Thursday, August 31, 2006

Victor/Victoria, Little Boy, -and- Knock Knock

Victor/Victoria - transsexual wants two passports
Little Boy - 20-inch boy claims to be world's shortest
Knock Knock - pilot locked out of cockpit after toilet break

On this day in history: August 31, 1888 - Jack the Ripper kills his first known victim, prostitute Mary Ann Nichols, slitting her throat from ear to ear.

Born on this day in history: August 31, 1918 - Alan Jay Lerner (1918 - 1986) dramatist, lyricist, composer. He was known for collaboration with Loewe, including "Gigi," 1958 and "My Fair Lady."

Be certain to watch this hilarious video, submitted by Laura! Cats Gone Wild

NEW FEATURE: The videos are now available via the link "Amazing and Amusing Videos" in the Links section, below the visitor counter.

RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by email that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts. Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately, your position is one that has been eliminated."

I find this to be incredibly disrespectful and obscenely demeaning. Whoever selected this methodology for termination notification should be called upon by the board of directors to personally call and apologize to the dismissed employees—following which, he should be terminated.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Kitty Gone Wild, Big Baby, -and- Dogs Gone Wild

Kitty Gone Wild - the nastiest cat on earth
Big Baby - Brazilian woman gives birth to 14-pound baby
Dogs Gone Wild - parents get 3 years in prison after dogs kill son

On this day in history: August 30, 2001 - Former president of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević is charged with genocide. He avoids charges by heart attacking in his cell before the trial can finish.

Born on this day in history: August 30, 1907 -Shirley Booth (1907 - 1992) actress. She won an Oscar for her role in "Come Back Little Sheba," 1953; starred in the TV comedy "Hazel."

Be certain to watch this amazing video! Don't Spy on Your Neighbor!

NEW FEATURE: The videos are now available via the link "Amazing and Amusing Videos" in the Links section, below the visitor counter.

What happens when you:

1) have nothing to do
2) own a sharp knife
3) have a large lime
4) own a patient cat
5) drink too much tequila
6) and it's football season? (click to enlarge)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Burn Baby Burn!, Undress Code, -and- Drive My Car

Burn Baby Burn! - 1st Apple laptop fire reported in Japan
Undress Code - public nudity okay in Vermont town
Drive My Car - woman crashes while teaching dog to drive

On this day in history: August 29, 1966 - The Beatles hold their final concert at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA.

Born on this day in history: August 29, 1920 - Charlie Parker (1920 - 1955) musician. "Yardbird" was a legendary jazz saxophonist and co-creator of "bebop."

Be certain to watch this amazing video! Invincible Surfer Truck

NEW FEATURE: The videos are now available via the link "Amazing and Amusing Videos" in the Links section, below the visitor counter.

Just days after the American Family Association launched a campaign to encourage Sam's Club to return "Christmas" to its "holiday" ads, the retailer has announced it will be highlighting the Christian event in future publications. "In our upcoming December/January 06 Source Magazine we plan to reference specific holidays such as Christmas and others, as we have in the past," the company has announced on its Web site.

The company's August/September issue included one page of Christmas items, but they were listed as "holiday" items instead, according to the AFA's Randy Sharp, who told WorldNetDaily the campaign produced 218,000 e-mails to the company and uncounted telephone calls. "We're going to continue to monitor companies," Sharp said. "We're making our list and checking it twice, and we're going to let folks know who's naughty or nice."

Monday, August 28, 2006

Buzzzzz!, Banned! -and- Hic!

Buzzzzz! - Tucson, Arizona home where man fatally stung had quarter-million bees
Banned! - eBay prohibits textbooks for homeschool teachers
Hic! - man had .46 blood-alcohol level

On this day in history: August 28, 1988 - Three Italian fighter jets from the precision flight team Frecce Tricolori collide while attempting their "Pierced Heart" stunt during an air show at Ramstein Air Base in West Germany. The wreckage of one plane tumbles into the crowd and explodes, killing 40 spectators and seriously injuring hundreds more. The death toll reaches 69 two months later.

