March 30, 2008

Seems Like There's More Important Things To Go After

Personally, I would never dye my dogs fur. As far as other people are concerned, they can do it. As long as the dyes don't hurt the dog. Which it sounds like this woman is doing. Dying her poodle pink, with a natural dye, to call attention to breast cancer. So, why is the Boulder Colorado Humane Society on her case? It must be nice that they can spend the time harassing her. I guess there aren't any dogs being physically abuse, or neglected around the city. If she was leaving the dog on a 6 foot leash, tied up outside her shop, without any food or water, I could understand. This seems like such a waste of time.

Article here

BOULDER, COLO -- . -- This is a sight no self-respecting hairstylist wants to see: an inch of white roots showing, the remaining color dulling to a lackluster shade.

"It is faded, isn't it?" sighed Joy Douglas, owner of Zing Salon, running her fingers through her toy poodle Cici's tight, once-pink curls.

Nearly a month has passed since Cici has had her bimonthly treatment of pureed organic beets and egg whites massaged into her white coat while she basks under a heat lamp.

With her coat dyed pink -- sometimes a bubble-gum pink, other times a vivid magenta -- Cici is a wriggling 10-pound advertisement for breast cancer awareness, Douglas said, an issue dear to her heart.

But to the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, the pastel-hued, rhinestone-collar-wearing Cici is the embodiment of a law flouted.

As do a number of other communities, Boulder has an ordinance forbidding the dyeing or coloring of rabbits, fowl or other animals. The nearly 30-year-old law was passed to prevent Easter-time trade in baby rabbits, chicks and ducks colored with dyes, which were often harmful, and which encouraged buyers to get rid of the creatures when their cuteness had worn off.

Douglas -- who faces a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail -- takes umbrage at the idea that she is hurting her dog. "I've never treated my animals poorly," she said.

The attention has its benefits, Douglas said. Soon after the story broke, she said, one man walked in and handed her $40 for a breast cancer fund; her donation jar now boasts $157. "Not too shabby for two weeks," she said.

Another donor gave Douglas a hot-pink pet stroller. Cici spends her days lolling in it, chewing on a hair clip and yipping in warning when another of Douglas' dogs, Pierre the Yorkie, tries to join her.

Now Douglas is trying to parlay her next court date into a fundraiser. For every person who shows up at the courthouse in pink April 7, she said, she'll donate $1 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

More prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s, the trend of coloring animals has fallen out of fashion as people have grown aware of harm caused to the animals, said Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the Humane Society of the United States.

Cici is not the first dog Douglas, 33, has colored; she tinted her previous white poodle, Lulu. When she bought Cici about a year ago, Douglas continued the practice, using a concoction of pureed organic beets, mixed with Kool-Aid and egg whites. "It comes out a nice hot pink," Douglas said.

Cici may not realize she's being dyed, but stylist Travis Smith, Douglas' employee, said the dog definitely knows she's getting some extra attention that her companions -- Pierre and black teacup poodle Francois -- aren't.

"She loves getting pampered. She puts her face up in the heat," said Smith, 20. "She may not know she's pink, but she knows she's pampered."

Markarian said that he's not sure whether beet juice is harmful to a dog but that owners must be careful because some foods are toxic to dogs, who could ingest it as they lick their fur.

"This is the first time we've heard of a dog being dyed in this way," he said.

Coloring a dog seems unnecessary, he added. "These animals are not fashion accessories. They're not billboards. They're living creatures, and their natural fur and feathers are beautiful enough."

Douglas said the attention that Cici attracts helps her raise money for breast cancer organizations, although she declined to discuss the amount or whether the disease has directly affected her. Douglas said she participates in cut-a-thons, art shows and other fundraisers.

One year ago, she said, an animal control officer stopped by her shop one block north of Boulder's popular outdoor Pearl Street mall. He'd received a complaint that one of her dogs -- who come with her to the salon every day -- was underfed. Douglas said the officer quickly agreed that the dogs were healthy. But he noticed Cici had been colored and warned Douglas that dyeing was not permitted.

Douglas said she couldn't understand how that could be true. When she didn't hear back from the officer, she said, she assumed everything was fine and continued to color Cici.

This month, another animal control officer returned. Lisa Pedersen, chief executive officer of the Boulder area Humane Society, which enforces the city's animal welfare laws, said the organization had received another complaint.

The officer ticketed Douglas for violating the ordinance. But in the ensuing flood of media attention, Humane Society officials signaled that they may rethink the ordinance's application in this situation.

Pedersen said the Humane Society will "review the language of the current ordinance to determine any changes we may recommend" to city officials. Boulder officials said they have not received any proposals to revise the ordinance.

