed most natural to do when someone jumps on you uninvited and unwelcomed - he tossed him.

It's only Fairplay.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Atlantic City Mayor Still Missing But May Resign

Atlantic City's disappearing mayor is expected to resign this week, although it he is not expected to show up in person to do it. His location is still a mystery. Amidst scandal and an FBI investigation into his falsifying of his military record to receive extra veterans' benefits, AC Mayor Bob Levy took a medical leave of absence and hasn't been seen since. No one knows what kind of medical treatment he is allegedly receiving or where.

...missing mayor will resign...

Although Domenic Cappella has stepped up and declared he was appointed in the mayor's absence, the City Council is asking a judge to declare the seat vacant so that they can appoint a replacement.

Atlantic City has a history of mayors with legal problems, as four of their last eight mayors have been investigated for corruption.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Infant Thought Stillborn Still Alive

Paramedics in Lodi, California responded to a scene to tend to a woman who had given birth prematurely. The mother was found unconscious on the bathroom floor. The baby boy was found floating in a toilet and paramedics declared the tiny infant dead at the scene. thought dead is still alive...

The mother, Jessica Gonzalez, and the baby were transported to the hospital where a nurse noticed sounds emanating from under the sheet covering the baby that had been pronounced stillborn before his arrival at the hospital. The baby was, in fact, still alive.

The baby's blood tested postive for traces of methamphetamine and marijuana and the mother now faces two counts of child endangerment.

There was no indication that pronouncing the child dead and leaving him under a sheet without medical care was considered child endangerment.


OJ's Rolex Made in China

Fred Goldman was in for an unpleasant surprise this week as the jeweler appraising OJ Simpson's Rolex watch that a court had awarded Goldman as partial payment towards a judgement won against OJ, said the watch was a cheap knock-off and only worth about $100, far from the figure Goldman expected it to bring.

The Goldmans sued OJ in civil court for the wrongful death of Ron Goldman who was murdered along with Nicole Brown Simpson on June 12, 1994. OJ has never paid the judgement and so Fred Goldman, father of the slain man, keeps going to court to seize possession of anything of OJ's that appears to have value. The Goldmans were even awarded the rights to OJ's book, If I Did It, thought by some to be his public confession of guilt in the murders, although OJ strenuously denies that allegation.

But where does it end? I fully understand the anguish of Fred Goldman in losing his son and watching the man he believes killed him walk away scot free. But Goldman's relentless pursuit of payment of his civil award does nothing to heal wounds. OJ is the man so desperate for money that he agreed to the ghostwritten saga of the killings, a man who has such bad judgement that he breaks into a hotel room to steal back memorabilia that he maintains belongs to him. Whatever money OJ gets, Fred Goldman wants.

I don't think the Goldmans are interested in the money, don't get me wrong. I think this is their only avenue of punishing the man that took their son from them. I also think that in the end, it hurts the Goldmans more. OJ doesn't seem to have the ability to be penitent or even the good sense to keep a low profile. They can't punish him enough, he is too secure in his delusions about himself. At this point, they can only go on punishing themselves.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Live Free, Die or Go To Jail

US Marshalls finally managed to take Ed Brown and wife Elaine into custody, after a standoff at their New Hampshire home that has lasted nearly six months. Convicted of tax-evasion, the Browns had vowed that they would either walk out free or die.

But it turned out that the New Hampshire state motto, so close to Ed Brown's avowal should no longer be "Live Fre or Die". In Ed's case it was "Live Free, Die, or get faked out by the cops".

Although their long saga in the woods ended quietly and not with the violent showdown that authorities and local residents feared, the Brown's did not give themselves up voluntarily. Marshalls pretending to be sympathetic supporters were invited in by the Browns. The Marshalls then apprehended the couple and brought them out.

Over the months, the Browns have received support and supplies from groups whose beliefs regarding the government and the income tax mirror their own. The power and telephone service to their home was cut off by authorities months ago.

The Browns were convicted of having hidden over $1.9 million in income from Elaine Brown's dental practice. The couple asserted in court that the income tax is illegal and that the amendment to the Constitution that allows it was never properly ratified by the states in 1913. That argument has been rejected by the courts many times in other cases through the years.

