There'll always be an England.

LONDON (AFP) - A feisty great-grandmother held four builders hostage after they told her improvement work on her home would not be finished by Christmas, several British newspapers reported.

Josie Medlock snapped when she was told the modernisation of her municipal council-owned home would not be completed until the new year, scuppering her plans to have 14 family members round for a slap-up Christmas Day meal....

"They have had me up nearly every day at 6:00 am for them to start at 8:00 am and then they didn't turn up. I just couldn't take it any more. I was beside myself with worry that the house would look like a tip for Christmas."


Away in a back seat, no crib for his bed: A Christmas story.

Her family begged the soldiers to let them through, but they would not relent. So at 1am, on the back seat next to a chilly checkpoint with no doctors and no nurses, Fadia delivered a tiny boy called Mahmoud and a tiny girl called Mariam. "I don't remember anything else until I woke up in the hospital," she says now. For two days, her family hid it from her that Mahmoud had died, and doctors said they could "certainly" have saved his life by getting him to an incubator.

(The Independent)

Downright doddering.

...the average age of the incoming Democratic House committee leaders is 67, six years older than the Republicans they are replacing. The trend is the same, albeit less pronounced, in the Senate, where the average age of Democratic chairmen will be about 68.5, a year older than the Republican leaders who are losing their majority status.

AP file named /geriatric_democrats

Remedial: Arrows, Stops.

  • When you see an arrow painted on the parking lot, see if you can figure out which end is the pointy end. Go the way the pointy end points.
  • At a 4-way stop, everybody stops. That's why they don't call them 4-way freakin' goes.

Thanks for your attention.

Yeah! Let's see those damn Joneses keep up with this!

This house at the north end of town on Route 7 in Pittsford is covered in Christmas lights from top to bottom and from end to end.

Hey, dude, even this is better than Iowa.

(12-23) 04:00 PST Sacramento -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to ship thousands of California inmates to prisons in other states to reduce overcrowding is faltering because few prisoners -- some intimidated by powerful gangs -- have volunteered to move.

Tennessee, on the other hand, is really cool!
To help drum up interest, the administration is showing a 20-minute video in prisons across the state featuring interviews with a handful of inmates who have moved to a Tennessee lockup. The video includes prisoners praising their new home for amenities such as cable television and better hot meals, as well as access to educational classes that are largely unavailable in California prisons.

"We have ESPN,'' says one inmate with a tattoo of barbed wire running around his neck as he looks into the camera.

Blind guy banned from driving. For drink.

Errr, no, it was the other guy who was drink.
A virtually blind New Zealand man has been banned from driving after taking the wheel from a drink driver.

Or maybe the guy who wrote the story was a little drink. But not the judge, though. He was stone cold sober, banned the blind guy from driving for two years.

Come to think of it, though, this might be a really, really great line.
But Officer, we did have a designated driver. But he was blind.

That just might work! If the cop is drink enough.

Feel the warmth!

"People are warming to the realization that some sort of surge is necessary," said another military official.
And he ain't talkin extra batteries, although that would be a good idea too! [Note: Get extra batteries.]

No, it's just a warmy-warmy time of year, Christmas, isn't it? Don't you feel it? All kind of nice and, I don't know, surgey?

I thought you could. And to think I was just reading only five minutes ago (wasn't I?) how the DOOFUS and the generals were "feuding," but now look - they're just all huggy and surgey and warm. Ain't that nice?

Everybody's all warm and huggy except, the Chicago Tribune says here, the grinchy Democrats, many of whom "favor a blue-ribbon commission's recommendation for a gradual withdrawal." And possibly some members of the late Iraq Study Group who are all grumpy about being demoted to just another faceless, nameless "blue-ribbon commission."

But hey, it's Christmas and it's all about the surge.


Get listening.

It's not too early to start working on your New Year's podcast list. Here's a list to start with.

(All the above are available from the iTunes Music Store as well.)

In China, government goes with the packaging.

BEIJING, Dec 21 (Reuters Life!) - Police in central China have scotched a wine maker's plans for a mass Christmas Eve "nude run" which the company said was a public interest event to discourage the use of "excessive packaging" in the industry....

