Monthly Archives: December 2005

Odd News from 2005

I have highlighted my faves. ~~Tiki

Alongside tragedies, wars and natural disasters the year just ending brought its share of unusual, outrageous, tragi-comic and just downright silly news items. A selection:

– In Denmark, a 43-year-old man was sentenced to two months in prison for passing himself off as a bona fide prisoner and thereby spending a night voluntarily behind bars. Per Thorbjoern Lonka said he carried out the prank in order to prove that rich people could easily pay someone else to serve their prison terms. The prison guards who locked him up failed to ask for his identity papers.

– A canny youth serving a sentence for assault in a Scottish jail escaped by virtue of the fact that his identical twin was also incarcerated there, but was due for release. When the brother’s name was called, his twin presented himself, and was duly let out. The authorities then had little choice but to free the brother as well.

– A court in the Swiss city of Zurich ruled that owners of very short cars could pay only half a parking fine, provided that two of them could really fit into one space. A couple who owned two tiny city runabouts had done just that, but needless to say the parking attendant had stuck a fine on both their vehicles.

– Tired of hearing reports of visitors paying grossly inflated prices for taxi rides in his city, the mayor of Prague disguised himself as an Italian visitor — and promptly unmasked a driver whose meter ran at over six times the normal rate. “Disguised the way I was, I was certainly expecting to be charged a higher price, but not to such an outrageous extent,” he said.

– Local lawmakers in the US state of Virginia threw out a bill that would have banned young people from wearing baggy falling-down trousers, which are currently all the rage. “Underwear is called underwear for a reason” said the congressman who sought the measure.

– Forty-six students in Thailand were banned from the military for life after they tried to cheat their way through the army entrance exam via mobile phones concealed in their shoes.

– A woman in the US city of Norwalk, Connecticut filed a lawsuit against the local authorities for exposing her to colleagues’ perfumes and colognes in her job as a municipal clerk. She cited a serious allergy.

– A couple in California pleaded guilty to trying to extort money from a major hamburger restaurant chain after claiming to have found a human fingertip in a bowl of chili. The court found that the fingertip was placed there on purpose, and had been purchased for 100 dollars from a construction worker who lost it in an industrial accident.

– The local council in the northern English resort town of Blackpool enacted an employment rights charter for the donkeys that carry tourists along the beach. The animals won regulated working hours and a day off each week.

– A German woman who was mistakenly recorded as being dead by her local pensions office was asked to provide documentary proof that she was, in fact, alive.

– When World Trade Organisation negotiators rolled into Hong Kong for a major summit, digital piracy figured prominently on their busy agenda. Strange to relate, many of the bustling outlets that usually sell music CDs, DVDs and software in the city decided to shut down for the duration of the talks.

– In a inversion of the familiar Third World call centre set-up, a British man was fined for advertising his “sex chat” phone line as offering “Filipina girls,” when the women in question were in fact working from central England. He was unmasked when clients found the alleged “Filipinas” had strangely familiar accents.

– A Swiss woman sees colours and experiences tastes when she hears music, scientists at the University of Zurich in Switzerland reported. The rare phenomenon, known as synaesthesia, was confirmed in a 27-year-old professional musician, who saw violet on hearing an F sharp and red on a middle C.

– Researchers at National University in La Jolla, California, threw a dinner party and then analysed the leftovers to see if their guests left significant DNA samples on them. Complete profiles were recovered from 43 percent of the sample, and partial ones from 33 percent. Such work could be useful in catching burglars, who often like tucking into the food found in their victims’ kitchens.

– African elephants have at least one thing in common with parrots: they imitate sounds they hear around them, said scientists in the United States and Norway. A captive female jumbo in Kenya was found to imitate the noise of trucks on a nearby road, while a male kept with Asian elephants at a zoo in Switzerland mimicked their chirping noises.

– Enterprising students at Brown University in the United States invented an alarm clock that monitors its user’s brainwaves and works out the best time to wake him or her up. The only drawback: the sleeper must wear a headband equipped with electrodes.

