As noir as it gets

An excellent dramatization of the Dashiell Hammett classic, "The Maltese Falcon," starring Michael Madsen, Sandra Oh, and Edward Herrmann. (Check your local library for this one, or find it at Audible or from other sellers.)

Sunny afternoon

A friendly reminder, gentle Reader

Get used to toilet-to-tap water, Californians told | Environment | The Guardian

"The golden state’s historic drought is forcing once-squeamish Californians to take a new look at ‘toilet-to-tap’ water re-use."

All water is, one way or another, more or less, toilet-to-tap. It’s just about how long that takes.

Bottoms up.

I'm not taking sides in the feud between Amazon and the publisher, Hachette…

Dispute Between Amazon and Hachette Takes an Orwellian Turn - NYTimes.com
"Maybe Amazon really is rattled by the whole Authors United phenomenon organized by Douglas Preston. The writers are encouraging their readers to email Jeff Bezos, the Amazon chief executive, and tell him to stop holding books hostage as the company negotiates with Hachette Book Group."
…because I simply don’t know enough about it. But, Dude, for authors who benefit, under U. S. Copyright, from protection lasting "to life of the author plus 70 years” to complain about anybody holding books hostage is a little bit way over the top.

One of the really annoying things about getting old…

50 years on, fateful Vietnam resolution resonates | Air Force Times | airforcetimes.com

"Fifty years ago Sunday, reacting to reports of a Navy encounter with enemy warships in the Gulf of Tonkin off Vietnam…"

…is having to go through stuff like this all over again.

Historic: New buddies in Iraq

domain-b.com : Iraq militants scoff as US rains bombs on Islamist State fighters

"A US official said the Iraqi government had provided a planeload of ammunition to Kurdish fighters in Erbil, in what the official called an 'unprecedented' act of military cooperation between Baghdad and the Kurds, who have long feuded over land and oil."

Ain’t that cute? Meanwhile…

"US air strikes prompted renewed calls on jihadi online forums for attacks on the United States and oil interests in the Gulf."


Whatever, we give up


"The U.S. has launched a second round of airstrikes against a target of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS or ISIL)…"

Gotta love it

Cow farts cause barn to explode in Germany - San Jose Mercury News

"‘In the barn for 90 dairy cows, methane built up for unknown reasons and was probably ignited by a static discharge, exploding in a darting flame,’ said local police in the central town of Rasdorf in Hesse state."


Obama aides let Delphi avoid taxes with tactic president now assails - Toledo Blade

"As part of the bailout of the auto industry in 2009, Obama’s Treasury Department authorized spending $1.7 billion of government funds to get a bankrupt Michigan parts-maker back on its feet — as a British company. While executives continue to run Delphi Automotive from a Detroit suburb, the paper headquarters in England potentially reduces the company’s U.S. tax bill by as much as $110 million a year."


Running for the Senate from Kentucky: America's most honest politician

Gil Fulbright » Honest Politician for Kentucky

"My opponents Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes will spend $100 million to show the people of Kentucky how much they care.   Honestly, I don’t care about Kentucky. I care about that sweet, sweet cash."

Remembering Orwell

Obama OKs airstrikes in Iraq if needed to defend Americans | Early & Often

"'As commander in chief, I will not allow the United States to be drawn into fighting another war in Iraq,' Obama said.

"Even so, he outlined a rationale for airstrikes if the Islamic State militants advance on American troops…"



San Jose airport, facing another security breach, downplays threat of unticketed passenger - San Jose Mercury News

"Marilyn Hartman, a 62-year-old homeless woman who was arrested seven times this year for trying to sneak aboard flights at San Francisco International Airport, bypassed two ticket checkpoints by sneaking past guards and went undetected throughout a Southwest Airlines trip from San Jose to Los Angeles on Monday. "

Food fight

Russian Foodies React To Import Ban With Patriotism, Some Gloom

"'I buy Italian produce, often French wines and cheeses,' she said. 'If they ban these, I will be sad, but what can you do?' Taking a triumphant bite of her Russian-made ice-cream, she declared, 'This is ours -- it's tasty.'"

Would it make a difference?

Can Congress Get Stoned if D.C. Legalizes Marijuana? - The Daily Beast

It's an election year: Maybe it's running for the House

Search continues in Florida for 6-foot-long door-knocking alligator | Fox News

"VIERA, Fla. –  Marie Maxwell says she was watching Jeopardy when she heard a knock at the door of her home in the Suntree neighborhood near Viera. When she opened it, an alligator she believes was longer than 6 feet was staring at her."

