June 26, 2007

You Have Got to See This Guy!

I thought this was going to be another "William Hung". I was expecting him to pull out props and start acting like a Doofus. I could never be more wrong. His performance brought tears to my eyes. In a good way. The first one is his audition for Britain's Got Talent. The second one..... Well, you'll see:


Posted by Valkyre at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

June 25, 2007

Laughter is Contagious

I watched this at work with some coworkers and we were busting out laughing. It's true, laughter is contagious.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2007

Lilies Of Gardena Valley

I've got lilies! There's a story behind this. Kari used to work at the same place I do. Her grandmother had lilies in her garden. She decided to thin them out. Kari brought a bunch to where I work and Kelly planted some out back. A couple of years later, and now Kelly had to thin them out. There was a pile of uprooted lilies lying on the ground. She told me that I could take some home, if I wanted to and see if they would take. So, I took five home and stuck them in the brick ring around one of our pine trees out front. Two of them seem to have taken. So, if they continue to grow, I may be thinning these out sometime.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:12 PM | Comments (0)

June 19, 2007

And Stupid Me Fell For It

There were several red flags that I ignored.... The main one being that this was dated for Monday, June 18th. I received it on Sunday, the 17th. I didn't see all that. All I saw was "card from Helena". That's my oldest daughter's name. So, I thought that maybe she had sent me a card. You would have thought that maybe I would have noticed that funky e-mail address. Nope. And, me, who knows better than to click links from suspicious e-mails clicked on the link. Fortunately, Trend Micro's PC-Illin is more alert than I am and flagged it as a possible Trojan, or virus that someone was trying to drop on me. Duh!

Posted by Valkyre at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2007

I Wouldn't Mind Restoring It

Turns out there are collectors out there who want the '57 Belvedere, "buried car". They don't care what condition it's in.

Article in LA Times

Time is kinder to Tulsa than to buried auto

Rusted metal and fond memories are what's left from '57 publicity stunt.

By Miguel Bustillo, Times Staff Writer
June 16, 2007

TULSA, OKLA. — Wide-eyed dreamers from throughout the world came here Friday to see the gleaming gold-and-white Plymouth Belvedere — buried decades ago in a time capsule as a publicity stunt.

What they saw was a waterlogged mass of metal with tailfins, shrouded in a patina of rust.

Back in 1957, when Oklahoma was celebrating its 50th anniversary, all the attention was going to Oklahoma City, and Tulsans were feeling neglected. Oklahoma City's celebration had Mickey Rooney. Tulsa's had a beard-growing contest.

Tulsa desperately needed something — anything — to grab the spotlight, and a New York publicist pushing the Belvedere told civic leaders he had an idea:

The city would bury a brand-new automobile in a concrete crypt billed as strong enough to withstand a nuclear bomb. Tulsans would predict the population of their city in 2007, the state's centennial. The car would be dug up and given away to the person with the closest guess — or their heir.

The stunt worked. Life magazine ran a photo of three girls sitting on the hood of the soon-to-be entombed Belvedere, and newspapers in 1957 were filled with breathless stories about the unusual time capsule being buried beneath the lawn of the Tulsa County courthouse. Tulsa was finally on the map.

Alas, the concrete block was not so impregnable. When Hazmat crews cracked it open Wednesday, they discovered nearly 2,000 gallons of standing water. Devastated, Sharon King Davis, Tulsarama's chief organizer, cried on the spot.

"We've got our work cut out for us," Boyd Coddington, car builder and star of the "American Hot Rod" TV show, said Friday when prompted to grab a microphone and offer an assessment of the fabled "Ms. Belvedere." "It don't look good."

Still, many gray-haired Tulsans and classic-car aficionados who traveled from as far as Norway for the unearthing felt satisfied, because what mattered to them were the memories.

And those came up intact.

"In my mind's eye, I was seeing a certain thing," said James Doyle, 65, one of the few to drive the car when he took it for a spin around a racetrack in 1957. He was 15 and did not have a license. "But you have to accept the reality that it might look different than what you had hoped. We all changed too."

Some hoped the Belvedere would start up and drive into the sunset on nearby Route 66. Others old enough to remember the day it was buried wanted to see the crypt's contents just as they had left them, including 10 gallons of leaded gasoline, five quarts of motor oil and a case of Schlitz beer.

