07 July 2006

Running with the Bulls

Have you ever wanted to? I tend toward more conservative adventures, like firing rifles and shotguns at stuffed animals.

But for those of you who have considered it, here are a few facts about the festival, from BBC News.

* Runners often consume copious amounts of alcohol the night before the early morning run. I don't think they do an IQ test for the runners.
* The route is 900 meters alongside 6 half-tonne fighting bulls. See comment in the first fact.
* Then the bulls are led to the fighting ring, where they are ceremoniously tortured and killed. I am not an animal rights activist, but to call it bullfighting is somewhat of a misnomer. While it is true that someone is fighting a bull, the plain fact is that no matter what, the bull loses. Even if he kills the Matador. Seems rather unsporting to me. At least when you are deer hunting, no one calles it "deer fighting."
* Running with the bulls is only one part, albeit the most famous part, of a nine-day festival, honoring San Fermin, patron saint of Pamplona.
* Since 1924 when they began keeping records of the event, 13 people have been killed, though many others have been injured. This year, for instance, a New York man was paralysed from the waist down, though I don't know for sure how he was injured. It was fairly certain that he was not gored while running.
* Bullfighting in general draws significant animal rights protests, but at the Pamplona festival, they traditionally protest in the nude. I wonder if they are really trying to stop the animal abuses. If I was doing something, and a group of people wanted to stop the activity, so they took their clothes off to stop me, I don't think that would deter me, depending upon what they looked like naked.
* On 14 July, the revelers end the festivities with a traditional Spanish song entitled Pobre de mi (PoorMe).

In any case, good luck to those who participate. Perhaps it is merely natural selection at work, who knows?

06 July 2006

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A woman who tried to extort money from the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain by putting a dead mouse in a bowl of soup was sentenced to a year in jail.
Carla Patterson, 38, and her 22-year-old son, Ricky Patterson, sought $500,000 from the chain after claiming they found the rodent in the vegetable soup the woman ordered at a Newport News restaurant on Mother's Day weekend in 2004.
A jury convicted the Pattersons of conspiracy to commit extortion in April. The Pattersons maintained their innocence, but evidence included tests show[ing] the mouse had not been cooked and had not drowned but instead died of a fractured skull. (emphasis added)
Carla Patterson wept Wednesday as a judge imposed the jail sentence and a $2,500 fine. Defense lawyer Michael Woods said Patterson plans to appeal.
Ricky Patterson's sentencing, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed until Sept. 14. He is at Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail in Williamsburg after pleading guilty to forgery in an unrelated check-fraud case.

Is it just me, or does it seem weird that someone conducted what amounts to an autopsy on a mouse? I mean, I guess if my business was at stake, I would gladly fork over the dough to have it done, but it just struck me as somewhat funny that apparently there are facilities that do this. It makes more sense for there to befacilities for the testing of human remains, such as the finger that was allegedly found in a bowl of chili at Wendy's, but a mouse?

I guess there is money to be made, and that's the American Way.

Disjointed thoughts, or miscellaneous wisdom

Whichever sounds better.

* I have always wondered, why do people perform hunger strikes? I mean, really, if someone or some regime is doing things that you disagree with, what makes you think that starving yourself is going to change their mind? Would it/they not rather just wait until you died of hunger? That way, you would no longer be around to cause them trouble. They could even say that they tried to help you eat. They could provide all kinds of food for you all the while continuing the things that caused you to begin your hunger strike in the first place, thus ensuring that you will continue your hunger strike. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

* If I was ever going to take over the universe as evil overlord, there are a few things that I would do. First, if I ever had my only nemesis in my power, I would immediately shoot him in the head. Following that, I would personally supervise his body being put into an incinerator and being consumed by the flames until he was only so much ash and bone fragments. Then, I would scatter half of the ashes over the ocean, and the other half I would keep in my possession, to ensure that nothing would ever happen to it. I would also never explain my plan to the my enemies, especially not right before they were about to be killed by me. If they asked why or how I could do such a thing, I would say, “Let me explain,” and then I would shoot them. More evil overlords have been dethroned for wanting their enemies to understand than for any other reason.

* Another thing: Why do the evil overlords always treat their own men like disposable trash? If I was evil overlord, my soldiers would live like kings. People would be lining up to join the elite corps of my personal body guard, because they would have everything they wanted, whenever they wanted it—women, wine, song, whatever. I would never kill any of them myself, and would never give them a chance to ever be bribed or otherwise influenced to betray me.

* I saw something on another blog today purporting to be a version of the infamous “Nigerian Scam,” only from the widow of Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. It was, however, quite possibly a joke, albeit not very funny. More ironic than funny—or would that be enronic?