Could BP oil spill end life on earth?

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Foreword: It’s deceptively tempting to dismiss the following article as “just another crackpot theory”, but if there’s any possibility whatsoever that this information could be accurate, then ignore it at your own peril.

The Problem

Ominous reports are leaking past the BP Gulf salvage operation news blackout that the disaster unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico may be about to reach biblical proportions.

251 million years ago a mammoth undersea methane bubble caused massive explosions, poisoned the atmosphere and destroyed more than 96 percent of all life on Earth. Experts agree that what is known as the Permian extinction event was the greatest mass extinction event in the history of the world.

55 million years later another methane bubble ruptured, causing more mass extinctions during the Late Paleocene Thermal Maximum (LPTM). The LPTM lasted for 100,000 years.

Those subterranean seas of methane virtually reshaped the planet when they explosively blew from deep beneath the waters of what is today called the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, worried scientists are increasingly concerned the same series of catastrophic events that led to worldwide death back then may be happening again — and no known technology can stop it.

The bottom line: BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling operation may have triggered an irreversible, cascading geological Apocalypse that will culminate with the first mass extinction of life on Earth in many millions of years.

The oil giant drilled down miles into a geologically unstable region and may have set the stage for the eventual premature release of a methane mega-bubble.

Ryskin’s methane extinction theory

Northwestern University’s Gregory Ryskin, a bio-chemical engineer, has a theory: The oceans periodically produce massive eruptions of explosive methane gas. He has documented the scientific evidence that such an event was directly responsible for the mass extinctions that occurred 55 million years ago.

Many geologists concur: “The consequences of a methane-driven oceanic eruption for marine and terrestrial life are likely to be catastrophic. Figuratively speaking, the erupting region “boils over,” ejecting a large amount of methane and other gases (e.g., CO2, H2S) into the atmosphere, and flooding large areas of land. Whereas pure methane is lighter than air, methane loaded with water droplets is much heavier, and thus spreads over the land, mixing with air in the process (and losing water as rain). The air-methane mixture is explosive at methane concentrations between 5% and 15%; as such mixtures form in different locations near the ground and are ignited by lightning, explosions and conflagrations destroy most of the terrestrial life and also produce great amounts of smoke and of carbon dioxide…”

The warning signs of an impending planetary catastrophe — of such great magnitude that the human mind has difficulty grasping it — would be the appearance of large fissures or rifts splitting open the ocean floor, a rise in the elevation of the seabed, and the massive venting of methane and other gases into the surrounding water. Such occurrences can lead to the rupture of the methane bubble containment. It can then permit the methane to breach the subterranean depths and undergo an explosive decompression as it catapults into the Gulf waters.

All three warning signs are documented to be occurring in the Gulf.

Ground zero:  The Gulf Coast

The people and property located on the greater expanse of the Gulf Coast are sitting at Ground Zero. They will be the first exposed to poisonous, cancer causing chemical gases. They will be the ones that initially experience the full fury of a methane bubble exploding from the ruptured seabed.

The media has been kept away from the emergency salvage measures being taken to forestall the biggest catastrophe in human history. The federal government has warned them away from the epicenter of operations with the threat of a $40,000 fine for each infraction and the possibility of felony arrests. Why is the press being kept away? Word is that the disaster is escalating.

Cracks and bulges

Methane is now streaming through the porous, rocky seabed at an accelerated rate and gushing from the borehole of the first relief well. The EPA is on record that Rig #1 is releasing methane, benzene, hydrogen sulfide and other toxic gases. Workers there now wear advanced protection including state-of-the-art, military-issued gas masks.

Reports, filtering through from oceanologists and salvage workers in the region, state that the upper level strata of the ocean floor is succumbing to greater and greater pressure. That pressure is causing a huge expanse of the seabed — estimated by some as spreading over thousands of square miles surrounding the BP wellhead — to bulge. Some claim the seabed in the region has risen an astounding 30 feet.

The fractured BP wellhead, site of the former Deepwater Horizon, has become the epicenter of frenetic attempts to quell the monstrous flow of methane.

The subterranean methane is pressurized at 100,000 pounds psi. According to Matt Simmons, an oil industry expert, the methane pressure at the wellhead has now skyrocketed to a terrifying 40,000 pounds psi.

Another well-respected expert, Dr. John Kessler of Texas A&M University has calculated that the ruptured well is spewing 60 percent oil and 40 percent methane. The normal methane amount that escapes from a compromised well is about 5 percent.

More evidence? A huge gash on the ocean floor, a ragged wound hundreds of feet long, has been reported by the NOAA research ship, Thomas Jefferson. Before the curtain of the government enforced news blackout again descended abruptly, scientists aboard the ship voiced their concerns that the widening rift may go down miles into the earth.

That gash too is hemorrhaging oil and methane. It’s 10 miles away from the BP epicenter. Other new fissures have been spotted as far as 30 miles distant.

Measurements of the multiple oil plumes now appearing miles from the wellhead indicate that as much as a total of 124,000 barrels of oil are erupting into the Gulf waters daily — that’s about 5,208,000 gallons of oil per day.

Most disturbing of all: Methane levels in the water are now calculated as being almost one million times higher than normal.

