Look at the picture below and see if you can guess what it represents.
Or how my obsolete skills became useful again
Microsoft is reintroducing our old trusty friend, the C:\ prompt. It will, in theory, give Windows' users the ability to create programs similar to that available to Unix users as shell scripts. What Microsoft fails to mention is that this functionality has existed for quite some time as DOS batch programming. Anyone- like me- who has been geeking around computers since DOS' heyday will remember writing and using these things. Anyway, here is an excerpt:
While these new commands and scripts will interest primarily administrators and power users, less-technical types may benefit from Monad scripts that could circulate on the Internet as Unix scripts do. For example, a Monad script might quickly reorganize files and directories based on their name or creation date--a task that can take a fair bit of manual labor in Windows Explorer.
A beta version of Monad for Windows XP is available as a free download. Registration is required, and you will also need to have.Net Framework 2.0 (available at the same page) installed.
I dunno, but it seems that there's always some sort of catch with Microsoft. Or maybe it's the effing critical flaws that get discovered daily, ones that allow a hacker control of your PC. Nice, huh?
Stephen and Melissa Green now have a bouncing baby boy, Preston Davis Green. Stop by and congratulate the happy parents.
Look at the picture below and see if you can guess what it represents.
The King of pop.
I've mentioned before that I'm test-driving several(okay, 11) LiveCD Linux distros, trying to determine which one I'd like to use as a counterpoint to the ubiquitous Microsoft product. However, as some people have noticed, you have to be a bit geek savvy to work with even the most user friendly Linux OS. Installing a printer is just not that intuitive. For the record, I've worked in assorted Unix/Linux operating systems for more than 15 years, so I'm not a novice at such things. If it's giving me trouble, it's bound to be pissing most everyone else.
Anyway, if getting rid of Windows isn't really in the cards for you, but you'd like to have a portable Linux OS that you can take and use anywhere, even on older computers that choke on XP. then this article at Desktop Linux might be what you've been looking for. Excerpt:
Why would anyone want to use a Linux liveCD as a basic day to day desktop? Here are some thoughts:
- Easy to load and update -- Easy, because your data (including configurations) are separate from the operating system (OS). The idea of separating data from the OS has always appealed to me. It seems like a very logical and smart thing to do. Even when I partition a system for a hard drive Linux install, I create a separate partition for /home. Doesn't everybody?
- It's portable -- You can take it with you and securely boot up from just about any PC. Also, Linux liveCDs can often be installed and booted from a USB drive (thanks to some excellent standards around booting from USB drives). This really beats lugging a laptop around (especially when airport security is involved). The downside is that your Live-CD might not boot on all hardware. The distro might not detect the hardware correctly or the hardware might not be able to boot from CD or USB.
- Most run on older PC hardware -- Not only do they run, they usually run quite fast! (Did you ever notice that you usually cannot upgrade old PCs from Windows 95 to Windows XP?) Some of the older PCs don't support booting from CD or USB. In such cases, you can usually copy the CD to the hard drive and create a boot floppy to load the image from the hard drive.
- Security -- It's hard for someone to violate your OS when it resides on a read only CD. And, you can always reboot to a pristine state. This is kind of like going to communion and being forgiven for all past sins. Linux by design is a very secure OS. This just improves on it. Amen.
- It's just plain fun! -- You can remix if you like. You can do your own. This is one of the great things about open source. I am waiting for the next version of Windows XP liveCD. Don't get me wrong here, Microsoft does allow generating DOS 3.1 boot disks so you can network stage new XP clients. But that is more of an enterprise moment...
If you're in the mood to give Linux a test, but have no intention of getting rid of your Windows machine, this option might be for you. A portable, personalized OS that goes where you go. All you need is something like a USB flash drive for data storage and you're good to go.
Uh no, it isn't. Michael Crichton offers both insights and some stubborn facts concerning the current state of the world. Excerpt:
Now, if we are to do better in this new century, what must we do differently? In a word, we must embrace complexity theory. We must understand complex systems.
We live in a world of complex systems. The environment is a complex system. The government is a complex system. Financial markets are complex systems. The human mind is a complex system---most minds, at least.
By a complex system I mean one in which the elements of the system interact among themselves, such that any modification we make to the system will produce results that we cannot predict in advance.
Furthermore, a complex system demonstrates sensitivity to initial conditions. You can get one result on one day, but the identical interaction the next day may yield a different result. We cannot know with certainty how the system will respond.
Third, when we interact with a complex system, we may provoke downstream consequences that emerge weeks or even years later. We must always be watchful for delayed and untoward consequences.
The science that underlies our understanding of complex systems is now thirty years old. A third of a century should be plenty of time for this knowledge and to filter down to everyday consciousness, but except for slogans—like the butterfly flapping its wings and causing a hurricane halfway around the world—not much has penetrated ordinary human thinking.
On the other hand, complexity theory has raced through the financial world. It has been briskly incorporated into medicine. But organizations that care about the environment do not seem to notice that their ministrations are deleterious in many cases. Lawmakers do not seem to notice when their laws have unexpected consequences, or make things worse. Governors and mayors and managers may manage their complex systems well or badly, but if they manage well, it is usually because they have an instinctive understanding of how to deal with complex systems. Most managers fail.
Why? Our human predisposition treat all systems as linear when they are not. A linear system is a rocket flying to Mars. Or a cannonball fired from a canon. Its behavior is quite easily described mathematically. A complex system is water gurgling over rocks, or air flowing over a bird’s wing. Here the mathematics are complicated, and in fact no understanding of these systems was possible until the widespread availability of computers.
One complex system that most people have dealt with is a child. If so, you've probably experienced that when you give the child an instruction, you can never be certain what response you will get. Especially if the child is a teenager. And similarly, you can’t be certain that an identical interaction on another day won’t lead to spectacularly different results.
If you have a teenager, or if you invest in the stock market, you know very well that a complex system cannot be controlled, it can only be managed. Because responses cannot be predicted, the system can only be observed and responded to. The system may resist attempts to change its state. It may show resiliency. Or fragility. Or both.
An important feature of complex systems is that we don’t know how they work. We don’t understand them except in a general way; we simply interact with them. Whenever we think we understand them, we learn we don’t. Sometimes spectacularly.
And for that matter, who believes that the complex system of our atmosphere behaves in such a simple and predictable way that if we reduce one component, carbon dioxide, we will therefore reliably reduce temperature? CO2 is not like an accelerator on a car. It’s not linear (and by the way, neither is a car accelerator.) And furthermore, who believes that the climate can be stabilized when it has never been stable throughout the earth’s history? We can only entertain such an idea if we don’t really understand what a complex system is. We’re like the blonde who returned the scarf because it was too tight. We don’t get it.
Fortunately, studies show that we can learn to manage complex systems. There are people who have investigated complex systems management, and know how to do it. But it demands humility.
And I would add, along with humility, managing complex systems also demands the ability to admit we are wrong, and to change course. If you manage a complex system you will frequently, if not always, be wrong. You have to backtrack. You have to acknowledge error. You’ve probably learned that with your children. Or, if you don’t have children, with your bosses.
Okay, maybe I just need to believe in Santa Claus. In any event, I believe that this editorial should have put the question to rest, permanently. Thank you, Virginia O'Hanlon:
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus
Editorial Page, New York Sun, 1897
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, "If you see it in The Sun, it's so." Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies. You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart. Only faith, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No Santa Claus?Thank God he lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!
I'm certain that I will repeat this story many times to my newborn daughter, who coincidentally is named Virginia. Yes, I believe, too.
Yes, this is essentially a retread from last year's post. Sue me. I plan to post this little gem every year.
Out of the wayback machine come Bob and Doug Mackenzie:
Bob Okay, good day, this is our Christmas part of the album, and
you can play this at your Christmas parties, uh, or to yourself on
Christmas Eve, if there's nothing else to do.
Doug Good day, eh? In case you thought, like, I wasn't on this part!
Bob Oh, I guarantee ya, you'd be on. Okay, so, good day, this is the
Christmas part, and, we're gonna tell you what to get, uh, your true
love for Christmas.
Doug Look out the window!
Bob Where?! Whadda ya doing?
Doug Snow, hosehead.
Bob Wha? Oh, it's the Great White North, and it's snowing, cause it's
Christmas time. Hey, hoser!
Bob Here's a quiz. Quiz for Doug.
Doug Okay, I have my thinking touque on.
Bob Yeah, right. What are the twelve days of Christmas? Cause,
figure it out, right. Christmas is when?
Doug Uh, the 25th.
Bob Right, and what's the 24th, Christmas Eve, right? So, that's two.
And then, what's after that?
Doug Um... Uh, Wrestling Day.
Bob No. Get out.
Doug Boxing Day, yeah, yeah.
Bob That's three. Then what's after that? Nothing.
Doug New Year's.
Bob Four. And what's...
Doug New Year's Eve.
Bob Five. Where do you get twelve?
Doug Uh... There's two Saturdays and Sundays in there, that's four.
That's nine. And, three other days, which I believe are the mystery
Bob Okay now. This is our Christmas song, in case you don't know
what to get somebody for Christmas.
Doug There's lots of ideas in here, so, listen, and don't get stuck.
Doug By the way, that's me on the organ.
Bob Aw, geez.
Doug You start.
Bob Okay. On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: a beer.
Doug On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: two turtlenecks,
Bob And a beer. (Okay...) On the third day of Christmas, my true
love gave to me: three French toast,
Doug Two turtlenecks,
Bob And a beer. (Okay...)
Doug There should be more there, eh?
Bob Where? On the... go.
Doug Fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: four pounds
Bob Three French toast,
Doug Two turtlenecks,
Bob And a beer.
Doug In a tree. See, you need more.
Bob Fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: five golden
Doug Four pounds of backbacon,
Bob Three French toast,
Doug Two turtlenecks,
Bob And a beer, what was it?
Together In a tree!
Bob Okay, on the sixth... go.
Doug Of Christmas, my true love gave to me: six packs of two-four,
Bob & BG Singers Five golden touques!
Doug Four pounds of backbacon,
Bob Three French toast,
Doug Two turtlenecks,
Bob And a beer,
Together In a tree!
Bob On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
seven packs of smokes,
Doug (Nice gift...) Oh, six packs of two-four! (BG Singers also
sing "nice gift".)
Bob & BG Singers Five golden touques!
Doug Four pounds of backbacon,
Bob Three French toast,
Doug Two turtlenecks,
Bob And a beer,
Together In a tree!
Bob Right, I keep forgetting.
Doug Phew! This should just be the two days of Christmas, it's too
hard for us!
Doug Go, hoser.
Together Eigth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Doug Eight comic books,
All Seven packs of smokes, six packs of two-four,
(Bob and Doug become unsynchronized with the BG Singers, and quit singing.)
BG Singers Five golden touques! Four pounds of backbacon, three
French toast, two turtlenecks,
All And a beer,
Doug On my tree!
Bob Yeah. That beer's empty. Okay. Day,
BG Singers Twelve!
Bob Uh, twelve.
Doug Good day, and welcome to day twelve.
BG Singers Five golden touques!
All Four pounds of backbacon, three French toast, two turtlenecks,
and a beer, in a tree!
Bob Beauty, eh?
Doug Where'd you learn to do that?
Bob Uh, albums.
Doug Boy. So, like, that's our song, Merry Christmas...
Bob Merry Christmas!
Doug And good day!
Bob Good day, everybody. Happy New Year, too. Sheesh. Okay,
you know what you left out?
Bob Donuts - I told you to get me donuts! Either on the ninth day or
the tenth day, or the eleventh day, I wanted donuts!
Doug Okay, the song's over.
Bob But I want...
Doug Merry Christmas, everybody!
Bob Or on the twelfth day, you coulda got me a dozen donuts.
Doug So, go out to the stores, and get some presents.
Bob You coulda gone down to, like, the good donut shop, where if
you buy a dozen, you get another one free, and then thirteen for the
thirteen days of Christmas.
Doug Well, next Christmas, I'll get me a chainsaw...
Bob Take off!
Doug Boy, that song was a beauty. It moved me...
Bob Yeah, I think it ranks up there with Stairway to Heaven...
Look closely at the following picture and see if you can guess what word or phrase it represents:
Answer below the fold
Don't say that I didn't warn you...
IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS?
As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help
from that renown scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) - I am
pleased to present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.
1. No known species of reindeer can fly. But, there are 300,000
species of living organisms yet to be classified, and, while most of
these are insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out
flying reindeer (which only Santa has ever seen).
2. There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. But, since
Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and
Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378
million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million
homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
3. Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
different time zones and the rotation of the earth; assuming he
travels east to west(which seems logical). This works out to
822.6 visits per second. This is to say that, for each Christian
household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second
to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the
stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat
whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into
the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that each of
these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth,
(which, of course, we know to be false, but for the purposes
of our calculations we will accept) we are now talking
about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles,
not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once
every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second -
3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the
fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe,
moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second -a conventional reindeer
can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
4. The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element.
Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized Lego
set (2 pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting
Santa (who is invariably described as overweight). On land,
conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting
that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could pull TEN TIMES the normal
amount, we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need
214,200 reindeer (a rounded figure). This increases the payload -
not even counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons.
Again, for comparison, this is four times the weight of the Queen
Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
5. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates an enormous
amount of heat when you factor in the air resistance - this will heat the
reindeer up in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth's
The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION
(14,300,000,000,000,000) joules of energy. Per second.
Each! In short, they will burst into flame almost
instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and create
deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team
will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa,
meanwhile, will be subjected to forces 17,500.06 times greater
than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)
would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve,
he's dead now.
The analysis you sent me about the death of Santa Claus, based on
classical physics, is seriously flawed owing to its neglect of
quantum phenomena that become significant in his particular case. As
it happens, the terminal velocity of a reindeer in dry December air
over the Northern Hemisphere (for example) is known with tremendous
precision. The mass of Santa and his sleigh (since the number of
children and their gifts is also known precisely, ahead of time, and
the reindeer must weigh in minutes before the flight) is also known
with tremendous precision. His direction of flight is, as you say,
essentially east to west.
All of that, when taken together, means that the momentum vector of
Mr Claus and his cargo is known with incredible precision. An
elementary application of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle yields
the result that Santa's location, at any given moment on Christmas
Eve, is highly imprecise. In other words, he is "smeared out" over
the surface of the earth, analogous to the manner in which an
electron is "smeared out" within a certain distance from the nucleus
in an atom. Thus he can, quite literally, be everywhere at any
In addition, the relativistic velocities which his reindeer can
attain for brief moments make it possible for him, in certain cases,
to arrive at some locations shortly before he left the North Pole.
Santa, in other words, assumes for brief periods the characteristics
of tachyons. I will admit that tachyons remain hypothetical, but
then so do black holes, and who really doubts their existence
Here is a link which contains lots and lots of rebuttals. People with less of a life than me. Go figure.
'Tis the season for reposting.
My Christmas Story
Late last week, I was rushing around trying to get some last minute shopping
done. I was stressed out and not thinking very fondly of the Christmas
season right then. It was dark, cold, and wet in the parking lot as I was
loading my car up with gifts that I felt obligated to buy. I noticed that I
was missing a receipt that I might need later. So mumbling under my breath,
I retraced my steps to the mall entrance.
As I was searching the wet pavement for the lost receipt, I heard a quiet
sobbing. The crying was coming from a poorly dressed boy of about 12 years
old. He was short and thin. He had no coat. He was just wearing a ragged
flannel shirt to protect him from the cold night's chill. Oddly enough, he
was holding a hundred dollar bill in his hand. Thinking that he had gotten
lost from his parents, I asked him what was wrong.
He told me his sad story. He said that he came from a large family. He had
three brothers and two sisters. His father had died when he was nine years
old. His mother was poorly educated and worked two full time jobs. She made
very little to support her large family. Nevertheless, she had managed to
save two hundred dollars to buy her children Christmas presents. The young
boy had been dropped off on the way to her second job. He was to use the
money to buy presents for all his siblings and save just enough to take
the bus home.
He had not even entered the mall, when an older boy grabbed one of the
hundred dollar bills and disappeared into the night.
"Why didn't you scream for help?" I asked. The boy said, "I did." "And
nobody came to help you?" I wondered. The boy stared at the sidewalk and
sadly shook his head. "How loud did you scream?" I inquired. The soft-spoken
boy looked up and meekly whispered, "Help me!"
I realized that absolutely no one could have heard that poor boy cry
So, I grabbed his other hundred and ran to my car.
And another from the not-so-wayback machine...
No holiday season would be complete without swatting the smug grin off of Martha Stewart's face. I give you the following:
When you read or listen to Martha Stewart's hints and advice, do you think to yourself "I could do that"? Then, you follow that thought with "What is wrong with me? Am I just a waste of good air?"
If this is you, then read on ...
MARTHA STEWART'S HOLIDAY CALENDAR
Blanch carcass from Thanksgiving turkey. Spray paint gold, turnupside
down and use as a sleigh to hold Christmas Cards.
Have Mormon Tabernacle Choir record outgoing Christmas message for
Using candlewick and handgilded miniature pine cones, fashion
cat-o-nine tails. Flog Gardener.
Repaint Sistine Chapel ceiling in ecru, with mocha trim.
Get new eyeglasses. Grind lenses myself.
Fax family Christmas newsletter to Pulitzer committee for
Debug Windows '98
Decorate homegrown Christmas tree with scented candles handmade with
beeswax from my backyard bee colony.
