Now that Peter, Bjorn and John are bringing whistling back, I've started to notice other young folks brushing up on their whistling. I was in Pinkberry yesterday wondering if I could disprove my friend's assault that the stuff tastes like foot cream (I can see where he's coming from, but it really doesn't; after years of Tasti D-Lite, you're immune), and some of my fellow berry-hoppers were busting out the tweets. They weren't very good, but it was pretty endearing. I've never been great, myself, but I can... READ ON
The planetoid Chiron has fascinated me for years--about as long as I started noticing its annoying presence on any astrological chart I'd get. "Chiron is the wounded healer," every report would say. "It shows where your deepest wounds are." But its placement in my chart isn't exactly unique--Chiron will be in Taurus for anyone born within six years of my birth year (which means, if you're interested, money issues). Named after the centaur in Greek mythology who could heal everyone but himself (and who, in... READ ON
I know the Great Salt Lake is closer and all...But there's just something about a body of water with 30% salinity that's so, well, genius. Plus, now that I'm loosed back into the world after my show was canned, I'm attracted to any place that reeks of being a decent nadir. Or, in this case, beyond decent--the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth not covered by ice. And while I'm sure those other points covered by ice have their charm, I never read about King David or Aristotle or Cleopatra congregating... READ ON
If you're claustrophobic and can't intone through the confessional window, there's the always-accessible portal at Absolution-Online. Though it's not officially endorsed by The Church, it's quite easy to navigate, although it comes with a disclaimer that insists you contact your priest if you're uncomfortable with the service. If you aren't Catholic, or if you prefer to sublimate your venial sins into collage, you know you can always contribute to the beautiful index at PostSecret...if you haven't... READ ON
Meet the beggiatoa. Since he's a chemolithotroph, he loves sulfur (or brimstone, if you prefer!) and while he's a pain to confront if you're managing a sewage treatment, industrial waste plant, or a decaying seaweed bed, he can detoxify all the hydrogen sulphide in your soil. Just don't think it'll be pretty--the oxidation produces a pale, stringy deposit known as sulfur sludge. Beggiatoa are famous for causing "bulking," in which a sludge mass thickens in volume but not in weight.... READ ON
Indeed, it is. Maybe you've heard of MJ's plans to memorialize himself in the sands of outer Vegas. Rush & Molloy confirmed yesterday... READ ON
There's nothing planetary about these nebulae. They were named by William Herschel in the late 18th century; he linked their romantic green hue to those of the methane-shrouded Neptune and... READ ON
Oh, boy. Do we really need more interaction while in freeway transit? Isn't it enough when passengers hang out windows & pull vigorously whenever a semi passes? Isn't "the wave" as you scoot into the jammed lane enough? Or how about "Report My... READ ON
It's Friday, and I'm regressing...My capacity to absorb information has undergone a bypass--I'm craving any kind of juvenilia; hence, the stats page of... READ ON
The pet project of David Humphries is finally starting to come out of the underground. Hair Wars, the much-hyped Cirque du Soleil of hair fashion, started out in '85 as a weekly hair show emceed by Humphries at Detroit-area clubs he promoted. It eventually outgrew its roots, and in '91 became its own entity, hitting the road in '94 and debuting eclectic styles that pretty much broke the fourth wall: enter the "hairy-copter", the python-beehive, and the champagne-zipper bouffant...which, chances are, people... READ ON
The only storm I ever chased was by accident--zipping through the Texas Panhandle one time. But I've always been fascinated by people who manage to craft a living out of Mother Nature's "moments"; so, speaking of, here are some key moments in the history of storm chasing, via the National Association of Storm Chasers and Spotters:
In July of 1943, Colonel Joe Duckworth and Lieutenant Ralph O'Hair of the US Army Air Corps flew an AT-6 into a hurricane off the coast of Galveston, "Just for fun,"... READ ON
So now that we're old hands at getting up an hour early, we should have no problem heralding (ok, maybe for some of us just intellectually) spring. Although it's been years since I attended a proper Wiccan potluck, I've noticed a few other rite-heavy events circulating. If you're tabling your sage for some other occasion, or if it would take too long to polish your chalice, maybe you should consider walking over hot... READ ON
I'm in Maui right now--a first-timer to the islands--and wishing I could go back in time & add my name to the list of Punahou alums (but then I'd no longer be in the company of... READ ON
If you need, on some level, to be praised in bold fonts today, check out this grammar quiz, penned by language maven Lynne Truss. If you're wrong, she ferries you politely forward without any reprimand (reinforcing the... READ ON
...but the latest agents that keep infant allergies at bay. Babies fare better against allergens, apparently, when they're burning up. Prevention.com sites that:
About one-quarter (207) of the children had suffered at least one documented fever of 101 degrees Fahrenheit or more; this group was less likely to suffer from allergies now (as measured by atopy, serotopy, and allergic sensitization). And children who had had two such fevers were less likely to suffer allergies than those who had only one.
