Thursday, April 8, 2010

Meat-Less Mondays

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

It’s been a busy couple of days at work…but that’s usually a good sign. It’s also been absolutely gorgeous outside since our snowstorms over the weekend. Spring is right around the corner…and I don’t know about you…but I’m feelin’ it. Can’t wait to start this Road Trip. Speaking of which, my mom & stepdad leave for their trip in the morning…and of course it starts in Bangkok, where it keeps getting crazier and crazier. I’ve already informed my mom to not wear any red shirts, just to be safe. If you wouldn’t mind, say a little prayer for them and all the other people around the world that are traveling to get their culture on…and are in the middle of political craziness.

Today at lunch, I sat down with a coworker of mine, who we’ll call Rose, and we chatted it up a bit. I like Rose. She’s always got a smile on her face and is just the funniest & greatest person you could ever hope to meet. From the first day I came here, she said that she liked my great posture and it made me look so handsome. Of course, from that day on, we’ve been buddies. Well, she recently won a company award for being so damn awesome, so I asked her about the awards dinner that she went to the other night…and she was almost in tears talking about it. Tears of joy…but she just couldn’t believe that so many of her coworkers had great things to say about her…and she was just being herself. As we were chatting about it, another coworker came and sat down…and she wasn’t in the best mood. So Rose cheered her up, much like I do. Ask them what’s wrong, let them vent, make a joke or two, and ended it with “Well, if you need cheering up later, stop by my office. I’ve got M&Ms and Snickers.” Not only that, she left for a second, came back, gave her a Snickers bar in case of emergency tears…and gave me a Snickers too. “Because I know guys don’t cry, I figured I’d just give you this for being a nice guy.” This is why we get along so well. We’re like-hearted people. It’s usually a rare opportunity where we get to officially congratulate somebody on being awesome…but you can always make somebody’s day by doing the little things everyday. A positive attitude & a smile…will not only make your day better…but probably a few dozen people along the course of your day. And it’s appreciated. Even if you don’t hear “Thanks for being such a sweetheart” or “You really made my day” or anything like that, most people appreciate that you’re at least trying to make them feel better, even in professional or anonymous casual settings. So Rose, if you’re out there reading this for some reason, thank you again for being awesome…and congratulations on your award. Other than that, not a whole lot to report on my end…so ugh…yeah, here’s some news…

Bank Robbing Update – I swear that I’m not purposely seeking out these bank robbing stories. There have just been an abundance of them in the news…and I keep tripping over them. It’s not like I’m seeking them out (I save that for Megan Fox & Pandas). Police say a man robbed a Bank of America branch in Portland, Oregon on Wednesday, then stole a Jaguar with two Chihuahuas inside. He crashed the car a short time later in a fast-food restaurant (probably Taco Bell) parking lot and fled on foot. The car and dogs belonged to Melanie Davis, who was in the bank during the holdup. She tells The Oregonian the man burst into the bank shouting profanity, said it was a robbery and threatened to shoot those inside if they didn't cooperate (think opening scene of Pulp Fiction). After grabbing the money, he demanded Davis' car keys. The dogs were recovered unharmed (and yapping). Police spokeswoman Detective Mary Wheat says Portland police and the FBI are looking for the robber. That’s a good start. There have really been a LOT of bank robberies this past month, right? I’m not just crazy…at least about this. I think the bank robber may have suffered enough though. Seriously, you just robbed a bank, you’re making a clean getaway, you just got the keys to sweet Jaguar…and you’re like a few hours through the backwoods until you’re in Canada if you so choose. Then as soon as you start the car, you hear this horrible noise. Is it the fan belt? Did a ferret get caught in a vent? Is the CD in the player a recording of tortured Vietnamese schoolchildren? Nope. Even worse. It’s a live Chihuahua in the backseat. Oh sweet Jesus, there’s two of them. Quick, get out of town…and then you can dump them on the side of the road somewhere and they’ll find their way back. Wow, this thing goes a lot faster than my Datsun. Why won’t those things stop yapping? Shut up!!! In nature you wouldn’t even exist. You would be the chew toys of REAL dogs. Stop it!!! Stopitstopitstopitstopit… AAAAGH!!! That’s it. You want some Taco Bell? YOU WANT SOME TACO BELL??? Here’s your f**king Taco Bell. So long, rats!!! CRASH!!! Then he starts to laugh as he makes his getaway on foot…then he hears it in the distance. NOOOO!!! THEY LIIIIVE!!! AAAGH!!! He runs away into the woods never to be seen again. Oh, that’s not how it happened Detective? Well please, feel free to share your story. Does it involve two big freakin’ guys? Where you goin’? NOWHERE!!!

