Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Angelfish receives life saving operation

As many fish owners/raisers/whoever will attest, sharing one's life with angelfish is...somewhat interesting. Visually, angelfish are attractive and their means of moving around the fish tank is graceful to watch. the end, they are merely fish.

A couple of years ago - maybe can never tell with fish - two angelfish, Frik and Frak shared a well-appointed tank in our den. Can't say that I played the role of "mom" to them as is the case with other non-watery species but they knew which way their fish food fell. I really liked those fish as much as one can like fish given their entertainment value, but this news item is really over the top. For the record, angelfish cost under $20.

I wonder about some Brits. Seems that an angelfish named Carla, underwent a £500 - five-hundred British pounds - life-saving operation to - wait for it - cure a hernia.

Go figure that a fish is even capable of having a hernia, never mind fixing it.

Anyway, Carla was anaesthetised before veterenarian Sue Thornton used a scalpel, needle and forceps to repair the hole.

I'm no fisher-person but doesn't one use a fish hook, which could be considered a needle-type device that tears a hole in... Well you get what I'm alluding to, here.

To return to the operation water was pumped through her (Carla, the fish) body and over her gills so she could breathe during the 30-minute procedure. She has now fully recovered.

Now I mean - c'mon! Life saving surgery to save a fish, even if it's a pretty angelfish? And a hernia operation to boot? What's next? Lung or gill transplant? Tail re-section?

James Oliver of London Aquarium, where Carla has lived for 10 years, said: "I guess it's a bit extreme to operate on a small tropical fish, but she's almost family."

Ms Thornton, who had two helpers, was called in after organs started to squeeze out Carla's side. She said: "I'm thrilled she survived."

I don't want to come accross petty or cynical here but given the cost of this operation/proceedure, a Carla II would have been a cheaper alternative.

See a photo of Carla under the knife in the true sense of the word, here:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Basil the cockerel is living on borrowed time

It's not always an easy life for the aviary set, hence the expression, "for the birds." It's particularly applicable for a cockerel named, Basil, who has been given his walking - make that flying - orders by residents living in the neighborhood where the bird does his thing.

Seems that Basil, who arrived uncerimoniously in a garden six months ago and currently lives on a Gateshead, UK, housing estate, did what any healthy cockerel would do when the sun comes up, and welcome the day with some loud crowing. Really loud crowing. This didn't go over well with neighbors and complaints were registered with the Gateshead Housing Company and he was subsequently given his flying orders. Most of the residents according to reports, love him but he's got his detractors.

Thing is...Basil is considered livestock and under tenancy agreements, he must leave. Go tell that to the bird!

A spokesperson from the Gateshead Housing Company said: "Gateshead Council's tenancy agreement clearly states that tenants 'must not keep livestock, such as horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, cattle, ducks, geese and chickens at the property'.

"Also, 'animals must not cause a nuisance, annoyance or concern to anyone in the local area including any employee or agent of the council or the Gateshead Housing Company'.

However, Basil has received/is receiving help of the divine type from a group of local nuns who
live in a convent in Gosforth, Newcastle. Sister Mary, a nun at a convent in Gosforth in Newcastle, told her family that prayers had been offered.

There is even a Facebook page set up for Basil that you can join here:

Also, fans of Basil have written to Buckingham Palace requesting the Queen back their campaign.
The cockerel has until October 21st to vacate the area but how do you explain this in cockerel-ese?

See the bird in living color here:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hello? Anybody out there in space?

One wonders what aliens or non-human species living far (far) away in other galaxies (humming "Star Wars" theme) think about we humanoids of planet earth. Obviously, if they have the ability to study us from great distances, it would indicate a superior intelligence or at the very least they are far more advanced scientifically and technologically-speaking. Why they would be interested in us in the first place is another question worth pondering.

Being the curious earthlings that we are, we'd like to know who, if anybody, is "out there." To this end, messages were recently sent to a planet twenty light years from Earth in the hope that they will reach intelligent alien life. A giant radio-telescope in Ukraine transmitted 501 photos, drawings and text messages that usually track asteroids. The target is any planet deemed capable of supporting life.

Replies, which were compiled by Bebo, a social networking website, invited the network's 12 million users in the form of a competition, to send messages they would like extra-terrestrials to receive. Perhaps somebody - pure speculation on my part - sent the message: 'ET - phone home." Then again, maybe they didn't...

According to reports topics included the environment, politics, world peace, family relationships, Oprah (just kidding) and other stuff.

After being launched at 0600 GMT Bebo's mission commander Oli Madgett said the message "passed the Moon in 1.7 seconds, Mars in just four minutes and will leave our Solar System before breakfast tomorrow".

The beamed messages will be sent 120 trillion miles into space. Organisers hope the hi-tech package will reach its target - the planet Gliese 581C - in early 2029.

Rumor - strictly an unsubstantiated one - has it that when informed about the project, Sarah Palin said she can see Gliese 581C from her home in Alaska.

Read the entire story here:

If you want to send your own message via Bebo, here is the coordinates:

Sunday, October 05, 2008

No iffs or butts - filtering out the bad smells of life with Subtle Butt

We've all had those embarrassing moments after eating something gaseous like raw onions, chili, garlic, etc., which have causes - how shall we say - some smelly moments. No matter how hard we try to repress the odor with various physicial contortions, chances are somebody will get the drift. What's a person supposed to do?

Enter Subtle Butt, a garment filter that one places inside one's underwear or wherever (different strokes for different folks!) and worry now more, so claims the manufacturer.

According to the blurb, each 3.25" square filter is made of a soft fabric with an antimicrobial treatment on the side that touches the skin. The fibre is impregnated with activated carbon, which faces the underwear or the pants and has a large surface in which bad odors will get neutralized.

What's more, the people behind the product (excuse the bad pun) have taken to YouTube to promote their product with a video, replete with sound effects. Watch it here:

However, the noises remain. Oh well...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Some writers make BIG, big money - ask JK Rowling

As writers many of us dream about success and the subsequent riches that we hope - mainly dream - it will bring us. For most of us... Okay. A large portion of us, it remains in the dream stage. Then there's JK Rowling.

You know...she of Harry Potter fame? Would you believe that she makes £5 every second. Think of what this means! Every second the talented writer makes money even if she doesn't make or write one word! As a freelance writer it sometimes takes days to produce one decent piece of writing, not to mention having to shop it around in the hope of receiving compensation. She can, you know... if the mood hits her, write the letter "A" and the pounds roll in.

"What time is it?" she could ask somebody, during a casual conversation or sharing recipes. "Oh my - I just made five pounds... No - make that ten pounds. No - make that fifteen pounds..." You get the idea.

Impressive writer is an under-statement. Collectively, she has sold more than 400 million copies of her books world-wide making her the world's highest-earning author according to Forbes magazine. She made a total of $300 million last year alone.

Here's a list of the Top 10 Best-Paid Authors:

1. JK Rowling - $300m
2. James Patterson - $50m
3. Stephen King - $45m)
4. Tom Clancy - $35m
5. Danielle Steel - $30m
6. John Grisham - $25m
6. Dean Koontz - $25m
8. Ken Follett - $20m

9. Janet Evanovich - $17m
10. Nicholas Sparks - $16m

Source: Forbes magazine

By the way my name is NOT among them. Obviously it's an error (wink-wink).

Read an article on how Rowlings got where she is today here: