12.25.2008

Away In A Manger - Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre



"...brilliant...love the outdoor socks!"

12.21.2008

"Credit Crunch Christmas": Tarquin Britten and the City Boyz



Sorry we $£!?ed up your Christmas!

12.20.2008

A visit to the coldest town on Earth



Founded by Mongols in the time of Ghengis Kahn, the town of Oymyakon is the coldest permanently inhabited place on earth.

The village has a population of around 800 and is located 690 meters above sea level and lies in a valley between two mountain ranges (the reason for the low temperatures). The name Oymyakon means "non-freezing water" because of the natural hot spring close to the village.

The temperature this week is pretty low and the temperature tomorrow is a chilly -63C which based on the stats at Wikipedia equals the record low for December.

12.16.2008

Classical music performed by the Muppets: Ode to Beeker and the Blue Gonzo Chicken Waltz





The Muppets/YouTube partnership is bearing sweet, musical fruit. Here are two fantastic musical clips to help familiarize your kids with the cultural significance of the great works of classical music: first, Beeker and his many clones perform Ode to Joy (viddy it, oh my brothers, just viddy it), then Gonzo the Great and his chicken orchestra cluck out The Blue Danube Waltz (by Strauss, the louse, he lives in a house, with Mick-ey Mouse).

12.06.2008

The MasterCard Commercial You Will Never See

Amount spent each year in Europe and the United States on pet food: $17 billion

Cost per year to achieve basic health and nutrition for the entire world: $13 billion

Amount spent on perfumes each year: $12 billion

Clean water for all the world: $9 billion

Amount spent on cosmetics in the US: $8 billion

Basic education for the world’s children: $6 billion

Total amount the US spends on Christmas each year: $450 billion (or 16 years worth of food, water, and education for the world)

Initial cost of the US Government bailout of failing financial institutions: $700 billion (or 25 years worth of food, water, and education for the world)

Coming to grips with the alarming disconnects of our consumerist society: Priceless

11.26.2008

Star Wars bloopers (IV V VI)



"This is in fact a DVD easter egg from the 2004 Star Wars Trilogy boxed set. You can access this feature by selecting title 38 on the Bonus Material disc of the set."

Batman to be killed off after 70 years


'Batman RIP' will see "the end of Bruce Wayne as Batman", according to Grant Morrison.
There are rumours that Batman will suffer a gruesome end when his sidekick Robin goes over to "the dark side" and destroys him in a terrible betrayal.
Batman, alter ego of Bruce Wayne a wealthy industrialist, operates in the American Gotham City.
Others speculate that Wayne may either retire from his duties or be killed by a mystery villain known as the Black Glove.
His fate will be revealed in the latest issue of DC Comic's Batman, published on 26 November.

Link

"Not the Batman - Superman's death has already been done....this seems like an effort to boost sales, and then they'll resurrect him..."

11.24.2008

Pizzagna


A pizza with the depth and character of a lasagna. A lasagna that you could pick up with your hand and eat like a pizza. A match made in heaven? Perhaps.

Link

"Some historians say that the Pizzagna was neither Pizza, nor Lasagne. Discuss..."

11.19.2008

Why McDonald's Fries Taste So Good

By Eric Schlosser
Excerpt From Eric Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation'

THE french fry was "almost sacrosanct for me," Ray Kroc, one of the founders of McDonald's, wrote in his autobiography, "its preparation a ritual to be followed religiously." During the chain's early years french fries were made from scratch every day. Russet Burbank potatoes were peeled, cut into shoestrings, and fried in McDonald's kitchens. As the chain expanded nationwide, in the mid-1960s, it sought to cut labor costs, reduce the number of suppliers, and ensure that its fries tasted the same at every restaurant. McDonald's began switching to frozen french fries in 1966 -- and few customers noticed the difference. Nevertheless, the change had a profound effect on the nation's agriculture and diet. A familiar food had been transformed into a highly processed industrial commodity. McDonald's fries now come from huge manufacturing plants that can peel, slice, cook, and freeze two million pounds of potatoes a day. The rapid expansion of McDonald's and the popularity of its low-cost, mass-produced fries changed the way Americans eat. In 1960 Americans consumed an average of about eighty-one pounds of fresh potatoes and four pounds of frozen french fries. In 2000 they consumed an average of about fifty pounds of fresh potatoes and thirty pounds of frozen fries. Today McDonald's is the largest buyer of potatoes in the United States.

The taste of McDonald's french fries played a crucial role in the chain's success -- fries are much more profitable than hamburgers -- and was long praised by customers, competitors, and even food critics. James Beard loved McDonald's fries. Their distinctive taste does not stem from the kind of potatoes that McDonald's buys, the technology that processes them, or the restaurant equipment that fries them: other chains use Russet Burbanks, buy their french fries from the same large processing companies, and have similar fryers in their restaurant kitchens. The taste of a french fry is largely determined by the cooking oil. For decades McDonald's cooked its french fries in a mixture of about seven percent cottonseed oil and 93 percent beef tallow. The mixture gave the fries their unique flavor -- and more saturated beef fat per ounce than a McDonald's hamburger.

Link

11.18.2008

Because Everyone In Canada Lives In An Igloo.


I can’t believe what some people think of Canada. I just don’t get it, do folks out there really struggle to understand new cultures or different places in the world.

Now that Vancouver has won the chance to host the 2010 Winter Olympics, these are some questions people from all over the world are asking. Believe it or not these questions about Canada were posted on an International Tourism Website. Obviously the answers are a joke; but the questions were really asked!

Q:I have never seen it warm on Canadian TV, so how do the plants grow?( England )
A. We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around and watch them die.

Q:Will I be able to see Polar Bears in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends on how much you’ve been drinking.

Q:I want to walk from Vancouver to Toronto -can I follow the Railroad tracks? ( Sweden )
A: Sure, it’s only Four thousand miles, take lots of water.

Q:Is it safe to run around in the bushes in Canada ? ( Sweden )
A: So it’s true what they say about Swedes.

Q: Are there any ATM’s (cash machines) in Canada ? Can you send me a list of them in Toronto , Vancouver , Edmonton and Halifax ? ( England )
A: What, did your last slave die?

Q:Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Canada ? ( USA )
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe .. Ca-na-da is that big country to your North…oh forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Calgary . Come naked.

Q:Which direction is North in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees Contact us when you get here and we’ll send the rest of the directions.

Q: Can I bring cutlery into Canada ?( England )
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do .

Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys’ Choir schedule? ( USA )
A: Aus-t ri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is…oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Vancouver and in Calgary , straight after the hippo races. Come naked.

Q: Do you have perfume in Canada ? ( Germany )
A: No, WE don’t stink.

Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Where can I sell it in Canada ?( USA )
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.

Q: Can you tell me the regions in British Columbia where the female population is smaller than the male population? ( Italy )
A: Yes, gay nightclubs ..

Q: Do you celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada ? ( USA )
A: Only at Thanksgiving.

Q: Are there supermarkets in Toronto and is milk available all year round?( Germany )
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of Vegan hunter/gathers. Milk is illegal.

Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Canada , but I forget its name. It’s a kind of big horse with horns. ( USA )
A: It’s called a Moose. They are tall and very violent, eating the brains of anyone walking close to them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.

Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? ( USA )
A: Yes, but you will have to learn it first.

Link

We Will Rock Them



How Canada can achieve Winter Olympic domination in 10 easy steps

By Mark Schatzker

In little more than a year, athletes from around the world will be coming to Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Winter Olympics. And when they arrive, they'll meet a new, performance-enhanced Canada. In 2010 - and in the Winter Games beyond - Canadians will savour the taste of victory. We will vanquish the foreign hordes. Canada will reign supreme. But only by following this plan.

1. The passive sounding name "Dominion of Canada" must be retired. Instead, when visitors land in Vancouver, they will enter The Canadian Dominion of Total Domination.

