Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This reminds me of the biblical character Job

A man who lost his wife and three daughters in the 2004 tsunami is now the father of triplets:

Darmi Ali lost his three daughters and wife to the 2004 tsunami. The 44-year-old remarried, and last week became a father again — of triplets, all of them female.

"I am overjoyed," said Ali, a police officer who was back at work Wednesday at regional headquarters in Aceh, the Indonesian province worst hit by the giant waves. "I lost my three daughters, and now they have been replaced by three other girls."

In the Biblical book of Job, the main character is stricken with numerous diseases. his wife essentially abandons him and he loses his children, land, and livestock. At the end of the story, Job's faithfulness is rewarded by God and his health is restored. He becomes the father of ten children to replace the ten that died, and he is given double the wealth he previously had.

I am certain the daughters of Darmi Ali will be among the most beautiful in the land.

His three new daughters will remain in hospital until they gain weight — the smallest weighs just 2.43 pounds.
"I hope they all survive," said Ali's wife, Mariati, as she took a break from breast-feeding.

I hope they all survive, too.

Bladders Full to the Brim; Shortage of Public Restrooms Blamed

The dreadful shortage of public restrooms in London, England is causing all sorts of problems for that progressive country.

Elaine Gennard-Levy spent 20 minutes searching for a bathroom while shopping on London's Oxford Street. She decided it would be easier to build her own.

``I said to my husband, there must be a better way,'' Gennard-Levy said. ``The loos are awful in this country.''

Not only is there a massive shortage, but the ones they do have are simply awful!

In December, she opened a luxury ladies' room on Oxford Street, Europe's busiest shopping area. Use of the toilet and powder room at the facility costs 5 pounds ($10).
The facility, called WC1, is helping to fill the gap left by a decline in public bathrooms in London. The number of toilets dropped 40 percent from 2000 to 2005, leaving 415 to serve a population of 7.5 million, government figures show. That's not including the 28 million people who visit the U.K. capital each year.

Well, good on her for recognizing the need and using market forces to supply a product to consumers!

Local authorities say they can't afford to maintain and modernize restrooms. Many have been sold to property developers, who convert them into more profitable uses, including apartments and nightclubs. Those that remain often are so dirty or rundown that they're mostly used by drug addicts and homeless people.

Oh, the humanity!

In Beijing, where the average salary is a 10th of London's, there are 7,700 toilets, or one for every 1,948 people. China's capital plans to renovate 3,700 in time for the 2008 Olympics. London, which will host the 2012 games and has one toilet per 18,000 residents, has no such plans.

See how the brave and noble Chinese have sacrificed for the sake of bladders and bowels!? One wonders where all the Chinese drug addicts and homeless people are currently "residing". How fortunate that they will soon have public restroom facilities to use at their leisure!

Guidebooks including ones from the TimeOut and Cadogan series recommend that visitors look for restrooms in department stores, pubs and shops. The proliferation of Starbucks Corp. cafes and other coffee shops makes buying a latte in exchange for lavatory use a popular strategy.

This is certainly a strategy I employ when I am in downtown Vancouver. Often times I will use the lavatory and not even purchase anything from the Starbucks. A vile and dishonourable act to be sure, but it solves the most pressing issue of the moment.

Still, it's not an option for everyone. Sean, who has been driving a black cab for 10 years, keeps a plastic bottle handy in case he needs to urinate at an inconvenient moment.

``A lot of the public toilets shut at night and the shops don't like you using theirs unless you buy something,'' he said, declining to give his last name. ``It's just what cabbies have to resort to these days.''

Clearly the cab drivers in London never take any breaks of any kind during the day. Good on them for working through their lunch hours and coffee breaks. That's the spirit!

Others take more drastic steps. Research by ENCAMS, an environmental charity, showed 95 percent of Britons had urinated, vomited or defecated in public because no toilet was available.

The stats speak for themselves! You can't go anywhere in downtown London without stepping in vomit or feces. It's terrible.

The shortage belies London's history as an exemplary provider of public toilets. Its first public lavatory was built in the 12th century at the site of what is now the Royal Bank of Canada's offices. During the Victorian era, public bathrooms multiplied, and often boasted mosaic tiling and copper pipes.

It's funny, because I've never thought of London as a shining beacon for free restroom service. Who knew that it was at one time their legacy to the world. I guess it's a history Londoners can be proud of?

Such facilities have sometimes fallen afoul of new laws. The Disability Act, which came into force in 2004, requires that public toilets be accessible to wheelchair users or have suitable alternatives nearby. Rather than invest in ramps and elevators, some authorities have shut or sold older restrooms.

But no one is going to question the need to remove the very laws that created the problem in the first place. Oh, no. Just give us more of your money.

The use of toilets by drug users, prostitutes and the homeless has also made maintenance more difficult. Some local government councils have fit bathrooms with blue fluorescent lights that obscure the veins to discourage heroin addicts.

Wonder how that strategy is working out?

Gennard-Levy's luxury loo on Oxford Street cost 1.25 million pounds to build. After starting with a flat price of 5 pounds, it now charges 1 pound for use of the toilet only and 5 pounds for a ``pampering'' that includes a hand massage or touching up makeup.

``I would have been happy to pay the full price,'' said Catherine Snow, a book publisher leaving WC1. ``I've had to run into horrible pubs and hope they didn't see me.''

The shame! The horror!

The hilarity.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Al Gore Effect... in effect

At next years Oscar's you can guarantee they'll have the Hummers, stretch limos, and other gas-guzzling vehicles bringing the celebs to the big show. It was so chilly last night in Hollywood, they are going to start campaigning for global warming. To quote Jodie Foster,

It’s freezing! Are you kidding me?"

Aerosol containers and SUV's for everyone!

Weak and Shit

Pardon the rather vulgar title, but ten minutes of your time would be well spent watching this video.

No matter your thoughts on the "War on Drugs".

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Celebs going Green

Thankfully we have such heroic leaders to show us the way to a cleaner, greener tomorrow.

Hollywood A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman will be shuttled to the Academy Awards today in electric sports cars and plug-in hybrids, and the line of limousines waiting their turn to drop stars off at the event will idle on cleaner fuels than ever before.

Studies show that 97% of hot gas rises into the atmosphere during these self-congratulating award shows and other Hollywood VIP gatherings. Unfortunately the scientists forget to mention that it's not the vehicles causing the excessive hot air.

Staffers who know details of the ceremony were tight-lipped all week, but some Tinseltown insiders have hinted there may be an announcement during the show about just how environmentally friendly the awards are.

Lest anyone question their motivations, the announcement will not be made until just before the award for Best Picture is given. You know, so everyone will be able to see that they didn't go green for any reason other than they really care about the environment. No word on whether the stage lighting, air conditioning, and large television screens are energy efficient or environmentally hazardous.

"An Inconvenient Truth," former Vice President Al Gore's film about global warming, is favored to win the Best Documentary Feature category.

No Way!?!!?!?!11?!!?!?1111?!!?1!? Whod've thunk it?

But sources said the Democrat plans to make news today during the first half of the awards program regardless of whether his film is recognized.

Listening to eco-geeko Gore might be about the only worthwhile part of the whole show. Guaranteed to be good for at least a few laughs.

Perhaps he'll talk about how he invented eco-friendly technology.

"By arriving in fuel-efficient green vehicles instead of gas-guzzling limousines, celebrities are helping showcase smart solutions to global warming -- what we drive, as well as how we live," said Matt Peterson, president of the environmental group.

As well as how they live? Really? Al Gore lives in a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home, and when he isn't there he is vacationing in 4000 square foot "shack" in the "great outdoors" in Arlington, Virginia. Gwyneth Paltrow lives in a six million dollar palace, while Nicole Kidman recently purchased a 12 million dollar townhouse in West London.

But no greenhouse gases or other emissions were released during the building of those homes.

And if they were, they were offset by investments in solar power!

Among the celebrities planning to ride in eco-style is Oscar nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, who said, "It's urgent that we all take steps in our lives to reduce our impact on the environment."

Note the personal suffering DiCaprio has endured in order to reduce his impact on the environment:

If that's what it takes to help our environment, then sign me up! I'd take a palace like that any day of the week.

All in the name of reducing greenhouse gases, of course.

"Global warming is threatening us all," said Penelope Cruz, a Best Actress nominee who will show up in an eco-friendly car. "Fortunately, there are many simple things we can all do such as driving greener cars or changing to compact fluorescent light bulbs, which can dramatically save energy and reduce global-warming pollution."

I wonder how many fluorescent light bulbs are in her house?

Hypocrisy abounds! But perhaps no more than in the actions of The Man Himself:

Mr. and Mrs. Gore will appear at the hottest tickets in town after the awards -- the Vanity Fair party and the swanky Governor's Ball.

No word on whether there will be fluorescent bulbs, green carpets, and carbon-less emissions at both of those gatherings.

Suicide Bomber "Succeeds"

It's not often I smile when a suicide bomber detonates himself, but this story made me grin, just a little.

