Friday, September 28, 2012

The "Who Knew?" News

This week as I was looking around for odd news stories, it has become obvious that nothing is shocking any more.  The odd, random or "couldn't happen" type of news stories are now commonplace.  There is, of course the possibility that I have become terribly jaded and nothing shocks ME any more.  I prefer to think that odd is "in" and everything is caught on camera now which makes nearly every silly move reportable by the media.

So today, I picked out a few news items that I selected just for their educational value.  These are less about stupid crime and more about things that I wasn't aware of...up until today.

Sign of the Times

I didn't realize that there were no street signs in San Jose, Costa Rica.  This hasn't been a huge problem for me as I have never traveled to Costa Rica but my son has several times and never mentioned being lost.

Still for the people that are currently in San Jose that have been wandering aimlessly for extended periods of time... there is Good News!

San Jose municipal workers announced last Thursday that they will be installing 22,000 street signs on the street corners in their city.  The city of 1.4 million have long relied on a very informal system that has been tolerated by the locals but causing problems for visitors and the post office.

The current system of asking for directions and using land marks to describe how to get somewhere has worn out it's welcome.
"My current home address is 200 meters north of the Pizza Hut then 400 meters west, but in a few months, I will be able to give a proper street name and a number," San Jose Mayor Johnny Araya said during a ceremony where the first street sign was placed.

Other popular landmarks residents use to describe how to get somewhere include the McDonald's restaurant chain, former President and Nobel Prize-winner Oscar Arias' house, a famous fig tree that has long since died and the site of an old cattle shed turned gas station.
Many streets will be named after illustrious political and intellectual figures from Costa Rican history.
Araya hopes the plan will reduce economic losses caused by undelivered, returned or re-sent mail, estimated at $720 million a year by the Inter-American Development Bank in 2008.
Almost one-quarter of the country's mail never reaches its destination, a spokesman for the Costa Rican post office said.
Postal codes were introduced in 2007 to help matters, but no one uses them because they do not know how to find them.
Costa Rica embarked on a street-naming crusade about 30 years ago, but the signposts were never installed. This time, funding from two different banks made the $1 million project possible.
Once the signage is up, Araya intends to undertake a campaign to encourage use of the new system, which is expected to encounter some resistance.

"I don't think it's going to work", 29-year-old taxi driver Manuel Perez said. "If a tourist tells me to take him to a hotel in whatever street, I'm going to say 'you're speaking to me in Chinese,' because I don't know where that is. I need a landmark."

As someone who is "directionally challenged", I can't imagine trying to find my way around a city of 1.4 million people without streets having names.  I guess it wouldn't help to ask a postman for directions. 

Information When You Need It

Clearly, I am getting old.  Old enough that I didn't know that there were vending machines for pregnancy tests.   In all fairness, to my's been a "little" while since I was worried about drinking and pregnancy. (well to's been awhile since I worried about ME drinking and getting pregnant)  But for those of you out there that do worry, help may be as close as the restroom at your favorite bar.   

The first pregnancy test vending machine has been installed in Pub 500, a Mankato, Minnesota bar located south of Minneapolis.  Before ordering up your adult beverage you can go to the ladies room and get a test kit for $3.00.  Healthy Brains for Children, a local nonprofit, created the machine in an effort to reduce alcohol related birth defects. The owner of the bar is on board with the groups efforts and doesn't make any profit off of the machine.  

See me not making any jokes here!   I just found this interesting in a weird sort of way that you would take your pregnancy test at the local pub.  How handy is that! You can celebrate or NOT by just leaving the room and walking over to the bar. 

 Another kind of Sign

We have all heard the stories about there are more rats than people in New York City?  You haven't heard that??? Really.  OK, let's catch you up to speed.  I have attached a link that you can click on if you are really into knowing how prolific these little buggers are. 

Rats Love New York City But That Doesn't Mean They Are Welcome

No one really knows how many there are but various studies indicate that there are somewhere between one rat per person up to about 12 rats per person in the city.  Last January the transit workers, who were fed up with the number of rats in their work place, ran a contest called Rate My Rat   where contestants could take a picture of the nastiest rats and upload them to a website.  The winners could win a month long transit pass.  
Now that you are caught up to the fact that NYC has rats, there is a new effort to rein in the herd.
One Manhattan resident has had enough of rats taking over his neighborhood.  Joseph Bolanos, president of the West 76th street Block Association decided to call attention to the problem. He has been installing signs.
 The move may be a bit flippant, but Bolanos said he thinks the signs could bring attention to the issue plaguing his streets.

