Saturday, January 26, 2008


Just go to the link and you'll see what I'm trying to say.

Via CNN.


Good news and bad news

Good news: The cockroach is alive. I'm so happy I wasn't talking to a dead cockroach.

I've named him 바퀴벌레.

Bad news: The cockroach isn't talking to me. I think I may have forgotten his birthday.

In talking to the brick, it said I have to get a fucking life. Not unexpected, except the advice came from a goddamn brick.


Daily quote

"What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue."

-- Thomas Paine, philosopher
(1737 - 1809)

I'm sorry, but Philosopher doesn't do Thomas Paine justice. He was that and so much more.

Via Neatorama.


Plan to Allow Logging in Alaskan Forest

Who needs all those fucking trees anyway?
More than 3 million acres in Alaska's Tongass National Forest would be open to logging under a federal plan that supporters believe will revive the state's struggling timber industry.

Environmentalists, however, fear that the proposal will devastate the forest.

The Bush administration released Friday a management plan for the forest, the largest in the country at nearly 17 million acres. The plan would leave about 3.4 million acres open to logging, road building and other development, including about 2.4 million acres that are now remote and roadless. About 663,000 acres are in areas considered most valuable for timber production.

Alaska Regional Forester Denny Bschor, who approved the Tongass management plan, said its goals are to sustain the diversity and health of the forest, provide livelihoods and subsistence for Alaska residents and ensure a source of recreation and solitude for forest visitors [emphasis mine].

I was being facetious above. I've never been one to traipse into remote areas of forests with no roads, but there are thousands (millions?) who love that.

Putting aside what thousands (millions?) want, America's national forests are gems. In fact the story states "...Tongass - often labeled the crown jewel in the national forest system..." Along with the national parks, national forests should be left alone. They belong to the public and should not be raped by corporations. To allow this is tantamount to abhorrent.

That said, I'll be a little less abrasive. I've relatives and neighbors who made/make their livings logging. Its horribly dangerous work, but pays well.

There are ways I can support this plan. First, road building should be severely restricted and I mean severely. Yes it will cost the companies more to extract the timber, but its a trade-off and second, the area must be reforested before scrub brush has a chance to take over. This isn't as good a solution as leaving the forest untouched, but its not a total rape.

A caveat: I can never support the logging of old growth trees. To harvest and destroy trees older than America is purely immoral. Old growth trees are splendiferous and should never be touched. The story doesn't say if the trees are old growth but, in my lazy ass research, it seems much of Tongass is old growth.

BTW, the above emphasized is almost too funny. How does one find solitude on thousands of acres of denuded land? Is there solitude in a huge parking lot? How does one visit a forest that isn't there? Just asking.



Must read IMHO

This is an excellent article by David Sirota titled The Stimulus Swindle.
Leading figures of both parties seem eager to help limit the debate over "stimulus" and make the final package a corporate goodie bag.

In the article he tackles the question of why an immediate "stimulus" package is required when the nation has been bleeding for many months.

His conclusion: The people asking for help now are not you and I (read serfs), its the movers and shakers who finance politicians.

Money talks, bullshit (read serfs) walks. Yeah I know. That grammar didn't come out quite right. But what the hell. I think it makes my point.

Come to think of it, many serfs will be walking or taking the bus when they can't make their car payments.

Via AlterNet.


Now for something completely different

Its been a pretty good day. Sunshine. Birds singing.

Although I'm off put by the bird that sounds like Julie Andrews, the one singing Kylie Minogue songs is pretty kewl.

Time to put out some bird seed.


India worst bird flu outbreak spreads

Click for larger...yawn.

So far so good, but if H5N1 reaches a city of 13.2 million people, it could be the start of the pandemic many fear is imminent.

When H5N1 is limited to rural areas with few people and ones who can't afford to travel far, its controllable, but a city with 13.2 million residents has to include people who can afford to travel and airline flights can allow them to spread the disease very far, quickly.

The infected people were infected by birds. You know birds, right? Those things that fly, like, sometimes thousands of miles when migrating.

So far humans have been lucky. H5N1 doesn't seem to spread between humans, but it's very possible it will.
“Human influenza virus” usually refers to those subtypes that spread widely among humans. There are only three known A subtypes of influenza viruses (H1N1, H1N2, and H3N2) currently circulating among humans. It is likely that some genetic parts of current human influenza A viruses came from birds originally. Influenza A viruses are constantly changing, and they might adapt over time to infect and spread among humans [emphasis mine].


No one can predict when a pandemic might occur. However, experts from around the world are watching the H5N1 situation in Asia and Europe very closely and are preparing for the possibility that the virus may begin to spread more easily and widely from person to person.

Should this be of concern to you? You bet your sweet ass it should.

Sorry if I sound alarmist and scared you. Usually I scare intentionally.

I'll stop my diatribe with some good news/bad news. Even if you get hold of poultry carrying H5N1, you can eat it if cooked properly. However, handling the poultry can pass the influenza on to you.
India's worst outbreak of bird flu spread as health authorities battled on Friday to stop it reaching the densely populated city of Kolkata amid heavy rain that hampered culling efforts.

Authorities reported the disease had affected two more districts, bringing the number hit by avian flu to 12 out of West Bengal state's total of 19.

Howra, one of the new districts reporting the disease, neighbours Kolkata. The other district was Purulia on the border with the eastern state of Bihar.

