Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Factoid of the Day

The original name for the Twitter fail whale, according to its designer, Yiying Lu, was "Lifting a Dreamer."


The Koch Brothers' latest slimy tactic

Like the post label says, voter fraud is a myth. Voter suppression is the reality.

An email just in from the NAACP:

That pop-up ...

... should only appear once per actual visit to this blog. I'll be removing it in a few hours or days. Let me know if it's so annoying that you'd like me to get rid of it sooner.

More info at and

Update 2011-12-02: Now disabled. Thanks to all who participated.

Glad we cleared that up

"UPDATE: Coulter later clarified her comments via Twitter …"

Screenshot of Ann Coulter tweet: 'I didn't call McCain a douchebag. I said consistency is overrated because, for example, McCain was consistently a dickweed.'(embiggen)

Angry John McCainSadly, it got bleeped.

Long lost voice

JWZ has not, in fact, vanished since that post near the end of the penultimate bubble. I've just (*stuffs a history of the 'noughties under the carpet*) been paying attention to other people while he's been doing other stuff besides writing all those great old things.

This new gruntle, though, is timeless:

I did make a bunch of money by winning the Netscape Startup Lottery, it's true. So did most of the early engineers. But the people who made 100x as much as the engineers did? I can tell you for a fact that none of them slept under their desk.

(h/t: David Conrad, RTing)

Deep Thought

I just was outside, enjoying a cigarette.

At a quarter to two in the am.

On the 30th of November.

In NY, USA. In bare feet and shorts.
Enjoying, I say. Enjoying.



(pic. source: GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOD)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Line of the Day: 2011-11-29

Twitter bio line, actually:

When you go from Eisenhower to Nixon to Reagan to W. to Palin to Bachmann to Perry to Cain to Newt, it must be difficult to believe in evolution.
    -- Pete Nicely/@LOLGOP

Great avatar, too.

(h/t: Digby, RTing)

Bachmann: "It is loaded with unbelievably outrageous pork ..."

It's not quite Willard in the fudge factory, but just in case we ever get tired of the bat boy picture …

Michele Bachmann about to take the first bite of an enormous hotdog of some kind.(embiggen)

(pic via Scabby The Rat | post title via PolitiFact)

Monday, November 28, 2011

From the Department of I Don't Care What They Say About Me ...

... As Long As They Spell My Name Right:

@matthadro retweets one of my tweets, which reads 'One of Brent's Bozos (@matthadro, I guess) is already whining about the way the #SCLM is reporting Barney Frank's retirement. #wingnuts'(embiggen)

Oh, wait. I forgot. It's a "church." So we'll just leave it alone, amirite?

My question WAS going to be: How many more stories like this have to be told until we have a proper investigation?

(alt. video link | alt. video link and transcript)

An investigation by people with subpoena power, I mean. There are some good journalists doing some digging. Props also to the determined watchdogs and, of course, to the ex-Scientologists who have found the courage to speak up.

Read a long blog post from last year by Valeska Paris Guider here (via). And here is one that I believe is written by her sister.

(Thanks for the hint, Michael Shermer)

So, if you're in therapy, does this make you a chicken or a turkey?

Danny Shanahan cartoon of bird lying on therapist's couch, saying, 'I was a very fragile kid.'(embiggen)

Artist: Danny Shanahan | Source: New Yorker, 31 Oct 2011 issue

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pilgrims' Progress


"Promised Land," by Christoph Niemann

New Yorker cover for 28 November 2011

Wouldn't it be great if this was how peace in the Middle East was finally achieved?

A message of solidarity with the Egyptian blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, from about 40 Israeli women, organized by Or Tepler (or, perhaps, Or Templar):


I feel like the governments don't represent the enlightened, simple people who want peace.

(h/t: Some Guy on Fark | pic. source | photo credit: Anat Cohen)

In further developments, Aliaa Elmahdy is now calling upon Egyptian men to wear the hijab.

And then there's this, which I swiped from Aliaa's site, just because I like it:


Friday, November 25, 2011

Down the drain, finally

I did not know that the which direction the water goes down the drain depends on which side of the equator you're on thing was once a Controversy, much less that it is settled. Thanks, Conor Myhrvold!

Doesn't mean I won't still be amused by the jokes I make in this realm, however. Oceans love that sort of thing.

(h/t: Thomas Levenson)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to talk to your conservative uncle this Thanksgiving

Present company excluded, of course.

MYTH #3: Occupiers should stop protesting and just get a job.

LOLcat of 20-something with text, 'Oh, get a job? Just get a job? Why don't I strap on my job helmet and squeeze down into a job cannon and fire off into job land, where jobs grow on jobbies!'

From's "Top 5 FOX Myths To Debunk This Thanksgiving."

