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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, February 15, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
It may glitter, but it ain't gold.
Are you being offered something -- personally or professionally -- that's making you feel a little bit sour in the belly?
Like it doesn't ring true or sound ethical or appear seemly?
It probably isn't, friend, and you'd do well to steer clear of whatever is being offered up.
If you're not sure, however, consult a trusted source whose advice hasn't led you astray in the past.
But just make sure they're unbiased on this one.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei and Muara, Brunei Darussalam
Maastricht, Limburg, Nethelands
London, England, United Kingdom
Milan, Lombardia, Italy
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Kuwait, Al Kuwayt, Kuwait
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Bilbao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Cartagena, Murcia, Spain
Quebec, Quebec, Canada
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, Canada

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 East Sandwich, Egg Harbor Township, Snohomish, Fremont and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, February 15, the 46th day of 2011.
There are 319 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are: 
National Gum Drop Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Twist and Shout

The Beatles

Non Sequitur


Odds and Sods

Who wants to be a millionaire?
Apparently not the owner of a winning North Carolina Lottery ticket

State police say a 10-year-old northwestern Pennsylvania boy wasn't kidnapped as he claimed, but simply needed an excuse to explain to his mother why he was late getting home from school.

Woman aiding dog is struck by car and dies
A woman who was trying to protect a stray dog was killed when struck by a car.

In The News

Suit claims boss' voice makes NY man vomit
A Manhattan man has filed a lawsuit against his boss because the sound of her voice makes him vomit.

Like part of the storyline from the 1979 sci-fi classic "Alien," a California man discovered he had a large, tentacled, alien-type tumor growing inside him.



Push to give S.C. its own currency

The push for a backup form of money highlights a growing trend among nervous states.  

Say 'Bye bye, To Big Bird. And Hello, To e. coli!'

Welcome to the House under the repugican junta in 2011

Sounds an awful lot like the House under the Gingrich cabal in 1994.

Do these guys ever get any new ideas?
In absolute terms, the cut to the USDA's food inspection program may seem a lot smaller--just $100 million. But that will almost certainly mean fewer inspectors, which is no small thing. As the non-partisan organization OMB Watch has noted, in recent years the number of inspectors has not kept up with the number of food producers--and "at no other regulatory agency does the size of the inspectorate need to be so closely aligned to the size of the industry it regulates."

Lying wingnut to get his comeuppance

OK, so is there any other kind of wingnut other than a lying one?
Shirley Sherrod says Andrew Breitbart defamed her by posting an edited video of her speech.
'Still reeling' 

Forde convicted in killing of Arivaca man, daughter

Another wingnut down ...
A Pima County jury convicted Shawna Forde today of two counts of first-degree murder in the May 30, 2009 deaths of Arivaca residents Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year-old daughter, Brisenia.
Slowly but surely we are sending these criminals to prison.

Now, here's to the hope she gets either the noose or the gas chamber - a firing squad or lethal injection would be too kind.

There are a lot more of these wingnuts to imprison - let's get to it America.

Hispanics now outnumber Native Americans in Oklahoma

New U.S. Census Bureau figures for Oklahoma show a state that's been considered the heart of the nation's Indian Country since the Trail of Tears nearly two centuries ago now has more residents who identify themselves as Hispanic than Native American.

Want to bet this news chaffs the backsides of the wingnuts in this most wingnuttist of states to no end.

Insanity on the Plains

Improved Gun Laws In Kansas

Things just got a little safer in Kansas: Kansas law change may allow even blind to carry concealed.
In the state of Kansas, to carry a concealed firearm you need a gun — preferably something that fits nice under your jacket, in your pocket or perhaps in your purse. You also need a license, the state’s seal of approval that you can hide a firearm on your person.
What’s less clear is whether you need eyesight. It certainly is suggested, unquestionably helpful. But following a change in state law, it is no longer clear whether it is required.
Kansas legislators during the last session approved a number of changes to the state’s concealed carry law. One of them was that people who are renewing their license no longer have to take any sort of test to prove they’re still proficient with a firearm.
The changes also removed language from the law that gave the attorney general the right to deny applicants a license if they “suffer from a physical infirmity which prevents the safe handling of a weapon.”

