Wednesday, January 31, 2007


The writer died of breast cancer at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Star-Telegram:
In recent weeks, she had suspended her twice-weekly syndicated column, allowing guest writers to use the space while she underwent further treatment. She made a brief return to writing in mid-January, urging readers to resist President Bush’s plan to increase the number of U.S. troops deployed to Iraq. She likened her call to an old-fashioned "newspaper crusade."

"We are the people who run this country," Ms Ivins said in the column published in the Jan. 14 edition of the Star-Telegram. "We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war.

"Raise hell," she continued. "Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we’re for them and are trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge."
Her given name was Mary Tyler Ivins. She was quite the corker.

Smitty gets the point.


A Wednesday snowstorm has drivers skidding around corners in Springfield. The National Weather Service forecasts about an inch-and-a-half of snow through Thursday.

Those with Mediacom can watch live traffic feeds for Wednesday PM and Thursday AM drivetime on Channel 23. Or you can catch it on the web. Times:

•4:30 - 5:30 p.m. & 6 - 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday
•6 - 8:30 a.m. on Thursday

You'll also find traffic conditions at Ozarks Traffic. Go and slide no more.


The talk station, an FM-AM simulcast, shot to fourth place in the overall radio ratings for Fall 2006, according to Arbitron. These numbers -- from Radio & Records -- are for all listeners, 12+, between 6 am. and midnight, Monday-Sunday. Your mileage may vary.


•KTTS remains No. 1, with a 13.6 share.

•KGBX stays at No. 2, and gains audience (7.4 to 8.2).

•KSPW dips (7.2 to 6.7), but it's good enough for third place.

•KSGF went from 4.1 to 6.0 (and from a 1.9 in Fall '05).

Journal Broadcasting owns KSPW, KTTS and KSGF; the group is the big winner for this book.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


The man became an author at 50. The Associated Press reports:
Sheldon died Tuesday afternoon of complications from pneumonia at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, said Warren Cowan, his publicist of more than 25 years. His wife, Alexandra, and his daughter, author Mary Sheldon, were by his side.

Sheldon's books, with titles such as "Rage of Angels," "The Other Side of Midnight," "Master of the Game" and "If Tomorrow Comes," provided his greatest fame. They were cleverly plotted with a high degree of suspense and sensuality and a device to keep the reader turning pages.
Sheldon dictated his novels, FYI.


Fat as your forearm, as our friend Hippy Tim might say. Housecleaning time at the CHATTER office complex includes dusting the CHATTERWORTHY blogroll, to your right. Among the adds:

Branson Blue Hair, an especially delicious site about the city to our south known as B-Town.

The 2 Dollar Bill from Sniderman, who this moment features Harry Potter's nipples on his site. Do not let this deter you; it's a punchy read.

901 South National, known to locals as the address for Ye Olde Missouri State University.

Know of a blog that ought to be on the roll? Leave us a link, shoot us an e-mail, all that.


Never saw The Police in concert. We may have the chance soon. The BBC reports that The Police are reuniting to open the Grammy Awards on Feb. 11. Other reports hint at a tour by the once-daring trio:
It's possible that the renewed Police on tour would be the highest-grossing road show of all time, surpassing The Rolling Stones and even Paul McCartney's recent top-selling tours.

The big questions now are: Who will open for The Police, and will it be one group or many divided among different regions? Names being bandied about are The Fray, Evanescence and even Virgin's The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. But don't be surprised if Fiction Plane, the hot group piloted by Sting's son Joe Sumner, gets a slot or two as well.
Perhaps Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers can put a stop, however temporary, to Sting's descent into Easy-Listening Hell.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Among the stories most likely to be talked about on Tuesday:

James Wilson of St. Louis is everyone's new bestest friend. The Missouri man won $254 million in the Powerball lottery. According to Reuters, Wilson is 84. His wife is 79. Their sons -- ages 59, 54 and 53 -- all live in St. Louis.

•We recently lost power due to an ice storm. Residents of Juneau, Alaska, lost power over the weekend when, according to The Associated Press, "a bald eagle lugging a deer head crashed into transmission lines." The bird didn't survive the crash.

•The remains of "hobbits" found in Indonesia probably belong to a "completely new branch of our family tree," according to the BBC. Researchers at Florida State University say the skeletal remains are those of Homo floresiensis, a tiny human less than 4-feet tall.

•The main camera on the Hubble Space Telescope is permanently screwed, according to New Scientist:
Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) has malfunctioned several times in recent months, and engineers have been able to resuscitate it each time. Now, it appears that it will never regain use of two of its three camera-like channels.
NASA won't ask astronauts to fix the telescope during a 2008 mission. Kiss those lovely deep-space photos goodbye.


Monday marks two years since Lou Ziegler died. The former editor of the News-Leader was 56.

His daughter, Karley Ziegler Mott, runs Flour City Bakery, a business in New York. She sells handmade soaps, lotions, cool stuff like that.

As we noted late last week, Mott will donate all net proceeds from today's business to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

So go: Visit Flour City Bakery, order some stuff, help fight the disease that killed a remarkable man. On this day of hope and giving, it is the least we can do to remember Zig.


The winner of the Kentucky Derby was euthanized on Monday at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center.

Eight months ago, Barbaro was injured at the Preakness Stakes. Surgery to fuse a broken right back limb was successful, but the horse's front feet became infected with laminitis caused by uneven weight distribution.

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Drinan was the first Roman Catholic priest to serve as a voting member of Congress. From an Associated Press report:
An internationally known human-rights advocate, Drinan represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House for 10 years during the turbulent 1970s, and he stepped down only after a worldwide directive from Pope John Paul II barring priests from holding public office.

He was elected in 1970, after he beat longtime Democratic Rep. Philip J. Philbin in a primary -- and again in the November election, when Philbin was a write-in candidate. The only other priest to serve in Congress was a nonvoting delegate from Michigan in 1823.

Although a poll at the time showed that 30 percent of the voters in his district thought it was improper for a priest to run for office, Drinan considered politics a natural extension of his work in public affairs and human rights.
Drinan left Congress in 1980.


Vice President Dick Cheney gave an interview to Richard Wolffe of Newsweek. The veep continues to display a disturbing distance from reality, saying President Bush has "shored up his position" on Iraq with two recent speeches; Cheney went so far as to say the State of the Union address was "one of [Bush's] best" speeches.

But it's Cheney's hubris that bolsters his rep as a dark force in American politics. From a transcript of the interview:
Q: Bob Woodward reported that President Ford thought you had justified the war wrongly, and that he agreed with Colin Powell that you developed a fever, I think was the word, about Saddam Hussein, about terrorism. Did you feel that was accurate? Did it surprise you?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: I've never heard that from anybody but Bob Woodward.

Q: And other comments that -- criticism from Scowcroft about not knowing you anymore -- people have got quite personal, people you worked with before. You wouldn't be human if it didn't have some reaction.

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, I'm Vice President and they're not.
Q: Vice president of the United States, or schoolyard bully?

A: Both.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Glenn Harold Vickers, didn't your mother ever tell you it isn't polite to point? Especially true when it's your middle finger, and you're pointing it at a cop, and then you lose control of your station wagon and crash it into a guard rail. The Charleston Daily News reports:
(Kanawha County Sheriff Mike) Rutherford said Vickers took the exit and as he did, he extended his middle finger toward the sheriff.

Vickers then crashed the right side of his station wagon along the exit's guardrail, Rutherford said.

"He was looking directly at me, giving me the finger and just ran into the guardrail," Rutherford said. "There's no question in my mind he was not paying attention." ...

Rutherford said he's not sure why Vickers made the obscene gesture. The sheriff said he had never met Vickers before.

"When he was stopped and I introduced myself, you could tell he was surprised," Rutherford said. "It was like all the air was taken out of him."
Vickers, 53, is free on bond.


