Friday, February 24, 2012

BALL SO HARD!!! That sh*t cra...

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Busy week at work as usual… and occasionally I’ve been able to find a little levity. Oh, there was one little incident I should probably share that was quite awkward. I was at work & looking for something when a manager motioned to me to go into my office to chat. Instantly I thought “Uh oh, did I do something wrong?” She looked at me straight forward and said… and I quote… “You have a gaping hole in the back of your pants.” I kinda laughed a second… and then noticed that she wasn’t laughing. “What?” I start looking & feeling around, probably looking like a ferret was in my pants. “Where?” “It’s right along the… hem of your pants.” I swear she wanted to say “crack of you’re a$$” but she’s far too lady like in that setting. Yeah, apparently there was about a 4-6 inch “gaping hole” in the hem of my crotch… at work… with no change of clothing. Luckily I knew of a seamstress in the office… but basically had to hang out in the men’s room for about 10-15 minutes while they were fixed. Good times, right? Better a boss to find out than a client, right?

So I’ve gotten around to playing “Assassin's Creed II” which my brother bought me for Xmas… and it’s pretty sweet. I REALLY like maps that you get to navigate through. For those who have never played, it’s basically the tale of somebody basically reliving ancestral memories during Renaissance Italy using a super computer or something. (Not sure on the details, but just go with it). So you’re an Italian noble… and there’s revolution… and betrayal… and you’re on a path of vengeance to avenge the murder of your father & brothers… and it’s beautiful set in the cities of Florence, Rome and some Tuscan villas. It’s a pretty cool game with a lot of variety & smooth mapping. I highly recommend it… and I think I’m only like a third of the way through it… maybe, I have no idea… but it rocks.
Thursday night, I went to Yoshi's with Dizzy to enjoy some fine Japanese cuisine (and bacon wrapped lobster tail) as well as the musical stylings of The Motet... who specialize in funky covers of Grateful Dead & Pink Floyd songs... but tonight it was just the Dead... and it rocked. I highly recommend taking advantage of any opportunity to hear them live... as well as purchase their CDs for $1. That's right... an entire CD... for ONE DOLLAR!!! I've got mine. Here's some news...
Carla Bruni Update - Just in time for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, a French mayor's plan to erect a statue of President Nicolas Sarkozy's former supermodel wife Carla Bruni in worker's attire has angered the opposition and embarrassed the first lady. Jacques Martin, the mayor of Nogent-sur-Marne to the east of Paris and member of Sarkozy's UMP party, commissioned the statue to honor the mostly Italian immigrant women who used to work at a feather factory in the town (why am I thinking about French maids chasing each other all of a sudden?). But when French daily Le Parisien on Sunday revealed the plan for the statue more than two metres (six-and-a-half feet) tall, at a cost of over 80,000 Euros, the opposition and even the first lady's friends were up in arms. A source close to Bruni-Sarkozy said she agreed to model for sculptor Elisabeth Cibot as she admires her work, but that "it was never suggested that her name would appear." Modelling "is her former job, she no longer does it commercially, but she's often asked to do it, and she often agrees, and always without being paid," the source said… possibly chuckling a little bit. But the swiftly gathering scandal "is using something that has nothing to do with politics to political ends," one of her friends said, requesting anonymity & another glass of champagne. William Geib of the Socialist opposition said the idea of dressing up a likeness of the Italian heiress and pop singer as a worker was "grotesque." "It's an insult to the Italian feather workers, to give them the face of an extremely rich person. I have nothing against Carla Bruni-Sarkozy but she does not represent the workers' world." Michel Gilles, a local member of the right-wing opposition, slammed what he said was a "political coup" ahead of the April-May two-round presidential election, which opinion polls say right-wing leader Sarkozy is likely to lose (but may make a comeback in the second round?). Martin said he voted in favor of the statue at a council meeting last year. "But it was never mentioned that it would have Carla Bruni-Sarkozy's features," Gilles said. The statue is reportedly costing 82,000 Euros (about $108,000), of which the town hall is paying half, and exactly what it will look like is being kept top secret. Look, I don’t get it… I feel like it’s all political BS as usual. Why? Let’s say you want to make a statue about… a cowboy, to commemorate the old west in some sh*t town in Wyoming. The artist is looking for a model… and in lieu of paying someone, they get an offer to model for free from someone who’s exactly what they’re looking for… like Brad Pitt in his Thelma & Louise attire. It’s exactly what they’re looking for & pro bono. Done. No controversy. Wanna know why everybody is in financial crisis & angry? Because politicians focus on stupid sh*t like this instead of getting to solutions for the world’s problems. Besides, she’s no Julie Newmar… but Carla Bruni is still, in a word, statuesque! (That’s right, it’s a “To Wong Foo” reference, deal with it)
Napoleon's 'Gac - A Dutch antique trader is selling his collection of over 5,000 unopened bottles of Cognac and other liquors, which he claims is the biggest of its kind. The most precious bottle in Bay van der Bunt's collection (which is valued at 6 million Euros or about $8 million) dates back to 1795 and was a Cognac taken by Napoleon's army on campaign for the officers. Van der Bunt estimates that bottle is worth between 100,000 and 150,000 Euros. However, anyone interested in that particular bottle may be disappointed: he does not want to sell his bottles one by one, but would prefer to sell the entire collection, which was started by his great grandfather in 1880, to a single buyer by the end of this year (Everything must go! It’s a full literal liquidation sale!). "We are aiming at a wealthy Russian or Chinese buyer, because we think people from these countries are willing to spend their money on this," said Bart Laming, who is handling the publicity for the sale. Van der Bunt wants to sell his collection to someone with a passion for liquor, but also wants a buyer who is prepared to keep the bottles unopened rather than savoring their contents. "In this respect we certainly are afraid that a potential buyer would empty some of them. We will screen potential buyers to minimize that risk". So to make sure I got this straight… he wants somebody to pay several million dollars for a bunch of booze… but not distribute them or get high on their own supply? Basically he wants to be paid ludicrous amounts of money for somebody else to hold onto his booze instead of paying for storage? Good luck with that homey. And I raise my glass! (sip of Courvoisier)

Tongan Branding - A luger from the south Pacific island of Tonga caused a stir at the world championships in Altenberg last week. No, not for his unusual choice of sport or the surprising fact that there are actually lugers in the south Pacific… but for his name, which he had changed to that of his sponsor. Bruno Banani was born Fuahea Semi but changed his name to that of a German underwear maker as he seeks to become his nation's first winter Olympian at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. His move angered International Olympic Committee Vice President Thomas Bach, who called it a "perverse marketing idea." Really? THAT is perverse marketing… and you’re VP for the Olympic committee? I suggest you move out of your glass house into an apartment made out of straw before you start throwing comments like that out. "It is of bad taste to change your name to that of a sponsor. That is too much for me. This has nothing to do with proper marketing," Bach said. However, Bach did go on to say that should the Tongan qualify for the Sochi Games there would be nothing the IOC could do to stop him from competing under that name. "I do not think that we can react to this if that is the name in his passport," Bach said. The IOC is extremely sensitive to ambush marketing tactics during Olympic Games as it seeks to protect its sponsors who have paid hundreds of millions for the rights to advertise (BINGO!!!). Earlier a Tonga official told reporters the move was to raise money as the country seeks to send their first athlete to the Winter Games. As a marketing degree holder, I like it. Why not? If Chad Johnson can change his name to Ochocinco & be as stupid as he wants to be... for free… than I think that Michael Phelps can change his name to Subway Torpedo if the price is right. If boxers can wear advertisements for casino while they bludgeon a man to death in the ring, then who can stop the ring announcer from proclaiming the new WBC welterweight champion Taco Bell-Grande? (Surprise twist: The new champion is Welsh. Now who’s being racist?) If in a joint venture with several companies I want to change my name to $5 Footlong Banana Republic, then
that’s between me & my sponsors. By the way, not sure why I’ve got Subway on the brain… but it’s probably due to a marketing ploy. Play on Bruno! Good luck against Calvin Klein!

