Monday, May 30, 2005

Elephant Reunion

I am a sucker for a good animal story. This one brought tears to my eyes at work. What a wimp!

Particularly this part:

National Geographic was at the sanctuary to film the arrival of Shirley, a 52-year-old Asian elephant that had been living alone in a Monroe, La., zoo for 22 years.

The TV crew had left for the day when Jenny, a 30-year-old gimpy with arthritis, wandered into the barn from a day outdoors. Seeing Shirley in a barn stall, Jenny began wailing with such passion that Blais grabbed his own video recorder.

"Jenny knew right away who Shirley was and was wailing and screaming," Buckley said. "Shirley wasn't quite sure how to take the attention; then all of a sudden we saw her eyes got big, like there was a jolt of recognition as she remembered who Jenny was."

Buckley knew that in 1976, the two elephants had briefly been owned by the same circus. It turned out Shirley, an adult, had been housed with younger elephants while recovering from a broken leg. Jenny, then 7, was in that group and immediately solicited mothering from Shirley. They were together only a few weeks before each was leased to a different circus.

As the reunited elephants bellowed 23 years later, keepers put them in adjoining stalls. They tenderly entwined their trunks between the bars. The next day, released into the outdoors, they were inseparable. When they weren't using their trunks to caress each other, they were raising them to trumpet their joy.

Why does this seem so true?

Why does this seem so true?

dilber

Back in the 50's and 60's America really made cars. Cars that were solid, smooth running and the best in the world. Cars that lasted. And then something called planned obsolescence was created. Seems like we now have a culture of planned obsolescence where everything must be upgraded on a regualar basis rather than being able to continue using your existing machine (Car, Computer, Mobile Phone).

Whinge, whinge, whinge. Its a Monday after a gorgeous, high-activity weekend, and my back really hurts.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Tom Cruise : What a Freak!

Did anyone read the stories about Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah ? I always thought the guy was a freak (I mean, really, he even appears on Oprah).

But The Borrowitz Report does a better job. My favorite line : “That was scarier than anything we’ve broadcast by bin Laden.”


TOM CRUISE DECLARES LOVE FOR
KATIE HOLMES ON AL-JAZEERA
Seizes Control of Arabic-Language Net

  • Actor Tom Cruise stunned the Arab world today by seizing control of the Arabic-language al-Jazeera network to declare his love for former “Dawson’s Creek” star Katie Holmes.

    Mr. Cruise, who was seen jumping up and down on a couch declaring his love for Ms. Holmes on “Oprah” earlier this week, and who relentlessly professed his love for her at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month, apparently decided that those declarations were insufficient because they did not completely reach the Arabic-speaking world.

    According to sources inside al-Jazeera, a heavily armed Mr. Cruise burst in the the television network’s studio’s shortly after lunch, just as an announcer was broadcasting news of reported wounds to the U.S.’s most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

    Brandishing a firearm and wearing two ammunition belts across his naked, gleaming torso, Mr. Cruise shoved the announcer out of his anchor chair and declared, “I love Katie Holmes so much it is absolutely unbelievable! I so totally love this girl!”

    In his five-minute address to the Arab world, Mr. Cruise denied that his heavily-publicized romance with Ms. Holmes was in any way a trumped-up promotional stunt: “My love for Katie has nothing to do with my new movie, ‘War of the Worlds,’ directed by Steven Speilberg and opening in theaters everywhere this summer.”

    The Cruise incident left many at al-Jazeera shaken, including one studio technician who said, “That was scarier than anything we’ve broadcast by bin Laden.”

    Elsewhere, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would replace its color-coded terror alert system with a Magic Eight Ball.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

May the Farm Be With You

Cute Star Wars takeoff video promoting organic food .. and the "way of the farm".

The best part? Everytime Chewbroccoli speaks.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Serbian Bad Guys

So I am late off the mark with this video, of Norwegian peace keepers singing Kosovo to the tune of The Beach Boys song, Kokomo.