2. Every morning, citizens will sing a revised national anthem that reflects the motivational spirit off all Canadians: "O Canada/Our home and winning land/We will prevail/And victory will be grand/.."

3. School curricula will be reduced to two classes: sports and sports massage. Traditional scholastic grading systems (e.g. 72%. B-) will be replaced with a gold/silver/bronze system. Students will be encouraged to "medal," and anyone not placing in the top three will be called out as "eggheads" and "wimps" by their teachers, a message parents will reinforce at home. Youths below the 90th percentile in athletic ability will be encouraged to donate their bodies to protein bars.

4. All breakfast cereals will be fortified with wolf protein, stem cells and muskox growth hormone. The Children's Aid Society will investigate parents who serve pasta for dinner followed by high-carb desserts and put their children into low-glycemic foster care. The use of horse steroids on actual racehorses will be strictly forbidden, thus ensuring an adequate supply for the children.

5. Not doping will be "the new doping". Random blood samples will be taken from youths. Anyone found with a hemoglobin count of less than 60 per cent will be sent to the Northwest Territories for athletic re-education. They will be taught curling.

6. Legislation will be enacted that forces all teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 to use cross-country skis as their sole method of non-motorized transportation, even during the summer, and even for climbing stairs or taking the escalator. Shooting targets will be affixed to stop signs and street lamps so that these Canadians may "live the biathlon".

7. Any car that stops at a red light, and that has passengers under the age of 25, must accelerate in the bobsled style. The passenger must stand outside the car, push it to speed, then jump in and crouch down with their heads between their knees.

8. To ensure domination of ski jumping, the team will be made up of children aged four to seven - small enough to allow the skis to generate lift, letting each jumper glide off into nearby valleys powered by rising thermals. (Their birth certificates will be altered by Chinese government officials.)

9. Athletes caught cheating will be sent to the Figure Skating Judgement Academy - a $400 million-facility to be erected in Ottawa - so that they may perfect their technique. Canadian coaches will visit figure-skating-judging schools in Russia and France to study cutting-edge methods of corruption.

10. During the Vancouver Games, any visiting athlete who medals will be tasered.

(From Explore Magazine, Page 19, Winter 2008 'Our, um, controversial plan for Olympic glory')

Pro-Life..Pro-Choice...Both?


I admit it, I am pro-life. Life is good and I like it. If only I could stop there, the Catholic Church and the rest of the religious right would welcome me with open arms, forgiving me for being a misguided non-believer. However, I cannot stop there and this is where I always get in trouble. It also doesn't help that I do not have any interest in the acceptance of the Catholic Church or the religious right.

To me, being pro-life means that I respect and cherish all life. There are times when the sacrifice of life is necessary in order for another life to survive and that is how nature works. Problems arise when I try to respect and cherish two conflicting lives - the life of a pregnant woman and the potential life she carries. That is where I have to take a step back and support the existing life and the choice she makes over a possibility of life. I have been fortunate enough never to have been forced to make a decision like that regarding my own body but who is to say when circumstances will change? How can I willfully brush aside her intelligence, her experience, and her knowledge of what is best for her situation and force my rosy circumstance on her? Given how my body works, I could have produced at least a dozen healthy babies. Does that mean someone should force me to continue getting pregnant since I seem to be biologically capable of producing healthy life? No, that does not seem right either. So, I cannot in good conscience support forcing another woman to give birth if she is not ready or willing.

I do, however, support all reasonable avenues to reducing the abortion rate here in the U.S. and world-wide. Eliminating it is impossible but improved education and resources have proven to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies while keeping needed medical care for women.

I face the same conundrum when viewing the death penalty or war. On one hand I want a safe society and peace. On the other hand it makes me ill to think that one of the methods used to achieve these ends requires the sacrifice of lives. Again, I feel strongly that education and improved resources will benefit both areas while reducing the number of lives lost.

So, I guess I am a pro-life, pro-choice, pro-education atheist. Oddly enough this particular centrist view often makes me stand out in a crowd - my family and close friends lean toward the right and I am viewed as the liberal left-wing nut and to most others I am viewed as the conservative, uptight right- wing nut. I suppose it is easier to categorize someone than take the time to understand their views. We hear a phrase, jump to a conclusion and pigeon-hole someone before they can get away. It is a shame that I am not a pigeon.

Link

"Interesting article : I'm not the same position, but I share many of the same viewpoints."

11.16.2008

God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule


NEW YORK—Responding to recent events on Earth, God, the omniscient creator-deity worshipped by billions of followers of various faiths for more than 6,000 years, angrily clarified His longtime stance against humans killing each other Monday.

"Look, I don't know, maybe I haven't made myself completely clear, so for the record, here it is again," said the Lord, His divine face betraying visible emotion during a press conference near the site of the fallen Twin Towers. "Somehow, people keep coming up with the idea that I want them to kill their neighbor. Well, I don't. And to be honest, I'm really getting sick and tired of it. Get it straight. Not only do I not want anybody to kill anyone, but I specifically commanded you not to, in really simple terms that anybody ought to be able to understand."

Link

"To be honest, there's some contradictory stuff in there, okay?" God said. "So I can see how it could be pretty misleading. I admit it—My bad. I did My best to inspire them, but a lot of imperfect human agents have misinterpreted My message over the millennia. Frankly, much of the material that got in there is dogmatic, doctrinal bullshit. I turn My head for a second and, suddenly, all this stuff about homosexuality gets into Leviticus, and everybody thinks it's God's will to kill gays. It absolutely drives Me up the wall."

Have a break, have a Kit Kat – and wreck rainforests

Demand for palm oil for Nature chocolate and other goods is posing a threat to vital habitats
Jonathan Leake
Household brands including Kit Kat, Flora and Dove soaps have been linked to the mass destruction of Asian rainforests for palm oil plantations.

The millions of acres ear marked for clearance include some of the last habitats of orangutans and other endangered species such as clouded leopards and sun bears.

Soaring global demand for palm oil – now at 41m tons a year – has already seen the destruction of about 20m acres of rainforest in Malaysia. Another 25m acres have been destroyed in Indonesia.

It has also made Indonesia the world’s third largest producer of greenhouse gases, emitted by decaying peat and vegetation exposed by the clearances.

Next month halting rainforest destruction will be top of the agenda at the global climate talks in Poznan, Poland, aimed at agreeing limits on greenhouse gas emissions. A report will warn that 50m acres have been earmarked for clearance in Indonesia alone.

In Britain few consumers are aware of the scale of such destruction. A survey found 75% of consumers knew little about palm oil even though it is found in nearly half of all cosmetics and processed foods.

Palm oil’s popularity is due to its low production costs and versatility. Cosmetics manufacturers use it to meet consumer demand for natural ingredients. There is also a fledgling but potentially huge market for palm oil in biofuels.

Manufacturers, who also include the makers of brands such as Olay, the beauty products group, know that consumer awareness is growing fast – and increasingly fear a backlash. This week they are sponsoring two events to try to “green” their public image.

Both events have been greeted with deep cynicism by environmentalists. In Europe the next few days will see the arrival of a ship carrying the world’s first cargo of “sustainable” palm oil. United Plantations (UP), will bring the 500-ton shipment into Rotterdam, with some to be sent on to Britain.

Customers are thought to include Sainsbury’s, which wants to use it in own-brand foods, and Unilever, the world’s largest buyer of palm oil at about 1.3m tons a year. Its 400 brands include Dove soaps, Flora margarine and Persil detergents, all of which use palm oil.

The shipment coincides with Tuesday’s meeting of the Round-table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in Bali, an industry body controlled by Unilever. Other members include Sinar Mas, Indonesia’s largest oil palm plantation company whose customers include Nestlé, the maker of Kit-Kats, and Procter & Gamble, which uses palm oil in products including Olay and Pringles.

