We are off to the airport heading to Puerto Rico through Washington, DC.  Yeah, that’s what happens when you book award travel through United.  But hey, the price is right.  Hopefully, we will miss reach PR with little or no delays.  Ahh, almost two weeks of relaxing in the sun sounds awesome.  Happy New Year to all!

Gary Ross (see previous post) was sentenced to 6½ years in prison, a $5,000 fine, and 10 years of supervised release, according to court documents.  Adding insult to injury, his attorneys are resigning.  Likely because Gary no longer has the means to pay them, which means he has little or no chance to appeal.  Don’t drop the soap!

It seems that at a New York MTA hearing, another shoe almost dropped was almost thrown.  I wonder how many other copycat shoe throwers will make the news in the coming months.  Stay tuned.

GEvil Logo

It’s official, people do not trust Google anymore.  Google is no longer on the list of the 20 most trusted companies due to privacy concerns.  Facebook made the list after completely retooling their website to allow users more control of their profiles over the last year.

Google applications are “free” bacause they collect an ungodly amount of information about you by default.  Hey, I understand that and use their applications extensively; GMail, Google Maps, Search.  But I have gone deep into these applications to disable the most offensive tracking, most people haven’t.

I don’t think that Google is losing any sleep over not being trusted by the general public, since they still think they are going to take over the world.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a Google electric car was in the works right now.  But they probably still need to figure out how the car will report your real time telemetry and location via WiMax.

Bernard L. Madoff, former chairman of NASDAQ, was arrested last week for perpetrating a $50 billion ponzi scheme to defraud investors. The scheme has ensnared major banks, investors in the Bay Area, and even charities and trusts associated with the likes of Steven Spielberg, Mortimer Zuckerman and Elie Wiesel.  The FBI began investigating Madoff acting on a tip from his son and now believe that the scheme has taken place over decades.  This is by far the largest ponzi scheme in history.

Bush ducking to avoid the first thrown shoe

Bush ducking to avoid the first thrown shoe

An Iraqi journalist hurled insults and both of his shoes at lame duck President George W. Bush at a press conference in Baghdad earlier today.

The President ducked to avoid being hit by the flying shoes and the man that threw them was quickly accosted.  Nobody was hurt and neither shoe connected, but the situation made for some funny photos.

Now that there’s a President-Elect, people are less afraid of letting Bush know exactly how they feel about him.

Update: Here’s the video of the lame duck ducking.

Adam Jackson

Last week, the paper did a story about a website called adamsblock.com, which broadcast images from two webcams pointed at a Tenderloin street corner.  The site appealed to the voyeuristic tendencies of many and became very popular locally and around the world.  The owner of the site, Adam Jackson, was trying to make the neighborhood safer by setting up the webcams.

Neighborhood groups took notice and started watching the cameras live feeds because they realized they could report crimes happening on the street to the police in real time. The site was an undeniable hit.  Adam had decided to use the site’s popularity to raise some money for the Glide Memorial Church, a Tenderloin community institution.

Well, what a difference a week makes.

Since then, Adam has been targeted by cyberbullies, has received death threats, has been followed by men in hoodies, has had rocks thrown at his apartment windows, and had someone call his employer to accuse him of being a pedophile.  In short, thugs from the neighborhood have tried to ruin his life.  Adam was a bit naive and disclosed his physical and email addresses, as well as his phone number.  This made it particularly easy for thugs to find him and harass him.  He took down the site and is now looking to move.

But this is not over.  An unnamed party has already setup a camera at a different Tenderloin street corner and at least three other sites have sprung up independently.  There is now talk about linking all of them together through a site called ourblock.tv.  Adam claims that having 24-hour webcams all over the city was his idea all along.  And if that happens, street thugs will not be able to take them all down.

Ninja Style Magnets

A great holiday gift idea for the ninja in your life.

Nirvana Nevermind Cover

The baby on the Nevermind cover is now a 17-year-old aspiring actor, artist and graphic designer.  Spencer Elden just graduated a year early from high school and gets paid up to $1,000 to reenact the Nevermind cover in swimming pools all over Southern California.

Why anyone would want to pay a lanky high school kid $1,000 to jump into a swimming pool is beyond me.  I agree that the cover is historic and an important part of pop culture.  But his participation in the photo doesn’t grant him any special powers or even talent.  Let’s wait and see if this guy leaves a mark in the world before we start worshiping him shall we!  Oh, never mind.

Kudos to CNN for chasing down this special interest story for all the thirty-something, Generation-Xers out there that really do care about Nirvana.

Hef with Playmates

Hef looking a little worried, like he knows he can't make payroll. These hoes aren't cheap!

