House behind the hedge.

Damn right, you betcha.

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Bush criticises Spanish US anthem: "'Would the French accept people signing [sic] the La Marseillaise in English as a sign of patriotism? Of course not.'"
Somehow we've become involved in a flap about a recording of the Star Spangled Banner sung in Spanish (a rather loose translation from what I can tell although I can't understand a word of it myself and so far the people I've met who are upset about it can't either but as far as I can tell it ranks somewhere between flag burning and the Leatherman Squirt P4 multitool as a homeland threat). This is good. It boosts cable TV ratings and has, apparently, restored the French to a position of favor among the guardians of our national purity.

I assume it's now safe to eat croissants again.

NOLA Jazz Fest streams on WWOZ, MSN.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: "Fats Domino, Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Lionel Richie, Keith Urban, Yolanda Adams, Herbie Hancock, La India, The Meters, Allen Toussaint w/ Elvis Costello, Etta James, Dr. John, The Ohio Players, Irma Thomas, Ani DiFranco, Keb’ Mo’, Hugh Masekela, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Koko Taylor, Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw, Little Feat, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Sr., The Radiators, Sam Moore, Doug E. Fresh & Slick Rick, Warren Haynes, Angelique Kidjo, Yerba Buena, Chris Owens,Irvin Mayfield, Buckwheat Zydeco, Galactic, Deacon John, Rebirth Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Donald Harrison w/ Eddie Palmieri, Snooks Eaglin,Cowboy Mouth, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Kermit Ruffins, Roland Guerin w/ Marcus Roberts, Sonny Landreth, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Terence Blanchard, the subdudes, Ellis Marsalis w/ Lew Tabackin, Nicholas Payton, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and many, many more."

Listen live on radio station WWOZ. Sunday performances are also being carried by MSN.

Massive pig-out attack underway.

First a truckload of potato chips "appears" in a Pennsylvania police barracks, then a $100,000 shipment of Red Bull goes missing in Tennessee.
Thieves steal trailer filled with Red Bull - Boston.com: "The truck's window had been broken and its satellite tracking system disabled, making the thief's flight untraceable. In its commercials, Red Bull claims that it 'gives you wings!'"

And in a related development ("Red Bull" link, above) Ohio police discover trailer emptied of Kraft sauce shipment.



Would this be sorta like "we kinda think"?

U.S.: Jihadists working to spread agenda - Boston.com: "'We are seeing indications,' said the official, who declined to elaborate and cautioned that the signs are on a small scale now."


Crocodile Attacks Chainsaw in Australia - Yahoo! News: "'As he was trimming up the tree on the outside the croc jumped out of the water and sped along the tree about 18, 20 feet and actually grabbed the chainsaw out of his hands,' said Peter Shappert, the tavern's owner."

Apparently annoyed by the noise, croc chews on saw until it stops. Worker and croc are uninjured; saw is dead.

And you don't even want to know what they do to the linguine.

Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.com: "ROME (Reuters) - An Italian restaurant was fined 688 euros ($855) for displaying live lobsters on ice to attract patrons, in an innovative application of an anti-cruelty law usually affecting to household pets."

So maybe I can afford that SUV after all.

United Press International - NewsTrack - D.C. prayer rally to seek lower gas prices: "'It is our hope that seeing and hearing some of the nation's most powerful preachers gathered around a gas station and the United States capital as a backdrop, will remind everyone who is really in charge of our world -- God,' Royster said."

Or then again it might remind you of something else.

Think twice before you pinch a granny.

Women aged 59 to 91 attempt to enlist in armed forces at Times Square recruitment center, get pinched for blocking the entrance. "Not guilty," says the judge.

Setting Grandmotherhood Aside, Judge Lets 18 Go in Peace - New York Times: "'Listen to your granny, she knows best,' crowed Joan Wile, 74, a retired cabaret singer and jingle writer who was one of the defendants."

A splash of spring.

Dispatches we didn't finish reading.

U.S. Economy Still Expanding at Rapid Pace - New York Times: "Gas prices are rising, as are mortgage rates. House prices in many once-hot markets have started slipping. The American automobile industry shows no sign of recovery. And the paychecks of most workers have not even kept up with inflation over the last four years. Yet the national economy continues to speed ahead..."

Can Debbie do the West End too?

New show lets porn stars test acting skills - Yahoo! News: "'My Bare Lady' will cast four leading ladies from U.S. porn studios in a classic piece of drama to be performed in the West End. Their experiences undergoing a crash course in acting and appearing before a discerning British audience will air in three episodes on the Fox Reality cable and satellite channels this fall."

