Monday, August 28, 2006

favorite joke of the moment

I may have shared this some months ago, but my memory had become rusty due to lack of recitation. Anyway, someone asked me if I could remember it while we were camping in Oregon earlier this month, and I managed to half-ass it, but I resolved to go home and look up the original wording in all it's glory. Here it is:
So theres three doctors enjoying a toddy or two at the local dive.....

The first doctor, wanting to toot his own horn, pipes up.......

"Hey, I got a note from an ex-patient of mine yesterday. Poor bloke, ran his hand through a tablesaw at work a few years ago. Wacked off all five digits on his right hand. In surgery forty two hours, but we got it put back together. I'll be damned if he isn't a concert violist now".

Not to be outdone, the second doctor immediately chimes in......

"Well, I had a patient a couple years back, a gawdawful motorcycle wreck it was. Guy lost his right arm, and broke his leg in fifteen different spots. It was a damned tedious surgery, but my team managed to get it right, and the guy is now playing on the pro-tennis circuit."

Snorting, the third doctor jumps in with distain.........

"Child's play. Hell, in my rural practice we perform such miracles durned near daily. My most memorable surgery, however, was some God damned idiot that tried to ride his horse acrost a train trestle. Christ, all the ambulance brought us was a barely breathing torso and a garbage can full of parts....hell, there was even a cowboy hat and a horse's ass in the mix. But hey, we put the ignorant hick back together, pulled him through, and I'll be a son of a bitch if he didn't actually become the President of the United States."

“the golden era of profitability” - gag, cough, urgggggggh. We're screwed.

The New York Times reports
August 28, 2006
Real Wages Fail to Match a Rise in Productivity

With the economy beginning to slow, the current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages for most workers.

That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections even though overall growth has been healthy for much of the last five years.

The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity — the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation’s living standards — has risen steadily over the same period.

As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960’s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as “the golden era of profitability.”

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Heartwarming Story

A friend in the Willamette Valley sent me this.
This is a story that will warm your heart, especially if you have lost faith in human

This letter was sent to the principal's office after an elementary school had sponsored a luncheon for the elderly. An old lady had received a new radio at the lunch as a door prize, and was writing to say thank you. This story is a credit to all humankind. After reading it you may agree and forward it to anyone you know who might need a lift today!

Dear Faculty and Students,

God bless you for the beautiful radio I won in the drawing at your recent senior citizens' luncheon. I am 84 years old and live at the Assisted Living Home for the Aged. All of my family has passed away, so I am all alone in the world. It's nice to know someone is thinking of me. God bless you for your kindness to an old forgotten lady. My roommate for the past few years is 9 5 and always had her own radio. Before I received this one, she would never let me listen to hers, even when she was napping. The other day, her radio fell off the night stand and broke into a lot of little pieces. It was awful and she was in tears. She asked if she could listen to mine and I said fuck you.

Thank you for that opportunity.

Sincerely, Agnes

Airline joke

This story was reported in the Irish Independent

A guy sitting at a bar at Heathrow recently noticed an attractive air stewardess sitting next to him and thought to himself: "Wow, she's gorgeous. I wonder which airline she works for."

Hoping to woo her, he leaned towards her and uttered the Delta Airlines slogan, "love to fly and it shows?"

She gave him a blank, confused stare and then another airline slogan popped into his head: He leaned towards her again and whispered, "something special in the air?"

She gave him the same confused look.

He mentally kicked himself, and scratched Singapore Airlines off the list. Next, he tried the Thai Airways slogan, "Smooth as silk".

This time, the woman turned on him: "What the f*** do you want?"

The man smiled, then slumped back in his chair and said: "Aaahhhh. It's Ryanair."

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"How can anyone have faith in a man of such low intellect?"

The Daily Mail reports this story:

Blair 'feels betrayed by Bush on Lebanon'

By SIMON WALTERS 22:57pm 19th August 2006

The alliance between George Bush and Tony Blair is in danger after it was revealed that the Prime Minister believes the President has 'let him down badly' over the Middle East crisis.

