Sunday, November 22, 2009

Anne Scripps Douglas

Anne Scripps Douglas: proof perfect that money doesn't buy you everything.

In fact, Anne Scripps Douglas is proof perfect that money might not even buy you life, let alone a happy one. As the name might alert you (Scripps was Anne's maiden name, the Douglas came from her second husband) she was one of the heiresses to the Scripps newspaper fortune: a fortune well up there with the Hearst's and so on.

But being born into money didn't lead to that long and happy life we might think:

New York state police believe the daughter of slain newspaper heiress Anne Scripps Douglas jumped to her death from the same bridge her stepfather did after he killed her mother.

Police on Friday were searching the Hudson River near the Tappan Zee Bridge, around 25 miles north of Manhattan, for the body of Anne Morell Petrillo. Authorities say they found a note and believe she got out of her car on and jumped off the bridge Thursday evening.

Petrillo's mother, the great-great-granddaughter of Detroit News founder James Scripps, was beaten to death with a hammer in Anne's bedroom by her stepfather, Scott Douglas, on New Year's Eve in 1993.

Douglas fled and jumped to his death from the same bridge. His body was found three months after the slaying.

Somehow people who make their money seem to do better with it than those who inherit it.

Yes, I want one of these monsters

That baby there to he left is one of the top of the line models, one of the Viking Grills that I have my eye set on. The grill on the top contains 29,000 BTU burners (can you not already simply smell the dead animals crisping up nicely?) and then there's the two side burners for making sure the beans and the barbecue sauce are hot, the oven underneath to cook off what you want to roast instead of grill and of course all those warm drawers for everything else the outside chef needs.

The point about a Viking Grill though isn't to outequip your neighbour: or at least not the only point about them. If you're going to be cooking outside you want to make sure that your equipment is built for the task: which is why they're all made of stainless steel, they're built to the usual full commercial standards. This just isn't equipment that is going to fall apart at the end of the season: or, Lord forbid, in the middle of it. It's solidly made and will withstand not only whatever it is that you might cook on it, it'll also deal with being shut away for the winter and being hosed down for the fresh season.

But yes, there's more to these Viking gas grill, much more. That picture is of their top of the range effort but there's everything the heart could desire and the wallet afford available. All built to the same uncompromising standards of course, all containing those high energy grills, but offering you more or less of the surround dependent upon what it is that you want. Everything in fact from just the simple grill as it is, on its own, all the way up to that baby and passing through different combinations of sideburners, grills, storage, freestanding models and so on.

If you're looking to re-equip the garden for next year's outside cooking season well worth going and taking a look at what's on offer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Moon breaks records before release

Looks like we're in for at least a decade of Twilight movies then for the second Twilight movie, New Moon, is breaking records for advanced ticket sales.

TWILIGHT sequel New Moon has taken £�1million before even being released - as the fastest advance-selling film of the year.

Odeon and UCI cinemas reported that it had already sold 143,000 tickets.

The movie, starring ROBERT PATTINSON as vampire Edward Cullen and KRISTEN STEWART as lovelorn student Bella Swan, goes on national release on Friday.

Gosh, aren't we lucky people to be offered years and years worth of a vegetarian vampire who twinkles.

But then no one has ever accused Hollywood of not going for the easy money. If the Twilight books are selling (and if the author is holed up somewhere churning out more) then as long as people keep buying tickets for things like New Moon then the studio will keep pumping out the product.

As with Rocky and Harry Potter, (and in earlier times, the "Road to" movies) that's just the way that the place works.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finding drug treatment

OK, so we know that addictions of all sorts are rampaging through our society. It's not just crystal meth, heroin, prescription drugs and alcohol, we're now seeing addictive behavior in all sorts of things, from eating to such formerly thought harmless things like exercise. The reasons for this are twofold. Firstly, we're so much richer as a society, meaning that people can actually become addicted: secondly, as part of that new richness we've increased our knowledge and now know much more about what addiction is. And part of that new knowledge is that we now know a great deal more about what works in drug treatment.

In times past really all we could do ws to try and keep the addict away from the addiction and hope for the best. Now, with the introduction of things like dual diagnosis we know that there are often underlying problems that must be treated as well as the addiction itself. Further, we know more about how specific addictions can be treated: the drug treatment of choice for those coming off heroin is now methadone, something which reduces the cravings while those underlying issues are addressed.

