1.27.2015

Darwin begins to giggle

OK, here's the plan

I am going to go on a diet, starting tomorrow. Or wait—Monday. Monday would be an excellent day because, you know, Super Bowl. Also all this excellent junk food (that doesn’t require cooking) I bought purely in order to survive the Great Blizzard of aught-15. 

The worst storm of ever is over now, according to Accuweather. Some places along the Massachusetts coast got two feet but we got, I’m guessing, six inches, possibly eight. There was drifting so it’s a little hard to tell, but I still don’t think there’s more than three inches in our driveway.

Just another winter day in our pleasant valley, is all.

But hey, they're our great friends

‘We are hostages': A Saudi princess reveals her life of hell | New York Post:

"When it comes to the rights of women, Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human-rights records in the world. Women don’t have a say in raising their children. They can’t go to school, travel, open a bank account, conduct any kind of business or get medical treatment — especially gynecological surgery — without male permission.
"In public, everything except the eyes and the hands must be covered, and the slightest infraction can result in a death sentence."

Obama Visits New Saudi King to Bolster Ties Amid Turmoil - Businessweek

Why not? Everybody else is

Violinist sues after he’s arrested playing naked outside court | New York Post:

"PORTLAND, Ore. — A Hillsboro, Oregon, man arrested after playing a violin while naked outside the federal courthouse in Portland last year is suing police."

Careful with the scare quotes there

Russians charged with plotting to recruit NYC co-eds as spies | New York Post:

"In addition to hearing Sporyshev talk about targeting Big Apple ‘girls,’ agents listened to fellow SVR agent Victor Podobny, 27, lament that his work wasn’t nearly as glamorous as he thought it would be — and didn’t even involve assuming a new identity."

And then there's Maine

Closings, cancellations and delays — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine:

Grounded

Winter Storm Juno Hammering New England - weather.com:

"Over 7,000 U.S. flights scheduled for Monday through Wednesday have been canceled, according to FlightAware. Any flights not canceled will likely be severely delayed; airport closures possible through Tuesday."

In the Big Apple, "Snor'easter"

Snor’easter: Blizzard spares New York City - NY Daily News:

"While Long Island and parts of New England felt the fury of the massive snowstorm, the National Weather Service lifted the blizzard warning for the city and said just 6.3 inches of snow had fallen in the Manhattan's Central Park by early Tuesday. A Long Island teen died in a tubing accident, the first storm-related death reported."

OMG! Who cares about snow?

Facebook, Instagram, Tinder suffer service outages - NY Daily News

Party delay

Phoenix is Ready For Its Super Bowl Closeup...Whenever New England Fans Can Get Here 

In other sporting news, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, according to the NY Daily News, "issued a defiant statement defending his organization in the DeflateGate controversy and demanding an apology from the NFL should Ted Wells’ investigation find the Pats with clean hands.” No kidding. 

After our own extensive investigation, we are prepared to predict the outcome of the NFL’s deliberation: [VIDEO]

No snowpocalypse (so far)

I just shoveled four, maybe five inches of good, crunchy snow off our sidwalks; there’s maybe two in the driveway and the tops of the cars are blown bare. It was windy last night and more drifting than normal (like, nothing if you’ve ever been in southern Illinois). We’re on the western edge of it; the storm’s still there.

It’s snowing here now. The Weather Service says we can expect another six inches, almost all of it this morning. Weather Underground, which has had by far the most accurate predictions to date, says one to three. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, along the coast they saw well over a foot of snow overnight, in some places, with more still to come. There’s a statewide traffic ban. Nothing’s going in or out of Logan (I don’t know if it’s officially shut down but the Globe reported all flights for today canceled by 8:00 last night). The Harpoon brewery in Boston closed for the storm, and postal service has been suspended (so much for intrepid). Amtrak service is, of course, also canceled. No train today, so it won’t matter that you can’t buy tickets.

1.26.2015

It's not snowing here yet…

…but the forecast just keeps getting deeper and deeper—up to 22 inches now (NWS) by the end of tomorrow. The good news is wind projections that top out just above 20 mph, way lower than what's expected along the coast.

Actually, that's more like THE POINT OF THE FREAKING GAME

Undernews: Deflategate update:

"But in the meantime, outside analysts have been looking into other aspects of the Patriots' game — and some of what they've found seems fairly suspicious. Like the fact that the Patriots seem to fumble balls at shockingly low rates."

