October 2005 Archives

The End Is Near

I can't help but follow the developments of the coming bird flu pandemic. Call it proactive measures or macabre curiosity, I read every article I see in the news on the subject.

To avoid getting avian flu, do not kiss birds.

It seems the biggest fear is that the virus will mutate to be able to spread between humans, which it currently cannot do (or if it can, it's keeping this skill a secret for the nonce). This human-to-human jump would be bad because most of us can avoid being around birds almost entirely, but with the exception of goth kids and accountants, we normally need to be around other people to survive.

Now I see that a Thai boy has just been tested positive for the bird flu, just two days after his father died from the disease ! Could this be it ? Are we doomed to face masks, black clothes, calculators and seclusion ? Well, no probably not. The kid was also involved in handling the sick chickens alongside his father.

But the news headlines didn't mention this--they lead you to believe such a transference took place. No, you have to read into the story to find out that the boy was in direct contact with the sick birds himself. That's just like the news on television. They tease you with a couple lines that sound really sensational so you'll watch the program later in the evening: "A popular food item in your local grocery store can cause liver malfunction, hyper-paranoia, and even death ! Tune in tonight to find out what it is !"

I remember 60 Minutes doing this kind of thing a number of years ago, probably back when I was in high school. I saw one of the reporters talking about a 4000 pound weapon that people were using to murder innocent bystanders. I thought, "Holy crap ! A 4000 lb weapon, how cool ! What could it be ?" And the reporter informed us to tune in at 9 / 8 Central to find out what it was. Naturally, I turned the TV over to the channel dutifully on-time, only to be disappointed to find out the weapons in question were in fact ordinary automobiles. Well, yeah. I guess anything could be a weapon in some way or another.

The fun part about the 60 Minutes report actually was the sensationalism. They repeated "Who are these aggressive drivers ?!" while showing video clips of cars peeling out, skidding, and ramping over bales of hay like in the Dukes of Hazzard. Now, whenever I'm not driving like a Grandma, I get that phrase in my head. Who are these aggressive drivers !!!

Anyway, I digress ...

Famous J already posted a link to the Avian Flu blog, but I will too because it's just so grim and interesting. You might even want to subscribe to the feed, so you'll be the first to know when the inevitable will hit this country.

I recommend we start living like there's no tomorrow.

Cops Bust Worst Counterfeiters Ever

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What would you do if you were working retail, and someone presented you with a one million dollar bill ?

This happened in a Georgia Wal-Mart like a year ago after a woman went on a $1600 shopping spree and tried to pay with a $1,000,000 banknote, and had the gall (or perhaps the misplaced confidence) to ask for change. She presented the funny money after trying first to pay for the merchandise with two gift cards that turned out to have a combined balance of somewhere around a dollar.

This woman was found to have two other million-dollar bills in her possession when she was arrested, an event that surely came as a complete surprise to her. She still contends that she thought these notes were real, legal tender, given to her by her deadbeat trash husband whose whereabouts were unknown.

Now this guy must not read the news, because he thought he'd have a go at it as well. He was trying to deposit 999 of these bills at a bank as collateral for a loan. What was he trying to buy that he needed a billion dollars in collateral ?

The part that confuses me is how someone could be smart enough to print money that police admitted was of convincing quality, yet dumb enough to think that the US has million-dollar bills in circulation. The largest bill being printed is the $100, but I have to admit it would be inconvenient to carry around ten thousand of those.

The Red River Shootout


Peterson from last year's gameI'm choosing to ignore SBC and all the politically correct fanatics and continue to call the game the Red River Shootout. Not because I have anything against the name Red River Rivalry (it does have a nice ring to it with all those r's), but tradition is tradition. And I'm not about to accept that "shootout" has become a naughty word, one so offensive that the name of a 100-year series now has to be changed.

What's the big deal anyway ? Does shootout stir up the wrong images of the southwest ? This isn't going to convince anyone that Oklahomans and Texans don't own lots of guns.

So... we're marching into this game unranked, playing against a #2 ranked Texas. This uncharacteristic imbalance is enough to get any Sooner worried. But I'm no fair-weather fan--I'll be watching the game on Saturday, cheering on OU, and hating Texas the whole time.

And after the game, regardless of outcome, there's going to be some kind of party at our house. If you're reading this, you're cordially invited to join us for a beer or twelve on the evening of the game. Doesn't matter if you're an OU fan, Texas fan, or an electric fan.

My prediction : OU 17 - TX 10

Boomer Sooner !!

I'm Blown Away By The Generosity

I've been under harsh criticism lately because I'm much more willing to donate to the welfare of our animal friends than the humans. I don't want to ruffle any more feathers here, or try to justify myself any further. Instead I want to promote another avenue of support. For the people.

This Wednesday, you can give a little to the Red Cross by doing something you were going to do anyway. Consume lots and lots of good food, but be sure to do it at a participating Dine for America restaurant. Hop over there and find a place where you can eat your way to hurricane relief.

I think I'll even order dessert. After all, it's for a good cause.

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