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November 22, 2018

Augusten Burroughs on addiction, writing, his family and his new book

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:50 am

Friday, October 12, 2007

I had an unofficial phone call from Gay Talese last Tuesday. He had just flown back from Colombia and he was cranky. “I’m happy to do an interview with you,” he said, “but what the hell could you ask me that’s not already out there? Have you even bothered to look?!”

“Jeez, Mr. Talese, lots of things,” was my response. I lied. The truth is that when I call people to interview them, I do not have a set of preconceived questions. My agenda is to talk to them and gain a sense of who they are; to flesh them out as humans. To find out what they think about the world around them at that moment. With Gay Talese I had little interest in talking about Frank Sinatra Has a Cold and with Augusten Burroughs I had little interest in discussing Running with Scissors. I want to know what they think about things outside of the boxes people have placed them in.

With a memoirist like Burroughs, even this is a challenge. What parts of his life he has not written about himself, other interviewers have strip-mined. When we met for dinner at Lavagna in the East Village, I explained to Augusten this issue. I suggested we make the interview more of a conversation to see if that would be more interesting. “Instead of you in the catbird seat,” I said, “let’s just talk.”

We struck an instant rapport. What set out to be an hour and half interview over dinner had turned into four hours of discussion about our lives similarly lived. I removed half of the interview: the half that focused on me.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s conversation with writer Augusten Burroughs.


Contents

  • 1 On addiction and getting sober
  • 2 On the Turcottes and his mother
  • 3 On his work
  • 4 On the response to his work from addicts
  • 5 On belief in a higher power
  • 6 On the gay community
  • 7 On his new book, A Wolf at the Table, a memoir about his father
  • 8 On women’s breasts and tattoos
  • 9 On losing his hair
  • 10 Sources

Buffalo, N.Y. restaurant to end nearly 30-year tradition

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:49 am

Monday, August 21, 2006

Buffalo, New York —

After nearly thirty years, Pano’s Restaurant at 1081 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo, New York will end a tradition of being open 24 hours a day, seven days a week by ending its overnight food service.

The tradition for Buffalonians, who are able to enjoy drinks at the bars and clubs until 4:00 a.m. will end sometime at the end of August or September, according to overnight manager Wendi Dittmar and restaurant accountant Roseanne Jones.

“We will be starting the closure of the overnight shift sometime in the next 2 weeks to a month,” said Dittmar in an exclusive interview with Wikinews.

Jones told Wikinews that owner Pano Georgiadis is “just fed up” with the “destruction, the walk-outs of bills and fights that the ‘drunk’ people cause” in his restaurant.

Pano’s opened in 1977 on the day of the blizzard of ’77’ and has “remained open for 24 hours since then”, only closing for an hour at a time on the weekends to clean up and prepare the restaurant for breakfast, said Georgiadis.

Artvoice, which holds the “Best of Buffalo” competition every year where readers vote for their favorite Buffalo place, has listed Pano’s as the Best of Buffalo for best brunch, best Greek restaurant, best patio and best super-cheap breakfasts for 2006.

Dittmar also says that Georgiadis is expected to make several “public service announcements” within the next few weeks to “thank customers for their patronage.”

Pest Control In Auburn, WA And Dealing With Mice

Filed under: Structures — VbzuZGhr @ 2:12 am

byAlma Abell

Did you just purchase your first investment property and are you feeling overwhelmed? It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed when you discover a rodent problem. For example, your contractor may have just taken down a wall, in order to open the kitchen up, and that is when he may have first discovered the mice problems. Fortunately, this problem can be addressed by the best pest control in Auburn WA.

Mice can carry diseases, and they can be the cause of house fires. When mice make their nests inside of the walls of homes, they chew up wiring. For this reason, a fire can occur at any time. You may have even discovered the mice in the attack and were alarmed by the number. Mice have families, and when their families take over your investment property, you need to get help quickly to get the problem taken care of. The best pest control in Auburn WA will take the job on. They have the equipment and experience to ensure that the job is done right.

