Some kind of scam?

There was a sign in the grocery store this morning that said “Spanish navels,” but all I saw was a pile of oranges. What's going on? I don't know. Of course there are a lot of things I don't know.

If you open two documents simultaneously in Word would you have a pair a docs?

On being frightened by extraordinary things

I tell people that if it's in the news, don't worry about it. The very definition of “news” is “something that hardly ever happens.” It's when something isn't in the news, when it's so common that it's no longer news -- car crashes, domestic violence -- that you should start worrying.


There is no evidence that the tainted toothpaste is in the United States, according to American government officials.
They ought to just have a rubber stamp made up: No evidence, blah blah blah. It'd save a lot of time.

Link: Poisoned Toothpaste in Panama Is Believed to Be From China - New York Times

Room with bath

Room with bath, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Mr. Average

I knew it. I always did. Over the years I've been middle-income, middle-management, middle-western...even, once upon a time, middle-aged, and middle-just about everything else, and now it turns out the state I've lived in more than any other is, well, the most average state in the US.

Illinois is the fifth - largest state, home to the big city Chicago, rolling countryside in the south, and a lot of sprawling suburbs. And it has Peoria, which, it turns out, really is a barometer of America's preferences. Many companies continue to use the city in central Illinois as a test market, taking literally the adage about how things play there.
And there ya go. I've also lived in the third most average state, Michigan. Of the nine states I've lived in for any length of time the two most far-out have been North Carolina and Massachusetts and neither of those is more than about half as un-average as West Virginia, Mississippi, or Vermont. Go figure, huh?

So it's official, then. Mr. Average is me.

Link: Census shows early primary states are far from 'average' - The Boston Globe


“I’ll never vote for him again”

Says winger. About the Commander Guy.

You gotta love it, huh?

Link: Beloved Right-Wing Message Board Demands Bush Impeachment - Wonkette

...unless nobody drives a boat.

One last pint cost a Cumbrian man his fiancee and all of his worldly possessions.

Jason Wilson, 24, wanted to stay out for a final pint but fiancee, Emma Thomason, wanted to go home.

Enraged, she put everything he owned, from clothes to CDs, in his £10,000 van and drove it into the harbour near their home in Whitehaven....

Mr Wilson, now living with friends, said: “'I can't go back to her if she has a temper like that. I can't live with that for the rest of my life - I don't think nobody could.”
Link: Ananova - Man sinks pint, fiancee sinks van

Hollywood on Main

Hollywood on Main, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

If you're thinking people on “welfare” are living a life of luxury without working, you should try this sometime

New York Daily News hired a hospital nutritionist to buy a week's worth of food for $28.

“Eating this diet long-term, I'd be concerned about heart disease, diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis,” she said.

The cart full of food actually sent her $2 above budget - and was still almost 1,000 calories a day under what an average person should eat.

“Because we shopped by what was on special offer, we actually did better than I expected,” she said.

“But this is nowhere near enough food. I think this proves it can't be done.”
Link: Food-stamp diet? It'll make ya sick

Support the troops? Not this Commander Guy

Link: Crooks and Liars » White House Opposed Pay Raises For Troops/Widows’ Benefits

But here's where the Irony-meter redlines: in addition to not wanting to pay more to our troops or support the survivors of fallen troop members, the administration also does not want to have stricter accountability on contract employees. That's right…don't pay the soldiers, but don't ask us to watch what we pay Blackwater.

Are your thumbnails nude?

Yeah, right, don't get me started. Only in a wired world would nude thumbnails be durty pitchers, or, for that matter, any kind of pictures only really, really small. Or not so, since the size of a thumbnail is indeterminate and you might have e freakin normous thumbs. Google just won some kind of lawsuit over its right to show small representations of pictures in search results and a photographer who exhibits photos of nudes on his website was a key figure therein. That's all. It's not about your wearing mittens, Bunky, so relax.

Link: Slashdot | Google Wins Nude Thumbnail Legal Battle

On Structured Procrastination

“The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing. They do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganise their files when they get around to it. Why does the procrastinator do these things? Because they are a way of not doing something more important ... The procrastinator can be motivated to do difficult, timely and important tasks, as long as these tasks are a way of not doing something more important.”
Link: Leave it till later | eG weekly | EducationGuardian.co.uk


Maybe there won't always be an England after all

A judge trying an internet terror case stunned a court by admitting he did not know what a website was.
Oh oh.