An update on Mr. Mullet

Looks like that Amish splinter group is about ready to join up with the Scientologists, perhaps as their Grand Inquisitors.

Federal officials have arrested seven Amish men in Ohio and charged them with violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act in connection with a string of beard-cutting incidents.


Mullet, who formed the breakaway Bergholz Clan in 1995, has been accused of running the clan like a cult. Mullet, according to an FBI affidavit, “has forced extreme punishments on and physical injury to those in the community who defy him, including forcing members to sleep for days at a time in a chicken coop on his property and allowing members of the Bergholz clan to beat other members who appear to disobey” him.

The affidavit also alleges that Mullet has been “been ‘counseling’ the married women in the Bergholz clan and taking them into his home so that he may cleanse them of the devil with acts of sexual intimacy.”

The rest.

(previously | previously)

(h/t: @Mike_Forester, for the RT)

Happy Thanksgiving, from the 1%!

Caption: 'Best not forget all your condiments for tomorrow.' Picture: a can of pepper spray.(embiggen)

Do not fail to click over to see from where Animal drew inspiration. Just when you thought Fox News couldn't get any more offensively stupid …

(h/t: @Mike_Forester, for the RT)

[Added] Megyn Kelly Essentially.

[Added2] Moar (via).

Insert Snarky Remark Here

Part of an emailed newsletter from SitePoint's

Insert ALT Text Here(embiggen)

Item three is especially delicious.

Super Fragile Calisthenics

So, following up from yesterday's gripe about product "upgrade" people and their presentation tics, I happened upon an aggravated instance, and to demonstrate how out of hand this decline of the discourse has gotten, I was going to use the indisputable technique of waving around the large number of Google hits returned for super-exciting, but then one of the top hits led me to Hirlpoo West, which led me to Dare Obasanjo, and while I am happy to report that both of these people share my irritation, all I can say is I hope the latter was being intentionally ironic when he said, "The reason I can't stand this phrase is that it is an obvious overexaggeration …"


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Deep Thought

Yesterday, I saw a dead squirrel in the road, squashed absolutely flat, except for its tail, which was still fully fluffed, upright, and waving in the breeze.

Is this a metaphor for surrender or defiance?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Be advised: there IS a difference

Side by side picture of Olde English 800 (malt liquor) and Old English (furniture polish)

The beer tasted fine, if a bit citrusy, but I had a hell of a time getting a good finish on my bookcase.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cartoon of the Day

'Top One Percent Horror Films' | Panel 1: 'You thought they were a myth, but Socialist Hobos have invaded Wall Street!' | Panel 2: 'Watch in TERROR as these strange creatures annoy decent rich folks!!!' Shows one of the latter being accosted by two of the former, one of whom says, 'Your chef will burn your toast slightly until you pay slightly higher taxes.' Richie Rich says, 'NOOOOOO! Mitt Romney, save me!'

Swiped from Joe Romm's "Top Ten Occupy Wall Street Cartoons." He got them from BuzzFeed, which has fifteen.

Wonking out on #Occupy

I thought this diavlog between David Roberts and Julian Sanchez touched on a lot of the thoughts I've had floating around in my mind the past month or two. More precisely, David and Julian, in their disagreements, seem to speak to the contradicting reactions I have been having.

If you're thoroughly fired up by the Occupy movement, this conversation probably won't appeal to you. If you're sympathetic to the emotion but hesitant or skeptical about other aspects, it may. They do not really come to any conclusion, but I think they do a good job of articulating a number of important points.

(alt. video link)

Line of the Day: 2011-11-20

When police tell people to turn off their video cameras, that’s exactly when they need to turn their video cameras on.
    -- Amy Goodman, as quoted by Erich Vieth

(h/t: Several tweeps, on this list somewhere down a few screens)

No "semi" about this one

David Miscavige, current head of ScientologyWould you take out a billion-year lease on a used car from this man?

Speaking of scams, the latest article in Joe Childs and Tom Tobin's new investigative series, "The Money Machine," is now available. This is, of course, another long hard look at the "Chu®ch of" Scientology.

In addition to reading the article, I urge you to watch some of the videos that you'll see at the top of that article and on the series index page. They're pretty compelling, in a weird sort of way. They are interviews of people who have left the cult after spending astounding lengths of time doing mind-boggling things.


Photo credit: Robin Donina Serne for the St. Petersburg Times and (1998)

A semi-scammy, semi-spammy new thing on Twitter


Ceciliadxp Turns out _fat_, drunk, and stupid IS a way to go through life. Take THAT, Dean Wormer. A tweet reading '@bjkeefe...

I think this is the first time I've had my content misappropriated for commercial use in that way.

Clicking the link in the quoted tweet takes you to a page on some site called (, in this case).