Record own Christmas album complete with 4 part harmony and all instrument
accompaniment performed by myself. Mail to all my friends and loved
Align carpets to adjust for curvature of Earth.
Lay Faberge egg.
Erect ice skating rink in front yard using spring water I bottled
Open for neighborhood children's use. Create festive mood by
handmaking snow and playing my Christmas album.
Collect Dentures. They make excellent pastry cutters, particularly
for decorative pie crusts.
Install plumbing in gingerbread house.
Replace air in mini-van tires with Glade "holiday scents" in case
tires are shot out at mall.
Child proof the Christmas tree with garland of razor wire.
Adjust legs of chairs so each Christmas dinner guest will be same
height when sitting at his or her assigned seat.
Dip sheep and cows in egg whites and roll in confectioner's sugar to
add a festive sparkle to the pasture.
Drain city reservoir; refill with mulled cider, orange slices and
Float votive candles in toilet tank.
Seed clouds for white Christmas.
Do my annual good deed. Go to several stores. Be seen engaged in last
minute Christmas shopping, thus making many people feel less
inadequate than they really are.
Bear son. Swaddle. Lay in color-coordinated manger scented with
Organize spice racks by genus and phylum.
Build snowman in exact likeness of God.
Take Dog apart. Disinfect. Reassemble.
Hand sew 365 quilts, each using 365 material squares I weaved myself
used to represent the 365 days of the year. Donate to local
Release flock of white doves, each individually decorated with olive
branches, to signify desire of world peace.
New Year's Eve! Give staff their resolutions. Call a friend in each
time zone of the world as the clock strikes midnight in that country.
I rarely ask for much. This year is no exception. I don't need diamond earrings, handy slicer-dicers or comfy slippers. I only want one little thing, and I want it deeply. I want to slap Martha Stewart.
Now, hear me out, Santa. I won't scar her or draw blood or anything. Just one good smack, right across her smug little cheek. I get all cozy inside just thinking about it. Don't grant this wish just for me, do it for thousands of women across the country. Through sheer vicarious satisfaction, you'll be giving a gift to us all. Those of us leading average, garden variety lives aren't concerned with gracious living. We feel pretty good about ourselves if our paper plates match when we stack them on the counter, buffet-style for dinner. We're tired of Martha showing us how to make centerpieces from hollyhock dipped in 18 carat gold. We're plumb out of liquid gold. Unless it's of the furniture polish variety. We can't whip up Martha's creamy holiday sauce, spiced with turmeric. Most of us can't even say turmeric, let alone figure out what to do with it.
OK, Santa, maybe you think I'm being a little harsh. But I'll bet with all the holiday rush you didn't catch that interview with Martha in last week's USA Weekend. I'm surprised there was enough room on the page for her ego.
We discovered that not only does Martha avoid take-out pizza (she's only ordered it once), she refuses to eat it cold (No cold pizza? Is Martha Stewart Living?) When it was pointed out that she could microwave it, she replied, "I don't have a microwave." The reporter, Jeffrey Zaslow, noted that she said this "in a tone that suggests you shouldn't either."
Well lah-dee-dah. Imagine that, Santa!
That lovely microwave you brought me years ago, in which I've learned to make complicated dishes like popcorn and hot chocolate, has been declared undesirable by Queen Martha. What next? The coffee maker?
In the article, we learned that Martha has 40 sets of dishes adorning an entire wall in her home. Forty sets. Can you spell "overkill"? And neatly put away, no less. If my dishes make it to the dishwasher, that qualifies as "put away" in my house!
Martha tells us she's already making homemade holiday gifts for friends. "Last year, I made amazing silk-lined scarves for everyone," she boasts. Not just scarves, mind you. Amazing scarves. Martha's obviously not shy about giving herself a little pat on the back. In fact, she does so with such frequency that one has to wonder if her back is black and blue.
She goes on to tell us that "homemaking is glamour for the 90s," and says her most glamorous friends are "interested in stain removal, how to iron a monogram, and how to fold a towel." I have one piece of advice, Martha: "Get new friends." Glamorous friends fly to Paris on a whim. They drift past the Greek Islands on yachts, sipping champagne from crystal goblets. They step out for the evening in shimmering satin gowns, whisked away by tuxedoed chauffeurs. They do not spend their days pondering the finer art of toilet bowl sanitation.
Zaslow notes that Martha was named one of America's 25 most influential people by Time magazine (nosing out Mother Theresa, Madeline Allbright and Maya Angelou, no doubt).
The proof of Martha's influence: after she bought white-fleshed peaches in the supermarket, Martha says, "People saw me buy them. In an instant, they were all gone." I hope Martha never decides to jump off a bridge!
A guest in Martha's home told Zaslow how Martha gets up early to rollerblade with her dogs to pick fresh wild blackberries for breakfast. This confirms what I've suspected about Martha all along: She's obviously got too much time on her hands. Teaching the dogs to rollerblade. What a show off.
If you think the dogs are spoiled, listen to how Martha treats her friends: She gave one friend all 272 books from the Knopf Everyman Library. It didn't cost much. Pocket change, really. Just $5,000. But what price friendship, right? When asked if others should envy her, Martha replies, "Don't envy me. I'm doing this because I'm a natural teacher. You shouldn't envy teachers. You should listen to them." Zaslow must have slit a seam in Martha's ego at this point, because once the hot air came hissing out, it couldn't be held back. "Being an overachiever is nothing despicable. It is only admirable. Never lower your standards," says Martha. And of her Web Page on the Internet, Martha declares herself an "important presence" as she graciously helps people organize their sad, tacky little lives.
There you have it, Santa. If there was ever someone who deserved a good smack, it's Martha Stewart. But I bet I won't get my gift this year. You probably want to smack her yourself.
A Hopeful "Child"
Think of it as blog re-runs...
Update: This OTB post has nothing in common with the twisted images above. I'm just hoping that some of James' readers will stop by. Huzzah for the Beltway Traffic Jam!
Don't say I didn't warn you:
How ice cream cones are really made:
Not only did I post this last year, I've sent it out via email for more than 11 years. I promised you old and stale, and I've delivered ancient and decayed. No thanks are necessary.
December 14, 1972
My dearest darling John:
Who ever in the whole world would dream of getting a real Partridge
in a Pear Tree? How can I ever express my pleasure. Thank you a
hundred times for thinking of me this way.
My love always,
December 15, 1972
Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine two
turtle doves. I'm just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They
are just adorable.
All my love,
December 16, 1972
Oh! Aren't you the extravagant one. Now I must protest. I don't
deserve such generosity, three French hens. They are just darling
but I must insist, you've been too kind.
All my love,
December 17, 1972
Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really, they are
beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough. You are being too
December 18, 1972
What a surprise. Today the postman delivered five golden rings, one for
every finger. You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, all
those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves.
All my love,
December 19, 1972
When I opened the door today there were actually six geese laying on my
front steps. So you're back to the birds again huh? These geese are huge.
Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't
sleep through the racket. Please stop.
December 20, 1972
What's with you and those freaking birds?? Seven swans a swimming. What
kind of damn joke is this? There's bird poop all over the house and they
never stop the racket. I can't sleep at night and I'm a nervous wreck. It's
not funny. So stop those freaking birds.
December 21, 1972
I think I prefer the birds. What the hell am I going to do with 8
maids a milking? It's not enough with all those birds and 8 maids a
milking, but they had to bring their damn cows. There is manure all over the
lawn and I can't move in my own house. Just lay off me, smartass.
December 22, 1972
What are you.....some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers
playing. And Christ do they play. They've never stopped chasing
those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are
getting upset and they're stepping all over those screeching birds.
What am I going to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict
You'll get yours !
December 23, 1972
You rotten prick:
Now there's ten ladies dancing. I don't know why I call those sluts
ladies. They've been balling those pipers all night long. Now the
cows can't sleep and they've got diarrhea. My living room is a river
of shit. The Commissioner of Buildings has subpoenaed me to give cause
why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm calling the police on you !
December 24, 1972
What's with those eleven lords a leaping on those maid and ladies?
Some of those broads will never walk again. Those pipers ran through the
maids and have been committing sodomy with the cows. All twenty-three
of the birds are dead. They've been trampled to death in the orgy. I hope
you're satisfied, you rotten vicious swine.
You're sworn enemy,
December 25, 1972
This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling
which you have seen fit to inflict on our client, Miss Agnes
McHolstein. The destruction, of course, was total. All
correspondence should come to our attention. If you should
attempt to reach Miss McHolstein at Happy Dale Sanitarium,
the attendants have been instructed to shoot you on sight.
With this letter please find attached a warrant for your arrest.
