Make that two

Global facts at this Moment:

FACT: 79,000,000 people are engaged in sex right now.

FACT: 58,000,000 are kissing.

FACT: 37,000,000 are relaxing after having sex.

FACT: 1 "old timer" is reading e-mails.

Thanks to Charlie in California

"Stonehenge reloaded"

Thanks to Charlie in California

Playing with fire

Photo: Phil Compton

It's not Hillary

Foreign envoys come in all shapes and sizes but rarely decked out in miniskirts, schoolgirl uniforms and polka dot dresses adorned with bunny rabbits – until now.

The dramatic new look for Japan's diplomatic corps was unveiled by the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday, part of a plan to boost its soft power abroad with what it called "ambassadors of cute".

[From Polka dots and miniskirts: how Japan wants world to see it - Asia, World - The Independent]

Our annual Pi Day singalong

Lyrics included


My broker...

Photo: Phil Compton

We can scarcely contain our joy

The Democrats' favorite independent punching bag in the Senate seems as if he may be open to returning to the party now that they control a majority of seats in the Senate and his chairmanship of a key Senate committee is safe.

[From The Raw Story | Lieberman could become a Democrat again in 2012]

Not going nowhere, not doing nothing, but gotta eat

The folks I usually have dinner with are otherwise engaged this evening so I'm on my own. Short of going out for dinner, which would violate the going nowhere clause, I have two options, seems to me.

1. Pick up an extra-good steak, a nice Idaho potato and a bunch of fresh, healthy broccoli.

2. Pick up a tub of disgustingly greasy artery-clogging fried chicken oh yeah baby yeah, and toss in a couple of those chocolate chip cookies while you're at it, OK?

Which, oh which, will it be?

Busking on Mallory Square

Photo:  Phil Compton

What the stylish golfer wears...

...or not.

-Noted by Midwest Bureau Cub Reporter Paul Knue

Photos of tough times

An album assembled by Slate...

-Noted by Seattle Bureau Chief Lynn C.

An expensive sofa

OK, here's the deal: You can have the sofa for 27 bucks, but you gotta take the cat...

Vickie Mendenhall and her boyfriend Chris bought the couch for their home nearly two weeks ago but the day after they purchased it something didn't sound quite right....

[From KXLY.com: News, Weather and Sports for Spokane, WA and Coeur d'Alene, ID | Buy a couch, get a cat]

-Paul Knue

Leave it to the court jesters to speak the truth

NEW YORK — There were laughs, but in the larger sense there was nothing funny about CNBC stock picker Jim Cramer's widely anticipated appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Thursday night.

In response to aggressive questioning by Stewart, Cramer said that he was "chastised" and wished that the financial news network had done more to expose Wall Street corruption.

[From Jim Cramer takes his lumps on 'The Daily Show' - USATODAY.com]

-Paul Knue

A dog's afternoon

Photo: Phil Compton

Ah, to be young again...

Changing the name of Sears Tower to Willis Tower is a no-brainer, especially if you're Willis Group Holdings....

What's far less certain is whether loyal Chicagoans, as well as tourists, will allow the "Willis Tower" name to stick....

"I think it's terrible," said Jen King, 20, of Bartlett. "It's been the Sears Tower forever."

[From Sears Tower name change has few Chicago fans -- chicagotribune.com]

...and think 1973 was forever ago. Right. Sears Tower opened in 1973. I was there.

Of course, true enough, it has been Sears Tower forever since then.

And as far as I'm concerned, Sears Tower it will remain - but tell me, how many people still call the Avenue of the Americas 6th? How many still call the Arizona Cardinals the St. Louis Cardinals, let alone the Chicago Cardinals?

Twenty years from now somebody will be saying, "It's been the Willis Tower forever, hasn't it?"

Toward secret laws

Last September, the Bush administration defended the unusual secrecy over an anti-counterfeiting treaty being negotiated by the U.S. government, which some liberal groups worry could criminalize some peer-to-peer file sharing that infringes copyrights.

