That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? WITNESS: He said, 'Where am I, Ann?' ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? WITNESS: My name is Susan! _______________________________ ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks. ____________________________________________ ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active? WITNESS: No, I just lie there. ____________________________________________ ATTORNEY: What is your date of birth? WITNESS: July 18th. ATTORNEY: What year? WITNESS: Every year. _____________________________________ ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you? WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can't remember which. ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you? WITNESS: Forty-five years. _________________________________ ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory? WITNESS: I forget... ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot? ___________________________________________ ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning? WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam? ____________________________________
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he? WITNESS: He's 20, much like your IQ.. ___________________________________________ ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken? WITNESS: Say what? _________________________________________ ATTORNEY: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time? WITNESS: Glad I wasn’t with you. ____________________________________________
ATTORNEY: She had three children , right? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: How many were boys? WITNESS: None. ATTORNEY: Were there any girls? WITNESS: Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney? ____________________________________________ ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated? WITNESS: By death.. ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated? WITNESS: Take a guess. ___________________________________________
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual? WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female? WITNESS: Unless the Circus was in town I'm going with male. _____________________________________ ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney? WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work. ______________________________________ ATTORNEY: Doctor , how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people? WITNESS: All of them. The live ones put up too much of a fight. _________________________________________ ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to? WITNESS: Oral... _________________________________________ ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body? WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 PM ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time? WITNESS: If not, he was by the time I finished. ____________________________________________ ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample? WITNESS: Are you qualified to ask that question? ______________________________________ And last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing? WITNESS: No.. ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor? WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless? WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
Q: What's the problem with lawyer jokes? A: Lawyers don't think they're funny, and no one else thinks they're jokes.
But he missed the point in his recent column about Hillary Clinton and 'Emailgate'. Here is what he says about Clinton in his latest missive (the picture is from his column):
So it turns out Hillary Clinton will face a serious challenger in the primaries, after all. Her name is Hillary Clinton (italics mine):
This week’s revelation that she used onlyprivate e-mailto conduct her public business as secretary of state is not a knockout blow to the likely Democratic presidential nominee; she has weathered worse. But it is a needless, self-inflicted wound, and it stems from the same flaws that have caused Clinton trouble in the past — terminal caution and its cousin, obsessive secrecy.
In trying so hard to avoid mistakes — in this case, trying to make sure an embarrassing e-mail or two didn’t become public — Clinton made a whopper of an error. What’s troubling is that she’s been making a variation of this mistake for nearly a quarter-century.
Yes, Milbank got it right - terminal caution and obsessive secrecy are at fault, but they stem from the fundamental 'Clintonian charcateristic' - entitlement. 'Billary' thinks they are better than the rest of us and don't need to play by the same rules. Transparency? That's for the little people.
Bill gets away with it more easily than Hillary because of his personality and 'Aw, shucks, down home' persona.
The Clintons are not the only politicians who possess this trait, but we're not talking about other politicians.
Did she break the law? Apparently not. Did she do what she criticized others for doing? Yes.
But she's still better than the Republican wannabes. Oh, yeah.
She ought to learn not to shoot herself in the foot.
"I'm not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president." -Hillary Clinton
Each year about this time I wonder why the news media blow off the last week (or two) of the year. Even before the year ends, we're already bombarded with 'The Best of 2014', 'Notable Deaths of 2014', etc. Whatever happened to actually waiting until the year ends?
Why, TIME even named its '2014 Person of the Year' on 10 December 2014! It was a very worthy selection - the Ebola fighters. No complaints from me. But what if someone had perpetrated a devastating terrorist attack, discovered a cure for AIDS, started a nuclear war, negotiated a lasting Middle East peace, exposed the Kardashians as a bunch of no-talent morons, or performed some other remarkable feat between 10 and 31 December?
What would have been lost by waiting? Would someone else have beaten TIME to the punch?
Below is the cover of the 31 December 2014 issue of The Week, which arrived today, 26 December 2014. The news is already close to a week old. Yet the magazine is chock full of 2014 lists, some of whose items could be obsolete by 1 January 2015.
I suppose much of this is motivated by journalistic one-upmanship. But it seems to me that be that, in this case, one-opmanship would best be illustrated by waiting until the year is actually over. Do something different - do it right.