Douglas' attorney has advised her to cease the color treatments for the time being.

So, for now, Cici's fur will continue to fade back to its natural white.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2008

I Love Shiny Tanker Trucks

When I'm driving, I love it when I end up behind a shiny tanker truck. I love to see my car reflected in the back of the tanker. I tried to get a little closer to take this shot, but the light turned green and he started to pull ahead. So, I snapped a picture with my cell phone camera real quick. I need to start carrying my Fuji around with me again, so I can take better shots. That's my lil' blue bug reflected in the rear.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2008

More on Paul Potts

I wrote about trying to get tickets to see Paul Potts sing in a previous entry. This morning, the Los Angeles Times had an article about him. About his rise to fame and how he's been singing at sold out shows. I really would like to see him sing. I'm hoping that he will tour again. Maybe next year.

Article here

Opera idol woos the world

For Paul Potts, it all started with a coin toss -- and a British talent show.

By Diane Haithman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

VANCOUVER, CANADA — Paul Potts -- the British cellphone salesman turned singing sensation and YouTube phenom after dazzling skeptical judges with the operatic aria "Nessun Dorma" on "Britain's Got Talent" -- steps onstage at the Vancouver Centre for Performing Arts with a slight limp. "I'll be Mr. Hobble-Potts today," he says, a hesitant smile indenting his dumpling face.

Must have something to do with the surgeries, one thinks. In 2003, Potts suffered a burst appendix, and during treatment doctors discovered a benign tumor on his adrenal gland. Or maybe it's a leftover from the accident: Though both the appendix and the tumor were successfully removed, just two weeks after he returned to work following a yearlong recovery, a car knocked Potts off his bicycle, resulting in a complicated collarbone fracture that sidelined him for an additional nine months.

No, at his Vancouver performance with the Three Graces diva trio, Potts, 37, is a tuxedoed Quasimodo because of a nerve problem in his ankle that is radiating pain up his leg despite a chiropractic adjustment during his previous tour stop, Edmonton.

And it doesn't help that he's got a throat-parching cold, or that the tour bus on which he tried to sleep through the night was temporarily halted by a blizzard in the Canadian Rockies.

In case one hadn't figured it out, Potts is the first to acknowledge he's "quite accident-prone," examples of which he uses to endearing effect in his self-deprecating onstage banter. "My wife says, 'Don't ever tell Paul to break a leg,' " he jokes. His stature is also fair game. He cracks that he once missed picking up his "tall skinny latte" at Starbucks because when the barista announced a "tall skinny," it "didn't sound like me at all."

Although the resemblance is coincidental, Potts looks a little like the teddy bears that are for sale in the lobby, wearing T-shirts with Potts' name and likeness. For the British leg of the tour, he confirms, the bears wore tiny dinner jackets and bow ties.

The British press has described his humble manner as "blokishness," and this bloke has clearly seen enough hard times not to take his audience for granted. He limps forward to toss red roses into the crowd with stubby hands, fingers all the same length, literally appearing all thumbs.

"If people don't like what you do and stop buying it, then you don't get to do it. I've spent long enough in a retail career to know how that principle works," he says. "I think everybody's entitled to thanks."

Happy accident

The series of events that set Potts on the exhausting six-month global tour that will bring him to the Wiltern for a sold-out show Wednesday night is also the result of an accident, this time a happy one.

"I was doing some work at home, and I'd come across the 'Britain's Got Talent' website by accident -- it was a pop-up and I meant to close it, but I maximized it," he says in a backstage interview. "Then I filled out the application form and got to the bottom, where I could either submit or cancel it. I couldn't decide whether I was too old or if I had enough talent.

"And so, in the end, I literally got a 10-pence piece out of my pocket and flipped it -- I decided if it landed on heads I'd go for it, and if it landed on tails, I wouldn't. And it landed on heads, thankfully. It was like letting fate take a hand."

At the time his almost-two-year battle with health problems began, Potts had been devoting all his spare time and savings to music. Born just outside Bristol, England, in 1970, to bus driver Roland and supermarket cashier Yvonne, Potts spent his childhood and teen years singing in school and church choirs -- provoking ire from the local bullies -- and developed a love of opera in his teens. As an adult, he performed leading operatic roles with amateur companies.

In 1999, he won about $16,000 on the British quiz show "My Kind of Music" -- enough to help pay for vocal lessons in Italy, during which he got to perform in front of Luciano Pavarotti, the late tenor perhaps more associated than any other with the thrilling "Nessun Dorma" aria from Puccini's "Turandot."

