Bob Higgins

Rats! “il Vinaio” No Longer Serves Lion Burgers

Posted in Environment, News by Bob Higgins on June 29, 2010

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I read a brief story yesterday from the AP about a restaurant in Phoenix, Mesa actually, .. that’s in Arizona … an upscale Mediterranean eatery, that in celebration of, or as a tribute to the Wold Cup of Football … that’s soccer… began serving Lion Burgers on their Mediterranean menu.

You read it right … Lion Burgers, the friggin’ “King of Beasts” on a friggin’ bun.

Cameron Selogie, the owner of “il Vinaio” (that means “The Wine Seller,” I had to look it up) reported that he couldn’t fry these babies up fast enough and had a waiting list of 100 eager customers licking their chops in anticipation of a taste of Leo.

Like many others around the globe who were aghast at loin of lion for lunch I expressed my outrage in an email and last night I received the following reply:

We do not serve lion at il Vinaio any longer.
Thank you for your time. We do respect your opinion and apologize for offending you.

This was a polite and measured response to my email which, I admit, was penned (with my trademark subtlety) after a few beers:

I hope that your “lion burgers” kill several customers and you sick bastards are sued out of existence. Bob Higgins

Mr. Selogie probably didn’t expect the international disdain, the pickets outside his establishment, the hundreds of emails (some of them from sober people) and the death threats that ensued as a result of his exotic entrée. (more…)

A Sickening in the Gulf Stream

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 27, 2010

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[Editor’s note: This began as a comment this morning to “Oil spill: The nightmare becomes reality” a Carl Hiaasen piece on the arrival of BP’s poisonous gusher of crud on the shores of Pensacola.]


You’re right; it is difficult for people living far from our coasts to feel the horrible weight of this disaster.

I live in Ohio but have lived on the coasts of California and North Carolina. I have also lived through and helped clean up an oil spill near San Francisco in 1970 or thereabouts. I have friends and family though who have never seen or at least never lived near the sea and had it become, as seems inevitable to me, a part of them.

If you sit on a hill overlooking your local harbor or coastal area (a fat dune will do) and watch the ebb and flow of the ocean, its cycle of life, through days and nights, its tides, the winds shifting from onshore to offshore, the ceaseless march of crabs and gulls of all the limitless life of the sea you will soon notice another ebb and flow.


The Oil Game They’re Playing In Our Oceans Ain’t “Beanbag”

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 22, 2010

Oil giant Chevron, in the wake of one of the world’s worst environmental disasters in the Gulf of Mexico is dragging its corporate feet over Canadian requests for increased safety procedures at a deep water well off the coast of Newfoundland. The company’s Lona O-55 exploratory well is about 258 miles northeast of St. John’s, in the Orphan Basin.

BP’s out of control gusher in the gulf is just over 5000 feet deep while the Chevron well off the Canadian coast is 8,530 feet beneath the surface.

If the pressure of the water column at the site of the BP wellhead is 40,000 lbs per square foot (277 lbs/sq. in.)  the pressure of the water column at the site of the  Chevron well would be over 68,000 lbs per square foot (473 lbs/sq. in.) The pressures in the reservoir of BPs Gulf well are in the neighborhood of 12,000 lbs/sq. in. after you add up the weight of the water column and the thousands of feet of mud and rock above the reservoir. (water at 8 lbs/cu. ft – rock at 160 lbs/ cu. ft.)

Chevron says that a relief well isn’t necessary; according to their “Atlantic Manager,” Mark McLeod:

“We believe all wells can be drilled incident free. We believe this well will be drilled incident free and we won’t need a relief well.”

Apparently Chevron’s managers and technocrats are suffering under the same the same level of arrogance as their counterparts at BP.  I mean really “what could go wrong?”


Tony and ‘Bob’: Sailing, Not Skimming around the Isle of Wight

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 20, 2010

BP’s ‘Prince of Public Relations’ Tony Hayward left his reluctant witness chair in Washington and headed (by private jet I assume) for the Isle of Wight for a typical family weekend of … yachting or more correctly ‘yacht racing.’

Tony's Excellent Yacht - A 52' Farr

Hayward’s yacht, a 52 foot Farr named ‘Bob’ was one of nearly 1700 entries in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race. The race, which is being held this year for the 79th time is a 50 mile trip around the Isle of Wight and attracts some 16,000 sailors from around the world.

It is unknown how many shrimpers and skimmers from the Gulf coast entered this year.

‘Bob’ a grey hulled Farr 52 built in 2000 is listed among the race entries as entered in the IRC Division ‘0’ by Rob Gray, Sam Laidlaw, and Tony Hayward. Bob placed 4th in it’s class which was won by ‘Velsheda, a ‘J’ class yacht built in 1933 and skippered by Oliver Tizzard.’

Among the many thrilling moments in the race was the saga of Mike Slade whose ICAP Leopard was impeded by a lobster pot until being freed by a diver; ‘Sadly there was nothing in it’ said Slade. (more…)

Get Used to Blackened Seafood, BP’s Spew May Continue For Years

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 19, 2010

AP/Dave Martin A wave polluted with crude from the Gulf oil spill washes ashore in Orange Beach, Ala., Saturday.

