2/28/2005

Graveside service

A young preacher was asked by a funeral director to hold a graveside service for a man who died with no family or friends. The funeral was held way back in the country and the young preacher got lost on the way.

When he arrived an hour late, he saw a backhoe and crew, but the hearse was nowhere in sight. The workmen were eating lunch. The diligent pastor went to the open grave to find the vault lid in place. Still he poured out his heart and preached an impassioned and lengthy service.

Returning to his car, the young preacher felt that he had done his duty and he would leave with a renewed sense of purpose and dedication, in spite of his tardiness. As he got into his car, he overheard one of the workers talking to another worker, "I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years, and I ain't never seen anything like that before. Sort of gives new meaning to the
term "holy shit."

ABC News: U.S. Pushes U.N. on Abortion Declaration

"Ten years after the world's nations pledged to achieve equality for women, a follow-up meeting has become embroiled in controversy over a U.S. demand that its final declaration state that women are not guaranteed the right to abortion. "

2/25/2005

STUFF : ODDSTUFF - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

"Panda poo excites experts
17 February 2005

BEIJING: A study of giant panda poo in China has proved the endangered animals are expanding their horizons, Xinhua news agency says. "

STUFF : ODDSTUFF - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

"SEOUL: Some South Korean homeless are dressing in style after the government gave away thousands of fake designer garments confiscated by customs agents. "

STUFF : ODDSTUFF - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

"Australian brothels lure Kiwi prostitutes
25 February 2005
By KIM THOMAS

They tried to claim pavlova and Split Enz as their own - now the Aussies are targeting our prostitutes. "

STUFF : ODDSTUFF - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

"Australian brothels lure Kiwi prostitutes
25 February 2005
By KIM THOMAS

They tried to claim pavlova and Split Enz as their own - now the Aussies are targeting our prostitutes. "

local6.com - News - School Board Bans Photo Of Girl Wearing Tux

" After a spirited discussion over a photo of a girl wearing a tuxedo at Thursday's Clay County School Board meeting, the principal's decision to ban the picture from the Fleming Island High School yearbook stands."

If after reading this, you would like to express your displeasure to the Clay County School Board, I have listed their email addresses below.

CVallencourt@mail.clay.k12.fl.us
CStuddard@mail.clay.k12.fl.us
CEVanZant@mail.clay.k12.fl.us
wbolla@mail.clay.k12.fl.us
LGraham@mail.clay.k12.fl.us

The History Channel: no women allowed (kottke.org)

"The History Channel: no women allowed"

The Nattering Nabob

"Ordinarily, revelations that a former male prostitute, using an alias (Jeff Gannon) and working for a phony news organization, was ushered into the White House -- without undergoing a full-blown security background check -- in order to pose softball questions to administration officials would qualify as news by any recent Beltway standard."

FBI Warning: You Visit Illegal Websites - Netlore Archive

"FBI Warning: You Visit Illegal Websites

Netlore Archive: Beware messages purporting to originate from the FBI that accuse you of visiting illegal Websites. These messages are unauthorized and arrive with an attachment containing the Sober-K virus "

The New York Times > Thrown to the Wolves

"While attempting to change planes at Kennedy Airport on his way home to Canada from a family vacation in Tunisia, he was seized by American authorities, interrogated and thrown into jail. He was not charged with anything, and he never would be charged with anything, but his life would be ruined.

Mr. Arar was surreptitiously flown out of the United States to Jordan and then driven to Syria, where he was kept like a nocturnal animal in an unlit, underground, rat-infested cell that was the size of a grave. From time to time he was tortured.

He wept. He begged not to be beaten anymore. He signed whatever confessions he was told to sign. He prayed.

Among the worst moments, he said, were the times he could hear babies crying in a nearby cell where women were imprisoned. He recalled hearing one woman pleading with a guard for several days for milk for her child.

He could hear other prisoners screaming as they were tortured.

"I used to ask God to help them," he said.

The Justice Department has alleged, without disclosing any evidence whatsoever, that Mr. Arar is a member of, or somehow linked to, Al Qaeda. If that's so, how can the administration possibly allow him to roam free? The Syrians, who tortured him, have concluded that Mr. Arar is not linked in any way to terrorism."

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Kansas on My Mind

"The slime campaign has begun against AARP, which opposes Social Security privatization. There's no hard evidence that the people involved - some of them also responsible for the 'Swift Boat' election smear - are taking orders from the White House. So you're free to believe that this is an independent venture. You're also free to believe in the tooth fairy. "

Movie Review | 'Sunset Story': High-Spirited Old Leftists Who Refuse to Go Gently

"High-Spirited Old Leftists Who Refuse to Go Gently"

Kansas Prosecutor Demands Files on Late-Term Abortion Patients

"Attorney General Phill Kline, a Republican who has made fighting abortion a staple of his two years in the post, is demanding the complete medical files of scores of women and girls who had late-term abortions, saying on Thursday that he needs the information to prosecute criminal cases. "

2/24/2005

The New Zealand Herald

"The Iraq war has produced winners and losers. And one small but significant winner is William 'Bucky' Bush, brother of one President and uncle to the present one. "

