New Yorkers (and the world) need to chill out over the Great Bronx Zoo Cobra Escape

Lilith (1892) by John Collier in Southport Atk...

There's this rumor going around saying Lilith slept with snakes...

So, I am not a “snake expert”, and the post below is based off my limited experiences with snakes at friends houses and from my observations at the zoo. Oh, and, the fact that snakes are cold-blooded, meaning snakes are the temperature of their surroundings.

Psst, New Yorkers! The cobra is a cold-blooded reptile, and it’s 40 degrees outside! Why would the escaped cobra even leave the Reptile building?

Because there is obviously nothing to fear, I have to assume this is all because New York,  New York was feeling jealous over all the national (and international) media attention Chicago’s been getting because of our newly elected Mayor Rahm Emanuel. As proof of how awesome our new mayor is, his fake twitter account is being made into a book.  Does Mayor Bloomberg even have a fake twitter (a good one)? And are the tweets of the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra  going to be made into a book? I scoff at myself for even posing the question. Well, maybe if the cobra actually kills someone.

You can probably tell, I don’t find the fake Bronx Zoo Cobra twitter account funny mainly because I refuse to forget that snakes are cold-blooded… (just like how squirrels can’t pickpocket people because they don’t have hands – I’m looking at you, Justin Kaufmann-)

As to why journalists (and their readers/viewers) have eaten this silly story up, my  guess is the escaped  Bronx Zoo cobra story lightens an otherwise somber international community worried about Japan, Libya, and budget deficits.

UPDATE: Before I hit the Publish button I  google-newsed “bronx zoo cobra”, and do you know what was at the top of my search? The Egyptian cobra was found inside the Reptile building. I am soooo good.

Like me, the director of the Bronx Zoo Jim Breheny also doesn’t understand all the hub-bub over the snake, as evident by his behavior in the above press conference video.

Advertisements

Positive thinking on Japan’s March 2011 crises

Tsunami wall at Tsu-shi, Japan

Tsunami wall at Tsu-shi, Japan (Image via Wikipedia)

I seem to have only posted negative things about the situation in Japan, so this post is an attempt to be positive. This post is really a list for myself.

The first, most obvious positive is: the Fukushima nuclear plant has not exploded.

Second:

The US Military support in Japan has been extensive, and unlike most foreign aid that is now arriving, the US military aid has been in Japan since the beginning.   This article offers a comprehensive list of all US military missions conducted, or to be conducted.   Rather than “running the show like they usually do in a disaster zone, U.S. troops are taking cues from the Japanese on how to assist in recovery efforts in the heart of the tsunami-ravaged coastline“.  This aid has not gone unnoticed by the Japanese people: In a e-mail I saw, forwarded to my mate from his father’s business account days after the Sendai earthquake:

“Lastly, I as a Japanese really appreciate the help from your government. American troops and some war ships now arrived close to my home town. They are working hard to help the people over there. They knew there is the risk of exposure to radiation, but they came. I can’t express how much I appreciate that.”

Admiral Robert Willard has stated he is willing to send troops “into the danger zone” to assist the Japanese Defense force, however he is “cautiously optimistic” that the Japanese can handle cooling the plant themselves. Reuters states the US Military will not “be called into the most affected areas around the plant.

This positive is a direct outcome of WWII, as the US wouldn’t be stationed in Japan if it wasn’t for the Treaty of Francisco.  Normally I advocate the shuttering  of military bases overseas, but in this one instance, I have to make an exception.  Though – we shouldn’t keep our bases open around the world just so we can help if there is a natural disaster – I am not advocating that.

Third:

The Japanese people have remained calm. The sense of community at the Japanese refugee centers is heartwarming:   children and women cook and clean,  and men go into town to wait in lines for food and water.

“As far as I can tell, people around Tokyo are very calm and haven’t heard any strange rumors. Avoiding panic is the benefit for all, and people seem to understand that.”

And it’s that message that is apparently getting lost in translation as the outside media cover the events in Japan, particularly the nuclear situation.

