Friday, December 21, 2007

Some Political Thoughts You Might Have Missed

I thank Dan for bringing my attention to this greatly informative and moving short made by a concerned US citizen. While the fact that most Americans remain indifferent to the current situation here and abroad, it doesn't negate that enlightenment happens one person at a time. Unluckily, it just takes a long time.

Medical Myths

Hey kids, I know it's been a while, but I just now had my cable/ internet reconnected after two weeks. It's amazing the things you can do when you are not distracted with web surfing or t.v. watching. Just these past two weeks alone I've been to the gym more times than some of my friends go all year (sometimes twice a day when I was bored). Anyway, the mayhem of consumer holiday madness is upon us and thankfully I am done with family shopping. I figured this article would not only help get your mind away from holiday cheer and spending, but you can learn something as well. Talk to you soon kiddies.

7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe

By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 20 December 2007 07:00 pm ET

Popular culture is loaded with myths and half-truths. Most are harmless. But when doctors start believing medical myths, perhaps it's time to worry.

In the British Medical Journal this week, researchers looked into several common misconceptions, from the belief that a person should drink eight glasses of water per day to the notion that reading in low light ruins your eyesight.

"We got fired up about this because we knew that physicians accepted these beliefs and were passing this information along to their patients," said Dr. Aaron Carroll, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "And these beliefs are frequently cited in the popular media."

And so here they are, so that you can inform your doctor:

Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Fact: Physicians and comedians alike, including Jerry Seinfeld, love to cite this one. It's sometimes erroneously credited to Albert Einstein. But MRI scans, PET scans and other imaging studies show no dormant areas of the brain, and even viewing individual neurons or cells reveals no inactive areas, the new paper points out. Metabolic studies of how brain cells process chemicals show no nonfunctioning areas. The myth probably originated with self-improvement hucksters in the early 1900s who wanted to convince people that they had yet not reached their full potential, Carroll figures. It also doesn't jibe with the fact that our other organs run at full tilt.

Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Fact: "There is no medical evidence to suggest that you need that much water," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman, a pediatrics research fellow at the university and co-author of the journal article. Vreeman thinks this myth can be traced back to a 1945 recommendation from the Nutrition Council that a person consume the equivalent of 8 glasses (64 ounces) of fluid a day. Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables, plus coffee and other liquids, count.

Myth: Fingernails and hair grow after death.

Fact: Most physicians queried on this one initially thought it was true. Upon further reflection, they realized it's impossible. Here's what happens: "As the body’s skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is retracting," Vreeman said. "The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. The same is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit."

Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.

Fact: A 1928 clinical trial compared hair growth in shaved patches to growth in non-shaved patches. The hair which replaced the shaved hair was no darker or thicker, and did not grow in faster. More recent studies have confirmed that one. Here's the deal: When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top, Carroll and Vreeman explain. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it actually is. Hair that's just emerging can be darker too, because it hasn't been bleached by the sun.

Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.

Fact: The researchers found no evidence that reading in dim light causes permanent eye damage. It can cause eye strain and temporarily decreased acuity, which subsides after rest.

Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.

Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical in turkey called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it than does chicken or beef. This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol — both things that will make you sleepy.

Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.

Fact: There are no known cases of death related to this one. Cases of less-serious interference with hospital devices seem to be largely anecdotal, the researchers found. In one real study, mobile phones were found to interfere with 4 percent of devices, but only when the phone was within 3 feet of the device. A more recent study, this year, found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. To the contrary, when doctors use mobile phones, the improved communication means they make fewer mistakes.

"Whenever we talk about this work, doctors at first express disbelief that these things are not true," said Vreeman said. "But after we carefully lay out medical evidence, they are very willing to accept that these beliefs are actually false."

Friday, December 07, 2007

Congratulations Little Sister

Oh my little sister has always been a handful and now she has even more reason to think she is the shit. Last weekend she won the local Miss Eastern Oklahoma Pageant and is now preparing for the Miss Oklahoma Teen Pageant in June of next year. I have my own beliefs about pageants and dressing up little girls and young women and hyper-sexualizing them, but she is happy. Hopefully she will not make a fool of herself as so many of these women do. When I made her watch Little Miss Sunshine, she kept telling herself she didn't look like one of those little girls. I told her she was right, instead she looked like one of those girls, but just older. My family is telling me that she is requiring that we call her "Queen" for the time being. Sorry, but I already have that title reserved. Cheers to you little one.