A senior Downing Street source said that, privately, Mr Blair broadly agrees with John Prescott, who said Mr Bush's record on the issue was 'crap'.

The source said: "We all feel badly let down by Bush. We thought we had persuaded him to take the Israel-Palestine situation seriously, but we were wrong. How can anyone have faith in a man of such low intellect?"

Friday, August 18, 2006

booze in the news

  • A judge in Clark County, Nev. was forced to declare a mistrial in a kidnapping case when the defense attorney arrived 90 minutes late and intoxicated. The attorney claimed he hadn't been drinking since the night before, but the judge thought his slurred speech argued otherwise. That, and the fact that the attorney arrived with a girl he'd apparently met 20 minutes earlier at a bar...

  • Could single malt whiskey be an effective tool against cancer?

  • It's not really news, but just trust me on this. Go here. Enter your age. Click on the "Beer Cannon" link at the bottom of the screen. Click on "Videos" on the left-hand panel. Watch the "AWESOME CANNON MONTAGE." You'll thank me later.
  • What the right wing sees when they read the Times


    What the right wing sees when they read the Times

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Bomb Plot or Bush Shit?

    Craig Murray ("As Britain's outspoken Ambassador to the Central Asian Republic of Uzbekistan, Craig Murray helped expose vicious human rights abuses by the US-funded regime of Islam Karimov. He is now a prominent critic of Western policy in the region.") writes that he is not a believer:

    August 14, 2006
    The UK Terror plot: what's really going on?

    I have been reading very carefully through all the Sunday newspapers to try and analyse the truth from all the scores of pages claiming to detail the so-called bomb plot. Unlike the great herd of so-called security experts doing the media analysis, I have the advantage of having had the very highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin machine.

    So this, I believe, is the true story.

    None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn't be a plane bomber for quite some time.

    In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms...

    In all of this, the one thing of which I am certain is that the timing is deeply political. This is more propaganda than plot. Of the over one thousand British Muslims arrested under anti-terrorist legislation, only twelve per cent are ever charged with anything. That is simply harrassment of Muslims on an appalling scale. Of those charged, 80% are acquitted. Most of the very few - just over two per cent of arrests - who are convicted, are not convicted of anything to do terrorism, but of some minor offence the Police happened upon while trawling through the wreck of the lives they had shattered.

    Be sceptical. Be very, very sceptical.

    Shanghai Green Administration Bureau Rules for Visitors

    These are the "Rules for Visitors" in Shanghai parks. I am posting these in our laboratory. I am fond of them all, but admire these particular aspects:
    • children below 1.2 meters in height are imputed to be indistinguishable from mental patients.
    • visitors are expected not to urinate or shit.
    • there is a gradation of unacceptability that ranges from "unallowable" to "objectionable" and then beyond to "impermissible."
    • "The visitor to the park should discipline himself instead of making himself a nuisance to others."
    • "activities of feudalistic and superstitious nature , gambling and those banned under law are prohibited."

    Rules for Visitors

    Pursuant to the 'Regulations of Shanghai Municipality on Administration of Public Parks',visitors are advised to observe the following:
    1. Parks are accessible to the public during the 'open' hours; admission tickets or relevant identity documents, where desired , are to be presented at entrance, children below 1.2 meters in height , mental patients are admitted only under custody;
    2. Ethic and moral codes should be duly honored ; visitors are expected not to urinate or shit ,post ads or posters, and write or carve around in the park, nor to remove or harm any facility or equipment in the park ; exposing one's top, lying about ,washing and airing clothes , scavenging or begging from others is unallowable ; climbing artificial hills, or playing or swimming in the pond or lake is objectionable; ball games and kite-flying are impermissible (unless in a designated area) ;
    3. Visitors are not supposed to tease, scare, or capture bird, cricket, fish and shrimp , or cicada (except those for commercial purposes ) ; no animal is allowed to enter the park unless permitted , visitors should take good care of trees , flowers and plants,and should not tear at flowers or plants ,dig up fruits or seeds,and collect soil or water- plants:
    4. Firearms and ammunition , combustibles and explosives , and any other hazardous items are strictly forbidden ; firework-playing , barbecuing or camping is banned (unless in a designated area) in the park:
    5. The visitor to the park should discipline himself instead of making himself a nuisance to others ; any group activity in the park shall be subject to the administration of the relevant department of the park ; public speech, public meeting or fund-raising of any nature is inexpedient ; activities of feudalistic and superstitious nature , gambling and those banned under law are prohibited; activities of business nature,including setting up a vending stand, peddling about, practicing medicine or distrbuting propaganda sheets are not allowed:
    6. No vehicle (except special vehicles for the disabled) shall be admitted into the park ; vehicles allowed into the park should move around slowly.
    Shanghai Green Administration Bureau
    October 2002

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    The Newspaper Douchebag Barrier Has Been Broken

    Rachel Sklar, in Huffington Post's Eat the Press, reports this breakthrough:

    Toronto Star Describes Tucker Carlson, Becomes First Mainstream Newspaper To Break The "Douchebag" Barrier
    Sklar reports that her research demonstrated that The Star is, in her words,
    "the first mainstream newspaper to employ the word "douchebag" as a descriptive term."
    Vinay Menon, writing in The Star, had this to say about Fucker Carlson*
    During those Crossfire years on CNN, Carlson seemed to be on the verge of a powerhouse career. Sure, he often came across as just another smug douchebag in the beltway. But, hell, he was perched beside Robert Novak, and next to that crabby ideologue even Lou Dobbs would seem boyishly charming.

    So what happened? Well, go back to 2004. That's when Jon Stewart appeared on Crossfire. You know how that story ends. (If not, Google "partisan hackery," "stop hurting America," or "you're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show." Be warned: that last one may return unwanted websites.)

    The strange part is that, over the past two years, as Carlson's profile faded like a newspaper on the beach, many of his fellow travellers on the right emerged as cultural superstars.

    The last time Carlson made headlines was around December, when he said Canada was "stalking" the United States ("Canada has little pictures of us in its bedroom.") He also said Canada was the "retarded cousin you see at Thanksgiving and sort of pat him on the head. You know, he's nice, but you don't take him seriously."
    Congratulations to both Vinay Menon and The Star!

    * A Google search of "Fucker Carlson" returned 1560 hits:
    Results 1 - 10 of about 1,560 for "Fucker Carlson".

    Giant Microbes

    Giant Microbes describes itself:

    We make stuffed animals that look like tiny microbes—only a million times actual size! Now available: The Common Cold, The Flu, Sore Throat, Stomach Ache, Cough, Ear Ache, Bad Breath, Kissing Disease, Athlete's Foot, Ulcer, Martian Life, Beer & Bread, Black Death, Ebola, Flesh Eating, Sleeping Sickness, Dust Mite, Bed Bug, and Bookworm (and in our Professional line: H.I.V. and Hepatitis).
    My personal favorite is Black Death
    Improved hygiene and readily available antibiotics keep this bad boy at bay. But what a history. Find out more about the good old days.

    Black Death Plush Doll: $5.95

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    What's New on the Grand Old Police Blotter

    Today's WaPo reports this AP story:

    Recipient of Gifts From Abramoff Pleads Guilty
    Associated Press
    Saturday, August 12, 2006; A07

    A former Interior Department employee pleaded guilty yesterday to a misdemeanor charge for failing to report gifts he received from lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

    Roger G. Stillwell, 66, told a federal magistrate that he had been given hundreds of dollars' worth of football and concert tickets by Abramoff, who at the time was lobbying for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

    Stillwell was with the Interior Department's office of insular affairs, which handles issues involving the island government. He is the fifth former government official to plead guilty or be found guilty by a jury in the investigation of Abramoff, who was convicted on felony counts of fraud and corruption.

