Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wacko of the Week, 03/31/07

( NOTE: Second Place, Democratic Senator Jim Webb and his assistant Philip Thompson who between them tried to smuggle a loaded gun into the Senate were considered for this week's honor, but our selection had to go to someone else.)


Tiger hero now a convicted criminal.

I used to get great pleasure watching this guy pitch. I thought he threw so smoothly and so cleverly. When he was taken by the Tigers as a relief pitcher, a friend of Pudge Rodriguez, they made a very good "battery" for the Tigers and won many games.

When he was traded to Pittsburgh for Placido Polanco, I thought the Tigers had made a terrible mistake. But, now, that looks like a genius trade.

With fame and wealth, with money to buy land and position, he lived a great lifestyle in Venezuela, his home country. But, this week, he was sentenced to 14 years for attempted murder of some guys who made him angry. A fool and his freedom are soon parted.


Saturday Smiles #1

1. I found this short paragraph on Attytood, and thought it was a great paradigm for the way we live these days:

"Basically, I was tied up all day by a computer problem, which was finally solved with one simple 45-minute phone call to Bangalore. Comcastic!"


2. According to Andy Borowtiz:

"The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) stunned the sports world today by announcing that its annual college basketball tournament, known to its fans as March Madness, will henceforth be known as March Bipolar Disorder. The name-change, which both surprised and outraged devotees of the annual ritual, came after the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) demanded that the NCAA drop the “Madness” tag. While fans across the country argued that “March Bipolar Disorder” did not have the same ring to it, a spokesperson for the NIMH said today that the new name was “more clinically accurate.”


Republican Humor #16

Rudy's Missed Chance To Do Another Big Service for New York.

(Again, thanks to Bill from WNNCO who has important connectioons to humorous Republicans)

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sweet Jesus!

So an Italian sculptor has created a nude depiction of the crucified Christ out of 200 lbs of chocolate, just in time for Easter. The NYC gallery that was going to show the piece has been overwhelmed with complaints, though I must confess that I don't recall any instructions left by our Lord and Savior regarding the proper materials with which to make graven images of Him. Would he necessarily prefer wood or iron to chocolate? Did his Message, after all, not stress the ephemerality of this material world?

A Catholic "civil rights" group is leading the media campaign against the sculpture, titled "My Sweet Lord." The group's leader, a gasbag named William Donohue, indicates that the timing of the display is somehow part of the reason he's objecting; The gallery claims the coincidence was entirely coincidental. Isn't that a pretty good sign that the gallery owners haven't been going to church much lately? Easter doesn't sneak up on most people, Christian or not.

BBC Online article

Perhaps it's a sign that I've become a member of the liberal elite that I don't see anything particularly offensive in this. But the episode does raise lots of questions.

If you snap the Savior's head off and eat it first, do you suppose that the sculpture is hollow inside, like those chocolate bunnies? And why does Donohue not object to the heretical nonsense of Easter Bunnies anyhow. Antropomorphic hares handing out egg-shaped confections? I mean, talk about undermining the real meaning of Easter.

And is this really worth outrage? I actually think it looks like a quite moving and reverent piece of art. It's an excellent sculpture, and a strange item to make a big deal about, any way you think about it. Pedophile priests, wars of adventure in Iraq, gun crimes, social injustice.

I guess Donohue has become inured to the many actual insults to the sensibilities of peaceful people, and having come unhinged entirely from the spirit of Christianity, this is the best the old curmudgeon can muster. Next year, maybe he could give up demogoguery for Lent.

FatCat Update: Circuit City disconnects. The bastards!

"Satan's Circuit"

Two days ago, I wrote a pompous and yet totally accurate and perceptive essay about celestial salaries in a democratic society. see below or CLICK HERE The theme was that there is not a standard for decently determining a person's worth, but that radically overpaying people for their roles is a threat to our way of life.

Now comes Circuit City.
I see that they are trying to run their company ("2nd only to Best Buy") by throwing out thousands of their best employees and hiring new, cheaper ones. No, really!, they did! CLICK

So I looked to find what they have been paying their head honchos. You would think that men who had presided over the collapse of a great company were probably just street-waifs, riff-raff, dummies, not high paid supernumeraries.

It turns out that Circuit City pays its Fat Cats plenty.

1. W. Alan McCollough, Chief Executive Officer,Circuit City Stores Inc. (2005)

"In 2005, W. Alan McCollough raked in $5,470,049 in total compensation including stock option grants* from Circuit City Stores Inc..
From previous years' stock option grants, the Circuit City Stores Inc. executive cashed out $3,052,902 in stock option exercises.
And W. Alan McCollough has another $20,773,329 in unexercised stock options from previous years."

Then, he quit the job! Hmm

"Circuit City Stores, Inc. (NYSE: CC) today announced that W. Alan McCollough decided to retire as chief executive officer effective February 28, 2006, and to retire as chairman of the board of directors at the 2006 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. He has decided not to stand for reelection to the board at the end of his term that expires in June 2006.At a meeting of the Circuit City board of directors on Saturday, December 17, 2005, Philip J. Schoonover was elected unanimously to the board, effective immediately, and named chief executive officer effective March 1, 2006." CLICK

2. Philip Schoonover (2006)

"Chief Executive Officer Philip Schoonover was paid $8.52 million in fiscal 2006, including a salary of $975,000." CLICK

So, my PRAYER for the day:
"Go get 'em God. Give 'em what they've earned."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Watch her sizzle

The General Services Administration is a government office which is in charge of federal buildings and office supplies and the like -- generally not what you would think of as a highly partisan operation. (Although, you can certainly see a potential for contracting scams and kickbacks). Anyhow, Federal law prohibits the use of federal buildings or public employees' time for partisan political purposes (I suppose exemptions have to be made for Congress and the White House).

