Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Giant Centipede Terrorizes British Doctor. Bush To Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

Giant Centipede Terrorizes British Doctor

In what reads like a bad Sci-Fi channel movie plot (and yes, I know that statement is redundant) a British doctor played a nerve-wracking game of hide and seek with a giant South American centipede in his London home. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

LONDON - Aaron Balick expected to find a tiny mouse rustling behind the TV in his apartment. Instead, he found a venomous giant centipede that somehow hitched a ride from South America to Britain.

"Thinking it was a mouse, I went to investigate the sound. The sound was coming from under some papers which I lifted, expecting to see the mouse scamper away," the 32-year-old psychotherapist said Wednesday. "Instead, when I lifted the papers, I saw this prehistoric looking animal skitter away behind a stack of books."

He trapped the 9-inch-long creature between a stack of books and put it in a plastic container. The next day he took it to Britain's Natural History Museum, which identified the insect as a Scolopendra gigantea — the world's biggest species of centipede.

The Scolopendra gigantea has front claws that are adapted to deliver venom when it stings, which can lead to a blistering rash, nausea and fever. The sting is rarely life-threatening, but painful.

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I can sympathize with this man. Years ago, on vacation on the Caribbean island of Barbados, I was walking around the corner of a building and nearly walked into a spider web that contained a spider as big as my hand, with legs as long as my fingers. I was lucky that the sun was shining on the strands of the web, which caused me to slow my pace or else I'd have walked right into the spider, which was suspended just at head height. I'm normally not squeamish about spiders. Hell, most of the time they mind their own business and act as unpaid bug exterminators, but when I see one that could barely fit into my first-baseman's mitt I tend to get a little nervous, especially when you consider that the tropics are home to a wider variety of poisonous spiders (as well as many other species of insect) than are found here in New England.

Anyway, I gave that bad boy a wide berth, even finding time to remember the line from the first Crocodile Dundee film in which Mick says to the boys at the bar In New York, "Not to insult your black widow spider, but our funnel web spider can kill a man in eight seconds just by looking at him!" A bit of hyperbole, yes, but the funnel web really is one of the most poisonous spiders in the world, and of the many things I saw in Australia this past January and February, I am thankful that a funnel web spider was not among them.

Bush To Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserve In Effort To Seem Like He Gives A Shit

In an effort to approximate the behavior of a caring human being, President Bush claims he is going to tap the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the wake of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

WASHINGTON - President Bush raised the possibility Wednesday that Hurricane Katrina will lead to even higher gasoline prices and shortages in some areas, even as his administration moved to release oil from an emergency government stockpile and to temporarily ease pollution standards on gasoline and diesel fuel.

What a bunch of bullshit. Even if Katrina had never happened, these bastards were still going to urge the easing of pollution standards as part of President Asswipe's "Dirty Skies" initiative.

"Our citizens must understand the storm has disrupted the capacity to make gasoline and distribute gasoline," Bush said in a Rose Garden speech after meeting with top officials to discuss the crisis. "A lot of crude production has been shut down because of the storm," Bush said after returning from his Texas ranch to oversee federal relief efforts. He flew over some of the affected area on his way.

Well what happened to the production before the goddamned storm? Or is this just another case of you fronting for your oil industry backers? What our citizens must understand is that their President is a greedy oil man who is a bought-and-paid-for oil industry shill who will twist any situation into a "what do you expect me to do?" scenario.

The decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was an effort to keep production of gasoline and other fuels steady. Rising gasoline prices have taken a political toll on Bush, helping to drive down his approval ratings to an all-time low.

The oil reserves — about 700 million barrels of crude oil stored in underground salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana — were last tapped in September-October 2004 during disruptions caused by Hurricane Ivan.

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I suppose we should be glad that the dumb brute has agreed to free up some of this reserve, even if his motives are less than pure in doing so. But just wait until January when he'll claim that he is "shocked, shocked I tell you!" to find that it gets cold in New England, and that home heating oil prices that a sudden dramatic price increase is just one of them there coincidences.

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