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Yup, it’s me.  I’m really back…well, for the most part.  I moved in early December and was without cable/internet until 1/16.  (Yes, it IS humanly possible to NOT be connected to the internet; I just don’t recommend it.) And a big fat “Screw you AT&T”  for claiming to service my area with U-verse, having me wait WEEKS upon weeks for an installation appointment, then the day of installation notify me that ‘ooops’ you don’t service my area!!!  And Cox isn’t doing much better since for some annoying reason I can’t get the internet to be connected if I’ve got the TV connected…argh!  And I just don’t have the patience to deal with the customer service runaround I get each time I call, so until I do, I have to unscrew the TV cable if I want to connect to the internet.  Obviously very annoying (TV cable is behind a bunch of stuff), so it goes without saying I’m not popping over to the web very often.  (Hmmm, does anyone say web anymore?)

Anyhooch, what amazing things we’ve had happen since I’ve been gone, most notably inaugurating our new President of the good old USA!  Now you just KNOW this big time Obama supporter made damn sure she had cable in time for all the inauguration hoopla.  Heck, I even took a vacation day off of work to plop my fanny in front of the TV all day.  But if that wasn’t enough, I made sure to hang my US flag up in the window AND wear my Obama/Biden shirt.  Yes, I’m a geek, but I don’t care. 🙂  Let’s just say that the tears started when I was watching the Whistle Stop Tour, continued that Sunday with the Inaugural Concert on HBO, and were out in full force on Inauguration Day.  Is it not absolutely INCREDIBLE to actually be (dare I say it?) PROUD to be an American again?!?!  And yes, despite this annoying BS back-and-forth debate about the stimulus package, I AM still proud and thrilled with our country and our democracy.  I do want to kick the majority of the Republicans in their collective stubborn elephant asses, but will try desperately to retain even the slightest of grips on that olive branch Obama really wants us all to extend.  Let’s just say my grip is quickly slipping away and I’m just about ready to use that branch to start knocking some common sense into some noggins, but…

Okay, enough with that–for now.  How about that Adele and her two Grammys on Sunday night?  Who’s Adele you say?  Well gather round my friends, and let me introduce you to one of the most powerful, unique, soulful, and incredible voices I’ve heard in quite some time.  I first became aware of Adele when she appeared on Saturday Night Live mid-October, last year.  Of course I was watching SNL hoping the Sarah Palin appearance would be worth it (read that as Tina Fey really sticking it to her), and wasn’t too interested in the musical performer I’d never heard of before.  But the minute Adele belted out those first notes I stopped what I was doing, turned my attention to the TV and was instantly mesmerized–and hooked!  This girl can sing, and I mean S-I-N-G!  I was so excited when they announced her name as the winner of the Grammy for Best New Artist two nights ago, and was hootin’ and a hollerin’ (did I just go hillbilly on ya?) and making sure Rudy (yes, he’s my dog…told you I’m a geek) was as excited about her win as I was.  This gal has got a powerhouse voice that you just know is going to withstand the test of time.

Catch Adele on her tour which happily begins in my area on 3/9, but sadly is already sold out.  Don’t let that happen to you, so buy your tickets NOW!  Here’s her SNL performance for you to (hopefully!) enjoy as much as I do.

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Considering some of the extremely ridiculous and far-fetched things that have been asserted by McCain and Palin during this campaign, it wouldn’t have been that surprising if McCain had decided that Obama was to blame for the “redistribution of daylight” with DST going into effect on Sunday.  However, due credit for that hilarious line must be given to Seth Meyers from tonight’s Saturday Night Live Weekend Update.  Was everyone else as shocked as I was that the entire show (well, at least 90% of it!) was actually, really, really good tonight?!  A lot of the credit has to go to Ben Affleck who really stretched himself and became each character he inhabited. (What a hoot he was in the German coat and Target sketches!) 

And being the HUGE  fan of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” that I am, I was loving the ‘hilarious for the most part’ take-off on Keith and the show.  Keith had mentioned on his Friday Countdown show that he had been invited over to the SNL studio to see Ben rehearse the skit, but Keith wasn’t sure if it would make the cut since skits are really up in the air until practically air time.  Thankfully the skit DID make it, and Ben did a fantastic job, especially with the expressions Keith is famous for, although the voice could have used some work.  It really showed that those who put that skit together are fans of Keith’s show because they had the camera angles down pat, as well as the staging.  Only thing that could have made it even more perfect was if the camera was in a lot closer on Ben as it always is on Keith.  Very funny stuff, VERY funny.  I’ll try to dig up a video of the skit.  It will be interesting to see what my boy Keith has to say about it on Monday’s Countdown.