Link: Ananova - Judge: 'What's a website?'

Happy birthday, Studs

CHICAGO, Illinois (Reuters) -- American original Studs Terkel, the author and oral historian who for decades gave a voice to working men and women, turned 95 Wednesday. But don't worry about his memory. He's sharp as a tack.

In fact, he's the one doing the worrying -- about what he describes as the memory loss of a country he suggests may be more interested in the transgressions of celebrities than more substantive affairs such as the politics of the Bush administration, which he characterizes as a “burlesque show.”
I watched Terkel work a couple of times in Chicago. He's a master interviewer and a great guy to have lunch with.

At his birthday party the other evening (“You know you're in trouble when they hold your birthday party at the history museum,” teased a speaker) Studs announced his choice of epitaph: “Curiosity did not kill this cat.”

Link: Legendary listener turns 95 - CNN.com

Back wall

Back wall, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Yeah that's a puzzle, all right

A massive wildfire that has already burned thousands of acres in the Pinelands and forced the evacuation of residents in two towns likely started this afternoon when an F-16 fighter jet dropped flares as part of a maneuver over a gunnery range, New Jersey National Guard officials said tonight....

National Guard officials said they were investigating how the flare, which in combat would cause a heat-seeking missile to miss an aircraft, was able to set off the blaze.
Link: Flare from fighter jet blamed for Pinelands fire - NJ.com: Star-Ledger updates

If I were Western Civilization I'd be asking for a recount about now

We are the last best hope of Western civilization. When we go under, Western civilization goes under.
--Some guy named Tom Tancredo at the Republican “debate” the other night.

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » America as Bush World: Did They Really Say That?


Lookout, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Because, you know, like who needs whatever that thing is

WASHINGTON -- Engineers have uncovered a flaw in the Navy's top fighter jet that could reduce by half the aircraft's advertised service life and potentially cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs, according to Pentagon documents and military and industry officials.

A mechanism inside the wings of the F/A-18 Super Hornet....

Officials stressed that they are not considering whether to ground the workhorse jet, because the problem does not affect its operation.
Link: Costly flaws found in Navy's top jet - The Boston Globe


Protons on speed

Everything about the collider sounds, well, large — from the 14 trillion electron volts of energy with which it will smash together protons, its cast of thousands and the $8 billion it cost to build, to the 128 tons of liquid helium needed to cool the superconducting magnets that keep the particles whizzing around their track and the three million DVDs worth of data it will spew forth every year.
In what sounds like a teenage sub-atomic particle's most exciting fantasy, the whole thing's there so they, the particles, can get going really, really fast and then crash into something.

Link: CERN - Large Hadron Collider - Particle Physics - A Giant Takes On Physics' Biggest Questions - New York Times


Lawn, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Never too soon, Bubba

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- “Bubba” Ludwig can't walk, talk or open the refrigerator door -- but he does have his very own Illinois gun permit.

The 10-month-old, whose given name is Howard David Ludwig, was issued a firearm owner's identification card after his father, Howard Ludwig, paid the $5 fee and filled out the application, not expecting to actually get one.

The card lists the baby's height (2 feet, 3 inches), weight (20 pounds) and has a scribble where the signature should be.
Link: Baby 'Bubba' gets a gun permit - CNN.com

Oh no!

Medical Directorship was part time or volunteer post, group says

The former head of the federal agency overseeing family planning programs misled the public about his qualifications and background, a RAW STORY investigation has found.
They wouldn't do that, would they?


Link: The Raw Story | Heckuva job? Bush Administration vaunted bogus credentials for birth control czar, records show

Not so wild about Harry

London- Britain's Price Harry will not, after all, be sent
to Iraq as planned, following a decision by top commanders, the BBC
reported Wednesday.

It said the young lieutenant, third in line to the throne, was
“very disappointed” at being deprived of the opportunity of active
Link: The Raw Story | Prince Harry's “will not be sent to Iraq after all”

Is it cheating when the runner has no legs?

MANCHESTER: As Oscar Pistorius of South Africa crouched in the starting blocks for the 200 meters, the small crowd turned its attention to the sprinter who calls himself the fastest man on no legs.

