Are there any more dumb questions you can think of?

Are angry young men making the world less stable? http://t.co/j2fliboOp9
3/15/14, 12:15 PM

If it ever was, of course

Pop Culture and the Public Library | The American Conservative

"The stereotypical bookish recluse no longer fits America’s average library user persona: rather, we see a group of people who are digitally savvy, connected, and often wealthy."

Picky, picky

Goodyear's first new blimp design in 45 years... isn't actually a blimp

"Now, the tire company has finally launched the first dirigible in its next-generation fleet, and it's not even a blimp anymore -- it's a zeppelin."

So what are we waiting for?

Karzai says US troops can leave Afghanistan http://t.co/JYtR6F0QNV
3/15/14, 12:01 PM

An anniversary year

Germany's 1914 World War I fixation on Russia-Ukraine policy | New Republic

"Sure, there are mentions here and there of Sudentenland and Munich and 1938—it’s not that the Germans are averse to Nazi analogies. But what really has them fixated right now are the parallels between the current situation and the catastrophic stumble into war that occurred a century ago with another dispute in a seemingly remote region involving a small, disputed piece of territory (Bosnia-Herzegovina)…"

A deep story

U.S. Navy Strategists Have a Long History of Finding the Lost - NYTimes.com

"The approach is a kind of crowdsourcing, but not one in which volunteers pored over satellite images, like they have in search of Flight 370.…"

From a remarkable set of photographs…

…sent along by a friend, Formerly Upstairs Cathy:

"Fourteen year- old Osama bin Laden. He's second from the right. - bell bottom pants - pink car - expensive shops, nice threads.

"About 24 people out  smiling --- looking hip for the day and not one woman has their face or head covered."


Hey, it's Pi Day

Chocolate Chip Mint: Happy Pi Day

We almost missed it.

Wait a minute. Whoa.

California cop acquitted of murder now coaches little league baseball — RT USA

"Apparently one’s career options aren’t automatically diminished down to nothing after, say, killing a homeless man while on patrol as an officer of the law. One of the cops acquitted of murdering Kelly Thomas is reportedly coaching little league baseball."


OK, it’s an accepted thing nowadays to disregard the verdict of a jury if you disagree with it (Judge Lynch must be smiling down), and anyway this is America and double jeopardy be hanged (sorry), this guy can always be retried and retried again until some other jury comes in with a verdict that’s more popular. 

Just forget I brought it up.

The books we never read

The Great Illusion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

"In this book [published in 1910], [Norman] Angell argued that war between industrial countries was futile because conquest did not pay.…"

Then, of course, four years later, World War I.

"A new edition of The Great Illusion was published in 1933…"

Then six years later, World War II.

Oh, and of course…

"Angell was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933."

Angell agued he never said war wouldn’t happen, just that it wouldn’t be profitable. But we seem to have found our way around that trifling objection. 

Or some of us have.

And where have we heard that before?

White House withheld documents from Senate torture probe | WashingtonExaminer.com

"President Obama's top spokesman noted that the information in question applied only to the previous administration, but said it was crucial to protect the internal conversations between executive-branch officials."

Go money!

Wall Street Bonuses vs the Minimum Wage

"The $26.7 billion Wall Streeters pocketed in bonuses would cover the cost of more than doubling the paychecks for all of the 1,085,000 Americans who work full-time at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour."

And coming soon to a state near you?

Scott Brown May Seek Office Again, but in New Hampshire - NYTimes.com

"BOSTON — After a year of mulling his political future, Scott Brown, the former senator from Massachusetts, has told people on Capitol Hill that he intends to open an exploratory committee and run this year for the Senate from New Hampshire…"


If you were split, salted, and smoked, what would you be?

No, not some medieval heretic; you’d be a kippered herring. (Or salmon. Salmon is sometimes kippered too. The technique is non-fish specific. And you’d probably be canned.)

What's wrong with eating cake?

Lunch on the Barricades - NYTimes.com

"These days, you can find vocal opposition to any federal program that gives something to poor people. Representative Jack Kingston of Georgia, who’s running for the Republican Senate nomination, has been arguing that kids who qualify for subsidized school meals should be required to do janitorial work in order to demolish the idea ‘that there is such a thing as a free lunch.’"

It's all about the civic rectitude, Bunky

Debate on Bourbon St.: Should the Good Times Roll Less Loudly? - NYTimes.com

"‘The standards on Bourbon Street have to change,’ said Robert L. Watters, who owns Rick’s Cabaret and Rick’s Saloon, two of several strip clubs on Bourbon Street, and has been actively involved in the discussions about the sound issue."

Can you spell "OMG"?

Power Grid Preparedness Falls Short, Report Says - NYTimes.com

Another freaking day of freaking winter

We dodged the Snow Monster (second time in less than a week); although it is snowing and there is one inch left on the forecast, what we have on the ground is not the four or five inches we expected but just a little slushy rain, not even enough to plow. But still, it’s grim: overcast, 15 degrees, and very windy. My one-day-a-year jacket, which has already seen some two weeks service this year, is coming out of the closet once again. Also, I'm stocking up on Spam. What if this never ends?


