Aloha Airlines announced yesterday that it is filing for bankruptcy an halting passenger service for all its flights after today.  So if you are currently on vacation in Hawaii and you flew with Aloha–Aloha bitch, you’re stranded!  That’s totally messed up.  Hawaiian Airlines stepped up and said it would take all the Aloha passengers it can on standby for free, but only for four days through April 3rd.

Tyra Banks and Her Stalker

Tyra Banks and Brady Green

Last week, a creepy guy showed up at a New York taping of the Tyra Banks Show with a duffel bag filled with magazine clippings of the super model and extremely detailed notes on how he has tried to contact her.

Needless to say, Tyra freaked out and called the cops.  He was asked to leave the studio but he came back a while later.  At that point, cops rained down on him and he was arrested for stalking, harassment, and criminal trespass.

The man that was arrested was later identified as Brady Green, 37, from Dublin, Georgia.  He allegedly has been terrorizing Tyra for months by attempting to contact her with multiple letters and phone calls.  He was released by a judge under his own recognizance after appearing in court.

CGI Flash-Animated Woman

Creepy woman.

I just went to a website that features an incredibly lifelike and creepy CGI flash-animated woman that follows your mouse with her eyes, blinks, and smiles.  I guarantee you that everyone that sees her will exclaim "wow, that’s pretty cool!"  The Brazilian design firm that created her did a fantastic job.

Check it out if you have some time.  What I really like about the animation is that it appears to be truly random.  She doesn’t have that many facial movements, but they all seem to be very well randomized.  At this rate it seems we are very close to having virtual actors that appear lifelike, not like Buzz Lightyear.  Via BoingBoing.

A Texas woman was forced by TSA gangstaz to remove her nipple piercings with pliers before boarding a flight last month.  The woman hired Gloria Allred last week, so the TSA almost immediately changed their procedures to allow for visual inspections of nipple rings in the future.  The truth is that if the woman had not hired a high-profile lawyer nothing would have happened.  I don’t mind the TSA doing their jobs, but a lot of them have this "gangsta" mentality lately.  We should stop all of this oppressive behavior, since it does nothing to make us safer in the skies.  Are nipple rings all that dangerous?

We returned from Washington, DC last night and really enjoyed the history of the city.  We were blessed to have pretty good weather while we were there so we got a chance to see the monuments without rain or snow, which would have sucked!  I just posted the photos taken during our trip onto Flickr.  I hope that I’ll get a chance to add tags and captions to the photos soon.  Here’s my favorite from the set, check them all out is you have some time.

The L.A. Times ran a front page apology to Diddy for the story they ran last week in which they implicated Diddy in shooting Tupac Shakur outside of a record studio in New York (see previous post).  Here’s an excerpt of the public apology:

"The bottom line is that the documents we relied on should not have been used…We apologize both to our readers and to those referenced in the documents…and in the story."

Diddy and his lawyers are nothing short of unimpressed and surely will pursue a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper.  This is not the end of this by a long shot.  I predict an out of court settlement in the L.A. Times’ future.

I am glad that I am flying United this Friday when I return to San Francisco.  Why?  American Airlines canceled at least 200 flights today after doing "more thorough" inspections of their MD-80 aircraft.  The MD-80 aircraft were made by McDonnell Douglas in Long Beach and were put into production from about 1979 to 1988.  Needless to say, the planes are old.  Given the age of their planes, wouldn’t it be nice if American *always* performed thorough inspections, not just on special occasions!?  I am just saying.

Home prices in the Bay Are dropped 13.2% year-over-year, with a median price of $706,880.  The Bay Area is defined as San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties; it excludes Napa and Sonoma counties.  The interesting thing is that studying recent San Francisco home sales, it seems that prices are flat compared to prices last year.  It would be interesting to see official figures for San Francisco alone.

A huge ice chunk collapsed off the continent of Antarctica today.  The chunk of ice was part of the Wilkins Ice Shelf, an ice shelf that has been steadily shrinking over the last 15 years.  Scientists had believed that the shelf would collapse in about 15 years, but the ice shelf had other plans.  The collapse will not raise sea levels in the rest of the world but is a sign of worsening global warming.  Yikes!

