Monday, January 31, 2011

Five Minutes To Palin-Free Month!

I just wanted to say that again while I could.

He Said, She Said. (With an Updatery Correction)

There's an interesting article in the NY Times today about the disproportionate number of male and to* female contributors to Wikipedia. (Did you know Wikipedia has a Wikipedia page?)  Apparently, among the hundreds of thousands of contributors, roughly 13% are women.  And Wiki wants to know why.

Personally, I think it's a stupid question.  You need look no further than the old truism that men won't ask for directions.  Why?  Because we know how to get there; asking would be unmanly!  This, of course, translates into a willingness to demonstrate that we know everything about everything...whether we do or not.

Allow me to illustrate the point with a quote from Calvin & Hobbes (and what better citation could you hope for?)

Calvin:     How do they know the load limit on bridges, Dad?
Dad:        They drive bigger and bigger trucks over the bridge until it breaks. Then they weigh the last truck and rebuild the bridge.
Calvin:     Oh, I should've guessed.
Mum:       Dear, if you don't know the answer, just tell him!

Clearly, it's more important that the father demonstrate his mastery of all knowledge than whether or not his facts are correct.  I'll even hold myself out as another example.  It's a well known fact that when sitting in a bar, there will eventually be some discussion of sports. (It's also a well known fact that men like to start sentences with the words, It's a well known fact.)  Between you, me and the lamppost, I'm not much of a sports fan; ergo, I'm not much of an authority.  I can kinda hold my own talking about baseball or golf, but I'm really hopeless in Basketball, Football, Hockey, Curling, Long Distance Running, and a plethora of other manly pursuits.  Think that'd stop me from chiming in?  Hell no!  There's always an opening to slip in that anecdote about getting Press Passes to the 1984 Celtics-Lakers Series.  I can talk with authority about the time Bobby Orr left his MVP ring on set after shooting a commercial.  When watching football, there will eventually be a moment to opine, "Daayum! That's gotta hurt."

Women, on the other hand are completely deficient in the Omnipotence Gene.  It's not their fault; they were born that way.  I'd be willing to bet that if Wiki did a survey of Wiki Users, they'd find that more women are willing to look up stuff than men are. And if they dig even deeper, I bet they'll find that 87% of men who look up stuff are just looking for evidence to prove something they already know!

I'm really shocked that people who are supposed to be as smart as the NY Times and the folks who run Wiki are baffled by this discrepancy.  The answer is so obvious.  If you need any more evidence, look no further than this post.  I didn't know squat about this subject before I read the article, and here I am a mere couple of hours later knowing more than the authors.  And the only research I did was looking for a good Calvin & Hobbes quote.

This Authoritative Writing stuff is a piece of cake!
*Corrected due to the "poking in his nose" of some male know-it-all Grammar Nazi.  My point just keeps proving itself.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cleaning House For The Holiday.

In Jewish homes, there's a lot of preparation that goes into getting ready for Passover.  You have to swap out your regular dishes and utensils and pots and pans for sets that are only used during Passover.  You have to get all of the "Hametz" out of the house and purchase "Kosher for Passover" food.  And there's a lot of cleaning involved.  Those crumbs that have been hiding between the stove and the counter have to go.

Well Passover doesn't start until mid-April this year, so there's plenty of time yet, to think about that if you're observant.  No, I'm talking about a more impending deadline; Tuesday marks the the beginning of Dana Milbank's Palin-Free Month!  Looking back on my archives, I find that I too, have been giving the woman too much in the way of pixel bandwidth.  Excluding this post, I've mentioned her 35 times since she dropped in like the Wicked Witch of the East...only nobody had the consideration to immediately drop a house on her.

And I'll admit, she makes great fodder.  Remember the train derailment at the beginning of The Fugitive?  It goes on forever and ever, and you hope nobody will get hurt, but you don't know, and it just keeps on plowing through the forest and YOU CAN'T TAKE YOUR EYES OFF OF IT!  If you're anything like me, you can't take your eyes off of Palin and the ceaseless trainwreck that she is.  Nobody knows whether or not she'll ever be in a position to do some real damage, but in the meantime, the whole thing is UTTERLY MESMERIZING!

