Friday, December 29, 2006

New Orleans is Thunderdome

Depression and revulsion at hearing this story on NPR this morning. I don't care how many songs Bono and Green Day write about the Saints football team, New Orleans should be sealed off, the levees blown to bits, and sunk like a WWII minesweeper.

Thieves recently broke into an art studio in New Orleans and -- using a bolt cutter, hacksaw and hammer -- dismantled several bronze sculptures created by artist John T. Scott, hauling the metal away.

It was another case of "industrial looting," when thieves strip copper, brass or other scrap metals from buildings and sell it. Scott's world-renowned artwork normally draws thousands of dollars per piece, but these sculptures likely were sold as scrap metal for just a few hundred dollars.

John Scott is in hospital in Houston, recovering from a second lung transplant. (more here) He hasn't been told about the destruction of his art for fear of his health.

Scott is a black artist, whose work deals largely with slavery and race, which makes the fact that these pieces were stolen and sold for scrap even more depressing.

From Black Collegian: The underpinning notion of (a series that Scott created) is that, psychologically, looking through windows allows people, especially African Americans, to overcome barriers.

If it's not clear by now, let me pound this into the ground: Scott's work - at least these pieces - survived the hurricane, the floods, and the abandonment of the city and his studios. His work could not survive the people of New Orleans.

From NY Times: John T. Scott, a local sculptor who drove to Houston at 3:30 a.m. the day Katrina hit, thinks he has lost his house and his studio. "I have a two-story studio, but if there was six feet of water, who knows," he said.

A major retrospective of Mr. Scott's work at the New Orleans Museum of Art ended on July 10, and at least one-third of the 199 pieces in the show were at his studio at the time of the hurricane. The rest, he said, were at the gallery of his dealer, Arthur Roger, which suffered no significant damage. Miraculously, neither did his eight public-art works that dot the city, including a large, kinetic steel piece on the river. "It has survived five or six hurricanes already," Mr. Scott said. "And it still looks the way it did when I made it."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Backgammon photos

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jesus to Return to Earth for Christmas

Second Coming of Christ will take the shape of Seven Dragons - Just like the Bible says. (Saliva of Jesus to be highly toxic - Best to stay away...)

Virgin dragon prepares to give birth

CHESTER, England - In an evolutionary twist, Flora the Komodo dragon has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. She is carrying seven baby Komodo dragons

"We were blown away when we realized what she'd done," said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora's home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. "But we certainly won't be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus."

Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.

The reptiles, renowned for their intelligence, are native to Indonesia. They are the world's largest lizards and have no natural predators — making them on par with sharks and lions at the pinnacle of the animal kingdom.

The prophet David Yow was unavailable for comment.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mugabe intoduces new staple to dites of Zimbabweans

The once-prosperous citizens of Zimbabwe are now eating rats to make ends meet. When asked for a comment Sudanese refugee Atanga Otambu replied "It is my dream to one day have a rat to eat."

Rattus rattus

Monday, December 18, 2006

Mark Trail and the Case of the Missing Mt. Hood Hikers

Jollibee Brainwash

In which the Insect-Chef-God leads the children of the village away from their families to the magical playground only they can see, and builds his army of children.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Day 3: Jollibee New Jollibee Super Breakfast Joys

Choice of Beef Tapa, Corned Beef or Jolly Chicken Tocino served with garlic rice, fried egg, 1pc longganisa and 1pc mini-pancake for only P90.00 For an additional P10, breakfast comes with an invigorating cup of coffee, hot chocolate, juice, iced tea or softdrink.

Turn breakfast into a power-packed brunch with Jollibee's extended breakfast hours up to 11am. Whether dine-in, take-out or drive-through, it's now more convenient to pass by the nearest Jollibee store to enjoy a langhap-sarap breakfast. Or your meal can be delivered hot and ready-to-eat right after that meeting through Jollibee's 8-7000 Express Delivery Service.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Return of Jollibee: Day 2

Presenting this year’s hottest new tandem! The all-time favorite Jolly Hotdog Classic topped with special sauce and cheese and the hottest newcomer Jolly Hotdog Taco-Style topped with taco-style beef, juicy tomatoes, cheese and spring onions. You gotta try it!

