29 December 2005
Meanwhile, in other movie biz news, Mickey Kaus may be on to something (or not):
All I know is that if they're herding sheep, they ain't cowboys. Call it a gay shepherd movie. 'Cowboy' is a term describing what you do, not the hat you wear.
BoxOfficeMojo has no figures for how Brokeback Mountain did Tuesday, 12/27. According to the B.O.M. site, this means the movie's "studio is no longer tracking it on a daily basis." If this universal love story is capturing the hearts of mainstream America as Frank Rich said it would, Focus Features should want to tell us! (Do they actually not know the results? Or are they just clamming up?)
He shot a couple of photos with his huge, silly phone, and wrote about the oredeal on his blog. He was looking closely at the comments made by readers, and noticed something funny:
Like I said–these just originated from an IP address registered to them according to my Wordpress comment logs; I don’t know if they’re from actual Alaska employees, or maybe just hackers using Alaska’s IP address. But according to my server logs and a simple WHOIS lookup, they all came from an IP address registered to Alaska Airline, Inc.Stop surfing blogs and get back to the ticket counter.
You are what you drive, but only to certain point. At some point you have to return to the machine its dignity.
27 December 2005
Ted Stevens didn’t resign from Congress. Why not? Because it was all a show, just smoke and mirrors. Congress removed the requirement that Alaska use the money for the bridges to nowhere. But the state still got the money – a $454 million blank check. And sure enough, Gov. Frank Murkowski has included money for both bridges in his new state budget. Murkowski, who used to be a senator himself, works closely with the state’s congressional delegation. Indeed, when he was elected governor, he searched the length and breadth of the great state of Alaska to find a qualified replacement and eventually found her across the breakfast table – his daughter, Lisa, who now works hand in hand with Stevens and Young to keep the funding pipeline flowing.Sell Alaska back to Russia.
25 December 2005
After we dropping off the family matriarch following Christmas on White Bear Lake, Mrs. Octane and I watched Donovan's Reef, which is a pretty good Christmas movie overall. Sure, it's wall-to-wall Polynesian stereotypes and woman-handling swagger from The Duke, but it's also one where the guy gets the girl, and everything works out in the end. Take that, Frank Capra.
It's been unseasonably warm on The Tundra this week of Festuvis, which made River Falls a bit less magical Christmas Eve, but I was able to usher out 12/25 out of doors accompanied by a fine Flor-Fina 858 and a double bird. I suppose Christmas was for me a bit of what everyone gets; some warmth, some relaxation, a chance to play Chinese Checkers with a 7-year old, and letting yourself get harpooned by those destined to betray your trust. It's a chance to see your NHL team put the hurt to a fancier outfit, and a chance to tie on the fish with friends; you know, all the traditional stuff.
I also was able to demonstrate I wasn't crazy to my domestic associate. In the bathroom this afternoon, I heard Christmas music, and asked aloud where it came from. Mrs. Octane suggested I might have a head full of bad wiring as the bathroom radio wasn't on, the bedroom clock radio wasn't on, the PC was off, the hi-fi in the living room was off, and nothing in the basement shop was fired up either. Look, I don't have 20/20 hearing, but I know I heard Christmas music. I was starting to think that the cast radiators and iron plumbing at Chateau Octane were pulling an orthodonture/receiver trick on me. Thankfully, I was redeemed later when we went outside, and she conceded that there was literally Christmas music in the air in our neighborhood. We never found the source, but that doesn't matter, as I was no longer on my way to the rubber room.
So I got some Nat King Cole, some Russel Stover, and a reprieves from both the polar ice cap and Nurse Ratched. I got a chat with my Canadian/Austrian grandma, got hugs from other people's kids, and got crapped upon right out in the open. Here's to a better 2006 for all of us.
