Whoa, mightier than I thought

The mouse, it turns out, was in fact careening and is firing away on all buttons as we speak. Which may or may not be a good thing, we will see.

In the meantime good work, FedEx.

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So near, so far, so stuck in New Hampsheer

That's where the Mighty Mouse is, all right - stuck in New Hampsheer as we speak. "On FedEx vehicle for delivery," the tracker says, but does not say "and said vehicle is right this minute careening toward your very house." No way. It's Saturday in Western Mass. And what's more it's this Saturday, when everybody is in the grocery store.

What a zoo that place was today. Have these people never heard of snow before? Relax, Bunky, it's February - you don't really need to stock up for six months. Just enough to get through March will do fine.

I mean it. When the Empire takes over The Empire there will be two new laws the very first day.

ONE: No accomplices in the checkout line. You get in line, Bunky, that's it. No people running up later with arms full of stuff.

TWO: If you must go rummaging around in the shelves park your cart on the same side of the damn aisle, damnit. Thank you.

THREE (I don't care what I said) (do they?): When you stow your empty basket under the checkout counter flip the handles so another one will fit inside. Arrggghhhh.

This is not rocket science, people, this is just buying a few groceries. Try to get it right.

And you, FedEx, seeya Monday. Snow or no.

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Oh yeah I think that'd turn me on too

These surfaces contain tiny particles of titanium dioxide, which become excited when they absorb ultraviolet light with a wavelength of less than 380 nanometres.
"Self-cleaning bathroom on the way," says the BBC, based on oxidizing ability of said excited nanoparticles, but maybe that's just wishful thinking says Friends of the Earth's Mary Taylor.
"We would have to consider, for example, whether the material could be recycled or disposed of safely, and how much more energy went into production of the raw materials and its manufacture."
"Less time cleaning the bathroom is rather appealing," Taylor adds, not wishing to go down in history as a consumate grump.

It's all about doping the cations and anions. In case you're wondering.

Speaking of anions, I'd better get to the grocery store today. Big snow storm coming up tonight. (Well not really big - I'm just saying big so the weather gods don't think I'm clowning around.) Snow and a lack of ultraviolet excitement as well, no doubt.

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Stunned? In Brooklyn?

The 350 cookies stuffed with "the most graphically lurid" fortunes got mixed up with a batch of 1,750 cookies ordered for the Chinese New Year event, Borough President Marty Markowitz said Friday. Some guests "were stunned, to say the least."
May you live in interesting times, Cookie.

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I was a Hoosier myself once so who am I to say?

A house erroneously valued at $400 million is being blamed for budget shortfalls and possible layoffs in municipalities and school districts in northwest Indiana.

An outside user of Porter County's computer system may have triggered the mess by accidentally changing the value of the Valparaiso house, said Sharon Lippens, director of the county's information technologies and service department. The house had been valued at $121,900 before the glitch.
But that sure sounds like a creative description, "outside user," doesn't it? All I know is what the AP says.

Indiana is also the state that's wanting an "In God We Trust" license plate. Maybe this is why.

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A trip to the newsstand these days can be a dizzying descent into a blizzard of numbers. The March issue of Elle Girl promises readers "375 excuses to shop." Harper's Bazaar offers "783 new ideas to flatter you." Marie Claire trumpets not only "71 easy hair and makeup how-tos" but a mind-blowing "1,157 hot looks (all shapes, all sizes, all prices)."
Whoa! That's 38 straight months of hot looks! Assuming I did the math right - it was difficult to concentrate. I mean, with all that hot. How much hot can a person take, I wonder. Myself, I have no idea. Unless they mean 1,157 women all looking hot at once, which would not be much of a trick.

But it'd hardly be fair.

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Horse loses head, monkey loses innocence, world goes mad

In New Castle, NH, the other day, the head melted off a 15,000 pound ice sculpture of a horse. Too warm. (Maybe too big too - how much does a real horse weigh?)

In San Francisco Curious George stirs up a curious controversy. Too un-PC.

In Brockton, MA, a 6-year old (let me say that again: 6-year old) gets kicked out of school for sexual harassment.