This site, AdFly, is apparently a link-shortening service whose shortened links first bring people to a page displaying ads. After five seconds, a "Skip Ad" button appears. Clicking that button then takes you to onto the desired destination, presumably the link supplied to to begin with.

I should say that a quick look around indicates that AdFly itself appears to be on the up-and-up; e.g., clear domain ownership, a good review (as far as these sorts of things go, at least), and they even have their own Twitter feed. AdFly is not hiding what they're about. However, it seems to me that eventually, more and more people will come to know what clicking on one of their link entails and they'll start avoiding them. And in any case, even AdFly's sales pitch ("Earn more than $4.00 / 1000 visitors to your links") hardly makes the whole thing seem worthwhile. Except, of course, to people like "Cecilia Hackworth" who will automate the process of gathering links based on keywords and use them to spam social media sites.

I suppose I don't think using AdFly-shortened links should be out and out banned by Twitter* and other social media sites. However, I do think Twitter and the others should not allow AdFly links that are masked by being sent through a second URL-shortening service. And, I guess, I'm not particularly thrilled by having a link to my site appear to be associated with this service.

* Twitter, as you probably know, will show the expanded URL if you hover your mouse over a shortened URL, at least for the more well-known shortening services, so in this case, hovering over the link shows that you're going to be directed to an AdFly page. And there's always LongURL.

Here is something to contemplate on a Sunday morning

Some cop pepper-spraying UC Davis students who are just sitting on the ground(embiggen)

Pic via Ken Layne, who also has video posted. Along with some righteous words.

[Added] A partial screengrab from James Fallows's post, which is also well worth reading in its entirety:

Some cop pepper-spraying UC Davis students who are just sitting on the ground(embiggen)

More from Fallows:

This Occupy moment is not going to end any time soon. That is not just because of the underlying 99%-1% tensions but also because of police response of this sort -- and because there have been so many similar videos coming from cities across the country.

As a wise friend of mine predicted about a week ago.

The above is not a one-off. See, for example, Joshua Holland's report, "Caught on Camera: 10 Shockingly Violent Police Assaults on Occupy Protesters."

[Added2] In summary.

Oh, hey. Turns out fat, drunk, and stupid IS a way to go through life.

Take THAT, Dean Wormer.

A tweet reading '@bjkeefe was #80 last week in the Iranian FollowFriday Ranking



[Added] Oh, hey. Look at that.

Sen. Gillibrand: necessary tool. (Her words, not mine.)

Received the following after directing a petition towards her on American Censorship Day.

Dear Brendan,

Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I understand your concerns.

I am a cosponsor of this legislation because I believe that we must protect American intellectual property against foreign websites that infringe upon our rights. By empowering the Attorney General of the United States to go after foreign infringing websites, this legislation becomes a necessary tool to ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in the world marketplace. I recognize that there are technical concerns with the enforcement of this bill that need to be addressed. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the United States Senate to ensure that this legislation protects the Constitutional rights of Americans and does not stifle lawful free speech or innovation on the internet.

[...] [more boilerplate] [...]


Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senator

Ah, well. At least she's honest about who has bought and paid for her. And I'll acknowledge that she's been good on other issues.


She is dead wrong on this one.

Tell her what you think about your Internet being handed over to people who have anything but freedom of expression at heart. Phone number at the bottom of the page, if you'd rather yell than type.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Yawn. Could Facebook be any more tame?

Who the fuck is Taylor Swift, who the hell cares who she is, and more to the point …

Screenshot: Facebook ad promising 'Taylor Swift Nude Scandal'

... is it even possible to have a "nude" "scandal" in these United States anymore? I mean, Jesus Christ, we went from Paris Hilton to Carrie Prejean in 0.5 of a decade, people. Come on.

[Added] Oh, it gets lamer. Guess where those ad-click-whores got their picture from. Uh-huh.

[Afterthought] Not sure why I'm wasting time making jokes about this when I should be bowing down to Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, who's got the balls to create a real scandal.

(Summary story here, just in case. I apologize for linking to something so uptight, but it was conveniently in my browser history, and I'm sure 99% of you have already heard about this.)

"Exercising Self-Control"

Here's a half-hour conversation that will make you go hmmm …

Unless, I suppose you've already got all the self-control you need. But for me, I was intrigued by the findings that Roy Baumeister described in this interview by Joshua Knobe. Give it a shot -- this is not some vapid New Agey thing. It's a summary of a career's worth of experimental results.

[Added] Strengthening this point, here's what miceelf said in the discussion forum for this diavlog:

I haven't yet watched this but looking forward to it. Baumeister wrote the definitive takedown of the self-esteem movement.

If I find out where that lives, I'll add it here.

[Added2] Elsewhere in the same thread, once again from miceelf:

This is the usual reference. It's pretty accessible for lay people as well [...]