Mass death on the water

If the methane bubble — a bubble that could be as big as 20 miles wide — erupts with titanic force from the seabed into the Gulf, every ship, drilling rig and structure within the region of the bubble will immediately sink. All the workers, engineers, Coast Guard personnel and marine biologists participating in the salvage operation will die instantly.

Next, the ocean bottom will collapse, instantaneously displacing up to a trillion cubic feet of water or more and creating a towering supersonic tsunami annihilating everything along the coast and well inland. Like a thermonuclear blast, a high pressure atmospheric wave could precede the tidal wave flattening everything in its path before the water arrives.

When the roaring tsunami does arrive it will scrub away all that is left.

A chemical cocktail of poisons

Some environmentalist experts are calling what’s pouring into the land, sea and air from the seabed breach ’a chemical cocktail of poisons.’

Areas of dead zones devoid of oxygen are driving species of fish into foreign waters, killing plankton and other tiny sea life that are the foundation for the entire food chain, and polluting the air with cancer-causing chemicals and poisonous rainfalls.

A report from one observer in South Carolina documents oily residue left behind after a recent thunderstorm. And before the news blackout fully descended the EPA released data that benzene levels in New Orleans had rocketed to 3,000 parts per billion.

Benzene is extremely toxic and even short term exposure can cause agonizing death from cancerous lesions years later.

The people of Louisiana have been exposed for more than two months—and the benzene levels may be much higher now. The EPA measurement was taken in early May.


While some say it can’t happen because the bulk of the methane is frozen into crystalline form, others point out that the underground methane sea is gradually melting from the nearby surging oil that’s estimated to be as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Most experts in the know, however, agree that if the world-changing event does occur it will happen suddenly and within the next 6 months.

So, if events go against Mankind and the bubble bursts in the coming months, Gregory Ryskin may become one of the most famous people in the world. Of course, he won’t have long to enjoy his new found fame because very shortly after the methane eruption civilization will collapse.

Perhaps if humanity is very, very lucky, we may find a way to avoid the mass extinction that follows and carry on the human race.


Source:  “Doomsday: How BP Gulf disaster may have triggered a “world-killing event”, posted on July 15, 2010 at 2:21 AM at

Memorial Day 2008

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Another Memorial Day is here, and hopefully at some point this weekend while we’re enjoying our BBQ cookouts and celebrating the unofficial start of summer, we will remember to honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country. We pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all the wars the U.S. has fought throughout its history, but the casualties in Iraq are foremost in the minds of many Americans this weekend.

No matter your political stripe or level of support for the war itself, you must admit that over the last five years and counting, those who have suffered most during this conflict (besides the Iraqi people themselves) have been the individual U.S. soldiers who have put their home lives on hold while simply trying to do the job they’ve been assigned as best as they can. It’s dirty, difficult, dangerous work, with the constant risk of injury and death; and as do many others, I make a huge distinction between our troops who voluntarily put themselves on the line every day, and the politicians and policies that continue to needlessly place them in harm’s way.

Here’s one small way to help. Have you ever passed by someone in uniform in a store, on the street, or in an airport and wanted to thank them for their service, but didn’t know how? Perhaps you were hesitant to start what could become an awkward conversation for either of you. Instead, you can wordlessly express your appreciation with something called “The Gratitude Gesture.” It’s easy; just place your hand over your heart momentarily, then keeping your elbow in place, extend your hand down, palm up. It takes maybe a second, and it’s becoming universally recognized as a symbol of respect and appreciation by civilians toward service men and women in public. It’s not military, like a salute, and it’s non-partisan, non-political, and non-judgmental. It simply says “thanks”. And people don’t say that enough anyway.

This is an ex-parrot

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Remember the 1978 sketch from “Saturday Night Live” with John Belushi as “The Thing Who Wouldn’t Leave”? Outside her camp of hard-core supporters, most other Democrats are screaming in horror like Jane Curtain (some quietly, some not) as Hillary continues to ignore the obvious in her increasingly futile bid for the nomination. There is not much doubt in the minds of anyone who is thinking clearly that for a variety of reasons, the Clinton ship is sinking; yet as captain, Hillary is determined to ride it to the bitter end — even if it tears the party apart. Most major news organizations, including Newsweek and US News & World Report, are beginning to rightfully focus their coverage on the upcoming McCain-Obama contest. The New York Times wrote, “The shrinking candidacy of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has all but vanished from the television set.”

Sen. Barack Obama’s milestone victory in Oregon this week gave him a majority of pledged delegates to the Democratic convention, and as Hillary’s campaign drifts further into desperation, one of the many venues in which she’s taking a shellacking is, predictably, YouTube. This video features the versatile Lisa Nova playing Hillary as a delusional Norma Desmond in the final scene of “Sunset Boulevard”. (For comparison, you can watch the original clip here.)

And in keeping with the Monty Python theme of today’s (as well as yesterday’s) post title — not to mention that we promised the hilarity of dismemberment would soon return to this site — the next video seems entirely appropriate.

