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Friday, May 30, 2008

Join the ARMY


It's Friday. I'm a KISS fan. And I got to meet Mean Gene back stage in Atlantic City several years ago.

While this story has no relevance with regards to successful international diplomacy whatsoever... it DOES bolster my view of Sec of State Condi Rice.

Excerpt from AP:

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- The Kiss Army fan club has an enthusiastic new recruit: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
In a departure from her normally staid diplomatic duties, Rice met the legendary glam rock quartet when they happened to share a hotel in the Swedish capital. Rice was in Stockholm on Thursday for an international conference on Iraq. Kiss had a sold-out gig to play on Friday.
"I was thrilled," Rice said of her late-night encounter with frontman Gene Simmons and bandmates Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer in the executive lounge of the Sheraton Hotel where they signed autographs and handed out backstage passes and T-shirts to her staff.
"It was really fun to meet Kiss and Gene Simmons," she told reporters, noting they seemed well informed about current events. The band had asked if she could stop by after she finished dinner with the Swedish foreign minister and Rice readily agreed, she said.



Perhaps it's time to give Beth a lyrical makeover... Oh Condi, what can I do?!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Shark Politics


Either I am obsessed with a self-fulfilling prophecy that I am going to be eaten by a shark this year... Or maybe it's just that I have become entirely consumed by this year's presidential race... Regardless, here's an important question we need to be asking about Clinton, Obama and McCain:


WHICH CANDIDATE WOULD YOU TRUST MOST WITH KEEPING US SAFE FROM SHARKS?


Send me your thoughts at griffsnotes@foxnews.com!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Summer of the Shark II???



July 30, 2001 – “Summer of the Shark” was the cover story of Time Magazine.

It had been decided, in large part to the extensive media coverage of 8-year old Jessie Arbogast’s attack by a Bull Shark and subsequent survival after losing an arm, that the story of the year would be shark attacks in 2001… that was until the morning of September 11th.

Now before you jump to crazy conclusions, I am NOT in any way suggesting some doomsday conspiracy that this year’s shark attacks are in ANY WAY a prelude to some sinister attack later this year.

Rather, I am simply comparing the unusually aggressive number of attacks that summer (01) to what is already sizing up to be one of the more significantly dangerous summers in the water already this year.

I have been surfing and diving my entire life and have encountered sharks on numerous occasions. I have consistently dismissed theories of “shark summers” as being created by overzealous hype and unnecessary hyperventilating by talking heads on TV.

I have never feared going into the water... After all, I know the odds are in my favor: I am much more likely to be struck by lightning (1 in 79,746) than eaten by a shark (1 in 3,748,067).

But…

Dum-Dump……….Dum-Dump…….Dum-Dump….Dum-Dump…Dum-Dump, Dum-Dump, Dum-Dump, Dum-Dump, Dum-Dump (Can you hear the theme to JAWS?)

Yes, some of you will accuse me of sounding like Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) announcing that we’ll “NEED A BIGGER BOAT.”

No. We don’t. There is no Jaws out there that needs hunted. I am simply your humble and sane reporter (who surfs) who notices that it appears to very “toothy” year thus far.

Consider This:

Item #1: The Mexican Navy officially launched a War on Sharks this weekend because a Mexican surfer named Osvaldo Mata was killed Saturday after an attack; and an American surfer, Bruce Grimes from Texas, was bitten (but not killed) the same day along the Mexican Pacific coast. These attacks followed the death of another American surfer who died after being viciously attacked at a nearby beach at the end of April.

Prior to the latest incidents, the last person to die from a shark attack in Mexican waters was more than a decade ago.


Item #2: A 66 year-old triathlete training in the Southern California waters off Solana Beach was killed after being attacked by a Great White believed to be up to 16 feet long. Great Whites are the leading nibbler on the West Coast, but rarely are the attacks fatal or occurring so far south in the San Diego area.


Item #3: Shark Attack Season begins with a BANG in South Florida. Volusia County is the Shark Attack Capitol of the World and there’s been plenty of activity so far this year. There were at least three attacks in New Smyrna Beach, Fla in April alone.


Item #4: A British teen was actually attacked by a shark IN HIS BEDROOM without even going into the water. (Okay, this was too funny to pass up – sleepwalking into your fish on the wall.)


Item #5: The UK’s Guardian newspaper declared at the beginning of May: “Surge in Fatal Shark Attacks Blamed on Global Warming!


Item #6: My own personal encounter, face-to-face, with a Bull shark in March off Palm Beach, Fla. I was surfing alone, with my wife watching from the beach. I knew that it was shark migration time, but they are typically black tips or spinners and they are only a few feet long. At worst, a bad dog bite. But the shark that surfaced on me that day, was a Bull Shark. I was sure of it. It was about 5-6 feet long, gray, stocky with the tell-tale snubby, rounded snout. His dorsal fin came first, then I saw his tail break the surface as he circled a few feet from me and floated motionlessly… that’s when, in the words of my wife, “never seen me paddle into shore so fast in her life.”


