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

Monday, December 02, 2002

I'm not sure that I'm going to continue maintaining this blog. I am still reading the international news, but I'm lacking the energy to keep posting here. I'm experimenting with dropping this project for now. If I find that I miss writing it, I'll be back. Or, if I make up my mind, I'll post it here first.

Thanks to everyone that I've met through this project. I've loved doing it, and I've loved meeting all of you. Remember to keep your eyes open, and read a news source outside of your own city and country if you want to get the real flavor of the world.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Crossing Over Experience
While I was living with my parents, my 19-year-old nephew one day asked me out of the blue what I think of John Edward and what he does. And while I'm always a bit skeptical of things, I do like the idea that John is really connecting with departed loved ones. I like to think it is possible. I like to think that John is a sincere guy who is really trying to help people. I've watched a few episodes, and I find the show relaxing and encouraging, but its not on my "must see" list. I do like what John says, that it is important to keep short accounts with people while they are alive so there is less guilt and unnecessary grief when they pass. I think that is great advice for the living.

This Is Too Cool
A few years back, the City of Phoenix opened City Haul, a gift shop where they sold left over city supplies, like stop signs, fire hydrants, and other municipal items. Now, you can buy things confiscated by the police departments in several states at an online shopping destination that is eBay meets COPS, You can even report your stolen items for recovery at their feature, Guess where I'll be doing some of my holiday shopping.

Speaking of Phoenix City Trash...
...Did you hear that Tuscon has purchased the old Phoenix holiday street decorations to use next year? I guess that if City Haul was still open, I could have bought one of the wreaths for my front door, eh?

Do You IM At Work?
I know people who use instant messaging (IM) instead of email to keep in touch with family and friends during the work day. But what if your job required you to use IM to communicate with staff and customers? Seems that IM in the workplace is becoming more popular as businesses try to harness the easy access it provides.

Wednesday, November 06, 2002

Cross Dressing Angst
It's always amazing to me when I see the same theme running through independently reported news items around the world. Male high school students get in trouble for wearing cheerleading uniforms to school with skirts that are too short for the school dress code. They were celebrating a school spirit day. And in Tecate, Mexico, transvestites are in danger of being arrested thanks to a new ordinance that makes cross-dressing for men illegal. Women can still wear pants. The same ordinance was NOT instituted in Tijuana, a neighboring border town, because the transvestite community threatened to out officials who have used the services of homosexual prostitutes. Interesting, eh?

Cincy Cracks Down on Johns
You have to put this in perspective. Cincinnati is the heart of Hamilton County which had banned all pornography within the county limits, forcing these merchants to the county line, and the neighboring cities. It is also the town that indicted and tried the Contemporary Arts Center and its director, Dennis Barrie, for exhibiting The Perfect Moment, an exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe photographs, which were allegedly "obscene." The movie, Dirty Pictures, was made about this. They also have a long history of prosecuting Larry Flynt, a local purveyor of porn. Now, the up-tight geniuses in Cincy are impounding the cars that belong to the johns when they make a vice bust. Imagine explaining THAT to the little lady at home.

New Codes for Cell Phone Caused Traffic Accidents
Starting in January, state departments of transportation have a new set of codes that will identify traffic accidents where cell phones, PDAs, and pagers have contributed to the accident. This information can also be used to help states decide if they want create new legislation against the use of these items.

Only In California......would someone think that a two-part quarter is a good idea. One design idea for the California quarter would produce two halves, symbolic of the San Andreas fault that is the cause of the ubiquitous California earthquakes, and a taste of what may come when the big one hits and California falls into the ocean. It's a great program, but a two-part two bit piece? Nah.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Today's Theme: Election Relief

The Preferred Bar For Serial Killers in the Northwest
How strange is this? The Waterfront Tavern in Bellingham, Washington has served brewskis to more than one serial killer. How many other bars can make that claim? They include Ted Bundy, Kenneth Bianchi, who was arrested with Angelo Buono Jr. (Hillside Stranglers), James A. Kinney, and now John Muhammad, who cheered the 9/11 terrorists while imbibing.

Whaaazzzzup Kiribati?
It just goes to show that some people can't take a joke. A satirical website in New Zealand, Spinner, published an article that the US was about to invade the small Pacific Ocean country of Kiribati, and they believed it was true! The small country, made up a series of islands, used to be known as the Gilbert Islands and used to be under British rule. However, in a weird twist, it turns out that the US had a claim on Phoenix Islands and the Line Islands until 1979. The article that caused all of this problem has been removed from the site.

McDonalds Opposed in Oaxaca, Mexica Plaza
After 52 years, El Mundo Elegante, a clothing store, shut down in the central plaza of this quaint Mexican town, to make room for a McDonalds. People are upset to have American commercialism invade their traditional plaza. I would be, too.

Law & Order Reaches Cult Status
I must admit, when I started watching TV after more than 15 years of avoiding it all together, I fell in love with Law & Order. I know the schedule for it on TNT every day of the week, and I've created a chart of which stars appear in which years. Seems that I'm not the only one. I like the Criminal Intent spinoff, but don't connect with the Special Victims Unit.

Auditions for Budding Singers
I've heard people say that our national anthem is one of the hardest songs to sing. Who can forget Roseanne's butchering of it, among other famous attempts that failed miserably. I like the idea that it is played or performed before the start of sporting events, but unfortunately, this means that lots of people get lots of opportunities to enter the anthem's hall of shame. Recently, the Los Angeles Clippers decided to take advantage of the fact that so many star wannabes reside in their city, and held public auditions for anthem singers.

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.