Thursday, March 30, 2006

Always In the Dark

Total Solar Eclipse Streaks Across Earth

Schoolchildren shouted and even scientists shed a tear as the moon's dark shadow sped across Earth's surface from Brazil to Mongolia on Wednesday, marking the first total solar eclipse in more than two years.

Two years? Wow, has it been that long?!? Somehow I managed to miss this but I'm guessing if I had remembered to check it out, it might have looked something like this:


Monday, March 27, 2006

Dude Looks Like a Lady (and Vice Versa)

Woman Allegedly Took Kids, Husband's Identity (Children Believed She Was Their Daddy, Marshals Service Says)

A woman accused of abducting her two young children from their father, then radically changing her appearance and assuming his identity, was in custody on suspicion of kidnapping, authorities said.

She may have fooled her own kids, but no adult in the world would ever believe that this is a man, you know, because of the lipstick and all.

(I'm sure gettin' a lot of mileage out of this picture, huh?)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Lunar Loonies

U.S. Plans Moon Base On Path To Mars

For the first time since 1972, the United States is planning to fly to the moon, but instead of a quick, Apollo-like visit, astronauts intend to build a permanent base and live there while they prepare what may be the most ambitious undertaking in history — putting human beings on Mars.

I don't see how in the world this is gonna work. You gotta figure building this base is gonna take forever since they have to swing those hammers in zero gravity. Not to mention all the time spent chasing tools if they happen to drop any (would you still call it dropped?). Have you noticed also that the more problems the space program seems to have, the bigger the projects and goals are that get announced? At the rate we're going can a plan to colonize Pluto be far off?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Spaced Out

New Mars orbiter sends its first pictures

NASA’s new red planet probe, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, has relayed spectacular test images using its super-powerful camera.

It's definitely cheap humor, I just wish to God I could say it was beneath me.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

A Drain on the System

Utah Girl Wins Science Competition

A Utah girl won a prestigious science competition Tuesday for analyzing how to protect water quality by improving environmental buffers and changing daily behavior. Shannon Babb of Highland, Utah, earned a $100,000 college scholarship in the 2006 Intel Science Talent Search. Babb, who attends American Fork High School, spent six months studying the Spanish Fork River drainage system to assess the effects of human and animal behavior.

This must be smart people awards week or something! First I read about a guy who gets a bunch of money for his accomplishments in math and now this girl is getting a huge scholarship for some kind of science competition. It's really making me re-think my area of specialty because I don't see them giving out an award for the best "sports watcher". Of course, the week isn't over yet so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Not To Be Confused With the Nobel Prize

Swede Wins $900,000 Math Prize

Lennart Carleson of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden won the $909,900 Abel Prize for mathematics on Thursday for his problem solving and contributions to advancing the discipline.

Wow, that', two, three zeros...that's like thousands of dollars he won just for being good at math. Luckout!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Spielberg's Next Project

Texas Arresting People In Bars For Being Drunk

Texas has begun sending undercover agents into bars to arrest drinkers for being drunk, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said on Wednesday.

The first sting operation was conducted recently in a Dallas suburb where agents infiltrated 36 bars and arrested 30 people for public intoxication, said the commission’s Carolyn Beck.

Being in a bar does not exempt one from the state laws against public drunkenness, Beck said.

Sweet! This is just like in the movie "Minority Report" where they arrest people for crimes they're gonna commit in the future. I can just imagine how it must go: "You're under arrest for public urination fifteen minutes from now!" It's the ultimate sting operation really since people have had hundreds of years to get used to going into bars to get drunk and bravo to the police for their patience. They waited til just the right time to spring the trap and now they're gonna catch people so off guard. It's brilliant!

A Milestone Already?

What a ride! It's only been a few short days but Planet Zahgon has already reached a milestone. I'm not sure what to attribute this influx of major traffic to (though I'm guessing some big site has either linked to my blog or passed the word on about it) but I'm happy to announce that late tuesday evening Planet Zahgon surpassed the 50 visitor mark! Actually, I would have posted about it last night when it would have been more timely but I was busy answering the e-mail I received regarding this blog (you could have just called, mom!). So I just want to say thanks to those 50 who have taken the time to drop by. You're the reason Planet Zahgon is number 8,998,563 with a bullet!

-- Zahgon

Monday, March 20, 2006

Objects May Be Closer Than They Appear

Flying Cow Leaves Two Police Cars in Flames

Talk about a wild night near Seguin. A cow came flying out of its trailer, sent DPS and police scrambling, and left two police cars going up in flames.

