Tuesday, February 28, 2006

So wrong...

...and yet so amusing. The cat piano.
(ok, only funny in sketch; pretty grim in reality. but still.)

(via boing boing)

Right on!

Apparently Hummer would like to appeal to hipsters, but no Indie-rock bands will lend their songs to Hummer ads. If only that would affect the ridiculous popularity of those bloated idiocies...

(via Rebecca's Pocket)


That last post (and my general grogginess) needs a little lift. Here's some hilarity provided by Pasha, caught mid-chew/attack on a toy, with tongue hanging out... (She's 15 weeks old here)

pasha tongue
We're thinking about renaming her Trinket. How does that sound to anybody else?
(see more recent photos below...)

Previous appearances of Pasha (reverse chronological):
9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, arrival, teaser3, teaser2, teaser1, homepage

How heartening...

no more, please (despair)It turns out that Gitmo is neither the most secretive nor the most brutal of our detainment facilities...
The National Security Counsel, as of September 14 of last year, has stopped sending prisoners to Guantánamo, and they did so because they were getting bad publicity on the facility, and because they were trying to avoid court review of the prisoner's cases. In other words, prisoners remain at Bagram -- which was never intended to permanently house prisoners -- not because it makes any sense from a military or intelligence point of view, but because Bagram keeps secrets.
Again, many many innocents appear to have been swept up and trapped in perpetual holding facilities...

Monday, February 27, 2006

Unlikely to make headlines

Another proud showing for the American Presidency -- Bush to visit Ghandi's grave among protests by Indians who consider it disrepectful of Mahatma's nonviolent ideals. They can barely find an audience for him to address...

Holy hat-tossers, Bat Man!

exclamation point!A conservative mag reports that Cheney is expected to retire after the midterm elections! Just too much bad press (and legal entanglements), or have the Neocons already picked out their next Golden Calf and want a couple of years of burnish on him before they officially start worshipping in 2008? The mind reels. This can't be good for the Loyal (semi-)Opposition...

(via Huffington Post)


A kitty pile gone artificially symmetrical -- and unbelievably cute!
cat stack
(see also cat cheerleading pyramid)
(via Josh!)

Parallels (17th?)

This Modern World (via a guest poster) points out not only a ridiculous quote about Iraq, but its hard-to-miss analogue in that Quagmire-which-shall-not-be-named...

Watching the money

Medley is thinking about financial planning, and shares the gleanings of her efforts with a run-down of the books she's read and some of their top take-home points. Some of these thoughts were mentioned here last year, but I find Medley's boiling-down of the book characteristics very cogent and useful, and it might be a spur to some who are currently doing a dance of avoidance around this issue.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Have I mentioned...

...Kingdom of Loathing? Oh, yes, I did. Ok then, nevermind. (fun, silly silly fun.)

KoL bbq
A Knob-goblin barbeque!

The tide must really be turning

...if Bill O'Reilly thinks we'd better run away from Iraq! Isn't he programmed every morning by Karl Rove?

(via kos)

Update: add to that that Bill Buckley says we've lost in Iraq, and the cracks are becoming hard to ignore. (I note also the tragedy that a conservative acknowledgement of the obvious has become cause for shock and rejoicing!)

Hard times

The average American household income fell over the last three years, with the lower half of the populace taking more than their fair share of the loss. In fact, food bank use is up, and many of those relying on such aid are families with working adults. Um, anybody think it's time for some Democratic values?

Quote of the day

Let us face a pluralistic world in which there are no universal churches, no single remedy for all diseases, no one way to teach or write or sing, no magic diet, no world poets, and no chosen races, but only the wretched and wonderfully diversified human race.
- Jacques Barzun,
professor and writer (1907- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Thursday Josh-blogging

Dissatisfied with all my kitten shots today, and I'm long overdue for new Sid pictures, so decided it was a good time for a little shot of Josh The Adventurer, complete with staff and pack. (Hobbit henchmen are just outside the frame...)

Josh with staff
Nice knees!

Previous appearances of two-legged pets: 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1


grinsA camera made from a spam can -- a spamera!!

(via Rebecca's Pocket)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Puncture those assumptions!

The New York Times provides a little quiz on marriage-related data, and the answers might surprise you. Best is the deflating of certain oft-repeated hysteria-promoters like "smart women never get married" and "one man-one woman is the historic norm" . . .

