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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, April 12, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Several planets are currently teaming up to inspire you to go after what you want, and with a vengeance.
If you're challenged, you'll deliver the perfect response in a most authoritative tone of voice -- easily convincing any opponents to just drop it.
Oh, and then there's your innate tendency to refuse to accept 'no' for an answer.
If anyone really does try to tangle with you, at least give them an honorary mention.
After all, it does take guts to do it.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Doha, Ad Dawhah, Qatar
London England, United Kingdom
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes France
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Copenhagen, Kobenhavn, Denmark
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Port-of-Spain, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Kulim, Kedah, Malaysia
Guildford, England, United Kingdom
Ivrea, Piemonte, Italy
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil

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 West Chicago, Wheat Ridge, Far Rockaway, Little Switzerland and more.

Today is:
Today is Tuesday, April 12, the 103rd day of 2011.
There are 262 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
Licorice Day
Walk On Your Wild Side Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

North Carolina. Yeah, home sweet home.

Good ol’ North Carolina ... where the tea is sweet and accents are sweeter, summer starts in April, front porches are wide and words are long, macaroni & cheese is a vegetable, BBQ is the state food, y’all is a proper pronoun, chicken is fried, biscuits come with gravy, everything is honey, and someone is always getting their heart blessed.

Fifty years ago ...

50 years ago today man enters space…
50 years ago today man enters space …

Rare scenes from the War Between the States

Rare glimpses of life between battles offer surprising — and sometimes unsettling — revelations.  

Six Odd but Awesome Spring Celebrations Around the World

Places all over have different ways of celebrating the end of winter and the return of warm weather every year. What could be more fun than a spring-cleaning holiday that includes a water fight?

That’s what’s happening in Thailand during Songkran.
On April 12th, old or useless items are thrown out of houses and burned to avoid bad luck, and on the 13th offerings are made to statues of Buddha at the local wat. The Buddha statues are then washed with perfumed water, and Buddhas from important wats are paraded through the streets where the crowds throw more water on them. The water-fight begins in earnest after this, with people dousing each other with buckets and super-soakers on the street.
See videos of Songkran and other spring celebrations at AnyTrip.

Brussels' Floral Carpet

Every two years in August, an enormous flower carpet is set up at the Grand Place in Brussels, Belgium, for a few days. A million colourful begonias are set up in patterns, and the display covers a full 24 by 77 metres (79 by 253 ft), an area total of 1,800 square metres (19,000 sq ft).

Officially, the first Floral Carpet as its present-day form was created in 1971 on the Grand-Place by the landscape architect Stautemans, but, in fact, it was the culmination of a whole series created in various towns in Flanders.

Here's a video of last year's Flower Carpet.

Random Celebrity Photo

Zsa Zsa and Eva
Zsa Zsa and Eva Gabor

Bad Cops

Two Chicago police officers accused of sexual assault/rape

Utah family calls police out of concern for son leaving without taking his diabetic medicine; police run son off road and fatally shoot him

New Jersey police illegally detain honors student over cellphone footage

US Department of Justice launches formal civil-rights investigation into Seattle Police Department's "patterns" and "practices"

Curiously un-named Border Patrol agent arrested on marijuana charges

New York cop nearly doors cyclist, then chases and arrests her

Georgia cop busted with marijuana in his pants

Texas police officerpeppersprays baby squirrel, enrages middle schoolers

Missouri sheriff accused of distributingmeth

Kansas cops pay $27K settlement for excessive force and racial profiling

Video shows Pennsylvania police officer beating baseball fan

U.S. Issues Travel Warning to Mexican States due to Threats

The United States Consulates General in Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Monterrey advise American citizens that the U.S. government has received uncorroborated information that Mexican criminal gangs may intend to attack U.S. law enforcement officers or U.S. citizens in the near future in Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon and San Luis Potosi .

Non Sequitur


While you're still looking for a job

... House repugicans are holding a hearing on "Defending Marriage"
Hey, here's a way to defend marriage.  Help all those unemployed spouses out there get a job.

Also, the repugican chairing the hearing wants to impeach Obama (so what else is new?):
Trent Franks (reptile-Ariz.), chair of the committee, has said President Obama could be impeached for his decision to drop his administration's defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in court, and the upcoming hearing would likely represent his views.