And this last few weeks have been no exception.  After the Tuscon Shootings, rightly or wrongly, she came under fire for some of her more intemperate statements and publications.  She had the chance to respond in a variety of ways, but chose to portray herself as the ultimate victim.  And since then, she's been on a valiant crusade to misrepresent, rewrite, alter and misunderstand World History.  I'm not accusing her of being a terrorist, but Abba Eban once said of Yasser Arafat, "He never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity".  Sarah seems to be taking her cues from odd places.

I'm not going to fill this post with links -- you can find the stories and videos everywhere if you haven't seen them already -- but the last few weeks have been a veritable feast of Sarah-rific Schadenfreude. (I've especially enjoyed Chris Matthews' televised apoplexy.) In the run-up to Passover, you might overindulge on cookies -- better to eat too many instead of being forced to just toss them before the holiday begins.  In the run-up to Palin-Free Month, we can be forgiven for overindulging.

Anyway, I'll be observing Palin-Free Month here on Polybloggimous.  And in case you were wondering, Michele Bachmann may not actually be Palin, but I'm declaring her to be Hametz also.  You won't see here mentioned here either.  Regardless of how easy a target the two of them make themselves.

P.S. When you observe Passover, you do it everywhere, not just in your own home.  But I recall, as a child, cheating and sneaking an Oreo or two in public school during the holiday.  If I happen upon someone else's writings about "The She(s) Who Shall Not Be Named", I'm going to give myself a pass and permit myself to play along in other people's homes.  I'm either a hypocrite or I've got poor impulse control.  Take your choice.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Tale Of A Highly Mythical, Fictitious, Hypothetical and Imaginary Nature.

Once upon a time...

No wait...let's start that again.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

Nope...that's not right either.
The following events never happened.  If they had happened, they certainly couldn't have happened in NYC.  But they never happened at all.  Anywhere.  And certainly not to me.  Or anyone I know.  Or anyone I've ever heard of.  Or anyone who's ever heard of anyone.

This. Didn't. Happen.  Are we straight on that?

But I'm gonna tell it as if I was involved.  And hadn't just heard about it made it all up from my fecund imagination.  It'll be easier that way.

So anyway, a bunch of years ago I was working on a movie shooting in a large metropolitan area.  It wasn't a very good movie, but it was kinda fun to work on and we had a surprisingly good cast including appearances by a few music acts ranging from new/hot to legendary with worldwide followings.  It was kinda cool.

For one scene, our protagonists were supposed to sneak into a high-end nightclub and, through a case of mistaken identity, they get seated at a reserved table immediately in front of the stage.  The location for this scene was one of the places we selected really early in the scouting process.  It was a terrific venue; a really impressive looking place that was perfect for the scene.

When we scouted the place, I had been dealing with the manager of the club, but she had spoken to the owner and this was definitely a place we could make a deal to use.  Once we chose the place, I spoke with the owner's Executive Assistant.  She informed me that he was out of town, but he was completely on board and she'd contact me when he got back in a week or so.  No problem...we were still six weeks or so out from our scheduled shooting date. 

At the end of a week, I contacted the Executive Assistant again to make arrangements for us to Tech Scout the place with the crew. She informed me that the owner had extended his trip, but A.) he was aware we had chosen the place and was still completely on-board, and B.) she'd let the club manager know she needed to set up the Tech Scout with me.  (Note: By this point, I had already negotiated a fee with the club manager, so all I needed the owner for was to get a Location Agreement signed.)

The Tech Scout went fine. It was going to be a fairly major prep consisting of 2 days of set dressing and pre-lighting, but that probably would have been the case with any other nightclub we might have chosen, so nobody was losing any sleep over it.

So, we finish our Tech Scouts, and we started shooting the movie the following week.    I remember that I was calling the Executive Assistant once or twice a week by this point.  The owner was never available for one reason or another. The Executive Assistant assured me I had nothing to worry about; the guy was just really, really busy, but he was actually quite gung-ho about us shooting there and he'd meet with me in plenty of time for us to get an agreement signed.  (It may sound quaint, but this story takes place -- er, doesn't take place-- in an age when actually sitting down with someone to trade signatures on an agreement was considered the proper thing to do.)

Time passes.

The day before the Prep Crew are scheduled to begin prepping the site, the Executive Assistant calls me (in response to many panicked calls from me), and informs me that the owner has changed his mind and doesn't want us filming in his place.  I try everything I can think of to turn the situation around.  Remember that scene from A Few Good Men...the one where Demi Moore strenuously objects?  Yeah.  My pleading was precisely that effective.

I rushed to set and dragged the Producer away from watching them shoot a fairly fun scene to watch and inform him that we've lost our location for two days hence. He asked me why I had felt the need to drag him off set to tell him about it and I responded that I preferred to be fired outside the view of the rest of the crew.  When he asked me why I thought he'd fire me over it, I answered that I'd fire me over a fuckup like this.  It's not just the fact that we had nowhere to shoot a scene in two days' time; there was additional crew on the clock to prep the place-- with nowhere to go work.  There were a couple of trucks loaded with additional gear and set dressing sitting around -- with nowhere to work.  The performer who would be appearing in the scene was on a plane, jetting his way to New York from Europe -- with nowhere to appear.  It was a fuckup of monumental proportions.

In short, we showed the director photos of other options.  During lunch, we went and looked at one that he thought he liked.  When he saw it in person, he declared that he liked it better than the original choice.  Everyone lived happily ever after!

But that's not the point of the story, which, I'll remind you, DID NOT EVER ACTUALLY HAPPEN ANYWHERE AT ANY TIME I'M AWARE OF.  This is COMPLETELY a work of fiction.

When we returned from our lunchtime scout of the replacement location, a certain person who heads up a certain department--let's call him Morty-- came up to me to commiserate, and, referring to our flip-flopping owner, said, "Do you want me to do something about this guy?" Now, since the department Morty headed was the one that is associated with wheels and motors and big burly guys... and those big burly guys have a totally unearned reputation for hanging out with people with names like "Tommy Carwash", "Jimmy No-Nose", and "Mikey In The Kitchen", I said, "Thanks, but I'm OK."

I thought that was the end of things, but the morning we were actually filming the scene, Morty came up to me and said, "We took care of things.  Don't worry...this one's on us.  You don't owe anyone anything."

On the one hand, I was relieved to know that I didn't have some sort of obligation hanging over my head.  On the other hand, I was understandably freaked out by the possible scenarios that streamed through my brain.  Hey, I'd seen movies.  I knew how those people took care of things.

As it turns out, taking care of things, occurred as follows:  There was a guy who worked for Morty who had absolutely zero visible reason for being on the payroll. At Morty's request, he had taken a ride out to a certain neighborhood -- if this story had actually taken place, it would have been somewhere in deepest, darkest Brooklyn or maybe Staten Island.  Arriving in this neighborhood, he sat down and had cappuccinos with a certain someone.  This certain someone made a phone call.

Remember when I mentioned that this completely fictional and made up Owner also owned a number of other hotshit restaurants and stuff?  Well, that phone call mobilized a small army of Fire Safety Inspectors.  The Fire Safety Inspectors descended, in a completely coordinated fashion on each and every property operated by the aforementioned owner -- roughly ten minutes into the daily lunch rush.  And while well-heeled diners tried to enjoy their expensive lunches, the army of Fire Safety Inspectors carried out the most thorough Fire Safety Inspection in the history of Fire Safety Inspections.  If there was a nick on the insulation of an extension cord, it was noted.  A loose screw on the bracket holding up a fire extinguisher was noted.  Exit signs that weren't perfectly pristine were logged as "obscured".

Every one of this man's establishments was deemed to be not in compliance and, in addition to anything the owner had to spend to bring his properties back into compliance, I seem to recall the phrase "Eighty Thousand Dollars in fines" being mentioned.

But, of course, nothing like that could have ever happened in real life.  I just have a really fertile imagination.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Some Snow To Keep You Distracted.

I haven't posted anything in a few days 'cause...uh...'cause I didn't really have anything to babble about.  I swear I'll post something later tonight (or tomorrow morning), but, in the meantime, here's some shots from our latest snow storm.  If I have to look at the damned stuff, so do you.

BTW, we've had five "major" storms since New Years, including the Blizzard.  The official tally on last night's storm is 17".  I don't think we've set an actual snowfall record yet, but we have already gotten more than four times our normal snowfall for an entire winter.

I love snow, but I'm used to it having a chance to disappear between storms.

It's getting difficult to find anywhere else to pile the stuff up.

I thought these lamps looked pretty cool.

And I'm quite fond of how the snow held the shape at the end of the banister here.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's Just A Moment.

It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while...usually in the evening...usually when there's snow on the ground...usually on a weekend...there's a moment.

You step outside of your building and the absence takes you by surprise. 
Not a single car driving by.
Nobody walking down the block chatting.
No music leaking out of any buildings.
No airplanes or helicopters within earshot.
The dog that didn't bark.

