Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Distraught over the lack of role models for America's youth? Are you bored with G.I. Joes? Hungry for more worthwhile toys that will help your kids learn about standing up for truth, honor and America's security as they play? Well has the Vicale Corporation got some action figures for you.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Why? I have no clue. I'm not a drummer, and I don't think I really fit the A.D.H.D. bill. It's just something I've always done. I had actually come to terms with it as one of my defining character traits... until now. Hope truly cometh in the morning. I was watching T.V. on Saturday at around 10am when it aired. An ad for Requip, "the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of moderate-to-severe primary Restless Legs Syndrome."
Admittedly, I'm self-diagnosing myself here, but RLS is described as "a neurological movement condition characterized by a strong, compelling urge to move the legs, often accompanied by leg twitching," and that sounds pretty on the mark. If there's medication for this, I think I'm game. Especially considering that the tips for managing RLS include reducing both caffeine intake and stress; I'm clearly better off with the medication as I try to finish out law school... and just think how I would be redeemed in the eyes of classmates, colleagues, and even ward members! The only listed side effect seems to be drowsiness, but I figure it can't be any worse than my International Arbitration class. Oddly, the real downside for me would be if it actually worked. Without my shaking leg, I'd have nothing to distract people from my incessant sniffling.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Thursday, February 23, 2006
I found I was a little imprecise in my previous post... what was robbed Wednesday morning was not a traditional bank, but actually a security depot that held old currency for the Bank of England. The depot was charged with sorting through torn or defaced bills to be taken out of circulation. Interestingly, the fact that this money has been in circulation means that it will likely be more difficult to track down because it is much less identifiable.
Yesterday’s estimate that “at least” £25 million British Pounds had been stolen has turned out to be rather conservative. Some sources now report that it's actually closer to £50 million Pounds (£1 British Pound is around $1.75 U.S. Dollars - so that is almost $87 million). This might be a thorn in the robbers’ side though, because it may end up being too much cash. The Daily Mirror quotes a former senior British officer as saying “They've bitten off more than they can chew. The case is so high profile it will be almost impossible for them to spend the money.”
There are conflicting estimates of how many people were involved, but at least six armed men wearing balaclavas were at the depot early Wednesday morning. They bound the 15 employees inside with plastic ties and had the manager, Colin Dixon, help them forklift pallets with the two tons of money into their large white truck.
The burglars then ordered
Don't you worry though, the
If the £50 million estimate holds true, it makes this the biggest cash bank robbery in history. Here are the other biggest robberies (cash and other) that I’m aware of:
1963 – The Great Train Robbery: Robbers stole £2.6 million from a
1978 – The Lufthansa Heist: Almost $6 million in cash and jewelry was stolen from the Lufthansa airlines terminal at JFK airport in
1983 – The East London Bank Robbery: Robbers stole almost £6 million from a Security Express depot in
1983 – Brinks Mat Robbery: Six armed robbers posing as security guards got in to the Brink's-Mat high security vault at
1987 – Knightsbridge Security Deposit Robbery: Thieves looted safe deposit boxes after being shown into the vault and got away with an estimated £40 million.
1990 – Bearer Bond Mugging: Muggers stole £292million in bearer bonds at knifepoint from courier
1997 – Dunbar Armored Robbery: Thieves made of with around $18.9 million from the armored car depot.
2003 – Central Bank of Iraq: Nearly $1 billion is stolen from the Central Bank of Iraq the day after the U.S. begins to bomb Baghdad.
2004 – Belfast Northern Bank Robbery: Thieves believed to be connected to the IRA stole more than £26.5million from the headquarters of the Northern Bank.
2005 – Banco Central Burglary at Fortaleza: Burglars rented an empty property near this Brazilian bank and tunneled over 78 meters to break in underneath the bank and escape with almost $70 million.
2006 – Wiltshire Robbery: A crew smashed down the perimeter fence around property tycoon Harry Hyams house and stole paintings and antiques valued at more than £30 million.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Sound familiar? Well, it should. Bandits, a Bruce Willis film from 2001, involves just such a heist. Characters played by Willis, Troy Garity, and Billy Bob Thorton take a bank manager and his family hostage during a series of bank robberies. They rob the manager's bank the next day by coercing him to accompany them to the bank. We'll see if this UK bunch turns out to be brighter than Willis and his crew, who were ultimately turned in by a woman (Kate Blanchett) that they had befriended.
Nor is this the first time that life has imitated a movie bank job. In 1997, Larry Phillips and Emil Matasareanu, a Kevlar sporting duo armed with assault rifles and handguns, robbed a North Hollywood bank. The police responded quickly and the pair soon found themselves in a Heat style shootout as they attempted to get away; Phillips was shot 11 times and Matasareanu 29. Phillips ended up shooting and killing himself before he was apprehended, while Matasareanu surrendered to officers after stealing a truck that wouldn't start (he later died before he could receive medical attention).
What I'm really curious about in all of this is whether these bank robbers knew they were pulling a movie job. Did they study how the gigs went down on film and try to plan accordingly? They certainly seem to have covered their bases so far... and if they're the same crew that pulled this very similar $50 million job in Belfast, Ireland in 2004 (purportedly the largest bank heist ever), then they've got this racket down to a science.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006
As part of this promotional tour, Shawn recently appeared on the Howard Stern show and revealed intimate details about her marriage to Mr. King that no one really wanted to know. Naturally, I felt obliged to post the highlights for you (and no... I don't have a Sirius satellite radio subsciption nor do I listen to Howard Stern. Chalk this gem up to the beauty of google news):
- Shawn and Larry had to wait an extra six weeks after they got married to have sex because Larry was recovering from an angioplasty.
- Don’t worry though, in spite of this little hick up, Shawn and Larry have a good sex life now. Shawn says that "Larry has this Indian costume that just drives me wild . . . I wear chaps!"
- Surprisingly, seeing Larry naked for the first time did not startle Shawn.
- Shawn claims that Larry has never seen her garments?!?
- And, if you can believe it, Shawn’s father did not approve of this Howard Stern interview!
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I first heard of Matisyahu last fall on NPR. I’d meant to look into him at the time, but I got lost in the Fall Interview Program whirlwind. Luckily, I’m friends with BA, who sent me selections from this
Matisyahu, with his flat-brimmed hat (ala The Chosen) and that big bushy beard (ala Tevye), has now moved himself into the coveted top spot on my ipod playlist. His peppy reggae raps about HaShem, King David and
Friday, February 03, 2006
As per Woo's request. Everyone who has student loans, write and thank your Congressional representatives who finally got around to passing the reconciliation bill from last year's Deficit Reduction Act! The legislation cuts among other things, 12.7 Billion from the federal student loan program. If you owe $15,000, you'll owe another $1,360 over the course 10 years... If you owe upwards of a hundred thousand like many graduate students, it's gonna' be a whole lot more than that. One would expect that a Congress intent on stimulating the economy would consider education a good investment. Apparently not though. Instead they pass the buck and essentially "raise" taxes on middle and lower class families through these cuts. Unfortunately student loans aren't the problem. This is equivalent to putting a band aid on a leg with gangrene. Add to this the fact that the Bush administration is pushing to make several tax cuts permanent and you negate any "deficit reduction" supposedly achieved by this bill and keep the federal deficit nice and ballooned (estimated by the OMB to be over $400 billion in 2016).