Smile, you're on Street View

Users can see cars, pedestrians, homes, stores — basically anything on the street the precise moment the Google car rolled by.

[From Google’s Camera Car Cruises New York for Street View Update - NYTimes.com]

How long before being on Street View becomes the latest celebrity status symbol?

Now that the commencement speeches have died down...

read about...

11 Famous Law School Dropouts


Cowboys getting wimpy, Collins says

Those of us who live in [Manhattan] have many good qualities, but we are not necessarily all of pioneer stock, given the critical importance we assign to restaurants that deliver at 2 in the morning.

Who knew we were tougher than Montanans?

[From Op-Ed Columnist - When Did Cowboys Get Wimpy? - NYTimes.com]


An all-time classic

OK, if you are a copy editor -- one of those anonymous nerds who toil in the dark without credit or glamour, unless, of course, you screw up -- this is the moment you live for, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to write a headline that will live in journalism books for all time, a classic similar to Dewey Defeats Truman, or Headless Man Found In Topless Bar, or OJ WALKS (did we ever catch hell for that).

It just doesn't get any better than this.

Mayor quits job for gay illegal immigrant he loves

[From Texas mayor quits job for gay illegal immigrant he loves | Chronicle | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle]

–Paul Knue

Uh...I think you're out of uniform, soldier

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says American soldiers have more than their military might and training on their side in the war in Afghanistan. Some have pink underwear.

[From Gates hails soldier's pink boxer shorts - USATODAY.com]

You've gotta be one tough dude to go to battle in pink boxers and flip-flops

–Paul Knue

Saving the planet, whether it wants to be saved or not

“One of our big efforts right now is to develop green ammunition,” Lt. Col. Jeff Woods, product manager for Small Caliber Ammunition, said at the National Defense Industry Association’s International Infantry & Joint Services Small Arms Systems Symposium.

[From Army working on ‘green’ slugs - Army News, news from Iraq, - Army Times]

Yo ho ho

If you'll be anywhere near Chicago this summer you ought to consider a trip to the Field Museum.


Follow the money

U.S. crude oil inventories are at their highest levels in almost two decades, and demand has fallen to a 10-year low, but crude oil prices have climbed more than 70 percent since mid-January to a six-month high of $62.04 on Wednesday.

[From Are Wall Street speculators driving up gasoline prices? - National Business - MiamiHerald.com]

Sometimes I'm really glad I didn't waste any time in my youth studying economics, all that stuff about supply and demand, blah blah blah.

It's all about the investors, turns out.

What? They haven't seceded yet?

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A comment by a strategist for Gov. Rick Perry that the Republican Party shouldn't open itself "like a whorehouse" to new voters has infuriated prominent GOP women in Texas and given Perry's primary rival, U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, fuel for the re-election fight.

Perry is trying to distance himself from the remark, published in the Dallas Morning News, by consultant David Carney, but as Texas Republicans split into the governor's social conservative camp and Hutchison's more moderate one before the March 2010 primary, the damage was done.

[From The Raw Story » GOP governor’s aide: GOP shouldn’t open itself ‘like a whorehouse’ to new voters]

(Emphasis mine)

Bunky, when you're describing Kay Bailey Hutchison as the moderate one you are way, way beyond the fringe.

But think of all that good fried rice

IBM is now offering new job opportunities for workers being displaced. The only catch is they have to move to China, Slovakia, India or wherever their old job was sent. What a deal – you can keep your offshored job, but you have to offshore yourself! Oh – and you also have to work for the low, low, low local wage rate.


No, absolutely not, no way

We certainly couldn't ask for a more wholesome Idol.

[From Kris Allen voted winner of 'American Idol' :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Paige Wiser]

Dude. Take a deep breath there.

Hey, I don't want to knock idols or anything like that, especially our new, official, national idol (I mean, other than Trickshot Dick of course), but I'm just wondering, not having seen this particular idol myself, personally, is it true the guy is Pat Boone's love child?

The Duncan Yo-Yo guy

When April with its sweet showers brought flowers to the lawns of May and birds filled the air with melodies, Dan-Dan the Yo-Yo Man made his annual pilgrimage to our playground at St. Mary's School.

[From Roger Ebert's Journal: Archives]

I don't know when this stopped happening but when I was in school the Yo-Yo man was the surest sign of spring. At the high school, we even had an assembly every spring at which the Yo-Yo guy was the chief attraction (we were easily amused even then).

What’s A ‘Spooey’?