Interesting to note that today is the 10th anniversary of Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. If you search old (unedited) 'Notable Events of 2004' I wonder how many have this devastating disaster listed?
Note added on 28 December 2014: the media are bursting with stories about the disappearance of AirAsia Flight 8501. You can bet it's too late to appear on many 2014 lists, even though it might prove worthy of inclusion.
Curious about the strong supportMrs. Kanye West in the Southwest and Hawaii, with my former home state (for 17 years!) clocking in at number 1. Is it because Kim looks like a Latina? But she's also strong in my native state of New York and southern New England. Perhaps they think she's Italian-American?
At least my current home state checks in at number 48.
Whatever she is (Armenian-American, mainly), she's wealthy and famous. Must laugh all the way to the bank.
But the best argument against this measure came from someone I know who teaches in Idaho. He put it on his Facebook page a few days ago. I won't identify him to protect his privacy.
I enjoy guns as much as the next person... in Idaho, that is. But guns do not belong in the college classrooms in which I teach. My classrooms are safe spaces for open-minds and a diversity of thoughts, experiences, and worldviews. Key words here: safe spaces. A student or even a faculty member who carries a gun into a classroom destroys this safe space by creating a unnecessary power dynamic and promoting a culture of fighting violence with violence. Please consider helping to keep guns out of my classrooms.
Gunfight at the O.K. Corral - 21st century version ......Can't wait.
"I want to applaud the Legislature’s courage. On a final note: I hope its members will consider my amendment for bulletproof office windows and faculty body armor in Boise State blue and orange." - Greg Hampikian
TSA agents in St. Louis, Missouri, disarmed Rooster Monkburn, a cowboy sock money, of his two-inch toy gun after a woman brought the stuffed monkey through security. Agents said that it posed a threat because it could be confused for a real gun, according to local reports.
“[The agent] said ‘this is a gun,’” said Phyllis May, recounting the experience to fly back to her home in Washington state. “I said no, it’s not a gun it’s a prop for my monkey.”
Yeah, I can easily see how this could be confused with a real gun.
May, who has a small business selling sock monkeys, was also questioned for bringing the sewing supplies she uses to make the stuffed animals in her carry-on bag. TSA agents told her they would have to confiscate the miniature firearm and call the police, although Washington’s KING-TV reports that the TSA never did call the authorities. May’s sewing supplies were ultimately returned to her.
“Rooster Monkburn has been disarmed so I’m sure everyone on the plane was safe,” May quipped. “I understand [the TSA agent] was doing her job but at some point doesn’t common sense prevail?”
May had named the disarmed monkey Rooster Monkburn after Rooster Cogburn, John Wayne’s character in the film True Grit.
I have less of a problem with confiscation of her sewing supplies, depending upon what they were. I recall an event shortly after 9/11. Agents confiscated my nail clippers, but the woman with a large hat pin in her hair went through security with nary a suspicious look.
“Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.” - Euripides
“You know if the U.S. Government wanted to boost the economy there's a simple solution make Black Friday the refund date for your state and federal taxes” - Stanley Victor Paskavich
"When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It's a whole different way of thinking." - Elayne Boosler
"Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like." - Adrienne Gusoff
"Oh for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money." - Unknown
"One of the nice things about Christmas is that you can make people forget the past with a present." -Unknown
"Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have." - Unknown
"Christmas is the season when you buy this year's gifts with next year's money." - Unknown
“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacle s, discouragement s, and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” –Thomas Carlyle
“Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody.” –Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.” – Napoleon Hill
“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” –Elbert Hubbard
“Perhaps there is only one cardinal sin: impatience. Because of impatience we were driven out of Paradise, because of impatience we cannot return.” –W.H. Auden
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” –Calvin Coolidge
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.” –Napoleon Hill
"Why would the heathcare.gov website be designed in such a way by an outside contractor? Because coders often price jobs by the number of lines of code they will have to write." -Daryl Rowland, after learning that the number of lines of code in the website is around 5x that of a large bank's.
Here is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's letter to the Congressional Native American Caucus supporting the status quo vis-a-vis the renaming of the Washington Redskins. Many consider the term 'redskin' racist, analogous to calling an African-American 'nigger' or an Italian-American 'dago'.
