Not exactly FedEx

A snail crawls about 2.5 meters an hour.

[From Facts]

But still, FedEx's snail delivery service - FedEx Ground - takes 8 days to deliver a package from Oregon to me, a fact I learned to my horror just this morning, when I was notified a USB hub I ordered from LaCie (in Oregon) would not arrive here until Friday next. Nonetheless, the delivery charge on the hub is less than it would cost me for gas if I drove to the nearest store that stocks the hub. So I guess it's worth the wait.

I suppose, too, that's as good an example as any of the savings to be found in mass transportation. If you can ship a product clear across the country for the average cost of 1.5 gallons of gas, that sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Radio from the Boundry Waters

WELY, Ely, Minnesota...

...owned by Charles Kuralt in the 1990s; saved from Minnesota Public Radio homogenization by a local buyer after Kuralt’s death; now owned by the Bois Forte Band of Chippewa; it’s a station that is inevitably compared to KBHR from the TV show Northern Exposure, primarily because they’re both eclectic community bastions in wilderness towns populated by plenty of delightfully eccentric and intellectual people.

[From Radio Free Ely | The Rake Magazine]

You can catch the webfeed here.

What's the matter with kids today?

A recent polka jam in Winton, Minn., offered free tickets to people under 40; not a single person took up the offer.

[From Polka on the Decline in America's Small Towns : NPR Music]

An act of mercy

I've finally finished listening to McCullough's "John Adams" and in consideration of its enormous length (not to mention weight) and exceptionally low beach quotient I am not, this being mid-June, adding it to the blog book list. I'm not saying it's not worth reading, I'm just saying - and yes, bunky, technically this is no more than a guess - nothing on the dust jacket includes the words "lighthearted romp."

It is, however, full of interesting stuff. You might schedule it for, say, January. You could finish reading it by February and then, as a value-added bonus given the expected price of fuel, it should burn for about a week.

If I lived in Kucinich's district I'd be looking forward to voting for a D in November

"The framers, I think, would have been astonished by the absolute passivity, if not the collusion of the Democrats in protecting President Bush from impeachment. I mean, they created a system that was essentially idiot-proof, and God knows we’ve put that to the test in the past few years, but I don’t think they anticipated that so many members of the opposition would stand quietly in the face of clear presidential crimes.”

[From Crooks and Liars » Countdown: The Impeachment Of George W. Bush ]

Otherwise, not so much.


Lab meat

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has even offered a $1 million reward for affordable cultivated meat.

[From A Path to Fowl-Free Foie Gras? - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog]

OK, that does it. I'm stocking up on SPAM right now.

Tailpipe, would be my guess

On Friday, a day before the space shuttle Discovery is supposed to return from orbit to its landing strip at the Kennedy Space Center, members of the crew noticed an object floating away from the shuttle into space.

[From Concerns as Object Floats From Shuttle - NYTimes.com]

Or maybe I just haven't fully recovered yet from the trauma of owning a Volvo.

So much more civilized than losing a laptop

Police are investigating a "serious" security breach after a civil servant lost top-secret documents containing the latest intelligence on al-Qaeda.

The unnamed Cabinet Office employee apparently breached strict security rules when he left the papers on the seat of a train.

[From BBC NEWS | UK | Secret terror files left on train]

Those Brits, they've got style.

The man who mistoke* his campaign for a coup

In a major shakeup at the Democratic National Committee -- and a departure from tradition -- large parts of the committee's operations are relocating to Chicago to be fully integrated with the Obama campaign.

The DNC's political department, housed in Washington, D.C., will be dramatically rebuilt, with staffers offered a choice of moving to Chicago, joining state operations, or staying in Washington, DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney said....

People familiar with the plan said that state party staffers paid for under Howard Dean's 50 State Program would be shifted to working for the presidential campaign, at least in targeted battleground states.

[From Spiiderweb™: Obama moves DNC operations to Chicago]

* Mistakenly toked? Or, suggests the proofreading department, mistook. Please refer to rule 2.

