Sunday, March 30, 2008

Palm Trees, Cactus, and Snow-Capped Mountains!

Stop the Rumors!

I've been away for a few days and all of a sudden rumors start to fly. Today I've heard it said that I've been on the campaign trail with Obama and Clinton. Others have suggested that I was away representing Janet Jackson in her upcoming project: Wardrobe Malfunctions - The Sequel. Still others have speculated that I've been away playing golf with Tiger Woods! Enough! None of those ridiculous rumors are true! While it's true that I have been away, and I was seen playing golf with someone who resembled Tiger - The truth is - None of the above accusations are true.

Here's where I've been:

Just a few hints. Feel free to guess where this is if you'd like.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How Was Your Easter?

I got this in an email. I got a kick out of it. I hope you find some humor in it too!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Eat This Not That

Why are some people so smart and I'm not? Ever ask yourself that question? Well today I did. Again! But for a different reason this time.

I've subscribed to Men's Health magazine for years and for some silly reason, I keep renewing the subscription. It's silly because it seems to me that the information just keeps getting recycled. I know it's not entirely true but I feel like I just keep reading a repeat of the same stuff. After all, there must be a finite level of information. So at some point, they've got to run out of workout routines and food that's good for you to eat and things you can do to stimulate your sex partner right? Furthermore, I generally don't get through all of my magazines. So I sometimes just leave them on the airplane as a gift for someone who is looking for some cheap (free) reading material. - Remember when the airlines used to provide you with magazines and newspapers? Now you're lucky to get some peanuts or pretzels.

I just feel like I could keep my past issues for 4 years and just keep rereading those issues over and over again. My memory is good but it's short so by the time I get back to the beginning of the cycle, It would be like learning new stuff all over again. In the long run I'll be just as knowledgeable as if I continued to subscribe. And if I invest the subscription money wisely, who knows, maybe I can be the next Warren Buffett. What do you think?

Okay, all sarcasm aside, I think I'd miss a few things if I cancelled my subscription. For one, I really enjoy reading the "Jimmy the bartender" series. I'll elaborate on Jimmy in a later post. I also enjoy browsing the "Eat This Not That" articles. But I'm always amazed at how I seem to like the stuff that's on the "Not That" side better.

For example:

Given the choice of ordering a Tuna Sandwich from Subway or a double roast beef sandwich from Subway which would you think is better?

For me, the choice is simple. I'm trying to stay away from red meat (when I can) and I'm thinking fish is better for you with the Omegas and such so it's an easy choice. Go with the Tuna Right?

Wrongo fish breath! According to the guide, you should eat the Roast Beef. (click for details)

Eat This

6-inch Double Roast Beef Sub

Calories 360
Fat 7 g
Sat. Fat 3.5 g
Sodium 1,300 mg

Even with twice the meat--and double the protein--this sandwich still has only a fraction of the fat found in the tuna.

Not This

6-inch Tuna Sub

Calories 530
Fat 31 g
Fat 7 g
Sodium 1,010 mg

Gloppy mayo-based tuna salad sends this sandwich's fat counts skyrocketing.

See what I mean? I'm just destined to be not as smart as some of you out there. Maybe you'll take pity on me and comment on my site!

Thanks for reading....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What! No Invitation?

So guess what? I trek my butt all the way "down under" to Sydney, Australia and I hear they are having this big celebration. Turns out the Governor-General Michael Jeffery on Monday announced the annual Australian Bravery Decorations, including three Stars of Courage.

One would think that "I" king and writer of the "Courageous Acts" post would certainly get an invitation to the ceremony - Right? Well, due to a minor oversight someone forgot to get me my invitation. Imagine my dismay when I read the article in the newspaper. Foiled again! Oh well, think they'll stop me from having my own say in this matter? No way!

Several people were honored at this ceremony, most of them Australians. Many acts of bravery were recognized. I don't mean to discount the others but I must take pride in recognizing one of our own. Please read along:

On July 29, 2006, Miss Kimberley Dear was in America preparing for her first skydive.

On camera, she pointed to her instructor, Mr Robert Cook a 23 year old from Missouri, and said:

"This is the man that's going to save my life."

Moments after take-off, the engine failed and the plane carrying eight people crashed. In the 16 seconds it took for the plane to fall, Mr Cook turned to Miss Dear and told her to focus on his instructions. He clipped his harness to hers and told her to brace herself using his body to cushion the fall.