City officials on Friday announced that Springfield "will be picking up debris from private homes and businesses." The news from Louise Whall, the city's public-information boss:
(The) schedule will be announced in advance to give property owners at least one week’s notice of pick-up in their area. The debris removal contract is expected to be awarded by late next week and announcement of the first pick-up schedules will begin soon after that.
Tell that to the next person who offers to remove the debris for the low, low price of $675.

Other storm strays:

•It's about a half-hour wait to dump debris at the landfill. The landfill drop site opens at 7 a.m. Saturday and will be open until 4 p.m. Sunday is a day of landfill rest.

•Property owners have to keep the sidewalk and streets clear. It's the law.
"However," Whall said, "the City is NOT issuing tickets for this code violation because of current circumstances and does not have plans to do so except as a last-resort measure to ensure public safety. It will be announced if it comes to that, but the City believes that with public education and information, the majority of residents will try to store debris properly without obstructing streets or sidewalks."

•For what it's worth, here's our YouTube video of Ice Storm 2007.


Death is an equal-opportunity experience. We will never be as rich as Bill Gates. We won't ever play guitar like Eric Clapton. But we'll all get to the end of the path.

It's long been the practice of this blog to make note of the famous (and infamous) when they die. But this post has sparked a discussion of CHATTER's Great Game of Mortality. Offensive, some say. Offensive and in poor taste. We don't disagree. The same holds true for some parts of life.

Mick Denniston, the former leader of Springfield Little Theatre, died during our blackout. A Denniston friend said we "failed to pounce" on Denniston's passing and posted this comment:
It just doesn't seem so much like a game when the dearly departed just happen to be near and dear to you, now does it?
While we were without electricity, Brother Richard kept up-to-date on the obits, sending us links on the deaths of racer Benny Parsons and soap actress Darlene Conley. Two points for him.


Based in New York, Flour City Bakery is Karley Ziegler Mott's business. She makes what she calls "handmade soaps, lotions and other fine potions."

On Monday, Jan. 29, you can buy what Mott makes, and help fight pancreatic cancer. You'll also be remembering one helluva newspaperman.

From a Mott e-mail:
The Lustgarten Foundation is the only one whose donations go completely to research rather than funding the pharmaceutical companies. Former President Carter is very active in this charity.

If you could pass this on, I would appreciate it. Whether people purchase one lip balm or 500 bars of soap, every cent will help a good cause.
Karley Mott's father was Lou Ziegler, former editor of the News-Leader. Monday marks the two-year anniversary of Ziegler's death from pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

On Monday, honor the memory of the man and help fight what killed him. Flour City Bakery is the place to do it. As Mott notes in her e-mail, "Dad wouldn't want me feeling blue on the 29th -- he would want the people he cared about to do something positive."

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Power was restored to CHATTER's production machine at 4:35 p.m. Thursday -- 12 days, two hours and 15 minutes after it was lost. A few thousand other customers of City Utilities remain without power from Ice Storm 2007. The utility company promises to have power restored to all customers with fixable problems by Friday night.

Sorry for the lack of recent posts. The Great Game of Mortality was AWOL for Art Buchwald. Such a shame.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


CHATTER's main machine remains silent, without power, kaput. As of 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, the machine has been quiet and in a cold room for 248 hours. It beats MIT's record but still lags behind others we know, in a competition that no one wants to win. As of today, City Utilities had around 9,000 customers still in the dark, down from 75,000 at the peak of the storm on Jan. 13-14.

What day is today?

When we're back and in a place of whatever passes for permanence, we'll have more to say about the ice storm that insists on sticking around. Thanks for the comments on the last post from a week ago. Sorry for our absence. Blessed, damned electricity.

For now, a few strays thoughts from the disturbance:

*How do you pronounce Asplundh? 'Cause we've been seeing those trucks -- even before the storm, they lurked -- and everytime we try to say it the word comes out sounding like a deep cavity search. It's just not right.

