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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, April 10, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
You're so responsible!
Kudos for always being on the ball and getting the job done, but you also have the responsibility of making sure your meaning is clear. So when you speak out, speak clearly.
You've seen the drama that miscommunication can create, and you don't have the time for it today.
Friends will appreciate knowing what's on your mind too -- they are eager to keep you smiling and would love some insight on how to do it.
Schedule a dinner so you can dish.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Modena, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
London, England, United Kingdom
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha, Czech Republic
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan
Montreal Quebec, Canada
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

as well as Slovakia, Malta, Bulgaria, Israel, Finland, Austria, Norway, Georgia, Mexico, Peru, Kuwait, Serbia, Bangladesh, Latvia, Greece, Scotland, Hong Kong, Denmark, Wales, Iran, Singapore, Poland, Taiwan, Sweden, Afghanistan, Belgium, Tibet, Croatia, Pakistan, Romania, Paraguay, Sudan, Vietnam, Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Maldives, Qatar, Brazil, New Zealand, United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, China, Iraq, Ecuador, Nigeria, Colombia, Chile, Honduras, Paupa New Guinea, Moldova, Venezuela, Germany, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Czech Republic, Vietnam, Norway, Finland

and in cities across the United States such as Duluth, Medway, Chetek, Plano and more.

Today is:
Today is Sunday, April 10, the 101st day of 2011.
There are 264 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
National Farm Animals Day
and
Safety Pin Day.
Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Gadhafi's most unlikely asset

A fluke of the English language puts top politicians and even the Air Force in an ironic spot.  
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Cold War neutrals now taking sides, timidly

Swedish fighter jets are roaring into action over Libya under NATO command. 
Ireland is offering itself as a transit hub for U.S. military deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

New protests in Cairo leave two dead, many wounded

Is it unreasonable for the people of Egypt to see some progress on the investigations into corruption?

BBC News:
Two people have been killed and at least 15 wounded during protests in Tahrir Square in the center of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, doctors said.

The violence occurred overnight as the army tried to clear protesters calling for ex-President Hosni Mubarak to be tried and an end to military rule.

The injured suffered gunshot wounds but the army denies using live rounds.

Bahrain police beat up human rights activist

Proving yet again that the government is a bunch of thugs. Is the US going to keep quiet or will they bother to do something about their partner in the region?
Authorities in Bahrain on Saturday detained and beat a prominent human rights activist in part of widespread crackdown on the opposition in this tiny Gulf nation, a Bahraini human rights group and his relatives said.

The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who formerly worked for international human rights organizations, was detained on Saturday in a pre-dawn raid. Al-Khawaja's daughter, Zainab, confirmed the arrest and said her father was taken from her house in a Shiite village outside the capital, Manama.

She told The Associated Press that armed and masked men, some wearing black police uniforms and carrying riot gear, stormed her house around 2 a.m. on Saturday. They beat her father unconscious before leading him into custody along with her husband and her brother-in-law, she added.

Members of Congress Spent 27% of Their Time Taunting Each Other

And you wonder why you get the impression of a kindergarten class whenever you think about Congress!

Debates are part of a healthy democracy but why does it seem like Congress has so much trouble working out a deal over the budget? (Or anything else for that matter)
Harvard professor Gary King decided to take a look at how members of Congress communicate with each other and found something surprising: they spent 27% of their time taunting one another!
A Washington Post reporter sent King and his students a sampling of 48 recent news releases, a week’s worth, from three top congressional Democrats and three top Republicans.
Of those, King’s folks said, 20 percent were mainly about taunting the other side. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) sent one out on proposed Social Security changes that said, “Republicans have shown they couldn’t care less about those who have the least.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) sent out one on the anniversary of the federal health-care law saying, “Democrats have not displayed the same interest in listening to the American people.”
King said this tendency to taunt seems to show Congress distracting itself from its most basic mission: to find common ground to solve national problems.
“I think most people,” he said, “would say that this is not a good thing.”

Repugicans Offer No Death Panels, Just Death From Lack of Care

Repugicans concocted death panels in an attempt to terrify Americans about health care reform, then propagated the lie because they wanted insurance corporations to profit from illness and injury unfettered.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed anyway, but now the repugicans have announced that they plans to kill the reform, and Medicaid and Medicare too.

In one fell swoop, repugicans would foreclose on Americas’ long-held and cherished expectation that they’ll receive health coverage from their government in their old age, impoverishment or infirmity.

For the elderly, poor, unemployed, disabled and juvenile who can’t afford insurance, the repugicans offer no death panels, just death from lack of care.

