• How to Get Gorgeous Google “Street Views” on a Rocky, Remote Island

    In the case of the beautiful Faroe Islands, in the cold waters north of Scotland, the tourist board came up with a brilliant idea.

    Their marketing plan:

    Strap Google Street View cameras on the sheep that graze the hillsides.

    (Washington Post story here)

    What they call “SheepView 360”(here’s the site)  has come up with beautiful “street views” like this:

    KUDOS for brilliant marketing.


  • ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, October 10

    Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ Massive Wildfires across Northern California. Blazes in Sonoma’s wine country have not been contained(New York Times)

    At least 10 dead so far, 1500 buildings destroyed.

    Comment: There are other fires in Southern California. Together, they challenge the state’s ability to respond.

     Tennessee’s centrist Republican Senator, Bob Corker, doubles down on his accusations against Trump

    The New York Times broke the news and did an in-depth interview with Corker, whose attacks on Trump are as personal as DJT’s angry tweets at Corker. The Times’ latest article is here.

    Comment: Corker’s attacks are important for three reasons

    • First, according to NYT reporters, Corker’s criticisms are merely the public voice of what most Senate Republicans say. Steve Bannon has said the same thing: establishment Republicans hate Trump and want to sink his agenda.
    • Second, since the Democrats oppose every Trump legislative initiative, he only chance to pass legislation is to hold together a narrow Republican majority. Now, Corker and McCain seem determined to oppose Trump. Add Rand Paul, Susan Collins, and Lisa Murkowski to that grouping and you fall well short of 50 votes. (And most legislation will require 60.)
    • Third, Corker, as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is privy to the highest-levels of US intel and diplomacy. He has recently said that Trump could be leading the US into World War III.

    The husband-and-wife team indicted in the Democratic Congressional IT scandal have now turned on each other (Daily Caller)

    The indicted husband-and-wife team of former IT aides to Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz sat directly across from each other at the defendants’ table in federal court Friday in Washington, D.C., but refused to look at each other.

    Even as they are co-defendants in a U.S. case, Imran Awan’s own wife, Hina Alvi, has become the latest person to accuse him of fraud, filing papers against him in Pakistani court, according to Pakistani news channel ARY.

    Awan, his wife and two brothers — all previously on the payroll of House Democrats — became subjects of a Capitol Police investigation last year after investigators concluded they were submitting falsified invoices for equipment and had transferred “massive” data off a House server. After he was banned from the House network, Awan left a laptop with the username RepDWS in a Capitol Hill phone booth.

    Although The Washington Post has reported that investigators found that Awan and his relatives made unauthorized access to a congressional server 5,400 times, Wasserman Schultz has said concern about the matter was the stuff of the “right-wing media circus fringe.” –Daily Caller

    Comment: Whenever the defendants turn on each other, the prosecution benefits.

    What do we need to know?

    • Were the Democrats’ confidential information shared with outsiders, including foreign actors?
    • Why did Debbie Wasserman Schultz stick by her accused aide for so long? Did he have anything on her?
    • How deep and wide does this scandal go?

    Comment #2: Mainstream media has shown zero interest in this massive scandal.

    Today’s “WTF” story

    Comment: No matter how fearsome your school’s mascot, I’m betting that “Radioactive Wild Boars” is scarier.

    The University of Arkansas should really consider upgrading their Razorback symbol.





  • ZipDialog Roundup for Friday, August 25

    Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
    Linked articles in bold purple

    Hurricane Harvey to hit near Galveston, Houston as Category 2.

    Winds currently 100 mph. Huge flooding expected on coast and inland. 

    New Orleans, which has struggled with water pumping, is anxious, even though it is hundreds of miles from the storm center (New Orleans Advocate)

    Russian nuclear bombers fly near North Korea in rare show of force, aimed at US (Reuters)

     How low has Sears fallen? Some vendors have quit, others won’t restock the shelves without insurance (Reuters)

    NYT may be in real trouble over Sarah Palin’s libel lawsuit (Wall Street Journal)

    The newspaper is seeking to have her lawsuit dismissed. But Mrs. Palin’s legal team says that Times lawyers are demanding a legal standard that would effectively make it impossible for any public official to win a libel case….

    To win her case Mrs. Palin will need to prove “actual malice” on the part of Times staff, meaning they knew the story to be false or they published with reckless disregard for the truth. This is a very high legal bar, as it should be.

    The NYT editor who testified wanted to set the bar much, much higher. He did not say “we were misinformed and sometimes make mistakes in the rush to deadline.”

