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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Crazy-Ass Post-Katrina Pics

Whoa--just checking the news and Drudge has a link to [http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/new-orleans-imagery.htm|a page] at GlobalSecurity.org with some amazing(ly depressing) before and after photos that are big reminders of the tsunami pics from eight months ago. What's funny and somewhat expected is that now people are saying we should have scene this coming and stopped it. What's really funny is that these "liberal" "blame America first" types are probably right.

First we have [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr/afor-they-that-sow-the-_b_6396.html|RFK Jr. blogging] over at HuffingtonPost.com on how the storm is actually the fault of LA governor Haley Barbour who said, effectively, that global warming was no big deal.

Then there's [http://service.spiegel.de/cache/international/0,1518,372455,00.html|the article] from Spiegel.de that said this:

In 2001, FEMA warned that a hurricane striking New Orleans was one of the three most likely disasters in the U.S. But the Bush administration cut New Orleans flood control funding by 44 percent to pay for the Iraq war.


Oops!

Workin' Like a Dog

Sorry for the lack of updates--I've been swamped with dayjobs, fixing my scooter (the muffler broke off this weekend), visiting with half the parents visiting us newlyweds and trying to get this play done. It's ending up to be quite a challenge because it's very unlike a traditional story at all. It's difficult to explain, just suffice it to say that I've never written (or even co-written) anything like it before. I'm just glad I don't have to write all of it. We've got to have the first draft done by tomorrow, however. I'm on page 15. >_<

So, if any of my guestbloggers out there are reading and want to help out for the next couple of days, please do!! I'd call or IM you each and ask you personally, but I'm really crunched for time. Sorry again for the delay. Life is like this sometimes!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

BROTHERS GRIMM (2005)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yes, definitely, but far from a perfect film.

Technically any good? The script was fun, fantastical and entertaining, but it was also wildly uneven. It probably needed a good 3 or 4 more drafts before it really would start to make sense of all of the loose (plot) ends all over the place. Things happen and you don't know why beyond the fact that they're tied into a fairy tale written by the titles characters in the real world. FX were good and acting was reasonable. Heath Ledger was AWESOME as the nerdy guy.

How did it leave me feeling? Satisfied, but wishing director Gilliam could find a better writer or would just take the time to get the script right before shooting the movie.

Final Rating? SIYL (A fairy tale for adults that is far from perfect and definitely not for kids!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

On My Trip to Best Buy...


A Picture Share!, originally uploaded by thepetecom.

Why did I have to look in the anime section??

METHANOL FUEL CELLS?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of alt energy sources. I'm curious about almost every alternative source out there. Usually, I see potential in all of them playing a small part in the eventual (at least partial) replacement of oil. However, UltraCellPower.com has info on a product on their website called a Methanol Fuel Cell. It's essentially a hydrogen fuel cell that is the size of a paperback book and is fueled by methanol. The site goes on and on about how great these methanol canisters are--you can hotswap them for uninterrupted power and the over all device you carry around is very light.

The thing is, the site doesn't mention price or even how soon they'll be available.

It's easy to build a website ;) it's a little harder to come up with an actual product.

I'm also curious where the hell methanol comes from. Is that just methane and alcohol? Could I just fart into a jar, mix it with some aerosolized alcohol, compress it and go to town with this thing? Or will new canisters of methanol cost a fortune?

ENJOY COCA-COLA? SOME FOLKS IN INDIA DIDN'T

Sure, we'd all "like to buy the world a Coke" but in order to make all of that Coke, the Coca-Cola company would have to steal an awful lot of water from villagers and give away an equally large amount of free (cadmium-laden) "fertilizer" to those same villagers to do it.

See, that's what happened in the Indian state of Kerala. Coca-Cola opened a bottling plant there and proceded to steal all of the natural water from the area, leaving locals with dry wells. They then turned around and gave said villagers chemical waste they called fertilizer, assumably so the Coca-Cola company wouldn't have to pay for its disposal.

How great a company is Coca-Cola for doing all of this? Here's a clip from [http://www.commondreams.org/headlines05/0822-01.htm|an article] I found through CommonDreams.org:
In July 2003, a BBC Radio-4 report, after carrying out tests at the University of Exeter in Britain, pronounced the sludge as dangerously laden with heavy metals, especially cadmium and lead and already contaminating the food chain. The sludge also had no value as fertilizer, the report said.

Cadmium is a known carcinogen which causes kidney damage while exposure to lead can lead to mental derangement and death and is particularly dangerous for children causing them severe anemia and mental retardation.

The BBC report quoted Prof. John Henry, leading toxic expert and consultant at St Mary's Hospital in London, warn of ''devastating consequences for those living near areas where this waste has been dumped and for the thousands who depend on crops produced in these (paddy) fields''.


The plant causing all of these problems has been ordered shut down, but the Coca-Cola company is, according to the article:
in the process of evaluating future steps, including a judicial review.''

So, rather than admitting they were harming the locals and their environment, they are considering fighting the ruling.

From CommonDreams.org and IPSNews.net:
Published on Monday, August 22, 2005 by Inter Press Service

India: Everything Gets Worse With Coca-Cola

by D. Rajeev


PLACHIMADA, India - In the end it was the 'generosity' of Coca-Cola in distributing cadmium-laden waste sludge as 'free fertilizer' to the tribal aborigines who live near the beverage giant's bottling plant in this remote Kerala village that proved to be its undoing.

On Friday, the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) ordered the plant shut down to the jubilation of tribal leaders and green activists who had focused more on the 'water mining' activities of the plant rather than its production of toxic cadmium sludge.

''One way or another, this plant should be shut down and the management made to pay compensation for destroying our paddy fields, fooling us with fake fertilizer and drying out our wells,'' Paru Amma, an aboriginal woman who lives in this once lush, water-abundant area, told IPS.

Chairman of the KSPCB, G. Rajmohan, said the closure was ordered because the plant ''does not have adequate waste treatment systems and toxic products from the plant were affecting drinking water in nearby villages'' and that the plant ''has also not provided drinking water in a satisfying manner to local residents''.

Apparently, the generosity of the Coca-Cola plant was limited to distributing sludge and waste water free and did not extend to providing drinking water to people seriously affected by its operations.

In a statement Saturday, Coca-Cola said it was ''reviewing the order passed by the chairman of the Pollution Control Board, Kerala state,'' and that ''going forward, we are in the process of evaluating future steps, including a judicial review''.

The KSPCB closure order is only the latest episode in a see-saw battle between Coca-Cola and the impoverished but plucky local residents ever since the Atlanta-based company began operating its 25 million-dollar bottling plant in this village, located in the state's fertile Palakkad district, in 2001.

Along the way, pollution control authorities, political parties, the judiciary and global environmental groups, starting with Greenpeace International, became involved in the dispute and Plachimada grew into a global symbol of resistance by local people to powerful trans-national corporations trying to snatch away their water rights.

Although the local people had begun protesting against their wells running dry months after the plant began operations, serious trouble for the company began a little more than two years ago when a local doctor declared the water still available in the wells unfit for consumption.

In July 2003, a BBC Radio-4 report, after carrying out tests at the University of Exeter in Britain, pronounced the sludge as dangerously laden with heavy metals, especially cadmium and lead and already contaminating the food chain. The sludge also had no value as fertilizer, the report said.

Cadmium is a known carcinogen which causes kidney damage while exposure to lead can lead to mental derangement and death and is particularly dangerous for children causing them severe anemia and mental retardation.

The BBC report quoted Prof. John Henry, leading toxic expert and consultant at St Mary's Hospital in London, warn of ''devastating consequences for those living near areas where this waste has been dumped and for the thousands who depend on crops produced in these (paddy) fields''.

In August 2003, the KSPCB, ordered the plant to stop distributing sludge to farmers, but then its official, K.V. Indulal, charged with carrying out investigations, unexpectedly announced that he found contamination levels ''not beyond tolerable limits''.

Allegations of bribery and corruption by Coca-Cola followed and the official Indulal is presently under investigation by the state's Anti- corruption Bureau which carried out raids on his residence and properties spread across three Kerala cities earlier this month.

The Kerala High Court initially supported the Plachimada villagers and in a Dec.16, 2003 ruling, ordered Coca-Cola not to mine water through its deep bore wells but allowed the plant to draw water in amounts comparable to that normally used for agricultural or domestic purposes in the area.

Coca-Cola approached the court after the panchayat (elected local body) cancelled the plant's operating licence for mining water and a single judge ruled that the state government had no right to allow a private party to extract large quantities of ground water which it deemed ''property held by it (the government) in trust''.

But on Apr. 7 this year, a High Court bench allowed the plant to extract up to 500,000 liters of water a day saying that existing laws on water ownership were inadequate. The ruling angered activists and triggered off a series of clashes outside the gates of the plant between agitating local people and police.

''The High Court ruling is a great disappointment to everyone concerned with Coke's abusive practices around the world,'' said Corporate Accountability International's executive director Kathryn Mulvey in a statement.

Mulvey predicted that resistance to Coke's practices in Plachimada and throughout India would only grow. ''We join with community leaders and allies around the world in calling on Coke to close the Plachimada facility permanently, and to pay back the community for the damage it has caused,'' she said.

Nevertheless, on the strength of the court ruling, the plant resumed what were described as 'trial operations' on Aug. 8 after the 561,000- liter capacity plant that manufactures such brands as Coca-Cola, Limca and Fanta had lain shut for 17 months.

Barely ten days later, on Friday, the KSPCB stepped in with its closure order for inability to explain the high cadmium levels and for failing to provide piped drinking water to people, whose wells had become contaminated, as required by the body.

Internationally-known environmental scientist and activist, Vandana Shiva, who leads the New Delhi-based, Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, has alleged that after Coca-Cola was restrained from dumping sludge or distributing it as fertilizer, it had begun injecting waste into dry boreholes and contaminating deep-water aquifers.