Here's his bio, which sums it up a little:

(alt. video link)

Two things to note. First, the titles below the video pane above are links to segments of the diavlog. The times in parentheses are the lengths of the segments. Use them to sample, if you're pressed for time or find something at the start less than riveting.

Second, if you've never listened to Josh before and you find yourself a bit put off by his manner of speaking, I'd say hang in there. That was my first reaction to him, too, long ago, but I easily got past it when I realized how many really smart questions he always puts forth.

Oh, and here's a link to Roy's new book, Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hey, "Wireless For America" ...

Glad you're helping to keep Wonkette running by buying ads, but I gotta say, if this is your "about us" page, you can hardly expect me to click on "get the facts."

Screenshot of a web page whose body text is two paragraphs of Lorem ipsum(embiggen)

Just how bad has the NBA strike gotten, anyway?

Screenshot of top of YouTube page showing a link labeled 'Live: Watch the 2011 Major League Gaming StarCraft 2 National Championship.'

Clicking that image might be disappointing for some of you, so here's the actual link if you want to click. I don't judge.

Immanentize the Enturbulation!

It never fails. Just when I'm reading some stuff about Scientologists and trying to keep open in my mind the thought that their critics aren't automatically unimpeachable, I happen upon yet another video in which Scientologists slam that door themselves. Here's an example, shot by Mark Bunker of, described as follows.

7/2/99 - Three Scientologists surround me as [I] try to videotape an event on L. Ron Hubbard Way in Los Angles. This is a great example of what they call "Bullbaiting" as they try to provoke me and create an incident to get me arrested.

The first two minutes are boring -- just some cops trying to get Mark to leave. But then the going gets weird, and you know what that means.

(alt. video link)

Did you ever meet anyone you'd like to have a beer with less than those three guys? They're like eight-year-olds who watched a video titled "How To Be Boss of the Playground," and this was their virgin flight. (Of course, being Scientologists, they would have had to pay a lot of money for that video, but that's another story.)

I learned from Tony Ortega that Mark is currently at work on a new documentary about Scientology, called "Knowledge Report." There are a bunch of clips from the footage he's already shot up on his Vimeo channel.

(title: cf., vide, vide)

Black and Blitt

Left: R. Black poster for 2011-11-17 protest | Right: Barry Blitt cover for New Yorker 2011-10-24(embiggen)

(artists: R. Black | Barry Blitt)

Line of the Day: 2011-11-18

This Is Not Your Fucking Movement; This Is Our Fucking Movement:

Let's be honest here: the march this morning to shut down Wall Street was useless if its goal was to, well, shut down Wall Street. The New York Stock Exchange is, more or less, a show. Multi-million dollar financial transactions are not done by crazy, sweaty guys on a loud, chaotic floor. They're done digitally. So whether or not the secretaries and junior fuckbag executives and janitors got into work didn't stop a single transfer of funds from one rich asshole to another. It pissed off some people and got the cops more overtime.

But, as ever, as ever, since it's started, everyone, from The Daily Show to Diane Rehm, right, left, and middle, has insisted that Occupy Wall Street conform to some readily defined paradigm of what a protest movement needs to be. Essentially, they are echoing something that Karl Rove drooled out the other day when he asked protesters at a speech he giving at Johns Hopkins University, "Who gave you the right to occupy America?" The real question is "Who took that right away?"
    -- The Rude Pundit


Science, bitchez:

Study Shows High Childhood IQ Linked To Drug Use Later In Life

Only problem is, how do you blame your parents for that?

Paranoid Thought

You know how Google likes to say their mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible?"

Consider this: you have a Google+ account, you merrily go along posting your thoughts and pix and vids, marking some of them "Public," some just for "Friends" or "Family," and maybe some exclusively for a very narrow custom Circle you've defined, say, "Drinking Buddies." You do this for a year or three.

Hasn't Google just collected a pretty good baseline of the things you might be embarrassed about?


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are the fifteen minutes at long last over? You betcha!

A younger Sarah Palin poutingAs my boy Cartman would say, sweeeet:

Didn’t You Used To Be Somebody?

That TBogg.

The Catholic Church is being run by wingnuts

Check out the language of victimhood in this lede:

The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops opened a new front in their fight against abortion and same-sex marriage on Monday, recasting their opposition as a struggle for “religious liberty” against a government and a culture that are infringing on the church’s rights.

Same as the fundies. It only appeals to stupid people …

pie chart of US population showing large Christian majority, with speech balloon coming from that segment reading, 'Help! We're being oppressed!'

… and those who prey upon them.

No one is forcing the Catholic Church to perform same-sex marriages or counsel parishioners to get abortions. Do they have to adhere to some fair labor and health care standards if they want to provide public services, using government (i.e., public) money? Yes. That doesn't seem like too much to ask, because they aren't being forced to take government (i.e., our) money, either.