*How much has All Of This cost? Damage estimates from storms in other parts of the country seem to come in within the first 72-120 hours. We've seen nothing similar here (our vision is admittedly very limited right now). Has anyone done a hard-figure story on FEMA direct expenditures to cities, emergency contracts let by City Utilities to trim trees and fix lines, etc.?

*Huzzah and all that to Midwest Family, owners of several local radio stations. Refreshing to listen to alt-rock radio (Q 102.1) and hear a break for the daily media briefing from city and county officials. That's broadcasting.

*CU's problem: Bad handling of predictable circumstances. Rumors fill air when it's confused and in turmoil; after a slaying there is often talk about drugs and porn, white slavery and the occult, and most always it is rumor, and wrong. When the power goes out and normal communications are cut across a city, rumors spread. CU didn't get in front of those rumors and instead allowed them to gain currency. They can (and probably will) buy ads to try to regain the crest. Too late. Where was the map showing areas with outages, something thay would havw graphically debunked the "rich get it first, poor get it last" conspiracy theory? We know people north and south, west and east, all long-timers in the dark, some still without power. No reason or rhyme, unless it's because we all know each other and The Man doesn't want us talking.

*To the anon poster who, commenting on our previous storm post, compared a radio personality's wife to an animal: Not cool. Wasn't cool when Rush Limbaugh did the same to Chelsea Clinton. Still small-minded and definitely not funny. Thinking readers will disavow such a lack of class. We most certainly do.

Hope you're well. What's your best storm story?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Something other than candles or flames from wood. Not that there's anything wrong with tree butchery, especially when ice falls for three days and more than 30,000 people in Springfield still don't have power.

The storm hit Friday and held the city through Sunday. On Tuesday there was sunshine, at least for a while. In between there was ice, layer upon layer of rain that hit the trees and stuck fast. Because it had been warm -- 50s and 60s into Friday, just before the storm struck -- there was fog at night, and if you stood outside for more than a minute you could see through the shroud as ice-burdened trees gave way. You could hear them creaking and losing limbs with a sound like the rip of a well-worn flannel shirt, followed by a snap and the crystal sound of shattered ice. If you stayed outside long enough you could make yourself believe there was some sort of lumbering monster out there in the fog, stomping through the dark.

This storm was a freak, a super slo-mo disaster that seemed to arrest all motion and sense. It moved at a glacial pace, dropping devastation onto the natural order, but it left most of the unnatural intact. The roads didn't freeze over; the only hazards to driving were the obscenely amputated tree limbs, and the occasional power line they brought down (most of the lines stayed in place, almost looking festive with their streamers of frozen rain).

Most natural disasters are frightening, and should be; they serve notice that compared to a whirling cloud that touches ground, we are little more than pissants. The ice storm of 2007 will be remembered as a disaster without terror.

No terror, but plenty of panic. Because we knew the storm was coming, we planned without thinking, buying perishables to put into refrigerators that stopped working, or forgetting batteries for the flashlights. There was scant chance to die in this storm; the biggest threat to life was getting bonked on the head by a falling tree limb. Mostly the storm was an annoyance, a drag: No lights? No Internet? No cable?

The upside to the storm was humanity. People who live next door to each other had the chance to become neighbors, and often did, offering food or a warm fireplace. Those who would gouge the needy with storm's-a-coming prices were outnumbered by honest brokers who just wanted to help their fellow humans in a crisis.

The media did its job, and for the most part did it well. Some reporters said it looked like a "war zone" outside, ignoring the lack of bomb craters and buildings pockmarked by bullets, but most played it straight. The best reporting happened when the message was undiluted. Radio stations devolved into community message boards, passing along information on shelters, generators, hot food. One local announcer, best known for being a divider, rose above to be a broadcaster, spending dozens of hours at his post. Juliana Goodwin of the News-Leader -- a delightful woman, and don't you forget it -- reported on the announcer's work, and how he will remember "the incredible love people have shown each other." Perhaps he will recall that love the next time he's spewing hate.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Promising to be bigger, better, badder than the Christmas 1987 storm. A quick note while there's still time. This from Greene County:
In response to widespread power outages in Springfield, the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross is opening a winter storm shelter at 12 a.m. at Schweitzer United Methodist Church, 2747 E. Sunshine St.