“CNN seems to be reporting ‘people leaving from Tokyo’ and Tokyo becoming a ‘ghost town,’ but it seems that it’s a bit overemphasized,” he wrote.

via Melony Plenda’s “Student reports from Japan: People remain calm

Here is a picture of a younger man helping an older man carry supplies. The New Yorker even mentioned the lack of looting and government exploitation. I would like to think that if something like this happened in the United States, Americans would refrain from looting and rioting, but past natural disasters show otherwise.

Internet comments have stated the calmness of the Japanese is a direct result of their community spirit and culture, sentiments echoed in The New Yorker article linked above.

Fourth:

Japan has the most technologically advanced earthquake detection and broadcast system in the world. This system undoubtedly saved lives.

The video above includes a frantic news producer yelling directions.

Fifth:

Japanese skyscrapers were built to withstand earthquakes and no engineered buildings have collapsed.

This list will be updated should I find out/read about other positives regarding the Japanese 2011 earthquake-tsunami-nuclear crisis.


Media Update on the troll Tamtampamela

project 365 #17: troll dolls

Image by mygothlaundry via Flickr

Ugh. I did not want to update my wordpress again today, because I like having the picture of me interviewing Rahm Emanuel on my front page, but it can’t be helped. I want the world to know (well, potential employers) that I broke the news that tamtampamela was a troll (see my time stamp)…  Read the rest of this entry »


White Girl Claims God Answered her Prayers by Striking Japan, Internet Retaliates

… except she just outed herself as a troll around 1am, CST. My headline is misleading, but hopefully you are still reading.

On March 13th, youtube user tamtampamela (identified by the internet as Pamela Foreman) made a video saying the tsunami happened because she prayed for god to prove his existence to atheists, and days later struck Japan. Pam goes on to say she is overjoyed by the magnitude of God’s response, and hopes God will steer his wrath to America soon, since there’s tons of atheists here. The video has approximately half a million views (link is original video, but as of 2am, LaughAloneTV has a copyright claim on it) and tons of hateful comments , including calls for her rape or other forms of violent retribution.

Richard Dawkins’ site linked the video, Scallywag & Vagabond call her “crazy”, Vanity Fair called her response inappropriate (link includes racist UCLA girl),  Project Armannd calls her a psychopath (and also links to additional WWII-Karma-on-Japan comments), Miami New Times blog takes a swig at her (and advocates interpretive dance),  Perez Hilton claims the video made him sick, and a bunch of  bloggers, youtubers and atheist forum users also weigh in on the matter, all outraged.

The internet went on to find Pamela’s “real life” information, and posted her address and phone number all over the internet (but that info might be fake? She might really be named Tamar Boehm?). If one watched more than one of tamtampamela’s other videos, it becomes clear that Pamela is trolling.  Some folks on the internet were not astute enough to make this connection, or sought to punish Pamela because you can’t make light of the Japanese earthquakes and tsunami, even if it was to make a point about how the extremely religious believe God works on their behalf against their enemies. Read the rest of this entry »


Japanese Earthquake, Tsunami reveal American Stupidity, Insensitivity

Avenge Pearl Harbor. Our bullets will do it, c...

Image by The U.S. National Archives via Flickr

EDIT: The internet is telling me all these anti-Japanese sentiments began with  a Family Guy staff writer’s joke tweet. He deleted the tweet and apologized, though other Americans might actually mean it as evident by their Facebook vitriol?

The last 48 hours for Japan have been rough: two earthquakes, a tsunami, and fears of nuclear meltdown.

A logical, possible explanation? A solar flare.

Some  cesspoolian Americans, however, viewed these natural phenomena as the work of a spiritual deity. These Americans believe the universe was angry at Japan for Pearl Harbor, and decided to wait more than 50 years to dish out karmic justice.  Except these Americans  didn’t say it like that.  More like:   “Fuck Japan! Remember Pearl Harbor? Karma’s a bitch!” Yeah.

When I think of all the Americans that never learned of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings,  my forehead wrinkles with worry. No Child Left Behind is doing a worse job than we imagined!