Rapunzel Number - Scientists said on Friday that a "Rapunzel Number" may have helped them to crack a problem that has perplexed humanity since Leonardo da Vinci pondered it 500 years ago. Scientists from the University of Cambridge and the University of Warwick said they had devised a "Ponytail Shape Equation", which when calculated using the Rapunzel Number and a measure of the curliness of hair can be used to predict the shape of any ponytail. Cambridge's Professor Raymond Goldstein told Reuters that he and his colleagues took account of the stiffness of individual hairs, the effects of gravity and the average waviness of human hair to come up with their formula. The Rapunzel Number provides a key ratio needed to calculate the effects of gravity on hair relative to its length. "That determines whether the ponytail looks like a fan or whether it arcs over and becomes nearly vertical at the bottom," Goldstein said in a telephone interview. The research also took into account how a bundle of hair is swelled by the outward pressure which arises from collisions between the component hairs. That’s right. Scientists studied the hell out of this… and even da Vinci wondered about it (probably during his ancient years). Why? Scientists said the work has implications for understanding the structure of materials made up of random fibers, such as wool and fur and will have resonance with the computer graphics and animation industry, where the representation of hair has been a challenging problem. So yes, to make your favorite Pixar flicks all the more believable. "Our findings extend some central paradigms in statistical physics and show how they can be used to solve a problem that has puzzled scientists and artists ever since Leonardo da Vinci remarked on the fluid-like streamlines of hair in his notebooks 500 years ago," Goldstein said. The research was conducted by Goldstein, Professor Robin Ball from the University of Warwick and their colleagues. It will be presented to the American Physical Society in Boston on February 28. So… yeah… nothing really to say about this. Just thought it was… interesting. Scientists are studying your ponytails ladies (and hippies).

Well, that'll do it for today. So little time to do these things... and I'm still figuring out my new laptop. So much faster but... trust me 'puter, I know what I'm doing. Just let me do it. I don't need your help. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Quest for Unobtainium

Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen,
Sorry I haven't been keeping y'all posted this past week... I know you're ALWAYS enthralled with how the great Dr Mookie Love is spending his Valentine's Day regardless of the time of year... but especially when you're preparing your own activities. Guys are always asking me stuff like "$teve, how do I make my girl's muffin melt?" or "Dude, why is my girl always asking about you? Why you gotta be so fly all the time?" Ladies usually just speak to me in moans, hums & f**k me eyes... but I know that I have a duty to communicate this information to you on a regular basis. However, this week was EXTREMELY busy at work for me personally & overall... so by the time I get home, when I do have a free moment, I don't wanna think & articulate my thoughts. Some people out there are lucky to get text messages... but I hold myself to a high standard with this thing... so my apologies. Let's see... what happened?
Monday, nothing much... worked all day, came home, caught up on some sleep. Tuesday was Valentine's Day though... and I got some company from Dizzy. She had never seen the Trey Parker classics of "Cannibal! The Musical" and "Orgazmo" so we watched those. The thing is... with Dizzy, I'm not really looking for a romantic relationship... I'm looking for more of a friendship. You know, someone where we can go do things, go on adventures, hang out, keep it casual... but I'm afraid she wants more of the holding hands, cuddling, romance, that kind of thing. I blame myself. No, not for my actions or anything as I've been keeping it very friendly & casual... but I blame myself because... as I mentioned earlier, I'm just so irresistable apparently. Okay, that last part may not be true... but yeah, it's an awkward situation that I plan on explaining before too long... so hopefully neither of us get too twisted about it. Sigh... anyway, that was my Valentine's Day.
Wednesday, I found out that Jackie D & C-Real (from the Vegas Adventure in November) may be coming to visit me very soon thanks to recent airline sales. They're saying in April sometimes... but we shall see. Nothing definite. I also watched season one of "Frisky Dingo" with my roommate Batgirl. She had never seen it... but loved "Archer" so it was a natural fit (being a Batman fan & all). Oh... and if you don't remember, "Frisky Dingo" is about a spoiled brat version of Bruce Wayne and the hilarious & kooky adventures that he gets into with his bumbling arch nemesis Killface. Check it out. Boosh!
Thursday, I went to my first Zumba class at the Y... and let me tell you that I may be attending these classes more often. Apparently... Zumba is where big firm booties & tig bitties go to shake it in a sweaty dancing workout... and daddy like. Now, of course, I have to work a little more on my rhythm as apparently the past few years my hips have forgotten how to salsa & meringue through lack of use... but yeah, really enjoyed the class & I think I did pretty well for a first time. Everybody warned me that I would be gasping for air by the end of it... and I was perfectly fine stamina wise. I even went & worked out some more after the hour class. So there... the stamina is coming back in a major way. Watch out ladies...
Friday, I wasn't feeling too hot thanks to the exhausting work week so I called it a night and watched "The Rum Diary" starring Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Richard Jenkins & Amber Heard. Based on the legendary Hunter S. Thompson novel, it's the story of a journalist (Depp) who is hired by a dying newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1960. While there, he gets involved in a little land conspiracy with a real estate tycoon (Eckhart) and has a major crush on his nemesis' girlfriend (Heard) while trying to help his editor (Jenkins) keep the paper afloat... oh and of course he has a bit of a drinking problem... and finds other drugs along the way. To be honest, the scenery of Puerto Rico was beautiful... as was Amber Heard... but the movie didn't really grip me as I thought it might. I was honestly expecting "Fear & Loathing in San Juan" but it was more... I don't know, preachy about how the white man comes in and destroys everything beautiful in the name of money... which may be true & let's face it, based on Hunter's work, what else should I really expect? So yeah... pretty good movie but not thoroughly thrilling. Check it out if you'd like but not a must see.
Saturday morning, I went to Dynamo Donuts because I had a hankering for some exotic donuts... including the mythical Bacon Maple Apple donuts that they had there. Other varieties include Lemon Pistachio, Dark Cholocate Anise, Cornmeal Rosemary Cherry & even a special winter ale variety. So... I basically got a dozen donuts (Pixie wanted three) and sadly have been noshing on them since... down to about 3-4 left as sad as that is... but they are so delicious... and you know, they're basically destroyed after two days or so anyway. I highly recommend that you go try these donuts. Warning: They are about $3 a pop & I think you get about 300 calories per dollar... but f**k it, they're delicious & you can always just push yourself harder at the gym if you feel badly about it. That's how I do it... and as you can see, the results speak for themselves. Ha...
During the day, I was flipping through the channels after the sun had gone down... and I decided to watch one of the worst movies that I never even finished... and it's "The Core" starring Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, Delroy Lindo, Stan Tucci, Richard Jenkins & the world's greatest actor... DJ QUALLS!!! Okay, I watched this movie when it first came out a few years back... and about half way through, they had completely lost me. Allow me to sum up the premise real quick: The Earth's magnetic field is in major flux. People's pacemakers are stopping, birds are going nuts & dozens of people are dying. What is the cause of it? The Earth's molten core which controls the magnetic field is slowing down & possibly going to stop which would have catastrophic results including seismic activity, UV ray meltdown of the surface, superstorms... basically everybody dies. Period. So how do we stop it? Simple. You get a crack team of people together to make a giant drill vehicle made of Unobtainium (yes, like Avator or some 1950's B-movie) to drill down into the Earth's core at about 100 MPH, while there set off a giant nuclear bomb to "jump start" the core, and then allegedly make it out of there before the explosion destroys the ship. Now... okay, I get it. You're trying to do "Armegeddon" meets "Journey to the Center of the Earth" or some sh*t... but if you manage to lose me on a scientific basis... well, here are a few text quotes to C-Real while we were chatting (because I watched the movie alone)... Possible spoiler alerts... but I wouldn't recommend you waste over two hours of your life on this movie...
"Okay, this movie just started off with a guy in his 30's or 40's randomly dying about to start a presentation... and I think I remember it being because of a pacemakers stopping. Overdose a few years back? Also, about 20 people in a block radius did the same thing, all apparently driving trucks. Does EVERYBODY have a f**king pacemaker?"
"Okay... they just had birds going nuts in London going all Hitchcock... but I swear I just saw a few fish thrown at the windows. I rewound to confirm. Pretty sure those are fish. If this movie is purposely trying to be bad, they're not doing a good job. If this movie is purposely trying to be serious, they're not doing a good job."
"Oh sh*t, I forgot the name of the material the ship is made out of was Unobtainium. What is this? Avatar? Plan 9 from Outer Space?"
"Really? Whales are following the ship? Because whales are first off, that plentiful... secondly, they always descend to the bottom of the Miriana Trench... that's a scientific fact, right?"
"So let me get this straight... the drill that can dig through the Earth at 100 MPH has one weakness... and it's when there's NOTHING for it to drill? Why? Wouldn't that help?"
"Reality check: If you're drilling into Earth at an incredible rate at the bottom of the Miriana Trench... wouldn't the ocean water follow behind you a bit... until some of the liquid hot magma you've also gone through interfered... and it the incredibly surmountable pressure that causes diamonds & giant geodes to form? Yeah, apparently you're standing in it now as you try to fix your drill." By the way, I think this is where I stopped watching it before...
"Oh Jesus! What? Break the giant nuke into five pieces & set them off with complete millisecond accuracy... on the fly... then outrun the explosion in your already physically impossible vessel? Did you realize that it took you three full days at 100 MPH to get there in the first place? Forgetting that you don't have five separate bombs to my knowledge. Pretty sure you just had one... and if there's anything that Bond flicks have taught me, nuclear weapons are pretty complex machines that only a handful of scientists in the world can mess with."
"Sooooooo... Stuuuuuuu... Piiiiiiiii... Duuuuuuh...."
C-Real: "Lol. They insulting your intelligence again?" Me: "They haven't stopped... and I was raised on Back to the Future, Ghostbusters & Transformers. Do you have ANY idea what that takes?"
"Oh Jesus! It's getting even worse. Exciting chase music as they ride the wave of the explosion 22 hours back to the surface the exact way they came, then they throw in somethin saying 16 Hours Later... then back to the exciting chase music... Sigh... How? HOW??? Who made this f**king thing?" Answer: Director Jon Amiel who oddly enough also did "Entrapment", "Copycat" & "The Man Who Knew Too Little."
"Also, don't want to be THAT guy... but they haven't eaten or drank anything in over a week... while in a lead box in 9000 degree magma... sorry, Unobtainium."
C-Real: "These types of movies are NOT for you. They upset the bounds of your bullsh*t tolerance."
"When Journey to the Center of the Earth is more realisitic & entertaining, then yes. Also, Hilary Swank isn't distracting my logic like Megan Fox does in the Transformer movies."
After that, I watched a few episodes of "An Idiot Abroad: The Bucket List" which is a fantastic show, check it out. Anyway, that's my week. Aren't you glad that I shared it with you now? In summation, V-Day was usual... but could've been worse. Don't watch "The Core" ever... unless you want to do a drinking game or something. Less than two weeks until Disneyland with the family. Can't wait. Have a great day everybody!!! Happy President's Day!!! (I'll be working hard as usual on Monday...)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bacon Beer & Bleu Balls

