Any chance we could teach them to play football?

'Moby Dick' May Be More Than Just A Whale Of A Tale

"'After a large male rammed and sank his ship in the Pacific in 1820, whaler Owen Chase described the whale’s head as admirably designed for this mode of attack,' said Panagiotopoulou in the statement."

Well,no, but I'm sure you're going to tell me anyway

The Dark Meaning Behind The Word 'Robot'

"Robots have arrived. They’re sorting your packages, deciding what you see on Facebook and might be coming for your job.

"But have you ever wondered where the word ‘robot' comes from?"


Thinking about moving to Canada? Are you sure?

Tiny Pet Fish Gets Epic Viking Send-Off

“He was a great companion, always just hanging out.”

So much for just one phone, just one time

"In a letter today, DoJ said that it still wants Apple's help to access data on an iPhone used by Jun Feng, a meth dealer. "


But would a random Swede want to talk to you?

Call A Random Swede? We Tried It Out

"The premise is simple: 1) Call Sweden's phone number — keep in mind it's international; 2) Chat with a Swede about anything you want — suggested topics include meatballs, darkness and feminism."

Or why the tailpipe keeps falling off your Volvo. 

 Read the full story

Follow the money

Shades Are So 2015. These Airplane Windows Tint Themselves
The idea, Vision Systems says, is "to enhance the value of the window seat." In other words, give airlines a reason to charge more for the window seat. Read the full story

Forget Bernie, Bill is the one she ought to worry about

Bill Clinton just gave criminal justice reformers another reason to be cautious of Hillary

He simply misses the point of their criticisms. Read the full story

No, Lilyhammer is the TV show

Krauthammer is some reliably right-wing syndicated columnist who’s been seeming a little down these days/

Charles Krauthammer: Trump, Cruz and the GOP train wreck - NY Daily News

"In a country where only 25% feel we’re on the right track and where the leading Democrat cannot shake the challenge of a once-obscure dairy-state socialist, you’d think the Republicans cannot lose.

"You’d be underestimating how hard they are trying."


There goes Manhattan…

…the Bronx and Staten Island too…


The best part of a chicken is the leftover part

I mean, what could possibly be better than a leftover chicken sandwich, right? Or you could chop it up and put it in a salad if you’re one of those people. You can do just about anything with leftover chicken.

I wonder how a leftover chicken restaurant would do.

Buckeyes are nuts

Follow the money

How ‘Citizens United’ is helping Hillary Clinton win the White House | Center for Public Integrity

“ A Center for Public Integrity investigation reveals that Clinton’s own election efforts are largely immune from her reformist platform. While Clinton rails against 'unaccountable money' that is 'corrupting our political system,' corporations, unions and nonprofits bankrolled by unknown donors have already poured millions of dollars into a network of Clinton-boosting political organizations. That’s on top of the tens of millions an elite club of Democratic megadonors, including billionaires George Soros and Haim Saban, have contributed."

And in a companion piece, here, Center of Public Integrity investigators name the main players in this money game. 

"They come in a variety of organizational flavors: political action committees, super PACs, corporate entities, “social welfare” nonprofits — even 501(c)(3) nonprofits, best known for performing charitable or educational work."

Clinton says she’ll fix all this, naturellement, as soon as she gets elected.

Sopranos' Big Pussy endorses Hillary

Big Pussy turns on Trump, cites women's rights - NY Daily News

"'Well, how bad of a job could [Hillary] do with Bill as her husband telling her what to do every night?' he asked. 'It’s like electing Eleanor Roosevelt to the office, you know? How bad could you go with that?’"


Does this guy ever read a newspaper?

From an article in the NYTimes this morning claiming Obama is now “antagonizing business interests” (http://wapo.st/1UK5LQH)…

"Discussing the inversions policy on Tuesday in the briefing room, Obama called on Americans to examine how the nation’s wealthy have been able to 'game the system,' acknowledging a desire to affect the presidential campaign debate.

"'And I hope this topic ends up being introduced into the broader political debate that we’re going to be having leading up to election season,' he said."

Maybe somebody should play him one of Bernie’s speeches. Any one would do. 

And also from the same piece…

"Also on Wednesday, the Labor Department finalized a rule that requires brokers selling retirement investments to put the client’s interest ahead of their own."

How’s that for a radical idea? 