An excellent T

Chocolate Chip Mint: T

When it gets that cold, well…

Five-year-old Minnesota mayor loses re-election to 16-year old - CSMonitor.com

"DORSET, MINN. — A 5-year-old boy's run as mayor is over in a tiny tourist town in northern Minnesota.…

"Eric Mueller, a 16-year-old from Mendota Heights, Minnesota, won when his name was drawn from the ballot box during the annual Taste of Dorset festival."


AT&T claims scarce money

Cell Phone Carriers Are Fighting a Plan to Make It Easier to Locate 911 Callers | Mother Jones

"AT&T called the FCC's proposed timeline for improving location-finding technology 'unrealistic' and wrote that forcing providers to 'incrementally' improve their systems will 'waste scarce resources (i.e., time, talent, and money)'"

Scarce talent, too.

Imagine our dismay.

Questions ending in no

Grootify anything with our new magic button! - Us Vs Th3m

"Did you ever wish you could just transform any text anywhere on the Internet with ‘I am Groot’?"

Challenged by immigrant, Paul scuttles away

Rand Paul escapes trap set by immigration activists. But what about 2016? - CSMonitor.com

"He was eating a burger right next to King when the activists arrived. He shook their hands, took a bite, then fled, as if he’d forgotten that he’d promised to be somewhere else, like another state."


Imagine our surprise

Money, Not Morals, Drives Marijuana Prohibition Movement | OpenSecrets Blog

"As it turns out, there is big money in marijuana prohibition."

Are you old enough to remember this sound?

And will it fly?

–Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau, reporting from deepest Wisconsin


The demise of CNN

Kim Kardashian's marriage milestone: 73 days with Kanye - CNN.com

"Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have been married for 73 days, a significant number given that her last marriage, to basketball player Kris Humphries, ended after 72 days."

A reminder from Winnie the Pooh


"You can't help respecting someone who can spell Tuesday even if he can't spell it right."

Hiaasen jousts with the mouse

Some of our books may be available from your public library in ebook or other form, as this one (via CW/Mars): Team Rodent.

Save one for me!

Amazon.com: Airborn eBook: Kenneth Oppel: Kindle Store

"Oppel really hits his stride in this book, mixing science with science fiction and wrapping it in a fantasy tortilla."


Bring back whale oil!

Hey, we're a whaling state. Why should North Dakota have it all?

Maps and more

Children at the Border - NYTimes.com

"More than 57,000 children have been caught crossing the United States border alone since October — double last year’s number. President Obama has called the surge an ‘urgent humanitarian situation,’ and lawmakers have called for hearings on the crisis."

Who needs drones anyway?

Forget drones: These tethered blimps can spy on cities below | Ars Technica

"The device is designed to aid with surveillance, enhance situational awareness, and help with ‘communications research.’ For years, this type of inflatable spy technology has been sold to the military for ISR (intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance) missions, but only more recently has it come home to roost."

Feeling a little pinched?

What's been happening to wages

Boo hoo, cry contractors, it's just too hard

Federal contractors vow to fight Obama executive order | TheHill

"Obama’s order requires companies seeking federal contracts to disclose labor law violations over the previous three years.  That includes statutes covering pay, safety, health and collective bargaining, as well as past civil rights violations."


Don't be a scoffbook

Librarians reveal NYC’s most insanely overdue books | New York Post

"‘It was 36 years, one month and seven days late,’ said Louise Lareau, the managing librarian at the Children’s Center on 42nd Street, of a stained copy of ‘Making the Best of It: A Common Sense Guide to Negotiating a Divorce’ — withdrawn during the Carter administration and returned in May 2013."

Meanwhile, smelling salts administered to Trump

First Ebola-stricken US aid worker arrives at Atlanta hospital (+video) - CSMonitor.com

"Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, with the assistance of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease control, received Mr. Brantly, a father of two, on Saturday. A second American stricken by Ebola, Nancy Writebol, is scheduled to be flown to to the same Atlanta facility shortly."

Zounds! It's an election year

Obama’s Impeachment Game - NYTimes.com

"It would be lawless, reckless, a leap into the antidemocratic dark…"

NYT’s Doughat sees dastardly plots!

"Topaz"—a novel by Leon Uris

Here, and now on the list.

A Cold War spy tale from the unambiguous 60’s featuring a Long Island airport named Idlewild and a restaurant described, with a straight face, as camp. Including a Russian defector, fiery Cubans, unhappy wives, and the French, naturellement. And other exotica. Straight, goes down smooth.

I've been saying this for years…

Watch America transform from making things to taking care of people - Vox

"By 2013, health care dominated in the majority of states and manufacturing became a niche player."

…where I live, half the people are employed taking care of the other half. You can see it happen just about everywhere, here. (Also, very cool  map.)