It has not helped Coca-Cola that the discovery of heavy metal in the sludge in 2003 followed findings by the Center for Science and Environment (CSE), another well-known, New Delhi-based non-governmental organization, that nearly all colas and 'mineral water' produced in India contained unacceptably large doses of commonly-used pesticides.

The CSE findings seriously dented the image of Coke and its rival Pepsi, both of which were banned by nationalist governments for decades in India and allowed to return only when this country began a process of economic reforms following a serious balance of payments crisis in 1991.

Said Veerendrakumar, member of parliament and editor of the influential 'Mathrubhumi' newspaper: ''The fact of the matter is that that water from underground sources is being pumped out free, bottled and sold to our people to make millions for cola companies while destroying the environment and damaging public health''.

''We welcome the order shutting the factory down,'' said R. Ajayan of the Plachimada Solidarity Committee, which was largely responsible for approaching the KSPCB. ''We have to continue to work with the state government to ensure that Coca-Cola abides by the order and that there are no more violations''.

Coca-Cola is already in deep trouble in India, its sales having dropped 14 percent in the last quarter (April-June), and the company is presently undergoing major reorganization and changing its top leadership in an effort to stem plummeting popularity.

The state government has announced that it will also challenge in the Supreme Court Coca-Cola's claim to extract water taking advantage of the fact that existing laws on who owns groundwater are vague.

''We welcome the actions by the state agencies in Kerala to stop the arrogance and criminal activities of the Coca-Cola company,'' said Amit Srivastava of the India Resource Center, an international campaigner. ''These actions are major victories for the community of Plachimada, which has all along been demanding that the state do what it is supposed to do - safeguard the interests of the community''.

Sunita Narain, who led the CSE's high-profile investigation and exposure of the presence of pesticides in colas manufactured in India, said the real value of the Plachimada struggle lies in the fact that it has highlighted the role that local communities can have in protecting groundwater resources.

In January 2004, the agitating villagers received a boost when global activists converged on Plachimada for a three-day World Water Conference and joined in demonstrations in front of the main gate of the Coca-Cola plant, one of the largest in its chain of 27 plants in India.

Jose Bove, who leads 'Confederation Paysanne' (a left-leaning union of peasants and farmers in France), declared that the struggle at Plachimada was '' part of the worldwide struggle against trans-national companies that exploit natural resources like water''.

Bove was joined by Maude Barlow, the Ottawa-based author of 'Blue Gold', a book on corporate theft of water resources, in pledging to turn Plachimada into another Cochabamba -- the city in Bolivia where people- power thwarted plans to turn the water supply system over to the U.S. transnational Bechtel five years ago.

The question of toxic materials in the sludge distributed to farmers by the Coca-Cola factory as fertilizer was also highlighted, among others, by Inger Schorling, a delegate from Sweden and a green member of the European Parliament.

A 'Plachimada Declaration' adopted at the end of the conference asserted that people everywhere should ''resist all criminal attempts to market, privatize and corporatize water''.

© Copyright 2005 IPS - Inter Press Service

WARNING LABELS ON SODA?

When my wife and I were in Scotland earlier this month ("my wife!" I still can't get used to that!!) one of things we noticed (and got a big kick out of) was how HUGE the warning labels were on the packs of cigarettes. They literally took up half the front of the pack, so, as you look at the front, half the surface was cigarette brand logo and the other half was a giant message declaring "SMOKERS DIE YOUNGER" or something to that effect.

We took pictures of each new message we saw and I'll be posting the collection soon, but in the meantime, I thought I'd point out [http://us.oneworld.net/article/view/117452/1/|an article] I found through CommonDreams.org available at OneWorld.net. It's about a movement to force soft drink makers to warn their customers that the chemicals in soft drinks are dangerous and detrimental to their health. Health campaigners are also targetting salt as a danger to good health, as well.

Now, back in the spring of 2003, I got off the refined sugar and chemical-laden foods that most Americans eat these days. Sure, I splurge on ice cream every now and again, but 99% of what I put inside of me is whole, natural food and it has made a very substantial difference in my life. So, before you view this example of big government forcing soft drink makers (and hopefully other junk-food makers) to use warning labels, remember, sometimes big government can be a good thing when it actually is working to force big business to be more honest about the products it is trying to snooker you into buying.

From CommonDreams.org and OneWorld.net:

Health Advocates on War Footing Against Soft Drinks, Salt

Abid Aslam
OneWorld US
Sat., Aug. 20, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug 20 (OneWorld) - Health campaigners remain on a war footing against the U.S. soft drink industry, which this week announced a plan to limit sales of products blamed for obesity among American schoolchildren.

The move by the American Beverage Association (ABA) came after advocates urged lawmakers and regulators to mandate warning labels on soda containers like those printed on cigarette packets.

Activists vowed to push for more changes in the soft drink industry even as they trained their sites on another dietary target: salt, blamed for hypertension, strokes, and heart attacks.

The ABA, representing soft drink manufacturers and distributors including industry majors Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, said Wednesday its board had approved a new school vending policy aimed at limiting the availability of soft drinks in schools while providing lower-calorie or relatively nutritious alternatives.

''Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the U.S. and the responsibility for finding common-sense solutions is shared by everyone, including our industry,'' said ABA president and chief executive Susan Neely.

''We intend to be part of the solution.''

The ABA said that under its new policy, the beverage industry would sell:

-- Water and 100 percent juice in elementary schools, where students are 5-11 years old.

-- Water, 100 percent juice, sports drinks, no-calorie soft drinks, and low-calorie juice drinks to 11-14-year-old middle school students. Sales of full-calorie soft drinks or full-calorie juice drinks with five percent or less juice would not be allowed until after school.

-- Bottled water, 100 percent juice, sports drinks, and juice drinks in high schools, with 14-18-year-old students. Soft drinks would continue to be sold, too, but must not exceed 50 percent of the vending selections available to students.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a campaign group that last month called for health warning labels on soda containers, endorsed the ABA policy but said it did not go far enough.

''That the member companies of the American Beverage Association will voluntarily pull soda out of elementary schools is an encouraging step from an industry that, up to now, has thwarted angry parents who want to get soda out of their kids' schools,'' said Margo Wootan, the group's nutrition policy director.

''Given that poor diet and obesity are problems among teens, soda also has no place in America's high schools and middle schools, which are much bigger markets for soda companies than elementary schools,'' Wootan added.

''The industry surely hopes this voluntary half step will forestall efforts to get soda out of all schools,'' she said. ''But we hope that Congress, states, and school systems act to ensure that schools sell only healthful drinks and snacks to all children.''

Health campaigners assailed the $85 billion soft drink industry for, in their view, exploiting budget gaps in the nation's public schools. Many schools, they said, had signed contracts under which soda distributors set up vending machines on campus and the schools earn a portion of the resulting profits.

''These contracts, while bringing in much needed income to schools, are counterproductive to children's health,'' said Carol Friesen, a professor of family and consumer sciences at Indiana's Ball State University.

''The policy statement from the American Beverage Association will help school districts and state legislatures take a more forceful--albeit unpopular to some--step for our children's health,'' Friesen added in a written comment.

Thirty-eight states have considered laws establishing nutrition standards in schools for all foods sold, not just for beverages, she said, but only 15 had succeeded in enacting legislation.

Concern about childhood diet has risen on a wave of medical research connecting eating habits in early life to health problems in adulthood. On Wednesday, for example, a study in the International Journal of Cancer suggested that 3-5-year-old girls who eat French fries regularly are at increased risk of breast cancer later in life.

The national rate of obesity has doubled since 1990, according to government statistics. Last year, 23.1 percent of Americans were classified as obese.

Some studies have estimated that obesity costs the United States around $75 billion per year.

Separately, the Center for Science in the Public Interest released a study Wednesday accusing the U.S. food and restaurant industries of pumping Americans full of salt, blamed for hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, and a raft of other health complaints.

The organization is pushing for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to set up a Division of Sodium Reduction and said it wants restaurants and makers of food products to cut salt levels, allowing consumers to decide for themselves how much to add at the table.

Industry lobbyists the Salt Institute on Thursday rejected the center's study, saying 11 U.S. and British studies had found ''no population health benefit to reducing dietary salt.''

Even so, U.S. and British health authorities have sought to reduce citizens' daily salt consumption.

The government's 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that young adults consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. People with hypertension, African Americans, and middle-aged and elderly people--almost half the population--are advised to consume no more than 1,500 mg per day, according to the center.

''Americans now consume about 4,000 mg of sodium per day, about twice the recommended amount,'' it said, adding that 80 percent of the total comes from processed and restaurant foods and only 10 percent from salt added during home cooking or at the dining table.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A HACKER

I've got big personal hacking news that I'm waiting to blog on until I have some time to organize the pictures and sample video clips. This isn't Earth-shattering stuff, but it is something I'm awfully proud of, even if it is just a little thing I did in my tiny amount of spare time. :)

IN the meantime, however, hackaday.com recently pointed its readers to a site called WhatTheHack.org. It's a giant wiki on all sorts of hacking info. Now, remember, "hacking" doesn't mean what it used to. Being a hacker doesn't mean you're breaking into computer systems. Being a hacker these days can be something as simple as building your own air conditioner or repurposing your old NES to function as a DVD player. So, if you curious about more things you can do as a neuvaux hackeur, check out WhatTheHack.org and then watch for an announcement from me on a hack project I've been working on using a certain one-time-use camcorder from a 24-hour pharmacy that has just three letters in its name. :D

ROBERTSON NOT THAT STONED?

