Save the part-time professors!

Public Sector Cuts Part-Time Shifts to Bypass Insurance Law - NYTimes.com

"WASHINGTON — Cities, counties, public schools and community colleges around the country have limited or reduced the work hours of part-time employees to avoid having to provide them with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, state and local officials say.…
Among those whose hours have been restricted in recent months are police dispatchers, prison guards, substitute teachers, bus drivers, athletic coaches, school custodians, cafeteria workers and part-time professors."

Wait. They just profess part time, right?

This will spoil everything

Curling commentators might as well be speaking Klingon. Here's a guide to help translate: http://t.co/Akn9AhieX9
2/22/14, 11:13 AM

And where are all the alligators now?

The Lost Cow Tunnels of New York City

"Like every other major metropolis, New York City has tunnels for people, tunnels for cars, and lots of tunnels for trains. But it also has something rather more unique: tunnels for cows. Or does it?"

Picky, picky

Niall Ferguson: America's Global Retreat - WSJ.com

"Mr. Obama's supporters like nothing better than to portray him as the peacemaker to George W. Bush's warmonger. But it is now almost certain that more people have died violent deaths in the Greater Middle East during this presidency than during the last one."

In your dreams

Investors Agree: Plant-Based Eggs Are No Yolk - Reviewed.com Ovens

"Whether you’re a vegan or the most passionate of meat-lovers, here is an idea you have to admire: plant-based egg products."

It's a birthday (or year)

Bloody Mary Origins - Bloody Mary Drink Recipe - Esquire

"Ernest Hemingway, who likely knocked back a few Red Snappers on his visits to Harry’s New York Bar in the 1920s, wrote in a 1947 letter that he had introduced the Bloody Mary to Hong Kong in 1941, an act he said ‘did more than any other single factor except the Japanese Army to precipitate the Fall of that Crown Colony.’"

Today in the wild blue yonder

FAA risks losing drone war - Kevin Robillard - POLITICO.com

"The Washington Nationals used a drone to photograph spring training. Real estate agents use them to show off sprawling properties. Martin Scorsese hired one to film a scene in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’…

Retailers freely sell the tiny planes, quadcopters and hexacopters for as little as a few hundred dollars, and entrepreneurs continually come up with creative uses like wedding photography and crop monitoring — along with delivering beer and dropping off dry-cleaning."


Whatever works, I guess

"Son of God" Coming to a Theater Near You http://t.co/C5Ab934eyz via @buzzflash
2/21/14, 11:15 AM

Yes, darlin, there's a skating scandal!

Winter Olympics "skating scandal" petition tops 1.6 million - CBS News

"According to Change.org, the flurry of signatures was five times the previous record. About 90 percent of the signatures were coming from people inside Korea and roughly 10 percent came from inside the U.S., according to the world's largest online petition platform."

Let's have a bake sale

For all the market gains, Wall St.'s denizens say they are more stressed than ever—and their hearts are giving out http://t.co/bKZEb8GwwH
2/21/14, 11:08 AM

Wait, what?

@joshtpm re-calibrated to account for the average number of interceptions thrown per game the Broncos actually won the superbowl. #SportSpin
2/21/14, 11:10 AM

By the company you keep

Five Epic Fails in the FCC's New Net Neutrality Plan | Common Dreams

"The FCC has admitted to the press that its approach would allow for ‘some discrimination.’ That’s not Net Neutrality.

And if you need any more indication of how flawed this approach is, note that AT&T, Comcast and Verizon have already endorsed it."

For a minute there you might have thought there was a free lunch. But no, only a few hors d’oeuvres.

Pretty much the same thing drug pushers do

How Facebook Will Squeeze $19 Billion Out of WhatsApp | Wired Business | Wired.com

" ‘We believe that once we get to being a service that has 1 billion, 2 billion, maybe even 3 billion people one day, that there are many clear ways that we can monetize,’ Facebook founder and CEO Zuckerberg said this week on a conference call with Wall Street analysts."

