Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

bamboo is the new plastic

Bamboo. It's not just for pandas anymore.

Barking mad monitors

You might have thought you were being green by simply switching your PC monitor off instead of leaving it on standby, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet – this monitor is actually made out of wood.

Well, bamboo, to be precise. The grass that constitutes every panda’s favourite meal is incredibly tough, so it makes a perfect replacement for the plastic usually used to make a monitor’s surround and base. And because pandas only feed on softer bamboo, harvesting the hard stuff isn’t even talking food out of their furry little mouths.

The bamboo is treated to prevent rot and pest infestation, so you needn’t worry about woodworm holes distracting your eye from those all-important Excel documents.

A 15-inch model costs £250, a 17-inch is £275 and a 19-inch is £330. They will be going on sale in the next few days at

See a picture of the bamboo monitor at the link above.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

these paws were made for walking

Newsy Numbers
Friday, April 28, 2006; Page C12

$8.4 Billion

That's how much ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil company, earned in the first three months of 2006.

$3 a Gallon

That's what many people are paying for gas. Some people are asking if oil companies are boosting their profits by charging more than necessary. Oil companies say that gas prices are high in part because they have to pay more for oil and because refineries have been closed for repairs.

And earlier this week ...

Hoping for a Price Break, Bush Eases Gas Rules

President Bush temporarily suspends environmental rules on gasoline that have been blamed for a recent spike in gas prices. The change may make it easier for refiners to meet demand as the nation makes its holiday travel plans.

Analysts say that Tuesday's change may bring lower prices by removing a requirement that refiners mix gasoline with ethanol and other additives in order to meet clean-air standards. The process, which refineries usually institute at the start of each summer, has been blamed for tightening the supply of gas, helping prices rise.

The president also halted the purchase of crude oil for the government's emergency reserve until after the summer. That change is unlikely to have an impact on gas prices, which experts expect to stay high through the summer.

"environmental rules on gasoline that have been blamed for a recent spike in gas prices"? Really?

This Week in Petroleum said in its April 19th release that, while the transition from MTBE reformulated gasoline to ethanol gasoline may cause some supply problems in certain areas: namely parts of Texas and the East Coast, namely Tidewater and Richmond, Virginia, and "unless problems related to this transition become more widespread, it may not have much impact on average monthly retail gasoline prices for the country as a whole." (emphasis added by ME)

TWIP is issued weekly by the Department of Energy. As of April 19, DOE didn't seem to think that the transition to ethanol had very much influence at all on rising gas prices, and even if it did, DOE limited its effects to isolated regions of the country.

TWIP cited the two other factors in high oil prices as being:

(1) "a larger-than-normal amount of refinery capacity is currently offline, reducing the production of gasoline"; and
(2) "other factors influencing gasoline prices exhibit more uncertainty over the near-term future".

Note: I realize that the link to TWIP now reflects the current issue of TWIP, released on April 26. Thus my source, at present, is gone but I'll make every attempt to locate the original.

More research on this is warranted but this topic is making me ranty and I usually reserve that for wednesday afternoons.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

fifteen minutes of fame put to good use

goodbye cruel desk, helloooo world!

I'm obsessed with game shows and reality tv. This new show encompasses the travel-ventures of the Amazing Race, but without the stress! Winners get to travel the world for FOUR months~~all on the Travel Channel's dime!

Casting Call
The Travel Channel is producing a new series based on the best-selling book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. We're looking for one couple, involved in a romantic relationship, willing to drop everything to travel around the world — on us!

If you and your partner are between the ages of 25 and 45 (this is everybody I know!) and are willing to take leave from your jobs, put your possessions in storage and leave the kids with grandma and grandpa (if you have kids), then dust off your passport and keep reading!

All interested applicants MUST do the following:1. Be able to travel for up to four months without returning home.2. Download and fill out the attached questionnaire and application/releases.3. Supply us with a short videotape of you and your partner (no more than three minutes).4. Provide us with two still photographs.

