I'll wait for the memo, thanks.

President Bush squarely addressed the issue most on the mind of House Democrats, saying Saturday that deep divisions over the Iraq war need not bring anyone's patriotism into question.


Lyric Opera's Bryan Griffin tunes up for the game.

Go Bears!

36. Which team do you think God wants to win the Super Bowl this year?

Chicago Bears: 14%
Indianapolis Colts: 11%
Same/No difference: 16%
God’s too busy/doesn’t play favorites: 33%
Don’t believe in God: 1%
Don’t know: 25%

From an actual Faux News "poll," sez the Carpetbagger.

Oh yeah.

Anybody who can call Tucker Carlson a "lap-Nazi" is definitely on my Reader list from now on. Not to mention on my podcast list.

And thanks to Blue Gal, who is also on my Reader list and should be on yours.

The best part...

...about this massive blizzard that came blowing through here last night (yes! this is New England and yes! it's February)...the best part, I say, about the blizzard was watching a woman try to clean the snow off her sidewalk with an enormous (biggest one I've ever seen) and no doubt brand new snow blower. It didn't seem to be blowing much, mostly because (as you can see for yourself) there isn't much to blow. But it's the thought that counts.

BTW there will be a "scheduled outage" of Blogger at 11:00 AM PST, which is some kind of weird time they use on the West Coast - the PST part, I mean. The AM part we have here too.

Randy Newman - "A few words in defense of our country."

IANAL, but...

...I'm wondering just how they plan to go about proving this.
MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAWS, Chapter 266, Section 102A 1/2 - Whoever possesses, transports, uses or places or causes another to knowingly or unknowingly possess, transport, use or place any hoax device or hoax substance with the intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort...shall be punished by imprisonment...

I mean, what everybody says - even the authorities say - what they were trying to do was promote a freakin cartoon. It might be a really bad cartoon. But that bad?

Of course there's also this definition to worry about...
...the term "hoax device" shall mean any device that would cause a person reasonably to believe that such device is an infernal machine.

Whatever. Meanwhile, of course, it's just the two "performance artists" who planted the infernal machines who've been "charged" with anything - as has been ably pointed out elsewhere, no way is the Commie pinko State of Massachusetts "charging" any of the corporations involved.

Times blinks. Again.

By the way, the NYT obit of [Molly Ivins] still couldn’t bring itself, decades later, to repeat the phrase she used that led to her separation from that paper, her description of a communal chicken-killing festival as a “gang-pluck.”
(Whatever It Is, I'm Against It)

The Ranger's take on "lost helicopters."

You know what I'm really tired of? The rhetoric. The helicopters were not "lost". They were downed, obliterated, rocketed, but not lost. Perhaps if we called things what they were, we could see them better, and their impact upon us would be more appropriate.


Groundhogs 3 for 3.

Two Chicago-area groundhogs are in agreement with Pennsylvania's famous Punxsutawney Phil: All three predict an early spring.
(Chicago Tribune)

Or maybe 3 for anybody in the neighborhood, if Scientific American's podcast 60-Second Science has it right.

It's right around the corner, either way.

Something I'm predicting you'll never hear.

You'll never hear anybody in any big-city government say, hey, let’s give an extra $500,000 to the schools before we have to blow it off calling out the SWAT team to diffuse some wacky cartoon marketing stunt. Blow it off blowing something up, so to speak. What you will hear, however, sooner or later if you haven’t already, is something like, "we could have used that money for the schools."

Boston’s cartoonish - but deadly serious - response to the cartoon marketing plan the other day is a metaphor for our times. Or it underscores the question, at least, what are we going to do about our schools. And all our self-inflicted fear.

Self-inflicted? Well, the events of 9/11 were terrifying, all right, but more people than died on 9/11 die every month of infections contracted in US hospitals and I don't see many SWAT teams running around blowing up germs. We are afraid of "terrorists" mostly because we call them terrorists. Maybe we should call them bugs.

My heart, as usual in such matters, agrees with Eskow, writing at HuffPo yesterday: "The police in Boston wildly overreacted, tying up the town and throwing people into a panic because some viral marketers for a cartoon show left modified toys around town." My head, as usual in such matters, wonders if my heart might not be a little dim.