Watch GSA chief Chief Lurita Doan squirm as she gets grilled by Henry Waxman's committee about a presentation made to GSA bigs by a member of Karl Rove's political office AT GSA HQ DURING WORK HOURS. I mean, they have her nailed on this.

Oh yes, she should have taken the Fifth. Agressively and Repeatedly. Very satisfying. Remember: This was almost certainly a federal crime. And they got nailed.

Would arranging or signing off on this meeting make Karl Rove an accessory, or part orf a conspiracy to break federal law?

The clip is here

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

may they all get what they earned

Last Sunday, I saw Dennis Kozlowski interviewed on "60 Minutes." Now and then I saw a glimmer of what I might call humility, and now and then I felt a little bitty tang of sympathy for his circumstances. He is, after all, in jail.

For those of you who may have forgotten, Kozlowski is the fella who went to jail because he was found guilty of criminal activity as CEO of Tyco International Ltd. He also had $6,000 shower curtains and umbrella stands with a higher price than your car. CNN STORY CLICK HERE

One interesting clause that he said more than once was this: "... when I was earning more than a hundred million dollars..." (no transcript available so far, online. See video here: CLICK FOR VIDEO ) Now, the expression "earning" is an interesting one to me. Without consulting a dictionary, I'm assuming that when one says "earning" one is asserting that one is getting value for giving similar value. Well, what is a Kozlowski CEO "worth" (what is the value of a CEO?)

I am enough of an egalitarian to believe, and to state bold-faced and nakedly, that no human's effort is "worth" 100 million dollars because the figure itself is so stupefying that it has no concomitant standard of value against which a decent person could measure.

The other night, I happened to see A-Rod (i.e., Alex Rodriguez), a superlatively well-paid baseball player, actually fluff an easy catch which even I could have made. Now, Mr. A-Rod has a contract paying him a quarter of a billion dollars over a decade. CLICK FOR STORY By what standard do we determine that the man is actually "earning" that much money --- i.e., that he "worth" it? Is he worth less when he drops batted balls than when he catches them? Evidently not, because no one is taking anything away from him when he does it.

Is he worth more or less, I wonder, than Mr. Kozlowski who is now in the slammer?

There is no standard for making that comparison, is there? I don't think we can even compare what is earned by one baseball player against another, much less against a CEO of an industry?

At one time during the Great Depression, my grandfather was sometimes "paid" in produce for his duties as a pastor at a local community church. Was he worth it? Did he earn it? Is a dozen eggs in a depression worth as much as 100 million dollars in an economic boom? How many slick CEOs does it take to compose an honest pastor who wisely counseled a widow or gently buried a child?

I am not a sophisticated economist who might propound a theory of value here. I am not a communist and cannot accept a labor theory of value, alone. I am not a philosopher who can squeeze the question onto the head of a pin and dance with it.

But I am a believer in democracy and I'm absolutely convinced as a matter of democratic theology that 100-million-dollar salaries in our society are sinful, and that no one could possibly"earn" it.

Kozlowski is in prison. I believe that's a reward he "earned."

I read today that the 3-M company has promised its CEO, Mr. George Buckley, more than 13 million dollars when he leaves. Now, I can understand a large salary and benefits to a CEO who actually does something, but when you talk about that kind of money merely for leaving, you have to wonder if maybe we've been paying too much money for Scotch Tape (3-M makes Scotch Tape). No wonder more and more, we're buying foreign made stuff.


Olbermann takes down O'Reilly

I think Olbermann must watch "Good Night, and Good Luck" on a nightly basis. In this 7-minute diatribe against O'Reilly's comic ignorance, he calls him "the Sisyphys of morons, if you will." And it gets better from there.

Check it out: Keith Olbermann Owns Bill O'Reilly

And don't watch FOX, people. Just don't do it. Unless, of course, you want those jokers to own your country.

the way of all flesh

A little joke
Take your pick .....

Version one: What with this global warming, I've been feeling the temperatures a lot. Why, I've been sweating more than Bill Clinton watching "Cheaters."

Version two: What with this global warming, I've been feeling the temperatures a lot. Why, I've been sweating more than Newt Gingrich watching "Cheaters."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


How did this happen?

This CAFE sucks III: Replies to a few comments

I'm really pleased with the feedback to my post about CAFE standards back in February. I've had more replies to that post than anything else I've written, and they were smart, thoughtful and on point. Whoa!

Well, I want to address a couple things people said, and I don't just want to bury my reply down at the end of the comments where it will never get read. (Hey, it's my blog, folks -- one of the perks!) So here are a few comments (in no particular order) and my responses. It might be helpful to follow the link and read the post first.

In a thoughtful comment, Darren J wrote: "Both measurement systems you describe are just as linear. The advantage of the new system you describe is that the numbers might be easier to relate to every day life. Seems like a good thing."

