Stuff we could get along pretty will without knowing about at all

Justin Bieber gets wisdom teeth pulled - NY Daily News

On the road

Bikers chug out of Seattle on their way to Portland, a 2-day ride.

Photo by our Seattle Rim bureau; play-by-play by Some Guy in Seattle

Book blows up big time


Spurious Correlations


Competitive features

I’m hooked on the Times crossword app. But not so hooked on the timer that comes with it. Oh, I get the idea. Finishing one of the puzzles in record time is sort of fun. But it’s also fun to stretch one into a long, sunny summer afternoon. The clock is one of the app’s “competitive features.” I turned them all off.

I feel the same way about solitaire.

I'm not sure it's going to turn up on the reading list any time soon, but if you're interested…

Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman - Read the To Kill a Mockingbird Sequel's First Chapter

"And if reading isn't your strong suit, WSJ also premiered the first snippet from Go Set a Watchman's audio book, read by Reese Witherspoon. Southern-baked for your listening pleasure…"

Fine morning for a walk

This might turn out to be kind of fun after all

Polls show ‘President Trump’ may not be so far fetched | New York Post

"WASHINGTON — Republicans who started off viewing Donald Trump as an amusing sideshow are starting to fret that the real-estate billionaire is becoming the main event."

The confederate battle flag is due to be removed this morning from the South Carolina statehouse lawn…

…with, the New York Times anticipates, "a modicum of solemn pomp.” Which might be somewhat difficult because, the Times notes, "The pole to which the flag is attached appears to have no mechanism — no winch, pulley, or rope — that a person on the ground might use to bring it down."

Here's the Washington Post's take on the Bush comment about working more

Jeb Bush’s ‘work longer hours’ comment, and how much Americans currently work - The Washington Post

"So it would appear, if Europe and the rest of North America are any guide, we work about an average number of hours."

But I say there are still millions of people who want to work longer hours and the average number noted is strictly an statistical phenomenon. 


OK, I was a little grumpy today (but I hid it well)…

…so I compensated by doing something I said I was not going to do this time around: I installed the new OS X 10.11 beta on my laptop and (just to make things extra interesting) the OS 9 beta on my phone. If this is gonna blow it's gonna blow big and loud.

Although so far it's all looking pretty good and straightforward and I'm probably not supposed to say much more than that. But definitely that.


Bush, being a Bush and therefore not hampered by elegant, let alone decipherable, phraseology, did however clearly say people weren't working long enough, not hard enough. And he's right. I myself just spent the better part of two decades working at part-time jobs and there wasn't a minute of that time (OK, maybe a minute but less than five) I didn't want more hours. I can't immediately verify the number Bush quotes in the tweet above but it doesn't sound at all out of line to me, in view of the lackluster recovery from the most recent bloodletting.

Of course the question remains whether there's enough work for people who want to have full-time jobs to have them. But a whole lot of people do need more work and want more work and if the Democrats can't see that they ought to go home, shut up, and let us get on with things.

Hey, take it easy on ancient bodies, guys

Money for nothing: $10G hike quietly pushed through for obscure Governor's Council | Boston Herald

"The eight members of the obscure Governor’s Council — the part-time Colonial era panel whose main duty is to approve judges and Parole Board members — have quietly scored a $10,000 pay bump under the proposed state budget, sparking new cries to abolish the ancient body once and for all."

Fair enough—so how about Cowboys?

Or wait, Raiders? Definitely how about Raiders? Or Vikings? Not to mention the fish and the horses and the birds. Who’s looking out for them? OK, I’m easily confused.

Judge upholds 'Redskins' trademark cancellation decision

"The case may have turned, in part, on a recent Supreme Court decision that ruled in favor of the State of Texas' right to ban specialty license plates bearing the Confederate flag."

Sez who?

Alternative Extreme Fishing Techniques

"From spearfishing to trout tickling and beyond, it's time to fish like a real man."

My Grandfather used to take me fishing at a little lake in northern Indiana. We’d use big long bamboo poles and lines with sinkers and bobbers on the end, and you could prop the pole up with an old log or something and a big rock on the end for weight and then go sit under a nice shady tree and watch the bobber until it started, you know, bobbing. And then you could go over to the pole and give it a jerk and out of the water would pop a little fish, about six or eight inches long I guess. And when you got a good string of those you could take them home and Grandma would cook ‘em.

Didn’t need no spear.

JIC you've run out of things to worry about

Police Are Investigating Ariana Grande’s Doughnut-Licking Video | TIME

"She later apologized for saying that she hated America in the video but didn’t say anything about licking the doughnuts."


