Friday, January 21, 2005

Fraaammmmpp! Excuse me.

I'm not usually one for toilet humor, but where elephants are involved, I will go!

BANGKOK (AFP) - Having taught Thailand's elephants to paint, dance and play musical instruments, their Thai handlers are now toilet-training the beasts, media reported. Handlers -- known as mahouts -- have installed giant human-style toilets at a camp in the northern city of Chiang Mai to try to rid the tourist attraction of unsightly droppings, according to the Nation newspaper. Some seven elephants at the privately run camp beside Chiang Mai Zoo are being trained to sit like a human on the giant white toilets, which can be flushed by pulling on a rope with a gentle tug of the trunk, said the daily. It showed a picture of a five-year-old elephant named Diew testing out one of the oversized concrete toilets, which has been fitted with equally jumbo-sized plumbing. The elephants were reportedly rescued from the streets of Bangkok where people were using them to collect money from tourists.

Al Pacino is Tiny!

Want to see how you measure up to your favorite celebrity? Go here and enter your height. Then kick back and enjoy! Thanks to Boing Boing

Thursday, January 20, 2005

What NOT to Drink

I am a proud drinker of Rainier Beer, the beer 9 out of 10 bears prefer. It's my cheap beer of choice, winning out over my old fave, Coors Original Banquet Beer. In addition to being damn refreshing, I challenge you to find another beer that still puts rebus puzzles on their bottle caps!

Like all Seattlites, I was deeply saddened by the closure of the Rainier Brewery, and its subsequent purchase by Tully's Coffee. But that is in the past and now I have joined the RainierNation, a group of Northwest locals dedicated to drinking the finest cheap beer in the world (even if it brewed in California by Pabst). Sure, the RainierNation may merely be a clever marketing ploy to sell more beer, but it also supports local pubs and bars, so it can't be all that bad. Anyhow, the RainierNation email newsletter just arrived with this horrifying story:

It has recently come to my attention that the RainierNation is being attacked by a new and awful beer. Budweiser's "B to the E" is a new beer that is in our stores and you can tell by its name that it "Sucks to the Ass." This is Budweiser's new "Energy Beer" that you may have heard of. I have a sharp mind, yet I can't quite wrap my head around this abomination. I have an acerbic wit, yet I'm so appalled that I have lost words. But, why make fun of something when its own website does it for you. "Anheuser-Busch is the first major brewer to infuse beer with caffeine, guarana and ginseng. Well balanced with select hops and aromas of blackberry, raspberry and cherry, BE will offer a lightly sweet and tart taste." Guarana? Ginseng? Blackberry? Raspberry? Cherry? I can understand them wanting to add flavors to the beer so that it doesn't taste so much like Budweiser, but is this beer or an aromatherapeutic body wash? "Brewed at Anheuser-Busch's Houston brewery, BE will be packaged in a sleek, slim-line 10-ounce can with stylish graphics." Sleek? Slim-line? 10-ounce?! I only use exclamation points in moments of outrage. They say they are marketing their beer to "contemporary adults" but it sounds to me like they are marketing it to"the Babysitter's Club."

I know what you are saying. "What can I do, Tim? How can I be a light in the darkness? I'm just one Nation." First of all, I'm not sure I like your tone. Never let me hear you underestimate your power as the RainierNation because to me, the solution is simple. Hate it. Hate Budweiser's "B to the E" and everything that it stands for. Don't buy it, and make fun of people that do. It's for their own good.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

oh! Oh! OHHHH! "Hello?"

Are you bored of those tired, old ringtones on your phone? Had enough 50 Cent and Eminem? Soon, you'll be able to download "moantones" produced by none other than international adult movie superstar Jenna Jameson. Mobile phone content provider Wicked Wireless plans to start the service in Latin America and bring it to the US later this year. Sexy "R-rated" images are also part of the deal. The stock photography house that I work for here in Seattle also provides images to Wicked Wireless. I guess we're in good company!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Why Michael Schumacher Will Never Lose

My friend Matt sent me this story about the Pope getting his very own Ferrari. As if Ferrari needed any more help ruling Formula One. In Matt's words, "Oh no! Even God is on their side now..."

