The art of the mission statement

"He will be in close contact with the families of American hostages, meet with foreign leaders in support of our hostage recovery efforts, advise on options to enhance those efforts, participate in strategy meetings with other senior U.S. policymakers, and represent the United States internationally on hostage-related issues."

Really? They're saying this in Chicago?

Budget impasse means big winners can't be paid, Lottery says

"'They assured us the money was in the account — however…'"

It's all in the priorities

Donald Trump rips CNN, illegals, John Kerry, backs Tom Brady | Boston Herald

"'John Kerry is a joke. No, he’s a bicyclist,' Trump said of the former Bay State senator."


"'Leave Tom Brady alone!' he said to a raucous ovation. 'I know Tom Brady, Tom Brady is an honest guy, he’s a great guy, he’s a great champion and winner. Leave him alone!’"


And just in time for the weekend, too

A Nerd’s Guide To The 2,229 Paintings At MoMA | FiveThirtyEight

So not much going on this year?

1985 Bears Coverage from Chicago Sun-Times

Look! There’s Iron Mike!

There's no privacy any more, anywhere, II

Drone catches Benedictine monk chilling on top of wind turbine | New York Post

Shooting down Joe

Hillary’s quiet warning: Don’t run, Joe | New York Post

"Donors who have publicly expressed support for a Biden run have been contacted by the Clinton team…Even Clinton herself has made a few calls, they said, to express her disappointment."

We knew we were worried about something but…

Happier Chickens - TIME

…oh, right.

Does this make CBS's cameraman a pooper peeper?

"I find it interesting that he has toilet paper with him, it's very pre-planned," Catrina Salazar, who works at a nearby hair salon, told the station. "You just don't really know what to expect around here."  

We're liking Bernie a lot

Bernie Sanders’s Small-Beer Donors in the Big Money Casino - The New York Times

"Americans of ordinary means have made 400,000 donations — about 80 percent of them were $200 or less — to Mr. Sanders. Contrast that with the appalling fact that fewer than 400 of the nation’s most affluent families, writing six- and seven-figure checks, account for almost half the money raised so far by both parties in the campaign, according to an analysis by The Times."

Movie time

Dr. Seuss' Raunchy, Forgotten WWII Cartoons Are Coming to TV

"It was 1943, the thick of World War II, and the U.S. Army Air Force First Motion Picture Unit needed to lift spirits and shed light on military behavior. So they turned to professionals: It's a Wonderful Life director Frank Capra spearheaded the initiative. He created the cartoon character named "Private Snafu" to teach soldiers everything from security, to proper sanitation habits, to Nazi booby traps. Veteran animator Chuck Jones directed the shorts, with Bugs Bunny voice actor Mel Blanc providing Snafu's vocals. And for dialogue, Capra turned to none other than Army Captain Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss."


County fair

[From our files.]

Gotta admire the hustle

Jeb, get ahold of yourself

"In other words, Trump isn’t really winning the presidential contest so much as all the other candidates are losing it. And no one is losing it faster or with more determination than Jeb Bush."

There's no privacy any more, anywhere

World's oldest wombat joins dating app

And now they have a whole lot of bricks they can't get rid of

The Massachusetts Home Built with 100,000 Newspapers

We feel better already

Donald Trump not a textbook bully, psychologists say

Feeling a little testy there, George?

The havoc that Trump wreaks — on his own party - The Washington Post

"Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency.…"

We knew there was something

Trump's lean campaign structure breaks the mold

"While Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton boasts an army of more than 350 paid staffers, Trump's operation fields less than a tenth that number."

But we'll take one to go

Man tries to copyright a chicken sandwich, learns that that’s completely ridiculous - The Washington Post

"'A recipe — or any instructions — listing the combination of chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayonnaise on a bun to create a sandwich is quite plainly not a copyrightable work,' Chief Judge Jeffrey Howard wrote in the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. "


They did it

Photos: The Real 'Rosie the Riveter' Women - NationalJournal.com

Some days you can't hic win

Woman downs $200 bottle of cognac to beat airport rules - NY Daily News

"The woman — identified only by her surname Zhou — was told she could not take the $200 bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence on board due to aviation rules.

"Rather than let the booze go to waste, the woman downed the entire bottle in one go — and was then deemed too drunk to fly."

Being mean to Charles Koch

Charles Koch blasts Barack Obama - Mike Allen - POLITICO

"Koch’s blistering comments came as he and his brother David, whose conservative political network plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the 2016 election, have spoken out more frequently in an attempt to blunt Democratic attacks on their political influence and insinuations about their motives."