The Nattering Nabob

"Hunter S. Thompson - From Kingdom of Fear:"

Epiphany on the Road to Indiana

"When he was President Bush's first budget director, Mitch Daniels proved to be a fiscal prestidigitator. He helped make a handsome federal surplus vaporize as he championed the serial tax cuts that have sent the nation into deep deficit borrowing. Mr. Bush liked the director's touch so much that he dubbed Mr. Daniels 'The Blade,' though 'The Bleeder' seems closer to the truth, considering the hemorrhage of red ink during his tenure.
But now, far out in reality as the new governor of Indiana, Mr. Daniels has suddenly shocked the political world, or at least made it guffaw, by concluding that his state needs to raise taxes. That's right, a Bush Republican has actually endorsed taxation as a tool of self-government. With fresh insight, the old budget director said a tax increase of one percentage point on people making more than $100,000 was necessary to balance the budget."

ABC News: Docs Work on Monk Who Glued Eyes Shut

"Doctors have partially restored the sight of an 81-year-old Buddhist monk who accidentally glued his eyes shut when he mistook a tube of superglue for eye drops. "

Technology News Article | Reuters.com

"A Georgia woman has sued Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , claiming the ink cartridges for their printers are secretly programed to expire on a certain date, in some cases rendering them useless before they are even installed in a printer."

2/23/2005



Op-Ed Columnist: The Secret Genocide Archive

"Last is the skeleton of a man or woman whose wrists are still bound. The attackers pulled the person's clothes down to the knees, presumably so the victim could be sexually abused before being killed. If the victim was a man, he was probably castrated; if a woman, she was probably raped.
There are thousands more of these photos. Many of them show attacks on children and are too horrific for a newspaper.
One wrenching photo in the archive shows the manacled hands of a teenager from the girls' school in Suleia who was burned alive. It's been common for the Sudanese militias to gang-rape teenage girls and then mutilate or kill them.
Another photo shows the body of a young girl, perhaps 10 years old, staring up from the ground where she was killed. Still another shows a man who was castrated and shot in the head.
This archive, including scores of reports by the monitors on the scene, underscores that this slaughter is waged by and with the support of the Sudanese government as it tries to clear the area of non-Arabs. Many of the photos show men in Sudanese Army uniforms pillaging and burning African villages. I hope the African Union will open its archive to demonstrate publicly just what is going on in Darfur."

Social Security - Editorial: Some Inheritance

"Under the president's proposal, when you retired you would not be able to start spending the money in your private account until after you bought an annuity, a financial contract in which you hand over a lump-sum payment and, in return, get a monthly stream of income for life. The upside of buying such an annuity would be that you'd be protected against outliving all of your money. The downside is that even if you died immediately after retirement, the most your heirs would inherit would be the amount that remained in your private account after you had paid for the mandatory annuity. (If you lived longer, of course, you might well need to spend the remainder to supplement the annuity's low monthly payout. )"

The Cat Blog

"So Mom has been letting me out to explore my territory. I climbed up on the fence to examine my beautiful view when what happened? The neighbor released the hounds!
I was almost eaten and I'm quite bitter about it. I've begun plotting the proper way to assassinate this beast, lest he encroach upon my territory!"


Stalker! This picture was taken by a "trip camera" set up. When the film was downloaded this is what was caught on film.
You'll notice this buck has no idea what's behind him.

The Kern County, California, Sheriff's Department orders plain
white patrol units and has the graphics applied locally. In this case:
What they ordered... was not quite what they got.

This car was driven for 1 week before an officer noticed what the
graphics company employee did on the passenger side of the car.

The employee did this on his last day working for the graphics
company before he retired.

word of the day

"fin-de-sie cle

SYLLABICATION:fin-de-sie cle
PRONUNCIATION: fd-s-kl
ADJECTIVE:Of or characteristic of the last part of the 19th century, especially with reference to its artistic climate of effete sophistication.
ETYMOLOGY:French : fin, end + de, of + siecle, century. "

National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators

"Free national search site to reunite you with your unclaimed property
maintained by the state officials who are safeguarding it."

2/22/2005

A message from John Cleese to all Americans | The Progressive Blog Alliance HQ

A message from John Cleese to all Americans | The Progressive Blog Alliance HQ

kaleido

a somewhat interactive kaleidoscope.

Committee to Protect Bloggers: THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT BLOGGERS ANNOUNCES ITS FIRST CAMPAIGN: Free Arash and Mojtaba

"Free Mojtaba and Arash Day"
"Bloggers Mojtaba Saminejad and Arash Sigarchi are being detained by the Iranian authorities."

Doctors See a Big Rise in Injuries for Young Athletes

"Around the country, doctors in pediatric sports medicine say it is as if they have happened upon a new childhood disease, and the cause is the overaggressive culture of organized youth sports."

New Course by Royal Navy: A Campaign to Recruit Gays

"The new effort continues a pattern of changing official attitudes in the navy - once derided as running on rum, sodomy and the lash..."

