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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.

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

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.

A 34-year-old worker at a Wal-Mart in Long Island New York was trampled to death by a stampede of people rushing into the store to shop.  Several other employees jumped on top of vending machines to avoid the mob of people.

“He was bum-rushed by 200 people,” said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. “They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too…I literally had to fight people off my back.”

What the hell is going on here.  One day we are supposed to be giving thanks for all the we have and the next day people are supposed to go out at the crack of dawn and literally kill each other to buy more crap that they don’t need!?  But hey, you saved a whole six dollars on that Xbox game for little Timmy so I guess it was all worth it.  Bastards.

I just read an article that plainly states that the U.S. Government can track your cellphone location and information without the help of your wireless carrier.  A technology called “triggerfish” can be used to pinpoint the location of cell phones without involving cell phone providers at all. By posing as a cell tower, triggerfish, also known as cell-site simulators or digital analyzers, trick nearby cell phones into transmitting their serial numbers, phone numbers, and other data to law enforcement.

Although by law the government needs a court order to conduct this type of surveilance, I have to think that the Bush Administration has probably been ignoring all that and doing this to average citizens suspected of terrorism.  With a “suspicion of terrorism” is seems that all civil liberties may be violated lately.  Hopefully having Obama in office will change that.

Researchers in the U.K. have figured out that older people dream in black and white because they grew up with black and white televisions.  While almost all young people tend to dream in color.  I guess that makes sense since films and television programs are the fantasies in our lives.  Before the advent of television I would guess everyone dreamt in color because you know, they went outside more.

Tanker Crash

A tanker truck crashed and exploded at around 6am this morning on I-880 in Oakland.  Luckily nobody was injured in the explosion.  As of this writing, the freeway remains closed while the mess gets cleaned up.

The truck was carrying over 8,000 gallons of gasoline that shot flames 50 feet up in the air and caused a fire that burned so hot that it melted the asphalt, plastic along a fence on the side of the freeway, telephone poles, electrical wires and half of a speed-limit sign.

This crash is reminiscent of the tanker crash in April 2007 which melted parts of the MacArthur maze.  Luckily, it looks as though the freeway will not have to be rebuilt after this incident.

Yahoo! announced today that it is laying off another 1,500.

Last week while there was a financial collapse, a few of the Silicon Valley’s tech elite were partying in Cyprus.  While there, the group now known as the ‘Cyprus 20’ lip synched this video to Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.”  Some would argue that they should have been singing, “it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.”

There’s all kinds of outrage because of the timing of this video considering that last week there were layoffs at eBay and Google’s stock tanked.  And you know, the Dow cratered.  People are already claiming that this video will forever mark the the beginning of the end for Web 2.0.

The ‘Cyprus 20’ crew tried to ‘undo’ the video at Vimeo but it is now on YouTube and finally got the video removed from YouTube.  Below is a remix of the video to the tune of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” It’s back, here is the original video via Valleywag.

Either way, the ‘Cyprus 20’ lip synch was nowhere as sweet as this one from the folks that work at Vimeo.

Monkey Waiter

In a small tavern north of Tokyo, there are two monkeys that are waiters!  The two monkeys are certified by the local authorities to work at the tavern for a maximum of two hours a day.  Awesome.

You really have to check out the video to believe it.  I think the people in the restaurant must be locals that go to the tavern often because they don’t seem too fazed that the monkey is getting their drinks.  I need to totally go to this place the next time I am in Japan to see it for myself.  It may make me nervous to grab my beer from the monkey, but I just have to see this for myself.

I don’t encourage violence, but I don’t like that bank CEO’s are getting away with ruining people’s lives and livelihoods without consequence.  Well, apparently Dick Fuld did not survive completely unscathed.  CNBC has confirmed a rumor that Lehman Brothers CEO, Dick Fuld, was knocked out cold by an employee in the company gym after the Lehman bankruptcy was announced.  Vicki Ward, CNBC analyst said:

“From two very senior sources – one incredibly senior source – that he went to the gym after … Lehman was announced as going under. He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold. And frankly after having watched [his testimony at the congressional hearings], I’d have done the same too.”