(via Bitch, PhD)

[Is this thing on?]

Sorry, short day, little reading or blogging until evening (if then). The two big stories of this week, from my viewpoint, are
  • The attempt to sell control of US ports to a company run by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Reasons why this is ludicrious (and not only to racists) listed here, amazement that Bush might pull out the veto power on this one (for the first time) here, likely misjudgement on how it plays with the base here.

  • Ciro Rodriguez, genuine progressive, hot on the tail of primary rival Henry Cuellar, DINO (and protegee of crazy Club for Growth rightwingers): backstory here, current status with two weeks to go here. This is a race for a Texas seat in the US House.
More on other rant-fodder a bit later...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Oh, the cuteness!

It's almost too much . . .
Don't say you weren't warned!

Correct me if I'm wrong...

...but I think that Obsidian Wings doesn't think too much of the prospect of health-care savings plans.
And that's what Bush is offering us: the chance to have the shopping experience of a lifetime, and to have it under the most deliciously grueling conditions: with our own dollars on the line, when we're desperately ill. It's a vision as bold and rugged as America herself; and that's why we love our President.
Comes with a double dose of snark...

(via Alas)

You can walk me home (but I was a boy too)

femsignLongish but fantastic post on street safety and the societal norm that women need to be accompanied after dark, complete with a range of personal anecdotes that will ring familiar to many women and men.
... a well-meaning male friend recently expressed guilt for “letting” Laura walk home alone. All too often, women’s decisions about their own safety are not respected. Laura also criticizes the flip side of this -- the injustice to the man of having to feel that he is still responsible for a woman’s safety even when she has turned down his help.
There are real safety issues here, but they aren't as clean as the social norms seem to imply, and the solutions aren't always an improvement...

(link via Alas a Blog; title via Dar Williams)

I can't hear you, Icanthearyou!

Continuing the heartwarming campaign to Protect Innocent College Students from Any Challenge to Their Pre-existing Thought Patterns, the Arizona legislature is apparently considering a measure to prevent students from being forced to deal with any course materials that they don't like:
1. Requires universities under the Arizona Board of Regent’s jurisdiction and community colleges under a community college district to adopt procedures providing a student with an alternative course, coursework, learning material or activity if that student finds those offered to be personally offensive without financial or academic penalty.

2. Specifies that a course, coursework, learning material or activity is personally offensive if it conflicts with the student’s beliefs or practices in sex, morality or religion.
Because freedom to avoid or drop a class isn't enough; the student should be able to take and pass a course while avoiding the content that it wishes to cover. Idiots. Apparently they've been gunning for Women's Studies departments in AZ too...

(via knotted knickers)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Quote of the day/weekend

leaf on iceTake a moment to ponder this: Somebody loves you and cares about your well-being and success. Somebody finds you endearing, notices your talents, accepts your quirks. Even if that somebody has died, the love they carried and gave lives yet. When you feel impoverished of love, try to remember this. Then turn around and remember this of all the people you meet -- somebody loves them too. Look for the reasons why this might be. You'd be amazed at what you find, and how this affects your perspective of the human race.
Kathryn at A Mindful Life

Bait and switch

Apparently the victim in last weekend's shooting was really Cheney, who's been terribly traumatized by the event and its coverage. sniff. SusanG brings the snark on this latest GOP spin effort, in gratifying style.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Well, isn't that an interesting contrast

The Whitehouse would like you to think that these little hunting accidents are insignificant matters between those involved, but notice how the handling differs if the shooter isn't a VP (or white)? [wait for the link to jump down]

(via Bitch, PhD)

Thursday kitten-blogging

Pasha the model
I think this might be my favorite among all my cat photos to date -- something about the accurate capture of Pasha's look (here at 7 months), plus the assortment of geometric forms around her. It's worth clicking to see the larger version...

belly of Pasha
To offset the glamor of that shot, here's an ungainly belly pose...

There are more updated kitten photos at the family cat homepage, with links to much more...

Running the numbers

Media Matters analyzes the major news talk shows and clearly debunks the whiny claim of liberal bias.
In short, the Sunday talk shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC are dominated by conservative voices, from newsmakers to commentators. The data from the Clinton years indicate that the disparity cannot be explained simply by the fact that Republicans currently control the government.
I'm sure that The Persecuted will simply say that the bias is inherent in everday coverage, but they see shadows in every corner. Today's press is practically an arm of the rightwing noise machine.

