Although Vane Farm has several CCTV cameras on nests around the site beaming images straight into the coffee shop, staff are unable to view the “Butt Bin” family as the box is sealed up and made of metal.
Can you come up with a better caption? Add yours to the comments. (We’ll vote on them later.) As for a prize, first place gets a hamster postcard drawn by yours truly sent directly to you (update: or another TBD prize, your choice).
Photographer Steve Jurvetson, whose photo you see above (minus the word balloon), got an email from a biologist explaining that the bird in question is juvenile red-tailed hawk while hapless rodent is the California meadow vole (Microtis californicus).
Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Brahim, who owns Cairo’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, has decided to ban alcoholic drinks at his hotel. The hotel’s staff spent an entire day pouring millions of dollars down the drain. This stricter brand of Saudi Islam has stirred up all sorts of debate, according to this BBC article:
The parent company warned that this may drive away foreign tourists visiting Egypt.
They also warn that the hotel could lose its five-star rating.
Egyptian columnist Suleiman Gouda (no relation to the cheese) suggested that the Sheikh play by the rules of international business or sell his hotel to someone who will.
Others say that when in Rome do as the Romans, so foreigners should just not imbibe when in Cairo.
Which, on the flipside, still others say that if a Muslim can get Halal meals on flights, then a foreigner should be able to practice their own culture while in Egypt.
There are also the people who are annoyed that the Saudis keep making up rules for Egypt.
Writer Ezzat Al Qamhawy deserves the last word. The novelist is also editor of the weekly cultural magazine Akhbar Al Adab (read it here if you know Arabic). Here’s his take on the whole deal:
[It imposes] Islam on tourists who are not Muslims, and compulsory drunkenness on the Muslim fish of the River Nile.
I always thought rats were smart and wary. They might be but their peripheral vision sure sucks.
During tonight’s walk, a rat saw me coming, ran away down the sidewalk, and was shocked to find out I was still trailing it. It veered off into the bushes at the side of the road. Of course, I stopped, trying to let my eyes adjust to the dark so I could get a better look at this urban wildlife specimen.
Then the rat, mistakenly thinking I had dispersed, comes out of the bushes, looks up at me, gasps and runs back into the bushes in a panic.
Dear Mr. Rat, I am sorry that you couldn’t spot the big hulk of a human sneaking up on you. I wasn’t even trying. That’s the sad part. Let me give you some advice. A few weeks ago, I saw one of your fellow rats. This is what it looked like:
Its poor dessicated remains were not far from where we met tonight. Please be careful, Mr. Rat. There are owls, raccoons and coyotes around there. This could happen to you. I’m giving you this advice, Mr. Rat, because I believe that, deep down, you are some whizkid chef. And you deserve a chance.
Tuesday May 20th 2008, 10:26 pm
Filed under: Romania
Romania has made it on the English news, in Reuters’ Oddly Enough section, making even the front page of our white trash suburb Surrey’s daily throwaway paper. Apparently municipal elections are coming up on June 1 and anything goes in Romania’s crazy political scene:
Parading an elephant on the street – ConstanÈ›a candidate Victor Manea’s nickname is “The Elephant” – and claiming the animal only eats peas (or maz?re, Romanian for peas and the incumbent mayor’s last name).
An Arad candidate has adorned the city with banners of himself at the centre of his “disciples” at the Last Supper.
The BistriÈ›a candidate, Gelu Dragan, instead has images of a finger wrapped in a condom to illustrate that he will protect against corruption.
In Navodari, the candidate had his name stamped to supermarket eggs.
I asked my dad what other craziness is happening that the English media may not have yet stumbled upon:
Candidates are plastering poster upon poster, each trying to obliterate their opponents’ posters.
In Comuna Batrina, a locality composed of four villages in Hunedoara county, out of its population of 160, half are mayoral candidates.
Also in ConstanÈ›a, a candidate rented twenty buses to take voters on a vacation to Bulgaria. The potential voters had no idea who paid or for whom to vote but were thrilled to have the free trip.
My dad promised to look up more election craziness for me. May as well add to the Romania’s reputation for the quirky.
A couple days ago, I had a dream. Lucian, my handsome little hamster, was still alive, yet I realized I hadn’t been feeding him for the months I thought he was dead. I ran through the house frantically, trying to find him. Then, because I lived in a mansion in my dream, he was in the very room I never enter.
There he was. Among all the old bric-a-brac, the obsolote computers and an inordinate amount of sewing machines, was his cage. Lucian was inside. His hamster chest rose and fell. He was breathing weakly but he was alive. I promised him I would get him food and put him back on his feet. Then, in the sort of despair that comes from dreams, I could not move fast enough nor did I know my palatial house enough to find food and water to nourish this dying tiny life.
When I am awake, my responsibility is to my guinea pigs now. I must forget hamsters and concentrate on the cuteness of guinea pigs. YouTube, that internet thing I hate so much, provided me with cute guinea pigs, neatly packaged with Moldovan music:
Last Sunday I found 28 Days Later on sale for $6. Then the other day, I decided to watch as much as I could during breakfast before I set off for work. Then it got me thinking about zombies again, and I began going through scenarios in my head.
Among all the good ideas, here’s one that, as a homeowner, caught my eye:
1. camouflage my house
2. keep a nice stash of food and water
3. when infected approach, play dead
How does #1 happen? Turns out, I am not the only one wondering:
How the hell do you camouflage a house in three hours? What do you make it look like? A cake, the Bolivian navy on manouveres in the South Pacific, a red an white striped golfing umbrella, a female aardvark? I mean if you live in a bungalow its [sic] a possibility…