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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, April 1, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
A loose energy takes over today, slackening the tightened tendons in your neck and making you feel a lot more relaxed.
This is an appropriate day for sleeping in, slowing down and asking yourself, 'what's the rush?'
Everyone else may be on a tight schedule, but you know you've got plenty of wiggle room, so why not use it?
Take a long afternoon nap -- it will refresh you for the rest of the evening, and fill your mind with inspiring, amusing dreams.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
London, England, United Kingdom
Copenhagen, Kobehavn, Denmark
Gengenbach, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Perth, Western, Australia, Australia
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Klanf, Selangor, Malaysia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Tangerang, Banten, Indonesia
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Stockholm, Stockholms Lan, Sweden
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Bratislava, Bratislava, Slovakia
Grenoble, Rhone-Alpes, France
Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia
Athens, Attiki, Greece

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 Kirkland, Tampa, Gowrie, Norwood and more.

Today is:
Today is Friday, April 1, the 92nd day of 2011.
There are 273 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Poetry and the Creative Mind Day
Sorry Charlie Day
National Fun Day

April Fool's/All Fool's Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Welcome New Readers

Newest Flag Pirate Last Visited October 12, 1492
Well, what do you now we've been 'Pirated' for April Fool's Day!

April is ...

Confederate History Month
Grilled Cheese Month
International Guitar Month
International Twit Award Month
National Gardening Month
National Pecan Month
National Pet Month
National Poetry Month
Straw Hat Month
Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

So you can look forward to posts on these topics throughout the month.

April is Confederate History Month


April is Poetry Month

The Road Not Taken  
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

And I Quote

"All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream."
~ Edgar Allan Poe

Non Sequitur


Web buzzes over April Fools

Internet searches offer a clue to what pranks will be most popular this year. 

Twelve historic April Fools' hoaxes

12 historic April Fools' hoaxes
Beetles in apples? Spaghetti growing from trees? Here are a dozen of the biggest pranks ever played, from "War of the Worlds" to Googles TiSP.

"Spaghetti harvest" and "San Serriffe Islands"

The BBC pulled off a famous April Fools' Day hoax in 1957 with a documentary about the annual spaghetti harvest in Switzerland. Women were shown harvesting strands of spaghetti from trees and laying them in the sun to dry as the narrator explained that a mild winter and elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil had farmers hoping for a bumper crop. Many viewers called the BBC, wondering where they could purchase a spaghetti tree. "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best," was the network's stock response. 
No one takes April Fools' Day as seriously as the Brits. In 1977 The Guardian informed readers in a seven page special about the discovery of a group of islands, San Serriffe. Located in the Indian Ocean and shaped like a semi colon, Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse were ruled by General Pica from the capital Bodoni, the paper stated. Only a handful of readers noticed that all the words were in fact printer's terminology.
Two selections from a gallery of April Fools' jokes posted at Der Spiegel online.

Wizard of Id


Joke's on the Northeast with April Fools' snow

A no-joke April Fools' snowstorm descended upon parts of the Northeast early Friday, a cruel prank on a region that was finally enjoying a reprieve from its long, white winter.

Breaking News: Walker resigns as gov - "Just no fun anymore"

The controversial Governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has announced that he has resigned his elected position effective immediately and cited that after 89 days in office that given the current political and economic situation in Wisconsin, that "the job is just no fun anymore." Apparently upset over Judge Maryann Sumi's ruling stating in no ...

Yemenis hold largest protest yet against leader

Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis packed a square in the capital and marched in villages and cities across the nation on Friday in what appeared to be the largest demonstrations in more than a month of demands the country's longtime ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.

More disciplined Libyan opposition force emerging

Something new has appeared at the Libyan front: a semblance of order among rebel forces.

Libyans talk cease-fire

Opposition forces lay out demands for Libya's leader even as they show off new weapons and equipment. 
Showing improvement on the front lines, opposition forces lay out demands for Libya's leader.

    The dark side of spring?

    With birds chirping and temperatures warming , spring is finally in the air.

    But for University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) environmental chemist Torsten Meyer, springtime has a dark side.
    The dark side of spring? Pollution in our melting snow

    Shut down or sleep?

    Some people wonder if you can wear a computer out by turning it on and off a lot.  

    Odds and Sods

    Arkansas students who love their sagging pants should soon leave them at home. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed a bill on Wednesday that bans students from wearing clothing that exposes "underwear, buttocks or the breast of a female." Arkansas educators have long complained about the drooping attire, such as young men wearing saggy jeans that ...

    A dog that survived in a house swept away to sea three weeks ago by the devastating Japan tsunami was saved on Friday by a coast guard rescue team flying over an island of debris.

    The election was decided by one vote, and both sides agree that a dead man voted.

    Teacher takes picture of student, then mocks her on Facebook

    Teachers are supposed to help children, not mock them.

