I’m feeling MUCH better today. I think the nine hours or Nyquil induced sleep had something to do with it (started to wear off about 4 AM but Gatorade helped with the headache after that). Basically I just woke up this morning feeling a little hung over or something…but after a shower & a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios, I was good to go. Not a whole lot going on with me in the meantime. My dad went to see “The Pink Floyd Experience” at Kingsbury Hall yesterday (told you that was probably what was playing when I was conceived) and said it was pretty good. My brother was fired because…well, they didn’t have to give a real reason really…but I’m sure that gas station is gonna go downhill without him…and he needed a push to get a better job anyway. So no worries there. I’ve just been sick. I guess I’ll just get on with the news or something.
Worst Movies Ever - Hollywood star George Clooney's latest movie "Up In The Air" garnered five Oscar nominations on Tuesday but there is one film about which he may not be so proud -- "Batman and Robin." The 1997 movie starring Clooney as the caped crusader with Chris O'Donnell as Robin and Alicia Silverstone as Batgirl came top in an online survey by film magazine Empire to find the most disastrous film ever made. Clooney has not been shy about belittling the film and his role in it. The magazine said it did not just come top in voters' rankings but got almost three times as many votes as the next entry -- John Travolta's science-fiction "Battlefield Earth" which was a film adaptation of a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Here is a list of the top 10 of Empire's list of the 50 most disastrous movies ever made with the rest available on Empire's website (http://www.empireonline.com/):
- "Batman and Robin" (1997) – I agree, this was REALLY bad. I saw it once in theatres when it came out…and never again. Joel Schumacher f**ked up Batman…and that’s hard to do. Even the Adam West classic “Batman: The Movie” had more story integrity…and it had Bat Shark Repellant & a Foam Rubber Wholesale Convention in it. Glad that George Clooney was able to turn his career around. Arnold Schwarzenegger made a career change. Alicia Silverstone & Chris O’Donnell had to go to TV after this. I would agree.
- "Battlefield Earth" (2000) starring John Travolta – Have never seen it, don’t intend to.
- "The Love Guru" (2008) with Mike Myers – Never seen it, don’t intend to. However, I do have to give credit to a movie that got away with saying “C**tface” on all the previews.
- "Raise the Titanic" (1980) with Jason Robards & Alec Guinness – Never even heard of this one…but it’s about a covert operation to salvage the Titanic for a US military defense system.
- "Epic Movie" (2007) – Really all of these (blank) Movies that aren’t Scary Movie should never be made.
- "Heaven's Gate" (1980) – A western starring Kris Kristofferson & Christopher Walken. Never seen it.
- "Sex Lives of the Potato Men" (2004) – Ever just know a movie’s going to suck by the title? It’s an English movie about potato delivery men and their active fantasy sex lives. See? Exactly what you thought it would be.
- "The Happening" (2008) – A lot of you got conned into seeing this in theatres…and for that, I apologize. Mark Wahlberg is a pretty good actor. Zooey Deschanel isn’t even that bad. Poor M. Night Shamalayan started with “The Sixth Sense” and has gone downhill ever since. The same thing happened with Orson Welles. It’s not his fault, right?
- "Highlander 2: The Quickening" (1991) – Actually, I think this one should be much higher on the list. I love the Highlander movies…and the TV spin-offs. Yet when this movie came out after the first movie was so badass…and basically said, “By the way, the Highlanders are aliens from the planet Ziest…and the ozone is gone…and the One is old now because there is only One…but when other Ziestians show up, he’s the Highlander again…and Sean Connery’s back too…but in flashbacks.” I know…and how could a movie starring Michael Ironsides suck? But it did.
- "The Room" (2003) – Never heard of it. Black comedy about love, passion & betrayal apparently…but who cares?