Earlier this week, Playboy Enterprises Inc. announced that Christie Hefner will step down as CEO of the company that her father built and begin aggressive cost cutting measures. Hugh Hefner in the meantime is now a half-senile, crusty 83-year-old man that still sleeps with young beautiful women girls.  In recent years he shrunk his harem down from 7 to 3 girls, which are now featured in The Girls Next Door reality show.

How anyone would be okay seeing this guy’s shriveled bits is beyond me.  Technically he is still married to Kimberly Conrad, the playmate who he married and fathered two kids with in the late 90’s.  And who knows when he sees those kids!?  Everytime you see him he looks like he’s chasing down a new piece of ass.  That is after all what’s important to Hef.  It’s so important that there are rumors that he kicked out his 18-year-old son from the Playboy mansion because Hef was afraid that his son “might sleep with the playmates.”  I guess we can add “paternal cockblocker” to his list of offenses.

Well, I have to wonder if the young girls will keep coming to the Playboy mansion now that the company appears to be in real financial trouble.  If the company files for bankruptcy will it affect the way Hef rolls?  “If you build it [a mansion] they will come” was the old adage, but if the mansion is falling apart will they?  Only time will tell.

This article from Radar Online is a little disturbing, but exposes a lot of what goes on in the Hef’s mansion: Naked Ambition: Secrets for success in the Playboy empire (9/30/2008).  Check it out.

A pilot crashed his plane into a residential area near Miramar today and killed two people that were inside their homes.  Not really what you expect from a pilot landing on the revered “Top Gun” base.  Pretty lame.  Can you imagine chillin’ at home watching TV or reading a book only to be crushed to death by a plane!  Tragic.

Update (12/9/2008): Three dead, one missing

Thanks to global warming, the winters in San Francisco have been fairly mild in the last few years.  Still, all San Franciscans seem shocked the first day that it drops into the 40’s overnight and it doesn’t reach 60 the following day.  This morning it was 48 degrees when I was walking to work and you can tell that the “walking commuters” were not amused.

The problem is that most of people in this city don’t have “real” winter coats unless they moved here from the Midwest or the East Coast.  Most San Franciscans have mid-weight coats and supplement with sweaters and scarves (layers) as needed.  This method works as long as you read the forecast before leaving the house in the morning.  But if you don’t, you are screwed.

Still, I heard that in Boston it was 13 degrees today with a wind chill of 0 degrees so we shouldn’t complain.

Average Price of Gas in the U.S.

Yesterday, I paid $2.13 for premium unleaded at a Chevron station in downtown San Francisco. This is in stark contrast to the $4.80 a gallon that I paid for a gallon of gas at that same gas station less than six months ago.

Even more amazing is the fact that gas prices are still trending down and according to experts may reach an average price of near $1 per gallon!  How do the simple rules of supply and demand explain such a large change in price.  I guess if people are unemployed they don’t really have to drive.  No job, no gas.  But, have enough jobs been lost to justify such a huge shift in demand.  Probably not.  So why the hell is the price of gas plummeting so rapidly?

Not to be confused with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of men robbed the Harry Winston boutique in Paris of $100 million in diamonds in broad daylight while in drag. Pretty ballsy move for a bunch of guys in drag. I guess it’s true that diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  Okay, bad joke.  But seriously, $100 million is a serious Ocean’s Eleven type heist.  And how do you sell $100 million in diamonds on the black market.  I have to think that these guys will get caught.

Simpson Goes Down

O.J. Simpson was sentenced today to a minimum of 9 years, and as many as 33 years, in prison for his part in the armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room last year. Simpson would be eligible for parole after 9 years.  Simpson is a man that likely got away with murder and probably felt a little “above the law” when he went into a hotel room with guns drawn to “get his stuff back.”  The judge was not amused by his arrogance and threw the book at him during the sentencing.  I think Simpson knows he screwed up, but it’s hard to feel sorry for him given his history. Also, is it just me or does this guy look like he’s 70 years old? The soul-crushing guilt must not be doing wonders for him physically.

Gavin Newsom is putting his State of the City address on YouTube, all 7 1/2 hours of it.  Yeah, that’s not a typo.  Our mayor tends to be a little long winded at times what can I say.  The address will be divided into 45 minute chunks covering a myriad of topics, such as healthcare, education, and the environment. These were the first three parts released over the weekend with more to come throughout the week.

It’s easy, just go to the mayor’s YouTube channel.  Once there they can listen to the mayor for 5 minutes or 5 hours. This is a pretty good idea because the mayor can clearly talk as much as he wants, but people can listen to the topics that they are interested in and skip those which they are not.  The mayor does like to spit the statistics, so you better be interested in the topic before you start the video.  Trust me.  Check them out when you get a chance.