May 22, 2010

Elephants painted as panda bears

Panda bears and elephants don’t have much in common - except in Thailand.

Pandas are black and white furry bears, and elephants are huge, grey, thick-skinned mammals. The two species aren’t much alike, but they were combined for visitors when elephants at the Thai Royal Elephant Kraal were painted as pandas and paraded for visitors in Ayutthaya, Thailand.

The elephants were painted in response to a female panda who recently gave birth.


Heralds Quartet sing “Good News, Chariots A 'Comin”

At the end of the song Carol Patton, wife of Heralds second tenor Jerry Patton, is introduced and joins Jerry on stage as the group honors Jerry’s thirty-seven year career.

May 21, 2010

High flying bike rider

A young man performed artistic jumps on his bmx bike in Herten, Germany last year.

Field of Dreams movie site for sale for $5.4 million

The Field of Dreams movie site near Dyersville, Iowa is for sale. You can own a piece of history with ties to baseball and Hollywood.

The baseball diamond, two-bedroom house, six outbuildings and 193 acres are listed for $5.4 million.

"There are as many different feelings about the Field of Dreams as people who come to see it. It means something very personal to every person who comes here," said owners Don & Becky Lansing.

A great line from the movie was, “if you build it they will come.” The question now is, if you price it at $5.4 million, will they come?

The photo above is a movie still showing Ray Liotta as legendary baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson and Kevin Costner as farmer Ray Kinsella in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams.

Above is a photo of the house and baseball diamond from the Field of Dreams movie.

This photo shows people dressed as ghost player characters like those in the Field of Dreams film emerging from the cornfield at the movie site to entertain visitors.


We need more candidates like this guy!

May 20, 2010

Historic building in Lincoln Nebraska has date with bulldozer

This iconic structure in on the current list of the 11 most endangered historic places in the United States.

The sloping roof hides the buildings four-story height when viewed up close at ground level as shown below.

This dramatic trapezoidal exposition space with natural skylights, intricate roof trusses and a four-story fountained interior has showcased the best of Lincoln, Neb. for over a century.

If a developer does not step forward soon with a plan for rescue and/or re-use of the structure, the building will be destroyed.

In 1919 the Lincoln Standard Aircraft Company bought the entire stock of World War I surplus Standard airplanes as well as surplus 150 hp Hispano-Suiza engines and assembled nearly 200 airplanes in the building as shown in the photo below.

It was one of these airplanes that Charles Lindbergh learned to fly in Lincoln. His flight instructor, I.O. Biffle, assisted in the assembly of the airplanes. Biffle and Lindbergh were also two of the first pilots to transport airmail cross-country.

Some years later, the famous Cushman Motor Scooter was also manufactured in the building. By 1948, a new Ag Hall was constructed and the old building became the Industrial Arts Building and was used to display industrial and technological products developed in the state.

More recent displays included quilts and a model railroad, before the building was closed to the public in 2004 due to disrepair.

The Nebraska State Historical Society has determined that the Industrial Arts Building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. However, this historic structure will have a date with a bulldozer if a suitable developer is not found by July 1, 2010.

The building is located just north of downtown Lincoln in State Fair Park, home of the Nebraska State Fair since 1901.


Egged cops

Police in Slovenia shield themselves from eggs thrown by students protesting government proposed restrictions on part-time labor.

Masterpieces stolen from Paris museum valued at over $600M

A closed circuit TV camera at the Paris Museum of Modern Art captured a lone thief stealing paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Modigliani and Léger valued at $613million (€500m or £430m).

The hooded thief was seen on camera cutting open a window, breaking locks and entering the museum, according to the Paris prosecutor's office.

Two of the stolen paintings are shown above. Still Life with Chandeliers by Fernand Léger is on left and Woman with a Fan by Amedeo Modigliani on the right.

The stolen paintings include:

A 1912 oil painting "Le pigeon aux petits-pois" (The Pigeon with the Peas) by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso

“La Pastorale” (Pastoral, 1906) by Henri Matisse

“L’Olivier près de l’Estaque” (Olive tree near Estaque, 1906) by Georges Braque"

“Amédéo Modigliani’s La femme a l’éventai” (Woman with a Fan) by Amedeo Modigliani

“Nature Morte au Chandelier” (Still Life with Chandeliers, 1922) by Fernand Léger.

The Paris Museum of Modern Art is the home to more than 8,000 20th century works of art.


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Biggest art thefts in history:

May 2010: A lone thief stole five paintings possibly worth hundreds of millions of euros, including works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist at a Paris modern art museum.

