September 2006 Archives

okay everyone. it is quiz time. i am going to start posting movie quotes for everyone to guess.
here is the first one.

"mr. treehorn treats objects like women."

think you know it, then guess away!

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So, just because I haven't posted about a diner in a while doesn't mean that we haven't been going to them. In fact, now that I live by myself and my rent has therefore increased, I may only be able to eat out at diners from now on. And then only rarely.

We have mostly been going to diners that we've already written about. However, this past weekend we found ourselves near Allentown, PA, and very hungry. So we stopped at the City View Diner.

City View Diner
Photo Credit: Mike

The City View Diner is kind of on a hill, but what it mostly seems to overlook is a small village of shopping centers and malls that surround it. There wasn't much of a "view." But I like the design of the building, with the bulging out glass sides. It reminded me of some '50s era vision of the future, like an old-school Disney Tomorrowland.

City View Diner
Another one by Mike

Reflection
Me, taking advantage of the shiny walls to get a Mirror Project-esque shot. Mike was shooting digital, and I was shooting old-school, with my Canon AE-1. By the way, "Nas" and "USA"??

We are supposed to be focusing on Jersey diners here at Pop5, but personally I don't think there is anything wrong with us expanding our focus every once in a while. We have been to an awesome diner in PA that serves double-decker grilled cheese sandwiches and malt sundaes, a diner in upstate New York where we eavesdropped on sorority girls from the nearby college at 2am, and a "diner" (which hardly deserved the name) in North Carolina where we almost died from starvation before finally getting served. How can we neglect these?

Phone Booth
Me

Gumball Machines
Me

Pumpkin
Me

The City View Diner is just as pretty on the inside as on the outside, and they have the huge menu you would expect at a diner.

Inside
Mike

Inside
Mike

Menu
Mike

They even had a salad bar, and what's more, it was a good salad bar with romaine lettuce and not crappy iceburg.

Salad
Me

Mike was happy with the menu, because you could get a tuna sandwich on a pita with pierogies instead of chips or fries.

Tuna
Mike

I think he was expecting a tuna salad, but the sandwich was hot, with no mayo, and I think some celery mixed in. This he deemed just okay, but the pierogies were excellent.

I ordered egg salad. I am very picky about egg salad, but I started ordering it at the Phily Diner, and I like the way they make it there. So then I started thinking I could order it anywhere. But unfortunately, no.

Egg Salad
Sandwich that did not get eaten
Mike


We had already scoped out the dessert we wanted to try before we ordered our lunch; it was a combination cake/cheesecake, like at Ponzio's.

Cake Before

This one wasn't as good as Ponzio's, in my opinion, because there was much less frosting, and the chocolate cake was very dark and rich, and I prefer the lighter cake at Ponzio's. The cheesecake part was fabulous, however, very light and fluffy. Yum!

Cake After
Me, but with Mike's camera

So is you ever find yourself hungry near Allentown, stop in at the City View Diner. Not for the view, but for the pierogies and the cheesecake.

Canon AE-1
Mike plays with my camera
Me, with Mike's camera, obvs


City View Flag
Me

City View Diner Sign
Mike

The City View Diner gets 3 Coffee Cups
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Project Censored released its list of the Top 25 Censored Stories of 2007 - they must run a year ahead, because as far as I know, 2007 hasn't happened yet. Maybe it took place while I was cleaning bees off of my windowsill.

My personal favorites:

  • #2 Halliburton Charged with Selling Nuclear Technologies to Iran
    According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies.
  • #6 Federal Whistleblower Protection in Jeopardy
    Special Counsel Scott Bloch, appointed by President Bush in 2004, is overseeing the virtual elimination of federal whistleblower rights in the U.S. government.

    The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the agency that is supposed to protect federal employees who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse is dismissing hundreds of cases while advancing almost none. According to the Annual Report for 2004 (which was not released until the end of first quarter fiscal year 2006) less than 1.5 percent of whistleblower claims were referred for investigation while more than 1000 reports were closed before they were even opened.
  • #8 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act
    The Department of Defense has been granted exemption from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In December 2005, Congress passed the 2006 Defense Authorization Act which renders Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) “operational files” fully immune to FOIA requests, the main mechanism by which watchdog groups, journalists and individuals can access federal documents. Of particular concern to critics of the Defense Authorization Act is the DIA’s new right to thwart access to files that may reveal human rights violations tied to ongoing “counterterrorism” efforts.