Birthday = Sports Success? - Could you be the next David Beckham or Michael Jordan? Or for you ladies out there, ugh…Serena Williams or ugh…Venus Williams? An Australian researcher has found your chances of becoming a professional sportsperson could depend on your birthday. Senior research fellow Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation found that a person's birth month could determine their health and fitness. The results of the study are published in a book, "Analyzing Seasonal Health Data," which Barnett co-authored with researcher Annette Dobson from the University of Queensland. Barnett analyzed the birthdays of professional Australian Football League (the AFL that hasn’t folded) players and found a disproportionate number had their birthdays in the early months of the year, while a fewer number were born in the later months, especially December. The Australian school year begins in January. "Children who are taller have an obvious advantage when playing the football code of AFL," Barnett said in a statement issued by the book's publishers, Springer. "If you were born in January, you have almost 12 months' growth ahead of your classmates born late in the year, so whether you were born on December 31st or January 1st could have a huge effect on your life." Barnett found there were 33% more professional AFL players than expected with birthdays in January and 25% fewer in December. He said the results mirrored other international studies which found a link between being born near the start of school year and the chances of becoming a professional player in the sports of ice hockey, football, volleyball and basketball. "Research in the UK shows those born at the start of the school year also do better academically and have more confidence. And with physical activity being so important, it could also mean smaller children get disheartened and play less sport. If smaller children are missing out on sporting activity then this has potentially serious consequences for their health in adulthood." Barnett said this seasonal pattern could also result in wasted talent, with potential sports stars not being identified because they were competing against children who were much more physically advanced than them. He said a possible solution was for one of the sporting codes in Australia to change the team entry date from January 1 to July 1. Okay, so that study really didn’t prove anything except children that have had more time to mature compared to their classmates are usually more confident and have better coordination and whatnot. Big surprise. Sorry to put you through all that. I thought it was gonna be something like Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Hank Aaron & Babe Ruth are all Aquarius…but Harry S. Truman, Saddam Hussein, Karl Marx & Hitler are all Taurus…so that’s why you’re an evil dictator instead of competing in the NBA All-Star game next week, $teve!!! Anyway, maybe they should focus on that with their studies.
Tastes Like Kiwi - A New Zealand teenager who says she auctioned her virginity online for $32,000 to raise tuition money did not break any laws but it might be risky for her to follow through on the deal, police warned Wednesday. The anonymous 19-year-old student offered her virginity to the highest bidder on the Web site www.ineed.co.nz under the name "Unigirl," saying she would use the money to pay for her tuition. She said in a post that more than 30,000 people had viewed her ad and more than 1,200 had made bids before she accepted an offer of more than New Zealand dollars 45,000 ($32,000). Unlike similar New Zealand Web sites, bidding and correspondence between buyers and sellers on the ineed site is private so it is not known what bids Unigirl's offer received. Web site owner Ross McKenzie said the site's policy was that as long as an ad was legal and did not offend the general standards of society, "it was OK." He confirmed Unigirl was a member on the site. Prostitution is legal in New Zealand under laws considered more liberal than many countries. Prostitution among consenting adults is allowed in brothels and on the streets, and offering sexual services in print ads and online is also legal. (Who wants to go to New Zealand?) National police spokesman Jon Neilson said no law appeared to have been breached. But "we would suggest it's not a safe practice," Neilson told The Associated Press. "There are definitely issues of personal safety" in using chat rooms, social dating networks and other Internet sites that can be used to arrange meetings between strangers. Really? Unigirl, in her initial post, described herself as attractive, fit and healthy. She did not post a photograph of herself, and bidders did not appear to have a way of confirming any of the details of her posts. Unigirl said she was desperate for money to pay university fees. "I am offering my virginity by tender to the highest bidder as long as all personal safety aspects are observed. This is my decision made with full awareness of the circumstances and possible consequences." The internet has increasingly been used for offering and arranging sex services, and security concerns have quickly followed. In the United States, 23-year-old former medical student Philip Markoff has pleaded not guilty to killing a masseuse he met on the Craigslist classified advertising site, and raping a stripper and robbing another woman he met in the same way. Virginity has also been offered for sale online. British newspapers reported last week that a 16-year-old girl in Ireland had offered to sell her virginity on an online classified advertising site but recanted after a reporter posing as a bidder identified himself as from the media. A 22-year-old student in San Diego says she has received bids of up to $3.7 million for her virginity, which is being offered for sale through a brothel in Nevada, CNN reported. Last year, a Philadelphia woman was charged with promoting prostitution after posting an ad online offering sex for tickets to a World Series baseball game (now that’s a Phillies fan). Catherine Healy of the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective, a group that represents sex workers on health and rights issues, said the New Zealand teenager had entered into sex work by offering herself online. "The amount of money is absolutely huge — and that puts her under enormous pressure to perform all sorts of acts," she said. But Healy said it was also possible that the successful bidder wanted to "save" the teenager and would not ask her to have sex (hey anything’s possible…and I’m sure Peter Jackson’s a nice guy. Oops, sorry to give away his identity). She said the teenager would still have the right to refuse to have sex with the bidder if she changed her mind, and that the bidder could claim his money back. You know, I hope this works out for this sweet Kiwi. Why? Because I want her to have an education. I want you ALL to have an education. Unfortunately, it seems that sometimes to get what you want (or need) you have to literally sell yourself for it. However, if you can get a four-year scholarship to a fine university for a few minutes of awkward discomfort (and probably a little pain) then maybe it’s worth it. It’s definitely easier than getting anything done in Congress apparently.
