December 2010 - Posts
Garbage stinks. Garbage men who refuse to do their jobs stink even more.
Snow has slammed the Northeast, making travel both dangerous and impossible for many. Sanitation and city workers in cities throughout the Northeast have worked overtime to be sure that people can get out and about.
But in New York, sanitation bosses in the outer burroughs ordered their drivers to slow the cleanup down in order to protest budget cuts. The move turned streets into slushy messes that became a mine field for emergency service vehicles, as well as citizens.
Guilt-ridden sanitation workers confessed the plot to a Queens city councilman, but asked to remain anonymous because they feared losing their jobs. The snitches said they were told to keep plows off most streets and wait for orders before attacking the accumulating piles of snow. They were also told to keep their blades on snowplows extra-high, in order to cause extra passes with the plows, which mean extra time and pay. The snitches also said the work slow-down was the direct result of growing hostility between the mayor and sanitation workers.
In the last two years, the sanitation department's workforce has been cut bay 400 workers due to city budget cuts. More jobs are to be impacted this week, as 100 supervisors are to be demoted and their salaries slashed as an added cost-saving measure.
Of course, everyone's denying they had any part in this. The mayor's office is denying there's a problem, and the sanitation department is saying they did nothing wrong.
Meanwhile, people are in need of emergency services, and those vehicles are sliding around aimlessly. People are mired down in slush, and accidents are happening left and right as citizens try to get to work and to their homes.
So…the sanitation department is trying to poke at the mayor's office. Perhaps their complaints are legit. But it seems to us the only ones suffering here are the taxpayers. And that's just not fair.
Get it together, guys. Those taxpayers pay your salaries. You'd do well to remember that.
UPI has released its top 10 most influential people this week, and we have to say we'd agree with the list…mostly.
1. Julian Assange – Wikileaks owner and famous whistle-blower. The massive dump of information regarding the war in Iraq, released earlier this year, in addition to other leaks, gave Americans a look at government at its worst. He's now considered a criminal, but many have labeled him a hero for putting the truth out there.
2. Glenn Beck – Conservatives love him, liberals hate him. His messages are delivered hard and fast, and have taken hold with those who camp out on the right. Many feel that Beck set the tone for much of the pre-election discourse. Millions, on both ends of the political spectrum, agree.
3. Kim Jong-il – As president of North Korea, he's kept a firm grip on his country and has managed to cast a very big and very dark shadow over South Korea.
4. President Barack Obama – Disappointing economic returns, tax compromises and the BP spill in the Gulf all added up to Americans losing faith in America's first black president. The honeymoon's definitely over.
5. Sarah Palin – Love her or hate her, you can't deny the force that is Sarah Palin. She's not only captivated America through her political endeavors, but now she's conquering reality television. She's also published two books, and has campaigned for several congressional candidates. And all of that while pondering a run for the White House in 2012.
6. Tony Hayward – Former CEO of BP. When the Deepwater Horizon rig began spilling oil into the Gulf, it spelled the end of fishing (for a time) in that area – and it spelled the end of Hayward's term at the BP helm. Many felt his callous approach to the spill intensified public complaints and scrutiny of relief efforts.
7. Steve Jobs – Apple's head guy. The company has become the hottest hardware company in the world, thanks to iPods, iPhones and iPads.
8. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – Four words: Rally to Restore Sanity.
9. LeBron James – While known for his skills on the court, it was James' antics off the court that got him on this list. He became the poster child for self-entitlement and self promotion.
10. Angela Merkel – German chancellor. Merkel has led her country into becoming one of the world's most well-adjusted economies. She's got the leadership of countries everywhere trying to figure her secrets out. But she's not telling.
What?! No Oprah? We'd have to add Oprah to the list, simply because she's not only closing out her many years as host of her own show, but she's going out with a huge bang – she's leaving her show but starting her own network. How many former talk show hosts can claim that distinction? No one but Lady O.
And with that, the list is complete. Good night, Cleveland.
Does the age difference between long-time bachelor and Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner and his new fiancee' creep anyone else out?