Because if baiting police comes to be a staple of viral marketing, we've got a problem there. This being America in the Age of Advertising, it won't be long before we have suicide bombers, like NASCAR drivers, wearing corporate sponsorships on their sleeves. Which would surely not be good.

But if we don't lighten up a little we will be terrified all our days.

And the windows will fall out of the schools.

GOP, glorious gop.

The blogger known as skippy the bush kangaroo makes a fetish of never using capital letters - which tends to annoy me, mostly because it's something I myself did briefly in an earlier life and everything I did then annoys me now, as it no doubt annoyed everyone around me at the time. If you see what I'm saying here. Although nothing I do now annoys anybody at all, so that's fixed.

Which is how, I started out to say, I discovered GOP spells gop.

And the winner is...

Exxon. Again.
Oil giant Exxon Mobil topped its own record for the biggest annual profit by a U.S. company last year, racking up earnings that amounted to $4.5 million an hour for the world's largest publicly traded oil company.


It's catching on.

First, war is hard. Then, playing music is hard.
Lee had a role in Microsoft's unusual agreement to share a reported $1 of the $250 purchase price of each Zune device with Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, a move intended to help Microsoft to build relations with major recording labels.

Even so, content owners have been loath to cooperate with Microsoft by easing the digital restrictions on music tracks, said Rob Helm, research director at Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland.

"It's a hard job," Helm said.
(Houston Chronicle)

What's next, making your bed?

Um, come to think of it...

Honk if you're surprised.

President Bush and his new military chiefs have been saying for nearly a month that they would "surge" an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq, in a last, grand push to quell the violence in Baghdad and in Anbar Province. But a new study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says the real troop increase could be as high as 48,000 -- more than double the number the President initially said....

According to the study, the costs for the "surge" would also be dramatically different than the President has said. The White House estimated a troop escalation would require about $5.6 billion in additional funding for the rest of fiscal year 2007. Of that, about $3.2 billion was supposed to go to the Army and Marines for their escalated activity.

But that figure appears to have been grossly underestimated. The CBO now believes "that costs would range from $9 billion to $13 billion for a four-month deployment and from $20 billion to $27 billion for a 12-month deployment." There's a more detailed analysis of the numbers on pages 3 and 4 of the study, which was sent to House Budget Chairman John Spratt today.

Etc., etc.

They're wrong, which of course makes them right. Or...

...wait. They're right, but...no that's wrong.

OK, I give up.
As of this morning, the central question on the Hill was how many Republicans would have the courage to buck the will of the president and back a resolution criticizing the White House strategy. As of this afternoon, the central question seems to be how many Democrats (particularly those running for president) will say the resolution is too weak and is therefore undeserving of support.
(The Carpetbagger Report)

Right. Errrr. No. OK, yes.
So, what’s an anti-war, anti-Bush, seeking-higher-office Dem to do?


Oh, go read it yourself.

The DOOFUS, maybe, was right.

NAJAF, Iraq - Iraqi government statements over the killing of hundreds of Shi'ites in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by Inter Press Service (IPS).

Conflicting reports had arisen on how and why a huge battle broke out around the small village of Zarqa, just a few kilometers northeast of the Shi'ite holy city Najaf, which is 90km south of Baghdad.

(Asia Times)

Najaf was the "battle" that prompted the DOOFUS to declare the Iraqis were "finally showing him something." He may have been right.

But don't bet on his being able to see what it is.

We. Need. To. Get. Out.

A hero for our age is Alice Wang.

When you are in your office cubicle, your colleagues often can’t see but can vaguely hear you. The fast typing keyboard is designed for those who are worried about getting laughed at about typing too slow. Just touch one or two keys and you'll hear the sound of a multitude of letters typed at high speed.
(we make money not art)

I should get some of those for this week's class.

But, you know, we're Americans and we'd rather just keep bumping into things.

PARIS (AP) -- The French already enjoy a 35-hour workweek and generous vacation. Now the health minister wants to look into whether workers should be allowed to sleep on the job....

"Why not a nap at work? It can't be a taboo subject," Health Minister Xavier Bertrand said Monday. He called for further studies and said he would promote on-the-job naps if they prove useful.

Mr. Bertrand said sleepiness causes 20 percent to 30 percent of French highway accidents.

(Washington Times)

On ethics and speed.