The Red Cross will provide cots and food at the Schweitzer shelter. Persons traveling to the shelter are advised to bring bedding, personal hygieneitems and necessary medical supplies, like perscription medications. Pets are not allowed in the shelter.

The Scheitzer shelter will remain open as long as needed during the winter storm. Transportation to the shelter will be available through the Springfield City Utilities bus transit during regular bus service hours of 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The previously announced shelter at the Salvation Army has been unable to open due to lack of power at that location.
Good luck, locals.

Friday, January 12, 2007


We thank the gods or whatever for not putting us on the path of the Federal Way school district in Washington State. There, the citizens with juice seem to be a little goofy in the head.

The skinny: A teacher wanted to show "An Inconvenient Truth" to a class. A parent who supports creationism in schools complained, loudly. The school board says the Al Gore film can only be shown only with permission from the principal and superintendent, and only if a "credible, legitimate opposing view" is presented.

It's not a fight over truth; it's a war about politics, religion and political correctness. A story in the Post-Intelligencer illustrates the power of screwed-up thinking:
"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."
Hardison is apparently the one who does the thinking around the house:
Hardison and his wife, Gayla, said they would prefer that the movie not be shown at all in schools.

"From what I've seen (of the movie) and what my husband has expressed to me, if (the movie) is going to take the approach of 'bad America, bad America,' I don't think it should be shown at all," Gayle Hardison said. "If you're going to come in and just say America is creating the rotten ruin of the world, I don't think the video should be shown."
People with common sense would listen politely to the Hardisons, allow them to remove their child from the class, and go ahead with the movie. But that would be asking too much of the Federal Way school district. Hardison's e-mail to David Larson, a school board member, sparked Larson to call for a moratorium on "An Inconvenient Truth." Larson explains, poorly:
"Somebody could say you're killing free speech, and my retort to them would be we're encouraging free speech," said Larson, a lawyer. "The beauty of our society is we allow debate."

School Board members adopted a three-point policy that says teachers who want to show the movie must ensure that a "credible, legitimate opposing view will be presented," that they must get the OK of the principal and the superintendent, and that any teachers who have shown the film must now present an "opposing view."
Hardison has an opposing view. Is it credible or legitimate? Not unless he has scientific evidence to bolster his own young-Earth claims and to dispute the film's contentions. That's a debate. Otherwise, the district must allow everyone with a crackpot view to make his or her case.

A guy named Curt Brown used to be the general manager of KTTS radio in Springfield. Brown would voice his own editorials; a sly tagline said "opposing views will be considered." The Federal Way school district should have taken a lesson from Brown and stood up against a blowhard.


Who needs privacy when you can get a tracking tattoo? Computer Weekly has the story:
A US company has launched a chipless RFID (radio-frequency identification) Ink that can be used to track both animals and humans.

Visible or invisible Ink "Tattoos" can be applied to the skin and tracked by RFID readers positioned a few feet away.

The company, Somark, said it had successfully tested its Biocompatible Chipless RFID Ink product.
Most troubling is the fact that some people will think we need this.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Last week he wrote on his blog that he had as little as two days to live, adding:
I look forward without dogmatic optimism but without dread.
Thursday, the writer and philosopher died. RAW was a week shy of turning 75.

Thom earns the point. Remember, National Security is the chief cause of national insecurity.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


A new player -- Erik from Joplin -- gets the point for DeCarlo, who died this week. Fox News reports:
De Carlo died of natural causes Monday at the Motion Picture & Television facility in suburban Woodland Hills, longtime friend and television producer Kevin Burns said Wednesday.

De Carlo, whose shapely figure helped launch her career in B-movie desert adventures and Westerns, rose to more important roles in the 1950s. Later, she had a key role in a landmark Broadway musical, Stephen Sondheim's "Follies."

But for TV viewers, she will always be known as Lily Munster in the 1964-1966 horror movie spoof "The Munsters."
We once met Al Lewis and Butch Patrick. Lewis was cooler than cool; Patrick was a middle-age guy still trying to make hay from his gig as Eddie Munster. One degree from DeCarlo, but still too far.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Apple Computer is now Apple, Inc., and this may be the coolest piece of hardware, ever.

The iPhone's price point is steep ($500 or $600, depending on how big you want it, memorywise) but will come down as the edge stops bleeding and the device goes mainstream.

A phone, a music and vid player, a web browser. It's not the bundling that's important; the package is bound with a touchscreen version of Apple's OS X, so the interface looks like something you can actually use.

It will be summer before the thing is sold. If it works and doesn't break, it'll be the must-have gadget by year's end. Just look at it.


Brother Richard gets the point in the increasingly vigorous competition. Fox News reports:
In a career that spanned more than six decades, Iwao Takamoto assisted in the designs of some of the biggest animated features and television shows, including "Cinderella," "Peter Pan," "Lady and the Tramp" and "The Flintstones."

But it was Takamoto's creation of Scooby-Doo, the cowardly dog with an adventurous heart, that captivated audiences and endured for generations. ...

Born in Los Angeles to parents who had emigrated from Japan, Takamoto graduated high school when World War II began. He and his family were sent to the Manzanar internment camp in the California desert, where he learned the art of illustration from fellow internees.
The competition breakdown: Richard called it at 2:17 a.m. Tuesday. John Stone, the Curbstone Critic, chimed in at 4:33 a.m.

Thom from Dustyhouse Studios puts the proper perspective on Takamoto's death:
This completes the HB trifecta that was begun around Dec 18th when Chris Hayward and Joe Barbera died. Sad month for cartoon land.
Mighty sad.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Not many details at this hour. The collision occurred in the Arabian Sea, according to a Japanese defense ministry official. Reuters has the skinny:
The spokesman said the ministry was investigating the incident but no other details were immediately available.
No immediate report of injuries, but CNN says there is damage.


Larry Litle at Simple Thoughts of a Complex Mind has been flogging something called the Blogaroni Awards. Local bloggers nominate their peers for huzzahs; awards will be handed out (or hurled) at the February bloggers gathering at Patton Alley Pub.

We've been nominated in two categories, Blog of the Year and News Blog of the Year. Thanks to those who gave us their support. Hustle over to Litle's blog to cast your vote.


It's a little principality -- OK, it's basically an oil rig -- off the coast of Suffolk, England. Its prince would like to sell the joint. Reuters reports:
Built in World War Two as an anti-aircraft base against German bombers, the derelict platform was taken over 40 years ago by retired army major Paddy Roy Bates who went to live there with his family.

He declared the platform, perched seven miles off the east coast of England just outside Britain's territorial waters, to be the principality of Sealand.

The self-styled Prince Roy adopted a flag, chose a national anthem and minted silver and gold coins as its currency. ...

Prince Michael, whose 85-year-old father now lives in Spain, said his family had been approached by estate agents with clients "who wanted a bit more than a bit of real estate, they wanted autonomy."

Asked what were the delights of living on Sealand, the 54-year-old prince said "The neighbours are very quiet. There is a good sea view."

"There is no jurisdiction by any other country in the world," he said, suggesting it could be a base for online gambling or offshore banking.
Last year a blaze damaged Sealand's platform. 'Tis a fire sale, indeed.


It's supposed to be your government. The Bush Administration clearly thinks otherwise. According to this Associated Press report:
The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public.

The Bush administration didn't reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with a legal problem on a separate front, a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

In a federal appeals court filing three weeks ago, the administration's lawyers used the memo in a legal argument aimed at overturning the judge's ruling. The Washington Post is suing for access to the Secret Service logs.

The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
It's our house, not his.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


The actress Jessica Biel has appeared in a lot of junk ("Blade: Trinity" and "Stealth" come to mind).

