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June 30, 2008

Devo Hates McDonalds


In April the fast food chain released a series of American Idol Happy Meal toys in the US based on a range of music genres, including Disco Dave, Country Clay, Rockin' Riley and Soulful Selma.

Devo's complaint relates to New Wave Nigel, a toy kitted out in an orange jumpsuit, pink shades, and Devo's "energy dome" hat.


"We are in the midst of suing them," Casale told AAP.

"This New Wave Nigel doll that they've created is just a complete Devo rip-off and the red hat is exactly the red hat that I designed, and it's copyrighted and trademarked.

"They didn't ask us anything. Plus, we don't like McDonald's, and we don't like American Idol, so we're doubly offended."

By min | June 30, 2008, 1:59 PM | Music| Link

Propagandist whiplash

Careful reading this one; your neck might snap due to the speed of Hannity's change in direction:

HANNITY: The news today brings a clear foreign policy victory for the Bush administration. But will the press report it that way? Joining us now for analysis, former ambassador to the U.N. and a Fox News contributor, John Bolton. What do you think this means?

BOLTON: I think it's actually a clear victory for North Korea. They gain enormous political legitimacy...In return, we get precious little. I think this is North Korea demonstrating again that they can out-negotiate the U.S. without raising a sweat.

HANNITY: Boy I tell you they've done it time and time again, and I'm sorta perplexed, Mr. Ambassador, to understand why we keep going back to the well knowing that they haven't kept the agreements in the past. Whatever happened to Reagan's "trust but verify"?

It's usually not worth pointing out the shamelessness of Fox News contributers, but that was particularly amusing.

By fnord12 | June 30, 2008, 11:47 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Seth MacFarlane Partners With Google

In September, Seth MacFarlane, creator of "Family Guy" on television, will unveil a carefully guarded new project called "Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade of Cartoon Comedy." Unlike "Family Guy," which is broadcast on Fox, this animation series will appear exclusively on the Internet.

The innovative part involves the distribution plan. Google will syndicate the program using its AdSense advertising system to thousands of Web sites that are predetermined to be gathering spots for MacFarlane's target audience, typically young men. Instead of placing a static ad on a Web page, Google will place a "Cavalcade" video clip.

Advertising will be incorporated into the clips in varying ways. In some cases, there will be "preroll" ads, which ask viewers to sit through a TV-style commercial before getting to the video. Some advertisers may opt for a banner to be placed at the bottom of the video clip or a simple "brought to you by" note at the beginning.

MacFarlane, who will receive a percentage of the ad revenue, has created a stable of new characters to star in the series, which will be served up in 50 two-minute episodes.


By min | June 30, 2008, 11:38 AM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (1) | Link

June 29, 2008

Barnacles, son, barnacles.

By fnord12 | June 29, 2008, 2:49 AM | Boooooks| Link

June 27, 2008

Still Grossed Out and Needing to Share

"Scratching is one of the sweetest gratifications of nature, and as ready at hand as any," Montaigne wrote. "But repentance follows too annoyingly close at its heels." For M., certainly, it did: the itching was so torturous, and the area so numb, that her scratching began to go through the skin. At a later office visit, her doctor found a silver-dollar-size patch of scalp where skin had been replaced by scab. M. tried bandaging her head, wearing caps to bed. But her fingernails would always find a way to her flesh, especially while she slept.

One morning, after she was awakened by her bedside alarm, she sat up and, she recalled, "this fluid came down my face, this greenish liquid." She pressed a square of gauze to her head and went to see her doctor again. M. showed the doctor the fluid on the dressing. The doctor looked closely at the wound. She shined a light on it and in M.'s eyes. Then she walked out of the room and called an ambulance. Only in the Emergency Department at Massachusetts General Hospital, after the doctors started swarming, and one told her she needed surgery now, did M. learn what had happened. She had scratched through her skull during the night--and all the way into her brain."


I'm so disturbed i can't read the whole article.

By min | June 27, 2008, 3:40 PM | Science| Link

Are You Listening, Food Advertisers?