22 December 2005
Three people were stabbed early Wednesday at a Manhattan club that was hosting a record release party for a new collection of duets featuring slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. Authorities could not confirm reports that the party was attended by Sean "Diddy" Combs and Notorious B.I.G.'s mother, Voletta Wallace. The two co-produced the new "Duets" record, which pairs the rapper's vocals with Eminen, Jay-Z and other artists. Police said that at 3:10 a.m., patrol officers heard gunfire at a parking garage near the club. Inside, they found three men with gunshot wounds; all were taken to the hospital in stable condition.Part 2
Approximately 2,000 people packed a church in South Los Angeles to pay tribute to Stanley Tookie Williams, who was executed by the state of California last week. Williams founded the gang the Crips and was executed for murdering four people in 1979. The gathering featured celebrities, civil rights leaders and gang members. Among those speaking at the service were the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. As the funeral ended, 100 doves were released out of the church. There were some brief scuffles between rival gang members after the service and three shots were heard outside the church, causing some to duck for cover.Part 3
Three men who clubbed a man to death in the back of an ambulance during a clash between rival gangs have been convicted of murder. Zak Mayanja, 18, Narcis Danila, 22, and Christian Sakyi, 18, were in a mob of up to 20 who beat up Eugen Breahna in Bounds Green, north London, in January. Mr Breahna ran into the ambulance attending another incident thinking he would be safe, (b)ut the mob, armed with iron bars, followed him in and killed him.
What I took away from it was anger in seeing a single labor(?) union allowed to idle the billions of dollars of publicly-owned transportation infrastructure; they were not the union's buses to idle, they belong to all of us.
Like the MCTO strike, the New York City transit strike is run by the same union thugs, but New York City is clearly a place that needs busses, subways, ferrys, tunnels, hovercraft and particle-based transport.
From the desk of Jane Galt:
The people being hurt by the strike, unfortunately, are mostly people who make less than the transit workers do. Small businesses are being gutted by this; the last few days before Christmas is the busiest time of the year for most retail establishments, and their customers can't get to them. One of the news shows had small businessmen complaining that this was going to bankrupt them, and I've no doubt that it's true for at least some of New York's retail stores, which often operate on a shoestring. Meanwhile, poor workers, who tend to work hourly, are losing salary that they can ill-afford.The TWU in New York is so blinded by hubris they cannot see that they are angering and alienating people across the spectrum; the Wall Street trader, the parents of pre-schoolers, the service employees, the immigrant looking for jobs, etc. The only good that comes of this whole affair is that taxpayers are reminded of the economic fantasy-land into which the public union employees are deposited.
Craig posted this on WCBS-TV's website:
Their greed and total lack of caring for tens of thousands of merchants and millions of riders and tourists daily on a holiday week is inexcusable. How dare they cause this kind of loss and inconvenience to so many for their "bad treatment" by the city. They are public employees. They work for us. They are not entitled to balk at what we, the people, are willing to pay for the services they render. It is supply and demand. It is capitalism. The alternative is communism. Imagine if Starbucks employees walked out on the job because they couldn't get $60,000 a year, retire with pension at 52, and couldn't get fired for bad job performance, etc. but to pay for these things, a cup of coffee would need to cost $8. That is insane.
If there is a surplus, why not roll back the prices of commutation? Why give ANY more to these unskilled thugs who think menial laborers (many of which have no higher education or skills) are entitled to more rights, benefits than the rest of us. I, nor any of my friends or acquaintances have not had a raise in years. We get no insurance or retirement benefits. Why would a guy who is basically a glorified taxi driver or cashier have these excess benefits when the rest of the non-communist world does not????
There should be salary caps for government jobs. If you don't like the caps, then find a job that does pay more. In this world where skilled labor jobs are being farmed out to India, Pakistan and various other Third world countries, that earn less than $50 a year for highly skilled IT jobs, how dare these unskilled laborers have such outrageous demands. They will bankrupt the country, and they don't care. As long as they retire at 52 and the Mafia (read as TWU) gets their taste, they could care less that their actions contribute to the demise of our society.
Where's Reagan when you need him?
Below are some highlights from the Restaurant Confidential column by Andrew Zimmerman from the December 2005 issue of Mpls/St. Paul Magazine. Mpls/St.Paul is the kind of magazine that's made for the lobby of a dentist's office, which is where I read it yesterday. I'm not much of a fine diner, but I can identify with most of it, and I really like the place from which it comes (sorry, no real link):
New Rules for 2006
Inane server-speak must stop, right now. Nothing annoys me more-or sounds more amatuerish-than a server who won't stop talking. I do not need to know your name or be told that you are going to be "taking care" of me. Please do not sit down at an empty seat at my table or kneel next to me to make me feel more comfy in our new found relationship. If recounting special offerings not listed on the menu, it is never okay to begin your sentence with "Tonight we are doing a . . ." -unless, of course, you are also doing the cooking.
