August 2010 - Posts

People have insured some strange things. 

It apparently all started with Betty Grable, whose famous legs were supposedly insured for $1 million each. Keith Richards, Rolling Stones guitarist, reportedly has his middle finger on his left hand insured for $1.6 million. Bruce Springsteen insured his voice for $6 million. And Tom Jones, a 67-year-old singer who was "hot" in the 1960s and 70s, insured his chest hair for around $7 million.

Now, it's Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu's turn. His trademark long ringlets, a nod to his Samoan ancestry, are now insured with a $1 million policy with Lloyd's of London by shampoo maker Head and Shoulders, which Polamalu endorses.

But he's not the first athlete to have a "part" insured. Soccer stud David Beckham's legs were insured for $78 million back in 2006. And last year, Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo had his entire lower body insured for $153 million.

We've insured this blog for $4.95. It was worth every penny.

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We at the Bulldog Edition are joining the ranks of people all over the country who are using sweat equity to fuel their endeavors. We are running on our giant hamster wheels right now, fueling this blog for your reading pleasure.

You're welcome.

Pedal power is gaining lots of traction as bikes and elliptical machines all over the country are harnessed to produce electricity, powering everything from gym equipment to smoothie makers to televisions to toasters.

Gyms throughout the country are getting bikes retrofitted for spinning classes. The direct current created by pedaling can be sent to the gym's power grid, and can power gym equipment – all while burning an amazing 700 calories.

Likewise, similar retrofit devices have been added to elliptical trainers.

But while the activity does generate power, it can't run factories. So don't get too excited. But a spinning class or about 20 people, over the course of a year, could light 72 homes for a month. A 30-minute workout on an elliptical could generate about 50 watts, enough to run a laptop for an hour.

Some gyms are offering discounts for people who are willing to pedal up enough energy to power the blender to make their own smoothies. Of course, by the time you're ready to drink the smoothie, you have no energy left to lift the glass.

There's even been retrofitted bikes installed at a jail in Phoenix, Ariz., which have been hooked up to televisions in the women's section of the prison. If they want to watch their soaps, they have to pedal.

Wonder if they could hook those puppies up to the White House? If pedaling could get things pumping there, we'd all ride 'til the cows come home.

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We loved the opening sketch of the Emmys. We loved that it brought Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey together again. Those two are genius when paired together. We even loved that Kate Gosselin good-naturedly poked fun at herself and her stint on Dancing with the Stars. It was the best part of the show, and the real winner of the night.

If you missed it, here's a link. Enjoy.

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For the grizzly-voiced Jigsaw, the ride's almost officially over.

The "Saw" movies have earned more than $730 million worldwide and the seventh installment, "Saw 3D," is coming out this fall. This release marks the final time the series' main character, Jigsaw, traps unsuspecting victims in his brutal mechanical traps to teach them lessons they'll not soon forget. If they don't die.

"Jiggy's" backstory is a bit strange, yet reveals a lot about his downward spiral. He was formerly known as John Kramer, a brilliant and successful civil engineer, who was married and devoted to his wife. When the couple's first child was lost due to the actions of a drug addict, Kramer couldn't get past his grief.

Fast-forward a bit. Kramer's divorced and bitter. No surprise there. The surprise comes in the form of his diagnosis with an inoperable cancer. More bitterness ensues. Kramer decides that since he squandered his own life, he would make others pay for doing so with their lives.

Set the traps, boys.

Is it really necessary to make seven of these movies? Wouldn't two or three have sufficed? The only answer that makes sense is that the ultimate monster is the Hollywood cash machine, which must be fed. 

In addition, the American public has developed a need for bleed. Americans like gore and Jigsaw, and others like him, are more than happy to provide it.

Sequels have become Hollywood's stay-alive effort. When a movie does well, you can bet there will be a sequel. Case(s) in point: Friday the 13th, James Bond, Nightmare on Elm Street, Godzilla…the list goes on. If it made money the first time, it will make money the second time. This is the film-maker's mantra.

