Now we can send those augments on a long flight

This is a fairly short article from Wired about suspended animation. Apparently, scientists are now injuring pigs, draining their blood, replacing it with a different fluid, nearly stopping their hearts and most of their brain activity, coming back 1-2 hours later, draining the fluid, replacing it with blood, and sewing the pig back up.

And the pig wakes up as good as new.

Stuck Pig

But 78-6 is, in fact, only mostly dead – the common term for her state is, believe it or not, suspended animation.
Metabolism slows, oxygen demand dives, and the time available to treat the injury stretches. “With the pig essentially dead,” Alam says, “we’ve got hours to fix it and play around.”

Miracle Max: He probably owes you money huh? I'll ask him.

Inigo Montoya: He's dead. He can't talk.

Miracle Max: Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There's a big difference between mostly dead and all dead. Mostly dead is slightly alive. With all dead, well, with all dead there's usually only one thing you can do.

Inigo Montoya: What's that?

Miracle Max: Go through his clothes and look for loose change.

The Princess Bride


I found this article posted to Fark.com


A Penn State college senior was arrested after he pointed his camera cell phone at police activity in his neighborhood.
Cruz had heard a commotion outside his parents' home and walked out the door to investigate it. When he saw the street lined with police, he flipped his phone open to take a picture. Within moments, an officer came to his back gate, put him into a police car, cuffed him and took him to jail. According to a neighbor's report, the cop spoke only once during this process, allegedly saying, "You should have just went [sic] in the house and minded your own business instead of trying to take pictures off your picture phone." The charge against Cruz was based on a new law, allegedly prohibiting people from taking pictures of police officers with cell phones.

The reason we have the first amendment is so the people can keep an eye on the government. When it is illegal to photograph what goes on in a public street, we are in trouble.

Taking pictures in public, of public activities, is not a crime.

I don't mind police putting up cameras in public to monitor traffic on the streets or crime on the sidewalks. By the same token, the people have just as much right to photograph things that happen on the street in front of their homes.

*Some additional Details -- Just as scary*

Cruz, a Penn State University senior, said that after about an hour police told him he was lucky because there was no supervisor on duty, so they released him.

"They said if the supervisor was there I wouldn't be a free man and that he is letting me go because he felt that I was a good person," Cruz said.


Paris Hilton: Paris Hilton - biography part 1

According to a Paris Hilton Biography Blog of uncertain origin, Paris Hilton's aunt was one of the kids in Escape to Witch Mountain.

As I racall, that was an awesome movie. Of course I was under 10, but I still wanted to join those kids.

Interestingling enough, the Hilton blog implies that Kyle Richards was also in that movie, though IMDB.com disagrees.

Paris Hilton: Paris Hilton - biography part 1: "On the maternal side of her family, Hilton is a niece of two popular child stars of the 1970s - Kim Richards and Kyle Richards, who appeared in the motion picture Escape to Witch Mountain and TV shows like Nanny and the Professor, Little House on the Prairie, and later, ER. By marriage, she also is related to Zsa Zsa Gabor (the Hungarian-born actress married Paris Hilton's great-grandfather Conrad Hilton) as well as Elizabeth Taylor (the actress's first husband was Paris Hilton's great-uncle, Conrad Nicholson Hilton Jr.)."


Sign? What Sign?

I saw this vehicle parked outside Gate N7 at SEA on 2006-07-26 at about 11:15 AM.

It's a ground crew vehicle for Menzies. I believe Alaska Airlines (ALK) owns the vehicle, since the contract their ground handling to Menzies. You can actually see two Menzies employees in the cab, waiting for a plane to come in.

Take a closer look at the center, though. Notice all those footprints?

I just hope the grounds crew pays more attention to the "No Step" signs on the aircraft wings.


FEMA Tries to Silence Trailer Park Residents

If you live in a FEMA trailer, you may not invite reporters to your trailer without FEMA permission.

“If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” said Rachel Rodi, a FEMA pokeswoman. “That’s just policy.”
Reporters apparently are not allowed to hand business cards the residents who invited them into the trailers.

If you live in a FEMA trailer, you may not speak to reporters through a chainlink fence.

2theadvocate.com News FEMA media rule sparks fury: "FEMA media rule sparks fury"

Isn't this exactly the reason we need First Amendment freedoms? FEMA has no right to tell storm victims they need permission to talk to the press.

What is FEMA's excuse?

FEMA has said the reason it’s not allowing media easy access to its trailer parks is to “protect the privacy” of the residents.
If FEMA insists on sitting in on conversations residents choose to have with the media, and is dictating whom the residents can invites into their homes, then FEMA is the one attacking privacy -- not the press.

Apparently, Wearing a silly costume is now illegal

If people are frightened of how you look, then the police can arrest you in Minneapolis.

By the way, the head line even jumped on the paranoia band wagon. They weren't carrying fake WMDs. According to the article, they were carrying backpacks for portable stereos.

'Zombies' booked for carrying fake WMDs "

MINNEAPOLIS -- Six friends spruced up in fake blood and tattered clothing were arrested in downtown Minneapolis on suspicion of toting "simulated weapons of mass destruction."

Police said the group were allegedly carrying bags with wires sticking out, making it look like a bomb, while meandering and dancing to music as part of a "zombie dance party" Saturday night.

"They were arrested for behavior that was suspicious and disturbing," said Lt. Gregory Reinhardt, a police spokesman. Police also said the group was uncooperative and intimidated people with their "ghoulish" makeup.

So if people are intimdated but how you dress, you are a threat to national security.

"Given the circumstance of them being uncooperative [which those arrested have disputed]... why would you have those (bags) if not to intimidate people?" said Inspector Janee Harteau. "It's not a case of (police) overreacting."

Um. Maybe to carry stuff in costume?

