Friday, August 31, 2007

Yang Yang's panda cub

Neat how she has the cub held in her mouth!

Yang Yang and her panda cub

Red Sox haiku

I'm sure this wouldn't catch on here in Boston!

I hate the Red Sox.
They clog traffic WAY too much.
Leave Boston, Red Sox.

new NFL logo

Which do you prefer?

1980 and 2008 NFL logos

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Top 25 Changes in the Ways We Travel

From online booking and paperless tickets to those frustrating TSA screening lines, the travel landscape has shifted dramatically over the past quarter-century.

The USA TODAY travel team picks 25 pivotal changes that transformed the way we travel.

1 Online booking

Computer geeks with an affinity for alphabet-soup fare codes could access flight information as early as the mid-1980s. But PC Travel’s nationwide debut in 1994 helped jump-start the growth of online booking sites such as Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and dozens of others — including Priceline and its revolutionary “name your own price” concept. This year, Internet sales will represent more than half of all travel bookings;

Tim Dillon, USA TODAY

2 TSA airport security

Created after 9/11, the Transportation Security Administration drastically altered the carry-on rules. Now passengers wait in line, shoeless, jacketless and clutching toiletry-filled transparent baggies.

3 Airline e-tickets

Ticketless air travel began in October 1993, when ValuJet, a predecessor of AirTran, sold the first paperless airline ticket. A family from Washington state bought the first paperless tickets ever sold via the Internet from Alaska Airlines in December 1995.

4 Roll-aboard luggage

Working out of his garage in 1987, Northwest Airlines pilot Robert Plath affixed wheels and a pull-out handle to a suitcase, creating the first rolling, vertical carry-on. Available only to the airline industry at first, he mass-marketed his Travelpro Rollaboard in 1991.

5 Smoke-free flights

Northwest Airlines became the first major U.S. carrier to ban smoking on its North American flights in 1988. At the same time, a federal regulation took effect to bar lighting up on flights of less than two hours. In 1995, Delta was the first to ban smoking on all flights.


6 Boutique hotel chains

In 1983, Bill Kimpton opened his second San Francisco hotel, effectively launching the USA’s first boutique lodging group. Kimpton Hotels jump-started the move toward high style, personalized service and individual design in small- to medium-size urban lodgings.

Jack Gruber, USA TODAY

7 Airports as malls

Pittsburgh’s airport pioneered a revolutionary concept in 1992: guaranteed street pricing in its shops and restaurants. This brought in major chains and led to the “mallification” of U.S. airports.

8 Indian casinos

Once considered illicit outlets for crooked mobsters, casinos spread nationwide after a 1988 federal law sanctioned Indian gaming on reservations and tribal land. Today, about 40% of the nation’s 562 tribes run gaming operations in 28 states.


9 GPS car-navigation systems

We were lost, and now we’re found, thanks to these all-knowing devices, which began popping up in cars in the 1990s. Tapping U.S. satellite signals, they offer befuddled travelers turn-by-turn directions.

10 Self-service ticketing kiosks

Do-it-yourself ticketing kiosks started appearing in airports in 1994, although Southwest had a rudimentary self-ticketing machine as early as 1979.

Pierre Verdy, AFP/Getty

11 Airbus A380 SuperJumbo

This mammoth airliner, introduced this year with a capacity of 853 passengers, ended the Boeing 747’s 38-year reign as the world’s largest passenger jet.

12 Airline code-sharing

Begun in the mid-1980s, it allowed one airline to sell seats on flights operated by partner airlines. As a result, passengers could book flights on their preferred carrier and accrue its frequent-flier miles without ever actually boarding one of its planes.


13 Seat-back entertainment systems

When Northwest Airlines tested the first in-seat video system in 1988, it launched an arms race in seat-back entertainment that continues with the rollout of video-on-demand and live TV.

14 Yield management

Yield management — dirty words to travelers who discover that their seatmate paid half as much as they did — was developed in the mid-1980s by American Airlines and now is used universally by airlines, hotels and rental car companies. It allows them to adjust prices in real time based on various factors affecting demand.

George Frey, Bloomberg News

15 The Mirage, Las Vegas

Las Vegas tourism was sagging when Steve Wynn opened the $630 million, 3,049-room Mirage casino/hotel — The Strip’s first mega-resort — in 1989. It revived Sin City and helped propel it into the most-visited city in the USA.

