Archive for May, 2013

Ladder may be placed atop Mount Everest

The wedding party climbing Everest was slowed by a lethargic Sherpa and a slippery firkin of quality ale. (AP photo)

The wedding party climbing Everest was slowed by a lethargic Sherpa and a slippery firkin of quality ale. (AP photo)

Evidence of human overpopulation is climbing like a 5-hour Energy quaffing Sherpa.

Recent reports indicate there are so many people on Earth a ladder may be placed atop Mount Everest to ease congestion.

For those who failed geology, Mount Everest, at 29,029 feet, is the highest elevation above sea level. If there was a baseball field up there, they’d have to call it 5-and-a-half Mile High Stadium and the fences would have to be moved back to Outer, or perhaps even Inner, Mongolia. (Warning: No math was used during this estimate).

Exactly 60 years ago today, New Zealand mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary became the first person to climb the mountain in Nepal and issue a press release.

Now, climbing equipment is much better, a lot more people like having things to brag about and as many as 150 people per day climb Everest.

All those people are great for those in …

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#*%$^!: America not the happiest country

Civic engagement is the path to happiness. (AJC photo/JOHN SPINK)

Civic engagement is the path to happiness. (AJC photo/JOHN SPINK)

Australia, a large desert island with more giant, hopping rats than people, is the happiest country on Earth, according to a bunch of people who’ve probably never set foot in the U.S.

The former penal colony has been ranked No. 1 for three consecutive years, largely because it “was the only major developed nation to avoid the global recession in 2009,” says The BBC.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, an organization that can’t even spell “organisation” right, ranks America 6th in its “Better Life Index.”

The highly technical survey looks at “11 topics of well-being,” including ones that are actually quantifiable (income, housing, jobs) and some that so subjective they are meaningless (community, governance, life satisfaction and work-life balance). Data used in the survey is all over the map. For example, housing info for Canada (No. 3) was pulled in 1997 while data used for Australia …

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Group butters wheels for Paula Deen museum

The Deen family, featuring momma Paula and sons Jamie and Bobby. (AP)

The Deen family, featuring momma Paula and sons Jamie and Bobby. (AP)

Museums stand as mighty testaments to the works of man and woman.

Now, the good people of Albany, Georgia, who pronounced their fair city’s name as though it were a relative of Jack Benny, are ready to join the pantheon currently inhabited by the Louvre, Prado, Met and Tate.

The Albany Herald breaks the good news: “Group working to bring Paula Deen museum to Albany.”

Say what you will about fine art, but you can’t eat it. Paula Deen, unlike an impressionist or, heaven forbid, a cubist, creates art that’s as delicious as it is beautiful.

Deen, an Albany native, in a few short years went from having $200 in her pocket to running a vast cooking empire. After a divorce in the late 1980s, she started a home business and had her boys deliver sandwiches. Her food was so good she was able to open a restaurant, “The Lady & Sons” in historic Savannah, which ought to be drawing up museum plans too.

Now she has more …

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Atlantans paying $128 for ‘first dates’

My friend used to have this sign on his Ponce Circle porch. It didn't work. (WhatsYourPrice.com)

My friend used to have this sign on his Ponce Circle porch. It didn't work. (WhatsYourPrice.com)

There’s many traditional ways to find love — churches, bars, work, cute bail bondwomen — but online dating has really taken off and has pretty much gained acceptance as being non-embarrassing.

But at least one company is bringing back the shame.

WhatsYourPrice.com sent a press release saying ATLiens spend an average $128 for a first date on the site, which “incentivizes … attractive members” to auction first dates to “generous members” who may otherwise be overlooked on traditional dating websites.

Atlanta is full of high rollers. A first date here is worth almost 50 percent more than the national average of $80.

“Women are willing to invest into a first date if the opportunity gives a worthwhile incentive,” says Brandon Wade, the CEO and Founder of WhatsYourPrice.com.

The website has a convenient video showing how attractive users can date generous people, but “escorts are not …

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Restaurant owner meltdown on Facebook?

The owners of Amy's Bakery

Samy and Amy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy's Bakery. (From Kitchen Nightmares)

Social media is all the marketing rage these days, and there are endless tips available online for how to best promote a business.

The owners of “Amy’s Baking Company” in Arizona, Samy and Amy Bouzalgo, didn’t bother reading up on the craft before creating a Facebook page, or, as they allege today, all of their social media accounts were simultaneously hacked. Either way, the online drama that ensued after the couple’s May 10 appearance on chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” — they are the only people the pugnacious restaurateur has walked out on — is instructional.

After the show aired, highly-trained ninja trolls, err … I mean “redditors,” aka contributors to the popular social news website reddit (of which I am a registered member so please don’t flame me, the server squirrel is tired today), began bombarding the hapless duo with entertaining/cruel online missives.

