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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.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Rather than taking the entire responsibility for something upon yourself, why not sit down and figure out a way to delegate?
If necessary, you can stay at the head of the chain of command, but that's even more reason for you to hand off tasks to other people to make sure that things keep working at the most efficient rate possible.
Sit down with a few trusted others and start working on ways to divvy up duties.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Oldenburg, Neidersachsen, Germany
London, England, United Kingdom
Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
Kuching, Sarawak, England
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Flensburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Munich, Bayern, Germany
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

as well as Italy, Slovakia and in cities across the United States such as Glendora, Madison, Parkville, Iowa City and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, September 3, the 246th day of 2010.
There are 121 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
National Lazy Mom's Day

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

The Ghosts of Culloden

Sung by Isla Grant 

The Battle of Culloden (April 16, 1746) was the final clash between the  French-supported Jacobites and the Hanoverians in the 1745 Jacobite  Rising. It was the last battle to be fought on mainland Britain.  Culloden brought the Jacobite cause—to restore the House of Stuart  (known as the House of Stewart in Scotland) to the throne of Great  Britain—to a decisive defeat.

The Jacobites—most of them Highland  Scots—supported the claim of Charles Edward Stuart (aka "Bonnie Prince  Charlie" or "The Young Pretender") to the throne; the British army,  under the Duke of Cumberland, younger son of the Hanoverian sovereign,  King George II, supported his father's cause.

The aftermath of  the battle was brutal and earned the victorious general the name  "Butcher" Cumberland. Charles Edward Stuart eventually left Britain and  went to Rome, never to attempt to take the throne again. Civil penalties  were also severe. New laws attacked the Highlanders' clan system, and  even highland dress was outlawed.

Puppy killer caught

A girl shown in a video throwing puppies into a fast-flowing river has been traced, police in Bosnia said today.

The teenager, wearing a hooded top, caused worldwide outrage when she was shown online apparently killing six newborn puppies by throwing them into the river one by one.

Police in the central Bosnian town of Bugojno said they had found the girl from leads given by animal protection groups in the country.

MailOnline knows the name of the girl involved but has decided not to publish to protect her safety.

Baby Killers

A baby boy has reportedly died in an Ohio hospital after medics flushed his system with alcohol instead of saline solution during surgery.

The terrible mistake happened as seven-month-old Tressel Meinardi underwent heart surgery at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center on August 21, Cincinnati.com reported.

Hospital bosses alerted Hamilton County Coroner's Office, which is now investigating.

Lottery winners just as likely to go bust

For some people, even a huge jackpot can't solve all of their money problems. 

North Carolina Football

A dozen players — and maybe more — will sit out the 18th-ranked Tar Heels' game against LSU.  

A Look At I-485's Past, Future Development

If you live in Charlotte and ... If you're trying to get a head start on the Labor Day weekend, you know by now that just getting home - or getting out of town - can be a challenge.

It's Back for a repeat performance

Thousands of vehicles create a miles-long backup, with sleeping drivers just part of the problem.

Black Ops ... a little grey now

Details about U.S. special operations missions come to light as part of a strategy to woo war skeptics. 

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Flimflam man scams Wal-Marts

While not condoning theft (such as what Wal-Mart does everyday). Hurray for him!

In 21 days, a Wisconsin man was able to bilk 21 Michigan Wal-marts out of about $4,500, according to the Kent County Sheriff's Department.

Montana teen accidentally texts sheriff to buy pot

It's been a day of 'less than brilliant' people in the news ...
General rule of thumb: when looking to buy marijuana, don't text the sheriff. 

Authorities say a Helena, Montana teen sent out a text message last week in search of pot, but instead of contacting the drug dealer, he hit a wrong number and inadvertently sent the message to Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton.

Proof that idiots do exist

Amazing what idiots will do!

Checkers Demand Proof

From the "What's good for goose is good for the gander" Department:

Did Orly Taitz really pay her $20,000 fine? "Checkers" Doubt Birther Taitz Paid the $20K, Demand Proof.
The group - calling itself "Checkers" - is convinced that Orly still owes $20,000 dollars to Judge Land, and that the image of the check is either a total phony, or doesn't provide enough evidence to prove that the money was indeed handed over.
"What most  Americans don't realize is that a short-form check, like what Orly's posted online, doesn't have enough information," Allen Bees announced today: "The only way we can be certain of the money having been paid, and Orly actually being off the hook, is to see the long-form check, which would have all the information, and show both sides.
"All she would have to do is show it to us, and we'd be satisfied. Why won't she show us the long form of the check? It's a bit puzzling."

