Seahawks fans may be noisy but…

Dry times

A look back at the Prohibition era on the 95th anniversary of the ban on alcohol

But we do complain a lot

Bobby Jindal to declare ‘Islam has a problem' - NY Daily News

"'In my country, Christianity is the largest religion. And we require exactly no one to conform to it. And we do not discriminate against anyone who does not conform to it.…'"


Siri, you are such a joker

I have it in a book somewhere but, impatient, I ask Siri about cooking times for pork.

Siri gives me a map to the nearest cooking school.

(It's surprisingly close.)

MIL-SPEC work avoidance

(Imagine) Dragons Versus Apaches

"Who triumphs in this video? Not productivity. You'll never get these two minutes back."

I saw a bottle of some herbal stuff marked with this very phrase only a couple hours ago

(And had the same reaction.)


We're feeling a little bit left out…

…although it has managed to warm up to 17º here, so we're toasty enough for now.

File this one away

If You Want To Understand What's Happened To The Supreme Court, You Need To Listen To Rand Paul | ThinkProgress

"Senator Paul’s speech was a repudiation of democracy, and he called for the Supreme Court to assume a dominant role in setting American policy that it abandoned three generations ago. Under Paul’s vision, the minimum wage is forbidden and union busting is constitutionally protected. The New Deal is an illegitimate expansion of federal power, and more recent efforts to ensure that no one dies because they cannot afford health care are an abomination."

Raising the bar (but not much)

2016 Hopefuls Skirt Leaders of the G.O.P. - NYTimes.com

"‘The American people want to see that we’re competent,’ said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 2 House Republican."

Maybe the best story we ever missed

Private Group Makes Contact with 36-Year-Old NASA Spacecraft

"ISEE-3 is such an old spacecraft that it doesn't have a computer on board. Its thermostat failed years ago, and its engine has experienced excess heating in the past. But with the spacecraft now talking to the Reboot Project, there's the potential it could change its destiny – again."


Ain't what it used to be, being a kid

Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone - The Washington Post:

"Police picked up the children near the Discovery building, the family said, after someone reported seeing them."

My sister reminds me when we were about the same age as these two kids—I was 10 or 11, she was eight or nine—our parents let us ride on a train by ourselves from Duluth, Minnesota to Lincoln, Nebraska, and (you guessed it) back. We had to change trains in Chicago. We had an uncle in Chicago who worked for the railroad and he no doubt helped us change trains, although I don’t remember it, and no doubt arranged for the train crew to keep an eye on us along the way, although they must have stayed pretty much out of sight because I don’t remember that either. What I do remember is eating club sandwiches in the dining car. The way to a boy’s heart…

That, and lying in a bunk at night watching out the window as the train whizzed through little towns along the way, the towns all lit up and the crossing gates down, bells ringing—which is absolutely the very best thing you can do while riding on a train. Even better than the club sandwiches.

Wait…no toothpicks with cheese on the end?

A Restaurant With a Waiting List of 60,000:

"What he describes as ‘snacks’—deep-fried reindeer moss, fermented grasshoppers, roasted lettuce juice…"

He really said this? Really?

France hit by 19,000 cyber attacks after Charlie Hebdo terror attacks - CBS News:

"U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who was heading to France later Thursday, said he wants to 'share a big hug with Paris and express the affection of the American people for France and for our friends there who have been through a terrible time.'"

You are what you like

How Facebook Knows You Better Than Your Friends Do | WIRED

"In the end, the researchers found that with information on just ten Facebook ‘Likes,’ the algorithm was more accurate than the average person’s colleague. With 150 ‘Likes,’ it could outsmart people’s families, and with 300 ‘Likes,’ it could best a person’s spouse."

Don’t look now, but the Internet knows everything.

Save the bankers!

U.S. House approves bill scaling back Wall Street reform law

"House Republicans view much of the Dodd-Frank law as unworkable and an unnecessary burden on American businesses…"

Will somebody please wake him up?

Scott Walker--Sleeper in 2016 GOP Presidential Race? | RealClearPolitics

There may be too many candidates for President, but in Virginia…

Jailed Va. Delegate Wins Re-Election As Lawmakers Prepare To Oust Him

"The former Democrat ran his re-election campaign while on work-release from prison, where he was sentenced to serve six months in December after entering an Alford plea to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.…

"All that legal drama apparently wasn't much of a deterrent for Morrissey's constituents, although it's worth noting that only 6,720 ballots were cast in a district of about 53,000 registered voters, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch."

If you thought you were having fun before…

There are 153 presidential candidates running | Center for Public Integrity

"Voters right now can support Democrat 'President Emperor Caesar' of Cape Coral, Fla., Republican 'Ole' Savior' of Minneapolis and 'President Princess Khadijah M. Jacob-Fambro' of San Francisco whose party affiliation is listed as 'The Revolutionary Party.'"


Walking down from the high point on the bridge toward the grocery store this morning…

…I met a guy about my age coming up in the other direction. Be careful up there, I said, it’s slippery.

No problem, he said, I only fall once a year, and I’ve already got that out of the way for this winter.

Me too, I said. Just last week. 

It’s all good from here.

High Speed Train from Vermont, we hardly knew ye

Greenfield celebration of Amtrak service takes a sharp turn into protest | masslive.com

"What was to have been a celebration of Amtrak service at the John W. Olver Transit Center has turned into a sort of war dance over the lack of a ticket kiosk at the facility."

 No kidding. A ticket dance. 

It turns out the new Amtrak train stops here—but you can’t get on it. At least not without a ticket, which you can’t buy at the Olver International Bus (and now) Train Station (a good picture of which is at the link above). You can’t buy a ticket on the train, either—some Amtrak policy—so buying it online is the only option. But, according to Linda McInerny, the artistic director at Old Deerfield Productions (don’t ask) (or do ask), “not everyone's got a smartphone."