Lions and Tigers and Bears… and Sharks?

Welcome to Summer!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jenkins Family Beer Review: BALTIKA 2


Over the Memorial Day / Jenkins Family Reunion Weekend, my beer expert brother, Kim Jenkins, officially reviewed Russia's pre-eminent Ale: Baltika 2 - "The Pride of St. Petersburg."

Didn't even know Russia made beer?

There's no stone too remote to turn over for a Jenkins Beer Review...

However, what we did not anticipate during this review, was an unexpected and rude KGB ambush trying to disrupt and censor our review. Fortunately, such attempts were unsuccessful.

Note too: the proper disposal of such liquids.



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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ghosts of Vietnam?


I read a disappointing story today over at Little Green Footballs blog about our men and women in uniform being verbally assaulted on public transportation here in the Nation's Capital.

The story cites a letter obtained by well-known and accomplished milblogger Michael Yon from the Dept of Transportation warning military personnel of verbal assault incidents and even offers guidelines for avoiding/dealing with such harrassment.

If this sort of Vietnam-era stuff is REALLY going then it ought to be addressed and rejected. Those who exercise their 1st Amendment rights ought NOT abuse that right by attacking the very people who are tasked with defending it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cardigan Time?


Yesterday, Sen. Obama made these remarks to a crowd of 75,000 in Oregon:

We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times ... and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK, Obama said. That's not leadership. That's not going to happen.


I think Obama has good intentions to suggest that for a country that has been given so many blessings, much is expected in terms of leadership... America does need an "Energy Diet" in my opinion. Conservation NEVER hurts, people!

BUT... the political reality of achieving such change in energy independence does come easily when you just dictate to folks what they can and cannot do because other countries won't like it.

One might recall that during the oil crisis during Pres. Carter's term, not one of high accolades for the history books (oil prices rose roughly 150% by the time he left office), he began sporting a Cardigan sweater around the WH and turned the thermostat down.

I suspect that many Americans may not be ready to get their Cardigans out of the closet to solve our current dilemma. Perhaps Sen. Obama might seek the example of NY Mayor Ed Koch and his implementation of water conservation in the public schools - which in turn successfully found its way into the family's water habits.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Polar Bear Politics


Let the Legal Battles Begin!

No doubt we are at the precipice of the beginning of a flurry of lawsuits intended to control greenhouse gas emissions or halt arctic oil exploration.

In fact, some groups like the Center for Biological Diversity have already filed suit against the govt that this week's news didn't go FAR ENOUGH.

Yet in listing the bears as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act, Interior Sec. Dirk Kempthorne says this designation offers no more protection than what they currently get under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

I caught up with the secretary immediately following his presser and asked him what he thought the legal fallout from his actions would be...


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Friday Fun: Cow Waterbeds!


Continuing my animal theme... there's THIS for a little Friday FUN!

According to an AP story, Dairy Farmer Kirk Christie near Des Moines believes that "a happy cow is a productive cow" which is why he is giving them: Flat Screen TVs and WATERBEDS!

"Them cows are my girls," says the farmer. (Um... that's a little weird, right?!) "You ask anyone, I probably think more highly of those cows than I do myself."

Farmer Kirk's got 23 girls and the industry experts support his pampering of them, saying that a cow's comfort (when they're lying down and chomping cud) DOES boost the milk production. The increasingly popular idea here at home seems to have originated in Canada and Europe.

Oh yeah, almost forgot the TVs... What do the girls watch?

Oprah and Dr. Phil, what else!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

FREE the Chicks!

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was in town - with chicks in bikinis in cages... to protest the annual Egg convention.

Check it out!


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Monday, May 12, 2008

WHY?


The first time I caught a ride inside the "tube" of a wave, it was in Costa Rica and due in large part from a much better surfer's nudging me along and encouraging me.

He was from Australia and occasionally drifted on and off the pro-circuit and his girlfriend was an LA Country lifeguard on vacation. She even had a water camera that caught a rough shot of that ride I will never forget.

But the bliss didn't last long that day because some obnoxious and aggressive surfers showed up and began harrasing the three of us. They were better than I, but paled in comparison to my professional pal. At first, we were competitive. But eventually, we gave way at the break as there were so many more to enjoy in Costa Rica without the nuance.

Back on the boat that had brought us out, I told my new friend that I wished I were as good as "those punks" so I could "school them" (I believe those were my words, although there might have been some profanity in there too!)

"Why?" my friend said. "You were the best surfer out there today!"

Confused, I reminded him that I was the LEAST talented surfer in the water and pointed at my pale white office tan as evidence.