In the car's glove compartment were the contents from a woman's purse: bobby pins, a bottle of tranquilizers and a pack of cigarettes. There was also a photograph of a smiling 20-year-old bride.

That bride didn't smile for long: The marriage lasted less than two years, and she was left to raise twin daughters on her own.

But Nancy Lawson, now 70 and remarried, said she wanted to see that picture again because it reminded her of her father, a Tulsa publicist who hustled to get it in the glove compartment.

"He's always been my hero," Lawson said of her father, who died in 1978. "And this was one of his proudest accomplishments."

Thousands gathered in grandstands Friday despite thunderstorms and gloomy skies to watch a monstrous crane lift the Belvedere out of the ground. Speakers boomed with Elvis Presley's "Teddy Bear," Domenico Modugno's "Volare" and other hits from the 1950s. Miss Tulsarama from 1957 had died, but her daughters came, carrying her crown.

When the crane spun the car before the crowd, some gasped as its corroded tailfins became visible through the tears in a protective tarp.

Their fears were confirmed Friday evening at the Tulsa Convention Center, when organizers lifted a curtain: The car's rear end was dragging the ground, and its once-glossy finish was encrusted with barnacles of oxidation. The upholstery was eaten away, and only the metal base of the seats remained. The engine was crumbling, but a member of Coddington's crew was able to take out the dipstick, drawing a cheer from the crowd.

"It's not often you hear about a classic automobile being buried," said car collector John Cooper, 53, who had flown in from Adelaide, Australia.

"There are some amazing people who could make it look like new. Personally, I wish it would remain this way. It's history."

As to who gets the car, Deloitte & Touche LLP, the accounting firm that tabulates the Grammy Award votes, will select the winning entry and help find the person — or their closest living relative — who guessed Tulsa's population of 382,457. How long that will take is anyone's guess, since organizers were still searching the car for the microfilm that was supposed to contain the entries.

They were also looking for the keys.

Despite its condition, the Belvedere is still worth a mint. Collectors eager to obtain a piece of Americana are rumored to be offering hundreds of thousands of dollars for it.

Gary Trent, 60, was 10 when he saw the grown-ups burying the Belvedere. He wanted a part of history too, so he picked up a shell casing and threw it into the tomb when no one was looking.

He was hoping to find that casing Friday. But the dig was never about any artifact, he pointed out, not even the Belvedere. The real star was supposed to be Tulsa.

"I know it sounds a little corny, but Oklahoma is going to be just fine," Trent said, laughing. "This is a great state, and thanks to this little car, a whole lot of people have just seen it."

miguel.bustillo@latimes.com

Posted by Valkyre at 11:35 PM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2007

Ah Well, They Tried

Article here:

Auto 'time capsule' unearthed after 50 years

Rust takes its toll on once-vintage Plymouth, but Tulsa still intrigued

TULSA, Oklahoma - A concrete vault encasing a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere buried a half-century ago may have been built to withstand a nuclear attack but it couldn’t beat back the natural onslaught of moisture.

At a Friday ceremony complete with a couple of drum rolls, crews removed a multilayered protective wrapping caked with red mud, revealing a vintage vehicle that was covered in rust and wouldn’t crank.

There were a few bright spots, literally: shiny chrome was still visible around the doors and front fender, and workers were able to put air in the tires.
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But the unveiling in front of thousands of people at the Tulsa Convention Center confirmed fears that the past 50 years had not been the kindest to Miss Belvedere.

“I’ll tell you what, she’s a mess. Look at her,” said legendary hot rod builder Boyd Coddington, who was unable to start the thing up as planned.

Event organizer Sharon King Davis, a fourth generation Tulsan whose grandfather helped bury the Plymouth, joked that the car needed a little Oil of Olay to help it out.

Cheap gas and Schlitz beer

In the trunk, workers meticulously pulled out some of the objects buried with the two-door hardtop to celebrate Oklahoma’s 50 years of statehood — a 5-gallon can of leaded gasoline, which went for 24 cents a gallon in those days, and rusted cans of Schlitz beer.

The contents of a “typical” woman’s handbag, including 14 bobby pins, lipstick and a bottle of tranquilizers, were supposed to be in the glove box, but all that was found looked like a lump of rotted leather.