Next, they’ll be cheating if they win. (How can that be fair?)

Meanwhile, your humble blogger has been accessorized.

IMG 1820

Not us, that's for sure

New York Sun, March 13, 1888.

(H/T Greenfield, MA, public library.)

This can't be good

It hasn't even started snowing yet and already…





…the electric company is sweating.

A little later: That, above, was from an email. And now a robocall. Same message: We will rescue you as fast as we can.

I just heard the nearest grocery store is full of people stocking up like they expect to spend the rest of the winter snowbound. But really, aside from the possibility of high winds, the storm being forecast looks no worse than a half dozen other storms just in the years since I’ve been here. And in fact the worse storms from a power failure point of view have been much milder than what’s expected now. (The most destructive storms are in the late autumn, when the snow is wet and heavy and there are still leaves on the trees. It’s falling tree limbs that do most of the damage.)

So the good forecasting—in itself, a very useful thing—tends to get sensationalized, and panic results.

Not that we're being pessimistic or anything

This really should be billed as a reality show

Four reasons so many Republicans are running in 2016 | PBS NewsHour

"There is already a veritable caravan of Republicans saying they’re ‘interested’ or ‘actively exploring’ a presidential bid. By our count, there are at least 17 right now in the mix (in alphabetical order): John Bolton, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, John Kasich, George Pataki, Paul, Sarah Palin, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Rubio, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump, and Scott Walker."

Let’s put ‘em all on an island somewhere, and see what happens.

Well, that settles that: Time to move on

ANTLE: Tom Brady And The Liberal War On Success | The Daily Caller

"The same politics of envy that liberals exploit to make some people crave tax increases on the wealthy has turned you against the winningest quarterback of our time, a hero to the blue-collar and culturally conservative parts of the Bay State, a true Patriot."

You can't go home again

Transit could close as blizzard set to blanket New York - NY Daily News

"Roughly 1,700 flights have been canceled Monday – most flying in and out of Newark, JFK and LaGuardia – and another 1,500 have already been scratched for Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com."

1.25.2015

Save the latex!

Balloons Replace Doves as the Vatican Symbol of Peace | TIME:

"The change follows an incident last year when doves released together by children and Pope Francis were attacked by two other birds, a crow and a seagull, the Associated Press reports."

The house was just sitting there, being a house and dreaming of a nice, new, colorful coat of paint, when all of a sudden…

Chief Of Staff Distances White House From Anonymous Official Who Said Netanyahu 'Spat In Our Face'

Damn that IRS

94-year-old vet can't file tax return because IRS says he's dead | Fox News

Wait. They won’t let him pay? 

Some brownies are more magical then others


What? No turn signal?

Police chase ends in parking lot of Toledo prison - Toledo Blade

"Jason Davis, 33, of Monroe, is charged in Toledo Municipal Court with two counts of vandalism of government property, failure to comply, possession of drugs, resisting arrest, obstructing official business, drug paraphernalia, failure to stop at a stop sign, and not using a turn signal."

And don't forget ice cream

Will Vermont become the East Coast hub of marijuana tourism?

"Led by Gov. Peter Shumlin, state lawmakers are exploring legalizing a drug that has been as much a part of local culture as tie-dyes, psychedelic music and hippie farmers."

You say this like it's a bad thing

GOP clown car runs into ditch - Roger Simon - POLITICO

"With nearly two dozen possible presidential candidates, the GOP is having a seriousness deficit."

Tell us, please

Boston, you’re my less insecure home… - The Washington Post

"Huh? How on Earth does Los Angeles lose the Olympic bid to Boston? How does the only American city to host both an Olympics (twice) and a World Cup final lose a chance to bid on the planet’s biggest sports competition to a parochial burg that’s never even hosted a Super Bowl or Final Four?"

Our nomination for Headline of the Week

Women compete for New York City’s top bottom | New York Post

Brady forever

Smoking Gun

Wait, so HE deflated the balls? (Or SHE?)

With Super Bowl XLIX coming up, about 25% of Americans think God decides sporting events: new survey 

But not flying very fast, it seems

F-35 Flyover Planned for Pro Bowl

"For the service, it could be a chance to show that their oft-criticized jet is actually flying as it inches closer to going operational."

