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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.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
The time for careful consideration has passed ... today is a time for grabbing life by the horns and not letting go, no matter how much you are thrashed around.
Right now, hesitation is just another word for not knowing what to do -- and you know the score, don't you?
Suck it up and do what needs to be done.
Like removing a bandage, it's better if you just do it in one quick move.
Save the nuance for another day and a different situation.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Helmond, Noord-Brabant, Netherlands
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
Amsterdam, Noord Holland, Netherlands
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Szolnok, Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok, Hungary
Jakarta, Jakarta Raya, Indonesia
London, England, United Kingdom
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Valletta, Valletta, Malta
Pakanbaru, Riau, Indonesia
Santander, Cantabria, Spain
Kota Bharu, Kelantun, Malaysia
Oldenburg, Niedersachsen, Germany

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 New Cumberland, Cape May, Cape Fear, Thonotosassa and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, April 2, the 93rd day of 2011.
There are 272 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
International Pillow Fight Day
Tangible Karma Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Landover, Maryland
April 2, 2011
Hello, everybody.  I’m speaking to you today from a UPS customer center in Landover, Maryland, where I came to talk about an issue that’s affecting families and businesses just like this one – the rising price of gas, and what we can do as a country to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

This week, I released a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future.  It’s a strategy to reduce the oil we import from around the world, and to make our economy stronger at home.  Part of this strategy involves increasing our oil exploration right here in America.  In fact, our oil production last year reached its highest level since 2003, and we want to encourage more safe, responsible drilling where we can.

But the truth is, drilling alone is not a real strategy to replace our dependence on foreign oil.  And that’s because even though America uses 25 percent of the world’s oil, we currently have only about 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves.  Even if we used every last drop of all the oil we have, it wouldn’t be enough to meet our long-term energy needs.  So, real energy security can only come if we find ways to use less oil – if we invest in cleaner fuels and greater efficiency.

That’s what we’ve been doing since I took office.  For example, we secured an agreement from all the major auto companies to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars and trucks.  So if you buy a new car, the better gas mileage is going to save you about $3,000.  Altogether, this will save us about 1.8 billion barrels of oil as a country.

We need to build on this progress.  As we make our cars and trucks more efficient, we’ve got to harness new technologies to fuel our vehicles with everything from biofuels to natural gas to advanced batteries.  And the good news is, these technologies aren’t science fiction anymore.  They exist today.  Already, American car companies are producing electric vehicles that use little or no gas.  And innovators across America are testing new products that hold incredible promise not just for new vehicles, but for countless new jobs.

To help jumpstart this market, the federal government has doubled the number of clean energy vehicles that we have in our fleet.  In the next few years, we’re going to switch the entire fleet over.  And I’m here at UPS because it’s not just the government getting in on the action.  Companies like UPS, FedEx, AT&T, Verizon, and PepsiCo – firms with some of the largest fleets in the country – are switching to more efficient vehicles.  And through our Clean Fleets Partnership, driven not by government, but by business, more companies are going to be switching to electric and alternative vehicles, too – not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because it’s good for their bottom lines.

The goal is simple.  When I was elected to this office, America imported 11 million barrels of oil a day.  Through these and other steps, by a little more than a decade from now, we will have cut that by one third.  And by doing so, we’re going to make our economy less vulnerable to wild swings in oil prices.  We’re going to use cleaner sources of energy that don’t imperil our climate.  And we’re going to spark new products and businesses all over the country by tapping America’s greatest renewable resource: our ingenuity.

We know how important that is. This week, we learned that the economy added 230,000 private sector jobs last month.  That makes 1.8 million private sector jobs created in the last thirteen months.  That’s a good sign.  But we have to keep up the momentum, and transitioning to a clean energy economy will help us do that.  It will ensure that the United States of America is home to the jobs and industries of tomorrow.  That’s how we’ll win the future.  And that’s how we’ll leave our children an America that is more secure and prosperous than before.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Manhood in the Mirror

