Friday, August 25, 2006
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
We're not leaving, so long as I'm the President. That would be a huge mistake.
More reptile posts for the rest of the week. I promise.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
The White House claims that President Bush has entered a reading contest with Karl Rove and that W. has read 60 books so far this year. 60 books! Wow that is one of the worst lies they have come up with in his entire tenure, and there is a lot of competition.
I consider myself a fairly avid rader and have read maybe 12 books so far this year.
According to Dan Froomkin's math:
Of the twelve books listed, I come up with a total page count of 5,356 pages, including 1,585 pages not available until at least 4/2006 of this year. That is an average page count of 450 pages per book. Multiply by his 60 books so far this year for a total page count of 27,000. 27,000 pages means the President would have to average a little over 115 pages per day. Reading a quick pace of a little over a minute per page, that is two hours a day of reading, and let's be honest, longer if you want to retain information in these types of books. And this from a man who prides himself in not reading the paper. I don't buy it.
I find this too incredible to believe. And when the Carpetbagger puts Bush's summer days in context it becomes evn more incredible.
And those are just the 12 books Walsh listed. The White House press office gave C-SPAN a list of 25 books — which were just part of the president's summer reading list. For a guy who likes to get to bed early, who devotes a couple of hours a day to exercise, and who ostensibly oversees the executive branch of government during a war, let's just say this is more than a little "ambitious."
Even if we assume that this is all transparent White House spin, and that the president didn't read "The Stranger" or much else from his reading list, the question then becomes, why bother with this narrative anyway?
USNWR's Walsh wrote that "portraying Bush as a voracious reader is part of an ongoing White House campaign to restore what a senior adviser calls 'gravitas' to the Bush persona. He certainly needs something."
We started a book club the this month and are looking at averaging 100-150 a week. Modest, but a good ammount for busy people. And I hope that our president is busier than I am. If he really did take the time to read this much though, maybe it would explain why our foreign policy and economy is falling apart. It's hard to figure out a new game plan for our war in Iraq otherthan "stay the course" when you are nose deep in Hamlet and MacBeth everyday.
The SF Chronicle interviews EBV about the movie "Snakes on a Plane."
"It seems like they had some real cobras, too," said Owen Maercks, co-owner of Berkeley's East Bay Vivarium, the most comprehensive reptile pet store in the country.It is actually a very good entertainment piece. You should read the whole thing. And damn that Owen is sexy. He should have been a film star.
In Saturday's Datebook review of the movie, there appears to be a photo of a harmless king snake terrorizing actor Tygh Runyan. Dude, relax. King snakes are a gentle species, not prone to bite.
The fake snakes on this plane, hopped up on the biologically false premise that pheromones inspire their fang frenzy, fly out of cubby holes, hiss like felines and snap like bullwhips as they pursue a terrified captive audience of warm-blooded prey.
Part of the movie's perverse appeal lies where the fake snakes strike: an eyeball, a poor urinating fellow's genitals and, William Tell-like, smack dab on a naked nipple. In nature, snakes strike at whatever body part is closest to them, usually hands, fingers, arms and bare feet. The greatest marksman in the snake world is the spitting cobra, which has an uncanny ability to nail its victim in the eyes.
"On a reality meter, it's a total failure," Maercks said. "But you can't judge a movie like that on a reality meter. It was fun. It's every person's worst fear of snakes to their most basic level."
In a delightful bit of irony, Maercks' partner at the East Bay Vivarium, John Emberton, flew to Daytona Beach, Fla., over the weekend with real-life snakes on a plane. He attended a reptile show and brought with him a variety of snakes and lizards.
Rather than stoked with a blood lust for human flesh, Emberton's docile snakes were safely packaged in Tupperware-like containers with perforated lids and placed in Styrofoam packing boxes and then into cardboard boxes marked "Live Animals."
Monday, August 21, 2006
University of California, Berkeley (my alma mater) is once again the number one ranked public school in the nation and #21 overall according to US News and World Reports. We have many faculty and students as customers so a congratulations to all.
Stanfurd University was ranked #4 overall. Since many faculty and students at Stanfurd are also customers a begrudging congrats to you guys too.
And for a quick critique on why college ranking are bull and heavily favor private schools.
Just 35 percent of 1,033 adults polled say they favor the war in Iraq; 61 percent say they oppose it -- the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago.Intersting to see that 61% of Americans are now part of what Cheney et al. like to call the Crazy Fringe of America.
www.dictionary.com defines fringe as "4) Those members of a group or political party holding extreme views: the lunatic fringe."
Maybe the Neocons need a little vocabulary brush-up.
Friday, August 18, 2006
It seems that Cuba has some of the most pristine environments left in the world. Western leaders want to deny the Cuban leader any credit in conservation and instead claim that Cuban waters and forests are relatively intact because of stagnant economic growth and a minimal tourism industry. Others wish to give Castro full credit for protecting his countries environmental jewels. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.