Anger Management

Anger Management:

When I have the occasional bad day and need to take it out on
someone, I don't take it out on my loved ones anymore...

I got the idea one day when I was sitting at my desk and
remembered a phone call I had forgotten to make. I found the number and
dialed it.

A man answered, saying, "Hello." I politely said, "This is Chris.
May I please speak with Robin Carter?"

Suddenly, the phone was slammed down on me.

I couldn't believe that anyone could be so rude. I tracked down
Robin's correct number and called her.

I had transposed the last two digits of her phone number. After
hanging up with her, I decided to call the 'wrong' number again.

When the same guy answered the phone, I yelled, "You're an
asshole!" and hung up.

I wrote his number down with the word 'asshole' next to it, and
put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying
bills or had a really bad day, I'd call him up and yell, "You're an asshole!"
It always cheered me up.

When Caller ID came to our area, I thought my therapeutic
'asshole' calling would have to stop. So, I called his number and
said, "Hi, this is John Smith from the Telephone Company. I'm just calling to see if you're interested in the Caller ID program?"

He yelled, "NO!" and slammed the phone down. I quickly called him
back and said, "That's because you're an asshole!"

One day I was at the store, getting ready to pull into a parking
spot.

Some guy in a black BMW cut me off and pulled into the spot I had
patiently waited for. I hit the horn and yelled that I had been waiting
for the spot. The idiot ignored me. I noticed a "For Sale" sign in his
car window, so I wrote down his number.

A couple of days later, right after calling the first asshole, (I
had his number on speed dial ), I thought I had better call the BMW
asshole, too. I said, "Is this the man with the black BMW for sale?"

"Yes, it is."

"Can you tell me where I can see it?" "Yes, I live at 1802 West
34th Street. It's a yellow house, and the car's parked right out in
front."

"What's your name?" I asked. "My name is Don Hansen," he said.

"When's a good time to catch you, Don?"

"I'm home every evening after five."

"Listen, Don, can I tell you something?"

"Yes?"

"Don, you're an asshole." Then I hung up, and added his number
to my speed dial, too.

Now, when I had a problem, I had two assholes to call. But after
several months of calling them, it wasn't as enjoyable as it used to
be.
So, I came up with an idea. I called Asshole #1.

"Hello." "You're an asshole!" (But I didn't hang up.)

"Are you still there?" he asked. "Yeah," I said. "Stop
calling me," he screamed.

"Make me," I said.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"My name is Don Hansen."

"Yeah? Where do you live?"

"Asshole, I live at 1802 West 34th Street, a yellow house, with
my
black Beamer parked in front."

He said, "I'm coming over right now, Don. And you had better
start
saying your prayers."

I said, "Yeah, like I'm really scared, asshole."

Then I called Asshole #2.

"Hello?" he said.

"Hello, asshole," I said.

He yelled, "If I ever find out who you are!"

"You'll what?" I said.

"I'll kick your ass," he exclaimed.

I answered, "Well, asshole, here's your chance. I'm coming over
right now."

Then I hung up and immediately called the police, saying that I lived
at 1802 West 34th Street, and that I was on my way over there to kill my
gay lover.

Then I called Channel 2 News about the gang war going down on
West
34th Street.

I quickly got into my car and headed over to 34th street.

There I saw two assholes beating the crap out of each other in
front of six squad cars, a police helicopter, and a news crew.

NOW, I feel better.


This anger management shit really works!

6 "Dirty Little Secrets" About Credit Cards

"How can a purchase price be changed after the sale? No other industry can do this but the credit card company can. "

It's not the story...

...it's the way this one sentence seems to sum up the whole millennium so far:

"Hilton, a hotel chain heiress whose sex tape with an ex-boyfriend became a cyberspace novelty, stars on the Fox TV reality show 'The Simple Life' with Nicole Richie, daughter of R&B singer Lionel Richie."

Satisfied Cat

NOT Photoshopped.

Display photo

Cute baby animal photo of the day.

ABC News: Peru 'Mermaid' Baby Prepares for Surgery

More bizarre baby news.

Yahoo! News - Egyptian Doctors Remove Baby's Second Head

Make sure you've had your coffee...they're not graphic, just creepy.
You can click on these pictures and enlarge them.

2/21/2005

ABC News: Pakistanis Order Betrothal of 2-Year-Old

Thieves Steal Built-In Swimming Pool

strange.

Five Misconceptions about Islam that could kill Democracy

I have no idea if this guy can provide backup for what he says, but if he can, this is some really interesting and scary stuff.

'Simpsons' Animates Gay Nuptials, and a Debate

At last, it's out! Er, she's out!

Free Screen Cleaner

This is very cute.

2/15/2005

Scientist at Work: Origami as the Shape of Things to Come


Winter

Aljazeera.Net - US senator slams Iraq reconstruction

Bartleby.com: Great Books Online -- Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Thesaurus and hundreds more

Useful

Abc... Whatever - The World's Longest Alphabetical Email Address

If you truly want to annoy people...