Go Bears

But the VA just wouldn't admit it

Researchers: PTSD has been effecting troops since 1300 B.C. - NY Daily News

"A team from Anglia Ruskin University made the discovery after analyzing accounts of battle from soldiers fighting in ancient Iraq or Mesopotamia."

But here’s something I don’t understand. From the same story:

"Previously [PTSD] had been dismissed, such as after World War One, when returning soldiers were treated for shell shock."

How is treating something by another name dismissing it? (And during WWII, IIRC, PTSD was called “combat fatigue.”)

1.24.2015

Friday—and especially a Friday when everybody's obsessed with the Super Bowl—is a perfect time to announce YA war

US Trainers To Deploy To Ukraine:

"WASHINGTON — American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday."

But everybody loves acronyms

Most View the CDC Favorably; VA’s Image Slips | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

"Most View the CDC Favorably; VA’s Image Slips More Partisan Opinions of the EPA, CIA"

Watergategate

The real scandal is, nobody’s been able to come up with anything more creative than “-gate” for forty freaking years.

Luckily, "12" comes with a spare

The Seattle Seahawks Are Actually Trying to Trademark the Number 12 | Bleacher Report

“…the team is looking for a full numerical takeover by coining '12'—a mathematical object used the world over in practices of counting and computing—as its own thing."

We’ll go with “dozen."

(And by the way, we’re thinking the word should be “numeral.”)

(And can we call this 12gate?)

Send 'em all back to high school, where they belong

Obama administration livid at Netanyahu’s plan to visit Congress | New York Post

"The Obama administration is livid over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s planned visit to Congress in March — and now, ‘there will be a price’ to pay, according to reports.…
"‘He spat in our face publicly and that’s no way to behave,’ a senior American official said."

Clears that right up

Winter Storm Iola could undergo 'bombogenesis': forecasters - NY Daily News

"'Bombs are so-named because of the rapidity with which they develop, which evokes explosiveness, and the power that they usually attain once they have gone through the intensification phase specified...' he wrote for their website."

It’s snowing here but it doesn’t look bombo to me. 

Let's have a Lawyer Bowl

Cowboys fan sues NFL for $88 billion over reversed call 

1.23.2015

You'll never get a better excuse than this

Staying Home & Watching TV May Reduce Flu Spread - Yahoo News

This is called, by the public health experts these days, “social distancing,” although back in Nebraska, in the 1940’s, it was called quarantine—and it happened a lot. Somebody in the family came down with measles, mumps, chicken pox, whooping cough, or a host of other maladies, and a guy from the health department would arrive and tack a QUARANTINE sign on the front door. Until the sign came down (with a doctor’s certificate), only one family member—usually the “breadwinner” (the person with the job)—and, of course, a doctor, was allowed to enter or leave the house. 

The efficiency of large families back then was that, with contagious illnesses, usually all the kids would get sick at once. So with maybe six or eight quarantines, you could get your whole brood grown up and out.

Doubtless the most depressing question I've ever heard

Nice job!

They’ve become so good at manufacturing those horrible fake plastic things they now actually look like tomatoes. Or, enough like tomatoes to fool me on a bad day, which today apparently is. The bad news is they still don’t taste like tomatoes at all.

The good news is the great ice sheet has retreated, at least somewhat, uncovering a lot (but not all) of the sidewalk and allowing me to haul home enough groceries, hopefully, to survive the great nor’easter now bearing down. The bad (but not very) news is this nor’easter might dump four inches of snow on us (National Weather Service); the good news is (Weather Underground), maybe only three. Or five (wait, that’s bad). The good news is, I don’t have to go out again until it’s over.

The bad news is, staying indoors all day makes me grumpy.

Tell us what you really think

The Fate of Ukraine | The XX Committee

"Kyiv is a paper tiger, the Europeans are cowered in the corner, terrified of the Kremlin’s next move, while Obama is talking tough about how Russia is losing this conflict, despite the fact that obviously it is not. As usual, Obama is all vapid and chest-puffing talk, coupled with very little action."

Darwin grins

Doctors Hope Disneyland's Measles Outbreak Will Be A 'Wake Up Call' For Parents | ThinkProgress

"Recent studies have found that unvaccinated people tend to cluster together in the same community, which allows contagious diseases to spread. "

They are certainly making progress in DC

Watch a US Senator Cite the Bible to Prove That Humans Aren't Causing Global Warming | Mother Jones

"The amendment passed 98-1, and the Senate was on record agreeing to the obvious fact that climate change sometimes occurs."