Language and grammer abuses will no longer be tolerated. "Today's soup du jour" or "with an au jus sauce" is just the tip of the iceberg. When you mix two languages, it just gets worse. But perhaps more depressing is the verbiage. In responce to this crisis, some restaurants have takent to paring the menu to a pretnetious few words, usually nouns. It infuriates me when I see a listing such as "Sea Bass, Pousse Pieds, Curry-Carrot Emulsion," which means I need a five-minute conversation with my server, who doesn't know what it tastes like because he doesn't like fish. Let's make it simple: Tell me what's on the plate, how it's cooked, and use conjnctions. They work.
Consider wine service as important as any aspect of the dining experience. When a server is taking a drink order before dinner, it is not appropriate to try to sell a bottle of wine. Wine is not properly a cocktai, despite how it's treated by the chardonnay-cabernet crowd. Those who really appreciate wine don't know what wine they want until they know what they will be eating. Servers also need to know the wine list cold and pronounce the names properly. But wine-critic talk is taking it too far. Don't tell me the red has a "chocolate nose with a tobacco finish" when all I really want to know whether it works with my lanmb shank. And if you take the order, the wine better be in stock.
Do not remove my plate when I have the last bit of food in my mouth-in fact, do not remove it until all dineres at the table are finished. And don't ask, "Still workin' on that?" to gauge wheter I've finished.
21 December 2005
BERLIN - The German government disclosed Tuesday that it recently freed a Hezbollah member who had been convicted of hijacking a TWA airliner in 1985 and murdering a U.S. sailor, a move that allowed him to return to his native Lebanon despite long-standing requests from the United States to hand him over for trial.
Mohammed Ali Hammadi, 41, walked out of a German prison Thursday after a parole board concluded that he was eligible for early release, German officials said. Hammadi served nearly 19 years of a life sentence for air piracy, possession of explosives and the murder of Robert Dean Stethem, a U.S. sailor from Waldorf, Md. Stethem, a passenger on board TWA flight 847 from Athens to Rome, was singled out for brutal treatment by the hijackers because of his military status.
In a move proving that the new government of Lebanon has more sense and more courage than Berlin, the terrorist that tortured and killed an American Navy diver in 1985 got arrested almost immediately on his arrival. Acting in concert with US intelligence, Lebanese officials detained Mohammed Ali Hamadi and will hold him while they consider a request for his extradition to the US.
20 December 2005
That's from Nayla Tueni, daughter of Gerban Tueni, who vows to keep her father's voice alive. Gerban was a Lebanese journalist who wrote critically of the way Syria stomps on Lebanon on a daily basis. Gerban was assasinated by a car bomb last week. Imagine that.
A nice piece about Gerban Tueni in Time Magazine:
Tueni's eyes momentarily froze at the suggestion that his dogged pursuit was putting him at even greater risk. "That's what journalists have to do, get out the truth, isn't it?" he asked. He was trying to convince himself that the assassins wouldn't come looking for him in the end. He explained that the Syrians knew that he had been honest and consistent in his criticism, that he was no political opportunist. "Even among people in that regime, there is some kind of honor," he reassured me. That was Tueni's optimism for you.I'm not holding by breath for the UN to either complete the paperwork to investigate Syrain assainations in Lebanon, or to actually do anything about it. God knows I'd like to have more faith in the UN, but they have never been more impotent.
Tip to Eugene Volokh
Norwegian companies will from next year be obliged to contribute to the pensions of all employees after the country's parliament on Tuesday passed a bill on mandatory payments to the king for signing.Ooops; no matter how big government gets, it cannot carry the water it promised to. Meanwhile, across the Gulf of Bothnia:
Norway is one of Europe's wealthiest countries, but the ageing of its population will put pressure on its relatively generous state pension system in the future, a prospect the centre-left government is trying to pre-empt.
Public sector workers and about half the employees of private businesses are already covered by voluntary schemes provided by their employers. But 500,000-600,000 employees, or about 25 per cent of the Norwegian workforce, have until now relied on the state pension.