Ok, so maybe the police paniced and overreacted at seeing someone in a Zombie costume. Maybe the honestly thought Al Quaida was raising the dead to walk silly and play music in Minneapolis.

Misunderstandings happen. So of course, the police must have apologized for the misunderstanding and sent them on their way, right?

Kate Kibby, one of those arrested...said they were cooperative and followed thetwo officers to the station where they were questioned and eventually loaded into a van and booked into jail.

Members of the group could face lesser charges like disorderly conduct, police said.

So just so we know the score, the name of Homeland Security, you cannot dress up as a zombie and carry a stereo. When will this madness stop?


Are you raising a bunch of brats?

An interesting article about how society might be ready to rise up against unruly children and apathetic parents.

Are you raising a bunch of brats?
By VIRGINIA ANDERSON - Cox News Service -

ATLANTA — A road-weary Jane Kitson pulled into a motel parking lot in Florida one steamy night last month, hoping for nothing more than a quiet room, a fluffy pillow and an air conditioner that could suck the heat out of a hot summer night.

She knew there’d be trouble, however, as soon as the headlights from her Chevy Malibu glowed on the motel swimming pool. ‘‘There were 40, 50 kids in there,’’ said Kitson. ‘‘I knew the place was going to be overrun with them.’’

At 9:15 p.m., a pack of 7-year-old boys were still running sprints in the hallway, Kitson said. ‘‘And the parents were sitting on the floor, drinking beer and wine coolers acting like everything was OK.’’

Within minutes, Kitson took matters into her own hands.‘‘I came out and said, ‘Attention, everyone in the hallway who thinks this is a public playground, it’s time to go to your rooms and be quiet,’’’ said Kitson, a mother of two and an educational consultant based in Lawrenceville, Ga. ‘‘ ‘And if you don’t, I’m going to call the police.’’’

The parents’ response: ‘‘How dare you.’’


Some Neat Pictures from the Past Couple Days

As I was walking to the Market in 95+ degree heat today, I noticed a fireboat that seemed like it was trying to cool off.

If it wasn't for the weird blue sky and the lack of a Starbucks in the frame, I'd say this was a very Seattle image.

I was up late one night and went outside to cool off. I was there at about 4:00-4:30 AM. Dawn was just breaking.

I've been awake for many more sunrises in my life than I've woken up for.


My Favorite CNN quote today

"A president ought to know enough not to use an expletive in a fairly open meeting and almost any male alive today knows that you don't offer uninvited massages to any female, much less the Chancellor of Germany."



And the moment in question:



Today my diet had been simple. I ate a pot of coffee and several Peanutbutter and Jelly sandwiches.

There are several reasons for this.

First of all, I don't have much food in the fridge. One of the benefits of traveling as much as I do is that I save a lot on groceries. The disadvantage is that I can't have perishable food in the apartment. The food I do have requires cooking. Since it's 94 degrees in here, that didn't have much appeal.

Second, if I went shopping, I'd come back with frozen, microwavable food, and I'd rather save those tasty treats for a special occasion.

Third and most importantly, is that the jelly is actually Rasberry Jam. Not just any Rasberry Jam, but Rasberry Jam I made myself.

Two weeks ago, I bought a ridiculous about fresh, organic raspberries at the Pike Place Market. Then I began the great experiment -- to see if I can bottle that sunshine. And it worked. I got 3 and a half jars of jam out of half a flat of raspberries. I even had left over berries that I snacked on for a day.

And today I opened my first jar and made some tasty sandwiches. I'm quite pleased with how they turned out -- the jam is full of flavor, with just enough sweetness. The actual raspberry taste comes through in a way I can't get from Smuckers.

I decided to try my hand at canning last year. I was at the market looking at strawberries. The vendor gave me a sample of the plump berries he got from a wholesaler. They were big, moist, and beautiful. And they had little flavor -- just what you find in the supermarket.

Next to those were some of the ugliest berries I've seen in a long time. They were organic berries from the Yakima valley. They were small, dark, and misshapen. When I bit into one, though, it tasted like -- get this -- and actual strawberry.

It was a flavor I hadn't had in more than 20 years. The last time I tasted berries like that, they were from the strawberry patch we had in the back yard when I was growing up. These organic berries wouldn't have survived the trip to a supermarket, but were just perfect at the farmers market.

So this year, I'm trying more fresh and real fruit. And I'm trying my hand at preserving it. Hopefully the ones I preserve will still be as flavorful in January as the are today. Even if they're not, they have to taste better than the Franken-fruit shipped up from South America in the winter.

Now, I just have to figure out how to grow real tomatoes in my apartment. I haven't had one of those in years, either.

Book Review 03: And my head didn't hurt too much

I'm a big fan of Haruki Murakami. I just finish Dance, Dance, Dance. And like most of Murakami's work, it was a wonderful journey with a somewhat unsatisfying end. You can see the offical site by clicking on his name above.

I'd link directly to the book on this site but it's one of those pretty yet stupid, annoying, frustrating and ridculous flash sites. Please, people. There is no reason to use flash for your entire site unless you are just trying to show how cool and artistic you are. And then it doesn't come off as cool and artistic; it comes across as self important, arrogant, and annoying.

And another thing. Never design your site to play audio as soon a a visitor gets there. The last thing I want while perusing a primarily visual medium in the quiet of my office is to suddenly be assaulted by your must-hear music. Give me link. If I want to hear it, I'll click it. If not, Shut the Hell Up!

So I've established that the Murakami website is horrible -- pretty, but horrible.

Murakami himself is a brilliant author. His ideas, storys, and characters are a pleasure to read, and what he does with language is just amazing. Even more amazing is that he crafts these images in Japanese and has to rely on translators for the English versions.

Dance, Dance, Dance takes place several years after A Wild Sheep Chase and features the same unnamed narrator trying to make is way through a bizarre life.