"It was almost hard to believe," said Detective Sergeant Maureen Watson. She has been in law enforcement for 15 years, and says she "never had a day like this. I mean the best way to characterize this it, is it's bizarre. It's really really strange."

It's strange because it started out with a truck towing cattle, and ended in fire.

Watson told News 4 WOAI, "We believe the gate of the cattle trailer came open, and the cow, for lack of a better phrase spilled out onto the Interstate. It was pretty chaotic for a while."

Several cars hit some of the cows. One cow died. DPS troopers called for backup.

That's when one officer was nearly run down by a speeding truck, carrying two illegal immigrants inside.

Cows flying out of trucks? That's nothing. They really would have had a story if illegal immigrants came flying out. Now that's something you don't see everyday!

Thanks to ChaosKitty of StumbleUpon fame for sending me this article!

We Have Ourselves a Deal

US and India seal nuclear accord

The US and India have finalised a controversial nuclear deal after talks in Delhi between President George W Bush and Indian PM Manmohan Singh.

In the picture below, President Bush reaches out a hand to show Prime Minister Singh the "secret" nuclear handshake.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Fine Art, Aisle Three

Picasso's Daughter Says Drawing Is a Fake

Maya Widmaier-Picasso, a daughter of Picasso who authenticates works attributed to him, said yesterday in Paris that a $40,000 drawing purchased by a California man through Costco last year was a fake.

And to think I almost bought one from Costco myself the other day! There's one impulse purchase I'm glad I didn't make.

Nice Penmanship Anyway

Al-Qaida Notes Revealed - World News -

Recruits at Osama bin Laden’s terrorist training camps in Afghanistan were clamoring for suicide missions against the United States more than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, according to al-Qaida documents declassified by the U.S. Defense Department.

The U.S. military said the documents, published Wednesday, were "captured during recent operations." Some were seized in the 2003 invasion of Iraq but many, according to U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, were found in Afghanistan.

I generally like to stay away from the more "heavy" topics, but I got a major exclusive on this story and have to put my journalist's hat on temporarily here. I have obtained an original copy of a note written by an Al Qaida operative laying out his detailed plans for terror and destruction. Chilling.

Note: This item was acquired from a large online auction site, which shall remain nameless. The seller, whom I will simply call "Deep Auction" assured me that this note is 100% real (or my money back!) and even sent along a cool "Certificate of Authenticity".

Coming In On a Wing and a Prayer

Turkey Crashes Through Home Window

Gerald and Maureen Henze were watching some afternoon TV in their home when all of a sudden everything changed. After a loud bang, Maureen was showered by shards of glass, and Gerald and their dog were chasing a turkey down the hall.

"Something just exploded," Gerald Henze told The Saginaw News.

He turned and saw a turkey walking down the hallway. Maureen Henze, who was sitting in a recliner, was injured by flying glass after the turkey crashed through the picture window of their James Township home.

Clearly something had to spook this turkey enough to risk life and wing by just crashing right through a window, but what was it? They don't mention it in this article, but I managed to get ahold of a picture of what this turkey was running from:

Man, the word is really out!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Welcome to My World!

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Welcome to Planet Zahgon! You do not remember me. I am Jor-El. I am...your father.

Okay, the truth is I'm not your father (but then you're not exactly Superman either you know). I'd still like to be a part of your life though if that's okay. You don't have to call me dad or anything, but maybe I could come by and pick you up every other weekend and we could fly kites in the park or something, you know, like a real broken family might do. I could drop you off and argue with your mother about why the child support checks are late and you could sit under the kitchen table with your fingers in your ears as you rock back and forth while singing to yourself. What do ya say?

No? How about this then, I'll just write this blog and you can keep coming back to read it? Good. I knew we could come to an agreement that was amicable to the both of us. I'll have my lawyer draw up the papers ASAP.

Now that we've gotten past all the tough negotiating, allow me to explain what it is exactly that I'm doing here. For almost a year now I have been using a cool program called
StumbleUpon which allows you to review websites based on a thumbs up or thumbs down system, even allowing you to add your own written reviews with actual words comprised of letters and everything! I have written many such reviews and decided to port them over to this, a more "proper" blog, which of course means that you have a lot of catching up to do.

So what will you find at Planet Zahgon? Primarily my comedic take on websites, news stories, movies and life in general. But look a little deeper and you may find something else. Your soul. Sorry, I got carried away there. You won't find your soul, but all the other stuff I mentioned is really here. Just to warn you though, I've been called "comprehensive" by a few people, "bonkers" by some and "weird" by others. Truth be told, I'm all of those things and less. Much, much less. So I invite you to read Planet Zahgon for yourself (or even for a friend) and you'll no doubt have a few names to call me as well. And that's level!

