Now gluten-free!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Miracle of Flight

Takuo Toda, an engineer from Japan, recently tried to break his own flight record. He fell short by a mere 1.8 seconds. (Full story here.)

Still, at 26.1 seconds, it was the best time on record for a paper-only airplane. Toda, who heads the Japan Origami Airplane Association, hopes to one day realize the dream of every paper airplane pilot: breaking the 30-second barrier.

"I will get the 30-second record," he said. "It's just a matter of time."

Godspeed, Mr. Toda. Godspeed.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Lost Ending to a Holiday Classic



Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Face Is Tingling...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Kind of Cheese

Yeah, it's expensive, but I'd still love to try some of this:
    A 15-year-old Wisconsin cheddar that's possibly the most mature such cheese for sale continues to fly off the shelves, even at $50 per pound. The cheddar is produced by Hook's Cheese Co. in Mineral Point. Owner Tony Hook says he started with 1,200 pounds of Hook's 15-year Sharp Cheddar but it could be gone by the weekend.
You can visit Hook's Cheese Co. here.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

First Church of Tiger Woods Disbands

From TigerWoodsIsGod.com:
    After several days of evaluation, I have decided to disband the First Church of Tiger Woods (as indicated by the graphics at the top of this web site) and I will not renew the TigerWoodsIsGod domain name when it expires in a couple of months. Any future commentary on this site (which may not happen at all) will be regarding Tiger's failings in relation to his affair/accident debacle which continues to unfold almost by the hour.

    Because the First Church of Tiger Woods has been in existence since late 1996 and this web site has been around since early 2000, you might think that such a decision might be difficult. In this case, it was not. Unfortunately, Tiger Woods has made it all to easy to realize that he is no longer worthy of any special admiration.

It seems having these escapades brought to light has been a healthy dose of reality not only for Tiger but for his fans as well.

Monday, November 30, 2009

More "Britiocy" from Across the Pond

Here's the latest example:
    Parents who teach their own children at home must undergo criminal records checks, say Government education inspectors.

    The estimated 40,000 parents who choose not to send their children to school should be vetted, says Ofsted [Office for Standards in Education]. It said that parents whose records throw up suspicions should be barred from teaching their own children.

With all the idiotic stories coming out of Great(?) Britain these days, I think the word "britiocy" should officially be added to our vocabulary.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"As God As My Witness, I Thought Turkeys Could Fly"

Here's the classic WKRP episode "Turkeys Away."



Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Golfing = Littering

What was once a gentleman's sport is now considered an environmental hazard. From CNN:
    Research teams at the Danish Golf Union have discovered it takes between 100 to 1,000 years for a golf ball to decompose naturally. A startling fact when it is also estimated 300 million balls are lost or discarded in the United States alone, every year. It seems the simple plastic golf ball is increasingly becoming a major litter problem. ...

    ... Local government ministers in Scotland have also complained about the level of golf ball littering. UK lawmaker Patrick Harvie told CNN: "From the moon to the bottom of Loch Ness, golf balls are humanity's signature litter in the most inaccessible locations."

Of course, anyone who has watched Seinfeld knows the damage golf balls can do to the environment:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

"Awesome" Mayoral Candidate

Sometimes I miss living in Minneapolis. Here on the east side of the river we just don't get "awesome" mayoral candidates like Joey Lombard:
    Joey, like most people, started life as a baby and he only got bigger from there. Growing up on the Northside, Joey attended his neighborhood schools. It was there that the learned to read and write, a skill which is all too useful for many politicians. Upon acquiring this literacy, Joey continued his academic career in the Minneapolis Public School system. Although Joey regrettably transferred to out-of-city schools for several years, he ultimately returned and graduated sub cum laude from Patrick Henry High School in 2005.

    Since that time, Joey has led a life of continued awesomeness. Having enlisted and served in both the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Army, Joey understands what it takes to be great. This employment dedication led him to a high-end job in Downtown Minneapolis where he regularly spoke with Minneapolitans of all backgrounds and learned what they wanted and worked to deliver such.

    Joey, when not practicing his piano or guitar, spends much of his time in Minneapolis, often riding public transit and shopping at local, small businesses. Everyday, Joey continues to discuss politics with concerned citizens, furthering his knowledge of and commitment to the improvement of his city.

Perhaps the most appealing aspect of his campaign was his promise to improve the city by "putting his years of playing Sim City to use."

Did I mention that Joey "is awesome"? No, really. It even said so on the ballot:

Too bad he didn't win. He certainly was infinitely more qualified than the bloated bureaucrats who have held the office up until now.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Walmart Now Selling Caskets

We all knew this was coming sooner or later. Walmart is now in the funeral business, offering quality caskets at reasonable prices.
Some of you are probably thinking the folks at Walmart are trying to cash in on the current flu pandemic scare. Perhaps. But maybe they're just catering to people who think its rather silly to waste their hard-earned money on something they won't even be around to enjoy.

Makes sense to me!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Our Energy Problems Are Solved!