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Friday night after work, I met up with Dizzy for a little road trip to her stomping grounds of Sacramento for one of her friends’ band’s funk concert at a dive bar called Old Ironsides. The band's name is Funk.Defied... and I've only liked them on Facebook because there is simply not a LOVE button. You know I love the funk... and they bring it with a wide arrangment of funky covers of songs from "Money" by Pink Floyd to Adele's "Rollin' in the Deep" to some Amy Winehouse and some obvious funk staples. I highly recommend that you go check them out at Anyway, here are some pictures & some news that leads into the rest of my weekend…

Don’t Taze Me, Bro! – In local news, a California man walking his two small dogs off-leash was arrested after a park ranger used her stun gun on him. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Gary Hesterberg was walking his two small dogs inside Rancho Corral de Tierra, which was recently incorporated into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. For years, the park has been a refuge for owners who let their dogs run off-leash. However, all national parks have on-leash laws. "It was really scary," said Michelle Babcock, who said she witnessed the incident as she and her husband were walking their own dogs. "I just felt so bad for him." The unnamed park ranger reportedly confronted Hesterberg about his dogs. Hesterberg, who said he wasn't carrying his wallet at the time, allegedly gave a false name (purgery?). The ranger asked him to remain at the scene but Hesterberg instead attempted to leave (resisting arrest?) before he was shot in the back with the taser. Babcock said Hesterberg had repeatedly asked the ranger why he was being detained. "He just tried to walk away. She never gave him a reason," Babcock said. After Hesterberg left the scene, the ranger “pursued him a little bit and she did deploy her" electric-shock weapon, said parks service spokesman Howard Levitt. "That did stop him." No sh*t! Hesterberg was then arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information. He was later released… as I’m not even sure those are real law violations. Am I surprised that this happened? Not at all. I see people walking their dogs without a leash all the time… and I’m a little glad it was finally enforced… with a vengeance. Was it excessive? Of course… but here’s the alternatives. Let’s say his little dogs off the leash get away from him… and get ran over. That’s never happened, right? Don’t look at me like I’m Michael Vick, we’ve all seen it happen. Number two… the dogs get away from him and cause an automobile accident as they try to avoid vehicular dogslaughter. Number three… children are attacked or something. Number four… after confrontation from those obligated with enforcing the law, he does some BS about not having a license, makes a run for it, & gets away. Number five… she uses pepper spray instead of the tazer. Number six… maybe she pistol whips and/or shoots the suspect as he tries to make a run for it & silences the dogs. Okay, that one was a little rough… but all I’m saying is, it could’ve been worse. Next time… and this goes to everybody out there reading this… tie your dawg up. Note: If I have to pay $75 for allegedly parking near a restricted area, you gonna put your mutts on a f**king leash or face a fine of similar amount. That’s my word! Good job unnamed park ranger! You can hate me now… but I won’t stop now… cuz I can’t stop now… you can hate me nooooow… (by the way, I’m Diddy dancin’ right now)

Harry Potter Shock? – Speaking of things that are shocking to at least one person out there, child star-turned-next Adam West-at-best Daniel Radcliffe admitted he was drunk while filming some scenes for the "Harry Potter" movies during a period in his life where he was drinking "nightly," the young star said in an interview. "I have a very addictive personality. It was a problem. People with problems like that are very adept at hiding it. It was bad. I don't want to go into details, but I drank a lot and it was daily - I mean nightly," Radcliffe said to British celebrity news magazine Heat earlier this week. "I can honestly say I never drank at work on 'Harry Potter.' I went into work still drunk, but I never drank at work. I can point to many scenes where I'm just gone. Dead behind the eyes," the 22-year-old actor said. Ugh… so the last five or six movies then? The young British star, who was propelled to fame at 11-years-old after being cast to play boy wizard Harry Potter in the movies based on J.K. Rowling's best-selling novels, discussed his "very busy personality" and also talked about his production-assistant girlfriend, who he said was "a wonderful, wonderful girl, who's far too good for me." "I can also be quite insecure. A lot of actors have self-doubt. I live under that the whole time, and it's how I function best. I think she puts up with a lot; she says she doesn't," said Radcliffe. The "Harry Potter" star, who has received critical praise for his theater work in the Broadway and West End productions "Equus" and "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," is currently on the promotional rounds for his film, "The Woman in Black," out in U.S. theaters on Friday. So that explains why he’s coming out with these “shocking” stories. Look, you wanna shock me? Show me a straight edge movie star. No drugs, no alcohol, no orgies, no reckless driving, no drama… just goes out, does his or her job, does it well & helps others around them. That’s right… I’m talking about Tebow. “But Tebow has drama?” Really? Does he? Or is it only what people are saying about him? I’m sure that he couldn’t give two sh*ts and/or rat’s a$$es about what people are saying about him. Leave that drama for Elway to deal with. Anyway, just thought I’d share this little note about my apparent doppelganger, Mr. Radcliffe. P.S. I’m drinking while posting this… hence the “dead behind the eyes” tone of this message. Talking about dogs getting ran over just brought it all back… this one’s for you Zurich!!! (Jaeger shot)

