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Category: News: US

September 4, 2007

Sonya Thomas devours 5+ lbs of chicken wings

'Black Widow' Sonya Thomas took her second straight victory at the National Buffalo Wing Festival eating contest by devouring 173 wings in 12 minutes = 5.17 lbs of wings. Hotdog champ Joey Chestnut may hold the record with 7.5 lbs, but Thomas' total is nearly 5% of her body weight.

AP: Wisp of a Woman Is a Wiz at Wing Eating

July 13, 2007

RIP, Mr. Butch

Street icon 'Mr. Butch' dies at 56: Scooter crash claims popular homeless man

Mr. Butch was part of the Kenmore Square culture where I used to live.

July 5, 2007

Kobayashi dethroned

kobayashi.jpgKobayashi was unable to reach the Armstrong-ian mark of seven consecutive wins at Coney Island: San Jose-native Joey Chestnut beat Kobayashi 66-63. Kobayashi revolutionized the world of competitive hot dog eating: the record mark prior to Kobayashi was Arai's 25.5. When Kobayashi ate 50 hot dogs for his first title, they didn't even have enough placards to count that high.

Chestnut's entry to the scene pushed the competition to new levels. The hot dog competition has traditionally pitted Japan vs. US over the years, and Chestnut was the great hope for the US regaining the crown. With no threat to his throne, Kobayashi only pushed his record to 53.5. In 2006, Kobayashi was actually behind Chestnut's pace until pulling ahead with 53.75.

2007 was an entirely new level for both competitors. Chestnut set a new record of 59 hot dogs in the Las Vegas qualifier, so it as clear that the Coney Island champ would be breaking the 60 hot dog mark. As in 2006, Chestnut pulled out to an early lead over Kobayashi -- I think he ate around 12 hot dogs in the first minute -- but Kobayashi was again able to close the gap and take the lead with a couple minutes to go. Kobayashi faltered in the final minute, though, suffering a penalizing 'reversal', and somehow Chestnut managed to stuff multiple hot dogs into his mouth to jump to a mind-boggling 66 hot dogs. To think that seven years ago, the record was less than half that.

I'm happy to see the crown in San Jose, but its sad to see an icon of a sport defeated. Kobayashi vows to return in 2008 to regain his crown, despite his jaw difficulties.

April 26, 2007

MIT dean of admissions resigns for falsifying her admission to MIT

MIT's dean of admissions Marilee Jones resigned after someone called into the school to question the three college degrees that she didn't have. I'm not sure someone should be punished for a mistake made 28 years ago and no longer relevant to her qualifications, but the irony of her speaking out against students lying about their credentials was perhaps too much.

April 24, 2007

Naturally black hair

A poster over on somethingawful is relating a story involving his brother getting expelled for being "Asian and quiet" and also wearing a t-shirt (before the VT killings) that said "4 out of the 5 voices in my head tell me to go for it." If this story is true and that's the extent of it, then it certainly gets my vote for baffling overreaction of the day.

I find part of the story hilarious, though, and it's the only reason I'm actually posting this:

Detective: (To my mother) Why does Josh dye his hair black?
Mother: He doesn't.
Detective: That's not your hair color, yours is brown.
Mother: He's half Japanese...
Detective: So?
Mother: That's their natural hair color....
Detective: Oh.

My moral barometer may be off as I also find this hilarious instead of just sad, but it brings back memories of one of my own high school teachers unable to comprehend my half-Japanese black hair. She was convinced that I had the blackest hair she had ever seen, which is a pretty good feat in a school that's over 30% asian. Her brain seemed to reboot when I informed her it was genetic.

To correct the mother quote, though, some of us do have naturally brown hair... just for the record.