The energy problems of the world may be over. From Spiegel Online:
    Stray rabbits are getting a raw deal in Sweden. Thousands of them living in the center of Stockholm are being culled, deep frozen and converted into biofuel for heating homes. Wildlife campaigners have criticized the practice. ...

    ... The frozen bunnies are shipped to a heating plant in Karlskoga in central Sweden which uses them as biofuel and incinerates them to heat homes, media reports said. A spokeswoman for the plant declined to comment. The plant's supplier, Konvex, a company that produces biofuels from animals, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Seriously, have you ever heard of a shortage of rabbits? They're the perfect renewable resource!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Why Older Generations Were Happier

It's difficult for those of us raised to "just say no" to imagine a time when drugs like cocaine, heroin, and opium were sold regularly as over-the-counter remedies. Imagine seeing these on the shelf at your local CVS:
See more examples here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Snakes on a Plain

Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?:
    The Burmese python and four other non-native snakes -- boa constrictors, yellow anacondas, northern and southern African pythons -- are considered "high-risk" threats to the health of U.S. ecosystems because they eat native birds and animals, the U.S. Geological Survey report said.

    Two species, the boa constrictor and Burmese python, have already established breeding populations in south Florida and experts have found "strong evidence" that the northern African python may be breeding in the wild as well.

    Four other snakes, the reticulated python, green anaconda, Beni anaconda and Deschauensee's anaconda, are considered "medium-risk" but are still potentially serious threats, the USGS report said.

Enough is enough! I have had it with these...well, you know.

Friday, October 09, 2009

NASA's Moon Bomb a Bust

We first heard about NASA's plan to bomb the moon back in February of 2008. No, there weren't any intelligence reports of hidden WMD. The object of the mission was to slam a probe into a permanently shadowed region of the lunar surface in order to kick up enough dust that could then be analyzed to see if water ice might be present. (Can you think of a better way to spend our tax dollars?)

If that wasn't exciting enough, we were even going to get to see live photos of the event! But that didn't pan out exactly as NASA scientists had hoped.

Here's an update from the AP:
    First a 2.2-ton empty rocket hull smacked the moon's south pole at 7:31 a.m. EDT Friday. Then four minutes later the camera-and-instrument laden space probe made its death plunge.

    The smaller probe had five cameras and four other scientific instruments and NASA had touted live photos on its web site. But those images didn't occur. NASA officials say they are sure the two probes crashed and looking to see what happened to the pictures. Pictures were live until seconds before impact.

Oh, sure. They can land a man on the moon...

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's the End of the World as We Know It...and I Feel Fine

By now you've probably heard of the new movie 2012. This is the latest corny disaster flick from director Roland Emmerich, who also brought us such gems as Independence Day, Godzilla, and The Day After Tomorrow.

The movie is based on the theory that "something" will happen in 2012 because the Mesoamerican (or Mayan) Long Count calendar just ends on December 21 of that year. Many think this is significant. Despite the fact that the Mayans couldn't even predict their own demise, some people believe they had special insight into the future and foresaw the end of the world.

If that premise isn't laughable enough, the movie seeks to make it downright hilarious. Take a look at the trailer see if there is a single disaster the film's creators may have missed:



Oh, yeah. The feel-good movie of the year.

The movie is set to be released in November of this year. I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise. If the end of the world really does correspond to the end of the Mayan calendar, then a 2012 Christmas release wouldn't make much sense.

My theory as to why the Mayan calendar ends in 2012: the guy writing it simply got writer's cramp.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Texas State Fair-Goers Introduced to Deep-Fried Butter

Abel Gonzales Jr., the same guy who brought you deep-fried Coke, has introduced a new artery-clogging oddity to the state fair culinary lineup: deep-fried butter.

To make this greasy concoction, real butter is whipped until fluffy, frozen, dipped in batter, then dropped into a fryer. It's such a simple concept, I'm surprised no one has thought of this before.

For the more health-conscious fair-goer, Gonzales does offer a plain-butter version. The butter nuggets are also available in three additional flavors: garlic, grape, and cherry.

Maybe deep-fried butter isn't so strange after all, especially for Texans. Here are just a few of the other "foods" featured at the fair:
  • Green Goblins: Cherry peppers stuffed with spicy shredded chicken and guacamole, battered, deep-fried and topped with queso.

  • Twisted Yam on a Stick: A spiral-cut sweet potato, fried on a skewer, then rolled in butter and dusted with cinnamon and sugar.

  • Fernie's Deep Fried Peaches & Cream: Served with a side of vanilla buttercream icing for dipping.

  • Texas Fried Pecan Pie: A mini-pecan pie battered, deep fried and served with caramel sauce, whipping cream and chopped candied pecans.

  • Country Fried Pork Chips: Battered, thin-sliced pork loin deep fried and served with sides of ketchup or cream gravy.

  • Sweet Jalapeno Corn Dog Shrimp: Shrimp on a stick, coated with a sweet and spicy cornmeal batter, deep fried and served with a spicy glaze.

