many bells down

Happy Birthday, Baby!
May 1, 2006, 3:33 pm
Filed under: News

empire-state-building.jpgThe Empire State Building turns 75-years-old today!  For two days prior to its birthday, the building's signature lights were turned off to represent the New York City skyline before it was opened in 1931.  Check out photographs of the building's construction here.

Here are some fun facts about the ESB:

– The site for the ESB was excavated on January 22, 1930; construction began March 17, 1930.  It took one year and 45 days to build and was completed ahead of schedule.

– President Herbert Hoover flipped the switch to the building's lights, officially opening it for business on May 1, 1931.

– Seven million man hours went into the construction of the building.

– The building is 1,454 feet high and has 102 floors.  The observation deck is on the 86th floor.  It was the tallest building in the world until 1954 and the tallest building in New York City until the construction of the twin towers.  After September 11, it is again the tallest building in NYC.

– The ESB has 6,500 windows, 73 elevators and 1,860 steps.

– With land, the total cost of the building was $40,948,900.  The building alone cost only $24,718,000 due to the Depression. 

– The building is struck by lightning between 100 and 200 times per year.

– 10-20,000 people visit the ESB daily; on a clear day, you can see nearly 80 miles from the 86th floor observation deck.

More facts here.


Supreme Court says ‘yes’ to Smith.
May 1, 2006, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Celebrity, News

Somewhere in hell, Satan is building a snowman.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Anna Nicole Smith may pursue part of her late husband's $1.6 billion fortune

Wow, I never saw that one coming – although, to be fair, I didn't think a court that hears only a few cases a year would ever take an Anna Nicole Smith case.  How wrong I was!

Da Vinci Code Ruling’s Code Revealed!
April 28, 2006, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Books, News, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

You know, Mr. Da Vinci Code judge, if you're going to take the time to brainstorm a code that has to be cracked via mathematics, hint about it to the media and give out clues as to how to solve it, you should at least make sure your deciphered code says something cool or interesting. For example, "I like to dance around in women's underwear" would have been very interesting.  Profound song lyrics, like "Oooh, look at all the lonely people, where do they all come from?" would have been cool and, by proxy, you would have seemed cool, the Founding Fathers wig part of your judicial attire included.  But "Jackie Fisher, who are you? Dreadnought," is neither cool nor interesting.  And, quite frankly, it's a bit of a letdown, since you've been snidely dropping hints about your awesome hidden message and it's not awesome at all.

As one of the anchors on Good Morning America said this morning (while holding back hysterical laughter, I might add), "Well, it's no 'Jesus was married,' but I guess if you're a naval enthusiast you'll be excited."  Or not! 

April 27, 2006, 4:58 pm
Filed under: Animals, News

Apparently, songbirds can learn grammar.  We would get along so well!

Words of wisdom from the world's last ninja.  (This one's for you, J-Ro.)

I don't have a problem paying $3.18 for a cup of coffee, but it just seems wrong to pay that much for gas.  I like the Senate's idea.

Note to self: Don't dive for golf balls.

Judge in Da Vinci Code case has too much time on his hands.
April 27, 2006, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Books, News, Things that make you go 'Hmm.'

Justice Peter Smith, who recently ruled that Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code did not plagerize other authors' works, has apparently embedded a code of his own in the first 14 pages of the ruling:

The first clue that a puzzle exists lies in the typeface of the ruling. Most of the document is printed in regular roman letters, the way one would expect. But some letters in the first 13½ pages appear in boldface italics, jarringly, in the midst of all the normal words. Thus, in the first paragraph of the decision, which refers to Mr. Leigh and Mr. Baigent, the "s" in the word "claimants" is italicized and boldfaced.

If you pluck all the italicized letters out of the text, you find that the first 10 spell "Smithy Code," an apparent play on "Da Vinci Code." But the next series of letters, some 30 or so, are a jumble, and this is the mystery that needs to be solved to break the code.

Doesn't England have criminals?  Isn't there someone they can arrest for robbery or jaywalking or something?  Seriously, they need to do something about this, because no officer of the court should have time to come up with a freaking code to insert into a judicial ruling. 

I bet he did this while he was on the clock!  I wonder how many taxpayers dollars were wasted?

“Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?”
April 25, 2006, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Broadway, Movies, Music, News

This just in: High Fidelity, one of the funniest and greatest movies of all time, is coming to Broadway in December:

The $10 million musical has a score by Tom Kitt and Amanda Green and a book by David Lindsay-Abaire, whose play "Rabbit Hole" recently completed a critically praised Broadway run.

[Jeffrey] Seller said he decided to produce "High Fidelity" after hearing composer Kitt and lyricist Green (daughter of legendary lyricist Adolph Green and actress Phyllis Newman) perform four songs from the show at a 42nd Street club.

"I thought, `This must be my next musical,'" Seller said. "It's a great story about a guy who can't figure out how to hold on to a girl."

I am so excited about this I can hardly stand it!  The movie is hysterical (see title quote for example, and go out and rent it right now!), and I'm sure I'd love the book too if I read it.  I'm definitely going to catch this bad boy in previews!

And you thought plagues went out with the Middle Ages.
April 19, 2006, 7:26 pm
Filed under: News, Science

plague.jpgHoly crap!  A Los Angeles woman has been infected with the freaking Bubonic Plague!  According to this article, it's the first case in L.A. since 1984. 

The bubonic plague isn't contagious, but left untreated it can morph into another, most definitely contagious, type of plague.  Humans are infected by the Bubonic Plague when they are bitten by fleas that have fed off of infected rodents.

"Health officials said they suspect the woman was exposed by fleas in her home and that there was no cause for alarm. An estimated 10 to 20 Americans contract plague each year, mostly in rural communities."

The plague is believed to have caused the Black Death, a pandemic which killed one-third of Europe's population in the 1300s.  This Wikipedia article on the plague elicited yet another interesting fact:  Did you know that groundhogs are considered giant ground squirrels?  Yeah, me neither.

No word yet on whether or not this case of the plague was brought to you by the birth of the TomKitten.

Just kidding!

(Sort of.)