Thursday, August 31, 2006

Diet Time-

[stolen from Tuco on the Beekslayers list]

I was buying a large bag of Purina at Wal-Mart and was in line to check out.

A woman behind me asked if I had a dog?

On impulse, I told her that no, and that I was starting The Purina Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 50 pounds before I awakened in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IVs in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Purina nuggets and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry and that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story.

Horrified, she asked if I ended up in intensive care because the dog food poisoned me.

I told her no; I'd been sitting in the street licking my balls and a car hit me.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Bon Apetit!

Yes, that's Julia Child and her kitchen in corn! This year's "Mike's Corn Maze" at Warner Farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts, features Julia Child, "The French Chef", a graduate of nearby Smith College. Mike has a complete website devoted to this year's maze, past mazes, and other interesting stuff. The designers have even added some "additions" this year to keep things interesting, including a potato bazooka and tomato trebuchet (a sort of catapult). The maze opens this coming weekend, and stays open through October. FB and I will be mosying over and will have a full report...

Monday, August 28, 2006


This truck driver hauling a tractor-trailer load of computers stops for a beer. As he approaches the bar he sees a big sign on the door saying:


He goes in and sits down. The bartender comes over to him, sniffs, says he smells kind of nerdy, asks him what he does for a living. The truck driver says he drives a truck, and the smell is just from the computers he is hauling. The bartender says OK, truck drivers are not nerds, and serves him a beer.

As he is sipping his beer, a skinny guy walks in with tape around his glasses, a pocket protector with twelve kinds of pens and pencils, and a belt at least a foot too long. The bartender, without saying a word, pulls out a shotgun and blows the guy away.

The truck driver asks him why he did that. The bartender said not to worry, the nerds are overpopulating the Silicon Valley, and are in season now. You don't even need a license, he said.

So the truck driver finishes his beer, gets back in his truck, and heads back onto the freeway. Suddenly he veers to avoid an accident, and the load shifts. The back door breaks open and computers spill out all over the freeway. He jumps out and sees a crowd already forming, grabbing up the computers. They are all engineers, accountants and programmers wearing the nerdiest clothes he has ever seen. He can't let them steal his whole load. So remembering what happened in the bar, he pulls out his gun and starts blasting away, felling several of them instantly.

A highway patrol officer comes zooming up and jumps out of the car screaming at him to stop.

The truck driver said, "What's wrong? I thought nerds were in season."

"Well, sure," said the patrolman, "But you can't bait 'em."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Thistle Talk

We had the world's tallest thistle growing behind the garage this summer. We never measured it, but Amy is about 5'3"...

(this isn't really a garage, but more like a stable with a loft over it that goes up almost two stories, and, as you can see, the thistle got to the base of the roof line).

Friday, August 25, 2006

X-Treme Croquet

Tomorrow (weather permitting) we hold the First Annual Foggygates X-Treme Croquet Bar-B-Q, and are expecting somewhere between 5 and 30 people... It was forecast to be a good day today, so we planned to mow the lawn this afternoon, but it rained all day instead, and may shower in the morning, which means the croquet may be a bit more X-treme than usual.


On the one hand, one is tempted to find this story slightly humorous in the same way that all those "Darwin Award" stories are- a "what the fuck were they thinking???" moment. On the other hand, it's an instructive moment for those who think that the Jewish people are just hyper-sensitive these days. Obviously some folks have forgotten about the Holocaust, or perhaps they just don't think that killing 6 million Jews is that big a deal... If the guy had named his place "Osama Bin Laden's Place" and featured big color blow-ups of the Trade Center on fire not only would this have made more newspapers, you can bet the Marines would be on his doorstep tomorrow morning...

Fuhrer furor: India's Hitler eatery to change name

BOMBAY, India -- The owner of a restaurant named after Adolf Hitler said Thursday he will change its name.

Puneet Sablok said he would remove Hitler's name and the Nazi swastika from billboards and the menu. He had said the restaurant's name -- ''Hitler's Cross'' -- and symbols were only meant to attract attention.

