Saturday, July 05, 2008

Blog, in tooth and claw!

Shameless self-promotion! Nice write-up in the LA Times on Philosophy Talk, to which I am a regular proud contributor, though I wasn’t mentioned in the article, nor was Ben Manilla Productions, which suffers weekly to bring this program to the air…. Oh stop it, Merle. Very nice write-up. Read. Come listen!,0,7136636.story

When is a potato chip not a potato chip?
A judge in England has decreed that Pringles are only 42 per cent potato, and therefore not subject to a value-added tax. Procter and Gamble thanked the court.

On the lam!
From AP: “A 60-pound tortoise that escaped from a family's garage last month is back home after a 2 1/2-week adventure that took him through three northwestern Indiana towns. Tank, an 8-year-old African spur thigh tortoise, was returned Wednesday to owners Mark and Kim Hirchak after they called Munster police to report him missing.”

Cat calms down!
Again, AP: “A combative cat named Lewis who frightened the neighbors and got his owner into legal trouble two years ago has done so well under house arrest that the case has now been scratched. A judge dismissed a reckless endangerment charge against Lewis's owner, Ruth Cisero, on Thursday, concluding she had met terms of a special probation for first-time offenders. Lewis is now an indoor pet, allowed outside only in a cat carrier.”

“Had he gotten out, she (Ruth Cisero) could have faced up to six months in prison and Lewis could have been euthanized.”


Stop the presses!
AP headline: “US marks Independence Day with fireworks, revelry.”

More animals in the news!
From Chronicle News Services: “Amsterdam police say 15 camels, two zebras and an undetermined number of llamas and potbellied swine briefly escaped from a traveling Dutch circus after a giraffe kicked a hole in their cage. “

Was that a Red Vine or a Twizzler?
AP once again: “A 42-year-old chimpanzee who is toilet-trained and can eat with a knife and fork is believed to be at large in a Southern California forest after escaping his cage.”

Moe, the chimpanzee, had been raised by a couple in West Covina. They had wanted to adopt him but lost a court case in 1999, when “… Moe bit part of a woman's finger off when she inserted her hand in his cage. The Davises said he mistook her red-painted fingernail for his favorite licorice. The incident also came after Moe mauled a police officer's hand.”

Moe, as of this writing, is still at large. Do not proffer a finger. If you have Red Vines, or Twizzlers, however, hey – give an ape a nibble.

"He meant the world to us," St. James Davis told the Associated Press. "He was the best man at my wedding."

Is this licorice? Nom nom.
AP comes through again! “An Illinois woman says her beloved miniature dachshund gnawed off her right big toe while she was asleep. Linda Floyd told the Alton Telegraph for a story Wednesday that her beloved Roscoe was euthanized because of safety concerns.”

Jesse Helms, and Larry Harmon, aka Bozo the Clown.

Endangered no more!
From Reuters, which is sadly ignoring the Weird Nature beat: “Film historians had doubted they would ever find the missing portions of "Metropolis" -- until three reels of the science fiction film made in Germany a long time ago, were discovered in a country far, far away.” That country is Argentina, where a complete version of METROPOLIS has recently been discovered. Once scratches have been digitally removed, I am looking forward to seeing this, one of my favorite movies of all time, by one of my favorite directors.

Fake tigers!
Reuters, leaping into the AP Weird Nature News gap!
“China has fired a number of government officials and arrested a man in connection with a set of fake photographs that local authorities had said was proof of the existence of a highly endangered tiger.”

Wee wife and I…
…decided to to the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens to witness the blooming of the Corpse Flower, aka titan arum. But it was uphill, and hot, and we wound up going to the Berkeley Art Museum instead. Blooming was over anyway, apparently. Might have to pay more attention to this next time.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, observers saw “…a phalluslike spadix the shade of a squashed frog jutting out from something that looked like an inverted skirt, lime-green on the outside and maroon on the inside.” It smelled like “dead rats,” according to the Botanical Garden director.

The Berkeley Art Museum was all right. Cavernous, if you know what I mean. William Wegman. Video installations. Yawn. Some terrific Chinese art though, and one installation, called "A Perfect Audience," though puzzling, had some great text pieces about hats-- little one-liners, like "Hat Pie," and "Is a halo a hat?" Good question!

We also perused various books which we couldn't afford to buy in the museum store, including a children's book called WHEN THE SILLIEST CAT WAS SMALL. It is extremely charming. The cats in the book are all elephants. Tiny elephants. Buy it for your child immediately, and confuse him/her. If not now, when? If not you, who?

Alternet sez:
“Watermelon is the New Viagra.”

Unfortunately, “The only problem is that you'd probably have to eat about 6 cups of watermelon to get enough of the active ingredient, citrulline, to achieve the desired effect. But that's where our friends at the Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center come in. It might be possible to modify melons to produce more citrulline, researchers say.”

From Think Progress:
“[O]n Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade called Jacques Steinberg’s June 28 New York Times article on Fox News’s declining ratings a ‘[hit piece,’ adding that Steinberg and Times editor Steven Reddicliffe are ‘attack dogs.’ During the segment, Fox aired blatantly distorted photos of Steinberg and Reddicliffe with their teeth yellowed, eyes blackened, and facial features exaggerated.”

“The Times' Culture Editor Sam Sifton said, ‘It wasn't a hit piece. It was straight news. This was a hit piece by Fox News. It is beneath comment.’ Asked if the paper planned to respond to Fox's actions, he said no: ‘It is fighting with a pig, everyone gets dirty and the pig likes it.’”

Missing pigs?
I have scoured the news, my friends, and pigs everywhere, at this moment, seem to be safe in their own slop.

One other thing...
The Berkeley Art Museum also had a mysterious and rather alarming exhibit called THE OTHER NIGHT SKY, which pinpoints and isolates the many spy satellites circling us. The artist, Trevor Paglen, according to the museum brochure, "looks upwards to the night sky, one of the oldest laboratories of rational thought, seeking answers about truth and democracy in the present moment."

Well, good luck with that, but the exhibition is pretty creepy. And pretty!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the elephant-cat book, at least on principle. Why shouldn't elephants be cats when the spirits move them that way?

I also look forward eagerly to the forthcoming War On Watermelons.

While I've never seen the titanarum-style Corpse Flower, I have seen examples of the Rafflesia arnoldii, which is native to southeastern Asia and has enormous leaves. They're supposed to smell of rotting flesh (which is why it's also named the corpse flower), although the ones at the Singapore Zoo didn't see to me to have any particular odour. That may reflect Singaporean tidiness though.

-- Austin Dern

7:40 PM  
Blogger BonzoGal said...

Wait, there's a "Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center"?!? Why do fruits or vegetables need to be improved? Just leave the damn things alone already! Who needs hordes of priapic men roaming around parks after summer picnics?

1:04 PM  

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