Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012



Remember the 1982 movie "Caddyshack?"  In those days, millionaires bought planes, yachts and mansions to show off their amazing wealth.  Boy, have times changed.  First of all it's multi-billionaires...not millionaires.  Also, simple little things like boats and jets aren't nearly big enough to demonstrate one's astounding monetary value.  Nope...these days, billionaires are buying islands.  Last year, Virgin Atlantic's chairman RICHARD BRANSON bought Neckar Island in the Caribbean.  So, it just came as no surprise last week when Oracle CEO LARRY ELLISON announced he had bought the Hawaiian island of Lanai.

The first question you must be asking yourself is: Does he really own the entire island of Lanai?  The answer: Pretty darn close.  The Public Utilities Commission has given "internal approval" for the plan which would give Ellison ownership of 98% of the island's 141 square miles.  This includes two Four Seasons Resorts, two golf courses and fifty miles of beaches. The next thing you're asking yourself is: What is on Lanai anyhow?  Anything other than pineapples?  Well...it's true...Lanai was first purchased by JAMES DOLE in 1922 and used solely as a plantation.   The tasty fruit still grows on the open fields, but the main economy is tourism.  Today, most of the island's 3,200 residents work in this sector. So...aside from a store, post office and no traffic lights...there really isn't much on the island of Lanai.

Another obvious question is: How do the people of Lanai...albeit not many of them...feel about a hot-shot "Bruce Wayne" billionaire controlling their land?  Believe it or not, most of them are quite happy about it.  See, LARRY ELLISON is a step in the right direction from the previous billionaire who owned the island, DAVID MURDOCK.   It's obvious that the 89 year-old Castle & Cooke CEO is loosing his marbles.   He is convinced his diet of "smoothies made from bananas and orange rinds" will allow him to live to the age of 125.  (Mmmm...orange rinds!)  He also has plans to build a "wind farm" on Lanai to sell electricity to Oahu via an underwater cable.  No...he's not crazy at all!

Anyhow, back to Mr. Ellison.  So far, he has not commented on what he wants to do with Lanai, but speculation is rampant.  For starters, the MAUI NEWS is worried about expansion.  See, the tiny island has trouble hosting the billionaire's ritzy and eccentric hobbies.  For example,  the runways at the airport are way too small for Ellison's Russian MIG fighter to land.  Another problem is the mere thirty miles of paved roads.  See...this is inadequate for Ellison's McLaren Formuala-1 Race Car to drive on.  And the tiny harbor at Manele Bay?  It simply cannot moor Larry's 453-foot yacht.  Tough questions for the CEO indeed.

All we know for sure is that LARRY ELLISON paid for Lanai in cash (!) and that the amount was "around" $500 - $600 million dollars.   We also know that he spoke with State Sen. J. Kalani English, whose Maui District includes Lanai...now the US's largest privately owned island.  Senator English assured Hawaiians that Ellison is sensitive to the: "culture and conservation stewardship of the island."  So we'll all just have to sit back and wait to see what happens.  Let's just hope Larry doesn't try to surf again.  Back in 1991, he was surfing on Lanai's pristine Kaiolohia Bay and tried to "pull an Eskimo Roll in massive foamies but took a rail bang."  TRANSLATION: He crashed and broke his neck.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


#5 is Lukas Podolski

The first round of the UEFA 2012 (Union of European Football Associations) is over.  Two weeks into the tournament, there has been lots of good news and some inevitable bad news. The good news is Poland and the Ukraine have exceeded expectations as co-host nations.  New hotel and entertainment complexes have welcomed over a million fans.  Trains are ample, clean and on time.   The facilities...many built specifically for the event...have dazzled.  Even the weather has cooperated.  The bad news is ignorant racists morons have disrupted some matches.  Let's face it: Fans  who jump up and down and howl like monkeys need to look in the mirror and ask themselves:  Хто це мавпа?  (Who is the monkey?)

To be honest, we here at the DUNER BLOG don't really enjoy soccer much.  HOWEVER...we do enjoy the soccer players.  It's true: Nowadays, European footie heroes have reached levels of celebrity previously only attained by MICHAEL JORDAN and TIGER WOODS.  Similarly aided by tabloids, twitter and testosterone, these go-getters are always in the headlines across the continent.  Also...just like their American counterparts...their fame is matched only by their enormous salaries and lucrative endorsement deals.  To honor these men, here is our official list of the TOP FIVE SEXIEST PLAYERS LEFT IN THE UEFA 2012 TOURNAMENT.

