No word from the store clerk

A 24-year-old man arrested in the US state of Pennsylvania for holding up a convenience store wearing nothing but a hat has told police he did it because he was bored, according to local reports.

(AFP via Raw Story)

But hey, maybe with all the money they saved they can cut taxes more!

In an effort to promote healthy eating habits among children in California, the California State government distributed about 56,000 lunch boxes. Like everyone else, they wanted to save some money, and so they purchased the lunch boxes from China.

The lunch boxes contain unsafe levels of lead....

(US Recall News)

Art on the courthouse lawn

Art on the courthouse lawn, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

This is sort of an experimental picture of an art exhibit on the Northampton, MA, courhouse lawn. It was recorded by an iPhone (that's the experimental part).


Who are those guys?

Who are those guys?, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Sit down and shut up, Dude, or we'll bomb your butt again

Despite opposition from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, US security company Blackwater was back on the streets of Baghdad on Friday, four days after being grounded over a fatal shooting incident.

(AFP via Raw Story)

Or maybe he was just recruiting astronauts

In his day-to-day life John David Roy Atchison appeared to be your typical family man: a successful federal prosecutor and girls basketball coach who accompanied his wife and three children to youth sporting events on weekends.

Online, though, Atchison, 53, was living a secret life as "daddy" who wanted to fulfill fantasies of changing diapers and taking care of little girls.

Wait a minute. Did you say federal prosecutor?

Yeah, damnit

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow nails this one dead center.

I gotta tell ya, I was pretty much speechless when I came home last night and discovered that 22 Democrats who didn't have time to fight long and hard for our Constitutional rights, or to impose strong oversight and timelines on funding bills (or simply refuse to pass them), or even for our troops in the field to get reasonable breaks, were nevertheless willing to sign on to the GOP resolution to condemn MoveOn.org for telling the truth about David Petreaus. I actually couldn't get to sleep because I was absolutely seething.

I don't care if you liked the ad or didn't like the ad - a Senate resolution condemning an act of free speech is way, way over the line. Why do they hate America the way they do?

And BTW, where was the Senate resolution condemning all those people at that last Republicrat convention running around with Purple Heart Band-Aids all over their smugugly faces?

Don't want no durty books

International travelers concerned about being labeled a terrorist or drug runner by secret Homeland Security algorithms may want to be careful what books they read on the plane. Newly revealed records show the government is storing such information for years.


Those guys from the Homeland Police have always been uptight about books. When I came back from Europe in the 50s (yes, Bunky! there was a 50s) I had a bag full of books and the customs guy leafed through every one of them. At the time, I had the romantic notion he was looking for contraband books, like Lady Chatterly's Lover (yes, Bunky! Lady Chatterly's Lover was banned in the US of A! So was Lady Chatterly, no doubt). But now that I'm older and more mature I think he was only looking for the good parts.

BTW, Banned Book Week this year is Sept. 29 - Oct. 6. Get one.



Corner, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Oh, please

You can always what?

The Pentagon said Thursday it needs more than 15,000 mine resistant armored vehicles for its troops in Iraq and elsewhere, doubling its previous requirement....

"And if events on the ground change such that we need fewer of them, we can always off-ramp this and end up buying fewer," [US Defense Secretary Robert Gates] said. "But we want to make sure we have enough to meet the needs of the force, to best protect them."


Did you say off-ramp?

Sure you can, Bunky. Sure you can. Also, if you click your heels together...

All weirded out about this, are we?

Sept. 20, 2007 - The nation's biggest telecommunications companies, working closely with the White House, have mounted a secretive lobbying campaign to get Congress to quickly approve a measure wiping out all private lawsuits against them for assisting the U.S. intelligence community's warrantless surveillance programs.

Blah blah blah, yeah, everybody all upset. Come on, honey, calm down. You were thinking your so-called personal information was somehow, like, personal or something? It isn't, it hasn't been for quite some time, maybe it never was. Hell, I'm old enough to remember party lines. That didn't mean a bunch of teenagers yakking, that meant everybody on the block used the same line. You think the NS freakin' A is scary? You should have seen that weird lady two doors down.

What we should all do, I'm saying here, is quit obsessing over how much they know about us and start wondering why we know so pathetically little about them.

I'm imagining, I'm imagining

Last year I made a visit to a Russian mind control lab Moscow. No, really, that's what it was, or at least supposed be. It was, needless to say, an interesting experience, but not necessarily something I knew what do with, so I just filed it away in my office under "Russian mind control."

Imagine how surprised I was to read one morning that the Department of Homeland Security was preparing to issue a sole source contract to test some of the technology developed there. My story today in Wired News traces how this unusual research from Russia caught the eye of U.S. officials.

(Sharon Weinberger, Danger Room)

Well, hey, if you figure it out let us know, OK?

I asked [US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates] whether invading Iraq was a good idea, knowing what we know now. He looked at me for a bit and said, "I don't know."

(David Brooks, NYTimes)

More scary bathroom news

A great grandmother popped into a public loo after a long journey - and ended up locked in for 12 hours.


Harry Shearer makes campaign history

The best thing

The best thing - not to dis Paul Krugman, who is the other best thing, or a couple of other guys who are very good things in themselves - but the very best thing about being able to read the Times Op-Eds again is Gail Collins:

Yes, in 1775, we had "The British are coming." In 2004, John McCain tries to jar the nation into facing the harsh reality of what was happening in Iraq with "like all wars, this one has had its ups and downs."


What a grump :-( this guy Hugo is

Today, if you believe Scott E. Fahlman (a professor at Carnegie Mellon University), marks the 25th anniversary of the emoticon. This news is supposed to make me :-) (happy). But it doesn't. It makes me }: [(angry).

(Times Online)

Yet Another Media Empire presents

Fonepix: A gallery of wallpapers for your mobile device.

Looking up

Looking up, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Along the line

Along the line, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Is it just me or does this sound like piling on?

McKINNEY, Texas - A man who underwent surgical castration after he was shot in the groin during a police raid has been sentenced to five years in prison for firing at the officers.

(Associated Press via Yahoo! News)

Here's an idea

Let's find out what this guy David Brooks smokes and buy a case.

Applauding (well, tolerating, more like: "This time the change is evolutionary, not revolutionary") the latest Clinton health care proposal the other day in his New York Times column, Brooks managed somehow to imagine this sentence:

"The private insurance/employer-based system will still remain the heart and soul of the social contract — it's just that more people will be given tax credits so they can afford to buy in."

Say what? Private insurance, yeah maybe, but employer-based? Social contract? Is that some kind of joke? I know people who work - sometimes two, sometimes even three jobs - and don't have health insurance, employer-based or otherwise. Speaking of which, if this fabulous Brooksian health insurance is so employer-based, why do people need tax credits to buy in? 

Oh well. Maybe it's all for the best. Let people in to this employer-based social contract (social freakin' contract?) and they'll just screw things up anyway, Brooks seems to think, by becoming patients. And he knows what that means: "If the cost of an M.R.I. comes down, people will just want more of them." That's right, Bunky. A run on M.R.I.s. ("Americans spend more on computers as those machines get more efficient," he throws in for free, whether that has anything to do with M.R.I.s or not.) Doom is us.

Come to think of it, maybe two cases would be nice.

Where is Tom Cruise when you need him?

But some experts have questioned whether it was a meteorite or some other object that landed in Carancas.

"Increasingly we think that people witnessed a fireball, which are not uncommon, went off to investigate and found a lake of sedimentary deposit, which may be full of smelly, methane rich organic matter," said Dr Caroline Smith, a meteorite expert at the London-based Natural History Museum.

(BBC News)

It's an alien invasion, that's what it is. You know how those aliens like to do lawn work.

BTW, in case you missed it, Tom Cruise was recently voted the world's sexiest small man in an online poll.

And who will scrutinize the scrutinizers' scrutinizer, one wants to know

A congressional committee has opened an investigation of the State Department's inspector general, alleging he blocked fraud investigations in Afghanistan and Iraq, including potential security lapses at the newly built U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Also under scrutiny is whether Blackwater USA, the private security firm banned this week from working in Iraq over the killing of civilians, was "illegally smuggling weapons into Iraq," according to a letter to IG Howard J. Krongard obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

The Democratic-led investigation accused Krongard of trying to protect the White House and the State Department.

(San Francisco Chronicle)


I just figured out why we all have to start saving up instantly to buy the next version of the iPhone the moment it becomes available - the one thing they left out of that most excellent device is a voice memo feature. Or at least if it's there I haven't figured out where yet. Because what would make more sense? And you can save an awful lot of stuff (or a lot of awful stuff) in 8 gigs. Voice memos would be cool. 

Since it is possible to change the voicemail message easily one could record a note there, but being answered by a grocery list might tend to confuse the hopelessly unnerdy. (And no, it's not possible to call yourself. I just tried. All you get is a bunch of serious beeping, which is no help at all.)