Well, no. MPG is a linear measurement of distance you can go on a gallon of gas. But it is an inverse exponential measurement of gasoline used. Every doubling of MPG uses half the gasoline of the previous doubling. Therefore, every tick up the MPG scale is NOT equal, and there is a harsh diminishing of returns as you push past 20, 30 or 40 MPG. As my example shows, 1 MPG at the top end of the range represents a tiny fraction of the fuel used by 1 MPG at the bottom of the range. In short, I believe it is a PR stunt and a way of deceiving you as a consumer.

Darren J wrote: "The measly 0.8 gallons is really huge in terms of percentage!"

Well, it might be a significant percentage of YOUR fuel use. But as a matter of public policy, it is NOT a significant part of our national useage. What struck me was the fact that one person upgrading from a 10 MPG vehicle to a 20 MPG vehicle saves as much gasoline as SIX people upgrading from 30 MPG to 40 MPG. So if you're a policy-maker trying to cut oil useage and carbon emissions, what do you target?

Darren J: "In Canada, people drive vehicles only slightly more efficient than Americans, probably because Canadian gas prices are slightly higher."

Well, sure, but Canada isn't the only data point. Europeans, I'm told, measure efficiency in liters/100km or some such. And of course, they drive much more efficient vehicles all around (and gas is twice as expensive). I guess my perspective is that markets require transparency and good information, and if customers were armed with accurate information rather than cooked numbers, they'd make "greener" choices even if we didn't change gas prices one cent.

Several people pointed out the need for a paradigm shift away from personal vehicles to more sustainable city models. While I agree wholeheartedly, we aren't about to abandon our homes and subdivisions overnight, or even in a generation. Even if we changed our transportation policy, our zoning codes and such, these take effect quite slowly. So in the middle term -- 5 to 10 years -- we really need a new awareness about our vehicle options and choices.

Adam: "In the mean time I'm going to ride my bike over twice the miles it would take me to drive because I'd get a ticket (or die) if I rode my bike on the roads that lead directly to anywhere."

Cyclists in our cities should get vocal about dedicated bicycle-only roads or paths which actually GO somewhere. Argue to have them built alongside rail links. Without a safe infrastructure, I'm afraid Adam will have very little company.

Finally, in all of this, I think it's lost of many of my readers that having personal vehicles isn't merely a SIGN of wealth, it's part of the REASON we are a wealthy country. The transportation infrastructure really does allow people and goods to move from Point A to Point B quickly, and serve every address. Convenience has a value -- not just the experience of convenience, but economic value. There is value in being able to carry goods home from the store, run errands, etc. And our economy, for all the waste from an environmental perspective, employs us. If everyone gave up their cars, it might help the environment, but the resulting Depression would make FDR's task look like a cake walk. Really.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tribute to American capitalism at its best:

TIME for government intervention, (not for the victims, but for the predators),


Welfare for the Rich

and props to R.J.Matson

unverified Crawford sighting

There has been a massive sighting over NSW Australia. Gosh reports have really come in and we have requested possible footage of the event. But the reports are numerous and still looking for others who may have witnessed this event. A fiery orange object with massive flames. Please contact [us] with the details of the sighting if you have been witness to this.

costume dramas and stage whimpers

Some of our readers may have noticed ARBORETUM's antipathy to W. Bush. Even when we try to be nice, the disdain seems to ooze through. A fellow blogger, and one infinitely more talented than Old Chip, has this to say, scornfully, about one of Bush's latest brainstorms.

from: August J. Pollak (
"Seriously. He actually complained about this.

"Look, regardless of political stripes, can it at least be accepted that almost since September 11, 2001, George W. Bush has been a living, breathing photo-op? For Bush to complain that his opponents are engaging in "political theater" is like... wow. I'm having trouble thinking of an analogy here.

"Okay, imagine Mr. T. He's standing atop a pile- no, a hill- consisting of every single fool he has pitied in his entire life. They're all just there. A big pyramid of fools, all of whom were pitied by Mr. T. And standing atop the fool pyramid is Mr. T himself, looking down on you. And he says but one thing, and that is how upset he is with you for pitying fools.

"And that's what it's like with President Bush to say that he dislikes political theater. And you're just standing there, thinking just what you would think with Mr. T on the fool pile: Man, that guy's career has really hit the shitter, hasn't it?"



I wonder what Mr. Pollack had in mind: The codpiece demonstration aboard the aircraft carrier? The bullhorn atop the pile of rubble in NY City? The plastic turkey passed around on Halloween at the military base in Baghdad?

Bush is not simply a bonehead, Bush is a theatrical bonehead. Right on Mr. Pollak.

Ivory-Billed Woodpecker?

ARBORETUM has raised this subject before and, we hope, we will again. America's greatest woodpecker deserves the attention of bird-lovers, and is getting it!

This winter there have been searches in four or five states for the ivory-billed woodpecker. In recent years, there have been reports that this bird, once said to be extinct, is still around in some of the deepest recesses of the southern wilderness which still remain.

In Texas this winter, there has been an extensive search of areas in Big Thicket National Reserve. Hurricane Rita had knocked down many trees and cluttered the wilderness areas, making these searches more difficult. On the other hand, downed trees will provide more food for the IBW, which feeds (what tense should I use?) on insect larvae.

So far, no new news has been reported to substantiate claims of the bird's existence. The controversy among birders and scientists -- it seems to me -- has two dimensions. One of the dimensions concerns "claims." Here, folks argue over the evidence collected so far. There is a piece of tape showing a bird which might be an ivory-billed woodpecker, made in 2004 in Arkansas. There is also an audio tape which might be the sounds of an IBW in Florida. Experts disagree about the validity of both.