And... READ ON
Always leads so ineluctably to the junk drawer. Growing up, we had several, each packed beyond capacity with thankless ephemera--twine, half a suit of clubs, sporks, legal pads perfectly good but for some reason maligned, twin-less batteries, everything. When my kindergarten teacher wanted us to come to class with a time capsule, I should have merely lifted one of those babies off its hinges. Here, finally, is a series of photos by Richard Jenkins, paying tribute to still life with life's shabby chorus of... READ ON
Nothing to look forward to now that we've sprung ahead? I'm thinking about perhaps getting some new plates. Since I'm in CA (or is this everywhere?!), I'll just have toÂ be sure not to include a "69" in the new sequence--that's only "reserved for 1969 year motor vehicles."Â The CA DMV Special Plates Units reportedly gets 10k requests per month, and here are some plates that cleared background. And if you're etching out a new personal sequence & you live in the state of New York, be sure to avoid... READ ON
Carhenge. Burn some diesel, and then some sage. Alliance, Nebraska on a Summer Solstice eve is where you'll want to be.Â And when construction is done, you'll be able toÂ swing by the visitors center, too--to get your updates on the next solstice bash and the annual Stone Soup Supper.
In 1987, Jim Reinders wanted to find a unique way to honor his lateÂ father, Herman Reinders, who farmed on the land where Carhenge now stands. His 38-car tribute circle measures 96 feet in diameter--the archÂ cars... READ ON
If you're feeling confident in your spelling skills & you're lucky enough to live within driving time of Mitchell, SD, get yourself over to this weekend'sÂ 15th Annual Corn Palace Regional Spelling Bee! Corn and ambition and etymology--what could be better?! But if spelling bees give you hives, here are some other kinds of bees to attend:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â And if you want to feel... READ ON
If you thoughtÂ a rushÂ hour mergeÂ onto the 101Â sapped you of all dexterity, consider the plight ofÂ Steven Kutcher,Â an artistÂ and biological consultant whoÂ procures his ownÂ insects andÂ thenÂ appliesÂ watercolor to their appendages. And when they're finished, he's there to help them decompress:
The insects should be well fed and their consumption of paint should be avoided. The method of cleaning depends on the application of pigment and the type of insect. With beetles, I... READ ON
If you haven't figured out what the Chinese Zodiac has to say about how the Year of the Pig will treat you, by all means please do. But if you discover you're not favored (we can't all be rabbits & goats), fret not--2007, ScienceDailyÂ begs us to consider,Â is also the International Heliophysical... READ ON
You can do your own taxes, make your own... READ ON
In other exciting Peruvian news, Peruvian president Alan GarciaÂ has declared March the month when punctuality will sweep the nation:
"(We must) stop this horrible, pitiful, disastrous custom of failing to be punctual," he intoned in a speech, inveighing against the $5 billion in annual economic damage caused, he said, by being late.
Tallying tardiness, he said Peruvians as a whole were annually late by 3 billion hours. That works out to over 107 hours of tardiness for every man, woman and child.... READ ON
It's getting to be about that time of year again...college admissions! There are the anorectic envelopes, the bulging ones, kids crying into safety school brochures and missing that field goal on purpose because: why try? If those ides are behind you, or if you loved your alma mater but it left you ambivalent, maybe it's time for...Clown College.Â Ringling Bros' and Barnum & Bailey Clown College closed its doors in '97 (after pumping out rock stars likeÂ Penn JilletteÂ and Steve-O), so if your... READ ON
Â ... READ ON
African Bullfrogs are second in size only to the Rana goliath. Please don't mess with these daddies; fatherhood is kind of their dharma. The males are larger than their female partners (rare in the frog world) and will charge you--especially if you're a lion. They have fierce fangs on their lower jaw, excellent for rerouting predators away from their den of eggs (they're responsible for about 3-4k). There's a big of dachshund in them, too, because they freaking love to dig; their tunnelsÂ run up to 50... READ ON
We've brought it up before, but let's loop back around the cul-de-sac. I'm in San Francisco casting Silicon Valley types, and inevitably I encounter a theoretical physicist dressed as Rosie the Robot who claims she discovered that theÂ speed of light is slowing down.
Sound familiar? Sorry, Rosie, but it's a loophole physicians (and creationists) have been massaging for years.