Robert Cook wrapped his arms around a young Australian woman and calmly instructed her to use his body as a mattress while their plane crashed from the sky. Mr Cook, was killed on impact but Melbourne woman Kimberley Dear survived despite extensive injuries.

Kimberley Dear would say:

"He was an amazing person and he was going to go on to do amazing things himself but now he can't. I am 100% certain he could have taken measures to save his own life but he didn't, he saved mine. There aren't many people who would put their life on the line for a stranger."

True statement indeed!

Robert Cook, for your dauntless and selfless act of courage and bravery.......

I salute you!

Intrepid remembers! God Speed!

Kimberley Dear, who survived a plane crash when her skydiving instructor Robert Cook died using his body to protect her.Photo: Melanie Faith Dove

Monday, March 17, 2008

Skipping St. Paddy's Day!

Chicago Dyes River Green to Celebrate

No green beer for me this year. I Skipped St Patrick's Day. Not on purpose. But I want you all to know, I've discovered time traveling: Just so happens I caught a flight to Sydney last night. So I took off Sunday night and landed this morning- Tuesday March 18, 2008. What happened to Saint Patrick's Day? Oh well. I completely missed it. That's what happens when you cross the international date line going west. The good new is that when I fly home, I'll take off in the afternoon and land the morning of the same day. That is: I'll land before I take off! Imagine that. Time travel is fun isn't it?

I hope I haven't confused you.

Have Fun.... I hope you wore green today and drank some green beer!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Goofy Retro Movie Re-makes!

Say that three times really fast!

I saw a trailer for a movie the other day with a release date of May 9, 2008. It goes without saying, that day will be here before we can blink. The name of the movie: Speed Racer. I know the original show predates many of us but I actually remember watching the show (reruns) as a young kid. I was fascinated by the capabilities of the car and the story was pretty good too. It was an animated series created by a young Japanese anime pioneer named Tatsuo Yoshida. I later learned that Yoshida got his inspiration for the series after watching two influential movies of the time: Viva Las Vegas - starring Elvis Presley and Goldfinger - starring the "shaken not stirred" legend- James Bond 007. The series combined the racing action of Viva Las Vegas with the high - tech gadgetry of the Bond Aston Martin in the movie Goldfinger.

Speed Racer

A strong stand out character to me was the mysterious masked "Racer X" who serves as "Speed Racer's" guardian angel. Later in the series we learn his true identity. I won't spoil it for you soon to be watchers.

Racer X

While I have my doubts about the ultimate success of the movie (I don't think it will be taking home all of the Oscars), I do think it has an interesting cast:

Christina Ricci as Trixie
Emile Hirsch as Speed
Matthew Fox as Racer X
Susan Sarandon as Mom Racer
John Goodman as Pops Racer
Richard Roundtree as Ben Burns

So if you're bored in May and looking for something to do - Be sure to check it out.

And if Goofy retro remake movies is your thing, be on the lookout for the release of Get Smart (Again) starring Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart on June 20, 2008.

Get Smart

Friday, March 14, 2008

Desperate Times and Desperate Measures!

Ever use the phrase "Cut off your nose to spite your face?"

Do you know where the phrase comes from? As best as I can determine, the phrase originates from an event that may/may not have occurred on or around 870 AD when a group of lusting Vikings landed in Scotland. After learning of the Viking's impending arrival, the Mother Superior of a monastery urged the nuns to disfigure their faces and thus make themselves unappealing to the vicious pillaging Vikings. One of the nuns allegedly cut off her nose and upper lip. Many of the other nuns followed suit in varying degrees in hopes of preserving their virginity. When the Vikings arrived, according to the legend, they were so disgusted at what they saw that they burned the buildings to the ground and left without assaulting the nuns. The nuns were left with all of their virtue plus their mangled faces.

Today, we know that people in record numbers are facing foreclosure on their homes. That's no joke. I'm saddened by the transfer of wealth from so many to so few and the struggling US economy- but that's a different subject. I'm also very sensitive to the plight of those who face losing their homes and stability to foreclosure. For some the thought of losing their home has forced them to take drastic measures..... Watch below:

" The February 11 “Good Morning America” introduced a new dire consequence of the slowing economy: “cash-strapped homeowners” committing arson."

“We have news this morning on the home foreclosure front, word that cash-strapped homeowners are taking desperate measures,” ABC co-host Diane Sawyer said."

