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March 04, 2006


The other day the server for our office went down and we were without computer/internet service for about 2 hours. It was just like walking around blind. I can remember in 1995 when we discovered we could access that strange and weird world of the internet from the public library's terminals and we were so reticent to go online. Now, just try to imagine life without it. Next to impossible

Opposable thumbs gets my vote.

About airplane maps, weren't they in part due to the shooting down of KAL007? The wikipedia link points out that "As a result of this incident, Ronald Reagan announced that the GPS system would be made available for civilian uses once completed." The first time I noticed one was when I took a KAL flight from Japan to London, but that was in the late 80's and KAL007 was in 1983.

Since this is an open thread, Fafblog has a great post up. Parts:

"Well I hope you’re happy America. After months a lookin at Iraq an goin “maybe we shouldn’t invade, there might be a civil war” an “hey the Sunnis and the Shiites really don’t get along, they might have a civil war” an “they really seem to be shooting and killing each other a lot, is this a civil war?”, now there’s a civil war! And all because of you. Oh I’ve heard all the excuses – “the war has failed because of poor planning, the war has failed because of sectarian divisions, the war was based on a fundamentally misbegotten premise” – but those are all just the kinda excuses you tell yourself to feel better. There’s only one reason the war’s falling apart, and it’s pretty obvious: because you hurt its feelings.

Like right after the invasion when the rioting started up, you coulda been all supportive an said “Hey war, it’s alright, somebody just stole 380 tons of high-grade explosives from me last week too!” That coulda made the war feel a lot more positive about itself. Or when the Abu Ghraib scandals broke you coulda looked on the bright side an gone “Hey, you’re lookin less torturey than you used to!” Or when the civil war started you coulda said “Y’know what, you look pretty good in a civil war, this could be a whole new you.” (...)

Last year the war had a birthday an nobody even gave it cake. The war just sat in an empty little room with the editorial staff a The Weekly Standard singin “Happy Birthday to me” real quietlike an tryin to hold back the tears. Well I’m not gonna let that happen this year! This year we’re gonna be there with party hats an ice cream an everything so the war can get it’s self esteem back an feel like it can grow up to be anything it wants to be!"

I am sooooooo in love with the TomTom navigator. I installed it on my pda and tend to even use it for known destinations, just because I love the way it shows the map, the patient way it tells me how to drive and all the additional info (ETA and such).

Digital camera is another item that has made things much more fun IMHO. More pics, nice pics, easy to share with people in other places, less need to glue pics in books (a task I postpone indefinately I'm afraid) - I can even burd DVD's with little edited videoclips and lots of photo's.

those wonderful maps they now have on long airplane rides -- the ones on the movie screens, that show you exactly where your plane is at any given instant. I can, and do, sit for hours watching the little airplane on the map move slowly across the screen.

I love those. And they tell you how fast the plane is moving and how high up it is! Infinitely more interesting that any film being shown on a plane. (Well, unless it's Virgin Atlantic, because they have good films, or had the last time I flew VA.)

I'd have to say the Thermos. You put cold stuff in it and it stays cold. You put hot stuff in it and it stays hot. How does it know?

Jes: when I flew to the UK, I was thrilled to see that 'Good Night and Good Luck' would be playing on the return -- I missed it in cinemas, and really wanted to see it. But alas, I had a different sort of plane on the way back, so I didn't get to see it at all.

Still, it's better than the trip to NZ, when I got the same horrible schedule coming and going. Ugh.

how do you buy your S.O. an expensive present (ex., a 10th anniversary gift) without him/her finding out, because you share bill-paying duties ?

can't charge it because she handles the credit card bills; can't write a check because Quicken will rat me out.

My neighbor's door bell plays something that sounds like the beginning of a monster movie and it plays it so loud you can hear it before the door is opened. Strange!

I like the clocks that you can choose which chime they play. I'm easily entertained I guess.

Too bad Edward doesn't hang around here any more, or we could ask him what he thinks of this.

get it on layaway, and take her with you to get it.

My favourite website, BibliOdyssey. Dedicated to the history of book illustration.

Too bad Edward doesn't hang around here any more, or we could ask him what he thinks of this.

What a trouble-maker. I hereby rechristen you "Loki".

Well, since this an open thread, here are a few "Handy Tips" my pals and I have been emailing back and forth... along with some additional amusement:

Install a valve at the lowest point in your kitchen sink P-trap, and your garbage disposal can double as a juicer.

Keep a cup of water mixed with two cups of strawberry jelly heated in a shallow pan. Throw the hot mixture on door-to-door salesman to keep them from bothering you.

To remove the musty smell from old books, boil them in water for two minutes.

Telephone books can make handy personal phone directories. Simply cross out the names of all the people you don’t know.

Staple empty matchbooks together and use as a handy notepad.

