Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ensign Unravels

What happens in Vegas, makes a big mess all over.

Eat It

Robert Kenner is director and producer of the new film, “Food Inc.” From factory farms, genetically modified seeds, and meat production plants — Food Inc. attempts to show Americans the stories behind the food on their plates.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now. Host: Robin Young.

Willie's Week In Review

Traffic Barrel Monster

North Carolina State student Joseph Carnevale, the artist behind the Traffic Barrel Monster, has been arrested for stealing the barrels and "cutting and screwing them together to make a statue," a misdemeanor charge in North Carolina. The total cost of the damage has been estimated at $360 and a court case is scheduled for July 21st.

Technically a crime, but damned effective at keeping cars out of the construction zone... Heck, I'd hire him to make more.

From: Geekologie blog, June 13th.

Pro Palin Protestors

Reminiscent of the vitriloic crowds at her campaign rallies, they "defended" Palin's daughter by calling Letterman's son a bastard.

Don't they realize the same is true of the Governor's grandchild?

Clowns Without Borders

A group calling itself “Clowns Without Borders” travels the world to perform where regular circuses do not go.

Leah Abel, recently returned from Haiti, explains the group’s motto: “No Child Without a Smile.”

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, May 26th. Host: Robin Young.

Friday, June 19, 2009

In The Year 3000

The three remaining social networking websites from the early 2000's, Facebook, YouTube & Twitter will merge into a single site to be known as "You Twit Face."

Hammer Pants Dance

As part of an extensive digital promotional effort for its upcoming reality series Hammertime, A&E commissioned a group of 60 amateur dancers for a flash mob. The group entered a Los Angeles clothing store on Sunset Boulevard uniformed in gold baggy pants, and performed the artist’s unique set of horizontal moves to the tune of his 1990 hit “U Can't Touch This”-- all before a group of somewhat startled shoppers.


This UK commercial for Heinz shows holding an invisible glass bottle upside down while you pretend to slap the bottom of it is indeed the international sign for ketchup.

From: Ad Fereak blog.

Truck Nutz

It's so badass, it's got three! Count 'em three!

From:, June 16 th.

Scary Monsters

Among Joshua Hoffine's favorite subjects is recreating scenes of childhood fears. Like the monster under the bed.

Staged with real people, places and props, Photoshop remains largely unused. His current online portfolio is full of scary stuff.

Joshua Hoffine's site.

Poetry Man

Everyone knows Carl Sandburg, poet. But did you know he was also a singer and went to parties with Marilyn Monroe? A New Jersey man has the photos to prove it. He also owns a guitar that Sandburg once owned.

Ken Lelen is now selling that guitar and all the Sandburg material that comes with it. He talks about Carl Sandburg, the folk singer.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now, June 12th. Host: Robin Young.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Continuing Coverage

Taz, You Devil

Producer Jake Warga traveled to the Australian island of Tasmania to report on a strange disease affecting that most famous of residents.

Australia has seen more mammal extinctions than any other region of the globe.

Will You Still Need Him

Now that he's 67, and surgically upgraded?

A busy day & year:

1942 – Roger Ebert, American film reviewer
1942 – Thabo Mbeki, President of South Africa
1942 – Carl Radle, American bass guitarist (d. 1980)

And Then You Moved To Jersey

Badass Boo Boos

Conceptual artist and engineer Scott Amron took bandages to the next level -- sexy black leather. 3 packs go for $18.

From Annie Scott at

Situational Ethics

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Revolution Will Be Digitized

View From The Outside

It's safer in Fargo.

Iranian/Japanese-American journalist Roxana Saberi spent six years in Iran as a reporter.

She was arrested and jailed for four months this winter on charges of espionage, for having overstayed her visa.

She has a unique perspective on the crackdown against foreign journalists in Iran since last Friday's elections.

Audio: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World, June 16th - Host: Marco Werman

Penguin Population

With the changing contours of Anarctic ice shelves, scientists grew concerned that the continent's largest penguin species, Emperors, had lost significant breeding territories as the ice broke away.

British scientists, not content with data available from spotting colonies from ships or planes, turned to satellite photos. The large number of birds gathered together aren't really visible from space, but their poop is... Significant discolorations of Antartic ice from the concentration of thousands of birds is relatively easy to spot.

Audio: CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks, June 6th. Host: Bob McDonald.

Karma Is A Bitch

At the end of his 2nd term in the House, in 1998, John Ensign voted to impeach Bill Clinton because of the "Lewinsky Affair." So far, the Senator has refused all questions, but said he had no plans to resign his role in Republican leadership, or his Senate seat.

Ensign was forced out as chair of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the fourth highest office within his caucus, before 24 hours had elapsed.

Tetris Pots

In Geometry, these shapes are called tetrads... Figures built out of four equal sized squares. But over the past 25 years the've been better known as the shapes from Tetris.

Shown here as planters, the ceramic pots' design goes back to the Estonian Academy of Arts in Tallinn (2007).

Contributor: Stephanie Choplin - Nantes, France

End It, Already

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iran's Social Media Revolution

Extra:Guardian Council authorizes recount
after 7 protesters killed Monday.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech, Sunday, in which he piled on unacceptable preconditions which virtually guarantee no progress toward a so-called "two state" peace agreement.

Audio: NPR's Morning Edition
AP Photo: An Orthodox Jew walks past an extremist right wing group's poster depicting US President Barack Obama wearing the traditional headdress favored by the late Yasser Arafat in Jerusalem, Monday, June 15, 2009.

Wanted: Spine & Nads for Transplant

Buff Bikers

Queen - Bicycle Race

Jennifer's Standup Debut

Actress Jennifer Aniston joked about her love life and career during the Women in Film awards Friday night, June 12th, in Los Angeles.