    Thus comes the tale of a Chicago, IL student, who wore Jolly Rancher candies in her hair to school, only to have a teacher take a picture --- not because she thought the hairstyle was cute, but in order to post it to Facebook along with a mocking message.

    Facebook sued for $1B over 'slow' anti-Semitic page removal

    It sounds like an April Fools' Day prank, but it apparently is not. Facebook, along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have been sued for $1 billion (with a B) for intentionally delaying the removal of an anti-Semitic Facebook group in order to “further their revenues and the net worth” of Facebook. 

    The truth be told


    What if they gave a tea party and hardly anybody came?

    What if they gave a tea party and hardly anybody came?
    They were expecting 'thousands' (if not tens of thousands) of mindless dolts to show up and what did they get ... maybe one hundred.

    Rick Scott Hated In Florida

    From the "Tell us something we didn't know" Department:
    Poll: Floridians hate Rick Scott

    No Money For Innocent Death Row Guy

    The Supreme Court says: Exonerated inmate won't get $14M.
    john thomas A divided U.S. Supreme Court made it more difficult to sue local prosecutors' offices for wrongdoing on Tuesday, overturning a $14 million verdict for a New Orleans man who came within weeks of being executed for a murder he did not commit.
    The man, John Thompson, was convicted of a 1984 murder and a separate carjacking. He was set free 18 years later after his lawyers discovered that the prosecutors in charge of his trial had deliberately concealed evidence — a blood sample and police lab report — that could have proved his innocence. Prosecutors have a constitutional duty to disclose such evidence.
    Writing for the court's 5-4 majority, Justice Clarence Thomas said that Thompson could not show that the New Orleans district attorney was "deliberately indifferent" to those such abuses because he could not point to a pattern of similar violations in previous criminal cases. Without that, Thomas wrote, the court could not conclude that the prosecutors' boss, former District Attorney Harry Connick Sr., was on notice that better training was needed to prevent violations.
    Yes, Harry Connick Sr. is the father of Harry Connick Jr.

    Just sayin'

    Just sayin'

    CEO pay soars while worker pay stalls

    That clever headline comes from USA Today, and the underlying data is as bad as you think it is:
    At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to pre-recession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, saw their compensation grow just 2.1% in the 12 months ended December 2010, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Two years of scaling back amid tough economic times proved temporary as three-quarters of CEOs got raises in 2010 — and, in many cases, the increases were substantial.
    I've said before (along with many others) that stockholders no longer own companies — that's a myth held over from your daddy's generation.

    The CEO class runs companies for their own financial benefit. The fact that something of value is created is just a by-product, a means to an end. The real goal is just the skim. Proof? From the same article:
    The sizable pay hikes came even though the economy’s recovery remains frail, unemployment is high and corporate profits last year were roughly flat, up 1.5%, from where they were in 2007 when the stock market peaked.
    CEOs, VPs and the like exist to rake corporate cash into their pockets. Corporations exist to provide that cash, and as the above quote shows, every aspect of corporate control — including the supposed requirement to generate profits — is twisted to that purpose.

    Blue Texan calls them our "Galtian overlords". Me, I think "Your Highness" will do just fine.

    On The Job

    Laid off in 2008, investment banker Joshua Persky struggles to get back on his feet.  
    An accelerating economy and two big technology trends make these fields most promising.  
    The economy is creating jobs that don't support a good standard of living, a study says.  

    Outdated myths about resumés

    You could hurt your job chances by following outdated rules that have fallen out of favor.

    Is this the best state to live in?

    You won't find pro sports or year-round sunshine, but this state is an economic powerhouse.  

    Eight of the Craziest Houses

     This contemporary house can be found in Orinda, Californi.
    It’s called the “saxophone house.”  

    Culinary DeLites

    Choose a better frozen dinner than Marie Callender's 1,020-calorie creamy pot pie.
    Apricots have vitamin A, which helps produce hair-enhancing sebum.  

    Are you getting ripped off?

    Short Answer: YES
    Are you getting ripped off? Cost of food up, package size down

    The most money paid for items

    A pair of century-old Levi jeans like these sold for a cool $60,000 on eBay.  
    A Russian mogul's splurge on a lavish Calif. home is one of the biggest sales in U.S. history.  

    A Symbol of the American Entrepreneurial Spirit

    The Mousetrap
    “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.” Sure, it’s an old saw, but it’s also literally true.
    Between 1838, when the United States Patent Office opened its doors, and 1996, the year that Jack Hope wrote a story about the device for American Heritage magazine, more than 4,400 mousetrap patents were awarded in dozens of different subclasses, including “Electrocuting and Explosive,” “Swinging Striker,” “Choking or Squeezing,” and 36 others. That’s an average of more than two dozen patents every year for more than 150 years. What makes that number more spectacular is that 95 percent of those patents were given to amateur, or first-time inventors.
    That’s more patents than have been awarded for any other device, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH), which is currently celebrating the mousetrap by displaying several different designs on the first floor of the museum in one of several long glass cases that greet visitors, both new and returning, when they enter the building.
    Nicholas Jackson writes in The Atlantic about various mousetrap designs and how they represent the entrepreneurial spirit. Included is a gallery of some of the more interesting mousetrap patents recorded over the years.