SomethingAwful thread

December 22, 2005

Raspberry retiring

William Raspberry is retiring, which saddens me, as I wouldn't hesitate to name him as my favorite columnist. I first read his columns in journalism class and have been hooked ever since. His most recent column, Our Civil Disagreement, summarizes many of the reasons why I enjoy his work. Few columnists present a viewpoint that is open to disagreement. This is a very different notion from inviting disagreement, which seems to be the fashion of current news shows.

His second-most-recent column, Where to Now?, references to Oldenburg's "Third Places" in a way that makes me appreciate having Dana Street Roasting Company around the corner.

One helpful friend to whom I put the dilemma pointed me to Ray Oldenburg's 16-year-old book, "The Great Good Place," wherein he laments the loss of what he calls "third places" in American life. The first place, of course, is home; the second is work. Third places, in Oldenburg's taxonomy, are those informal gathering spots where one finds not just escape but camaraderie, conversation, friendly argument and pleasant conversation with regulars.

I rarely make it New Years resolutions, but for 2006 I'll declare one to be that, as I engage in conversations in my own third places, I be open to disagreement. You're free to test me next time you run into me at Dana Street.

September 14, 2005

Condi may I?

These photos made my day much better.

July 1, 2005

An opening for those Palo Alto anarchists

A couple of thoughts on the Sandra Day O'Connor retirement:

  • Given that our government is likely to implode upon itself in the ensuing confirmation hearings, the Palo Alto Anarchists may wish to seize the opportunity. They may not be the best anarchists for the job, though: the 'anarchist spokesman' featured on the front page of the Palo Alto Daily News was pictured in North Face apparel.
  • Tangent: The Wikipedia entry for 'Anarchism' notes that the disputed.gif neutrality of this article is disputed
  • I don't think my concrete bunker will have enough room for all of you.
  • O'Connor: "Open to persuasion." Bush: "Stay the course."
  • One final thought: Sandra Day O'Connor, first female Supreme Court justice, who served nearly a quarter of a century, retires from the bench and the Washington Post can't seem to come up with a single female as a possible successor.

Update: to go with my final thought, a quote from a CNN article:

"Now, the White House has to reexamine its thinking because it faces a vacancy caused by the resignation of a moderate woman instead of a conservative man.

A short list of candidates distributed in the White House within the last week had not included the name of any women or minorities, the official said."

June 23, 2005

Pledge drives averted

Updating a previous entry, Congress undid the spending cut imposed on public broadcasting by a House subcommittee: Congress Will Not Cut Public Broadcasting Funds.

Public use

Today's Supreme Court decision which enables local governments to take private property under "eminent domain" and give it to private developers has me upset for two reasons:

  1. That the Supreme Court somehow believes that local governments exercise proper prudence and restraint in giving private developers a big wet kiss. It's not like there's corruption in local governments (cough San Diego cough).

  2. I actually agree with Scalia and Thomas, who were among the dissenters.

Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes

June 15, 2005

Non-stop pledge drives

We may have to start getting used to CNN's "Missing white girl of the day" and the FoxNews propaganda apparatus:

A House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply reduce the federal government's financial support for public broadcasting, including eliminating taxpayer funds that help underwrite such popular children's educational programs as "Sesame Street," "Reading Rainbow," "Arthur" and "Postcards From Buster."

In addition, the subcommittee acted to eliminate within two years all federal money for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting -- which passes federal funds to public broadcasters -- starting with a 25 percent reduction in CPB's budget for next year, from $400 million to $300 million.

Article: Public Broadcasting Targeted By House

On a sidenote, here are CNN's current headlines: * Real-life brothers in arms [top headline (interest story)] * Was race a factor in Aruba arrests? [Was race a factor in this being front page news?] * Autopsy: No sign Schiavo was abused * Bomb kills 23 Iraqi soldiers at restaurant [look, real news!] * Patriot Act rules on library records blocked [look, another real news item!] * Ex-hostage in Atlanta shootings strikes book deal * 'Operation Babylift' orphans return to Vietnam * Pac-Man chomps up milestone

May 31, 2005

Solved mystery

There's something about a mystery, or any type of story perhaps, that I find gets heightened the more that you can become familiar with its elements. Recognizing the buildings and institutions; knowing the characters involved. New Zealand is experiencing this in the form of Lord of the Rings pilgrammages.

