Thursday, March 19, 2009

Get Down with the Madness

Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well, I didn't post yesterday…and as foretold in the Prophecy, an angel didn't get his or her wings. Sorry about that. I had a good reason though. Well, for St Patrick's Night, the Mad Scientist, From Russia with Love and I went about town looking for a drink. Luckily, there's at least two bars and two restaurants to every single block in the Lodo area and they all serve massive amounts of alcoholic beverages, so it didn't take long. First, we ate at Wynkoop Brewery and I had me a delicious Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich and a few drinks (and a shot for Bubbles, a toast for Jewels and a beer for JL Clyde). The waitress was also cute…so apparently the Mad Scientist left my phone number with her. He was drunk. He also drunk dialed Bone Junior…so yeah. Anyway, after dinner, we wandered around town feeling good & buzzed…and we weren't the only ones. Eventually sat down at a place called Blues on Blake, which was the only place we found without a line. I think there were two patrons and two bartenders when we showed up there…but the music was pretty good…and the people seemed nice, so we stayed and had a few drinks. A little later, we went back to my apartment and watched "Wagons East!" and had a few more beers. Good times.

The next morning, I woke up and my throat was burning…and my head was pounding a bit. Maybe the booze? Maybe. I sucked it up and took a shower and got ready for work. I wasn't feeling too well…but I didn't get a lot of sleep so that might've played into it too. Then about fifteen minutes before work started, I had to make a dash to the Porcelain goddess Pukestra and make an offering. Not good. I felt oddly better though, so I cleaned up, brushed the teeth a few times and went off to work. I did my morning duties and informed Boss Man J that I may be going home a little early today because "my throat's been hurting this morning." Well, the girl that sits next to me called in sick a few minutes later…with strep throat. So they kinda put two and two together and suggest that I go home, just to be safe. "Well, if you think it'd be best. I don't want anybody else to get sick." Such a noble reason, right? So I finished up a few duties and left after about two hours. When I got home, I drank a bunch of juice and eventually ate a pizza and was feeling fantastic after a nap. So, in the early afternoon, we all decided to go see the Museum of Nature & Science…and pictures for that will be coming up tomorrow or maybe over the weekend.

After the museum (which was a Free Day for EVERYBODY and their kids were there…but it was free and we had fun), we ate at Chedd's Gourmet Grilled Cheese, took a nap and then walked around town again. We ate at McCormick's Fish House and had some great seafood. Today they're flying back…and it's been a fun few days with them here. Hopefully they'll decide to come back some day. I think they liked the city. Travel safe you two. Thanks for stopping by.

Do you know what else is today? MARCH MADNESS!!! I’m not going to bore you with a lot of in-depth analysis of this year's college basketball tournament…but I filled out my bracket literally five minutes ago…and I don't have a whole lot of upsets…but here are some of the bigger ones. I was thinking North Dakota State could do pretty good…but then I saw their first game was against defending champion Kansas, so I couldn't quite do it. I hope it's a great game though, maybe a possible upset. For upsets that I had the balls to pick, I have VCU beating UCLA, Western Kentucky beating Illinois, Maryland over California, the Utah State Aggies beating Marquette…and the team that I think is not only going to upset once…but twice…are the Mississippi State Bulldogs beating Washington…and then Purdue in the next round to make it to the Sweet 16 as a #13 seed. Go ahead and place your bets. As for the Final Four, I have Louisville playing Memphis and the great interstate rivalry of Duke against North Carolina, then North Carolina winning the championship over Memphis. Anyway, you don't care. I just wanted to document it before it actually happened…like the Nostradamus of Nonsense. Here's some news...

Elvis Update - Just wanted to give Bone Junior as much notice as possible…but some Elvis Presley memorabilia including a performance jumpsuit and a grand piano he played at Graceland went on auction on Monday in a demonstration of his commercial appeal 31 years since the King left the building. The online auction house Gotta Have It! Collectibles will have the items on sale through March 25. "There is a huge, huge following for Elvis and there always will be," said Peter Siegel of Gotta Have It! "He was larger than life. Today, there are children that are just totally enamored by him and kids dress like him still for Halloween." Highlights include a blue jumpsuit and cape with gold lining that Presley wore at a Madison Square Garden performance in 1972. Siegel expected these two items to fetch at least $150,000 (good luck with that, playa). The Madison Square concert marked one of the few times Presley performed in New York City and the jumpsuit is pictured on the cover of the live album "An Afternoon in the Garden." Also on the block is Presley's white Knabe Grand Piano, which he played at his mansion, Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee from 1957 to 1969. It is expected to fetch at least $750,000. Presley's signature sunglasses and gold and diamond owl ring are also on sale. For tighter budgets there are numerous magazines featuring Presley on the cover and several action figures of Presley with starting bids of $10 (hint hint, my birthday's coming up next month…and though I'd prefer a lap dance from Priscilla, it's the thought that counts).