She is the one of the left. My left.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wake Up Call For the Oklahoma GLBTF Community

You might have heard of the recent murder of a local gay man. Now charges are being filed, but not as a hate crime. Oklahoma is one of 17 states that does not include sexual orientation as a protected class. Our attorney general last year supported a national move to include sexual orientation as a federally protected class. Guess who vetoed it once it had bi-partisan support from the House and Senate? Now would be a good time for this issue to once again be addressed in Oklahoma. As long as people of the GLTB community are targeted because of who they are, need for legislation is needed. Look into what you can do to help support this issue and stay tuned for a planned vigil for Steven Domer. Here is an article that appeared on the NewsOK website today.

Man won't face hate-crime count

By Devona Walker
Staff Writer

The self-proclaimed general of a white supremacist gang has been charged with the murder of 62-year-old Steven Domer.

Authorities say Domer, who was apparently gay, was targeted because of his sexual orientation. In Oklahoma, however, this slaying does not constitute a hate crime.

Domer was last seen near NW 39 and Pennsylvania Avenue. Darrell Madden and Bradley Qualls reportedly went to the area on Oct. 26 to attack a gay person. Apparently, it was the only way Qualls could earn a "patch” in the gang, authorities allege.

That night they met and got into a car with Domer, authorities said. About 4:20 a.m. the following day, authorities found Domer's car in McClain County. It had been torched and was still burning when it was discovered. On Nov. 4, authorities found Domer's body in a ravine, within three miles of the car. Three days later, Madden was arrested in Ardmore, accused of shooting Qualls to death.

"The evidence we will present, and I think we will convict, will show that Mr. Domer was targeted because of his sexual orientation,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said.

The crime, however, will not be designated a hate crime.

Is the law toothless?
Authorities say Oklahoma's hate crime law has no teeth, has led to the routine underreporting of violent crimes that target gay people and does not consider gay people as a protected class. The crime is classified as a misdemeanor and has no provision for sentence enhancement.

"Let's say a gay man is attacked because he is gay. He looks at the law, it only carries a sentence of 90 days. He thinks this is just going to make them even more angry. He decides, ‘Why bother?'” Prater said. "We know that happens.

"We know that people are targeted clearly due to their sexual preference, but in Oklahoma, sexual preference isn't even a protected class,” he added.

Unlike many states that provided protections for gay people in the aftermath of the beating death of Matthew Shepherd, Oklahoma does not include sexual orientation in its hate crime statute.

Shepherd was a college student in Laramie, Wyo., whose October 1998 murder became one of the most infamous examples of a hate crime in recent history.

Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson, later convicted of his death, met Shepherd at a gay bar in Laramie. They drove Shepherd to an open field, tied him to a fence, then beat him. Shepherd died days later in a Fort Collins, Colo., hospital.

Many laws not inclusive
Seventeen states do not provide hate crime protections for people targeted based on sexual orientation. Wyoming is among them.

Federal hate crime legislation also does not include sexual orientation as a protected class. Last spring, however, legislation addressing that omission and providing additional resources to local law enforcement to investigate such crimes passed the House and Senate with bipartisan support. That bill was endorsed by 30 attorneys general, including Drew Edmondson in Oklahoma, every major law enforcement union and the majority of the nation's district attorneys.

President Bush killed the legislation with a vow to veto it.

"Law enforcement knows they need it. They have said they need it,” said Brad Luna, spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay civil rights organization. "Unfortunately, the religious right have taken this issue and politicized it in such a way. This is not a partisan issue. This is about the safety of our citizens and neighbors.”

Former state Rep. Don Ross tried unsuccessfully to have sexual orientation included in the state hate crime statute back in 1999. He was shut down by a 2-to-1 margin. At the time, legislators said it was unnecessary.

Does law deter reports?
According to law enforcement and gay advocates, the laws have led to underreporting of violence against gays.

"The reasons why gays and lesbians are targeted are very complex. What we do know is that these attacks tend to be much more brutal. And these are not just attacks against the individuals, but it's meant to send a signal to the entire community that you are not welcomed here, and that you are not safe in your own hometown,” Luna said. "When the government stands up and says, ‘We are not going to tolerate it,' that trickles down. When they don't stand up and say we are going to protect those individuals, that, too, certainly has an impact.”

Prater says the state's hate crime law is on "a fairly long list” of issues he wants to address with the state Legislature.

"I would love to see the hate crime statute in Oklahoma be an enhancement statute. And the Legislature has got to decide what classes of people they are going to protect,” he said.

The fact that murders and assaults targeting people based upon their sexual orientation still happen in Oklahoma indicates hate crime legislation is necessary, he said.

Rep. Al McAffrey is the first and only openly gay legislator in Oklahoma history.

"When you are talking about hate, hate is just hate. I don't care who it is. If you are assaulted because of your race, it's just the same as if you are assaulted because of your sexual orientation. You were assaulted because of hate,” McAffrey said. "I just don't understand how people can draw the line.”

