Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

September 10, 2008

Lipstick and Pigs

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:03 am

So, apparently after Sarah Palin called herself a “hockey mom,” and joked that difference between a hockey mom and pit bull was “lipstick,” Barack Obama said, “If you p[ut lipstick on a pig, it’s still a pig.”

Not surprisingly, the McCain campaign demanded an apology.

So, Obama apologized — to the pig.


February 20, 2008

New from Cuba

Filed under: — Different River @ 11:36 am

Less than 24 hours after Fidel Castro’s resignation was announced, Hillary Clinton won the Havana primary with 98.65% of the vote.

January 24, 2008

“Judge sues over court mishap”

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:38 pm

A judge in Massachusetts is suing his own court for a knee injury sustained when he tripped on the courthouse steps.

Courthouses must have really high insurance rates, since there are lawyers hanging around them all the time. ;-)

It might be worth noting, in this context, that while in the U.S. judges are virtually always (former) lawyers, this is not true everywhere. In some countries, “lawyer” and “judge” are separate career tracks.

December 26, 2007

Goodbye, Borat!

Filed under: — Different River @ 3:10 pm

He had a good run….

Sacha Baron Cohen to shed Borat persona for good

Friday December 21 5:54 PM ET

British actor-comedian Sacha Baron Cohen says the time has come to shed forever his persona as Borat, the boorish, oversexed, TV journalist from Kazakhstan who became a surprise box office sensation last year.

In a rare interview as himself, Cohen told Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper he found it painful to abandon his Borat character, and another of his oddball alter egos, Ali G, but felt both had become too familiar to the public.

(Emphasis added.)

See, it wouldn’t work if too many people knew about it.

From the article in the Telegraph:

The intensely private comic actor readily admits he is more comfortable talking in the guise of the characters he has created, but unfortunately for him, both Ali G and Borat have had their day. Too many people know them and he reluctantly acknowledges that he can no longer retreat behind their personas.

“When I was being Ali G and Borat I was in character sometimes 14 hours a day and I came to love them, so admitting I am never going to play them again is quite a sad thing,” he said. “It is like saying goodbye to a loved one. It is hard, and the problem with success, although it’s fantastic, is that every new person who sees the Borat movie is one less person I ‘get’ with Borat again, so it’s a kind of self-defeating form, really.

This is “method acting” in the extreme.

December 20, 2007

Use a cellphone, Go to jail

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:50 pm

New guidelines from British prosecutors:

Motorists caught using a hand-held mobile phone while driving could be jailed for two years under tough new guidelines issued today by prosecutors.

At least they’re not being completely inconsistent:

Drivers who adjust sat-navs, tinker with MP3 music players such as iPods or send text messages at the wheel could also face prison sentences.

Or capricious:

Prosecutions will be brought if by using the equipment a motorist is judged to have posed a danger to other drivers, such as causing another car to swerve.

On the other hand, if you pose a danger to other drives by being stupid or incompetent or daydreaming, that’s perfectly OK. It’s only if you use a device to accomplish the distreaction that you risk jail.

But don’t worry, at least they won’t print your picture:

When a murderer escaped from a New Brunswick [Canada] prison on Thursday, officials refused to release his photograph, citing departmental privacy policy. … Under its privacy rules, a photo of a convict cannot be released unless the inmate gives permission and signs a release form …

Next time, make him sign the form before he escapes!

I am in the wrong business!

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:28 pm

Now I know why I’m not rich. It’s because I am not creative enough to have thought of this.

This guy is brilliant. Not for wanting to do this to someone, but for thinking of selling the service. Brilliant is a really wacko sort of way, of course.

December 6, 2007

Global Warming and Snow

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:21 am

The U.S. Senate has marked Washington, D.C.’s first snowstorm of the year by passing a bill aimed to prevent “global warming”:

Jeff Poor reports:

Nothing inspires taking on the “planetary emergency” of global warming like the first snow of the winter in Washington, D.C.

As two inches of snow accumulated outside the U.S. Capitol, the Senate’s Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee debated “historic” global warming legislation sponsored by Sens. John Warner (R.-Va.) and Joe Lieberman (I.-Conn.).