Dr. ZDogg and Dr. Harry are physicians and comedians who bring you medical advice that you can laugh at, or entertainment that might save your life. They’ve produced several musical videos on subjects ranging from a doctor’s workday to STDs. One in particular instructs men on how to check for testicular cancer. The video made me laugh out loud alone in the room, but is just slightly too adult to embed here.
I awoke one morning from a vivid fever dream in which the heavenly spirit of Michael Jackson appeared to me in the form of a sequined glove lovingly grasping a perfectly smooth oblong jade stone. On closer inspection, the stone had a small flaw that slowly, menacingly enlarged, until the entire dreamspace filled with its malignant presence. MJ’s distinctive voice intoned, “They’re ignorant, Dr. Dogg, they must be taught. Touch these young males in a way that I am no longer able to. Hee hee…OOOH!”
My dream-self shifted uneasily, and before the King of Pop could finish I awoke to find myself drenched in sweat, one hand “down there,” instinctively curled in a primitive protective gesture. It was this very fever sweat, noted so crudely by Dr. Harry in his screed above, that dampened the axillae of my garment. Having rushed to his home to convey the high mission given us, I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm at the prospect of shielding the young from such a cancerous scourge.
You have to see it for yourself. And guys, be sure to check yourselves every month.

Random Celebrity Photo

Goldie Hawn

The War Between the States

Take a look back at the War Between the States 150 years later.  

Non Sequitur


Gbagbo is all but gone

Fighting rages near presidential palace, residence in Ivory Coast as standoff may be near end

Laurent Gbagbo's 10-year grip on the Ivory Coast seemed to be in its final hours after fighters encircled both his residence and the presidential palace and battled to unseat the man who has refused to recognize his defeat in last year's election.

Crackdown in Bahrain enflames Iraq's Shiites

The sewing machines have been furiously churning out red and white Bahraini flags at a basement workshop in downtown Baghdad, and Iraqi customers are snapping them up to wave at protests, unfurl from buildings and fly from car antennas.

The truth be told


Meanwhile in Wisconsin

Wisconsinites have enough votes to force a recall election on one of the repugican state senators ...

and observers say expect at least 6 recall elections there ...

also, for good measure the repugicans have managed to turn police and firefighter unions against them ...

plus, more Americans support the unions than the repugican governors.

Did you know that in 2010, worker salaries went up 2% while CEO's salaries went up 27%

In a case of the kettle calling the pot black

New Hampshire repugican leader calls bishop a 'pedophile pimp'

The repugican leader of the New Hampshire House on Friday called Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormack a "pedophile pimp" who should have been led from the Statehouse in handcuffs after speaking at a rally criticizing a state budget proposal.

McCormack was among about a dozen speakers at Thursday's rally to protest deep cuts to social services ...
repugicans are so uncouth

Citibank debt collectors arrested in death of client over credit card

In the Jakarta Post, there is an article on the news that a Citibank employee and two debt collectors hired by the international financial institution are charged with murdering a customer in Indonesia. The man was the head of a local political party. He reportedly complained to the Citibank representatives about his credit card bill, which showed a higher balance than he expected (from about $7,825 to $11,500). By various reports, he came to negotiate the debt and was taken to a private room where he was questioned by the three suspects, then beaten to death. Snip:
citibank.jpg Unable to handle the complaint, a Citibank employee and two debt-collectors, none of whom were named by police, took Irzen Octa to the fifth floor of the building where they killed him. "We found traces of blood on the curtains and walls," Budi said, adding that Irzen's body was found early Tuesday on the fifth floor.
An autopsy performed on Irzen showed he suffered damage to his brain. The three Citibank employees were named suspects in the murder case and could be charged with the Criminal Code on battery, which carries a maximum jail sentence of five-and-a-half years. Police said they would also question Citibank officials.
Citibank official Ditta Amahorseya declined to comment on the ongoing police investigation when approached by The Jakarta Post, but maintained that Citibank had and obeyed a strict code of ethics in regards to debt collection.
"All agencies' employees representing us are obliged to obey [the code], including the obligation to deal with clients without using threats," she said in an email sent to the Post. This is the second recent criminal case involving Citibank employees.

Easy ways to score free stuff

You can nab serious savings by tracking down online rebates and coupons.  

How to pay zero income taxes

A tax whiz shows one way to earn $150,000 and not owe the IRS a penny. 