In Illinois, reports Inside Higher Ed (I used to know an Ed but he was one of the lower ones, I'm thinking) (yes, I'm wandering off the topic here a little, you're right) - in Illinois, as I was saying, a professor from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale flunked a state-required ethics test recently by completing it too quickly. (In fact, now that you mention it, I used to know a guy called Fast Ed but that's a little off the topic too.)

Meanwhile, from skippy and a semi-sane mad woman comes news of a police chief in Kewaskum, Wisconsin, who accidentally drove past a school bus with its light flashing and promptly issued himself a $235 traffic ticket and penalized himself 4 points on his license.

It's pretty cold in Wisconsin, so if he got outside his car to write himself the ticket he probably did it pretty fast - too fast for Illinois, would be my guess.

If you like to collect quotes, better start a new page today.

Because Molly was nothing if not quotable, and there'll be plenty of Ivins quotes in the datastream today.

I'm not so much on quotes myself. Either I grow tired of them after a while and throw them away or I like them and put them away with the other stuff I want to keep, and wherever that is it's somewhere where I never, ever find them again. Like the inscription I once found on a memorial in Westminster Abbey, something about a guy being "fatally shot in the head with a cannon ball." Ouch. I wonder where that one is.

But anyway, I'll try to make a special effort with this one,
“I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth.”
-Molly Ivins

More on the Boston "bomb."

Update from AP: "Peter Berdovsky, 27, of Arlington, was arrested on one felony charge of placing a hoax device and one charge of disorderly conduct, state Attorney General Martha Coakley said later Wednesday. He had been hired to place the devices, she said."...

At least four more suspicious packages were found in the Boston metropolitan area, and the Charles River was shut down by the Coast Guard as authorities took precautions. Later, Fox would report that sources said that there may be as many as ten such "suspicious devices."

(Raw Story)

Yeah, war's a bitch all right.

Bush told Cavuto, "We've got a war that we're fighting against extremists, radicals who would do us harm. We're in a major battle in that war in Iraq. And it's -- it's unsettling times when you're at war. War's -- war's hard. War's difficult. It's negative."

(Raw Story)

Elsewhere, from Hersh:
"He's a total radical, probably the most radical president we've ever had in terms of his definition of the power of the presidency," he said. "There's nothing more dangerous than a radical who doesn't have information, doesn't learn from information and doesn't learn from the past."

(Raw Story)


Ivins counted as her highest honors the Minneapolis police force’s decision to name its mascot pig after her and her getting banned from the campus of Texas A&M University, according to a biography on the Creators Syndicate Web site.



You don't have to be right to be wrong.

Progressive public interest groups, labor unions, and civil rights groups actively lobbied for the "Help America Vote Act," that nasty bit of legislation that turned our elections over to the unaccountable voting machine companies, BlackBoxVoting.org reports here.

Chief backers of HAVA included:


1. People for the American Way
2. Common Cause
3. American Civil Liberties Union
4. League of Women Voters
5. American Jewish Committee
6. Hadassah
7. American Association for Retired Persons
8. Public Citizen
9. American Network of Community Options and Resources
10. Constitution Project (Georgetown University)
11. Open Society Policy Center (Soros)


1. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
2. Laborers International Union of North America
3. International Brotherhood of Teamsters
4. United Auto Workers
5. American Federation of Teachers
7. UNITE (Industrial & Textile employees)


1. NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc.
2. National Council of La Raza
3. Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational Fund (MALDEF)


1. American Foundation for the Blind
2. The ARC of the United States
3. National Disability Rights Network
4. Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
5. United Cerebral Palsy Association

1. Riverside County, Calif.
2. San Diego County, Calif.
3. Ventura County, Calif.
4. Miami-Dade County, FL


1. Accenture
2. VoteHere
3. Election Systems & Software
4. AccuPoll
5. Danaher
6. Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs
7. US Business & Industry Council
8. Assocation of Technology Act Projects

Not found on lobbying forms pushing HAVA: The SAIC, the ITAA, and Diebold.

"Democrats lobbied HAVA in but to a large extent, Republican-affiliated vendors executed the mechanics of the plan. Some would call this comical; others, tragic," BlackBoxVoting.org notes.

Boston "bomb scare" update: Hoax.