Kim and Gerald go for another Hot Pair!

Since their Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition days, life has been a wild ride for the reality series’ breakout stars Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson. Since starring in the teen romance blockbuster First Day High, the pair has been thankful for diverse projects that come their way.

Getting an endorsement deal from leading local food chain Jollibee is one such project. Both Kim and Gerald consider it a privilege to be part of a family that lists Aga Muhlach, Sam Milby and Sarah Geronimo among its members.

In their latest Jollibee TV commercial, the duo takes a tongue-in-cheek look at their star status. In the ad, Kim and Gerald walk down the red carpet, waving to fans. However, as it turns out, the real star were the Jolly Hotdog Classic and Jolly Hotdog Taco Style, which Kim and Gerald were holding. The commercial, directed by advertising “it” boy Sid Maderazo, was launched this week and is now seen on television.

The Jolly Hotdog Classic comes with special sauce and a generous heaping of cheese, while the Jolly Hotdog Taco Style is topped with beef, juicy tomatoes, cheese and spring onions.

“I feel happy to endorse products I believe in,” explains Gerald, “And I believe in Jollibee. Their food is delicious.”

“We’re very thankful,” adds Kim, “that Jollibee placed their trust in us. When I think of Jollibee, I think of a hangout for everyone, where the food and the prices are good. I consider it a blessing to be an endorser. Siyempre Jollibee na yan!” She is a fan of the Jolly Hotdog Classic’s cheesy taste.

There is evident affection between the two, who had nice things to say about one another during the shoot for the ad.

“Gerald is such a gentleman,” says Kim. She adds that when it comes to work, he can get disappointed if he misses something. “So next time, he really works even harder.”

On the other hand, Gerald thinks that Kim is good at almost everything. Apart from that, he says that Kim is one brave girl. “She doesn’t give up,” he exclaims, “she’s always 100 percent all-out.”

They admit that being part of a popular tandem is amusing and fun. Both say that fans look for the other whenever they are performing or doing mall shows on their own. The commercial is only one of the many current projects for the very busy young love team. They are also currently seen in the ABS-CBN sitcom Aalog-Alog every Saturday and will appear in an upcoming soap.

Friday, December 15, 2006

What the hell is wrong with Me?

Why have I abandoned the craziness that is Jollibee? There are likely deeply rooted psychological issues that I haven't the time to explore here. But in honor of 500 posts of nonsense, we return to a classic for the next three days: Kneel before the Insect/Chef/God Jollibee.
There is a new, extra affordable value meal on the Jollibee menu, and it is a delicious sulit-sarap dish for all rice meal lovers. Satisfy that curious palate and be among the first to try the new Jollibee Arroz Cubana, the Filipino fastfood chain’s sumptuous version of the famous Spanish dish.

If you don’t feel like bringing your baon and if you’re looking for something more than the usual fastfood fare, Jollibee’s latest offering is the way to go. A combination of flavorful ground beef with fresh green peas, corn and carrots, sunny-side-up egg, fried-golden bananas, and steaming white rice, Jollibee Arroz Cubana gives Pinoy fastfood-lovers an affordably filling and sulit-sarap lunch or dinner option.

Now available in Jollibee stores nationwide, Arroz Cubana is a rich eating experience that is easy on the wallet. For only P45, get a Regular Solo Plate, or add P20 to get the Large Solo Plate and enjoy additional ground beef and banana. The Solo dishes turn into Jollibee Value Meals complete with softdrinks, just by adding P10.

This new rice meal is offered any time of the day. Try out the new Jollibee Arroz Cubana, now!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Police News from the Daily Illini


Sept. 27: A 66-year-old man reported criminal damage to his property at the 3900 block of Aberdeen Drive early Sunday morning.
According to a police report, an unknown offender threw a large quantity of garlic onto the man's porch and in his mailbox.
No arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Oct. 10: A 32-year-old woman reported criminal damage to her vehicle and battery at the American Legion, 708 N. Hickory Ave.,
According to a police report, an unknown offender slashed a tire on the woman's vehicle and returned later to punch her in the face.
No arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Oct. 17: Two 21-year-old men were reportedly battered at the zero block of Daniel Street early Sunday morning.
According to a police report, the men were playing a prank on an acquaintance, a 19-year-old man. However, the man didn't recognize the two men, and he and an unknown offender battered them.