Unilever said: “The RSPO is not moving as fast as we would like, but it is a step in the right direction. We’re committed to drawing all our palm oil from sustainable sources by 2015.”

The meeting is likely to be overshadowed by a report from Greenpeace alleging that UP is still clearing swathes of forest in contravention of the RSPO’s policies. “British consumers increasingly care about what they buy,” said Belinda Fletcher, senior forest campaigner. “The RSPO must ban its members from destroying rainforests and peatlands and kick out companies that won’t change their ways.”

A furious reply from UP showed how far apart the sides are. A spokesman said it would continue clearing rainforest: “Conservation means development as much as protection. We view the RSPO as a vehicle to achieve this and will remain supportive in promoting the production, use and growth of sustainable palm oil.”

Additional reporting: Claudia Cahalane
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article5162535.ece

Star Trek 2009 trailer

After they release two posters of the Star Trek movie featuring Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock., checkout the latest trailer taken from theaters just minutes before the latest James Bond film, Quantum of Solace.
In theaters on May 8, 2009.

One At A Time

A sheep, a wolf, a cowliflower.. and a man who has to bring them to the other side of the river..


11.13.2008

10 Fascinating Last Pictures Taken


The words “Last picture taken” before his or her death conjure up many emotions, whether in front of the camera or behind it. This list consists of 10 last time stamps in history taken of and by some fascinating individuals.

Link

"All of these have a lingering sadness about them. One can never know which picture is going to be their last…"

The Essential 007: A Recap of All 22 Bond Movies


Before you go out and watch the much-anticipated new James Bond movie Quantum of Solace , here is a quick recap on the evolution of the cinema’s most successful and recognizable stars.
James Bond has been portrayed, so far, by six different actors - Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig - and his movies have undergone even more change and variety than the people portraying him.
Thankfully, the movies are generally unrelated stories so you don’t have to watch each successive sequel in order to really understand and appreciate the newer installments, but it’s always good to know about the history of the series before watching the newest releases.
As you know, Quantum of Solace is the 23rd Bond film (although only the 22nd official one - Never Say Never Again is not recognized as an official 007 film), and I have gone back and reviewed the first 22 movies so you don’t have to spend 50 or so hours catching up. So here they are, starting with the Bonds of Sean Connery. Enjoy!

Link


“Shaken not Stirred”

11.10.2008

Bush Could be Executed For War Crimes


Members of the Bush administration and George W. Bush personally conspired to violate the Geneva Convention, US obligations to it as well as US criminal codes! When it became apparent to Bush that he and high ranking members of his administration were culpable and could be put to death upon conviction, Bush tried to make his crimes legal --but only after he had committed them.

Clearly --the Bush administration itself is aware that it is in deep, deep trouble.
...there is one group of people that has always taken the war crimes charges seriously--the members of the Bush administration themselves. They have good reason for doing so, because they have exposed hundreds of Americans to possible prosecution for violating US law.

As long as George Bush is president and controls the Department of Justice, there will no prosecutions for war crimes, but after Bush is gone, anything could happen and hundreds of Americans could be charged with war crimes.

Unless Bush plans to make his escape to Paraguay while still 'President', his exit from the Oval Office will make him vulnerable to process for violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996 passed by both houses of Congress without dissent. The act covers every crime that may be charged to Bush as of this moment and as of the time Bush will exit the 'cover' of the Oval Office.

The act deals specifically with his deliberate "killing, torture or inhumane treatment" of 'detainees' at Abu Ghraib, GITMO and the gulag archipelago of 'detention centers' throughout Eastern Europe. Violations of the War Crimes Act that result in the death of a detainee carry the death penalty and there is no statute of limitations.

Link

"Much as I'd like to see him on Death Row there's a better option. Send him to the Hague with Dick "The Torturer's Apprentice" Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzalez, Mukassey, Yoo and the rest of that evil crew. Let the world know exactly what they did. We can watch them rot in jail, not martyrs, just disgraced criminals."

Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Burnt Toast


If there's something every Sith Lord knows how to do it's make a balanced breakfast. While the Jedi have to live off of Jawa juice and fried nerfsteak, the Dark Lord of the Sith prefers to have a reminder of his fiery Mustafar defeat at his breakfast table. Every morning he burns that moment into a slice of bread with the Darth Vader Toaster. This black, ominous kitchen appliance easily leaves the mark of Vader's helmet in every yummy piece of toast. Slather some Bantha butter on top, or make two pieces for an extra-Sithy BLT. Force power not required to operate toaster.

Link


"Turn the knob ... to the Dark side..."

11.09.2008

Muslim clerics endorse anti-terror fatwa

HYDERABAD, India, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- About 6,000 Muslim clerics from around India approved a fatwa against terrorism Saturday at a conference in Hyderabad.
Maulana Qari Mohammad Usman Mansoorpuri, president of the Jamaiat-Ulama-i-Hind, called terrorism the most serious problem facing Islam, The Hindu reported. He blamed Islamic radicals for their actions and the news media for failing to distinguish between the radicals and the majority of Muslims.

"We have no love for offenders whichever religion they might belong to," he said. "Our concern is that innocents should not be targeted and the career of educated youth not ruined. The government should ensure transparency in investigation."

India has the world's second-largest Muslim population after Indonesia, although Hindus outnumber Muslims. The meeting was also expected to address issues like national integration.

"Islam rejects all kinds of unjust violence, breach of peace, bloodshed, murder and plunder and does not allow it in any form. Cooperation should be done for the cause of good but not for committing sin or oppression," the fatwa written at the Darul Uloom Deoband, India's foremost Islamic seminary.

Link

10.20.2008

Beach Boys co-founder not ruling out reunion


By Wayne Bledsoe

The Beach Boys have always been that dysfunctional family that creates something special whenever together. The three surviving members of the original group, Mike Love, Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, haven't worked together in years. However, Love has some hope that they will again.

"I've been speaking with Al about doing some stuff together," says Love, calling on his cell phone while taking a break from shopping at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn.

Love says he has 18 new songs recorded, and he knows that A1 has several new songs.

"Maybe we'll ask Brian to get involved," says Love.

It is Love, along with longtime member Bruce Johnston, who has kept the Beach Boys going as a group. The band formed in 1961 when Love and his cousins Brian, Carl and Dennis Wilson, along with friend Jardine, began performing in Hawthorne, Calif. With the Wilsons' father, Murry, as a manager, the group became one of the biggest pop acts in the world.

While the group's image was "Fun, Fun, Fun," "California Girls" and "Good Vibrations," behind the scenes, the group was perpetually in turmoil.

Some issues, including Love getting credit for co-writing many of the group's hits ("Good Vibrations," "Surfin' Safari," "California Girls" and "I Get Around," among them), weren't resolved until the 1990s.

"My uncle and cousin sort of conspired to disenfranchise me," says Love. "It was unfair of them to do that, but Brian was kind of mentally unbalanced, so I don't blame him."

Brian Wilson has been plagued by mental problems since the mid-1960s, suffering from panic attacks, nervous breakdowns and long periods of depression. Love's good words for the late Wilson patriarch Murry, though, are limited.

"He was a salesperson," says Love. "He was great at promoting and marketing the Beach Boys."

Love says that Brian Wilson had wanted to rectify the writing credit, but, because his financial affairs were under the direction of a conservator, the cousins were forced to go to court:

"Brian testified, and he was saying, 'Yeah, Mike wrote that.' I don't have any animosity toward Brian at all. I just have mostly compassion for him."

The Beach Boys reached an artistic peak in 1966 with the album "Pet Sounds" and the single "Good Vibrations." However, a planned follow-up, "Smile," aimed to be the group's most ambitious album, was aborted and the group slipped into an artistic decline for many years thereafter. The band returned to the top of the pop charts in 1988 with the song "Kokomo."