"Consumers, especially those with a lower self-esteem, might be more susceptible to over-consumption when faced with images of death during the news or their favorite crime-scene investigation shows," the authors conclude.


Although, i don't know how true this is. There were a few times fnord was away on a business trip during the time period i was addicted to CSI and i still forgot to feed myself most nights. I guess death doesn't do it for me.

By min | June 27, 2008, 2:39 PM | Science | Comments (1) | Link

Nothing So Wrong As Fish With Feet

Ugh. I hate fish with feet (if you want to hear the legendary snake fish story, go ask my mom), i don't care if they're part of the evolutionary process of our ancestors getting out of the primordial goo. It's just gross.

In 2006 the situation changed dramatically with the discovery of an almost perfectly intermediate fish-tetrapod, Tiktaalik, but even so a gap remained between this animal and the earliest true tetrapods (animals with limbs rather than paired fins). Now, new fossils of the extremely primitive tetrapod Ventastega from the Devonian of Latvia cast light on this key phase of the transition.
The recontructions made by Professor Ahlberg and Assistant Professor Henning Blom together with British and Latvian colleagues show that Ventastega was more fish-like than any of its contemporaries, such as Acanthostega. The shape of its skull, and the pattern of teeth in its jaws, are neatly intermediate between those of Tiktaalik and Acanthostega.

"However, the shoulder girdle and pelvis are almost identical to those of Acanthostega, and the shoulder girdle is quite different from that of Tiktaalik (the pelvis of Tiktaalik is unknown), suggesting that the transformation from paired fins to limbs had already occurred. It appears that different parts of the body evolved at different speeds during the transition from water to land", says Per Ahlberg.


By min | June 27, 2008, 1:58 PM | Science| Link


By fnord12 | June 27, 2008, 1:55 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

June 26, 2008

It Wasn't a Bear, Robn

It was a ninja.

A report of a ninja sighting in the woods near the Robert L. Horbelt elementary School prompted a brief lockdown of the township's public schools before authorities realized the suspect in question was actually a camp counselor heading toward a costume party.

Shortly after 9 a.m., police received a call from a librarian at the local Ocean County Library branch on Burr Street reporting that a man dressed as a ninja, carrying a large sword, was running through the woods, Lt. Patrick Shaffery said. Police then initiated a lockdown of the five schools as a precaution, police said.

The lockdown -- which restricts movement in and out of school buildings -- was lifted by 9:30 a.m. after police learned the man in question was actually a camp counselor on his way to a costume-themed day at the Russell O. Brackman Middle School. The counselor, who was wearing a black karate gi and carrying a plastic sword, was running late and decided to take a shortcut through the woods, Shaffery said.

By min | June 26, 2008, 3:46 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (2) | Link


Customs officials in Xinjiang, which borders both countries, have seized more than 30 carpets containing some 50 kg (110 lb) of heroin in the last several months, the official China Daily said.

"The traffickers have become more sophisticated and are using new techniques," it paraphrased Wang Zhi, deputy director the General Administration of Customs' anti-smuggling bureau, as saying.

"Wang said traffickers first inject heroin into plastic tubes of 1-2 mm diameter and wrap them with colorful natural or synthetic fibers to make them look like yarn. They then weave them into the carpet along with normal yarn," the report said.

The new smuggling method was making detection harder as equipment normally used by customs' officers was not up to the task, the newspaper added.


By min | June 26, 2008, 2:15 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link


In a previous post i complained that Obama was not strenuously fighting the new FISA bill. I soon found out it was much worse than that; he is actually supporting it.


You can read the last 6 months of Glenn Greenwald if you want the details, but in a nutshell this bill, which contains some minor superficial tweaks to the previous version, is retroactively OK-ing all the secret wiretapping without a warrant that the Bush administration had been doing. When the primaries were first starting out, Obama said that he would support a filibuster on this (pre-tweaked) bill. Now he's supporting it.