The 'Deep Throat'/Watergate mystery always had this extra bit of familiar cool. We studied it in high school in Northern Virginia, so the Washington Post was my 'local' newspaper, the buildings involved were ones I often saw or visited on my own or on field trips, and Nixon was certainly no stranger even if he was never my president.

The mystery nearly had another twist today, with Bernstein, Woodward, and Bradlee refusing to confirm or deny -- would we have to wait several more years to officially know? -- but by the end of today confirmation from all sides came. I'm sure Bernstein and Woodward are dusting off their revelation article that's been sitting under lock and key and adding an intro paragraph or two; I for one have a hankering for watching All the President's Men one more time.

May 19, 2005

Squirrel invasion

The black squirrels are invading!!! They're coming to eat our wiring!

March 28, 2005

Mind boggling

pharmacist law map

source: wp article

January 26, 2005

New Years Resolutions

Bush: Speech Sets 'Bold New Goal,' Not New Policies (

Elaborating for the first time on the foreign policy implications of his inaugural address, President Bush today called his vision for world democracy "a bold new goal for the future" but not a policy change entailing any immediate new demands on foreign states

I like how Bush's inauguration speech is weaker than a New Year's resolution. Most people at least try to go into the gym for a week or two before giving up on their "goals."

January 12, 2005


I remember WHFS fondly, mostly because of the yearly HFStivals that allowed me to hone the art of the moshing and crowd surfing, while testing the limits of dehydration.
WHFS Abruptly Changes Format (

November 3, 2004

Losing big

  • Same sex marriage bans passed in 11 states. These voting measures were used to encourage Republican turnout.
  • The Democrats did so badly that the Senate Minority Leader was booted from office
  • Republicans will have a either 54 or 55 seats in the Senate, meaning that Bush will probably get whatever he wants.
  • Quoting mefi:

    Senator-elect Jim DeMint: Thinks that unwed pregnant women and gays are unfit to be schoolteachers.
    Senator-elect Tom Coburn: Wants the death penalty for abortion doctors.
    Senator-elect John Thune: Mr. School Prayer Amendment.

And in California: * Three Strikes reform loses * Emergency medical care funding loses * DNA database expansion passes. Now you don't have to even be guilty for the state to keep your DNA on file.

A little bit of hope: * Stem cell research funding passes * Children's hospital funding passes * Mental health care funding passes * Is it too early to put up Obama for Prez signs?

November 2, 2004

Are they closed yet?

Are they closed yet?

electoral map

Are they closed yet?


Are they closed yet?

vote error

Are they closed yet?

August 7, 2004

Weddings always make me cry

Congratulations to meta on her marriage (she promises me that I can be her man on the side). Ever since 9/11 she's felt so close to the Bush family (Dubya is a personal hero of hers) that she just had to be a part of it. - Bushes celebrate wedding, Jenna's catch - Aug 7, 2004

June 3, 2004

About feking time!

Fek appears to be the Irish equivalent of friggin, but perhaps its more offensive, but they can say it on the radio, and one farm we passed by had "FEKOFF CROWS" painted on some barrels.

I use it now because I surfed over to CNN and saw that Tenet resigned today. I don't have anything against Tenet himself, but the purpose of an executive is to represent accountability for their organization, and Tenet presided over two major intelligence failures in US history: one that led to us being attacked, and the other being a case of not-so-"slam dunk" intel that led to us attacking another nation. I would rather see administration officials doing "superb" jobs be held accountable instead, but this will have to do for now.


