April 27, 2007

LinkNews Digest [04/27/2007]

Kim Jong Il Ate My Mutant Rabbits

The offspring of the 12 giant rabbits were supposed to help to feed starving North Koreans. Now doubts about their fate have brought an abrupt halt to one of the more unlikely hunger-alleviating projects.

Karl Szmolinsky sold the rabbits to Pyongyang so that they could be used to set up a breeding programme to boost meat production in the Hermit Kingdom. However, amid concerns that they have been eaten by the country’s leaders, Mr Szmolinsky will not be sending any more.

The 68-year-old breeder had been due to travel to North Korea after Easter to provide advice on setting up a rabbit farm. A North Korean official rang him last week to say that the trip had been cancelled. Mr Szmolinsky said he suspected that his rabbits, which grow to the size of dogs and can weigh over 10kg (22lb), were eaten at a birthday banquet for Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader, although he emphasised that he had no evidence of this.

"It’s an assumption, not an assertion," Mr Szmolinsky said. "But I don’t think the animals are alive anymore, I think they’ve been eaten."

Mr Szmolinsky had attracted worldwide media coverage in January with his deal to sell North Korea some of the spectacularly large "German grey giants" he breeds at his home in Eberswalde, an eastern town near Berlin.

His rabbits can yield up to 7kg (15lb) of meat each. It had been unclear, however, given their voracious appetite for carrots, potatoes and other top quality vegetables, how they could actually alleviate the food shortages in North Korea rather than actually adding to them. (LINK )

Stuffed Leopard Terrorizes Chinese City

A toy black leopard left lying in a footpath sparked panic in a Chinese city. The 3ft stuffed toy scared pedestrians and caused a traffic jam in Xiamen city.

A witness told Xiamen Daily: "Dogs were scared and passers-by were running for their lives. Some of them ran into traffic, causing a back-up." Eventually, police officers arrived with an armed anaesthetist from the local Haicang Zoo.

"After observing for a while, we saw the leopard was stationary, so one of the officers gingerly went ahead and touched it. Then we realised it's a toy," said a police spokesman.(LINK )

Customer Service? My Poodle Goes "Baaaaah!"

Thousands of people have been 'fleeced' into buying neatly coiffured lambs they thought were poodles. Entire flocks of lambs were shipped over from the UK and Australia to Japan by an internet company and marketed as the latest 'must have' accessory.

But the scam was only spotted after a leading Japanese actress said her 'poodle' didn't bark and refused to eat dog food.

'Sadly, we think there is more than one company operating in this way.' The sheep are believed to have been imported from overseas - Britain and Australia.' Poodles are famously used by the rich and glamourous on the continent but are extremely rare in Japan, with many people having little idea what they look like.

The company, which translates as Poodles as Pets, sold the 'poodles' for £630, about half the cost of a normal poodle but is now understood to have been shut down.(LINK )

April 26, 2007

Get Perpendicular

If you're like me, you've never heard of "perpendicular" hard drives and the actual science underlying it would probably escape you. So let this cool little Schoolhouse Rock tribute animation explain it to you!
"Get Perpendicular"

April 21, 2007


I had a real blast from the past tonight. I found out a few days back that my old singing group, The UGA Accidentals were having their big spring a cappella showcase, UGAPALOOZA, this weekend. This was something I helped start for the group back in 1995, so it's really gratifying to see it still going strong. I tried sending out some last-minute invitations to fellow Accidentals alumni, but none could make it.

Craig (Tenor in two of my OTHER singing groups) was available, though and he brough his girlfriend Vanessa along to educate her about this portion of his life. You see, I met Craig in my first a cappella group, "B Natural" back in 1991. He was our first tenor and I was the bass. Long story short, we sang together in a cappella groups for years, and Vanessa only knows Craig from his current stint as lead singer of That 80's Band. So this was an introduction for her to this chapter of his life.

The show was great, although they only had the three UGA groups and no invited groups from other colleges like they usually do. The groups, for your reference:
  • The UGA Accidentals - 12 men from the UGA Men's Glee Club
  • Noteworthy - 12 women from the Women's Glee Club
  • With Someone Else's Money - Relatively new 12-14 co-ed group, possibly independent.

