Category Archives: general

Walking on Air

In middle school, a friend of mine wrote a terrible, terrible song, entitled “Walking on Air.”  What made it so bad?  Well, those three words were pretty much the entire lyrics.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Got to admit, it showed some grapefruits. 

When I saw this story this morning, I immediately thought of that song.

I also thought that, like the song, it was a good idea on paper, but could be incredibly disastrous.

Controversial skywalk in place over Grand Canyon

POSTED: 10:03 a.m. EDT, March 20, 2007

var clickExpire = “04/19/2007”;

Story Highlights

• Walkway over Grand Canyon to be unveiled Tuesday; opens to public next week
• Glass-floored Skywalk lets visitors look 4,000 feet straight down to canyon floor
• Cost: $25 plus fee to get on Hualapai reservation
• Concerns raised about tribal burial sites, tourist glitz in natural wonder

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HUALAPAI INDIAN RESERVATION, Arizona (AP) — Visitors who have marveled at the Grand Canyon’s vistas will now have a dizzying new option: a glass-bottom observation deck allowing them to gaze into the chasm beneath their feet.

The Skywalk, which will be unveiled Tuesday, is being touted as an engineering marvel. The glass-and-steel horseshoe extends 70 feet beyond the canyon’s edge with no visible supports above or below.

For $25 plus other fees, people will be able to see 4,000 feet straight down to the canyon floor, a vantage point more than twice as high as the world’s tallest buildings. (Watch the view from above the Skywalk Video)

Hualapai Indians, who live near the rim about 90 miles west of the national park, allowed a Las Vegas developer to build the $30 million Skywalk in hopes of creating a unique attraction on their side of the canyon.

Tribal leaders are betting that people will flock here, braving the rugged terrain — including a twisty ride through unpaved roads — to walk its transparent surface. The Skywalk, they hope, will become the centerpiece of a budding tourism industry that includes helicopter tours, river rafting, a cowboy town and a museum of Indian replica homes.

It’s scheduled to open to the public on March 28.

The Skywalk has sparked debate on and off the reservation. Many Hualapai (pronounced WALL-uh-pie) worry about disturbing nearby burial sites, and environmentalists have accused the tribe of transforming the majestic canyon into a tourist trap.

Hualapai leaders say they weighed those concerns for years before agreeing to build the Skywalk. With a third of the tribe’s 2,200 members living in poverty, the tribal government decided it needs the tourism dollars.

“When we have so much poverty and so much unemployment, we have to do something,” said Sheri Yellowhawk, a former tribal councilwoman overseeing the project. “It sounded like a good idea.”

Las Vegas businessman David Jin fronted the money to build the Skywalk. Yellowhawk said Jin will give it to the Hualapai in exchange for a cut of the profits.

Construction crews spent two years building the Skywalk. They drilled steel anchors 46 feet into the limestone rim to hold the deck in place. Earlier this month, they welded the Skywalk to the anchors after pushing it past the edge using four tractor trailers and an elaborate system of pulleys.

Architect Mark Johnson said the Skywalk will support the weight of a few hundred people and withstand canyon winds of 100 mph. The observation deck has been embedded with shock absorbers to keep it from wobbling like a diving board as people walk on it.

Hualapai leaders were to be the first to set foot on the Skywalk on Tuesday. They’ve hired former astronauts Buzz Aldrin and John Herrington to join them. The astronauts were expected to help christen the deck during a brief ceremony.

Herrington was chosen in part because he’s a registered Chickasaw Indian. Aldrin said he agreed to attend after reading about the project. And, as the Apollo 11 astronaut famous for walking on the moon, Aldrin said he has no fear of heights.

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Analysis: I would probably wet myself walking on the bridge.  No joke.  It’s a clear structure sticking out over the deepest canyon in the world with no visible support beams?  You can enjoy that, I’ll stick to terra firma.  I did, once, take a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon.  That was great.  The floor was solid.

Jurassic Park for Real?

Holy crap!  This was how Jurassic Park started!  Seriously, if every Spielberg idea came true, we’d have a swashbuckling professor fighting the Nazis, an alien with a peanut butter and chocolate addiction, and three siblings that can read the future.  All of those are coming soon…trust me.