Hundreds apply for Swedish 'beach bum' job

A Swedish lifestyle magazine is looking to hire someone skilled at receiving full-body massages, drinking wine at local taverns, and reading books for a not-too demanding temporary assignment.On Thursday, women's lifestyle magazine Amelia posted an advertisement seeking a "beach tester" (strandtestare) with the Swedish National Public Employment Service (Arbetsförmedlingen).According to the advert, candidates will be expected to spend four weeks testing beaches in four different locations around the globe.

"Included in the job assignment is going on outings, lying on beach chairs, drinking wine in local taverns, and other ordinary assignments found in a commercial beach and tourist environment," reads the ad. "In certain areas, receiving a full-body massage, testing drinks, snorkeling, and book reading may be required." Candidates must be able to swim, be willing to work late nights ("testing drinks can under certain circumstances require working overtime"), as well as "have the capacity to rest/do nothing for long periods of time".

"The response has been huge," Amelia's editor-in-chief, Åsa Lundegård,said. "The announcement went up a few hours ago and we've already received hundreds of applications." The job ad is only running for a few days, and its publication the day before April 1st led many to suspect it was an April Fool's joke, said Lundegård. "But it's not. It's a totally real job," she said.

The successful candidate will be invited to travel to four different destinations: the Mediterranean island of Corsica; areas around Cape Town, South Africa; and two locations in Asia. In addition to gruelling days on the beach and top flight accommodations, Amelia's "beach tester" will also be expected to blog about their experience. "We want the person to share their impressions with our readers—how accessible the beach is, whether it's easy to meet people, and other criteria," said Lundegård.

The Future of Manufacturing is Local

ipad covers The Future of Manufacturing is Local
Good stuff, but I couldn’t help getting this icky “all those people who have been downsized and laid-off and otherwise had their lives destroyed by the hollowing out of the U.S. economy just just need to shut-up, stop complaining and pull themselves up by their bootstraps” vibe from the article.
“Manufacturing isn’t dead and doesn’t need to be preserved,” she says. “Let’s stop fixating on what’s lost. Let’s see what we have here, what’s doing well, and let’s help those folks do better.” [...]
SFMade helps companies assess a product’s “manufacturability,” which sometimes results in an adjustment of (for instance) the design, to make it easier and less costly to manufacture. SFMade will then help companies either connect to existing contract manufacturing resources in the city or establish their own production capacity. Instead of assuming that things like sewing, printing and assembly need to happen overseas, SFMade is working to reconnect local production capacity to big companies (i.e., San Francisco-based Levi’s, exploring the possibility of local sample production). Other large San Francisco-based corporations have initiated relationships with SFMade, like Bank of America (which felt it had lost its footing as a “local” business) and Virgin America (which features local products for sale onboard its aircraft and in their San Francisco terminal). [...]
Similar efforts are happening in New York (and indeed, The Times’ City Blog spotlighted the things still made in the city, from lightbulbs to envelopes, in the Made in N.Y.C. series two years ago). Though it launched post-9/11 as a strategy to lift the city back up, Made in N.Y.C. has evolved over time. Sustainability has become a large part of its mission: member companies can post the environmental impacts of their manufacturing processes on the Made in N.Y.C. Web site, with those excelling in greener process and product able to earn a “green apple.” Tying economic growth inextricably to environmental stewardship has so far been a strong strategy.

The Most Anxiety-Producing Jobs Are Those In Which the Workers Have Little Control Over Their Day to Day Activities

Salon interviewed Taylor Clark, author of Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool:
In your research, which jobs did you find to be the most stressful?
You might think that jobs that require the biggest amount of work or the longest hours would be the worst, but that’s not actually the case. The most anxiety-producing jobs are the ones in which the employee has very little control over what he or she does during the workday. One of the more compelling studies that I talk about in the book compares musicians in smaller, chamber groups with those that play in a larger orchestra. The former proved to be a lot less anxious than the latter because they got to decide their own schedule. Orchestral musicians tend to be at the mercy of a tyrannical conductor who decides when they play, what they play and when everyone can take a bathroom break. The notion of executive stress syndrome — the idea that bosses and corporate executives experience much higher levels of anxiety than their underlings — has proven to be total bullshit. Executives tend to have more control over what they’re doing, and they often displace their anxieties on the people that work beneath them.
So a run-of-the-mill production assistant is more stressed out than an air traffic controller?
We love to point a finger at air traffic controllers, but we may need to stop. Objectively speaking, their job has gotten more stressful in the last quarter-century. There are fewer of them employed now and they’re dealing with more traffic than at any point in the history of air travel. The difference is that Ned Reese, who headed the training for our country’s air traffic controllers for a number of years, has completely radicalized the selection process. Rather than pick people based on their physical proficiency, he began hiring controllers with a very a specific psychological makeup. We might see their work as stressful, but they tend to think of it as simply challenging.