I've been waiting a little to comment on it, hoping there was some twist or something, but there isn't. Other than this being a Sister Souljah moment as Obama runs to the middle for the general, i can't really fathom his change in position here. While he wasn't my first choice, i admired him for several things, one of which was his ability to take Republican spin points and turn them on their heads. The idea that this FISA bill is somehow keeping Americans secure is Orwellian bullshit, and i know that if Obama wanted to he could make that very clear, but instead he is actually embracing those talking points.

This is very disillusioning. It seems designed more to deliberately alienate the hardcore activist supporters than to pick up moderate voters, most of which probably aren't very aware of this issue. This is Obama's way of signaling that he's not one of us, and he doesn't need us (from his point of view, maybe, he's not beholden to this "special interest"); it's hard to interpret any other way.

If he were way behind in the polls or being relentlessly attacked in a serious way for being weak on security issues i could almost forgive a little pandering here, but he's ahead in the polls, and the 'inexperienced' line of attack seems to be bouncing right off of him, so i really don't see it. It has been noted that his performance so far in the general has been a little weak; i'm not sure if this is due to the fact that he is now being influenced by some of the clinton strategists now coming over to his side for the general, or just a basic stumbling as he shifts gears. Either way, it is looking like he, along with the other Democrats, who, you may remember, control both houses of Congress, are capitulating to the Bush administration on this and allowing this bill to pass. They are falling into the Kerry trap of letting the Republicans define the terms of debate, thinking that if they vote the way the Republicans want them to, they won't get attacked in the election. Of course, it never works out that way, does it? It just makes them look like cowards and bad strategists all at the same time (although in this case i still have no doubt that Obama will win this election, making this decision all the more bewildering).

For what it's worth, here's the honor roll...

Voting against Cloture

Biden (D-DE)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Dodd (D-CT)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feingold (D-WI)
Harkin (D-IA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Leahy (D-VT)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schumer (D-NY)
Wyden (D-OR)

Not Voting:

Byrd (D-WV)
Clinton (D-NY)
Kennedy (D-MA)
McCain (R-AZ)
Obama (D-IL)

Pleased to see my NJ Senators among the few are voted against it. Note that of the absentees, two are dealing with serious illnesses and the rest are (or recently were) presidential candidates who couldn't be bothered to get on the record.


Two more points-

1) This issue has split bloggers/commentators pretty heavily into those who are willing to support Obama no matter what and those who are pissed over the betrayal. The supporters belittle those who feel betrayed as "single issue voters" as if this is some minor side issue like saving spotted owls and not a fundamental constitutional question. Furthermore, this decision is indicitive of how Obama will act in general, so it goes beyond the single issue.

2) Despite my disgust on this, there aren't really a lot of other options. Ralph Nader is very unfortunately not making a good showing for himself in a number of ways this time around, i don't really know what the Greens are up to, and i certainly don't want McCain to become president. So i'm still supporting Obama, but any enthusiasm i had for it is pretty much gone. I've already re-distributed our monthly political contributions so that all of it goes to downticket progressive Dems and not to Obama (that's right, Obama! you're not getting my $7.14 a month any more! Take that!), but i'll still vote for the guy. Probably. And like Kos says, there's always 2010.

By fnord12 | June 26, 2008, 11:32 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Shit From An Old Notebook by the Minutemen

let the products sell themselves
fuck advertising, commercial psychology psychological methods to sell should be destroyed because of their own blind involvement in their own conditioned minds
the unit bonded together morals, ideals, awareness, progress
let yourself be heard!

By fnord12 | June 26, 2008, 8:55 AM | Music| Link

June 25, 2008

You Know What I Like?

I like Vikings.

By min | June 25, 2008, 3:14 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

iPod Car Stereo Review

So a while back the tape deck in our Jetta expired. We were using a cassette adaptor to play our iPods in the car. As a quick fix, we got a radio transmitter, but the poor quality and radio interference was intolerable. Considered getting another tape deck or stereo with a 1/4" audio input, but found that they now finally have iPod ready car stereos available for regular people (The last time i inquired about these, about 5 years ago or so, they looked at me like i had two heads, and then a little later they became available as manufacturer-installed options on high end cars).