– Alexis Lemaire, a 24-year-old student in Reims, France, claimed a world record for working out the 13th root of a 200-digit number by mental arithmetic. The feat, checked by a notary, took him 48 minutes and 51 seconds.

– Also in the maths department, Akira Haraguchi, a 59-year-old psychiatric counselor in Japan, recited from memory the value of “pi,” a constant which consists of an infinite string of digits, to 83,431 decimal places. It took him 13 hours to beat the previous record, also set by a Japanese, of a mere 54,000 digits.

– The guardians of animal nomenclature had mixed feelings over a proposal to name three newly-discovered species of slime-mould beetle after US President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. A pair of insect experts reserved the names Agathidium bushi, Agathidium cheneyi and Agathidium rumsfeldi for their latest creepy-crawlies.

– An odd-looking rodent spotted on sale for meat in a Laotian food market turned out to be not only a new species but also the first member of a new family of mammals to be identified in more than three decades. An alert member of the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society noticed the creature, which was baptised a stone-dwelling puzzle-mouse — or, more simply, “rock rat”.

– Cane toads, reptiles imported into Australia in the erroneous belief that they would eliminate pests from sugar-cane fields, are attracted by disco-style flashing lights, said researchers in the Northern Territory who are desperate to find a way of eliminating the fast-spreading creatures. “The old toads are definitely a disco animal,” said a member of a group called Frogwatch.

– The fashion for television detective series which focus on forensic science may be unwittingly providing tips to real-world criminals, a study by British researchers said. Some forensic scientists were even becoming unwilling to cooperate with the media for precisely that reason.

– Proof that scientists have a sense of humour: the annual Ig Nobel awards, which give spoof prizes to the most offbeat research. This year’s crop went to the inventor of an alarm that rings then runs away and hides, thus ensuring that the sleeper has to get up to turn it off… to scientists who researched whether humans swim faster in syrup rather than in water… to British boffins who analysed the electrical activity of a locust’s brain cell while the insect watched a “Star Wars” movie… and to a German team that calculated the pressure produced in penguins’ anuses when the birds expel their feces.

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Fun pictures from Wednesday!

Here are some pictures from Wednesday Night sing-on with some My Space friends!

Mrs. Tiki sent Christmas Cookies!

I brought Crystal the bartender a T-shirt. It says “Get Freaky With The Tiki!”

Remember Boys N Girls..”Chicks Dig Santa”

By the end of the night..everyone wanted to be Santa

Good Times

Did I mention Chicks Dig Santa? LOL

Until Next Time! Mahalo!

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Today’s History Lesson: Treaty of Ghent

December 24, 1814

The Treaty of Peace and Amity between His Britannic Majesty and the United States of America is signed by British and American representatives at Ghent, Belgium, ending the War of 1812. By terms of the treaty, all conquered territory was to be returned, and commissions were planned to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada.In June 1812, the United States declared war against Great Britain in reaction to three issues: the British economic blockade of France, the induction of thousands of neutral American seamen into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of Congress, made up mostly of western and southern congressmen, had been advocating the declaration of war for several
years. These “War Hawks,” as they were known, hoped that war with Britain, which was preoccupied with its struggle against Napoleonic France, would result in U.S. territorial gains in Canada and British-protected Florida.In the months following the U.S. declaration of war, American forces launched a three-point invasion of Canada, all of which were repulsed. At sea, however, the United States was more successful, and the USS Constitution and other American frigates won a series of victories over British warships. In 1813, American forces won several key victories in the Great Lakes region, but Britain regained control of the sea and blockaded the eastern seaboard. In 1814, with the downfall of
Napoleon, the British were able to allocate more military resources to the
American war, and Washington, D.C., fell to the British in August. In
Washington, British troops burned the White House, the Capitol, and other
buildings in retaliation for the earlier burning of government buildings in
Canada by U.S. soldiers. The British soon retreated, however, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor withstood a massive British bombardment and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen the “Star-Spangled Banner.”On September 11, 1814, the tide of the war turned when Thomas Macdonough’s American naval force won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg Bay on Lake Champlain. A large British army under Sir George Prevost was thus forced to abandon its invasion of the U.S. northeast and retreat to Canada. The American victory on Lake Champlain led to the conclusion of U.S.-British peace negotiations in Belgium, and on December
24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed, ending the war. Although the treaty said nothing about two of the key issues that started the war–the rights of neutral U.S. vessels and the impressment of U.S. sailors–it did open up the Great Lakes region to American expansion and was hailed as a diplomatic victory in the United States.News of the treaty took almost two months to cross the Atlantic, and British forces were not informed of the end of hostilities in time to end their drive against the mouth of the Mississippi River. On January 8, 1815, a large British army attacked New Orleans and was decimated by an inferior American force under General Andrew Jackson in the most spectacular U.S. victory of the war. The American public heard of the Battle of New Orleans and the Treaty of Ghent at approximately the same time, fostering a greater sentiment of
self-confidence and shared identity throughout the young republic.