Clearly, you cannot show the home to buyers or risk a fire. That is why getting rid of the rodent problem should be your main focus. When you speak consultant, you can tell him what you and your contractor discovered and where. He will be glad that you called for help, and he will book an appointment for you. The consultant understands that you are working on a deadline, and you want to get your investment property on the market fast. For this reason, the professionals will show up when they say they will, and they will bring everything that they need to get the job done right.

Who will you call for help? You will find the best professionals at Independent Pest Solutions. With this in mind, there is no reason to wait. You should make the call today and book your appointment. When the work has been completed, you will be happy that you do not have to worry about diseases, fires or any rodent problem when your investment property is being shown to home buyers. Instead, you will feel confident as each buyer walks in.

Independent-Pest-Solutions

November 21, 2018

NTSB releases updates on status of 3 major US investigations

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:25 am

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the agency responsible for investigating transportation accidents in the United States, released updates on three major investigations on June 14.

The NTSB, well known publicly for its involvement in the investigation of aviation incidents which involve harm or loss of human life, is also an agency that oversees the transportation of refined petroleum and gas products, chemicals and minerals.

The agency determined the cause of a natural gas pipeline explosion that killed six. It also detailed the cause of an accidental release of 204,000 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a pipeline in an environmentally sensitive area, and released preliminary information involving two commercial aircraft coming within 30-50 feet of each other on a runway.

In the gas explosion disaster, the towing vessel Miss Megan, which was of specifications that did not require inspection by the United States Coast Guard, was being operated in the West Cote Blanche Bay oil field in Louisiana by Central Boat Rentals on behalf of Athena Construction on October 12, 2006. The Miss Megan was pushing barge IBR 234, which was tied along the starboard side of barge Athena 106, en route to a pile-driving location. Athena Construction did not require its crews to pin mooring spuds (vertical steel shafts extending through wells in the bottom of the boat and used for mooring) securely in place on its barges and consequently this had not been done. During the journey, the aft spud on the Athena 106 released from its fully raised position. The spud dropped into the water and struck a submerged, high-pressure natural gas pipeline. The resulting gas released ignited and created a fireball that engulfed the towing vessel and both barges. The master of the towing vessel and four barge workers were killed. The Miss Megan deckhand and one barge worker survived. One barge worker is officially listed as missing.

The NTSB blames Athena Construction for the disaster, citing in the final report that Athena Construction’s manual contained no procedures mandating the use of the safety devices on the spud winch except during electrical work. It was found that if the Athena 106 crew had used the steel pins to secure the retracted spuds during their transit, a pin would have prevented the aft spud from accidentally deploying. Furthermore, the spud would have remained locked in its lifted position regardless of whether the winch brake mechanism, the spud’s supporting cable, or a piece of connecting hardware had failed.

The NTSB also found that contributing to the accident was the failure of Central Boat Rentals to require, and the Miss Megan master to ensure, that the barge spuds were securely pinned before getting under way. The Board noted that investigators found no evidence that the Miss Megan master or deckhand checked whether the spuds had been properly secured before the tow began. While Central Boat Rentals had a health and safety manual and trained its crews, the written procedures did not specifically warn masters about the need to secure spuds or other barge equipment before navigating. The NTSB stated that the company’s crew should have been trained to identify potential safety hazards on vessels under their control.

NTSB Chairman Mark Rosenker said of the investigation’s results, “Having more rigorous requirements in place could have prevented this accident from occurring. Not only do these regulations need to be put in place but it is imperative that they are enforced and adhered to.”

The NTSB has made a number of safety recommendations as a result of this accident and the subsequent investigation. Recommendations were made to Athena Construction and Central Boat Rentals to develop procedures and train the employees of its barges to use the securing pins to hold spuds safely in place before transiting from one site to another.