(via the Daou Report)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


This is a perspective on the Olympics that I can appreciate: a blog that celebrates the last-place finishers. (It also has a smattering of commentary on the coverage, and especially on the unforgiving expectations placed on the top competitors.)

(via kos)

Sometimes the buck actually stops

matters of stateThis time, amazingly, it's an all-Republican House Investigative Committee releasing a devastating assessment of the response to Katrina.
"It remains difficult to understand how government could respond so ineffectively to a disaster that was anticipated for years, and for which specific dire warnings had been issued for days. This crisis was not only predictable, it was predicted," the committee said.
No surprises for the reality-based, but heartening to see the bullshit-detection put on paper and with a GOP imprint. Of course, the 9/11 Commission report never yielded any results, so don't look for heads to roll (other than Heckuva Job Brownie). Also terribly reassuring to think that these major disasters leave us no better prepared for the next to come.

Democrats fold on Patriot Act

Russ Feingold is dissapointed with his party (Salon link -- reg. or daypass required).
It took a long time for Democrats to step up and challenge the administration's baseless assertions that the Patriot Act could not be changed without threatening the security of the American people. When we finally did so, when we decided to make the case that we can fight terrorism and protect our American principles at the same time, it looked like Democrats were finally ready to stand on principle and offer strong leadership.

Instead, too many Democrats have folded, and momentum for critical changes to the Patriot Act to protect our freedoms has been squandered. Some Democrats may be breathing sighs of relief that the president can't use this issue to paint them as "soft" on terrorism. But we're not doing the party or the country any favors by refusing to challenge an administration that views our freedoms as collateral damage in the war on terrorism. If Democrats aren't going to stand up to an executive who disdains the other branches of government and doesn't worry about trampling on the rights of innocent Americans, what do we stand for?
If the Democrats keep this up, even the current wave of anti-incumbent fervor won't be enough to sweep them into any legislative majorities. Their natural supporters have all but given up hope...

(via a Medley furling)

Quote(s) of the day -- political installment

I usually like philosophical or thoughtful quotes here, but I've collected along the way some pithy takes of a more overtly political nature, which are more than apt in the current environment. So I offer several at once (so that I can get them off my chest and go back to the philosophy another day)...

To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.
-- Theodore Roosevelt
26th US President (1858-1919)

All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage -- torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians -- which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by "our" side.
-- George Orwell,
"Notes on Nationalism," 1945
(both via a comment at Americablog, by Mike in Texas)

clash of ideologies?

Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.
- Bertrand Russell,
philosopher, mathematician, author, Nobel laureate (1872-1970)

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.
-- Thomas Jefferson,
third US president, architect and author (1743-1826)

Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality.
-- Theodor Adorno,
philosopher and composer (1903-1969)
(last three via A.W.A.D.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

I wouldn't want you to think...

screenshot. . . that I was immune to the absurdity of the recent Vice Presidential hunting accident. The response provided by the Daily Show (video here) -- from the obvious jokes, to parody of their own enthusiasm, to bringing in of apt political parallels -- is priceless. However, it's all a bit less humorous after one receives word that the "peppered" victim is in intensive care with at least one pellet near his heart and causing fibrillation . . .

Because this worked really well in Cuba

Continuing our support for democracy in all its forms, as long as it results in leaders that we like, apparently US officials and Israelis are discussing ways to destabilize the new Palestinian leadership.
The intention is to starve the Palestinian Authority of money and international connections to the point where, some months from now, its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is compelled to call a new election. The hope is that Palestinians will be so unhappy with life under Hamas that they will return to office a reformed and chastened Fatah movement.
Does this seem likely to result in a happy and peace-making Hamas, or to fuel their self-righteous opposition of everything Israeli and American? How's that Iraq gig working out?

(via Booknotes)

Monday, February 13, 2006

Every day in every way....

... we're getting safer and safer and safer.

Remember Valerie Plame? How she was "outed" to undermine her husband's credibility when he disagreed with the Administration's threat assessment for Iraq? But, you know, it didn't matter, since she worked openly at the CIA in a desk job, blah blah. Except that she was undercover at the time, and her outing probably led to a radical set-back of intelligence on nuclear proliferation in Iran. Luckily, we're not worried about Iran, right? oh shit!