So, we got one. It was the lowest end Pioneer model at Lee's Electronics. Got a decent deal because Lee always gives you a deal and it was the store model. Lee said that the higher end models were basically no different except for having funky screensavers (which, looking back on it, i should have inquired about more closely as they may have resolved some of my issues).


The good:

  • The sound quality is awesome. Awesome. It's supposedly got some kind of compensator that restores the quality of compressed files. And despite the fact that we've got what i thought were crappy speakers, the sound is just amazing. Actually, i have the presets on the most conservative setting because anything beyond that and it gets too boomy for our speakers, but still, very nice.
  • It knows to stop drawing power when the car is turned off. The problem with our previous chargers was that you had to go through like a 3 step process to get your ipod going every time you got in the car: plug in the charger, plug in the audio connection, and hit play. With this, you just turn your car on and the music starts. Just like in the mixtape days! And it's got a long cord so you can hide the ipod from the raving hoard of ipod thieves that lurk in every parking lot.

So that's the good, and it's very good. Unfortunately, there's also...

The bad...

  • The display is very limited. You can display either Artist Name, Album Name, or Song Name, and that's it. Only one. You have to hit a button to change it.
  • The scrolling is just stupid. I understand and appreciate scrolling for long names so that you can read the whole thing. But there is no reason to scroll if the full name fits on the screen. Take a short band name like U2 and you are more likely to look down and see nothing than the band name.
  • You lose a lot of iPod functionality. The iPod screen is replaced with Pioneer's logo, so you can't see album art, rate songs, or use any of the iPod navigational controls to move forward and backwards, select playlists, etc. You are stuck using the stereo's controls.
  • And believe me, these controls are awkward. Most of the controls are accessible using a joystick-like dial that requires an inward (like ducking in Halo) push. These are maneuvers that are very difficult to perform while driving. Basic functions, like skip and fast foward, are not easy to do with this joystick, especially when driving.
  • Compounding the control bottom is the choice of buttons that are available on the front of the stereo. Obviously, having buttons for common functions would make things much easier, but to give an example: there is a button to choose your sub-woofer configuration, but in order to pause a song, you have to push in on the joystick until the screen says "Function", scroll through the functions until you see the word "Pause", click right on the joystick and change the "Off" status to "On" by pushing in on the joystick. There's a "shuffle all" button, which i have accidentally pressed several times already, taking me out of my playlists and into a full iPod shuffle.
  • The stereo does also come with a remote control, and the controls using the remote are somewhat better, but it's a flat remote that one would expect to see included with a television or home stereo, not the type that attaches to your steering wheel or anything. Maybe i can rig it to stay attached to the sun visor or something...

Overall, it's like there was a team responsible for the important stuff, like making sure it sounded good, and then an interface team, who was responsible for making me very frustrated. I was really mad at it when i first got it, but i've come to accept the good things about it and deal with the rest. It also has a 1/4" aux input so i could always go that route if i get totally frustrated, but so far i've dealt with the iPod connection so it can't be that bad. It just seems like they took a good product and deliberately sabotaged it with some obvious mistakes.

By fnord12 | June 25, 2008, 1:30 PM | Music & My stupid life | Comments (3) | Link

June 19, 2008

When It's Time to Say "I'm an idiot" and Leave It at That

"My statement that Senator Obama 'may be terrorist-connected' was incorrect and I apologize for making it," former state Rep. Fred Hobbs said in a letter to fellow Democratic Executive Committee members.

Mr. Hobbs, a former Eagleville mayor, said his comments "did reflect questions I had after what I had seen reported on Fox News, but I should have taken some time to check the accuracy of what I saw on television before speaking publicly."


Although, i've always been a proponent that anything on tv must be true. Otherwise, it wouldnt' be on tv.

By min | June 19, 2008, 2:11 PM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (1) | Link

Obama & Telecom immunity

As the presidential candidate who will destroy McCain in November and whose coattails will help create a Democratic majority at the same time, all Obama had to do to stop the FISA telecom immunity was pick up the phone. Not only is he not doing that, but he is helping defend one of the main Democratic offenders against an anti-telecom immunity primary challenger.