The most major of the other recommendations are:

To the Occupational Safety and Health Administration:

  • Direct the Maritime Advisory Committee for Occupational Safety and Health to issue the following documents document to the maritime industry: (1) a fact sheet regarding the accident, and (2) a guidance document regarding the need to secure the gear on barges, including spud pins, before the barges are moved, and detailing any changes to your memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard.

To the U. S. Coast Guard

  • Finalize and implement the new towing vessel inspection regulations and require the establishment of safety management systems appropriate for the characteristics, methods of operation, and nature of service of towing vessels.
  • Review and update your memorandum of understanding with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to specifically address your respective oversight roles on vessels that are not subject to Coast Guard inspection.

The NTSB also released the result of its investigation into an environmental disaster in Kansas on October 27, 2004 in which 204,000 gallons (4,858 barrels) of anhydrous ammonia was spilled from a ruptured pipeline in Kingman into an environmentally sensitive area. Chemicals from the pipeline entered a nearby stream and killed more than 25,000 fish, including some fish from threatened species.

The incident reached the scale that it did due to operator error after the initial rupture. The 8 5/8-inch diameter steel pipeline, which was operated by Enterprise Products Operating L.P., burst at 11:15 a.m. in an agricultural area about 6 miles east of Kingman, Kansas. A drop in pipeline pressure, indicating abnormal conditions or a possible compromise in pipeline integrity, set off alarms displayed on the computerized pipeline monitoring system. Shortly after the first alarm the pipeline controller, in an attempt to remedy the low pressure, increased the flow of anhydrous ammonia into the affected section of pipeline. A total of 33 minutes elapsed between the time when the first alarm indicated a problem with the pipeline and the initiation of a shutdown.

In its initial report to the National Response Center (NRC), the pipeline operator’s accident reporting contractor reported a release of at least 20 gallons of ammonia, telling the NRC that an updated estimate of material released would be reported at a later time. No such report was ever made. Because of the inaccurate report, the arrival of representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency was delayed by a full day, affecting the oversight of the environmental damage mitigation efforts.

The cause of the rupture itself was determined to be a pipe gouge created by heavy equipment damage to the pipeline during construction in 1973 or subsequent excavation activity at an unknown time that initiated metal fatigue cracking and led to the eventual rupture of the pipeline.

“We are very fortunate that such highly toxic chemicals of the size and scope involved in this accident were not released in a populated area,” commented Rosenker. “Had this same quantity of ammonia been released near a town or city, the results could have been catastrophic.”

As a result of this accident, the NTSB made the following safety recommendations:

To the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration:

  • Require that a pipeline operator must have a procedure to calculate and provide a reasonable initial estimate of released product in the telephonic report to the National Response Center.
  • Require that a pipeline operator must provide an additional telephonic report to the National Response Center if significant new information becomes available during the emergency response.
  • Require an operator to revise its pipeline risk assessment plan whenever it has failed to consider one of more risk factors that can affect pipeline integrity.

To Enterprise Products Operating L.P.:

  • Provide initial and recurrent training for all controllers that includes simulator or noncomputerized simulations of abnormal operating conditions that indicate pipeline leaks.

“The severity of this release of dangerous chemicals into the community could have been prevented,” said Rosenker. “The safety recommendations that we have made, if acted upon, will reduce the likelihood of this type of accident happening again.”

As well as concluding their investigation of the above accidents, the NTSB also released preliminary information regarding a serious runway incursion at San Francisco International Airport between two commercial aircraft on May 26, 2007.

At about 1:30 p.m. the tower air traffic controller cleared SkyWest Airlines flight 5741, an Embraer 120 arriving from Modesto, California, to land on runway 28R. Forgetting about the arrival airplane, the same controller then cleared Republic Airlines flight 4912, an Embraer 170 departing for Los Angeles, to take off from runway 1L, which intersects runway 28R.