Just complete and utter silence.

It's disturbing as hell.

And then Kanye turns the corner, cranked to Eleven, conveyed by a vehicle the size of France with spinning rims.

Toto can keep Kansas.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Totally Stolen Joke.

American Idol premiered last night with a new cast.

Randy is back because...well, what else would he be doing?
J-Lo took the gig because...well, what else would she be doing?
I have no idea why Carly Simon took the job.  And between you and me, the years have not been kind to her.


Someone needs to tell me whether or not I should be excited about this.  It seems that Smashburger is opening in my neighborhood.  On the one hand, anything new is always welcome. On the other hand, anybody out there ever had a smashburger?

I am, of course, happy to see anything coming to NY show up in my neighborhood first.  This one will be a 12 minute walk from home.  And they're apparently planning two more in the vicinity.  They'll also have the "Brooklyn Burger" exclusively at this store. If you look at their various locations' menus, there's some burger that's exclusive to each state. The Idaho Burger has potato chips on it.

They haven't said what will be on a Brooklyn Burger, but I've got a few ideas.  How about a slab of corned beef.  Or maybe a burger topped with a wedge of cheesecake!  Maybe they should ditch the bun and wrap a burger in a slice of pizza.  That'd be pretty hardcore Brooklyn.

Or, maybe they can pile a couple of burgers together and just call it a Brooklyn Decker.
It's not terribly imaginative, foodwise, but I bet they'd sell a bunch.  I'll graciously accept a small gratuity for the idea, but if she sues, please forget you ever heard of me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TV Trivia; Take Two.

We did this almost exactly two years ago and people complained because it was on weekend.  Apparently, some of you were doing stuff and couldn't participate.  Whiny, whining whiners!

Same rules as last time. 

-Questions have to be about TV - not about movies or movie versions of TV shows.
-You're on your honor; no Googling for answers.
-Whoever answers a question gets to ask the next question.*
-In the event two people answer (and ask a question) at the same time, you get to choose which question to tackle.
-Answer and ask as many questions as you like; but only one at a time.

Here's an easy one to get you all started.

Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) was going to leave Star Trek after one season. Why did she change her mind?
*If Jim asks a question and you're stumped, it's worth trying "Poolu See Bumgumba" for an answer!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Make Of This What You Will.

Steve regularly tosses out what he call Story Bones, hence the name of his blog.  The idea is that he posts a sentence, a snippet, a phrase...anything at all, and then makes it clear that it's up for grabs. Here's one from me. I'll abide by "Da Rules" posted on Steve's sidebar.

Have at it.

P.S. The image above has nothing to do with anything, except I thought this post needed a picture of some bones.

The beginning was the hard part.

No.  The next bit was fairly complicated too.  But maybe not so hard as the beginning was. 

No, the beginning was definitely the hard part.

In fact, thinking back on it, after the beginning of the middle part, things actually got easier and easier. Most of the middle parts were practically effortless.  Things just kind of always fell into place.  Hell, the end of the middle part was like falling off a log!

Easy Peasey.

Yeah, the beginning was definitely the hard part.

Well…maybe except for this part now.  This part seems to be shaping up to suck to epic proportions.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'd Love My Nook™ More If BN's Website Didn't Suck.

The longer I've got my Nook, the more I enjoy it.  What I don't especially enjoy is shopping for books on BN's website.  I'm not sure how they go about deciding the order that books show up in,'s less than optimal for me.

First of all...and this part isn't really BN's fault, but there's a lot of self-published stuff out there.  I just finished reading one accidentally and, since it was only 99¢, I suppose it was worth almost every penny I paid for it.  And, I really only have anyone but myself to blame for this; if I'd bothered to check the publisher, I'd have seen that it was self-published.  Sorry, I'm still something of a product of my analog upbringing.  Once upon a time, if it was in a bookstore, on a bookshelf, someone had already thought it was good enough to spend some money to put it out there. Furthermore, someone had thought having editors was a good idea.  Don't get me wrong...I kinda love the idea that anyone can write something and get it out into the marketplace, and I'm not going to dismiss every self-published book solely because it's self-published, but, honestly I'm not going to expect all that much when I pick one up.  Then again, the price usually tends to be right.

