Friday, January 26, 2007

Condoms are fun!

A colleague sent me this.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Scientific equivalent of Dog Bites Man story

The Boston Fishwrap reports this dog-bites-man story:
Scientists can't get sloth to move
January 24, 2007

JENA, Germany --Scientists in the eastern German city of Jena said Wednesday they have finally given up after three years of failed attempts to entice a sloth into budging as part of an experiment in animal movement.

The sloth, named Mats, was remanded to a zoo after consistently refusing to climb up and then back down a pole, as part of an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Jena's Institute of Systematic Zoology and Evolutionary Biology.

Neither pounds of cucumbers nor plates of homemade spaghetti were appetizing enough to make Mats move.

"Mats obviously wanted absolutely nothing to do with furthering science," said Axel Burchardt, a university spokesman.

Mats' new home is the zoo in the northwestern city of Duisburg where, according to all reports, he is very comfortable.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Post Loves Pix Of Pillow Fighting Women In Scivvies

The DC Fish wrap printed this story about the Pillow Fighting League, whose slogan is Fight Like a Girl! The ladies have noms de combat such as Champain, Betty Clocker, Sarah Bellum, and Boozy Suzy. Wonkette picked up the story,

leading with
this photo. There is a video here.

PETA strips away pretense in SOTU analysis

PETA examines the State of the Union in this NSWF video. The strip tease alternates with "flashes" of the Republicans cheering wildly. The end of this video contains extremely disturbing clips of animal abuse. I will be strictly vegetarian for quite a while.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The Otter Defense

Julie Mason, blogging in the Houston fish wrap, writes this keen analysis of White House policy:

Where does the White House derive inspiration for the talking points and arguments that issue forth daily from the Jackson Place briefing room? First, we had the Tinkerbell defense. Here's Press Secretary Tony Snow, today, in the morning gaggle:

"The president has said directly to members of Congress on a number of occasions: 'Take whatever shots you want at me,' he says, 'in terms of politics. You can criticize me all you want, but make sure that you do not do things that are going to weaken the troops.' And he is very passionate and very adamant about that point. Members always say, 'yes, sir, we support the troops.' Therefore, it is going to be incumbent upon members of Congress who feel that that is a priority to figure out how best to express their support for troops."

Huh. That sounds awfully familiar. Where have we heard something like that before? Oh, yeah:

"The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules, or took a few liberties with our female party guests - we did. But you can't hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few, sick twisted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn't we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn't this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg - isn't this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America. Gentlemen!"

Don't stop him, he's on a roll.

Greg has the relevant video clip here.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The Condiment Package Museum

A colleague sent me the link to this invaluable site

Be sure to read the faqs.

Calvin Trillin Writes about Signing Statements

Calvin Trillin writes this little ditty in the Nation (he once wrote that the editor, Victor Navasky, paid him in the high two figures):

deadline poet | posted January 11, 2007 (January 29, 2007 issue)
George W. Bush Explains His Signing Statements, Among Other Things

Calvin Trillin

They sent me a law against torture.
I signed it, although it was quaint.
I said, though, that I'm the decider
Of if something's torture or ain't.

I'll do what I want when I want to,
Though Congress's will may be foiled.
I've always done just what I want to.
You see, I'm a little bit spoiled.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What's New on the Grand Old Police Blotter

This is a twofer in our series, What's New on the Grand Old Police Blotter. Today's WaPo reports here that the former #2 at Interior is on their list of future guests of the government.
Ex-Interior Deputy a Target in Abramoff Probe

By Susan Schmidt
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 10, 2007; A03

Federal prosecutors have notified a former deputy secretary of the interior, J. Steven Griles, that he is a target in the public corruption investigation of Jack Abramoff's lobbying activities, sources knowledgeable about the probe said.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that among the possible criminal charges being investigated is whether Griles made false statements to the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in 2005 about job discussions Abramoff initiated while Griles was deputy secretary. Griles's attorneys did not return calls seeking comment yesterday.

Justice Department prosecutors met with Griles on Friday to outline possible charges. The investigation has examined donations made by Abramoff's Indian tribal clients to an environmental advocacy group run by Italia Federici, who was involved with Griles socially, the sources said. Also under scrutiny are donations made to Federici's group by energy and mining companies, the sources said...

I like this part:
With the prospect of Griles's indictment, a senior Justice Department official -- who Interior employees said has been dating Griles -- tendered her resignation this week.

Sue Ellen Wooldridge, assistant attorney general for environment and natural resources for the past year, submitted a letter of resignation Monday saying that she intends to return to the private sector, a Justice Department official said yesterday.

Wooldridge served as Interior Department solicitor and as deputy chief of staff to then-Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton before moving to Justice in November 2005. Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said that Wooldridge would not be available for comment about her departure. "Sue Ellen sent the resignation letter in of her own volition. This is a decision that she made," Magnuson said.

Would that be the same Gale Norton now shilling for Shell?