Finland's parliament yesterday approved the abolition of the country's levy on wealth. One hundred and thirty four lawmakers voted for the reform and 45 opposed it. The wealth tax will be abandoned in 2006. Currently, assets such as properties and securities worth over €185,000 ($220,500) are taxes at 0.9 per cent a year. Cash in bank accounts is exempt.
Shirtless waiters wearing black ties and riding boots served guests flutes of champagne. The nightclub, once a strip club known as Raymond's Revue Bar, reatures an auditorium with red leather and banquette seating, a bar decorated with Swarovski crystals, chairs dipped in rubber and sculptured glass walls.To quote Dr. Evil: "Riiiiiiiiiiiight . . ."
18 December 2005
Que Ondo Guera by The Mae Shi
The Hours by Gene Serene & John Downfall
Click by Simian Mobile Disco
Valse D'Ameile by Badi Assad
Galaxies by Laura Veirs
Bambi by Gus Gus (which is not a dirt bike manufacturer)
Song for Sunshine by Belle & Sebastian
Ungawa by Chow Nasty
The Message of Old by Ken Booth & Joe Higgs
Sherburne by The Alabama Sacred Heart Singers
and for the holidays, Christmas on Riverside Drive by August Darnell
But don't ask why you can't hear this stuff. Hell, you may not even like any of it, music being so subjective, but don't worry about ever having to decide for yourself. Terrestrial radio will save you from new music by feeding you the same, predictable, computer-generated, pre-chewed, pharmacy soundtrack to which you've become accustomed.
Some see a winter wonderland, others will see an old, poorly insulated south-facing roof. Some will be astonished by the spectacle of 3 degrees Fahrenheit, and others will wince at the chill and the 4:20 PM sunset. I post the picture because perhaps you, like me, want to know what it looks like in other places. Simple as that; what's it look like in _______?
For the visually curious, here's a cool site; a picture database sorted by geography. Zoom in on the map to get more specific locations.
15 December 2005
"Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son."
Erik at Almost on the Range starts out with a harpoon for his pathetic mayor, and winds up fisking the Duluth newspaper.
Amazingly, the Strib story is full of grief for one of its DFL own.
"Mr. Bergson was not at all cooperative," said Washburn County (Wis.) District Attorney J. Michael Bitney of the single-vehicle accident that led to Bergson's arrest on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. "He was trying to get the hell out of Dodge."
(Bergson) e-mailed that, "I hit a patch of ice." Wisconsin state trooper Anthony DeStefano's report said, "The road conditions were good. The roadway was relatively dry." "I received lacerations to the head and face," Bergson e-mailed. "I have sore arms, shoulders and neck. My seat belt probably kept me in the car, but the airbag did not work." Trooper DeStefano wrote that "It looked like the driver was not wearing his seat belt, and the driver's head hit the steering column and windshield."
LONDON - Virgin Galactic, the British company created by entrepreneur Richard Branson to send tourists into space, and New Mexico announced an agreement Tuesday for the state to build a $225 million spaceport.
Naturally, the story made me think of this t-shirt.
13 December 2005
It’s a superconductor [a material which has no electric resistance (at a certain temperature)]. Notice that liquid nitrogen is poured into the reservoir. When certain metals and ceramics are cooled to temperatures close to absolute zero (-459 F or -273 C), they have no electrical resistance allowing electrons to flow through them freely - that’s what’s necessary to cause the levitation. The floating effect results from the other object being a regular strength magnet and at room temperature. The superconductor is nonmagnetic when the nitrogen is added, the meissner effect occurs and the superconductor is now perfectly magnetic. The smaller, regular magnet now floats as if it was suspended over a large regular magnet (like an electromagnet).
12 December 2005
You may want to meet Cory Maye now, because you may not get a change to later. Unlike that asshat murdering punk Li'l Tookie, Maye's death sentence seems very ripe for more and wider review, if not outright overturning. Radley Balko has done all the heavy lifting here:
Let's summarize: Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect (and the police were in the wrong residence! -OctaneBoy). The man, frightened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. He's later convicted and sentenced to death by a white jury. The man has no criminal record, and police rather tellingly changed their story about drugs (rather, traces of drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.
