Nov 27, 2010

Colorado UFO House aka Sleeper House sold at foreclosure auction

Traveling on I-70 west of Denver near Genessee, Colorado you can see the "UFO" house a.k.a "Sleeper" house.

This futuristic house on Genessee Mountain was made famous by Woody Allen's 1973 sci-fi comedy movie Sleeper.

The lower photo shows the sitting room located below and behind the 'clam'.

It was designed & built by Architect Charles Deaton who also designed Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.

It sold last week at a foreclosure auction for $1,529,401. The previous sale was for a reported $5.5 million.


Sand tiger shark

A Sand tiger shark swims in its aquarium at the Zoo-Aquarium in Berlin, Germany

Nov 26, 2010

Husker Buffalo rivalry ended today with a 45-17 Husker win

To Colorado Buffalo fans this was the end of a fierce rivalry.

To Nebraska Husker fans this was the end of just another series of games with a lesser opponent - and that's what has rankled Buff fans for decades - the condescending attitude of the Huskers.

The Huskers were National Champions in 1970, 1971, 1994, 1995, & 1997. The Buffs won their first and only National Football Championship in 1990.

The Huskers and Buffs ended their rivalry with a convincing Husker win at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska

With 48 Husker wins compared to 18 Buffalo wins (there were 2 tied games) one can understand why the University of Colorado football team has tried it's best to make this into a rivalry to get their players and fans up for the game year after year.

Now, with the Huskers moving on to the Big 10 conference and the Buffs going to the PAC 10, the Colorado Buffalos will need to find another team to hate. That should be easy - especially with Rick Neuheisel coaching the UCLA Bruins.

Neuheisel took over as head coach of the Buffalos in 1995 after Bill McCartney resigned and ran the program until 1998 when he suddenly took the head coaching job at the University of Washington leaving the Buffs high and dry during the height of the recruiting season.

Yup, the UCLA Bruins will be the perfect team for the Buffs to hate from now on.

Oouch! Obama gets busted lip shooting hoops needing 12 stitches

Barack Obama required 12 stitches after being elbowed shooting hoops.

Playing in a post-Thanksgiving pickup game with visiting family members and personal aide Reggie Love, Obama caught an elbow to the lip. The injury was treated by the medical unit located on the first floor of the White House.

Obama was given a local anesthetic. The medical staff used a procedure that required more stitches than usual in an effort to minimize the scar.


Newark airport scanners were barely used on busiest travel day!

There is another report of airport scanners barely used on Wednesday - the busiest U.S. travel day of the year.

The choice between a "virtual strip search" and a "grope" was strictly academic Wednesday for most holiday travelers flying out of Newark Liberty International Airport.

If it isn't important for our safety to scan and search fliers on the busiest travel day of the year, why is it more important to do it on less traveled flying days?

More here.

We won't abandon Korea - at least not before ...

TSA says National Opt-Out day was a bust

The TSA claims National Opt-Out day was a failure for protestors who planned to refuse the naked scanners (backscatter machines) so that TSA would give them enhanced pat downs which take longer thereby slowing down the lines.

However, many fliers claim TSA deactivated backscatter body scanners to keep lines moving without scanning and also without enhanced pat downs.

According to tweeting travelers, many backscatter and millimeter-wave AIT scanning machines at airports are not in use at all, making opting-out impossible.

Some flier comments from the link below:

Backscatter machines aren't being used at LAX. They are all roped off.

Didn't have to opt-out, not using backscatter machines for some reason.

Didn't get 'scattered; normal X-ray. In fact in the 15 min it took for us to clear NO ONE was selected for backscatter in 2 lines.

No groping no irradiation (backscatter present but not in use).

Backscatter machines all roped off at SJC.


Al Gore admits corn ethanol was mistake

From a recent Reuters report:

Former U.S. vice-president Al Gore said support for corn-based ethanol in the United States was "not a good policy", weeks before tax credits are up for renewal.

(click on picture to enlarge)

Perhaps Mr. Gore just couldn't find the correct data in his large home office shown above. It's a mess but has a nifty frog hanging on the wall.