Intercontinental Hotel

The big blue ugly eyesore in the same frame
as our beautiful and revered City Hall.

The Chronicle Urban Design Writer has developed a fondness for the new Intercontinental Hotel on the corner of Howard and Fifth Streets.  Still, we think the thing is hideous and completely out of place in the current SoMa landscape.  The writer even calls it for what it is: an off-strip Vegas wannabe casino.  Sad.

The writer says that the hotel has assurance and confidence.  Yeah, like a forty-five-year-old bucktoothed Vegas hooker with a new face lift.  It’s both sad *and* ugly.  The writer says that it could be worse, but we, and by we I mean the SoMa residents that walk past it almost every day, don’t see how.  What do you think?

Thomas Beatie

Thomas Beatie,
pregnant man.

Thomas Beatie, a person that was born a biological woman, had sex change surgery, and is now living as a man, is having a baby because his wife is unable to do so. Here is an excerpt of the story in The Advocate:

Sterilization is not a requirement for sex reassignment, so I decided to have chest reconstruction and testosterone therapy but kept my reproductive rights. Wanting to have a biological child is neither a male nor female desire, but a human desire.

Damn, you have to wonder how many heterosexual husbands would be willing to do this for their wives if it were possible?

I finally got around to getting photos from Fleet Week (October) and our visit to Hawaii (December) off my camera and posted them on Flickr last night.  We are still in the process of taking and sorting all of the photos we are taking in Washington, DC and I will be posting those later.

Mama and I are heading off to Washington, DC this morning.  I have to be there for a privacy conference that starts on Wednesday, so we decided to head there early and be tourists in the District.  We didn’t realize that we were heading there on Easter weekend, which may mean that a lot of things will be closed on Sunday, but oh well.  We’ll see whatever we can, I guess.  I will post photos of our travels upon our return.

Homeless Stare

Does this guy know
quantum physics? Totally!

Mama and I were walking past a couple of homeless guys today and they approached us excitedly and asked us to clarify a debate they were having.  Since this was a welcome change to being harassed for money, we both agreed.  They surprisingly had an American history question: Which country burned down the White House during the War of 1812?  One homeless guy debated that it was the British, the other that it was the French.

Mama and I both didn’t know the answer off the top of our heads, but we suspected it was the Britsh since the French were busy with the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, not in the U.S.  In order to settle the debate definitively, I busted out my BlackBerry to get the answer from the Internets.  Sure enough, a quick Google search found that it was the British that burned down many public buildings in Washington, DC, including the White House, near the end of the War of 1812.

The homeless exclaimed, "God bless the Internet!"  Indeed.  All in all, the interaction was quite refreshing and informative for all involved.  I really had no idea that the homeless were interested in these types of academic pursuits.  So I have to ask, do the homeless in other cities debate politics, science and quantum mechanics?  I wonder.

After Steve Irwin’s death a few years ago, I wrote a satirical post surrounding a true incident in which a stingray jumped onto a boat and stabbed a man in the heart.  That man survived.  Yesterday there was another freak incident in which a stingray leaped into the air striking a woman on a moving boat so hard that she fell back, hit her head, and died.  While stingrays jumping out water is not unusual, stingrays flying out of water and hitting stationary or moving objects is very unusual.  What a strange way to go.

Apple is reportedly in talks with content providers about making iTunes completely free for customers that decide to pay more for their iPods or iPhones.  Surely, Apple is willing to share or give the additional device markup to the music publishers in exchange for the content.  I doubt the publishers would take a flat fee, since their royalty contracts with the artists are not structured this way.

If Apple can get the publishers to agree to this it will be great for those who are purchasing their iPods or iPhones for the first time.  I would think that the added premium on price will likely pay-off in the long run.  My guess is that it would be a $249 premium for a device lifetime subscription.  But what about those, and I am not one of them, who have already purchased hundreds if not thousands of dollars in iTunes music?

Frankly, I doubt that this subscription model will even happen given the "old school" thinking and artist contracts that publishers still have.  Stay tuned.