It's beginning to sound like a tuna casserole kind of day.

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Could be just a little bit weird somehow

Of course as CEO (that'd be Chief Empire Officer) around here I have no interest in "fantasy escapes" but when a geek goes to a "cafe" to get his ears cleaned that's...well...I don't know...

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Sacramento, and off the edge of the world

Like a lot of other kids back in the 40's I spent a big part of my time waiting for stuff - a Sky King Decoder Ring (with secret compartment!), an FBI Decoder Badge (with magnifying glass!), a Lone Ranger Atomic Bomb Ring (I forget what atomic bombs had to do with the Lone Ranger but surely there must have been something). Every time the long wait started with cutting a coupon out of a cereal box and sending it in.

Now it starts with a click. I ordered a mouse. I really don't need a mouse but this is such a fantastically cool mouse, such an excellently beautiful mouse, such, in fact, a Mighty Mouse I couldn't resist. I could have bought one off the shelf by driving a few miles down the road but how primitive is that? Did I drive down the road? Oh no. I clicked. And ordered. FedEx ground.

Now sometimes when I order stuff from Apple it ships from a warehouse in Pennsylvania someplace and arrives right away, in a day or two. But sometimes it goes to Sacramento and drops off the edge of the world. That's what happened this time. Or maybe it's in a truck somewhere, in Nebraska. Stuck in a snow drift. Marooned until Spring. I have a FedEx tracking widget. Sacramento, it says. Has said. All week. OK, three days. Mostly all week. How primitive is that?

It'd be nice if they put a little thing on the tracker every day, wouldn't it? "Truckin' along through Nebraska." "Whizzing through Indiana."

I like the clicking but the waiting is still the hard part. It'd be nice if they could fix that.

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Can we send these guys to remedial 3rd grade?

Look, I know I said I was going to put all the politics stuff on the Horrors blog but there are times when it all goes beyond horror and straight to looney-toons. Like this, for instance, from the BBC.
Online reference site Wikipedia blames US Congress staff for partisan changes to a number of political biographies.

Computers traced to Capitol Hill removed unpalatable facts from articles on senators, while other entries were "vandalised", the site said.
Did you read that? US Congress staff? These are guys who are freakin making freakin Federal goddamn laws and they're over there on Wikipedia acting like a bunch of third graders scrawling on the Boys room walls? What kind of crap is that sputter sputter sputter.

OK I'm sputtering. But seriously. These are guys who want to say it's illegal for me to modify a song I paid for to play on another computer I own and they, themselves, are over there having some kind of food fight on Wikipedia? Throw the rascals out, I say. Every one of them.

Or send them to bed without their dinners, at least.

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Chicago Tribune! Woohoo!

Chicago is a newspaper town and the Trib is on the top of the heap.

Kick back and enjoy it when Managing Editor Jim O'Shea unloads on that little Tucker Carlson fella:
I suspect that the Chicago Tribune will be around a lot longer than you, Tucker, and if I'm wrong, I will buy you your drink of choice, which is probably a sarsaparilla.
Read the whole thing here on Poynter Online.


Snail mail rules - beats ADSL in test

Described here on Boing Boing is a demonstration of SNAil-based data transfer Protocol messaging that moves data faster than any other technique in conventional use today. The two wheels on the snail-drawn cart are 4.7 Gig DVDs.

Is Brownie back? Or is the whole freakin' Homeland Security department bonkers?

The kindergarten class at Lakewood’s Taft Elementary was planning a field trip to NASA Glenn Research Center. It’s a popular trip because it’s free, because the NASA staff already has age-appropriate tours that fit well with school curriculum, and, well, it’s outer space, for pete’s sake. They’ve got rocket ships.
But, says Ohio's Free Times, there was a problem at Taft school.
Because two kids in the kindergarten class are not U.S. citizens, the teacher had to cancel the trip.