**ADDED: Look what NBC finally posted!  Woo-hoo!  This one gets better each time I watch it.***

But for now I’ve got the two John McCain appearances for you.  First up is the opening skit with the always dead-on Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and John McCain, as, um, John McCain. (What casting! ;))  I have to say that the skit WAS pretty darn funny, especially when Sarah/Tina went all “rogue” and hawked her “Palin 2012” t-shirts–of course, asking potential buyers to please wait until November 5th to wear them.  Cindy McCain could definitely fulfill a Vanna White-type role if she’s ever hard up for money. (Like THAT will ever happen. ;)) 

The second video is when McCain was on Weekend Update (you could hear some boos from the audience),listing the various forms of “Maverickiness” he could enlist.  Have to say I thought the “Sad Grandpa” one was the funniest.  All in all, John McCain’s SNL gig was MUCH more enjoyable than his “Maverick” counterpart’s was.  Enjoy the videos!

NO on Prop 8 needs ‘on-the-ground’ volunteers for Election Day visibility and talking with folks before they vote.  You can get your training this weekend (as I will be! :)), then do your part on Election Day.  For those of you who don’t live in California, but desperately wish you could help to defeat this hateful and discriminatory proposition, you CAN help by making phone calls to inform registered California voters on the facts.  Click here for more information on volunteer opportunities on both fronts

And it goes without saying that any financial help would be greatly appreciated.  I know times are tough (boy, do I know), but if there’s any amount you can spare it would be put to good use.  The Yes on Prop 8 campaign has had massive amounts of (mostly out-of-state)money come in over the past few days, so the NO on Prop 8 campaign is really struggling to keep up the airing of their television ads which bring the truth about this proposition to light and repudiate the barrage of lies the Yes on Prop 8 ads put forth.  PLEASE help out financially, if you can, or at least on the volunteer front.  Thanks!

Thanks to VodPod, here’s NBC’s video of last night’s SNL send-up of the VP debate. Tina Fey did ANOTHER dead-on “winky-folksy-question avoiding-makes me want to gag” version of Sarah Palin, while SNL cast member Jason Sudeikis portrayed Sen. Joe Biden. Having Gwen Ifill “do” Gwen Ifill would have been sheer perfection, but I will say that Queen Latifah did a great job putting forth some “what the heck are you doing” looks toward Fey/Palin which I’m sure the majority of America was making while watching the actual debate last Thursday. (And I use the term “debate” loosely. ;))

SNL also did a skit regarding the bailout–I mean “rescue” plan–, and while it had some good moments (Fred Armisen as Barney Frank), it dragged on far too long.

Also, PLEASE make sure to REGISTER TO VOTE!! The deadline for my fellow Californians is 10/20, but in some places it’s today. Head over to Declare Yourself to find out information for your state.

Enjoy the SNL VP debate video!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Once again, I’m sending major thanks out to the Randi Rhodes MySpace page for posting this video of tonight’s SNL show featuring this fantastically nailed performance by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton.  Best line of the skit (and there were many) was Poehler/Clinton saying, “In conclusion, I invite the media to grow a pair, and if you can’t I will lend you mine.”  (Heck, I’ll loan them mine if they’ll step up their pressure on getting to the truth. ;))  Enjoy the video!

***Added 9/14/08:  Well, it looks like NBC Universal pulled a copyright claim (yes, I know, it’s their right, their property, but…) on all the SNL videos that were posted to YouTube last night.  I hope those of you who headed over here to see it DID get to see it before they were pulled down.  Here’s the SNL web site link to the video where you get to sit through a commercial before watching the skit.  Upside is that it’s high quality and fairly large.  I think I’ve watched the skit about 10 times now, and find something new each time.  I don’t think Fey and Poehler could have possibly done a better job than they did, with their impeccable timing, nuanced looks, and overall out Palining and Clintoning the actual women! 😉 

And for those of you wondering what the heck flerg, flirg (or however you want to spell it) means, here’s what I found, but take it all with a grain of salt, or with… (shame on me ;)).

Again, enjoy the video!

Would love to write a more in-depth blog entry on the fantastic Make It Right organization, but don’t seem to be able to find the time and am worried I’ll forget to post about it at all. I first heard about it a couple nights ago when Brad Pitt (founder of Make It Right) was the hour-long guest on Charlie Rose on PBS (clips/link to the interview are offered below). Here’s some information from the Make It Right web site that will help you understand their vision:

In December 2006, Brad Pitt convened a group of experts in New Orleans to brainstorm about building green affordable housing on a large scale to help victims of Hurricane Katrina. Having spent time with community leaders and displaced residents determined to return home, Pitt realized that an opportunity existed to build houses that were not only stronger and healthier, but that had less impact on the environment.