I worked this guy, Gary Ross, that was convicted a few months ago of attempting to persuade a minor to engage in sexual activity (see FBI press release).  Thankfully, he was no longer employed by our firm at the time of his arrest.  However, according to the press release, he was caught by an undercover officer just like in Dateline’s "To Catch a Predator" series but without the cameras.

Even more shocking is that he was found with a "Plan B" file on his computer that detailed his plan to flee the United States and assume a fake identity.  I can attest that this guy seemed completely "normal."  He definitely didn’t look like an online predator.  After hearing about the case I searched the court database online and have to say that the evidence against him was overwhelming.  He definitely deserved to go down.

He will be sentenced on October 21st to a minimum of 5 years in prison.  It just goes to show that you never really know some people even though you see them at work almost every day.  Sick bastard.

The Dow suffered the biggest single day point loss in history yesterday, but rallied today to post its third largest point gain ever.  I guess the sky is *not* falling into the ground as predicted.  What does this mean for you?  The bottom line is that you will not be able to get credit as easily as in the past, but you *will* survive if you can live without the need for much credit.  I personally believe that the mismanaged banks on Wall Street should be allowed to die for their mistakes.  Of course, those people with more than $100k in deposits with any single bank, outside of retirement accounts, would be a little screwed.

Storied San Francisco law firm, Heller Ehrman White and McAuliffe LLP, voted to dissolve their partnership earlier today after 118 years in business.  The firm had 650 attorneys and professionals working in 35 practices across 14 offices around the world.  Yeah, the fundamentals of our economy are *not* strong.  Wow.  Morrison & Foerster LLP, another venerable San Francisco law firm is almost twice the size as Heller Ehrman, with 1130 attorneys. Those mofos are probably suffering too in this business climate.

A man was arrested in West Virginia for DUI and charged with assault for “farting in the officer’s general direction.”  According to the police report, this guy allegedly “lifted his leg and passed gas loudly” on said cop and “then fanned the air with his hand in front of his rear onto the cop.”  Who knew that cops in West Virginia were so sensitive!?  The complaint filed by the cop goes on to say, “The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature.”

Created contact!  Now that’s a fart ladies and gentlemen!  Bravo!  Bravo!!!

Wow, this cop is lucky he didn’t go camping us back in high school.  It’s one thing to get a whiff of a really good one out in the open, but to be enclosed in a tent with the fart, that’s special.  I have some high school friends that were scarred for life.  I am sure they remember, unless they were so traumatized that they blocked the memory.  You know who you are.

P.S. Thanks for not pressing assault charges against me guys, jeez!

I just read a Fortune article about business jets which are well beyond my reach.  However, I do know that a couple of my friends have been asked by their bosses or business contacts to outings on private jets.  So I will publish this excerpt just for them.  If someone ever asks me to join them in their private jet, I will be sure to follow these rules so that I may be invited back.

  • Ask in advance how much luggage you may bring.
  • Don’t take your seat until after the owners find theirs.
  • Never tip the staff. That’s entirely up to the owner.
  • Nix bringing your own meal. But offering to feed everyone – preferably by air caterer – is a nice gesture.
  • Skip the red wine. You don’t want your hosts to remember you every time they see the stain on the carpet.
  • Arrange for ground transportation when you land. Asking for a lift is an inconvenience.
  • Show your thanks. One owner gives a gift equal to a first-class commercial ticket when she flies with other owners. You may not need to go so far, but don’t skimp either.

A community group in Marin County is raffling a $2 million home for only $150.  The winner will have the option to take the house or $1.6 million in cash if they win.  Of course, they would have to pay all of the applicable taxes and all.  Last year only 34,000 people bought tickets.  That means that you’d be paying $150 for a 1 in 40,000 chance to win.  That’s not a bad deal for those odds.

Gustav knocked out power for over 1.4 million people in Louisiana but the levees around the city of New Orleans held this time around.  Water did top over a few of the levees causing some flooding, but nothing compared to the flooding when the levees broke three years ago with Katrina.  FEMA supplies that were supposed to be on the road as soon as winds died down and tractor-trailers could safely move were not in New Orleans on Tuesday morning.  Damn, some things never change.

