Now gluten-free!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Both Beauty and...Well, She Has Beauty

By now, you have probably seen the video of South Carolina's Lauren Caitlin Upton stumbling over a question in the interview portion of the Miss Teen USA pageant this past Friday. If you haven't, here it is:
I have to admit that I feel sorry for this girl. She will no doubt be the butt of jokes for at least a week -- or until Lindsay Lohan's next trip to rehab, whichever comes first.

It was indeed a sad sight, but nothing we haven't seen before. As columnist Antonia Zerbisias wrote in a recent article, "Beauty pageants have never been called brainy pageants." So true.

Allow me to offer a word of encouragement to Miss Upton: Cheer up. It's not as bad as you think. Sure, you failed to string together even one coherent thought and sounded as if you had no idea what you were talking about, but your performance demonstrates that you are, at the very least, qualified to be president of these United States.
Believe me: we "U.S. Americans" can relate to that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Secret to Longevity: Start Smoking at an Early Age

You just gotta love stories like this one from London:
    An iron-lunged pensioner has celebrated her 100th birthday by lighting up her 170,000th cigerette from a candle on her birthday cake.

    Winnie Langley started smoking only days after the First World War broke out in June 1914 when she was just seven-years-old - and has got through five a day ever since.

    She has no intention of quitting, even after the nationwide ban forced tobacco-lovers outside.

    Speaking at her 100th birthday party Winnie said: "I have smoked ever since infant school and I have never thought about quitting." ...

    ... Despite the numerous health warnings, Mrs Langley insists she's never suffered because of the habit as she "has never inhaled".
Aha! There's the real secret. I guess that means Bill Clinton will probably be sticking around for a little while longer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Note to Self: Stay Away From India During Windstorms

These are photos from an unknown city in India. Perhaps the sort of place where those overseas telephone customer service agents work? Maybe this is why they're sometimes hard to understand.

Friday, August 24, 2007

For Your Listening Pleasure

You may have noticed a new addition to the sidebar that looks like this:
This nifty little widget links you to my playlist and allows you to listen to an eclectic soundtrack while you browse. To get started, simply click the big play button at the top, and the musical selections will begin playing in a random order. If you hear something you don't like (which, I'll admit, is VERY likely), just click the fast-forward button to jump to the next song.

But you may wish to navigate away from the main page or jump to another web site entirely. In that case, activate the pop-up player by clicking the little arrow symbol in the extreme lower right corner of the playlist box. It's that simple!

If you have any requests for songs to be added or removed, just leave them in the comments section of this post. I may or may not take them into consideration, but doesn't hurt to ask.

Happy listening!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Methods of Self-Defence

(That's "self-defense" for our American readers.)

It is important to note that these helpful techniques may also be employed against marauding squirrels.

Scientists Close to "Creating" Life

I'm not exactly sure what they hope to prove, but a small group of scientists appear to be very close to creating life "from scratch." According to a recent AP article, we can "expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of 'wet artificial life.'"

Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, said, "Creating protocells has the potential to shed new light on our place in the universe. This will remove one of the few fundamental mysteries about creation in the universe and our role." Uh, yeah. Sure it will.

Exactly how will this "artificial" life be created? With the basic chemicals in DNA, of course.

Wait. You didn't think they were actually going to "create" life, did you? That's absurd! All true "scientists" will tell you that life can't be created; it can only evolve from what already existed.

Now, don't start asking where the stuff that already existed came from. Science means only dealing with what you can actually observe -- you know, like billions of years of evolution turning a primordial gumbo into the complex, blog-reading blob of organic tissue that is you. Speculating or theorizing based on actual evidence is something only religious crackpots do.

At any rate, here's what we can look forward to in the near future:
    One of the leaders in the field, Jack Szostak at Harvard Medical School, predicts that within the next six months, scientists will report evidence that the first step -- creating a cell membrane -- is "not a big problem." Scientists are using fatty acids in that effort.

    Szostak is also optimistic about the next step—getting nucleotides, the building blocks of DNA, to form a working genetic system.

    His idea is that once the container is made, if scientists add nucleotides in the right proportions, then Darwinian evolution could simply take over.

    "We aren't smart enough to design things, we just let evolution do the hard work and then we figure out what happened," Szostak said.
"Hard work"? Seems to me that these scientists are doing the hardest part: putting the building blocks of life together in the first place, something Darwinian evolution could never do.