"No, you were the best surfer out there because you were having FUN. That's what surfing is all about. It's why we do it... and its a shame some people don't understand it," he said.

It was then and there that I truly understood my relationship with surfing and why it continues to play a such a large role in influencing my own life and the way in which I choose to live it.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BUT then I read this in the NYT today: "Pro Surfer's Death Exposes Beach Town's Violent Side."


I am deeply saddened to read this story. And while I am not naive to what happens in parking lots near breaks all the time - this one is different.

This was allegedly premeditated by a group of immature and thoughtless young men in their twenties that haven't the slightest idea how devastating the consequences of their actions could be on a sport loved by so many around the world. I can't imagine the grief that this poor surfer's family and friends must be suffering for a pointless fantasy shared by an ignorant few.

Surf Gangs? That is pathetic, abhorrent, repulsive and utterly unacceptable.

I'm literally sitting at a computer on a rainy Monday morning in NYC... and I can't get past my first inclination. Why?

(The photo above is Emery Kauanui Jr from the LA Times today - and article that simply asks that same bewildering question.)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

HAPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Happy Mother's Day, Mom... And to ALL Moms out there too!!

My sincerest apologies as my daughters made a cute Mother's Day video message for Moms... but apparently there is a TROLL in this blogger software today that hates his mother and won't allow me to post video!

Check back tomorrow and maybe they'll get their act together!

***UPDATE: Better Late Than Never... Right, Mom!


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Friday, May 9, 2008

OBAMA GETS MR. SUPER!


Now we know: Mr. Super ENDORSES Obama!!

Here's an excerpt from the Obama Camp's press release on the endorsement...

Today, California DNC Member and superdelegate Ed Espinoza endorsed Barack Obama, citing his judgment, character, and ability to unite our country for change.

Espinoza said, “I am endorsing Barack Obama today because throughout this process I have seen him show a judgment and character that we need in our next president. From day one he opposed the Iraq war and has a plan to end the war in a responsible way and bring our sons and daughters home. He has shown he has the character to lead our great nation, from his choice to spend his career serving people in the poorest communities in Chicago to his commitment to speaking truth to the American people, even when it isn’t politically convenient to do so. To unify the country at this time in our history we need a president who has these qualities, and that is why I am proud to endorse him today. My good friend Bill Richardson, who backed Obama some weeks ago, knows what it takes to lead and I trust his judgment in this decision as well. I look forward to working with this great movement to bring victory in November.”


Interestingly too, Ed is blogging today at www.mrsuper.org about the Veepstakes game for Obama - Would Bob Casey balance the ticket in PA?

Who knows?! I just hope Mr. Super keeps blogging all the way to November!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Are Polar Bears "Threatened?"


That is the question before the Bush Administration right now following a California Judge's ruling that the Interior Department must decide -- BY MAY 15th -- if the bears deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Some Environmentalists argue that the climate change and melting Ice Caps reduces the Polar Bears natural habitit and thus "threatens" the species.

But others say that we may not know enough of the scientific facts to support this theory of a declining Polar Bear population. There are believed to be about 25,000 Polar Bears in the Artic Circle as best as I can determine.

In January 2007, the US Fish and Wildlife Service asked the Bush Administration to give the bears E.S.A. protection which was what then led to the May 15th deadline.

So being the intrepid reporter that I am - I am going to find out what's really going on here! I have a date with a Polar Bear tomorrow at the Maryland Zoo -- and calls into the Administration.

What do you think?

Do Polar Bears belong on the Endangered Species Act list?

Drop your thoughts to me at griffsnotes@foxnews.com.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The NUMBERS are IN


He's turned out to be a lot more than that "crazy old uncle" that Sen. Obama once described... Rev Jeremiah Wright has continued to dog the senator's campaign.

But just exactly how bad of a problem is it?

If you look at the latest Fox News-Opinion Dynamics poll, it reveals troubling news for the Obama Camp.

First, the big numbers: 45 percent of Americans care about the Controversy and 70 percent say it's damaged Obama politically – and that includes more than 6 in 10 democrats and 7 in 10 independents.

Additionally, the poll found nearly half of Americans think Wright's message is anti-white… And a majority thinks it’s anti-American. That includes almost half of Democrats – and 42 percent of Independents who Obama will definitely need to win the General Election if he is to get the nomination.

Then there’s this: Obama's favorable opinion among Democrats has fallen 10 points in two months: from 73 percent in Feb. to 63 percent in Apr. – which isn’t good news.

But the most revealing number may be this: One in five Obama supporters now say the Wright affair makes them less likely to vote for him (20%)… Yet despite this downtrend, Obama remains tied with Clinton nationally and is AHEAD still in the race that really matters ... The race for delegates.

You can watch a package that I did on this for FOXNews.com at www.foxnews.com.

(Kudos to Dana Blanton, Brian Gaffney and Matthew London for their help on this project!)