Leslie's Omnibus

From The Rowdies In The Back Of The Bus

Because at this time of year you need a break from the stress of prepping for the holiday onslaught...

From Catfish:
USMC Best Joke of the Year

A Marine squad was marching north of Fallujah when they came upon an Iraqi terrorist who was badly injured and unconscious. On the opposite side of the road was an American Marine in a similar but less serious state. The Marine was conscious and alert and as first aid was given to both men, the squad leader asked the injured Marine what had happened.

The Marine reported, “I was heavily armed and moving north along the highway here, and coming south was a heavily armed insurgent. We saw each other and both took cover in the ditches along the road. I yelled to him that Saddam Hussein was a miserable, lowlife scum who got what he deserved. And he yelled back that Barack Obama is a lying, good-for-nothing, left wing Commie who isn't even an American. So I said that Osama Bin Laden dressed and acts like a frigid, mean-spirited lesbian! He retaliated by yelling, ‘Oh yeah? Well, so does Nancy Pelosi!.’ And there we were, in the middle of the road, shaking hands, when a truck hit us.”
And from my dear friend Mr. Bill, a warning:
A recent joint study conducted by the Department of Health and the Department of Motor Vehicles indicates that 23% of traffic accidents are alcohol related.

This means that the remaining 77% are caused by assholes who drink bottled water, Starbucks, soda, juice, energy drinks, and shit like that.

Therefore, beware of those who do not drink alcohol. They cause three times as many accidents.

This message is sent to you by someone who worries about your safety.
Happy Holidays!

Tootin' the Horn

The best bosses in the whole wide world strike again! I am a lucky, lucky person to work with such generous guys.

Quick Stop

Giggle of the Day:
These incidents are part of an apparent spree of baby Jesus statue swipings.
It made me laugh, anyway.

Quick Stop

I swear this is blasphemy:
America, let's be honest on this point: It is not so great to have pie. For decades now, this confection of fragile dough and chunky cooked fruit has been invading our dessert menus and national mythology, trying to persuade us of its honored standing among baked goods and the gods. Pie is delicious, we are told. Pie is an honest treat. Pie is what we call those who are dear to us ("sweetie pie") and those with a place in the nation's history ("American as"). In an age of gruesome culture wars, pie remains temperamentally Swiss, doing business with all quarters and reaping the rewards of broad acceptance.
You can have your cake and your cupcakes and your brownies and your cookies.

I. Like. Pie.

Raspberry, cherry, apple, pumpkin, banana cream, pecan, chess, vinegar, rhubarb, strawberry, blackberry, Key Lime, lemon meringue -- all of 'em. (Did I mention raspberry? I really, really love raspberry.) With homemade flaky and delicious crust, especially.

I love the contrast between sweet, tart and a bit of salt from the crust. The crunch of the fork through the crust. The layers of flavor and texture.

I love baking them. I love eating them. Plain. Ala mode. With country cream.

The best foods in the world are either messy to eat or use every pot and utensil in the kitchen to make. Who wants neat food, for cripes sake??? Yuck.

Nathan Heller is a Philistine. And has no taste buds. So there.

Update: 11 Irresistible Chocolate Pies -- yum!

Quick Stops

Karma kicks in:
A convicted felon chose the wrong victim when he tried to rob an MMA fighter Friday night on the Southwest Side and ended up with two black eyes and a gunshot wound to the ankle.
I laughed and laughed!

On the other hand, this news is a big old bummer:
Longtime WGN-720 AM Radio overnight co-hosts Steve King and Johnnie Putman are ending their 26-year run.

Their final show will air Friday.
Now where am I going to find cool new music? Steve and Johnnie have been a constant source of good stuff (and have been big cheerleaders of my friend Lisa McClowrey's for a long, long time)!

If I wasn't so darned happy with the way she's running Cook County, I'd be advocating for Toni Preckwinkle for President:
She’s publicly criticized Gov. Pat Quinn, battled with the sheriff over budget cuts and even taken a jab at President Barack Obama’s signature health-care plan.

Her critics, and even some of her fans, say the 64-year-old Toni Preckwinkle, president of Cook County Board, can be abrupt, even “autocratic” — a throwback to the iron-fist rule of the so-called machine Democrats that ruled the county for decades.

But feather-ruffling aside, Preckwinkle has managed to shepherd through two balanced budgets, advance a socially liberal agenda and even make a few power grabs — all with the support of the county board.

And she’s done it all in a year’s time, after taking office last Dec. 6 on a platform of reform and transparency following the ouster of past president Todd Stroger.
See what I mean?

Tootin' the Horn

Somewhere up in Heaven, Ron Santo is doing this:

Finally the Baseball Hall of Fame gets it right:
Oh, yesssssss! The guy who immortalized the “oh, nooooo’’ call when Brant Brown dropped that fly ball is heading to the Hall of Fame.

Ron Santo is joining Cub teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins in baseball’s Hall of Fame. He was elected by the Veteran’s Committee in so-called Golden Era (1947-72) balloting announced Monday morning.
The vote came almost a year to the day he died, and in a way it's too little, too late.


In the shock poll of the day, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has pulled into a statistical tie with Mitt Romney in the former Massachusetts governor’s backyard, New Hampshire.
Why is this a shocker?

Look -- fiscal conservatives are terrified that Romney will be the Republican candidate, based on his performance as governor of Massachusetts. To those of us who lean more to the center on social issues, Bachman is a loon. Sadly, Perry has repeatedly shot himself in the foot during debates. Cain is rapidly falling apart on his tax plan, foreign policy and the freak show of women accusing him of sexual harassment.