Law Offices of Badger, Bender and Chole
In honor of the current anti-Christmas PC climate in today's society:
FROM: Ms.Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
RE: Christmas Party
DATE: December 1
I'm happy to inform you that the office Christmas Party will
take place on December 22, starting at noon in the banquet
room at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. No-host bar, but plenty of
eggnog! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols...
feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our General Manager shows up dressed as Santa Claus!
FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 4
RE: Christmas Party
In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish
employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday
which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not
this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party."
The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa
at this time. Happy now?
FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 5
RE: Holiday Party
Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous
requesting a non-drinking table...you didn't sign your name. I'm happy
to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that
reads,"AAOnly," you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I
supposed to handle this? Somebody?
FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 6
RE: Holiday Party
What a diverse company we are! I had no idea that November 27
was the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which
forbids eating, drinking and intimacy during daylight hours. There
goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon
this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees beliefs.
Perhaps Luigi's can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the
party, or else package everything for take-home in little foil swans.
Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Overeaters
Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant
women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Did I miss anything?
FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 7
RE: Holiday Party
So December 21 marks the Winter Solstice...what do you expect me
to do, a tap-dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi's prohibit
the burning of sage by our "earth-based Goddess worshipping"
employees, but we'll try to accommodate your shamanic drumming
circle during the band's breaks. Okay???
FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 8
RE: Holiday Party
People, people, nothing sinister was intended by having our GM
dress up like Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does
happen to be Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own
"little man in a red suit." It's a tradition, folks, like sugar shock
at Halloween or family feuds over the Thanksgiving turkey or
broken hearts on Valentine's Day. Could we lighten up?
FROM: Pat Smith, Human Resources Director
DATE: December 11
RE: Holiday Party
Vegetarians!? I've had it with you people! We're going to keep
this party at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue whether you like it or not,
so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death,"
as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your #$%^&*! salad bar,
including hydroponic tomatoes...but you know, they have feelings,
too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream,
I'm hearing them scream right now!
FROM: Karen Jones, Acting Human Resources Director
DATE: December 12
RE:Ms. Pat Smith and Holiday Party
I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pat Smith a speedy recovery
from her stress-related illness and I'll continue to forward your cards
to her at the sanitarium. In the meantime, management has decided
to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the
22nd off with full pay.
A cure for beal: reposting old stuff from last year. Sure saves me a lot of effort...
Rudolph was a four-hoofed ungulate, who, incidentally, possessed
a nasal appendage of a maroon luster. Consequently, if
circumstances were to present themselves that he ever came into
your view, you would most undoubtedly remark at to its luminary
The multitude of other members of the population in his
ecological community had previously teased, chuckled
boisterously, and dubbed him unspeakable pseudonyms -- the
objective of which was to lower his self-esteem and make him
miserable. They also excluded him from participation in leisure
activities consistent with their species.
However, on the twenty-fourth of December in an unspecified year,
a mythological, supernatural being inherent to western culture
(who symbolizes the Christmas attitude and allegedly brings gifts
to children) arrived through the supersaturated, humid air, spoke
to Rudolph and formally invited him, due to his extraordinary
nasal characteristic to stand at the forefront of his snow
vehicle with the express purpose that he navigate through the
At that point, the multitude of other members of the population
in his ecological community who had previously teased, chuckled
boisterously, and dubbed him unspeakable pseudonyms, reversed
their disposition toward Rudolph to a more congenial, amicable
relationship. They consequently exclaimed with great exaltation
and fervor, "Rudolph, the antlered mammal with a maroon nasal
appendage, you shall most certainly be recorded in the annals of
time, and your memory will be preserved for posterity!
Why Math is Taught in School---- (Written By A Very Wise Man)
I was riding to work yesterday when I observed a female driver cut right in front of a pickup truck, causing him to have to drive on to the shoulder to avoid hitting her. This evidently angered the driver enough that he hung his arm out his window and "flipped" the woman off. "Man, that guy is stupid," I
thought to myself. I ALWAYS smile nicely and wave in a sheepish manner whenever a female does anything to me in traffic, and here's why:
I drive 48 miles each way every day to work.
That's 96 miles each day.
Of these, 16 miles each way is bumper-to-bumper.
Most of the bumper-to-bumper is on an 8 lane highway.
There are 7 cars every 40 feet for 32 miles.
That works out to be 982 cars every mile, or 31,424 cars.
Even though the rest of the 32 miles is not bumper-to-bumper, I figure I pass at least another 4000 cars.
That brings the number to something like 36,000 cars that I pass every day.
Statistically, females drive half of these. That's 18,000 women drivers!
In any given group of females, 1 in 28 has PMS.
According to Cosmopolitan, 70% describe their love life as dissatisfying or unrewarding.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 22% of all females have seriously considered suicide or homicide.
And 34% describe men as their biggest problem.
According to the National Rifle Association, 5% of all females carry weapons, and this number is increasing.
That means that EVERY SINGLE DAY, I drive past at least one female that has
a lousy love life, thinks men are her biggest problem, has seriously considered suicide or homicide, has PMS, and is armed.
Flip one off? I think not......
With the children visiting their grandparents, my wife and I decided to spend some of our free time watching a movie: King Kong. Short review: I loved it. Here's the long version:
Kong, the creature, is tremendous. Instead of an odd, giant ape-like thing that you saw in the original, Peter Jackson creates a CGi masterpiece of a 25 foot tall gorilla. Kong's facial expressions were incredible; I almost thought that I was looking at an actual giant gorilla. However, I was more impressed at how realistic Kong's motions were. I should have known: Andy Serkis played Kong, pretty much the same way that he played Gollum. Peter Jackson stayed with what he knows and, to be fair, the director knows a good bit about making computer generated characters come to life. It's a lesson that George Lucas should have learned before foisting Jar-Jar Binks on the world. But I digress.
I thought that the set designs were superb. The whole shanty-town, soup kitchen realism from the 1930's made me think that I'd gone back in time. It was better than I'd imagined. You will be blown away.
The cast was superb. Naomi Watts was spectacular as Ann Darrow, giving new life to Fay Wray's role. Adrien Brody played her love interest, Jack Driscoll, with an understated eloquence. And Jack Black, who I admit that I don't find all that funny, was great as filmmaker Carl Denham, a man whose greatest passion is himself.
Do I have any negative comments? Sure. Director Jackson seemed stuck at times in his Lord of the Rings extended battle sequence mindset a few times. By that I mean that some of the pitched battles, which were designed to be exciting, grew a bit, um, lengthy for my taste. And I thought the beginning of the movie dragged a bit. Other than that, though, I thought that the movie was tremendous. I was actually drawn into the story. When Kong died, I actually felt sad, which surprised me a great deal, especially since I already knew how the movie ended. And I laughed out loud at the homage Peter Jackson paid to the original King Kong. Filmmaker Denham and his assistant were bemoaning the loss of their leading lady and trying to determine a replacement who they could get to play the part. They mentioned a couple of names and then this little exchange ensued:
Carl Denham: Fay! Fay! What about Fay? She would be perfect!
Preston: She's already filming something for RKO.
For those of you who aren't aware, RKO Radio Pictures produced the original King Kong, starring Fay(Wray).
Tremendous characters, amazing scenery, fantastic action sequences, realistic creatures with more personality than, let's be honest, some of your coworkers. If none of these things appeals to you, then you'll probably want to skip this movie. For the rest of you, though, King Kong will make three hours pass a little too quickly.
I know that this will offend someone. Then again, you might be under the mistaken impression that I care. Merry Christmas.
SANTA IS GAY
Santa is GAY! I hate to be the one to defy sacred myth, but I believe Santa's gay. Christmas is a big, organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal, and I have a tough time believing a straight man could possibly pull it all off! For starters, think about the planning that goes into an event like Christmas. Even Martha Stewart is envious.
Straight men have day jobs, so they wouldn't have time to stand at the local shopping malls and ring a bell all day. But if you're a gay, out-of-work Actor/Dancer/Waiter it's the perfect gig until you get your big break. Also, if he were straight he would have picked a more masculine animal than the reindeer to get him around, like horses or oxen, but the reindeer just happens to appeal to Santa's inherent sense of grace and beauty. And those names: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen? Fill in the blanks.
Mrs. Claus has been married to him for eons and he's never fathered a child with her, she's over-weight and still content... Can you say "Fag-hag"?
Ever thought about the Rudolph story? He's gay too! "All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names. They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games." (as if he wanted to). Isn't Rudolph really a metaphor for the gay child in a straight society anyway?
Ever ask yourself why fruitcake is the traditional dessert at Christmas time? Well, now you know. And stop pretending you don't like it. Deep down inside, you've always liked fruitcake.
Other reasons why Santa can't possibly be a straight man:
And one more thing, did you ever know a straight man named Nicholas? Oh, straight society has tried to butch up his image by calling him St. Nick, but we know better. It's Nicholas, damn it! Ms. Claus if you're nasty.
CHRISTMAS INFO MEMO 12/21
IT CAME UPON A SERVER CLEAR...