The Reuters report continues:

U.S. blending tax breaks for ethanol make it profitable for refiners to use the fuel even when it is more expensive than gasoline. The credits are up for renewal on Dec. 31.

"It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol," said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference.

It seems that Mr. Gore spent much of his time at the conference explaining the 'greenies' why he was wrong on the effect of corn used for ethanol negatively impacted food prices.


Steve Jobs and Rupert Murdock to launch an iPad only newspaper

A 'Technically Incorrect' report in CNet News wonders about the official unveiling of the "iPaper." Will they both appear on stage in reverse rolls with Steve Jobs (pictured) in a suit and Rupert Murdoch in baggy Levi's and a black turtleneck?

Some think the future of a news entity exclusively for the iPad is about as absurd as the reverse roll mentioned above.

It will be called The Daily and it will, according to CNet, have as its pulsating spirit "a tabloid sensibility with a broadsheet intelligence."

Oh, and there is a price for this melange of the tabloid heart with a broadsheet mind. A ticklingly enticing 99 cents a week.

The Daily will, apparently not enjoy such dated concepts as a print edition or even a Web edition. Instead it will be beamed straight to the iPad (or Galaxy, if you can afford one) from News Corp.'s high pod somewhere in Manhattan.

Apple's role in this interesting enterprise seems to rest in offering engineering expertise, and, of course, the existence of many millions of iPads waiting to host the new iPad-o-newsthingy.

I have a non-technical reason it may fail. With no hard copy, what will we use to line birdcages?


Report: Mr. Smut goes to Washington

The Internet is buzzing about Democrat Congressman John Conyers (pictured) caught on camera in a late July flight to DC this summer ogling a Playboy magazine.

While November’s election brought a tsunami of change to Michigan policies, some incumbents are untouchable. So untouchable, apparently, that they openly read girlie magazines on their trips to and from Washington.

Mr. Conyers is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, so maybe he is preparing for a committee hearing on the legal definition of pornography. Or he maybe studying new TSA enhanced pat-down procedures for female passengers.

Whatever the case, the congressman doesn’t seem bashful about sharing his reading habits with nearby passengers and passing flight attendants.


Nov 25, 2010

TSA turned off scanners to avoid opt-out delays

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that the threatened opt-out didn't happen as huge numbers of passengers moved through most airports with few problems.

Anticipating nationwide protests against naked body scanners and pat-downs, the TSA may have simply turned off the naked body scanners on Wednesday.

The busiest air travel day of the year turned out to be a model of efficiency at most airports despite the opt-out threat.

Large numbers of air travelers allowed to walk right through security checkpoints without being subjected to explicit scanners or enhanced patdowns.

All across the country, air travelers are reporting that the TSA simply deactivated the naked body scanners and let people go right through without a scan.

“Backscatter scanners are off. No scan. No pat down.” reported a traveler from the Seattle airport. “Backscatter machines aren’t being used at LAX,” reported another traveler. “They’re all roped off.”

Much the same story was being reported all across the country.


Don't hesitate when your country needs you…

A message from the turkey…

Nov 24, 2010

TSA advertises for workers on pizza boxes

A report at the link below asks:

Looking for a personal scan pizza?

The Transportation Security Administration is trying a new tack to fill a slew of screener positions -- advertising on pizza boxes.

"A Career Where X-Ray Vision and Federal Benefits Come Standard," screams a TSA ad appearing on pizza boxes popping up across the Washington, D.C., region.

"See yourself in a vital role for Homeland Security," plead the advertisements.

TSA spokesman Greg Soule said the method was intended to reach a "broader applicant pool." He declined to say how much the agency was spending on the campaign.

A Pizza box seems a strange place to advertise for someone to do enhanced pat downs.

Maybe they should try ads on matchbook covers placed in massage parlors.


Pizzeria robbers escaped with wrong dough

Thieves held up the owners of a pizzeria and then fled with a bag they thought was the day's cash reciepts.

The bag was full of dough but not the kind they expected. It was dough that pizza crusts are made of.

