Sunday, September 28, 2008

567889583625374869708078675645362894905 ...

Mathematicians at UCLA claim they have discovered a 13-million-digit prime number, the latest great scientific discovery in a nation that can't make a vehicle that runs efficiently off anything but gasoline. Well, at least we know why UCLA can't seem to win football games anymore; they don't have their priorities straight.

I'm not sure I buy their claim, though. I mean, ask them what it is, and they can't even tell you. If they can repeat it to me, I vow to make it my new PIN at the ATM. Hope you don't get behind me at the machine in that case.

Read about this really, really big number here. It may come in handy. It's likely to be the size of the federal deficit soon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breaking (wind) news

I'm so relieved to see that a West Virginia man will no longer face battery charges after being accused of passing gas and then waving the fumes toward police officers while he was being detained following a DUI arrest.

According to the original Associated Press story, the police said that Jose A. Cruz, 34, scooted his chair toward a patrolman, lifted his leg and ‘‘passed gas loudly.’’

‘‘The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons,’’ the complaint alleged.

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn’t move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

‘‘I couldn’t hold it no more,’’ he said.

You can read about it here, and who wouldn't want to?

In other flatulence news ...

* Jessica Simpson apparently ate the wrong meal before a show in Niagara Falls recently. But don't fret. She says her flatulence "smells like roses." I'll take her word for it.

* Then there's this clip of NFL analyst John Clayton appearing on ESPN's SportsCenter. Oh, the joys of live TV.

* And from the high-tech world of mobile farts is this story about the Pull My Finger application that Apple rejected for its iPhone. According to Beta News, it's an application that produces five or six sounds of human flatulence (and you thought it was embarrassing when you got a phone call in the middle of a meeting now). It got rebuffed not on the basis of offensive content, but on grounds that it is "of limited utility to the broad iPhone and iPod touch user community."

Stay tuned for the latest, breaking ppppplllrrrbbbtttttss here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The great kazoo

No, not The Great Gazoo from "The Flintstones."

They're gonna try to set a world record for kazoo playing in Macon on Thursday night. Not for best kazoo playing or longest kazoo playing, but most kazoo players at once. This is either something you really want to be a part of or stay really far away from. I think I'd stay away, even though I can play kazoo almost as well as I play guitar. I even missed a wedding of fellow journalists here once because they had the attendees play "Here Comes the Bride" on kazoos. OK, I missed it because I hate going to wedding and funerals. Or is that redundant?

Hmm, I wonder if I can get folks at my funeral to play Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" on kazoos.

You can read more about the even in my old friend Ed Grisamore's column in our sister paper, the Macon Telegraph.


This gonna come as quite a shock to some people, but Clay Aiken, the effeminate one-time "American Idol" runner-up, is gay. I know, I wouldn't have believed it myself, but he says so right here. He chose to make this announcement upon becoming a father, something he apparently had a lot of help with.

I don't care, you know, "not that there's anything wrong with that." It's not like I was waiting for Clay Aiken to star in something real macho, like a "Conan the Barbarian" remake or something. I just always wondered if Clay Aiken knew he was gay ... kinda like those guys you went to high school with who thought they were straight but everyone else knew were gay. And then you find out 20 years later that they finally figured it out, too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Interesting fella

You've probably never heard of Matt Simmons, but few people in the world know more about the world's only-gonna-get-worse oil crisis and addiction. Instead of trying to score political points with offshore drilling or fuel efficiency increases of 15 or 20 MPG, politicians, corporate leaders and the general public better heed guys like this. Learn more about him in this well-done Fortune article.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sweet dreams

It seems more married couples are sleeping separately. Not in a "Go sleep on the sofa, you jerk!" sort of way, but in the sense of getting a better night's sleep. I'm not sure it's such a bad idea. Maybe I can get bunk beds again, like I had when I was 12. I just thank goodness I've got a king-size bed. But if I sleep along, what am I gonna prop my legs on at night?

You can read about it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No more -gate

Ever since Watergate, people think they can attach "gate" to any controversy. Irangate. Spygate. I Twisted My Ankle At The Mall-Gate. The latest is Sarah Palin's Troopergate.

