Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When Fiction Becomes Fact - Quicksand

Here's a link to an old post by a bright and curious blogger named Matt Rubenstein. Matt discusses a new scientific invention; or more like a new scientific weapon. The new product may one day be used in warfare. What might this unconventional weapon be you ask?




You may not think of Quicksand as a brutal weapon, but believe me when I say that there's no death more frightening and unforgiving than that which renders all five human sense organs inoperable simply because of their flawed inability to see, hear, smell, taste or feel its presence until its too late.

As the sand begins filling up the orifices of the head (ears, nose and throat) this mucky murderer leaves its poor victims with a grounds eye view of the world inhabited only seconds before that fateful step. The sinking guests are granted a final looksee by the murderer as they stare out in horror at the setting landscape with not a soul in sight, conscious of being buried alive in an unmarked grave. N000oooo!

I think the classic French poet/novelist Victor Hugo describes it best in his short story "Caught in the Quicksand":

"The sand rises; the sand reaches his shoulders; the sand reaches his neck; the face alone is visible now. The mouth cries, the sand fills it - silence. The eyes still gaze - the sand shuts them; night. Now the forehead decreases, a little hair flutters above the sand, a hand comes to the surface of the beach, moves and, shakes, disappears. It is the earth-drowning man."

A Poem by Claude McKay

In 1919 there was a wave of race riots consisting mainly of white assaults on black neighborhoods in a dozen American cities. Jamaican-born writer Claude McKay responded by writing this sonnet, urging his comrades to fight back. It had a powerful impact, then and later.


IF WE MUST DIE

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursed lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one deathblow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we'll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Confederation Cup Upset

Spain 0 United States 2

For you American Fans who only know football played with a pigskin (Guilty Your Honor) the Confederation Cup is an eight-nation World Cup warm-up. And the World Cup is the Super Bowl of professional Soccer numb nuts.

The underdog American soccer team's upset of Spain today may not rank big outside the United States, but trust me when I say its gargantuan within these American borders. The U.S. team has basically been a doormat for other teams for years. We'd already lost two games in this Confederation Cup series before today's win. It could be that we've finally figured something out about soccer, or we're just plain tired of being walked and trampled on in world competition.

Just goes to show what we in sports know so well; on any given day the worse team can beat the best team. This United States upset doesn't win anything for the elated Americans, but it does put them into the final championship game against either defending champion Brazil or host country South Africa come Sunday. For now I just want every red blooded American to go open up a window, stick their head out and yell "We're As Mad As Hell And We're Not Gonna Take It Anymore."

Bring On Brazil!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lincecum Shuts Out A's 3-0


With Tim Lincecum pitching, the San Francisco Giants shutout the Oakland A's 3-0 in this first of three interleague series games at AT&T Park. Being at the park and watching this game was just a thrill. A crowd of 36,033, with A's fans sprinkled throughout, gave it a bit of a Dodgers rivalry feel. But you'd never see a baseball cap half Dodger and half Giants, that's for sure. I hate those Giants/A's hats.

With all the Giants runs coming in the 5th inning it was Lincecum's pitching duel with A's rookie pitcher Vin Mazzaro (2-1) that provided the excitement and drama of the evening. Gotta give Mazzaro his due, he held the Giants hitless into the fourth inning. He's definitely another find for Oakland, who's known for finding diamonds in the rough. But tonight belonged to Cy Young Award Winner Tim Lincecum. In that run rallying fifth he provided the hit that gave the Giants their first run. There just so happened to be a good article in the SF Chronicle today criticizing the Designated Hitter rule and expounding on the the beauty and pureness of National League pitchers swinging the bat. Lincecum gave that article credibility with his clutch hit tonight.

Lincecum's pitching almost overshadowed the throwout at home plate of A's runner Adam Kennedy by the Giant's Emmanuel Burriss. It was Nate Schierholtz who started off the play by retrieving a Matt Cust double that hit off the wall in center field. Schierholtz did the right thing by throwing to cut-off man Burriss who made the immaculate throw to home for the out. Not a soul in the stadium thought Burriss's throw had a prayer of getting the out at the plate, but the night was a miracle night for the Giants and the tag out at home sent the home crowd into a mighty roar.

The best part of the evening, besides seeing the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate winning the Stanley Cup over Detroit on the big HD Scoreboard, was having Tim Lincecum strike out the final A's batter in the top of the ninth to secure a complete game, only his second in 7o starts.

