Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Sid-blogging

We are long overdue for an installment of Sid, having to elbow his way in among the veggies and cat photos. No longer!!

Sid in wizard hat

Here's an excellent specimen, showing Sid celebrating the debut of the final Harry Potter book (yes, it was some 2 months ago) with a stylish wizard hat. The rest of the shore gang will have to wait for another day to have their moment...

More grim news from Iraq

That their police forces are merely becoming arms of the militia groups battling one another... Wrapping up, Drum writes:
In other words, except for the fact that Iraq has a disfunctional government, a disfunctional police force, and a barely functional army, things are going great. I can't wait to see how Crocker and Petraeus spin this into an argument for staying another four years.
Indeed, with the White House manning the pen, this will somehow be made to look like progress and sunshine. Or, at least to some of the most brainwashed...

(via Atrios)

Nothing's worse than not being taken seriously

Some Knoxville activists have found the perfect answer to a Nazi/KKK rally: a demonstration of clowns, complete with staged misunderstandings -- "White flour?" "Wife Power!" It left the klan-meisters apoplectic, totally upstaged and undermined their message (and attempt at recruitment), and led to a pleasant celebratory day for the police, clowns, and spectators. Well done, all!

(via Alas, a blog)

Thursday, August 30, 2007

That hot potato is sure improving!

Yes, indeedy, things looking better all the time over in Iraq. The GAO (that's Government Accountability Office, a group whose services are greatly needed, and who has taken to leaking its reports early to avoid censorship) reports dismal progress on any benchmarks for the Iraqi government and our troops there. Meanwhile, the folks whose feet are on the ground refuse to take responsibility for the Administration's choices going forward, offering a range of (widely differing) opinions from military leaders, rather than trying to agree on a set of recommendations.
White said it suggests that the military commanders want to be able to distance themselves from Iraq strategy by making it clear that whatever course is followed is the president's decision, not what commanders agreed on.
Yeowch! The Bushies are already scrambling to get the grading scale adjusted so that they can tout their incremental progress toward a handful of the goals, somehow missing the point that all of these benchmarks were to be met by September . . .

Through the looking glass...

Cool thing of the day: a review (with pics) of the original Macintosh users' manual. Not just retro fun, but, as the author writes, an early look at how somebody explains what was at the time a huge paradigm shift in how people interacted with computers -- things that seem obvious now (or that you might explain with rather different metaphors) had to be spelled out in earnestly helpful prose. What's a desktop? What's scrolling? a mouse? Hard to remember we ever didn't know . . .


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Latest edition of schadenfreude

new elephantsTPM Muckraker provides a handy summary of Republican crooks, from the Abramoff allies to the recent sexual miscreants. An impressive list at this point, just from the last few years!

a pithy bit of truth/snark summarizes things at the GOP quite well.

Unexpectedly expected behaviors

Can't decide whether I'm surprised to read this recent study finding: that couples who are living together do a better job of dividing housework than those who are married.
"Marriage as an institution seems to have a traditionalizing effect on couples--even couples who see men and women as equal," says Davis.
Would like to know more about the comparability of the two pools -- i.e., perhaps those who choose to marry already have more "traditional" views that lead them in that direction than do the cohabiting couples, rather than being changed after the fact. It would take a prospective study (one that started with, say, serious dating couples, without knowing which would end up married) to tease that out, which means we're unlikely to know the answer any time soon...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My little poly

Chinese launch new adorable online police to keep an eye on websurfers and warn them off of forbidden activities. Eesh, less and less room for parody anymore!

(via Sid!)

The more things change...

Richter's glass...the more familiar they can seem. Pretty neat pixelated stained glass windows in a German cathedral look like the effect of many abstract glass patterns through time (and even some that try to tell stories but are too far away to make out). Seeing the high-res version of the photo, however, makes me think that it might look quite striking (in a familiar yet different kind of way) in person.

Outing your inner child

More and more people are building themselves adult tree houses as offices, studios, or other escapes. This spherical model is slick to look at, but seems less satisfying than a simpler angular sort. I had a pretty spiff treehouse as a kid, complete with screen door, but I think I'd appreciate it even more now (if I had a huge tree and some bucks to burn)...

(via Girl Hacker and Boing Boing, respectively)

Listening to the men on the ground

Well, that is, except when it comes time to write up an official report. Remember that Petraeus report due in September that everybody's waiting for, upon which all future Iraq decisions will be based? It will be written by the White House -- is there any suspense remaining?

(via XOverboard)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Looking forward to that September report!

Can't imagine why anybody's still surprised to hear that leaders on the ground foresee a ten-year effort to get things to a steady state in Iraq. With news that the country is splintering, did you really think "another six months" would do it? Hello, Democrats???

The cats are in for a big surprise . . .

Let's just say it looks like things are going to be changing around here, in a major way!

9-week ultrasound

(updates available graphically in the footer bar of this blog)

Big doings

I swear, every time I go on a major vacation, the earth realigns in my absence. One time, O'Conner resigned; another time, crazy things happened in the PA state House. Now Rove is out and Gonzales close behind him, all with no explanation given (or, I suppose, needed). One would like to be optimistic about lessons learned and all that, but there's absolutely no evidence that this Administration will allow anything new or good to happen in their remaining time . . .