One of Ornithology's most prestigious authorities, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology ( CLICK HERE ) defends evidence tending to show that the IBW is still extant.

Then there is "faith." It does seem that there are those who want to believe the bird has survived mankind, and those who have little faith that it could be so. Despite attacks from skeptics, the Houston Audubon Society, for one, proclaims its certainty. ( CLICK FOR H.A.S. STATEMENT)

The National Fish and Wildlife Service continues to sponsor searches for the bird and has provided a question-answer fact sheet for inquiring minds such as yours. ( PDF Format Q-A )

ARBORETUM continues to watch the debate.

Here is the most recent Associated Press report on the search and the debate: A.P. CLICK

Sunday, March 25, 2007

update on Iran-Britain

Blair: Iran must free naval prisoners in days

By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
Last Updated: 1:53am BST 26/03/2007

"Tony Blair warned Iran last night that it has only a few days to find a diplomatic solution to the escalating crisis over the 15 missing British sailors and Marines."


Saturday, March 24, 2007

wacko of the week, 03/24/07


He may have started a naval war with Britannia.

Let's hope.



Steven Thibodeau of Connecticut who set up a mini-camera in a shampoo bottle to spy on his roommates in the bathroom. One of the other males discovered it. The females pressed charges.

B.J.Hathaway, Wisconsin: (AP) A 20-year-old man received probation after he was convicted of having sexual contact with a dead deer. The sentence also requires Bryan James Hathaway to be evaluated as a sex offender and treated at the Institute for Psychological and Sexual Health in Duluth, Minn.

Viscount Challenges Gore to Debate

...and we quote:

"The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley presents his compliments to Vice-
President Albert Gore and by these presents challenges the said former
Vice-President to a head-to-head, internationally-televised debate upon
the question, 'That our effect on climate is not dangerous,' to be held in
the Library of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History at a date
of the Vice-President's choosing.

"Forasmuch as it is His Lordship who now flings down the gauntlet to the
Vice-President, it shall be the Vice-President's prerogative and right to
choose his weapons by specifying the form of the Great Debate. May the
Truth win! Magna est veritas, et praevalet. God Bless America! God Save
the Queen!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Arboretum goes to Blogger 2.0

A housekeeping note: We've upgraded this blog to Blogger 2.0. This shouldn't affect you as readers much, but it does let us offer a few new features -- most of which, I'm sure we haven't figured out yet. But one neato feature is the ability to create categories by tagging our posts with "labels" (you'll see one at the bottom of this post).

That lets us create pages for ultra-popular Arboretum features like "Wacko of the Week" and "SYCMU" and "Nude Pictures of Hot Chicks". Over the next days, weeks or months, we'll probably go back through the old posts and add labels where relevant to enhance the treasury of our wisdom -- such as it is.

Thank you for reading this boring housekeeping note.


How are things faring in the ARBORETUM?

Wolf Population Grows in Three States

By Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. -- The number of wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming continues to grow, with at least 1,300 in the three states at the end of 2006, federal officials say.

"I keep thinking we're at the top end of the bubble," said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "I can't see that there's room for any more, but we'll see."


Nevada Takes Steps to Protect Butterfly
Associated Press Writer

March 20, 2007, 4:38 PM EDT

RENO, Nev. -- Federal land managers working to keep a rare Nevada butterfly off the list of endangered species have closed scores of off-road vehicle trails at one of the biggest, most popular sand dunes in the West.

The closure affects about six square miles of public land where an ancient lake once existed. The emergency order replaces a voluntary measure the U.S. Bureau of Land Management imposed two years ago on a portion of up to 200 miles of trails that run through shrubs and other vegetation that is home to the Sand Mountain Blue Butterfly, the BLM said.


American Croc No Longer Near Extinction

Associated Press Writer
March 20, 2007, 9:42 PM EDT

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declassified the American crocodile as an endangered species Tuesday, saying the animal has rebounded from the edge of extinction.

The reptile remains protected under the federal Endangered Species Act even though it was downgraded to a "threatened" species, making it illegal to harass, poach or kill the reptiles.

"It's just one step closer to recovery, but it still has many, many threats," Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Tom MacKenzie said. "It's still protected with the full force of federal law."

The crocodile was on the brink of disappearing from South Florida, its only U.S. habitat, when it was originally listed as a federally endangered species in 1975. By 1976, the population was estimated at just about 300. Scientists now estimate there are up to 2,000 American crocodiles in Florida.



All those of you who might have been planning to be in Utah at the end of April are cautioned, for the following reason:

Cheney to Give BYU Commencement Speech

March 22, 2007, 6:30 PM EDT

PROVO, Utah --(AP) Vice President Dick Cheney will give the commencement speech at Brigham Young University on April 26.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


...that Michigan State graduates 75% of its basketball players, but Ohio State graduates only 10%?




With Victories at Four Nations Tournament in January and
Algarve Cup in Portugal Last Week, U.S. Moves
Past Germany to Number One in the World;
World's Top-Ranked Team to Visit
Eight U.S. Cities this Spring and Summer

GOOSE UPDATE: BREAKING NEWS: (I mean, really breaking) -- Chicago whacking eggs.