But don't get me wrong, I don't favor one side over the other. But since I lived in Serbia for 10 months (too long) I kind of understand their perspective.

Both sides are basically so screwed up and capable of such evil, it is easier to understand the state of mind of the peacekeeper.

And Metafilter has the resulting kudos thread.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Stomach TV

I had a Gastroscopy yesterday. Man, I was dreading it for weeks. And guess what: it was worse than I feared.

But first you must realize that I am a very low pain threshold (ie., I am a wimp).

The set up. Cannot eat from 9 pm the night before. Come to work and drink lots of water. Worrying, worrying, dreading. Ready to go at 12. Very hungry.

Gastro Polyclinic in Jarov with bunch of geezers (holding something that I thought looked like colostomy bags although I am sure that is not nearly correct). Feeling sorry for these guys if they are waiting for the doctor. Then thinking that they are feeling sorry for this younger foreigner.

Ok, to the changing cabin and shirt off, (sucking gut in for the audience), and then to the operating table. Ok, it was more like a dentist's office with a table instead of chair.

If you saw it as a film you would have laughed. First they give me a shot (Diazeprim [sp?] to relax me) which turned me into a silly stumbling idiot. They they sprayed my mouth with something similar to novacaine. Twice, until I was coughing.

Ok, lying on the side, two nurses with hands on shoulders, and one nice lady doctor, holding the black one cm cable that looks like something out of Matrix. Me; eyes closed, waiting for pain.

Okay insert, insert, gag, insert, gag, gag, insert, nurse chatter (in Czech), insert, hands gripping shoulders and hip, and one leg. Gag, GAraRARghe!! Stop.

Rest. Nurse doctor chatter, to the effect of 'what are we gonna do with this guy?'

Me: whimpering, crying, wiping mouth (it wasn't really vomit, but it was gooey).

Okay, holding me down now, tight grips on various body parts. Rubber mouth guard, and newly persistant doctor, insert, insert, gag, body convulsion, insert, SHOVE, SHOVE, SHOVE, gag, GAARRAghe\, spittle, Deep throat (well, the thought flashed in my mind), aaggghe,convulse, convulse, kick a nurse (oops sorry, bitch!) tight grip, bruised arm, SHOVE, steady, and now for something new.. TWIST for better camera angle, aGagggggah, and then pull, some guts coming out with it? please, god noooo!

All done. I really wanted a cigarette. Throat hurts, still does a day after. Really, like I swallowed a wallnut or had strep throat.

Man, I never want to do that again.

But I hear the colonoscopy is better.

Cool, Be Cool

I saw Be Cool last night and surprisingly I enjoyed it. I mean, really, the acting of Travolta and Uma Thurman was tiresome and corny, but there were amazingly numerous other bright spots.

For example, Andre 3000, very good as Dabu, a goofy nephew of one of the gangsta record producers.

The Rock as a gay driver/bodyguard (a real career risking role if you ask me; but because of his great hair and oddly camera-angle-diminished frame I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't recognized).

But my favorite performance is the grimacingly-embarassing acting ability of Vince Vaughn. He pulls it off. "Come on, twinkle twinkle, baby, twinkle twinkle".

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Something I never realized.

When George Lucas went to the UK premiere of the latest Star Wars movie the crowd was chanting something about how they wanted more movies.

Lucas responded:
"This is the tragedy of Darth Vader. "

"It starts when he is 9 years old and ends when he is dead. There is no more story."

That really made me stop and think. Looking at it that way, ie., the whole serial follows the life of Darth Vader, makes me see the whole thing in a new light.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Milblogger Movement Growing

Low-brow news sites (that I read) have noted the growth of Milbloggers (Military Weblogs) so I am sure this will get some busy airplay for the next week.

This is probably obvious but the guy at the forefront of the operation ( be it on the assembly line, the street, or even the front) knows more than what those that study them, claim.
  • 'Also driving the growth: The feeling among some troops that the "mainstream media" aren't telling the whole story about what's happening in Iraq.'
I am sure others will try to argue that the men out there are, for example, not well-educated or perhaps only attempting to validate their decision to be there.

