When it's your time, it's just your time.
Maybe if he had 60 half-liters of beer at his disposal, he'd be alive today...
San Mateo man dies in avalanche
Snowboarder's change of plans had saved him from tsunami
Bay Area native Daniel Berk had planned to spend the Christmas holiday in Sri Lanka, getting his scuba certificate, but canceled his plans at the last minute. He missed the deadly tsunami, but on Saturday, he was killed in an avalanche while snowboarding off-trail in the Austrian Alps.
Berk, 31, who grew up in San Mateo, had been living in Munich as a consultant for Intel Corp. for several years and was scheduled to be transferred back to the Bay Area in March, said his sister Valerie Berni of Tigard, Ore.
He had taken up snowboarding while living in Germany and frequently visited the Alps. On Saturday, he was snowboarding in the Austrian Alps with three friends who were above him on the mountain and saw him overtaken by the avalanche, Berni said.
The avalanche, which the Associated Press said had a width of about 300 yards, occurred at about 7,550 feet in an off-trail area in the western province of Tyrol. The AP said the area was "popular with thrill-seekers looking for deep, untouched powder."
PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS OF
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
There's snow going back now.
For it easier to pass a tumbling gymnast through the eye of a basketball hoop than it is to enter the kingdom of Heaven.
Hat tip to Lawren at Martinis, Persistance, and a Smile.
In the Shiite-dominated cities of southern Iraq, and through much of Baghdad, Iraqis streamed to polling places, eager to give the country's largest group real political power for the first time. They did so despite relentless insurgent attacks that left 44 people dead, including nine suicide bombers.
In some polling centers, the mood turned joyous, with Iraqis celebrating their newfound democratic freedoms in street parties that, until the elections, were virtually unknown in this war-ravaged land.
As the sun went down, some Iraqis ran to the polling centers. Some election workers kept polls open late for them.
At least for now, the large turnout appeared to vindicate the strategy to hold elections sooner rather than later, over the objections of many Sunni leaders and in the face of the ferocious insurgency. That strategy, advocated by Ayatollah Sistani and President Bush, drew criticism that it would further divide the country and that, in any case, the Iraqis were not ready.
In polling places throughout the country, ordinary Iraqis not only braved significant violence to go to the polls, but also demonstrated that they understood the stakes, and that they knew what to do.
"We feel now that we are human beings living in this country," Muhammad Abdul-Ridha, 25, a Najaf goldsmith, said after dropping his ballot into the box. "Now I feel I have a responsibility, I have a vote. Things will go right if people leave us alone to do what we want to do. If they leave the Iraqi people to decide for themselves, things will get better."
The mood among many Iraqi leaders, and those who set up the electoral infrastructure, was jubilant. Some said the success of the vote, in a nation so traumatized by tyranny and war, had put to rest any notion that the Iraqi people, or indeed the Arab world as a whole, were incapable of grasping their political destiny.
"We have established the principles upon which a democracy can be built," said Fareed Ayar, the spokesman for Iraq's electoral commission.
In many parts of the country, the turnout seemed to rebuke the violent campaign to sabotage the balloting and the threats by insurgents to kill Iraqis who voted.
The Cheese Mistress has a little meme going on. She's tagged me, so I'm it. I've decided to play along with her reindeer games.
Random 10 Songs in My Playlist:
1. Poe - Hey Pretty
2. Paula Cole - You Make Me Feel Love
3. Nikka Costa - Like A Feather
4. Johnny Cash - Delia's Gone
5. Jeff Buckley - Last Goodbye
6. Radiohead - Creep
7. Prince - If I Was Your Girlfriend
8. Aimee Mann - Save Me
9. Stone Temple Pilots - Sour Girl
10. Ghetto Boys - Damn It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta
1.) What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
About 600 MB.
2. The last CD you bought is:
"My Baby Don't Tolerate" by Lyle Lovett
3. What is the song you last listened to before this message?
"Trying To Get That Feeling Again" by Barry Manilow. It was on in my Mom's house. I swear. She has it on that Mom-Sings-Along-With-Every-Song-Regardless-Of-Its-Musical-Value channel on her kitchen radio. My right hand to God.
4. Five songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
"Asshole" by Denis Leary. A-S-S, H-O, L-E, Everybody...