I'm not happy with any of these, but if I have to hold my nose when I pull the lever in the voting booth, I'm going to do it for the person who's least likely to harm the economy any more and most likely to do some good. And that simply is not Obama.

It's a pretty awful field of candidates when Palin's choice not to run is starting to look like a crying shame.

(And, FWIW, here's the guy I'd have been thrilled to back.)
“We had it put in his hand because that is what he came for,” said another son, Dr. Robert Hoshizaki.
Get out your hankies.

This sounds like a pretty cool gig, indeed:
Gigwalk, a free app for iPhone and coming for Android, pays users small fees to perform tasks for companies that need local eyes and ears on the ground. Microsoft Corp.'s Bing, for example, enlists Gigwalkers to photograph businesses for map listings. Navigation service TomTom uses Gigwalkers to verify turn restrictions or bridge heights. Several consumer packaged-goods companies send Gigwalkers to retailers to ensure their products are being displayed properly....

Most gigs pay as little as $4, but as Gigwalkers become more experienced, they accumulate "street cred" that enables them to access more challenging jobs, such as photographing hotels or testing mobile apps, that pay up to $95 a pop.
If you live in Chicago, South Florida, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Philadelphia or Seattle, you might just want to check it out.

I just don't understand people sometimes:
And if you think about what you would have done in a situation where you caught someone you love and respect in that position, is it really so obvious, as the chest thumping punditariat proclaims, that you would have leaped into the shower, beaten the snot out of him, and frog marched him to the police station after you rescued the kid? Really? You'd have done that to your father, your favorite uncle, your best friend, a beloved mentor?
Yes. I would.

I am appalled at this line of thinking:
I'm sure at some level they worry about other kids Grandpa might be touching--but they also worry about what would happen to Grandpa in jail, and the rest of his family in the court of public opinion.
Quite frankly, you'd do far better in the court of this public's opinion if you turned your perv of a Grandpa in to the authorities.

Can we stop making apologies for all of these people for their unwillingness to stand up for defenseless children? This just sickens me.

Quick Stop

Funniest headline of the week?

Cursing Christmas fairy fired



This just beggars belief:

As does this:


For those of you torn between the new Kindle Fire, which started shttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifhipping earlier this week, and the new Nook Tablet, due out Friday, here's another curveball:
"Although Amazon goes out of its way to hide all traces of vanilla Android from its new Kindle Fire tablet, it turns out tech-savvy users can still install select third-party Android applications outside the auspices of the Amazon Appstore. These apps include Amazon competitors, like Barnes & Noble’s Nook app for Android."
Which ever one you choose, I'm envious.
Shakira was right: Hips don't lie.

"If one would like to 'fake' a certain (positive) personality in order to attract women, this is probably doomed to fail," Fink said. "An individual's body movement pattern is characteristic and any attempt to fake it would result in less positive judgments of that person."
I knew that.

I've heard of blaming the dog, but blaming the door???
It appears the mind regards a doorway as something experts call an ‘event boundary’, signalling the end of one memory episode and the beginning of another.
And here I thought event boundaries had to do with party manners and social mores...

When it comes to Obamacare, keep in mind what Obama's new nominee has in mind for us:
The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open” — and, in progressive-speak, “The social budget is limited.” (Emphasis mine)
Oh, really? And how are all those folks on the public dole going to handle it when they get turned away from the emergency room for their cold and flu symptoms and free pregnancy tests?

It sucks being a fiscal conservative these days, because I really am not crazy about any of the Republican candidates at the moment. That being said, William A. Jacobson penned a thoughtful post on why Newt Gingrich may end up being the best choice right now.


A tip of the cap to Juan Cortez for giving bus drivers a good name! (And that he's from my own town makes it even sweeter.)

In the Chicago area we've had two little kids killed by TVs tipping over in the last week. If you've got little ones running around your house -- whether they're your own or somebody else's -- you need to read this. This is fixable, folks.

Speaking of little ones, this list of cringe-worthy things kids have said in public is hilarious... and not the same old stuff you've seen before!

Ah! This explains my frequent earworms!

Quick Stop

Giggle of the Day:

Forget Chelsea Handler. Why does Ross Matthews not have his own show yet? (I've loved him since his "Ross the Intern" days on the Tonight Show.)

Knock, Knock!

Is this thing on?

Yeah... I've been a bit distracted by other things lately. I'll try to be more regular, if only to let you know I'm off doing other stuff.

On a political note, I haven't found a candidate that I'm 100% behind yet. Between Cain's accusers (and I do believe in assuming he's innocent until proven guilty) and Perry's debate blundering, my concern that Romney is too far left for my taste and my skepticism that Gingrich is capable of sustaining it for the long haul... I'm just not ready to back a candidate at this point.

I saw my first snowflake of the season this morning. I'm not ready for Chicago winter weather.

I am aghast that Mike McQueary will be coaching the Nittany Lions this weekend. Of all the horrible questions I have about what happened at Penn State, why McQueary didn't: a) step in and stop Sandusky when he was caught in the act of raping a 10 year old; or, b) call 911 immediately -- local, not campus police is beyond me.

Why, when he called his father, didn't his father tell him to call the police immediately? And if his dad did tell him to call the police, why didn't he???

Why has he kept his mouth shut all this time?

