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

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.