Brian Wilson has dropped in and out of the group several times over the years. Dennis Wilson died in an accident in 1983, and Carl Wilson died of lung cancer in 1998. However, the group has never stopped touring. Jardine stopped touring with the band in the late 1990s and was sued by the group for having the Beach Boys name on his own tour (the original members collectively own the name through their Brother Records).

The current touring group includes Christian Love (Mike's son), John Cowsill (from 1960s family band the Cowsills), Randell Kirsch and Scott Totten. The group members share vocals on the songs on which Brian and Carl originally sang lead and throw in some special treats for longtime fans.

"We like to throw in some more esoteric songs now," says Love.

The group regularly performs non-hits "The Ballad of Old Betsy," "Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" and "Don't Back Down" in addition to group's best-known songs.

"If we're at a state fair, we won't do the more subtle songs, but if we're in a decent theater with good acoustics, we will," says Love. "That's kind of what we have to do to keep it fresh for us."

Brian Wilson records and tours with his own backing group. He completed "Smile" without the Beach Boys in 2004. Love says he wasn't hurt by Wilson completing the project without him, but he wished Wilson had done the project with the Beach Boys. He also says he did not dislike the original "Smile" project, he just disliked that it was influenced by drug use.

He doesn't expect Wilson to rejoin the Beach Boys on a tour, but he never discounts working with his cousin again.

"Brian is on a solo path pretty much masterminded by his wife," says Love. "But if Brian and I are alone together with a piano, nature just takes over."

Link

10.19.2008

Canada says BPA toxic, to ban baby bottles with it


Canada declared a chemical widely used in food packaging a toxic substance on Saturday and will now move to ban plastic baby bottles containing bisphenol A.

The toxic classification, issued in the Canada Gazette, makes Canada the first country to classify the chemical commonly used in the lining of food cans, eyeglass lenses and hundreds of household items, as risky.

"Many Canadians...have expressed their concern to me about the risks of bisphenol A in baby bottles," Environment Minister John Baird said in a statement. "Today's confirmation of our ban on BPA in baby bottles proves that our government did the right thing in taking action to protect the health and environment for all Canadians."

Canada's announcement came six months after its health ministry labeled BPA as dangerous. Health Minister Tony Clement said a report on bisphenol A has found the chemical endangers people, particularly newborns and infants, and the environment, citing concerns that the chemical in polycarbonate products and epoxy linings can migrate into food and beverages.

Link

Australia’s Tasmanian Devil Could Be Extinct Within a Decade


The small marsupials chronically suffer from the fatal Facial Tumor Disease, and without a vaccine for the cancer, scientists fear the species could be wiped out in less than 10 years.

The last hope for the species lies in the 500 breeding adult devils currently living in 18 different wildlife parks and zoos. The Taronga Zoo and Conservation Society released a plea to the public today for funding to research the disease. They hope to raise at least $250,000 to expedite the development of the vaccine.


The healthy devils in captivity are being held in quarantine in order to prevent the spread of the cancer. Taronga Zoo alone already holds 115 devils, but spokesman Mark Williams said they need to breed more.

Link

"In other news, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are planning a HUGE party in 10 years..."

Terry Tate : You Better Vote!

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Terry Tate: From Russia With Love

Terry Tate: Reading Is Fundamental

Our Vanishing Night


For most of human history, the phrase “light pollution" would have made no sense. Now most of humanity lives under intersecting domes of reflected, refracted light.

Link

10.18.2008

Switzerland Places Ban on the Humiliation of Plants


A law protecting the dignity of plants? Laugh if you will. I’m down on my knees in respect and awe. At last the Western World is realizing the dire importance of taking other species into account.

Recently, the Swiss Parliament asked a panel of philosophers, lawyers, geneticists and theologians to determine the meaning of dignity when it pertains to plants.

Lo and Behold, the team published a treatise on “the moral consideration of plants for their own sake.” The treatise established that vegetation has innate value and that it is morally wrong to partake in activities such as the “decapitation of wildflowers at the roadside without rational reason.”

Link

10.16.2008

Original 'Gladiator's' Tomb Unearthed in Rome


Italian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of the ancient Roman hero believed to have inspired Russell Crowe's character in the hit movie "Gladiator," Rome's officials announced on Thursday at a press conference.
Marble beams and columns, carvings and friezes first emerged from the Roman soil during construction work to build a residential complex in Saxa Rubra, not far from the headquarters of Rai, Italy's state-run television station.

Link

Expedition set for 'ghost peaks'


It is perhaps the last great Antarctic expedition - to find an explanation for why there is a great mountain range buried under the White Continent.
The Gamburtsevs match the Alps in scale but no-one has ever seen them because they are covered by up to 4km of ice.
Geologists struggle to understand how such a massif could have formed and persisted in the middle of Antarctica.
Now, an international team is setting out on a deep-field survey to try to get some answers.
The group comprises scientists, engineers, pilots and support staff from the UK, the US, Germany, Australia, China and Japan.

Link

10.15.2008

Canada's National Do Not Call Registry


If you're getting a lot of unsolicited telemarketer calls (and who isn't?), you'll want to sign up on Canada's National Do Not Call registry. This registry is open for residential, wireless, VoIP numbers and faxes.

Unfortunately, the list does not prevent calls from political parties, registered charities, and business with whom you have an existing business relationship. Still, it's free and easy -- and it will cut down on a lot of unwanted calls.

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9.30.2008

Discovery Channel commercial - the world is just awesome!



"The best commercial of this year, imho."

Birth of an Ocean: The Evolution of Ethiopia's Afar Depression

Africa is splitting apart at the seams—literally. From the southern tip of the Red Sea southward through Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique, the continent is coming un stitched along a zone called the East African Rift.
Like a shirtsleeve tearing under a bulging bicep, the earth’s crust rips apart as molten rock from deep down pushes up on the solid surface and stretches it thin—sometimes to its breaking point. Each new slit widens as lava fills the gap from below.
This spectacular geologic unraveling, already under way for millions of years, will be complete when saltwater from the Red Sea floods the massive gash. Ten million years from now the entire rift may be submerged.

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"Wow!"

9.28.2008

Hey U.S., welcome to the Third World!

Dear United States, Welcome to the Third World!

It's not every day that a superpower makes a bid to transform itself into a Third World nation, and we here at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund want to be among the first to welcome you to the community of states in desperate need of international economic assistance. As you spiral into a catastrophic financial meltdown, we are delighted to respond to your Treasury Department's request that we undertake a joint stability assessment of your financial sector. In these turbulent times, we can provide services ranging from subsidized loans to expert advisors willing to perform an emergency........

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The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.

It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.

What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.

Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.

But none touched me more than...

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9.24.2008

Female blogger posts a request for a sperm donor. Unsurprisingly, random men queue up to offer their genetic material and ethical judgements.

So I've decided to pursue my dream despite the fact that there's no sign of marriage in my immediate – or perhaps even distant – future. Naturally, taking care of a baby is a chore on its own, but getting pregnant is my present challenge. In less than two weeks, I will be ovulating, which as everyone should know is primetime for baby making. The problem is that I don't yet have a partner for this process. Now, I'm not looking for a source of child support or a baby-daddy in the sense that he should have any supportive role in the pregnancy or in raising the child, I just need some good, hearty seed.