Panda Update - Chinese zookeepers are advertising for a tutor to teach Chinese to an American-born giant panda arriving this week in her parents' homeland. The language lessons, a special diet and even blind dates are also part of the red-carpet welcome being rolled out for 3-year-old Mei Lan (“Beautiful Orchid”) by Chinese caretakers ahead of her arrival Friday on a special FedEx flight from the U.S. Under a deal between China and the U.S., all giant pandas originally from China are only lent out to foreign zoos for scientific study for several years. They and any cubs they produce must all return to China eventually. Determined to help Mei Lan adapt more quickly to her new life, the caretakers at her new home, the Chengdu Panda Breeding Research Center in the southwestern province of Sichuan, are recruiting a language teacher via the Internet. Mei Lan has lived at a zoo in Atlanta, Georgia, since her birth in 2006. "Mei Lan has been living in the United States since she was born, and she must be unfamiliar with Chinese," Huang Xiangming, director of the center's animal management department, told the official Xinhua News Agency. The center has set up a Web site on the popular Internet portal Sina.com for Mei Lan, detailing the qualifications for a volunteer teacher: a bachelor's degree or higher, no history of infectious disease and good command of both English and Chinese. "She will be taught Chinese with a Sichuan dialect, because people here all speak Sichuan dialect. She will become familiar with some simple phrases," Cui Kai, a staffer at the panda research center, told The Associated Press. "For example, she will be taught the phrases for going back to the cage or coming out from the dormitory." (She needs an interpreter for that? How about a whip or a carrot?) Mei Lan will also have to gradually get used to her new Chinese diet. "We have asked the American zookeepers to bring Mei Lan's favorite biscuits (mmm biscuits & gravy), but we will gradually use Chinese 'wotou' (steamed bread made of corn and sorghum) and fresh bamboo to replace biscuits," Huang said. Mei Lan will be housed in a special suite during an initial quarantine period, which all pandas from overseas undergo. Then, her caretakers hope to introduce her to a potential mate. Panda fans are being asked to help choose a "boyfriend" for Mei Lan. The Web page set up for her introduces eight prospective candidates, including pandas named Superman Kobe and Yong Yong, or Doubly Brave. It includes short videos of the potential suitors in action (WHAT?), usually munching on bamboo (oh…), and asks voters to choose the most compatible based on their appearance and behavior. The public's votes notwithstanding, panda experts will have the final say on which one is the best match for Mei Lan. Giant pandas are known for being sexually inactive, and they are among the world's most endangered animals. It is unclear if similar plans are under way for Tai Shan, a 4-year-old male panda who arrives on the same flight as Mei Lan. Tai Shan was born in Washington D.C.'s National Zoo, and he will be moving to the Bifengxia Breeding Base in Ya'an, another panda breeding center in Sichuan. So yeah, go on that website and vote for Mei Lan’s mate. Or not. Seriously, an interpreter for a panda? Even I think that’s a little kooky…and I first learned German as a kid by commanding a German Shepherd. (RIP Sam, X & Zurich) It’s not the gorilla from “Congo” is it? Then we don’t need to know what it thinks. “Why won’t you tax that panda ass, Superman Kobe?” “Kobe. Want. Raindrop. Drink.” “No more sake for you until we get twins.” “Beauty-full. Orchid. No. Tickle. Egg roll.” “Sigh… Sometimes I think they want to be extinct.”
