Mama and I are traveling to Germany to attend my friend Otto’s wedding and then to Spain to relax on the Costa Blanca and do a little scuba diving. As such, I am taking a break from the Nug for the next three weeks. Late.

Earlier this morning over the Mojave Desert, SpaceShipOne made its first flight in a bid to capture the Ansari X Prize. Now that the first flight is out of the way, the ship will have to make another successful suborbital space flight within the next two weeks to claim the prize. Many believe that winning the X Prize will mark the beginning of civilian commercial space travel.

Driving that point home is Virgin founder, Richard Branson, who earlier this week announced a licensing agreement to use the SpaceShipOne technology to launch a new service called Virgin Galactic. Branson hopes to offer suborbital space flights to individuals at a cost of $200,000 each. Sounds a little crazy but it could happen. Stay tuned.

TV Guide apparently didn’t get the memo on the delay of The Amazing Race 6, or perhaps they were already set to press when the delay was announced. Either way, they published an article introducing all of the contestants for the next race. Check it out at Reality TV World.

Due to the overwhelming success of The Amazing Race 5, whose finale averaged 12.85 million viewers and beat all other shows in its time slot, CBS has decided to delay the start of The Amazing Race 6. The Amazing Race 6 was originally scheduled to air on September 25th, then October 2nd, and now late October or early November.

CBS Vice President Kelly Kahl told Daily Variety, “We’ve seen (evidence) that it really helps to put a little space between one version and the next…we want to let the audience breathe a little before we bring the show back.” Maybe he’s right. I am willing to wait one month between the races. Besides, we are going to be on vacation the first three weeks of October. I’ll let everyone know when the race will start.

From http://livejournal.com/community/thefridayfive/

1. What is your opinion on karma?
I definitely believe in karma and karmic retribution. The old adage that “what goes around comes around” has proven true many times and I truly believe in it. I mean, look at this bitch, a dickhead CEO of a dot-com company forced to move back to his mom’s house in his forties. That’s karma, baby!

2. If anything, do you think attitude makes any difference? If you believe the world and life are good, will good things radiate toward you? If you believe otherwise, will it all be a self fulfilling prophecy?
I believe that self-deprecation and pessimism breeds bad energy. Have you ever noticed that people that complain about illnesses always seem to be sick? Some people foster bad energy around them and it affects their health, psyche, and overall well-being.

3. How has luck/chance/facts-of-life/God/karma/nature treated you so far?
I really try to create foster good energy by having a good outlook on life, I am an optimist. I also have a strong work ethic. These things combined have allowed me to go from growing up in a single-parent welfare household to making over six figures and being a homeowner in San Francisco. All in all, karma has treated me very well.

4. What is your opinion of the concept of destinies?
Everyone has an opportunity to “change their stars” like in that movie, “A Knight’s Tale.” Life is too complex and there are too many variables for things to be preordained. People make their own choices, moment-by-moment, which shape their lives.

5. Are both bad and good things needed in order to truly live life? Can you have the bad without the good? The good without the bad?
I think that people who inherit money have less respect for it. Those that are self-made remember what it is like to be poor and strive never to go back. Is it ambition or fear? Either way it’s a helluva motivator. Economics aside though, I think that it would be very hard to appreciate happiness without feeling sadness.

Big ups go out to the Amazing Race production staff for winning the Best Reality-Competition Program Emmy Award for the second year in a row. In my view, it is definitely the best reality show on television. Be sure to watch the series finale of The Amazing Race 5 this Tuesday, and the premiere of The Amazing Race 6 in a few weeks, on October 2nd. A big shout-out goes out to Meerenai for getting me hooked on this awesome show.

After spending a bunch of money on fraudulent attacks against Kerry, Karl Rove will start selling Bush as a true Texas cowboy. A bunch of new commercials featuring George W. in his Crawford, Texas ranch will begin airing soon. Comedian Will Ferrell plays the President in this parody of the upcoming commercials. Check it out when you get the chance.