"The goal of this streaking event is to raise consumer awareness and declare war on the excessive packaging of 'baijiu' through the language of the body," the report quoted a manager surnamed Ma as saying.

"Baijiu" is a type of grain-based spirit popular in China, and often given as an elaborately packaged gift in the lead-up to Chinese New Year....

"Public commercial events ... must meet moral standards," CCTV quoted a police official as saying. "Such mass streakings do not."

So much for that idea.

In season's spirit, court extends helping hand to needy...wait...Exxon Mobile?

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A federal appeals court on Friday cut in half a $5 billion jury award for punitive damages against Exxon Mobil Corp. in the 1989 Valdez oil spill that smeared black goo across roughly 1,500 miles of Alaskan coastline.

Yeah, that's what it says. Imagine.
The company, whose $36.1 billion in earnings last year were the highest ever by any U.S. corporation, said it has spent more than $3 billion to settle federal and state lawsuits and to clean the Prince William Sound area. The company earned about $5 billion when the spill occurred.

In October, Exxon Mobil reported earnings of $10.49 billion in the third quarter, the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company.

Exxon did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Probably couldn't pay their phone bill.

Sort of just makes you all teary-eyed, doesn't it?

NAJAF, Iraq, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Iraqi soldiers bit the heads off frogs and ate the heart of a rabbit as signs of courage on Wednesday at a ceremony to transfer Najaf province, home to one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest shrines, from U.S. to Iraqi control.

Which will be really, really handy skills if they ever have to fight frogs and rabbits. Which sounds like the best thing to hope for. Frogs and rabbits, I mean.
One soldier, Corporal Ali Abdul Hasan, said the army needed everything from helicopters to guns. "Some vehicles arrived with parts missing and we have old weapons. They didn't even give us pistols," he said.

I'm doing, and it ain't good.

For those stranded in Denver and flying standby because they were unable to rebook a flight, finding a spot on crowded planes filled with holiday travelers could prove impossible this weekend.

Frontier spokesman Joe Hodas said the airline has 65,000 bumped passengers to move systemwide and the airline is already 90 percent booked for the holidays.

"Do the math," he said.


Selective Service to "test machinery," reports AP.

The "readiness exercise" would test the system that randomly chooses draftees by birth date and its network of appeal boards that decide how to deal with conscientious objectors and others who want to delay reporting for duty, Campbell said.

Well, damn. Blogger doesn't seem to want to upload pictures this morning so we'll just have to settle for a little song.
You're in the army now
No use to raise a row;
Shovel and chuck
The goo and the muck,
You're in the army now

(The Big Parade)

So you think you've heard all the stupid questions, is that your problem, Bunky?

Today the New York Times runs a very unusual op-ed: Censored. An essay by former CIA official Flynt Leverett has been thoroughly redacted by the White House. The censored essay — titled "Redacted Version of Original Op-Ed" in case you missed the chunks of blacked-out text throughout — is what remains of an essay criticizing Bush's policies toward Iran. According to the Times, it elected to run the redacted version after the White House claimed that portions were classified (this, please note, is after the CIA, which has cleared over 20 other pieces by Leverett, cleared the entire piece). Wednesday, Rep. Louise Slaughter sent a letter to Bush asking whether the redactions were politically motivated.

(Eat the Press)

Man, that's worse than asking Santa if he wouldn't mind spending the winter in southern California this year. I mean, have you seen that guy? He must be almost as old as me. And I can barely manage winter in Massachusetts. North Pole? Think not. Duh.

And Louise, Louise. Politically motivated? The DOOFUSbunker? Come on. What. You thought they meant it, all that yapping about "freedom"? Hon, they hate your freedom more than Osama does. More than Saddam ever did. More than Rummy, even. They kicked him out. Rummy, I mean. Can you believe?

But good on you for asking anyway. And good on the New York Times for printing the evidence.


Oh sure there is. But thanks for playing.

"There simply is not enough digital marketing talent in the world," Kenny said.