You may remember my last post on Christian Extremist Pat Robertson (http://thepete.com/pat-robertson-on-crack/) where I talked about him saying the USG should assasinate democratically elected Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. Now, he's starting to back-pedal. [http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/08/24/MTFH81183_2005-08-24_16-59-47_SCH362917.html|An article] from Reuters.com and Breitbart.com reports that he has been misinterpreted. Here's a clip:
"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping," Robertson said on his "The 700 Club" television program.

"There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted," Robertson added.

Uh-huh. Let's take a look at his exact comments, word-for-word. The following was taken from [http://mediamatters.org/items/200508220006|a video clip] that you can find at MediaMatters.org:
You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really oughta go 'head and do it.

Sorry, Patty, you advocated assassination right there. Isn't it illegal in some states to encourage someone to commit a crime?

What's really funny is that people will just listen to this idiot and think he's telling the truth. Chavez isn't about communism, he's about democracy. Just ask the poor people of Venezuela who voted him into office.

From Reuters.com and Breitbart.com:

Evangelist backs off Chavez assassination call

Aug 24 12:51 PM US/Eastern



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson, who called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, said on Wednesday he was misinterpreted and there were a number of ways to "take him out" including kidnapping.

"I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping," Robertson said on his "The 700 Club" television program.

"There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted," Robertson added.

Robertson, the founder of the Christian Coalition and a presidential candidate in 1988, said on Monday of Chavez, one of Bush's most vocal critics: "If he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it."

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability." He made the comments during his "The 700 Club" television program.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday dismissed Robertson's remarks, but the White House remained silent despite calls for repudiation from Venezuela and religious leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called "without fact and baseless" any ideas of hostile action against Chavez or Venezuela.

The leftist Chavez has often accused the United States of plotting his overthrow or assassination. Alongside Cuban President Fidel Castro in Havana on Sunday, Chavez scoffed at the idea that he and Castro were destabilizing troublemakers.

Chavez survived a short-lived coup in 2002 that he says was backed by the United States. Washington denies involvement.

Venezuelan officials said Robertson's remarks, while those of a private citizen, took on more significance given his ties to President George W. Bush's Christian-right supporters.

"Mr Robertson has been one of this president's staunchest allies. His statement demands the strongest condemnation by the White House," Venezuela's ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez said.

(c) Reuters 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

KILL ALL HOMELESS PEOPLE!

Yes, there's a new front for The War Against Terror, and that's homeless people! That's right--the USG is saying that terrorists could disguise themselves as homeless people in order to gather intelligence unnoticed!!

THOSE SHREWD TERRORISTS DON'T EVEN NEED TO WEAR MAKE-UP TO HAVE DIRTY LOOKING SKIN!

Hm... this makes me think about that homeless man's body I stepped over last night while walking back from the bus stop...

I thought he was just another dead bum, but could he have been a TERRORIST??

What could he have been gathering intelligence on while sharing sidewalk space with ants and weeds? Perhaps he is planning an attack on the In & Out Burger restaurant!?!?

NO! YOU TERRORIST BASTARDS! DON'T YOU TOUCH THE HOME OF THE BEST FAST FOOD BURGER ON THE PLANET!!

That's IT! I'm going to go back down there today and MAKE SURE THAT HOMELESS GUY IS DEAD! Because if he's a terrorist, MY WAY OF LIFE MAY BE AT RISK!!

But seriously folks, the USG has issued a warning that will cause a great many people across the US react similarly to the way I did above. Here's a quote from [http://www.kron4.com/Global/story.asp?S=3751485|an article] from AP.org and KRON4.com:
That vagrant in the subway may not really be a homeless person. The government says he may be a terrorist in disguise.
An e-mail message from the U-S Attorney's Office in Washington warns that some terrorists may be pose as street people to conduct surveillance of buildings and mass transit stations for future attacks.

The e-mail stresses that there is no known threat of an attack. However, the message says homeless people tend to go unnoticed, particularly in mass transit systems.

Police, fire and emergency personnel are advised to be aware of any vagrants who look unfamiliar or out of place -- a in a recent case in Somerville, Massachusetts. A police officer in Somerville became suspicious about someone dressed as a street person and discovered a passport from the Middle East or South Asia and a checkbook with a questionable address.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press

All right, so that's the whole article, but it was so damn short. This is just another example of where we and our leaders are making mountains out of mole hills or Tora Boras out of El Pollo Locos.

Targetting homeless people as possible terrorist threats smacks of some sort of Orwellian eugenics program. "Kill off the homeless because... uh... because... because they could be terrorists! YEAH! That's it!"

Man, I want to go back to Ediburgh... and stay there.

PAT ROBERTSON ON CRACK

OK, this is really starting to get out of control. Religious extremist Pat Robertson has officially earned that title since he has just called for the assasination of the democratically elected president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Here's from [http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/08/23/MTFH59554_2005-08-23_17-29-44_SCH362917.html|an article] produced by Reuters.com but found at Breitbart.com:
Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying the leftist leader wanted to turn his country into "the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

The founder of the Christian Coalition said during the Monday night television broadcast of his religious program, "The 700 Club," that Chavez, one the most vocal critics of President George W. Bush, was a "terrific danger" to the United States.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack condemned Robertson's comments as "inappropriate" and said they were from a private citizen and did not represent the U.S. government position.

INAPPROPRIATE??

Try immoral.

He's encouraging the violation of not just domestic law, but International Law, too. He's also calling a democratically elected leader a dictator.

Huh, so some people call Bush a dictator and they get called conspiracy losers, but Robertson calls someone who was voted into office in an election that was vetted by international observers (including American observers) a dictator and he's only "inappropriate"??

This man is a religious leader--he may not speak for the USG, but he sure speaks for hundreds of thousands of Christians. Of course, I was just reading in Greg Palast's book, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, about Robertson being a big time business man and how he's invested millions and is worth millions. But all we Americans hear about him is that he's a religious guy.

I truly hope that people who believe in God and Jesus don't believe in Robertson or his ignorant and/or deliberately misinformed opinion. If you're a conservative, do your research. Chavez was elected by his people. He is being made into a demon by the USG and others because he speaks out against Western Interests AND he has oil. Hell, there's even scuttlebutt that he is being groomed for an invasion.

From Reuters.com and Breitbart.com:

U.S. evangelist calls for assassination of Chavez

Aug 23 1:21 PM US/Eastern



WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Conservative U.S. evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, saying the leftist leader wanted to turn his country into "the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism."

The founder of the Christian Coalition said during the Monday night television broadcast of his religious program, "The 700 Club," that Chavez, one the most vocal critics of President George W. Bush, was a "terrific danger" to the United States.

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," Robertson said.

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator," he continued. "It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack condemned Robertson's comments as "inappropriate" and said they were from a private citizen and did not represent the U.S. government position.

In Caracas, Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said: "This is a huge hypocrisy to maintain an anti-terrorist line and at the same time have such terrorist statements as these made by Christian preacher Pat Robertson coming from the same country."

"The ball is in the U.S. court now," Rangel told reporters.

The leftist Chavez has often accused the United States of plotting his overthrow or assassination. Alongside his ally Cuban leader Fidel Castro in Havana on Sunday, Chavez scoffed at the idea that he and Castro were destabilizing troublemakers in Latin America.

'CHEAPER THAN STARTING A WAR'

In his broadcast, Robertson said: "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.

"It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop."

A Robertson spokeswoman said he had no further comment at this point.

"Right now Dr. Robertson does not have a statement and he's not doing any media interviews," she said.

Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil exporter and a major supplier to the United States.

This was the most recent example of Robertson's controversial remarks. Criticizing the State Department in he said "maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up."

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher had called the remark "despicable."

Robertson once declared that feminism "encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." He also suggested that activist judges were more of a threat to the United States than terrorists and disagreed with Bush's characterization of Islam as a religion of peace.

Robertson's "700 Club" reaches an average of 1 million American viewers daily, according to his Web site. He ran for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 1988.

(c) Reuters 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

GAS 99 CENTS A GALLON?

...not recently!

Yeah, I was just digging through a couple of old sketch books and came across a sales receipt from a gas station I went to on Wilshire Blvd back on March 1, 1998. It was .999/gal and I topped off my tank with $8.00.

Who was president back in 1998?

Oh yeah, not Bush...

PostTrip: One of the Things I Miss About Edinburgh

If you've seen Highlander, you've heard of haggis. If you're from or have been to Scotland yourself, you've heard of haggis. In 2000 when TheWife was still TheFiancee, we paid a visit to Edinburgh and sampled haggis for the first time and I've got to tell you--we liked it a lot.

What is haggis?

Well, think of it as the hot dog of Scotland. In short, it's all the bits of the sheep that weren't already eaten. :) If you really want to know, a query at Dictonary.com tells us that haggis is:
A Scottish dish consisting of a mixture of the minced heart, lungs, and liver of a sheep or calf mixed with suet, onions, oatmeal, and seasonings and boiled in the stomach of the slaughtered animal.

Now, you may think that's disgusting, but it's not. It's actually delicious. It tastes like the best damn meatloaf you've ever had. What's even better is that it's everywhere in Edinburgh. It's literally as common there as hot dogs are in any US city. You can get it in the supermarkets, fish and chip shops and even ritzy restaurants. I've sampled a few differently priced haggises (sp?) and found them to all be tasty, although the more pricey ones were predictably better tasting.

Still, I did get to partake in an excellent potato stuffed with haggis at a tiny walk-in shop who's name escapes me. If memory serves, it was a place called "Tempting Tatties" and it was on Jeffrey Street about a block off of the Royal Mile at High Street. The price was reasonable and they piled so much haggis on that it took forever to get to the potato. It's really a good buy in you're in the area.

And if you go to Scotland but think you probably won't like haggis, why not just give it a try? It's not like you can find it easily anywhere else in the world, right?

One thing they didn't have was haggis at McDonalds. That kind of suprised me since in Tokyo, I've read that you can get a teriyaki burger. You'd think they'd sell a McHaggis burger in Edinburgh.