#4. Cesc Fabregas
#5. LUKAS PODOLSKI. GermanyAlthough born in Poland, Lukas emigrated to Cologne at age two.  The left-footed striker is, according to his FIFA profile, a "deft striker from the left side, known for his probing attacks."  Which is a good segue into his other line of work...Underwear Model!  The current question surrounding Herr Podolski is about his choice of teams. Why doesn't he play for Poland?  (He has joint citizenship.)  Says he heart-throb: "I have to hearts beating in my chest.  It's difficult."

#4. CESC FABREGAS. Spain.  It seems wherever this midfielder goes, drama follows.  As a youth, he first shot to fame on Spain's U-17 team.  Then, the Barcelona native broke hometown hearts when he signed with the English power ARSENAL at the tender age of sixteen.  Injuries to other midfielders quickly catapulted him into the starting lineup, where he shined.  In eight seasons, he scored 53 goals...and became team captain.  When his contract was up, one of the highest bidding wars in sports history ensued, with FC Barcelona winning with a bid of 34 million Euros.

#3. Ashley Cole.
#3 ASHLEY COLE. England. The UEFA 2012 tournament is the 21st time Ashley has represented England...which eclipses DAVID BECKHAM on the all-time list.  Who cares?  We love Ashley for his WAG's! (Wives and Girlfriends).  The most famous of which is his ex-wife CHERYL COLE.  While not famous outside of the UK, this woman is fantastic as a judge on the hit TV show X-Factor.   In fact, Cheryl is the only person on earth who can go toe-to-toe with SIMON COWELL.  On her latest album, she wrote a track about Ashley.  It's called: "Screw You." 

#2. Ilker Casillas
#2. ILKER CASILLAS. Spain. Not even King Juan Carlos is revered more in Spain.  Why?  Let's check out his current resume. Saint Ilker is the goalie and captain of the both the Spanish national team and the most successful club team, Real Madrid.   In a soccer-obsessed nation like Spain, this is as good as it getsAnd...of course...we also love his girlfriend, sports journalist SARA CARBONERO.  Spanish tabloids are always talking about their relationship and have nicknamed her "Sara Pasta-Sauce."   On one hand, there is anger over a "conflict of interest" horribly evident during her adoring interviews.   On the other, there is obvious jealousy over her "kiss and tell" articles.

#1. Cristiano Ronaldo
#1. CRISTIANO RONALDO. Portugal.  Of course he is NUMBER ONE!!  Not only is Cristiano the best looking man in sports, he is also the wealthiest.  In addition to his $25 million dollar annual salary, his endorsement deals with Nike, Castrol, Konami and Armani netted him a cool $44 million last year.  Just how popular is the underwear model?  He is Facebook's Most Popular Athlete and has more Twitter followers than any other sports star.  TRIVIA: Ronaldo is actually his middle name and comes from US President Ronald Reagan.   

Thursday, June 14, 2012



It was just like any other morning for RONALD POPPO.  Homeless in Miami, he sought shelter from the sun under an overpass on the MacArthur Causeway.  When all of a sudden...he was attacked by a zombie!  "Brains! Brains!" moaned the undead monster as he pounced on his unaware victim.  Old, weak and frail, Ronald was unable to fend off the attacker who proceeded to eat his face off.  A nearby bicyclist, LARRY VEGA, heard the strange noises and saw the unthinkable.  A quick cell phone call later, a police officer arrived.  "Put your hands up." the cop demanded.  But zombies don't listen.  He just grunted angrily, pieces of flesh hanging from his mouth.  Bam! Bam! Six bullets later, the zombie was dead.  Again.

Sound like a bad Hollywood movie?  Well, it's all true...and available for your viewing pleasure on YouTube.  In fact, this has been a banner year for zombie attacks in the USA.  Last month, a New Jersey zombie was also cornered by cops. He resisted arrest by stabbing himself, then reaching inside his torso and then throwing his own intestines at officers.  Then there was the Maryland college student who ate a classmate in a dorm room.   And don't forget the Texas Zombie Mom who dined on her own newborn baby.  Let's face it...there's a zombie epidemic going on here!

It been so bad, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Florida has been bombarded by worried citizens.  As everyone knows, radiation emissions often trigger zombie attacks...had there been any such incidents?  To quell public unrest, the CDC issued a public statement about Zombie Preparedness.   It begins by saying: "A scenario where zombies take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way..." will not happen.  Whew!  That's a relief!  It goes on to report: "The CDC does not know of a virus that would reanimate the dead...or present any zombie-like symptoms."  Comforting...but we here at the DUNER BLOG still aren't convinced there is no zombie peril.

