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, July 25, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
There may be some fireworks coming, but you can tamp your flashier emotions down quickly.
You're dealing with long-term passions, so if you're already partnered, use your energy to have an intimate chat.
You're undoubtedly pleased by the outcome, and you should feel even closer afterward.
If you're currently single, let someone know you're interested .

Today is:
Today is Sunday, July 25, the 206th day of 2010.
There are 159 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Carousel Day or Merry-Go-Round Day
Thread the Needle Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Photo History

You know this duo?

Have Gun - Will Travel

Theme for the TV series sung by Johnny Western

A turn of a phrase

Excuse my French
Please forgive my swearing.
A coy phrase used when someone who has used a swear-word attempts to pass it off as French. The coyness comes from the fact the both the speaker and listener are of course both well aware the swear-word is indeed English.
This usage is mid 20th century English in origin. A version of it is found in Michael Harrison's All Trees were Green, 1936:
"A bloody sight better (pardon the French!) than most."
The precise phrase comes just a few years later in S.P.E. Tract IV., 1940:
"Excuse my French! (forgive me my strong language)."
The source of the phrase is earlier and derives from a literal usage of the exclamation. In the 19th century, when English people used French expressions in conversation they often apologized for it - presumably because many of their listeners (then as now) wouldn't be familiar with the language. An example of this was given in The Lady's Magazine, 1830:
Bless me, how fat you are grown! - absolutely as round as a ball: - you will soon be as enbon-point (excuse my French) as your poor dear father, the major.
'En bon point' is French for 'plump; well-nourished'. It might seem odd to us now that the speaker, having been rather rude about her compatriot's appearance, felt obliged to apologize for doing so in French, but not for the rudeness itself.

High-paying careers to skip college for

These jobs don't require a four-year degree, but you'll need specialized skills.  

Like Opus says ...


Reality Check

The truth will set you free!

BP CEO expected to leave company

Tony Hayward reportedly is stepping down as the oil spill's boardroom drama intensifies.  

Oil plumes are from BP's well

Researchers at University of South Florida confirm that Sub-Sea oil plumes are from BP's well disaster.



Woman Killed Her Children Because They Were Autistic

An Irving, Texas, woman told a 911 operator that she strangled her two young children Monday because they were autistic, according to a recording of the call.

Exodus precedes Arizona crackdown

The state's looming immigration law is scaring away scores of undocumented workers. 

Jordanian police nab lettuce lady during protest

An animal rights activist has caused a stir in Jordan's capital by covering herself in lettuce in a quirky attempt to persuade Middle Eastern meat lovers to go vegetarian.Crowds quickly gathered to gawk at the lettuce lady, but police were not amused.Officers briefly arrested the Jordanian activist, Amina Tarek, and a colleague from People for the ...
Those PETA freaks are everywhere!

Flood waters slam the Midwest

A failed dam in Iowa sends boats crashing into a river and threatens nearby towns.  

Finger-pointing follows deadly stampede

Love Parade organizers and police are blasted for the way they routed hordes of people. 

Tim Conway's elephant story ...

In an outtake from the Mama's Family series. Conway keeps disrupting the filming of an episode, and his fellow cast members keep trying to maintain their composure in the face of it.

Traits that happy retirees share

The single most important indicator of happiness in retirement isn't related to money or age. 

'Harmless' habits that age you

Too little time in bed, at the gym, or with your friends can make you look and feel older.  

The healing effects of forests

“Many people,” says Dr. Eeva Karjalainen, of the Finnish Forest Research Institute, Metla, “feel relaxed and good when they are out in nature. But not many of us know that there is also scientific evidence about the healing effects of nature.”

Home Remedies Around the World

Chicken soup may be good for the soul, but some people swear that it's also good for the body. Many people reach for a steaming bowl of chicken soup whenever they've got a cold, while the equivalent remedy in Japan is ginger tea.

But are these home cures, passed down from generation to generation, really therapeutic? Experts about folk remedies from around the world tell us if they've got any merit.