And Just For Fun I decided to add the lyrics for The Battle of New Orleans!

Well, in eighteen and fourteen we took a little trip
along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans,
And we caught the bloody British near the town of New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin.
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, I see’d Mars Jackson walkin down the street
talkin’ to a pirate by the name of Jean Lafayette [pronounced La-feet]
He gave Jean a drink that he brung from Tennessee
and the pirate said he’d help us drive the British in the sea.

The French said Andrew, you’d better run,
for Packingham’s a comin’ with a bullet in his gun.
Old Hickory said he didn’t give a dang,
he’s gonna whip the britches off of Colonel Packingham.

We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin.
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we looked down the river and we see’d the British come,
and there must have been a hundred of ’em beatin’ on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
while we stood by our cotton bales and didn’t say a thing.

Old Hickory said we could take ’em by surprise
if we didn’t fire a musket til we looked ’em in the eyes.
We held our fire til we see’d their faces well,
then we opened up with squirrel guns and really gave a yell.

We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin.
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, we fired our cannon til the barrel melted down,
so we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls and powdered his behind,
and when they tetched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.

We’ll march back home but we’ll never be content
till we make Old Hickory the people’s President.
And every time we think about the bacon and the beans,
we’ll think about the fun we had way down in New Orleans.

We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin,
But there wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

Well, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn’t go.
They ran so fast the hounds couldn’t catch ’em
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We fired our guns and the British kept a’comin.
But there wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin’
down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

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Why Vote On Tuesday?

Why Vote on Tuesdays?

By David S. Broder
Thursday, November 10, 2005; A29

If Andrew Young has his way, never again will we have a Tuesday election. The former mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations wants to switch the nation’s voting to the weekend.

Young is the co-chairman of a newly formed group called “Why Tuesday? Let’s Move the Vote.” A veteran of the civil rights movement, which lobbied for the Voting Rights Act, he came to Washington this week to express his frustration that so few Americans — especially young people — exercise the right to the franchise for which so many of his generation struggled for so long.

Young and William Wachtel, the New York lawyer who founded the organization and is financing it, confronted me with the question in their organization’s name: Why Tuesday? And, as they told me, I had plenty of company in not knowing the answer.

“Most of the elected officials we ask think it’s in the Constitution,” Young said, “that we vote on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. It’s not. It was set by a statute that passed Congress in 1845, regularizing what had been various voting days in different states.”

And why Tuesday? The debates from the time tell us that Tuesday was deemed the most convenient day for what was then a largely rural society. Saturday was a workday on the farm. Sunday was the Lord’s day, not to be profaned with partisanship. But it took a day for many farmers to reach the county seat in those horse-and-buggy times, so Monday was out as well. Tuesday or Wednesday would let them vote and return home in time for the weekend. But Wednesday was market day for many communities, so Tuesday it became by process of elimination.

What was a matter of convenience in 1845 is hardly the same today in our urban society. It is a working day for most Americans, which means that they have to leave early for work (as I did Tuesday to vote in Virginia) or stop by the polling place at the end of their day.

That means, among other things, that polls tend to be crowded in the early morning and the late afternoon and early evening, delaying or frustrating many would-be voters.

Tuesday is also a school day, and since many communities (including mine) use schools as polling places, they either have to cancel classes or arrange for the buses to discharge and pick up students from parking lots crowded with the cars of voters.

