Monday, December 31, 2007

FBI Re-Examining D.B. Cooper Case

Over thirty-six years ago, on November 24, 1971, a hijacker jumped from the back of a Boeing 727 over the Pacific Northwest along with $200,000. That person, D.B. Cooper, has never been seen or heard from since, although small quantities of the money have been recovered.

Today the FBI issued a press release saying they have "re-ignited" the case, thanks to Special Agent Larry Carr (anyone besides me wonder what is "special" about Special Agents?) and DNA.

Above left is a photo of the tie that Cooper was wearing and later discarded. A DNA sample was later obtained from it. To the right above are some of the $20 bills discovered by a young boy in 1990.

According to the press release, there are some important things to remember about the case.
  • Cooper was no expert skydiver. “We originally thought Cooper was an experienced jumper, perhaps even a paratrooper,” says Special Agent Carr. “We concluded after a few years this was simply not true. No experienced parachutist would have jumped in the pitch-black night, in the rain, with a 200-mile-an-hour wind in his face, wearing loafers and a trench coat. It was simply too risky. He also missed that his reserve chute was only for training and had been sewn shut—something a skilled skydiver would have checked.”
  • The hijacker had no help on the ground, either. To have utilized an accomplice, Cooper would’ve needed to coordinate closely with the flight crew so he could jump at just the right moment and hit the right drop zone. But Cooper simply said, "Fly to Mexico," and he had no idea where he was when he jumped. There was also no visibility of the ground due to cloud cover at 5,000 feet.
  • We have a solid physical description of Cooper. “The two flight attendants who spent the most time with him on the plane were interviewed separately the same night in separate cities and gave nearly identical descriptions,” says Carr. “They both said he was about 5'10" to 6', 170 to 180 pounds, in his mid-40s, with brown eyes. People on the ground who came into contact with him also gave very similar descriptions.”
There's more information at the press release linked above. The FBI is asking anyone with information to email them at their Seattle field office at fbise@leo.gov.

Cardboard Police Cut-Outs Used to Deter Speeders

Remember my story about life-sized cardboard cut-outs to deter shoplifters? The city of Neenah, Wisconsin is trying the same thing in an effort to slow down speeders.

The full-color, life-sized cutout shows an officer standing outside his squad car pointing a radar gun at oncoming traffic.

The city is more interested in slowing people down than in issuing tickets. Officer Pam Martin, the city's crime-prevention coordinator said, "Many people slammed on the brakes thinking it was a real cop, It’s all about making people look down at their speedometer and slow down."

The plan is to use the cut-out in high-traffic areas, posting it for two days and then having an officer use a radar gun for a day.

Of course, with this hitting the media ... people might just start figuring things out. I also wonder what happens in windy weather. I also wonder how long it'll be before one is stolen, as with my earlier story. Photobucket

U.S. Falls to Worst Category in Privacy International Rankings

Privacy International (PI) is a human rights group formed in 1990 as "a watchdog on surveillance and privacy invasions by governments and corporations." It has been doing its global survey on the rankings of privacy protection around the world since 1997.

This year's survey describes "an increasing trend amongst governments to archive data on the geographic, communications and financial records of all their citizens and residents" which leads to the conclusion that "all citizens, regardless of legal status, are under suspicion."

It also describes an "overall worsening of privacy protection across the world, reflecting an increase in surveillance and a declining performance of privacy safeguards."

The lowest ranking countries in the survey continue to be Malaysia, Russia and China. The highest-ranking countries in 2007 are Greece, Romania and Canada.

While Canadian news services crowed about Canada's ranking vs. the United States and the United Kingdom, it should be noted that Canada's ranking moved from "significant safeguards and protections," next to the best category, to "some safeguards but weakened protections," a drop of two categories.

Of course, both the U.S. and U.K. are in the "endemic surveillance societies" category, the worst, and obviously Orwellian in nature. While Malaysia, Russia and China rank at the bottom, they tie at 1.3 (out of 5) while the U.K. is 1.4 and the U.S. is 1.5.

The report also noted that "in terms of statutory protections and privacy enforcement, the U.S. is the worst ranking country in the democratic world."

Greece is top at 3.1 ... once again out of 5, so you can see that privacy protection isn't exactly stellar across the world.

A .PDF version is available here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Burglar Robs "Wrong House," Leaves Apology

A burglar broke into a house in Forrest City, Arkansas, but apparently had the wrong house, whatever that means. Perhaps feeling some regret, he left a note on a mirror saying, "Sorry, wrong house."

Despite his apparent pang of guilt, and the apparent mistake --- he still took several items. According to police, he took a jar full of quarters and half dollars, a mobile phone and several Christmas gifts from the Christmas tree.

Perhaps he had "cased" a different house and went to the wrong one. At any rate, police are still investigating.

Star Trek Fan Sues Christie's Over "Fake Prop"

A lawsuit has been filed by a Star Trek fan (Trekker) over a poker visor which was supposedly worn by Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation during the poker games which were a recurring scene on the show. The lawsuit filed against Christie's auction house claims the prop is a fake.

Ted Moustakis, of Towaco, N.J., purchased the item for $6,000 in an auction of CBS Paramount Star Trek props in 2006. He also a purchased table that was part of a set for $6,600 and a Data uniform for $11,400.

Moustakis said that when he asked Brent Spiner. the actor who played Data, to autograph the item in August, he was told it was fake.

The lawsuit, filed in state court in Manhattan, demands millions of dollars in punitive damages (of course). A spokesperson for Christie's said the auction house stands behind the authenticity of the item.

While Moustakis noted the table doesn't look like the ones that appeared the show, and the uniform did not appear to be one-of-a-kind, as he believed it to be, Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher) commented in a forum:

There are no "one-of-a-kind" spacesuits for regular cast members, because the studio needed to have several doubles in case one of our costumes got dirty or damaged in some way (I once fell while running to the set, and tore the knee out of my hideous gray suit from Season 2, for example.) We never had just one of anything, unless it was expensive to make, or for a guest star who was appearing in just one show.

This guy also says that Brent told him that the visor he bought wasn't the one Brent wore, because Brent already sold that one years ago. Again, Brent could have been talking about a visor from Best of Both Worlds, and this guy got a visor from All Good Things, or something like that.

It doesn't make sense that CBS would defraud fans the way this guy alleges, and I think it's more likely that this guy has buyer's remorse.

Fake Romney Christmas Card Sent to S.C. Republican Voters

This week many South Carolina Republican voters received Christmas cards purportedly from Mitt Romney. However, the cards, which included passages from the Book of Mormon, were in fact not from Romney.