But with Potts and wife Julie-Anne, an insurance supervisor he met via an online chat room, struggling to pay bills accumulated during his long recuperation, he had given up his performing dreams. Still, the lucky coin toss was enough to persuade him to travel from his Port Talbot home in South Wales to Cardiff last March for the "Britain's Got Talent" competition.

Meeting Simon Cowell

His shy announcement that he had come "to sing opera," made as he stood awkwardly in a suit he had bought for 35 British pounds (about $70), caused easily unimpressed judge Simon Cowell to roll his eyes.

"I remember getting to the edge of the stage at Cardiff a year ago, and I seriously considered walking out onstage, waving to Simon Cowell and walking off again. I didn't know what the hell I was doing there," Potts says. "It was a big risk, and I've never been much of a risk-taker. I just think it's easier to think that you might have gotten something than to know that you didn't."

By the end of Potts' "Nessun Dorma," however, Cowell was no longer rolling his eyes, fellow judge Amanda Holden had dissolved into theatrical tears and the audience was on its feet. And since June, when the competition aired on TV, the man whom the tabloids quickly nicknamed "Pavapotti" has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, performed for the queen of England and won fans on both sides of the pond.

In fact, Cowell has became more than a fan -- he was involved with Potts' CD, "One Chance," which has sold more than 2 million copies, and is even planning a film on Potts' life with Paramount. And there's another Cowell connection: The singer reportedly had his teeth repaired by Cowell's private dentist.

Says Potts of Cowell: "He's really quite nice. I've always admired him because he's always 150% honest, and I think in the end it's better to have somebody tell you something that you don't want to hear and have it be an honest opinion, rather than thinking that and telling you something else."

The critics

Despite the adoration of the public and many reviewers, a few critics have dismissed Potts and his emotional mixture of pop, Broadway and opera's greatest hits (his program includes Andrea Bocelli's signature "Time to Say Goodbye," the theme from "Love Story" and R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" sung in Italian). Adam Sweeting of the Daily Telegraph dismissed his success as "the latest phenomenon of Classitainment." Wrote Jaime J. Weinman on the website: "Paul Potts, the tenor and former cellphone salesman, is not an opera singer; he just plays one on TV."

This sort of thing doesn't bother Potts one iota. "I think everybody is entitled to their opinions, it would be a very dull world if we all thought the same thing," he observes evenly. "I don't compare myself with anybody. I'm just me.

"I've always been determined not to change who I am because of what I do. There's a part of the poem 'If,' by Rudyard Kipling: "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster/And treat those two impostors just the same. . . . ' You can't allow life to change you, to let it make you something you're not. Life is too short to pretend."

Posted by Valkyre at 11:06 PM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2008

Easter 2008

Had a real nice Easter today. Everyone had the day off, so we could slum at home all day. I slept in, as I usually do on Sunday. I made the Easter baskets for everyone, then procrastinated as usual, and ended making the traditional Bunny Cake rather late. The later it gets in the oven, the later the ham goes in. Everything came out great. I told Mike to go buy the cake mix for the bunny cake and he bought a carrot cake mix. Unfortunately, I didn't have an black or brown frosting. So, I had to settle for green. I still think it came out okay. Dinner was great. Ham, Mike's home made mashed potatoes, peas and dinner rolls. After dinner, we watched Enchanted. Turns out it was really good. We all enjoyed it. Tomorrow it's back to the daily grind.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:13 AM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2008

2 Years Later

I posted about my addiction to Fish Tycoon back on March 21, 2006. You start out by buying eggs and breeding fish. You need to also raise money, by selling fish, so you can buy an extra tank, pumps. heaters and other accessories. The goal is to breed and cross breed until you find all of the "magic" fish. Well, it took me 2 years to do it. I finally found all 7 of the magic fish. I played the game almost every day. I could mostly let it run in the background. I do have to keep an eye on it though. The fish can get diseases. So yes, I was addicted to this game and a little obsessed. It's not over yet, I can still continue and try to up my statistics to 1st place on some other goals.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:07 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2008

Get Bent Ticketmaster!

I posted about Paul Potts in one of my past entries. He was on Britains Got Talent a couple of years ago and blew everyone away. It turns out the guy was really talented. He can sing opera. Anyway, you may be wondering what this has to do with Ticketmaster. Well, I was leafing through the paper when an ad caught my eye. Paul Potts is on tour. And, he was going to be in Los Angeles for one night only! At the Wiltern Theatre in Koreatown. I couldn't believe it! I had run across the ad on my birthday. If only I had known about this in advance. I would have asked for tickets for my birthday. I wondered if any would still be available at this late time? It said to log onto to purchase tickets. I logged onto livenation and clicked on the link to order tickets. My heart dropped when I saw I was being redirected to Ticketmaster. I was able to find tickets. But, they were nosebleed seats for $35.00 each. I was about to settle for that when I saw Ticketmaster was also adding a "convenience" fee of 10 dollars and some change per ticket!!! Convenience fee!? For who!? Not me. People get arrested for scalping, but Ticketmaster is allowed to charge a 1/3 mark-up under a guise of some fee. I really wanted to see Paul Potts, but I'm not going to pay their stinking fee. I did see he has a web site. So, I am signed up there. I'm hoping that he will tour again. And, that I can buy better seats in advance. And, hopefully, avoid the Ticketmaster scalpers.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:33 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2008


