Jul 17, 2010

Fishing in a green China sea

A fisherman rows a boat through the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Chaohu, China.

Ernie Haase & Signature Sound Quartet sing “Heavenly Parade”

Jul 16, 2010

Photos from the giant Gulf oil spill

The owner of a seafood business planted crosses in his front yard in Grand Isle, La., to mark casualties of the oil spill. "Our soul is dying," said the graveyard's creator, Patrick Shay.

Golfer John Daly: a rainbow on the fairway

St Andrews Links, the Home of Golf, where the game has been nurtured and developed for 600 years, has seldom seen such color along its staid and hallowed fairways as when John Daly plays in the British Open Championship.

Photo above shows Daly playing in the 2010 British Open. Below, Daly and his girlfriend, Anna Cladakis, wore matching argyle pants during a walk along the course during practice for the British Open in St Andrews, Scotland.

Daly made a dizzying entrance at the champions dinner before the British Open. While other past tournament winners sported traditional red coats, Daly showed up in a blazer of orange and blue sunbursts against a black background as shown below on the left.

On right below shows Daly and his girlfriend as they appeared in a Loudmouth Golf clothing advertisement wearing shorts called A-Tisket A-Tasket.

The dwindling speed cushion

We have all seen cartoon showing a motorcycle cop hiding behind a billboard just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting speeder.

We have also heard about the “speed traps” set up by small town cops and rural sheriff deputies.

That may be commonplace as cities and states scramble to cope with budget deficits in a recession.

From a USA Today report last spring:

The recession may be claiming a new victim: the 5-10-mph "cushion" police and state troopers across the USA have routinely given motorists exceeding the speed limit.

As cities and states scramble to fill budget gaps with revenue from traffic citations, "not only are the (speeding) tolerances much lower, but the frequency of a warning instead of a ticket is way down," says James Baxter, president of the National Motorists Association, a Wisconsin-based drivers' rights group that helps its members fight speeding tickets.

Most people, if they're stopped now, are getting a ticket even if it's only a minor violation of a few miles per hour," Baxter says. He cites anecdotal evidence of drivers being pulled over at slower speeds.

More here.

Another dumb celebrity quote…

Britney Spears told the Toronto Star in 1999, “I get to go overseas places, like Canada” when asked about the perks of fame.

Such knowledge and awareness is breathtaking.

Stimulating signs not telling stimulus spending story

$20 Million spent on stimulus signs! That’s stimulating?

Congressman Aaron Schock (R-IL) has joined the chorus of Republican outrage over stimulus signs and claims at least $20 million has been spent on them.

He told ABC News, "I think it's a bit of an oxymoron to spend tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, borrowed money, on a bunch of signs to tell them how we are spending their taxpayer money."

But isn't Congressman Schock missing the whole point of the signs? Aren't they Obama's 2012 re-election signs?

When asked about the Republican outcry over spending on stimulus signs, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs replied with a well rehearsed line about how nice it was that the Republicans noticed the road projects underway this summer.


Jul 15, 2010

Moose on the loose in Lubin, Poland

A policeman is attempting coral a moose that found its way into the suburbs of Lubin, Poland. The moose was later returned to the forest.

Hillary for President in 2012?

According to Bernard Goldberg, Hillary will resign as Secretary of State right after the November, 2010 elections and announce another run at the White House.

Is it a long shot? Sure. But it’s no longer crazy.

If it’s occurring to millions of Americans who voted for Obama, it must be occurring to Hillary Clinton too: The magic is gone. Barack Obama can’t walk on water no matter how hard his fans in the media tried to turn him into the messiah. And that hope and change thing? Well, it isn’t working out the way it was supposed to, either.

Hillary really should resign as Secretary of State - she is just a figurehead anyway because Obama won't let her do her job.

The position was given to her as a "trophy" after her bitter primary campaign against Obama.

If she wins the presidency in 2012, Bill will be back in the White House. Who will he rent out the Lincoln bedroom to this time?

Will Hillary keep him supplied with cute young political interns like Monica? Maybe, but he probably can't use the Oval Office for his hanky panky this time.

More of the Hillary for president story here.

Facebook helps the return of stolen class ring

A Maine woman's high school class ring is back in her possession -- 28 years after it was stolen.

Michelle Bilodeau, of Auburn, hadn't seen her Edward Little High School class of 1983 ring since it was stolen during her junior year.

Last Friday it was returned to her by a stranger who tracked her down on Facebook.

More here.

Tolstoy had it figured right...

A man is like a fraction whose numerator is what he is and whose denominator is what he thinks of himself; the larger the denominator, the smaller the fraction. - Leo Tolstoy

House Democrats furious over lack of White House support

Obama got Democrats to vote for his agenda, against the wishes of the majority of Americans, and they will pay the price in November.

Now they are angry because the White House won't help them in their November campaigns.

It is possible that Obama believes it would be easier for his own re-elected in 2012 if he a Republican Congress to blame things on.

That would explain why Democrats up for re-election in November are being hung out to dry.

They did Obama's bidding but now they are expendable. Interesting theory.