Mar 21, 2007 7:24 am US/Pacific
Chicago Goes On Wild Goose Egg Chase

City Parks Begin New Population Control Program
Volunteers Hunt Eggs, Goose Management Co. Shakes Them

(AP) CHICAGO The city needs a flock of volunteers - for goose egg patrol.
Chicago-area park district officials are enlisting people to help locate nests of goose eggs as part of an expanded program aimed at downsizing the population of the aggressive park-fouling birds.

The patrols will search 11 city parks for goose eggs during the birds' nesting season, which begins at the end of the month and lasts through April.

The volunteers will be taught about geese habitats and life cycles, but they won't be allowed to handle the eggs. That task will be reserved for employees of La Grange-based Wild Goose Chase, who will shake the eggs to destroy the embryo or coat them with corn oil to suffocate the developing chick.

"I can't stress enough, this is not an Easter egg hunt," said Susan Hagberg, president of Wild Goose Chase. "This is very regulated. If people think they can do this on their own, they can't."

Park officials have tried to control the flocks by planting grasses less attractive to the birds along lagoons, spraying digestive irritants on grass in Grant Park, and using border collies to drive migrating geese away in the fall.

The Humane Society of the United States supports the egg hunting method, said spokeswoman Diane Webber.

"It's much more humane than rounding up the geese and gassing them," she said.

SYCMU: Her Lucky Charms

For this installment of "Stuff You Can't Make Up," I'll simply post the headline, intro and link. I really don't think there's much I can add:

Muskegon Chronicle: "Lover says stripper cast her spell over many"

The third former fiance of former stripper Mechele Linehan testified Monday that he was her true love and that he considered Kent Leppink and the man accused of murdering him, John Carlin III, to be fools who threw money at the young exotic dancer in attempts to buy her affections.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


DEMONSTRATION in Dam Square, Amsterdam, agains the Iraq War. Such gatherings occurred around the world this week.

ARBORETUM supports their cause.



Nearly everyone in Michigan has put their foot in it at some time. Goose droppings.

The Giant Canada Geese are the culprits. They seem to be without number, and they poop freely wherever they go. This is not nice poop, it is vile. (Actually, there are about 187,000 est., Canada Geese in Michigan.)

In the JACK PINE WARBLER, a publication of the Michigan Audubon Society (March/April 2007), the problem of the big nuisance is discussed. One theme of this story is that we the people are inviting these birds into our lives when they ought to be off somewhere minding their own business.

Here's how we do it: We build ponds and then plant near them, the sort of flora the geese like.

Not only that, within the confines of backyards, golf courses, and municipal ponds, the geese are safe from their predators: fox, bobcats, coyotes, and hunters.

Too, grammas, bird lovers and little kids with popcorn like to feed them .

Here are some suggestions from the DNR and Audubon:

1. Build barriers (fences, hedges, etc.) between ponds and grassy areas. Three foot high barriers are enough.

2. Don't ever feed them. Try to deny them sources of food.

3. Hunt them.

4. Apply repellants to grassy areas.

5. Train a dog to chase them. Of course, dogs add a new problem.

No one, least of all, the DNR or the Audubon Society, wants to wipe them out. But, they can be discouraged from areas where they are a nuisance. It's not an easy problem, and as Audubon says: if you find you have a small problem and don't deal with it, you'll discover that you have a very big problem.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


ASSIGNMENT; IDENTIFY as many absurdities as you can in this picture.

EXTRA CREDIT will be given liberally to those of you who find more than 3.

Isn't this thrilling? It's almost like a MENSA question.

* * * * *
Note: Last week we showed you a picture of a guy. (not one of you even tried to get it right.) He was Sam Fox, a heritary billionaire and a top contributor to Republican causes and candidates. He contributed a lot to the Swift Boat campaign that damaged Kerry in the last election. The reason he has infuriated so many Democrats is that he's been nominated for Ambassador to Belgium by the current resident of the White House. Some of them hate him too much to approve him. When Fox appeared before Kerry's committee last week, Kerry spoke impolitely to him.

Recycling CD jewel cases

My latest re-org project here at La Hacienda has been taming the masses of CDs accumulated over the years. Thanks to pal Brad, who has donated an unused 300-disc Sony CD changer, I have a home for all my albums and mix discs. I love this machine -- you can sort each disc into a group for random play ("Rockin'" or "Mellow" for example) and program a name for each disc. Anyway, the byproduct of this, of course, is piles of jewel cases.

I've had a hard time finding a "green" way of getting rid of these. Municipal recycling generally doesn't accept the brittle kind of plastic used in jewel cases or CDs, and you don't see recycling drives, either. But through the magic of Google, I found a place in Indianapolis who will recycle old CDs and jewel cases sent to them (on your dime):

Plastic Recycling Incorporated
2015 South Pennsylvania
Indianapolis, IN 46225.

I just called the number and confirmed the address with the nice lady on the phone.

A good project for you teachers out there: Start a collection drive at your school -- have your students bring in old jewel cases and CDs, and find a local company to sponsor the shipping.

As for me, I'm going to start filling an old box with these suckers, and when it's full, off it goes!!!

Update: There's another place that takes old CDs and jewel cases -- and virtually any other technotrash you can conceive of -- cables, monitors, computers, chargers, etc.:

Link: GreenDisk


This Morning, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, also known as, Kalid Sheik Mohhamet, Khali Shiek Muhamit, and Anne Coulter,

confessed that he is the "One" who farted in church.

Monday, March 19, 2007


FIFE SYMINGTON former Republican Governor of Arizona is nuts! Or drunk!

