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.


Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Ever notice that at least nine times out of ten when someone suddenly pops into your mind for no reason at all, it's not at all unusual to bump into them just as suddenly, or to get a call from them -- sometimes, almost immediately?
Well, guess what?
Yep.
You're due.
These are the times that convince many of us that there really is no such thing as a coincidence.
A master plan, perhaps -- fate, maybe -- but coincidence?
Nah.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Milan Lombardia, Italy
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Edithvale, Victoria, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Leeds, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Modena, Eilia-Romagna, Italy
London, England, United Kingdom
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Paris, Ile-De-France, France

as well as Singapore, Brazil, China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia and in cities across the United States such as Jasper, Bedford, Wake Forest, Durham and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, October 31, the 304th day of 2010.
There are 61 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Carmel Apple Day
National Knock-Knock Jokes Day
and
National Magic Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Happy Halloween

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It's Samhain ... what are you doing to celebrate?

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Welcome to the ancient festival of Samhain - the time when the barrier between the visible and invisible is at it’s weakest and those that have left this world on their timeless journey can draw closer to us.

This is the time when our Celtic ancestors celebrated their ancestors and the legacy of life and dreams, myths, magic and legends that they inspired - reflecting not only on those that have gone before us but on their own mortality.

In Celtic lands the passing of someone is always celebrated with a ‘wake’. This is not a sad time but a cause of celebration - a time to rejoice at the passing of the soul to a better place. This time, the time of Samhain was a perfect time to reflect and reconnect with those we have loved and cared for.

This is also a time of primeval energies when barriers fall and worlds merge. The tradition of ‘trick or treating’ came from these lands when on this - of all nights - but it was also done throughout the year - the earth spirits (the Sidhe or the faery) had to be placated - ‘treated’ or they would curse your lands (trick) and livestock.

Today our children take the role.  Playful, in the moment, spiteful when crossed - who better reflects the earth spirits? Hallow’en (All Hallow’s Eve - the christian festival of the holy souls which is tomorrow) is not a time of terror - but of reflection, reconnection and joy.

Fall colors at their peak

Photographer John Simmons captures the glory of fall in the N.C. mountains.
FALL_COLOR_19

Haunted House


Mickey Mouse from 1929

Police Given Unruly Witches Handbook

U.K. police officers on patrol for Halloween celebrations Sunday have been armed with a 300-page handbook that includes information on how to deal with unruly witches.

The Belles of the Ball

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Home (Holey, Moley, Me Oh My)


Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

Don't Wait Up For Me


The Donnas

I wouldn't if I were You

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I wouldn't if I were You. Messing with us is not the brightest idea you've ever had.

New suspicions about bomb plot

Bombs addressed to U.S. synagogues may have been designed to detonate midflight.  
Also: 

Explosive marijuana experiment destroys freezer, fridge


Police say a man who tried to distill the active ingredient from marijuana using butane gas inadvertently caused an explosion that sent the door of his refrigerator through a wall in his home.

Little known sources of air pollution

Candles add ambiance, but those made from paraffin emit chemicals and soot.  
Also: 

Shoe

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Awesome People Tricks

This collection of gasp-inducing favorites showcases the amazing feats people can do.  
Also: 

Pontiac comes to an end

After 84 years, General Motors finally drops the declining Pontiac brand.  
Also: 

Awesome Pictures

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All the World Loved the Swastika before WW2

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Shadows Dancing

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Judge: NC Voters Must Be Warned About Touch Screen Machines

A judge ruled Saturday that NC voters must be warned touch-screen voting machines are sensitive and poll workers will need to keep detailed records of complaints.

The Rally to Restore Sanity


See the 100 Best Signs At The Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear yesterday in Washington, DC.
And all are spelled correctly!

Oh rally?

Some post-rally tid-bits

TPM has some great pics of choice signs found on the mall today

Plus this one of Uncle Sam

More proof wingnuts need spell check (or at least proof-readers)

Oddly enough, some media pundits (Marc Cooper) thought the comedy show was political-content free. Imagine that.

How big was the rally? take the source w/a grain of salt, but MTV says 250,000, Viacom says 200,000.

Even an editor for the Atlantic, who was there, says it was bigger than Beck.