You can see the first page of the card above, which includes 1 Nephi 11:13 from the Book of Mormon, saying:
"And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white."
You can see that the card puts the words "fair and white" in a bold, large font.

Page 3 of the card says:
"We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His first born, and another being upon the earth by whom he begat the tabernacle of Jesus, as his only begotten in this world."
This is a passage from Orson Pratt, cited on that page of the card as an "original member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles." The Quorum was one of the governing bodies of the church hierarchy organized by founder Joseph Smith, Jr.

Page 2 and page 4 are here, and the last page features a photograph of a temple above a box that says "Paid For By The Boston Massachusetts Temple."

Boston Temple President Ken Hutchins said "They have no business using that name or referring to the temple," Hutchins said. "It's a very hurtful thing and creates a misleading impression in peoples' minds." His temple, like the parent Mormon church, stays out of politics.

It's obvious that whoever sent the card was pointing out the differences between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and other denominations that are prevalent in South Carolina. Mitt Romney's Mormon faith has been a point of contention in his campaign, with many in the U.S. stating they would "never vote for a Mormon."

South Carolina Republican Party Chairman Katon Dawson said he intends to ask the FBI's Elections Fraud Division for a thorough investigation into the matter.

South Carolina's primary is on January 19th.

Lying Hannah Montana Contest Winner Loses Tickets

You'll recall my earlier story about the 6-year-old who won Hannah Montana tickets by writing an essay which falsely claimed her father had died in Iraq. Originally Club Libby Lu said they would let her keep the tickets, but they have since changed their mind, and awarded the tickets to a new winner.

The new winner was not identified.

According to Club Libby Lu chief executive Mary Drolet, "With this decision, we hope to revive the intended spirit of the contest, which was designed to make a little girl's holidays extra special."

While it's unclear if the contest specifically said the essay was to be true, what is clear is the following:

a) Requirement or not, this essay is a slap in the face of those who have lost ones in Iraq or Afghanistan. Any other decision by Club Libby Lu would have been wrong.

b) It's obvious by Drolet's statement above that the company had its heartstrings tugged at by the essay, and this influenced their decision. Since it was a lie, the decision really needed to be voided, as it was.

c) It's likely the mother had something to do with this essay. Patricia Ceballos originally told officials that the girl's father, Army Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar, had died in a roadside bombing April 17 in Iraq, which turned out to be untrue.

d) Backing up c) is the statement Ceballos made in an interview on Friday. "We did the essay and that's what we did to win. We did whatever we could do to win."

Glad to see they company changed its mind, as it send the wrong statement to children across the country, but they shouldn't have decided otherwise in the first place.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Getting Drunk" is Scotland's National Sport: Justice Secretary

Rest assured, he wasn't saying it proudly.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill said "Scotland has a huge cultural problem with alcohol. It's never more evident than around Christmas and New Year when getting drunk can feel and look like the national sport."

He added, "We're not saying don't have a drink. I enjoy the occasional pint of beer as much as the next man. But when nearly half of those accused of murder were drunk when they committed their offense, when one Scot dies every six hours from alcohol abuse, when alcohol costs our economy tens of millions, it's time to say enough is enough."

This comes as the government plans to publish a long-term plan to change attitudes regarding alcohol next year. It includes a ban on "three for two" or other promotional liquor offers. The government has already raised the cost of liquor licenses by up to 40%.

Kind of explains why the government would pay for in-game ads in an attempt to reduce drunk driving, doesn't it? It might also explain the Scottish game of shinty, which many say is related to hurling. Photobucket

Police Let Driver with .18 BAC Off-Hook Because of His "Position in the Community"

What? A police officer in Fishers, Indiana pulled over a suspected drunk driver, but despite him registering a BAC of .18 and failing all sobriety tests, he didn't arrest him. Why? His position in the community.

Around 1 a.m. Saturday morning, Fishers police officer Kevin Kobli pulled over Fishers High School Principal Scott Syverson for allegedly driving drunk. Rather than take him to jail, however, Kobli drove him home.

Fishers police admit Syverson didn't go to jail because of the position he holds in the community, but they also say the Kobli did not break the law. However, they are going to review their policies.

"Those supervisors told him to use his discretion. So he was not told to arrest or not to arrest," said Sgt. Jerry Hepp of the Fishers Police Dept.

Yeah, yeah. It's bad enough when someone like Paris Hilton gets special treatment, but the principal of a high school? Give me a break. Rather than letting him off the hook because of his position, he should be held to a higher standard. What sort of example does this set for the teens in his school?

At any rate, it's still possible that charges could be filed by the DA. Let's hope so. Drunk drivers shouldn't be let off lightly, as Ken Rossignol would agree.

BTW, here's a video report that includes dashcam footage.

Girl Wins Hannah Montana Tickets with Essay About Dad Dying in Iraq. Too Bad It Was a Lie.

Teens, tweens and kids will do anything to see Hannah Montana, including lying about their fathers dying in Iraq, it appears.

A six-year-old Garland, TX girl won Hannah Montana concert tickets with an essay that started, "My daddy died this year in Iraq ..." However, her mother has admitted that the story was in fact false.

The contest was run by
Club Libby Lu, a store that, according to their site, aims "to create special memories by encouraging tween girls to express their imaginations and individuality. Club Libby Lu offers products and experiences that promote a unique shopping experience that makes every girl feel special."

The contest was the "Hannah Montana Rock Your Holidays Essay Contest." First prize was the trip to see Miley Cyrus in concert as Hannah Montana.

Club Libby Lu still plans to give the prize to the girl. It includes airfare for four to Albany, NY, as well as four tickets to the sold-out Jan. 9 Hannah Montana concert.

"We told a 6-year-old today that she was going to see Hannah Montana, and we're not going to renege on that," said Robyn Caulfield, spokesperson for the store.

But by doing so, aren't they in effect condoning lying? What sort of an example is that for children? Personally I feel this is the wrong decision. Readers?

Additionally, it's unclear who came up with the idea for the lie, as the mother apparently went along with it at first. While company officials did no background checks on the entries, the girl's mother, Patricia
Ceballos told company officials that the girl's father, Army Sgt. Jonathon Menjivar, had died in a roadside bombing April 17 in Iraq.

However, DoD records show that no one by the name Jonathon Menjivar has died in Iraq.