DEADLINE: We must receive all your materials IN ONE PACKAGE BY MAY 10, 2006.Send your materials to the P.O box listed below. Folks! This is an epic journey around the world; if you can't handle being away from your life for four months, you need not apply.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Beam Him Up

From the desk of Pandodyssey's chief Washington political pandologist CP2:

Scotty, the Joke Was on You
By Ana Marie Cox Sunday, April 23, 2006; Page B02

"I 've always had a soft spot for departing White House press secretary Scott McClellan. Watching him give his choked-up goodbye on the White House lawn last week, I realized why. The jowls he's grown, the hair he's lost and the dark circles that have grown under his eyes in two years and nine months on the job have made him resemble Washington's other helpless diplomatic pawn: Scott McClellan is the baby panda of the press corps.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

lookit me!

Belated update from april 19, from the national zoo:

walk this way
"We have seen Tai Shan display an interesting behavior. When he approaches Mei Xiang, he will sometimes back up into her. We have also noticed this behavior when we walk toward him in the yard. He will stop in his tracks and stare at us. As we approach, he will swivel around and watch us from a sideways stance. As we get even closer, he will present his rear end and also back into us. This demeanor is quickly followed by a lunge for our legs, which we foil with toys.
In many species the rear presentation is considered submissive behavior, and there are probably elements of this in Tai's version. It also may simply be a way to initiate play. However, we also have seen him take this approach when given a tub of water for the first time, so perhaps he is also just being cautious and presenting his very padded end first, on those rare occasions when he is not quite so sure of himself. In the case of the tub, he backed up slowly, only to dip one hind foot lightly to break the surface of the water before turning his attention to more ordinary pursuits."

Friday, April 21, 2006


On the way to "Tell Me About It" this morning, I got distracted by this article in today's Post.

Los Angeles Times Yanks Columnist's Blog

"The Los Angeles Times suspended the blog of one of its top columnists last night, saying he violated the paper's policy by posting derogatory comments under an assumed name."

"The paper said in an online editor's note that Michael Hiltzik, a Pulitzer Prize winner who writes the Golden State column, had admitted posting remarks on both his Times blog and on other Web sites under names other than his own. The Times said it is investigating the matter."

According to this article, Hiltzik, writing as "Mikekoshi," described a fellow writer (LA Times writer?) "as a 'tool' and as someone 'hampered by her own ignorance.' "

And on the blog of conservative southern Californian (with whom Hiltzik often sparred), Mikekoshi posted "Congratulations, Patterico, for a new high-water mark in dopey criticism," and "What a buffoonish post this is."

First off, it's just plain RUDE to post comments like "What a buffoonish post this is". Not to say it doesn't happen, or that there aren't appropriate times when it should happen (though I can't think of any at present), OR even that anything can be done about it. I'M JUST SAYIN'. :) On the one hand, it's just a freaking blog. On the other hand, it's just a freaking blog!

Secondly to post a negative comment anonymously is bad blog-etiquette. I'm soft-hearted for sure, but can't we all just get along, or at least agree to civilly disagree?

***kum-ba-ya my Lord, kum-ba-ya...****

Thirdly, to post a comment under a fake name, bashing the blogger and praising your true identity is just lame.

Fourthly, if you're going to do post a comment under a fake name, patting your true identity on the back, at LEAST GET AWAY WITH IT! Have the technical knowledge to do it right and not get caught. What Hiltzik did is not considered criminal in the eyes of the law, but is considered pretty douchy in the eyes of this (admittedly technically challenged) pandologist.

Fifthly, it's friday and I haven't read Hax yet. I might feel better after that.

So I wonder how seriously the LA Times will treat this matter? The paper has already suspended his blog, but what further will they do? This is a rhetorical question, as I don't have any kind of answer--only opinions and questions at this point. I can't think of a good reason why anyone (much less a Pulitzer Prize winning author) would want to do something so childish (no wait, that's insulting to children), so DUMB. Should this guy lose his job at the LA Times over this? Hmmm, probably not. He has not been accused of anything illegal so far as I know. But certainly it'll have the effect of tarnishing his entire life's works and has me wondering whether they give these Pulitzer thingys out to just anybody.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

for the love of panda art

from the Pandodyssey International Arts Desk (obviously, not mine)

Writer stages zoo stay for play

Norbert Aboudarham, 57, part-time French playwright, and full-time panda stand-in. For the sake of his art, Norbert lived in a cage at the Amiens Zoo for up to 10 hours a day writing The Panda's Flea. When asked why, Norbert responded that the reason was "about the universe, you have to put yourself in a cage smaller than the universe." (Maybe that lost something in translation?)

Norbert didn't share a cage with other animals, but his surrounding neighbors at the zoo included red pandas, wolves, and raccoons. And when I say "cage", I mean a chain-link enclosed boxed CAGE! (Tai & Mei live in the Taj Mahal of all panda enclosures in comparison! Would love to link a pic here for illustration purposes but I.can't.grr.)

"The writer had his laptop inside to work on but he refused to talk to visitors, communicating only using messages passed through the bars. "This experiment magnifies characteristics. For example aggressive visitors become a bit more irascible," said Aboudarham. "I am exhausted because I get a lot of requests. It is much more tiring than I thought."

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Say what?

have you hugged your humuhumunukunukuapuaa today?

The humuhumunukunukuapuaa is about to become Hawaii's state fish again, thanks to a 6-year-old boy. The little fish with the long name -- in Hawaii it's known as the humuhumu for short -- hasn't been the state fish since 1990. That's when the law that made it the state fish expired.

We know what you're really wondering: How do you say the name of the fish? Get ready to say it three times fast:


The humuhumunukunukuapuaa isn't even the Hawaiian fish with the longest name. That honor goes to a long-nosed butterflyfish known as the lau-wiliwili-nukunuku-'oi'oi.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

enormousaurus rex

The remains of a new-ish species of Enormous Meat-Loving Dinosaur were recently discovered in western Patagonia, researchers announced in the latest issue of Geodiversitas. Mapusaurus roseae, would have measured over 41 feet in length, and is related to the gigantosaurus, the largest meat-eating dinosaur discovered to date. This landmark discovery is some of the first evidence unearthed supporting the hypothesis that certain species of carnivorous dinosaurs may have lived or hunted together in packs. Under this theory, a pack of mapusauri (sp?) may have fed on the likes of Argentinosaurus, a 125-foot long herbivore that existed at the same time.

See Panda Run. Run Panda Run!

Fallen Tree Limb Gives Red Panda Escape Route

Storms that rumbled through the Tri-State overnight helped a young red panda to go exploring beyond the confines of its exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo. A fallen tree limb knocked out part of a fence, giving the animal an escape route.

Hmmm, panda escape route eh? . . .

Monday, April 17, 2006

Max Power, Homer. Homer, Max Power.

The English have a way with words.

A humourous take from on "Operation Panda", aka Team #5, entered in the 2006 Mongol Rally:

Ferrari and Subaru decide to sit out the only true test of motorsport skill and luck as the Mongol Rally prepares to capture the world's imagination - with teams trampling 8000 miles in £150 shitters.

Mongol Rally is the ultimate back-to-front motorsport/glamour rally. Teams have to drive to Mon-bloody-golia in cars costing no more than £150 and no bigger than 1-litre. Unlike the uber-glamours Gumball and Cannonball events where overnight stays are sufficed by Penthouse suites with Caprice and Jodie Kidd, Mongol competitors sleep in their cars.

There are no back up teams, support crew or grannies standing by at a trestle table with cups of ice cool water waiting to quench racers' thirsts.

The route goes from London to Mongolia and takes in some of the roughest terrain in the world, through countries including Russia, Kazakhstan and finally Mongolia. Organisers reckon the expedition should take about three weeks, but realistically Scott and Shackelton had less to worry about nipping to the Antartic then these fearless 4-cylinder warriors.

Two such brave buggers are Tim Norris and Tom Ingham from the mighty Peterborough (see above). Their chosen chariot is a far from luxurious E-reg Panda. Click their pic above to link straight to their site and help support the selfless Mongols.

Oh, and the reason for such inane stupidity, charity (char-it-eeee). Tim and Tom's chosen causes are Send a Cow and the Christina Noble Foundation.

Operation Panda

To read more about Tim and Tom's excellent adventures, or if you want to read about the kinds of pratfalls that await those who dare embark on such a quest ("43 Cars left London ... 14 Cars reached the finish in Ulaanbaatar ... 1 car snapped in half ... 1 Team found a 10ft deep pothole ... 0 Teams died ... ) visit their humorous page at:

Good luck Operation Panda (and Molly too!)