Well, maybe that lapse on the part of the American corporate giant is a good thing...

Then again, maybe you can get haggis outside of Scotland. I just found ScottishHaggis.com which is a site that lets you order haggis in the US. Of course, it's pretty expensive but it is FedExed to you in an insulated container. It's also a pain to order from that site because they make you send them an email instead of allowing online ordering. Oh well, at least we can get good hag gis in the US now. Still, I haven't tried these guys so I don't know if their haggis is any good. However, I can say that I've never had bad haggis.

Friday, August 19, 2005

GLOBAL WARMING REAL, TIME TICKING ON ALT ENERGY

Man, do I really need to blog about global warming?

Does anyone still need convincing that hundreds of millions of cars in the world are creating a blanket of gasses that are raising the temperature of certain areas of the planet while generally screwing with weather patterns in other areas?

Do I still need to mention that there are plenty of alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels out there that could not only help reduce the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming but also reduce our dependancy on foreign oil? If we reduce our dependency on foreign oil we also decrease the number of countries we have to invade and people we have to kill (including our own men and women in uniform) in order to secure said oil.

Since so little is being done about these issues, the answer is apparently yes. So, here are a few clips from various articles in the news recently:

From [http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article306881.ece|an article] at Independent.co.uk:
On a high-profile and bi-partisan fact-finding tour in Alaska and Canada's Yukon territory, Senators John McCain, a Republican, and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic senator for New York, were confronted by melting permafrost and shrinking glaciers and heard from native Inuit that rising sea levels were altering their lives.

"The question is how much damage will be done before we start taking concrete action," Mr McCain said at a press conference in Anchorage. "Go up to places like we just came from. It's a little scary." Mrs Clinton added: "I don't think there's any doubt left for anybody who actually looks at the science. There are still some holdouts, but they're fighting a losing battle. The science is overwhelming."

Their findings directly challenge President George Bush's reluctance to legislate to reduce America's carbon emissions. Although both senators havetalked before of the need to tackle global warming, this week's clarion call was perhaps the clearest and most urgent. It also raises the prospect that climate change and other environmental issues could be a factor in the presidential contest in 2008 if Mrs Clinton and Mr McCain enter it. Mrs Clinton and Mr McCain, who represents Arizona, are among the leading, and the most popular, likely contenders.


From [http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050818/ap_on_go_co/climate_change_alaska_2|an article] from AP.org available at News.Yahoo.com:
McCain and Sen.
Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are sponsoring legislation that would limit greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and industry. The Climate Stewardship and Innovation Act would cap U.S. emission levels at levels recorded in 2000.

Opponents of the legislation, including Sen. Ted Stevens (news, bio, voting record), R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, attribute warming to cyclical geophysical forces.


From [http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/08/worlds_largest.php|a blurb] at TreeHugger.com:
The very large, soon-to-be-built Iowa plant (two 100,000 square-foot buildings) will use soybeans from local farmers and produce 37.5 million gallons of biodiesel per year. Politicians from the region have been falling over each other to praise the project, calling it good for agriculture, good for US national security, good for jobs and the economy, etc. "


The above is good because here is a clip from [http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/08/18/MTFH69017_2005-08-18_13-53-52_SCH850008.html|an article] from Reuters.com available at Breitbart.com:
The world could run out of time to develop cleaner alternatives to oil and other fossil fuels before depletion drives prices through the roof, a leading Dutch energy researcher said on Thursday.

Ton Hoff, manager of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, said it could take decades to make alternatives affordable to the point where they can be used widely, although high oil prices were already stimulating such research.

"If we run out of fossil fuels -- by the time the oil price hits 100 dollars or plus, people will be screaming for alternatives, but whether they will be available at that moment of time -- that's my biggest worry," Hoff said.

"That's why we need to use fossil fuels in a more efficient way to have some more time to develop these alternatives up to a level where the robustness is guaranteed and their price has come down ... This could take decades for some technologies."

Stubbornly high oil prices have renewed worldwide interest in sustainable energy sources, such as solar, wind and biomass as well as biofuels.

Some people still believe it's just international tensions that are keeping the oil prices high--I am seriously doubting this. Too much has happened to suggest we're starting to run out of oil. That's just me, I'm no expert, but I am looking at the facts. Things like experts saying we'd be hitting peak oil between 2005 and 2010, various oil companies scaling back the amount of oil they claim they have access to, among other things.

I just think it's funny when there's so little movement toward alt energy. I mean, what's the harm in developing it? So, what if global warming isn't real? Why can't solar and hydro and these other energy sources help us reduce our dependence on oil from countries who commit dispicable acts? In Saudi Arabia, they have public beheadings yet we buy a lot of oil from them. Would you buy a Twinkee from a corner store that held beheadings?

I wouldn't. Yet, we have to buy oil from all sorts of questionables because it's about money, not Twinkees.

So, regardless of your argument against alt energy, it just makes better sense to explore it. Why can't energy companies diversify and explore these alternatives? There is a lot of money to be made there, too. You could build solar panels that will break every so often, thus forcing us to buy new ones. Even biodiesel is used up and needs to be replenished. Hell, ExxonMobile should buy up a huge soybean farm and start producing soybeans for biodiesel.

Why is the new always fought against? Are we humans that stupid?

There is hope, though I'm sure it'll be ignored. AutoBlog.com recently [http://www.autoblog.com/entry/1234000263054348/|blogged] on a hybrid sports car. Here's a clip:
It’s called ”The Attack” and it’s a hybrid supercar with over 300 hp developed from a AC electric motor powering the front wheels and a 1.9L VW TDi biodiesel powering the rears. The batteries powering the electric motor act as capacitors able to discharge a lot of energy in short bursts, enough for 0-60 runs in the sub 4-second range. Under normal driving conditions the car is powered by the biodiesel engine and achieves 50mpg.

And the best part is, this super-hybrid didn’t come from the Big 3 or some obscure Euro supercar maker, “The Attack” is the work of the West Philadelphia High School Electric Vehicle Team - a group of 6 high school, YES, high school kids.


Yep. High school kids did something the auto industry hasn't been able to do. A hybrid with power.

So, all you nay sayers out there can lick me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

PostTrip: The Jazz Bar

One of the experiences I've been wanting to blog on since it happened was our visit to one of Edinburgh's jazz clubs. I can't recall which night it was, but there was something about that place that helped me forget how tired I was. Of course, we went with Dana and Dave--now Dave is a music man. He writes his own songs and plays the guitar. He's one of those guys who is in to music.

So, we get there and it's this sort of red facade outside. It's literally called the Jazz Bar and like many of the most interesting pubs in Edinburgh, it's underground. That's one of the things I like the most about the city is that if it's too expensive to have a ground-level shop, pub, club, or other business establishment, they just convert a basement and voila--instant cool location for your business. The Jazz Bar was no exception--the basement it was built in looked like it had been there for centuries--large, gray bricks made up the walls and there were vaulted archways against the walls for people to sit under. On the walls were pictures of jazz greats and a visit to http://thejazzbar.co.uk informs us that the bar is a sequel to an establishment that burned down along with 16 other properties in the great Cowgate fire of December 7, 2002. The place is run by drummer Bill Kyle who has been very involved in the jazz scene in Scotland.

The night we were there was very cool because the band that played had never performed together before that night. I shot video and will have to upload it to this post when I have a moment. Suffice it to say in the meantime that it was good jazz, even to the jazz-impaired, like me. Of course, with Dave there, I had my own opinions confirmed without even having to ask. We'd just be sitting there and in the middle of what I felt was an impressive riff on a trombone, Dave would let out a loud "ohhhhh" like his feet were being massaged by a super model.

Later on, during a sax solo Dave yelled "Yes! Yes!!" as though that model had moved a little higher and gotten a bit more vigerous with her massage...

I loved watching the musicians play, too. The sax was a 70-year-old guy who has had a career all over the world. The bass, the trombone and the piano player were all 20-something locals who actually managed to hold their own with the veteran. While it was obvious they had never played together before, it was also obvious that they had a strong respect for each other. I remember watching the trombone player listen to a piano solo. He was nearly expressionless, bobbing his head slightly to the rhythm as the piano player got fancy for a moment. Then, the piano player got really fancy and the trombone player nodded agressively and smiled. Then Dave let out another "YES!"

The real treat of the evening was a guy called Freddie King who was coaxed up on stage by the drummer who, again, runs the place. King is what is called a jazz vocalist and before you think that the voice is only a musical instrument if lyrics are sung with it, let me tell you, this guy should be in the olympics for voice acrobatics.

Dude was all over the place, but it was all good jazz as far as I could tell and David seemed impressed, so it wasn't just TheFiancee and I who were moved by it. (This was before we had gotten married, so she was still "TheFiance.") She actually had a conversation with the guy as we left the club. Turns out he has a website at FreddieKing.co.uk and has an album coming out soon. Let me tell you that the dude's voice was so crazy cool that I think you should pick up a copy of his album because it will entertain you even if you not into jazz.

The only bad thing about the night was how smokey it got. This was a very traditional jazz bar and the smoke got so thick before we left that it was hard to keep my eyes open without breaking out into tears. So, finally we left. I know that jazz bars get smokey, but I'm not a smoker and my eyes are used to cakey smoke hanging in the air. Regardless we had a total blast for 3 or 4 hours, despite the smoke. While the band didn't play for that long, the bar was a cool place to hang out and talk, too.

Over all, it was an awesome experience seeing live jazz performed in another country. There's something cool about seeing something reinterpretted by another culture and in some ways made better. If you're in Ediburgh and you're looking for a good jazz club, I definitely recommend The Jazz Bar. It's on the north side Chambers Street, just west of South Bridge--and I mean just west.