In the 22 years I have lived at this address, I can count on one hand how many things have become lost in the mail. If you don't count the time the mail truck was broken into, I have had it happen to me twice. So, here's the irony. I ordered 100 Forever stamps from and charged them to my credit card. I ordered them back on March 1st. They never showed up. My card was charged. I inquired about their status to customer service, on the web site. They told me that they were sent out on the 3rd. I should have received them by now. So, they put in a claim for me. They are going to trace the package and see what happened. I have a hunch that they were delivered to the wrong address. I just hope that my credit card info wasn't shown on the receipt. Now, I just have to wait and see how this gets resolved. Tomorrow, I will go to the local brick and mortar post office and buy some stamps.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2008

And It's Stock Too!

Back in late '03 when we were buying the Beetle, Greg Duncan the salesman, wanted to know if I wanted to upgrade to a CD player. I thought about it for a second. But, I don't like things that make my car a target. And, I thought a factory installed CD player might be worth it for someone to break a window and steal. So, I have a AM/FM Stereo Cassette player. However, it comes stock with 6 speakers. And, the little bugger puts out some good sound. Which came in handy today. I was waiting for the light to change, when a pickup truck pulled up next to me. The driver thinks he's the ultimate in coolness. His one arm casually draped over the steering wheel while his stereo was blasting outside through his open window. I always drive with the windows up. Even with the windows up, the fan going and my stereo playing, I could hear whatever he was listening to. I admit, when I am driving, on the freeway, or surface streets, I will have the volume up loud on songs I like. But, when I am stopped, with other cars around me, I will turn it down so as not to annoy people around me. Unlike Mr. Annoying now pulled up next to me. When that finished playing, another song came on. Something he must have like, because he upped the volume even more. Okay, I fight fire with fire. I punched the preset button for my local rock oldies station, KLOS 95.5. I prayed to the radio gods that they would be playing some heavy metal. I lucked out. They were playing Led Zeppelin's Misty Mountain Hop. I turned the volume up. Not all the way. All the way makes my ears bleed. Keep in mind, that even with the windows up on that car, the stereo turned up can be heard outside the car rather loud. I kept my eyes straight forward, but out of the corner of my eyes, I could see McDoofus roll his window up. He's lucky I didn't have my mp3 player hooked up. With that going, I can run the bass up and get the car rattling with the best of the boom cars. It would have made him cry like a little girl.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2008

So I Had This Dream

So, I have this dream last night. I was working in a corporate environment. The owner of the corporation calls me up to his office. This is a very great honor as no one knew what he looked like. He tells me to come up to the 44th floor. I go up there and there are magnificent views. There was also a restaurant up there for the best employees. I am now allowed to eat at this restaurant. I woke up from that dream wondering what the significance was. Then, it occured to me. 44!? The 44th floor!? Today is my birthday and I turned 44. I can remember posting about turning 40 in this blog. I had a nice birthday. Topped with this nice cake that Mike made for me. I took a pic' with my cell phone.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:23 PM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2008

It Just Gets Worse

For Oscar Medrano. It doesn't sound too good for him. I feel sorry for the victim.

Article here

12 felony counts filed against Medrano

By Larry Altman Staff Writer

Article Launched: 03/15/2008 12:25:20 AM PDT

Prosecutors on Friday filed 12 felony counts against former Gardena City Councilman Oscar Medrano, charging he sexually abused a relative from the time she was in elementary school to high school.

For years, Medrano forced the girl to engage in sexual acts, it is alleged. It began with touching when she was about 8 years old, but escalated to sexual activity when she was 10, a source told the Daily Breeze.

"He manipulated her, and told her she wasn't good for anything else but sex - that nobody would ever love her, and therefore, he kept abusing her," said the source, who is familiar with the victim.

The alleged crimes occurred almost weekly, sometimes in the shower and in a motel, the source said.

Medrano, 47, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at the Torrance courthouse. He remained in jail Friday after his bail was raised to $960,000.

Medrano faces eight counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, and three counts of committing a lewd act upon a child 14 or 15 years old. The last count relates to an incident that allegedly occurred when she was 15 years old. The first nine counts also allege that the acts committed were of substantial sexual conduct, prosecutors said.