To celebrate her 19th season, Oprah gave everyone in her audience a new car. Each member of the audience got a 2005 Pontiac G6 which starts at $21,300. I have no doubt that Oprah got an insane discount from Pontiac, but still, this totally proves that Oprah has got some serious chedda lying around.

A Superior Court Judge in Sacramento upheld a new state law that is poised to give domestic partners the same legal rights as married couples, except for the ability to file a joint tax return. This will finally afford gay couples many of the same legal protections that married couples enjoy, including using the court systems to divide assets after a separation and taking leave from work to care for a sick partner. About time. In addition to the ruling the judge offered the opinion that if the purpose of the California Defense of Marriage Act was to prohibit gay couples from enjoying those legal fruits, it was likely unconstitutional.

Big ups to my friend Jamie Draper who was just elected into the firm partnership. He was already my boss, but I guess now he’s the boss of everyone else too. Congratulations!

CBS will pay a record $550,000 fine for the Janet Jackson Super Bowl incident that occurred earlier this year (see previous blog entry). Each of the 20 stations owned by CBS will pay $27,500, but its 200 affiliates will escape the FCC penalty. Damn, that sure is one expensive tittie!

It’s the middle of the afternoon in San Francisco and it is hovering in the low 90’s and it’s about that in our loft. This is the third straight day of heat and we’re melting, please make it stop. I never thought I’d say this, but where’s the fog?

The De La Salle High School football team of Concord, California lost its first game in 12 years this Saturday. It’s streak of 151 consecutive wins ended against Bellvue High School of Bellvue, Washington, and was the longest in American football sports history. De La Salle beat opponents by an average margin of 38.2 points during the streak. The amazing streak created cult following for Bob Ladouceur, the team’s coach, who now has a 287-15-2 record at the school in the last 26 years. The program at De La Salle, a private all-boys school located in the San Francisco suburb of Concord, has inspired a Wheaties box, two books, a documentary, and national telecasts of their games. Last month, the streak also earned the Spartans a seven-page feature article in Sports Illustrated.

A Tennessee man reset his own world record of nearly three days underwater to five days underwater using standard SCUBA gear. A platform was built at a depth of 13 feet in a local lake, complete with a recliner, underwater music, and a checkers table. A team of ten support divers provided air tank changes, food, water, entertainment, and supervision while he slept. Incredible.

Bill Clinton was hospitalized after suffering chest pains. Clinton was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia in Manhattan. Damn, he’s too young to go out like that. Here’s wishing Bill a quick recovery.

From http://livejournal.com/community/thefridayfive/

1. What is your favorite summer activity?
Just walking around the city of San Francisco on a sunny day is pretty nice. Now that we live in SOMA we can walk to Union Square, Nob Hill, North Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf, and our favorite place, Yerba Buena Gardens.

2. What was one great thing you did this summer?
I finished my degree at the University of San Francisco. We also planned a vacation to Europe. We’ll be going to Germany for my friend Otto’s wedding and then we’ll go to Spain to hang out at the beach in Denia, on the Costa Blanca this October.

3. When you were a child, what was your favorite summer activity?
Going to the beach, anywhere, but mostly in Puerto Rico. Also, just walking through the streets of my hometown of Dorado in summer was awesome. In Southern California, I loved going to Redondo Beach.

4. What has been your favorite summer vacation?
Last summer we went to the Big Island of Hawaii and had a blast. We did a lot of scuba diving. You can check out the pictures here.

5. Summer goes well into September, but when do you feel like it is over?
Living in San Francisco the warmest months are September and October. Summer really doesn’t start until August, since June and July tend to be a little foggy. It is rare that it stays warm through November, but we had great weather into Thanksgiving last year. So for the most part, I would say that the first week of November is the end of summer for us.

