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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.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Daily Drift

The Daily Drift
Today's horoscope says:
Fabulous, fanciful and frantic ideas will be bubbling up in your brain from the moment you open your eyes today -- creativity is making a massive comeback in your life!
Make sure you tote a pen and paper with you everywhere you go, because you will want to jot down every crazy notion or random rhyme that pops into your head.
Hold onto this wave of energy, and enjoy the knowledge that you are coming up with things that no one else is capable of, especially right now.

Some of our readers today have been in:
Makati, Manila, Philippines
Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia
Rome, Lazio, Italy
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Cork, Cork, Ireland
Weert, Limburg, Netherlands
Limerick, Limerick, Ireland
London, England, United Kingdom
Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Geneva, Geneve, Switzerland
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Amsterdam, Noord-Holland, Netherlands
Paris, Ile-De-France, France
Berne, Bern, Switzerland
Annecy, Rhone-Alpes, France
Mexico City, Distrito Federal, Mexico

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 Ellijay, Providence, Chandler, Bangor and more.

Today is:
Today is Thursday, June 23, the 174th day of 2011.
There are 191 days left in the year.

Today's unusual holiday or celebration is:
Let It Go Day.

Don't forget to visit our sister blog!

Top tips for a perfect steak

What you do with the meat in the hours before cooking is as important as the grill itself.  

Outrage over $5 tap water fee

Diners in Australia cry foul over a steep fee for tap water filtered by a $6,000 system.

Rare Watermelon Fetches $4,000

A prized Japanese watermelon fetched nearly $4,000 at an auction in Sapporo.

And apparently, that's a bargain.

Teen eating-disorder signs

According to a new book from Dr. Oz, a sudden change in posture may be cause for concern.  

Will Killer Bacteria 'Smoking Gun' Be Found?

Hopes of drawing a line under the E. coli outbreak in Europe fell Tuesday as scientists said they had yet to trace the source of the bacteria that has killed at least 22 people mainly in Germany and infected more than 2,200 people in at least 12 countries.

Non Sequitur


Alcohol Mary Road to stay

Selectmen in a western Maine town say a small hidden-away road named for a Prohibition bootlegger will keep its name.

Spare tires not included

Full-size spare tires are no longer standard equipment on many new autos.

Awesome Pictures


Almost Cast

Actors and Actresses Who Lost Iconic Film Roles
Dorothy Gale ('The Wizard of Oz'): Shirley Temple
Photo link
This gallery at Life.com that shows just-missed film roles. It’s fun to imagine movies as they might have been if casting had veered off on a slightly different course. Shirley Temple as Dorothy Gale? Laurence Olivier as Vito Corleone? O.J. Simpson as the Terminator? (Check out the gallery… James Cameron makes the joke that you’re thinking right now.) Film history could be so different.

Random Celebrity Photo

Buster Keaton the big kahuna…
Buster Keaton the big kahuna ...

On The Job

If any of these work scenarios sounds familiar, meet with your boss and rethink your attitude.

How Cities Stress Us Out

city life
Even if you live in the country now, studies show the impact of coming from a city persists in the brain.  

World's priciest hotel rooms

$20,000 buys a night in a swank Caribbean hotel suite with a permanent staff of seven.

Real estate agent gripes

Holding out for more money at the last minute can actually cost you extra.  

Brands that may disappear

Sagging sales and changing habits could spell the end for these familiar names in 2012. 

Daily Comic Relief


China: artist, poet, activist Ai Weiwei released on bail

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei speaks to members of the media in the doorway to his studio after being released on bail in Beijing June 23, 2011. Ai, detained since April, was released on bail on Wednesday, state media said, citing Beijing police. The agency, in a late evening announcement, said the artist had been freed "because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes as well as a chronic disease he suffers from". Ai was detained at Beijing airport on April 3, igniting an outcry about China's tightening grip on dissent, which has triggered the detention and arrest of dozens of rights activists and dissidents. [REUTERS/David Gray].

China's news agency reports that the Chinese poet, artist and activist Ai Weiwei has been released on bail. He pled guilty to charges of tax evasion. He is now home. From China Daily:
The Beijing police department said Wednesday that Ai Weiwei has been released on bail because of his good attitude in confessing his crimes as well as a chronic disease he suffers from. The decision comes also in consideration of the fact that Ai has repeatedly said he is willing to pay the taxes he evaded, police said.
The Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd., a company Ai controlled, was found to have evaded a huge amount of taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents, police said.
More, from US-based news outlets: WP, AJ, NYT NPR. As an aside, and not directly related to the news of his release: in New York City, the Asia Society is planning an exhibit of his work.



Wingnuts bash Gore for wanting women to have access to birth control

Al Gore's radical agenda: save babies, educate girls, empower women. 