Hefner, 84, put a ring on it during the Christmas holiday – the "it" being the left ring finger of 23-year-old Playmate Crystal Harris. For those of you who can't do the math, that's a 61-year age difference.
That's like marrying your great-grandpa. Ew.
This will be Hefner's third marriage, and the first for Harris. He just divorced his second wife, Kimberly Conrad, last year, although they've lived separately for many years.
But who is this young thing who's finally gotten one of America's most confirmed bachelors to say yes to commitment?
Harris was born in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., to British-born parents. They lived in England for a short period of time, but eventually settled in San Diego, Calif., where Harris was raised. Harris lost her dad to cancer when she was 12, and her mother raised Harris and her two older sisters on her own. Harris' mom is a realtor in San Diego.
Harris studied psychology for a time at San Diego State University, but is now pursuing other interests. She has a makeup line coming out soon, and signed a record deal in April with Organica Music Group. She met Hefner in 2008, and soon moved in and became Hefner's No. 1 girlfriend.
Now she's going from girlfriend to wife. If he doesn't die first. Heck, he's so old the walk down the aisle may kill him.
We smell a new reality show.
There are people in this world that defy explanation. They simply leave you with your mouth agape, unable to utter a single syllable.
One of those people is Prinz Frederic von Anhalt, husband of Hungarian actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. The dude is a German-born socialite whose biggest claim to fame is just that – he's Zsa Zsa's hubby. He's not even "royal" by birth. He was adopted by Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt. His real name is Hans Lichtenberg and he's a massage therapist by trade.
His other big claim to fame is that he claimed to be the father of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, Dannielynn, born in 2006. That proved to be untrue.
In the past few years, he's made headlines a few times. In 2001, von Anhalt was allegedly approached by three women he described as "attractive" while he was sitting in his Rolls Royce in Southern California. They asked him to pose for pictures with them, and then one of them robbed him at gunpoint, taking his car keys, wallet and his clothes. They handcuffed him, so he said, and left him, but he somehow managed to call the cops. And mysteriously, local paparazzi were also alerted. And there were no handcuffs at the scene when police arrived. Weird, huh?
In early 2010, von Anhalt announced he would be running for governor of California, but later withdrew his candidacy, citing Zsa Zsa's health issues. In August, he was hospitalized after being stung in the throat by a bee. He was apparently sunbathing and snacking by the pool when a bee decided to sting him, rendering von Anhalt unable to breathe and turning him blue. Good thing he was by the pool, near the house, so his wife's health care professionals could leave her bedside to care for him.
But this week's antics are by far the weirdest thing this guy has done to date. Seems that during von Anhalt's morning beauty routine, instead of grabbing a bottle of his eye drops, he grabbed a bottle of his wife's nail glue, and proceeded to put several drops in one of his eyes – and sealed that puppy shut.
According to reports, von Anhalt freaked out, and was rushed to the hospital, where they gave him ample amounts of pain killers and prepped him for surgery to unstick his peeper. He's expected to be released later today.
Can we please have a front row seat at whatever stunt he pulls next, Santa? Please?
A gunman held members of the Bay District School Board hostage yesterday, and the whole thing was caught on video. He eventually opened fire on board members, just before being shot and disabled by the district's chief of safety, security and police.
Officer Mike Jones was shaken up after the incident, during which he shot Clay Duke, 56, just before Duke turned the gun on himself, ending his life with a shot to the head. Jones said he'd never shot anyone before.
Duke, a self-described "Freedom Fighter," attended the school board meeting and sat quietly through much of it. But as the meeting began to wind down, Duke stood up and went to the podium, mumbling something as he stood there. He then walked over and painted a red circle with a "V" in it on the wall with a can of spray paint, just before brandishing a handgun, which he turned on school board members and the superintendent. He ordered members of the audience and non-school board members to leave the room.
Duke's complaint was that his wife had been fired by the board from her job with the district.
The meeting was being streamed live over the district's Web site, and people watching online, as well as those in the building, watched in horror as the events unfolded, unable to do anything.
