Saturday, December 21, 2013


Today I spoke to a girl, a young clerk, about the weather feeling like Fall, and I mentioned I read on one of these blogs something I did not understand. The quip I read had to do with Obamacare missing another of its own deadlines, the defense of it was all that would be worked out by the end of Fall, and the retort was, "By the way, it's still Fall."  

I asked the girl, "Is it still Fall?" She brought her hand to her mouth dropped her head and thought. Today! I think. Winter starts today! The 21st. 

"Oh, you brilliant girl. I saw you work that out. You are really smart about scientific things." This is why I'm such a bad photographer because I should have been ready for the biggest smile I've seen all week, I wish I could share it, her whole face grinned like Cheshire cat.

Rabbit vs Race Car

rabbit in rally

Shipping container house

This enterprising gal has converted a shipping container into an abode. She used a jigsaw to cut the openings. I really like looking at these sort of videos and am attracted to the little house idea. I don't know if I would like it, though. Might be better as a week-end get-away.

Charlie Daniels Tells Piers Morgan To Take A Short Walk

Charlie Daniels is feuding with Piers Morgan on Twitter: link

The Marshall Tucker Band were rednecks. I saw them in their heyday, between heavy metal shows. The band leader, Toy Caldwell, was an interesting guy (I thought). Too bad about how he died.

Charlie Daniels solos joins in about halfway through this song:

"Obama says Snowden’s actions have “done unnecessary damage”"

"In his final press conference of the year, President Barack Obama told reporters on Friday that despite the fact that former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures have accelerated the national debate about national security and civil liberties, he has caused “unnecessary damage.”
“I think that as important and as necessary as this debate has been, it is also important to understand that it has done unnecessary damage to United States' intelligence capabilities and to US diplomacy,” he said. “But I will leave it up to the courts and the attorney general to weigh in publicly on the specifics of Mr. Snowden’s case.”
Setting aside, for now, Obama's use of the words "unnecessary damage", begging the question, is there a necessary damage to American interests? It turns out Snowden did not prominently feature in the list of Google's top searches for the year 2013.
This year's National Security Agency revelations have created a firestorm of reports and debates about the state of U.S. surveillance technology and intelligence policy. It set off a brief international manhunt. Entire countries are now building countermeasures to deflect the NSA's gaze. But at least in the eyes of Google, Edward Snowden was hardly a blip on the radar. The search giant's global year-in-review is topped by Nelson Mandela, followed by the late actor Paul Walker and the iPhone 5S. Snowden doesn't make an appearance.
Does a lack of public interest (at least among the giant search engine users) in Snowden and his actions, coupled with Obama's expressed public disinterest in the case, reveal Obamas attitude towards the "unnecessary damage" Snowden caused?
In other words. Had the public been more interested in Snowden, would Snowden be in American hands right now?

It's not necessary to look up "unnecessary", to safely discern Obama's use of the word in this case. Obama leads from behind. Obama is not going to make the case as to why Snowden may have damaged our security, because Snowden is "unnecessary" to HIS own security, and, he has Google to prove it.

Ars Technica, Washington Post

flying profanity

You can buy these things. They've been improved. So now you can give one.

I did not know armadillos float on water, and I've had an interest in those things ever since I saw them in Texas and Louisiana. And caught one! It thrashed around like mad so I spun around holding its tail and tossed it away from me and it scampered off into the brush.

Did I ever mention the time I stayed overnight at the Hennigan's ranch and Mary and Gary and I freaked out because the yard lights attracted insects and the insects attracted a whole battalion of armadillos all aiming at the house, marching upon it, up from the bayou, and rearing on their hind legs? Mary opened the curtain, saw them at the edge of the light and screamed. Very Twilight Zone, I've never seen anything like it. 

This helicopter gets mixed reviews. People use it once and it breaks. Or it doesn't work at all. Others use it repeatedly, smash it into things and continue using it to their great delight. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Don't Get Mad...Get GLAAD!

GLAAD started the whole mess:


"Canadian Court Strikes Down Anti-Prostitution Laws"

"Canada's highest court struck down the country's anti-prostitution laws Friday, a victory for sex workers who had argued that a ban on brothels and other measures made their profession more dangerous. The ruling drew criticism from the conservative government and religious leaders."

"The court, ruling in a case brought by three women in the sex trade, struck down all three of Canada's prostitution-related laws: bans on keeping a brothel, making a living from prostitution, and street soliciting. The ruling won't take effect immediately, however, because the court gave Parliament a year to respond with new legislation, and said the existing laws would remain in place until then."


Obama Changes Obamacare Law... Again

"Today, the Obama administration announced that people whose insurance plans were canceled this year will "temporarily" be exempted from the law's individual mandate. Here's how they're doing it -- and what it means for the law."
1. The individual mandate includes a "hardship exemption." People who qualify can either ignore the individual mandate altogether or purchase a cheap, bare-bones catastrophic insurance plan that's typically only available to people under 30.

2. According to HHS, the exemption covers people who "experienced financial or domestic circumstances, including an unexpected natural or human-caused event, such that he or she had a significant, unexpected increase in essential expenses that prevented him or her from obtaining coverage under a qualified health plan."