  • Fried Peanut Butter Cup Macaroon: A peanut butter cup wrapped inside a coconut macaroon, fried and then dusted with powdered sugar.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hack Your Life

Looking to make your complicated life a little easier? Check out LifeHacker.com.

This nifty site offers all sorts of "tips and downloads for getting things done" and covers just about everything. Want to eliminate that chaotic cluster of computer cords? Mix your own chalkboard paint? Make an inexpensive pair of noise-isolating ear buds for your iPod? Order secret menu items at fast food restaurants? You'll find the answers at LifeHacker.com.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"The Birds" Barbie Doll

Now this is a doll even little boys would want to play with. Introducing the Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Barbie Collector's Doll.



Shipping begins Sunday August 30, 2009, but you can pre-order yours today from MonstersInMotion.com.

Friday, July 31, 2009

AMC to Air Remake of "The Prisoner"

I loved watching reruns of the 1960s series The Prisoner as a kid. Naturally, I'm very excited to see the miniseries remake, starring Ian McKellen and Jim Caviezel.



Looks interesting!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Robot Revolution

The prospect of super-intelligent machines posing a threat to humanity's existence has always been a popular theme in science fiction. But some experts fear it may actually be more science than fiction. From the New York Times:
    Impressed and alarmed by advances in artificial intelligence, a group of computer scientists is debating whether there should be limits on research that might lead to loss of human control over computer-based systems that carry a growing share of society's workload, from waging war to chatting with customers on the phone.

    Their concern is that further advances could create profound social disruptions and even have dangerous consequences.

So, might we expect a robot revolution in the near future? It seems to have already begun in Sweden according to this report:
    The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in BĂ„lsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.

    But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.

The bright side to this report is that it appears the revolution is only in the Maximum Overdrive stage. It will probably take several years before it reaches Terminator or Matrix proportions. After that, watch out.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Ants Take Over the World!

That's what scientists are saying:
    A single mega-colony of ants has colonised much of the world, scientists have discovered.

    Argentine ants living in vast numbers across Europe, the US and Japan belong to the same inter-related colony, and will refuse to fight one another.

    The colony may be the largest of its type ever known for any insect species, and could rival humans in the scale of its world domination.

    What's more, people are unwittingly helping the mega-colony stick together.

    Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) were once native to South America. But people have unintentionally introduced the ants to all continents except Antarctica.

    These introduced Argentine ants are renowned for forming large colonies, and for becoming a significant pest, attacking native animals and crops.

    In Europe, one vast colony of Argentine ants is thought to stretch for 6,000km (3,700 miles) along the Mediterranean coast, while another in the US, known as the "Californian large", extends over 900km (560 miles) along the coast of California. A third huge colony exists on the west coast of Japan.

To borrow from Kent Brockman, I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them that as a trusted online personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Walkman vs. iPod



13-year-old Scott Campbell swapped his iPod for a Sony Walkman for a week and detailed his experience for BBC Magazine:
When I wore it walking down the street or going into shops, I got strange looks, a mixture of surprise and curiosity, that made me a little embarrassed.

As I boarded the school bus, where I live in Aberdeenshire, I was greeted with laughter. One boy said: "No-one uses them any more." Another said: "Groovy." Yet another one quipped: "That would be hard to lose."

My friends couldn't imagine their parents using this monstrous box, but there was interest in what the thing was and how it worked.

In some classes in school they let me listen to music and one teacher recognised it and got nostalgic.

It took me three days to figure out that there was another side to the tape. That was not the only naive mistake that I made; I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette.

Another notable feature that the iPod has and the Walkman doesn't is "shuffle", where the player selects random tracks to play. Its a function that, on the face of it, the Walkman lacks. But I managed to create an impromptu shuffle feature simply by holding down "rewind" and releasing it randomly -- effective, if a little laboured.

I told my dad about my clever idea. His words of warning brought home the difference between the portable music players of today, which don't have moving parts, and the mechanical playback of old. In his words, "Walkmans eat tapes". So my clumsy clicking could have ended up ruining my favourite tape, leaving me music-less for the rest of the day.

Read the rest here.

This trip down memory lane gives me an idea. I still have a bunch of unopened blank cassettes lying around the house, so maybe I'll make my wife a lovely mixed tape for her birthday. If she can't find her Walkman, all she would have to do is hook the boom box up to the computer, convert the audio to mp3 files, import the songs into iTunes, and then copy them to her iPod.

Yeah, nothing says "I love you" like a mixed tape!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Mama, Don't Take My Kodachrome Away!"

It's a sign of the times. First, we learned that Polaroid film was going the way of the dodo. Now, Kodak has announced that after nearly three-quarters of a century it will be retiring its Kodachrome film at the end of this year. Paul Simon just might have to suck it up and get himself a digital camera.

Things like one-hour photo processing and instant cameras really caught on during the 1970s and '80s. Many old-school photographers weren't happy with such developments (pun intended), but I for one loved being able to see how my pictures turned out the same day I took them. What could be better?