In 1999, Dr. JoÃ£o Magueijo published a paper proposing that Einstein's relativity might be less fixed and more like the... READ ON
This morning was the dayÂ after the tenth anniversary of Dolly's unveiling as celebrity cloned mammal, so consider this post a Bloody Mary to the grandioseÂ hangover of Dollydom. She was sprung golem-like from the mammary gland (yes) of a Finn DorsetÂ ewe &Â wasÂ yanked from the world by a lung virus...orÂ very much would have been,Â ifÂ sheÂ hadn't been given TheÂ Shot.Â She nowÂ holds somber court at the National Museum of Scotland; not quite Dollywood but give it some... READ ON
(Edison's Last Breath, as bequeathed to Henry Ford)
There's ample consideration given to the meaningful last zingers of notables, and to the preservation of that final CO2...but here are suggestionsÂ from a few science heavyweightsÂ on what our first words on Mars should be, via NewMars:
Award-winning science fiction and fantasy author of the bestselling Discworld series
"This time, let's do it right."
Dr. David Brin
Hugo and Nebula award-winning science fiction author and... READ ON
One good post on Britney deserves another...And while we're nearing the one week anniversary of the shearing, maybe it's time to deconstruct a bit. These paintings are the work of Dwayne Moser, the LA-based painter and photographer whose work in "Hollywood and Its Discontents" isolates the scenes of salacious celebrity episodes. He photographs the locations sans celebs or transients and then has Warner Bros' studio-lot painters transpose them onto acrylic... READ ON
That's right. Can it. Canned food advocates are rolling up their sleeves this month and crashing all thoseÂ raw food potlucks.Â
If you've enjoyedÂ some cannedÂ classics recently, you'll want to give a quick salute to Napoleon, who bribed all of France to surface a quality inventor. Enter Nicolas Appert, who pocketed the Francs after logging 14 years behind a workbench littered with glass, wax, and wire.
Canning is clearly more popular, but what about pickling, smoking, and drying? They don't... READ ON
It was a rainy night in LA, and I woke up this morning to find all my plants stretching their necks into the windowpane to tryÂ and cash in...Which got me on an anthropomorphic kick & thinking about the Backster Galvanic response studies, which conjecture that microbial life responds to our emotions. When interviewed, Backster talks about what happened one time he made... READ ON
Happy... READ ON
Wear insanely cute spandex tubes...Especially good for keeping them "tight-hided" and dirt-free until show time.
Being born is hard enough, but if you're a lamb growing up on the tundra, you're going to be fighting hypothermia on the off-times you don't have your full coat.
If these dears are awakening a long-buried breeder's urge, it'll be heartening to learn they're quite affordable: you can buy commercial ewes for $30-$125/head.Â Dr. Helen A. Schwartz recommends asking:Â
"Are... READ ON
We all love the sound of our own names--Dale Carnegie and his ilk have been capitalizing on this vanity for decades--but is it really as special when the person invoking ours can remember everyone else's? Kevin Trudeau posited that it was. In the 90s, I can home from school to find his MegaMemory audio tape set sunning in our kitchen, and while it was my mother's lark, I was the one who skulked around with the tapes...He was slick, and made it seem like committing grocery lists to memory was some arcane... READ ON
It's a prime monthÂ to be loving (orÂ missing)Â New York--you can distract yourself from the windchill byÂ attending Westminster, or V-day-induced power ballad parties, or...by crashing the Toy Fair! But if those exhibits inspire you to head back to your loft with an awl, a crescent wrench, and some Puffy Paint, here are some examples of toys you might not want to mimic...
The outright dangerous & the legally suspect...Â
The syncretistic...... READ ON
If you're living in a part of the world where you're at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder and you're sick of logging time in front of a light box (especially since your fungal infection is cured), maybe it's timeÂ for a... READ ON
Â While we'reÂ talking diamonds...My sister worksÂ customer serviceÂ for Tiffany & Co., and I'm always psyched to hear all the reasons people call to harangue a luxury marketer. I've done the phones circuit, too--have been guilted into listening to stories about kidney stones andÂ estranged belovedsÂ after reporting someone's shaming password--but her stories are different: Um, yeah, so I saw that movie? And I think I have a blood diamond? So like. I want to return it.Â
And as my sister... READ ON
Any decent spammer is familiar with the sting of a blighted recipient list--there's the mourningÂ that goes with bouncebacks, the chagrin over wrong pronouns, andÂ over the "ie" vs. the "y" strains of spunky names. In a recent UNC college admissions incident, 2,703 students were incorrectly extended admission due to a "clerical error" that occurred at some point during the mailing.
I don't know what mailer they were using, or even if they used one at all, but if you should ever find yourselfÂ on... READ ON
As of today, Saturn has fifty-six moons. And at the rate new ones are shyly popping up, one might say that the planet is, um, bringing sexy back. Why so many moons, Saturn? Perhaps the planet is overcompensating for all the hating going on around the weary campfires of astrologers. The current planetary weather features an opposition between Saturn and the Sun, and since the Sun is always the home team, everybody's groaning in anticipation of the next dour event we can blame on the old ball of... READ ON
Before he wrote Jaws, Peter Benchley was a speechwriter for LBJ.