3. Today, the administration agreed with a group of senators, led by Mark Warner of Virginia, who argued that having your insurance plan canceled counted as "an unexpected natural or human-caused event." For these people, in other words, Obamacare itself is the hardship. You can read HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' full letter here. HHS's formal guidance is here.
Obamacare is an "unexpected" human caused event. (insert bewildered cartoon sound effect here)  

'Duck Dynasty' Family Raises the Ante

"We want to thank all of you for your prayers and support. The family has spent much time in prayer since learning of A&E's decision. We want you to know that first and foremost we are a family rooted in our faith in God and our belief that the Bible is His word. While some of Phil’s unfiltered comments to the reporter were coarse, his beliefs are grounded in the teachings of the Bible," reads a statement posted on the family's Duck Commander website. "Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart' and 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Phil would never incite or encourage hate. We are disappointed that Phil has been placed on hiatus for expressing his faith, which is his constitutionally protected right. We have had a successful working relationship with A&E but, as a family, we cannot imagine the show going forward without our patriarch at the helm. We are in discussions with A&E to see what that means for the future of Duck Dynasty. Again, thank you for your continued support of our family."

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more.

Once more we are met on a great battlefield of that war.

Who thinks freedom is a pretty darn good thing?

the Shining

1) Behind the scenes look at the horror classic, "The Shining."

2) The Overlook Hotel whence these photos.

Dan Lloyd grown up. He says the film did not squelch his desire for acting, on the contrary, he tried to continue and failed and gave up on all that. He had no idea it was a horror film, the scenes were broken up. He recalls riding his trike around the hotel and playing with the twins.

The photo below is the only set photo taken of any of the actors looking directly at the camera.

Fan art

Lisa and Louise Burns, no less creepy but still not as creepy as Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen.

Candid set-photos of Sissy Spacek, oddly more compelling than her role in the film in my humble opi onion. She says it was mostly running around with a kid hyperventilating for about a year. And I believe it shows, her role is annoying.

But here's the thing; everybody knows, and I mean, everybody knows that is the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado and you can go straight there with Google Earth and see for yourself the place looks nothing like that and there is no maze in sight.

You can actually fly the highway of the opening sequence, and man, is that ever photogenic up there. Little stone churches that just insist you to stop the car and come in and have a look around to see if such a thing is real.

And if you take the little Google Earth street-level man icon and drop him directly onto the Stanley hotel then you get a Google Earth Easter egg maze of the hotel. With all the hundreds of photos of the real Stanley Hotel that people took and pinned available on the background, except now you are inside the hotel and it is a maze of non-movie rooms, like this:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Selling The Drama (Open Thread)

Live - (04) Selling the drama @ Woodstock '99

Phil Robertson on Phil Robertson

This fits well with Lem's post immediately below.

Judge Phil Robertson (if you are someone who judges others) after seeing and hearing Phil and Kay tell their own story.

It will be twenty-six minutes well spent.

"Jindal: 'Messed Up Situation When Miley Cyrus Gets a Laugh, and Phil Robertson Gets Suspended'"

"Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal criticized the suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson by network A&E."
“Phil Robertson and his family are great citizens of the State of Louisiana. The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views. In fact, I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment. It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended," said Jindal in a prepared statement.
Over a Daily Caller, Matt K Lewis also sees it in terms of a divided "two Americas".
When you consider the more effete, cosmopolitan America that “Pajama Boy” represents, you’ll get a sense for why the Duck Dynasty folks are out of touch with today’s acceptable norms. There is a huge schism between red state America and blue state America, and these two stories seem to symbolize the yawning chasm. 
We (by We, I mean those paying attention to this) seem to be caught up in a version of what the Wikipedia "tit for tat" page describes as a "death spiral." That's my impression, for whatever is worth. I don't want to stick my neck out too far on this. I wanted to carefully consider it before posting\copying and pasting about it.
While Axelrod has empirically shown that the strategy is optimal in some cases, two agents playing tit for tat remain vulnerable. A one-time, single-bit error in either player's interpretation of events can lead to an unending "death spiral". In this symmetric situation, each side perceives itself as preferring to cooperate, if only the other side would. But each is forced by the strategy into repeatedly punishing an opponent who continues to attack despite being punished in every game cycle. Both sides come to think of themselves as innocent and acting in self-defense, and their opponent as either evil or too stupid to learn to cooperate.
As a Christian, I want to promote love, understanding and cooperation.

"Record High in U.S. Say Big Government Greatest Threat"

"Seventy-two percent of Americans say big government is a greater threat to the U.S. in the future than is big business or big labor, a record high in the nearly 50-year history of this question. The prior high for big government was 65% in 1999 and 2000. Big government has always topped big business and big labor, including in the initial asking in 1965, but just 35% named it at that time."


"Target: 40M card accounts may be breached"

"Target says that about 40 million credit and debit card accounts may have been affected by a data breach that occurred just as the holiday shopping season shifted into high gear."

"The chain said that customers who made purchases using their cards at its U.S. stores between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15 may have been exposed."

"Target Corp. advised customers who suspect there has been unauthorized activity on their cards should call them at 866-852-8680."

"Target’s announcement came one day after a security blogger, Brian Krebs, first reported the breach."

NY Post, NY Times

Corgi Puppies Attack!!

It's like Shark Week, but with fur, floppy ears and paws.  Posted because we need an interlude from serious topics and comments for a few minutes.