Racist? C'mon, man!
Goodell forgot to mention that the owner of the team at the time of the name designation was George Preston Marshall, one of the NFL's most notorious racists who refused to sign an African-American player until 1962, when he was forced to.
Way to go, Roger! Your father would be so proud of your principled stance.
"We'll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites." - George Preston Marshall
I first stumbled upon this video after reading this post from AlterNetabout using naked breasts to make a political point. The video contains no naked breasts, although the calendar from the UEA CoppaFeel girls apparently does.
Either way, I guess some are complaining.
As someone whose family (older sister - twice; me - a minor scare) has been touched by breast cancer I think just about anything to raise awareness is appropriate. If you don't like it, don't watch.
"Girls have got balls. They're just a little higher up, that's all." - Joan Jett
Here's what came in yesterday's mail from the good folks at NRDC:
They and Robert Redford (he wrote me a letter - top right) wanted me to join up using the Pebble Mine (Alaska) as a 'hook'.
I don't want to appear to be picking on NRDC (hey, Sierra Club!), but did they really have to send me all this paper in a 9" x 12" envelope? If they wanted to grab my attention, they certainly succeeded, but not in the way they wanted to.
And for $10 I get a tote bag sent to me!
At least they printed on both sides of the paper.
The Earth's Best Defense, eh?
“I am a commercial fisherman; my daughter’s name is Bristol. I could not support a project that risks one resource that we know is a given, and that is the world’s richest spawning grounds, over another resource.” - Sarah Palin, before she became governor of Alaska
And, since I know you want to learn more about the nitwit pictured on the cover here is her blog.
Such ridiculous behavior by mothers is not tolerated here in Campanastan. Their children would be taken from them and sent to playgrounds, amusement parks, water parks, and ball fields. Maybe go-kart tracks, too. They would also be forced to go to movies with other children and no parents. They would be subjected to endless episodes of 'The Three Stooges' while eating a few Twinkies and Ding-Dongs. And they would be provided with skateboards.
Wonder how the boy on the cover would have managed in Sparta?
"Parents are the last people on earth who should have children." -Samuel Butler
As many of us suspected, the release of President Obama's birth certificate has not quieted the critics. If anything, it has fueled the controversy. One wag noted that it may give rise to a 'Certer' movement.
Let's call it like it is: the 'birthers' are, for the most part, racist morons who have little else to do in their empty lives, and are still upset that we have a nigger in the White House, especially one whose name is Barack Hussein Obama.
Get over it, folks. And note that your new 'head birther' is a guy who was born on Mars: Donald Trump, who's running for President.
Schlumberger, one of the leading oil companies in the world is glad to announce the successful nomination of your email address in this new year's global promotion for the sum of 600,000.00 (Six hundred thousand Euros). Your email was nomination on a random computer ballot system drawn from a global database of emails. To process and claim your prize, please contact your claims executive below:
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Kindly send your name and surname, contact number and email address to email@example.com and quote the ref# SchlumbergeRx14012/10/01/2011-_600, 000, 00. Please only send replies to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Wonderful - Mr. Ortega has a Russian email address and a UK country code. What a confidence builder!
And it's Schlumberger, not Schlumberger Oil Company. And a company like that wants to give me money?
Feel free to take advantage of this.
"There's a sucker born every minute." -- P.T. Barnum
Your President-For-Life just returned from the audiologist (shown to the left) only to learn that he needs two hearing aids instead of one. Fortunately, the PFL has good health insurance.
No worry, though; Campanastan's audiologists are on the cutting edge of enhanced hearing technology.
The PFL will now find it more difficult to ignore his advisors, or the people as they whine about their miserable lives. He will also be able to hear their screams as the secret police politely question them.
On the other hand, the PFL can simply turn the damn things off and ignore everything.
"A fearful man is always hearing things." -- Sophocles
My God, it has started already - stories about the first cohort of Baby Boomers turning 65 this year. Here is something from the NPR story:
"There are 7,000 boomers a day who will be turning 65 in 2011, which is a significant birthday for sure," says Steve Cone, executive vice president of AARP.