All of these problems, Young says, contribute to the low turnouts in American elections. According to Young, the United States ranks 139th of 172 nations in the percentage of eligible citizens voting.

The civil rights champion has enlisted some significant bipartisan support for his effort. Jack Kemp, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, Cabinet member and congressman, has joined former senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, a onetime Democratic presidential hopeful, in backing the effort.

Young’s goal at this point is simply to stir some discussion of the idea. A bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl of Wisconsin to shift voting to the weekend has gone nowhere in Congress.

Young’s group commissioned a poll on the issue of voting time by Republican Ed Goeas and Democrat Celinda Lake, and it found a very mixed picture. On one hand, more than nine out of 10 of those surveyed said they regard voting as an important civic duty and, additionally, believe everything possible should be done to make voting as convenient as possible.

On the other hand, three out of four said they favor keeping Election Day on Tuesday, while only 45 percent said they like the idea of moving voting to the weekend.

The survey found broader support for allowing voting by mail for several weeks before Election Day and for allowing early voting at designated locations with no reason required for casting a ballot ahead of time.

Only one voter in six said he or she had had difficulty finding time to vote because of other commitments. But three out of 10 said they would be more likely to vote if Election Day were moved to the weekend.

That last measure was much higher for some groups that generally lag in voter turnout. Among African Americans, 52 percent said they would be more likely to vote on the weekend; among Hispanics, 48 percent said so, as did an identical 48 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds. Notably high percentages of singles, working women, and residents of Texas and California also said that weekend voting would bring them to the polls.

All of which suggests that Young is right in seeing this as an extension of the civil rights and voting rights efforts.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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Hey Bartender, can you break $1000?


December 18, 2005
Hey, Bartender, Can You Break $1,000?

GEORGE SANTIAGO, a 23-year-old nightclub promoter, wanted to impress Danielle DiCantz, 22, whom he had met at a club, on their first date. So on a recent Thursday night he took her to Reserve, a lounge and dance club that is a favorite of the trend-setting crowd here.

To break the ice, Mr. Santiago ordered a $350 bottle of Dom Pérignon. After they had swilled the Champagne dry, Mr. Santiago returned to the bar. This time he ordered her an exotic concoction called the Reserve Ruby Red.

Served in a traditional martini glass, the cocktail is made with super-premium Grey Goose L’Orange vodka, Hypnotiq liqueur, orange and pomegranate juices and topped off with Dom Pérignon. The coup de grâce: a one-carat ruby affixed to the stirrer. And the bar tab for a Ruby Red? An eye-popping $950.

Was she impressed?

“It was the best 950 bucks I ever spent,” Mr. Santiago said. “Let’s put it that way.”

It wasn’t long ago that cocktails broke the $10 barrier at high-end restaurants and nightclubs in cities like Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New York. Now a vodka martini or a basic margarita for $10 seems like a bargain, as prices have hit double, triple and, believe it or not, quadruple digits (even without glittery gems for garnishes).

Among bartenders, managers and club owners there is a spirited (pun intended) race to concoct the most exotic, most attention-getting and most expensive cocktails. Examples abound.

The Seablue restaurant in the MGM Grand Las Vegas has a martini made with super-premium vodka and Beluga caviar at $275. At Duvet, a restaurant-lounge in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, the price of a Duvet Passion – an off-the-menu drink made with aged cognacs, vintage Champagnes and garnished with a vanilla orchid petal – is meant to astound: $1,500. The club says it has sold five or six Duvet Passions since introducing the drink Valentine’s Day.

Not to be outdone Teatro Euro Bar, a nightclub at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, has the High Limit Kir Royale, a $2,200 after-dinner drink. “So far nobody’s one-upped us,” said Catherine Bingue-Hawkins, the general manager. “And we have no gems in ours either. We just have good liquor,” including Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne and 140-year-old Cognac.

Big spenders with stacks of hundreds to burn and business executives on expense accounts apparently don’t blink at paying those top-dollar prices for cocktails with top-shelf spirits. Even some people in the cheap-beer and wine-in-box crowd occasionally indulge in them.

