Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Sound of Silence

The Heartbreak Kid

Doc: So, what's new Eddie? Anything exciting?
Eddie Cantrow: Ah, yeah, we just got those new Nike Sasquatch drivers in the store, so that's been kind of cool.
Doc: Let me rephrase the question. You been crushin' any pussy?

OchoCinco courtesy of Primetime

2 go up u must giv up sumin. 2 stay up u must giv up even more. any success gained came wit sacrifices . da higher u climb da greater da sacrifice

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sheikh and the President

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a photo during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum in New York with His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and H.H. Sheikha Mozah Consort of H.H. The Emir of the State of Qatar, Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Surviving Mach 1

from aol.com:
In the rarefied world of fighter pilots, Brian Udell is known as the Supersonic Survivor. He’s the only airman ever to survive ejecting at sea level from a jet going faster than Mach 1, the speed of sound. Incredibly, Udell endured a sustained load of 45 g. Given his weight -- 195 pounds -- that means he faced g-forces of nearly 9,000 pounds, the equivalent of an RV trailer parked right on top of him.

On April 18, 1995, Udell was flying an F-15E tactical jet fighter off the coast of North Carolina on a routine training exercise. An experienced pilot who has flown more than one hundred combat missions, Udell also served as an F-15E instructor. Almost instantly, he sensed something wasn’t right with his plane and it was heading straight toward the ocean.

The entire drama -- from that simple right turn to a life-or-death situation -- had taken only five or ten seconds, fewer than it takes to read this sentence. At 10,000 feet, Udell’s jet shattered the Mach 1 barrier of 769 miles per hour. Udell realized it was too late to save the plane. 

“Bail out! Bail out! Bail out!” he commanded.

Udell watched the cockpit canopy slide back. He saw a white flash of light and an enormous wind blast. And then there was only darkness.

Udell’s parachute opened just five hundred feet over the water. He quickly realized his helmet and mask had been ripped off by the windblast. In the hospital, he would learn that all of the blood vessels in his face had exploded, his lips swelled up like hot dogs, and his head inflated to the size of a watermelon.

The life preserver around his neck was no use -- it had been sliced into ribbons during the ejection. His gloves and watch were gone, too. A one-man life raft was supposed to be hanging at the end of a fifteen-foot cord attached to his right hip, and he prayed that it hadn’t been shredded.

One moment he was dry. The next, he was ten feet under water. Udell felt the salt burn his wounds, and he struggled to the surface. Now he was alone some sixty-five miles off the North Carolina coast in five-foot seas without a life vest.

First, he tried a frog kick and realized how badly his legs were damaged. Three of his four limbs didn’t work. Swimming wasn’t really an option. He tried to pull himself onto the life raft, but with only one functioning arm, he couldn’t get leverage. Every time he pulled himself up onto the lip of the raft, a wave knocked him off. 

Udell knew he was burning through adrenaline and wouldn’t be able to keep going much longer. Finally, he put his head against the raft, closed his eyes, and said to himself: This is it. I’m going to die tonight. His eyes well up with tears as he remembers his decision to stop fighting for his life and to start praying. Broken and battered, he cried out: “God, I need help.”

Udell prayed to the Lord to let him see his pregnant wife Kristi give birth to their first child. He suddenly felt a surge of energy. Summoning all his strength, he made one last attempt to pull himself onto the raft. This time, instead of knocking him off, a gentle wave nudged him to safety. 

Four hours later, a Coast Guard helicopter plucked Udell from the Atlantic. When air force investigators arrived at the hospital, one said, “You’re not supposed to be here. The human body isn’t designed to handle that.” 

Udell and his partner Dennis White ejected at almost the same exact moment. The circumstances were almost identical, and yet White was killed instantly. 

Why did Udell survive when his partner perished? “I have no clue,” he says. “Those are things that are a mystery.” Like many survivors, Udell is deeply modest about what he endured. “There’s nothing superhuman about me,” he says. “I’m a normal guy.”

Incredibly, within ten months of the accident, Udell was flying F-15s again and went on to serve two more tours in Iraq. 

At 3:36 pm on September 7, 1995, Udell witnessed the birth of his son Morgan Daniel. All of his prayers in the Atlantic had been answered. “This is what you fight for. This is what you live for,” he says. “Pain is temporary. This is eternal.”

