Saturday, August 4, 2007

Paula Warhol

Bored? Me too. I found this neat little site that takes a photo and turns it into an ersatz Andy Warhol silkscreen.
So, who else but Paula? She's struggling over in Scotland at the Women's British Open [remember to call it the Men's British Open next year, OK?] so all those Google searchers, here's a little fresh idea for ya.
Since you little bastards account for a decent percentage of my blog hits, I'll keep running them out there for you. Oh, happy day.
By the way, the tournament is on ABC TV for an entire hour and a half today and Sunday. Like they couldn't spare the time. I guess there's a poker tournament or some X-Games crap they need to show us.

Friday, August 3, 2007

The Klotzbach and Gray Show

FORT COLLINS, Colorado - Hurricane researcher William Gray lowered his 2007 forecast slightly Friday, calling for 15 named storms. On May 31, Gray was calling for 17. Philip Klotzbach, a member of Gray’s team at Colorado State University said, "We've lowered our forecast from our May predictions because of slightly less favorable conditions in the tropical Atlantic.”
…and … because … it’s August. How about you wait until October and revise the number again?

And now, live from the beautiful campus of Colorado State University, it’s The Klotzbach and Gray show, starring Bill Gray and Phil Klotzbach. Tonight’s musical guest is Maroon 5!

May 31, 2007 Colorado State University:
William, I’m home! It’s getting late. We should do that hurricane thingy.
GRAY: Allright! Let me finish my coffee.
KLOTZBACH: They’re going to want a number. Chevron called and they need an excuse to start raising oil prices.
GRAY: Let’s go with 17. I wore number 17 when I played Little League.
KLOTZBACH: Wow. That sounds like a lot. Are you sure?
GRAY: Sure? We’re meteorologists!
TOGETHER: Hahahahahahahaha!

Two months later, Bill and Phil are at it again:

August 1, 2007:
Hey, Phil; you remember that number we threw out in May?
KLOTZBACH: The one where I said I could get 85 Tic Tacs in my mouth at once?
GRAY: No, jackass. The hurricane number.
KLOTZBACH: Oh, that one. I didn’t write it down.
GRAY: Well, I did. It was 17.
KLOTZBACH: Well, there’s only been, like … 3 … so I guess we’re going to be a little high.
GRAY: I was thinking we should change it.
KLOTZBACH: No kidding. But, aren’t we going to have to explain ourselves?
GRAY: We’ll say a bunch of technical stuff like “isobars” and “cumulonimbus.” They won’t know.
KLOTZBACH: How about this? Sea surface temperature anomalies have cooled across the tropical Atlantic in recent weeks, and there have been several significant dust outbreaks from Africa, signifying a generally stable air mass over the tropical Atlantic.
GRAY: Genius! You could sell a push-up bra to Dolly Parton!
KLOTZBACH: 15 it is!
TOGETHER: [pounding the table] Fif-teen! Fif-teen! Fif-teen! Fif-teen!
GRAY: Great. Now, write this one down. We’ll take another look around Labor Day.

And now, ladies and gentlemen; Maroon 5!
free music

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Something worth losing sleep over

August 1, 2007 (HealthDay News) – New research has found that more than 80 percent of American children who visit a doctor for help combating sleep problems are given some form of prescription medication, despite the fact that no sleeping pills are currently approved for use in kids. In terms of therapies prescribed, the researchers found that 7 percent of the patients were recommended diet and nutritional counseling, while 22 percent were offered behavioral therapy. Mental health and stress management treatment was offered to 17 percent of patients.

By contrast, 81 percent of the children and teens were prescribed some sort of medication for their sleep issues. Dr. Gregg Jacobs, an insomnia specialist with the Sleep Disorders Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., said prescribing drugs often sidesteps the underlying causes of sleep trouble.
"Besides which, behavioral methods of treatment are extremely effective," added Jacobs. "So, why would you want to risk giving this medication to children, when they're probably not very effective and would be masking the real problem in any case? Sleeping pills should be a last resort. Children are in the golden years of sleep," he observed.
"It's not normal for them to have sleep problems. So, if they do, then you know something's wrong. And medicating the child doesn't get to the heart of the problem. It's more important to figure out what's going on. Is it stress, caffeine or a problem in the home environment?"

Aw, c’mon doc; you know better than to think that Americans want to get to the real issue. We have diet pills for dogs, for Chrissakes. Take a Pill is going to replace E Pluribus Unum on the money soon.