Contributing: Staff Writer Jay Marks

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Another Polyiscs Video

Polyiscs + Dallas = memories forever! Can't wait till they tour by themselves and play for more than 30 minutes! Myspace was crazy to put them as an opening act!

Catch On Everywhere

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Why the Right is Smarter than the Left (Or at Least Quicker at Realizing Things)

So it's political season and things are already getting stirred up. Today, two different conservatives have backed two different presidential candidates. Most notable is Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, who both differ on many social policies, especially on issues that are dear to many conservatives Christians, but like Giuliana, many middle road Republicans are more to the left, such as abortion and gay rights. Another Republican candidate, John McCain, received an endorsement from recently excited presidential runner Sam Brownback, who has a large conservative following. Realizing that the presedential seat could easily go to a woman or heaven forbid a man of color, the conservative lot has recognized that some disagreement is better than a lot of disagreement.

Unluckily the Democratic party is a little slower on this idea. Still feeling empowered by the country's dissatisfaction with the current administration and it's wars, the democratic party is content to still bicker among each other. Most notable was the latest round of Democratic debates in which Hillary Clinton was barraged by the other male candidates. I do not think they solely picked on her because she is a woman, but because she is a powerful woman with the best chance of winning the nomination, which they are all vying.

Well, I could write a lot more but work beckons. Don't forget to vote kiddies! You can read the endorsement stories here!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Chupacabra Sighting!!

'Goat sucker' actually a hairless coyote

SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP) -- The results are in: The ugly, big-eared animal found during the summer in southern Texas is not the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra. It's just a plain old coyote.

Phylis Canion holds the head of what researchers determined to be a hairless coyote.

Biologists at Texas State University announced Thursday night they had identified the hairless doglike creature.

KENS-TV of San Antonio provided a tissue sample from the animal for testing.

"The DNA sequence is a virtually identical match to DNA from the coyote," biologist Mike Forstner said in a statement. "This is probably the answer a lot of folks thought might be the outcome. I, myself, really thought it was a domestic dog, but the Cuero Chupacabra is a Texas Coyote."

Phylis Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 40-pound bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 90 miles southeast of San Antonio.

Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she could get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity.

Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and it is said to have originated in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Additional skin samples have been taken to try to determine the cause of the animal's hair loss, Forstner said.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Uuuummm, Yeah! Gonna Be Afraid of The Toilet For A While...

So when I saw this story on CNN, I nearly shit myself and then suddenly didn't have to. This is reminiscent of all those B-movie "creature/ nature attacks" films of the 60's and 70's! Yikes.

Terror: Python Found In Brooklyn Toilet
Woman Gets Scare Of Her Life; Snake Apprehended

By Scott Rapoport, CBS 2 News

BROOKLYN (CBS) ― As far as nightmares go, this one's got to be right up there.

It's late at night. You get up to use the bathroom and guess what's waiting for you in your toilet?

Terror in the form of a slithering 7-foot python.

"He was swimming here," Nadege Brunacci said. "A big snake in my toilet bowl."

Last week, Brunacci was minding her own business -- doing her business -- in her Brooklyn bathroom when she peeked in the pooper and saw the massive snake.

"I thought I was having a hallucination," Brunacci said.

The serpent's head was staring up at her.

When asked what it looked like, Brunacci wasted little time.

"It looked like a python swimming in my toilet sir," she said with a laugh.

Needless to say, Brunacci felt a little flushed.

She said she called for help but no one believed her. Imagine that ... no one believed there was a 7-foot python in her toilet. Go figure.

"We just closed it and we put the biggest thing we had on top of it," Brunacci said.

She said the FDNY and some plumbers came after she flushed it down the toilet.

Eventually they removed the thing from a section of pipe right in the apartment downstairs.

No one knows where the snake came from or how it got there, but Brunacci says she's just glad it's gone -- if not forgotten.

"I just hope he's no more," she said. "And I do wait a long time now."

The snake is now at a Brooklyn animal retreat, which promised to find it a proper home -- most likely with a reptile rescue organization upstate.

City Health Department regulations prohibit keeping a python as a pet.

Even Funnier!

OK! So I am a little bored. But you have to admit that it's cute and funny!

Funny, Funny, Funny!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Yikes! Maybe It Is Time For A New Profession

Report Ranks Jobs by Rates of Depression

Saturday October 13, 10:46 pm ET
By Kevin Freking, Associated Press Writer
Personal Care, Restaurant Industries, Diaper Changers Have Highest Rates of Depression

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People who tend to the elderly, change diapers and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers.

Overall, 7 percent of full-time workers battled depression in the past year, according to a government report available Saturday.

Women were more likely than men to have had a major bout of depression, and younger workers had higher rates of depression than their older colleagues.

Almost 11 percent of personal care workers -- which includes child care and helping the elderly and severely disabled with their daily needs -- reported depression lasting two weeks or longer.