You have been warned!

The next five posts deal with wingnuts
You have been warned!

Those readers with functioning brains (which the overwhelming majority of this blog do) might want to brace their minds for the examples of idiocy to follow. Those readers who are idiots to begin with (and you should know who you are, but 5 will get you 100 you don't) are going to skip the next few posts anyway because they shed light on you and yours.

About that mosque

How to create a moron

Or a wingnut by another name.

Lunatic Fringe

Lunatic Fringe
Otherwise known as the Seditionists
When dealing with wingnuts ... Remember the rule: 
If they accuse someone of something, then they're already guilty of it.

Liars and Fools

Need we say more?


Speaking in tongues

U.S. Sues Arizona Sheriff In Immigration Probe

From the "It's about time" Department:
The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued an Arizona sheriff for refusing to cooperate with its investigation into allegations the sheriff discriminates against Hispanics.
The U.S. Department of Justice is now being forced to sue Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio to compel him to turn over documents needed for the federal government’s civil rights investigation.
Turns out Arizona's "show me your papers" poster boy doesn't like having to produce his. Arpaio has denied investigators access to key documents for over a year and a half.
In light of the news, here's a little background reading on Sheriff Joe.
Arpaio's Record: Higher Crime, Wasted Money, Squandered Trust
America’s Voice Education Fund’s latest report on Sheriff Joe’s record reveals that his high-profile tactics have actually led to higher crime rates, nearly 3,000 lawsuits, millions of wasted taxpayer dollars, and a degradation of the community policing strategies that law enforcement agencies have developed to keep us safe. 
What's more, violent crime is down across the state of Arizona --except in Sheriff Arpaio's Maricopa County. From 2002 to 2009, while the violent crime rate across the state as a whole plummeted by 12 percent, Arpaio's jurisdiction suffered a 58 percent surge in violent crime. The numbers speak for themselves:
As a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the East Valley Tribune found:
Response times, arrest rates, investigations and other routine police work throughout Maricopa County have suffered over the past two years as Sheriff Joe Arpaio turned his already short-handed and cash-strapped department into an immigration enforcement agency.
The full America’s Voice Education Fund report details Arpaio's long, disturbing and ineffective record, including some 21 examples of Arpaio’s disturbing record, such as:
  • Violent crime rates are up in Arpaio’s jurisdiction while they have fallen throughout the rest of Arizona.
  • Arpaio has failed to serve over 40,000 felony warrants. Arpaio is suspected of misspending $50 million in taxpayer funds and has refused to turn over records for an investigation.
  • Over 2,700 lawsuits have been filed against Arpaio and he’s been investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Labor.
  • Evidence suggests Arpaio forced an undocumented mother to give birth while handcuffed to a bed.
Failure to Comply
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been operating above the law for far too long. He's been investigated for using his badge to bully political opponents.
Arpaio sparked national protests last month and even used taxpayer money to pay for a reality TV show. Heck, he even posed for glamor shots with Neo-Nazis. Given his love of the media spotlight, there's no doubt he’ll use this latest development to try to play the victim.
It's unfortunate that the Justice Department has to take this step and force Arpaio to comply with a federal civil rights investigation, but we commend the Department for doing so.  If Sheriff Arpaio truly has nothing to hide, he should have no problem turning over the documents in question.

Non Sequitur


On The Job

On The Job
The unemployment rate climbed to 9.6% in August — but it's actually a good sign.  

Things They Won't Tell You

Things They Won't Tell You
Knowing how the dealer's "holdback" affects the price can come in handy.  

How to make your summer glow last longer

You can keep the sun-kissed look into fall with well-placed bronzer and highlights. 

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
9 Out-Of-The-Ordinary Milkshakes

Though a simple vanilla, chocolate or strawberry milkshake always hits the spot, chefs aren't letting the classics hold them back. Intrigued by the endless possibilities, culinary minds have taken to the challenge of creating the most uniquely delicious milkshake possible using ingredients we'd never dream of dropping in a blender.