Previously, Pitt sponsored an architecture competition organized by Global Green with the goal of generating ideas about how to rebuild sustainably. Several of those designs are currently under construction in the Lower 9th Ward and the project inspired him to expand his efforts.

After discussing the hurdles associated with rebuilding in a devastated area, the group determined that a large-scale redevelopment project focused on green affordable housing and incorporating innovative design was indeed possible.

The group settled on the goal of constructing 150 homes (one of the larger rebuilding projects in the city), with an emphasis on developing an affordable system that could be replicated.

To demonstrate replicability, Pitt determined to locate the project in the Lower 9th Ward, one of the most devastated areas of New Orleans, proving that safe homes could and should be rebuilt. Pitt hopes that this project would be a catalyst for recovery and redevelopment throughout the Lower 9th Ward and across the city of New Orleans.

Having listened to one former resident’s plea to help “make this right,” Pitt was inspired to name the project “Make It Right” (MIR).

While I’ve never been one of those folks to go ga-ga over Mr. Pitt (although he IS admittedly adorable!), I do have to say that after seeing the Charlie Rose interview I am incredibly impressed with Brad’s down-to-earth nature, the thought he puts into his answers, and his apparent genuine desire to truly improve the quality of life for others while at the same time respecting and bettering our environment. Count me in as someone who has now developed a healthy respect and admiration for Brad, and who also finds him even MORE adorable than before–beauty, brains, AND compassion! You are a fortunate lady, Angelina! 😉

Below are a couple of short videos clips of Brad on Charlie Rose, but for the interview in its entirety click here.

PART I-Brad Pitt on Charlie Rose-12/17/07

PART II-Brad Pitt on Charlie Rose-12/17/07

First off, CONGRATULATIONS to my San Diego Chargers (long-time Chargers fans like myself stake claim on the team, hence the “my”) on becoming the AFC West Division Champions! (insert crazy, pathetic dancing) Mind you, a 9-5 record is not where Chargers fans thought we would be at this point in the season, after coming off the incredible season we had last year, but we’ll take it. Our team has been through some tumultuous times this year, from the head coach change to most of the coaching staff changing as well, from Merriman’s suspension to Rivers’ hit-and-miss effective efforts, so to be able to somehow keep it all together and have more wins than losses is something worthy of a bit of pride.

Second, FOX 11 in Los Angeles you are officially dubbed the Scrooge of this holiday season by all Time-Warner subscribing Chargers fans in the Temecula Valley area (Southwest Riverside County…just northeast of San Diego County). For some absolutely ridiculous reason you opted to NOT show yesterday’s Chargers-v-Lions game and instead showed the Eagles-v-Cowboys game! ARGH, which definitely makes you worthy of being added to Santa’s naughty list for life!!! We were seriously in shock when we flipped on the FOX station (something I try hard to NOT do too often ;)) and didn’t see the Chargers game as we have all season on the various LA networks. Was bittersweet to see the constant positive updates online on NFL.com and realize we were missing such a high-scoring game. Trust me, Chargers fans deserve to see some fun after having endured some seriously disappointing times this season, yet FOX 11 decided to keep that fun away from those of us just outside San Diego County lines. Lumps of coal in your stockings, FOX 11, lumps of coal!

Here are some previous Chargers-related posts I’ve done. Fingers crossed that the good Chargers streak continues! Back to the pathetic, celebratory dancing. 😉

From ASPCA MySpace bulletin:

MUST-SEE TV: CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION, “LYING DOWN WITH DOGS”
Don’t miss this very special episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Focusing on the brutal and illegal world of dog fighting, the episode was created in close consultation with two ASPCA experts considered leaders in their field—Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Initiatives, and Dr. Melinda Merck, ASPCA Forensic Veterinarian and the country’s only “animal CSI.” The pair has assisted in the prosecution of several high-profile dog fighting and animal cruelty cases, including the recent Michael Vick case.

The episode will air tonight, December 13, from 9:00 P.M. to 10:00 PM, EST/PST on CBS. For more information on dog fighting, please visit ASPCA.org.

mattel.jpgYesterday Mattel announced it’s THIRD recall in just over one month (8/2/07: Fisher-Price Recall Notice (Lead Poisoning)/Links to info/China involved AGAIN!, 8/14/07:Another Mattel recall: lead paint and powerful, loose magnets) due to “violation of lead paint standard”. The whole recall/China/lead scenario kind of makes you want to get back to having the kids play with your empty cardboard boxes and creating parades with pots and lids as musical instruments, eh?

