Archive for the 'Headlines/Current Events' Category


Lawn Chair Balloon Flight (Video)

Friday, July 4th, 2008

When fireworks, barbecue and watermelon just aren’t enough to give you a Fourth of July fix, you can always tie balloons to your lawn chair and take flight. That’s what Kent Couch plans to do this 4th of July weekend. The story and video are here.

Couch is set to launch himself skyward on Saturday aboard his lawn chair, which will be attached to 150 giant latex party balloons filled with helium. His goal: to fly more than 300 miles from his gas station in central Oregon to somewhere in Idaho, preferably Boise.

It will be his third attempt to fly by the seat of his pants to Idaho - he doesn’t wear a seat belt.

Couch, 48, was inspired to go up, up and away by the 1982 lawn-chair flight over Los Angeles by truck driver Larry Walters, whose adventure brought him a measure of fame, but also a $1,500 fine for violating air traffic rules.

Couch made his first ascent in 2006, floating for six hours before shooting out a few balloons with his pellet gun to descend. He apparently shot out too many balloons because he had to use his parachute to land. He never found the lawn chair.

Last year, he flew 193 miles before running low on helium and landing in a patch of sagebrush. A gust of wind blew away that chair. It was found in May by a ranchers checking the fence line on their eastern Oregon property.

“When you’re up there, there’s not much stress,” he said. “There’s a little stress on the way down. A few navigational issues you’ve got to deal with. But there’s nothing, really, I can do but enjoy it.”

With corporate sponsorship this year, he says he’s much better equipped and hopes to cross the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon and make it to Idaho and beyond. He figures the rig costs about $6,000, mostly for helium.

“You don’t want to eat much,” he said. “There’s no bathrooms up there on that chair.”

If all goes well this year, the lawn-chair pilot says he’d like to fly across the English Channel and even Australia.

“I don’t mind them thinking I’m nuts,” Couch said. “I’ve done my research and I feel plenty confident.”

Here’s the video of Couch’s flight last year:


Video? Kent Couch Lawn Chair Balloon Flight

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Watermelon Viagra

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Eating watermelon may have similar effects to taking Viagra. Have you noticed that this year’s crop of watermelons have been particularly tasty? Now when your spouse comes home with a watermelon and a sly smile, you’ll know what’s going on.

watermelon viagra

Science Daily (July 1, 2008) A cold slice of watermelon has long been a Fourth of July holiday staple. But according to recent studies, the juicy fruit may be better suited for Valentine’s Day. That’s because scientists say watermelon has ingredients that deliver Viagra-like effects to the body’s blood vessels and may even increase libido.

The more we study watermelons, the more we realize just how amazing a fruit it is in providing natural enhancers to the human body,” said Dr. Bhimu Patil, director of Texas A&M’s Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center in College Station.

We’ve always known that watermelon is good for you, but the list of its very important healthful benefits grows longer with each study.”

While there are many psychological and physiological problems that can cause impotence, extra nitric oxide could help those who need increased blood flow, which would also help treat angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.

“Watermelon may not be as organ specific as Viagra,” Patil said, “but it’s a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side-effects.”

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My Gallons - mygallons.com

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

There’s a place to go to buy gas cards at today’s prices that you can use from now on. My Gallons What if gas goes up to $5.00 a gallon to $6.00, or $10.00. If you buy a gas card now at today’s prices, then when everybody else is paying $10.00 for a gallon of gas, you can bring out your card and use it.

Gas Pump

There’s an annual membership fee of $29.95, but then you could possibly make that up in just one or two gas purchases. There are, of course, conditions and limitations. So, if you’re interested, read all the fine print at the mygallons.com website. I’m skeptical that you could buy a card at $4.00 a gallon now to buy gas in a couple years at $10.00 a gallon. Buyer beware.

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Eric Morris: 23 shots of vodka in 30 minutes WILL kill you

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Eric Morris, age 26, obviously was not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. Put together immaturity, a drinking contest and an adult nightclub, and the result was death.

We have witnesses that have described the victim as taking anywhere from 23 to 25 shots in 30 minutes,” Hillsborough County Sheriff’s spokesman J.D. Callaway told ABCNEWS.com.

Eric Morris, 26, was allegedly taking part in a drinking game with another patron at an adult nightclub, Angels Show Bar, in Seffner, Fla., just hours before he died, according to police.

“Apparently [other bar patrons] were describing the shots as ‘cherry bombs,’” said Callaway, referring to a shot of liquor that is typically made by combining cherry-flavored vodka with Red Bull, a popular energy drink.

While Morris’ drinking buddy, who police declined to identify, stopped playing the game after a few shots, Morris kept going.

