I like it

Shayera writes Commander Guy's next speech:

"There are scary monsters out there! And you have to do exactly what I tell you! booga booga boo!"

(9/11! 9/11! 9/11!)

I'm not sure he can pronounce all the words. "Booga" is a tough one. But we can work it out in rehearsals. And it's got a real nice ring to it, pretty much sums things up. The only problem is, it's hard to guess where the applause will come.

Is Freddiememtum enough?

It's been a family secret for many, many years, uncovered only by the most diligent reporting. Few people know this. But Fred Thompson's actual first name isn't Fred. It's really Freddie. No, seriously.

(Shocking truth about Fred Thompson revealed! - LATimes)

Difficult to say. Rachel Maddow (here on Crooks and Liars) says it's all about the sex appeal.

And whose little brother would that be?

They're always one car ahead, kid, get used to it

More pictures from the County Fair here.

No more sticky notes

Now, Boing Boing notices, you can write all your todo messages on toast: Notepad toaster burns handwritten messages into bread.

Red sky at night

Red sky at night, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

An evening comes to the County Fair.

Bin the Bogey Man

SYDNEY, Australia - President Bush said Saturday that Osama bin Laden's first video appearance in three years is a reminder of "the dangerous world in which we live."

"It's important that we show resolve and determination to protect ourselves, to deny al-Qaida safe haven and support young democracies, which will be a major defeat to their ambitions," Bush said about the video released just days before the sixth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

(Bush calls video reminder of dangers - Yahoo! News)
If these guys didn't have bin Laden they would have to invent him. And isn't it a wonderment how this video missive (the first video in three years!) from the bin man just happens to arrive only days (days!) before the so-called Petreaus report gets presented to the so-called Congress and the so-called "surge" gets its regularly-scheduled maintenance and gets put back on the road for another 3,000 miles? Isn't it amazing?

And even if this fantastic video appearance of a man with a dime-store beard isn't just another concoction of that happy-go-lucky Bush bunch - even if it's, you know, actually real - has anyone stopped to consider that ol' binny can absolutely, with perfect certainty, predict right down to the last freakin' coma (I meant comma but coma might work) exactly what Commander Guy's reaction to said entertainment would be? As can we all, Bunky - oh yes, we can. And isn't it possible - just possible, is all - the Laden guy has an agenda here? OMG! Ya think?

And what would that be?


Ducks go to the fair

Ducks go to the fair, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Off to the fair

County Fair Parade, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Oh no, no way

State Treasurer Tim Cahill said he and his family were detained and treated "like criminals" after they failed to declare the fruit and officers found it.

"It felt like we were being interrogated and found guilty without any process, no explanation, no rundown of our rights," Cahill said. He said he didn't even know his daughter had the peaches during the nine-hour flight home on Aug. 14.

(State official detained over 3 peaches - Yahoo! News)

I don't know what the statute of limitations is on smuggling avocados in California so I'm not saying one word about anything like that, Bunky, but if - I'm saying if, here - on a purely hypothetical basis a person happened to inadvertently bring an avocado into some part of California that was under a medfly quarantine - from another part that wasn't - and didn't happen to notice the No Avocado Smuggling sign at the airport until he was leaving (this hypothetical person, I'm saying here) and so just kept his mouth shut and his avocado in his suitcase and smuggled it out to an entirely different state, would that be such a bad thing? I think not. I doubt if peaches are much worse.

On the other hand, I don't know where that peach I just ate came from, now that you mention.

Well ain't that generous

WASHINGTON, Sept. 6 — Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, has told President Bush that he wants to maintain heightened troop levels in Iraq well into next year to reduce the risk of military setbacks, but could accept the pullback of roughly 4,000 troops beginning in January....

(Petraeus, Seeing Gains in Iraq as Fragile, Is Wary of Cuts - NYTimes)

What a nice guy that General Potempkin Patraeus is.

It's split-the-baby time in Washington, where they're trying to figure out how to claim the "surge" was a success without having to unsurge. Success is "fragile," after all. And we're not going anywhere, you can count on that.


Thanks, Boing Boing. William Gibson has a new novel - Spook Country - so there's my second book for this month. That'll make it a double play.

My current book is Wicked - took me a while to warm up to it but that was because it's not exactly the book I expected. But, as is often the case, my imagination proved to be deficient and Wicked is a wicked good read (a little New Englandism there, Bunky, no extra charge). I'll put a link in the Books Department before to long. But right now, there's a note on my calendar about going to work or something, so I'd better figure out what that means.


County Fair parade

County Fair parade, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

County Fair Parade

County Fair Parade, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's the biggest show in town.

Yup, he's learning

NPR.org, September 6, 2007 · Cast members of an Australian TV comedy show — one dressed as Osama bin Laden — drove through two security checkpoints Thursday before being stopped near the Sydney, Australia, hotel where President Bush is staying....

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the stunt proved security was working.

(Comedians Ride Fake Motorcade Through Summit Security - NPR)

Oh oh, newbies upset

...gadget enthusiasts who snapped up the ballyhooed iPhone before Wednesday are coping with a bitter aftertaste now that it is $200 (€147.1) cheaper within 10 weeks of its introduction.

(Apple's iPhone price cut angers some users - International Herald Tribune)

Because I'm some kind of computer skills instructor or other people often ask me for advice on what kind of computer to buy and I say it really doesn't matter, there's just one rule to keep in mind. That is, never look over your shoulder when you're leaving the store with that big new box. Because if you do you will see them putting up a sign offering a bigger, faster, much prettier computer for less than you just paid. That's just how it works, is all. Get used to it.

So I'm not really upset by Apple's cutting the iPhone price. Or overjoyed, now that you mention it. When AT&T drops their price by a third, that I'll notice. Anyway I didn't buy an iPhone at the old price and I'm not planning to do it at the new, I don't think. Maybe not. Kind of. More or less. Probably.