    Now I hadn't been to one of these shows in about seven years, so I recognized a total number of ZERO people that were onstage. But there was kind of a zen in that disconnect, because it was all fresh. I was eager to see what directions the groups have been taking since I've been gone. Most notable change: Microphones. Soloists and Vocal Percussionists had microphones, and there were four ambient mics that they ran through the house speakers. That's a big change from when we started out, and it really helped. With mics, the VP and soloists could do more subtle, nuanced work instead of needing to project to the back row. When I did VP, my voice was blown out and my throat was raw after 4 or 5 songs because I had to do it so loud, (leading to my only "diva" moment of my singing career, when I said I honestly couldn't do another song without some water).

    With Someone Else's Money went first, then (probably to fill the slot for whatever group/groups backed out at the last minute), they had a "Vocal Percussion Extravaganza" where all the VP's from the groups took turns trading beats. When they announced this, I jokingly started to get up from my seat and head toward the stage, and Craig & I had a laugh.

    Then the guy actually asked for "Two brave volunteers from the audience to come up and show their VP Skills." I blinked. Craig Blinked, and promptly propelled me out of my seat and ACTUALLY down to the stage. The volunteers went, first a college-age guy then me. Not my best work to date, I wans't warmed up and my lips stuttered a bit, but it was passable for a geezer like me. I sat down and the actual VP's took turns, and there were quite a few of them, about three per group! That takes a little pressure off, I'm sure.

    At the break, who comes down to see us but Erik Bomboy, who sang with Craig and I in B Natural! He never misses one of these concerts, and he couldn't believe it when he spotted me on the stage. He was in a Christian a Cappella group with two OTHER B Natural alumni a few years back, but they've since broken up as well. It was great to see him.

    Noteworthy has really come into their own, and their new CD was named Collegiate Femala A Cappella CD of the year in the CARA's (the Grammys of a cappella)! It was really an incredible performance, only marred by a few of their outfits. Honestly it was "The EMPIRE (Dress/Top) Strikes Back" up there, and it was NOT flattering on some of them. As unfashionable as I am, I even noticed that.

    The Accidentals were great, performing "You're an Ocean" by Fastball (My Ringtone!) and a great Josh Grobin/Ladysmith Black Mambazo song that I'd never heard before. And Paul Tate would be proud to know that they still close every concert with his song "Blessing".

    Afterwards, I took them to The Grill, the traditional place to eat after a performance. I had a chocolate shake and a Newcastle Brown Ale. Together. Not too bad, actually.
  • April 20, 2007

    LinkNews Digest [04/20/2007]

    India Burns Richard Gere in Effigy

    NEW DELHI - Angry crowds in several Indian cities burned effigies of Richard Gere on Monday after he swept a popular Bollywood actress into his arms and kissed her several times during an AIDS-awareness event.

    Photographs of the 57-year-old actor embracing Shilpa Shetty and kissing her on the cheek at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Delhi were splashed across Monday's front pages in India-- a country where sex and public displays of affection are largely taboo.

    In Mumbai, members of the right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with sticks and set fire to glamorous shots of Shetty. Similar protests broke out in other cities, including Varanasi, Hinduism's holiest city, and in the northern town of Meerut, where crowds chanted "Down with Shilpa Shetty!"

    The two appeared at a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday to highlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic among India's truck drivers. In front of a cheering crowd, Gere kissed the giggling Shetty on the hand, then kissed her on both cheeks before bending her in a full embrace to kiss her cheek again.

    "This is a bit too much," Shetty said after the embrace.

    On Monday, Shetty tried to stamp out the controversy: "I understand this is his culture, not ours. But this was not such a big thing or so obscene for people to overreact in such manner," she told the Press Trust of India news agency.(LINK )
    I would have expected this reaction from "Runaway Bride" or "Chicago", but this?

    Talk About A Bad First Day

    A 17-year-old rookie plumber has begun his career by accidentally burning down a $12 million waterfront mansion. Initial indications are that the blowtorch he was using in the roof ignited expanded polystyrene foam.

    The building was burned to the ground in minutes despite the attentions of 60 firefighters. A spokesperson for the owner, Andrew Brownsword, said he was unhappy about what had happened but did not believe the young plumber acted with malice.

    "I heard it was started by a teenager on his first day. You have to feel sorry for the poor lad. He must feel terrible," a neighbor said. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
    (LINK )

    Bono, Edge Tapped for Spiderman Musical

    Bono and The Edge from U2 have been recruited to write the music for Spider-Man The Musical, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    The show will be directed by Julie Taymor, the mind behind The Lion King and the Shakespeare film adaptation Titus. Playbill says folks can get a taste of Spidey tunes at a ''rehearsed reading'' July 12 and 13 in New York.

