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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.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
So you thought you were serious yesterday?
And totally unwilling to crack a grin, much less let anything slide?
Well then, batten down the hatches, because you ain't seen nothing yet.
Yesterday was just practice.
You're now fully prepared to do whatever it takes to grab hold of the steering wheel and hang on to it, especially if you believe that whoever is driving now isn't up for the challenge.
Go ahead and grab that wheel.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Rio De Janeiro, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Coffs Harbor, New South Wales, Australia
Klang, Selangor, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany
Swindon, England, United Kingdom
London, England, United Kingdom
Germiston, Gauteng, South Africa
Bremen, Bremen, Germany
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Katowice, Slaskie, Poland
Rome, Lazio, Italy

as well as Scotland, China and in cities across the United States such as West Bend, Ashtabula, Kissimee, Pleasant Hill and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, September 14, the 257th day of 2010.
There are 108 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
There are none.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Family reunited with dog seven years later

Jake was just a puppy when he was stolen from Brad Davis's family.  

President Obama's children's book to hit shelves

"Of Thee I Sing"—penned before the president's inauguration—is a "tender" letter to his daughters.

Skateboarder stops Quran burning in Texas

Also,  well done by the local Unitarian church as well for organizing a  response to the religious extremist.  The skateboarder really won the  day though.

Teenager banned from US for barracking Obama

Another lesson in the "Drugs make you stupid" Department:
(In this case alcohol)

A British teenager has been banned from America for life for sending Barack Obama an abusive email. Luke Angel was reprimanded by police on both sides of the Atlantic after firing off a drunken message to the White House calling the president a "prick".

The FBI intercepted the message and contacted police in the UK who went to see the 17-year-old at his home in Silsoe, Bedfordshire. Luke, a college student, is now on a list of people who are banned from visiting the States. The teenager said that he had sent the email after watching a TV programme about September 11.

When asked about the ban, Luke said: "I don't really care. My parents aren't very happy about it. The police who came round took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever."

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: "The individual sent an email to the White House full of abusive and threatening language. We were informed by the Metropolitan Police and went to see him. He said, 'Oh dear, it was me'." Officers will take no criminal action.
He may not care about it but being stupid is no way to go through life. We have more than enough morons of the 'homegrown' variety as it is stumbling through each day and tripping everyone unfortunate enough to be near them when they fall.

Iran frees American

Sarah Shourd has been released after more than a year of tense negotiations.

Culinary DeLites

Culinary DeLites
Whole Foods' customers can use color codes to see the environmental impact of their picks.  
Garlic, fish sauce, and ginger add plenty of flavor to a quick Thai chicken stir-fry.  

Corn syrup gets a new name

The makers of high-fructose corn syrup battle a wave of bad publicity by calling the product something else.
It ain't working folks - people are wise to this trick this time and Mercury laced corn syrup is so out of favor with the consumer it will never be profitable again.

Ohio mom arrested for giving toddler pot

A southwest Ohio prosecutor says a woman has been arrested after video on her cell phone showed her teaching her 2-year-old daughter to smoke marijuana.

The man was a spy

The man who captured iconic images of Martin Luther King on the night he died also fed his secrets to the FBI.  

The Green Book

During the Jim Crow era in the United States, it was neither easy nor safe for African-Americans to travel from town to town. For three decades, The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide was an indispensable resource for finding a place to stay, eat, or buy gas in towns across America. Not necessarily the best places, but any place that would provide accommodations at all if you weren’t white.
A Harlem postal employee and civic leader named Victor H. Green conceived the guide in response to one too many accounts of humiliation or violence where discrimination continued to hold strong. These were facts of life not only in the Jim Crow South, but in all parts of the country, where black travelers never knew where they would be welcome. Over time its full title — “The Negro Motorist Green Book: An International Travel Guide” — became abbreviated, simply, as the “Green Book.” Those who needed to know about it knew about it. To much of the rest of America it was invisible, and by 1964, when the last edition was published, it slipped through the cracks into history.
The Green Book has been revived in a way, as a new play and a children’s book about the travel guide and those who used it are set to debut.

Human ancestors had cooties

Cooties, of course, are a colloquialism for lice. And our cooties, so says Smithsonian, have a lot to tell us.
For instance, a 2008 study of ancient Peruvian mummies found that lice were already making themselves at home in the Americas, long before the arrival of Europeans. And the DNA of those lice is identical to that of lice we know originated in Africa. If the lice moved to the New World from Africa, it's likely the people they lived on did, too.
Even more intriguing—there's actually a type of head louse that only lives in the Americas. And scientists think it's a remnant of interaction between Homo sapiens and our Asian cousins, Homo erectus.
They found two genetically distinct types of head louse, one found worldwide and another exclusive to the Americas. Strangely enough, this would be possible if the two groups of louse had been living on the heads of two different species on different continents, the scientists say. Reed argued that both modern and archaic humans had their own types of lice. As modern humans--Homo sapiens--began to move out of Africa, they would have intermingled with Homo erectus--Homo sapiens' evolutionary predecessors that were living in Asia and East Africa--picking up their archaic parasites along the way to the New World.
Read more, and get links to the original research papers, at Smithsonian

First Hourglass Dolphin in 150 Years Found on New Zealand Shores

hourglass dolphin photo
Image credit: Massey University
When Dr. Karen Stockin, a marine ecologist at Massey University in New Zealand, was called in to perform an autopsy, she was expecting to find a carcass of the relatively common dusky dolphin. Instead, she was surprised to see that it was, in fact, an hourglass dolphin—the first to wash up on the shores of New Zealand in more than 150 years.
Article continues: First Hourglass Dolphin in 150 Years Found on New Zealand Shores

Walruses Come Ashore in Alaska As Arctic Ice Melts

walrus photo
photo: Heather Thorkelson via flickr
In an event that the US Geological Survey is saying is "directly related to the lack of sea ice" in the Chukchi Sea, tens of thousands of walruses have come ashore in northwest Alaska. The AP quotes USGS biologist Anthony Fischbach as saying they "stretch out for one mile or more. This is just packed shoulder to shoulder."
Article continues: 10,000+ Walruses Come Ashore in Alaska As Arctic Ice Melts

Rare Kiwi Hatches from New Zealand Earthquake

new zealand kiwi bird photo
Image credit: Allie_Caulfield/Flickr
The magnitude 7.0 earthquake that shook Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this month caused damage and threatened the life and livelihood of many of the city's residents. Now, as the recovery begins, there is at least one small cause for celebration: A rare kiwi, whose incubator was rocked by the quake, has hatched.
Article continues: Rare Kiwi Hatches from New Zealand Earthquake



Man captures himself on camera falling to his death

An Austrian man was photographed falling to his death by his own camera after he used the self-timer function to take a picture of himself on a scenic tower in a picturesque region of the country.

Boeing tears down historic aircraft factory

Plant 2 made some of the famous planes that helped the war effort in WWII.  

Movie Theater Bus

In the 1960s, the British government built seven buses with movie theaters inside. Only one survives to this day, but it’s been lovingly restored to its original grandeur. The bus can hold twenty-two people and is used by its owners to promote the cultures and arts of southwestern England.

DIY Plumbing Disasters

One thing that can make you feel better about the weird things in your home is to see how much worse it could be. A plumbing information site compiled stories, links, and videos of plumbing disasters that range from “substandard” to “Rube Goldberg”!

Exploding Sauerkraut

Who says high school science is boring? A hazmat team was summoned to a school in Prince George, British Columbia when a can of sauerkraut exploded!
Twenty-four students and four staff members at Kelly Road Secondary School were put into quarantine Friday afternoon after a can of the preserved cabbage exploded in a food sciences class.
Teachers didn’t know what was inside the can when it blew up, and called the local fire department and police to prevent an outbreak of botulism, a potentially fatal disease caused by bacteria sometimes found in canned food.
Investigators were soon able to identify the substance as the popular German sausage topping, which had been left to ferment for years.
When the hazmat team was finished, students were sent home for the day.