During such episodes there is loss of interest and pleasure, and at least four other symptoms surface, including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.

Workers who prepare and serve food -- cooks, bartenders, waiters and waitresses -- had the second highest rate of depression among full-time employees at 10.3 percent.

In a tie for third were health care workers and social workers at 9.6 percent.

The lowest rate of depression, 4.3 percent, occurred in the job category that covers engineers, architects and surveyors.

Government officials tracked depression within 21 major occupational categories. They combined data from 2004 through 2006 to estimate episodes of depression within the past year. That information came from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which registers lifetime and past-year depression bouts.

Depression leads to $30 billion to $44 billion in lost productivity annually, said the report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report was available Saturday on the agency's Web site at

The various job categories tracked could be quite broad, with employees grouped in the same category seemingly having little in common.

For example, one category included workers in the arts, media, entertainment and sports. In the personal care category, a worker caring for toddlers at a daycare center would have quite a different job from a nursing aide who helps an older person live at home rather than in a nursing home.

Just working full-time would appear to be beneficial in preventing depression. The overall rate of depression for full-time workers, 7 percent, compares with the 12.7 percent rate registered by those who are unemployed.

Read the report at:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Now If Only The Goverment Would Listen

Gore, U.N. climate panel win Nobel Peace Prize

By John Acher 33 minutes ago

OSLO (Reuters) - Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and the U.N. climate panel won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their part in galvanizing international action against global warming before it "moves beyond man's control."

The award appeared to be a snub to President George W. Bush, who has doubted the science of global warming and rejected caps on emissions of gases believed to cause it, but the White House said it was happy for the winners and praised their work.

Gore, who lost narrowly to Bush in the 2000 presidential election, and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change were chosen to share the $1.5 million prize from a near record field of 181 candidates.

The Nobel Committee said the award was made because of their efforts to draw attention to mankind's impact on the climate and measures needed to address it before rising temperatures bring droughts, floods and rising seas.

"Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control," the committee said.

Gore has lectured extensively on the threat of global warming and last year starred in his own Oscar-winning documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" to warn of the dangers and urge action against it.

"He is probably the single individual who has done most to create greater worldwide understanding of the measures that need to be adopted," the Nobel committee said. "The IPCC has created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming."


The citation also warned of the increased danger of conflicts if not enough is done to address global warming, blamed by many scientists on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

It was the second Nobel peace prize for a leading U.S. Democrat during the presidency of Republican Bush, who rejected the 1997 Kyoto Protocol setting limits on industrial nations' greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2002 prize went to former President Jimmy Carter, which the Nobel committee head at the time called a "kick in the legs" to the U.S. administration over preparations to invade Iraq.

But chairman Ole Danbolt Mjoes said the prize for Gore was not meant as criticism of Bush. "A peace prize is never criticism of anyone, a peace prize is a positive message and support to all fighting for peace in the world," he said.

You can read more about this story here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Makes You Wanna Smile and Dance

Here's the new video from The Polysics (think The Buggles meets Hellogoodbye). Yes, they are from Japan. Yes, they are crazy fun, and they make some pretty good music. Catch them on tour with Hellogoodbye. Looks like I am making another trip down to Dallas.

Electric Surfin Go Go

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Challenges Are Good For The Soul

Those that read this blog know I love quotes. Short and simple, good quotes can say many things about anything in a short amount of space. Every issue, Men's Health places some quotes pertaining to their "theme" that runs current in each issue. This month's theme pertains to starting something new, an endeavor not easily or quickly accomplished that usually has benefits pertaining to one's physical, mental and spiritual well being. Starting new tasks or setting new goals can be scary, gratifying, stressful, joyful, disappointing, and hopefully rewarding. In my opinion, what stops many from partaking in this experience, or putting one off, is the fear of the unknown and failure. Yet it is exactly these reasons that a new endeavor can be so rewarding. Conquering fears and learning from our mistakes only allows us to grow as people. It allows us to develop a greater sense of who we are, and the part we play in the world. With that said here are the quotes from this issue I find inspiring, and hopefully they help or convince you to try something new.


* The status quo sits on society like fat on cold chicken soup and it's quite
content to be what it is. Unless someone comes along to stir things up there
just won't be change.
Abbie Hoffman

* It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the
consequences of dodging our responsibilities.
Josiah Stamp

* A problem is a chance for you to do your best.
Duke Ellington

* You begin saving the world by saving one man at a time; all else
is grandiose romanticism or politics.
Charles Bukowski

* All this will not be finished in the first hundred days. Nor will it be
finished in the first thousand days, nor in the life of this administration,
nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.
John F. Kennedy

Friday, September 28, 2007

More Good News, If Only Bush Doesn't Fuck It Up

Who said writing letters and bothering congressmen gets you nowhere. Besides, its pretty fun even though you know those in Oklahoma pretty much won't vote for it, but I love the "official" letters I get back from their press team. Wanna join the action, join the HRC and they'll get you started. Make sure this goes through by supporting HRC on this issue. This is from a update I was sent.