OH and I forgot to mention how good the potato chips are in Scottish pubs. Mainly, we got the McCoy's brand Salt and vinegar. Man, those things are dense with flavor! They're far more tasty than anything in the US.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jet Lag Overdrive...

Sorry I still haven't updated. I'm am wiped out still from the trip back. I'm glad my screening gig got cancelled for tonight because I will probably be sleeping. I'm not usually one to get hit hard with the JL, but for whatever reason it has hit me hard this time. Last night, TheWife and I took a nap around 8 or 9pm and didn't wake up until 5am. Whoops! We got up, went about our business and started falling asleep again later on. She had to go to her dayjob, so she stopped off and bought some Triple Shot Espresso from Trader Joe's and is currently en route from there to bring me some soy coffee. I hope it will allow me to pull through the rest of my day.

I'm still glad I don't have to go into Hollywood for my projection gig. Often times when I get really tired the first thing that goes are my eyes. Not good when you're running a movie.

Anyway, I've got plenty to blog on--just having trouble putting more complicated thoughts together to form paragraphs. There's the hybrid sports car made by high school kids, there's the now illegal device you can build yourself that will allow you to get green lights at intersections almost every time and then there's how oil is through the roof at around $65 a barrel.

We are in so much trouble! I want to move to Edinburgh so I don't have to own a vehicle of any kind! YESSS!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Aaaand We're Back

Well, as you may have guessed, we're back in the USA. I should be dead tired right now, but I'm not for some reason. I doped myself up on caffeine to stay awake for the entire trip back from London and assumed that once the caffeine wore off I'd be dead for a couple of days, but this has not happened. We got in at 2am last night and crashed almost immediately. I woke up this morning pre-dawn some time, went back to sleep until 6am. Woke up, went back to sleep until 6:30, then 7 and finally got up at 7:40am.

The really weird thing is that TheWife and I both woke up yesterday at 8:30am British time and didn't go to sleep until 10am British time the next day, yet, still, I'm more or less wide awake right now.

In the end, I suppose it's a good thing since I have buckets to do today. We've got to unpack for starters. I've got a couple of bucks of American change somewhere in my luggage and since I spent all but $8 of all of my money, I need every cent I can find! Don't worry though, I should have at least one paycheck waiting for me at the PO box. I'm going to open a new checking account with it since Wells Fargo likes to charge me $8 a month for my current checking account. Also, I think I went over my balance a bit and they started charging me $33 fees for each day I've been over. I don't even want to do the math there, but needless to say, a trip into my nearest Wells Fargo branch is in my immediate future on top of unpacking.

Then, there's laundry, finding places for the handful of souvenirs we bought (we really couldn't afford many thanks to the wonderfully low value of the American dollar--THANKS, BUSH!) and of course putting everything back that we brought. This includes two CD wallets filled with DVDs we barely glanced at.

Ugh, and then comes all the media from the trip. I've shot hours of video of the two shows our group put on and an unknown number of videos of just stuff I saw on the trip. Oh and don't forget all the still pics I took.

Then, there's this site--I noticed I had a bunch of spam comments to delete a few to moderate and of course I haven't newsblogged in too long. I'll try to get to all of this in the next day or two.

OH, and I also need to get back to making some money. I've got a play to write with Dave and Dana still but that's not going to pay anything so it's back to that grind. Blech... remember what a big help clicking those finance/mortage-related Google ads can be for webmasters! ;)

Thanks to everyone who stopped by to check out our adventures in Scotland. I apologize for doing less and less blogging as the trip went on, but things got more and more hectic. ThePete.Com should be back to normal by the weekend.

Friday, August 12, 2005

QUICK BLOG UPDATE!

Hey folks! Right, still in Edinburgh, Scotland. Things are getting more and more hectic as we spend our last days in this beautiful city. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll have much time to blog before we head back to London and I have no idea what the connections are like there, but I doubt I'll have time to use one even if they're everywhere. So, see everyone when we get back to LA, on or around Tuesday the 16th!

I've got loads of pics and videos to post, too.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

DETAILS ABOUT THE WEDDING

Howdy folks! Just wanted to thank everyone for all of the support! It's great to know you're thinking about us all the way over here on the other side of the Atlantic :)

I don't have a lot of time, so I'll quickly say thanks for the comments and I'll respond as soon as I can! The pics are up and I don't think I'll post the video because I feel like it's a pretty personal thing. If your family or close friends you'll likely get a DVD, so don't worry about that. For everyone else, here's a rough description.

Now to the details--it was a beautiful friggin' day in Roslin--where the cermony took place. Blue sky with just enough clouds in the sky to make it picture perfect. Unfortunately, we couldn't get inside the chapel as we had initially wanted, but outside it was even more beautiful. While the chapel inside is beautiful, something about being outside made it feel more special and more magical.

The brush out there, behind the chapel was thicker than I remember it, but then again, the last time I was there was 2000--and it was covered in snow. We found a path that intersected with another one and so we stopped there. My new, local friend Maire and her son Pete showed up just in time and Maire was nice enough to take some pictures of the ceremony, itself. The other pics I posted were taken before and after. Karen was awesome enough to shoot video of the ceremony, itself.

Dana officiated, and since she's ordained by the Universal Life Church (ulc.org), technically, it was a legit wedding :) We just have to order our marriage certificate. :D So, Dana did a great job of officiating, too--the only thing that went wrong with the ceremony happened to her. Little flying bugs of some kind attacked her as she read. They were on her blouse, in her hair and all over her script!! I wanted to laugh (and actually did at one point) because it was so crazy--but she kept going, so I kept it together, too.

She read the poem by our family friend and then we got to our vows. Sierra managed to get through them without her voice cracking but I was lost to tears about halfway through my vows. :) Then we exchanged our ogham wedding rings and said our "I do's."

Then, to close the official ceremony, David played "Wish You Were Here" on his guitar that he bought from a local pawn shop for 25 pounds just to play at our wedding. (Isn't that COOL?) Over Dave's guitar, Sierra sang and made me cry again. :)

Then Dana broke out this awesome thing--a traditional wedding glass and a bottle of scotch that was bottled that day. We filled the glass and then all of us had sips. It was my first taste of scotch and I must admit it was quite tasty :)

After that, Maire invited us back to her garden for tea and pancakes made by her wonderful husband, Mark. She then treated Sierra and I to a performance by her 80 year old player piano (pianola). It was the perfect cap to the perfect afternoon to a wedding as perfect as we could possibily ask for.

I'll probably write more about it when I have more time, but I wanted to at least share that much.

WEDDING PICS

Check out the wedding pics!

THE HAPPY COUPLE

Monday, August 8, 2005

ZERO HOUR!

Today is the big day! My buddy Danny is up from Sheffield and ready to be my ringbearer. But am I ready to get married?

SURE!

Heh, well, yeah, definitely. I've got my kilt, shirt, sporran, socks and ring, so I'm good to go. I even wrote my vows and TheFiancee and I finished the wedding script last night. Dana's got the script so that's taken care of and I'm just doing some quick things online before I throw on my kilt and stuff to head on over to the Chapel. We won't be inside, but the hill leading down from the Chapel is absolutely gorgeous and the weather seems to be fairly reasonable--it's a bit overcast, but not at all cold. I'm hoping the clouds will go away in the next few hours.

Am I nervous? Yeah, definitely, but I'm keeping it under control. Things are getting kind of surreal--I was hoping being in Scotland would make anything more unusual seem like no big deal, but that's not quite how it's working out inside my head. Still, I'm miles from any sort of second thoughts or cold feet. It's just the seriousness of getting married that is making my stomach a little tight. I'm about to order myself a caffe frappe to get the caffeine going and I'm sure I'll feel better then. Gotta have my caffeine-security blanket. :)

We don't know what's up for after the ceremony yet, but I hope to have pics and video up in the next day or two. Tonight, ideally, but I doubt I'll be near a 'net connection.

Anyway, I should run. Wish us luck and think positive-blue-sky-thoughts for us :)

When I post again, I'll no longer be a single man! (Like that will change me that much!)

Saturday, August 6, 2005

CELTIC REVELRY IS UP!

Well, TheFiancee's show went up today and aside from a few SNAFUs it went fine. A little rough around the edges, but they'll get those kinks out by next performance, I'm sure. For the most part everyone was spot on and entertaining. Remember, if you see the show you get a free shot of whiskey :)

After the show we went to a pub and had lunch. I had a potato stuffed with Brie which was awesome. Then we went next door to a beer garden that some of the actors were at and hung out with them for a bit. While we were there the sky opened up. Luckily, the place had huge umbrellas that they opened up so we didn't have to go anywhere.

We all chatted about how well the show had gone over pints (well, I didn't drink and neither did TheFiancee). Dana complemented TF on her never-say-no spirit and then I complimented Dana on her ability to be inspiring. I mean, Dana's the type of woman that makes you want to do what she wants you to do. It's kind of funny, but very cool. I wish I had that talent--especially since she is all about art and being creative. She kicks ass that way.

Finally, we decided to head out. Dana was still wearing her costume from the show because she was hoping it would help with publicity. Since it had started raining, she borrowed TF's trench to keep dry.

Oh yeah and I should talk a bit about the local color here in Edinburgh. Almost everyone that I've interacted with has been awesome. From Joanna, who runs Juice Monkeys, to the bus driver who pointed out some hot chicks with nice legs. However, Edinburgh is not without it's more colorful characters.

Today we were waiting for Dana to convert some cash when a young man came out of a bar and kicked this sandwich-board sign Dave and I were standing next to. I looked at his face and seemed really mad, but in a really relaxed way--in other words, he was a drunken Scot. What was really telling was that it was 5:15pm. Dave said "YEAH!" and shook his fist at the Scot which inspired him to kick the sign again. Then the Scot held out his beer to Dave and said "DRINK!"

