"According to experts, confining an inmate alone in a cell for all or
nearly all of the day for prolonged periods can cause severe
psychological harm."

So naturally the Virginia Dept of Corrections uses isolation as punishment for prisoners who refuse to follow grooming policies, until or unless they get their hair or beards trimmed to appropriate length. According to one Rastarian inmate, there are seven prisoners who have been in segregation for up to six years due to their refusal to follow the grooming policy.

Warms your heart, doesn't it?


As Frank is my witness, I caught a 24 inch Northern Pike last night around 8 PM.

We were fishing for bluegills on North Lake, worms and bobbers. I think Frank was humoring me because I told him I never caught a bass big enough to keep, so I preferred to catch a lot of little fish like bluegills. Little sunfish and bluegills were biting, but none long enough to keep. Finally I switched to a jig with a rubber twister on it. Frank gave me a flavored "pumpkin seed" twister with a long, dark brown body and dayglo yellow tail. We were talking about packing it in, making a few last casts, and I hooked this little beast. It felt like I had hooked another weed, but when I stopped reeling for a second, the rod bent forward and line pulled away from me.

I was excited because it was the biggest thing I have ever caught. I got it up to the boat and Frank identified it as a pike, and not long enough to keep. Then we let it run back and forth for a few minutes while we figured out how to turn it loose without getting gouged by its fins or gills or nasty teeth. At one point it flopped itself up into the boat, then kicked around and back out. Finally Frank got some needle-nose pliers on the hook and it tried to struggle, basically hopped off the hook and back into the water.

So I got all of the glory and none of the mess. Next time we need to bring some thick gloves for handling spiny fish, a net, and a camera.

Update: A friend told me that 24 inches is legally a keeper for Northern Pike. I doubted him, but when I checked the 2005 guidebook, he was right. Oh well. I probably would have liked to keep it when I first hooked it, but now I'm glad we threw it back. Maybe I can catch him again next year and get a picture.


Ohio Parents Say Cages Protected Children
The parents under investigation for having some of their 11 adopted children sleep in cages defended their actions, saying the homemade "enclosures" were meant to protect youngsters who set fires and injured each other.

Michael and Sharen Gravelle, of Wakeman, have denied abusing or neglecting the children, who are ages 1 to 14 and have conditions that include autism and fetal alcohol syndrome. No charges have been filed, and the children, whose situation was discovered last week, now are in foster care.
"The children have been out of control and have caused serious harm to themselves and each other," said attorney David Sherman, adding that Michael Gravelle built the enclosures to provide the children with a secure space while their parents slept at night.

In related news, Michael and Sharen Gravelle have been called upon by the Bush Administration to advise on PATRIOT Act III. The couple has also been jointly elected Sheriff of Gretna, Louisiana.
This afternoon, our six month old kitten Zatoichi was transformed to castrati. (He'll sing better now.) Melinda said the doctor gives you lots of ice cream after he cuts your nuts off. I said if you're a cat, they pack the ice cream around the scar where your nuts used to be, and you get to lick off all the ice cream! Wheeee!



The Independent Weekly: Disaster in the making: "In a May 15, 2001, appearance before a Senate appropriations subcommittee, Allbaugh signaled that the new, stripped-down approach would be applied at FEMA as well. 'Many are concerned that federal disaster assistance may have evolved into both an oversized entitlement program and a disincentive to effective state and local risk management,' he said. 'Expectations of when the federal government should be involved and the degree of involvement may have ballooned beyond what is an appropriate level.' "

Ready for a paradigm change yet? I got your appropriate level right here. Fucking "entitlements".
NPR story on pronouncing Abu Ghraib
[translation: Father of Strange.]


I harbor no illusion that Congress could impeach Bush. You're not going to get a coalition of predators to impeach the fox after they authorized his use of force in guarding the henhouse. Those clowns couldn't even harness the Downing Street Minutes to their advantage.

But it would be cute if the most commonly used phrase across a lot of blogs was "Impeach Bush".


The Clinton administration wants to nearly double spending for research on technology that potentially could store the contents of the Library of Congress in a device the size of a sugar cube and revolutionize medicine. (U.S. Government, January 21 2000)

Increased investments in nanotechnology could lead to breakthroughs such as molecular computers that can store the contents of the Library of Congress in a device the size of a sugar cube. (Foresight Institute)

Win the Library of Congress in a sugarcube! Free contest entry with every Soy Frappucino (Starbucks advertisement, July 14 2009)

"New Dark Ages Begin: Starbucks Patron Accidentally Drinks Library of Congress" (New York Times, front page, August 1 2009)

'"They should never have left it near the Splenda,' Says Culprit" (Los Angeles Times, B1, August 2 2009)

"Library of Congress Drinker Disappears: Rumors of Google Involvement" (New York Times, A6, August 19 2009)