What has emerged from out new knowledge of drug treatment and addiction is that integrated onsite treatment programs work best. We need to take the addict not just away from the addiction itself but also from its milieu, so that there is no immediate backsliding. And we need to try different methods: for different people react better or worse to different methods of treatment.

Click through any of the links to find out more about this subject.


Nephelococcygia is one of these constructed words: it originally had a very specific meaning and is now put to another but connected use.

Nephelococcygia has it's origins in Aristophanese, the Greek playright. It means "Could Cuckoo Land", his utopian city in the clouds in one of his plays. As such it has always had a secondary meaning of being a dreamer, of not paying attention to reality. For the point of the play was that such utopias do not work nor do they exist.

Nephelococcygia also has a more modern meaning: the study of clouds. Or rather, cloud watching. While this is fun and all, it's slightly unfortunate that it has been described with this word with its connotations of being an otherworldly dreamer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting the truth about nursing

We all seem to get a lot of our information about jobs and professions from TV shows: which is slightly sad really for of course most jobs aren't anything like they are portrayed on TV. A lot of them are much more interesting: a very few are more boring (spies, for example, do not do anything like what Jack Bauer does at all).

The best place to actually find out what a job or career is really like is through the trade magazines. No, really, these magazines are written for the people actually already working in them: so they have to be true to life or no one will ever read them, knowing them to be false. So, for example, we could turn to one of the nursing magazines to find out what it's really like to be a nurse, rather than relying on a TV depiction like Mercy NBC.

In fact we can go a great deal further and find out about nurse salaries but looking at the top ten paid nursing specialties. Or if you're already there and trained and working, what about an investigation into the best scrubs: what are the best scrubs for your body?

It is true though, the best places to get the real inside information on jobs and careers are the trade magazines, those written for those already doing the job.

Meteor shower november 2009

Yes, it's that time of year again and we've the Leonid meteor shower making it's approach to earth. There are a number of different meteor showers that can be seen at different times of the year (and they may move around the year a bit as well) and the meteor shower for november 2009 is this Leonid one.

If you're over on hte West Coast the best time tio see the Leonids is, umm, right about now actually. If you're on hte East Coast or further east in Europe then, umm, sorry, but you've missed it.

There, isn't that timely and useful information for you? All hail blogging etc etc etc.

For the Holiday Season

Yes, it's that time of year again and the Holiday Season is looming. So the big question is what on earth do we buy all that army of people that we've got to buy presents for? Is there actually enough time between now and the end of the universe to select the perfect present? No, and that's why gift cards from are such a good idea.

Instead of having to decide exactly what it is that we'd like to get someone all we have to do is think about which store they'd like to go shopping in and how much we want to give them to do so. Then we simply purchase a gift card for that store for that amount and we're done.

And no, we don't have to run around all of the different stores. has gift cards from just about every retailer you can think of. So there's a huge selection, all in one place, and the holiday shopping can be done in just an afternoon.


Who is Lorenzo von Matterhorn?

Lorenzo von Matterhorn is a fictional character within a fiction. In the TV show "Hor I Met Your Mother" one of the characters is back on the dating scene. And to succeed in this endeavour he creates a character, Lorenzo von Matterhorn.

This fake character is backed up by a series of fake web pages, describing Lorenzo von Matterhorn as Swiss, a billionaire, an animal lover and someone advised not to have penis reduction therapy.

When he casually drops this name to a girl she is intrigued enough to Google him, sees all of this and then when asked for a date obviously says yes.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Get the best: you deserve it

Get the best: your deserve it....that's not a bad motto to live one's life by. For indeed of course there is only one attempt at all of this, this is not a dress rehearsal.

So if you're going to be buying, say, clothes, it makes sense to be buying the best like Patagonia.

The brand Patagonia started out with climbers and surfers who were aware that the market wasn't really supplying what they needed: the very finest outdoor clothes, made with the best quality materials and incorporating the very latest technology. Without those latter two of course the first is impossible. So they set about making what they needed. The same attention to only the best is what makes them the best clothes today.