    In less happy Spidey news, Entertainment Weekly Online says director Sam Raimi might jump ship from Spider-Man 4 to do The Hobbit instead. This made Kirsten Dunst, who plays Spidey's girlfriend, blow a gasket: "It's disrespectful to the whole team...to do that," she said. "It'd be a big flop without me, Tobey [Maguire] or Sam."(LINK )

    Dutch Call-Girl Task Force Deals With Geek Virgins

    Sociology student Zoe Vialet, who set up Society Service last year, says she has had a lot of demand from virgins. She says most of them work in the IT sector and added: "They are very sweet but are afraid of seeking contact with other people. They mean it very well but are very scared.

    Zoe and her colleague Marieke have specially trained five girls to look after the needs of virgins, reports De Telegraaf. She added: "You better practice before having a girlfriend. Woman expect men older than 30 having had some experience.(LINK )

    April 19, 2007

    Fox News Disgusts Me

    Fox News' follow-up stories about the tragic Virginia Tech shootings:

    "Was Satanic Posession Behind VA Tech Shootings?" And the sensitively titled "How to Spot a Psycho"

    Glad they stopped claiming to be "Fair and Balanced".

    April 17, 2007

    The Free Pass

    By this time, most people are aware of the "Free Pass" agreement that some husbands and wives enter into. Essentially, it's a Top-3 or -5 list of unreachable stars that, should infinite amounts of chance and luck conspire to present the unlikely opportunity to have sex with this person, the partner would allow it. Yeah, it's a total fantasy thing. Unless your partner suddenly changes their top-5 to include your local UPS delivery guy or the gardener.

    My personal list includes:

    Rachel Weisz

    Ever since The Mummy I have had it bad. I fall big for that sexy librarian/teacher look, and she had me from scene one. The rest of the movie could have just been of her READING about mummies in her library, and I would have watched it. Hearing that she's cast in "Sin City 2" made me quite a happy man.

    She made many good decisions in her film career, allowing me to ogle her, while my wife ogled the male lead. Her opposite Brendan Fraser in The Mummy, opposite Hugh Grant in About a Boy, opposite Ralph Fiennes in The Constant Gardener, etc. (I later realized that it was she in the craptacular Chain Reaction with Morgan Freeman and Keanu Reeves. I remember thinking "This hot British bird is the ONLY thing going for this movie."

    Rosario Dawson

    Probably the only thing that redeemed Men In Black 2. Yeah, it was kinda funny, but I just could not...take...my eyes off her for the whole film. I didn't like her so much in Sin City because it took away that cute/sexy thing she has going, and that smile. I overlooked a lot of flaws in "Clerks 2" because of her. My loving wife informed me last night that she now co-writes and appears in her own comic book, and would be in town for The Atlanta Comics Expo this weekend. Tempting as it was, I didn't want to be just another drooling fanboy in a packed auditorium full of drooling fanboys. ("She is beautiful, and she understands our culture! MMMmmmweeehehehe! We must take her underground and make her our queen!!")

    Zoe Bell

    Before last week, I never even heard of this woman, but her appearance in Act 2 of GRINDHOUSE blew me away. And that's something, figuring that Rosario Dawson was in it as well. (That's her on the left in the picture.) Just seeing her strapped to the hood of a speeding Dodge Charger, struck a chord with the primal grunty man buried in me. She's a stuntwoman by trade, and was the stunt double for Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill" and for Lucy Lawless in the XENA Series. She's not gorgeous, but she has such a strong, happy presence about her, and there's just something about a woman who could SO kick my ass.

    So far I only have a Top-3. I'll work on more later. (Warning: May contain Sandra Bullock.)

    As for my wife, I'm sure that Jonathan Rhys-Myers from "Bend It Like Beckham" is in there somewhere. "The man can make a plain white shirt look GOOD" was the quote, I think.

    UPDATE: I was wrong. Melissa's Top-5: Alan Rickman, Johnny Depp, Jake Gyllenhall, Ken Watanabe and Kenichi Matsuyama. (and just the VOICE of Donald Southerland.)