More repugican chicanery

Legal Murder In South Dakota?
The latest: South Dakota Moves To Legalize Killing Abortion Providers.
Jensen A law under consideration in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions. The repugican-backed legislation, House Bill 1171, has passed out of committee on a nine-to-three party-line vote, and is expected to face a floor vote in the state's repugican-dominated House of Representatives soon.
The bill, sponsored by  Phil Jensen, a committed foe of abortion rights, alters the state's legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person "while resisting an attempt to harm" that person's unborn child or the unborn child of that person's spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman's father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one.

'Forgotten' U.S. border threat

From the "Paranoia strikes deep into small minds" Department:
The world's longest shared border is inadequately patrolled, a report finds.  

Attacking reporters

CBS News correspondent Lara Logan's "brutal" assault adds to reports of violence against journalists.
Social media fills the void as journalists find volatile, spreading demonstrations harder to cover.

Navy reacts to 'carrier killer'

A new Chinese weapon that could threaten U.S. aircraft carriers is raising some alarms. 

Murder in Mexico

Two Immigration Special Agents have been shot in Mexico
According to a statement released by Homeland Security, two U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents were shot today in Mexico in the line of duty.

3 Americans murdered in 3 weeks in a quiet Mexican town popular with retirees
San Miguel de Allende is believed to be home to one of the largest collections of ex-Pat American citizens in Mexico.

A $2 Million Narco Sub Found in Colombian Jungle, Ready to Transport 8 Tons of Cocaine

And that is exactly what some Colombian drug lords have done. The military just seized a 100-foot long submarine, estimated to have cost $2 million to build, in southwestern Colombia by the rural jungle area of Timbiqui.

Italian PM Berlusconi to Face Trial on Sex and Abuse of Power Charges

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will be tried on charges of sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power, an Italian judge ruled Tuesday.

The trial is due to begin April 6, Judge Cristina di Censo decided, Italian judicial authorities confirmed.

Three judges will preside over the criminal trial in Milan.

Prosecutors in Milan filed the request for trial last week.

Berlusconi denies the charges, and his lawyers have argued that the Milan courts do not have the authority to try a prime minister or jurisdiction over the case because of where the alleged crimes were committed.

Milan chief prosecutor Edmundo Bruti Liberati requested the fast-track trial on charges that Berlusconi paid for sex with nightclub dancer Karima El Mahrough, who was 17 at the time of the alleged activity, and later intervened with the police after she was arrested on an unrelated charge.

Berlusconi dismissed the accusations as "groundless" when the prosecution request was filed last week, saying the call for a trial was a "farce."

There was no abuse of power, he said.

And he said he was "sorry because these (allegations) have offended the dignity of the country. They've thrown mud on the government, on the country and on myself at an international level."

Thousands of Italians took to the streets in some 200 cities across the country Sunday to protest Berlusconi's alleged behavior toward women.

The largest gathering was in Rome, where organizers said 100,000 people gathered, under the slogan, "If not now, when?"

In Milan, organizers estimated that 60,000 people gathered.

Protests also took place outside Italy, including marches in Tokyo and Geneva, Switzerland.

Sunday's demonstrations were the biggest anti-Berlusconi rallies since the most recent sex scandal broke.

Berlusconi has denied that he has ever paid anyone for sex.

The investigation began in December, after Berlusconi called police in May, urging them to release El Mahrough, nicknamed Ruby, from jail, where she was being held on theft charges.

Both El Mahrough, now 18, and Berlusconi have denied they ever had sex.
El Mahrough said she did not know Berlusconi well but that she did receive 7,000 euros (about $9,300) from him the first time they met, on Valentine's Day 2010, because a friend told Berlusconi she needed help.

The young woman's former roommate told investigators that El Mahrough confided to her that she did have a sexual relationship with the premier.

Berlusconi's party argued that he believed that Ruby was then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's niece and the phone call to the police station on her behalf was done to avoid a possible diplomatic crisis with Egypt.

The lower house of Italy's Parliament voted against allowing Milan prosecutors to search property belonging to Berlusconi as part of the investigation.

Born to be Wild


A 90-year-old vet returns to air

Norbert Swierz flies in a B-17 for the first time since he was shot down nearly 70 years ago.  