Like most spoiled Americans, I like things now. (Yesterday would be even better.) Thanks to digital photography, it's a real treat to be able to determine immediately whether or not a second or third shot is needed. No more wasted film and, more importantly, no more waiting.

However, as nice as instant gratification can be, there are some things about taking "regular" photos I will miss: Selecting just the right film for the occasion. The chemical smell of a freshly opened package of film. Loading the camera. The tell-tale *click* when snapping a picture. The unmistakable whirring sound of the film rewinding after the final shot. Dropping off the film to be developed and the subsequent anticipation of seeing those pictures for the very first time. Those experiences will be lost forever.

But this is the age of digital, and I'm content to keep up with the times. So, Mama, if you're going to take my Kodachrome away, how about a new Flip video camera?

For a fitting tribute, check out The Kodachrome Project.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Britain Introduces the "Anti-Stab" Knife

From Times Online:
The first "anti-stab" knife is to go on sale in Britain, designed to work as normal in the kitchen but to be ineffective as a weapon.

The knife has a rounded edge instead of a point and will snag on clothing and skin to make it more difficult to stab someone.

It was invented by industrial designer John Cornock, who was inspired by a documentary in which doctors advocated banning traditional knives.

Mr Cornock, 42, from Swindon, said that the knife will cut vegetables, but will make it almost impossible to stab someone to death and will reduce the risk of accidental injuries.

He said: "It can never be a totally safe knife, but the idea is you can't inflict a fatal wound. Nobody could just grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone."

The knife is expected to sell for around £40-50 and has been tested with "very favourable" results by the Home Office's Design and Technology Alliance -- set up to research products that can deter crime.

Leave it to the Brits to come up with yet another giant step backward in the area of self-defense.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Polka Is Officially Dead

Before you roll out the barrel, you might want to read this:
    After 24 years, polka has had its last dance at the Grammys.

    The Recording Academy, which bestows the Grammy Awards, announced late on Wednesday that the polka category would be eliminated, saying in a statement that it had been cut "to ensure the awards process remains representative of the current musical landscape."

    To many in the polka world, that read as a kind of industry code meaning that their genre -- once capable of supporting artists with million-selling hits, but long since relegated to micro-niche status -- had slipped off the mainstream radar entirely.

    "It's devastating," said Carl Finch of Brave Combo, a band from Denton, Tex., that has won the Grammy twice. "Polka is so misunderstood, you know, the butt of jokes. Having a polka category was the most important step to legitimacy that we could ever hope to achieve. To have that taken away, it's like it was all for nothing."

I see the death of polka as a good thing. Hopefully, I won't have to do that stupid "Chicken Dance" at weddings anymore.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

America's Love Affair with Cars Is Over

P. J. O'rourke eloquently describes the end of the affair:
    We've lost our love for cars and forgotten our debt to them and meanwhile the pointy-headed busybodies have been exacting their revenge. We escaped the poke of their noses once, when we lived downtown, but we won't be able to peel out so fast the next time. In the name of safety, emissions control and fuel economy, the simple mechanical elegance of the automobile has been rendered ponderous, cumbersome and incomprehensible. One might as well pry the back off an iPod as pop the hood on a contemporary motor vehicle. An aging shade-tree mechanic like myself stares aghast and sits back down in the shade. Or would if the car weren't squawking at me like a rehearsal for divorce. You left the key in. You left the door open. You left the lights on. You left your dirty socks in the middle of the bedroom floor.

    I don't believe the pointy-heads give a damn about climate change or gas mileage, much less about whether I survive a head-on with one of their tax-sucking mass-transit projects. All they want to is to make me hate my car. How proud and handsome would Bucephalas look, or Traveler or Rachel Alexandra, with seat and shoulder belts, air bags, 5-mph bumpers and a maze of pollution-control equipment under the tail?

    And there's the end of the American automobile industry. When it comes to dull, practical, ugly things that bore and annoy me, Japanese things cost less and the cup holders are more conveniently located.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

UFO Saved Earth from Destruction?

On June 30, 1908, there was a sudden, violent explosion in the sky over the Tunguska River in Siberia. The blast, 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, leveled 830 square miles of forest.

To this day, no one knows exactly what it was. Countless possible explanations have been put forward over the decades: a meteor or comet exploding in the atmosphere, a passing black hole, a falling chunk of antimatter, a scientific experiment gone horribly wrong, and the ever-popular UFO crash.

One Russian scientist takes this last theory to an entirely new level:
    According to The Sun, Dr. Yuri Labvin, head of the Tunguska Spatial Phenomenon Foundation, has found quartz slabs with strange markings that he thinks were part of a UFO control panel.

    He made the discovery near the site of the so-called "Tunguska event" -- a massive and so-far unexplained explosion that devastated more than 100 square miles of Siberian forest in June 1908.

    Dr Labvin claims the slabs provide evidence that a spacecraft deliberately crashed into the meteor to prevent it slamming into Earth and wiping out life on the planet.