To calm nerves, we all carry chainsaws (the quickest way to kill a zombie) and try to remember...this sort of "massive panic" has happened before.  As a kid...way back in the 1970's...there were Bigfoot sightings everywhere.   In the 1980's everyone was paranoid about UFOs.  Thankfully, we just finished the silly vampire craze.  While most of these alleged sightings were in movie theaters, they still grabbed headlines nationwide...much like the zombies are doing today.  And...not surprisingly...there are a number of Zombie-inspired movies and TV shows today.  In the movie theaters, there's "Shaun of the Dead."  On TV we get to watch "Zombie Land." 

Watch out for LeZombie James!
Still scared?  Well, we here at the DUNER BLOG have one last item that will hopefully soothe your Zombie-ridden angst.  After issuing its "Zombies" alert, the Miami office of the CDC was flooded with reporters, journalists and inquiring minds...all wanting to know the truth.  In reply, CDC spokesman DAVE DAIGLE admitted that the idea for the post was fictional.  He posted it in hopes of luring people to the website so they would read about "less sexy topics" like...say...hurricane preparedness.   Daigle wants to "inspire people to make at least basic preparations for a real emergency."  Whatever.  Finally, you must be wondering how the victim, RONALD POPPO is doing.  Good news: He's recovering and looking forward to tonight's NBA championship game on TV.  "Go Heat!" he twitted.

Thursday, June 7, 2012



On Sunday, all of Britain celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.  The 86-year-old superstar has officially been on the throne for sixty years.  While that is a very long time, she still needs to serve another twenty-three years to be the all-time longest reigning monarch of all time.  Who managed to rule for longer than sixty years?  Let's find out!  Here's the list of Longest Reigning Monarchs of All Time:

#7. Emperor Hirohito. Japan. 62 years.   Talk about a survivor!  We're talking six-plus decades of drama.  First, in 1921, the Emperor visited Europe and put the reclusive nation on the map.  Furiously motivated, he returned home and industrialized Japan seemingly overnight.   Next, he conquered Asia...Siberia, Samoa, Singapore, Siam...you name it!  Then he showed great humility on August 15th, 1945, when he begged the world for forgiveness...and kept his crown.   

#6. Queen Victoria.  England. 63 years. The most powerful woman ever.  It's true: The sun never set on her empire.  Even today, the sun never sets on places named after her.  Let's see...there's Victoria Peak in Hong Kong...and Lake Victoria in Africa.  The Victoria Strait leads to the Arctic Ocean while Victoria Falls is the largest on earth.  The city of Victoria is in Canada while the state of Victoria is in Australia.

Poor Franz Joseph.
#5. Eleanor of Aquitaine. 66 years.  What makes Eleanor so impressive, is that her tenure as Queen was on two separate thrones: England and France!  After fifteen years, she had her marriage to King Louis the Fat annulled for obvious reasons.  Next, she married Henry the Second of England and reigned until her death, fifty years later.

#4. Pakal the Great. Maya. 68 years.  Our only representative from the Western Hemisphere, Pakal ascended to the throne in the year 615.  He was only twelve years old.  During his long reign, the capital Palenque grew into a massive city, trailing only Xian in China and Constantinople in overall population.

#3. Franz Joseph. Austria-Hungary. 68 years.  Historians love Franz because his personal life mirrored his professional life.  When he came to the throne in 1848, the great Austrian Empire stretched from Rome to the Rhine to Romania.  During his long reign, he watched it slowly disappear...piece by piece.  Simultaneously, his family life deteriorated in a similar fashion.  His brother, Max was shot by a firing squad in Mexico.  His wife, Empress Eleanor was also assassinated ten years later.  His son, Prince Rudolf committed suicide.  Finally, the killing of his nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, started a World War.

#2. Louis XIV. France. 72 years.  The Sun King was originally called the "Gift from God," as his parents had been trying to conceive a child for twenty years.  While he is largely remembered today for his opulent palaces like Versailles and the Louvre, we here at the DUNER BLOG admire his penchant for bureaucracy.  With the help of finance minister Jean Colbert, he created the first modern state.

#1. King Sobhuza II. Swaziland. 83 years.  Crowned 'Paramount Chief" at the age of three months, Sobhuza the Second managed to accomplish what few other African monarchs could: He kept his land!  Even today, the tiny landlocked country is recognized by the United Nations.  We are also impressed by his virility.  He had 70 wives and 210 children.  Today, over 1,000 people in Swaziland are his grandchildren.