Chris Muir's Day By Day

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stonehenge: Stone Age Gated Community?

According to this story, yah.

Must've had a hell of a crime problem back in the pre-gun days, hey?

Wrestling Legend Killer Kowalski Dead At 81

NY Times story.

He was before my time, but I've heard of him. The Klller I'm familiar with is Killer Karl Kox, who wrestled in my native Florida in the late 70's, I actually saw him wrestle at a match at the Gainesville High School gymnasium.

Its...Wafer Thin!

A Times of London story on how Democrat operatives are fanning out through Alaska looking for dirt on Sarah Palin.

Why? Because "Thick dossiers had been prepared on Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty - the men widely believed to be the final frontrunners - but the file on Mrs Palin is wafer thin."

Which, of course, brought to mind...


"Finally, Monsieur, a wafer-thin mint."


I'm sorry. Brigid invoked Python the other night, and I immediately went to YouTube for a Python fix, and Mr. Creosote happened to be part of it. So of course anything anyone says for the next week or so will pass through a Python filter.

Don't Touch That Dial!

Don't flip that switch. Whatever you do, don't turn on the Hadron Supercollider.

Here's the doomsday machine itself:



My God, Jim! It looks like an octopus! Even has eight arms and a maw! That thing can't be anything but evil! Don't switch it on! Didn't you idiots ever play Half-Life?

Couple Of Random Thoughts

1. McCain has stuck his thumb in conservative eyes so often in the past 8 years that we developed a collective flinch every time he raised his hand, thus the unwillingness to get excited about his candidacy. With the choice of Palin, he's well on the road to being forgiven, but the flinch still remains, because we haven't forgotten.

2. Imagine the Robert Redford movie Jeremiah Johnson (a personal favorite), but with Sarah Palin in the Will Geer role and Barack Obama in the Robert Redford role:

Regarding Sarah Palin's Son Trig & Conspiracy Theories

A commenter at Ann Althouse's blog used satire to point out the silliness of claiming that Trig Palin is really not Sarah's son, but her daughter's son:

I heard the child was born to the daughter, fathered by Satan at midnight under a full moon that converged with the aurora borealis on a fur of a freshly killed and skinned polar bear and witnessed by Inuits that were duly appalled, but sworn to secrecy or their native lands would be drilled for oil and their salmon runs wasted. And later, the mother was seen eating raw Narwhal liver and then dancing naked in the snow and screeching an unearthly howl and seemed to be in a trance or on drugs or something. I read it on a website called "Don't vote for Palin or everybody dies."

Stay classy, Daily Kos.

UK: 1 In 11 In UK Jails Are Military Veterans?

Story.

The number seems incredible. Most of the offenses seem to be a result of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which was called shell-shock in WWI and combat fatigue in WWII. UK appears to have more of an anti-military culture than the US does, also, which may exacerbate the problem, if vets feel that their contributions were not appreciated.

Worth reading the story in full.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Seen At Tam's

Referring to Sarah Palin:

"My God, she's a Heinlein character come to life."

No truer words ever spoken.


TANSTAAFL!

Acquring Guns In UK: For Criminals, Quite Easy

All it takes is a bit of cash and you can have anything you want, all the way up to MAC-10's and Uzis, even grenades.

No acknowledgment that Britain's gun control policies have failed, no solutions offered, just a flat account that details failure without admitting it.

Worth reading in its entirety.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sarah!




H/T commenter Kevin Baker at Sharp As A Marble.

Reminder: Donate To Day By Day!

It's payday for a lot of us, and I just donated to Chris Muir's comic strip Day By Day.

If you like Chris' work, consider donating, too.

McCain Picks Palin For VP?

The scuttlebutt is that McCain has picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for VP. If he has, it's the best thing he could have done. She's an awesome pick.

Please, gods...

Update: It's Palin. Hallelujah! And I just sent a donation to John McCain. If you think that McCain hit a home run with his VP choice, how about doing likewise?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

60 Years Later, Still Stuck In The Tree

The body of a WWII airman has been found in Papua New Guinea, still dangling from his parachute harness, where he apparently died in the triple-canopy jungle.

Right now military authorities haven't even recovered the body, which was found by a hiker. It's not certain if the body is that of an American, Australian or even Japanese airman.

It is to be hoped that his death came suddenly, perhaps with a snapped neck as he crashed through the tree branches; remaining there for the week or so that it would have taken to die of thirst, in pain and afflicted by insects, would have been a hellish death.

Perhaps a family will finally find out the fate of their father/husband/brother.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Thought Of The Day

Be funny as hell if Joe Biden got up to his old tricks and plagiarized his speech tonight. I'm fairly certain that he'll have little input into it, though, with Obama's people probably handling the writing chores. Biden has to know that every Republican operative will be parsing his speech carefully, checking for borrowings, anyway.

Volcano Blog: La Lorenza, Colombia

Story.

Strange one. This volcano isn't on Google Earth, and it's in an area without volcanoes, at least in my limited knowledge. I'm going to check and do some research and find out more info. May be a bogus report, or for another area than that described.

Update: It's a mud volcano. Not a true volcano at all.

Iraq: Keeping Military Helicopters Safe From Dust...With Rhino Snot

AL ASAD AIR BASE, Iraq — Marines in Anbar province are up against more than insurgents. They have another potentially deadly "enemy" that can’t be killed, only contained.

They call it "moon dust," a baby powder-fine sand that can cause havoc when helicopters land.

Rotor backwash can kick up so much of the dust that it causes a brownout, obscuring the landing.

Upon their arrival from Okinawa to Al Asad Air Base in the spring, Marine Wing Support Squadron 172’s combat engineers were charged with managing the hazard at the temporary landing pads the squadron is building throughout Anbar.

The task was a first for the air support squadron, said 1st Lt. Emma Frowine, commander of the squadron’s Engineer Operations Company. Dust abatement is something normally done by ground support crews, she added.

So, they turned to a solution used by others — "Rhino Snot."

Rhino Snot, the nickname for Envirotac II, is a glue-like substance used to harden the earth.

Troops first used it at a base in Yuma, Ariz., in the late 1990s. In 2002, it was put into use at Camp Rhino in Afghanistan, according to manufacturer Environmental Products & Applicacations Inc.’s Web site. At Camp Rhino, Marines started calling the goo "rhino snot," a moniker the company trademarked.


Click the link for the rest. Apparently the stuff is a pain in the ass to apply and be around until it dries, rather like Super Glue.

Today's Story of the Day

Mark my words: this will be in Drudge, damned near every blog out there, and will be a Yahoo! most popular photo for at least the next month. What is it?

Two-headed baby from Bangladesh. No, I'm not posting the photo here.

UK's Dr. Frankenstein Turns Beasts Into Beauties

And gives them huge boobs in the bargain.

Click link for huge boobs!

270-Year-Old Secret Methodist Sex Diary Decoded!

Which is, I guess, how a tabloid of the period might have described it:

As a founding father of Methodism, Charles Wesley has been revered for centuries as a deeply holy man.

But a secret code in his 270-year-old diaries has been cracked - revealing that he was dogged by sexual scandal and feuded with his church leader brother John.

In the 18th century, Charles joined John on a missionary trip to a new British colony in America but mysteriously returned after just a few months.

The decoded diaries reveal that he fled home amid allegations that he had sex with a colonist after trapping her husband under a tree.

The coded sections began in March 1736, when Charles was in the new colony of Georgia.