Despite the jittery economy, bartenders and managers say customers are still celebrating big deals and special occasions with big bar tabs. “Things have not gone down at all,” said Jennifer Hansen, the director of operations at Le Passage, a hot spot in downtown Chicago. “There’s been an increase, if anything. People want to go out and have a good time, and they’re willing to pay for it.”

But the hefty prices are also turning away some drinkers, said Willie Williams, the bar manager of Vine Street Lounge in Hollywood, where a Million Dollar Grandtini made with Patrón Silver tequila, Citronage liqueur and a 150-year-old Grand Marnier floater costs $35. “If you’re going to go out drinking and spend $50, you don’t want to spend it all on one drink,” he said.

Still, Mr. Williams said even customers who don’t have a lot of money will buy Million Dollar Grandtinis and other expensive cocktails for the image they convey. “How many people lease a BMW when they can’t afford it and their car payments are more than their rent?” he said. “A lot of it has to do with status, especially out here.”

Julie Clark, 28, an options trader from Chicago, celebrated one of her biggest trading windfalls with a $135 Champs-Élysées cocktail at Le Passage. The Champs-Élysées is made with Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, Grand Marnier, orange juice and sour mix; it is served in a Bottega del Vino crystal cognac snifter, which the drinker can keep. “I wanted to celebrate,” Ms. Clark said. “It was great. I really liked it.”

Like Ms. Clark, Fran Weinberg, 42, a sales representative from Hackensack, N.J., had no qualms about treating a few customers to $95 Royal Apple Sidecar cocktails at Beacon, a restaurant on West 56th Street in Manhattan. “I wouldn’t say I was showing off, but it’s kind of impressive to customers who don’t get to New York,” Ms. Weinberg said. It also impressed (and shocked) friends and colleagues whom she told the next day. “Some people looked at me like I was crazy,” she said. “And some people were like: ‘When can we go? I want to try it.’ ”

Jason Smith, the bar manager at the Setai Hotel in Miami Beach, said drinkers have become more adventurous and sophisticated and are more frequently ordering higher end spirits. He said the Setai sells 8 to 12 Garden of Edens – a $100 cocktail that serves three or four and is made with vodka, gin, rum, cognac and sparkling red wine – on a typical night. “It’s a status thing,” Mr. Smith said. “There’s a level of pretentiousness. Then you’ve got that one guy that just wants his Budweiser.”

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, high-end and super-premium liquors are the fastest growing segments of the $15.1 billion spirits market. Annual sales of super-premium liquors grew by 14.2 percent in 2004; sales of high-end liquors grew by 7.4 percent in the same period. By contrast, sales of value spirits, the cheapest kind, grew by just 1.7 percent in that period.

“People are drinking less, but they’re drinking better,” said Mark Grossich, owner and operator of the World Bar in Trump World Tower in Manhattan. “You don’t find a lot of generic drinkers anymore.”

When the World Bar opened three years ago, it introduced the World Cocktail. The $50 mixture of Remy XO; Veuve Clicquot Champagne; Pineau des Charentes, a sweet aperitif; white grape juice; freshly squeezed lemon juice; Angostura bitters; and 23-carat edible liquid gold was billed as the world’s most expensive cocktail.

“We started the trend of very expensive cocktails,” Mr. Grossich said. “We thought: ‘What the heck? Where better than in a Trump building to create something excessive?’ ”

But now, Mr. Grossich said, cocktail prices have “gotten out of hand.” “People are coming up with all kinds of ridiculous combinations to push the prices of cocktails through the roof,” he said. “It’s hard to ratchet up the price up to $1,000 and have the cost justify the ingredients. They’re priced to the point where they get to be novelty items.”

Scott DeGraff, an owner of N9NE Steakhouses in Las Vegas and two other cities, said the $69 Ultimate Margarita he sells at his restaurant isn’t a gimmick, at least the ingredients aren’t. Made with two rare tequilas, Grand Marnier 150 Year and fresh juices, the cocktail, he said, caters to true tequila connoisseurs, not to “the people who only remember the tequilas they got sick on in high school.”