Drinking for Three

This guy went into the bar Friday night and ordered three beers. In fact, every Friday night he went into the bar and ordered three beers and drank them all by himself. Three beers...every Friday night. Not 2. Never 4. Always 3.

Well, the bartender couldn't figure this out. Without fail this guy always came in. The bartender finally said to the guy, "Every Friday night you come in here and have three beers. There must be a story to this. You never order 2 beers, or 4 beers, always 3."

The guy said, "Yes, there is a story. You see, me and my two buddies always went out for a beer on Friday night when we were in Vietnam. One night while we were drinking we decided that we would continue doing this when we returned to the States. We also decided that if one of us didn't make it, the other two would drink the third one's beer. And if two didn't make it, the third guy would drink the other two beers. The other two didn't make it back so I'm drinking theirs."

The bartender felt bad.

Well, the next Friday night the guy came back into the bar as usual, but only ordered two beers. The bartender couldn't believe it.

From then on, Friday after Friday, this guy now ordered only two drinks.

The bartender was so puzzled he just had to ask the guy about it. The bartender said to him, "I notice you've only been ordering two beers for the last few weeks. There has to be a story here."

The guy said, "Yes, indeed there is a story. You see, I joined the Mormon church and I can't drink beer any more."

Make a good credit score even better

Even if you have an absolutely perfect payment history, 65% of your score is determined by other factors.

"Were You Born on the Wrong Continent?"

America's misguided culture of overwork
Germany's workers have higher productivity, shorter hours and greater quality of life. 
How did we get it so wrong?

Good Question


Illiteracy in America

Another 50 million Americans cannot read past the 4th grade level.
This means that approximately 1 in 6.5 Americans are essentially illiterate.
Well, at least you know who the wingnuts are now.

Lunatic Fringe


Why innocent people confess to crimes

Despite having no involvement in a crime, some supply "uncannily reliable" confessions.  

Why drop in crime is surprising to some

The U.S. crime rate declined again in 2009, but the ongoing recession could change that.  

Bad Cops

Bad Cops

Program, Policy and Plan


The facts about the expiring tax cuts

Whether or not to extend the Bush-era policy will likely dominate political debate.  

Senate repugicans plan on blocking middle class tax cuts

For the repugicans, if you're not making $250,000, screw you. Strange that it sounds like the repugican party might have an small internal conflict on the issue. It's an interesting approach for the midterm elections so let's see how that floats with the public who support increasing taxes on the richest 2%. Right about now would be the time for Obama to go for the jugular and drive a larger wedge within the repugicans. Let's hope he finds it in him to continue his recent (good) attacks against the obstructionist repugicans.
Senate repugicans have enough votes to block President Barack Obama's plan to extend tax cuts for the middle class while allowing those for the rich to expire, a spokesman for the Senate repugican leader said Monday. (Only in the fantasies in their minds do they have enough votes - but what else is new.)

Repugicans Monday scrambled to regroup on the tax issue ahead of Nov. 2 congressional elections after House repugican Leader John Boehner appeared to open the door for a possible compromise. (Yes, and the cow jumps over the Moon, too.)

Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate repugican Leader Mitch McConnell, said Senate repugicans are united on the issue. "There are no repugicans who support a tax hike," he said. (except only the two largest tax hikes in the history of the nation and every other tax hike that's come down the pike since 1860.)

Goldman Sachs warns on tax increases for Goldman Sachs employees

Wow, who ever would have guessed that Goldman Sachs would support maintaining the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%? The average salary - including secretaries, not that they get are paid especially higher than elsewhere - is well over $600,000 per employee. Whether this is from a Goldman "economist" (whatever that means these days there) or not, this only adds fuel to the fire. What middle class American who bailed their sorry butts out of the gutter wants to fund yet another windfall for Goldman or anyone on Wall Street?