Her appearance at a recent opening for her new flick, "The Illusionist," is drawing publicity, but not for Biel's acting chops or sweet face. Instead, Egotastic brings us snaps of Biel's asset.

Ye Gods. Forget Jennifer Lopez or any other high-water boo-tay you've ever imagined. What's keeping Biel from toppling over? Click the link, see the pics.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


MIT grabs another point, one that's ready in two minutes and flavored with delicious powder. The Associated Press reports:
Momofuku Ando, the Japanese inventor of instant noodles — a dish that has sustained American college students for decades — has died. He was 96.

Nissin Food Products Co., the company Ando founded, said on its Web site that he died Friday after suffering a heart attack.

Born in Taiwan, Ando founded his company in 1948 from a humble family operation. Faced with food shortages in post-World War II Japan, Ando thought a quality, convenient noodle product would help feed the masses.

In 1958, his "Chicken Ramen" — the first instant noodle — was introduced after many trials. Following its success, the company added other products, such as the "Cup Noodle" in 1971.
His last known meal: chicken-flavored ramen.

Friday, January 05, 2007


About 275 dead or wounded officers received letters from the Army, asking them if they'd kindly return to active duty. On Friday, Army brass offered an apology. CNN reports:
The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

"Army personnel officials are contacting those officers' families now to personally apologize for erroneously sending the letters," the Army said in a brief news release issued Friday night.

The Army did not say how or when the mistake was discovered. It said the database normally used for such correspondence with former officers had been "thoroughly reviewed" to remove the names of wounded or dead soldiers.
The Army "regrets any confusion."

Thursday, January 04, 2007


He's the first Muslim member of Congress and hails from Minnesota. On Thursday, he was sworn into office, taking the oath with a Quran that Thomas Jefferson once owned, a two-volume work that was published in 1764.

Some conservatives say Ellison shouldn't have been allowed to use anything but the Bible to take an oath of office. Some even claim (wrongly) that no one has used a Quran to be sworn into office.

The Associated Press reports:
Ellison had already planned to be sworn in using a Quran, rather than a Bible. He learned last month about Jefferson's Quran, with its multicolored cover and brown leather binding, and arranged to borrow it.

Although the Library of Congress is right across the street from the Capitol, library officials took extra precautions in delivering the Quran for the ceremony. To protect it from the elements, they placed the Quran in a rectangular box and handled it with a green felt wrapper once inside the Capitol. ...

The Quran was acquired in 1815 as part of a more than 6,400-volume collection that Jefferson sold for $24,000 to replace the congressional library that had been burned by British troops the year before, in the War of 1812. Jefferson, the nation's third president, was a collector of books in all topics and languages. ...

Some critics have argued that only a Bible should be used for the swearing-in. Last month, Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode (R-Va.), warned that unless immigration is tightened, "many more Muslims" will be elected and follow Ellison's lead.
Ellison walked up to Goode on Thursday and invited him to coffee. After, Ellison said: "Look, we're trying to build bridges." Goode's office offered no comment. Not a surprise response from a guy who thinks tightening immigration will keep Muslims out of the U.S.


Linton Brooks was administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. He was kicked to the curb on Thursday because of a "serious security breach" at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. CNN reports:
Brooks issued a statement to NNSA employees saying he will tender his resignation to President Bush "shortly" and depart within two to three weeks.

"One reason for forming NNSA was to prevent such management problems from occurring," Brooks said. "We have not yet done so in over five years. For much of that time I was in charge of NNSA. Therefore, the secretary believes new leadership is needed." ...

On October 17 police in Los Alamos, New Mexico, found materials from the top-secret nuclear facility while searching a home during a drug raid. An Office of Inspector General report on the incident said police found a computer flash drive that "contained apparent images of classified documents from the laboratory. Also found were several hundred pages of what appeared to be laboratory documents with classified markings."

The home belonged to a former employee of the laboratory.
The "solution" to flash drive misuse at Los Alamos? Glue shut the USB ports. Yes, really. No wonder this guy is out.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


If a police officer stops you and asks where you're going, do you have a right to say, politely, "It's none of your business"?