EnviroZine, Environment Canada's On-line Newsmagazine

Black History Month: President Bush's Negro Tolerance Month Proclamation on the Changeability of Colored Folks - WHITEHOUSE.ORG

Betcha didn't know it was Negro Tolerance Month!

White House Turns Tables on Former American POWs

This is a good one -

"The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from Iraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for their torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime.
The rationale: Today's Iraqis are good guys, and they need the money."

ABC News: Nutritional Info May Find Place on Menus

ABC News: Rooster Recording Terrorizes Neighbors

OSCAR HOST CHRIS ROCK SHOCK: ABORTION IN AMERICA IS 'BEAUTIFUL'

Search engine is cash engine for Democrats

Immigration checks on Tube passengers banned

Aids and TB tests for all immigrants in Tory plan

The New York Times > Gays Debate Radical Steps to Curb Unsafe Sex

"As news of a potentially virulent strain of H.I.V. settles in, gay activists and AIDS prevention workers say they are dismayed and angry that the 25-year-old battle against the disease might have to begin all over again."

2/14/2005

The Nattering Nabob:The media are idiots

The Nattering Nabob

Online Poll

Vote by entering a comment.

Which is worse, "Over and Over", the truly awful duet between Nelly and Tim McGraw, or that hideous Ashlee Simpson "La La" song?

ABC News: Brain-Damaged Woman Talks After 20 Years

Well, maybe THIS is the heartwarming story of the week.

ABC News: New Tools Making Online Work Easier

ABC News: Odd Couples Among Wild Kingdom Baffle Biologists

Heartwarming story of the week

2/11/2005

Paying the Price at Wal-Mart

Amazon.com: Music: Tom Wopat Sings Harold Arlen: Dissertation on the State of Bliss

Oh. My. God.
For anyone who may have forgotten or never knew, Tom Wopat was one of the stars of the TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard". And Harold Arlen composed the score of the Wizard of Oz, but most of his songs were less perky: "Stormy Weather", "Come Rain or Come Shine", "That Old Black Magic", and "Man That Got Away", for instance.

I really, really wish they had samples to listen to. They don't even have a track listing, darn it!
Wait, here's the tracks, courtesy of Bestbuy.com

1. That Old Black Magic
2. Dissertation On The State Of Bliss
3. My Shining Hour
4. If I Only Had A Brain
5. One For My Baby
6. Over The Rainbow
7. Look Who's Been Dreaming
8. Come Rain Or Come Shine
9. Accentuate The Positive
10. Hit The Road To Dreamland
11. So Long Big Time
12. Last Night When We Were Young

Still no samples, though. Maybe because it's not actually released yet. I'll definitely have to check back. It's already Amazon's #4,313 in music. Scary

Rich Lowry: She makes us proud

And she's got good hair, and child-bearing hips!

Oh, good god, somebody bitch-slap this guy!

Wes Pruden: The big hand for a few real heroes (NOT)

Soldiers going off to war are not heroes, they are testosterone victims. No matter how noble the cause, killing someone doesn't make you a hero. Solving a problem without physical violence would make someone more of a hero.

(It's Friday, and I'm riled up today.)

Clarence Page:Two men, so different yet so much alike in principle

"

A Head of His Time: Exploring the commodious nature of art

Okay, here's the deal: Three blank 5' x 5' canvases hanging in a museum, labeled "Tremors in the Morning: War, Part I" is NOT an artistic statement about man's inhumanity to man. (It's a bunch of pretentious hoo-ha by some twit in a turtleneck who will hopefully have the sense to be horribly embarrassed by the whole thing in 20 years.) Elie Weisel's "Night" IS an artistic statement about man's inhumanity to man.* And if you don't understand that, please don't reproduce.

Somebody had to say it.

* You should read it. It's good. Art, even.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0553272535/qid=1108148627/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-8398250-3128747?v=glance&s=books

A call to simpler times

Gene Weingarten

"In the rotunda of the National Archives...There is a rare recording of the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, from 1912. America's most macho president — scourge of corporate scoundrels, conqueror of the Spaniards, protector of the hemisphere, wielder of the Big Stick — sounds exactly like Mister Magoo."

ABC News: Antibiotic Overuse Linked to High Resistance Rates

See, I told you so! Everybody needs to stop going to the doctor, and just take vitamin C and garlic.

Or drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes, which seems to work for Keith Richards.

ABC News: 'Mr. DWI' Notches Another Arrest in S.D.

Maybe he should run for President.

Oops, did I say that out loud?

ABC News: John Deere Lover Takes Last Tractor Ride

ABC News: Drunk Birds Crash Into Building's Glass

ABC News: Scientists Say They Often Censor Selves

ABC News: Seabed at Tsunami's Center Shows Ruptures

ABC News: Corey Feldman Speaks Out Against Jackson

To me, this is one of the weirder developments:

Feldman says he had such an encounter at Jackson's home when he says they stopped there on the way to Disneyland. "We went to his apartment, and I noticed a book that he had out on his coffee table. The book contained pictures of grown men and women naked. And the book was focused on venereal diseases and the genitalia." Feldman said the singer sat down with him and explained the photos to him.