All things great and small eventually turn up on the grid.

Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else: HAL's father??

Count this as great - a recording of voice synchronization made by a Bell Labs computer sometime in the early '60s. I used to have a copy of this record (I worked for the Bell System at the time) but it got lost somewhere along the way. But you can read all about it here (the link above) and, for about the next 10 days, hear it too.

But it turns out they ordered pizza.

Man Drives Chip-Loaded Van Into Barracks - Yahoo! News: "KITTANNING, Pa. - A man intentionally drove a delivery van loaded with potato chips through the lobby of a state police barracks early Thursday morning, authorities said."


Is this an example of the kind of job Americans don't want to do?

Calif. Woman Spanked at Work Sues for $1.2M - Yahoo! News: "Employees were paddled with rival companies' yard signs as part of a contest that pitted sales teams against each other, according to court documents. The winners poked fun at the losers, throwing pies at them, feeding them baby food, making them wear diapers and swatting their buttocks."

Dirt-simple scores a win.

New Scientist Tech - News - Randomly-generated 'scientific paper' accepted: "Starting with skeleton sentences, pools of nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, and a random assortment of computer science jargon, the program produced a grammatically correct yet utterly nonsensical paper titled: 'Rooter: a methodology for the typical unification of access points and redundancy'. 'This isn't artificial intelligence, it's the dirt-simplest way we could think to do this,' Stribling says."

The wages of fame.

TIGER WOODS YOU BELIEVE, BUT TRUST TRUMP? UH-UH. By HOLLY M. SANDERS - New York Post Online Edition: business: "Sexpot Anna Nicole Smith, hotel heiress Paris Hilton, pop tart Britney Spears, supermodel Kate Moss and real estate mogul Donald Trump were all examples of celebs whose association made it less likely a person would buy a product, the study said."

Oh no! Can this be true?

There's a monster under my bed?

Money talks, Nelson walks.

MediaGuardian.co.uk | Media | Nelson's Column to carry ads: "Nelson's Column is to carry advertising for the first time in its 163-year history, with a campaign featuring images of environmental disaster to promote financial services company Zurich."

Or, as the case may be, sails away. Turns out said company, Zurich, is sponsoring the restoration of Nelson's monument in Trafalgar Square. How the prestige of a financial services company is enhanced by images of enviromental disaster remains a mystery.
"The campaign, created by Publicis Dialog, forms part of Zurich's new multimillion pound global repositioning using the strapline, 'Because Change Happenz'."

Or maybe not. Repositioning happenz. Or, for that matter, straplinez.


Tempest alert.

Similar passages in two books published 5 years apart - Boston.com: "I froze, unsure of (a) what he was talking about and (b) what I was supposed to do about it."

Not to mention who, by any stretch of the imagination, might care.

There is some sort of rukkus going on about the occurance of similar passages in a currently popular book by Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan called "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life" and another, "Sloppy Firsts," by Megan McCafferty. Judging from the illustrated passages the ensuing storm is teacupworthy, at best. At very best. It's not that we don't care deeply, passionately (oh we do, we do) about the travails of teenage girls; even so, who cares?

Not, said the rooster, I.

A bumper sticker for the ages.

If evolution is outlawed only outlaws will evolve

Snow brought back up.

Bush names Fox pundit as new spokesman: "Snow is the host of the “Tony Snow Show” on Fox News Radio and “Weekend Live with Tony Snow on the Fox News Channel. He served in the administration of President George H.W. Bush as White House speechwriting director and later as a deputy assistant to the president for media affairs."

So Snow, having been farmed out to Faux News for a couple of years, finds himself once again in a Bush White House (same house, different Bush). First time, he was one of Pappy's speachwriters...

Wait a minute. You mean somebody actually writes the stuff those guys say? How bizarre is that?


Everybody's doing it.

Judge hints at code in 'Da Vinci' ruling - Boston.com: "Tench said the judge teasingly remarked that the code is a mixture of the italicized font code found in the 'The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail' -- whose authors Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh unsuccessfully sued Brown's publisher, Random House Inc., for copyright infringement -- and the code found in Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code.'"

Alas. I have - have always had, for as long as I remember - some kind of built-in cutoff valve that prevents me from reading books, watching movies, going to plays and whatnot once they've achieved a certain level of popularity. Oh, I read bestsellers and enjoy them, and line up on Netflix for the latest movies but when things get into the mega category like this book, "Da Vinci," or like the play "Cats" or the movie "Platoon" they're off my list. Go figure. I don't know why.