But board member Ginger Littleton, who Duke had excused because she is a woman, took matters into her own hands. She re-entered the room, crept up behind Duke, and hit him with her purse. She didn't succeed in knocking the gun out of his hand, and wound up falling to the floor. Duke could have shot her; but for some reason, he let her go a second time.
Littleton said she couldn't just stand by and do nothing. The male board members had nowhere to go, and Duke could have shot any of them at any time. Although he did fire shots just before Jones entered the room and disabled him, Duke did not hit any of the men.
While Jones should certainly be heralded as a hero for his part in ending the tense standoff, it is our opinion that Littleton is also a hero. She didn't stop Duke, but what she did took guts and it obviously caused him to lose focus, as is evident in the video.
This Christmas holiday, we're betting there are some folks in Panama City that are holding their families just a little tighter, thankful they're still alive to celebrate another holiday.
And there's a whole school board thankful that one of its members carries a big ol' pocketbook.
Archeologists have dug up a 2,400-year-old bronze pot containing soup. They seemed surprised it contained what they believe was bone soup.
Um, duh. It's been buried for 2,400 years. Of course there's only bones left. Whatever animal they cooked up has long since decomposed.
The find was located in an ancient tomb in northwest China, and the team says it will play an important role in learning what people ate during that period of time in China.
Again, duh. They ate soup. With some sort of animal in it.
There was also a bronze pot that contained an odorless liquid that the experts say was likely wine. Yeah, they probably needed the wine to wash down the bone soup.
In other completely unrelated news, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the world's most wealthy men, visited the White House today. Supposedly, they were there to discuss how they plan to donate more money to philanthropy.
Here's an idea for some philanthropy: throw some of your millions to the U.S. of A. Obama's dug us in deep, and we'll take any and all contributions.
Please and thank you.
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. A thief's hand cut off. A man's, um, manhood chopped off for infidelity. A woman's tongue cut out for lying.
Sound too harsh and archaic? In western society, yes. But in Iran, no.
The Islamic code allows for this type of punishment, known as qisas, in cases of violent crime. In a recent case, in which a man named Mojtaba threw acid in the face of his wife's lover, Alireza, qisas was ruled.
All three people, including Mojtaba's wife, Mojdeh, live in Qom, near Iran's capital of Tehran. All three are 25 years old. When Mojtaba found out his wife was cheating on him, he threw acid in Alireza, blinding him.
After hearing the facts in a lower court, the penalty was handed down and subsequently upheld by Iran's supreme court. The victim, apparently, requested the punishment, which is his right under Islamic law. It's the first time in 40 years the eye for an eye principle is being carried out.
Forensic specialists will be called in to oversee the blinding of Mojtaba.
Not all cases end in this type of punishment, although it is often invoked. Eye for an eye punishments are rarely carried out, and punishments can be waived if the victim accepts "blood" money in reparation. There have even been cases in Iran and Saudi Arabia in which convicted murderers have been set free after the victim's family decides to be merciful.
In August, a Saudi man convicted of paralyzing a man in a cleaver attack was sentenced to have his spinal cord cut as punishment. But the punishment was not carried out. And in February 2009, a university student in Iran was sentenced to be blinded in both eyes for hurling acid in the face of a female classmate who had refused his proposal of marriage. This sentence was also not carried out.
The qisas sentences are controversial, and human rights groups feel they are abhorrent forms of judicial torture.
Kind of makes you glad we live in America, huh?
By all reports, Elizabeth Edwards was a good woman. She loved her children. She supported her husband, even during his failed attempt at the White House. She handled his infidelity with a grace few would be able to muster. And she fought valiantly against cancer for many years.
But Edwards has lost her battle with cancer. She is to be honored tomorrow at a service at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, N.C. The public is invited to the service.
But even someone as strong and heroic as Edwards wouldn't want a small portion of the public at her funeral. We're talking about members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, known for protesting at the funerals of service members. The protests are typically against homosexuality, but the group has expanded their picketing to include the funerals of cancer victims, brandishing signs that read, "Thank God for Cancer."
Tomorrow, church members say they will be picketing Edwards' funeral because "God hates Edwards" and that "she is dead because she thought she could control God."