Broom Hilda

Broom Hilda

Universe Inside A Black Hole

All this time, it turns out that we may just be living inside a black hole. Physicist Nikodem Poplawski of Indiana University posited that inside each black hole there could exist another universe:
"Maybe the huge black holes at the center of the Milky Way and other galaxies are bridges to different universes," Poplawski says. If that is correct – and it’s a big "if" – there is nothing to rule out our universe itself being inside a black hole. [...]
How would we know if we are living inside a black hole? Well, a spinning black hole would have imparted some spin to the space-time inside it, and this should show up as a "preferred direction" in our universe, says Poplawski. Such a preferred direction would result in the violation of a property of space-time called Lorentz symmetry, which links space and time. It has been suggested that such a violation could be responsible for the observed oscillations of neutrinos from one type to another.

Mantis in fossil amber

An magnificent specimen, posted at Minerals and Fossils.

'Human Fish' Can Live 100 Years

The olm (Proteus anguinus), a foot-long salamander nicknamed 'the human fish' because of its fleshy skin and tubular shape, is certainly a strange-looking animal. This animal is most notable for its adaptations to a life of complete darkness in its underground habitat. The olm's eyes are undeveloped, leaving it blind, while its other senses, particularly those of smell and hearing, are acutely developed.

But beneath the surface, they're even weirder: Olms can live for 100 years, far longer than any other amphibian. Scientists have no idea why.

Scientists Rediscovered Mysterious Cell Structure: the Nucleolinus

Attention cell biologists: think that you know all cell components? Nucleus? Nucleolus? Basic stuff, right?
Now how about this: nucleolinus. If you never heard of it, you’d be excused – the nucleolinus is a structured that was discovered and forgotten long ago. Until scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Jospehine Bay Paul Center re-discovered it:
"We’ve known for a long time that there are elements in the cytoplasm that need to be assembled for the cell to divide," Mark Alliegro says. "But this tells us that elements in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus have to join together to make the apparatus that separates chromosomes [an important part of cell division]."
This function of the nucleolinus, which is closely associated with a structure called the nucleolus, could clarify recent studies indicating an important role for the nucleolus in cell division. "When people talk about the nucleolus playing a direct role in cell cycle regulation, it may very well be that it’s the nucleolinus," Mark Alliegro says.
Mark Alliegro and his colleagues speculate that the nucleolinus may be responsible for recruiting proteins required by centrosomes, which have long been known to play an important role in cell division. "What we’re doing now is attempting to answer some functional questions about the nucleolinus in Spisula cells," he says. "But we’re also moving it into other systems that are easier to experiment in." They are planning to study the role of the nucleolinus in mammalian cells.

Non Sequitur

Non Sequitur

Wooden peg = "treenail" = "trunnel"

A report from Rhode Island about old wooden ships eroding out of seaside sand dunes:
Seaweed drapes much of the eroded woodwork — timbers nine inches square extending from keel to gunwale and still covered in part by strakes, wooden planks that run from stem to stern. Here and there a green stain betrays the occasional metal pin, perhaps of copper, but the hull is held together mostly by wooden pegs...

They’re called treenails, pronounced “trunnels,” said D.K. “Kathy” Abbass, founder and director of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project.

Abbass said that method of ship construction dates back centuries, but maritime traditions die hard.

“Wooden pegs don’t really help” in determining the age of the ship, she said. They only began falling out of fashion in the last century. She said the yacht Coronet, which is being restored by the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, is built treenail-fashion.

Gu├ędelon Castle: a New Medieval Chateau Rises in France

Sometimes things are worth waiting for.  Gu├ędelon in France is a castle being built using only medieval techniques. As such (and perhaps unsurprisingly) it is the first castle of its type to be built in France for getting on for 800 years.  An experiment in archaeology in reverse.  Instead of digging down, the archaeologists are building up.
Little known outside of France the castle still boasts a huge amount of visitors, over 300,000 in 2009 (making it worthwhile visiting early in the morning before the those clad in twenty first century clothing somewhat dim the experience). Visitors can wear what they will. Workers on the site on the other hand cannot wear modern items such as watches although they can get away with spectacles if they are needed.

Something amazing is happening near the quiet French town of Treigny in the historic region of Burgundy. Something that has not been attempted for hundreds of years is slowly appearing - a full scale medieval chateau is being painstakingly built entirely by hand. This is a thirteenth century chateau rising in the twenty first century.