Didn't see this coming, did you?

Anita Hill: Clarence Thomas ‘shouldn’t have been confirmed’ | OnPolitics

Maybe they should try advertising

Senators lament declining public interest in Afghan War

"On Wednesday when Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, came before the Senate Armed Services Committee Republicans and Democrats came together to lament the fact that the public and the press are losing interest in the war."

Or have a sale—buy one war, get one free. Or hey, get two free. We’re not likely to run out.

Four. Four. Not twenty-four.

Weather Forecast & Reports - Long Range & Local | Wunderground | Weather Underground

"A late Winter snow storm is moving through the northeastern part of the United States, potentially dumping up to 24 inches of snow…"

Get serious. Four is bad enough. Twenty-four is out of the question. Out. 

And it’s gonna be cold tomorrow too, spoiling an otherwise moderately promising week. Our only hope now is July.

Also, it’s likely to be a heavy wet nasty snow, and I still have errands to get done. 

But how do they taste with garlic butter?

In France, a Quest to Convert a Sea Snail Plague Into a Culinary Pleasure - NYTimes.com

"They are a poison for his oysters, and a plague for the bay, he added, but also make for a great spaghetti topping."


Everybody should have one


Bet you never saw this coming

Predictable Backlash: Pentagon Now Fears Drones Being Used Against US

"And Russia is right there, doing its best to keep up with the Droneses. Not only does Russia have a fleet of approximately 500 drones, it has 43 different types of drones. It’s even working on a 20-ton flying behemoth that is the ‘Tsar Bomba’ of flying killer robots. Additionally, the Russian Defense ministry recently announced a $9 billion drone program, expanding on deals it already has with drone-makers in Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Yes, you read that correctly. The United Arab Emirates."

Don't mess with Detroit women

Mummified Detroit woman may have voted two years after dying, records show - CBS News


A definition we heard

Outdoors: A slightly soggy place where animals and birds wander about uncooked.

[Spoken by Diana Rigg as the title character in an episode of the BBC's The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries.]

Bad cat

House cat in Oregon attacks baby, traps family in bedroom - chicagotribune.com

"(Reuters) - A rampaging, 22-pound Oregon house cat with a 'history of violence' attacked a baby and trapped a family and their dog in a bedroom at their Portland home before being captured by police, authorities said on Monday. "

All right! If you take this drug you don't have to eat broccoli anymore

Foods to Avoid with Atrial Fibrillation - Heart Disease

Or kale. It (the drug) is called warfarin (see slide #4). 

I’d miss the spinach, but still.

Take a deep breath, Bunky

Rand Paul Says U.S. Should Drill In 'Every Possible, Conceivable Place' To Address Ukraine Situation

"'I would immediately get every obstacle out of the way for our export of oil and gas,' said Paul in an appearance on 'Fox News Sunday.' 'And I would begin drilling in every possible, conceivable place within our territories in order to have production that we can supply Europe with if it's interrupted from Ukraine.'


Morning Bump
iPhone art: Phil Compton

YA government shutdown—only this time, Ukraine

House Republicans Balk at Wording in Obama Emergency Aid Package for Ukraine - NYTimes.com

"A draft aid plan pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee does include the language. If it remains, House, Senate and White House negotiators will square off this week, as the government in Kiev teeters on the brink of a default. Adding to that tension, Congress intends to be on recess the following week."

Is there no 12-step plan for this kind of thing?


In the spirit of the season…

…a reading suggestion from the Dull Men's Club, this Wikipedia article entitled "Daylight Saving Time."

Belongs on your reading list (it's on ours)

Wicked River, by Lee Sandlin, is subtitled "The Mississippi When It Last Ran Wild." It's the story of the Big Muddy in the 19th Century (mostly), when the river was, in the popular imagination, at least, the country's western frontier. And it's a terrific read. You'll learn new stuff, some of which still echoes today. We say, check it out.

So much for your dream vacation

Crimean Tourism Falls Off a Cliff

"Prepaid travel packages to Crimean resort towns like Yalta, Alushta, and Alupka have dropped a precipitous 90 percent year-on-year…"

Go figure.

Apparently UMASS students can't figure out St. Patrick's day is Mar. 17

73 Arrests at St. Pat's Day Bash - The Daily Beast

"Things got pretty ugly at a pre-St. Patrick's Day celebration at the University of Massachusetts' flagship Amherst campus. Its annual ‘Blarney Blowout’ resulted in over 70 arrests and four injured police officers."

Don't hold your breath

Eat more roadkill! It’s the most ethical meat - Salon.com

Or wait…do hold your breath.

New York Panorama

New York Panorama - Photographs - NYTimes.com