If convicted, Medrano could face 32 years in prison, and would be required to register as a sex offender upon his release, Deputy District Attorney Beatriz Dieringer said.

Sheriff's Department investigators have not released details of the abuse and declined to comment for this article.

The Daily Breeze knows the girl's name, her relationship to Medrano, and specifics about the alleged abuse, but is omitting information that can identify her.

In an interview, a source said the victim had tried for years to get someone to believe that Medrano sexually assaulted her.

Nobody listened until recently.

As late as a few months ago, the victim believed no one would trust her story because Medrano's cousin is Gardena Police Chief Ed Medrano and would take his side, the source said.

Detectives at the sheriff's Special Victims Bureau stepped in when someone reported the case to a police officer.

Medrano abruptly resigned from the Gardena City Council on Tuesday night, citing a bad back that made it difficult to sit or work. He was arrested two days later at his family's jewelry store in downtown Gardena.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2008

Truly, Truly, Shocking

He had a jewelry store in downtown Gardena. There was a bill paying service inside. You could pay your utility bills there for no charge. It was handy, if funds were tight. You could pay the bill, on the day it was due, as long as you got it paid before 5:00pm that day. I would go there frequently and see Mr. Medrano there almost every time. I even voted for him when he ran for city council. This morning, I read an article that stated he was stepping down due to health issues. I felt really bad for him. So, it was quite a shock to come home from work an see this blazed across the website for the local rag:

Gardena councilman Medrano is arrested on suspicion of child molestation

I know, innocent until proven guilty, so I'm hoping it's not true. We will just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Article here

Gardena councilman Medrano is arrested on suspicion of child molestation

By Larry Altman and Gene Maddaus Staff Writers

Article Launched: 03/13/2008 10:55:22 AM PDT

A Gardena city councilman who cited poor health when he resigned from his post this week was arrested today on suspicion of child molestation.

Oscar Medrano Jr., 47, who is married and has five children, was arrested on suspicion of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14, deputies said.

Sheriff's detectives took him into custody about 9 a.m. at his jewelry store, Osmar Jewelry, in downtown Gardena. Medrano was booked at the Carson sheriff's station jail.

He later was transferred to the inmate reception center in downtown Los Angeles where he's held on $100,000 bail.

Investigators acknowledged Medrano's arrest, but refused to release the details of the allegations against him.

"We are confirming that we have an open investigation and he was arrested (this) morning," said sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott of the department's Special Victims Bureau. "That's all we can put out right now."

A woman who identified herself as Medrano's sister said she had no comment because "whatever comment you make it will be twisted."

"Now I understand when I see the news report on Britney Spears that none of that is true," she said.

An employee who answered the telephone at the jewelry store said he had no comment.

Sheriff's investigators informed Gardena police on March 4
that they were investigating Medrano, a statement issued from the City Manager's Office said.

The alleged crimes are said to have have occurred within the city limits of Gardena.

To avoid a conflict, the Sheriff's Department and District Attorney's Office conducted the investigation, and Gardena police bowed out, the statement said.

Gardena's Police Chief Ed Medrano is Medrano's cousin. The city's mayor is Assistant Sheriff Paul Tanaka, the third-highest ranking official in the Sheriff's Department.

Neither returned phone calls.

Medrano, elected in March 2007 to his second council term, announced his resignation Tuesday night in a letter to the City Council.

"Due to the ongoing, unpredictable health problems that I'm experiencing, it has become very apparent to me that I am no longer able to serve in my current council member capacity," he said.

In an interview with the Daily Breeze on Wednesday, Medrano gave no indication he was under police investigation.

Instead, he said he had struggled for three years with degenerative disc disease, including surgeries to replace vertebrae and fuse his spine. The result has been constant pain.

While his resignation Tuesday saddened his friends, his arrest two days later stunned them.

Frank Onderka, owner of Chateau Properties, said he had known Medrano for 20 years, and sponsored him to become a member of the Gardena Valley Lions Club.

Onderka said that Medrano and his wife had adopted some of his wife's sister's children.

"That's shocking, shocking news," Onderka said. "I've known him so many years as a really devoted father and a family member."

Tom Parks, who knew Medrano through the Lions Club and the Gardena Valley Chamber of Commerce, described him as "a nice guy" who was concerned about the community.

"That would be the furthest thing from my mind," Parks said of the allegations. "I had no idea of anything inappropriate. He has a very close-knit family."

Medrano recently put his home and his business up for sale, and announced plans to move to Romoland in Riverside County.

He said his back ailments caused him great pain, and he has rarely attended council meetings since last summer.

