Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Family of Man (and Animals)

I know there's a lot going on in the world right now, much of it sad, scary, ugly and barbaric. Maybe that's why it's more important than ever to take a step back and remember that the Earth can also be a place of wondrous, awe-inspiring, humbling diversity. Think about it. Just in the past 24 hours, we've seen images of a Peruvian police dog jumping through blazing, red-hot fire hoops in Lima, while in Everland, South Korea, Jennie the 2-year-old orangutan licked an ice block filled with bananas to gain some refreshment and relief from that Asian nation's scorching summer.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, we saw impeccably dressed French actor Jean Reno wave to the crowd following his wedding with stunningly attired American model Zofia Borucka in les Baux de Provence...

While in nearby St. Tropez, Canadian actress Pamela Anderson prepared for her own wedding ceremony with awesomely skanky American musician Kid Rock by shoving her breasts and ass at reporters while aboard a yacht.

Two weddings, two different approaches... but a single, almost fanatical devotion to the sacred and everlasting bond of matrimony. If that doesn't take your breath away just a little, I think you may be dead inside.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

That's What You Get For Singing "Let The Eagle Soar"

Ooh, can't wait to see who got voted out this week.

Is It Just Me (#3)

Is it just me or does the Mexico City police department look like it could use a few more motorcycles?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Comes With Its Own Sharpie

Zach Blumenshein, who works in merchandising for the Dallas Cowboys, displays a giant bobblehead version of new Cowboys player Terrell Owens. The doll is for sale at a store at the Cowboys training camp, in Oxnard, California. The ego is sold separately.

Advise and Resent

The A.P. caption accompanying the above photo says it shows three guys from Ohio as they "try to rescue a friend's motorcycle that was almost washed away when the Grand River overflowed its banks overnight." Let's see -- one guy drinks a soda and points, a second guy sits on the bike while a third guy does all the pushing and rescuing. I don't know -- if I'm that third guy, I'm thinking I might want a little more credit from the A.P., like maybe downgrade the other two to assistant status or something.

Mission Accomplished

Pres. Bush went to NAM yesterday, finally fulfilling his military obligations with the Texas Air National Guard.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Too Clever By Half

Vice President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert are said to have agreed with roughly half of what Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had to say during a speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday. They had no comment on the other half, owing to the fact that they each had a finger in one ear for the duration of the leader's remarks.

Global Warming: A Boon for Soccer?

Pro-Global Warming Argument: Fewer grass stains on soccer uniforms

Anti-Global Warming Argument: Running increases the likelihood of snapping your foot off at the ankle and falling carries a higher probability of splitting your head open

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Holy Crap, It's Hot (#1)

In today's installment of animals eating things frozen in big blocks of ice, we see a 10-year-old African elephant sucking on a block of fruit and veggies at a zoo in Efurt, German...

Then we have a polar bear delighting in his mackerel-flavored ice cube at La Fleche zoo in western France...

And finally, in the non-stuff-frozen-in-blocks-of-ice category, we have a kid riding his bike into the ocean...

Holy crap it's hot.

The Crazy Bunch

More Walt Handelsman animation. Check it out.

No Surprise (Finally)

A couple of weeks back, I pointed out how the New York Times has continually referred to trips by administration officials to Mideast hotspots as "surprise visits", a description that I said has the "whiff of spin or p.r. to it" because it seems to give these trips the air of unexpected but much-appreciated "gifts" being bestowed on those visited. I suggested the paper's editors might want to refer to the trips instead as "unplanned" or "unscheduled" visits, which hits me as much more even-handed approach. So I think it only fair to point out that in a front page story this morning, the Times described Secy. of State Rice's meeting with Lebanon's prime minister Fouad Siniora yesterday as an "unannounced stop in Beirut." Not sure if this is a permanent editorial decision and I'm certainly not pretending my post was the cause for it -- just saying I appreciate the injection of some impartiality to the story on the part of the Times.

Now if someone could just have a chat with the AP...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send Kuala Lumpur Over

A team comprised of leaders from Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand competed in the Red Rover regional finals today at the o
pening of the 39th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Ministerial Meeting in Kuala Lumpur. Nicknamed "The Fightin' 39's", the team is currently undefeated but has a long way to go if they hope to equal the success of the infamous "Fightin' 95's"...

... or 1987's rag-tag bunch of roughnecks known affectionately though for no apparent reason as "The Knuckle Bunch".

Established in 1967, ASEAN's goal is to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region, as well as to strengthen the foundation for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian nations through such playground games as Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, Relievio and Tag.

Idaho Shout Outs

Kudos to former Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne for picking a non-potato related image for the state's new quarter before leaving to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Some advice for Idaho Gov. Jim Risch, though -- next time you unveil a new Idaho state quarter design, let the kid you're holding actually see it. And for the Peregrine falcon who attended today's festivities at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho...

... don't start thinking you're some big shot just because you've got your head on a quarter. So do a cow and a wheel of cheese.

Once Again, With Feeling

Sorry to repeat myself but when is the press going to stop referring to these trips by jetsetting Administration dignitaries as "surprise" visits?