While parts in plain English talk of his calling the colonists to prayers at all hours, the coded paragraphs show he was accused of sexual misconduct by one Anne Welch, wife of a doctor to the colonists, James Welch.

Mrs Welch first told Charles Wesley that the governor of the colony of Georgia, James Oglethorpe, was 'a wicked man' who kept three mistresses in England. It later emerged however that she had been making similar allegations to Mr Oglethorpe about Charles.

A section reveals Mr Oglethorpe told Charles: 'She came crying to me with complaints that you had confined her husband by keeping him three days under a tree, and come to bed with her'.

Charles fiercely denied the allegations - but also had to face taunts that he had sex with a maid.

He wrote that a pair of colonists shouted out to him as he strolled along in conversation with the maid: 'There goes the parson with his whore. I saw her and him were under the bushes.'


Goodness me.

*snort*

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Marcus Aurelius Statue Discovered In Turkey

Story.

Great detail in the head; apparently Marcus Aurelius had distinctive "bulging eyes:"

Shipwreck Blog: Thames River (UK) Shipwrecks.

A bunch of them, as old as 17th century, in remarkably good states of preservation:



That's a photo of HMS London, an underwater shot apparently taken with infrared film or something similar. Look at the incredible preservation: you can even see a crest of some sort, as well as the muzzles of cannons sticking out of the ports. Incredible, so incredible that I'm wondering if this is a genuine photo. Hmm.

The US Eye In The Sky Over Afghanistan, Pakistan

Great story, but I wish that it hadn't been published, because it discloses too much about our drone program in Afghanistan.

New Iraq Terrorist Weapon: Flying IED's

No, I'm not joking.

BAGHDAD -- A relatively new weapon has appeared on the streets of Baghdad and earned itself an acronym in the language for destruction. The weapon is the IRAM, an Improvised Rocket Assisted Mortar.

It is technologically crude; its aiming is inaccurate; and the number of times it has been used by Shiite extremists against U.S. forces in the Baghdad area have been few, but its potential for death and destruction is so great that soldiers at many combat operations posts (COPs) around the capital now conduct a number of patrols daily to specifically try to disrupt any attempt to maneuver the device into launching position and fire them.

The IRAM is different in how it is used. In essence it's a flying IED. It consists of a canister -- either a propane gas tank or cylinder -- packed with explosives attached to a rocket tube (body) and powered by a 107mm rocket motor. The device is placed on rocket rails, which can be angled for distance, and fired at its target by a timing device, military officers said.

The rails are placed on the back of a low-sided flat-bed cargo truck, usually a Bongo, which are ever-present in Baghdad. The truck is parked and angled toward the target and the devices (usually four or more in succession) are launched using delayed timers.

Aiming is directional, a sort of a line-of-sight lob over the cab of the truck or over a side. Distance is about 300-500 meters, according to Maj. Geoff Greene, executive officer of the 1st (combined Arms) Battalion of the 68 Armor Regiment.

In June, Greene and the men at COP Callahan in the Shaab district of northeast Baghdad, narrowly escaped an IRAM attack. The truck had been parked and angled several hundred meters away in a residential neighborhood, but one of the IRAMs apparently malfunctioned and exploded before launch, causing at least four others on the truck to explode as well.

The result, Greene said, was 16 civilian deaths, 29 civilian injuries and damage to 15 homes.

Pirates of the Mediterranean

Pirates in a speedboat boarded a yacht off the coast of Corsica and made off with cash and merchandise totalling over $180,000.

That's piracy in the tradition of Pierre le Grand!

Which Way Is North?

Consult a cow.

If you're lost in the countryside without a compass, don't panic.

Just look for a herd of cows and see which way they are pointing.

After monitoring the behaviour of thousands of cattle, scientists have found that they tend to face north after aligning themselves with the Earth's magnetic field.

The astonishing ability appears to be a relic of the days when the wild ancestors of today's domesticated cattle used inbuilt compasses to find their way across the plains of Africa, Asia and Europe on long migrations.

The finding - based on satellite images of cattle all over the world - has astonished farmers and animal behaviourists.

Although cows are famed for their ability to forecast rain hours in advance, their talent for navigating has so far gone overlooked.

Dozens of species of animals use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate - including birds, turtles, termites and salmon.



Next on Mythbusters: Is Cows' Direction Sense Bullshit?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Chris Muir And Day By Day Need $ Infusion!

I first discovered Chris Muir's delightful comic strip Day By Day and the late lamented Captain's Quarters blog simultaneously, since Cap'n Ed Morrissey featured Day By Day at the top of CQ. When Ed went to Hot Air and took CQ down, I wondered where I would go for my Day By Day fix, and after thinking about it for a short while, and after struggling with Blogger's template, I decided to carry Day By Day myself. I like to think that maybe a few of my 48K visitors (at last count) appreciate being able to read Chris' wonderful comic.

Well, eventually the free beer and free popcorn run out, if the supplies aren't replenished. Chris needs help to keep Day By Day running. He has no day job, DBD is it. He lives and falls with DBD. I'm broke, but won't be Friday, so Chris will receive a donation from me then. If you enjoy Chris' work, follow the link and drop some change in the hat. There's stuff you get for doing so, including Teh Hot Chicknesses that Chris draws so well.

Go already! Here's the link.

Thought Spoken Aloud, #1

Listening to Sandy Denny sing It Suits Me Well, and it occurred to me that she sounds more than a little like Linda Thompson.

Slowly Rising Waters Claim Cajun Coastline

Story.

Not that the Cajuns need to be concerned with immediate moving plans, but it is a fact that coastline is disappearing as the water level in the Gulf of Mexico rises. A century from now the coastline might be much different, and the Cajuns forced to mingle with other Louisianans.

Good story.

Practicality And User-Friendliness

A discussion of the Maker movement, which appears at its core to be a rejection of the control that machines currently have over us.

Which makes me think of the old comic book Magnus: Robot Fighter. It also calls to mind the video game Final Fantasy VIII, in which a bunch of individualists reject the ultra-modern life for a slightly more primitive one at a place called Fisherman's Horizon.

It's worth reading in its entirety.

Madonna: The Desperate Fight To Stay Young

Madonna has always been about sex, and sex for the most part is about youth. So what is Madge supposed to do as the inevitable occurs and her youth and looks desert her? At 50, she's convinced that endless hours of exercise will do it:



It will only stave off the aging process by a few years. Plastic surgery will stretch things out a few years more. Whither then, when Madge is 60, or 70?

Will she need to bathe in the blood of virgins? Will she make frequent trips to Malawi again, perhaps, only this time with mysterious disappearances in her wake?

Photo from this Daily Mail story.

UK: The Upside Of Big Brother

UK often gets grief for its extensive system of closed-circuit TV monitoring that, in effect, keeps track of everything that happens in major cities. It's seen as a sign of creeping Orwellian loss of privacy. But what about the increasing number of cases where the CCTV system helps prevent injustice from occurring?

Look, for instance, at the case of a Muslim taxi driver falsely accused of rape. The accuser has a history of being a binge drinker, and had made racist comments about the cab company before the date of the rape accusation. When the case finally came before a magistrate, it was proven through CCTV tapes that the attack could not have occurred; GPS evidence from the taxi verified this. Confronted, the accuser recanted her accusation, and was sentenced to 8 months in jail for the false accusation.

So Orwellian government saw justice done. Was it worth the price in lost privacy? The Muslim cab driver would probably agree heartily that it was.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Where I Was This Weekend

I didn't post much this weekend, for which I apologize. I spent most of my time in J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth, courtesy of the game Lord of the Rings Online.