"Donations Pour In, Funds Launched for Blind Man Who Got Hit by Subway to Keep Dog Who Saved His Life"

"When the news broke that Cecil Williams would not be able to keep his dog Orlando, funds were launched and donations poured in so Williams could keep his life saving pet. Williams, who is blind, fell onto the subway tracks earlier this week and his seeing-eye dog Orlando followed him, waking him up in time for both to duck beneath the train and escape serious injury."

"Orlando is an 11 year old black lab who is set to retire in January of 2014. Williams' insurance will not cover a non-service dog so Williams would be forced to part with his heroic companion. But a man in New Jersey has stepped forward to help Williams. Andrew Piera has volunteered to pay for Orlando's expenses for the rest of the dog's life."

Breitbart, Daily News

Christmas card

This is coming on your last chance to whip out a Christmas card personalized for your sweetie from your own precious heart. Do not let this happen to you. That is the epitome of dummkopffery and just an embarrassment of imagination all around pointing to everyone picking up a card at their leisure at Tesco.  If true, they like to play pranks.

This card right here can be to anybody from anybody for any occasion at all, not specific to this occasion but it can be if you like, just say so on front if you want that, or leave it off so your card doubly sticks out among all the others for using Christmas time to express your affection that is felt everyday throughout the year.

You'll need a couple pages of card stock. One to make I-bars. Your artwork will be glued upon those to stand up like a table. I used photocopies of my own hands for a card, but they can be drawn, and drawn as cartoons, and drawn as poorly as you like, that is not the important part, or maybe drawn as octopus arms instead or maybe bear paws.

Glue on the blue part, scores on the dotted lines, cut on solid lines. This part is measured.  The space between the dotted lines is the important part the rest is all tabs.

The I-bars are prepared all at once without regard to exact lengths. Estimate how much length of this will be needed for three per hand,  A whole page of them is probably overdoing it. They are cut to length, determined by the size of the pictures of hands. Plus they do not have to be the full span of the hand, they can be only segments, and the tabs can be trimmed or extended, showing or hidden.

Three I-beams elevate each hand. You can see how they do not have to be the same height, but why complicate things at this point?

Crucially, an I-bar is glued directly above the center fold for each hand and that matches a fold made to the hand where a hand would fold. The placement of the I-beam on each side of the center fold is determined by the wrist and fingers of the paper hand. The paper hand is creased to comport with the central fold.

Everything else is pretty much fair game, art-wise, and mechanics-wise. The fingers and wrist must fit inside the edges the same distance as the height of the I-beams you made. They can be trimmed after the card is closed.

When applying the hands, match up the spines. The I-beam is elevating the central fold, duplicated in the hand. The creases made to each hand are important to this card. Score them first by finding their placement on the card, then glue the rest of the I-beams accordingly.

When glueing, everything can be tested by flopping completely to the left and completely to the right. Parallelism will keep everything perfect.

This is the hard part, thinking of something sincere. Something so real and so pure that it cannot fail to touch the person you love like POW right in the solar plexus. Avoid anything so arch as "May the Holidays bend the arc of moral universe toward a season of giving."  Sit down and connect your head to your heart and ask yourself what you want to say to this person. This holiday season provides an opportunity to express concretely what you hope to express throughout the year this easily, here see, Honey, I think about you always, you are everything in the world to me, and I mean it.

Glue a real raisin and a real bean. If mailing, I suggest a picture of a raisin and a picture of a bean.

There. A Christmas card that speaks directly of your personal love.

Hollywood and the MSM can media bombard as much as they like...

The Cologne Cathedral after heavy allied bombing

...some things remain standing.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sneak preview of A&E's new series "Sex Sent Me To The ER"

Rectal Impaction Following Enema with Concrete Mix
by Peter J. Stephens, M.D., and Mark L. Taff, M.D. 
American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology 8(2):179-182, 1987.
This article describes an unusual rectal foreign body resulting from homosexual anal erotic activities. The patient had used an enema containing a concrete mix which became impacted and required surgical removal. The use, abuse, and complications of enemas are reviewed.
Key Words: Anal eroticism--Colorectal injuries--Enemas, cement--Foreign bodies--Paraphilias.
During the last 20 years, sexual habits have changed in western society. Both homosexuals and heterosexuals have shown an increasing interest in anal erotic practices, including the use of enemas for sexual enjoyment. We report a case of a klismaphiliac who had an impacted foreign body in his rectum following an enema with a concrete mix. 
A 20-year-old man presented to the emergency room complaining of rectal pain. A well-nourished, well-developed man without signs of intoxication was admitted in no apparent distress. Digital examination of the rectum revealed a stony hard mass. Abdominal plain films showed a vertically oriented, low-lying radiopaque object in the rectum. A spherical radiolucency was noted in the upper pole of the mass. A blood alcohol level was negative. No other drug testing was performed.
Upon further questioning, the patient said that approximately 4 hrs earlier he and his boyfriend had been "fooling around." After stirring a batch of concrete mix, the patient laid on his back with his feet against the wall at a 45-degree angle while his boyfriend poured the mixture through a funnel into his rectum. After the concrete mass hardened, it became so painful that he sought medical care.
Under general anesthesia, the anus was dilated and two Foley catheters were inserted alongside the rectal mass to relieve suction. A concrete case of the rectum was delivered without incident. The rectal mucosa was intact with a hyperemic and edematous appearance.
The patient was kept overnight and discharged uneventfully the following morning. The attending physician recommended a psychiatric consultation, but the patient declined. 
Examination of the specimen revealed a perfect concrete cast of the rectum, measuring 12 X 7 X 5 cm and weighing 275 g (Fig. 2). A thin layer of feces coated the surface and crevices. Grooves in the mass were consistent with rectal mucosal folds. A layer of concrete was chipped off the upper part of the specimen and revealed a white plastic ping-pong ball. This corresponded to the radiolucency observed in the abdominal x-ray (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Next week: Rectal impaction with epoxy resin: A case report

