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Posts from — December 2015

How Do Reindeer Fly?

Christmas Mushroom

… and how can Santa Claus visit every house, go down chimneys, leave toys, all over the world in one night?

One of the answers is found on European Christmas trees.

Read about Finland’s version of the Julbock, Joulupukki.

Note: Don’t try this at home unless you have the kidneys of a reindeer. It also explains why gnomes are so cheerful. [This is one of my most searched for posts, almost as big as the Shi’ia oil map, or the Alaska-Russia border. It is a bit disconcerting to see the number of people around the world whose interests are as weird as mine, but they are all hits on the counter.]

December 23, 2015   Comments Off on How Do Reindeer Fly?

Happy Festivus

Yes, today is the celebration of the very untraditional Festivus.

If you celebrate I hope all of your grievances were aired and the airing did not involve the Festivus pole being used in an inappropriate fashion.

December 23, 2015   4 Comments


Fresh from confirming that he and Vladimir Putin are BFFs and making crude, tasteless comments about Hillary Clinton taking a break during the Democratic debate this past weekend, Trump received PolitiFact’s ‘Lie of the Year’ award:

In this case, PolitiFact’s editors said their only real contenders for this year were all Trump statements: It had previously given “Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire” to 76 out of Trump 77 statements.

It would seem that Trump’s supporters are a bit fuzzy on the difference between “American Idol” and a Presidential primary. 😈

December 22, 2015   Comments Off on Really?

Not Happening

Donald’s feelings are hurt:

Hillary Clinton has defended her claim that the so-called Islamic State is using videos of Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric to attract followers.

Mr Trump disputed that the videos exist and demanded an apology, to which Ms Clinton’s spokesman said “hell no”.

I would note that multiple counter-terrorism officials have made the same claim as Mrs Clinton, and the ISIS propaganda machine has been portraying the West as anti-Muslim for years.

December 21, 2015   2 Comments

Reefer Madness 2.0

The CBC notes that Bizarre ‘Stoner Sloth’ anti-marijuana campaign delights the internet. You really need to watch the unaltered version at the top of the post which are the official PSAs [Public Service Announcements for those who have never worked in Public Relations] of the government of New South Wales, Australia. Later in the article they have the ‘creatively edited’ versions.

An Australian writer at the ABC notes that Stoner Sloth is a symptom of our inept drug debate. Actually this is the result of refusing to study the actual effects of various drugs, i.e. the result of ignorance.

December 21, 2015   5 Comments

Holiday Travel

ICHC cat Magi

This is a prime example of why you should make a list and check it twice when traveling during holidays. Following stars is all well and good, but can you tell the difference between a star and a meteorite headed directly for you?

If you are migrating home, or off on a vacation, be safe.

December 21, 2015   11 Comments

Happy HogWatch & Solstice

snowflakeAt 10:48 PM CST the winter solstice occurs marking the longest night of the year. If everyone has been good, the days start getting longer tomorrow. Locally, the sun will rise at 6:39AM and set at 4:40PM for a total of 10 hours and 10 minutes of daylight, but tomorrow will be a whole 1 second longer.

This also marks HogsWatch, so don’t forget to put out the turnips.

December 21, 2015   Comments Off on Happy HogWatch & Solstice

And This Makes Sense Because …

The power grabs affecting the rights of ordinary people by Counter-Terrorism, Inc. are really pissing me off.

In Europe they are beating the drum for backdoors for all encryption software because … there is no evidence that the terrorists that attacked Paris used any encryption software.

In the US there are calls for in-depth searches of social media because it was mistakenly reported that one of the people involved in the San Bernardino attack had posted that she supported ISIS on social media.

Social media is now doing the ‘responsible thing’ and removing anything that might be construed as ‘terrorist-related’. This of course eliminates possible leads, but it makes searches of social media irrelevant.

The biggest annoyance is that the people beating the drums the loudest have no idea what they are asking for or why. All they know is that they have heard that it might be terrorist related.

December 20, 2015   3 Comments

It’s The Same Everywhere

Barnaul is a city of 650,000 in Siberia and they are having an election for mayor with 7 candidates running. A local media outlet ran an Internet poll to see who people were supporting. The results were surprising as one candidate, Barsik, received 90% of the votes. The thing is Barsik is an 18-month-old tom cat. 😈

December 19, 2015   10 Comments


From the BBC – Virginia schools shut in Islam calligraphy row:

A school district in the US state of Virginia has closed all schools on Friday after a geography lesson that included Islam sparked vociferous complaints from around the country.

Students were asked to trace Arabic calligraphy in an exercise some parents said amounted to indoctrination.

Officials said the schools were closed out of an “abundance of caution” and there were no specific safety threats.

Tracing a graphic of a foreign language as part of the study of an area of the world that is very much in the news, is the same as forcing students to attend a madrassa according to some of the parents in Virginia.

It would appear that the reaction of the parents was considered so hostile, that school and law enforcement felt it would be prudent to close schools and let people calm down.

A quarter of the people in the world are Muslims, so they aren’t going away any time soon. Maybe if more Americans spent some time learning about Islam, as Thomas Jefferson did, they wouldn’t be diving into ditches when they saw a woman wearing a headscarf.

December 18, 2015   11 Comments


From the BBC – Pharma boss Martin Shkreli arrested on fraud charges:

Representatives for pharmaceutical boss Martin Shkreli, who sparked outrage after hiking up the price of a medicine used by Aids patients, say he strongly denies fraud charges.

He is accused of fraud relating to a drug company he previously headed, Retrophin, and a hedge fund, MSMB Capital Management, where he was a fund manager.

This is the greedy jerk who raised the price of a drug he just bought from $13.50 to $750.00 a pill. He needed the money to keep his hedge fund Ponzi afloat.

Seven Federal charges for fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud when he was arrested and ‘perp-walked’ by the FBI – 😈

December 17, 2015   12 Comments

December 17, 1903

“Boldly going

Wright Flyer

where no man has gone before.”

The Wright Brothers make the first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina


December 17, 2015   2 Comments

In The News

Don’t believe everything you read: San Bernardino attackers ‘did not post about jihad on social media’

The San Bernardino attackers did not post support for jihad on open social media, contrary to previous reports, the FBI has said.

Instead they expressed support for martyrdom using “private direct messages”, said FBI boss James Comey.

US security officials were criticised for not checking Tashfeen Malik’s social media before admitting her to the US in 2014.

Apparently the reports are based on private, not public, messages found on their computer.

While ISIS took credit for the shooting, the couple had no actual connection to the organization.


Canada is not happy – Oil drops almost 5% as supplies unexpectedly grow: “Crude for January delivery closed down $1.83, or 4.9 per cent, to $35.52 US a barrel.” Just to make things wonderful, “The loonie lost a quarter of a cent to close at 72.54 cents US. That’s its lowest level since May 2004.” [The ‘loonie’ is the Canadian dollar, so called because it features a loon on the coin.]

When the US Fed raised the prime rate ¼%, things got even more painful.
The snowbirds can’t afford to take vacations on the Gulf Coast, so we are going to share in the pain. 🙁

December 16, 2015   2 Comments

What Happens In ‘Vegas

Should stay in ‘Vegas and not be broadcast to annoy other people. Yet another Repub debate and Trump is still backing a ban on Muslims. His position is so obnoxious that Malala is condemning him. She seconds the opinion of US national security officials that his attitude makes radicalization easier.

Since conservationism can’t fail, true believers and establishment Republicans are beginning to ask: Is Donald Trump a Democratic secret agent?

Aside: If there is no climate change, why do I have roses blooming in December?

December 15, 2015   Comments Off on What Happens In ‘Vegas