It's one of Murakami's more straight forward novels. Granted, it still involves a mystery hotel that is both there and not, the otherwordly Sheep Man, a psychic 13 year old girl, and an asortment of mysterious prostitutes.

Murakami is reluctant to name his characters. His narrators often don't have names, and do not know the names of the people they are talking to. His chracters can spend months living with a character and not know her name. Other times, they may know the name, but the narrator never tells us. In Dance, Dance, Dance, we learn the names, or aliases, of characters only after we've been reading about them for several chapters.

One character in this book -- that of a failing author -- has a name that is simply an anagram of Murakami's own name. I'm not sure how if that's how it was written in the original Japanese, or if that's something that was added in translation.

Besides musical greats and movies stars from before the 1970s, western names rarely pop up. In fact, this is the first Murakami book I recall that has an American as a reasonably significant secondary character. His name: Dick North. Which just seems like an absurdly American name.

Hotels also feature prominently in Murakami's work. Some of them are real; some of them exist in a dream state; some exist in a different world altogether. I'm sure someone has gotten their Master's Degree in English with a dissertaion on "The Significance of Hotels, Motels, and Rooming Houses in Murakami -- We'll Leave the Light on for Ya."

In several of his books, there is one character who it "perfect". It's a characters who can put people at ease and always dresses impeccably. Even in sack cloth this character looks stylish. Often that character will have a flaw of some sort, but for the most part, the character operates with an otherworldly smoothness and comfort. In Wind Up Bird Chronicles, that character is Cinamon. In this book, it's Gotanda. It's always someone the narrator seems to have the utmost respect for.

I enjoyed the book. Going into it, I knew I had to surrender myself to Murakami's world. In that world, Reality is a fuzzy thing. Different planes of existence intersect. Dreams and thoughts can come alive. And Death is never far from life.

There's also something about his focus on unmarried 30-something male narators and how they try to maintain order in their bizarre and chaotic lives that speaks to me, as well.

I'm being light on the specifics to avoid spoilers. There are plenty of surprises in this book. While the pace and mood are fairly steady for 85% of it, in the last 40-60 pages it takes a real turn to the darkside and asks questions about the human mind. But then it turns around and resolves most of it by the end.

Murakami does tie things up well, but there there are still plenty of things at the end of the book that he leaves unresolved. Depending on your approach to reading, that's either brilliant or frustrating.

For me, it's frustrating. I'd like to have more of the answers. I'd like to know more about just what happened and why. That's also one of the things I found frustrating about M. Night Shyamalan. I wanted to know more aobut what happened with the invasion in the rest of the world. I wanted the bigger picture. I wanted the threads tied up. I didn't get that. Unfortunately, I know I'm not going to get that from Murakami, either.

The point of the story seems to be that you need to follow your fate where ever it takes you. And you can't just rely on the wind to get you there. You have a to keep moving -- keep dancing -- so you don't fade from the world (as I quoted last week). Yet it seems that characters that do that sometimes end up dead. So I'm not sure.

But there is less of that confusion in this book than there is in many others. I may need to reread the prequel to this book eventually, because I'm still not sure what happened.

But even with these frustrating endings, and some extraneous characters and side lines (I'm not sure what the June story line really gave us), the story telling process itself is compelling.

He crafts a fascinating world that challenges assumptions. He draws vivid characters that I want to hang out with at Starbucks. And his story telling just sucks me in and pulls me along for the ride.

If you're up for an unusual story, with great writing, pick up Dance Dance Dance. If you are a complete-ist who likes to do things in order, start with A Wild Sheep Chase. Actaully, start there regardless.

Here are some sample passages of his elegant prose.

A pathetic place, woebegone as a three legged black dog drenched in December rain. Sad hotels exist everywhere , to be sure, but the Dolphin was in a class of its own. The Dolphin Hotel was conceptually sorry. The Dolphin Hotel was tragic.

Page 3

The bolded sentence may be my favorite in the book.

"Listen, are you busy right now?" Gotanda interrupted.
"No, not at all. I had some time on my hands so I was about to fix dinner."
"Perfect. How about a meal? I was just thinking of looking for a dinner partner. You know how it is. Nothing tastes good when you eat alone."

Page 133

Murakami's characters eat, cook, clean, sleep, and shave. He uses the details of everyday life to sharpen the picture on his fuzzy reality.

The place we went to was a steak house in a remote corner of Roppongi. Expensive, by the looks of it. When the Mercedes pulled up to the door, the doorman and maitre d' and staff came out to greet us. We were conducted to a secluded booth in the back. Everyone in the place was very fashionable, but Gotanda in his corduroys and jogging shoes was the sharpest dresser in the place. His nonchalance oozed style. As soon as we entered, everyone's eyes were on him. They stared for two seconds, no longer, as if it were some unwritten law of etiquette.

We sat down and ordered two scotch-and-waters. Gotanda proposed the toast: "To our ex-wives."

Page 135

An example of the "perfect" character.

I cooked meals, went into Shibuya, and saw Unrequited Love everyday. It was spring break, so the theater was always packed with high school students. It was
like an animal house. I wanted to burn the place down.

Page 159

I like how he contrast the fun and life filled scene with Arson and death.

"…Mediocrity's like a spot on a shirt -- it never comes off."

Page 310

A simple image that sticks.


Frank and the Steins

If you haven't followed Jon's blog or Brian's blog, you may not have see the latest Play Cole film.

Frank and the Steins play a killer gig at Klub Krypton. Then they panic and rampage the city.

Play Cole used an actual studio and professional equipment to make this movie. It is Safe For Work, and well worth your three minutes and 31 seconds.

If you like it, feel free to email it to all your friends, relatives, neighbors, and minor acquaintances.

Or you can send them to www.playcole.com

Or invite them right back here.


Shatner-palooza: Convoy meets Priceline

How did I not see this commercial?


Polar Bears Frolicking

After yesterday's somewhat dour post, here are some cute polar bears to cheer everyone up.

World War III

So now that World War III is starting, how is it going to end?

There have been skirmishes since the late 80's, but it really blew up the past couple months. Once the Israeli fighters buzzed the Syrian President's summer home, there was really no turning back.

Within the past several days, we have the Israeli army crossing the border into Lebanon, and the opposing forces capture two soldiers. Israel calls that an act of terrorism. What? You invade a country, 2 soldiers get captured and you consider that a kidnapping and act of terrorism? And you say the other side is engaging in an act of war? Huh? Capturing invading soldiers is not terrorism. It's the civilized thing to do. The alternative on the field of battle is to kill them.

That's not to say Hezbollah isn't a terrorist organization. Of course they are. But this incident is different. What do you expect when you invade another country?

And now the Israeli government is insisting that Lebanon release the soldiers. Lebanon doesn't have them. Lebanon's government can't make Hezbollah pisk up gum wrappers, let alone control its prisoner policy.

So now, Israel will bomb all of Lebanon's major infrastructure. And blockade the ports. And bomb all areas of the county; not just the strategic south. And destroy the airports. Basically make it impossible for Lebanon to function as a country or economic entity. Because having a poor, ineffective nation with a weak central government on your border is good for national security?

Meanwhile, Hezbollah is launching rockets into Israel in response. They are launching more than ever and instilling fear and anger through out the country.

Up until last year, Lebanon was controlled by Syria, a long time Israeli opponent. Now, Lebanon has a Syria-free government, albeit a very weak one. Were I running a country, I might think this is a great opportunity to strengthen ties and work with the new government and the people of that government to oust Hezbollah from the region.

Maybe there was a good faith effort that didn't work out and that the media ignored. It wouldn't be the first time.

So now, Israel has decided to do whatever it can to unseat this weak government in the hopes the people will come to Israel's defense? It's far more likely that the people will ask for Syria's help once again.

And recently the Bush administration has come out in support of Israel.

So now, Israel is in Lebanon, and been violating Syrian airspace. Forget famished North Korea's pathetic cry for attention and attempt to launch a missile. Forget Chinese posturing over Taiwan. Forget even the Pakistan-India conflict (though they valiantly tried to bolster their bid to host the next world war this weekend over the train bombing -- good effort guys). World War III is starting on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean.

What's next? Well, look for the US to deploy a carrier fleet to waters off the coast of the Mediterranean to assist in the evacuation of US personnel. They will stay there -- even if Israel decides to torpedo another US warship like they did in 1967. Over the course of the year, we may see the administration tout troop reductions in Iraq. They won't come home, however. They will be redeployed to England , Saudi Arabia, Germany, Italy, or other bases near the Mediterranean.

Israel will continue its bombing of Lebanon, and will reoccupy the southern part of the country. They will probably move on Beirut and either destroy or try to take control of the entire county. Meanwhile, tensions will erupt even more in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Israel will close the borders, but terrorist strikes from the occupied territories will increase. Israel will crack down harder than before, as hardliners use the escalating war as a reason to crush the Palestinian movement altogether.

Meanwhile Hezbollah, taking heavy hits will call on more support from Syria and may strike at invading Israeli troops from Syria. The question is whether or not Syria will allow this. If Israel pushes too hard in Lebanon, Syria will think it has no choice and will allow Hezbollah to operate from within its borders. Syria will try to assemble a coalition to oppose Israel.

Once Hezbollah starts operating from within Syria, Israel will likely strike within the Syrian borders. Syria will respond by attacking Israel and sending troops into Lebanon. Syria may use this opportunity to reclaim the Golan Heights.

So now we have Israel at war with Syria in Lebanon, while taking strong military action in the occupied territories.

The US will call for calm, and insist that Syria stop its aggression and eliminate all terrorists.

If thing go badly for Israel, the US will provide support. At first, that will be weapons, food, fuel, and cash. That will escalate into intelligence and then air support.

Eventually, the US will put troops on the ground to help protect Israel itself, though not to fight in Lebanon. They will instead be sent ot the occupied territories to quell open revolt, and prevent a Jordanian or Egyptian incursion into Israel.

Once there are US troops on the ground, Iran will get involved. Iran may already have missiles capable of hitting Israel, and won't hesitate to use them. The Iranian president has already called for Israel to be wiped off the map and will see this as a great opportunity. Iran will also either send troops into Syria "to help" a neighbor, or they will send troops the other way -- into Iraq -- to get rid of the US presence next door.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia will be having all sorts of problem. Remember, Bin Laden initially didn't have a problem with the US directly -- he and his supporters originally just wanted foreign troops out of Saudi Arabia. Then he moved on to a world wide terrorist jihad. Nearly all of the 2001-09-11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. The government faces strong opposition from within and rigid government control is all that's kept the current leadership in power.

What happens in Saudi Arabia is key. The people will demand the Saudi's oppose the US and Israel. The Saudi government knows that doing so will cut off support from the US. But failing to do so will most likely lead to open revolt in Saudi Arabia.

Then the Bush administration needs to decide what to do -- send troops to help the Saudi government quell the rebellion, support an even more brutal and oppressive regime, allow the revolt to go forward and hope the new government is too weak to join the overall fight, or just send troops to protect the oil fields and US interests.

In the meantime, what happens in Pakistan? Pakistan in another US ally not governed by a democratically elected government. Can Musharraf hold on to power, and his support of the US despite strong local opposition?

While all this is going on, we can probably also expect Al Qaida to step up its attacks and efforts. Probably within Saudi Arabia, but also within US allies around the world.

We will have Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and the US in combat. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan will be fighting off coup attempts. Iraq will become more chaotic. I have no idea what Egypt or Turkey will do, but they will be major players. Any hope for peace may be there.