Today, Brian is a captain with Southwest Airlines.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Best Preview That I've Seen in Awhile

More on Lawman from tbivision.com:
Not content with kicking bad guys' butts on the big screen, action hero Steven Seagal spends his spare time chasing real-life criminals in his capacity as a fully commissioned deputy sheriff in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. The actor has been training officers in the area and going out on calls with them for almost twenty years. US cable network A&E now has the first series to follow the movie-star-come-lawman in action.
The roots of Seagal's career as a cop stretch back twenty years to when he was shooting a movie in Louisiana. He bet a local sheriff that he was a better marksman than any of his men and, after winning the wager, asked to spend some time with the police department in question. He started giving martial arts and combat training to the cops before then going out on patrol with them and he's been working with the department for several weeks or months a year ever since.
"When we caught wind of what he was doing we were fascinated," explains Neil Cohen, vice president, non-fiction and alternative programming at A&E Network and the series' executive producer. "We then started months long talks to get Steven comfortable with sharing that side of his life. Luckily for us one of his favourite programs is [Granada America-produced reality cop series] The First 48. So, we introduced him to the folks at Granada and there was an immediate bond."
Each episode follows Seagal on patrol and spending time with the officers - including a Zen shooting training session in which the actor proceeds to split tooth picks from a range of 25 feet. AETN is handling international sales and will be launching the show at MIP TV next month.

Bank Robber, Meet a Hero

Everybody Loves Wii

Tossing Jellyfish

from asylum.com:
An intoxicated man was arrested in Florida after pretending to drown and then throwing jellyfish at innocent teenagers, a move that can only be described as spineless.

Witness say that Keith Marriott, 41, had been drinking on the beach for several hours on Monday when he began to cause a disturbance in the water. Marriott repeatedly dunked himself under and then floated to the surface, mimicking drowning and "causing concern for his safety," according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's report.

That's when the jellyfish started flying. The drunken man, who cops later found was hiding a pocketknife in his shorts, began tossing the sea creatures at teenagers who were swimming nearby.

Police arrested Marriott and brought him to jail, where he was "uncooperative" and, according to a sheriff's office spokesperson, in need of treatment for a pre-existing wound.

So just to sum up: A drunk guy with an open wound and a concealed knife faked his own drowning and then flung live jellyfish at teenagers. Just another Monday in Florida.
from tampabay.com:
MADEIRA BEACH — A 41-year-old man who witnesses said had been drinking since 9 a.m. was arrested Monday afternoon after authorities say he created a disturbance by pretending to drown and throwing jellyfish on teenagers.
Keith Edward Marriott, of 100 154th Ave. in Madeira Beach, faces charges of disorderly intoxication and carrying a concealed weapon after a pocketknife was found in his shorts, Pinellas County sheriff's deputies said. Marriott repeatedly submerged himself and floated to the surface, "causing concern for his safety," and was "loud and disruptive," according to a sheriff's report.
Then he started throwing sea creatures.
Marriott, who is listed on arrest reports as working for a brokerage company, remained at the Pinellas County Jail medical care division on Thursday although his bail is just $250. Pinellas County Sheriff's spokeswoman Marianne Pasha said Marriott came into the jail "quite intoxicated" and "somewhat uncooperative," and in need of care for a wound unrelated to his arrest. He can leave the facility as soon as he comes up with the clams.

The Origin of Sedgewick's Dance Move

Go to the 4 minute mark, watch for twenty five seconds.

Lane Kiffin

from espn:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin said he put his Volunteers in the best position they could be in to beat Florida. Then he took one more shot at Gators coach Urban Meyer.

Meyer said Sunday that he kept his game plan conservative in No. 1 Florida's 23-13 win because he didn't believe Tennessee appeared to be playing for a win. He also said several of his players had been hit by the flu.

On Monday, Kiffin said he didn't want to respond to Meyer's comment. But asked whether he was worried about the flu also hitting Tennessee, he said: "I don't know. I guess we'll wait and after we're not excited about a performance, we'll tell you everybody was sick."
Follow the link.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Barclay's Freerunning World Championships

Coming soon on Versus:


from lemon drop:
If you've been thinking about getting a haircut before going on a camping trip, you may want to reconsider. After being stranded in the wilderness, it was only by sucking the moisture from her hair that 68-year-old Cynthia Hoover managed to stay alive for five days.