Hillary still has a diminishing window of opportunity to show some class and gracefully withdraw, but that’s not likely to happen. She somehow sees herself as destined to make history as America’s first woman president, and no doubt must be incredibly pissed off at an upstart like Obama who hasn’t, in her mind, paid his dues or waited his turn. For someone like myself who has been so disgusted with the last eight years of The Shrub, I’ve been audaciously hopeful that America was at last ready to put a sane person in the White House; but if she continues on this path, Hillary may very well lead the Democratic party to proverbially snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. How very sad, and dangerous. I actually do think that someday our first female president could be a Clinton, but I also believe there’s a good chance her first name will be “Chelsea”. buy cialisbuy cialisbuy levitrabuy levitrabuy propeciabuy propeciabuy somabuy somabuy levitrabuy cialisbuy propeciabuy levitrabuy somabuy cialisbuy propeciabuy levitrabuy somabuy cialisbuy levitrabuy propeciabuy soma

And now for something completely different

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

To balance out my last couple of posts which have inadvertently bordered on the macabre and gruesome, today we present some comic relief in the form of an incredibly cute video of a baby panda sneezing:

If that’s not enough for you, here’s another “awwwww” photo:

Or you could just go to Cute Overload and be done with it. Our regular (read: “bizarre”) blog programming will return soon.

Creepy advertising

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, and for many people that means outdoor cookouts with hot dogs, burgers, Bar-B-Q, and other typical “American” food. Coincidentally, today’s post from blog-buddy Supacoo (whose job has relocated her to Germany for the next two years) features a link to the European discount chain ALDI, and offers an entertaining look at how “American” products (and by extension, Americans themselves) are perceived over in Deutchland. Hot dogs in a jar, anyone?

Here is your typical American Housewife, as presented in the German ad:

I don’t know about you, but this woman scares the shit out of me. Look at that evil grin and those demon eyes, not to mention that she’s squeezing something out of a tube onto my sandwich that appears to be silicone drain sealant. After I choke to death on it, she’s going to cook ME for dinner.

Psycho-Wife joins a long and storied history of advertising models who look like they’ve just stepped out of a horror movie. For example, this kid is either eating a plate of spaghetti, or it could be brains. I’m not sure.

Next, the look on the little girl’s face below seems to indicate that she has apparently forced her mother to chop up the family dog in a meat grinder and spread the bloody offal on a sandwich for her:

Whereas there is absolutely no mistaking that this next child is, indeed, the Daughter of Satan:

Mmmm, human hearts on a plate. Bon appetit!

More people who do stuff better than I do

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Which would include roughly 99.97% of the Earth’s population, but never mind that now. If you are a fan of both photography and music, as I am, you will enjoy visiting Steve is an affable English bloke who built a beautiful house on a loch in the Scottish highlands where he lives with his family, including Charlie, a Bearded Collie whom he describes as “somewhat mad”. Steve kept a blog to document the construction of his home, which must be seen to be believed. If I ever had a “dream house”, it would look very much like the 5-bedroom eco-friendly Finnish log home (with integrated recording studio) that Steve designed and built on 200 yards of coastline in a Caledonian pine forest, with views to die for.

Steve’s music is very orchestral in nature; he now composes mainly production soundtracks for film, television, and documentaries after spending many years as a session player in London. Unlike me, he takes stunning photos, which can be seen in great detail (some can be downloaded as wallpaper) on his site. Like me, however, he is an aficionado of Bad Album Cover Art, including this delightfully tacky sample from his collection which has now become one of my favorites:

I’m sure there’s an inspirational message here, but I have no idea what it might be, and frankly, I’m not sure I want to know, as somehow this cover suggests the disturbing possibility that Freddie Gage is a mass murderer who has killed and dismembered his entire family and all his friends. At least he was careful not to get any blood on those white boots.

Words on a page

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

You should read this blog. No, not this blog … this blog. Here’s a few random quotes:

I’ve never been a fan of those “Love Is” comics (you know, with the naked children with the big methed-out eyes and scary lack of genitalia), but I’m pretty sure they never published one that read: “Love is… giving him sponge baths and cleaning up his poop as he waits for the sweet release of death.”


When you live in the same place for too long, the weird stuff starts to blend into the background. I doubt if a farmer has ever looked out on his back yard and thought, “Holy shit, look at all those fucking cows! How the hell did I end up here? Have I seriously not had a friend in the last decade who I haven’t milked?”


At some point during the evening, they casually mentioned, as if it was the most normal thing in the world, that their home is haunted by a ghost who likes to play pranks on them.

“At least once a month, we’ll wake up under our bed,” the husband told us.

“Excuse me?” I asked. “Under the bed? As in… on the floor?”

“That’s right,” he said with a giggle. “We’ll open our eyes and we’re staring up at the bed frame, wondering how the heck we got there. It was kinda spooky the first time it happened, but after awhile we just got used to it.”

Check it out. Seriously. Good. Shit.

I must admit that it intimidates me a bit to read the work of someone who blogs this well. I know it’s stupid and pointless to compare my feeble scribblings to a professional writer with many magazine credits and no less than six published books, any more than it is to judge my crappy 80′s songwriting attempts by, say, Lennon/McCartney standards. But even though there’s no way in hell I can measure up (nor should I expect to), the same thought nevertheless occurs to me that I had back then, when I thought there might be a chance I could actually become some sort of musical “artist”: I am merely average; not terrible, but not great, and certainly not good “enough”.