Ah, Bunky, back in the day, back in the dawn of time, before fire, before the wheel, before the World Wide Web even, there was the Internet and it was emphatically non-commercial. Bulletin boards erupted in raging flame wars over the mere mention of an employer's name. Never mind your pop-up Flash.

And it was good. Geeks occupied themselves with wonderful, exciting things, like scooting around with something called "Gopher" and finding fascinating files about...well, I don't know, I never found any myself, but hey. And there was FTP! And IRC! And Telnet and email, of course. And who could forget ping?

But now...now. Blogs. YouTube. Internet telephones and video IM. Downloadable music and movies (yes! even legal!). Audiobooks and podcasts. And email of course. With smileys. All because of that "digital marketing" stuff. Well partly, anyway.

What's the world coming to, I wonder.

OK, who told these kids?

LONDON (Reuters) - Father Christmas was forced to swap his traditional red and white hat for protective headgear after children pelted him with mince pies in Scotland....

He said a gang of local "neds," or yobs, threw the pies before running off. Last year, the centre's Father Christmas was set upon by youths calling a him a "fraud and a fake."

Mince pies?

Hightower finds a bright spot in foreign policy.

At last, George W is getting the hang of foreign policy. Yes, he badly botched Afghanistan and has made a bloody mess of Iraq – but, by gollies, in North Korea, it looks like he's finally at the top of his game....

And, now, W is stepping boldly into the historical spotlight with an equally-novel tactic to bring Kim Jong to his knees: toy deprivation.

Read it all.

Now, now, let's not get snippy, Leszek.

A group of Polish MPs have called for Jesus to be named King of Poland.

The 46 MPs from the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, the coalition League of Polish Families (LPR) party and the Polish Peasants Party (PSL) signed a petition backing the move this week.

Retorted Archbishop Leszek Slawoj Glodz:
"MPs should pray and suffer, so that they will be remembered fondly."

Well. On second thought, Amen.


YA YAME Too Late award...

...to Dick Morris.

Too Late

Media Matters reports:
On the December 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, guest host Karen Hanretty asked Fox News political analyst Dick Morris if he was "proposing a ticket of [Sen.] Hillary Clinton [D-NY], [Sen.] Barack Obama [D-IL]," for the Democratic presidential nomination, to which Morris replied: "I'm not proposing it. I'm leaving the country if this happens." Morris added, "I do not want Hillary Clinton controlling the FBI and the IRS and the CIA and the DEA."

Shoulda thought of that when you were trashing the Bill of Rights, nitwit.

Too late now.

Look, just keep it on your side of the Mississippi, OK?

I mean, first Seattle gets its lights put out and now there's a big snowstorm in Colorado...travelers stranded, Aurora declares emergency, malls close, Nutcracker canceled (but "Parks and Rec" holds a sledding party, yea Parks and Rec!). Let's get it together out there, huh?

We are all blobbers now.

Whiplash! I go to bed last night Person of the Year (yeah, you too...everybody, I guess...You...even this moron Joseph Rago from the Wall Street Journal) and wake up a blobber (a sobriquet formulated 8.36 instants ago by Shakespeare's Sister here), a member of the Blog Mob and blogs, Rago says, are "written by fools to be read by imbeciles." Yeah. You too, you You. I'm sorry, I really am. I tried an Asprin but it doesn't help. Rago, himself, is a "journalist."
The blogs are not as significant as their self-endeared curators would like to think. Journalism requires journalists, who are at least fitfully confronting the digital age. The bloggers, for their part, produce minimal reportage. Instead, they ride along with the MSM like remora fish on the bellies of sharks, picking at the scraps.

Whoa! What's up with that!

True enough, there are plenty of tasty scraps on the bellies of the so-called MSM - yum! - and yeah, I suppose the Wall Street freakin Journal requires journalists although that's not entirely clear, I'll just have to take your word for it, Rago. But how exactly does that apply to me? I don't see no "journalist" in my profile there. Do you?

"The technology of ink on paper is highly advanced, and has over centuries accumulated a major institutional culture that screens editorially for originality, expertise and seriousness," Rago whines (expertly and seriously), but...
Of course, once a technosocial force like the blog is loosed on the world, it does not go away because some find it undesirable. So grieving over the lost establishment is pointless, and kind of sad. But democracy does not work well, so to speak, without checks and balances. And in acceding so easily to the imperatives of the Internet, we've allowed decay to pass for progress.

Sheesh. If I didn't have to work this morning I would just, so to speak, go back to bed.


Cheese Wiz never, but taco sauce two years.

From the ever-innovating Kitchens of YAME, in cooperation with A Joke Too Far, comes this indispensable culinary aid...
A Table of Condiments That Periodically Go Bad.

Gearing up for a more comfy war.

An eight-month [cost: classified] remodeling project will transform the DOOFUSbunker "situation room" from the old dump Henry Kissinger once called "uncomfortable, unaesthetic and essentially oppressive" into a tasteful, cherry wood and cream fabric suite resembling a law firm or corporate board room - but "much more plug-and-play," says bunker deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin. The DOOFUSdigs will feature a lead-lined cabinet for visitors' cell phones and BlackBerrys, glass-encased phone booths, high-definition TV screens with split-screen technology, unobtrusively ceiling-mounted cameras, microphones, and speakers, and theater-style seating for "watch officers" who are, I don't know, watching the other officers I guess. And a "surge room," whatever the hell that is.

Oh, and "gleaming wood in-boxes" for DOOFUSbuddies Karl Rove, Dan Bartlett, and Tony Snowjob.

So who says war is hell? They'll probably even have indoor plumbing, would be my guess.

Bulletins from the bunker.

At a "press" conference in the DOOFUSbunker (in the Indian Treaty Room - what does that do to your confidence level, dude?) the DOOFUS said...
This war on terror is the calling of a new generation; it is the calling of our generation. Success is essential to securing a future of peace for our children and grandchildren. And securing this peace for the future is going to require a sustained commitment from the American people and our military.

I encourage you all to go shopping more.

I wish you all a happy holiday.

Yeah, he said that too.

We're screwed.

So you think it's almost over. Is that your problem, Bunky?

Well, it's not. In fact when you stumble out of bed New Year's Day you will have only 28 short days to get ready for Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day.

That's right, Bunky, it's January 29 this year!

So let's get popping.

Like in a nightmare or something?

"If a girl shows up at a shoot and she's too skinny, a good stylist can pose her so that the reader doesn't have as much of a sense of it," said Lucky editor in chief Kim France. But, she added,
"There are angles at which a girl's arm can look haunting."

What? Sounds a little spooky to me. But hey, Lucky magazine is the magazine about shopping, so I guess Kim France would know. And then there's some magazine called Allure (The Beauty Expert) where editor in chief Linda Wells says...
"When the film comes to me, I realize I don't want to see hip bones and ribs in the magazine."

So maybe hip bones and ribs are haunting too. Because they're all connected after all. Or maybe not. Haunting, I mean, not connected. Is that good or bad?

Well, whatever. It appears that fashionable editors are now photoshopping models to make them look fatter. Styles may come and go, dude, but Photoshop is forever.

Because women are never hot enough the way they are.

If only we could settle all our problems this easier.

There is a better way to treat people, and there's a better way to deal with the issue of finding workers Americans are not doing, to fill on a temporary basis. And, therefore, there [sic] need -- and that in itself will take pressure off our border. In other words, if people feel like they can come in on a temporary, legal basis, they're not going to have to sneak in, which in itself does away with -- that in itself does away with this kind of underground industry that has sprung up.
...says the DOOFUS in a WaPo interview published today.

Any questions?

Decorate around it.

Found a tree on your roof? It's yours!
Whether the tree or the splintered limb that crashed into your house belongs to you, your neighbor or the city, experts say you're still responsible for the damage -- unless the other person knew something was wrong and didn't do anything about it....

according to Seattle PI, which also advises...
Beware of people who knock at your door offering to help you.


I say it's Rudolph and I say the hell with it.

GLENVIEW, Ill. - Just in time for Christmas, they’re selling reindeer hot dogs in suburban Chicago.

With grilled onions and mustard, it will cost you eight dollars at Fred Markoff’s hot dog stand in Glenview.

Say what?