Feldman said, "I was kind of grossed out by it. I didn't think of it as a big deal. And for all these years, I probably never thought twice about it … But in light of recent evidence … I have to say that if my son was 14 years old — 13 years old, and went to a man's apartment that was 35, and I knew that they were sitting down together talking about this, I would probably beat his ass."

2/08/2005

Yahoo! News - Sen. Barbara Boxer Steps Into Spotlight

West Hollywood may ban cosmetic surgery for pets

South African slang reflects diversity

web-goddess: archived post

Background information: This woman, originally from Indiana, works in a wool/knitting shop somewhere in Australia. This story is about an unusual customer she had one day.

BC News: Researchers Uncover Ancient Cave Engraving

ABC News: Researchers Uncover Ancient Cave Engraving

Jokes about Gay Marriage

Top 10 Things Heterosexuals need to Know about Gay People



:: Kinky Friedman Official Site ::

Kinky's platform

Kinky Friedman launches bid for governor of Texas

Take Action: Tell Edward Jones: Don't help privatize Social Security.

facts and statistics

Average number of suicides per 100,000 residents in states carried by President Bush in November : 13.5 [Michael Miller, Harvard Medical School (Boston)/Harper's research ]

Average number of suicides in states carried by John Kerry : 9.9 [Michael Miller, Harvard Medical School (Boston)/Harper's research ]

Hours after Kerry conceded that a New Yorker posted a personal ad seeking a Bush supporter for a "fair, physical fight" : 5 [Peter Weisman (N.Y.C.) ]

Number of people who volunteered within twenty-four hours : 3 [Peter Weisman (N.Y.C.) ]

Number who asked to watch : 9 [Peter Weisman (N.Y.C.) ]

Vancouver BC Stanley Park Greeting Cards Postcards

ABC News: Man Finds Mystery Nail in His Neck

The Nattering Nabob

"I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party"

Nepal's King Cracks Down on Politics and News Media

"As he spoke, phone lines and Internet connections were being cut, political and student leaders were being detained and soldiers were arriving at news organizations' offices to take on their new role as censors."

ABC News: Romanian Woman Has Twins, Two Mos. Apart

So if she has two uteruses (uteri?), does she also have two sets of ovaries? Double menopause? ugh!

ABC News: Ohio Man Accused of Stealing House

Chutzpah!

2/07/2005

ABC News: Mixing Humans and Animals for Science

Zap2it - TV news - Incoherent 'Idol' Reject Watched From Jail

The rest of the dirt on Leroy Wells - Can You Dig It?

The Trixie Update: Diapers

This is hysterical, although it's not intended to be. At least, not in the way that I find it hysterical. This poor man has obviously been home with no one to talk to but his baby for FAR too long! The information in the posts will be familiar to anyone who's ever had a baby, but it's the charts and graphs that put it over the top. Be sure and check out the "First Time Here - Trixie Update 101".

Cool Ice Storm photo

'Podcasting' Lets Masses Do Radio Shows

And Adam Curry thought it up? Who'd a thunk?

2/04/2005

STUFF : ODDSTUFF - STORY : Mermaid Baby

ABC News: Cookie Delivery Sparks $900 Medical Bill

Fold Like the Wind

Check out this video (above), this is the coolest thing! How to fold a shirt in 3 seconds -

Over-Zealous Policeman

BERLIN (Reuters) - An over-zealous policeman slapped a parking ticket on the windshield of a fellow officer's squad car while his colleagues were setting a radar trap to catch speeding motorists in a town in eastern Germany.
"Traffic regulations apply for everyone," Hans-Joachim Schneider, head of the Jessen town office, told the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The radar police had parked their squad car on the wrong side of the road -- facing the oncoming traffic.

School Halts Adopt a Sniper Fund-Raiser

"The students were selling bracelets bearing the motto '1 Shot 1 Kill No Remorse I Decide."

ABC News: Ohio Woman Suspended for Tax Form Humor

"Ohio Woman Suspended for Putting Such Lines As 'If We Can Tax It, We Will' on Tax Forms"

2/03/2005

Curiously High-Tech Hacks for a Classic Tin

click the heading for: The things you can do with an Altoids tin....

see also:

http://www.readymademag.com/feature_12_macgyver.php

The Rude Pundit

An angry young man. Or maybe an angry old man. Either way, he's pissed off about the State of the Union address, and he's got a lot to say about it. Well, not an excessive amount, this one's a manageable read.

The Nattering Nabob

More on the Social Security issue. Short.

Privatizing Social Security Will Shortchange Your Retirement

Some points I haven't seen any place else.

www.digitalgallery.dk - Tivoli

Some really interesting pictures here - after you scroll forward a bit, click on "back to galleries". I thought these were photos, then I thought they were digitally altered photos, but I think they're actually entirely computer generated for one of those online roleplaying games.

PoshTots - The Most Extraordinary Children's Furnishings in the World



If you find yourself with excess cash and no idea how to spend it, here's a place that might be able to help you. You know you're in trouble when the item says "Call for pricing".

