Archive for December, 2010


Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

This is a test to see if updating from my new iPhone works …


Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

We got each other iPhones for Christmas.

And they are fantastic.

“Arabian” Versus “Persian” Gulf

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Just saw this Yahoo! News blog post: “U.S. military angers Iran by calling Persian Gulf ‘Arabian Gulf’“.

Sounds like something I would have written about two-or-three years ago … in fact, I did somewhere. I’ll have to go look for it.

Until then, we should remember that the UN recognizes the name “Persian” and not “Arabian”.

For more, here’s a UN report “Historical, Geographical and Legal Validity of the Name: PERSIAN GULF“.

How about we just call it “The Gulf” and move on?

Lee to Philly! Lee to Philly!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

One week you wake up with a new Red Sox player, the next you wake up to a new … Philly?!

Apparently ace pitcher Cliff Lee didn’t sign with the Rangers or the Yankees last night, and instead signed with Philadelphia!

From the Inquirer: “Lee returning to Phillies in five-year deal“:

Pinch yourself, Phillies fans.

What used to be fantasy has now become reality.

Cliff Lee, even after being offered more money by the American League champion Texas Rangers and the 27-time World Series champion New York Yankees, has decided to sign with the Phillies.

That’s the kind of Philadelphia story most of you probably thought you’d never read.

My anti-Yankee sentiment had me all excited, until I realized that Philly now has Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels.

I’m calling it right now: in eleven months it’s going to be a Philadelphia/Boston World Series.

Easton Metal Bat Lawsuit

Friday, December 10th, 2010

I hadn’t heard this story yet: “Boy left deaf in one ear after line drive; family sues bat maker“.

Apparently several states have banned metal baseball bats, like the one that hurt this 11 year old.

I found the complaint at 10-cv-7751.

Here are a couple of the facts (including the very specific details of the game in question):

7. At all times relevant herein, Defendant, EASTON, designed, manufactured and tested baseball bats to intentionally maximize the “exit velocity” or speed at which a baseball comes off the bat.
8. At all times relevant herein, Defendant, EASTON, marketed such baseball bats as having incredible exit velocity, including advertisements featuring professional athletes hitting baseballs through cement building walls while using Easton baseball bats.
16. At the aforesaid time and place, Plaintiff, JAKE, was pitching for the Mokena Blaze in the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs when a batter on the opposing team stepped up to the plate using an Easton BT265 bat.

Apparently they say that Easton failed to observe known safety hazards of the Easton BT265 and failed to adequately warn foreseeable uses of the bat.

Now, I’m not a lawyer, but if I were, I’d argue that this was a freak accident. It’s not like the poor batter was using a space laser bat from the year 2050. He was using a bat that the league allowed.

I feel bad for the hurt child, I do, but lawsuits like this are the reason that so many products are labeled with lawyer-speak warnings.

Moxie in Florida

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Oh snowbirds! Did you see that “Florida is getting some Moxie“?


Thursday, December 9th, 2010

I hadn’t even had time to write about Adrian Gonzalez yet, and I open up the Globe this morning to this: “Sox sign up Crawford for $142m.”

Key quote:

With Gonzalez reportedly having agreed to a seven-year, $154 million extension to his contract, the Red Sox have invested $296 million in a span of four days. The additions of Gonzalez and Crawford, two stars in their prime, should set the team up as contenders for years to come.

Red Sox Nation just got an early Christmas present …

Paul LePage was just kidding. Honestly. He’s not really THAT dumb.

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Not to beat this to death, but the other day I quoted the Portland Press Herald who said that incoming Tea Party Governor Paul LePage thought that if 35 states opposed a law it would die law “automatically”.

Well his lackies have now clarified his remarks: “Paul LePage clarifies disputed comment on health care reform.”

Apparently the law to which he was referring was:

… the introduction of a possible constitutional amendment to allow any provision of federal law or rule to be repealed if at least 35 states object to its implementation.


Because he’s not a moron.

Cash Problems

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Uh-oh. Looks like the government has designed the new $100 bills to be too fancy: “The Fed Has a $110 Billion Problem with New Benjamins.”

Key quotes:

1.1 billion of the new bills have been printed, but they are unusable because of a creasing problem in which paper folds over during production, revealing a blank unlinked portion of the bill face.

The total face value of the unusable bills, $110 billion, represents more than ten percent of the entire supply of US currency on the planet, which a government source said is $930 billion in banknotes.

I like to think that the Treasury has created the world’s most counterfeit-proof bill, since 30% of the legit bills are coming out wrong.

