Archive for November, 2008

How to call a pirate

All you need is a child.

“Mummy, mummy, please can I phone the pirates for you?”



By this time, with rain battering my windscreen and cars jamming the road, I was at the end of my tether.

“OK”, I said, tossing the phone into the back of the car.

“They are under P for pirates.”

A great account of what it is like to get a pirate on the phone via the BBC.

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An acceptable amount of melamine

After first saying that they could not determine a threshold for the safe amount of certain toxic chemicals in infant formula, Food and Drug Administration officials said Friday that trace amounts are safe.

“Amounts of the industrial chemical melamine or the melamine-like compound called cyanuric acid that are below 1.0 ppm [1,000 parts per billion] do not raise public health concerns,” said Stephen Sundlof, the FDA’s director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Considering that there is absolutely no nutrtional purpose for melamine to be in food products, I don’t find it reassuring that the FDA seems unconcerned about trace amounts. This is yet another example of how I feel the need to look out for my own health rather than trust the government to do it for me. But really how much power does an individual have to make informed decisions? Food packaging doesn’t tell you what you need to know, and I have no way of knowing what kind of feed is being fed to any of the animals that make the animal products I eat.


I think the CNN headline says it all.


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Slumdog Millionaire

After gorging myself on turkey, stuffing, sides and a taste of 4 different desserts I went to see Slumdog Millionaire. I have a feeling this movie is going to be the sleeper hit of the season. Not only is it incredibly moving and well-made, but it has a lightness at the end of it that practically guarantees good word of mouth.

The movie starts with Jamal as a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. For each question that Jamal gets right we are taken into a moment of his incredibly tough upbringing as an orphan street child in India. The movie is about love, destiny and how we champion the underdog. I would love to tell you more, but I just can’t bring myself to ruin the movie for you. The clip that I’ve embedded is an example of the great photography in the film.

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The municipal zoo employees of Kushiro Japan may need one.

Puzzled zookeepers in northern Japan have discovered the reason why their attempts to mate two polar bears kept failing: Both are female.

The municipal zoo in the city of Kushiro in Hokkaido brought in a polar bear cub three years ago. They named it Tsuyoshi, after the popular baseball outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo, and waited until it reached reproductive age.

In June, the zoo introduced Tsuyoshi to its resident bear, an 11-year-old female named Kurumi, and waited for sparks to fly.

But much to the disappointment of zookeepers, Tsuyoshi never made any amorous advances toward Kurumi.

Earlier this month, zookeepers put Tsuyoshi under anesthesia to get to the bottom of the matter. That’s when they made their discovery: Tsuyoshi is a female.

Still, the Kushiro zoo plans to keep Tsuyoshi because he — or rather, she — has become immensely popular with visitors.

“I have rather mixed feelings, given the need for breeding, but Tsuyoshi is an idol for Kushiro,” Yoshio Yamaguchi, head of the Kushiro zoo, told Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

Tsuyoshi will even keep her name.

“We will not be changing it to ‘Tsuyoko’ since it is loved by citizens (by the current name),” Yamaguchi said.

“Ko” is a common suffix for a Japanese female name.

Meanwhile, Tsuyoshi’s “brother,” who was adopted by another zoo, has also turned out to be female, Kyodo reported.

Then again, how close do you want to get to a polar bear’s genitals?

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Stretching is a crime

Here is a hilarious article about neighbors in a wealthy Los Angeles community banning joggers from stretching in a popular traffic circle. Highlights include:

In the last six months, park rangers, dispatched by the Santa Monica Police Department in response to complaining neighbors, have stationed themselves on the corner of Fourth Street and Adelaide Drive during much of the day, at the ready to break up any unauthorized kickboxing. “I agree with the residents that they should not be rousted out of bed by a professional gym instructor at 6 in the morning saying, ‘One, two, three, four!’ ” said Bobby Shriver, a Santa Monica city councilman (“Recently re-elected with an even greater margin than I won by last time!”), who lives on Adelaide Drive but says he did not request the enforcement.

After 15 years of working out on the median, Mr. Birch arrived there one day in mid-September and saw five officers. “I went up to them,” he recalled, “and said, ‘What’s the deal here?’ They put up these trendy new yellow signs. The cops just looked at me and said, ‘We’ve been told by the watch commander that we’re supposed to run people off here.’ I told them I was going to break the law.”

So he did. One morning he showed up at the median, video crew in tow, and refused to cease doing situps. The exchange that followed was posted on YouTube.

“They let me do it for about three minutes,” said Mr. Birch, 63, “and then came over and said: ‘If you continue doing this, I will arrest you. It’s not allowed here.’ ”

Though he was arrested, he said, the officers did not handcuff him, to his chagrin. “I asked them to,” he said. “But they found out they could only do what was procedurally appropriate.”

Then the writer of this article has to put in a dig on Los Angeleans:

An extremely fit woman of indeterminate Los Angeles age pulled her Mercedes up to the curb on Adelaide Drive, popped open her trunk, pulled out a five-pound weight and began lifting.

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Ann Coulter’s jaw wired shut

With the exception of the economic turmoil, this is turning out to be one hell of a year.

WE HEAR…THAT although we didn’t think it would be possible to silence Ann Coulter, the leggy reaction- ary broke her jaw and the mouth that roared has been wired shut…

Via HuffingtonPost.

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