Born on this day in history: August 28, 1828 - Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910) novelist, philosopher. He is known as one of the world's greatest novelists; wrote "War and Peace," 1865-69 and "Resurrection," 1899.

Be certain to view the amazing special effects in this video! Change of Skin

We watched "Invisible Enemies." [This 1997 thriller examines what happens when a young man finds a way to see—literally—into the darkest depths of humanity. After stumbling upon what first appears as nothing more than a harmless and misplaced pair of glasses, a young man dons the specs and discovers they are a window of sorts into a desolate, deadly and devilish world. What he does with this knowledge constitutes the heart of the film, and there are no easy answers.] This movie had an interesting story and adequate acting but suffered from amateurish special effects and poor plot and character development. Fortunately, it is only 38 minutes in length! I do not recommend this movie.

We also watched "End of the Spear." [Many years after his missionary father was speared to death at the hands of Waodani tribesmen, a young man (Chad Allen of television's "Webster" and "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman") returns to the Ecuadorian jungle to meet the native (Louie Leonardo) who murdered his father and learn the truth about his family's legacy. The result is a life-altering experience that brings him closer to the kin of his father's killer.] Despite critical acclaim and the "must see" praise of acquaintances, I found the movie vapid and boring. Hyped as "Christian" missionaries, the movie is completely devoid of any scriptural references, prayer, or mention of Jesus Christ. There is one cursory reference to " who was speared but did not spear back." While one might accept that as a reference to Jesus, it is a bit of a stretch to do so. Without a strong Christian element, the premise of the movie is unbelievable. The acting is very poor, the photography is just adequate, and the story is disjointed. I do not recommend this movie.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Homos on the Range, Twins, -and- Bozos

Homos on the Range - Wal-Mart partners with gay-lesbian group
Twins - "pregnant" man delivers brother after 36 years
Bozos - police make arrests in clown robbery cases

On this day in history: August 25, 1835 - The New York Sun publishes stunning revelations that Sir John Hershel has observed little men living on the surface of the moon. The stories, now generally believed to be false, brings the paper record circulation.

Born on this day in history: August 25, 1927 - Althea Gibson (1927 - ____) tennis player. She was the first Afro-American player to win both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon championships, 1957.

Be certain to view this hilarious video! NagaFuki Surprise

The crisis over potentially flammable batteries deepened yesterday as Apple Computer announced the recall of 1.8 million batteries because they presented a fire hazard. The voluntary recall follows a similar move by Dell, which this month recalled more than 4 million Sony batteries amid reports that they could cause computers to overheat and, in rare cases, explode into flames.

Did Sony save all the "good" batteries for its own laptops?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Final Frontier, See Spot Run, -and- Here Spot

The Final Frontier - Astronomers say Pluto is not a planet
See Spot Run San Jose to pay Hells Angels $800,000 for dogs killed by cops
Here Spot - Britney Spears wants to be buried with puppy

On this day in history: August 24, 1981 - Mark David Chapman sentenced to 20 years for killing Beatle John Lennon.

Born on this day in history: August 24, 1925 - Shirley Hufstedler (1925 - ____) government official. She was first secretary of Education during the Carter administration, 1979-1981.

We watched "Zathura" last weekend. [Jon Favreau directs this science-fiction adventure from the creators of "Jumanji," based on the book by acclaimed children's author Chris Van Allsburg. After discovering a mysterious game in the basement of their house, pint-sized brothers Danny and Walter Budwing (Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson) are sent flying into space, where they must finish the game by reaching the planet Zathura—or be trapped in galactic limbo forever.] The acting was very good, the special effects were excellent, the story was creative and exciting, and the movie was entertaining and very appropriate for all ages. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, and I highly recommend it.