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"DEAR BLACK CABS," THE EMAIL BEGAN, "WOULD YOU PLEASE CONSIDER FILMING A SESSION WITH BRIAN WILSON (OF THE BEACH BOYS)." THEY REALLY DIDN'T NEED TO ADD THAT LAST BIT ABOUT THE BEACH BOYS. A FEW WEEKS LATER WE WERE OUTSIDE ABBEY STUDIOS, WITH THE TAXI HUMMING PATIENTLY BEHIND US, NERVOUSLY AWAITING ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SONGWRITERS OF ALL TIME. AND THEN HE EMERGED WITH HIS BAND: FIVE OF THEM IN TOTAL. BIT TRICKY THAT BECAUSE, OF COURSE, YOU CAN ONLY SIT FIVE IN THE BACK OF CAB, AND SEEING AS THERE WERE TWO OF US TO FILM AND RECORD SOUND, THAT MADE AN UNLUCKY SEVEN IN TOTAL. SO WE JETTISONED SOUND RECORDING DUTIES, MADE THE FIVE OF THEM COMFORTABLE, AND WEDGED OUR CAMERAMAN IN AN AWKWARD STRESS POSITION BETWEEN THE JUMP SEATS. AND WE WERE AWAY, THE CAMERAMAN FILMING AN UNFORGETTABLE BLACK CAB SESSION WITH BRIAN WILSON (OF THE BEACH BOYS), TRYING TO KEEP THE CAMERA STEADY AS CRAMP SLOWLY TIGHTENS AROUND HIS HAMSTRING. AMAZINGLY, AFTER PERFORMING THAT LUCKY OLD SUN, THE BAND BREAK OUT INTO CALIFORNIA GIRLS. WE'VE COAXED SOME PRETTY BIG ACTS INTO THE BACK OF A CAB BUT LANDING BRIAN WILSON REALLY IS THE MOTHER OF ALL COUPS. WE HOPE YOU ENJOY IT - AND TO GET THE LATEST UPDATES ON FUTURE RELEASES (AND OH BOY WE'VE GOT SOME CRACKERS IN THE MIX), BE SURE TO SIGN UP TO THE KNOWLEDGE. OVER TO YOU BRIAN..

9.23.2008

The best construction sign of ALL TIME

Predator 3. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yes. (Maybe).


You know what there’s not enough of? Films about really old men titting around in the woods with an invisible alien that looks like Whoopi Goldberg.

If you happen to agree with us then you’re in for a treat - movie producer John Davis has decided to revive the Predator franchise. Not just that, but he wants to bring back the biggest star of any of the Predator movies at the same time. That’s right - Gary Busey.

No, wait, not Gary Busey. Arnold Schwarzenegger. John Davis wants to make Predator 3, and he wants Arnold Schwarzenegger to star in it. Predator 3 is far from official, mind you, because nobody knows what Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-term political goals are. Also, we assume it’ll probably be quite hard to find anyone clever enough to write a film where the universe’s most advanced game hunters have trouble outwitting a rich old bloke with a funny accent.

It’s now completely fine for older actors to return to their action movie roots. Everyone’s doing it - Bruce Willis made Die Hard 4, Harrison Ford made Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull and Sylvester Stallone’s entire retirement plan seems to involve running through the jungle and firing a machine gun into the air until his knees eventually give out.

But there’s one action star who hasn’t chosen to do that - Arnold Schwarzenegger. Rather than, say, take the easy option and make Conan The Incontinent, Arnold Schwarzenegger has decided to concentrate on his job as Governor or California - a task that involves nothing more than tutting about the paparazzi and making horribly smug tourism adverts sometimes.

But as thrilling as recommending state legislation is, there has to be a part of Arnold Schwarzenegger that misses the old days. The days where all he had to do was frown and explode people in an impenetrable European accent and people would give him a million dollars.

That’s what producer John Davis is hoping, anyway. He’s got it in his head to make Predator 3 and, more than anything else, he wants Arnold Schwarzenegger to be in it. Davis told Collider:

“Well, the Governor has mentioned to me that when he ceases to be Governor, if he doesn’t run for the Senate and all of that stuff, he’d like to do a movie or two again. And I don’t know, maybe we could restart the Predator franchise… We’d have to come up with a really good script and a really great angle on it.”

What? No you wouldn’t. You wouldn’t need a great script for Predator 3 at all. We’ve seen Predator 2, Alien Vs Predator and Alien Vs Predator: Requiem, so we’re pretty sure that if you got a Romanian badger with learning difficulties do draw a picture of an explosion in wax crayon on a sheet of used toilet paper, it’d still probably qualify as the best Predator script that’s been written for 20 years.

Let’s be honest, though. Just because Arnold Schwarzenegger could make Predator 3, it doesn’t mean that he should. By the time he finishes his next term as Governor he’ll be 64 years old, and we just can’t see how that could make Predator 3 any good. We’ve looked at this from all angles, and here are the only ways that Predator 3 with Arnold Schwarzenegger could possibly work.

1 - The Predator has given up hunting for a life of conning the elderly out of their savings by fraudulently posing as a wall insulation salesman… but he picked the wrong vulnerable old man in Arnold Schwarzenegger.

2 - Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Predator decide their fate by having a Sudoku-off.

3 - Rather than coat himself in mud, Arnold Schwarzenegger accidentally defeats the Predator’s heat-vision by popping his colostomy bag on a hot radiator, skidding about in the mess until he’s covered in it and lying there for three days in the cold waiting for one of his children to come and help him up again.

4 - Not making Predator 3 with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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We've been expecting you, Mr... er...? New Bond blockbuster drops the catchphrases

His name is Bond, James Bond: just don't expect him to introduce himself. For the first time in his 22 screen outings, Britain's best- known secret agent will not utter the words of introduction that have thrilled fans and appalled master criminals for 46 years.

Nor in his next adventure, Quantum of Solace, released in November, does 007 utter the other classic one-liner – "shaken not stirred" – when ordering his martini, according to the director, Marc Forster.

"There was a 'Bond, James Bond' in the script," he said. "There are several places where we shot it as well, but it never worked as we hoped. I just felt we should cut it out, and Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson [the film's producers] agreed, and Daniel [Craig, who plays Bond] agreed, too. It's nice to be open-minded about the Bond formula. You can always go back to them later on."

It is another radical departure for Bond who, in his last film, Casino Royale, found himself stripped of many on-screen staples.

Gone were the unfeasible gadgets on which he could always rely in a tight spot. The boffin who created them in the basement of the MI6 building, Q, played in the past by Desmond Llewellyn and John Cleese, was also therefore eliminated, along with Miss Moneypenny and her flirtatious banter. Bond even briefly abandoned his high-performance motor to drive a Ford Mondeo before reverting to an Aston Martin.

It is all part of a deliberate attempt to bring the agent with a licence to kill into the 21st century – the producers declined the film rights to Sebastian Faulks's Bond homage, Devil May Care, last month because it was set in the 1960s – yet also to take him back to his 1950s roots.

The move is welcomed by fans who have seen the films veer away from how Bond's creator, Ian Fleming, originally envisaged his cold-blooded hero.

Graham Rye, who edits the online 007 Magazine said that Craig, who made his debut in last year's Casino Royale, is much closer to Fleming's vision.

"The Bond films had become tired and needed reinvigorating," he said. "Rather than going away from Fleming I think the producers have gone back to him."

Mr Rye added that the famous ingredients of the film, such as Q and Moneypenny, had only featured once or twice in the books. Nor does he make a habit of ordering martinis or introducing himself.

"His announcing of himself had become a bit corny," he added. "Casino Royale gets back to the spirit of the books, rather than all the silliness."

Ajay Chowdhury, who edits the Bond fan club magazine Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, added that excising the famous lines was unlikely to upset Bond fans.

"The producers have been mixing and matching the famous Bond tropes – such as the theme song and the gun-barrel sequence," he said. "But this time there is a theme song by Jack White and Alicia Keys. If this line of script is not in there it's not going to undo the foundations of Bond. The fans didn't miss Moneypenny or Q. Bond is the only British character with worldwide resonance now, apart from Harry Potter. The producers are paying more attention to psychology and relationships, as well as adventure.

"Quantum of Solace picks up from Casino Royale, which was a really good thriller first and a good Bond movie second."

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"Hmmmm....not shaken, nor stirred - really 007, what is going on?"