    Documents filed as part of Stillwell's plea do not indicate whether he is providing authorities with evidence against others who may be involved.

    Stillwell was given four tickets to a Washington Redskins game in December 2003 valued at $316 but with an actual cost of $2,147, prosecutors said. He also accepted two tickets worth $166 to a 2003 Simon and Garfunkel concert, prosecutors said.

    Neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys would say whether Stillwell provided Abramoff anything in return for the gifts.

    "He recognizes that his decision on how to treat gifts from Mr. Abramoff was inexcusable. For that he has deep remorse," defense attorney Justin P. Murphy said in a prepared statement. Murphy said Stillwell had been friends with Abramoff and his family for years before he took the Interior Department job.

    U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay set sentencing for Oct. 26. Stillwell faces up to a year in prison.

    So far, the Abramoff probe has resulted in guilty pleas by Abramoff, two ex-aides to former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and a former chief of staff to Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio). A former White House official was convicted on unrelated charges.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Lamont's great-uncle

    Editor Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote this in the Nation:
    The Other Lamont

    The Nation's been going since 1865.

    But, if it hadn't been for Hammond Lamont, great-great uncle of Connecticut Democratic senatorial hopeful Ned Lamont, we might be telling a different story.

    When Nation Editor Wendell Phillips Garrison was ready to retire in 1906, after "41 years of unrelaxed application" in the weekly's service, he wanted to let The Nation die because he could think of nobody "fit to carry on who would respect it and its traditions." Whereupon Oswald Garrison Villard, then a regular writer for the magazine, who later became its owner and editor in 1918, suggested that he consider Hammond Lamont. (Hammond had done newspaper work in Seattle and Albany, and was managing editor of the Evening Post.) After some reflection, Garrison changed his mind and asked Lamont to become The Nation's third editor. As one report had it, Lamont was no firebrand --one report characterized him as a "noble, kindly, conservative gentleman," But he understood The Nation's role, its traditions and kept the magazine alive {Sadly, he died just three years later, during what had been expected to be a minor operation on his jaw.}

    This week, The Nation--along with thousands of others across this country --is poised to celebrate Ned Lamont's victory over longtime incumbent Joe Lieberman. But there'll also be celebration of another Lamont --one who kept America's oldest weekly alive and kicking so we could mark this good day.

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    Surrounded by Fucking Maroons

    Live Science has this report from Ker Than
    U.S. Lags World in Grasp of Genetics and Acceptance of Evolution
    By Ker Than
    LiveScience Staff Writer
    posted: 10 August 2006
    02:01 pm ET

    A comparison of peoples' views in 34 countries finds that the United States ranks near the bottom when it comes to public acceptance of evolution. Only Turkey ranked lower.

    Among the factors contributing to America's low score are poor understanding of biology, especially genetics, the politicization of science and the literal interpretation of the Bible by a small but vocal group of American Christians, the researchers say.

    “American Protestantism is more fundamentalist than anybody except perhaps the Islamic fundamentalist, which is why Turkey and we are so close,” said study co-author Jon Miller of Michigan State University.

    The researchers combined data from public surveys on evolution collected from 32 European countries, the United States and Japan between 1985 and 2005. Adults in each country were asked whether they thought the statement “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals,” was true, false, or if they were unsure.

    The study found that over the past 20 years:

    * The percentage of U.S. adults who accept evolution declined from 45 to 40 percent.
    * The percentage overtly rejecting evolution declined from 48 to 39 percent, however.
    * And the percentage of adults who were unsure increased, from 7 to 21 percent.

    Of the other countries surveyed, only Turkey ranked lower, with about 25 percent of the population accepting evolution and 75 percent rejecting it. In Iceland, Denmark, Sweden and France, 80 percent or more of adults accepted evolution; in Japan, 78 percent of adults did.

