Yes, it's another test (of something else)

This does make sense to me

"The term the Internet, when referring to the entire global system of IP networks, has been treated as a proper noun and written with an initial capital letter. In the media and popular culture a trend has also developed to regard it as a generic term or common noun and thus write it as "the internet", without capitalization. Some guides specify that the word should be capitalized as a noun but not capitalized as an adjective." - Wikipedia.

(But don't worry, I'll forget it by tomorrow.)

So the question is, will they finally stop ringing?

I'm tired of being rung at. Look, I walk. I can't avoid them by just driving past. So for the last couple of months, it seems, every time I go into a grocery store, a drugstore, or just walk down Main Street, there's somebody ringing a bell in my face. It's time that goes away, isn't it?


(Sorry if that post seems a bit disjointed. I'm practicing with a low-end voice recognition software package. It seems to me that, if we're going to keep using ever smaller, more cramped devices, voice input might be a good thing to learn. I was never very good at dictation. So it might take a while to learn this. But I will persevere. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say, you will.)

Yes, Virginia, there is a NORAD

And it's keeping an eye on the guy named Claus. Top secret stuff you can watch on Google Earth. And there's even an app for that.



We'll take no shoveling, ourselves

With Snow Scarce, Northern US Has Brown Christmas - ABC News

Dreams of a white Christmas are hanging by a thread in the North, where unusually mild weather has left the ground bare in many places — a welcome reprieve for people who don't like shoveling, but a lump of coal in the stockings of outdoor sports buffs who miss their winter wonderland.

Wild and crazy times in Seattle

The Great Totem Pole Caper - Lowering the Bar

It turned out that the suspect, 69-year-old Charles Jenks, had been dreaming of getting a totem pole for a new home he was building. (He apparently was going to put it inside a two-story stairwell, not just stick it in the lawn where everybody could see it. Because that would be crazy.) I guess these aren't available on eBay, so he decided to steal one in broad daylight. Why he stole two - the second one from outside a grocery store in Oregon - was never explained.

New to our Work Avoidance list

Great Websites for Kids (from the American Library Association). (Librarians rule.)

Cold duck

Sweden's bizarre tradition of watching Donald Duck (Kalle Anka) cartoons on Christmas Eve. - Slate Magazine

Every year on Dec. 24 at 3 p.m., half of Sweden sits down in front of the television for a family viewing of the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special, "From All of Us to All of You." Or as it is known in Sverige, Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul: "Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas."

Pizza forever

L.A. schools' healthful school lunches panned by LAUSD students - latimes.com

Earlier this year, the [Los Angeles schools] got rid of chocolate and strawberry milk, chicken nuggets, corn dogs, nachos and other food high in fat, sugar and sodium. Instead, district chefs concocted such healthful alternatives as vegetarian curries and tamales, quinoa salads and pad Thai noodles.…

Participation in the school lunch program has dropped by thousands of students.

So here's my idea: They could pay for cutting the Social Security tax with a cabaret tax

The Post-Truth Campaign - NYTimes.com

[Here's] my forecast for next year: If Mr. Romney is in fact the Republican presidential nominee, he will make wildly false claims about Mr. Obama and, occasionally, get some flack for doing so. But news organizations will compensate by treating it as a comparable offense when, say, the president misstates the income share of the top 1 percent by a percentage point or two.


There'll always be an England

Things You Can't Do in a Royal Park - Lowering the Bar

According to the UK's Royal Parks and Other Open Spaces Regulations, 1997 No. 1639, Reg. 4, it is forbidden to do (among other things) any of the following without written permission in Hyde Park or other land to which said regulations apply…

[Click the link, above, for a list of prohibitions.]