Meanwhile, they get a free ride on all taxes, despite their increasing political activism. And when they encounter resistance in seeking their reactionary goals in secular matters, they howl about persecution.

There are lots of good Catholics out there, in every sense of the word. It's long past time for them to get rid of their medieval leadership.

(pic. source)

"Thinking, Fast and Slow"

Here is a fascinating talk @Google given by Daniel Kahneman in which he outlines the ideas in his new book. (This is quite similar to the Edge video I recommended to the secret cabal, but I found it well worth watching. Maybe once for system one, once for system two?)

If my opening adjective did not immediately persuade you to kick back and click Play, there's a book description below the fold, which pretty well introduces the talk. Otherwise, let's roll. It's about forty-five minutes long, with a 15-minute Q&A at the end.

(alt. video link)

Line of the Day: 2011-11-17

This week, the House of Representatives took time out of its busy schedule of going home for vacation to remind us, once again, why it has the strong support of about as many people who believe Rick Perry should be the next president of the United States. It approved a bill requiring states with strict gun regulations to honor concealed weapon carry permits issued in states where the gun rules are slightly more lax than the restrictions on who can dispense ice cream cones from a truck.

“This bill is about freedom,” said Representative Chris Gibson, a Republican from upstate New York. In this Congress, it’s hard to find anything that isn’t. Cutting Social Security is about freedom. Killing funds for Planned Parenthood is about freedom. Once again, we are reminded that, as Janis Joplin used to sing, freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.
    -- Gail Collins

Joyce Evans is my new favorite teevee reporter

(alt. video link)

Swiped from Betty Cracker, who observed:

Funny, that’s exactly how I feel about the Miami Police Department building too.

Evidently, this happened a few decades back. But don't tell the Bozo/Dobson/Perkins crowd that -- it'd be great if they tried to raise a stink about it now.

"probing question about books"

Email from MK:

Good morning. A challenge is thrown down in this article. Anybody have an answer besides Dick Francis?

My answer:

John Sandford.

Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov. Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Okay, to be fair about it, I haven't actually read all of Asimov's books. But I have read all of Miller's!

PS And also, of course, John McPhee.

How about you?

Taxonomy Is Hard!

Screenshot of Google (Android) Music store showing top songs in World/Africa category.  Chuck Berry, Cab Calloway, and Kenny Dorham are three of the six artists featured.(embiggen)

Ah, well. First day of the new music store. I'm sure they'll get it sorted out eventually.

And I have to say, the part about letting artists upload directly sounds pretty nice.

What's wrong with the definition we have?

Picture of gorgeous woman, captioned 'Trying to redefine beauty'

Actually, that's the NYT's teaser for an article that's pretty interesting, particularly if in your formative years, you saw that Chas Addams William O'Brian cartoon with a store clerk saying, "Hey boss? All these people want flesh-colored Band-Aids." "Joe, these people say they want flesh-colored Band-Aids."

[Correction added 2020-06-14] See here.]

But if you'd just be going to look at the pictures, allow me to save you a trip. (Yes, yes. This is for you, not me!)

'Sam Fine, left, the new creative director of Fashion Fair Cosmetics, with Clarisa Wilson, the president of Fashion Fair, center, and a model, Gate Haile, at a recent shoot.' --NYTimes caption(embiggen)

That's Maya Gate Haile above right. Here's another picture of her, swiped from Tadias magazine (About).

Maya Gate Haile

Hurrah for cheekbones, I say.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Note to Google Reader readers, Facebook fans, etc.

Today is a good day to visit my blog directly. Thanks.

[Update] Overlay script now removed. For now. See also.

Happy American Censorship Day!

(alt. video link)

More info at Write to your Congressional representatives at

[Update] Overlay banner now removed. Thanks to all who wrote, signed, and read.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I love Wikipedia, but ...

... this line by Paul Boutin made me laugh:

... mankind's definitive collection of Foghat trivia.

I don't want to link to the post directly, since I have no idea about the validity of the accusations therein, but you can get to it by following a link from this one.

Sometimes, GUI means Graphically Un-Intuitive

Or maybe it's just me. But when I look at the bottom of the Firefox Bookmarks Library window (launched by Bookmarks → Show All Bookmarks) …

Screenshot of Firefox Bookmarks Library window(embiggen)

… the arrows seem to be pointing in the wrong directions.

Partial screenshot of Firefox Bookmarks Library window, showing bottom 'more/less' portion collapsed

Partial screenshot of Firefox Bookmarks Library window, showing bottom 'more/less' portion expanded

Doesn't look so wrong when you zoom in on just that part, but given that this is at the very bottom of the window (first screenshot above), it just feels wrong.

This has been your nanocomplaint of the day. You are now free to move about the cabin.

