Friday, March 30, 2007

We Called It!

If you recall, this past October, the Toad posted a random list of things we liked. The list included a CD by the Rosebuds, Season 1 of The Wire, and...

Cormac McCarthy's
The Road, which we called "a masterpiece".

Well, now everyone's favorite local news anchor turned mega-billionaire, Oprah Winfrey, is jumping aboard the Toad bandwagon. This past week the O announced that The Road will be her next selection for Oprah's Book Club, assuring that the 200,000 or so people who have already read the book will be forced to listen to bored housewives and elementary school teachers prattle on about the nature of the novel's post-apocalyptic setting or how worried they were when the boy lost his father's gun.

In case you were unsure just how much clout Miss Winfrey carries in the publishing world, after her public announcement regarding The Road, Random House printed and began distributing 950,000 paperback versions of the novel. This is nearly 4 times the amount of hardcover books that were printed in response to the Toad's endorsement. 4 times!

There is also talk of a taped interview between the partner of Stedman Graham, the CEO of S. Graham and Associates (as we tend to think of Oprah) and Mr. McCarthy, despite the author's reclusion and abhorrence of the public spotlight. There is no word yet on when this interview will air. (At least we don't think there is, if someone knows will you please put it in the comments section?)

And please stay tuned for more endorsements and ideas that international celebrities can steal and profit from while we live without hot water and wait on them at Cipriani's 42nd Street.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 1/5

This is a documentary that apparently aired on Channel 5 in Britain about soccer star-turned -nutcase-turned conspiracy guru David Icke. We post these videos not because we are in agreement with David Icke or think he "was right" (we're not and we don't) but only because we think the guy is a fascinating character.

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 2/5

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 3/5

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 4/5

David Icke: Was He Right? Part 5/5

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Toad of a Different Color

From The Daily Telegraph:


March 27, 2007 12:00

A CANE toad the size of a small dog has been caught by a pest eradication group in the Northern Territory.

FrogWatch, a group culling the introduced menace across the Northern Territory, has found a toad measuring 20cm in length and weighing 860gm.

Volunteers discovered the whopping hopper and 38 smaller toads at Lee Point in the city's northern surburbs.

FrogWatch's Graeme Sawyer said the monster toad was the size of a small dog.

"The only bigger cane toad I've seen is in a specimen bottle in a museum in Brisbane," he said.

"I reckon I've probably seen 50,000-60,000 cane toads in the last 12 months and there is nothing even remotely close to this thing."

Mr Sawyer said he was surprised by the toad's sex. (Aww Yeah - ed. note)

"The biggest toads are usually females, but this one is a rampant male," he said.

"He is huge; I would hate to meet his big sister.

"The highly publicised big female caught in the city recently was little over 15 centimetres, this monster is another five centimetres long and one-third heavier."

A number of toad busts have been organised by FrogWatch to minimise the pest's spread during the wet season.

Thanks to Brett the Mad Scientist for bringing this to our awkward attention.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Get Chipped

Are you ready for your Verichip?

Approved by the FDA in 2002, the Verichip Corporation's radio frequency identification device is the first in what will probably be a long line of human implant microchips.

The device is generally implanted around the triceps area of the right arm and contains a bar code of sixteen numbers which correlates with a computer database and verifies
(hence the name) identity, citizenship, and medical records.

Predictably, mass concerns about government misuse and privacy issues have stopped the Verichip in its tracks. 68 hospitals originally signed up to adopt the tec
hnology in their emergency rooms, but most have discontinued use due to disputes with the public. It is estimated that only 2000 people nationwide have gotten the implant since its inception four years ago.

Religious groups are
(of course) up-in-arms about the nature of the chip, likening it to the "mark of the beast" mentioned in the impenetrable verses of The Book of Revelation.

He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name."

There is even an anti-Verichip website, "We the People Will Not Be Chipped", at

In May of 2002, the Jacob's Family of Boca Raton, Florida became the first family on earth to be implanted with microchips, in a procedure that was apparently broadcast on NBC's Today Show.
(Which we are having a hard time believing, considering all of the negative issues surrounding the device.)

They claimed their enthusiasm for the Verichip came in response to the excitement of their math/computer prodigy son Derek, after he saw a news report about the Verichip, as well as a feeling of safety for Jeffrey Jacobs (48 at the time), a severely disabled cancer survivor. Leslie Jacbos has also said the chip gave her a greater sense of security following the events of September 11th.

'I want to be the first kid to be implanted with the chip,'" Leslie Jacobs remembered her son exclaiming. "For the next few days all he did was talk about the VeriChip. I have nothing to hide, so I wouldn't mind having the chip for verification. I already have an ID card, so why not have a chip?"

Some have suggested that the Jacob's early interest and implantation were little more than a subversive corporate publicity stunt.
(And after reading some of the 2002 articles surrounding their procedure (Time's "Meet the Chipsons" and CIO's "All Inside the Family" among them) we tend to agree.)

(In a sad turn of events for the Jacobs, Derek (18) was killed in a motorcycle accident in October of last year.)

As of today, only one company in America,, a Cincinnati-based surveillance and security firm, has made a Verichip mandatory. They say that having the chip implanted directly into their employees helps safeguard the vast records of videotape and public data they have stored at their job site.

The official Verichip website is

Do you feel like you are living in a Phillip K. Dick novel yet?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Phildelphia Phillies

In lieu of our own comprehensive preview of the 2007 Philadelphia Phillies (because, really, what do we know?), we give you The Phans Blog, a website "dedicated to detailed analysis of The Philadelphia Phillies."

