… as the bear shuffled around the car looking for a way out, he bumped into the gear shift and put the automatic transmission into neutral, sending the car rolling 125 feet back down a hill …
Interesting: On Bay Area Newspaper Group sites, this story has been retitled as “Bear gets into car for peanut butter and jelly sandwich, honks horn, goes on short joyride.” After a headline like that, what’s the fun of reading the story?
It’s odd to think back on the time—not so long ago—when there were distinct stylistic trends, such as “this season’s colour” or “abstract expressionism” or “psychedelic music.” It seems we don’t think like that any more. There are just too many styles around, and they keep mutating too fast to assume that kind of dominance… . We’re living in a stylistic tropics. There’s a whole generation of people able to access almost anything from almost anywhere, and they don’t have the same localised stylistic sense that my generation grew up with. It’s all alive, all “now,” in an ever-expanding present, be it Hildegard of Bingen or a Bollywood soundtrack. The idea that something is uncool because it’s old or foreign has left the collective consciousness.
I will never forget the date that my longtime colleague Rex Farrance was murdered: It happened on my birthday in 2007. The better part of a year passed before we had suspects in custody. Of the three, one turned state’s evidence, and the other two, including the alleged shooter, stood trial earlier this year. I attended a portion of that trial, which ended in conviction for the shooter and a hung jury for the accomplice. Said accomplice was retried and convicted earlier this month. Today came sentencing. Both men will spend the rest of their lives behind bars. No possibility for parole. The accomplice who testified against his cohorts will also spend a decade or two in a cage. A fourth accomplice was never identified or apprehended. Rex is still dead. Families are forever scarred. Nobody wins. Nobody wins.
[Thank you, Contra Costa Deputy District Attorney Harold Jewitt, for …
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We all remember George W.’s dog, Barney, and most of us remember the senior Bushes’ scribal pooch, Millie. The Clintons of course had Chelsea’s cat, Socks, and Buddy, the chocolate Lab that Bill got himself after everything went all wrong and he needed a friend. But can you name any of Reagan’s six dogs? (Only a Republican could name a Golden Retriever “Victory.” That poor, poor creature.) Jimmy Carter’s daughter Amy had a cat called Misty Malarky Ying Yang, which is a bit of a hoot, but as always, deeper history is far more entertaining. So:
Herbert Hoover had a Setter he called Eaglehurst Gillette. Calvin Coolidge had two raccoons, Rebecca and Horace, and two lion cubs, Tax Reduction and Budget Bureau. (Coolidge’s menagerie also included a wallaby, a bear, and a pygmy hippo.) Teddy Roosevelt, who apparently liked full names for his critters, had a garter snake named Emily …!-->
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It seems that in Macedonia, you can sue an animal. So when a bear ransacked a beekeeper’s hives, said beekeeper took the bear to court, suing for damages. And won. You may ask: Uh, who will pay? Don’t you worry, Macedonian courts think of everything:
A court in the city of Bitola found the bear guilty, and since it had no owner and belonged to a protected species, ordered the state to pay the 140,000 denars (1,726 pounds) [roughly US$3500] damage it caused to the hives.
Let’s just forget about what’s happening in Division I football (sez this Cal fan)—direct your attention, please, to Division III! Trinity beats Millsaps 28-24 on the final play of the game. Fifteen laterals. Fifteen. Linkage: story · video (includes announcer calling the play beautifully and then losing his mind)
Money quote from the Chronicle story—the team’s coach, when asked if they had practiced such a play:
“Are you kidding?” he said. “We couldn’t do that against air.”
I last blogged about fires in my hometown of San Diego four years ago. Seems half the area is aflame once again tonight. I’ve got cousins who are under evacuation orders; everyone’s safe and sound.
