Andrew Speaker, From

The media revealed today that drug-resistant tuberculosis patient that is currently in the news is a 31-year-old attorney from Atlanta named Andrew Speaker. He was told two days before his wedding in Greece not to go, but he decided to go anyway. Then after taking 5 flights to get to Italy, the CDC and the Italian authorities told him not to get on any more flights and he took 2 more flights to get to Canada and drove into the U.S. (see this timeline graphic). The CDC must have put him on a commercial no-fly list for inbound U.S. flights at that point.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I am told I have a rare disease I think that’s a good enough reason to cancel or postpone some wedding plans, even if it isn’t a highly contagious disease, which this is. He’s now under U.S. government quarantine and undergoing treatment. The bastard put countless lives at risk by taking a total of 7 commercial flights after being told not to do so. I certainly hope he survives and that nobody else contracted the disease, but I have to question his judgment to put the lives of others at risk. If it was that important, the responsible thing to do was to take a private plane to and from Greece.

If anyone else is harmed due to his actions he should be held financially, if not criminally, accountable. As a lawyer I am sure he understands the concepts of negligence and liability. He’s going to suffer a much bigger beatdown than coughing! Sadly, because he only has a 30% survival rate, chances are anyone harmed from this may have to sue his widow and estate.

The new Google Maps Street View feature is crazy cool! Check it out!

I am in Denver visiting one of my clients and will be returning late Tuesday night.

Jeff the Paws of Death ©

Inside every house cat lies a cold blooded killer. Meet Jeff, he has his own blog devoted to his bloodthirsty attacks and yes, he often eats his prey. Jeff has developed quite an Internet following and is probably considering reality show and film deals as we speak. Check him out.

Golden Gate Bridge Using HDR Photography

The Golden Gate Bridge turned 70 years old at 6:00am on Sunday morning. According to the Chronicle, it is used by more than 100,000 commuters a day, visited by as many as a million tourists a month, and crossed by 40 million drivers a year. Its bold beauty is staggering, its mystique legendary.

The bridge is also an engineering marvel. Reading the bridge design and construction statistics really makes you appreciate the bridge a little bit more if you are mechanically inclined. Although the bridge is already incredibly strong, it is undergoing a seismic retrofit right now. The work will be completed in time for the bridge’s 75th Anniversary.

Now that we live downtown and don’t have friends or clients in Marin, we hardly ever cross or even see the bridge anymore. This story makes me want to drive to the base of the bridge and walk it a few times. Now if we could only build a suicide barrier, the bridge will only be filled with good memories instead of tragedy for all.

The MacArthur Maze reopened today just 26 days after the tanker truck accident that destroyed it. And just 18 days after the contract was awarded for the work! That is amazing! I have to admit that I was totally wrong in estimating that it would take 4 to 5 months for anyone to rebuild the freeway sections. Big ups to C.C. Myers and his team for doing this in record time. Myers deserves the butt load of money he will receive in bonuses for rebuilding so quickly.

An Egyptian man tried to smuggle “snakes on a plane” heading to Saudi Arabia.

I normally don’t comment on American Idol and can really care less about who wins it, but I typically watch the finale to see which stars they get to perform. Prince’s performance during the last American Idol finale was awesome, although it paled in comparison to his incredible Super Bowl performance.

There was no Prince this year and nobody who could even come close to hold a candle to him. Gwen Stefani performed from another stage on her tour, so that doesn’t even count! Smokey Robinson’s performance was a bit muted, you can tell he doesn’t have the range he used to have. The same thing could be said of Gladys Knight and Bette Midler who gave performances that were well past their prime. Their voices are gone.

Tony Bennett doesn’t have the range he used to but makes up for it with pure charisma–I give him a pass for the night. The two best performances were ones that you wouldn’t expect. First, I’d say that Doug E. Fresh and Blake Lewis did a good rendition of Doug E. Fresh’s classic, The Show. Maybe it resonated more with me because that reminds me of my freshman year of high school.

Okay, I am old. I am also biased, but this is the Nug not CNN. This blog is like Fox News without Republicans. Or reporters for that matter. But I digress.

The second best was Green Day’s performance of Lennon’s Working Class Hero, which they did to protest conditions in Darfur. It was dark, edgy and included the original lyrics which include the word “fucking” and was bleeped out successfully on live feed delay. The American Idol franchise won’t have to worry about going down on the count of an expletive.