"If I Had A Boat" by Lyle Lovett. It's a perfect song. Witty... illustrative.. wonderfully melodic. And just weird. Whenever I start to think I could write a decent song, I listen this this and put the pen down.
"God Only Knows" by The Beach Boys. I think of my wife when Carl Wilson sings, "If you should ever leave me/Then life would still go on, believe me/But the world would show nothing to me/So what good would living do me?/'Cause God only knows what I'd be without you."
"Drunken Angel" by Lucinda Williams. Written about Townes Van Zandt in the wake of his alcohol-related death, Williams is angry and bitter about the waste of a truly original American talent. I listen to this when I'm angry and bitter.
"Home" by Sheryl Crow. Okay, so I'm drawn to haunting songs of disillusionment the way Scott Baio is drawn to "Baywatch" bimbos. So sue me.
5. Who are you gonna pass this stick to (five persons and why)?
Tommy at Sticks of Fire, since he pushes so much traffic my way.
Scott and Eileen at Home Sweet Road, because they're gonna need a shitload of road music in roughly 155 days or so.
Carly at Pornblography, a friend in California who has a little free time on her hands lately, since she got fired from her porn company PR job. A word of warning: Don't click on the link if adult photos and discussion of professionals-paid-for-making-hot-monkey-love-in-front-of-a-camera bothers you. It's hilarious and wonderful reading, if you can get past the smut and the human degradation. She also has the best pencil holder I've ever seen. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Cupie at Cupie Spew, because she proves you really can lead a horticulture - and make her drink.
And JD at JDLand, who had the first Beatle CDs I had ever heard. She has more CDs than I do, which is no small accomplishment.
Care to play along?
The end of Office Space with Milton on the beach complaining about the "big grains of salt" on his margarita and threatening to take his travelers checks elsewhere.I've watched all or parts of Office Space at least a dozen times in the past month.
Because you never know when you're going to find...
A member in good standing in The Sombrero Project has re-upped her dues.
Andrea at work joined Rommie and me at El Taco Nazo the other day and was able to reaquaint herself with the charms of the sombrero.
Saw this car pulling out of my son's school on Tuesday:
If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.New York Times writer Bill Carter has a nice story today in the New York Times about Johnny's post-show life. It includes an interview with his longtime producer Peter Lasally.
"He really missed doing the monologue," Mr. Lassally said. "So he started doing them for me."
Sometimes once a week, sometimes more often, Mr. Carson would call Mr. Lassally and, over the phone, perform his little monologues - for an audience of one. "They were always funny," Mr. Lassally said, and one day about a year ago the jokes struck him as so funny that he had a suggestion.
"I told Johnny he should call Dave and give them to him," said Mr. Lassally, who, after Mr. Carson retired, went to work as executive producer for David Letterman.
Thus began a quiet collaboration, which delighted Mr. Carson in his final months. "He was like a little kid when Dave would do one of his jokes," Mr. Lassally said. "He was not blasé about any of it."
So, I've finally finished vomiting pics from our New York City trip into my Webshots galleries. I am spent. I'm a shell of a husk of a pawn.
The galleries can be seen here:
New York City, Day 1
New York City, Day 2
New York City, Day 3
Here's a sample of what you'll see:
I guess I've made the big time; I've sent something to Gawker's "Gawker Stalker" file that actually got published. I'm batting 1-for-1.
My tidbit on seeing Howard Stern at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City got sandwiched in between an Anne Hathaway and a Alec Baldwin.
I couldn't be more proud.
A blonde, wanting to earn some extra money, decided to hire herself out as a handy-woman" and started canvassing a nearby well-to-do neighborhood.
She went to the front door of the first house, and asked the owner if he had any odd jobs for her to do.
"Well, I guess I could use somebody to paint my porch," he said.
"How much will you charge me?"
The blonde quickly responded, "How about $50?" The man agreed and told her that the paint and everything she would need was in the garage.
The man's wife, hearing the conversation, said to her husband,"Does she realize that our porch goes all the way around the house?"
He responded, "That's a bit cynical, isn't it?" The wife replied, "You're right. I guess I'm starting to believe all those dumb blonde jokes we've been getting by e-mail lately."