Sablok made the decision after meeting with members of Bombay's small Jewish community.

''Once they told me how upset they were with the name, I decided to change it,'' he said. ''I don't want to do business by hurting people.''

Sablok said he had not yet decided on a new name.

Hitler's Cross opened five days ago and serves pizza, salad and pastries in Navi Mumbai, a suburb of Bombay.

From Wildlife Activist to Terror Suspect in 1 Day-

I debated whether to put this here or on 'State of Denial', and eventually decided that the acts of reading, writing and speaking are closely allied enough to include it here.

There are a variety of stories about this on the internet, but this one, from the Sierra Club website, includes an update where the Army Corps of Engineers is caught lying about sending Mr. Bensman's name to the FBI as a possible terror suspect, even when the Corps knew very well that the information they were forwarding was false...

The Army Corps Admits it Lied

Alton, Illinois -- Jim Bensman, the Sierra Club activist who was being "investigated" by the FBI as a terrorist because he stood up at a public hearing being held by the Army Corps of Engineers and suggested that the Corps should pursue its idea of removing some dams to improve fish habitat, has now discovered that the Corps lied when it denied having turned him into the FBI as a suspect. In a response to The Alton Telegraph the Corps now says:

"On July 26, the Telegraph had an article on the day following the public meeting; we sent that article to our district staff. We had some employees who pointed out that the article attributed certain statements to Mr. Bensman. Our security officer's determination, based on U.S. Army regulations concerning possible threats to public facilities, was that the article should be forwarded to the appropriate federal agency, the FBI, for their consideration to determine whether there was a threat or not."

This item appears only a day after the Army Corps denied to the New York Times that it had asked the FBI to investigate Jim. Now the Army Corps admits that it sent the FBI a newspaper story which incorrectly said that Jim Bensman had suggested "blowing up dams" when this suggestion was actually the Army's own idea -- Jim simply said it was worth looking into. The Corps had prepared the PowerPoint presentation that had the picture of dams being blown up. They were aware that it was their idea, not Jim's; therefore, they knew that the article they sent the FBI was wrong. And the Corps further admits that it did not send the FBI the transcript of the hearing which would have clearly shown the FBI that Jim did not even make the statement which allegedly warranted turning his name over to the Bureau in the first place.

It's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Army Corps of Engineers decided to set up one of their critics for an FBI investigation using a bogus charge based on a newspaper article the Corps knew was false. They withheld from the Bureau information in their possession which they knew exonerated Jim. They may well have assumed that eventually the FBI would learn the truth and drop the investigation, as the Bureau in fact did -- but in the meantime they were harassing Jim, and, one suspects, hoping to intimidate him.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Denigrating Turkishness" ???

A Turkish novelist is being prosecuted for having a fictional character state that one of his ancestors was an Armeian victim of Turkish genocide. The New York Times reports that Elif Shafak, "a Turkish novelist who has spent much of her life in Europe and the United States...fills her books with characters who defy all orthodoxy, and in her journalism she lives by the same code, mixing feminism and nuanced political analysis with a deep interest in Ottoman culture."

She's now in trouble, as are many other Turkish writers for, among other things, "denigrating Turkishness". It's all part of a backlash against an attempt to liberalize Turkey and get it into the European Union. The Times article is interesting, if troubling, reading.

"State of Denial" (see the sidebar) is back, and this morning features a semi-book related story, about the Department of Education dropping Evolutionary Biology from its list of approved studies.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Dog Days

What I've been doing lately is going through my "Humor" email box of material I've been saving for about 8 years. I figure these days we all need a laugh or two.

What dog is best at changing light bulbs?

Golden Retriever- "The sun is shining, the day is young, we've got our whole lives ahead of us, and you're inside worrying about a stupid burned-out light bulb?"

Border Collie- "Just one. And I'll replace any wiring that's not up to code."

Dachshund- "I can't reach the stupid lamp!"