Everybody knows what a cloverleaf looks like — but could you identify a volleyball, a double trumpet, or a “spooey”...?

[From What’s A ‘Spooey’? A Field Guide To Freeway Interchanges, Part 1 » INFRASTRUCTURIST]


OK then - hopeful but not so good

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve expects the economy to improve in coming months, even as policymakers have downgraded their outlook for all of 2009.

[From Fed sees hopeful signs but downgrades '09 forecast]

Derby Hat Series, #9

Photo: Phil Compton

I give up

Why is it that, despite society's outward distaste for the world's oldest profession, half the hotels in California's Gold Country cheerfully proclaim the property's heritage as a former bordello?

[From Old-time bordellos now good-time hotels]



Volkswagen's CEO, Martin Winterkorn recently confirmed the company is working on a car that will get 235 mpg (1 liter per 100 kilometers) fuel economy. In 2002, VW showed its 1-Liter concept car that achieved 264 mpg (0.89L/100km). The project was cancelled in 2005 but VW has now revived it. How real is this? VW now says a limited production car could be offered by 2010.

[From Volkswagen 1-Liter 235 MPG Extreme Fuel Efficiency Car | GreenCar.com]

OK, I feel safer now

With Pakistan's troops fighting street-to-street against Taliban forces, according to this AFP report CIA chief Leon Panetta assures us the Pakistanis' approach to protecting their nuclear weapons is "pretty secure."

On torture...

Now that important figures in Washington have admitted to directly ordering more and worse...the question of even investigating whether some sort of crime may perhaps have taken place is fraught with all sort of beard-tugging brain-twisters which no man can untangle, even with the help of modern computer technology. How can we investigate if we don’t know all the facts? How dare we enforce laws against things which might possibly be permissible in some highly artificial thought experiment? What if ‘24′ is FOR REALS?!? These are the sorts of questions which need to be shrugged at for 50 billion news cycles before we can even think about OH MY GOD A SHARK ATE A WHITE LADY AT HER WEDDING!!!!! We’ve got what amounts to a reverse Nuremberg defense, where Bush administration officials are let off the hook because they were only giving orders.

[From Sympathy for the bad apples « The Poor Man Institute]

(Emphasis mine)

Writer and plagiarist. Same thing.

That New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd plagiarized Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo cannot be denied....

Bad, Dowd, bad.

[From Having confessed to lifting Josh Marshall's copy, the Times' Maureen Dowd almost sets things right. - By Jack Shafer - Slate Magazine ]

The unspoken truth: If you write for a living, you are, or have been, or will be, a plagiarist. I guarantee it.

At some time in your career, you will have lifted a passage, a fact, even a whole string of facts, and passed them off as your own. Worse, you most likely will have made up quotes or sources or situations. It doesn't happen by accident, no matter what Maureen wants you to think. It is done willfully, and with a sweaty palm.

It was done because the clock was ticking and you needed a fact or a quote to fill out a story, and your source hadn't called you back. It probably was done on little, minor stories that didn't draw much of the editor's attention. But it was rarely done on those big, black-headline stories that people would talk about for days. Those facts, those quotes, were nailed down solid. Reporters could be lazy, but they've rarely been stupid. At least not stupid in that way.

I'm sure plagiarism was a lot more prevalent back in the old days, before everything was on the Internet and before there were computer programs to check even the most obscure writer's work. Any old time journalist could give you the names of reporters who took thievery to award-winning heights.

I fired two reporters for plagiarism, fired them on the spot, no appeal, just pack your stuff and punch the down button on the elevator. Now. Fired them even though I knew that every writer, at one time or another, had done something very similar.

–Paul Knue


What are the odds?

Who'll win the Belmont Stakes, the U.S. Open, the World Series – or, the Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice David Souter?

The establishment media is covering all of these premier "sporting" events with about equal depth, breathlessly speculating on who appears to be up or down, offering a blizzard of statistics and odds, doing profiles of major contenders, and generally feeding the voracious maw of conventional wisdom...


Meanwhile, in Ohio...

BEDFORD, Ohio – An Ohio man who argued with his grown son over a messy bedroom said he overreacted when he called 911. Andrew Mizsak called authorities Thursday after his 28-year-old son — who's a school board member in the Cleveland suburb of Bedford — threw a plate of food across the kitchen table and made a fist at him when told to clean his room....

The father declined to press charges and told police he doesn't want to ruin his son's political career.