Other Rally Teams & Their Humorous Bids for Contributions

the Drivers of Rohan

Skoda Power Turbo Racing Team (1 member only drives in 1st)

Lost & Hungry ("relevant skills: blagging" what's this in american?)

The Mongol Frauds

Mongolian Taxi Service

The Adventure Capitalists

Bad Colonies

Yak Atak

Team Newyorkistan (America representin'!)

Team Monkeytank (Ladies' representin'!)

Team Pink Panda

Team Fiesta Mongolia

Team Wales to Mongolia

Squires on Safari

Team Fiesta

Team Desert Penguins

Team Directionless

Team Gooby

Trans Asia Two-Stroke Syrena Squad

Team Twister (busted link...)

For a list of all the teams participating in the 2006 Rally, click here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Made in China - If the caricature fits...

WARNING! this is a panda-free post. regrets CP2!

Asians Decry Adidas Shoe as a Misstep
"A new, limited-edition shoe from Adidas-Salomon AG, part of the "Yellow Series" and decorated with the face of a character who has buck teeth, a bowl haircut and slanted eyes, has provoked a heated debate about the lines dividing racism, art and commerce.

The character on the shoe is the creation of a San Francisco graffiti artist, Barry McGee, who is half Chinese. McGee, who calls the character Ray Fong after an uncle who died, said the image is based on how the artist looked as an 8-year-old."

I couldn't link to the WP close-up of the shoe, but in this pandologist's opinion, it's adorable. Unfortunately it actually looks a lot like me when I was eight! (yeah yeah we look alike, especially at that age.) Sad too, because the bowl cut and buck teeth really don't do a heck of a lot for the playground 'cred of an elementary school age boy, much less a GIRL!! : /

"The shoe was released April 1, with 1,000 pairs on sale at a dozen boutiques in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Tokyo, Hamburg and Denmark. It retails for $250 and comes with a graffiti art fanzine. Since then, several blogs and message boards have been consumed with fervid debate over the shoe, and Asian American organizations have said it evokes damaging and long-standing stereotypes.

"You're kidding me, right?" read an entry on the Web site Angry Asian Man. " That's racist! "

I wonder what other reaction one would expect from a site called "Angry Asian Man"?

I also wonder how well these shoes sold in Tokyo.

And what, if anything, did the Asian factory workers have to say about the shoes as they were being manufactured? (Is that a racist thing to say? I don't think so--I own several pairs of Adidas and they ALL say "Made in China"...)

"The Organization of Chinese Americans, which is based in the District, has received about 40 complaints from its members, according to communication director Anh Phan. The organization has sent a formal letter of complaint to Adidas, asking for removal of the shoe from the market.

"We initially didn't think it would become that big of a deal, but our members seem to think otherwise," said Phan. "Taken in context with all the mentions of yellow, it's upsetting. We want people to be mindful of that when trying to promote their products."

4-0? FORTY? Since when does 40 constitute a "big deal"? Out of HOW many Chinese Americans living in the District, or for that matter, in the United States?

Dorothy Wong, the group's executive director, said such images define Asians as foreigners. "And it fuels an anti-immigrant sentiment that has been coming to the fore lately," she said.

Dang, and here I thought I just me, not wearing enough deodorant lately ...

"Still, said Frank H. Wu, dean of the Wayne State University Law School and author of the book "Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White," the images have an effect that cannot be ignored."

"The problem with this is not that it's done by bigots, because it's not," he said. "It's also not that it offends people, because in many ways, that's what art is meant to do. The problem is that these images, even though crude and cliched, are powerful, almost indelible. They write the scripts that we expect others and we ourselves to follow. You can't read all that into a shoe, but it's part of a pattern."

"The controversy also addresses the issue of removing a potentially subversive image from the context of art and introducing it into the world of commerce, where there is no means to indicate that the image may be a wry commentary on stereotypes, rather than perpetuation of the stereotype itself."

