Where all roads lead

Where all roads lead, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Somewhere in Northern Ohio

Yeah, that's my excuse too

I believe that we are doing about as well as we can do. I think the brain soaks up bits of information -- a wild turkey can fly as fast as 55 m.p.h., 63 percent of Americans surveyed support the writers in the Hollywood strike, woodpeckers don't get headaches because their skulls are spongy. Each fact you absorb squeezes out another -- the name of Frank Sinatra's first big hit with the Dorsey band or the order of the minor prophets or the location of Ukiah, Calif. The brain is full. Learn one thing, lose another. In comes a song, out goes math.

(Garrison Keillor in the Chicago Tribune)

We're makin' history here, kid

A newspaper called the Pantagraph from Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, has published the absolutely least attractive photo ever, ever taken of a Radio City Rockette (and I bet you thought that wasn't possible, didn't you, Bunky?), accompanied by the least appetizing story ("'We have enough to eat in the diaper bag for three days,' Amber Wasendorf said") about holiday travel ever printed.

The Rockettes, it seems, were hired by someone with a macabre sense of humor to dance at an O'Hare airport terminal during the Thanksgiving holiday rush.

The photo is in the top right corner of the page.


Ooops, don't forget Poland

WARSAW, Poland — Poland's new prime minister outlined ambitious plans for the next four years in his inaugural address Friday, saying he plans to withdraw troops from Iraq next year but also push for stronger relations with NATO.

(Huffington Post)


NATICK - "You can't win these days," Kari Canney, 29, said with a sigh. "The more informed you are, the more nervous you are."

(Boston Globe on holiday toy shopping)
I remember playing, as a kid, with a red glob of mercury from a broken thermometer (it's really cool stuff) and, later, passing a larger silver blob of it around in a high school science class. I remember using the nasty industrial solvent trychlorethylene to glue together plastic airplane and ship models. I remember sticking my feet in x-ray machines to see how well the new shoes fit - every thoroughly modern shoe store or shoe department had a machine like that. They also made a great place to play when your mom dragged you along on shopping trips.

None of it killed me - just made me a little weird.

I'm not saying you should actually do any of those things, I'm just saying ignorance is bliss.

Or was.

"Delicate" would be one word

BAGHDAD — Saudi Arabia and Libya, both considered allies by the United States in its fight against terrorism, were the source of about 60 percent of the foreign fighters who came to Iraq in the past year to serve as suicide bombers or to facilitate other attacks, according to senior American military officials....

They discussed the raid with the stipulation that they not be named because of the delicate nature of the issue.



Reflections on a rainy morning

Reflections on a rainy morning, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Suspicious stuff!

Thanks to a heads-up from The Impolitic we are frightened witless by this map from the...what? Illegal Alien Activity Tracking System?... tracking, well...

California: Reports decry hate in debate!
Nebraska: Teacher runs away with immigrant kid! (OMG!)
Missouri: Immigrants driving without insurance!
North Carolina: Somebody is showing a movie about the border!
Florida: Immigration agency shut down!

Did we say witless? I thought we did.

File under Headlines That Could Have Used Just a Little More Work

Holiday creep yields bounty of Thanksgiving greetings

(Chicago Tribune)

Does anybody bother to do the math?

The holiday travel season is upon is (well, not us - you) and lost luggage is the worry du jour. The Chicago Tribune here breathlessly repeats a revelation from yesterday's NYTimes...

But the baggage problem is getting worse. One in every 138 checked bags was lost during the first nine months of this year, compared with one in 155 bags a year earlier, the New York Times reported.

Getting worse, Bunky! It undeniably is! It's up to 0.72 percent! That's your likelihood of losing a bag - three-quarters of one percent. Which sounds, you know, awful, but not so awful I wouldn't check mine.

Oh wretched excess

Among them will be almost 2,000 cheerleaders...
In the parade. You know, that Macy's one. According to this AP story 10,000 people, half of them Macy's employees, will march, which means 20 percent of everybody will be cheerleaders - or more, depending on what you think of Macy's employees - which is, Bunky, way, way too much cheer for me. Way too much.

Need something to be thankful for, Bunky?

Try this.

Astronomers may have unwittingly hastened the end of the Universe by simply looking at it, according to a theory reported in the latest edition of New Scientist....

The report says the claim is contested by other astrophysicists and adds reassuringly: "The fact that we are still here means this can't have happened yet."

(AFP via Raw Story)


Not the Daily Show

Hang in there, writers. You're right.

If we can make people take driver's training and anger management classes...

...why can't we make this guy take civics lessons?

"I think he truly is somebody who believes in democracy," Bush told the US television network ABC, saying he regarded him as "a man of his word."

(AFP via Yahoo! News)



WTF?, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

It's the blondes you have to worry about

Academics at the University of Paris X-Nanterre examined men's ability to complete general knowledge tests after exposure to women with different hair colours.

Throughout both trials, those participants exposed to blondes recorded the lowest scores.


I might even buy a TV to watch this one

“Is waterboarding torture?” said God, kicking off the taped segment to be aired on Larry King Live on Monday. The Creator of the Universe then turned directly into the camera and added, “That’s a rhetorical, America.”

God’s publicist tells The Wounded-Courier that “The Boss” is embarking on a weeklong media blitz to get the word out and granted Larry King the first interview after disclosing Mr. King’s decades-long prayers to book the Supreme Being.