 Mr. Bolanos is not alone. After receiving hundreds of complaints in recent days the Borough's President Scot Stringer and a city councilman, Gale Brewer created the Rat Academy.   Speaking at the Rat Academy, a seminar that was designed to educate residents  on ways to reduce the rat population, Manhattan's Borough President  Stringer said " The rats on my block, they don't scurry anymore, they walk right up to me and say "Good Morning, Mr. Borough President." (talk about politically correct rats)

 Very creative way to market your rat problem.  I love that the rats are evolving so well that they now say "good morning".  Very cool to have such polite rodents.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

That's Very Human of You

 Do you anthropomorphize?  You can tell me...really, this conversation is just between the two of us and perhaps some inanimate object that you are currently best friends with.  Do you consider your pets to have human qualities?  Do you make friends with things around the house...not of the human variety?

 Thought Number One: According to Wikipedia we have been anthropomorphizing for a very long time.

From the beginnings of human behavioral modernity in the Upper Paleolithic, about 40,000 years ago, examples of zoomorphic (animal-shaped) works of art occur that may represent the earliest evidence we have of anthropomorphism. One of the oldest known is an ivory sculpture, the Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel, Germany, a human-shaped figurine with a lion's head, determined to be about 32,000 years old.

(according to American Heritage Dictionary)
(an-thruh-puh- mawr -fiz-uhm) The attributing of human characteristics and purposes to inanimate objects, animals, plants, or other natural phenomena, or to God. To describe a rushing river as “angry” is to anthropomorphize it.

Earlier this week, I was talking to a friend who was having repairs done to her home.  We were commiserating about how every time we have one issue taken care of something new rears it's ugly little head.  One could logically say that it is just physical deterioration or functional obsolescence but in this particular conversation my friend said "My house hates me!"  

As you might remember from some of my recent posts, my house has let me down a bit over the summer with a few "surprises" but I hadn't given thought to the possibility that my home is angry with me.  I was pretty secure in the fact that my house and I are pretty friendly.  I probably love my house more that it loves me but I am OK with that. I am not OK thinking it is "out to get me".

Frankly, I have never thought too much about things like houses, cars, computers, etc. having grudges against me but it did get me thinking.  

Now, I can add another worry to my rather lengthy list of worries.  What if my house hates me?

I want my house to be a friendly house.  I drive by a house fairly often on the way to my daughter's home.  Now this looks like a friendly house.

Yes, I am a happy house...look at my smile

If it were my house, maybe I would take it one step farther...or maybe not.

Thought Number Two:   My Cats and I  Are Very Pro-anthropomorphism cute were the Christopher Robin and Winnie the Pooh stories?  Yes, very cute.
( But just to point out the obvious if this little guy, Christopher was our kid, we would
be asking ourselves, " Where does active imagination end and schizophrenia

Yes, Pooh is quite cute. As with most things, we are evolving. 
Are you familiar with the TV show Wilfred. Wilfred is a real dog that
his owner sees as a human-like dog.  Wilfred has a very naughty
mouth and smokes like a fiend.

Disclaimer:  Two cats...even very human-like cats..... doesn't make me a cat lady.

Another Disclaimer; the opinions expressed by Carmen and Chantel do not express the opinion of Cheryl P.
Disney characters that talk and dance, not excluding tea pots, teddy bears, candlesticks, dogs, rabbits, elephants that fly, lions, puppets and even human size mice are quite lovable.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

In Hot Water

Who got themselves into trouble this week? Lindsey Lohan is back in the headlines but, I guess that isn't really new. There have been a few missteps by politicians this week as well.  Again, that isn't necessarily news. So who should we talk about today?

It Was An Accident

 Hmmmm, lets start with the on-going trial in LA of  David Viens.  David claims to accidentally  killed his wife then cooked her body for four days in boiling water to get rid of the evidence. His wife went missing in late 2009 but it wasn't until 2011 that authorities put together what may of happened. 