Reddit Bans "Climate Deniers"

"Where there is no consensus we ask users to support their comments with links to studies and publications. However, the consensus is so overwhelming in the case of climate change that it would effectively be like allowing people to come into a submission on vaccinations and throw around the claim that vaccines cause autism. Our policy limits both deniers and skeptics to the extent that /r/science is for the discussion of current, peer-reviewed research and climate skepticism doesn’t have much to show in that regard."

“As moderators responsible for what millions of people see, we felt that to allow a handful of commenters to so purposefully mislead our audience was simply immoral,”

Think Progress

"Hackers break into Washington Post servers"

"Hackers broke into The Washington Post’s servers and gained access to employee user names and passwords, marking at least the third intrusion over the past three years, company officials said Wednesday."

"The extent of the loss of company data was not immediately clear, although officials planned to ask all employees to change their user names and passwords on the assumption that many or all of them may have been compromised. Although company passwords are stored in encrypted form, hackers in some cases have shown the ability to decode such information."

Washington Post

They look older to me

He is twenty-one and she is twenty-two, and that is the only thing that is odd about this.
“I knew he was a virgin and I honestly didn’t care,” Gerakaris says. “We were dating for a little while and he hadn’t put any moves on me yet so I made a move.”
That sounds reasonable.
She made her move by stripping down to her bra and panties and waiting on her bed until Gregg got the hint.
When things began to heat up, Casarona thrust the 110-pound Gerakaris backwards with all 440 pounds of his girth. And Gerakaris’s head went right through the basement’s sheet-rock wall.
Regaining her wits the woman asked,
“Why’d you stop?”
Chubby chaser with a sense of humor that does not stop. She is concerned about him. I like the slut already but now even more for that. He took her to hospital and everyone LOLed.

"A Complexity That Trumps Similarities"

"Sometimes I think the British artist-musician Martin Creed makes art for dummies, not excluding myself. At the same time, his accumulations and arrangements of everyday objects and materials initially seem so rudimentary and forthright that they can also make you feel smart."

"The dumb-smart continuum is very much in play in Mr. Creed’s concurrent shows at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in the West Village and the uptown gallery of Hauser & Wirth. On this occasion he has made art from such mundane items as bricks, I-beams, colored yarn, rolls of toilet paper and light bulbs, rarely using more than one material or kind of object per work. Together these exhibitions provide an unusually complete picture of his subversive wit and rather restrained, almost classic sense of beauty, not least because he uses the two locations for call-and-response exchanges."

Click New York Times link to read more.

"Guns may be in high demand for Floridians' holiday gifts"

"We have definitely seen an increase in the number of background checks over the past several years," FDLE spokeswoman Samantha Andrews said Monday.

"You can see November and December are relatively larger" for sales.

"Andrews declined to speculate on the reason for the increase and said the checks are only conducted on the individuals making purchases.

Click Orlando (click read more for video)

"Poll: Americans' Belief in God Is Strong--But Declining"

"A new Harris Poll finds that a strong majority (74 percent) of U.S. adults say they believe in God, but that's down from the 82 percent who expressed such a belief in earlier years."

"-- Absolute certainty that there is a God is down vs. 10 years ago (54 percent vs. 66 percent in 2003)."

"The Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between Nov. 13-18, 2013 among 2,250 adults, ages 18 and older."


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Helicopter Santa Swipes Snowman (Open Thread)

Helicopter Santa

“Everyone was screaming, everyone was shaking in horror"

The dog was trying to pull him [blind man] away from the southbound edge of the platform, but his feet were on the edge, he was wobbling, and the dog was barking,” she said.
The man still fell — and Quinones said Orlando [blind man's guide dog] jumped after him.

“But there was nothing he could do once he was down there. He just sat there with the man. He just licked the man’s face trying to get him to move,” she said.

About 15 seconds later, she said the uptown A [train] came into the station– and the motorman slammed on his brakes, according to cops.
New York Post

Who Are California's Conservatives?

Revenant challenged me back here:

Revenant said...
[I said]: Libertarian is code for fiscal conservative/social liberal.

Yes, it is often (incorrectly) used that way, but that doesn't describe the GOP's business wing, which is very much into crony capitalism but agnostic on social issues.
December 17, 2013 at 6:31 AM

A while back, I asked exactly who were California's conservatives. I started by arguing that California had become a one-party government, and I compared it to an analysis of another American one-party scenario. I only got one snarky reply.

'It's a Man's World and It Always Will Be'

Writes Camille Paglia in a remarkable essay in Time Magazine.  It isn't remarkable the Paglia wrote write this essay - she is a sometime contrarian on feminist issues - but remarkable that Time would publish it on Time's venerable and progressive pages.
A peevish, grudging rancor against men has been one of the most unpalatable and unjust features of second- and third-wave feminism. Men’s faults, failings and foibles have been seized on and magnified into gruesome bills of indictment. Ideologue professors at our leading universities indoctrinate impressionable undergraduates with carelessly fact-free theories alleging that gender is an arbitrary, oppressive fiction with no basis in biology.
Most men have been required to sit through indoctrination by "ideologue professors", trainers, officers, corporate human resources drones and others who have made dispensing feminist anger into a life's work. 