New Red Lobster Design

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Apparently Red Lobster is retrofitting 700 stores in North America with what they call the “Bar Harbor Design” that is inspired by Bar Harbor, Maine.

They say the new design “creates a warm, inviting seaside atmosphere.”

Check out these photos:

Paul LePage gets his “Facts” from Email Forwards From his Crazy Aunt

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I have to mention a quote in this Portland Press Herald article: “Incoming AG weighs fight over health reform.”

See, apparently the new Maine government is joining legal fight against the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a “Obamacare”).

Here’s the quote regarding our new Tea Party Governor:

LePage also said he recently learned that if 35 states join the lawsuit, the law “dies, automatically.”

Not true, according to outgoing Attorney General Janet Mills.

“That’s not the law,” she said. “A congressional act does not get voided or overturned simply because a certain number of state officials join some lawsuit. I don’t know what he’s talking about.”


Doesn’t that sound like a “fact” that you’d see in some email forward sent from the same person who sends out weekly computer virus warnings or cell phone marketing scams?

And now he’s our governor.

Thanks everyone who voted for Mitchell, Moody or Scott!

Lobster Trap Tree

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

I’d heard about this on the radio, but I only now saw a photo (one of Yahoo! News’ most viewed) of the 50 foot lobster trap tree on Beal’s Island. Apparently they are competing with Rockland and Gloucester, Mass. for the tallest tree.

(AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

“In this photo taken on Dec. 2, 2010, Albert Carver, looks at a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree made of lobster traps on Beals Island, Maine. Some of the top lobster-fishing ports in New England are claiming bragging rights about who has the biggest and best Christmas tree created from lobster traps. The groups that put up the trees say they draw attention to the ports’ maritime heritage, bring people together and raise money for good causes. The tree in Beals helps raises money for the Beals-Jonesport Fourth of July festivities and the one in Gloucester benefits a nonprofit devoted to the arts.”

And Now a Suicide

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Last week a murder, this week a suicide. Celebration, Florida is all grown up: “It’s a Small Town After All.”

Qatar the Underqatar

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

(The title only makes sense if you pronounce “Qatar” as “KUH-tar”).

So it looks like they’ll be playing the 2022 World Cup in the warm Middle Eastern sun: “Russia and Qatar Win World Cup Bids“.


Google Doodle in UAE

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

You’ve probably seen the Google search engine logo replaced from time to time to celebrate some important holiday or anniversary. These illustrations are called “Google Doodles“.

Apparently for the UAE’s National Day today they did one:

Richest Royals 2010

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Back when we were in Dubai Forbes‘ annual list of richest royals was always a big deal (see Richest Royals).

Somehow it fell through the cracks this July, but luckily I just thought of it today (what with it being the UAE’s National Day today).

So here’s the article: “The World’s Richest Royals.”

Key quote:

No surprise then that Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum fared the worst. His fortune dropped $7.5 billion this year as his Dubai Holding crumbled under a $12 billion debt burden. This comes on the heels of last year’s loss of $6 billion, making him the biggest loser on Forbes’ annual list of the world’s 15 richest royals two years in a row.

To boot, Dubai had to ask for another handout from fellow emirate Abu Dhabi in December, to the tune of $10 billion. Abu Dhabi’s ruler, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, though not as heavily indebted, also saw his fortune shrink for the second year in a row, down $3 billion as result of last year’s 40% decline in oil export earnings as well as double-digit declines in real estate and stock markets. He falls down a notch to No.4 on the list.

Here’s the list:

1 ) King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thailand
Fortune: $30 billion (unchanged)

2 ) Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, Brunei
Fortune: $20 billion (unchanged)

3 ) King Abdullah bin Abul Aziz, Saudi Arabia
Fortune: $18 billion (up)

4 ) Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan, United Arab Emirates
Fortune: $15 billion (down)

5 ) Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai
Fortune: $4.5 billion (down)

6 ) Prince Hans-Adam II von und zu Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein
Fortune: $3.5 billion (unchanged)

7 ) King Mohammed IV, Morocco
Fortune: $2.5 billion (unchanged)

8 ) Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar
Fortune: $2.4 billion (up)

9 ) Prince Albert II, Monaco
Fortune: $1 billion (unchanged)

10 ) Prince Karim Al Husseini, Aga Khan
Fortune: $800 million (unchanged)

Death in Celebration

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Uh oh! Celebration, the town developed by The Walt Disney Company back in the 1990s, has hit a snag. Check out this Orlando Sentinel story: “Death in Celebration is town’s first homicide.”