David Viens has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Dawn.  His story is that after discovering some money missing from the restaurant he owns, Thyme Contemporary Cafe,  in Lomita, California, he suspected his wife.  He went home and according to him they had a fight.  He wrapped her up and placed duct tape over her mouth, after which he went to bed.  When he woke up 4 hours later, she was dead.  (oops...purely accidental) He was quoted as saying " “You know, she had issues with everybody ... She ended up, you know, becoming a mean drunk." (Really...he's saying she was the mean one?)

Being a chef and all....the logical thing to do was cook her, I guess.  He put her in a 55 gallon drum with boiling water.  Over the next four days he boiled down her remains putting some into the grease trap at work and some in the regular trash.  He claims the only part that was left was the skull which he put in his mother's attic. Unfortunately for the prosecution, a search of the house and the restaurant turned up nothing.

Upon hearing that he was a suspect in the case, David jumped off an 80 foot cliff. He is attending his trial in a wheelchair. (My, my, doesn't he sound like a guy that thinks things through)

Well, isn't this one for the books or at least a TV movie.   I would be very nervous if I had ordered the soup in late October in 2009 at his restaurant.

Talk the Talk

I feel remiss in not having reminded you about  September 19th being "International Talk Like a Pirate Day".  I was rather busy last Wednesday and let the big day get by me.

Just to catch you up on the history of  Talk Like a Pirate Day. It began in 1995 when two friends, Matt " Cap'n Slappy"  Summers and John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur started bantering in "pirate talk" on a racquetball court. What began as a small group of friends participating in an excuse to party, quickly spread.

When David Barry wrote a column for the Miami Herald  in 2002 about it, the idea became widespread. Since then, thousands of cities around the world have made Sept. 19th "Talk Like a Pirate" Day".

BUT...every party has a pooper and that pooper seems to be Jo-Ann  Golden of Lake Worth, Florida.
The current mayor, Mayor Pam Triolo read a proclamation at the start of Tuesday's city commission meeting encouraging the town's residents in participating in the fun of the holiday. The Palm Beach Post reported in part on Thursday;

"The City of Lake Worth is known to possess a spirit of independence, high spirits and swashbuckling, all traits of a good pirate," the proclamation states. "It's fun to talk like a pirate by using words like Arrrrr, ye and bilge rat."
The proclamation was intended as a lighthearted recognition of the holiday as well as City Manager Michael Bornstein's well-known love of pirate lore.

Jo-Ann Golden, a former City Commissioner, isn't finding fun or humor in talking like a pirate.  She said in an email to the City Manager that pirates are known to murder, steal,  and hold victims for ransom. She feels that it isn't politically correct and encouraging pirate talk is dumbing-down America.
In a response to her email, City Manager Bornstein responded "I'm so sorry you find this fun, silly proclamation anything more than that.  I could easily become consumed with a sense of over correctness in almost everything involved with government.  However, I refuse to become devoid of all the wonderful human emotions including, most importantly, humor".

ARRRG, Way to go, Matey...arrggg, I mean Mr. City Manager. I think per chance that modern day pirates don't go around with parrots on their shoulders and talking pirate talk.

She Looks Like a Pirate

 A British woman who shouted, "I'm Jack Sparrow," at police officers while stealing a ferry was sentenced to 112 days in prison.

Alison Whelan, who the Torquay, England, court heard had been drunk for two days and taking hallucinogens when she and a friend took shelter on the Paignton Pleasure Cruises' Dart Princess ferry was found guilty of aggravated vehicle taking and sentenced Wednesday to 112 days in prison, the BBC reported Thursday.

Whelan called an ambulance to the ferry because she thought she was having a seizure but upon their arrival she started shouting "I'm Jack Sparrow and set off with the ferry.

The theft set off a chase lasting for more than an hour involving police, the coast guard and the local lifeboat service. The ferry sustained about $2,430 worth of damage from colliding with two other vessels during the chase.

Ashley Lane, operations manager for Paignton Pleasure Cruises, said the incident could have been far worse.
"The fact is that, had circumstances been different tide-wise, it could have been serious," Lane said. "She could have seriously been injured had it gone out of the river."

So now we know that 2 days of drinking and taking a hallucinogen can have the side effect of "turning one into a pirate".  This needs to be added to the warning label.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Good Witch

Normally, when I talk to you about Witchy Cheryl P., we are talking about the bitchy witchy side of my personality. I am going to tell you about a wondrous thing that most assuredly qualifies me for a resounding "thumbs up".