Instead of concentrating on getting FEMA supplies into the affected areas, President Bush gave a speech about oil.  "We need more domestic energy, not less," he said. This "storm should cause Congress to step up the need to address foreign oil dependence."  I am sure that the people in East Baton Rouge Parish just want their supplies and can care less about offshore drilling.  Let’s track down the supplies are people!

Thank goodness that the levees held because it is clear that if the levees had failed FEMA would be just as incompetent and ineffective as they were three years ago.  Let’s hope that the next three storms miss New Orleans to give time for the Gustav flood waters to secede.

A 6.1 magnitude earthquake in China’s Sichuan province yesterday killed 27 people and destroyed 180,000 homes.  This earthquake was along the same fault line as the 7.9 magnitude quake in May that killed 70,000.  However, because of Hurricane Gustav is hurtling towards the Gulf Coast many U.S. news media agencies are not giving the China story much attention.  Almost three years to the day after Hurricane Katrina, Gustav is heading directly for New Orleans.

Hurrican Gustav

I have to think that New Orleans residents that are still rebuilding after the devastation of Katrina will simply give up if Gustav breaks the levees once more.  It is almost the same story as three years ago, except that many more people that have the means to leave the city are leaving.  Still, there are those that are too poor to evacuate today, just as there were three years ago.  I certainly hope that the levees hold this time around.

As Hurricane Fay made landfall an unlucky kite boarder either tried to save his kite or could not disconnect from it.  There is a crazy video of the kite boarder being thrown thirty feet into the air, slammed to the ground, and then thrown sideways into a building.  At the end of the video the guy was still alive but was on the ground wincing in pain as people stood over him.  I am sure he will not forget that ride any time soon.

It seems that when things get tough the tough get stealing.  At least that’s what a bank robbery suspect is claiming.  The man that stole $38,000 in cash last week, was chased by police, and then crashed in the 880 spewing money all over the freeway, claims that it’s the economy stupid!

I woke up this morning happy and looking forward to watching the Olympics for the next two and a half weeks only to find out that actor and comedian Bernie Mac died at age 50.  I remember the first time that I saw Bernie Mac on a Def Comedy Jam special and it was genius.  The most memorable line and the foundation of the set was "You don’t understand, I ain’t scared of you motherfuckers!"

By the third "You don’t understand" the audience was going crazy expecting the rest of the phrase.  It was almost a comic Pavlovian response.  He was crude, filthy, but his comedic timing and the cadence of his speech was unparalleled.  And most importantly, he was really, really funny.  A quick search on YouTube yielded the video of the Def Comedy performance (see below).  Bernie Mac you will be missed!

Unfortunate Greyhound Ad in Canada

This sign is actually all over Canada right now!
Yeah, this was a cool ad campaign until last week!

Greyhound’s new ad campaign, which has the tagline "there’s a reason you’ve never heard of ‘bus rage’," will have to be completely scrapped after the the bus rage incident that left one person beheaded last week.  The advertising signs are up all over Canada and will have to be removed quickly.  Wow!  Talk about unfortunate timing!  Some could argue that the killer was pressed to create a "bus rage" incident after seeing the sign.  Because you know, he’s f***ing nuts.  Oh, the sweet, sweet irony.

Last week, a man on a Greyhound bus went completely apeshit and stabbed a fellow passenger while other passengers fled the bus. He then proceeded to behead the dead guy and eat bits of his body while horrified passengers stood outside of the bus.  Really gruesome right!?  Well, this morning on the front of SFGate I saw this headline, "suspected bus beheader worked hard."

Oh, well then, (insert sarcasm here) he is just a suspect here let’s not jump to conclusions or anything.  Maybe the guy sitting next to him was snoring really, really loud and had it coming.  But it doesn’t matter, let’s just let him off the hook since he was such a diligent worker at his church!  Clearly, this beheader/cannibal had psychological problems that were not visible to those around him, since even his wife didn’t know what the hell was going on.  I bet the guy that was sitting next to beheader would have preferred that he not work so f’ing hard and concentrated more on just quelling his desire to kill.