We also watched "Million Dollar Baby." [This multiple Oscar winner follows a determined young athlete who, through her sheer determination, awakens a long-lost fire within two aging boxers. Despondent over a painful estrangement from his daughter, trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is not prepared for boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) to enter his life. Maggie is determined to go pro, and she eventually convinces Dunn and his cohort (Morgan Freeman) to help her get to the top.] The ultimate theme of the movie—assisted suicide—predetermined that I would object to the movie, if only on that basis. I was actually eager to like the movie, however, since it featured two of my favorite actors (Eastwood and Freeman). I disliked it, however—considerably more than I imagined that I would. The characters are really caricatures: Swank's character is uber-plucky; Eastwood is the standard grizzled veteran hiding a heart of gold; and Freeman is the wise and sad mediator helping the two come together because he knows they need each other. However, the worst cliches come in the form of the antagonists. There is no subtlety about who the bad guys are and how unredemptively bad they are. I do not recommend this movie.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't Call, Risky Business, -and- It's Him!

Don't Call - drivers who wreck while using cell phones face new charges
Risky Business - Paramount cuts ties with Tom Cruise
It's Him! - robber nabbed after taking same flight as victim

On this day in history: August 23, 1951 - Ninety West Point cadets are expelled for cheating, including most of the Academy's football team.

Born on this day in history: August 23, 1950 - Shelley Long (1950 - ____) actress. She played Diane Chambers on TV series "Cheers," 1982-87, winning an Emmy, 1983; films include "Outrageous Fortune," 1986.

I believe in these difficult and mean-spirited times in which we live there needs to be a message of hope: A single image that speaks to us of love, harmony, peace and joy—an image that suggests the universal brotherhood of man. I have found that image, and I ask that all of you take a moment to be inspired by it. Click to enlarge.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Just Say No, The Buzz, -and- Pluck

Just Say No - Blackberry addiction similar to drugs
The Buzz - Arizona man stung to death by killer bees
Pluck - stolen banjo recovered on eBay 35 years later

On this day in history: August 22, 1992 - FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi fires a rifle shot that kills unarmed Vicki Weaver, at the Ruby Ridge standoff. Horiuchi claimed he was trying to shoot another man in the back. The FBI also killed Weaver's fourteen-year-old son, Sam, and the son's dog.

Born on this day in history: August 22, 1920 - John Lee Hooker (1920 - 2001), US blues singer, guitarist. 1951 US million-selling album "I'm In The Mood," 1964 UK No. 23 single "Dimples," 1989 album "The Healer."

Watch this incredible video! (Caution - 8MB file.) Amazing Spray Paint Artist

The 17th annual Corning Olive Festival takes place this week. Highlights of the Festival include a parade and bed races on Friday and a cooking contest, talent show, and food and craft vendors in the park on Saturday.

For event schedule and photographs from previous Olive Festivals, visit my Corning Olive Festival Web Site.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Meow!, Brat!, -and- Honk!

Meow! - Florida woman ordered to get rid of 168 cats
Brat! - 6-year-old student beats up teacher's aide
Honk! - driving with money is a crime

On this day in history: August 21, 1996 - Superfreak Rick James (prisoner J29237) is released from Folsom Prison after serving a two-year sentence for drugs and assault. He had planned to marry his fiance, Tanja Anne Hijazi, upon release but she had been arrested for shoplifting a pair of boots two days earlier.

Born on this day in history: August 21, 1938 - Kenny Rogers (1938 - ____) singer, actor. Country-rock singer whose best songs include "Ruby" and "Lucille" and "Lady."

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation declares its noble mission is to bring "innovations in health and learning to the global community." But the world's largest philanthropic organization also is among the organizations that collectively loaned nearly $400 million to Medianews Group Inc.—for the acquisition of newspapers in California and Minnesota!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Drive My Car, MVP, -and- Free At Last

Drive My Car - dad accused of DUI said 4-year-old was at wheel
MVP - judge delays sentence so teen can play football
Free At Last - dolphin trapped in Speedo swimsuit rescued

On this day in history: August 18, 1590 - Sent to England to get supplies three years prior, John White finally returns to Roanoke Island and discovers his colony "strongly enclosed with a high palisade of great trees, with [curtain walls] and [bastions] -- very fort-like." There is no sign of the settlers or where they may have gone.

Born on this day in history: August 18, 1922 - Shelley Winters (1922 - ____) actress. She won Oscars for "The Diary of Anne Frank," 1959 and "A Patch of Blue," 1966.