[Series of fake headlines from]
Once again, Harper's demonstrates why it is the best fucking magazine going.
The Uses of Disaster by Rebecca Solnit
[These excerpts are from a postscript to the article posted on Sep 8, 2005:]

...'We were told of “riots” and babies being murdered, of instances of cannibalism. And we were provided an image of authority, of control—of power as a necessary counter not to threats to human life but to unauthorized shopping, as though free TVs were the core of the crisis.'
'The Associated Press reports that last year “university researchers conducted an experiment in which police fired 700 blank rounds in a New Orleans neighborhood in a single afternoon. No one called to report the gunfire.”'
'The Convention Center and the Superdome became open prisons. “They won't let them walk out,” reported Fox News anchor Shepard Smith, in a radical departure from the script. “They got locked in there. And anyone who walks up out of that city now is turned around. You are not allowed to go to Gretna, Louisiana, from New Orleans, Louisiana. Over there, there's hope. Over there, there's electricity. Over there, there is food and water. But you cannot go from here to there. The government will not allow you to do it. It's a fact.” Jesse Jackson compared the Superdome to the hull of a slave ship. People were turned back at the Gretna bridge by armed authorities, men who fired warning shots over the growing crowd. Men in control. Lorrie Beth Slonsky and Larry Bradshaw, paramedics in New Orleans for a conference, wrote in an email report (now posted at CounterPunch) that they saw hundreds of stranded tourists thus turned back. “All day long, we saw other families, individuals and groups make the same trip up the incline in an attempt to cross the bridge, only to be turned away. Some chased away with gunfire, others simply told no, others to be verbally berated and humiliated. Thousands of New Orleaners were prevented and prohibited from self-evacuating the city on foot.” That was not anarchy, nor was it civil society.'...


Great news! We'll hear no complaints about lack of armor this time around. Troops were provided with up-armored Humvees as they began combat operations in New Orleans. Ready for any UIEDs (Underwater Improvised Explosive Devices) they may drive across!


Buckaroo Banzai In the Lesterverse

Blasting through a ten foot thick wall of titanium while testing his jet-car one day, Buckaroo Banzai experienced some reverse polarity in his Oscillation Overthruster. The vehicle skidded in that weird dimension, still inside the titanium wall. A lesser man with slower reflexes would have rolled the jet-car and perished, but Buckaroo eased it to a stop.

He was trapped in a phantom dimension where he found no people or animals, but found buildings of apparently human origin. Could a neutron bomb have wiped out these people? Inside one of the buildings, he found a normal kitchen equipped with oven, toaster, a telephone hanging on the wall. Tacky wallpaper, it looked new but nine years out of style. The devices all functioned normally. In another room he found a tv, already turned on to the start of the movie. He couldn't fix the Overthruster until it cooled down for a few hours, so he decided to sit on the davenport and watch the movie.

One hundred minutes later, Buckaroo stood, turned off the tv and departed the empty building, shaking his head. The Overthruster was easily fixed, but nothing could fix that movie.

Reporting his experience to his followers, Buckaroo Banzai said, "You wouldn't believe it. There's this hero of some exotic extraction who's supposed to be ultra smart, ultra skilled, the best in his field no matter which field he tries. He has all kinds of gadgets and vehicles he uses in his fantastic adventures, plus he has a group of elite henchmen to carry out his bidding. Each of them are the best and brightest of their field, although none of them are quite as good as their leader.

"I kept wondering, if he's so great, why does he need all these amazing sidekicks? They're window-dressing to make him look even better at everything he does.

"It's unbelievable that a movie like that could have gotten made, but it was so corny that someone must have thought it was campy, so they just ran with it."

Perfect Tommy asked, "What was it called?"


Doc Savage, The Man of Bronze, stepped out of the Scintillation Chamber to the booming laughter of Captain Seas.

"I see you shaking your head to clear away the pain!" Captain Seas cackled. "Now will you tell me where I can find the Overthrusting Oscillator, or shall I subject you to the Scintillation Chamber again, until your mind cracks!?"

"Oh, it's not that," Savage said calmly. "The effect of your chamber was quite bracing. I might try to replicate one of these in my lab. No, the thing that got me shaking my head was that movie."

"What movie!?" the upstaged Captain screamed.

"I was so bored by your torture device, I willed myself to have an out-of-body experience. I must have ventured quite far while your chamber wiggled, because I found myself in a dimension devoid of creatures. There were buildings of presumably human construction, filled with appliances that appeared to be almost one decade advanced from current designs. Probably nine years, I'd say.

"The sleek toaster and ceramic-topped stove functioned nicely, and I even found a television set broadcasting a movie." Savage glared at the villain with his bronze eyebrows cocked. "Why am I telling you all this?" Savage mopped the floor with Captain Seas, dismantled the Scintillation Chamber so no average humans would be harmed by it, recovered the missing documents and returned to his headquarters in a certain New York skyscraper.