Jul 14, 2010

The Chicken came before the egg - really

British scientists believe they have cracked the answer to the age-old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Researchers have found that a protein called ovocleidin (OC-17) is crucial in the formulation of eggshells, and it is produced in the pregnant hen's ovaries, the Daily Express reports.

Therefore, the answer to the conundrum must be that the chicken came first.

Using a high-tech computer to look at the molecular structure of a shell, the team of scientists from the Universities of Sheffield and Warwick found that OC-17 acts as a catalyst, kick-starting the conversion of calcium carbonate in the chicken's body into calcite crystals.

They make up the hard shell that houses the yolk and its protective fluids while the chick develops.

These people really need to get out more. They spent a lot of time and resources just to solve an age-old riddle we really didn't want solved.

The article goes on:

"It had long been suspected that the egg came first but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first," said Dr Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University.

"The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process."

They haven't finished yet. The article ends with:

But the researchers have not yet got an answer to how the protein-producing chicken existed in the first place.


Bedbugs feast on moviegoers in cushy theater seats

From a report at the link below:

Dinner and a movie: Experts say
bedbugs favor feasting on moviegoers in cushy theater seats

Playing now in a city theater near you: Attack of the Bedbug.

Bedbugs need people in a stationary position to attack. People in hotel beds or in movie theater seats are perfect targets.

Will the old-time good night salutation, "Sleep tight - don't let the bed bugs bite" come back into use?

More of this story here.

Full-body scanner backlash grows

Fliers cite health risks and privacy worries as opposition to full-body imaging machines is growing.

From a report at the link below:

Many frequent fliers complain they're time-consuming or invade their privacy. The world's airlines say they shouldn't be used for primary security screening. And questions are being raised about possible effects on passengers' health.

"The system takes three to five times as long as walking through a metal detector," says Phil Bush of Atlanta, one of many fliers on USA TODAY's Road Warriors panel who oppose the machines. "This looks to be yet another disaster waiting to happen."

The machines — dubbed by some fliers as virtual strip searches — were installed at many airports in March after a Christmas Day airline bombing attempt.

That was the time Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that "the system worked."

As if to make up for Napolitano's embarrassing statement last January, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has spent more than $80 million for about 500 machines, including 133 now at airports. It plans to install about 1,000 by the end of next year.

The machines are running into complaints and questions here and overseas.


Jul 13, 2010

Was Al Franken elected by illegal votes from felons?

From a report at the link below:

The six-month election recount that turned former Saturday Night Live comedian Al Franken (pictured on right) into a U.S. senator may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota's Twin Cities, according to an 18-month study conducted by a conservative watchdog group.

Below is another photo of Al Franken, the freshman Senator from Minnesota.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Senate Democrats must be so proud


Parking on a dime

He throws out a dime - then parks on it.

Cavalier owner fined $100,000 for LeBron James comments

Any pro basketball team owner would have been really ticked at the way LeBron James handled the announcement of his move to the Miami Heat team at the end of his free agency.

However, few would have reacted as Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert did.

Not only did Dan Gilbert (upper photo) Cleveland Cavalier basketball team majority owner post a rant about LeBron James (lower photo) on his NBA website, he used the cutesy Comic Sans font.

The choice of fonts added to the caustic content as Comic Sans is probably the worst font ever to grace a computer screen.

Comic Sans is used by fourth-graders, authors of comic books and hardly anyone else. There surely was a special message to LeBron in the choice of fonts.

The letter can be found at the second link below (unless the NBA has forced Dan Gilbert to remove the posting). The letter is shown here in part:

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

The letter refers to the actions of former Cleveland Cavalier basketball player LeBron James.

While the letter is truthful, it is no doubt the most expensive letter ever written by Dan Gilbert.

Link here and here.

Redneck horseshoe contest

The photo above shows a competitor in the Redneck Horseshoes contest during the 14th annual Summer Redneck Games in East Dublin, Ga.

The event started in 1996 as a charity and a spoof of the Summer Olympics held in Atlanta. Other events include bobbing for pigs' feet, hub cap hurling and a mud pit belly flop contest.

Mort Zuckerman: Obama is barely treading water

Mort Zuckerman (pictured) is the owner and publisher of New York Daily News and is editor in chief of U.S. News and World Report.

The hope that fired up the election of Barack Obama has flickered out, leaving a national mood of despair and disappointment. Americans are dispirited over how wrong things are and uncertain they can be made right again.

There is a widespread feeling that the government doesn't work, that it is incapable of solving America's problems.

More of Zuckerman's assessment of Washington politics here.

Jul 12, 2010

Get a Smart car in any color or pattern

Henry Ford told customers they could have the Model T in any color they wanted -- as long as their choice was black.

What would Mr. Ford say about the choices afforded customers of Smart USA?

Smart USA, the company that sells the ultra-small Smart ForTwo, is now offering customers the option to have their car painted any color they choose.

Seriously. Any color. They mean it. Even plaid!

Red, blue, green, fuchsia, burnt sienna, cyan, lavender, turquoise with a hint of gold, plaid... you name it.

Customers will still be able to choose one of Smart's six basic colors at no additional cost but, for $1,550 more, they can choose from a palette of 93 other colors as part of the brand's "smartExpressions" offer.