Sept. 27: A 20-year-old man was arrested for disorderly conduct at the 1300 block of North Lincoln Avenue early Sunday morning.
According to a police report, two offenders entered the apartment of a 19-year-old woman and sprayed ketchup and syrup all over the woman's bathroom and carpet. The second offender was not located.

Sept. 28: A 34-year-old woman reported a man driving without pants on at the 400 block of West Washington Street early Tuesday afternoon.
According to a police report, an unknown offender was stopped at a stop sign, staring at the woman and masturbating.
No arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Oct. 3: A 39-year-old man reported items stolen from his hotel room at Holiday Inn, 1001 W. Killarney St., late Sunday morning.
According to a police report, an unknown offender entered the man's room and stole a pair of pants; however, the offender left a different pair of pants in its place.
No arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Sept. 6: On Monday, the word "bigot" was spray-painted in a number of locations on the sidewalks on the main Quad and on the 600 block of East John Street.
No arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Oct. 2: An 18-year-old man was reported for student discipline after police and firefighters responded to a call at Scott Hall early Friday morning.
According to a police report, the man entered the room of a resident advisor and urinated all over the wall, rug and some food items that were on the floor.
No arrests had been made at the time of the report.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Letters to Christopher Walken


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Backgammon Reviews: The Major Las Vegas Casinos

Now that the YPMTRGA annual meeting is behind us, we have had time to reflect upon the most suitable Las Vegas hotels for the playing of backgammon, the cruelest game. Unfortunately, as far as we could discern, no casinos have formal backgammoning facilities. We therefore conducted a survey of the more reputable casinos (I'm not looking at you Golden Nugget) in order to determine which were most ammenable to backgammoning on one's own. The following should be sufficient in order for you to suss out a spot to your liking:


Area backgammon played: Poolside
Slot machine index: Low
Nearby amenities: Pool; a few girls in bikinis
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Only bothered by waitress once; insane black pyramid in background; fresh air; no other gambling going on
Cons: Only bothered by waitress once; had to steal appropriate chirs and table from cabana; a bit sweaty playing while wearing a suit; easy to be mistaken for homos
Overall rating: Pleasant, but low profile


Area backgammon played: Abandoned cafe
Slot machine index: Moderate
Nearby amenities: None. Bar was mysteriously closed, however this meant it was easy to steal items like wine glasses from behind the bar.
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Look at those guys wearing suits and playing backgammon"
Pros: Bar closed, so we were bothered by neigher waitresses nor other patrons; easy to bring own bottle of wine; choice of table; comfy chairs
Cons: A bit quiet; forced to watch the dregs of humanity traipsing by
Overall rating: Recommended; one of the best backgammoning spots encountered


Area backgammon played: At table and chairs in expansive marble hallway
Slot machine index: Low
Nearby amenities: None, other than table and chairs, which are surprisingly hard to come by anywhere in Las Vegas
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Table and chairs, slighly less offensive clientele than other casinos, temperature ideal for suit-wearing
Cons: Spitting distance from World's Largest Chocolate Fountain
Overall rating: Not bad, but you are still playing in a hallway


Area backgammon played: Cocktail lounge just off gaming floor
Slot machine index: Moderate
Nearby amenities: High stakes gaming area, open bar
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Man, I ain't seen anyone playing backgammon here in years"
Pros: The insane over the top-ness of this place is unbeaten; table and chairs; easy to get drinks; mysterious women wearing orange t-shirts promoting a European cell phone company; Albanian mafioso left his cell phone behind and was grateful when we returned it
Cons: Unfriendly waitress; too near slot machines; a little low-brow
Overall rating: Average; you could do worse


Area backgammon played: Bar on gaming floor
Slot machine index: Very high
Nearby amenities: Bar; Mustang GT to be won
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Bartender mixed a fine vodka gimlet; waitresses in French maid outfits
Cons: Incessant din of slot machines, each bar seat had a video poker terminal installed, so it has hard to keep the backgammon board flat
Overall rating: Poor; not very backgammon friendly