Way to go, Cheryl P.

Thought Number One:   The Tides Have Turned

For the last six months or so, Kansas has been in the clenches of a horrible drought. You might remember some of my earlier posts this year concerning the effects of the high heat and no rain.

A few weeks ago, things were looking dire.  Someone had to do something.  I did.

A couple of weeks ago, it appeared that we may never see rain again in the middle of the country.

Kansas City was sitting high and dry with the label of Exceptional Drought.
I am not sure I like the word "exceptional" applied to the lack of water being available. If that is how we are going to use the word "exceptional" perhaps, it could be said that my exceptional efforts to keep an exceptionally green lawn resulted in an exceptionally expensive water bill.

I, however, am a giver. I rallied with my neighbors and came up with a plan to save our lawns.

Don't I live in such a cute neighborhood?

I took both my cars in to have them detailed.  Yes, I decided the most effective, sure-fire way to bring rain into Kansas was to take my 2 SUVs in to have them detailed.  Not just washed...not just waxed...I mean the whole package...THE MAX, "make your car new again" detailing.

Picture me taking bows.   My two clean...more than clean, really...DETAILED cars has brought Kansas to its knees.  Now we are just a severe drought.  Uh-huh, that's right, I single-handedly caused the clouds to open up and rain.   This was so effective, I actually moved two counties out of the "exceptional" category into the "severe" category.   I think the people of both Johnson County, KS and Miami County, Kansas need to  send me flowers...or candy...or money.  I am willing to take any and all expressions of your gratitude providing they have a cash value.

Johnson County and Miami County, KS are the winners!!!

It appears that someone down in Kingman County, Kansas had the same idea but frankly it is hard to top the 6 and a half inch rainfall that I personally am responsible for. 

Thought Number Two.. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Did you not see the possibility of a down side to this story?  My dear readers...have you learned nothing in the 274 posts that I have written.  There is always another side to the story.  ALWAYS

As it turns out, the rain did make a "exceptional" appearance two days after the detailing of the cars.  Had I known that this would be the case I would of forked over the money for the detailing last June but it didn't occur to me at the time.  

It also, turns out that a wood framed house that sits through 3 months of drought in 100 degree weather might have some of the grout crack around the windows.  Frankly, this just brings out the Bad Witchy side of me in spades.  I replaced 28 windows in my house a couple of years ago and I have had the trim painted several times  since then. Also, I have had re-caulking done on a couple of occasions as well.  Call me surprised when the torrential rain moved in and water came in around my windows destroying some of the sheet rock.  As luck (bad)  would have it,  the company that I bought the windows from has gone out of business.  

WTF...That company had an A rating, ton of glorious recommendations and now they seemed to have gone MIA.  I called the manufacturer of the windows that are, by the way,  a "name branded" window maker and ask who they recommend to come out here and find out what the %^$&  is going on.  They give me a name of a company that is booked through next year.  Now that won't do.  

The "too busy to do crap" company gives me the name of another company that gives me the name of another company that doesn't return my call.  

I shouldn't be surprised that I now am a pariah because none of these companies installed these windows so therefore "It Isn't Their Problem." 

After beau-coup phone calls, I did track down a company to come out and they tell me that these very nice windows were installed incorrectly.  "No sh%&? I say. That company knows a guy that specializes in re-doing bad installs...for a price.  ***choke, choke, gag***

So...after 4 days of uninstalling windows, pulling out wet insulation, replacing compromised wood, and rebuilding frames...oh and let's not forget re-caulking and painting, we may or may not have things right. 

Who knows as we are still in a severe drought and I am waiting for another rain.  As my cars are detailed, I am waiting for someone else with my type of luck to go get their cars done.  

The Good Witchy Cheryl P. is a part-time rainmaker.

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Less Than a Full Tank

Dare, I start this week's round up by uttering a word that is considered by some to be a "dirty" word. Apple..there I said it.  Even the Apple loyalists might be a bit miffed this week.  Oh...not because of the impending release of the IPhone  5 ...they have been waiting ever so eagerly for is the realization that all the gadgets such as alarm clocks, docking stations, and speakers that they have accumulated will no longer work.  Apple changed the charger on this model of IPhone.