Romney against bias to gays despite opposition to gay marriage

When monumentally stupid headlines are written, they will be published in the Boston Globe.

No need to read the story. Shakespeare's Sister has it pretty well pegged right here...
Romney's playing an infuriating little game whereby opposition to same-sex marriage can't possibly be considered discriminatory because marriage isn't meant to be for anyone aside from one man and one woman in the first place so not extending it to gays isn't discriminatory, by gum, it's just the way it has to be by definition, that's all. (And hence granting it would be granting "special rights.") Such reasoning, of course, is manifest bullshit, the same kind of rubbish spewed by defenders of all manner of discrimination, right back to slavery, because freedom was only meant for certain people.

But really, what more do we expect from Mitt ("Mitt")?

The Globe, however, really ought to do a little better.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Donald Trump soft on bedhopping.

"I've always been a believer in second chances," Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBC, said with Conner at his side.

Indeed. And anyway one gets the impression from reading the AP's report that the charges against Tara Conner, ex-former Miss USA, have been reduced to just underage drinking around.
"I think Tara is going to be the great comeback kid," Trump said.

Kate Fleming: RIP

A casualty of the Seattle area flooding last week was actress Kate Fleming, who drowned in her basement studio Thursday night. Fleming, a partner in Cedar House Audio, recorded more than 200 audiobooks, most under the pseudonym Anna Fields. She was the winner, in 2004, of the Audie Award for her recording of Ruth Ozeki's, "All over Creation." Among other readings listed by Audible.com are Sylvia Nasar's "A Beautiful Mind," Daniel Hecht's "City of Masks," Molly Ivins's "Bushwhacked," Joyce Carol Oates' "The Falls," and Ozeki's "My Year of Meats."

She read with intelligence, imagination, and passion. She will be missed.

Well OK, but extra points for that Jugends-thing.

A music review on Nov. 29 about “La Passion de Simone,” at the Jugendstiltheater in Vienna, misspelled the surname of the subject of the work at one point. She was Simone Weil, not Weill.

Correction to the New York Times.

Yeah it was a great, great century, that 19th.

The US Army is considering measures to force striking workers back to their jobs at a Goodyear Tire & Rubber plant in Kansas in the face of a looming shortage of tyres for Humvee trucks and other military equipment used in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A strike involving 17,000 members of the United Steelworkers union has crippled 16 Goodyear plants in the US and Canada since October 5.

Story: MSNBC Image: "Great Railroad Strike of 1877," Wikipedia

But questions worth asking, cards or no.

David Sirota, posting at Working for Change, discusses "billionaire Tom" Friedman's love afair with, among other things, the "globally integrated economy"...
He doesn't want us wondering why the global economy has been integrated with complex intellectual, patent and copyright protections, but no similar protections for wages, human rights, or environmental concerns. Because, you see, if we asked those questions, his entire premise would collapse like a house of cards.

Is it too late to announce a Dumbass of the Year award?

Probably, given the enormous number of candidates to sort through. From the Union Leader, for example, via Kevin Drum and a new blog on our expanding Reader, Avedon Carol's The Slideshow...
Gingrich cited last month's ejection of six Muslim scholars from a plane in Minneapolis for suspicious behavior, which included reports they prayed before the flight and had sat in the same seats as the Sept. 11 hijackers.

"Those six people should have been arrested and prosecuted for pretending to be terrorists," Gingrich said.

So, yeah, if you scare Newt you're a terrorist and belong in jail.

On the other hand, if you scare me you're a newt.


Way to go, Gus!

Christmas story from Reuters ends with this heartwarming bit:
Staff at a riding school [in Ireland] were forced to postpone festivities after Gus the camel, who was to star in the Christmas show, chomped his way through 200 mince pies and several cans of Guinness stout beer intended for their party.

Ad agency crashes, explodes.

Only flash ad remains.

There'll always be an England.

Children's presenter Christopher Lillicrap, who is directing Sleeping Beauty at Worthing's Connaught Theatre, said: "How daft can you get?

Not a bad question for a guy named Lillicrap (well, come on, he probably didn't pick it himself).