Villagers open grocery shop inside phone box

Villagers have fought back against the decline in rural services by opening a grocery store in a disused phone box – and nothing has been stolen even though it is left unattended. The charming facility – stocking milk, sandwiches, newspapers and other everyday items – has been set up inside a vacant red phone box next to the site of the village's former shop. It is operated according to the "honesty box" principle, with residents leaving payment for any goods they take. The tight-knit community of Draughton, North Yorks, was left without easy access to basic items after the post office closed following the retirement of its owners in April 2008. Lewis Cooke, who runs a newsagent which is four miles away in Skipton, continued to deliver newspapers and tinned items on to the porch of the shop so residents could come and collect their goods.

But after BT made the derelict phone box directly outside the former site of the post office available for just one pound last year it was decided that the parish council would buy it and make unique use of it. Mr Cooke, 49, said: "The parish council got in touch and explained that they had got this phone box and wanted to use it as a place to leave groceries and newspapers for people. I said that would be fine and deliver the things to the phone box every morning just before 7am. I put a list of everything that we have in the phone box and people can just call up and tell me what they want. They know that it will be put in the phone box the next day and they can just come by whenever they want and pick it up. Everything has the person's name on it so they can just collect it and go.

"Customers either pay with a credit card over the phone or by leaving a cheque for me. It has been amazing the way everyone has respected the things that are left there. The phone box isn't locked and people can come and go in there when they want but no one has taken a thing, which just shows how honest everyone around here is." A shelf was built into the phone box specifically to hold newspapers, while others display the groceries on offer which include jam, milk, tea bags, sandwiches, butter, cheese and biscuits. Mr Cooke doesn't charge his customers anything extra for delivery, making the journey especially each morning to drop off what his clients want.

Parish clerk Jane Markham, 50, said the unusual telephone box collection system worked because villagers were so trustworthy. She said: "It's a good example of the community spirit of the village, we all look after each other. We talked about putting a lock on it, but we decided it wasn't necessary. People here just want to look after each other. When the weather was bad last winter we all helped each other, some of the roads are quite steep so you have to look after the elderly. At first the telephone box was used just for newspapers, but it worked so well that two weeks ago we decided to try groceries as well." About 70 residents in Draughton, which has a population of just 250, use the telephone box and more are expected to join the new grocery service.

Good Luck

You're gonna need it!

How 10 American Towns Got Their Weird Names

The following is an article from Uncle John's Supremely Satisfying Bathroom Reader, by Kathy Kemp, author of Welcome to Lickskillet: And Other Crazy Places in the Deep South
Plan to hit the road next summer, but don't know where to go? We don't mean to be rude, but have you considered Hell? Hell, Michigan, that is. (And you thought you had to drive south.) For a different kind of vacation, check out this tour of off-road America, where unusual names are the main attraction:

Photo: David Ball 
1. Hell, Michigan
If you've always wanted to see Hell freeze over, visit this place in winter, when the Highland Lake dam often gets icy enough to stop the water flow. In summer, when temperatures are moderate, the town has a "Satan's Holidays" festival and a road race called "Run to Hell." In October is the "Halloween in Hell" Celebration. The town got its name in 1841, when George Reeves, an early settler in this low, swampy place in southeast Michigan, was asked what the thought the town should be named. "I don't care," Reeves said. "You can name it 'Hell' if you want to."
2. Slapout, Alabama
Oscar Peeples, the town grocer in the early 1900s, was forever waiting on customers who asked for things he didn't have. "I'm slap out of it," Peeples would say. This central Alabama community, north of Montgomery, is now little more than a crossroads, with a church, bank, barber shop, and the tumbledown remains of Peeples' old store.
3. Noodle, Texas
In the late 1800s, Texans often used the word noodle to mean "nothing," which is exactly what they found when they arrived at this locale near Abilene. Now there are two churches, a store and an old gin.
For nearly a century, the population has held steady at about 40 people. (Photo: Jack Williams via TexasEscapes.com)
4. Joe, Montana
When quarterback Joe Montana signed on with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, a Missouri radio station urged the folk of Ismay, in southeast Montana near the North Dakota border, to change the town's name to "Joe." The sports-minded citizenry, all 22 of them, voted in favor of the change, and a new industry was born. In fact, money raised from selling, "Joe, Montana" souvenirs enabled the town to build a new fire station.