16 Westin's Heavenly Bed

Westin Hotels scored an overnight sensation in 1999 when it introduced the pillow-top mattress shrouded in three high-thread-count cotton sheets and topped with a down blanket, duvet, comforter and five goose-feather pillows. Other major lodging chains soon beefed up their own boudoirs.

17 Trip Advisor

Tens of millions of consumers got to voice their views on where to stay and what to do after TripAdvisor created its Internet forum in 2000. The website set the standard for user reviews of hotels, restaurants and attractions.

18 Flights without meals

Airline passengers suddenly faced in-flight hunger pangs when on Sept. 14, 2001, America West said it would stop serving meals because of 9/11 security measures. Others soon eliminated free coach-class meals to save costs.


19 Sovereign of the Seas

Royal Caribbean reinvented the cruise business in 1988 with the launch of what is often billed as the world’s first mega-ship. It featured unprecedented resort-like amenities and carried a then-astounding 2,852 passengers.

20 Ascent of low-cost airlines

The low-cost concept, with its simple fare structure, single passenger class, limited in-flight service and use of secondary airports, soared when Southwest Airlines expanded nationwide in the early 1990s. Low-cost carriers now fly worldwide.

21 Affinity credit cards

American Airlines and Citibank revolutionized the way we earn miles in 1987 with the first mile-earning credit card. The basic concept, 1 mile for every dollar charged, still is the rule. It allowed even non-!frequent fliers to accrue miles.

Al Behrman, AP

22 High-tech roller coasters

The inverted coaster, pioneered at Six Flags Great America in 1992, literally turned theme parks’ biggest attractions upside down — and spawned a new generation of !stomach-churning scream machines.

23 Queen Mary 2

The age of grand ocean liners was over. Or so people thought before Cunard brazenly (and successfully) launched the 2,592-passenger Queen Mary 2, the largest, tallest and longest ocean liner ever, in 2004.

24 Flying beds

Air France introduced the first 180-degree flat-bed seats in its first-class compartments in 1995. Four years later, British Airways was the first airline to install beds in business class.

Mike Tsukamoto, USA TODAY

25 End of commerical supersonic travel

Doomed by high fuel costs and environmental opposition, the Concorde made its last flight in 2003 after more than three decades of service. It remains an icon of aviation design and engineering.

Source: USA TODAY reporting and writing by Laura Bly, Jayne Clark, Dan Reed, Jerry Shriver, Gene Sloan and Gary Stoller. Photo research by Kevin Eans, USA TODAY.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Miss South Carolina has some trouble

Monday, August 27, 2007

6-month post-Katrina statistics

At the six-month point in the storm recovery process in Biloxi, here were the available numbers:

  • 3,167 – number of students in Biloxi public schools when classes resumed Sept. 26 (compared to 6,125 enrolled pre-storm). Five months after the storm, enrollment was at 4,321.
  • $54,795 – amount of gaming tax city would be collecting per day if casinos were operating ($20 million a year; 35 percent of city’s annual operating revenue)
  • $92,000 – amount city agreed to pay in July 2005 for a $10
    million business interruption insurance policy in the
    event casinos were shut down by a storm
  • $500,000 – amount of gaming tax state lost each day Biloxi casinos after Katrina.
  • More than 2.08 million cubic yards – amount of storm debris that had been removed from city streets and public rights-of-way since the storm. This amount of debris would cover a football field with and stand more than 97 stories high. City leaders estimate that about 75 percent of the debris had been removed six months after the storm.
  • More than 5,000 – total number of building and repair permits the city had issued five months after the storm.
  • $50 million – initial estimate on cost of removing debris from city rights of way (number will increase with removal of debris from private property, which is in the offing)
  • 52 – Number of confirmed storm fatalities in Biloxi, as reported Jan. 31 by Harrison County Gary T. Hargrove. Of the 53 confirmed fatalities in Biloxi, a figure that includes one unidentified male, Hargrove said the average age was 58, with youngest being 22 and oldest, 90; and 14 were females and 39 were males.
  • Sale taxes generated in Dec '04: $1.169 million
  • Sale taxes generated in Dec. '05: $948,122

Sunday, August 26, 2007

In Nature's Casino

Statistics from The New York Times Magazine:

$110,000,000,000: damages from U.S. weather disasters in 2005
790,000: insurance claims from Hurricane Andrew
$7,000,000,000,000: of insured coastal property nationwide
85%: California homeowners without earthquake insurance

$40,600,000,000: paid by insurers for damage caused by Hurricane Katrina
1,200,000: homeowners' insurance claims for Katrina
99%: those claims which have been settled
$15,700,000,000: in Katrina-related federal flood insurance claims

$8,000,000,000: in insured losses from U.S. tornadoes and related weather events in 2006
$5,210,000,000: damages from a single 1973 tornado in Georgia (in 2007 dollars)
678,906: acres destroyed by California wildfires in 2006
$11,800,000,000: in insured damages from the 1989 San Francisco earthquake (in 2007 dollars)

Matilda's song

EMpress q TAZZA bean, she IS as cute AS a bean.

The capitalized stuff is where the stresses are. You'd have to hear it to appreciate it!

"Champion Q Tazza Bean" is Matilda's made-up champion name, like the ones the dog-show dogs have.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Gekhman Robot Dance

Pretty cool.

Michael Vick

David Von Drehle of Time says:

...A number of people have argued that the punishment is far too harsh, given that pit bulls have been bred over several centuries to fight and that, after all, these are just dogs in a world where worse cruelties are suffered by humans. And why should a killer of dogs go to prison while butchers of hogs go to the fair?

All good points. Perfect consistency may be too much to expect, however, from our veneer of civilization. The Vick case isn't about children of farming; it is about suffering and death as entertainment. A modern gladiator, of all people, ought to know what's wrong with that.

Friday, August 24, 2007

more food toxins dogs should avoid

Q. Which foods could be dangerous for my dog?

A. Some foods which are edible for humans, and even other species of animals, can pose hazards for dogs because of their different metabolism. Some may cause only mild digestive upsets, whereas, others can cause severe illness, and even death. The following common food items should not be fed (intentionally or unintentionally) to dogs. This list is, of course, incomplete because we can not possibly list everything your dog should not eat.

Items to avoid Reasons to avoid
Alcoholic beverages Can cause intoxication, coma, and death.
Baby food Can contain onion powder, which can be toxic to dogs. (Please see onion below.) Can also result in nutritional deficiencies, if fed in large amounts.
Bones from fish, poultry, or other meat sources Can cause obstruction or laceration of the digestive system.
Cat food Generally too high in protein and fats.
Chocolate, coffee, tea, and other caffeine Contain caffeine, theobromine, or theophylline, which can be toxic and affect the heart and nervous systems.
Citrus oil extracts Can cause vomiting.
Fat trimmings Can cause pancreatitis.
Grapes and raisins Contain an unknown toxin, which can damage the kidneys. There have been no problems associated with grape seed extract.
Hops Unknown compound causes panting, increased heart rate, elevated temperature, seizures, and death.
Human vitamin supplements containing iron Can damage the lining of the digestive system and be toxic to the other organs including the liver and kidneys.
Large amounts of liver Can cause Vitamin A toxicity, which affects muscles and bones.
Macadamia nuts Contain an unknown toxin, which can affect the digestive and nervous systems and muscle.
Marijuana Can depress the nervous system, cause vomiting, and changes in the heart rate.
Milk and other dairy products Some adult dogs and cats do not have sufficient amounts of the enzyme lactase, which breaks down the lactose in milk. This can result in diarrhea. Lactose-free milk products are available for pets.
Moldy or spoiled food, garbage Can contain multiple toxins causing vomiting and diarrhea and can also affect other organs.
Mushrooms Can contain toxins, which may affect multiple systems in the body, cause shock, and result in death.
Onions and garlic (raw, cooked, or powder) Contain sulfoxides and disulfides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anemia. Cats are more susceptible than dogs. Garlic is less toxic than onions.
Persimmons Seeds can cause intestinal obstruction and enteritis.
Pits from peaches and plums Can cause obstruction of the digestive tract.
Potato, rhubarb, and tomato leaves; potato and tomato stems Contain oxalates, which can affect the digestive, nervous, and urinary systems. This is more of a problem in livestock.
Raw eggs Contain an enzyme called avidin, which decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin). This can lead to skin and hair coat problems. Raw eggs may also contain Salmonella.
Raw fish Can result in a thiamine (a B vitamin) deficiency leading to loss of appetite, seizures, and in severe cases, death. More common if raw fish is fed regularly.
Salt If eaten in large quantities it may lead to electrolyte imbalances.
String Can become trapped in the digestive system; called a "string foreign body."
Sugary foods Can lead to obesity, dental problems, and possibly diabetes mellitus.
Table scraps (in large amounts) Table scraps are not nutritionally balanced. They should never be more than 10% of the diet. Fat should be trimmed from meat; bones should not be fed.
Tobacco Contains nicotine, which affects the digestive and nervous systems. Can result in rapid heart beat, collapse, coma, and death.
Yeast dough Can expand and produce gas in the digestive system, causing pain and possible rupture of the stomach or intestines.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