"We're afraid bird flu may spread to many areas -- it has already spread to two more districts," said state animal resources minister Anisur Rahaman in Kolkata, which has 13.2 million people, many of whom live in congested slums.

"We've yet to be able to control this disease," he told AFP, adding new outbreaks were being reported in districts affected earlier.

The disease has spread to more than half of West Bengal state since the deadly H5N1 strain was first confirmed in dead chickens more than a week ago.

"The government has banned the smuggling of chicken to city markets from affected areas," Rahaman said. "All we can do is keep a watch on the markets."

Via AFP.



You have been warned!


Cat blogging

Quick. I mean really fucking quick. So quick you'll think you're at another site.

I mean quick like a Las Vegas BJ.

No I have no cat and in all likelihood won't ever.

Dogs? Jesus H Christ stepping through poop. I have so many fucking dogs here its like a fucking kennel. Minimum is two. Maximum about six.

Why do dogs and children love me? An eternal mystery.

Fuck! I did it again. This was supposed to be a quickie.


Taxpayer bialout

This will be a quick post. Unlike my other quick posts. It really will be. I promise.

The term "taxpayer bailout" is a euphemism for buying GOP votes. Don't take it as anything else.

Ask yourself why a US president has to "bail you out" twice in his presidency.

Stand back. I'll tell you.

Because Dim Son is a fucking idiot who can't handle the US economy. He has no management expertise. He has never been successful at anything he's tried.

And bailouts always include fucking tax breaks for his cronies. Is your ass sore?

Dim Son doesn't give a shit about you. If you aren't in his club, you're a fucking pawn to be manipulated.

Live with that or fight it. The Democrats won't. That's obvious.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Trivial animal trivia

Yes, that is a male.
Live with it.

This will keep you busy for a while and fill your head with some of the fucking trivia in my mind. Muahahaha.

Feel content I won't be adding comments. Even though I could because I know much more trivia about these subjects.

I need a fucking life. I was talking to a cockroach earlier. Its dead. But it never contradicts nor argues with me. Tomorrow I'll be talking to a brick. Same response.

I think its a "he" (the cockroach), but I could be wrong. I don't sex (farm term for establishing the sex of something) cockroaches. Nor Chickens for that matter.

Now in a bar its another thing entirely. Ya gotta be sure.
This week the Zoological Society of London published a list of the world's weirdest animals, including a purple frog that lives 12ft underground.

A RABBIT loves licorice - but it is very bad for them because they cannot digest sugars.

DALMATIONS are the only breed of dog that gets gout (because they are the only mammals, other than humans, which produce uric acid).

SLUGS have four noses - well actually a pair of gills for breathing and a pair of rhinopores (chemosensory organs) used for smelling.

HONEYBEES have hairs on their eyes to help them collect pollen.

The left leg of a CHICKEN is tendered [more tender?] than the right one, which it uses most, therefore increasing muscle development.

The sperm of a MOUSE is longer than the sperm of an elephant.

MICE are highly promiscuous and need particularly large testes to keep up with demand.

More human deaths have been attributed to FLEAS than all the wars ever fought. As carriers of the bubonic plague, fleas were responsible for killing one third of the population of Europe in the 14th century.

A CAT uses its whiskers to determine if a space is too small to squeeze through.

GOLDFISH lose their color if kept in dim light. Much like humans getting a tan, they need sunlight to keep their pigment.

ALBATROSSES have a wing span of up to 14ft and need to land only once every couple of years to breed. They can travel hundreds of thousands of miles each flight.

Certain Chinese and American ALLIGATORS can survive the winter by freezing their heads in ice, leaving their nose out to breath for months on end.

DOLPHINS sleep with one half of the brain at a time, and one eye closed.

When two DOGS approach each other, the dog which wags its tail very slowly - showing anger - is in charge.

Some LIONS can mate more than 50 times a day.

If you lift a KANGAROO'S tail off the ground it can't hop - they use their tails for balance.

For every person there are roughly 200 million INSECTS.

A CROCODILE cannot stick its tongue out, because it is attached to the bottom of its mouth. This is why they appear to gulp their food down.

ELEPHANTS are the only mammals that can't jump.

CAMELS have three eyelids to protect themselves from blowing sand.

Many HAMSTERS blink only one eye at a time.

A FLAMINGO can eat only when its head is upside down. Its tongue pumps water through the sieve-like ridges that line its beak in order to trap microscopic algae.

A DOLPHIN'S hearing is so acute that it can pick up an underwater sound from 15 miles away.

BUTTERFLIES taste with their hind feet.

A SNAIL can sleep for three years if conditions are adverse (such as during a drought).

BEES have five eyes - three small ones on top of their head and two larger ones in front.

POLAR BEARS are the only mammal with hair on the soles of their feet. It helps them to get a good grip on icy surfaces, and also acts as a heat insulator.

Most ELEPHANTS weigh less than the tongue of a blue whale.

The only two animals that can see behind themselves without turning their head are the RABBIT and the PARROT.

PENGUINS can jump as high as 6ft in the air.

The last animal in the dictionary is the ZYZZYVA, a tropical weevil.

ELEPHANTS have been found swimming miles from shore in the Indian Ocean.

The leg bones of a BAT are so thin that they cannot walk.

GREAT WHITE SHARKS can go as long as three months without eating.