    Nope. The essence of his testimony is that he “did not intend to write what his editorial clearly states” (in the words of the WSJ’s James Freeman).

    Comment: You don’t have to like Sarah Palin to think that the NYT’s effort to directly link her to the shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords by a  crazy shooter was a disgusting smear job.

    The Times should be held to account.

    Trump and his administration are letting Congress write the details of tax reform (Politico)

    The so-called Big Six tax reform negotiators — a group that includes [Treasury Secretary Stephen] Mnuchin, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch — will essentially turn over what they have done to the [Congressional] committees and let them fill in the particulars. –Politico

     And finally, to summarize the most PC story of the day




  • Montana fires will deter “angler tourists, not dangler tourists”

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    This from the Missoula, Montana newspaper, reporting on forest fires in the area and their impact on tourism:

    “We’ve had to turn quite a few people away and send them to other rivers,” said Carolyn Persico, the longtime owner of the Rock Creek Fisherman’s Mercantile. . . .

    Fortunately, the annual Testicle Festival at the Rock Creek Lodge is being held the weekend of Aug. 5, so Persico said those guests aren’t canceling reservations.

    “They don’t really care about fishing,” she said. –The Missoulian, front-page story

    Comment: Ms. Persico, considered a local expert on testicles . . .

    Tip of the boxer shorts to Randy Helm for this article. Mr. Helm, considered a national expert . . .

  • Wife convicted of murder apparently witnessed by pet parrot

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    My kind of story. This one is from White Cloud, Michigan (story here)

    A jury has convicted a western Michigan woman [Glenna Duram] of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband in a crime apparently witnessed by the man’s pet parrot. . . .

    Martin Duram’s ex-wife, Christina Keller, has said that after the slaying, the pet parrot, Bud, repeated “don’t (expletive) shoot” in Martin Duram’s voice. Keller took ownership of the bird after Martin Duram’s death.  –AP via CBS News

    There is an old Perry Mason episode, “The Case of the Perjured Parrot,” in which the bird’s testimony also figures. (Synopsis of the show here)

    But, as the title suggests, the parrot wasn’t talking straight.


    Tip of the hat to my brother, Bob, for this gem.

  • When you see a bear in the woods, it REALLY helps to be a professional runner

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    Kenyan marathon runner, Morinda Marube, was out for his normal 18-mile morning training in Maine when he confronted two black bears, who thought he looked like breakfast.

    According to the Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal

    [The bears] stopped and looked at Marube. He quickly came to a halt and looked at them.

    “I had to think very fast,” he said.

    Jumping into the lake wasn’t an option.

    “In my head, I know I can’t swim. I fear swimming. I fear water,” he said.

    “Secondly, I knew I could not climb up a tree because bears can climb a tree,” he said. “The only solution I had at that time was to be able to run.”

    Those calculations took about five seconds, he said.

    The moment he turned his back to them, both bears charged him, he said. . . .

    He ran for the [vacant] house, also about 20 yards from where he stood, screaming as he went. –Lewiston-Auburn Sun-Journal

    He made it, with only ten yards to spare. He unlatched the screen door, got inside, and realized that the thin screen was all that separated him from two hungry, angry bears.

    He was in luck.

    They wandered around the base of the porch and some of the out-buildings, then suddenly took off, chasing each other across the dirt road and into the woods. . . .

    A day earlier, Marube had run a four-mile race in Bridgton, finishing second.

    Had he been chased by bears that day, he surely would have won that race, he said Wednesday. –Sun-Journal

    Comment: Police say that after Mr. Marube washes his pants several times, they should be back to normal.


  • Public-sector unions versus . . . Goats

    Yes, goats are taking away our jobs, says AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.

    It happened at Western Michigan University, which has a contract with the union barring non-AFSCME employees from certain jobs, including grass-trimming.

    The Foundation for Economic Education reports on the job-stealing goat saga. 

    The basics are simple:

    1. The goats were brought in during the summer to clear poisonous brush and overgrowth around campus
    2. Those tasks are hard for humans to do
    3. Renting a team of 20 goats for the summer was a good way to do it, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive
    4. The goats, rented from a local farmer, were very effective, cleaned out the 15 acres quickly, and were ready for more.
    5. Since the school had already rented them for the rest of the summer, they decided to let them continue grazing as a “lawn-mowing” service.
      • That was not the school’s original intent, but it was a useful, if unexpected, way to save taxpayer money.
    6. Lawn mowing is normally at AFSCME union job.
    7. The union considers the goats scabs and has filed a grievance.

    Comment: A spokesman for the goats said they were concerned about “cheaper Chinese goats.”