|Courtesy Bobby G.|
ITEM: I was listening to John Denver's Calypso this afternoon, and it came to me why there were so many people on this planet clambering over themselves to be "items" on this feature. You see, back in my day, we had shows that were not only interesting, but taught us. Shows like the one that inspired the song, The Undersea World Of Jacques Costeau.
Or Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, with Marlin Perkins.
Or Daktari, with a real picture of life in Africa.
Or Discovery, with Hugh Downs and Barbara Walters, and stories from around the world. I still remember their trip to the Dead Sea.
Or Make A Wish, that came on right after.
Or You Are There, with Walter Cronkite taking you back in history.
Or the short In The News segments with Christopher Glenn at the top of the hour on Saturday morning.
Or SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK.
Even the little kids' shows- Sesame Street, Captain Kangaroo, Romper Room- were better back then. I learned a hell of a lot more science from Discovery talking to me like I was intelligent than I would have from Bill Nye making a circus of things.
Nowdays, we don't want to be treated like adults. We'd rather be treated like a kid on Barney- "It's okay if you don't know beans, because I love you."
So, with a heavy sigh and the Discovery theme playing in the back of my mind, here's this week's examples of what we've lost.
ITEM: Woodstock, IL- a clerk at a rural Shell gas station watched for hours as customers lined up down the street blocking traffic, and never figured out WHY they were lined up, until police came in and said, "Are you aware your pumps are selling gas for A PENNY A GALLON?" And had been for about two hours. The police had to hit the emergency shut off to end the parade before the road became a parking lot and the fuel pumps were emptied. No word as yet whether the clerk suddenly found herself with a lot more time to text and play angry birds after the incident.
ITEM: Two math majors at Reed College in Portland, OR, failed to calculate the effects of gravity on an 800-lb snowball they had built- or how many thousands of dollars it would cost them when said snowball obeyed the law of gravity that they ignored and rolled into a dorm building, smashing in a bedroom wall. Fortunately, no one was hurt for their lack of figuring.
ITEM: Attention, global warming fans- especially our SecState John "Horse-Face" Kerry. George Will actually had some intelligent things to say on the subject. Please, pay attention, Mr. Secretary, I really don't have time to do this with crayons on Paint so that you can understand:
“I am one of those who are called ‘deniers,’” Will said. “The imputation is that I deny climate change. It’d be impossible to state with greater precision the opposite of my view, which is of course the climate is changing. It’s always changing.”
“When a politician, on a subject implicating science,” he continued, “says, ‘the debate is over,’ you may be sure of two things; the debate is raging and he’s losing it.”
Will added that the debate presently underway is over “how much wealth are we going to forego creating” to have “zero discernable impact on the environment.”
Will one, Kerry nothing.
ITEM: Dutch Speedskating coach Jillert Anema blames football for the US of A being a lesser light in speedskating.
"You have a lot of attention for foolish sport, like American football," Anema told CNBC on Friday. "You waste a lot of talent, athletic talent, in a sport where it's meant to kill each other, to injure each other.
"... (The U.S.) is so narrow-minded, and you waste a lot of good talent in a sport that sucks."
In his favor, the Dutch won 21 medals to the US of A's one in speedskating. He went on to say,
"I think that the gold medal in speedskating is just as valuable as the gold medal in basketball, and we won 22.
"You'll never win 22 in basketball."
He learned his math, apparently, at Reed College, since there are 12 events and therefore 36 medal chances in speedskating and just one event and three chances in basketball. Apparently quantity over quality is his watchword. Here's mine to him:
ITEM: In Japan, gun control took yet another hit as a man drove up on the sidewalk in order to mow down pedestrians.
“I tried to kill people with the car,” Ryota Onogi, 30, was quoted as telling investigators after he was apprehended. He rode the sidewalk for about 115 feet before he nailed a tree head on and was immediately taken by police.
Fortunately, his aim wasn't as true as he hoped; a broken hip was the worst of the 13 injuries suffered in the rampage. The other 12 victims had minor injuries from the 22-25 mph rampage. Onogi had just rented the car down the street about 15 minutes before. Later, it was learned that his dad was a local police superintendent. No word on whether japan will take steps to ban Subarus, or do a better job enforcing the laws restricting vehicular travel on sidewalks.
ITEM: Oregon (again?) based ThatsMyFace.com is now hip with the latest trends, creating, if you can believe this, the Edward Snowden action figure.
The Snowden figure is going for $99, though you can get just a head to attach to your favorite GI Joe for $60. He comes with your choice of casual, military brown, business suit, or Indiana Jones (with bullwhip) outfits. Among other action figures they make, you can choose from Julian Ass-ange, Eric Holder, Rahm Emmanuel, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingerich, Barack Obama, Ron Paul, and Hugo Chavez. (Sorry, you can only get the POTUS in casual basic and business suit. )
ITEM: Think you're safe just because you haven't been hit by one of the big, all at once, thefts of data like the one that hit Target? Read this excerpt from Bloomberg online:
The hackers who raided the credit-card payment system of Neiman Marcus Group set off alerts on the company’s security systems about 60,000 times as they slunk through the network, according to an internal company investigation.
The hackers moved unnoticed in the company’s computers for more than eight months, sometimes tripping hundreds of alerts daily because their card-stealing software was deleted automatically each day from the Dallas-based retailer’s payment registers and had to be constantly reloaded. Card data were taken from July through October.
So they trip hundreds of alarms- but with the sheer amount of N-M transactions, this was a miniscule amount- less than 1% of daily entries- and because the company deleted the attacks each day, a pattern never emerged. And N-M found other ways to shoot itself in the foot:
The system’s ability to automatically block the suspicious activity it flagged was turned off because it would have hampered maintenance, such as patching security holes, the investigators noted.
And one final excerpt really sums things up:
The hackers were aided by the hub-and-spoke design of Neiman Marcus’s point-of-sales, or POS system, which connects the stores’ payment registers to a central computer that processes transactions. The arrangement allowed hackers to reload their software on multiple registers quickly after it was deleted at the end of each day.
The report also says that hackers took control of a vulnerable server that allowed them to circumvent the POS system’s security.
Now they may say POS means point of sale, but I think we all know what it REALLY means...
ITEM: Finally, I found an article on Deutsche Welle (German national news) about some common phrases used in Germany, and their rough equivalents here, so I thought it would be fun to end with them.
You had a pig!- You were lucky.
Not all his cups are in the cupboard- approximately, He's lost his marbles.
I understand only "train station"- It's all Greek to me.
Life is not a pony farm- AKA a bed of roses or a bowl of cherries.
I have a nose full- I'm fed up. I think I'll stick with our version on this one.
Hop and malt is lost- an Oktoberfesty way of saying, all hope is gone.
It's sausage to me- I don't care one way or the other.
I press my thumbs to you (done while pressing thumbs into your fists)- the equivalent of Crossing my fingers for you.
Lies have short legs- which is pretty self-explanatory, but came with a cute picture of running Dachshunds.
ITEM: What? I said, "finally"! We're done! Go to the comment section and write something, already!