Archaeologists working in the Holy Land have discovered an ancient
diskette mixed up with the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Here is what they found on the diskette:
Date: Mon, 2 Dec
Subject: Taxes, Census
I decree that all the inhabited world shall be counted and taxed. You must
every one go unto your own city.
Date: Wed, 4 Dec
Please reserve room for two, perhaps three, for December 24 to
Date: Fri, 6 Dec
Subject: RE: Reservations
Sorry, no room available. We've got the Hanukkah rush and the census crowd.
Thank heaven Athens beat us out for the Olympics this year! Why not come in
the off-season and get our special rate? Anyway, if you have a forms-capable
browser, you can register for the census and pay your taxes on the Med Wide Web
Date: Sun, 8 Dec
Subject: RE: RE: Reservations
Forms-capable browser? You must be kidding! It'll probably take
Galilee OnLine a couple of thousand years to work out access like
that. Please place us on waiting list for room.
Date: Mon, 23 Dec
Subject: Temporary Permit
Due to the crush of taxpayers and holiday visitors, you are hereby
granted a permit to use your stable, barn, or any agricultural outbuildings
for temporary lodging or shelter for up to 30 days from this date.
Address any appeals to:
ATTN: Manger Manager
Date: Wed, 25 Dec
Subject: It's a boy!
Unto us a son is born.
Let the family know. He came upon a midnight clear, away in a manger.
Hope to upgrade room.
Date: Wed, 25 Dec
Tidings of great joy: Unto you is born this day in the city of David
Date: Wed, 25 Dec
Subject: Praise the Lord ...
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward
Date: Wed, 25 Dec
Subject: ... and Pass the Admonition
If ye do not act now, rates for heavenly hostingWeb sites will go up
January 1. Sign up now to lock in current prices, so ye can make known
abroad (at our famous low rates) the saying which was told you
concerning this child, glorifying and praising God for all the things
that ye have heard and seen, as it was told unto you.
Date: Wed, 25 Dec
Subject: RE: ... and Pass the Admonition
Angels we have heard on high. We'll sign up, but only if you can get
us the domain name we want: FirstNoel.com.
Date: Wed, 25 Dec
Subject: Star sighting
We've seen the light! Heading your way. May take a few days. Caspar wants
to pick up some gold, frankincense, and myrrh before leaving. And for some
reason, everything seems to be closed today. Also, transportation is heavily
booked westward leading, still proceeding. We just got bumped off a caravan
because Balthazar wanted a non-smoking camel. See you January 6 or so.
Sorry we'll miss the bris. So, what are you going to name the kid, anyway?
And his name shall be called Jesus.
That's what this is all about...
My neighbor has lost her puppy and is desperate in finding him. She does a lot of traveling and always brings her dog with her.
Yesterday, she was sitting on the couch watching TV when she realized she hasn't seen her pup in a while and can't even begin to think when or where she last saw him. She has been putting up signs everywhere. (See the picture below). If you have seen this dog, please let me know and I will notify her.
Your help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance.
I give you the following photo, wherein a young girl expresses her delight at meeting Santa for the first time.
More images found here.
Copy, paste, repeat:
I think Santa Claus is a woman....
I hate to be the one to defy 'sacred' myth, but I believe he's a she. Think about it. Christmas is a big, organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing social deal, and I have a tough time believing a guy could possibly pull it all off!
For starters, the vast majority of men don't even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. It's as if they are all frozen in some kind of Ebenezerian Time Warp until 3 p.m. on Dec. 24th, when they -- with amazing calm -- call other errant men and plan for a last-minute shopping spree. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket wrench sets, and mood rings left on the shelves. (You might think this would send them into a fit of panic and guilt, but my husband tells me it's an enormous relief because it lessens the 11th hour decision-making burden.) On this count alone, I'm convinced Santa is a woman. Surely, if he were a man everyone in the universe would wake up Christmas morning to find a rotating musical Chia Pet under the tree, still in the bag.
Another problem for a he-Santa would be getting there. First of all, there would be no reindeer because they would all be dead, gutted and strapped on to the rear bumper of the sleigh amid wide-eyed, desperate claims that buck season had been extended. Blitzen's rack would already be on the way to the taxidermist.
Even if the male Santa DID have reindeer, he'd still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds and then refuse to stop and ask for directions. Add to this the fact that there would be unavoidable delays in the chimney, where the Bob Vila-like Santa would stop to inspect and repoint bricks in the flue. He would also need to check for carbon monoxide fumes in every gas fireplace, and get under every Christmas tree that is crooked to straighten it to a perfectly upright 90-degree angle.
Other reasons why Santa can't possibly be a man:
- Men can't pack a bag.
- Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red velvet.
- Men would feel their masculinity is threatened...having to be seen
with all those elves.
- Men don't answer their mail.
- Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described even in
jest as anything remotely resembling a "bowlful of jelly."
- Men aren't interested in stockings unless somebody's wearing them.
- Having to do the Ho Ho Ho thing would seriously inhibit their
ability to pick up women.
- Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.
I can buy the fact that other mythical holiday characters are men...
Father Time shows up once a year unshaven and looking ominous. Definite Guy.
Cupid flies around carrying weapons. Definite Guy.
Uncle Sam is a politician who likes to point fingers. Definite Guy.
Any one of these individuals could pass the testosterone screening test. But not St. Nick. Not a chance. As long as we have each other, good will, peace on earth, faith and Nat King Cole's version of "The Christmas Song," it probably makes little difference what gender Santa is.
I just wish she'd quit dressing like a guy!!!
Holiday Diet Tips
1. If no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
2. If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, they cancel each other out.
3. When eating with someone else, calories don't count if you both eat the same amount.
4. Foods used for medicinal purposes have no calories. This includes any chocolate used for energy, brandy, Sara Lee cheesecake (eaten whole), and Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
5. Some foods are much lower in calories simply because they are a part of the entertainment experience and not part of one's personal fuel. This includes Milk Duds, popcorn with butter, Junior Mints, Snickers, and Gummi Bears.
6. Cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breakage causes calorie leakage.
7. If you eat the food off someone else's plate, it doesn't count.
8. If you eat standing up the calories all go to your feet and get walked off.
9. Food eaten at Christmas parties has no calories, courtesy of Santa.
10. STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backward.
Downsizing At Christmas
The usual large flamboyant typeface associated with the seasons
greetings has been downsized this year commensurate with the trend
toward corporate downsizing. And the fact that SMTP does not support
typeface control. The recent announcement that Donner and Blitzen have
elected to take the early reindeer retirement package has triggered a
good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about
other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.
Streamlining was appropriate in view of the reality that the North
Pole no longer dominates the season's gift distribution business. Home
shopping channels and mail order catalogues have diminished Santa's
market share and he could not sit idly by and permit further erosion
of the profit picture. The reindeer downsizing was made possible
through the purchase of a late model Japanese sled for the CEO's annual trip.
Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the
Harvard Business School, is anticipated and should take up the slack
with no discernible loss of service. Reduction in reindeer will also
lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has
been cited and received unfavorable press.
I am pleased to inform you and yours that Rudolph's role will not be
disturbed. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole.
Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak
that Rudolph's nose got that way not from the cold, but from substance
abuse. Calling Rudolph "a lush who was into the sauce and never did
pull his share of the load" was an unfortunate comment, made by one
of Santa's helpers and taken out of context at a time of year when he
is known to be under executive stress.
As a further restructuring, today's global challenges require the
North Pole to continue to look for better, more competitive steps.
Twelve Days of Christmas Restuctured
Effective immediately, the following economizing measures are being
implemented in our "Twelve Days of Christmas" subsidiary:
1) The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree, which never
produced the cash crop forecasted, will be replaced by a plastic
hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance;
2) Two turtle doves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost
effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not
be condoned. The positions are, therefore, eliminated...doves are
3) The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone
loves the French things;
4) The four calling birds will be replaced by an automated voice
mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to
determine who the birds have been calling, how often and how long
5) The five golden rings have been put on hold by the Board of
Directors. Maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity could
have negative implications for institutional investors. Diversification
into other precious metals, as well as a mix of T-Bills and high technology
stocks, appear to be in order;
6) The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury which can no longer
be afforded. It has long been felt that the production rate of one
egg per goose per day was an example of the general decline in
Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure by
personnel will assure management that, from now on, every goose it
gets will be a good one;
7) The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in
better times. The function is primarily decorative. Shrimp ponds
are on order. The current swans will be donated to county jails;
8) As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under
heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. A male/female balance in the workforce
is being sought. The more militant maids consider this a dead-end
job with no upward mobility. Automation of the process may permit
the maids to try a-mending, a-mentoring or a-mulching;
9) Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This
function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and
can no longer do the steps;
10) Ten Lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of Lords, plus
the expense of international air travel, prompted the Compensation
Committee to suggest replacing this group with ten out-of-work
congressmen. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed,
the savings are significant as we expect an oversupply of
unemployed congressmen this year;[Ed note: we can only hope]
11) Eleven pipers piping and twelve drummers drumming is a simple
case of an out of date band getting too big. A substitution with a
string quartet, a cutback on new music, and no uniforms, will
produce savings which will drop right to the bottom line;
Overall we can expect a substantial reduction in assorted people,
fowl, animals and related expenses. Though incomplete, studies
indicate that stretching deliveries over twelve days is inefficient.