Nervous about clicking that shortened URL?

Copy it and paste it into the box at

The link will expand to the original URL, even if the shortened URL has been sent through multiple shortening services, and if the result looks okay, you can click it from there. Very handy.

(h/t: old Brian Krebs post, via the Google)

You must read Irving Franklin's NYT obit ...

... just for the closing paragraph.

(It's copied into the Comments below, if you'd rather not click over.)

Tweet of the Day

@tanehesi sez 'Politico refers to #OReillyLincolnErrors as ''alleged mistakes.'' Because there's no real way of knowing when the Oval Office was built.'(embiggen)

(source | previously)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet Spitty the Kitty!

Who knew the Weak Anthropic Principle was causing so much agita?

Mobile browsers have grown to be incredibly savvy in recent years, a far cry from the dumbed-down WAP views we previously had to deal with.

Or maybe this is just another OTLA problem.

Line of the Day: 2011-11-14

In re last Saturday night:

The sheer ignorance, callowness, narrowness of mind and shallowness of thought was greater than any debate I recall on this subject ever.
    -- Andrew Sullivan

Say what you will about him, when he's on, Andrew Sullivan can deliver a righteous rant with the best of them. Worth reading the whole thing.

For a shorter, equivalent take, see here (via). The latter link is worth clicking for the Blingee alone.

Good morning! It is time for your latest hit of Bachmannia!

Michele Bachmann Is Completely Unaware That China Is Communist

Actually, it's the last sentence that's the most troubling.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Line of the Day: 2011-11-13

Romney made the jaw-dropping claim to a New Hampshire editorial board that his problem wasn’t flip-flopping — it was being insufficiently robotic.
    -- Ruth Marcus

Holey Picture and Other Signs of Our Times

Happy Sunday!

Swiped from, which you shouldn't visit if you've told yourself you're just about to get off the computer.

Fat baby wearing t-shirt reading 'I tore Mommy a new one'


Borders bookstore endcap, sign says 'Christian fiction', underneath are displayed two very handsome Bibles

(Permalinks for individual posts where pix were found: 1, 2, 3.)

Man after my own heart

As the founding editor and publisher in the late 1950’s of Monocle, a “leisurely quarterly of political satire” (that meant we came out twice a year) …
    -- Victor S. Navasky

So I got to wondering what Rob Zombie was up to these days and ...

Tshirt showing running figures and text 'Zombies Hate Fast Food'(embiggen)

More humor than humor!

(alt. video link | alt. alt. video link)

(pic. source)

Just sayin'

I am (BARELY) old enough to remember when a caption like this would have been unthinkable.


Despite our nature, and even despite, it sometimes seems, our best efforts, we make progress.

(source | previously)

Let's Get Scared

I had to stop reading Kevin Drum's "Tonight's Debate Highlights" when I came across this:

Rick Perry echoes Sarah Palin's explanation of her military experience:

Republican candidates were less terrifying when they were only saying "oops."

[Added] Also, from Herself with the crazy eyes:

"The table is being set for a worldwide nuclear war with Israel."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Oh, hey. Some blowhard has a hot new hashtag.


(h/t: Lance Mannion)


Welp, there goes the Christmas bundling deal

Looks like the next phase of soaking the True Believers has hit a wall, reports Jack, in the Comments under the post on altruism.

And they could have made such sweet coin together.


In case you already looked at the autumn leaves post, be advised that it has been updated.

Lettuce Praise

Nice breasts, covered by a lettuce bra(Embiggen. Naturally!)

Yep. Apparently, is really a thing. (One more and it'll be a trend!) And so are the garments. Who says you can't learn new things by clicking Web ads?

(pic. source)

[Added] Idly clicking around at that p.s. link led me to something else, which will probably not please Prof. Tucker one bit.

When Autumn Leaves Start To Fall (updated below)

I was bemoaning the lack of color in this year's autumn leaves, so Ocean sent along a snapshot taken out her window.

Autumn trees, by Ocean(embiggen | enhugen)

Hard to say whether she was being sympathetic or triumphant, but far be it from me to question motive.


Title, of course:

(alt. video link)

[UPDATE] While I was outside raking my brown and yellow leaves, I received word that the above is a mere cell phone snap, and then … whoa … I received another shot, taken with a camera that is for some reason incapable of making a simple phone call.

Autumn trees 2, by Ocean(embiggen | enhugen)

Thanks, Ocean!

I was going to say something about those Penn State students ...

... a couple of days ago, but thank JoePA the FSM I didn't. Because Massimo Pigliucci has pointed out someone who said it far better than I could have.

(alt. video link)

(After the preroll ad, I mean.)

Willard and his only friend?