The full text of the essay is:
"My daddy died this year in Iraq. I am going to give mommy the Angel pendant that daddy put on mommy when she was having me. I had it in my jewelry box since that day. I love my mommy."

Friday, December 28, 2007

10-Year-Old Girl Receives Video MP3 Player Loaded with Porn for Christmas

Well, if I had to get a screwed-up Christmas present, would I prefer a PS3 box with a phone book inside or a video MP3 player with porn pre-loaded? Hmmm.

In Cookeville, Tennessee, Daryl Hill wants to know how the Sparta, Tennessee Wal-Mart sold the MP3 player as new, which violates Wal-Mart's policy: returned items are not supposed to be put back on the sales floor.

The Hills had bought three MP3 players for their children but one of the MP3 players (pictured) had been obviously returned to the store --- it was loaded with sex clips, graphic war scenes and songs with lyrics about drug use.

While Wal-Mart offered to replace the player, the Hills declined, and have already purchased a new player for their daughter. As Hill said:
"I don't ... I don't really know that they could ... could satisfy me. The only thing that they could do to get this hurt away would be to take the thoughts and images out of my daughter's head."
Hill is hanging onto the MP3 player until he speaks with a lawyer. From the quote above, and that fact, can you say: lawsuit?

SF Zoo Website Expresses Condolences; Awkward Mission Statement Remains

While the investigation into the Christmas Eve tiger mauling continues, the San Francisco Zoo has updated their website with a message of condolence as well as a note indicating that they will most likely re-open on Saturday Dec. 29th.

At the same time, however, it appears they need to update other parts of the website, such as their Mission Statement:
At the San Francisco Zoo, it's our mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature and advance conservation action.
Emphasis theirs, BTW.

Meanwhile, there are no major developments in the investigation as yet. As it is raining in the San Francisco Bay Area, some important forensic evidence may have washed away.

It has come to light that when the victim, Carlos Sousa Jr. didn't show up for Christmas dinner, his father called several of his son's friends - including the two brothers injured in the tiger attack that killed the teen - who lied to the father about the teen's whereabouts.

The Dhaliwal brothers, Kulbil and Amritpal, remained in stable condition Thursday. However, reports are that the brothers have been uncooperative in the investigation. What is there to hide, unless the suspicions over taunting the tiger are true?

At the same time,
Leo Ferreira, Sousa's 21-year-old half brother, said he did not believe his brother would have taunted the tiger.

Idaho Spuds Cause Boise Fire Station Blaze

The word ironic is the only one that fits this incident. Firefighters at Station 8 in Boise, Idaho are likely to be ribbed for quite some time, as they were forced to turn their hoses on their own kitchen after returning from a medical call.

An overheated pan full of Tater Tots apparently melted and set some cabinets ablaze. The Christmas Eve blaze was quickly put out.

However, investigators are investigating why a computerized safety system that automatically turns off appliances when firefighters are away had not been activated. The Assistant Fire Chief said it possible the three firefighters on duty might have forgotten to use it.

Bhutto: "Musharraf Responsible in the Event of My Death"

In an October email to her U.S. spokesman, Mark Siegel, Benazir Bhutto cast blame on her future assassination, saying that in the event of her death, she would consider Pakistan's leader, Pervez Musharraf responsible.

Thursday on The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer said that he knew about the email two months ago, but was asked to withhold the story and tell it only in the event of her death. According to Blitzer and Siegel, who appeared on the show, the text of the email, which Siegel forwarded to Blitzer the same day he received it, was:
"Nothing will, God willing, happen. Just wanted you to know, if it does, in addition to the names in my letter to Musharraf of October 16, I would hold Musharraf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions. And there is no way what is happening, in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides, could happen without him."
As Siegel said,
"She got some police protection, but it was sporadic and erratic. She did not get the jammers that were necessary for the IEDs. She did not get the protection that she thought was necessary.

And she became increasingly concerned that this was not getting any better, but actually getting worse, as she toured the country in preparation for the January 8 election, which she thought was basically rigged from the top down and the bottom up. But she was going to fight the fight, because she was willing to sacrifice everything for the cause of democracy in Pakistan, and has been for most of her life."
Pakistan's ambassador to United States, Mahmud Ali Durrani, also appearing, rejected the allegations.
"I think the government of Pakistan provided her all the security that was necessary. Now, you tell me, even without jammer or tinted windows, the way she was hit, she would have been hit with tinted windows or without tinted windows, or without the IEDs. No IED was used, no use of tinted windows.

So, it's just a blame game. And the problem with this blame game, to my fear, is that the real culprits are going to get away. It is the extremists and terrorists that have been after her that have been after Musharraf. It's the same terrorists."
Watch an excerpt from the show. The full transcript of the show can be found here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Wiping Nose on Police Officer's Uniform = Battery

Georgia Ann Newman of Dunbar, West Virginia, has been charged with battery on a police officer after she wiped her nose on his uniform following her arrest.

Cpl. S.E. Elliott arrested the 36-year-old after she slapped, bit, and spat at a man on Dec. 21st. Elliott said the woman wiped her nose on him as he led her into the police station for booking.

The original charge was to be domestic battery; now add to it battery on a police officer, which is defined as "intentionally making physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an officer."

Did Victims Play a Role in Tiger Escape?

Conflicting reports have led to questions about the tragic mauling death of 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr. by a tiger on Christmas Day.

While San Francisco Zoo officials have admitted the retaining wall around the tiger enclosure is in fact lower than the recommended height by the
Association of Zoos & Aquariums, SF Police are investigating if taunting and even "dangling" by the victims may have played a role in the attack.

A report by the SF Chronicle said:
The minimal evidence found at the scene included a shoe and blood in an area between the gate and the edge of the 25- to 30-foot-wide moat, raising questions about what role, if any, the victims might have had in accidentally helping the animal escape.
and

Police sources said a footprint had been found on a metal fence, suggesting that someone had climbed the fence to get closer to the big cats. Authorities were looking into whether the tiger escaped by latching on to a leg or body part.

Zoo director Manuel Mollinedo said it was also likely that the animal was provoked.

"Somebody created a situation that really agitated her and gave her some sort of a method to break out," Mollinedo said. "There is no possible way the cat could have made it out of there in a single leap. I would surmise that there was help.

"A couple of feet dangling over the edge could possibly have done it."

Meanwhile, later in the day SF Police Chief Heather Fong discounted the report:
"We are analyzing the shoe print with the shoes we have recovered," she said. "We have no information to tell us at this point that they (the victims) did or did not go over the fence."