A lady in Pennsylvania took a grainy video of her son dancing to Prince’s Let’s Go Crazy with her digital camera and posted it onto YouTube so that her family and friends could see it.  About four months later, Universal Music Corporation sent a Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice to take the video down the video.  Well, she wasn’t having it–she sued Universal Music Corp.

The issue in her lawsuit against Universal is whether the owner of the rights to a creative work that’s being used without permission can order the Web host to remove it without first considering whether the infringement was actually a legal fair use — a small or innocuous replication that couldn’t affect the market for the original work.  Clearly the grainy and crappy quality of the video should be a clue to anyone that it was likely fair use.  But Universal and other copyright holders currently don’t need a reasonableness test for fair use *before* sending a DMCA notice.

Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is involved with the case and prepared to take it to the limit one more time (yeah, that was an Eagles reference and it is fair use).  I can’t wait to see the outcome of this case because copyright holders, and others, are abusing the DMCA every day.

The launch of the Apple iPhone 3G was today.  Yes!  The "Jesus Phone" is here!  In full disclosure I have to say that I did not get one.  I don’t even want one, really!  Nobody believes me though. Anyway, I walked past a nearby AT&T store in the afternoon and the line *outside* the store was at least 50 deep.  I thought they were giving the damn phones away!  It was quite a spectacle.  Success, right!?  Well, not really.  The launch was plagued with all kinds of problems, er errors.

You see, Apple and AT&T devised a way to stop people from unlocking the phones.  They decided to have people sign up for AT&T phone service right inside the stores!  The store employees would type up all of the information and get people up and running in a few minutes.  Well, that didn’t work very well.  Subscription servers were crippled by the volume of subscriptions and some people waited a couple hours inside the stores during the setup process.  Jesus Christ!?  Indeed.

The ‘pregnant man’ that fascinated the world a few months ago gave birth to a healthy baby girl right before the holiday weekend.  And no, it was not a c-section, because he still has female genitalia (he had only removed his breasts).  I have to wonder if he will complete his sex change to male genitalia now that he has finally given birth to a child as desired.

Many bloggers in Iran have been imprisoned or tortured for airing their views online.  Now new legislation is being proposed by the Iranian parliament that will up the ante on the "crime" of blogging by making it punishable by death (listen to PRI report).  The proposed bill (see translation here) seeks to "toughen punishment for disturbing mental security in society."  The bill adds "establishing websites and weblogs promoting corruption, prostitution and atheism" as activities that shall be punishable by death, along with pornography, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping, and sexual exploitation.  The scariest part is that the government would define who is a "corrupt" blogger.  Scary.

According to a recent survey, Puerto Rico is the second happiest country in the world behind Denmark.  I’ll tell you what, we go to Puerto Rico every couple of years for my family reunion and it’s hard to be unhappy when you are in perfect weather, at the beach, with a tasty beverage in your hand.  But even if you live there year-round, island living is not really very stressful.  Even the accountants do less work!  I bet if Hawaii was its own country that it would make the top 10.  We can’t wait to go to Puerto Rico for the holidays this year.

Yesterday was Uncle Bill’s last day at Microsoft and the peeps were sad.

George Carlin, he will be missed.

George Carlin uttered these seven dirty words in a monologue the year I was born and was arrested for it.  The FCC sued the radio station that played the monologue uncensored claiming that the broadcast was obscene.  Eventually the Supreme Court ruled for the radio station (and indirectly, George Carlin) in a landmark decision.  The decision formally established indecency regulation in American broadcasting. In follow-up rulings, the Supreme Court clarified that the words might be acceptable under certain circumstances, particularly at times when children would not be expected to be in the audience.

The bottom line: the world would be a different place without George Carlin.

Baby Got Back Penis

According to news sources, a baby in central China was born with a second penis growing out of his back!  I totally thought that this was a Photoshop-attached penis when I first saw this and I am still on the fence as to whether this is real.  I followed the links to the source of the story and found that it was The Sun in the U.K.  Isn’t that a tabloid that would run a bat baby story every week just to move papers?

Then again, I guess this could be real.  The story goes on to say that doctors spent 3 hours in surgery removing the extra penis.  "I am sure he will be much happier with zero penises on his back" said the doctor performing the surgery.  Well, just kidding.  But I bet that a discussion about penises growing on the backs of babies doesn’t translate well from Chinese to English.  Lastly, I wonder if this kid was born near a nuclear reactor?  This is all very Chernobyly.