This is for all of you who watched Spellbound: Spelling bee champ survives 'autochthonous'

April 28, 2004

Dangerous precedents

"Dangerous Precedent." Kinda sounds like the name of a big blockbuster flick, doesn't it? I usually reserve political posts for 1010, but I happened to find my thoughts echoed in this NYTimes editorial on the Bush/Cheney 9/11 Commission testimony:

The president's aides have also been arguing that making the event anything more than a "meeting" or informal discussion would establish a pattern that future chief executives would be forced to follow. That is true, in a way. If Mr. Bush or any of his successors have the tragic misfortune to be in command at a time when terrorists strike the country, killing thousands of innocent civilians, they should be expected to cooperate with the official investigations, and to do so in a way that puts their statements on the record and into history.

January 9, 2004

Today's forecast


December 18, 2003

The courts are busy

- Malvo Found Guilty of Capital Murder (
- Court: U.S. Cannot Hold Padilla as a Combatant (
- - Michael Jackson formally charged in molestation case - Dec. 18, 2003
- - 'Green River Killer' sentenced to life in prison - Dec. 18, 2003
- - Clark testifies against Milosevic at War Crimes Tribunal - Dec. 18, 2003

December 3, 2003

A reason to visit Texas

I better hurry before it disappears: Groups Sue to Change Name of 'Jap Road'
(via fark)

November 20, 2003

Ding dong the blue law's dead!

Hurray Massachusetts - congratulations for joining the 20th century. Can't wait til you join the 21st. - Business: Sunday liquor sales passed

November 17, 2003

Sniper found guilty Jury Finds Muhammad Guilty of All Charges

November 5, 2003

More than Bundy?

I had never even heard of the Green River killings, maybe b/c I was four when they happened, but as it stands now, Gary Ridgway has now admitted to killing 48 women, which puts him above John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy as the most known killings. - 'I killed so many women' - Nov. 5, 2003

October 30, 2003

Aren't you supposed to check before they leave?

Apparently the security screener at congressional office buildings had trouble keeping the screening steps straight. Here, I thought it was three simple steps:
1. Bag goes into X-ray machine
2. Check for dangerous items on monitor
3. If clear, bag exits machine and is returned to owner

It seems steps 2 and 3 were flipped:
1. Bag goes into X-ray machine
2. Bag exits machines and is returned to owner
3. If dangerous item on monitor, chase down person and shutdown entire building - Toy gun shuts down U.S. House office building - Oct. 30, 2003

October 25, 2003

Black Hawk Down II - U.S. Black Hawk helicopter attacked after landing - Oct. 25, 2003

October 24, 2003

Trickle down econ

Dubya may be the first president since Hoover to have negative job creation during his term in office:
- Too Low a Bar

October 22, 2003

Fox has bad ratings, blames it on Nielsen

"Frankly what we're seeing strains credulity," said Alan Wurtzel, the president of research for NBC

"You can't explain a 12 percent decline in men 18 to 34 or close to 20 percent in men 18 to 24 by saying they're playing a lot more video games," said David F. Poltrack, the executive vice president for research at CBS. He added, "The fact that it's concentrated in one small age group makes it worse, and even more likely that it's an aberration."

One possible factor is more basic, Mr. Sternberg said -- the quality of the new shows. "I've always noticed that we never hear anybody talking about the programming."

Few Viewers and Network Executives Scratch Their Heads

September 30, 2003

Tiny bubbles

It's already been posted on 1010, but given that 5 out of the top 10 links being tracked on blogdex right now are all about it, this blog would be remiss without having at least one link to it:
- Justice Dept. Launches Criminal Probe of Leak

and, heck, here's one from Instapundit that will give you plenty of reading if you care:
- Plame/Wilson Story

September 25, 2003

Clap on, Clap off, Clap on, Clap off

Wow, it's like the California recall of telemarketing. First it's in, then it's ruled beyond the FTC's mandate by a federal judge, then congress puts it into the FTC's mandate, and now,
the do-not-call list has been blocked by a federal court on the grounds that it violates the First Amendment.