The story gets more bizarre from there.
Death row clemency has everything to do with the circumstances of the original crimes, not what the convicted uses to pass the time in the jug. All the fabulous people who are feeding at the Big Media Teat that is the Stanley Williams case should all be grossly ashamed of themselves for taking an ignorant pass on Cory Maye. When you have read the above series of events, consider Mississippi's capital murder law:
The killing of a human being without the authority of law by any means or in any manner shall be capital murder in the following cases: (a) Murder which is perpetrated by killing a peace officer or fireman while such officer or fireman is acting in his official capacity or by reason of an act performed in his official capacity, and with knowledge that the victim was a peace officer or fireman . . .
Here's more from Radley Balko on this, which fleshes this case out further, and, no, you are not too busy to read it all.
UPDATE: A unexpected bolt from Syl Jones' blue:
It is fashionable to decry the death penalty as cruel and unusual punishment, as barbaric and even medieval. This is part of modern society's unfortunate propensity to delay or completely obliterate the laws of natural consequences. Endless pleadings -- sickness, extenuating circumstances, born under a bad sign and the devil made me do it -- benefit lawyers and civil libertarians in search of new causes. It makes suckers of the rest of us. Where is Ramsey Clark when you really need him? In Iraq defending another "innocent" named Saddam Hussein, or surely he'd be in Sacramento pleading for Tookie.
Those who claim to be interested in justice and mercy while doing all they can to glorify people like Williams need to understand what this man represents: He is still a certified street hero to many young people in California because he demanded "respect" by killing others. His celebrity status will skyrocket if his sentence is commuted, and the young people who look up to him now will be forever bragging about how he successfully gamed the system.
The impulse to show mercy in response to true repentance can be a healing agent. But misguided compassion creates moral confusion that might make some of us feel better while ultimately lowering the community standard for acceptable behavior. Sometimes bad people do good things, too. But good works done by evil people always reek of self-interest and cynicism.
Dec 11 vs Buffalo, tied 2-2 after leading 2-1, give up game-winner with 3:32 to play, lose.
Dec 10 at Philadelphia, tied 2-2 after coming back from 2-0, give up game-winner with :53 to play, lose.
Nov 23 vs Edmonton, tied 3-3, give up game-winner with :50 to play, lose.
Nov 14 at Calgary, tied 2-2, give up game-winner with 1:07 to play, lose.
Oct 28 at Columbus, tied 1-1, give up game-tieing goal with :42 to play, lose in shootout.
Image: "Charcoal Agony" by Tyler McPherson
09 December 2005
Now playing at Block E, the "entertainment" district in downtown Minneapolis, "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight." There was a shootout at the Block E underground parking garage, involving five suspects, two cars, and up to ten shots fired. Oh yeah, some crack was reportedly found in one of the cars too. Fortunately, the shooters weren't crack marksmen and no one was hurt.Try searching the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website for this story. Just try to find it. Rambix, naturally, is all over it, with a video link.
This morning on a talk radio station the loud host brought up this story, along with another one about the increase in burglary and robbery in spendy, trendy Linden Hills. Some nitwit named Nancy called from Minneapolis to say perhaps the stupidest thing I've ever heard: She informed the loud host (who is a city-dweller, and adamantly prefers city life) that if he didn't like these events, he should move out of the city. What the hell? Stick your head in the sand and embrace and accept the current state of crime? Then she went further to say that there wouldn't be so much crime if "people didn't have so much money." There you have it; the voting public in the lefty-progressive theme park called Minneapolis.
While your looking for the mere existence of coverage of either of these stories in the Minneapolis paper, see if you can find any trace of MayorBoy.
I fear that in the run-up to the 2004 election, the administration is considering what is tantamount to a cut-and-run strategy. Their sudden embrace of accelerated Iraqification and American troop withdrawal dates, without adequate stability, is an invitation to failure. The hard work of rebuilding Iraq must not be dictated by the schedule of the next American election.
I have called for the administration to transfer sovereignty, and they must transfer it to the Iraqi people as quickly as circumstances permit. But it would be a disaster and a disgraceful betrayal of principle to speed up the process simply to lay the groundwork for a politically expedient withdrawal of American troops. That could risk the hijacking of Iraq by terrorist groups and former Ba'athists. Security and political stability cannot be divorced. Security must come first . . .