More than half of Cuba's plants and animals, and more than 80 percent of its reptiles and amphibians, are unique to the island.
Endemic birds include the Cuban trogon, the Cuban tody, and the Cuban pygmy owl. The world's smallest bird, the bee hummingbird which weighs less than a U.S. penny is found there.
Whatever the reason it is encouraging to see environments protected. Maybe some day we can go experiance the wonder legally.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Friday Snow Leopard Blogging
Friday Dog Blogging
And if you are confused ... A NY Times article on the history of friday animal blogging
And damn you Atrios where are my cat pictures today?
Update: Atrios was just a bit late today with his Friday Cat Blogging
So much for being on the intellectual and scientific forefront.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Australia and South America have gotten in on the action ... on to Antartica
At this years NRBE in Daytona, Florida (the largest North American Reptile Expo) a fundraising auction will be held for the Guatemalan Beaded Lizard. The International Reptile Conservation Foundation sends out the following:
We invite you to donate your art, products, services, and other items to be auctioned on behalf of the endangered Guatemalan Beaded Lizard on August 19, 2006. No more than 200 Guatemalan Beaded Lizards are left on earth and your help is desperately needed. Wayne Hill and the NRBE will be supporting the conservation effort on their behalf. All auction proceeds will go toward the "Project Heloderma" fund.If you are going to Daytona consider throwing some cash their way and in return you could have a One Week Stay in North Carolina Beach House, Hand-made Quilt by Mae Hill (Wayne Hill's mother), Signed Plates from "The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere", a 1 Week Stay on Cocoa Beach FL, Ocean Front Condo or many other items. A worthy cause that works with locals on education and conservation in this beautiful lizards' habitat.
In the midst of many catastrophies on both sides of the Isreal-Lebannon conflict is an environmental one. Three weeks ago Isreal bombed refineries on the Lebanon coast and created a toxic spill that will rival the Exxon-Valdez spill. Because of the constant fighting very little is known about the exact extend and the immediate toll on wildife. The American Prospect's Christopher Moraff writes the following.
For the past four weeks a mass of black sludge composed of between 15,000 and 35,000 tons of medium/heavy grade oil has been creeping unhampered up the Mediterranean coast of Lebanon. International environmental groups are calling the mid-July destruction of Beirut’s Jiyyeh Power Plant -- and the massive oil spill that resulted -- one of the worst environmental crises in the region’s history.Read the whole thing.
On July 13, Israeli bombs destroyed the plant -- 20 miles south of Beirut -- setting fire to five fuel tanks and sending thousands of gallons of oil into the Eastern Mediterranean. The Lebanese Ministry of Environment estimates the total spill could rival the Exxon Valdez catastrophe of 1989. In addition to the oil, the burning tanks sent black clouds of toxic smoke into the sky over Beirut that were visible from as far as 30 miles away.
By the start of August, the oil spill had already polluted more than 90 miles of the Lebanese coastline -- destroying Beirut’s once pristine beaches in the process. On August 2, satellite images revealed that the slick had reached the Syrian coastline and is spreading north. “We have never seen a spill like this in the history of Lebanon,” the country’s environment minister, Yacoub al-Sarraf, told Al-Jazeera.
Monday, August 07, 2006
For a much better run-down than I could give see DarkSyde's Diary over at dailykos or the Northern Virginia Reptile Rescue Blog.
Good for the voters in Kansas.
California Assembly Bill 2862 is a poorly written animal welfare bill. Although it's authors probably have good intentions and many of the provisions in the bill are worthy, there are numerous provisions that would be very harmful to reptile breeders and keepers.
Major areas of concern for reptile owners are the provisions relating to rodents (ie. banning sale of all non-weaned rodents). According to the PIJAC
"In fact, some of the anticipated amendments are worse than current language. For example, new language would require each hamster to be placed in its own cage. Another poorly crafted and ill- conceived change would effectively require veterinary care for such animals as brine shrimp. "A recent response from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council can be found here.
If you are feeling up to your democratic right to be properly represented by your state legislature contact your local representative. Others you might want to contact include members of the Business and Professions Committee who hear this bill in committee.
Senator Sam Aanestad 916- 651- 4004
Senator Liz Figueroa- 916-651 -4010
Senator Bill Morrow - 916-651- 4038
Senator Joe Simitian- 916-651 -4011
Senator Dean Florez - 916- 651- 4016
And just so it is clear, we do not oppose much of this bill, and appreciate animal welfare. We do this because we love animals, not because we like to eat puppies. But California Assembly Bill 2862 is a mis-guided attempt to stop those who practice immoral animal husbandry.