Just in case John Kerry’s 2004 campaign wasn’t enough to warn you about the dangers of flip flops, we now have further confirmation of their malign intent.

So malign that they can kill you, at least according to this story in the New York Daily News, which blew its entire investigative reporting budget on two pairs of flip flops and sent two Guardians of Democracy out hoofing around the city for four days and see what kind of foot crud they could accumulate.

Basically they found that their footwear became magnets for every kind of vile filth, germs and disease this side of Glenn Beck.

Things like aerococcus viridans and rothia mucilaginosa, which probably came from other people’s spit, and staphylococcus aureus, which is a Greek term meaning “Does this look infected to you?”

Not surprisingly they think the reporters picked up a lot of bacteria from the public restrooms at Coney Island, but one source in the story noted that New York is full of rats and, consequently, “rat doo.”

And you know the story’s on the level because it quotes an eminent scientist from our humble Alma Mater, The University of Arizona, otherwise known as The Harvard of…Tucson.

Dr. Charles P. Gerba, author of 10 books and more than 300 peer-reviewed articles on toe jam, noted that the reporters wore the flip-flops for only four days. Given enough time, they’d have found even more gunk like fecal coliform bacteria, e-coli and the 1994 Republican Contract with America.

In most parts of the country, this problem will go away in a couple of weeks because everybody knows it’s gauche to wear flip-flops after Labor Day.

But we here in Arizona wear them pretty much year-round, so we’ll have to be extra vigilant to avoid stepping in any rat doo.

Which shouldn’t be too hard as long as we stay away from the state Legislature.

— John D’Anna


‘Nuff said

August 27, 2009


Rajendra Pachauri must’ve read our post about Bill McKibben’s appearance on the Colbert show because he came out today with a major pronouncement today that 350 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide should be our target if we want to keep the world from bursting into flames.

OK, he didn’t really say the bursting into flames part. And as long as we’re telling the truth, he probably didn’t read our humble blog. Who knows, he probably didn’t even watch the Colbert show.

After all, as the leading scientist for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he’s probably got much more important things to do.

Like figure out how to keep the world from bursting into flames.

Anyway, the 350 ppm news is significant, and it has the climate change crowd feeling all warm and tingly.

Here’s an e-mail we just received from 350.0rg’s Bill McKibben:

Dear friends,

For once, this email isn’t asking you to do anything at all. It’s merely sharing the news–the amazing news–that arrived about 45 minutes ago at 350 headquarters.

Rajendra Pachauri is the U.N.’s top climate scientist. He leads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which every five years produces the authoritative assessment of climate science. Their last report, in 2007, helped set the target of 450 ppm (parts per million of CO2) that many environmental groups and national governments have adopted as their goal for Copenhagen.

As you all know, that number is out of date. When Jim Hansen and other scientists looked at phenomenon like the Arctic ice melt of the last two summers, they produced new data demonstrating that 350 is the bottom line for the planet.

But it’s been hard to get that news out to the powers that be.

So today it comes as enormous and welcome news that Dr. Pachauri, from his New Delhi office, said that 350 was the number.

“As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) I cannot take a position because we do not make recommendations,” said Rajendra Pachauri when asked if he supported calls to keep atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm).

“But as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target,” he told Agence France Presse in an interview.

It’s your work that has made this breakthrough possible. In fact, Pachauri specifically cited the last big piece of news for 350: the decision of 80+ small island nations and less developed countries to endorse the 350 target.

“I think this is a good development,” said Pachauri. “Now people — including some scientists — see the seriousness of the impacts of climate change, and the fact that things are going to get substantially worse than what we had anticipated.”

This news makes it much easier for all of us to push hard leading up to the International Day of Climate Action on the 24th of October (signup to start or attend an event at www.350.org) , and the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen this December.

It’s clear now that science is powerfully on the side of the 350 target. Now we need the political world to follow suit. You will make that happen in the next two months. Oct. 24 is officially 60 days away, and we’re building just the momentum we need to make it count.

Thanks for all you do,

Bill McKibben

— John D’Anna

Bill on Colbert

Some numbers are firmly ingrained in our consciousness.

Like .406 — Ted Williams’ batting average in 1941.

Or 36-24-36 — our, um,  high school locker combination.

Or 86 — which we heard a lot from bartenders in our younger days.

Or 9:30, which is the time we fall asleep in front of the TV these days.

Which is why we missed our friend Bill McKibben on the Colbert Report last night. Fortunately, through the miracle of the internets, we can all see him talking about perhaps the most important number of all — 350.

That’s the “red line” level of atmospheric carbon dioxide in parts per million. We’re at 390 now, and if we don’t find a way to bring it in line, well, as Colbert said, we all might as well just start having “end of the world sex.”

Bill knows his stuff. Twenty years ago, he put the notion of climate change on the table in stark detail his book “The End of Nature.” Now among other things, he is a co-founder of the group 350.org, which is working to educate the world on climate issues.

Bill was understandably a little nervous going up against the master of “truthiness” in his effort to spread the word to Colbert Nation, but we think he did a pretty good job. Even though Colbert did try to upstage him by proposing a 349.org.

In any case, the message is out, and it’s up to us to spread it.

You can start by going to the 350.org website and finding out how you can get involved.

And then go tell 350 of your closest friends.

But whatever you do don’t tell Mrs. Azgreenday. We may want to try to cash in on that end of the world thing.

— John D’Anna

Our friends at The Daily Green point out two new studies that show hurricanes are getting bigger and stronger.

Of course this has long been heralded as a consequence of climate change and indeed is foretold of in The Book of Revelations, although you have to read through lots of stuff about trumpets, famine and pestilence to find it. We think it’s in the chapter with the seven seals – or were they sea lions?

Anyway, we digress.

One study shows that Atlantic hurricanes are more numerous and intense than anytime in the last 1,000 years, or roughly since Larry King started looking like a lizard.

The other one, however, counters that while there appear to be more hurricanes and tropical storms, particularly in the last century and a quarter, it may be because we have better technology to track them with.

We’re sure there’s a lot of other important stuff in the studies, but frankly there a lot of big words for us to sound out and we got distracted by the list of names for the upcoming hurricane system.

Bill? Claudette? Larry?

Seriously? When was the last time you were menaced by someone named Claudette?

We think they ought to hire the guy who comes up with all the MMA nicknames, like Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson or Wanderlei “The Axe Murderer” Silva.

Either that, or come up with some names that will get people’s attention.

Here’s a few we’d like to see:

1)      Otis. A nod to our brothers on the copy desk – easy to fit into a headline and reminds of Otis Sistrunk – a guy you wouldn’t want to see across from you on the line of scrimmage.

2)      Cherry.  She’s the chick in Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse who has her leg amputated by zombies and replaced with a prosthetic machine gun. You wouldn’t want to mess with her.

3)      Tony. Yeah, there’s the whole Sopranos thing, but we’re thinking Tony Twist, one of the greatest fighters the National Hockey League ever saw.

4)      Sookie. She sleeps with vampires in True Blood. ‘Nuff said.

5)      Tito. As in Ortiz. See the above MMA reference. We hear he’s coming back to the UFC.

6)      Sigourney. She was badass in Alien.

7)      Boris. The name screams KGB, and if that doesn’t instill fear, there’s always Karloff.  Or Badenov.

8)      Brody after Brody Dalle, lead singer of the Distillers.  She just sounds like someone who’d bring a gun to a knife fight.

9)      Henry. As in Hill. You got a problem with that?

10)  Insert name of your mother-in-law here. You know why.

— John D’Anna

To pee or not to pee?

August 7, 2009

From the people who came up with the best idea for wax since dental floss comes the latest green innovation, one that puts a new twist on the phrase “golden shower.”

A Brazilian enviro group wants people to conserve water by ahem, making water. In the shower, if you get our drift.

According to this story from the Associated Press (motto: Half A, Half P), the group SOS Mata Atlantica says that if every household reduced its number of flushes by one a day, it would save nearly 1,100 gallons of agua a year.

To accomplish this goal, they’re recommending that we all pee in the shower.

They’ve even got a television campaign narrated by kids urging people to sprinkle below while they’re being sprinkled from above.

Kind of reminds us of that old Seinfeld episode where George almost gets kicked out of the health club for that very same offense.

ELAINE: You went…in the shower?

GEORGE: Yeah, so what? I’m not the only one! <Kramer enters with his quilt.>

ELAINE (to Jerry): Do you go in the shower?

JERRY: No, never.

ELAINE (to Kramer): Do you?

KRAMER: I take baths.

GEORGE: Well, what was I supposed to do? Get out of the shower, put on my bathrobe? Go all the way down to the other end? Come all the way back?

ELAINE: Ever hear of…holding it in?

GEORGE: Oh, no…no, that’s very bad for the kidneys.

ELAINE: How do you know?

GEORGE: Medical journals!

JERRY: Do the medical journals mention anything about standing in a pool of someone else’s urine?

Anyway, we think this idea could have benefits beyond conservation.

Remember a few years ago when Big League slugger Moises Alou said he peed on his hands  to toughen them up?

Maybe it does the same thing for feet, which would be a tremendous benefit in our martial arts career.

Guess that’s what they mean by “go for gold.”

— John D’Anna