“It was just a policy that came down from the Homeland Security Department,” said Chief Community and Media Relations Officer Linda Dukes-Campbell. “We are a federal reservation, and we have to work within those ramifications.”
Yup, you read it right. Working "within the ramifications" (huh?) NASA, at the behest of Homeland Security, protects us against 6-year old terrorists. From an elementary school in Ohio.
Dukes-Campbell says, though, that the agency is “looking at a policy revision” that might allow kindergarteners onto the federal reservation for field trips. She says they’re “hoping to have language” in order in a couple of weeks.
I think they need to get more than their language in order, myself. Like, maybe, their heads.

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Excellently cool - an album of arial photos of Mexico City

This is worth looking at. Do yourself a favor and do.

And what is it with the colors anyway? I don't know much about the southwestern states - maybe they do color like this there - but in these and other photos I've seen from Mexico I always wonder at the colors. When I win the lottery I'm going to buy a house just so I can fly some Mexicans up here to paint it. (I'm putting that on my list right now, just so you know.)

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Yo. Here's the plan.

If it stays below 20º for the next two hours I'm wearing my new jacket to work. That would be pushing the boundaries of wimpiness but maybe this one time it'd be OK.

See, I went to the store (there's only one) last week looking for a hat and there were these big down jackets marked down 60 percent - not a big clamor for down jackets during the warmest January on record would why, I suppose - and who could pass up a deal like that? Jackets - well, jackets and shoes - happen to be my only weaknesses, sartorially speaking, mostly a matter of admiring - no lusting would be the word - from afar. But 60 percent off? That was too much to bear. And anyway my old down jacket - the deep cold jacket - is 20 years old and counting, and showing some serious wear.

So there you have it. That's my excuse. Now all I need is an excuse to actually wear the thing. Which might be, as I say, today. Or anyway this week. After that, who knows?

I mean, here we are coming up on mid-February. Even if it gets cold it won't be cold long. Not that long, I mean - bitter cold on the first of January is depressing but bitter cold in mid-February is like don't worry about it, it's almost March. Which is fine with me.

Weather wouldn't be weather, of course, if it didn't make somebody grumpy and in this year's case it's the maple syrup makers. If you are a lover of maple syrup you may be in for a disappointing year, is what I hear. And the farmers - but the farmers are always grumpy about the weather, no matter what it is. Me though, moi, is delighted, because even if it does get cold now there will almost certainly be plenty of oil on my contract to sit it out. Which means I don't get wiped out until next winter, which is good. Unless you own Exxon, in which case you're going to have to wait another year before you get mine. Heh heh.

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We could send him a tree, but maybe he doesn't like hugging trees

Something, though. Maybe a teddy bear. Or a nice soft blankie. Do you think? That cute little Alberto Gonzales guy, I mean. Those big ol' mean Senators keep asking hard questions that make him sooooo uncomfortable! Have you been watching any of that? Poor little fella. Or maybe he could just suck his thumb, is that allowed?

OK, OK, I'm being facetious. Sorry, sorry. Let's try to be a little more upbeat here.
AP: "Despite the sacrifices called for in education, Amtrak, community development and local law enforcement grants, health research, and many other programs frozen or cut under his plan, Bush's $2.77 trillion blueprint forecasts a record $423 billion deficit for the current year and improves upon that figure in 2007 largely by lowballing cost estimates for the war in Iraq."
See? A record! Records are good! And the budget calls for cuts to the Mining Health and Safety Administration, too. They don't need as much because there are fewer miners now.

Forget about Gonzales. I need a teddy bear.

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Western Union's telegram service, which effectively replaced the Pony Express 150 years ago, itself came to an end January 12 - replaced by low-cost telephone services and email - when the company quietly laid off the last 30 people engaged in delivering telegram messages. There's no record of the last telegram's contents - the first, composed by Samuel Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, read "WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?"
Telegrams reached their peak popularity in the 1920s and 1930s [reaching a peak 200 million messages in 1929] when it was cheaper to send a telegram than to place a long distance telephone call. People would save money by using the word "stop" instead of periods to end sentences because punctuation was extra while the four character word was free.

