Item #2: Keith Olberman was abruptly fired by MSNBC last night, and evidence leads us to believe that Olberman may not have even known himself until the very last minute. Now, I have little love for the gent; I don't generally raise my blood pressure by listening to left-leaning demagoguery, so my only real contact with him outside of the "news" stories he often found himself in was his pompous, ill-informed commentaries a couple of years back on Sunday Night Football pregame. And I thought it seemed a little fishy when he got suspended last fall for no more than making contributions to like minded butt nugget political candidates. After all, this was a liberal theology network- I found it hard to swallow that ethics were really that big a deal at MSNBC. Word is that the network head had had a jones for Olby's removal for a while, and I guess he thought giving him the bum's rush at the tail end of a slow news week might cause a little less consternation amongst his fans. To me, in my far from complete judgement on the subject, I'd have to say it is a good example of, "as you sow, so shall you also reap." Good luck on G4, Olby!
Item #3: A news report from an Australian news source, later embellished by the Huffington Post (imagine that) has pitted astronomers against chicken littles across the globe. Here we see the star Betelgeuse, the red star in Orion's left shoulder.
Astronomers have noted that Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice, like the movie) is shrinking- collapsing inward as all red giants eventually do. Someday, scientists tell us, it will go into terminal collapse, and in less than a heartbeat will explode into a supernova. It will for a while be around as bright as the full moon on earth, visible in daylight. The Aussie reporter, however, tells us that it will be like having two suns (the so-called Tatooine effect) and it will happen IN 2012. Apparently he must have consulted his Little Golden Book On Mayan Prophecy to dig this up. The HuffPost, however, insinuates they got the scoop from astronomer Dr. Brad Carter, who in the article a) does discuss the science of the event, and b) does not give a date, as no self respecting amateur astronomer would.
Not to fear, though; another astronomer, Phil Plait, takes the bull by the horns. He debunks the Tatooine effect, throws out any attempt to date something that could happen anywhere from tomorrow to ten million years from now, and assures us that we'd have to be within 25 light years to have anything bad happen to us as a result of Orion's impending rotator-cuff injury, and Betelgeuse is a full 25 times that far away. Reporter Claire Connelly must have dreams of a 2012 sequel screen play credit on her mind.
Item#4: The Angels acquire longtime Blue Jay Vernon Wells for catcher Mike Napoli and some other bum. Those of us old enough to remember when MLB wasn't the haven of sports greatest mercenaries have to look with sadness on the departure of a lifetime player from a small market team to one of the temples of MLB mammon, but at least it was a trade. Remember trades? that's how players used to move in baseball, each team taking a chance and getting SOMETHING in return. On the bright side, it WAS a trade; Napoli is a competent hitter, though not up to Angels' manager Mike Scioscia's standards behind the plate; and Wells is coming off an off-year and has a tendency to start well, get hurt, and tail off.