Medrano first ran for office in 2001, but was defeated. In 2003, he was elected with the backing of the small business community and homeowners adamantly opposed to the creation of a redevelopment agency.

Once in office, Medrano created enemies when he voted to approve a redevelopment agency, said former Mayor Don Dear, who served as his campaign manager. A referendum later overturned the vote.

On the council, Medrano often cast himself as the defender of the city's children. In 2006, he voted to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, arguing that if the dispensaries stayed open, the marijuana could fall into the hands of youngsters.

Medrano faced a tough re-election race last year against Dan Medina, a former ally. The campaign was made more difficult by charges that Medrano had orchestrated a backroom deal with the city's two trash haulers, and had solicited illegal campaign contributions.

Medrano was found to be sharing a campaign office with the Gardena Police Officers Association, in apparent violation of campaign finance law.

He was also accused of placing campaign signs on public property, in violation of a city ordinance. That charge led him to remark at a debate: "Some rules are made to be broken."

Dear, who broke with Medrano during his first term and campaigned for Medina, said that the councilman had told him he only ran for a second term because he needed the city health insurance. Medrano has denied that claim.

Medina, who has known Medrano since 1985, said he had a hard time believing the allegations. He said he called the Medrano family to help pay the bail.

"I guess we'll have to wait to see what happens," he said. "I know him, but I can't see him doing that."

Steve Sherman, who represents No Gardena Redevelopment Agency Boondoggle (No GRAB), said the timing of Medrano's resignation suggested "he knew he was in deep trouble."

"It's unfortunate," Sherman said. "If it were true, I'd say he flipped over the edge somehow."

Staff writer Sandy Mazza contributed to this article.

Posted by Valkyre at 11:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2008

The Reason Our House is Bolted to the Foundation

New building codes that came about after the 1933 earthquake that was centered near Long Beach, California. Today is the 75th anniversary of the quake. I've been through several quakes here in California. The first one I remember would be the Sylmar quake of 1971. I was all of 7 years old.

Article here

1933 Long Beach temblor defined Southern California as 'earthquake country'

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

March 10, 2008

Seventy-five years ago today, at 5:54 p.m., the Long Beach earthquake struck -- and Southern California is still feeling the aftershocks.

Leo Vander Lans was riding in the family car down what is now Long Beach Boulevard when the ground began to shake.

"I recall looking out the right-hand side of the car and this building, this brick building, collapsed," said Vander Lans, 82, a semi-retired attorney still living in Long Beach. "The bricks were falling, including on the car."

Vander Lans and his family were not injured. But as they watched, falling bricks struck and killed a man.

"I think we all sat there and prayed a while," Vander Lans said. "You could hear the bricks pounding everywhere."

The great quake of 1933 helped define the region's reputation as "earthquake country." It was the first destructive quake to occur in the region after a period of rapid growth in the early 20th Century. The violent shaking traumatized newcomers -- many of them transplants from the less seismically active Midwest -- and caught government unaware. In the end, the 1933 quake changed the landscape, leading to improved school construction standards and a heightened awareness of earthquake risks.

"It was a very big political event and a very big event in terms of the development of California seismology," said Lucy Jones, a seismologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Pasadena.

The 1933 quake, which occurred on the 46-mile-long Newport-Inglewood Fault, was estimated at magnitude 6.3, far weaker than the estimated 8.3-magnitude earthquake that devastated San Francisco in 1906.

Southern California was just starting to grow in 1933, with people flocking to Long Beach, a seaport surrounded by orange groves and fields.

"The whole of the Los Angeles area was pretty sparsely populated at that time. There wasn't that much to knock down," said state geologist John Parrish.

That is not true today -- a fact that concerns scientists. Since 1933, land above the fault line has seen dramatic dense growth -- from the suburban neighborhoods of Huntington Beach to the skyscrapers of Century City.

Seismologists believe a major quake now would cause many times more destruction.

Stanford University researchers have concluded that the Newport-Inglewood fault is capable of producing a 7.0 quake. Their study estimated the such a quake could result in 3,000 to 8,000 deaths and cause $175 billion to $220 billion in losses.

When the 1933 earthquake hit, its epicenter was south of Long Beach, near Huntington Beach, and the then-rudimentary seismographs were maxed out.

The earthquake lasted less than 15 seconds, but powerful aftershocks twisted roofs and toppled chimneys, causing at least $45 million in damage (about $730 million in today's dollars) and killing some 115 people. A major problem was with unreinforced brick buildings that could not withstand the shaking. State rules in the wake of the 1933 quake would eventually prohibit such buildings.