    The findings are detailed in the Aug. 11 issue of the journal Science.

    RSTDT More schadenfreude

    (image from here)
    The WaPo reports this AP story:

    IRS May Audit Recycled Leavitt Family Donations

    Associated Press
    Thursday, August 10, 2006; A05

    SALT LAKE CITY -- The Internal Revenue Service plans to audit a foundation that channeled tax-deductible donations from the Leavitt family through Southern Utah University back to the Leavitts in the form of student rent for family-owned student housing, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday.

    Southern Utah Foundation President Scott Truman said the organization's board, which met Monday, asked him not to comment on the audit, but that "they feel that we should be okay." An IRS spokesman said he could not comment.

    Mark Barton, a Southern Utah University vice president, said the school does not plan to change how it administers the foundation's donations or its housing scholarship program.

    "Everything has been checked out [by attorneys] and it's legal," Barton said. He said the school has not been notified of an IRS inquiry.

    Nearly $500,000 in charitable contributions from the Leavitt family, which includes U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary and former Utah governor Mike Leavitt, to the Southern Utah Foundation went to the university and eventually were recycled to the Leavitts through an agreement that student housing scholarships be used only for apartments the Leavitts own.

    Leavitt family spokesman Dane Leavitt said the family's foundation is reviewing its arrangement to ensure it complies with tax law.

    The Washington Post reported two weeks ago that the Leavitt foundation had failed until recently to meet a requirement that it donate 5 percent of assets to charity. The foundation gave $209,000 to charity from 2001 to 2004 but boosted its donations in 2005 and 2006, donating a total of $1.2 million in that time.

    Previous story in our Series, Republicans Say The Darndest Things:
    Leavitt's Charity Gives Crumbs

    Total Fucking Morons On Camera

    Clara Jeffrey posted this at Mother Jones:
    Americans Say the Dumbest Things

    Want to know why half of Americans still say Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded—up from 36% last year?

    Watch this video.

    Sometimes you just feel like giving up.

    Posted by Clara Jeffery on 08/09/06 at 6:42 PM

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    No shit, Sherlock

    Wonkette reports the obvious:

    Like We'll Believe the Results Anyway

    On last weekend’s Chris Matthews Show, New York Times columnist David Brooks made the following loose-lipped declaration: “One of the things I’ve found in life is that politicians are a lot more sincere than us journalists and we are more sincere than the people that read and watch us.”

    Who is the least sincere?
    Politicians 24.8% (311 votes)

    Journalists 8.8% (110 votes)

    Readers 6.8% (85 votes)

    David Brooks 59.7% (750 votes)

    1256 total votes. results as of 08/09/2006 07:57:28 pm.

    Polls close tomorrow.

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    Bush's Backrub Game

    Repelled by the Bush-Merkel backrub scene? Relieve your angst by playing with yourself here: Bush back-rub game. Here is the story from AP

    German Chancellor shrugs off Bush backrub

    July 21, 2006
    - NEW YORK - Take the leader of the free world giving a quick back massage to the German chancellor and you've got one of the most watched videos in cyberspace.

    It barely runs five seconds. But in that time you see President Bush walk up behind Angela Merkel and quickly rub her shoulders. Merkel, apparently shocked, throws her arms up as Bush walks away. The incident happened during a summit in Russia. is among the Web sites where the video is getting plenty of play. Other sites have still pictures of the incident. It was even the butt of jokes on the "Daily Show."

    Watch the video on

    University of Virginia politics professor Larry Sabato says it's more proof that these days, public figures have to be more careful than ever. As Sabato puts it, "almost any male alive today knows that you don't offer uninvited massages to any female, much less the Chancellor of Germany."
    If you need a little more agression in your game-playing, try Bash the haggis.

    Another great voice lost

    Tim Page wrote an eloquent obituary for Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in the Post.