Even though Mr. DeGraff said he serves 75 to 100 Ultimate Margaritas each month at his restaurant in Las Vegas (and 15 to 20 a month at the one in Chicago), the profit margins and sales volume are much lower than those for basic cocktails, shots and beer by the bottle. “Would I have a whole menu of $69 drinks?” he said. “No, but I think it’s fun to have something that’s so unique and special and that’s out there if you want to try it.” He added: “I wouldn’t want to base my business on drinks like this. I might go hungry that way.”

Not if there are a lot more people like George Santiago out there. If Mr. Santiago spent $950 for a cocktail on a first date, how much would he pay for a drink on a second or third date, or even for his engagement? “You can’t put a price on love,” Mr. Santiago said. “I’d spend countless.”

The World Cocktail
Adapted from the World Bar at Trump World Tower, New York

1 ounce Courvoisier XO
1 ounce Pineau des Charentes
1 ounce white grape juice
Dash of Bitters
½ ounce lemon juice
Float of Veuve Clicquot
4 Drops of 23-carat edible liquid gold.

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Sorry, I can’t spare a square

Oakland flushes out a suspect in restroom thefts
Phillip Matier, Andrew Ross
Sunday, December 18, 2005

In the annals of law enforcement, it may go down as the great “Toilet Paper Caper” — a high-tech sting operation that enlisted even the Oakland Police Department’s internal affairs division, to catch a thief who was swiping bathroom wipes out of the Civic Center complex.

It all started about a week and a half ago when people began complaining about the lack of toilet paper in the building’s bathrooms.

“At first, we blamed the staff for not filling the receptacles,” said Derin Minor, the complex’s assistant manager. “But then I noticed that the cardboard spools at the end of the rolls were missing, too. So someone was taking the whole thing.”

But who? And why?

The first step was to establish a time frame for when the heists were going down. The janitors began frequent checks of the toilets and found the stalls were coming up short between 6:45 a.m. and 7:15 a.m.

Next, authorities enlisted some high tech-help, matching the times with tapes from the complex’s closed-circuit TVs.

Bingo. There was the suspect, entering the building empty-handed — and leaving a short time later, bag in tow.

Then came the sting operation.

The next time the suspect walked in, janitors were put in place at the entrances to restrooms and other “strategic” locations.

After about 10 minutes, they could hear toilet paper receptacles being ripped open.

Miner and one of the custodians decided to stop the guy before he cleaned out the entire building. When they moved in, he bounded down the emergency stairs and headed for the door, toilet paper and all.

The radio, however, proved faster than the man. By the time the suspect hit the lobby, more janitors and even some of the gang from internal affairs (which has an office in the building) were ready for the collar.

After a brief scuffle, the alleged thief — 47-year-old Duane McDaniel — was in custody.

“There was a citizen’s arrest,” Minor reported later in a memo, “and the bandit was hauled away.”

Estimated take of the great caper: 200 rolls of tissue, four jumbo rolls of hand towels, about 40 plastic bags and a few TV dinners the suspect had allegedly swiped from the employee lunchroom — all told, about $200 worth of stuff.

“You know, just the other day I was at a meeting, and the police chief was talking about how this was the season for unusual crimes,” said Public Works Director Raul Godinez. “The next thing you know, we have one.”

By the way, McDaniel — who told janitors that he was already on parole for an earlier breaking and entering — did have a bit of conscience, authorities say. He never went after the paper in the handicapped stalls.

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Drink A Sam Adams Today!!!