Predator X - No, not another sequel to the Predator movie series (unfortunately) but rather a scientific find of badass proportions. A giant fossil sea monster found in the Arctic and known as "Predator X" had a bite that would make T-Rex look feeble, scientists said Monday. The 50 foot long Jurassic era marine reptile had a crushing 33,000 pounds (or over 16 TONS) per square inch bite force, the Natural History Museum of Oslo University said of the new find on the Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. "With a skull that's more than 10 feet long you'd expect the bite to be powerful but this is off the scale. It's much more powerful than T-Rex," scientists said of the pliosaur reptile that would have been a top marine predator. Tyrannosaurus Rex was a top land carnivore among dinosaurs. The scientists reconstructed the predator's head and estimated the force by comparing it with the similarly-shaped jaws of alligators in a park in Florida. "The calculation is one of the largest bite forces ever calculated for any creature," the Museum said of the bite, estimated with the help of evolutionary biologist Greg Erickson from Florida State University. Predator X's bite was more than 10 times more powerful than any modern animal and four times the bite of a T-Rex. The teeth of the pliosaur, belonging to a new species, were a foot (30 cms) long. The scientists reconstructed the reptile from a partial skull and 20,000 fragments of skeleton (ugh…does anybody else see a problem with that? I could piece together a cow with a ten foot jaw with 20,000 bone fragments). The pliosaur is estimated to have weighed 45 tons. "It's not complete enough to say it's really bigger than 15 meters," Hurum said of the new fossil. Hurum had said of the first fossil pliosaur that it was big enough to chomp on a small car. He said the bite estimates for the latest fossil forced a rethink. "This one is more like it could crush a Hummer." Among other findings were that the pliosaur had a small thin brain shaped like that of a great white shark, according to scans by Patrick Druckenmiller of the University of Alaska. Pliosaurs preyed upon squid-like animals, fish, and other marine reptiles. Predator X had four huge flippers to propel itself along, perhaps using just two at cruising speeds and the others for a burst of speed. So yeah, the waters were a dangerous place in the Jurassic era too. Still kinda bummed that it's not a new Predator movie…but whatever. I'll get by. I also saw yesterday that they're doing a show about this on the Discovery Channel, so I'll be sure to check that out.

Riding Motorcycles & Wild Turkey - Don't drink & drive. Especially with motorcycles…and Wild Turkey. That stuff's just awful anyway. Anyway, that really doesn't have much to do with this story…but still, please don't drink & drive. Police said a wild turkey is to blame for knocking a 23-year-old man off his motorcycle and breaking his collarbone. Maine State Trooper Corey Huckins said Jeffrey Russell of Hartford was riding with a friend on Route 117 in Buckfield on Sunday afternoon when a wild turkey flew straight into his chest, knocking him backward off his motorcycle. Huckins said the impact was like "hitting a bowling ball at 45 mph." Police said Russell was knocked unconscious and flown in a medical helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. Russell's riding companion was not injured, but sadly, the turkey was killed in the accident…and then stuffed with a mixture of bread products, vegetables and his own extremities, cooked at 450 degrees for several hours, basting in his own juices and served to Mr. Russell in the hospital. Okay, that last part may not have happened…but I'd appreciate that meal if I just broke my collarbone. "Mmm, justice is a dish best served dry…and with a side of stuffing."

Pope Update - Though this blog focuses more on the holy entities of Panda bears and Hollywood starlets than actual religious figures, I like to occasionally see what the Pope is up to. Well, this week the Pope Benedict XVI is traveling through Mother Afrika…and he started it off Tuesday by saying that condoms are not the answer to Africa's fight against HIV. It was the pope's first explicit statement on an issue that has divided clergy, even those working with AIDS patients. Benedict arrived in Yaounde, Cameroon's capital, on Tuesday afternoon, greeted by a crowd of flag-waving faithful and snapping cameras. The visit is his first pilgrimage as pontiff to Africa. In his four years as pope, Benedict had never directly addressed condom use (apparently not a big fan of the loss of sensitivity), although his position is not new. His predecessor, Pope John Paul II, often said that sexual abstinence (not condoms) was the best way to prevent the spread of the disease. Sure, it's the most effective way…but does that really make it "the best"? Benedict also said the Roman Catholic Church was at the forefront of the battle against AIDS. "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem." The pope said a responsible and moral attitude toward sex would help fight the disease. The Roman Catholic Church rejects the use of condoms as part of its overall teaching against artificial contraception. Senior Vatican officials have advocated fidelity in marriage and abstinence from premarital sex as key weapons in the fight against AIDS…and popularity of the church. About 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV. In 2007, three-quarters of all AIDS deaths worldwide were there, as well as two-thirds of all people living with HIV. Rebecca Hodes with the Treatment Action Campaign in South Africa said if the pope was serious about preventing new HIV infections, he would focus on promoting wide access to condoms and spreading information on how best to use them. "Instead, his opposition to condoms conveys that religious dogma is more important to him than the lives of Africans." Hodes said the pope was right that condoms are not the sole solution to Africa's AIDS epidemic, but added they are one of the very few proven measures to prevent HIV infections. Even some priests and nuns working with those living with HIV/AIDS question the church's opposition to condoms amid the pandemic ravaging Africa. Ordinary Africans do as well. "Talking about the nonuse of condoms is out of place. We need condoms to protect ourselves against diseases and AIDS," teacher Narcisse Takou said Tuesday in Yaounde. Is it wrong that reading this story is just making me think about how long it's been? Seriously, apparently people in Afrika are bangin' like rabbits but…just kidding. Please donate to AIDS research funds. Help spread education so that we can stop or at least contain this horrible disease. Oh…and use condoms. Otherwise, you may get unwanted hardships like HIV, Chlamydia, gonorrhea, children, herpes, or a number of other sexually-transmitted diseases.

