Monday, July 19, 2010

Spirit of Massachusetts

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

This weekend wasn’t too eventful. Mostly it was going to Reno to run errands, get an oil change for Gretchen & do some grocery shopping. Was going to watch “Inception” but had already gone shopping when I decided…and meat doesn’t keep well in 100 degree weather. I hear great things though…so maybe soon. Other than that, just a lot of cleaning up the apartment for prospective roommates to come visit… but most of them have dogs and as you might remember, no smoking or pets allowed (though I have seen a few furry creatures that pass as fufu dogs in recent weeks, so I’ll be talking to the landlord). Another thing that came up was the possibility of a lady roommate. Can $teve handle a lady roommate? Can his raw sexual energy be contained from causing serious awkwardness around the apartment? Especially when we share a bathroom? I’d like to think so. Besides, I’m sure she’d be more receptive of my offers for cooking dinner than my last roommate was. “What? You want to make me some succulent pork tenderloin in a cream sauce with asparagus over rice? Are you trying to seduce me, Dr Love?” “No, I just had a craving for it… but it seems like such a waste if it’s just me eating it. I don’t want it to go to waste.” “Well, in that case…” Anyway, more on that as more comes along. Cleaned up the apartment somewhat… but yeah, work to be done (roommate still moving out a bit) but at least it’s presentable now. So yeah… here’s the news…

Great Wall of Chia - Ohio plans to build a sound barrier made out of soil and plants in the state's first eco-friendly attempt at muffling highway noise. A spokesman for the state transportation department says the 12-foot high wall will be like a Chia Pet: Workers will water bags filled with soil and seeds and watch it grow. The transportation department says the noise wall will be built this fall. It will span 400 feet along a westbound stretch of Interstate 70 near Columbus. Wisconsin tried a similar idea. It built a sound wall made out of plastic forms filled with soil and plants, but removed it in 1996 after part of the barrier collapsed and weeds spread. I like it. I like everything Chia. I’m thinking more of that adobe stuff for sound muffling walls with beautiful flowers growing on them is a great idea. We could get all the great architectural Chia artists to design their works along the freeways to promote plant life & imagination. It could definitely work…with ample moisture.

Good Bubbly - A group of divers exploring a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea have found bottles containing what is thought to be the oldest drinkable champagne in the world, made in the late 18th century. "I picked up one champagne bottle just so we could find the age of the wreck, because we didn't find any name or any details that would have told us the name of the ship," diver Christian Ekstrom from Aland told Reuters on Saturday. Ekstrom and his Swedish diving colleagues opened the bottle and tasted the contents. "It was fantastic... it had a very sweet taste, you could taste oak and it had a very strong tobacco smell. And there were very small bubbles," he said. Experts said the shape of the bottle showed it was from the late 18th century, and the bottle and its contents have been sent to champagne specialists in France to be analyzed. "We are 98 percent sure that it is Veuve Clicquot champagne and that it was probably (made) between 1772 (the year the business was established) and 1785," Ekstrom said, adding that the cargo vessel was probably sailing to St Petersburg, then the capital of Russia. He said they had found the wine on their first dive and did not yet know how many bottles the wreck contained or what other cargo it carried. The current title of the world's oldest champagne is held by Perrier-Jouet, which has two bottles from 1825. Richard Juhlin, a Swedish champagne specialist, told the newspaper Alandstidningen he believed the champagne was Veuve Cliquot and said that if it was from the late 18th century, it could cost around 500,000 Swedish crowns ($68,000) a bottle. Because the wreck lies off Aland, an autonomous part of Finland, the local authorities will decide what will be done with the wreck -- and the champagne. Do you think the diver would’ve drank the bottle after finding it if he knew it was worth $68,000? Yeah, me neither. I’m curious to know what a bottle of wine as old as America would taste like…but I’d much rather use that money towards something else, like the down payment of a house. It just goes to show, not all the glitters is gold. Sometimes it’s champagne.