Enjoy this amazing video! Japanese Speed-drinking Contest

Dell reported quarterly profits that were substantially lower than a year ago due to increased competition from rival Hewlett-Packard. The company also announced that the SEC was informally looking into its revenue recognition practices.

Dell also said that it had received a request from the SEC in August 2005 seeking information relating to revenue recognition and other accounting and financial reporting matters. The SEC investigation is the latest bit of bad news for Dell. The company announced a recall of over 4 million laptop batteries on Monday after it was disclosed that they could spontaneously catch fire.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rats!, Mommy Dearest, -and- Gentle Ben

Rats! - chronic infestation of rodents and roaches in NY Starbucks
Mommy Dearest - mother got 10-year-old son hooked on cocaine
Gentle Ben - country star accused of killing tame bear

On this day in history: August 17, 1948 - Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard is arrested for bad checks in San Luis Obispo, California. Hubbard pays a $25 fine.

Born on this day in history: August 17, 1786 - Davy Crockett (1786 - 1836) frontiersman, soldier, politician. "The King of the Wild Frontier" was said to have grinned down bears; was one of the legendary figures to die at the Alamo.

Be certain to watch this video! Extreme Strength!

Take a look at these FAT CATS! And you thought Garfield was big!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ahoy!, Hic!, -and- Bad Boy!

Ahoy! - Mexican fishermen found after 11 months at sea
Hic! - Batman and Superman charged with DUI
Bad Boy! - cop robbed drivers during traffic stops

On this day in history: August 16, 1987 - Mercury, Venus, and Mars all get bunched up near the Sun in what some call the "Harmonic Convergence." Thousands of nutballs clustered at sacred locations like Mount Shasta, California, begin meditating for some inane reason.

Born on this day in history: August 16, 1923 - Shimon Peres (1923 - ____) political leader. He served as prime minister of Israel, 1984-86; in 1993, as foreign minister, he helped negotiate a peace accord with Yasir 'Arafat.

A woman who says she was attacked by a squirrel after walking out of a Tiffany and Co. jewelry store filed suit against the shopping center Monday, saying its employees "encouraged" the squirrel's presence by feeding it. The suit alleges that through its employees and security personnel, Westfield Corp., which owns and manages the shopping center, "encouraged the squirrel to remain on the premises by feeding and caring for the squirrel, despite the dangerous conditions that arose from allowing said animal to remain on the premises."

I have seen a lot of squirrels, but I have never seen a squirrel that could remotely be considered "dangerous"!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Burn Baby Burn!, Fast-food Rage, -and- Kicks

Burn Baby Burn! - Dell to recall 4.1 million laptop batteries, citing fire hazard
Fast-food Rage - woman gets revenge at McDonald's
Kicks - woman explains owning 80 pairs of shoes

On this day in history: August 13, 1969 - Woodstock begins on Max Yasgur's farm in upstate New York. Tickets are $18 for three days of counterculture musical acts, including Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and Sha-Na-Na.

Born on this day in history: August 13, 1912 - Julia Child (1912 - 2006) chef, author, TV hostess. She was the star of "The French Chef," 1962-83; wrote "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," 1961.

Be certain to view this hilarious video: When a Japanese Baby Is Born

Last weekend, we watched disc 2 of the 3-disc set, "The Gospel of John." This is a glorious movie. We excitedly inserted disc 3, "Bonus Features," only to determine it was marked incorrectly and was not disc 3. It was disc 2! We have used Netflix for over four years, and this is the first and only instance of receiving an incorrectly labeled disc.

Yesterday, I sat here patiently awaiting a new extended-life battery for my HP HX2795 iPaq Pocket PC. The battery that shipped with the unit has been progressively failing. At 2 PM, I tracked the shipment, only to determine that the FedEX driver had reported "Delivery attempted at 12:35 PM. Business closed." Since I had been here since 8 AM, I found this information peculiar and disturbing. It took several minutes of voice menus to reach a live representative. She apologized and said she would have someone call me shortly with updated delivery information. I am waiting, 18 hours later.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Somebody's Watching You, Parental Support, -and- Creature Discomfort

Somebody's Watching You - Yahoo! mail vulnerable to hacking
Parental Support - mother helped son scout for victims
Creature Discomfort - vampire sea spiders suck on prey

On this day in history: August 14, 1965 - Salvatore Bono and Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre capture #1 on the American pop charts with their song "I Got You Babe," launching the careers of Sonny & Cher.