Toy Poodle- "I'll just blow in the Border Collie's ear and he'll do it. By the time he finishes rewiring the house, my nails will be dry."

Rottweiler- "Go ahead! Make me!"

Shi-tzu- "Puh-leeze, dahling. Let the servants..."

Lab- "Oh, me, me!!! Pleeeeeeze let me change the light bulb!" Can I? Can I? Huh? Huh? Can I?"

Malamute- "Let the Border Collie do it. You can feed me while he's busy."

Cocker Spaniel- "Why change it? I can still pee on the carpet in the dark."

Doberman Pinscher- "While it's dark, I'm going to sleep on the couch."

Mastiff- "Mastiffs are NOT afraid of the dark."


Chihuahua- "Yo Quero Taco Bulb."

Greyhound- "It isn't moving. Who cares?"

Australian Shepherd- "Put all the light bulbs in a little circle..."

Old English Sheep Dog- "Light bulb? Light bulb? That thing I just ate was a light bulb?"

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Offered without comment...

(from The President's last press conference)

BUSH (continuing) The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East. They were ...

QUESTION: What did Iraqi have to do with that?

BUSH: What did Iraq have to do with what?

QUESTION: The attacks upon the World Trade Center.

BUSH: Nothing. Except for it's part of- and nobody's ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a, Iraq, the lesson of September the 11th is, Take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody's ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Last Friday Boston baseball fans were gearing up for what promised to be an entertaining, exciting weekend series, as the Yankees came into town for 5 games in 4 days.

This afternoon we are left sitting, dazed, in the smouldering wreckage of a season which imploded so fast, and in such dramatic fashion, that we are left barely knowing what to think.

Well- even though we got gutsy, professional performances from Wells and Schilling, Sox pitching sucks, that's one thing we think. And they'd better get some bats back into the lineup as well, bats that can fucking hit in the clutch, with runners on base. Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, tie game, one out last night and we couldn't score?

All together now -PATHETIC!

Even Fay Wray is shocked out of her wits by this weekend's sweep.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Just Ducky

A big-city, California, lawyer went duck hunting in rural Texas. He shot and dropped a bird, but it fell into a farmer's field on the other side of a fence. As the lawyer climbed over the fence, an elderly farmer drove up on his tractor and asked him what he was doing. The litigator responded, "I shot a duck and it fell into this field, and now I'm going to retrieve it."

The old farmer replied, "This is my property, and you are not coming over here."

The indignant lawyer said, "I am one of the best trial attorneys in the U.S. and, if you don't let me get that duck, I'll sue you and take everything you own."

The old farmer smiled and said, "Apparently, you don't know how we do things in Texas. We settle small disagreements like this with the Texas Three-Kick Rule."

The lawyer asked, "What is the Texas Three-Kick Rule?"

The Farmer replied, "Well, first I kick you three times and then you kick me three times, and so on, back and forth, until someone gives up."

The attorney quickly thought about the proposed contest and decided that he could easily take the old codger. He agreed to abide by the local custom. The old farmer slowly climbed down from the tractor and walked up to the city feller. His first kick planted the toe of his heavy work boot into the lawyer's groin and dropped him to his knees. His second kick nearly wiped the man's nose off his face. The barrister was flat on his belly when the farmer's third kick to a kidney nearly caused him to give up.

The lawyer summoned every bit of his strength, managed to get to his feet and said, "Okay, you old coot! Now, it's my turn!"

The old farmer smiled and said, "No, I give up. You can have the duck!"

Fraud on Ebay

There's an interesting thread today on the BookfinderInsider list about an Ebay seller who is offering a number of books they do not own, whose descriptions they have lifted from the internet, without telling the actual owners.

Sounds odd, eh? It happens all the time. The Ebay "seller" puts a reserve on the book which will allow him a profit if the book sells and he actually has to go buy the copy. OK, some folks say, what's wrong with that?

Well, what's wrong is that it is misrepresentation and fraud.