Karmic come-uppance for the Bushies, perhaps, and yet the degree of national damage done by these guys is shared by all of us. And they hack and hack from every direction.

(via a dailyKos diary)

Quote of the day

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
- Voltaire,
philosopher (1694-1778)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Niceties can kill you

The World Health Organization reminds us that in a pandemic situation (and that flu threat is still on the horizon, yes?) we may need to be much more careful about our hands if we want to keep the virus contained. Specifically, they're hoping that social customs like shaking hands can give way to more hygenic options...

(via Follow Me Here)

Friday, February 10, 2006

In case you need a time-sink...

...maybe to avoid the Olympic Fever, or maybe just for the joy of it, I highly recommend the online browser-based game Kingdom of Loathing. I bumped across it last summer, was amused a bit, and played just often enough (every few weeks) to keep my account from becoming inactive. Then I dabbled a bit more... and was hooked! It's fun for both traditional gamers and those who generally don't like the dragon-and-sword-seeped gaming environment -- as the drawing included here indicates,KoL logo it doesn't take itself too seriously, and the mix of humor, randomness, and social interaction possibilities creates a fun environment.

The site's description of itself
A pretty accurate review
KoL game entry . . .

Things that amused/intrigued me over lunch

  • Los Angeles is attempting to reduce dangerous car chases by instituting the use of tracer darts to allow GPS tracking of offenders instead. For some reason, this conjured images from my childhood of Wild Kingdom... just wait for the tranquilizer to take effect!

  • An innovative program in Maine allows senior citizens to trade in their car keys for access to a ride service. It reduces the temptation for unsafe drivers to keep driving, turns undriven vehicles into community equity, and offers seniors some independence from friends and relatives. Pretty spiff.

  • An interesting study indicates that song popularity, much like blog influentiality, is an imbalanced winnings game, with people favoring songs that others before them have rated highly.
    [P]articipants who could see how often a song had been downloaded tended to give higher ratings to songs that had been downloaded often, and were more likely to download those songs themselves. That created a snowball effect, catapulting a few songs to the top of the charts and leaving others languishing.
    In fact, there was almost no correlation to the rankings given to individual songs across different isolated trials of the experiment. Insert cynical joke here.
(all via Rebecca's Pocket)

Formidable opponent?

Maybe it's time for Steven Colbert to have a segment in which the Bush administration debates itself. I guess that's so Been Done...

A sadly familiar tale

A diarist at dailyKos shares a story of losing a lifelong friend to wingnut propaganda. It will sound all too familiar to many people who find themselves having to dance around the alienating views of friends and families these days, but I think part of why it resonates so much (and why I found myself reading hundreds of comments too)that hurt! is because it feels like a reflection of the greater divisions happening throughout the nation, as conservatives increasingly demonize the left and dismiss its right to participate in the discussion. How do we get from there back to recognizing each other as human beings and working together on the difficult challenges that face us? How??

(via a Medley furling)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thirteen ways of looking at a feminist

The latest Carnival of Feminists is up at gendergeek (here) and is full of thoughtful goodness far exceeding the time I have to explore it all. A smattering of pieces jumped out at me, however:
  1. Women who leave their chosen professions aren't always choosing to do so -- or at least, it's not always about the job or subject matter at hand...
    Life is not binary. Sexism may not be the only thing responsible for my exodus from physics, but neither can it be fully absolved of culpability.
  2. A natural geek gets a taste of the the "dumb girl treatment" from the IT department, unmasking their gender stereotypes.
    So, there you go, if you want to be respected, you have to either knock their socks off by being twice as smart and techy as a guy or fly under the radar, letting them assume you are a man.
  3. Amanda at Pandagon talks about framing, especially with regard to the abortion debate.
    While it’s accurate to call what we oppose "laws banning abortion", it’s also accurate to call it "forced childbirth" and "government mandated pregnancy". That’s framing in a nutshell–instead of invoking people’s mixed feelings about female sexuality and reproduction, invoke people’s fear of tyranny.
    The left needs to uses the metaphors that clarify its genuine motives/values.

