Bang bang

Hundreds of thousands of guns unaccounted for in the US - Salon.com
"“In 2012, NCIC* received reports reflecting 190,342 lost and stolen firearms nationwide. Of those 190,342 lost and stolen firearms reported, 16,667 (9% of the total reported) were the result of thefts/losses from FFLs**. Of the 16,667 firearms reported as lost or stolen from a FFL, a total of 10,915 firearms were reported as lost. The remaining 5,762 were reported as stolen.” "
* National Crime Information Center
**Federal Firearms Licensees, otherwise known as dealers


I get it

Undernews: Inspired by Republicans, Democrat offers men's sexual health bill
"Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way. "
And yeah, the women are right about this. No question. But, that said, the political scene is starting to look like an unsupervised 4th-grade playground. Wouldn't it be nice if there were a few adults on the scene?

(And don't say "they started it.")

It's a yolk

It's a yolk by Ted Compton
It's a yolk, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.

A little english major humor

Undernews: Today in history:
"1915 --Henry James writes Prime Minister Asquith, asking to be made a British subject. Takes the oath of allegiance on July 28. The kindly George Bernard Shaw remarks that "James felt buried in America; but he came here to be embalmed.""

Don't laugh

Woman Glues Lips Shut, Thinking Adhesive Is Balm
"A 64-year-old woman made the unfortunate mistake of thinking a container of super glue was medicated cream. Wiithin minutes she couldn't open her mouth, the Otago Daily Times reports."
Or, do laugh.

Yeah, got that right

Are we a nation of paranoid fraidy cats? | ZDNet
"What I'm most afraid of is the people who are afraid."

Not as dull as one might think

The most intellectual joke you know: An idiot's guide to the Reddit thread.:
"From user android47: “A programmer's wife tells him: ‘Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.’ The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.” "

There'll always be an England (and maybe a Qatar)

‘Glow-in-the-dark’ Lamborghini seized by London police | Motoramic - Yahoo! Autos
"This particularly insane Lamborghini is thought to be owned by Nasser Al-Thani, a mere 24 year old with Qatari parents so wealthy they presumably own such things as floating skyscrapers, fur coats made from wooly mammoths, and an entire mansion filled with nothing but jelly beans."

Too bad about the kiss

Over at Snagfilms you can find a b/w comedy about WWII and the invasion of Warsaw (I know, I know) called To Be Or Not To Be, released in 1942 and starring Carole Lombard (!), Jack Benny (no kidding), and Robert Stack (yes, that Robert Stack). It runs 1:38 and it's worth every minute, probably a few more.

Alas, there's a kiss about halfway through that emphatically disqualifies it from our blog movie list, but still. I'm just saying. It's pretty good.

The Supremes' big year

Don’t let DOMA fool you — the Supreme Court is restricting your rights - The Washington Post
 "For all the celebration Wednesday — and who will forget the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washingtonsinging the national anthem outside the court? — the underlying theme of the Supreme Court’s term was not the recognition of rights, but their dilution. Time and again, in closely divided decisions on issues as disparate as antitrust law, privacy and discrimination, the court either watered down rights or made it difficult or impossible to enforce them effectively. (Unless, of course, you are a white college applicant challenging affirmative action.)"

Fiore rules

FISA: Now Hiring!
"All hearings and rulings are secret, there is no sort of "defense" like in an open court, judges can phone in their decisions and the FISA court approved 100% of the government's surveillance requests in 2011 and 2012.  Which led me to imagine what it would be like to work as a FISA judge.... "

Next: July

How Hot Is It in the Western US? Real Hot - ABC News
"The heat wave that is gripping the western U.S. is one of the worst in years, with desert locations in the Southwest seeing temperatures approach 120 degrees."

Who checks the checkers?

Company allegedly misled government about security clearance checks - The Washington Post:
"Federal investigators have told lawmakers they have evidence that USIS, the contractor that screened Edward Snowden for his top-secret clearance, repeatedly misled the government about the thoroughness of its background checks, according to people familiar with the matter."


The bankers and the judges are on the case

The System Works - Lawyers, Guns & Money
 "Jeff Olson, the 40-year-old man who is being prosecuted for scrawling anti-megabank messages on sidewalks in water-soluble chalk last year now faces a 13-year jail sentence. A judge has barred his attorney from mentioning freedom of speech during trial."

So they don't just play videogames all day?

Undernews: Stats: Younger Americans' library habits:
"In fact, younger Americans under age 30 are now significantly more likely than older adults to have read a book in print in the past year (75% of all Americans ages 16-29 say this, compared with 64% of those ages 30 and older). And more than eight in ten (85%) older teens ages 16-17 read a print book in the past year, making them significantly more likely to have done so than any other age group."

What, nobody uses those flat wooden ones any more?

Yogurt Tastes Different Depending on the Spoon - ABC News:
"Lightweight plastic spoons make food taste yummier.... 
"The study also found that yogurt tasted sweeter when eaten off a light-colored spoon but not so sweet when eaten off a black spoon."