Had the earthquake struck earlier in the day, the death toll would have been much higher: Among the scores of buildings destroyed were 70 schools. One of those ruined schools was Horace Mann Elementary, where Dorothy Wise, 81, remembers going to class in stuffy canvas tents after the earthquake.

Students there learned a song, sung to the tune of "Yankee Doodle Dandy":

"We had a quake in '33

That sent the earth a-shaking

They told us not to be afraid

The earth was in its making."

Wise's father had moved the family to Long Beach from South Dakota a few years before, hoping to ease her older sister's ear infections.

He and his brothers, one of whom later became mayor, opened two Wagner Drug Co. pharmacies. The family lived in a two-bedroom house in the Belmont Heights neighborhood, one of the few with electricity.

The earthquake toppled their chimney and ruptured gas lines, Wise said, but the power stayed on. Her mother used the electric stove to make spaghetti for the neighborhood.

Wise remembers her mother driving her around after the earthquake to survey the damage on 10th and Anaheim streets.

"The part that fascinated me was the apartments," Wise said.

"The front was just sheared off, and you could see the bathtubs and the toilets, and to me that was just shocking."

The earthquake shook oil derricks out of the ground in Huntington Beach and shattered windows in downtown Los Angeles, littering streets with glass.

Scores of Long Beach residents were suddenly homeless. They camped out at public parks in tents provided by the Red Cross.

Their plight drew national attention. President Franklin Roosevelt offered assistance. Military commanders sent in 4,000 Marines and sailors from the offshore battle fleet to aid recovery efforts.

The Red Cross received $480,000 in donations from across the country and distributed an average of $138 per family, the equivalent of $2,240 today.

California legislators also reacted swiftly.

Within a month of the earthquake, they passed the Field Act, legislation that would become the earthquake's major legacy.

The Field Act required tougher building standards for new schools, from elementary schools through community colleges, and retrofitting for older schools.

As a result, subsequent earthquakes have caused fewer deaths, even compared with other countries with stringent building standards such as Japan, said Richard Little, director of the Keston Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy at USC.

But state universities are exempted from the Field Act, and some other school officials are lobbying to be exempted, too, arguing the stringent seismic standards require excessive inspections and expense.

Jones, the seismologist, credits the law with preventing earthquake damage and hopes legislators expand it to include state universities rather than exempting more schools.

Jones notes that the Northridge earthquake in 1994 caused minimal damage at Los Angeles Mission College, which is covered by the Field Act, but $405 million in damage at Cal State Northridge, which is not covered.

"It has saved our children's lives, and it saves the state a lot of money," Jones said.

Today, officials will gather at Long Beach City Hall to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the quake and discuss earthquake safety.

The meeting begins at 5:54 p.m. -- the moment the great quake struck.


Posted by Valkyre at 11:03 PM | Comments (1)

March 08, 2008

Don't Forget!

Spring forward. Set your clocks ahead an hour tonight. I hate this time. We lose an hour.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2008

Pro golfer Tripp Isenhour = Asshat

What gets into people!? Especially the ones who should know better, Maybe he could have postponed his video shoot for a little while? What a jackass. The few times I am lucky enough to see a bird of prey around here, I take a little time off to watch it for awhile. The fines this guy is facing a miniscule.

Article here

Pro golfer Tripp Isenhour faces charges for killing hawk

By TRAVIS REED, Associated Press Writer

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP)—An animal rights group wants the PGA Tour to take action against player Tripp Isenhour, facing charges for hitting a hawk with a golf shot because it was making noise as he videotaped a TV show.

“Because of the high profile nature of this case, the PGA needs to take steps to address its interest and to make it clear that they don’t condone animal cruelty,” said Dale Bartlett, the Humane Society of the United States’ deputy manager for animal cruelty issues.

He said the organization would contact the PGA Tour on Friday to discuss the issue.

Isenhour was charged Wednesday with cruelty to animals and killing a migratory bird, misdemeanors that carry a maximum penalty of 14 months in jail and $1,500 in fines.

Isenhour, playing the Nationwide Tour this season after losing his PGA Tour card last year, apologized in a statement released Thursday and said he was only trying to scare the hawk away.

The 39-year-old player, whose real name is John Henry Isenhour III, became angry while filming “Shoot Like A Pro” on Dec. 12 at the Grand Cypress Golf Club—his home course—when a squawking red-shouldered hawk forced another take.

He got in his golf cart and drove closer to the bird, then 300 yards away, and starting hitting balls at it. The bird didn’t move and Isenhour gave up and drove away.

Isenhour started again when the hawk moved within about 75 yards, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officer Brian Baine indicated in a report.

Isenhour allegedly said, “I’ll get him now,” and aimed for the hawk.

“About the sixth ball came very near the bird’s head, and (Isenhour) was very excited that it was so close,” Baine wrote.

