Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nothing to See Here

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
My cousin Alicia has been here the past few days… and it’s been pretty chill. I’ve been working during the day but she’s been wandering the city, shopping, seeing some of the sights, etc. Tuesday night was her birthday so I took her & Dizzy out for some sushi and had a few rolls. Wednesday night, we got some pizza & watched “The Critic” & “Archer” to our hearts content. She’s already heading back Friday morning… but she’s had fun & that’s what’s important… even if the first day of her vacation was spent at Provo Municipal Airport. Ugh… anyway, here’s the news…
Dinosaur Update – Yes, I’m a dinosaur nerd… but this one’s pretty badass. The fossil of an impressive-looking, plant-eating species of dinosaur has been discovered in southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, researchers from the Natural History Museum of Utah announced. Called Nasutoceratops titusi, the first part translates to "big-nose horned face.” The second part is named for paleontologist Alan Titus to honor his work in the area. The four-legged horned beast is a relative of the three-horned Triceratops family, but it stands out because its nose was larger than those of other horned dinosaurs of the time. The herbivore lived in the swampy island continent known as Laramidia about 76 million years ago. The Nasutoceratops titusi, which roamed North America in the late Cretaceous Period, sported a huge horn jutting over each eye and an impressively large nozzle. “The jumbo-sized schnoz of Nasutoceratops likely had nothing to do with a heightened sense of smell—since olfactory receptors occur further back in the head adjacent to the brain—and the function of this bizarre feature remains uncertain,” Scott Sampson, the study’s lead author, stated in a press release. The nose is only one oversized part of the giant creature, which measured 15 feet in length and weighed a massive 2.5 tons. At least the horns served a purpose. “The amazing horns of Nasutoceratops were most likely used as visual signals of dominance and, when that wasn’t enough, as weapons for combating rivals,” noted Mark Loewen, a co-author of the study. The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, where the fossil was found, was part of a former land mass called Laramidia in western North America. The land mass has yielded dinosaur fossil finds from Alaska to Mexico. "Nasutoceratops is a wondrous example of just how much more we have to learn about with the world of dinosaurs," said co-author, Eric Lund, who also discovered the species. "Many more exciting fossils await discovery in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument." So… let’s tear it down? No, that wasn’t the point. Okay… then let’s just look at the impressive artist’s rendering. It’s amazing how much we don’t know about things that already happened… but very interesting. Yay Utah!!! Dinosaur Capital, USA!!! In other bone news…

A Very Special “Bones” International Case - An Austrian man is to be charged with disturbing the peace of the dead after police found 56 skulls and 55 other bones at a museum he had created in his home. Police in the province of Burgenland said the relics were taken without authorization from a church cemetery and had now been returned. The 47-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released pending his being charged, came to the attention of the police when he tried to sell three skulls and two thigh bones at a flea market, police said. A police spokesman said he had never encountered such a case in his 37 years in the force and knew neither why the man had collected the bones nor why he had tried to sell some of them. "But there's nothing new under the sun," he said. Ugh… I’m gonna crack the case for you real quick… he was selling them… at flea markets. That was his motive… and maybe a little skull f**king but they would be clean by the time that he sold them obviously.
Corn Palace Update - A quirky eastern South Dakota landmark dedicated to all things corn is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, including new lit domes resembling ears of corn, in an effort to draw in more maize-curious visitors. The Corn Palace bills itself as the world's only palace dedicated to the grain plant (and shockingly NOT in Nebraska). New murals using about 275,000 ears of corn of various sizes and colors decorate the exterior and interior of the sprawling building each year in the small town of Mitchell. About 200,000 tourists visit the attraction annually. Originally established in 1892 for settlers to display the fruits of their harvest, the Corn Palace has undergone several changes over the years and is now used for a variety of local activities, including graduations, proms and basketball games (WHAT???). But local officials are looking for something more exciting (THAN BASKETBALL?). The Mitchell City Council approved a $7.2 million upgrade Monday to the attraction and the adjacent soon-to-be vacated City Hall building, including new domes that will look like an ear of corn with the silks of the corn coming off, said Corn Palace director Mark Schilling. A balcony, larger murals and a widened lobby are also planned, along with upgrades to the building's heating and cooling systems (so the kernels don’t pop). "The Corn Palace is the pride and joy of Mitchell, so we want to make sure our icon is kept fresh and looking good," Schilling said. The renovations will also help honor the attraction's roots, Schilling added, noting that photos of the original Corn Palace in 1892 show larger murals and different types of domes. The murals are created with corn of various colors, including blue, orange and black, and are changed annually based on a different theme. They've portrayed such things as Mount Rushmore and cowboys riding horses. But Doug Dailey, chairman of the Corn Palace Area Development group, said people often drive by and take pictures, without stopping to take a look inside the Corn Palace, which is a free attraction. So the group plans to add exhibits, including one recently purchased from the Indiana State Museum. "The idea is that people want something to do when they get there, and there really hasn't been anything to do other than to look at it," he said. Opening up the windows to allow in more light and adding a balcony so visitors can get closer to the corn murals will make the building more inviting, he added. "At this point, our focus is on tourism, that we can get more visitors and get them to stay longer." Good call. I like it… having visited the palace a few years back, yeah I think they just had like a smashed penny machine & postcards. I don’t recall much else, but I was a young teenager too. Crews will begin the process of hanging new murals in late August, Schilling said. A drought last year hurt some of the colored corn used in the murals and the Corn Palace was forced to decorate its building without four colors: blue, calico, orange and light brown. It was a predicament that worried Schilling and other local officials, but one the great Stephen Colbert found humor in. "The Colbert Report" traveled to South Dakota to film a seven-minute "special report" titled, "A Shucking Disaster — Nightmare at the Mitchell Corn Palace," which lampooned the issue. Not the issue of using massive amount of food towards a tourist trap… but that the tourist trap was hard hit because of it. America! Next time you’re near the Black Hills, please go check it out… it’s an absolutely beautiful area of the country.