Spring is right around the corner now

Posted by Picasa

But look on the bright side: You can deep-fry these shrimp without adding oil

Seafood Surprise: Eyeless Shrimp, Crabs with Lesions – and Bigger Final Settlement Offers from BP | Stuart H. Smith

But what about the 500-plus dead dolphins? What about the crabs being pulled up from the seafloor with oil stains, burns and lesions? What about the record number of dead sea turtles? What about the worst white shrimp season in half a century with catches down a whopping 80 percent across the board? And the shrimp that are showing up without eyes – what do we make of those recent reports? Consider this from Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association: “Fishermen are bringing up shrimp without any eyes…they evidently have lost their eyes and they’re still alive. …It tells me something’s wrong.”…

Did I mention that the trial for those victims who forgo a final settlement and instead opt to sue the oil giant is set for February 2012? Attorneys for both sides are deep into the preparation phase. So what we see here is BP taking a run at keeping shrimpers and crabbers out of court – sweetening the claims pot in the 11th hour. BP and its attorneys fully understand that even after doubling final settlement payments, they will end up paying victims much more if these cases go to trial.

Nobody escapes the Mittens

Romney approves of premature deportation for Obama’s uncle | The Raw Story

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R) said yesterday that he approves of deporting an uncle to President Barack Obama who was arrested in August on a charge of drunk driving, even though the man has a driver’s license, Social Security card and no prior criminal convictions.

Stuff you hadn't started worrying about yet

‘Space ball’ drops on Namibia | The Raw Story

A large metallic ball fell out of the sky on a remote grassland in Namibia, prompting baffled authorities to contact NASA and the European space agency.…

Several such balls have dropped in southern Africa, Australia and Latin America in the past twenty years, authorities found in an Internet search.

And while you were watching those French women, you rogue…

Model busted for smuggling cocaine in breast, buttocks implants | The Raw Story

ROME — Italian airport police eyeing up a busty Spanish model’s curves made a startling discovery on Wednesday — 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds) of pure cocaine stashed as implants in her bust and backside.

Maybe it's some kind of EU thing.

Yes, there's still time to nominate the worst headline of the year

British women sue over French breast implants | The Raw Story

British women sue over French breast implants

Just shut up and keep hoping, mope

Undernews: Obama administration declares talking about jury nullification to be a crime

Paul Butler, NY Times - Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Julian P. Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor, with jury tampering because he stood outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan providing information about jury nullification to passers-by.…

The prosecutors who charged Mr. Heicklen said that “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.”…

It's just a guess, of course…

Medical Journal Article: 14,000 U.S. Deaths Tied to Fukushima Reactor Disaster Fallout - PR Newswire - sacbee.com

WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An estimated 14,000 excess deaths in the United States are linked to the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear reactors in Japan, according to a major new article in the December 2011 edition of the International Journal of Health Services.…

…but (and note the PRNewswire slug there at the top) I'm thinking you could make a pretty good sandwich out of this. And easy, too. Some good rye bread and a little mustard ought to do the trick. Yum.

Wait! We just bought party hats!

US growth revised down for third quarter - FT.com

The US economy grew at a slower rate than initially thought in the third quarter…

We are shocked. Shocked, I say.

Watch the R's chase their tails

Tea Party ‘super PAC’ going after Sen. Orrin Hatch | iWatch News

An outside spending group affiliated with the conservative Tea Party movement is targeting long-time Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch in 2012 for not being conservative enough.…

Just a thought, but shouldn't the government, sooner or later, figure out how the internet works?

Firefox Add-On Bypasses SOPA DNS Blocking | TorrentFreak

The pending Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) continues to inspire opponents to come up with creative solutions to circumvent it.…

When installed, users can click a single button to resolve a blocked domain via foreign DNS servers…

Ironically, it was the government that invented the internet (ARPA, not Al Gore) but then suddenly, somehow, suffered some weird memory collapse.

Or maybe it's just the congress that doesn't understand the internet, sort of like how they don't understand everything else. Those who can, the old saying goes, do; those who can't, teach. And those who can't even teach govern.


If the terrorists don't get you the government will

US: Don't publish details of lab-bred bird flu - CBS News

(AP) WASHINGTON - The U.S. government asked scientists Tuesday not to reveal all the details of how to make a version of the deadly bird flu that they created in labs in the U.S. and Europe.