Mitt Romney, apparently being nuzzled by a stone pig(embiggen)

Not that Willard "Mitt" Romney has any room to drop in my book, but he probably ought to be careful about becoming associated with the term barbecue. And appearing to be nuzzled by a pig will probably cause our friend Bill Scher to have another forehead-to-the-desk moment.

Aside to Amanda Zamora: You definitely want to be worried about becoming perceived as a tire-swinger.

Ever heard this word before?

Tannoy, as a verb; e.g.:

When she didn't report for work at 9am, the crew Tannoyed her.

And here's another example, a whole post in the Guardian.

According to Wikipedia, "Tannoy Ltd is a Scottish-based manufacturer of loudspeakers and public-address (PA) systems," the name itself comes from "a syllabic abbreviation of tantalum alloy" and it was trademarked as a brand name "by 10 March 1932, on which date the Tulsemere Manufacturing Company was formally registered as Guy R. Fountain Limited." It is also claimed that the term became …

... a household name as a result of supplying PA systems to the armed forces during World War II, and to Butlins and Pontins holiday camps after the war.

The Wikipedians, like you, have become suspicious by this point that this entry has been written by, or lifted from, materials published by the company. In any case:

The term 'tannoy' is often used generically in colloquial English throughout the British Commonwealth to mean any public-address system, particularly those used for announcements in public places; although the word is a registered trademark, it has become a genericised trademark. The company's intellectual property department keeps a close eye on the media and will often write to publications who use its trade name without a capital letter or as a generic term for PA systems, in order to preserve its trademark.

(We shall resist the temptation to chortle, "Tannoy is the New Coke!")

Note that the two links up top are to a British news outfit and both use the capitalized form (or capitalised form, as you like), although they do appear to be using the term more or less generically.[1] Here are some more examples from the Guardian and the BBC, in which I see both upper- and lowercase. In any … um … case, I don't get a whole lot of meaningful hits when I GENERICISED TRADEMARK ALERT Google the term. Also, trying to go to just gets me redirected. So, English-speaking readers living outside the US, please advise: Is this a term you're familiar with, as a now-generic verb like xerox? Is this only the case in England, or is the same usage familiar in, say, Australia and/or Canada?

[1] Which reminds me. How long has the NYT been writing Champagne, instead of champagne, as any normal human being would? (When using the term colloquially, I mean, as opposed to occasions of mentioning the specific fussbudget region.) Make them stop.

I can say with confidence that they didn't always do this, although I am not going to look for the precise date when the style book got updated, because searching for something like that would be obsessive which I am not at all practically ever.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Eh, Peabody Award, Polk Award. 2, 1. Present, Gone. What's the difference?

Damn that LIBERALLY BIASED!!!1! ...

Blowhard Bill O'Reilly, whining

... Park Service?

A reviewer for the official National Park Service bookstore at Ford’s Theatre has recommended that Bill O’Reilly’s bestselling new book about the Lincoln assassination not be sold at the historic site “because of the lack of documentation and the factual errors within the publication.”

(h/t: Eric Boehlert | pic. source: MyFaceWhen | title: cf.)

[Update] Also.

As final thoughts go ...

Cartoon captioned 'As final thoughts go ''unicorns ARE real'' is one of the better ones.'  (Image shows dead guy with round bloody hole in forehead.)

(Seen in the sidebar over at Turned out to be an ad linking to SMBC, which I am happy to do as well.)

Just came across a live version of an old favorite

This is Sigur Rós doing "Svefn g englar." (Which the Web's preeminent authority says is an Icelandic pun). Uploader JRandall says it was recorded in Philadelphia on September 22nd, 2001. Also, it's about eleven minutes long. These things may or may not have anything to do with anything.

If the recent asteroid and the water bears have filled you up with enough space for a while, probably best to save this one for later.

(alt. video link)

(h/t: Reihan Salam, in a tangential way)

Eh, to me, it looks more like a guide to NFL referee signaling ...

... but on this, I'd say reasonable people can reasonably disagree.


Bonus points if you can come up with a better replacement for "crap" than just "strange attractor." Parametric equations would definitely be FTW.

(h/t: KK, via email | pic. source)

Again, "News of the Weird" doesn't even come close

Remember that post about the splinter group of violent Amish? No, really.

In Comments for that post, Jack passes along a new development.

Left hand, meet right hand

It may say something about getting too big, or that communication lines need to be flushed out, or something, but in any case, when Gmail (a Google property) sends a piece of email from (a Google property), whose receipt came about due to signing up via Feedburner (a Google property), to the Spam folder, something needs a bit of attention, I'd say.

I Want To Believe

Water bear, slightly enlarged

But, I gotta say, despite the characteristic skeptical take, the Rationally Speaking podcast on intelligent alien life is still quite interesting, and deserves a listen by all self-respecting nerds and nerdgassers.

Visit the show page to stream or download, or right click this link to download the MP3 directly. If you do the latter, visit the show page anyway for the links.

