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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, May 21, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
A question that has been burning a hole in your mind will ignite a mental fire today -- it's time to get an answer.
So how should you go about getting your query addressed?
Skip the sweet talk and don't beat around the bush -- go right to the source and ask what you want to know, point blank.
This person will be momentarily shocked by your boldness, but will be secretly thrilled that you care.
It's flattering to be the source of gossip.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Oviedo, Asturias, Spain
Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
Ankara, Ankara, Turkey
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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 Brownsville, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso and more.

Today is:
Today is Saturday, May 21, the 141st day of 2011.
There are 224 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holidays or celebrations are:
O Henry Pun Off Day
National Endangered Species Day
The Preakness Stakes
The End Of the World.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

President Obama's Weekly Address

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Washington, DC
This week, I went to Memphis, Tennessee, where I spoke to the graduating class of Booker T. Washington High School.  Graduations are always happy occasions.  But this commencement was especially hopeful – because of just how much the kids at Booker T. Washington High School had overcome.
This is a school in the middle of a tough neighborhood in South Memphis.  There’s a lot of crime.  There’s a lot of poverty.  And just a few years ago, only about half of the students at the school graduated.  Just a handful went off to college each year.
But folks came together to change all that.  Under the leadership of a dynamic principal and devoted teachers, they started special academies for ninth graders – because they found that that’s when a lot of kids were lost.  They made it possible for students to take AP classes or vocational courses.  Most importantly, they didn’t just change the curriculum; they created a culture that prizes hard work and discipline, and that shows every student that they matter.
Today, four out five students at the school earn a diploma.  70 percent continue their education, many the first in their families to go to college.  So Booker T. Washington High School is no longer a story about what’s gone wrong in education.  It’s a story about how we can set it right.
We need to encourage this kind of change all across America. We need to reward the reforms that are driven not by Washington, but by principals and teachers and parents.  That’s how we’ll make progress in education – not from the top down, but from the bottom up.  And that’s the guiding principle of the Race to the Top competition my administration started two years ago.
The idea is simple: if states show that they’re serious about reform, we’ll show them the money.  And it’s already making a difference throughout the country.  In Tennessee, where I met those students, they’ve launched an innovative residency program so that new teachers can be mentored by veteran educators.  In Oregon, Michigan and elsewhere, grants are supporting the work of teachers who are lengthening the school day, offering more specialized classes, and making the changes necessary to improve struggling schools.
Our challenge now is to allow all fifty states to benefit from the success of Race to the Top.  We need to promote reform that gets results while encouraging communities to figure out what’s best for their kids.  That why it’s so important that Congress replace No Child Left Behind this year – so schools have that flexibility.  Reform just can’t wait.
And if anyone doubts this, they ought to head to Booker T. Washington High.  They ought to meet the inspiring young people who overcame so much, and worked so hard, to earn their diplomas – in a school that believed in their promise and gave them the opportunity to succeed.  We need to give every child in America that chance.  That’s why education reform matters.
Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.

Obama awaited in ancestral home

Local resident Julia Hayes holds a US flag in her bedroom in Moneygall, Co Offaly, as Obama fever sweeps the village.

President Barack Obama will set foot on his ancestral homeland and follow in the steps of some of his predecessors when he touches down in Ireland on Monday.

Comments, Comments, Comments, Comments and a Review

We've been reading your blog from the beginning and it has never failed to provoke thought and entertain us.
Gilles and Nicole in Paris, France

Happened on your blog a few months ago and put it on my daily reading list.
Mary in Portland, Oregon

I love this blog.
Stanley in Hobart, Tasmania

Keep standing for humanity, wish more would.
Susan and Lucia in Barcelona, Spain

Narrow minds beware this blog will destroy your little world!
A review from an unknown critic in cyberspace.

The end of the world is at hand

Top Doomsday Predictions Gone Bust
May 21st Doomsday
Time to break out the champagne and party hats because it's that time of year once again: doomsday.  
Atheists Offer Pet Rescue for Judgment Day
Dog Walker
Worried about what happens when Rex is left behind after the Rapture? One group is here to help.  
Even those who haven't bought into the idea that the world will end Saturday are marking the occasion.

It's the end of the world as we know it


CDC zombie warning spoof

The disease center says preparing for ghouls is no different than getting ready for other disasters.

    The Gate to Paradise

    Or Valhalla, Or Shambala, Or Shangri-la, Or Avalon, Or Aslan , Or ...

    Lifeguards making $200K

    Newport Beach, Calif., is facing a swell of anger after reports of the sky-high salaries.

    Salaries up for new grads

    The average starting salary offer is on the rise for the first time in three years.  