From an avocado shake to a sweet bacon-flavored treat, check out the desserts that have, well, shaken up the competition.
From BBQ chicken sandwiches to sundaes, this holiday meal can be fixed in minutes.

Cannabis Catering

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Cannabis Catering offers gourmet meals laced with pot. The delivery service isn't cheap, around $100/person, but damn those pot-atoes look tasty. And yes, you need a medical marijuana card to order.

From Fast Company:
The idea for Cannabis Catering came to (Chef Frederick) Nesbitt when he learned that his friend's diabetic mother had been diagnosed with cancer. "I would bring back edibles [from the dispensary], but they're so high in high-fructose corn syrup that she was high off sugar rather than being medicated," he says. So Nesbitt began experimenting with his own pot food--starting with mashed potatoes.

Improve your memory

Eating certain fruits and veggies slows memory decline and may even reverse it.  



Scientific Minds Want To Know

Scientific Minds Want To Know
A form of water deep within Uranus and Neptune may behave like a liquid and a solid simultaneously, explaining the planets' bizarre magnetic fields

Theory says the Earth's magnetic field can't flip in just a few years, yet for the second time evidence has been found of it happening in the past.

Earl, we hardly knew ye

Though Earl brought heavy rain and strong winds to North Carolina's coastal areas overnight and into the morning, the state "dodged a major bullet," Gov. Bev Perdue told reporters early Friday.

Kiwis: Shaken - Not Stirred

A strong earthquake of 7.1 magnitude has struck 40 kilometers west of Christchurch, causing extensive damage to buildings and roads and cutting power to large areas.

The quake occurred at 4.35am at a depth of 10 kilometers. There have been several aftershocks, the strongest at 4.7 magnitude, GNS Science reports.

Indonesian volcano spews new burst of ash

An Indonesian volcano that was quiet for four centuries shot a new, powerful burst of hot ash more than 10,000 feet in the air Friday, sending frightened residents fleeing to safety for the second time this week.

Time-Lapse Video of the Earth Rotating Under an Astronaut

(Video Link)
Astronaut and educator Don Pettit recorded this time-lapse video from the International Space Station. It shows day turning into night as the Earth rotates beneath him.

Could the red rain be alien life?

For years, claims have circulated that red rain which fell in India in 2001, contained cells unlike any found on Earth. Now new evidence that these cells can reproduce is about to set the debate alive.

Panspermia is the idea that life exists throughout the universe in comets, asteroids and interstellar dust clouds and that life of Earth was seeded from one or more of these sources. Panspermia holds that we are all extraterrestrials.

While this is certainly not a mainstream idea in science, a growing body of evidence suggests that it should be carefully studied rather than casually disregarded.

Scientists Unveil 3-D Map Of Virus That Causes Common Cold

After more than 10 years of work, scientists have completed a detailed 3D atomic-scale map of a virus that causes the common cold. It's the largest virus ever mapped.

The map could help scientists re-engineer the virus for gene therapy, as well as to create possible treatments for cancer and other ailments. Robotic systems, an advanced x-ray, and years of patience made it possible.


I once oversaw the management of a small downtown office building in Phoenix which was leased in part to a major regional bank.  The bank kept complaining of scorpions in the building.  Desert scorpions are small critters with a nasty sting, much like a bee sting.  And, the bank's secretaries would sit on the floor to go through bottom file drawers and sometimes would get stung on the behind.

So the building manager called the pest control company and they sprayed the building. Still got complaints. Sprayed again.  Still complaints.

Clearly another strategy was needed.  The pest control contractor pointed out that scorpions are unusual in downtown Phoenix and there were  no complaints from other tenants on other floors of the building.  He and the building manager concluded that the bank itself was bringing the  scorpions into the building from their record center warehouse out in the  desert.  They alerted the bank to this source of the problem, but the bank  refused to take any counter measures and continued to complain that it  was a building problem.

After several more sprayings, we started to get concerned about the risks of putting more insecticide into the building.  Our pest control contractor was adamant that sprayings would do no good if scorpions kept being reintroduced into the building with each delivery to the bank from its records warehouse.  So I asked the pest control contractor and the building manager to look into the possibility of environmentally safer biological controls such as natural enemies of the scorpion.

