A little SPAM from time to time I like.

RE: SPAM: SPAM and the Internet: "Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, 'Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?'"

But moderation (so they tell me) is a good thing. So I've turned it on for now - moderation, that is - which means that for a while at least if you post a comment hereabouts it won't appear immediately, it'll get emailed to me for an OK first. Which I will do ASAP, OK?

Good. Here's something you can explore while you're waiting.

Oh the horror of it all.

Fendi sues Wal-Mart over sales of fake handbags - Yahoo! News: "Sam's Club stores, which sell everything from bulk groceries to office supplies, recently said it would ratchet up competition with rival Costco Wholesale Corp. by selling more luxury goods like fine wines and diamonds."

And fake (Fendi says) $900 purses for $500. It's an outrage.

I'd take a real close look at the diamonds if I were you.

Nothing says "drive carefully" like a naked bicyclist.

Nude cyclists peel off around Spanish cities - Yahoo! News: "'We feel naked when up against traffic because people don't see the bicycle as just another means of transport,' said Madrid cyclist Ramon Linaza, wearing only a cycle helmet and shoes."

Maybe we should re-think this thing about speaking Spanish. It doesn't really translate too well, does it? "Ciclonudista," I mean. Has a nice ring to it, ciclonudista does.

Whoa, Bunky! You thought Abu Ghraib was kinky?

Zarqawi: Skimpy clothes found: "A few feet away was a magazine picture of former US president Franklin D Roosevelt.

Also beside the slabs of concrete was a woman's leopard skin nightgown and other skimpy women's clothes."

Franklin Roosevelt? Now we're talking seriously weird.

Superman gay? No way, director says.

Yet when he re-enters her life, Lois still has that sexy gleam in her eye, and he can't wait to fly her to the moon.

How much more proof do you need? I mean, come on. Just because the guy likes to run around in his underwear. So does Spidey, remember that. Get a grip.

Meanwhile, in other news, the Soprano's housecat (OK not really the Soprano's housecat but a cat from New Jersey which is pretty much the same thing, isn't it?) chased a bear up a tree.
Neighbor Suzanne Giovanetti first spotted Jack's accomplishment after her husband saw a bear climb a tree on the edge of their northern New Jersey property on Sunday. Giovanetti thought Jack was simply looking up at the bear, but soon realized the much larger animal was afraid of the hissing cat.

Giovanetti. See what I mean? And a high school chemistry student in Michigan wanted to blow up a watermelon so he made some TNT.
"The teacher, unfortunately, did not take the student's comments about his intentions seriously," Principal David Barry wrote in a letter to parents.

The cops, however, did, so they blew up the kid's stuff in, I don't know, some place. Without the watermelon. You would think the least they could do was bring the watermelon too. Seems like a waste. Anyway, what did they want him to do, build a nuke?

I don't know why they never let me take the advanced chemistry class.


Be afraid. Be very afraid.

The fight Against Wal-Mart begins...: "OSLO — Norway said on Tuesday that its $240-billion oil fund would no longer invest in Wal-Mart (WMT), the world’s biggest retailer, because of what it called “serious and systematic” abuses of human and labor rights."

Tuesday Norway badmouths Wal-Mart and today the place gets hit by a meteorite. Norway, I mean.
"This is simply exceptional. I cannot imagine that we have had such a powerful meteorite impact in Norway in modern times. If the meteorite was as large as it seems to have been, we can compare it to the Hiroshima bomb. Of course the meteorite is not radioactive, but in explosive force we may be able to compare it to the (atomic) bomb," Røed Ødegaard said.

Coincidence? How could a guy named
Røed Ødegaard be a coincidence, I ask.

Gotta draw the line somewhere, yup.

Dunkin' plots national push - The Boston Globe: "Said Joe Scafido, chief creative and innovation officer of Dunkin' Brands: ``New stores will have no fireplaces, no couches, or WiFi connections.'"

Although I would happily swap "soft rock music" for the WiFi.