    (image from Wikipedia)

    He closes with this:

    Schwarzkopf made two recordings of Richard Strauss's "Four Last Songs" for soprano and large orchestra -- holy music by any standards I know, brimming with life, love, longing, gratitude and, finally, a serene acceptance of approaching death. I'm sure that many other people besides myself played one of these performances yesterday, after hearing the news. (I chose the one conducted by George Szell.) She owned this music. In one of Terrence McNally's plays, one vocal aficionado challenges another: "Which 'Four Last Songs' do you like? Schwarzkopf or Schwarzkopf?"

    The question still applies.

    What's new on the Grand Old Police Blotter

    From the Post:

    Ex-Bush Aide Pleads Guilty to Theft
    Claude Allen Blames Stress and Sleep Deprivation for Target Scam

    By Ernesto Londoño
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, August 4, 2006; 2:18 PM

    Former White House aide Claude A. Allen pleaded guilty today to one misdemeanor count of theft, attributing his criminal behavior to sleep deprivation and the stressful nature of his job last fall.

    Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Eric M. Johnson asked Allen to pay a $500 fine, plus $850 in restitution to Target, one of the stores where he stole items through a refund scheme. Allen will not be incarcerated and could have a clean record within two years if he satisfactorily completes his supervised probation.

    Allen, 45, speaking publicly for the first time about the thefts, said he had no excuses for his actions, but described the time during which they happened as particularly stressful.

    "I accept full responsibility for my actions," Allen told the judge. "Something did go very wrong. I lost perspective and failed to restrain myself....

    Thursday, August 03, 2006

    URLs from Celebrity Jeopardy

    A colleague sent me the list. This list has apparently been on the web for a while.

    All of these are legitimate companies that didn't spend quite enough time considering how their online names might appear ... and be misread.

    1. Who Represents is where you can find the name of the agent that represents any celebrity. Their Web site is

    2. Experts Exchange is a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

    3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

    4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

    5. There's the Italian Power Generator company,

    6. And don't forget the Mole Station Native Nursery in New South Wales,

    The original site still works , but those cheeky roo shaggers re-direct your to their new URL

    7. If you're looking for IP solutions, there's always

    8. The First Cumming Methodist Church Web site is

    9. And the designers at Speed of Art await you at their site,

    10. Download your favorites at MP3sHits,

    11. Load up on brats and have a gas in Wausau at

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Tat for tit?

    Outraged by images of breastfeeding in public? Do you insist on seeing tits the old-fashioned way? Zulkey says "You're not alone."

    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    rare photos of Antarctic nacreous clouds

    Spectacular images of "nacreous clouds" have been posted here at the Australian Antarctic Division. Here is an excerpt:
    Beauty and mystery in rare Antarctic clouds

    Tuesday 1 August 2006

    A rare and spectacular cloud formation has been seen at the end of the polar night at Australia's Mawson station in Antarctica.

    These so-called nacreous clouds were situated high in the stratosphere, some 20km above the ground, and reveal very cold temperatures in the rarefied atmosphere.

    Photographs taken by Renae Baker, a meteorological officer with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology at Mawson, on July 25 show delicate colours produced when the fading light at sunset passed through tiny water-ice crystals blown along on a strong jet of stratospheric air.

    "Spectacular is an understatement. The clouds were such a special and welcoming sight now that the sun has just started to return near the end of winter. I am keeping my eyes towards the celestial dome and camera at the ready in the hope of some more."

    Atmospheric layers in the Antarctic winter. Dr. Andrew Klekociuk, Australian Antarctic Division
    Nacreous clouds show colours similar to those on the inside of a Mother-of-Pearl shell. The clouds only occur at high polar latitudes in winter, requiring temperatures less than approximately -80ºC to form...

    David Reinhard, bOregonian columnist or RNC bootlick?

    From Blue Oregon: Pat Malach posts a great cartoon about

    David Reinhard, researching his latest column...