Kids in Utah must wait 59 days for sexy T-shirts

Mom buys all of store’s 'indecent' T-shirts | Nation/World - Home

"An angry mother who found T-shirts on display in a mall 'indecent' decided to buy every single one.…

Cox told the Herald that instead of destroying the T-shirts, she plans to 'let their corporate office figure out what to do with them when I return them on day 59 of a 60-day return policy.'"

Feel better now?

Freezing January for Easterners Was Not Felt Round the World - NYTimes.com

"For people throughout the Eastern United States who spent January slipping, sliding and shivering, here is a counterintuitive fact: For the earth as a whole, it was the fourth-warmest January on record."

Anyway, January? January was fine here. It was February that was the bad month. Is. But maybe not so much next week.


I love it!

New Google WiFi app could automatically log you into Starbucks and other public hotspots

"Google is working on a new WiFi app that could take a lot of the drudgery out of accessing public hotspots."

Accessing public hotspots is now drudgery! Who knew! Down with drudgery, I say! Down with it!

[I still have a few exclamation points left. !!!!]

After the deluge

But wait! One to three inches of ice tonight, followed by rain tomorrow, says Weather Underground. So we won't have to endure this pleasant weather for long.

Fortunately they have a governor with experience…

40,000 Tons of New Jersey Salt, Stuck in Maine - NYTimes.com

“The [road] salt is sorely needed in New Jersey, where salt sheds are down to their final grains and a shortage has grown so acute that local officials have contemplated closing roadways and curtailing public bus routes."

I did it!

Bill in Albany to Allow Lawsuits by Those Who Falsely Confess - NYTimes.com

"The New York State attorney general proposed legislation on Wednesday that would allow people who have confessed or pleaded guilty to a crime they did not commit to sue the state for damages.…even if they cannot prove that the confession was coerced…"

[Emphasis mine.]

But we got a medal in skiing or something, didn't we?

The Least We Can Do - NYTimes.com

"We will never agree to a treaty that says children’s interests come first! Children should be seen and not considered. Thanks to our strong commitment to this point, the United States is the only country outside of South Sudan and Somalia that has failed to ratify the U.N. convention on children’s rights.



Nor dark of night

You've got mail

A friendly reminder

[Library of Congress/Flickr]

Curling the old-school way

Curling: Right on the Button | Picture This: Library of Congress Prints & Photos

Where do you get this "our," Bunky?

Our obsession with the medal count is a symbol of everything that is wrong with the #Olympics today. http://t.co/mSgRymJbVs #Sochi2014
2/19/14, 1:33 PM

Spring: Only 694 hours away*

*According to Siri.

We can't wait to find out

The Woes of Wall Street: Why Young Bankers Are So Miserable - Kevin Roose - The Atlantic

Or, we can.

You heard it here first (or maybe second)

David Attenborough's voice brings out the wild side of Olympic curling | The Verge

All to sweet-talk you

Rival Industries Sweet-Talk the Public - NYTimes.com

"WASHINGTON — The corn refinery and sugar industries, bitter rivals in the manufacture of billions of dollars’ worth of sweeteners for sodas and other high-calorie foods, covertly funded dueling nonprofit groups in Washington in a multiyear effort to grab market share, while also stoking fears among consumers about possible health risks, court records made public in a federal lawsuit between the two parties show."

A Duluth story

A newcomer to Duluth is out shoveling his sidewalk one morning, as usual, tired of seeing nothing but snow for months on end, and in an act of despair asks his also-shoveling neighbor, “What do you guys do around here in the summertime?"

The neighbor responds, “Well, if it comes on a Sunday we play baseball."

We may be a little bit ahead of that curve here: It’s supposed to actually get above freezing today for an hour or two. The forecasters are saying warmer weather tomorrow, but they’ve been saying that for two weeks now, so who knows.