What the heck?
The church's official memo on this latest protest says:
• Edwards insisted upon her son's death…an unremitting disease raging her body… a husband bringing their family to open shame.
• She and her former husband "coveted things that were not theirs."
• Edwards didn't humble herself before God after the death of her son, an she had the audacity to have two more children.
• "Elizabeth Edwards is in hell."
Well, we don't know where Elizabeth Edwards is right now, but we do know this: these church members are a bunch of wackos. They accuse others of trying to control God, yet they have done the very thing they dismay. They have put words into God's mouth, and decided for him what his agenda is. Isn't that controlling God?
Whatever your beliefs, we're sure you'll agree with us on this: protesting the funerals of service members and *** cancer victims is not the way to get any message across. At a time when people are most vulnerable, pointing the finger of judgment just isn't appropriate. Ever.
Christmas is near…so it's time for all those Christmas music parodies and funny sketches. Here are some of our favorite blasts from the past to enjoy.
Merry Christmas…remember to laugh a lot this holiday season!
Okay…every year about this time, these people show up, singing about some dessert, and they "won't go until we get some…"
Obviously they're singing about figgy pudding, and obviously they're singing the old standard, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Apparently, that's some seriously good pudding.
What the heck is figgy pudding? Well, we looked it up. It's actually more of a cake than a pudding. So why not call it figgy cake then? Why pudding? Sheesh.
There have been recipes for this concoction since the 15th century, although its popularity as a Christmas dessert reached its peak during the late 19th century. It's still a popular and traditional dish served today in England.
So if it's so popular, why can't we all run out and pick some up so we can get rid of those pesky carolers, um, we mean, enjoy the holidays? Well, apparently, this dish takes an interminably long time to cook, has an exotic ingredients list and has more saturated fat than that guy that keeps getting kicked off airplanes.
The traditional way to cook it is to steam it, and that version is similar to a modern bread pudding. It contains a blend of figs, dates, fruits and spices. Hmmph. Sounds remarkably like fruitcake. Except for the whole steam thing. It takes around four hours to steam the pudding.
This steaming pile of, um, cake, is often served thus: The pudding is placed on the table, and someone turns out the lights, and the cook pours some warm brandy, cognac or rum over the pudding – good luck doing that in the dark – and then sets it on fire. The cook is then supposed to bask in the warm glow of everyone's praise for a job well done. That is, unless the cook has mistakenly poured the liquor over a loved one and set him on fire.
According to English tradition, a figgy pudding was cooked and served to carolers who came calling, thus the mention in the Victorian-era song. But in the states, we have a different sort of tradition. We have fruitcake.
It's not steamed, but it's full of candied fruit and lots of Grandma's liquor stash, and nobody wants to eat it. So in this country, we pass around the same brick of fruitcake for years, amongst friends. It's often what we send people we work with that we don't like.
The next time people show up at your house caroling "We won't go until we get some, we won't go until we get some, we won't go until we get some, so bring some out here…" we suggest the following. Toss a fruitcake out the front door. If the carolers are truly hungry, they'll eat it.
If they're not, maybe you'll scare them off. Or knock them out.
Kim Kardashian is the highest-paid reality celebrity. In the past year, she made $6 million. And she gets paid thousands of dollars per tweet. She's got her own perfume, her own clothing line, a reality show with her family and one with her sister, and she's bring home bank.
But we have to ask…for WHAT!? Just what is this girl's talent? Besides squeezing into a really tight dress…
Perhaps what she's best known for is just being famous. Her last name first made headlines when her father, Robert Kardashian, was part of O.J. Simpson's legal dream team way back when. And Kimmie began her climb to fame on her own when she simply hung out with other famous celebuspawn as a teen….Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, etc.
But then there was a famous, um, recreational tape, in which she and Ray J. bared more than their souls. Then came the outrageousness that is the Kardashian reality show. Since then, Lil' Kimmie has made bank with endorsement deals out the wazoo. It's crazy. Everybody knows this girl's name, and she's got no talent for anything other than sex appeal.
