Tuesday, August 29, 2006




It's that time of year again. Two pics of this morning's fall drizzle, on the transit mall downtown. The first just as the rain began, and the second once it really got going. The second is a color photo, believe it or not.

Continuing with the drizzle theme, sort of, here are a few mostly downbeat items from the interwebs, found over the last few days. Or if not downbeat, at least somewhat lacking in sunshine, sweetness, and light. Or even if they're full of sickly tooth-rotting sweetness, I'll still have something snarky and disagreeable and downbeat to say about them. Because that's the theme for today: Drizzle.

  • A post at BlueOregon about the nation's cooling economy.
  • Also at BlueOregon, a piece bashing the Oregonian's wingnutty editorial about the demotion of Pluto. Also see Bill Maher's very funny rant on the same topic.
  • Not downbeat, but distinctly lacking in sunshine and other forms of light: Cosmic Variance has a nice, somewhat technical discussion of dark matter. If I owned a brewpub, my stout would be called "Dark Matter", and I'd offer a companion coffee stout and call it "Dark Energy". Because it would be funny. Really.
  • Rummy, in Salt Lake City, had this to say, seriously:

    "We face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising of a new type of fascism," he said.

    "And that is important in this 'long war' where any kind of moral and intellectual confusion about who and what is right or wrong can weaken the ability of free societies to persevere," he said, taking aim at detractors of the US "war on terror".

    Am I the only person who sees a conflict between paragraph 1 and paragraph 2?
  • Someone refresh my memory, wasn't there some sort of big storm down in Louisiana or Mississippi or somewhere about this time last year? I, for one, sure am glad we have Dubya around to do his usual "heckuva job" fixing these things.
  • The ever-insufferable Randy Gragg, the local paper's one-time "architecture critic" is back in town, and already up to his old tricks. If he and his architect/developer chums are really so amazingly superior to the rest of us rubes, why did he move back here from the bright lights of New York?
  • This is more of a schadenfreude item than a downbeat one. The Mercury reports on an groovy discovery made in the flowerbeds in front of the Duluth, MN police headquarters. Nelson: Ha, ha!
  • Sen. Ted Stevens officiated over the opening of a new Iridium satellite center near Fairbanks, Alaska. No word yet on whether satellite phone service also relies on a "series of tubes".
  • A piece about the late, lamented gas turbine car. It's a weird fit for Treehugger, considering how inefficient the things were, but it could run on peanut oil, or even perfume. Lots and lots of perfume.
  • Meanwhile, an angry SUV driver went on a rampage today, mowing people down all over San Francisco, thereby doing what all the other SUV drivers in the world merely fantasize about, 24/7.
  • If you really want to wallow in despair, you might enjoy the site "Fundies Say the Darndest Things!"
  • In the same vein, you might also like LarkNews, which is sort of like the Onion except all-religion, all the time. At least I don't think it's serious, I hope.
  • As I've gotten older, I've become more and more opposed to the whole "time passing" concept. Here's another reason why. These days, even "modern" houses can be old and creaky and desperately in need of the This Old House treatment. It's not fair. New stuff should stay new forever. Ok, maybe I'm just grumpy because I found a grey eyebrow hair the other day, for the first time ever. On me. It just isn't right, I tell you.
  • There's also movie fatigue to whine about. There are vastly more movies than any one person will ever be able to watch. Even if you limit yourself to good movies, or good bad movies, you'll still end up with a Stack of Shame, or a constipated Netflix queue in my case.
  • It's August, and you know what that means. The holiday shopping season won't really start until back-to-school wraps up, but the fundies are already warming up this year's batch of nutty "War on Christmas" hype.
  • OlsonOnline picks apart the loaded word "Islamofascism".
  • I've mentioned before, I think, that I'm the world's worst gamer, and the most unmotivated. I've never actually solved the old Colossal Cave text adventure even though I first played it back in the 70's. So it'll come as no surprise that I'm really terrible at this flash game, which requires being good with a mouse and all. Maybe you'll have better luck. I haven't even had a go at the new Google Maps-based flight sim. As much as I suck at ordinary games, I triple-extra-suck at flight sims, with all those complicated buttons and controls and all.
  • Pink Tentacle informs us that researchers in Japan have found an ancient stone idol that looks like the head of a kappa, an aquatic monster from Japanese mythology. The first 5 minutes of the movie always begin this way. Tokyo is doomed. Doomed, I tell you.
  • It's too late to win yourself a World Stupidity Award, but there's always next year, unless this year's winners blow up the world first.
  • Alt.portland has a piece about Oregon City's Municipal Elevator. I mention it here because it's sort of the Portland area's answer to Seattle's monorail. A weird, down-at-the-heels remnant of the past, a wistful reminder of the unmet dreams of an optimistic, bygone age.
  • And this is actually a cute animal post, not downbeat at all, although the cat in this Cute Overload post does look distinctly predatory, so this is definitely a downbeat post if you're a steak. Of course, if you are a steak, at that point the worst is already over, so far as you're concerned.

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