I'm a huge Tolkien fan. Have been since my teens, back in the early 70's. I never thought I'd have a chance to live there, or visit the places that Tolkien wrote about so convincingly. Yet now I do live there for a good portion of my time; when my mother, who is mostly an invalid and who has never come to terms with old age, is driving me batshit crazy with unreasonable demands, an escape to Middle-Earth is all that keeps me sane.

My favorite Tolkien characters have always been the dwarves. They resemble me more than Tolkien's other races do: grim of temperament, suspicious, quick-tempered, not overly noble. I have a family of dwarves in the game, and by way of apology for not posting this weekend, I think I'll introduce you to them.

The father dwarf (he has two sons) is named Blarni Stoneskull. Trying to find a perfect dwarf name, I thought of the Disney dwarves, named after emotions: Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy. I noticed that many of Tolkien's dwarves' names ended in -i: Gimli, Fili, Kili. Combining the two concepts I came up with a perfect way to name dwarves in game: take adjectives ending in -y, and change it to a terminal -i, e.g., Thorni, Raunchi, Horni. Some are hilarious: Stinki, Spanki, Cranki, Funki. In any event Blarni Stoneskull is the father of the group. He fought with the dwarves against the orcs in the battle of Azanulbizar, when the dwarves fought the forces of Azog the Goblin to avenge the death of Thror, King of Durin's Folk. During the battle an orc swung an iron bar at Blarni, breaking his iron helm, but not shattering his skull. Blarni, stunned, still managed to kill the orc, and defended himself valiantly until some of his comrades came to his aid and moved him to a quieter part of the battlefield. Blarni was given the name Stoneskull in recognition of his hard skull, and ever since has gone into battle without a helm, a practice his sons follow out of a rather confused sense of honor. Blarni, unusual for a dwarf, suffers from claustophobia, and spends most of his time outdoors as a hunter, providing fresh meat for the dwarves with his bow.

Here's Blarni Stoneskull:




Blarni's elder son Sporki was born in the Lonely Mountain after Thorin, Bilbo and the rest won it from Smaug the dragon. Blarni actually named Sporki after a tool that he devised, a combination fork an spoon that he called a spork. The spork was popular with dwarves who had lost hands or entire arms in battle. Sporki is rather embarrassed about being named after a tool, but has become resigned to the ribbing he gets from friends on occasion. Or maybe not; look at this image of Sporki Stoneskull and you will see that he has his teeth bared, perhaps in anger, perhaps in impatience over how long it was taking to paint his portrait:




Sporki's younger brother Snarki was also born in the Lonely Mountain. He's rather grim even for a dwarf, and has a sarcastic tongue that has gotten him into fights on more than one occasion. Since he's large for a dwarf and extremely quick with his hard fists, he's won most of those fights. Snarki makes weapons for the dwarves, and wants to one day return to claim Moria for Durin's folk. Snarki Stoneskull:



The family, rather than the usual dwarf-dwelling, bought and dwells in a hobbit-hole in the Shire, living alongside hobbits, who are wary of such noisy, hard-drinking (but well-behaved, nonetheless) neighbors.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Army Deserter Sentenced To 15 Months In Prison

I think in this case we can officially question his patriotism.

Here's my attitude: if you're too cowardly to go into battle, or have a genuine change of heart after joining the military, then stay and face the penalty like a man. Don't take off running and hide in a foreign country.

Good NY Times Story On Iraq War, Without Happy Ending

Because the journalist involved was pulled out when the surge began and the news started to be favorable to the Bush strategy.

It's still a good read. The journalist got a bunch of Marines killed so that he could get a photograph of a dead insurgent, for which he quite properly feels guilt. There are other horror stories here, also.

I wonder if he'll go back to Iraq as it is now and write about it again?

UK Gutter Press Not Impressed With Obama's VP Choice

"Obama names 'gaffe-prone' Joe Biden as his running mate in presidential elections."

*snort*

Grammar Vigilantes Get Their Comeuppance

PHOENIX When it comes to marking up historic signs, good grammar is a bad defense.

Two self-styled vigilantes against typos who defaced a more than 60-year-old, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park were sentenced to probation and banned from national parks for a year.

Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson pleaded guilty Aug. 11 for the damage done March 28 at the park's Desert View Watchtower. The sign was made by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, the architect who designed the rustic 1930s watchtower and other Grand Canyon-area landmarks.

Deck and Herson, both 28, toured the United States this spring, wiping out errors on government and private signs. They were interviewed by NPR and the Chicago Tribune, which called them "a pair of Kerouacs armed with Sharpies and erasers and righteous indignation."

An affidavit by National Park Service agent Christopher A. Smith said investigators learned of the vandalism from an Internet site operated by Deck on behalf of the Typo Eradication Advancement League, or TEAL.



So you have these two officious twits going around the US with Sharpies and white-out, cleaning up grammar and spelling errors on government signs. We've all seen this sort of person on message boards and online forums; they're the ones that, instead of focusing on the argument at hand, point out errors in spelling and grammar, sometimes because of pure motives (there's a lot of illiterates populating message boards) and sometimes not so pure (inferring that an opponent is a moron because their spelling is deficient). In this case, they were caught by their own stupidity in wanting recognition of their achievements.

If you commit a crime, even out of the best of motives, it's best not to mention the fact on the internet.

This blog post not checked for spelling or grammar.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hitch's Makeover Pt. 3: 1 Year Later

I notice that I didn't blog parts 1 and 2 of Christopher Hitchens' Vanity Fair makeover; however, the links are there for you to discover for yourself. To summarize: Hitch began to feel the icy hand of mortality on his shoulder, and decided to do something about it, with Vanity Fair picking up the tab. Clever man! He got a Brazilian wax job (back, crack and sack, as he coarsely put it), teeth worked on, and had a weeks' detox at a spa. He didn't stop smoking or drinking...

...but read the article at the link I provided. He's stopped smoking, and purchased an exercise machine that cost $14,000.00. Here's a picture of him using the ROM, as it's called, and tell me he doesn't look almost as uncomfortable as during his recent waterboarding?

Kill The Wabbit

A drunken UK girl (redundancy alert) killed a pet rabbit by smashing it against a wall, and filmed its death with her cell phone.

Are there any good children left in UK at all, or are we in a Lord of the Flies scenario in which they really just need to be written off as bad rubbish?

New Insect Species Discovered On eBay

Story.

"I had thought it would be rather nice to call it Mindarus ebayi," said Dr Harrington.

"Unfortunately using flippant names to describe new species is rather frowned upon these days."

Instead, Professor Heie named the new species Mindarus harringtoni after Dr Harrington.


Catch that? In fact, it was probably the practice of naming new worms and other lowly new species after President George W. Bush that giving new species "flippant" names became frowned upon.

My Heart's In The Highlands, My Heart Is Not Here...

...My heart's in the Highlands castratin' the deer.

DUNDEE, Scotland, Aug. 21 (UPI) -- The genital organs of Scottish deer are making their way to China, where athletes believe eating them contributes to endurance and strength.

The "pizzles," as they are known in Scotland, come from the 100,000 or so highland deer culled every year to prevent overpopulation, The Scotsman reports.


Och! Dinnae fash ye'self, Bucko...

Empty The Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

A couple of academics try to make the case.