skin cancer/melanoma: ABCD

Learn (!!!!!!!!!!!) these ABCDs (Asymmetry/Border/Color/Diameter): of skin cancer/melanoma...please! It's all too common and too deadly:

ABCDs of melanoma/skin cancer

Mother Theresa's crisis of faith

"What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You are also not true."

known fruit/vegetable toxins to dogs

Yikes...I could've easily fed grapes to my dog, Matilda! :-( Thanks to my mother for calling me today to warn me about grapes and raisins.

Known Food Toxins To Dogs: Fruits, Vegetables, Food

Apple, Almond, Apricot, Peach, Wild Cherries, Plum, Balsam Pear, Prunes and similar fruit: Diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, (Stem, Seeds and Leaves) The seeds of most fruits contain cyanide, which is poisonous to dogs as well as humans.

Avocados: The fruit, pit and plant are all toxic. They can cause difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation in the chest, abdomen and heart

Broccoli: reported to be pretty potent gastrointestinal irritant

Cherry: rapid breathing, shock, mouth inflammation, heart rate increase

Chocolate: seizures, coma, hyperactivity, rapid heart beat, tremors, death. Bakers chocolate is the most dangerous. A dog can consume milk chocolate and appear to be fine because it is not as concentrated but is still very dangerous.
• 1 oz per lb of body weight for (2 oz per kg) of body weight for bakers chocolate
• 1 oz per 3 lbs of body weight (1 oz per 1.5 kg body weight) for semi-sweet chocolate
• 1 oz per 9lbs of body weight (1 oz per 4 kg) for bakers chocolate
• Please keep in mind that these are only guidelines, and if you suspect your pet had ingested chocolate, please keep an eye out for ANY signs of poisoning! Every dog reacts differently to quantity.

Coffee/Tea: Drinks/Foods: containing caffeine or sugar may cause many of the same symptoms chocolate causes.

Cooked Bones: uncooked bones should be safe but if they are cooked you should refrain because they deteriorate and easily splinter. Can cause extensive damage to internal organs and passage ways, may times resulting in death.

Mushrooms: acute gastric effects, liver and kidney damage, abdominal pain, nausea, salivation, vomiting

Nutmeg: tremors, seizures and death

Tobacco: nausea, salivation, vomiting, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)

Onion: (cats are more sensitive), gastrointestinal upset, hemolytic anemia, heinz body anemia, hemogloinria, destroys red blood cells

Grapes, Raisins, Prunes: kidney failure, as little as a single serving of grapes or raisins can kill a dog. It takes anywhere from 9 oz to 2 lbs of grapes and raisins (between .041 and 1.1 oz/kg of body weight), to cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, and possible kidney failure

Salt: excessive intake can cause kidney problems

Raw Eggs: Many people feed raw eggs to their dogs but keep in mind that they can contain salmonella. Dogs do have a higher immunity against salmonella poisoning but are not immune and have been reported to get it from uncooked eggs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

good lookin'!

Jason Isaacs, as Lucius Malfoy:

Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy

pretty Indian motorcycle

I wouldn't mind having this!


Top 25 Scientific Breakthroughs

In 1982, a human genome was a science-fiction fantasy and the space shuttle was state-of-the-art science. The field of science has stretched ever-more widely into everyday life since then, bringing us cellphones, web browsing and the promise of a biotechnology bonanza.

With help from long-time science observers, USA TODAY's Dan Vergano counts down the 25 top milestones.

1 Accelerating universe (1998)

Exploding stars, receding at an ever-faster pace, stunned scientists by showing that an anti-gravity effect is relentlessly expanding the universe. This expansion still defies explanation.