We have a similar issue here that we had with the doggie diet pills yesterday. Classes of patients who have no control over their own destiny are being treated by people with no judgment. That’s a bad combination, and I wonder how long it will take before these sleeping pill babies develop some other malady? Things like this are perfect for predatory companies (like drug and tobacco companies) who rely on parents and pet owners who think they are doing the best thing for their loved ones. What they are really doing is taking the easy way out, which is always an easy sell, especially when you combine it with a dose of guilt and make it sound like you are taking care of something.

Screaming at the drug companies doesn’t help, because they figure that if they can get a child to start thinking that the answer is in a pill, then the adult marketing battle is over. The parents are already doped up and thinking that the answer is in drugs, so the kids are sitting ducks. By the time they’re 30, they’ll be taking cholesterol meds and diet pills because their diet stinks and they don’t get any exercise (and we don’t want to change that) and impotence meds because they don’t get enough sleep or exercise.
Think about the number of times you hear the phrase “quick and easy” in advertising. That’s the mantra of the drug companies.
Meanwhile, today’s children are doomed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Too err is human

Believe it or not, both of these people are bipedal primates. The one on the right is Manuel Uribe, tipping the scales at 1,234 pounds, seen here at his home in 2006. He will be listed as the world's fattest man by the Guinness Book of Records. Another of life's great achievements. On the left is model Nina von C wearing underwear creations on the catwalk of the Bodylook fashion show within the IGEDO fashion fair.
Both were born of the same species, yet took vastly different paths in life to yield the results we see here. Nina von C. Even her name is skinny.
Strange, isn't it?
When I am in doubt about the fate of mankind, I turn to the animals. What I see is that, when left to their own fate, animals know what is best for them. The so-called domesticated animals - dogs and cats - are the ones who wind up fat and out of shape. The hand of man conspires to turn otherwise weight-conscious animals into blobs of fur that roll as fast as they can walk.
Ever see a fat squirrel? Me neither. They prefer to store their nuts rather than eat them. Squirrels don't order take-out from Chinese places at 9 at night or pull into the drive-thru at Wendy's after the bar closes because they're "open late". They don't eat table scraps and 50-pound bags of kibble. They get plenty of exercise dodging cars and climbing trees, too. Maybe we don't see the fat ones because they can't run fast enough to escape the mini-vans?
Now, just to prove that you have seen everything, this is the sign in front of the local veterinary clinic. That's right, there's a diet pill for dogs now. Fido's fat. Take a pill, just like his owner. (Pay no attention to the tiny cat and dog heads resting in the disembodied hand.)

So, there ya go. Check one more thing off the list of stuff you thought you'd never see. And, for the record, no ... this is not Kitty's Vet. Hurry ... sign Fido up ... he's getting fatter every day. If the pill doesn't work, I guess they can always staple his stomach shut.

I can't believe I haven't seen TV commercials for this:

Ask your dog if Slentrol is right for you. If he answers, maybe a fat dog isn't your biggest problem.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.

Mark Rothko - Orange and Yellow, 1956

I was up late on Monday night. I channel surfed onto this fascinating documentary on PBS on the life of one of my favorite artists, Mark Rothko. It's part of a series called Simon Schama's Power of Art. As it is with a lot of modern art, Rothko's work either grabs you immediately or it doesn't. In this format, the works do not have the impact that they do in the museum. This particular painting is 7 feet by 6 feet, and it is imposing - purposely. Stop by the East Building of the National Gallery in D.C. or the Guggenheim in New York for a stunning experience.

"I also hang the largest pictures so that they must be first encountered at close quarters, so that the first experience is to be within the picture. This may well give the key to the observer of the ideal relationship between himself and the rest of the pictures. I also hang the pictures low rather than high, and particularly in the case of the largest ones, often as close to the floor as is feasible, for that is the way they are painted."

One thing that reinforced my high opinion of Rothko and his art was a story that related to his work. In 1958, he was commissioned by The Four Seasons restaurant at the Seagram Building in New York, to paint a mural for display in the restaurant. He visited the restaurant with his wife, and after seeing the prices of the items on the menu and the opulent surroundings, ordered the paintings removed, and returned the $35,000 paid to him. "Anybody who will eat that kind of food for those kind of prices will never look at a painting of mine," he told his studio assistant. You gotta love a guy like that.
As with many great artists, he was a tortured soul. Mark Rothko was found on the morning of February 25, 1970; lying dead in a wine-dark sea of his own blood. He had cut very deep into his arms at the elbow, and the pool emanating from him on the floor of his studio measured 8 feet x 6 feet. That is, it was on the scale of his paintings. It was, to borrow the art critical language of the time, a colour field.
"The people who weep before my paintings are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them." - Mark Rothko.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Nothing spectacular to report.

