Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween!


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Senate Votes Down First Minimum Wage Increase in 8 Years

HELEN THOMAS, HEARST NEWS - U.S. senators -- who draw salaries of $162,100 a year and enjoy a raft of perks -- have rejected a minimum wage hike from $5.15 an hour to $6.25 for blue-collar workers. The proposed increase was sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and turned down in the Senate by a vote of 51 against the boost and 49 in favor. . . All the Democrats voted for the wage boost. All the negative votes were cast by Republicans.

Four Republicans voted for it. Three of the four are running for reelection and were probably worried about how voters would react if they knew that their well-heeled senators had turned down a pittance of an increase in the salaries of the lowest paid workers in the country. The minimum wage was last increased in 1997.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Low Point

Ever have one of those moments where you think about throwing yourself through your 6th floor apartment's window? Yeah. I'm *this* close to doing it right now.

I just wasted two hours of my life watching "Maid in Manhattan" on TV. It was the crappiest movie I've ever seen. Even "Sweet Home Alabama" was better than the garbage which I just forever implanted into my brain. Bah.

WTF is wrong with me?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Love Story









(I need to get my vaccination soon.)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Where's 'Calvin and Hobbes' creator?

Bill Waterson - Best Cartoonist Ever

McDonald's ads to tout food quality

REUTERS - McDonald's on Monday will kick off a two-day media event to tout the quality of its food and combat critics who say its burgers and fries are unhealthy... McDonald's in recent months has blamed the poor image of its food among British consumers for a falloff in sales in Britain. To prevent that from spreading further, one marketing expert said the company wants to shift the focus away from its burgers' fat and calorie content.

"Maybe if people think they have this terrific quality, then they'll forget about the calories and the fat," said Jack Trout, president of marketing strategy firm Trout & Partners. "Will it fix it with the naysayers? No. But what it will do is present more of a rationale for the people who take their kids to this place."

Where burgers come from

One of the myths Gonzalez-Mendez said the new campaign aims to eradicate is the perception that McDonald's burgers are filled with additives and other non-beef ingredients. To combat that assertion, the company invited Reuters to tour the Lopez Foods Inc. meat processing plant, where 2,000-pound containers of beef are fed into gigantic metal grinders before being pressed into patties, frozen and finally stacked into cardboard boxes.

Tests for bacteria like E.coli that cause food-borne illnesses are conducted before the meat is allowed to be unloaded at the plant, Lopez executives said. Further tests are also conducted at Lopez's own laboratory.

Each box of patties is labeled with a tracking number that can be traced back to the meatpacker that supplied the meat. In addition, more than 10 percent of McDonald's beef is currently traceable back to the individual animal, according to Gonzalez-Mendez. Opening up its suppliers' facilities to the media is one of the ways McDonald's is trying to be more transparent about where its food comes from.

Color me impressed!!! Mmm mmm - there's something satisfying knowing that one of every ten bites of McDonald's hamburger can be traced back to an actual cow.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

. . . . . .

"God may forgive sins, he said, but awkwardness has no forgiveness in heaven or earth." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bush's War Against Small Farms

MARY ZANONI, Ph.D. (CORNELL), J.D. (YALE) - Poultry fanciers and keepers of small flocks are facing a grave threat from a proposed government intrusion into their innocent choice of pastimes and way of life. For several years, the USDA has been working with the largest-scale animal industry organizations (for example, the National Pork Producers, Monsanto Company, and Cargill Meat) to develop a mandatory "National Animal Identification System".

However, most small scale livestock producers, people who raise animals for their own food, and people who keep horses or livestock as companion animals do not know about the USDA's plans.

The NAIS will drive small producers out of the market, will make people abandon raising animals for their own food, will invade Americans' personal privacy to a degree never before tolerated, will violate the religious freedom of Americans whose beliefs make it impossible for them to comply, and will erase the last vestiges of animal welfare from the production of animal foods. . .

