Raccoon: The Meal of Political Champions in Arkansas : Roll Call Politics: "Hundreds of pounds of raccoon meat will be served Saturday night inside a local school gymnasium at the 71st annual Gillett Coon Supper."
This makes it easier to procrastinate the rest, the not-so-much-fun stuff, which you can always get around to later.
Right now (and here’s a depressing thought) the most fun thing on our list is fooling around with cleaning up the blog a bit. Recent software woes, blah blah, plus a query from our Midwest bureau which reminded us we really ought to pay a little more attention to typography than we do (this a perfect example of of a project that would be completely unnecessary if we hadn’t thought of it in the first place). So, a second piece of advice: Quit thinking stuff up.
For example, “markdown.” Markdown is something somebody thought up when he (or possibly she) would have been better off with a work-avoidance strategy such as hanging around right here. It—markdown—is a system for marking up text to indicate the way it should appear when published. In other words, it’s an alternative to using HTML, or Rich Text, or a pencil. Writing with markdown is like writing with WordStar.
Long, long ago, near the dawn of time, before computers had graphic interfaces and therefore could not WYSIWIG documents, a word processor named WordStar ruled the earth. Writing with WordStar involved inserting specially formatted commands into the copy to indicate how it should appear in print. Like a guy with a pencil. Or Rich Text. Or HTML. Or…
…wait. Markdown is a work avoidance strategy.
We are for it, one hundred percent.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As 300,000 people awoke on Friday to learn that their tap water was unsafe for brushing teeth, brewing coffee or showering…
Anyone with a grandparent who reminisces about walking five miles to school, uphill both ways, knows that people sometimes exaggerate the hardships they faced in their youth. Still, we can trust the basic facts about life a century and a half ago: School was open, even the day after a snowstorm.
–The AtlanticThis piece in The Atlantic concludes, on the basis of a Laura Ingalls Wilder story, kids today are wimps because they can't get to school on snowy days. Partly, they're right. I am reminded by somebody who was there that schools in Duluth, in the 50's, didn't close until the temperature got down to -30º. (I don't know what the policy is now but I imagine it might be different. Also, the schools in Atlanta closed at +30º.)
The difference between then and now, though (according to the same somebody) isn't the kids or the temps, it's liability. More kids today are bussed to school than was the case back in the previous century, and the schools and their insurance companies are scared witless of slippery, snowy roads.
Maybe we were safer back in the old days walking, or maybe it was just that if anything had happened to us on the way to school it wouldn't have been the school's (or bus company's) fault.
Of course kids today are still wimps, but for some other reason—although we're not quite sure what that reason is.
Christie didn't always make sense during that marathon press conference: http://t.co/6mhUitZIhD
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) January 9, 2014
A new study released Thursday shows that major food companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in 2012 than they did in 2007, following a 2010 pledge.
Place your bets.
Among the great political divides in this country is mass transit versus cars, and Republicans tend to be rather hostile toward the former. (Driving is individualistic; buses are communal. Driving is the wide open spaces; trains are sort of France.)
Everybody should return their toasters.
Both smartwatches and connected glasses must overcome several hurdles, analysts say, before mainstream consumers welcome them into their everyday lives.
–New York Times, Tech Attire, More Beta Than Chic
I happily stopped wearing wrist watches when I started carrying a phone that displays, not only the time and date, but the correct time and date. (Come on, does your wrist watch show the correct date? Can you even remember how to change the date?)
By 2016, McDonald’s will source only “verified sustainable beef.” The pledge, announced Tuesday, is an effort to make the fast-food chain’s meat production both greener and kinder to the animals whose meat winds up in its burgers. Just one problem: no one knows exactly what sustainable beef is.Or sustainable anything, for that matter. We have a store near here that sells sustainable kitchenware, to all appearances the exact same items we used to call, in the old days, pots and pans. Maybe they were sustainable back then too but we just didn't know it. Or maybe "sustainable" has become just another junk word.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is pushing a similar plan…which is under public review at the state level, [which] would also require any adult in expanded Medicaid to work at least 20 hours per week or register with the local employment agency and search for work.
CHICAGO (AP) -- Young teens aren't exactly embracing the government's Let's Move mantra, the latest fitness data suggest.
Only 1 in 4 U.S. kids aged 12 to 15 meet the recommendations - an hour or more of moderate to vigorous activity every day.
By now, we all know that a polar vortex is a cyclone of frigid air centered on the Arctic.
Every time the weather gets a little uppity everybody wants to jump in with the opinion du jour. Here's the NY Times editorial.
This blog's opinion is: Wear a hat. And mittens, not gloves.
It has been three years since Penguin Press published The Poisoner’s Handbook, the NYT-bestseller from none other than the indescribably incredible Deborah Blum. Three years. You really have no excuse if you haven’t read it. But, if you are one of those unfortunate souls who has missed out, you’re in luck: The Poisoner’s Handbook has been adapted for TV, and will be premiering as a part of PBS’ American Experience next Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at 8/7c.This book was on our reading list a couple of years ago so of course you've read it, but JIC you want to watch it too.