Unqualified High-Salary Guy Quits

Follow-up to a previous post: Wisconsin lobbyist’s son unexpectedly quits lavish government job.
BrianDeschaneMugShot The son of a Wisconsin lobbyist whose firm heavily donated to Gov. Scott Walker (retard) has unexpectedly quit his appointed post just days after media reports criticized the governor for picking him over candidates far more qualified for the lavishly paid state job.
Brian Deschane, 27, was initially given a job that earned $64,728-a-year, but within two months was bumped up to a position that earned over $81,000. He was demoted earlier this week, after Gov. Walker came under heavy rhetorical fire in the media for the hire.
His qualifications: dropping out of college, working for a few repugicans, working for a lobbyist shop and getting busted a couple times for DUI. Other candidates for the job, who sported much weightier qualifications, were not even interviewed.
Deschane's online resume places him at a number of jobs in recent years, including fundraising for repugicans, working in the office of a repugican state Senator, managing a failed repugican congressional campaign and finally serving pseudo-political functions at big business lobbying groups connected to his father's industry.
That's too bad. It's becoming increasingly difficult to fine well-qualified government workers.
The photo is a mug shot from one of his DUI incidents.

The Meeting

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America's most tax-efficient man

Doug Stives obsessively documents every expense so he can pay the IRS as little as the law allows.
Also: 

How one couple trims expenses

When tough times hit the Hopkins family, they made drastic changes to their spending.  
Also: 

Bob Dylan to rock Vietnam in special concert

Bob Dylan performs with his band in Beijing in this April 6, 2011, photo.

After nearly five decades of singing about a war that continues to haunt a generation of Americans, Dylan is finally getting his chance to see Vietnam at peace.

English school principal announces zero tolerance for mismatched socks

The City of Ely Community College in Cambridgeshire, England has decided to restore discipline to its student body by nonsensically conflating genuinely disruptive behavior (talking in class) with mere individualism (wearing mismatched socks or brightly colored hair-bobbles). School principal Catherine Jenkinson-Dix is hell bent on producing a generation of young Britons who can't tell the difference between cooperating with your peers and blind conformity -- just what the future needs (assuming that the future won't require any original thought).
Nonetheless, some shocked parents are attacking the new rules and accusing Ms. Jenkinson-Dix of turning the school into a "prison." "I'm absolutely appalled. They are wrecking pupils' education and turning it into a prison," Amanda King, 34, who pulled her 12-year-old son Ben and daughter Shannon, 14, out of classes, told the Cambridge News.
"Staff are nit-picking for everything -for behavior, for what they wear. Apparently they are not allowed to wear any accessories or even coats in school now."
Another mother, who asked not to be named, said, "Yes, children should be taught to respect their teachers but to punish them for wearing bright hair bobbles or having their mobile phones is petty. I'm not happy about the new rules at all."

The Piper

As a bagpiper, I play many gigs. Recently I was asked by a funeral director to play at a graveside service for a homeless man. He had no family or friends, so the service was to be at a pauper's cemetery in the Kentucky back country.

As I was not familiar with the backwoods, I got lost and, being a typical man, I didn't stop for directions.

I finally arrived an hour late and saw the funeral guy had evidently gone and the hearse was nowhere in sight. There were only the diggers and crew left and they were eating lunch.

I felt badly and apologized to the men for being late. I went to the side of the grave and looked down and the vault lid was already in place. I didn't know what else to do, so I started to play.

The workers put down their lunches and began to gather around. I played out my heart and soul for this man with no family and friends. I played like I've never played before for this homeless man.

And as I played 'Amazing Grace,' the workers began to weep. They wept, I wept, we all wept together. When I finished I packed up my bagpipes and started for my car. Though my head hung low, my heart was full.

As I opened the door to my car, I heard one of the workers say, "I never seen nothin' like that before and I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."

A Good One

My neighbor knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning, can you believe that 2:30am?!

Luckily for him I was still up playing my Bagpipes.

Meanest airlines in the U.S.

A new report ranks carriers for lost bags, meanness, lateness, and bumped flights.  
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Ziggy

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Oklahoma Tribe Gets $109,000 For Nutrition Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a grant to an Oklahoma Native American tribal nutrition education program through its Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations .

FDA Brings Clarity to Food Recalls: But Are We Any Safer?

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Food recalls have become a part of our lives. It seems every other day a recall makes us stop in our tracks and see if we happened to purchase the current contaminated food item. But according to Food Politics, the FDA is trying to bring transparency to the food recalling system. But are we any safer?
Article continues: FDA Brings Clarity to Food Recalls: But Are We Any Safer?