Meat-Less Mondays – I just thought of something. Is PETA’s headquarters in San Francisco? I know there are a lot of hippies and activist types…but I may have to Google that. Anyway, besides approving rules against using plastic grocery bags, mixing recycling with compost, and smoking in sidewalk cafes, San Francisco supervisors have passed a resolution asking residents to observe meatless Mondays. San Francisco supervisors passed the resolution Tuesday for no-meat Mondays in their latest legislative endorsement of healthy, eco-conscious living. It cannot stop the city's residents from eating meat (though I’d like to see it try, just for my own amusement). Instead, it is meant to call attention to the relationship between diet and climate change. To some, the resolution is a welcome reminder of the small part that residents play in solving a larger problem. Others, however, were left asking for Board of Supervisor-Free Fridays. Most shrugged it off as another one of those "only in San Francisco" initiatives that many forget about soon after passage. Not unlike tofu…quickly forgotten after passage…where red meat will stick around and resonate with you for years to come. “Remember that Porterhouse from that place at Union Square a few months ago.” “Remember it? Sh*t, I’ve still got it with me. Man that was a tasty steak.” “A toast…to delicious animals.” That reminds me. The Wingmans will be here in a few days… Now I know where they can get a good steak if desired.

Condors: Remember Them? – For the last few decades, there hasn’t been the allure of the greatly endangered California Condor as say…Pandas. And yes, I take personal responsibility for this phenomenon based on my blog and the invention of Panda Porn. However, we finally have some good news to report concerning the skies of California. For the first time in more than a century, a California condor chick successfully hatched inside a federal park that once was a domain of the endangered species. Biologists at Pinnacles National Monument in Central California celebrated the milestone announced Wednesday in the slow recovery of the birds. But their enthusiasm was tempered because the egg did not belong to any adult birds in the park (What?). A pair of condors there had conceived an egg in March that biologists then took for safekeeping and replaced with a plastic egg. Biologists later discovered the embryo had died seven days into its development. "It wasn't surprising the egg wasn't viable," said Daniel George, manager of the condor program at Pinnacles. "That can happen with first-time breeders." The pair in Pinnacle later hatched an egg that was slipped into their nest after being produced by a pair of condors in the San Diego Wildlife Park captive breeding program (the Van Nuys of the Wild Kingdom, where all kinds of animalistic porn & breeding is produced). The chick emerged from its grapefruit-sized shell on March 24. Its sex will be determined soon with blood tests done when it receives its West Nile Virus vaccine. "It's a good step forward for the program," said biologist Joe Burnett of Ventana Wilderness Society, a partner in the recovery program. Removing new eggs from nests so the gangly birds with nearly 10-foot wingspans don't accidentally destroy them is just part of the tedious recovery effort. Biologists don't want this first generation of new birds to become discouraged if their mating efforts don't pay off (if at first you don’t succeed, try again). "It's a tenuous process because you don't know if they will accept it," George said. "So far all of their instincts seem to be operating properly." Biologists and the public were able to monitor the progress of the birds' 57-day egg-sitting from Scout Peak above the cliff-side nest. Tourists have flocked from as far as Kentucky to see the rare sight, which has not occurred in an area in free view of the public since the recovery program began. Two days before the birth, visitors witnessed the sometimes-comical reaction of the birds as the egg began to move and emit noises. "They'll get up all of the sudden and look at it, then try to reposition it," George said. Hmm, I would think that’s to avoid it from accidentally going over the cliff and splatting across the Sierra Nevadas…but I’m no scientist. In 1982, the last 22 California condors were placed in captive breeding programs. Since then, hunters and lead poisoning from bullets left in carcasses have hampered the recovery of the birds, which currently number 350. Over the past decade, the birds have been released at three sites around California and one in Arizona. Without parents in the wild to teach them safe behavior, some of the newborns have been caught and placed in breeding programs after repeatedly perching on power lines or coming too close to people. The birth announced Wednesday occurred after a male condor released in 2004 at Big Sur and a female released the same year at Pinnacles began exhibiting mating and nesting behavior last year. Condors generally mate for life. So far, the new parents are adapting to life with child. George said they take turns nestling their offspring to keep it warm, just as they did the egg. While one waits, the other forages for food. However, the potential that they could bring back bits of a carcass tainted with lead bullets is a threat to the survival of the youngster. Of the 77 eggs laid in the wild since 2001, 33 lived for at least six months — long enough to fly. If the newest one survives, its wings will grow from their current thumb size to a span of at least 9 1/2 feet. The young condor will live with its parents for a year. The adults will wait two years before producing another egg. "For first-time parents they're doing a good job," George said. So there you go, the condor population has gone from a few dozen to a few hundred in the span of about thirty years. Congratulations scientists. How about one more story from the skies where it’s always sunny?

