Stuff we hadn't started to worry about yet

Vertical Video on the Small Screen? Not a Crime - The New York Times

"John Whaley, co-creator of Vervid, a new app that aims to become a showcase for tall videos, argues that many of life’s events are focused on one or two individuals, and because people are taller than they are wide, shots of individuals tend to look best in a vertical frame."

[We recently were treated to video showing a wind turbine being built that would have been just plain dumb shot horizontally.]

How to make a bad thing worse

Florida ex-con gives cops fake name that turns up warrant - NY Daily News

"McClain, of Lake Hamilton, said he didn't have his driver's license on him and gave cops his brother's name and birthdate along with a social security number belonging to a white man born in 1969, according to police."

In Toledo, free fun

Giant art ball breaks free, rolls down Ohio street - NY Daily News

"The 15-foot tall, 250-pound inflated ball, sponsored by the Toledo Museum of Art, broke free from an alley installation and did its best pinball wizard, hung a left at a three-way intersection in downtown Toledo and then rolled over a row of parked cars."

The Times on the Square

Shirtless Bodies in Pointless Times Square War - The New York Times

"On Thursday, Mr. de Blasio suggested one solution: eliminating some of Times Square’s pedestrian plazas, apparently on the theory that if you can get tourists to go away, you reduce the topless-woman threat. Other officials suggest creating a pen for the women and costumed characters — sort of a panhandling zoo — or turning this great bustling commercial zone into, of all things, a park."


The DPW Tango

The Department of Public Works came this afternoon and painted stuff like this all over our street. I think it's a dancing lesson. We're having a party!

Where is Thursday Next when you need her?

Russian Police Get Tough on Illicit Cheese - The New York Times

"MOSCOW — One of Russia’s tabloid TV channels began a news bulletin Tuesday with a breathless report about a major 'international criminal gang' freshly rolled up in the Moscow region."

The first U.S. president without a college degree was…wait for it…

…George Washington. Wow.

This and a great trove of other totally useless information here, on a web site called “Inside Gov."

Wait, what?

Helicopter pilot loses license after dropping rose petals at lavish mafia funeral | New York Post

"In addition to the flower petals, the funeral Thursday of Vittorio Casamonica featured a gilded, horse-drawn carriage carrying his casket and a band playing 'The Godfather' theme outside the church."

Are you kidding me?

[No –ED.]

Sure, blame the cats

Carly Fiorina did a 4-minute riff on climate change. Everything she said was wrong. - Vox

"A recent peer-reviewed survey of bird mortality studies found that wind turbines kill between 214,000 and 368,000 birds a year, compared with 6.8 million that die from colliding with cell and radio towers and between 1.4 and 3.7 billion killed by cats."

The problem with these little hot spells like we've been having…

…is not that it gets too warm during the day, it's that it stays that way overnight. Too warm.

But this morning it's nice and cool outdoors, and raining just a bit. So a quick walk downtown and back – couple of miles – leaves me feeling fresh and crispy, like a head of lettuce.

Dude, I'm sorry, but this is just too good to pass up

Anna Duggar will ‘absorb blame’ for cheating hubby: report - NY Daily News

"'Anna will not leave him,' the source claimed. 'As with her in-laws, she is turning more to her faith than ever. She and Josh are probably praying around the clock right now, I would assume.'"

Is this the greatest summer ever or what?

Topless in Times Square: A Legal View - The New York Times

"So complex is the issue that Mr. de Blasio, who has angrily vowed to put a stop to the practice, suggested on Thursday that one option would be to simply tear out the pedestrian plazas where the women operate."

Maybe The Donald could build a wall in Times Square, work up to Mexico from there.

Mean old newspapers, always trying to spoil the fun

What Donald Trump Could Learn From the Korean DMZ - The New York Times

"Another hitch Mr. Trump will appreciate, as a businessman, is that Mexico buys more American products than any country but Canada, is our third-largest foreign oil provider, and reigns as the top tourist destination for Americans. Telling the Mexicans they’re ‘fired' might therefore not be as consequence-free as saying it to contestants on 'The Apprentice.'"