Dear Timothy,

I've been waiting for months to write this.

With your help, the U.S. Senate has just passed the Matthew Shepard Act!

I want to thank you, personally, for everything you've done to help make this moment possible. HRC supporters sent 350,000 emails, made 30,000 calls to Congress, and wrote over 5,000 letters to local papers. Your commitment was inspiring. And even Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) acknowledged the work of the Human Rights Campaign during debate on the Senate floor.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your incredible support.

But even as we celebrate this victory – we know we face a tough road ahead. The bill has to survive final negotiations between the House and Senate before it gets to President Bush. Even then, he has threatened to veto it.

As you know, pressure from the radical right will be fierce the whole way. Our support must be fierce as well – so we will continue to ask for your support over the coming weeks.

It's been nine years since Matthew Shepard was senselessly murdered because of who he was. HRC stands firmly committed to this being the year we finally make sure every American is protected from this kind of violence.

We just made history. Thank you for getting us this far. Now, let's see it through to the end.

Joe Solmonese

More Cool Stuff From Those Crazy Japanese

Pretty freaking sweet. Wish this could have been around when I was in high school. It was either get an F or cut the little thing open. Let's just say I maintained my 4.0 GPA that semester :( . And I don't even like frogs!

No need for dissection as see-through frogs jump in

by Miwa Suzuki Thu Sep 27, 2:54 PM ET

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese researchers have succeeded in producing see-through frogs, letting them observe organs, blood vessels and eggs under the skin without performing dissections.

"You can see through the skin how organs grow, how cancer starts and develops," said the lead researcher Masayuki Sumida, professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology of state-run Hiroshima University.

"You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life as you don't have to dissect it. The researcher can also observe how toxins affect bones, livers and other organs at lower costs," he told AFP.

Dissections have become increasingly controversial in much of the world, particularly in schools where animal rights activists have pressed for humane alternatives such as using computer simulations.

Sumida said his team, which announced the research last week at an academic conference, had created the first transparent four-legged creature, although some small fish are also see-through.

The researchers produced the creature from rare mutants of the Japanese brown frog, or Rena japonica, whose backs are usually ochre or brown.

Two kinds of recessive genes have been known to cause the frog to be pale.

Sumida's team crossed two frogs with recessive genes through artificial insemination and the offspring looked normal due to the presence of more powerful genes. But crossing the offspring led to a frog whose skin is transparent from the tadpole stage.

"You can see dramatic changes of organs when tadpoles mutate into frogs," said Sumida, whose team is seeking a patent.

Such frogs could theoretically exist in the wild but it is "virtually impossible" they would naturally inherit so many recessive genes, Sumida said.

The transparent frogs can also reproduce, with their offspring inheriting their parents' traits, but their grandchildren die shortly after birth.

"As they have two sets of recessive genes, something wrong must kick in and kill them," Sumida said.

While the researchers relied on artificial insemination, they said that genetic engineering could also produce transparent and even illuminating frogs.

Sumida said researchers could also inject into the transparent frogs an illuminating protein attached to a gene, which would light up the gene once it manifests -- for example, showing at what stage cancer starts.

Sumida said it would be unrealistic to apply the same method to mammals such as mice as their skin structure is different.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Puffer fish sold as salmon kills 15

Thu Aug 23, 6:14 AM ET

BANGKOK, Thailand - Unscrupulous vendors in Thailand have been selling meat of the deadly puffer fish disguised as salmon, causing the deaths of more than 15 people over the past three years, a doctor said Thursday.

Although banned since 2002, puffer fish continues to be sold in large quantities at local markets and restaurants, said Narin Hiransuthikul of Bangkok's Chulalonkorn University Hospital.

"Some sellers dye the meat of puffer fish and make it look like salmon which is very dangerous," Narin said.

Narin said over the past three years more than 15 people have died and about 115 were hospitalized from eating the fish.

The ovaries, liver and intestines of the puffer fish contain tetrodotoxin, a poison so potent that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says it can "produce rapid and violent death."

The fish is called fugu in Japan, where it is consumed by thrill-seeking Japanese gourmets for whom the risk of poisoning adds piquancy.

Every year, there are reports of people dying or falling sick in Asia from eating puffer fish. Eating the fish can cause paralysis, vomiting, heart failure and death.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

For Those Who Question The Power of Advertising

Notice: I forgot I wrote this with the intention of adding more info to it. The story broke a couple of months ago and I am sure most you are familiar with it. Decided to go ahead a post this anyway.