Eagles Update – Right now in Philadelphia, not too many people want to talk about Eagles. Since they released and/or traded away basically every bit of their heart & soul over the last year, the football team is currently in a position where probably the one player with any professional leadership experience…spent two years in federal prison & lost over $100 million in endorsements for being a part of a few dogs fighting each other. Think about it. Who else? However, that being said, not everything concerning Eagles is horrible, ridiculous & just plain retarded. A pair of Philadelphia Eagles are causing some excitement, but it has nothing to do with football. These bald eagles have beaten high odds and are raising two eaglets in the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, near Philadelphia International Airport. Officials say they're the first bald eagles ever to do so on the refuge. Refuge manager Gary Stolz says eagles are normally sensitive to city noise and have been known to abandon nests in urban environments, but this pair seems to not be bothered by the planes overhead (or have just come to the realization that there’s no escaping it). Stolz says the eagles are looking good, stretching their wings and helping out the refuge by eating invasive carp. The eaglets could be flying in about a month. How about that? In our nation’s former capital, a family of majestic bald eagles is proudly perched there to greet visitors at the airport before they visit Independence Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, City Hall, the Franklin Institute, Fairmont Park, and all of the other sights that the City of Brotherly Love has to offer. Hmm… I’m thinking another road trip may be in order for next year.

Female Spacesuit – Since we’re talking about chicks in the air, let’s casually move to chicks in space. The latest creation by Japanese fashion designer Tae Ashida is truly out of this world - an outfit twinning a blue cardigan and shorts made for astronaut Naoko Yamazaki. The US space shuttle Discovery blasted off on Monday with Yamazaki and two other female crew on board, bound for the International Space Station (ISS) on a historic mission that put more women in orbit than ever before. Ahead of her departure, Yamazaki, 39, asked Ashida, daughter of fashion guru Jun Ashida, to design her work clothes for the 13-day space mission and she came up with a slim knit cardigan in light blue with navy blue shorts. “As a female designer, I chose a design and color with a sense of grace ... so that she can feel at ease as she carries out a tough mission in a male-dominated, bleak atmosphere,” Ashida said on Wednesday. “It's like a dream come true to see my clothes worn in space,” said Ashida. “I'm looking forward to seeing her wear my design.” Yamazaki also brought a miniature version of the traditional Japanese harp, known as a koto, to the station to play an ensemble with her countryman Soichi Noguchi, who has carried his Japanese flute to the station. Yamazaki asked a Japanese musical instrument factory to make a miniature version of the koto, which usually measures about 1.8 meters, to meet the size limit for her space shuttle cabin luggage. “The sound is quite different from that of an authentic one, but I'm very much looking forward to seeing her play the koto in space,” said instrument maker Kenzo Ogawa, who produced the mini harp. Okay, so honestly, I just wanted to show the picture of this outfit. The legs are just…wow. For me to say that the legs are a little too long…is quite an accomplishment. I prefer the rough sketches of fashion guru & winner Dennis Reynolds. Also, the best thing about space…is nobody can hear you suck at playing a miniature harp. Just throwing that out there…