Cone and the rest of the AARP folks. must be licking their chops, imagining all that wonderful insurance and other stuff they can hawk while pretending to have altruism at heart. But they've actually been trying to catch me for the past 12 years, ever since I turned 50. After all, they are just AARP now, not the American Association of Retired Persons.
Yes, I'm a Baby Boomer, but I'm already tired of hearing about the AARP and my self-absorbed generation. I can imagine how the other generations must feel.
Interesting premise posited by Hayes Davenport over at Freakonomics Radio. He contends that the decline in runs scored in major league baseball is not due to better pitching, but better defense. Not sure he proves his point, but it makes for interesting reading.
The correlations are certainly nothing to write home about.
Statistics? Baseball's got plenty of 'em. Every baseball player is in some exclusive statistical club. I'm waiting for the next sportscaster to inform me that so-and-so is only one of three players in major league history to have 1,000 hits, 500 RBIs, 100 HRs, 150 stolen bases, and four ex-wives.
And what happened to all the home runs? Well, of course it is the lack of steroids and fabulous pitching. That's why a skinny ex-Pittsburgh Pirate who'd never hit more than 16 HRs in a season led all of baseball with 54 this year. No one else hit more than 42.
Great pitching. No steroids. Uh-huh.
"Baseball fans are junkies, and their heroin is the statistic." - Robert S. Weider, In Praise of the Second Season (1981)
Some of are no doubt wondering if this post's title is a ploy to get a Jackson Browne song into Campanastan.
Yes, it is.
Seriously, about a month ago I posted about my difficulty in reading (and writing blog posts) caused by a condition known as retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and consequent macular edema (swelling of the macula, the central part of the retina that is responsible for detail vision), in my right eye. As befits a hydrogeologist, I have fluid leakage that is causing the swelling.
Many of you have wished me well (thanks!) so I just wanted to give you an update.
My ophthalmologist,Dr. Gary Servais, has been injecting my retina with Avastin, a cancer drug that is also effective at relieving retinal swelling. After the first injection the corrected (I wear prescription lenses) vision in my right eye went from 20-60 to 20-40. That improvement was quite significant, and the swelling had subsided dramatically. That has not really translated into greatly-improved detail vision, for reasons that I don't need to explain, but my detail vision is somewhat better. As Dr. Servais said, if the swelling keeps subsiding, my detail vision will return quite dramatically, just as it departed (literally overnight).
Upshot: I received a second Avastin injection and am scheduled for a another one in a few weeks. This condition apparently cannot be cured, just managed, so should the treatment work I will need to get injections at some as-yet undetermined frequency for the rest of my life. I'll gladly take that. The odd thing is that RVO is usually associated with hypertension and diabetes, neither of which I have.
Regarding the fluid flow aspects: as part of my testing I underwent fluorescein angiography, where I was injected with fluorescein dye, whose circulation in the retina was observed to assess blockages. Pretty neat stuff; the images looked like a fracture-flow network. I explained to the medical staff that I had used the same dye for water tracing. They were quite amazed when I explained why I did it and what it told me.
Okay, enough of the medical report. The usual stuff will return shortly.
Thanks for your indulgence.
"Doctor, my eyes Tell me what is wrong Was I unwise to leave them open for so long." -- Doctor, My Eyeswrittenby Jackson Browne
You may have noticed a greater number of spelling, grammatical, and related mistakes in these posts. Your President-For-Life offers his apologies - my interest in correct English has not diminished, but my nearsightedness has. In recent weeks I have suffered a deterioration in my reading vision. Even with my omnipresent magnifying glass I make a lot of mistakes and can't discern them very well. Suffice it so say that reading and writing have become real chores. I am being treated for this affliction and I hope it is rectified soon. Thanks for your kind thoughts.
Some of you have mentioned that comments you have tried to post have not been accepted for posting. All comments are moderated and the only ones I reject are the annoying spam-bots or ones that use obscene, abusive, or libelous language. But sometimes the software that Typepad uses won't even let you post a comment. In that case, please email the comment to me (email@example.com) and ask me to post it as a comment to a specific post (please indicate the post on which you wish to comment). Your comments, critical, informational, and praiseworthy, are valuable to me.
Bust, as usual, I'm defiant.
Thanks very much.