Five-dollar contributions from the Internet this ain't

The Chicago area Obama fund-raising elite gather Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at the home of Sara and James Hall (a few blocks from Halsted and Armitage) for a high dollar fund-raising “special reception” with presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

The $28,500 per-person event benefits the Democratic White House Victory Fund.

The hosts are the Illinois Finance Co-Chairs Jim Crown and John W. Rogers Jr.

After that, Obama heads to the near West Side home of of Leah Missbach Day and F.K. Day for a 7:15 p.m. reception for his “Obama for America” warchest where donors are asked to give or raise $2,300.

[From Lynn Sweet: Obama headlines $28,500 per person fund-raiser Thursday in Chicago; hits two funder events in city.]

This from the guy who ostentatiously eschews all that icky money from lobbyists and PACs - you know, like the MoveOn PAC (did you know MoveOn has a PAC?) or the VoteVets.org PAC or LitPAC (oh no!), and who likes to foster the impression all his impressively enormous campaign expenditures are funded by nickels and dimes from the net.


Let's cut it out with the Pluto bashing, shall we?

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The official group that names objects in the solar system is calling all distant dwarf planets "plutoids" after the planet that was demoted to dwarf status.

[From Ex-planet gets namesakes - CNN.com]

That's mean. Dude, it's not Pluto's fault it's a dwarf.

And how many moons do you have, huh?

Sorry, kids

WASHINGTON—Team Obama pounced on comments about Iraq made by presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) on NBC’s“Today Show” on Wednesday morning, portraying him as “confused.” McCain said when it comes to keeping troops in Iraq what is important is causalities—not whether or not troops stay on an open-ended basis.

Obama’s Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and top foreign policy advisor Susan Rice on a conference call with reporters hit back. Rice, talking about McCain foreign policy used the phrase “real confusion” and said McCain is “confusing” and “confused.”

Is that a code for suggesting McCain is too old to understand what is going on?

[From Lynn Sweet: Obama advisors say McCain "confused" "confusing" Iraq policy "confusion" But not about McCain's age.]

OMG no!!1! say Obama spokesdudes. (And just in passing, how did Kerry get to be "Obama's Sen. John Kerry" anyway?)

I hope not. I can think of a lot of reasons why I might not want to vote for McCain but if his age (71) is going to be the issue, that ain't exactly guaranteed to thrill me.

Is Obama too young?

Is it live or is it the Onion?

SAN FRANCISCO—At a highly anticipated media event Tuesday at San Francisco's Moscone Center, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs introduced a new Apple product he said would "revolutionize" the process of unveiling new products throughout the world....

The iLaunch, as the new product is called, was then raised up from below the stage, prompting the audience of technology journalists, developers, and self-professed "Apple fanatics" to burst into a five-minute standing ovation....

Shortly after Jobs' address, Microsoft announced that they are working on a similar product, the Launch-O, due to debut in 2009.

[From Apple Unveils New Product-Unveiling Product | The Onion - America's Finest News Source]

OK, maybe you have to be a self-professed "Apple fanatic" to think that's funny.

And it's the Onion, of course. Duh.

I don't know, somehow this just sounds a little kinky to me

It seems the White House "investigated" itself...

[From Spiiderweb™: White House Fails Self-Examination]

One helluva bumpy bit of weather...

...blew through here last night. Lots of flash and bang. Plenty of rain - maybe enough to cause a little flash flooding in the low spots - not much wind. So no where near as bad as what's been going on in other places but enough to persuade me to shut the network down - a rare event. The good news is it knocked the heat back to a reasonable setting and it's nice and sunny and fresh-smelling out there. Still a little warm in here - why does the insulation only work in the summertime? - but we should be under 90º for the rest of the week and, if the forecast holds, under 80º early next. Can't ask for more than that.

See? This whole thing was just a slip of the tongue

LONDON - President Bush admitted Wednesday that his tough rhetoric had given the world the impression he was a "guy really anxious for war" and said he now wished he had used a different tone on the global stage.

[From Bush: I regret talking tough before war in Iraq - The White House- msnbc.com]

So maybe he can use a "different tone" before he attacks Iran.

BTW, there's a poll on impeachment up at MSNBC - you can click right on over there and vote.

Why are we still talking about impeachment, anyway? Why is it not done already?