Dunkin' Donuts has this sort of blue-collar Starbucks thing going in the Northeast (you can tell it's blue collar because it sells sizes like "small" and "large"). And, while I can't vouch for its espresso, its just plain coffee is pretty good. McDonald's new coffee is pretty good too, so even though we're Starbucks deprived here where I live we're still jittered up pretty well.

I still don't know about the "soft rock music," though. That sounds a little bit over the top to me.

Let me guess. An excessive amount of iPod listening?

CNN.com - Apple surpasses beer on college campuses - Jun 7, 2006: "Though beer might soon regain its No. 1 spot, as it quickly did a decade ago, the iPod's popularity is still 'a remarkable sign,' Weil said. 'For those who believe there's an excessive amount of drinking on campus, now there's something else that's common on campuses.'"

Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. There are a lot of people who think there's an excessive amount of drinking on college campuses and they're probably right. Or at least they're probably not wrong. And I do love my iPod. But really this is a little bit wimpy, isn't it? What are we talking about here, iPod toga parties? I don't know.

Of course beer is still tied for second place. With Facebook.


How true, how true.

US firm makes killer calendar for serialphiles' - Yahoo! News: "But something like the Serial Killer Calendar, Koutoujian said, would be excluded since Claux's portraits are of other criminals. 'This is an area of free speech and commerce,' he said. 'And you can't legislate taste or integrity.'"

And if disgusting gay mannequins aren't enough for you, how about "horrible" and "disturbing"...wait for it..."murderabilia"? (Damn. I can never remember where the question mark goes, talk about your taste and integrity. Remind me to look that up.)

True, I am in a dark and gloomy mood because it's been raining for I don't know how long now - two weeks, three weeks, going on four, whatever - there are flood watches again in the eastern part of the state. Lawns are turning to jungle, there is standing water everywhere and if you listen carefully you can just hear the mosquitoes hatching, entire fleets of them all around. Hooray.

The thing I don't understand is, why doesn't it get my car clean? Maybe if I went out and dumped some soap on the car, would that help? Maybe it's worth a try.

Gay mannequins we have now?

BostonHerald.com - Local / Regional News: Pride and prejudice: Macy’s yanks gay display, blasted by both sides: " “They were male mannequins with enlarged breasts, and one was wearing a skirt,” said MassResistance president Brian Camenker, referring to the gay pride flag wrapped around one figure, cinched with a white belt. “It was really disgusting.” "

Well, actually it was a flag, not a skirt, but there's hardly any difference, is there? And with a white belt, no less. How disgusting is that? Scary, too.

The news just doesn't get much better than this.

Paper clip causes traffic signals glitch - Boston.com: "In a bit of irony, the paper clip that fell had been used to hold a card with names and phone numbers of technicians who maintain the signals, he said."

Fell, that is, into a switch box on the pole and shorted out the lights for five days. In Ashland, Wisconsin, this was (yeah, way up there).

A billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you're talking about real money.

House panel clears another $50 billion for Iraq | Reuters.com: "Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the Pentagon was spending about $8 billion a month on Iraq, where costs have climbed, and about $1 billion a month in Afghanistan."


The fiber optics thing probably doesn't hurt.

Chicago arts attendance holding its own: "'We're lit from morning to night,' says executive director Criss Henderson, noting that Chicago Shakespeare now gives 630 performances over 50 weeks each year. 'So many people said when we were talking about coming out here that this wasn't the place for serious art. But that 65-foot marquee with Shakespeare's name in fiber-optics and Tivoli lights says to the 10 million people who visit Navy Pier every year that Chicago takes its arts and culture seriously.'"

Mirroring national trends, Chicago (hog butcher to the world) sees steady or rising attendance at museums, theaters, venues for music, dance, and opera (Lyric is best attended company in the country by percentage of seats sold). Good news all around.


And plenty of snowball jokes.

Hell plans devil of a time on 6/6/06: "Most of Colone's wares will sell for $6.66, including deeds to one square inch of Hell."

That'd be Hell, Michigan, a little town about 60 miles west of Detroit, which is having a helluva time for itself today, it seems. As is the Chicago Sun-Times, which carries no fewer than three 6/6/06 stories on the front page of its web site, and characterizes the weather as "devilish."