Associated Press reports:
BOSTON - At least nine electronic devices planted at bridges and other spots in Boston threw a scare into the city Wednesday in what a cable network said was a marketing campaign for a late-night cartoon.

Highways, bridges and a section of the Charles River were shut down and bomb squads were sent in before authorities declared the devices were harmless.

"It's a hoax - and it's not funny," said Gov. Deval Patrick.

Turner Broadcasting, parent company of Cartoon Network, said the devices, which consisted of magnetic, blinking lights, were part of a promotion for the TV show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force."

(See below for earlier story.)

Maliki to Iran, US: Take it outside.

"We have told the Iranians and the Americans, 'We know that you have a problem with each other, but we are asking you, please solve your problems outside Iraq,' " Nuri al-Maliki told CNN.

Me to Maliki: Ever heard the phrase, "fat chance"?

Don't turn around and look when I tell you this. Just keep looking straight ahead.

OK? Ready? OK then.

They're peeking at your mouse events.

Really! Is that creepy or what? And not only are they peeking at your mouse events, they're using overlay density maps! I mean it. They are. And all your objects fully loading. Whatever.

I can't go on.


So "north of Boston" this morning, Reuters reports, police found a suspicious package "resting on a steel beam under Interstate 93." So they blew it up.
“It still looked suspicious due to some wires and tubing around it. They decided to detonate it,” Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority spokesman Joe Pesaturo said on New England Cable News television.

OK. I don't know nothin about explosives here. But if it were a bomb, wouldn't blowing it up make it, you know, blow up? Right on the steel beam under the Interstate? And why does that sort of not sound like a really excellent idea? I'm just wondering, is all.

So wait. What's this?

I bought one of those frozen burrito things over at the grocery store this morning. Yeah, yeah, wretched excess, yada yada, OK. But hey, baby, once in a while you've just got to let go, ya know?

So anyway here on the package it says this: "Previously handled frozen for your protection."

Ahhh. Think maybe they just left the punctuation out? Could be - there's no punctuation anywhere on the package except maybe in that little tiny list of ingredients and no way am I gonna read that. Oh no. Or maybe it just means look, if there are any germs on this thing they're frozen so don't worry, all you have to do is thaw them out?

I think I'm sorry I asked.

What's this?

CNET going all Comedy Central on us now? Here's CNET's Declan McCullagh reporting on how those jolly jokesters at the FBI have been snarfing up internet traffic recently:
It raises concerns similar to those stirred by widespread Internet monitoring that the National Security Agency is said to have done, according to documents that have surfaced in one federal lawsuit, and may stretch the bounds of what's legally permissible.
Declan! Come on! I've watched Jon Stewart and you, Sir, are no Jon Stewart.

Of course it's kind of sad to know "what's legally permissible" is now nothing but a laugh line. But if you watched little Alberto testifying over at the Senate the other day you could hardly think anything else.

You have to pay extra for security with Windows?

Vista's comes with built-in anti-spyware software, and new account controls curb the ability of users to unintentionally install harmful programs. The high-end versions come with a feature called BitLocker that encrypts a computer's hard drive in the case of a lost or stolen machine.

Is that how it works? Cause hey, I don't know. I never got around to XP even, myself. We use 2K at work. I don't know what the policy is at work but what we should be doing, IMHO, is using whatever version is most common among local employers. And if that's the case, or even close to it, I don't expect to be seeing Vista any time soon. Ah, well.

I'll just have to struggle along, best I can.

So no Starbucks on every corner then?

"What we've been doing is not working," Admiral William Fallon, nominated by President George W. Bush to become the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, told the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

"The likelihood that Iraq is suddenly going to turn into something that looks close to what we enjoy here in this country is going to be a long time coming," he said.
(Raw Story)

Don't get enough?

Well. While you're waiting for the next commercial break why not wander over to The Ad Generator and watch some very excellent, random stuff?

Please, please, please do not let this guy play with guns.

Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned. The episode lasted about a minute, and Bush was still laughing when he pulled to a stop.

Oh. Too late?


What is it about "yes" or "no" she doesn't understand?

Reports TPMmuckraker:
A couple weeks ago, Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) asked Secretary Condoleeza Rice if the administration thought President Bush had the power to take military action against Iran without permission from Congress.

She deferred an answer, saying, "I'm really loathe to get into questions of the president's authorities without a rather more clear understanding of what we are actually talking about. So let me answer you, in fact, in writing. I think that would be the best thing to do."

Still waiting for the promised answer, Webb wrote to Rice today "reiterating his interest." "This is, basically, a 'yes' or 'no' question regarding an urgent matter affecting our nation’s foreign policy," he points out.

Like, multiple choice. And an easy one at that. With a 50% chance of being right, Rice has the administration's odds beat right there.

It's official.

The floppy disk becomes an artifact.
It is with sadness that I report the beginning of the end for the floppy: computer giant PC World has announced it will no longer carry the floppy disk once current supplies run out."

Grasping the complexities of business.

“...a lot of the product you make here, you sell to somebody else”

...said the DOOFUS in East Peoria today. At the Caterpiller plant, he was.

Oh yeah, and he said a whole lot more. See here at the excellent WIIIAI.

Dancers in Microsoft colors! How cool is that?

Microsoft marked the Vista launch with a series of celebrations Monday in New York complete with acrobatics and blaring music. At one, dancers clad in Microsoft colors dangled from ropes high above street level and unfurled flags to form the red, green, blue and yellow Windows logo against a building wall.

Vista went on sale in 70 countries Tuesday, along with new versions of Microsoft Exchange e-mail software and the flagship Office business suite, which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.


Some days the horns, some days the other way around.

Garrison Keillor's excellent podcast, The Writer's Almanac, quotes W.C. Fields:
"There comes a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation."

From Wikipedia:
According to the documentary W.C. Fields Straight Up, his death occurred in this way: he winked and smiled at a nurse, put a finger to his lips, and died.

Yesterday, January 29, was his birthday.

How's a guy supposed to know which way to turn?

For more: Spiiderweb™

This is, if you'll pardon me for saying so, rich.

And thanks to Cursor for finding it.

On the White House web site Laura announces the appointment of a new White House pastry chef.
Mrs. Laura Bush announced today that William "Bill" Yosses has been named the White House Executive Pastry Chef. Mr. Yosses will be responsible for designing and executing dessert menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions and official luncheons hosted by President and Mrs. Bush.

"Chef Yosses has impressed us from the start with his original and delicious creations. He has a light touch with desserts, and the enthusiasm with which he approaches his profession makes him a real asset for all of us in the White House," said Mrs. Bush.

...the announcement reads, and then goes on to list the amazing pastry cheffing exploits of Mr. William "Bill" Yosses - but fails to mention, for some reason, the excellent Mr. William "Bill" Yosses is also the co-author of Desserts for Dummies.

How sweet.

What about butter, bud?

So I'm reading this article in the New York Times this morning, about food, when I run across the following passage.
These novel products of food science often come in packages festooned with health claims, which brings me to a related rule of thumb: if you’re concerned about your health, you should probably avoid food products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a good indication that it’s not really food, and food is what you want to eat.
And I'm thinking, what about butter. I don't know.

See, I am conflicted about butter. No, not conflicted, traumatized. Seriously traumatized. The single most traumatizing thing in my entire life - more traumatizing, even, than the Bomb - is butter.

I was brought up like every right-thinking person to believe butter was good. I mean, it comes from milk, doesn't it? And milk is good. Isn't it? And better, everything tastes better with butter (somehow I feel there's a tune that goes with that). I mean, everybody knew that, didn't they? There were even legends during the war (I'm talking about WWII here, children, of course) about submariners coming back from long patrols and ordering butter sandwiches because, well, they knew it too.

And what's more, by the time this "margarine" stuff came on the scene I lived in Minnesota, a dairy state, where my unshakable belief in the righteous goodness of butter was enforced by law. So, while my parents had friends who occasionally drove to Chicago and smuggled - yes I said smuggled - back one-pound boxes of margarine that were cut into quarter-pound sticks and colored yellow - yes, I said yellow - so even though it didn't taste like butter it sort of looked like butter and therefore we knew there was such a thing, the only margarine we could buy in Minnesota was packaged in one-pound plastic bags and was white. And my mother bought it anyway because her belief in the righteousness of technology was even greater than her belief in butter, go figure that.

