Welcome to ...

The place where the world comes together in honesty and mirth.
Windmills Tilted, Scared Cows Butchered, Lies Skewered on the Lance of Reality ... or something to that effect.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pipe Dream


What's cheaper this holiday season

What's cheaper this holiday season

Prices on many popular consumer electronics have fallen to record lows.

The trillion-dollar decision

The trillion-dollar decision

Fed Chairman Bernanke must decide when to pull the money propping up the banking system.

Placido Domingo tries out Verdi baritone role, but he still sounds like a tenor

The notes were all there. The voice had its familiar warm and muscular sound. The technique remains rock-solid. And yet ... It seems that no amount of hard work or willpower could transform Placido Domingo into the baritone for whom Verdi wrote the title role of his opera "Simon Boccanegra." That gradually became apparent on Saturday night.

And I Quote

Many people lose their tempers merely from seeing you keep yours.

~ Frank Moore Colby

And don't I know it!

Dimbulb and FAUX promote bogus story about Obama's college thesis

As usual, all fake.
And as usual, Media Matters caught them in their lie.

Hoax about Obama fools Dimbulb

A fake college thesis supposedly by the president makes it to Lush Dimbulb's show.

How the joke blew up

(OK so it isn't all that hard to fool Lush ... but this is hilarious)

Bank failures reach 106 for the year - highest since 1992

In yet another stark indictment of the repugican economic model. Friends from Canada were visiting and the banking crisis was one topic of discussion. Our friends told us how Canadian banks were more highly regulated and had higher cash requirements. Following the global banking collapse, Canada then decided to require even more cash from the banks despite them not being hit as hard as their US counterparts.

I don't have the chance to follow their system as much so I'd be interested in hearing more from any of our Canadian readers. Sounds interesting and it could be something to look at. Many times answers to our problems are right there but all too often, countries fail to look at how others have handled the same problem. I credit Obama with starting to look beyond the US border for some issues including transportation. All to often, the US dismisses real world solutions and it's not only a problem of the right.

Judges Siding With Some Homeowners In Mortgage Court Fights

For decades, when troubled homeowners and banks battled over delinquent mortgages, it wasn't a contest.

Judges Siding With Some Homeowners In Mortgage Court Fights

A final shot at fame: Billboard obits

A funeral home is giving people one last chance to have their names up in lights.

Full Story

Texas polygamist sect trial nears start

The first jury trial in more than a decade in the sleepy West Texas town of Eldorado involves an alleged polygamist and an accusation of sexual assault of an underage bride, a far cry from the occasional drunken driving cases that normally occupy the Schleicher County court system.

Full Story

No one on ballot for mayor, council in NC town

Who's on the ballot in a tiny North Carolina mill village?
This year, no one.
The Charlotte Observer reports that no one has filed to run for mayor or any of the three town council seats in Spencer Mountain in Gaston County.

No one on ballot for mayor, council in NC town

Wacky and weird exercise equipment

Wacky and weird exercise equipment

One gadget recreates the surfing experience and another combines a treadmill with a bike.

Lebanon escalates hummus war

Lebanon escalates hummus war

In a bid to outdo Israel, Lebanese chefs whip up a record-breaking two tons of the Middle Eastern dip.

Dream job 2: Exotic psychologist

Another true-life story from our Graduate Careers Special: altered states of consciousness are everyday reality for Nicola Holt, parapsychologist.

Dream job 2: Exotic psychologist

Diners Dig Into Invasive Lionfish, But Do They Really Care About Saving Coral Reefs?

From Treehugger:

red lionfish pterois volitans indonesia photo

A red lionfish seen at the Tasik Ria diving resort in Manado, Indonesia. Photo by Jens Petersen.

To consumers trying to eat responsibly, supermarket shelves and restaurant menus can sometimes seem like minefields of "don'ts." Don't order that blue fin tuna; it's overfished. Don't eat that non-organic peach; it's loaded with pesticides. Don't buy that chicken; it was raised on a factory farm. So it's really not much of a surprise that when a group of people were told, "Eat this fish and help save the environment," they jumped at the chance.

Article continues: Diners Dig Into Invasive Lionfish, But Do They Really Care About Saving Coral Reefs?

Investing in Chinese tea

Investing in Chinese tea

This tea is said to cure a host of ailments and to get stronger as it ages.

Can you think of a word with no vowels?

Can you think of a word with no vowels?

The tricky part depends on one infamously sneaky letter of the alphabet.

Pakistan says anti-Taliban offensive succeeding

The government statement came as a spate of bombings in northwest Pakistan Friday killed 24 people, including 17 headed to a wedding.

Full Story

Strong quake hits eastern Indonesia

A powerful earthquake struck deep under the sea in eastern Indonesia on Saturday, causing panic and sending residents running out of their homes, officials and witnesses said.

Full Story

"Mermaid Girl" Shiloh Pepin Has Died, At Age 10

Shiloh Pepin, the little girl born with the rare condition of "mermaid syndrome" or sirenomelia, has died.
She was only 10.

Full Story

One is a mystery, the other is top secret

One is a mystery, the other is top secret

Amelia Earhart's fate and the Air Force's secret space plane — people want answers online.

Tiny dog goes ballistic over balloons

Tiny dog goes ballistic over balloons

When chasing and barking don't work, this surrounded pooch is left with only one option.

Cities that will skip the housing slump

Cities that will skip the housing slump

The average home price is forecast to plummet over the next two years, but not in these cities.