Due to technical problems at my ISP, 1and1.com, the Nug was down for over 24 hours. It was down from Thursday morning until just a few hours ago. I would ask for a refund, but I get hosted for free and beggars can’t be whiners. The upside is that this is only the second time it’s been down. The first time it was down for only an hour, this time they took their sweet time. It’s funny that it went down after I made two posts about the Republican National Convention. Could it have been a vast right wing conspiracy? Nah! It’s just good to be back.

The criminal case against Kobe Bryant was dropped today after the accuser refused to testify in the criminal proceedings. This of course does not mean that Kobe is done, there’s still a big dollar civil lawsuit that the victim has filed against Bryant. Ultimately, the civil case is what this whole thing was about it seems.

I just found out that The Amazing Race 6 starts on September 25th, immediately after the end of Amazing Race 5! This is awesome, since normally we have to wait six to nine months in between races. Kickass!

Brandon & Nicole in Last Place

In this ninth leg of the race, teams had to make their way from Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, to Calcutta, India. Prior to leaving Dubai though, teams had to make their way to the Wild Wadi water park to ride down the park’s largest waterslide. Kami & Karli started this race last and without money, but they quickly made this a non-issue. Almost immediately they met a gentleman that gave them $200 dollars for the opportunity to hug twins. He also led them directly to the water park to boot. The twins quickly ended up with the rest of the pack and with more money than anybody else.

After the waterslide, teams had to make their way to the Dubai airport. This was almost a disaster for Chip & Kim. The clue said that teams had to drive themselves to the airport and they took a taxi instead. Luckily, they saw their mistake and returned to the park prior to boarding a plane. Also, Linda & Karen left a bag with their money and passports at the water park and had to return for it, losing valuable time. Linda & Karen also had a similar moment to that of Colin in the last leg–a dispute with a taxi driver over a fare. Unlike Colin however, the incident was resolved quickly and respectfully.

All the teams, except for Chip & Kim, ended up on the same flight to India. Chip & Kim had to take another route to their destination that would have them arrive 10 minutes behind the other teams. This became a non-issue, since the traffic on the streets of Calcutta decreased the 10-minute deficit. All the teams arrived at the Sahid Minar tower and refused to use the Yield on this leg of the race. Additionally, all of the teams chose not to do the Fast Forward proposed in the clue. All the teams made their way to a mud brick factory for their next clue.

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Cheney as The Penguin

As I watched the Cheney speech, his monotone voice made me drift off. I have to admit, the RNC has me a little depressed. I couldn’t help but think that Cheney had the mannerisms of Burgess Meredith, you know, the Penguin in the old Batman TV show. I decided to try and Photoshop something, and lo and behold, I found a picture of exactly what I wanted on the Internet. And here I thought I had come up with something original.

How can someone that awarded a no-bid $7 billion contract to his old company say anything of import anyway? His party isn’t even happy with him. Senator Al D’Amato of New York suggested that Bush drop Cheney from the ticket in favor of someone better. It may be childish, but this picture makes me feel a whole lot better.

I watched Arnold’s speech at the RNC to see if he had anything interesting to say. The Repubs brought him out to New York clearly to appeal to immigrant voters and he did just that. He exclaimed to immigrants, “We Republicans admire your ambition. We encourage your dreams. We believe in your future.” If only that were true. Republican lawmakers have historically tried to isolate us and reduce immigrant quotas.

Pete Wilson, the former governor of California, tried himself to practically close the Mexican border by removing Mexican immigration quotas completely. He even joked in a speech that perhaps the best way to protect California against immigration was to erect an electric fence between California and Mexico. It didn’t sound like Pete was all about immigrant ambitions, dreams, and future back then!

And what the hell does Arnold know about being an average immigrant, the guy was Mr. Universe like seven times! This is not the average immigrant experience. A guy picking strawberries or grapes in a field has no idea what it’s like to have orgies with beautiful women after a bodybuilding contest. There are two Americas and the average immigrant doesn’t live in the one that Arnold does.

The speeches on the convention are so riddled with holes and incosistencies that they are truly hard for me to even watch. I can only imagine what Cheney will say after they let him out of his cave. It’s almost too painful to watch.