Workers also searched for a spool of microfilm that recorded the entries of a contest to determine who would win the car: the person who guessed the closest of what Tulsa’s population would be in 2007 — 382,457 — would win.

That person, or his or her heirs, will get the car within a week, along with a $100 savings account, worth about $1,200 today with interest.

Old Glory looks brand new

The elements could not penetrate a time capsule buried with the car. Its top was sawed off and organizers unfolded an American flag — still bright red, white and blue — sending a rousing cheer through the crowd.

Other historical documents, aerial maps of the city and postcards, also were in good condition.

Thousands of people had watched as the car was placed on a flatbed truck about noon CDT and driven to the Tulsa Convention Center for the evening event. Some had arrived downtown before 6 a.m. and endured torrential rain just to get a glimpse of the car.

By the time of the ceremony, people were standing on rooftops and looking out office buildings as news helicopters buzzed overhead.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Miss Belvedere,” King Davis said before the crane delicately placed the car onto the flatbed.

Digging up high intrigue

Only the car’s trademark fins were exposed as it came out of the ground, and it was unclear if they were caked with rust or mud.

The suspense was what Pittsburgh car enthusiast Dave Stragand came for.

“It’s our King Tut’s tomb,” Stragand said. “It’s like a fairy tale.”

Like Stragand, folks who gathered at the site — many days earlier — didn’t seem too concerned with how the car would look.

“We don’t care what condition it’s in,” said Denver retiree Bob Petri, a car nut who said he was “born with a wrench” in his hand. “It’s just the whole idea somebody thought of it in 1957 and here we are living it.”

Posted by Valkyre at 11:46 PM | Comments (1)

June 14, 2007

Rust Never Sleeps

Back on January 23, 2007, I posted an entry about this car. This car was buried back on June 15th, 1957 in a vault. It is to be unveiled tomorrow, June 15th, 2007. They even have a website - buriedcar.com with all the details. Well, they've cracked open the vault. Only to find that the car was sitting in water up to it's tailfins. Here are some pictures from Tulsa Chevys web site. It doesn't look too good. Tomorrow, I guess they are going to remove the bag thing from around the car to see what condition it's in.

It's not looking too good to me.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2007

Hiking in the Local Mountains

One of the benefits of living in Southern California. The Pacific Ocean is 6 miles to the west. The Angeles Crest National Forest is about an hours drive away, if that much. My sister and I went on a hike yesterday. It was supposed to be a 7 mile round trip, but we got started too late. We only made it about 2 miles in when we realized that we needed to get back, or we would be going down a 26 mile switchback road in the dark. Anyway, we stopped for a snack break and she took this picture of me. The dog on my lap is Violet, our Jack Russell Terrier. The dog sitting next to me is Pepper, our Whippet/Shepherd mix. Click the image if you want to see the full size picture.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:35 PM | Comments (3)

June 09, 2007

He's At It Again

Larry Flynt. You have to admire the guy. He does know the constitution. Came in 7th, out of a field of 100 in the California Governor Recall Election.

Article here

Flynt digging up dirt on politicians once again

After offering a $1 million bounty, porn publisher says he has more than 200 leads.

By Carla Marinucci
San Francisco Chronicle

Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt - days after posting a $1 million bounty for verifiable information on the sexual exploits of Congress members and political leaders - says he's been deluged by more than 200 leads pouring in from around the country, "80 percent of them on Republicans."

"I'm not interested in exposing anyone's sex life," Flynt said. "It's the hypocrisy I'm after."

The California-based porn king, who heads a profitable empire that includes Hustler Casino in Gardena as well as the infamous skin mag and edgier publications such as Barely Legal, started a stir this week in political circles.

He posted a full-page ad in The Washington Post on Sunday that offered $1 million for any "documented evidence of intimate relations with a Congressperson, Senator or other prominent officeholder," information that must be verified and published in Hustler.

Flynt's campaign to urge Americans to inform on dallying politicians could get interesting.

In 1998, he made a similar offer when President Clinton faced impeachment by outraged Republicans after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The result: GOP House Speaker-elect Bob Livingston resigned after Flynt prepared to go public with an informant's details of his affair.

Flynt also released an affidavit by the wife of then-GOP Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia - an anti-abortion conservative - in which she said her husband paid for her abortion and then took on a mistress.

"Everybody - because I'm a civil libertarian - thinks I'm going after Republicans. That's not true," he said.

Flynt said he expects "2 to 4 percent" of the leads to develop into solid publishable information and wouldn't name names; but he's looking into, among others, "a couple of (congressmen) who are gay and they're voting against every piece of legislation that would adversely affect gays."

Flynt ran as a Republican for president against Ronald Reagan and more recently carried the banner as "the smut peddler who cares" as the Democratic candidate who came in seventh among the more than 100 hopefuls in the 2003 gubernatorial recall election in California - a contest won by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Flynt says he's fully prepared to be the focus of conservatives who will unload their criticism on him with his latest offer for political dirt.

Livingston, he recalled, publicly called him a "bottom-feeder."

Flynt's response: "Yeah, that's right - and look what I've found when I got down there."'

Posted by Valkyre at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2007

One Scumbag Down....

Many to go. I swear I think that my spam e-mail has gone down just a little bit since they got this guy. It won't last though:

From spamhaus.org:

ROKSO Spammer Robert Soloway Arrested

On May 30, 2007 Robert Alan Soloway, one of the most persistent professional spammers, was indicted by a grand jury in Seattle, Washington, on charges that include fraud, money laundering, and identity theft. The indictment followed a years-long joint investigation by the Washington State Attorney General's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Internal Revenue Service Department of Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS).

Soloway has been a long term nuisance on the internet. He has been sending enormous amounts of spam for years, filling mailboxes and mail servers with unsolicited and unwanted junk email. In addition, he has fraudulently marketed his spam services to others as legitimate 'opt-in' services when they were anything but that, duping innocent users and then failing to provide promised customer support or refunds. Because Soloway spammed through hijacked computers and open proxies, he has repeatedly violated both the Computer Abuse and Fraud Act of 1984 and the CAN-SPAM law of 2003.

Soloway first appeared in the Spamhaus Block List (SBL) in 2001. In 2003, he was listed on Spamhaus's Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO), a list of the world's "worst of the worst" criminal spammers. Spamhaus spamtraps continued to receive spam solicitations from Soloway advertising his services through the weekend before today's indictment.

Soloway's violations of the U.S. CAN-SPAM law and various state anti-spam laws resulted in his being sued successfully by a number of plaintiffs, including Microsoft Corporation and Robert Braver, owner of an Oklahoma-based ISP. Both Microsoft and Braver received damage awards of millions of dollars. Soloway never paid these awards, claiming that he lived off of the proceeds of a family trust and was therefore "judgement-proof." In September 2005 in Oklahoma City, after Soloway had fired his lawyers and then failed to appear to represent himself in court, U.S. District Judge Ralph G. Thompson issued a permanent injunction against Soloway, forbidding him to continue sending spam that violated the CAN-SPAM act. Soloway ignored this injunction as well and continued to spam.

Today, Soloway was arrested and brought before the U.S. District Court in Seattle, Washington, where he was indicted on multiple counts of money laundering, wire fraud, mail fraud, and identity theft by a federal grand jury. If convicted of all charges, he could theoretically face up to 65 years in prison. Although his custodial sentence if convicted is likely to be substantially less than 65 years, he nonetheless faces a significant stay in the U.S. federal penitentiary system.

Spamhaus commends the Seattle FBI and U.S. Attorney for ensuring that the indictment contains both spam-related and non-spam-related counts, and on preparing an indictment which shows so clearly the profile of the typical spammer's activities, such as fraud, identity theft, and other online deception. Spamhaus recognises that a successful prosecution requires careful preparation which inevitably takes longer than the victims of the crime wish. Careful preparation is essential in cases involving CAN-SPAM violations, since the CAN-SPAM Act does not yet have extensive case-law to support it.

Spamhaus is also pleased to note that Soloway's arrest warrant recognizes that he is a serious flight risk, in light of his history of bragging that he is judgement-proof and able to move quickly to avoid prosecution.

Soloway's ROKSO records provide a detailed picture of his spam operation, including evidence of Soloway hiring virus authors to create networks of spam zombies. Although Soloway's public behavior has been more egregious than many spammers, his spam-related activities are similar to those of many of the world's top spammers. Spamhaus hopes that his prosecution proves to be the first of many such prosecutions.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)