Other stars on the list include Mike "the Situation" Sorrentino, Kendra Wilkinson Baskett, Lauren Conrad, Kate Gosselin, DJ Pauly D, and those other two busty Kardashian girls.
Perhaps we could be wrong here. Kim seems to be able to work what she's got, and we suppose that could be a talent.
So for turning nothing into something, Kim K., we salute you. May your seams never pop and your underwire always hold firm.
Amber Heard has "come out." Big whoop.
The American actress confirmed at a weekend event that she is gay. Prior to her announcement, she was best known for her roles in "Zombieland" and "Pineapple Express." The announcement was made at GLAAD's 25th anniversary party.
Why is it that every time some celebrity decides to drag their personal beeswax out of the closet, it becomes national headlines? No one really cares. Does it really matter what your sexual preference is? Will it affect your job performance? Not likely. So why do these announcements always make headlines?
Maybe its the whole celebrity thing. We like to know what celebrities are up to, apparently every minute of every day – case in point, all the Web sites and magazines devoted to nothing but celebrity gossip. So it has to be big news when they announce which side their bread is buttered on, right?
Wrong. Nobody cares. Live your lives. Do your thing. We just don't want to see it on the front page of the newspaper.
A federal judge has ruled that a class-action lawsuit can be filed against Florida over the sale of personal driver's license information to a private firm.
The lawsuit claims the state, specifically the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, improperly sold more than 30 million personal records between 2005 and 2009 to Shadowsoft Inc., an Irving, Texas-based Internet marketer. The company later sold the information to other firms that target consumers.
An attorney representing the drivers has said the sales violate a federal statute banning the disclosure of personal information from driver's licenses. Addresses, dates of birth and possibly Social Security numbers were released.
A judge in Tallahassee ruled in November that affected drivers can become members of this lawsuit.
This story has been reported in countless articles all over the state. But not one media outlet gave any information as to how to get in on this action. If you live in Florida, chances are you could be affected.
Some coverage did provide, however, the name of the attorney representing those affected. Howard Bushman is a partner with the Miami-based firm of Harke, Clasby & Bushman LLP. His e-mail is email@example.com. The phone number for the firm is 305-536-8220.
If we could find it, so could the media. Way to leave a big, gaping hole, people.
The latest weird news we've found from all over the place...
Librarian Graham Barker, 45, of Perth, Australia, casually revealed to a reporter in October that his hobby of 26 years – harvesting his own navel lint daily, just before he showers – has now won acclaim in the Guinness Book of World Records. His three-jar collection (a fourth is in progress) has been sold to a local museum. His pastime, he told London's Daily Mail in October, "costs nothing and takes almost no time or effort so there is no compelling reason to stop." Barker, who also collects McDonald's tray liners, said he once did a "navel lint survey," and "a handful of respondents" "confessed" to the hobby. "One guy might have persisted, but he got married, and his wife ordered him to stop."
Bolivia's president Evo Morales, the former union leader and coca farmer known for hard-nosed political combat, is also a fanatical soccer player and drew worldwide video attention in October for an incident during a supposedly friendly match between his pals and a team headed by the mayor of La Paz. After absorbing a vicious foul 5 minutes into the contest (resulting in a leg gash), Morales confronted the offender and kneed him in his (as local media described it) "testicular zone," leaving the player curled on the ground. Afterward, Morales' bodyguards briefly threatened the gasher with arrest.
Real Father: In September, a judge in Kent County, Mich., finally ordered Howard Veal, 44, to prison to serve at least two years for failure to pay child support. He is more than $500,000 behind in payments to 14 mothers for the 23 children he has fathered. Authorities suspect there are even more.
Fake Father: French officials arrested a 54-year-old immigrant in September on suspicion of welfare fraud. They had recently begun to notice the man applying for government benefits for 55 children by 55 different mothers. (He may have fathered none at all.)
Swiss artist Gianni Motti has been displaying a bar of soap at Zurich's Migros Museum of Contemporary Art, claiming it was made from fat that had been liposuctioned from Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Motti said a clinic employee had surreptitiously given him the fat following Berlusconi's treatment in 2004, but the clinic has denied any involvement.