An excellent development

The New York Times will stop charging for access to parts of its Web site, effective at midnight tonight....

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.


Not to spoil the mood of the moment, which is most definitely celebratory (woohoo!), but it's a bit depressing to be reminded virtually everything written in my lifetime is still copyrighted, a fact that stands the original idea of copyright on its head. The original intent of copyright was to protect the public, not the publishers, by assuring work would pass into the public domain in a reasonable time. That's why it's called - I'm just guessing here - copy right, not you can't touch it, you mangy pirate (see below), right

A note to the culturally compulsive

Today is International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

No more photo ops in the market for a while

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has barred diplomats and civilians from leaving Baghdad's heavily fortified "Green Zone" after a shooting involving the Blackwater security firm that drew protests from Iraq and prompted investigations, a U.S. official said on Tuesday.


It's not clear here if the worry is that people might get shot up by Iraqis or by Blackwater, but for now the Congresscritters will just have to settle for visiting Indiana, which is, I've been told, pretty much the same.


There are days...

...when you just have to put all your effort into goofing off, that's
all. And even then I got the oil changed in my car, made dinner, and
almost did some laundry. OK, nobody's perfect. But at least I tried.
I will get the Empire back on track in the morning.


Think of the children

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Laura Hathaway initially had no regrets after getting a tattoo on her lower back when she was 21. But now, 10 years later, she wants it gone.

The pharmaceutical sales representative from Atlanta, Georgia, says it doesn't fit in with her current lifestyle as the mother of a 2-year-old boy who just started to talk. "The other day I bent over and he said, 'What's that?' and it just confirms why I'm having it removed."

Well, what is it? A flower, she says. Uh-huh. And anyway, she says, she got it before low-rise pants became popular. And what would a pharmaceutical sales representative be without low-rise pants?

Just like my Mama said, "you'll regret it when you get older." Which is why I waited until I was 60-something before I got mine. I was already older. And I don't worry about low-rise pants because it's on my arm.



I don't mean to sound like a Luddite here, but...

It sounds too good to be true - not to mention the fact that it violates almost every known law of physics.

But British scientists claim they have invented a revolutionary device that seems to 'create' energy from virtually nothing....

Even the makers of the device are at a loss to explain exactly how it works - but sceptical independent scientists carried out their own tests and discovered that the 12in x 2in tube really does produce far more heat energy than the electrical energy put in.

The device seems to break the fundamental physical law that energy cannot be created from nothing - but researchers believe it taps into a previously unrecognised source of energy, stored at a sub-atomic level within the hydrogen atoms in water.

(The Mail)

...if I owned a house I'm not sure how quick I'd be to install some kind of gadget that defies the laws of physics by producing more energy than it consumes but nobody knows how. Except, of course, that it might have something to do with sub-atomic hydrogen or whatever. In fact I think I'll let you install it, and then if your house is still there next Spring, well, maybe.

The Doctor is in

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.

(The Phobia List)

Just mentioning

A public service from Yet Another Media Empire and the Library of Congress American Memory collection.


Up, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Awww, ain't that cute?

For toys and cars, antifreeze and fireworks, popcorn and produce and cigarettes and light bulbs, among other products, industry groups or major manufacturers are calling for federal health, safety and environmental mandates. Some of those industries are abandoning years of efforts to block such measures, often in alliance with the Bush administration, which pledged to ease what it views as costly, unnecessary rules.


They want their blankies back. And why?

The tactical shift by industry groups is motivated by a confluence of self-interests: growing competition from inexpensive imports that do not meet voluntary standards, and a desire to head off liability lawsuits and pre-empt tough state laws or legal actions that were a response to laissez-faire Bush administration policies.

Laissez-faire - that's French for don't give a damn. And also, well, another thing is they're afraid before long somebody might elect more of those nasty Dems and then they'll be really screwed. So you see.

Meanwhile, Bunky, if you want to get yourself some of that voluntary spinach or buy yourself some voluntary butter-flavored popcorn, better run out and get it now. Before you have to start eating the government-inspected kind.

Go figure: All that lipstick and it's still a pig

The only troops coming home alive or with their limbs intact in President Bush's troop "reduction" are those who were scheduled to be withdrawn by April anyway. Otherwise the president would have had to extend combat tours yet again, mobilize more reserves or bring back the draft.

(Frank Rich, courtesy of jurassicpork at Welcome to Pottersville)