Zeitgeist

Google Press Center: Zeitgeist

2004 Year-End Google Zeitgeist
Search patterns, trends, and surprises

some of this is no surprise, some of it is quite surprising.

Op-Ed Columnist: Inherit the Windbags

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Inherit the Windbags

"Do male nipples prove evolution?"

State of the Art: Pay Radio Becomes Personal

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > State of the Art: Pay Radio Becomes Personal

The latest development in sattelite radio - personal, portable players.

When the Sous-Chef Is an Inkjet

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > When the Sous-Chef Is an Inkjet

bizarre

Headline from the NY Times

"Marines Miss January Goal for Recruits"

There was a movie released in 1970 called "Suppose They Gave a War, and Nobody Came". Now there's a thought.

2/02/2005

Do you know me?

Why lawyers should never ask a witness a question if they aren't prepared for the answer:
In a trial, a Southern small town prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand; a grandmotherly, elderly woman.
He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded,"Why, yes I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"
She again replied, "Why yes, I do. I've known Mr.Bradley since he was a youngster,too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women, one of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."
The defense attorney almost died.
The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench, and in a very quiet voice, said; "If either of you asks her if she knows me, I'll throw your sorry asses in jail for contempt."

Write Your Own Caption

Cruel & Inhumane

Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.com

Half of Bankruptcy Due to Medical Bills -- U.S. Study

Half of Bankruptcy Due to Medical Bills -- U.S. Study
Wed Feb 2, 2005 04:28 AM ET

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are caused by soaring medical bills and most people sent into debt by illness are middle-class workers with health insurance, researchers said on Wednesday.

The study, published in the journal Health Affairs, estimated that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans every year, if both debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children, are counted.

"Our study is frightening. Unless you're Bill Gates you're just one serious illness away from bankruptcy," said Dr. David Himmelstein, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School who led the study.

"Most of the medically bankrupt were average Americans who happened to get sick. Health insurance offered little protection."

The researchers got the permission of bankruptcy judges in California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas to survey 931 people who filed for bankruptcy.

"About half cited medical causes, which indicates that 1.9 to 2.2 million Americans (filers plus dependents) experienced medical bankruptcy," they wrote.

"Among those whose illnesses led to bankruptcy, out-of-pocket costs averaged $11,854 since the start of illness; 75.7 percent had insurance at the onset of illness."

The average bankrupt person surveyed had spent $13,460 on co-payments, deductibles and uncovered services if they had private insurance. People with no insurance spent an average of $10,893 for such out-of-pocket expenses.

"Even middle-class insured families often fall prey to financial catastrophe when sick," the researchers wrote.

Bankruptcy specialists said the numbers seemed sound.

"From 1982 to 1989, I reviewed every bankruptcy petition filed in South Carolina, and during that period I came to the conclusion that there were two major causes of bankruptcy: medical bills and divorce," said George Cauthen, a lawyer at Columbia-based law firm Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.

"Each accounted, roughly, for about a third of all individual filings in South Carolina."

He said fewer than 1 percent of all bankruptcy filings were due to credit card debt. "That truly is a myth," Cauthen said in a telephone interview.

Cauthen said he was not surprised to hear that so many of the bankrupt people in the study were middle-class.

"Usually people who have something to protect file bankruptcy," he said. "The truly indigent -- people that we see on the street -- there is no relief that we can give them."

Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, a Harvard associate professor and physician who advocates for universal health coverage, said the study supported demands for health reform.

"Covering the uninsured isn't enough. We must also upgrade and guarantee continuous coverage for those who have insurance," Woolhandler said in a statement.

She said many employers and politicians were pressing for what she called "stripped-down plans so riddled with co-payments, deductibles and exclusions that serious illness leads straight to bankruptcy."

Health insurance costs from the Kaiser Family Foundation/eHealthInsurance

"The premiums that people pay for individual health insurance are much lower than the total average premiums for group health insurance ($1,786 for single individually-purchased coverage vs $3,383 for single employer-based coverage, and $3,331 for family individually purchased coverage vs $9,068 for family employer-based coverage)."

Actual letter sent to the IRS

This was an actual letter sent to the IRS after the author was
denied tax deductions on two of his children.

Dear Sirs:

I am responding to your letter denying the deduction for two of the
three dependents I claimed on my 1994 Federal Tax return. Thank you.
I have questioned whether or not these are my children for years.
They are evil and expensive. It's only fair that, since they are
minors and no longer my responsibility, the government should know
something about them and what to expect over the next year. Please
do not try to reassign them to me next year and reinstate the
deduction. They are yours.

The oldest, Kristen, is now 17. She is brilliant.
Ask her! I suggest you put her to work in your office where she can
answer people's questions about their returns. While she has no
formal training, it has not seemed to hamper her mastery of any
subject you can name. Taxes should be a breeze. Next year she is
going to college. I think it's wonderful that you will now be
responsible for that little expense. While you mull that over, keep
in mind that she has a truck. It doesn't run at the moment, so you
have the choice of appropriating some Department of Defense funds to
fix the vehicle, or getting up early to drive her to school. Kristen
also has a boyfriend. Oh joy! While she possesses all of the wisdom
of the universe, her alleged mother and I have felt it best to
occasionally remind her of the virtues of abstinence, or in the face
of overwhelming passion, safe sex. This is always uncomfortable, and
I am quite relieved you will be handling this in the future.