You're Out of Order, the Both of You!

Man sues himself for vehicle damage - Peculiar Postings -

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"When a dump truck backed into Curtis Gokey's car, he decided to sue the city for damages. Only thing is, he was the one driving the dump truck.

But that minor detail didn't stop Gokey, a Lodi city employee, from filing a $3,600 claim for the December accident, even after admitting the crash was his fault."

I hope he's got two good lawyers. Of course, if he's representing himself I see a major conflict of interest. At any rate, I'd like to see him win because that idiot who backed into his car shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Boobs of the World Unite!

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At last, the boobs of the world have their advocate and his name is Keith Milford (we have the same last name...what are the odds?). I have blogged about some of Keith's other cool blogs in the past (Malls of America, Old Haunts, Motel Hell, to name a few) and now comes his latest creation called "Boob Tube", which is quite possibly his artistic nadir...wait, does nadir mean highest point or lowest point? Well anyway, here's what this genius (yes, I'm gonna call him a genius) has done. He's mined the vast number of videos on YouTube, selecting the creme de la creme of videos with beautiful women as the subject matter and compiled them into a one stop collection of the best of the best or as his own description puts it, "Blogging Hot chicks from YouTube for you to dig on with your eyes."

Keith definitely has a great eye, one might say almost an uncanny ability to think like a boob. Sure, some may consider it sophomoric, but I prefer to look at it as art at it's highest level to be appreciated in the same way the world embraced "Baywatch", for example. And as with "Baywatch", the fun on "Boob Tube" is all very PG-13 so it's good, wholesome entertainment for the entire family (provided everyone in the family is over the age of 13). Bravo!

Chew on This One

Boys gum is plucked from valuable art

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"It's not often you see a 53-year-old professional play with his gum, but on Friday morning at the Detroit Institute of Arts, paintings conservator Alfred Ackerman picked up a wad of chewed Wrigley's Extra Polar Ice and stretched it like taffy, flipping it around his finger to create a second disgusting strand.

"I chewed it to get a sense of what this was like in terms of stickiness and tackiness and the amount of moisture we would be dealing with when we lifted it off," said Ackerman.

The saga of the $1.5-million abstract painting defaced two weeks ago by a 12-year-old boy who stuck gum on it during a school outing is heading for a happy ending. After intensive research, experimentation and surgical work with high-performance tweezers, hand-rolled Q-tips and a fast-evaporating solvent -- plus some purposeful fooling around with gum -- the quarter-sized residue on Helen Frankenthaler's "The Bay" is gone."

Am I reading this right? The guy picked up CHEWED gum, played with it a bit and then chewed it himself? Yeah, that seems like completely normal behavior from an adult. Suddenly the kid who planted the gum on the painting in the first place is looking mature by comparison.

I don't envy the guy though, he's got a difficult task in front of him. I have no idea how he's gonna get that huge piece of blue gum off that artwork, but if he does I think the painting will look great.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Great, More Worries

Flesh-eating germ kills woman in three days - Infectious Diseases -

"North Carolina health officials are investigating the death of a woman who died last week of a flesh-eating bacteria three days after accidentally jamming her hand in a wheelchair while working at a nursing home. The culprit was a rare invasive form of group A streptococcal bacteria, said Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services. The noninvasive form is widespread and is commonly known for causing strep throat, she said."

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Well this creates a real dilemma. I don't know if I should be worrying about dying from the bird flu or flesh eating bacteria now. Then there's always the good old standbys like cancer, heart disease, stroke, car accident, fall from a tall building because you're trying to imitate Superman (maybe that's just me though).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

One Giant Step For Dogkind

Doggy Steps, Official Site

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"Does Your Pet Have Difficulty Climbing Up To His Favorite Spot? The solution is Doggy Steps. It's just the right height to help smaller and older dogs step up where they want to go - up to couches and beds. It's also great for pets to step up into cars or trucks. It's lightweight and portable so it goes anywhere and no more bending over to help your pet up... so there's less stress on your back too!"

