It's sort of comforting, in a sad, beat way.

Don't let that horse
eat that violin
cried Chagall's mother

Don't let that horse - Lawrence Ferlinghetti - Poem by

I thought, back in the '50s when it was hot and everybody was reading it in some college English class, I didn't get Jack Kerouac's book "On The Road" because I was too square. I've just finished listening to an audiobook version and I'm still too square. Or maybe it's just not that great a book.

If you want "beat," read Ginsberg. Or Ferlinghetti, better yet.

Is my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.


AMARILLO, Texas - Caitlin Campbell couldn't spell collyrium but someone couldn't spell her last name. A billboard went up in this Panhandle city to honor Caitlin's eighth-place finish in the national spelling bee. It reads: "Congratulations! Caitlin Cambell for making Amarillo proud."

Billboard misspells bee contestant's name - Yahoo! News

"Collyrium" is a term for eye lotion, as you surely know.


Linda Hulsey, 33, of St. Peters, wrestled the woman out of her house to the front porch, where the woman then hit the breeder over the head numerous times with the dead puppy, police said.

Woman accused of attack with dead puppy - Yahoo! News

An excerpt of an excerpt...

During Vietnam, draft-dodgers abruptly fled the country.
...during Iraq, draft-dodgers corruptly led the country.

Left I on the News

...of a piece from MAD Magazine.

(And now you see what I mean about the citations. Just pointing out.)

Back to beta.

Sort of a blast from the past, a beta web browser that's fun to use, sort of like Netscape was back before Microsoft cornered the free browser market. Netscape back then wasn't free - the real official version, that is - which is why everybody used the public beta of the next official version. Because it was. Free. And everybody was excitedly expecting the next beta version which would be, of course, sooooo much cooler. And probably even work.

So now it's "Flock." And it's here.

"Free" is no longer an attraction, of course, since now everything is. Free. Although some are more free than others, meaning free as in "free speech," not "free beer." (Thank you.) The browser of choice these days is Firefox, the nimble and versatile offspring of Mozilla - a free suite that includes email and HTML composition and is in turn based on the old Netscape code.

Flock has its roots in Mozilla, too, and works a lot like Firefox (although it's still beta and I do miss that "Favorites" sidebar) but has better integration with a lot of stuff I use a lot, such as RSS feeds, a nicely improved blogging editor, a built-in flickr uploader (maybe I should go back to using that again) and some other stuff, most of which works and all of which mostly works, if you see what I mean. And the next beta version will be soooo much cooler, just wait and see.

(Which is why, by the way, you may have noticed a different format for citations in recent blog posts - I've been trying out Flock. And I like how it works, So I probably will, ummm, keep Flocking, you might say.)

And if you're still using Internet Explorer you are soooo not there.

Hole too deep, must dig more, DOOFUS says.

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) -President George W. Bush on Saturday urged other nations to make good on $13 billion in pledges to help the new Baghdad government and said the United States had come too far to abandon Iraq now.

Bush urges nations to keep Iraq pledges - Yahoo! News

And also, now that the Z guy's out of the way and the R guy's off the hook, maybe he can get away for a quiet weekend on the ranch. Must clear brush.

Four letters for "quiet," you say? How about STFU?

I mean it, Bunky. You think it's some kind of pinko libsymp envirowacky affectation when people talk about "noise pollution"? Yeah, I did too. Until I got an iPod, that is. Just try walking down the street some day with those white buds in your ears. Noise, nothing but noise, blasting the blues. Hoots, honks, tweets and tootles. Not to mention bangs and booms. And if you think the street's bad, try McDonald's. There is no way you're gonna find a quiet corner there. Cranking up the volume is the only way to go.

So I'm sitting there this morning, maxed, and all I'm wanting is a nice cup of coffee (that Newman's stuff is pretty good) and a little Cannonball, and there are two people in the booth behind me working a freakin' crossword puzzle. Out loud. Just try ignoring that. I mean, I like crossword puzzles as well as the next guy, but not yours.

And by the way, 46 across is "yahoo."

Fed phone spammed.

"I wonder about the security of that line," Minner said.