I am sure most of you by now have seen this story, and I think what it says about our culture is amazing. The advertisers at McDonald's are doing their job well when preschoolers are able to recognize the brand. The same can be said other labels as well. A clinical child psychologist who has worked with children for nearly twenty years, Dr Allen Kanner makes this observation, 'Recent studies have also shown that by the time they are 36 months old, American children recognize an average of 100 brand logos,' (1). One hundred brands and most children are learning their ABC's and numbers, but they can recognize corporate labels. I propose we do away with the No Child Left Behind Program (which should be done away with anyway) and allow the advertising masters of these corporations to rewrite our education system. Obviously, they know what they are doing.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

One Step Closer

Thanks to the Queer Revolution for posting this news. Here it is reposted if you haven't seen it. As for people asking about where's the rest of my trip pics, they are coming. It takes some work to edit all those pics and what not, and I have been working everyday since I've returned. So be a little patient.

Appeals Court Says Oklahoma 's Anti-Gay Law Unconstitutional

(Denver, Colorado) The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Denver, has upheld a lower court ruling that struck down an Oklahoma law described as being so extreme it had the potential to make children adopted by same-sex couples in other states legal orphans when the families are in Oklahoma.

''We hold that final adoption orders by a state court of competent jurisdiction are judgments that must be given full faith and credit under the Constitution by every other state in the nation,'' the 10th Circuit said in its ruling.

''Because the Oklahoma statute at issue categorically rejects a class of out-of-state adoption decrees, it violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause'' of the U.S. Constitution.

Although single gays may become the parent of adoptive children same-sex couples in Oklahoma were barred from adopting and the law allowed the state to invalidate adoptions where couples have been awarded joint parenting rights in states where co-adoption is legal.

The Adoption Invalidation Law, hastily passed at the end of the 2004 Oklahoma legislative session, had said that Oklahoma "shall not recognize an adoption by more than one individual of the same sex from any other state or foreign jurisdiction."

Lambda Legal, representing same-sex couples took the state to court. Lambda represented two same-sex couples and their families who adopted children while living in other states and later moved to Oklahoma or want to visit the state with their family

Lambda Legal argued that the law was unconstitutional based on the United States Constitution's guarantees of equal protection, due process and right to travel, as well as the mandates of the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

A year ago U. S. District Judge Robin Cauthron declared the Oklahoma law unconstitutional and the state appealed to the 10th Circuit.

Lambda Legal hailed the ruling.

"This was the most extreme example of punishing children because you don't approve of their parents," said Lambda attorney Kenneth Upton.

A spokesperson for the state said officials had not seen the ruling and he could not comment.

© 2007

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Taiwan: River Rafting and More Gorgeous Hotsprings!!

So on this day my family and I did some white water rapids. Like most good things it was about another two hour drive with my crazy cousin driving (it seems crazy runs in the family). Like most Taiwanese driving, it scared the heeebeejeebees out of me. When we made it to our destination I opted to not bring my camera along lest we tip over. It was fun, the white water wasn't that 'intense.' It was more for families. Nonetheless, there was about 20 rafts of people with us so there was constant water wars with mini buckets provided by the staff for the rambucious kiddies. It felt good to do some physical activity besides walking, and was a nice float with beautiful scenery.

After the "rapids", we headed across the street to a local hotel/resort that housed some hotsprings. This one was differed from the previous one in that ut catered to couples and adults as opposed to families with kids. There was a public hot spring area (for the breeders who had bred) or you could rent little private rooms. We split into two groups and enjoyed some down time for a bit. The room held a spectacular view of the local scenery. The warm spring water with some cool Heinekens made for nice rest after the rafting. Another feature of these hot springs is an area where spa goers are able to boil some eggs in some 100 (Celsius!) water. Pretty nifty. The eggs are often complimentary for those in your party with extra ones available for purchase. Enjoy the pics.

Me, scared as hell from my cousin's driving.

View of the resort.

Another view. Take in the beauty!

A picture of our quiant little abode.

View from the room.

Very nice, but it would have been nicer if I could have shared it with someone besides my cousins.

Sis and I.

My crazy driving cousin cooking some eggs in hot spring water.

My two cousins and thier girlfriends. Love them.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Taiwan: Hot Springs and Sunburn (Ouch!)

If your wondering what day and all that crap it is for me, I am not sure anymore. It is Friday morning here, but besides that, we don't need a play by play each day. I do not find it necessary to keep you up to date when I might go eat or take a dump so for my own sake (and for the sake of your precious time) I am keeping it minimal.