Any way you cut it it's still broccoli

Undernews: Students rebel against Michelle Obama's school lunches

"Another study, this one by the Harvard School of Public Health, revealed that 'students discarded roughly 60 to 75 percent of the vegetables and 40 percent of the fruits on their tray. "

A run on taxes too

Greeks Spend in Droves, Afraid of Losing Savings to a Bailout - The New York Times

"‘Panicked doesn’t begin to describe how people feel,’ said Antonis Mouzakis, an Athens accountant. ‘I have a huge number of customers wanting to file their taxes right here, right now, to have the tax calculated and paid instantly before a possible haircut. Even if the tax is 40 to 50 thousand euros, they pay it off in one go.’"

And the best secret muffins in town

Inside the NSA farmers market, where even the cupcakes need security clearance - The Washington Post


Do green beans beat beets?

Who knows. English is, well…

English is tough stuff! Tricky English poem read aloud with IPA indications, and with funny images

[Courtesy of Some Guy in Seattle and the inestimable Ms. K.]

Subverting security in the name of security makes no sense to me

The battle between Washington and Silicon Valley over encryption - CSMonitor.com

"‘Let’s take away the emotion for a moment,’ says Scott Montgomery, vice president and chief technology strategist for Intel Security. ‘Imagine you want to protect your house, and I’m going to sell you a deadbolt. That deadbolt is absolutely perfect. It’s the best deadbolt that’s ever been made. No one can break in … . Except, I’ve put in one method by which someone can break in….’"

The other Lusitania (and the one you've heard about)

1901: The Wreck of the Lusitania - The New York Times

Watch this when you have a few minutes to spare

This Is The Oldest Video Footage From New York City And It's Absolutely Incredible - OMG Facts - The World's #1 Fact Source

(It runs just over eight minutes, and worth every one.)


Now you see her, now you don't

Can You See Her? Creepy Blue Face Optical Illusion Will Blow You Away

Well, blue at least.

H/T Some Guy in Seattle

Nor rain nor snow, dude

Dutch mailman hops Tour de France road barrier - NY Daily News

"He was trying to deliver mail in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Saturday when he found himself blocked by barriers put up for the cycling event’s Grand Depart, reports Road.cc."

Latest plan to improve economy: Prettier road signs

The roads to an improved local economy? | The Recorder

"‘We were very, very cognizant of trying to strike a balance between trailblazing and helping people identify the byways, and not over-cluttering,’ said Mullaney, acknowledging criticism by some about sign overload. ‘You don’t want to make a scenic byway un-scenic by putting more signs up.’"

And no, let’s not make those scenic roads any more un-scenic than they are.

Insightful news analysis from Washington*

ANALYSIS: Jeb Bush Throws Baseball Like Normal American Man (Unlike Obama) | Washington Free Beacon

"Pitching ability appears to run in the family."

*I don’t know which Washington but why would it matter?

A mental health day

I walked 3.5 miles this morning, only about half my current daily average, but it’s one of those hot, muggy, July mornings (first one this year, never mind July has only been around for a week) and it’s supposed to rain hard this afternoon. Also, all this walking is starting to seem a little obsessive, no? Endorphins, I think it is.

So I’m going to kick back and spend the rest of the day lounging about, which means before the end of it (the day) I’m going to wish I had some better cheese. I lost control of my better self the other day and bought some low-fat cheese; low-fat cheese is an abomination. It’s dull, it’s tasteless, and it’s just plain wrong. (And why is it when you Bing low-fat cheese you get ads for almond milk? Cut it out, Microsoft. That’s cruel.)

Maybe before the rain sets in I have time to hoof it over to the grocery store (one and a quarter miles round trip) and get some honest cheese, and also a bag of real Oreos before it’s too late.

“The past is never dead,” Faulkner wrote. “It’s not even past.”

Why Southern writers still captivate, 55 years after 'To Kill a Mockingbird' - CSMonitor.com

"‘The American sensibility tends to be ‘history is bunk’’"

The return of the Candy Bomber

'Candy Bomber' drops sweets from Utah's air for July 4

"Gail Halvorsen, 94, also known as the 'Candy Bomber,' dropped 1,000 chocolate bars attached to tiny parachutes at Scera Park on Friday. He flew over the area three times before releasing the cargo into the hands of the children below."

We have a book about the Berlin airlift and the Candy Bomber on our reading list. Here’s another one.

Back through the revolving door goes Eric Holder…

Eric Holder Returns to Covington & Burling - The New York Times

…with what looks a whole lot like some kind of workplace violation there in that photo. But hey.