A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.
"You're finished already?" the husband asked.
"Yes," the blonde replied, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."
Impressed, the man reached into his pocket for the $50 and handed it to her.
"And by the way," the blonde added, "it's not a Porch, it's a Lexus."
The Curse of 1492
A week ago I headed to New York on a business trip with my good friend, Joe. Our mission was to hang out in gourmet grocery stores and visit a chocolate factory (and to shoot a little video in both places). Yes, it is a hardscrabble life.
We took the 7 p.m. train out of Union Station. Once our tickets had been punched and we'd settled in for the journey, Joe leaned over and shot me a puzzled glance. "So what are you going to do on the road for a year?" To me, the answer was obvious: anything and everything. But I noted a glint of skepticism in Joe's eyes, and it rattled me. So I attempted to defend our decision to leave behind our friends, families, and careers, but it was not a particularly convincing defense--not to Joe, or even to me, and I'm the one taking the damn trip.
As the train rumbled past the ghostly silhouette of Baltimore, Joe kept after me. "I took a trip like yours, for six weeks, and by the end I'd had enough," he said. He paused and I could see he was reliving the experience. "I wish I had been born a few centuries ago. Back then you could really discover something new. You could walk on land that no on had walked on or write a book about a place no one knew existed. But today, well, we've got the Internet, GPS, satellite maps. You can learn everything about the world without leaving your computer. There's nothing left to discover."
"You don't need to plant a flag in polar ice cap to discover something new," I countered. Then, seeking some validation I added, "Right?"
But Joe wasn't buying. He merely responded with a skeptical grin that said, "I don't really get you, but I do enjoy trying."
I sunk back in my seat, still defiant, but experiencing doubts for the first time. Joe's words had cast our adventure in an entirely different light. Perhaps this trip was a silly indulgence, an exercise in "art" that was little more than an excuse to slip the stultifying rhythms of daily life. Maybe it has all been done before.
No, a little voice in my head protested. No! I reject that way of thinking. We may not discover rivers or flora or mountains, but we will discover plenty. Because while countless others have combed America with the same basic intent, we have't. You've never seen America through our eyes, nor we through yours, and there's beauty--and discovery--in that.
Yes, we will discover something new. We will linger where others stop only for fuel. We will peer into the shattered windows of abandoned stores, kick up dust in forgotten doorways, and venture into dark and forbidding alleys. It's not the Northwest Passage, granted; it is our passage.
Have I mentioned how gorgeous the weather in Florida has been lately?
That photo is another from my Uncle Pete taken from his back yard in Bradenton, Fla.
Facing growing demands that she be moved to a warmer climate, where she could socialize with other elephants and get much more outdoor exercise, Alaska Zoo officials decided to keep her in Anchorage for now but came up with an unusual proposal to improve her exercise situation: They plan to build this 9,120-pound elephant a treadmill.Posted by Jeff at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
"I just don't know where you are going to put her where she's happier than she is here," Rob Smith, Maggie's trainer and manager for the last seven years, said on a recent frigid afternoon at the zoo, as Maggie stomped around her concrete barn.
The zoo has been under fire from national animal rights groups and some Alaska residents, who, in atypical acceptance of outside interference, have called for a boycott of the zoo until Maggie is moved south. Other zoos across the country, including those in San Francisco and Detroit, facing similar criticism and internal debates about the treatment of elephants in captivity, have closed their elephant exhibits in recent months, saying they were relocating the animals to warmer climates and to wide-open sanctuaries where they could roam for miles, as they do in the wild.
The plan here is to complete the treadmill, a first-of-its-kind $100,000 elephant exercise machine, by the summer. It would be 20 feet long and 5 feet wide, according to the plans, with a conveyer belt strong enough to allow Maggie, who is kept indoors here during most of the long winter, to get her blood flowing and move her creaky joints, zoo officials say.
A donor has already paid for the treadmill, the officials say, part of a roughly $500,000 "elephant house" improvement plan that would double the space in Maggie's 1,600-square-foot barn and add other amenities. Maggie, who has been trained to play the harmonica and to paint in watercolor on cardboard with her trunk, would have to be trained to use the treadmill.