If we can drop ship by UPS in one day, service levels will be improved.
Regarding the lawsuit filed by the Bar Association seeking expansion
to include the legal profession ("thirteen lawyers-a-suing"), a
decision is pending.
Deeper cuts may be necessary in the future to remain competitive.
Should that happen, the Board will request management to scrutinize
our Snow White Division to see if seven dwarfs ..sleeping, sneezing,
grumping, etc. are in line with our overall projections.
All repeats, all the time!
I wud like a kool toy space ranjur fer Xmas. Iv ben a gud
boy all yeer.
Nice spelling. You're on your way to a career in lawn care.
How about I send you a fucking book so you can learn to read and
write? I'm giving your older brother the space ranger. At least HE
I have been a good girl all year, and the only thing I ask for is
peace and joy in the world for everybody!
You're parents smoked pot when they had you, didn't they?
I don't know if you can do this, but for Christmas, I'd like for my
mommy and daddy to get back together. Please see what you can do.
Look, your dad's banging the babysitter like a screen door in a
hurricane. Do you think he's gonna give that up to come back to your
frigid mom, who rides his ass constantly? It's time to give up that
dream. Let me get you some nice Legos instead.
I want a new bike, a Playstation, a train, some G.I. Joes, a dog, a
drum kit, a pony and a tuba.
Who names their kid "Damien" nowadays? I bet you're gay.
I left milk and cookies for you under the tree, and I left carrots
for your reindeer outside the back door.
Milk gives me the runs and carrots make the deer fart in my face
when riding in the sleigh. You want to do me a favor? Leave me a bottle
What do you do the other 364 days of the year? Are you busy
All the toys are made in China. I have a condo in Vegas, where I
spend most of my time making low-budget porno films. I unwind
by drinking myself silly and squeezing the asses of cocktail waitresses
while losing money at the craps table. Hey,you wanted to know.
Do you see us when we're sleeping, do you really know when we're
awake, like in the song?
Are you really that gullible? Good luck in whatever you do. I'm
skipping your house.
I really really want a puppy this year. Please please please PLEASE
PLEASE could I have one?
That whiney begging shit may work with your folks, but that crap
doesn't work with me. You're getting a sweater again.
We don't have a chimney in our house, how do you get into our house?
First, stop calling yourself "Joey", that's why you're getting your
ass whipped at school. Second, you don't live in a house, you live in a
low-rent apartment complex. Third, I get inside your pad just like
all the burglars do, through your bedroom window.
Here goes another in a series of repeats:
Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip. But there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule. Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More Stress. Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys. So frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hid the liquor and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from. Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said: "Where would you like to put this tree Santa?" And that my friend, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christmas tree.
Not long ago and far away, Santa was getting ready for his annual trip. But there were problems everywhere. Four of his elves got sick, and the trainee elves did not produce the toys as fast as the regular ones so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.
Then Mrs. Claus told Santa that her mom was coming to visit. This stressed Santa even more. When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out, heaven knows where. More Stress.
Then when he began to load the sleigh one of the boards cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered the toys. So frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey. When he went to the cupboard, he found the elves had hid the liquor and there was nothing to drink. In his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found that mice had eaten the straw it was made from. Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed on his way to the door. He opened the door and there was a little angel with a great big Christmas tree. The angel said: "Where would you like to put this tree Santa?"
And that my friend, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christmas tree.
More or less, anyway. Disney plans to produce Prince Caspian.
FYI, I just printed out my certificate. What? Why are you looking at me like that?
The author of this insane screed thinks that cats are E-V-I-L. Excerpt:
It is a well-known fact that cats are impossible to tame, teach or raise in the truth. The cat has a rebellious, independent spirit. While the animal itself may be unaware of this tragic condition, it serves only its true master - Satan, the Devil.
I look forward to this guy being interviewed by Katie Couric as a fine example of all God-fearing people in this country.
Now go away. My cat asked me to hang my crucifix upside down.
Link via The Rage Diaries.
And the sequel below:
Dear Darling Son and That Person You Married,
Merry Christmas to you, and please don't worry. I'm just fine considering I can't breathe or eat. The important thing is that you have a nice holiday, thousands of miles away from your ailing mother. I've sent along my last ten dollars in this card, which I hope you'll spend on my grandchildren. God knows their mother never buys them anything nice. They look so thin in their pictures, poor babies.
Thank you so much for the birthday flowers, dear boy. I put them in the freezer so they'll stay fresh for my grave. Which reminds me, we buried Grandma last week. I know she died years ago, but I got to yearning for a good funeral so Aunt Berta and I dug her up and had the services all over again. I would have invited you, but I know that woman you live with would have never let you come. I bet she's never even watched that videotape of my hemorrhoid surgery, has she?
Well son, it's time for me to crawl off to bed now. I lost my cane beating off muggers last week, but don't you worry about me. I'm also getting used to the cold since they turned my heat off and am grateful because the frost on my bed numbs the constant pain. Now don't you even think about sending any more money, because I know you need it for those expensive family vacations you take every year.
Give my love to my darling grandbabies and my regards to whatever-her-name-is, the one with the black roots in her hair who stole you screaming from my bosom. Merry Christmas.
Don't say that I didn't warn you about the Christmas-time repeats....
Barbie's Letter To Santa
Listen you fat little troll, I've been helping you out every year,
playing at being the perfect Christmas Present, wearing skimpy bathing
suits in frigid weather, and drowning in fake tea from one too many tea
parties, and I hate to break it to ya Santa, but IT'S DEFINITELY PAY
BACK TIME! There had better be some changes around here this Christmas,
or I'm gonna call for a nationwide meltdown (and trust me, you won't
wanna be around to smell it).
So, here's my holiday wish list for 1998, Santa.
1. A nice, comfy pair of sweat pants and a frumpy, oversized sweatshirt.
I'm sick of looking like a hooker. How much smaller are these bathing
suits gonna get? Do you have any idea what it feels like to have nylon
and velcro up your butt?
2. Real underwear that can be pulled on and off. Preferably white. What
bonehead at Mattel decided to cheap out and MOLD imitation underwear to
my skin?!? It looks like cellulite!
3. A REAL man... maybe GI JOE. Hell, I'd take Tickle-Me-Elmo over that
wimped-out excuse for a boy toy Ken. And what's with that earring anyway?
If I'm gonna have to suffer with him, at least make him (and me)
4. Arms that actually bend so I can push the aforementioned Ken-wimp
away once he is anatomically correct.
5. Breast reduction surgery. I don't care whose arm you have to twist,
just get it done.
6. A jog-bra. To wear until I get the surgery.
7. A new career. Pet doctor and school teacher just don't cut it. How
about a systems analyst? Or better yet, a public relations senior
8. A new, more 90's persona. Maybe "PMS Barbie", complete with a
miniature container of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and a
bag of chips; "Animal Rights Barbie", with my very own paint gun,
fitted with a fake fur coat, bottle of spray on blood and handcuffs;
or "Stop Smoking Barbie," sporting a Nicotrol patch and equipped with
several packs of gum.
9. No more McDonald's endorsements. The grease is wrecking my vinyl.
10. Mattel stock options. It's been 37 years-I think I deserve it.
Okay Santa, that's it. Considering my valuable contribution to society, I
don't think these requests are out of line. If you disagree, then you can
find yourself a new bitch for next Christmas. It's that simple.
Ken's Letter To Santa
I understand that one of my colleagues has petitioned you
for changes in her contract, specifically asking for anatomical and
career changes. In addition, it is my understanding that disparaging
remarks were made about me, my ability to please, and some of my
fashion choices. I would like to take this opportunity to inform you
of some issues concerning Ms. Barbie, and some of my own needs and
First of all, I along with several other colleagues feel
Barbie DOES NOT deserve preferential treatment - the bitch has
everything. Along with Joe, Jem, Raggedy Ann & Andy, I DO NOT have
a dream house, corvette, evening gowns, and in some cases the ability
to change our hair style. I personally have only 3 outfits which I am
forced to mix and match at great length.
My decision to accessorize my outfits with an earring was my
decision and reflects my lifestyle choice.