The Guardian reports that according to figures provided by BP ‘Weasel in Chief’ Tony Hayward, the Macondo field reservoir now emptying into the Gulf of Mexico contains enough oil to continue spewing at the current rate for more than two years.

Hayward told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that the reservoir contains 50 million barrels of crud and is gushing at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day which would give it the capacity to continue for 833 days.

Using the government’s present flow estimates of up to 60,000 barrels a day, BP’s well could go on gushing for two to four years, unless it is stopped.

BP and the administration say they are containing a rising share of the oil from the well, and hope to plug the gusher completely by August, when two relief wells will be complete. BP said today that the relief wells were within 60 metres of the ruptured well.

The consequences of failure are enormous. The Guardian

BP Hires “Talon Security” to Block Press from Beaches, Intimidate Workers

Posted in Politics by Bob Higgins on June 15, 2010

Here you see, in embryonic form, the future of privatized “corporate law enforcement.”

I’m not faulting the reporter for his prudence but I think I would have walked past these gaily dressed rent-a-goons and forced them to physically stop me. I’d like to take that one to court.

The beach bouncers in the video are employed by Talon Security of Sacramento, California.  Talon Security is a firm headed by Donald Bacchi, billed on their site as  having retired from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department after thirty years with the rank of Sergeant. Hmm… after thirty years one might expect a loftier rank.

Bob Higgins

A Gusher of Light Sweet Terror / Updated

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 14, 2010

[Editor’s note: Dan Casey a writer at the Roanoke Times linked to this piece yesterday and said some nice things while offering a bit of criticism.  I updated this post by responding to him at the bottom of this page. Bob Higgins]

“We need to be realistic about operating in a mile of water”

Tony Hayward, the cherubic little weasel who serves as the front man for British Petroleum, BP, Beyond Pathetic or whatever they are calling their ‘brand’ this week, made the statement above, on camera to reporters while standing on an oil fouled Louisiana beach a couple of weeks ago.

Earlier that day I had a fairly heated argument with an elderly acquaintance who recently became enraptured by the ‘Teabaggers.’ This giddy political infatuation has had the gruesome effect of making him more of a pain in the ass than he was previously.  At one point in the ‘discussion’ he asked me why BP was drilling at 5000 feet below the surface and I told him that most of the ‘easy oil’ has been used up and drilling is increasingly taking place in ever riskier and more technologically challenging sites.


Now you don’t trust BP, but it’s too late

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 13, 2010

By Carl Hiaasen The Miami Herald

"You fucked up, you trusted us" Otter

Every time a BP executive appears on television, I think of the garage scene from the movie Animal House.

An expensive car belonging to Flounder’s brother has just been trashed on a drunken road trip, and the smooth-talking Otter comforts the distraught Delta pledge with these cheery words:

“You f—– up! You trusted us! Hey, make the best of it.”

If only the BP guys were half as honest.

Incredibly, almost eight weeks after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, the company that caused the disaster remains the primary source of information about it.

Predictably, much of that information has been stupendously, tragically wrong, starting with the low-ball estimates of how much crude was leaking into the sea.

BP didn’t know the answer when the rig went down, and it doesn’t know the answer now. Nobody does.

Every day we see streaming underwater video of that mile-deep gout of oil, billowing and unstaunched. The image is only slightly less sickening than the pictures of dead sea turtles and gagging pelicans.

Read more at The Miami Herald

Contact Carl Hiassen:

Going Downstream, A Tragedy in Caddo Gap

Posted in Environment by Bob Higgins on June 12, 2010

Among today’s top stories is yesterday’s sudden flushing of the Little Missouri and Caddo rivers in Arkansas. Flash flooding caused by unusually torrential rains swept through the river course raising the level from a normal of three feet to twenty-three feet in a few hours. Reports from the scene are that at least 7.5 inches of rain fell during a three or four hour period and the river near Caddo Gap rose at the rate of 8.5 feet per hour.

Early Friday, around 2:00 AM the river banks in the Caddo Gap area were crowded with campers in tents and travel trailers out for a weekend in the remote and beautiful Albert Pike Recreation area. Sometime before 5:00 AM, disaster and terror in the form of a massive wall of free falling water struck.

Most people were likely sleeping at that hour and completely unaware of the relentlessly approaching deluge. I can imagine kids in their tents playing with flashlights and giggling in their sleeping bags or bedrolls, too exited to sleep, anticipating the adventures of the day ahead.

As of this writing 17 are confirmed dead with dozens still listed as missing, many of them children.

I witnessed a flash flood many years ago in southeastern Utah. One afternoon in late spring the desert valley I lived and worked in was hit by what we called a “gully washer,” a storm that dumped a surprising amount of rain in a half hour or so as it moved up the red walled valley to the La Sal Mountains looming to the east.