How convenient.
What did Jan Hatzius make last year? And how much would he have made if Goldman wasn't bailed out?
Extending the shrub tax cuts for all income levels beyond year-end would add a "couple tenths" to US economic growth, while allowing the tax cuts to expire would result in "well over a percentage point" hit, Jan Hatzius, chief U.S. economist at Goldman Sachs told CNBC.

"If everything was allowed to expire, as is the current legislation at the end of this year, that would be a major impact," Hatzius said.

How much do members of Congress make?

Lawmakers may have forsaken a raise this year, but many of them are already millionaires. 

Entrepreneurial Mistakes

Going it alone and listening to too many advisers are surefire ways to sink a start-up.

On The Job

On The Job
You may have more influence than you think, but the key is knowing the source.

The corporate ladder

Making partner at the firm means you're "set for life" — until you get demoted.  

Cuba to cut 1 million government jobs

Maybe that's what he was suggesting the other day when Castro spoke of the 'system' not working. This is a dramatic change and it definitely represents a new era in Cuban history.

The Cuban labor federation said more than a million workers would lose their jobs - half of them by March next year.

Those laid off will be encouraged to become self-employed or join new private enterprises, on which some of the current restrictions will be eased.

Analysts say it is biggest private sector shift since the 1959 revolution.

Cuba's communist government currently controls almost all aspects of the country's economy and employs about 85% of the official workforce, which is put at 5.1 million people.



In Matters Of Health

In Matters Of Health
Making sleep a priority is one habit that can make a difference, a top cardiologist recommends.  
Cut off the crusts of bread and you lose a type of cancer-fighting antioxidant.  

'Dirty Dancing' and cancer

Jennifer Grey was inspired by former co-star Patrick Swayze when she went through a bout with cancer.

Kissing pony helps heal

It could be called "alternative medicine." Sampson is a pony in New Jersey who helps people heal by giving them kisses.

Sampson visits elderly homes all around the New Jersey area, and is trained to pucker up on command.

New drug-resistant superbugs found in 3 states

An infectious-disease nightmare is unfolding: Bacteria that have been made resistant to nearly all antibiotics by an alarming new gene have sickened people in three states and are popping up all over the world, health officials reported Monday.

The U.S. cases and two others in Canada all involve people who had recently received medical care in India, where the problem is widespread. A British medical journal revealed the risk last month in an article describing dozens of cases in Britain in people who had gone to India for medical procedures.

Want To Live Longer?

A firm handshake could be a sign of a longer life expectancy, according to British researchers.



He tried to rob the bank, but the bank robbed him instead

Add this to the long list of candidates for the stupidest criminals who tried to rob a bank:
A man was arrested Wednesday afternoon after he walked into a Watsonville bank, said he had a bomb in his backpack and demanded $2,000 so he could pay his friend’s rent, police reported.
But when Mark Smith, 59, allegedly tried to rob the bank, the bank manager suggested that what he actually needed to do was take out a loan, and she had him sit down while she said she was going to retrieve the loan paperwork. Instead, she called 911, according to Assistant District Attorney Dave Genochio.
"Quick-thinking staff kept the man calm and distracted him with some paperwork until we arrived," Lt. Darren Thompson said.
You’ve always known those bank loan paperwork to be real tricky ... here's the proof. 

Nine of the Most Laughable Lawsuits

Some people, whether out of greed or sheer ignorance, push the boundaries of acceptability and clog the legal system with outrageous lawsuits.

Whether it's a convict who sues himself or an unsatisfied beer drinker who blames the company for his lack of dates, our verdict is: Case dismissed!

She's a player

Ashley Flinn was only asked to try out for her high-school team as a joke.  

Super-fast pit crew

A team of soldiers takes apart and then reassembles a Jeep in just a matter of minutes.