10 years ago (1997), people in Phoenix were jumping all over each other reporting lights and objects in the sky. Symington ridiculed the idea, publicly.

Now, Symington, who until today has been fairly highly regarded among intelligent people, has switched sides and embraces berzerkery. He says he did indeed see an object over his city that night and it was as big as a football field.

. .....
Let us make this clear once again.
This is the ARBORETUM's official position on flying saucers:

1. No reputable person in the entire history of this earth has ever seen a flying saucer.
2. There aren't any because the government says so.
3. Anyone who sees one is either drunk, drug-hazed, crazy, or lying.
4. When people actually do see things up there, they are either airplanes, weather balloons, heat lightning, reflections off Dick Cheney's head, stars, comets, or angels. "Weird" weather, according to the FAA also makes people think they see something.

We are now considering it possible that in Arizona, football fields fly at night.

A BREEZE stirs the leaves.

Stuff people ask me about.

Ann Coulter --- I will leave a discussion of her transgressions against good sense to the narcissism of the networks who spawned her and gave her a platform. I know that she is considered a wise thinker in some circles, the same ones that liked Martha Mitchell. Their judgment in these matters is far superior to mine. Besides, I am a retired and frivolous person and very,very busy. I really have no time for important things like Ann. I'm pursuing more inane topics, like life and happiness. For example, I'm still treating the diseases I contacted in trying to establish my parenthood of Anna Nicole's baby.


General Pace says that homosexual acts are immoral. Maybe it's just the way he does it. Bears further investigation, though.

Meanwhile, I gladly take his word for it.


note to cowardly democrats and republicans alike

End the war! Period. Get out!
That's what the country wants.
That's what arboretum wants

Sunday, March 18, 2007




He didn't win enough. Says his boss Bill Martin: "But at Michigan we have a tradition of winning Big Ten and national championships and we haven't been close to doing either in a lot of ways.There were moments of delight and success. But we didn't make the NCAA tournament and that was the goal. To that extent, it was a disappointment."

So, this great gentleman Tommy gets (reportedly ... at this time) $900,000 to take a walk. I think some of that is my money.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


NOTRE DAME hockey team, ranked #1 in their conference and #1 in the nation, won the CCHA championship and the CCHA playoffs by defeating Michigan (ranked #2 in the CCHA and #9 in the nation.) For both it is on to the National Championship Series.




PROF. JOHN D. MCCALLIE (half of a great love story)

When she was a coach at Auburn University, they met and married. He was a professor. Now she is a coach at Michigan State, and surprisingly, his qualifications just matched a job in the econ department there, so he was coincidentally hired.

She is Joanne McCallie, a basketball heroine. He can slam dunk a trash basket, with or without balls.

Now, he faces criminal charges for biting a cop. (This is called man-to-man coverage). Let's hope this is not something he learned from his wife, who is now coaching the best Women's Basketball team in the nation. Even in the rules of modern basketball, biting is discouraged.

She describes him, profoundly, thus: "He's kind of an interesting guy. He's done a lot of different things in his life ..." SOURCE OF TESTIMONIAL, and she adds that he loves MSU.



Friday, March 16, 2007

REPOST OF "Trial Balloon"

Thursday, March 15, 2007
Trial balloon
posted by scot s w
Here's a "Spring Cleaning" type idea -- let me know what you think.

I recently tried to barter for a computer monitor cable by sending out an e-mail to a bunch of technically-inclined buddies I thought likely candidates to have what I wanted. I found a guy who had what I wanted, but the bartering idea fizzled when he insisted on giving me the darn cable gratis. Ah, well.

But I got to thinking that a swap meet would be a cool excuse to get a bunch of friends together. Environmentally friendly, too -- the "Reuse" in the 3Rs: "Reduce, reuse, recycle."

Folks could bring some items that still had value/use left in them, and see what they could get in exchange. Now, I'm not talking about worthless items such as plastic placemats, a bag of tattered playing cards or old audio cassettes. Rather, I mean perfectly good items which are no longer wanted or needed.

Some items I have I might swap: DVDs, computer keyboard, 6-disc CD changer, Kirk Gibson poster, books in good condition. Not gold, perhaps, but not JUNK, either. I have a big pole barn that could host this in the Grass Lake area, and I'm hoping my friends might find it a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Whaddya all say?
12:23 PM
Old Chip said...
Count us in.
3/15/2007 6:27 PM
Felix J said...
First of all, I'm highly offended by your snide dissing of plastic placemats. Secondly, what DVDs ya got? I might could swap a Mellencamp CD for some. Then again, I ain't drivin' to Grass Lake, Michigan for a 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' DVD. (I already have it on Blue Ray) (Not really)
3/16/2007 9:30 AM
scot s w said...
DVDs for trade might include "Shawshank Redeption," "Falling Down" and "Spiderman 2", and "Beavis and Butthead" is also a possibility.

Other reasons to drive to Grass Lake include:

Meet my wife, drink beer, meet interesting people you'd never meet otherwise (and I vouch for almost all of 'em), and groovy tunes.
3/16/2007 9:54 AM


Curbstone opinion from a citizen (i.e.,me)

I see that in a new CBS/NYT poll, 60% of Republicans say they want more choices than their party is currently putting forward for president next time around. Evidently the divorces, extra-marital affairs, whoring around, drug-using, lying and lie-ing, bribery, and jay-walking, are too much bad behavior for lots of folks to tolerate.