Given little attention is the fact that 6/6 is also the anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy in WWII.


Yes. Well. There is that about the airborne position.

Daily Dish: "Peter Gibson, of Australia's civil aviation safety authority, praises the idea: 'Certainly, the cover of darkness would make it difficult if not impossible for the paparazzi to do anything from an airborne position."

Difficult to take pictures from it. Which is why Nicolle Kidman is getting married to some guy in the dark. (It's the paparazzi who will be in the airborne position, understand.)

Which makes a lot of sense if you think about it.

If I were you, I wouldn't.

I'm trying to think of some sort of Massachusetts joke here but words fail.

UNDERNEWS: EX-PORN STAR AND DOMINATRIX ENLIVEN NEVADA GOVERNOR'S RACE: "A FORMER PORN STAR and a body-building dominatrix have lined up to run for Nevada governor. According to AP, 'Former porn star Mimi Miyagi of Las Vegas filed Friday as a Republican candidate for governor, with a campaign slogan of 'For the bare and honest truth' and an entourage that included a cheering section of 'campaign cuties,' two bodyguards and a makeup artist. Miyagi signed up a few days after Leola 'Muscles' McConnell, a Las Vegas bodybuilder who prefers the term 'domina' to dominatrix, got into the crowded race as a Democrat. They're among nine candidates who filed for governor.' "

A couple of horses maybe. Or a chipmunk. But 'gators are out.

Florida: 'A Paradise Of Scandals', Steve Kroft Talks To Columnist/Novelist Carl Hiaasen - CBS News: "'The court had ruled it 'Gators In Bed is Bad Idea,'' says Hiaasen, referring to one clipping. 'This was a story about a guy who was sleeping with two full-grown alligators. And a court ruled that he had no constitutional right to sleep with an endangered reptile."

Carl Hiaasen comments on the endearing (or, well, depending on your point of view) ways of Floridians and the provenance of his books - and if you haven't read any or Hiaasen's books yet run, don't walk, to your nearest library or book store - in a dandy interview with CBS News.



Over at FirstGov.gov there's a place you can sign up for email updates on the VA's big dataspill. Of course you have to fork over your email address. Of course. But not to worry. It says right there:
Your e-mail address will be used only to deliver the requested information or for you to access your profile of subscriptions. We have a strict privacy policy.

Uh huh.

Hold the applause.

Hotels.com Customer Data Stolen - Yahoo! News: "Since the theft, however, Ernst & Young has encrypted data on all laptops within its U.S. and Canadian operations, Kerrigan said."

Since the theft? Yup. 243,000 customers. Credit card info. Yadda, yadda. Starting to sound depressingly familiar, isn't it?

Also depressingly familiar is the delay - laptop stolen from a parked car in late February, Hotels.com notified May 3, customers begin to be notified a month later. (Not that it matters much. Since I used Hotels.com - once, possibly in the time frame affected - I've become so used to deleting their incessant email that if they tried to notify me that way I would have trashed it unseen.) Alas.

Boys and girls: Listen. It is not difficult to encrypt the sensitive data on your laptop or desktop computer. Here's a Windows application that does it. On a Mac, just create an encrypted disk image using Disk Utility (it's in the Utilities folder), give it a nice strong password, and you're good to go. Or use Filevault, which does the same thing to your whole Home folder.

It's not rocket science. It's not even computer science, really. It's just common sense.

A Bush goes to the dogs - and what about that proofreader?

Dogs get their day -- to dine out | Chicago Tribune: "'There are millions of Floridians who love their dogs. Their dogs are their best companions, even if they're married,' Bush quipped. 'These dogs and their companions can have a brewski together, a hot dog together or whatever they want.'"

That's Jeb (they all sound pretty much alike, don't they?) speaking, signing a bill that allows cities to allow restaurants to allow (yeah, yeah) dogs into their patio dining areas.

Adds Mark Schlueb of the Orlando Sentinel:
And Bush seemed momentarily taken aback at the site of Sheehan's dog, a Chinese crested who is bald except for a few whispy white hairs atop her head.

Bow wow.