A few days later I received a copy of a memorandum from the building manager to the bank facilities department.  He had also posted a copy of this memo on the bank employees' bulletin board:

   "Building management recognizes recent employee complaints
   of scorpions in the bank's records management areas.  We have
   attempted to use pesticides but fear that increasing the level
   of pesticide could pose a health risk for some employees.

   "Because scorpions are native to our desert country and appear to
   be entering the building in the storage boxes delivered from
   the bank's desert warehouse, we have researched safer natural
   biological controls such as those which keep scorpions in check in
   their desert environment.  We have found that scorpions have only
   one natural enemy.

   "Should there be any further complaints from the bank or its
   employees on this matter, building management will be pleased to
   introduce rattlesnakes into the records management areas."

We had no more complaints.

Upping the cute factor

Chihuahua playing pool.

Hero Dog

Richie Bragg was playing with his 18-week-old puppy when a swarm of insects attacked.

Jump the shark

The phrase is inspired by a classic TV show and gained popularity through a website. 

Mass extinctions coming?

Scientists say humans may live in a very different future if entire ecosystems are altered.  

Chimps Found Deactivating Snares Set By Human Bushmeat Hunters

chimpanzee photo
photo: Graham Racher via flickr
Go chimps, go!

An interesting new paper in the journal Primates documents how a group of chimpanzees in Bossou, Guinea have been successfully deactivating snares set by human bushmeat hunters. Though not always successful, the scientists observed the behavior in five juvenile to adult males. Compared to the rate of injuries from snares to chimps--which aren't the target of these hunters, it should be noted--across Africa as a whole, this group in Guinea has remarkably lower casualties.
Article continues: Chimps Found Deactivating Snares Set By Human Bushmeat Hunters

Elephants: India's New "National Heritage Animal" To Receive Same Protection As Tigers

Photo: Elephant being bathed in a temple in Thrissur (K.C. Sowmish via The Hindu)
As long-standing icons of its unique cultural psyche, India's threatened elephants are finally getting the protection -- and well-deserved recognition -- they need. In a bid for better conservation, earlier this week the Indian government formally declared the elephant its "national heritage animal", elevating the legendary pachyderm alongside the likes of the majestic tiger, in the hopes of averting a future conservation crisis.
Article continues: Elephants: India's New "National Heritage Animal" To Receive Same Protection As Tigers

Close encounters of the surreal kind


Sheepshead wrasse

An aquatic creature with an uncanny resemblance to the famous ogre turns heads.  



Ghostly Lights Appear On Dallas Couple's Nanny Cam

Placing a video camera in a baby's room is a common practice these days.

Something you don't see everyday

A policeman watches a horse painted as zebra at a crossing at a highway in downtown Moscow
A policeman watches a horse painted as zebra at a crossing at a highway in downtown Moscow, Russia, Friday, Sept. 3, 2010.

The Surprisingly Interesting History of Margarine

Margarine is a substitute for butter, which makes it a fighting word for the dairy industry. Butter producers and margarine producers battled back and forth for the better part of a century to capture the market for spreading our bread.
Butter was big business, and the notion that a cheaper substitute, even one made in part with milk, might storm the market terrified dairy farmers. They didn’t take the threat lying down, though, and convinced legislators to tax margarine at a rate of two cents per pound—no small sum in the late 19th century. Dairy farmers also successfully lobbied for restrictions that banned the use of yellow dyes to make margarine look more appetizing. By 1900, artificially colored butter was contraband in 30 U.S. states.
Several states took even more extreme measures to turn consumers away from margarine—they required the product to be dyed an unappealing pink color.
The margarine industry fought back, however. 

Rescuing Goats

The confused pair's perch on a 6-inch ledge moved a community to action.  

History's Most Famous Black Sheep

Think that your sibling is embarrassing? That’s nothing compared to these brothers and sisters. I mean, take Al Capone’s brother Vince, for example. Could you imagine how mortified Scarface was when he learned what his brother was up to? I mean, he’s got a gangster image to keep up and all:
In most families, Al would be the embarrassment. However, while he was out making a success of himself by criminal means, his brother “Vince” ran away from home to join the circus, fought in WWI, and eventually became a policeman. Not in Illinois obviously, that would be a conflict of interest. In Nebraska. Vince spent Prohibition shutting down the same type of illegal alcohol productions that were making his brother rich and powerful. He was known as “Two-Gun Hart” and became famous in the Midwest for his law enforcement prowess. Al Capone must have been mortified.