And of course both Israel and Pakistan have nuclear weapons.

Given the European Union's inability to agree on foreign policy, I don't see it doing much. France will berate the US. Britain may provide some token support. Germany may send troops to back up Israel but I doubt it. Germany's history makes that really complicated.

All of this will destroy the oil market. The South American suppliers oppose US policy too strongly to make up for the drop in supply. The Nigerian government is beset by its own problems. Oil could realistically hit $150-$200/ barrel or more within a year.

And remember why oild prices have skyrocketed in the past few years? It's not Iraq, and it's not greedy oil companies. It's China. China has undergone ridiculous growth in the past few years and is consuming more oil than ever before. China needs the supply to continue. If the supplies get disrupted, or Saudi Arabia shuts off the tap, what will China do? It's a big question. If the US is not in Saudi Arabia, will China send in troops? It's possible.

Regardless, it's going to get ugly. We've seen more than 2,000 US soldiers killed in Iraq since the Gulf War began. A wary in Israel, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia could easily see US casualties in the tens of thousands.

To prevent it from getting worse, the US needs to stop encouraging Israel. Israel and the Palestinians need to finish the two state solution this year. Syria needs to go after Hezbollah in Lebanon itself. A UN controlled (Bwah hah hah ha ha ha ah ) demilitarized zone needs to be established in southern Lebanon.

None of this is easy; war has gone on for thousands of years in this part of the country. The world community has made a lot of mistakes here over that past 40 years. It's time to stop and back down.

No one is going to win this. Not Hezbollah. Not Israel. Not Lebanon. Not Syria. Not the US. Not Iran. Not Turkey. Not the Palestinians. Not Saudi Arabia.

No one is going to win. It's too late for that.

The only question now, is how much do the nations and organizations involved want to lose?


The Gambling Report

2006-07-11: Started with $20 in the Terminator 2 Slot Machine. Quit with $39.60. +19.60

It's a really fun slot machine. Especially when I was winning. There's a fun bonus game that requires quick action and luck. It actually gets kind of scary and tense.

2006-07-12: Started with $20 in the Used Car Salesman SLot machine. Quit with nothing. -$20.00

What was I thinking? It's themed on a used car salesman.

2006-07-13: Started with $20 in the same T2 slot machine from earlier in the week. It was gone in 20 minutes. -$20.00

Next I went the the Black Jack tables. I started with $80. After 15 minutes and one shoe, I had $140. At one point I was up to $180. But at the $140 mark, I decided to quit. +$60.00.

Overall result: +$39.60


What is this thing called funny?

Meatloaf is a funny word. It's a very funny word. It's a Harvey-Korman-acting-in-a-sketch-with-Tim-Conway funny word.

Why is it funny? Is it a comfortable home lounge chair that makes people let down their guard and chuckle? Does it bring back happy childhood memories? Or more bizarre memories that require laughter to survive?

Is it the sound of the word? Normally funny words have a "k" in them. That's why they're funny. Words like kludge, joke, karate, Kafka, and klown. It's why Milk is funnier than Margerine. It's why Kirk is funnier than Archer. And why Kirkuk is funnier than Mosul.

But meatloaf doesn't have a K. And it's still funnier than Duck L'Orange. Salad is also an unfunny word. And now we have proof.

Recently we posted 3 new films as www.playcole.com. The three films are:

As of right now, 19 people watched Salad; 23 people watched Meatloaf; 16 people watched Duck L'Orange.

When people are looking for humor, the choose Meatloaf over Salad and Duck. I feel bad for the Duck.

Regardless, watch all 3. There 30 seconds each.

Lunching with Larry: Salad

Lunching with Larry: Meatloaf

Lunching with Larry: Duck L'Orange


Shatner-palooza: Ego

I was going to write about how World War III started a couple weeks ago but the mainstream media fails to grasp that fact. Either that or what I'm eating in Vegas.

But instead, I'll just post this link I got from Jon. The author had a lot of spare time and really hates the Star Trek movie where a Vulcan steals the Enterprise to go find God. It really is a terrible movie. But still not as bad as Star Trek: Nemesis.


Some Quotes:

When it came out theatrically, some friends and I went to see it on opening night. Needless to say, the theater was Nerd Central. As the film went along, I noticed that the movie, to be generous, sucked.


Nimoy enjoyed great success as the director of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (the "whale" one, most successful of the Star Trek movies). This allowed him the opportunity to helm the blockbuster Three Men and a Baby, which for years remained the most successful Hollywood comedy ever. Shatner decided that it was his turn to direct a movie, and refused to sign up for the fifth Star Trek film unless he was allowed to direct. So it came to be, with Shatner co-writing the film as well. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier proved to be a disaster, garnering the worst reviews of the series and one of the lowest box office takes as well. In fact, had it not followed the hugely successful Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, it almost certainly would have done worse, perhaps killing the film series


Ignoring Nimoy’s advice to take it down a notch, Shatner’s body language eventually became so violent that he managed to dislodge his world-famous toupee, sending it winging through the air like some hairy divot. Unsurprisingly, the assembled extras broke out laughing. Shatner then retaliated by firing them!


It’s no orange juice

I’m in Vegas this week for the Toshiba Vegas Summer League. It’s a event where new NBA players get to show their stuff, and veteran player get to refine their skills.

Last time I was here, I stayed at the Las Vegas Hilton, and the time before that, I was at Mandalay Bay, but I wanted to try something different this month. I’m staying at New York New York for the first time. I’ve always walked through the casino and liked the feel of it. It’s a casino that lacks pretension.

Yes, I understand the irony of saying that about any Vegas casino.

There a very working class/lower middle class feel to it. And, while I may aspire to being a Bellagio or Venetian person, I know I am actually a NYNY person. And I’m okay with that.