Tips to help avoid getting lost

Tips to help avoid getting lost

These ideas can ease the journey for those with a poor sense of direction.

Rest In Peace: Voluntary Food Packaging Label "Mark"

From Treehugger:

smart choices label image
Image credit:original from Smart Choices website. Cross added to indicate change of status.

The US packaged food industry Smart Choices labeling program, which went from front-of-package to front page "FAIL" in the space of just two months, began, as our earlier post described, as a label, "...whereby consumers can see if their food purchases meet the criteria set forth by the program for healthy eating. ...Kellogg's Froot Loops meets those criteria. Other smart choices include Fudgsicles, Lunchables and Mayonnaise." The just-suspended label was an industry designed and managed, voluntary effort which seemed designed to fend off a prospective government (FDA) standard for food labeling. New York Times explains that they are suspending operations, which, assuming FDA moves ahead, means "RIP," just in time for Halloween.

Science News

From BBC-Science:
Arctic landscape (file photo)
Legislators from 16 major economies meet to hammer out climate policies ahead of December talks in Copenhagen.


Painted grasshopper (Defra) Passport, please: Stowaway grasshopper first of its kind in UK

Swine flu declared national emergency

Swine flu declared national emergency

Obama suspends federal guidelines so that the infected can receive faster treatment.

Saturday Jam

Today's Saturday Jam includes:

How Bizarre

Bittersweet Symphony
The Verve

No Rain
Blind Melon

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
October 24, 2009
Washington, DC

All across America, even today, on a Saturday, millions of Americans are hard at work. They’re running the mom and pop stores and neighborhood restaurants we know and love. They’re building tiny startups with big ideas that could revolutionize an industry, maybe even transform our economy. They are the more than half of all Americans who work at a small business, or own a small business. And they embody the spirit of possibility, the relentless work ethic, and the hope for something better that is at the heart of the American Dream.

They also represent a segment of our economy that has been hard hit by this recession. Over the past couple of years, small businesses have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Many have struggled to get the loans they need to finance their inventories and make payroll. Many entrepreneurs can’t get financing to start a small business in the first place. And many more are discouraged from even trying because of the crushing costs of health care – costs that have forced too many small businesses to cut benefits, shed jobs, or shut their doors for good.

Small businesses have always been the engine of our economy – creating 65 percent of all new jobs over the past decade and a half – and they must be at the forefront of our recovery. That’s why the Recovery Act was designed to help small businesses expand and create jobs. It’s provided $5 billion worth of tax relief, as well as temporarily reducing or eliminating fees on SBA loans and guaranteeing some of these loans up to 90 percent, which has supported nearly $13 billion in new lending to more than 33,000 businesses.

In addition, our health reform plan will allow small businesses to buy insurance for their employees through an insurance exchange, which may offer better coverage at lower costs – and we’ll provide tax credits for those that choose to do so.

And this past week, I called on Congress to increase the maximum size of various SBA loans, so that more small business owners can set up shop and grow their operations. I also announced that we’ll be taking additional steps through our Financial Stability plan to make more credit available to the small local and community banks that so many small businesses depend on – the banks who know their borrowers, who gave them their first loan and watched them grow.

The goal here is to get credit where it’s needed most – to businesses that support families, sustain communities, and create the jobs that power our economy. That’s why we enacted the Financial Stability Plan in the first place, back when many of our largest banks were on the verge of collapse; our credit markets were frozen; and it was nearly impossible for ordinary people to get loans to buy a car or home or pay for college. The idea was to jumpstart lending and keep our economy from spiraling into a depression. Fortunately, it worked. Thanks to the American taxpayers, we’ve now achieved the stability we need to get our economy moving forward again.

But while credit may be more available for large businesses, too many small business owners are still struggling to get the credit they need. These are the very taxpayers who stood by America’s banks in a crisis – and now it’s time for our banks to stand by creditworthy small businesses, and make the loans they need to open their doors, grow their operations, and create new jobs. It’s time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure a wider recovery, a more secure system, and more broadly shared prosperity. And we’re going to take every appropriate step to encourage them to meet those responsibilities. Because if it’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that here in America, we rise and fall together. Our economy as a whole can’t move ahead if small businesses and the middle class continue to fall behind.

This country was built by dreamers. They’re the workers who took a chance on their desire to be their own boss. The part-time inventors who became the fulltime entrepreneurs. The men and women who have helped build the American middle class, keeping alive that most American of ideals – that all things are possible for all people, and we’re limited only by the size of our dreams and our willingness to work for them. We need to do everything we can to ensure that they can keep taking those risks, acting on those dreams, and building the enterprises that fuel our economy and make us who we are.


Unusual Holidays and Celebrations

Today is Make A Difference Day.

Daily Almanac

Today is Saturday, Oct. 24, the 297th day of 2009.

There are 68 days left in the year.

Today In History October 24

Our Readers

Some of our readers today have been in:

Bournemouth, England, United Kingdom
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Belleville, Ontario, Canada
Karlskrona, Blekinge Lan, Sweden

as well as Germany, an the United States

Daily Horoscope

Today's horoscope says:

This is a wonderful opportunity to figure out what you don't want your life to be, and how you can avoid letting it get that way.
So take a good long look in the mirror this morning and remind yourself that while you might not be the hottest person on earth, you are definitely right up there!
Stay in control of where your life is headed, and you will always end up in the right place.
Sure, it might seem like a nice idea to keep skipping down the road with everybody else, but where the are they really going anyway?

Hey, waddya mean not the hottest?!