"There was no shoe found in the grotto (the enclosure) or in the foliage…Two victims had their shoes on…One victim -- the victim who was attacked at the Terrace Café -- had one off his shoes off but it was next to his person."
Additionally, the information that the retaining wall was lower than the recommended height: 12.5' rather than the 18' originally thought and the 16.4' recommended could explain things. On the other hand, the width of the retaining moat was 33' rather than the 20' recommended, so it still seems like an incredible leap.

Even Jack Hanna, former director of the Columbus Zoo and TV personality who frequently brings animals to late-night talk shows, said such a leap would be an unbelievable feat and "virtually impossible."

The best evidence will come from the 19- and 23-year-old survivors, but also through forensic evidence. However, don't let C.S.I.'s frequent examples of imagined technology such as zooming in on a retinal image fool you: it's not going to be easy.

Marijuana May Inhibit Invasive Cancer Cell Growth

To be precise, according to a study published online December 25 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the marijuana compounds THC and methanandamide (MA) may prove to be useful in the inhibition of certain fast-growing, invasive types of cancer.

It's common knowledge that marijuana is often used to reduce the symptoms of cancer and other debilitating disesase, such as nausea and pain, but recent studies have shown possible anticancer effects for cannabinoids, chemical compounds derived from marijuana.

In this study, Robert Ramer, PhD, and Burkhard Hinz, PhD, of the University of Rostock, Germany showed that in "test tube" conditions, THC and MA would inhibit invasive cervical and lung cancer cells, even at very low concentrations.

"Cannabinoids' ... potential therapeutic benefit in the treatment of highly invasive cancers should be addressed in clinical trials," said the researchers.

No, this doesn't mean you should start smoking pot as a preventative measure, BTW.

Charges Dropped Against "Steak Knife Girl"

You'll recall the incident at Sunrise Elementary School in Florida in mid-December. A 10-year-old girl brought a 4 1/2-inch-long steak knife to school ... to cut a steak. I understand, particularly with all that happens in schools today, that they might take it away and send her home with a warning, but I can't understand a felony charge if she was just cutting a steak with it.

That was what the girl (unidentified, due to her age) was facing. However, using a bit of common sense, after reviewing her school record and interviewing her, investigators with the Department of Juvenile Justice recommended she not be prosecuted. The State Attorney's office agreed.

She was, however, suspended for school for three days. Speaking of common sense: in this day and age, bringing a knife to school to cut steak: a bad idea.

Bush Tops "Most Admired" Poll

In this year's annual Gallup Poll of the "most admired" men and women, George W. Bush and Hillary Clinton topped the lists.

This is the 7th time for Bush and the 12th time for Clinton.

Bush topped the list with only 10%. And it wasn't a landslide either. Following him were: Bill Clinton 8%, Al Gore 6%, Barack Obama 5%, the Rev. Billy Graham 3%, Nelson Mandela 3%, and at 2%, George H.W. Bush, Bill Gates, Pope Benedict XVI, and Jimmy Carter. Despite winning, this is the lowest "score" Bush has ever received.

For women, Clinton had 18%, Oprah Winfrey 16%, Condoleezza Rice 5%, Angelina Jolie 3%, Laura Bush 3%, Margaret Thatcher 2%, Benazir Bhutto 2%, and tied at 1%, Nancy Pelosi, Maya Angelou, and Queen Elizabeth II.

According to the poll the results have a margin for error of +/-3%.

Considering Bush's approval ratings, you'd wonder how he could win this. The poll, conducted from Dec. 14 - 16 by phone, is very open-ended, which could explain the results.

Being open-ended they don't offer choices, but leave it up to the respondent. And the sitting president has been the "most admired" man every year since 1981, and in 50 out of the 61 times this poll has been taken.

Also, add up the totals of the top 10: among men the total is 43%, while among women it's 52%. That means over nearly 50% or more of those surveyed had other choices, many with miniscule percentages. Perhaps even some more admirable than those above, such as Tyler Strasser, the 11-year-old who has collected toys for the needy since he was 3.

At any rate, the poll is for admired, not approved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Casey Aldridge Not the father of Jamie-Lynn's Baby?

Wow, if this is true, now we know why Casey broke up with her (though this is still under dispute).

Star Magazine claims sources have told them that the father is an older executive on her TV show Zoey 101. According to the source:
“Casey is being paid off to be the family’s fall guy while the real father remains unidentified. The man many suspect is the father, however, would face charges and probably prison time if he were to come forward and admit he had sex with her."
Well, yeah. It would be statutory rape in that case. This is just another example of just how screwed-up this entire family is, despite anything Dr. Phil thinks.

Other quotes from the Star article include:

“With everything that has gone on in her family, she needed someone to look up to. But the man she found seems to have completely taken advantage of her.”

and
"Some of us have doubts as to the legitimacy of the claim that Casey is the father. Before the news of the pregnancy, how often did you see them together? Jamie Lynn has dated Casey on and off over the past two years. But it was not steady. In fact, she was looking to date Kevin Federline’s brother about a year ago. Jamie Lynn went through a time of partying, and Casey was just a part of that."
K-Fed's brother? Keeping the mistakes in the family?

While quite a few people think that Nickelodeon will be forced to drop Spears' Zoey 101 show, I just saw an ad for the cliffhanger movie that's supposed to air right after the New Year. Pretty timely, eh?

Will Smith Fires Back, Did Not Say Hitler Was Good

Over the weekend, dozens of celebrity gossip web sites posted articles about Will Smith, with many saying that Smith believed that Hitler was a "good" person. Others said that Smith believed everyone had "good in them," including Hitler. Smith fired back over those claims.

What Smith said was:
"Even Hitler didn't wake up going, 'let me do the most evil thing I can do today'. I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was 'good'. Stuff like that just needs reprogramming."
Sounds to me like he's saying Hitler was brain-damaged, that sort of thing. However, I suppose he could have been a bit more vehement in his opinion of Hitler. But what caused the furor was the author of the article, who preceded that paragraph with:
Remarkably, Will believes everyone is basically good.
Where did that come from? Nothing Will said in the article should bring about that conclusion, particularly about Hitler. It's also interesting that if you look at the original article, it's hard to see what the question was that the author asked Smith. I mean, how did that comment come about? All that is important context.

In a statement provided by his publicist on Monday, Smith said:
"It is an awful and disgusting lie. It speaks to the dangerous power of an ignorant person with a pen. I am incensed and infuriated to have to respond to such ludicrous misinterpretation. Adolf Hitler was a vile, heinous vicious killer responsible for one of the greatest acts of evil committed on this planet."