They play two more games over this weekend, but you can believe the A's have lost just a bit of their winning streak confidence with tonight's loss thanks to a Giants team that played mistake free, solid National League baseball. The game took only 2 hours to play.

Go Giants!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

BREATHERS


Came across this very funny and original book titled "Breathers" by S.G. Browne. I really didn't want to buy it but the price and the humor were just too good to pass up. The story centers around a zombie, oops, I mean and an undead person named Andy, who finds love, friendship and acceptance at his local UA (Undead Anonymous) support group meetings.

Yeah, sounds a bit off the wall right? Well, after recently reading 900 plus pages of Ken Follett's "Pillars of the Earth," I'm due for a twisted and somewhat demented read. After reading just a few pages I'm beginning to feel that its the living beings (Breathers) in this story that seem to have the most hangups. And as our main character Andy in the story so elegantly puts it when thinking of a need to come up with a more inconspicuous support group name other than Undead Anonymous;

"After all, when you're undead, your about as anonymous as a transvestite with a five o'clock shadow. At least we don't get any support group imposters crashing our meetings, trying to pick up on vulnerable women. That would be sick. Interesting, but sick."


The group imposters part is in reference to Chuck Palahniuk's book titled "Choke" I'm sure. In Choke, an imposter crashes a Sex Addicts support group looking for vulnerable women to have sex with. Any horny male with stale pickup lines can see the genius in this imposter's actions.

I hope to enjoy reading this hilarious and outside-the-box book. As one reviewer commented: "A Zombie Story with Brains."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Walk Like An Egyptian



05-31) 14:48 PDT CAIRO, Egypt (AP) --

A 25-year-old Egyptian man cut off his own penis to spite his family after he was refused permission to marry a girl from a lower class family, police reported Sunday.

After unsuccessfully petitioning his father for two years to marry the girl, the man heated up a knife and sliced off his reproductive organ, said a police official.

The young man came from a prominent family in the southern Egyptian province of Qena, one of Egypt's poorest and most conservative areas that is also home to the famed ancient Egyptian ruins of Luxor.

The man was rushed to the hospital but doctors were unable to reattach the severed member, the official added citing the police report filed after the incident.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the press, added that the man was still recovering in the hospital.

Traditionally, marriages in these conservative part of southern Egypt are between similar social classes and often within the same extended families — and are rarely for love.

Judge Clay Calls It Like He Sees It


"There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Mehserle intended to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun and not a Taser."
Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay

With these condemning thoughts Judge Clay legally ordered former Bart policeman Johannes Mehserle to stand trial for the murder of Hayward,Ca. resident Oscar Grant.

With video footage that clearly shows Mehserle shooting to death a subdued and unarmed Grant, and no testimony from Mehserle explaining his murderous actions, Judge Clay rendered a decision that gives victims of police brutality and unjust courtroom practices a ray of judicial hope.

Unfortunately for Oscar Grant, today's judicial ray of hope won't pave the way for him to return to his 4 year old daughter and family.

What made the hearings even more shameful were the contradicting statements of fellow Bart police who were at the crime scene: "Bart cops testimony contradicted by video in Oscar Grant shooting case"

For as much as I feel that our right to privacy has been violated while in places of public today, I and many others are grateful for the cell phone footage that sadly recorded the senseless actions of a few police against what appears to be a cooperative citizen. For without that footage history tells us that such incidents as these usually end with the disciplining of an officer by temporary suspension with pay pending a full investigation. Yeah, standard operating procedure. But not in this era of handheld technology and terror alert citizens. Bad cops beware, the SF bay area is watching and recording when you least expect it.

As long as the prosecution just presents the facts, any verdict other than guilty will be a disgrace to the judicial system of the United States. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

The trial will be nationally monitored.


Randy "Big Unit" Johnson Records 300th Win


Randy Johnson, pitching for the San Francisco Giants reached 300 wins in the majors with today's 5-1 Giants victory. He's only the 24th player to reach this milestone, and possibly the last due to the five man pitching rotation of modern baseball.

Congratulations "Big Unit!"

Monday, June 01, 2009

X-SITE-ING

Red Bull X-Fighters Calgary

Some people think Calgary is a one horse town, but there was a stampede of excitement there this weekend for the Red Bull X-Fighters event. Over 21,000 spectators gathered to watch the world's top freestyle motocross riders duke it out in the skies over Alberta, and in the end it was Australian Robbie "Maddo" Maddison besting his competitors and taking home gold. Click through the gallery for a glimpse of the Canadian action, eh? (Photo: Red Bull Photofiles)