The seller is misrepresenting that he has examined the book (when he gives a statement of condition) and he is misrepresenting that the book will be available to a buyer at the close of the auction, which it may not be.

To explain- since the seller has not seen the book he is, in fact, lying when he states it is in "such and such condition" as if he has seen it when he has not. Further, there is absolutely no way he can guarantee delivery, since the book may well have been sold by the actual owner in the meantime. That's the most serious offense- by offering an item for sale there is an implicit understanding that if I want to buy it and meet your price you will deliver it- that implicit trust is broken in this case. By misrepresenting their ability to deliver goods, they are committing fraud.

There are sellers on Ebay who sell goods they do not own, but those are resellers of new material, bought from wholesalers or suppliers, who encourage that sort of business. That is a completely different matter than offering a unique item you do not own, while making it appear that you do own it and have it in your possession, available for delivery, when in fact neither is true.

In addition, the actual dealer who owns the book suffers financial harm. As anyone who has been in the book business for more than ten minutes will realize, the value of your stock is hurt when unique or scarce copies you own "proliferate" on the internet so that they appear to be significantly more available than they in fact are.

One would think that problems with these sorts of fraudulent sellers would be somewhat self-correcting, as their bad feedback will be significantly higher than those of sellers who actually have possession of what they are selling. This would be especially true if there was a concerted effort to identify them, publicize them, and encourage everyone to refuse to sell anything to them.

It all comes down to one of the hard-and-fast rules in the business:

1. Own what you offer for sale.

2. If you do not own it, get the permission of the owner before offering it to somebody else as available for purchase.

3. If you do not get the permission of the seller, be honest with the person you offer it to about the fact that you do not own it and cannot guarantee that it will be available.

Any other type of dealing constitutes fraud, pure and simple.

Sure, people will say, but booksellers were quoting books from other dealer's stock for decades before the internet came along.

True enough. But you were not supposed to claim ownership- when you sent your list of books on the exploration of Artic caves by one-legged pigmy eskimos to your customer you simply said that these were books you could obtain for them -that is different than claiming ownership.

Folks go around crowing that the "internet has changed everything".

Bullshit. The internet has changed NOTHING. There are still rules in this business, and ethical dealers adhere to them.


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Dr. Suess Bibliography-

(as always, stolen from elsewhere)

Lesser Known Dr. Seuss Books:

1. The Cat in the Blender

2. Herbert the Pervert Likes Sherbert

3. Fox in Detox

4. Who Shat in my Hat?

5. Horton Hires a Ho

6. The Flesh-Eating Thorax

7. How the Grinch Stole Columbus Day

8. Your Colon Can Moo-Can You?

9. Zippy the Rabid Gerbil

10. Marvin K. Mooney, Get the Fuck Out!

11. Are You My Proctologist?

12. Yentl the Lentil

13. My Pocket Rocket Needs A Socket

14. Oh, the Places You'll Scratch and Sniff

15. The Grinch's Ten Inches

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I've actually been working...

Our newest printed catalog of vintage auction catalogs is now available- it features 182 auction catalogs on a variety of topics- Great & Notable Collections; Furniture & Americana; French Furniture & Decorations; Bronzes; Ceramics & Glass; China Trade; Orientalia; Clock & Watches; Jewelry; Garden Statuary & Furniture; Arms & Armor; Fine Arts; Antiquities; Books & Manuscripts, and 'Varia', which includes catalogs featuring antique autos, aviation, canes, carpets, cat art, chess sets, cutlery, dolls, interiors, Ireland, the Queen's Jubilee, magic, Medieval arts, movie memorabilia, needlework, tapetsry, textiles, and wine.

The catalog is also viewable on our website.

If you'd like a printed copy, please let us know!

oh goody...

Blogger sucks.