All in all, it was pretty boring show apart from those two performances which I really enjoyed. Oh, and I did laugh out loud when Sanjaya sang You Really Got Me accompanied by Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. WTF!? The show ran late and I didn’t get to see the results live because the Tivo stopped recording. I later found that Jordin won.

So I remember watching the original Transformers cartoons when I was a little kid on Saturday mornings. There was no 24-hour cartoon channels then. If you wanted to watch your favorite serialized cartoons you had to get your ass up at the crack of dawn on Saturday to watch them because that’s when they aired.

The theme song for the cartoon was really catchy, even if it sounds really dated now:

The Transformers, more than meets the eye
Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of the Decepticons
The Transformers, (Robot Voice) robots in disguise
The Transformers, more than meets the eye
The Transformers

However, will someone please explain to me how the hell we went from this:

to something that now looks like this:

The camp of the original is all gone. Is anyone really excited about this new movie?

The Halo 3 beta is underway with three multiplayer maps available and even MSNBC has written a story about the beta, the fans, and the sales expectations for this game. I returned my copy of Crackdown that I rented through Gamefly before the beta was released, so I am not playing it. Which is probably a good thing because I always enjoy finishing the single player campaign before launching into the multiplayer mayhem.

With all the expectations surrounding this game, anything less than the $125 million that Halo 2 did on the first day would be considered a disappointment. For those keeping score, as of June, 2006 Halo 2 had sold 9.2 million copies worldwide so Halo 3 has a lot to live up to. I will be pre-ordering my copy later this week.

After a failed launch into space on April 28th, James Doohan’s ashes and those of 200 others spent 4 minutes in space and then fell back to Earth over New Mexico. Luckily, the remains were recovered on Friday from the San Andres Mountains on White Sands Missile Range. Sadly, the cylinders containing the ashes will now only be mounted on plaques mentioning the space flight and given to the families who provided them. So good ol’ Scotty won’t spend eternity in space after all.

Bungie Studios announced today that Halo 3 will be released on September 25th, nearly two months ahead of the anticipated mid-November launch date.

CBS has renewed The Amazing Race for at least one more season. The Amazing Race 12 was listed in their 2007-2008 schedule as a mid-season returning show, which means that it will likely air in early 2008. An exact air date has not been announced. This is a change from the two seasons per year pace that The Amazing Race has been on in the last few years. Perhaps CBS has decided to air The Race only in the mid-season and will not schedule it in the fall any more.

A group of elementary school teachers in Tennessee faked a gunman attack on a bunch of 6th graders by turning off the lights and telling them that a gunman was on the loose. The fake attack lasted five minutes and scared the bejesus out of the poor kids. Needless to say, the parents were not amused. This incident makes you wonder where Tennessee ranks in teacher quality, because these guys suck!

A man in Pennsylvania that collects Tolkien memorabilia has built a fantastic Hobbit cottage to store his collection. The cottage is located in his back yard and includes architectural details such as a round entry door, a butterfly window, and stone construction. The cottage appeared in Fine Homebuilding magazine which includes great photos of this mythical home.

Shell Station Gas Prices in Background
© Chronicle/Liz Mangelsdorf

The Shell gas station a block from our place has always had pretty high gas prices, but lately it’s gone out of control with premium grade gas going for $4.50 per gallon. The Chronicle ran this story today about the owner, who is purposely jacking up his prices in protest of business practices that are unfair to small operators.

The owner has operated the gas station at Sixth and Harrison for 22 years, but he’s walking away from it at the end of the month, handing over the keys to Shell officials and expecting them to shut it down. Shell has already told him that they plan to fence the property and bulldoze the station.

Little guys getting pushed out of the market will only mean higher gas prices for everyone when all of the independent gas station operators are gone. Especially in a high demand, high real estate value locale like San Francisco. I am sad to see this guy go, even though I always fill up at the Chevron across the street.

I just found this sweet mash-up of Lord of the Rings and The Ring of Fire song by Johnny Cash. It makes for a really strange Johnny Cash music video. Somehow I doubt this is what Johnny Cash envisioned when he wrote the song.