The World’s Most Expensive Typos

When you think of typos, you think of grammar and poor middle school grades. It’s hard to imagine that in this day and age a typo of any serious consequence can make it through the cracks, with spell-check being an automatic feature in most email services and office software. However, some typos in recent years have made it into the news, albeit sometimes under unusual circumstances. The typo, it seems, will likely never go away completely because its very existence is a reflection of the human element in everyday life. It usually also seems like the consequences of some of these more influential typos result in some people winning some people losing. Is it karma or luck? Here are some of the more expensive and prominently featured typos and errors in the last decade or so.

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WHY GOOGLE'S ONLINE ENCYCLOPEDIA WILL NEVER BE AS GOOD AS WIKIPEDIA

There are two articles about Sarah Palin on Google Knol, the search company's abysmal new Wikipedia-like reference guide. One of them is a mess: Just a few hundred words long, the article is fraught with factual and grammatical errors. The other Palin entry is much more readable and informative, offering a thorough, balanced look at Palin's years in city and state government and her positions on national political issues. Unlike Wikipedia, Knol displays its authors' names and credentials to help you decide whether to trust a given piece. When I click on the name of the second Palin entry's author, Sam Goldfarb, I see that he's also written Knol articles about advertising on Facebook, the Chinese territory of Macau, and several hotels in Israel. How does Goldfarb know so much about so many things? You might call him a keen student of the Web—a bit of Googling confirms that each of his articles was lifted from other online sources.
Goldfarb's great Palin entry is a copy of the Wikipedia article on the Alaska governor as it appeared on Aug. 29, the day John McCain picked Palin as his running mate. That's why the Knol piece still describes Palin as having "successfully killed the Bridge to Nowhere"; the Wikipedia entry on Palin has since been updated thousands of times, and it now tells a more nuanced story about her flip-flop on the bridge. (Wikipedia's articles are licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, which allows people to copy an entry's text as long as they also reproduce the license; Goldfarb's Palin article and many others on Knol that copy from Wikipedia don't follow those rules.) Goldfarb's Macau article is lifted from this Macau travel site, his Facebook piece draws from this ad company, and his hotel guides pull from the hotels' Web sites.
Knol is a wasteland of such articles: text copied from elsewhere, outdated entries abandoned by their creators, self-promotion, spam, and a great many old college papers that people have dug up from their files. Part of Knol's problem is its novelty. Google opened the system for public contribution just a couple months ago, so it's unreasonable to expect too much of it at the moment; Wikipedia took years to attract the sort of contributors and editors who've made it the amazing resource it is now.

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Pinhole skull-camera


Third Eye: a sculpture by artist Wayne Martin Bleger in which the 150 year old skull of a thirteen year old girl — strategically trephined &mdashl becomes a pinhole camera. Quoth Ectoplasmosis' Ross Rosenberg, whose prose I can blockquote wholesale by dint of the fact that I own his words:

Wayne Martin Bleger makes pinhole cameras using a variety of materials including precious stones, metals, human organs, and bone. This piece, entitled Third Eye, features many of these materials, all constructed around the 150 year-old skull of a 13 year-old girl. The film is exposed to light through titular ocular cavity making a Polaroid momento mori. The photos taken with this camera (one of which is after the jump) stay with the theme, their blurriness and patina making them look as if they were snatched from the memories of the dead.


Gizmo Watch, bless them, wants no ambiguity in regard to why we should all find this skull camera rather interesting, with a bolded What's Innovative heading that reads:

The Third Eye pinhole camera isn’t a regular plastic contraption. Making use of a 150-year-old skull as the camera structure is not just innovative, but unbelievably creative. If you can peep through a skull and see death’s pale visage staring back at you, rest assured excitement will not be the instant feeling.
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"Maybe it's just me, but this gives me the heebie-jeebies."

Confirmed: Warner Bros. Will Reboot Superman Film Franchise


Warner Bros. has confirmed long-running rumors that it will reboot the Superman movie franchise.

Jeff Robinov, Warner Bros. Pictures Group President, tells The Wall Street Journal that the Man of Steel will be reintroduced on the big screen without regard to 2006’s Superman Returns.

“Superman didn’t quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to,” Robinov says. “It didn’t position the character the way he needed to be positioned. ... Had Superman worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009.”

There’s no mention whether Superman Returns director Bryan Singer will be part of the reboot. Earlier this week, Variety’s Anne Thompson reported “that it is a priority at the studio to find the right direction and if Bryan Singer is willing to do that, fine, but if he gets in the way, he may not stay on the project.”

Taking a page from Marvel, Warner Bros. has reversed its earlier position of using the now-stalled Justice League of America as a launching pad for other DC properties. Instead, it will focus on solo features to build toward a multicharacter film.

“Along those lines, we have been developing every DC character that we own,” Robinov says.

That may sound less like a “strategy” and more like a mad cash-grab. Something else that might not sit right with some fans is Robinov’s determination to explore the darker side of super-heroes: “We’re going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it.”

According to The Journal, Warner Bros. plans to release four comic-book movies in the next three years: the third Batman installment, the Superman reboot, and two focusing on other DC Comics characters. (It’s unclear whether Watchmen is included in that count.) Likely candidates include Green Arrow/Super Max, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel and, perhaps, Jonah Hex.

As Variety reported over the weekend, Warner Bros. is expected to roll out its strategy for its DC Comics movie properties sometime within the next month.

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9.21.2008

Red Dwarf to come back with 4 new episodes


reddwarf.co.uk has the facts. As announced by Robert Llewellyn for Grant Naylor Productions this week at the UKTV seasonal press launch, the project is a short series of brand new specials to celebrate the 21st birthday of Red Dwarf.

Doug Naylor will be masterminding the four half-hour installments, and the regular cast will all be reprising their iconic roles. They are being made by GNP for UKTV’s free-to-air channel, Dave - our new best friends!


Red Dwarf repeats on Dave - including an anniversary weekend run - have picked up remarkable numbers since the channel was reborn on Freeview, and it’s becoming clear to all concerned that the show is picking a new, third generation audience. With the usual involvement from Red Dwarf partners BBC Worldwide, you can also expect international broadcasts to follow (and, we’d imagine, a top-quality DVD release in the fullness of time).

“It’s very new news to me - I really only fully heard the details yesterday,” Robert told comedian/host Michael McIntyre. “We’re doing four new shows with the original cast. Two of them are going to be, like, proper episodes of Red Dwarf. One of them is so exciting I’ve been asked not to say anything about that because other people will steal the idea - and it is a great idea, quite challenging for us as performers. And the other one is a kind of behind-the-scenes-y… the truth. There’s been so many rumours and gossip about Red Dwarf, about whether there’s going to be a movie and whether we all get on, all those things… The downside for me, which is just dawning on me now, is I’ve got to do the ‘rubber’ thing again, which I haven’t done for ten years.”

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"Oh smeg yes!"

9.15.2008

Remembering The Berlin Airlift, 60 Years Later

by Kyle James
September 14, 2008 · This summer marked the 60th anniversary of the Allies' airlift of food and medicine into West Berlin in East Germany, an attempt to avert a potential crisis from a blockade by the Soviet Union.

The first major standoff of the Cold War began on June 24, 1948, when the Soviet Union cut off all road, rail and water connections to West Berlin. Moscow hoped that the blockade, by starving this city in the middle of the Soviet-controlled part of Germany, would force the Allies to abandon it.

Two days later, Operation Vittles began, and American and British cargo planes hauling milk, flour and medicine began flying in from West Germany. The 15-month airlift was lauded as a great humanitarian and political success, but there were also human costs to the operation.

"Our enemies who had once dropped bombs on us were now bringing us food and coal to heat our homes with," says Berlin resident Erika Demitrowitz, who was 24 when the airlift began. "I can remember the day the airlift was over — we picked all the flowers we could and took them to the Americans. That was our thank you."

When the airlift ended on Sept. 30, 1949, more than 2 million tons of food, coal and other provisions had been flown into West Berlin. The Soviets gave up their blockade, and West Berlin remained a democratic island behind the Iron Curtain until the fall of the Berlin Wall.