While driving on a mountain road near Central City, Colo., Cynthia swerved to avoid a herd of deer. Her car rolled off the road and 350 feet down a steep hillside. She broke eleven ribs, cracked her vertebrae and punctured her lung. Stranded alone in the ravine, she says that thoughts of her family motivated her to stay alive.

She grabbed a golf club from her car to use as a cane to help her make the climb up the slope toward civilization, but was so badly injured that she couldn't make all the way. She turned around and headed for a mining operation that was downhill, planning to use the golf club for self-defense if wild animals tried to attack her in the night, which fortunately never happened.

Since her car rolled too far from the highway, and Cynthia often traveled on business alone, nobody noticed the accident or reported her missing. She was alone in the woods for five days, basically crawling on her face, through a cold front of rain, sleet and hail. This moisture would prove to be life-sustaining, as she sucked on her hair to keep from becoming completely dehydrated during her ordeal.

Eventually she managed to crawl 450 feet away from the mining operation and attracted the attention of the workers, who were only there on a fluke since the mine was supposed to be closed that day -- by calling out. They found her with a swollen face and a mouth full of dirt from dragging herself with her face on the ground. She was airlifted to a hospital where she was listed in critical condition, but has since been downgraded to fair condition.

It's an incredibly remarkable survival story and also a testament to the fact that long hair isn't just vanity -- it can also help save your life.


from lemondrop:
A whopping 96% of the body of the world's furriest man is covered with hair. But it won't be for long -- Yu Zhenghuan, who's something of a celebrity in his native China, is having excess hair removed and getting plastic surgery because a director didn't give him the part of a talking monkey in a film.

32-year-old Yu, who suffers from a medical condition known as hirstutism, will undergo around four or five treatments to remove some of the hair. Then, he plans to have plastic surgery to make himself "look more like a pretty monkey, and let the director regret his decision." Yikes. After getting his pelt removed he plans on having surgery to enlarge his eyes, and make his nose and lips smaller. That...sort of...sounds like a pretty monkey...we guess.

Yu's big break came at the age of seven when he was transformed into a child star by the movie Monkey Boy's Treasure Safari. Maybe after this he will be able to take roles as an actual human, good for him.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bear Attack!

from aol:
TOKYO (Sept. 20) — A bear injured nine people at a highway rest stop in central Japan before being shot dead in a souvenir shop, a firefighter said Sunday.
The black bear seriously injured four men Saturday afternoon in Nyukawa, a small mountain town about 140 miles west of Tokyo, said firefighter Tomohiko Akano.
The 4-foot animal came down a mountain path and attacked people at a bus parking lot. One tourist tried to beat the animal back with a stick, but the bear retaliated and seriously injured the man, the Examiner.com reported.
According to reports cited by the Examiner, several employees at a nearby souvenir shop tried to help the injured man, but were also wounded by the bear. The animal eventually entered a lodge where it was trapped in the souvenir shop. Panic ensued but the animal was cornered and shot dead by a hunter, according to media reports.
No one suffered life-threatening injuries in the attack, which lasted about an hour, reports said.
A photograph from the scene showed the bear mauling a prone person in a parking lot while a man attempted to scare it off.
The rest stop is on a mountainous road that is open during summer months only to licensed buses and taxis. The area is frequented by tourists for its scenic views.

Say What?

"Never explain - your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway."
- Benjamin Disraeli (was a British Prime Minister, parliamentarian, Conservative statesman and literary figure. (courtesy wikipedia)

Say What?

"Faith is the first step when you don't see the stairs"
- Martin Luter King Jr. (was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African-American civil rights movement. (courtesy wikipedia)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One For The Road

Michael Jackson's This Is It in HD

Dreams and Nightmares

The other night I awoke from a dream. Instantly I knew it was a nightmare because I was fucking terrified.

I was taking a shit on an outdoor toilet in my front yard. The toilet was a wood box with a seat on it. It was over by the trees, which provided some cover, but make no mistake I was out in the open.

As I was shitting I noticed the guy who lives across the street. The one with the long hair and the beard who lives with his mom still. He eats at Interlachen every night and rips his car up the driveway at breakneck speeds.

He was in his front yard digging with a shovel. I don't know what he was digging but I could hear it and see his upper body and part of the motion of the shovel.