    The rule could, for instance, frustrate the work of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other organizations that have relied on FOIA to uncover more than 30,000 documents on the U.S. military’s involvement in the torture and mistreatment of foreign detainees in Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and Iraq—including the Abu Ghraib scandal.
  • #11 Dangers of Genetically Modified Food Confirmed
    Several recent studies confirm fears that genetically modified (GM) foods damage human health. These studies were released as the World Trade Organization (WTO) moved toward upholding the ruling that the European Union has violated international trade rules by stopping importation of GM foods.
  • #14 Homeland Security Contracts KBR to Build Detention Centers in the US
    Halliburton’s subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root) announced on January 24, 2006 that it had been awarded a $385 million contingency contract by the Department of Homeland Security to build detention camps in the United States.

    According to a press release posted on the Halliburton website, “The contract, which is effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs. The contingency support contract provides for planning and, if required, initiation of specific engineering, construction and logistics support tasks to establish, operate and maintain one or more expansion facilities.”
    ...
    Scott speculates that the “detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.” He recalled that during the Reagan administration, National Security Council aide Oliver North organized the Rex-84 “readiness exercise,” which contemplated the Federal Emergency Management Agency rounding up and detaining 400,000 “refugees” in the event of “uncontrolled population movements” over the Mexican border into the U.S.

    North’s exercise, which reportedly contemplated possible suspension of the Constitution, led to a line of questioning during the Iran-Contra Hearings concerning the idea that plans for expanded internment and detention facilities would not be confined to “refugees” alone.

    It is relevant, says Scott, that in 2002 Attorney General John Ashcroft announced his desire to see camps for U.S. citizens deemed to be “enemy combatants.” On February 17, 2006, in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke of the harm being done to the country’s security, not just by the enemy, but also by what he called “news informers” who needed to be combated in “a contest of wills.”

They also ask the following question: If a national movement calling for the impeachment of the President is rapidly emerging and the corporate media are not covering it, is there really a national movement for the impeachment of the President?

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So the moving is done and my apartment is set up almost the way I want it. There are only three things standing in the way of my happiness:

1) BEES! On the first day I moved in, I noticed a large quantity of dead bees in the windowsill of my bedroom, between the screen and the window pane. We're talking at least 20 dead bees - a total bee cemetary. Then I noticed that some bees became both enterprising and undead, and actually entered my room. To die on the inside windowsill, or the floor. Where I stepped on them. Twice.

People, I have not been stung by a bee since my youth, but it happens to suck almost as much as moving.

I cleaned all the dead bees and flushed them down the toilet (the new bee cemetary!), but I noticed there were more buzzing around outside my window. I figure there must be a rip in the screen, and one got trapped in there and communicated "help!" to its hivemates (bees can communicate, right? I think I read that somewhere), luring them in and trapping them one by one into the mass bee grave in my windowsill. Then the enterprising ones attempted to escape by crawling through the crack in the window into my room. So I called maintenance, and taped up the window with masking tape in an attempt to prevent them from entering. I don't much care if they live outside, and I don't even really mind cleaning up dead ones from my windowsill from time to time, but I draw the line at another foot-stinging injury.

2) DISHES! Apparently, when you move and buy a whole pile of new kitchen stuff, not only do you have to wash all of the dishes you brought, but all of the dishes you just bought as well. I don't have a dishwasher in the new apartment, and so I have been proceeding with this task, slowly.

3) NO CABLE AND INTERNET! This will be remedied very, very soon.

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Lun Lun, the panda at Zoo Atlanta, gave birth to another baby panda today!! I think they should name it Butterstick 2.0.

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And I don't care if all you all think I'm a freak!!

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By BRIAN CASSEY, Associated Press Writer 13 minutes ago

CAIRNS, Australia - Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said.

"He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into his chest and put a hole into his heart," said Stainton, who was on board Irwin's boat at the time.