English Village for Sale - Looking for a place to raise a bunch of those children from not using condoms? Well, an entire English village, complete with 22 houses and cottages, two blacksmiths and a cricket pitch, goes on sale this week. The charitable trust which owns Linkenholt in Hampshire, southern England, has decided to sell up and use the capital it raises elsewhere. The asking price when Linkenholt goes on the open market on Wednesday is 22-25 million pounds ($31-35 million), according to Jackson-Stops & Staff estate agents who are handling the sale. The archetypal English village is nestled in rolling countryside and boasts a manor house, old rectory (does that mean it's leaning a little bit) and clock tower and is part of a 2,000-acre estate. One of the few things a buyer would not own is St. Peters church, which originally dates back to the 12th century but was significantly rebuilt in 1871. Locals, who rent their properties, are expected to stay on after the sale, and most hope that a change in ownership does not mean a change in lifestyle. "It would be nice if somebody bought the estate and lived here and was Lord of the Manor to be quite honest, that's the general consensus of everyone in the village," said Colin Boast, one of the village's two blacksmiths. "It would just be nice if somebody looked at the village and said 'well, let's keep it as the village it is.' But you never know." Paul Raynesford, a local thatcher, said he thought the asking price for the village was reasonable. "I think if you were to go around and work out the individual bits I think you'd find it's quite a fair price, taking into account the price of the agricultural land and the price of the individual properties." Tim Sherston of Jackson-Stops called the village a "safe and sound investment" despite the economic slowdown. "You've got an entire village -- 22 houses, a cricket pitch, a village shop, a forge and 1,500 acres of farmland, 450 acres of woodland ... We think actually there will be a lot of potential buyers for this." The estate is owned by the Herbert and Peter Blagrave Charitable Trust. With no heir, the late Herbert Blagrave, a philanthropic racing figure, left his family fortune to a trust, along with orders that the money should be spent on sick children, the elderly and injured jockeys. Since much of that fortune is still tied up in Linkenholt, the trustees decided it was time to try to sell. So yeah, if you want to buy a quaint medieval village from an aging jockey for about $30 million, now's your chance. I assume it's not going to happen too often. Maybe Bono will buy it…and rename it Bono. He has enough money from going on tour, right? Anyway, I'm going to have to Google what a rectory is…and what a thatcher does. I think it's a manly name for seamstress…but who knows.

Confucius Movie - Chow Yun-Fat ("The Killer", "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon", "Replacement Killers" and "Bulletproof Monk" among others) is set to play ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius in a $2.8 million biopic of the man for Dadi Film Group reports Variety. Backed by the Chinese government, teachings of the 5th Century BC philosopher were virtually banned during the Cultural Revolution but are undergoing a major revival in newly consumerist China for his teachings on morals and character. Hu Mei is set to direct, with shooting starting later this month at Hebei province and at Hengdian studios. A late 2009 release is planned. Interesting little tid bit, his name was actually Kong…but later they called him Kong-fu-tse or "Kong the Master" which over the years Americanized became Confucius. Here's a quick rundown of his life. Loved to learn, married at 19, divorced at 23, then his mom died. In mourning, he isolated himself for three years to study philosophy and then he taught his philosophy to ancient China…and it grew from there. Doesn't sound like a lot of special effects involved…but that may be where the dream sequences come into play. Come on now. You have to have Chow Yun-Fat kick at least one ass in any movie that he's in. That's like having Michael Biehn in a movie without a chase and/or gunfire. It just doesn't happen. Anyway, here are a few of my favorite sayings from Confucius…since you asked…

  • Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.

  • It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. (Ladies…)

  • Respect yourself and others will respect you.

  • Study the past if you would define the future.

  • Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

  • Learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is perilous.

  • When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it - that is knowledge.

  • My personal favorite (and formerly Bubbles' until she got a new one the other day) - I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

I'll leave you with those nuggets of wisdom. Have a great day everybody!!!

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