Now President Obama's White House has tightened the cloak of government secrecy still further, saying in a letter this week that a discussion draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and related materials are "classified in the interest of national security pursuant to Executive Order 12958."

[From Obama White House: Copyright treaty is a 'national security' secret | Politics and Law - CNET News]

(Emphasis mine)


First France, now...


COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) -- The United States faces a Zimbabwe-style economic collapse if it keeps "spending a bunch of money we don't have," South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford said Wednesday.

[From S.C. governor evokes Zimbabwe in arguments against stimulus - CNN.com]

Zimbabwe? Where do these guys come from, anyway?

Oh, right. The Limbaugh Party.

Once city of broad shoulders, hog butcher to the world, now tweets

Chicago is No. 3 among cities worldwide in the number of people who use Twitter, according to twittergrader.com.

[From More Chicagoans on Twitter than almost anywhere :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State]

Nobody's safe

Maybe I'll just go back to bed

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp founder Bill Gates is the richest man again, overtaking investor Warren Buffett, as the global financial meltdown wiped out $2 trillion from the net worth of the world's billionaires, Forbes Magazine said on Wednesday....

Collectively, the top three billionaires lost $68 billion in the year to February 13, when Forbes took a snapshot of wealth around the world to compile its annual list of billionaires.

[From World's richest not so rich, Gates regains top spot]



Photo: Phil Compton

Bailout bonanza

Vanity Fair contributing editor Bruce Feirstein has discovered the über-top-secret Federal Bailout application—the one-page “EZ-CASH” form that’s been making the rounds at corporate board rooms, weekend ski chalets, and NetJets waiting rooms all across America.

[From Apply for a Federal Bailout!: Bruce Feirstein | Vanity Fair]

Check out the form (find it at the link above). It's pretty funny, notes Midwest Bureau Cub Reporter Paul Knue.

Delusion is no disability in broadcasting

"I am at the top of the mountain of what I do. Everybody underneath it wants what I've got," Rush said on his show the other day. "As such, they'll do what they can to take me down or to criticize me or what have you. It is beneath my dignity to be critical of those beneath me. It's just a waste of time."

[From Garrison Keillor, Where's my disability check? | Salon ]

-Noted by Midwest Bureau Cub Reporter Paul Knue

"We may have just found the most atrocious defense video of all time"

Video produced by Israeli arms maker Rafael for the Indian defense ministry's annual air show, via Danger Room.

(Stay for the closing title.)

Whose idea was this Congress thing, anyway?

WASHINGTON - The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits up to $250,000, tried for years to get congressional authority to collect the premiums in case of a looming crisis. But Congress believed that the fund was so well-capitalized - and that bank failures were so infrequent - that there was no need to collect the premiums for a decade, according to banking officials and analysts.

[From Now-needy FDIC collected few premiums from banks for decade - The Boston Globe]

See outside of those big cities...

...like, you know, Dallas (Dallas?) and Atlanta and what not they don't have sex, they just have the Dairy Queen and maybe a picture show on the weekend, is all.

GOOD HOPE, Ala.---- It's one thing for a church in a big city like Dallas or Atlanta to tackle the ticklish topic of sex. It blends in with the urban scene....

[From 'Sex-y' sermons cause stir in rural Alabama :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Nation]

OK, but just this one more time, I'm not kidding, I mean it, I really do

WASHINGTON – Acknowledging it's an "imperfect" bill, President Barack Obama said Wednesday he will accept a $410 billion spending package that includes billions in earmarks like those he promised to curb in last year's campaign. But he insisted the bill must signal an "end to the old way of doing business."

[From Obama to sign spending bill, push for new rules]

It's come to this

Inside, an artful photo spread includes quilts stitched with a gun-toting Jesus, one woman's homage to Viagra, ample male and female nudity, and at least one newborn "peering out from his mother's lady parts," as it was described recently in The Washington Post.