September 17, 2003

Bye-bye Grasso

NYSE's Grasso Resigns Under Mounting Pressure (

September 16, 2003

Two more for the field

Looks like Clark won't be endorsing Dean anytime soon - he's officially launched his campaign for presidency. The announcement seems most unfortunate for John "Gunboat Captain" Kerry, who's carrier-filled announcement loses out to Wesley "NATO Supreme Commander" Clark.

Also, John Edwards has officially announced that he is running. I only make note of this because I was depressed to see that there was no mention of the fact that he made the announcement on the Daily Show first, in order to keep a off-handed promise that he made when he was last on the show a year ago. I do have to give Edwards points, though. First, he actually kept his word to a small Comedy Central Show. Second, with all the news filled with reports of a Cat 2 hurricane headed straight for his state, he still went down to North Carolina and got the high school band to trumpet his announcement.

- - Clark to launch 2004 presidential bid Wednesday - Sep. 16, 2003
- - Edwards formally launches presidential campaign - Sep. 16, 2003

September 12, 2003

RIP: Johnny Cash

I honestly hadn't heard much Johnny Cash until metamanda introduced me to more of his music. Before that he was just an old folk singer who had done a really awesome cover of Soundgarden's Rusty Cage.

Now that I have heard more of his music, and I've been able to look back over the course of his life in which he produced it, I can't think of any other musician who was as productive and influential the entire course of his life - five decades of music. Who else, at 71, could get nominated for seven MTV music awards for a moving cover of a Nine Inch Nail's song, and his early days be breaking ground at Sun Studios with Elvis, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis?

September 3, 2003

Foxes guarding the henhouse - Houston teams with McDonald's to fight fat - Sep. 3, 2003

August 27, 2003

But what about 'Croatoan'?

- - Archeologists make Jamestown discovery - Aug. 27, 2003

Columbia final report

Report on Loss of Shuttle Focuses on NASA Blunders. The report blames NASA culture as much as the piece of foam for the shuttle's loss.

August 24, 2003

We learned it from watching you, Fox! Clothing Makers Tussle Over "22"

My pants for the past seven years have said 33x32 on them. Can I claim common law rights for both the numbers?

August 14, 2003

Best publicity stunt ever

From yesterday's NYTimes:

>a company in Latham, N.Y., intends to announce on Thursday plans to turn the concept on its head by using superconductors as valves on the electric-utility power grid, letting their temperature rise to choke off the flow of power... Intermagnetics General, will build a prototype device meant to protect the power grid against energy surges.

Company Plans Power 'Valve' Employing Superconductors

(Saw this one in a /. post)

Redundant Backup Systems - Major power outage hits New York, other large cities - Aug. 14, 2003

August 7, 2003

Presidency, now with merchandising

dollThere are times in our lives that we have to admit that we're wrong, and I guess this is one of them. Here I was thinking that Bush's carrier landing was a stunt to boost his popularity ratings and image, but I was wrong. Bush was actually just trying to promote sales of his new action figure (via Marc's Voice)


After four long years, UCITA has finally bit the dust. Unfortunately, Maryland and Virginia remain dirty. Why is UCITA bad?
- it allows the vendor to change/add terms to the deal after you've already purchased the software
- it classifies software sales as "licenses" of "computer information" instead of a good, which means that the vendor can prohibit you from selling the software to other people, or restrict how long you're allowed to use the software.
- it allows vendors to remotely shut off your software
- etc, etc...