Born on this day in history: August 14, 1945 - Steve Martin (1945 - ____) comedian, actor. His movies have included "Roxanne," "The Jerk," "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Father of the Bride," and "Simple Twist of Fate."

Be certain to view this awesome Shelby Mustang video!

The latest way to splurge in the Hamptons has nothing to do with a $2,500 dress or a $25 million mansion. It is a hot dog—a $25 hot dog. The Laundry has been offering a foot-long beef frank since the beginning of July. So far, the restaurant has served more than 1,000. With tax and the customary 20-percent tip, the hot dog actually costs $32.16, but anyone who can afford dinner in East Hampton probably is not counting.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Rodents Gone Wild, Hello?, -and- Fighting Back

Rodents Gone Wild - squirrels attack 7 people in Florida
Hello? - computer viruses to target cell phones
Fighting Back - homeowner shoots two intruders, kills one

On this day in history: August 11, 1965 - A white motorcycle cop from the California Highway Patrol pulls over a car at 116th and Avalon, near Watts. When Marquette Frye fails the field sobriety test, the CHP officer places him under arrest and radios for a transportation unit and a tow truck. 15 minutes later, with more than 1,000 spectators gathered to watch the scene, a scuffle breaks out between police officers and members of the driver's family. This altercation sets the stage for the bloody Watts riots two days later.

Born on this day in history: August 11, 1921 - Alex Haley (1921 - 1992) novelist, journalist. His historical fiction, "Roots," 1976, depicted the struggles of American blacks and became the most-watched dramatic show in TV history.

Here are some baby octopi, cleaned and awaiting being tossed onto the grill.
Click to enlarge.

Here are the baby octopi on the grill, soon to be chomped upon with great delight. Click to enlarge.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Boom!, Follow Me!, -and- Legs!

Boom! - speeding motorist tries to blow up camera
Follow Me! - robotic shopping carts
Legs! - octopus pulled from Ohio River

On this day in history: August 10, 1996 - Heated by the sun, power lines begin to sag in Oregon. Somehow, this triggers a series of failures which cascades throughout the Western states. Four million people lose electrical service in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Montana, and Texas.

Born on this day in history: August 10, 1874 - Herbert Hoover (1874 - 1964) president (31st), engineer. He was chief Allied relief administrator during WW I; led the U.S. as president during the early years of the Depression.

While shopping at the Chico Mall this morning, I spotted this innovative automobile air conditioner installation. Click to enlarge.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Meow!, Pow!, -and- Wow!

Meow! - is tiny Heed the world's smallest cat?
Pow! - woman punches otter to save her dogs
Wow! - drunken German cleans out savings account and passes out to strangers

On this day in history: August 9, 1960 - Harvard professor Timothy Leary consumes seven Psilocybe caerulescens mushrooms in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Five hours later, the self-described atheist experiences a "full-blown conversion experience" next to a swimming pool. It is Leary's first drug trip.

Born on this day in history: August 9, 1963 - Whitney Houston (1963 - ____) singer. She won a Grammy, 1986, for top female vocalist; hits include "How Will I Know," 1987; film debut in "The Bodyguard," 1992.

A friend visited me this morning. He took me for a ride in his new Dodge Magnum RT Hemi. Great Scott! I am now suffering from circadian dysrhythmia!

A young Dutch architect has created a floating bed which hovers above the ground through magnetic force and comes with a price tag of $1.54 million. Gee-whiz. I do not believe that fits into my budget.

Record Store Cats! Click the image to view all eleven images!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Cluck Cluck, Snack Time, -and- Spin

Cluck Cluck - Dixie Chicks cancel 14 shows on tour
Snack Time - cops capture stolen doughnut truck
Spin - fireman takes ride in tumble dryer

On this day in history: August 8, 1960 - Brian Hyland's song "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini" reaches number one on the pop charts.