That’s one time when persistence didn’t pay off.

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Tim McGraw kicks abusive fan out of concert

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

When Tim McGraw saw a fan abuse a woman on the front row of his concert Tuesday night, he yelled for security, but when they weren’t fast enough, he took matters into his own hands. A video of the incident is below.

Don’t you love the way he took hold of the guy and wouldn’t let go?

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Amy Winehouse has emphysema

Sunday, June 22nd, 2008

Amy Winehouse has developed emphysema and will die unless she stops smoking drugs, according to her father. Photo and Video below. Emphysema is an incurable disease that leaves its victims struggling for breath.

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse has been in the news a lot lately.

Singer Amy Winehouse, defiant in her drug use, to the point of writing a song vowing not to go to rehab, has the lungs of a 70-year-old from smoking crack cocaine and cigarettes. She’s 24 and suffering from emphysema, a usually irreversible lung disease found in aged smokers, according to doctors. Her father, Mitch, told the Sunday Mirror that watching his daughter deteriorate reminded him of his own 78-year-old mother struggling for breath before she died of lung cancer.

After weeks of a very public slide into drug abuse, Winehouse fainted and was rushed to the hosptial, where she underwent a thorough examination. Doctors told the star that she will need oxygen mask to survive, unless she stops smoking drugs and crack immediately. “To think this could be my beautiful 24-year-old daughter’s life is preposterous. But if drugs mean more to her than breathing properly, then so be it. But the doctors have told her if she goes back to smoking drugs it won’t just ruin her voice, it will kill her. It’s been a tough week,” he father told the tab.

Talk about an understatement! More than “tough” I would imagine. The only positive thing to this story is that MAYBE Amy’s experiences will be a graphic example to other young people of the dangers of drugs.


Amy Winehouse - Daddy’s Girl


Amy Winehouse Video “You Know I’m No Good”

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Cheryl McGuinness, 9/11 widow, christens attack submarine

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Cheryl McGuinness kissed her husband good-bye on September 11, 2001, and then never saw him again. He was the co-pilot of Flight 11 which was flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Now Cheryl talks about forgiveness, and today she christened an attack submarine named The New Hampshire. Photos and video below.

In 2006 I wrote about Thomas McGuinness on the 5th anniversary of 9/11, and I learned a lot of Cheryl McGuinness in the process.


Cheryl McGuinness Video on “Forgiveness”

Now Cheryl McGuinness in the news again. Today the latest attack submarine, The New Hampshire, was christened by Cheryl McGuinness.

I believe I’m looking at heroes,” Cheryl McGuinness, of Portsmouth, N.H., said, looking at the ship’s crew. “You all are my heroes.”

Newsday has information about the ship’s christening:

The Navy said the boat, which will have a crew of about 134, is an example of efficiencies in technology and budget advances. It was delivered $54 million under budget and eight months ahead of schedule, the Navy said.

A crowd of a couple of thousand onlookers, including officials of the Navy, members of Congress and Electric Boat workers helped celebrate the christening at the Electric Boat shipyard.

“The submarine is scheduled to begin sea trials this summer and is scheduled for delivery to the Navy in October at a ceremony at the Naval shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

The submarine was named with the help of New Hampshire schoolchildren, who began a letter-writing campaign in 2003. Students at Garrison School in Dover sent letters to senators, congressmen, the governor, the secretary of the Navy and others.

The first ship named for New Hampshire was in service from 1846 to 1921, including during the Civil War. The second, from 1908 to 1921, was a battleship used for convoy escort duty during World War I and as a training ship.

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Scott Kalitta Crash Video

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

Scott Kalitta was killed in a fiery crash today when his car exploded and crashed into a shutdown area retaining wall at the NHRA Super Nationals in Englishtown, New Jersey. Here is the Scott Kalitta crash video:

Scott Kalitta’s career began in the 1980s, and his first win was in the NHRA’s premiere series in 1989 - the Funny Car event in Houston. In Topeka in 1993, he set a national speed record to win the Top Fuel championship. Over the next few years he won more Funny Car championships, Scott Kalitta retired in 1997. Kalitta returned to Top Fuel in 2003. In 2004 he had another top five points finish. He won two races in 2005. He returned to Funny Car in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo in 2006.

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Brian Williams to host next “Meet the Press”

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Brian Williams will host/moderate this Sunday’s edition of “Meet the Press” on NBC. However, NBC execs are quick to say that this isn’t a permanent replacement for Tim Russert who died suddenly of a heart attack last week. See a photo, video and biography below.