Tip to the Powerline guys.
08 December 2005
I'm looking for someone who was going to vote Conservative in the last election but changed their minds along the way because they were scared, freaked out or worried about the Conservatives, the Conservative agenda or its leader. So, instead, they voted Liberal. Now you're facing the same dilemma this time. If this describes you AND you are willing to travel for a couple of days next month AND you are willing to appear on television then please get in touch immediately.Imagine there's no one checking the power of establishment government. It's easy if you try.
06 December 2005
By the way, with regards to the abject failure to bring down the Zip Feed Mill via explosives, that was not my fault. I was nowhere near Sioux Falls.
Anyway, consider yourself caught up.
I just went through a 56 picture slideshow on Yahoo news. 56 photos of weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth by all the Hollywood phonies, Black Panther retreads, professionally compassionate, and usual guilt-addled suspects, and not a single photo or mention of the people who've had their lives destroyed by this trash.
Stanley Williams was convicted for murders of 4 people in 1979. Their names were Albert Owens, Yen-Yi Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and Ye-Chen Lin. You won't find their names anywhere in all this disgusting adulation for the Took-man. It's easy to forget reality when you're riding the horse of celebrity.
Williams executed Albert Owens with two close-range shotgun blasts while robbing a 7-11 on Whittier Boulevard in Pico Rivera. He got $120.00 out of that. About two weeks later, he killed three members of a family with shotgun blasts while robbing their motel on Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles. That got him about $100.00 more.
The celebrity worship/Big News/cool kids syndicate wants the governor to stay the execution. These empty vessels and "progressive" freaks love to play the race and class cards in calling for clemency for Williams, which only makes their words all the more ironic, that is, if they'd take time out of their busy public appearance schedules to consider the race and class of the victims who were blown to shreds 26 years ago.
In addition to his thorough resume of direct homocides, Williams also established the Crips street gang on the west side of Los Angeles. Take all the time you want, but there is no way to calculate all the death, tragedy, and mayhem created by this gangland scum and all the gangland scum that followed him.
I don't care if he's found Jesus. I don't care if he writes books for children. I don't care if he's repentant, and I certainly don't care if someone who played Williams in a movie thinks his muse should live on for consultation on a possible sequel. Those things do not bring back the murdered, nor do they erase or forgive the barbaric and racist actions of debris like Li'l Tookie.
Fry Stanley "Tookie" Williams. Fry him now.
01 December 2005
WASHINGTON - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday embraced a call by a prominent member of her rank-and-file to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq two weeks after she declined to endorse it.I sure hope the editors of the Congressional Record have spare backspace keys. Who can keep track of these notates, and who keeps voting for them?
Two weeks ago, (Rep. John) Murtha called for U.S. troops to begin returning home and said a complete pullout could be achieved in six months. At the time, Pelosi emphasized that Murtha spoke only for himself, and not for her or the Democratic caucus.
A day after Murtha's Nov. 17 announcement, Republicans sought to put the House on record rejecting immediate withdrawal and forced a vote just before adjourning for Thanksgiving break. Most in the minority party, including Pelosi and Murtha, voted against immediate withdrawal in what they said was a protest, making the tally 403-3 against it.
"Goodnight Moon," the children's classic by Margaret Wise Brown, has gone smoke-free. In a newly revised edition of the book, which has lulled children to sleep for nearly 60 years, the publisher, HarperCollins, has digitally altered the photograph of Clement Hurd, the illustrator, to remove a cigarette from his hand. "It is potentially a harmful message to very young kids," (Kate) Jackson (editor in chief of HarperCollins Children's Books) said, "and it doesn't need to be there."The Inevitable Result:
In the great green room there was ... A cordless telephone. And a red balloon, non-helium and securely tethered out of toddler reach. And a picture of the cow jumping over the moon, with a warning label never to try this with cattle or indeed any animals without parental supervision. And there were three little bears, roaming freely in their native habitat, secure in their endangered-species status. And two little neutered kittens. And a pair of mittens, purchased from a Cambodian collective.Read the whole thing.