Born on this day in history: August 8, 1937 - Dustin Hoffman (1937 - ____) actor. He starred in "The Graduate," 1967; won Oscars for "Kramer vs. Kramer," 1979 and "Rainman," 1982.

Search engine giant Google has started warning users if sites they are about to visit could damage their computers. Warnings will pop up if people click on a link to a page which is known to host spyware or programs that are malicious. Warnings will be seen by anyone using the search engine who clicks on a link to a site identified as harmful by the Stop Badware coalition.

Google has won one of the most sought-after deals in the search engine market, becoming the exclusive provider of search functionality and search advertising to and other News Corp. Web sites. The exclusive deal calls for Google to provide general Web search, site search and vertical-type searches for and the majority of sites run by Fox Interactive Media, the News Corp. online division that entered into the deal with Google.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Never Too Old, Dirty Words, -and- Memorex

Never Too Old - grandmother celebrates 90th birthday with parachute jump
Dirty Words - China's karaoke police censor unclean lyrics
Memorex - court says officers must tell drivers they are taping

On this day in history: August 7, 1882 - Ellison Hatfield is stabbed 26 times and shot in the back by Tolbert McCoy and two of his brothers. Two days later, the Hatfield clan captures the three McCoys and executes them by firing squad. Thus begins generations of bloodshed between the families, ultimately causing about 100 casualties.

Born on this day in history: August 7, 1950 - Rodney Crowell (1950 - ____) singer, songwriter. He wrote many songs recorded by Emmylou Harris; top ten single, "It's Such a Small World," 1988, was recorded as a duet with his wife, Roseanne Cash.

We watched Garfield: The Movie. [It's the purrfect blend of live action and CGI as everyone's favorite cynical, overweight tabby--Garfield (voiced by Bill Murray)--finally makes it to the big screen in this film based on Jim Davis's syndicated cartoon strip. Garfield's comic misadventures begin when he finds himself competing for his owner's affection after a new pet, a dog named Odie, takes up residence in the household. Also stars Jennifer Love Hewitt. Meow!] This was a delightfully funny movie that I highly recommend. The mating of live actors and animation is flawless, and Garfield is adorable. I added Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties to our Netflix queue.

We watched The Gospel of John. [This word-for-word adaptation of the 21 chapters of the Gospel According to John tells story of Jesus' life--mostly focusing on his final hours, his crucifixion and the events that followed--from disciple John's point of view. The epic film draws its audience into antiquity through meticulous re-creation, including an original musical score complete with instrumental sounds of the time. Christopher Plummer narrates much of the film.] This is a beautiful movie that faithfully follows the Gospel of John. The acting and photography are first-rate. It is a 3-disc set, and we eagerly await the arrival of discs 2 and 3.

It rained during the night! Apparently it did not rain a great deal, yet it did rain. Today will be most humid no doubt.

Friday, August 04, 2006

iFlawed, Pass Gas, -and- Drive My Car

iFlawed - Apple may restate results amid probe
Pass Gas - spoof of Gore film linked to Exxon
Drive My Car - designated driver tossed from bar for not drinking

On this day in history: August 4, 1994 - Howard Stern withdraws his candidacy for governor of New York, ostensibly to avoid complying with the financial disclosure laws.

Born on this day in history: August 4, 1900 - Queen Mother Elizabeth (1900 - 2002) royalty. She was the wife of King George VI and mother of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Spanish-American War has been over for more than 100 years, and now so is the tax imposed in 1898 to help fund it. On Tuesday, August 8, 2006, all companies selling long-distance telephone service are legally required to eliminate the 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance service, which had been established in 1898 as a luxury tax on wealthy Americans who owned telephones. Verizon Communications said it has stopped collecting the 3 percent federal excise tax on monthly consumer telephone bills for long-distance and bundled services.