Stop it! It's lame and lazy. As for Troopergate, I don't care if she abused her power in pushing to have her ex-brother-in-law fired. He needed firing. Forget that. Worry about whether you're comfortable with the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant's Miss Congeniality being one heartbeat away from being leader of the Free World.

You've got a couple of people with limited experience in this election -- Palin and Obama. Are you gonna go with the one with the gifted IQ or the one who can see Russia from their house? Experience, and/or lack thereof, is relative.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Just caught a glimpse of the local TV news (with apologies to my TV journalist friends, a glimpse is about all I ever catch of it.). Anyway, at the top of the news were a couple of stories about local gas stations being robbed. Well, at least they know how we feel now.

Barnes storming outta here

Brad Barnes, a talented pop culture writer here at the paper is moving on to the normal world. His last day at the Ledger-Enquirer is tomorrow. You can read his blog, Barnes Storming, by clicking here.

He's my age and came to the paper not long after I did. I'm starting to feel stranded as dozens of co-workers have come and gone since I started here. There are a few veterans still here and a lot of young journalists. But there aren't many of us still in the middle, straddling that line between idealistic journalist and cynical realist. Think I'm walking that line alone.

Good luck, Brad, in your real job.

Recession? Try depression

In some people's naive eyes, the U.S. economy is "fundamentally strong" (even though there's not one positive aspect of it nor a single driving force out there that could bring it back except for a clean, cheap energy discovery). I'm no economist, but I've got enough common sense to know that neither optimism nor the same ol' same ol' will bring it back. You've got to get off oil, pure and simple, and the rest will follow. Drilling for more will just feed the addiction so that we can keep repeating crises. No thank you. Amazing that the only industry doing will is the one with a finite future. No matter how many places you drill, it remains a finite resource.

Anyway, I was just wondering if we're still building that fence between us and Mexico. If so, we might want to make sure we all have a key in case we all have to go try to find work south of the border. And don't blame Canada if they start building one between us and them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Holy crap!

You know, if a suspect in a high-speed car chase crashed into my house and knocked me off the toilet, I just might leave that last part out when police asked where I was at the time.

Yep, this really happened. Click here.

Wanna feel stupid? Check this out!

Have you read about the massive particle collider that's now operational in a tunnel beneath the border of Switzerland and France? The European Organization for Nuclear Research's ongoing project to learn more about the origins of the universe, dark matter and other dimensions could lead to the greatest discoveries since man discovered fire. Critics, however, worry the scientists' project could result in the creation of black holes that could swallow our planet and eventually the rest of the universe.

Does make you wonder if we're on the verge of discovering new dimensions and the origin of the universe, then why can't we find an alternative to oil? These geniuses oughta be able to know that problem out in a week or two. Priorities, people.

Speaking as a guy who's idea of scientific experiments don't go beyond a Mentos and some Diet Coke, I guess I'll just sit back and see how it all plays out. But for the record: Other dimensions, cool. Black holes, uncool. That's all I've got to say about it. Y'all be careful. Here's an excerpt from today's Associated Press article:

Scientists hope to eventually send two beams of protons through two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space. The paths of these beams will cross, and a few protons will collide. The collider's two largest detectors — essentially huge digital cameras weighing thousands of tons — are capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.

The CERN experiments could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the hypothetical particle — the Higgs boson — which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.

You can read the entire article here. It's also all over the Web.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Scary numbers

I recently read that a Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans believe the right-wing propaganda that Barack Obama "wants to raise your taxes." Well, yes, if you make $227,000 or more, indeed, he wants to raise them, or at least restore them to Clinton-era levels -- you know, back when the economy was strong.

In case you're interested in facts, here are the average numbers on what you'll see from the tax hikes and cuts under the Obama and McCain plans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center:

$0-$19,000 ..............................$567 less....................$19 less
$19,000-$38,000....................$892 less....................$113 less
$38,000-$66,000....................$1,042 less................$319 less
$66,000-$112,000..................$1,290 less................$1,009 less
$112,000-$227,000................$2,300 less...............$3,200 less
$227,000-more.......................$23,000 more...........$15,000 less

McCain's ads state that Obama want to raise taxes on working class Americans. Apparently McCain considers only the top 5 percent of Americans working class because the bottom 95 percent would see their taxes cut under Obama's plan. However, it should be noted that neither plan is fiscally responsible, because over 10 years, Obama's would increase the national debt by about $3.5 trillion and McCain's by even more than that. So, vote for whom you want and whatever issues concern you, but don't fall for the rhetoric from either side. The whole "tax and spend" label is not only worn out, but it's a lie.

I still think all Gallup polls should come with the following disclaimer: 90 percent of people polled were complete idiots.

A recently updated report of the Tax Policy Center's analysis can be found by clicking here.

Men remain sexist, politically incorrect slime update

Attention all men: Do not notice what Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, looks like. Do not say that she was only put on the ticket to steal a few whiny disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters or undecided hockey moms. Don't call her more eye candy for Sen. John McCain. And, by all means, do not describe her look as a "sexy librarian" look.

Instead, focus on her policies, assuming someone eventually points them out. Perhaps you should note her vehement opposition to sex education, but don't note the irony that she has an unwed, knocked-up 17-year-old daughter. Or how she doesn't believe in global warming.

I know it's politically correct for me to join the legions of men scared to even talk about Palin around women, but I'm not much for political correctness. She's a good looking lady. Sorry, I've noticed the obvious. I think Sen. Joe Biden will fry her in the VP debate, but I hope she gets more camera time. Sue me.

Is there a double-standard? Perhaps. Then again, I think women talk about men perhaps more than men talk about women. Don't forget there's an Obama Girl out there. Men are visual creatures -- creatures being the key word there. We can't help it; it's in our genes.

Let me just go on the record and say that to combat the double standard, women are allowed to talk about how devastatingly handsome I am when I run for president. Hopefully, women will be able to get over their fashion discrimination by then and elect a president in flip-flops.

Anyway, the more I hear about this, the more I think about my late Grandma Julia, as Christian a woman as you could ever meet. Yet, anytime President Reagan came on the TV, she'd say, "Mmm, mmm, that's a good looking man right there."


See this discussion of how Palin's looks are not important and men are still slime on CNN's "Showbiz Tonight."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let's be friends, just friends

A woman friend randomly asked for my opinion on this question today (I think she was polling): "Do you think a man and a woman can just be friends?"

Talk about your loaded question. The politically correct answer she was looking for was, "Why yes, of course." But I decided since she thinks I'm a moron anyway to just give her the truth. Later, I found these clips from "When Harry Met Sally," a film that explored the whole subject. In these two scenes, Billy Crystal pretty much echoed what I had to say. Even though this is a chick flick, I love this movie. Ironically, based on my views, the last time I saw it all the way through was with a 100 percent platonic female friend. Seriously. Which I guess blows my whole argument. But I'm married, so that doesn't count. Refer to scene two for that question.

Do you agree with Billy/Harry/Me or do you choose to believe the untrue opposite? Check out the clips. The expression on Meg Ryan's face is priceless. I see it a lot.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When you're not, you're not

Jerry Reed died this morning at the age of 71 due to complications from emphysema. He was one of my favorite guys in music, a good ol' Georgia boy who never tried to be more than what he was — in music or in acting. One of my favorite easy songs to strum on the guitar is "The Bandit" from "Smokey and the Bandit," in which he also starred. Stupid movie, yes, but stupid fun. I couldn't play "East Bound and Down" in a million years of guitar lessons. The man was well known as one of the best guitar players in Nashville long before he ever had a hit.

I saw Jerry Reed in concert at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon around 1990 or 1991. I was there with my future wife (my current one, in case that's not clear) and a couple of friends. There were several acts on various stages, including the Indigo Girls very nearby ... and act that interested neither I nor, apparently, Jerry Reed. In the middle of his concert, he stopped and asked of the sounds invading his concert area: "What the hell is that?"

Of course, that concert will always be remembered by my wife as the one where I forgot to guard her Port-O-Potty door. Ooops!

You can listen to a good many Jerry Reed songs for free by clicking here.