He wants to be the first amputee runner to compete in the Olympics. And he is forcing international track officials to confront whether the technology of his prosthetics gives him an unfair advantage over sprinters using their natural legs.
Link: Athletics: Disabled runner makes case for competing in Olympics - International Herald Tribune

Once upon a pond

Once upon a pond, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

You can trust him, Bunky, sure you can

WASHINGTON, May 15 — A senior lobbyist at the National Association of Manufacturers nominated by President Bush to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission will receive a $150,000 departing payment from the association when he takes his new government job, which involves enforcing consumer laws against members of the association....

Mr. Baroody said...that the payment would not prevent him from considering matters involving individual companies that are members of the manufacturers’ association, many of whom are defendants in agency proceedings over defective products or have other business before the commission.
Link: Bush Nominee to Get Payment From Old Job - New York Times

OK, so he just believes in sucking up

So the White House has finally found its “war czar” -- someone to coordinate efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq -- after three generals turned down the job. But here's the funny thing about the czar, Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute: Early last year, he (like most Pentagon officials) was saying publicly that extra troops in Iraq would be a bad idea.

“You have to undercut the perception of occupation in Iraq. It’s very difficult to do that when you have 150,000-plus, largely western, foreign troops occupying the country,” Lt. Gen. Lute told Charlie Rose in 2006.

I wonder: Does the general still believe that? Because, if so, it puts him squarely against the centerpiece of the current strategy in Iraq: the “surge” of tens of thousands of additional soldiers.
Link: Danger Room - Wired Blogs

Who's craziest?

Debating the treatment of foreign detainees at Tuesday night's debate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he thought the US should “double” the number of prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

In the same exchange, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani noted again his service in New York following the Sept. 11 attacks and said he would support interrogators using a wide range of means to elicit confessions from suspected terrorists. Moderator Chris Wallace asked if Giuliani would support the use of waterboarding -- a controversial interrogation tactic some say is torture because it makes detainees believe they are drowning.

“Whatever they can think of,” Giuliani said.

Romney said suspected terrorists need to be kept off American soil and he supported the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” with the approval of the president.
Link: The Raw Story | Romney calls for doubling Guantanamo population


A little more red

A little more red, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

And you thought it couldn't get any funnier, right?

The ethics committee told Wolfowitz he could not directly supervise Riza, who also worked at the bank, after he arrived in 2005. He said, however, that the panel declined to oversee her job transfer and compensation, instead ordering him to handle those tasks.

“Its members did not want to deal with a very angry Ms. Riza, whose career was being damaged as a result of their decision,” Wolfowitz said in his response to the investigating committee's report. “It would only be human nature for them to want to steer clear of her.

”Wolfowitz added that the chairman of the ethics panel thought that “due to my personal relationship with Ms. Riza, I was in the best position to persuade her to take out-placement and thereby achieve the 'pragmatic solution' the committee desired.”
So Wolfie threw his own body on the, you know, grenade....

Link: Bank Rebukes Wolfowitz On Ethics - washingtonpost.com

Think this might catch on?

China has staged what is believed to be the world's first underwater golf tournament.
Link: Ananova - Golfers overcome 'water hazard'

Oh no!

LOS ANGELES — Paris Hilton is “emotionally distraught and traumatized” over her 45-day jail sentence and isn't capable of testifying in a civil lawsuit against her, the socalite-reality TV star's psychiatrist said.
Faux News Entertainment - is that an oxymoron or what? Anyway, we're sorry to hear about whatzername, poor thing.

Link: FOXNews.com - Psychiatrist: Paris Hilton 'Distraught' and 'Traumatized' Over Jail Sentence - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment

Let's play Totally Awesome™

DynDNS has a Totally Awesome™ free web redirect service that allows blah blah blah stuff. And as a result this blog has a Totally Awesome™ new URL, namely http://ted.blogsite.org. Easier to remember, huh?

The old URL will still work just fine. So no need to change the bookmark which of course you have. It's just that, well, in terms of awesomeness, the new one is much awesomer, is all I'm saying.

A little quiz

What kind of a country do we live in where psychopaths like Ann Coulter get free interference run for them by the FBI and the Department of Justice gets its marching orders from Karl Rove? As Blue Girl puts it in “How Very Soviet of Him?”, “What, in the name of all that is sacred and holy, motivated Karl Rove to turn the Department of Justice into the enforcement arm of the Republican National Committee?”
Link: Welcome to Pottersville: Banana Republic Oligarchy 2001-?