'Freedom Is Not Free'

At a recent 60th-anniversary ceremony at Berlin's Tempelhof airport, the center of the airlift operation, a band played "The Star Spangled Banner" while one of the DC-3 planes used in the airlift circled overhead.

Veterans in their late 70s and 80s sat next to a 65-foot-tall concrete sculpture commemorating the airlift. Three curved prongs at the top of the memorial symbolize the air corridors that pilots flew during the operation, and the names of about 70 servicemen who lost their lives during the airlift are inscribed on the base.

"Their ultimate sacrifice is yet another example that freedom is not free," said Gen. Roger Brady, the commander of U.S. air forces in Europe. "In fact, sometimes it comes at a great cost."

Eleanor Howard of Valdosta, Ga., knows this all too well. In the main hall at Tempelhof, she chatted with other veterans and their wives whom she accompanied to Germany. She remembered her husband, Capt. William R. Howard, who flew in the airlift.

"Bill was such a fine Christian man, and so good looking!" Howard said.

Capt. Howard's plane went down in bad weather while coming back from a delivery to West Berlin on Aug. 24, 1948. Eleanor was waiting at home on the base for him with their 8-month-old son, William Riley Jr., wondering why her husband was late.

She said at one point she looked out her window and saw what every military spouse or parent dreads.

"I saw the base commander come riding up and I saw the base chaplain and I literally turned to stone," Howard said. "I knew something had happened. And so I opened the door to a sea of sad faces and they told me Bill was gone."

Remembering Those Who Sacrificed

Thirty-one Americans lost their lives in the airlift, as did 39 British and nine Germans.

Capt. Howard's son, Riley, was with his mother in Berlin. Though he never really knew his dad, he said he is extremely proud of what his father and the other airlift pilots accomplished.

"They knew this was a sacrifice," Riley Howard said. "They took it on with that idea, that ideal to help other people that were in need. That's why that generation was considered the greatest generation."

Many Germans share that sentiment — and the emotional tie between Germany and America is still strong, despite recent differences over U.S. foreign policy.

American pilots also dropped chocolate to Berlin children during the airlift, and Gail Halverson was one of the first "candy bombers."

"We only worked for them for a few months, and for 59 years they've been spoiling us with gratitude," Halverson said. "It's incredible."

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Finally, video evidence of Slovakia's 82-0 slaughter of Bulgaria

By Greg Wyshynski

NHLSarok, a hockey blog based in Slovakia, has posted three videos on YouTube from the now-legendary women's ice hockey Olympic qualifier that saw Slovakia squeak out an 82-0 victory over Bulgaria.

The box score (.pdf) chronicled the carnage; seeing these videos provides some valuable (and painful) context for this embarrassment. Eighty-two goals seem a little more reasonable when you witness Bulgaria's defensive system; which involves either skating with beer league-level velocity, or standing around picking daisies while Slovakia shoots at a goalie with the reflexes of a corpse.

Again, we hate to kick a national women's ice hockey team when it's down, but we'd love to set up a series of match races between the Bulgarian players and the Mites on Ice that skate between periods of NHL games. We can even set the whole thing to reggae music, just like they do for the kids.

Video No. 1 begins with the score tied 0-0, which incidentally was the last time anyone associated with Bulgarian women's ice hockey felt an emotion with a tangential resemblance to hope.


The second video skips all the way to 77-0, at which point Bulgaria has decided to reject the concept of goaltending and play with six skaters -- a wise decision, as pulling the goalie has fueled many a rally. Although not many that would require a goal every five seconds.



Video No. 3 features -- we kid you not -- a Bertuzzi-like attack from behind from a Slovakian player (!) against a foe from Bulgaria during a stoppage in play. Slovakia's Anna Dzurnakova was given a misconduct and a match penalty for the roughing from behind, and what passes for a women's hockey brawl followed. The clip ends with the scoreboard infamously reading: 82-0.

THIS IS YOUR NATION ON WHITE PRIVILEGE

This is Your Nation on White Privilege
By Tim Wise
For those who still can’t grasp the concept of white privilege, or who are constantly looking for some easy-to-understand examples of it, perhaps this list will help.
White privilege is when you can get pregnant at seventeen like Bristol Palin and everyone is quick to insist that your life and that of your family is a personal matter, and that no one has a right to judge you or your parents, because “every family has challenges,” even as black and Latino families with similar “challenges” are regularly typified as irresponsible, pathological and arbiters of social decay.
White privilege is when you can call yourself a “fuckin’ redneck,” like Bristol Palin’s boyfriend does, and talk about how if anyone messes with you, you'll “kick their fuckin' ass,” and talk about how you like to “shoot shit” for fun, and still be viewed as a responsible, all-American boy (and a great son-in-law to be) rather than a thug.
White privilege is when you can attend four different colleges in six years like Sarah Palin did (one of which you basically failed out of, then returned to after making up some coursework at a community college), and no one questions your intelligence or commitment to achievement, whereas a person of color who did this would be viewed as unfit for college, and probably someone who only got in in the first place because of affirmative action.
White privilege is when you can claim that being mayor of a town smaller than most medium-sized colleges, and then Governor of a state with about the same number of people as the lower fifth of the island of Manhattan, makes you ready to potentially be president, and people don’t all piss on themselves with laughter, while being a black U.S. Senator, two-term state Senator, and constitutional law scholar, means you’re “untested.”

White privilege is being able to say that you support the words “under God” in the pledge of allegiance because “if it was good enough for the founding fathers, it’s good enough for me,” and not be immediately disqualified from holding office--since, after all, the pledge was written in the late 1800s and the “under God” part wasn’t added until the 1950s--while believing that reading accused criminals and terrorists their rights (because, ya know, the Constitution, which you used to teach at a prestigious law school requires it), is a dangerous and silly idea only supported by mushy liberals.

White privilege is being able to be a gun enthusiast and not make people immediately scared of you.

White privilege is being able to have a husband who was a member of an extremist political party that wants your state to secede from the Union, and whose motto was “Alaska first,” and no one questions your patriotism or that of your family, while if you're black and your spouse merely fails to come to a 9/11 memorial so she can be home with her kids on the first day of school, people immediately think she’s being disrespectful.

White privilege is being able to make fun of community organizers and the work they do--like, among other things, fight for the right of women to vote, or for civil rights, or the 8-hour workday, or an end to child labor--and people think you’re being pithy and tough, but if you merely question the experience of a small town mayor and 18-month governor with no foreign policy expertise beyond a class she took in college--you’re somehow being mean, or even sexist.

White privilege is being able to convince white women who don’t even agree with you on any substantive issue to vote for you and your running mate anyway, because all of a sudden your presence on the ticket has inspired confidence in these same white women, and made them give your party a “second look.”

White privilege is being able to fire people who didn’t support your political campaigns and not be accused of abusing your power or being a typical politician who engages in favoritism, while being black and merely knowing some folks from the old-line political machines in Chicago means you must be corrupt.

White privilege is being able to attend churches over the years whose pastors say that people who voted for John Kerry or merely criticize George W. Bush are going to hell, and that the U.S. is an explicitly Christian nation and the job of Christians is to bring Christian theological principles into government, and who bring in speakers who say the conflict in the Middle East is God’s punishment on Jews for rejecting Jesus, and everyone can still think you’re just a good church-going Christian, but if you’re black and friends with a black pastor who has noted (as have Colin Powell and the U.S. Department of Defense) that terrorist attacks are often the result of U.S. foreign policy and who talks about the history of racism and its effect on black people, you’re an extremist who probably hates America.

White privilege is not knowing what the Bush Doctrine is when asked by a reporter, and then people get angry at the reporter for asking you such a “trick question,” while being black and merely refusing to give one-word answers to the queries of Bill O’Reilly means you’re dodging the question, or trying to seem overly intellectual and nuanced.