As I realized that he was in his front yard and that I was in my front yard shitting I became very worried or maybe even scared. I can't remember if he started chasing me first or if I ran first, either way I ran from the toilet to my house.

As I entered I ran all the way to the basement. In the basement I ran deep into my room and paged my mom on the telephone system. I was in a panic. I told her about shitting in the front yard and how the guy across the street had been digging in his front yard while I was doing it. Before she could say anything I heard a noise and sprinted to the staircase. As I arrived I saw his feet descending the stairs. I ran back deep into my room and told my mom that he was in the house. He walked into my room, what had been a shovel was now an axe. Or maybe it was still a shovel but I think it was an axe. Either way as he approached me I wondered whether or not he would swing at me. I just stood there as he approached with a blank stare. Then he pulled back and swung at me.

That's when I woke up. My eyes searched the room for him. Just me in bed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Obama, Off The Record

Follow the link.

Bill Withers

Say What?

"God help those who do not help themselves."
- Wilson Mizner (an American playwright, raconteur, and entrepreneur (courtesy wikipedia.)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Street Cred

from realgm:
Allen Iverson said during his introductory news conference on Thursday that he wants to prove his critics wrong.
Iverson formally signed a one-year contract with the Grizzlies earlier this week.
"This year for me is so personal," Iverson said at the news conference.
"It's basically going to be my rookie season again. It hurts, but I turn the TV on, I read the paper, I listen to some of the things people say about me having the season that I had last year and me losing a step, things like that. They're trying to put me in a rocking chair already."
The signing of Allen Iverson has resulted in the biggest boom in ticket sales that the Grizzlies have ever seen.
"The last 48 hours it has been our biggest two days of sales since we started here," says Dennis O'Connor, Vice President of Ticket Sales for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The team is giving fans an Iverson jersey with the purchase of a season ticket package.


I Want You To Hit Me As Hard As You Can

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bacon Kid

We're All Madoffs

Our relationship to the natural world is a Ponzi scheme
By David P. Barash

Everybody hates Bernard Madoff, and for good reason. He bilked hundreds—thousands—of people out of billions, perhaps tens of billions, of dollars, destroyed numerous life savings, ruined the future prospects of many of those who had trusted him, all the while living in ostentatious, and, it is now painfully clear, despicable luxury.

He did all this via what may be the largest Ponzi scheme in history. There is no question that Madoff was a perpetrator and not himself a victim: He was (and presumably still is) highly intelligent and sophisticated in the ways of the financial world. He knew precisely what he was doing, and did it nonetheless. In addition to celebrating his prison sentence, disinterested observers and victims alike therefore found themselves wondering aloud: What was he thinking?

Beyond the illegality of Madoff's scam, why didn't he consider his responsibility to his clients, to their future, and even to his own? Didn't he know that there would be a day of reckoning, that he couldn't keep up the crazy, fancy footwork indefinitely, that sooner or later his whole deceitful house of cards would come crashing down?

As pleasurable as it is to cast stones at genuine villains, let's pause and redeploy the above housing metaphor, as in "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." Or try a biblical admonition, as in Matthew 7:3: "And why beholds thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considered not the beam that is in thine own eye?"

Because the horrifying reality is that in our fundamental relationship to the natural world—which is, after all, the fundamental relationship for everyone—we are all Madoffs.

As we have all read, Ponzi schemes are also called pyramid schemes: A relatively small number of initial investors (the pointy tip of the pyramid) get paid off by money received from an ever-larger number of subsequent investors, who can, in turn, only profit if there are yet more investors. By this time, the investors can be identified as "suckers," because their payoff, instead of being founded on solid reality, depends on another round of entrepreneurial artifice.

It may be counterintuitive, but there is nothing inherently evil about pyramid schemes. They aren't like murder, rape, or assault and battery, in that no one is necessarily injured, either physically or financially, during their operation. Indeed, early participants can come out ahead, and there is no guaranteed point at which even later investors are bound to lose out. The problem derives from one simple, incontrovertible fact: Pyramid schemes aren't sustainable. Eventually they fail. It isn't possible to keep recruiting a never-ending supply of suckers.

Of course, as the great John Maynard Keynes once famously noted, in the long run, we are all dead. Although Keynes directed his quip against complacent fellow economists who were inclined to point out that all financial crises eventually resolve, when it comes to the nexus of pyramid schemes, economic "progress," and ecosystem sustainability, the long run is precisely when things do not work out.