You might think that you don't need Patagonia boots: after all, you're not about to go climbing in the Andes. But that is something of a mistake: none of us are really rich enough to buy cheaply. It's far better to have a few relaible and sturdy items which will last for years than the latest tchotchke from China that will fall apart ofter three weeks.

I've had one of the Patagonia backpacks and yes, they really are as good as advertised. Sturdily made, a great weioght to strength ratio and they last a long time. Well worth the money.

What is a TWILF?

If you're confused by all this modern terminology and technology thaen you'll get mystified by this new phrase, TWILF.

It's an adaptation of MILF which in itself is an ancronym for "Mother I'd Like to Fuck". No, not my own mother and not necessarily yours. Rather, a mature woman, radiant in hte prime of her liffe, that you have sexual fantasies about.

The TW comes from Twitter. So it means Twitterer I'd like to fuck.

All of which is most amusing and could be applied to anyone from Demi Moore to Stephen Fry.

The current furore is that a cartoon show on Al Gore's TV channel Current referred to Sarah aplin as a TWILF. Which is probably rather more insult than the lady deserves.

Cameron Diaz in The Box

The word on hte street is that Cameron Diaz's new film, The Box, is a right stinker. When people were asked to score it on a scale which normally goes from A to C they gave it an F.

There have only been two other movies in this decade which have received such an appalling score.

It doesn't look as if all that much was spent on the plotline either.

Cameron Diaz plays a cash poor mother who is offered a million dollars by a stranger if she will press the button on the box (see how they got the movie name? The Box, the box, geddit?). Then bad things start to happen around her like her son going deaf and blind.

Ho hum, this sotry has been around formillenia: it's Pandora's Box all over again. Back then the last thing out of the boxd was hope: which might not be what is in store for Cameron Diaz's film career if she keeps making stinkers like this one.

Carrie Prejean: eight sex tapes now

My, this story just keeps getting better. Apparently we're up to eight Carrie Prejean sex tapes now. Plus around 30 nude photos floating around.

Carrie Prejean, you will remember, is the Miss California who just failed to become Miss America. And then got herself involved in a legal fight with the pageant organisers: a fight which she folded in when the existence of a solo sex tape was revealed.

She also rather holds herself up as being a representative of the true conservative and Christian values of america: something which is really rather difficult when there are supposed to be eight sex tapes floating around out there of you.

It'll be interesting to see whether the tapes do get released or not....

Belle de Jour uncovered

The real name behind Belle de Jour has been uncovered. It's Dr. Elizabeth Magnanti.

There has for years been speculation about who it might have been: all sorts of unlikely people were suggested as possibly being the blogger turned author who wrote about her adventures in prostitution.

But now the secret is out: she's a research scientist who went on the game simply to pay the bills.

The other part of the secret, that she's a darn good writer, we've known for ages.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yes, I do want one

Pictured to the left there is something which I'm really rather keen on getting hold of. It's a fire pit table. It's a clever little design that gets around the problem we've got with the traditionally designed fire or fireplace. That problem being of course that as soon as you put something in front of you to place things on then you've just put something between you and the source of the heat: which really isn't the point at all. You want the heat to be flooding all over you rather than being reflected away from you and/or simply heating up the table.

So the point about fire pit tables is that you've got the fire and the table combined. As you can see there you can each sit at the table, with a book, glass of wine, cup of coffee, and yet you're still facing the fire and getting the benefit of the heat. Which is, as above, what we're really trying to achieve here, staying warm and also being able to have somewhere to put things. The perceptive might also note that this is a boon for slow eaters: it'll help keep your food warm!

Now the reason I want one of these is because while we do indeed live in sunny climes we also live near an ocean. And some will know what that entails. While it's warm in the day and of course much of social life is conducted outside in gardens, come the fall of night it becomes quite chilly rather quickly. So something like a fire pit table is an excellent addition to the set of garden furniture: it extends by several hours the period of the day when one can entertain without finding ones teeth chattering and knees knocking. So another one for the purchase list.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Alizee Paradis: hot athlete

OK, so there are awards and there are awards: being the hottest female NCAA athlete of the decade may or may not be one of those awards that ranks highly in your estimation.

But it does seem to be one that Alizee Paradis has just been nominated for.