February 2008: Armed robbers stole four paintings by Cezanne, Degas, van Gogh and Monet worth $163.2 million from the E.G. Buehrle Collection, a private museum in Zurich, Switzerland. The van Gogh and Monet paintings were recovered.

December 2007: A painting by Pablo Picasso valued at about $50 million, along with one by Brazilian artist Candido Portinari valued at $5 million to $6 million, were stolen from the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil, by three burglars using a crowbar and a car jack. The paintings were later found.

February 2007: Two Picasso paintings, worth nearly $66 million, and a drawing were stolen from the Paris, France home of the artist's granddaughter in an overnight robbery. Police later recovered the art when the thieves tried to sell it.

February 2006: Around 300 museum-grade artifacts worth an estimated $142 million, including paintings, clocks and silver, were stolen from a 17th-century manor house at Ramsbury in southern England, the largest property theft in British history, according to reports.

February 2006: Four works of art and other objects, including paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Monet and Salvador Dali, were stolen from the Museu Chacara do Ceu, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by four armed men during a Carnival parade. Local media estimated the paintings' worth at around $50 million.

August 2004: Two paintings by Edvard Munch, The Scream and Madonna, insured for $141 million, were stolen from the Munch Museum in Oslo, Norway by three men in a daylight raid. The paintings were recovered nearly two years later.

August 2003: A $65 million Leonardo da Vinci painting was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in southern Scotland after two men joined a public tour and overpowered a guide. It was recovered four years later.

May 2003: A 16th-century gold-plated Saliera, or salt cellar, by Florentine master Benvenuto Cellini, valued at $69.3 million, was stolen from Vienna's Art History Museum by a single thief when guards discounted a burglar alarm. The figurine was later recovered.

December 2002: Two thieves broke in through the roof of the Vincent Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and stole two paintings by Van Gogh valued at $30 million. Dutch police convicted two men in December 2003, but did not recover the paintings.

December 2000: Hooded thieves stole a self-portrait by Rembrandt and two Renoir paintings worth an estimated $36 million from Stockholm's waterfront National Museum, using a motorboat in their escape. All paintings were recovered.

October 1994: Seven Picasso paintings worth an estimated $44 million were stolen from a gallery in Zurich, Switzerland. They were recovered in 2000.

April 1991: Two masked armed men took 20 paintings - worth at least $10 million each at the time - from Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum. The paintings were found in the getaway car less than an hour later.

March 1990: In the biggest art theft in U.S. history, $300 million in art, including works by Vermeer, Rembrandt and Manet, was stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, by two men in police uniforms.

December 1988: Thieves stole three paintings by van Gogh, with an estimated value of $72 million to $90 million, from the Kroeller-Mueller Museum in a remote section of the Netherlands. Police later recovered all three paintings.

May 1986: A Vermeer painting, Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid, is among 18 paintings worth $40 million stolen from Russborough House in Blessington, Ireland. Some of the paintings are later recovered.

August 1911: Perhaps the most famous case of art theft occurred when the Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre by employee Vinczo Peruggia, who was caught two years later.

A few questions about CFL bulbs

Why is nearly everything positive about the compact fluorescent light bulb exaggerated while everything negative is underplayed?

Will there be light bulb police checking homes and businesses to make sure people aren’t buying black market incandescent bulbs when CFL’s become the only ones available in stores?

Also, how many CFL light bulb users follow the rules for disposing of dead bulbs as outlined in the link below?

There are people stockpiling incandescent bulbs now for their own use as well as for resale when they are outlawed.


Sun-Times report: time for Obama Cabinet repair

A report in the Chicago Sun-Times reminds us that in every presidency, a couple of Cabinet officials usually emerge as lightning rods for criticism of administration policy because of their handling of key issues.

In the Obama administration, Attorney General Eric Holder (upper photo) and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (lower photo) find themselves playing that role on the volatile issues of terrorism and immigration.

The administration's determination to separate itself from the Bush-era attitudes on terrorism and its failure to secure the border have thrown Holder and Napolitano on the defensive.

Even before considering recent events, one remembers the cavalier attitude by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano when the “underwear bomber” nearly blew up an airliner over Chicago. Her first knee-jerk reaction was to say, “the system worked.”

And then there was the criticism of the Arizona immigration law by Attorney General Eric Holder who admitted he hadn’t even read the law.

Back to the Sun-Times article:

It was embarrassing for the nation to watch Holder last week dance around a simple question about whether radical Islam could have played a role in recent attempted terrorist attacks.