Woohoo! February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day

Everyday is a Holiday!


Also from Seattle, our Pacific Rim bureau reports…

Chocolate Chip Mint: Stock Up

"If it's below freezing where you are, you're going to see snow and if all this rain is any indication, you should probably stock up on Spam."

We’re getting the rain, if the forecasters have their way. It will be a soothing change from all the snow.

And we are always stocked up on Spam.

And if we weren't, we'd forget it anyway

3-year-old Ariz. girl admitted to Mensa

"Alexis Martin of Queen Creek, Ariz., has an IQ higher than 99.9% of other three-year-olds."

Noted by Some Guy in Seattle, who adds, "Sorry to report, I'm getting dumber every day."

The last lawn sign


Ohio Board of Tax Appeals Says No Relief for Two Former NFL Players | AccountingWEB

“The two former players claimed the ‘games-played method’ the city of Cleveland uses results in tax liabilities that are considerably higher than the more common method of calculating what is known as the ‘jock tax.’"

[H/T Shawn Stoller’s Blog!]

Also closed weekends

Swiss fighters grounded during hijacking as outside office hours - Yahoo News

"Geneva (AFP) - No Swiss fighter jets were scrambled Monday when an Ethiopian Airlines co-pilot hijacked his own plane and forced it to land in Geneva, because it happened outside business hours, the Swiss airforce said.…
Swiss airforce spokesman Laurent Savary told AFP.…the Swiss airforce is only available during office hours. These are reported to be from 8am until noon, then 1:30 to 5pm."

Awesome. Only an hour and a half for lunch.

Zoom? Whiz? Really?

Giant Asteroid to Zoom Past Earth - Video on NBCNews.com

"An asteroid roughly the size of three football fields will whiz by Earth at 27,000 mph. "

OK, as long as “past” is the operative word.

Dude, that just sounds bad

Europe’s Right Flank Rises | The American Conservative

I can't figure out…

…if I’m supposed to be happy about this (Protect the Children!) or horrified (Fight the Police State!)

Mass. starts fingerprinting school employees to conduct national background checks - Metro - The Boston Globe

"‘It’s a little overdue,’ said Jeff Wulfson, a deputy commissioner at the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education."

Everyone is so afraid of being unsafe (Unsafe!) these days, everyone of every persuasion on every issue terrified (Run! Hide!), it’s just, well, confusing is what it is. (Help!)

Everything you need to know about potato chips…

Potato Chips - Blogrunner

…from the New York Times’ Blogrunner.

You're doing what to Ed Koch?

A Debate in New York Over the Name of a Sea Between Japan and the Koreas - NYTimes.com

"‘In this case, the widely known name for a body of water is a constant reminder for Koreans worldwide of an era of oppression, occupation and violence,’ Senator Stavisky said. ‘We’re not replacing a name, we’re adding a name. It’s like adding Ed Koch to the 59th Street Bridge.’"

Of course!

At Newark Airport, the Lights Are On, and They’re Watching You - NYTimes.com

"Fred H. Cate, director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research at Indiana University, described the potential for misuse as ‘terrifying.’"

Early to bed, they say

Spain, Land of 10 P.M. Dinners, Asks if It’s Time to Reset Clock - NYTimes.com

"Spain still operates on its own clock and rhythms. But now that it is trying to recover from a devastating economic crisis — in the absence of easy solutions — a pro-efficiency movement contends that the country can become more productive, more in sync with the rest of Europe, if it adopts a more regular schedule."


Shoulda stayed in Oz

What The Hell Just Happened In Kansas? « The Dish

"The bill that just overwhelmingly passed the Kansas House of Representatives is quite something. You can read it in its entirety here. It is premised on the notion that the most pressing injustice in Kansas right now is the persecution some religious people are allegedly experiencing at the hands of homosexuals."