    PS: Before some of you judge this list as sexist: While it WOULD be all sensitive-Male of me to put my wife on my fantasy top-5 list, it would be rather insulting. This is a list of people that I know I'll probably never meet (without paying admission or for a signed photo), much less have a chance with. Putting my wife on this list would indicate that the chances of ending up with her are infinitesimal. Obviously that is not the case. She's thankfully #1 on my REALITY list.

    April 13, 2007

    LinkNews Digest [04/13/2007]

    Deceptive Pricing in Grand Canyon Skywalk

    Over break, my family and I decided, for the last leg of our trip, to drive out to Grand Canyon West and see the new Grand Canyon Skywalk there. We saw the $25 per person fee (plus fees to get on the reservation, which was probably about $10 per car) and thought it was a little high, but figured it would be a fun end to our trip and decided to go anyways.

    We drove down Thursday morning, which included 15 miles of bumpy dirt roads before coming to a small airport on the edge of the canyon which consisted mostly of temporary buildings.

    Line to get tickets. We walked in to get the tickets and met a very long line of people waiting to do the same. After 10 minutes of waiting, a "Question Answerer" came by and made it clear why it was taking so long: the sales people had to explain the "packages" and pricing to each and every person in the line. This was not because the package was that complex, but because each person in the line thought they were going to be paying $25 per person. In reality, the tribe was charging another $50 on top of the $25 for each person. You read that right, 75 bucks a pop. The "Question Answerer" explained it to us:

    "The investor wants to get his, that's the $25. But it's our land, and we don't get any of that $25, so we have to get ours too, you know?"

    It seems what happened is that the tribe got trounced in the contract negotiation, and were left to come up with their own source of revenue. Now, to be completely honest, the $75 got you more than just the Skywalk. It got you a bus ride to the Skywalk, then to Guano Point, another nice view which also had a "buffet" meal, and then another bus to a ranch which had a petting zoo. Not that anyone had come to see any of those things, or to eat at a buffet.(LINK )

    Florida Gov't Punishes U of FLA for Jeb Bush Jab

    Two weeks ago, the University of Florida voted to deny Jeb Bush an honorary degree. By a 38-28 vote, the faculty Senate rejected the former governor’s nomination, citing concerns about some of Bush’s education initiatives, including his dismantling of affirmative action programs in the state:

    In higher education circles, Bush’s greatest criticism came over his "One Florida" plan, which ended race-based admissions in state universities. Black enrollment dropped at UF and statewide after the change took effect, as critics predicted.

    Bush’s policies of "rewarding and punishing schools according to students' standardized test results and using vouchers to send certain students to private schools at public expense" also contributed to the rejection of his nomination.

    Upset by this lack of Jeb Bush adoration, the conservative-controlled House Schools & Learning Council voted yesterday to force the university to rename its education school the "Jeb Bush College of Education."

    Over the faculty’s opposition, the school will now have "to erect 'suitable markers' noting the college’s new name and include the revised name in all university documents, including catalogues and brochures." The lawmakers acknowledge they "came up with the idea as an answer" to the faculty’s denial of Bush’s honorary degree.(LINK )

    Tip: Don't Advertise Your Party on MySpace

    A girl's party was advertised on MySpace and hundreds of gatecrashers wrecked her family home causing £20,000 damage.

    Rachel Bell, 17, planned a bash for 40 friends when her mum went away for the night, reports The Sun. But more than 200 turned up after an invitation was placed on MySpace website under the heading "lets all trash the average family-sized house disco party". The ad promised a bash as wild as those on Channel 4 show Skins. Revellers came from as far as London, 300 miles away.

    Rachel has stayed with a pal since Monday's party and is "too scared" to return to the £230,000 four-bed detached home in Woodstone Village, Co Durham. Rachel later told her parents she organised a party for just 40 pals - but someone else put the invitation on the net.

    A neighbour, said: "There were so many people they couldn't all fit in the house. "Police tried to disperse them but they ran off into the woods. At one stage me and three blokes with golf clubs tried to keep kids away from the house. It was absolute bedlam." The family has been staying in emergency accommodation because their home is unfit for habitation.

    A spokesman for Durham Police who sent a convoy of cars and a dog unit to the party said the trouble was difficult to contain as the guests were invited to the house.(LINK )

    April 10, 2007

    Film Grad Claims "Grindhouse" Stolen

    Never ceases to amaze me. Apparently, some film-school students did an homage to Grindhouse films a few years back (called "Grindhouse"), and sent Quentin Tarantino a copy of it after he declined a viewing of the film. Now the grads are whining because Quentin made his own Grindhouse homage movie, also called "Grindhouse" and calling it theft.