Now, when scientists are able to simply speak something into existence -- that is, without cheating by using something that has already been created -- then that might be newsworthy. In the meantime, I'm a little more concerned about the "artificial" life in my refrigerator.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Introducing LHP Site-Seeing Tours

"Site-Seeing" is a new feature here at LHP aimed at highlighting some of the fun, bizarre, informative, useful, quirky, and just downright cool sites on the Internet.

Wacky Uses
Did you know that Alka-Seltzer could be used to polish jewelry, clean toilets, or even unclog drains? Have you ever used Miracle Whip as a hair conditioner? Do you shave with peanut butter? Learn hundreds of more uses for these and other common household items.

Duck Travels
Pictures of a glob-trotting rubber ducky. What else can I say?

If I dig a very deep hole, where will I end up?
Hint: It ain't China.

This site opens with a "do not try this at home" disclaimer -- which, of course, makes you want to run right home and try everything you see here. I mean, who hasn't wanted to microwave things like crayons, Gummy Worms, soap, a Nerf football, and a string of Christmas lights?
Bring out the abstract artist in you.

Crazy Thoughts
Here is a vast collection of life's unanswered questions:
    "If nobody buys a ticket to a movie do they still show it?"
    "If you have a cold Hot Pocket, is it just a pocket?"
    "Why do they call someone 'late' if they died early?"
    "Could you be a closet claustrophobic?"
    "Why is it called a 'building' when it is already built?"
    "Why does every Abraham Lincoln impersonator sound the same, even though there are no known audio recordings of the man?"
You know, the kinds of things philosophers have pondered since the dawn of time.

Rhett & Link
This musical comedy duo has been collaborating in one way or another since elementary school. The result? Stuff like this:

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Coffee Overdose: Too Much of a Good Thing?

As a bona fide coffee-lover, I never really thought this was possible:
    A teenage waitress overdosed on caffeine after drinking 14 shots of espresso.

    Jasmine Willis, 17, could hardly breathe and was taken to hospital with a high temperature and heart palpitations.

    She had drunk almost three times the recommended daily amount of caffeine in just four hours.

    Miss Willis, a student, was working part-time out in her father Gary's recently-opened sandwich bar after sitting her GCSEs.

    She began her coffee binge last Wednesday after getting only five hours' sleep the previous night.

    "I decided to have a double espresso to perk me up," she said. "It did the trick so I had one after another and they seemed to be working. I felt great - as if I could take on the world."

    By noon she was feeling unwell and crying and laughing uncontrollably in front of bewildered customers.

    Miss Willis said: "My nerves were jangling. Tears were streaming down my face. People kept asking me if I was all right."

    Her father sent her home but by the following morning she could not feel her lips and was struggling to breathe.

    Miss Willis, from Stanley, County Durham, spent several hours under observation at the University Hospital of North Durham, where the caffeine overdose was diagnosed.

    (Full story here)
I guess you can have too much of a good thing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Why Men Are Just Happier People

This has been circulating around the internet a fair amount already, and I don't know the original authorship, but I find it amusing.

Why Men Are Just Happier People

What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays
put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack. You can be President. You can never
be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can
wear NO shirt to a water park Car mechanics tell you the truth.

The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas
station restroom because this one is just too icky. You don't have to
stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Same work, more
pay. Wrinkles add character. Graying hair adds attraction. Wedding
dress~$5000. Tux rental~$100. People never stare at your chest when
you're talking to them. The occasional well-rendered belch is
practically expected. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your
feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30
seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase. You can open all your
own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of
thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still
be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs
of shoes are more than enough. You almost never have strap problems
in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.

Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle
lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and
neck. You can play with toys all your life. Your belly usually hides
your big hips. One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all
seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can
"do" your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice
concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25
relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier. Send this to the women who can handle it
and to the men who will enjoy reading it

The strike-through line on the last sentence is my own addition. One thing that makes men unhappy is chain-mail.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor

Past experience allows me to empathize with the neighbors in this story:
    PITTSBURG, Kan. - Steve Graham might not be in the doghouse over a dispute with his wife, but as far as his neighbors are concerned, he's not far from it. For the past seven years, Graham, 55, has been living in his car parked in the backyard of a house he and his wife, La Donna Graham, own.

    Graham said the two have "been having troubles" since 1999 and that he's been out of the house since about 2000. His wife still lives in the home.