Reporting his experience to his followers, Doc said, "You wouldn't believe it. There's this hero of some exotic extraction who's supposed to be ultra smart, ultra skilled, the best in his field no matter which field he tries. He has all kinds of gadgets and vehicles he uses in his fantastic adventures, plus he has a group of elite henchmen to carry out his bidding. Each of them are the best and brightest of their field, although none of them are quite as good as their leader.

"I kept wondering, if he's so great, why does he need all these 'perfect' sidekicks? They're window-dressing to make him look even better at everything he does.

"It's unbelievable that a movie like that could have gotten made, like a series of inside jokes so thick you don't notice the lack of substance beneath it."

Monk asked, "What was it called?"

[Return to start, repeat as necessary.]

...[Pete suggested I improve this story with hyperlinks, so click here to see it that way.]
"I'd put my money on solar energy... I hope we don't have to wait til oil and coal run out before we tackle that."
~ Thomas Edison, in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, March 1931


Shadow of the Wolf
Starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Toshiro Mifune and Jennifer Tilly.
No Inuit people were harmed, or featured, in the making of this film.
I know New Orleans is a huge city, so you can't really generalize that everyone's handling it well or everyone is turning to looting and crime. There are bound to be some good people and some bad people. But it's interesting that on 9/11 and in the huge northeast blackout a year or two back, tv showed people walking around NYC devastated and the narrative that came out of all news stories was, "New Yorkers are coming together. Crisis brings out the best in New Yorkers."

With this stuff going down in New Orleans, the narrative coming through seems to be more about looting, people shooting at cops, poor people who can't care for themselves, like the victims are generally bad or incompetent.

I don't deny that there might be some looting and some gangs messing around in the area, but why are we so susceptible to believe that New Yorkers would tend to help each other in a crisis and New Orleans people tend to loot and cry and shoot each other in a crisis?
I just ate a "fun size" 3 Musketeers bar and noticed that they are narrower than they used to be. I'm used to them being about 1/3 the length of a normal 3 Musketeers, but this was very narrow too, only half an inch instead of three-quarters.
God damn Bill Clinton for instilling this sense of entitlement in me! God damn our nanny society!
Troops told 'shoot to kill' in New Orleans
"Three hundred of the Arkansas National Guard have landed in the city of New Orleans," [Louisiana gov] Blanco said. "These troops are fresh back from Iraq, well trained, experienced, battle-tested and under my orders to restore order in the streets. They have M-16s and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will."

This is fucked up on too many levels for me to find anything witty about it. I have nothing snarky to add. I'm all out.
After you donate to Pat Robertsons' Operation Who Would Jesus Assassinate, you can also make sure your money goes someplace special by donating to David Duke. I thought maybe he was trying to ensure that only white people affected by the hurricane get these donations, but you'd be donating directly to him. Seems his offices in New Orleans were messed up in the hurricane and flooding.
David Duke's European American home page - My Home and EURO Office Damaged Severely


Libelous Claims About Large Corporations
My favorites are:
"Disney is collecting DNA from EPCOT Center restrooms for the construction of its new project: EPCOT Center Bleeds Forever."
"Gillette is really only the third best a man can get"
"K-Mart's stores are big because their employees need places to hide while they are crying."
The CounterPunch Tower
This reminds me of the rpg tours I mentioned a while back. You don't expect game designers to act as tour guides, and you don't expect radical leftist pundits to rent out a "romantic tower" on California's Lost Coast. "Seclduded two story bath & shower beneath the stars. ...Ideal for lets-get-out-of-here impulse from Bay Area. 5+ hours drive up 101 from San Francisco." They accept credit cards, and elsewhere on their site you can read about Assassination: as American as Apple Pie (and Torture) or Gaza: Disengagement or Military Redeployment? or Peter Jennings, Excuse Maker for War and Empire.

(I find a lot of articles on CounterPunch that I agree with, but also a lot of snippy, distasteful crap even if it is true, like that one about Peter Jennings. At least once every two months, you can count on Patrick Cockburn to write about what a lush Christopher Hitchens is.)
I assume that the Safety Smock, "a quilted gown designed specifically to clothe suicidal prisoners/inmates," on the Ferguson Safety Products website ( is not a hoax. They sound serious and appear to have thought a lot about this idea. However the models shown wearing a Safety Smock are either real suicidal inmates or else really sad parodies of the kind of scraggly haired people you would imagine in one of these things in your worst stereotypes of suicidal prisoners.

Another unfortunately hilarious section is their Suicide Prevention Resources page, including links to Suicide Help (!? we recommend using something heavier than a .22), the playfully named Lollie's Suicide Prevention, and the silliest title I've heard since the instructional books "Signing for Dummies" and "Public Speaking for Dummies, 2nd edition": a subsite called Living With Suicide.
Blue Marbles Are My Seas
A short story from h2g2.