OK, let me explain... The last thing I need first thing in the morning is to wake up and find that Blogger/Google has changed its interface to make it difficult as hell to sign into your account/s. Especially "accounts". I've got two Blogger and a seperate Google account, and the damned sign-in page keeps defaulting to the Google one, which has nothing whatsoever to do with my Blogger accounts, and doesn't go to my Blogger accounts. Also, the new setup won't let Firefox browser keep a record of my Blogger username and password- it defaults every single time to the Google username/password, and everything has to be re-entered every time I log on. And, of course, it would not have been nearly as fun if Blogger/Google didn't decided every now and then that it doesn't like my Blogger usernames/passwords at all.

I know this is free, and "free is free", but if Google/Blogger simply wants to make me nuts, there are probably more straightforward ways to do it.

Well, maybe not.

C'mon people- this "improvement" sucks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The End of the World? Switch to Channel 6...

(stolen from somewhere)






Microsoft Systems Journal: APPLE LOSES MARKET SHARE.

Victoria's Secret Catalog: OUR FINAL SALE

Sports Illustrated: GAME OVER.



Readers Digest: 'BYE.






Microsoft's Web Site: If you didn't experience the rapture, download software patch RAPT777.EXE.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Why we can't grow houseplants...

Piewackett enjoys a siesta on the porch in the rabbitsfoot fern pot-

She did fit perfectly. I chased her out. I'm such a bastard.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Too Many Churches?

They may say the Irony Fairy is dead, but in fact she is alive and well and living in Texas.

According to a Los Angeles Times story today the Texas town of Stafford, 15 miles outside Houston, population about 19,000, has 51 churches and is looking for a legal way to stop more from opening. What's Stafford's problem with churches?

"I don't hate God. I'm not against America and apple pie," a selectman is quoted as saying, "We just have to protect what's left for commercial development."

That's it- churches don't pay taxes, and for a small town with limited revenues, it's a problem when all the good commercial land gets gobbled up and taken off the tax rolls.

So there's at least one small Texas town that wants to find a way to say "no more churches here!"

Now if the same thing happened in, oh, Vermont, California or Massachusetts, you'd have heard all about it on Fox News already, and Anne Coulter would be doing columns on it, I'm sure...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Heat Wave, Day II

Well, we're in Day 2 of the East Coast Heat Wave (is Fox News covering this yet?). I actually like this sort of weather, but I pretty much keep quiet about it. You don't make many friends by sitting in an office without a/c, with all the windows open, sipping hot tea when it's 100 degrees outside. People just tend to think you're weird.

The one thing I miss [NOT] about living in the Big City at this time of year is the drama of the electrical transformer explosions. We lived about a block from Central Square, Cambridge, and all the underground transformers were in Central Square. It was like clockwork- right around 3 pm on the very hottest days the power would go out, and about 3 seconds later you'd hear this reverberating 'BOOM' sound from the direction of the Square.

Sometimes the exploding transformers would be really dramatic, like the time the one in front of the copy shop I used exploded and shot the manhole cover about 50 feet in the air just as somebody was about to walk across it (he was ok, but apparently a bit startled...). Another time some manholes around the corner exploded and huge clouds of black smoke billowed out for about half an hour- we got the news choppers and everything!

And then the power would be out for the rest of the afternoon, and all the local convenience stores and the supermarket would hold fast 50%-off sales on all their frozen goods.

Out here in the country on days like this we just sit around watching the tobacco leaves dry.

I'd rather sit around and watch Audrey Tatou dry...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

You think THIS is hot??

People yammering on about the heat today. Folks, please!

Back when I was a kid it was REALLY hot.

It was so hot one summer that the chickens all laid hard-boiled eggs and then just fried to finger-lickin'-good n'crispy right there in their nests.

It was so hot that we dunked our feet in red-hot coals to cool them off.

It was so hot that you could get sunburn from the light of the Full Moon.

It was so hot that summer that water turned to steam just coming out of the tap.

It was so hot that the Devil started sweating.

It was so hot that we were pulling baked potatos out of the ground.

It was so hot that our cat actually went to take a nap in the shade!

Yessir, that was hot, you betcha.

Why, it was ALMOST hotter than Audrey Tatou!!