So yesterday we went to the hot springs along the coast of southwestern Taiwan. After about a two hour drive we arrived at our destination. The second half of the drive, the part past the nasty city traffic, was beautiful. The mountains rose up to sky with their peaks resting in the undersides of large dark storm clouds. On the other side lay the large blue expanse of the ocean, which went as far as you could see. The water along the Taiwan Striaghts, the water between China and Taiwan, often being turbulent, was causing huge, powerful waves which slammed against the rocky beaches.

This area of Taiwan is considered a tourist destination by many Taiwanese as was evident by the large number of families I saw stopped at rest stations and picking up supplies for the day's excursions. Many of the people who actually live in the region are the island's original inhabitants, or the aborigines. Unluckily, much like many other places, and as with the Native Americans in America, the aborigines of Taiwan are slowly being assimilated into Taiwanese/Chinese culture. The amount of space they inhabit has become smaller and smaller and their way of life is also being absorbed and/or used for commercial gains.

The spa itself was decent, but compared to some of the conditions I had been present to within the last couple of days it was pretty freakin sweet. The were several different pools ranging in temperature of the water, ranging from refreshingly cool to warm, to "Oh my god" I just got first degree burns! Also nice, was that several of the pools were 'flavored' with various 'health items.' One pool contained rose petals, another held Chinese herbs for healing, and yet another held ginseng. The hot water was nice and relaxing, but with 90+ degree (Fahrenheit that is) the cooler pools felt much better. That and the amount of little kids surrounding me set me at unease in resting in warm water, especially since we all know what warm water makes you wanna do ;(). So I was either in the really cold or really hot pools. The rest of the time I spent sunbathing. DON'T fall asleep in the sun when you are on a tropical island. I was asleep for no more than fifteen minutes and I am still a lobster today! Oh, but it was worth it. Till later, I need more lotion!

Smiling cause I am relaxing, soaking it up. Relaxed a little too much as you will see!

Cool (as in chilly) pool shot.

Hot water!!

Not so relaxed or happy.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Taiwan Day 2

On this day we had a grand ole lunch with much of the family, nothing spectacular. Just some buffet style food and a restaurant full of ten million kids and parents that seemed unconcerned with whom their children were terrorizing. More about the Asian kid phenomenon later, it deserves a full blog entry unto itself.

Anyway, what stood out about today was the evening dinner we had that was atop a mountain. The ride up there was graciously provided by an uncle, who by the way had been drinking all day and playing Mah-jong as well. Every time I've seen people, usually older men, play this game I think they are required to have alcohol and smoke as many cigarettes as possible (Dann's house on poker night in the winter). So the street up the mountain was just that. A one lane windy, curvy street that caused great alarm in my sister and I.

Finally arriving at our destination, I forgave the kamikaze driving for the view I received atop the mountain where the restaurant lay. The view was breathtaking and miles of land could be seen in all directions. The valley that held a city below us had a slight layer of fog resting on it and the nearby mountains were accented by the heavy storm clouds lurking behind them. It was about sunset so the scenery was breathtaking (pictures below). The food was pretty good, and I even tried the turtle soup. Hey! I said I would try new things and I did. No comment on the taste. Alrighty enjoy the pics, talk at you later.

My aunt Sophia and her two children, Satan's spawn #1 and Satan's spawn #2.

Some cousins, my grandfather, and I enjoying some food with about five thousands kids.

My mother and her sisters. Seriously, I wouldn't mess with these women. My friends know I am not lying about my mom.

Scene from atop the mountain.

I can't tell which is more breathtaking!!

As the sun sets...

I promise I was smiling. That is, I was smiling until my mother told me the main course was turtle soup. The poor turtles!

Freaking beautiful! Wish I could have shared this with someone. Besides the many children who insisted on touching the guy with blue hair's hair.

Turtle soup...Yeah. Can't say much about this one. Kinda salty, that's about it.

Taiwan Day 1

Oh the trip to Taiwan from Japan was only about three hours, but oh hell! It really sucked. As we were leaving Japan, typhoon "Man-Yi" was heading for it and it caused some mighty fine turbulence. I almost lost everything residing in my body at that point. We finally made it to the airport safely where our relatives swooped us away to our abode while we are here and some much needed rest ensued.

We are residing at my grandfather's house which he has lived in for I am not sure how long, but longer than I have been alive. He actually lives in the province of Sinshin, which is located in the city of Tainan. Tainan city is located about 30 minutes away from Kaihsiung which is one the largest cities in Taiwan, besides the capital of Taipe, which resides about 4 hours north.

The weather here is a tropical climate which is currently in the rainy season. I've seen it literally rain, between here, Tokyo, and Oklahoma everyday for about a month and a half now! So the heat and the rain means HUMID weather. You biatches complaining about the humidity don't know jack. As soon as I get out of a COLD shower, I instantly start sweating again, and air conditioning isn't "common" in this little village (kinda like my apartment back home). The timing is similar to that of Japan. Take your Central time and set it one hour ahead and reverse the am to pm or vice versa.