Every person who owns even one horse, cow, pig, chicken, sheep, pigeon, or virtually any livestock animal, will be forced to register their home, including owner's name, address, and telephone number, and keyed to Global Positioning System coordinates for satellite monitoring, in a giant federal database under a 7-digit "premises ID number." . . .

Every animal will have to be assigned a 15-digit ID number, also to be kept in a giant federal database. The form of ID will most likely be a tag or microchip containing a Radio Frequency Identification Device, designed to be read from a distance. . .

The plan may also include collecting the DNA of every animal and/or a retinal scan of every animal. . .

The owner will be required to report: the birthdate of an animal, the application of every animal's ID tag, every time an animal leaves or enters the property, every time an animal loses a tag, every time a tag is replaced, the slaughter or death of an animal, or if any animal is missing. Such events must be reported within 24 hours. . .

Third parties, such as veterinarians, will be required to report "sightings" of animals. In other words, if you call a vet to your property to treat your horse, cow, or any other animal, and the vet finds any animal without the mandatory 15-digit computer-readable ID, the vet may be required to report you. . .

If you do not comply, the USDA will exercise "enforcement" against you. The USDA has not yet specified the nature of "enforcement," but presumably it will include imposing fines and/or seizing your animals. There are no exceptions -- under the USDA plan, you will be forced to register and report even if you raise animals only for your own food or keep horses for draft or for transportation. . .

Eradication of Small Farms - People with just a few meat animals or 40-cow dairies are already living on the edge financially. The USDA plan will force many of them to give up farming.

The NAIS is touted by the USDA and agricorporations as a way to make our food supply "secure" against diseases or terrorism. However, most people instinctively understand that real food security comes from raising food yourself or buying from a local farmer you actually know. The USDA plan will only kill off more local sources of production and further promote the giant industrial methods which cause many food safety and disease problems.

Extreme Damage to Personal Privacy - Legally, livestock animals are a form of personal property. It is unprecedented for the United States government to conduct large-scale computer-aided surveillance of its citizens simply because they own a common type of property. (The only exceptions are registration of motor vehicles and guns, due to their clear inherent dangers - but they are registered at the state level, not by the federal government.) The NAIS would actually subject the owner of a chicken to far more surveillance than the owner of a gun. Surveillance of small-scale livestock owners is like the government subjecting people to surveillance for owning a couch, a TV, a lawnmower.

Will the government next want to register all cats, dogs, and parakeets, and demand the global positioning coordinates of their owners' houses and apartments?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Stephen Colbert channels Bill O'Reilly...

Anybody who knows me knows that I am no fan of dictionaries or reference books. They're elitist for constantly telling us what is or isn't true, what did or didn't happen... I don't trust books. They're all fact and no heart. And that's exactly what's pulling our country apart today. Because face it, folks, we are a divided nation... We are divided by those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart.

Consider Harriett Miers. If you think about Harriett Miers, of course her nomination's absurd! But the President didn't say he thought about this selection, he said this:

President Bush: "I know her heart."

Notice that he didn't say anything about her brain? He didn't have to. He feels the truth about Harriett Miers. And what about Iraq? If you think about it, maybe there are a few missing pieces to the rationale for war. But doesn't taking Saddam out feel like the right thing...right here in the gut? Because that's where the truth comes from, ladies and gentlemen...the gut.

Did you know that you have more nerve endings in your stomach than in your head? Look it up. Now, somebody's gonna say `I did look that up and it's wrong'. Well, Mister, that's because you looked it up in a book. Next time, try looking it up in your gut. I did. And my gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.

Now I know some of you may not trust your gut...yet. But with my help you will. The "truthiness" is, anyone can read the news to you. I promise to feel the you.

The 'Environment' of Public Opinion

HARRIS POLL - Three in four U.S. adults (74%) agree [including 69% of conservatives] that "protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost." In addition, a plurality of adults (47%) agree that "there is too little government regulation and involvement in the area of environmental protection." These attitudes are significantly more pro-environment than in 2000, the last time Harris Interactive examined these issues.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Do you listen to the lyrics?