-Supporters back away from software bill | CNET

August 6, 2003

Fund-raising smackdown

I haven't made up my mind as to whether or not I agree with his views, but I definitely like his tactics. It started off with this post to Howard Dean's Blog:

[Cheney] will address a private luncheon reception July 28 at the home of Gayle Averyt, former chairman of Colonial Life Insurance Co. The noon affair, costing $2,000 a person, is by invitation only...Warren Tompkins, a Columbia-based consultant and Atlantic regional director for Bush-Cheney, said the campaign hopes to raise between $200,000 and $250,000. ... We're thinking about bringing out the bat on Monday the 28th. We're thinking that you could demonstrate to Dick Cheney that there is another way to raise $250,000 in one day-- through the people who own this democracy, rather than the special interests that buy it. What do you think? Should we bring out the bat? What should we call the event?

So how did the smackdown fare?

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / In changing sphere, Dean's Net fund-raising outdoes Cheney

By 11 p.m. Sunday, the total had reached $250,000, the initial estimate of what Cheney had been expected to raise, based on newspaper reports about his visit.

By noon, when Cheney's lunch started, Dean's total stood at $344,428. The number of donors totaled 6,558 -- about 6,400 more than Cheney's.

Cheney donor's gave $2000 a pop. Dean supporters averaged $52.

(all of this via Doc Searls)

July 23, 2003


- AOL lost almost a million of its 26 million customers in the last quarter: Subscribers Fleeing AOL
- - Councilman killed in NY City Hall shooting

July 10, 2003

NASA's "Smoking Gun"

Video of NASA wing panel test (via ArsTechnica)

June 6, 2003

Marvin the Martian Going to Mars

marvin patch

press release

(Found this on boingboing)

May 28, 2003

Reading Rainbow Needs Dough

Yahoo! News - 'Reading Rainbow' Fighting for Survival

It will be a sad statement on PBS if they keep showing Barney and Teletubbies but let Reading Rainbow be cancelled.

May 20, 2003

Freaky numerical coincidences

From the front page of Google News. The only freaky part is the last three words.

Financial Times
Nation Returns to Orange Alert
FOX News - 55 minutes ago
WASHINGTON The United States went back on orange alert (search) Tuesday afternoon, indicating a high risk of a terror attack within the country, Fox News has learned. Warning prompts US to raise terror alert Financial Times Official confirms al-Qaeda arrests - Forbes - United Press International - CNN - Ananova - and 911 related

Current Terror Alert Level

According to CNN, it's time to buy duct tape again.

Bye bye:


April 21, 2003

RIP: Nina Simone

March 20, 2003

"Calibrated War"

Washington Post journalist Tomas E. Ricks has posted a news analysis entitled Calibrated War Makes Comeback. It's an analysis of the changes in DoD wartime strategy, which the author credits to the role of Rumsfeld.

March 12, 2003

Elizabeth Smart found

- likely kidnappers in custody
- found in Salt Lake City

March 2, 2003

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in US custody

The September 11 planner is now in US custody.

February 28, 2003

NASA releases re-entry videotape of Columbia

- stops before problems occur

February 7, 2003

Terror Alert raised to 2nd highest level

- second time level has been raised this high

February 1, 2003

Columbia explodes on re-entry

- Unknown failure in left wing
- Ilan Ramon, first Israeli astronaut, onboard
- Seven crewmembers onboard
- debris field spread over east Texas and Louisiana
- Guy at Tahoe claims he saw heavy sparks coming shuttle as it passed over CA
- First ever mishap on re-entry in entire history of NASA
- Attention focusing on piece of foam that struck left wing on take-off

January 15, 2003

Supreme Court Rules on Copyright Extension

The Supreme Court unfortunately upheld Congress' copyright extensions. I thought I'd post this link to Breyer's dissent, as it is refreshing to see someone who get's it.

Download file

December 17, 2002

Star Wars... the sequel to the prequel

Bush declares missle defense system will be deployed in 2 years

November 3, 2002

Body shops rejoice

194 car pileup south of Los Angeles
- fog blamed

August 11, 2002

US Air bankrupt

~$8B in dept

July 28, 2002

Rescue of 9 miners at Quecreek

- blew in compressed air to keep rising water at bay
- GPS used to find right spot

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