After the SkyWest airliner touched down, the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS) alerted and the air traffic controller transmitted “Hold, Hold, Hold” to the SkyWest flight crew in an attempt to stop the aircraft short of runway 1L. The SkyWest crew applied maximum braking that resulted in the airplane stopping in the middle of runway 1L. As this was occurring, the captain of Republic Airlines flight 4912 took control of the aircraft from the first officer, realized the aircraft was traveling too fast to stop, and initiated an immediate takeoff. According to the crew of SkyWest 5741, the Republic Airlines aircraft overflew theirs by 30 to 50 feet. The Federal Aviation Administration has categorized the incident as an operational error.

The NTSB sent an investigator to San Francisco, who collected radar data, recorded air traffic control communications, and flight crew statements, and interviewed air traffic control personnel prior to the NTSB making the preliminary release.

Fifteen flu sufferers die in Wales in one week

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:17 am

Friday, January 14, 2011

Over the course of the last week, fifteen people who have suffered from influenza have died in Wales, as reported to the Welsh Assembly Government. The total amount of flu-related deaths in Wales since October 2010 has now increased to 27.

Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity.

On Tuesday, 49 people were being treated in critical care beds in hospitals around Wales, according to health officials. With twelve reported admissions, Aneurin Bevan Local Health Board had the highest amount of critical care patients in Wales. Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board has the second highest total number of patients experiencing this critical care in the country, with eleven being cared for. Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board have nine important care admissions each. Cwm Taf NHS Trust contains five of such patients, while Hywel Dda NHS Trust has three.

The age group of 25–34 years old had the largest amount of meetings with general practitioners; the rate of consultation was 147 people for every 100,000. For all age groups, 93 people out of every one hundred thousand have been consulting with a GP; on January 5, the total figure stood at 85 meetings per 100,000.

“Despite the slight increase in the clinical consultation rate for influenza this week compared to the previous week, the rate of consultations for flu-like illness in Wales still remains within the levels of normal seasonal flu activity,” said Dr. Tony Jowell, the Chief Medical Officer of Wales. “Most healthy people will recover from flu-like illnesses within five to seven days with plenty of rest and drinking non-alcoholic fluids. On the issue of vaccination against seasonal flu, whilst we have been working to make stocks of the vaccine that was developed against swine flu available to be used where supplies of seasonal flu vaccine have run low, we are now well into the flu season.”

According to Media Wales, 13 patients experiencing flu-related symptoms were getting treatment at Withybush General Hospital in Haverfordwest on Tuesday. Meanwhile, five were receiving hospital treatment at Bronglais General Hospital in Aberystwyth. Also, Carmarthenshire NHS Trust in Llanelli and West Wales General Hospital in Carmarthen both had a solitary patient.

Jowell also commented: “People in at-risk groups are at a higher risk of complications from seasonal flu, and the best protection is early vaccination. A press and publicity campaign has been running since October and has included television, radio and bus adverts to let people know if they are in an at-risk group, and that the vaccine is available free of charge to those groups from GPs. We have also encouraged health boards and GPs to ensure that their patients and front line NHS staff are vaccinated against seasonal flu.”

Throughout the United Kingdom, 62 individuals reportedly died in the last week, as the result of suffering from influenza. The majority of these victims were suffering from swine flu. In most of these cases, the sufferers were aged between 15 and 64. However, nine of the fatalities were of children aged below fourteen.

Canterbury farmers to get aid because of snow

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:09 am

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The New Zealand government officials have announced that it will give NZ$160,000 in aid to help farmers who were affected by the huge amounts of snow in Canterbury, New Zealand two weeks ago.

The aid package will provide four regional offices for co-ordination, food supplies and ongoing support.

The Federated Farmers for mid Canterbury say that the aid will be a start to what looks like a tough winter. President of the mid Canterbury Federated Farmers Rupert Curd says, “It is too early to say exactly how much help the relief package will provide.”

The snow has not yet reached a crisis point.

The Insurance Council has estimated the cost of the snow storm has reached $35 million so far. Chief Executive of the Insurance Council says, “There has been damage to homes, commercial premises both on farms and in town and vehicles. Businesspeople who have been without power are also claiming for loss of income.”

The Minister of Agriculture Jim Anderton has said that they are not ruling out giving further aid.