Patrick is 14. I've had my suspicions about this one. His eyes are a
little closer together than those of normal people. He may be a tax
examiner himself one day, if he is not incarcerated first. In
February, I was awakened at three in the morning by a police officer
who was bringing Pat home. He and his friends were TP'ing houses. In
the future, would you like him delivered to the local IRS office, or
to Ogden, UT? Kids at 14 will do almost anything on a dare. His hair
is purple. Permanent dye, temporary dye, what's the big deal? Learn
to deal with it.
You'll have plenty of time, as he is sitting out a few days of
school after instigating a food fight in the cafeteria. I'll take
care of filing your phone number with the vice-principal. Oh yes, he
and all of his friends have raging hormones. This is the house of
testosterone and it will be much more peaceful when he lives in your
home. DO NOT leave him or his friends unsupervised with girls,
explosives, inflammables, inflatables, vehicles, or telephones.
(They find telephones a source of unimaginable amusement. Be sure to
lock out the 900 and 976 numbers!)

Heather is an alien. She slid through a time warp and appeared as if
by magic one year. I'm sure this one is yours. She is 10 going on
21. She came from a bad trip in the sixties. She wears tie-dyed
clothes, beads, sandals, and hair that looks like Tiny Tim's.
Fortunately you will be raising my taxes to help offset the pinch of
her remedial reading courses.
"Hooked On Phonics" is expensive, so the schools dropped it. But
here's the good news! You can buy it yourself for half the amount of
the deduction that you are denying me! It's quite obvious that we
were terrible parents (ask the other two). She cannot speak English.
Most people under twenty understand the curious patois she fashioned
out of valley girls/boys in the hood/reggae/yuppie/political double
speak. The school sends her to a speech pathologist who has her roll
her R's. It added a refreshing Mexican/Irish touch to her voice. She
wears hats backwards, baggy pants, and wants one of her ears pierced
four more times. There is a fascination with tattoos that worries
me, but I am sure that you can handle it. Bring a truck when you
come to get her, she sort of "nests" in her room and I think that it
would be easier to move the entire thing than find out what it is
really made of.

You denied two of the three exemptions, so it is only fair that you
get to pick which two you will take. I prefer that you take the
youngest two, I will still go bankrupt with Kristen's college, but
then I am free! If you take the two oldest, then I still have time
for counseling before Heather becomes a teenager. If you take the
two girls, then I won't feel so bad about putting Patrick in a
military academy. Please let me know of your decision as soon as
possible, as I have already increased the withholding on my W-4 to
cover the
$395 in additional tax and made a down payment on an airplane.

Yours truly,
Bob (Note: The IRS allowed the deductions and reinstated his refund.)

ABC News: Rabbi May Have Given Babies Herpes

ABC News: Rabbi May Have Given Babies Herpes

ABC News: Mistake Calls for Evacuation of Conn.

ABC News: Mistake Calls for Evacuation of Conn.

ABC News: Workplace Best and Worst: Making Excuses

ABC News: Workplace Best and Worst: Making Excuses

The New York Times > Dining & Wine > The Waiter You Stiffed Has Not Forgotten

The New York Times > Dining & Wine > The Waiter You Stiffed Has Not Forgotten

The New York Times > Arts > Art & Design > Black Migration, Both Slave and Free

The New York Times > Arts > Art & Design > Black Migration, Both Slave and Free

The New York Times > Washington > Dean Emerging as Likely Chief for Democrats

The New York Times > Washington > Dean Emerging as Likely Chief for Democrats

You Won't See This One Coming

A man who just died is delivered to the mortuary wearing an expensive, expertly tailored black suit.

The mortician asks the deceased's wife how she would like the body dressed. He points out that the man does look good in the black suit he is already wearing.

The widow, however, says that she always thought her husband looked his best in blue, and that she wants him in a blue suit.

She gives the mortician a blank check and says, "I don't care what it costs, but please have my husband in a blue suit for the viewing."

The woman returns the next day for the wake. To her delight, she finds her husband dressed in a gorgeous blue suit with a subtle chalk stripe; the suit fits him perfectly.
She says to the mortician, "Whatever this cost, I'm very satisfied. You did an excellent job and I'm very grateful. How much did you spend?"

To her astonishment, the mortician presents her with the blank check.

"There's no charge," he says.

"No, really, I must compensate you for the cost of that exquisite blue suit!" she says.

"Honestly, ma'am," the mortician says, "it cost nothing. You see, a deceased gentleman of about your husband's size was brought in shortly after you left yesterday, and he was wearing an attractive blue suit. I asked his wife if she minded him going to his grave wearing a black suit instead, and she said it made no difference as long as he looked nice.

So I just switched the heads."