The twin journeys of chronic pain and depression

For many who suffer depression, chronic pain is a frequent fellow traveler. 
As many as half of those with chronic pain or with neuropathic pain disorders, such as fibromyalgia, have depression as well.

Pour on the Syrup - It's Good For You

Compounds in maple syrup are found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.  

How pros clean kitchens

A light mist of wax-based aerosol spray will keep stainless steel bright.  

Hole in plane forces landing

Southwest Airlines passengers describe the drop in cabin pressure after a rupture in the ceiling.  

Fake Faxes Help Prisoner Escape from Jail Twice

The wife of a prisoner in Spain sent fake but official-looking faxes to the jails in which her husband was being held. Both times, he was released:
In December, he was in a cell at Arganda del Rey courthouse awaiting trial when officers got a fax purportedly from a regional court. It was followed by a phone call purportedly from a court official, corroborating the release order.
Officers tried to verify the order, but their calls went unanswered. When a second call was received confirming Serna’s release, he was freed to a waiting taxi.
Police said Serna used the same trick to escape from Valdemoro jail in October.

Massive Natural Bridge Discovered in Afghanistan

hazarchishma natural bridge afghanistan photo
The Hazarchishma Natural Bridge. Photo: Ayub Alavi.
Under most circumstances, it would be tough for a natural stone arch more than 200 feet wide and 60 feet high to remain hidden, but the recent discovery of one fitting that description in the remote central highlands of Afghanistan shows just how much remains to be learned about the troubled country's wild places.

Asteroid Forensics May Point to Alien Space Miners

It may be easiest to find E.T. by simply spying on any mega-engineering projects an advanced civilization might be undertaking.

Redneck Houseboat


Real-life 'superheroes'

The masked avengers' crime-fighting crusades are being met with mixed reactions.  

The Original 'Super Heroes'


A Hard Day's Knight

In the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, a young, recently promoted Knight, Sir Notalot, joined that august body just as they were about to go out on yet another of their interminable forays after the Holy Grail. He ran, panting, into the court to find King Arthur alone and he said, "Sire, what must I do to join the other knights on their quest?"

King Arthur said "Well, first you must get yourself some armor - it is dangerous out there!"

So Sir Notalot went off to the chief armorer and said "I need armor to go in search of the Holy Grail - what can you offer me?"

The Armorer said "Well, I can do you the bespoke stainless steel all-over protect-all with expanding cod-piece for 100 livres, the same model in galvanized iron for 80 livres or the fully rusting chain mail for 60 livres".

Poor Sir Notalot could not afford any of these options, so he said "What can you do for 20 livres?"

The armorer said "If you care to go round the back of the Frog and Bucket ... " (at least that's what I think he said) "... you will find a large pile of discarded pewter ale tankards. Collect as many as you can and bring them back here and I shall fashion them into armor for you"

So, Sir Notalot went to the inn and collected all the pewter mugs he could carry and took them back to the armorer. This good man then proceeded to batter the tankards flat and hang them on strings around Sir Notalot's neck until his whole body was covered. The only problem was that Sir Notalot *clanked* at every step.

Sir Notalot walked back to the court - clankity, clankity all the way. He walked into King Arthur's presence to show off his new armor and the King said "This is all very well, but you need a fine charger to ride with the other knights when they leave tomorrow"

Sir Notalot then went to the farrier to see what he could offer. The farrier said "Well, I have this fine white charger at 100 livres or this slightly smaller dappled mare at 80 livres or...."