$900 Trillion Lawsuit – Yup… that’s right. A Staten Island mom is making national headlines today after suing the city of West Brighton for $900 trillion, alleging the city improperly placed her two children in foster care. The $900 trillion figure, first reported by the New York Post, certainly is staggering and the standard response so far has been to treat the lawsuit as something of a joke, focusing on the mother's alleged mental illness. Alleged? Okay, that may be a poor choice of words given that figure alone… but I have to agree with the Inquisitr's Kim LaCapria, who says plaintiff Fausat Ogunbayo is actually quite clever in choosing to sue for $900 trillion. After all, how many people would be reading about this story and discussing Ogunbayo's plight had she quietly filed her petition without seeking monetary compensation? Of course there's no way she'll get a settlement remotely approaching that number, if she is awarded anything at all. After all, the entire U.S. has an annual gross national income of just over $14 trillion. Or, put another way, if Ogunbayo was awarded $900 trillion she'd have enough disposable income to pay off the U.S. national debt several dozen times over. Ogunbayo sued the city and the Administration for Children's Services (ACS), alleging that both entities violated her and her children's civil liberties by placing them in foster care in June 2008 (yup, nearly four years ago). In her lawsuit, obtained by The Smoking Gun, Ogunbayo listed her grievances as follows: "For causing plaintiff substantial economic hardship; for causing plaintiff substantial economic injuries; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff children's Civil Right, 42 U.S.C. section 1983; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff's children, the right to family integrity; for depriving plaintiff and plaintiff's children, the right to life, liberty, property and the right guaranteed by
statute; for disregarding the probability of plaintiff's children, suffering emotional and mental distress." The city has not responded to Ogunbayo's lawsuit but contends that she is mentally ill and unable to properly care for her two boys, who are now teenagers. The New York City Law Department released a statement to ABC News, which said, "We are unable to comment on pending litigation. The amount a plaintiff requests in a lawsuit has no bearing on whether the case has any merit and no relation to actual damages if any." The state alleges Ogunbayo suffers from hallucinations, refuses mental health treatment and placed her children at risk by leaving them at home for several hours each day. Two of the more specific allegations are that Ogunbayo wrote to her children's former school, insisting that the FBI and Secret Service were after her children and that their skin was becoming darker due to radiation exposure. Hmm… so… is there proof otherwise? However, the state Appellate Division recently threw out a family court finding that Ogunbayo was guilty of neglecting her children. "Proof of mental illness alone will not support a finding of neglect," the court ruled, according to Ogunbayo is representing herself in the case…. and you all know the saying about that. Good luck, Miss Ogunbayo! You’re going to need it…

Bacon Update - It's a golden age for lovers of strange fried food concoctions. Fast food chain Jack in the Box is the latest to this party with its new desert option, the Bacon Shake. Contrary to what bacon lovers might be hoping… the shake isn't actually made with real bacon. Jack in the Box describes the Bacon Shake as combining "real vanilla ice cream, bacon flavored syrup, whipped topping and a maraschino cherry." Specifically, one astute consumer at the blog GrubGrade says the flavoring is Torani bacon flavored syrup, which you can order yourself if you want to make Bacon Shakes at home (thank you). As it turns out, restaurant chain Denny's was ahead of the curve on the bacon-and-ice cream fad. And they even included real bacon in their Maple Bacon Sundae. How could I have missed that? Find a shake insufficient? Thankfully, there's a bacon tree for that. Though be warned, its 27,149 grams of fat and 140,723 calories may make your calculator go into cardiac arrest. To their credit, Jack in the Box didn't rest on their laurels with the Bacon Shake. They've launched an ad campaign, "Marry Bacon" that is exactly what it sounds like. There's not much there other than some moderately amusing videos, but the golden nugget is this Bacon tuxedo, which you can buy for under $20. If that's too steep, you can go with the "I Love You More Than Bacon" Valentine's Day card or the primal allure of… wait for it… Bacon cologne. Yes, so you can smell like you work at Denny’s. That gets ALL the ladies sizzling in their own juices. There are even competing versions of bacon-flavored beer, for those so inclined. Guess who just found out that Rogue Ales here in North Beach offers the Bacon Maple Ale. The beer lists "Applewood-Smoked Bacon" among its ingredients. The fermenting process must be
legendary… but like I said, it leads into the weekend…

Saturday, Dizzy & I headed out to North Beach to test this alluring elixir of bacon, maple syrup &
fermented hops at Rogue Ales Public House… and allow me to testify, it's basically the perfect breakfast beer (for those who want to drink before noon). It's smokey with a little sweetness to it... but yeah, pretty good... even if the bottles are cheap wine priced at $13 for a 750 ml bottle. While there, we also tried a few of their other offerings (Chocolate Stout & OREgasmic Ale) as well as some appetizers like their Kobe Blue Balls... yes, kobe beef meatballs with bleu cheese. Delicious all around.

Afterwards, we wandered around the city for a bit, then made our way over to the Chinese New Year Parade on Market Street. The temperature dropped pretty steadily once the sun went down... but we stuck around for the entire thing & here are some wonderful pictures. I hope you enjoy.
Anyway, now I'm doing some cleaning out of the closet & donating some old clothes to the Salvation Army (really so I have more closet space) and relaxing after a pretty busy day yesterday. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Suit Up!!!

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Saturday was a beautiful sunshiny day… so I got out & enjoyed it as well as cleaned up, did dishes, laundry, vacuuming, trash, etc so that the apartment wouldn’t be a mess for the party on
Sunday. Honestly… I love my roommates… but when I’m the clean one… that kind of frightens me a bit. They’re usually pretty good though… just not this weekend apparently. Lots of clothes & dishes & food left out everywhere… and four pairs of shoes in the living room. None of them my size or fashion either. Still, I made it look decent.

Saturday I also watched a heartwarming tale called “Contagion” starring Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Kate Winslet, Elliott Gould, Bryan Cranston, Sanaa
Lathan & half of Hollywood apparently. Oh & it was directed by Steve Soderbergh (“Ocean’s Eleven” franchise). Basically the movie is about what happens when an epidemic is introduced into the population… and the sh*t is scary… because it’s absolutely true. I’m warning you up front if you decide to
watch it, you may never want to touch anything ever again without dousing yourself in sanitizer. Basically the movie starts with a woman (Paltrow) flying back from Hong Kong to her home in Minnesota with a cold of some sort. You know, not feeling well, cough, mucous, fun stuff. The next morning… she goes into a seizure… and dies at the hospital. The doctors have no idea what happened. Her husband (Damon) is surprisingly chill about it when the news is broken (I’d have lost my sh*t). Well, the next day, his son has a cold… and he dies suddenly too.
Yet the husband is not sick… but now he’s got to protect his daughter who may or may not be immune… but is all he has left. By the way, this is NOT the only case… as the disease spreads quickly while the CDC & WHO try to find the source or a way to treat it. Within days there is widespread panic, possible vaccinations that prove somewhat fruitless, anarchy, speculation, sanctions, all kind of sh*t. Within the months, the entire world is kind of collapsing as they try to find a cure. Can they do it in time to save BILLIONS? So yeah, not a real heartwarming tale… but a good film in many ways. I’d say give it a shot if you’re into kind of creepy real movies… and of course, because it’s a disaster movie… there’s a good portion of it in San Francisco. Just saying…

Sunday, my Super Bowl Party was… well, it was a lot of fun even though the only person that showed up was Dizzy. Still though… she brought some brownie cookies… which went INCREDIBLY well with my Dirty Arnold Palmers, which is basically sweet tea vodka & Arizona tea Arnold Palmer mix lite because I’m lazy… but it makes a very smooth palatable beverage that’s about 15-20% alcohol the way I was mixing it. Good times. Leading up to the Super Bowl we saw some of the pre-game programming like the stories on former Saint special teamer Steve Gleason & all the stories about Tom Brady & Elisha Manning… fun fact: Eli’s first name is Elisha. It really is. I wish I were making it up… but I’m not. It’s on a plague at his former high school in New Orleans. Anyway, we also stumbled upon the Lingerie Football League’s championship game… at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas… and I have to tell you that sh*t’s pretty brutal… and arousing for some purely primal reasons.

Also found was the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet… and that sh*t was ridiculously cute & pointless. We also watched a few episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” which by the way, I’m probably going to watch all six seasons or whatever now because it’s THAT hilarious. God bless NPH.

Anyway, the game was a good close one though the Patriots seemed to find so many ways to lose it… and the commercials were pretty good as you might expect… and hell, even Madonna’s show
with LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, Cee Lo & the “scandalous” MIA wasn’t that bad… though awkward at times. Did you see Art Garfunkel bouncing on the rope with his junk? I hope he was wearing a cup. The Giants ended up winning… so whatever… and basically means that despite the Eagles horrible season… they were really only one game away from doing the exact same thing. One win over the Giants, they would’ve had the tiebreaker, gotten the division title & probably done their own cake walk to the Super Bowl. That’s why they play the game. Oh well, next year… and now I just have to hear about how “great” a quarterback Elisha is for the next year or so.