I see through it, though. It's the same thing motivating Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to call for opening the SPR; by opening it, the price of oil drops even more than it is already, back to the point where US citizens stop worrying about the price of gasoline, and view Obama, who doesn't wish to increase domestic oil supplies, more favorably than they do with gas near $4 a gallon. You can bet that if falling gasoline prices lead to an Obama victory in November, that the SRP would be slammed shut again, and all talk of domestic drilling gagged. Obama, Pelosi and Reid really want to see gas at $5 or more; they don't give a damn about working people.

Obama's Views On The Economy, Finally Explained

From this upcoming Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Worth reading in full. Doesn't make me want to vote for Obama, but it finally provides some real answers about his plans for the US economy if he is elected.

UK Treasure Hunter Finds 11th Century Black Diamond Ring

11th Century means it could even date from before the Battle of Hastings, so there's no indication yet whether it it Saxon, Norman, or even Norse. It was found in a farm field in Leicestershire.

Here's the lucky treasure hunter, 42-year-old John Stevens, describing the find:

Stevens said he was with friends in a ploughed field when he came across the ring about five inches down.

He said: "We have a really good relationship with the local farmer who more or less gives us a free reign on any fields that have no crops growing.

"We had noticed a few days earlier that he was busy ploughing up the field in question, so it at once became our target for the day.

"I stuck at it for a couple of hours and had only a few interesting artefacts for my efforts.

"Then I found an Edward halfpenny and hope returned only to fade again as the day yielded rather less than we had hoped for.

"Some of my friends had switched off their detectors and were walking back to their cars.I was about to join them when I got a really good signal.

"The others grouped round me as I dropped to my knees and dug to a depth of about five inches, then pulled out a clod of damp soil. From the side of it I could see gold.

"One of my friends thought it was a bottle top but as my fingers closed on it I knew it had never wrapped around the top of a bottle.

"Then I heard a chorus of "Lucky sod" and "Jammy beggar". We all realised at once that I was clutching a ring that looked at first glance like medieval gold, with what could be a black diamond.

"It is boldly inscribed with lettering that certainly looks very early medieval to my untrained eye.

"I don't know yet what the letters spell out, but if they indicate a royal owner it might be worth tens of thousand of pounds."


Here's a pic of the ring, it's absolutely gorgeous:



I remember one time as a kid wanting a metal detector. Now I want one again.

Wine Spectator Gives Award To Non-Existent "Restaurant"

Story.

To summarize the story, a man named Robin Goldstein set up a fictitious restaurant in Italy, created a website for the restaurant, and set up a wine list for the restaurant, using Wine Spectator's own lowest-rated Italian wines to stock the wine list. Goldstein then sent in the $250 "fee" to be considered for an award, which was duly given.

Wine Spectator's version of the story can be found here. They say that they made an honest effort to check the bona fides of the restaurant before issuing the award.

Oooookay.

Update: Professor Bainbridge comments here.

h/t The Bitch Girls

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shipwreck Blog: Environmental Impacts?

A discussion of whether the presence of a particular shipwreck at Palmyra Atoll near Hawaii is damaging coral reefs by allowing an invasive species to thrive where it otherwise wouldn't.

So, inevitably, the story ends with speculation that shipwrecks must be removed from environmentally sensitive places. The expense would be incredible, not that that ever stopped an environmentalist from advocating it.

Captain Cook's Boomerang To Be Auctioned

A boomerang obtained by Captain James Cook on his first visit to Australia in 1770 is to go on sale in London.

Here's a pic:



And apparently he brought it home without ever having seen it demonstrated, so people in Great Britain were ignorant of its properties for years afterward.

Run For Your Lives! It's Bugzilla!

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Nine whacks. That’s how many times the Navy spouse struck the insect before all 15 pairs of legs stopped wriggling.

"I don’t mind flying cockroaches, spiders or snakes. But this thing ...." Kelly Niswanger said Tuesday, wincing as she described her run-in this week with a gejigeji. It was her first encounter — she and her family just moved into their off-base home in Yokohama a few months ago.

Big. Quick-moving. More than 10 pairs of legs … having just one of these endearing qualities is usually enough to make an insect unwelcome, let alone all of the above, says Hideomi Kakimoto, a Yokosuka base environmental engineer.

But "geji," or household centipedes, are known as "good bugs" in Japan, as their ninja-like maneuvering (and, cringe, their ability to jump) allows them to hunt other household pests like cockroaches and clothing moths.


Here's a pic:

Southern Cop Punks The US

Long-suffering US southern white people got some of their own back as a podunk cop from Georgia hoaxed the entire US into believing that Bigfoot had been found and a body retrieved.

He's been fired now, of course, but he made some money and made an awful lot of people look incredibly stupid. Pretty good for a hick donut-eater from Georgia, isn't it?

Gorbachev: Blame Saakashvili For Georgian War

He hand-wrings over the devastation, then blames it all on Georgian President Saakashvili and, to a lesser extent, the US.

The name Putin isn't mentioned at all.

Colonel Ross still wore an expression which showed the poor
opinion which he had formed of my companion's ability, but I
saw by the inspector's face that his attention had been keenly
aroused.
"You consider that to be important?" he asked.
"Exceedingly so."
"Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my
attention?"
"To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."
"The dog did nothing in the night-time."
"That was the curious incident," remarked Sherlock Holmes.

Maureen Dowd: Devil's Bargain

Little Miss Snark posits a conspiracy between Hillary Clinton and John McCain to deny Barack Obama the Presidency.

Reach, much?

Human Blood From Stem Cells?

Story.

If it pans out, it could mean an end to blood donation and contamination of the blood supply by disease pathogens. This is huge news, and I'd think that the people that came up with it will be strong contenders for a Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Update: the coveted Instalanche! Thank you, Glenn Reynolds!

Coast Guard Uses Thermal Imaging To Rescue Sailor

Story.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew using night-vision goggles and thermal imaging cameras finally spotted Nelson. He was pulled from the water after 12 hours and taken to St. Vincent's Hospital, where he was treated for dehydration.

Now that's a great advance in SAR (Search And Rescue) technology. Spotting something as small as a human floating at sea is nigh impossible, which is why survival gear is in bright, easy-to-see colors.

Volcano Blog: Bezymianny, Russia

Bezymianny, on the Kamchatka Peninsula, part of the Pacific Ocean "ring of fire" volcanoes.

This is a stratovolcano similar to Mt. St. Helen's, and exhibits the same explosive sort of eruption. Apparently the big eruption was in 1956, and the volcano has since confined itself to building a dome in the old crater.

In the Future, We'll All Be Smurfs

We'll live longer, but have blue skin.

Which will cause arousal in William Shatner. You know how he gets around blue chicks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life On The Lamb?

Lee Stranahan's unfortunate usage on Huffington Post

First, he summarizes the John Edwards scandal in hilarious terms:

A former Senator and vice-presidential candidate misused campaign contributions and money pledged to fight poverty so he could bring his mistress on the campaign trail with him during the presidential campaign where he was constantly making appearances with his widely admired cancer stricken wife then fathered the mistress's child sometime around the time he was getting a Father Of The Year Award and then asked his loyal aid who already has a wife and kids to falsely claim paternity while the fake dad and the mistress were funneled money so they could move to be near the mistress's psychic healer friend while the former candidate continued to meet the mistress and baby until he was caught by tabloid reporters and hid in the bathroom and then confessed on national TV a couple of weeks later but both he and his wife continued to lie during that interview and in subsequent statements.