GOAT'S eyes have rectangular pupils, which enable them to watch over their broad, flat grazing area for predators.

KIWI BIRDS are blind and hunt by smell.

GIRAFFES have no vocal cords and communicate by vibrating the air around their necks.

A female OYSTER may produce 100 million young over her lifetime.

MOSQUITOES are attracted to the color blue twice as much as to any other color.

No two ZEBRAS have the same markings.

The longest recorded flight of a CHICKEN is 13 seconds.

A BEE must visit 4,000 flowers to make one tablespoon of honey.

By swallowing water, the PUFFER FISH becomes too big for other fish to swallow.

A full-grown BEAR can run as fast as a horse.

Female FLEAS drink 15 times their weight in blood every day.

When a GIRAFFE'S baby is born, it falls from a height of 6ft, usually without being hurt.

A DRAGONFLY can spot an insect moving 33ft away.

CAMEL milk does not curdle, because it has adapted to the desert heat.

POLAR BEARS can swim 60 miles without pausing for a rest.

Via Jonco.


Great name

United Kingdom Braintree, Essex

Yeah, I live in Braintree. I have a tree house there. No girls allowed though. Its a guy thing. We can meet at the pub.

I can't believe how many images I found for Braintree, Essex.

BTW: Very unlike me, I'm not going near the name of the pub.

Now tell me this, please. Why is the first instance of Braintree spelled correctly, according to Microsoft, and the subsequent instances misspelled?



Nokia's profits jump, market share grows to 40 percent

Nokia 6610i (discontinued)
Mine has a red fascia which
is pretty beaten up, worn.

This story is interesting by itself, but I have no idea why they don't have a larger share of the market. The dependability factor is paramount in my estimation and Nokia has that.

Motorola phones might be superior. At least as phones. I wouldn't know. I almost never use my cellular phone as a phone. Its strictly SMS (text) messaging for me. I hate talking on a phone and often don't even answer the land line.

Information you may not know. Almost all police, around the world, use Motorola radios in their cars and use Motorola hand held walkie-talkies. The voice reproduction is excellent.

No, I have no connection whatsoever to Motorola. I just plug them from time to time.

But I've had a Nokia 6610i for about 3 years and love it. OK, the camera isn't up to more recent standards. The images are pretty bad, but the phone never gives me any trouble.

Oh shit! Now I've jinxed the fucking thing.

I had a Nokia 6610 (no camera) before which got picked out of my pocket. My pocket with the Velcro closure.

That guy was really a pro. I had no fucking clue he had taken it until several minutes later. Of course finding him was impossible by then. I do know who it was. He leaned into my shoulder at a festival...hard.

Nokia , the world's top cellphone maker, reported a 57 percent rise in earnings per share in the October-to-December quarter, with booming demand in emerging markets boosting its global market share to 40 percent.

Via Boston Globe.


Hmmm. Didn't I have a house here?

Actually I think this is in the US.
But its just a visual aid.

Wouldn't this just piss you off royally?
Returning home after an absence can mean unpleasant surprises -- a leaky roof, a pet's mess, even a break-in. But a Russian woman got a nastier surprise when she returned from her country house: her home was gone, torn down mistakenly by construction workers clearing a site, according to a report Thursday on NTV television.

Sorry, I'm strange and cruel, but it is fucking funny.

Via Boston Globe.


Longer waits to become citizense

Now put on your tinfoil hat. We're going on a field trip.
Immigrants in Massachusetts and nationwide could wait 16 to 18 months - more than double the usual period - to become US citizens because of a massive backlog, leaving thousands possibly unable to vote in November.

The backlog is the result of millions of applications for citizenship, green cards, and work permits that swamped immigration offices last summer before hefty fee increases went into effect July 30.

Federal immigration officials across the nation are hiring hundreds of staff members, paying overtime, and streamlining bureaucracy to process the applications more quickly. In Boston, officials will add more officers and in March will add an extra day, Saturday, to help break up the backlog in citizenship interviews.

Officials in Massachusetts had hoped the delays would be shorter. But after opening hundreds of applications that came in before the fee increases, a process they finished just recently, they realized the wait could be as long as 18 months, which is also the national average. Before the fee change, the wait here was four to five months, and about six months nationally.

I'm sure, for the Bush administration, this is a fantastically low priority problem.

Why speed up the process to allow them foreigners to vote? They might not be controllable like the natives.

Hell, they might even vote against anyone remotely connected to this administration. Talk about your fucking ingrates.

Via Boston Globe.


Carded at polls: No photo ID, no vote

I'm gonna take a quick swipe at this and move on.

Who the hell am I kidding? As verbose as I get, it ain't gonna be quick.

Want to know the sub headline to this story?

Voters who use mail-in ballots are not required to show photo ID

Well that fucking shoots the "prevent voter fraud" argument all to hell. And of what use is the last "photo ID" for identity?
There's the poor, 32-year-old mother of seven who says it would cost her at least $50 to vote in person. There's also the 92-year-old woman who's voted for decades in the same polling place, but now can't vote there because she let her driver's license expire when her eyesight began to fail.

These folks live in Indiana, home of the country's most restrictive photo-identification voter law. The U.S. Supreme Court is now scrutinizing whether that statute violates the first and 14th amendments, in the most contentious legal battle over voting since the high court issued a bitterly divided decision eight years ago that stopped Florida's recount and handed the presidency to George W. Bush.