Police Graduating Class Pledges to "Cause PTSD"

How would you feel knowing your police force wants to go out and cause trauma? Graduating classes of Idaho's Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Academy get to write their own slogan. In this case, class #156's slogan is "Don't Suffer from PTSD, Go Out and Cause It."

For those who don't know, PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is "an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened." Many of our soldiers coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from this.

So is this something we want our police officers to advertise as their modus operandi?

Unfortunately, until this incident, officials at POST didn't review slogans before programs were printed, and thus it wasn't noticed until just before the ceremony was to begin on Dec. 14th. Officials said a new policy would be put into place to prevent this from happening again.

"That's not something we encourage or condone," said Jeff Black, executive director of the POST Academy. "It shouldn't have been in there – it was inappropriate. "

The latest class, which included officers bound for 19 police agencies around the state, selected the quote from retired Army Lt. Col. David Grossman. "Our class president was ex-military," Black said. "It slipped in."

Of course not everyone a policeman deals with is a criminal. Those stopped or questioned by police are usually innocent. If the police view all they meet as their enemy that they need to traumatize so as to produce PTSD ... well, that's hardly the right attitude.

And the community who hears this sort of tale? They're less likely to trust and cooperate with police as well.

What do you readers think? A violent criminal is one thing, but people police deal with in general - that's another.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dude, Jesus Hangs 10 in Action Figure Line

Jesus the Surfer. Jesus the Biker. Jesus the Bull Rider (?). And more.

This is the new line of Jesus "action" figures from Fishermen, Inc. Each comes with a crown of thorns, and each has a different message, which you can see as you pan across the home page above. They are as follows:
  • Bull Rider: Strength
  • Quaterback: Faith
  • Biker: Freedom
  • Soccer Star: Victory
  • Panhandler: Hope
  • Surfer: Spirit
  • Skateboarder: Youth
  • Rock Climber: Life
Click the surfer dude above to see most of the line (the rock climber and skateboarder wouldn't fit on his home page). Price varies from $20 - $30.

According to the founder, Eric Dyson, in a message available on his site (but not linkable), the death of his father led him to soulsearching, and God told him "I am always with you," to break through his despondency.

With this message, he says, came a vision of Jesus on a motorcycle riding across the open roads of America. Thus he decided to create this line of figures.

The figures are available at Christian retail stores, but it's apparent from the "Coming Soon" message when you click "Buy Now" at the site, they will soon be available online as well.

Prankster Sends Christmas Cards from Beyond the Grave

Chet Fitch was known as a prankster, and even death couldn't stop him from getting one last joke in.

Fitch passed away in October at the age of 88 but recently hand-written Christmas cards from him began showing up in mailboxes - return address "Heaven."

The cards read:

"I asked Big Guy if I could sneak back and send some cards. At first he said no; but at my insistence he finally said, 'Oh well, what the heaven, go ahead but don't (tarry) there.' Wish I could tell you about things here but words cannot explain.

"Better get back as Big Guy said he stretched a point to let me in the first time, so I had better not press my luck. I'll probably be seeing you (some sooner than you think). Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

Chet Fitch"

Fitch had the plan in place for 20 years. Patty Dean, his barber, was to mail the cards in the event of his death. Fitch kept updating a list of recipients as well as a postage fund for her as rates went up. This fall, she said, Fitch looked up to her from the chair, saying,

"You must be getting tired of waiting to mail those cards. I think you'll probably be able to mail them this year."

Fitch was dead within a week. While the joke itself is hilarious, that last remark is poignant.

Should Santa should live in Kyrgyzstan?

It's already too late for this year, but Kyrgyzstan is campaigning to become next year's new home for Santa Claus. After all, according to a press release issued by engineering consultants at Stockholm-based Sweco, Kyrgystan is the ideal delivery hub for Santa.

According to the press release:
One of SWECO's areas of expertise is the use of geographic information and maps, for example to plan transports in an optimal manner. In order to calculate Santa's ideal route, they have also studied where children live, the Earth's rotation and various demographic data to find our planet's demographic centerpoint.
Upon hearing this, officials in Kyrgyzstan started the campaign, naming a mountain peak after Santa, to join Mounts Lenin, and Yeltsin. They also declared 2008 "The Year of Santa Claus."

Interestingly, Kyrgyzstan is predominantly Muslim. While many, including myself, believe Christmas has become more consumption and consumer-based than anything else, people like Mike Huckabee would strongly disagree. I wonder what they would think of this.

On the other hand, since global warming is rapidly melting the polar ice at the North Pole, Santa's gonna need a new location someday.

Pigeon Poop Pile Proves Perilous

It's disgusting enough to think about stepping in pigeon poop, but Shelton Stewart suffered two broken bones in his neck, one broken bone in his back, herniated disks and a bruise to his spinal cord in a Sept. 21, 1998 fall down a flight of subway stairs.

Stewart, now 56, sued the New York City Transit Authority, and a
jury awarded Stewart $7.67 million in damages, the New York Post reported Monday. However, Stewart will only receive 80% of the sum, or $6.13 million, since he was found 20% liable for failing to avoid the pile, as he said he had noticed the pile on his way to work that same day.

How they determined that exact percentage, however, I have no idea.

Stewart, spent five years re-learning how to stand, walk, dress himself and other routine activities after the fall. The New York Transit Authority will appeal the verdict, according to Stewart's lawyer.

John Kerry Threatens Hearings Over Patriots' Final Game

It's no secret that the New England Patriots are on the verge of the second undefeated regular season in NFL history, and the first since the season was expanded to 16 games. However, the final game, unfortunately for many, is going to be broadcast on the NFL Network, not on NBC. John Kerry thinks that's wrong, particularly for his constituents, and he has threatened NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell with Senate hearings if the broadcast isn't moved.

The NFL Network only services 35 million households and there is an ongoing dispute between the NFL and cable operators over the way the network is broadcast. The NFL wants the network on the basic tier, available to more people, while most cable operators want it on a sports tier.

Kerry has offered to broker a deal between the two sides, but so far nothing has happened. In a letter sent Monday to Goddell, and released by Kerry's office, Kerry said, in part:

For a game of this significance to be used as a bargaining chip or point of leverage between corporations locked in a dispute would say a great deal about the esteem in which America’s football fans are held by the big interests. Under the unfortunate circumstance that this matter remains unresolved, leaving 60 percent of households across the country - including thousands in Massachusetts - without access to Saturday’s game, I will ask the Senate Commerce Committee to hold hearings on how the emergence of premium sports channels are impacting the consumer, and I will consider what legislative measures may be necessary to ensure that consumers are more than bystanders in this process.