Some days it's hardly worth getting out of bed

Druggers can't get a break…
The biggest U.S.-based drugmaker, Pfizer Inc., will stay put thanks to aggressive new Treasury Department rules that succeeded in blocking Pfizer from acquiring rival Allergan and moving to Ireland — on paper — to reduce its tax bill. (http://ow.ly/3zwddt)

And speaking of bad days…
JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — Investigators said Thursday that they're recommending a disorderly conduct charge be filed against a 15-year-old girl who was pepper-sprayed… (http://ow.ly/3zwdhs)

A highlight of last night's TV experience…

… except for watching one of the best and certainly most successful women's basketball team ever play one last game, was a little political segment featuring MSNBC's Chris Matthews and some right-wing radio talker popular in Wisconsin. Somewhere in all that babel Matthews asked if the Republicans had any chance to beat Clinton in the general election, and the radio guy responded, "nobody can beat Clinton in Wisconsin," totally ignoring the fact that Bernie Sanders just that very evening had.

Bernie just doesn't fit into the story line, does he?

The Wisconsin story in two maps

Wisconsin Election Results 2016: Live Maps, Polling, Analysis, Schedule, Complete Updates - The Washington Post

On the Republican map, to the right, the reddish area is Trump and the yellow Cruz. 

On the other side, except for Milwaukee and two counties over there along the river, it’s Bernie all the way.

Trash day

I wake up this morning and there’s light in the room. I ask Siri the weather question and she says 18º. And I can hear the wind. The sky is a joyless gray. I pull on a jacket, slap a label on my bag, and trudge it to the curb.

Somehow it’s worse when you see it coming.

Now the sun is up and right in my face when last month it was way over there this time of day. So something’s going on, and maybe it’s good. We’ll see.

Maybe Mexico can pay for that wall after all

The Panama Papers: Here’s What We Know - The New York Times

"Juan Armando Hinojosa, who has been described as the 'favorite contractor' of the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto …created 'a complex offshore network' spread across nine corporate entities in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to hold roughly $100 million."

But even better news for thee and me. The Times says it’s so easy to create shell companies here at home we have no need to go to Panama for this kind of thing. “Basically, we have an onshore haven industry in the U.S. that is as secretive as anywhere,” some economist guy says. How’s that for full service government?

And speaking of government, how silly is it to elect somebody who doesn’t believe in it to head it? Looking at you, Cruz voters.

Ted Cruz is one of those guys who claims to revere the Constitution, apparently without knowing much about what it says. For the record, the Constitution does not establish a Commander in Chief of fire departments. Or you. Or me. Cruz can have all the backs he wants (and no, that’s not a smutty remark, heaven forfend), but the President is Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Period.

You had to get me started, didn’t you.


Clearly, I need to find myself an immigrant

Ivana Trump says US needs immigrants 'to vacuum our living rooms and clean up after us'

Who knew it was that easy?

Ah, those grand old days

And now, if we can just talk it up enough, we might get another one this summer.

(And then there was Chicago in 1968.)

That Jane, just can't keep it together

Worker Killed by Beam During Construction on Jane Addams | NBC Chicago

Oh. It’s a tollroad. Wouldn’t Jane be proud.

OK, this is the scariest thing I've seen all week

Or month. Or, hey, ever. Almost ever.

Wait, what?

Today in politics

Today is the day of the Wisconsin primary, although that hardly seems necessary now. Charles Koch has already decided the Republican nominee will be Paul Ryan. Go figure. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have somehow managed to turn Paul Ryan and, for that matter, John Kasich into moderates.

Speaking of Donald Trump, the hoax-debunking web site Snopes.com reports "rumors of an abundance of rogue human pooping on Trump's Walk of Fame star do not appear to be well-documented.” Imagine our relief.

And speaking of Ted Cruz, Samantha Bee reports “literally several people saying they’ll guess they’ll vote for him if they have to,” and introduces a few of those people in a YouTube video, here. It’s grim.

A publication named Kicker, which we’ve never heard of (it just popped up this morning in my Apple News app) runs the numbers on the primaries so far and concludes it’s "almost mathematically impossible for [Sanders] to win the presidential race.” We’re almost entirely sure “almost mathematically impossible” is a little bit like “a little bit pregnant,” but our math is a little rusty so we might be nearly wrong.

According to the Miami Herald, Republicans are trying to “win over conservatives” by taking away their health care and stiffing immigrant kids.

And, according to the Mirror, one of those UK papers, the so-called hacktivist group, Anonymous, has released a video endorsing Jill Stein for president without actually endorsing Jill Stein. Still it’s a thought, and I might actually vote for her myself. Again.

Cheeseheads in the news

Ted Cruz, Sensing Victory in Wisconsin, Strolls Through a Castle of Cheese - First Draft. Political News, Now. - The New York Times

"'There is an ironclad rule of politics, which is: No funny hats,’ [Cruz] said, invoking the star-crossed union of Michael Dukakis and an ill-fitting helmet. 'And any hat is, by definition, defined as a funny hat.'

"Goaded further by reporters, Mr. Cruz said that Wisconsinites 'wear their Cheeseheads so powerfully' that to emulate them would 'intrude in the elegance with which the people of Wisconsin wear those hats.'"

We are in awe.