Photo: digitalhooligan [Flickr]
5. Lizard Lick, North Carolina
Since 1972, the residents of this town, 16 miles east of Raleigh, have held lizard races every fall to herald the farming community's unusual name. It dates back to the days when the area was home to a federally operated liquor still, and lizards were brought in to cut down on the insects. Traveling salesman noticed the creatures and dubbed the community Lizard Lick.

Downtown Chicken Alaska Photo by J. Higgs 
6. Chicken, Alaska
The village, in the Alaskan wild near the Canadian border, is named for a bird, but not the one you think. In the late 1800s, gold miners found a reliable meal in the abundance of ptarmigan, a grouse-like critter whose white feathers make it look, from a distance, like a chicken. When the townsfolk decided to incorporate in 1902, none of them knew how to spell ptarmigan. So they went with the look-alike Chicken to avoid the jokes of misspelled name would incur. Unfortunately, poultry jokes now abound. The town has a full-time population of about 30 people and mail delivery every Tuesday and Friday. There's a saloon, but no telephones or central plumbing. Incidentally, the ptarmigan is now the Alaska state bird.
7. Spot, Tennessee
A dot in the road about an hour west of Nashville, Spot was named by a sawmill operator who was always writing folks about business. One day, pen in hand, the sawmill operator sat at his desk, worrying over a letter from postal authorities wanting to know what to call the town. A spot of ink dropped onto the sawmill operator's white stationery, and the town had its name. By town, we mean a couple of houses and a ramshackle store.
8. Peculiar, Missouri
In the spring of 1868, Postmaster E.T. Thomson decided to name his town "Excelsior," but postal officials told him it was already taken. Thomson reapplied with new names, and received the same response time after time. Exasperated, he finally told postal officials to assign the town a unique name, one that was "sort of peculiar." Peculiar, near the Kansas border just south of Kansas City, is home to about 1,800 people.
9. Zap, North Dakota
A Northern Pacific Railroad official, in charge of naming settlements on the line, named Zap after Zapp, Scotland, because both places had coal mines. The city, about 15 miles south of Lake Sakakawea, encompasses one square mile and is home to about 300.
10. Embarrass, Minnesota
If faces are red here, it's only because the town - 205 miles north of St. Paul - is typically the coldest spot in the continental United States. The midwinter temperature often drops to -60 °F, and snow has been known to fall in June. The name comes from early settlers, who used the French word for obstacle - embarras - to describe the hardships they faced in the frigid territory. Today, the population is largely Finnish. They celebrate their thriving community with a Finnish-American Festival every summer.
And Don't Forget ...
Think the preceding towns have nutty names? Here are some more:
- Idiotville, Oregon
- Knockemstiff, Ohio
- Monkey's Eyebrow, Kentucky
- Satan's Kingdom, Vermont
- Toad Suck, Arkansas

Wizard of Id

Wizard of Id

The World's Strangest Bathrooms

Popular Mechanics has a slideshow of 18 oddities in bathroom design.
Pictured above is a floating bathroom that the US National Park Service installed in Lake Powell (UT/AZ) to persuade people there not to simply relieve themselves in the water.
The official website confirms that there are, in fact, six such floating facilities.

Woman suspected of attacking man and throwing urine at police

Police jailed a woman on suspicion of attempted murder on Thursday after she allegedly tried to run over a man with her car, then hurled a bag full of urine at arresting officers, authorities said. Monica Avila, 39, of Pasadena was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, according to sheriff's booking records.

The incident began shortly after 3 a.m. when police responded to a report of a trespassing in the 300 block of E. Penn Street, Pasadena police Lt. Chris Russ said. "The victim reported that when he came out of the house to talk to the trespasser, she tried to run him down with her vehicle," Russ said.

The alleged victim, a 44-year-old man, was the brother of Avila's ex-boyfriend, police said. The man was not hurt, however the woman allegedly crashed into a fence in her attempt to run over the man before she drove away, he added. Police found Avila in the vehicle at Los Robles Avenue and Buckeye Street, Russ said.

When officers tried to arrest her, "She removed her urostomy bag and deliberately threw it at three officers, who were exposed to its contents," Russ said. Police then arrested Avila, he said, took her to a hospital to be examined because of the car crash and booked her on suspicion of attempted murder. Additional charges were possible stemming from the assault on the officers.