These are the most intelligent paragraphs in this entire article. I don't agree that THIS particular image necessarily "write(s) the scripts" that dictate how Caucasians perceive Asians (and to an extent how Asians perceive Caucasians as perceiving Asians in 'White America') in American society. But I do agree that "images have an effect that cannot be ignored".

"We live in such a cynical, postmodern society that if you are offended by something like this, people say, 'Lighten up, it's ironic, it's a joke.' And that's really nice if you're a student of art history," Wu said. "But how many 10-year-olds talk about irony? When you get teased, it doesn't make it any better to know that they're also calling it ironic. It sends the message that it's hip to make fun of Asians."

Lighten up! it's a joke! hahaha...?

I didn't read anywhere in the article (and its the only one I've seen so far) that Adidas was marketing these shoes TO 10-year-olds, which raises a very different issue. Marketing cigarettes to adults is fine by me-marketing cigarettes to children is definitely not. I can see it now: "Hey kids! Act now and get a free scientific calculator, pocket protector and a pair of chopsticks with every Adidas shoe purchase! Limited time only.")

But we are liv-in' in a material world,
and I am a material panda.

I agree with the point about the dangers of taking art out of the art context and into the vacuum of commerce. I have no good answer in opposition because I LOVE IT! I love the fact that the "Ray Fong tag" was once graffiti-ed (sp?) in an alleyway in SF, and now its on an Adidas sneaker. There's something very cheap and wonderful in that and I'm no art historian but there's artistic context in that too, be it good or bad (I hear the cries of "sell out" but what-ev.) I also like my Monet greeting cards and tomato soup can screen printed tees-thank you very much! Judge away!

I think its wonderful (in a way) that Adidas has selected graffiti artists and the like for their mainstream products. You can't get more mainstream than sneakers. Yes, its a little slanty-eyed Asian dude. It also is ART. Some might say that putting "Ray Fong" on a shoe devalues it as art--some might say that makes it "iconic". Some might say that Adidas is merely exploiting the artist and the character, for corporate greed. I don't doubt that Adidas has done so here. I have no sympathies for corporate America (being as dependent and shackled to them as much as the next American--oh look, it's time for my 12:15 pm venti macchiato!). But I also don't think that Adidas is subversively underminding Asian-Americans through a shoe campaign. At worst, they should've conducted better market research for their target demographic (Couldn't I be, the next, Apprentice?) and not pissed off a few potential customers.

At best, it's a sneaker that happens to have a cute Asian guy on it. I want a pair. Size 6.5 ladies.

I think my point is that FWIW, it's still just a shoe. This event is just an anecdote, or more accurately, a biopsy of Asian American persona, and how Asian Americans are still trying to figure out who they (oops I mean WE! who WE are!) and where we're going with all of this outrage.

There are a lot of bigger issues that we minorities can concentrate on right now. Not to belittle the feelings of those outraged (but as Mr. Wu says, art is supposed to outrage) but there are more important battles to be fought right now, and quite frankly our math skills and work ethic are sorely needed (that too was a joke, Angry Asian Men out there.) At present, we're dealing with HUGE disparities on what to do about immigration reform. Why not let our voices be heard in the context of something that really MATTERS and is happening RIGHT NOW as we type. For instance, I've been seeing this video of immigrants walking through a hole in a fence in Texas, towards freedom. I honestly don't have a problem with anyone who wants to come to America and work for cheap, the problem is HOW to balance immigration reform with national security. It's just a matter of time before ill willed terrorists find that hole, and what's to stop them from marching through that fence with bombs in hand? A shoe, no matter WHAT is on it, is the least of my worries right now as both an Asian and an American.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bigger, Badder

Update on the more Amazing Race:

Another hundred crap cars have been authorized to participate in the 2006 Mongol Rally. In five short years, the Rally has grown from two dudes and a fiat, to an actual race with 200 teams and "cars", sputtering, spewing their way across Europe to Asia, if their lucky--all for charity. Read a hysterical account of the Rally's humble beginnings. It'll inspire you.

The Dawn of the Rally 2001

"In 2001 two gentlemen, Mr Tom and Mr Joolz, found themselves staring in awe at their new vehicle wondering what they should do with it. Before them sat a slightly dishevelled Fiat 126 recently purchased in a rather confusing transaction in north Prague. After not very long they came up with the only sensible plan, to drive to the most ridiculous place they could think of. “After all,” they said, “if you stand far enough away and ignore things like perspective, it looks just like a four wheel drive”.