Diddy

Diddy ready to let about 20 lawyers rain down on the LA times.

The LA Times ran a story on their website this morning allegedly linking the 1994 attack of Tupac Shakur at a New York recording studio with Sean “Diddy” Combs.  The sad thing is that the story claims that the story is based on FBI records, interviews with people at the scene of the 1994 shooting, and statements to the FBI by an informant, but none of the sources are on the record!  What kind of shoddy journalism is that!  Don’t we expect more from the LA Times, or is it just another blog!?

Diddy put out a statement denouncing the story, saying “The story is a lie…It is beyond ridiculous and completely false. Neither (the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.) nor I had any knowledge of any attack before, during or after it happened. … I am shocked that the Los Angeles Times would be so irresponsible as to publish such a baseless and completely untrue story.”  Frankly, I am shocked too.  I am not trying to pick sides here, but if you are going to accuse someone of attempted murder, you better have enough information and sources to back it up.  If I was Diddy, I would sue the hell out of the newspaper for libel!

I am sure that this will not be the end of this brouhaha–stay tuned!

There is rumor that The Bionic Woman (TBW) has been canceled after only 8 episodes!  NBC Universal denied the rumor a month ago and said that production on the show would resume after the writers’ strike.  Well, the strike is over and the show’s production has not resumed.  Smells like death for the show.  Everyone expected a shortened season due to the strike but expected the show to be renewed for at least a second season.

What’s interesting about this is that TBW was getting higher ratings than Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, yet Fox will be bringing Ms. Connor back next Fall.  It seems that NBC brass has decided to kill their extra investments in the Science Fiction/Fantasy genre outside of HeroesHeroes is still by considered a hit show even though its ratings have dropped, maybe that has scared them a bit.  Perhaps the production costs of TBW far outweighed the ad sales and it was simply a business decision.  Who knows?

But this is all speculation on conjecture and rumor.  If the rumor turns out to be true then shame on NBC for killing a pretty good show with a loyal following.

Bette Davis and Joan_Crawford

Bette Davis, the original psycho-biddy.
I mean just look at that crazy mascara.

Function: noun
Etymology: Exact etymology unknown. Combination of the words psycho, from Gr. psychh meaning the soul, the mind, or a person afflicted with psychosis; and biddy, adult female chicken, 1913. Literal meaning of combined words is "crazy chicken."
Date: circa 1960
Definition: 1) a dangerous, insane or mentally unstable woman of advanced years; 2) a colloquial term for a sub-genre of the horror/thriller movie also known by the name "Older Women in Peril," which was most prevalent from the early 1960s through the mid-1970s (see Wikipedia entry).

We watched the film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? a few nights ago and can honestly say that "crazy chicken" does not even begin to describe Bette Davis’s character in the film.  Just the clumped mascara she wore alone is enough to give you the willies.

George Lucas and his Lucasfilm team are working on an animated film that will be released in August called Star Wars: Clone Wars. The full-length theatrical release will be followed by an animated series that will air on the Cartoon Network. I know what you are thinking, "if it is animated it’s going to suck." But after taking a look at the film trailer and production video, I can honestly say that I am now really excited about both the film and the subsequent series.

A toll hike for the Golden Gate Bridge was approved that will increase the regular toll from $5 to $6. That is crazy! Only about 6 years ago, in 2002, the bridge toll was only $3. The toll will now have essentially doubled in only 6 to 7 years!  That just doesn’t seem right to me.  Could the cost of bridge operations and maintenance really have doubled during the same time period?  I doubt it, but that’s not why they are raising the toll.

The reason for the hike is to generate funds for the replacement of Doyle Drive, the raised freeway leading up to the span that extends from the Marina District through the Presidio and finally onto the bridge.  The bridge is itself is fine, it’s the infrastructure around it that is starting to deteriorate and need replacement.  I can only imagine how much it would cost to rebuild the entire bridge!

The actual cost of the bridge was only $35 million and construction was completed in 1937.  That is only $568.3 million in today’s dollars (inflation-adjusted).  But if building the new Eastern span of the Bay Bridge today is a $6.2 billion proposition, then rebuilding the Golden Gate would cost about $10 billion today due to the higher level of difficulty in building across the mouth of the bay.  Let’s hope that with maintenance full replacement of the Golden Gate Bridge will never be necessary, because they may raise the tolls to about $50.