I agree with John Kass and David Haugh -- I don't understand why McQueary wasn't shit-canned along with Paterno and Co.

I am sickened by the actions of the students who rioted in support of Paterno this morning.

Sadly, the whole story looks to be even worse than we thought.

When are we going to stop putting sports icons ahead of our moral and ethical duties?

Speaking of moral and ethical duties, handing out bonuses to the leadership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- and that leadership accepting those bonuses -- is beyond the pale. If I bungled my own job so badly, I wouldn't expect a reward, and neither should they.

Let them have bonuses when they've actually fixed something, first.

On a much happier note, it looks like a vaccine for breast cancer might just be one step closer to reality.

Faster, please.

Did you know it's National Adoption Month? Clearly this is a subject near and dear to my heart.

I've been reading Carrie Goldman's Portrait of an Adoption every day. I found one story that was very close to my own, and responded via the comments. Guess what? That young woman was finally able to bring her story out in the open and received the same kind of support that I experienced.

While I wish every adoption story could have an ending this happy, Ask Amy today has a letter from a sister who finds her younger sister's judgment wanting in deciding to place her child for adoption.

This is exactly why some of us kept and continue to keep our secrets to ourselves.

National Adoption Month -- it's not for sissies.

I'm kind of caught between wanting to get my hair colored right now because the roots are about 3/4 of an inch long and letting it grow out enough to chop the colored part off and just see what nature has to offer.

Thus, today's ear worm:


Who Has Time...

... to blog when I'm having scintillating email conversations about said failure to post like the following?

Subject: Dilatory and Derelict

Mike: Seriously, now. Twelve days?

Me: Play closing weekend, sick, family obligations and work up to my eyebrows. Pffffllllbbbbbbbttt!

Mike: You put that tongue away, missy!

Me: Yeah? Sez who?

Mike: (Every response I could think of, suppressed.)

Me: *neener neener neener*

Mike: That's it, young lady. Go to your room!

Me: Make me. Nyaah nyaah nyaah!

Mike: And no dinner, either.

Me: That's okay -- I still have my pillowcase full of Halloween candy hidden under my bed. (So there.)

There -- I posted! Are you happy now?

Book Your Ticket

October – 12/91

Skinny Legs and All, Tom Robbins[1]

Case Histories: A Novel, Kate Atkinson[2]

The Kinshield Legacy, K.C. May

The Wayfarer King, K.C. May[3]

Plugged: A Novel, Eoin Colfer[4]

Witches on Parole: Unlocked, Debora Geary[5]

Soulless, Gail Carriger

Heartless, Gail Carriger

Changeless, Gail Carriger

Blameless, Gail Carriger[6]

Stormfront (The Dresden Files, Book 1), Jim Butcher[7]

Starting from Happy, Patricia Marx[8]

[1] A blend of screwball comedy, deep philosophy and examination of the function of organized religion. Only Tom Robbins could pull this one off so beautifully.

[2] Take a raft of characters ala Maeve Binchy, throw in a couple of murders and stir in a plodding, morose beginning. Stick with it, though, because this book does get better. Still, don’t expect happy Binchy endings.

[3] Not bad fantasy fiction. The pair are a quick read.

[4] Tense, fast-paced and thoroughly satisfying.

[5] Geary’s Witches series is like potato chips – totally addicting.

[6] Speaking of addicting, I adored this series – Victorian costume drama, vampires, werewolves and ghosts with a dollop of steampunk and a healthy dash of humor.

[7] Yeah, it’s fantasy fiction month. Another pretty decent read.

[8] Entirely too hipster in content and style for me. Ugh.



While I find it amusing that the protest mob in New York is eating better than I am most of the time...
Hundreds of grimy protesters laying siege to Wall Street and stuffed into the now-smelly Zuccotti Park dine each night on gourmet meals prepared by a former hotel chef using only the finest organic ingredients.
...I can't find fault, because the food and the prep space is all donated.
Most of the produce, grass-fed meat and organic chicken is donated from small organic farms upstate, including Northland Sheep Dairy, West Haven Farm and Wide Awake Bakery in Ithaca, and several farms in Connecticut and Vermont.
As long as it's not on my nickel, why shouldn't they eat well?

In more Occupy Wall Street news, the protesters aren't much liking the whole involuntary redistribution of wealth concept when it's their stuff that's being seized:
Occupy Wall Street protesters said yesterday that packs of brazen crooks within their ranks have been robbing their fellow demonstrators blind, making off with pricey cameras, phones and laptops -- and even a hefty bundle of donated cash and food.

“Stealing is our biggest problem at the moment,” said Nan Terrie, 18, a kitchen and legal-team volunteer from Fort Lauderdale.

“I had my Mac stolen -- that was like $5,500. Every night, something else is gone. Last night, our entire [kitchen] budget for the day was stolen, so the first thing I had to do was . . . get the message out to our supporters that we needed food!”

Note that not one of these people sees the irony.

Giggle of the Day:

funny pictures - Occupy LOL Street: We Are the 99 Purrcent!
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Bumpy Ride

Oh, no! TOTUS got truck-napped:
A truck filled with President Obama's podiums and audio equipment was stolen in Henrico just days before his visit to Chesterfield.

We confirmed an investigation with the U.S. Defense Department. There are still a lot of questions. The biggest one being did the thieves intentionally target the President's truck or did they take advantage of a crime of opportunity and give a big "uh-oh" when they saw what was inside.

When you see President Obama speak, there is a pretty typical setup including the presidential seal on a podium, the see-thru Teleprompter and a portable sound system.