The Rs may have their Trump; the Ds have Bern

Bernie Sanders Draws Big Crowds to His ‘Political Revolution’ - The New York Times

"He would invest in enormous infrastructure projects that he said would create more than 10 million jobs. He would expand, not shrink, Social Security, and move the United States to a single payer health care system. Legislation that he intends to propose or already has would automatically register anyone older than 18 to vote, kick private corporations out of the prison business, make public college tuition free, guarantee sick and paid family leave and a 'couple of weeks paid vacation' to workers.

He would break up the banks that are too big to fail, keep us out of any more wars and pay for much of his spending program with a tax on Wall Street trading."


Go ahead, tell us what you really think

The Eisenhower Memorial: a monstrosity in the making | New York Post

"Washington’s Mall and its environs, one of the world’s most elegant urban spaces, is becoming cluttered with commemorative bric-a-brac dispensed by Congress that can be called “recognition pork barrel,” mollifying this and that constituency’s clamor for acknowledgment of this or that."

OK, WTF is a global growth fear

Wall Street opens lower on oil price fall, global growth fears | Reuters

The planet is getting bigger somehow? Obeseaphobia? What?

Come on, folks. We can’t always get it right but we have to at least try with the words.

I was watching MSNBC with some friends last night and there was this owly-looking kid—some kind of moderator, I guess—having a melt-down over the phrase “anchor babies.” Shocked, this guy was. 

I get it. Apparently, some people find that phrase offensive. But folks, we are never gonna get things talked out if we can’t even agree on the words.

When I was a kid (in a long, long ago former century) there was a little ditty my mom used to repeat from time to time by way of helping me through the inevitable childhood spats:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me."

It worked. But I say that today and people look at me like I’m nuts. 

Honey, I got hacked

Hacker's Ashley Madison data dump threatens marriages, reputations | Reuters

"Prominent divorce lawyer Raoul Felder said the release is the best thing to happen to his profession since the seventh Commandment forbade adultery in the Bible."

Self-appointed guardians of the public morals are raging PIAs of the worst kind. 

Hackers, in the old school, were just guys who liked to tinker with things, take them apart to see how they worked, put them back together in new ways—and, once in a while, make a free phone call. Now they’re roving mobs with ropes.

Granted, joining some kind of like this “Ashley Madison” using one’s own traceable email address is dumb, but there’s no law against being dumb (at least until The Donald gets elected). A person shouldn’t have his (or her—although some say most of the “hers” on the site in question were fake) marriage, family, career—lifedestroyed for being a mope.

The thing about walking

We are sacrificing the right to walk – Antonia Malchick – Aeon

"In many parts of the US, pedestrianism is seen as a dubiously counter-culture activity.…A friend of mine told me recently that a few years ago, when she lived in Mississippi, she was stopped by police constantly simply because she preferred to walk to work. Twice they insisted on driving her home, ‘so I could prove I wasn’t homeless or a prostitute. Because who else would be out walking?’"

But it’s (very) good4u.

"Walking for just 30 minutes five days a week has been shown to have a significant impact on everything from obesity to depression and colon cancer."



Don't mess around with the cold guys

Thick coats, thin skins: Why Minnesotans were outraged by a recent Washington Post report - The Washington Post

Just had to say it, didn't you

Man who flushed fake poker chips down toilet pleads guilty | Reuters

"'When you gamble on a flush in high-stakes poker, you either win big or lose big,' Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said in a statement. 'Lusardi lost big.'"

And somehow we missed it


"On President’s Day 2012, The American Mustache Institute introduced the Million Mustache March in support of the Stimulus To Allow Critical Hair Expenses, or the STACHE Act. If adopted by Congress, the STACHE Act would provide up to a $250.00 annual tax refund for Mustached Americans. "

Giant green thing attacks

Seriously, Dude, this is even more fun than Trump

Hackers post stolen Ashley Madison data to dark web - NY Daily News

Thirty-freakin-two million people belong (or did until recently) to this cheat-your-spouse web site, of which, the Daily News reports, about 15,000 sported .gov or .mil email addresses. And a whole lot more are currently at .lemmeoutahere. 