Police say Salvatore LaRosa was charged with robbery after surrendering to police.

According to court papers, LaRosa and an accomplice followed the owners of Brothers Pizzeria on Staten Island.

After donning masks, they pointed guns and demanded the men turn over the bag they believed was cash.


Hourly cost to fly Air Force One a staggering $181,757.00 per hour!

Some are accusing Barack Obama of using Air Force One as his personal toy (shown in photos).

Now we know how much it is costing taxpayers for his flights around the world as well as jaunts in Air Force One to New York and other places for a 'date nights' with Michelle.

The average American could buy a nice house for the amount of money it takes to run Air Force One every hour.

The U.S. military has provided an updated estimate on that cost, first published by a taxpayer watchdog group and confirmed by, and the number is staggering -- $181,757 per hour.

That's the price tag for shuttling around President Obama, who, as it turns out, has spent more days abroad in his first two years than any other president.

More here.

TSA not eager to pat down this flyer

(click on cartoon to enlarge)

Usefulness of TSA pat downs and explicit photos are dubious at best

From a report at the link below:

Passengers are angry, and they should be.

Full-body pat-downs and explicit photo screenings have gone too far, and the security benefits of implementing these procedures on random passengers are dubious at best.

The photo above shows a TSA employee who appears to enjoy giving groping pat downs.

TSA's revealing full-body scans and pat-downs are an invasive, unnecessary infringement on passengers’ rights.

Congress must exercise its oversight authority to investigate why TSA has mandated these new procedures and whether or not they actually provide stronger security for airline passengers.

If intrusive pat downs improved safety that much, why weren't they started right after the Christmas bomber scare 11 months ago?


Don’t let a hot oil turkey fryer spoil your Thanksgiving

Most fryers do not have thermostats and can easily overheat causing the cooking oil to combust.

Most fryers can tip over easily creating another hazard.

When lowering a frozen turkey into the fryer the difference in temperature can cause a boil over and the spilled hot oil will catch fire from the burner.

Putting too much oil in the fryer will cause a spill over when the turkey is lowered into the fryer.

Turkey fryers should always be used outdoors, away from buildings and never on wooden decks or patios.

Have a safe Thanksgiving without a turkey fryer fire.

Is a new Korean War about to start?

The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. Is a new one about to start?

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington and four other U.S. Navy ships will participate in just announced military exercises with South Korea this weekend as part of the United States’ response to North Korea’s deadly artillery barrage of a South Korean island that has triggered an international crisis.

The exercise will be held in the Yellow Sea, west of the Korean Peninsula.

This is an obvious show of force indicating to North Korea that we will defend South Korea just as we did more than 50 years ago.


Nov 23, 2010

The Taliban leader in peace talks was an imposter

It was Amateur Hour at the U.S. State department.

The hallmark of the American approach to Afghanistan has been to negotiate with the Taliban.

American diplomats, at the direction of the Obama Administration, have been sitting down for detailed negotiations with Mullah Mansour, a senior commander of the Taliban. This has been Obama’s great solution to the Afghan mess.

Now it turns out the person they thought was Mansour was an impostor.

American officials discovered this after three meetings, including one that was held with Afghan President Karzai.

One of the diplomats involved in the negotiations said "we gave him a lot of money."

Evidently the man occupying the White House lacks even more experience than we thought. He seems to have acquired a lot of novice advisers and naïve diplomats who have embarrassed us on the world stage.


William and Kate have set a date…

It will be Westminster Abbey in the spring.

Prince William and Kate Middleton are to marry at Westminster Abbey on April 29, 2011.

Queen Elizabeth II, as well as her mother, the 'Queen mum' were married at the abbey, the 1,000-year-old church in central London where British kings and queens are crowned.

William and Kate decided against celebrating their nuptials at St. Paul's Cathedral, where William's parents married in 1981.


Need a rat? 1,000 rescued rats are up for adoption in California

Just in time for the Holidays.

About a thousand rats are awaiting adoption in California after being rescued from a house featured on the A&E reality TV show "Hoarders."