    Fire station is a potential fire hazard

    One Chillicothe firefighter has new job duties on each shift - walking around the firehouse to make sure the place isn't on fire.

    Chillicothe Fire Station No.1, the only one staffed in the city following budget cuts, is officially considered a potential fire hazard.

    The fire-detection and alarm system at the main station downtown on Water Street hasn't worked for at least a year, perhaps longer. And, the sprinkler system had not been inspected.

    To avoid being ordered to vacate its only station, the department now must assign firefighters - who can perform no other duties - to a 24/7 "fire watch."

    A 1830-Era Shipwreck Found in Lake Michigan

    The 60-foot, single-masted sloop was found at a depth of 250 feet.  

    How The Bicycle Empowered Women

    Wheels Of Change
    A new book, National Geographics '' Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way)' tells the riveting story of how the two-wheel wonder pedaled forward the emancipation of women in late-nineteenth-century America and radically redefined the normative conventions of femininity.


    Hillbilly ca 1886

    Fabled creatures whip up buzz

    A grainy "sighting" caught on film and a researcher's bold claim ignite intrigue.



    How plants make their own sunscreen

    Scientists identified the 'photoreceptor' in plants that recognizes the presence of UV-B wavelengths in sunlight
    Scientists have discovered how plants know when to make their own sunscreen to protect themselves from harmful solar rays.

    Plastic made of feathers unveiled

    Chickens on a farmPlastic made of feathers unveiled

    The millions of tons of chicken feathers discarded each year could be used in plastics, researchers say in a report to the American Chemical Society meeting.

    Massive Home Aquarium Can Hold 4,800 Gallons

    In the basement of Jack Heathcote five-bedroom home, you can find the largest aquarium in Britain. In measures approximately 13 by 13 by 7 feet and can hold 4,800 gallons when filled to capacity. Heathcote has to clean it by hand (pictured) by diving in with the exotic fish from all of the world that he’s collected:
    Three of the walls of the tank are the foundation walls of the house and a large section of floor was removed by the bay window to allow access. Downstairs a wall of glass has replaced the brick wall, and behind it are some of the largest fish kept in captivity.
    And the collection in the tank – which includes some valuable species – consists of two chainsaw doradids, three 2ft long Pacus, some Pangasius, a Red tail hybrid catfish, two alligator gars, eight enormous stingrays and two Fly River turtles.
    They will soon be joined by two silver arowanas, which are more commonly found in the Amazon River Basin.
    You can view several large pictures of the aquarium at the here.

    Knut the polar bear drowned after brain swelled

    Germany's celebrity polar bear Knut died from drowning after collapsing due to swelling of his brain and falling into his enclosure's pool, an expert said Friday.

    Huge New Dinosaur Was Cousin of T. rex

    Paleontologists find one of the largest-ever carnivorous dinosaurs who was also a cousin of Tyrannosaurus rex. Read more

    Vulnerable Gorilla Owes Fate to Climate Change and Humans

    A now critically endangered group of gorillas had split off into its own subspecies about 17,800 years ago, say researchers, who concluded that the evolution of the animal, the Cross River gorilla, was shaped by ancient climate change and, more recently, humans.

    Mountain Lion Climbs Saguaro

    In Arizona: Mountain Lion Photographed Atop Giant Cactus.
    It was no doubt a painful climb for the mountain lion up a 30-foot saguaro full of prickly spines. Wildlife experts said the animal looks like an adult male, weighing between 75 and 100 pounds. They believe it was chased by hunting dogs.
    "There was a houndsman out trailing mountain lions and treed that mountain lion -- caught up with it -- and that was the only place for it to go to get away from the hounds,” said Babb. “Mountain lions in that situation typically climb a tall tree, and in the absence of tall trees in the area, I guess the saguaro just had to do."
    Babb said that while mountain lions are typically the top of the food chain in most of Arizona, it’s not unheard of for one to get chased up a tree by a pack of wolves or javelina, or even another lion.
    It is legal in Arizona for hunters to buy a permit and kill one mountain lion a year.
    lion in cactus1lion in cactus2

    Gorillas get iPads to aid alertness and keep them happier in zoos

    Gorillas prods the new toy which scientists hope will transform the way primates are kept alert and happy in zoos - an iPad.

    Animal behavior experts handed out the gadgets to five apes in an experiment. The super-smart gorillas quickly learned to turn the screens on and off and seem fascinated by the colors and pictures.

    Amazingly not a single one of the five tablets which download apps has been broken since being given out at Port Lympne wild animal park three weeks ago.

    Head keeper Phil Ridges said yesterday: "We thought they would bang them on rocks but they carry them round as if they were babies." Boffins at the University of Kent, Canterbury, are behind the trial, which is being monitored by Apple.

    Animal Pictures