One issue that struck me as rather conspicuously absent from the discussion, especially given that both Massimo and Julia acknowledged that one has to be very careful of anthropomorphic biases in any SETI speculation: it seemed to me that the assumptions underlying most of M&J's thinking would imply a rather narrow definition of life (and, by extension, intelligent life). To her credit, Julia brought up extremophiles as one broadening of these assumptions; I think nonetheless that we should be careful in crediting ourselves for knowing completely what it means for something to be alive (even here on Earth), much less in believing that, say, life must be carbon-based, must require liquid water, and so on.

And speaking of extremophiles, thanks also to Julia for mentioning something I'd never heard of before just now: water bears in space, bitchez.

Another water bear, slightly more enlarged(embiggen)

(pic. sources: Jolle Jolles at Mudfooted and Island Creek Elementary School)

[Added] See APOD for 2013-03-06. (h/t: TC)

Line of the Day: 2011-11-11

A lament that anyone who even occasionally tries to write seriously will appreciate, with wider applications, as well:

We are cursed to be plagued by our juvenalia and ephemera, while our substance yellows in clip folders.
    -- Heidi N. Moore

And you thought Twitter was just people telling you what they had for lunch.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Whole World Is Laughing

Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing its idiot.

(alt. video link)

Your savior of the Republican Party, ladies and gentleman.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

If you forgot that it's Election Day, maybe this'll serve as a reminder of what's at stake

Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.
    -- Jamie Raskin (attributed)

(Found as a result of Googling, thanks to @rightwingwatch, who appear(s) to be live-tweeting this debate, starting around here.)

[Added] If you forgot where you're supposed to go, check's Polling Place Finder.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Yes. Yes. Yes!

Adding to the list of Things I Should Have Thought Of, Dammit:

Awwccupy Wall Street

(h/t: @BrodyQat, RT by @edroso)

Line of the Day: 2011-11-07

This is the "philosopher-politician" demonstrating his "mastery of policy matters." I'm sorry, would you like to super-size your colonoscopy? Some day, volumes will be written about how Gingrich managed to get everyone in the Washington smart set to believe he is a public intellectual with actual ideas, and not just the guy at the club whose life gets changed for him every time he reads a new book.

My god, Caligula died centuries too soon. Today, if he'd brought his horse into the Senate, some careerist Beltway journo would find that the horse had whinnied some "interesting new approaches" to our "entitlement crisis." The horse would be on Meet the Press the following Sunday with David Gregory, who would ignore the fact that there is a fking horse sitting across the table from him and concentrate instead on something the horse had whinnied five years ago that seems to have been contradicted by something the horse whinnied the day before. And then Tom Brokaw would come on to mumble something about how horses were more politically savvy back in his day.
    -- Charles P. Pierce, "The 2012 Election Field …"


Sunday, November 06, 2011

An understandably stolen picture

Blonde in white bikini on beach, seen from rear.

Cropped and 'shopped from some version of that Corona commercial?

If you zoom in -- for forensic purposes only, of course -- you can see the hat is not actually being held unless she's got superglue on her fingers.

But good for the model if she actually got more work.

(Source: some sidebar Web ad leading to this.)

Mounting evidence

Or, at least another one for the collection.

Another picture of Bat Girl Bachmann


Bat Girl Bachmann and Bat Boy

(pic. sources: 1, 2)

Boy, this country sure has moved far to the right

Caption: 'Jerry Sandusky, center, the former Penn State defensive coordinator, has been charged with sexually abusing eight boys.' (Sandusky is actually on the right.)(embiggen)

Although I suppose it could be an error in the caption. Which I'm sure the hatless cop will laugh off without a problem.


Friday, November 04, 2011

New to me: 511

Aka TMI.

I like!

(h/t: MK)

Cameo of the Day

Can you guess who that is?

Answer at the 1:21 mark. And if you like supercuts, see also and Andy Baio's recent Epicenter post.


David Miscavige's Worst Nightmare!!!

Ancient "Saber-Toothed Squirrel" Found




You're not helping, National Geographic

Not the best opening paragraph:

For most Americans, daylight saving time 2011 ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, 2011, when most states spring forward an hour. Time will spring forward to daylight saving time again on Sunday, March 11, 2012, when daylight saving time ends.

When I got the link, it took me a few re-reads to see it, admittedly. Probably because my new thing to be unbearably pedantic about is the proper spelling. (Which it is, above.) In my own defense, I'm barely through my first cup of coffee.

(h/t: The sharp-eyed KK, via email. Added: who just admitted that it was the comments over there that tipped him off.)

The real dilemma: to +1 this, or not to +1 this

Dear Math, I am not a therapist.  Solve your own problems.

(h/t: MK, via iPad demo | pic. source)