If it keeps Maggie in shape, preventing the arthritis and foot infections that have plagued other elephants in the nation's zoos, then remaining in Anchorage is best for her, zoo officials say. Maggie has a history of not getting along with other elephants, and is easily made anxious by change, so the risks in moving her from "the only home she has known" outweigh the benefits, they say.
My Uncle Pete, (yes, the one who was in the paper posing with a potato he grew that was shaped like a moose), sent this photo from his waterfront home near Bradenton, Fla.
As much as he loves living half the year in Alaska, this kind of winter scene is hard to resist:
Q: Know how you can tell if your mobile home is haunted?Happy Birthday, E, wherever you might be.
A: The eyes on the velvet Elvis painting move.
Gardiner man facing charge he cooked, ate a pet rabbit
Gardiner – A Gardiner man is facing felony charges after cooking his roommate's pet rabbit and then eating the animal, police said.
Mark Wallace of South Mountain Road, stands accused of the gruesome act that resembled a scene from the movie "Fatal Attraction."
Wallace's roommate had kept the rabbit for years in an outside hutch. The beloved bunny had a name and was regarded as a companion domestic animal, Ulster County sheriff's deputies said.
While the roommate was out, Wallace, 40, killed, gutted and baked the rabbit as a meal, deputies said. He managed a few bites of his dinner before the roommate came home.
Deputies had no information on the particular type of rabbit or whether the roommate had ever raised rabbits for market.
The allegations are similar to a famous scene from the 1987 film "Fatal Attraction," in which a married man's ex-lover boils his family's pet rabbit as a means of revenge.
Goshen psychologist Dean Scher said even if Wallace was a regular hunter and regarded rabbits as a food source, there is no case in which eating a roommate's pet could be considered normal.
"It's a pretty extreme action." said Scher a practicing psychologist for 30 years. "It's an interpersonal violation ... like saying, 'I'm the boss. I ate your rabbit and I could eat you.'"
... I say thank you to Fox.
Rejecting Rooney's Super Butt
The ghost of Janet Jackson's breast apparently has scared off Fox from Mickey Rooney's bottom.
The network's censors have rejected a 15-second commercial designed by the cold-tablet company Airborne for February's Super Bowl in which Rooney shows off his bare 84-year-old backside.
"I would say that he's disappointed," Airborne coowner Rider McDowell said of the screen legend.
A Fox Sports spokesman told USA Today that the commercial was deemed "inappropriate for broadcast." And although the network didn't mention the words "Janet" or "Jackson," McDowell doesn't need to be a mind reader to see them as a factor in its decision.
McDowell maintains that the Rooney spot "is a whole other scenario."
In the commercial, for which Airborne was willing to pay $1.2 million to air during the game, Rooney is bathing in a sauna when a cough from a nearby person sends The Black Stallion star galloping out of the water. In his huff, he drops his towel, revealing his gluteus maximus to the camera for about "two to three seconds," McDowell said.
Ever the show-biz trouper, Rooney did his own tush work.
"I don't think you could find a body double for Mickey," McDowell said. "He has a unique physique."
To Rooney, there's nothing at all offensive about his bottom. Rather, he finds the Airborne spot "fun" and educational, in a health class kind of way.
RAYS PUT REGULAR SEASON, SPRING TRAINING TICKETS ON SALE JANUARY 15
Fans Can Meet Lou Piniella, Don Zimmer, New Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, FL---Tickets for all Tampa Bay Devil Rays regular season and spring training home games will go on sale Saturday, January 15 at Noon.
Rays Manager Lou Piniella, Senior Baseball Advisor Don Zimmer, new Rays’ players Alex Gonzalez, Josh Phelps and Kevin Cash, and Raymond, the team’s mascot will be on hand to kick off the event at Tropicana Field. In addition, Pepsi products and Papa Johns Pizza will be available free to fans while supplies last. The first 2,000 fans purchasing tickets at Tropicana Field will also receive the Rays Timeline DVD.
The Rays’ new regular season ticket price plan will include 55 games in which all upper deck seats are just $5, a promotion the Rays offered for several games last season which was overwhelmingly popular with Rays fans.
Separated at birth? You be the judge:
More adventures in retail at the discount mondo warehouse big metal barn shrine to conspicuous consumption.