Then he makes a series of predictions about possible future events in the Edwards scandal:

The Youngs Speak : Who's the most aggrieved woman in this mess? I vote for Cheri Young who really didn't do much to deserve a humiliating life on the lamb except marry a guy who was so loyal and / or greedy that he took the fall for John Edwards.

Which is the curse of the spellcheck at work. Homonyms aren't caught by spellcheckers. Stranahan is obviously meaning lam instead of lamb. Another similar set of homonyms that are often misused is flak/flack, the one being anti-aircraft fire, the other being a press agent. I've been guilty of the flak/flack error myself.

Watch out for those homonyms, people!

h/t Instapundit

1911A1: The First Time*

I still remember when my ol' Pappy took the grip panel off his WWII Remington-Rand 1911A1 and gave it to me to teeth on; the salty taste of the sweat on the wood, the woody taste of the panel itself, the grease and Hoppe's #9 on the back side of it...

Later Pappy gave me empty .45ACP casins to play with. I piled them into tiny pyramids, used them for ammo in my slingshots (my sister said they stung like hell), and left them around on the floor for Mam and Pappy to step on. Pap gave me a thrashin after he slipped on them one night when he was on his way to the toilet.

When I got older Pap made me do all his reloadin. This was when I was about 10 or so. Pap taught me how to do it, watched me closely for a week until he was sure I wouldn't screw it up and double-charge it, then left me to it. I got pretty good at it, but Pap never wanted nothin but standard loads with plain hardball bullets. Pap had his own target range set up out in the back yard, with iron plates 12" in diameter placed 5, 10, 20 and 50 yards out. Pap would set on the back porch in his rockin chair with a glass of bourbon in one hand and that Remington-Rand 1911A1 in the other and empty the gun at the targets. As he drank his aim would get worser and worser until he could only hit the 5 yard plate, at which point he would go to bed, not before makin me pick up all his brass, even the ones that went through the cracks in the porch boards and under the house.

My first gun was a .22, and Pap taught me to hunt squirrels and such with it. It was okay, but I wanted Pap's Remington-Rand 1911A1. I was 13 and cleanin it now, Pap had me not only field strippin it but also detail strippin it every 6 months or so for a real cleanin. Pap still wouldn't let me shoot it, said I had to wait until I was 15. I said yessir and kept on with the reloadin and policin of spent brass. Pap wouldn't let me drink till I was 15, either, not bourbon anyhow. He let me drink cider but no more than would fill a pisspot. He didn't use the pisspot to measure it, though, for which I was real grateful.

Pap's brother Jarrel died in a tractor accident and since Jarrel weren't married Pap got it all. Pap used the money from Jarrel to get the house painted, got his old Ford Galaxy runnin again, and bought himself a brand-new Colt 1911A1 with nickel platin that didn't have to be covered with oil and grease to keep it from rustin. He laid aside the Remington-Rand, put it up in his closet, and told me it was mine when I reached 15.

Finally I was 15, and Pap made me wait most of the day till he "remembered" that it was my birthday. He dragged the Remington-Rand 1911A1 down from the closet and made me clean it real good, then dragged a chair out beside his rockin chair on the back porch. He gave me a single box of cartridges that I myself had reloaded and invited me to sit down, have a sip of bourbon, and cut loose on the 5-yard target. I missed the first two shots, mainly cause the bourbon was makin my eyes water and I was coughin and such. Finally I was hittin the 5-yard target pretty good, and Pap told me to try the 10-yarder. All this while Pap was ringin the plate at the 50-yard mark with his Colt. Pap kept my bourbon glass full and I never did get to shoot at the 50-yard target, and only remember hittin the 20-yarder a few times before Pap called it a night.

I puked up most of the bourbon when Pap made me crawl under the house to fetch the brass we had shot. Anyway, that was MY first time with the 1911A1.













*just thought I'd poke a little fun at the 1911 love-fest going on in the gun blogosphere. My own first time was in Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, shooting 1911's with .22 conversion units atop. Later I shot the real thing off the fantail of the USS Deyo (DD-989), also shot 12-gauge riot guns and M-14's. I've owned 2 1911's, a Series 70 in brushed nickle and a 1991A1. Don't currently have one. Might pick up a Springfield Mil-Spec in stainless, if I can find one and get the money saved.

Darwin At Work: Don't Kite-Surf In A Hurricane

YouTube video, h/t Drudge Report.



update the video has been taken down. NY Times has a follow-up story.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ronnie Drew, 1935=2008: R.I.P.

The leader of the Irish band The Dubliners has passed on.

One of the most distinctive voices in music anywhere. I first heard him on the hit Black Velvet Band. What a voice!

Pandora Web Radio To Shut Down?

Story.

I knew it was too good to last. I listen to Pandora almost exclusively these days when I'm at home in front of the computer. Good selection of music, no commercials.

I have Accuradio and Yahoo! Launchcast to fall back on if Pandora fails, I guess.

In The Country Of Many Men, The Ugly Girl Is Queen

Mt. Isa, Australia, a mining town in north Queensland, is short of women. The Mayor of Mt Isa is in trouble after pleading for "ugly duckling" women to move to the town to even out the gender disparity.

*laughs*

update: Hot Air-lanche! Thanks, guys!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cider In UK: First-Person Narrative

This place is heaven for ciderheads. Surrounding the 18th-century white stone farmhouse are 65 acres of orchards growing 70 different apple and pear varieties - with comical names such as Ball's Bittersweet, Hendre Huffcap and Startlecock (yes, really). 'We call it that because of the effect it has on you after a few pints,' says Mike, as he swaps my glass of Headless Man for a drop of Frederick. 'When you've got to go, you've got to go. Know what I mean?'

You camp, you help with the harvest, you get to drink the cider. A great idea for weekend's getaway, if you ask me.

Munchkins Don't Get Cancer

A community of dwarfs in Ecuador appears to be entirely immune to cancer, and long-lived, to boot.

UK: Buttock-Clenching At The Bus Stop

Good practice for when a bunch of yobs in hoodies and carrying knives comes along; makes you less likely to crap yourself in terror.

More nanny-state fitness ideas from the ultimate nanny state.

Baseball: Home Run Totals Back To Normal?

Stan Olson of the Charlotte Observer looks at the numbers.

Baseball has a long history, so you can see trends that sometimes encompass decades. There was the Dead Ball Era, for example, in which you played for hits, advanced the runner, and tried to get him home with another hit. Defense was as important as offense in this game.

The live-ball era started around 1920 and was personified by Babe Ruth. Hitters started swinging for the fences, and records were established for home runs and RBI's that stood for decades. Batting averages suffered a little, but not too much.

Pitchers began to get their own back when the slider became prevalent in the late 1940's. Only the best hitters (Ted Williams, for example) were able to maintain high averages in the era of the slider. Pitchers continued to do well as smaller, older ballparks were replaced by doughnut-shaped superstadiums that were designed for both football and baseball. Baseball went into a long, boring period starting in the 60's that emphasized pitching over hitting. Batting averages were way down.

In the 90's a couple of things occurred that moved baseball back to favoring hitters: smaller, baseball-only stadiums began to replace the superstadiums, and players discovered steroids. Suddenly you saw lots of players with huge bodies and tiny heads who jumped their home run totals by astonishing degrees. It was typified by Barry Bonds, who went from a slim young man to a bloated behemoth. It turned the fans off to see this sort of obvious gaming of the baseball system, so after a few years of this exciting home run baseball, fans lost their interest. The attitude when Bonds broke Henry Aaron's home run record was Who Cares?