The same WaPo article also reports this morsel:
Yesterday, another former Interior Department employee was sentenced to two years' probation and fined $1,000 for failing to report gifts that he received from Abramoff. Roger G. Stillwell accepted hundreds of dollars worth of football and concert tickets from Abramoff, who at the time was lobbying for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Stillwell worked in the Interior Department's Insular Affairs Office, which handles issues involving the island government.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Gordon Bennett! That plonker is a bit of a mucky pup

This story appeared in today's WaPo
Oxford Editors Are No Wazzocks, Putting Public to Work on Words
By Kevin Sullivan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A13

LONDON, Jan. 3 -- According to the august Oxford English Dictionary, going bananas was simply not done before 1968, nobody went bonkers before 1957 and no one went to the loo before 1940.

But the publishers of the 600,000-word reference book, billed as "the definitive record of the English language," are willing to be proved wrong. So they are asking language-loving British television viewers to help them trace the murky etymological roots of 40 common English-language expressions, from "wolf whistle" to "regime change" to "sick puppy."

Oxford University Press, the publisher, is teaming up with "Balderdash & Piffle," a BBC television lexicology program, to run down the origins of such acutely British expressions as "wally" (a fool), "wazzock" (an idiot) and "whoopsie" (excrement). As far as the dictionary's 400-plus researchers have been able to make out, crazy people became "daft as a brush" in 1945 and "one sandwich short of a picnic" in 1993.
Here is The Wordhunt list from the BBC
  1. dog and bone 1961 (Rhyming slang for the telephone)
  2. the dog's bollocks 1989 (A cruder version of the bee’s knees)
  3. mucky pup 1984 (A habitually untidy person)
  4. shaggy dog story 1946 (Origin unknown or uncertain: a long and pointless yarn)
  5. sick puppy 1984 (Affectionate name for a weirdo)
  6. plonker 1966 (A foolish or inept person)
  7. prat 1968 (Origin unknown or uncertain: an old word but a fairly recent insult)
  8. tosser 1977 (An insult, but not an example of unparliamentary language?)
  9. wally 1969 (A put down named after Walter?)
  10. wazzock 1984 (An insult of Northern origin?)
  11. domestic 1963 (A household argument requiring police intervention)
  12. glamour model 1981 (A topless or nude model)
  13. loo 1940 (Origin unknown or uncertain: the privy, lavatory or small room)
  14. regime change 1990 (A euphemism for overthrowing a hostile foreign government)
  15. whoopsie 1973 (A synonym for “number two” or “poo-poo”)
  16. flip-flop 1970 (The rhythmic rubber sandal)
  17. hoodie 1990 (A hooded sweatshirt and sometimes the person inside it)
  18. shell-suit 1989 (A lightweight tracksuit)
  19. stiletto 1959 (A shoe with a pointy heel)
  20. trainer 1978 (The sports shoe)
  21. dogging 1993 (Origin unknown or uncertain: the illicit nocturnal carpark activity)
  22. kinky 1959 (Perverted or sexually adventurous, depending on your point of view)
  23. marital aid 1976 (A euphemism for a sex toy)
  24. pole dance 1992 (A form of entertainment often found in strip clubs)
  25. wolf-whistle 1952 (A distinctive expression of approval)
  26. bananas 1968 (Origin unknown or uncertain: as in "going bananas" - to go wild or crazy)
  27. bonkers 1957 (Origin unknown or uncertain: a synonym for crackers, nuts or doolally)
  28. daft (or mad) as a brush 1945 (Origin unknown or uncertain: a bit loopy)
  29. duh brain 1997 (A playground taunt, synonymous with "thicko")
  30. one sandwich short of a picnic 1993 (An inventive euphemism for mental incapacity)
  31. Bloody Mary 1956 (Origin unknown or uncertain: the popular “morning after” cocktail)
  32. Gordon Bennett! 1967 (Origin unknown or uncertain: a versatile exclamation, usually of surprise)
  33. Jack the Lad 1981 (A chancer, normally a brash young man)
  34. round robin 1988 (The festive family newsletter)
  35. take the mickey 1948 (Origin unknown or uncertain: to make fun of a person or thing.)
  36. bung 1958 (Origin unknown or uncertain: a bribe, not a bottle-stopper.)
  37. Glasgow kiss 1987 (A colourful term for a head-butt)
  38. identity theft 1991 (To fraudulently aquire and use personal information)
  39. spiv 1934 (Origin unknown or uncertain: a wide boy, or dodgy character)
  40. twoc 1990 (An acronym for taking without consent)

Byrd In Hand

This AP story appeared in today's WaPo. The tail end of the story has a great bit about Robert BVyrd's antics at today's swearing-in ceremony.

Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia was sworn in for the ninth time Thursday, and he did it in signature style.

The West Virginia Democrat, who turns 90 this year and is the longest-serving member of the current Senate, is known for his long speeches, his knowledge of Senate rules and his flamboyant personality.

He first spoke through the opening prayer, calling "Praise Jesus," and "yeah!"

After he was sworn in by Vice President Cheney, he pumped his fist and yelled, "So help me God!"

Just after that, Byrd appeared weak and started to collapse. He was caught by his West Virginia colleague, Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, and other senators standing nearby.

Byrd didn't miss a step as he then walked back to his desk, giving a loud "Hallelujah!" to the crowd.

He later stood behind new Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., patting him on the back as Sanders took the oath of office.

Just imagine the thoughts that flooded through Darth Cheney when Byrd feigned his collapse. I am sure that "Oh, the poor man" was not one of them.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Olbermann on Bush's proposed "sacrifice".