Commander Guy sniffs the air

WASHINGTON -- Spurred by a Supreme Court ruling, President Bush yesterday ordered the Environmental Protection Agency and three other federal departments to write new regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles and trucks, reversing his position that the federal government lacks the authority to mandate changes to curb one of the chief causes of global warming.
Link: Bush calls for rules to reduce emissions - The Boston Globe

And all Monica got was a cigar

The Bush administration defended embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Tuesday, saying findings that he broke bank rules in arranging a hefty pay package for his girlfriend did not amount to a firing offense.
Link: White House Defends Wolfowitz

Green on the hill

Green on the hill, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It ain't easy being queen

The queen hasn’t time for gossip or bee-blogging. She is too busy laying eggs. That is her sole job, and one that she alone can do, for the other females in the hive lack working reproductive parts.

Day in, day out, the queen remains in her climate-controlled chamber laying eggs, one or two per minute, maybe 2,500 a day. All the while she is pushed, provisioned and plucked by her retinue of nurses, her bristles kept spotless, her mandibles kept stuffed with the nutritious, high-calorie, egg-enabling delicacy called royal jelly. “I’d say that being queen is the absolute worst job in the hive,” said May R. Berenbaum, a professor of entomology at the University of Illinois. “At least the foragers get out for fresh air and some scenery.”
Link: Queen Bees - In Hive or Castle, Duty Without Power - Natalie Angier - New York Times


Mothers in Seattle

Mothers in Seattle, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Photo: Lynn Stoller

So you knew this would happen sooner or later, right?

Data mining is certainly in vogue with government agencies and the private sector, so why not make something available to the individual consumer? A patent issued this month goes one step beyond casual Google-stalking, and would allow users to identify anyone from a petty criminal to a dangerous terrorist (or so say the patent, at least)...
Link: Danger Room - Wired Blogs

Out front

Out front, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Can you spell “fat chance”?

He [Trickshot Dick] said of American opponents of the Iraq war, “I think they have to be responsible for the consequences of the policy recommendations they make. ... accountable for what would happen when that policy followed, what happens inside Iraq, what kind of encouragement that might give to al Qaeda.” He added, “a responsible public official has to accept the responsibility for the consequences of what they recommend.” So presumably he’ll also be resigning at once.
Link: Whatever It Is, I’m Against It: We’ve got al Qaeda in both places right now

Report: More than 10,000 Iraqis “disappeared”

Over the past four years, as sectarian kidnappings and killings have gripped Iraq and U.S. forces have arrested untold numbers in an effort to pacify the country, tens of thousands of Iraqis have vanished, often in circumstances as baffling as that of Kereem's husband, a Shiite Muslim father of three.

There's no accurate count of the missing since the war began. Iraqi human rights groups put the figure at 15,000 or more, while government officials say 40 to 60 people disappeared each day throughout the country for much of last year, a rate equal to at least 14,600 in one year.
Link: McClatchy Washington Bureau | 05/13/2007 | Disappeared without a trace: more than 10,000 Iraqis

Fence with pots

Fence with pots, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

And Wisconsin is definitely the place for that

ELDERON, Wis. -- More than 300 people paid $5 for all-you-can-eat goat, lamb and bull testicles Saturday at the ninth annual Testicle Festival at Mama's Place Bar and Grill.

Butch Joubert, 58, said they taste like meatballs: ''After a few beers, you can't really tell the difference.''
Link: Going nutty in Wisconsin :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Nation

Let's have no more talk about studying bunnies, Rep. Hoekstra

In a letter written earlier this week to the House Intelligence Committee, the official, Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, said it was “entirely appropriate” that the intelligence community prepare an assessment of the “geopolitical and security implications of global climate change.”

The question of whether the country’s spy agencies, already burdened by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the global hunt for members of Al Qaeda, ought to investigate the security implications of global warming has been debated in Congress for several weeks....

“Let other federal agencies, as more than a dozen already do, cover the ‘bugs and bunnies.’ But let our spies be spies,” Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, wrote Thursday in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article.
Of course if it becomes necessary to bug the bunnies, well, the spies are very good at that.

Link: Spy Chief Backs Study of Impact of Warming - New York Times


Click the link for some answers

While there is some disagreement on the idea of troop deadlines for US soldiers in Iraq, all sides seem to be on board with the amount included in the bill to fund the war.

Including the $124.2 billion bill, the total cost of the Iraq war may reach $456 billion in September, according to the National Priorities Project, an organization that tracks public spending.

The amount got us wondering: What would $456 billion buy?
Link: What does $456 billion buy? - Boston.com


Six, originally uploaded by tedcompton.