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Honey Badgers!

11/18/09
This cute little critter was mentioned on Top Gear, and I hadn't heard of it so I decided to look it up.  It's a badger that lives in Africa, and it's totally bad ass.  They eat everything from fruit to smallish (1 meter) crocodiles and gazelles.  It's only about 3.5 feet long and 30 lbs, but it will face down leopards, kill crocs and gazelles and steal food from puff adders.  They also love to eat bees.

The wiki article cites a National Geographic program:
In a 2002 National Geographic documentary titled "Snake killers: Honey badgers of the Kalahari", a badger named Kleinman was documented stealing a meal out of a puff adder's mouth and casually eating the meal in front of the hissing snake. After the meal, Kleinman began to hunt the puff adder, the species being one of the badger's preferred venomous snakes. He managed to kill the snake and began eating it, but then collapsed on the dead snake as he had been bitten during the struggle. After about two hours he surprisingly awoke. Once his paralysis had subsided, the badger continued with his meal and then resumed his journey.[4]
If you're curious, puff adders have necrotic poison and kill more people in Africa than any other snake.  They make honey badgers a little sleepy.  Wow.  (I watched the snake video and he didn't "manage" to kill the snake.  He casually killed it and ate it.  There was another one when one climbs a tree to get to a cobra and kills it on top of the tree.)

(There are also videos on YouTube of them facing lions and one where a 10 foot monitor lizard tries to eat one and gets its face eaten instead.  Animals are so cool.)

Authors and committments

11/3/09
A friend of mine told me today that she was starting to read a book series again for something like the 3rd time.  These books are pretty long.  The series so far is 4 books and  5000 pages or so.  It's pretty good.  I hear HBO is supposed to pick up the series.

The problem with this author is that he takes way too long to write his books.  In 2000 he published the 3rd book in the series.  It was a winner.  Probably the best of the series so far.  Then his writing schedule seems to have fallen apart.

The 4th book was published in 2005.  It was interesting because it only contained some of the normal cast of characters.  The 5th book is supposed to contain the rest of the character's experiences during the same time frame.  I like the idea, but it turns out that the 4th book only contained characters that I either don't particularly like or just don't care about at all.  It was a slog for me. 

The 5th book still hasn't been published, and it doesn't look like he's in any hurry.  His personal webpage lists several appearances that he's scheduled for and the "update" page for this book series hasn't been updated since 1/2008.  It suggests that we all leave him alone about writing the book and that we read some other series that he's been working on with another author. 

The major problem that I have with him is that when you start writing an epic series you need to finish the dang thing.  At the least you should be concerned that your fans have been waiting for years to read your next work.  You should have a sense of urgency.  You should be ashamed that we've been waiting nearly 5 years.

Now, I'm not usually one to gripe because someone hasn't been working hard enough, but I regard an epic series as a promise from the author to the (prospective) fans.  "I'll write these books and tell you a story and you'll pay for it even though some of the books might not be stellar." 

If you write one-off books and one of them is a stinker only your most hard core fans will buy it.  If you're writing epic series then you can write one or two good books, throw in a stinker or three (Goodkind, I'm lookin' at you), and people will keep reading them because people want to know what happens and can overlook a couple of weak books. 

{  In thinking about it, I don't know why I read these epic series.  I think I've been let down every time I've tried it.  Robert Jordan died before he wrapped up the Wheel of Time, but I'm not sure that he ever would have.  I stopped reading it in 1996 (after 7 books) when things stopped happening and the books were all looking pretty much the same.  Terry Goodkind became insufferable around 2003 after 8 books, I think.   Even Tolkien's Return of the King was a disappointment.  There's only so much Frodo-whinging I can take. }

Am I being reasonable here?

Good for Oregon! (And Boo on the NFL!)

9/5/09

The Oregon Ducks suspended a player for the whole season yesterday.

As you'll see in the article, LeGarrette Blount was suspended for the season and the post season after he punched a Boise State player after the game. Blount was heckled and his team was upset by the lower ranked team. He lost his temper (and apparently not for the first time) and punched another man in the face hard enough to knock him to his knees. Now he's not going to be playing for the season or the post season. They're keeping him on scholarship, and he can come back next year, but he's losing a full year in the spotlight.
Was this a good punishment? I think so. He's a repeat offender with a hair trigger for violence. He was threatening players, coaches, fans, and police. Football is a physical sport and there are many times in a football game when you are allowed to hit people, but after the whistles have blown is not one of them.
If there is a connection between the actions a player takes when not "in the game" and the consequences he should face in his career, then how does this reflect on the NFL's decision to allow Michael Vick back on the field and the Philadelphia Eagles' decision to hire him?
Granted, the actions taken and the player's proximity to the game and the level of play are all different. Does that matter, though? Let's see how these things line up.
Michael Vick:LeGarrette Blount:
Funded a dog fighting group.
Punched a guy in the face.
Bought land and facilities for this group to "train" dogs.Menaced some fans/coaches/cops.
Made t-shirts to advertise or represent this dog fighting team.
Knew that dogs were being tortured.
Knew that dogs were being killed in terrible ways.
Participated in the killing of dogs in terrible ways.


Vick is back in the NFL and back to earning millions of dollars after spending 2 years in prison.
Blount is not allowed to play football, but he's allowed to stay at the school and he's allowed to practice with the team.
What do you think about these situations?