Digression: As far back as I can remember, there’s been this dude (yep, a proper dude like you only get down south) named Larry Himmel on San Diego’s CBS affiliate, channel 8. He’s always been the guy who does feel-good pieces about the city, its people, its institutions, et cetera. If you’re the news director and you need ninety seconds on the diner out in Crest where some of the regulars have been regulars since the fifties, Larry’s your man. You need a heartwarming broadcast-closer about kids picking pumpkins up at Bates Nut Farm, you put Larry on it. Larry’s stuff has never been “news” or even “important,” but he’s very, very good …
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I’m a bit late picking this one up, but the pictures alone make it worth circling back to: A black bear recently escaped from oncoming highway traffic near Donner Summit by jumping over the side of a bridge. The poor creature spent the night trapped beneath the roadway, on the bridge’s superstructure, and was hanging on for dear life by the next day. A rescue effort was mounted; a tranq dart was employed; all’s well that ends well.
Contra Costa prosecutors say they know who killed Rex Farrance. The three men involved are already behind bars on other charges; all three are now eligible for the death penalty under California law.
A colleague of mine for eight years, Rex was shot during a home invasion robbery earlier this year. He is and will always be dearly missed. I had begun to doubt that the wheels of justice would ever begin to turn in this case, but now, here they go, doing that slow, deliberate, creaky thing that they do.
My heart goes out to the Buddhist monks of Malaysia’s Hong Hock See temple, which is besieged by ants. Due to their strict adherence to principles of nonviolence, the monks won’t kill the ants, and so far have been unsuccessful in relocating them.
Not long after I became a Buddhist, I stopped killing spiders in my house. These days I take a sheet of paper, get the spider to crawl onto it, and then carry the spider outside, where I set it free. Flying insects are similarly relocated using the old hand-over-a-cup technique.
That said, I still kill ants with impunity. There’s no relocating ants. You arrive home to find your kitchen overrun with ants and there’s only one thing to do: Spray ‘em down with Windex and watch ‘em die by the thousands. Stupid ants.
I have much to learn before I could ever be a monk.
Talk about different approaches. Here on the West Coast, we recently had smellerific cookie advertisements removed from San Francisco bus shelters after complaints from folks in the “environmental illness community.” (How ‘bout we just call ‘em scentsitives?)
Here we have American troops teasing Iraqi children who are apparently desperate for a drink of fresh water. Just listen to these asshats laughing it up. A nice reminder that there are plenty of ways to treat people cruelly without resorting to torture. Our forces seem to be exploring all options.
Two things are clear. First, tasers are not nonlethal weapons. They kill people. Further, they bring out the worst in a particular type of bad cop: the sort that is rather too quick to inflict debilitating, nightmarish pain on anyone who doesn’t immediately fall into line.
Last night, some cops repeatedly tasered a student at UCLA’s Powell Library. His crime? Refusing to show ID. Does this sound right to you? It sounds scary as hell to me. It’s the sort of story that makes me want to stop using the word “cops” and start using the word “pigs.” I try to reject that urge, because I don’t want to fall into the mindset of thinking all police officers as enemies. But these officers at UCLA? Pigs.
Another student caught the incident on video using a cell phone. Hmm. Perhaps the increasing ubiquity of video cameras in …
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The Star of India is one of the jewels of my hometown of San Diego. This stately and beautiful ship has been sailing the seas since 1863. It is the oldest active sailing vessel in the world. For most of the year, the Star is docked in San Diego and serves as a fascinating walk-on-board maritime museum. But for one weekend each year, she goes sailing.
Cory Doctorow hits all the right notes with his scathing critique of the Boy Scouts’ latest move—the creation of a merit badge for “respecting copyright.” You guessed it, the MPAA is behind this.
(UPDATE: Wow, I didn’t know this, but apparently Penn and Teller did a whole episode of their Bullshit!TV program on how the Scouts have effectively been turned into an arm of the Mormon church over the past few decades. I’m gonna have to watch this. The story is well-known to many who have been involved in Scouting during the time period, but it’s a story the mainstream media won’t touch with a ten foot pole. UPDATE 2: Turns out it’s not a merit badge in the original story; it’s an activity badge. The distinction is important, but I shan’t bore non-Scouters with the details.)
Colorado Division of Wildlife officers were called to a school near Boulder on Tuesday to deal with a drunk and disorderly, bear. The wobbly bear was spotted in a neighborhood in Lyons, near Boulder, and she was having a hard time walking. Officers said the bear was probably drunk from eating fermented apples.