During a House Judiciary Committee hearing, Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas tried something like nine times to get a straight answer. Holder dodged again and again, saying "there are a variety of reasons why people do things," and that he didn't want to say anything negative about a religion.

Congressman Smith wasn't asking Holder about the mainstream Islam of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

He was asking about Islamism, the radical and violent medieval political religion that promotes suicide jihadism killing civilians, threatens free speech by targeting for death its practitioners like novelist Salman Rushdie and Danish cartoonists, and is committed to endless war on modern civilization.

More here.

May 19, 2010

Spirit Airlines sells ads on barf bags

Spirit Airlines sells ads on overhead bins, bathrooms and even on barf bags!

Chances are we won’t see restaurant ads on barf bags.

Will ads on bald heads be next?

Actually, Air New Zealand announced a couple of years ago it was looking for a few bald heads to bear the name of the airline on them using temporary tattoos.

Arizona immigration law consensus

Wife of RFK Jr. arrested for DUI

At left is the police booking photo released by the Westchester County District Attorney's Office in White Plains, New York showing Mary Richardson Kennedy wife of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

According to the Bedford, N.Y., police Department, Mrs. Kennedy was arrested on Saturday, May 15, 2010 for drunken driving after an officer saw her drive over a curb outside a school.

Police say her blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Robert Kennedy, Jr. is the son of former Sen. Robert Kennedy and the nephew of President John F. Kennedy. He works as an environmental lawyer in White Plains.


Porsche driver delivers boy to police after dandelion attack

An outraged German driver nabbed an eight-year-old boy and took him to the police after he and a friend pelted his beloved Porsche with dandelions.

The 47-year-old man from Hittfeld in northern Germany has been charged with false imprisonment, police said, after he bundled the terrified prankster into his car, furious at what he said was a "dangerous stunt".

Authorities praised the swift action of an eagle-eyed pedestrian who called police when she saw the boy being forced into the car against his will.

The boys were later picked up at the police station by their parents.


About the Obama Supreme Court pic…


Senate hopeful falsely claimed he was a Marine in Vietnam

When is a lie not a lie?

Apparently when a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate says he served as a Marine in Vietnam when he was never close to Vietnam while in the Marine Reserves.

There has been a lot of damage control by Democrats after Dick Blumenthal (pictured) lied about serving in Vietnam.

It’s really pretty simple. Blumenthal said he was there. Military records say he wasn’t.

A report at the link below says he obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

His supporters, including the liberal media, say he misspoke. Some even alibi for him claiming there is a “tendency in society to fake Vietnam military service.”

Blumenthal is the Connecticut Attorney General and Democrat running for Dodd's seat in the Senate.


May 18, 2010

The Specter of Arlen: Sestak wins primary race

Joe Sestak has sent Arlen Specter, an 80-year-old, five-term senator, into retirement.

Specter is shown on left -- Sestak on the right.

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who left the Republican Party a year ago in hopes of salvaging a 30-year career (which began as a Democrat), was rejected on Tuesday by Democratic primary voters.

Congressman Joe Sestak won the party’s nomination on an anti-incumbent wave that is defining the midterm elections.

Sestak will face Republican Pat Toomey in November.

Video sharing site YouTube is 5 years old

It’s hard to believe that YouTube is 5 years old. Also, hard to believe that the popular video sharing site receives more than 2 billion views each day.

Below are a couple of interesting YouTube videos. The first is only about 5 seconds long and shows a unique method of descending a stairway:

The video below shows Marlow Cowan and Frances, his bride of 63 years, playing a piano duet in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The Cowans are from Ankeny, Iowa and were at the clinic for physical check-ups.

Frances and Marlow Cowan

Coke break for a long tailed macaque monkey

A Long Tailed Macaque Monkey gulps down cola at the Lopburi, Thailand, Monkey Festival last November.

The annual festival, in its 21st year, began by businessmen as a way of showing appreciation for the long tail mackak monkeys and the tourism they attract.

Geometry teacher used Obama assassination to teach angles

An Alabama teacher used assassinating Barack Obama as a way to teach angles to his geometry students.

Someone alerted authorities and the math teacher was questioned by the Secret Service but was not taken into custody or charged with any crime.

"We did not find a credible threat," said Roy Sexton, special agent in charge of Birmingham's Secret Service office. "As far as the Secret Service is concerned, we looked into it, we talked to the gentleman and we have closed our investigation."


Robot conducts wedding: Until death or malfunction

At a recent wedding in Japan nearly everyone was standing. Almost everyone stood when the bride walked down the aisle in her white gown. Everyone that is except the conductor of the wedding who was bolted to her chair.

