Robert's House of Hamsters

Somewhere between Sacramento, the Oregon border and that tingly feeling in your toes.


You're not seeing double...

This is just hilarious:

Funny double meaning...

From the Paradise Post's April 29 edition of the 49er Speakeasy. Check out the bolded part:

Bush is responsible for sex offender arrests

Today, April 27, 1,102 violent sex offenders were captured in Operation Falcon II by the coordination of government and local police. Will Jaime O'Neill give President Bush credit for this? These captured sex offenders will protect our children. Thank you, President Bush.

Brings back memories of the accidental double-meaning headlines that I got to read in copy editing class, such as "Include your children when baking cookies" or "Panda mating fails; vet takes over."



This has to be the story with the funniest lede I've read in a while.

It's a toss up as to which bodes worse for Daniel Baldwin's career: The fact that he was arrested on charges of cocaine possession or the fact that it took a week for anyone to notice.

Ouch. And I thought nothing sucked about being a Baldwin.


This is what you would call a "ringer"

Remind me never to play pool against this person:


Isn't it amazing?

Thanks to the power of e-mail, I now know that I can win a lottery in every nation of the world except the United States.



Another addition to the List of Things I Would Never Do Even If Offered Money While Intoxicated:

As seen on


Death to thieves, part 1-point-8-niner

Once in a while, I questioned free speech at Chico State when I was student there.

When I was an opinion columnist at The Orion, I wrote a column questioning an A.S.-sponsored program soliciting donations for environmental activists. A letter to the editor in response basically told me to shut up.

I think it was my work at The Orion that made me so sensitive to free speech issues. Now that I'm writing for a newspaper full-time, it's all the more relevant. But I still realize that college newspapers are particularly vulnerable to those that want to stifle open communication.

All in all, I graduated still having my doubts about the actual state of free speech at Chico State. How open of a campus is it, really?

A recent incident appears to be confirming my concerns.

On April 12, 2,500 copies of The Orion were stolen from racks all over campus, apparently in opposition to the editorial, which recommended no votes on sustainability measures in the A.S. election. (Another story on the theft)

Congratulations, members of that class that wrote the ballot measure. Your (lack of) intelligence is showing.

The Orion has very clearly on A-1 wording that states people can take one free, then must pay 50 cents for each additional copy. That was added in case something like this ever happened, because now the thief/thieves can be held responsible for approximately $1,250 in damages in the theft.

Since the value of the stolen items is over the threshold making this grand theft, this is now [drumroll] a felony!

But these thieves (and that's what they are) are dumb for a number of reasons. These measures are in the A.S. elections, which only about 3,000 or 4,000 students even bother to vote in, anyways. If there's a run-off election, it'll be a miracle if 500 students take part. Is The Orion's editorial recommending a "no" vote so big of a deal that people have to say "Ohmigosh, let's keep everybody from seeing that, then our measure can win!" If you have to rely on committing a felony to get you ballot measure elected, isn't it quite possible that it sucked to begin with?

Also, look at recent history. Think back to the whole Chi Tau incident. That was a rough spot for the Greek system in general. Nobody jacked all the papers on campus then. The Phi Kappa Tau porn incident. Nobody jacked all the papers then. I wrote a column ripping on the frats that chose to lose university recognition. They didn't steal the papers. The softball season getting cancelled was on the front page. Nobody jacked all the paper on campus then. Yet a ballot measure in a student election — now there's something to get riled up about! Anybody else catching my sarcasm and the logical fallacy of the criminals in that?

But, looking beyond the idiots themselves, I think this is a real chance for the university (and city) to put up or shut up about how much they really believe in the First Amendment.

In the early stages, at least from my perspective, it appears to be shutting up.

Back in November, Chico State President Paul Zingg signed a letter saying he would not allow himself or any university official to censor The Orion. As an editor, I watched him sign it.