No, the real good news from Apple the other day was the new iPod "Touch." It's an iPhone without the phone. OK, without the camera too. But I already have a camera. In fact I have two. And either one of them is better than anything you can get in a phone. And I already have a phone.

Of course I already have an iPod too - a Nano, which is an excellently cool thing, small and light and easy to carry around and spacious enough for what I want it for. But, Bunky, the really nifty thing about the iPod Touch (and iPhone) is the pocket Wi-Fi - being able to jack into the network from any friendly hot spot without having to pay a monthly fee to the T.

Woohoo. Feel the lust.

The word processor of my dreams

Whoa. That sounds pretty geeky. But it's true. Apple's latest version ('08) of its word processor, Pages, is it.

I go a long way back with word processors. Starting from a hardware-based free-standing IBM system in the late 70's, I've progressed through WordStar, MultiMate, WordPerfect for DOS, and, of course, ho-hum, Word, flirting along the way with such alluring distractions as PFSWrite, Sprint (a short-lived but capable word processor from Borland), XyWrite (more a cult than a word processor), AppleWorks and Nissus. I've spent a lot of time word processing. And I've been teaching classes in Word for 15 years.

But Pages (did I mention this?) is it. I've spent some quality time with it over the last few days and it does everything I want a word processor to do - and everything I want a desktop publisher to do, as well (oh bliss) - and does it supremely well.

Nice work, Apple. You win.


Biker Duck

Biker Duck, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Hey, this might work

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Officials at Nepal's state-run airline have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft, the carrier said Tuesday....

"The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights," said Raju K.C., a senior airline official, without explaining what the problem had been.

(Airline sacrifices goats to appease sky god - Reuters)

Nobody's perfect

Whoops, ha ha, a B-52 bomber filled with live nuclear warheads was flown from North Dakota to Louisiana on Thursday, just a little fuckup, sorry about that!

(Cheney Tries To Finish Off New Orleans, With Nuclear Bombs - Wonkette)

Looks like another "keep shopping" moment to me

The US economy will slow sharply in the second half of the year and the risk of it going into recession cannot be ruled out, the OECD has warned....

But [OECD chief economist Jean-Philippe Cotis] stressed that circumstances could be different this time around because of the continued strength of household spending in the US.

"So far consumption has remained resilient despite the contraction in real estate markets," Mr Cotis concluded.

(US economy 'heading for slowdown' - BBC News)

Resilient Consumption 'r' us, Bunky, don't you forget it. (Which is, BTW, one of the reasons I'd better get some work done today.)

Gophers gofer more

This isn't a big story (well, except for the Gophers) - I just wanted to say Gophers gofer, is all. But it's interesting the University of Minnesota has four branches now, and more than 20,000 employees if I've figured out the numbers right. I'm only sorta sure Duluth was the first. I think they opened the Duluth branch so the Canadian hockey players could be closer to home. (I watched the UMD hockey team beat the US Olympic team once, so they were pretty good at skating, at least.)

When I was a teenager living in Duluth the Duluth Branch was just getting started and the best part of that was they used to ship the film of Saturday's U of M football game up to Duluth and show it at one of the high school auditoriums on Wednesday evening. It was grainy black-and-white film but it beat TV when the closest TV station to Duluth was in Minneapolis. And, since we'd all listen to the games on the radio anyway, we'd only go see the movies of the winning games. In the Auditorium of Duluth Central High School the Gophers never lost.


First you say you do and then you don't / Then you say you will and then you won't

BOISE (AP) — Sen. Larry Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign after his arrest in a Minnesota airport sex sting and may still fight for his Senate seat, his spokesman said Tuesday evening.

(USA Today)

You're undecided now / So what are you gonna do?

View through

View through, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Get yer anti-anti-virus virus here

In what some security geek calls a "classic verticalisation [don't bug me, the guy's a Brit] of a market as it starts to mature," BBC News reports:

Malicious hackers are producing easy to use tools that automate attacks to cash in on a boom in hi-tech crime....

Some of the most expensive tools are sold with 12 months of technical support that ensures they stay armed with the latest vulnerabilities.

Now there's a job for ya, Bunky: Doing tech support for the Dark Side. Might have a real future there. If this thing goes over really big Bill will steal it, have it re-written in Active-X, and build it into Windoze. The first self-hacking OS. (Come on, it's just business. Sell birth control pills and diapers both, you win either way.)


OK, they're not too good at making toys but...

The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American ­officials.

The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack.

Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army.

(So, at least, says the Financial Times)

If this is you doing this, cut it out

I'm coming up the hill this morning and I notice the flag on the common is at half mast, while the flag on the bank across the street is run to the top of the staff. This drives me nuts.

So I take a detour down Main Street and discover the flag at the post office is flying full staff but the flag at the county courthouse right across the street is flapping around half up. OK, it's not a fed, it's a county or maybe a state thing - but what?

This happens a lot around here, I've noticed. I never know why. Maybe it's just some guy at the County has some kind of weird half-mast fetish, maybe people get the flag flown at half staff on their birthdays (although you would think...) - or maybe something has, I don't know, I'm just thinking out loud here, freaking happened. Ya think? I don't know.

Gimme a break.

Look sharp

Look sharp, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

The writing on the wall

The writing on the wall, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Which is not to say the guy can't fly, you understand

Two pictures last week with a summary of the news were reversed. The photograph of a helicopter flying over a breached levee should have appeared with the brief report about improving flood defenses in New Orleans. The picture of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq went with the report about the new national intelligence estimate.

(Correction - NY Times)

You've come a long way, Baby

Modern women are excellent gatherers

(New Scientist)