It really is disillusioning to get behind a "centrist" candidate, i'll tell you what.

By fnord12 | June 19, 2008, 12:18 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Never about the oil

Puppet Iraqi government awards no-bid oil contracts to western oil corporations.

By fnord12 | June 19, 2008, 11:34 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Patterns by Simon & Garfunkel

The night sets softly
With the hush of falling leaves,
Casting shivering shadows
On the houses through the trees,
And the light from a street lamp
Paints a pattern on my wall,
Like the pieces of a puzzle
Or a child's uneven scrawl.

Up a narrow flight of stairs
In a narrow little room,
As I lie upon my bed
In the early evening gloom.
Impaled on my wall
My eyes can dimly see
The pattern of my life
And the puzzle that is me.

From the moment of my birth
To the instant of my death,
There are patterns I must follow
Just as I must breathe each breath.
Like a rat in a maze
The path before me lies,
And the pattern never alters
Until the rat dies.

And the pattern still remains
On the wall where darkness fell,
And it's fitting that it should,
For in darkness I must dwell.
Like the color of my skin,
Or the day that I grow old,
My life is made of patterns
That can scarcely be controlled.

By fnord12 | June 19, 2008, 8:40 AM | Music| Link

June 17, 2008

US military heavily dependant on private corporation


What would the U.S. military do without KBR, its largest logistical contractor?

That's not something the military ever wants to find out. The U.S. occupation of Iraq would collapse within days without KBR, which provides food, fuel, and potable water along with critical services ranging from complex engineering to cleaning out the port-o-potties.

And KBR knows it. A story on the front page of today's New York Times lays bare the leverage that KBR holds over the U.S. military.

The NYT article is about the guy who got fired because he wouldn't approve a shady fee to KBR, but the bigger picture (!) here is how our military could effectively be crippled if this company wanted to do so.

By fnord12 | June 17, 2008, 12:12 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 12, 2008

The Kings of Stealth

...and Vain does something!

By min | June 12, 2008, 12:54 AM | D&D | Comments (4) | Link

June 11, 2008

The internet is full of many strange things, some of them grammatical in nature.

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

By fnord12 | June 11, 2008, 10:21 AM | Ummm... Other?| Link

The Sweater Speech

No one wanted to hear it and they booted him the hell out of office and Reagan reversed all of his alternate energy research and conservation regulations.

That was a good idea!

By fnord12 | June 11, 2008, 9:25 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 10, 2008

Marvel Sales


By fnord12 | June 10, 2008, 12:03 PM | Comics| Link

Maybe technically not "building"

Are you building permanent bases in Iraq?


Are you building permanent bases in Iraq?


Are you building permanent bases in Iraq?


U.S. seeking 58 bases in Iraq, Shiite lawmakers say

Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed "status of forces" agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.
Other conditions sought by the United States include control over Iraqi air space up to 30,000 feet and immunity from prosecution for U.S. troops and private military contractors. The agreement would run indefinitely but be subject to cancellation with two years notice from either side, lawmakers said.

By fnord12 | June 10, 2008, 11:03 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Yep, that's what i'm implying.


"I'm curious how much [the Obama campaign] thought about this decision," said one Democratic lobbyist. "I take Obama at his word that he's serious about changing the culture of Washington. But he's also got to realize that right now, he's the Babe Ruth of politics. You've got a lot of other people out there who are AAA ballplayers; they don't have the ability to do what he's doing in terms of raising money and wowing crowds."

Another Democratic lobbyist said Obama's ban effectively tars everyone who can't live up to it. "Now you're implying that the House and Senate Democrats - and Republicans - are scumbags that take lobbyist money," the lobbyist fumed.

By fnord12 | June 10, 2008, 10:59 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Punisher War Journal #20 - Well, i guess fighting the Hand and (eventually?) going up against Domino, Silver Sable, and Contessa Valentina Allegro De La Fontaine falls loosely in the category of Punisher interacting more closely with the Marvel Universe, but this book still isn't going anywhere. I only wound up with this issue because i decided to stop getting it too late, but nothing here makes me regret my decision.