After a long legal battle and strong urging from Congress, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of the Treasury decided in May to discontinue the federal 3 percent excise tax on long-distance telephone service. It also decided not to apply the tax to wireless, voice over Internet Protocol service, prepaid telephone cards, and other bundled services. The IRS also said it would allow taxpayers to claim a refund in 2007 for taxes collected on those services retroactive to February 2003.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Defense Rests, Don't Forget Me!, -and- Identity Crisis

The Defense Rests - Ohio man claims civil right to have sex with boys
Don't Forget Me! - man jailed to assure testimony then forgotten
Identity Crisis - singer claims to have been Marilyn Monroe in former life

On this day in history: August 3, 1996 - Forces of evil make "Macarena" by Los Del Rio #1 on the pop charts. The accompanying dancing disease afflicts millions before final eradication.

Born on this day in history: August 3, 1920 - P. D. James (1920 - ____) mystery novelist. Phyllis Dorothy James is best known for creating the intelligent, perceptive poet and inspector, Adam Dalgliesh, Cover Her Face, 1962.

Be certain to watch this Amazing Video! This is a large file (2MB), so be patient if you have a slow connection. It is a video of a 4x4 hill climb that must be seen to be believed. It is worth the wait!

As I predicted, Sirius Satellite Radio continues to lose money. The company lost more in the most-recent quarter ($237.8 million) than it did a year ago ($177.6 million). Apparently, Sirius' expectations of Howard Stern's fans following him and paying to do so simply did not materialize.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Dirty Talk, Too Hot to Handle, -and- Stars and Stripes Forever

Dirty Talk - your cell phone is unclean
Too Hot to Handle - man barbecued by divorced wife
Stars and Stripes Forever - naked patriotism lands man in jail

On this day in history: August 2, 1876 - Drinking at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory, Jack McCall notices Wild Bill Hickok playing poker at a corner table. Then he calmly walks over to the table and blows a wide hole in the back of Hickok's head with a .45 revolver. The professional gambler and onetime lawman was holding a pair of aces and a pair of eights, now known as the "Dead Man's Hand."

Born on this day in history: August 2, 1942 - Rose Tremain (1942 - ____) novelist, playwright. Her works include Restoration.

Be certain to watch this Massage Video!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advised against eating raw oysters harvested in Washington state, citing a recent rash of bacteria-caused illnesses that have sickened people on both coasts.

On Friday, the Washington state Department of Health issued a recall for all oysters in the shell harvested after July 13 from closed areas in Hood Canal and south Puget Sound. Packaged oysters are not affected by the recall.

There have been more than 70 reported cases of vibriosis this year in people who ate oysters in Washington, the highest number since 1997, when 58 cases were reported, Health Department spokesman Tim Church said.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Fight Club, Identity Crisis, -and- Woman Gone Wild

Fight Club - violent teen gatherings face police crackdown
Identity Crisis - waitress shown own ID when carding patron
Woman Gone Wild - wife pulls gun on pastor in church

On this day in history: August 1, 1966 - Former Eagle Scout and United States Marine Charles Whitman carries a sniper rifle onto University of Texas at Austin. There he climbs to the top of UT tower and begins firing indiscriminately at dozens of people, killing 13. Whitman is finally taken out 96 minutes later by three Austin PD officers.

Born on this day in history: August 1, 1942 - Jerry Garcia (1942 - 1995) musician, singer. He was the founder and lead guitarist of The Grateful Dead. "In the Dark" was one of the Top Ten Albums of all time.

After what seemed like an endless procession of nearly unbearably hot days, this current weather seems like a cold spell! It barely reached 90 degrees yesterday and is forecast to be even cooler today. It was a mere 74 degrees when I arrived at my office at 8 AM this morning.

We enjoyed a delightful salad for dinner last evening: Italian greens, white mushrooms, cucumbers, kidney beans, celery, Anaheim pepper, green bell pepper, roasted red bell pepper, roasted red onion, radishes, hard-boiled eggs, cluster tomatoes, and grilled London broil.

Laura is one of the teachers for Vacation Bible School at Harvest Christian Center, tonight through Friday. She is eager to work with a group of young children. She was up late last night, studying and preparing lessons. She will be working from 6:30 PM until 8:30 PM each evening.

Dinner this evening will be turkey soup from last Thanksgiving.