In-depth and generally well-written, The Phans Blog is great for casual and rabid fans alike, a godsend for out-of-staters like the Toad, and (we would guess) a great time-waster for the office.

This website covers it all, from big news like the recent decision to send former ace Jon Lieber to the bullpen and Freddy Garcia's tender right bicep to smaller details like the return of recent acquisition and possible starter Alfredo Simon back from whence he came (the hapless Texas Rangers) and the waving of prospect Justin Germano.

It also has breakdowns of the Phil's competition in the NL East as well as unofficial trade rumors and gossip-mill reports.

As for our previously devalued two cents, here are a few predictions.

Big Year - Chase Utley; Jimmy Rollins

It doesn't take a genius to predict this one. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins are primed for big years. Last year's achingly close playoff birth seems to have helped Rollins reevaluate exactly how he fits into the overall scheme and Chase is just awesome and will continue to get awesomer.

Breakout year - Shane Victorino

We think this guy is really good. He's fast and hits well for average, which seems like a good combination in terms of overall run production in a division with vastly different park sizes and generally competent if no longer overwhelming pitching staffs.

Slow starts - Ryan Howard; Freddy Garcia

Ryan Howard is a beast and will continue to be a beast for a long time. We do think, however, that being named league MVP and earning national celebrity will take a little getting used to for a 25 year old kid, not matter how likable and well adjusted. Also, we remember a few games down the stretch last year, once Howard started blasting every other pitch out of the park, when opposing pitchers seemed willing to give him an easy trot to first if only our giant young hero could stop himself from swinging at pitches well outside the strike zone. The next step to absolute greatest seems to be learning and accepting one's own limitations (something Barry Bonds, love him or hate him, proved very adept at). As for Freddy Garcia, we just think that the National League and especially Citizen's Bank Park will take a little getting use to as well, probably a month or so.

Bad Year - Pat Burrell; Bret Myers

We would love to see Pat Burrell succeed in the face of all odds but we worry that his confidence is too far gone and the city finds him too easy to hate. As much as professional athletes claim the crowd's opinion of them doesn't matter, common sense tells us that no matter what esteem they may truly hold the fans in (our guess - very low) it is something they deal with day-in and day-out for over 5 months and that such a huge amount of negative energy will become draining, especially for a guy like Burrell who has proven in the past that he is easily influenced by his surroundings (evidence: Tyler Houston debacle of 2003). As for Brett Myers, obviously we don't actually know, but we think the guy seems like a jerk and kind of childish (although we are open to the possibility that he is the victim of "sports writer vilification") and we doubt a brand-new 3 year, 25 million dollar contract will help him grow up. Our guess - the opposite.

Biggest Questions - Wes Helms; Ryan Madson

Basically, we feel pretty confident Wes Helms will be a good fit in the batting order, especially at home, but we aren't sold on his ability to field his position. Our understanding is that Helms has been mainly a pinch-hitter/designated-hitter most of his career and we think his defense might, well, suck. And, for us, Madson is a huge question because his ability to become a consistent and formidable force out of the bullpen will probably prove vital late into games, particularly when Jamie Moyer starts.

Well, that's all we got.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Phoenix Lights Documentary

We found this documentary about the Phoenix Lights on YouTube.

(It's Saturday. We really don't know what to write about.)

For us, the biggest revelation in the video - there is a firing range in Arizona named after Barry Goldwater?

Friday, March 23, 2007


We know it's on Catch a Wiff but it would be a crime if anyone missed this:

The Phoenix Lights

The following is an excerpt from the Arizona Daily Star. It basically says that the governor of Arizona recently admitted to seeing a UFO and covering it up so as not to create a state-wide panic.

The sighting took place in Phoenix Arizona, circa 1997, during an event which is generally referred to as "The Phoenix Lights". Here is a sti
ll shot from amateur footage:

And here is the excerpt:

Former Gov. Fife Symington says now that those strange lights that appeared over Phoenix a decade ago were from another world and that he had a close encounter with an alien craft on March 13, 1997.

"I'm a pilot and I know just about every machine that flies. It was bigger than anything that I've ever seen. It remains a great mystery. Other people saw it, responsible people," Symington said Thursday. "I don't know why people would ridicule it."

Symington, who was in his second term as governor of Arizona during the Phoenix Lights incident, recently told a UFO investigator making a documentary that he had kept quiet about his personal close encounter because he didn't want to panic the populace.

He repeated his story Thursday on CNN, saying the craft he saw was "enormous. It just felt other-worldly. In your gut, you could just tell it was other-worldly."

The governor didn't let on at the time, instead poking fun at the whole thing.
He hosted a press conference a few months after the mass sightings to announce that his Department of Public Safety had arrested the culprit responsible — a very tall bug-eyed creature brought before the media in handcuffs.
He then unmasked the creature to reveal his chief of staff, Jay Heiler, who at 6-foot-4 made an imposing, somewhat comical space alien.

Symington said the producer of the film "Out of the Blue," James Fox, originally sought him out to talk about why he had spoofed the sightings but then asked if he had seen the lights.
"I said, 'Yeah, I got a good look.'"

Heiler said Thursday he isn't surprised Symington believes in UFOs.

He said his boss was a "Trekkie" who enjoyed discussing space travel. Heiler said Symington was convinced that earthlings would be traveling to distant solar systems at speeds exceeding the speed of light "in our lifetimes."

We should probably mention that Symington was arrested on charges of wire and bank fraud during his tenure as governor and asked to vacate his public office, which he did last September.

Still, though.

The Truth is Out There, Motherfucker.