Dave hesitated but took a swig. He smiled and handed the beer back to the Scot who then blew a booger-bubble with his left nostril. He said some stuff, but I have trouble understanding sober Scots. Luckily Dave seemed to make sense of what he was saying and seemed to humor the dude just fine. Then Dana rejoined us--he took one look at the cleavage her show costume provides her with and started trying to chat her up. Dana's a cool chick so she didn't cut him off or anything, which was much nicer than I would have been.

Booger-bubbles... they have to be pretty high on my list of reasons I don't drink. :)

Finally, the guy started offering to buy Dana a pint. She politely declined but he insisted putting 3 pounds in the pocket of the trench coat she was wearing. We then headed off in search of a jazz club that was taking part in the Edinburgh Jazz Festival. Since the show is ending today, Dana was bent on checking at least a bit of it out. After a bit of confused walking and asking of directions (including asking for directions from a group of actors asking us to grab a flyer from a pile of poo), we finally found a place called the Jazz Bar. There, we found out that no performers would be out until 9pm tonight, so I made my way down to Juice Monkeys.

I just got an IM from TheFiancee--she found 3 pounds in the pocket of her trench coat. :)

CROSSED THE LINE WITH ROBERTS?

Oh, now this is bullshit.

The following is from [http://www.thestate.com/mld/thestate/news/special_packages/election2004/12316546.htm|an article] out of the Dallas Morning News available at TheState.com:
Citing "simple decency," Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison demanded Friday that journalists quit poking around for details on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adopted children.

"Some boundaries should be placed on inquiries into the private lives of public figures," said Hutchison...
This from a member of the same party that didn't do anything about Bushites spreading rumors back in 2000 about McCain's adopted child being a brown bastard. Nice. The media and the Democrats just might be doing their job to make sure that Roberts is a law abiding citizen--if our citizens on subways and airplanes are all going to be searched like suspected criminals shouldn't our politicians?

Hell, I think that we should be left alone and they should be scrutinized all the time. One guy wrote a book that included the claim that Bill Clinton raped Hillary and conceived Chelsea--when you right shit like that and get away with it, you pretty much open it up for Republicans, too. Especially since Bill Clinton is no longer a politician. Your wife, your kids, your housekeeper, your pets--none are off limits.

I just find it very ironic that a Republican is calling for limits in what the press can report on. I mean--how long did we have sit through all that crap about Monica Lewinski and for what?

You Republicans are sad, sorry, saps who, when eventually ushered from office, will be remembered as corrupt, liars who led the country to a war with a non-enemy.

Eventually history will look at us all and scratch its collective head, wondering just why the hell we all looked at terrorism as any sort of real threat when more Americans die on America's highways in a day than those Americans killed by terrorists.

Republicans are just a bunch of rich, corrupt, power-hungry fear-mongers, the Democrats are the spineless, self-serving fools who let the Republicans get away with it and most of us are suckers for falling for both party's lines of crap.

Thank you and good night!

From the DallasNews.com and TheState.com:
Posted on Fri, Aug. 05, 2005

Sen. Hutchison: Roberts line crossed

BY TODD J. GILLMAN

The Dallas Morning News

WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Citing "simple decency," Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison demanded Friday that journalists quit poking around for details on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adopted children.

"Some boundaries should be placed on inquiries into the private lives of public figures," said Hutchison, who faced some uncomfortable questions after she adopted her son and daughter four years ago, when she was 58 and husband Ray Hutchison was 68.

With a month to go before Roberts' confirmation hearings, news media and interest groups continue to scour his record.

Some have also focused on other aspects of his life. On Thursday, the online Drudge Report revealed that a New York Times reporter had made inquiries about the Roberts children, Josephine and Jack, ages 5 and 4.

According to recent news reports, the judge and his wife, Jane, wed in 1996 when both were 41 and adopted the children in 2000.

On Friday, The Times said no one had ordered an investigation of the adoptions, calling the inquiry part of a routine effort to "report extensively on the life and career" of a nominee for high office.

"Our reporters made initial inquiries about the adoptions, as they did about many other aspects of his background. They did so with great care, understanding the sensitivity of the issue," said Times spokesman Toby Usnik. "We have not pursued the issue after the initial inquiries, which detected nothing irregular about the adoptions."

The newspaper denied assertions by conservative bloggers that it consulted lawyers about trying to unseal the adoption records. Usnik said the paper dropped the matter after learning that the records were sealed.

Hutchison called the newspaper's actions "reprehensible," saying the inquiry crossed the "fine line between legitimate background inquiries and invasion of privacy."

The National Council for Adoption also denounced the inquiry, saying the adoptions have no bearing on the judge's suitability to serve.

---

© 2005, The Dallas Morning News.

MAN VIDEO IMs OWN SUICIDE

The following blurb comes to us from [http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-13401710,00.html|an article] at Sky.com:
A man filmed himself jumping to his death on his mobile video phone and beamed the live images to his horrified girlfriend, an inquest heard.

Lee Morgan, 20, jumped from the Humber Bridge after a New Year's Eve row with Sherrie Smith. The couple had got engaged on Christmas Day.

Hull coroner Geoffrey Saul was told Mr Morgan had called his fiancee after leaving the party from the landmark bridge.

She said: "I could see the lights. It went black and the phone cut out."

The inquest heard a bridge worker saw Mr Morgan jump while holding his phone. His body was not found until February 9.

Damn, that's one dude who needed to lighten the hell up. I'm all for deciding your own fate, but--killing yourself over a woman? Dude, you know how many women there are on the planet? Killing yourself over just one of them is pretty fricken stupid, my friend.

Still, if I was going to kill myself over someone, I'd be tempted to send her a video of it. So, I give the guy points for that.

Too bad he's dead though...

Friday, August 5, 2005

BLATANT PLUG FOR CELTIC REVELRY (and more!)

Here's the second and third (and the fourth and fifth, as well!) blatant plug for the day.

At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival for 2005? Check out the following shows--the first TheFiancee is in and the second features some of the same actors and musicians as the first. Check 'em out:





If you're in Edinburgh--get your tickets!

I've also met a few people from other shows who were very nice. First, I met a couple of people from the show "How I Learned to Drive" which is performing at the Carlton Hotel from August 5 to the 29th at 4:30pm.

Then today at Juice Monkeys I met up with a guy from Mar Vista of all places--his name was Kalil (sp?) and he's in a show called "Basic Training." It's performing at the Guilded Balloon at 4pm daily. So, if you can check them out, too. Just be sure to post here what you thought of all of the shows you see and if you happen to have a show at the Fringe, feel free to post about it.

GROUP SUES OVER SEARCHES IN NYC

The NYCLU gets it right! I guess that's because the ACLU isn't involved directly? Anyway, so NYNewsday.com reports in [http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/crime/nyc-suit0804,0,646390,print.story?coll=nyc-homepage-breaking2|an article] that the New York Civil Liberties Union is filing suit against the city of New York to keep them from searching the bags of subway riders.

Damn straight--it's nice to see SOMEbody standing up for our rights these days. It's virtually unheard of these days to care about these "quaint" even "antiquated" things called "rights."

ASTRONAUTS CAN SEE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

TheEnvironment--it's that thing you're living in.

Here are a couple of clips from [http://reuters.myway.com/article/20050804/2005-08-04T171414Z_01_N0475285_RTRIDST_0_NEWS-SPACE-SHUTTLE-DC.html|an article] from Reuters.com at MyWay.com:
Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources.

...

"Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It's very widespread in some parts of the world," Collins said in a conversation from space with Japanese officials in Tokyo, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

"We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used," said Collins, who was standing with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi in front of a Japanese flag and holding a colorful fan.

...

"The atmosphere almost looks like an eggshell on an egg, it's so very thin," she said. "We know that we don't have much air, we need to protect what we have."

Yeah, I hate that "colorful fan" reference, too. I love it when people undermine their own, very important, argument by oversimplifying a country's culture to a cheap trinket.

Besides that, I feel like if astronauts can see from the sky that the Earth is in a worse state, things are really bad....

From Reuters.com and MyWay.com:

Environmental damage seen from shuttle

Aug 4, 1:14 PM (ET)

By Jeff Franks

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Commander Eileen Collins said astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources.

Her comments came as NASA pondered whether to send astronauts out on an extra spacewalk to repair additional heat-protection damage on the first shuttle mission since the 2003 Columbia disaster.

Discovery is linked with the International Space Station and orbiting 220 miles above the Earth.

"Sometimes you can see how there is erosion, and you can see how there is deforestation. It's very widespread in some parts of the world," Collins said in a conversation from space with Japanese officials in Tokyo, including Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

"We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used," said Collins, who was standing with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi in front of a Japanese flag and holding a colorful fan.

Collins, flying her fourth shuttle mission, said the view from space made clear that Earth's atmosphere must be protected, too.

"The atmosphere almost looks like an eggshell on an egg, it's so very thin," she said. "We know that we don't have much air, we need to protect what we have."

While Collins and Noguchi chatted, NASA officials were deciding whether a torn insulation blanket protecting part of the shuttle surface could rip off and strike a damaging blow to Discovery when it re-enters the atmosphere.

They said it could require another spacewalk to fix, which would take place on Saturday if needed. A decision was expected on Thursday afternoon.

Noguchi and astronaut Steve Robinson already have done three spacewalks, including a landmark walk on Wednesday to remove loose cloth strips protruding from Discovery's belly. NASA feared the strips could cause dangerous heat damage when the shuttle lands on Monday.

COLUMBIA TRIBUTE

The combined crew of Discovery and the space station, nine in all, paid tribute on Thursday to the Columbia crew and other astronauts who have died in space accidents. They took turns speaking while television shots from the shuttle showed it passing over a sunlit Earth, then into night.