Dunno. But it does make sense that when the troops see things getting better, most likely it won't be a news event. Go to this post for a good characterization.

One blogger even mentions the problem with the mono-syllabic army character in Doonsebury who posts from Iraq. You've got to admit, Trudeau does get a bit annoying.

Mukluks?

Thanks to a Jewlicious review of the celebration of Israel independence day (with some Israeli hotties on one side and the fugly protesters on the other) and the link to Go Fug Yourself, I finally found the name for the wierd boots all the girls were wearing in Australia ( But really, at the end of their summer for chissakes!? Ie., its hot! Why wear the heavy duty boots?)

Of course, I could probably imagine a nice aussie girl looking extremely gorgeous wearing some "Mukluks" in a colder climate, but with the weather there... well, I was just baffled.

Ps, the Jewlicious hotties are worth checking out.

The too wierd .. but makes sense... kind of product.

Found on Wonkette, a way to pass those drug tests at work. Check out the Whizzinator!

Monday, May 09, 2005

WWII: Who is really to blame for the neverending memories?

Today the BBC World Service had a piece on how various people remember VE day. A few comments came in from how people recall Churchill’s speech, how the Eastern Europeans saw the end of one occupation in exchange for another type of unwanted guest; and a marvelous story how one woman in the Channel Islands recalls how the town celebrated while the occupying Nazis (she didn’t simply call them Germans) ran about acting like they were still important. There was even the English soldier who recalls being on his way, well after VE day but just before VJ day when the Japanese called it off, to participate in the coming invasion of Japan! (were they really going to?)

But of course the presenter finally came around to the topic of how the world will never let the Germans forget it. Is this a situation that is likely to continue? What will the future hold?

Some callers suggested this or that reason* and some who thought the world really ought to let them move on and get on with there lives. Both these requests have been made in the immediate post war period and even now. (*and by no means do I try to belittle the dreadful – oh how else could I put it: German efficiency of - the slaughter of millions in concentration camps and elsewhere).

In some way or another the program host asked (of callers and the stoogie war historians in the studio). “why can’t they separate the Germans from the shocking war, the wide breadth of atrocities, the land grabbing sprint in two directions across Europe? Why, why, must it go on?"

Simple, I say. Its because of the colors! Its because of the entertainment industry spin offs! It is because never before – and rarely since – has the world seen such movie theatre evil witnessed on such a hollywood studio, epic scale!

What, only Mel Brooks gets to laugh about the war and get away with it?

Think about it, even George Lucas would have been lost when he tried to think of an evil side if he didn’t have some of the role model – well, models, actually - we all recognize today.

I would even think that if someone tried to legislate that it is illegal to mention the German input to WWII in political or business situations, a court case would be brought to the highest courts in the USA and Europe (sans Germany) saying that it must go on. By whom? The entertainment industry, of course, you ninny!

Movie companies, production companies, makers of German prop uniforms and memoribilia. Novel writers the likes of Ken Follet (Eye of the Needle, Key to Rebecca) and Robert Harris (Fatherland, Enigma), would all join forces saying they have the right to free speech and can dig up the war at any time they feel like it to make a quick 100 million bucks. Seriously, I ask you, who else benefits the most?

So if they are to blame for the propogation of the evil German Reich after the war, we still need to know who really is to blame, aside from Hitler’s hate based political landscape, and arms length slaughter house machine, for the amazing carry-on affect at its basist of origins?

Albert Speer, I would say. Why? The color scheme, of course. Well to be more exact in a not-too-precise manner (that you have come to expect of me), Speer was responsible for things like the grandstanding use of spot lights for evening events, the roman empire-like use of twin colum adorned with eagles, the hanging flags with the big swastika. But those colors: magnificent! The movie makers of today stumbled upon a goldmine.