White privilege is being able to claim your experience as a POW has anything at all to do with your fitness for president, while being black and experiencing racism is, as Sarah Palin has referred to it a “light” burden.

And finally, white privilege is the only thing that could possibly allow someone to become president when he has voted with George W. Bush 90 percent of the time, even as unemployment is skyrocketing, people are losing their homes, inflation is rising, and the U.S. is increasingly isolated from world opinion, just because white voters aren’t sure about that whole “change” thing. Ya know, it’s just too vague and ill-defined, unlike, say, four more years of the same, which is very concrete and certain…

White privilege is, in short, the problem.

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Have I missed out on a male-grooming memo? Am I a lone caveman in a world of trimmed bodies?

Charlie Brooker
The Guardian, Monday September 15 2008

The other day I was enduring The Sex Education Show on Channel 4, in which a self-consciously "liberated" presenter called Anna ran screeching around the place like a one-woman hen night, banging on about boobs and willies in a bid to "get Britain talking" about sex. And the script essentially ran as follows:

"Hey, Britain! Let's all be honest and open, yeah? Penises! There! I said it! Some are big, some are small! Here's a photo of one! Are you shocked? You mustn't be shocked! Although it's OK to be amused! Tee hee! Aren't we pushing back the boundaries? Isn't this healthy? Come on, we're all adults. This is good for us! Celebrate it! Vulva! Wow! Can you believe I just said that? Condom! Orgasm! Clitoris! Etc!"

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for snickering nob gags and frank images of nudity, but I'd rather not have them accompanied by some tissue-thin justification about "healing the nation" or "getting people talking". Just tell us a joke, show us your bum and piss off.

Anyway, as luck would have it, Anna did show us her bum. Sort of. In a mirror. While she was trying on lingerie, because this was a modern documentary, see? Just as in London you're famously never more than 4ft from a rat, so in 21st-century factual entertainment shows the presenter is never more than four minutes from a pointless TV stunt. Like trying on some frilly pants. Or getting a bikini wax.

The bikini wax section caused me some anguish. After braving a "full Hollywood" (where they suddenly rip the whole lot clean away, like DLT having his face pulled off), Anna held a little chat with a studio audience, encouraging them to help heal broken Britain by loudly discussing their pubes. Things were ticking along predictably - ie a 50-50 mix of words and chortling - when something upsetting happened. They asked the men in the studio whether they trimmed their pubic hair, and almost every single one of them put their hands up.

Then they read out the results of a survey they'd done, which claimed that, yes, 60% of men trim their pubes. What, really? 60%? Huh? And then they asked the women in the studio if they preferred the male trimmed-pube look - and they all nodded like Churchill the car-insurance dog. First I felt woefully out-of-touch.

Link

"I just don't think so - men will be waxing next?"

The Bush Years 2000-2008 - What A Legacy To Leave Behind

Jealousy or Envy?

I Am Free - Are You Really?

Cookie Monster is Dead!

One Viewpoint About Sarah Palin

9.03.2008

Security guards beat man in soccer arena, then get beat up by players, fans

Security guards break in their nightsticks on a banner-waving soccer fan running across the arena, prompting players and fans to storm the field and beat up the guards.



"I'm not for mob justice, but there's something good about seeing these bullies with 'authori-tah! and a nightstick' gettheir comeuppance from angry citizens."

Free the grain: The Canadian Wheat Board is anti-consumer, anti-competitive, anti-poor and deserves to be dismantled


Mark Milke
Financial Post

Politicians who favour government monopolies pretend that when they nationalize companies or protect monopolies their actions are pragmatic and non-ideological, but any reversal that lets in competition is ideological.

The latest example comes courtesy of the Bloc Quebecois, New Democrats and Liberals. Last month, the troika of separatists, socialists and interventionists moved a motion in Parliament to require the federal government to hold a plebiscite for farmers on the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly: i.e., whether the Winnipeg-based "marketing" agency should continue to force Western farmers to sell all their wheat and barley only through the board. (The board is given its monopoly powers by the federal government.) On Monday, a report commissioned by the federal Conservative government recommended freeing farmers to sell their wheat and barley by 2008.

This recommendation might not set the boardrooms of corporate Canada afire but given that even CEOs eat breakfast cereals (the ingredients of which originate on the Prairies), even they might find the current system bizarre and unfair.

For example, one Manitoba farmer I talked to recently, Glenn Tizzey, notes the absurdity of the current system. If Tizzey wanted to mill wheat and barley -- which he presently won't, given current Wheat Board controls -- he'd be forced to unload both from his farm bins, put the grain in trucks, haul it 20-plus kilometres to the nearest grain elevator, sell it to the Wheat Board, pay a fee per tonne for the privilege and then buy both his barley and grain back from the board at a higher price -- all so he could process the product originally stored in grain bins about 40 metres from his factory mill.

To put this in Ontario terms, it's as if steel producers were forced to first ship their product through a government-mandated monopoly before they could buy it back at a higher price, and only then sell it to Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Toyota and Honda.

But the parliamentary interventionists see no pragmatic case for abolishing the Wheat Board monopoly. "There is no business case for abolishing the Canadian Wheat Board; it is pure ideological madness," argued Winnipeg NDP Member of Parliament Pat Martin in Parliament last month.

The NDP's chief interventionist wasn't the only one to call for the retention of the monopoly. Also in Parliament, Liberal Agriculture critic Wayne Easter rhetorically asked of the Conservative government, "What will it not do to take power away from primary producers and give that power to the international grain trade?"

"Primary producers" -- Western farmers in the case of the Wheat Board -- have long had their power to decide where, how and to whom they will sell their wheat and barley taken away by Ottawa. In the past, dissenters who violated the monopoly have been jailed. So participating directly in international markets would be an improvement in their currently status. But Easter was just playing the local demagogue, complete with the usual anti-foreigner rhetoric.

But the hypocrisy is spread out evenly. The Wheat Board doesn't have jurisdiction in Quebec and the Bloc would never ask Ottawa to allow a federally created monopoly with Ottawa-sanctioned restrictive powers to enter la belle province and determine how Quebec agricultural interests market and sell their products.

The Wheat Board also doesn't operate in Ontario or Atlantic Canada. Easter, from Prince Edward Island, has yet to ask the government to expand the board's mandate to cover potatoes from P.E.I. or grapes, corn, barley and wheat from Ontario.

Such political doubletalk is also where the charge of ideology from Martin et al. is laid bare as transparent nonsense. The domestic and export markets work perfectly well in the West for every other agricultural product (and in the rest of Canada for all) where producers and buyers find each other without government help.

Worse than the rhetoric is the reality: The Wheat Board monopoly on Western grain and barley distribution is, as with dairy marketing boards, an anti-consumer cartel. The CWB boasts on its Web site that, "Instead of competing against one another for sales, Western Canada's 85,000 wheat and barley farmers sell as one through the CWB and can therefore command a higher return for their grain."

Insofar as the board's monopoly is defended on the justification that it brings higher prices to producers, such defenders frankly admit that consumers at home and abroad are being gouged. Liberals, New Democrats and the Bloc like to think of themselves as friends of the poor. Not when they're busy keeping food prices higher than they would be in an open market. It's not only corporate CEOs who eat breakfast cereals made from prairie grains but families with marginal incomes.

As for the troika's motion to require a plebiscite among farmers, it's akin to asking grocery stores to vote on whether new competitors should be allowed; except for the very brave and competitive, a "no" answer would hardly come as a surprise, though that might not be the result in this case. Plenty of Western farmers don't like the Wheat Board.

Regardless, the Conservative government should move ahead and end the monopoly. The Canadian Wheat Board is an anti-consumer, anti-competitive, anti-poor cartel. It's time its' defenders faced up to those facts and for the board to face real-world competition.

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