CNET piles on

Now that Microsoft has announced the availability of the RC version of Service Pack 3 for our old friend, XP, I'm delighted to tell you all that not only is this upgrade substantial and extremely helpful. Believe it or not, this upgrade creates the best Windows experience I have ever used.

Now, as you may be aware, Vista is, well, crap....


File under Hell Hath No Fury

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.


Yogurt? Oh that does it, Dude

The new Miss France is deciding whether to give up her crown after the head of the competition committee demanded she quit over compromising photos.

Valerie Begue appears crucified in one picture, posing Christ-like in a swimming pool. In another she is seen suggestively licking yogurt out of a pot.

(Faux/Sky News)

Santa super-sized

Santa super-sized, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Some guy at the Washington Post obsesses about how candidates eat

You want, as a voter, to be able to say, "He looks like he knows his way around a pizza."

Well no, actually, I don't.

What is the expiration time on "have a nice day?"

I always thought it was midnight but now I'm confused. Yeah, right, that's not too unusual, but still. I went over to that Staples joint by the rotary this morning to buy an ink cartridge and the checkout person said "have a nice rest of the day" and I feel cheated.

Department of Covering Stuff Up

So while the Justice Department’s number one was pleading to his own employees for clemency for corporate wrongdoers (a function normally accorded to high-priced lawyers in private practice), its number-two-to-be was giving a series of carefully rehearsed and highly disingenuous answers to an oversight committee designed to shield those who have committed war crimes and to justify the continuing official use of torture—a crime under the laws of the United States and the laws of nations. And its powerful new national security division was busily obstructing a Congressional inquiry into the destruction of evidence sought by two federal judges—destruction in which a bevy of Bush Administration lawyers, including a former Attorney General, are now deeply linked.


Sounds like a dull job to me

(American Memory, Library of Congress)


The kind of story that comes along once in a 18-3943 moon

AT least one color authority, Pantone, has taken the plunge and announced its favorite color for 2008. To be sure, this news doesn’t seem as delectable as People’s Sexiest Man Alive or as snugly affirming as Time’s Person of the Year. You probably did not even know that chili pepper red was the color for 2007.

Nonetheless, Pantone’s choice of blue iris, or No. 18-3943, got some news media attention last week, which seemed to be partly the objective of the company, which is based in Carlstadt, N.J.


Ya think?

Let me know when this turns up on eBay

Border crossing crooks were blamed after an entire beach including beach huts, sun loungers and sand were stolen....

"It has probably been shipped over the border now without any checks being made where it will be easier to get rid of," [local official] Repas said.


If it comes with warm I want it.

But no, you don't get your money back, Bunky

The Pentagon's highest-flying spy drone isn't able to "consistently " perform, even on a "limited schedule," according to a draft Defense Department report.

(Wired Danger Room)

Bare pander

Reporting from Iowa...

“What’s wrong with our country, what is wrong with our culture, is that you can’t say the name Jesus Christ without people going completely berserk,” Mr. Huckabee told a crowd in Dike, a tiny farm town about 80 miles northeast of Des Moines, where people also stood to applaud.

And better yet (lots, lots better)...

“Who is your favorite author?” Aleya Deatsch, 7, of West Des Moines asked Mr. Huckabee in one of those posing-like-a-shopping-mall-Santa moments.

Mr. Huckabee paused, then said his favorite author was Dr. Seuss.

In an interview afterward with the news media, Aleya said she was somewhat surprised. She thought the candidate would be reading at a higher level.

“My favorite author is C. S. Lewis,” she said.


Say it ain't so, Joe

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report" will resume production on Jan. 7 without their striking writers, the Comedy Central network announced Thursday.

(Raw Story)

Except, of course...

US President George W. Bush said Thursday that nuclear power represents the "best solution" to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and stressed he was serious about fighting climate change.

...oh never mind. The best way to cut greenhouse gas emissions when this guy talks is to turn off the mic.

What, they don't have any Republicans in Estonia?

Forty-eight hours of celebrations are taking place to mark nine new states joining a European border-free zone.

The Schengen agreement, which allows passport-free travel across the area, now embraces 24 nations.