In a March interview with Think Progress, Franks said he supports defunding the Justice Department if it doesn’t defend DOMA and added he would “absolutely” favor impeaching Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder if support for doing so “could gain collective support.”
Well, he's going to have to impeach a lot of other presidents, even including the pretenders, the shrub, and ronny raygun, posthumously, because they did the same thing Obama did.  The lies these guys spin.  Just amazing.

You know maybe it is time to let the repugicans destroy the economy

Maybe we have to consider whether we're going about this all the wrong way.

If the repugicans want to make a political/electoral issue out of the debt ceiling, then let's not raise it. Hand the keys to the legislation, to to speak, to Boehner and McConnell, and tell them it's their choice whether the legislation passes. And when it doesn't pass, and the world economy melts down, no one will elect a repugican for decades to come.

Repugicans would rather demagogue, and lie, than fix the country.

Why keep paying ransom to the hostage takers?

Maybe it's time to simply let Atlas shrug.

Parallel Worlds

Artist Ji Lee creates miniature rooms of furniture, and installs them on ceilings!
People fill the floor of their homes with furniture and walls with paintings and pictures. So why are the ceilings left empty? Decorating ceilings was a celebrated art form in the past centuries that somehow got lost through the reductionism of modernism. People don’t look at the ceiling anymore. It’s a dead space. So I wanted to bring a small wink to this space. I also liked the idea that somehow there’s a parallel world which coexists with ours.
One of the installations in Lee’s Parallel Worlds project includes R2D2 and a hippo!

The truth about the U.S. budget

Spending cuts alone won’t be enough to make a serious dent in the deficit.

Tax breaks that many miss

You might save hundreds by claiming overlooked write-offs for donations and business expenses.

Ways to raise a credit score

These moves can mean the difference between having a 550 score and a 780.  

Things They Won't Tell You

An old-fashioned letter is by far the best way to communicate with your health plan.  

Best secrets of supersavers

"America’s Cheapest Family" says you might save $700 a year with one painless step.

Wal-Mart to add 8,500 items

The world’s largest retailer aims to lure back customers with two strategies.

    Computer Help

    I was having trouble with my computer. So I called Jaden, the 9-year-old next door whose bedroom looks like Mission Control, and asked him to come over.

    Jaden clicked a couple of buttons and solved the problem.

    As he was walking away, I called after him, ‘So, what was wrong?

    He replied, ‘It was an ID ten T error.’

    I didn’t want to appear stupid, but nonetheless inquired, ‘An, ID Ten T error? What’s that? In case I need to fix it again.’

    Jaden grinned. ‘Haven’t you ever heard of an ID ten T error before?”

    No,’ I replied.

    ‘Write it down,’ he said, ‘and I think you’ll figure it Out.’

    So I wrote down: I D 1 0 T

    I used to like the little shit.

    Big Brother Needs No Warrant to Snoop at Your Cloud Emails

    Do you use Gmail or other email cloud service? Then you’d be surprised to learn that according to the law, the government can get your email without a warrant if it’s older than 180 days.
    David Kravets of Wired’s Threat Level explains:
    As the law stands now, the authorities may obtain cloud e-mail without a warrant if it is older than 180 days, thanks to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act adopted in 1986. At that time, e-mail left on a third-party server for six months was considered to be abandoned, and thus enjoyed less privacy protection. However, the law demands warrants for the authorities to seize e-mail from a person’s hard drive.
    A coalition of internet service providers and other groups, known as Digital Due Process, has lobbied for an update to the law to treat both cloud- and home-stored e-mail the same, and thus require a probable-cause warrant for access. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on that topic Tuesday.
    The companies — including Google, AOL and AT&T — maintain that the law should be changed to reflect that consumers increasingly access their e-mail on servers, instead of downloading it to their hard drives, as a matter of course.
    But the Obama administration testified that imposing constitutional safeguards on e-mail stored in the cloud would be an unnecessary burden on the government. Probable-cause warrants would only get in the government’s way.



    Supervolcano plume sized up

    This image, based on variations in electrical conductivity of underground rock, shows the volcanic plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano.
    New technology suggests the volcanic plume beneath the park is larger than previously imagined.  

    'Most dangerous thing you'll do'

    A very common practice can raise heart attack risk by a staggering 54 percent.

      Science News

      A galaxy’s core is a busy place, crowded with stars swarming around an enormous black hole. When galaxies collide, it gets even messier as the two black holes spiral toward ...