The only good part was the yellow dye. Packaged subversively inside every plastic bag of white margarine was a little capsule of yellow dye. So the drill was, you would let the margarine warm up until it was soft and squishy, and then you would pinch the capsule inside the bag and knead the margarine until the whole thing turned into a sort of amorphous blob of blotchy yellow stuff, and then you'd get it cold again and when it was hard enough you'd cut it into blotchy yellow amorphous chunks and that, of course, wasn't butter, but technology marches on. The only thing good about it was it was fun to squeeze the little yellow pill. My sister wanted to do it too so we had to take turns. Don't get me started about that.

Then, later, I got old enough to leave Minnesota and live in strange, exotic places where the margarine was yellow to begin with and came in a regular box and looked like butter, just didn't taste like butter. And then in the 80s or thereabouts came the news that henceforth anyone eating butter would immediately drop over dead of clogged arteries so, gradually, over time (maybe I'm just a slow clogger) I gave up eating butter entirely and just ate that stuff. Margarine. It was painful. Depressing. Discouraging.

Until they discovered trans-fats and it turned out eating margarine was worse, worse than eating butter, worse than anything, worse than the Bomb, even, so where does that leave me now? Bitter, is where. Bitter about butter. After all that sacrifice, butter is better?

So no, I'm not conflicted about butter. Traumatized, yes, but not conflicted. Screw margarine, is what I say.

And pass the butter. Please.

Greased and naked is bad enough but stunnned too? That's really a bad day.

WESTERVILLE, Ohio (AP) -- A high school lunch period was disrupted Monday by a greased, naked student who ran around screaming and flailing his arms until police twice used a stun gun on him, authorities said.

Taylor Killian, 18, had rubbed his body with grapeseed oil to keep from being caught, and got up after the first time he was shocked to continue running toward a group of frightened students huddled in a corner at Westerville North High School, Lt. Jeff Gaylor said.



Can you still grow hair after you've had your head tattooed?

Blane Dickinson, 32, from Wales, will tattoo bacon, sausage, eggs, tomato, beans and toast on the head of Dayne Gilbey.

A knife and fork will be tattooed behind the 19-year-old's ears, reports the Daily Post.

I wonder. This is a pretty cool idea, having breakfast tattooed on your head, but not the coolest thing ever. The coolest thing ever was a young girl I met a few years ago who had a map of the world on her head. Of course she was a pretty cute girl, but the tattoo looked good too. And I figured someday when she got older, if she didn't want to walk around with a globe on her head, she could just let her hair grow back - which would be even cooler, when you think about it.

But now I'm wondering, see, because it might look a little weird to wind up with a bald spot the shape of China.

Not funny at all.

Last fall, Minnesota National Guard troops reacted to clumsy comments from John Kerry, the former Democratic candidate for president, by mocking him with a humorous sign: "Halp Us Jon Carry -- We R Stuk Hear N Irak."

It's not funny anymore.

Some 2,600 Minnesota Guard troops are "stuk" in Iraq for real, with their tours of duty being "extended" for up to four months as part of President Bush's strategy to send more troops to the battlefield.
(Star Tribune)

I used to have some buddies in the Minnesota Guard. They're all too old to still be in it now, I guess. But to all the guys who are over there: Godspeed, and get home safe.

Woohoo! Designer ice cubes, dude!

Gotta love those Fr**ch, huh?

And that doesn't cure depression? Duh.

The BBC will be airing an expose in which various officials at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have expressed concerns about the usage of the company's anti-depressant drug Seroxat, which the officials feared could lead to suicides among teenagers.
(Earth Times)

(Well, OK, maybe it gets you a little down. But I'm just saying here.)

Hey! Let's see if we can get them to pay for this!

TALMEY EL'AZAR, Israel, Jan 25 (Reuters Life!) - Hold the Dead Sea salts and tea-tree oil. An Israeli health and beauty spa has introduced a new treatment to its menu -- snake massage....

"I'm actually afraid of snakes, but the therapeutic effects are really good," customer Liz Cohen told Reuters Television as Barak let the snakes loose on her body.

Heh heh.

We tried it, and look where it got us.

Bush warns Iran against action in Iraq

And, getting in on the general merriment, National Security Council spokesbimbo Gordon Johndroe says, "if Iran wants to quit playing a destructive role in the affairs of Iraq and wants to play a constructive role, we would certainly welcome that," stopping short of saying we would never think of playing a destructive role in the affairs of Iraq - which, of course, we wouldn't. Unless you want to call dropping bombs and stuff like that "destructive," ha ha ha. That's just getting ready to start constructing, is all.