All I want for Christmas is a new tinfoil hat

A plan to dramatically widen US law enforcement agencies' access to data from powerful spy satellites is moving toward implementation, as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff expects to finalize a charter for the program this week, according to a new report.

(Raw Story)

Maybe they could patch a few potholes while they're there

A devout group of evangelical Christians in the Midwest are flocking to help purify a spot they believe the Bible has ordained as holy ground -- and it happens to be 1,500 miles of interstate asphalt.

Why the location?

According to CNN, the small contingent of churchgoers believe that Interstate 35, a sprawling highway running from Texas to Minnesota, is specifically mentioned in the Book of Isaiah, chapter 35.

(Raw Story)

And JIC you're not convinced about the holiness quotent this highway one Cindy Jacobs, an organizer of the prayathon, points out the Minneapolis bridge collapse last August was on I-35, and also the assassination of JFK happened, well, somewhere near it. So there ya go.

Anyway if they get enough people up there on the northern end of it, flocking, they might act as a sort of human snow fence, which would probably be a good thing.


I don't even want to think about it, OK?

Tame the winter blues. Impress your friends. Eight steps to the perfect backyard snow shelter.

(Boston Globe)

But will it make the wait seem shorter?

Mathematicians from the University of Exeter have solved the mystery of traffic jams by developing a model to show how major delays occur on our roads, with no apparent cause. Many traffic jams leave drivers baffled as they finally reach the end of a tail-back to find no visible cause for their delay....

“When you tap your brake, the traffic may come to a full stand-still several miles behind you. It really matters how hard you brake - a slight braking from a driver who has identified a problem early will allow the traffic flow to remain smooth. Heavier braking, usually caused by a driver reacting late to a problem, can affect traffic flow for many miles.”


And you thought Lieberman's endorsement was a big deal

Rep. Tom Tancredo dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination Thursday and endorsed rival Mitt Romney.


Willard's eyes

CBS News: “Did you actually see — with your own eyes — your father marching with Martin Luther King?”

Romney: “My own eyes? You know, I speak in the sense of I saw my dad become president of American Motors. I wasn’t actually there when he became president of American Motors, but I saw him in the figurative sense of he marched with Martin Luther King. My brother also remembers him marching with Martin Luther King and so in that sense I saw him march with Martin Luther King.”


What is this, Talk Like a Bush Day?

Nor I

WHAT GEORGE IS NOT SURPRISED BY: “I’m not surprised we get criticized on a variety of fronts. And – on the other hand, most people like to come to our country, and most people love what America stands for. And so, it’s like I say about the presidency, people in America like the presidency and sometime they like the President. Get it?”

(Whatever It Is, I'm Against It)

On your mark...get set...

Courtesy of the fabulous Blue Gal here's your link to Global Orgasm Day (and more!).

Yeah, yeah, liberal press, blah, blah

The New York Times has changed the subheadline in Wednesday’s front-page story on the CIA’s destruction of secret interrogation tapes, following a formal request by the White House.

The correction has already been made online, and there will be a print correction in the paper, according to a Times representative.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement that the Times subheadline — “White House Role Was Wider Than It Said” — was inaccurate.


Willard? Can it be true?

Republicans know Mike Huckabee has as much a chance of becoming president (of the United States) as do Tom Tancredo or Ron Paul. But he's obliterating one of their favored insider Establishment candidates, the anything-but-authentic Willard Romney (aka- Mitt), and he's set to win the Iowa caucuses.

(Down With Tyranny!)

Oh oh, coal in this guy's stocking

The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.

Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings.


And you thought those Iraqis were stubborn, eh?

WASHINGTON — The Lakota Indians, who gave the world legendary warriors Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, have withdrawn from treaties with the United States.

"We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,'' long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means said.

(Faux News)

Enough, already, with the eyes

No one is born with a stare like Vladimir Putin's. The Russian President's pale blue eyes are so cool, so devoid of emotion that the stare must have begun as an affect, the gesture of someone who understood that power might be achieved by the suppression of ordinary needs, like blinking. The affect is now seamless, which makes talking to the Russian President not just exhausting but often chilling. It's a gaze that says, I'm in charge.