Read the story by clicking here.  Via The Huffington Post.

Amazon is Down

What the hell is this crap!

Wow, in this information age we have become so totally spoiled that when a big website like Amazon.com goes down we just don’t want to believe it.  I tried accessing it from my Blackberry from my laptop at work, but to no avail.  It is definitely down right now (see the screen shot).   Crazy!

I remember the days when if you wanted to buy something you had to get off your fat ass and walk to a store to get it.  I started to think as to when the last time I had bought electronics at a store and I couldn’t remember.  It was at least three years ago.  Amazon better come back up or I may actually have to go to a Best Buy.

Update: Amazon declared the outage over at about 3:25pm Pacific Time.

Obama Addressing Supporters

It’s finally over.  Barack Obama clinched the nomination.  Yeah, I know this should come as no surprise.  This was been seen by many as a mathematic inevitability as far back as 2 months ago.  Now I am sad to see the talking heads, and the Hillary Clinton campaign I am sure, talking about Barack possibly taking Hillary as a running mate.  Bill Clinton in fact has reportedly been speaking to Democratic party leaders behind closed doors in an attempt to compel Barack to give Hillary the vice president nod.

Not only did Hillary not concede the nomination to Barack, she implied that she would not make a decision until she spoke with Democratic party leaders.  It was almost as if she was saying that she was holding her millions of supporters hostage from the rest of the party if she didn’t get the vice presidential nod from the Obama campaign.  Really!?  She has graduated from being the psycho ex-girlfriend of the Democratic party to demanding a common law marriage from the party.

“I want half the ticket.”  That’s what she wants.

Well, too bad.  After all of the mean-spirited attacks that the Clintons, and their minions, have waged against Barack I think it’s arrogant and delusional for Hillary to think that all will be forgiven and she would simply be handed half of the ticket for her efforts.  Think again.  There are many a Southerner out there that could help Barack with the “white blue-collar” vote.  I think that an Obama-Edwards ticket would not only get the white blue collar vote, but would not tarnish the primary tenet of the campaign: change.  It’s just too bad that I didn’t register obamaedwards.com when it wasn’t registered.

Hillary, just concede, tell your supporters to vote for Barack and go away!  Really!

A drunk driver crashed into a weekend bike race in Mexico and this photo was snapped right as the drunk driver plowed head-on into a group of bike riders.  It’s truly amazing how high the riders and bikes were thrown from the impact of the collision.  Surprisingly, only 1 person was killed in the accident. 

The bike race was being held near the United States-Mexico border near Brownsville, Texas.  The drunk driver is reportedly a U.S. citizen that lives in Brownsville that was drunk and fell asleep at the wheel.  Crazy.

Nobody really wants to say that we are in a recession.  But all you have to do is read the news to know that things are not getting any better.  Gas prices have made Americans drive 4.3 percent less compared to a year ago.  This doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that 4.3 percent is equivalent to 11 billion miles!  U.S. home prices just dropped 14.1 percent from a year ago last month, which represents the largest percentage drop year-over-year since they started tracking home prices in 1988.  The recent drops in home sales and prices have essentially cleared all of the price gains from 2004 to the present.

The Phoenix Lander successfully touched down onto the Martian Arctic a little over 16 hours ago.  It is not as cute as the Pathfinder, which captured the world’s imagination 11 years ago, and it doesn’t look as robust as the exploration rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which are still running after nearly 4 years. Still, the Phoenix has already started sending back photos of well, dirt.  But most importantly, the Phoenix sensors will sample the dirt to see if there is evidence of organic life in it.  I don’t think this thing has wheels so the mission is no going to be as exciting to watch as the previous ones.  Scientists sure are excited though.

Now that it’s legal, George Takei announces that he’s getting married.


 

Unless you have been under a rock this past week, you have seen the original Bill O’Reilly meltdown video that surfaced from his Inside Edition days.  Now tribute and parody videos of the original are sprouting all over the web like wildfire, including the one seen here from Barely Political which is by far my favorite.  Others include the dance remix edition and Stephen Colbert’s clever parody of the clip.