Still I think it's kinda cool put a code in his ruling, no matter how primative the code may be (or how clever, it may turn out). I like that.

A parable for our time.

Pa. Woman With 97 Cents Gets $328K Home - Yahoo! News: "Prosecutors said Jean-Francois sat down Oct. 5 at a settlement table at Rainbow Assurance, a mortgage title firm in Falls, with 97 cents in her bank account."

But in addition to her 97 cents she has two forged checks totalling $63,000, and with them she cons the mortgage firm out of a house worth $328,000.

So they send her for a mental health evaluation.

Fine scam, indeed.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Fine wine scam sinks prominent merchant: "'I was utterly shocked, I could hardly believe it,' he said."

Spare us the cleverness, please.

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Children 'gain weight as they watch TV': "Dr Wiecha, however, said her work contradicted this. 'Although children and youth are encouraged to watch what they eat, many youth seem to eat what they watch,' the report's authors wrote."

YA research study shows watching TV makes kids eat bad stuff.


The season of good intentions.

"Hannah" reigns at Drake Relays.

Hannah named 'Most Beautiful Bulldog' - Boston.com: "'We're looking for the ugliest bulldog you can get your hands on,' said Dolph Pulliam, the executive director of the Beautiful Bulldog contest. 'We're the looking for the bulldog that has that face, that drool, that personality that can charm you.'"

Brits perfect teen repellant.

Teenage control and deterrent products for shops and homes Compound Security Systems Mosquito: "The Times newspaper in England reports that the device was first used at a Spar shop in Barry, South Wales, where the owner Robert Gough was enthusiastic about the device's success in driving away the local youths. 'Either someone has come along and wiped them off the face of the earth, or it's working' he is quoted as saying."

A Spar shop is, apparently a covenience store, as Spar's web site puts it, "with an exciting range of fresh foods with everything from ready meals, to fresh snacks, as well as cheese and champagne, there is something for everyone." Except for pesky teens. Pesky teens are not wanted. Because we know what those pesky teens have on their minds and it's not fresh snacks. Oh no. It's not fresh snacks at all.

End of an era. Or two.

One Day, That Economy Ticket May Buy You a Place to Stand - New York Times: "'We make the seats thinner,' said Alexander Pozzi, the director for research and development at Weber Aircraft, a seat manufacturer in Gainesville, Tex. 'The airlines keep pitching them closer and closer together. We just try to make them as comfortable as we can'."

Time was, Bunky, an airline trip was an adventure in luxury. Or airsickness, take your pick. But now it's becoming more or less a bring-your-own-peanuts affair back in the straphanger's section.


Is there no end to this guy's wacko ideas?

Iran to Let Women Go to Soccer Games - Yahoo! News: “On Sunday, Ahmadinejad criticized those who linked social corruption to the presence of women in public.”

Breaking news from the world of geeks.

Slashdot | Judge Rules in Favor of Websurfing at Work: “MirrororriM writes 'According MSNBC article, a judge has ruled in favor of a worker that was repeatedly warned for surfing the internet on company time. Only a 'reprimand' is a fitting punishment - not termination. From the article: 'It should be observed that the Internet has become the modern equivalent of a telephone or a daily newspaper, providing a combination of communication and information that most employees use as frequently in their personal lives as for their work'.”

Jagger forks out $6,442 per night, stays put.

The Sun Online - News: Mick beats George to suite: “PRESIDENT George Bush can’t get no satisfaction — after Mick Jagger grabbed his hotel room.”

You go first.

The Times-News Online: Twin Falls, ID: "HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- Workers on Wednesday put the finishing touches on a public bridge that spans a Missoula stream and shows what can be done with wood so skinny it ordinarily is passed over for construction projects.

"The Rattlesnake Creek Bridge features wood from small-diameter trees damaged by beetles in Idaho's Nez Perce National Forest. The bridge owned by the city of Missoula and connecting with a trail to the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area and Wilderness was built for pedestrians, bicyclists and people on horseback."

California man flunks elf tryout.

Naked man stuck in chimney arrested: "The cable snapped, sending Urbano into a freefall until he got wedged inside the chimney three-quarters of the way down, where he stayed for four hours."


There'll always be an England.

BBC NEWS | UK | England 'addicted to sex and TV': "England is a nation of 'overweight, alcopop-swilling, sex-and-celebrity obsessed television addicts', according to a travel guide....

Tourist body Enjoy England has criticised the book as 'unhelpful'."