    How she got debt-free

    Laura Cone set herself a goal to owe nothing by age 30 and succeeded.  

    Non Sequitur


    Epic Fail

    Massive Tea Party held in South Carolina

    Two teabaggers show up and they were the atheist teabaggers - the rest were at home awaiting the 'rapture'.
    (OK, so about 30 really showed up and there is no such creature as an atheist teabagger - but admit it, it's funny either way.)

    What more can you say about teabaggers

    The 16-year-old from Cherry Hill says several commenters have called her a "whore." 
    Her father, Wayne, says he's concerned for his daughter's safety.

    Murdoch's phone hacking even larger than thought

    Who else wonders if this happened in the US as well?

    The Guardian:
    The Metropolitan police holds evidence that could prove hundreds of people had their phones hacked by the News of the World, Scotland Yard told the high court, a far greater number than had previously been believed.

    Barristers for the Metropolitan police said notes seized from Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator on the paper's books, showed he made a note of 149 mobile phone pin numbers and around 400 unique voicemail numbers. Both are used to access messages left on mobile phones.

    Jason Beer QC, for the Metropolitan police, told a high court hearing the figures were: "a snap shot in time as of last week". Until Friday, the police had maintained Mulcaire kept a record of just 91 pin numbers.

    Renovated Disney ride gets a TSA checkpoint

    The Star Tours Star Wars simulator ride at Walt Disney World has re-opened after a long rehab. It's been updated with the latest technology and effects, and been rejigged to add that de rigeur element of all long-distance travel: a TSA checkpoint analog. Bruce Schneier calls it the "normalization of security" -- that is, making invasive security measures seem natural and normal.
    The second room of the queue is now a security check area, similar to a TSA checkpoint. The two G-series droids are still there, G2-9T scanning luggage and G2-4T scanning passengers. For those attraction junkies, you'll remember that the G-series droids are so named because in the original Disneyland Park version of the ride, they were created by removing the "skins" from two of the goose animatronics from the soon-to-close America Sings attraction (Goose = "G" series). While we won't tell you why, you'll enjoy paying a lot of attention to what the scans of the luggage show is inside. When it's your turn to go through the passenger scan (a thermal body scan), you may be verbally accosted by a security droid. Also, keep an eye out in the queue for an earlier version of RX-24 ("Captain Rex") from the original Star Tours; he's labeled "defective" and has some familiar dialogue.

    Snapshot reveals a black hole's jets

    A network of radio telescopes scattered around the Southern Hemisphere has produced the best-ever view of cosmic jets erupting from a supermassive black hole at the center of another galaxy.

    Anniversary of a nuclear moment

    A remote island was the site of a huge leap in the nuclear arms race 55 years ago.

    'On Stranger Tides'

    Unlike previous films in the series, "On Stranger Tides" features real historical figures.
    Johnny Depp says he hopes fans will be puzzled by the little red 'X' on his character's face.

    Eight cool new tourist attractions

    You'll need diving gear to visit the world's largest underwater museum in Mexico.  

    Random Celebrity Photo

    Audrey Hepburn being domestic

    California carjack suspect ran out of gas

    California prosecutors say a man who carjacked a vehicle in Belmont was arrested while he was sitting in the car after it ran out of gas about eight miles away.

    Wizard of Id


    Stoner arrested for second time on drug charges

    Police arrested a Florida man on drug charges for the second time in less than four years.

    Glenn H. Stoner, 56, of Clearwater was charged with cultivation of marijuana and operating a drug house, both felonies, and a misdemeanor charge of possession of paraphernalia. In 2006 was arrested on charges of possession and manufacture of marijuana.

    Clearwater police executing a search warrant found 19 marijuana plants and various indoor growing equipment, including irrigation systems and fertilizers, in Stoner's bedroom.

    Stoner said he smokes all of the marijuana himself and said none belongs to his roommate. He was taken to the Pinellas County Jail with bond set at $10,150.

    More Dope:
    Kindergartner takes 18 bags of Heroin to school
    Police and school officials in western Pennsylvania say a kindergarten student brought stamped bags of heroin to a Pittsburgh school and may have given some to other students.

    A Pennsylvania woman will stand trial on charges she fed marijuana-laced margarine to a 12-year-old girl she was baby-sitting, as well as two other children at her home.

    Suspect pocket dials 911: Police overhear drug deal
    It's the second such "pocket dialing leads to arrest" story in less than a month, and you have to admit, it makes one wonder a) what kind of cell phones these criminals are using, and b) why they don't use a belt holster.