I have long believed that every single person on the planet has emotions and thoughts bubbling around in our brains that can be expressed in some creative way if given the opportunity — whether it be painting, photography, writing music, poetry, or any other art form. But to me, two primary qualities distinguish “average” from “great”; one, of course, being the quality of the work, but the other being sustainability. For most of us, once we get those few burning thoughts out of our systems and are reasonably pleased with our efforts, we’re spent. Done. Pack it up, that’s all she wrote. We quickly realize that while we might have a modicum of talent or ability, we have no original thoughts or emotions that haven’t already been better expressed by someone else previously.* “Why re-invent the wheel?”, a potential artist might logically ask. If I can’t be “great”, then why bother at all?

Thank God everyone doesn’t think like this, however, otherwise there would have been no words written after Shakespeare, nor would anyone have attempted to compose music after hearing Mozart. Much of what’s called “the creative process” involves some form of imitation; after all, there are only so many human emotions. How many songs throughout history (or at least within the last 50-60 years) can be distilled, at their most basic expression, down to “I love my baby”?

Nope; I’ll keep on blogging, even though so many others do it better. Millions of average writers like myself will continue to spill our average words on the page/screen, in the hope that eventually one of us will create something truly original and noteworthy that stands the test of time. It’s human nature, and if we don’t strive for it, we’ll never achieve it. Thankfully, blogs like the one I discovered today inspire me to keep trying.

*Musically speaking, to a certain extent this explains the “sophomore jinx” that many bands experience; their second effort being vastly inferior to their first, because they’ve already said whatever it was they had to say and failed to deliver on their initial promise. It is also for this reason that I think the whole idea of a “cover” recording of a signature song already well-done by a famous artist is patently absurd.

Woot me!

Monday, May 12th, 2008

I’ve discovered a new obsession fun diversion: the deal-a-day site known as Woot. Every day at midnight, they put up one item for sale at a ridiculously low price, and when they’re gone, they’re gone; it could be minutes, it could be hours. You never know what they’re going to have for sale in advance, or when an item might sell out, so the only thing to do is go there and check it out every day as soon after midnight as possible, in case it’s something you might actually want. For example, just the other day I snagged this lovely Mr. Toast T-Shirt for a mere five bucks:

Uber-fashionable, eh? Of course, I think this one would have been much more appropriate:

Vatican announces release of iPope 1.0

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

Here is an Actual News Item:

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Pope Benedict will text message thousands of young Catholics on their mobile phones during World Youth Day in Sydney in July, hoping going digital will help him connect better with a younger audience.

Even though I’m not Catholic, I think it’s great that the Pontiff is adapting to 21st century technology. Since Joseph Ratzinger became Benedict XVI, many spiritually progressive types have been hoping that he would embrace a historic opportunity for the church to finally get with the times, modernize, shake off the dust, roll some bones, and pry open some of those old dungeon doors. Well according to the Reuters article, that seems to be exactly what’s happening, and I can only guess that an IM from His Holiness might look something like this:


Note: Translation Of Papal Message For Anyone Over The Age Of 16:

“Good Heavens! Hello brothers and sisters, it is I, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. I’m so sorry I cannot meet with you face-to-face, but it is certainly great to talk to you nevertheless. Are you aware of my age, sex, and current location at this very moment? I am parked right in front of your house in my Papal Vehicle! Oh my, that is so funny, but I’m only kidding you, I have a message from Your Savior Jesus Christ the Son of God: Don’t be a person who hates others. I’m chuckling to myself now. You should always bless your girlfriend or boyfriend with many hugs and kisses … but be sure to do the right thing! What do I mean by this? I mean don’t smoke any marijuana, or watch pornography, and most importantly, always remain celibate. Honest to God, I mean it, and not only because your parents are watching you, but remember God is watching you too. So if you are sitting in front of your computer without any clothing on, put your pants back on and stop that sinful activity right now, young man! Oh my, that is so funny! Seriously, I must leave you now but I hope you will heed my helpful advice. Remember that you will always be in my prayers. Farewell, and I hope to send you another message at some point in the future.”

If Pope Benedict is able to get some props from teens as a result of this approach, I hope he will use his newfound street cred to go after Christian Rock, which is an oxymoron if ever there was one. (When Jesus returns, I personally think He might be a big fan of Pearl Jam.) And if this unorthodox method of reaching out to young people on World Youth Day succeeds, I can only assume that His Holiness would then take the next logical step: (Click on image for more detail.)

Oh yeah, I am definitely going to Hell for this.

Necisito un alka-seltzer, por favor

Monday, May 5th, 2008

We’re back! Happy Cinco de Mayo from Wind In The Wire.

We’ve timed our glorious return to the Blog Space in honor of this auspicious occasion. Now, I realize that some people may possibly confuse Cinco de Mayo with a similar ethnic holiday also celebrated in the spring, St. Patrick’s Day, but we are here to set the record straight once and for all: St. Patty’s Day is generally observed on March 17th, and involves a great deal of celebration and partying by getting totally drunk out of your mind on Guinness Stout, while in comparison, Cinco De Mayo is observed on May 5th (generally speaking) and involves a great deal of celebration and partying by getting totally drunk out of your mind on Jose Cuervo Tequila. This is an important distinction.