Iron Fist #15 - This was all Fraction on story but i enjoyed it as much as any other issue of Iron Fist in this series so now i can't say the book was only good because of Brubaker. Of course it's easier when you're dealing with newly introduced characters from the past and you can't be judged on previous characterizations, and the style and time period allows for a little more melodrama and stilted dialogue, but good is good and this was good. Now to figure out how to integrate this into my chronologically-ordered collection.

Ms. Marvel #27 - Well, at least we see where this is supposed to fit with the main Secret Invasion story. Ms. Marvel has been an on-the-cusp book for me, or at least i thought it was, but it turns out i don't really need it so i'm using the semi-resolution here as a dropping off point even though she hasn't rescued her boyfriend yet. You know what the problem is...? In launching this book from that issue of the New Avengers, Bendis took the approach that Carol had the revelation from House of M that she wasn't really 'being all that she could be' and she was going to make an effort to change that. You could argue that with the whole alcholism thing in Busiek's Avengers and Iron Man runs that she had basically hit a low point and it was time for her to reassert herself. But every time i peek into this book, she is failing big time. She keeps blowing it. At first you say OK, that's good, it gives her a place to improve from, but by issue #27 she is still screwing up and it's just wrong. This is a character that has been around and depicted as capable and powerful since the 70s. She was introduced, however awkwardly, as a feminist heroine, and to take that character and make her a perpetual incompetent is just wrong. That, and the writing isn't very good (excepting Machine Man). On the plus side, the art this issue (fill in?), by Andres Coelho, is much better that what is usually on this book, from three perspectives: 1) storytelling, 2) just plain looking good, and 3) lack of butt-floss shots.

Daredevil #107 - Yep, Brubaker knows what he's doing. After having us wallow in misery with DD for a whole bunch of issues, he's showing us the way back out.

X-Force #4 - Ok, every issue of this ends with me going "cool!", and the characterization is really good (the exploration of X-23 this issue was great), so now it's all about the payoff. Every awesome concept in the x-universe has been thrown into this book, and now it's time to see if we're actually reading some great new synthesis of an x-story (best option), a greatest hits album (perfectly acceptable option), or one of those cheesey medleys bands do in concerts where they play 1 minute snippets of all their old songs before getting to the music from their crappy new album (crappy option).

New Avengers #41 - I guess the "skrulls persepective" / "nick fury perspective" angles for New and Mighty Avengers aren't holding throughout the cross-over. This might as well have been part of the main story, but any way you look at it this is good stuff. Having just re-read the issues that this issue is dealing with, i have to say i'm really impressed with Bendis' planning (or ability to write set-ups and then come up with cohesive resolutions 40 issues later on the fly, but i think it's planning).

Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 - Seriously? Someone needs to have a talk with Joss Whedon. The man has a problem. He can not write a story without killing off a major character. He's a brilliant writer, and a geek's best friend, but he just keeps killing people. He's a psychopath.

Nova #14 - How awesome is Galactus? Huh?? Huh???!? He is awesome.

Secret Invasion #3 - Red herring. Has to be.


By fnord12 | June 10, 2008, 12:20 AM | Comics| Link

Lack of regulation hurts US economy

The entire South Korean cabinet, including the Prime Minister, has offered to resigned amid protests against the decision to lift the ban on importing US beef, which is suspected of being full of mad cow due to the fact that we don't really have health and safety standards over here. People are setting themselves on fire over this. There's a lot of angles to look at this from, but i think it's interesting that while Republicans talk about how regulation stifles the economy, in this case it's our lack of regulation that makes our beef uncompetitive in the global market.

By fnord12 | June 10, 2008, 12:20 AM | Liberal Outrage | Comments (3) | Link

People who did not predict the current economic crisis say it will be over soon

No critics or alternative voices are heard from. No one who did predict the current economic crisis is cited.