Buy a tube station ... please

For those Americans unfamiliar with 'Tubes' - that is what the British call the Subway.
A disused tube station is up for sale in London for the bargain price of £180,000 ($290,000). Formerly Shoreditch Underground Station, the 1,600 sq. ft. single-level property would make an unusual home for someone willing to put in some elbow grease—and willing to tolerate living immediately next to train tracks. Rooms include a ticketing office, lobby, plant area, and a toilet.

Quirky Signpost From Great Britain

Like tea, marmite and mushy peas, quirky place names are a British institution. Slack Bottom, Drinkers End, Crackpot and Twatt are just a few quaint village names that delight visitors and make cities like Leeds and London sound positively humdrum.

Inspired by these rural oddities, Dominic Greyer, a freelance lighting cameraman in the film and television industry, set out to track down the most eccentric of them all, in a project known as Lesser Spotted Britain.

The Boeing 314 Flying Boat

Vintage Luxury

The Boeing 314 Clipper was a long-range flying boat produced by the Boeing Airplane Company between 1938 and 1941. One of the largest aircraft of the time, it used the massive wing of Boeing's earlier XB-15 bomber prototype to achieve the range necessary for flights across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

The B-314 Flying Boat could carry 74 passengers and 10 crew, although on overnight flights it accommodated 40 passengers in 7 luxurious sleeping compartments. In the center of the plane was a 14 seat dining room and in the tail a private 'honeymoon' suite.

Here's a collection of images of the long lost Boeing 314 flying boat, the luxury skyliner that plied the skies in the 1930s and 1940s, and which came complete with sleeper bunks and formal dining:
The Passenger Compartment: The interior of the passenger cabin was the height of luxury for the time, and would surely impress today. In the lounge, travelers had room to spread out and play backgammon or put together puzzles. When it was meal time the lounge converted into a formal dining room, complete with fine china and five star service. When the evening arrived, all compartments converted into bunks with dark curtains and high quality sheets... perfect for dreaming of warm Pacific beaches.

The Whole Dam Family

The Whole Dam Family
A 1905 film by the Lumiere Brothers.
You knew the jokes were old, but didn't think they were that old!

On The Job

As the economy changes, some professions disappear — but others are growing.


$6,000 for setting up an IRA is paltry compared with the $37,000 for another transaction.  

The Secrets Behind Your Flowers

In 1967, Colorado State University graduate student David Cheever wrote a term paper on the Colombian cut flower industry. In 1969, he went to Colombia and started a business. Things took off from there.
It’s not often that a global industry springs from a school assignment, but Cheever’s paper and business efforts started an economic revolution in Colombia. A few other growers had exported flowers to the United States, but Floramérica turned it into a big business. Within five years of Floramérica’s debut at least ten more flower-growing companies were operating on the savanna, exporting some $16 million in cut flowers to the United States. By 1991, the World Bank reported, the industry was “a textbook story of how a market economy works.” Today, the country is the world’s second-largest exporter of cut flowers, after the Netherlands, shipping more than $1 billion in blooms. Colombia now commands about 70 percent of the U.S. market; if you buy a bouquet in a supermarket, big-box store or airport kiosk, it probably came from the Bogotá savanna.
The Colombian flower industry has its problems, like hard work and low wages, pesticide dangers, and environmental impact -not to mention the effect it has on the US flower industry. On the other hand, there is a movement to certify fair labor practices, and working with flowers offers workers economic independence and possibly a better life than they would have otherwise. Smithsonian has the story of how your flowers are grown, picked, and shipped.

It's The Economy Stupid

Rising costs for clothes, cold cuts, and dishwashers may pinch U.S. economic growth. 
The chain's pre-packaged meats tend to rate low for quality, and they're more expensive, too.  

Lost bags are big business

A unique store that sells items from airlines' unclaimed bags keeps a small Southern town afloat.

Houses for the price of a car

These homes need work but are selling for the cost of an SUV or upscale sedan.  

Notorious L.A. mansion for sale

The huge house in the Hollywood Hills has been vacant for years, leading to hordes of intruders.  

The Stairway to Heaven

These are the Ha’iku Stairs on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. They were first built as a ladder to reach the top of the ridge during World War II, when a radio transmitter was installed on the top of the hill. Later the wood was replaced with metal steps, 3,922 of them! The stairs are now closed to the public, but hikers still risk trespassing charges to try them out.
See more pictures at Atlas Obscura.

