Robert's House of Hamsters

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


Anti-Sports Jingoism Video of the Week #2

Just in case you're curious, I consider this collection of rugby league slobberknockers to be Anti-Sports Jingoism Video of the Week #1.

But, on to #2. Here we are headed to the Emerald Isle, to see the wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Wait, I'm sorry, that's the Emerald City. My bad.

On the Emerald Isle (Ireland, for those of you who weren't fortunate enough to have an Irish-Canadian grandmother), there is this game known as Gaelic football. Here's a nice highlight video:

So, what the hell is going on? Sort of simple, really. Basically, Gaelic football is amped-up soccer. Players are allowed to pick up the ball and run with it, so long as every five they bounce it off the ground, or kick it to themselves (which is called soloing).

You might also notice that the soccer-esque goal has goalposts extending above it. Well, in Gaelic football, you score points either way. Kicking the ball through the uprights above the crossbar is worth one point, while kicking the ball into the soccer-type goal is worth three. More points for the bottom, because there's a goalie.

The field is about 150 meters long, which translate to 162.5 yards. Each team has 15 players to a side, and a game is made up of two 35-minute halves.

Also to note, despite the professional look of the games in the highlight video, there is no professional Gaelic football. All the players are amaeteurs, and play for their respective Irish counties.

The bandwagon goes on...

Fear not, news critics, it does not appear that making yourself a victim because of the press will be going away anytime soon.

Look who is joining the "picked on by the media" bandwagon: The largest police union in Nassau County, New York (the commercial itself is a real hoot) and -- you'll love this -- the Denver Nuggets.

Yeah, those poor Nuggets are just ripped on in the media. I'm sure making deadline trades only to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the Clippers would create a criticism-free zone, right?

Know why so many journalists wind up going to law school? They want a job where people don't stereotypically hate them as much.



So, Doug Flutie decided to retire today. I thought it was cool how he was able to get some notoriety in the NFL later on in his playing days.

So, here's the last thing he really became known for: making the first drop kick in the NFL since the 1940's in his last regular season game.



This is the second night in a row I've felt totally dead at 10 p.m.

This particuarly sucks since last night was my birthday and, instead of going out and really enjoying it, I drank a couple of beers and went to bed.

I just have a particularly bad feeling about everything right now, and I don't know why. Maybe doing some of these will help with that.


The "duh" story of the day

Imagine that. People might actually get injured if you intentionally hit them with a car.

But wait! It gets better:

Morris, confirmed Monday that he had his friend strike him. He also said he's learned a lesson.

"I won't do this no more," Morris told The Times.

Gee, it usually doesn't take a near-brush with Darwin Award infamy to learn that sort of lesson...


One that I must archive in all eternity...

I really enjoy when I get to inject some humor in my stories at The Post. Especially after the last few days I had (which you all that are my MySpace friends have some knowledge of), I really need something to be able to laugh about.

That being said, here's my barely funny look at what causes hay fever.

Pre-Post Script: I've been listening to "Pepper" by Butthole Surfers a lot lately, and I have no idea why...

The biology of allergies
Story by Robert LaHue

Are you suffering from itchy, watery eyes?

Plugged-up sinuses?


A feeling of disdain after having to pay over 50 bucks to fill up your car with a tank of gas?

The first three problems are likely allergies. The last one you probably wish was just an allergy problem, but it's actually being caused by God-knows-what.

Anyhow, this is the time of year when sufferers of pollen-caused allergies, known collectively as hay fever, start contributing to the financial well-being of manufacturers of allergy medication and facial tissue.

Allergy sufferers shouldn't feel alone in their misery. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology say that approximately 36 million Americans are sniffling, watery-eyed and fatigued around this time of year.

But what exactly is going on inside the body of a hay fever victim? The answer, in short, is "highly scientific stuff." But that doesn't really help readers of this story unless they are aware what the highly scientific stuff is.

This is a lighthearted, humorous look at what actually goes on in the human body with a hay fever allergy. It's lighthearted and humorous for two reasons -- first, when suffering from allergies, sometimes all one can really do is laugh about it. Second, the lightheartedness will compensate for the fact that the author was horrible at biology.

That being said, there's some explaining to do.

Definition of hay fever

The term hay fever does not refer to an allergic reaction to hay. It's also not a misspelling of "hey" as in "Hey! You just sneezed on me. That's gross."