Arithmetic kicks in

“Our fleet is over 500 airplanes,” said Beth Harbin, a Southwest spokeswoman. “If you can make a difference on one airplane on one flight, and multiply that by 500, in this day and age that is significant.”

[From To Save Fuel, Airlines Find No Speck Too Small - NYTimes.com]

Actually - I know, I'm being a little picky here - in any day and any age that would be true, for airplanes or for horses.

I think we're going to have to issue a buzzword alert on "in this day and age." It's popping up all too often in this day and age.



I was off the grid for hours - OK, minutes, but 10 or 15 at least, which was about how long it took for me to get to the air conditioned coffee shop where I could check my mail by phone. I shut the computer down before I left because it was getting pretty hot but I don't think the ambient sensor went over 90º, so 5 degrees to spare. The Accuweather widget said 96º, which it might have been, and the thermometer on the bank downtown said 102º. No way. I hope they do a better job of keeping track of the money.

Speaking of money, have you notice that banks are starting to look like discount stores again? They are around here. They're all giving stuff away. In lieu of interest, I suppose. But no thanks, I don't need a free blanket right now.

It's supposed to start cooling off again tomorrow. But tonight's my night to cook.

Take that, kettle, pot says

Bush said the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran would endanger world peace.

[From Bush and allies embrace possible Iran sanctions - Yahoo! News]

Maybe it's time to start working on the highlight reel

Oh yeah, dude, this is the kind of women we want to see in politics

MEGYN KELLY, CO-HOST: Well, now that they are constantly in the spotlight as potential first ladies, Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain, not taking a backseat to their powerful husbands when it comes to style. Look at these ladies!

...But who's got the edge when it comes to first lady fashion?

[From FOXNews.com - Fashion Forward: Michelle Obama vs. Cindy McCain. Who's Got the Edge When It Comes to Style? - America's Election HQ]

Really. Says correspondent Katrina Szish of "In Style" magazine (really):

Laura Bush is the ultimate American fashion icon.

So who can argue? And wait! There's more! Take a deep breath here.

JARRETT, CO-HOST: The designer [some designer or other, who knows] says if Hillary Clinton gets the vice presidential nod, oh, no, they're going to add a Clinton bra or camisole.

KELLY: Oh, come on.

JARRETT: Yes, and maybe some other stuff.

KELLY: Katrina, will that sell? They probably would, which would be really scary!

Hey, it's scary enough for me already. I'm just saying here.

But he knows what he does like when he sees it

The painting, "Night Sky #2," by Vija Celmins, reportedly was slashed May 16 while on display in the Carnegie Museum of Art. Pittsburgh police disclosed last week they had arrested Timur Serebrykov, 27, who had been a contract security guard in the Carnegie. They alleged he attacked the work because he didn't like it.

[From Art Institute painting slashed -- chicagotribune.com]

Oh you bet

"It's the wave of the future," said James Schear, the TSA security director at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, where two body scanners are in use at one checkpoint.

Schear said the scanners could eventually replace metal detectors at the nation's 2,000 airport checkpoints and the pat-downs done on passengers who need extra screening. "We're just scratching the surface of what we can do with whole-body imaging," Schear said.

[From USATODAY.com]

I can't wait until celebrity body scans start showing up in the gossip rags. Better yet, online - this could be bigger than YouTube. Baby, we'll be rich!

It's pretty spooky though that - at least according to USATODAY - nobody seems to care all that much. In this day and age.

Stepping into the 9-foot-tall glass booth, Eileen Reardon of Baltimore looked startled when an electronic glass door slid around the outside of the machine to create the image of her body. "Some of this stuff seems a little crazy," Reardon said, "but in this day and age, you have to go along with it."

Do as you're told and everything will be fine. You'll be safe. You want to be safe, don't you? Of course you do. Stand still and hold your arms up high. Good girl.


But don't hold your breath

"When your approval ratings are down around 20 to 28 percent and the candidate of your own party is trying to hide from being seen with you, history is your only hope."

[From Citing History, Bush Suggests His Policies Will One Day Be Vindicated - washingtonpost.com]

I'd rather just have chocolates, thanks

"I simply thought, 'Here is a guy who should be honored with his own catfish,'" Sabaj Perez said in a statement Monday.