But let's get back to BN's website.  Let me save you a step.  Say you've opened up and you've clicked on the Science Fiction & Fantasy section for nookbooks.  This is what you'll see.  It's heavily weighted toward the Fantasy part of things and that weighting continues as you look at successive pages. (That and there are a lot of self-published choices).  What you won't see is a lot of actual, ya'know...Science Fiction.  And much of the SciFi you will see are classics.

BN, unlike some other sites (::Ahem, Amazon, Ahem::), doesn't give you an option of refining your search.  Not by subject and not by "recently published".  I suspect that if it did let me look at the most recently published, it wouldn't be going by original publication date, but by the electronic version publication date anyway.

I just finished shopping for the next book I'm going to read and I ended up doing it with two windows for Amazon, where I did my actual searching and a second for BN, where I'd go back and search specifically for any titles that seemed interesting.  This is not a highly convenient way to shop.

I'm perfectly aware that I can shop directly from some publishers' pages but that's not really all that convenient.  I have to download those versions to my laptop and then load them onto my nook. (Yeah, yeah,'s so hard.)  And even if it wasn't about convenience, there's the fact that I'd really like to be browsing as much of what's out there as possible.  No offense to Tor or Baen or any other publishers, but there are any number of good authors out there and they're spread out all over the map.

Ultimately, anybody who wants to sell me books online is going to have to make the experience more enjoyable and more comprehensive.  Eh, I'm due for some dead tree reading anyway.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

You Can't Get Here From There.

This probably qualifies as a brain fart, but...

There's an article in today's NY Times that kinda blew my mind.  Much of it relates to things I already know about...or at least things that I'm aware of. In my case, that means I'm perfectly willing to accept certain scientific principles without understanding the science behind them.  I'm familiar with some of the results of the Theory of Relativity, but the science behind it leaves me in the dust.

So, anyway, I'm familiar with the fact that when I see a speck of light in the sky, I'm seeing a bit of light that "happened" a few years or a few thousand years ago...depending on how far away it was when it happened.  I'm actually seeing living history right in that moment.  That qualifies as awesome and amazing, but it's not at all incomprehensible.

The article goes on, however to talk about how the universe is expanding and that the speed of that expansion is not a constant.  In fact, the speed is constantly increasing.  Somewhere, there are distant galaxies that are getting further and further away from us and they're doing it quicker and quicker.

And then, it got to the part that floored me:
"Although nothing can move through space faster than the speed of light, there’s no limit on how fast space itself can expand."*

The result of that little concept is that eventually, some galaxies will cease to be visible from Earth -- not because the lights go out, but because they'll have gotten too far, too fast.  I've accepted that some galaxies may be so far away that their light hasn't reached  us yet, but this means that some distant galaxies are moving away so fast that their light will lose the race to ever arrive here.  They'll always be moving away from us faster than their light is traveling toward us.

The article goes on to wonder how future generations (really, really future, since none of this is going to happen in the next few months), will perceive the universe.  Since they'll look out and see nothing but a void in the distance, will they believe the "primitive" records left to them from the 21st Century?
*How does that work anyway?  Are some parts of space expanding while others don't?  Assuming gravity is holding an individual galaxy together as a unit, and assuming that the space between two galaxies is expanding at a speed faster than light, doesn't it follow that the two galaxies -- and every object within them -- are moving away from each other at a speed faster than light?

This makes my brain hurt much in the manner of the question of God being able to make a rock so heavy, even he can't lift it.

Photos On A Sunday Morning

No, I didn't take either of these this morning.  The first one is leftover from earlier in the week after our latest snowstorm.

And, this one is from yesterday, but, frankly, I could take exactly this same picture practically any day of the week.  Teufel and LuLu spend hours like this every day.  Sometimes they let widget join in.  And, truth be told, the cast of characters changes on occasion.  But whether it's two of them or three of them, Teufel is the one constant.  Man-whore-kitty!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

"I didn't get nothin'. I had to pay fifty dollars and they made us pick up the garbage."

Here's all 18+ minutes of Arlo Guthrie's 1967 tale of Thanksgiving dinner, solid waste disposal strategies, crime scene investigation, jurisprudence and the Seeelective Service Administration. I was reminded of this because the movie was on last night (uh, not very good), and even though I turned it off after about 45 minutes, I decided I wanted to hear the original again.  It's still pretty damned entertaining.

Being of a certain age, I'm pretty sure I heard this a few hundred-thousand times during the 70's.  I suspect, however, that a lot of...uh...younger folks are familiar with the "song" (it's really more of a monologue), but have never listened to it from beginning to end.

