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June 6, 2009

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David Carradine

David Carradine, most famous for his roles in Kung Fu and Kill Bill during a long and successful acting career, was found dead in his hotel room in Bangkok.  He was 72.  He was found hanged, and the police are saying that it was a suicide.  Carradine’s manager and wife are very skeptical and believe that foul play was involved.  I would tend to agree with the foul play angle, although we’ll certainly find out more about this in the coming days.


Nadya Suleman, a/k/a Octomom, is calling Jon and Kate Gosselin “attention seekers”.  We see a lot of case of hypocrisy in the world today, but this one has to take the cake.  In case you’re one of the two people who doesn’t know, Jon and Kate (plus eight) are having marital problems.

On the topic of Nadya, the Octo family will be featured in a reality show.  Nadya’s autobiography will also be on the shelves soon.  My suggestion would be to boycott everyone involved.  I plan to boycott all companies that advertise on the show, and well as the publisher of the book.  I buy a lot of books, so my boycott could hurt the publisher a bit.  Vote with your wallet.

Missing plane

An Airbus plane traveling from Rio De Janeiro to  Paris dropped off radar and is presumed to have crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.  Searchers thought that they may have found the wreckage earlier this week, but authorities now say that the wreckage is not from the aircraft.  I am a bit curious about what the wreckage IS from.  I’m hoping that the plane simply landed on a remote island and has not been able to open a line of communication, but that seems rather unlikely.  The locator device within the plane’s “black box” will only emit a signal for 30 days – after that point, it may be impossible to find the plane.


GM filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy this week and has been selling off some of its brands.  Hummer was sold to Chinese company Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Co., Ltd.  and Saturn will be sold to Penske.  Pontiac and Saab are still on the block.  The core GM will see its ownership change – 60% of the company will be owned by the US government, 12.5% by the Canadian government, 10% will be owned by creditors, and 17.5% will be owned by the UAW.  It is expected that the governments will only be short term investors  until a more permanent buyer (Fiat?) can be found.

Obama in the middle east

President Obama is in the middle east this week.  He gave a speech in work he advocated both sides working together, rather than letting our difference define us.  Peace in the middle east is a tall order – if Obama can establish lasting peace, clear room on Mt. Rushmore!  I think it would be great if people COULD get beyond their differences.  We’re on the earth for a short time – why waste so much of it squabbling?

News recap

April 21, 2009

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A few unusual stories were making the rounds last week. I picked a few of them to highlight.

The saga of Octomom

Nadya Suleman has filed a trademark application for the term “Ocotomom”. She intends to use it in conjunction with baby products and a TV variety show.

I’m not even sure that she has a valid claim to the trademark. I believe the term originated from the media, not from Suleman herself. Thus the reporter who first coined the term could probably claim prior use and invalidate Suleman’s claim.

Second, and more troubling for Nadya is that people aren’t having a particularly positive reaction to her situation, and this would inhibit her ability to cash in with the trademark. I simply don’t see a lot of companies who will be jumping at the chance to hitch their wagons to her star.

Fir goodness sake

A Russian man was diagnosed with lung cancer. He had an operation to remove a tumor from his lung. Doctors were stunned when they removed a two inch fir tree from the man’s lung.

The prevailing theory is that the man inhaled a seed at some point, and that it sprouted with the moist can carbon dioxide rich lungs.

While having a fir tree lodged in your lung isn’t the best thing in the world, it’s a whole lot better than having lung cancer.

Money back

In 2005, Deere and company pledged to create 300 new jobs in the state of Iowa and received seven million dollars in tax credits for creating the jobs. The jobs were created, but in the current economic situations, Deere is not sure that it will retain the jobs through 2010 (as required by the agreement) and has offered to refund $1.8 million to the state.

I do realize that Deere probably doesn’t have much leverage in this situation – if they break the agreement, the state very likely has the ability to pursue some sort of repayment. However, the fact that a company is offering to pay back money before the state even asks for it seems a bit unusual. Far too often, it seems that companies fight tooth and nail to keep money that they aren’t entitled to.

We always had red (Farmall, International, Case IH) on the farm when I was growing up, but I have always considered Deere to be a good corporate citizen.

Why aren’t people helping Nadya Suleman (Octomom)?

February 20, 2009

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As you probably know, Nadya Suleman is the woman in California who recently have birth to octuplets. Typically, when a family has experience a large multiple birth, there is an outpouring of support from the public. This has not been the case for Nadya. In fact, a recent survey by USA Today showed that only 25% of people were sympathetic.

Nadya says that she is being unfairly criticized because she is a single mother. Is this true?

In a word, no. There are a couple of aspects to her situation that would turn people off, regardless of the marital status of the parents.

Lack of honesty

Nadya’s original story does not seem to be holding up. She originally said that she was going to raise the octuplets (and their six siblings) on her own and would not be on welfare.

Later, media outlets found out that she is receiving SSI benefits and food stamps for some of the six older children.

Then we found out that the hospital was requesting reimbursement from the state of California.

Then we saw the website requesting donations from the public. (I have made a conscious decision not to provide a link to the web site.)

Is this your definition of raising kids on your own?

If she didn’t walk to speak to the media, that would have been fine. But once she starts talking to the media, there is the expectation of honesty.

Apparent disregard for others

Nadya’s other six children are all between the ages of 2 and 7. At an age where kids need a lot of attention from their caregivers (apparently Nadya and her parents, in this case), there was already a lot of competition for the attention of the caregivers. At this point, Nadya chose to have eight eggs implanted, guaranteeing a situation where the kids would have to fight even more for attention.

Nadya’s parents are ten months behind on her mortgage payments and face foreclosure. For those of you who are good at math, you would realize that they were behind on payments at the time the eggs were implanted. I guess it is possible – but probably not likely – that Nadya is not receiving financial support from her parents (meaning that she wouldn’t be the direct cause of the financial trouble). However, she and her fourteen kids are living with her parents. This means that Nadya’s parents really don’t have the option of downsizing to a smaller house. I feel bad for her parents, as they are in a very awkward position. If the foreclosure goes through, a family of sixteen could be homeless.

It simply seems that Nadya may not have been considering the best interests of her children or her parents.

I hope I am wrong …

I really hope that Nadya does find success in her career field when she finished college. I also hope that the fourteen kids all have strong, positive relationships with their mother. Unfortunately, I am a bit pessimistic about that possibility.