The tragic reality for those that get caught burning down their home to avoid losing it to foreclosure is: They will have a nice cozy home behind bars for the next few years - Guaranteed and paid for by the government and the tax payers.

These are desperate times!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"The Jungle Revisited" The Cows are Mad!

Or did you mean - Mad Cow Disease?

Warning: What you read and see below may be highly offensive!

Remember the book by Upton Sinclair - "The Jungle"

"The Jungle (1906) is a novel written by American author and socialist Upton Sinclair. It was written about the corruption of business during the early 20th century. The novel depicts in harsh tones the poverty, absence of social programs, unpleasant living and working conditions, and hopelessness prevalent among the have-nots, which is contrasted with the deeply-rooted corruption on the part of the haves. "

Okay, the truth be told, "The Jungle" is a complex book addressing complicated issues. But if you asked someone who read the book what the book was really about and what they remembered from the book, you might get something like this: "The book is about the corruption in the meat packing industry and the morbidity of the working conditions therein."

The aftermath of the book according to wikipedia:

Foreign sales of American meat fell by one-half. In order to calm public outrage and demonstrate the cleanliness of their meat, the major meat packers lobbied the Federal government to pass legislation paying for additional inspection and certification of meat packaged in the United States. Their efforts, coupled with the public outcry, led to the passage of the Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which established the Food and Drug Administration.

Now comes the whammy! I recently ran across the following video. It grossed me out!

Lots of issues to consider here. Inhumane treatment of animals? Health concerns? Wage Slavery? What about Muckraking?

1906 and 2008. Over a hundred years later but the same corruption and greed. It's unfortunate, but I detect many similarities. Sinclair wanted to persuade his readers that the mainstream American political parties offered little means for progressive change. I'm not trying to make a political statement but I will give it some thought the next time I order a burger!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How Long can it Get? THE BIG BANG!

Okay, got this from my "Blog Buddy" Julie's site and decided to play along to see how well it works. Help yourself and play along too if you wish. It's pretty easy and you can see that the list is getting enormous! How long can it get?

*Start Copy Here*

You do not have to be tagged to play along. This game is simple and so are the rules.
1. Copy from *Start Copy Here* through *End Copy Here*
2. Add your site(s) to the list. Just be sure to post at each site you add.
3. Tag or don’t tag, your choice, however, the more tags you create the bigger the list will grow.
4. Let me know your blog’s name and url by leaving me a comment HERE. I will add you to the master list. (If you would like a scroll box code, leave me your email address and I will email it to you.) Scroll Box Example. (I decided not to use the box for the Big Bang for ease of copying.)
5. Come back and copy the master list back to your site, often. This process will allow late-comers to get as much link benefit as the first ones in. Once you are on the master list people who have participated earlier will update their bookmarks and help everyone lower than them out on the list.

1-Attitude, the Ultimate Power 2-Juliana's Site 3-Rusin Roundup 4-Grow Rich Along With Me 5-Comedy Plus 6-lynda's loft 7-Amel's Realm 8-MAX 9-Speedcat Hollydale 10-Mariuca 11-Complain Complain Complain 12-Mariuca's Perfume Gallery 13-Life Is A Roller Coaster 14-Sugar Queen's Dream 15-First Time Dad 16-Life 17-My Life 18-The Painted Veil 19-My Thoughts 21-Little Aussie Cynic 22-A Nice Place in the Sun 24-The Down Side OF Up 25-Ladyjava's Lounge 26-Cat Tales 27-moms.....check nyo 28-Colorado Baby 29-It's a Woman's World 30-ENLIGHTENED BITS 31-My View of "It" 32-My Reviews and Finds Along the Way 33-Our Hep Chat 34-Rantings of a Woman 35-The Callalily Space 36-Mom Knows Everything 37-Hazel 38-Chronicles and Tales Unlimited (RED) 39-From the Mouth of Jabber Jaws 40-Sunny Side Up Foodie & Lifestyle 41-Carmel Corn 42-Daily Stock Picks 43-The Whole New World 44-Wifespeak 45-Slavery Bliss 46-Rooms of My Heart 47-Unpredictable Life 48-My Life, My World 49-At Your Service 50-All About Ebay 51-Everything Amazon 52-Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out 53-My So-Called Site 54-New Wife Blog 55-Tendre Poison 323 56-Nick's Bytes 57-My Scratch Pad 58-Choc Mint Girl 59-Life Is Just Around the Corner... 60-Amori, poseia, art... virtuali by Hanna 61-Maryannaville 62-monaco - monaco's 63-Nyumix's Blog 64-read my mind - my keyboard monologues 65-Shower You Children With Love - The Right Way 66-Secret Agent Mama 67-Pinaymama's Diary 68-Answers to the Questions 69-Work of the Poet 70-A Total Blog 71-My life, my hope, my future 72-NORTE 73-A Window to Our World 74-Life as a Mom 75-FIELD OF DREAMS 76-lisgold 77-See Me for What You 78-Caught in The Stream 79-Pinay Mommy Online - My Home 80-foster me up 81-CRUEL VIRGIN 82-Garden of Moments in Blog 83-So Cute 84-Love Everlasting 85-WeLcOmE To My CriB 86-WELCOM TO PINAYSMILE'S JOURNEY 87-Ice's Icelog 88-Jenny's Wandering Thoughts 89-Hobbies and Such 90-Sweet Paradise 91-Mommy's Gibble Gabbles 92-Rusin Review's 93-My Small World 94-Little Peanut 95-Online Ramblings 96-My Mood My Feeling 97-BLOG it with ALLEN 98-Entertainment World 99-Let's Go Singapore 100-Firelynx 101-Catsy Carpe Diem 102-Every Beat Of My Heart 103-Always Da Fresh Princess 104-Listening.. 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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Sydney Australia