You won't see these sculptures in any museum

In fact, you’re not likely to see these sculptures anywhere—except here, of course, thanks to Some Guy in Seattle…

and here.

Here's an idea: Let's shrink Greece

Greek 'No' May Have Its Roots in Heroic Myths and Real Resistance

(This article was picked up by New Delhi’s NDTV from the NYTimes and since the Times is behind a paywall, well….

(The whole Greek financial thing has spawned a succession of amusing headlines, among which is an entire sub-genre of the type, Greece is Running Out of Time

(Dude. Seriously? Greece freaking owns time—well, more or less.

"In Greek mythology, Chronos (Ancient Greek: Χρόνος) is identified as the Personification of Time. His name in Greek means "time" and is alternatively spelled Chronus (Latin spelling) or Khronos. Chronos is usually portrayed as an old, wise man with a long, gray beard, such as "Father Time". Some English words whose etymological root is khronos/chronos include chronology, chronometer, chronic, anachronism, synchronize, and chronicle."

(How are they going to run out of it?)

The end of everything

An item from the New York Times morning news briefing:

"A skinny version of Oreos debuts in the U.S. next week, its maker says. Four Oreo Thins contain 140 calories, compared with 160 calories for three regular Oreos."




Wait, we have a fireworks lobby now?

Fireworks lobby to Obama: Enough with all the rules

“With the Fourth of July busy season bearing down, the industry says it still has one big problem: President Barack Obama's administration."

Doesn’t it say someplace in the Constitution about the right to bear cherry bombs? Yeah, I’m pretty sure.

I need …

… a pair of lightweight jeans because the ones I have are so freaking stylish my knees are sticking out.

"Considering": It's a living language

I.R.S. Expected to Stand Aside as Nonprofits Increase Role in 2016 Race - The New York Times

"In a shift from past elections, at least eight Republican presidential candidates, including leading contenders like Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, have aligned with nonprofit groups set up to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s supporters are considering a similar tactic."

There she is; her name is Susan

The real voice of Siri explains the art of voiceover - Vox


Oooo, ahhh

Hey you can't talk about the Bears that way!

Dead shows set attendance records at Chicago's Soldier Field 

Also wins this week's Darwin Award

Police: Man shoots off firework from top of his head, dies

Epicurus in the Friendly Confines

Hot Doug's sausages make a comeback — at Wrigley Field | Chicago

"How about a bacon cheeseburger sausage with cola BBQ sauce and sharp cheddar cheese, named the ‘Dave Kingman?’

"Or perhaps you’d prefer a ‘Rick Reuschel,’ described as an ‘atomic pork sausage with chipotle mustard and pepper jack cheese.’"

But…it's corn

Farmers eager for drones, but most can't legally fly them | Boston Herald

"The FAA is working on rules that would allow the drones to be used regularly for business while maintaining certain safety and privacy standards. An FAA proposal this year would allow flight of the vehicles as long as they weigh less than 55 pounds, stay within the operator's sight and fly during the daytime, among other restrictions. Operators would have to pass an FAA test of aeronautical knowledge and a Transportation Security Administration background check."

Have these guys ever been in downstate Illinois? Or Iowa?


GOP nominees sit in the palms of Mitt Romney's hands | Boston Herald

“[South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham] told women from the Amherst Garden Club: ‘I’m for gardening and killing terrorists.’"


…I weigh significantly less than the average U.S. male (195.5 is the average, according to the CDC) and even more less than I did a month ago. Admittedly, that average is a pretty coarse statistic but I'll take what I can get (especially if it comes with a side of fries).

[Graphic: Washington Post]

Imrs php

And faraway former planets

Pluto, the Rodney Dangerfield of the solar system, is ready for its close-up | New York Post

"Clyde Tombaugh was a Kansas farm boy, hired by the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., on the basis of some planetary sketches he produced with the aid of a homemade telescope — and because he’d work cheap.…

"His father’s parting words were: ‘Clyde, make yourself useful, and beware of easy women.’"

Swords to plowshares—or plows, at least

Germany: World War II Tank Is Seized From Collector - The New York Times

"A neighbor, Kristin Schröder, told a local newspaper that the owner fired up the tank during the particularly bad winter of 1978-79 and helped plow his neighbors’ snow."

Peculiar, these Earthlings

From an article in this morning’s New York Times about the financial situation in Greece and it’s immediate effects…

"In the echo chamber of cyberspace, angry Greeks are unfriending one another en masse on Facebook after vitriolic online scuffles."

Unfriending! What would Achilles have to say about that?