Does Hallmark make a "Thank You" card for that?

Friday, May 29, 2009

No Smiling Allowed in the DMV

I didn't know this was actually a concern, but the Virginia DMV is cracking down on smiling:
    Few places in Virginia are as draining to the soul and as numbing to the buttocks as the branch offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles. And yet, until recently, smiling was still permitted there.

    No more. As part of the DMV's effort to develop super-secure driver's licenses and foolproof identification cards, the agency has issued a smile ban, directing customers to adopt a "neutral expression" in their portraits, thereby extinguishing whatever happiness comes with finally hearing one's number called.

    The driver's license photo, it seems, is destined to look like a mug shot.

    DMV officials say the smile ban is for a good cause. The agency would like to develop a facial recognition system that could compare customers' photographs over time to prevent fraud and identity theft. "The technology works best when the images are similar," said DMV spokeswoman Pam Goheen. "To prepare for the possibility of future security enhancements, we're asking customers to maintain a neutral expression."

I suppose it makes sense for driver's license photos to look more like mug shots. The government treats us all like potential criminals anyway.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bazooka Joe the Movie?

You know Hollywood has officially hit bottom when this...
...is considered to be a great idea for a movie.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Good Times" with the Bordens



From the back cover:
    "GOOD TIMES...with a variety of good music (from Polkas & Waltzes to Rock & Roll) have been the key to the success of the "BORDENS", a versatile family dance band, who have played in various parts of the country including Thunder Bay, Ont., Edmonton, Alta., and are now living and playing in the Northwestern Ontariou community of Dryden, Ont.

    The band consists of George (accordion), wife Jeanette (Electrovox organ), son Roger showing his versatility on saxophone, guitar, and vocals, and son Gary (age 12), a talented young drummer. A nephew, Bill Dombradi on guitar, has been added to the group for this recording."

And now, without further ado, here are the Bordens performing the theme from Star Wars!



(Found here.)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Now THAT'S a Knife!

Here's a "pocket" knife that would make Crocodile Dundee shake in his boots, and it would have to be carried by the entire Swiss Army:
Designed by Hans Meister, this elaborate piece of cutlery has a total of 314 blades and is part of an exhibition in celebration of the 125th anniversary of Swiss knife manufacturer Victorinox.

Cool stuff!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Handwashing for Dummies

Handwashing can be overwhelmingly complicated, which is why we need experts like the good folks at the Wall Street Journal to instruct idiots like us on the proper procedure:
Wow! She makes it look so easy!

Once I have this mastered, I might have to look into this "bathing" thing I've been hearing about.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

One Flu Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Just when you thought there couldn't be more of an overreaction to the so-called "swine flu," along comes this report from Reuters:
    Afghanistan's only known pig has been locked in a room, away from visitors to Kabul zoo where it normally grazes beside deer and goats, because people are worried it could infect them with the virus popularly known as swine flu.

    The pig is a curiosity in Muslim Afghanistan, where pork and pig products are illegal because they are considered irreligious, and has been in quarantine since Sunday after visitors expressed alarm it could spread the new flu strain.

    "For now the pig is under quarantine, we built it a room because of swine influenza," Aziz Gul Saqib, director of Kabul Zoo, told Reuters. "We've done this because people are worried about getting the flu."

As far as hysteria goes, I think this actually tops Egypt's policy of swineocide.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Squirrel Roundup (May 4, 2009)

LOTS of squirrel stories in the news this week...

Biological warfare
Plague has been found in the squirrel population at a popular camping site on Palomar Mountain in northern San Diego County. (More...)

Another terrorist attack
This time a squirrel took out an entire substation, shutting off electrical power to over 7,600 people. (More...)

Miscarriage of justice
A man is ticketed for shooting a squirrel with a pellet gun. He should have been given a medal. (More...)

A different kind of squirrel shooting
With a video camera. Is there nothing people won't put on YouTube? (More...)

On the other hand...
Shooting a video of a squirrel can pay off. Two sisters in Wisconsin just won $10,000 from America's Funniest Home Videos. (More...)

Mutant squirrels
The ongoing war between red and gray squirrels in Britain has been enjoined by a mutant "super" squirrel. (More...)

Good eats!
Don't worry. If you live in California and want a little variety in your diet, you can hunt both gray and fox squirrels. (More...)

Speaking of hunting...
East Texas is one of the best places in the country to hunt squirrels. (More...)

Strictly for the birds
With these few simple tips, you can make your bird feeders more bird-friendly by repelling those nasty tree rats. (More...)

Feeding squirrels is fun...
...if they don't bite. (More...)

Magical albino squirrels?
No, they're not magical. In fact, they're not even albino. (More...)

Ungrateful rodent
A Michigan teacher was attacked by an irate squirrel when she tried to help one of its young. (More...)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

An Un-Kosher Flu Virus?

From NPR: "Because pork is banned under Jewish law, some Israeli officials think the virus should be called Mexican flu instead of swine flu."

