Friday, May 30, 2008

The Guiness 14

While doing some research on the guano industry in the 1800s, I came across the Guinness 14. Apparently, after an OCD-suffering lunatic travels to all 317 nations and territories of the Travelers' Century Club, he (and it's always a he) will then have to travel to the Guinness 14. These are 14 places that are so difficult to reach, no one has reached more than 12 of the 14 locations. Just what and where are these 14 elusive sites?

1. Ashmore & Cartier Islands Territory (Australia). Conveniently located between Australia and Indonesia. Favorite drop-off point for smugglers of asylum seekers and refugees since it is officially Australian territory.

2. Bouvet Island (Norway). The most remote island in the world. The closest land is Antarctica, 1000 miles away.

3. Clipperton Island (France). Off of Mexico's Pacific coast. Who knew?

4. The Coral Sea Islands Territory (Australia). Outside the Great Barrier Reef.

5. Franz Josep Land (Russia). Eurasia's northernmost islands.

6. Golan Heights (Israel and Syria). Only place most people have heard of before.

7. Heard & McDonald Islands (Australia). Halfway between Oz and South Africa. Has Australia's highest mountain.

8. Howland, Baker & Jarvis Islands (U.S.). Amelia Earhart disappeared just before reaching Howland Island.

9. Kingman Reef (U.S.). Halfway between Hawaii and American Samoa.

10. Paracel Islands (Vietnam, China, Taiwan). It's got fish, oil, and gas so there will be a fight.

11. Peter I Island (Norway). Off the Antarctic coast.

12. South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands (U.K.). Of Shackleton fame.

13. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta. It's in Rome and claims sovereignty. A relic of the Crusades.

14. Spratly Islands (China, Vietnam, Taiwan). Again, plenty of fish, oil, and gas found here.


Alien Photo A Sham!

After days of speculation and buzz, a Colorado man finally revealed his irrefutable photographic evidence of the existence of aliens. What a let down. I mean, come on, the dude didn't even try.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Cultural Oppression of Uyghurs via Complimentary Condescension

This just in: Noble and music-loving Uyghurs have knowledge of fire and cook their meats!

On June 26th, the infamous Olympic torch will parade through the streets of Kashgar. Fortunately, the Chinese government was kind enough to give us foreigners insight into the mysterious and exotic Uyghur culture, spirit, and psyche. The following is a straight cut-and-paste job from the official torch website:

"In Xinjiang Province, there are four main nationalities: Uyghur, Tajik, Uzbeks, and Kirghiz. The Uyghur nationality is mainly distributed in the Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang Province). With a population of more than 7.20 million, Uyghur people speak Uyghur and have their own writing characters. The Uyghur nationality believe in Islam. Their households are characterized by flat roof with trap door on it. Within their house visitors could find parlor, bed room , handiwork and storage rooms. The exquisitely decorated niche ,carved from plaster, has rich flavor of the Uyghur nationality . The Uyghur nationality have "Kaizai" Festival, (vegetarian diet-breaking festival). Uyghur people are known as "the singing and dancing nationality", famous for its "Twelve Muqams" dancing performance, which is a musical epic. The Uyghur nationality attach great importance to clothing, they are always tidily dressed. All the Uyghur people wear small four-corner flower hats. The Uyghur people has the famous bridal-veil raising ceremony. Among the entertaining programs of the Uyghur Nationality Village are " Uyghur Nationality Custom Introduction", "Sing and Dancing"," Instruments Playing", and other conventional performances.

Uyghur language

Uyghur language is a Turkic language spoken in Xinjiang ,China.

The language traditionally used the Arabic script since 10th century. The government introduced a Roman script in 1969, but the Arabic script was reintroduced in 1983."

Based on this description, we now know the Uyghurs:
  • are Muslim;
  • live indoors;
  • are into craft projects;
  • love to sing;
  • love to dance;
  • are not slobs;
  • (I don't even want to imagine what the 'Uyghur Nationality Village' is);
  • love to sing;
  • love to dance;
  • love to play musical instruments;
  • have been influenced by the A-rabs;
  • have so much power over us softies at the Politburo that we let them write in their squiggly script again in 1983.
I'm surprised they left out friendly and good in sports.

Kindly ignore ginormous Mao statue in Kashi central square.


80s McDonald's Sandwiches

I understand that one of the goals of this blog is to share information and insight about GOOD food and great restaurants. But as a child of the 80s, I really enjoyed McDonald's, its styrofoam clamshell containers, and even the sandwiches in them. Although my favorite back then was the Filet-o'-Fish (I used to call it a fishburger), there were also the McDLT and the McRib. The McDLT was a great concept, but it never took off commercially. The McRib, on the other hand, developed a cult following and will still randomly appear on menu boards. The weird thing was how and why they shaped the meat to look like it had rib bones in it.