A few shots later, witnesses said he hit the hawk. The bird, protected as a migratory species, fell to the ground bleeding from both nostrils.

“As soon as this happened, I was mortified and extremely upset and continue to be upset,” Isenhour said in a statement issued through his management company, SFX Golf. “I want to let everyone know there was neither any malice nor deliberate intent whatsoever to hit or harm the hawk. I was trying to simply scare it into flying away.”

Bartlett said Isenhour’s case, like the Michael Vick dog fighting case, is disappointing for society.

“We look up to professional athletes and we want them to reflect the best of us as a society and I think we’re appalled when it turns out they instead reflect some of the very worst attributes,” he said in a phone interview Thursday night.

Isenhour said he is an animal lover and his family has adopted three cats from a local shelter.

“We ask that everyone accept my sincerest apology, and please be respectful of my family’s privacy,” he said.

Isenhour has won four times on the Nationwide Tour, including twice in 2006. The former Georgia Tech star has played three events this year on the developmental circuit, the last a 36th-place tie two weeks ago in the Moonah Classic in Australia.

Jethro Senger, a sound engineer at the shoot, said hitting the bird was “basically like a joke to (Isenhour).”

“He just kept saying how he didn’t think he could have hit it, which I think is a stupid thing for a PGA Tour golfer to say,” Senger said. “He can put a ball in a hole from hundreds of yards away, and here he is hitting line drives at something that’s, I don’t know, a couple hundred feet away?”

Senger said no one in the roughly 15-person crew intervened, and many later regretted it.

“It was one of those cases where there’s some trepidation on whether or not they should speak up and do something,” Senger said.

Senger said the killing was not captured on video. The bird was buried at the golf course and later dug up by Florida investigators.

“Americans have no tolerance for cruelty to animals. Such a petty, mean spirited act against a wild bird is inexcusable and prosecutors are right to hold Isenhour accountable to the law,” Humane Society executive vice president Michael Markarian said in a statement released Thursday.

Associated Press Writer Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this report.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)

March 05, 2008

Patrick Swayze, Pancreatic Cancer

I remember the first time I ever set eyes on this guy. It was the scene in Dirty Dancing when he first walks in the dining hall. It's the first time the audience and Jennifer Grey sees him. Jennifer Grey's character, Baby, gasps. So did I. I thought he looked his best in that movie. It's still one of my favorites. Now, he's been diagnosed with cancer. Some sources have his foot in the grave. His doctors say that that diagnosis is an exaggeration. I hope that it's not that serious and he fully recovers.

Article here

Spokesman Says Swayze Has Pancreatic Cancer

Doctor Dispells Reports That Actor's Cancer Is Terminal

"Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze is suffering from cancer, according to his physician, but is not in as dire condition other media outlets report.

The National Enquirer claimed in an online report Wednesday that it has learned in a "shocking world exclusive" that Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January and only has five weeks to live. The actor's publicist issued a statement saying the actor is being treated for cancer, but is responding well to the treatment.

The Enquirer also said that the cancer has spread to other organs. The report said that Swayze, 55, is receiving radical chemotherapy treatment as an outpatient at the Stanford Medical Center -- minutes from the Palo Alto, Calif., airport, where the actor and his wife, Lisa Niemi, have been flying to on their private plane.

Swayze's publicist issued the following statement to "Actor Patrick Swayze has been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer and is currently undergoing treatment."

The statement continues: "Patrick's physician Dr. George Fisher states, 'Patrick has a very limited amount of disease and he appears to be responding well to treatment thus far. All of the reports stating the timeframe of his prognosis and his physical side effects are absolutely untrue. We are considerably more optimistic.' Patrick is continuing his normal schedule during this time, which includes working on upcoming projects. The outpouring of support and concern he has already received from the public is deeply appreciated by Patrick and his family.'"

A "very good source" told celebrity blogger Perez Hilton that Swayze has been at rehearsals on a new cheerleading movie at a studio in Century City, Calif., and "definitely does not look like he has five more weeks of life left."

"I'm not sure of his medical condition(s), but if he is gravely ill, he is hiding it very well," the source said on Hilton's blog.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Swayze had surgery for a "serious gastro-intestinal procedure" at a California hospital in early February.

Swayze has starred in such films as "Ghost" and "Road House." He has been married to his wife, Niemi, since 1975

Posted by Valkyre at 11:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2008

I'm All Alone!
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

This was using my first and last name. The name Wendy however:

There are 280,797 people in the U.S. with the first name Wendy.
Statistically the 229th most popular first name.
More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Wendy are female.
Names similar to Wendy:

Posted by Valkyre at 09:10 PM | Comments (2)