In 1773, Britain’s East India Company was sitting on large stocks of tea that it could not sell in England. It was on the verge of bankruptcy. In an effort to save it, the government passed the Tea Act of 1773, which gave the company the right to export its merchandise directly to the colonies without paying any of the regular taxes that were imposed on the colonial merchants, who had traditionally served as the middlemen in such transactions. With these privileges, the company could undersell American merchants and monopolize the colonial tea trade. The act proved inflammatory for several reasons. First, it angered influential colonial merchants, who feared being replaced and bankrupted by a powerful monopoly. The East India Company’s decision to grant franchises to certain American merchants for the sale of their tea created further resentments among those excluded from this lucrative trade. More important, however, the Tea Act revived American passions about the issue of taxation without representation. The law provided no new tax on tea. Lord North (Prime Minister of Great Britain 1770-1782) assumed that most colonists would welcome the new law because it would reduce the price of tea to consumers by removing the middlemen. But the colonists responded by boycotting tea. Unlike earlier protests, this boycott mobilized large segments of the population. It also helped link the colonies together in a common experience of mass popular protest. Particularly important to the movement were the activities of colonial women, who were one of the principal consumers of tea and now became the leaders of the effort to the boycott.

Various colonies made plans to prevent the East India Company from landing its cargoes in colonial ports. In ports other than Boston, agents of the company were “persuaded” to resign, and new shipments of tea were either returned to England or warehoused. In Boston, the agents refused to resign and, with the support of the royal governor, preparations were made to land incoming cargoes regardless of opposition. After failing to turn back the three ships in the harbor, local patriots led by Samuel Adams staged a spectacular drama. On the evening of December 16, 1773, three companies of fifty men each, masquerading as Mohawk Indians, passed through a tremendous crowd of spectators, went aboard the three ships, broke open the tea chests, and heaved them into the harbor. As the electrifying news of the Boston “tea party” spread, other seaports followed the example and staged similar acts of resistance of their own.’

When the Bostonians refused to pay for the property they had destroyed, King George III and Lord North decided on a policy of coercion, to be applied against Massachusetts. These “Intolerable Acts”, as they were called by the colonists, banned town meetings, required colonists to provide food and shelter to British troops, and closed Boston Harbor until the tea was paid for. The closing of the harbor put many Bostonians out of work and, even worse, threatened starvation by keeping food from entering the city.

Though the Intolerable Acts were aimed at Massachusetts, the other twelve colonies realized that Britain would not hesitate to treat any of them just as harshly. The colonists bonded together as never before, sending food and other goods to help the people of Bostonians. Patriots and Loyalists alike knew it was only a matter of time before the first shots were fired in the American Revolution.

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Song for a winter’s night

The lamp is burnin’ low upon my table top
The snow is softly fallin’
The air is still within the silence of my room
I hear your voice softly callin’
If i could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands i love
Upon this winter night with you

The smoke is rising in the shadows overhead
My glass is almost empty
I read again between the lines upon the page
The words of love you sent me

If i could know within my heart
That you were lonely too
I would be happy just to hold the hands i love
Upon this winter night with you

The fire is dying now, my lamp is growing dim
The shades of night are liftin’
The mornin’ light steals across my windowpane
Where webs of snow are driftin’

If i could only have you near
To breathe a sigh or two
I would be happy just to hold the hands i love
And to be once again with you
To be once again with you

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A couple more pics from the party…

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So I went to this Christmas party on Saturday…

hosted by the Ginn Company. It was held at the Marriott World Center in Orlando and was attended by about 4000 people. Mrs. Tiki and I got all dressd up for the occassion….

So when we got there..there were loads of people there of course! We had a snafu at check-in. We thought we were staying right there atr the World Center, but were actually staying at the JW Marriott a few miles away. It was all good though because it was a beautiful hotel and they were driving people back and forth.

So this party was all expenses paid including lodging and open bar…woohooo!

So as the party started I received a special treat. John O’Hurley, who played J. Peterman on Seinfeld, was the master of ceremonies! Here are some pics of him interviewing people in the crowd.

After a great dinner including lobster and filet mignon, the nominees for “Emplyee of The Year” were announced. Here is the winner recieving a $20,000 check!

$20000? Can you effing believe it? So now it was time for the entertinanment. It was Kool & The Gang!

This next one turned out to be a cool picture….too bad i didn’t do it on purpose!

So the next day we finally were able to enjoy our hotel….

We had a great breakfast at the Citron Brasserie in the hotel. If I look hungover it’s because I am!!!

And just some shots of the hotel and it’s decorations….

One of the Christmas trees (yeah i said Christmas, sue me!) had a circus theme…

It was pretty good time!

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