Make no mistake: Our current relationship to the world ecosystem is nothing less than a pyramid scheme, of a magnitude that dwarfs anything ever contemplated by Charles Ponzi, who, before Madoff, was the best-known practitioner of that dark art. Modern civilization's exploitation of the natural environment is not unlike the way Madoff exploited his investors, predicated on the illusion that it will always be possible to make future payments owing to yet more exploitation down the road: more suckers, more growth, more GNP, based—as all Ponzi schemes are—on the fraud of "more and more," with no foreseeable reckoning, and thus, the promise of no comeuppance, neither legal nor economic nor ecologic. At least in the short run.

In the long term? We're all dead, along with the planet.

After World War II, business leaders worried how to keep the economy moving; their answer was to make consumption a fetish. "Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals," wrote the retail analyst Victor Lebow. "We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever-increasing rate." And we have done just that. Even as average family size has declined in America, the average house size more than doubled from 1949 to 2006; Americans have used up as much of the earth's mineral resources since 1940 as all previous generations combined; and in the process, in the last two centuries the country has lost half of its wetlands, 95 percent of its old-growth forests, and 99 percent of its tall-grass prairies. Nor are those trends uniquely American or simply a result of advertising-driven consumerism: Over the last three decades, to take just one example, the pace of soil loss in Africa has increased twentyfold, with topsoil disappearing 20 to 40 times more rapidly than it is being replaced. Often, our Ponzi scheme derives less from the nefarious scams of greedy malefactors than as a side effect of how we treat the planet, in a largely innocent effort to get ahead, or merely to stay alive.

Consider the use of antibiotics to combat disease-causing microbes. In a Ponzi-pattern if ever there was one, initial large-scale treatment eventually demands a commitment to more and more antibiotics, as pathogens evolve more and more resistance. Soon, effectiveness requires not only increasing the doses, but introducing more and more "wonder drugs," a treadmill whose every step makes a kind of logical, utilitarian sense, but that ultimately threatens to get us nowhere. Or worse.

At least antibiotics work: They are based on solid ground, albeit a slippery slope. But nearly all current economic models of "development" rely upon an even-more unsustainable assumption: that the discovery of new resources (or alternatively, new inputs of capital, technological saviors of one sort or another, and so forth) will always come to our rescue, enabling us to postpone, indefinitely, any final audit.

In turn, and nearly without exception, economies are growth-based, presuming that the future will always bail out the present, thereby making up any deficits accumulated in the past. The basis of borrowing money—as fundamental to modern economies as one can get—is that money itself, properly employed, can be counted upon to expand over time, thereby enabling one to repay the loan, with interest. And of course, the willingness of lenders to lend depends on their corresponding confidence that the quantity loaned will eventually become greater than if it simply sits around and isn't put to work. In short, the presumption is that value can always be added—the Ponzi/Madoff presumption that there will always be more investors.

It may be more than a coincidence that the Madoff fraud unraveled at about the same time as the Great Recession of 2008-9, which revealed a comparable fraud at its core. Both involved unrelenting, self-deluding, unsustainable expansion built upon paper profits and a commitment to keep the music playing lest the participants discover that there aren't enough chairs.

We might do well to simply slow down, as Pablo Neruda suggests in his poem, "Keeping Quiet":
If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
In ecologies, just as in economies, you simply cannot keep moving and growing and developing and mining your capital, assuming infinitely available resources and a natural environment of such unfailing elasticity that it will swallow our effluent forever and continue to provide a steady supply of resources into the bargain.

In his Critique of Judgment, Immanuel Kant stated that human beings would never be able to comprehend the deep details of the living world. "It is absurd," he wrote "for men to make any such attempt or to hope that another Newton will arise in the future, who shall make comprehensible by us the production of a blade of grass according to natural laws which no design has ordered." A few decades later, Darwin emerged as precisely that impossible Newton of grass.

Two centuries after Kant, free-market economists continue to revel in a version of Kant's error, claiming that we will never understand the complexities of markets and will therefore never be able to manage them effectively. They insist that we must simply let the magic of the market take over, whereupon, in the words of Adam Smith, even though each participant "intends only his own gain … he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention."