By fnord12 | June 10, 2008, 12:18 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 9, 2008

The questions that haunt my life

Why are some pistachios dyed red?

Until the mid-1970s, all pistachios sold in the United States were imported, mainly from the Middle East. The traditional growing and harvesting methods used by pistachio farmers in countries such as Iran, Syria, and Greece often left blemishes on the outer shell, which American importers would mask with a red vegetable dye. But with the growth of the domestic pistachio industry, the days of the red pistachio may be numbered. About 96 percent of the pistachios currently sold in the United States are grown in California. These nuts are harvested without blemishes, which makes the red dyes moot.


A small amount of pistachios are still dyed red for markets in which consumers have come to expect them to be that color and won't recognize naturally-colored pistachios--and possibly wouldn't buy them if they did.

By fnord12 | June 9, 2008, 3:40 PM | My stupid life| Link

Dean stays

It's traditional for candidates to replace the DNC structure once they get the nomination, but Obama is keeping Dean. Good.

By fnord12 | June 9, 2008, 11:15 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 6, 2008

Reverse Sterilisation?

They can do that??

China is sending medics to offer reverse sterilisation operations to parents who lost their only children in last month's quake, state media says.

The family planning authorities say the team will provide counselling, surgery and in-vitro fertilisation treatment.


"The team, comprised of experts on child-bearing, will conduct surgery in the quake-hit areas to provide technological support for those wanting to give birth to another."

What does it take to get certified as an expert in child-bearing? Does it require first hand experience?

By min | June 6, 2008, 3:15 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Cosplayers Are Creepy

By min | June 6, 2008, 1:45 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Tarako, Tarako

If you guessed that this was a commercial for a cod roe pasta sauce, you'd be absolutely right.

By min | June 6, 2008, 1:42 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

El Mariachi

Who knew it was actually a documentary.

With a plasma TV, a DVD player, $172,000 in cash, gym equipment, two refrigerators and a couple of guns, Genilson Lino da Silva had everything he needed for a luxurious life -- in his Brazilian prison cell.
"We will investigate if the leaders of the prison were conniving in this," Paulo Gomes, a state prosecutor, told reporters.

He said he was not surprised that kidnappings, murders, and drug trafficking were being directed from inside the jail. "The surprise was finding 280,000 reais ($172,000) inside a cell."

By min | June 6, 2008, 1:08 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

Explain the rules.

I'll teach you how to changes. You can change that if when you have 5 coins. You can do that over two coins. If they are tied lengthwise or crosswise. But not diagonally. Sorry. We say 'Change,' so. They will stay on a screen changing to another coins. If they are both 500-coin. The position of coin's appearance. It is changed in the light down side.

By fnord12 | June 6, 2008, 12:59 PM | Video Games| Link

June 5, 2008

Texas Snapshot

Add to the list of why you should stay out of Texas.

A family sued a justice of the peace Wednesday, complaining that he ordered a man to paddle his teenage stepdaughter in the courtroom and threatened to convict her of truancy if he didn't.
"The word 'club' could be fairly used as a substitute for the word 'paddle' here as it appears to be something which may have been cut from a (2-by-4) piece of lumber," attorney Mark Sossi wrote in the family's petition.

"The paddles provided by the judge are of such heft and weight that an individual striking an animal with one might be reasonably reported for cruelty to an animal," the family said.


The family alleges that Garza told Zurita to strike his 14-year-old stepdaughter repeatedly on the buttocks in open court. It says the judge told Zurita the girl would be fined $500 if she wasn't paddled.

Zurita said in an affidavit that he didn't feel as though he had a choice and that when he was done, the judge told him he had not struck the girl hard enough.

By min | June 5, 2008, 2:39 PM | Ummm... Other?| Link

The real reason

Reading a lot of post-mortems on the Hillary campaign, but it usually comes down to tactics and styles and blunders. All of those things are important, i'm sure, but the main reason, which is generally not discussed at all, is this (printed in Feb 07):

One of the most important decisions that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made about her bid for the presidency came late last year when she ended a debate in her camp over whether she should repudiate her 2002 vote authorizing military action in Iraq...antiwar anger has festered, and yesterday morning Mrs. Clinton rolled out a new response to those demanding contrition: She said she was willing to lose support from voters rather than make an apology she did not believe in.