"Mongolia seemed fit for the job, what with being going on 10 000 miles as the drunk crow flies and with a fine selection of the world's worst roads. So the plan was born, and on a mild April evening with minimal preparations, no changes of clothes, a packet of cheap cigars and hunting knife, they set forth. Although they didn't quite reach Mongolia because of visa and border trouble they enjoyed themselves so much that they swore to return to try again. From this premise evolved the great Mongol Rally, a charity event open to all who fancy the taste of some real adventure. "

Sign up here.

In a land far far away

Oh bother!
Everybody's favorite Pooh bear got his star on the Hollywood walk of fame this week!

In other Hundred Acre Woods celebriy gossip: Tigger is busted at airport with methamphetamines; claims "it's not mine!" .... Eeyore holds press conference to announce a terrible secret he's hidden his entire life: "I'm depressed" ... Roo runs away from pouch to look for his biological daddy ... Hundred Acre Woods County Clerk confirms that Kanga, Roo's biological mother, has filed papers for joey support: "you know, just in case he finds the aussie sob..."

New Maine Law Expands to Protect Pets
Maine is the first state in the country to pass legislation that allows pets to be included in protective orders against abusive spouses. This action was spurred by mounting evidence that domestic violence can and often does extend to animals like household pets and farm animals. Violators of protecetive orders under this new law are subject to fines and/or jail time. Hopefully this law offers protection to the animal victims and comfort to the human victims that, in seeking refuge for themselves, they are not abandoning their furry or feathered friends and leaving them in a dangerous situation.

"Although Maine's law is unique, other states have statutes that reflect the link between domestic violence and animal abuse. Laws in California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio and Tennessee encourage cross-reporting among agencies involved in law enforcement, domestic violence, child protection and animal control, Perry said. Animal welfare agents already have been looking at ways to help potentially endangered pets whose owners are in abusive situations."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Butterstick is the son of temporary guest workers!

Marchers Flood Mall With Passion, Pride
Thousands of marchers gathered on the National Mall in downtown Washington DC yesterday to show their support and voice their concerns on immigration reform.

"Many in the group had worked furiously to prepare for the event. Anh Phan, with the Organization of Chinese Americans, kept rejecting possible slogans for signs until she came up with a winner -- a poster of panda celebrity Tai Shan with the caption "Butterstick is the son of immigrants!" [Has anyone seen this poster? I'd buy that.]

"Well, if we're being precise, it would be 'son of temporary guest workers,' since they're going back," Phan said." Thank you to CP2 for this contribution!

They Grow Up So Fast

Graduate Pandas Enjoy New Home At Zoo
Three one-year old giant pandas have graduated from a breeding center in China and have been moved to a new habitat. Rongrong, Honhong, and Yaya were recently moved from the Wolong reserve to a panda enclosure at the Shangai Zoo.

This page contains lots of links to pictures, video clips and related panda articles.

Go! Go! Go! Panda Cup '06 Proves to be Cross Cultural Success

Panda Cup USA 2006 a big hit for soccer fans

Panda Cup USA 2006, the first exhibition good will game series between the Chinese women's national soccer team and several American women's soccer clubs, wrapped up Sunday afternoon.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Because animals in clothes are funny

Celebrities Celebrate 25 Years of WWF Panda-Monium
Auction of celebrity-designed pandas raises funds for World Wildlife Fund conservation efforts. Auction items include several vacation packages and lots of autographed lions and tigers and panda bears, oh MY!

The top auction prize is a private yachting experience aboarda a premium first class yacht to the Galapagos Islands for NINETEEN people! Current bid: $42,500.00.

Other unaffordable auctions include:

Current bid for the Donald Trump panda (sporting a business suit!): $210.00

Current bid for the NYY Jason Alexander panda (the front of his shirt reads "Costanza, Assistant Traveling Secretary): $550.00

Current bid for a three-day wilderness retreat in Tasmania: $650.00 (a bargain bet now, but bidding doesn't close until 4/18).

