Saturday, December 31, 2005


Great white shark spotted off Hale'iwa

When Jimmy Hall realized he was within mere feet of a great white shark, he did not swim away. Instead, he left the safety of a shark cage off Hale'iwa and swam with the beast.

He even reached out and touched it.

"It's been a dream of mine for many, many years to swim with a white shark and I got to do it. And I got to do it with one of the biggest ones that I've ever seen, even in photographs," Hall said.

People in the cage started yelling about the enormous shark that they saw," Hall said. "As soon as they started yelling, we saw this incredible shape coming up. I thought it was a small humpback whale, that's how big it was. It was so big that I didn't even think that it could be a shark."

Hall quickly realized he was staring at an 18- to 20-foot female great white shark...


Hall said he got close enough to touch the shark "many times."

"I was scared, not petrified, and a lot of it was a thrill, just in realizing how special this was," he said. "But you're not going to face something that big and not be scared."


"It sounds silly to say, but she looked really friendly, rubbing against the boat, never really aggressive," Hall said.

Friday, December 30, 2005

KILT WATCH: Jules Winnfield

The Daily Record - NEWS - OFF THE RECORD
By Ian Dow

READY for Hogmanay? Got your kilt sorted out? If not, you may have difficulty hiring one because so many are going south to be hired by so-called Scots - great-granny used to buy oatcakes doesn't qualify as Scottish heritage. Apparently non-Scots such as Robbie Williams and Vin Diesel have boosted the popularity of our national dress. But respect goes to Samuel L. Jackson acknowledged as the coolest man on earth who wore the plaid in the movie The 51st State.

He said: 'When I got the kilt and stood in front of the mirror, it looked very cool. All of a sudden I had this whole sort of gladiator thing going on.'

That is opposed to midnight tonight when many will have this 'whole sort of bladdered, tubby Jock in kilt and beer-stained Scotland top thing going on.'

Thursday, December 29, 2005


New squid on the (ice) block - National -
ITS GIGANTIC eye might give the kids nightmares for the rest of summer, but Melbourne Aquarium curator Nick Kirby insists his newest treasure — a seven-metre giant squid — is worth every cent he paid for it.

The 250-kilogram creature, caught by commercial fishermen off New Zealand's South Island earlier this year, has cost the aquarium more than $100,000, which included purchasing and transporting the squid. The bill also included displaying the squid in a purpose-built 3½-tonne block of ice.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


Hogmanay - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hogmanay is the Scots word for the celebration of the New Year in the Scottish manner. Its official date is the 31 December. However this is normally only the start of a celebration which lasts through the night until the morning of the 1 January or, in many cases, 2 January.

There are many customs, both national and local, associated with Hogmanay. The most widespread national custom is the practice of first-footing which starts immediately after midnight. This involves being the first person to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbor and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as coal, shortbread or silverware intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. This may go on throughout the early hours of the morning and well into the next day. The first-foot is supposed to set the luck for the rest of the year, so it is important that a suitable person does the job. A tall, dark man bearing a gift is preferred.

An example of a local Hogmanay custom is the fireball swinging which takes place in Stonehaven, Kincardineshire in north-east Scotland. This involves local people making up balls of chicken wire, tar, paper and other flammable material to a diameter of about a metre. Each ball has 2 m of wire, chain or non-flammable rope attached. The balls are then each assigned to a swinger who swings the ball round and round their head and body by the rope while walking through the streets of Stonehaven from the harbor to the Sheriff court and back. At the end of the ceremony any fireballs which are still burning are cast into the harbor. Many people enjoy this display which is more impressive in the dark than it would be during the day. As a result large crowds flock to the town to see it.

Scots Mark New Year With Fiery Ancient Rites

Biggar Bonfire

Monday, December 26, 2005


Streaker invades midnight mass - Yahoo! Australia & NZ News

A Territory teenager has run naked through a church and jumped up on the altar in the middle of a midnight Christmas mass.

About 150 Catholic churchgoers in Alice Springs were stunned by the Christmas Day prank but reacted quickly to hold the naked reveller until police arrived.

Father Brian Healy said the 18-year-old ran naked through the aisle before jumping up on the altar.

"He must have planned it," he said.

"As he ran into the church he was yelling something and then he ran around a bit and jumped on the altar.

"He wasn't a part of the congregation.

"Besides that I was quite pleased with the turnout - you always like to see more people at church but the people here had a lovely spirit and it was very Christ-like."

Police were quick to arrest the streaker and he was charged with indecent exposure and disturbing a religious worship. He was granted bail on the condition that he not go within 200m of a place of worship.

Alice Springs police watch commander Henry Sattler praised the efforts of churchgoers who held the streaker until police arrived.

"As I understand it he was dancing around the altar provocatively," he said.

"Some of the church members lost patience with him after he started dancing around the altar and grabbed hold of him.

"I don't know if he was affected by alcohol or not.

"It was a pretty busy night for police but other than that it was just your usual drunken revelry on Christmas Eve."

The Hungry Horse News
Columbia Falls, MT

Nucleus Streaker
A Columbia Falls man is probably wishing he could take that bet back.

Daniel Smiley, 25, was charged with disorderly conduct for streaking on Nucleus Avenue Monday night.

Smiley and some friends were apparently at the Los Caporales Bar when the friends dared him to streak completely naked outside. The temperature was in the 20s and it was snowing lightly.

So, according to Police Chief Dave Perry, Smiley took the bet, stripped down and high-tailed it outside 100 percent naked.

He couldn't have had worse luck, because he was spotted by Columbia Falls Police Officer Sean Murphy. Murphy was northbound on Nucleus on his way into work when he saw Smiley about 8:45 p.m. running down the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.

Smiley jumped the fence between Los Caporales and the Columbia Bar and Murphy said he ran past him as he went back into the bar through the back door.

Murphy finally caught up with Smiley, who ran into the bathroom and got dressed.


KATU 2 - Portland, Oregon
Surfer Survives Shark Attack

SEASIDE, Ore. - A man was attacked by a shark while surfing off the northern Oregon coast Saturday, authorities said.

The 30-year-old surfer, Brian Anderson, was bitten on the ankle and calf and suffered a laceration, said Joe Dotson, chief of the Seaside Fire Department.

Witnesses said Anderson was able to hit the shark on the nose and scare it away, before being carried to safety by fellow surfers. An ambulance drove the man - who was "conscious, alert and smiling" - to Providence Seaside Hospital, Dotson said.


The noontime attack happened at a popular surfing spot near Tillamook Head. Witnesses told Dotson that the shark was a 10-foot great white. He said there were no signs of the shark in the hours after the bite.

"I think everybody got out of the water," Dotson said. "He didn't get seconds."

ABC News: Oregon Surfer Punches Shark in the Nose

SEASIDE, Ore. Dec 26, 2005 — A surfer says he reacted on instinct when he punched a great white shark that grabbed his leg near the northern Oregon coast.

Brian Anderson expects to make a full recovery from the lacerations he suffered on his ankle and calf. And the attack isn't going to stop him from surfing.

"Oh yeah, I'll go back out. Eventually," he said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Anderson, 31, was at a popular surfing spot near Tillamook Head, south of Seaside, when he felt something grab his leg Saturday.

He turned and saw the shark, "and I saw the nose of it and I just punched it in the nose, right by the eye, as quickly as I could that's all I could think to do. After I did that, it let go."

He said he learned from television shows including the Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" that a shark's nose is its most sensitive area.

"As a surfer, it's your worst nightmare to get attacked by one of those things, so you think about it but you don't really know what to do until it really happens. I just connected on instinct and just did it."

Shark attack: a swimmer's worst fear becomes reality :: The Daily Herald, Provo Utah

HONOLULU -- The shark chomped on Jonathan Genant's left hand and disappeared into the depths off Maui.

Blood gushed from the sockets where the 29-year-old's left pinkie and the top half of his ring finger used to be.

About 200 yards from shore, the former triathlete floated alone, having just survived the first shark attack in Hawaii in 14 months.

Acting on a rush of adrenaline, Genant gripped the wrist of his injured arm with his right hand to slow the blood loss. He then flipped on his back and began to kick fast. But without use of his arms, he could only drift slowly.


On Wednesday morning, Genant saw a white shadow moving underneath him as he swam off Keawakapu Beach. The pale shape turned gray when the shark turned upright on its belly and headed toward him.

The animal opened its jaw.

On pure instinct, for a split-second, Genant considered fending off the shark with a blow to its nose.

He couldn't.

The shark's mouth was too big and a punch would have plunged his arm directly into a row of sharp teeth.

The shark caught Genant's hand, chewed it for a bit, and let go.

[snip or rather chomp]

He said he has more respect than anger for the shark.

"It's a surreal experience when you are seeing it. It really was an incredible creature as frightening as it is," said Genant. "It was his domain, and he was the boss, he was going to decide my fate ... I'm lucky to get away as I did."


World Lounge Music by Bhakta:

d2b : India all Over

"'India All Over', is one of those albums you would take with you if you were beamed to another planet...a rare collection of Indian male and female vocalists on a magic carpet of sensual grooves and reflective vibes....with the ultimate ocean of sound: the 23-minutes track 'OM-prayer'."


eMusic: Tijuana Sessions Vol. 3:
"An orthodontist, chemical engineer and a DJ walk into a bar... Okay, so it sounds like a bad joke, but the origins of the Nortec Collective, a group of musicians and DJs from Tijuana and Ensenada, aren't far from that setup. Their music is best defined as mood rather than sound (which is electronica- and indie rock-tinged): playful, coy, cheerful and profoundly likeable. The first two tracks are fantastic, and you'd be hard-pressed not to be charmed by the rest. Occasionally a record store will play something on its in-store stereo so infectious that no one can resist asking what it is. This is that record."

Saturday, December 24, 2005

holiday msg from the six million dollar man

today - thankful for my family and my friends and my enemies... some new, some old, some new again... even from loss i have gained

turn on the bright lights, break out the eggnog... pass the fudge

Suggested talking points at various holiday family gatherings across the universe:

1. Iraq - a good thing?
2. Walmart - enemy of the worker or capitalist success story?

3. "The War on Christmas" - is there going to be a draft?

4. Jesus - Son of God or just a Really Groovy Guy?

5. What would Jimmy Stewart do (WWJSD)?

6. Would you let Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney or Bill O'Reilly babysit your kids?

7. Brokeback Mountain = Oscar?

8. To impeach or not to impeach, that is the question.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Business (Five Million E.T. Pieces)

Claim: Atari buried millions of unsold "E.T." cartridges in a New Mexico desert landfill.

Status: True.

The first signs of the goose's fatal illness came with Atari's Pacman cartridge. Atari was so sure their home version of the world's most popular arcade game would reach new sales heights that they manufactured 12 million Pacman cartridges in 1982 (even though at the time only about 10 million people owned and used Atari VCS consoles)...


Atari sold 7 million copies of Pacman, but the poor quality of the game turned many people off, and Atari was still stuck with 5 million unsold game cartridges.
[snip] If one game cartridge could be selected as the symbol of the sudden demise of Atari's golden goose, however, it would have to be the ill-fated E.T.


...the sheer awfulness of the finished product was unprecedented. Atari rushed E.T. through development in a matter of months to get it onto the market in time for Christmas, and the result was a virtually unplayable game with a dull plot and crummy graphics in which frustrated players spent most of their time leading the E.T. character around in circles to prevent him from falling into pits. Atari produced five million E.T. cartridges, and according to Atari's then-president and CEO, "nearly all of them came back."


When distributor returns were added to the 5 million unsold Pacman cartridges and another 5 million useless E.T. cartridges, Atari found themselves with tons of unsellable merchandise to dispose of, which led to the rumor that Atari buried millions of E.T. cartridges in a landfill in the New Mexico desert.


Atari, stuck with millions of games and consoles that were largely unsellable at any price, sent fourteen truckloads of merchandise from their plant in El Paso, Texas, to be dumped in a city landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico in late September 1983.
In order to keep the site from being looted, steamrollers crushed and flattened the games, and a concrete slab was poured over the remains.

The Gaming Graybeards - Can two thirtysomethings survive on Xbox Live? By Seth Stevenson and Chris Suellentrop

Chris, I'm fresh off our initial foray into the Xbox Live universe, and I am feeling so many new feelings. Here are the moments I enjoyed most:

1) I liked how—just so we could log on and play the shoot'em-up game Halo 2—I had to spend 10 minutes downloading ancillary programs, including something called the "Killtacular Map Pack."

2) I liked how, when we finally started, I was killed within eight seconds. Then I came back to life in another part of the game … and was again killed within eight seconds. I don't think I ever survived longer than 20 seconds. At one point I accidentally detonated something (maybe a plasma grenade) right next to myself. In that instance, I committed suicide before other players had a chance to kill me.

3) I liked when I got in the driver's seat of the "Warthog" assault vehicle and one of our remote Xbox Live teammates quickly hopped onboard and manned the turret gun, as though he expected me to drive us somewhere useful. I instead drove off a cliff and killed us both. Boy, was he surprised!

How was it for you? Notice I've left out the part where we squared off in a head-to-head match. I'll let you describe that.

Chris: I believe I defeated you 7 to 0, meaning I killed you seven times and you killed me zero. That left me falsely confident when we entered our next team match, which we lost 50-11. We started with two other teammates, but they quit halfway through, presumably despondent over being paired with two aging, 30-year-old newbies.


I feel like everyone else is cheating—"modding" their characters to be stronger and better-equipped. There was a lot of chatter about this when we were playing online. One kid said he'd seen a guy in Halo 2 who'd rigged his gun to somehow fire vehicles out of its barrel. You're in a firefight with him and he sends a truck hurtling toward you. (Conversely, it felt like someone had modded my character to be especially frail and had limited my weapons options to "butter knife.")


I have a confession to make. I've already been cheating on you. Late at night, after we stopped playing, I would sneak back to Xbox Live and spend the evenings with him. But don't worry; those encounters were brief and meaningless. It was nothing like when I was with you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

INTO THE WILD / GIANT SHARK WATCH: All Pissed Off and Nowhere to Go

[OK... not so giant but pissed off nonetheless... and the boat is no crusie ship}

STUFF - STORY - HOME : New Zealand's leading news and information website:
NZ boat suffers shark attack
20 December 2005

New Zealand trans-Atlantic rowers Tara Remington and Iain Rudkin faced their own scene from Jaws when a shark attacked their boat today.

The pair, currently competing in the fourth Atlantic Rowing race, were attacked by a shark estimated to be at least 3m long .

The shark circled the boat before bunting into it during a 15 minute attack while it also tried to bite the rudder, anchor and hull Remington told the pair's shore manager in Hamilton Rob Hamill.

'It was so aggressive and persistent, for a while we wondered if it would ever stop, it just kept hitting the boat,' Remington said.

'We weren't sure it was not biting holes in the underside so we rang the support ship Aurora for advice and possible assistance.'

The support ship arrived about six hours after the attack, but was waiting until the morning to assess if the boat suffered any damage.

atlantic rowing race: " When the first ever Atlantic Rowing Race was launched in 1995, there was disbelief. However, three successful races later, no less than 141 courageous individuals have achieved the extraordinary, by successfully rowing across the Atlantic Ocean as part of this unique event."

Sun Latte Atlantic Rowing: The Log: Dec 20:
Shark Attack

In the early hours of the morning New Zealand time Team Sun Latte was attacked by a shark. Tara said on the Tech Rentals phone this morning that it circled the boat for a short time before making its attack, butting into the boat sending it rocking. Iain and Tara didn’t muck around and got into the well of the boat and tried to not move or make a sound. The unprecedented attack continued unabated over the next 15 minutes leaving the rowers shell shocked.

“We were really scared,” said Tara, “It was so aggressive and persistent, for a while we wondered if it would ever stop, it just kept hitting the boat, having a go at the rudder, the sea anchor and hull. We weren’t sure it wasn’t biting holes in the underside so we rang the support ship Aurora for advice and possible assistance.”

The ship made its way to the crew taking about six hours to get to them. Unfortunately, it was dark by the time it arrived so was unable to assess any possible damage. The support boat is currently staying close until dawn at which point a check will be done.

Tara estimated the beast to be 12 feet long, “because when it went under the boat which is 6 feet wide we could see both ends of it sticking out either side,” but she was not sure what type it was, they didn’t hang around long on deck to find out!

The scary thing is I was in the water cleaning the hull for barnacles at exactly the same time yesterday and Iain did likewise the day before,” said Tara. “I haven’t bitten my nails for over a year now but in that time I chewed two nails right off.”
Iain said he considered taping a gas cooking canister to a flare and trying to shoot it ‘Jaws’ style but thought the better of it. He passed comment to Tara that, “In 20 years time you may not remember what happened yesterday but you sure as hell won’t forget today.”



CELTIC midfielder Stilian Petrov proudly shows off the club tartan as he warms up for Christmas in Scotland.

The Bulgarian international is going native over the festive period and revealed he loves wearing the kilt.

Petrov said: "Christmas is a very special time for me and my family in Scotland.

"I like wearing the kilt, it's nice to put onand it will make Christmas a bit more special this year. I am really looking forward to it

The Kilt Company

Scottish Tartans Authority Home

The Kilt in the Great War
In his book "The Romantic Story of the Highland Garb and Tartan", J.G.MacKay
gives us an appendix by Lt/Col Norman MacLeod from which this extract is taken.
Bearing in mind the obscenely large losses of human life during World War I,
this 'stiff upper lip' approach is disquieting - especially the last paragraph.

"With reference to my experience in France of the kilt as a dress in the Great War, I may say I saw service in the front line area for the best part of three years, both summer and winter. There were three reasons why I believe the kilt was fully justified as a dress on its merits;

1. the health of the troops,
2. usefulness and comfort of design
3. effect on morale.

1.There is certainly no reason for believing that kilted troops were less healthy than others, but rather the opposite, when the following advantages of the kilt are considered. In the first place, it kept the most vital part of the body, the middle, warmer than trousers. I believe some troops had body belts issued to them for this purpose, but it was generally admitted there was a difficulty in getting them worn. There was a good chance of them being thrown away, but a Highlander would not throw away his kilt. Secondly, the great enemy to health is not cold, but wet. Any one who served in the trench system, especially in Winter, knows how often water was met with. One often had to wade through water for a certain distance. If there was little water the easiest plan was to remove the kilt and hang it round the shoulders. On the other hand, the man in trousers was wet up to his middle, for, even if the water was only knee deep it soon splashed or crept up the cloth.
When the kilt was worn regularly, the skin soon hardens, so that the legs and knees feel no more cold than the hands or the face. At the front, at night, when there was a keen frost the men often had to stand in icy water, but they apparently did not feel the cold more than the rest of their body. The Highland Brigade claimed to have had the fewest cases of "trench foot". This I believe was partly accounted for by the use of the hose-top. It was well known that when the "putty" got wet it shrank and compressed the leg. Also, men wearing socks would put on two pairs to keep their feet warm which compressed their feet and interfered with circulation. Now, as hose-tops have no feet a man could wear two pairs without compressing his legs or his feet and the hose tops kept his feet warm, as mittens around the wrist keep the hands warm.

2. Usefulness and comfort were proved in the freedom the kilt gave to the limbs. This was seen by the long easy stride of kilted men on the march, which made them dislike marching behind trousered regiments. The interference of trousers with the free play of the legs is, I think, proved by the number of men who cut their trousers off at the knee.
Another point which must be referred to is the case of "mustard gas". When it was first used it was expected that the Highlander would suffer badly from the effects of burning on his bare legs. But not so, the gas generally attacked the parts of the body where the skin was tender and the Highlander's legs were as tough as his hands or face. Again, a very common case of burning was accounted for by men sitting on ground saturated with gas. Now, the kilt being much thicker than trousers, meant that the gas did not penetrate so easily, and when the man stood up the kilt swinging in the air dispelled the gas more easily.

3.With reference to morale, I believe that the association of the kilt with the great deeds of valour on the part of the Highland Regiments, inspires their members. I know of no inspiration to be got from trousers.

In conclusion, it will naturally be asked what are the disadvantages of the kilt? I can only think of one. Going through barbed wire in the dark. The kilt was more easily caught than trousers. At the same time a torn kilt with its pleats was not as serious a problem as a pair of torn pants!

Kilt Passports:
Why a Kilt Passport?
Culturally and sartorially, the traditional Scottish kilt is a unique garment that enjoys ever-increasing worldwide popularity. A traditional kilt is a major purchase and frequently lasts for more than a lifetime — unlike trousers which can be lightly discarded when worn out or when fashions change.

From this, it follows that each kilt has a unique history that marks the major events in the owner's life- perhaps backpacking in Europe or first worn at the wedding, then perhaps a christening, maybe an international rugby or football match, visits to major Highland games and then who knows . . . to the Palace for an honours presentation!

Such history deserves to be preserved and passed on to the next generation and the Kilt Passport is a tangible way of recording life's journey for that kilt and its wearers . . . yes . . . a kilt frequently gets handed down from father to son and even further - HRH Prince Charles has kilts belonging to his grandfather.

This Modern World

Monday, December 19, 2005

Flickr: Stick Figures in Peril


Four Peaks Brewery
Kilt Lifter®
Scottish-Style Ale
Our award-winning Flagship ale is now in bottles!! This is an ale made in the tradition of the great strong ales of Scotland. Amber colored, malty sweet with underlying note of smokiness.

Alcohol content approximately 6.0% by volume (ALWAYS ON TAP!!)
Medals - Great American Beer Festival (GABF) 1998 & 1999 & 2003 - Bronze - Scottish-Style Ale

Pike Brewery Co.
Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

Scotch ale is the strongest of all "Scottish" ales. It is sometimes called "wee heavy," or the Scottish equivalent of England’s barley wines. Scotland’s cool, damp climate is best suited to the growth of barley, and thus the country’s brewers became accustomed to working with minimal quantities of hops (which they were not anxious to purchase from England). Scotch ales are rich and malty and often accented with a touch of peat-smoked whiskey malt.

Unlike the lighter "Scottish" ales, this is an authentic heavy Scotch ale. It is lightly hopped with a strong malt character, and a hint of peaty smokiness. Warm fermentation produces fruity esters and balances the sweet malt character.

Serving Suggestions
Serve with hearty and flavorful fare such as steaks, pork chops, stews or shephard's pie. Excellent with a cigar or as a nightcap.

Product Sizes & Quantities
Twenty-four 12 ounce bottles
Draft—5.6 and 15.5 gallon kegs

How To Clean Up Pro Wrestling

"In the end, we decided on elevating the match itself—into a battle of wits. Two wrestlers, two folding chairs, two pens, one table, and one medium-level Sudoku puzzle. Sharpened pencils count as freedom objects."

How To Clean Up Pro Wrestling - Random drug testing is just the beginning. By Randy and Jason Sklar
Before we turn our attention to steroids, there are a few problem areas that professional wrestling must address.

Nicknames: Drugs might give some wrestlers an unfair advantage in the ring. But the 'roid disparity can't compare to the nickname gap. If one competitor is named Kamala the Ugandan Headhunter and his opponent is Dave Smith, the match is over before the bell rings.
Folding chairs: If you're going to leave portable metal chairs close to the action, you can expect that the wrestlers will use them, and not for sitting. We recommend bench seating in the first four rows. If a wrestler is strong enough to lift a 14-foot bench and savvy enough to find pugilistic uses for it, then that is worth watching.

The foreign object: There's enough xenophobia in this country as it is, especially in pro wrestling circles. We don't need to bump the terror alert up to Orange every time someone pulls a screwdriver or a piece of scrap metal out of his tights. That's why we recommend calling them "freedom objects."

Outfits: All outerwear must be equal. Not the same, just equal. If a wrestler struts into the ring wearing a boa constrictor around his neck, his opponent cannot be left with a simple zip-up jacket. He must be provided, by the league, with at the very least an angry tropical bird. Any unusually violent macaw or toucan will do.
Instant replay: How many times have you yelled in frustration at a distracted referee who failed to notice a guy getting double-teamed in the corner? Imagine how much more fair the sport would be if each wrestler's valet could throw two challenge flags per match. We have the technology. It's time to deploy it.

Hulk Hogan's Heroes - Why pro wrestlers should be in the Olympics. By Dave McKenna
The Olympics sure have grown up since Jim Thorpe forfeited a medal for having played bush league baseball for pay. By now, the amateur fa├žade has, as Ric "Nature Boy" Flair would say, been dropped like third-period French. The United States has generally taken advantage of the move toward an all-pro Olympics. When the just-for-the-love-of-the-sport boys stopped bringing home gold in, for example, hockey and basketball, America called in the professionals.

It's about time we did the same in wrestling.
Forget amateur moves like escapes and takedowns. How many points would a ref award the piledrivers and sleeper holds our wrestlers will slap on the competition? How would they score the Rock's pet headbanger, "The People's Elbow"?
There's just one pesky question that Games organizers will have to work out: What's the national anthem of Parts Unknown?

Staatsbibliothek Watch

Powell's Books - The Dark Side of the Moon: The Making of the Pink Floyd Masterpiece by John Harris

Saturday, December 17, 2005

WTF? Thieves Steal Two-Ton Moore Sculpture

LONDON - Thieves using a flatbed truck and a crane snatched a two-ton Henry Moore bronze of a reclining figure from the grounds of the late sculptor's foundation north of London, police said Saturday.

The sculpture, valued at more than $5.2 million, was stolen Thursday night from the artist's Hertfordshire county estate, authorities said in a statement.
Police said three thieves brought in a crane to lift the sculpture onto the flatbed truck, then drove away at 10:16 p.m. Thursday. The theft was filmed by security video.

"Have you seen me? I'm 11 3/4 feet long, 6 1/2 feet high and 6 1/2 feet wide!"

Thieves teal Two-Ton Moore Sculpture - Yahoo! News

Friday, December 16, 2005

Imagine if John Lennon hadn't been assassinated 25 years ago - what would he make of our troubled world? - [Sunday Herald]

by Ian Bell - Sunday Herald Scotland

I’m not sure, but I think I wrote one of the obituaries for John Lennon. It was a long time ago. Last week’s anniversary of his murder confirmed as much, with one of those intimations of mortality you could probably do without: the Beatle was around for half my life, and for half my life he has been gone.

Unless age has overtaken you in such a manner, you probably cannot begin to grasp Lennon’s significance, or care.


Entire generations have come to adulthood who can’t see what all the fuss was about. Some of them think The Beatles were a bit silly, at best.
Many more regard Lennon as a preaching, self-involved prat. In certain moods, I agree with them.

Then I listen again. Twenty-five years after his death, Lennon still strikes me as a songwriter of real significance.


I wonder, how would a living Lennon have figured? John, wherever he is, wants to have fun with my wishful thinking. He says that, yes, of course, obviously, sooner or later he would have wised-up and told Yoko to find her own career. He says he would have remembered, sooner or later, that his vocation was rock and roll, not cheesy ballads, and that if Jagger felt capable of taking the stage in his 60s, John Winston Lennon would not be hanging around in the wings.

And the peace thing?

These days, "the peace thing" is a bigger deal than ever. In his day, remember, Lennon was roundly mocked for what seemed infantile, simplistic rhetoric. Lying in bed, or in the bag, or inviting "world leaders" to plant acorns in the name of harmony: his head had been bent out of shape, surely, by Ms Ono? Even when he stated the obvious – you couldn’t not talk about Vietnam, even if you were a mere pop star – his reward was a level of media ridicule without recent parallel. Thanks to ego, or honesty, or both, he wouldn’t shut up. I doubt he would be silent today.
The modern world abounds with peace movements, each one desperately needed, and each of them in some degree in a line of descent from Lennon and his antics. It involves a question Elvis Costello put best in a song title, a question often deemed relevant at this time of year: what’s so funny ’bout peace, love and understanding?

All You Need is Love; Give Peace A Chance: old men put their lives at stake in Baghdad, in orange jump-suits, simply to reiterate the proposition. Like Lennon, they are not "practical", they are not "realistic". They misunderstand the geopolitics and fail to grasp the impossibility of success. But for every doubting question, John, in his time, had a question of his own: what else is a person supposed to do?

The riposte was a good one, but it improves with age. My fond belief is that Lennon, alive, would be more radical then ever. I doubt that he would have become more sophisticated, but these days I am suspicious of sophistication. Look up the early, Elizabethan definition of the word and you might see what I mean.
A 65-year-old Lennon contemplating the Iraq crime would probably have asked: "What is this shit?" I’m not certain you need to ask much more.

Early death, the extinguishing of talent, and the media’s mania for anniversaries each tend to distort our view of personalities. Lennon has been idealised absurdly. The record shows that he was often a son of a bitch, sometimes violent, always egotistical, possibly disturbed. Vast success turned him into a spoiled brat while, appropriately, he was still a kid. Earlier tragedies allowed the motherless child to believe he had licence for almost any sort of behaviour. His redemption came in the form of self-awareness: he understood himself, good and bad, and decided that love was the answer.

You could do worse. The old boy up in rock and roll heaven, still having a laugh at the expense of a middle-aged fan, insists that he was always smart, but not clever. All he did was talk simple sense. (Mr Lennon, senior citizen: "OK. Hands up. Who doesn’t, in fact, want to give peace a chance? It’s almost Christmas. So what have you actually done, recently? By the way, who doesn’t need love?") The hairy guitarist they treated as a loon turned out to be a practical philosopher. History is littered with parallels.

On another day, in a different mood, I might have been less indulgent. This morning I prefer to believe that Lennon, alive, would have been one voice – a loud one, with leather lungs – among many millions saying: "Just stop." The absence of peace has been humanity’s default position since we stumbled out of the caves and war has one endlessly recurring feature: it’s useless. Doesn’t work. That was John’s insight, the wisdom of a five-year-old, but it pierces still.

Pop music fascinates some of us because it is full of paradoxes. Here’s one: when you reach the age at which rock and roll should no longer matter, it matters more. When you are old enough to conclude that cheap music is trivial and irrelevant, it somehow begins to seem profound. When you have all the education you can use, when you are up to your armpits in "culture", simplicity acquires an extraordinary value.
And once you have run through the philosophers and the political scientists, one dead, over-paid scallie talking about peace becomes someone you are glad to have had in your life.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Happy Holidays from the Abominable Snow Monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Advertiser: More sharks patrol Adelaide beaches [16dec05]:
Snapper fisherman Andrew, 34, of Dernancourt, had photographed a 5.5m shark as it attacked his aluminium vessel of the same length off North Haven last weekend.

The Globe and Mail: Cage diving sparks shark fears:
Gansbaai, South Africa — The cage is lowered half into the blue-green swell of the southern Atlantic. At the skipper's command we don wet suits and masks and clamber in, four of us. A crew member throws a foul-smelling mix of shark liver and tuna (chum) into the water, spawning an “odour corridor” discernible over a kilometre away. Lunch is served.

Minutes later, a dark shape is spotted about 200 metres away. Then 100 metres. “Dive, dive!” A deep breath and we sink to the bottom of the cage. The world has turned grey and silent. We stare into the murk. Nothing. We stare, eyes wide and unblinking. Then it comes. A shadow looming huge and fast. It rolls and a white belly appears. It turns and makes another pass, jaws slightly open. Reach out and you could slip your hand in. We have just met Carcharodon carcharias, a great white shark.

GIANT SQUID WATCH: The Science of Sea Monsters

"Sea monsters are in the news and on television like never before. NBC has a hit show on Monday nights with 'Surface,' about a huge, terrifying aquatic creature, and sea monsters grace the cover of the December 2005 issue of National Geographic.

Scientists working in Patagonia, South America, recently found remains of a 13-foot beast with four-inch teeth. The creature, dubbed 'Godzilla' by its discoverers, is a distant relative of today's crocodiles and lived about 135 million years ago.

Giant squid

Since men took to sea, stories of fearsome leviathans have haunted those brave enough to venture beyond dry land. The Kraken, a huge many-tentacled beast, was said to attack sailors on the open ocean and drag them to their watery deaths.

As fantastic as these monsters are, science has discovered a biological basis for some of these myths."

The Science of Sea Monsters:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

"War is a crime. Ask the infantry and the dead."