Crew members aboard the boat, Croc One, called emergency services in the nearest city, Cairns, and administered CPR as they rushed the boat to nearby Low Isle to meet a rescue helicopter. Medical staff pronounced Irwin dead when they arrived a short time later, Stainton said.

Irwin was famous for his enthusiasm for wildlife and his catchword "Crikey!" in his television program "Crocodile Hunter." First broadcast in Australia in 1992, the program was picked up by the Discovery network, catapulting Irwin to international celebrity.

He rode his image into a feature film, 2002's "The Crocodile Hunters: Collision Course" and developed the wildlife park that his parents opened, Australia Zoo, into a major tourist attraction.

"The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest dads on the planet," Stainton told reporters in Cairns. "He died doing what he loved best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. He would have said, 'Crocs Rule!'"

Prime Minister John Howard, who hand-picked Irwin to attend a gala barbecue to honor
President Bush when he visited in 2003, said he was "shocked and distressed at Steve Irwin's sudden, untimely and freakish death."

"It's a huge loss to Australia," Howard told reporters. "He was a wonderful character. He was a passionate environmentalist. He brought joy and entertainment and excitement to millions of people."

Irwin, who made a trademark of hovering dangerously close to untethered crocodiles and leaping on their backs, spoke in rapid-fire bursts with a thick Australian accent and was almost never seen without his uniform of khaki shorts and shirt and heavy boots.

Wild animal expert Jack Hanna, who frequently appears on TV with his subjects, offered praise for Irwin.

"Steve was one of these guys, we thought of him as invincible," Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo and Aquarium, told ABC's "Good Morning America" Monday.

"The guy was incredible. His knowledge was incredible," Hanna said. "Some people that are doing this stuff are actors and that type of thing, but Steve was truly a zoologist, so to speak, a person who knew what he was doing. Yes, he did things a lot of people wouldn't do. I think he knew what he was doing."

Irwin's ebullience was infectious and Australian officials sought him out for photo opportunities and to promote Australia internationally.

His public image was dented, however, in 2004 when he caused an uproar by holding his infant son in one arm while feeding large crocodiles inside a zoo pen. Irwin claimed at the time there was no danger to the child, and authorities declined to charge Irwin with violating safety regulations.

Later that year, he was accused of getting too close to penguins, a seal and humpback whales in Antarctica while making a documentary. Irwin denied any wrongdoing, and an Australian Environment Department investigation recommended no action be taken against him.

Stingrays have a serrated, toxin-loaded barb, or spine, on the top of their tail. The barb, which can be up to 10 inches long, flexes if a ray is frightened. Stings usually occur to people when they step on or swim too close to a ray and can be excruciatingly painful but are rarely fatal, said University of Queensland marine neuroscientist Shaun Collin.

Collin said he suspected Irwin died because the barb pierced under his ribcage and directly into his heart.

"It was extraordinarily bad luck. It's not easy to get spined by a stingray and to be killed by one is very rare," Collin said.

News of Irwin's death spread quickly, and tributes flowed from all quarters of society.

At Australia Zoo at Beerwah, south Queensland, floral tributes were dropped at the entrance, where a huge fake crocodile gapes. Drivers honked their horns as they passed.

"Steve, from all God's creatures, thank you. Rest in peace," was written on a card with a bouquet of native flowers.

"We're all very shocked. I don't know what the zoo will do without him. He's done so much for us, the environment and it's a big loss," said Paula Kelly, a local resident and volunteer at the zoo, after dropping off a wreath at the gate.

Stainton said Irwin's American-born wife Terri, from Eugene, Ore., had been informed of his death, and had told their daughter Bindi Sue, 8, and son Bob, who will turn 3 in December.

The couple met when she went on vacation in Australia in 1991 and visited Irwin's Australia Zoo; they were married six months later. Sometimes referred to as the "Crocodile Huntress," she costarred on her husband's television show and in his 2002 movie.

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I think this makes Travolta on Rob's team....Doesn't it?

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Seen this video, thought it was worth posting on this page:

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Special guest Evan joins us for Podcasts 7 and 8!