Any sort of an allergic reaction to airborne pollen is considered hay fever. The proper medical name of hay fever, according to WebMD, is rhinitis. This name was determined by the tendency of hay fever suffers to walk around sounding like a snorting rhinoceros, thus the "rhin" at the beginning.

Just kidding. The name "rhinitis" gives references to the fact that the airborne pollen is breathed in, as "rhino" is the Greek word for nose.


Got hay fever? Blame it on sex.


The pollens that cause hay fever play an important role the sexual reproduction of trees, flowers and grasses.

Pollen grains contain the male reproductive cells of plants. The pollen is used to transport these cells to the plant's female reproductive organ, the pistil.

There are two types of pollen, entomopheilous and anemophilous. While these words are incredibly long and contain a lot of vowels, there is a reason the pollens have these names.

Entomopheilous means "insect-loving." These types of pollens are too heavy to be transported through the air. Instead, plants with entomopheilous pollen rely on insects such as bees to transport pollens to flowers. Entomopheilous plants include sunflowers and orchids.

Since these insect-loving pollens are too heavy to become airborne, you don't breathe them in. In other words, sunflowers won't make you sneeze.

Now anemophilous, or "wind-loving" pollens are the real culprit. These lighter pollens can be spread to flowers by, in the immortal words of Bob Dylan, "blowin' in the wind."

Of course, instead of these pollen grains flying into a flower, they can fly into a nose. That's where the trouble begins.

What's going on in the body?

The human immune system -- what a fickle thing it can be.

The immune system is the body's version of an army. It mounts a defense against the enemies that look to harm the body, such as germs and viruses and other nasty things.

Problem is, the immune system's not perfect. Sometimes it can be overly defensive, and that's what's going on with a hay fever allergy.

For genetic reasons, a person's immune system might consider the harmless pollen to be something much more dangerous, like the flu virus, E. coli bacteria or the Teletubbies (kidding about that last one).

But, this misrecognition of pollen grains as a dangerous invader causes the immune system to spring into action and produce antibodies. As the antibodies get into a "West Side Story"-style brawl with the wayward pollen grains (but with less finger-snapping, dance choreography and singing), chemicals such as histamine are released into the body. It's the histamine that binds with receptors on cells, which causes the standard hay fever symptoms.

In other words, it's not the pollen's fault, either.

So there you go. That's the process of the hay fever allergies noses, flower sex and "West Side Story."

Now pass me the Benadryl.

We all float on...

For those of you who haven't heard, I'm moving out of TGB and into my own apartment in Chico.

If I know you, and you need my new mailing address, comment with an email I can send it to and I'll be sure to get ahold of you...


What's in a name?

So over at Bullfight, Dan Nguyen-Tan discusses the unofficial city seal for Chico and offers potential nicknames for Chico besides, supposedly, "City of Roses."

I've got to agree with him, "City of Roses" is quite boring and unoriginal and not all that befitting of Chico, (unless you were incorporate the George Petersen Rose Garden and make Chico "City of $50 Fine Roses."

But, here are some nickname suggestions for Chico:

First City to Declare "The Party Is Over" For Cesar Chavez Day

City Where Oct. 31 and March 17 Don't Exist

The Orion City (shamless alumnus plug!)

City Where We Couldn't Possibly Name Anything Else After the Bidwells

City of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Ammond City (NOTE: If this city does actually incorporate a nickname using the blatent local mispronounciation of "almond," I'll informally secede my apartment back into unincorporated Butte County in protest.)

City of Thinkers and Drinkers

Political D'oh!

So, a mayor in the Chicago area thought it was alright to use his mayorial-related credit card to pay for a bachelor party.

And the amazing part? I still don't think that's as dumb as the stunt the Chico City Council pulled last night.

Yeah, you can't have those cabbie license appeals being broadcast on cable freakin' access. The horror.


Yes, this list of "Jack Bauerisms" is totally sampled from C.W. Nevius. But that's okay. You see, Jack Bauerisms are inspired by Chuck Norris "facts," which were inspired by Bill Brasky stories, which were probably inspired by somebody else.

This is called "remixing." Ask Diddy for help if you haven't figured it out yet.


Jack Bauer once forgot where he put his keys. He then spent the next half-hour torturing himself until he gave up the location of the keys.