Bet you never saw this question coming

Who Is the Next Al Gore?

Never, ever, since whatever last week's Great Panic was…

Bill Belichick can’t help but channel his inner Richard Nixon | New York Post

…(Ebola seems so long ago, doesn’t it?) has any controversy been so all-consuming as the matter of the New England Patriot’s flat balls. And (wait for it now…here it comes) the integrity of the game. I just keep having an overpowering urge to stand up and sing, “Oh say can you see…."

I confess I’m no Pat’s fan. Even though I’ve lived more years in eastern seaboard states now, I'm still a midwesterner at heart. It’s the Bears for me (and the Cubs—which should tell you all you need to know about my sporting acumen, right there). But post-season entertainment is where you find it, and this week it’s Belichick & Brady bringing the good ol’ stuff

1.22.2015

No, Bunky, there is no end

Gun Lobbyists Seek Extraordinary Veto Power Over Attorney General Nominee | ThinkProgress

"The National Rifle Association, which is actually perceived as relatively moderate compared to Gun Owners of America…"

We're not getting all weird and paranoid about this or anything, but…

Super Water-Repellent Metal Makes Droplets Bounce Off It

"The research into the metal was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United States Air Force Office of Scientific Research…"

Noted

'American Sniper' Great War Movie - 'American Sniper' Review - Esquire

“…going to a Hollywood movie for a history lesson is like going to a brothel for a lecture in philosophy. You're in the wrong place."

No

Fashion label launches high-tech, stylish men’s suit | Boston Herald

"Ever wish you could wear a comfy sweatsuit to a board meeting?"

If you've been not fired recently, raise your hand

It’s official: Rosie Perez not fired from ‘The View’ 

When these guys say entertainment, they really mean it

Sony execs bracing for more leaked emails | Page Six

"Top executives at Sony Music are bracing for more embarrassing e-mails to leak as part of the Sony hack after their boss — Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton — called to offer a ‘blanket apology’ in advance of any details that come out, sources exclusively tell Page Six."

Wait, what?

Barack Obama’s State of the Union tax proposal: The president’s program will expose Republicans’ unwillingness to fight inequality.

“The most notable Republican reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night did not come from official respondent Joni Ernst, the rookie senator from Red Oak, Iowa, with the camouflage high heels."

This underinflation thing is catching on

Woman showcased by Obama in State of the Union is a former Democratic campaign staffer | Fox News

"Rebekah Erler has been presented by the White House as a woman who was discovered by the president after she wrote to him last March about her economic hardships. She was showcased in the speech as proof that middle class Americans are coming forward to say that Obama’s policies are working.

"Unmentioned in the White House bio of Erler is that she is a former Democratic campaign operative, working as a field organizer for Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.)."

Where is this "Colorado" place, anyway?

Baker faces complaint for refusing to write anti-gay message on cake 

"We should all be loving each other."

Well, it's not Ebola, but at least it's something to obsess about while waiting for the Super Bowl

Measles Outbreak At Disneyland Spreads To Other States : NPR

"California health officials say more than 4 dozen cases of measles have been diagnosed in the state — a result of an outbreak that started at Disneyland. Most who got sick were not vaccinated."

1.21.2015

A whole lot of like

Facebook now crops up in a third of divorce cases over cheating and old flames - Mirror Online:

Because we can never have too many

The honor of Paris

This is getting serious.
Paris wants to sue Fox News because, hey, they're not Charlie.

I say, let 'em. Viva la whatever.

France is our oldest ally, going back to before we were we. If it weren't for France, we might still be speaking English. Or we might have wound up like Canada, those poor guys. Or Australia—grown men talking about their barbies.

We owe plenty to France. Why don't we just give 'em Fox News as bonus?

A buck a sniff

N.H. Lottery introduces bacon-scented scratch-off ticket - NY Daily News

"The 'I Heart Bacon Scratch Ticket' costs $1 and offers a grand prize of $1,000, reports WMUR."

Bring it

Lupica: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady quite a pair of villains - NY Daily News

"You know what the Patriots of Belichick and Brady really are, now more than ever? They are the biggest team we have in sports and the baddest. Now it is being reported that they took air out of some footballs last Sunday, and that they somehow needed that edge as they were kicking the Indianapolis Colts all the way to Rhode Island. You see once more why people either love the Patriots or love to hate them."