If I had to pick a country, between the United States and Japan, that would get karmic retribution for actions in World War II, I’d pick the United States (body count, occupation).   If I were to follow the Facebooking-karmic-justice-Americans logic, where  nature takes it upon herself to punish man for the things he does to his fellow man, I’d have to assume that Katrina, the tornadoes tearing up the midwest,  the BP Oil Spill (why not?) and every other natural catastrophe to hit the states EVER,  is retribution for things America did in prior wars. Or am I being silly here, because America don’t have to worry about karmic retribution? I don’t know the rules to this karma-blame-game… maybe America is exempt.

But what about New Zealand? Following the logic stated above, one could argue the Christchurch earthquake happened because of the Anglo-Maori wars centuries ago.   And the flooding in Australia? Oh, the universe is always punishing that country – they’re a country of criminals, you see?

But really, why Pearl Harbor?

My hypothesis:  the film  “Pearl Harbor” played recently (ahem, on repeat for a week) on some cable channel, making the battle of Pearl Harbor  fresh in commonplace American  minds.  These Americans heard the world “Japan” on the news, and were like, “I just watched a movie with Ben Affleck, and that tsunami country bombed us in the movie!   Serves them right, durrr, derr.”

(I don’t know if “Pearl Harbor” aired recently, but this makes me think my idea has merit…)

CLOSING EDIT: That joke flew over my head and now I feel silly. Perhaps all those Facebook people were really imitating Alec Sulkin. Reddit does not know this yet, nor does Viceland.com, linked above. (3:30pm CST)


Anime: Why two nukes on Japan wasn't enough

Atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

Image via Wikipedia

Two days ago, New Hampshire state representative Nick Levasseur wrote this as his facebook status: “Anime is a prime example that two nukes just wasn’t enough” . (Click here to watch a video compilation of  the local media’s take)

The medias coverage has focused on him either being a racist (another right wing media link), or on how this is an insult to anime.

Nick appears to be around 26 years old. Nick looks like he watches anime. I think Nick was telling a joke. A really bad one, but nonetheless, a joke.   Would you ever hear a Japanese politician joke that they should bomb Pearl Harbor again because they just can’t stand our summer blockbusters? Absolutely not.

This isn’t the first time Nicky has made really bad jokes though. Back in 2007, on his Myspace page he listed under his interests: “the hunting of neo-conservative Reaganites” and in 2008, also on his Myspace page, he described himself as “the magic mushroom. Shove me in a dark place, feed me a fist full of shit, and watch me grow!”  This latest attempt at a joke, by insulting the Japanese tragedy, reveals his under developed sense of humor.

No other country in the world has been attacked with nuclear weapons, and if you know ANYTHING about Japanese history, or culture, you know to this day they still struggle with that happened to them (hello, Godzilla films?).  Consider the new book, ” The Last Train from Hiroshima” or even this  recent gem about Hayden Panettiere’s efforts to save dolphins in Japan:

As the group arrived, a truck of right-wing nationalists blasted slogans, saying Japan should not be singled out for whaling and dolphin hunts because Westerners “are killing cows.” They also demanded President Barack Obama apologize for the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

‘Heroes’ Actress visits Japan dolphin hunt town via Associated Press

Japanese society has long used the arts to deal with their nuclear past, and if you are going to include anime in this artistic realm, you have to mention the famous manga-turned-anime-turned-American-film Astro Boy. Astro Boy was born in 1951…. just years after the bombs were dropped. Astro Boy’s name in Japan is “Mighty Atom” and is a direct reference to the nuclear attacks. Astro Boy was made to appeal to little boys, perhaps to help the children cope with new post-war reality?

Sadly, this joke also reveals that Nick has never seen any good anime. Action movies tend to be really bad too, but I don’t go around advocating the bombing of Hollywood…. and every once in a while, an action film does comes along that I can appreciate (Fifth Element, for example…). The same applies to anime.

If you’d like to watch some good anime films, I’d recommend anything by Oscar winner Hayao Miyazaki, as well as the films Paprika, Ghost in the Shell (which Spielberg is remaking), and Perfect Blue. For anime series, I’d recommend Cowboy Bebop, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Lain (though the last two do get creepy later on).