Apparently not, at least in St. Louis. Brett Darrow, 19, was detained as a drunken-driving checkpoint because he declined to tell an officer where he was going. Darrow's answer: "I don't wish to discuss my personal life with you, officer."

That was enough to get Darrow ordered out of his car and detained for about 12 minutes. According to this write-up in the, billed as "a journal of the politics of driving," Darrow videotaped the encounter, and has a transcript of the stop:
Darrow is considering filing suit against St. Louis County Police.

"I'm scared to drive for fear of being stopped at another checkpoint and arrested while doing nothing illegal," Darrow told TheNewspaper. "We're now guilty until we prove ourselves innocent to these checkpoint officers."

On that late November night, videotape confirms that Darrow had been ordered out of his vehicle after telling a policeman, "I don't wish to discuss my personal life with you, officer." Another officer attempted to move Darrow's car until he realized, "I can't drive stick!" The officer took the opportunity to undertake a thorough search of the interior without probable cause. He found nothing.

When Darrow asked why he was being detained, an officer explained, "If you don't stop running your mouth, we're going to find a reason to lock you up tonight."

The threats ended when Darrow informed officers that they were being recorded. After speaking to a supervisor Darrow was finally released.
Was Darrow being a smart-ass? Probably. Did he make the cops feel uncomfortable, even angry? Probably. Are we living in a free country? With stories like this, that's up for debate.


Majed Shehadeh is 62, a Syrian living in Germany. He flew to the U.S. last week to surprise his daughter. He's the one who got a big surprise -- a four-day detention in a Las Vegas jail cell. According to this report from Fox News:
Shehadeh flew from Frankfurt to Las Vegas last Thursday, hoping to meet with his wife and drive to Bakersfield, Calif., where his American-born daughter had just gotten news she'd passed the California bar exam. Instead, he wound up shivering in a holding cell without ever being told why he couldn't enter the country, he said.

Roxanne Hercules, a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, confirmed Tuesday that Shehadeh was denied entry, but would not discuss specifics of his case. She said Shehadeh's visa waiver could have been denied because "he could have a criminal record, or it could be a terrorism issue."
Officials told Shehadeh's family he was on something called a "look-out list."


For sale: One used, discarded penile pump. Suggested price: $300,000.

Richard Bradbury, a Florida man, found the pump in the trash. He put it on eBay. The asking price seemed high, but then again, the pump came from the trash of a former U.S. ambassador.

According to a report in the St. Petersburg Times:
Former Ambassador Mel Sembler is dropping parts of a lawsuit against a man who rooted through his trash.

In exchange, an attorney for Richard Bradbury acknowledged that his client did, in fact, search through the garbage of the former U.S. ambassador to Australia and Italy, retrieve a penile pump and try to sell it on eBay. ...

The dispute dates back two decades, starting when a 17-year-old Bradbury stayed in Straight Inc., a controversial Pinellas Park drug rehab center the Semblers founded. Bradbury and numerous other critics charge that the now-defunct Straight used excessive force and other abuses against its clients.

Bradbury organized anti-Straight activists for years and spoke out against the group long after its closing. For about a decade, he also sifted through the trash outside Sembler's Treasure Island home. About three years ago he found a discarded penile pump that had belonged to Sembler and put it up for sale on eBay for $300,000.

The Semblers filed a lawsuit that called Bradbury's actions "so dark and fringe as to outrage common sensibilities" and "an invasion into the sanctity of our home and our bedroom." They said Bradbury's actions constituted an invasion of Sembler's privacy and "intentional infliction of emotional distress."

At a hearing Thursday, attorney Leonard Englander said Sembler was willing to drop those portions of the lawsuit. In exchange, McGowan acknowledged in court that Bradbury went through the Semblers' trash and tried to sell the pump.
But is rooting through the trash equivalent to stalking? That's the question now before a judge. We are sure it's a bad idea to get rid of a penile pump by taking it curbside.