Paglia continues...
In France, Italy, Spain, Latin America and Brazil, in contrast, many ambitious professional women seem to have found a formula for asserting power and authority in the workplace while still projecting sexual allure and even glamour. This is the true feminine mystique, which cannot be taught but flows from an instinctive recognition of sexual differences. In today’s punitive atmosphere of sentimental propaganda about gender, the sexual imagination has understandably fled into the alternate world of online pornography, where the rude but exhilarating forces of primitive nature rollick unconstrained by religious or feminist moralism.
And then Paglia makes her key point, the one that will likely enrage some feminists:
 Indeed, men are absolutely indispensable right now, invisible as it is to most feminists, who seem blind to the infrastructure that makes their own work lives possible. It is overwhelmingly men who do the dirty, dangerous work of building roads, pouring concrete, laying bricks, tarring roofs, hanging electric wires, excavating natural gas and sewage lines, cutting and clearing trees, and bulldozing the landscape for housing developments. It is men who heft and weld the giant steel beams that frame our office buildings, and it is men who do the hair-raising work of insetting and sealing the finely tempered plate-glass windows of skyscrapers 50 stories tall.
The modern economy, with its vast production and distribution network, is a male epic, in which women have found a productive role — but women were not its author. Surely, modern women are strong enough now to give credit where credit is due! 
Strong writing, coming from a university professor, social critic and self-described dissident feminist.  What Paglia wrote needed to be said; let's hope others of her status have the clarity of thinking to agree, and build on the theme Paglia started in her essay.

Full essay linked here.  A very worthwhile read.

"Reinvented: Futuristic Toilet Extolls the Health Benefits of Squatting"

The commode is carefully molded to gently encourage people to scoot up their legs, so that their posture rests in more of a 45-degree angle, rather than the conventional 90-degree sitting position. To achieve this, the toilet seat is reconfigured to sit atop a raised platform. This design allows people to subtly transition to what was apparently a previous habit proven to be healthier, and it does it in manner that still accommodates what most are used to.

“The biggest challenge was the fact that people don’t even like to talk about the subject,” Pierre Papet says in an email. “The discomfort of talking about as well as doing it the previous way was probably the reason why squatting disappeared as a ‘normal’ posture in the rest of western society.”

While the inventors admit that the wellbeing toilet is very much a concept and “quite far from ending up in retail,” the demonstrated advantages suggest that this idea might not be one to sit on.
In the comments Jonathan says
I’m afraid that these designers have made a big mistake. Sitting with your feet propped up is not squatting. The ergonomic squatting position puts the body’s full weight on the feet. All infants automatically assume this posture. Yes, I know that the elderly will never be able to squat, but that’s no reason to force young, flexible people to behave like old, decrepit ones. A toilet has already been designed that allows the elderly to continue sitting (with or without a footstool) and also allows flexible people to really squat. It’s called an “anglo-indian” toilet, and you can see one here:
Learn why genuine squatting is far superior to just elevating your feet at
Smithsonian online

'If the policeman had kissed her, world war three would have broken out.'

"An Italian student who kissed a riot policeman's visor during a protest has been accused of sexual harassment."

"Nina de Chiffre, 20, from Milan, was photographed kissing the officer during a protest on November 16. She had been demonstrating against the extension of a railway in the north of Italy."

"The photograph was likened to an image reminiscent of the 'flower-power' protests of the
1960s and an emblematic image of peace in Italy.
However the CIOSP, a union which represents Italian police officers, has lodged a complaint with Turin prosecutors.
Franco Maccari, Italian police union secretary general, said: 'We have accused the protester of sexual violence and insulting a public official."



Of love. Dali + Disney = hummingbirds = win!

Comment: ... This is Destino. A Salvador Dali-Walt Disney joint. Pulled from the dustbin in 2000, they recently completed it for your eyeball pleasures. And here it is...

Comment: "The six-minute short follows the love story of Chronos and the ill-fated love he has for a mortal female. The story continues as the female dances through surreal scenery inspired by Dalí's paintings."

But the video below is no such thing. Crazy things from Spain, now crazy things from Italy.

Sexy People. Made into an ad. 

And when you get here beautiful sexy people be sure to sign up for Obamacare first thing. Get started on that right away.

cat judgement, prowess, super abilities

Monday, December 16, 2013

News From Home

Christmas here is nearly over, even though it hasn’t yet started.  That isn’t a bad thing; it’s just the way things worked this year. 