(via: Skippy)

About 950,000 voters have already cast ballots in NC

About 950,000 voters have already cast their ballots in North Carolina.
This is not a good sign for the wingnuts

Non Sequitur

...

Debt Collection Firm Accused Of Setting Up Phony Courtroom

Talk about a kangaroo court!


Call it "theater of the real."
A debt collection firm is accused of setting up a fake courtroom, complete with a raised "bench" and judge in black and other decorations and furniture, to trick and holding bogus hearings to extract payment from debtors.

Foreclosure suspension puts buyers in limbo

1031foreclosure 76oJosh and Tayla Thomforde thought they had a deal to buy a three-bedroom house with a fenced-in backyard and room for their family to grow. But the nation's latest foreclosure quagmire scuttled their plans.
Also:


Scary Credit Card Issues

The key to handling a lost card or a missed payment is to promptly contact the bank.  
Also: 

Despite high-tech, auto-adjusting smartphones, folks still confused about DST

One of the two times of the year for Americans' internal clock to be screwed up is nearly here. Daylight Savings Time 2010 is about to end, and despite the popularity of smartphones, folks are still asking: when do we turn the clocks back in 2010? 

Be careful with 50% off deals

Price-slashing deals sound great, but their sales tags may come with strings attached.  
Also: 

Culinary DeLites

Look for exotic dishes like strozzapreti and conchiglie at these highly rated spots.  
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Pumpple: The Turducken of Cakes

Flying Monkey, a bakery in Philadelphia, created a cake dubbed the “pumpple”. It’s a pumpkin pie and apple pie baked between chocolate and vanilla cakes and covered with buttercream icing:
This oversize creation weighs in at a whopping 15 pounds and measures more than a foot tall. And at 1,800 calories a slice, it’s not for the faint of heart.[...]
It starts with the pies, which it par-bakes. The half-cooked pumpkin pie is dipped into chocolate cake batter and baked. The apple pie and vanilla cake get the same treatment and are baked on top of the chocolate cake. Its massive size means that it spends hours in the oven. Homemade buttercream is then — literally — the icing on the entire cake.

B.C.

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Upping the cute factor


Dog and Dolphin Swim

Zoo critters do some Halloween pumpkin-smashing

Even some of the critters at the North Carolina Zoo can partake in a long-standing tradition of Halloween mischief: pumpkin-smashing. The zoo is holding its annual "Pachyderm Pumpkin Pounding" on Sunday, which is Halloween.

Ten Greatest Animal Photobombs

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Indian Giant Squirrel

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

President Obama's Weekly Address

 
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
October 30, 2010
Tuesday is Election Day, and here in Washington, the talk is all about who will win and who will lose – about parties and politics.

But around kitchen tables, I’m pretty sure you’re talking about other things: about your family finances, or maybe the state of the economy in your hometown; about your kids, and what their futures will bring.  And your hope is that once this election is over, the folks you choose to represent you will put the politics aside for a while, and work together to solve problems.

That’s my hope, too.

Whatever the outcome on Tuesday, we need to come together to help put people who are still looking for jobs back to work.  And there are some practical steps we can take right away to promote growth and encourage businesses to hire and expand.  These are steps we all should be able to agree on – not Democratic or Republican ideas, but proposals that have traditionally been supported by both parties.

We ought to provide continued tax relief for middle class families who have borne the brunt of the recession.  We ought to allow businesses to defer taxes on the equipment they buy next year.  And we ought to make the research and experimentation tax credit bigger and permanent – to spur innovation and foster new products and technologies.

Beyond these near-term steps, we should work together to tackle the broader challenges facing our country – so that we remain competitive and prosperous in a global economy.  That means ensuring that our young people have the skills and education to fill the jobs of a new age.  That means building new infrastructure – from high-speed trains to high-speed internet – so that our economy has room to grow.  And that means fostering a climate of innovation and entrepreneurship that will allow American businesses and American workers to lead in growth industries like clean energy.

On these issues – issues that will determine our success or failure in this new century – I believe it’s the fundamental responsibility of all who hold elective office to seek out common ground.  It may not always be easy to find agreement; at times we’ll have legitimate philosophical differences.  And it may not always be the best politics.  But it is the right thing to do for our country.