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose." -- Garrison Keillor
Now that we know the Wall Street Journal 'outed' Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan as a lesbian because she played softball (which we all know is the domain of lesbians) we need to probe more deeply into Kagan's skills.
Is she a switch-hitter? Can she rake from the left side as well as the right side?
Is she a five-tool player? For all you straight people, that means she can hit; hit with power; run; catch everything thrown her way; and throw like an Amazon with strength and accuracy.
If she pitches, is she unafraid to come inside with a high, hard one?
Forget the lesbian stuff; we need to know what she really can do on the diamond.
By the way, I like her stance. Chokes up, knees slightly bent, feet apart, ready to stride into the ball.
You go, girl!
"I did not go out with her, but other guys did. I don't think it is my place to say more." -- Eliot Spitzer, formerNew York governor and Princeton schoolmate of Kagan's
The Christian Science Monitor had a thoughtful editorial about California's proposal to regulate and tax marijuana that proponents say would generate $1.4B annually for the cash-strapped state.
Backers of the November ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in California are selling the idea based on economics: The state is in dire financial straits; taxing and regulating the drug – much like alcohol – could raise $1.4 billion for state coffers.
That estimate comes from the California Board of Equalization, which administers the state's sales taxes. The source gives the economics argument an air of credibility. Even so, voters shouldn't inhale it.
The board's estimate "is based on a series of assumptions that are in some instances subject to tremendous uncertainty and in other cases not validated," said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula of the RAND Corporation, in testimony before the state Assembly. Dr. Pacula is an economist who has studied drug policies for 15 years.
One of the highly questionable assumptions is that a legal market can sustain a proposed $50-an-ounce tax on marijuana. The black market can easily undercut that tax, siphoning sales away from legal distributors and eroding tax revenues.
This is exactly what happened in Canada with cigarette taxes. In the 1990s, a mere $2 price difference between Canadian and US cigarettes created such a smuggling problem that Canada repealed its tax hike.
And then there are the costs that will be incurred with increased use – and legalization will drive use.
These costs relate to treatment of dependency (over a third of self-reported users of marijuana in the past year are dependent), missed and tardy work, drugged driving accidents, and increased crime.
The Netherlands, so often pointed to as the reasonable case for legalization, has discovered that normalizing marijuana increased dependence on the drug, spawned more dealers of harder drugs, and attracted a flood of rowdy "drug tourists" from other countries. Add to this the cost of regulation itself.
America's experience with alcohol and tobacco shows that health, lost productivity, and law enforcement costs far exceed tax revenues. These industries have not managed to keep their products from young people. A legal pot-smoking age of 21 would similarly fail to keep this drug away from youth.
Other states, such as Washington, Oregon, and Nevada, are looking at regulating and taxing marijuana. The budget argument is enticing. But economically, and in many other ways, legalizing pot does not add up.
"I used to smoke marijuana. But I'll tell you something: I would only smoke it in the late evening. Oh, occasionally the early evening, but usually the late evening - or the mid-evening. Just the early evening, midevening and late evening. Occasionally, early afternoon, early midafternoon, or perhaps the late-midafternoon. Oh, sometimes the early-mid-late-early morning. . . . But never at dusk." -- Steve Martin
Campanastan's Minister of Humor Marty Ennis requested the 2009 Darwin Awards be posted to warn our residents that there are stupid people in the world who could pose a threat to our intelligent citizens.
Nominee No. 1 (San Jose Mercury News): An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend's windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.
Nominee No. 2 (Kalamazoo Gazette): James Burns, 34, a mechanic from Alamo , Michigan, was killed in March as he was trying to repair what police describe as a "farm-type truck." Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while Burns hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns' clothes caught on something, however, and the other man found Burns "wrapped around the drive shaft."
Nominee No. 3 ( Hickory Daily Record): Ken Charles Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in December in Newton , North Carolina. Awakening to the sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed instead a Smith & Wesson .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.
Nominee No. 4 (UPI, Toronto ): Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane with his shoulder and plunged 24 floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry Hoy, 39, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower early Friday evening as he was explaining the strength of the buildings' windows to visiting law students. Hoy previously has conducted demonstrations of window strength, according to police reports.
Peter Lawson, managing partner of the firm Holden Day Wilson, told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Hoy was "one of the best and brightest" (Ed note:????) members of the 200-man association.
Nominee No. 5 (The News of the Weird): Michael Anderson Godwin made The News of the Weird posthumously. He had spent several years awaiting South Carolina's electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell attempting to fix his small TV set, he bit into a wire and was electrocuted.
Nominee No. 6: A cigarette lighter may have triggered a fatal explosion in Dunkirk , Indiana. Jay Countryman, using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle loader, was killed Monday night when the weapon discharged in his face, sheriff's investigators said. Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parents' rural Dunkirk home at about 11:30 PM.. Investigators said Pryor was cleaning a .54 caliber muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly. He was using the lighter to look into the barrel when the gunpowder ignited.
Nominee No. 7 (Reuters, Mississauga , Ontario): A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in this Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheelchair when the accident occurred, said Inspector Darcy Honer of the Peel Regional Police. "It appears that the chair moved, and he went over the balcony," Honer said.
DRUM ROLL PLEASE....
Finally, THE WINNER!!! (Arkansas Democrat Gazette):
Two local men were injured when their pickup truck left the road and struck a tree near Cotton Patch on State Highway 38 early Monday. Woodruff County deputy Dovey Snyder reported the accident shortly after midnight Monday. Thurston Poole, 33, of Des Arc, and Billy Ray Wallis, 38, of Little Rock, were returning to Des Arc after a frog catching trip.
On an overcast Sunday night, Poole 's pickup truck's headlights malfunctioned. The two men concluded that the headlight fuse on the older-model truck had burned out. As a replacement fuse was not available, Wallis noticed that the .22 caliber bullets from his pistol fit perfectly into the fuse box next to the steering- wheel column. Upon inserting the bullet the headlights again began to operate properly, and the two men proceeded on eastbound toward the White River Bridge.
After traveling approximately 20 miles, and just before crossing the river, the bullet apparently overheated, discharged, and struck Poole in the testicles. The vehicle swerved sharply right, exiting the pavement, and striking a tree. Poole suffered only minor cuts and abrasions from the accident but will require extensive surgery to repair the damage to his testicles, which will never operate as intended. Wallis sustained a broken clavicle and was treated and released. "Thank God we weren't on that bridge when Thurston shot his nuts off, or we might both be dead," stated Wallis.
"I've been a trooper for 10 years in this part of the world, but this is a first for me. I can't believe that those two would admit how this accident happened," said Snyder.
Upon being notified of the wreck, Lavinia ( Poole's wife), asked how many frogs the boys had caught and did anyone get them from the truck. Priorities, after all!!
Though Poole and Wallis did not die as a result of their misadventure as normally required by Darwin Award Official Rules, it can be argued that Poole did, in fact, effectively remove himself from the gene pool.
Rauch described what the airline industry would look like if it worked the way the health care industry works. The piece takes the form of a customer trying to book a flight with a customer service representative. The customer wants to fly from Washington, DC, to Oregon on Oct. 3, but the airline lady can squeeze him in only in January or February. He can call each of two dozen other airlines if he wants to check other availability.
When he finally gets on a flight, he finds that his airline will only take him to Chicago, since it’s an eastern-region specialist. He’ll have to find a western-region specialist to get to Eugene. In addition, he’ll have to fax in a 30-page travel history questionnaire, make arrangements with a separate luggage transport provider and see if he can find a fuelist who might be free to make fuel arrangements on that date. That is, if the airline is in his insurance company’s provider network, which it isn’t.
Sarah Palin's Going Rogue has gotten more than a few things wrong. But one of the more unfair allegations is that the book incorrectly attributed this quote to UCLA basketball coaching legend John Wooden:
Our land is everything to us... I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it--with their lives.
Our land is everything to us. It is the only place in the world where Cheyennes talk the Cheyenne language to each other. It is the only place where Cheyennes remember the same things together. I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it--with their life. My people and the Sioux defeated General Custer at the Little Big Horn.
But is this really the egregious mistake some imply? Of course not!