Just two weeks ago, it took him less than 24 hours to send out an email to the university condemning a hate crime on a student that occurred off campus.

I checked my student email account (which is still active) today, and I don't see any sort of letter condemning the on-campus theft of the student newspaper — the primary protector and defender of a student's First Amendment rights.

I wait to see if the Chico City Council will say or do anything to condemn the action, but I'm not holding my breath.

I know a lot of people are taking this seriously. Hell, my roommate thought it was funny. So I flipped him off.

I find this all very disturbing, to say the least. Universities are supposed to be these great, grand places that support the open exchange of ideas to its fullest potential, even that speech which others don't like.

Stealing The Orion is a gigantic slap in the face to that. Whether you like the contents of The Orion or not, this is a serious deal and should be looked at with worry by everybody connected to Chico State.


Late night oil?

This is a little different experiment I'm trying out here. It's going to be a late night at The Post, and I'm going to do my best to chornicle it.

*ADDED FOR CLARIFICATION: Friday is the day we produce the Saturday edition of the Post. The work day starts at 8:00 a.m., and since I help read copy, it usually ends somewhere between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. The normal deadlines are 4 p.m. for Section C, 6 p.m. for Section B and 8 p.m. for Section A. We've made over 25 deadlines in a row, even with some late-breaking news incidents.

Approx. 4:15 p.m.- I get back to the office from a meeting in Magalia, thinking I'm going to have to bust hump to get my stories done in time. As I'm getting ready to settle into my desk, my editor looks at me and says "servers are down."

For a newspaper, a server being down is a very bad thing. Without the server working nowadays, there's no paper. Period.

My marching orders are to go grab some dinner now, because I could be here awhile. I'm one of two writers that also helps reads copy. The other writer has the day off.

So, to put it in the words of our copy editor, "It's going to be a long night."

I head to Safeway to grab something.

4:55 p.m.- Back at the office. The rest of the news staff is starting to file in.

5:05 p.m.- Watching the TV news. It was showing a vehicle roll-over that I went to cover this morning. It said the driver was in critical condition, which made me go "wtf?" because the CHP officer I just talked to said "minor injuries." I'm off to call Enloe.

5:15 p.m.- Enloe calls back. The guy is actually in fair condition. Take that, TV drama! Just kidding Jerry O, you know I'm cool with you.

5:20 p.m.- The server's still down. Pretty much the one server that is down is the worst one to be down for the paper--the one where we save all our stories and ads and layout. Everything else such as internet and email is still working fine.

Well, most email. Mine won't open.

5:25 p.m.- The plan of attack for now is to save the stories I'm writing on the hard drive on my computer so they can be looked at and then move them back to the server once it gets working. Whenever it gets working.

5:55 p.m.- Server is still down. We're supposed to be getting pizza. The main question I have right now is: Am I getting overtime for all this? Sweet!

6:23 p.m.- Our tech guy just came out saying "Yes Jesus, there is a god!" He's further than he's been all day, he said. So it's hopeful. I've got two stories on my hard drive, and one story stuck on the server.

6:33 p.m.- Pouring rain and thunder. Quoting the editor on the possibility of the power going out: "We do have a generator."

6:50 p.m.- Pizza's here. Server's not.

7:05 p.m.- All my stories are at, the very minimum, draft stage. Off to the copy editor they go.

7:11 p.m.- Since I have nothing to do at this moment except wait, I guess I'll give my mom a call and check on her.

7:17 p.m.- Never mind. My cousin picked up, she's out with my aunts playing bingo. Good for her.

7:22 p.m.- I guess now's the chance to explain why we would even go to generator power to get this paper out.

Newspapers are one of the few things in the world today that can offer people a sense of stability. No matter how crazy things can get (and trust me, right now in my life I know), isn't it nice to know that you can go out and have the newspaper right there waiting for you, smiling up at you? That's why we're were. That's why we'll be at work this late, to get you the news that you deserve!