2 Human genome (1999)

Competing public and private teams declared victory in mapping human DNA’s 24,000 or so genes, ushering in a coming era of gene-based medicine.


3 Climate accord (2001-2007)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change went from finding global warming “very likely” to “unequivocal,” a view that coincides with growing public acceptance.


4 Hubble launched (1990)

The Hubble space telescope overcame early mirror distortions to become astronomy’s most productive observatory and a symbol of scientific achievement.

5 Big Bang fingerprinted (1992)

NASA’s Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) probe mapped the fiery Big Bang’s aftermath, detecting hot spots in the early universe that coalesced into galaxies.

Mike Groll, AP

6 DNA fingerprinting (1985)

Sir Alec Jeffreys at the United Kingdom’s University of Leicester announced a method of identifying individuals based only on their DNA, now a fundamental forensics tool. Made famous by television’s CSI series, DNA fingerprinting has been used to imprison many convicts, and free others, raising questions about the justice system in its wake.


7 Hello Dolly! (1996)

Ian Wilmut of Scotland’s Roslin Institute led the team behind the birth of the first cloned mammal, a sheep named Dolly, preceding horses, bulls, dogs and others.

8 Worldwide Web (1989)

Physicist Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in Switzerland unveils a method to link pages through the Internet as a way to share research. And now everything else.


9 Ozone unmasked (1987)

High over Antarctica, NASA scientists confirmed that chlorofluorocarbons — aerosols and refrigerants — were eating stratospheric ozone; a ban promises recovery for this layer of protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

AFP/Getty Images

10 Extrasolar planets (1995)

Swiss astronomers Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz report the first detection of a planet, named 51 Pegasi B, orbiting a nearby sun-like star. Over 200 “exoplanets” are now known, including one found in a nearby star’s “habitable” zone.

Martin Oeser, AFP/Getty Images

11 RNA interference (1998)

Working with worms, biologists Andrew Fire and Craig Mello report how RNA can selectively shut down genes, a dazzling research and medical tool.

12 Top quark detected (1995)

Atom-smashing physicists at Fermilab, a federal research facility, detect the top quark, a long-sought sub-atomic particle. Confirmation of its existence cements the modern understanding of the structure of matter.

Miami Science Museum, AP

13 Feathered dino found (1992)

U.S. and Chinese researchers find the remains of the first of many feathered-dinosaur fossils, confirming growing paleontological perception that birds are in fact, descended from dinosaurs.


14 Pluto dethroned (2006)

The discovery of Eris, a frozen world larger and farther away than Pluto, spurs the International Astronomical Union to disown the ninth planet.


15 Embryonic stem cells (1997)

A University of Wisconsin team first isolates human embryonic stem cells, master cells that may one day be used to create rejection-free transplant tissues. Destruction of embryos to harvest the cells remains controversial.


16 Water on Mars (2000-2004)

Spurred by a Martian meteorite that might hold fossil bacteria, NASA revs up its Mars program, with satellite images and the rover, Opportunity, finding that salty seas once sat on the Red Planet.


17 Oldest hominid (1994)

A 4.4 million-year-old Ethiopian fossil, Ardipithecus ramidus, presented by a University of California, Berkeley, team, predates all known human species.

Carolyn Kaster, AP

18 Intelligent design suit (2005)

Reaching “the inescapable conclusion that ID (intelligent design) is an interesting theological argument, but that it is not science,” federal judge John Jones halts a Dover, Pa., school board’s bid to suggest to science students that an “intelligent designer” created life.

19 Neutrino mass discovered (1998)

Measuring cosmic rays, U.S. and Japanese physicists show that neutrinos — elementary radioactive decay particles — have mass, contradicting a previous belief and offering a surprising hint about a new theory of matter in the universe. The find also spurs searches for leftover neutrinos from the Big Bang.

John McConnico, AP

20 Abrupt climate change (1982-85)

Geologists and paleoclimatologists find evidence that sudden climate shifts, 60-degree temperature jumps and doubling of rainfall in some places, have occurred within the last 600 million years. Some worry manmade global warming will spark similar shifts.


21 Neuroscience explodes (1990-present)

The “Decade of the Brain” premieres new imaging devices that reveal how the brain really works.

22 Quantum teleportation (1998)

European researchers transfer — instantaneously and over distance — one light particle’s characteristics to another, opening a new secure method of communication.