Just give me a ballpark

Immigration Reform: Good News for Contractors | Mother Jones:
"In 2009, Congress's Government Accountability Office estimated it would cost between $400,000 and $15 million to build just one mile of border fence."


iPhone photo: Phil Compton

Once more down the rabbit hole

ProPublica: Articles and Investi...

"A recent court hearing at Guantanamo dealt with national security information so secret that the accused was not even allowed in the room...  
"...Government prosecutors had filed a motion that didn’t even have an unclassified title."

If you're worried they might bug your house, well...

NC State Researchers Figure Out How To Steer Cockroaches Via Remote Control | WUNC
"The research team says that roaches could also be outfitted with microphones..."
...you're right.

Also where is PETA when we need them?

We're taking a giggle break

Government watchdog says IRS long resisted oversight of group that targeted political groups | StarTribune.com
"Olson recommended that Congress authorize her to make "apology payments" of up to $1,000 to groups in cases in which "the IRS has caused excessive expense or undue burden to the taxpayer, and the taxpayer has experienced a significant hardship.""
Olson is the National Taxpayer Advocate. Dig it. We don't know exactly what she advocates but we're for it, 100 percent.

File under excellent cool stuff

Ten Buildings That Changed America | WTTW Chicago

(And ten more.)

A good outcome but...

Democrat Wins Special Election for Kerry’s Senate Seat - NYTimes.com
"BOSTON — Representative Edward J. Markey, a Democrat who has toiled for almost 40 years in the House in both the majority and minority, won a promotion to the Senate on Tuesday in a victory over Gabriel Gomez, a Republican who has never served in elective office."
...voter turnout, reportedly, was 27%. Tut tut.

If people don't vote, the thing don't work.

Oh go ahead, tell us what you really think

President Obama Climate Speech - Obama Bails Out The Ocean With A Thimble - Esquire
"The most remarkable thing about the president's big speech on climate this afternoon was that it was considered remarkable at all. Everybody except the deliberately ignorant, or senators from Oklahoma, but I repeat myself, believes that climate change is the most critical issue facing the planet since some particularly bright hadrosaur in the Yucatan looked up and thought, "Hey, what's that big rock doing in the sky there?" However, because the American political system is a buyer's market for deliberate ignorance, what the president said today will be reckoned as a landmark in coping with the incredibly obvious."
As usual, Pierce nails it. (And there's more.)

I love the smell of spin in the morning

News from The Associated Press
"The officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to speak about the intelligence matters publicly."

Smart, these kids

Grads, There's No Shame in Living With Your Parents - ABC News
"What's the smartest thing you can do after college graduation? My answer may surprise you: move back home....In fact, I think living with your parents could be one of the most financially savvy and adult things you could do."
Way too smart for me.

Smell like a jock

The Sweet Smell of Victory: Notre Dame to Debut Perfume - ABC News
"This fall, Notre Dame fans will be able to prove their team spirit by the way they smell.  
The school is set to release a perfume to appeal to and spritz up its massive national fanbase."

Or didn't

Hillary Clinton In AJU Lecture Says Reaching Across The Aisle Like Negotiating With Terrorists

"Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said at a lecture this week that crossing party lines in Washington compares to negotiating with terrorists.  
Too often in Washington today, reaching across the aisle seems as controversial as negotiating with the Taliban,” Clinton...said at the 2013 American Jewish University lecture series on Monday..."

Well, not exactly. But it sure makes a good lead.


OK, now I'm confused, NYTimes

Obama Outlines Ambitious Plan to Cut Greenhouse Gases - NYTimes.com
"Embracing an issue that could define his legacy but also ignite new battles with Republicans..."
I thought Obamacare was supposed to define his legacy. Have we given up on that? And now that you mention it, why don't we quit worrying about freaking legacies and start trying to just get a few things fixed?

Humbling much?

Square roots? Scientists say plants are good at math | Reuters
""This is the first concrete example in a fundamental biological process of such a sophisticated arithmetic calculation," mathematical modeler Martin Howard of John Innes Centre (JIC) said."
When they start doing differential equations I quit.

Cushy job, huh?

Rufus the Hawk clears Wimbledon as record crowds queue up | Reuters
"(Reuters) - Record crowds lined up for day one of the 2013 Wimbledon tennis championships on Monday as action got underway early on Center Court with pigeon-scarer, Rufus the hawk, clearing away pesky bird life and forecasts for a dry day."

Party time for Vladimir

Russia rules out Snowden expulsion, rejects U.S. 'ravings' | Reuters
"(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin confirmed on Tuesday a former U.S. spy agency contractor sought by the United States was in the transit area of a Moscow airport but ruled out handing him over to Washington, dismissing U.S. criticisms as "ravings and rubbish"."