While the mainstream media is all aflutter over Al Gore criticizing Obama for inaction on climate, the wingnut noise machine is all aflutter over Al Gore saying that we should educate girls, keep kids from dying, and make birth control available to women.

Remember ...


How to make your money last

Since Americans are living longer, financial experts advise thinking ahead. 

Outlook for jobs and economy gloomier

The economy is still growing, although it's not as robust as earlier predictions had indicated.  

Swift Cuts And Tax Hikes Threaten Recovery

Lawmakers risk derailing the economic recovery if they act too soon to slash spending or raise taxes substantially.

Reagan and Revenues

By Paul Krugman

There was no 'Reagan revenue miracle'; growth slowed.
There was a Clinton miracle. 

And there was a shrub reverse miracle.

There's Blood on the Chopping Block

The republican party has spent the last several weeks receiving an education - by way of serial beatings delivered by constituents from sea to shining sea - on the awesome power of Medicare in America.

When it became known that Paul Ryan's plan to turn the wildly popular program into a privatized disaster zone had been adopted as the battle standard for the repugicans and its newly-muscular 'tea party' bloc, seven different breeds of merry hell broke loose across the land.

House member after House member climbed out of the DC bubble, went home to their districts, and were promptly set upon by furious people who deeply depend on Medicare. 

Translation: People hate the repugcians.

Extremists on the rise in NW

Anti-government and white supremacist groups are rising in these beautiful, yet remote, areas.  

The truth be told


Our most crooked judge

Clarence 'Slappy' Thomas
"I may be whore for Whitey, but I'm a highly paid whore..."

The New York Times reports on Clarence Thomas’ highly fruitful relationship with a right-wing
millionaire named Harlan Crow. Crow has donated nearly $5 million to repugican candidates and
conservative organizations, including $100,000 to the Swift Boat Liars— and he has also been very
generous to Justice Thomas and his white wife: Since the mid-1990s, Crow has done many favors for Slappy and Virginia Thomas, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas and reportedly
providing for Ms. Thomas to start a teabagger group.

... and this moron wants us to believe those millions aren't bribes?

I remember when one of Clinton's cabinet members, Henry Cisneros, was "caught" accepting free Dallas Cowboy tickets and plane ride to the game - THAT was the crime of the century.

Cisneros had to pay and fine and resign.

But Slappy The Wonder Judge can accept $500K in CASH and that's OK?

I guess it depends on whether you have an "r" or a "D" after your name..

The Snake Oil Senator

The nutritional supplement industry is booming. They can sell stuff at outrageous prices, make all kinds of dubious claims, and are not required to demonstrate that their products actually work. Orrin-Hatch It's a dream come true for sleazy companies preying on the gullible. And they can thank Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican Mormon from Utah.
A New York Times focuses on Hatch's relationship with a Utah-based company called Xango: Hatch a ‘Natural Ally’ of Supplements Industry.
In the town of Lehi is the sprawling headquarters of Xango, where company officials praised Mr. Hatch, a Utah Republican, late last year for helping their exotic fruit juice business “operate without excessive intrusion” from Washington.
Up in Sandy, Utah, is 4 Life Research, whose top executives donated to Mr. Hatch’s last re-election campaign after federal regulators charged the company with making exaggerated claims about pills that it says helps the immune system. And nearby in West Salem, assembly-line workers at Neways fill thousands of bottles a day for a product line that includes Youthinol, a steroid-based hormone that professional sports leagues pushed to ban until Mr. Hatch blocked them.
“Senator Hatch — he’s our natural ally,” said Marc S. Ullman, a lawyer for several supplement companies.
Same old story: Pay the senator, and he'll make the laws for you.
Xango juice costs about $40 per bottle and is sold via a multilevel marketing scheme. This warning letter from the FDA describes all of the supposed benefits of this juice.

Security Theater Road Show

TSA is taking its show on the road: Surprise! TSA Is Searching Your Car, Subway, Ferry, Bus, AND Plane.
Think you could avoid the TSA's body scanners and pat-downs by taking Amtrak? Think again. Even your daily commute isn't safe from TSA screenings.
TSA Logo As part of the TSA's request for FY 2012 funding, TSA Administrator John Pistole told Congress last week that the TSA conducts 8,000 unannounced security screenings every year. These screenings, conducted with local law enforcement agencies as well as immigration, can be as simple as checking out cargo at a busy seaport. But more and more, they seem to involve giving airport-style pat-downs and screenings of unsuspecting passengers at bus terminals, ferries, and even subways.
These surprise visits are part of the TSA's VIPR program: Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response. The VIPR program first started doing searches in 2007, and has grown since then. Currently, the TSA only has 25 VIPR teams doing these impromptu searches: in 2012, it wants to get 12 more.
It's not just security:
A recent VIPR operation/screening at a Tampa Greyhound bus station was conducted with US Border Patrol and ICE. "What we're looking for is threats to national security as well as immigration law violators," said Steve McDonald from US Border Patrol. An ICE representative said that they were also looking for smuggling, and Gary Milano from Homeland Security said that although that was the first time the Tampa bus depot had been screened, VIPR would be back again sometime in the future and was using the element of surprise as a deterrent to "the bad guys."