We may be approaching peak pique.

A really bad Batweek

'Route 29 Batman' dead: Lenny B. Robinson fatally struck by car after Batmobile breaks down - People - News - The Independent

Yvonne Craig dead: Actress who played Batgirl in Batman TV series dies aged 78 - People - News - The Independent

Up, up and away

[Some picky guy in Wisconsin points out if 1939 was the year, the Roosevelt was probably not Theodore.]

Email stuff just too hard for a girl?

Hillary Cracks ANOTHER Joke About Email Scandal | The Daily Caller

"Asked by Fox News’ Ed Henry during a press conference in Las Vegas whether she wiped her server clean, the Democratic presidential candidate quipped, “What, like with a cloth or something?” as she waved her hand in a wiping motion."

Really? This is somebody we want running the whole country? 

It ain't King Kong, but at least it's something

Smashed Cucumber Salad Takes Manhattan - The New York Times

Which would be quite a bit, we're guessing

Times Square’s Topless Women Should Be Regulated, Mayor Says - The New York Times

"The topless women, known as desnudas, have attracted more scrutiny than usual this summer…"



I the good Lord hadn’t meant for us to eat steaks and burgers, he wouldn’t have invented charcoal. Or August.

Open that window. Take a good, deep breath.


But it's starting to look like a very big year for walls

In bid to jump-start campaign, Walker tries to channel Trump | Reuters

"'If Trump has done anything to Walker, it’s take away all the attention he once enjoyed in Iowa,' Craig Robinson, former political director of the Iowa Republican Party, told Reuters."

Class always wins out

Donald Trump moons America, has wonderful time - Roger Simon - POLITICO

"When I was a teenager, ‘mooning' out of car windows was popular. We would speed down Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive and if all four windows, including the driver’s, was occupied by a naked behind, it was called a 'star cluster.'"

Wait, there's a fake one now?

Fake Reince Priebus begs Trump to drop out - Brianna Ehley - POLITICO

I’m still not sure I believe there’s a real one.

Whoa! They're coming for the popcorn now?

Corn Wars | The New Republic

"In Li’s luggage, agents found two large Pop Weaver microwave popcorn boxes. Buried under the bags of unpopped snack kernels were roughly 300 tiny manila envelopes, all cryptically numbered—2155, 2403, 20362. Inside each envelope was a single corn seed. In Ye’s luggage, agents found more corn seeds hidden amid his clothes, each one individually wrapped in napkins from a Subway restaurant. Customs officers were dispatched to the gate area for the Beijing flight, where they found the two men and conducted body searches. Still more corn seeds, also folded into napkins, were discovered in Ye’s pockets."

Maybe it's all the messenger's fault

Trump remains ahead, but the polling is unclear | RedState

"Trump’s ahead, but it’s genuinely hard to tell how well he’s doing among people who will actually vote in primaries and show up to caucuses. Yet."

We love the smell of panic in the morning.

Imagine our surprise

Look Out Republicans: Donald Trump Is Shaping Policy Now, Too | The New Republic

"Now, as on immigration, Republicans have moved right on a host of other issues, from abortion rights to voting rights. This massive strategic failure by the party apparatus has been investigated at length, and the party’s inability to prevent the 2016 primary from degenerating into another 2012-like fiasco will become the focal point of a thousand postmortems if Republicans lose the presidency again. Their mistake would be to blame it all on Trump, a GOP tourist. The problem runs so much deeper."

Like a sieve

Hacking of Tax Returns More Extensive Than First Reported, I.R.S. Says - The New York Times

"In the coming days, the I.R.S. will send 220,000 letters to taxpayers whose returns were probably viewed by the hackers, the agency said."

Wait! We're not finished with the old questions yet!