I can’t speak for everyone, but up in them thar hills, along the old Mohawk Trail, there are people who don’t have DSL, cable, wireless, any internet—that’s true. How many of them wish to ride the Iron Horse on a five-hour trip to New York City when they can drive it in three remains unclear. 

A train is not really a train without a ticket, though, and the aforementioned Ms. McInerny is doing something about that: planning the ticket dance (which apparently will feature Beatles music) for Feb. 20 at 1:07 pm. Sharp. The dance is, according to the article at MassLive, "geared toward sending Amtrak a message: We want tickets."

No kidding. (Or did I say that already.)

Meanwhile, in Northampton, the next stop down the road, which also doesn’t have a ticket booth, Mayor David J. Narkewicz says no big deal.

"'It's like buying airline tickets,' said Narkewicz, who believes the days of the ticket booth are gone."

Airline tickets? What are they?

CORRECTION: Turns out you can buy a ticket on the train, for cash, but you shouldn’t count on it, according to an Amtrak spokesperson, because the train might be sold out. (Yes, she actually said that: The train might be sold out.)

Also, if you buy a ticket on the train with cash you have to pay the highest fare. 

I’m not making any of this up.

Is nothing perfect?

It might get back up over freezing Sunday—and rain.

Meanwhile it’s 2º out there. At least when it’s that cold it’s not so slippery, and I’m off to the grocery store.

The great chocolate caper

Cadbury Creme Egg scandal: do they really taste any different? - Telegraph

"Now - why is all this trauma being inflicted upon chocolate consumers? It is not the evilly-motivated machinations of a multinational slaughtering the sacred tastes of nation on the altar of profit - though Cadbury's is owned these days by Mondelez, which in itself is a new name for Kraft Foods."

Leaving us to wonder what goes on in this guy Huckabee's bedroom, anyway

Huckabee slams Obama for letting daughters listen to Beyoncé | New York Post

"While promoting his new book, Huckabee told People magazine, ‘I don’t understand how on one hand they can be such doting parents and so careful about the intake of everything — how much broccoli they eat and where they go to school … and yet they don’t see anything that might not be suitable’ in the lyrics and a Beyoncé choreography ‘best left for the privacy of her bedroom.’"

Once a dollar, always a dollar

Cash in on carnage: New Charlie Hebdo issue online for $600 - NY Daily News

"Among the 4,254 items relating to a ‘Charlie Hebdo’ search on eBay are T-shirts, coffee mugs, pens and stickers, nearly all emblazoned with the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ ('I am Charlie') slogan that has swept its way worldwide after the murders last Wednesday."


Some experts aren't so expert after all

Op-Ed: Some experts still doubt North Korea hacked Sony

The last great invention we will ever need

You can now grow your own 'Ketchup n' Fries' on one plant

"The plant itself combines the vine of a cherry tomato (called the scion), with the root stalk of a potato plant."

Maybe they should walk

Health and Human Services officials ‘too fat’ to fly coach | New York Post

"Meanwhile, HHS is investing in research to try to get Americans to slim down."

Ducks Quack Under Pressure*

‘Duck Hunters’ flock to party in Oregon - Toledo Blade

"The only trace of green or yellow to be found was the 100 paper ducks, which were soon to be sacrificed in the name of charity. Everywhere else, it was scarlet and gray as far as the eye could see. On the jerseys. And the hats. And the bar stools. And the posters.…"

*Headline contributed by our gloating Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau.


Probiotics are so yesterday


White, talking house admits something something

The White House Admits Fault in Not Attending Paris Unity Rally - NBC News.com

"Amid criticism, the White House admitted fault by not sending President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden or other top-ranking official to the unity rally in Paris on Sunday… "

Sounds like a sensible idea to me

Aroostook Outdoor News: 1.8.15 edition | offugo...

"Enjoy the outdoors while indoors, at the monthly Aroostook Birders meeting."

Go Ducks

I’ve done more time in Michigan than Ohio so I’m not obligated to be a Buckeyes fan (not that I’m going to bet any real money against them): Who can’t like a whole team of green ducks?

Give ‘em quack.

Bugging out

I hardly ever bug out of anything but it snowed a couple of inches last night, not a big snow at all, light and fluffy, but now it’s warming up and the snow is turning to sleet or ice or rain or something (but if it makes a pop when it hits your hat it’s definitely not snow) and getting really slippery, so I canceled a meeting I had scheduled down near Northampton this afternoon and I’m just going to sit around and be grumpy and eat baloney sandwiches. 

Winter’s only barely started but I’m taking a break from it anyway.


Packers vs. Seahawks?

Oh oh.

Wait for the squawk

Federal price tag for Obama’s ‘free college’ proposal: $60 billion - Stephanie Simon - POLITICO

See? But the $60 billion (over a decade) estimate is not even a decent tip on the $700 billion in taxpayer money pledged to rescue Wall Street, signed into law by Georgie W. People will say the $700B TARP money was not all spent, but there’s no guarantee the $60B tuition money will all be spent either, and even if it is, Obama’s community-college proposal is still just a tip. And yes, the TARP money returned some profit to the taxpayers; please don’t try to tell me education won’t. 

This has been done before. The educational benefits in the G.I. Bill sent a generation of post-WWII vets to college and had a lot to do with the economy of the ‘50s and beyond. 

There are some details that would need to be worked out, but the idea is sound.

"Analysts have said there’s little chance Congress would approve a new entitlement like free tuition,” writes Simon at POLITICO. Which is probably, alas, true.

Of course, if the banks need more cash…