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Archive for February, 2011

Cable TV Numbers

If you weren’t looking closely at the sports section this week, you may have missed news about the Lakers’ recent decision to move future Lakers games to Time Warner Cable ahead of current providers Fox Sports Net and KCAL Channel 9. The stunning news for most is that the deal, starting in the 2012-2013 season, will run for 20 years and will prevent Lakers fans without access to pay TV from watching at least some games on television. (And Mark Heisler repeats rumors that the Lakers’ haul from this deal may top $3 billion!) Since I don’t have cable TV, I’ve been left wanting with the increased migration of sports events from free TV to the schedules of cable TV giants such as Fox and ESPN, but it’s tough to register too much indignation at this point, when the writing has been on the wall for several years. I’m running out of reasons to even own a TV at this point.

However, one interesting point to emerge from a reaction piece from plodding Bill Plaschke is about the number of homes without cable TV in the city.

But did you know that about 620,000 homes in this area do not have a pay-TV service? Based on the 2000 U.S. census average of 2.59 people per household, that’s roughly 1.6 million people, or a city roughly the size of Phoenix

That’s significantly different from previous estimates I’ve heard from friends, no doubt parroted from cable industry sources, that describe cable subscription as close to 100 percent.

A God I Can Believe In

Roguszys is a deity from Eastern European countries responsible for causing the pickling of vegetables , some of these practices are very popular in Lithuanian cuisine. The use of such vegetables accompanying salty taste has given rise to many pagan celebrations in Lithuanian culture in the process of salting and subsequent pickling and fermentation.

Mention of Roguszys (or Ruguszys, according to some sources) is mentioned in Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, a cookbook cum testimonial to the benefits of  fermented food by Sandor Katz, who might actually have constructed an altar to the deity based on his enthusiasm for fermentation.

Worship of Ninkasi, the Sumerian goddess of beer and brewing, is also acceptable.

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Short Fuse

Via The Telegraph comes details of a bungled suicide bombing in Russia on New Year’s Eve. Apparently, an unsolicited text message from a cellphone carrier prematurely triggered the suicide bomber’s vest at the safe house prior to the planned attack.

The unnamed woman, who is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on Monday, intended to detonate a suicide belt on a busy square near Red Square on New Year’s Eve in an attack that could have killed hundreds.

Security sources believe a spam message from her mobile phone operator wishing her a happy new year received just hours before the planned attack triggered her suicide belt, killing her but nobody else.

She was at her Moscow safe house at the time getting ready with two accomplices, both of whom survived and were seen fleeing the scene.

Islamist terrorists in Russia often use cheap unused mobile phones as detonators. The bomber’s handler, who is usually watching their charge, sends the bomber a text message in order to set off his or her explosive belt at the moment when it is thought they can inflict maximum casualties.

The phones are usually kept switched off until the very last minute but in this case, Russian security sources believe, the terrorists were careless.

This story resonates in my mind, though I’m not sure if it’s an example of pathos or comedy or a 21st century Magical Realist text.

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