David Rees draws the political cartoon "Get Your War On," but in his new day job, he is an artisan – of pencil-sharpening. "With an electric pencil sharpener, a pencil is meat," he complained to the Los Angeles Times in August. For $15 (postage paid), Rees will lovingly, painstakingly sharpen a customer's favorite pencil or one of his own classic No. 2's and ship it in a secure tube to protect its newly super-sharp point. Rees also gives periodic exhibitions, wearing safety goggles and apron, to demonstrate his guarantee of "respect" for the instruments – "an authentic interaction with your pencil."
The investigative journalism Web site ProPublica.org, curious about the workers being hired in the mortgage industry's massive, rushed re-examination of home loans previously foreclosed upon but which may have been processed illegally, began scouring the classified ads in October and November. Result: Though most employers "preferred" college graduates with credit-industry experience, it was clear from the entry-level wages offered that many were accepted only with high school educations, with at least some barely familiar with the concept of mortgages. (One staffing agency, offering $10 to $12 an hour, sought a "Supervisor of Foreclosure Department," but that position, also, required only a high school diploma.)
Life Imitates 100 Sci-Fi Movies: At a conference in Vancouver in October, University of California, San Francisco researcher Charles Chiu disclosed that a never-before-detected virus that partially wiped out a monkey colony in a lab in Davis, Calif., recently appeared to have "jumped" from its species onto a human scientist at the facility. However, Chiu and his research team said there is "no cause for alarm at this time."
Smooth Reaction: In November, after her fourth grade son was allegedly slapped by his teacher at a Kansas City, Mo., elementary school (son, black; teacher, white), Lisa Henry Bowen submitted a 40-page list of reparations she expects from President Obama and two dozen other officials. Included in the many demands: $1.25 million in cash, $13,500 in Wal-Mart gift cards, free college education, Disney World vacations, private tennis lessons, an African safari, her mortgage paid off, home remodeling, nine years of free medical and dental coverage, and a nine-year "consulting contract" with the school district at $15,000 a month. Anticipating criticism that she had gone too far, she added that opponents can "kiss my entire black a**!!!!!! I haven't begun to go far enough!!!!!!!"
Centuries ago, women who devoted themselves to the Hindu goddess Devadasi were priestesses from upper castes, but over time, the temples began to use "Devadasis" merely as prostitutes to raise money, according to a new British documentary by Sarah Harris, who was interviewed in September by London's The Independent. As before, girls are offered to the temples by their parents by age 3 and perform chores, but nowadays, at puberty, the temple begins to cash in on them. India made this practice illegal in 1988, but it endures, largely because the "Devadasis" (now, almost exclusively from lower castes) have, as career alternatives, only farm labor and latrine-cleaning.
Incoming University of Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley told reporters in September of encountering one unexpected problem: staph infections caused by "the worst shower discipline of any team I've ever been around." He said he had recently run a clinic on "application of soap to the rag" and "making sure you hit all your body."
Wow. We have no words.
Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole is not the sharpest tack in the box. At least, in our humble opinion.
The guy said he launched the controversial airport pat-down searches without warnings for travelers, against the advice of his PR people. He was more concerned about making sure terrorists didn't know "we have a vulnerability."
He went on to say he thought people had already assumed the government had stepped up searches.
Well…we all know what assuming can do for you, Pistole.
People don't like their private body parts touched in public places. It's humiliating. How could you not be aware of this? And what's more, how could you think the public would be okay with it, even in light of keeping the friendly skies safe?
In the past several weeks due to the enhanced pat-downs, protests have erupted and Web sites have been filled with angry commentary from the public.
In response, Pistole has said the agency is considering minor changes to be "more sensitive" to some groups, like victims of sex abuse and those with external medical devices.
That's it? In order to maintain our dignity in an airport now, we have to become a sexual abuse victim or get a urostomy bag?
Come on, TSA. You've got to do better than this. We want to keep the friendly skies, well, friendly – and safe – but is it necessary to completely humiliate us travelers? We don't think so.