Well, I'm not surprised. When your party has spent 20 years telling everyone else how they should live their lives, and have defined morality for everyone in the universe, it's hard to find politicians who measure up. This is what comes of abandoning the traditions of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower and instead becoming the party of the holier-than-thou's.

I have nothing at all against good behavior. Hypocrisy is not, in my opinion, good behavior. But, we all fall short of the grace of God, so it hath been writ, and also short of the greace of popular opinion.

I think we should run Ted Haggard for president. He has no history of womanizing, he is a died-in-the-wool Republican moralist, and like Lazarus, God has cleansed him of his sins, ipse dixit.

[Or, maybe Britney? I believe, she can make these same claims. ]


The looming real estate collapse?


"This is an administration of bullies!"

Representative John Sarbanes,
Plame hearings

Thursday, March 15, 2007


KHALID SHEIK MUHAMMED admits to slicing the throats of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.

O.J. surprised -- and confused.

Trial balloon

Here's a "Spring Cleaning" type idea -- let me know what you think.

I recently tried to barter for a computer monitor cable by sending out an e-mail to a bunch of technically-inclined buddies I thought likely candidates to have what I wanted. I found a guy who had what I wanted, but the bartering idea fizzled when he insisted on giving me the darn cable gratis. Ah, well.

But I got to thinking that a swap meet would be a cool excuse to get a bunch of friends together. Environmentally friendly, too -- the "Reuse" in the 3Rs: "Reduce, reuse, recycle."

Folks could bring some items that still had value/use left in them, and see what they could get in exchange. Now, I'm not talking about worthless items such as plastic placemats, a bag of tattered playing cards or old audio cassettes. Rather, I mean perfectly good items which are no longer wanted or needed.

Some items I have I might swap: DVDs, computer keyboard, 6-disc CD changer, Kirk Gibson poster, books in good condition. Not gold, perhaps, but not JUNK, either. I have a big pole barn that could host this in the Grass Lake area, and I'm hoping my friends might find it a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Whaddya all say?


Ya gotta love 'em for their creativity, those jolly Republicans!

A prominent member of the Democratic Party walked into a whore house in Vegas and asked for the prices. Then he asked whether the prostitutes were unionized.

"Of course not," said the madam, "there's never been such a thing as a prostitutes' union."

Being a good labor supporter, the Democrat thought that surely this was a lie. "Well, what percent of the money goes to the girl?"

"One-third to the girl, two-thirds to the house," was the answer.

"That's no good!" said the Democrat, and he left.

At the next stop, the answers were much different. "It's two-thirds to the lady and one-third for the house, if you want to stick to a union scale," said the proprietor.

"O.K. Then I'll take the beautiful red haired girl."

"No, you can't," retorted the proprietor, and he brought forth the oldest, ugliest woman of the night the Democrat had ever seen. "You have to take this one, she has seniority!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SYCMU: Avenging 9/11?

This is hard to believe, but Newsweek is reporting that documents show that Douglas Feith, one of Rumsfeld's underlings at the Pentagon, proposed attacking Paraguay after 9/11 as "a surprise to the terrorists" who were expecting an attack on Afghanistan. Feith's Office of Special Plans apparently cooked up the scheme, which makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. If this were a bad movie, the obligatory reply to this trail balloon would be, "That's so crazy, it just might work!"

I think it's so crazy, I'm including it in my "Stuff You Can't Make Up" series. Per Newsweek:

They argued that an attack on terrorists in South America—for example, a remote region on the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where intelligence reports said Iranian-backed Hizbullah had a presence—would have ripple effects on other terrorist operations. The proposals were floated to top foreign-policy advisers.

An attack?!? Well, yes, that surely would have surprised the terrorists. I'm sure it would have been something of a shock to Paraguayans and Brazilians, too.

Readers may recall that my honeymoon included a visit to this precise area of the world, which includes the glorious falls at Iguazu. By "remote," Newsweek can only mean "a long way from our New York offices," which it certainly is. But it's not remote like the Outback or the Andes -- Paraguay's Ciudad Del Este and its Brazilian neighbor city, Faz de Iguassu, are buzzing metropolises. The Paraguayan side is certainly poor, but the Brazilian side doesn't seem that far removed from American standards of living. People drive Fords and Chevys and Nissans, and you can buy a McDonald's cheeseburger. While you're in the area, you can also visit the largest hydroelectric dam in the Western hemisphere.

There's a lawlessness of sorts there, sure. Free market capitalism thrives like few other places I've seen. Waiting for hours in the scorching January sun in Ciudad Del Este to cross into Brazil, we were approached a hundred times by street vendors selling everything from Coca-Colas to sunglasses to porno to rip-cord helicopter toys.

Smugglers were active, too. They circumvented the long lines of autos waiting to cross the river and the border by hand-carrying computer parts, toys and big-screen televisions across. Many avoided Brazilian tariffs by stopping at a point where the bridge had entered Brazil, and lowering their goods by rope to accomplices more than 100 feet below on the banks of the Parana river. There's a show of resistance, of course: The bridge is enclosed by tall chain-link fences once it's over solid ground again. But the smugglers have cut away a big section of the fence so they can lower their goods. All of this in broad daylight, in full view of the Brazilian border post less than a quarter-mile away. It's a gentleman's bargain, of sorts, because if Brazilian officials clamped down on the trade here, these guys would just load the stuff on boats and zip it across a few miles away.