And the assumed patent, or copyright is tougher than any contract clause you could imagine because no on can come close to using anything similar without being accused of copying the best, if not original, form of fascism. The singularity of this presentation of evil was a masterstroke that bled over to the Grey uniforms of the SS and the Gestapo black. Compared to the drab olive green with a dark green blazer that Ike wore, or the olive green uniform of Monty (with the silly but functional hooded overcoat), and the mustard tunics of the p-40 carrying Russians, they were the height of fasci.. uh, I mean, fashion.

Speer must have been walking around thinking, ‘Okay people, if this were a movie set, how would I make it memorable? What about this occaision to we want to stand out? Okay, lets see, for the photo shoot at the Fuhrer’s mountain top “Eagles nest” lets put chubby Hess in white naval jacket against the mountain backdrop, and get tha Braun girl to act coy in the backgound (head lithely tilted to the side, please dear), and oooh yes, get that sour looking, poison-in-a-bottle, Goehring up front. He is sooo evil looking.’

If you don’t agree, let us just compare to the only other evil doers of the same time. You only have to look at the Japanese. Their past, as the history writing victors have penned it, is all but forgotten. Oh, okay, except for the Chinese who sadly have a real beef considering the horrendous travesties such as those by the average nasty foot solder in the Rape of Nanking, which is even more sadly used whenever it suits the Chinese politically. But in comparison, there seems to be nothing of the same, how shall I put it, savoir-faire of the tall and blond German evil.

Allo Allo, Hogans Heros, and even Mel Brooks have made the silly German an almost cute-in-their-evil mascot with a monocle and black boots. But the reason Hasbro or Mattel didn’t sell this GI Joe was not because of the possible ire from the Jewish community, but because the test market little girls kept stealing the colorfully dressed little fascists from the boys – and then proceded to win the ensuing head banging play war.

All kidding aside, the German thing will unfortunately last a while longer I fear. Perhaps even after all possible and however unlikely participants and witnesses have long since perished.

And when the reasons are sought, the data dissected, the last of the opinion polls is in, I will wager you that the blame for the timeless herpies-like affliction that all Germans have to carry, all along lay with the power of successful marketing.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bliss

In the last few months I have been some what stressed out and even, at times, a bit depressed. House rennovations, poor health in the family, wife travelling a heck of a lot, a very long winter, job insecurity, debt, and idiotically worrying about/missing our dogs.

Ups and downs.

Currently ... the severity of the ups and downs has increased.

The flat: the house rennovation is coming to an end and we should be moving back on the weekend or rather, I should say I, alone, am doing the moving-in. The work cost about 40% more (due to our add-ons!) which doesn't help the debt situation. The privatization of the flat is undergoing troubles in the local council ( Prague 7 'urad') and now is delayed approximately a year!

And the wife is away again ( but doing saintly work). With plans to go again in a few weeks to hob-knob with the Brussels politicians this time. She was shanghaied into this like usually and always feels like the little lost girl suddenly thrust onto the stage. (Whereupon she excels!)

Health wise, somethings dramatically better, some things a bit worse. Going for a gastrocopy. this is where they shove a camera down your throat to take a look at yoru stomach lining. (Yesterday the doc said: 'oh, and they take a tissue sample'. I said (shouted): 'What!! You didn't need to tell me that, did you?! I would have been perfectly content not to know!'). And I am running and visiting gym regularly; causing me to oomph and groan just getting out of my work chari. Oh but what a hard comeback. Yeesh!

Work: Actually did something with the Argie debt that earned me some cash and now follwing up another somewhat impossible 'finding' mission. But now getting 4 to 6 calls and 10 emails a day to settlement of the former and pursue of the second! Some very pushy calls, mind you.
And the official work, while seemingly trudging on forever in the czech equities (very depressing), pushing a project for a retail derivative product (CFDs),... my favorite project (on which I have been working for 5 months : Emissions Trading) is actually so close to bearing fruit .

Perhaps because of this last one, the Emission Trading, I am quite seriously almost in a state of bliss. So long have I needed some sort of new market to trade. Crazy busy at home for 3 to 5 reasons, stressed at work for 4 reasons, and yet the work makes it all much better some how.

It could also be because we are going into a beautiful spring.