Thieves saw the truck carrying that equipment and couldn't resist the target.

And what does TOTUS himself have to say about all this?

I've been kidnapped, and if Big Guy thinks he can negotiate with these guys the same way he talks to the terrorists in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Egypt, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, the Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela and the House Republican Conference, he better think twice.

These guys talk a good game. Just last night, after Big Guy announced that he was re-submitting his rejected jobs bill, piece by piece, so that Republicans could understand it, one of my captors said, "Maybe we should send Him back his teleprompter piece by piece."

Frankly, given the lack of any good rhetoric lately from Big Guy, I'm not sure I want to go back. Republicans want to make America "dirtier"? Really? That's the best the speechwriters can come up with? Has Big Guy caught a whiff of what's down at Freedom Plaza near the White House or up on Wall Street? Now, that's dirty.
Stay tuned!



Why, ultimately, will Occupy Chicago not work?
“Are you here to occupy?” asks Tyler, 20, a young man from Tennessee with whimsical facial tattoos. I tell him no, I’m the media, and ask why he is here, standing in the rain.

“First of all, we’re changing things,” he says. “The people in this bank right here have to listen to the drums every day and have to see us every day, and sooner or later they’ll get real tired of it. We’re going to be here until something happens. Sooner or later, everybody’s going to get sick of it.”

No doubt, though when it comes to real change, I put my chips on “later.” I can’t see the economic order crumbling because those in power get tired of the drumming. Those who have in our society do not generally give up what they have unless forced, and when they do give, it’s symbolic — the bags of cash being handed out by the Federal Reserve at its lobby money museum are shredded, of course, and thus worthless. There is no free money.
Ah, yes! The bank will cease to do business, pack up its marbles and go home because the powers-that-be are sick of the drumming!

Then again, maybe this explains all behind that kind of magical thinking:

epic fail photos - Occupy FAIL Street

And then there's the brilliance of Occupy DC:
You could say they haven't harmed anyone here downtown, except that they have. In McPherson Square, where some two or three dozen of them have been camping out for the last week, they have already ruined a few newly sodded sections of the park.

The re-sodding of the park was completed this year as part of a $419,000 stimulus project to refurbish the square. The park, which is across from the Examiner Building in downtown D.C., was shut down for months during the project.

You could say they're stimulating the economy, because now taxpayers will have to cough up a few thousand more to fix the damage.
Wonderful strategy, eh?

Krauthammer sums it up beautifully:
To the villainy-of-the-rich theme emanating from Washington, a child is born: Occupy Wall Street. Starbucks-sipping, Levi's-clad, iPhone-clutching protesters denounce corporate America even as they weep for Steve Jobs, corporate titan, billionaire eight times over.

These indignant indolents saddled with their $50,000 student loans and English degrees have decided that their lack of gainful employment is rooted in the malice of the millionaires on whose homes they are now marching — to the applause of Democrats suffering acute tea party envy and now salivating at the energy these big-government anarchists will presumably give their cause.

Except that the real tea party actually had a program — less government, less regulation, less taxation, less debt. What's the Occupy Wall Street program? Eat the rich.

And then what? Haven't gotten that far.
Too right.

But maybe I was wrong about that free money thing after all:
Like many homeowners these days, Victor and Yvonne Delia stood to lose a lot — about $90,000 — when they sold their townhouse near Midway Airport five months ago.

Instead, the two retired Chicago police officers managed to walk away with a 23 percent profitthanks to property taxes collected from 61,145 of their fellow Southwest Side homeowners.
Ah! That's the Illinois way. And there's more:
Scanlan — a neighbor of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who helped enact the home-equity law — used the program to more than double his investment on the West Lawn bungalow at 6430 S. Keeler that he bought for $105,000 on Dec. 20, 2003.

He enrolled in the program and was given a guaranteed value of $263,000, according to an Aug. 31, 2005, appraisal.

He sold the home for $182,000 on Sept. 8, 2010, then got $81,000 more from the association on Sept. 20, 2010 — for a total of $263,000.

Scanlan moved to a two-story home in Burbank that he bought for $200,000.
And this:
The Suarezes bought their ranch house at 6221 S. Karlov in West Lawn for $135,000 on Sept. 22, 1998, enrolled in the program and were given a guaranteed value of $248,000, according to a March 2, 2005, appraisal.

They sold the house for $164,000 on April 8, 2011, then got $84,000 more from the association on April 20, 2011 — for a total of $248,000.

The Suarezes now live in a bilevel home they bought for $332,500 in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood.
The magic money machine strikes again. That is what you pay taxes for, isn't it?

Here's an article on how to fix some of the privacy issues with the new Facebook features. (If I hadn't just friended someone who I haven't seen or heard from in a very long time, I'd have deleted my page with this last round of changes. And I may do it yet. Ugh.)

This could almost turn me into a Katy Perry fan:



Just how gullible can some women be?
An 81-year-old man who posed as a doctor so he could con his way into women's homes and perform fake breast examinations has struck a plea deal with prosecutors, narrowly escaping spending the rest of his lief in prison.

Phillip Winikoff, from Coconut Creek, Florida, was accused of carrying out the pretence with a black doctor's bag in April 2006 at an apartment complex in Fort Lauderdale.

Two women are said to have fallen for his ruse and allowed him into their apartment.

The first victim, a 36-year-old, said once Winikoff was inside her apartment, he 'touched her breast'. She realised something was wrong when he moved his hand down into her pants and fondled her.