The reason I am bringing up the "ever so touchy" subject of Apple,  is that earlier this week the Temecula, California store was broken into by two bumbling burglars that seemed to be off their game.

It's So Hard to Leave

The less-than-efficient thieves and/or Apple product enthusiasts had the brilliant idea to drive their BMW through the front windows of the store and help themselves to all the shiny cool must-haves they could grab.  (who can blame them, really?...that logo just reels people in)

What the robbers didn't count on was a security gate that kept them from exiting once they were in there. While frantically trying to escape from the store,  two of the BMW's tires popped. (guess their next place to rob needs to be a Goodyear store).

As luck (bad) would have it, upon their exit they managed to drop their license plate.  This fact was noticed when the driver, Equonne R. Howard, stopped down at the 7-11 and tried to fix the tires with a stolen can of Fix-A-Flat. (Equonne just keeps making wise choices, huh?)

Alas, Equonne made his final mistake of the day when he decided to return to the Apple store to retrieve his license plate. The Riverside Sheriff's Office arrested him. He is being held on a $600,000.00 bond which coincidentally is the estimated damage to the store.

What was Equonne thinking????  The new IPhone isn't available until the week of the 27th.  If you are going to go to the trouble to steal at least wait for the newest technology.  

It's the Thought That Counts

Isn't it fun to get a greeting card?

A former nursing student in San Diego has pleaded guilty to helping inmates sneak in meth-laced greeting cards into jail.

I think the card that says "hi" meant "high"
Nicoll Koval had already been sentenced and imprisoned for her involvement in a hit-and-run- incident that she was convicted of in 2011 (seems she has a problem with staying out of trouble)

Proving herself to be a good team player, while in prison she conspired with a fellow inmate to smuggle in greeting cards that had been soaked in liquid meth, dried out and sent to other inmates. Inmates that recieved the cards would then heat them up to  release the meth.  (do jail cells have stoves/microwaves now?)

Gretchen von Helms, Koval's lawyer, said her client was tricked into participating in the scheme.

What's better than a greeting card that plays music?  I think we have an answer now.  I can't get over the fact that people in jail are cooking up a pot of greeting cards and no one thinks that's odd.

Not Exactly a First Class Seat

This story will end any lingering questions as to what is the worst seat on a plane. If you think it is in the back row next to the would be wrong. The real answer is is the seat that this little monkey had on a trip to India. The monkey in question is a loris It is a small nocturnal species of monkey that is gaining popularity as a pet.  The poor little guy was traveling in the in the underwear of a man attempting to board a flight at New Delhi's international airport. Customs officials arrested an Indian man with a monkey in his underwear.

That was the worst trip ever. 
The man was detained with two other travelers that had arrived from Bangkok and were trying to get on their connecting flight to Dubai. The monkey was discovered during a security check.

Customs authorities in India  arrested all three men who were attempting to board the flight and found a second loris in the underwear of the second man and yet another loris they had stashed in a trash bin when they were unable to keep it hidden. The men are accused of smuggling endangered primates. All the animals were turned over to an organization that deals with wildlife and conservation. 

There is just so many things wrong with this story!!  The security check was prompted because an official noticed an unusual bulge in a traveler's pants.  Really?  How often can that be said as the reason you get patted down?  This monkey had taken a flight from Bangkok to New Delhi and no one noticed anything unusual?

And One More for the Road

Americans do love their bacon and that will be put to the test over the next week or so.  A promotion of a new line of bacon called Butcher Thick Cut Bacon by Oscar Mayer has one man traveling across the country without any money, without any charge cards, nothing  but 3000 pounds of bacon to use as barter.

Josh Sankey will be traveling from New York City to Los Angeles using nothing but bacon to acquire food, lodging and fuel. He is due to arrive in LA on September 23rd.

Sankey is chronicling his trip on his Twitter Account Account and on a web site Bacon Barter.  As of last Wednesday he was in Louisville, KY where he had bartered some bacon for a nights stay in someones basement.  His host got a new bacon themed tattoo to support his guest's cause. 

Evidently the Ritz isn't taking bacon for their rooms. If you are craving some thick sliced bacon you might want to reach out to Josh and invite him over for the night.  I wonder how much bacon it takes to fill up a gas tank these days?