S.H. tagged me. So here ya go. Things I'm currently enjoying...

Strange and Beautiful - Aqualung
Precious - Depeche Mode
Nth Degree - Morningwood
Content Was Always My Favourite Colour - The Most Serene Republic
Lost in the Plot - The Dears
Going Going Gone - Stars
Grow Up and Blow Away - Metric

If you like the songs, buy the albums.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Farewell to a Good Friend

Zoe, one of my pet rats, passed away the evening of Oct. 12 following a long and courageous battle with cancer. Brought into my life in November of 2004, she had been a source of comfort, laughter, and warmth ever since then. Over the past year, I grew to love her - her inquisitive nature, general friendliness, and even the ingenuity she displayed in figuring out how to get out of her cage. She is survived by her sister Luna and this old curmudgeon. She will be sorely missed.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Just Say No

6 YEAR MED - Some background: It is a well known fact that cocaine can CAUSE heart attacks or make you feel like you are having one...(also, excuse my language, but it does add to the
intern: "So, tell me a little bit about your chest pain."
patient: "It started about 3 hours ago and my brother, he gave me some cocaine and said it'd HELP my chest pain. But you know what? That cocaine didn't do SHIT for my chest pain. I ain't NEVER doin' that stuff again."
intern: "Hmmm..that is probably a good idea." (via Danielle)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Insect Flight

Insects that Fly Without Wings

Monday, October 10, 2005

On Television News...

Television stations and networks . . . are almost completely inaccessible to individual citizens and almost always uninterested in ideas contributed by individual citizens. Ironically, television programming is actually more accessible to more people than any source of information has ever been in all of history. But here is the crucial distinction: it is accessible in only one direction; there is no true interactivity, and certainly no conversation. . . Clearly, the purpose of television news is no longer to inform the American people or serve the public interest. It is to 'glue eyeballs to the screen' in order to build ratings and sell advertising. If you have any doubt, just look at what's on: The Robert Blake trial. The Laci Peterson tragedy. The Michael Jackson trial. The Runaway Bride. The search in Aruba. The latest twist in various celebrity couplings, and on and on and on. And more importantly, notice what is not on: the global climate crisis, the nation's fiscal catastrophe, the hollowing out of America's industrial base, and a long list of other serious public questions that need to be addressed by the American people. - AL GORE

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Plants are Cool

Especially these ones....

Friday, October 07, 2005


Following is part of a review of "The Mind Molester," a devious little device which emits a high pitched beep every three minutes (sort of like a cell phone with low batteries). Hide it under a piece of furniture and watch the fun ensue...

DISTRACTECH - I decided to first plant it in the Living room right behind the tv so its sound would distinctly interupt anyone’s viewing expierience as well as be masked by the tv sound. The first beep came 5 minutes after I planted it followed by the 3 minute interval of beeps that come once it sets into its sequence. For the first few beeps I got nothing. But then people started asking what that beeping was. Next thing I knew I was watching them rummage through the room looking for it. They dug out the couch and chairs, opened the drawers and everything. Alls I could do was try not to laugh. It was quite amusing. And so for a few hours I left it there and drove everyone nuts. They never could locate the source of the beeping. The 3 minute interval that I at first thought was too long was perfect. Just enough to get their attention and just when they give up the search it’d come back and aggravate them. I loved it!

This proved to be fun but an amateur use of the device. I soon grew skilled with it and began planting it with one goal. Drive my poor old dad up a wall. I had him thinking it was his digital watch. All night he kept looking at it. Then when he switched rooms I followed him with it. A couple hours later he took down the smoke alarm and dismantled it. It was hilarious. So I then stopped the beeping after he put it back. Now he is under the belief it was indeed the smoke alarm. HAHA... I love it! ....