So here it is, in two parts, with illustrations by Andrew Colunga.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Other Sorta, Kinda Nifty News.

Remember last month when I was in Binghamton doing the locations for a music video?  Well, it was the video for Taylor Swift's new single Back to December.  And apparently, they released it today.

I've been getting slammed since this afternoon with Google Searches mentioning the video and December and Binghamton. (OK, not like Fark sized slamming...more like double my usual anemic traffic.) And not before the regulars had a chance to put me over the 60,000 hits mark!

Anyway, here's the video.  The part I was involved with is all of the shots of the guy wandering around in the snow. (They shot her parts earlier elsewhere.)

W0,000t (with update!)

Sometime today, we're gonna hit the 60,000 visitor mark here at Polybloggimous!  I suppose it'll look kinda cool on the counter there, but otherwise, I have no idea of it's significance.

Wiki is unhelpful.  Witness the enlightening info they give me about the number's significance:

Somebody likes the number.  Look at all these pics you can find when you search Google for images of 60,000.

This last picture seems a little out of place, but it was there on the GoogleSearch, so I am dutifully including it.

I'll put the question to you guys.  Somebody please tell me something awesometastic about the number Sixty-Thousand so I can be all massively proud of this non-achievement.
Update: So Megan showed up at 3:48 p.m. wanting to know if she was #60,000 and informing me that she wanted a prize.  Alas...she was number 60,001.

No, the 60,000th visitor arrived two minutes earlier -- at 3:46:13 p.m. from Waterloo, Ontario.  I'm told that's in Canada or some other fictitious place.  This person looked at one page and stayed around for approximately zero seconds!

However, we can not only bask in the schadenfreude of knowing that Megan missed by two lousy minutes...she's also responsible for sending the visitor who beat her out!

Megan...I believe one of your readers owes you a prize.

Burma Shave!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Russia Is Stealing Our Polar Bears Polarity

You may have read that Tampa International Airport recently had to close Runway 18-R to rechristen it 19-R.  This because the 18-R designation referred to the runway's magnetic compass heading.  In short, the Magnetic North Pole is moving toward Russia at approximately 40 miles per year, so the magnetic compass heading has shifted by 10º since it was originally built.

Sciencey people are explaining the Pole's movement as a "naturally occurring phenomenon".  Don't buy it!  Remember, these are the same people who want you to believe that you Evoluted from some kinda monkey-sloth and that the "Globe is Warming" - have you been outside today?

Polybloggimous has uncovered incontrovertible evidence that the Russians are actually behind this cataclysmic event.  Polybloggimous, on condition of anonymity, spoke with a man named "Dimitri" (not his real name), in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.  Dimitri is the son of the sister of a 2nd cousin who once met a woman in Minsk, who had once dated the next door neighbor of a member of the infamous Lubyanka's cleaning staff. Dimitri explained that Project Norrrsky Polanski had been originally given Kremlin approval in 1954 as part of the, then USSR's Strategic Defense Program.  The guiding concept was conceived by Joseph Stalin shortly before his death in 1953.  Transcripts of a bedside meeting with top Government Officials record Stalin saying, "If we can move the North Pole into Soviet Territory our bombers will be able to fly downhill all the way to their targets in America while theirs will be forced to fly uphill.  Surely you can all see the advantages in this!"  (After further discussion, the transcript shows that the meeting came to an abrupt end when a servant brought Stalin a blue bib instead of his customary red linens and he shot her on the spot. The transcript ends with Stalin saying, "Now it's red.")

The first years of the Project saw great frustration and few successes.  Early attempts involved large magnets infiltrated into Inuit villages in the extreme north of Canada.  It was intended that these magnets would push the pole to the Soviet Union while magnets in Siberia would simultaneously be pulling the pole toward its intended destination.  These attempts merely resulted in some previously unexplained "geological events".   The only lasting result from these experiments was that Kaspar Illionovich Dostoyevsky (no relation to Fyodor), who was a low ranking operative on the Project, came out with a line of magnetic jewelry in a fit of boredom and went on to make millions selling them to Americans for their "healthyfulness properties".

The project was almost abandoned in 1977, but Leonid Brezhnev pointed out that "Santa Claus' elves were clearly an exploited class and the Soviet Union owed it to them to bring them to the bosom of Mother Russia.  Futhermore, we'll get our presents first!"  Efforts were redoubled.