Listen to the full report here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Star Trek Characters We Know and Love

The logical, yet sensitive, Spock...
The lovely and talented Uhura...
Leonard "Bones" McCoy, who's a doctor. No, really...
The flamboyantly macho Hikaru Sulu...
Montgomery Scott ("Scotty"), who couldn't change the laws of physics -- even when he was sober...
Anton Chekov, the Cliff Clavin of the U.S.S. Enterprise...
The unflappable and inimitable Captain James T. Kirk...
And, of course, we cannot forget those brave, expendable red-shirted men who made gallivanting across the galaxy much safer for the rest of the crew...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Baseball for Dummies

It seems the Washington Nationals had a slight wardrobe malfunction last Friday night:
As if their playing wasn't bad enough.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Want to Be a Famous Blogger?

It's easy!
    cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com
(Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

What's in a Name?

In the current economic crisis, some employers are choosing to bestow upon their workers fancy new job titles in lieu of a raise. Check out this Top 20 list from the Telegraph:
  1. Beverage Dissemination Officer – Barman
  2. Colour Distribution Technician – Painter & Decorator
  3. Customer Experience Enhancement Consultant – Shop Assistant
  4. Domestic Technician – Housewife
  5. Education Centre Nourishment Consultant – Dinner Lady
  6. Highway Environmental Hygienist – Road Sweeper
  7. Field Nourishment Consultant – Waitress
  8. Five a Day Collection Operative – Fruit Picker
  9. Front Line Customer Support Facilitator – Call Centre Worker
  10. Gastronomical Hygiene Technician – Dish Washer
  11. Mass Production Engineer – Factory Worker
  12. Media Distribution Officer – Paper Boy
  13. Mobile Sustenance Facilitator – Burger Van Worker
  14. Mortar Logistics Engineer – Labourer
  15. Petroleum Transfer Engineer – Petrol Station Assistant
  16. Recycling Operative – Bin Man
  17. Sanitation Consultant – Toilet Cleaner
  18. Coin Facilitation Engineer – Toll Booth Collector
  19. Transparency Enhancement Facilitator – Window Cleaner
  20. Vehicle Restoration Engineer – Panel Beater
I have a hard time believing that the title of "media distribution officer" would have garnered me more respect back when I delivered papers. If that paper didn't make it all the way to the front porch, I was just the %$&*#@! paper boy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Cool, but It's No Flying Car

What would you get if you crossed a GM car with the "revolutionary" Segway? Why, a PUMA, of course.

Meet the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle, which is supposed to provide a cheaper, more "green" mode of transportation for the environmentally conscious city-dweller. General Motors, teaming up with Segway, hopes to have this battery-powered toy developed by 2012.

So, this is what GM is doing with their...I mean, our bailout money? Perhaps it would be better to simply invest in a pair of Puma running shoes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Have a Coke and a...Tax?

Utah legislator Craig Frank (a Republican, no less) wants to raise revenue by imposing a new tax -- not on tobacco, but on another addictive substance:
    Frank, R-American Fork, has asked lawmakers over the next year to study the potential for taxing caffeine, a response to proposals this session to hike the tax on cigarettes -- all of which failed.

    Frank said his intent initially was just to target caffeinated sodas and other cold beverages, but he has decided to look at the substance more broadly.

    "Some feel [the cigarette tax is] a tax on those who are addicted to a substance that frankly they enjoy [but] we say that's a harmful thing to do.

    At the same time, the government is addicted to the fee revenues," said Frank. "So in light of that, if we're really going to find a revenue stream on something addictive, why not cold caffeine?"

Just wait until the thugs in Washington catch wind of this.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Barbie Banned?

Yes, some people would like to see Barbie dolls banished from store shelves:
    Her measurements are still 36-18-38 as Barbie turns 50 this week.

    But if one West Virginia lawmaker has his way, Barbie could be banned in the Mountain State.

    "I just hate the image that we give to our kids that if you're beautiful, you're beautiful and you don't have to be smart," said Del. Jeff Eldridge of Lincoln County, W. Va.

    Eldridge proposed a bill to ban sales of Mattel's blond bombshell and others like her because it puts to much emphasis on physical beauty but he's finding it hard to get people to sign on.

    "I knew a lot of people were going to joke about it and make fun of me," said Eldridge. "I couldn't get anybody to sign on the bill with me and I said I'm still going to introduce it."

Sounds like someone really need to get a hobby.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The 100 Most Beautiful Words in the English Language

Try using words like these the next time you play Scrabble:
  • adroit
  • cynosure
  • emollient
  • fugacioius
  • jejune
  • mellifluous
  • pyrrhic
  • sempiternal
See the entire list, as well as a few bonus words, here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fireman Accidentally Inhales Kitten

Currently making its way around the World Wide Web:
The story, whether true or not, is at least 15 years old. It was included in Jay Leno's Police Blotter, published in 1994.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pride and Extreme Prejudice

Filmmakers have been butchering literary classics for the last century, so this latest assault on Jane Austen should come as no surprise. Consider the following movies currently in the works:

Pride and Predator
Oh, yes. That Predator. This film "veers from the traditional period costume drama when an alien crash lands and begins to butcher the mannered protags, who suddenly have more than marriage and inheritance to worry about."