But seriously, today is a very important day in Mexican history, as it commemorates the historically significant birthday of, day of independence, er, I mean Battle of Hastings, New Orleans, The Bulge, um, well actually, I’m not sure; maybe one of these folks knows what Cinco de Mayo marks:

Ha ha! We’re just kidding! Of course any fool knows that Cinco De Mayo is primarily a regional and not an obligatory federal holiday which marks the initial victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, a date observed in the United States and other locations around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Furthermore, any flea-brain yahoo will tell you that a common misconception in the United States is that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day; Mexico’s Independence Day is actually September 16 (i.e., dieciséis de septiembre), which is the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico.

And naturally, it goes without saying (as any five-year old kindergarten student is well aware), that although the Mexican army was victorious over the French at Puebla, the victory only delayed the French invasion of Mexico City, and the French occupied Mexico a year later, during which time French occupying forces placed Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico, on the throne, but the French were eventually defeated and expelled in 1867, and Maximilian was executed by President Benito Juarez five years after the Battle of Puebla.

I mean, who doesn’t know that?? C’mon!

So in the spirit of this day marking the defeat of French forces by the Mexican Army, this blog sternly advises you to step away from that croissant and glass of wine, Francois, and have some chips, salsa, a big ol’ burrito and some cerveza instead. But when you wake up tomorrow morning and face the prospect of going to work with a God-awful hangover after a night of partying, eating, dancing and drinking, just don’t refer to today as “Sicko De Mayo”.


Worst album cover, ever?

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

If only the human race could be so lucky. Oh noooooooooo, there’s more.

For Shelly

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I was greatly saddened recently to learn of the death of a fellow blogger in Oregon. I first heard from Shelly around the end of 2005, when she found my blog after searching for one of my keywords (“pulmonary fibrosis”). She wrote me:

I found your blog when I first started this thing last month. I was interested in PF and lung disease in general, that’s how I found you. It was a coincidence that I found your writing interesting, as I too am a free thinker (I prefer that to dirty liberal) and thought your musings…..for lack of a better word, amusing!

As this message hints, we shared a number of things in common besides the fact that both of us had pulmonary fibrosis, including a sarcastic (some might say “twisted”) sense of humor and a general disdain for George W. Bush. For the next couple of years, we continued to send each other links to the latest news about current research and developments in lung disease, updates on the current state of our health, not to mention the occasional poop joke.

Shelly’s illness was, unfortunately, much worse than mine due to the fact that she had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 15, and large doses of prednisone over the years caused her to gain weight which further contributed to her lung problems. Nevertheless, she was one of the most positive, funny, upbeat people I’ve ever known. For the last year of her life, she was in the process of qualifying for a lung transplant (which involved a diet and exercise regimen) and was excited about the new opportunities a transplant would bring her. She was well aware of the seriousness of her condition, but her holiday greeting for 2007, while expressing a prescient fear that this might be the last Christmas she would spend with her family, also contained this message of optimism:

I just wanted to wish you a very happy and safe Christmas. May you and your families be blessed with a wonderful evening, eat too much, spoil your loved ones, and remember to tell those special people how much you love them and what they mean to you. For me, here’s to a new year! To a second chance! No more oxygen hoses and scooters. No more being scared to go out for long and having people stare at me! Oh and no more Atkins diet!!! Here’s to walking my dog and fishing with my daddy! Road Trips with Mike. To taking my nieces to the park or even Disneyland! Here’s to camping and SWIMMING! Oh and to sitting near a burning candle!


She was supposed to go to Seattle last month for her pre-transplant medical evaluation, and hoped to be placed on the waiting list for new lungs shortly thereafter. However, when I checked her web site recently to see how the visit had gone, I was shocked to learn that her condition had deteriorated very rapidly after the holidays, and she passed away on February 24. She was only 32 years old.

So here’s to Shelly; may she rest in peace, and my deepest condolences go out to her friends and family. It was her custom to close every message and blog post with the following words, so it seems most appropriate for me to end this post with them as well:

“Life is not measured by the breaths we take…but by the moments that take our breath away!”

Tiger’s tale

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

Any feline fanciers reading this blog may be glad to know that our cat Tiger came home Friday afternoon from the vet and seems to be doing OK. We’ve learned a lot about FLUTD as a result of this experience, and found that it’s much more common than we realized. Our vet has had three cats with urinary blockages brought in during the last week or two, and they all had been on a diet of Meow Mix dry formula; if you have a cat, I would strongly suggest feeding it something else.

Our own cat food budget is about to explode, as our vet has recommended keeping Tiger on Hill’s S/D and C/D prescription diet, which is specially formulated to keep his urinary pH level slightly acidic (6.2-6.4) to prevent the formulation of struvite crystals (the main cause of potentially fatal feline urinary tract blockages). It’s a delicate balance, as if the pH goes too low, a different type of crystal affecting the kidney can be formed. The S/D is about a buck-fifty per can, but it’s worth it if it will keep Tiger healthy.