"If the most important thing to any of you is choosing someone who did not cast that vote or has said his vote was a mistake, then there are others to choose from," Mrs. Clinton told an audience in Dover, N.H., in a veiled reference to two rivals for the nomination, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina.

Her decision not to apologize is regarded so seriously within her campaign that some advisers believe it will be remembered as a turning point in the race: either ultimately galvanizing voters against her (if she loses the nomination), or highlighting her resolve and her willingness to buck Democratic conventional wisdom (if she wins).

(While a lot of bloggers have commented on the lack of discussion of the war as a factor, my post is basically a paraphrase of Jonathan Schwarz's on This Modern World).

By fnord12 | June 5, 2008, 2:39 PM | Liberal Outrage| Link

Best GPS Device

For those of you who think your fancy shmancy GPS devices with the flat screen and the Mr T. voice is something to brag about, think again.

On June 3, engineers at iXs Research Corporation unveiled a robotic teddy bear designed to work as a talking car navigation system. The prototype robot stands 30 centimeters (1 ft) tall and has 6 joints in its arms and neck, which it uses to make gestures while providing spoken directions.

The robot bear is also equipped with functions to improve auto safety, such as an alcohol detection sensor embedded in its neck. If it smells booze, the robot confronts the driver, saying, "You haven't been drinking, have you?" Other sensors detect wreckless driving, so if the driver suddenly accelerates or slams on the brakes, the robot says, "Watch out!"

As a bonus feature, the robot bear provides information about nearby landmarks when you stroke its head.

The plan is to make it available next year. I want one. It's a robot teddy. I clearly want one.

By min | June 5, 2008, 2:18 PM | Science | Comments (3) | Link

First Plastics, Then Killer Robots

They made a self-replicating machine called RepRap and they're teaching it how to make more of itself. Couple this with Japan using robots in formerly human jobs because of the aging population and what do you get? The Matrix.

Check out all the stuff this one guy has made using his at home RepRap.

By min | June 5, 2008, 2:12 PM | Science| Link

Random Lyrics Thursday

Green Machine by Kyuss

I've got a war inside my head
It's got to set your soul free
I've got a wheel inside my head
A wheel of understanding
I'm a loadin', loadin' my war machine
I'm contributing to the system, the break down scheme
I'm a shuttin' down, I'm shuttin' down your greed for green
I am here to gun it down, I gotta do
I see pretty flowers at my feet
Cool breeze, clean air, hospitality
Pretty please, pretty please, pretty please
Get the hell away from me
I'm a loadin', loadin' my war machine
I'm contributing to the system, the break down scheme
I'm a shuttin' down, I'm shuttin' down your greed for green
I am here to gun it down, I gotta do
I've got a war inside my head
It's got to set your soul free
I've got a wheel inside my head
A wheel of understanding
I'm a loadin', loadin' my war machine
I'm contributing to the system, the break down scheme
I'm a shuttin' down, I'm shuttin' down your greed for green baby
I am here to gun it down, I gotta do

By fnord12 | June 5, 2008, 8:21 AM | Music | Comments (3) | Link

June 4, 2008

So, the Democratic Primary is Finally Over

But i have one nagging question still on my mind.


He opens bottles of beer with it!

Ferchrissakes. If you have to choose between the midget pirate and the non-midget, non-pirate, i think your choice is pretty clear. Friggin Oregon. Dropping the ball again.

By min | June 4, 2008, 11:51 AM | Liberal Outrage| Link

June 3, 2008


First off, San Francisco has an annual Masturbate-a-thon, which is completely weird and gross in itself.

Second, is there nothing the Japanese don't create some technological wonder for? There are at least 6 different models for this thing! And yes, note the size modification they are going to have to make before they market in the U.S.

By min | June 3, 2008, 2:00 PM | Ummm... Other? | Comments (4) | Link

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