By the time the victim called 911, Winikoff had already found a second victim, the sheriff's office said.

Speaking of seriously, how has this managed to have gone unaddressed for so long?
Cook County Forest Preserve District workers soon will be getting e-mail addresses, performance reviews and clear descriptions of their jobs.
The lack of decent technology is bad enough, but the no performance reviews? No job descriptions? That's just plain nuts. (And that's government Chicago-style for you!)

For those of you that think Hillary Clinton running for Veep alongside Obama is a good idea, keep in mind her "good" judgment:
"I do not think it's even in the realm of possibility, and in large measure because I think Vice President Biden has done an amazingly good job."
That ranks right up there with, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job."

I've been beating the drum on this topic for years.
In the movies, you know the seemingly mismatched couple are really soulmates when they perform karaoke and both miraculously know the words to some obscure song. All their problems melt away, and confessions of undying love and marriage on the beach swiftly follow.

The inference is that once you find your soulmate, there are no rows and you will be unquestionably accepted for who you are. No wonder everyone wants one — particularly this generation, many of whom had a front-row seat for their parents’ divorce.

Obviously, we need to believe that something will save us from repeating our parents’ mistakes — so the idea that soulmates exist is very attractive. Sadly, it’s totally devoid of realism.
Did they listen to me? Noooooooooooooo. And nobody will pay any attention to this article, either.

Lest you think I lack a romantic soul, however, keep in mind that several of my close friends also thought I was nuts when I arranged for two crazy kids to meet back in 2007. In 2008, those same friends had to eat their words. And guess what?

(Click to embiggen, and check the left hand.)

Nanny-nanny boo-boo to you!

In Dreams

I woke up this morning with this song on and endless loop in my head, thanks to whatever the heck I was dreaming about:


Update: This may explain the hows of why a song ends up one of my infamous ear worms... but not the whys of any particular one pops up out of nowhere.

From my travels on Sunday:

More to follow.

What's going on with the U.S. military? Between this news...
"There’s no one in the Defense Department with his hand on the network switch. In fact, there is no one switch to speak of. The four branches of the U.S. armed forces each has a dedicated unit that, in theory, is supposed to handle cyber defense for the entire service. ... In practice, it’s not that simple."
... and this news...
"Specialist Chazray Clark was dying due to politics, and the Army and Air Force pilots are very angry about this. Chazray’s is not the only such case. Army medevac helicopters fall under the Medical Services Corps, who mark medevacs with red crosses. Officers will tell you face-to-face that the Medical Corps does not want to give up its helicopters because senior officers want their own helicopters to shuttle them from here to there."
... several heads in top brass should be rolling. Our troops deserve much, much better than this.

Speaking of heads rolling, our Veep's should, also:
In Flint, Michigan, Vice President Joe Biden suggested that more rapes and murders could occur if President Barack Obama's jobs bill is not passed.
That's just unconscionable.

If you're into photography at all, whether rank amateur or income-earning professional, you need to pay attention to this:
[S]ince the advent of Homeland Security and the heightened sense of vulnerability to terrorism, many LEOs have quote the 9/11 Law as reasons to ask photographers from making images in public places in completely legal venues. There is no such 9/11 Law that prevents a photographer from taking images. There are certain places where photography may be limited for national security (certain areas of military bases, certain areas of nuclear facilities) but trains, bridges and buildings are not on the list. But photographers have been arrested for taking images of all of these. Almost all the charges have eventually been dropped and some of the people are bringing suit for false arrest.
Go read the whole thing. That's just plain scary, folks.

When she say's "mind-blowing," she ain't just whistling Dixie.

When you break it down this way, those housekeeping chores don't look so daunting.

Giggle of the Day:

Funny Pictures - Historic LOLs After Dark: This is Not Good...
see more ICHC After Dark


How major media in the U.S. reports the Occupy Wall Street mess:
So enthused about promoting the far-left protests, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer on Monday night's World News championed “the Occupy Wall Street movement” by ludicrously claiming that “as of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries -- every continent but Antarctica.”
How they look at it across the pond:
A very privileged protest: Wearing $300 jeans and from some of the most exclusive schools, the children of the one per cent out for a good time at Occupy Wall Street
Which do you suppose is the more unbiased reporting?

A "rewind button" for blurry photos? Ooooo! Faster, please! (Yesterday, if I had my druthers.)

Currently unemployed? Read this article (with an admittedly depressing title), for some good food for thought about how you may be sabotaging your own prospects... and what you can do to change.

One of the things I love about fall is the return of squashes in great quantity in my local supermarket. This article not only has great descriptions of all the differing varieties, it also has some great recipes for a slow cooker soup and two different stuffed squashes. Yum!

I was glad that Chris Christie declined to join the current presidential race because I honestly believe that he should at least finish his first full term in office before running for something else. Now that he's come out for Romney, I'm really glad he's not running... because it would have been more of the same thing Mitt's known for.

Quote of the Day:
"If the candidates are smart, they'll make it be 5, 5, 5, 5, and more 5." -- Ann Althouse
Damn straight, Skippy.

Teach your children?
With every passing hour, the meeting between Chicago Public Schools officials and the Chicago Teachers Union to discuss longer school days appears less likely.

Last week, CTU President Karen Lewis had said she and her union officers were ready to talk about the district's controversial plan, but suggested union headquarters as a meeting location.

CPS countered by suggesting the two parties meet at a school that has chosen to add 90 minutes to its school day.