Brian Williams to host

Reuters reports that

NBC News president Steve Capus said Thursday that the news division was still in mourning, and it was likely that NBC News talent would moderate “Meet the Press” on a revolving basis.

“I just don’t think there’s any way we would ask anyone to go into any of the roles on a permanent basis. It would be too much, too soon,” Capus said. “The only way I can contemplate it is, thinking for people who could step up temporarily.”

Sunday’s “Meet the Press” guests will be Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and Democratic Sen. Joe Biden, both of whom had been scheduled to appear on the show last week.

Brian Williams’ Biography

Brian Williams was born on May 5, 1959. He is the seventh anchor and managing editor for the NBC Nightly News, succeeding Tom Brokaw in December 2004. He lives in New Canaan, Connecticut with his wife, Jane Stoddard Willliams, and their two children.

Although he’s a news anchor, he doesn’t limit himself to news television. He has appeared on shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Saturday Night Live.

Brian Williams is the son of a business executive, and he was raised in a middle class Irish Catholic home. He was born in Elmira, New York and later moved to Middletown, New Jersey. During high school he served as a volunteer firefighter. Later he attended Brookdale Community College and then transferred to George Washington University and then to the Catholic University of America. However, he didn’t graduate. Instead, he took an internship with President Jimmy Carter’s administration. He considers the fact that he left college as one of his great regrets in life. In 2008 he received an honorary Doctor of Journalism degree from Ohio State University.

He began his career in broadcasting at a Kansas TV station in 1981. The following year he moved back to Washington, D.C. and worked as a “general assignment correspondent” at a television station there. In 1985 he replaced Maury Povich as the host of a locally produced talk show. In 1985 he was hired by CBS and worked as a New Jersey correspondent for its Philadelphia affiliate, WCAU-TV. In 1987 he was promoted to WCBS-TV in New York where it didn’t take long for him to start anchoring the noon news. He won his first Emmy for reporting about the October 1987 stock market collapse. In 1993 Brian Williams began work as the weekend anchor for the NBC national news, and in 1994 he became NBC’s chief White House correspondent. Then in 1996 he took over as lead anchor for The News with Brian Williams on MSNBC and CNBC in 1996.


Brian Williams on Saturday Night Live

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Feet wash up on shore

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Canadian police have a puzzling problem: Severed feet have been turning up along the shore in British Columbia. Yes, feet washed up on shore. Five of them so far - four right feet and one left foot.

What comes to MY mind is an undertaker with a sick sense of humor. After all, when they cremate someone - or put them in a casket - who’s going to know if the feet of the deceased are there or not. A ready supply of feet to wash up on shore.

Feet wash up on shore in British Columbia

The Toronto Star has the story:

Cathy Fox was reading about the strange tale of severed feet washing up on B.C. shores in the newspaper yesterday morning.

But even before she finished the article, a friend rushed in with news. Another foot had been washed up just a short distance away, this time in Campbell River where Fox lives.

“I was absolutely disgusted and horrified,” Fox said yesterday. “Here I was reading this and thinking it was the most devastating thing and there’s one right here.” The sixth foot - the second one to wash up since Monday - was found in an area called the Tyee spit.

The RCMP said yesterday the foot will be examined by a forensic pathologist to determine if it is related to the other feet found recently.

DNA analysis done on the other five feet - four right and one left - have yielded no clues on identity.

In Campbell River, boater Mike Rollo said yesterday there is speculation that at least some of the remains belong to the four victims who remain missing after a small plane went down near Quadra Island about a quarter of a kilometre away in 2005.

Family members of the victims of that crash, whose remains have not been fully recovered, have been asked to provide DNA samples.

Terry Smith, the chief coroner of B.C., said the discovery fires up the imagination.

“I can tell you I’ve never come across anything like this,” he said. “One hesitates to say it’s a mere coincidence but at this point, that’s all we have to work with.”

The foot found yesterday was a right foot in what looks to be a size 10 black Adidas running shoe. The foot earlier this week in Ladner appeared to be in a Nike runner.

The first foot was found a year ago on Jedidiah Island in the Strait of Georgia. Less than a week later, another foot was found inside a man’s sneaker on Gabriola Island. In February, a third foot was found on Valdes Island.

A couple of months later, in May, another foot was found off Kirkland Island in the Fraser River, and then on Monday, a fifth foot was found along the same river in Ladner

It sounds crazy, but I was watching CNN earlier and the announcer was talking about this story and said “No foul play is expected.” WHAT?! Feet - with no legs or bodies attached - are washing up on shore, and they don’t expect foul play? If not foul play, then what? Why only feet? Where are the rest of the bodies? And if my earlier theory is correct, I would consider that foul play.

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