I wonder what would have happened if Johnny Cash had ever met some Hobbits!? He would have probably beat the living shit out of them for sneaking up on him or something. I heard that the popular belief is that the song is about hemorrhoids. Crazy.

A Luxor Casino employee was blown up mafia-style when he picked up an unidentified object in the casino parking lot. Police are treating it not as a terrorist attack but as a murder with an unusual weapon. But who would want to kill a casino security guard with a bomb?

Scientists are studying ways to harness the energy of the jet stream, continuous 300+ mph winds that constantly rage 6 to 9 miles above our heads. If we are able to do that, the world’s electricity needs could be met very easily, since 1 percent of the jet stream has enough power for our entire civilization.

Wikipedia has an incredible page of Amazing Race stats and trivia. Check it.

Eric & Danielle Win

In this final episode, teams made their way from Guam to Hawaii. The last three teams left the final Pit Stop with only one hour and forty minutes separating the first place team (the Beauty Queens) and the third place team (Team Schmirna).

All three teams were supposed to be on the same connecting flight to Honolulu, but Charla & Mirna hustled to get on another connecting flight that was scheduled to land 40 minutes ahead of the other teams. It was a pretty ballsy move, considering that had they failed to board that flight, they would have almost certainly missed the second flight as well since it was at a different terminal.

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Pikachu vs Grimpoteuthis

Grimpoteuthis, a deep sea octopus that lives three miles under the sea (pictured on the right in this illustration), resembles a Pikachu Pokemon creature.

While we may not know jack about this new species of octopus, we sure know a lot about the Pikachu. Via BoingBoing.

An upstate New York couple didn’t think a few bats in the attic were much of a problem when they were buying a house last summer. Months later, they found out how wrong they were when they discovered more than a ton and a half of bat guano up there. That’s right. Bat shit. 3,500 pounds of bat shit inside their house!

They were going to exterminate the bats months earlier, but were told to wait by the exterminator. Instead, they completely forgot about the bats until they smelled a foul odor. They found piles of dead bats and bat shit all over. Luckily the attic floorboards held, or they would have had bat shit raining inside their house. Crazy.

The Lakers were knocked out of the playoffs last night by the Suns. Warriors still in it.

Here’s a map of online communities that looks sort of like the sweet maps that came with the Infocom Zork video games. Geek out!

Leaving San Francisco and heading to the East Bay may prove difficult. San Francisco has become a lot like a roach motel if you commute in from the East Bay, “you can get in but you can’t get out.” Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that a gasoline tanker truck crashed over the weekend and melted two freeway overpasses at the MacArthur Maze. The photos of the melted steel are incredible.

I-580 Detour, Option 1

In any case, the map above shows the preferred rout for getting onto the I-580 Eastbound after crossing the Bay Bridge on the I-80 East. It’s not pretty to have to take surface streets for that stretch, so the second option below seems like the best bet. Getting on the I-880 South, exiting for a few blocks, and then getting on the I-980 to get to the I-580. Both options require the use of surface streets, but the second option is only for a few blocks. Visit for more info.


Thankfully, I do not have to make that commute. I feel sorry for all of the East Bay residents that work in The City. Their evening commutes just got a hell of a lot longer. Many people are staying home for the next few days, but as normal traffic resumes, it will be a nightmare.

I lived in Los Angeles when the Northridge Quake collapsed a section of the I-10 freeway. It took nearly three months to rebuild that section of the freeway, and that was a straight freeway. Rebuilding the maze will be a more difficult task due to the height and complexity (curve) of the overpasses that must be rebuilt. My guess is that it will take at least four to five months to rebuild. Stay tuned.

Team Prada Eliminated

In this episode, teams made their way from Macau to Guam. Team Prada was marked for elimination but missed the earlier flight to Tokyo. They got on a later flight to Tokyo hoping to make the connection. Of course, they totally made the flight to Guam despite the drama created by the producers of the show through editing. It would have been lame if they were eliminated by missing a flight!

Teams bunched up leading into the first task, but they felt safe knowing that they would have a half hour cushion as long as Team Prada did not come in first place. Team Schmirna was in last place leaving the Detour, but passed Team Prada on the way to the Roadblock because they got lost, yet again. It would have been nearly impossible for them to gain thirty minutes on Team Schmirna anyway.

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