Calendars have become a problem the past few years.  What was once an easy celebration to arrange has become complicated as children became adults, married, and now have in-laws who also expect holiday visits.  Adding work and social obligations to people’s calendars only made Christmas Eve and Christmas Day more complicated.  It became pragmatic to host Christmas on December 15th, and so we did. 
This was the twenty-eighth year we have hosted Christmas for our extended families, although only the second time not on Christmas Day.  Aching backs and sore knees as we clean up the house today remind us that we won’t be doing this much longer.  The idea of renting a room in a bar or restaurant for the celebration is becoming more appealing.  And honestly, it wouldn’t cost any more than yesterday’s at-home food and beverage tab.  Or maybe it’s time for one of the millennials to pick up the tradition.  We’ll see.
When we started doing this, my wife and I were the tenth and eleventh youngest in our fifty-some person extended families.  This year we are eighth and ninth oldest.   This revelation was not lost on us as we watched two of the oldest haltingly navigate with the help of walkers and offered hands.  Measuring your years against others in the family is a melancholy but true measure of the passage of time. 
At the other end of the age continuum were a hyperkinetic 22 month old, and a brand new 7 week old being seen for the first time by most everyone.  The toddler ran around making toddler messes to the delight of everyone, and the 7 week old was passed from person to person to person until everyone had a few minutes to hold and rock.  Not a few of the 50 year old moms had an “if I could only have one more…” look on their faces, while the 50 year old dads wore a “No!” expression.

The college kids weren’t with us, exams not yet being over.  We’ll see them and their boyfriends, girlfriends, roommates, and almost-fiancés on the morning of December 24th for another tradition: The Christmas Eve morning hockey game.  This started a dozen years ago as a way to fill time while the little kids were waiting for Santa to arrive, and has become a wonderful part of the holiday.  A grandnephew rents an ice rink for two hours and all family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others are invited to play hockey.  The teams are evenly divided; there may be 20 players for each team on the ice at any time.  Men are not allowed to body check women, but women are allowed to push, check, stick and trip any and all males.  There is a lot of shouting and laughing, and some pretty good hockey.
Everyone brings a dish of food for a communal meal after hockey, and a hat is passed for funds to be donated to the Salvation Army or the Red Cross. And it’s over by 1:00 PM.  The traditional bottle of festive holiday ibuprofen is passed around.

Christmas Eve will be spent quietly here without company, then we’ll go to church for midnight service.  Christmas morning will be leisurely, brunch at home for the two of us and the traditional “I thought we agreed not to give each other gifts this year” as we open gifts from each other.

Sometimes the storybook and magazine pictures of a traditional Christmas are what folks yearn for.  Better than that, though, are traditions a family makes out of its own circumstances and habits.  It’s good to want the things you have.
May God bless all of you this Christmas season!

"People react primarily to direct experience and not to abstractions; it is very rare to find anyone who can become emotionally involved with an abstraction."

"It was a matter of mutual appreciation that led author and physicist Jeremy Bernstein to first meet [Stanley] Kubrick in 1965, when The New Yorker sent him to interview the then 37-year-old director. Bernstein wrote a positive piece in the magazine on science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, and was then Clarke himself recommended that he talk to Kubrick. Bernstein and Kubrick met in the director’s Central Park apartment. Both men soon discovered that the other was a chess aficionado and soon a friendship was born , one which would later lead Bernstein to Oxford, where Kubrick was shooting “2001: A Space Odyssey,” or “Son of Strangelove” as it was amusingly codenamed at the time."

"Bernstein recorded these meetings, and the result, a 76-minute audio interview with Kubrick (via No Film School), is a compelling, informal, and hugely informative look into the director’s life. He covers his early films’ origins from script to screen, but also space travel, chess, and the nuclear bomb, which he calls “as abstract as the fact that we are all going to die someday, which we usually do an excellent job of denying.”

The Playlist

"British Library uploads more than a million public domain images to Flickr"

"More than 300 years of illustrations from the archives of the British Library have been uploaded to Flickr Commons, and now the organisation wants help sifting through them."

"We're looking for new, inventive ways to navigate, find and display these unseen illustrations," said wrote Ben O'Steen in a British Library blog post. "There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of."

"The images come from the pages of books from the 1600s, 1700s and 1800s and were digitised by Microsoft, who then gifted them back to the British Library. In turn the British Library released them into the public domain."

Royce & Marilyn

I clear everything for now, shelve the amazing Santa fight video, put off for now the annual Pogues slag on Christmas along with the hour-long interview with toothless Shane MacGowan laughing exactly like a cartoon dog, and that is funny right there and deeply pathetic too because you see the progression, for this odd thing right here wins the internet.

Comment: "So this is what happens to Ab Fab."

Make of it what you will by the comments over there. Those people understand it.

Please, if you do not find this hilarious, and I mean hill-Larry-us, that means you are normal. Carry on.


This is provocative because the donkey is unhappy. The tiny hand and foot in the box kill me.

Sell Division

Immigration is the next big wedge issue in American politics. Already divided in two, the issue threatens to further divide us into four camps. Sort of like cell division: halves, quarters, and bits.*

Among Republicans, the new division is between the nativists (against) and the libertarians (for).

Among Democrats are the progressive permanent majority dreamers (for) and the old hard line labor types (against).
First, If the goal is to enhance the wages of lower-skilled American workers, about whom Obama purports to care so much, there is an easy way to make progress toward that goal: stop importing tens of millions of low-skilled immigrants to compete with them and drive wages down.
Harvard professor Dr. George Borjas found that high levels of immigration between 1980 and 2000 caused the wages of lower-skilled American workers to drop nearly 8 percent. He also found current immigration levels have resulted in a $402 billion annual wage loss for workers but a $437 billion increase in profits for business owners.  Obama Pivots To Income Inequality
* One eighth of a dollar was one "bit". [ref]

'Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer' like I've never heard it before, in Latin.

Reno erat Rudolphus

Explain it to me like I'm five... please.

Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, and Conan Share A Lyft Car

"Before the Web, Hearts Grew Silent"

This morning, while looking for something to post, I came across a 'Modern Love' NYT essay/story of a guy recalling a chance meeting with a woman before the time of the web.
In the summer of 1991, without social networks to tether us, I felt such heart-bursting longing for a woman I loved that I traveled across two countries and an ocean to make sure she would not wander out of my life. It was only in her absence, in a total vacuum away from her, that I was able to appreciate the depth of love I felt.
We met in March while I was still in college. She had recently graduated and was knocking around Peoria, Ill., her hometown, figuring out her next step. After two chance meetings, we began going out. Before long, we were rarely apart.
This was the old-fashioned way of falling in love: all of our attentions were on each other. We spent less time with our friends, who could not track the electronic footprints of our relationship. We didn’t have cellphones buzzing every five minutes, distracting us with nonessential chatter. Neither of us was tap-tap-tapping away, eyes downward, communicating with other people during meals.
A chance meeting, which would have been altered, perhaps less romantically so, had it not been for the fact that the encounter took place before the invention of web.

Last night, Bags made this little announcement...
A very rare cosmic event will be happening soon: bagoh20 will have a date. Yes, of course it's a woman, smart ass. Anyway, it's a hiking-with-our-dogs date. So today I went into the mountains to scope out a good spot. Great mountains, with cascading mountain streams, waterfalls, beautiful woodlands and meadows. The dogs love that stuff. They start getting all crazy miles before we get there, when they can smell the woods.
Bags goes on to describe deteriorated trails with garbage and human waste. Deterioration I partly blame on the world wide web.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Devils On Horseback

Detail of medieval stained glass from Sainte-Chapelle de Paris,
now at the Musée National du Moyen Âge, Paris

No, no, not that kind of Devil on horseback! These:

... wonderful little savory-salty-sweet-smoky hors d'oeuvres that go great with cocktails, as party tidbits or as appetizers. They're often only prunes (or dates) wrapped in bacon, but I got the idea (from Jennifer Paterson) to stuff in a bit of chicken liver which I think makes them more interesting. I've no idea why they're called Devils on Horseback— there's another, similar dish called Angels on Horseback, which is an oyster wrapped in bacon, skewered and cooked. If you wish to be gastronomically and religiously ecumenical, you could serve both culinary equestrians, Godly and Satanic, together.

Devils On Horseback

  • chicken livers
  • about 2 tablespoons butter
  • Cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • medium-size pitted prunes
  • about 2 cups Sercial or Rainwater Madeira, Tawny Port, or brewed black tea
  • good-quality sliced smoked bacon
  • toothpicks or small wooden or bamboo skewers
  • A baking tray, lined with aluminum foil for convenience

Soak the prunes in the Madeira, Port or tea for at least an hour, or up to 24 hours, then drain and dry the prunes slightly with paper towels. If you've used Madeira or Port, don't throw it away after the soak— drink it! The pruny nuance is delicious.

About 30 minutes before you plan to cook the Devils, put the toothpicks or skewers in a little bowl of water to soak; this helps prevent them burning in the oven.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Trim the chicken livers, removing any membrane that's still attached, then dry them with paper towels. Melt the butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Gently sauté the livers on both sides for a few minutes. Do not overcook. The livers should be firmed but still quite pink inside; overcooked livers are crumbly, dry and terrible to eat. Remove the cooked livers to a cutting board and slice them into pieces that will fit inside a prune. Sprinkle the liver pieces with the Cayenne pepper and a little salt.

Take a soaked prune and stuff it with a piece of liver. Flatten out a piece of bacon and cut it in half, then roll one of the halves firmly 'round the stuffed prune. Pierce the whole thing with one of the soaked toothpicks, then place it on the baking tray. Repeat this process until all the prunes are stuffed, wrapped and pierced and placed on the tray, about 1.5 inches apart.

Put the baking tray into the preheated oven and cook for about 7-9 minutes, then carefully flip each Devil over using tongs. Place the tray back into the oven for about another 7-9 minutes, until the bacon is cooked, crisped and a bit browned.

Serve hot.

Regelation Is A Revelation For Me

Michael Faraday discovered this phenomenon, like so many others.

Sunday (Open Thread)

From an i-Phone
From a Less Phone

Selling Ideas

Terry Zwigoff has a doormat at his home which reads ''Go Away.''

Who is Terry Zwigoff?  He makes movies (Ghost World and Crumb, among others). I like his movies -- maybe because we're both from Wisconsin. But Terry has a disease: he hates selling. He probably hates people who sell as well. His welcome telegraphs this.

The attitude is all too common, even among people who could benefit from selling their own ideas. But why -- because selling is selling out? Because it's "commercial" and "corporate"?  Because it's beneath an artist, especially one whose work should be recognized on its merits alone?

Politicians face the problem of selling themselves. Scientists (academics in general) face the challenge of selling themselves through publishing and grant husbandry. Writers must sell themselves. Even a job seeker must sell him or herself.

Who really wants to live in a world where these challenges don't exist?

"Peter O’Toole Dies; ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Star Was 81"

Peter O'Toole receiving an Honorary Oscar®
"Irish-born stage and screen actor Peter O’Toole, who became an international star in the title role of David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” died on Saturday at age 81."

"In a BBC Radio interview in January 2007, O'Toole said he had studied women for a very long time, had given it his best try, but knew "nothing." In 1959, he married Welsh actress Siân Phillips, with whom he had two daughters: actress Kate and Patricia. Peter and Siân were divorced in 1979."