To donate directly to WWF, visit "To Make a Donation" at!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

A Bear Named Sue

Henry Doorly Zoo Adopts Chinese Panda

OMAHA, Neb. -- Henry Doorly Zoo has adopted a panda from China named Sue Sue. The baby panda won't live in Nebraska. It was a symbolic gesture to prove the zoo's commitment to panda conservation.

On Wednesday in Washington, D.C., zoo director Dr. Lee Simmons donated $35,000 to China's Wolong Nature Conserve. Zoo officials said they hope the effort will encourage China to send some of its panda's to Henry Doorly.

There are currently four zoos in the US that house panda exhibits: Smithsonian National Zoo in D.C., San Diego Zoo in California, Zoo Atlanta in Georgia, and Memphis Zoo in Tennessee.

WOOHOO! I just discovered that I can access the San Diego and Memphis Zoos' panda cams from work! Oh Happy Day! I'm watching Su Lin's cute little paw feets dangling off a tree right now! If I squint my eyes a little [insert Asian joke here] and maximize the screen, I can pretend that she is the 'stick! Oh Happy Day!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Couric Says She's Leaving 'Today' for CBS
On her 15th anniversary on "Today," Katie Couric told viewers Wednesday she's leaving NBC to join CBS, where she will become the first woman appointed to anchor a network evening newscast alone.

The 49-year-old Couric, longest-serving anchor in "Today" show history, is expected to replace Bob Schieffer on the third-rated CBS broadcast in September.

clunk, clunk (me stepping up on my soapbox): Is this thing on? Testing?

Katie, DON'T DO IT!

Look what CBS did to Howard Stern when he left for satellite radio. Okay, so maybe Stern did single-handedly draw the largest fine in FCC history -- he also earned a nice chunk of change for CBS during his tenure there. How does CBS thank him for years of service? They filed a lawsuit against Stern. Nice. Rumor has it that Stern's replacement on terrestrial radio, David Lee Roth (yes, THAT David Lee Roth), is well on his way to getting screwed by CBS as well.

AND lest anybody forget that CBS was responsible for Rather-Gate....forged documents, possible conspiracy, mea culpa Dan Rather ... Oh YEAH, remember that? CBS would certainly prefer we didn't.

Despite the fact that both Survivor and Amazing Race air on CBS, I have a hard time taking CBS seriously as a legit network. (Maybe because CBS airs both shows? P.S: "Nerds rule!") A few years ago, I read "Bias, A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distorts the News" by Bernard Goldberg. According to Goldberg, Rather IS (or WAS) CBS and ruled the network with the intensity of a despot. In his book, Goldberg neither villifies nor euphemizes Rather. Goldberg describes how Rather used his influence and power within the industry to shape the editorial board of CBS in every respect. Whether through arrogant ignorance of his power or deliberate intent, Rather-Gate shed a little tiny light on the editorial forces at work that play a huge hand in delivering "objective" news to the public. Which just goes to show you that noone is fair and balanced.

CBS, Dan Rather & the Blogosphere

This article is something of a tangent to the topic I started above, but it was much more interesting to me than what I was looking for originally! This paper looks at ways in which the blogosphere has emerged to change traditional methods of controlled messaging used by the media. It's a scholarly article that discusses Rather-Gate in terms of traditional communications theory (dang, another subject I'd like to go back to school for!) and quotes contemporaneous posts (Circa Jan. 2005) from various blogs that questioned the validity of the source documents even before they were debunked and dismissed as forgeries, to the possibility that CBS's mistake could be far more sinister than innocent.

May favorite quote from this article:

"Therefore, despite being dismissed by some as people in pajamas, bloggers can affect corporate communication--and the corporate bottom line, as in the case of Dan Rather and CBS shows."

I can see the headlines now: Panda Blogger Single-Handedly Brings Down CBS

And the next day's headlines: Panda Blogger Kills Self when Survivor, AR Unexpectedly Cancelled

Wise Men Love Pandas

"Do you think that the atomic bomb means that the architect of the universe has got tired of writing his non-stop scenario? There was a lot to be said for his stopping with the Panda."

Winston Churchill, as quoted in Churchill and America, in a letter at the beginning of the nuclear arms race, circa late 40s.