      By studying fossilized mollusks from some 3.5 million years ago, UCLA geoscientists and colleagues have been able to construct an ancient climate record that holds clues about the long-term effects of Earth’s ...

      Handy Gadgets and Kids Inventions

      Save water, stay organized, and clean blinds quickly with these inexpensive items.
        Abbey Fleck was 8 when a greasy mess sparked her idea for the popular Makin' Bacon Dish.

        Indoor farms: The future?

        Sunlight isn't necessary and rainfall is irrelevant in this novel approach to crop growth.

          Word of the Day


          The Flappers' Dictionary

          Jim Lewin received a stack of old magazines at his used bookstore that included some issues of The Flapper from the 1920s. A July 1922 issue contained “The Flapper’s Dictionary,” a glossary of hot slang terms of the time, which he posted in its entirety.

          Here’s a small sample:
          Absent Treatment—Dancing with a bashful partner.
          Airedale—A homely man.
          Alarm Clock—Chaperone.
          Anchor—Box of flowers.
          Apple Knocker—A hick; a hay-shaker.
          Apple Sauce–Flattery; bunk.
          Barlow—A girl, a flapper, a chicken.
          Bank’s Closed—No petting allowed; no kisses.
          Bee’s Knees—See “Cat’s Pajamas”
          Bell Polisher—A young man addicted to lingering in vestibules at 1 a.m.
          Bean Picker--One who patches up trouble and picks up spilled beans.
          Berry Patch--A man's particular interest in a girl.
          Biscuit--A pettable flapper.
          Big Timer--(n. masc.)--A charmer able to convince his sweetie that a jollier thing would be to get a snack in an armchair lunchroom; a romantic.
          Ask your grandmother (or great-grandmother) if she remembers some of these words.

          Hidden art in Woody Woodpecker

          Did animation pioneer Shamus Culhane secretly slip his own abstract paintings into 1940s Woody Woodpecker cartoons? Apparently so, according to cartoon historian Tom Klein writing in the new issue of Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
           Images 2011 04 11 Arts 11Woodpecker-Span 11Woodpecker-Span-Articlelarge
          From the New York Times:
          “Culhane essentially ‘hid’ his artful excursions in plain sight, letting them rush past too rapidly for the notice of most of his audience,” Mr. Klein writes in the 15-page article, titled “Woody Abstracted: Film Experiments in the Cartoons of Shamus Culhane.” In the article Mr. Klein describes Mr. Culhane, who was credited in his work then as James Culhane, as a devotee of the avant-garde. He was influenced by the writings of Russian theorists like Sergei Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mr. Klein writes, and spent evenings at the American Contemporary Gallery in Hollywood. There, he watched films by Fritz Lang and Jean Renoir, might have seen paintings by Oskar Fischinger and definitely “was inclined to wear a beret.”
          Mr. Klein writes that one of (Culhane's) experiments was a two-second piece of an explosion in “Woody Dines Out,” from 1945. He finds the frames “improvised like visual music” in what Mr. Culhane acknowledged in his autobiography, “Talking Animals and Other People,” was an Eisenstein-inspired moment.
          The longest such experimental sequence was in the seven-second steamroller smash-up in “The Loose Nut,” also from 1945. And, later in that cartoon, Woody is blown into an abstract configuration that Mr. Klein, in his article, calls “the convergence of animation and Soviet montage.”

          Man Discovers That The Old Cup That He's Been Using as a Plinking Target Is Worth $99,000

          When he was a boy, John Weber, 70, was given an old cup by his grandfather. He assumed that it was just a worthless piece of brass and occasionally used it for target practice with his air rifle. Eventually, Weber decided to have it appraised, and experts concluded that it was a 2,300-year old Persian gold cup of enormous value. It sold at auction for £50,000 in 2008.

          Memo reignites UFO claims

          A declassified FBI file provides an intriguing account of the New Mexico legend. 

          Maine man teaches legal pot growing techniques

          A Maine man is teaching people how to grow medical marijuana at what's being called "Marijuana State University." Fifty-six-year-old Ray Logan has been growing marijuana for 30 years, but when he started it was a recreational and illegal hobby.

          Truly creepy mansions

          Ghastly rumors and notorious former owners haunt these empty, once-regal U.S. estates.  

          The Eleven Most Neglected Deities in Teutono-Norse Mythology

          Edward Wozniak latest work is a rundown of lesser-known members of the Scandinavian pantheon.

