many bells down

Fun with Yahoo! News
May 2, 2006, 1:38 pm
Filed under: Celebrity, Web

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Wow Keith Richards!  You sure have changed!


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!

A solution to Lawsuits
April 28, 2006, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Blogs, From Me to You

One of my clever blogger buddies, Co'Joe, has found this hysterical essay on stupid lawsuits and the solution to them.  You need to read it.  Seriously.  Right now.  Not only is it slap-your-knee funny, it also really says something about the state of our society. 

And make sure you check out the rest of Co'Joe's blog, because in addition to being clever, he has two other attributes that I love: 1) an incredibly dirty mind; and 2) a really fantastic writing style.

Co'Joe, I salute you!

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! 

United 93
April 28, 2006, 4:10 pm
Filed under: Movies

United 93.jpgSince the first time I heard United 93, the tale of the courageous passengers who took down one of the flights hijacked on September 11, 2001, was being made, I have pondered whether or not I would go and see the film.  Or whether anyone would go and see it.  Is 9/11 still too fresh in our minds and our hearts?  Is this tragedy something we should even be making movies about?  Some movie theaters actually pulled the trailer because patrons found the imagery disturbing.

The film is begin dubbed a docu-drama, although it is purportedly not concerned so much with the theatrics/dramatics of what happened that day as it is showing the events as they unfolded (and the drama inherent in that) and honoring the sacrifice United 93's passengers made.  It is filmed in real time and uses no Hollywood stars.  Flight controllers and air personnel play themselves. 

United 93 has been getting fantastic reviews – despite the fact that most reviewers admitted that they did not want to see it.  Lisa Schwartzbaum of wrote,

[Writer-director Paul Greengrass] keeps a cataclysmic story scaled to the vulnerable men and women involved. The result is a movie experience that's undeniably agonizing — but also unexpectedly bracing in ways I couldn't have prepared for. … Here's a drama about the most politically charged crisis of our time that grants the dignity of autonomy to every soul involved. [more]

Kurt Loder at MTV. com says, "We know what's going to happen, but now we are right there with them, and we experience their dread and their angry desperation in a direct and harrowing way."  He calls the effect of the entire film "emotionally overwhelming." [more]

Joel Siegel of Good Morning America said in his review that he "can't recommend you see this movie. Only you will know if you can." [more]
James Verniere calls the film "a cathatric work of art. …  a brilliant piece of realistic filmmaking and a tribute to the pluck of ordinary Americans who find themselves facing extraordinarily dire circumstances." [more]

I have no idea if I'll see this film.  Just thinking about it fills me with palpable dread and anxiety.  Seeing as how I cry when I read about it (I am a big cryer) and how I remember every single detail about that day as if it had just happened yesterday (the frantic calls to family members who worked in the financial district, the classmates who lost their loved ones), I'm not sure it's the best thing.  Still, I would like to see it.  I think it's an important film and the right kind film.  It's not Todd Beamer played by Tom Cruise with a glossy orchestral soundtrack and overdramatic dialogue; it's the complete opposite, a realistic look and a tribute to those people who lost their own lives to save others.  Real life heroism is so much more powerful than Hollywood heroism.

I'm interested to hear what you think.  Is it too soon?  Will you go see it?

Animal links…cause I feel like it!
April 28, 2006, 1:51 pm
Filed under: Animals
  • Crocodile: 1, Chainsaw: 0 – A 14.5 foot saltwater croc mauled a chainsaw to death in Sydney, Australia.  The croc chewed on the chainsaw for an hour-and-a-half before humans could get it away from him.  Neither the man wielding the chainsaw nor the crododile, appropriately named Brutus, were injured in the incident.
  • Call of the Wild – Both China and France have released endangered animals into the wild; France released a female brown bear into the Pyrennes Mountains and China released a panda into the wild.  Incidentially, I really love pandas.
  • Beleagured Beluga – The Georgia State Aquarium's beloved beluga Gasper has been under the weather…so get well soon buddy!
  • Test Subjects or Endangered Species? – Sooty Mangabeys raised for AIDS research in Atlanta are now on the endangered species list, sparking a contentious debate.  Which side are you on?