Smith was thinking of social benefit, but his approach has been expanded to include a typically unspoken but widely assumed subordination of ecological costs to presumed economic payoff: Don't worry, we are told, about exploiting the world ecosystem, unbalancing its capacity to absorb insults—just go, go, go, or, as in the mind-bogglingly inane chant of the McCain-Palin ticket during the 2008 elections, "drill, baby, drill."

Although part of my argument is, in fact, a criticism of market-based capitalism, it is not an endorsement of its traditional alternative, communism. In communist countries, production goals have typically replaced profit maximization as the "bottom line," leading, if anything, to even-more-blinkered thinking and environmental devastation. I recall international meetings during the 1980s, attended by environmentalists from capitalist and communist countries, each naïvely expecting that the grass would be ecologically greener on the other side of the ideological fence. Under capitalism, it has been said, man exploits man, whereas under communism, it's the reverse. Either way, the environment has been the real loser.

The Communist Manifesto can be seen not simply as an indictment of capitalism, but also as a breathless paean to its effectiveness. Marx and Engels believed that industrial capitalism had solved the problem of production, leaving only the question of fair distribution. Thus far capitalism has largely been able to regroup and find new avenues for economic growth, even following severe depressions such as those of the 1870s, 1890s, and the 1930s. This time around, however, the ecological demands of this particular Ponzi scheme may be leaving us with a dangerously depleted world.

The standard response of pro-growth economists—and let's face it, nearly all economists are pro-growth—is that innovation generates concrete value, producing healthy growth and ultimately compensating for any resource depletion. And to some extent, critics have largely been kept on the defensive by such compensatory innovations as steam engines, internal combustion, nuclear energy, a previously unimagined petroleum economy, chemical, bio- and nano-engineering, and so forth.

But let's imagine, say, that tomorrow someone discovers a source of cheap, pollution-free, and inexhaustible energy. Even that extraordinary advance wouldn't diminish the fundamental Ponzi-nature of economic activity; at most, it would merely reset the time of reckoning, possibly making it even sooner, since with cheap—even free—energy, the exhaustion of other material resources would only accelerate; it would, for example, be cheaper to build and operate cars, home appliances, and so forth, which in turn would increase the demand for doing so, thereby increasing the rate at which nonrenewable resources used in their construction are consumed.

It is widely assumed that a healthy, clean environment is affordable only when a country's economy is strong. The reality is precisely the opposite: A strong economy is possible only when the environment on which it depends is healthy and strong. A related reality is that endless growth is literally impossible, for economies no less than for organisms, just as Ponzi schemes that depend on an endless supply of new subscribers are certain to be unsustainable.

It is a painful message, one that few of us—including those who self-righteously condemn Madoff and his Ponzi proclivities—are willing to embrace. As the American poet Richard Wilbur put it in "Epistemology":
We milk the cow of the world, and as we do
We whisper in her ear, "You are not true."
But it is true. And no amount of denial or wishful thinking will change the cow of the world into an infinitely productive, everlastingly dependable cash cow, an ecological teat that never dries up. Madoff presumably knew that, but kept sucking—and accumulating yet more suckers.

No one is innocent, and no one gets off the hook.

It is easy to point a finger at Charles Ponzi or Bernard Madoff, and even, perhaps, at their victims—much harder to recognize, as Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has written, that we are all grass snakes, arms merchants, sea pirates. We are also Ponzis and Madoffs who profit from economic schemes that are fundamentally unsustainable and thus, in the deepest sense, frauds. Madoff eventually got 150 years in the slammer and worldwide derision. What's in store for the rest of us?
David P. Barash is a professor of psychology at the University of Washington. His most recent book, with Judith Eve Lipton, is "How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories: Evolutionary Enigmas" (Columbia University Press, 2009).

New Simmons

from espn:
12. In April 2008, Marvin Harrison was accused of shooting a man outside Playmakers, a Philly nightclub Harrison owns. The bullets were fired from a Belgian handgun registered to Harrison. Witnesses refused to come forward. The investigation stalled. The man decided to file a civil suit against Harrison. (So did another victim who was struck by a stray bullet.) In July 2009, while sitting in his car, the first accuser was shot seven times and eventually died this week, but not before telling police he believed Harrison hired the gunman. We still don't know who was responsible for either shooting. All we know is:

A. There's a chance the "classiest" (at least on the field) receiver of his generation leads a double life as a gun-toting nightclub owner in a rough section of Philadelphia.