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I could have used one of these back when I had dogs. As they got older they would try to jump up on the bed, make it halfway, then slide down slowly as they desperately tried to hang on before finally dropping like Wile E. Coyote off the side of a cliff. Once in a while I'd paint a doghouse on the wall and watch them try to run into it too, you know, just for laughs.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Yanni - Live at the County Court House

Yanni arrested over alleged dispute - Celebrity News -

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"The musician Yanni was arrested at his home after an alleged domestic dispute with his girlfriend, authorities said. Yanni, whose legal name is John Yanni Christopher, was arrested early Friday and faces a domestic battery charge, according to a police report. The Greek-born singer-pianist denied the allegations."

I don't think Yanni has a legal leg to stand on here. Since she's been living with the guy, it's safe to say his girlfriend has been forced to listen to his music a lot and I don't think there's any court in the country that wouldn't consider that "domestic abuse". How many years do they give you in Florida for assault with a deadly keyboard?

Why Bother?

Gadget lets authors sign books from afar - Innovation -

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"Margaret Atwood has had enough of long journeys, late nights and writer's cramp. Tired of grueling book tours, the Booker Prize-winning Canadian author on Sunday unveiled her new invention: a remote-controlled pen that allows writers to sign books for fans from thousands of miles away."

Margaret Atwood is right, interacting with the fans who support you by purchasing your books on a one on one basis is for the birds. If something can be done to make the "autograph session" even more distant, cold and impersonal then it really ought to be done. I think this idea can be expanded on though. For example, I'm gonna stop buying books altogether which should save me from those grueling trips to the bookstore, not to mention the many tiring hours spent reading. Phew! I feel better already!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Don't Walk Away

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During the Academy Awards last night while announcing the nominees for "Best Supporting Actor" they showed some scenes from the movie "Syriana" with George Clooney, who had received a nomination. Clooney of course ended up winning but I have no idea how he's considered a "supporting actor" when I can't name one other actor from "Syriana" (and neither can you) because George Clooney is not only the star (which in my book makes him an "Actor" and not a "Supporting Actor") but also the only person on the movie poster. Just like I have no idea how Rachel Weisz is the "Best Supporting Actress" in "The Constant Gardener" when it appears the only person she's even remotely "supporting" in that movie is Ralph Fiennes, who is an act-or and not an act-ress.

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I may not know how they figure that stuff out, but I do know one thing. In a movie, when someone is walking down a street and behind them there is a huge explosion and they don't turn around to look at it, that's the person who did it. I use the above picture of "Syriana" as exhibit A. I haven't seen the movie, but I have seen clips and not only does George Clooney not look back at the massive ball of fire shooting up into the sky, but he's walking with a brief case in his hand which makes him look even more suspicious. But nobody ever puts two and two together and says, "Maybe that guy who's walking away calmly and not even looking at the blaze while carrying a brief case did it!". You would think a cop might notice this odd activity. In the movies they never do. I swear though, if I'm ever near a big explosion, I'm looking for that one person who's walking away while everyone else is freaking out. They did it!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Mona Lisa Chews

AOL News: Top News - Boy Sticks Gum on $1.5 Million Museum Painting

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"The Detroit Institute of Arts is stuck with having to repair a painting worth $1.5 million dollars. It has to remove a stain left by a wad of gum stuck on the painting by a 12-year-old visitor. The gum didn't stick to the fiber of the canvas, but left a stain the size of a quarter. Museum experts are researching the chemicals in the gum to decide how to clean the painting. The boy was suspended from school."

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As you can see, I managed to get a picture of the painting with the bubble gum still attached. You can't be too mad at the kid, he was just having a little fun. Now he's got a story he can tell his grandkids someday. Besides, Da Vinci is said to have had a great sense of humor so he probably would have gotten a good laugh out of it too. I hear, by the way, that the museum has some of "Big League Chews" top scientists on the case, so it shouldn't be a problem getting the stain out.

A Choke Hold On the Election

Senator saves opponent - U.S. Life -

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"Maryland Sen. John Giannetti was waiting for his penne pasta and meatballs order at an Italian restaurant when he saw a man choking. Giannetti rushed over, performed the Heimlich maneuver, dislodged a chunk of seafood, and possibly saved the life of his opponent in an upcoming race.

It's not the first time in recent months that a Maryland politician saved someone from choking. Last October, Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, a Democrat running for governor, performed the Heimlich maneuver on a county commissioner who choked on a chicken sandwich while the two dined.

"It's not the first time in recent months that a Maryland politician saved someone from choking."

I had to quote that last line twice because it's just that incredible. I mean...really?!? It's happened more than once EVER?? Wow! I know there are classes you can take about eating properly (diet, etc.), but are there classes you can take about "eating properly", such as the mechanics of chewing and swallowing? These people need some help because clearly dinner is becoming something of an occupational hazzard.