Politician, prime minister, now outed as a pandologist!

Thanks CP2 for the history lesson!

Monday, April 03, 2006

mommy, where do baby pandas come from?

Atlanta Zoo artificially inseminates panda again

Panda Cup / So long and thanks for all the fish

What do you mean you've never heard of the Panda Cup?!
Aggie Soccer Team Ends Spring with Panda Cup Win

The Panda Cup is a two-week tour of Texas and Oklahoma by two Chinese teams. During the tour, the Chinese A team will play Texas A&M, SMU, TCU, UNT and Tulsa, while the B team will play all-star youth teams. The A team is a hybrid team of players from the National Team Pool, the National University Selection, a National Selection from professional teams, and a combination of current Olympic Pool Players. (excerpt from, 3/31/06 special to the eagle.)

"They're selling this suburban Virginia basketball team at the Final Four harder than the National Zoo is selling Tai Shan"

(What-EV-er. Zoos don't sell pandas, pandas sell themselves. But I digress.) On with the post!

It's a tad after the fact, but here's an article from that dicusses the similarities between GMU's men's basketball and tai shan.

"Come see the cute and cuddly youngsters from the tiny program in the sticks. They come out to feed at noon. In the great spirit of muckraking, it is time to shovel out the panda pen, to pull back the curtain and expose the ugly underbelly of college basketball's confectionary dream team. It's time to find out the dirt on this slipper-fits squad. "

The "dirt" is that GMU's streak o' luck finally ran out. Well played fellas, well played, but this Cinderella story is ov-ah (pronounced a la Iron Chef)! Thanks for all the memories Pats, see ya next year!

rabbit season (arguably a mammal post, but not a panda post)

In conducting some research about teaching and writing, I ran across this funny bunny story. (It's almost Easter, how timely =) This is a first person (bunny) acount of a day in the life of Gene Spafford, english professor and part-time rabbit impersonator for worthy charitable causes.

"With a resigned sigh, I donned the costume and took my seat, awaiting the first child. Who was terrified of this huge white figure with big ears and large teeth. Whose mother insisted he be put kicking and screaming in my lap. Whereupon he kicked me in a spot sensitive both to bunnies and to men in bunny suits. The paper maché head continued to grin while I momentarily lost consciousness inside the suit. My "whoof" of pain was muffled and baffled by the echo inside the head, and undoubtedly came out as some kind of cute bunny noise. Mom picked the little terror up, warned him "The bunny will bite you if you do that again!" (adding to his panic and terror) and put him back in my lap. I could only grunt through the waves of pain, so I couldn't do anything to reassure him as he cowered in the shadow of my ears. So, with mom covering his escape route, and me holding tightly to his legs to keep from a repeat of the kick, the flashbulb went off and he proceeded to show me why the costume had come with extra pants.

He peed his pants. And my bunny pants. And on into my real pants under the rabbit pants. Not just a little, either. The kid must have been to a keg party prior to coming to see the Easter Bunny. Me? I was just being a big dumb bunny noticing that my leg was getting very warm. The kid is going "Uh-oh" and his mother is starting to apologize profusely. It takes a while for the reality to sink in, but suddenly I jump up and swear. Whereupon the mother gets very offended, grabs her kid's hand, and walks off in a huff.

So, one kid into the morning, and we had to shut the booth. Karen and Donna (the Bunny's attractive helpers and co-conspirators) were laughing so hard, they nearly wet themselves too (would have served them right) as the Easter Bunny retired backstage to change.

Backstage, with the head off, I surveyed the damage. A huge wet spot on my jeans. The rabbit pants were clearly wet and stained, too. So, I changed the rabbit pants and left my jeans off to dry. After all -- I had the rabbit pants on, and there was no sense spending the morning smelling like I was a rabbit that hadn't been house trained."

Mr. Spafford's Miscellaneous Page is fun too! ("Terror alert level: Bert") Another fun link is the "make a map of places you've been" link! My Map of places I've been in the US looks like this:
create your own personalized map of the USA or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

My map makes me laugh! As you can tell, i've driven across the country twice: Once east to west, and once north to south up/down the eastern seaboard!