Dream Job Update – Are you doing your dream job? No? Why not? What is your dream job? Movie star? Professional athlete? Prostitute? Working with kids? Spiritual healer? Superhero? How about photographer for Playboy? Yeah, a lot of people have probably considered that one. They thought it would be all fun and glamour, but when 10 photographers recently gathered for a new reality TV show, they learned there was more to taking pictures of naked women than a good camera lens & thinking about baseball to avoid a “tripod” situation. "Playboy Shootout," which premiered this past Saturday on cable television's subscriber-only Playboy Channel puts the photographers together in tandem with 10 models and each group -- shooters and models -- compete to have their work featured in the legendary men's magazine founded by Hugh Hefner. While perhaps many a young man has dreamed of shooting a nude centerfold for Playboy (shooting pictures, not the model), only few ever make the grade. Playboy editorial director Jimmy Jellinek said the magazine annually gets "thousands and thousands" of submissions from photographers, but it is the rare exception who gets picked. Stephen Wayda, a longtime Playboy photographer and judge on "Shootout," said he tried unsuccessfully for years before finally making it into the magazine's pages and onto a stellar career as a celebrity photographer. "People think it's all fun, sex and glamour. They don't realize when you're doing nudes there's a lot more to it (tehehehe, doing nudes). You see all the body. You see the wrinkles in the waist when (models) turn. You see how the body is built, and you have to make it look good," Wayda said. For "Shootout," Playboy gathered the photographers from around the United States and put them together in Los Angeles. The first episode had them assigned to take pictures of the models in a different area of a luxurious mansion, and they were given a time limit to devise a theme, set lighting, pick a costume and put the models through hair and makeup. A major feature is that the models are competing to be in the magazine, too, and because they are looking for the best pictures possible, they sometimes conflict with the shooters (mmm, catfights…). "I've gained confidence in myself after doing the show, and I realized that having (many) crew members around me didn't distract me," said photographer Eric LaCour. Kate Romero, one of two women among the photographers, said she believed being the same gender as the models helped her because she might be able to say things to calm their fears about posing naked in front of a large crew. "It is a guys' world, definitely," said Romero. "(but) I love that kind of challenge." Wayda said all the photographers came into the show with strong portfolios of past work, and for many the biggest problem was tailoring their own work to match Playboy's pages (no black & whites, no stills of trees & old signs, and none of that modern art crap). Under Hefner, the magazine' has always tried to feature models with a homespun, girl-next-door look (which we all appreciate). "Some came in and said, 'I want to do something completely different,'" Wayda said. "Well, that's great, so go open up your own magazine." The series, which ends on June 5, is produced by "America's Next Top Model" director Claudia Frank and hosted by "The Celebrity Apprentice 2" contender and Playboy Playmate Brande Roderick. A new episode airs every week on Saturdays as part of what Playboy is calling its "Date Night" lineup of shows. There, that’s my plug. Still wanna be a photographer for Playboy? Of course you do. So get the f**k out there & take pictures of your girlfriend…and if you need a second opinion, I’m happy to offer my services.

Fox Update – Superhottie Megan Fox and her sometime boyfriend actor Brian Austin Green are protesting California school budget cuts in a new video online. In a video posted Wednesday on the comic Web site, Fox urges viewers to "call, write and annoy the governor until he cries for his mommy." She says more than $17 billion has been cut from state educational programs over the past two years, and Green says the "terminators in Sacramento" plan to cut another $2.5 billion. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said last month that budget cuts have caused a 17% jump in the number of school districts facing financial uncertainty. Fox and Green's 3 1/2-minute video had been viewed more than 66,500 times by Wednesday afternoon…and of course, I saw it. It’s not really that funny (mostly because it’s true) but I say give it a shot. Absolutely worst-case, you get to look at Megan Fox for a few minutes…and I thought the guy referring to Arnie’s childhood was pretty hilarious. It’s something that I would do. I wonder if is hiring. Oh…and of course we have to talk about the issue…which is the funding of schools or lack thereof. How do we tackle this problem? Fill out our census cards? More taxes? Leave pools of blood at the steps of our state’s respective capital buildings? Okay, maybe not that extreme…yet. It is a major problem…and kudos to ravenous superhottie and the guy she convinced to help her out because she’s having sex with him (he’s got a kid too, I know) for taking the fight viral. Write your congressman, governor, representative, whatever. Call them. Camp out in front of their house. F**k their daughter (consensually of course). Do whatever you need to do to be heard. “The children of California need more funding for schools, Governor!!! No more funds going to campaigns!!!” “What areyudooing? Git out of my wife!!!” “She invited me in…and the people will be heard!!!” Sorry for that image…but my governor doesn’t have a daughter…so drastic measures had to be taken. Besides, who doesn’t want to be able to say that they banged a Kennedy? Be the Miracle.

On that note, I’ll wrap this up. Remember to say a little prayer for my mom & stepdad as they go to the other side of the planet to get their culture on…and have a few drinks. It’s okay though…because while they’re trying to find their way back to the boat by playing charades like a bad episode of the Amazing Race, I’ll be enjoying a voyage of my own…and yeah, I’ll probably be a little tipsy for most of it…but I’m also driving everywhere so I’ll be responsible too. At least until I get to Vegas or Utah where I’ll be chilling for a few days at a time. Can’t wait to see y’all. Have a great day everybody!!!

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