The P stands for "poor"

The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis - Yahoo! Finance

""Lord help our [expletive] scam . . . this has to be the stupidest place I have worked at," writes one Standard & Poor's executive. "As you know, I had difficulties explaining 'HOW' we got to those numbers since there is no science behind it," confesses a high-ranking S&P analyst. "If we are just going to make it up in order to rate deals, then quants [quantitative analysts] are of precious little value," complains another senior S&P man. "Let's hope we are all wealthy and retired by the time this house of card[s] falters," ruminates one more."

That would be a rhetorical question, right?

Elizabeth Warren: Why is the Government Backing Expensive Private Student Loans?

Well, OK, maybe just a little over the top there

Angelina Jolie Scores Major Victory in U.N.
"But in the case of the increasingly flawless Angelina Jolie..."
(Also, how can one be increasingly flawless? Something like flawlesser? Who is flawlessest?)

Don't see these much any more

Untitled by Ted Compton
Untitled, a photo by Ted Compton on Flickr.
Come to think of it, didn't see these much even then, which is the problem, I guess. It's a Ford Thunderbird from the mid-50s, before the T-bird became a bloatmobile. The sweet ragtop two-seater packs a V-8 engine. Frank Sinatra drove one in the movie, "Pal Joey," which, if you haven't seen it you should and if you have you should again.

An excellent way to start a new day

The Polaroids of Andrei Tarkovsky : The Mystery of Everyday Life | Gwarlingo


Wait...is that what they've been doing in Iowa?

Ross Douthat gets Washington right, then very wrong
"Washington is about as responsive to the American public as the weather is to folks dancing hopefully in circles."

I say it's awesome but...

Innovative Woman Uses Toilet Plunger On Tokyo Subway In Hilarious (Or Gross) Lifehack

...if it has enough stick to keep her steady how does she get it back off when she leaves?

Or is this just a visual joke? (Nawww. On the internet?)

Either way it's cool.

Sorta makes Booz Allen look even stupider (if that's possible)

Snowden says got Booz Allen job for access to NSA programs | Reuters

"(Reuters) - Edward Snowden said he accepted a job at contractor Booz Allen Hamilton to gain access to details of the U.S. National Security Agency's surveillance programs, according to the South China Morning Post.  
"Snowden, who worked for Booz Allen Hamilton for roughly three months at an NSA facility in Hawaii..."

As opposed to what, new arithmetics?

Tenet Healthcare to buy Vanguard Health for $1.73 billion plus debt | Reuters
"(Reuters) - Hospital operator Tenet Healthcare Corp will buy smaller rival Vanguard Health Systems Inc...to expand into new geographies..."

A snack too far

Twinkies to make sweet comeback in 3 weeks - CSMonitor.com
"Based on the outpouring of nostalgia sparked by its demise, Hostess is expecting a blockbuster return next month for Twinkies and other sugary treats, such as CupCakes and Donettes. The company says the cakes will taste the same but that the boxes will now bear the tag line "The Sweetest Comeback In The History Of Ever.""

The best comment on Snowden, et al, I've run across so far

Brief Snowden Thoughts - Lawyers, Guns & Money:

Limos only

Rich People Are Getting Citi Bike Stations Removed From Their Blocks
"Real estate attorney Steven Sladkus (of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz), says he's managed to get at least three Citi Bike stations moved from sidewalks in front of his wealthy clients' luxury buildings."

Snowden becomes a new generation's Waldo

Flight to Cuba for Which Snowden Booked Departs - ABC News:
"AP reporters on the flight couldn't see Snowden in the seat he booked or anywhere else on the plane."


New to our reading list

The Neon Wilderness

A volume of excellent short stories about Chicago (mostly) by the author of "The Man with the Golden Arm" and "Walk on the Wild Side."

Monsters beat zombies, Superman

News from The Associated Press:
"Disney's "Monsters University" is the weekend box-office winner, according to studio estimates released Sunday. "


U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying : The New Yorker
"At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face. 
“These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”"

Attention to Detail: Needs improvement

Georgia teen wants $2 million after school uses Facebook photo without permission - NY Daily News
""It never crossed my mind that this would ever, ever happen to me.""
Good with numbers though.

More mermaids...yea, summer! (Also: Sushi?)

Mermaid Parade In Coney Island Celebrates 30th Anniversary With 1500 Creations, Floats (PHOTOS)
"...Other revelers included the Seuss-themed One Fish and Two Fish and their baby Blue Fish and "Fin-derella and Her Glass Flipper," along with seahorses, jellyfish, yellow submarines and a mermaid sushi roll."

Oh. Tickets. Whew.

NYT Reporter David Carr's Brother Arrested, Jailed For Scalping


xkcd: The Pace of Modern Life

Just click on it. I don't have time to write more.

I'm just wondering, how weird is this?

Mass Surveillance in America: A Timeline of Loosening Laws and Practices
"Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledges the collection of phone metadata but says the information acquired is “subject to strict restrictions on handling” and that “only a very small fraction of the records are ever reviewed.” "
How many people find that reassuring, the small fraction part, and yet at the same time think they really have a chance to win the Powerball?