USATODAY.com - Sales calls push security hotline to refuge of Do Not Call list

Secret number supposed to be for governors' emergency use only.

Department of Homeland Cluelessness Security spokesman Russ Knocke said he was unaware of the problem.


Callie! Yikes!

Just a number? I'd glad I no longer cover the White House because I'd kick Tony Snow's capped teeth down his fucking throat. Then I'd kick the bastard in the nuts just to make sure he got the point.

Capitol Hill Blue's Blog - Go to hell Tony Snow!

Tell us how you really feel!

And I suppose that hiring a mealy-mouthed right-wing blowhard like Snow to show callous disregard for those who gave their lives for their country is just "business as usual" for the bastards and bitches who dishonor every man and woman who wears a uniform and defends their country.


Here's the good news.

Ten states were rated in a Homeland Security Department scorecard as having sufficient plans to respond to disasters: Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont.

Agency: Cities Not Prepared for Disasters | Chicago Tribune

And here's the bad.

The shortcomings in emergency planning, including antiquated and uncoordinated response guidelines, are cause "for significant national concern," Homeland Security's analysis concluded.

Of course these are Homeland Security guidelines here, Which may or may not have anything to do with the real world. It's a little hard to tell when you read stuff like this:

More than half of New Orleans' plans -- 58 percent -- were described as insufficient to respond to catastrophes, and only 4 percent met the minimum federal guidelines.

Fifty-eight percent of New Orleans' plans? How many plans do they have? And, "minimum federal guidelines" is not a particularly encouraging thought. Probably if you live in New Orleans your best plan, personally, is to buy a boat. No sense moving to Iowa - they didn't even make the cut.

Not dour!

He wanted "to show folks that the Senate isn't just a bunch of dour folks wearing dark suits and in the case of the men - red or blue ties," his spokeswoman said. This year, Lott wore a pink tie with his seersucker -- and matching pink socks.

Senate seersucker day becomes sign of sisterhood - Yahoo! News

And no, don't ask what Trent Lott has to do with "sisterhood." Think of the children. Or if you really must, go read the article.

Thing is, I never could figure out the seersucker thing. What's the deal with seersucker, anyway? It even sounds dorky, doesn't it? Of course if you're gonna wear pink socks you're not really worried about dorky there, I guess.


Yeah! You tell 'em, Saxby!

The Raw Story | Senators invoke Confederacy, Mandela to defend amnesty for insurgents: "Senator Saxby Chambliss argued that forgiveness had already been at work in Iraq, asking: “Is it not true today that we have Iraqis who are fighting the war against the insurgents, who at one time fought against American troops and other coalition troops as they were marching to Baghdad, who have now come over to our side and are doing one heck of a job of fighting along, side by side, with Americans and coalition forces, attacking and killing insurgents on a daily basis?'"

What kind of a name is "Saxby," anyway? It's worse than "Mitt."

Anyway, my problem is I get this rush of puckered-up screeching terror any time anyone says "heck of a job." I mean, really. I don't know whether to dive under the table or run for the attic. Don't know which way to duck.

Well. Maybe it's worth pointing out this sudden R fetish for forgiveness (go figure that) does not apply to those guys at Gitmo, who have not been doing a heck of a job, no way.

Most frightening!

The Raw Story | New Fox News poll will put Clinton among most 'feared' possible presidential contenders: "A new Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll will report later today that Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is the most 'frightening' candidate for president, even among Democrats, RAW STORY has learned."
Woohoo! Gotta love it!

Hillary is the R's biggest fundraiser. I get mail all the time asking for money to help stop Hillary. If Hillary were to somehow magically disappear, what would they do? Be scared of Gore?

Don't you kinda wonder if this guy voted for Bush?

Gold hunter digs 60-foot-deep hole in yard - Yahoo! News: "MONTCLAIR, Calif. - A homeowner digging for gold in his front yard said he got 'carried away' and ended up with a 60-foot-deep hole, authorities said."

I mean, it'd be sorta fun to know, wouldn't it? He certainly has the right attitude.

I heard this story on the radio driving to work this morning and it gave me a 20-mile grin.

The war game game.

