Weekender #8: July 4, 2009

A collection of links, news, and oddities that I've come across during the past week.


Happy Fourth of July, everyone!

I was going to mention Sarah Palin here anyway, but her resignation makes this especially relevant: Vanity Fair will be publishing an unflattering article on Sarah Palin's political character (or lack thereof) — which is now available for online reading — in their upcoming August issue, and already the Republican fallout has begun. Considering that the article lists and dissects her history of knee-jerk, ill-conceived political decisions, it's tempting to see her latest move as yet another example of her temper winning out over cooler political heads. Slate's John Dickerson sums the madness up well — as does He just got his new girlfriend pregnant. With twins. He jokes that if he had a thousand dollars, he'd get fixed. I suggest he do it himself, with nail clippers.

Do you know this woman? If so, start sucking up now, because she may be the heiress to a German fortune big enough to keep her in leis for the rest of her life.

Climate change is causing certain breeds of sheep to shrink, Scottish scientists say (alliteratively). I don't really see how this could be bad — who doesn't want to see chihuahuas herding sheep?

It's not uncommon to, upon entering a bathroom, have the last occupant warn you, "Don't go in there". What is uncommon is for that phrase to be followed by the words "… I just had a baby in there". And she didn't even bother to light a candle. Nice.

I have an uncle who believes homeowners need guns to be safe. What if someone breaks into your house? How will you defend yourself? Well, if you're a retired British Army boxer, you'll give the guy a couple of right hooks, perform a citizen's arrest, then send the guy off with the cops. If a 71-year-old can do it, anyone can.

Animal fail: one animal test subject is killed every hour in New South Wales, Australia; a pet python strangles a two-year-old to death; ant mega-colony takes over the world. (Actually, that last one is pretty excellent — and isn't it ironic that they live everywhere except ANT-arctica? Hyuk hyuk hyuk.)

No slutty tombstone for you, missy! Even if you were a hooker.

Pretty much everything Aly Fell creates is magnificent, but I especially like these two: a steampunk Judith and Holofernes, and an alternate-timeline Lady Frances Drake setting out to defend a fascist Elizabethan state against a zeppelin armada (… and yeah, that covers all my interests).

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Dan Wineman has an interesting — and oh-so-tempting — suggestion for all IE-hating web designers: just stop supporting it. I'd be lying if I said that thought doesn't give me happy tingles, but to deny users vital site features because of their browser choice is as anti-accessible as designing only for IE. I hate IE as much as the next developer, but I know what a hassle browser discrimination can be, and I choose not to inflict it upon others.

This may have been corrected by the time you read this, but a certain Telegraph article has a very brief mention of a new series "starring Bleak house actress Nathaniel Parker". Guess I'm just gay for Nattie (along with this lady, incidentally).

Grocers, don't discriminate: ugly produce is just as good.

Here's an intriguing article on the "third man phenomenon", which is something that interests me both for its psychological mystery and its connection to Ernest Shackleton. In a nutshell, it's when someone in a survival situation is helped and comforted by an unseen presence, which is nonetheless felt very strongly.

Right on the heels of the dismissal of the case against Lori Drew, the woman who misrepresented herself online to a teenager (who then committed suicide), there's this: a social worker (!!!) allegedly posted a sexually suggestive ad on Craigslist containing the phone number of her daughter's friend, because the two girls had had a fight and the mom wanted revenge. What… why… how…? I have no words.

I don't care how bad this recession gets — I'm not going blonde.

I knew it! I knew it! Self-help is a crock! Think of all the time we'll save now that we don't have to do our affirmations every morning!

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