"America's largest open-air mental hospital," that's how Oceanside police spokesman Bob George described this run-down coastal city between Camp Pendleton and the surfer towns of North San Diego County. I called it the Slum by the Sea. Despite the miles of beach and the beautiful old Spanish mission and the Southern California weather, Oceanside was a honky tonk Marine Corps town on the west side of Interstate 5 and a sprawling mess of trailer parks and starter-home suburbs to the east.
I spent a lot of time at Bob's desk in the back of the OPD headquarters. Sometimes it was as a police beat reporter, sometimes it was as the [...]
Every day, humans kill millions of animals. We kill them in the hideous industrial slaughterhouses, we kill them with our F-350s barreling down the county road, we kill them with gigantic fish-harvesting scrapers dragged along the ocean floor, we kill them at the "Humane Society," and we kill them when they've made the critical mistake of surfacing near our ugly houses. But it is only News when an "unlikely" animal finally has enough of this constant holocaust and decides to "kill back" a human.
Today's example comes from Belarus, a place we rarely hear about despite its romantic name meaning "White Russia." It was here, reportedly, that a large beaver [...]
Death approaches, for one and all. But what about our important data stored within free services that Google may or may not shut down before our death? For this, there's Google Afterlife. It's not called Google Afterlife, but that's just what some tech writers have named it, because "Inactive Account Manager" sounds like something Verizon would do to you for $6.99 a month, in or out of the grave.
Here's how it works: You can go to some Google page and click some things. No more worries about death! After your demise, if Google hasn't killed off the service, the particular way you misunderstood "Inactive Account Manager" will function [...]
Nearly half of all voters are so dumb they'll completely change their strongly held political beliefs if you give them a piece of paper with opposite beliefs, researchers have discovered. Even the youngest wizards and witches can perform such simple magic, meaning that all future elections will be decided by our oldest and still most believable religious system: magic.
To get people to reverse their opinions, crafty researchers had the test subjects fill out a survey about an upcoming election. After the dummies finished their forms, the researchers used "sleight of hand" to return a form with the opposite answers selected. "92% of the study participants accepted the manipulated summary [...]
"Yes, a meteor or comet was the death blow. But the giant lizards were already in trouble when the impact came. Giant herbivores that reached 80 tons had deforested more and more land and had to go far and wide for food. The predators and scavengers that lived off of them struggled to keep up. It wasn’t exactly good times before the sky would go dark and the volcanoes would erupt." —This must be from an article about … dinosaurs? No, not literal dinosaurs. Some kind of change in habits or industry, perhaps a "game changer" of some kind? Maybe it's about Windows 7, or Windows 8, or? Let's [...]
"Across America," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg writes in today's Washington Post, "creative, hardworking people in coffee shops, dorm rooms and garages are creating the next era of growth."
But they don't always have good programming degrees, especially if they're Americans, so Zuckerberg hopes to change the nation's immigration laws so that his company can more easily hire cheaper programmers from other countries. It's a win-win situation, for Zuckerburg and his billionaire pals in Silicon Valley.
Ha ha it is really more complicated than all of that, certainly! But this is the great political movement launched by the Web Billionaire generation: something that directly affects the hiring practices and profits [...]
Now that we've all adjusted to the "no mail delivery on Saturday" deal and realized we don't really care because what comes in the mail besides the Pennysaver and scary notices from the IRS, the U.S. Postal Service announced today that mail delivery will continue on Saturdays.
To save money, America's unpopular alternative to UPS and FedEx had planned to kill Saturday delivery this summer. But now, everything is fixed and the nation's old people can still look forward to that one friendly visit on Saturdays—unless they live in one of the horrid suburbs where "delivery" means some giant outdoor P.O. box/rack thing a half-mile drive from the house.
"And here I am today at Howard, a historically black college. Here I am, a guy who once presumed to discuss a section of the Civil Rights Act. Some have said that I’m either brave or crazy to be here today. I’ve never been one to watch the world go by without participating. I wake up each day hoping to make a difference. I take to heart the words of Toni Morrison of Howard University, who wrote: 'If there is a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.'" —If you've been waiting for the sketch comedy bit where Rand Paul [...]
Researchers cannot even believe what they're hearing from melanoma survivors these days, because a shocking 27.7% of survivors of the horrible skin cancer still aren't wearing sunscreen when they're out in the sun. But the ultimate thrill seekers are the 2% of melanoma survivors who continue to use tanning beds. There is something kind of fantastic about a melanoma patient paying money to a tanning salon—it's like those old dudes who smoke through the hole in their throat.
"That blew my mind," study author Dr. Anees Chagpar of Yale University told the Los Angeles Times. We hope he writes his science research papers like that, too.
Photo by [...]
There's nothing like going out to some sun-blasted airfield an hour outside of town to see the famous Blue Angels fly around so close to each other that you never know when they'll crash into the spectators—it's the perfect mix of NASCAR and military worship, and Republicans in Congress have shut down this beloved display of air superiority.