I too would like a change in my career. Have you ever considered
"Decorator Ken", "Beauty Salon Ken", or "Out Of Work Actor Ken"? In
addition, there are several other avenues which could be considered such
"S&M Ken" , "Green Lantern Ken", "Circuit Ken", "Bear Ken", "Master Ken".
These would more accurately reflect my desires and perhaps open up new
markets. And as for Barbie needing bendable arms so she can "push me
away," I need bendable knees so I can kick the bitch to the curb.
Bendable knees would also be helpful for me in other situations - we've
talked about this issue before.
In closing, I would like to point out that any further concessions
to the blond bimbo from hell will result in action be taken by myself and
others. And Barbie can forget about having Joe - he's mine, at least that's
what he said last night.
Submitted by: Name withheld to protect the quilty.
It's a matter of my opinion that Yule love the game we're about to
play. In each sentence below, fill in the blank or blanks with an
expression commonly used at Christmastide. Answers repose at the
end of this column.
1. On December 24, Adam's wife was known as _____ _____.
2. In Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Scrooge was
visited by the ghost of _____ _____.
3. An opinion survey in Alaska is called a _____ _____.
4. What does Santa Claus do with his three gardens?
_____, _____, _____
5. What Christmas message is conveyed by these letters?:
ABCDEFGHIJKMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. _____, _____
6. When the salt and the pepper say "Hi!" to each other,
they are passing on _____ _____.
7. A holy man bereft of change could be called _____ _____.
8. When you cross a sheep with a cicada, you get a _____ _____.
9. A quiet medieval armor-wearer is a _____ _____.
10. A cat walking on the desert is bound to get _____ _____.
11. People who tell jokes on December 25 might be called _____ _____.
12. An airplane disaster in Israel is a _____.
13. Actor O'Connor and actress Channing are known on
December 25 as _____ _____.
14. What do Spanish sheep says when they wish each
other a Merry Christmas? _____ _____.
Meretricious to all! And don't forget that There's
No Plate Like Chrome for the Hollandaise.
1. Christmas Eve
2. Christmas Present
3. North Poll
4. Hoe, hoe, hoe.
5. Noel, Noel (no l, no l)
6. seasons' greetings.
7. St. Nickleless.
8. Bah! (or Baa!) Humbug!
9. silent knight
10. sandy claws
11. Christmas cards
13. Christmas Carols
14. Fleece Navidad!
Look at the picture below and try to guess its meaning before clicking on the extended entry.
The origin of Superman, courtesy of Jay Pinkerton.
It was so sick and twisted that I gave myself a hernia laughing. YMMV.
My Bonnie lies over the ocean,
my Bonnie lies over the sea.
She's a real tall girl.
And what could be simpler than the NFL's quarterback rating formula? I give you the following:
- Complete passes divided by pass attempts. Subtract 0.3 and divide by 0.2
- Passing yards divided by pass attempts. Subtract 3 and divide by 4.
- Touchdown passes divided by pass attempts and divide by .05.
- Start with .095 and subtract interceptions divided by pass attempts. Divide that product by .04.
- Add the sum of steps 1-4, multiply by 100 and divide by 6. Sum of each step cannot be greater than 2.375 or less than zero.
I hear that Jennifer Aniston is suing a photographer for taking pictures of her while she sunbathed topless. The lawsuit is for invasion of privacy and not for embarrassment, which is a good thing: these pictures show nothing to be ashamed of IMHO, Derbyshire's creep comments notwithstanding.
Update: Yes, I realize that by showing these pictures I'm also invading her privacy. I'll repent of my evil ways whilst taking a very cold shower.
One other thing: if you think that Jennifer is too over the hill to get excited about, I've got a special joke just for you in the extended entry:
A guy comes home from work one day and finds his girlfriend packing her things into a suitcase.
"What are you doing, sweetie?"
"I'm leaving you. I found out something about you today that makes me sick to my stomach: you're a pedorast!"
"Pedorast, huh? That's a might big word for an eight year old."
Update: Pictures can now be found here.
I've downloaded and burned CDs for 11 separate Linux distros and have been testing them on my computer at home. Since these are "Live CDs", I do not have to install anything onto my computer's hard drive. After extensive testing, I've started to form a pretty strong opinion about the pros and cons of each system, at least as I see them. I need to run some further tests, but I plan to make a recommendation which you are, of course, free to ignore. Whatever OS I choose, though, will soon be replacing Windows on my computer, which moves me closer and closer to a Gates-less world.
One caveat: I have some programs that run only in a Windows environment, so I need to test some of the WINE-like emulators to see which one works the best for me.
Look at the picture, try to figure out what it represents, then look at the answer below the picture.
I never advocate boycotts. However, I personally will not to shop at Target this Christmas season. Your decision is, of course, your own.
Players must be bloggers and willing to expend an effort in promoting the game and cheering on their picks as they appear in the headlines, flirting with death. All players must join this site as contributing authors are welcome to with the understanding that shameless self-promotion of their own blogs in the process of making posts about their rosters is not only welcome, but encouraged.
Every player must blog about each of their picks at least once per calendar quarter (January - March / April - June / July - September / October - December). This means 15 posts per quarter times four quarters = 60 minimum posts. Failure to blog about a particular pick during a quarter means the loss of that pick. There will be no reminders or status pages of blogged picks, so track your roster carefully during the year.
If a pick dies during the year, then you no longer have to blog about that pick.
I think that the new blogging requirement will come back to bite me in the ass, but that's my problem.
* THE PSYCHIC FROGS NETWORK *
A boy frog telephones the Psychic Hotline and his Personal Psychic Advisor tells him: "You are going to meet a beautiful young girl who will want to know everything about you."
The frog is thrilled, "This is great! Will I meet her at a party?"
"No," replies his Advisor, "in her biology class."
HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS
The other day I went to the local religious bookstore where I saw a "Honk if you love Jesus" bumper sticker. I bought it and put it on the bumper of my car, and I am really glad that I did. What an uplifting experience followed!! I was stopped at the light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord, when I did not notice that the light had just changed. The bumper sticker really worked!! I found lots of people who really loved Jesus. Why, the guy behind me started to honk like crazy. He must really love the Lord because soon he leaned out the window and yelled "Jesus christ" as loud a he could. It was like a football game with him yelling "Go, Jesus Christ, Go!!" Everyone else started honking, too. So I leaned out the window and smiled at all those loving people. There must have been a guy from Florida back there because I could here him yelling about "sunny beach" , and I saw him waving a funny way with his middle finger stuck up in the air. I asked my kids what it meant. They squirmed, looked at eachother , then told me it was the Hawaiian good luck sign. So I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign back. Several cars back, a very nice man stepped out of his car and yelled something. I could not hear him very well, but it sounded like "mother trucker!" or "mother from there!". Maybe he was from Florida, too. He must really love the Lord. A couple of people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me. I bet they wanted to pray, but just then I noticed that he light had turned green and I stepped on the gas. And a good thing I did because I was the only driver that got across the intersection. I looked back at them standing there. I leaned out the window, gave them a big smile, and gave them the Hawaiian good luck sign as I drove away.
PRAISE THE LORD FOR SUCH WONDERFUL FOLKS!!!
The Customer is Always Right!
After experiencing difficulties with his computer, a poor, incognizant user called the system maker's technical support line for assistance...
Technician: Hello. How can I help you today?
Customer: There's smoke coming from the power supply on my computer...
Technician: Looks like you need a new power supply...
Customer: No, I don't! I just need to change the startup files...
Technician: Sir, what you described is a faulty power supply. You need to replace it...
Customer: No way! Someone told me that I just had to change the system startup files to fix the problem! All I need is for you to tell me the right command...
For the next ten minutes, in spite of the technician's efforts to explain the problem and its solution, the customer adamantly insisted that he was right. So, in frustration, the technician responded...
Technician: I'm sorry. We don't normally tell our customers this, but there's an undocumented DOS command that will fix the problem...
Customer: I knew it!
Technician: Just add the line "LOAD NOSMOKE.COM" at the end of the CONFIG.SYS file and everything should work fine. Let me know how it goes...
About ten minutes later, the technician received a call back from the customer...
Customer: It didn't work. The power supply is still smoking...
Technician: Well, what version of DOS are you using?
Customer: MS-DOS 6.22...
Technician: Well, that's your problem. That version of DOS doesn't include NOSMOKE. You'll need to contact Microsoft and ask them for a patch. Let me know how it all works out...
When nearly an hour had passed, the phone rang again...
Customer: I need a new power supply...
Technician: How did you come to that conclusion?
Customer: Well, I called Microsoft and told the technician what you said, and he started asking me questions about the make of the power supply...
Technician: What did he tell you?
Customer: He said my power supply isn't compatible with NOSMOKE...
Warranty Card Registration
Thank you for purchasing a McDonnell Douglas military aircraft. In order to protect your new investment, please take a few moments to fill out the warranty registration card below. Answering the survey questions is not required, but the information will help us to develop new products that best meet your needs and desires.