Now it looks like we're entering another quiet period of honest play. Baseball, once the exclusive domain of white men, later became dominated by talented black players, and these days is diverse indeed, with hispanic, Australian, Dutch and Japanese players all making their mark in Major League Baseball.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Article On Volcanic Influence On World Climate

Story from Science News.

A discussion of the effects on a Peruvian eruption in 1600 that caused a famine in Russia in 1601. A cautionary note that it could happen again.

Salvador Dali's Love Child?

It's what a Spanish woman is claiming.

Here's what she looks like:



Here's Dali himself:



And so we get:



Hmm. Maybe a DNA test is in order.

Shipwreck Blog: Franklin Expedition

The Canadian government is financing a renewed expedition to discover he wrecks of the Erebus and Terror, the ships used by Sir John Franklin during his ill-fated attempt to discover the Northwest Passage.

Details of the failed expedition can be found at Wikipedia. Strangely enough, the Inuit (eskimos) of that area have preserved an oral history of the expedition to this very day.

Knoife? That's Not A Knoife...

...this is a knoife!

"Alligator Netty" of Pontmorlais, Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, shows her mettle.

Is It Sort Of A Pasttime, Then?

Apparently "record numbers" of British women are being raped in Greece.

Strange sort of story. Is it going to be made into a tourism commercial? Come to Greece for a spot of sun and sodomy?

Found: A Journal From a Sailor Of Nelson's Navy

Story.

This is an exciting find, because any sort of record left by a common seaman is incredibly rare. Often illiterate, worked like dogs, finding the time to keep a journal during Nelson's time would have been an inspiring achievement. That the journal has survived to the present day is incredible.

The man even added art to his journal; here's a self-portrait:


George Hodge, Sailor

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympics Question

Just how do you determine a girlish Chinese Olympian's age, anyway? Count their teeth, like you do with a horse? Cut off a limb and count the rings, like a tree?

Indian Official: The Poor? Let Them Eat Rats!

Vijay Prakash, the welfare minister in Bihar state in eastern India, said he wanted to set up rat farms and sell the meat to upmarket hotels, street stalls and restaurants.

The project will start with stalls in rural fairs followed by "rat meat centres" in urban areas.

The 2.3 million members of the Musahar caste, one of the poorest in India, have traditionally eaten rats that they hunted in paddy fields.

Now Mr Prakash says rich people should also sample the meat, which he said was full of protein and tasted better than chicken.


It was actually this story that got me thinking about rats, which led to the previous blog entry on the movie True Grit.

True Grit Movie Locations, Then And Now

In response to a post on Frank James' blog, I mentioned that John Wayne's movie True Grit was one of my favorite westerns. I just did a YouTube search for my favorite scene, which was the shooting of the rat after attempting to serve a "rat writ" upon it. Couldn't find it, but I did find this video, which incorporates my second favorite scene, the climactic shootout, interspersed with scenes of what the locations from the movie look like now:



Enjoy!

Seven Reasons That The Earth Will Be Destroyed By 2012

Story.

The usual line of drivel, with the innovation of the Yellowstone Supervolcano and the European supercollider.

Shipwreck Blog: Homerian-Era Greek Sewn Boat

An exciting find. A Greek ship built 2500 years ago, in the fashion of ships from the Iliad.

Apparently the planking on the ships were stitched together with rope, instead of nails or pegs. I'd never heard of that sort of construction before. Thus it will be filed under...

Rural UK: Bartering For Beer

With the average ale setting customers back £3, the agricultural community in Norfolk is making the most of the spoils from the land to help pay for a night out.

The Pigs Pub in Edgefield, near Holt, has been inundated with locals clasping rabbits, pigeons, pheasants, cray fish and even chard which they hand over at the bar for inspection.

If the quality is good enough, producers are rewarded with a pint of their chosen tipple or a discount off their bill.


The private economy, and the taxman doesn't even get to partake. Of course, having the story written up means that the pub owners involved will probably be harassed by government about unpaid taxes...

The Hoodah Thunkit Award of the Day...

...goes to the people who did the study that concluded that young soldiers are more likely to abuse alcohol than older soldiers.

Does that really surprise anyone? Just how do you get in on this study racket, anyway? Is there good money to be made in determining things that are obvious to damned near everyone?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Story To Enrage You

In UK, an Iraq War veteran travelling in uniform was thrown off a train by the conductor because he didn't have the special papers that qualify him for a soldier's discounted ticket.

Here he is, Rifleman Zachary Holland:



Rudyard Kipling called him Tommy Atkins:

I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, ``We serve no red-coats here.''
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' ``Tommy, go away'';
But it's ``Thank you, Mister Atkins,'' when the band begins to play,
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Atkins,'' when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music 'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' ``Tommy, wait outside'';
But it's ``Special train for Atkins'' when the trooper's on the tide,
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's ``Special train for Atkins'' when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' ``Tommy how's yer soul?''
But it's ``Thin red line of 'eroes'' when the drums begin to roll,
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's ``Thin red line of 'eroes'' when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an ``Tommy, fall be'ind,''
But it's ``Please to walk in front, sir,'' when there's trouble in the wind,
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's ``Please to walk in front, sir,'' when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an'schools, an' fires an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' ``Chuck him out, the brute!''
But it's ``Saviour of 'is country,'' when the guns begin to shoot;
Yes it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool--you bet that Tommy sees!



Some things never change, do they?

Robber's Disguise Foiled By Big Nose

Story.

Related Monty Python clip:

Let Liverpool Sink

In a variation of one of Kim du Toit's most controversial essays, a Tory think tank in UK is counseling that cities such as Liverpool, Manchester and Sunderland be abandoned and that people should move to southern UK.

Isn't that what they did in Iraq?

Update: Tory Leader David Cameron backpedals furiously.

Via Google Alert!

I have a Google Email Alert set to the name of my blog, and found this in my mailbox a few minutes ago:

Google Blogs Alert for: drawn cutlass

BSG A/R Fic (MoL V, Part 2): Dropping Anchor
By The Giddy Biscuit(The Giddy Biscuit)
With a final firm press of her hands into the cushion beneath her, he took hold of the shreds of her dress and tore all the way to the hem, finishing what the cutlass had started. His lust-filled gaze raked over the flesh that was ...
The Giddy Biscuit - http://zaleti.livejournal.com/


I get a fair amount of these, actually. People love a pirate.

Attention Chris Muir of Day By Day

Your cartoon for 13 August has Nancy Pelosi addressed as "Sen. Pelosi," when she's the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

If any of my few readers out there knows how to contact Chris, would you please let him know about this error?

Chris: if you are reading this, please put a contact email address on your website, wouldja?

Update: He noticed, although I don't claim credit. Probably every conservative in the USA noticed:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You Know Your Dog Loves You...

...when it stays by your decomposing corpse for 6 weeks, starving, and doesn't do what any wild creature would do.

I tend to prefer cats myself, but there's something very noble about the simple love that a dog has for a deserving owner or, sadly, even an undeserving owner. And I have to wonder that an owner would love his dog so little that he would put it through this scenario.

Jesus wept...

Run Him Through The Flame-Broiler To Dry

A retard at an Ohio Burger King took a bubble bath in the industrial-sized sink, while his co-workers and manager looked on.

Caught because of YouTube, naturally. How can you entertain all your friends if there isn't a commemorative video on YouTube?