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
The book, which is set to be made into a movie courtesy of Natalie Portman, "features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton -- and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers -- and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead."

Methinks Hollywood has officially run out of ideas.

(HT: the inimitable Chris Knight)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hairing Aid

According to Guinness, Radhakant Baijpai has the world's longest ear hair:
    Considered by Mr. Baijpai, 58, to be symbol of luck and prosperity, his ear-hair has been growing since he was 18 and more importantly has never been cut.

    Maintained by a specially prepared blend of herbal shampoo, Mr. Baijpai has so far resisted the pleas of his long suffering wife to cut it off.

    "She has always been asking me to cut my ear-hair, but since the official record was confirmed by Guinness, she has allowed me to keep it because it is a source of pride to me," says Mr. Baijpai a resident of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Fortunately, I'm married to someone who maintains a constant vigil on my ear (and nose) hair. Thanks, Honey!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Zombie/Raptor Holocaust: Fact or Fiction?

As if rush hour traffic wasn't chaotic enough. From the AP:
    Pranksters in at least three states are messing with electronic road signs meant to warn motorists of possible traffic problems by putting drivers on notice about Nazi zombies and raptors. And highway safety officials aren't amused.

    The latest breach came Tuesday during the morning rush hour near Collinsville, Ill., where hackers changed a sign along southbound Interstate 255 to read, "DAILY LANE CLOSURES DUE TO ZOMBIES."

    A day earlier in Indiana's Hamilton County, the electronic message on a board in Carmel's construction zone warned drivers of "RAPTORS AHEAD — CAUTION."

    And signs in Austin, Texas, recently flashed: "NAZI ZOMBIES! RUN!!!" and "ZOMBIES IN AREA! RUN."

    Officials in Illinois are concerned the rewritten signs distract motorists from heeding legitimate hazards down the road. The hacked sign on Tuesday originally warned drivers of crews replacing guardrails.

    "We understood it was a hoax, but at the same time those boards are there for a reason," said Joe Gasaway, an Illinois Department of Transportation supervisory field engineer. "We don't want (drivers) being distracted by a funny sign."

Hmmmmm. The government seems to be rather quick in dismissing this as a hoax. If you happen to live in Illinois, Indiana, or Texas, I'd keep an eye out...just in case.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

D'oh! A Deer! A Baby Deer!

Accidents happen on America's roadways, even to Google's Street View camera cars. Like this one, which happened to hit a baby deer:
Don't bother trying to find the picture. They took it down.

The Google Earth and Maps team responded to the incident:

    Gathering the imagery for Street View requires quite a bit of driving; as such, we take safety very seriously. Unfortunately, accidents do happen -- as some people have noticed, one of our Street View cars hit a deer while driving on a rural road in upstate New York. Due to several user requests using the "Report a concern" tool, these images are no longer available in Street View.

    The driver was understandably upset, and promptly stopped to alert the local police and the Street View team at Google. The deer was able to move and had left the area by the time the police arrived. The police explained to our driver that, sadly, this was not an uncommon occurrence in the region -- the New York State Department of Transportation estimates that 60,000-70,000 deer collisions happen per year in New York alone -- and no police report needed to be filed.

Be careful out there, people. Deer are becoming almost as much of a nuisance as squirrels.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

There's One in Every Bunch

Come on. We all knew it was only a matter of time:
    Many U.S. Airways passengers who endured a crash landing in the Hudson River 12 days ago say they appreciate the $5,000 that the airline has offered — but some say it's not enough.

    Joe Hart, a salesman from Charlotte who suffered a bloody nose and bruises, says he "would like to be made whole for the incident."

    It's too soon after the accident to determine what emotional distress he has suffered, he says.

    He's one of 150 passengers who were dramatically rescued Jan. 15, when the Charlotte-bound Airbus A320 jet safely ditched into the frigid river off Midtown Manhattan. A pilot on the plane told air-traffic controllers that birds struck the plane before both engines failed after takeoff from New York's LaGuardia Airport.

    After the crash, U.S. Airways sent passengers a letter of apology, a $5,000 check to assist "with immediate needs" and reimbursement for the ticket. ...

    ... Kreindler & Kreindler, a New York law firm that has represented plaintiffs in crashes, says it has been contacted by several passengers on the U.S. Airways flight.

    The firm's lawyers are determining what injuries and emotional distress passengers may have suffered, and what parties might be liable under New York state law, says Noah Kushlefsky, a partner in the firm.

The crash, however, wasn't traumatic enough to stop Joe Hart from flying. He's already flown on six planes since the accident.

I'm not a cold-hearted person, so why am I having trouble mustering up sympathy for this guy?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Man Finally Solves Rubik's Cube...

...after over a quarter of a century.