And since then, the talks have stalled.

This morning, schools CEO Jean-Claude Brizard suggested Brown Elementary as a meeting site.

CPS officials have not heard back from CTU, said district spokeswoman Becky Carroll. CTU spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said she too does not know if a meeting will take place today.
It's called compromise or neutral territory, people, and you ought to learn how to find it. Both sides ought to be ashamed of themselves for the example they are setting for the very students they purport to care so much for.


Giggle of the Day:

funny pictures - several of them, actually
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Weekend Rambles

When my pal the Norwegian from the North Woods comes for a visit, it's always a cultural whirlwind.

  • Lunch at Jimmy's
  • Drive into the city and park in the West Loop
  • Walk from West Wacker Drive to East Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue
  • Walk down 3 flights of stairs to riverwalk level
  • Attempt to take the Architectural Foundation 3 p.m. river tour
  • Are informed that the next tickets available are for 9:30 a.m. tomorrow
  • Walked back west along the river walk under the Michigan Avenue Bridge
  • Stumble across the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum
  • Develop buns of steel and thighs like Tina Turner by climbing to see all six levels of the bridgehouse museum, then climbing back down again
  • Cool drinks and fruit plate at O'Brien's Riverwalk Cafe
  • Up two flights of stairs to street level
  • Back east, cross the bridge north and down two flights of stairs to the Wendella boat dock
  • River and lakefront architectural tour
  • More buns/thighs workout -- up two flights of stairs, through the middle of the Wrigley Building towards Trump Tower, back down three flights of stairs
  • Take the Water Taxi to Chinatown (What a cool way to get there -- and cheap! $4/person to get from Michigan and the river to Chinatown. It would probably be close to $40 by taxi!)
  • Dinner at Lao Shanghai (Try the most excellent... everything. There isn't a bad choice on the menu.)
  • Red Line train to State & Lake
  • Shorter than usual forced march to the parking lot
  • Crazy GPS-directed trip home (if there was a long way to be found, it found it)
I love being a tourist in my own back yard-- especially with a good friend who is undaunted by my singular ability to drag him from pillar to post and back again.

Book Your Ticket

September – 11/79

Blind Faith, C.J. Lyons[1]

The Hypnotist, Lars Kepleri[2]

The Mill River Recluse, Darcie Chan[3]

A Hidden Witch, Debora Geary[4]

A Modern Witch, Debora Geary[5]

Mercury Swings, Robert Kroese[6]

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Bronte[7]

Kinflicks, Lisa Alther

Rick Perry and His Eggheads: Inside the Brainiest Political Operation in America, Sasha Issenberg[8]

The Second Coming, Walker Percy[9]

[1] Murder mystery with a better than average twist.

[2] If you liked The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, you’ll love this murder mystery/thriller.

[3] Just okay, with bog standard characters. With so many better books out there, don’t bother.

[4] This series is so much fun that I’ll probably end up reading them all. This is one you could share with your teenage daughter without a single blush, too.

[5] See what I told you?

[6] Short story falling between Mercury Falls and Mercury Rises, due out soon. Funny, funny, funny stuff.

[7] Who in the world came up with the cockamamie idea that this slog of a book is a romance novel? Miserable, selfish characters who continuously make bad choices. Ugh.

[8] Outtake from The Victory Lab.

[9] Classic Southern writing at its best.


Bus Fumes

Here's another dandy example of what's wrong with union work rules:
Robert Kelly, president of Amalgamated Transit Workers Union Local 308 representing motormen, said what Claypool calls “coffee time” is a 15-minute window to give motormen time to park sometimes a block away and get in the cab of a train before it’s scheduled to leave the station.

“If he wants to eliminate that, I’ve got no problem with that. But, that also means that train won’t go out at 8 a.m. It’s gonna mean huge service delays,” he said.
That's right -- Chicago transit workers get paid to park their vehicles and get to work on time.

More of the crazy?
  • Twenty-minute paid bathroom breaks for customer assistants with easy access to washrooms.
  • [L]imits on discipline built into union contracts that make it difficult to punish no-shows. For example, an employee can only be discharged for excessive absenteeism after seven occurrences while consecutive absent days are considered one occurrence.
  • Paying workers convicted of drunk driving to do nothing for 180 days while they appeal and attempt to get their driving privileges back.
  • Starting the clock on emergency overtime when employees get the phone call at home instead of when they arrive at work.
  • Paid holidays for birthdays and work anniversaries that guarantee bus drivers and motorman who chose to work on those days 2.5 times their normal hourly wage.
  • Forcing the CTA to run a normal schedule of buses and trains, even on slow days like the Friday after Thanksgiving and the week between Christmas and New Years, instead of “right-sizing” service to meet demand.
  • A “spread premium” that pays operators — who pick their shifts based on seniority — time-and-a-half for working more than 10.5 hours a day. They receive the extra pay even if they deliberately pick runs at the beginning and end of a day and take a 5.5-hour break in between.
  • A guaranteed, three hours’ pay for any work done outside a janitor’s normal hours, whether or not that janitor works more than eight hours in a given day.
It's amazing to me that union workers don't see any of this as a slap in the face of the rest of us working stiffs.

Bus Fumes

Well... fumes, anyway, and lots of them: Grau tops any of my own recent bizarre dreams, hands down.



Hank Williams... a smart-ass comment... and it seems I'm not the only one asking that question.

Molten Chocolate Cate with Maple Whipped Cream? Oooo.