Friday, January 14, 2005

Your Very Own Sand Crawler!*

"The JL421 Badonkadonk is a completely unique, extremely rare land vehicle and battle tank." It might just be the craziest thing I've seen since the Segway (also available at Amazon), which still makes me laugh when I see one in use. Segway. Heh heh. Stupid.

*Jawas not included.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Food + Photography = Deliciousness

I like food. I like photography. Put the two together and you got yourself a winner. The first ever international competition for food photography is being held at the annual SIRHA expo in France. Mmm...anchovies.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Wackiest Consumer Warning of the Year

There is a contest out there that tracks down the craziest consumer warning each year, to show " lawsuits, and concern about lawsuits, have created a need for common sense warnings on products." I remember the first one I ever saw. It was on a hairdryer: "Do not use while bathing." It's such a joy living in a highly litigious society.

Here are this year's winners and some of the best past winners. My personal fave of this year? A label on a popular scooter for children that warns: "This product moves when used."

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Why I like Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher is not only the greatest racecar driver EVER, he is also a genuinely good human being. Sadly, he lost his friend and bodyguard Burkhard Cramer in the tsunami disaster. Yesterday, he donated $10 million to help the victims of the tsunamis.

Celebrities the world over are donating huge sums as well. Steven Spielberg gave $1.5 million. Sandra Bullock gave $1 million. Leonardo DiCaprio gave a rumored $1 million. Even unexplicably popular band Linkin Park pulled together $100,000.

So how much did our multi-millionaire president and leader of the free world George W. Bush donate? A paltry and inexcusable $10,000. Way to set an example Mr. President. We're proud of you.

Tsunami Survival Stories

Hope is in short supply right now in south Asia. Here are some amazing stories with happy endings:

* PENANG, Malaysia (AP) 28 Dec 2004 - A 20-day-old baby was found alive floating on a mattress in her parent's damaged restaurant in northern Malaysia after the region was slammed by tsunamis.

* PHUKET, Thailand (AP) 29 Dec 2004 - A Swedish toddler was reunited with his father Wednesday, days after being found alone in the aftermath of the deadly tsunami that swept Asia, after his picture was posted on the internet.

* PORT BLAIR, Andaman and Nicobar Islands (AP) 01 Jan 2005 - As she fled the killer waves swallowing her island, Namita Roy gave birth to a boy in a forest. On another island, 8-month-old Michael Jeremiah slipped out of his mother's arms and sank into the sea until his father saw his toe poke up from the waves and brought him back to life.

* KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Reuters) 05 Jan 2005 - An Indonesian woman who was plucked from the sea after clinging to a palm tree for five days in the wake of a devastating tsunami heard Wednesday that she is 18 weeks pregnant with her first child.

UPDATE: KLANG, Malaysia (AP) 11 Jan 2005 - A man who drifted on the Indian Ocean for two weeks lived on coconuts that he pried open with his teeth while floating on pieces of wood, then a broken boat, and finally a raft carrying a lifesaving treasure: bottled water.

Tsunami Dolphin Saga

Two rare Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphins - a female adult and her calf - were trapped in a lake left behind by the tsunamis that hit Thailand. So far, they are still trapped.

UPDATE: The mother has been rescued. Rescuers are still searching for the calf. Fingers crossed everyone.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Elephants are our friends. Fraaammmmpp.

The end of 2004 was horrible for my family and me personally, but exponentially so for the millions of people affected by the tsunamis. It was good to see a story about survival amidst so many stories of death and destruction. Sadly, these stories were few and far between, but they were out there. Related to the prescient elephant story, there was this interesting article about the strange lack of animal carcasses amongst the debris. A bit morbid, I'll admit, but still fascinating. Sorry.

And with that, I promise that only funny stories will be posted from here on out. Goodbye 2004 and good riddance.

UPDATE: Further proof that elephants are our friends.