  4. Sometimes relationship equality means taking a second look at our own preconceptions and internalized assumptions.
    I do think women are repeatedly silenced, demeaned, and oppressed in subtle ways that are often difficult to pinpoint. I think it’s important to look at how institutions and socialization reinforce these tendencies. However, I think each woman needs to look at the ways in which she allows herself to be silenced. We need to look at the ways we take advantage of unequal gendered positions rather than demanding equality in all its beauty and difficulty.
    Whew! That should keep us all busy until the next assignment!
(Oh, and tip of the hat to Wallace Stevens...)

Safer all the time...

You know your government is protecting you when they block critics of corporate agriculture from entering the country. Maybe some time in a retraining camp would improve his outlook on junk food . . .

A helpful perspective

Tom Tomorrow brings to light a useful viewpoint on the Muslim cartoons and resulting controversy/wildfires, which points out the difference between satire and ridicule (which is grounded largely in whether the thing being skewered is part of Us versus part of Them, or things you know intimately versus things of which you have only a shallow grasp).

Thursday kittens, treehouse edition

We used to have a little cat-scratching column in our bedroom, just over a foot tall and once the prime mountain to be conquered by our tiny kittens in a frisky mood. But now they can barely scratch against it, and a boisterous jump can topple it over, so we decided to upgrade to a larger creature that might bring back some of the lost play possibilities. In fact, the new jungle gym is no taller than the old, but more substantial and with some new zones.

They had no difficulty in figuring out what this thing was for!
[I recommend clicking to see this full size!]

Pixel grows up?
(Since only 10% of Pixel makes it into the previous shot, I include this photo here, which demonstrates the rather scary degree to which the kitten is becoming a cat at 9 months...)

Previous kitten-blogging (reverse order):
39, 38, 37, 36, 35, 34, 33, 32, 31, 30, 29, 28, 27, 26, 25, 24, 23, 22, 21, 20, 19, 18, 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Now that's chutzpah!

Remember last year's endless town hall meetings and other yap promoting the President's plan to kill/privatize Social Security? Remember how it was unpopular and died a premature death? Well apparently the new plan is to slip it in under the radar, as an unheralded part of the new budget proposal. They haven't given up at all, except in trying to score big points with this. The agenda remains unchanged.

Quote for the day (thought for our times)

The Dalai Lama (1935- ), when asked if he wasn't angry at the Chinese for taking over his country:
"Why should I give them my mind as well?"

(via A.W.A.D.)

Painful irony

The national steadfastness and billions of dollars pledged by Bush to the devastated New Orleans region appear to have gone AWOL. In their place, the desperate mayor is appealing to other nations for aid in rebuilding his city. Even the news that France may take the lead fails to give me any amusement in the midst of this monumental failure of responsibility.

Lest we forget

femsignBetty Friedan died this week. Her book The Feminine Mystique was the first shot in what became a long feminist battle to assert the right of women to seek fulfillment in their own lives, and not only through their husbands and children. I quite enjoyed the AP story in Sunday's paper (which noted, among other things, that her signature work had arisen out of a survey that she made at her college class reunion). But perhaps even more on point, in this era when feminism is being portrayed as a dirty word and an extremist outlook, is this list of things we take for granted but which wouldn't have been possible without the beliefs, efforts, and sacrifices of countless feminists in the latter decades of the 20th century. Remembering how far we've come is the least we owe Betty and her sisters; if you look a little harder, you'll realize that there's still plenty of work to be done.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Holy crap

Twisty reports on an unbelievable story in which the doctors in a mental hospital took a patient off of a clearly successful antipsychotic because it was making her fat when she had been soooo beautiful. As Twisty puts it, "in a patriarchy, a hot girl cannot be fat." Better that she be insane. They did eventually come around, but seem regretful, even though the patient is not at all upset by her new appearance. This makes me feel a bit ill.

Crazy foodage!

chocolate circuit boardCheck out this page of photos in which food items have been substituted into the strangest things and places in otherwise ordinary scenes... I guess it was a Photoshop contest, but the results are both beautiful and brain-bending.

(via boing boing)

Kids these days!

Ampersand has a great post looking at cries of alarm about the state of modern education, and how they've been saying the same things for a century or more. More importantly, he provides evidence (! in this day and age!) that a wider percentage of the population than ever before gets a highschool education, and that they know about as much as any graduating kids ever did. Take that, hand-wringers!

Oh, before I forget

I got a last-minute opportunity over the weekend to attend a youth conference at which Hillary Clinton spoke. I was there as a local Philadelphia blogger, and thus as part of the press (heh). For those interested in my navel-gazing and description of the event, it was posted at my local blog here. At this point, it even includes links to other chewy bloggers and to great photos . . .