News Articles

Important Web Sites

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Added 9/6/07: Here’s the video clip I mention in my comment (3rd one below). Quite telling in regard to how the bottom line ($$$) is ALWAYS going to outweigh health and safety…sigh.

mattel.jpgWill 2007 forever be remembered as “The Year of the Recalls”, with overwhelming numbers of them traced back to China? First the never-ending melamine-tainted pet food scandal, then diethylene glycol-laced toothpaste and cough syrup, and for this month of August lead paint showing up in the worst place: children’s toys. It is the lead paint scare that is striking at the heart of Mattel, once again, and this time powerful, loose magnets (if swallowed they can cause intestinal blockage) are added to the toy giant’s woes.

Here are some links to stories covering the issue, along with news of a law suit being filed in the case of the previous lead paint recall by Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit a couple weeks ago, and news of the suicide of a Chinese executive involved with the Fisher-Price recall.

Here are recall information links:

fisher-price.jpg

Here we go again, folks! We are now facing ANOTHER Chinese-manufactured items recall due to a lead poisoning hazard, this time nearly one million Fisher-Price toys. Below is a copy of the recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This recall comes on the heels of the Thomas the Tank Engine recall, also due to lead poisoning items manufactured in China. Here is an interesting read from early July where China says the entire safety issue is being “hyped” by the media, and it seems they are parroting the same “Chinese exports are safe” line in this article posted today, yet softening their stance in this one. Here’s hoping that the US team currently in Beijing for talks regarding more stringent regulations with the food and drug trade between our country and China, will be able to come home with rules in place which will have us all breathing a bit easier regarding the safety of products we use for ourselves and our pets.

UPDATES:

Here are a couple of links to Mattel pages:
8/1/07 Fisher-Price Toys with Lead Paint Hazard Recall
ALL Mattel recalls

 

 

NEWS from CPSC

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2007
Release #07-257
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (800) 916-4498
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908


Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children’s toys

Units: About 967,000

Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y.

Hazard: Surface paints on the toys could contain excessive levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The recalled involves various figures and toys that were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. The model names and product numbers for the recalled toys, which are all marked with “Fisher-Price,” are listed below. The toys may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product or packaging.

Sold at: Retail stores nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007 for between $5 and $40.

Manufactured in: China

Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price. Consumers will need to return the product and will receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer’s choice (up to the value of the returned product).

Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Fisher-Price at (800) 916-4498 anytime or visit the firm’s Web site at www.service.mattel.com

(PRODUCT LISTED REMOVED DUE TO FORMATTING ISSUES: please click link above for entire list.)

Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.

To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.

Really quick programming note that I, unfortunately, JUST found out about. Flipped on the TV and discovered that Anderson Cooper 360° is going to report from China regarding the pet food recall. Just now airing here on the West Coast, but maybe those in other time zones can check it out on a replay or perhaps they’ll have some info on his CNN site. Off to watch!

—Okay, I watched the segment and while I am grateful that they are helping to keep the spotlight on this situation, I was a bit disappointed in how short the segment was. It was about 5 minutes into the show, and was only about five minutes in length. They did replay the segment later in the show (about 90 minutes into the two hour show) and included with that airing some emails viewers had sent in thanking CNN for airing a segment the night before. I had missed the previous night’s segment, but did just find this video on CNN’s site about the company (Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Co. Ltd.) that the FDA listed as the supplier of the tainted wheat gluten. If you type in “pet food recall” into the media player search engine, you’ll get about 6 other videos on the topic. I didn’t see one up yet from tonight’s Anderson Cooper 360° show. NOTE: I usually use Firefox, but had to open up Internet Explorer to get the media player to operate properly.

While tonight’s segment was short, it did at least point out the ridiculous inconsistencies in the pet death statistic the FDA continues to stand by (14 pets dead…and didn’t Menu Foods already tell us most of those were from their own tasting trials?), even though the FDA has said it has received approximately 10,000 complaints, and Pet Connection has had over 3,000 pet deaths recorded to their database by pet owners.

Also explained in fairly good detail was the melamine connection and how it may have affected the kidneys in pets. The University of Guelph (Canada) was mentioned, so of course I just HAD to head to their web site to see what I could dig up, and found this interesting list when I entered “melamine” in their search engine.

Again, while I wish the segment tonight was longer (apparently last night’s show focused on the situation more), I am very grateful to CNN for not letting this story slip on down the “Top Story” ladder.

Sniffin’ out the info

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