 Frog in amber could be 25 million years old

POSTED: 1:36 p.m. EST, February 16, 2007

var clickExpire = “03/18/2007”;

Story Highlights

• In 2005 a Chiapas miner found a tiny tree frog preserved in amber
• The preserved frog would be the first of its kind found in Mexico
• A researcher figures the frog lived 25 million years ago
• He would like to extract the frog’s DNA to identify the particular species

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MEXICO CITY, Mexico (AP) — A miner in Chiapas discovered a tiny tree frog that has been preserved in amber for 25 million years, a researcher said.

If authenticated, the preserved frog would be the first of its kind found in Mexico, according to David Grimaldi, a biologist and curator at the American Museum of Natural History who was not involved in the find.

The chunk of amber containing the almost 0.4-inch frog was uncovered by a miner in Mexico’s southern Chiapas state in 2005 and was bought by a private collector, who lent it to scientists for study.

Only a few other preserved frogs have been found in chunks of amber — a stone formed by ancient tree sap — mostly in the Dominican Republic. Like those, the frog found in Chiapas appears to be of the genus Craugastor, whose descendants still inhabit the region, said biologist Gerardo Carbot of the Chiapas Natural History and Ecology Institute, who announced the discovery this week.

Carbot figures the frog lived 25 million years ago, based on the geological strata where the amber was found.

Carbot would like to extract a sample from the frog’s remains in hopes of finding DNA , but doubts the stone’s owner would allow a small hole to be drilled into the chunk of amber. “I don’t think he will allow it, because it’s a very rare, unique piece,” said Carbot.

Grimaldi called the idea of extracting DNA “highly, highly unlikely,” given that — as other scientists have noted — it tends to break down over time.

But George O. Poinar, an entomologist at Oregon State University who founded the Amber Institute, said extracting DNA is theoretically possible.

“If it’s well-preserved … and none of the frog has been exposed to the outside, where air could enter in and oxidize the DNA, it could be possible to get DNA.”

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It’s all fun and games and scientifically fascinating, until the frog turns into this:

The Last Rick Astley Post For A While…I promise!

They say that a good blog is all about minor obsessions. Does this count as a minor obsession? The third Rick Astley-related post in one week?

There were rumors that our hero couldn’t handle the fame, which is why he dropped out of the public eye in the early 1990s. ‘Tis a shame.

I seem to remember his songs ALWAYS being on the radio when I was a kid. Seriously, he was everywhere. Guess it just wasn’t meant to be in the long term. However, we’ll always have the music. The music never dies!

For more info: Rick Astley Wikipedia

And let me leave this topic with one last gift to you: A live Rick Astley performance from 2006:

The Ultimate Rick Astley

Blog Friend Andrea (Don’t Call Me Andre) posted this as a comment on one of the American Idol recaps this week.

However, I truly believe this deserves it’s own dedicated posting.

Special Bonus, the POP-UP VIDEO edition of the music video.

Right now, this very moment, how much do you love me? (Bonus points if you can name the TV show that line is from!)

American Idol – Audition Show #6

Is this the last audition show? I hope so. As entertaining as they are, I’m ready to see some of the people with talent!

– We’re in Los Angeles, where one of the greatest movies of all time takes place. Don’t fight me on this one. I’ll defend Lebowski all night long.

– I was never a big McPhee fan. Beautiful woman? Hell yeah. Good voice? Sure. The spark? Didn’t have it.

– Is it just me, or does Tupac’s “California Love” sound slightly out-of-place on American Idol?

– Random Blonde: “Take me to Hollywood, even though I’m already from there!” Sigh…

– Seacrest has a star on the Walk of Fame? Didn’t know that…

Olivia Newton-John joins the judges. TAKE THAT, NBC!

– Seacrest calls “Physical” a “pop sensation.” Riiiight. Here’s an actual screen cap from the video:

Pop Sensation? Or bad New Wave video? You decide.

– We begin the evening with Martik or X-entric. Either way, he looks like Kevin Federline in prison. Blog Friend Andrea: omg my new boyfriend She’s classy.

– Apparently, when he was 14 or 15, he was a kitty-kat, now he’s Panthro! Either way, he’s disturbing. He didn’t create this persona…it’s him. KEEP IT REAL, BRUTHA! Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, he’s the most exciting entertainer on the planet Earth. Unlike this guy, who was the first space-entertainer I ever saw.