That’s why I found the recent comments by the top two Republican in Congress so troubling.  The Republican leader of the House actually said that “this is not the time for compromise.”  And the Republican leader of the Senate said his main goal after this election is simply to win the next one.

I know that we’re in the final days of a campaign.  So it’s not surprising that we’re seeing this heated rhetoric.  That’s politics.  But when the ballots are cast and the voting is done, we need to put this kind of partisanship aside – win, lose, or draw.

In the end, it comes down to a simple choice.  We can spend the next two years arguing with one another, trapped in stale debates, mired in gridlock, unable to make progress in solving the serious problems facing our country.  We can stand still while our competitors – like China and others around the world – try to pass us by, making the critical decisions that will allow them to gain an edge in new industries.

Or we can do what the American people are demanding that we do.  We can move forward.  We can promote new jobs and businesses by harnessing the talents and ingenuity of our people.  We can take the necessary steps to help the next generation – instead of just worrying about the next election. We can live up to an allegiance far stronger than our membership in any political party.  And that’s the allegiance we hold to our country.

Thank you.

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Better get your chores done now, because in a couple of days, a certain someone will make it their business to completely monopolize all your attention.
If it happens to be your current partner, you can expect that the bond between you two will deepen and intensify.
If it's someone new, don't be surprised if you feel like you've known them forever.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands
Eidthvale, Victoria, Australia
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
London, England, United kingdom

as well as Italy, Poland, Moldova, Vietnam, Russia, Switzerland, Brazil and in cities across the United States such as Milwaukee, Chippewa Falls, Arvada, Waterloo and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, October 30, the 303rd day of 2010.
There are 62 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
International Bandanna Day.

It is also:
Haunted Refrigerator Night
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Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Costume Mishaps Put The 'Ow!' In Halloween

Attaching an eye patch with super glue could have turned out so much worse. One 45-year-old man was gluing the final touches for his pirate costume, which included a fake beard and moustache as well as the patch, a couple of Halloweens ago.

What's Samhain?

The origin of Halloween is a far cry from modern tradition's vampires, trick-or-treating and candy corn. Dating back about 2,000 years, Halloween was originally called Samhain, and marked the beginning of the Celtic New Year.

Roughly translated from Irish Gaelic, Samhain means "summer's end," according to "Creating Circles & Ceremonies: Rituals for All Seasons And Reasons" (Career Press, 2006). In ancient times, the holiday marked the transition from the "light" part of the year to the "dark" portion, as daylight hours became shorter and the weather grew colder. For this reason, the holiday is also known as "harvest's end" and "winter's beginning."

The day was celebrated starting at sundown on October 31 and through the day on November 1. It was believed — and is still believed by Pagans and Wiccans — that Samhain is when the veil between this world and the spirit world is thinnest, and departed spirits can return to mingle with the living.

"In the European traditions, Samhain is the night when the old God dies, and the Crone Goddess mourns him deeply for the next six weeks," according to "The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways" (Llewellyn Worldwide, 1994). "The popular image of her as the old Halloween hag menacingly stirring her cauldron comes from the Celtic belief that all dead souls return to her cauldron of life, death and rebirth to await reincarnation."

All Saints Day began to take the place of the Celtic Samhain holiday when the Christian Church began to spread throughout Ireland, around 700 A.D., according to "Ireland" (Random House, Inc., 2007). The night before All Saints Day, October 31, came to be called All-Hallows Eve, Hallowmas, or Hallowe'en, according to "Creating Circles & Ceremonies."

"Like many other pagan festivals, the Christians adapted Samhain and made it a Christian event," said Joan HanniganVogt, a spokesperson for the Tara Circle, an Irish cultural organization in Yonkers, N.Y. "The Celtic people used to celebrate the event by wearing costumes, which represented various Celtic deities."

The ancient Celtics also lit bonfires to guide the souls of the deceased to "the other side," played funeral games and kept hearths burning all night for protection from evil spirits. The custom of handing out candy on Halloween stems from the Celtic tradition of giving food and money to costumed celebrants, just in case they were the physical incarnations of lost souls.