23 Evo devo (1999)

Evidence that evolution alters genes active in infancy to create novel physical structures in species coalesces into a new branch of biology.


24 Golden age of solar astronomy (1996)

The international Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) sun-watching satellites begin operations, opening up solar seismology and space weather forecasting.

Artistic rendering by Peter Schouten via AFP

25 Hobbit discovered (2004)

Still controversial, the discovery on an Indonesian island of Homo floresiensis — an 18,000-year-old, pint-sized human species — by an Indonesian-Australian team stuns paleontologists because of the small brain size of these tool-using hunters.

Source: Compiled and written by William Keck, Karen Thomas, Donna Freydkin, Andrea Mandell, Ann Oldenburg, Lorena Blas, Robyn Abzug and Susan O’Brian. Photo research by Kevin Eans, USA TODAY.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

quitting-smoking's benefits

Q. How long after I quit smoking are there benefits?

1. 20 minutes: blood pressure

Sooner than you think. According to, after a few minutes your blood pressure returns to normal levels.
2. two days: taste and smell
Keep it up for 48 hours and your senses of smell and taste return, while your risk of having a heart attack begins to decrease.
3. three days: bronchial tubes
After 72 hours the bronchial tubes relax and your overall energy levels begin to increase. You can walk up stairs again!
4. one year: heart disease
In 12 months the probability of having a heart attack drops by half.
5. five years: stroke
At this point the likelihood of your brain getting punked returns to that of a nonsmoker.
6. ten years: lung cancer
After a decade your odds of a death sentence return to non-smoker status. Five more years and your heart attack risk falls to ordinary levels.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Golden Girls: "The Great Herring War"

This was great. Rose takes a ride.

swimming white tiger

Cool how the eyes squint under water!

swimming white tiger
swimming white tiger 2
swimming white tiger 3


my name in QR code"Carroll Atlee Hardin Cadden" in QR code

Friday, August 17, 2007

Purgatorio...not a divine comedy

I'm sure I'd feel the same way. From Harper's Magazine:

From a May letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, signed by 310 prisoners serving life sentences for murder, the only crime that carries a life sentence in Italy, which banned the death penalty for all crimes in 1994. Translated from the Italian by Stefania Heim.

Dear Mr. President of the Republic:

We are tired of dying a little bit each day. We have decided to die once and for all, and we ask that our penalties of life imprisonment be converted to penalties of death. To be not dead but not alive either--life imprisonment turns light into shadow, it kills you inside bit by bit: a death in small doses. It renders life useless, makes the future seem the same as the past. It crushes the present and takes away hope. To a life prisoner, only life remains. But life without a future is less than nothing. It is flat and everlasting. Life imprisonment is the invention of an Antichrist with a malice that transcends the imaginations. It is a victory over death, stronger than death itself.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

horse-racing info

I don't support horse racing, since 800 thoroughbreds die every year as a result of race-related injuries, but I've always wondered what the track talk means. Here's what it is:

1. Track Talk

According to Bob Ike, pro handicapper at California's Del Mar Racetrack, the first step is knowing the basic wagers: A win bet pays only if your horse finishes first; a place bet means your horse has to finish either first of second; and a show bet pays is a horse comes in first, second, or third. Learn these terms or risk getting laughed out of the grandstand, ticket in hand.
2. Red Flags
Horses race in three classes: Stakes horses are the best in the country, allowance horses are the next level down, and claiming horses are for sale (and therefore include a monetary value). Pay attention to anything jumping around from class to class: If a horse drops from a $40,000 allowance race into a $10,000 claiming race, watch out--the animal might be unsound.
3. Multi-Pass
If you don't want to bet on just one horse, you can wager on multiple horses to finish in a specific order (1st and 2nd = exacta, 1st through 3rd = trifecta, 1st through 4th = superfecta). "Exotic" wagers like this can pay big, but the amount depends on the size of the betting pool and how many people picked the winning combo (minus the track's take of about 14 to 20 percent).
4. Wheels Up
You are also able to compromise and "wheel" a bet so that one pick must win, but several others can finish elsewhere (to wheel the 5 over the 2 and 8 in an exacta, for instance, means the 5 must win but either the 2 or 8 can finish second). Take this one step further with a trifecta key and pick four horses--one to win and two of the remaining three to finish in second and third.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

(American) Idol worship

Poor hyper-religious folks, going overboard with their opinions:

Mandisa says Idol “goes against everything that I stand for,” prays for the judges recent stories about American Idol 5

American Idol 5 finalist Mandisa has used the show as a platform to sell a record and her memoir, but she says the show “goes against everything that I stand for,” in part because of its name.