Nike to make shoes for guys who can't tie their own laces

Nike to unveil 'Back to the Future' self-tying power laces in 2015

"In the 1989 movie, the power laces became a reality in 2015. Sure enough, next year is when Nike will unveil the laces, confirmed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield to Sole Collector, a site dedicated to 'sneaker culture.'"

I didn't know what day it was

Why does myth of US Presidents Day persist? - Yahoo News

"Long story short: Washington’s Birthday has been a US holiday since 1886. In the late 1960s, Congress scrambled around a bunch of federal holidays to make three-day weekends, and Washington’s Birthday got thrown into that mix. The Illinois congressional delegation thought it would be a great idea to honor Abe Lincoln by expanding the name to Presidents Day. But Virginia lawmakers blocked the move to protect the prerogatives of The Father of Our Country. That’s where things still stand today."

Now that you mention it…

Could meditation be the solution to Congressional gridlock? http://t.co/lRUFEGTn79 @abc @YahooNews #PowerPlayers
2/17/14, 9:53 AM

…whatever happened to pyramids and crystals?

For tomorrow, Weather Underground says…

Winter Storm Rex Forecast: Snow, Ice from Midwest to Northeast | Weather Underground

"Generally a nuisance snowfall…"

…NWS says 4.2 inches. A little more specific, but more or less the same thing.

James Garfield liked squirrel soup but…

Former presidents' food preferences revealed

"President Barack Obama favors nuts, seeds and raisins for snacks"

And the Russians would know

Sochi 2014: Invisible security is the best security, says Putin’s chief of staff — RT News

"Making the Sochi Olympics safe for visitors but not intrusive was a major achievement for Russian security officials, Sergey Ivanov, President Putin’s chief of staff and a veteran security professional, told RT."

This one will come back to haunt ya, darlin.

A salty tale

A Mad Dash for Salt Rescues Olympic Slopes - NYTimes.com

"This Sochi salt accord involved a Swiss salt salesman working late into the night; a rerouted airplane that may or may not have come from Bulgaria; an Olympian turned salt savant; and Russians powerful enough to clear months of customs bureaucracy overnight."

Keep out

One Nation Under Guard - NYTimes.com

"Another dubious first for America: We now employ as many private security guards as high school teachers….

And that’s just a small fraction of what we call ‘guard labor.’"

Who is this ex-British person of whom you speak (and what is she now)?

Murdoch's ex-British paper boss Brooks to start phone-hacking defense | Reuters


Walking the dog

Official theme song of the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team

Sochi 2014: Jamaican Olympic Bobsled Team Gets New Theme Song | TIME.com

"Tune apparently syncs perfectly with the Olympic bobsled course itself"

Iced coffee, etc.

It might be a while before all this melts off. (It's supposed to snow again on Tuesday but I'm thinking not so much. Last night was only about an inch.)

Ooops, fast pants don't work

Suit Change Does Not Matter as U.S. Misses Podium Again - NYTimes.com

"For the 1,500, they tried something different by wearing their standard skin suits, but the results were similar."

Business plan?

Too busy to waste time just goofing off?

We will do it for you!

Reasonable rates

Inquire within

We knew about the spies…

Washington letter that started first spy ring goes on display | New York Post

"An original letter written by George Washington that initiated a spy network during the Revolutionary War is going on display for a limited time at the International Spy Museum in Washington."

…but who knew there was a spy museum? International, no less

Honest, Officer, there was a pothole there just a minute ago

Today’s Paper - The New York Times

“[In Chicago] City crews are filling potholes at double the rate of last year — which means buying twice as much patching material for that purpose — yet drivers are still doing what look like drunken swerves to avoid yawning gaps in the streets."

Somebody must have patched it up at double the rate.

It does sorta make sense

Marry First, Then Cheat - NYTimes.com

"But everyone [in France] except François Hollande seems to agree: You do not install one mistress at the Élysée when you have another mistress. That is simply bad form."