"Tragically, two years ago, we came once more to realize that we had let our guard down. We became lost in our hubris and learned once more the terrible price that must be paid for our failures," said mission specialist Charles Camarda. "In that accident, we not only lost seven colleagues, we lost seven friends."

Columbia broke apart before landing on Feb. 1, 2003, and the seven astronauts on board died.

Loose insulation foam from the fuel tank struck the wing heat shield at launch 16 days before, causing a hole that allowed superheated gases to penetrate and destroy the shuttle when it descended into the atmosphere.

NASA spent 2 1/2 years and $1 billion on safety upgrades after Columbia, but videos showed loose tank foam at Discovery's launch last week. The agency suspended shuttle flights until the foam problem is fixed.

A report in The New York Times suggested NASA was not as careful as it could have been about the foam issue.

The Times said an internal NASA memo, written in December by a retired NASA engineer brought back to monitor the quality of the foam operation, complained that deficiencies remained in the way foam was being applied to the fuel tank and warned "there will continue to be a threat of critical debris generation."

A spokesman at Johnson Space Center in Houston told Reuters he had not yet seen the Times report and could not comment.

Copyright 2005 Reuters

WAR OF THE WORLDS ABOUT EMPIRE?

Spielberg's War of the Worlds was about empire? No, but according to HG Wells' friend and biographer, who is apparently still alive, Wells' The War of the Worlds was about Empire. According to Michael Foot, the original story was written as a parable to Britain's invasions of other countries around the world. Ironically, Britain's empire crumbled in much the same way Wells' Martians did--with great lamelessness--falling prey to basic things that they didn't consider. For the Martians it was bacteria, for the British Empire it was the fact that no empire can sustain itself forever thanks to the extreme financial hardship of controlling an empire.

Anyway, read more about this in [http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/spielberg%20blasted%20for%20war%20of%20the%20worlds|a short article] at ContactMusic.com.

MARILYN: THE LEAST IMPORTANT CONSPIRACY

Of all the conspiracy theories I've researched the one that is the least important in my opinion (of those that have even an ounce of credibility) is the conspiracy theory behind the death of Marilyn Monroe. But, she was so friggin' hot, I figure I might as well blog about [http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/columnone/la-et-marilyn5aug05,1,7245017.story?coll=la-headlines-columnone&ctrack=1&cset=true|this interesting article] at LATimes.com about it.

In a nutshell, it talks about how supposed audio tapes of Monroe talking to her shrink prove that she was not at all suicidal when she is said to have killed herself. In the tapes, heard by only one man who is alive right now, she talks about all sorts of things, including her interest in Clark Gable as a father-figure, a sexual encounter with Joan Crawford (!!) and doing Shakespeare sometime in the future. I think I can agree that you don't plan things for the future and then kill yourself with something as specific as she did. I wonder who kills themselves with "acute barbiturate poisoning?"

Anyway, so I thought that was interesting. We all know the suspects in this story and the article presents no new possibilities. Still, an interesting read if you're tired of hearing about how screwed up our world is right now. :D

From LATimes.com:
August 5, 2005

New Chapter in the Mystery of Marilyn: Her Own Words?

By Robert W. Welkos, Times Staff Writer

It remains one of Hollywood's most compelling, and unforgettable, mysteries.

On Aug. 5, 1962, the body of Marilyn Monroe was found in the bedroom of her Brentwood home. The 36-year-old movie star was naked and facedown on her bed.

An autopsy conducted by Dr. Thomas Noguchi, then deputy medical examiner, concluded that death was due to acute barbiturate poisoning, and a psychiatric team tied to the investigation termed it a "probable suicide."

Today, 43 years later, fans from around the world will gather, as they have for decades, near Monroe's crypt at Westwood Village Memorial Park to celebrate her life and mourn her death. John W. Miner, 86, will mourn too.

But there is bitterness and frustration as well for the former Los Angeles County prosecutor, who was at her autopsy and was one of those looking into her death. He didn't believe that the actress took her life in '62 and he doesn't believe it now, and Miner says he's heard secret tapes that Monroe made in the days before she died that prove the actress was anything but suicidal.

Whether Monroe died by her own hand has been debated and dissected by books, documentaries, conspiracy theorists, and Hollywood and Washington insiders alike for years.

Enough credence was given to the various reports that in 1982, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office reexamined the case. Miner, by then in private practice, was among those interviewed.

The resulting report notes that Miner mentioned the tapes. However, he did not say he had a transcript. Although the report concedes that "factual discrepancies" and "unanswered questions" remained in the case, it did not find enough evidence to warrant launching a criminal investigation.

As head of the D.A.'s medical-legal section when Monroe died, Miner had met with the actress' psychiatrist, Dr. Ralph Greenson. During the interview, Miner says, Greenson played the Monroe tapes, but only on condition that the investigator never reveal their contents.

Miner said he took "extensive" and "nearly verbatim" notes, and only broke the promise years after Greenson's death, when some Monroe biographers suggested that the psychiatrist be considered a suspect in her death. Miner recently gave a copy of the transcript to The Times.

Miner's transcript shows Monroe obsessing about the Oscars, describing a sexual encounter with Joan Crawford, craving a father's love from Clark Gable, yearning to be taken seriously as an actress by contemplating doing Shakespeare, and speaking candidly about why her marriages to baseball slugger Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller ended in divorce.

At one point, she describes standing naked in front of her full-length mirror assessing the body that captivated the world, knowing that she is slipping into middle age, and commenting that "my breasts are beginning to sag a bit" but "my waist isn't bad" and her buttocks are still "the best."

"You are the only person who will ever know the most private, the most secret thoughts of Marilyn Monroe," she tells Greenson, according to Miner's transcript. "I have absolute confidence and trust you will never reveal to a living soul what I say to you."

Miner contends that anyone reading the transcript would conclude that "there was no possible way this woman could have killed herself. She had very specific plans for her future. She knew exactly what she wanted to do. She was told by [acting coach] Lee Strasberg, maybe ill-advisedly, that she had Shakespeare in her and she was fascinated with the idea."

Miner has shown the transcript to several authors in recent years. In British author Matthew Smith's book "Marilyn's Last Words: Her Secret Tapes and Mysterious Death," the excerpts cover the early portion of the tapes, which have Monroe musing on Freud and free association, orgasms, Gable and her agent, Johnny Hyde. Seymour M. Hersh included a short reference to the late President Kennedy in "The Dark Side of Camelot."

Miner was also interviewed for a 1997 ABC documentary called "Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years," but ultimately no excerpts from the transcript were used.

The previously unpublished portions of the transcript include descriptions of her feelings for her ex-husbands, a dissection of why her marriages failed, a racy catalog of supposed sexual encounters, details of her dispute with 20th Century Fox, her friendship with Frank Sinatra, and her complaints about housekeeper Eunice Murray, who would discover her body.

Smith and Hersh, along with the documentary's producer, Mark Obenhaus, said in interviews this week that they found Miner credible.

But to accept Miner's story, one must make a leap of faith — he is the only one still alive who claims to have heard the tapes. Greenson died in 1979, and Miner believes that he destroyed the tapes.

"It's like a one-sourced story," Obenhaus said. "You have one guy; he's a credible guy, but he's just one guy."

Smith, who said he paid Miner a fee, which he declined to disclose, for use of the Monroe transcript, added: "I believe he is a man of integrity. I've looked at the contents of the tapes, of course, and, frankly, I would think it entirely impossible for John Miner to have invented what he put forward — absolutely impossible."

Ronald H. "Mike" Carroll, a former L.A. County deputy district attorney who conducted the 1982 review of Monroe's death, said he and a D.A.'s investigator interviewed Miner for their report and, although he mentioned that Greenson had tapes of the actress, there was no hint that Miner had a transcript.

Carroll, the No. 3 prosecutor in the D.A.'s office at the time, who has since retired, said that had he any inkling that Miner was harboring the transcript, he would have obtained a grand jury subpoena to force Miner to hand them over so that he could include them in his report.

Miner said he couldn't speak about the transcript then because of his promise to Greenson. "Greenson … was absolutely committed to protecting the privacy of his patients," Miner recalled. "He felt he could not let me see what she had said if there was any possibility that her privacy would be violated." So Miner gave his word.

When some suggested that Greenson himself was the actress' killer, Miner went to the psychiatrist's widow and asked for permission to be released from the promise.

Greenson's widow, Hildegard, told The Times this week that she didn't know if the tapes existed and never heard her husband discuss them. Still, she does not discount that Monroe may have given her husband such tapes and that he played them for Miner.

"That seems like something my husband would do," she said. "He might want to play it to show how she felt and what was going on with her." At the time of the recordings, Monroe was living an unsettled life. There was the rumor of a romance with Kennedy, fueled by her appearance at a birthday tribute on May 19 at Madison Square Garden where she sang the now legendary "Happy Birthday, Mr. President." Studio bosses at 20th Century Fox had dropped her from the film "Something's Got to Give" because of chronic lateness and drug dependency.

No one has established the exact date that the recordings were made, although the JFK reference would put it after her singing tribute, a little more than two months before she died.

Smith says his research suggests that Monroe gave the psychiatrist the tapes Aug. 4. According to Miner, Greenson's sole purpose in playing the tapes for him was to help establish her state of mind at the time of her death, "so they were made pretty close to the time she died."

Hollywood columnist James Bacon, now 91, who met Monroe when she was an unknown in 1949 and would later become a close friend, was at Monroe's house five days before she died.

"She was drinking champagne and straight vodka and occasionally popping a pill," Bacon told The Times. "I said, 'Marilyn, the combination of pills and alcohol will kill you.' And she said, 'It hasn't killed me yet.' Then she took another drink and popped another pill. I know at night she took barbiturates."

But Bacon added: "She wasn't the least bit depressed. She was talking about going to Mexico. She had a Mexican boyfriend at the time. I forget his name. This was the first house she ever owned. She was going to buy some furniture. She was in very good spirits that day — of course, the champagne and vodka helped."