Apparently, movie-goers agree. We keep paying to go see the same characters do the same types of things over and over again, until someone decides it's time to pull the plug, letting the franchise die. 

At least until someone remakes it 20 years later.

See you, Jigsaw. Game over. For now.

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In New York City, on special holidays and occasions, the Empire State Building is lit up for the occasion. 

But today, which would have been Mother Teresa's 100th birthday, the owner of the Empire State building snubbed requests to light the building up in blue and white to honor the occasion. What made the refusal to light up the Empire particularly distasteful was the fact that owner Anthony Malkin snubbed the request without any justification.

But God likes this small but outspoken nun. City council members okayed the building of 15 Penn Plaza, which will be located on Seventh Avenue between West 32nd and 33rd streets. Many feel the building, because of the timing, will forever be nicknamed Mother Teresa Tower.

Developer Vornado Realty Trust will construct the 1,216-foot office building at the site of the Hotel Pennsylvania. It will house a mixture of office and retail space.

City council members have insisted that the vote to approve the building and Mother Teresa were not related, and was not intended to "remove the beauty or the wonder of the Empire State Building from our skyline or even diminish it."

Controversy had surrounded the proposed structure, which some felt was too close to the Empire for its height and design.

But regardless of the reasoning or the timing, karma is, well, unstoppable.

Happy birthday, Mother Teresa.

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We experienced a little road rage today. 

Well, actually, not a little. This guy was a raving lunatic.

You see, he ran a stop sign and almost hit us. We barely escaped with our lives. So we, um, saluted him for his excellent driving skills.

He proceeded to chase after us, blocking us with his vehicle. He then got out, ran over to our car, and amidst striking our poor, undeserving mode of transportation with his hand, he let loose a string of profanity unlike anything this blogger has ever heard.

Fortunately, there was a mall cop nearby. Unfortunately it was hot outside and his truck contained a functioning air conditioner which the cop apparently couldn't bear to leave. We decided it was time to leave.

As we sat at the nearby red light, preparing to make a most humble left turn, the road raging lunatic came charging up the hill behind us, and when he approached our vehicle, he screamed some more (because apparently there were more swear words we hadn't already experienced) and threw something at our car.

He then charged through a red light. Unfortunately, no one hit him. Karma was not on our side at that moment. But rest assured. Everything that goes around, comes around. 

So Mr. Road Rage, we have taken pity on you. We saw you were of exceptionally short stature, and therefore you may not have been tall enough to see the blackboard the day they taught manners. Here are some tips to help you deal with your rage.

1. Get some sleep. Sleepiness contributes to road rage. Mr. Road Rage is also known as Mr. Crankypants, and needs a nap.

2. Plan ahead. Allow time to get from A to B. Be a Boy Scout, Mr. RR…be prepared. And that doesn't include having items in the back seat of your car to throw at others.

3. Your car is not a therapist. Don't use your car to vent your frustrations. But Mr. RR, you should, in fact, seek out a therapist. And soon.

4. Turn down the bass. Aggressive music, studies show, can make people more aggressive. There are easy listening stations in this city, Mr. RR, and we think you should give them a try. 

5. Take a deep breath. When you clench the steering wheel until your knuckles turn white, it means you're tense. Just breathe in…breathe in…breathe in…Mr. RR…breathe in…oh, okay…breathe out.

6. Hostility is both toxic and risky. Most people who are prone to anger are about three times more likely to have a heart attack. Why are you clutching your chest, Mr. RR? I know my cell phone's in here somewhere…

7. Use restaurant etiquette. When you're' in a restaurant and someone does you wrong, you behave differently than you do when you're isolated in a car. Use some manners, Mr. RR. Pretend you're not at Chuck E. Cheese.

8. It's not about you. Don't take things so personally. When people criticize you for your, um, shortcomings, Mr. RR, it's only because they care. Take the criticisms as constructive, and learn and grow.