"The modern trick or treat is obviously a mimic of the custom of doing things to please the spirits or risk some evil," HanniganVogt told Life's Little Mysteries.

The jack-o'-lantern, a Halloween staple, also has its roots deep in Celtic soil. Based on a folklore tale about a forlorn ghost named Jack, jack-o'-lanterns were originally made using a hollowed-out turnip with a small candle inside, and were set out during Samhain to guide lost souls — and scare away evil ones.

When the Irish potato famine of 1846 forced Irish families to flee to North America, the jack-o'-lantern came with them. But turnips were hard to come by in the states, and pumpkins proved to be the perfect substitute, according to "Halloween and Commemorations of the Dead" (Infobase Publishing, 2009).

Americans embraced Irish Halloween festivities, and the jack-o'-lantern tradition carries on to this day.

Wizard of Id

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Oregon man goes 3 miles in wheelchair to help sister


A 73-year-old Oregon man traveled three miles in his wheelchair before hunters found him and helped rescue his sister after their car got stuck for two nights in the snow.

Girl fakes out would-be kidnapper ...

... pretends iPod touch is an iPhone
A 12-year-old girl used some quick thinking and an iPod touch to scare off a potential kidnapper.
Full Story

Awesome Pictures

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Humor, activism at Stewart rally

A festive blend of humor and political activism surrounds the crowd gathered for the Washington event.  
Also: 

Park Service says 'well over 200,000' attended Stewart/Colbert rally

Publicly, Parks Service doesn't estimate crowds. 
Privately, it has told Viacom there are "well over 200,000" people at the rally, exec says.

It should be noted that despite outrageous claims to astronomical numbers by the wingnuts for their 'rally' last August, the Parks Service puts them at 50,000 and under (and they were being generous with that number) - so more than FOUR TIMES as many people showed up to say NO MORE to the wingnuts in the numbers as the Parks Service sees them ... and they should know - they have to clean up after them. Although you can bet they won't have as much trash to pick up after this rally ...

'Sanity' rally's top moments

Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart delivered a mix of easy comedy and serious commentary.
Also: 

Welcome to Crazytown

Vote Sanity

Charges of political corruption have little impact on voter opinion

Repugican claims of political corruption in North Carolina’s Democratic Party have made little impact on public opinion among potential voters in the state, according to new polling data analyzed by North Carolina State University researchers.
Well, seeing has how the most corrupt (i.e. the repugicans) are making the claims it is no wonder that they are being ignored.

Bump and Slide

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Plot shows lax parcel security

Varying security protocols around the world leave air shipping open to potential threats, experts say.  
Also: 

Arrest in Yemen in bomb plot

More suspects sought

Yemeni authorities arrested a woman Saturday and searched for other suspects linked to al-Qaida's Persian Gulf faction in the plot to mail bombs powerful enough to down a cargo plane.

Yemen warns of 26 more suspicious packages

Some may have already been sent out of the country.
After intercepting two mail bombs addressed to Chicago-area synagogues, investigators are searching for two dozen more suspect packages that terrorists in Yemen attempted to smuggle onto aircraft in a brazen al-Qaida terror plot.

Authorities on three continents thwarted the attacks when they seized explosives on cargo planes in the United Arab Emirates and England on Friday.

The plot sent tremors throughout the U.S., where after a frenzied day searching planes and parcel trucks for other explosives, officials temporarily banned all new cargo from Yemen.

Sri Lankan arrested in India with 2,060 diamonds in his stomach

Police in India have arrested a Sri Lankan man with 2,060 diamonds and other precious stones in his stomach. The man was arrested on arrival at the airport in the southern city of Madras (Chennai) on Tuesday, police said.

The stones - estimated to be worth between $337,000 (£211,747) and $674,000 (£423,485) - have been recovered, police said. Once doctors confirmed the presence of stones in his body, the man was fed laxatives and bananas to eject them.

Senior police officer in Madras SR Jangid told a press conference he received a call about the man on Tuesday morning from a "reliable informant". The man had successfully cleared the customs and immigration and a search of his bags did not yield anything, police said.