I hope very much to see a satisfactory solution achieved. I’ve offered - and my offer stands - to convene a meeting of all parties with the goal of reaching an 11th hour solution. I hope it is not too late to get something done for fans everywhere. Thank you for consideration of this request.

Here's what I have to say: thank you, Sen. Kerry for tackling (pun intended) the big issues. While I agree it's a big game, that's what it is, a game. It's a sporting event. We have a lot bigger issues to deal with, from Iraq to global warming to health care ... this is should be one of the smaller issues on people's minds.

On the other hand, it's true that other senators, such as Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Arlen Specter (R-PA) have threatened similar measures, even to the point of re-addressing the NFL's antitrust exemption.

What's going to happen? Ordinarily, with only a few days left to go, I would say: nothing. But with all this publicity, who knows? Still, all the ads are sold, everything is already set, I can't see it happening. I'll say this: it's gotta be good PR for Kerry with his constituents.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dr. Phil: "Lynne Spears is a Great Parent"

To many clinical psychologists, the "treatment" Dr. Phil gives on his show is superfluous, and his topics have become sensationalistic, such that his show is really no different than any other daytime talk show. This will only go to cement that opinion.

Despite Jamie-Lynn's recently-announced pregnancy and Britney's almost-nightly antics, Dr. Phil says that Lynne Spears is a "great parent."

As he said to People magazine,
"We know the Spears family, particularly the parents. An asset that Britney and Jamie Lynn both have is a great and dedicated mother."
His wife Robin appears to agree with him, saying:
"They're a very strong, close-knit family. They're relying on each other. I talked to Lynne yesterday and she said they're turning to prayer, asked that I pray for them. That's how they're going to get through it."
Right. Well, she's likely praying her book isn't cancelled instead of just delayed. But anyway, my thought is: this guy gets millions for dispensing advice on TV?

Stolen Car Ticketed 29 Times; Police Fail to Notice

Here's a story bound to cement the image of San Francisco --- or maybe just bureaucracy overall. Michelle Vuckovich's stolen Honda Civic was ticketed 29 times, despite being reported as stolen in September --- and yet she had to find it for the police.

The story begins on Sept. 26, when Vuckovich, who lives in South San Francisco (note to non-locals, a totally different city), discovered her 2000 Civic had been stolen. As you would expect, it was reported to the police, who put the license plate on the statewide database.

Apparently SF must not subscribe to that database.

The first ticket, which arrived a few weeks later was written just hours after she had reported it stolen. Understandable that it wasn't noticed, right? But then a second ticket on 21st Avenue in SF - this one issued the day after the car was reported stolen, and after it had been put on the database. Huh?

More and more tickets, 29 in all.

She then decided to check into things herself. Calling the police, she spoke to an officer who couldn't understand why parking officers hadn't run the license plate. So Vuckovich called the Department of Parking and Traffic to ask for herself. The person she spoke to there was just as mystified (more on this later).

Deciding she was sick of it, Vukovich and friend drove around in SF, trying to triangulate on the car based on the prior tickets. It took them hours, but they found it, at the intersection of
Folsom Street and Sixth Street. At this point it had been one month since it had been stolen.

After calling the police, they waited. And waited. The nearest station was about 2 blocks away, but it took an hour. The officers promptly filled out necessary paperwork and gave her the car back.

As to why the car hadn't been "noticed" before:
Parking and Traffic spokesperson Alan Siegel said that parking control didn't realize the car was stolen because their hand-held ticketing devices store auto theft information only from San Francisco's database.

"A stack of tickets at the same location would pique their interest, and they can check that," he said. "But it would be impossible to do for every ticket, given the volume."

Wait, a stack of tickets? Isn't 29 a stack of tickets? The moral to the story is if your car is stolen outside of SF, and you start to see it ticketed in SF, don't rely on SF's parking department. You'd better start working on your own investigation. Photobucket

Rampaging Santas Lay Waste to New Zealand Cinema

Yes, you read that right. A gang of about 50 drunken Santas invaded a New Zealand cinema complex this weekend.

It's believed the Santas were a group of university students dressed in Santa suits. They ran amok for through Hoyts Cinema complex in the South Island city of Christchurch on Saturday.

The Santas molested customers, yelled obscenities, ripped down posters and participated in other decidedly "naughty" activities. Unfortunately, despite camera footage, none of the Santas can be identified (beards, hats, etc., you know).

Personally, if security had just grabbed one of them, they probably would have been able to eventually arrest them all.

And people wonder why I say the human race is going downhill.

Well, at least the rampage wasn't like in that old (and bad) movie, Silent Night, Deadly Night. Yes, I know they are remaking it with release expected in 2008. Photobucket

Baby Jesus Figures Replaced by Severed Pigs Heads

Look, no matter what you think about religion, Christmas, or what have you, this is just plain sick. In Eugene, Oregon, two separate families had their Nativity scenes vandalized when the figures of the infant Jesus were replaced by severed pigs heads.

"It was disgusting," said Shannon Cooper. "We can't even understand where a person would come up with an idea like that." Just down the street, Elmira Street in Northwest Eugune, David Stahl's family found the same vandalism. "It just makes you sick. it's beyond disgusting," he said.

The Coopers put in a new Jesus figure, but the Stahls took their display down completely.

Because other, more secular decorations were untouched, police are considering categorizing the crimes as hate crimes, which would carry anything from five years in prison to three years of probation.

Clinton's Campaign Cards Urge Iowans to Caucuses - 11 Days Too Late

Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff spent a lot of money on campaign cards to urge Iowa voters to the caucuses, but a misprint may end up shooting her in the foot.

At a rally on Saturday, campaign workers asked supporters to sign and mail cards that said "Yes! I'm an Iowan for Hillary" with their contact information as well as other supportive friends. Problem is, in the upper right-hand corner of the card, it says "I, _____, pledge to support Hillary Clinton at my precinct caucus on January 14, 2008."

Ha, ha. My guess is these were old cards that were printed before the Iowa Democrats settled on Jan. 3 as the date for the caucuses.

At a later rally that same day, the same cards were handed out, but they had the Jan. 14 date crossed out and Jan. 3 written in. Click the image above to get a larger look.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Deaf People Demand Right for "Designer" Deaf Children

We're rapidly approaching Gattaca, if anyone remembers that film, in which your place in society was determined by your genetics.