9. If you can't control your anger, take an aggressive driver course. It'll help you learn to deal with your rage.

10. Practice kindness. Remember the simple courtesies, Mr. RR. Allow someone to merge or shrug and say "Sorry" when you cut someone off. 

Everyone loses their cool at one time or another, but Mr. RR, we take exception at your behavior today. Put your aggressive behavior in park.

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If you're a fan of the show, "America's Got Talent," and you've watched this season, then you've seen the gloriousness that is Prince Poppycock.

Wearing outlandish costumes, a ton of makeup and a powdered wig, the Prince has taken America by storm not only with his style, but with his amazing operatic voice. The character is the brainchild of the Prince himself, John Andrew Quale.

When visiting his Web site, you can read the story of the Prince as, obviously, penned by the prince himself, who has dubbed himself the Crown Prince of Absurdity. According to the story, the Prince was a "celebrated singer" whose days were filled with "frivolity, merriment and music." He lived in the Kingdom of Poppycock, where the cares of this world are apparently nonexistent. 

But all was not perfect in the Prince's world. He had a nemesis, Baron Nefarious, who was quite jealous of and even hated the prince. Through nefarious means, the Baron takes the kingdom's throne.

But the Prince doesn't sit around bemoaning his situation. Instead, he begins to learn about hard work, and even picks up some swashbuckling along the way, making friends with a pirate or two.

Prince Poppycock eventually makes his way back to the kingdom's throne room, and after a battle that causes a rip in the time space continuum, he manages to find himself thrust onto Planet Earth, a refugee.

The Prince then must survive, and so he turns to the only thing he knows – singing. His entertainment of the masses is apparently part of his journey back to Poppycock to reclaim his throne.

Guess the wigs, makeup and costume are just perks.

Whatever the story, and whatever your opinion, you have to admit the guy can sing. And he's fun to watch, too. Here's his rendition of the 70s classic, "Bohemian Rhapsody." Please…to enjoy.

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The state of Florida is among 10 winners selected to share $3.4 billion by the U.S. Department of Education in its "Race to the Top" competition.

Other winners include the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Rhode Island. The states will receive funds set aside for states which have shown documentation that state education officials will use the money to implement overhauls to the state's education budget and program, including greater teacher accountability and the use of data systems.

Race to the Top attempts to reward states that overhaul teacher pay plans, adopt rigorous learning standards, transform low-performing schools and promote charter schools and public schools run by non-government entities. Forty-six states and the District of Columbia applied for the money. The $4.35 billion represents less than 1 percent of all government spending on K-12 education, but the competition still was enough to convince more than 20 cash-starved states to overhaul their education policies. 

But not everyone is celebrating. Ten states won out of the 18 finalists competing for the money, and critics say the winning states offer little or nothing to fundamentally improve schools and learning for children. But President Barack Obama has defended the program, insisting that it is the most important thing he has done in office.

The program contains the key elements of evaluating teachers in relation to their students' test scores, and schools that continue to get low test scores will be closed or turned into charter schools, or handed over to private management. In low performing schools, principals will be fired, along with at least half, if not all, of the staff. 

But all of these elements are problematic. Evaluating teachers in this manner will have adverse consequences. It will make the current standardized tests of basic skills more important than ever, and even more time and resources will have to be devoted to raising scores on these tests, and curriculums will have to be narrowed even more under No Child Left Behind guidelines. Teachers will teach to the test, and there will be even less time for the arts, science, history, civics, foreign languages and physical education.

Under the program, states are encouraged to start new charter schools. But charter schools, on average, do not get better results than regular public schools, yet the president seems to be pushing them hard. 

Obama and his cronies need to stop and think about what they are doing. Standardized testing is not a reliable source of identifying the best teachers and schools, or the worst teachers and schools. The tests are simply not adequate or those purposes. 

The Race to the Top isn't at all a race to anywhere – in fact, it's headed the wrong direction. The destination will be demoralized teachers, closed schools, the dismantling of the teaching profession, destabilized communities and, ultimately, great harm to public education.

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Just imagine that the Germans decided to build a cultural center near Auschwitz. Or that the Japanese decided to build one across from Pearl Harbor. Would that tick you off, as an American? As a Jew?

Building a Muslim house of worship near Ground Zero in New York City is the same thing. Sure, media reports have been incorrect in reporting where the so-called "monster mosque" will be built – it's been reported that it will be built "over" Ground Zero; it's actually not on the site – but it's still too close and it's still too much.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and that's the date it has been reported the mosque, dubbed Cordoba House, will open. Those who are spearheading the project deny the center will open on that date. 

Cordoba House is a 15-story, $100 million development to be built just 600 feet from where the World Trade Center stood. The plans include a mosque, a 500-seat auditorium, swimming pool, restaurant and bookstore.

President Barack Obama stepped squarely into the thorny debate, saying he believes Muslims have the same religious rights as other Americans.

"I understand the emotions that this issue engenders. Ground Zero is, indeed, hallowed ground," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable."

We agree that all Americans should have the right to worship as they choose. It's a fundamental belief that helped make this country the great nation it is today.

But for this mosque to be so closely located near the site of America's greatest tragedy is a kick in the teeth for us all.

Our position is not about religious freedom; it is about sensitivity. Just as no American would want to see a cultural center built near Pearl Harbor by the Japanese, or as no Jew would want to see such a facility built at Auschwitz by the Germans, no American who was affected by 9/11 – whether you lost a loved one on that day or just felt the pain of a nation dropped to its knees by terrorism – would want this mosque near Ground Zero.  

We don't deny the Muslim community the right to build the mosque or to worship how they choose. We just respectfully ask that they do it somewhere else.

We do take issue, however, with the lumping of all Muslims into one category. One cannot say that all Muslims are killers who hate Americans anymore than one can say that all Americans hate Muslims. Neither are true. This type of stereotyping moves America, and Americans, several steps backward at a time in our nation's history when we must strive together to move forward. This kind of "stinking thinking" is unacceptable.

But the Muslim community and those behind Cordoba House must take the feelings of Americans into account in this endeavor. The wounds from 9/11 are still much too fresh – and rubbing salt in them won't help either party.

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Headed to a movie in New York City? Make sure you've got a soda, a big bucket of popcorn, some Junior Mints…and, oh yeah, blood.

Bedbugs were found at a movie theater in Times Square earlier this month, and the affected seats were removed and replaced, and new ones were installed. The pests have also been found in several New York stores. There have been cases in city offices as well, and Time has even brought in bedbug-sniffing canines to find where there are infestations, so the proper measures can be taken. City officials are scrambling to come up with a plan to combat the little nuisances.

Our question is this…what's going on in New York? Why has it become the Big Apple filled with tiny little bloodsuckers? Bloodsuckers are en vogue – Twilight, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, etc. – but don't you New Yorkers think you've carried this trend a little far?

And what's up little vampire bugs? Why do you have issues with New York? It's the city that never sleeps…and aren't you supposed to attack while people sleep?

But while they certainly are a nuisance, bedbugs are the most terrifying parasites known to man. There are many that are worse. We've chosen to list a few here to make our friends in NYC feel a little better…while they scratch.

• Botfly: This hairy and bigger-than-a-housefly fly lays its eggs on a mosquito, which then lands on a person. Once hatched, the larvae invades the skin of the unlucky host.

• Black flies: These little pests can cause River Blindness. A black fly infected by Onchocerca volvulos bites a human, the human gets swollen flesh, eye sores and, eventually, blindness.

• Microscopic ameoba, or the Acanthamoeba keratitis, lives in water, soil and air, and if it gets on your hand and you touch your eye, it will invade the cornea, causing an infection that can lead to blindness.

• Sand fly: The female can transmit a parasite that causes leishmaniasis. It ain't pretty. It causes severe skin sores or can attack the internal organs. 

• Leeches: We've all heard of them and we all know what they do. Enough said.

• Threadworm: Attracted to the soles of the feet, this little booger enters the bloodstream and travels to the lungs, where they break through the tissue and move toward the throat. They can cause organ failure and death.

• Tapeworm: Cook your meats thoroughly on the barbecue so you don't end up eating a tapeworm. They attach to the intestinal wall, and they feed on nutrients from digested food. They can grow up to 15 feet long, and the symptoms that accompany them include headache, nausea and stomach cramps. 

We suddenly feel the need for some bug spray, a lice comb and a head-to-toe body examination.

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In just a couple of weeks, the most glorious time of the year begins again – college football season.

The top 25, agreed upon by most who follow college ball, has Alabama at No. 1, followed by Ohio State, USC, Boise State and Oklahoma, in that order.

The rest of the top 25, in order, include Florida, Nebraska, Texas, Oregon, Virginia Tech, TCU, Iowa, Florida State, Miami, Georgia, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Connecticut, Missouri, Auburn, Penn State, LSU and Clemson.

Here's our predictions for the season's end.

• SEC Champ: Alabama Crimson Tide

The Tide has a difficult slate this year. The team is ranked high, and is regarded as the team to beat. So every team the Tide rolls up to will be loaded for bear. The defense needs a little rebuilding, but the offense looks to pack a bigger punch than last year's squad. QB Greg McElroy is back, along with Heisman Trophy winner RB Mark Ingram. Alabama might not limit its opponents to 11.7 points per game like it did last year, but it might not have to. If the Tide can just maintain last year's status quo, 'Bama will be in fine shape.

• Big 12 Champ: Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma has a wealth of talented players returning this year after an injury-plagued last season. The defense looks far superior to many of the opponents the Sooners will face this year. The team's strengths lie in the linebacking crew and the wide receivers. Cutting down on turnovers will be key to the Sooners' success. And let us not forget: Oklahoma has one of the top recruiting classes in recent school history.

• Pac 10 Champ: USC Trojans

This team is a mess, and facing heavy NCAA sanctions. But even though the Trojans can't go to a bowl game, there is still a season to play. They've got a tough season ahead, and are looking to avenge a 47-20 loss to Oregon last year. There's a fire in the bellies of the Trojans, which should make for a great season and a spot on top of the heap.

• ACC Champ: Virginia Tech Hokies

The team's defense doesn't have much margin for error, and they've got to break in a new place kicker and punter. Depth is also a concern at defensive tackle and safety. But the Hokies' offense is electrifying, and looks to be the best in Coach Frank Beamer's 24 years at the team's helm. The offense could score 500 points this year, but the defense will have to mature quickly if they're going to take the title.

Our list of 10 teams that must improve if they're going to win just happens to include teams that all must – and we do mean must – improve their offenses.

First up, West Virginia. The Mountaineers' offense wasn't horrible last year, but did finish near the bottom of the heap. If the team's QB can be productive, they could gain some serious momentum. 

Boston College needs to step up and put more points on the board. The Eagles finished last season at No. 76 in the country in scoring and at No. 98 in total offense.

UCLA's Bruins won't win the Pac 10 but if they improve on offense, the Bruins could prove surprising. 

South Carolina offense – the bane of Coach Steve Spurrier's existence. Nothing makes Spurrier throw his visor down like a poor offense, and last year's team sent that famous chapeau flying more than any other time in his career. Even so, the Gamecocks managed a 7-5 season, and might be able to sneak in a bowl game…if they improve offensively.

Rutgers' Scarlet Knights showed some great talent last year, but finished 97th in total offense. That number must improve this year for the team to keep face.

Virginia Tech is one of the top teams in the country, but they won't win a national championship or even a bowl if their offense doesn't improve. 

The North Carolina Tar Heels may have had the worst offense of any team in 2009, finishing 83rd in scoring and 108th in total offense. 

Iowa did get a bowl nod last year, but if they want another one, they've got to pull it together offensively. The Hawkeyes were No. 86 in total points and No. 89 in total offense last season, and if it hadn't been for their defense, they would have had more losses.

Nebraska came close to a bowl berth last year but failed to score because of a lousy offense. QB Zac Lee has improved though, and the Cornhuskers have a shot at getting over the hump.

LSU's Tigers have struggled with offense for the past few seasons, and last year was the cherry on top. The Tigers finished at No. 112 in total offense, but thanks to a stellar defense, the team finished at No 76 in total scoring. If they fix this ginormous problem, they could surprise some SEC teams.

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Everyone is familiar with Stupid Pet Tricks with David Letterman. We've all seen poodles prance and ponies count and birds imitate teapots. Here's a dog with a hilarious talent that our Bulldog just couldn't wait to share.

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Shaquan Duley, 29, was a young mom struggling to take care of her three kids. She was unemployed and, by all accounts, fed up with her life and the struggles that went with it. So she did something about it. She did the unthinkable – a la Susan Smith.

Duley, of Orangeburg, S.C., is now facing two counts of murder after reportedly suffocating her two sons, ages 1 and 2, with her bare hands, then strapping them into car seats. She then drove them to the river, put the car in neutral, and let the car slowly submerge.

The whole thing is eerily reminiscent of Susan Smith, the Union, S.C. mother who in 1994 allowed her still-alive sons, ages 3 and 14 months, strapped in their car seats, drown in her car as it sank in a lake near the town. Smith told authorities that she had been carjacked, and that the thief had kidnapped her children. She made nationally televised pleas for the safe return of her children, only to confess to the crime later. She was sentenced to life in prison.

Another case in 2001 found Andrea Yates of Texas guilty of drowning her five children in the family bathtub. Her conviction was overturned and she was sent to a state mental hospital.

But why does a mother kill her child? 

Mothers who commit this heinous crime fall into five categories, according to the experts: killing of a newborn killing through abuse, being assisted or coerced by a partner, killing purposely and killing though neglect. 

In Duley's case, police reports indicate that she is a woman who felt inadequate as a parent due to constant criticism from her own mother. There are a large number of questions regarding Duley's mental health history that remain unanswered.

The vast majority of mothers who kill their children have some form of mental illness. A high number of them are, like Duley, economically underprivileged, and are commonly single, unemployed parents. 

By all accounts, Duley was a friendly person who took good care of her kids. A former coworker said she is a good-natured person, who was friendly but quiet.

But she also just wanted to be free, police say. Ironically, if she is convicted, she won't be.

The really sad part of this ordeal is that Duley leaves behind a 5-year-old daughter who now has to deal not only with losing her brothers, but her mother as well. 

One can only hope that this child will one day find peace and freedom herself.

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Judges all over the country are "cracking" down on dress codes in the courtroom – and that includes wearing your pants so low everyone can see whether you prefer briefs or boxers.

Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who don't understand how to dress for a court date. They most likely don't understand how to show respect to an authority figure either. There are people out there who actually appear before a judge wearing cut-off jeans, flip flops, inappropriate or offensive T-shirts and even, in one case, pajamas. Geez.

Who can blame these judges? These folks are showing up to defend themselves and their behavior, and they show up wearing flip flops and raggedy jeans? Who are they kidding? They can't actually believe anyone would take them seriously when they are dressed in that manner.

Sadly, baggy britches are not just found in the courtroom. They're found on just about every street corner in just about every town. And everywhere you go, the same phrase leaps to mind – crack kills.

Rapper Dooney Da Priest recorded a musical homage to baggy pants called, "Pull Your Pants Up." And everyone's likely heard of Larry Platt, who earned his 15 minutes of fame when he appeared on American Idol singing his song, "Pants on the Ground." There's even a Facebook page called, "Pull your pants up, you look like an idiot."

To whoever administers that Facebook page, we'd have to say we agree – young men who wear their pants in that way look like idiots.

We understand that it's a fashion statement. We get that you just want to fit in. We also get that it's your right to dress how you want and that you're not really hurting anyone by doing so.

But why? Can someone just please explain why? Couldn't you spend the extra four seconds it would take to pull up your pants? Can't you just spend your money buying jeans that actually fit, rather than a pair big enough for your entire posse?

We don't understand why this trend hasn't gone away yet. Most fashion do's soon become don'ts and then we're done. We move on to the next big thing. But this "thing" has hung on (loosely) for way too long now. 

We hope this is one trend that is on its way out. In the meantime, we'll just sit back, and think ahead to the explanations that these young men will one day have to give to their grandchildren.

"Yeah. Back in my day, we bought our britches at least three sizes too big. Why? Well, son, it was just the style. We all wore them that way. No…I wouldn't jump off a cliff if all my friends did it. Yep, sometimes my pants fell down. That's why I always held them up with one hand. Could I run? Not really. Did I wear a belt? Sometimes…didn't matter, though. Belts didn't really help. Did I wear boxers or briefs? Well, son, look at the picture. What do you think? 'Course it didn't make sense…it wasn't about making sense…it was about…never mind. Shut up and eat your vegetables!"

This almost makes looking at Gimpy's under-drawers worthwhile…sigh.

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"Good night…sleep tight…don't let the bedbugs bite!"

How many times did we all hear that as children? And it's likely that very few of us ever thought we'd actually be bitten by the little boogers. But the number of incidents has increased and made headlines nationwide.

The most recent rash of cases is in Dallas, Texas, where exterminators have received numerous calls to rid homes of bedbugs. In fact, the National Pest Management Association has reported an 81 percent increase in bedbug calls nationwide since 2000.

What are these pesky bugs? They're tiny, reddish-brown in color, and oval in shape, with no wings. They feed on blood. There are some common questions most people ask when confronted by these pests.

• How can you tell if you've been bitten by a bedbug? The bites tend to be on any part of the body, whereas mosquito bites tend to be on feet and ankles. Bedbugs also tend to leave straight rows of bites. Other bugs leave bites more randomly on the body.

• Bedbugs aren't just found in bedrooms; they can be in offices, clothing stores and movie theaters. You should inspect your mattress, and if you see red or brown spots along the ticking of the mattress, it's likely you've got bedbugs.

• If you see spots, don't try to tackle the problem on your own. The only way to know for sure that you have bedbugs is to capture one of the bugs or its shed skin, and take it to an expert for verification. You can use mattress and box spring encasement to force the bugs out, or small bait devices on the floor, under the bed to lure them out.

• If you travel, be sure to put your luggage on a stand and not the floor. Remove the sheets and mattress pad from the bed and check for spots. Check behind the headboard and around the bed frame with a flashlight.

Even if you don't see signs of bugs, you should wash your clothes in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer. 

• Bedbugs can accompany luggage, furniture, clothing, pillows, boxes or other objects when they are moved between apartments, homes or hotels. 

• Be sure to reduce clutter in your home to limit hiding places for bedbugs.

• Clean the infested rooms with a stiff brush to dislodge eggs, and use a powerful vacuum to remove bedbugs from cracks and crevices. To prevent bugs from crawling onto a bed, pull the bed frame away from the wall, tuck sheets an blankets so they con't contact the floor, and place the frame legs into dishes or cups of mineral oil. Caulk and seal all holes where pipes and wires penetrate walls and floor, and fill cracks around baseboards and cove moldings.

• Don't apply pesticides unless you fully understand what you are applying and the risks involved. It's better to use a professional exterminator. 

• Furniture that has been infested can be cleaned and treated. If you discard it, deface it or place a note indicating the presence of bedbugs.

Remember, nobody really wants the bedbugs to bite…early detection is key.

Posted by bulldog | with no comments
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