I Just spent a few days in one of my favorite places. Sydney, Australia.

What a treat. Ever since I was a little kid and learned about Australia, I've been fascinated with the culture, geography, and people of Australia. I took my first trip to Sydney in July of 1999. Just before the 2000 Olympics. I toured some of the Olympic venues as they were being constructed and learned my way around the city. Over the past 9 years, I've traveled back and forth numerous times and managed to make some friends and find some great eateries and places to hang out. I've spent time at the beach and even played a few rounds of golf. I've traveled to the city of Melbourne, Australia a few times but that's been the extent of my travel around the continent. I do look forward to seeing more of the country at some point.

Just recently, I made it back down under. While there, we met up with some folks from the "Bush." What a trip that was! Let me start by saying that the "Aussies" love their booze. I didn't even try to keep up. It was a no-contest event. And I've been down that road before. Trust me, hangovers and jet lag don't mix very well. So instead of over-indulging in spirits, I asked lots of questions of my hosts. In the process I learned quite a bit about New South Wales, and Queensland. Seems to me like they've got lots of critters down there that can make your life miserable if not end it. Snakes, crocodiles, spiders, jellyfish, sharks, and more. (See a list of Australia's 10 most dangerous animals by clicking here) Just chatting with these folks put me in the mindset of the movie Crocodile Dundee. It was funny listening to these ladies describe how they routinely kill one of the most dangerous snakes in the world, the brown snake, with an instrument they called a waddy. Silly me, I thought the word "waddy" was some made up name for this weapon which in their case was a lengthy piece of PVC pipe that they used to "whack" the snake. Turns out that the word -waddy- is another name for an Australian Aboriginal war club. Check it out - I looked it up:

"A waddy is a heavy club constructed of carved timber. Waddies have been used in hand to hand combat, and were capable of splitting a shield, and killing or stunning food. In addition to this they could be employed as a projectile as well as used to make fire and make ochre. They found further use in punishing those who broke Aboriginal law."

These "Bush" people possessed a rugged but simple spirit which included a strong nationalistic undertone. While they seemed to admire America and Americans, they expressed a healthy opposition to our commercialism and pace of life. They all lived on and owned large plots of land, anywhere from 25 to 300 acres and enjoyed passing the time by working in the yard, sitting by a big bonfire, and staring at the stars in the sky for hours. Sounds like being on vacation huh?

I must say - they earned my eternal admiration!

So in addition to socializing, I was able to snap some nice photos of Sydney and the Opera House from the air.

A shot of the Harbour Bridge from my hotel room

And a shot of some contrails, clouds and an airplane as the sun rose coming home

When I'm in Sydney, I do have a few favorite restaurants. One place I usually try to hit for dinner at least once is the Belgian Beer Cafe. I love the great selection of Belgian beer and the warm and friendly atmosphere. They offer a full compliment of entrees but I usually opt for one of the following:
Siam Mussels: $24.90 (AuD) Cooked with Red curry, Thai Basil and finished with coconut cream.
Tintin au Congo Mussels: $24.90 (AuD) With coconut cream, lemongrass and chilli.