Apocalypse Prequel – As you know, I’m keeping a close eye on the number one threat to our very existence – Snakes. However, a pretty smart person once said that those who don’t study the past are doomed to repeat it…and with that in mind, this story peaked my keen intellectual interest. The largest snake the world has ever known likely had a diet that included crocodile, or at least an ancient relative of the reptile. Scientists have discovered a 60-million-year-old ancient crocodile fossil, which has been named a new species, in northern Columbia, South America. The site, which is also one of the world's largest open-pit coal mines, also yielded skeletons of the giant boa constrictor-like Titanoboa, which measured up to 45 feet long (14 m). Crocodyliforms are extinct reptiles that are distant relatives of modern crocodiles and alligators. "We're starting to flesh out the fauna that we have from there," said study author Alex Hastings, a graduate student at the Florida Museum of Natural History. The skull and other specimens used in the study show the newly discovered species, named Cerrejonisuchus improcerus, grew only 6 to 7 feet long (about 2 m), making it easy prey for Titanoboa. Clearly this new fossil would have been part of the food-chain, both as predator and prey," said Jonathan Bloch, a Florida Museum vertebrate paleontologist and associate curator. "Giant snakes today are known to eat crocodylians, and it is not much of a reach to say Cerrejonisuchus would have been a frequent meal for Titanoboa. Fossils of the two are often found side-by-side," added Bloch, who was part of the fossil-hunting expeditions. Indeed, anacondas have been documented consuming caimans (reptiles in the same family as crocodiles) in the Amazon. The new croc species is the smallest member of Dyrosauridae, a family of now-extinct crocodyliforms. Dyrosaurids typically grew to about 18 feet and had long tweezer-like snouts for eating fish. By contrast, the newly discovered species had a much shorter snout, indicating a more generalized diet that likely included frogs, lizards, small snakes and possibly mammals. Scientists previously believed dyrosaurids diversified in the Paleogene, the period of time following the mass extinction of dinosaurs. But this study reinforces the view that much of their diversity was in place before the mass extinction event, Brochu said. Somehow dyrosaurids survived the mass extinction intact while other marine reptile groups, such as mosasaurs and plesiosaurs, died out completely.
So what does this all have to do with the Apocalypse? Well, let’s see. Titanoboas used to eat crocodiles as tasty treats…but who’s to say that they didn’t crush, eat, digest & expunge basically any dinosaur smaller than a bus? You’ve all seen the shows. When a paleontologist digs up a dinosaur, they’re lucky that it’s intact. Most of the bones are broken…and some experts say it’s because of erosion & pressure over millions of years…but I say it’s because it was crushed, consumed and passed through the anus of a Titanoboa. “But $teve, what about the dinosaurs bigger than a bus?” With their food source depleted by these insatiable slithery serpents, they died off from starvation…or turned to cannibalism…or maybe when they tried to take out the Titanoboas they were merely strangled and left to rot, being too large to swallow whole. “Then why haven’t we seen too many bones of these Titanoboas?” Because they’re in the ocean now. I’ve got an answer for everything. Don’t even try to question my logic. What does this mean about the future? Watch out for those giant pythons growing in the Everglades. Today, they’re already eating deer, crocodiles and small children…but it’s only a matter of time before they move on to adults, bears & cows…and grow even larger than their current 20-25 foot length. How? Boa constrictors are born and reproducing in about the time it takes humans to learn to crap in a porcelain tank and not directly into their diapers. Anyway, just a theory completely backed by fact. Do with it what you will.
Fortune Cookie of the Day – “Before an Evening of Romance, Turn Off the Cell Phone…in bed” – Hmm, I figured that she would’ve enjoyed the vibrating sensation. Seriously, is this what fortunes have come to? I don’t consult fortune cookies for everyday tips. I consult them for the sage-like wisdom & timeless perspectives. There were no cell phones in ancient China. There was no, “Confucius say…to find out whose call you missed, just press *69” or anything like that. Don’t give me that. I know to turn the cell phone off when I want to focus my attention of my damie. Hell, even gimme something like “When she asks if it makes her look fat, it’s a trap. Tell her she has beautiful eyes.” I don’t need helpful hints for around the house like “Change your oil every 3000 miles.” Thanks but no thanks.
So on that high note, I guess I’ll leave you all be for the evening. Hopefully this cold will stay away & I can just rest easy tonight without the aid of Nyquil. Hopefully you find your sage-like wisdom from this blog rather than bits of paper found in your favorite Asian dessert (though seriously, Asians have no idea what fortune cookies are, they originated in San Francisco). I hope you all have a wonderful evening…and if it’s an evening of romance, turn off the cell phone…but not before they show up at your doorstep. Communication is the key. Have a great night everybody!!!