After dinner I took a walk through the MGM Grand, Excalibur, and the Tropicana.

The Tropicana is just depressing. It needs to be torn down and replaced with something more life affirming. Perhaps a parking lot.

The Tropicana just seems like a place waiting to die. When you enter, the first thing to hit you is cigarette smoke from the 70s. The ceilings are close to the ground, and the walls look weary of holding up the building. They have modern slot machines, but large numbers are roped off. Many of the cocktail waitresses are way too old for the cocktail waitress outfits. They seem like they were hired for the grand opening and stayed.

The casino players don’t seem like they are having fun. They’re going through the motions, but I don’t think I would describe what they are doing as “playing”. There’s no sense of joy in the hotel.

They have plenty of $5 Blackjack tables, but there were plenty of open spaces.

The lounge band was doing tired Lynyrd Skynyrd covers. They sounded okay, but really seemed like they wanted to leave.

When I left and clawed my way back into the hot Vegas night, I felt like the Shadow of Death looked longingly across Las Vegas BLVD, shrug his shoulders, and return to the craps table.

Or maybe it’s the Chianti talking.


A brilliant and cute Mini Cooper ad

I found this link at Fark.com


A sample of Murakami

From Dance, Dance, Dance -- the book I started reading last week:

"So what do I have to do?"

"Dance," said the Sheep Man. "Yougottadance. Aslonasthemusicplays. Yougottadance. Don'teventhinkwhy. Starttothink, yourfeetstop. Yourfeetstop, wegetstuck. Wegetstuck, you'restuck. Son'tpayanymind, nomatterhowdumb. Yougottakeepstep. Yougottalimberup. Yougottaloosenwhatbolteddown. Yougottauseallyougot.
Weknowyour'retired, tiredanscrared. Happenstoeveryone, okay?


Whiplash Inducing Song Changes

I've been listening to my Ipod on full shuffle. So the 5000+ songs play in a random order.

I just played the forboding and dark opening music for the new Battlestar Galactica.

Immediately after that, it went to "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story.

Sure they're both from dark and tragic shows, but still...

Shatner-Palooza with a side of Bacon

It turns out Shatner appeared with Muppets before the Play Cole video. I like how this is an earlier reference.

"Should I make it out to 'Babe'?"



The Gaslamp District in San Diego in a great place to eat. Restaurants line the streets for blocks around my hotel. They set up outdoor dining in front of each restaurant.

In the evening, they move the hostess stand outside as well. The hostess (never a host) is in her 20s and talks to everyone that passes by to try to draw them into the restaurant. This happens at every store front. I've only seen that once before, and that was in the French Quarter in New Orleans. And that was an entirely different type of hostess.

The point is they take food seriously down here. Or at least they do most places.

On Wednesday night, and a fairly short day at the NECC trade show, my team and I went to Dick's Last Resort for dinner. They pride themselves on their...um...Unusual service.

Inside it looked like an inexpensive sports bar. We ate outside in a former parking lot. They set up a bunch of picnic tables and umbrellas.

We sat down, and our server came over. He gave us sheets of butcher paper and some utensils, and he told us to set our table. The then introduced himself with great enthusiasm as Taco. He said, "If you need anything, just yell, 'Hey, Taco!'"

So you don't forget their names, most servers usually wear name tags. And some "fun" places, they will write their name on the butcher paper with a crayon at the table. Not at Dick's. Taco introduced himself, and then flipped up his T-Shirt to show us the giant TACO tattoo on his belly, like some sort of large frat boy Buddha.

When he was ready to take drink orders, he just yelled to us from across the restaurant, or parking lot, or whatever. We shouted our selection back at him, and he keyed everything right in. He took dinner orders the same way.

Later when one of the people at my table ordered dessert, Taco brought the dessert and about a dozen spoons. He then called out to all the other dinners and asked if they wanted to see a magic trick. He whipped the crowd into a frenzy and began his trick.

He held out the spoons and told Tim to pick one, as though he was about to do a magic trick. Tim chose a spoon. Taco held it up for all to see...

...and then licked both sides like a dog who just stumbled across some old meat. He then shuffled it with the other spoons, dropped them all on the table, wished Tim luck, and walked away smiling.

He then came back with a clean spoon for Tim.

He did other routines like that at tables throughout the evening. A bunch of diners asked to have their picture take with Taco's tattoo. I passed on that one.

It was a good routine. The food came in buckets rather than plates and was great.

If you're looking for a quite dinner, are shy, just want to blend into the woodwork, and sort of disappear, Dick's is not for you.

If you want good, reasonably priced food in a fun environment, and want a bit of an irreverent show, get on down there.


Spiner-Fems on Yahoo?

Sometimes, people get here looking for unusual things. Yesterday someone came here from the stalker section of Yah00!

Referring URL: http://search.yahoo....art=1&fr=ytff1-&b=21
Search Engine: search.yahoo.com
Search Words: brent spiner cell phone number

Unfortunately, I wasn't much help.

Good luck, Brent.

Adventures in Dining

After a long day of working a trade show booth (a very slow NECC (who ever thought it would be a good idea to start a trade show the day after a holiday?)), assorted fish, rise, and sake sounded like a great idea.

We went to Taka Sushi in the Gaslamp district of San Diego. The miso was good. The eel rolls and spicy tuna rolls were amazing.

The sake sampler I had was an interesting experience. I tried sake once before; I bought a bottle at Costco. Somehow that wasn't the best experience. But the sampler was a great introduction to this world renowned beverage. Three different sakes looked identical - like big shots of vodka - but the flavor and texture with each one was unique. Sweet and fruity for some; smoky and rich on others.

The big adventure though, was the shrimp sashimi. Tim order it and the waitress said all they had left was the live shrimp so Tim said ok. None of us really knew what that meant, but we were up for the adventure.

It was dead when it came to the table -- mostly.