McDLT with George Constanza



Uncontacted Tribes

Surprisingly, there are over 100 tribes around the world that have very limited, if any, contact with the outside world. Most are in Papua New Guinea and the Amazon. Today, Survival International circulated these photos of an uncontacted tribe along the Peruvian-Brazilian border to end arguments, no doubt made by oil and timber interests, that nobody lives in this region.

Here is an iconic image of a Sentinelese man aiming his bow and arrow at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter surveying tsunami damage in the Andaman Islands. There are 40 to 500 Sentinelese left in this world.
Here is an informative piece put out by Survival International about the plight of uncontacted people around the world.

Part 1

Part 2


Monday, May 26, 2008

James Bond Stop Motion Movie

This creative and well made video includes practically all the cars in the Minichamps and Corgi Bond collections. Bravo to the filmmaker!


Hillary Clinton as Robert Mugabe

In a recent appeal to seat the delegates of Michigan and Florida, Clinton argued, with a straight face, that the situation stateside is akin to what is going on in Zimbabwe.

Obviously, she meant to compare the Democratic nomination process to the recent flawed election in Zimbabwe. Woe is her, as the party machine (Democratic Party/ZANU-PF) does everything in its power to suppress the will of the people. Hillary is the victim, again.

A closer inspection of the facts and dynamics in the U.S. and Zimbabwe reveals that the analogy is not so far off. Except for one thing. Clinton is not the victim. She is Robert Mugabe.

For decades, Mugabe worked hard and made sacrifices to free his fellow people from the yoke of oppression that was white rule in Rhodesia. He was awarded with leadership of his country. When, in recent years, his rule became more despotic and outright nutty, fellow heads of state around Africa failed to intervene or even criticize out of respect for one of the elder statesmen of Africa.

For decades, Hillary Clinton worked tirelessly and made many personal sacrifices to improve the lot of working Americans. She was first awarded with a seat in the Senate and later, as the presumptive nominee for the 2008 presidency. But as the campaign dragged on, she and her surrogates committed a number of wrongs, both negligently and intentionally. Unfounded charges of sexism, race baiting, exploiting fear, mentioning assassination, ignoring caucus states. She's done it all. But because of the respect and goodwill she has garnered over the years, party elders and leaders have refused to intervene or prematurely end the nomination process. They have allowed Clinton to sink deeper and deeper into madness and self-destruction.

Mugabe is blind and delusional because of his ego. As the father of Zimbabwe, he believes that he is entitled to rule Zimbabwe forever. He dismisses the power and popular appeal of his opponents, even when they receive more popular votes. In the face of an election defeat, Mugabe and his goons used his power to declare, against the facts and raw numbers, that there was no defeat. There will be a run-off and he will win by a landslide.

Clinton is delusional because of her ego and blind ambition. She believes that the presidency is rightfully hers. After all, she lived through the shame of the Lewinsky scandal and voted for war against Iraq. She did not do these things out of a respect for the sanctity of marriage or because it was the right thing to do. She did these things to position herself for the presidency. Now, despite Obama's lead in pledged delegates, superdelegates, the popular vote, the number of contest wins, and polls showing his lead over her, she believes she is a better candidate. And once we go to Puerto Rico, Montana, and South Dakota, she and her minions (I'm looking at you, Terry McAuliffe) assert, she will win the nomination.

Mugabe has destroyed Zimbabwe. Nobody-- not the Zimbabwean people, not African leaders, not the U.N. or Britain-- has stepped in to help and stop the madness. Hillary Clinton will destroy the Democratic Party if she continues. The superdelegates, the only people with the power to step in and stop the madness, need to act. Now. For the good of the Party, and for the good of the nation.


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Monaco Grand Prix Posters

With the Formula One Monaco GP starting in less than four hours, here is a stroll down memory lane as we look back at Monaco GP posters of yore.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Tintin Covers

Love him or hate him, Tintin gives us an insightful glimpse into mainstream 20th century Western European attitudes toward history, colonialism, foreign cultures, science, fantasy, adventure, and themselves.


The Michelin Bibendum's Metamorphosis

The Michelin Man is also known as Bib the Michelin Man and Bibendum. This universally recognized figure was created in 1898 by Marius Rossillon after the Michelin bros. (Andre and Edouard) noticed how a stack of bicycle tires looked like a human.

The first ad showed a mummy-like figure toasting to his thinner and weaker competitors. With a glass full of road hazards, Bib said, obtusely in Latin: Now is the time to drink-- The Michelin tire drinks up obstacles. "Bibendum" means to drink in Latin and the name stuck, although not in the less worldly U.S. of A.

Note the horseshoe garnish in the drink. The two gentlemen on the sides are Dunlop and Continental.

For much of its life, Bib was portly, wore specs, and smoked a big stogie.

In the last quarter of the 20th century, Bib looked more like an animated cartoon character, with simple lines and a child-friendly face.
As the century came to a close, Bib slimmed down quite a bit. Obesity was becoming an epidemic in industrialized countries and it did not fit Michelin's sporty image.

Where did that spare tire go? Now and then.

Source of info here.