If the law is upheld, voting rights advocates fear it will encourage conservative lawmakers across the country to enact equally restrictive measures. The high court's decision is expected in the summer - leaving time to impact November's general election.

Opponents, most of them Democrats, say requiring photo ID at the polls disproportionately affects the poor, the elderly and minorities - the most likely to lack photo identification.

But supporters, most of them Republicans, say such requirements are necessary to prevent voter fraud.

OK, now the heavy lifting. If people can get fake passports, fake birth certificates and use those to get a valid driver license, what makes the government think they can't get fake photo IDs?

Just think. Every time you see a story about a government, any government, issuing new currency, which they hold in the highest regard, you will see a phrase much like or exactly like this: It will make the currency more difficult to counterfeit. Not impossible to counterfeit, but more difficult.

Give a good counterfeiter enough time and a decent microscope and the counterfeiting of currency or any other document will begin.

Holograms? Gimme a break. They aren't alchemy or magic. Don't believe governments have any more technical expertise than the counterfeiters.

Now, I've posted before I believe all states, if not nations, should use a common format for driver licenses. How can someone in Dallas, Hong Kong, Cork, Istanbul recognize the authenticity of an Iowa driver license when it may be the first time he/she's ever seen one?
Quiz: Which of the above are fake driver licenses? Hint, gambling is legal anywhere in the state. OK, Elvis is dead, so that one, although not fake is at least not valid.

And trust me on this, I've used my US driver license several times around the world for ID.*

Just the other day I was trying to show my sister-in-law I'm endorsed for any size motorcycle. It took me a fucking half hour to figure out where that endorsement was on the damn thing.

How can people around America and the world find pertinent information when they don't know where to look on the license. I couldn't at first and I'm a fucking native.

INFO ALERT: Now before I move on, I offer information you may not know, but can possibly use. I have friends who travel and they had no idea about this.

You can avoid a lot of fucking trouble if pulled over in a foreign country (I have been) or have an accident (I haven't) in a foreign country if you carry an International Driving Permit. They are used in conjunction with your own driver license which they reference. They're valid in most countries and are as important as your passport.

The only temporary problem I've had is an officer came to the window and was confused because he'd never seen such a Permit. A senior officer came over in a couple minutes, looked over the Permit and said in a language I don't know something to the affect it was valid authorization to drive in their country. I was on my way. Three minutes at most.

I can only speak about the US (and apparently the UK has them at AA), but AAA (American Automobile Association) used to issue the suckers for only $10 which included the picture which would cost you about $7 at a photo shop. No membership required and they usually had mine done in less than 15 minutes which was quicker than the photo shop. I obtained a couple IDPs before I realized AAA would handle the photo too. No hassle there and none outside the country.

Why are the posts I think will be quick always so fucking time consuming?

* I should be remiss if I didn't point out I USED to travel, but can no longer afford it.



Couple protest jet noise with obscene rooftop sign

Yeah, I know I'm all over the place right now. So?
The skies won't seem especially friendly to anyone taking off from Philadelphia International Airport if they notice what a suburban couple wrote on the roof of their home.

"(Expletive) [my guess? FUCK] U FAA," the message reads, though one letter of the profane word is substituted with an underline. Below that it [sic] is a picture of a plane with a slash through it and the words "no fly zone."

Homeowner Michael Hall and his girlfriend, Michaelene Buddy, are angry that jets have been flying over their house since last month, when the Federal Aviation Administration altered departures heading out of Philadelphia. Hall says he has to sleep with earplugs.

Airports, for whatever reason, change flight paths. Air safety trumps one couple's wishes for quiet.

This shit particularly pisses me off because the problem could have been so easily avoided.


Its near an airport you maroon. I've lived by airports knowing full well airports and airplanes are noisy as hell.

People are just as stupid about freeways. The freeway was there when they bought the damn house and then they bitch because...there's a noisy freeway right there.

Rumor has it these maroons can vote too. So sad.

Via CNN.


Amazon Destruction Rises Sharply

(AP Photo/Marcello Casal, Agencia Brasil)

This has fucking got to stop and its heartening to see Brasil (Spanish spelling - ed) realizes this. It isn't going to be cheap to patrol the Amazon, identify illegal activities, assess fines, and such, but it is necessary.

I intended to excerpt and call attention to the main points of the next linked report (a little very old —1992— and still prescient). It isn't like we haven't been warned.

But I'm too lazy ass, there's just too much there, I haven't the time for anything except providing you with access to the Effects of Deforestation. I will say the picture painted by the report is uglier than the picture at the top of this post.
Brazil will combat rising deforestation in the Amazon by sending extra federal police and environmental agents to areas where illegal clearing of the rain forest jumped dramatically last year, officials said Thursday.

Authorities will monitor the areas in an attempt to prevent anyone from trying to plant crops or raise cattle there, Environment Minister Marina Silva said.

The new measures were announced after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called an emergency meeting of Cabinet ministers because new data showed an apparent reversal of a three-year slowdown in the Amazon deforestation rate.

The clearing of Brazil's Amazon rain forest jumped in the final months of 2007, spurred by high prices for corn, soy and cattle.

Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes said Latin America's largest nation has plenty of available land for farming and cattle that has already been deforested. Environmentalists fear sugarcane, used here to produce ethanol, could spread through the rain forest, but most ethanol operations are in southern Brazil far from the Amazon.