Fire Works – In honor of celebrations like Utah’s Pioneer Day earlier this week, a fire at an Indiana fireworks store broke out last Wednesday night, engulfing the building and sending fireworks soaring into the air as firefighters battled the blaze. The cause of the fire at Windy City Fireworks in Rochester remains under investigation, Fulton County fire officials said. According to WSBT-TV, firefighters "had to dodge fireworks that were being activated by the flames." No one was in the building at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported. The building also houses an antiques store. The fire began around 9:30 p.m. Dozens of drivers pulled over to take a look at the impromptu fireworks display, causing minor traffic delays, the Fulton County Sheriff's Office said… along with I’m assuming phrases like “Move along! Nothing to see here!” a la “The Naked Gun”. In a little twist though, a Rochester police official told WSBT the family that owns Windy City Fireworks… also once owned a Rochester fire extinguisher warehouse that exploded in 2001, killing four people. Hmm… interesting… still I’m sure it was quite the sight. Check out YouTube if you wanna see for yourself.
PayPal Oopsy - Imagine checking your PayPal account to find you had accidentally been credited with more money than the world’s annual gross domestic product. Ugh… cash please. That’s what happened to Pennsylvania’s Chris Reynolds, who buys and sells car parts online. Of course, there’s one major catch: Reynolds never technically was in possession of any of the accidentally credited funds. "I'm just feeling like a million bucks," Reynolds said when asked about the technical glitch. When Reynolds then went to check his actual funds available on the site, he saw the amount was, in fact, zero. (Wah waaaah…) PayPal hasn’t commented on the flub but Reynolds was quick to offer his thoughts on how he theoretically would spend the $92,233,720,368,547,800 that initially showed up in his account. "I'm a very responsible guy. I would pay the national debt down first. Then I would buy the Phillies, if I could get a great price." In a separate interview, Reynolds said he routinely exchanges about $100 a month through the site. And he joked that he made a “generous” $30 donation to a local Delaware County Council candidate after seeing the enormous PayPal statement. "I was moved to be really generous by good fortune," he said. To put the $92 quadrillion number in perspective, it’s 1,300 times greater than the world’s annual gross domestic product of $71.83 trillion. Reynolds, 56, told the International Business Times that he received a notice from PayPal the next day asking him to verify his credit card information. "The sad part is that I got word that they still need me to renew the credit card that's attached to this account. So, even though I have 90 quadrillion dollars, they still don't trust me." It just goes to show that there’s no such thing as good credit… there’s credit… and bad credit. Hmm… $92 quadrillion dollars… that’s some good change. What’s that? How would I spend it? Well… since you asked… hmm… I’d probably give a few bucks to my friends & family… or maybe just say “Hey guys… Australia is yours. Enjoy!” Then I would probably build that stairway to heaven that I’ve been meaning to get around to… along with every single soul in Christendom… and maybe fill up the tank in my Jeep. You know… be fiscally responsible. No investment in the youth though. If they don’t know how to read, there’s an app for that. Who am I kidding? I’d blow it all on expensive hookers & trying to bring back dinosaurs… simultaneously.
Well, that’ll do it for tonight. I’m not sure what this weekend will entail but next weekend is the start of the big Oregon trip full of riding ATVs, cooking & eating crab five meals a day, hanging with good friends… and basically just chillaxing while my coworkers scurry about a few hundred miles away in my absence. Good times… have a great weekend everybody!!!

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