November 18, 2018

Mass panic as Zimbabwean officials fake air crash

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:47 am

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Today, Zimbabwean officials informed the media that an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 767 aircraft carrying 250 people had crashed at Harare International Airport, before they announced the reports were false and the incident had in fact been a drill to simulate the occurrence of such an event. Initial reports suggested that a flight from London had crashed upon landing at the airport. However, Medical Rescue International later stated in a post on Facebook that no airplane had crashed and it had “joined up with other services to attend to a mock accident at Harare International Airport … Good to keep the practising up.”

Those behind the staged accident had reportedly not told any other governmental departments, resulting in relatives inquiring with Air Zimbabwe as to what had happened. A senior figure for Air Zimbabwe stated that he was “concerned that this incident led to many, many calls to us. People were frightened. No actual plane was involved, but there was a scenario involving a Boeing 767 plane that had been hijacked and forced down at Harare airport.”

It was reported that Peter Chikumba, chief of Air Zimbabwe, had also not been informed that the exercise was to take place, and that the airline had set up an emergency helpdesk to liaise with the families of victims. Alan McGuinness, a correspondent for Sky News, stated, “journalists who arrived at the airport saw smoke rising from a runway and were then taken to a room where they were told to wait. David Chawota, the head of the Zimbabwe Civil Aviation Authority, said the media was duped to make the drill more realistic.” Chawota stated, “telling the media was part of the exercise. We wanted to see how the media would react,” he said.

Chawota himself told BNO News that an airliner had crashed. Michael van Poppel, head of BNO News said that “while I first thought Chawota was just misinformed by others, although that would be odd since he is the CEO of the aviation authority, I was stunned to hear that he actually knew it was a drill and wanted to see the media’s response … This basically means he was lying to me when I spoke to him, but also to other reporters he spoke to … I think it was absolutely irresponsible of this CEO and I can’t imagine what the families of passengers travelling to Harare around that time must have gone through when they heard news reports that there had been an ‘accident’ at the airport.”

McGuinness reported, “Stuart Sprake, general manager of FX Logistics, works at Harare airport and believed the secrecy surrounding the drill will help emergency crews learn valuable lessons.” Sprake told reporters “they (the crews) had to find their way through crowds and traffic … training exercises should be ad hoc — the less people know about it the better.”

NHL: Penguins to remain in Pittsburgh

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:45 am

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell announced Tuesday morning that a deal had been struck between state and local officials and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey franchise. The Penguins organization will formally announce the deal tonight, prior to the Penguins game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Mellon Arena. The deal will ensure that the Penguins will remain in the city with a 30 year lease on a new arena to be built in downtown Pittsburgh. The framework of the deal was constructed in an emergency meeting last Thursday in Philadelphia, when both government and franchise officials indicated that progress had been made, with the details laid out over the weekend. With the new deal, the Penguins organization would be expected to pay $3.8 million per year, as well as $7.5 million per year from both Don Barden, owner of Majestic Star Casino, and the state economic development fund. The Penguins organization has also been given the option of building a parking garage on property of the Pittsburgh Sports Authority between Centre and Fifth avenues, by contributing $500,000 per year.

The new arena is expected to cost approximately $290 million, and should be completed and ready to host hockey games by 2009. The Penguins will sign a temporary lease to keep the team at Mellon Arena until the new building is finished.

13 schools torched in southern Thailand

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:18 am

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In an apparent coordinated attack, 13 schools were set ablaze late yesterday in southern Thailand, an escalation of violence that authorities are blaming on Muslim insurgents.

The 13 schools were burned in Pattani and Yala, two of the three restive, Muslim-majority Thai provinces on the border of Malaysia.

On Monday in the third province, Narathiwat, three teachers were fatally shot. Two female teachers, both Buddhist, were fatally shot while on lunch break at Bansako School in Si Sakorn. A male teacher from another school was gunned down while buying cigarettes at a store in Ra-ngae. On Tuesday morning in Yala’s Raman district, a 60-year-old Muslim teacher was fatally shot in his pick-up truck on the Raman-Balo road.