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The 2005 Ig Nobels

MEDICINE: Gregg Miller mortgaged his home and maxed out his credit cards to mass produce his invention -- prosthetic testicles for neutered dogs... The silicone implants come in different sizes, shapes, weights and degrees of firmness.

BIOLOGY: Benjamin Smith of the University of Adelaide in Australia, studied and catalogued different scents emitted by more than 100 species of frogs under stress. Some smelled like cashews, while others smelled like licorice, mint or rotting fish.

PHYSICS: Since 1927, researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have been tracking a glob of congealed black tar as it drips through a funnel -- at a rate of one drop every nine years.

PEACE: Two researchers at Newcastle University in England monitored the brain activity of locusts as they watched clips from the movie "Star Wars."

CHEMISTRY: An experiment at the University of Minnesota was designed to prove whether people can swim faster or slower in syrup than in water.

LITERATURE: The Ig Nobel for literature went to the Nigerians who introduced millions of e-mail users to a "cast of rich characters ... each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled."

ECONOMICS: A Massachusetts inventor who designed an alarm clock that runs away and hides when it goes off.

NUTRITION: A Japanese researcher who photographed and analysed every meal he had consumed during a period of 34 years.

AGRICULTURAL HISTORY: A study entitled The Significance of Mr Richard Buckley's Exploding Trousers: Reflections on an Aspect of Technological Change in New Zealand Dairy-Farming between the World Wars.

FLUID DYNAMICS: Pressures Produced When Penguins Pooh - Calculations on Avian Defaecation.

Does anyone know where I can find any....

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Bike Riding Can Lead to Impotence

SANDRA BLAKESLEE, NY TIMES - A raft of new studies suggest that cyclists, particularly men, should be careful which bicycle seats they choose. The studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence. Some saddle designs are more damaging than others, scientists say. But even so-called ergonomic seats, to protect the sex organs, can be harmful, the research finds. The dozen or so studies, from peer-reviewed journals, are summarized in three articles in September's Journal of Sexual Medicine.

In a bluntly worded editorial with the articles, Dr. Steven Schrader, a reproductive health expert who studies cycling at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said he believed that it was no longer a question of "whether or not bicycle riding on a saddle causes erectile dysfunction." Instead, he said in an interview, "The question is, What are we going to do about it?"

The studies, by researchers at Boston University and in Italy, found that the more a person rides, the greater the risk of impotence or loss of libido. And researchers in Austria have found that many mountain bikers experience saddle-related trauma that leads to small calcified masses inside the scrotum. This does not mean that people should stop cycling, Dr. Schrader said. And those who ride bikes rarely or for short periods need not worry.

But riders who spend many hours on a bike each week should be concerned, he said.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Things that make you go "Hrrrrmmmm"

"[Harriet Miers] once told me that the president was the most brilliant man she had ever met." - David Frum

Bicycle Sales Booming

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE - More bicycles than cars have been sold in the United States over the past 12 months, with rising gas prices prompting commuters to opt for two wheels instead of four. Not since the oil crisis of 1973 have bicycles sold in such big numbers, according to Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong, an industry association. "Bicycle sales are near an all-time high with 19 million sold last year -- close to the 20 million sold during the oil embargo in the early 1970s," said Blumenthal, whose association is based in Boulder in the western state of Colorado.

Related: The Changing Nature of Childhood, Zoom Zoom

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Van Morrison's Contractual Obligation Songs

BOING BOING - In 1967 or thereabouts Van Morrison wanted to get out of his contract with a record label, so he fulfilled his obligation by making up 31 songs and recording them in a single sitting. They're awful songs, but it's interesting to listen to a few. All 31 are available as MP3s on WFMU's blog.
[Morrison sings] on topics ranging from ringworm to wanting a danish, to hating his record label and a guy named George. Make sure you get past the first few tunes - it takes him a few to get cooking.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Breathe Me - Sia