Elephant Repellant – Farmers’ crops are being raided by wild animals like elephants in Mother Afrika. Well, the U.N. has come to the rescue…but suggesting they should try driving them away with pepper spray, using guard donkeys or booby trapping food with snakes. I am not joking. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) unveiled in a statement on its website a "toolkit" it suggests should be taught or handed out to farmers, particularly in Africa, to stop them from killing wildlife. Competition between wild animals and humans is major source of conflict (and not just entertainment, like who would win in a wrestling match between a muzzled hyena and a Zulu warrior), especially in Africa where growing human populations require ever more land for crops and livestock. Elephants and baboons hemmed in by dwindling wilderness can devastate crops. Hungry lions can lay waste to cattle. "With the world's population growing at some 75 million a year, humans and wildlife are having to squeeze ever more tightly together, increasing the risk of conflict," it said. Angry farmers often kill elephants that ruin their crops, but FAO has another suggestion: chili pepper. A plastic gun that fires ping-pong balls full of chili that bursts on an elephant's skin and will send it running for cover. Another method suggests setting fire to a chili-based mixture so the smoke deters the elephant (and there’s no possible way that fire can spread in the African environment). Kenyan donkeys, FAO notes, are aggressive in defending farm land against even animals a lot bigger than they are (as opposed to lazy American asses). "Baboons which enter buildings to steal food may be scared off by placing a snake, preferably alive, inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread," the FAO statement said. Once again, these are real suggestions sent out by the United Nations. And again, one of those suggestions… is to put a LIVE snake… probably poisonous because it is Africa… into a loaf of bread… and leave it there… in your home… to deter baboons. Get it? Okay, moving on. In Mozambique, where crocodiles kill 300 people a year, proper fencing at watering points could save lives. Hippos can be deterred at night by a bright torch shining at them. "Whatever the specific measures taken, it is important that they are introduced soon," FAO Forestry and Wildlife Officer Rene Czudek said. "The alternative could be the ... loss of wildlife as we know it across much of Africa." The report does however note there are risks attached: hippos and elephants are extremely aggressive and can charge, so a gun might be sensible back-up option. So basically, this is just the United Nations’ official version of “To get spiders out of your home, simply slide them onto a piece of paper or a dustpan…and put them outside. Then again, if you end up breaking three of its legs off leaving it as an immobile meal for some bird… or he gestures in your direction like he might attack, feel free to just squish the sh*t out of him. You don’t want to leave them as a martyr for other spiders…and at least you tried.” I’m still skeptical of pepper spray if I’ve got a hungry hungry hippo charging at me though. “He’s coming right for us. Hand me the capsule shooter. Damn! The aim on this thing sucks. Quick, hand me the… stink bomb, burning thingy. F**k! Burned myself. Oh God, it smells horrible…and it’s all over my hands. My eyes are on fire! Is he still char…” This is where the hippo crushes me and then considers eating me and thus ending my life of incredible pain… but may not because he’s not a fan of Cajun food. Granted that’s a worst-case scenario… but yeah, good luck with all those suggestions. Then again, if I’m the United Nations, I might be a little more concerned with the slaughter of humans on the African continent too… but you know, food’s pretty important too hence they have conflict over resources between nations and freedom fighters or whatever they call themselves all the time too. Just a thought.

Spirit of Massachusetts – I spent a week in Boston a few years back. It was from Christmas until New Year’s Day…and it was awesome. I saw just about all the sights of the city from the Common to Fenway to the JFK Museum to the wharf and even went out to Providence for a day. However, it turns out that some of Massachusetts' greatest places aren't so great after all. To promote tourism, the Legislature last week released a list of the state's top 1,000 attractions. But the Boston Herald reports that some sites don't exist any more, some are closed to the public and some are listed in the wrong towns. The list also actually has 996 places. The list includes the Baker Robinson Whale Oil Refinery in New Bedford, which has been gutted to make way for a hotel; and Worcester's African Cultural Center and Ashland State Park, both of which are closed. St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in Pittsfield was closed by the Springfield Diocese two years ago. Tourism officials acknowledge some mistakes and say they did their best. Eh, it happens. That’s why I’m here to back you…and help promote some of your great sights. Behold!!! $teve’s tour of Boston
Starting with Providence, Rhode Island
(formerly Cacapupupipishire)
Top of Prudential Tower oberlooking Boston
Boston Common
The Ritz-Carlton's how I roll...
Mass. State House
Ted Williams at Fenway Park
John HanCOCK!!!
Samuel Adams
Christian Science Plaza
Tudor Wharf
Bunker Hill
JFK Museum

Yeah, that’s it for today. Gotta figure out where & when I’m going to use all this paid vacation that I have coming up. The thing is… work is hella busy and is only going to get worse. Oh well, I’m not missing out on my vacation time. That’s for damn sure. Also need to find out if anybody wants to go with me. Any volunteers? Have a great day everybody!!!

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