After the game, we hung out for a bit watching “Family Guy” & “American Dad” and the like before calling it an evening (work & school in the morning). Good times… even though nobody really showed up except Dizzy. It’s all good. We’re probably going to go to a friend’s funk concert Friday night. You know I love the funk.

Monday night, I decided to order some Ho’s (Chinese food) and flip through the channels with Pixie… and we found a Pixar flick called “Megamind” starring the voice talents of Will Ferrell, Brad
Pitt, Jonah Hill, David Cross & Tina Fey. The story is about an evil blue-skinned alien genius named Megamind (Ferrell) who was jettisoned to Earth as a baby… and grew up like a “normal” boy… but in the shadow of one superhero named Metro Man (Pitt), who protects Metro City from his evil plans… and always
wins at everything. Well one time… Megamind wins… and kills Metro Man… and so now what? Does Megamind rule with an iron fist & enslave the human race? More like… now he has no goal, no nemesis, everything is easy… so he does the only logical thing… make a new superhero Titan out of a cameraman (Hill) for somebody to test himself against… but things go horribly wrong when the new superhero… turns out to be a supervillain. Now Megamind must protect Metro City… and of course the girl of his dreams (Fey) from Titan. Okay, as usual with Pixar, it’s a great flick for all ages. My roommate & I thoroughly enjoyed
it… and I highly recommend that you check it out. Funny that nobody else I know has mentioned seeing it… but yeah, be that person. Go check it out.

After that, we watched “Friends with Benefits” starring Justin Timberlake & Mila Kunis. An up & coming online marketing executive from LA (Timberlake) is recruited by a superhot “head
hunter” from NYC (Kunis) and they fast become friends… and then friends with benefits… and then it goes from there. Seriously, do you really need more explanation than that? Insert pointless drama, personal intimacy issues, blah blah blah… and no, it’s not the same movie as “No Strings Attached” released
around the same time… that one has Ashton Kutcher & Natalie Portman. Completely different. Anyway, that being said, for a chick flick… it was actually pretty good. I laughed a few times… and let’s face it, Mila Kunis is very easy on the eyes. The part that got me… was when JT’s dad (played by Richard Jenkins) who suffers from Alzheimer’s went into a teary speech about
seizing the moments you have… because you never know when you’re going to lose them or how many you have left to enjoy. That sh*t really stuck with me, both for his pretty fantastic performance & the message behind it. You know… my mind is a fleeting object from time to time… so I’ve pretty much decided that I’m just going to enjoy the f**k outta myself… and then probably forget it later on. That way, I don’t have to worry about what choices to make & choosing work over vacation or something like that… so I hope my job is ready for that. I have to use my saved up vacation some time, right? Filly’s been bugging me to visit for a while… and she saw me in May. I’ve also been invited to trips to Portland, Boston, Utah, SoCal, Philly, Toronto & a few others so… I’d better just jump on that. Sorry mom, can’t really do the two week cruise right now though. We both can’t afford it… but it’s during my busiest time again… and you remember what happened last time.

Anyway, on that note, I think I’m done for the day. Hope you are all enjoying your weeks… and a happy humpday to all. Have a great day everybody!!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Spanish Lotto Story

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Just a few more days until Super Bowl XLVI (pronounced “xil-vee” almost like Sylvie) and I’m ready for a party even if nobody else shows. Hell, I may even strike up the grill in the backyard if the mood sets me right. Let’s see, what’s happened the past few days? Bubbles & I had a nice Italian dinner at Il Borgo, a really nice place for a first date… hence why she knew of the place after a bad first date… but liked the restaurant & wanted to enjoy it with a REAL man. The atmosphere was very nice, the food was pretty good though the raviolis were a little firm & the service was pretty good too. Bubbles made a comment afterwards that the waitress was really focusing on me whenever she said anything… and my response was “Of course she was… She assumed it was our first date or something & she knows where her tip is coming from… the one paying the bill 99% of the time in that restaurant.” Overall, a great dinner with great company… and we got to catch up a bit & talk about things.

Fun fact: The other week when I loaned Gretchen to Bubbles for the weekend, on the drive back from Tahoe she ran a toll booth so I got the ticket. She said of course that she would pay for it & just let her know how much when it comes in. Well, this is San Francisco with their ridiculous prices on parking tickets, registration, etc so I thought I’d play a little joke. The notice came in the mail… and I sent her a text “Jesus! $230 for a toll violation?” and that was it. I pictured her on the other end frantically asking the other guests in the jeep to chip in, worrying a bit about how she was going to pay that on such short notice, probably having a few drinks to help her think… so after a few hours, I sent “Sorry typo, it’s just $30.” Yes, I’m an a$$ from time to time. Well, she mentioned that that was exactly what she did for the few hours leading up to that. I apologized but she’s got a sense of humor… and she’s known me forever… so it’s always a little expected.

Wednesday night marked the first time in a LONG time that all four roommates were in the same room at the same time. Literally months since that happened… so we celebrated by ordering pizza, drinking a bottle of wine & watching the news (Daily Show & Colbert Report). Just thought that I’d share that with everybody. Here’s some real news…

RIP Don Cornelius – In one of the worst possible ways to start Black History Month, the great Don Cornelius, the silken-voiced host of TV's "Soul Train" who helped break down racial barriers and broaden the reach of black culture with funky music, groovy dance steps and cutting-edge style, died early Wednesday of an apparent suicide. He was 75 years young. Police responding to a report of a shooting found Cornelius at his Mulholland Drive home around 4 a.m. He was pronounced dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound about an hour later at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to the coroner's office. Police Officer Sara Faden said authorities have ruled out foul play. Detectives have not found a suicide note and are talking to relatives about his mental state. His death prompted many to speak of the positive influence he and his show had on pop culture, music and the black community. "God bless him for the solid good and wholesome foundation he provided for young adults worldwide and the unity and brotherhood he singlehandedly brought about with his most memorable creation of 'Soul Train,'" said Aretha Franklin, an early performer on the show. Franklin called Cornelius "an American treasure." The Rev. Jesse Jackson told KNX-Los Angeles that Cornelius "was a transformer." "'Soul Train' became the outlet for African-Americans," Jackson said, adding that he talked to Cornelius a few days ago and there were no signs Cornelius was upset. Others also expressed their grief. "I am shocked and deeply saddened at the sudden passing of my friend, colleague, and business partner Don Cornelius," Quincy Jones said. "Don was a visionary pioneer and a giant in our business. Before MTV there was 'Soul Train,' that will be the great legacy of Don Cornelius. "His contributions to television, music and our culture as a whole will never be matched," he said. "My heart goes out to Don's family and loved ones." Clarence Avant, former chairman of Motown Records, said, "Don Cornelius' legacy to music, especially black music, will be forever cemented in history. 'Soul Train' was the first and only television show to showcase and put a spotlight on black artists at a time when there were few African-Americans on television at all, and that was the great vision of Don." "Soul Train" began in 1970 in Chicago on WCIU-TV as a local program and aired nationally from 1971 to 2006. You read right, it didn’t STOP until 2006. It showcased such legendary artists as Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Barry White and brought the best R&B, soul and later hip-hop acts to TV and had teenagers dance to them. It was one of the first shows to showcase African-Americans prominently, although the dance group was racially mixed. Cornelius was the first host and executive producer. My sincere condolences to his family & friends.