(You can see the eye on the left side by the lemon.)

The bodies were separate from the head, deveined, and raw. Naturally, it was perfectly fresh. It had a subtle flavor and a soft texture. Granted it's a little odd to eat a critter's body while it looks at you.

And the heads weren't entirely dead. Every few moments a leg would twitch in the breeze. Then someone at the table went to pick up one of them a suddenly it responded. All the legs and antennae starting twitching like a stadium full of people having a seizure while performing the YMCA.

It was trying to climb off the tray. The manly men that we are, we all jumped and squeaked. Then it stopped moving again, except for the occasional twitch.

I've never had dinner try to run away before. I probably would not recommend it to sushi neophytes. You kind of have to work up to the things that are still crawling. Or at least have a lot of sake samplers.


Cops and Deputies not doing so well

I'm in San Diego for the NECC trade show, but here's what's happening in Seattle.

How do we know this is a Seattle story? It involves protests, bicycles, hurt feelings, and, though not mentioned in the article, union issues.

Apparenly, the sheriff's department keeps touching the police department, and won't stay on its side of the back seat.

Police frictions flare in cityDeputies' arrests of bicyclists fuel Seattle officers' resentment


Long-simmering tensions over jurisdictional issues between Seattle police officers and King County deputies are beginning to boil over in the aftermath of last week's highly public and controversial arrests in Belltown of two bicyclists by undercover county deputies.

Simply put, Seattle Police Officers' Guild President Rich O'Neill said Wednesday, King County deputies should "leave the city to Seattle police."

"The argument is they're county deputies and the city is in the county, so they have jurisdiction," O'Neill said. "But there's always been a gentlemen's agreement."


More Pictures From the Airplane

Some distant views of Mt St Helens.

The Winglets (up turned tip) look great on the Alaska Airlines' new 737-800.

I'm fascinated by irrigation. It's amazing how we take barren landscapes and turn them into lush farm land. And it's not a gradual process, either. You can see the firm lines we draw around where we want things to grow and where wo don't want things to grow.

The sharp lines and right angles emphasize the dominace we are imposing on the land.

And here are some shot of San Deigo as we approached the airport.


Is it OK for doctors and parents to tell children and teens they're fat?

According to the Seattle Times, there is a big debate going on within the medical community about how to describe children with excess weight.

Experts debate whether children should be called obese
The Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Is it OK for doctors and parents to tell children and teens they're fat?

That seems to be at the heart of a debate over whether to replace the fuzzy language favored by the U.S. government with the painful truth: telling kids if they're obese or overweight.

Labeling a child obese might "run the risk of making them angry, making the family angry," but it addresses a serious issue head-on, said Dr. Reginald Washington, a Denver pediatrician and co-chairman of an American Academy of Pediatrics obesity task force.

"If that same person came into your office and had cancer, or was anemic, or had an ear infection, would we be having the same conversation? There are a thousand reasons why this obesity epidemic is so out of control, and one of them is no one wants to talk about it."

Do most overweight children not know they are overweight? By the time they are 10 they should probably already know. If having a medical diagnosis of "Obese" is really going to traumatize them that much, then perhaps there are other issues that child should be dealing with.

The diplomatic approach adopted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and used by many doctors avoids the word "obese" because of the stigma. The CDC also calls overweight kids "at risk of overweight."

Perhaps a thicker skin is more important here than a thinner belly. It will serve them well in years to come.


Book Review 02: What do you do when the gods mess with your life?

I just finished Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore. And now, I can get back to chronology.

You see, I started reading Moore’s books out of order. My first conquest was Blood Sucking Fiends, which is a funny vampire story. I’ve read probably an unhealthy number of vampire books and stories so this should come as no surprise. After that, I jumped around a bit.

The problem was that I read the books out of order. There’s no continuity involved, but there is a little voice in the back of my head that screamed “He didn’t write that next! What are you doing you lunatic?!”

But now, I have read books one through four and that voice can go back to freaking out about less significant things.

Which brings me to Coyote Blue.

It’s the story of Samson Hunts Alone, a Crow Indian who flees the Montana Crow Reservation in his early teens, and becomes Sam Hunter, a successful California insurance agent. Suddenly his life is turned upside down by the appearance of Old Man Coyote, the trickster god of the Crow tradition. The adventures that follow deal with issues of love, identity, loyalty, family, faith, death, trust, tradition, and what is ultimately means to come to turns with one’s past, and accept or reject one’s destiny.

The trickster god of the story is a shape-shifting bundle of trouble that smokes, drinks, and has sex with anything that moves. But he is here to teach Sam a lesson.

Moore appears to have done his research. In the acknowledgements, he thanks the people who helped him learn about the Crow and their traditions. In his author’s note, he says:

So, I set about getting to know Coyote, spending a lot of time in folklore libraries and a month or so living on the Crow reservation, talking to people who never seem to be able to conceal a smile when they mentioned Old Man Coyote. I came away not only feeling that Coyote was a viable presence in the world, but that he could carry a book with the same goofy elegance with which he’d brought civilization to the Plains Tribes (if only so he could mess with them).

I don’t have the expertise to address the veracity of Moore’s descriptions of Crow traditions and history, so I will take his word for it.

Moore’s writing has gotten better over time. The writing and characters are much tighter than they were in Practical Demon Keeping (PDK). He has a better sense of pace, and his action scenes are tighter. In PDK, the final climactic scene was a bit of a mess. I had to read it a couple times to figure out just what was going on. In this book, the writing is clearer, and the action progresses more smoothing. That’s not to say it’s predictable; the story is full of surprises. When a lot of things happen at once, though, it’s much easier to follow.

There are some flaws, though no major ones. Moore introduces Egyptian mythology at one point, but it’s a bit of a throw away. It was a fascinating element, which Moore really didn’t explore. It was a missed opportunity. He could have taken the story and culture to an even bigger level. Barring that, he could easily have dropped the Egyptian material altogether and it wouldn’t have impacted the story.

