Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lions, giraffes and rhinos

My planned trip to Mexico this week was canceled last minute, so I visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with two of my grandsons today. It's not precisely the African veld, but it's as close as you're going to get in Southern California. 

The San Diego Zoo Safari Park, formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park, is a 1,800 acres zoo in the San Pasqual Valley area of San Diego County, California. The park houses a large array of wild and endangered animals including species from the continents of Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, and Australia. The park is in a semi-arid environment and one of its most notable features is the Africa Tram which explores the expansive African exhibits. These free-range enclosures house such animals as antelopes, giraffes, buffalo, cranes, and rhinos

It's back to the old grind with international intrigue tomorrow, but the day chasing after two little boys (wearing me out) was a pleasant interlude. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

War on the Middle Class

Talking about the economic crisis in Europe and the persistent economic malaise in the United States, Clinton told CBNC that extending the Bush-era tax cuts across the board was “probably the best thing to do right now.”

Obama has made raising taxes on upper earners a signature part of his reelection pitch — and Republicans were quick to exploit the daylight between the two Democratic presidents.

“President Obama’s plans for a massive tax increase after the election will further harm the economy,” Romney’s spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “Don’t just take our word for it. Today, former President Bill Clinton endorsed continuing tax relief for job creators — not the tax increase President Obama has in mind.”

The US Middle Class has been taking a drubbing over the past four years with the poorer 50% of Americans paying NO income tax at all. The Obama plan to raise taxes massively after the November election isn't resonating with anyone except those who pay no taxes (and owe their status to the Obama Administration).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


This Greek Island was the setting for the feature film, "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (2001). I visited the island after the film had been made and released, but I hadn't heard of the movie until I went there and people talked about it.

Not all that much happens on Kefalonia beyond people living life, loving, squabbling (it's Greece) and the stress of the modern world seems to have passed it by, which is precisely why the place is so appealing.

The emotion and setting of the movie along with Russell Watson singing the theme capture the place quite nicely.

The film is based on a novel, written by Louis de Bernières, which takes place on the Greek island of Cephallonia (Kefalonia) during the Italian and German occupation in the Second World War.
(Quote from the book) When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No... don't blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn't sound very exciting, does it? But it is!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Movie Review: PROMETHIUS

Rating 10 out of a possible 10.

So according to my Movie Scale, it's as good as a science fiction movie can get. No Spoilers here.

A humanoid alien stands above a waterfall as a hovering spacecraft departs. The alien drinks a dark liquid, then starts to disintegrate. As its bodily remains cascade into the waterfall, the alien's DNA triggers a biogenetic reaction.

In 2089, archaeologists Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway discover a star map among several unconnected ancient cultures. They interpret this as an invitation from humanity’s forerunners, or “Engineers”. Peter Weyland, the elderly CEO of Weyland Corporation, funds the creation of the scientific vessel Prometheus to follow the map to the distant moon LV-223. The ship’s crew travels in stasis while the robot, David, monitors their voyage. They arrive in 2093 where they are informed of their mission to find the Engineers. Mission director Meredith Vickers orders them to avoid making direct contact. The Prometheus lands near a large artificial structure and a team is sent to explore.

So yes, scientists, probing into matters best left alone get in over their heads. If you don't like that whole pretext for a SciFi movie, you won't like this one.

However, the script was smart, the direction and acting was superb and it will keep you right on the edge of your seat until they roll the credits at the end.

And I think that it's likely there will be a PROMETHIUS 2...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Remorseless Hands of Time

Spider sense is a victim of dementia...
Not so Little Red Riding Hood with her basket of goodies...
Barbie turns Fifty-Five
Superman doesn't look all that bad for seventy-eight
Wonder Woman with her toe-biting dog
h/t John Coffey

Monday, June 4, 2012

Don't Supersize Anymore

A friend of mine told me that the City of New York made it illegal for businesses to sell large beverages cups full of whatever to customers. I thought that the person telling me this had to be exaggerating.

As it turns out that is precisely what New York City Mayor Bloomberg did.

So if you're going to New York City and you're thirsty, simply order two drinks... and throw both paper beverage cups away, doubling the pollution that New York Mayor Bloomberg works so hard to ignore. Link to the story HERE. Keep in mind that sugary drinks are targeted, BUT only carbonated drinks fall under the law (not milkshakes, malts and smoothies). You can purchase fruit juice in as big a cup as you'd like, irrespective of the sugar content.

The law is stupid and if consumption of sugar is that bad (as a diabetic, I have to watch that closely - so I'd agree that it's bad simply because I'd like to see everyone as miserable as I am), then all Bloomberg is doing is the moral equivalent of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and hoping the ship won't sink.

If Bloomberg is going to ban large sodas, why not include the phosphoric acid that every soda is laced with? It’s industrial waste being fed to us in the form of a food additive to make food taste 'tangy'. New York could ban all phosphoric acid - canned and bottled beverages would all vanish from shelves... but New York learned first hand how well prohibition worked in the 1930's, instead of the mob smuggling in alcoholic beverages, they'd be trafficking in coke - no, not cocaine - coke.

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