In Matters Of Health

The top complaint of physicians is that many patients don't follow their advice. 
Cayenne pepper can help stop minor bleeding, while garlic fights infections.  
Reports of seizures and hallucinations in kids spur new concerns about the top- selling beverages.  
Strength training does more than bulk up muscles
Strength training has strong-armed its way beyond the realm of bodybuilding. A growing body of research shows that working out with weights has health benefits beyond simply bulking up one's muscles and strengthening bones.

How Do Foods Get Heart-Check Mark?

Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of heart disease prevention.

The American Heart Association created the heart-check mark as a means to certify foods and extend a stamp of approval to healthier choices on the grocery store shelves.

Culinary DeLites

You can have this light, lemon-garlic shrimp dinner on the table in minutes.  
Grains have a significant protective effect on people's health, a large study finds.
Tech star turned chef Nathan Myhrvold's $625 work puts cooking rules to the scientific test.

Worldwide Per Capita Coffee Consumption

According to data compiled by environmental think tank World Resources Institute, Scandinavians drink a lot of coffee. Between 6.8 and 12.0 kilograms per year. So world travelers, does this map match up with your experiences?
Failed Food Launches
ShortList Magazine put together a list of foods that didn’t catch on. Do you recall the McLobster? I don’t. I remember EZ Squirt, but I never tried it. Never wanted to.
Last time I checked (lie: I never have) people have always been happy with the colour of ketchup. Tomatoes are red. Ketchup, made from tomatoes, is also red. Move on. Heinz, the people who should really know about these things, decided that it would be necessary to bring out green, purple, blue and ‘mystery’ coloured ketchup turning a popular sauce into a terrifying experiment. Children and the colour-blind were nonplussed. The rest of humanity wept.
Read about these and more, and be glad these things are not on your menu today.

Coke's secret recipe revealed?

A photo spotted in an old newspaper may reveal a fiercely guarded trade secret.  



Moderate quake rumbles near Mount St. Helens

An earthquake measured at a magnitude of 4.3 struck near Mount St. Helens in Washington state on Monday, shaking an area extending north to Puget Sound and south across the Oregon border, geologists said.

Glitch mars comet flyby

A spacecraft's hyped rendezvous with the comet Tempel 1 goes smoothly — except for one crucial detail. 

Astronomical News

Someone misplaced a giant new planet in our solar system
Okay, they're not 100% sure yet, but two scientists are saying that we've got another planet in our solar system that no one ever knew about - and it's huge.
If you grew up thinking there were nine planets and were shocked when Pluto was demoted five years ago, get ready for another surprise. There may be nine after all, and Jupiter may not be the largest.

The hunt is on for a gas giant up to four times the mass of Jupiter thought to be lurking in the outer Oort Cloud, the most remote region of the solar system. The orbit of Tyche (pronounced ty-kee), would be 15,000 times farther from the Sun than the Earth's, and 375 times farther than Pluto's, which is why it hasn't been seen so far.

But scientists now believe the proof of its existence has already been gathered by a Nasa space telescope, Wise, and is just waiting to be analysed.
Claims about a possible ninth planet in our solar system are being met with curiosity and skepticism. 

Archaeological News

World's Earliest Prosthetics Discovered, From 600 BC
An artificial big toe found attached to the foot of an ancient Egyptian mummy is the world's oldest artificial prosthetic.
That we know of, that is.



Debarking a dog? Not OK

A majority of American pet owners said declawing a cat is acceptable but that debarking a dog is not.

Secrets of sleeping animals

There's one crucial thing bears do in winter that "true hibernators" don't.

That's Racing

Three racing horses were hanging in the bar, trying to impress each other.

The first said, "Well, I've raced 25 times and won 17 of them."

The other one, "Uh, that's nothing man, I've started 54 times and was the winner 45 of them."

The third laughed and said, "You're a couple of losers. I have done 84 races and I won 76!"

Suddenly a voice from below was humming and a Greyhound Wippet was going "Hrrrm, hrrrmm... I just would like to say that I have raced 150 times and won all of them!"

The horses were stunned ...and couldn't say anything at first. At last one of them cried out,


Ghostly gecko

Giant leaf-tailed gecko Uroplatus fimbriatus
In rarely captured footage, a giant ghostly gecko is filmed hunting at night

Upping the cute factor

White Lion Cubs

Animal Pictures