Instead of replying tactfully, …

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Google breaks out old-school Atari game

You can do this instead of work today.

You can do this instead of work today.

Interesting stuff May 14, 2013;
Work break: Google helps a lot of folks — ahem — get their work done, but those of you with less taxing office chores can try “Atari Breakout” as an image search. I was able to clear the screen without losing a ball, but don’t tell the boss.

Antennas to be used as buggy whips: If you have a 4G smartphone, and a good signal, you know how fast it is. Now imagine it being 100 times faster. That’s what 5G will be like when it is commercially available in 2020, says electronics manufacturing kingpin Samsung, who has tested an early prototype. Samsung says they’ve already managed to transmit over 1 gig of data per second more than 2 kilometers. The 5G spec is not yet official, but it sounds like online TV has a definite future.

Talk is cheap: “Free speech and an independent press [are] essential pillars of our democracy,” said President Obama earlier this month. Today, news breaks that the U.S. Justice …

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Facebook’s Home app not liked

jay-z-time-travelerUnlike: Facebook’s new Home app appears to be giving users the wrong kind of poke. The LA Times says “Facebook takes over the phone at the expense of every other app on it” and makes other apps “hard to find.” In the month or so the app has been available, one million people have downloaded the software, but the 16,000 people who’ve rated it on Google Play give it only 2 stars and it currently is not in the top 300 apps downloaded in the U.S. Meanwhile, the HTC First, the first phone to come preloaded with the software has flopped as dramatically as a failed Triple Lindy. I’ve not used Home, but it seems to be a “re-skinned” version of Android, much like Amazon’s Kindle, only a lot more “pushy.”

The Don King of child transport: A Florida school bus driver who acts more like a boxing promoter is charged with child abuse after taking a 20-mile detour to host a catfight at her home. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said 29-year-old Patrice Sanders decided two girls, ages 13 and …

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Atlanta 8th most exciting U.S. city

Excitement in a bag. (John Spink/AJC)

Excitement in a bag. (John Spink/AJC)

April 9, 2013;

Realtor buzz: Good news for those who get their party cues from real estate companies – Atlanta is the 8th most exciting city in the U.S. Before you rush out and relocate, consider the validity of any list that makes Oakland the big winner over traditional powerhouses such as New York City and Fargo, Ga. The curious formula for success puts race front and center. “The smaller a city’s majority race, the higher the score,” writes Movoto Real Estate. Atlanta ranked high despite the number of fast food restaurants due to “strong marks for having a young population, bars, and music.” The spate of recent carjackings, while exciting, were not mentioned.

Too hot teacher: A Florida school teacher says she was asked to resign after her modeling photos were shown to the principal. Olivia Sprauer’s pictures would get her a raise in some circles, but at Martin County High School they got her escorted off campus. Sprauer, …

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NTM: McDonald’s may hire Cleveland ‘hero’

Charles Ramsey action figure coming to a Happy Meal near you? (AP Photo)

Charles Ramsey action figure coming to a Happy Meal near you? (AP Photo)

May 8, 2013;

Golden (arches) opportunity?: Taking a few days off is risky in the breaking news business. As soon as you leave town, a horrific story like the one in Cleveland, where three women and a child were rescued after years of captivity, happens. Fortunately, neighbor Charles Ramsey was there to help the women escape. His animated but level-headed demeanor has been praised and parodied, including an auto-tuned anthem on YouTube. Ramsey, who mentioned fast food giant McDonald’s in his 911 call to police and during his first TV interview may be featured in a commercial soon. McDonald’s, in a tweet likely written by a legal firm, said, “We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey – we’ll be in touch.” Trying to generate positive PR out of this story will be tricky business, but you have to figure McDonald’s will help the kidnap victims …

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NTM: Double-barreled popes at Vatican

The boys are back in town. (AP Photo)

The boys are back in town. That's Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, 86, on the right and Pope Francis, 76, on the left. (AP Photo)

May 2, 2013;

Vatican’t leave: Retired Pope Benedict XVI, 86, apparently couldn’t find a place in Florida. Thursday, he returned to the Vatican, where, for the first time, a former pope will live side-by-side with the current pope. His new home is a converted monastery behind St. Peter’s Basilica. Benedict will live with his personal secretary and four women who care for him. Pope Francis, 76, who is close to Benedict, has yet to tweet anything about the new neighbor.

Blood money: A British businessman who made a fortune selling fake bomb detectors deployed to protect the “Green Zone” in Iraq is going to prison for 10 years. James McCormick sold almost $1 billion in bomb detectors that used the same technology found in a $20 golf ball finder. He sold 6,000 of the devices to the Iraq military for more than $40,000 each, as well as to the United …

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