So we get to foreclose on them now?

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fifty-five financial companies failed to pay dividends in November on money they borrowed from the U.S. government, bank research firm SNL said on Wednesday.

That number swelled from 33 companies that missed an August payment on government funds, according to an SNL analysis of government data.

link: 55 companies miss payment of TARP dividends: study - Yahoo! News

No, I didn't think so. Although I do think SNL is a perfectly fine name for a bank research company. Really, I do.

Maybe let's work on that hed a little more

For First Time, Minority Vote Was a Majority

link: Minority Voters Were a Majority in New York Election - NYTimes.com


It's going on my list

NYTimes movie critic A.O. Scott ends his review of the new Morton Downey Jr. vehicle, "Sherlock Holmes," noting:

A lot of fighting and not too much girl stuff.


Oh, and by the way...

...if you have nothing to do this evening except curl up with a laptop and watch George Patton - or, you know, that other guy - play Scrooge, here it is on Hulu. (If you like your Dickens scratchier - and shorter - Hulu also has the 1935 version here.)

When men were men and pies were pies, baby, pies

The blog Whatever It Is I'm Against It has been reporting of late on New York Times reporting of 100 years ago and today picks up the story of a 92-pound mince pie...well, you can read the story, as the Times had it, here.

William Howard Taft, U.S. president from 1909 to 1913, weighed in at more than 300 pounds and was distinguished, therefore, as the heaviest U.S. president ever elected, although Wikipedia hastens to point out, this means physically heaviest, not anything else.

The town of Traverse City, Michigan, baked a 28,350-pound cherry pie in 1987 but by then U.S. presidents were too skinny to care.

When life hands you snow...

...make a snowball like this baby rolled, reputedly, by university students in Madison, WI, and forwarded our way by Formerly From California Charlie.

I hear you knockin' but you can't come in

Time for some real music here (from our very own Work Avoidance List); I'm overdosed on Christmas tunes this year. A few weeks ago I dumped my entire holiday collection - 15 or 20 cuts, I guess - onto my iPhone and I've been listening to that while trudging around town ever since. In a way, it's nice, since it's music you don't have to pay the slightest bit of attention to. But enough is enough.

Usually I don't do this kind of thing. Usually I avoid Christmas music altogether (wait: all together, alright?) which is a fairly easy thing to do in a town without elevators, but this year was, well, just different, is all.

Let's have more stuff like this

[At the northern end of U.S. Route 1] Where the sparse, rolling landscape of northern Maine can get a bit monotonous, some relief is provided by the Maine Solar System Model. The MSSM, constructed in 2000 by the University of Maine at Presque Isle, is the fourth-largest solar system model in the world. The scale is 1 to 93 million, which means that one Astronomical Unit equals one mile. All of our system's planets are located along US Route 1, in order to present drivers with the opportunity to get a feeling of the scale of our solar system. Its original length was about 40 miles, all the way to Pluto, at the Tourist Information Centre in Houlton. . .


Cool! And there's a map at the link.

Also, JIC you're interested, here's the NORAD Santa tracker for this Christmas Eve.


Why does everybody stare at the chicken?

Every time I go to the meat case at the supermarket there are a bunch of people standing around staring at the chicken. Why? Nobody stares at the pork chops. Or the fish. Nobody even looks at the steaks. Do you know how much those things cost, the steaks? What's so fascinating about chicken, anyway? And why can't we have a special, express line for people who don't want to look. Hey, I'll even wear a blindfold. Just point me at the chicken, get out of the way, let me grab a package and I'll be gone. It's only chicken, after all. And even if it isn't it probably tastes like chicken, so what's the deal?

Exactly so

Obama, you may recall, was known to have supported single-payer himself - it was one of the reasons he was so much more popular than Hillary. Of course, throughout the primaries, when we questioned Obama's dedication to liberal causes, we were told at every step of the way about those things in his history that "proved" he could be trusted - he'd advocated single-payer, he was a Constitutional scholar, he was a community organizer - so of course, he'd never be the kind of guy who would sell out health care to the insurance companies, enforce Bush's shredding of the Constitution, or oppose a mortgage "cramdown" bill. Single-payer itself was never on the ballot, but the public did vote in a candidate who, as far as they knew at all, had been an advocate of single-payer. (Remember when Obama attacked Hillary for wanting mandates? Mandates are pretty much the only enforceable content in this bill.)

link: From the inestimable Avedon Carol at The Sideshow

And that's my complaint, exactly. I don't care about the health care part, as I've explained before. I just want all all that time I spent listening to those so-called primary debates refunded. I could have used it for something useful, like watching the dryers at the laundromat.



Six? Degrees? That can't be good, can it?

Put some egg in that nog and let the merriment begin

WASHINGTON – The Senate is at work unusually early and voting on health care as Democrats zero in on their goal of passing President Barack Obama's signature issue by Christmas.

link: Senate starts early morn votes on health care Tues - Yahoo! News

It may be a crappy bill but they got it done by Christmas. So sit down and shut up. You can believe in that.

Look, I've said before and more than once, I have no horse in this health care race. I already have the commiefascist socialist pinko-leaning government health care - my doctor is a government employee - with which arrangement I am well pleased and for which exceeding grateful. I see no reason why you shouldn't get the same good deal but apparently the.... Oh. Health care industry. Does.

Ahh. I get it now.

Oh well. Jingle bells.

Next: Spring

It was, after all, "Grand Theft Auto"

BOSTON – Police say a frustrated Boston woman called 911 to say she couldn't get her 14-year-old son to stop playing video games and go to sleep....

Two officers who responded to the house persuaded the child to obey his mother.

link: Boston mom calls 911 over over son's video game habit - Yahoo! News


So it doesn't seem I'm missing all that much

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration took aim Monday at tarmac horror stories, ordering airlines to let passengers stuck in stranded airplanes to disembark after three hours.

link: Gov't imposes 3-hour limit on tarmac strandings - Yahoo! News

I haven't flown anywhere since the early 90's so I am blissfully unaware of what commercial flying is like these days. If it's like this - people stuck for 2, 3 hours on a plane while the plane itself just sits there on the ground - I'd just as soon take the bus.

Latitude: 42.59 N

The first day of winter.


The big blizzard...

...that would be both the paralyzingly disastrous part and the seriously awful part, missed. Or, at least, missed us; we got not a flake. As a matter of fact it's a warmish 22º degrees out there this morning, no sun but also no wind. So what was all the shouting about, anyway?