Jackie Ballard, CEO of the Royal National Institute for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People (RNID), says that deaf couples should have the right to screen their embryos so that if they desire, they can pick a deaf child over a hearing one.

Arguments have been made that many physically challenged people do not seem themselves as defective, but as unique, and that is why they would like the opportunity to have a deaf child. Additionally, some say, by labeling such a choice as selecting a "defective" embryo, society is making a statement its true feelings about its disabled members.

This is a touchy subject. Go one way, removal of imperfections, and you start talking about eugenics. Go the other way, and you have to tread lightly to avoid offending people.

While it's clear, and studies have shown the difficulties involved in raising a hearing child in a deaf household, what gives us the right to play God? Isn't part of having a child wondering how they will turn out? And how would doctors, having taken the Hippocratic Oath, feel about this?

Professor Gedis Grudzinskas, medical director of the Bridge Centre, a clinic in London that screens embyros, said:
"This would be an abuse of medical technology. Deafness is not the normal state, it is a disability. To deliberately create a deaf embryo would be contrary to the ethos of our society."
There is IVF for the sake of those who cannot conceive in any other fashion, but in this case they would be using IVF to try to tailor their baby. That comes too way close to Gattaca for my taste. How do you readers feel?

Britney and Her Camera-Smashing Tirade

Another night with Britney Spears, another fiasco. In this case Britney stopped her car, jumped out and decided to stand in the street to take a picture of a roadside mural. Surrounded by paparazzi, she said "I'm just like you" while trying to get a picture. Of course, she couldn't take the picture because there were too many photogs around, so she got ticked off, swore at them and drove off.

As she left, though, it looks like she hit her camera against a nearby car, on purpose. Both vandalism and stupid, as she had to return later to find her memory card, which probably had something on it she didn't want anyone else (like us) to see.

Someone found and and kindly (though perhaps, stupidly) gave it to her.

That's when things got really crazy. She got into a car with a photog (?) and ended up, pink wig and short dress and all, at the Peninsula Hotel with him. Later he came out, was immediately surrounded by paparazzi, and declared that he was just going to get some cigarettes! Hah! Does that imply what we think it implies?

While it's true that maybe the photogs should get out of her way so she can snap her picture, her behavior --- standing in the middle of the street --- just emphasizes the fact that she thinks she's better than everyone else. Let's not forget about her parking in a handicapped space just a couple of days ago.

Britney, you are a train wreck. Why the judge hasn't taken your kids away from you permanently is beyond me.

Watch the video:

Adolf the Hitler-Saluting Dog Awaits a New Owner

The use of Nazi symbols, slogans or gestures is banned in Germany. This is why Adolf, a German Shepherd mix who can do a Nazi salute, is looking for a new home.

It all started in 2003 when Adolf's owner, IDed only as Roland T., had Adolf show the trick to police. Why he did this, I have no idea, although Roland T. did receive brain damage in a 1995 accident.

However, Roland T. is a repeat offender, openly displaying Nazi symbols, wearing Hitler T-shirts, and giving Nazi salutes, and the court is past leniency. He is has been sentenced with five months in prison.

Thus Adolf, now renamed Adi, was returned to the Berlin Animal Shelter where Roland T. first acquired him eight years ago. Since originally Roland T. had intended to have the dog put down on April 30, 2008, the anniversary of Hitler's death, this is actually a kindness.

Berlin Animal Shelter spokeswoman Evamarie König said "We hope that he will get a new home where he will have no fear of being put down." But she also said that Adi doesn't do a true Nazi salute.

"He doesn't make the Hitler salute," she said. "He just lifts his paw like any other dog. It's anatomically impossible for a dog to lift its paw that far." Hmm. If you ask me, based on the picture above, it's a lot higher than my dog lifts his paw for a shake, but anyway.

How did the Hitler aspect come in? Roland T. trained him to raise his paw to "Heil Hitler."

Here's hoping the dog finds a good home; he's not to blame in this mess.

Britney Goes for Another Screwed-Up Joyride --- This Time with Her Trunk Open

In her latest case of bad driving, Britney Spears headed over to the drugstore to buy "some stuff for her baby." Of course, she drove the entire way with her trunk wiiiiiide-open ... and we mean wide-open. How does this person manage to keep a driver's license?

All I saw her buy was a large stuffed horse. Certainly something she could have waited until the next day to buy.

Of course, maybe she went in the middle of the night so it would be easier for her to use the handicapped space --- which she did.

Watch the video:

Conservative Magazine Depicts Giuliani in Fascist Garb

This is the cover from the January 2008 American Conservative magazine. Yep, that's Rudy Giuliani depicted in Fascist garb (click the image to enlarge).

Pretty interesting that a conservative magazine would do this. However, the magazine has devoted the issue to pretty much anti-Giuliani articles, including:

Declaring Forever War: Giuliani chose the most hawkish team of foreign-policy advisors possible. His election would ensure neoconservative hegemony for years to come.

GOP Loses Its Life:
Nominating a social liberal would splinter a coalition that has been dominant in American politics for a quarter of a century.

Authoritarian Temptation:
In an age of expansive executive power, the take-no-prisoners style that made Giuliani a respected mayor might be taken literally.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Huckabee and the "Subliminal" Cross

Mike Huckabee makes no secret of the fact that he is an ordained Southern Baptist minister; in fact, he trumpets it as often as he can, trying to appeal to the right. That said, the appearance --- intentional or not --- of what some call a subliminal cross in his Christmas-themed ad, "What Really Matters," has caused a furor.

It you watch the video (below), you can see what looks like a cross entering the scene from the left. Huckabee says it is a shelf, but it sure as heck comes across as a cross, as many have said. Huckabee goes on to say that we should "remember that what really matters is the celebration of the birth of Christ and being with our family and our friends."

Critics of the ad include, surprisingly, Catholic League president Bill Donahue. He said,

"The whole idea is to give the appearance of a cross and this is just injecting religion into politics even too far for guys like me. Every other word out of [Huckabee's] mouth is that 'I'm Christian.' He's calling into question Romney's Mormonism ... let people talk about their faith, but don't sell it on your sleeve. Yeah, I believe in freedom of speech and freedom of religion, but don't become a salesman. Don't hawk it like that on the street."
Watch the video. Subliminal? Heck, it's downright blatant.