Note: I wouldn't have even posted this if Burger King didn't happen to be my favorite fast food chain.

h/t Drudge Report.

Man Stuck While Shtupping Park Bench.

Story.

Here's the object of the man's affections:

"It's Obviously A Male Without Prostate Issues"

A man in New Zealand is wanted by police for serial urination on a parking meter.

They are calling him Piddler On The Roof.

Drunken Australian Photographed By Google Street View

A drunken Australian who passed out in the street near his home was photographed by a passing Google Street View van, and the man's image was splashed up on Google Earth Street View for the entire world to see:



It's just a matter of time until a case will come up in which Google Street view is used as evidence in a criminal trial, I'd be willing to bet.

London Mayor Boris Johnson: Gatwick Airport Baggage Handlers Are Chimpanzees

London mayor Boris Johnson, travelling through Gatwick Airport on return from holiday with his family, experienced British union incompetence and indifference firsthand:

Mr Johnson said his nightmare started when he got through passport control with wife Marina and their four children. The family-had just returned from a week-long holiday.

He said: ‘It did occur to us to wonder why there were so few passport controllers, and so many hundreds of exhausted travellers shuffling round the ox-pens, like inmates of some Victorian penitentiary. By this time, I knew we stood in hell.’

He said the baggage hall was full of people — some who had been waiting more than two and a half hours.

‘Some sat and stared at the barren carousels; some tried to cheer themselves up by pretending to be their own missing luggage, sitting on the conveyor belts and taking pictures of each other with their mobile phones,’ he said.

‘It is a measure of the extreme cowardliness and cynicism of the airport authorities that there was no one from BAA in that baggage hall.

‘In their contemptuous indifference, the airport authorities remind me of the 1970s, and the trade unions of my childhood.’


It's this sort of rudeness and incompetence that will guarantee a Tory goverment the next time elections are held in UK.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"There Are Probably Bucketfuls Of These Spiders In Your Home"

Deadly Brown Recluse Spiders, that is.

A common name for these spiders is Fiddlebacks because of a violin-shaped marking on their backs. I have taken the photo from the story and marked it so you can see the "fiddle" more easily. In this picture, it is an upside-down fiddle:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

In The Coast Guard? Like To Be A SEAL?

Now's your chance.

For the first time in the Navy SEALs’ 46-year history, Coast Guardsmen will be allowed to try out for the elite team of special operators.

Coast Guardsmen who make it through the nearly two years of physically and mentally daunting training will be assigned to a SEAL team for five to seven years, although they still officially will be part of the Coast Guard.

But before the SEAL training begins, hopefuls first have to make it through the Coast Guard’s screening process — the service plans to send only four people to the training each year.

2 enlisted, 2 officers a year will train as elite commandos.

Volcano Blog: Mayon, Philippines

Mayon is one of the more active volcanoes in the Philippines; it was last heard of about a year ago. It's also a very handsome volcano, tall and symmetrical.

Politically Incorrect Post of the Day

For one reason or another, I got to thinking of snack foods of my childhood, and the Frito Bandito popped into my head:



There were even pencil erasers as a gift inside boxes of Fritos; virtually every student at my elementary school had them perched atop their pencils:



The Frito Bandito ad campaign was a huge hit and increased sales of Fritos dramatically, but in an early instance of political correctness, the ad campaign ended when hispanics complained that they were stereotyping.

The Frito Bandito was retired, and replaced with W.C. Fritos, who looked and talked like W.C. Fields, and who also had his own eraser, which, alas, wasn't as popular as the Frito Bandito eraser.

Such was TV-inspired childhood in the late 1960's.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

They're Too Fastidious

That appears to be the meme that the MSM is trying out on the Edwards affair. We would have covered it, but it was too sordid, too messy. Just couldn't bring ourselves to get involved with it.

Shows what happens when the main path to landing a job at a major newspaper is via the Ivy League/Columbia Journalism School route.

NY Times Public Editor On Edwards Affair

Liberal bias? Nothing of the kind. Double standard? Don't be silly.


How can Clark Hoyt survive on the diet of pure, unadulterated bullshit that Bill Keller feeds him on a regular basis?

Damn Those Illegal Immigrant...Gypsies In Italy

"Mussolini had his positive side. The streets were safe in his day."

Rather chilling, and a caution to us here in the US.

Bernie Mac, Dead?

One-line story, so I'll just copy it as a screenshot:

Charlotte Observer Praised In LA Times On Edwards Coverage

Story.

The circle-jerk of recriminations that the MSM is currently engaging in over the John Edwards affair has a few exceptions, one of them is the Charlotte Observer which won some praise from the Los Angeles Times:

The Charlotte Observer went further than most. The North Carolina newspaper recently broke the news that the birth certificate for Hunter's daughter did not list a father. On Thursday, the Observer published a story in which Democratic Party strategists said that Edwards needed to address the Enquirer reports or risk losing a speaking slot at the party's national convention this month.

Rick Thames, editor of the Observer, said the paper had decided it would be foolish not to acknowledge the story.

"It was the subject of late-night talk shows and certainly all over the Web," he said. "It was in our culture and in our faces, and to act as if it didn't exist would be to ignore reality.

"I don't know if others were confused by the fact that it seemed tawdry to follow a tip that began with a tabloid," he added. "The truth of the matter is journalists take tips from all sorts of sources, and some of them are unsavory. That's not so important as what you do with the tip."


I should note that although the Los Angeles Times says that the Observer went "further than most," the Observer only got involved in the late innings, and didn't bother to cover the entire game. At least they didn't miss the game entirely, though, like the rest of the MSM did.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards Comes Clean About Doing The Dirty Deed

Story.

Sounds as if he's only being half-honest about it so far. There's going to have to be a paternity test; if the kid's not his, why's he paying 15k a month to Hunter?

h/t Hot Air.

File this under...

Mr. Rogers Wonders If You Can Say "Sturmabteilung."

Obama followers are getting really creepy.

Glenn Reynolds thinks so, too.

US Navy 1, Pirates 0

As I've indicated in the past, when my beloved Navy is involved, my affection for the pirates goes out the window.

Macaw Rescued From Gilligan's Island!

Back a few month ago I blogged (snarkily) about a dog rescued from what I described as "Gilligan's Island" south of Hawaii. I mentioned that a parrot (macaw, actually) was still waiting rescue.

Well, the parrot has been rescued.

His name: Gulliver. Here's a pic of him with his rescuer:

Volcano Blog: Kasatochi, Alaska

Another volcano in the same area where two are already in eruption cycles: Okmok and Mt. Cleveland.

I see that Wikipedia has already updated its entry on Kasatochi.

Go there and look at the picture. Kasatochi is a caldera, a collapsed crater with a lake in it, like the more famous Crater Lake of Oregon. If it's in eruption, then probably the lake has become filled with ash, or become acidic. That fate could eventually happen to Crater Lake, as well, or an eruption could open an outlet, draining the lake.

I'll point out again that we have multiple volcanoes in the same area all erupting at once, pointing to either a common magma source for all three, or perhaps a periodic shift in the earth's crust that allows magma to approach closer to the surface of the Earth than in quieter times. Fascinating stuff, even if you're only an amateur volcanologist.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Volcano In Los Angeles?

Some news source I've never heard of thinks its possible, based on a "thermal anomaly" in the Padres Forest section of LA.

I'm sure President Bush will be blamed for this, if it happens. He's blamed for hurricanes, after all.

Severed Feets Blog: Now In USA!

