Some questions just have to be asked


Wait till next year!

Stroboscopic patterns for Easter eggs | Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

If you haven't found…

…the New York Times Crossword app yet, well, here it is. The Times crossword puzzles are, of course, legendary—and some of them can even be solved. (The Monday puzzles are easiest. I used to do them on the subway, on the way to work. But they are topical and pretty New Yorky, and they get more difficult as the week goes on. )

The Times also publishes a daily “mini” puzzle, a puzzle on a 5x5-square grid that you can solve in a minute or two, and a “midi,” 9x9 puzzles you can buy at a reasonable price and solve in five minutes, more or less. All of which makes standing in line for your latte or kale salad (or big fat greasy burger) or just taking a quick break from whatever profound problem you’ve been worrying easy. And useful.

Having something to occupy your mind makes time seem to pass faster, as the big oil companies knew when they handed out scratch tickets at gas stations to give you something to do while they filled up your car with gas, checked the oil and tires, washed your windshield…oh, sorry. For a minute there I wandered off. 

This Clinton should shut up

Bill Clinton: Sanders backers would 'shoot every third person on Wall Street' - POLITICO


Follow the money

Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill - The New York Times

"WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

Hot news from NASA

March 2016 was the hottest March on record.

(Apparently our own little blue spot is too small to see.)

Regardless of which side you take (if any)…

…on the matter of Syrians fleeing war in their own country…

Pope Francis Takes 12 Refugees Back to Vatican After Trip to Greece - The New York Times

…I’m thinking this kind of tokenism doesn’t help all that much. Twelve refugees?

According to the Guardian

"1.1 million migrants and refugees arrived in Germany last year. Tens of thousands have already arrived this year."

Maybe Francis needs to up his game.

(About 3,000 Syrians have been resettled in the U.S., at least one in Kansas.)

It's the scream track that really does it for me

This Behind-The-Back Bunt Almost Doesn't Make Sense At First

Also, somewhere down in the comments thread, there’s the phrase “almost undoubtedly” which is almost perfect.

Thanks to Some Guy in Seattle for this one.


Windows users: Uninstall Apple’s QuickTime now - The Washington Post

"Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but QuickTime for Windows has been on the decline for awhile. Apple never supported the program for Windows 8 or 10 -- the two most recent flavors of Microsoft's operating system -- and its last security update was in January."

If you’ve got it, ditch it.

Now you see 'em, now you don't

Why a desperate scheme in World War I turned Allied boats into wacky Cubist artworks - The Washington Post



Smile, you're for sale

41% of Super PAC Money Came From Only 50 Donors - The Daily Beast

"The 2,300 super PACs have received more than $607 million this election cycle, and the groups have no limit on contributions that they may accept. Donors will likely spend hundreds of millions more before the general election is over."

Or your government is, anyway. Our government. I seem to recall reading the world’s richest person lives in Mexico. Maybe we should just sell the whole thing to him and be done with it.

At least it would save us the cost of that wall.

Those Canadians, always one step ahead

Canadian police have had master key to BlackBerry's encryption since 2010 | The Verge

"It's unclear how the RCMP obtained the key due because discussions on the matter in court remain heavily redacted in court documents.…"

Following the bouncing ball

California Appeals Court Reverses Decision to Overturn Teacher Tenure Rules - The New York Times

Could there be any clumsier way to say this? We think not.

Happy Tax Day

But here’s the good news. This leap year your tax stuff doesn’t have to be filed until the 18th. So you can enjoy the weekend and do your taxes Monday, no sweat.


Maybe they're good with tires

But wait! It's a test!

Ya think?

“There’s a growing sense globally that monetary policy alone cannot cure all problems.”

This morning in politics


Consider that there are 28 private campaign fundraisers this week alone for the Mrs. Clinton in nine states, the District of Columbia and China. Yes, China. There are two events, one in Beijing, the other in Hong Kong. The real eye opener takes place in San Francisco on Friday, however. Hosted by actor George Clooney and wife Amal, the tickets for the fundraiser are $353,400 a couple.


And what's more…

"Consider that there are 28 private campaign fundraisers this week alone for the Mrs. Clinton in nine states, the District of Columbia and China. Yes, China. There are two events, one in Beijing, the other in Hong Kong. The real eye opener takes place in San Francisco on Friday, however. Hosted by actor George Clooney and wife Amal, the tickets for the fundraiser are $353,400 a couple.

Essential information from the not-always-reliable Washington Times (http://goo.gl/kYcxQ7).


Secret creep (or creepy secrets, it's never easy to tell)

Obama administration considers killing lowest tier of info classification | TheHill

"Eliminating the lowest level of classification would have a dramatic effect on the number of classified documents created by the government.

