Mark of the beast at Dunkin’ Donuts

January 11, 2009

The customer ahead of me in line at Dunkin’ Donuts was customer number 666. The cash register video display showed ‘666’ in bold black letters. I am very fortunate to have been customer number 667.


Wasted by “Margaritaville”

January 6, 2009

Fort Bragg soldier dies in Steamboat Springs, Colorado bar.

The 37 year old man appears to have died in a fight over the playing of the Jimmy Buffett recording “Margaritaville.” No word if the fight was actually over a lost shaker of salt or a woman.

I hasn’t realized that AOL had been imploding

December 22, 2008

Actaully, I wasn’t very aware that AOL was around any more. Apparently it is, barely, going by the posts in their “People Connection” blog. For example, people who had blogs, and other files posted on an AOL “Hometown” site suddenly lost access to their work on October 31. A blog post to the “People Connection” blog shows that Hometown users were informed of the shutdown on, November 6th. Comments users posted to that post sound desparate and angry.

Update: OK, AOL users were given a few weeks warning before Hometown shutdown. Plenty of time?

Reminds me of the time way back in 1995 when AOL bought WAIS, the Wide Area Information Service. WAIS predated AltaVista, let alone Google. The olde Mosaic browser supported a ‘wais://’ URI protocol identifier. It was the game in town for Internet search in the golden years, and AOL bought it to get their hands on search capability. If you aren’t too young, WAIS indexed popular Gopher servers of the day. Back in 1995, Gopher actually rivaled the World Wide Web as an information source on the Ingernet.

One day, AOL apparently pulled the plug on the central WAIS servers with no warning of explanation. I emailed AOL at the time about it, but got no response.

Update 2: I notice in Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, I have difficulty in tagging a WordPress post.

Who are the Southern GOP senators really working for?

December 19, 2008

There’s been a lot of speculation about the Southern senators who told the Rustbelt to go fuck themselves
(or, let the bastards freeze in the dark a la the 1970s) as regards to the auto bailout. It’s assumed that they are on the take from Japanese, Korean and German auto companies so they can blow away their US competition and rein supreme in America, with jobs for Southerners and a busted UAW for the Republican ideologues. Maybe it’s more complicated and conspiratorial than that.

Going by news reports of the past week,  Toyota and other foreign automakers would face disaster themselves if one or more of the Big Three were to fail. Has to do with their parts suppliers failing as well, not to mention the economy of  their biggest market (i.e. the USA) going into the tank. The Japanese did not lobby for the end of the UAW and the Big Three. So who did? Who is GOP really working for?

According to this, maybe the GOP is working for the Indians and the Chinese. Tata Motors and say the Chinese firm Geely would be in position to buy American “distressed assets” (that is, GM, Ford and Chrysler plants and dealerships). This could give them the advantage in taking out the Japanese, Germans, and Koreans. And their jobs of course would mostly be in the Rustbelt. (maybe something to do with the Jindal dude in Louisiana being the future of the party??)

Or, as is more likely the case in the absence of any concete evidence, the Southern senators just don’t know what they are trying to set into motion.

Cat doesn’t taste as good as dog

December 19, 2008

That is, according to a Chinese abattoir who sells cat meat for use in a Guangdong Province soup recipe. According to reports, perhaps 1,000 cats a day go to Guangdong to satisfy feline lovers (of eating them, not worshipping them). PETA has it work cut out for itself in China, the country has no animal welfare or protection laws whatsoever.

Cat is something of a delicacy, bring much higher prices than dog or chicken:

“She said cat meat sold for about $1.32 a pound, while dog meat was cheaper, at about 95 cents a pound. Chicken was the best buy at 62 cents a pound, while lamb sold for about $1.32.”

Cats aren’t the only, shall we say, unusual (to us) animal that is eaten. As a Chinese friend of mine told me, if it crawls or walks, it’s edible.

Guangdong is home to the Cantonese people, famous for being the most adventurous eaters in China. There’s a popular saying: “The Cantonese will eat anything that flies, except airplanes, and anything with legs, except a chair.”

And now, a first for the Audible Smirk, a recipe:

“There’s a famous soup called ‘Dragon, Tiger and Phoenix,'” Zhu said. “It involves cooking snake, cat and chicken together. In winter more people eat cats as they believe it’s extra nutritious.”

I’ve seen items with a similar name on menus around here. Umm..

Bellum omnium contra omnes

December 19, 2008

Latin phrase of the day, which means roughly in English, “the war of all against all.” Hobbes imagined a premodern state of mankind, before we agreed to live in states and such and respect authority. Yep, Leviathan. Life is “short, nasty, poor and brutish.” Or is it “nasty, short and brutish.” It has been posited that perhaps that authority can lead to this condition.

I’m surrounded by sociopaths

December 19, 2008

Another interesting HuffPo article discussing the ho hum topics of political and financial corruption. Definition of a sociopath:

Glibness and superficial charm. Grandiose sense of self-worth. Pathological lying. Cunning and manipulative behavior. Lack of remorse or guilt. Lack of empathy. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions.

Sound familiar?

But is it a myth that beer is better than Jesus?

December 19, 2008

Twelve myths about beer are exploded in this post. But is the hypothesis that beer is better than Jesus a myth that needs exploding as well?

Better headline – Breast implant sales sag

December 19, 2008

HuffPo post on the woes of plastic surgeons in this recession. The headline ain’t bad – “Plastic Surgery Business Sags Amid Recession, Celebrity Regrets” but could be improved.

Firefox under fire

December 17, 2008

Just a day after the bad publicity Internet Explorer 7 got, Firefox releases these critical patches. OK, we aren’t supposed to use IE, and it looks like Firefox is on the ropes. Now what?

Lynx anyone?