Hillary Clinton's email firm Platte River Networks was run from a loft in Denver | Daily Mail Online

"EXCLUSIVE: Hillary's email firm was run from a loft apartment with its servers in the BATHROOM, raising new questions over security of sensitive messages she held."

Trump on the run

Trump widens lead over Republican field in latest poll | New York Post


Where you can and where you can't let 'er rip

Where ‘speeding’ is legal: A map of maximum limits across the U.S. - The Washington Post

Sunflower noir


'This is a warning to the US!' The creepy moment thousands of birds flying over New York merge to form Vladimir Putin's face | Daily Mail Online

There’ll always be an England

Picky, picky

Bet that smarts

Bob Woodward compares Clinton emails to Nixon tapes | TheHill

"'Follow the trail here,' Woodward said on MSNBC's 'Morning Joe,' noting that emails erased from Clinton’s private server when she led the State Department where either sent or received by someone else, too.’"

Of course, only geezers will remember the Nixon tapes. Or, come to think of it, Nixon. Or tape.

Yeah, where's the fun?

Even Drug Dealers in the Suburbs Are Boring | The New Republic

"For example, one teen named Adam was angry that his friend hadn’t paid him for the ounce of marijuana and two ounces of mushrooms that he’d sold him a few weeks earlier. Fed up, Adam threatened to kill the guy.

"'You’re going to kill me over $400?' the debtor said, to which Adam replied, 'Yeah, I guess not.' And that was that."

We're not saying a word, not one word

Topless Times Square women are groped, share tips - NY Daily News

Home for the holidays, Dude

Obama Administration Warns Beijing About Covert Agents Operating in U.S. - The New York Times

"According to the Chinese news media, Beijing has sent scores of security agents abroad to “persuade” their targets to return home. Just how they accomplish their aims is unclear, and questions have been raised about why a number of suspects, presumably sitting on significant wealth abroad, have willingly returned to China."

Is Kardishian withdrawal a thing?*

From a news brief in this morning’s New York Times:

News outlets and social media bloggers around the word may try to give up on reporting on the Kardashians this week, thanks to a news anchor’s rant that went viral.

*Not here.

Nothing to do? Is that your problem, Bunky?

Well OK then. This is a long read. But it’s really worth reading, IMO. Plus, you can avoid work even longer than usual

How Trigger Warnings Are Hurting Mental Health on Campus - The Atlantic


Year-round vacation spots

Wait, what?

Chinese companies face culture shock in countries that aren’t like China

"'Trade unions are all the same: They are black-hearted,' complained He Enjia, president of the Textile Enterprise Association of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia."

Isn’t China still a communist country? So here we have a Chinese businessman (or maybe government official) bitching about trade unions? Clearly I’m missing something here.

Contained in a sort of metaphorical way

Legionnaires’ cases hit 124 despite being contained

Dog digs, right?

Humane society unveils new digs - Toledo Blade

Take a deep breath, Howie

Carr: Obama up river without paddle on poison spill | Boston Herald

"Compare the coverage of the Animas River 2015 to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico five years ago.

The BP oil spill, caused by Big Oil, was an 'ecological catastrophe.' The Gold King Mine spill, caused by Big Government, is a mere ‘accident.'"

Try counting to ten. Or nine. Nine will do. Ten is sort of a hard one, two digits and all.

But what are we going to fight about if we can't fight about Iran?

Obama can do Iran nuclear deal even if Congress disapproves

"Obama doesn't need a congressional OK to give Iran most of the billions of dollars in relief from economic sanctions that it would get under the agreement, as long as Tehran honors its commitments to curb its nuclear program — at least for now."

And another thing

Melania Trump would be a first lady for the ages | New York Post

"Eat your heart out, Eleanor Roosevelt."

Way more than I wanted to know about the Iowa State Fair

Butter cow sculptor finds happiness in dairy

“In an effort to be economical, Pratt reuses sculpting butter for up to 10 years, she told me, meaning it develops a bit of a funk (and just the tiniest trace of mold). 'After a while, you get used to it,' she assured."