MPR: Radio Listening: Live Web Stream

A playlist that's all over the place, they supposedly have 50,000 songs. In just a few minutes I heard Bonnie Raitt, the White Stripes, and the Beatles. And now Louis Prima with Keely Smith. And KC and the Sunshine Band.

Highest Paying Jobs Not Requiring a College Degree

Mix 96.5 -- KHMX-FM -- Houston: "Highest Paying Jobs Not Requiring a College Degree"

CelebMatch.com: Show best matches

Okay, for a laugh I did this. My 5 best matches were:

a French Formula 1 race car driver
a NASCAR driver
a dead WWF wrestler
some minor comedic actor I've never heard of.
and Ryan Stiles, the tall skinny guy from the Drew Carey Show and Who's Line is it, Anyway?

Yeah, I feel good about myself now.

(Don't laugh too hard, Robert, your matches included Shannon Doherty from 90210, and a WWF wrestler)

Political Moose: Orrin Hatch Loves Hispanic People

Political Moose: Orrin Hatch Loves Hispanic People

Bizarre Holidays in February

February 4 is Create A Vacuum Day

February 6 is Lame Duck Day

February 8 is Kite Flying Day

February 13 is Get A Different Name Day

February 16 is Do A Grouch A Favor Day

February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day

February 20 is Hoodie Hoo Day

February 23 is International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day

February 27 is International Polar Bear Day

February 28 is Public Sleeping Day

Dear Dogs and Cats

Dear Dogs and Cats:

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king size bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep, people cannot.

It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years - canine or feline attendance is not mandatory.

The proper order is kiss me, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

Rules for Non-Pet Owners Who Visit and Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly. Dogs and cats are better than kids. They eat less, don't ask for money all the time, are easier to train, usually come when called, never drive your car, don't hang out with drug-using friends, don't smoke or drink, don't worry about having to buy the latest fashions, don't wear your clothes, and don't need a gazillion dollars for college – and if they get pregnant, you can sell the children.

2/01/2005

Oddness


Here's lookin' at ya' - by Jeff Tangen
Click above for more

Gallery Photograph


- Photo by Scott Bland (Click on the heading to see more of his photos)


The picture's funny, but I have to wonder what the good sisters are doing in a bar...

HoustonChronicle.com - Lottery study: Those with least chance it most

Yes, once again, after performing an (undoubtedly expensive) study, the experts are astounded to discover the obvious! Poor people try harder to win money than well-off people! Imagine that!

Minds of Their Own: Birds Gain Respect

"Scientists are arguing that the avian brain is as complex, flexible and inventive as any mammalian brain."

"Everyone knows apes use simple tools like twigs, Dr. Emery said, selecting different ones for different purposes. But New Caledonian crows create more complex tools with their beaks and feet. They trim and sculpture twigs to fashion hooks for fetching food. They make spears out of barbed leaves, probing under leaf detritus for prey.

In a laboratory, when a crow named Betty was given metal wires of various lengths and a four-inch vertical pipe with food at the bottom, she chose a four-inch wire, made a hook and retrieved the food. "

Interesting article. Gets a bit thick in the middle, but then it picks up again.

Bad Day



Quotes for Today

Birds of a feather flock together and crap on your car.

When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle.
It makes the neighbor's dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.

If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

Don't assume malice for what stupidity can explain.

A penny saved is a government oversight.

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the righttime, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then yourbody and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.

The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

He who hesitates is probably right.

Did you ever notice:
The Roman Numerals for forty (40) are " XL."

If you think there is good in everybody, you haven't met everybody.

If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.

There's always a lot to be thankful for if you take time to look for it.For example I am sitting here thinking how nice it is that wrinkles don't hurt.

Did you ever notice:
When you put the 2 words "The" and "IRS" together
it spells "Theirs."

Priceless

Jack wakes up at home with a huge hangover he can't believe. He forces himself to open his eyes, and the first thing he sees is a couple of aspirins next to a glass of water on the side table. And, next to them, a single red rose!

Jack sits up and sees his clothing in front of him, all clean and pressed. Jack looks around the room and sees that it is in perfect order, spotlessly clean. So is the rest of the house.

He takes the aspirins, cringes when he sees a huge black eye staring back at him in the bathroom mirror, and notices a note on the table: "Honey, breakfast is on the stove, I left early to go shopping--Love you!"

He stumbles to the kitchen and sure enough, there is hot breakfast and the morning newspaper. His son is also at the table, eating. Jack asks,"Son...what happened last night?"

"Well, you came home after 3 A.M., drunk and out of your mind. You broke some furniture, puked in the hallway, and got that black eye when you ran into the door."

"So, why is everything in such perfect order, so clean, I have a rose, and breakfast is on the table waiting for me?"

His son replies, "Oh THAT!... Mom dragged you to the bedroom, and when she tried to take your pants off, you screamed, "Leave me alone, lady,I'm married!"

Broken furniture - $85.26
Hot Breakfast - $4.20
Red Rose bud -$3.00
Two Aspirins -$.38
Saying the right thing, at the right time.........Priceless.