Friday, June 06, 2008

And the rich get richer....
I think the headline on this story says it all: Indicted Saudi Gets $80 Million US Contract - The Financier has been indicted for his alleged role in a scandal costing US taxpayers $1.7.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

In praise of history
So every year I subscribe to a new and different magazine. With the exception of National Geographic, which is eternal, most only last a year. This year my new subscription is to the British-based BBC History Magazine.

My first issue (for May) arrived yesterday and I'm loving it. It's total popularist history candy. It's the Peanut M&Ms of history. Both scholarly and accessible, it seems to cover both serious history (a look at the early years of Israel) and campy-consumerist history (a cover story on Jack the Ripper). All with that deliciously dry sense of British humor.

My favorite discovery from this issue is one I can see sucking up many random hours. The Old Bailey Online contains the proceedings from England's most famous court. They date back to 1674 and go up to 1913. Totally fascinating!

So, what random magazines do you subscribe to? I'm always looking to expand my interests. (Except, of course, for anything Martha Stewart-related. Yes, I'm talking to you, Dear Foreigner.)
Hey, where'd everybody go?
When the Rapture comes (and don't we all know that it will?) there's a start-up that will send e-mails to your less saved loved ones (OK, sinners) letting them know what happened to you. For just $40 a year the bluntly-namedYou' This link goes to the story about the site since I absolutely refuse to link to someplace called You've Been Left Behind.) will send up to 62 (Why 62? Why not 666?) notices of your early departure into eternity.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

5 Principles for guarding maiden chastity
From Weird Asian News comes this Chinese guide to maintaining one's virginity. My favorite line is: "One must not wander around late night looking for exposed males."

Excellent advice.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Random, illness-addled thoughts
The hub of cultural diversity must be Corvallis, Oregon.

And in the "whose bright idea was this?" category comes this story of how the Fort Benning, GA, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Clinic is just down the road from the firing range. Seems it upsets the patients. Um....duh.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia. A woman on trial for bribing a prosecutor tried to get on the good side of the court by bringing doughnuts to the courtroom. Remember Dan White's "Twinkee defense?"

The crime of passion is older than we think. According to this report ancient man may have killed rivals for the women in the tribe.

From the London Times, the ten weirdest exam questions. I like the one where students had to analyze Bee Gee lyrics.

Back in my world, when we took Cipher (The World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) to the vet last week he had to shave a bit of her fur just under her chin to draw some blood. It's the saddest thing. I swear I see that little bald patch and just want to give her a hug. Mind you, she doesn't seem to mind. But I do. (She's still not herself, though. She was zarfing yesterday -- as was I. Poor Husband was overwhelmed with sick females.)
Now with improved readability
When the history of the English language is perused, our lifetime will be known for crap. Words that mean nothing. Phrases that mean nothing.

The other day I saw a beer commercial that claimed the product had "superb drinkability." What the fuck is that? A beer that can be consumed, now that's an innovative concept. As opposed to what? All those other beers that turn to concrete in the mouth, cutting off the airways and necessitating a visit from the EMTs? Drinkability? What does that actually mean?

Adding "ability" to words is one of the fake word constructs that just busts my bloomers. Imagine if this catches on. "Gosh, Mrs. Jones, your pot roast sure has eatability!" "I love this new soap, it has such an abundance of cleanability." "I can't wait to crawl into bed, I'm just full of sleepability." These words mean absolutely nothing! If you want to say your beer tastes good, say "our beer taste good." But drinkability?

Almost as bad is the way "marketing speak" has taken over American society. It's gotten to the point that nonsense phrases that mean absolutely nothing have become so common we don't even notice them anymore. Here's a tip....when you see any sentence that begins with the word "enabling" you don't need to read that sentence because it will make no sense. "Enabling enterprise-class business solutions." Does anyone really know what that means? I saw one catch phrase (I forget the product) that boasted grandly "enabling tomorrow." Oh, really? Tomorrow will happen because of you? The sun will rise because of your geeky software/car with back-lit cup holders/investment package?

What happened to clarity? To words that mean something and phrases that make sense? I tell you, I weep for us.

Monday, June 02, 2008

The zarf patrol lives again!
What a surprise! I'm sick again. Not ER bad (thank goodness) but bad enough that last night was pretty miserable. Poor Husband is overwhelmed with zarfing females. Cipher (the World's Most Amazing Cat, Screw You if You Don't Agree tm) started throwing up again this morning. She was OK Saturday and Sunday, but this morning wasn't good. Thankfully we've both stopped with the zarfing, but neither of us is really fine. We've spent the day in bed like two miserable sick critters. Occasionally taking turns to show affection to the other. A pet here. A lick on the hand there. But for the most part, two separate lumps of unhappy.

Amid this pathetic display of human/feline digestion poor Husband had to get up and head out to the bad place. Leaving his girls to murmur thinly, "have a good day. We love you." My only non-bed act of the day (aside from typing this) has been to watch the season finale of The Tudors. Let me ruin the ending for you, Anne Boleyn gets her head cut off. I'm not sure why anyone wanted to marry him in the first place.

Back to bed...