An exasperated God, clad in a pomegranate Puma jumpsuit, then asked King, “How many historical examples do you people need? If you haven’t figured this out yet, I’ve no choice but to rescind my longstanding agreement to bless America,” adding, “This extends, by the way, to the trademarked utterance ‘And may God bless America.’ Each invocation hereafter will be met with a prompt cease and desist from my lawyers.”

(And more from Media Bloodhound)

Cold duck

Pay no attention and maybe it will go away

WASHINGTON - New Orleans lost out in the competition to host one of the 2008 presidential debates Monday after the commission that selects the sites decided that the city has not sufficiently recovered from Hurricane Katrina to handle such a major event.

Among New Orleans' failings, according to Frank Fahrenkopf Jr, the commission's R co-chair, are "press facilities, broadcast logistics such as sight lines, and security," although don't get him wrong, he loves New Orleans, some of his best friends are New Orleans. But Oxford, Mississippi has, presumably, better sight lines and besides their bid was better, so that's where the first debate will be - followed by Nashville, TN and Hempstead, NY, with the vice presidential debate in St. Louis and alternate sites in Danville, KY and Winston-Salem, NC.

I don't know why they need alternates unless they're worried one of those other places gets itself unrecovered between now and then, which would be embarrassing to the max.

All sites west of the Mississippi River are apparently also unrecovered, as are most in states not named Mississippi, Tennesee, Kentucky, or North Carolina. I don't know where to put Missouri in all this - I've been in St. Louis several times and read about Hannibal, of course, but I don't know much about the rest of the state. I met a girl called Candy once, though, from Missouri who called it Misery.

Somebody finally got around to it

A procrastination flow chart. See the whole thing here.

Wait a minute

Come on. It's freakin' snowing out there. And the weather widget says
28º. Whose idea was that?

OK, it's not snowing much, just a little, and it won't be around long
as it's forecast warmer and rainy for the next couple of days, but
still. It's just too soon.


Come on, it's a joke

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., raised eyebrows in Iowa today when she refused to respond to a supermarket cashier’s question about her preference for paper or plastic bags, calling the inquiry “totally hypothetical.”

(Andy Borowitz at Truthdig)
OK, satire. But that's sort of like a joke. Only not quite.


A federal judge ruled today that the FBI was liable for the 1982 execution-style deaths of two men allegedly killed by James "Whitey" Bulger and his associates, saying the government acknowledged in several other criminal cases that the men were killed because a rogue FBI agent told mobsters that one of the victims was an informant.

(Boston Globe)

So now they have to, what, arrest themselves? Ya think?

Best excuse ever

But police slowed traffic on the ramp and annoyed drivers who said they were being ticketed for a reasonable act of confusion.

(Boston Globe)

Reasonable act of confusion? I don't know about you, Bunky, but that pretty much covers everything I ever did.

Up, up, and away, fat chance

So after a note on air transport congestion yesterday and some conversation about it at dinner last night I checked this morning, on a whim, the departure board at O'Hare. It listed 28 departures at 8:00AM, with another 13 within five minutes after 8:00. I've spent a lot of time at O'Hare over the years and I know they're pretty good at what they do, but no way are they going to get 41 flights off the ground in five minutes - especially when they have 26 flights scheduled to arrive within the same span of time.

So pack a few good books on your iPod, Bunky, it's gonna be a while.

Move over, Druids

The appearance of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the agenda of the American Academy of Religion's annual meeting gives a kind of scholarly imprimatur to a phenomenon that first emerged in 2005, during the debate in Kansas over whether intelligent design should be taught in public school sciences classes.

(AP via Yahoo! News)

Thanks to WTF is it now?!? for catching that.


Reality check

Make no mistake, telecom immunity is about keeping a flagrantly illegal program from public scrutiny and maintaining the illusion that the president ordered a small, precision surveillance program, when the opposite is true.

(St. Petersburg Times)

Best work avoidance ever

Stole it from the Blue Gal, myself, but it's all over the place by now (so sue me, we're a little slow). Pick from multiple-choice word definitions, buy 10 grains of rice every time you're right. So far, says the Totals page, more than 2.5 billion grains have been distributed via the United Nations World Food Program, and that's a lotta words. (Go ahead, define "lotta," Dude.)

Just click on the banner to play, or look for "Free Rice" in the Work Avoidance list.

But not where you live, of course

Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children's bedrooms.

(Boston Globe)

First they blow up street signs and now, well, hey, it's just a piece of paper, isn't it?

(And sure it's voluntary, assuming you think anything's voluntary in "high-crime neighborhoods" when cops come to the door.)

Sorta like upgrading the whole thing to an SUV

From a professional pilot of our long acquaintance:

So, here's the thing. Bush says he will expedite holiday air travel by having the DOD open up some military airspace. OVER THE ATLANTIC OCEAN....

And this will help folks traveling by air from, say, Atlanta to Boise. Uh huh... What WILL happen is that flights departing from Miami or other South Florida locations will have a straighter shot at New York and Boston. These flights will more likely take off on time, rather than holding on the ground until they are assured that they won't have to wait for runway space at their destination. But the problem is, it's not "highway" congestion that is the problem. It's "off ramp" congestion. When all of these on time departures get to their destination, it's probable that they will encounter airborne holding delays as they wait to get in line to land. So, flights will still run late, only they will burn a lot more fuel in the process...

(Chicago Tribune via our YAME Midwest bureau)