Maybe they just want a refund on those speeches

Hillary Clinton's absurd claim that she's the only candidate being attacked by Wall Street | PolitiFact

"The bottom line: Wall Street-funded groups have certainly gone after Clinton hard, but they’ve also slammed Sanders and every Republican candidate in the race."

Ursulas of the world, unite

Yankees postpone Opening Day due to weather - Sportsnaut.com

"The culprit here is Winter Storm Ursula — an aptly named monstrosity coming down from the Great Lakes…"

We don’t have a baseball team here, so who cares. But we do have four inches of snow on the ground, and counting—but it’s tapering off, at least.

There is, it seems, no alternative to bad but worse

Robert Reich - I predicted two weeks ago that if Trump... | Facebook


Why am I thinking this will not end well?

Global Warming Gives Science Behind Nuclear Winter a New Purpose - The New York Times


Everyone should have a stylebook

AP Style alert: Don’t capitalize internet and web anymore – Poynter

Really. You can just make up your own, like the Associated Press does, or you can use one that already exists like, for example, the AP Stylebook. You will save yourself a while lot of arguments with former English teachers if you do, believe me. 

If you do use the AP Stylebook, you no longer have to capitalize the words “internet” or “web,” and if you use Poynter’s stylebook you don’t even have to put quote marks around those words in this sentence, it appears. (Also you could probably save yourself a few commas. Newspaper style is all about saving characters.)

I myself got into something of an argument with a former English teacher once about serial commas; I said yes, she said no. I checked five stylebooks on the issue. Two said yes, two said no, and one—the one I used in English 101—said whatever turns you on. One that said no—do not use the serial comma—was the Associated Press'.

I happened to notice the Chicago Tribune, a paper I was reading regularly at the time, did use serial commas. So I asked a friend of mine who was a Tribune editor how that worked. Oh, he said, we have a guy whose full-time job is putting the commas back into AP copy.

I wonder if they still capitalize internet and web at the Trib.

Fat's back

Which basically means we can keep on eating the way we always have but with less guilt. And everybody else can lighten up. For example, the Washington Post reveals…

The whole truth about “whole milk” - The Washington Post

…whole milk, aka milk, is about 3.5% fat, not 100% (kids, even whipping cream is not 100% fat). So milk labeled 2% is about 60% fat milk, if you see what I mean. If you were a geezer you would know this already.

Once upon a time in the Days of Yore milk came in glass bottles. It was pasteurized (pasteurization was one of the great public health advances of the Twentieth Century which is, no doubt, why it is eschewed by some of the Most Modern of today) but not homogenized. Meaning, the cream rose to the top (hence the expression “cream rises”). And a person could see how much of the milk was cream, which is, if not 100% fat, the good, fatty part. And it was not much.

In order to get “whole milk,” aka milk, from the bottle one had to shake it first in order to re-mix the cream. It turned out, however, that there were certain older people in the family (it is, occasionally, to one’s advantage to be one of the older people) who wanted the cream for their coffee. So the cream got poured off and saved in a pitcher (there were some glass bottle designs that had bulb-shaped tops to make such pilfering of the good, fatty stuff even easier) and the younger people in the family got to drink what was left, aka fat free. Or just about. 

Unless, of course, the younger people, who eventually got wise to this skimming scam, got to the bottles first. In which case they were properly shaken, as they were clearly meant to be. 

So let me get this straight

The GOP’s Nuclear Option to Stop Donald Trump: A Third-Party Candidate - The Daily Beast

"And if that fails, a group of Republicans are readying a nuclear option: running a third-party alternative in just a handful of critical swing states in order to block both Trump and likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton from gaining the necessary 270 electoral votes required to claim the White House."

The GOP’s fall-back strategy is to pick an actual good candidate, one that people will like even more than Trump or Clinton, and then run him (it couldn’t possibly be her, could it?) in only “just a handful of states”?


I’m going to log out now and scream.

Seems like only yesterday…

Wait. It was yesterday, I put my mittens into the Winter Bag along with my scarves and wool caps and big fat socks.

This morning I dug them out again. For this.

IMG 0088

And twenty-seven degrees. F.

And it’s still coming down. I’m not going to shovel it. It can go melt itself.


Not geeky enough with your earbuds and stuff?

We've got you covered!

And if that's not good enough, well, take a good look at the price tag there. Two for only ten bucks! You could blow air on the back of your head (or anywhere!) as well as on your face.

Back in the day, we had to depend on plastic pocket protectors and slide rules but now, dude, there is no end to the nerd. Go for it, we say!

Meanwhile here, where I am, there's no need for clever cooling devices because winter has returned—and this time we are in no mood for it, no mood for all. Come on. This kind of weather (thirty and a few degrees by day, much colder by night, and lots of wind) might be fun—invigorating, even—in December. But in April? No way.