Boxing Trainer Angelo Dundee Dies - The biggest fight in boxing history might not have been nearly so big were it not for the cunning and quick thinking of trainer Angelo Dundee. Long before Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier met for the first time in their iconic heavyweight title bout at New York’s Madison Square Garden in 1971, Dundee saved Ali from a near-certain defeat in a fight against Henry Cooper. On June 18, 1963, when Ali still was known as Cassius Clay, Dundee noticed a tear in one of Clay’s gloves before the fight in London. Rather than say anything, Dundee filed away the information for future use. Clay was one win away from challenging Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title when Cooper decked him with a devastating hook near the end of the fourth round. Clay arose but was in bad shape and needed time to recover. That’s when Dundee, who died Wednesday in his Florida home at 90, used the information he had gleaned earlier. It was only after the fourth round, when a woozy Clay needed a longer break than the 60 seconds he’d get, that Dundee brought to the attention of referee Tommy Little the tear in Clay’s glove. Little immediately called time and ordered that Clay be given a new glove. The respite was all Clay needed to regain his bearings, and in the next round he stopped Cooper, continuing his march toward the heavyweight title and the ultimate showdown with Frazier. The bout with Frazier, which forever became known as “The Fight of the Century,” might still have occurred, but it wouldn’t have pitted two undefeated champions and thus would never have become as massive a sporting event as it did without Dundee’s quick thinking at the end of the fourth round of the Cooper fight in 1963. “As a trainer, Angelo was OK; he was good, but not great,” said promoter Bob Arum, a close friend of Dundee’s for five decades. “But as a cornerman, he was great. There was never anybody nearly as good as he was in the corner. He’d pick up things during the round, he communicated very well with his fighter in between rounds, and nobody, and I mean nobody, ever could motivate a fighter during a fight as well as Angie.” Dundee was instrumental in wins for many of the sport’s top stars, including Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman. In 1981, it was Dundee’s now-famous line, “You’re blowing it, son. You’re blowing it!” which helped motivate Leonard to rally and knock out Thomas Hearns in the 14th round of their mega-fight at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. In Leonard’s autobiography, “Sugar Ray Leonard: The Big Fight,” he credited Dundee’s exhortations for helping him to win the bout, writing: “The way Angelo said it was as important as what he said, with the perfect mixture of urgency, encouragement and affection. Angelo was no Knute Rockne, but, with the exception of the Dick Ecklund fight (see “The Fighter”), he knew precisely how to get through to me at the most pivotal moments, and no moment in the fight, or in my career, was more pivotal than this.” Dundee wrote about the same incident in his book, “My View from the Corner,” and though he said, “It wasn’t a battle cry that would wake the echoes,” he, too, believed his encouragement played a role in Leonard’s turnaround. “It didn’t take a brain surgeon to see that the moment had gotten away from us, that there were no more Sundays, no more tomorrows, and no title at the end of the road,” he wrote. “Something had to be done. Now, there are certain rules for trainers in corners: There’s no time for hand-wringing; and no time to get preachy. You’ve got to give your fighter stripped-to-the-bone advice, just as Manny Seamon had given Joe Louis in the second Jersey Joe Walcott fight when he told him simply, ‘You’ve got to knock him out,’ and Louis, heeding his advice, did.” In total, Dundee trained FIFTEEN World Champion boxers in his career including obviously some of the all-time greats. He was elected into the Boxing Hall of Fame long ago but his legacy will hopefully live on now that boxing has kind of hit a really sad time in the sport (seriously, I don’t know what’s going on with Mayweather-Pacquaio but if the biggest event POSSIBLE is to put two little dudes in a ring & let them duke it out… or dance around in a way that’ll never live up to all the hype… then that’s bad).

Such a horrible way to start off the month with news like that… and if I were in Pennsylvania, I’d keep an eye out on Puxatawny Phil tomorrow for Groundhog Day. You never know, he may have a heart attack seeing his shadow… and then what? Winter would never end? Kind of a reverse global warming? “Oh $teve, you crazy! That’d never happen.” Really? Then how do you explain this?

Manneken Pis Update - The Manneken-Pis, a bronze statue of a young boy urinating that is a symbol of Brussels and a major tourist attraction, has had to stop peeing because of sub-zero temperatures, Belgium's tourist office said on Wednesday. Officials turned off the flow of water through the statue, which has stood on a Brussels corner since the 1600s, out of concern the cold might damage its internal mechanism (bladder). Temperatures in the Belgian capital were set to fall to minus 10 Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) Wednesday night, far below the average minimum for February. "It all depends on the weather, if the temperatures go up again it will work again," a tourist office spokeswoman said. The statue, which is on the site of a 15th Century drinking fountain, has more than 800 specially made outfits which city officials use to dress it up during the year. It is one of Brussels' most popular attractions… because we are all weirdos. It makes perfect sense though… because if it’s too chilly outside to whip it out, even for a few moments to relieve one’s self… then it should be turned off… and I don’t anticipate too many people are going to be particularly offended if there’s not a lemon flavored piss-sicle off the statue in the heart of winter. I’m just always looking for an excuse to mention obscure things that people find fascinating for really no reason other than… it’s a statue of a boy pissing… that people dress up throughout the year. It’s not exactly as quirky as say… having your national symbol be a tower with a horrible foundation surrounded by pickpocket gypsy hordes like Italy & the leaning tower of Pisa. Don’t get too high & mighty America! Two of the great symbols of Freedom, Independence, Hope & most of all LIBERTY in our country… are a bell that we cracked, tried to fix & cracked again… and a gift statue of a lady in a toga that was made & designed in France… and they’ve got one just like it in Paris. Just a little food for thought…

Spanish Lotto Story – Back in December, the tiny Spanish village of Sodeto collectively won a major stake in the annual $950 million Spanish national lottery. Today, the village of farmers and construction workers is enjoying a minimum payout of $130,000 per resident. CHA-CHING!!! And yet for all of the new wealth making its way around Sodeto, one villager came away empty-handed (wah-waaaah…). Costis Mitsotakis, a Greek filmmaker who moved to the village for a woman (it’s always a woman’s fault), is the only resident of Sodeto who did not purchase a ticket. Mitsotakis says he is no longer with the woman and now lives in a barn he is restoring just outside the village. Mr. Mitsotakis said it would have been nice to win. But he has benefited nonetheless. He had been trying to sell some land without much success. The day after the lottery a neighbor called to say he would buy it. The next day another neighbor called. But Mr. Mitsotakis refused to get into a bidding war. "This is a small village," he said. "You don't want bad feelings." Spain's national lottery, known as "El Gordo" (the fat one), was first established in 1812 and operates somewhat differently than most American lotteries. For example, this year there were 1,800 first-prize winning tickets, each with the same winning number of 58268. Each winning ticket was awarded a cash-prize equaling $520,000. But since each ticket costs $26, Spain allows them to be divided into as many as six "participations." As for the other residents, they've found that with the newfound wealth comes distractions and fortune seekers. The village has reportedly been bombarded with sales representatives of all forms, each trying to cash in on the nearly $150 million infusion of wealth. More from the New York Times: “On a recent morning, the vendors just kept showing up: bankers in suits offering high interest rates, car salesmen talking up BMWs and furniture dealers going door to door. Like many other local farmers, José Manuel Penella Cambra, who had recently invested in more efficient irrigation techniques, worried about how he would meet his payments. But his wife bought two tickets, worth $260,000, and his son found two more she had bought earlier and had forgotten about, bringing the total to $520,000. "I kept saying: look for some more, look for some more," he joked in the village cafe, a shabby establishment with a few Formica tables and a ripped black leatherette sofa.” Of course, in a town where everyone is rich, who serves the wealthy? As Mayor Rosa Pons notes, "Some of the ladies talked about going to the hairdresser. But the hairdresser won, too. And she said, 'I'm not working today.' So that ended that." Ah the inconveniences of having too much money… what a shame it must be. How’s that for a nice little tale? Some hardworking farmers & construction workers finally get a nice chunk of change to hopefully set themselves for life & not have to worry about The Man taking their homes & livelihood. Kind of sad that the mere working hard doesn’t take care of that for everybody but… hey, that’s the Game.

What would you do with $130,000 that just popped up overnight? I’m curious, please leave me a little note.

By the way, let me ask y’all another quick question if I might. Well, you know, really a series of questions. Let’s say that you had a dream job as a kid. I’m sure it differs from firefighter to archeologist to princess to whatever… but let’s just say it’s a pretty average job like… an engineer. You’re good at math as a kid… like real good… and you REALLY enjoy doing it. You study hard, you do all kinds of extra projects, join the various school teams to compete against others that are also into engineering. You approach your senior year of high school… and you have an important decision to make about where to go for college. There are even places like MIT, Harvard, all the big names coming out and actively recruiting you based on your performance in the competitions & offering you scholarships and full access to their facilities to further your studies. Then again… there are also companies telling you that college would be a waste of time because you’ve already read all the books that they’re going to be teaching from & you’ve already got your own theses & experiments going & idea ready to go. Plus… they’re going to offer you a starting wage of $350,000 a year because they feel that you’re already in the top percentile of engineers. You’re working part time at a grocery store to get gas money to go to all your classes and have a little fun on the weekends… and within a month’s time, you’d be making six digits a year for something that you love to do… and they’re going to be teaching you along the way too, with their state of the art facilities. You’d take that mutha f**king job in a heartbeat, right?