Massive new tax change lurks in ObamaCare

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) promised we would not know everything in the 2,000+ page ObamaCare bill until after it passed and became law.

Proving her right is an all-but-overlooked provision of the health reform law that is threatening to swamp U.S. businesses with a flood of new tax paperwork.

Section 9006 of the health care bill -- just a few lines buried in the 2,409-page document -- mandates that beginning in 2012 all companies will have to issue 1099 tax forms not just to contract workers but to any individual or corporation from which they buy more than $600 in goods or services in a tax year.

The stealth change radically alters the nature of 1099s and means businesses will have to issue millions of new tax documents each year.

Now the IRS must start mopping up Congress's tax-reporting mess created by ObamaCare.

The Internal Revenue Service has begun the daunting process of figuring out how to turn the law's sweeping demands into actual rules for taxpayers.

Like many who have delved into the details of the new rules, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson is concerned about their far-reaching scope and potential unintended consequences.

The new rules are aimed at reducing the "tax gap" between what individuals and businesses owe and what they actually pay.

But the cost of that paper trail could swamp the small companies, sole proprietors freelancers forced to generate it. Pennsylvania business networking organization SMC Business Councils surveyed its members and found that they currently average 10 filings a year of 1099 forms. The new rules would push that average to more than 200 filings per year for a typical small business, the industry group estimates.

More here and here.

Jul 11, 2010

First rig leaves gulf over drilling ban

Lawmakers and experts fear loss is only the start of offshore exodus as a result of the Obama drilling ban.

Diamond Offshore announced Friday that its Ocean Endeavor drilling rig will leave the Gulf of Mexico and move to Egyptian waters immediately -- making it the first to abandon the United States in the wake of the BP oil spill and a ban on deep-water drilling.

The Ocean Endeavor's exodus probably won't be the last, according to oil industry officials and Gulf Coast leaders who warn that other companies eager to find work for the now-idled rigs are considering moving them outside the U.S.

Many in the Gulf are saying thank you Mr. President -- your drilling ban is increasing our Arab world oil dependence and at the same time putting thousands of workers on the unemployment rolls.

The CEO of Houston-based Diamond, signaled that other of his company's rigs could be relocated, too.

"As a result of the uncertainties surrounding the offshore drilling moratorium, we are actively seeking international opportunities to keep our rigs fully employed," Dickerson said. "We greatly regret the loss of U.S. jobs that will result from this rig relocation."

This is especially troubling since the administration has made it clear that they will do whatever is necessary to keep the drilling ban in place.

It's much more than just gasoline. Click on the second link below for scores of products dependent on oil. Along with the economy in the Gulf, these products are all negatively impacted by the Obama drilling ban.

Link here and here.

The World Cup is mercifully over!

If I ever hear another vuvuzela it'll be too soon.

The World Cup is a world spectacle that only comes once every 4 years when countries battle it out to prove which country is the best in the world … at soccer anyway.

The 2010 world cup was hosted by South Africa and ruined by tens of thousands of vuvuzela horns made in China.

The constant buzzing noise is beyond annoying.

Will the stands be full of vuvuzela horns at the next World Cup four years from now in Brazil? You can count on it.

Maybe Brazil will stock enough earplugs. South Africa ran out of earplugs on the first day of World Cup 2010.

No Dutch treat in World Cup as Spain wins

Spain rules the soccer world, winning the World Cup at long, long last.

It came after an exhausting 1-0 victory in extra time over the Netherlands.

The above AP photo shows Spain's Andres Iniesta as he scores a goal past Netherlands' Rafael van der Vaart during the World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Train wreck in Kokrajhar India

Onlookers and railway officials stand beside a passenger train that derailed after an explosion in Kokrajhar, India.

Learning from my grandchildren

Just finished my first texting lesson from my grandchildren.

Since most people now have cell phones with QWERTY keyboards I was told to stop using "gr8" for the word great, the letter "u" for you, etc.

Not knowing how to respond, I simply said “gr8.”

I am breathlessly awaiting lesson number 2.

The Las Vegas attempt to go from glitz to culture fails

The recent push to bring culture to Las Vegas has failed.

As Las Vegas's population and economy exploded over the past two decades, cultural and financial elite here sought to convince the rest of the world that the city known for Elvis impersonators and neon lights wasn't a cultural wasteland.

But many of those efforts are unraveling.

1. Last year, the Las Vegas Art Museum shut its doors as donations dwindled.

2. Tentative plans for a contemporary art museum downtown were scrapped.

3. A sculpture park that has cost the city around $700,000 sits empty, awaiting funds from a private group for its completion.

4. The final blow came from the announcement that David Hickey and Libby Lumpkin, an academic couple who propelled the city's artistic ambitions, are leaving Las Vegas.

I personally saw Las Vegas in the 1960's and 1970's through the eyes of a telephone company auditor on business trips rather than as a vacationer in town to visit casinos and attend live shows.

The closest thing to culture were a few oil paintings for sale at the Sahara.

The things that strike first time visitors to Las Vegas, as mentioned in the article, are Elvis impersonators and neon lights.

Nothing seems to have changed.