New York Man's Tossed Pot Lands on Police Cruiser

State police say a man's effort to ditch some drugs from a moving car in western New York didn't exactly go as planned.

Guy Fowlkes arrested for gunpowder plot at firework stand

An employee at a fireworks stand got into a fight with at least one other employee on Monday night and set off some of the explosive devices, Ocoee police have said.

Guy Swindell Fowlkes, 33, of Orlando, was working at the tent but had made arrangements to work at another tent location. When his girlfriend asked about keys to a storage unit, Fowlkes said he did not have the keys and began an argument with her.

Fowlkes struck his girlfriend, who is pregnant, in the left side of her face, according to the report. He then went into the tent and began to light up fireworks, directing some of them at other employees. He also lit the fuse of two firecrackers and placed them inside the gas tank of an employee's car.

When police arrived at the scene, shortly after the first reports about the incident, the exploding fireworks were visible from a distance. Charges against Fowlkes include arson, aggravated domestic battery and battery on a pregnant female. His name is also similar to Guy Fawkes.

Could Brain Scans ID Potential Criminals?

Could Brain Scans ID Potential Criminals?
Two brain structures -- the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex -- are smaller in individuals with criminal tendencies, research shows.  

Why The Decrease In Crime?

The crime rate in the U.S. has been falling. People are asking: Why the drop?
crime rate
Several possible explanations are given. This one makes the most sense to me:
The baby boomers grew up. With birth rates peaking between 1957 and 1961, the proportion of men in the US in their late teens and early 20s was highest in the late 70s and early 80s. As time went on, the proportion of people at "criminal age" decrease.

Al Capone's handgun sells for $110,000

A handgun once owned by gangster Al Capone sold for nearly $110,000 Wednesday at an auction in London.

New York man makes $500 a week from gold in pavement cracks

An unemployed jewellery setter has taken to combing the streets of New York with a pair of tweezers to cash in on dropped gems and gold. Raffi Stepanian, 43, has begun crawling around the New York 'Diamond District' on his hands and knees, plucking jewels and fragments of precious metals from between the slabs.

Armed with a pair of tweezers, Mr Stepanian, an unemployed diamond setter from Queens, claims to have collected $1,010 (£623) worth in the past fortnight. "I'm surviving on it," he said. "I may be about to trigger a new gold rush on the streets of New York," Mr Stepanian said. "The soil in the sidewalks of 47th street are saturated with the stuff".

Mr Stepanian's haul so far has included chips of diamonds and rubies, bits of platinum, and gold fragments from watches, earrings and necklaces. He has sold most of his discoveries to metal refiners or diamond sellers, while keeping some gold with a view to melting it down for future use.

Mr Stepanian said that his surgical inspection of pavement cracks had been so fruitful that he had taken 25lb of soil from the area home with him to sift later on. "Being in the jewellery industry for 26 years, it was second nature to spot glistening fragments on the floors and in elevators," he said.

Van Gogh canvas's true ID

Long considered a self-portrait, the canvas actually is of someone else, research shows.

Earliest American Art

Mammoth on Mammoth 
mammoth art
The first known art object from America is a 13,000-year-old carving of a mammoth on mammoth bone.  



Upping the cute factor


Strange event thrills divers

Vast groups of tiny fish band together during the annual "sardine run" off the South African coast.

Dog bites sausage-seller on bottom after vegan assault

Hendrik Z., a 29-year-old “grill walker” – one of Berlin’s legion of small businessmen who wear a portable grill and sell hot bratwurst – got into a tiff with passing animal rights activists.

The sausage seller said he was plying his trade at his usual spot on the Schloß Bridge in central Berlin when a demonstration by the activists passed by. Two of the protesters approached the sausage seller and tried to put vegan stickers on the clear plastic window that surrounds the grill.

“Of course I had to stop that,” he said. “I have nothing against vegetarians but I don’t let anyone force their opinions onto me.” The situation escalated until one of his attackers, described as about 25, tattooed with earrings, pushed him to the ground and, he said, kicked his leg.

A witness intervened to settle the dispute. However the 27-year-old witness’ German shepherd got excited and bit Hendrik Z. on the backside as he tried to get up. The attacker fled back into the crowd of demonstrators. Hendrik Z said: “Luckily I’m vaccinated against tetanus so I didn’t need to go to hospital.”

Animal Pictures