[From Quilting magazine pushes the envelope -- chicagotribune.com]

Ospreys at home

Photo: Phil Compton

Something really strange is going on

I went out to put the trash on the curb this morning and it's raining water. I mean, this stuff is hitting the windshields and running right off, all by itself. I'm not quite sure what to make of this development but for the moment, it seems good.

So tell us how you really feel

If Robespierre were to ascend from hell and seek out today’s guillotine fodder, he might start with a list of those with three incriminating initials beside their names: MBA. The Masters of Business Administration, that swollen class of jargon-spewing, value-destroying financiers and consultants have done more than any other group of people to create the economic misery we find ourselves in....

I write as the holder of an MBA from Harvard Business School – once regarded as a golden ticket to riches, but these days more like scarlet letters of shame. We MBAs are haunted by the thought that the tag really stands for Mediocre But Arrogant, Mighty Big Attitude, Me Before Anyone and Management By Accident. For today’s purposes, perhaps it should be Masters of the Business Apocalypse.

[From Harvard’s masters of the apocalypse - Times Online ]


OK, I'm confused

Not exactly a surprise, but...

WASHINGTON -- The government's coordinator for cybersecurity programs has quit, criticizing what he described as the National Security Agency's grip on cybersecurity.

Rod Beckstrom, a former Silicon Valley entrepreneur, said in his resignation letter that the NSA's central role in cybersecurity is "a bad strategy" because it is important to have a civilian agency taking a key role in the issue. The NSA is part of the Department of Defense.

[From Cybersecurity Chief Resigns - WSJ.com]

...is not the Department of Defense a civilian agency? Sure, the Secretary of Defense is in the military's chain of command but the Secretary of Defense is a civilian. And come to think of it, is not the NSA a civilian agency too? If it's a military agency, this is the first time I've heard.

So maybe, I'm just saying maybe here, if this cybersecurity genius can't figure that much out it's not a completely bad thing he's going home.

Bernanke's duh moment

Referring to big interconnected firms, known as "too big to fail," Mr. Bernanke said "any firm whose failure would pose a systemic risk must receive especially close supervisory oversight of its risk-taking, risk management, and financial condition, and be held to high capital and liquidity standards."

[From Bernanke Outlines Steps to Avoid Future Crises - WSJ.com]

No flies on him.

This may or may not be a good thing

I feel like it's Friday and it's only Tuesday.

Both my classes in Northampton this week are full, 12 people in each, and all the people are quick and curious. Which makes for really good classes, but really hard work. I have two easier days coming up, shorter and with a different group, and then another full day in Northampton on Friday. Maybe that will feel like Tuesday.


At the furniture store

At the furniture store, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

Is that a Klondike bar in your pocket or...oh

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – What would you do for a Klondike bar? Authorities said a man shoved an ice cream bar down his pants and then offered a Texaco station store owner $69 not to turn him in for shoplifting.

[From Police: Man offers $69 for Klondike bar down pants]

Unclear on the concept

SILVER SPRING, Md. – Montgomery County police say 16 people were arrested after a fight broke out during a concert held to promote nonviolence...

[From 16 arrested in fight at nonviolence concert]

Super Bowl "tweets"

As the Steelers and Cardinals battled on the field, Twitter users across the nation pecked out a steady stream of "tweets." The map shows the location and frequency of commonly used words in Super Bowl related messages.

[From Map of Popular Super Bowl Words Used on Twitter - Interactive Graphic - NYTimes.com]

"Tweets" are what Twitter users do. I don't know why they don't call them "twits." Or "chirps." Twitter is sort of like what Channel 1 of CompuServe's chat service used to be - hundreds of people all typing "hi, I'm here" at the same time. Only bigger. Sometimes, the graphic shows, they type other things. Like "go."


At least

At least, originally uploaded by tedcompton.

I have a huge case of spring fever.