    "She's not going to support me not having a job and bumming around," Graham said. "I'm trying my best to get a job and get up out of this rut."

    But his neighbors, who say Graham plays loud music, often spouts obsenity-laced tirades and uses his yard as a toilet, aren't amused. They have asked the city to prohibit such living arrangements.

    "You can't enjoy your backyard," said Linda Sanders, whose backyard is across the alley from Graham's property.

    Sanders and her family are among more than a dozen neighbors who presented the Pittsburg City Commission with a petition in July asking it to prohibit people from living in their cars on private property within city limits.

    Kenny and Cathy Waring live in property adjoining Graham's, near a park and across the street from Lakeside Elementary School.

    "Every day he's out there. He never goes into the house," Kenny Waring said. "He sleeps out there, he eats out there, he watches TV, he plays guitar. ... Everything that you do in your house, he does out there."

    Graham acknowledged that he watches TV, listens to music and sometimes sleeps in his blue, 1989 Buick Century. The car is parked on a concrete slab, mostly covered by a large, blue tarp that is secured with bricks and cinder blocks.

    An extension cord from the house to the car provides power for a 13-inch TV, an oscillating fan and a radio.

    "I get better reception there than I do in there," he said, pointing at the house. "I listen to Rush (Limbaugh) every day, just about."

    The Warings said they tried at first to get along with Graham, but by the second year, they were calling the police on a regular basis. At first, they were the only neighbors upset by Graham's living arrangement, but now they say more neighbors with children are moving into the area.

    The neighbors say one of their biggest complaints is that Graham may be using his yard for a toilet.

    Sanders said when her son-in-law was back from Iraq in mid-June, Graham began to burn trash and other debris across the alley.

    "I walked out there, and (the smell) was terrible," she said. "Then Ronnie came out the back door and said, 'It smells just like back in Baghdad.' He said he'd been on detail where they have to burn excrement and said that was exactly what it smells like."

    Graham denied that he used the yard for a toilet.

    "No, I go elsewhere," he said. "I don't expose myself to people."
So, I guess it could be worse.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Onion Hits Another Home Run

You can always count on the satirists at The Onion for a more in-depth analysis of current events than most "legitimate" news outlets:
    Destruction Of National Pastime Given Two-Minute Standing Ovation

    SAN FRANCISCO — A sellout crowd rose to its feet and exploded into ecstatic cheers Tuesday night as Barry Bonds completed the downfall of America's most revered sport by hitting a thundering 435-foot shot into the left field bleachers for career home run No. 756 and tainting baseball's most beloved record.

    Barry Bonds as a rookieCelebrations broke out throughout AT&T Park and thousands of flashbulbs went off as Bonds took his ceremonial trip around the bases, his arms raised in a jubilant gesture of triumph as he completed his desecration of baseball. Fireworks filled the night sky to mark the utter destruction of the national pastime, a scramble for the infamous baseball broke out in the stands, and the game was interrupted for 10 minutes in the bottom of the fifth to mark the shameful occasion.

    Mike Bacsik, the pitcher who made the difficult and admirable decision to pitch to Bonds as if he were a normal player, and who will forever be known as the man whose fastball was sent out of the park along with the last remnant of baseball's self-respect, could only watch. Bonds would later present Bacsik with an autographed bat.
See the full article here.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

SQUIRREL ALERT: Campsite Ransacked

These victimized campers could have used an anti-squirrel security system like this...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Global Whatever

Remember reading that a number of scientists believe global cooling poses a bigger threat than global warming? Well, try this on for size:
    Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

    Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

    The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. "Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere," he said, a calculation based on the Government's official fuel emission figures. "If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You'd need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving.

    "The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better."

    Mr. Goodall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, is the latest serious thinker to turn popular myths about the environment on their head.

    Catching a diesel train is now twice as polluting as travelling by car for an average family, the Rail Safety and Standards Board admitted recently. Paper bags are worse for the environment than plastic because of the extra energy needed to manufacture and transport them, the Government says.
I've officially decided that giving a rat's patoot on this issue is a complete waste of energy. So, conservationist that I am, I'll just sink into a chronic state of apathy.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Like A Bird On A Wire

OK, on second thought, I DO have a boring job!

But Drive Fast If You Do

Here, finally, is an explanation of the complex strategies employed in NASCAR racing.

NASCAR Coach Reveals Winning Strategy: 'Drive Fast'

Now that I finally get it, I'm going to be glued to Fox every Sunday afternoon!

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