The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Making Money

I'm two away from finishing the most entertaining series of books I've ever read, the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. I mention this because the one I finished yesterday, Making Money, contained two of the funniest lines I've ever read:

There is a time in a thoughtless man's life when his six-pack becomes a keg....


"One of my predecessors used to have people torn apart by wild tortoises. It was not a quick death.

In context, they're even funnier.

Happy birthday, Mike

Doonesbury turned 40 today. NPR reports:

Created in the throes of '60s and '70s counterculture, Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury comic strip blurred the lines between comics and the editorial pages, and produced some of the most memorable cartoon characters ever sketched.

Trudeau developed Doonesbury around three foundational characters — everyman Mike Doonesbury, football quarterback B.D. and campus radical Mark Slackmeyer. They represented the center, the right, and the left, Trudeau says.

Six weeks after Doonesbury was first published on campus, Trudeau was offered what he calls an "out of the blue" syndication deal. "It's a ridiculous story, and it nauseates my children," Trudeau says, "that I would find my life's work six weeks into it."

The NPR article has a bunch of the most memorable strips following the copy.

On to plan B

One of the benefits Avanade provides is a fairly generous "technology" budget. I'm given cash, every year, to buy things that either demonstrate my (read: Avanade's) love of technology, or give me better work-life balance.

This week I bought a 240 GB solid-state drive for my work laptop to replace the 256 GB drive it came with. So, I backed up the entire drive using Windows 7 System Image, swapped the drives out, and...crap.

Did anyone else notice that 240 < 256? Yeah. Also, the bigger drive was bit-lockered.

So, yeah, I can't restore the image. I am now copying all the data I'll need and, in fits and starts this weekend, I'll be rebuilding the laptop from scratch.


Sunniest October ever

This month has set the record, and it's only the 22nd:

Chicagoans have been soaking up sunshine at a record rate this month in what has been the sunniest October to date. So far this month the city has recorded 86 percent of its possible sunshine, surpassing the previous Oct. 1-21 record of 84 percent established in 1958. Another mostly sunny day is on tap for Friday before a weekend storm promises to bring extensive cloudiness along with the city's first significant rainfall since October's opening three days....

And then there's the new sunshine provided by Wikileaks:

The reports make it clear that most civilians, by far, were killed by other Iraqis. Two of the worst days of the war came on Aug. 31, 2005, when a stampede on a bridge in Baghdad killed more than 950 people after several earlier attacks panicked a huge crowd, and on Aug. 14, 2007, when truck bombs killed more than 500 people in a rural area near the border with Syria.

But it was systematic sectarian cleansing that drove the killing to its most frenzied point, making December 2006 the worst month of the war, according to the reports, with about 3,800 civilians killed, roughly equal to the past seven years of murders in New York City. A total of about 1,300 police officers, insurgents and coalition soldiers were also killed in that month.

Endless war.

Meet a real Caucasian Wingnut

No, not Christine O'Donnell or Sharron Angle—though this one answers Barbara Walters' famous question for them:

Now I'll be honest. When TPM Reader JB told me about Pterocarya fraxinifolia earlier today, I thought there was a pretty decent chance I was being punk'd. Or maybe JB had been punk'd. Someone was getting punk'd. But some simple googling showed that if this is a put-on someone has spent a ton of time posting spoof pages on tons of arboreal and nursery websites around the world. More than 16,000 according to Google. So I'm going with the Caucasian Wingnut being the real thing.

Ironically, this Caucasian Wingnut is most common, or at least started out, in Northern Iran, which isn't necessarily what you'd figure for your garden variety Tea Partier. But there you go. JB says it's the official tree of the Tea Party Movement. But I'll just say you've been warned.

No, really: the Caucasian Wingnut is a tree.

(Via Talking Points Memo.)

Constrained jury pool? Or just good lawyering?

This caught my eye not only because of its absurdity but also because, at the moment, I'm just outside Cincinnati:

In a stunning twist to a Tuesday Hamilton County jury trial, Najah Johnson-Riddle went from juror to witness.

Johnson-Riddle was one of 12 jurors seated to hear the domestic violence and felonious assault charges against James Capell, 42, of Colerain Township. Capell is accused of - but has pleaded not guilty to - brutally beating a woman in her College Hill home May 30. He is accused of breaking the glass out of the woman's door in the 1200 block of West Galbraith Road, entering her home and using his keys to beat her in the face, then choking her and biting her ear.

Jurors were seated late Monday. The trial began Tuesday. Nelson gave his opening statements, telling jurors what he expected the evidence to prove. Bouchard was doing the same for the defense when juror number eight, Johnson-Riddle, stunned the courtroom and stopped the trial by blurting out she couldn't sit on the jury.

"She said, 'I was the (anonymous) person who made the 911 call,'" the assistant prosecutor said.

"She said, 'It woke me up out of my bed and I saw him beating on her. I thought she must be dead.'"

Her outburst tainted the entire jury because it corroborated statements made by the prosecution and claims made by the victim, Ruehlman declared a mistrial.

Now, that's great work by both lawyers. It shows the prosecutor's top investigative skills along with the defense attorney's stunning ability to voir dire prospective jurors.

(Via Talking Points Memo.