– Can our feline buddy be as entertaining as an Alien who eats cats? He strips and acts very weird. Then dances. Then sucks. See-moan: “The meowing was ridiculous.”

– XXEntrick then predicts a music career as big as Michael Jackson’s. His book is brilliant. Blog Friend Andrea’s advice to men: practice your crawling and growling and you too can win my heart.

– Sholandric wants to bring the romance and the love back to music. He actually does look like a super-slim Barry White. Unfortunately, he sings more like Betty White.

– Grace comes in dressed like Paddington Bear. Wait, she’s got a costume where her pants are a plush bull. On second thought, she looks more like this.

– HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! A guy tries out singing “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” and wearing a banana costume. I MUST show you the CLASSIC original:

-Odd moment. Marianna’s mother: “When she came out of my womb…” I’ll stop there because, really, what more do you need to know about that sentance?

– OH! Her mom was one of Dean Martin’s Golddiggers. Dean Martin = Kanye West, you see? But semi-famous or not, the womb-chat has got to go.

– Marianna performs “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” which, strangely, came up on my ipod at the gym tonight. See-moan: “We know the answer to that.” Apparently, she left her talent in utero. She begs for a second chance. This after See-moan says she sounded like Cher after a dentist appointment. Creative diss.

– Oh, lord…the Golddigger comes to fight for her daughter. See-moan: “Mom was foxy.”

– People from Los Angeles beg. Olivia goes cross-eyed.

– Alaina is a struggling performer in LA who gave up the business for school. But is giving up an education for American Idol. See, she’s afraid of going to school. She never learned to read? See-moan agrees with me and liked her.

– Irony: She moved to Hollywood 6 years ago to struggle. She quit the business. Tried out for American Idol. After a great audition, she goes to…Hollywood.

– A petite Asian-American woman, Phuong, with a husky voice has joined the Soul Patrol. Fact: I named a fantasy baseball team “Soul Patrol” last season. I used Judeo Heat and The Chalupas a few years ago. I needed SOMETHING fresh!

– Her mother said she isn’s “TV pretty.” Ouch. She is distracted by Taylor’s face. On a poster. See-moan intentionally misprounces her name. Because he can. Obviously, she stinks like moldy cheese. She’s so bad, she apologizes! As she leaves, they play Taylor’s “Do I Make You Proud.”

– Another back-up singer tries-out. He want’s to justify his career by winning the title. Brandon, as a professional singer should be, is very impressive. He’s probably the most polished male singer they’ve should us so far this season. The women melt. See-moan calls him the best they’ve seen and says he could make the finals.

– Sherman is a senior citizen. The cut-off is 28 years old. With 330 signatures, he has petitioned for an audition.

– Wonderful, Brian, a reject from last season’s Hollywood week returns. He’s good, which is why he made it through last season. And why he’s making through again. See-moan: “Hooray.”

– Sherman’s ladyfriend was ill and the two of them worked on this petition together, which brightened her days in the cancer ward. She passed away two days before the audition. The judges let him sing, in quite possibly, the sweetest moment in the show’s history.

– Two contestants are trying out. They are dating. And Seacrest catches them making out in the hallway.

– Sparkles is up first. Because she glows. Well, her voice does stand-out. For all the wrong reasons. She has a crush on See-moan. And See-moan is uncomfortable.

– Darold also has zero musical talent. Well, at least they can be terrible performers together forever. Speaking of which, here’s Rick Astley’s “Together Forever,” because I need to hear something decent right now and cheesy Rick Astley is good enough.

– Eric has been preparing for this audition for TWO YEARS. He claims to have cut off his social life. Let’s be honest. If you’re spending two years preparing to audition for a TV show, you probably didn’t have much of a social life to begin with.

– Seriously, I think Eric might be a serial killer.

– I’ve made up my mind. If I see him on the street, I’m running in the other direction. He sang a Hilary Duff song. Nuff said.

– HOLD UP!!! See-moan sees that Eric had taught himself to sing using Randy and Paula’s DVD. Oh man, this is so good.

– One more audition stop–San Antonio…then we get talented folk!

As always, thanks for reading, and please share the lofe!