Secret signs of addiction

Despite the stereotypes of addicts, most become good at disguising their behavior.  
Also: 

Odds and Sods

A miner has found a fossil from a shark jawbone deep in a central Kentucky mine and now it is on display at the University of Kentucky.

Shopping traps at the mall

The one-day 15 percent discount offers from stores often aren’t as simple as they seem.
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Helpful Hints

Unless stained, jeans need to be washed only after wearing four or five times.  
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Toes Tenderly Treated

goodbyefuturehellopast:

Toes Tenderly Treated: 1922
National Archives
Toes Tenderly Treated: 1922
National Archives

Homes built inside caves

These swank underground abodes feature amazing acoustics and indoor waterfalls.  
Also: 

Living Little

The smallest house in Toronto
Small houseSmaller living may be coming into fashion, but it’s definitely not a new idea. Sandwiched between two normal-sized neighbors, the Little House is the smallest home in Toronto, Canada. The land on which the house sits was originally designed as an alley for one of the neighboring homes. City officials never approved the curb cut, so in 1912 contractor Arthur Weeden decided to make use of the land and built a house on it (in which he and his wife lived for 20 years).
With only 312 sq. ft. of space, the Little House is a neighborhood favorite, and stops traffic from time to time. American celebrity Ellen Degeneres was so won over by its charms she expressed interest in one day owning it. An engaging and detailed history of the home can be found at The Little House Website.

Non Sequitur

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New Mustang packs 800 hp

An upgrade package gives the new Shelby Super Snake a truly epic amount of power.
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Car brands with bad reputations

Poor reliability and ho-hum models explain the low scores in a survey on quality.  
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Captain Clueless

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At least they're honest about it ...

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Dumb Crooks

Authorities say a North Carolina man is facing drug trafficking charges, accused of accepting a delivery of 266 pounds of marijuana packed in a shipment of steel beams.

Hand Mittens

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These 'mittens' were only used for a short time because they could be used as weapons by the criminal wearing them - that and the fact that deputies had to physically 'hold it' if the criminal needed to avail themselves of the facilities if you catch the meaning.

Wit of the World

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On a Tiny Museum's Roof, Paris Tests the Limits of Urban Wind Power

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The Maison de l'Air and its two wind turbines, in Paris. 
All photos: Alex Davies
Paris' Maison de l'Air is in the City's 20th arrondissement, on high ground, overlooking the Belleville Park and providing a great view of the whole city. But it's only by standing in the park and looking up at the Maison itself that you see the two rather unassuming wind turbines that adorn the buildings roof. They are the evidence of a year-long and ongoing study, which, those responsible hope, will indicate how to make the City's roofs into an army of wind power generators.
Article continues: On a Tiny Museum's Roof, Paris Tests the Limits of Urban Wind Power

True Color 3-D Hologram

Holograms are pretty cool, but they’re lacking in the color department. Well, not for long, perhaps. Photonics physicists from Osaka University in Japan have managed to capture the original colors of an object in 3-D holograms:
The team at Osaka took another approach, they use both lasers and white light. They first fire a laser at an object, say an apple, to create an interference pattern, but instead of just one laser color, they actually use three; red, green and blue.

The interference pattern is then captured on a light sensitive material which is coated with silver (because it contains electrons that are easily excited by white light) and silicon dioxide (to help steer the waves).

They then shine a steady white light on the metal sheathed material exciting the free electrons, causing the creation of surface plasmons, which results in the regeneration of the captured image as a true-color 3-D hologram; one that can be viewed from almost any angle and is the same colors as the original object.

B.C.

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Fishing

Two friends are fishing near a bridge.

Suddenly a Hearse and two Funeral Cars go over the bridge so one of the men stands up, takes off his cap and bows his head.

When the cars have gone he puts his cap back on, sits back down and carries on fishing.

His mate turns to him and says, "Dave, that's one of the nicest most respectful things I've ever seen."

Dave replies, "Well we were married for nearly 20 years."

Leave it to the Irish

An Irishman named O'Leary, who loved to sing as he worked, bought a mule to farm his garden. The mule worked well but was almost totally deaf. When his owner yelled, "Whoa!", the animal often continued plowing.

Asked how the mule was working out, O'Leary shook his head.

"There was a time," he said, "when all the neighbors could hear was me singing my lilting melodies.

Lately, I'm afraid, they've heard nothing but my riled Irish whoa's!"

Animal Pictures

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