Lauren Paul of the nonprofit North Star Rescue hopes rat lovers will come forward and give them a new home.

More here.

Tricolor con trails over Rome

The Italian Frecce Tricolori aerobatic squad performs during the celebration of the Italian Army's anniversary in Rome November 4, 2010.

Even Democrat support erodes as Obama approval sinks to 39%

A Los Angeles Times article reports:

Turns out voters were not simply satisfied to spank the Democrat and his party in the Nov. 2 midterm elections with historic losses in the House of Representatives.

Obama's job approval rating as calculated by a Zogby Poll has now sunk to 39%, a new low for his 22-month presidency that began with so much hope and excitement and poll numbers up around 70. As recently as Sept. 20, his job approval was 49%.

A whopping 60% now disapprove of his job, up from 51% disapproval Sept. 20.

Obama now trails in hypothetical 2012 matchups against Republicans Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and the next Bush, Jeb.

Nearly 7 in 10 likely voters say the country is on the wrong track!

But, Zogby notes, perhaps most ominous for the president is that he's now losing support among his own party people.

His approval plopped nearly 10% in just one week, from 78% down to 72% in Zogby's latest read.

Zogby finds that former governor Romney has the best chance to defeat Obama (44-38%), then comes Gingrich (43%-39%), then another former governor, Jeb Bush (40%-38%), who says he is not running.


Al Gore demands a Bush recount - again

A man is like a fraction…

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

Security protests could disrupt holiday travel

There is a loosely organized boycott of full-body scans called National Opt-Out Day scheduled for Wednesday to coincide with the busiest travel day of the year.

Even if only a small percentage of passengers participate, experts say it could mean longer lines, bigger delays and hotter tempers.

Participants are being urged to decline the scans, which take as little as 10 seconds.

Instead, they would have to undergo a full pat-down (as shown above) which takes much longer. That could cause a cascade of delays at dozens of major airports.


Nov 22, 2010

Car for sail in Loveland, Colorado

A rare 1967 Amphicar was auctioned off for $17,500 on Saturday.

While most Amphicars were sold, and remain, in the U.S., they were created and built in Europe.

A German race car driver named Hans Trippel began dabbling with amphibious vehicles for the German Army during World War II. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that his Amphicar became the first — and only — mass-produced civilian amphibious vehicle.

A total of 3,878 Amphicars were manufactured from 1961 to 1968.

The bulk of the Amphicars, 3,046, were imported to the United States.

Several Amphicars landed in Loveland, Colorado when schoolteacher Grace Clinger opened a dealership and rental business.

Back then, Lake Loveland was not private, and anyone could take a boat on the water.

Advertisements hyped the Amphicar as The sports car that swims and A sensation on land and water.


Report: TSA has found the enemy and they are us

An Associated Press report at a link below asks:

How did an agency created to protect the public become the target of so much public scorn?

After nine years of funneling travelers into ever longer lines with orders to have shoes off, sippy cups empty and laptops out for inspection, the most surprising thing about increasingly heated frustration with the federal Transportation Security Administration may be that it took so long to boil over.

The main reasons for the TSA intrusion to boil over are the naked electronic body scans followed by the intrusive groping called pat downs.

Travelers aren't stupid. They realize that the TSA naked scans and intrusive pat downs won't stop a determined bomber. A bomb could be inserted into a body cavity.

Travelers also realize that freight in the cargo compartment largely goes unchecked.

They also remember that the Christmas day underwear bomber didn't pass through TSA's security. He flew into the United States from another county.

The underwear bomber scare was nearly a year ago so why wait until now to suddenly subject travelers to groping pat downs?

One commenter wondered if this is really not about security at all reasoning that if it was about security why wait until nearly a year after the underwear bomber scare to begin the intrusive pat downs.

Did the Obama administration wait until after the elections to begin the intrusive groping pat downs?

One final thought: Ben Franklin once said, he who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.

Link here and here.


China's Tang Kerong, top, crashes as Japan's Mayuko Hagiwara, No 9, hits Hong Kong's Wong Wan Yiu, on the ground, in the final of the women's Points Race at the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

Robbery getaway attempt fails - riding mower was too slow

Who said robbers had to be smart?