The steaks and chicken are also very good and the desert menu is decadent. I'm a fan of the:
Belgian Waffle $13.50 AuD

Served with 'Callebaut' warm chocolate sauce, mixed berry coulis and vanilla bean ice-cream
If you're adventurous, be sure to try the kangaroo or the rabbit on the menu. I haven't tried the Kangaroo yet but I hear it tastes like chicken - only a bit more tender and gamy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

It's all about the "List"

What do the names Heidi Lynne Fleiss and Anthony Pellicano have in Common?

It's all about the list! Do you remember Heidi Fleiss? Also know as the Hollywood Madam -Heidi is a former American madam. In 1997, she was convicted in connection with her prostitution ring with charges including pandering and tax evasion. Her ring had numerous famous and wealthy clients. She was sentenced to 37 months in prison for tax evasion, (pandering charges were dropped) but served just 21. As the Hollywood Madam story unfolded, so did the speculation about who would be on her client list. As you can imagine, there were many names on the list - mostly millionaires and billionaires (the one celebrity name that sticks out is "Charlie Sheen.")

Personally, I wonder which names should have been on the list but were suspiciously removed.....

Heidi Fleiss

Also, I find it interesting that as the story unfolded, people became less and less interested in the details of the crime and more and more concerned about who was involved and which names would appear on the "Client List"

Such is the case with Anthony Pellicano who finds himself on trial for federal wiretapping charges. On February 6, 2006, Pellicano was indicted on 110 counts in federal court in Los Angeles alleging crimes of racketeering and conspiracy, wiretapping, witness tampering, identity theft and destruction of evidence. Opening statements were set to begin yesterday, with Pellicano acting as his own lawyer defending charges that he ran a criminal enterprise that wiretapped phones and bribed police and telephone workers. Prosecutors said he obtained confidential information that could be used to gain advantage in divorce, business and other cases. Serious stuff huh? Well, at least it sounds tough. How about that "Racketeering" charge? Sounds a bit Al Capone-ish to me.

Anthony Pellicano

But guess which names appeared on the list of potential witnesses? Come on, can't you name just a few? Okay here ya go.... Chris Rock, Sylvester Stallone, and Gary Shandling just to name a few

According to court documents, reps for Chris Rock retained Pellicano in a paternity battle waged by then 33-year-old former model Monika Zsibrita. She claimed in April 2006 that Pellicano hired a former LAPD sergeant to snoop through her confidential records after she made a paternity claim against the comedian.

Sylvester Stallone and Garry Shandling were alleged victims of Pellicano's alleged wiretapping. Stallone told The Associated Press last month that he would testify if needed. Also named were Brad Grey, chairman and chief executive officer of Paramount Pictures; Ron Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Universal Studios; and former Walt Disney Co. president and powerful talent agent Michael Ovitz. (Follow this link to see more of the story)

Pretty gritty stuff the way I see it. Let's see how many more familiar names drop in this case. You see, it doesn't matter about the crime anymore - It's all about who's on the list!

And guess what else? I hear Heidi Fleiss is planning to open a legal brothel in Nevada. The exterior of the building is designed to look a lot like the White House.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

What's a few billion among friends?

Number What?

Bill Gates with 58 million dollars no longer leads the pack. After 13 years of being top dog, Bill Gates turns over the title of "World's Richest Man" to good friend Warren Buffet.

Each year when the Forbes Billionaire list comes out I don't have to look for my name. I know exactly where I fit in - (laughing) But it's fun to look through the names and study the demographics. This year, I was surprised to learn that Bill Gates was no longer at the top of the list. Apparently, increasing his stash by 2 billion dollars last year was not enough to keep him on top. And not even enough to keep him in second place. Good friend and fellow philanthropist, Warren Buffet, increased his fortune by 10 billion to edge out Gates.

And Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helú, doubled his numbers in just two years to $60 billion to secure the second place spot. What a year - Imagine a 30 billion dollar year! Spectacular numbers to say the least.

Another change - two years ago, half of the world's 20 richest were from the U.S. Now only four are. India claims victory for having four among the top 10, more than any other country listed.

I'll miss seeing Bill Gates' name at the top of the list but he'll be back. In the meantime, Congrats to the Oracle of Omaha - Warren Buffet!