“We look around right now and see the snow on the trees – standing out here and say ‘Where is global warming when you need it?’” Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.) said to the Business & Media Institute.

The pending vote is seen as historic because “the Senate would impose for the first time a cap on greenhouse gas emissions.”

Of course, the fact that there is still snow proves that, “Despite ‘historic’ vote, groups say climate bill needs improvement.”


June 15, 2007

The 10 Worst Science Jobs

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:50 pm

If you thought liberal-arts jobs were bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

Check this out, from Popular Science magazine:

The Worst Jobs in Science 2007

Number 10: Whale-Feces Researcher

Number 9: Forensic Entomologist

“One day a local detective called me who knew I’d majored in
entomology in college and said, “Hey, Neal, we got a body at the
morgue with insects on it. You wanna give it a shot?” The corpse
turned out to be a guy I used to have breakfast with, and there were
maggots in his teeth. Then I found some in his eyes, and I thought,
“This is what I want to do. This is just way too cool.”

Number 7: Gravity Research Subject

Number 5: Coursework Carcass Preparer
They kill, pickle, and bottle the critters that school

Remember that first whiff of formaldehyde when the teacher brought out
the frogs in ninth-grade biology? Now imagine inhaling those fumes
eight hours a day, five days a week.

And I cannot even imagine, with all the endanagered species problems,
why this job exists:

Number 3: Elephant Vasectomist

November 2, 2006

The Troops’ Response to Kerry

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:24 am

I posted this as an update below, but I think it deserves a separate post.

Matt Drudge has this picture posted on his web site. I think this tells us what the troops think of all this:

The guys in the picture above are from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 34th Infantry Division (1/34th BCT), a unit of the Minnesota Army National Guard.

For the truth about how well-educated our troops are, see my previous post.

Heard on the radio: Kerry’s apology was, “I’m sorry all you people are too stupid to understand what I really meant.”

September 25, 2006

Killer Teddy Bear

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:17 pm

Strange, but apparently true:

Teddy Bear Kills 2,500 Fish In New Hampshire

Stuffed Toy Clogged Hatchery Drain

(CBS) MILFORD, N.H. A teddy bear dropped into a pool at a New Hampshire fish hatchery killed all 2,500 rainbow trout living in the pool.

Fish and Game Department hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the teddy bear, dressed in a yellow rain coat and hat, clogged a drain earlier this month at the Milford hatchery, blocking oxygen flow to the pool, and suffocating the fish.

Fawcett said the fish were worth a total of $1,232.50.

In a statement, Fawcett said “RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED.” He urged anybody who drops objects into a hatchery pool, to find an employee to remove it. “They might save your teddy bear, and keep it from becoming a killer,” he said.

Fawcett told the Concord Monitor that in the past, frogs and dead muskrats were known to block the drain, but this is the first time a teddy bear has killed hatchery fish.

Police are not involved.

Fawcett said the fish are raised for fisheries management, to provide a recreational fishing opportunity for people who purchase a fishing license.

Well, if police are not involved, then I guess the killer teddy bear is still at large. Be careful out there! Especially if you are a trout.

(Hat tip: Dave Barry.)

June 22, 2006

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:00 pm

For all you baseball fans who think you know better than your favorite team’s manager (and once upon a time this was me), here’s your chance:

The Schaumburg Flyers, a minor league baseball team in suburban Chicago has decided to let the wisdom of crowds determine its fate for the second half of the season. It will turn over to the fans decisions such as the lineup, fielding positions and pitching roster, in a project called Fan Club: Reality Baseball.

The idea is not entirely new to baseball either, as Bill Veeck, promoter extraordinaier and the owner of the White Sox, the Browns and the Indians at times in his career once had fans vote during Grandstand Managers Day at a St.Louis Browns game. The fans voted on the lineup and every major decision in the game. The Browns won too, one of their only 52 wins that year.

I read about that Browns game a long time ago, and wished I’d been there. What I want to know is how they decided what to vote on. Robert’s Rules of Order? (Imagine: “The fellow in the back moved we change pitchers. Do I hear a second?”)