I was also disappointed in the role the MF character played. Moore spent some time developing the character and then did very little with him. MF had a bunch of pages, and there was some great character stuff, but Moore didn’t give him enough to do in the plot. He also could have done more with MF’s actually family than he did, rather than just implying it. It was an opportunity to add even more depth to the book and further flesh out the story and the universe.

There is also a chapter about Old Man Coyote in a casino that seems gratuitous. It doesn’t really advance the plot. There’s some neat character stuff in there, but it really could have been handled in another way. After reading a chapter in a book, I like to feel I’ve gone forward with the story. I didn’t get that from this chapter.

Despite those concerns, there are still some great things in the book. The plot moves along quickly and has plenty of unexpected turns. There is even a reference to Augustus Brine, a main character from PDK, which I probably would have missed if I hadn’t just finished reading PDK.

Like everything else Moore writes, Coyote Blue is bubbling over with absurdity, weirdness, wonderful imagery, and great lines. Jokes are both laugh out loud funny, and just weirdly bent. Moore has great fun with language, secondary character development, and strange juxtapositions.

I recommend it.

One of my favorite passages comes from the fat, white salesman in the big blue car on page 75.

If they got what they wanted, how come they ain’t feeling it? How come they still feel empty? Well, son, between you and me, there ain’t no contentment, no satisfaction, this side of the grave. You ain’t never going to be as pretty or as rich as you want to be. No one ever has. No one ever will. Folks don’t know that, though. Folks think that there’s an answer to that scary feeling that keeps riding them no matter what they do.


Penguins Frolicking I

I shot this video at Seaworld in March. It's penguins waddling around their enclosure.

The only editing I did here was to had a title screen and credits. Other than that, it's raw video.

I hope you find these critters as fascinating as I do. Enjoy.


My current fascination with Shatner began in the fall of 2004, when I first listened to a pirated version of his album "Has Been." And then I listened again. And again. And again. Eventually, I bought my own legal copy, just to encourage him to keep making funny, creepy, and great music.

Since then, I've been watching his TV appearances and clips on YouTube.com.

I am now seeking treatment for this disorder.

But in the meantime, here are some links to my current and future Shatner posts.

The Muppet Show Starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy

Of course, I have to begin with a link that doesn't actually feature William Shatner, but rather, our tribute to him and his wackiness. Regular readers may have already seen our stop motion animation of the Muppet Show starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. If not, here it is. More than 3,100 people have watched it in the last two months.

Spplat Attack -- The Ultimate Paintball Movie (2006-04-09)

William Shatner sings "Taxi" (2006-04-25)

William Shatner Raps Shakespeare (2006-04-26)

William Shatner on Dinah sings...Something (2006-04-27)

William Shatner on the Pyramid (2006-05-02)

William Shatner promoting local law firms (2006-05-25)

William Shatner promoting the Commodore Vic 20 (2006-06-21)

William Shatner praised George Lucas in a bizarre presentation (2006-06-23)

Amazon.Com recommendations for William Shatner fans (2006-06-23)

Shatner-Palooza with a side of Bacon (2006-07-10)

Priceline meets Convoy (2006-07-19)

Stunt Coordinator (2006-08-03)

Rocket Man (2006-08-07)

More "Star Trek meets Dilbert" than pure Shatner-Palooza, but still very cool (2006-08-15)

Tempting Fate? (2006-08-19)

Common People (2006-08-21)

William Shatner on Space Travel (2006-09-12)

A Career in 1:41 (2006-09-20)

Frank Who? (2006-10-21)

Play Cole meets William Shatner (2006-11-01)

Howie Who? (2006-11-16)

Pudding (2006-12-01)

Christmas (2006-12-27)

Home Movies (2007-01-06)

Creepy Negotiator Guy (2007-01-26)

Financial Tips (2007-04-04)

Incubus (2007-04-27)

Art (2007-06-18)

Woot Woo (2007-08-04)

The Essence of Shatner (2007-09-23)

LSD (2007-10-08)

I don't do cameos (2007-10-19)

Age-Me (2007-11-14)

Hey, Shatner! How do I hurl bolts of lightening? (2007-11-30)

We've got a box! (2008-03-14)

Crazy Biker (2008-04-17)

What is Star Trek (2008-05-04)

Hawking Fine Art (2008-05-19)

Better than Slice Bread (2008-06-06)

Canadian Pride (2008-07-07)

Shatner and Common People meet Kirk and Star Trek The Animated Series (2008-09-27)

Driving is all a matter of intimidation (2008-10-14)

Valerie Bertinelli (2008-12-04)

Raw Nerve Part II (2008-12-17)

On Majel Barrett Roddenberry (2008-12-29)

Book Review 35: Up Til Now (2009-01-08)

Book Review 38: To the Stars (2009-01-11)

George Takei and Raw (2009-02-03)

Klingons and Butterflies (2009-03-15)

What's he doing with someone's head in his arm? (2009-04-11)

It Hasn't Happened Yet (2009-05-31)

Impulse (2009-06-05)

Shatner Welcomes Conan (2009-06-21)

Promo (2009-07-27)

Political Poetry (2009-07-29)


The universal appeal of The King

Apparently, the Prime Minister of Japan is a big Elvis fan.

Mainichi Daily News

Koizumi reached his peak after he started singing his old favorite, "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You." He wrapped his arm around the shoulder of Lisa-Marie, who had been standing beside him, and said, ""Hold me close, hold me tight."

He then put on a pair of Elvis's sunglasses, struck up a pose and played the ham for the U.S. media.

Bush, who prefers country music to Elvis, smiled as he watched over Koizumi's antics, saying that he hadn't realized how far the prime minister's adoration of Presley extended.