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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Union address versus satirical fake news

Jon Stewart at the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear CC 2.0
“If you watch the news and don't like it, then this is your counter program to the news.”
~ Jon Stewart ~

Today is not necessarily a slow news day as there are articles galore to read, ponder and discuss.

A favorite topic for the last several days seems to be predictions that pundits are making about the contents of President Obama’s State of the Union address tonight. Heady stuff indeed, if you happen to be a journalist and make the correct call.

Take your pick for suggested talking points; it could be the deficit, healthcare, jobs, Afghanistan, foreclosures, banking regulation – perhaps all of the above plus more - the list is pressing and seems endless.

Then again, maybe in light of so many national concerns we should turn our attention to something more frivolous.

The video below will momentarily take your mind off reality; it’s a satirical fake-news segment that was produced several months ago by The Onion, the Chicago-based tabloid and online news source, which often creates controversial news of its own.

In my humble opinion, I wish the problems facing our country were a bit more like this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The color of transparency...

“And while some people have to be public, what we really encourage is for other people to not be martyrs but to give us material. Keep your job, sit down and relax, let us do the work. We’ll protect you as best we can and we have never lost anyone so far.” ~ Julian Assange ~

Today’s post title is an oxymoron at best but it actually fits like a proverbial glove.

On Monday, Jan. 17, 2011 Rudolph Elmer, former executive-turned- whistle-blower from the Julius Baer Group, a private Swiss banking concern in the Cayman Islands, turned over two discs at a London press conference to WickiLeaks founder/editor Julian Assange, which allegedly contains information on 2,000 multinational banking clients who have been squirreling away funds from 1990 to 2009 in a possible effort to evade taxation in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

The dishy data, pilfered from private Baer files was provided by other insider whistle-blowers that passed the information to Elmer.

Scheduled to go on trial Wednesday, Jan. 19 in Switzerland, for previously breaching banking secrecy to WickiLeaks, which got him sacked from Baer in 2002, Elmer obviously believed at this juncture he had nothing to loose.

The discs are said to contain sensitive information on corporations, politicians, business people, artists and a few banks – one in particular, Elmer’s former employer. (Talk about ‘don’t get mad, get even.’)

Assange, who himself is out on bail and fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden for questioning over alleged crimes of a sexual nature, was quoted saying, "He (Elmer) is clearly a bona fide whistle-blower... We have some kind of duty to support him in that matter."

Elmer, who was privy to the mysterious world of off-shore banking for eight years, was also quoted by the press saying, "I know how the system works... It's damaging... (I want) to educate our society."

Whether you agree or disagree with the dissemination of private files to WickiLeaks, one thing for certain is the information is vetted before release.

In the meantime, we’ll all have to wait till the bugs hit the fan, but in case you just can’t get enough good gossip and conspiracy, your invited to visit this visual effort at transparency at the Julian Assange (online) Coloring Book; a place where you’ll be able to make your own colorful statement and even print it out.

As Jack Paar, one of the very first hosts of the Tonight Show would say, “I kid you not.” (Click the picture link below to take a look.)

The Julian Assange Coloring Book

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Extreme cuteness goes viral and her name is 'Heidi'

“Ich bin beeindruckt. Mehr als 100.000 Fans. Wahnsinn.
Ihr k├Ânnt mich ab dem 1. Juli 2011 in der Tropenerlebniswelt Gondwanaland im Zoo Leipzig besuchen - ich freue mich auf euch :)
Just for you:” ~ Heidi ~

She’s an Internet sensation; she’s garnered over 240,000 Facebook fans worldwide, and she’s a cross-eyed opossum named “Heidi.”

The translation to Heidi’s statement from her fan page a couple of days ago was as follows: “I'm impressed. More than 100,000 fans. Madness.You can reach me from 1 July 2011 in the tropical world of adventure Gondwanaland in the Leipzig Zoo visit - I look forward to you:) Just for you.”

After those remarks were added, in a matter of two days time, Heidi added another 144,000 new fans - impressive to say the least.

Heidi’s online presence started on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011 when a handful of news organizations reported about her arrival at the Leipzig Zoo, and about the unusual eye abnormality that afflicted the 2.5 year old opossum.

Sudden fame ensued, and in addition to her Facebook page, she has her own song, a faux movie trailer and numerous tributes on the Internet.

This snowball media effect took even zoo officials by surprise.

Without doubt, this little critter’s charm rivals the adorable Knut the polar bear who captured world attention and hearts in 2006 when he was born in captivity at the Zoologischer Garten Berlin.

Heidi has two siblings, a brother Teddy and sister Naira, who live with her at the Leipzig Zoo, and you’ll read much more about them by following this link to the zoo’s homepage.

The video below, courtesy of ITN, tells more about Heidi’s eye condition, which according to veterinarians may be caused by being overweight.

Currently, Heidi is on a diet, and will officially be greeting her public in July.

Enjoy, she is adorable.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The 12 Days of Internet music: Day 12

“I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself:
‘What a wonderful world!’" ~ Music and lyrics by
Bob Thiele and George David Weiss ~

The song “What a Wonderful World” was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and featured the original recording by the late Jazz legend Louis Armstrong.

When “Wonderful World” was first released in 1968 as a single, the recording did rather poorly in sales in the United States for lack of promotion, but surprisingly reached the top of the charts in the United Kingdom.

Today, the song is considered a signature of Armstrong’s career, and his version has been featured in the soundtracks of motion pictures and performed as a cover by many artists.

Thanks to Fonkelstar’s Youtube Channel for this inspiring video version, which features a beautiful musical interpretation by Celine Dion.

As this New Year dawns, the song’s message is perhaps more relevant than ever. We do indeed have a “wonderful world” if we take time to appreciate the gifts that are given.

Blessings to you and yours in this New Year, and may you always have time to appreciate our wonderful world.