Friday, May 25, 2007

Pirates Of The Campaign

As Jack Sparrow sails back into theaters and CBS readies the "Pirate Master" reality game, we notice a Democrat who may be flying the Jolly Roger.

SURRENDER THE BOOTY. Presidential candidate John Edwards -- affectionately known around the Lightning Round offices as "The Hair Guy" -- stands to score a share of some buried treasure. Edwards is a shareholder in Fortress investments, which owns Odyssey Marine Research, which recently discovered a sunken 17-century galleon loaded with $500 million in loot.

Edwards' personal financial disclosures show he's an investor in the exclusive Drawbridge Global Macro Fund, which owns the 9.9% stake in OMR.

Ten percent of $500 million. After costs, of course.
This raises the possibility of pirate plunder funding a presidential campaign. Your Lightning Round suggests the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law be extended to buccaneer contributions.

Contributing pirate editor Captain Bartholomew Burgundy weighs in: "We bucs 'ave a king, not a president! Buh ye know, all's fair in politics an' piracy. Just 'as long as ye don' steal votes!"

RUNNING ON EMPTY. Don't blame the service stations for high gas prices. They're getting hit in the wallet too, and some have even stopped selling gas.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Credit card companies and banks get an average of 2.75% on every gallon of gas sold, and credit card processing fees now rank as the second-biggest expense for gas station operators, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores.

"The way I see it is, I'm doing all the work of providing the labor, the wages, the electricity, the lighting, the maintenance of the pumps, the repairs and the insurance, which is quite substantial," [Gas Station owner Jeff] Curro said. "I'm doing all the work, and somebody else is getting fat on me."
The U.S. House just passed anti-gas-gouging legislation, which the White House is hinting it will veto, calling it a form of price controls tried in the 1970's.

Your Lightning Round remembers prices above $3 per gallon before. We also remember how all this talk of gouging suddenly went away when prices suddenly dipped down to $2.50.

OFF WITH HIS HEAD! The newest kids-gone-wild scare is "helmet boxing," basically amateur brawling in the backyard with some token safety protection.

From WCBS-TV, New York:
To play, each individual dons a helmet with a face mask, along with a pair of gloves, and then each hits each other in the head until someone passes out, a helmet gets knocked off, or someone simply throws in the towel.
It sounds like a hybrid of boxing, hockey fights, and backyard wrestling. And you guessed it, kids are watching other kids fight on (ta-da!) YouTube. Granted, it sounds a little more civilized than those videos of beatdowns that keep popping up. Doctors are offering the boilerplate warning:
"I think there is a false sense of security if you're using gloves and a helmet that you're protected and that nothing is going to happen," said Dr. Andrew Gregory of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Your Lightning Round points out that amateur boxers wear head protection, even at the Olympics.
[Helmet boxer A.J.] Pacheco's parents are allowing their son to continue fighting after watching a few matches, though they do admit they're not 100 percent comfortable with it. "As long as everyone has their chin straps on safe and everything's secure, they don't seem to mind," Pacheco said.
In that case, maybe they would be comfortable stepping into the backyard as a referee, perhaps growling Mills Lane's trademark line, "Let's Get It On!"

BLOCK-STRAP. Capitalizing on the fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding cell phone radiation, the Swiss company Isabodywear is making undies that block the harmful emissions.

From Engadget:
The briefs are purportedly constructed with threads made of silver, which the company claims will fend off harmful cellphone radiation; moreover, in an effort to really prove just how effective these undergarments are, it suggests that phone calls originated within the confines of your new underwear simply won't connect.
Don't try doing that at home, folks. In fact, just don't try it period.

UP THERE. Scientists say Viagra may help shake off jet lag. At least it works in hamsters.

From Bloomberg:
Hamsters given sildenafil, the chemical name of the drug sold as Viagra, adapted more easily to altered patterns of light exposure to simulate changes caused by air travel across time zones. Long-haul travel desynchronizes the body's alignment to the day-night cycle, leading to the disorientation of jet lag.
First, we didn't know hamsters were capable of jet lag. Second, we have to ask about side effects. Doesn't the Mile High Club have enough members?

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