In the news today:
If you're hoping for a reprieve from heavy snowfall in Chicago this winter, you may be out in the cold.

Meteorologists at AccuWeather.com predict that Chicago will get between 50 and 58 inches of snow this winter, on par with last winter's total of 57.9 inches.
Oh, goody. (I was afraid of that.)

Ear Worm of the Day:

Yes, Mike posted it first... but only because I planted the worm in his ear at about 6:00 a.m. today. I'm nice like that, you know.

Book Your Ticket

Got a Kindle? If so, Lendle.me is giving away one new Kindle Fire and one new Kindle Touch 3G. Sign up for Lendle.me using my referral code (QM5K9BIA) and I'm entered to win.

Then, send out invitations to all your own Kindle friends using your own new referral code and you not only get one contest entry for each friend who signs up, you'll also earn to free borrow requests for each as well.

I'm all for sharing!

Tootin' the Horn

Ambulance Driver has been Kilted to Kick Cancer... and he needs our help to beat his buddies by raising the most funds for prostate cancer research.

Ladies, hit the button here to donate, then send AD an email at ateupmedic3033-at-yahoo-dot-com to let him you donated and to know how much we appreciate his willingness to bare a manly calf for cancer research:

Gents, drop a brother a buck or two for having having the stindeens to take up this challenge and run with it!

Hump Day

Quote of the Day:
"I am in full nip denial." -- Nancy Grace

My take on DWTS this week?
  • My crystal ball for the Final 3 -- J.R. Martinez, Rikki Lake, Chynna Phillips
  • Much improved -- Nancy Grace, Rob Kardashian, Kristin Cavallari
  • Meh -- Hope Solo
  • Needs a medic, stat! Chaz Bono
  • Needs to quit horsing around in rehearsals and pay attention to the dances -- Carson Kressley, David Arquette
  • Won't miss her one little bit (buh-bye!) -- Elizabetta Canalis
  • Going home next week -- Chaz Bono, strictly based on his crunchy knees, not his heart or his efforts

The Kindle Fire debuted today, and it's a thing of beauty:

Now the question is, do I pre-order the 7" version, or wait for the larger model, which I understand will debut after Christmas? Decisions, decisions...

You remember that recent post about the critter that squicks me out in a major way? Well, it seems the freaking things have shown up in U.S. waters!
A six-year-old girl who went fishing in a Texas lake using a piece of a hot dog as bait got more than she bargained for when she landed her very first catch - a flesh-eating piranha.

Lindsey Schutte and her parents took the fish home in a bucket unaware of its true identity - until it sank its razor-edged teeth into her seven-year-old brother's hand when he tried to play with it.

(I'm guessing some idiot emptied his aquarium into the lake, never dreaming this might happen.)

Recycling on a very large scale?
It was designed to deter the red threat from the old Soviet Union, but now a Cold War-era missile has had the cobwebs brushed off to launch a U.S. military satellite.

The Peacekeeper, also known as an MX or intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), became part of America’s nuclear arsenal back in 1986 but was decommissioned in 2004.

Converted into a Minotaur IV rocket, it successfully blasted a Tactical Satellite-4 (TacSat-4) into space from a launchpad in Alaska.
How cool is that?

What happens when bad karma and fed up neighbors collide?
They want the next person to think twice before walking into their community and taking advantage of their friends.

“I think you give a message. You come to our neighborhood. You mess around. You are going to get taken out.”
Love it, love it, LOVE IT!


Everybody loves me today:
  • Mr. Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank of Nigeria, in concert with the UNITED NATIONS (his caps, not mine), wants to send me $250,000 -- because it's just laying around, you know.
  • gerderh51@wxr7eo458.homepage.t-online.de from the UNITED NATIONS sends me an email attachment to download. How special of him!
  • Joseph, from that same email address (no mention of the UNITED NATIONS, however), sends me another lovely email attachment, just in case I missed the first one.
  • Mrs. Agnes Mba of the Republic of Benin weaves a fascinating tale involving a dead husband, Burkina Faso, Tunisia, Mrs. Mba's decision not to remarry and her uncurable cancer. She wants me -- me -- to inherit 30% of the $18.2 million (USD!) that her husband left in his account in Benin so I can take care of the needy peoples. Praise God!

No offense, but if this procedure works and is cheap and easy, then why aren't we using it here, instead of more costly and less effective procedures?
The procedure, known as VIA/cryo for visualization of the cervix with acetic acid (vinegar) and treatment with cryotherapy, can be done by a nurse, and only one visit is needed to detect and kill an incipient cancer.

Thailand has gone further than any other nation in adopting it. More than 20 countries, including Ghana and Zimbabwe, have done pilot projects. But in Thailand, VIA/cryo is now routine in 29 of 75 provinces, and 500,000 of the 8 million women, ages 30 to 44, in the target population have been screened at least once.

Dr. Bandit Chumworathayi, a gynecologist at Khon Kaen University who helped run the first Thai study of VIA/cryo, explains that vinegar highlights the tumors because they have more DNA, and thus more protein and less water, than other tissue.

It reveals pre-tumors with more accuracy than a typical Pap smear. But it also has more false positives — spots that turn pale but are not malignant. As a result, some women get unnecessary cryotherapy.

But freezing is about 90 percent effective, and the main side effect is a burning sensation that fades in a day or two.

By contrast, biopsies, the old method, can cause bleeding.