And insinuations too. Awww.

Wait, what we've been hearing is too cheery?

Inquiry Weighs Whether ISIS Analysis Was Distorted - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry."

And they haven't looked under my bed yet

Thousands of microbes found in house dust - BBC News

"The dust in our homes contains an average of 9,000 different species of microbes, a study suggests."

Food fight today

Tomatina Festival Spain -

A proposal to take automatic weapons away from kids makes news…

Sort of a no-brainer, right? 

Petition to ban kids with Uzis offers different picture of US gun owners - CSMonitor.com

Well, no…

"Efforts to rein in the use of automatic weapons by children already failed in two state legislatures last year."


A minor quote…

…from a novel called Ghost Fleet and certainly not about the Republican primary now afoot:

“We have fed the beast so long, at some point we have to set it off the leash,” responded Wang. “Or it will bite us back.”

The rainy day

We, Bunky, totally give up

Denver Airport discriminates against those with Christian views | RedState

“… Chick fil A is getting blackballed at Denver International Airport."

We are lost

State erects wrong signs for train in Greenfield | The Recorder

"Motorists and pedestrians who have traveled along Deerfield Street, Bank Row and Main Street over the past few days have questioned why DOT would erect signs that not only reference the wrong town, but refer to the John W. Olver Regional Transit Center as 'Olver TC.'"

Dt common streams StreamServer cls

Why you should always keep a book in your pocket

I'm sitting out a rain storm at McD's. My weather app says it should blow over in 30 minutes. The book is "Ghost Fleet."

Stock market rebounds and…

Donald Trump is back to bashing Megyn Kelly | New York Post

Yeah, scattered all over me

Weather Underground

[Also, fallish? Really?]

Who still listens to this guy?

Oh wait…


Who knows, this could happen to you tomorrow morning

Donald Trump Is in My Butter - The Daily Beast

"“It was a brand new tub,” Castellano told The Daily Beast. “It was just staring right back at me.”"

What, this "tween" has some kind of multiple personality disorder or something?

Quinn: Refereeing your tween and their smartphone - San Jose Mercury News

[From Orwell’s rules for writers…"(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.”]

As long as they don't identify as mortgage bankers it's fine with me

A morning walk

Siri is having a bad day*

It's not "grand flakes" I want, it's "bran fakes." Come on. 

And "8:30" is not "eight something." OK maybe it is, sort of, but still. 

Can you say 'Get it together"?

Try again. 

*Also, it seems, the DOW.

Whew…for a minute there…

…thought I was losing it but I got the crossword puzzle done this morning before my walk. I seem to remember, from ancient days, that some days are easier than others in the Times. And one day is hardly a streak. So maybe I’ll have to wait and see what happens next.

Who, moi?

Gunman 'Dumbfounded' By Terror Claims

"According to French officials, the man was armed with a Kalashnikov rifle, an automatic pistol and a knife."


Am I blue

It's come to this (and the election is still more than a year away)

Iowa GOP Kingmaker Has a Slavery Proposal for Immigration - The Daily Beast

"'If you are here without our permission, and we have given you two months to leave, and you're still here, and we find that you're still here after we we've given you the deadline to leave, then you become property of the State of Iowa,' Mickelson modestly proposed. 'And we have a job for you. And we start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.'"

On the edge

The campaign that just keeps on giving


Like the auto wreck you can't keep from watching

Page 5 of Inside the GOP Clown Car | Rolling Stone

"At the event, [Huckabee] was glowingly introduced by Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King, who revved the crowd by bashing the Supreme Court ruling clearing the way for gay marriage. King had apparently been told on good authority by a lawyer friend that Obergefell v. Hodges meant that only one party in a marriage had to be a human being. 'What that means,' he said, 'is you can now marry my lawn mower.'

"A reporter next to me leaned over. 'King's lawn mower is gay?'

"I shrugged. In the modern Republican Party, making sense is a secondary consideration."

[Noted by our Midwest and Elsewhere Bureau chief.]

[WARNING: Reading this whole thing may crack you up. Or make you think. Or cringe.]

The takeaway

Hillary’s e-mail defense is ‘total BS’: former State Dept. officials | New York Post

"'Anybody else would have already lost their security clearance and be subjected to an espionage investigation,' Mrozinski added. 'But apparently a different standard exists for Mrs. Clinton.'"

The post is a notoriously right-wing publication, not expected to be sympathetic to a Clinton presidency. But still.