Telegrams were used to announce the first flight in 1903 and the start of World War I. During World War II, the sight of a Western Union courier was feared because the War Department, the precursor to the Department of Defense, used the company to notify families of the death of their loved ones serving in the military.
And snarled circuits famously delayed a last-minute telegram warning of a possible attack on Pearl Harbor until after the attack had occured.

More about this story from MSNBC, Wired News, Computer World, and ZDNet.


And speaking of STOP, Blogger advises there will be a "scheduled outage" for maintenance this evening between 7:00 and 8:00 PM (2/6). This maintenance won’t fix everything, but it will make things better. I promise," says whoever said it.

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There'll always be an England, indeed

An American Coast Guard captain put a message in a bottle, which traveled all the way to England, where one Henry Biggelsworth sent back a note scolding him for littering. There will always be an England as long as someone reacts in precisely that way to a message in a bottle and as long as that someone is named Henry Biggelsworth.
That from Whatever It Is, I'm Against It, a blog you should be reading. What are you hanging around here for anyway?

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Terrorists under the bed and the dikes don't work, but we are by God still safe from naughty songs

Indeed, indeed, as the BBC informs us:
TV censors deemed two lyrics too sexually explicit to be broadcast and they were cut from the three-song show.
That would be the Super Bowl show of course, the one with three songs, and three officially approved songs at that.

OK it's Monday. Don't expect good cheer. The furnace went out last night so don't expect warm either, at least until the furnace guy comes and fixes the damn thing, hopefully before I get back from work. Nor hot water, which comes from said furnace - don't expect that either. And there's a little film of ice on the Little Lakes in the neighbor's back yard and some whitish glop on the grass from where it must have tried, during the night, halfheartedly to snow. It ain't my fault.

Nor the music. You can thank the NFL and ABC for that.

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A whiff to be sure - maybe even a full fledged stench

Overkill: The Latest Trend in Policing:
These gambling crackdowns carry a whiff of hypocrisy. Even as it sends SWAT teams to protect citizens from the scourge of gambling, Virginia spends $20 million a year promoting its state lottery. As police in Ohio knock over private poker games, the Ohio Lottery pulled in $2.15 billion in 2005. And while Maryland police have been busting charity tournaments, the state's lottery cashes in on the poker craze with scratch-off games such as Royal Flush, Aces & 8s and Poker Showdown.
(From a WaPo OpEd piece on the militarization of US police forces.)

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Before you veg out for the evening, do your head a favor

Courtesy of Mad Mike:
Teresi is a moron. Forget that natural selection is a probabilistic statement–not all beneficial mutations are 'chosen', and some deleterious mutations are–the scientific method does not deal with "meaning." Can an evolutionary biologist speak to mechanistic cause? Yes: antibiotic resistant bacteria evolve due to selection of resistant mutants. But is there any meaning in this that is derived from science? No. Whether you think meaning is bestowed by a higher power or is simply invented by people, the scientific method does not address meaning. That's why we have theologians and philosophers.
Read the rest. It'll do you good. We're all about doing you good here at YAME.

And come to think of it, do you believe the phrase "veg out" is offensive to the veggies? Or do you think they regard it as an expression of admiration? I certainly mean it admiringly myself - those rutabagas, they know how to live.

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Damn. There goes another job.

Bleacher sitting. And I thought that might make a nice career change, too.

But no. Here's a link to a nifty little video (if you click you see a video) of some guys preparing 5,000 blow-up dolls to populate a section of the Rose Bowl for a Clint Eastwood film shoot. (And thanks to Boing Boing for the lead.)

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Seagulls, whatever, and some other guys: where are the lions and tigers and bears?

Super Bowl again. And so I am planning to do the American thing and watch the commercials far into the evening, and eat take-out food (at least it's Chinese, which is good). I used to be a big football fan back in the old days when I watched the Bears lose 19 of 20 seasons and then, in one glorious moment, win it all. But - and this may be because I haven't owned a TV for a dozen years or so - I have now fallen far from grace. (Also from Grace, but that's another story all together.) And I haven't watched a football game all year, so what's with this Seagulls thing? There used to be some team out West that had a wide receiver, name of Lofton - would these be them?

Beats me. Oh well.

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