I'll take Missing the Point for $400

So cartoons were drawn, adding fuel to the fire of resentment of anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe. And violence broke out, resulting in burning embassies and dead protesters. And I hardly know what to make of the scale of it, of the cartoons, of the level of response. But I gotta say that this quote from the Vatican just made me want to bang my head on my desk:
"The right to freedom of thought and expression... cannot entail the right to offend the religious sentiment of believers," the Vatican said in its first statement on the controversy.
It feels difficult to explain Western enlightenment values to those from a different cultural milieu -- by which I mean Islamic nations -- but when the Vatican's notion of "freedom" includes "but not TOO free," then it rather feels like the likelihood of success has just dropped to zero . . .

Update: Tom Tomorrow captures my sentiments about the whole fiasco pretty well, from the freedoms at stake to the poor choices made by many involved.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Quote of the day (evening)

trophyA society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.
- Lewis H. Lapham,
editor and writer (1935- )
(via A.W.A.D.)

Bunch's law

Amen. Let's get over the "bloggers make stuff up, while journalists report the facts" crap, and just give credit where it's due and not where it isn't, on an individual basis. It doesn't take much digging (or following of particular sources) to figure out who can be trusted over time...

(via Atrios, who's proven pretty trustworthy)

You'd think I'd have a better idea what was going on

matters of state. . . but apparently there are hearings on the wiretapping business today, involving testimony from Gonzales, at the very least. The Democrats apparently have a strong plan of attack for the event, including expression of concerns that such illegal actions could actually hinder anti-terrorism efforts. Should be interesting, even with the expected High Obfuscation Levels . . .

(via dailyKos)

Update: georgia10 lays out the questions you'd love to see answered. Look for most of these to be side-stepped by either questioners or witnesses... Whew! though...

Keeping you abreast of modern paranoia

The Internet seems to be abuzz with questions about a Google satellite image that has a section blacked out. Presumably some sort of military-related installation; how do these decisions get made? All quite interesting (as is the smoke trailing from the blank zone)...

(via Medley & Follow Me Here)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Please tell me this is a joke

These can't be real-life shoes... ?

Apparently there's not much happening today

So that makes it a good time for a link-dump! Here's some wacky and interesting bits to carry you through the weekend:
  • Here's a fascinating story that I hardly know what to do with: non-English Scrabble players can excel by treating the game as a mathematical strategy game. I love games, but when you're at the point that they're just letter combinations, I think you're playing something other than Scrabble.
    (via kottke)

  • Here's some evidence that cooking makes you smarter. Perhaps I need to get back into my kitchen a bit...

  • A very funny photo-quote on modern day trophy collection.
    (via dooce's cousin George)

  • For others who share my difficulty in getting out of bed, a new option: a buzzing insect alarm clock -- it actually flies around the room a bit to keep the snooze button out of reach.
    (via boing boing)

  • More evidence that academics can make the simplest problem more complex: economists discuss how to split a cab fare.
    (via kottke)

  • No longer new, but still fascinating, is Google Earth, a linkage of maps to satellite views of just about everywhere.
    (via Mithras at Fables of the Reconstruction)

  • Also for the scientifically inclined, stages in the nuking of a tomato (in a microwave). And, related, a museum of burnt food.
    (latter via Rebecca's Pocket)

  • Here's a photographer who makes magic out of insect photos.
    (via boing boing)

  • And last, more than you ever wanted to know about how to wrap a present.
    (via Medley)
Finally, in the "shows what *I* know" department: while I have happily showcased pictures of pal Josh in this space, I thought that perhaps his S.O. Lisa would just as soon be left out of the whole arena of public humiliation celebration. But no! I am given to understand that, quite in contrast, Lisa feels a bit neglected in the whole carnival of two-legged pets. Well, to make up for this unintended oversight, we offer you a double dose, with Josh and Lisa on their wedding day:


Of course, we've got a pretty busy dance card here, what with all the kittens and occasional appearances of the already Clashing Titans Sid and Josh, so no promises about the future. What do you think this is, a democracy??

Happy weekend, all!