From the AP (once again, boldface mine):
Rice visits Beirut in surprise Mideast tour

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought to buttress Lebanon's fragile democratic government Monday after nearly two weeks of warfare, making this stricken capital a surprise first stop on a high-stakes Mideast diplomatic mission.
Unscheduled? Sure. Unplanned? Of course. Unexpected? Great! But please, anything but "surprise".

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Keep a Nickel Between Your Knees, Sir

My god, even the way the guy sits is an embarrassment.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Twenty Percent Doctrine

Does anyone remember the last time Cheney didn't appear out in public without a khaki/camo/bemedalled backdrop? Above, we see a photo taken this morning as the Veep charmed and delighted members of the 3rd Infantry Division who had just returned from their second deployment to Iraq. Last Monday, he was in Iowa's Camp Dodge speaking to Air and Army National Guard troops...

The day before, the Vice President Dick Cheney delivered an official 'thank you' on behalf of the Bush administration to the Michigan military personnel inside an aircraft hangar at the state's Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township...

A few days before that, we see Cheney gallantly waving to the 2,500 assembled sailors and Marines as he walks to a podium aboard the Commander, 2nd Fleet flagship, amphibious assault ship USS Wasp in Norfolk, Virginia on July 7...

Okay, if I'm being fair, I should point out that in between all this, there was a shot of him in the East Room of the White House (had to be there), a shot of the smiling granddad in the hospital (wanted to be there -- besides, next to a puppy, what warms chilly old Cheney up more than a cute as a button newborn?), a picture of the V.P. chillin' with his best NASCAR buds (though, mind you, at a safe distance from any actual public interaction), and of course his dash-for-the-cash photo op as he trolled for bucks at a GOP fundraiser (make sure there's lots of flags).

Guess that's what a 20% approval rating gets you -- lots of canned applause, and mostly from people who are ordered to show up.

Friday, July 21, 2006

They Finally Got Their Man

The CIA announced today that it has been conducting a top-secret operation to topple the Communist regime of Fidel Castro since shortly after the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion. Sources reveal that undercover agents have been placing slow-acting aging pills in President Castro's food since 1961. Even a cursory look at the evidence reveals the success of the program and that its effects on the Communist leader have been obvious and unmistakable. Below is a picture of Pres. Castro looking young and fit in the mid-1950's...

... and a photo of Pres. Castro taken today at a Mercosur trade bloc summit in Cordoba, Argentina looking much, much grayer, wrinkled, hunched over and tired.

An Inconvenient Yet Tasty Truth

One underreported upside to the whole global warming issue is the vastly increased number of photos showing animals beating the heat by eating food frozen in ice. (That being said, I'm still slightly repulsed by yesterday's "blood-flavoured ice lollies" thing.) Above, two-week-old miniature piglets Pinky and Perky dig in at Pennywell Farm and Wildlife centre near Buckfastleigh, south western England, while an unnamed polar bear at the Berlin Zoo vainly looks for something other than ice inside his "ice bomb".

Everything's Bigger in Texas

According to the Associated Press, the above pictures show State Preservation Board worker Joe Roberts cleaning the statue, 'Boy and His Eel,' by J.W. Fiske, on the grounds of the State Capitol in Austin, Texas on Friday, July 21, 2006.

According to me... heh? A boy and his eel? In Texas? Anyone out there care to explain this to me? Or do I basically get it?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

You Need a License to Drive...

Really? Someone would put this around their kid's neck and think it was adorable? Really?

Hot and Tasty

The BBC is reporting that the UK's hottest July day in history was recorded today in Wisley, Surrey, where temperatures rose to a sweltering 97.7 degrees Fahrenheit. During the nation's recent scorching heat wave, schools have been shuttered, roads have been closed due to melting asphalt, railway lines have buckled and for some reason I can't figure out, zookeepers have handed out "blood-flavoured ice lollies" to their animals.

July 20 will also go down in history for the largest number of eggs fried on the bonnet of a car in the UK on a single July day. The previous record had been three.

Throw In Some Dogs and a Trench While You're At It

The House of Representatives passed legislation yesterday that would prevent judges from hearing cases seeking to remove a reference to God in the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2002, an appeals court ruled that the phrase "under God" represented an endorsement of religion and was in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The decision was later struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court on procedural grounds, but conservatives have been attempting since that time to prevent "activist judges" from tampering with the wording of the pledge in the future.

"We're creating a fence. The fence goes around the federal judiciary. We're doing that because we don't trust them," said Missouri Rep. Todd Akin.

Hmm. Building fences around things you don't trust. "Concentrating", as it were, those elements in our society that we fear might harm or weaken us. Interning them, if you will, to keep the rest of us safe. Interesting metaphor, Rep. Akin. Arresting imagery. Keep up the good work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Christmas in July

I'm not totally sure I have this right but I think I just saw on the wire that they're remaking "A Christmas Story," only this time with an all-monkey cast. Above, a Hulman langur recreates the famous "Flick gets his tongue stuck on a flagpole after being triple-dog-dared" scene, except instead of a flagpole, it's a tutti frutti ice bomb with frozen fruit inside. I, for one, wish Christmas would hurry up and get here already.