In the transcript, Monroe uses what therapists call "free association," saying whatever came into her mind. "Isn't it true that the key to analysis is free association?" she says. "Marilyn Monroe associates. You, my doctor, by understanding and interpretation of what goes on in my mind, get to my unconscious, which makes it possible for you to treat my neuroses and for me to overcome them."

"And you are going to hear bad language," she warns Greenson.

Although Monroe often came across on screen as a ditzy blond, in her tapes, she discusses Freud's "Introductory Lectures" ("God, what a genius," she remarks. "He makes it so understandable"), and author James Joyce ("Joyce is an artist who could penetrate the souls of people, male or female"), and says she has read all of Shakespeare.

She talks about her admiration for Gable, her co-star in "The Misfits": "In the kissing scenes, I kissed him with real affection. I didn't want to go to bed with him, but I wanted him to know how much I liked and appreciated him."

And she lambasted members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for not giving Gable an Oscar for "Gone With the Wind," noting that never was an actor on screen more romantic. She says she cried for two days after learning that Gable had died.

Her love for DiMaggio was undimmed. "I love him and always will," she says. "But Joe couldn't stay married to Marilyn Monroe, the famous movie star. Joe has an image in his stubborn Italian head of a traditional Italian wife. She would have to be faithful, do what he tells her, devote all of herself to him. Doctor, you know that's not me."

It was different with Miller. "Marrying him was my mistake, not his. He couldn't give me the attention, warmth and affection I need. It's not in his nature. Arthur never credited me with much intelligence. He couldn't share his intellectual life with me. As bed partners, we were so-so."

Of her one-night affair with Joan Crawford, she said: "Next time I saw Crawford, she wanted another round. I told her straight-out I didn't much enjoy doing it with a woman. After I turned her down, she became spiteful."

In the tapes, Monroe heaps praise on Kennedy, and there is no suggestion that the two were ever lovers. "This man is going to change our country," she says of JFK, adding, "He will transform America today like FDR did in the '30s."

As for the president's brother, Robert F. Kennedy, the U.S. attorney general at the time: "As you see, there is no room in my life for him. I guess I don't have the courage to face up to it and hurt him. I want someone else to tell him it's over. I tried to get the president to do it, but I couldn't reach him."

In the transcripts, Monroe says she needs Greenson's help in getting her housekeeper another job. "Doctor, I want you to help me get rid of Murray…. I can't flat out fire her. Next thing would be a book 'Secrets of Marilyn Monroe by Her Housekeeper.' She'd make a fortune spilling what she knows and she knows too damn much."

As he listened to Monroe's voice that day in 1962, Miner said, he became "very moved."

"You'd have to be without capacity for empathy or emotion" if you weren't moved, he said.

Miner, who collaborated with Dr. Seymour Pollack to create the USC Institute of Psychiatry, Law and Behavioral Science in 1963 and taught there over the years, said he would like to see a "re-autopsy" conducted to clear up medical questions that he noticed in the original.

"The autopsy clearly shows that the barbiturates — of a massive amount — that entered her body came in through the large intestine," he said. "How do we know that? We know that because there is no indication, in fact there is contraindication, that the capsules were swallowed."

He believes that had Monroe swallowed 30 or more capsules, "she would have absorbed enough of the barbiturates to kill her before it was all dissolved."

He also discounts the possibility that she was given a "hot shot" injection of the drugs since neither he nor Noguchi could find any sign of needle marks on her body. (Both the original autopsy report and the 1982 review came to the same conclusion.)

Miner had hoped to get Noguchi's support for another autopsy. Noguchi's attorney, Godfrey Isaac, said the former coroner was traveling in Asia and could not be reached for comment.

It is Miner's theory that the actress took or was given chloral hydrate to render her unconscious — possibly in a soft drink — and someone then dissolved Nembutal in water by breaking open 30 or more capsules and administered the lethal solution by enema.

He said that he and Noguchi noticed a discoloration of the large intestine in the original autopsy and that there is a possibility that if the body were exhumed, tissue samples could be taken to determine if she had been given an enema filled with enough drugs to be toxic.

Carroll said he had no objections to another autopsy and stressed that he had "no vested interest" in the outcome.

But he noted that in his review, he talked to an independent expert, Dr. Boyd G. Stephens, former chief medical examiner-coroner for the city and county of San Francisco, who said the amount of Nembutal in the liver was about twice as much as in the blood, suggesting that the person lived for "quite a period of time" after ingesting the drugs.

Carroll told The Times that if Monroe had an enema containing the drugs, it would have gotten into her system rapidly and "you wouldn't expect it to have that ratio in the liver."

The D.A.'s review concluded that "the cumulative evidence available to us fails to support any theory of criminal conduct relating to her death."

BLATANT PLUG FOR JUICE MONKEYS OF EDINBURGH

OK, here's the deal--if you're looking for a good place to kick back with a smoothie, a coffee, a frappe, some fresh pastries or a sandwich, and surf the 'net at the same time while visiting or living in Edinburgh, Scotland, you should pay a visit to Juice Monkeys. Check out their site at JuiceMonkeys.com.

I'm loving the decore, the atmosphere, the people who work there, the drinks, and of course, the free Internet access. [http://www.thepete.com/uploads/scotland/day04/JuiceMonkey.mov|Here's a vid I shot the other day of the interior of the place.] The vid's a little muddy, but that's thanks to EvoCam and iMovie. The place is sharp looking, clean and cool. Here's their address if you're in the capital of Scotland:

54 Clerk Street
Edinburgh
EH8 9JB

What this means if you're not familiar with the lay of the land here is that if you're in the center of Edinburgh (where all the good, old stuff is) go south on North Bridge. North Bridge turns into South Bridge and then to Nicholson and then to Clerk St. It's on the east side of the street. Just look for the orange monkey :) (see below)



And no, I'm not getting a kick back for this post!! The owner, Joanna, is a really nice woman who says she's in debt about a million pounds to open this place and I'd like to do what I can to help her pay that off--which isn't much. Plus she's got a real nice smile. :)< --not as nice as Joanna's.

K, I've got some more blatant plugs later today.

OH and I forgot to mention that if you don't have a wifi card, they'll loan you a cable to plug into the wall to connect--how's that for good service?

IN THE CITY!! YESSSS!

OK, we moved into the new flat last night (remember, they call apartments "flats" here for some reason). It's AWESOME--except, still no Internet. Grrrr...

The good news about that is that I am now a block away from the bus that can get me to Juice Monkeys in about 20 minutes or so. It's just like being back in Westwood, except I get less exercise. :(

The apartment flat is a one-bedroom with a full kitchen, HUGE couch, HUGE loveseat, 32 inch flat screen TV and 2 half-baths. I say 2 half-baths because they are really one bathroom put together, but they are split into two closets. One has the toilet and a cute little sink and the other has a shower stall and a second cute little sink. The kitchen doesn't have a dishwasher, but it does have a clothes washer--I'm not sure how to dry the clothes, though. I have a feeling the washer will do it for us, but I have no idea how it will.

The neighborhood the flat is in seems cool enough--apparently, it's the West Hollywood of Edinburgh. I've only seen a few people who look like they belong to TheGay, but there are buckets of senior citizens around. There's a Chinese food place across the street from us and many restaurants up and down Leith Walk, which is the street our flat is off of. There's even one place called The Bronx, with a message in the window proclaiming "It's an American Thing!"

Not something I'd want in my window these days ;)

We'll have to eat there sometime if only so we can please ourselves and other MST3K fans by finishing dessert and proclaiming afterward "WE MUST LEAVE THE BRONX!"

Well, the show TheFiancee is in goes up tomorrow so finally we'll be able to see each other more often. I hope to keep blogging as much as I have been or even more despite that. Plus we're getting married on Monday and things still need to be worked out for that, too. I've been trying to find 5 seconds with a local phone to call my friends Danny and Maire to coordinate with them some sort of meeting. Danny's coming up on Sunday from England while Maire is local.

Then my old friend Rick is down in the south of England--we're hoping to hook up with him on the way back down. Sadly, his gran just died, so we're not sure how things will work. Obviously, our condolences go out to him and his family.

On the bright side, my old college roommate (and even older friend) will be in London the same time we are, so we'll try to match up with him, too.

I had hoped we'd make it to WorldCon in Glasgow, but things are still too screwy here. We're not used to the city still and that is slowing us down a lot. Even though the bus system is great here, we're not super familiar with it so we both end up doing some extra walking. This morning TheFiancee discovered that the estimate I had given her on the length of time it took to get from our flat to the center of the city was inaccurate (oops!) she hailed a cab rather than try to find a bus.

I think at this point we're just going to concentrate on doing everything in the immediate area that we want to do with our wedding being at the top of that list. However, I'd like to check out Edinburgh castle again as well as the Princes St. Gardens, perhaps a couple of the museums and more.

There's not much to report at this point because today has been much more smooth since we're not out at the cottage dealing with the distance and all of the other people. Last night I spent the night just watching the MANY channels I have on our TV--including Playboy channel--man, do they love their lesbians in the UK, or what??

I saw no fewer than 4 lesbian shows on the three free adult channels I had access to last night.

Now, I'm enjoying quad-breast cinematography as much as the next guy, but whatever happened to equal opportunity soft-core?

OH and damn--I almost forgot to mention these guys I saw yesterday outside of the Edinburgh Art Museum. I'm totally brain farting on their name but they were these cool Celticky-looking drum-band. They are six people--five with drums and one with bag pipes. I shot one of their songs yesterday and will try to post the vid later today--I've got so much to do that I probably won't get to it today, though.

In fact, I should end this entry and get on with other online stuff I need to do. I hope everyone is having a good day!!