Archive for the ‘news’ Category

bridge collapse pictures

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Strange atmosphere at work today – as far as I know, nobody in my general circle was involved in the tragedy, although a number were close – crossing the bridge a half hour or less before the accident.

There’s a photo gallery at the Washington Post here and it’s just bizarre to see pictures of my city in this way.

shock

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

I was just about to iron some shirts tonight when I got a call from my boss – she asked me to call everyone on my team (I have 18 employees plus a couple of contractors right now) to make sure they are OK. Clearly I was sounding a bit confused – she said “Haven’t you heard? Sorry, I thought you knew – turn on the TV.” Well it seems that the bridge of a major road collapsed at rush hour. It’s a major commuter artery from downtown Minneapolis to the north, and a lot of our folks take it. The collapse happened right on the Mississippi in the center of town.

I got hold of everyone on the team eventually – it took a lot of phoning around to make sure, and then I had to call the central security office of our company to let them know too (the guy said “wow, you have a big team!”). A couple of the folks had close calls – one was on the bus going over the bridge a half hour before, and others may have been there but had stayed in the office a little later than usual.

Quite a relief – I might try to phone a couple of friends just in case. So far it’s pretty nasty, but could maybe have been worse – the bridge was under construction with only one lane open each way (usually three each way) so there were a fairly small number of cars and other vehicles on the bridge.

UPDATE: Freaky: Emma just reminded me that this is the road we take to get Toby to soccer class, and we are usually going over it at about 6:05pm on Tuesday nights.

becks in los angeles

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Emma and I got the chance to watch the LA Galaxy/Chelsea game on Saturday – the first game featuring David Beckham. It was quite a spectacle, not for the game, in which Chelsea ran rings around the Galaxy’s midfield (LA’s defence was pretty decent which is why it ended up only 1-0 – that and I’m not sure how hard Chelsea were actually trying) but for the media blitz of Beckham himself.

He did get on the pitch about 12 minutes from the end, and even though he had only two or three touches of the ball it was clear that he is a class above. One pass forward was inch perfect, for example. I hope that things will work out for him – I think his new team is going to be a very different experience from what he’s been used to. I’m sure he’ll cope though.

what a country

Friday, July 6th, 2007

I’ve had my green card for over five years now, so theoretically I am eligible to apply for citizenship of the United States (“of these United States,” as I would say if I were a presidential candidate, which I can’t be because for a start I was not born here, and you have to be natural born American to be President). Not sure if I will – I have a real attachment to living here, and the people, and it would be nice to vote and all, but it would still feel a bit strange, even though I’d be able to keep my UK citizenship. Hmm. Either way, wouldn’t it be cool to have the citizenship ceremony at Disneyworld? With a parade? And F-15s flying overheard? What a country.

On a smaller scale, I found out (both these pieces of info today come from a blog from our local paper, buzz.mn) that today is National Fried Chicken Day. I wonder what we’ll have for dinner? I was at a party a couple of weeks ago, where the hosts got fried chicken from the deli counter at a supermarket, and it was about 100 times better than KFC. I’m sure it was calorie-free too.

a hero for our time

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Terrorists: Don’t mess with Glasgow cabbies. Here’s a story about one of a few hard cases who effectively tackled the terrorists at Glasgow airport: Hero Cabbie. A snippet of the story from “battling taxi driver Alex McIlveen”, including some amusingly colorful language:

“He was going crazy, just lashing out at everyone and babbling pish in a foreign language the whole time.

“I’ve heard people say since that he was shouting ‘Allah!’ but I didn’t hear that. It just sounded like a lot of crap to me.

“I ran for the guy and punched him twice in the face with pretty good right hooks.

“Then I kicked him with full force right in the balls but he didn’t go down. He just kept on babbling his rubbish.”

UPDATE: The “original” hero of the story was John Smeaton, who has been elevated to celebrity status on the web, but now according to his mother is “having a wee rest“. His message for the terrorists at the time was: “This is Glasgow and we’ll no accept this. You try this and we’ll set about ye.”

good news from episcopal church

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Excellent news: Episcopal Bishops in U.S. Defy Anglican Communion.

Backstory, as noted in the article: The worldwide Anglican church, alarmed at the US Episcopal church being inclusive and supportive of gay and lesbian people, threatened to demote or expel the Episcopal church from the Anglican Communion unless certain demands were met. The Anglican church have said no way on some of these, and “we urgently need to talk” on others (this request has been rebuffed).

I’m proud of the Anglicans for not giving in to demands and standing their ground for what they believe to be right and true and peaceful and inclusive. So far nobody has told me what the actual impact of being severed from the wider Anglican Communion would be, but whatever it is I’d rather be out of it than in something unpleasant.

UPDATE: excellent editorial from the Guardian

bigotry update

Monday, March 19th, 2007

There’s an article on the BBC today about opposition politicians in the UK accusing the government of “rail-roading” the legislation banning discrimination by businesses or services against gay people. These enlightened rules have caused considerable outrage from the Roman Catholic Church (as noted on this site previously) who say that it will cause them problems:

[T]he Catholic Church says it will have to shut its [adoption] agencies, which handle some of the most difficult-to-place children, after that – rather than go against its beliefs.

Well I for one am glad to see that their beliefs against gays would be more important than their beliefs of looking after children (and why do they say that they handle the most difficult-to-place children?) Nice call, Roman Catholic Church! Hooray for you!

a moving story

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

On the front page of the New York Times today, a very moving article: A Place to Turn When a Newborn Is Fated to Die featuring good friends of ours, Jill and James Kilibarda. They are a great couple and are handling their situation with incredible grace and strength.

hooray for pilots

Friday, February 16th, 2007

Remember a few years ago when a plane in California had its landing gear stuck and the pilot heroically landed with no problem? A headline at the time (a time in which so much was going wrong in the Government) said “Competent person found in America”.

Well it seems that another competent person has been found – this time in Africa, and again it’s an airline pilot:

Along the way, speaking to the hijacker, the pilot realized the man did not speak French. So he used the plane’s public address system to warn the passengers in French of the ploy he was going to try: brake hard upon landing, then speed up abruptly. The idea was to catch the hijacker off balance, and have crew members and men sitting in the front rows of the plane jump him, the Spanish official said.

sunfish news

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

OK so this isn’t supposed to be a large fish blog, but I couldn’t resist linking to this story which reports on the enormous warm-water sunfish which have been showing up near the coast of England. These fish are gigantic – about 11 feet long and weighing over 2 tons. But it’s not all good news:

A four-year-old boy was flattened by a sunfish in August last year, off the coast of Little Haven, Pembrokeshire, when it leapt from the sea into his dad’s boat. The boy and his brother managed to roll the creature off and back into the sea.

I would imagine that would give you quite a shock.