The project hit another major snag in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but Government Officials, jealous of the popularity of Four Corners U.S.A. as a tourist destination forced the project to continue.  The goal of the project was redefined, stating, "Tourists from all over the world will flock to the North Pole for the opportunity to see the needles on their compasses point south no matter which way they turn...or maybe the needle spins uncontrollably...I'm not sure which, but tourists will flock there to see it; and they'll be spending RUBLES...MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Ostrov Novaya Sibir was chosen as the Pole's destination and, once again, money and manpower were poured into the initiative.

Four Corners USA has remained an economic force to be reckoned with due to a desire for Geographically amusing photographs while Ostrov Novay Sibir's potential has remained sadly untapped.

It would appear now, however that Russia's plans are nearing fruition.  Leading ConspriScienceGuys offer different theories on how the Russians are going about it, but most agree that the Pole is being moved by use of "tow-boats and/or Shamu".

Reactions have varied around the world.  In Finland, a movement has sprung up demanding the World Court declare a policy of "Polar Neutrality". The prevailing attitude among Finns seems to be that they live "far enough North already".  Kim Jong-il, in an unusual public statement applauded the change.  "Now we'll be North AND East Korea", he said. "Historically, those are both good Communist directions."  Canadians, on the other hand, have greeted the news with nonchalant shrugs.  One Provincial (oops-my ignorant bad) Territorial Official from Nunavut, when informed of the situation said, "Oh? Well, we weren't doing that much with it anyway."

Sarah Palin, oddly enough representing the extreme left end of the American Heartland said, "It's another one of those evil Commie plots.  Well, believe you me; I know exactly what direction my back porch faces and no matter which way they try to turn it, I'll still know which way to look to keep an eye on them."

Polybloggimous will update you as the situation warrants.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

NYC Finally Signs Onto My Obsession!

Maybe I've talked about garbage here a little too often, but now all of NY is talking about it!  Hah!  If you're not from NY, you'll be forgiven for not being up on our Dept. of Sanitation woes, but let me give you a short recap.

First, we had a blizzard.  The garbage trucks donned their plows (sorta) and stopped picking up trash in favor of moving snow. Sorta.  This usually works fine, but the snow removal part of their job didn't go so well this time.  I'm not going to go into it too much...just the high points, but I will link Gothamist's page that you get when you search for stories mentioning "Sanitation".  There are a gazillion stories about it there.  (Do yourself a favor, though and read the one article about the strippers who are pissed off because the snow got piled up in front of their door!). 

So, anyway, there are streets that didn't see a plow for up to five days.  The poor response is being blamed on a lot of things, among them a purposeful "slowdown" by DSNY supervisors who may have been showing their displeasure about some pay cuts.  There are reports of seeing drivers just sitting in their trucks drinking beer instead of, ya'know, plowing.  So, there's gonna be an internal probe, City Council Hearings, an investigation by the NYC Public Advocate, a State Probe, and a Federal investigation.

During the height of the storm, the city was instructing people not to call 911 unless they had a life threatening emergency.  If you were having a heart attack, the expected wait for an ambulance was nine hours!  Some big shot in charge of EMS response got shitcanned yesterday.  Somehow, I don't think that's gonna satisfy the investigators.

There were a bunch of cars destroyed by plows and some cars buried by front end loaders when they hauled the snow away.  In another place, they moved a bunch of snow to one street and piled it up so high that it toppled a fence next to a cemetery and demolished a bunch of tombstones. For some reason, some people are displeased with that.

In the meantime, garbage has continued to take a back seat, as it were. There was no pick up at all from Christmas to January 3rd.  They haven't caught up yet and they still haven't started picking up recycling yet.  Note 1: A man in Manhattan tried to commit suicide, but failed when his nine-story jump was cushioned by the pile of trash on the sidewalk.  Will Sanitation get credit for that?  Nooooo!  Note 2: It's bad enough that we've got more than 2 weeks worth of recycling piled up, but I could have lived without the people upstairs deciding it was finally time to get rid of six months or so worth of magazines...loose...just dumped in the can.  Yes, I've bundled it now, thank you very much. 

I haven't been in Manhattan since the blizzard, but I hear it's bad enough that even the power of winter hasn't been enough to control the stink. 