June 20, 2006

Getting Revenge on Goldilocks

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:11 pm

Tribune News Service reports:

Bear enters house, feasts on oatmeal

Published June 20, 2006

WEST VANCOUVER, CANADA — It was a real-life version of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”– only in reverse — when a woman came home to find a young bear eating oatmeal in her kitchen.

The bear apparently entered through an open sliding glass door, broke a ceramic food container and started eating, West Vancouver police Sgt. Paul Skelton said.

“It sounds like a nursery rhyme, doesn’t it?” Skelton said. “At least we have a health-conscious bear on our hands.”

Three officers who went to the home Thursday couldn’t get the bear to budge, so they let it finish its meal.

“The bear didn’t appear to be aggressive and wasn’t destroying the house, so they just let it do what it was doing,” Skelton said. The bear finally left.

Too bad they didn’t report the name of the woman, or any comments she might have. I first heard the story of Goldilocks about 30 years ago, so it’s possible that by now she has grown up and lives in a house in West Vancouver with a sliding glass door. ;-)

(Hat tip: James Taranto.)

June 9, 2006

Stuck on Stupid

Filed under: — Different River @ 5:46 pm

Stealing a cellphone isn’t just illegal and immoral. It’s really, really stupid. Especially if it’s a cellphone that takes pictures and e-mails, and automatically uploads those pictures and e-mails to a server where the rightful owner can see them.

June 6, 2006

The Ice Cream Store in Hell

Filed under: — Different River @ 12:32 pm

The ice cream store in Hell is owned by John Colone, and is hosting a big party today because today’s date, June 6, 2006, can be written as “6-6-6.” The store is selling ice cream cones all day Tuesday for 66 cents, and

[S]ome of his neighbors will offer similar specials. Hell Creek Ranch, 10866 Cedar Lake Road in Putnam Township, for example, will offer $6.66 grounds, kayaking and canoeing rates. Colone’s business neighbor, Hell Country Store & Spirits, will offer $6.66 large pizzas, and the nearby Dam Site Inn will offer meals for $6.66.

I should probably add that this is all taking place in Hell, Michigan, which is a small town about 60 miles west of Detroit. Details are here and here.

Apparently, the origins of the name are shrouded in mystery:

Theory One goes like this: A pair of German travelers slid out of a curtained stagecoach one sunny summer afternoon, and one said to the other, “So schoene hell.” ‘Hell,’ in the German language, means bright and beautiful. Those who overheard the visitors’ comments had a bit of a laugh and shared the story with the other locals.

Sometime later, George Reeves, who, more than anyone else, was responsible for the origin of Hell, was asked just what he thought the town should be named. George reportedly replied, “I don’t care, you can name it Hell if you want to.” As the story goes, the name stuck and stuck fast. After some attempts to soften the effect of the name by suggesting they change it to Reevesville or Reeve’s Mills, he gave up on the whole thing and simply lived with it.

Theory Two [sic -- three, by my count --DR]. The area in which Hell exists is pretty low and swampy. And because it was a part of the Dexter Trail, which traced along the higher ground between Lansing and Dexter, Michigan, a formerly busy farm market and early railhead, traveling through the Hell area would have been wetter, darker, more convoluted, and certainly denser with mosquitoes than other legs of the journey. Further, river traders of old would have had to portage between the Huron and the Grand River systems somewhere around the present location of Hell. You can picture them pulling their canoes, heavy with provisions and beaver pelts, through the underbrush, muttering and swatting bugs as they fought to get to the banks of the next river.

For the record: The name is unofficial. The “town” is unincorporated, and from the point of view of the it’s part of the town of Pickney, MI 48169. (Here’s a Google Map of the ice cream store.) A history of Hell is at the Hell website, hell2u.com. Of course, since they are trying to attract tourists, it would be more appropriately named u2hell.com. Oh, well. (Or should that be, “Oh, Hell”?)

Apparently, tourists go there so they can say they’ve been to Hell and back — and of course, buy T-shirts and similar items attesting to that fact. Personally, I hope that if I ever happen to be there, it’s in the winter — so I can say, given the whether in Michigan, that I’ve experienced a cold day in Hell. ;-)

Seriously, though: In these times of conflict, it is worth noting that despite the role “Hell” plays in Christian theology, Christians seem to be taking this all in good humor. Can you imagine what the reaction would be if there residents of a small, unincorporated town in Saudi Arabia called their town by the name of a similar concept in Islam, and started selling souveniers to tourists mocking the name?