[From Man calls 911 over 28-year-old son's messy bedroom]

Every time we drove across the state line into Ohio my dad, an Ohioan by birth, used to say, "OK you can take your shoes off now." I don't remember him ever saying anything about picking them up.

What Has Four Legs and Follows Todd Heisler?

Find out, and check out the new NYTimes photo blog, Lens.

Watch yourself there, dude

We bought a new bicycle the other day. Nothing spectacular, just a hybrid that my wife can ride around the neighborhood and on the bike path. But if you love bicycles the way I do -- the way the Curmudgeon-in-Chief loves technical toys -- any new bike is pretty exciting.

The bike is from Cannondale -- the company that until recently boasted its bikes were "Handmade in the U.S.A." but now admits they're machine-made in China. And it came with a 96-page owner's manual. Four pages were boilerplate and two, the booklet made a point to say, were intentionally left blank, just in case we thought there was a printing error and we were missing the secrets of cycling success -- you know, the stuff that made Lance Lance.

But there are no secrets, and no real wisdom. There are, however, 85 warning boxes, each with a bright orange header in an otherwise black and white booklet. And there are 10 non-orange (and presumably, less urgent) caution boxes. Most of the warnings are things you could figure out yourself -- like the one that says that if your wheel isn't properly secured, it could fall off, which could be rather painful if you're riding at the time.

All these warnings reminded me of the paper cup your friendly barista serves your morning joe in -- the one that informs you that your coffee is, or should be, hot and you really need to be careful not to spill it, especially in certain tender spots. Although it really doesn't say all that, just that coffee is hot. So be careful.

Then, when I was cutting the grass, I noticed a tag on the lawn mower that told me that if I stick my hand or foot under it when it is running, I may be missing a portion of a limb.

All of this, I'm sure, is the product of a bunch of lawyers covering their corporate butts. The thinking, it seems, is that if we warn you that if you fall off your bike you could hurt yourself, so be careful, OK? And, since we warned you, you can't sue us. So go away.

But it's more than just lawyers. Did you ever notice that when you -- or anyone -- climb up on a ladder, the first thing someone says is, "be careful up there," as if that thought had never occurred to you.

–Paul Knue

Trains were faster in the 1920's than they are today

[The] Montreal Limited, for example, circa 1942, would pull out of New York's Grand Central Station at 11:15 p.m., arriving at Montreal's (now defunct) Windsor Station at 8:25 a.m., a little more than nine hours later. To make that journey today, from New York's Penn Station on the Adirondack, requires a nearly 12-hour ride. The trip from Chicago to Minneapolis via the Olympian Hiawatha in the 1950s took about four and a half hours; today, via Amtrak's Empire Builder, the journey is more than eight hours. Going from Brattleboro, Vt., to New York City on the Boston and Maine Railroad's Washingtonian took less than five hours in 1938; today, Amtrak's Vermonter (the only option) takes six hours—if it's on time, which it isn't, nearly 75 percent of the time.

[From Why trains run slower now than they did in the 1920s. - By Tom Vanderbilt - Slate Magazine ]

Renovate the rails.


Bulletin from elsewhere

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- Republicans can reach a broader base by recasting gay marriage as an issue that could dent pocketbooks as small businesses spend more on health care and other benefits, GOP Chairman Michael Steele said Saturday....

''Now all of a sudden I've got someone who wasn't a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for,'' Steele told Republicans at the state convention in traditionally conservative Georgia. ''So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.''

[From RNC Chief - Gay Marriage Will Burden Small Business - NYTimes.com]

Why not just ban marriage all together and save a whole lot more? Better yet, why not just quit spending on health care and other benefits and save it all?

Oh, wait...

Creepy stuff from another of Dubya's creeps

ON THE MORNING OF Thursday, April 10, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon prepared a top-secret briefing for George W. Bush. This document, known as the Worldwide Intelligence Update, was a daily digest of critical military intelligence so classified that it circulated among only a handful of Pentagon leaders and the president; Rumsfeld himself often delivered it, by hand, to the White House. The briefing’s cover sheet generally featured triumphant, color images from the previous days’ war efforts: On this particular morning, it showed the statue of Saddam Hussein being pulled down in Firdos Square, a grateful Iraqi child kissing an American soldier, and jubilant crowds thronging the streets of newly liberated Baghdad. And above these images, and just below the headline SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, was a quote that may have raised some eyebrows. It came from the Bible, from the book of Psalms: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.”

[From AND HE SHALL BE JUDGED: GQ Features on men.style.com]

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