Police in South Carolina said a man attempted a slow getaway by lawnmower after robbing a convenience store.

Aiken County sheriff's deputies said the man left the store on a riding lawnmower but didn't get far before he was arrested.


TSA groping methods will kill more Americans on highways

According to a report at the link below two transportation economists who have studied the issue are saying that the recent public ire toward the TSA’s new pat down and body imaging screening methods is likely to cause more people to drive automobiles.

“Driving is much more dangerous than flying, as you are far more likely to be killed in an automobile accident mile-for-mile than you are in an airplane,” said Horwitz. “The result will be that the new TSA procedures will kill more Americans on the highway.”

More here.

Nov 21, 2010

All in the family: Mayor's family holds 17 government jobs

Go to the town in Cook County with the fewest people, the village of McCook, and it's easy to run into a relative of outgoing Mayor Jeff Tobolsk.

There's Tobolski's sister Janeane Hanus, who drives a school bus for the town.

At the police station, Philip Pilch, a relative on Tobolski's mother's side, works as the deputy chief.

Over at the village-run McCook Athletic and Exposition Center, a huge indoor athletic facility known as the Max, three of the four top administrators are Tobolski family members.

There's the mayor's wife, Cathleen, the administrative clerk who takes care of the accounting at the Max.

There's his second cousin Derek Molis, who is director of operations and special events at the Max, and who also runs his privately owned business out of the facility.

And there's Eric Barofsky, the facility's general manager -- and a Tobolski relative through marriage.

Tobolski family members have a history of serving the village of McCook, a tiny west suburb near Lyons and Brookfield with large sections of industrial areas.

In fact, in 2009 alone, the greater Tobolski family had 17 government jobs and received about $350,000 in compensation from the village, as well as from the library and park districts.


China's building boom punctuated by deadly fire

Deadly Shanghai fire caused by hasty China building boom?

In the photo above Chinese firefighters extinguish a huge fire which engulfed a 28 story building in Shanghai. The November, 2010 blaze killed at least 53 people.

Authorities say that a spark from an unlicensed welder's torch ignited the blaze in the 28-story building.

The building, which was constructed in 1997 to house retired teachers, was wrapped in scaffolding as part of a project to install insulation.

The procedure is common in China, where the government has ordered broad measures to improve energy efficiency.

Insulation is frequently added to the outside of buildings and then covered with layers of paint.

This fire has raised concerns about the safety risks of China's ongoing building boom.


Airport scans or pat downs - submit or pay

From a report at the link below:

If you don't want to pass through an airport scanner that allows security agents to see an image of your naked body or to undergo the alternative, a thorough manual search, you may have to find another way to travel this holiday season.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is warning that any would-be commercial airline passenger who enters an airport checkpoint and then refuses to undergo the method of inspection designated by TSA will not be allowed to fly and also will not be permitted to simply leave the airport.

That person will have to remain on the premises to be questioned by the TSA and possibly by local law enforcement.

Anyone refusing faces fines up to $11,000 and possible arrest.


Warning: geezer bandit armed and dangerous

The geezer bandit may be old but the FBI warns he should be considered armed and dangerous.

The suspect struck for the twelfth time at the Bank of America at 4480 Coffee Road in Bakersfield after pulling off 10 earlier robberies in San Diego County and one in Riverside County.

The robberies attributed to the suspect began Aug. 28, 2009 in Santee and continued at a pace of up to one or two a month until June 24 this year when he went outside San Diego County to Temecula in Riverside County.

More here.

House delays Maxine Waters ethics trial

The House trial for Democrat Congressman Charlie Rangel is over - except for the sentencing.

Now it's Maxine Waters (pictured) turn.

The hearing on the Los Angeles Democrat's case had been scheduled for Nov. 29, but the panel says it has new material that calls for further investigation.

Waters, a high-ranking member of the House committee that oversees banking, is accused of intervening improperly on behalf of a bank on whose board her husband served and in which he owns stock.

More here.