"It's not necessary to cut a single tree to produce soy or raise cattle," Stephanes said. "There's plenty of land outside of the Amazon to increase the production of soy and beef."

Will the efforts of Stephanes and Brasil work? Doubtful except it might slow deforestation. I pound away at this subject and the concomitant subject of desperate peoples' needs* to take whatever they require.

If you looked at the amazing photographs of the trail to the China tea house I posted earlier and clicked on them, then look closely, you'll notice the chain "handrails" are padlocked to the mountain to prevent theft. People take what they have to and can.

But a few million desperate people, taking what they can, will likely have devastating unintended affects on the rest of the world's people. If you haven't seen it, please rent the Sean Connery movie Medicine Man (1992). It graphically depicts how medicines are lost when the Amazon is destroyed.

Someday you, your loved ones, I might require medicines which only the Amazon can provide. Probably not I, but I'm making a fucking point here.

Time to step down from the soap box? yeah, thought so.

* Should that be singular or plural? I agonized over that single letter "S".

Via Japan Herald.


UN resolution would increase sanctions against Iran, including export restrictions

Jesus H Christ with nukes. He not only walks on water, he can launch nukes from there.

Is there one single person in the Bush administration who isn't a fucking asshole? Or more likely Bush's sycophant? I think syco is exactly right, but spelled wrong. I wouldn't know because I can't spell and am to lazy ass to look it up.

Russia tried to downplay the severity of new Iran sanctions so as not to lose face by accepting them. But no.

Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs had to say the sanctions are "meant to be punitive". The goddamn sum bitch.

That's sending the wrong message to the world. It says the US is in charge and FUCK YOU!
.Major U.N. Security Council powers have agreed on an incremental increase in sanctions on Iran, including a new restriction on exporters doing business with the country, diplomats said Thursday.

A draft resolution also calls for more monitoring of Iran's military and financial institutions, broader travel bans on Iranian nuclear scientists and other key officials, and freezing the assets of people and banks linked to weapons proliferation, Security Council diplomats told The Associated Press.

Diplomats from the five nations with veto power on the council - the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France - spent a third day negotiating a final agreement on principles that would form the basis for a third round of U.N. sanctions on Iran. They were joined by Germany, which has long been involved in efforts to resolve the Iran nuclear dispute.

The general terms were hammered out in Berlin earlier this week, chiefly through negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Those elements have been closely held, though they have begun circulating among the rest of the 15-member council.

Russia and China, which have strong business ties with Iran, resisted earlier British and French draft principles pushing for harsher sanctions if Iran keeps refusing to stop enriching uranium - a process that can provide fuel for a nuclear reactor or fissile material for a bomb.

Iran says its nuclear program seeks only to generate electricity.

The Bush administration continues to press the case that Iran tests ballistic missiles, enriches uranium toward building an atomic bomb, hides information and remains in violation of two previous U.N. Security Council resolutions.

On Wednesday, Russia said the new resolution would not impose harsh sanctions against Iran.

But Nicholas Burns, the U.S. undersecretary of state for political affairs, rejected that claim Thursday, saying the resolution was "meant to be punitive."

I really thought that dog had fallen asleep for now, but was so wrong. Bush still wants to attack, if not nuke, Iran.

I've suggested before Bush should just turn the whole Mid-East into glass. Then go in with a fucking glass cutter and extract the oil. Its what he's been after all along anyway.

And he can admire the pretty colors of the glass. Oh. Wow! So pretty.

Pass the Johnnie Walker® Blue Label™ now please. I think the colors will get even better. Even Laura is starting to look good. Such bright colors. The fucking dogs, not so much.

Via Japan Herald.


Teen's phone call snowballs into social network phenom

Do what you wish with this.

File it under great.

File it under way to go.

File it under gotcha.

File it under we aren't babies.

File it under new era.

File it under civility.

File it under fucking harpy.

File it under respect.

The "file it under" list is practically endless.
Snow days, kids and school officials have always been a delicate mix.

But a phone call to a local public school administrator's home last week about a snow day - or lack of one - has taken on a life of its own. Through the ubiquity of Facebook and YouTube, the call has become a rallying cry for students' First Amendment rights, and it shows that the generation gap has become a technological chasm.

It started with Thursday's snowfall, estimated at about three inches near Lake Braddock Secondary School in suburban Burke, Va. On his lunch break, Lake Braddock senior Devraj "Dave" Kori, 17, used a listed home phone number to call Dean Tistadt, chief operating officer for the Fairfax County system, to ask why he had not closed the schools. Kori left his name and phone number and got a message later in the day from Tistadt's wife.

"How dare you call us at home! If you have a problem with going to school, you do not call somebody's house and complain about it," Candy Tistadt's minute-long message began. At one point, she uttered the phrase "snotty-nosed little brats," and near the end, she said, "Get over it, kid, and go to school!"

Not so long ago, that might have been the end of it - a few choice words by an agitated administrator (or spouse). But with the frenetic pace of students' online networking, it's harder for grown-ups to have the last word. Kori's call and Tistadt's response sparked an online debate among area students about harassment and whether the response was warranted.

Kori took Tistadt's message, left on his cell phone, and posted an audio link on a Facebook page he had created after he got home from school called "Let them know what you think about schools not being canceled." The Web page listed Dean Tistadt's work and home numbers.