(Hint: Remember the cartoons. And of course, Salman Rushdie’s novel, The Satanic Verses.)

May 24, 2006

Horrible Headline

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:53 pm

The New York Post has this headline:


On which the indefatigable James Taranto commented:

“Don’t Worry, Mr. Gore, He’s Dead.”

May 4, 2006

Price Gouging

Filed under: — Different River @ 9:17 pm

Julian Sanchez repeats a version of this joke, which I rephrase slightly:

Three (former) business executives are in prison for “white-collar” crimes, and they are comparing stories.

The first one said, “I charged higher prices than my competitors, and I was found guilty of price gouging.”

The second one said, “I charged lower prices than my competitors, and I was found guilty of predatory pricing and unfair competition.”

The third prisoner said, “I charged the same prices as my competitors, and I was found guilty of price-fixing and collusion.”

March 16, 2006

Lawless Law

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:35 pm

Some names for things are just too funny. For example, there something called the Lawless Finance Workshop in Economics & Law.

As if a “Lawless” workshop in “Law” weren’t bad enough, the topics on the schedule include “Money Laundering,” “Illegal and Informal Credit Markets” (that is, loan sharking), “Corruption,” and “Insider Trading.”

The seminar is at a university in Italy. I wonder if the language barrier had anything to do with the odd name. I kind of doubt it, since most European academics have good English skills, at least in writing. Or maybe those things aren’t considered so “lawless” in Italy? There have been quite a few financial scandals in the government over the past few decades — many involving people still in office now. ;-)

The workshop was yesterday. I just got the ad for it today. It’s just as well.

March 7, 2006

Life Imitates Art: A Hitler Comedy from Israel?

Filed under: — Different River @ 1:58 pm

In the musical The Producers, these two guys make a musical comedy called “Springtime for Hitler.” It is supposed to flop. It succeeds. This is funny, because it would never happen this way in real life. No one would make a comedy about Hitler — right?

Wrong. Roger Boyes reports in The Times [of London]:

SWASTIKAS fluttered over Berlin yesterday, German soldiers raised stiff arms in the Hitler salute and hundreds of bedraggled spectators shouted approval as the Nazi leader delivered a faltering speech.

“My God,” said Benny Zimmerman, from St Louis, as he left Berlin Cathedral. “They’re back!”

Dani Levi, the Israeli director, has turned the German capital upside down in an attempt to recapture the atmosphere of Nazi Germany for a new comedy about Adolf Hitler.

… “The film is to be called Mein Führer,” a spokeswoman for Mr Levi said.

“It will be in the tradition of Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and Ernst Lubitsch’s To Be or Not To Be.”

The premise is that Hitler survived the war and wants to set the record straight.

The making of the film has given many the chance to perform illegal acts. “Where else in Germany can you shout ‘Heil Hitler’ at the top of your voice?” said one extra.

The film-makers had to gain the permission of Berlin City Council to display the swastikas. But the council failed to warn tourists and locals, who stared as the Nazis marched around. “I think it’s really tasteless, especially as it’s happening next to the cathedral,” said Gabi Metzler, from Bavaria, standing on the church steps to get a better view.

“It’s our first visit to Berlin,” said her friend, Gertrude. “Things seem to have changed much less than we had expected.”


March 5, 2006

A Clever Word Puzzle

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:06 am

Pat Sajak (yes, that Pat Sajak) has a blog. Normally, he posts about odd things in life, politics, interesting trivia — the sorts of things most bloggers post about. But now, he has a word puzzle, and since he’s rather famous for a type of word puzzle at which he makes his living, this has a little extra zing to it.

Here it is.

Hint: If you are Jewish, think “Ashrei.” Or any number of piyyutim, but not all of them.

March 2, 2006

Reverse Polish Notation

Filed under: — Different River @ 4:54 pm

If you are a math geek, you will find this to be hilarious. I did!

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