Today's falling slice of sky

computer time...is the Internet. Expect to hear more about the Nation's prediction that corporate interests will find ways to leash the entire medium to a profit model, at the expense of person-to-person content that drives much current Internet use. Regulatory work-arounds and privacy-invading activity records are just the first moves in their predicted battle.

(via a Medley furling)

You can never have too many enemies

At least that's what Rumsfeld thinks. I guess all those gifts of discounted oil to poor city-dwellers must have really rubbed the Inner Circle the wrong way...

(via Hullabaloo)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Framing choice

Atrios makes a good point about how Democrats approach the "reasonable person" on the abortion issue, arguing that we shouldn't try to win by saying that abortion is bad (the "legal and rare" frame) but by focusing on who gets to make the decision in hard life issues (you or Frist). I think a lot more everyday folks will be in agreement with us when the question is put in that clearcut way.

Quote of the day

Emancipation from the bondage of the soil is no freedom for the tree.
- Rabindranath Tagore,

philosopher, author, songwriter, painter, educator,
composer, Nobel laureate (1861-1941)
(via A.W.A.D.)

Thursday kittens: what friends are for

Today Pixel and Pasha demonstrate some of the many ways that a friend can look out for you.

cleanup time
Whether that means washing where you can't reach...

backbreaking flop
...or just not making fun of the way you sleep.

Previous cat combos: snuggles2, more lounging, snuggles, Thanksgiving, cones, forms of love, lounging, more games, P&P wrestling, Pixel and Yogi, catspage

Taking idiocy to ever new levels

The Joint Chiefs of Staff felt the need to protest a recent political cartoon. Not only did they miss the (fairly obvious) point of the piece, which is to lambast Rumsfeld's callousness and mistreatment of the army, but they somehow feel that a cartoon represents a challenge that "cannot go unanswered." It's too bad that they don't take the underarming and overuse of the troops equally seriously . . .

(via This Modern World)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Doppler effect

The speed at which the Bush administration can reverse itself is becoming dizzying -- they've already retracted one major State of the Union promise. (Sort of leads one to wonder whether the politicos are writing the speeches without checking with the policy guys... nah! I'm sure it would never happen!)

Can I just say...

...that I don't think I'll ever lose my fascination with PostSecret, the amazing anonymous confession-cum-performance-art website. Whether or not any particular piece is fully honest, the site as a whole has an undeniable truth about the human experience. Worth rediscovering at random intervals.
collage clip

Today's cuteness

Not just photos, it's a whole story of cross-species playfulness. awwwwwww....

(via Philadelphia Will Do)

Magma churning

volcano eruptionThings are starting to get quite warm for little Joe Lieberman, between the rising anger of his constituents (ouch!) and the groundswell behind his potential primary challenger (with 6 months to go). Looks like there may be a lot of tribesman on hand when it comes time to ante up to the volcano . . .

State of the union

Didn't watch it, probably won't be able to stomach the transcripts. I think we have a pretty good idea of what condition our ship of state is in, and the last thing we need is another misdiagnosis from the captain's wonky wheelhouse. However, for those more masochistic than I, an excellent option might be this transcript run through a pirate translator, provided by the matchless Tom Tomorrow.
Th' same be true o' Iran, a nation now held hostage by a wee clerical elite that be isolatin' an' repressin' its swabbies.

Update: amazingly, it looks like the press is starting to fact-check the pablum, rather than just passing it on with a starry-eyed expression. Be still, my beating heart!

Update 2: BagNews runs through the visual highlights. Lots of good analysis and out-takes there, as ever.

Update 3: and, of course, the Onion wins the game, with headline story "President creates cabinet-level position to coordinate scandals" . . .

So wrong, and yet so amusing!

Just in time for Valentine's Day, a series of cards based on Law & Order, SVU. I can't do them justice with examples -- go and look.

(via boing boing and XOverboard)

Thought police, next installment

Apparently Cindy Sheehan got invited to last night's State of the Union speech by a congresswoman, and then was arrested because of her t-shirt, which referred to the number of war dead.
"It stunned me because I didn't know in America you could be arrested for wearing a T-shirt with a slogan on it,'' Woolsey said. "That's especially so in the Capitol and in the House of Representatives, which is the people's House.''
Old GloryWe really know how to put on a heartening show for the world, don't we?

(story via Medley)

Update: Will Bunch is not amused by this, gives some historical background, and suggests a civil action. Rouse that rabble, man!