I don't do it any more but for a long, long time (we're talking long time here) I was an inveterate player of war games. Following in the tradition of H.G. Wells, who wrote the seminal book on war gaming, "Little Wars" ("A Game for Boys From Twelve Years of Age to One Hundred and Fifty and for That More Intelligent Sort of Girl Who Likes Boys' Games and Books") I have marched hundreds - yea, thousands - of little cardboard squares to their doom. I am a cardboardthirsty gamemonger at heart. And so it is that, in attempting to make sense of the day's events, I often imagine it's all just one big game and I am playing on the other side. Imaginarily, of course. And what I've been thinking to myself for several years now - imaginarily, that is - is this.
Whoa! How can I be as lucky as this?
Now I know at least one reason why. In a magnificently muddled dispatch today Kim Gamel of the Associated Press reports on a document purported to be "al-Zarqawi's blueprint," released by the Iraqi government, which claims to have found it in Zarqawi's "hideout." (The article fails to make clear if said hideout was the selfsame hideout recently pulverized by bombs, leaving behind charred remains and, in the process, bruising Zarqawi himself to death.) No matter. The AP has the goods. And there, among the goods, is this explanatory note from the terrorist regarding his evil plan:
"We mean specifically attempting to escalate the tension between America and Iran...."
So Bushco (and the Pentagon's spiffy new Iraq Directorate, it seems) have been playing into the master terrorist's hand all along. Or so it seems. It certainly does seem.

At least, that is, until said blueprint is appropriately clarified, for which we confidently depend upon Faux News.

Correction: Iran Directorate. Iran. Not Iraq, Iran. See? I have the same problem with spelling Bushco has. Gotta remember. Repeat, repeat. Shoulda bombed the "n" one, not the "q" one. Why can't those people think of any better names?


Life's little hazards, and just getting through the day.

How is it, I'm wondering, a person can be so incredibly, relentlessly boneheaded as to put the coffee in the other part of the coffee maker - you know, the part where the water goes? Which a person I could mention just did. I'm not mentioning, understand, but I could. How freakin' dumb is that?

Before the mosquito thing, it was not a bad day. There wasn't much traffic - not that there's ever much traffic around here but, I mean, today there was even less not much, seemed like. And it only rained for a little while. So everything seemed to be humming right along. It was the humming part I should have been paying attention to. I was getting groceries out of my car a little while ago when a mosquito about the size of a 747 flew in. And hid. So now I know it's in there somewhere, getting hungrier.

Last summer I bought some kind of little gadget that's supposed to make a buzz that keeps mosquitoes away. Mosquitoes and teens seem to have something in common there, about the audio thing. Actually I didn't buy it for myself, I bought it for my sister, who seems to have some kind of mosquito-attractive gene. But it was cheap and on sale, two for the price of one, so I got one for myself, too. Never have used it. Don't know if it works. Will find out. Soon.

I figure if that damn mosquito is going to make me craZy, I'm going to make it craZy too.

Dude! It's possible!

Latest Information on Veterans Affairs Data Security -- FirstGov.gov: "On June 6, 2006, detectives released a model number for the stolen laptop. It is a Hewlett Packard (HP) Pavilion Notebook Laptop. It could be identified as either model number zv5360us or 5300 series. The external hard drive is a HP External Personal Media Drive. Investigators believe that it is possible these items could have been separated."
Ya think?

It's also possible that everyone who acquired a second hand HP Pavilion Notebook or HP External Personal Media Drive recently will be checking out what it's worth on eBay. Not, of course, that I would ever do something like that myself. Own an HP laptop or EPMD (is that how they say it?), I mean. I'm not that kind of guy. I'm just mentioning.

But if you've got the damn thing - things - or know where they are, call the FBI Tip Line at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

German retiree attacked by terrorist cookies, lives to tell story!

Man survives elevator ordeal with cookies - Yahoo! News

Oh, wait.

Our nominee for Messiest Headline.

Game board stands firm on casino's meal comps
OK, so maybe the food's not great, but....

Just one more little kiss, OK?

Where was the photo editor on this one, Burlington Post?

Looking more and more like "freedom" every day.