We're supposed to have a trash pickup tomorrow (no recycling yet), but there's also another snowstorm on the way.  We're supposed to get 5-8", which isn't really that big a deal, but I'd imagine that with all the shit DSNY and Bloomberg are taking over the last storm, even the payroll clerks are gonna be out driving plows this time.

This oughta be good.

Born In The USA.

Today's Christian Science Monitor has the test that immigrants have to pass (among other things) in order to qualify for U.S. Citizenship.  To pass, they have to answer 58 of 96 questions correctly.

Now, immigration is always a hot-button topic, so let's not get into that.  I've got another idea. I'm thinking, if you're born in the U.S., you should have to take the test when you turn...oh, 18 or so.  And if you can't pass it, you should be evicted.*  Voted off the island!  If you grew up in the U.S. and haven't, somehow by osmosis, managed to absorb the answers to the vast majority of these questions...well, I suppose institutionalization might be an acceptable excuse.

Go ahead and take the test.  I'll warn you, though; the website's a pain in the ass.  You have to click the on your answer, wait for the next page to load showing whether or not you got it right, and then click again to move on to the next question.  It'll take you about 10-15 minutes with a decent internet connection.

I got 95 of 96 right.  I'm convinced that I actually got 96 right and that the test has a wrong answer. (I'll say which one in the comments so I don't give it away here.) Also;  Clue #1: the post went up today, so if one answer was correct on January 3rd and a different one is correct today, go with being up to date. Clue #2: There are a couple of times where the answer could be considered debatable; stick with the common simple answer.

*I haven't worked out where we should send these people but I should think it wouldn't be that hard to think of some country that's pissing us off and we could just air-drop them there, right?  We could even have a rotating roster of who we pawn them of on -- just to keep things fair, ya'know?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

My Dream Come True! Sorta.

I've always said that if I ever came into the ultimate in "Fuck You Money", I'd buy a lot somewhere in mid-town on Lexington Avenue, tear down whatever was standing there, and build a little ranch house with a lawn, a white picket fence and a circular driveway out front.  I mean, Jeez -- can you think of many things that would scream louder, "I don't care what this property is worth!"

Well, granted, Manhattan property values may have been a bit more reasonable in 1947, but get a gander at this house that once stood (briefly) at the corner of 48th Street and Fifth Avenue.

I ran across this pic on Gothamist which linked me to this article on Inside the Apple.  I tried to figure out exactly which corner this is, but the best I could do was to narrow it down to the Northwest corner or the Southeast corner.  The buildings at the other two corners date to 1911 and 1930. It should be one of these.

Anyway, now that none of you won the big MegaMillions drawing yesterday, (you didn't, did you?) you can all go back to dreaming.  Tell me the one big thing you'd do if you came into Fuck You Money tomorrow.  Not the thing you'd most like to do, or the thing you think you ought to do...the thing you'd do if your object was solely to demonstrate to the world how obnoxiously wealthy you were.  Let's see how conspicuously you can consume!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wheeeeeeee! It's Wii ---- D'oh!

So, we finally got around to hooking up the Wii!  It is tres-cool -- especially the part where it streams movies instantly from Netflix.  I'm sure a bunch of you consider it old hat, but I think it's more like magic.

And so, it was an unpleasant surprise to discover that Teufel also really likes the Wii.  Specifically, Teufel chose to see how many pieces he could make out of the cord that connects the sensor bar to the console. (Nine, if you care to know.)

Teufel, at an earlier age, demonstrating his love of techonology.

Not to fear -- you can get a replacement part from Amazon for only $2.99!  And it only costs an additional $6.79 to ship it if you want it in less than two weeks.

Anybody want a slightly used cat?  I'll make you a deal on the shipping!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

I Have No Idea Why I Felt The Need To Write This Down...Or Post It.*

 It was dark.
I suppose that sort of thing should be expected as it was night.  Especially when the moon was a mere sliver…which had set nearly an hour earlier.  And all of this was somewhat moot due to the dense clouds that had blocked what little light it might have shed anyway.

Contributing to the dark, sometime after eleven, a line of threatened squalls had finally arrived, throwing up a curtain of wind whipped water.  The wind was unrelentingly steady…except when it was gusting to truly frightening crescendos.

So…it was a dark and stormy night; we’ll leave it at that.
*OK, maybe it has a little to do with the fact that I'm reading A Wrinkle In Time...which begins that way.

P.S. Only 1445 years until 1/2/3456.  I can't wait!