"Even during questioning, he could not sit comfortably and when questioned, he told the police that he was suffering from piles," Mr Jangid said. "The police grew suspicious and took him to Chromepet Government Hospital. When doctors examined him, they found the stones lodged in his gut." Mr Jangid said the stones were stored in 42 condoms and it took the police six hours to retrieve them.

Wonder Woman goes shopping

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The eternal Rocky Horror

The 35-year-old film, honored on "Glee," still inspires fans to throw toast and shout at the screen. 
Also: 

A love letter to a Digital Camera

This shooter has an unremarkable 10 megapixels, but another feature makes it a standout.  
Also: 

What Are the Most Popular Books in a Prison Library?

Avi Steinberg, a former prison librarian, has written a memoir about his experience. In it, he recounted the books that were the most popular among prisoners, and why:
The prisoners’ book choices are suggestive: Anne Frank was effectively coping with incarceration in her Amsterdam attic, and Plath is an obvious choice for those less than contented with their lot. Participants in Steinberg’s women’s writing group insisted on checking out an author’s photo before they would read the book, with interesting reactions. Flannery O’Connor’s portrait got a positive verdict – “She looks kind of busted up, y’know? She ain’t too pretty. I trust her” – but the judgment on Gabriel García Márquez was blunt: “That man is a liar”.
Crime fiction was also very popular.

Non Sequitur

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Get the most for your gold

Follow these four rules if you’re thinking about selling due to gold’s record prices.
Also: 

The U.S.'s most affordable cities

Your money will go further in these low-cost, prosperous metro areas. 
Also: 

The truth be told

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Why is a dollar called a 'buck'?

Some think it was derived from bartering with buckskins, but there is a problem with that theory. 
Also: 

Groom hires diggers to save cash

A Chinese groom who works for a heavy machinery company used a fleet of bulldozers instead of wedding cars to save money.

How a couple saved 70K

Jaime Tardy wanted to quit her job, so she and her husband got creative.  
Also: 

Funny Pictures

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There are too many 'jokes' to even begin here.

Bad Cops

Virginia cop is convicted of federal extortion charges

Missouri police officer charged with assault on prisoner

Video shows West Virginia deputy hitting and choking a suspect in the department's holding facility

Virginia cop is indicted for taking guns seized from criminals and reselling them on the street

Georgia cop faces charges in connection with double murder

Study shows widespread racial profiling by New York Police Dep't

Three New Orleans cops fired after pleading guilty or no contest to assorted crimes

Mississippi cop is indicted on nine counts of deprivation of rights under color of law

Thanks for the booty

Two suspects face multiple charges after North Carolina police said they left a note thanking the homeowners for the $5,000 worth of electronics gear and food they stole.

Police seize cocaine embedded in bologna

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A Massachusetts man has been arrested after a kilogram of cocaine hidden inside a hollowed-out chunk of bologna was delivered to his home.

Judge tells McDonald's to pay $17,500 for making employee fat

A former manager of a McDonald’s franchise in Porto Allegre, Brazil, sued the hamburger chain for making him gain 65 pounds while he worked with them for over a dozen years. McDonald’s must pay him $17,500 as recompense for his weight gain, a Brazilian court ruled on Tuesday. The 32-year-old man, whose identity wasn’t disclosed, complained that the company's policy of mandatory food sampling caused him to balloon from about 155 lbs. to 231 lbs. while working at their restaurant in southern Brazil.

The man said that he felt forced to taste everything on the menu to ensure the quality of the food because McDonald's hired undercover customers to randomly visit restaurants and report back on quality. Also, he blamed the free lunches consisting of burgers, fries and ice cream, which contributed to his excessive weight gain during the course of employment.


Judge Joao Filho agreed with the man, and issued a ruling against the company, ordering them to pay $17,500 to the ex-employee. "We're disappointed with this preliminary court ruling, as it's not an accurate representation of our highly regarded work environment and culture." said a McDonald’s spokesman.

McDonald’s countered the manager’s claims, noting that several healthy options are available for the employees. “The chain offers a large variety of options and balanced menus to cater (to) the daily dietary needs of its employees,” it said. “We're disappointed with this preliminary court ruling, as it's not an accurate representation of our highly regarded work environment and culture,” McDonald's said in a statement. “This case is still a pending legal matter and it would be premature to draw conclusions at this time.”