What Christopher - let's just call him Christopher, OK? - is bitching about is the management of a Worthing, West Sussex, theater's deciding to abort the long-standing custom of throwing candy to children in the audience. "Might make them sick," say the bosses.

"Nanny state gone mad," Christopher insists.

Dodging that particular bullet, the "Preston Playhouse, in Lancs, revealed last week they stopped throwing out sweets - in case children were hit, reports the Sun" (reports Ananova).

How about ePhone then? oPhone?

The iPhone is here! Oh wait, not the one you were thinking of.

Cisco's Linksys division rolled out a new line of VoIP devices, including handsets, dubbed the iPhone.

OK, aPhone then. It's not a magic "i," is it?

Yeah, well, maybe it is. Anyway, as everybody knows, Apple is definitely, absolutely, without question rumored to be announcing a phone thing sometime perhaps soon. Or a phone-and-iPod thing more like. But that won't be enough. What we need is a phone-iPod-PDA-Gameboy-camera-flashlight thing with a tiny emergency coffee maker built in. Now that would be worth hauling around.

Only thing is, if any one of those things goes bad or even just gets out of date (which is scheduled to happen a week from Tuesday) you have to walk around with something old and stodgy in your pocket or buy a whole new thing. So what we really need is a great big bag to put all the thingamabob whatchamacallits in, and a great big sign, "Please, please don't steal this bag because it contains everything in the word I own, plus spare socks."

Or better yet, one of those belt buckles Batman has. You know, the one that has all the gadgets in it. Zap. Whatever you need.

We could call it an iBuckle, maybe.

To the surprise of absolutely no one.

Of the few options in Iraq, Bush unerringly selects the worst.

Let the Guerrilla explain.

Standards-based tracking of criteria concepts to confuse the hell out of everybody in Vermont.

"I think a standards-based progress report says everybody should be able to meet these standards," says Bill Olsen, assistant principal at Rutland Middle School.
Depending on the school or subject, concepts rather than a single subject are assessed on a three- or four-point numerical system. A higher score usually is equivalent to higher performance. A one means the student is not proficient or is not meeting standards; a two is equivalent to progressing toward the standard; a three means the student has met the standard. If and when a school uses a four, it demonstrates a student exceeds the standard....

explains the Rutland Herald, helpfully.

But Principal Ruth Ann Barker of Clarendon Elementary says, "I think there's still a lot of confusion about what we're doing."
"I hope that things can remain somewhat static for a while, because there's been terrific change — every few years things shift," said Barker of Clarendon. "If the state wants to set learning standards, perhaps they want to set up a report card for us."

Which will no doubt clarify things beyond repair.

But Who is still on first.

A previous version of this story incorrectly said researchers had found that trans fats lower the amount of LDL, or "good" blood cholesterol, and increase HDL, or "bad" cholesterol. LDL is "bad" cholesterol and HDL is the "good" cholesterol.

(Correction to the December 6 Seattle Times.)

Never mind the heat. What happens when all the iPods run down?

Now that's grim.
Officials with Seattle City Light last evening said 18,000 customers were still in the dark but that their goal was to get that number down to 18,000 or fewer by midnight.

Wait. Let's read that again.
Officials with Seattle City Light last evening said 18,000 customers were still in the dark but that their goal was to get that number down to 18,000 or fewer by midnight.

Yup, that's what it says.

Even more grim that I thought.

What sounds icky but smells good?

Why, it's petrified whale barf, of course. Otherwise known as ambergris, it's often an ingredient in fine perfumes. It's rare and therefore valuable - the four pounds of ambergris (if that's really what it is) Dorothy Ferreira got from her sister for Christmas this year might be worth as much as $18,000, reports the New York Times this morning. But here's the catch. Some "endangered species legislation" dating back to the 1970s makes buying and selling the stuff illegal.

Which doesn't make much sense, does it? I mean, if this whale vomit is so valuable (sometimes it's called "floating gold") you'd want to keep the whales alive and puking, wouldn't you? That'd be unendangering, seems too me, but hey, Bunky, it's a law and laws don't need to make no sense.

Anyway, let's hope it's not illegal to give the stuff away or Dorothy's siser, who lives in Waterloo, Iowa, is in a heap of trouble now, assuming anybody knows where Iowa is. I might have seen it once myself - Iowa, I mean, not whale barf - on the other end of a bridge in Galena but I was too darn lazy to walk across and make sure. Anyway, whatever it was, it looked more like South Dakota than Illinois.

Whale barf looks sort of like a big green thing. If I really wanted to rub something behind my ears I'm not sure that would be it.


Colin Powell

"I am not persuaded that another surge of troops into Baghdad for the purposes of suppressing this communitarian violence, this civil war, will work."

But he wasn't a pilot, was he? Powell, I mean. So that makes all the difference.

(Quote from Face the Nation, 12/17/06)

No longer sleepless in Seattle.

As power remains off for many the PI reports...
Congestion was so bad on streets leading to Bellevue Square, and in the Overlake area, that it was not uncommon to see people pounding their fists on steering wheels, yelling for someone else to go, honking -- or flipping off another driver who went out of turn.

Sounds like fun. But what are you gonna do when you have no lights and the sun goes down?

No, the other thing.

Sleep! Right!

Oh, never mind.

Good call, Mom.

"This gives her a way to talk to me without having to talk to me...."

...says super cool mom Lynne O'Connell about texting her teenaged daugher, Annie, in this morning's Boston Globe.

And next...buzzblogs.

Here's a story from this morning's New York Times about am A.C. Nielsen unit called "BuzzMetrics" that, along with several other companies having less nimble PR agencies, monitors blogs and bulletin boards and web sites...no, wait..."drill down into rich veins of extemporaneous word-of-mouth commentary and conversation" is what they do...in pursuit of "one of the corporate world’s holy grails," branding!
“The days of sitting behind the focus-group wall are going the way of the buggy whip,” said Mike Nazzaro, BuzzMetrics’ president and chief operating officer. “We are fundamentally changing the way marketing and market research will be done in the future. We’re providing guidance to marketing decisions that was never possible.”

[As the computer maker Dell discovered....] The company’s level of service and quality was denounced by bloggers this year, and the complaints found broad exposure when one popular media site added its critical voice.

At the same time, positive word of mouth magnified by the Internet can be a boon, as Toyota discovered with its hybrid Prius sedan, which has been praised by admirers on sites created just for that purpose.

Imagine the possibilities.

Sort of like anti-matter...

Here's some anti-news:
Bush Iraq Course May Diverge from Study Group

(From ABC)


Wait a minute. Are they kidding here? You?

Whoa. Hey. I've been noticing those headlines for what seems like a couple of days but never bothered to read the articles because I thought they were either lame jokes or some mysterious epidemic of blogger nicey-nicey - but this morning I did read one of the article and, well, not to put to fine a point on it, holy shit! Time magazine "person of the year": You.

Yeah, right. Any serious candidates they could come up with were either politically unacceptable (Ahmadinejad, Chavez) or just plain jerks (the list goes on). So what did they go with? Hey, wait, here's an idea - let's pick You.

Yeah. If you want to know who they think You are (is?), here's a sampling.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

Here's a graph purporting to show (I haven't reviewed the data myself) there's an inverse relationship between wine consumption (the red line) and violent crime (the green) in the US.

So, bottoms up.

Wine and United States-Total

Oh wait. "Correlation does not imply causation." Wouldn't ya know.

Swallow a frog first thing in the morning and you'll know the worst part of your day is already in the past.

But when the first story you read contains the funniest line you're likely to see all day, well, that's depressing, is what it is.
SAN DIEGO (AP) -- A Southern California fence-building company and two executives pleaded guilty Thursday to knowingly hiring illegal immigrants and agreed to pay a combined penalty of $5 million. The executives could also go to prison.

No, that's not the funny part. Sure, it's amusing when executives go to jail, and it's even more amusing when those executives in trouble for hiring illegal immigrants turn out to be executives of a company - Golden State Fence - that helped build a border fence in San Diego a few years back. But what's really funny is what Richard Hirsch, an attorney for the illegal immigrant-hiring, border fence-building Golden State Fence had to say about the matter:
"People slip through the cracks and that's what happens."