We also learned that canned food is generally better for cats than dry food, as the extra moisture goes a long way towards preventing urinary problems. In fact, wet food is even preferred over prescription-formulated kibble. Taking it one step further, many vets also recommend that even if you do feed your cat only canned food, add about an extra teaspoon of water to the dish and mix it with the food into something resembling a slurry before you give to your cat. You can’t get too much moisture into their diet.

We’re happy that Tiger is doing better, but the down side is that for the next two weeks we are having to give him four pills a day, consisting of a muscle relaxant and an antibiotic dose twelve hours apart. For those who have never had the joyful experience of pilling a cat, the procedure goes something like this:

1. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your left arm, as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat’s mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth, pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Pry claws from back legs out of your arm. Go get the cat from top of wardrobe, pick up half-dissolved pill from floor and drop it into garbage can. Call partner from den.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees. Hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get partner to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Wrap cat in large towel and get partner to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink one beer to take taste away. Apply band-aid to partner’s forearm and immediately remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave only head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with a rubber band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of scotch. Pour shot and drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve the friggin’ cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie cat’s front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table. Find heavy-duty pruning loves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour a pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Consume remainder of scotch. Get partner to drive you to emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Stop at furniture shop on way home to pick out new table.

15. Arrange for SPCA to collect mutant cat. Call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.


Seriously, we would never trade Tiger for a hamster, as we love him even though he’s pretty damn useless right now … although not quite as useless as this cat.

On a totally unrelated topic, let me leave you with this useless joke: A Viennese fellow is walking along the Karntner Strasse and notices a banana peel lying in his path. “Alas,” he sighs, “now I must slip and fall down!”

Week of Suck

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Things have not been peaches and cream in Toasterville this week. To start off with, while in Houston last week for my usual round of medical tests for my pulmonary fibrosis, it was discovered that my amylase and lipase numbers were out of whack, so there’s apparently a chance I could be developing pancreatitis. Oh, joy: that’s just what I need on top of a major lung disease. I’m supposed to have some more bloodwork done in a few days and we’ll see where this goes, but it’s possible that the first test could have been a fluke. Time will tell; keep your fingers crossed.

Mostly, however, at the moment we’re worried about Tiger (below), one of our three cats, who is in the vet hospital as I write this. As they get older, male cats are particularly susceptible to a condition known as Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease, or FLUTD. It’s most serious complication occurs when crystals or calcified stones form in the bladder which then get stuck in and obstruct the cat’s urinary tract, leaving it unable to pee. Toxins build up quickly, and if the situation isn’t recognized and the blockage treated right away, the cat can die within hours. It’s a very serious condition, and one of the top three killer diseases (along with kidney failure and feline leukemia) in domestic cats.

Late Saturday night, we became aware that Tiger was showing symptoms of a blockage and seemed to be in pain. Fortunately, our vet was on-call for the weekend, and we made an emergency trip to her clinic where she unblocked Tiger with a catheter and kept him under observation until Monday. It was a close call; another few hours could have been fatal. After he came back home, we thought he was out of the woods … until yesterday, when his symptoms reappeared. However, we were watching him closely as we knew exactly what to look for this time, and got him right back to the vet. The second trip will mean having to leave the catheter in place for a couple of days to give his system more time to clear out the crystals, and treatment with antibiotics and other medicine. Even so, there’s no guarantee it still won’t happen again; some cats are just predisposed to it — genetics, perhaps — and it’s possible this could be the case with Tiger. In any event, assuming all goes well, we should be able to bring him home on Friday, and it’s very likely that we’ll have to keep him on a special diet from now on.

I have to tell you the little guy is a fighter, though, and I have high hopes that he’s going to make it. I’ll never forget the first time we saw him in our back yard, nearly seven years ago. As best as we can figure, some asshat with an aversion to taking kittens to the animal shelter had dumped him and his three sisters over the chain link fence into our yard, where they had been living under our tool shed for a few weeks or possibly longer. By this time they were on the very edge of feral, and it took us nearly another month to coax them out and allow us to feed them. To get them out from under the cold, dirty shed I built a big wooden shelter box (complete with a shingled roof and carpeted sun porch!) for them and put it right outside our back door, and they soon adopted it. Often I would turn on the back porch light during the night to check on them, and laugh to see four little heads pop up like furry jacks-in-the-box from inside the shelter.

During that period when they were learning to trust us, but not quite sure yet, Tiger was always the alpha male, and seemed to relish the role of “man of the family”. He would bravely take the lead when they approached us, standing protectively between us and his sisters while meowing defiantly. Eventually they came to accept us, and we were able to move them safely indoors. We found homes for two of them, but kept Tiger and his sister Callie (the tortoise-shell in the photo), and they’ve been beloved members of our family ever since. We’ve acquired one more in the meantime, and now have a happy three-cat household.