[From New catfish named for longtime mailroom supervisor - Yahoo! News]



SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O) on Monday unveiled a next-generation iPhone with faster Internet access that will run on advanced wireless networks and sell for as low as $199 -- half the current entry-level price....

"It's amazingly zippy," Jobs said, showing off the encore to a device that melds a mobile phone, iPod media player and Web browser, nearly a year after the original went on sale.

[From Apple introduces "zippy" new iPhone, slashes price - Yahoo! News]

Whoa. Twice the speed at half the price would be kinda cruel except that where I live I'm lucky to get a couple of bars, let alone 3G. I won't be holding my breath. If I lived in one of those new-fangled city places I might be interested, but here? Not so much. The GPS thing would be fun. But it doesn't look like my perfect case would fit the new phone either. All in all, this time I'll wait. Really. I'm not kidding. Quit laughing. This means you.

The "Mobile Me" thing looks cool enough, not all that different from the old .Mac (of which I am a long-time fan), but the extra disk space is very nice.

Rent paint?

Rent paint?, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

I was gonna gloat here...

(CNN) -- Severe storms with heavy rains, high winds and lightning swept across the Midwest to the East Coast on Sunday, flooding towns from Iowa to Michigan, threatening levees and leaving at least eight people dead.

[From Flood waters, death toll rise after weekend storms - CNN.com]

...we've had some pretty bothersome weather most of the year so far but nothing like what the rest of the country's had...but then I checked the forecast and we've got thunderstorms in ours too so I think I'll just shut up and count my blessings.

It hit 90 in these parts Saturday afternoon and it's supposed to stay hot through tomorrow, but then it's supposed to cool off again. So if nothing gets blown over in the meantime, we'll be fine.

What is your printer doing behind your back?

The researchers concluded that enforcement agencies are looking only at I.P. addresses of participants on these peer-to-peer networks, and not what files are actually downloaded or uploaded — a more resource-intensive process that would nevertheless yield more conclusive information....

The researchers rigged the software agents to implicate three laserjet printers, which were then accused in takedown letters by the M.P.A.A. of downloading copies of “Iron Man” and the latest Indiana Jones film.

[From The Inexact Science Behind D.M.C.A. Takedown Notices - Bits - Technology - New York Times Blog]


I don't know if we're all that different from people in any other country but it's surely true Americans are pretty clueless about geography. I once heard two New Yorkers trying to figure out if Chicago is on the west coast (they decided it is). Of course you wouldn't make that mistake - but quick, grab a map and put your finger on Hong Kong. How about Sevastopol?

OK, what about this? How big is Africa?


And you thought you might be getting a little break here

Oh no. Now you've got a couple of months of Why Hillary Lost to look forward to. Here, the NYTimes gets to it by asking an auspicious number of "experts" to txt in the first random thoughts that flitted through their brains, apparently, judging from the stuff they got.

A mere six months ago, it seemed a good bet that Hillary Clinton would win the Democratic presidential nomination. It didn’t turn out that way. The Op-Ed page asked 13 political experts to explain why they thought her campaign didn’t live up to expectations.

[From Op-Ed Contributors - What Went Wrong? Twelve Experts on the Clinton Campaign - Op-Ed - NYTimes.com]

Dude, my candidate lost in March. (This is not unusual for my candidates - apologies to everyone I've ever supported.) So I bit that particular bullet a long time ago. As far as I'm concerned this long Democratic primary was an epic battle for runner-up - which may be good enough, I guess, judging from all the unqualified optimism I encounter, although I seem to remember that about this time in '04 defeating Bush's run for a second term was pretty much a slam-dunk too. And we know how that turned out.

I don't know, I thought some of them were still obbying

Ex-obbyists behind McCain's flip-flop? [sic]

[From The Raw Story | A rational voice - Alternative news]

Oh oh: Forget Poland

WARSAW - Polish forces will be out of Iraq by the middle of October, Defence Minister Bogdan Klich confirmed in a radio interview Saturday.

[From The Raw Story | Poland to leave Iraq by October: minister]