Monday, June 15, 2009


From the September 11th Gallery at
The second Sunday in June is set aside to remember firefighters. This year, it fell on Flag Day.

We remember.

Do the Right Thing

Is It Ever Wrong to Do the Right Thing?

That's the question residents of New York Mills, MN asked in this year’s "Great American Think-Off” philosophy competition, whose final four debaters made their cases Saturday night (June 13th). John Pollock, a civil rights attorney from Montgomery, Alabama won the gold medal.

Mr. Pollock asserted that intentionality is more important than the perceived end in determining if an action is good or bad. Arguing that we all must acknowledge that it is sometimes right to do the wrong thing, for example to lie to protect a higher good, he effectively proposed to the audience that the basis of what is right should not be placed on result primarily. He gave the example of a bank robber whose goal was simply to rob a bank but who caused the death of an elderly patron from a heart attack in the process. Within our social contract, Mr. Pollock argued, that bank robber will be charged with murder even though that was clearly not his goal.

Unintended consequences from our belief that we are doing the right thing, Mr. Pollock proposed, can lead to greater evil than we can foresee before any action. In the end, the audience agreed with Pollock’s understanding that what is right, at least in America, is understood to be an evolving set of ideas, not a static set of principles that never changes.

From: Great American Think-Off website.

Kids Version (NOT!)

A parody of "Do the Right Thing" with Fisher-Price Sesame Street toys. (NSFW PG-13 Language)

Say What?

Consult the Dictionary of American Regional English, a multivolume effort to capture regional expressions... the things we say that always sound funny to everyone from somewhere else.

Linguist Frederic Cassidy was so committed to the DARE project that he continued to champion it after death. His tombstone reads, "On to Z!"

After five decades of research, "S to Z" of the DARE will be published next year.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, June 14th. Host: Liane Hansen.


This cemetary gate in Boston is among the images posted as part of "Monochrome Monday." A Google search for the term yields over 442,000 items from participating bloggers.

Photo: Clueless in Boston blog


In Las Vegas, the School District owns the public television station.

Last night, the genial retired TV weatherman who reads their community calendar announcements promoted a science workshop in which kids would be taught how to make their own "chia pets."

Learning... Las Vegas style.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


With the possible exception of "perfect game," there is no two word expression any more exciting than "game seven."

This year's NHL Stanley Cup playoffs proved the point, as the extraordinary, acrobatic Marc-Andre Fleury hoisted the Stanley Cup overhead after defeating Detroit, 2-1, Friday.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, June 13th. Host: Scott Simon


Several hours before the polls closed, the election was called for the incumbent by a landslide. Former Giuliani campaign manager Mike Murphy said that was the equivalent of calling an entire American election on the basis of the handful who vote at midnight in the single precinct at Dixville Notch, New Hampshire.

Conservative talk show host and author Joe Scarborough told MSNBC's Alex Witt the results are automatic once the mullahs cast their list of allowable candidates.

The call came far too soon for any results from Iranians abroad, voting in over 300 foreign locations.

People who flooded the streets of Tehran wearing the colors of the opposition in the days before the election turned out in such vast quantities that polling hours had to be extended up to six hours beyond scheduled closing time... Ten hours after the results were declared.

More than half of Iran's current population wasn't alive for Ayatollah Khomeni's Islamic Revolution. And today they're smelling fish..

Your Cash Ain't Nothin' But Trash

When the South lost the Civil War, Confederate money became worthless as Reconstruction governments refused to honor any paper money issued by a state when it wasn’t a part of the United States.

About 40 boxes of the currency,supposed to be destroyed more than a century ago, were found stashed in South Carolina's State House basement and eventually moved to the state archives, where they sat for four more decades and only recently did officials realize they could cash in... on E-Bay.

A South Carolina $4 bill recently sold for $400.

Article: The State (Columbia, SC), June 5th.
Contributor: Ruth Fortini in Charleston, SC

Future Farmers of America

Whatever Works

Larry David (NY Post photo)Would you buy the idea of Larry David — co-creator of Seinfeld and the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm — playing a potential Nobel Prize nominee.

OK, let's add to the premise... Somehow, David's physics professor character earns the devotion of a beautiful young woman (Evan Rachel Wood) who has relocated to New York from Mississippi.

Only in the fantasy world of some diminutive schlub, you say. Well, almost any kind of plot can get the green light when Woody Allen is the writer/director.

Audio: NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday, June 13th. Host: Scott Simon

Build A Better Bootstrap

In an appearance on Bill Moyers' Journal, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, author of "Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy, and Everyday Life," lamented that economic expansion over the past few decades bypassed the U.S. middle class:

“The fact of the matter is that, as late as 1980, the top 1 percent by income in the United States had about nine percent of total national income. But since then, you’ve had increasing concentration of income and wealth to the point that by 2007 the top 1 percent was taking home 21 percent of total national income."

That prompted a well-reasoned post from an Ohio conservative who said in part:

We have to start defining economic poverty as the inability of individuals to create sufficient value for themselves and for others.

Every attempt to define poverty as a condition of income or asset level is only describing symptoms and does not lead to a comprehensive focus on the causes of poverty. Defining poverty as a condition leads to the erroneous concepts of victimization and helplessness and long term entitlements. By defining economic poverty as an individual inability we can strive to improve the four capabilities that are essential for individuals to spontaneously create value: motivation, knowledge, enterprise, and health...

No one has all of the answers and care must be given to avoid unintended consequences. But moving forward in the direction of enabling individuals to create more value will have astounding results over the next several generations.

It's worth reading the whole thing at Moyers' blog.