No? You still want to go to a university for the “college experience” with your peers? By the way, the “college experience” regularly involves stuff like dropping out, barely making ends meet, unexpected pregnancy, STDs, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, sex addiction (if that’s a real thing), and then after four years… you can hope that you didn’t f**k things up along the way… but let’s say for the sake of the example, you didn’t succumb to any of that… you’ll get a similar offer for that six digit salary you passed on years earlier… or maybe something along the lines of $500,000 a year. Do you take it now? Of course you do, right? You’re in the real world.

Add this other twist four years earlier: Let’s say that instead of $350,000 a year right out of high school graduation… they offered you $1,000,000 a year. Would you take the job then? Of course you would. You’d be a Goddamn fool not to, right? How about if you had no say where you’d be working from other than it would be in one of their offices in the United States (and one in Canada)? Would you take the job then? Absolutely! Even Detroit has gated communities that would welcome you with open arms with an annual salary of seven digits. Okay… do you see the point that I’m getting around to? If not, let’s say instead of being an engineer… you play basketball… or football… or some other sport. Do you still think those teenage kids who jump straight from high school to the pros are foolish? Then perhaps you’re being a little foolish. Oh… and the $350,000 a year, I think that’s still the minimum salary for a 15th player on the bench in the NBA but that was a few years ago so it may be more… and the average salary isn’t $1 million, it’s more around $5-6 million per year… or basically over a hundred times what I make in a year & I’m doing pretty good, I think. The point is… Don’t hate the Playa, hate the Game.

Anyway, that’ll probably do it for tonight. Excited for the forthcoming Super Bowl Party!!! The game shouldn’t be too bad either, but we shall see. Kinda want both of them to lose… but I’d rather go for the Patriots than the Giants. Sorry Jersey!!! Have a great weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Topless Gangster Party in Davos

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Saturday morning, Nurse & I woke up a little early and met up with her friends for an adventure in Vacaville – Midway Paintballing. Now the complex is located about an hour outside of the City, and is just off the freeway in a field in a small town next to an RV park… but don’t get it twisted, it’s actually a pretty fine establishment and I’m sure it makes some good money. They have several different arenas to choose from for a range of scenarios and skill levels. The cover even ranges from inflatable shapes on a football field, to construction spools & leftover plastic piping, to something that seems like an invasion in Western Europe with a stronghold and trenches and even makeshift particle board tanks. We went during a busy day, so we got the full gamut of guys showing up in camouflage with their specialized paintball guns & gear to us… basically beginners. There were even softball teams & families trying stuff out for the first time. Now, I had paintballed a few times as a kid but didn’t really get into it as much as you might think given my redneck background. It’s still a lot of fun & I don’t mind the welts and what-have-you from a good day out. We were there for a good 5-6 hours. Then right around the end of the day, I went & tried to do some ridiculous sliding into the cover because I was feeling a little cocky… and tweaked my back. Sum’bich! It’s still a little sore… and I had to sit out my basketball game last night… but all in all, it was a great time with Nurse & her friends. I would definitely do it again & highly recommend it.

That night, I was sitting around watching TV with my bad back when I was getting text messages from Dizzy. Apparently we were both sitting around not doing much… so I mentioned that I was about to watch “Return to Oz” for the first time since I was a kid, so if she cared to join me, that’d be cool. She did… and we watched it. Now, for those of you who have never seen it, here’s the synopsis. It’s a few weeks after the end of “The Wizard of Oz” (though inexplicably Dorothy has reverted from a 17-year old Judy Garland to a ten-year old Fairuza Balk from “The Craft” & “Waterboy” fame). After a time of insomnia, coupled with these fantastically crazy stories of a land called Oz that their daughter rants on about, Dorothy’s parents basically decide to commit her to a hospital for some electro shock treatment. By the way, the story is set in Kansas 1899… and if you didn’t know that, don’t worry, they mention it several times in the first few minutes. Anyway, while in the hospital (being supervised by Nurse Ratchet), Dorothy is magically transported back to Oz, along with her beloved chicken… to save it from an evil sorceress & rock lord who have taken power. Basically from there, it’s a bunch of craziness involving henchmen with rollerskates for appendages, a flying couch with a moose head on it, Jack the pumpkin king, a robot soldier & the creepiest smiling Scarecrow you can imagine. It’s great fun for the kiddies… and kinda creepy. Sidenote: In the story, the Wizard passes away or something… and they name Scarecrow the King of the Emerald City. Now… I know he got a brain at the end of first movie… but I kinda wonder how that discussion went when they were appointing the new ruler. Was it something like “Okay, we could go with one of the munchkins… or do we have any of those white witches left? No? Well, the flying monkeys are already in Congress so I guess that leaves us the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man & the Scarecrow. The Lion is now longer cowardly… but he’s got that public affairs fiasco with eating half of congress. The Tin Man is a strong candidate with a good war record… but he’s seen as a little soft since he got that new heart. He also has no soul & is basically a robot so he’s more fit to lead the robot army of tinker toys that we have. I guess that leaves us with… sigh… a thatched man of straw who just recently because smarter than a 5th grader.” It sounds ridiculous… but this was basically the 2000 Presidential Election about fifteen years earlier. Food for thought. The movie was a’ight I guess… we had fun making fun of it… and that’s what really matters.

Sunday, I made some b**chin’ red beans & rice with chicken sausage for dinner and stayed home for most of the day. Later in the day, Nurse & I watched another I hadn’t seen in a long time, “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” starring Jeff Goldblum, Julianne Moore, Vince Vaughn & the late great Pete Postelthwaite. Now, I had seen this movie once when it first came out… and I didn’t really like it, which is tough for me to say with a dinosaur flick. Oh yeah, plot first… a few years after the original, the company that funded Jurassic Park is scrambling with the impending death of the owner & trying to make a profit all the money that they poured into a failed investment. Well, the owner (“Spared no expense!”) sends a small team of four to a previously unmentioned island (conveniently) where they basically just let the dinosaurs roam around unchecked (that wasn’t explained why either). And… and for some reason on these team of four, he added the most irritating character from the first movie (yes even more than the little kid) statistician Ian Malcolm (Goldblum) because math is important when you’re working with live dinosaurs… and his paleontologist girlfriend (Moore) who’s already been on the island for a bit. So armed with a few tranquilizer darts and a first aid kit, the team of four go to the island… and I forgot to mention the African-American daughter of Jeff Goldblum (obvious resemblance) who managed to stow away somehow to get on this trip… and as you might expect, sh*t goes wrong. Of course. There’s really no way for this to possibly go right. Anyway, company send another team of hunters fully loaded to the teeth with weapons & battle experience, after sh*t goes wrong, some manage to survive & they bagged a T-Rex to take back to downtown San Diego for their new zoo (a la King Kong). Well, you can guess where it goes from there.

Okay, even as a kid, I can look past all the corny lines, ridiculous scenarios to introduce certain character demographics, plot holes & stuff like that because I grew up on Back to the Future, so I’ll let ya slide Mr. Spielberg. However, I just had one really burning question from my teenage years that has yet to be answered. A little bit of a spoiler alert: When the ship transporting the T-Rex crashes into the dock, I’m not even going to ask about how the ship crashed into the exact spot that it was supposed to go anyway… I’ll let you off with an explanation like “The autopilot controlled the direction but not the speed” or something like that. What I’m wondering about… is when they board the ship, they find random limbs of the crew scattered about insinuating that the T-Rex ate them all, as he was the only dinosaur on the ship. However, the T-Rex was in the cargo hold the entire time, as that is where he was found trapped when they boarded the ship. So who the f**k ate the crew? That’s the big one, and I’ll leave out little ones like how would the T-Rex have eaten the captain (all but his hand on the steering wheel) without destroying the little door that Jeff Goldblum would have to duck to enter? Anyway, I watched the movie… and again, it was alright to make fun of… but the 3rd one was definitely better. Dinosaurs rule! On that note…