A Swiss man died trying to win a spitting contest against his friend.  Two grown men were trying to see who could spit furthest from the balcony they were standing, when one took a running start and…(you can see where this is going)…plummeted 19 feet head-first to the street below.  He subsequently died from his injuries at the hospital.  I bet he won the contest, too!  Moral of the story: spitters never prosper.

Newsom Hearing About Gay Marriage Ruling

Gavin Newsom reacting to news of the
ruling from his office earlier today.

The State of California Supreme Court ruled that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry in California earlier today.  What started with Mayor Gavin Newsom performing same-sex marriages in the San Francisco courthouse in February 2004 culminated with today’s ruling.  The ruling is likely to flood county courthouses with applications from couples newly eligible to marry when the decision takes effect in 30 days.

San Francisco is a madhouse right now with celebrations going on in the Castro and downtown at the Civic Center. You can feel the same excitement in the air as when the marriages started happening at the San Francisco courthouse in 2004.  This is a historic event that would not have been possible without the dedicated activists and supporters from the city of San Francisco.

Rocketman

This guy must have balls of steel.

A Swiss pilot constructed a home-made jet-powered wing, attached it to his back, and jumped out of a perfectly good plane to test his device.  The wing, which has an 8-foot wingspan and weighs 120 pounds, allowed him to fly at speeds of up to 186 mph.  After his test flight he landed with the aide of a parachute.

I just saw Iron Man last weekend and have to say that the video of the flight reminded me of the way that Iron Man flew in the film.  Clearly there may be military implications to perfecting this technology.  It’s hard to believe that this is real.  Oh, and the guy has a website dedicated to his exploits too, but it’s in French.

Thirty years ago the first spam email message (unsolicited commercial email) was sent to 393 researchers on the Arpanet network.  Nobody knew it was the first spam message and wouldn’t call it that until 15 years later, but it was a harbinger of things to come.  Now there’s formmail spam, comment spam, trackback spam, and every other form of spam imaginable.

A Brazilian priest wanting to break the 19-hour party balloon flight record took off from Sao Paulo, Brazil (see video) on Tuesday, apparently to never to be seen again.  I am really not making this up!  The priest took off strapped to hundreds of helium party balloons equipped with a satellite phone.  High winds took him off course and he reportedly was 30 miles from shore when he contacted authorities.  The Brazilian Air Force immediately went looking for him but suspended their search after two days.  The moral of the story:  if you strap yourself to nearly a thousand balloons not even god can save you.

A chronicle reporter, Debra Saunders, was chastised by San Franciscans after she called people that earn between $200,000 and $250,000 a year "rich."  One lawyer said that "salary cannot make one rich because a ‘rich’ person does not need to work. Like Bruce Wayne."  I think this was an attempt by this lawyer to argue that the word "rich" pertains to a person’s wealth and not their income.  I mean really.  How spoiled are these people that contacted the reporter to complain!?

If you make $200,000 or more you may not be wealthy now, but you certainly have the means to amass a decent level of wealth over 20 years of earning that much money.  Over $4 million over 20 years to be exact.  Add to that several shrewd investments and compound interest and those $4 million in earnings could conservatively double.  That’s not a bad deal.  San Franciscans and the top income earners in the state just need to concentrate on what they have, rather than what they don’t have.

The reporter points out that people in that $200,000 or more earn more than 93 percent of the people in San Francisco and more than 97 percent of the people in the entire country!  She concedes that the top 5 percent of income earners pay 60 percent of the nation’s taxes.  These San Franciscans can argue that they pay too much in taxes, but they shouldn’t cry poor because "it looks bad to the other 97 percent."  I agree, be grateful for what you have and invest you spoiled babies!

Foreclosures in the Bay Area are up 300% for the quarter compared to a year ago. The bleeding will likely continue in the months ahead too.  Mortgage defaults, the first step to foreclosure, are also up about 150% for the quarter compared to a year ago.  Granted, things are not that bad in San Francisco county where only 124 homes were foreclosed out of the 6,579 homes foreclosed in the entire nine-county Bay Area region.