Mandisa tells BeliefNet, “I really did feel led to do it [the show]. The Lord really did use it for his glory and to build up his people. But certainly I do not endorse idol worship by any means. The fact that I was using that platform for his glory I guess is why I believe that it was okay. But I wouldn’t mind if they changed the title.”

As to the judges, she says she prays for them regularly, and the presence of Christians on the show is in part to help the judges. “I don’t think it’s a coincidence there have been so many Christians on American Idol. I think that that’s for America to see, but I also do think that it’s for the judges as well. And so, I do pray for him, and Randy and for Paula as well,” she said.

Mandisa also prays for her CD. “I do pray for specific things about my CD, that it would get into the hands of the people who will be blessed by it. And I pray that my book would get into the hands of people who would be inspired and encouraged by it, and convicted by it,” she said.

my new motorcycle helmet

An Arai Quantum/e Takudo Sakata (125cc MotoGP):

Arai Sakata helmet left side
Arai Sakata helmet center
Arai Sakata helmet right side

the danger of plastic bags

Why do we need to stop using plastic bags? Some top reasons:

1. They are made from petroleum, which means they biodegrade in the reasonable timeframe of NEVER.
2. They get mixed in with other recyclables at the plant and slow down processing times, costing everyone a lot of money.
3. They end up in the oceans, beaches, and everywhere, killing adorable animals.

If you need more reasons than that, read Katharine Mieszkowski's article on Salon, and then go out and buy a reusable shopping bag, stat.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Top 25 Notable Celebrity Quotes

Most celebrities are not known for their intellectual prowess, but they have provided words that wowed us, from insight or sheer audacity. The USA TODAY People staff picks some stunning sound bites from stars over the past 25 years.

USA TODAY reporting and writing by William Keck, Karen Thomas, Donna Freydkin, Andrea Mandell, Ann Oldenburg, Lorena Blas, Robyn Abzug and Susan O'Brian.

1 "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

Princess Diana, in a 1995 BBC interview, on her marriage to Prince Charles. They divorced in 1996, and she died a year later. The third party, Camilla Parker Bowles, became Charles’ wife in 2005.

Louis Goldman, Handout

2 "I’m tough. I’m ambitious. And I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, OK.”

Madonna in People, July 27, 1992. It was a big year for her, with the movie A League of Their Own, her Sex book and her Erotica album.

3 “Why can’t you share your bed? The most loving thing to do is to share your bed with someone.”

Michael Jackson, defending his practice of letting boys share his bed in a Feb. 3, 2003, interview with BBC/Granada’s Martin Bashir. The interview led to molestation charges; Jackson was acquitted in June 2005.

Douglas Pizar, AP

4 “I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you ... I bid you a very heartfelt goodnight.”

Johnny Carson, saying his final goodbye on The Tonight Show, May 22, 1992. The late-night legend died in January 2005.

5 “Well, I can wear heels now.”

Nicole Kidman to David Letterman on Aug. 2, 2001, after her split from Tom Cruise. Both have since remarried, he to actress Katie Holmes, and she to country singer Keith Urban.

Eric Draper, AP

6 “In the end, you have to come clean and say, ‘I did something dishonorable, shabby and goatish.’.”

Hugh Grant to Jay Leno on The Tonight Show, July 10, 1995, explaining his June arrest for lewd behavior with a Los Angeles prostitute. Grant pleaded no contest. Girlfriend Elizabeth Hurley stuck by him, but they split five years later. They remain friends.

7 “This town is a back-stabbing, scum-sucking, small-minded town, but thanks for the money.”

Roseanne Barr, in an ad she took out in The Hollywood Reporter for the magazine’s 60th anniversary in October 1990, two years after her sitcom Roseanne launched. The show ran until ’97.

8 “I never wanted to be the lesbian actress. I never wanted to be the spokesperson for the gay community. Ever. I did it for my own truth.”

Ellen DeGeneres in Time magazine, April 14, 1997, just before her Ellen sitcom character came out as gay, too.

Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

9 “This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me ... And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”

Halle Berry, at the 2002 Oscars, in her best-actress acceptance for Monster’s Ball. She’s the first black woman to win the category.

Michel Euler, AP

10 “The heart wants what it wants. There’s no logic to those things. You meet someone and you fall in love and that’s that.”

Woody Allen in Time in 1992, about his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn, the daughter of former girlfriend Mia Farrow. Allen and Previn wed in ’97. The age gap: 35 years.

11 “Crack is cheap. I make too much money to ever smoke crack. Let’s get that straight. OK? We don’t do crack. We don’t do that. Crack is whack.”

Whitney Houston in 2002 on ABC’s Primetime. Houston has since been through rehab several times, and last year split from husband Bobby Brown. She has been working on a new album.

AP file

12 “Retire? I’m going to stay in show business until I’m the only one left.”

George Burns, at his 90th birthday tribute, George Burns 90th Birthday Special, taped Jan. 11, 1986. He died 10 years later.

13 “I’m too much of an erratic moody baby! I don’t have the passion anymore, and so remember, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.”

Kurt Cobain’s suicide note from April 5, 1994. The lead singer of Nirvana was 27.

Virginia Sherwood, NBC via AP

14 “Psychiatry is a pseudoscience. ... You don’t know the history of psychiatry. I do. ... Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, Matt, you don’t even — you’re glib. You don’t even know what Ritalin is.”

Tom Cruise to Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today, June 24, 2005, one of several uninhibited expressions from the actor that summer.

15 “For an actor, there is no greater loss than the loss of his audience. I can part the Red Sea, but I can’t part with you, which is why I won’t exclude you from this stage in my life.”

Charlton Heston on Aug. 9, 2002, revealing he has Alzheimers. Heston has not made a TV or film appearance since 2003.

Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY

16 “I’m in shock. And I’m so in love with my brother right now.”

Angelina Jolie, thanking brother James Haven while accepting the supporting actress Oscar for 1999’s Girl, Interrupted. Since then she has become Brad Pitt’s companion and an upstanding citizen of the world.

John Zich, USA TODAY

17 “I am sorry if anyone was offended by the wardrobe malfunction during the halftime of the Super Bowl. It was not intentional and is regrettable.”

Justin Timberlake, in a statement after the 2004 Super Bowl spectacle with Janet Jackson. His career is booming, hers has faltered.

Rose M. Prouser, AFP/Getty

18 “And if they want to hear that I’m dead, sorry, folks. I’m not. And I don’t plan on it.”

Elizabeth Taylor on Larry King Live, May 30, 2006, responding to rumors she was dying. She turned 75 in February.

19 “What are you looking at, sugar-tits?”

Mel Gibson, to female deputy last summer after being pulled over for speeding and drunken driving.

Dan MacMedan, USA TODAY

20 “That’s hot.”

Paris Hilton’s trademark, dating back at least to the first season of The Simple Life in 2003. She eventually had the expression copyrighted.

21 The jury “was not my class of people. There was not a producer, a press agent, a director, an actor.”

Zsa Zsa Gabor to People in October 1989, after a jury found her guilty of slapping a Beverly Hills cop.

22 “I just want one day off when I can go swimming and eat ice cream and look at rainbows.”

Mariah Carey on MTV’s TRL in 2001, before entering rehab for exhaustion. Glitter bombed that fall, but in 2005 she put out a Grammy-winning hit album.

Paul Moseley, Fort Worth Star-Telegram via AP

23 “The virginity issue. There are so many emotions involved that I would like to be able to wait until I know I’m with the right person and I’m married.”

Britney Spears in a 2002 interview with Britain’s Daily Star. She’s now 25, has married twice, split up twice (one annulment, one divorce) and has two kids.

24 “These people are not parenting. They are buying things for their kids — $500 sneakers for what? And won’t spend $200 for Hooked on Phonics.”

Bill Cosby, addressing a Washington, D.C., crowd in 2004.

25 “You only lie to two people in your life, your girlfriend and the police. Everybody else you tell the truth to.”

Jack Nicholson in the April 1994 issue of Vanity Fair. He’s now 70, and no doubt it’s still his motto.

Source: Compiled and written by William Keck, Karen Thomas, Donna Freydkin, Andrea Mandell, Ann Oldenburg, Lorena Blas, Robyn Abzug and Susan O’Brian. Photo research by Kevin Eans, USA TODAY.