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Roundup: Skydiving Baby Giraffe Edition

August 15th, 2007 · No Comments · Activism, Apple, Books, Chicago, Comics, Culture, Death Penalty, Fantasy, Fiction, Film, Food, Health, Human Rights, Internet, iTunes, Journalism, Lit, Media, Meta, Nature, News, Politics, Roundup, TV, Ursula K. Le Guin


  • Out, damned spot! Fox News caught red-handed, laundering entries on Wikipedia. Keep on scrubbing, Lady MacFox, but those stains belong to you always.
  • The GOP’s California strategy: winning the 2008 election by undoing California’s winner-take-all electoral system. Once the state goes piecemeal, the Repubs gain at least 20 electoral votes from safe GOP districts.
  • Arianna Huffington looks at how the media have fawned all over Robert Murray, the co-owner of the mine that collapsed in Utah, instead of examining his responsibility for the 324 safety violations (107 of them considered “significant and substantial”) issued for the mine since 2004.
  • Bush has one more legacy left up his sleeve: making sure people on death row get executed even faster. Less time for the sneaky bastards to prove they’re actually innocent!
  • THE PINK SECTION: Michelangelo Signorile on Merv Griffin’s closeted life. “Merv Griffin was an example of how dangerous the closet can be — and how the closet and power are a combustible combination that adversely affects so many other lives. We should point to his life for GLBT youth and say, ‘Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t let your closet compromise you to the point where you are actively harming your own people, even though you have the power to do so much good.’ ”
  • THE GREEN SECTION: “Bunny bathrooms” used to study swamp rabbit populations. Great Frith, can’t a rabbit get some privacy to make hraka around here? “Costing about $2 (€1.5) apiece, the long, narrow privies were framed of plywood and covered with unsupported carpeting, mimicking the spongy give of a rotting log or stump. Live traps were set near the fake logs, allowing researchers to authenticate the users as swamp rabbits. The rabbits quickly found the carpeted commodes quite comfortable.”
  • Baby giraffe born at Santa Rosa wildlife preserve. “Giraffes give birth standing, so the calf dropped six feet to the floor of the barn late Sunday night, a fall that is crucial for the baby’s survival. ‘They need to have that drop to start breathing,’ said Aphrodite Caserta, park spokeswoman.” Quick, somebody slap “Oh noes! Sicks foot drop!” on a photo and launch LOLBabyGiraffes. (Note: the model for this post is not the baby, just a lovable anonymous public-domain giraffe.)
  • Eating fish may be good for the heart, but not so good for the environment. This Reuters story says, “Conservationists point out that while global fish stocks were getting hammered long before sushi became chic, health trends could add pressure to already vulnerable fisheries,” and also points out: “Fish don’t actually produce omega-3 fatty acids, they capture it from the food chain. And there are plenty of substitutes out there such as walnuts, flaxseed and canola oil, which can provide the same omega-3-related benefits as fish.” I always wonder why that doesn’t get pointed out more often in these “amazing health benefits of fish” stories. As a non-pescetarian, I find it pretty easy to find everything from margarine to bread that’s made with flax oil and loaded with Omega-3. Walnuts are darn tasty in a salad or stir-fry, too.
  • BOOKS: The third book in Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Annals of the Western Shore” series is out this month. This third installment is called Powers, and it joins Gifts (the first book) and Voices (the second book) in the series. You can read an excerpt from Powers on Powells.com. The offical UKL site has a roundup page for the whole series, with book covers, review quotes and other info. Oh, and while I’m at it, the September issue of Harper’s, which I just got in the mail, reprints a short piece by UKL called “On Serious Literature,” from the July issue of Ansible.
  • “My Lobotomy”: Ever wonder what life would be like if your creepy parents had an actual lobotomy performed on you to make you a more compliant child? Howard Dully actually lived through this and has written a book about it.
  • FILM/TV: “The Future is Unwritten,” a documentary about Joe Strummer featuring previously unseen interviews and concert footage, is set for release in US theaters November 2.
  • Bob Dylan to be played by six different actors, including Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, and Cate Blanchett, in the new Todd Haynes film I’m Not There. It opens Nov. 21. Says Haynes: “”It’s partly a desire to figure him out and partly a desire to protect something that will always be enigmatic. We want to know where the source of his creative energies comes from, but we don’t want to destroy it.”
  • Y Tu Mama Tambien road buddies Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna are hosting a human rights benefit in Mexico City, hoping to “shine a light on poverty and injustice in Mexico.”
  • Marvel is hoping to start production on its Thor movie this fall. Lots of speculation about who will play Thor. I say they should just slap a wig on Daniel Craig.
  • Got an email here from Margaret Cho (well, her staff anyway) saying her film Bam Bam and Celeste is now available on DVD. You can find it in Ms. Cho’s online store.
  • Tories get their knickers in a twist over pottymouth portrayal of Margaret “Fascist Spice” Thatcher. (h/t Norm.)
  • MUSIC: John Lennon’s solo catalog arrives at the iTunes music store. Ringo and George on the way soon, according to “industry sources.”
  • Headlines that speak for themselves: “Man Punched for Singing Coldplay Song.” Key sentence: “The police were called and blocked the whole street off.” Let it be a lesson …
  • HEALTH: Chicago invaded by biting mites. My fellow Chicagoans, If you’re itching, it might not just be the usual mosquitos and chiggers. “More a public nuisance than a public health threat, the current mystery mite apparently arrived in the Chicago area sometime in recent weeks. Residents here have seen the worst it has to offer — a rash of irritating wounds that last for days and spread in angry red profusion on exposed necks, shoulders, arms and backs.”
  • Cashews may be even more deadly than peanuts to kids who have allergies. Meanwhile, drinking apple juice may help prevent asthma symptoms.
  • COMICS: Bob Geiger’s Saturday cartoon roundup was particularly good this week.
  • “Sigh!” Nate the Neoconservative gets his talking points out. Meanwhile, Tom Tomorrow has a brief parable about cliffs and chickens.
  • Opus: Who the pollsters are talking to.


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