Dropjaw, I think it's called

WOODLAND, Calif. (AP) - A dentist accused of fondling the breasts of 27 female patients is trying to keep his dental license by arguing that chest massages are an appropriate procedure in certain cases. Mark Anderson's lawyer says dental journals discuss the need to massage the pectoral muscles to treat a common jaw problem.


Uh huh.


Now that scandal-tinged Idaho Sen. Larry Craig has reneged on a pledge to resign this fall, his fellow Republican senators act as though they hardly know him. They want voters to forget him, too.

But they privately acknowledge that an earlier strategy to drive Craig from office has backfired, sticking them with an open-ended ethics investigation likely to keep the issue before the public for months.

(Washington Post)

Seems some genius Republicans demanded an ethics inquiry as a way to encourage Craig to resign (a tactic one of Craig's lawyers refers to as "ethical waterboarding," go figure that one out) but Craig, an R in his own right, called their bluff. So now there's a lot of blubbering about "closed sessions," which may mean secret investigations or may, possibly, mean something even more amusing, who knows.

But not to worry. The Dems aren't much interested in this whole ethics thing either because they don't want to offend anyone, ever - or at least until after the next election - and they don't want to get into some kind of ethics war because the next thing you know everybody might have to start being ethical and that would really ruin the fun.

So, in the words of a "congressional scholar," don't expect much to happen here.


So when she said she was a killer kisser she wasn't kidding, I guess

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Lipsticks tested by a U.S. consumer rights group found that more than half contained lead and some popular brands including Cover Girl, L'Oreal and Christian Dior had more lead than others, the group said on Thursday.

(Reuters via Yahoo! News)
I'm just mentioning, is all. Not that I've got much to worry about, myself, or anything like that.

On second thought, I wonder what it would take to get a job in one of those testing labs. You know, be a kiss safety inspector, something like that.


The old mill

The old mill, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


At London's Tate Modern...

The new exhibit, Shibboleth, by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo consists of a 167 metre-long crack in the floor of the cavernous Turbine Hall.

(AFP via Raw Story)
A crack in the floor? Bunky! That ceiling in my bedroom must be worth a fortune!

We're on Easy Street!

Thanks, TSA!

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration today promised to protect air travelers' privacy as TSA personnel peer through their clothes.

(Information Week)

They promise!

In the market for a fixer-upper, you say?

WASHINGTON — The latest problem with the trouble-plagued new U.S. embassy complex in Iraq is that the sprinkler systems meant to contain a fire do not work, according to officials in Congress and the State Department.

The previously undisclosed problem in the $592 million project was discovered several weeks ago when the fire-safety systems were tested and pipe joints burst, State Department representatives recently informed Congress.

The embassy complex, being built by First Kuwaiti General Trade and Contracting Co., has been marred by repeated problems. In May, when kitchen facilities at a guard camp that is part of the embassy complex were tested, the electrical system malfunctioned and wires melted. A subsequent inquiry showed that First Kuwaiti had used counterfeit electrical wiring that did not meet specifications, according to testimony at a congressional hearing in July.

According to State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, "Obviously, with any large complex construction project, especially one that is happening in a difficult security environment, there is the possibility that the schedule will slide to the right."

So, see? You just have to shove it back to the left a little and you can move right in.

How about DUCK?

Driving school, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Discovered by our intrepid Seattle Bureau...

a driving school named SWERVE

Ain't easy, turning those Republican women on

But once in a while some guy comes along.

Lynne Cheney jokes, Sometimes Dick will 'bite the head off a live chicken'

(Raw Story)

What she said

Shayera nails it.

Shut up and eat your potpie too

ConAgra Foods Inc. is refusing to recall Banquet-brand and other potpies tied to a national salmonella outbreak, rejecting direct pleas by Oregon and Minnesota health officials.

The state officials say the company needs to recall all of its potpies because the source of the salmonella has not been identified. Doing anything less, they say, allows potentially dangerous food to remain on the market and confuses consumers.

The company says a recall is unnecessary. It contends that contamination is limited to its poultry potpies. Risks can be eliminated, the company says, by instructing consumers to cook the pies thoroughly enough to kill salmonella bacteria.

(The Oregonian)

State regulators (here in Oregon and Minnesota) identify problems but have no regulatory authority, can only plead. ConAgra does not do pleas. Feds can act, but may take weeks (for a recent E. coli recall they waited 18 days). Verdict: Cook it and eat it, Bunky, and shut up.

Or, of course, don't buy it.