“Some doctors resist” the cryotherapy approach, said Dr. Wachara Eamratsameekool, a gynecologist at rural Roi Et Hospital who helped pioneer the procedure. “They call it ‘poor care for poor people.’ This is a misunderstanding. It’s the most effective use of our resources.
More please, and faster.

(I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but I'd personally rather err on the safe side, and the side effects don't sound so bad to me.)

Okay, now I'm getting all tingly:
Amazon is holding a press conference this Wednesday where it's widely expected that the media giant will unveil a new colour Kindle that puts it on collision course with Apple - a device that could be half the price of iPad 2.
I'll probably wait for the bigger one, but at around $250, the smaller version is still really, really tempting.


My friend with the farookin' fabulous heada hair gets freaked out by alligators and crocodiles. Me?
Authorities in a state in Brazil's northeast are scrambling to take the fright and the bite off the beach after piranhas sunk their teeth into about 100 beachgoers, UOL Noticias reported.

The problem -- rather fearsome given piranhas' horror-movie teeth and ability to sink them into human flesh -- has been the biggest at the main beach area in Piaui state; authorities said they need to act fast to reduce a piranha overpopulation situation.

Last weekend, at least 100 bathers were treated at the hospital in Jose de Freitas not far from Terezina, Piaui's capital, after being bitten on the heels or toes at the local beach.

Ay caramba!

When I heard they'd signed Katherine Heigl to play Stephanie Plum, I knew One for the Money was going to be bad... but I had no idea it was going to be this bad:

Seriously, that's some of the worst casting since The Bridges of Madison County, which I also predicted would be awful, given the horrible miscasting of Eastwood and Streep.

Don't bother with the movie, but do get the book, which is hilarious.

Get your hankies out for the winners of the American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards.

Looks like TOTUS has been dragged out of mothballs and plugged back in. Huzzah!


Sez Who?
"There Is Nobody In This Country Who Got Rich On His Own"
Right. I wish Darling Daddy was still alive to hear that one. As it is, I imagine his urn is spinning like a top...

Liar, liar, pants on fire:
Commissioners Joan Patricia Murphy and Deborah Sims said Wednesday they never had any intention of abiding by a budget deal that called on most of the 23,000 county employees to take five floating furlough days and abide by five government shutdown days without pay this year.

Their fellow Democratic Commissioners William Beavers and Earlean Collins also have said in recent days that they’re not taking the time off without pay, calling the furlough and shutdown days illegal pay cuts....

The commissioners referred to the Illinois Constitution, which doesn’t allow for an increase or decrease in pay during the term of an elected leader serving in local government. That doesn’t prevent commissioners, who earn $85,000 annually, from voluntarily electing to give up some of their pay. [emphasis mine]
Pay attention, people. You elected these lying sacks of excrement. You can vote them out as well.

Simon Cowell is an idiot for swapping out Cheryl Cole, a staple of the UK version who mentored several winners of that show and who was quite charming on the first episode of the US version of The X Factor, for Nicole Scherzinger, who didn't bring nearly enough experience and backbone to the table.

He must not have any faith that those of us on this side of the pond can actually comprehend the King's English. Or have any taste whatsoever. Thanks a lot, Simon.

In Dreams

Okay, I'm seriously freaked out because this is the second night in a row my ex-husband has shown up in my dreams. I go years at a time not thinking about the guy (we've been divorced since 19809 (wishful thinking there for a moment...)), and all of a sudden he's in my head all night!

The night before last, I dreamed that we was back in New Hampshire and I was going back to work for the jerky lawyer I worked for many years ago. I knew it wouldn't work out, but was willing to take the job just so he could fire me. My line of thinking was that with the unemployment checks I could find a different place for the ex and I to live and to work out our problems.*


Last night, I dreamed we were somewhere in Texas with a very large tour group. Our hotel was near a inland lake fed by a river. Because the ex had (in the dream, anyway -- I don't know if he really does or not) COPD, he lagged behind everyone else, and we were constantly late for tours, meals, meetings. The final straw for me was missing another group meal and almost missing the tour bus for another tour, which I decided I didn't really want to go on anyway.

Hungry and peeved, I opted to skip the tour and go for a walk to find somewhere local to find something to eat. As I wandered, I climbed winding streets lined with elaborate Victorian brick homes in the hills above the town.

After a long stroll I came upon my grandson sitting naked on a lawn, and bent to pick him up. I knew I needed to get him back to the hotel, but I was totally turned around and couldn't find my way back. I figured out that I needed to keep the water from the river to my right at all times in order to eventually end up where we needed to be. I had to stop from time to time to amuse the grandson to keep him from crying. We came to a main highway where I could see the lake in the distance.

I suddenly realized that I had my cell phone in my purse and looked for a street sign so I could identify our location and call the ex for a ride back. I looked up, and there was a sign for a town called Querco.**

Then I woke up.

Two things -- I wander around a lot in my dreams... and I wish the ex would get out of my dreams.

*It should be noted that I've never collected unemployment compensation, and I've never, ever wanted to be fired. I have no idea where that came from.

**For what it's worth, there is a district called Querco. It's in Peru.

Update: Yikes! Last night he showed up in not one, but three different dreams, in the last of which I was trying to get away from him, hiding and he found me -- which led to me shrieking and yelling, "No, no, NO!" in my dream, which promptly woke me. I was terrified for a minute there that I might have actually talked (yelled) in my sleep.

I haven't had dreams quite this unsettling since the last time I was on the patch. I sure hope whatever it is that's rattling around the shadows of my psyche works itself out -- and soon.