B. This summer, 32 NFL teams told the agent of one of the most prolific receivers ever (and someone who wanted to keep playing), "No thanks, we're good."

(You have to admit ... pretty weird.)
Follow the link.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Brian Regan classics


Digestive System

I had a sour cream burp. It was very flavorful. It came up in a rush as I was laying on my stomach. I paused everything I was doing to allow it out. It sort of rolled out of my insides into the air. I could smell the soured cream combined with everything else I have eaten since my last shit.
It reminded me of a story my mom used to like to tell about a relative. At a family gathering in D.C. a bunch of women were sitting around moving their mouths to make sounds at one another. The sounds created messages. The messages created feelings and emotions. So on.
One of her cousins had a young son who is now a psychiatrist who feels like he has to tell me the same thing every time he sees me. That I should come visit him where he lives because no one respects him at bars in his neighborhood. They would love me, according to him, and by connection he would gain credibility.
Anyway, when still a young boy, well, in-between a baby and a young boy, he was walking around this family gathering in just a diaper. At some point an older woman finished soup she was preparing for him. She stopped his walking around and encouraged him to take a bite of the soup. He refused, complaining with only facial expressions and body language about the smell of the soup.
She used a technique well known within our family. As he stood in front of her trying to communicate his feelings about the soup she reached out to his nose and pinched it shut. When he opened his mouth to breath she shoved a spoonful of soup into his mouth. Then a second and a third until she decided he had eaten enough.
He continued his wandering around for about sixty seconds before approaching the gathering of women. Using his facial expressions and body language he again began trying to communicate distress. The ladies laughed at him and poked fun. He was cute and small and couldn't speak yet. He didn't know anything. As the communication gap became clear he reached into the back of his diaper for a moment, pulled out and held his open palm in the air to show the women. His hand was covered in split pea soup.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Message in a Bottle

Baltimore Sun:
(Sept. 9) - A Baltimore teen wrote a message, put it in a bottle and threw it into the ocean. Five years later, his missive turned up on the other side of the Atlantic. Daniel Knopp was 14-year-old high school student when he wrote the short note on June 21, 2004. He had been vacationing at the time with his parents aboard a cruise ship departing Freeport in the Bahamas, according to The Baltimore Sun.
"I never thought of it again," Knopp told the Sun. "I completely forgot about that day. I thought it would be unreal if it were ever to be found, but I figured it would be destroyed by the ocean environment."
Little did he know that the old wine bottle would survive the rough waves of the Atlantic and wash ashore 4,000 miles away in Cornwall, southwestern England, five years later.
Tony Hoskings, a retired electrician, was walking his dog along a sandy beach when he spotted the green glass receptacle on July 18.
Although the bottle was a little worse for wear, the letter was very readable, Hoskings told the Sun. He waited until he was in the company of his grandchildren to uncork the bottle and read the message:
"Hello, my name is Daniel Knopp. I am on a cruise ship. I hope whoever reads this finds great joy. God bless. I live in the Baltimore/DC area."
He was touched by the message and made it his mission to find its author.
"It was quite a journey, and if you traveled all those thousands of miles, I think you would want your people to know you had made it safely," Hoskings told the Sun.
Hoskings started scouring the Internet for the sender, but although he found Daniel Knopps, he wasn't sure he had the right one. He approached his local newspaper, and reporters there contacted The Baltimore Sun. Finally, seven weeks after the bottle was found, they zeroed in on the right Knopp.
Now 19, Knopp is a political science major at the University of Maryland and a former intern for the mayor of Baltimore. He confirmed that he was the author of the note that survived at sea for all these years.

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New Simmons

from espn:
We have been buddies since high school. We shared a prom limo together. We were longtime shuffleboard partners at Sam's in Port Chester. We saw "Rocky V," "Fletch Lives" and "Another 48 Hrs" together (undoubtedly my three biggest movie disappointments). We were once nearly attacked Artest-style by Mel Hall at Yankee Stadium. We have shared every level of blood-alcohol from 0.1 to 2.7. And now we're turning 40 less than four weeks apart.
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LeGarrette Blount, A Multicultural Friend

Thursday, September 3, 2009