It's probably a good thing. No, it's definitely a good thing that I don't have any fascinating stories from my night out to the Chris Cornell show at the Electric Factory last night. Other than the fact that Chris still has the best voice in rock, although it is often hard to prove, as fifteen hundred or so sing-along artists feel like it's necessary for me to hear their version of Black Hole Sun rather than Chris's. Umm, I think I'd rather hear Chris than your drunk ass. He dug deep into the songbook, doing old Soundgarden stuff, Audioslave and his own solo work, including songs from his new CD called Carry On. They didn't know the words to those songs, so Chris got to sing them himself.

free music

Sadly, I found out that the Friday's at Logan Circle has no "Lost and Found" department. When I was there last month, I left my favorite Phillies cap at the bar. (It's the one I am wearing on one of my blog ID photos.) I suppose it wound up in a dumpster, as I was informed that they don't save things unless they are valuable, "like cell phones." Pardon me, but I got my last cell phone for free and that cap cost me twenty bucks. That'll teach me. Maybe.
Now, allow me another opportunity to rant about my least favorite group of people - the TV weather guessers. Our local crop consists mostly of Glen "Hurricane" Schwartz, Kathy Orr and Google search target Cecily Tynan. They each earn in one year what it takes me more than 10 years to earn, and if I did as bad a job as they do, I'd be one of the bums sleeping on Broad Street.
On Friday's 11 o'clock news, Glen told us that "Saturday morning would be the only decent part of the weekend." Saturday morning was decent (nice job, Glen), however the sun shone until sundown, when the early evening became decent as well.
Then, he told us that we could expect thunderstorms on Sunday afternoon and evening. I worried, because I would be on foot in the city, so I took extra taxi money and figured on meeting some nice folks from Uzbekistan and being introduced to new smells from around the world. I was in the city from 4pm until nearly midnight. It didn't rain a drop.
Sunday's forecast for today called for temperatures in the low to mid 80s. This morning, they were saying a high of 88. That's a ten percent difference. Real journalists and "newspeople" are held accountable for their stories and sources. These guys (and girls) act with impunity, and use vague terms like "isolated" and "scattered" because they really don't know if or when the rain is coming. Snow forecasts call for 1 to 6 inches. 1 to 6? Nice guess, Kepler. Honestly, we'd be better off with a wet stick and one of those barometers with the RAIN/CHANGE/FAIR dials. I can read, too.

I wouldn't mind so much if they didn't make such a big deal out of their fancy weather gizmos and pump up the weather part of the news so much. Cecily gets top billing, the forecast is hyped during the evening's programs and we're zoomed and whizzed around the screen with fly-by's and Storm Tracker junk. Meanwhile, they can't get the damned forecast right. Shouldn't that be the most important thing? Nope - It's all about the show, and like lots of other things, once TV gets involved, things get FUBAR.
Geez, I didn't think I had anything to blog about today.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


Natalie Gulbis survived a playoff against Jeong Jang to win the LPGA Evian Masters - her first ever win on the tour.

Q. What does this mean to you?
NATALIE GULBIS: What does it mean? How long do you have? This is my sixth year on Tour, and obviously the U.S. has been quite a bit of hype on if I would ever win a tournament. I was really close last year where I lost a playoff, and coincidently it was right after the match play. It was like déjà vu. There was a match play event in the United States. Lost in the first round. Worked really hard on my game. Came over here was hitting the ball well, and these two events I really wanted to play well in. I had been injured for a lot of the season and was way back on the money list, like 44th, maybe 50th. Probably the lowest I'd ever gotten to. Just tried to stay positive, so that means a lot, that the hard work has paid off. So many great people supporting me in the U.S. from the media to my team to my fans. It's great.

Nice going, Natalie. Now, there remains one hot shot who has yet to win on the tour. Michelle Wie finished this one tied for 69th at 16 over par. Maybe someday. Maybe not. Although, I'm sure she'll be trying to play with the men again soon.

What a lucky trophy. As for me, it's off to the Electric Factory to see (and hear) Chris Cornell. I'm figuring there's going to be a blog post in there somewhere.