          For example, you might not be familiar with the goddess Hel.
          The goddess who ruled over the land of the dead which shared her name, the name which by some accounts evolved into the common word Hell. She was the daughter of Loki by the female Jotun Angerboda and her siblings from that union were the Fenrir Wolf and the Midgard Serpent. She ruled the land of her namesake from her castle, called Sleetcold, and was often pictured with a body that was half light and fair and half dark and decomposed. Hel was assigned her position by Odin himself and, as a reflection of the hard Viking world-view those sent to her were the souls of any who died of sickness or old age. Their miserable existence in her gloomy realm was in stark contrast to the joyous existence of the brave souls who died in combat, who feasted and drank nightly with Odin in his dining hall Valhalla.

          Awesome Pictures


          Counting Sheep 2.0

          Homer sleeping
          Leo Babauta over at the Zen Habits blog has posted what he calls “The Simplest Cure for Insomnia” – an effective alternative to counting sheep when you’re having a hard time falling asleep. I’ve tried it and it has worked great.
          The simplest cure for insomnia: get comfortable and close your eyes, and then replay your day in your head, in every detail possible, from the moment you woke up.

          The Paris Syndrome

          Ah, Paris, the City of Lights. Every year, more than 45 million people visit the city but roughly about 1 million of those starry-eyed tourists (mostly Japanese) fall sick with what has been dubbed the Paris Syndrome – what could cause such a strange effect?
          Dan Lewis of Now I Know (That’s Half the Battle!) explains:
          Paris Syndrome is marked by a psychiatric breakdown suffered by the visitor, often including physiological side effects such as dizziness, an increased heart rate, and otherwise unexplained sweat. Extreme cases come with increased anxiety, a sense of persecution, and even hallucinations. Most of those affected are Japanese, but on occasion, a non-Japanese tourist will fall prey to the syndrome.
          The cause? Most likely, it’s a mix of a few factors: jet lag from the long trip; elation (similar to Stendhal syndrome) from taking a once-in-a-lifetime vacation; the language barrier; and, most critically, culture shock. As the BBC noted in its discussion of Paris Syndrome, "[m]any of the visitors come with a deeply romantic vision of Paris [but the] reality can come as a shock. An encounter with a rude taxi driver, or a Parisian waiter who shouts at customers who cannot speak fluent French, might be laughed off by those from other Western cultures. But for the Japanese – used to a more polite and helpful society in which voices are rarely raised in anger – the experience of their dream city turning into a nightmare can simply be too much." And, also according to the BBC, the Japanese embassy there takes culture shock seriously, staffing a 24-hour hotline for citizens and expats who suffer culture shock while in La Ville-Lumière.

          Strange Addictions

          Alcohol, drugs, nicotine, caffeine … You can get addicted to a lot of stuff, but how about "tanorexic’s" addiction to tanning, addiction to nasal spray and even an addiction to reading?
          Clinical psychologist Jeff Gardere of Healthguru lists some of the world’s most unusual addictions: here.

          Health Tip Of The Day


          School bans homemade lunch

          A Chicago public school adds a strange new twist to the growing battle over what kids eat.

            Tea 'is key weapon' against Taliban

            Drinking chai - tea - is a key weapon in the fight against the insurgency in Afghanistan, a senior Army officer has said.

            Stress wrecks intestinal bacteria

            Stress not only sends the human immune system into overdrive – it can also wreak havoc on the trillions of bacteria that work and thrive inside our digestive system.

            Culinary DeLites

            A Hardee's 2/3 lb. Monster Thickburger has a diet-destroying 1,320 calories.  
            Denny's Offers Bacon Sundaes
            The Denny’s restaurant chain understands that everything can be improved upon with the proper application of bacon. That’s why its chefs are now offering maple syrup sundaes with bacon bits sprinkled on top and between the layers:
            Bacon makes a classic ice cream sundae even more awesome. We start with maple-flavored syrup, and a scoop of rich, creamy vanilla ice cream and then a generous sprinkle of our diced hickory-smoked bacon. Add another sweet layer of syrup and vanilla ice cream topped with even more bacon and a drizzle of syrup.
            Could hot dogs be healthier than chicken?

            New hot pepper trumps rivals

            A fiery breed with a name worthy of pro wrestling sets a blistering mark on the Scoville scale.