Quote of the day

To be uncertain is uncomfortable, but to be certain is ridiculous.
- Chinese Proverb
(via whiskey river)

Countering the fear-mongers

A good post at Orcinus about how to counter the stream of Fox froth that turns many of our parents and grandparents into ever more terrified conservatives, most painful when they begin to view us as The Enemy.
Most of us are very cautious and circumspect about leaving our children's developing minds to the tender mercies of the media. Those of us who care about the elders in our families might be equally vigilant about their media diets as well. We do not have to take the political hijacking of our seniors lying down, or assume that's just the way it is. We just have to do what we do with our kids: make sure they've got consistent access to appealing, age-appropriate media that gives them hope, confidence, and truly balanced ways of seeing the world.
A good point, as well as the need to intervene early, before the damage is done -- brainwashing is hard to undo, and the Rush and O'Reilly folks know how to wash with the best of 'em.

(via Medley)

This has ruined my brain

One humorous meme crushing another . . .

Friday, August 10, 2007

Adventures in produce VI: Pre-vacation edition

Somehow I manged to get everything into two shots this time...

bunch of veggies
Peppers, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cukes, sweet onions.

More UFO-shaped yellow squash, a canteloupe-sized watermelon, grape tomatoes,
and some peaches that come as our fruit share.

The next batch of produce will go to some friends, while we take off for a couple weeks of actual (computer-free!) vacation. See you toward the end of the month!

There are few things I love as much as randomness

And here is is used well . . .
(But be warned: the site is meandering and addictive!)

Funny of the day

A trailer for Minesweeper: The Movie. A good send-up of both war movies and, you know, desktop time-killers . . .

(via XOverboard/Some Guy with a Website)

Quote of the day

carved rock
Anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn't the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.
- Robert Benchley
(via A.W.A.D.)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Just trussssssst ussssss

Big Telecom keeps arguing that Net Neutrality is unnecessary because they can be trusted to be honest brokers. (a) If they're not intending to be sleazebags, why do the regulations worry them? (b) Surprising no one, they prove themselves to be sleazebags.

Can we get some rational rules in here already?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Boy, we really know how to run a war!

You know things are looking up when the Iraqi president thinks his best approach to the ongoing civil war in his country is to consult with Iran about solutions. Didn't we want to help unify the region?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Inspired (in that sorrowfully amusing way)

WWII bombersWhat if FDR had run WWII like W has run the last six years? See the brief newsreel coverage.

(referral lost!)

Newt sees the light?

It's striking to hear Gingrich speaking lines from the reality-based community, but all it makes me do is wait for the other shoe to drop. Maybe he's placing himself as the one Republican who sees the emperor's lack of clothes; maybe this is a sign of the end-times. Either way, there's more to it.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The more things change...

How many wars are we going to fight in which most of the opposing weapons (not to mention training) were supplied by us? You'd think once or twice and we'd raise our standards for national stability before selling big heaps of arms, etc. But nah (profits, man! profits!). Heck, now we just ignore our missing weapons and blame Iran for arming the insurgents...

History will judge them harshly

Enough Democrats caved to allow Bush's overhaul of FISA, in effect giving him the wiretapping powers he'd already been stealing, and then some. We're well down the slippery slope to totalitarianism, or at least to the point where no one will understand the horror value of Minority Report...

(via Medley)

for the record, here are the Senate traitors too. Some help, the majority has been...

Friday, August 03, 2007

I think I'm in leef!

The cuteness of the puppy, it burns!

Adventures in produce V: Something new every time

We were headed to the shore with some friends when this batch arrived, so they went right into the back of the car and were much appreciated by the group:

beans, potatoes, cukes
More lettuce (only partially shown), snap beans, a bag of potatoes,
and lemon cucumbers (old hat now).

beets & peppers
Whole beets (eaten grilled with goat cheese crumbles), the best green peppers ever, and some sweeter peppers whose name I don't know (and which we haven't tried yet).

corn, onions, peaches
Lots more corn (grilled in the husk, mmmm), a few onions, and our fruit share
was a heap of wonderful peaches, almost too ripe to travel . . .

We've already gotten the next load (I'm a bit behind with uploading), so maybe I'll post them next week. But first, the eating!!

Poem of the day

On my old street, a neighbor down the block had planted a young redwood tree out front, in the tiny strip of sidewalk on the narrow, narrow street of century-old houses. The neighbors who lived there long before me shook their heads at his folly, the tree already well beyond the top of the house, top out of sight above any of its neighbors. Thus, this poem captures a personal musing of my own, although much more lyrically than I (or any of the worried neighbors) would have managed...


It is foolish
to let a young redwood
grow next to a house.

Even in this
one lifetime
you will have to choose.

That great calm being,
this clutter of soup pots and books -

Already the branch-tips brush at the window.
Softly, calmly, immensity taps at your life.
- Jane Hirshfield

(via whiskey river)

Credit where credit is due

Faux News logoI find it nearly impossible to watch Bill O'Reilly's show because the out-shouting and ridiculousness gets my blood pressure up so high I can barely tease out the actual content. But I must give kudos to Senator (and Presidential wanna-be) Chris Dodd for not backing down from the heckling and holding O'Reilly accountable for his misleading attacks on the dailyKos website, as well as for his own history of outrageous and derogatory remarks. I wouldn't have had the stomach to do it myself.

Topical quote of the day

A country that can’t keep its bridges from collapsing is not going to be running the world very much longer.
Jonathan Schwarz @ This Modern World
(via Medley)

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Our nation is run by simpletons

The departure of half of the Iraqi government called "discouraging" by Secretary of Defense...
...the Bush administration may have misjudged the difficulty of achieving reconciliation among Iraq’s sectarian factions.
Ya' think??

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Privacy is just one perk

Perhaps it's because I'm engrossed in a Robert Ludlum book, but this retractable hotel doorknob seems like a pretty good idea to me. Make your position clear to housekeeping, make the lives of assassins more difficult -- what could possibly go wrong?

(via boing boing)