"The Navy believes there is value in demonstrating the professionalism and capabilities of our Navy and Marine Corps Naval Aviation team, thus inspiring future generations of Sailors and Marines," the Blue Angels said in a love letter to Obama press release. "The Navy intends to continue aerial demonstrations in the future [...]
"The alliance between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan was one of the most enduring political friendships of the past 50 years. The former British prime minister and the decades-long relationship between the two families is the subject of a new exhibition that the Reagan Library and Museum will present starting Tuesday at its location in Simi Valley." —If you hooligans are done having "street parties" and smashing windows in the U.K., and if you're done tramping the dirt down in Africa, and all these other rude displays, perhaps it's time to seek forgiveness at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library's thrown-together salute to Margaret Thatcher, which [...]
Before Flickr, before Tumblr, before Instagram or Chatroulette or sideboob slideshows on corporate media websites, there was TonyPierce.com. From his East Hollywood bachelor pad at the dawn of the century, Tony combined his own L.A. snapshots with pilfered celebrity photographs, found objects, PG-13 pictures submitted by the camgirls, and freeform essays on his favorite subjects: his bus ride to work, Howard Stern, the Chicago Cubs, 19-year-old girls in their underwear, Charles Bukowski, the Los Angeles Times. Tony went pro as editor of LAist.com and then blog editor at the Los Angeles Times, where he created and edited iconic blogs such as L.A. Now and Hero Complex. We talked [...]
"During her 11-year reign, Thatcher was the politician who British musicians (and a few non-Brits) of many stripes—ska, punk, rock, New Wave, folk, reggae, even electronic dance music—loved to hate. The vitriolic song titles alone—never mind the lyrics—left listeners in no doubt about the depth of loathing: The English Beat's 'Stand Down Margaret'; Heaven 17's '(We Don't Need This) Fascist Groove Thang'; Klaus Nomi's 'Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead'; The Specials' 'Ghost Town'; The Varukers' 'Thatcher's Fortress'; the Larks' 'Maggie Maggie Maggie (Out Out Out)'; Morrissey's 'Margaret on the Guillotine'; and Elvis Costello's 'Tramp the Dirt Down.'" —English music about loathed politicians has always been so much [...]
Researchers have come up with a hilarious new way to keep Junior from getting larger: Just put your child's meals on very little plates, so the child cannot figure out she is getting a few spoonfuls of blanched kale for dinner, again.
The medical journal Pediatrics just released an exciting new study that proves kids can't tell the difference between plate sizes. Give them gigantic plates, like prop plates from movies about giants, and the youngster will eat enough for a week without noticing. Giving children small plates, like those used in popular Brooklyn restaurants, is an easy way to fake out the minds of our littlest ones.
"Brisk walking reduces the risk of heart disease more effectively than running when the energy expenditure of both activities is balanced out, a study has found. Running reduced the risk of heart disease by 4.5% while walking reduced it by 9.3%. Calorie for calorie, walking also had a stronger impact on heart disease risk factors. The risk of first-time high blood pressure was reduced by 4.2% by running and 7.2% by walking." —Taking a nice, brisk walk is better for you than running! It even reduces your high cholesterol more than running. Best of all, you don't have to run around sweating and huffing like an idiot, wearing those [...]
When the Arab Spring began jumping from country to country a couple of years ago, it seemed like a good idea to add a "revolution" section to my Google News page. During the Occupy Wall Street protests, it continued to provide interesting news about social unrest and nervous rich people hiring extra security. How is the Revolution section faring today, now that it's okay to be horribly rich again and Jeffrey Skilling is looking at an early release from federal prison?
American straight ladies no longer wish for a white wedding dress the way they did when we had Traditional Values, before they were born, because "living in sin" is the new normal for a nation without a Vengeful God. Now that nobody believes in religion, U.S. women are shacking up at record levels—in the popular 30-and-under demographic, 77% of American girls have "shared an address" with their dudes.
While straight people have all but given up on marriage, gay people have become the only moral examples in a nation that has utterly turned its back on both decency and responsibility.
But some experts say it's not just the [...]
Rancho Mirage sits between Palm Springs and the Coachella festival. The people are rich and generally Republican—the moderate show-biz GOP reigns in this land of Gerald and Betty Ford, Dwight Eisenhower, Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono and his widow, the longtime congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. And now this fancy desert resort town is deciding whether to ban aerial drones from the skies, which would make Rancho Mirage only the second town in the nation to outlaw the robot spy planes. (The first is tiny St. Bonifaciuis, Minnesota; a Virginia city passed a resolution "urging" the state to do something about drones.)
It would be wonderful to realize our rich citizens [...]
The first mobile call was made 40 years ago today, on a device based on the communicators used in the original "Star Trek," and the iPad was apparently introduced in 2001: A Space Odyssey, released 45 years ago this week. It's a good thing that show business invented the future for us so long ago, because god knows we can't come up with anything on our own.