Intel will be producing a smartwatch with “geofencing” which allows families to get alerts if children or elderly parents leave a specific geographic area.…
[And] a turtle-shaped sensor on baby clothing which can send information to a smart coffee cup about an infant’s breathing, temperature and position.For the record, we use only dumb coffee cups and will not change. (Seriously? Smart coffee cups? They're kidding, right?)
3D print yourself in chocolate and full-color sugar candy with the ChefJet Pro
Brutal temperatures are forcing those in the Midwest, East into virtual hibernation.
Right. It will not get better tomorrow. But at least tomorrow I will be one day more resigned to my fate. Meantime, yesterday, during the brutally ugly New England winter, the software that allowed me to blog lazily all these many years broke. Died. Went away. This means I will have to work a little harder at avoiding work, and introduce many exciting and innovative new features to Yet Another Media Empire in coming days. Like, for example, actually paying attention. Also, since I have nothing else to do today, whatever.
Think of it as getting an early start on cabin fever this year.
Less than five years ago, 54 percent of Republicans and nearly two-thirds of Democrats said the human species evolved over time. Today, however, the share of Republicans adhering to modern theories of human evolution has dropped significantly – to 43 percent – while the number of Democrats has climbed to 67 percent, though within the sampling error range, according to a Pew Research Center study of the public’s views of human evolution, released Monday.…
Those with the most pronounced skeptical views on human evolution remain white evangelical Protestants, who are a potent force in conservative politics and a key base of support for the tea party movement.
-Christian Science MonitorBut what about those Democrats? Sixty-seven percent? We are not impressed.
The tech market will shrink this year as gadget makers struggle to attract people content with the devices they already have.Imagine the horror. If everybody's happy with what they've got there can be no more. It's over. Just like it was back in the day when everybody, everybody, had their own handsome black telephone. It's deja vu all over again. We can only mourn.
[CES is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.]
At Mayor Bill de Blasio’s January 1 inauguration, speaker after speaker cataloged the inequalities of 21st-century New York (which are real, but would provoke envy in Oliver Twist). There were frequent references to the city as it existed before Mayors Mike Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani; we were wistfully transported back to the days of Fiorello La Guardia and David Dinkins, when New York was just about piss and grime, not piss and grime and runaway wealth.
Meanwhile it's been raining most of the day (pretty hard for a little while, right while I was on my way to the grocery store), turning the street crossings into ankle-deep puddles and the rest of everything into icy slush. It's all going to freeze hard tonight and stay that way until next weekend at least, or maybe until July. This is extremely grumpy-making; everything, everything, is now twice as difficult as it was yesterday, and takes twice as long. It might be marginally better than -20º temps.
Or it might not.
(Well, OK, that seems to have worked so maybe things are on the mend.)
Noticed something strange about the enclosed weather map. The lower 48 are cut off on a line just East of the Cascade Mountains. Seattle is out of the picture because we screw up the story. Even though WA state borders Canada, the high temperature in Seattle today was 46. All next week highs will be about the same. In order to offer relief to the rest of the nation I'd like to suggest the firm establish a seasonal desk, the Hawaii Tourist Information Desk. I have a promising applicant for the job. Watch for her email. Her name is Iwannawanna Hulanownow.
S. G. I. Seattle
As one street dealer told The Pueblo Chieftain, “[w]hen the novelty wears off, people will be tired of having to go to the stores and paying much higher prices for the same weed. Street dealers will charge less, and we deliver.”
When it’s winter on Earth, it’s also summer on Earth ... somewhere else. Thus, allow us to counter anecdotal evidence about cold weather with more anecdotal evidence: It’s blazing hot in Australia, with temperatures in some regions set to possibly soar above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming days.
Take that, you Trump, take that!
Dude, that does not mean what it meant fifty years ago. But it might get you a free cup of coffee if you play it cool.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- Celebrities, businesses and even the U.S. State Department have bought bogus Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube viewers from offshore "click farms," where workers tap, tap, tap the thumbs up button, view videos or retweet comments to inflate social media numbers.
"The last really big Arctic outbreak was 1994," Reuters news agency quoted Bob Oravec, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, as saying.
This is what we mean by record low? It hasn't been this cold since a week ago last Thursday? I know, it's Brits saying this, but still.
Green Bay Packers’ NFL wild-card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field is expected to go ahead today, as the coldest NFL game ever played.
Fans…were warned to take extra precautions, such as dressing in layers and sipping warm drinks.
Also extra cheese on the hats might be a good idea.
A few services, like Pandora, Amazon and Netflix, were early in developing algorithms to recommend products based on an individual customer’s preferences or those of people with similar profiles. Now, some companies are trying to differentiate themselves by using their proprietary data sets to make deeper inferences about individuals and try to influence their behavior.