Autumn on the water

Autumn on the water, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Oh, and so much more

TOKYO (AP) - With steely arms sprouting cables and wires, the WAO-1 robot looks nothing like a relaxation device.

But researchers at Tokyo's Waseda University hope the contraption will soon be deployed to hospitals and spas across Japan to give therapeutic facial massages....

"This technology can be applied very widely," Nishimura said. "I'm looking forward to a time when this robot will give beauty facials at spas."


Close, oh so close

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Bush administration Wednesday lobbied heavily against a House resolution that labels the killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I as "genocide," saying it would hurt relations with a key U.S. ally.

Some day they're gonna bite their own tails. It'll be totally cool.

Bush to oppose more snooping

Yeah, you heard me, Bunky.

"This year's update" to the 1978 Foreign Intellegence Surveillance Act (FISA), reports AP's Jennifer Loven...
...allows the government to eavesdrop without a court order on communications conducted by a person reasonably believed to be outside the U.S., even when the communications flow through the U.S. communications network — or if an American is on one end of the conversation — so long as that person is not the intended focus or target of the surveillance. The Bush administration said this was necessary because technological advances in communications had put U.S. officials at a disadvantage.
So basically it extends the so-called "emergency" bill Congress passed before they went on vacation in August (ahem, this year). But Commander Guy is threatening to veto it.

Woohoo, you say? Did we luck out here? Well, not quite.
President Bush said Wednesday that he will not sign a new eavesdropping bill if it does not grant retroactive immunity to U.S. telecommunications companies that helped conduct electronic surveillance without court orders.
(Emphasis, of course, mine.)

A couple of the big telcos, prominently including AT&T, are faced with huge lawsuits over their giving up customer records snoopers without a warrant, losing which would cost them a bunch of bucks. (Now now, Bunky, don't be alarmed. If they lose to much the taxpayers will give them more. This is America, after all.)
Seeking to increase the pressure on the Democratic-controlled Congress, Bush said the update has already been effective, with intelligence professionals able "to gather critical information that would have been missed without this authority."
And turn it over to Faux News, no doubt.

Connecticut River

Connecticut River, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Not in my dictionary...

German Ertl wins Nobel for chemistry


...so I don't know what a German Ertl is, but whatever it is it must be pretty smart. Some guy from some magazine or other explains, "Worked out how you go about studying chemical reactions on a scale where you have a single layer of gas molecules stuck to a solid surface."

So there you go.

Beyond the bridge

Beyond the bridge, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Woohoo! Now they don't like Google either

Google Inc. occasionally features light-hearted doodles on its colorful home-page logo to commemorate special occasions. But now they are drawing criticism from conservatives for not being more patriotic.


Like driving around in a bunny

TOKYO - Cute, communicative and cubic seem to be the fashion statement as far as offerings from Japan's "Big Three" automakers Toyota, Honda and Nissan, debuting at the Tokyo auto show later this month....

Behind the offerings is the growing view among Japanese automakers that more must be done to fight the image of cars as culprits of pollution, global warming and traffic accidents.

Their answer: Transform the car into a friendly companion — not just a machine for getting around....

In a preview presentation to reporters, Honda compared the aesthetics of Puyo, whose name is based on the Japanese word that describes floating or soft objects, to cute things like a bunny and balloon.

(AP via Yahoo! News)

How long before Apple sells an iCar?


Autumn afternoon

Autumn afternoon, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

And probably improved it (but that's just a guess)

AVIGNON, France (AFP) - French prosecutors Tuesday requested a hefty fine and a civics course against a woman who planted a lipstick-red kiss on the pure white canvas of a two-million-euro artwork by US artist Cy Twombly....

"I just gave it a kiss," the young woman told the court. "It was an act of love, when I kissed it, I wasn't thinking. I thought the artist would understand."

(AFP via Yahoo! News)

Clearly, we need to breed some smarter rats

The 2007 Ig Nobel prizes were announced the other day, including these awards for outstanding achievement in science:

Linguistics - A University of Barcelona team for showing that rats are unable to tell the difference between a person speaking Japanese backwards and somebody speaking Dutch backwards.

Aviation - A National University of Quilmes, Argentina, team for discovering that impotency drugs can help hamsters to recover from jet lag.

(More from BBC News)

Just in time for Halloween

HALF MOON BAY, Calif. (AP) - An Oregon man won the annual pumpkin weigh-off here, presenting a gigantic gourd that came it at 1,524 pounds.


Think of all the kiddies you could scare with that.