Although the enemy insurgent was shot several times, he managed to continue running in the vicinity of the crowd. The US Army Sergeant chased after him, shot him again a number of times point blank and tackled him to the ground. The enemy insurgent, now on the ground with the US Army Sergeant on top of him, began chanting prayers and reached for his detonator. Quickly assessing the situation, the US Army Sergeant observed that the crowd had dispersed due to the gun shots being fired at this enemy insurgent. In a matter of seconds, the US Army Sergeant pushed the insurgent away from him and rolled away as quickly as possible. The enemy insurgent detonated the suicide vest and "assumed outside temperature!" (Nice way of saying he died). The US Army Sergeant received non-life threatening wounds as a result of the explosion along with 5 others.

Thankfully no one was killed.
No one of any importance, that is.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Miracle turtle

A pet turtle survived nearly ten minutes inside a stomach after it became an appetizer for a dog:

Shelby insisted on a rescue mission and, on the advice of a vet, her parents made Bella vomit. Out came Pepper (turtle), still alive despite a shattered shell and an estimated 10 minutes inside (dog) Bella's belly.

That's one tough turtle!

"The turtle would definitely have caused an obstruction," Thomassy said. "Without cutting it out directly, it eventually would have killed the dog."

Yet more evidence that dogs are stupid and make terrible pets. Get a cat, people!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Routine" Surgery

On Wednesday morning, I went into the Bulkley Valley District hospital for what was supposed to be a routine hernia repair. I've had the operation before, almost two years ago to the day, actually. It went very well and I was back on my feet in no time.

Unfortunately, there were some complications this time around, and my "day" surgery turned into a five day ordeal complete with blood clots, internal bleeding, a Foley catheter (which really builds character in a man... really.), a swollen and bruised mid-section, and enough drugs to stun a horse.

Sufficed to say, I have returned home in an exceedingly weary state, and won't be up for much of anything the next little while. Perhaps I'll post more of the ugly details later, but maybe not.

Thankfully the Canucks hung on last night. That brings me a little bit of joy in the midst of all this shunt.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Canucks PPV Prize

Last week, during the pay-per-view Canucks game against the Blue Jackets, I used my cell phone and texted a message to be shown on the ticker at the bottom of the screen. Unbeknownst to me, everytime you text message Canucks PPV, your cell number gets entered into a draw for Canucks merchandise. This past thursday, A fine young lady from Canucks marketing phoned me and made me aware that I had won an autographed Canucks flag! I checked my mail today, and Whooopeeee Dooooooo!

It's a standard sized flag, and has 22 autographs, including my hero, Roberto Luongo.

Truly, it is a Good Day!

Astronaut attempts kidnapping; flees to outer space

Okay, not really, but there are all sorts of punch lines you could write for this story:

A NASA astronaut charged with attempting to kidnap a romantic rival in a love triangle with another astronaut was ordered released on bail Tuesday on the condition that she not contact the alleged victim.

No telephone calls.
No conversations.
No phaser exhanges.


Nowak, a married mother of three, stood in a jail uniform, usually facing down during the hearing. She planned to return home to Houston, and the judge ordered her to wear a tracking device.

The 43-year-old robotics specialist faces charges including attempted kidnapping, attempted vehicle burglary with battery, destruction of evidence and battery.

Her poor husband must be exceedingly embarrassed. And if she is a robotics specialist, and is forced to wear an electronic TRACKING DEVICE, don't you think she knows how to disable it? Hmmmmm...

Police said she drove 900 miles, donned a disguise and was armed with a BB gun and pepper spray when she confronted a woman she believed was a competitor for the affections of Navy Cmdr. William Oefelein, an unmarried fellow astronaut.

Should have taken the shuttlecraft. She'd have been home in time to make dinner for her husband and kids.

Seriously though. A BB gun and pepper spray? What was she going to do? Shoot her in the ass and blind her with the spray?

According to authorities, Nowak believed another woman, Colleen Shipman, was romantically involved with Oefelein. When Nowak found out Shipman was flying to Orlando from Houston, Nowak decided to confront her early Monday, according to the arrest affidavit.

Seems like a long way to drive! But the real kicker here... the very best part of the whole story... and I mean Very. Best. Part:

Nowak raced from Houston to Orlando wearing diapers in the car so she wouldn't have to stop to go to the bathroom, authorities said. Astronauts wear diapers during launch and re-entry.

Erhm. Mmph. Grmmphmpph... BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh dear. Oh my, oh, oh, oh hehehehehehehehehe! That's just... AAAAAH HA HA HA HA!

There is more to the story, but I couldn't finish it due to continuous laughter and the tears streaming down my face.