The reasoning seems to be that she is French Canadian (the exoitc and different is always hot) and has a taste for being photographed insmall bikinis: smaller than might be justified by her body weight. We of course approve of this latter habit in attractive young women but we're not sure if it's a skill in particularly short supply.

Oh, should we have mentioned that the competition and the award are being run by "Busted"? Yes, that does help to explain the above doesn't it?

The Heene's plead guilty in balloon boy case

OK, so it has to be said that this balloon boy case added to the gaiety and joy of the nation but it now seems to have come to an end.

The parents seem to have admitted that the whole thing was indeed a hoax and that they knew all along that the boy wasnt' in the balloon:

Richard Heene, the father accused of pulling a spectacular hoax by reporting his son, Falcon, was aboard a runaway balloon has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant.

Richard and Mayumi Heene appeared in a Colorado court on Friday. Mr Heene, 48, entered a guilty plea and his wife, Mayumi -a 45-year-old Japanese national who could have been deported if convicted of more serious charges - admitted a misdemeanor offense of false reporting to authorities.

Purely as a personal thing I hate it when pressure like that over immigration status is put on people in order to get them to plead: but there is a reason for the system.

Larry King baffles Carrie Prejean

This really is the story that keeps on giving, isn't it? Carrie Prejean and her efforts to, umm, well, be more than simply a Valley airhead?

OK, so there was the breat augmentation which she didn't pay for, then the Perez Hilton thing about gay marriage, then the entirely hilarious attempt to portray herself as a good little Christian conservative which fell over after the sex tape was released. And now this:

In the end both sides backed down and settled. But it was the detail of this agreement that prompted Ms Prejean’s latest implosion, this time on Larry King’s show. Asked to explain why she dropped her claim she repeatedly insisted that the question was “inappropriate”. When King pushed harder Ms Prejean attempted to storm out — but couldn’t work out how to disconnect her microphone. Instead, she sat at the interview desk without her earpiece, mouthing questions to an off-set handler as a baffled King tried to continue the interview.

I guess all she needs now is either to shoot a Moose or get a UI and she'd be about ready for prime time politics, don't you think?

There's water on the Moon!

One of the questions we've long wanted an answer to is the one: is there water on the Moon?

Of course, no one thinks that there's going to be running water on the surface: there's not enough atmosphere for that. But is there ice where the sun don't shine? Or perhaps water further underground?

Amazingly, we now know that there is indeed water on the Moon.

Nasa has found 'a significant amount' of water inside a crater on the Moon in a discovery that could pave the way for the first manned lunar base.

The agency announced that last month's audacious attempt to smash two spacecraft into the Moon's rocky surface to find ice was a major success.

Excellent news at it makes that idea of having a permanent Moon base that much easier. Roll on that, he exploration of the asteroids and by the way, where is my flying car?

Jayce Lee Dugard's rapist: cured by Jesus!

Hallelulah Brother! What joy there will be in heaven as one sinner repenteth.

Phil Garrido, the man who is alleged to have kidnapped and then raped Jaycee Lee dugard over a period of 18 years now claims that he has in fact been cured of his sexual deviancy by Jesus.

The story is here.

There is of course a slight problem with this very story: which is that he's claimed to have been cured only after he's been caught, arrested and charged. It would of course be extremely cynical to try and insist that if the Grace of Jesus had descended at some earlier date he should have let Jaycee go, wouldn't it?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Costumes aren't just for Halloween

Perhaps it's because I'm not originally an American that I think that costumes and dressing up are not just for Halloween. Where I come from we don't place that emphasis on that party day: so getting all dressed up isn't something we associate solely with that day.

And of course this is the correct way to look at things: getting dressed up is fun, putting on a role is fun and, if you're going to the right sort of parties at least, going to parties is fun. Anytime, any excuse is a reason for a costume party. For, of course, one of the things that happens is that female inhibitions slightly go to the winds: if one is playing a role, why not? So there are always those in girls sexy costumes which adds interest and spice to any evening.

Again because of my national background, there's something always rather interesting about those wearing things like the Lock-Lace Bodice costumes you can see if you click through: it's very similar to the sort of thing usually worn by the "principal boy" (who is of course the leading lady) in Pantomime.