The next day my mother awoke me to accompany her to the local daily market. What a fun place for a foodie to visit. Whether you feel like fish, fresh vegetables (or pre made salads), chicken feet (and heads, gizzards, etc..), noodles, fruit, or tofu (yeah baby!), it could be found. With prices already marked low to compete with neighboring vendors, with a little or no haggling one can receive a meal for about two - four dollars, one that even I (the human trash compactor) could split into two meals. HHHHmmmmm mmmmmmm!

Later that night, we attended one of the many traveling markets that rotate their nights in various cities and/or parts of cities. This night being one the biggest and most crowded nights to attend in the neighboring Kaihsiung area.Items ranged from games, to many varities of food vendors for whatever craving you might be having (sweet, spicy, sweet and spicy). Endless tea stands were abound, ranging in all flavors of fruit, root and herbal varities. Clothing and accesories could also be purchased. The cheap prices and festive atmosphere are some of the main draws for people to attend such outdoor markets. It is like going to the mall on Sat, except cheaper and there are more Asians.

Seafood heaven at the local morning market.

Meeaaattttt! No it is dog, strays are everywhere here. But now that I think about it, I have only seen one cat in the week I've been here!

Fish balls, and the balls of other creatures as well. I promise they taste better than they look.

I am not even a fan of them when they are alive. I don't mind snakes or turtles, but I just don't like slimy things. Bleah!

Just two of the local peasants indebted to the Lin/Brown family making dumplings to pay us. They were forced to skip lunch as they happened to forgot my veggie and shrimp dumplings. Timmy don't eat pork!! Just kidding people.

This is how they roll in Taiwan. This is pimpin' Taiwanese style. Its so cute.

Sushi stand at the night market.

Pretty cool stand. "Catch" your own shrimp and then you cook them yourself. At least you know its fresh.

One vantage point from the Outdoor Traveling Night Market. Asians love crowds, except me. I am claustrophobic, very much so.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Tokyo Day 4

So Thursday was our last full day in Tokyo and it was a doozy. Busy and on the go, my dogs were barking before lunch time. Oh, but it all added up to a good last day. We started off at the world famous fish market. While we missed the hardcore action, I still got the freshest sushi in the world from one of the nicest host/chefs I have ever met.

Then we went to the anime geek capital of the world, Otaku. This area is where many an anime/ tech lover can find their full desires. Full of manga stores, I saw more jap anime fans that the Los Angeles Comicon. This is also the place you go when you want anything to do with gaming, as evidenced by the pics of the Nintendo station i found.

Then we hightailed it back to the Shibuya district's Harajuku area to see the Meiji Shrine (Shinto Shrine) and do more shopping.

Line to get into a sushi restaurant at the Tujiski Fish Market. Each place held about 8 - 12 people.

Freshest plate of Sushi I've EVER had in my life. It seriously melted in my mouth.

The nicest, most helpful, sushi chef, host I have ever met. Look up his restaurant at...

We are happy fish lovers!!

Otaku, perfect for gamers and anime freeks.

Rare picture of me holding sweets!

At the entrance to the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya -Harajuku district.

The courtyard of the shrine.

My sis with some of the locals.

Harajuku shopping street!! Yeah, and it isn't even X-mas!

Oh yes I did! I sure as hell met Snoopy at the Snoopy store. Ok, maybe it was a doll, but it was cool anyway.

Tokyo Day 3

So needless to say, day three got off to a rocky start (reference day two). So much was not cataloged for this day, but it was still fun. Just lower key, that and making fun of either my mom and/or I from my sister or both of them for my all night escapade. Anyway, we spent time walking around the Shibuya area that holds the Harajuku shopping area. This is the area where when you see all the youngsters with their hip colored hair and eccentric outfits, they hang here. Toy stores, Gift shops, clothing boutiques, up to high end Vuitton, Chanel and Dolce and Gabbana all lay on the same strip creating a tourist heyday. Definitely a stop for any trip to Tokyo whether you are shopping or just catching some local flavor.

Today was also the first time we attempted the subway on our own. It was not too pretty. The subway is jammed pack and since most of the signs are partly in English it is very easy to get lost. Oh, and we did get lost! But learning is a lot faster and more fun that way anyway.

Crazy add we saw in the subway. Have do idea what it is for, but it is funny nonetheless.

A small section of the Hello Kitty section in a 6 story toy store called "Kiddie Land" in the Harajuku district.

A common site in many restaurant's store front. Replicas of the food showing with prices. It helps when you don't know Japanese!

My dinner that night. Some curry and soba noodles, tempura shrimp and veggies and a nice cold Asahi.