Anyway, I've heard chatter before that Hezbollah and other terrorist groups "operate" in the area. But let's be clear about what that means: They might have some people hiding there. They aren't putting up posters or setting up terrorist training camps. It's hart to imagine what an attack on this area would actually target, other than apartment blocks, empenada shops and urban sprawl. It's not exactly a hotbed of Islamic radicalism plopped down in the middle of Catholic Latin America. It's the heart of the region's push for modernization, and the cab drivers still cross themselves when passing the portal of a church. Iguazu is a big tourist destination, with grand national parks in both Argentina and Brazil, which are both World Heritage Sites. The nearby dam at Itaipu dwarfs Hoover Dam and provides a quarter of Brazil's power. Yeah, really. Remote? Not so much.

Look, if Hezbollah really has guys down there, let's pull some strings with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay, and go round 'em up. These aren't unreasonable countries -- heck, Bush just took a jaunt in the neighborhood and shook a lot of hands. We could send a dozen Spanish-speaking FBI agents, a few million dollars to grease the wheels, and bust up this supposed "den" of terrorism in a few weeks. My experience in the region is that five or ten bucks opens a lot of doors, so tracking those guys down wouldn't be hard. They don't have sympathizers in high places. It's not like Baghdad, folks -- Islamic fundamentalists don't exactly blend in to Latin culture. Think more along the lines of Joe Pesci in "My Cousin Vinny".

I used to think I knew what "mind-boggling" meant. But I have a whole new appreciation now, thanks to the ever-enlightening Bush administration.

(Hat-tip to Atrios for noting this story.)



Wanna buy a MacMansion?

The Chinese and other "Pacific Rim" entrepreneurs, newcomers at capitalism, have learned to produce things Americans want to buy at lower prices, and they're enjoying an economic boom. But, Asian capitalists still have to go some to beat some sleazy American businessmen at their clever games. An American capitalist -- who can dupe a home-buyer faster than a cat winks -- can bundle up a bunch of bad loans into multi-million dollar packages and sell them to Asians at reduced prices.

BINGO: foreclosures and bankruptcies. The joke's on .... uhh .... Who?

And, attention poor folks, now that the bankruptcy laws have been "reformed" to protect the wealthy, you will find that your real estate debts are not easy to shuck off.

Someone elected these bastards to office, and it wasn't ME! Here in the ARBORETUM, even the poor birds get to have nests.


taken, MARCH 10, 2007
Here we see a ridiculous person dressed up in a ridiculous outfit making a ridiculous fool of himself, parading around the ball park in Columbia SC, annoying the fans and trying to cheer on the team.

The other one is Cocky the Mascot of the University of South Carolina.

A great time was had by both these guys as the University of South Carolina Gamecocks swept a three-game series with Brown University. So if you want to know what the heck has been going on with ARBORETUM the last couple of weeks, this is part of the explanation.

By the way, The Gamecocks are expecting to win the NCAA Baseball Championship this year.

Our good friend, Marsha, who does something for the University professionally, provided the tickets and the accommodations, and will cheer this team on rabidly until they win it all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007




One of the most charming women I know in the world is Pauline, who happens to be married to Anonymous Marty, a frequent visitor to ARBORETUM.

They have become the parents of Brianna, whose stolen picture is shown here.

CONGRATULATIONS to the parents and welcome to the beautiful little girl.

Monday, March 12, 2007

HOW DID THAT IRISH GIRL SNEAK IN THERE? [Or: Whatever are we going to do with all these immigrants? ]

Our friend, Bill from Wnnco, has sent along the item below for our consideration. He wants to know why so many of the names on the list are Asian in origin. Then he says:

"The good thing about all of this is that regardless of their heritage they are still citizens of the USA. This means that we will benefit from their work regardless. I just feel that what was viewed as classic values from the past are no longer characterized by WASP's. The focus of education and excellence are values of the Asian-Americans. The WASP's are too busy focusing on "ME."



Dmitry Vaintrob of Eugene, Oregon, Wins $100,000 Individual Prize;

Scott Molony, Steven Arcangeli and Scott Horton of Oak Ridge, Tennessee,
Win $100,000 Team Prize

The other national winners of the 2006-07
Siemens Competition were:

· $50,000 scholarship – Madhavi Gavini, Columbus, Mississippi
· $40,000 scholarship – Arjun Ramamurti, Lexington, Massachusetts
· $30,000 scholarship – Dominic Ludovici, Morgantown, West Virginia
· $20,000 scholarship – Guannan (Roger) Wang, Horseheads, New York
· $10,000 scholarship – Elizabeth Monier, San Antonio, Texas

· $50,000 scholarship – Lucia Mocz and Philip Mocz, Mililani, Hawaii
· $40,000 scholarship – Sagar Indurkhya and Nicholas Tang, Durham, North Carolina
· $30,000 scholarship – Jinju Yi, Plainview, New York and Vijay Jain, New Hyde
Park, New York
· $20,000 scholarship – Jenny Yeh, Houston, Texas and Mary Catherine Wen, Queens,
New York
· $10,000 scholarship – Catherine McCarthy, Lily Roberts and Rochelle Rucker,
Shaker Heights, Ohio


Old Chip and Chippie are safely back in the ARBORETUM after a 12 day excursion to somewhere the sun shines more often.

Maybe there will be some dull stories. Maybe there will be the return of some regular features.

Does anyone want any of that?