The Tistadts received dozens more calls that day and night, Dean Tistadt said. Most were hang-ups, but at one point, they were coming every five minutes - one at 4 a.m., he said. At the same time, his wife's response was spreading through cyberspace.

Within a day, hundreds of people had listened to her message, which also was posted on YouTube. A friend of Kori's sent it to a local TV news station, and it was aired on the nightly news program. As of Tuesday, more than 9,000 people had clicked on the YouTube link. Hundreds of comments had been posted on the Facebook and YouTube pages, largely about what constitutes proper and polite requests for public information from students.

Kori, a member of the Lake Braddock debate team who said his grade-point average is 3.977, said his message was not intended to harass. He said he tried unsuccessfully to contact Dean Tistadt at work and he thought he had a basic right to petition a public official for more information about a decision that affected him and his classmates. He said he was exercising freedom of speech in posting a Facebook page. The differing interpretations of his actions probably stem from "a generation gap," he said.

"People in my generation view privacy differently. We are the cell phone generation. We are used to being reached at all times," he said.

Kori explained his perspective in an e-mail Wednesday to Fairfax County schools spokesman Paul Regnier. Regnier said, also in an e-mail, that Kori's decision to place the phone call to the Tistadts' home was more likely the result of a "civility gap."

"It's really an issue of kids learning what is acceptable and not acceptable. Any call to a public servant's house is harassment," Regnier said.

Candy Tistadt did not return phone messages, but Dean Tistadt credited Kori for having the "courage of his convictions to stand up and be identified." He also credited him for causing the high volume of crank calls, not to mention considerable grief and embarrassment for his wife.

The moral has to be: Don't fuck with the kids. They just may have more power and connections than you. They certainly have more damn connections than you.

Had she just talked to him calmly and treated him with civility, respect this would not be an international story.

Dean Tistadt is kewl. He would have handled the situation.

Courtesy link to National News.


Chuck Norris has two speeds. Walk, and Kill.

And apparently "Pose", but I'm just going by the picture.

UPDATE: Had to change "I ran into this" to "I ran across this". Didn't like the grammar. I'm worried about grammar? What the hell?

Anyway, I think I've done it now. I've invited Johnny* and Chuck to hunt me down and kick my fucking ass.

NOTE: This update includes a change to my last post about Starbucks©.

Hey Starbucks©, the picture suggested this to me. Test try your cheap coffee, with refills, in the Mid-East. If it doesn't work out, fine, but give those suckers a break. Just saying.

Almost forgot. Starbucks©, when you go to the MId-East, take a printout of my last post. The guys will love it more than your coffee.

In looking for Starbucks© logos, I ran across this. The highlighted part is why I'm posting it. Its from back in September which explains how Chuck can be campaigning in the US for Mike Huckabee now.
My little bro is a Marine in Iraq. I thought he was going over there to fix damaged electronics equipment but apparently his base has become a C-List celebrity [I'd rate Chuck B-List -ed] hangout. Here's his last email:
"As you can see in the pictures I've sent, I work with Chuck Norris. We've been working together professionally for a while now, but only recently has our relationship developed to more of a friendship. I've been giving him a lot of advice lately on how to improve his Kick Start Program (his program for troubled teens). He feels that because of my experience in having a troubled youth, I can give first hand advice on how to deal with kids from "the streets." He also asked me to help train him for his next film. I'm putting him through a conditioning program to get him back in shape: his total gym [think that needs caps - ed] that he's been using for years obviously hasn't done the trick. I'm throwing in a lot of martial arts training, too. The movie has nothing to do with karate, but we train anyway since he's not very good at karate.

Interesting shit ain't it?

To be honest, I'd give a nut, OK, maybe a little finger to be in the shape Chuck Norris is. Yeah, a little finger. The short one on the right hand where the doctor removed the joint after the karate debacle and it no longer bends. There's no way Chuck's up to the level of a younger, recently conditioned US Marine.

Doesn't Chuck look short? Maybe Johnny's just really tall.

* Johnny's name was linked to the picture. I don't know him, but he seems like a decent guy and being a Marine pretty much confirms it in my mind. My next door "idol" was a Marine and I hold them in the highest regard. Well, except for the killing people part, but we all have jobs to do.

Via OH, Pepper?


Starbucks testing $1-a-cup coffee, with free refills (CAW)

Original Starbucks© logo

Apparently some old biddy or someone in Marketing thought the original logo was too risqué. So they changed it to the one you're familiar with.

Actually they've used at least four logos I'm aware of in their history since 1971.

OK. This is news and probably good news to many, but it also gives me a chance to post one of my favorite pictures.
Faced with growing competition from cheaper rivals, Starbucks is selling small cups of drip coffee for $1 with free refills as part of a test in its hometown [Seattle].

Hahaha. All you guys out there thought my favorite would be this one, right?

Click for larger...uh, image

BTW: You are right. It is one of my favorite photos.

Yes, there is a difference. The name Starbucks© is copyrighted and the logo is a registered trademark - ®.

Via National News.


Japan studies plan to shoot down hijacked planes

For students of history, or those old enough to remember, the thought of Japan's shooting down any aircraft has to be, at least, disconcerting.

To be fair the headline is slightly misleading because only unnamed sources are claiming this plan is in the works.