Iraqi Troops Hit Streets to Secure Baghdad | Chicago Tribune: "Security officials said Tuesday that 75,000 Iraqi and multinational forces would be deployed throughout Baghdad, securing roads in and out of the city, establishing more checkpoints, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes if necessary. "

Progress. Gotta love it. But only until 8:30 - there's a curfew too.

Think about it. If we weren't making so much progress in Iraq people might be running around loose at all hours. 9:00, or even 10:00.


It'd really be nice, wouldn't it, to think that somebody in the government, somewhere, anywhere, has a clue?

The Blotter: "The data stolen included names, social security numbers, codes for the locations where the contractors worked and their security clearances. "

But, no.

"The data," (names, codes, yada yada) involved 1,500 contractors and employees of the National Nuclear Security Administration. (Nuclear security. Right.) The theft occurred in July, 2004, was noticed by NNSA a year later. "Affected employees" were notified "several days ago," according to this story dated June 12, 2006.

The good news, though, is nobody's burned a flag in about 40 years. So at least we've got that problem under control.

There'll always be an England.

Workers punished for naked pranks - Yahoo! News: "LONDON (Reuters) - A government worker has been sacked and another demoted following allegations they were involved in serious misconduct, including leaping naked from filing cabinets and having sex in office lavatories."

Have you been noticing this? All of a sudden there are naked people everywhere. Well, not here, of course. It couldn't happen here. But the other day there were the ciclonudistas, there was a topless newscaster in China, a streaker at an Australian rugby match, and in England they're jumping off of file cabinets. Woohoo! What's going on? What am I missing here? Well, I mean, I know what I'm missing but what I mean to say is, what am I missing here? They haven't been fooling around with the food again, have they?


Yeah, this is terrible. Terrible.

China irked by topless women's health ad - Yahoo! News: "BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese TV presenter issued a public apology after posing topless with two other women in hospital advertisements for women's health, the Beijing News said Tuesday."

But you know that babe on Faux News? The one with the inflated lips? Well, I'm just thinking here.

Could we try this one more time?

Correction: Dirty Water lawsuit story - Boston.com: "BOSTON --In a June 9 story about a federal lawsuit by the Standells against Anheuser-Busch Cos. over the use of the 1966 song 'Dirty Water,' The Associated Press erroneously named the songwriter. The song was written by Ed Cobb, not the band."

Are they saying Ed Cobb didn't write the band? Or are they saying the band didn't write the song? OK, I mean, they did say "correction," not "clarification." But still. We don't really need to be using 1966 songs again, do we? Isn't that sort of 40 years ago?

Seems to be a big day for beer news in the Boston Globe. Elsewhere, a researcher claims drinking 17 beers a day would help prevent prostate cancer. Even better if you eat four large pizzas too. Actually 17 beers and four large pizzas a day for any length of time would pretty much prevent anything, wouldn't it? I'm thinking maybe. Or if it didn't, who'd care?

Do you ever get the feeling we're running out of things to do?

Man eats 47 cheese sandwiches in 10 min. - Boston.com: "LAS VEGAS --There's a rising star on the competitive eating circuit. California man Joey Chestnut downed 47 grilled cheese sandwiches in ten minutes this weekend in Las Vegas to set a world record. That's eleven more sandwiches than the old record of 36."


OK, thanks.

SpaceWeather.com -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids: "MARK YOUR CALENDAR: On Thursday, June 15th, the planet Mars will glide through the Beehive star cluster, producing a beautiful display for backyard telescopes. It will look as if a red supernova (Mars) has gone off inside the cluster. Mars is easy to find in the western sky shortly after sunset; it's right beside the planet Saturn."

Right beside Saturn. Got it. Now I won't have to stop and ask for directions.

Stuck for Father's Day?

eBay: Sexy Aluminum Potato Launcher - Father's Day - BBQ fun (item 9527282418 end time Jun-10-06 22:39:25 PDT): "Turbot Tot 2000 is a superior potato launcher. The Turbo Tot 2000 is not for amateurs, it was designed and fabricated by a professional certified tig welder and endorsed potato pyro technician. This Turbo Tot 2000 is so serious sometimes it is barely fun. "

Yo, there it is.

Four cups a day? My liver must be bulletproof.

AOL News - Coffee May Protect Liver From Alcohol, Study Says: "In a study of more than 125,000 people, one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis by 20 percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by 80 percent. The coffee effect held true for women and men of various ethnic backgrounds."

The thing is, what I'm wondering here, is where in the world did they find a serious drinker that doesn't drink at least one cup of coffee a day? Nawww, I don't think so. Can you spell hangover? Can you spell just getting out of bed?

Right. They've got to be guessing here, is what I think.

And speaking of racy, for the record...

...there were "1,000 marriageable girls" aboard the "Baltic" when it arrived at Ellis Island in 1909.

Credit the George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress).

I'm just mentioning.

So I'm reading this stuff and I'm thinking, wait a minute...

In praise of boxer briefs. By Seth Stevenson: "Compared to my briefs—which revealed my pale and scrawny pre-teen upper thighs—those modest, roomy boxers looked positively dignified."

...think of the children! I mean, yeah. OK. Things have been getting a little racy around here recently. But, "scrawny pre-teen upper thighs"? Oh that's a little over the top, isn't it?

Anyway here's this guy who's obsessed with his underpants - his underpants, dig it - when he could be contemplating his navel like a regular guy, that's a little weird right there. I mean, what's up with that?

So you can read it if you want to, I'm not saying you can't. I mean, if your navel's that boring you probably might as well. Just give us all a break and don't read it out loud.


I'm not kidding. Today. I saw it. It's round, it's sort of yellowy, and it's really, really bright. That's the sun, isn't it? I'm pretty sure.

Rain tomorrow. Wednesday. I don't know how many days after that. But warmer rain, at least, so that's a start.

Whoa. Hold on here.

My Way News - U.S. Mad Cow Cases Result From Rare Strain: "Government officials are trying to play down differences between the two U.S. cases and the mad cow epidemic that has led to the slaughter of thousands of cattle in Britain since the 1980s."

They're trying to play down the differences? Is that like saying don't worry, it's just like what they had in Britain? Oh that's comforting. I feel a whole lot better now.

I'm not one to get easily scared by stuff like this but on the other hand, considering who's in charge of things right now....

Wait a minute. Does this emperor have clothes?

A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears - New York Times: "'Adults are not supposed to be able to hear that,' said another, according to the teacher's account."

The ring tone - the magic ring tone that only kids are supposed to be able to hear - is on this page. Or not. I can't hear it myself so how can I be sure?

This was the sound (or pretty much the sound) that's being put to use by English merchants as a teen repellent. By one account it "sets teeth on edge." Just mentioning.

(The link is to the New York Times and if you're not already registered there I guess you'll have to do that to hear the tone. If, of course, you can hear it at all. Which might set your teeth on edge right there. I'm sure there are other copies of the sound online somewhere but how can I find them if I can't hear them? See what I mean?)


When it's party time in Cincinnati.

Here, a hobo convention in 1912. It's not clear if these guys are the hobos or the welcoming committee but any minute now, I'm thinking, they will begin having a riotous good time.

The photo is from the Library of Congress's marvelous George Grantham Bain Collection.

Stick to tattooing, Dude.

Survey: 24 percent between 18-50 tattooed - Yahoo! News: "'Really, nowadays, the people who don't have them are becoming the unique ones,' said Chris Keaton, a tattoo artist and president of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum."

Ahem. I don't think one's really "unique" if one is just like 76% of everybody else. Under 50, that is. Over 50 doesn't count. In fact one is not unique if one is just like any anybody else but that's a semantic quibble, right enough, because nobody cares what "unique" means any more. But any way you cut it, if these guys are "becoming" unique they've got a whole lot of becoming left to do.

I wonder if tattoos are covered by Medicare. That'd be cool.

Left behind.

Woman cited for exposing herself in store - Boston.com: "Customers didn't notice the woman until she would stand up from the cart and bend over to look at items on the shelf, exposing her buttocks.

The woman told police she arrived in Cedar City with a circus but was left behind."

Also, it appears, right behind.