So that’s what is seriously bugging me this week. Oh, and let’s also not forget (a) the screen on my less-than-a-year-old iPod clone (a Sansa e250) cracked today, rendering it a $90 paperweight; (b) I took the first whack at our income taxes last night, and we may have to cough up the better part of a thousand bucks to dear ol’ Uncle Sam; (c) I’ve been told the ToastMobile needs a new set of tires a.s.a.p., which means I’ll have to pull yet another $500 out of my ass somehow; (d) Mrs. T. learned on Monday that a University field trip which had been scheduled for next year, where she would have presented papers at two prestigious international library conferences in Korea and Taiwan, was canceled due to lack of funding, and; (e) my dear Blogger friend and fellow cookie-lover Moose is struggling with the trauma of a major breakup.

And shit, folks, it’s only Wednesday.

The stars must not be in proper alignment this week; hope things are going better for you.

Shocking photo!

Monday, March 31st, 2008

WiTW Exclusive!


A young boy is shown about to fearlessly jump on the back of the gigantic flying beast in this exclusive pic taken by Mr. Toast during a brief mini-vacation last weekend in Galveston, Texas. However, shortly after this photo was snapped the colossal Columba Livia Domestica took flight and was last seen heading out over the Gulf of Mexico. Florida beware!

The seal deal

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Judging by the reaction to Tuesday’s pig post, today’s entry should really get y’all worked up … and I sincerely hope it does.

Friday, March 28 begins the season when hundreds of thousands of Harp Seal pups — many only 12 to 15 days old — will be brutally clubbed to death in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near Newfoundland during the annual Canadian Seal Hunt; the ice will run red with blood in the largest slaughter of marine mammals on Earth. The main method of killing seals is with a hakapik, a heavy wooden club with a hammer head and metal hook on the end. The use of guns is also allowed, but the hakapik is preferred because the seal can be killed without damage to its pelt. The hammer head is used to crush the skull, while the hook is used to move the carcass. Because time is of the essence, hunters attempt to kill and skin as many animals in as short a time as possible, resulting in many seals being wounded but managing to escape back into the water where they die a slow and painful death, or often being skinned while still alive.

Even though this cruelty has been condemned world-wide for years by many animal rights organizations including the Humane Society, the Canadian government continues to staunchly defend the barbaric practice largely for economic reasons. But there is much skepticism regarding these claims. “The seal hunt provides very low economic returns for Canada, Newfoundland and individual sealers,” reports the Humane Society. “In light of the negative impact the seal hunt has on Canada’s international reputation, its continuation cannot be justified on economic grounds.”

This year’s slaughter has had a new and alarming additional development: the Canadian government has denied journalists and animal rights activists permits to observe and document the hunt tomorrow morning, even though observation of the seal hunt is a right guaranteed under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Read Wayne Pacelle’s blog post for more information.

I’ve had to think long hard about this in light of my previous post, and to be honest, it’s been a bit troubling for me; am I a hypocrite to be so strongly opposed to the slaughter of baby seals in Canada, while at the same time being blasé about killing baby pigs in Texas? After all, the seal hunters would probably cite some of the same reasons for their actions as I did in my recent post about the pigs: they could argue that the seals are overpopulated and they’re just keeping their numbers under control, or that the seals are a nuisance and do much economic damage by decimating crops — codfish — that are normally harvested for human consumption, or (correctly) claim that the hunt is legal and protected by the government. So what’s the difference? Is it because seals are cute, furry and lovable while hogs are ugly, hairy, and smelly? Is it because my rural relatives have been personally affected by feral hogs, while I don’t know anyone directly involved with seals? Is it because I’ve eaten pork products all my life (sorry, veggers) while I would never — ever — consume seal meat? I’m not sure, but I am cognizant of the fact that this double standard doesn’t leave me on very solid moral ground, and anyone reading this is fully justified to call me on it.

Nevertheless, I am still horrified about the carnage that will be taking place on Friday, and have added my signature to a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister at I urge you to do so too, or if you feel so inclined, join the boycott of Canadian seafood and other products.

Because this little guy needs your help.

Update 3/30/08 – Hunt Turns Tragic

Three sealers have died and one other is missing and presumed drowned after their fishing vessel capsized while being towed through rough ice by the Canadian Coast Guard on Saturday. The accident occurred off Cape Breton NS while the boat was on its way to cull seal herds in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Several hours later, seven more sealers had to be rescued by helicopter when their boat began taking on water and sank. The incidents prompted a fresh wave of appeals from conservationists for Canada to call off its annual seal hunt once and for all.

This little piggie went to market

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! We visited the brother-and-sister-in-law, who live on sixty acres of pasture land out in the country near Austin. As is the case with many Texas farmers, ranchers, and other landowners, wild hogs are a big problem for them. The population of feral pigs has exploded in the Lone Star State in the last few years and is now estimated at between two and four million. Once a sow reaches breeding age at 7 or 8 months, she can produce up to one thousand piglets during her lifetime. At full growth they average 100 to 150 pounds, but in certain regions can reach up to 500-600 pounds. Among many forms of destructive behavior, feral pigs tear up fences, destroy crops with their rooting and wallowing, compete with native deer for food sources, carry disease and parasites, and some even kill lambs and other livestock.

To try and get rid of them, my brother-in-law has contracted with a local trapper who will catch and haul them off for free in exchange for their meat, which is supposedly even tastier than domestic pork. While we were there, they nabbed two adult swine and several piglets. Easter Ham, anyone?