Medical tip:
Treatment of pubic lice can be quite difficult, unless you use this proven formula. Necessary items: Razor, shaving cream, lighter fluid, matches, ice pick. Shave one half of the pubic hairs (right side of midline works best) using shaving cream and razor. Then light the other half on fire using lighter fluid and matches. When the little bugs run out of the inferno to the other side, simply stab them to death with the ice pick.

And a few amusing “Yogi Berra-isms” scrounged from the internets:

Chicago Cubs outfielder Andre Dawson on being a role model: "I wan'all dem kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I wan' all the kids to copulate me."

New Orleans Saints RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season: "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."

Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann, 1996 : "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."

Senior basketball player at the University of Pittsburgh: "I'm going to graduate on time, no matter how long it takes."

Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach: "You guys line up alphabetically by height." And, "You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle."

Lou Duva, veteran boxing trainer, on the Spartan training regime of heavyweight Andrew Golota: "He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is."

Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice: "My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt."

Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D: "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

xanax: I have probably already shared this recipe, but here goes:

Take one stick plain chapstick. Twist all the way out, and then knock the chapstick into a double boiler. Heat very slowly, until it melts.

Press several cloves of fresh garlic into the molten chapstick. Stir.

Pour chapstick/garlic mixture back into chapstick tube.

Place in refrigerator until solid.

Garlic chapstick! Make up your own variants (cayenne seems promising.)

In the open thread spirit, an absolutely magnificent front page article over at DK about the Republican culture of death.

I seriously need a doorbell that plays "The Gonk".

Hurrah for Republican fiscal sanity!

President Bush's budget would increase the federal deficit by $35 billion this year and by more than $1.2 trillion over the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office reported on Friday.

The nonpartisan budget office said that Mr. Bush's tax-cutting proposals would cost about $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years and that his proposals to partly privatize Social Security would cost about $312 billion during that period.

Down with Democrat budget-balancing spendthrifts!

I printed out the DK culture of death thing. I'm going to leave it in the break room for my "pro-life" coworker to find.

But speaking of being pro-life, spring has arrived with big blue sky, wide blue bay full of sail boats, flowering plum trees, forsythias, camillias, quince, primroses, rockcress...it just gets beter from here to June. I hope I never get too jaded to appreciate spring in Washington.

Tired of pesky, bulky bookmarks that always seem to fall out or get lost? Try this effective tip: Simply tear out each page of a book after you've read it!

Stoner's Guide to a 4th of July Celebration; or, how to celebrate the 4th without leaving home or terrifying the neighbors:

1. Get together with a few friends, and go to yard sales or thrift stores for the following items:
- 12 microwaves with large, untinted windows
- Power strips and extension cords
- A few dozen coffee cups with gilded designs (Gevalia mugs are especially good)
- A CD or DVD of John Philip Sousa. Preferably played by the Boston Pops, as conducted by Arthur Feidler or John Williams.
(Note: Don't be stoned when you go shopping; god knows what you'll wind up with.)

2. Arrange the microwaves in a circle on the living room floor. Plug them in, using power strips and extension cords. Put a coffee mug in each microwave. Place the other mugs in groups atop each microwave.

3. Arrange cushions on the floor for you and your friends. Put snacks and drinks where you can get at them without getting up.

4. Get stoned now.

5. Start the Sousa.

6. Zap the mugs. See the pretty sparks. See how many mugs you can nuke at one time before the microwave doesn't work anymore. Sing along with the Sousa.

7. Pass out on the cushions.

Further interesting non-liberal Robert Kaplan re Iraq and interventionism.

Ha Ha Ha America

Not to be missed.

Art Buchwald says goodbye. Long last radio interview from two weeks ago here.

His reason for declining dialysis: "It's not that interesting."

Ha Ha Ha America

how many lemonade stand you want? we make that deal all day.


Yeah, cleek... and:

"China population
1.5 billion... maybe.
1.2 billion...maybe.
Either way, America
just a rounding error."

Just a rounding error??
Sounds ominously prophetic.

insufficiently appreciated things:

remote garage door opener


my spouse's love (tho i'm working on it)

a good night's sleep


the fact that a really sharp knife cuts down on the number of tears cutting an onion will cause


respect for the rule of law

coffee on a sunday morning

the number of lives saved annually by the modern regulatory state



Another really fun trick with microwaves:

1. Disassemble and remove magnetrons. Mount all magnetrons so they point in one direction. Advanced students may wish to use an old satellite dish for better beam alignment.

2. Move to Bowie, MD or similar town along the approach path of Andrews Air Force Base.

3. Wait for Air Force One--it's the 747 with the fighter escort.

4. Illuminate AF One with 15 kilowatts of juicy x-band microwave power--the same frequency used by all popular surface-to-air missile systems! (Note: it may be wise to use a very long extension cord when you do this.)

5. Enjoy your lifetime supply of lemon chicken.

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