Sir Notalot said "OK, cut the crap, what have you got for 20 livres? That is all I have and I must leave with the other knights tomorrow"

The farrier thought for a moment and said "I do have this magnificent Saint Bernard dog which has recently been reprocessed since the owner couldn't keep up with the brandy consumption - will that do?"

Sir Notalot paid over the money, jumped onto the dog's back and galloped back to the King - dragging his feet in the dust as he went, with his armor clanking along - draggity, clank, draggity, clank.

He reached the King, who said "Just in time, the others have gone that way" (Pointing to the East)

So, Sir Notalot charged out on his St Bernard, clanking and dragging his feet (clankity drag, clankity drag). at that point it started to rain and the water ran inside the hammered pewter pots and down Sir Notalot's legs, soaking the St Bernard as well. And then the rain was so heavy that the road (Just a mud track, really) started to flood and the clankity-drag noise became more of a sort of a clankity-sploosh noise. And then the thunder and lighting started. Eventually, Sir Notalot reached the inn where the other knights had stopped for a rest. He rode up to the door and said to the inn-keeper "Hail, inn-keeper" (since it was hailing by now) "have you a room?"

And the inn-keeper said "No chance - I am full with these round-tablers"

In despair, Sir Notalot said "But surely you have somewhere I can shelter from the storm?" and pointing to his St Bernard he said....

"You wouldn't send a knight out on a dog like this?"

Old Book Smell

Fun fact about the smell of old books:

The pleasant aromatic smell is due to aromatic compounds emitted mainly from papers made from ground wood which are characterized by their yellowish-brown color. They emit vanilla-like, sweetly fragrant vanillin, aromatic anisol and benzaldehyde, with fruity almond-like odor. On the other hand, terpene compounds, deriving from rosin, which is used to make paper more impermeable to inks, contribute to the camphorous, oily and woody smell of books. A mushroom odor is caused by some other, intensely fragrant aliphatic alcohols.

A typical odor of ‘old book’ is thus determined mixture of fragrant volatiles and is not dominated by any single compound. Not all books smell the same.

Figured you'd enjoy if you didn't know already.

Back in The Day


Maxine says ...

I would have been a flower child ... but it turns out I've got allergies.



How to Get More Veggies from Your Garden

Photo Credit: j-oh, Flickr Creative Commons.
In the quest to grow more of our own food on our 1/4 acre city lot, we've spent a bit of time bemoaning the fact that we are quickly running out of space. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to make your limited garden space work harder for you.

FDA Proposes Menu Calorie Display Requirements

Putting calorie counts on menus is something that some areas of the country have already done, and the FDA has just proposed the same menu requirements itself, which would mean a national shock to many restaurant-goers.
Many admit that the nation, and the world, have a problem with overweight people, and obese people as well.

The 5 Healthiest Types of Drinks to Drink?

This article is going to exclude water from the list, as it is obvious that you should drink a lot of water each day.
A well-known rule of thumb is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
This is because water makes up 2/3 of your body and even makes up right around 90% of your brain mass – which is why water is the best natural remedy for headaches.
Most mid-day fatigue is actually due to mild dehydration – but water isn’t the only thing that you should add to your daily intake of liquids.
Here are five other types of drinks and examples of each that you should add to your daily drinking checklist.

Culinary DeLites

In a taste test of store-bought doughs, three brands win by a landslide.  

Who knew ...

102 Doritos Flavors From Around The World
Doritos are a brand of flavored tortila chips that have been made since 1964. There there are many more flavors to choose from. Here is a list of 102 Doritos flavors, some were limited time releases, some have been discontinued, but all were available at one time or another.



Cover Your Nose: The Stink Bug Outbreak Has Now Spread to 33 States

stink bug photo
Photo: jcantroot
Where I grew up in the middle of the woods in Charlottesville, Va., we welcomed bugs. Ants, crickets, whatever, it was their home first. But stink bugs, well, they're a different matter entirely. This rancid invasive species attacked my family home with a vengeance and it seems we're not the only ones. According to the Daily Mail, the stink bug epidemic has now spread to 33 states.
Article continues: Cover Your Nose: The Stink Bug Outbreak Has Now Spread to 33 States

Animal Pictures