Saw this for sale the other day:
* A device which measures the length of the user's back and calculates the width of the shoulders so it can then calculate the precise massaging paths to customize the treatment.
* Kneading -- tapping and rolling functions.
* 15 air massage bags.
* 4 heavy duty massage wheels.
* Automatic reclining for back rest and foot rest.
* Extendable foot rest for taller users.
LOS ANGELES - NBC hasn't received any calls about the F-word that Motley Crue rocker Vince Neil dropped during the live New Year's Eve broadcast of "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."Personally, I think they're blowing this way out of proportion. I distinctly remember New Year's Eve 1972, when Guy Lombardo called one of his Royal Canadiens a "dumb a-- motherf---ing Cannuck" at the stroke of midnight.
"Happy f---ing New Year, Tommy!" Neil said to bandmate Tommy Lee (news) shortly after midnight Friday.
Leno normally tapes his show for broadcast later in the evening but does a live version for New Year's Eve. He had never a problem with profanities before, although the word has slipped out from time to time on other programs.
"The network has not received any calls regarding the incident," an NBC official, who asked not be identified, said Monday.
I traipsed through the discount mondo warehouse big metal barn shrine to conspicuous consumption the other day and saw this cover on a box set of CDs. I was stunned at the temerity of this attempt to not only rip off a classic Elvis album cover concept, but to infer that John - er, Jon - Bon Jovi and his band of blow-dried hacks were somehow worthy of even putting on a gold suit that looked remotely like The King.
Dear Mr. Tico Torres,
You're the drummer. You're the Paulie Walnuts of the band. You have a life outside the group as a painter. You're cool. You married and then dumped a supermodel. Even at 104 years old, you still have street cred. The crow's feet around your eyes are so deep, they look like they were made by pteradactyls hopped up on Draino and Ketel One.
You're not like Ritchie Sambora, who has to be told by his far-more-butch wife Heather Locklear that his Rachel cut went out of style four years before Friends went off the air. You're the soul of this soulless bunch. You're the anchor, the bedrock, the gravity in their helium-filled musical galaxy.
Please, Tico. I beg. Tell me you had to be paid extra to stand around in a photo studio while wearing the gold lame'. Tell me that it pained you and that you were only doing it to be part of the band. Tell me it made you bleed from the eyes just to gaze upon those golden sleeves. Tell me Amazonian tribesman stood just off camera with poison darts, waiting for a signal to blow one into your jugular, lest you take it off before the shoot was complete. Tell me they threatened you with blackmail that included video of you with midgets, Vaseline and Andy Dick. Tell me they attempted to cauterize your sack to the inside of your leg. Tell me you were just doing it for a blog.
Anything. Tell me anything. Just don't tell me you willingly went along with this. I've gotta believe in something real, man. Drummers are real. Aren't they? They're the 2 and the 4, the alpha and the omega, the Count Chocula to the rest of the world's Frankenberry. Don't take this one away. Don't crush my world. Please, for the love of all things holy and sacred, make me believe that there is something holy and unsoiled by commercial lust.
Eagerly Awaiting Your Reply,
p.s. Chris Gaines called from 1999. He wants his soul patch back.
* Postcards From The Attic offers a glimpse of cards from years gone past.
* A brilliant rendition of the fight scene between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus. In Lego form, of course.
* Elvis water, smoking jackets, hoity-toidy chocolates. The Luxist life in a nutshell.
* Violent. Bloody. And extremely satisfying. Meet Whack Your Boss. (Disclaimer: Side Salad does not condone office violence nor does it intend to promote the bloody deaths of workplace supervisors under any conditions beyond self-defense.)
* The Vendee Globe around-the-world sailing contest. Talk about lucky... they missed the tsunami by only about a week.
* Think of ProHipHop as the Wall Street Cred Journal.
* This is a franchise opportunity I may not be able to refuse.
* Why is there air? For to use our lungs for snarkiness, of course.
* Cool art from the covers of comic books.
* Roadside fun from the Gallery of Huge Beings.
* Impersonating an officer in one easy step.
* How can you free a man who isn't imprisoned?
Singer Barry Manilow has announced a long-term agreement with the Las Vegas Hilton to perform his show 'Manilow: Music and Passion,' beginning Feb. 23.