(Time, in its "Person of the Year 2007" piece)

Meanwhile, from the inestimable Avedon, a footnote:

I see Time copped-out again on their Person of the Year. You can just hear them going into a panic when they realized that thought it should be Al Gore, and they just couldn't bring themselves to do it.


Fric & Frac in Iowa

Clinton, who spent most of the campaign communicating her confidence and readiness to lead, is now emphasizing her life story and her sensitivity to voters' concerns.

Obama, who spent most of the campaign communicating his life story and sensitivity to voters' concerns, is now emphasizing his confidence and readiness to lead.

(Boston Globe)

The dirty-tricks culture dirty tricks itself

With President George W. Bush only a year away from departing the White House and the Republican succession in turmoil, some of the most prominent conservative intellectuals and activists have gathered together for one last great crusade. Movement icons from Robby George of Princeton to Harvey Mansfield of Harvard, from David Horowitz to Brit Hume, raised howls of persecution when they heard reports that two masked men allegedly attacked a conservative Princeton University student. They insisted that the right-wing acolyte was beaten up "for his conservative views," as Horowitz put it. And they accused Princeton of failing to protect conservatives and upholding a hypocritical liberal double standard. Unfortunately, the trumpeted cause collapsed when the victim turned out to be a hoaxer.

(Read the whole story in The Nation)

Time-wasting with a pedigree

Excellent reporting by our Midwest Bureau (and some newspaper) turns up MIT Physics Professor Walter Lewin and his "zany theatrical" lectures in introductory physics, part of MIT's Open Courseware project available here in Real Audio or from the iTunes Music Store's iTunes U, in either case free.

Finally, our Midwest Bureau chief points out, we have a way to waste time while claiming not to be really wasting time. Can't beat that.


You bet

But the Post article also does not delve into the fact that Chris Dodd's filibuster threatened to shine a bright light on how craven the other Democratic presidential hopefuls looked when they chose to stay in Iowa and promote themselves rather than come back to Washington DC and defend the constitution.


Dodd just got a whole lotta points with me for filibustering the Senate bill that would have granted wiretapping imunity, retroactively, to the telcos. The other Democratic candidates should have all taken time off from campaigning to stand against that bill; they would have been back in Iowa plenty soon enough. (And read the link.)

I'm getting plenty sick of Democratic candidates afraid to step on toes. There are toes that need to be downright stomped. Maybe Dodd's the guy to do it after all.


It all just degenerates into farce

Raising the stakes with his main rival in the crucial Iowa caucuses, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused Mike Huckabee yesterday of insulting President Bush...

(Boston Globe)

A disturbance in the Force

PC World - OK, I'll repeat that - PC World declares Vista the #1 "tech disappointment" of 2007:

No wonder so many users are clinging to XP like shipwrecked sailors to a life raft, while others who made the upgrade are switching back. And when the fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro, there's something deeply wrong with the universe.

Oh oh. I'll repeat that too. The fastest Vista notebook PC World has ever tested is an Apple MacBook Pro.


OK, we've had our fun now

Now they tell us

Report: Ohio voting machines have 'critical flaws,' could undermine ’08 election

(Raw Story)

Say ahhh

"I've been to cattle barns before and sales before, in Arkansas, but I've never felt like I was the one that was being bid on,'' Clinton told a crowd in western Iowa. "I know you're going to inspect me. You can look inside my mouth if you want."

Call me a geezer but I liked it better when politicians just wore funny hats and maybe kissed a baby or two.



Heh, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

I guess this is what happens when you use a flash on a frozen-misty sleety afternoon. And it was only about 2:30 but the sun never bothered to come out today at all. The sun has more brains than me. But I only went out for a little while, so maybe it doesn't count. Anyway, if you want some cheap amusement you can just walk up to the corner and watch the cars get stuck.

Everybody does it

Large numbers of Turkish fighter jets have bombed suspected Kurdish rebel bases in northern Iraq, reports say.

Turkish officials said the warplanes had targeted the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), in areas near the border.

But officials in northern Iraq said the planes had struck several villages. There were reports that one woman was killed, although this was unconfirmed.