Actually, Palin's not too far off the mark. Wooden hails from Indiana, which, of course, contains the word 'Indian'. He was also married in Indianapolis, which means 'City of Indians'. He coached high-school basketball in Kentucky, which is derived from an Indian word meaning 'he who throws manyair balls.' Wooden also liked Indian motorcycles and, as an adolescent, chewed Red Man tobacco. His mother is one-quarter Indian, from the Wherethefugowee Nation. And don't forget the iconic stature of the wooden cigar-store Indian in American lore.
It's easy to see how Palin could have believed that Wooden was an Indian. Just an honest mistake, right? But not really - in fact, the evidence I've cited really corroborates Wooden's Indian heritage. So Going Rogue got it right!
Another instance of the mainstream media persecuting Sarah Palin!
"Never mistake activity for achievement." -- John Wooden (quoted in Dunn's article)
If you have Good Samaritan tendencies, you might want to steer clear of China. Shanghai resident Zhang Jun can vouch for that.
On his way to work, while stopped at a red light, Zhang was approached by a man him who begged him for a ride home. He said he had a stomach ache and could not find a cab. Zhang told him to hop in. The passenger offered him the equivalent of USD $1.30 for his troubles, but Zhang refused. When the man asked him to stop, Zhang did. The man immediately grabbed the car keys, and then seven or eight uniformed men descended upon the vehicle and dragged Zhang from his car.
The passenger and the men were from the municipal traffic department. They roughed Zhang up, accused him of driving an unregistered taxi, and told him it would cost him USD $1,300 to get his car back.
Later, when Zhang called the department to complain about this blatant entrapment, the official wanted to know what business was it of his if someone had a stomach ache.
No indication of whether he got his car back, but this episode has garnered worldwide attention after Zhang blogged about it.
"I should not have shown any sympathy for others. At over 30 years old, I should not be so naive as to give a ride to a stranger. A piffling little citizen like me should not aspire to act like Comrade Lei Feng." -- Zhang Jun [Lei Feng was a Chinese soldier lauded for his good works, and his spirit is honored each 5 March.]
Now I know what happened to all those guys from Sigma Nu I went to school with: they grew up to become private security guards, working for the State Department, protecting the embassy in Kabul.
Actually, I'm wrongfully impugning the reputation of my frat-boy classmates; even they would not indulge in such moronic behavior: drinking alcohol from butt cracks, posing half-naked in sexually suggestive positions.
You see a Manny Ramirez, you see an A-Rod, you see Jeter … Guys that I played against and with, these guys you’re talking about cannot compare. We didn’t have the baggy uniforms. We didn’t have the dreadlocks. It was a clean game, and now they’re setting a bad example for the young guys.
So his era's game was a 'clean game'? Hmmm....Has Rice not heard of "greenies"?
He understandably singled out A-Rod and Manny Ramirez for bad behavior (no complaints here), but Derek Jeter? Jeter, arguably having the best year of his career at age 35, is a throwback who 'plays the game as it should be played', unlike slacker Manny and juiced-up, me-first A-Rod. To lump Jeter in with people like A-Rod and Manny shows that Rice has been living in a cave lo these past 15 years. Or, as Barney Frank might ask, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"
He also went on to complain about today's players in general:
What you see right now is more individuals, it's not a team. Now you have guys coming in, they pick the days they want to play, they make big money. The first thing they see are dollar bills.
Wonder what he'd think about guys like Albert Pujols, Chipper Jones, Miguel Cabrera, Ken Griffey, Jr., Joe Mauer, David Wright, Todd Helton, Prince Fielder, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Evan Longoria, et al? Slackers all, who could not stack up to Rice and his contemporaries!
It's odd that Rice spoke about ballplayers being bad examples. When he played, Rice had the reputation as a surly, insular guy who was antagonistic towards the press (the likely reason he waited so long for the HOF). In fairness to Rice, being an African-American baseball player in Boston 30 years ago could not have been a picnic, especially when he played on the same team as "All-American" boy Fred Lynn, who won both the MVP and Rookie-of-the-Year awards in 1975, also Rice's rookie year.
Jim, you were a great ballplayer - third in a line of great Boston HOF left fielders (Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski preceded him) - but whining and bitterness are so unbecoming to a Hall of Famer.
"Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact." -- George Eliot
“Yes, in my 27 years in the big leagues, he is probably the classiest person I’ve been around.” -- umpire John Hirschbeck, speaking of Derek Jeter
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