The Defense Minister won't go on record with this although he admits all things must be considered.

Why do I detect the fucking "everything is on the table ploy"?
Japan is studying a contingency plan that would allow its air force to shoot down hijacked commercial aircraft during the Group of Eight summit in July, government sources said on Thursday.

Japanese officials are working on detailed plans to protect leaders of the G8 industrial nations, which are due to meet on the northern island of Hokkaido on July 7-9, the sources said.

Under one of the plans being considered, F-15 jet fighters from Japan's air force would scramble to force hijacked aircraft to land at a nearby airport.

"But if that attempt fails and the plane is thought to be heading towards the G8 site to attack the summit, we might have to shoot it down," one of the sources said. "That would be the worst-case scenario we are considering."

Again, to be fair, the Japanese will have armed police officers on all commercial flights as well as posting a "no fly zone" so the G8 should be extremely secure.

Via Reuters.


Heathrow crash inquiry focuses on fuel supply

We still have to wait. Such investigations can take months, but it doesn't surprise me the inquiry is now into the fuel supply.

Read the rest here, please. Its easy to see how a pilot could misinterpret what was happening. Your car never sort of "died" on you and gave you little power? You lucky bastard!

As I posted before. These suckers just "don't stop operating".

I'm still betting on maintenance. My head is solid concrete and I have to be right.

Oh yeah: BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | 'Engines running' on crash plane

Much more information here, but it says only one engine was running. Perhaps this is why these investigations take months? Just asking.

These planes aren't like your Chevy pickup, which is complicated enough, but sophisticated, complicated machines and must be maintained properly and regularly if they're to perform correctly.

As the "more" article states, BA had already ordered maintenance checks of fuel lines because they suspected contamination, perhaps of water, in the fuel systems. If you understand cars you know water in the fuel will kill them. Planes are no different in that respect.

Via Telegraph.


Bank: Trader's fraud cost billions

Can't let this one go. Banque Société Générale of course.
French bank Societe Generale said Thursday it has uncovered a $7.14 billion fraud - one of history's biggest - by a single futures trader who fooled investors and overstepped his authority.

The fraud destabilized a major bank already exposed to the subprime crisis. France's second- largest bank by market value said it would be forced to seek $8.02 billion in new capital.

Trading in Societe Generale's shares, which have lost nearly half their value over the past six months, was suspended on the Paris bourse. It was unclear when trading would resume.

The bank said it detected the fraud at its French markets division the weekend of Jan. 19-20. In a statement announcing the discovery, it called the fraud "exceptional in its size and nature."

It said a trader at the futures desk had misled investors in 2007 and 2008 through a "scheme of elaborate fictitious transactions."

The trader, who was not named (since named Jerome Kerviel), used his knowledge of the group's security systems to conceal his fraudulent positions, a statement from the bank said.

The individual confessed to the fraud, the bank said, and was being dismissed [no shit! - ed]. His supervisors were to leave the group [why? -ed]. Chief Executive Daniel Bouton offered his resignation, but the board rejected it [rightly so - ed].

An analysis confirmed the "isolated and exceptional nature" of the fraud, the bank said.

The fraud appeared to be the largest ever by a single trader. If confirmed, it would far outstrip the Nick Leeson trading scandal in 1995 that bankrupted British bank Barings. Barings collapsed after Leeson, the bank's Singapore general manager of futures trading, lost $1.38 billion on Asian futures markets, wiping out the bank's cash reserves. The company had been in business for more than 230 years.

As always, I have to put in my 2¢.

First, its amazing the security standards were so lax this went undetected so long. That's why I don't know why his supervisors were dismissed. They determined security practices? Daniel Bouton did? I really doubt that.

Second, sometimes one person can make a difference. And a fucking big one. Damn, why didn't I go into banking?

Has anyone called Guinness? He may have just set a fucking record. Step aside Leeson. Your torch has been passed.

At least they might get a few kegs. That might help with the pain.

Yes, I do find humor in some very strange places and subjects.

No...can't go there. Its too dark and icky. But did you hear the one about...

Stop that!



Ford to Offer Buyouts to 54,000 Workers

Good news - bad news - more bad news.

The good news is the buyouts. The bad news is the buyouts. The other bad news is the shirts have not been available since 2004.

At least the poor fuckers being replaced are getting something.
Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it will offer buyout and early retirement packages to all 54,000 U.S. hourly workers in an effort to cut more jobs and replace workers with those making a lower wage.

Chief Executive Alan Mulally said the new round of buyouts was negotiated with the United Auto Workers union.

Just a couple, three things here.

This is no way to build a manufacturing base and Mulally sure as hell should know it. Green workers haven't the skills and experience of the seasoned employees. They'll gain them, but it will be a fucking struggle without the training of the workers they're replacing.

No way would I buy a Ford for the next five years or so.

And what a surprise! Another union fucked its people. The GOP is right. Just get rid of the unions. They're in the companies' hip pockets. They aren't there for the workers anymore. This is from experience.

There are ways to streamline without cutting off your dick.

Via Star Exponent.


Word of the day

I really do learn something new everyday. Some I share, but most not.

And I very quickly forget many of them.
Va·lu·ta: –noun

(in Europe) the value of a currency expressed in terms of its rate of exchange with another currency.

All this brings me to this. Why do I have to add words to the Microsoft dictionary on a daily basis? Can't they afford, being the world's largest software company, to hire a few people to type in all the words in fucking to their dictionary? Or just reference instead of making their own? Just asking.