Don't get me wrong, all the candidates have Christmas-themed ads this year, and McCain goes Huckabee one better by actually having a cross, rather than trying to slip it in subliminally, but still ... oh, one other thing.

Just like in my earlier post about the boy excluded from a school Christmas party because he was non-religious, let's try to remember: to many, if not most people, Christmas and the holidays is about consumption, buying and receiving gifts, and that's about it. Santa Claus really doesn't have a lot to do with the birth of Christ. And retailers at least, seem to recognize the consumptive nature of the season, based on all their sales! Photobucket

Rather Than Coal, Santa Delivers the Constitution to Bush for Christmas

You'd think Bush would get coal for being "naughty," but instead, Santa Claus delivered the Constitution to George W. Bush on Thursday --- not one copy, but 37,000+ copies.

Santa, in the form of noted constitutional lawyer Bill Goodman, delivered the copies as part of a campaign by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Over 37,000 people used the online form to request a copy of the Constitution be delivered to Bush for the holidays.

Part of the text of the accompanying message, delivered with the copies of the Constitution, is below:
Dear President Bush:

Enclosed please find a copy of the U.S. Constitution. I wish you'd make some time in your busy schedule to read it.

I would have hoped that you'd be pretty familiar with it already, because you have at least three times in your life taken a solemn oath to uphold, protect and defend it, but all the signs indicate that you either don't know what's in it, or you don't care.
Full text is available at the link above.

When questioned about his reasons for the delivery, Santa said:
"While I was going over the list of who's been naughty and nice, I heard from many people who feel the President hasn't been doing a very good job of upholding his oath to 'preserve, protect and defend' the Constitution.

These Constitutions will make great holiday reading. I want to be sure that the President has plenty of time to look at them before he decides on his New Year's resolutions."
The Center for Constitutional Rights is "dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."

Santa did not comment on how he managed to bypass security and fit down the chimney.

The Dalai Lama is "Not a Call Girl"

Really? I didn't know that. It's early, but Stephen Harper, Canada's Prime Minister, is in the running for best quote of 2008 (2007's winners have already been announced) with that quote.

China condemns the Dalai Lama as a separatist and presses world leaders to shun him. Thus, when Stephen Harper met the Dalia Lama in his Ottawa office in October, China condemned Harper for "disgusting conduct."

Harper, explaining the meeting, said:
"I met the Dalai Lama in my office but I meet everyone in my office. I don't know why I would sneak off to a hotel room just to meet the Dalai Lama. You know, he's not a call girl."
Does this mean Harper meets call girls in hotel rooms and not in his office? That's great news, I'm sure, for those who have to clean his office. Photobucket

Boy Banned from Christmas Party Because of "Lack of Religious Beliefs"

In Cluny Primary School, in Buckie, Banffshire, a nine-year-old boy was excluded from a Christmas party because earlier in the year his parents had withdrawn him from religious education classes.

The headmaster, Ian Davidson, said the student, Douglas Stewart, could not attend the party because since the youngster had no interest in religion, he could not celebrate the birth of Christ.

His mother, Dawn Riddell said, "I've helped out at the Christmas party before and it's got absolutely nothing to do with Jesus. It's all about the kids getting excited about Santa and enjoying themselves. Douglas was heartbroken that he couldn't go. It was cruel. There was no reason for him to be excluded."

Additionally, Riddell said she contacted the Moray Council's education department, and "spoke to someone at the education department who told me that Christmas parties are non-religious. He said they're a chance for the pupils and staff to mark the end of a year of hard work, and that he would talk to the school."

And I agree. Despite the furor over Christmas trees in airports and things of that nature, Christmas is not about the birth of Christ --- it's about consumption. Kids don't think about Christ, they think about presents.

After the council was contacted, they called the school and prodded Davidson to call and apologize, which he did. My question would be: did the headmaster exclude (if there were any) non-Christian students like Muslims or Buddhists from the party? Or was this all about pettiness?

Subtle Butt Disposable Gas Neutralizers: $9.95 for Peace of Mind

Yes, this is a genuine product. The company is called Garment Guard, and their products include Garment Guard perspiration protection for your clothes. Their newest product: Subtle Butt.

Each 3.25" square filter has two layers: one made of soft fabric with an antimicrobial treatment, on the side touching the skin. The second layer is activated carbon, which faces the underwear or the pants (for those who go "commando") and has a "vast surface area" for odors to adhere to and get "neutralized." Two adhesive strips hold the Subtle Butt in place.

The price: a mere $9.95 for five pads and peace of mind. Though a "silencer" feature would be a good add-on.

To be honest, I remember seeing a joke commercial on Nickelodeon where they suggested putting a dryer sheet in your pants in case of gas; maybe this company stole / improved on that idea.

BTW, here's a link in case you have a gassy friend you want to email this to.

Even better, the company has produced a video. Some folks at YouTube thought it was a joke, but it's not; it's a real product.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Un-Merry Christmas to Vick, Cheney, From PETA

Rather than giving Michael Vick a lump of coal in his stocking, PETA has decided to immortalize him in his own holiday e-card. Others they have chosen to give the same honor to include:
  • Cold-Blooded Colonel Sanders
  • Hairy Kate and Trashley: the Olsen Twins
  • Pelt Pusher Anna Wintour
  • Fur Hag Kate Moss
  • Hunter Dick Cheney
Vick paces around a prison yard inside the snow globe, kicking a ball in the air and occasionally being hit on the head with it, to the announcer's comment of "Ooh. That's gonna sting in the morning."

Shake the globe by left-clicking and dragging the mouse and you'll hear sirens and "They got to the quarterback’s blind side there. He never had a chance."

Cheney's is funny too, with Cheney walking around the globe shooting other hunters.

Check out all of them at PETA's site (click image above), and maybe even send one to a friend.

Billionaire Roofer Dies in Roofing Accident

Ken Hendricks, 66, the 91st richest man in America and billionaire CEO of a roofing company, has died in a accident, falling through his home garage's roof.

Hendricks was checking the construction on his garage's roof at his home in Rock, Ill. when he fell through. He suffered massive head injuries and was pronounced dead at Rockford Memorial Hospital in Winnebago County, Ill. early Friday morning.

According to Forbes, Hendricks had a net worth of $3.5 billion in September, making him the country's 91st richest person, according to the magazine's ranking of American billionaires. His company, ABC Supply Co., is the self-described nation's largest wholesale distributor of roofing, and does about $3 billion in business every year.

The company celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, with 6,000 employees in 390 locations nationwide.

Hendricks is survived by his wife Diane and seven children.