See, here's the real problem, Bunky.

With "fashion" (and I should know, being a fashion trend setter myself). With "the press." With the wide world of "business," even.

The story in the NYTimes this morning, "Levi's Turns to Suing Its Rivals," about how various other makers of pants are copying Levi's patented back pocket design, blathers...
So Levi’s is becoming a leader in a new arena: lawsuits. The company, once the undisputed king of denim and now a case study in missed opportunities, has emerged as the most litigious in the apparel industry...

And doesn't stop there - oh no - goes on to sniff
...the privately held Levi’s, whose founder sewed together the first pair of jeans in 1873, has been unable to exploit the latest $200-a-pair denim craze — and now claims scores of smaller competitors are riding high because of what it created. When consumers’ tastes shifted toward designer jeans that were bejeweled, torn and frayed, Levi’s was still selling basic $30 pairs at K-Mart.

See? Listen up here, Bunky. Those $30 K-Mart Levi's are the best freakin jeans in the whole freakin world - in fact, one of the best freakin products of any kind in the whole freakin world, and all those other things ("bejeweled"? gimme a break) are just freakin pants. That's all they are. Pants. I'm saying here.

And you don't get torn and frayed jeans off a rack. You get torn and frayed jeans from a lot of good, serious wearing. Torn and frayed jeans are cool because torn and frayed jeans have earned it. If you buy stuff that's torn and frayed to begin with, all you are buying is brand new torn, frayed pants.

Yeah, and you're gonna go buy 'em anyway, aren't ya. Well, OK then.

See if I care.


It ain't just on TV any more.

SWAT teams (Special Weapons and Tactics) were once rare and used only for very dangerous situations, often involving hostages held by armed criminals. Today SWAT teams are deployed for routine police duties. In the US today, 75-80% of SWAT deployments are for warrant service.

In a high percentage of the cases, the SWAT teams forcefully enter the wrong address, resulting in death, injury, and trauma to perfectly innocent people. Occasionally, highly keyed-up police kill one another in the confusion caused by their stun grenades.

(Information Clearing House)

Uh huh. Can't wait.

...On the downside is an upside. You get bombarded with warnings and cautionary pop-ups to an annoying degree as the collection of Vista security tools do their stuff to deflect viruses, warn of phishing Web sites, deflect spyware and block firewall breaches.

Vista, for now, appears far safer than Windows XP.

Another upside/downside is the serious load--probably overload--of information that comes with all those jumping icons, flashing warnings and see-through windows to remind you of work undone. Yet another comes in the parental controls that one can use to monitor and restrict offspring lured by MySpace, YouTube, bloggers, instant messages, chat boxes, mash-ups and other treats/terrors.

You can log each e-mail and text message a youngster receives (attachments included). You can block specific sites or set up a list of only the sites you want them to visit. Maybe best of all, access to the PC during the current day can be shut off at any designated time.

Of course one spouse can turn this Big Brother scrutiny on the other spouse, and bosses can eavesdrop as never before, but hey, that's the vista that awaits us all.


Do I have to?

Guess what lurks in the bowels of an A380

How do you say ooops in Chinese?

A 2,500-year-old mirror worth £500,000 was dropped and smashed on a Chinese TV show.

A model was showing the ancient mirror to the audience when it slipped from her hands and fell to the floor.

It shattered into pieces, shocking the audience - especially owner Chen Fengjiu who was sitting in the front row.


Bear down.

Super Bowl fever.

It's Brooklyn girls for me.

Jennifer is an activist by nature — raised in Seattle, she looks like the outdoorsy girl you see on every campus in the Pacific Northwest, the one on the climbing wall who lobbies for more vegetarian dishes in the dining hall. Her three big passions in life are “infectious diseases, the environment and women’s issues.”


A musical interlude for your listening pleasure.

Follow the bouncing ball.

In November Trickshot Dick gets summoned to a meeting with the Saudis, "will not say if oil was discussed."

In early January Bushco announces Surge™.

At the end of January Saudis "send signals" they will hold oil prices to $50 per barrel.

And the New York times wonders how much influence the US has exerted.