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What writers write when they 1) aren't writing, 2) are avoiding writing or 3) need a word count to convince their spouses they are writing.

Origami n' Stuff 4 Kids

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Putting it into perspective: "The Known Universe"

From the American Museum of Natural History:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mindblowing Cardboard Entertainer from Italy

Ennio Marchetto is a world renowned and awarded comedian who has created his own theatrical language mixing mime, dance, music and quick change costumes made out of cardboard and paper. In 18 years Ennio has performed in over 70 countries for more than a million people. His show has received numerous awards and international critical acclaim.

He does impressions of stars and singers using paper costumes that transform from one person into another.

Friday, December 11, 2009

This Ain't Your Momma's Grandma

We ought to learn a thing or two from the Brits. First Susan Boyle, now Paddy Jones, a 75-year-old grandmother who blew away judges with her victory in Spain's version of "Britain's Got Talent."

Not only does Jones wear a daring dress and perform flips and slides during her salsa routine, but she even "feels up" her dancing partner, 40 years her junior. Check out the expressions of the judges.

Jones, who has seven grandchildren, only took up dancing five years ago, after the death of her husband.

Something for us all to aspire to, ladies.

Need help sticking to your diet this holiday season? Here's some unappetizing things you can deep fry...

Deep fried scorpions...

Deep fried soda...

View the complete list of artery busters here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mystery Spiral in the Skies Over Norway

And an animation of the scientific explanation...spiral ejecta from a failed Bulava ICBM launched from a nuclear submarine in the White Sea...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tourist Smuggles 44 Lizards in his Underwear


"A 58-year-old man from Germany was attempting to board a flight when he was searched by Customs officials...officials discovered a small package concealed in Hans Kurt Kubus underwear. The package contained eight separate hand-sewn compartments that held 24 geckos from five different species and 20 live skinks from two species."

Read the full article.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Surfers Riding on the Backs of Monsters, December 7, 2009

And photos of Waimea Bay by MICHAEL GOULDING, The Orange County Register:


They came from all over: veteran Australian surfer Tom Carroll, who severely injured his ankle while surfing at WaimeaBay.

Anyone got a spare?

High Surf at Shark's Cove, North Shore O'ahu

This is where I often go tide pooling, off of Pupukea.

A view of Shark's Cove, the same area seen when the video pans left. The size of people standing on the pool's outer rim give you a sense of scale. Bigger waves are expected tomorrow, with the High Surf Warning extended through Wednesday. Organizers are 90% sure that the Eddie Aikau Invitational will be held tomorrow.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

DOH! The Hawaii Department of Health's Public Relations Fiasco

Glass sculpture of the H1N1 virus, by installation artist Luke Jerram.

In a world where viruses exchange genes more readily than Tiger Woods exchanges mistresses, is it any wonder there's so much confusion over swine flu?

Although reports indicate the U.S. outbreak may have already peaked, with Wisconsin (6222 cases), Texas (5151 cases) and Illinois (3404 cases) recording the most infections, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano advises we not get too smug— a second wave of influenza may be imminent. And despite an increase in the production and availability of vaccine, most Americans remain leary of anything the Feds can squeeze into a syringe.  Nevermind the sweaty guy coughing in the airline seat next to you, with his eyeballs rolling back into his head— it's become patriotic to be paranoid.

Face it, folks– while much ado was made about Napolitano, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the pork industry insisting the virus be referred to by its scientific name, H1N1 (Lipstick on a pig! Political correctness!), a pandemic is still a pandemic. In this pressurized cabin we call Earth, we're all breathing recycled air. Think of vaccination as the oxygen mask we don before helping our fellow passengers.

So, how did the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH!) screw up? First off, let me say that the DOH is filled with hard-working professionals dedicated to protecting and improving the "health and environment for all people in Hawai'i," and certain circumstances, like the shortage of H1N1 vaccine, is beyond their control.

However, as with FEMA, the Civil Defense or any other government agency involved in disaster management, we rightfully expect the DOH to inform and guide us. When President Obama declared H1N1 a national emergency, there should have been protocols in place. Releasing public service announcements without establishing an adequate supply and distribution, nor the capacity to track the distribution and administration of vaccine only compounded the public's frustration and confusion.

With CDC guidelines clearly stating priority should be given to "pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age, healthcare and emergency medical services personnel, persons between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old, and people ages of 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems," how could the DOH justify giving 7,174 state workers priority status for H1N1 vaccination, putting them ahead of the CDC's target populations?

These workers were identified as critical personnel:

"Positions (which have) to do with continuity of operations of government," (Civil Defense spokesman Ray) Lovell said. "You don't want a whole department to shut down because you lost key people, out with the flu."

The list includes critical workers for everything from the taxation department to the health department's clean water branch to the transportation department.

Eloise Aguiar, Advertiser Staff Writer

Great. I feel much better knowing that my good friend, who has muscular dystropy yet can't obtain vaccination, can still be taxed if he falls ill. Indeed, first-responders and emergency workers, and even employees critical to our infrastructure such as waste management workers and such, should be vaccinated. But the taxation department?

Granted, the program to give priority to state workers has been temporarily suspended in response to the public uproar, but it's too little, too late. Part the DOH's responsibility is to calm the population and avoid this kind of public relations disaster when we need them most. And they can't blame this mess on state furloughs— that's becoming a tired excuse— nor can they blame it, as one Honolulu Advertiser commentator noted, on the failure of private doctors to comply with paperwork, not when healthcare workers not employed by the state still go unvaccinated.

Step up to the plate, DOH, and learn from this experience. I applaud you for your good work and intentions, but get it straight now, before you face more serious challenges like SARS and H5N1 (Avian Influenza).

Surprise! Too many Asians and Pacific Islanders in Hawaii for Palin!

In the New Yorker's review of Sarah Palin's new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," critic Sam Tannenhaus reveals what her father says is the real reason she left Hawaii Pacific University after only one semester:

(Palin) is equally circumspect on the issue of ethnicity, pointing out that Todd, whom she met in high school, is “part Yupik Eskimo” and opened her to the “social diversity” of Alaska. (Wasilla is more than eighty per cent white.)Palin, though notoriously ill-travelled outside the United States, did journey far to the first of the four colleges she attended, in Hawaii. She and a friend who went with her lasted only one semester. “Hawaii was a little too perfect,” Palin writes. “Perpetual sunshine isn’t necessarily conducive to serious academics for eighteen-year-old Alaska girls.” Perhaps not. But Palin’s father, Chuck Heath, gave a different account to Conroy and Walshe. According to him, the presence of so many Asians and Pacific Islanders made her uncomfortable: “They were a minority type thing and it wasn’t glamorous, so she came home.” In any case, Palin reports that she much preferred her last stop, the University of Idaho, “because it was much like Alaska yet still ‘Outside.’ ”

Recession humor: SNL skit on Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amazing Art of Alyssa Monks

The photorealistic art of Alyssa Monks:

Smirk 48x64, oil on linen, 2009, Alyssa Monks

Baptism 42x56, oil on linen, 2008, Alyssa Monks

The Race 72x96, oil on linen, 2007, Alyssa Monks

Kuntz-Kamera Museum of St. Petersburg

'Kuntzkamera' (is) a museum in St. Petersburg. It’s a really strange place, was founded by Russian Tsar Peter the First. He collected different weird stuff all over the Russia to this museum: freaky people and animals preserved in alcohol, torture instruments, strange paintings and much more.

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