Filth Falls

Some good news for a change. Damn, I hate it when someone beats me to a story, but I'll survive.
Deliberate trash-tossing has fallen about 2 percent a year since the mid-'70s in communities where it's been measured.

On U.S. beaches, cigarette butts, beverage cans and Styrofoam peanuts for packaging are down, cleaners say. In most communities, pooper-scooper laws now make carefree strolls possible. Even along roadsides, more of what's visible today is grass.

Remarkably, the improvements come despite an increase of 90 million in the U.S. population since widespread trash surveying began in 1974.

It reminded me of a post I've been meaning to do. So I can trump being beaten. Muahaha.

Enter The Population Explosion by Paul and Anne Ehrlich from Amazon for as little as $0.01. Published in 1990, its a sequel to The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich published in 1968 which, interestingly enough, is at Amazon for $11.64.

Now, having gotten all that shit out of the way, we move on.

Ehrlich has been attacked continually since his first book was published.

"This theory is ridiculous."

"overpopulation is not a fact."

"What a scare monger."

Well, folks lets just see if the guy is a complete fool. Shall we?

40 countries face food shortages worldwide

There are other such stories which boil down to: If there are crop shortages for any reason, the world can't feed the people it has. And countries are now diverting food crops to fucking biofuels. Great idea there. - Water shortages will leave world in dire straits

Again, many other such stories. Basically, potable water is being used faster than earth can provide it.

Ah ha! Peak Oil: Life After the Oil Crash

Climate Ark: Climate Change and Global Warming Portal

Dying Oceans, Poisoned Seas - TIME

American Lung Association: SOTA05 Health Effects

National parks aim to ease overuse - State & National

Too many goddamn people are taxing the planet and, to my knowledge, only China is trying to mitigate the problem with their "one child per couple" mandate.

I've posted on this before in the form of "replacing yourself" which doesn't work at all.

This is a relatively old paper from Yale, but germane nevertheless.

Need I go on or have I made my fucking point? Just asking.

Courtesy link to Bad Attitudes.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

More blogging than I expected

But I gotta end with this (these?). May load slowly, but well worth every second.

Tea house in China
Remember click for larger.

Try a mountain trail stroll in China.
1st - Let's take the tram up to the start of the trail.

Now follow the path.

Be sure to hold on to the railing.

Keep an eye on the person in front of you.

Be very careful when passing someone going in the opposite direction.

Now just up a few steps. (They are on the left in the picture)

Gets a little steeper here - so put your toes in the holes.

A few more steps to go.

Finally in sight, the Teahouse!

The view's great, BUT - Would you dare try it?


China discovers 1 bln tons of iron deposits

That should hold them for a while as long as they have smelting capacity. And it appears they do.
Geologists have discovered an iron ore deposit estimated to be at least 1 billion tons in northeast China's Liaoning Province after more than two years of exploration, local authorities said on Thursday.

The newly-found deposit, between 1,280 meters and 1,500 meters underground, is at the Pingshan District, Benxi City, said Wang Wenqing, deputy head of the Liaoning Provincial Survey Academy of Geology and Mineral Resources.

"We plan to spend two to three years finding out the actual reserves," Wang said.

"But we will have to wait even longer before we can start excavating."

Initial exploration show that the iron ore is mainly hematite or magnetite, and the average iron content is 34.68 percent, said Yu Wenli, head of the Liaoning Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources Exploration.

"The deposit can be exploited for more than 30 years," he said.

Now tell me this. Can there be over production? China is to steel what OPEC is to oil. They can control the supplies world wide to protect the prices.

Then there are the Chinese shipbuilding yards which probably don't use much wood to build ships, new production of automobiles for export and domestic sales, exploding construction requiring steel. Nope. It looks like China is doing just fine.

Courtesy link to Xinua.


Gazans pour into Egypt for second day (AFP)

All I can say is thank gawd Mexico has no explosives. At least the US-Mexico border fence will hold 'em back.

My gut feeling is the Mexican people have almost as much incentive to enter the US as the Palestinians have to enter Egypt.

In fact, except for necessities like medicine, the Mexicans may have a greater incentive. They're after work to afford what the Gazans already can afford.
Palestinian thronged out of Gaza into Egypt for a second consecutive day on Thursday to stock up on supplies after militants blew open the border of the Hamas-run territory.

Desperate people won't be stopped. Just wait 'til Canadians run out of Molson.

Hey, folks, that's a fucking joke.

They have other beers such as Kokanee and Labatt. But I'd be on the lookout in Golden Colorado (home of Coors beer).

Via Yahoo News.


Girl switches blood type after liver transplant in first known case: doctors

Of course Demi-Lee Brennan doesn't need your help, but millions do. Five million per year in the US alone.

The amazing human body. Sometimes it shocks the hell out of you.
An Australian girl spontaneously switched blood groups and adopted her donor's immune system following a liver transplant in the first known case of its type, doctors treating her said Thursday.

Demi-Lee Brennan was aged nine and seriously ill with liver failure when she received the transplant, doctors at a top Sydney children's hospital told AFP.

Nine months later it was discovered that she had changed blood types and her immune system had switched over to that of the donor after stem cells from the new liver migrated to her bone marrow.

Via Yahoo! News.