    Whiny Film School Guy, Meet me at camera 3:

    You are a fan of a genre known as "Grindhouse Cinema", and made an homage film and gave it the no-brainer title OF THE GENRE ITSELF. Quentin ALSO loved Grindhouse cinema, as seen from countless influences in his filmography, as did Rodriguez. The Q-Man's "Movie Night" parties at his place with Rodriguez, Eli Roth and other gore sympaticos are infamous, and his movie room is plastered with vintage era Grindhouse double-feature posters.

    How is it a stretch to think that Quentin would eventually make a full-on homage to that era? None at all. If Quentin suddenly shifted gears entirely and made a dramatic period romance flick called "The Amorous Blue-Green Turtles of Tortuga in Spring" and you sent him a film with that exact title, THEN it would be time to call the lawyers. But to call him a thief for making a tribute movie for something that you and he and millions of people loved? Not so much.

    The script was not stolen. your film has nothing in common with the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse, except the title. And you can't claim to OWN a title so general... as the actual name of the GENRE. That's like calling a B-Movie homage "B-Movie" and being surprised and indignant when another director has the same "idea" from watching the same general type of movies.

    I saw Grindhouse this weekend. I called it no coincidence when it was released the birthday weekend for me AND my horror-movie-lovin' buddy Justin. It was absolutely fantastic, and showed absolute love for the kind of movies that influenced these guys. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    Oh, your student film went up for internet sale the day the Tarantino/Rodriguez film opened? What a coincidence, since your film came out in 2003! So suck up all the cross-promotional hype while you can, and why don't you go make another film? Might I suggest a tribute to mid-80's slasher flicks called "Slasher"?

    (But if you do, I'll have to sue you for stealing my idea.)

    April 09, 2007

    Easter Hangover

    Wow. Even cutting back on the candy consumption yesterday, I still feel worse this morning than I usually do after a night of moderate drinking. But at least Easter went well. Church service went well, we sang all pretty-like and I even pulled off a solo chant. (The director wasn't hot on my suggestion of adding Vocal Percussion to it.)

    Matthew got loads of easter eggs at the church hunt, as well as some at Mel's parents. Shawn joined us for the traditional Easter "Linner" at 2:30 PM. Some cute photos ensued:

    Easter Matthew    Easter Egg Hunt    Frog in a Fountain    Easter Peep Camoflage    Hidden Frog    Reaching for the Frog    Hidden Bunny    

    April 06, 2007

    LinkNews Digest [04/06/2007]

    McCain "Strolls Through Iraq Street", with Military Escort

    McCain recently claimed that there "are neighborhoods in Baghdad where you and I could walk through those neighborhoods, today." In a press conference after his Baghdad tour, McCain told a reporter that his visit to the market today was proof that you could indeed "walk freely" in some areas of Baghdad.

    NBC’s Nightly News provided further details about McCain’s one-hour guided tour. He was accompanied by "100 American soldiers, with three Blackhawk helicopters, and two Apache gunships overhead." Still photographs provided by the military to NBC News seemed to show McCain wearing a bulletproof vest during his visit.(Video )
    Not exactly a ringing endorsement for the safety of the region. He MEANT that citizens would be safe walking a particular street, with a batallion of marines, heavy air cover and a kevlar suit.

    UK Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims

    A Government backed study has revealed that some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

    There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques. The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.

    The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools. It found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class. The researchers gave the example of a secondary school in an unnamed northern city, which dropped the Holocaust as a subject for GCSE coursework.

    The report said teachers feared confronting 'anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils'. It concluded: "In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

    But Chris McGovern, history education adviser to the former Tory government, said: "History is not a vehicle for promoting political correctness. Children must have access to knowledge of these controversial subjects, whether palatable or unpalatable."

    The researchers also warned that a lack of subject knowledge among teachers - particularly at primary level - was leading to history being taught in a 'shallow way leading to routine and superficial learning'. Lessons in difficult topics were too often 'bland, simplistic and unproblematic' and bored pupils. (LINK )

    DUI on Horseback in Alabama

    SYLVANIA, Ala. - A woman who went for a horseback ride through town at midnight and allegedly used the horse to ram a police car was charged with driving under the influence and drug offenses, police said Tuesday.