Since 2004, more than 200 schools have been burned in arson attacks and 77 teachers killed, education officials say. About 110 schools in Narathiwat and Yala provinces have been temporarily closed, while officials re-assess the security situation.

Teachers and schools, potent symbols of the Buddhist majority Thai central government, are prime targets in the Muslim insurgency in south Thailand, which has seen a steady escalation since 2004, with almost daily fatal shootings and bombings, killing more than 2,300 people.

School staff called on the government to provide better security. Many teachers travel with armed escorts, or have taken to carrying firearms themselves.

“We want school compounds to be safe areas for teachers. Today we have no safe areas for teachers, be they houses, communities or schools,” Vicharn Athikapan, chairman of the Confederation of Southern Teachers, was quoted as saying by the Bangkok Post yesterday. “Although it is difficult to deploy soldiers to protect teachers at schools, the state must do it.”

Today, a Royal Thai Army soldier was seriously injured in the explosion of a roadside bomb, which was placed opposite a vocational college in Narathiwat.

Late yesterday evening (local time), a 44-year-old man was killed in a drive-by shooting in Yala. Earlier, in Narathiwat’s Rueso district, three men were fatally shot, and one was beheaded. The beheading was the 10th this year, and one of 25 in southern Thailand since 2004.

Also yesterday, one soldier was killed and another injured in a roadside bomb near a school in Thung Yang Daeng, Pattani. Another soldier was killed and six others injured in Pattani’s Yarang district when a roadside bomb ripped through the pickup truck they were riding in.

On Tuesday in eastern Thailand‘s Sa Kaeo Province, on the border with Cambodia, police detained 15 Cambodian Muslims after one of the group was found to be carrying items that could be used to make bombs.

The owner of the bag told police he was carrying the items for a friend in southern Thailand, and were to be used to make explosives for catching fish. The items were seized, and all 15 men were sent back to Cambodia.

The incident follows a diplomatic flare-up last weekend between Thailand and Cambodia, after published comments were attributed to Thai General Wattanachai Chaimuenwong, saying Cambodian Muslims have links to the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist organization, as well as the south Thailand insurgency.

Wattanachai, an adviser to Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont, later denied making the statements, after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen issued an angry rebuke against Thai officials.

“Because of their own weakness, they are now finding others to blame,” Hun Sen was quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Fake impotence drugs linked to low blood sugar outbreak

Filed under: Uncategorized — VbzuZGhr @ 2:02 am

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An article in the February 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on an unusual cause for an outbreak of low blood sugar among men in Singapore: illegal use of sexual performance enhancement drugs that were contaminated with a diabetes drug.

Between January and May 2008, 149 men and one woman between 19 and 97 (mean age 51) were admitted to five public hospitals for unexplained low blood sugar. Similar cases were reported in media reports from Hong Kong. Seven Singaporean patients remained in a coma because of prolonged sugar starvation of the brain, and four subsequently died. The diabetes drug glyburide was found in blood and/or urine samples in 85% of cases; 30% admitted having used illegal sexual performance enhancers.

The contaminated products were a counterfeit version of the drug Cialis (meant for the treatment of genuine erectile dysfunction), and three purported herbal preparation (the affected brands included Power 1 Walnut and Santi Bovine Penis Erecting Capsule). All four preparations additionally contained Viagra in varying concentrations. Two herbal products contained traces of the weight loss drug sibutramine, a compound related to amphetamines.

The drug packaging mentioned names of non-existent overseas production facilities, so the source of the contamination with the diabetes drug could not be established.

The authors underline the risks that is known to be associated with purchasing drugs from unreliable providers or from online resellers. The clandestine use of impotence drugs as sexual performance enhancers seems to have provided a good illustration of this problem. They further call for more efforts by national and international health and law enforcement agencies to curb the manufacturing, international transport and sales of untrustworthy medication.

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