Keith Olbermann had the balls to say what the main stream media has only been slightly hinting at over the past couple of weeks. The fact that the Clinton campaign’s racial undertones are outrageous and appalling, and that Geraldine Ferraro is a vile and ignorant old hag that has a twenty-year history of spewing racism as part of political discourse.  Click on the "Olbermann Uproar on Ferraro Uproar" video after following the link. I applaud Keith Olbermann for his spot-on analysis and candor.  We need more journalists like this guy.

Last night, there was some serious weirdness going on with the Internets. Both me and a co-worker of mine couldn’t get to The Daily Nugget, any of my websites, or GoDaddy. We both have Comcast as our ISP.  I of course assumed that this was all GoDaddy’s fault, since it seemed like a DNS and/or routing issue.

In order to troubleshoot, I tunneled through my work’s Internet connection and was able to access The Daily Nugget a few times with intermittent “503 service unavailable” errors.  WTF!?  This morning I was still getting intermittent 503 errors, but was able to access the GoDaddy.com host administration.  I proceeded to refresh my DNS settings by deleting and re-adding a CNAME entry.  Sure enough — fixed within minutes.  Bastards!

A few minutes later as if almost on cue, I got an email from GoDaddy that says they have just changed the look and feel of their “My Account” area.  Apparently, this wreaked havoc with many shared hosting users, as evidenced by webmaster forum rants.  The good news is that it is all over and we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.

My apologies if you were unable to access the site and it caused you to lay down in a fetal position and cry uncontrollably while you checked the Internets every 5 minutes to see if it was back up and running.  I concede that may have been a little “inconvenient” and you may have lost some sleep last night.  Please read the site’s terms of service before considering any litigation.

Kilobyte Comic

Via xkcd.

I updated the blog template to have a very simplified html markup and achieve all of the graphic elements using only cascading style sheets and the default movable type style sheet classes. What does this mean in English? The blog is more easily readable using a mobile devices. I got tired of the blog looking like crap on my BlackBerry and having to scroll through all of my tags. Ultimately, the change gives better accessibility for all of the Nug readers!

Unless you have been under a rock, you have probably already seen Sarah Silverman’s “I’m F*cking Matt Damon” video and Jimmy Kimmel’s “I’m F*cking Ben Affleck” video. To put it in perspective, as of this writing these videos have been seen by a third of the audience of the Oscars. Check them out, they’re pretty funny.

The University of San Francisco’s School of Law is supporting it’s Intellectual Property Law Clinic’s attorneys-in-training in helping outside lawyers to defend their clients against the RIAA, pro bono. The two attorneys in the program are doing this under the supervision of law school professors and have already assisted by filing briefs in New York for two pending cases. Big ups to USF, my alma matter, in fighting the RIAA’s gestapo tactics and shakedown lawsuits against individuals.

Barack Obama’s charisma and influence extends beyond international boundaries. Obama wrote a letter to the residents of the Japanese town that shares his name. The residents of Obama were overjoyed and are rooting for Obama to win the democratic nomination later today.

Monkey Hot Tubbing
These Japanese snow monkeys like the natural springs outside of Nagano so much that they’ll put up with Japanese and foreign tourists snapping their pictures as they chill. This has to be one of the funniest photos I’ve seen in a while, if only because the monkey in the back doesn’t look like he likes the picture-taking. What do you think the caption should read?

A slimy ex-CEO in Boca Raton stopped paying his mortgage in 2002 and forced his bank to provide evidence that they owned his bank note. They have not been able to produce the necessary paperwork in foreclosure proceedings and he’s still living in his home. Of course, he probably has had to defend himself in court which can’t be cheap. But, it’s probably less than he would have payed for his $1.5 million mortgage in a year. According to experts, about half of all mortgages in the U.S. may not have the necessary bank note paperwork. Seems like a sneaky way to get out of your personal obligations, but in the U.S. where there’s a crook there’s a way.