1. _Mr. _Mrs. _Ms. _Miss _Lt. _Gen. _Comrade _Classified
First Name Initial
Latitude Longitude Altitude
2. Which model aircraft did you purchase?
_F-14 Tomcat _F-15 Eagle _F-16 Falcon _F-117A Stealth
3. Date of purchase: Month: Day: Year:
4. Serial Number:
5. Please check where this product was purchased:
[ ] Received as gift/aid package
[ ] Catalog showroom
[ ] Sleazy arms broker
[ ] Mail order
[ ] Discount store
[ ] Government surplus
[ ] Classified
6. Please check how you became aware of the McDonnell Douglas product you have just purchased:
[ ] Heard loud noise, looked up
[ ] Store display
[ ] Espionage
[ ] Recommended by friend/relative/ally
[ ] Political lobbying by manufacturer
[ ] Was attacked by one
7. Please check the three (3) factors that most influenced your decision to purchase this McDonnell Douglas product:
[ ] Style/appearance
[ ] Kickback/bribe
[ ] Recommended by salesperson
[ ] Speed/maneuverability
[ ] Comfort/convenience
[ ] McDonnell Douglas reputation
[ ] Advanced Weapons Systems
[ ] Price/value
[ ] Backroom politics
[ ] Negative experience opposing one in combat
8. Please check the location(s) where this product will be used:
[ ] North America
[ ] Central/South America
[ ] Aircraft carrier
[ ] Europe
[ ] Middle East
[ ] Africa
[ ] Asia/Far East
[ ] Misc. Third World countries
[ ] Classified
9. Please check the products that you currently own or intend to purchase in the near future:
Product Own Intend to purchase
[ ] Color TV
[ ] VCR
[ ] ICBM
[ ] Killer Satellite
[ ] CD Player
[ ] Air-to-Air Missiles
[ ] Space Shuttle
[ ] Home Computer
[ ] Nuclear Weapon
10. How would you describe yourself or your organization? Check all that apply:
[ ] Communist/Socialist
[ ] Terrorist
[ ] Crazed
[ ] Neutral
[ ] Democratic
[ ] Dictatorship
[ ] Corrupt
[ ] Primitive/Tribal
11. How did you pay for your McDonnell Douglas product?
[ ] Cash
[ ] Suitcases of cocaine
[ ] Oil revenues
[ ] Deficit spending
[ ] Personal check
[ ] Credit card
[ ] Ransom money
[ ] Traveler's check
12. Occupation You Your Spouse
[ ] Homemaker
[ ] Sales/marketing
[ ] Revolutionary
[ ] Clerical
[ ] Mercenary
[ ] Tyrant
[ ] Middle management
[ ] Eccentric billionaire
[ ] Defense Minister/general
[ ] Retired
[ ] Student
13. To help us understand our customers' lifestyles, please indicate the interests and activities in which you and your spouse enjoy participating on a regular basis:
Activity/Interest You Your Spouse
[ ] Golf
[ ] Boating/sailing
[ ] Sabotage
[ ] Running/jogging
[ ] Propaganda/disinformation
[ ] De-stabilization/overthrow
[ ] Default on loans
[ ] Gardening
[ ] Crafts
[ ] Black market/smuggling
[ ] Collectibles/collections
[ ] Watching sports on TV
[ ] Wines
[ ] Interrogation/torture
[ ] Household pets
[ ] Crushing rebellions
[ ] Espionage/reconnaissance
[ ] Fashion clothing
[ ] Border disputes
[ ] Mutually Assured Destruction
Thanks for taking the time to fill out this questionnaire. Your answers will be used in market studies that will help McDonnell Douglas serve you better in the future--as well as allowing you to receive mailings and special offers from other companies, governments, extremist groups, and mysterious consortia.
Look at the picture, try to figure out what it represents, then look at the answer below the picture.
Jane Galt echoes Ted Kennedy's refrain from an old Democratic National Convention in this post. Excerpt:
What really chaps my ass, of course, is that if George Bush had been doing his job, checking the soil substrates under the levees, this never would have happened. We expected him to protect the country from disasters, and this is the one of the biggest disasters ever to hit the country. Yet where was George? Not taking soil cores, doing sonar analysis,or analysing soil samples in the lab--that much is clear. What the hell does he think we elected him for? Did he even make a cursory examination of the 17th street levee? I demand a special prosecutor to investigate why our president was not performing geological surveys of New Orleans in the days before hurricane struck.
Look at a picture, try to figure out what it represents, then look at the answer below the picture.
California has implemented a system that alerts citizens to any rumblings in the ground. It's a little unsettling, and therefore might not be safe for work, but here's a picture of the system in action.
In deference to Jerry Pournelle
OTB/Radley Balko link to a story of a woman who got tasered by the police for refusing to take a blood alcohol test. Here is a link to the video. I can't make out a lot of what's being said. Except for, of course, the woman's screams of "OH MY GOD!" as she's being tasered.
Hey Barney! Here's some free advice: knock it off. If you and partner can't handle a 100 lb. woman, find another line of work.
Update: James Joyner politely mentioned in the comments that I had linked to the wrong story. Whoops.
What follows is the ultimate stocking stuffer:
Jonah posted an email at the Corner that bears repeating. I'm including the whole thing in the hopes that more people will become aware of our booming economy.
Earlier this morning we learned that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in November, beating the expected mark and posting the highest number in four months. Over the past year nearly 2 million jobs have been created -- and nearly 4.5 million jobs have been added since May 2003, when the job market began its turnaround. The unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent -- below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. The Labor Department report shows that the American economy not only remains resilient in the face of two major hurricanes that did enormous damage to the Gulf Coast region but that, in fact, the economy continues to grow at a remarkable rate.
Today's job figure is not the only encouraging news on the economic front. Here are a few other recent economic data points that underscore that the American economy is a wonder of the modern world:
· The U.S. economy grew at a robust 4.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the best rate in more than a year. Economic growth has been remarkably steady and strong over the past two-and-a-half years -- and the economy has now grown 3.3 percent or more for 10 straight quarters.
· Gas prices have dropped 30 percent since September (from $3.07 per gallon to $2.15 per gallon).
· Inflation was lower than projected. The consumer price index rose at a 3.6 percent annual rate, and core inflation was at its lowest level in more than two years.
· Consumer spending increased 4.2 percent in the third quarter, beating the estimated mark and setting the fastest pace since the end of 2004.
· Business spending on equipment and software grew by a 10.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter.
· Sales of single family homes showed the biggest one-month gain in more than 12 years, increasing by 13 percent in October.
· Orders for durable goods showed the largest increase since June of 2000, increasing by 3.4 percent in October.
· Consumer confidence soared. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence rating increased by 13 points to 98.9 for November. The University of Michigan's Consumer Confidence index also rose, growing by 7 points.
· Yesterday the Dow Jones industrial average closed within 90 points of 11,000, a level the Dow hasn't hit since June 2001.
How can you possibly spin this as bad news? Hmm. Let's give it a try:
Repeat from last year. Don't say that I didn't warn you.
This, I loved:
Translation to follow upon request.
BTW, here is the Taylor series expansion for
the natural log Euler's constant. Behold:
Substitute "1" for x and there you have it.
Update: As someone else noticed, the series expansion is for the root used in the natural log: e, also know as Euler's number, Euler's constant(not the Euler-Mascheroni constant), or Napier's constant. Sorry for any confusion.
Time to rack up Dots
Please read the press release below.
Dec 2, 2005: Slingdot.com goes live!
SlingDot is a gaming community built around on-line casual gaming, chat, contests, cash and prizes. SlingDot features a Free Games section open to unlimited play for all gamers over the age of 12 and a members-only gaming area called the DotSpot. DotSpot membership is available Dec 15th and is only $4.95 a month or $29.95 a year. Full membership benefits include access to exclusive games, member contests, enhanced chat features, no advertising, and greater opportunities to win cash and prizes.
All levels of gamers earn Dots for their play. The better you are, the more you'll earn, and DotSpot members earn triple the Dots of free account players. Beginning Feb 1, 2005 Dots can be used to enter daily, weekly, and monthly drawings for cold hard cash. In coming months SlingDot will unveil many other benefits and personalization items that players can access using their Dots. And as the old saying goes - he who dies with the most Dots wins! How many Dots you got?
Dec 2 is a soft launch for the site with more features and games being added every day. Visit us, check the news area for upcoming additions, and share your thoughts with us. This is a gaming community, and the players will drive the look, feel, and feature set as this community grows. Our goal is to make your gaming experience the best it can be!
As a special introductory offer, all players get a 14 day free trial membership to the DotSpot, giving everyone access to the members-only games. Play them all, rack up Dots, and save them for the future.
FYI: I'm not an employee in this venture, own no stock in it and am not on the payroll.