UPDATE: EBL has this post

Germans Can't Say "Squirrel"? Try "Eichhörnchen"

Sing Hosanna, Hallelujah!

This one is my mother's favorite.  I adore it too--what's not to like? The song features a banjo, that greatest of American instruments. It also has a complexity which many Christmas Carols lack.

The New Christy Minstrels spawned the likes of Barry McGuire* (Eve of Destruction), Gene Clark (The Byrds), Kim Carnes (Bette Davis Eyes), and the Kenny Rogers. The NCM belonged to that wonderful but brief period of American music between the death of Buddy Holly and the invasion of The Beatles.
*His growling voice appears briefly at the 1 min 44 sec mark.

Little Things Still Matter

I took a Hunter Safety course a couple years ago with my son to prepare him for the deer season in Wisconsin. That turned out splendidly for him.

One thing the instructor taught us stuck with me. He said (paraphrasing): Look, only about 5% of the population in this country hunts. Opposing us are about 5% of the population who are strongly opposed to hunting for whatever reason. And the other 90% of the population doesn't really have an opinion on the matter. But a significant part of that 90% votes. And when they do vote, they tend to make up their minds based on personal experiences...things they see and hear...things like "hey, I didn't like the way those guys left all their trash behind," or, "I'm a farmer and those damn hunters wrecked my fence and didn't even ask my permission." On the other hand, some people are really put off by people who just come off badly. They hear and think things like "Man that guy sounds like an arrogant little bigot. I'm not going to vote for his side," or "I can't believe how stupid she sounds. I can't be on her side."

That's one way how little 5% things add up and end up mattering.

Originally posted here

"Egyptian capital sees snowfall for the first time in 112 YEARS"

"Egyptians who were witnessing snowfall for the first time in their lives posted their pictures on Twitter"

Jonah Goldberg: "Obamacare Disinformation Runs Deep"

‘Obamacare was sold on a trinity of lies.”

"That ornate phrase, more suitable for the Book of Revelations or perhaps the next installment of Game of Thrones, comes from my National Review colleague Rich Lowry. But I like it. Most people know the first deception in the triumvirate of deceit: “If you like your health insurance you can keep it, period.” The second leg in the tripod of deception was “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

"But the third plank in the triad of disinformation hasn’t gotten much attention: Obamacare will save you, me, and the country a lot of money."

For the rest of the article click at this link

"Wal-Mart Employee Arrested For Shooting Co-Worker’s Car Over Award"

"Investigators say bad blood over an employee of the month award at a South Florida Wal-Mart store led to gunfire and criminal charges."
According to a Broward Sheriff’s Office arrest report last month’s employee of the month at a Deerfield Beach Wal-Mart store on South Military Trail had her car shot up by a co-worker who was angry after she won the award. Willie Mitchell is charged with discharging a firearm from a vehicle.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office said surveillance video from a Wal-Mart parking lot shows Mitchell parking next to a co-worker’s earlier in December. A few minutes later, investigators said Mitchell rolls down a back window, fires a shot into his co-worker’s car then drives off. The co-worker was not in her vehicle at the time.

bmx teens

I left the apartment by way of garage door that opens to a ramp up to the alley. I reach into my pocket and press the button on the key fob that activates the door, voop, it opens delightfully fast in one second like a Star Trek door except it is real and not a television prop. 

There is a 30-something man walking by in dark coat and bright green scarf, I walk up the ramp to the alley and turn we are now walking in the same direction, the door closes behind me, he is ahead and stops, and I think, here it is, he wants something, he has some request, right then a bicycle passes between us, an ugly bicycle, then another, bicycle, the exact same kind, we continue walking, then another bicycle, then another and another, they are some kind of bmx gang with the same type bicycle, they all look alike, the man looks at me a bit worried, then suddenly  a swarm bicycles passes between us all at once, in front of us, beside us, behind us, more between us, passing by us as we continue along, and I say, "Cool." The man looks at me and as the last bicycle passes I say, "It's like a South Park episode." And it was exactly like that, when the 6th Graders swarm. The guy laughed as we both notice the entire swarm stop. They are all bmx type grayish ugly Borg-type bicycles, painted similarly to say, "not worth stealing" the kind with small wheels where the rider bends over to pedal, that does tricks, I think. 

Mind, this is 1/2 block from the Art Museum. Everyone involved the green scarf man, the bmx swarm are all in and of that same area. It is not a threatening situation at all, there is no Art Museum bicycle gang that I know of and I'm delighted with the idea of teens doing organized activitahs like that. They all stopped and collected at the street we both notice and turn as a group and the swarm now advances toward us en mass. The green scarf man looks a bit worried but I feel nothing like that. Then they are all right there surrounding us and lingering I am wondering where they intend to take this, probably ask us to buy alcohol or something. Right then a new voice, 

"Hey any of you buds got a match?" 

We all turn to look, the green scarf guy, all the cyclists all at once turn like little kitten heads toward a man sitting on the ground leaning against the wall. We walked passed him just then and the cyclists returned and converged right then, that one meth-looking guy leaning on the crack house rental place completely disturbed the dynamics of whatever it was developing just then. Five of them answered "No, Sir," and one sweet and kindly obsequious attending teenager bmx cyclist dismounted left his bike in the alley walked over to the meth-bum bend down to him and lit his cigarette for him.