This week in history

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Last weekend was my and Mrs. Toast’s anniversary, and without disclosing exactly how long we’ve been married, let me just say that our wedding happened sometime during the Reagan administration. Yes, we may be old, but we’re funky. True story: when Mrs. Toast’s father realized how much it was going to cost him to marry off his (second!) daughter at a big fancy church wedding, he jokingly offered to pay for a trip to Hawaii if we would agree to elope to Las Vegas instead. Much to his surprise, we took him up on it, and spent our honeymoon at Kauai’s legendary Coco Palms Resort, where Elvis filmed “Blue Hawaii” in 1961. At the hotel, Don Ho even personally sang “Tiny Bubbles” to us while actual bubbles from some sort of special-effects bubble machine hidden in the ceiling landed in our dinner salads. It was so awesome I nearly cried, mainly because the salads cost $8.99 each and the bubbles did not exactly enhance their flavor.

Anyway, having become naturally accustomed to the high-roller lifestyle as a result of this experience, we splurged for a mini-vacation here last weekend. Now one might think that such luxe surroundings would be more than enough to celebrate 20-some-odd years of wedded bliss, but no! I still had a trick up my sleeve — I took my dear wife out for dinner to a restaurant which featured this sign prominently displayed over the front door:

Pretty damn classy, eh? Bring on the Margaritas!

Oh my God, it’s full of stars!

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

I was saddened to learn of the passing of one of my childhood inspirations, science-fiction writer extraordinaire Arthur C. Clarke, who died today at the age of 90 at his home in Sri Lanka from breathing problems associated with post-polio syndrome, which he had battled for years. Known for such classic novels as “Earthlight”, “Islands in the Sky”, and “The Hammer of God” among many others, he will no doubt best be remembered for “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick to produce the movie of the same name. Those of a particular age and proclivity will recall “2001″ as one of those rite-of-passage films best experienced under the influence of certain, shall we say, “attitude-enhancements”, which had a tendency to cause the viewer to exclaim “Oh, wow!” during various pivotal scenes. Nevertheless, even if one didn’t indulge, it was still a mind-bending flick on many levels.

Like the scientist/author Sir Fred Hoyle before him, Clarke often wrote about a technologically advanced but prejudiced mankind being confronted by a superior alien intelligence. Not only a brilliant and creative writer, he was also a futurist; in 1945 he predicted the idea of communications satellites in geosynchronous orbit, and advanced the idea of space travel long before rockets were even test-fired.

He wrote his shortest-ever story in 2006 as an entry to Wired magazine’s “Very Short Story” contest. The entire text (“God said, ‘Cancel Program GENESIS.’ The universe ceased to exist.”) was four words longer than the contest rules allowed, but he refused to trim it.

Last year at his 90th birthday celebration, he was asked how he would like to be remembered. “I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter,” he replied. “Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer.”

And that he shall. Open the pod bay doors, Hal.

The Hooker and the Governor

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Hi there, friends! I’m ashamed to say that it’s been nearly two weeks since I last posted, which means I have entirely missed out on blogging about the Eliot Spitzer affair — an event custom-made for snarky wise cracks if ever there was one. But better late than never, as they say, so let me make a couple of observations:

• I’ve read many comments along the lines of “Is anyone/anything really worth $3,000 an hour?” Obviously The Gov thought so, however to put this in perspective, that rate comes to an annual salary of roughly $6.2 million (assuming a 40 hour week and paid vacations). So, to see who else might be getting that sort of money, I consulted Forbes Magazines’ 2007 survey of the highest-paid CEO’s in the corporate world and found that their average annual compensation was $15.2 million — or about the cost of two 7-diamond escorts and one somewhat skankier 3-diamond model. The top dog on the list was Apple CEO Steve Jobs at $646.6 million, followed by Ray Irani of Occidental Petroleum at $321.6 million, and one could make the argument that they’ve been screwing the public for years. Of course, whether the Chief Escort Officers on the Forbes list are actually worth that amount is another question. Ashley Alexandra Dupre earned outstanding performance reviews from her clients, probably higher than Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee Scott Jr., for example, who brought home $9 million in ’06 while his company’s stock tanked.

• The high cost of “Kristin’s” er, “professional services” naturally lends itself to all sorts of jokes. This blog is of course way too classy to print such things (hah!), however anyone so inclined can go here for some suitably ribald humor. (Caution: not only unsafe for work, but tasteless too; don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

• Ms. Dupre may have made the understatement of the year when she called her father the day after Emperor’s Club VIP was busted to say that she “was in a little bit of trouble.” However, she’s also shown herself to be a resourceful girl, turning lemons into lemonade by using her 15 minutes of fame to promote her MySpace site and singing career. She better get on the ball fast though, for as points out, “Sadly, you’ve already used up six and a half minutes of it with two underwhelming songs.” Like many others, I downloaded “What We Want” and “Move Ya Body”, thinking they might make an interesting addition to my radio show next week. However, I quickly discarded that idea after listening to them, because to be perfectly honest, they suck.

Which, when you think about it, is highly appropriate.