Oh, and if you're going to have more than just that one costume party a year, do read through the blog for other tips: the one about making sure the make up matches the costume is only one of the good ones they've got there.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Why would anyone say Allahu Akbar

This is an interesting little post about the phrase Allahu Akbar. OK, so it's often used simply as an everday expression of joy, it's an integral part of prayers in Islamic countries.

It can also be a war cry: for Allahu Akbar (or Allahu Akhbar sometimes) literally means "God is Great". But it's aslo much more than that, for Allahu Akbar can mean:

Allahu Akbar can also be used as a fast and colloquial manner of converting to Islam. The simple repetition of the phrase three times, "Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar" is taken by most Islamic jurists as being sufficient expression of the core Islamic beliefs that those who say it are now Muslim. Traditionally (and perhaps anecdotally) those who say this either in battle or afterwards when captured will be deemed to have converted, become part of the Ummah (the Islamic community) and thus no longer be considered as enemies.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Teanne Harris

Yes, I agree, we should be praising Teanne Harris. The jilted bride with the heart of gold.

You can get more details at that link but the basics are simple enough. Teanne Harris was told by her fiance 6 days before the wedding that it was off. So she tried to get the deposit back on her Halloween themed wedding party: no go.

So, Teanne invited all the residents of the old folks home across the street to a Halloween party. On her wedding day that wasn't.

Bravo, Hurrah and a chorus of "For She's a Jolly Good Fellow" and so say all of us.

Damn right too, this blog's heroine of the day, Teanne Harris.

Absolutely nothing at all to do with this bloggers prediliction for redheads who enjoy their food, nothing at all.

Finishing off the house

As regular readers will know we're in the process of finishing off this new (to us) house down here and are now engaged in the final process of finishing off. You know the sort of thing, making sure the gates are properly painted, has the plumber left his number in case there's something wrong, getting the mailbox put up. Once we've finished all of that we can put it back on the market, sell and then start all over again!

But of course that process, especially where we are, takes months to actually manage. So there's still some debate between my wife and I as to whether we should have something like that farm bell, or dinner bell, above or not.

Sadly for both our states of mind we're both in two minds about it: both on both sides of the question according to what we've thought of last. Think of it this way as the background.

On the plus side, we're in a rural area, so it isn't like we're going to be waking up the neighbourhood when we use it. We've a load of dogs and cats that would learn that the clanging meant dinner time so they would come in from the fields. Heck, my office is some way from the house and I could be trained to do the same. That's the positive side of having a farm bell.

On the negative side, well, the animals all come in for meal times anyway: often before them and remind us in fact. My office isn't that far away: I can usually tell not just when dinner is cooking but what is cooking for dinner just by smell. So do we actually need a dinner bell?

Hmm, put that way the choice is really pretty simple, isn't it? There's no really good positive reason to have one other than it would be nice and there's no negative reason not to have one other than, well, we don't really need it but it still would be nice.

So that'll be we get one then, yes?

There is still crucifixion you know

You and I might have thought that it was all terribly out of date, consigned to the history books. But no, there is still modern day crucifixion. It is a little different, to be sure, but probably not something that we wish to bring back.

A man in Saudi Arabia was actually crucified today. At noon their time. His crime was to have raped a series of young boys and then leaving the youngest of them, aged only 3, to die in the desert.

For this his sentence was to be beheaded, his body then put up on a cross as a warning to other potential sexual criminals.

Yes, crucifixion still exists.

How to return a costume

Given the date how to return a costume sounds like a useful piece of advice. Or perhaps more importantly, whether you can return a costume. For it's not always true that we'll only get the one costume for Halloween, so what do we, should we, can we, do with any excess ones that we've got?

Well, perhaps the first and most important thing about holiday costume returns (and this applies year round of course, not just this week) is that yes, it is possible to return some costumes. However, it isn't possible to return all so the full details on what you can and cannot do are there at that link.

Probably the most important and obvious point to be made is that you cannot return things that you've worn and thus mussde up. Definitely no returns of underpants that have been worn for example (yes, even if it was the Superman costume and they were outside your tights).

Actually, a good rule of thumb (although do check, as I say, at the link for the full details) is that you can return really, properly, unused costumes: things that are still in the original packaging. Everything else, well, it depends.