"It also could have beneficial effects for Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose private email server contained thousands of messages now considered classified. The vast majority of the roughly 2,000 documents on Clinton’s machine are considered confidential."

This delegate gig is beginning to sound like it might not be too bad

Editorial: ‘Buying’ a convention | Boston Herald

Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit delegates from accepting money from corporations, labor unions, federal contractors or foreign nationals.

But other than that the regs note, “Contributions to an individual delegate are not subject to any per delegate limit.”

Democracy. Ain’t it freakin’ wonderful.

The more things change

When I applied for membership in the Dull Men’s Club back in 1980 they sent me an application form with space for writing additional information as needed. Knowing jogging was considered by the membership to be suspiciously exciting, I felt bound to confess that I had tried it—jogging—once but didn’t like it because my cigar kept going out. They granted me a dispensation.

I thought about this this morning when I discovered a new donut shop a perfect distance from my apartment for a nice walk.

Double chocolate, if you’re wondering.

Imagine our dismay

Goldman left with long-term greedy as only option


Spinach for breakfast

In Clinton-Trump race, 20% vote third party - Business Insider

"Among all registered voters, 63 percent say they wouldn't consider voting for Trump and half say the same about Clinton."

When they pry it from my cold, dead keyboard

FBI reportedly paid hackers to crack terrorist’s iPhone | New York Post

“Some of the emotion that I’ve received around this issue reminds me of some of the rhetoric we hear in the gun debate. It’s the same kind of rhetoric and passion in this conversation,” [FBI director James Comey] said.


For extra credit

‘All the King’s Men,’ Now 70, Has a Touch of 2016 - The New York Times

“Southern political personalities, like sweet corn, travel badly,” the journalist A. J. Liebling wrote. “They lose flavor with every hundred yards away from the patch.”

This is a terrific novel, if you haven’t read it (and also, of course, if you have). And it’s been made into a movie twice, once in 1949 starring Broderick Crawford and again in 2006 with Sean Penn. The first is by far the best, a classic.

Looking for a way to kill the rest of your day?

There’s this piece running at Salon about—well, mostly about—the state of education in the U.S. by an author named David Masciotra that has, overall, the sweaty tone of a desperate attempt to fill a column by deadline, which is why I’m a little reluctant to accept these stats at face value, as delicious as that might be…


"Two-thirds of Americans cannot name a single Supreme Court justice, and half are incapable of identifying all three branches of government. Forty-two percent of the public does not believe in evolutionary biology, while 24 percent believe that the sun orbits the earth.

"Nearly a quarter of Americans read below the fifth-grade level, which helps to explain why only 29 percent read a newspaper…"

And some other stuff too, But we’re already over the top.

Does the quarter of Americans who read below fifth-grade level include those who are actually below the fifth grade? Are newspapers only newspapers if they’re printed on paper? And, by the way, do you have to read at fifth-grade level to read one?

Does the two-thirds who can’t name a Supreme Court justice include senators?

You could look all this stuff up and try to figure it out—fact checker for a day.

Nobody said work avoidance would be easy.

Strange bedfellows

Noam Chomsky agrees with Sarah Palin: “When she mocks the ‘hope-y, change-y stuff,’ she’s right” - Salon.com

"We’ve been marketing candidates like toothpaste since Reagan. This is the greatest achievement we have."


Somebody finally found a use for poetry

The next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets - The Washington Post

"As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley."

There's always one grouch

Quotes About Cheese (56 quotes)

“What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?”
― Bertolt Brecht

The globe is warming up but I am not (or maybe I am)

It’s confusing, is what it is. Two months ago, in February, 32 degrees seemed an encouragingly warm day. Last month it was downright chilly. Now it’s freaking freezing. The weather may be getting better but it seems like worse.

The Globe's editorial and fake front page mock-up is here, and worth a look

Boston Globe Trump front page: The GOP must stop Trump - The Boston Globe


How many times do we have to talk about this, people?

Here's a piece from Fox News about a Romanian hacker who claims to have broken in to Hillary Clinton's email and the email of 50% of all the Secretaries of State before her who used private email servers—namely, Colin Powell—by guessing their passwords after reading their biographies. No kidding.

Please. It's the 21st Century. It's time the people who run the government at least begin to get some grip on how the world works. Minimal gripis that too much to ask? 
And you too. I know a guy who complains about the government spying on him but still uses the name of his pet canary as his password. (OK, just kidding about the canary—it's his dog.) Cut it out with this stuff. Use good passwords. It may be a pain but it's still the best defense you've got.