7:31 p.m.- My personal secondary reason? You want to get people universally peeved? Don't have that newspaper out there. Trust me. People find any excuse possible to grumble, and not having the paper out there, even it's only a couple hours late, is a good one to give.

People are going to complain no matter what, it's just a matter of containment.

7:47 p.m.- All my stories will be ready to go. Now I can just hang out and listen to the enthralling vehicle pursuit coming over the scanner that started in Sacramento and went into Solano, or watch the White Sox-Royals game on the TV, sans sound.

8:00 p.m.- Oh sure, everyone else can now log on. But me? Noooooooooooo...

8:25 p.m.- Well, now I'm logging on. But the newspaper drives is still having issues, so my stories are stuck on my hard drive at the moment. Now it's the Rockies and Padres game on the TV.

8:29 p.m.- Server's up! Stories on the server! America, F*** Yeah! Don't really know where that last one came from!

8:41 p.m.- First page signed off. That only leaves about 23 to go.

8:50 p.m.- We're getting one of the local TV station to warn everybody their paper might be late. Damange control starts.

9:00 p.m.- I just finished the world-famous 49er Speakeasy. Boy, that was fun. {/sarcasm}

9:02 p.m.- Caffiene recharge. Thank you, Mr. (or Mrs.) 45-cent soda machine.

9:03 p.m.- 49er Comment of the Day was in response to a previous 49er comment suggesting that land mines be planted along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration. Why do that, when an electrified fence would be a much more humane way of doing things?

To quote Green Day, welcome to Paradise.

9:04 p.m.- I'm pretty sure that Green Day line has been used up here in irony way too much already.

9:44 p.m.- Copy editing a couple of pages now. Rockies by three in the bottom of the eighth. You know, I was going to go check out a couple of apartment complexes if I got off work early enough. Ha!

9:48 p.m.- Signed off my first page- B7. Wow, what a doozy, huh?

10:01 p.m.- This is Hour 14 of my workday. I don't think I'll be here another five hours, so my cousin's record stays intact.

10:16 p.m.- I'm a little teapot, short and stout. This is my handle, this is my spout...

10:20 p.m.- Giants-Braves on rain delay. Only the fifth inning. It shall tide over until the 11:00 News.

10:32 p.m.- Only three pages left for editorial!

10:41 p.m.- Well, my part is now done. I now can go home. Anybody want to take bets on the number of complaints we'll get from our adoring public?

10:55 p.m.- The final tally of my work day is 14 hours, 45 minutes. My day started covering a rollover accident where the car wound up 100 feet down a cliff. I had to hike a quarter-mile to the accident scene to get there, which made me realize I need to get some new work shoes. Follow that up with an all too-long meeting in Magalia where there were a couple of people that seriously needed the "get on with it!" scene from Monty Python & the Holy Grail yelled at them.

10:57 p.m.- Might as well hang around and watch the TV News announce our little situation. Just icing on the cake for this day.

11:19 p.m.- Announced it right before weather. All right, I'm getting the hell out of here.

12:05 a.m.- In my room. I'd call the day officially over now. Just to make it clear, I woke up at 6:45 this morning and left the house about 7:40.

Also, I'm the reporter on duty this weekend.


doot DOOT doot DOOT doot DOOT...

I love "24," I really do.

Even so, this piece by C.W. Nevius (one of the best columnists out there), is a hoot.

Some choice samples:

Meanwhile, Jack, in an incredibly lucky break, was NOT blown up in the huge explosion that he set off to destroy nerve gas at the end of last week's show.

I am having some doubts about CTU medical care. Telling the difference between an irreversible coma and someone who is just lying there with his eyes closed is, like, first year of medical school.

Evelyn turns out to be another in a series of typical "24'' women. She seemed pretty competent at first, but now she's ditzy, panicked, and prone to repeating the same phrase over and over. Luckily Jack is there to shoot people and restore order.