The nuptials at this ceremony were led by "I-Fairy," a 4-foot tall seated robot with flashing eyes and plastic pigtails.

It was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to manufacturer Kokoro Co.

"Please lift the bride's veil," the robot said in a tinny voice, waving its arms in the air as the newlyweds kissed in front of about 50 guests.

More here.

Farm featured in movie Twister hit by real tornado

A real tornado hit the Fairfax, Oklahoma farm featured in the 1966 movie "Twister."

Scenes for the movie were shot at J. Berry Harrison Sr.'s farm in Fairfax about 120 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.

A real tornado hit the farm when a half dozen twisters touched down during storms in Oklahoma.

Harrison said Saturday he lost two houses, five barns, two silos, a horse and farm equipment.


May 17, 2010

Obama signs press freedom act then refuses questions from press

A report at the link below is titled: “Press Freedom, Sure. But No Questions.”

There was some rich irony at the White House today -- President Obama signed the Press Freedom Act, and then promptly refused to take any questions.

Last Friday Mr. Obama refused to take any questions after delivering an angry statement (pictured) on the oil spill in the Rose Garden.

Obama has not held a prime time White House news conference in many months, despite much pleading from pundits and members of the media.


Pesticides now linked to childhood ADHD

Studies linking environmental products to health hazards and disease are commonplace.

One recent report says that chemicals in plastics and common household goods have been associated with serious developmental problems in children.

There is a long inventory of other hazards contributing to rising rates in health problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and autism.

Now they are adding attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to the list.

A report found below links common pesticides to childhood ADHD.

Berries, whether fresh or frozen, along with celery and peaches are only a few of the fruits and vegetables containing significant levels of pesticides. Now a study published in this week's issue of Pediatrics indicates that residue from these chemical compounds can be found in the urine of most Americans and seem to be affecting the neural development of children.

More here.

Political cartoon inspired by video of a teacher beating a student

The cartoon above was inspired by the video below showing a Houston teacher beating a student.

The beating is inexcusable and the teacher, who was fired, should face criminal charges. No matter what the student did there are other ways of dealing with an unruly student.

The cartoon, however, is pertinent as well as prophetic.

She is not happy with his new iPad purchase

White House iPad rumor…

Is there anything to the rumor that the White House is holding off buying an iPad … until there is a teleprompter ap available?

Just wondering…

Stuffing junk in mouth of oil well…

More ironic tee-shirts To Get Arrested In

Chinese man found 10 years after his reported murder

A Chinese man who was supposedly hacked to death in a fight has reappeared in his hometown after 10 years.

Zhao Zuohai, the supposed killer, was acquitted of the crime and released.

He had served 10 years of a 29-year sentence after confessing to killing Zhao Zhenshang in a hatchet fight in central China's Henan province, the China Daily reported.

The reappearance raised questions about police torture to extract a confession from the alleged killer.


May 16, 2010

Sorry Charlie…

Even Charlie Tuna is affected by the oil spill.

Taco Bell drive up customer gets $2K in food bag

From the Dayton Daily News:

A young woman in her 20s, driving a silver SUV, got more than burritos when she went through the drive through at a Taco Bell.

Instead of a bag containing her order, she got a bag containing the restaurant’s morning bank deposit — about $2,000.

An employee said she was working the drive-through window and mistakenly gave the customer the bank deposit.

The restaurant manager explained it was store policy to put the bank bag containing the deposit in a Taco Bell bag. The manager would then drive up to the drive-through window, and an employee would hand him the bag.


Detroit to tear down 10,000 vacant houses in next four years

The war on vacant houses in Detroit took is underway as officials announced plans to demolish about 450 of the most dangerous structures within the next two months.

"It's part of the rebirth we are going through," County Executive Robert Ficano said, surrounded by other local officials and a dozen religious leaders. "These are havens for drugs and other things."

Detroit's mayor wants to tear down 10,000 vacant houses over the next four years and, with them, evict the illegal drug and weapons operations that often move in after residents move out.

Mitt Romney's boyhood home (shown below) is among 3,000 derelict structures Detroit plans to demolish by the end of September as it attacks blight and crime.

There are about 33,000 vacant houses spread across Detroit, while another 50,000 homes are in foreclosure according to Mayor Dave Bing.


How much of the city will go back to farmland?

(click on picture to enlarge)

Going into the Jimmy Carter ecomony

We are going into the Jimmy Carter economy faster than Carter took us there.