    Dumb Crooks

    A woman who tried to sell a rare hunk of moon rock for $1.7 million was detained when her prospective customer turned out to be an undercover NASA investigator, officials said Friday.

    A gang member who was linked to a 2004 murder by an elaborate tattoo on his chest that authorities say memorialized the crime scene was sentenced on Thursday to 65 years to life in prison.

    Odds and Sods

    Eleven people stormed into a house in a central Indian village and assaulted a woman whom they accused of witchcraft, blinding her and her husband by stabbing them in the eyes with scissors, police said on Saturday.

    Dylan In A Convenience Store

    One of many great photos at the Morrison Hotel Gallery.
    dylan reading
    The Morrison Hotel Gallery, which represents world renowned photographers, has grown to become the place to purchase fine art music photography. As you view some of the most inspiring and iconic images of music and musicians photographed over the last fifty-plus years, think about the people who existed on both sides of the lens. The photographers had no idea what they were creating or how historic the imagery would become. It is a one-second click of the shutter that creates a timeless moment in our lives.

    Mom's perfect catch

    A baseball fan snags a fly ball with one hand while holding onto her cute baby in the other.
    Mom's perfect catch makes her an internet star
    It was a routine foul ball, but a picture taken by a Richmond Times-Dispatch photographer has made Tiffany Goodwin a bit of an internet star.

    Fabulous prefab houses

    The latest out-of-the-box houses are surprisingly stylish, and some can be “unfolded” in a week.

    World's 'most useless' device

    A crazy contraption that turns itself off as soon as you turn it on now goes bananas when you bug it.  

    How Snake Oil Got a Bad Rap

    We use the term “snake oil” for anything promoted as a cure-all that doesn’t work, whether it is medicine or political policy. But back in the 1860s, Chinese immigrants who worked on the Transcontinental Railroad used oil from the Chinese water snake to treat sore muscles, and it worked!
    A 2007 story in Scientific American explains that California neurophysiology researcher Richard Kunin made the connection between Chinese water snakes and omega-3 fatty acids in the 1980s.
    “Kunin visited San Francisco’s Chinatown to buy such snake oil and analyze it. According to his 1989 analysis published in the Western Journal of Medicine, Chinese water-snake oil contains 20 percent eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), one of the two types of omega-3 fatty acids most readily used by our bodies. Salmon, one of the most popular food sources of omega-3s, contains a maximum of 18 percent EPA, lower than that of snake oil.”
    However, it wasn’t until several years after Kunin’s research that American scientists discovered that omega-3s are vital for human metabolism. Not only do they sooth inflammation in muscles and joints, but also, they can help “cognitive function and reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and even depression.”
    So how did “snake oil” come to mean a scam?
    The rest of the story is at Collectors Weekly.

    Awesome Pictures


    The Rainbow Eucalyptus

    This tree is also grown for ornamental purposes, due to the showy multi-coloured streaks that cover the trunk. Patches of outer bark are shed annually at different times, showing the bright-green inner bark. This then darkens and matures to give blue, purple, orange and then maroon tones.
    Another half-dozen photos are assembled at Kuriositas.

    On the move


    Dachshund in Chain Mail

    I do not know the origins of this picture, but the dog’s owner should be commended for providing much-needed protection from arrows and bladed weapons. She is ready to go to both the dogpark and the Ren fair.



    Web's oddest animal couple

    Fum and Gebra take their friendship to new heights as they play a game of midair tag.  

    In India, Big Monkeys Are Employed As Bodyguards Against Hordes of Smaller Monkeys

    A langur monkey. 
    Every night, hordes of rhesus monkeys invade government buildings in New Dheli. They tear up offices and attack office workers. In 2007, a deputy mayor fell off a terrace to his death while being attacked by a group of the animals. Now government workers are fighting back, and they've brought in muscle to do their dirty work.
    Article continues: In India, Big Monkeys Are Employed As Bodyguards Against Hordes of Smaller Monkeys

    Sea Turtle Haven on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast Threatened

    patara beach turkey photo
    Patara Beach. Photo: Jennifer Hattam
    Mega-resort development has swallowed up much of Turkey's gorgeous Mediterranean coastline, but there are still some tucked-away spots for those who prefer peace and quiet to discos and umbrella drinks. One of these places is the village of Patara, home to the longest beach in Turkey, a key sea turtle nesting site, nearly 3,000 years of history, and -- if government officials have their way -- up to 750 brand-spanking-new holiday villas.
    Article continues: Sea Turtle Haven on Turkey's Mediterranean Coast Threatened By Plan to Build 750 New Holiday Homes

    Animal Pictures