A while back in Copenhagen Swiss artist Julian Charrière and German photographer Julius von Bismark teamed up to create Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others. The project involves a trap that spray paints pigeons with non-toxic dyes and then sets them free. The result is colorful, unharmed pigeons. The project has been taken to Venice as part of Venice Biennale. Now the newly colorful birds can be seen flying around Piazza San Marco (aka St. Mark’s Square).
There have been some claims of animal cruelty over the exhibit, but I side with the artists. If anything this takes a creature that is often viewed as a pest and transforms it into something you want to stop and admire. It’s like Rainbow Crow but backwards and without the self sacrifice.
When I was in high school my family took a trip to Chicago. One of the biggest highlights for me was an architectural tour of the city. The tour was on a boat, and as we went down the Chicago River our tour guide would point out the various architecturally significant buildings. One of those was the InterContinental Chicago, and it changed my thoughts on blimps forever.
See, when construction started it was 1928, and the InterContinental Chicago was the Medinah Athletic Club. The plan was to build this place where wealthy club members could socialize, have parties, work out and even stay in one of the 440 guest suites. To cater to the wealthy patrons in the Roaring Twenties, the owners planned to build a place at the top of the building where blimps could dock with the building. They believed the wealthy would soon own personal blimps in the same way one owns a yacht. Unfortunately that dream died with the 1929 Hindenburg disaster. The club closed in 1933, four years after the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and the building went through many different incarnations but has mostly been a hotel. As far as I know, no blimp was ever moored there, and now the dome is referred to as the Onion Dome.
Anyhow, the Army’s new Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV) took its first flight today over New Jersey, it made me think back that factoid.
In an exchange that probably sounded a whole lot like my headline, Disney World employees told 52-year old Thomas Tolbert to stop looking so much like Santa. Tolbert is a professional Santa Claus, but was just visiting the park with relatives at the time and was not in costume. Still, he looks like Santa Claus, so people, including Disney cast members, were posing with him for photos and asking for autographs.
“Then they said to tell people, ‘I’m not who you think I am. I’m on vacation and you need to leave me alone.’”
Tolbert refused. “I told them Santa would never tell people that.”
Walt Disney World Resort confirmed that it asked Tolbert to change his clothes and to stop interacting as Santa with other theme-park guests because “it was disruptive to our operations and confusing to our other guests, particularly children who asked to take photos with him.”
Tolbert was given some complimentary park hopper passes “because of the inconvenience,” but he’s not satisfied. “Disney doesn’t own the character of Santa, the world does,” he said.
“And as Santa, I will try to make anyone’s day more magical. So my question is: If I go back with my free passes, how will it be different?”
I actually see where Disney is coming from on this one. There are a whole lot of weirdos out there, but no one looks good shutting down Santa.
The 15 is closed both ways at the Nevada state line because of a toxic chemical spill. I guess that makes this weekend a beach weekend.
I like to call it lost wages…
For nearly three weeks people have been reporting sightings of basking sharks off the coast of Southern California. A few different cities are mentioned in the reports, but the basking shark seems to keep coming back to Dana Point.
The basking shark can reach an enormous 20 feet long, but they are harmless to people when left alone. Unlike the great whites and bull sharks of the world, the basking shark just swims around with its mouth open to catch plankton, small invertebrates and small fish as it filters about 240,000 gallons of water per hour. It used to be that the basking shark was fished for food, and every part was used. Even the skin was made in to leather. You’d think that would cut down on waste, but it actually led to overfishing. They are now considered a vulnerable species and are protected in several parts of the world. Unfortunately, they are still fished in some places and are the target of some of the worst kinds of commercial fishing. Today the basking shark is used almost exclusively for wasteful bullshit like shark fin soup, traditional Chinese medicine and as an aphrodisiac in Japan.
If you’re in Northern San Diego County or Southern Orange County and want to see a basking shark, your best bet seems to be going out of Dana Point Harbor as there have been multiple sightings on those tours.
In two days it will have been two years since the 87 day BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began. Since then we’ve been told everything is okay and that we should swim in the water and eat the seafood. Well, as many suspected, that might not be the case. Strange deformities are showing up across a wide variety of species in parts of the gulf where dispersants were used in large, concentrated amounts. Deformities include but are not limited to:
- Shrimp, fish and crabs with no eyes or eye sockets
- Female shrimp with their babies still attached
- Growths on shrimp and fish
- Crabs with missing and underdeveloped claws
- Crabs with malformed and underdeveloped shells
- Shellfish with thin shells and worn away spikes on the shells
- Fish missing gill covers
It makes you wonder if the Gulf Coast is just a few years away from an epidemic of human birth defects. Surely eating these animals and living in the same area has in impact on humans. If this concerns you the way it does me, I highly recommend checking out the Al Jazeera article.