CNN's Rob Marciano Tells Us What He Thinks of Global Warming

Here's the video of CNN meteorologist clapping his hands at the news that a UK judge had ruled in favor of a father who protested having Al Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth shown to his children in school. The judge ruled that children must be warned that the film may contain factual inaccuracies before viewing the film.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Craig Loses Plea Bid But Won't Resign

Senator Larry Craig lost his bid to get his guilty plea withdrawn today, yet has stated he will defiantly hold his seat in the Senate until the end of his term.

Craig had given his resignation amidst pressure from other Republicans after the bathroom-sex scandal in which Craig was accused by Officer Dave Karsnia of soliciting gay sex in a public restroom at Minneapolis airport. Craig denied he was interested in anything but using the facilities as a restroom but was persuaded to plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct. After the incident was publicized, Craig resigned but filed a motion to withdraw his plea. He had said he would reconsider his resignation if he won. After further reconsideration, Craig has decided to hang on to the end even though he lost.

Craig has said he won't seek another term when this term expires next year. He stated his reason for staying on was to clear his name.

"I will continue my effort to clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee—something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate."

The Case of the Missing Mayor

It's the strange case of the missing mayor. Atlantic City's mayor Bob Levy went missing a week ago and no one seems to know where he is. He gave no official notice of his absence. It is rumored he may be ill or in the hospital.

Stranger still is the case of the man who would be mayor, Domenic Cappella, a local business administrator who claims he was appointed acting Mayor by Bob Levy but can show no proof to attest to his appointment except a memo written by none other than Capella himself.

Meanwhile the City Council president has offered that he will take over the job if the state approves it as legal.

All of this is happening as the FBI conducts an investigation into the city's government. Their investigation could prove more complex than they thought. No one even knows who is in charge.

Atlantic City now has three mayors and none of them actually in office.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kids Should Be Warned That Gore Film is Inaccurate - UK Judge

A judge in the UK has ruled that secondary schools showing Al Gore's global warming epic scare-you-mentary An Inconvenient Truth, must first warn students that the film represents only one view and may contain factual inaccuracies. The students should be guided in seeking out other viewpoints before viewing the film.

The case was brought to court by the parent of two children forced to watch the film which is supplied to all secondary schools. Stewart Dimmock felt the government was subjecting his children to political indoctrination.

Read the full story at Global Warming Trends.

Man Steals 123 Parking Meters

He could have been a modern day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving free parking spaces to the poor. But Thomas Gannon probably had much less philanthropic reasons for his crimes.

Gannon is accused of stealing parking meters in and around the metro-Boston area. The tops of the meters were cut off, leaving only the poles. The internal plastic coin cylinders were missing from all of them.

Police found the heads of 123 meters in Gannon's home.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bombs Aren't as Funny as They Used to Be

Another joke, another arrest. When it comes to bombs, those guys at Boston's Logan airport don't seem to get the humor. First there was the 19 year old MIT student with a fake bomb strapped to her chest. She was dumbfounded when she discovered that airport security didn't realize it was a work of art. Now there's DC resident Ermiyas Asfaw, 27, who told an airport employee that he was there to blow things up.

Asfaw became irritated when an airport employee asked about a tag on his luggage that indicated he had been to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. "I'm with al-Qaida. I'm with them and I'm here to blow up things," he reportedly said. Asfaw later said he was "only joking".

Now, I appreciate humor as much as the next guy, especially that of the wry, sarcastic variety. But regardless of how stupid a question is posed to you by airport security personnel, you have to be a moron to give them a flip answer and tell them you're carrying explosives.

Is the society over-sensitized? Maybe, in some ways. But it has good reason to be. A kid can't joke about having a gun in his locker, a traveler can't joke about having a bomb in his luggage. These things are not far-fetched any more. They just aren't funny any more.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Fighting Nuns

An Italian archbishop has had to close a convent after the last three remaining nuns got into a physical fight. The mother superior was attacked by the other two nuns in the convent. Fed up with her authoritarian ways, they assaulted her, scratched her face and threw her to the ground.

Two of the nuns were transferred to another convent but the third, Liliana, barricaded herself in and refused to leave. She has been there since the convent opened in 1963.

The archbishop said that the nuns had clearly lost their religious vocation and made the decision to close the convent after the fisticuffs.