    "Cars were passing by having to avoid it, and almost hitting the horse," said Police Chief Brad Gregg. He said DUI charges can apply even when the vehicle has four legs instead of wheels.

    Police in the northeast Alabama town received a call around midnight Saturday about someone riding a horse on a city street, Gregg said. Officer John Seals found Melissa Byrum York, 40, of Henagar on horseback on a nearby road and attempted to stop her. Seals asked the woman repeatedly to get off the horse, but she kept trying to kick the animal to make it run, the chief said. "She wouldn't stop. She kept riding the horse and going on," Gregg said.

    After ramming the police car with the horse and riding away, the woman tried to jump off but caught her foot in a stirrup, Gregg said. The officer took the woman into custody and discovered that she had crystal methamphetamine, a small amount of marijuana, pills and a small pipe, the chief said.

    York was charged with DUI for allegedly riding the horse under the influence of a controlled substance. She was also charged with drug possession, possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, assault, attempting to elude police and cruelty to animals.(LINK)

    Keith Richards Snorted Father's Ashes

    LONDON (AP) - Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all.

    In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine. "The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME. "He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

    Richards' father, Bert, died in 2002, at 84. Richards, one of rock's legendary wild men, told the magazine that his survival was the result of luck, and advised young musicians against trying to emulate him.

    "I did it because that was the way I did it. Now people think it's a way of life," he was quoted as saying. "I've no pretensions about immortality," he added. "I'm the same as everyone ... just kind of lucky. I was No. 1 on the `who's likely to die' list for 10 years. I mean, I was really disappointed when I fell off the list," Richards said. (LINK )

    Coast Guard Helicopter Resuces Man Rescuing Parrot

    William Hart, 35, from Montgomery County, near Houston, Texas, followed his £1,000 white cockatoo Geronimo after it escaped its cage. After he got stuck, about 30 Sheriff's deputies and firefighters converged on the tree but the ground was too wet to get a ladder near the tree.

    As daylight began to fade, the decision was made to call in the coastguard from Galveston, reports the Houston Chronicle. Before the helicopter finally retrieved him, Mr Hart could be seen standing on a branch holding the bird under his shirt and smoking a cigarette. "In my 18 years as a firefighter, I've never seen anything like this," Porter Fire Chief Jody Binnion said.

    Apart from a few scratches and a bite on his finger where the frightened bird nipped him, Mr Hart was unscathed and relieved to be back on solid ground.

    Cradling the shaking bird in his arms, he said he was surprised by all the fuss, but had no regrets: "He's my baby. I'd do it again." His 14-year-old daughter had forgotten to put the latch back on Geronimo's cage after feeding him and the bird had flown out the bedroom window.(LINK )

    April 03, 2007

    The Electrician

    Melissa's parents, Ron & Brenda, have been helping us do some landscaping on the house over the past few weeks.

    Me: Ron, I remembered this morning why I kept those exterior lights off the timer for the past 2 years.
    Ron: I was wondering about that. They looked nice on the house the other night.
    Me: No argument there. It's just that they don't ever turn OFF. The installed timer in the attic is missing the little plastic clip that's supposed to turn the thing off in the morning.
    Ron: Ah.
    Me: So that little 3-cent clip was costing us $20 a month in electric bills for keeping them on 24-7.
    Ron: Where is that timer located?
    Me: Far end of the attic, over my office. It's a little hard to get to, you have to climb over the roof support beams.
    Ron: I should move that thing closer to the attic entrance.
    Me: *pause* That won't really FIX the problem.
    Ron: Yeah, it won't, but it would make it easier to get to.
    Me: And YOU can do this?
    Ron: Of course I can. I used to be an electrician, you know.
    Me: All I know is that you're the one who refused to shut off the breakers while you installed the new light switches in this place. You got shocked and thrown back into the wall twice.
    Ron: I was NOT thrown back. Yeah, it popped me a couple of times, but I wasn't thrown clear or anything.
    Me: Still not inspiring confidence, Ron.

    April 02, 2007

    "Catchy" Defined

    I don't often gush about new music. However, I just can't get enough of MuteMath's breakout single "Typical". I heard it, marveled at the video, downloaded it on iTunes, and played it about 10 times on a road trip this weekend. And I STILL love it.

    Check the Video: