News, commentary and fun things from the Internet and around the world.

Monday, December 02, 2002

I'm not sure that I'm going to continue maintaining this blog. I am still reading the international news, but I'm lacking the energy to keep posting here. I'm experimenting with dropping this project for now. If I find that I miss writing it, I'll be back. Or, if I make up my mind, I'll post it here first.

Thanks to everyone that I've met through this project. I've loved doing it, and I've loved meeting all of you. Remember to keep your eyes open, and read a news source outside of your own city and country if you want to get the real flavor of the world.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002


Crossing Over Experience
While I was living with my parents, my 19-year-old nephew one day asked me out of the blue what I think of John Edward and what he does. And while I'm always a bit skeptical of things, I do like the idea that John is really connecting with departed loved ones. I like to think it is possible. I like to think that John is a sincere guy who is really trying to help people. I've watched a few episodes, and I find the show relaxing and encouraging, but its not on my "must see" list. I do like what John says, that it is important to keep short accounts with people while they are alive so there is less guilt and unnecessary grief when they pass. I think that is great advice for the living.

This Is Too Cool
A few years back, the City of Phoenix opened City Haul, a gift shop where they sold left over city supplies, like stop signs, fire hydrants, and other municipal items. Now, you can buy things confiscated by the police departments in several states at an online shopping destination that is eBay meets COPS, PropertyRoom.com. You can even report your stolen items for recovery at their feature, StealItBack.com. Guess where I'll be doing some of my holiday shopping.

Speaking of Phoenix City Trash...
...Did you hear that Tuscon has purchased the old Phoenix holiday street decorations to use next year? I guess that if City Haul was still open, I could have bought one of the wreaths for my front door, eh?

Do You IM At Work?
I know people who use instant messaging (IM) instead of email to keep in touch with family and friends during the work day. But what if your job required you to use IM to communicate with staff and customers? Seems that IM in the workplace is becoming more popular as businesses try to harness the easy access it provides.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002


Cross Dressing Angst
It's always amazing to me when I see the same theme running through independently reported news items around the world. Male high school students get in trouble for wearing cheerleading uniforms to school with skirts that are too short for the school dress code. They were celebrating a school spirit day. And in Tecate, Mexico, transvestites are in danger of being arrested thanks to a new ordinance that makes cross-dressing for men illegal. Women can still wear pants. The same ordinance was NOT instituted in Tijuana, a neighboring border town, because the transvestite community threatened to out officials who have used the services of homosexual prostitutes. Interesting, eh?

Cincy Cracks Down on Johns
You have to put this in perspective. Cincinnati is the heart of Hamilton County which had banned all pornography within the county limits, forcing these merchants to the county line, and the neighboring cities. It is also the town that indicted and tried the Contemporary Arts Center and its director, Dennis Barrie, for exhibiting The Perfect Moment, an exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, which were allegedly "obscene." The movie, Dirty Pictures, was made about this. They also have a long history of prosecuting Larry Flynt, a local purveyor of porn. Now, the up-tight geniuses in Cincy are impounding the cars that belong to the johns when they make a vice bust. Imagine explaining THAT to the little lady at home.

New Codes for Cell Phone Caused Traffic Accidents
Starting in January, state departments of transportation have a new set of codes that will identify traffic accidents where cell phones, PDAs, and pagers have contributed to the accident. This information can also be used to help states decide if they want create new legislation against the use of these items.

Only In California......would someone think that a two-part quarter is a good idea. One design idea for the California quarter would produce two halves, symbolic of the San Andreas fault that is the cause of the ubiquitous California earthquakes, and a taste of what may come when the big one hits and California falls into the ocean. It's a great program, but a two-part two bit piece? Nah.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Today's Theme: Election Relief

The Preferred Bar For Serial Killers in the Northwest
How strange is this? The Waterfront Tavern in Bellingham, Washington has served brewskis to more than one serial killer. How many other bars can make that claim? They include Ted Bundy, Kenneth Bianchi, who was arrested with Angelo Buono Jr. (Hillside Stranglers), James A. Kinney, and now John Muhammad, who cheered the 9/11 terrorists while imbibing.

Whaaazzzzup Kiribati?
It just goes to show that some people can't take a joke. A satirical website in New Zealand, Spinner, published an article that the US was about to invade the small Pacific Ocean country of Kiribati, and they believed it was true! The small country, made up a series of islands, used to be known as the Gilbert Islands and used to be under British rule. However, in a weird twist, it turns out that the US had a claim on Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands until 1979. The article that caused all of this problem has been removed from the site.

McDonalds Opposed in Oaxaca, Mexica Plaza
After 52 years, El Mundo Elegante, a clothing store, shut down in the central plaza of this quaint Mexican town, to make room for a McDonalds. People are upset to have American commercialism invade their traditional plaza. I would be, too.

Law & Order Reaches Cult Status
I must admit, when I started watching TV after more than 15 years of avoiding it all together, I fell in love with Law & Order. I know the schedule for it on TNT every day of the week, and I've created a chart of which stars appear in which years. Seems that I'm not the only one. I like the Criminal Intent spinoff, but don't connect with the Special Victims Unit.

Auditions for Budding Singers
I've heard people say that our national anthem is one of the hardest songs to sing. Who can forget Roseanne's butchering of it, among other famous attempts that failed miserably. I like the idea that it is played or performed before the start of sporting events, but unfortunately, this means that lots of people get lots of opportunities to enter the anthem's hall of shame. Recently, the Los Angeles Clippers decided to take advantage of the fact that so many star wannabes reside in their city, and held public auditions for anthem singers.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Teens collecting signatures for petition for more modest clothing [photo copyright Arizona Republic]
Mormon Teens Petition For "Respectful" Clothing
It's the anti-Britney backlash, and it is coming from the Mormon contingent in the metro Phoenix area. Teens are collecting signatures on a petition to pressure Dillards to carry clothes "that covers the midriff, bust, shoulder, back, legs to the knee and any clothing that shows respect for the body." Good luck, girls.

If It Isn't Terrorism...
...the cable news channels don't talk about it. Did anyone else see this? This afternoon, there was breaking news from St. Louis where a FedEx truck, apparently an 18-wheeler, exploded on the highway in the city. And since then, not a peep. Turns out, the explosion was the result of a traffic accident, and not terrorism. So the "breaking news" item was never followed up by the cable news channels. The good news is that the drivers were not hurt, but the packages were lost.

Google Bombs Defused
It seems that Google has changed it's search algorithm to prevent those infamous blog Google bombs. I never understood the motivation of bloggers to make them in the first place. Now, Google has the last laugh.

What Dubya Watches Inflight
No surprise, the cable news networks are almost never played on Air Force One, and they often play a taped Texas Rangers game. It was interesting to see how the Prez is using the plane to support local politians, including Matt Salmon who is running for Arizona governor. Salmon drove for 2.5 hours to catch the plane in Flagstaff so he could be seen getting off it in Phoenix with Dubya.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Today's Theme: Disturbing Current Events

This Takes The Cake
I'll admit that I've spent more time watching the cable news channels this week than usual. It was interesting to see the story unfold, when there really were things that were happening. In general, I don't like the coverage by the cable news channels, the way they sensationalize even the most trivial events, and the way they invite every possible "expert" to talk on air. Most of these people's comments are totally irrelevant and often misleading, as was the case during the beltway sniper coverage. But read this... CNN actually asked CBS if they could interview the ACTORS who appear on CSI to talk about how a real investigation is different from their scripted television show investigations. This is cable news "journalism" at an all time low. Don't believe me? Read this article for yourself.

Beltway Sniper Legal Documents
Thanks to The Smoking Gun, we can see a huge collection of the warrants, restraining orders, and murder charges documents related to the investigation of the suspects, Muhammad and Mavlo.

Moscow Terrorists Supported by al Qaeda?
Seems that this could be the case. Unfortunately, the war in Chechnya is something that I've not educated myself about, but the ongoing terrorist situation in Moscow has moved it to the top of my list. There is a lot of information available about the conflict... I just need some time to sift through it. I suppose I really should be reading some Russian history, too. But this amazes me -- about 500 Chechens living in Moscow have offered to substitute themselves with the hostages. WOW. Thankfully, the seige appears to be over.

Iraq To Expel Foreign Journalists
They invited the journalists into Iraq to document the "re-election" of Saddam Hussein, and after CNN covered both the release of the prisoners and the demonstration by the families of prisoners that were not released outside the Iraqi Information Ministry in Baghdad, they want everyone out. I read earlier this week that many of the prison guards were actually killing prisoners as they were being released, but now I can't find that link to share with you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Sad Story From Nigeria
Oprah, bless her, is working to use her influence to save the life of Amina Lawal by encouraging people to participate in the letter writing campaign sponsored by Amnesty International. While this story tugs at my heart, and while I would love to see this woman's life saved, I don't believe this effort will be successful. This woman was sentenced to death under the religious law, the Sharia. This is the same religious law in place in Afghanistan under the Taliban. She hasn't been charged by the government's laws, but the church's laws, in a place where such things are allowed. In this report, now Sharia is about to be introduced in Kenya.

I'm glad to see Oprah making this issue so public -- I think that the more we in America understand the situation of people living in this type oppression, the more chance there is for a political negotiation. I would love to see people all over the world living in freedom, but the reality is, very few places give people the sorts of freedoms we enjoy in democracy. And even within the US, there are huge numbers of people who don't understand that no one is going to save them, no one is going to come along and GIVE them a wonderful life. You have to use your freedoms to make your life wonderful. It's called personal responsibility. Even in democracy, you are still responsible for your own life.

What is happening to Amina is common in many countries. If you read the news from around the world, you will be shocked to see stories like this appearing frequently.

Monday, October 21, 2002


Alice Cooper's Nightmare
The reviews are in, and Alice's haunted house seems to be the real deal. I missed hearing about this house last year, its maiden voyage year, if it is appropriate to talk about a haunted house like a ship. According to Steve Kopelman, the house director, Cooper approached him three years ago with the idea for a haunted house that uses high-tech effects. Kopelman recently designed the Ice Restaurant and Bar in Scottsdale. The house was so popular last year that Alice has opened another one in San Antonio this year. You can look for an Alice haunted house in a town near you in the near future.

New Lead in the Petticoat Thief Case
85 years ago, the small Ohio town of Barberton was terrorized by a burglar who specialized in stealing, you guessed it, women's underwear. First, things disappeared from the clothes lines (remember, this was around 1915). Then, as the thief grew more brazen, he would break into people's homes, leaving their valuables and taking the lacy goods. There was a $100 reward for him! And now, after many years without an attack (they stopped in the early 1930s), the town's most famous unsolved crime spree has a new lead. The thief confessed, well, sort of. The man, now 99 years old, wrote a letter to the local police confessing to the crimes, but signed only by his initials, G.K. And the letter was postmarked from Phoenix. The local historian, Phyllis Taylor, wrote about this crime in her book "100 Years of Magic, The Story of Barberton, Ohio, 1891-1991." Some wondered if he was the town's mayor. It turns out, he was only 14 when he started his collection out of his compulsion for cross-dressing. Today, he could shop in public for such things!

Brain Tumor Linked To Pedophilia
Strange but apparently true. A man suddenly developed an interest in pedophilia and got in all kinds of social and legal problems. Later, when he developed headaches, he got an MRI and they found a tumor in his brain. When it was removed, his interest in the pedophilia disappeared, but return when the tumor returned. His doctor, Russell Swerdlow and of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, reported this unusual case to the American Neurological Association annual meeting.

OJ Not Sure He's Still "Innocent"
I've read some pretty weird stuff online before, even from a major news source like MSNBC, but this one takes the cake. If this is true, then I believe that OJ is joining the majority of Americans who doubt his innocence, in spite of the jury ruling in his favor.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Mike Myers [photo copyright The Star]
No Way! Way!
A new subdivision in Toronto is going to have Mike Myers Drive in honor of the home town boy who made good.

Hobbits Are Alive And Well...
...and living in Russia according to the results of their latest census.

Sexual Enhancement Scam Busted (pun intended)
In spite of the informercials, I knew you couldn't really enhance your privates with these potions. Now the whole world knows.

College Dorm Laundry Rooms Get Digital
Now, you can be paged when your dryer shuts off thanks to E-Suds. Great. But everyone else on the waiting list will also be paged that a dryer is available. This isn't what I had in mind when I ws thinking about "better living through..." technology. If only they could get the dryer to fold the clothes and stack them in my basket, I would be signing up!

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Jeffrey Archer Creates A New Controversy
The British author, Jeffrey Archer, is not best known for his books (including As The Crow Flies, Kane & Abel, Shall We Tell the President, and Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less) but for his public controversies. While a Conservative Party Member of Parliment in 1987, Lord Archer sued the Daily Star for libel when they published that he had paid a prostitute. The policital backlash caused him to resign, but he won the lawsuit. Still politically active, he helped raise funds for the Kurdish refugees after the Gulf War, was knighted, and ran for Mayor of London in 1999. In July 2001, after the testimony of his secretary and others, Archer was found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice, and was sentenced to four years in prison and had to repay the settlement, which he had donated to charity. Always a writer, Archer began keeping a prison diary which will be published by Macmillan around Christmas. A portion of the book is being published by the Daily Mail. In it, Archer breaks the prison rules by naming other inmates and guards. He was moved from the North Sea Camp prison to the Lincoln prison recently after being caught taking advantage of the open prison situation (what we call "country club" prision in the US), and he may have to spend additional time in prision for the rule breaking related to his book.

Sunday, October 06, 2002


New Sex and the City Book Due Soon
I've been out to Amazon to look at the pages, but I haven't made up my mind if I'm going to order this book. Because of my illness, I missed all but the first two episodes of this season. I've heard mixed reviews about the quality of this season, but I'm looking forward to seeing the episodes for myself. And, will the DVD for season 4 be out soon?

Organized Kid Sports Too Stressful?
I don't have any kids, but I've been to enough sporting events to watch my neices and nephews that I know the ill-tempered parents can ruin it for their own kids, and the whole team. And now a study that says that perhaps these organized sports are too stressful for kids. What's a soccer mom to do?

Japanese Abductions
This is not the type of story I normally cover. Perhaps I've been force fed one too many episodes of Forensic Files during my recouperation (I do prefer that show to Jerry Springer, which is another staple on the TV in the house). I was shocked. Perhaps the whole world is already at war and I am just realizing it.

Thursday, October 03, 2002


New Ansel Adams Photographs on Display
Recently, a box of vacation snapshots taken by Ansel Adams on a trip through the Southwest in 1937 were discovered and are currently on display at the Fitchburg Art Museum in Massachusetts. In addition to the great landscape, they include candids of the travellers, which included Georgia O'Keeffe. The Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, founded by Adams, may have contact sheets and negatives of these images. But to find new Adams photographs is quite a discovery.

Sydney Most Multilingual Australian City
According to a recent study done by researchers Michael Clyne and Sandra Kipp at Melbourne University using the 2001 Australian census information, nearly 30% of Sydney residents speak a language other than English. Not only that, but the study showed that younger people are increasingly multilingual, and that the emphasis is shifting from European languages to Middle Eastern and Asian languages. The full results of their study were published in the latest edition of People and Place, a publication of Monash University. They previously had done a similar study using the 1996 census information.

Best Cities In The World
And while Sydney may be more multilingual than nearby Melbourne, it was Melbourne that was just rated as the best city in the world to live in by the Worldwide Cost of Living Survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, tied with Vancouver, Canada. Cities in the top ten include: Melbourne, Australia; Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, Canada; Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland; Frankfurt, Germany; and Oslo, Norway. The highest American city was Honolulu at 16th.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Reverend Mychal Judge
Fallen FDNY Chaplin A Saint?
There is a movement afoot to nominate the Reverend Mychal Judge for sainthood within the Catholic Church. From what I've heard of his life, he sounds like a terrific candidate to me.

New York City Finds Places of Solace
Post-9/11 New York is filling up with a new type of space -- places of solace where employees can go to relax. Mostly, this means that existing offices are adding garden spaces with water features that provide a different environment. Hurrah for NY. Let's start a movement to add such places to all workspaces. It might just improve the sanity and quality of life for everyone.

"Joy of Sex" Anniversary Release
I am not surprised to learn that Nicholas Comfort didn't learn about the joys of sex from his father, the author of the celebrated book, Joy of Sex. After all, I suspect his father was too busy doing research to share his findings with his son. And isn't that part of the reason why he wrote the book, so he could just do the research and people could read the book? I just wonder what it would be like to grow up with a father who had written a famous sex book.

Wanted: Bilingual Canadians
My university didn't require me to take a foreign language -- I had the option to complete a set of courses that would give me research skills instead. So I never learned more than just the few phrases most people know in Spanish or French. Which is to say, I don't understand either one. I did take 3 years of Latin in high school, but that hasn't helped me one bit. I've lived in Phoenix for 10 years, and I swore at the start that I would learn enough Spanish to be able to get by... and still I don't know a word. But in Canada, currently 24% of the high school grads are bilingual, and there is a push to get nearly half of the population bilingual. I applaud this idea. Maybe I'll sign up for conversational Spanish at my neighborhood community college in the spring.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Dubya Fun

Thanks to Jennifer at Forty.Something for finding this gem... a site where you can be the speechwriter for George W. Bush. I spent a lot of time here, and so did my whole family!

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

[Quick entry because I just can't keep quiet...]

Castle Megastore [photo copyright Castle Megastores]
Adult Superstore Controversy Continues
The new Castle Boutique Megastore currently under construction in Phoenix is under attack from every angle. What isn't clear from the articles against this construction is that these are retail stores, not adult services facilities.

Update: 2 October

Now, the issue has gone to the Board of Adjustment, and the neighbors are threatening to recall their local city councilman, Dave Seibert, because he hasn't been able to stop the project. Meanwhile, the owners of the Castle Superstore chain thanks the media for all of the free press and increased business this controversy has created. Talk about silver linings...

Sunday, September 22, 2002

[Still recouperating from my surgery, but starting to realize how much I miss the world news...]

Professor Larry Lessig [photo copyright Los Angeles Times]
And While We Are At It, Let's Challenge Copyrights!
A fascinating story about Larry Lessig, a Stanford University law professor, whose challenge to the 1998 copyright law, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, is about to reach the US Supreme Court as the case Eldred v. Ashcroft. Interestingly, the article mentions how Disney uses literary classics as the basis for its own classics, but wants to lock up the copyrights so no one can use their works in the same way that they have used the works of others, and the Act (which they used campaign contributions to promote) is interestingly timed to prevent Mickey Mouse from entering the public domain for an additional 20 years! Eric Eldred is quite an interesting character himself, someone who believed he was making a contribution for the common good.

I'm Not The Only One Not Amused...
...by the abbreviated written language that appears throughout the IM world. Things like "R U OK?" drive me up the wall. OK, I'll admit that I've been known to use LOL (for laughing out loud) and I've made my fair share of smiley/winky/frowny faces. But I draw the line there. Putting this together with the recent study that found that the kids today are more dexterious with their thumbs than my generation, and you get a group of people who can thumb their own noses but can't type. Hurry up voice recognition is all I can say!

Loving Thoughtful Blog Entries Like This One
Having been offline for weeks and missing my several hours of daily reading, it is a real treat to find that my cyber pal Mal is still cranking out entries that hit my heart and mind. I was raised in a similar way, not taught to pay attention to race or creed. I just realized a year or so ago that one of my best friends from high school was Latino -- it never occured to me then. Here is a bit of what Mal observered that really touched me:
What I didn't fathom was that ... [s]he was talking about Mal and Mormons and fat girls and celibate bisexuals and all of the other labels that keep me from speaking. From feeling worthy to speak my truths. All of those things that keep me from stripping down and standing, arms wide, in the sun. From knowing myself and being known. From the dark corners where the questions live.
I've missed a lot!

Who Said That The Free Internet Is Dead?
I've been watching this story for some time with great interest. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has plans to make all of its courseware available for free online. You can't get a degree for free, but you can learn if you have the initiative to spend the time to read and learn. I think this is a fabulous idea. After working through the details about tools and copyrights and file formats, the information is scheduled to start becoming available on 30 September 2002. Personally, I'm planning to be there!

Thursday, September 19, 2002

photo copyright US Marine Corps
Marines Training For Urban Battles
I'm recouperating from my surgery at my parent's home in Dayton, Ohio and I discover that the Marines have beat me here. Seems they have taken over parts of the town to prepare for a possible urban battle in Bagdad (yep, the capital of Iraq). The 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune, N.C. is involved. They previously spent three months in Afghanistan.



Monday, September 09, 2002

Please see my post at Desert Mermaid for an update.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

I'm taking a few sick days. Be back when I feel like it!

Sunday, August 11, 2002

Prince bin Salman fulfills his dream at the Kentucky Derby with War Emblem [photo copyright Cindy Dulay]Prince Ahmed bin Salman Dies
I missed this one when it happened. I wrote about the Prince earlier this year when I realized that he was the owner of a winning throughbred horse, War Emblem. I'm sorry that he has passed so young. I love stories like this, a man whose passions, not heredity, lead him to the successes that he sought in life.
[Previous coverage]

Administrative Crack Down on Illegal Workers
Until recently, many people who are in this country without a social security number have invented numbers to get past the Department of Justice requirement for employers to make sure their employees are in the country and working legally. Now, the DOJ is actually getting around to checking the submitted social security numbers, and they are notifying employers when an employee didn't match the number they gave. Sometimes, it is an honest, clerical error. But many people are losing jobs because they falsified this information, which is impacting the businesses that are losing employees. About 1/8 of employers have received this kind of letter and over 7 million employees have been addressed since the beginning of the year. The Social Security Administration and the Immigration and Naturalization Service are being factual in their handing of these cases, while special interest groups like the National Imigration Law Center are screaming about it. In 1999, there was $4.9 billion in social security taxes withheld from paychecks for people whose SSN didn't match what was on file.

NetFlix Sucess Makes Them a Target
You've got to hand it to the people at Blockbuster... they are smart about their business. First, they took on the mom & pop video stores, running them out of business with their exclusive deals with the studios. Second, they took on satellite TV services, becoming one of the largest retailers of DirecTV. And now, they are experimenting with a subscription service to knock out the impact of their newest competitor, NetFlix. The new program is called DVD Subscription Pass and it's being tested in Phoenix, Seattle, Houston, and New York right now. With video on demand services just around the corner, Blockbuster isn't letting any competition stand in their way. But NetFlix isn't fazed by this... they have just opened several regional processing centers so they can deliver their DVDs through the mail quicker across the country.
[Previous coverage]

Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Crop Circle in Quebec This Week [photo copyright Canada.com]
"I See Crop Circles..."
OK, I'll stop making fun of M. Night Shyamalan's movies. But as you might expect, the interest in crop circles has risen in response to his new movie Signs. I'm planning to see it in a couple of weeks. I don't have an opinion about crop circles, and my world wouldn't be shaken one way or the other if they were unmistakenly proven true or false. But the images are pretty. Here is the latest from Quebec, Canada.

Everyone With A Stolen Debit Card Should Be So Lucky
Jacqueline Boanson had her debit card stolen by Andrew Cameron in the UK. He used the card to place two £50 (about $80) bets on horse races. He won, but the winnings were posted to the debit card that was used to make the bet. The overall effect? Her bank account balance went up by nearly $500.

Australian Grain Shipments to Iraq Refused
Recently, the government of Iraq threatened to reduce the level of wheat they import from Australia because of their military presence in the Gulf region and their political support of the US policies against Iraq. At that time, shipments were already on their way by boat. Now that the shipments have arrived, the have been refused by the Iraqis because they claim that the shipments are contaminated. The AWB Limited, the grain board, says that is the shipments are not contaminated, but indeed the refusal is political, the AWB is going to put pressure on the Australian government because of the importance of these imports. Fasten your seatbelts, the shakeout has begun.

Tuesday, August 06, 2002

Martha puts all of her eggs in one basket [photo copyright MSO]
Martha in an Orange Jumpsuit?
Looking for a belly laugh? Then read this wonderful opinion about why Martha Stewart won't be going to jail -- not because she isn't guilty, but because the Federal Bureau of Prisons isn't prepared to contain a style maven like her. In fact, about the only thing M would like about prison is the heavy use of grey, which Paul Coggins observers "...Gray is the new black..."

Was bin Laden Upset About the WTC Architecture?
Did you know that the World Trade Center incorporated Islamic sacred architectural elements? Or that the architect, Minoru Yamasaki, was a favorite of the Saudi royal family who had also designed the King Fahd Dhahran Air Terminal in the 1950s which the royal family liked so well that it appears on their currency?




Monday, August 05, 2002

Example of road side direction sign [photo copyright Brian Lucas]
Which Side of the Road is Right?
Have you ever wondered why some countries drive on the right side of the road, and other countries drive on the left? That question has been answered! Fascinating history of transportation site that gives a method to the madness. While you are there, check out the list of countries that prefer each side. And if you have any additional information, they are accepting input from visitors.

Privacy Zone Getting Smaller
Imagine that you live in a country without the separation of church and state. And imagine that it is illegal to explore many of the types of services available so easily on the Internet. Now, imagine that you are a creative business owner in that country. So you convert a back room, or maybe a hallway, into a cybercafe where your customers can pay for a slice of privacy and a chance to explore options on the Internet. Now, imagine that your country puts in new homeland defense type of laws, that require you as the operator of a cybercafe to register with the government, and then, to require ID from all of your customers. Welcome to Pakistan. Welcome to the Brave New World post-September 11.

Dream DVD Rentals? I Think So
About two years ago, when I bought my DVD player, I joined NetFlix. At first, I was incredulous -- the offer sounded too good to be true. But I've found that the company is reputable, the service is good, and the promises are delivered. In this time, the company has gone public and seems to be headed for that elite group: dot com financial success. It's a smart idea that seems to be well executed. If you are thinking about joining them, make sure that you poke around for a free trial membership offer to try-before-you-buy. I think you'll be hooked.

Back To School Tip: Bananas & Bach
With schools getting ready to start up, it is time to think about coping with that most common problem: test taking. According to the staff at the Turves Green Girls' School in the UK, the best way to prepare students for test taking is to have them eat bananas, listen to some Bach, and do some mental gymnastics. Unless you hate bananas, it can't hurt. I wonder if this works for adults preparing for difficult days on the job, too.

Sunday, August 04, 2002

Arnolda and Lizza, the Virgin Blue beefcake guys [photo copyright Campbell Scott]
Virgin Blue Men Get Fair Coverage
In America, we have the NY firefighters beefcake calendar... but in the UK, they are now getting a beefcake article about the male flight attendants that work for Virgin Blue airlines. Seems that a group of the women posed for a layout in FHM magazine, and the The Sunday Telegraph decided to select the best beefcake among the male attendants. The winners are Stuart Arnolda and Fabian Lizza.

Beacon in the Desert
The Arizona/Mexico border is the place where many people attempt to enter this country illegally. (Don't get me started about the legalities of political borders...) With the conditions they encounter crossing the desert, many of them die in the process. As a humanitarian effort, especially after the deaths of a group of 14 Mexicans about a year ago (and influenced by the events of 11 September), the Yuma, Arizona division of the US Border Patrol has begun installing beacons that are 30 feet tall that allow those people crossing the desert can notify the Border Patrol that they are there and need help. So far, the beacons have been saving lives, and more are scheduled for installation.

Korean Textbook Bias Investiation Started
The Grand National Party in Korea has ordered an investigation into pro-governement (North Korea) bias found in recent history textbooks, written to support Marxist theory. They want the textbooks corrected and those responsible punished.

Demand for Universal Cell Phone Chargers
More interesting news from South Korea -- the government there is calling for all cell phone manufacturers selling phones there to come up with a universal charger so that people don't have to purhase a new charger when they get a new phone. What a great idea!

Talk About Sailors on Shore Leave...
On a recent shore leave trip to Perth, Australia, it seems that American soliders were wearing out the sex workers at a local brothel, so badly that they closed their doors so the girls could get some sleep. The madame, Mary-Anne Kenworthy, said that she would rather the US soldiers would get their leave in smaller groups so her business could keep up. The ships were the USS John C Stennis, USS Port Royal, and the USS Bridge which were returning to the US after a tour of Afghanistan in late April.

Saturday, August 03, 2002

Sherrif Joe's Pink Boxers [photo copyright the Posse]
Arizona Prisoner Law Being Challenged
I live in the wild, wild west. People shopping in Circle K have guns on them. Last month, a prisoner chain gang (yup, with stripes and ankle shackles like "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?") was cleaning up the street about a half mile from my home. We have a tent city jail, and the prisoners have to wear pink boxer shorts. Oh, and we have webcams inside the jails. But I didn't know that prisoners are prevented from Internet communications. It fits, though, with the rest of Sherrif Joe's agenda. I'm not sure how I feel about it.

Hungary for Rocky Horror
OK, that's a bad pun. But I had to snicker when I found this article in the Budapest newspaper about fans of, you guessed it, the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

No Russian Word for "Frustration"
Wow. What a fascinating article. I've heard that in the Navajo language there is no word for "art" because everything is art, and that the Eskimos have a huge number of words for snow so they can describe it accurately. But this is a new fact, and totally fascinating.

Flying Sauces Being Built by Boeing
OK, maybe I exaggerate about the shape of what they are working on, but the good folks at Boeing admit that they are working on an anti-gravity airplane propulsion system in their Phantom Works division. Finally, someone admits it.

Friday, August 02, 2002

Working on Dzongkha fonts [photo copyright Kuensel Online]
Bhutan Gets New Window on the World
It's official. In 2003, the people of Bhutan will finally be able to use the Windows operating system, thanks to a new version in the Dzongkha language developed jointly by Microsoft, The Orient Foundation, and Dzongkha Development Commission. Too bad they didn't get the Mac first!

Russian Mob's Sports Connection
I guess that with the big bucks generated by sponts, it was only a matter of time before mobsters got involved. I don't know much about the Russian mob (although I suspect I may know a few members), or about corruption around sports, so I was surprised to read about it here. Alimzan Tokhtakhounov has been arrested as being behind an ice skating medal fixing fisasco at the Salt Lake City Olympics, and no, I don't mean the pairs fisasco [previous coverage]. Another one.

Give Me A Break!
There is an uproar going on because the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill has given their incoming freshman this assignment: Read Approaching the Qur'an -- a book about the Koran, the scriptures for Muslims. This is offered in the context of understanding the events of September 11th, of getting to the heart of the issues between the US and the Muslim world. And people are complaining about the assignment, and a lawsuit has been filed by a conservative Christian organization. People are offended to be told to learn about the religion of another group of people. It's not like they are being asked to participate in Muslim prayers, or to defend their own religious choice! How can any of us understand anyone else if we are not willing to walk a few steps in their shoes? The school isn't suggesting that the students consider Islam as a personal religion choice, only that they take a few steps towards understanding these people. Bravo for the school for focusing on relevant topics. And to everyone who is complaining -- shut your ignorant mouth, and maybe if you opened up a crack in your mind, a good idea might fall in.

Patty Hearst May Testify Against SLA Member
The strange story never seems to end. Now, nearly 30 years after her kidnapping, Patty Hearst Shaw is tapped to be a witness for the prosecution against Kathleen Soliah, who had been in hiding in Minnesota as Sara Jane Olson. She is on trial for planting bombs under police cars.

Thursday, August 01, 2002

Package of Cock Flavoured Soup from Jamaica
Cock Flavoured Soup Mix
Maybe it's just because it is late and I haven't had much sleep, but when I ran across this product, a real product from Jamaica, I fell on the floor laughing. The jokes are running wild in my head. I'll spare you... fill in your own punch line. I'm not recommending that you buy from these guys, just showing off what made me laugh and laugh. And don't ask how I found it, either!

Cuban Missile Crisis Anniversary
In October, a conference will be held in Cuba to discuss the greatest crisis point of the Cold War, the blockade of Cuba by President Kennedy. The conference organizer, José Ramón Fernández, has invited the former advisors from that time to participate. Most of the research on this topic has explored the US and USSR activites, but this conference will also review the Cuban involvement. This event is being co-sponsored by The Center for the Study of Defense Information, the Center for Military Studies, the State Security Center for Historical Research, the Institute of Cuban History, and the Center for Studies on the United States.

End of an Era
Thanks to Kate for pointing out this one as one of the first entries in her new blog. I love neighborhood stories, and cat stories. I'll leave the rest of this to Kate to tell, since she had first hand knowledge of it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Blazing Saddles poster [copyright holder unknown]Tombstone's Western Film Festival
I've seen my share of western films, mostly while I was growing up. Like most of America, after Blazing Saddles, I had no interest in westerns any more. But I do love local film festivals, and who knows, maybe next year I'll check out Tombstone's contribution.

How To Get To Sesame Street From Israel
An amazing story of hope. It turns out that there is a joint Israel-Palestine production of Sesame Street, but in order to translate our benign children's program to that culture, there are a few unexpected twists. But no one is giving up. What kind of a world doesn't have room for Sesame Street? Thankfully, we don't have to find out -- yet. I found the reality of this article quite illuminating.

Staying Cool
As a lifelong renter, I have always used the major household appliances provided to me with the property. That is, until I moved into my current home two years ago and had to purchase a refrigerator, washer and dryer. It was great fun looking through all of the models and deciding what options were "must have" and which were not necessary. In the end, I selected a fridge with an icemaker, and boy-o-boy do I love it! And now I understand how it works. And speaking of cool, doesn't this recipe for sangria look wonderful?

Going The Way of the Railroads
I've recently had a couple of rounds of tough time with Qwest, my local phone company. I've also had fits with MSN, who is my DSL service provider, and discovered that there really aren't any good options if I want to change my service. I've also considered switching to broadband, and maybe going to digital telephone, too. But after reading this article about the coming bad news in the cable industry, perhaps it is best not to put all of my business eggs in the same basket. Since I need my telecom services for my home office, perhaps staying put is the best strategy for now. At least that's what I read between the lines of the words from James Chanos, the guy who broke the Enron accounting fiasco, who is now writing about cable.

Internet People Searching
I'm always interested in finding new things to research on the Internet. Thanks to this article, I've been able to add a list of search engines and databases to my favorites, and add a few new tricks up my sleeve. (ouch)

Monday, July 29, 2002

Hugh Grant [photo copyright Jake Chessum]
Flopsy Top Gone Spikey
I like Hugh Grant's work. From the interviews I've seen with him, the small glimpses into his real personality, I suspect that I would not like the real person very much. Here's an Australian interview of the new Hugh, the evil twin of the flopsy haired bumbling Hugh, the evil twin with the spikey hair cut.

Malaysian "Tea Breaks" Running Long, Impacting Customer Service
Civil servants in Malaysia have been reminded to keep their tea breaks short so that people aren't left waiting too long for them to return to work. You've got to hand to the Malaysians, however. They have the courage to hold a National Public Complaints Management Convention. Can you imagine what would happen here if we held a conference where citizens could complain about the civil servants and government agencies we interact with?

Has Big Brother Arrived in the Amazon River Region?
Raytheon. You should recognize that name -- the defense contractor who developed the Cruise missile system that was the star of the Gulf War, and most recently announced that is it developing a laser targeting system that cuts through a loophole in the Geneva Convention that prohibits airplane systems that blind people on the ground. They have been quietly working on a surveilance project with the CIA and the government of Brazil to monitor drug activites along the Amazon River. Called the System for the Vigilance of the Amazon, it is considered the greatest scandal for President Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

Now That Is A Sweet Offer
Hershey, the chocolate people, have put their company up for sale.

Sunday, July 28, 2002

Today's Theme: The Weird and Unusual
Titan missile silo used to film Star Trek: Contact movie
Remnants of the Atomic Age
Looking for something unusual to add to the itinerary of your next road trip? Why not find out if there are any atomic sites along your route, such as abandoned missile silos, or the site of atomic bomb testing. Not sure how to find out? Just ask the Bureau of Atomic Tourism! Here you will find a Titan missile silo museum with Hollywood connections, a Manhattan Project museum, and the first reactor to make plutonium. Take a chance, and add some spark to you next trip.

LA Secrets
I just finished listening to a streaming audio interview with Paul Young (no, not the musician!) the author of L.A. Exposed: Strange Myths and Curious Legends in the City of Angels, and boy was it fascinating. It was a cross between the Connections series, Law & Order, and a Godfather movie, with a few monster sightings and conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure. My kind of stuff. The truth about urban legends. It makes me think about writing a similar book about my beloved Phoenix.

Final Resting Places Revealed
When I was in college and for a few years after, I used to picnic in a local cemetery that was more like a park with headstones. There was a pond, and a bench sitting on the top of a hill with the best view of downtown. In the humble spot was the resting place for the Wright Brothers, the famous poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar, L. M. Berry who created the first yellow pages, James Cox who was the first Ohio governor and whose family went on to be Cox Communications, General Robert Schneck of the Civil War, and John Patterson who founded NCR of the carbonless paper fame. And today, it is the final resting place for Erma Bombeck. Another famous cemetery is Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles which contains Jimmy Stewart, Chico Marx, Lon Chaney, Jack Berry, Humphrey Bogart, and George Burns, among others.

Saturday, July 27, 2002

Today's Theme: All About Arizona
Taliesin West [photo copyright GreatBuildings.com]
Frank, Baby
Some pretty famous people have called Phoenix home, including David Spade, Bruce Springsteen, Cher, Erma Bombeck, Bil Keane, Stephen Spielberg, Hugh Downs, Alice Cooper, and Charles Barkley. Perhaps the most famous resident of Phoenix was Frank Lloyd Wright. Although at the time of his death, he was still living in the open desert far from the city, that land is now surrounded by Scottsdale subdivisions. His architecture school, Taliesin, opened it's western campus in 1937 and students still spend 7 months of the year learning at Taliesin West. In the summer, the campus is used for many other workshops. Tours are available all year long.

Money Crunch Closing State Parks
Everyone knows that Arizona's state government is running in the red. But if you don't live in a small town, you might not know that seven of our state parks have already been closed indefinitely, and four more are scheduled to be closed later this year. The small towns are being devastated by the loss of tourist dollars, and are fighting to have the parks reopened. Closed parks include: Catalina State Park (Tucson), Lost Dutchman State Park (Apache Junction), Mc Farland State Historic Park (Florence), Oracle State Park (Oracle), Picacho Peak State Park (Picacho), Roper Lake State Park (Safford), and Tubac Presidio State Historic Park (Tubac). Scheduled to close soon are: Lyman Lake State Park (St. Johns), Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area (Show Low), Homolovi Ruins State Park (Winslow), and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (Payson). Other states are facing the same challenges.

Mysterious Death & Illnesses Related to Golf Courses
A very sad story about the death of 15-year-old Nils Beeman, an honors student and serious golfer who died after participating in the Junior Golf Association of Arizona tournament at two south Phoenix courses. Nine other players and gallery members have reported usual illnesses. After a week, they still don't know what killed Nils.

Living On A Heat Island
One of the myths about Phoenix is that it cools off at night. Sure, when the sun sets the temperatures drop from the 110 range, but did you know that this time of year, the LOWS are typically in the mid-90s? Yep, that's right, the low might 95! The reason for this is the fact that we live surrounded by materials that absorb heat all day long, tile roofs, asphalt, and other building materials. So while the desert may be cooler, in the city it is still scorching.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Kursh photo copyright TASS

Malfunction, Not Criminal Act, Sunk the Kursk
A press release today from Russia reports that the Kursk sank because of leaking torpedo fuel, and not an attack.
[previous coverage]

Corporate Theft: Ivy League Style
Corporate theft is not a new issue. Neither is it news that Yale and Princeton are arguing. But add to that mix a bit of admitting hacking, and you have the impetus for the FBI to investigage the potential of felony charges. That's right. The head of admissions at Princeton, Stephen LeMenager, admitted that his office used the social security numbers from Princeton applicants to check out any similar admissions records for them on the Yale admissions site. The use of the student's social security numbers may be a violation of the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act, also known as the Buckley Amendment, which could result in Princeton losing federal funding. Yale was tipped off about the security breach when Princeton staff casually mentioned it during an Ivy Leage dean's meeting. LeMenager has been placed on administrative leave during the investigation.

Blinded By The Light?
Is there no limit to what people will do? Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are developing a new technology for pinpointing targets from the F35 Joint Strike Fighter airplanes that uses a laser so powerful it could blind people on the ground, even people not at the target site. Apparently, the Geneva Convention has anticipated something like this, and has a provision that prohibits blinding weapons. But this one slips through the loopholes. Who in the world could possibly think this is a good idea?

Canadians Love Being Canadian
In a new survey, 94% of the respondents said that they thought Canada was the best country in the world, or one of the best. And only 6% thought the USA was the best country. I guess that is why they aren't illegally slipping into this country across our undefended border, eh?

Don't Pack What You Don't Want Made Public
A woman is suing Delta for embarrassing her when a sex toy started buzzing in her suitcase.

Thursday, July 25, 2002


Another Reason Not To Go To Prison
Did you know that our government doesn't allow the showing of R, X, or NC-17 movies to inmates? The porno I'm not surprised about, but the R movies I am. I know that most of the movies I watch are rated R, especially until a few years ago when more quailty PG-13 movies started coming out. There is a lawsuit challenging this policy, and it's being appealed. For example, they can see the Powerpuff Girls movie, but not Road to Perdition, they won't miss Men in Black or Minority Report, but will miss Lovely & Amazing.

Swiss Emails To Be Kept For 6 Months
It's hard to believe, but a new Swiss law requires ISPs to retain a log of all email traffic for six months. The contents of the emails don't have to be kept, only the sender, receiver, along with the time and date it was sent. What a lot of recordkeeping! How long until the Homeland Security people decide this is a good idea for our ISPs?

So, What Really Was Going On During The Anthrax Mailings?
According to this article, a lot of terrority wars and a real lack of cooperation. I suspect that this article is truthful. I have heard from a couple of different sources that the perpetrator of those events was found and is isolated somewhere by our government. Maybe that is true, maybe it is just more of the conspiracy theorist's bologna. Perhaps history will reveal the truth, or perhaps this event will go down in history like Jack the Ripper, where the mystery remains and rumors of the solution refuse to die.

Presidential Election Florida Recounters: Where Are They Now?
Would you believe that they have been given jobs in DC? What? You are shocked to hear this? Not me. Jeffrey Toobin has written a book about these people and their appointments. You may recognize his name... he also wrote about some of the Clinton scandals a few years ago.

Al-Qaida Website Keeps Cells Informed
Language is so important. It seems that there is a site in Arabic that is being used by member cells of Al-Qaida to share information. It makes me wish I knew Arabic.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Adopt-A-Highway program has always focused on litter collection [logo copyright Arizona Department of Transportation]
You've Heard "Don't Mess With Texas..."
...Now Arizona has a litter campaign. You can now report drivers that you see tossing trash from a car with a special hotline. I can't wait to see what happens next! At least the traffic cameras collect evidence that a crime was committed. It's going to be the talking mouth show redeux. At least they are promising to start with awareness warnings, according to the Arizona Clean and Beautiful committee. Thanks to the Arizona Republic for making the trash an issue.

Museum of Spanish Colonial Art Opens
Another museum is opening in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This one features the Spanish Colonial period art, part of the tri-blooded culture of this ancient town, the blend of Spanish, Native American, and Northern European heritage that gives this wonderful place its unique history and atmosphere. The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art is the first of its kind in the US. If you have never been to Santa Fe, or New Mexico, you can't understand why their state slogan is "Land of Enchantment." And if you have, like me, you are always planning your next trip. [If you are fascinated by Roswell, NM, that is an entirely different sort of culture, and it doesn't really count. :-)]

Gift Registries Popular
My age and current social group have isolated me a bit from the hub-bub associated with big church weddings and the related gifting that goes along with them. Most of my friends have been through a first wedding (some have only had the one!) and the ones that are marrying again are avoiding the big, overdone wedding scene. So the wedding gifts that I have purchased over the last few years have not been for people who were registered somewhere. I have been invited to baby showers where I was told the mommy-to-be was registered. I've opted in almost every circumstance, for a gift certificate -- that most flexible of gifts that never needs to be returned. I have an Amazon wish list, but I use it to remind myself of things I've discovered on the site, and I've never shared my list with others.

Yucca Mountain Moves Forward
Without fanfare, Dubya signed the bill that puts the Yucca Mountain national nuclear waste repository plan into action, at the same time, Congress cuts the project funding. What could possibly be overfunded? Safety, perhaps? Let the lawsuits begin!
[previous coverage]

Friday, July 19, 2002

Thanks to the regulars who stop by... I've just been swamped lately. I miss doing my updates, and promise to be back on schedule in the very near future. In the meantime, I'll continue to post as time allows.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Johannesburg Newspaper Purchased by Zimbabwe Media Mogul
The Mail & Guardian has been purchased by Trevor Ncube who is the CEO of both the Zimbabwean Independent and The Standard, and has taken a stand against the media censorship in his country. The paper, formerly owned by the Guardian Media Group in London, has been losing money for some time, and Ncube hopes to turn that around. He will be the first black owner of this South African newspaper which was started in 1985, and survived attempts under apartheid to shut it down.

Baby It's Cold Inside
Occasionally, I mention the weather here in Phoenix during the summer. It's a tough time, but I always remember that if the summer's weren't so brutal, everyone would move here. I wear my ability to survive the summers as a badge of honor. Along with my high utility bills. But one person I've neglected to thank over the years is Willis Haviland Carrier, the guy who invented air conditioning one hundred years ago while working for the Buffalo Forge Co. Their client, a printer, was having trouble getting paper and ink together in the presses because of the impact of the heat and humidity on the paper until the air conditioning system was installed on July 17, 1902.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

burger comparisons [photo copyright LA Times
In-N-Out Burger Still Tops
Is anyone else dizzy over the new offerings at the typically boring fast food restaurants? I'm not eating there these days [I've lost more than 40 pounds since the start of the year], but I'm confused by variety and consistency of the offerings. Everyone has a new burger or two. Everyone has a new chicken burger. According to this article, the only major chain not buying into the "me-too" attitude is In-N-Out Burger, my personal favorite, which fortunately is now available in Arizona.

Taking A Summer Road Trip?
Take a few minutes to prepare your vehicle for the road and keep yourself safe!

That's Right... Duct Tape
Growing up, my Dad always had rolls and rolls of the stuff I thought he called "duck" tape. I died laughing when I found a duct tape daily calendar with a new use for the stuff each day. But when I found this site full of duct tape fashions, I knew the people involved were a bit, well.... quacky. That is, until I discovered the latest duct tape trend.... Duct Shui. Talk about milking a topic for all it is worth.

A Writing Contest Looking For Bad Writers
In this world of diversity, there truly is something for everyone. It takes a lot to surprise me, that is the only reason why I wasn't surprised to learn about the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for Bad Writing. The winners (or is that losers?) run the gamut as well. I won't be admitting I entered next year, that is, unless I win.

Saving Heirloom Seeds
I'm so glad to see Native Seed/SEARCH making the national news. This small group in Tucson is working to save seeds from the variety of plant life, especially food plants, that were actively grown in our grandparent's generation. But today, thanks to genetic engineering and marketing demands, our produce is coming from deisgner seeds and some a smaller number of species. Without these seeds, our link to a variety of food sources would be lost. Hooray for biodiversity.

Arizona #2 in US for Working Outhouses
Thanks to Laurie Notaro for point this out in her usual humorus manner.



Saturday, July 13, 2002

Today's Theme: Health & Illness

Couples dancing the tango in the streets [photo copyright Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland]
Tango Competition Starts in Finland
Blogger problems...

Canadian Border Workers Catch TB
Five immigration workers at the Canada-U.S. border crossing at Lacolle, Quebec, the busiest border crossing point in Quebec, have contracted tuberculosis from an immigrant. The woman was entering Canada from New York, and the disease was diagnosed through a routine medical examination. All of the workers were checked and the five with the disease are being treated.

West Nile Virus Spreading
Human infections were in the news the last week, with three men in the Baton Rouge, LA area contracting West Nile virus, the first three cases in the US this year, and the first ones not along the Eastern Seaboard. Birds with the virus have been found for almost two years in Ontario, so officials were watching for the spread into other Canadian provinces. In Manitoba, a dead crow was found with the virus, and in Quebec, birds were also found. Just days ago, a horse in North Dakota was found with the virus. While they are still not sure about the disease, officials do not believe that people can get the virus from contact with dead animals. Mosquitoes carry it from animal hosts, primarily birds, to humans. There is no cure at this time.



Thursday, July 11, 2002

Italian Police Shut Down Anti-Catholic Site
Did you know that blasphemy is illegal in Italy? That is why the Italian police have shut down a series of websites created by a man in Rome and hosted by web services in the US. No details have been released.

Russian IKEA Building Mega-Mall
Swedish home furnishing chain IKEA is building a mall around its newest Russian store in Moscow. Retailers involved in this project include Tommy Hilfiger, Levi's and Reebok. They expect more than 25 million visitors a year.

Denver Police Caught Spying On Law-Abiding Citizens
The intelligence bureau of the Denver police has admitted to having more than 3,400 secret surveillance files, many of people who were not invesigated because of known crimes. The American Civil Liberties Union is involved, and wants to keep the materials as evidence for lawsuits against the police. This should get interesting.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Internet users in Shahkooh, Iran [photo courtesy of The Iranian Photo of the Day]
An Iranian Global Village
If you don't think the Internet is changing the world, you need to read this article. The small village of Shahkooh, Iran has a permanent web server and many computers for its citizens. Training classes are free. This article states that it is easier to reach this village of 6,000 by email than by car. All of this, thanks to the vision and effort of villager Ali Akbar Jalali, who attended college in Tehran and later in the US where he got a degree in electrical engineering. Iran's clerics are pushing for restricted Internet access, but thanks to the current political situation, the country is fully open to the Internet, with cybercafes available in public places. Approximately 3% of Iran's 70,000 people are wired today.

Pat Tillman Starts Basic Training
The former Arizona Cardinals player has left the NFL for the US Army, with the hopes of making the cut to become one of the elite Army Rangers. This week, he is in basic training at Camp Benning. Friends suggest that the events of 11 September may have been a factor in his decision. Way to go, Pat!

eBay Buys PayPal
This news scares me a bit. I've been with PayPal for years, and I really love its service. I know that eBay has been a very successful dot com, perhaps the best of the survivors... I only hope they won't destroy the service that I love, or make it more expensive to use.

TV Signals Hijacked In China, But Who Is Responsible?
For days at the end of June, the transmissions of the World Cup Finals and other scheduled programming was interrupted throughout China as China Central Television Station (CCTV) channels and 10 provincial TV channels were reported as hijacked and alternative programming was seen instead. According to Chinese officials, the programming was replaced by the transission of Falun Gong propaganda, the group they claim engineered hijacking against the SINOSAT 2A and SINOSAT 3A translators. However, in their own defense, the Falun Gong have reported that the Chinese officials cut the satellite signals themselves in an attempt to discredit the Falon Gong, an alternative spiritual group who is seeking the release of Lizhi He, a political prisoner in China. According to the Falun Gong report, the Chinese pulled the plug on BBC broadcasts because of a contract violation, the broadcast of programming about the fifth anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to the Chinese by Britain. The Chinese are accusing the Falun Gong of violating Chinese law, as well as international conventions regarding satellite and television broadcasting. If this was truly a hijacking, an attack at so many points for such a long time is something that is rarely seen in the world. In deciding for yourself what is happening, consider this: the Chinese government monitors all foreign broadcasters in China, requiring them to use the Chinese broadcasting translators, an action that has been condemned by the group, Reporters Without Borders, because it allows the Chinese government the ability to shut off transmissions on their whim when the content doesn't meet with the government's agendas.

Sex & The City Author Gets --- MARRIED!
That's right, cats and kittens. Candy Bushnell whose column in the New York Observer and book lead to the creation of the outrageously successful HBO series "Sex and the City" has tied the knot after an 8-week relationship with Chuck Askegard, a dancer with the NY City Ballet. How Charlotte of her! Mr. Big has left NY, Samantha is rumored to be leaving the show, and the inspiration for Carrie has gotten married. What's a single girl to do in the city now?

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