From the Telegraph:
Puzzle fan Graham Parker has finally solved his Rubik's Cube - after 26 years' worth of attempts.

Delighted Graham, 45, from Portchester, Hants, has been tirelessly trying to solve the riddle of the Cube since he bought the toy in 1983.

Married dad-of-one Graham has endured endless sleepless nights and after more than 27,400 hours he finally managed to conquer his personal Everest.

Builder Graham said: "I cannot tell you what a relief it was to finally solve it. It has driven me mad over the years - it felt like it had taken over my life.

"I have missed important events to stay in and solve it and I would lay awake at night thinking about it.

"Friends have offered to solve it for me and I know that you can find solutions on the web but I just had to do it myself.

"I have had wrist and back problems from spending hours on it but it was all worth it.

"When I clicked that last bit into place and each face was a solid colour I wept."

Long-suffering wife Jean, 47, said the cube has frequently put a strain on their marriage, causing blazing rows between the pair.

Jean even admits at times it has felt as though there has been three people in their marriage for the past 26 years.

Sure, the record for solving the puzzle is 7.08 seconds, but Mr. Parker has done something I've never been able to do. Kudos, sir!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Google Doesn't Stop for Hitchhikers

And we're not just talking about the Information Superhighway. Check it out here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Squirrel Roundup (January 20, 2009)

Squirrels are good for something after all
One man has been making money off his water-skiing squirrels for over 27 years. (More...)

Squirrels killed by speeders
Rather than being hailed as heroes, squirrel-squishing motorists in England are being condemned. (More...)

Tastes like...squirrel
In an unrelated story, squirrel meat is becoming increasingly popular in the U.K. (More...)

Squirrel whisperer
While some people eat squirrels, others allow squirrels to eat them out of house and home. (More...)

Keep squirrels off your bird feeders
Readers of The Augusta Chronicle share their ideas. (More...)

Keep squirrels out of your attic
If you don't have the guts to do what needs to be done, I suppose "humane" traps can be used. (More...)

Should feeding squirrels be against the law?
No. Even though it's a bad idea. As much as I dislike squirrels, I dislike the government even more. (More...)

Squirrel day
North Elementary School in Mountain Home, Idaho, was closed because of a power outage believed to have been caused by a squirrel. (More...)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Are Flying Cars Finally Here?

After being promised flying cars for over half a century, it seems they are finally becoming a reality. Times Online is reporting that the first flying car is preparing for takeoff:
    If it survives its first test flight, the Terrafugia Transition, which can transform itself from a two-seater road car to a plane in 15 seconds, is expected to land in showrooms in about 18 months' time.

    Its manufacturer says it is easy to keep and run since it uses normal unleaded fuel and will fit into a garage.

    Carl Dietrich, who runs the Massachusetts-based Terrafugia, said: "This is the first really integrated design where the wings fold up automatically and all the parts are in one vehicle."

    The Transition, developed by former Nasa engineers, is powered by the same 100bhp engine on the ground and in the air.

    Terrafugia claims it will be able to fly up to 500 miles on a single tank of petrol at a cruising speed of 115mph. Up to now, however, it has been tested only on roads at up to 90mph.

Jane, get me on this crazy thing!

Friday, January 09, 2009

SQUIRREL ALERT: Cajun Squirrel-Flavored Chips

Yes, you read that correctly, though translated into British it would read "Cajun squirrel-flavoured crisps." The Telegraph has the story:
    Crisps that taste of chilli and chocolate, onion bhaji and even Cajun squirrel will be unleashed on the public as part of a Walkers competition to find a new flavour.

    Walkers launched its Do Us A Flavour campaign last July, challenging members of the public to think up a unique flavour of crisp ...

    ... Cajun squirrel is the wacky flavour created by Martyn Wright, 26, the only man to have made the final six.

    The online marketer, who lives in Hednesford, Staffordshire, was inspired to enter when he saw squirrel on a restaurant menu and he believes the public will be so intrigued that they will have to buy a pack.

    He said: "This gentle Cajun flavouring will be delicious for the public and although the idea might sound bizarre, it really works."

Mr. Wright, do these contain real squirrels?
    "No squirrels were harmed in the making of these crisps!"
Dang.

(Thanks for the news tip, Dad!)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bury Me with My Cell Phone

At first glance, reports about people wanting to be buried with their cell phones may seem symptomatic of a superficial society. But after reading stories like this, this, this, this, and this, it may not be such a bad idea.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

IRS Grows a Heart

What a story for the holidays!:
    As the nation sinks deeper into recession, the IRS is offering to waive late penalties, negotiate new payment plans and postpone asset seizures for delinquent taxpayers who are financially strapped, but make a good-faith effort to settle their tax debts.

    IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said Tuesday that tax agents are being given new authority to work with victims of the nation's economic woes who are struggling to pay their bills.

    "We need to recognize that it's an extraordinary, challenging time," Shulman said in an interview. "We need to understand the taxpayers' perspective. We need to walk a mile in their shoes."

How heart-warming is that?

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