The lab-bred virus, being kept under high security, appears to spread more easily among mammals. That's fueled worry that publishing a blueprint could aid terrorists in creating a biological weapon, the National Institutes of Health said.

But the NIH said it was important for the overall findings to be published in scientific journals, because they suggest it may be easier than previously thought for bird flu to mutate on its own and become a greater threat.…

Or the birds.



A little reading for extra credit

The Great Train Robbery | Crime Magazine

In August of 1963, 15 men pulled off “The Great Train Robbery,” at Sears Crossing in Buckinghamshire in southeast England, netting the equivalent of $68.5 million in today’s dollars.  Of the £2,631,684 stolen, less than £400,000 was ever recovered.

The mastermind, known as “the Ulsterman,” would never be identified.  One of the robbers, Ronnie Biggs, became an international celebrity after escaping from prison.   

Times Square

iPhoto: Phil Compton

Not all is well in R-land

This Gingrich Aide Has the Worst Timing - Politics - The Atlantic Wire

Rick Tyler, who quit Newt Gingrich's campaign when it was in the doldrums only to watch his old boss soar in the polls, is rejoining the Gingrich effort just as the candidate's lead in polls disappears…


Tyler was not one of the Gingrich staffers who joined Rick Perry's campaign, a decision that looks pretty bad in hindsight. Perry was the hot new maybe-candidate all summer, but his lead in polls evaporated once he started talking out loud.…

No, does not sound good.


Ron Paul panic seizes Iowa establishment - Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns - POLITICO.com

What especially worries Iowa Republican regulars is the possibility that Paul could win here on January 3rd with the help of Democrats and independents who change their registration to support the libertarian-leaning Texas congressman but then don’t support the GOP nominee next November.

Iowa, we think, is an imaginary place, so an imaginary candidate would be just perfect. Take a deep breath there, establishment. 

What you see is what you get

Why a Constitutional Law Professor Should Not Sign an Unconstitutional Military Detention Bill | Truthout

You don't need to be a meteorologist to know if it's raining outside, and you don't need to be a constitutional scholar to know that permanent wartime powers amounts to the overthrow of the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution.  


Make yourself crazy for the holidays

Let It Snow: Google Adds Christmas Easter Egg | Fox News

Google is helping searchers get into the Christmas spirit by offering a sprinkling of snow on their computer monitor.

When typing the words “let it snow" into the popular search engine, a flurry of snowflakes trickle down the screen, followed by frost. You can wipe away the frost by clicking the left button on your mouse as an ice scraper or pressing the "Defrost" button, which appears in place of the blue "Search" button.

But wait...Paul who?

If you can't get in, get close

Bye bye Bears

Chicago Bears: Chicago Bears' loss to Seattle Seahawks all but ends season - chicagotribune.com

The Bears (7-7) have lost four straight games, tying for the longest losing streak in the Lovie Smith era…

Holy wind chill, Batman!

'Life-threatening' storm set to slam Southwest, plains - Weather - TODAY.com

A "dangerous" winter storm is expected to hammer New Mexico and the high plains of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas, weather.com reported Monday.…

Blizzard conditions were "likely" for New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas with snow and winds diminishing by midday Tuesday…

Citing the National Weather Service, Reuters reported the storm was expected to produce up to 16 inches of snow in some areas with wind gusting up to 50 mph.…

A blizzard watch was also in effect until Tuesday for parts of Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas, with high winds and up to a more than a foot of snow expected across the region.

Meanwhile we are looking at something a little more moderate–even warm–here, which is a good thing because temps were below 20º over the weekend.


Our bulbs are dim enough already, Congress says

Congress' bill may slow switch to efficient light bulbs

Congress' move this weekend to save Thomas Edison's 131-year-old incandescent light bulb from a federally-required phaseout, slated to begin Jan. 1., may slow but not halt the nation's switch to more efficient lighting.

Some guys are just never happy, I guess

The Associated Press: Tea partyers not keen about GOP presidential field

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Just a year ago, tea party activists came roaring out of the congressional elections eager to shape the looming race for the White House.

Things have not gone as planned.