Apocalypse Update - That burgeoning population of huge pythons that I’ve been rattling on about for years appears to be wiping out large numbers of raccoons, opossums, bobcats and other mammals in the Everglades, a study says. The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that sightings of medium-size mammals are down dramatically (as much as 99%, in some cases) in areas where pythons and other large, non-native constrictor snakes are known to be lurking. Scientists fear the pythons could disrupt the food chain and upset the Everglades' environmental balance in ways difficult to predict. "The effects of declining mammal populations on the overall Everglades ecosystem, which extends well beyond the national park boundaries, are likely profound," said John Willson, a research scientist at Virginia Tech University and co-author of the study. Tens of thousands of Burmese pythons, which are native to Southeast Asia, are believed to be living in the Everglades, where they thrive in the warm, humid climate. While many were apparently released by their owners, others may have escaped from pet shops during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and have been reproducing ever since. Burmese pythons can grow to be 26 feet long and more than 200 pounds, and they have been known to swallow animals as large as alligators. They and other constrictor snakes kill their prey by coiling around it and suffocating it. The National Park Service has counted 1,825 Burmese pythons that have been caught in and around Everglades National Park since 2000. Among the largest so far was a 156-pound, 16.4-foot one captured earlier this month. For the study, researchers drove 39,000 miles along Everglades-area roads from 2003 through 2011, counting wildlife spotted along the way and comparing the results with surveys conducted on the same routes in 1996 and 1997. The researchers found staggering declines in animal sightings: a drop of 99.3% among raccoons, 98.9% for opossums, 94.1% for white-tailed deer and 87.5% for bobcats. Along roads where python populations are believed to be smaller, declines were lower but still notable. Rabbits and foxes, which were commonly spotted in 1996 and 1997, were not seen at all in the later counts (100%?). Researchers noted slight increases in coyotes, Florida panthers, rodents and other mammals, but discounted that finding because so few were spotted overall. "The magnitude of these declines underscores the apparent incredible density of pythons in Everglades National Park," said Michael Dorcas, a professor at Davidson College in North Carolina and lead author of the study. Although scientists cannot definitively say the pythons are killing off the mammals, the snakes are the prime suspect. The increase in pythons coincides with the mammals' decrease, and the decline appears to grow in magnitude with the size of the snakes' population in an area. A single disease appears unlikely to be the cause since several species were affected. The report says the effect on the overall ecosystem is hard to predict. Declines among bobcats and foxes, which eat rabbits, could be linked to pythons' feasting on rabbits. On the flip side, declines among raccoons, which eat eggs, may help some turtles, crocodiles and birds. Scientists point with concern to what happened in Guam, where the invasive brown tree snake has killed off birds, bats and lizards that pollinated trees and flowers and dispersed seeds. That has led to declines in native trees, fish-eating birds and certain plants. In 2010, Florida banned private ownership of Burmese pythons. Earlier this month, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a federal ban on the import of Burmese pythons and three other snakes. Salazar said Monday that the study shows why such restrictions were needed. "This study paints a stark picture of the real damage that Burmese pythons are causing to native wildlife and the Florida economy," he said. Wait, there’s more…

Apocalypse Update Two - Florida wildlife recently officers found a veritable deadly reptile exhibit inside one man's Boca Raton apartment: A red-spitting cobra, a puff adder, a uracoan rattlesnake, two false cobras and even a small alligator. Basically the Rogue’s Gallery of Deadly Reptiles for all occasions. When you read the detailed descriptions of each of these reptiles, it's hard to imagine how anyone would willingly live with these deadly creatures. But that was exactly what Tyler Nolan was doing until he was caught keeping them without a permit. Nolan was cited for several health and safety violations. The alligator was released back into the wild while the snakes were turned over to a professional facility capable of caring for them (exterminator). Nolan reportedly cooperated with authorities, telling them that he was in the process of obtaining permits for all of the reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission first became aware of the situation when they received a tip that Nolan was housing the reptiles without proper authority (probably when he applied for the permits). As the group's website notes, Florida is already home to approximately 1,300 native species of fish and wildlife. The commission estimates that the state has also become home to nearly 300 non-native species. The same reason that so many people are drawn to the Sunshine State is what makes the need for proper wildlife regulations essential: "Florida's subtropical climate is ideal for many foreign species to survive. If these species escape or are released, they can easily become established here," the site notes. And to that end, the state does have some unusual wildlife permits, include those for Florida black bears and Florida panthers. Thankfully, the reptiles were all reportedly in good condition and were being kept in "secure enclosures," according to the Sun-Sentinel. Why would a man do this? Probably because he had no choice. The animals ambushed him & forced him to give them a safe home… or perhaps he was being unwillingly coerced into providing shelter for what appeared to be unfortunate travelers on the run from the snake whacking hordes out to destroy them (and save the world)? Whatever the reason, it happened… and your neighbor might be doing the same thing. Keep an eye out for suspicious behavior and report to your local wildlife department… and always keep a machete handy, just in case. You never know when you need a machete. That’s just common sense.

Zombie George Washington? - George Washington wasn't only America's first President (well, he actually wasn’t if you go by the official record where John Hanson was elected President in 1781 after the Articles of Confederation were signed… and there were actually six others elected before Washington in 1789 when the Constitution was signed… but you can google that sh*t later), but George was also almost its first zombie. After Washington died from an illness in December 1799, his family nearly accepted an offer from a physician who believed he could bring America's first commander in chief back to life. The website io9 writes that physician William Thornton is best remembered as the first designer of the U.S. Capitol. But he also proposed reviving George Washington's deceased body using a combination of blankets, an air pump and lamb's blood. Washington had become ill after traveling through the wet winter rain that year. He finally succumbed to his illness after a painful series of "treatments" that included regular blood drainings, having his stomach drained and drinking mixtures of vinegar, molasses and butter (mmm…). Washington famously told his doctors before passing, "I die hard, but I am not afraid to go." However, he was reportedly afraid of being buried alive and asked friends and family to wait three days before holding his funeral (Jesus complex?). The strange tale comes from Holly Tucker's book “Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution”, which was released last March. The morning after his death, Washington's step-granddaughter brought Dr. Thornton to the Mount Vernon. That's when Thornton made the offer to Martha Washington. The plan involved thawing Washington's body which had been placed on ice, rubbing it "vigorously" with blankets, performing a tracheotomy to pump Washington's lungs full of air and then finally an infusion of lamb's blood, which at the time was believed to contain special medicinal properties. Washington's friends and family reportedly turned down the offer not because they didn't think it could work but because they felt Washington would have wanted to rest in peace. Repeat: Not because they didn’t think it wouldn’t work… but because they thought he wanted to rest in peace… as opposed to be a walking dead man. As it turns out, Thornton had other plans for Washington's body as well (oh dear God). Thornton secretly included a burial vault in his designs for the Capitol and hoped it would be Washington's final resting place. Martha Washington reportedly agreed to that arrangement, only stipulating that she be entombed next to Washington after her own death. An interesting little tidbit for all you other people out there who flip through the channels and see… for example, what I saw on the History Channel last night, shows about how to survive a zombie apocalypse & how zombies may not be completely fake. Yes. That was on the History Channel. Primetime on a Sunday afternoon. Now for something a little bit more on the bright side of life… sorta…

Topless Gangster Party in Davos - Three radical (in every sense of the word) Ukrainian feminists braved the subzero chill at the Swiss ski resort of Davos on Saturday, going topless to protest against the World Economic Forum "gangsters". Now this politics I can stand behind… or preferably in front of. The three activists arrived at the security checks at the congress hall's entrance where they undressed, revealing slogans painted across their upper bodies including "Gangster Party in Davos" and "Poor Because of You." They also brandished signs saying "Crisis Made in Davos" and were arrested after they attempted to scale the metal fences with glass-cutter nipples intact. The Ukrainian group called Femen, whose slogan is "We Came, We Undressed, We Conquered," specializes in eye-catching stunts in which they protest topless, using their bodies to draw attention to sexual exploitation. Femen activists have previously protested outside the Parisian home of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. In November, one activist also managed to sneak past security to partially strip in front of the Vatican's Saint Peter's Basilica just after the pope's Sunday Angelus. All I have to say is… giggidy!!!

Anyway, that should do it for today. Not a whole lot to catch you up on… but the Super Bowl Party is coming up on Sunday so that should be a whole lotta fun. Not sure who’s going to show up… but I’ll be there… and at least two roommates… and probably a few of their friends… and any neighbors that hear our shenanigans. Have a great day everybody!!!

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