Area backgammon played: None, couldn't find anywhere to sit down
Slot machine index: Average
Nearby amenities: None (no backgammon played)
Stranger's comment about backgammon: None
Pros: The insanity of this place is topped only by Caesar's Palace
Cons: Absolutely nowhere to play backgammon
Overall rating: Awful; just about the only place you could conceivably play is on a gondola


Area backgammon played: Bar on gaming floor
Slot machine index: Obscenely high
Nearby amenities: Bar; all you can eat buffet $9.95
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Cheap drinks; if you wear anything nicer than a tank-top and sweatpants you are easily the best dressed person in the place
Cons: Incessant din of slot machines; old people's oxygen tanks frequently got in the way; heavy stench of desperation
Overall rating: Adequate, but only because of sense of history

So there you have it. The winner: Mandalay Bay, but probably only because we found an abandoned cafe to play in where we could drink out own booze. Overall, we are sorry to report that backgammon in Las Vegas is in a sorry state. Maybe things are better in the high limit areas, but my Diner's Club card has been carrying a heavy balance recently, so we didn't go in there.

p.s. You can smoke anywhere you want in Vegas, so go ahead and bring your pipe.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tech Saavy Proves Useless Against Mountain Gods, Yetis.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Great Moments in Backgammon (And Smoking Jackets)

"Today's trim, social moderns are giving a new light look, a fresh elegance and grace to themselves and all their possessions. Join the happy new crowd. Look smart. Stay young and fair and debonair. Be sociable. Have a Pepsi – the lighter Pepsi of today, reduced in calories."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Great Moments in Backgammon:

Backgammon in Literature
Goodbye, My Brother - John Cheever

The next cause for contention that I had from Lawrence
came over our backgammon games.

When we are at Laud's Head, we playa lot of backgammon.
At eight o'clock, after we have drunk our coffee, we usually get
out the board. In away, it is one of our pleasantest hours. The
lamps in the room are still unlighted, Anna can be seen in the
dark garden, and in the sky above her head there are continents
of shadow and fire. Mother turns on the light and rattles the
dice as a signal. We usually play three games apiece, each with
the others. We play for money, and you can win or lose a
hundred dollars on a game, but the stakes are usually much
lower. I think that Lawrence used to play—I can't remember—
but he doesn't play any more. He doesn't gamble. This is not
because he is poor or because he has any principles about
gambling but because he thinks the game is foolish and a waste
of time. He was ready enough, however, to waste his time
watching the rest of us play. Night after night, when the game
began, he pulled a chair up beside the board, and watched the
checkers and the dice. His expression was scornful, and yet he
watched carefully. I wondered why he watched us night after
night, and, through watching his face, I think that I may have
found out.

Lawrence doesn't gamble, so he can't understand the
excitement of winning and losing money. He has forgotten how
to play the game, I think, so that its complex odds can't interest
him. His observations were bound to include the facts that
backgammon is an idle game and a game of chance, and that the
board, marked with points, was a symbol of our worthlessness.
And since he doesn't understand gambling or the odds of the
game, I thought that what interested him must be the members
of his family. One night when I was playing with Odette—I had
won thirty-seven dollars from Mother and Chaddy—I think I
saw what was going on in his mind.

Odette has black hair and black eyes. She is careful never to
expose her white skin to the sun for long, so the striking
contrast of blackness and pallor is not changed in the summer.
She needs and deserves admiration—it is the element that
contents her—and she will flirt, unseriously, with any man. Her
shoulders were bare that night, her dress was cut to show the
division of her breasts and to show her breasts when she leaned
over the board to play. She kept losing and flirting and making
her losses seem like a part of the flirtation. Chaddy was in the
other room. She lost three games, and when the third game
ended, she fell back on the sofa and, looking at me squarely,
said something about going out on the dunes to settle the score.
Lawrence heard her. I looked at Lawrence. He seemed shocked
and gratified at the same time, as if he had suspected all along
that we were not playing for anything so insubstantial as money.
I may be wrong, of course, but I think that Lawrence felt that in
watching our backgammon he was observing the progress of a
mordant tragedy in which the money we won and lost served as
a symbol for more vital forfeits. It is like Lawrence to try to
read significance and finality into every gesture that we make,
and it is certain of Lawrence that when he finds the inner logic
to our conduct, it will be sordid.