If everyone on "24" followed Jack Bauer's instructions, it would be called "12". (ha)

Nobody says 'hit me' when Jack Bauer deals Blackjack.

Upon hearing that he was played by Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Bauer killed Sutherland. Jack Bauer gets played by no man.

When Kim Bauer lost her virginity, Jack Bauer found it and put it back.

If you wake up in the morning, it's because Jack Bauer spared your life.

Jack Bauer's calender goes from March 31st to April 2nd, no one fools Jack Bauer.

Superman wears Jack Bauer pajamas.

It's no use crying over spilt milk ... unless that was Jack Bauer's milk. Oh, you are so screwed.

1.6 billion Chinese are angry with Jack Bauer. Sounds like a fair fight.

When life gave Jack Bauer lemons, he used them to kill terrorists. Jack Bauer hates lemonade.

If it tastes like chicken, looks like chicken, and feels like chicken, but Jack Bauer says its beef ... then it's beef.

Let's get one thing straight - the only reason you are conscious right now is because Jack Bauer does not feel like carrying you.

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

Jack Bauer was never addicted to heroin. Heroin was addicted to Jack Bauer.

On a high school math test, Jack Bauer put down "Violence" as every one of the answers. He got an A+ on the test because Jack Bauer solves all his problems with violence.

Jack Bauer doesn't miss. If he didn't hit you it's because he was shooting at another terrorist twelve miles away.

If you're holding a gun to Jack Bauer's head, don't count to three before you shoot. Count to 10. That way, you get to live 7 seconds longer.

Killing Jack Bauer doesn't make him dead. It just makes him angry.

Every mathematical inequality officially ends with "< Jack Bauer".

Jack Bauer removed the "Escape" button from his keyboard. Jack Bauer never needs to escape.

If Jack Bauer misspells a word, your dictionary is wrong.

When Google can't find something, it asks Jack Bauer for help.

Superman's only weakness is Kryptonite. Jack Bauer laughs at Superman for having a weakness.

When Jack Bauer was a child, he made his mother finish his vegetables.

Simon Says should be renamed to Jack Bauer Says because if Jack Bauer says something, then you better do it.

Jack Bauer's favorite color is severe terror alert red. His second favorite color is violet, but just because it sounds like violent.

Jack Bauer killed 93 people in just 4 days time. Wait, that is a real fact.

When you open a can of whoop-ass, Jack Bauer jumps out.

It is a known fact that when Time magazine awards "The Man of Year*", there is fine print on the bottom of the cover that says, " *besides Jack Bauer."

In 96 hours, Jack Bauer has killed 93 people and saved the world 4 times. What the heck have you done with your life?

Jack Bauer arm once wrestled Superman. The stipulations were the loser had to wear his underwear on the outside of his pants.

Finding Nemo would have been vastly more exciting had Jack Bauer been looking for him.

Jack Bauer can get McDonald's breakfast after 10:30.

When the boogie man goes to sleep, he checks his closet for Jack Bauer.

Men are ok with their wives fantasizing about Jack Bauer during sex; because they are doing the same thing.

You can lead a horse to water. Jack Bauer can make him drink.

When Jack Bauer goes to the airport and the metal detector doesn't go off, security gives him a gun.

Jack Bauer doesn't play the game SORRY. Jack Bauer apologizes to no one.

Due to Jack Bauer, no one looks forward to the weekend anymore, they look forward to the weekend being over, and watching 24 on Monday.

What color is Jack Bauer's blood? Trick question. Jack Bauer does not bleed.

In kindergarten, Jack Bauer killed a terrorist for Show and Tell.

There are three leading causes of death among terrorists. They are all Jack Bauer.

There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Jack Bauer way. It's basically the right way, but faster with more deaths.

In poker, Jack Bauer doesn't need to bluff. He looks at opponent, tells them to fold, and they do so. Always.


If you can dodge a bat, you can dodge a ball...

So, here's that whole Delmon Young thing from Triple-A baseball...

That's worth a good "huh."

In that vein, here's another classic for you, Izzy Alcantara. Ironically, this happened in the same city as the above incident (Pawtucket, Rhode Island)

Hypothetical question...

Is it really necessary for little Jimmy Jackson to jack up his Bronco to lay a little rubber later on at the truck pull?