Shut up and eat your beans

A rodent head found by a Lehi woman in a can of green beans would be safe to eat, the company's spokesman said Thursday....

"There's no way that product could have hurt her," Allen Canning spokesman James Phillips said in a telephone interview. "This rodent was rendered commercially sterile. We cook each can individually at a temperature up to 265 degrees."

(The Salt Lake Tribune)

It doesn't happen very often, says the canning company, claiming the consumer, one Marianne Watson, is trying to "ruin us through the media.

Barton's Cove

Barton's Cove, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Twisted, originally uploaded by tedcompton.



This picture of my first computer - my first "real" computer, not counting a dedicated word processor - the Radio Shack Model 100, from Progressive Review, which notes its four AA batteries would keep it running for 20 hours. That screen is 40 characters wide (a standard typewriter line is 80 characters) and four lines deep. The best thing about the Model 100 was its bulletproof, 300-baud modem which would connect to just about anything, even over an acoustical coupler. But 300 baud - 30 characters per second - although state of the art in 1979, was so slow that when I downloaded text files from CompuServe I could read them as they came in. Downloading one megabyte, a pretty small file by today's standards, would have taken nine hours and cost, at the prevailing $6.00/hour rate, $54.

I don't know, maybe we ought to re-think this, Bunky

Thanks to Spiiderweb™ for pointing out the name of the U.S. Department of State Official Blog (don't you love it?) is "Dipnote."


Fence, originally uploaded by tedcompton.


Broken, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Along the canal at Turners Falls, MA.

WWII interrogators call bullshit

Meeting for the first time since the 1940s, World War II veterans who had been charged with top-secret interrogations of Nazi prisoners of war lamented "the chasm between the way they conducted interrogation during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects."

John Gunther Dean, 81, who became a foreign service and ambassador to Denmark, told the Washington Post, " We did it with a certain amount of respect and justice." Another World War II veteran--one of the few who interrogated the early 4000 prisoners of war, most of them German scientists and submariners, who were brought in to Fort Hunt, Virginia for questioning for days and weeks--spoke of how "during the many interrogations, I never laid hands on anyone. We extracted information in a battle of the wits." He added that he was proud that he "never compromised my humanity." Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist, told the Post, " We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or ping pong than they do today, with their torture."

(The Nation via Yahoo! News)
I was once interrogated by a WWII interrogator myself, in a training exercise, and I believe what they say.



A car repair firm has been taken to court accused of infringing musical copyright because its employees listen to radios at work.

The action against the Kwik-Fit Group has been brought by the Performing Rights Society which collects royalties for songwriters and performers.


Too loud. That's the complaint. Which might sound perfectly reasonable when you're stuck at a light behind a car that sounds like a battleship in heat. That's not the case here, though - the Performing Rights Society complains Kwik-Fit employees play their radios loud enough for customers waiting in an adjoining room to hear, thereby infringing on some kind of public performance rule.

Somehow it seems to me - OK, you can call me craZy here - those customers aren't hanging around the waiting room just so they can hear what Joe Greasemonkey likes to listen to on his radio. But getting hauled into court for letting somebody else hear what you're listening to on the radio sounds pretty munged to me.

If this Performing Rights Society really wants to make itself useful they can go after that Salvation Army guy with the trumpet who plays "Silent Night" off-key every winter - I'll be glad to let them know when he shows up again.

Climate change?

Not a very enthusiastic picture, is it? And not a very enthusiastic weekend either. Not long ago - well within my memory, and I've only lived here about a dozen years - Columbus Day weekend was "leaf peepers" weekend - a time of peak color when the roads were clogged by sightseeing buses and other assorted tourists from Boston or similarly-deprived locales. If they're out there today they must be disappointed.

I suppose this change has come gradually but last year was the first year I noticed it big-time. I thought then it must be a fluke. Guess not. The color again this year is nowhere near what it used to be in early October - "peak" is forecast for the end of the month now - but leaves are already falling, dropping off from sheer weariness, I suppose. A couple of good, windy days and the trees will be half bare by the time the full color arrives.

I've heard it said it's not the weather - the temperature - that makes the leaves turn but the shortness of the days. And some say it's the amount of rainfall that determines the intensity of the color - we had a damp early summer but August and September were pretty dry. And while the days have been generally warm we've had some pretty chilly nights. So who knows, maybe it's not "warming" that causes that causes this dull display. But it is beginning to seem like a trend. Alas.


Wiredancing, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Got a headache?

No? Well, this might help.