The severed feet that have been washing ashore on western Canadian beaches are now finding their way south to the US.

Click the tag for other stories in this series.

I still think it's a sawmill serial killer. Or maybe a lumberjack serial killer.

Lord Knows Little Porky Doesn't Need Self-Esteem Problems

The UK government bans the word obese to describe fat UK kids.

I guess from the way I wrote that lede that you can tell what I think of the policy, hmm?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Red State/Blue State Politics At Lord of the Rings Online

During some of my leisure time I play Lord of the Rings Online. It's based on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings universe, with orcs, hobbits, elves, dwarves and men all interacting with each other in real time.

Right now a "Summer Festival" has begun in the game, and with it, a division of the players into different factions, which run along the same lines as the red state/blue state political division in the US. These divisions are the result of the Summer Festival "horse race."

During previous festivals the horse race took place in a single location, the town of Bree. This year a second horse race site has been added, in the hobbit-land of The Shire. While at Bree the players treat the horse race as a legitimate horse race, and compete for the chance to win a horse in-game, in The Shire another group of players has decided to act in accordance with blue state principles of egalitarianism/equality of outcome.

What this means is that, in The Shire, the horse races are fixed so that, by simply standing in line long enough, you will be given an opportunity to "race" without competition, so that you are guaranteed to win a horse. This is perceived as "fair," since players who have slow internet connections who otherwise would be unable to compete, have a chance to "win" a horse.

Friction occurs when someone who is not an egalitarian/blue stater comes to The Shire and jumps the queue. This causes all sorts of chat griping by the blue staters, who treat the line-jumper as if (s)he were a criminal of some sort. They talk of their player-made "rules" about queueing for a horse, and about how the game is about "human decency" and "fairness to all." These self-declared makers of rules would enforce them, had they they power and opportunity. Unlike in real life, though, they don't.

I'll point out that The Shire egalitarianism only works because there is an infinite supply of virtual prize horses. If the game developes had announced that the number of horses available was finite, or only available for a single day, there would have been no pretense at "fairness;" it would have been every player for him/herself, and devil take the hindmost.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 1918-2008: R.I.P.

Nobel Laureate Alexander Solzhenitsyn has died.

I've read One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovitch and most of The Gulag Archipelago, but nothing more than that. I have Ivan in two different translations.

Shipwreck Blog: Looting Shipwrecks Off Cape Hatteras

Graverobbers at work in "The Graveyard of the Atlantic."

A combination of factors: shallow water, proximity to civilized coastlines, large number of wrecks - - is leading to graves being violated.

New Champion: World's Smallest Snake

Leptotyphlops carlae, a species of what are known as threadsnakes, has been discovered on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Hopefully Before The Election: "An American Carol"

The director who brought us Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies is turning his sights on the America-hating Left.

It's a movie called An American Carol, directed by David Zucker, and it comes with blatantly conservative politics on view for all to see, with a cast of (mostly) conservative actors such as James Woods, Kelsey Grammer, Jon Voight, Chris Farley.

It basically borrows the plot of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. A fat, leftist moviemaker, played by Farley, is shown the error of his ways by ghosts of George Washington, General George Patton, and John F. Kennedy. Familiar conservative targets such as Michael Moore and Rosie O'Donnell are skewered unmercifully.

The Hollywood Left has been inflicting its propaganda on us for the last several years, a bunch of anti-American films that have totally tanked at the box office. Now it's our turn, and we'll see if the American public is willing to laugh with us as we in flyover country, the bitter people who cling to guns and religion, get back a little of our own against the coastal elites.

h/t Hot Air.

When You Build That Many, A Few Will Be Overlooked

The Nazis built 7000 bunkers along Denmark's coastline during WWII as defense against an Allied invasion that never occurred; the German soldiers who manned them were rushed to other parts of Europe as needed, leaving these bunkers unmanned, and in some cases, forgotten.

HOUVIG, Denmark (AFP) — With a tight grip on his flashlight, Tommy Cassoe looks like a Danish Indiana Jones as he crawls out of a bunker buried under the sand, one of 7,000 the Nazis built along Denmark's western shores to fend off an allied invasion.

"Mission accomplished. The bunker is empty," Cassoe exclaims, showing off his bounty on the Krylen beach to a crowd of onlookers: rusty cans, a plastic vial containing medicine in case of a mustard gas attack, and electrical cables.

This bunker and three others, entombed under the sand dunes of Houvig since 1945, were uncovered a few months ago in a violent storm, when giant waves swept away the sand, exposing glimpses of the cement and iron structures.

The discovery was "a sensation" for history buffs like Cassoe and archaeologists.

"What's so fantastic is that we found them completely furnished with beds, chairs, tables, communication systems and the personal effects of the soldiers who lived inside," says Jens Andersen, the curator of the Hanstholm museum that specialises in Nazi fortifications.

The discovery in May of the four fully-furnished bunkers, untouched after 63 years under the sand, is considered "unique in Europe," according to Bent Anthonisen, a Danish expert on European bunkers.

They were located by two nine-year-old boys after they spotted a bucket in front of the entrance to one of the bunkers.

Their discovery was reported by a local newspaper, drawing the attention of Cassoe, an electrician who has been fascinated by the existence of the thousands of bunkers since childhood.

He rushed immediately to the scene, and was the first to enter the still-furnished bunkers.

"It was like entering the heart of a pyramid with mummies all around. I dug a tunnel through the sand that was blocking the entrance to the bunkers and what I saw blew me away: it was as if the German soldiers had left only yesterday," he said.

Experts and archaeologists also hastened to the scene, and, working together with Cassoe, emptied the structures within a few days of boots, undergarments, socks, military stripes, mustard and aquavit bottles, books, inkpots, stamps featuring Hitler, medicines, soda bottles, keys, hammers and other objects.


Let something be well-preserved and forgotten for decades and it becomes an archaeological object, as Belloq remarked about a wristwatch in Raiders of the Lost Ark.

If your own house or apartment was sealed up and protected from the elements for a hundred years, what would archaeologists find when they opened it up? What embarrassing discoveries would they make?

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Technical Note

Downloaded and installed Windows Service Pack 3. Hopefully no major disastrophies will result.

I Doubt They'd Publish A "Crucified Mohammad" Photo

The London Times publishes a photo of a crucified frog that is on display at a museum near where the Pope is enjoying his summer vacation:

Here's the frog, rather grotesque-looking:



Anyway, the local populace is up in arms about the frog, and want it moved/removed from the museum. Same old story of an artist desiring to offend, but choosing his targets wisely; same with the media.

JK Rowling's Tales of Beedle The Bard To Be Published

This is the book that was handwritten by JKR herself, seven individual books, given all the lavish attention that the bookmaker's art can devise, including gem-bedecked covers. It was given to her closest friends, and one copy was auctioned off on eBay.

Now, with the permission of the owners of the 7 original copies, it will go into mass production.

Needless to say, a nice treat for Christmas.

I lucked out years ago, just after the second of the Harry Potter books came out; I wrote JKR a fan letter, and received an autographed photo from her publisher.

Shipwreck Blog: Mary Rose

She sank from the weight of...diversity.

Read the article. There were so many Spanish crewmen that couldn't speak English that they couldn't understand the order Close-o the hatch-o, Pedro when they heard it.

On a personal note, I was visiting Portsmouth, England, when the Brits first started salvaging the Mary Rose. HM the Prince of Wales (Charles) was in attendance, and actually donned diving gear to be part of the festivities.