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Napalming my spam

I've just done some back-of-the-envelope calculations -- envelopes are now calculating pads since no one sends letters anymore -- and I've discovered that at my current rate I'll spend the rest of my life doing nothing but killing spam. That's my whole life. Delete. Delete. Pause momentarily while wondering if I need to save this email. Then delete.

For recreational breaks, just as a way of breaking the monotony of spam-deletion, I will adjust my spam filter.

Killing spam is better than some of the other time-wasters of my current existence, such as answering the phone. No one ever calls with the message, "I'm going to ease the burdens of your daily hellish grind." No one ever drops a dime to say, "I've just figured out how to relieve you of several of the obligations that you are currently agonizing over and probably will fail to meet in any case." No: People call me and say they want me to write about some new exoarcheological phenomenon, like, say, a giant peacock-shaped mountain on Mars that has some connection to the early Mesoamericans.

Sometimes I surf the Web to see what the buzz is. The buzz is usually something really trivial and kerfuffleish. It usually involves Rahm Emanuel. (A couple of years ago, it would have involved Karl Rove.)

Save me from buzz. Save me from chatter.

Herewith a passage in a story I wrote some 16 years ago for the Post magazine:

"Even before the modern self-esteem movement, many people had been seized with the invincible conviction that because one has thought something, it must be worth saying," [George Mason University Professor of Public Affairs Hugh Heclo ] wrote. "This innate human tendency to produce what is known as 'blab' has historically been held in check by certain material realities. But a person now can, at virtually no personal cost, inflict whatever pops into his or her head onto you and everyone else." The well-known paradox of the information revolution is that we don't really want or need more information. We already are swamped. It will get worse.

"Not only is there a danger, I'm convinced it will happen. We will be overwhelmed," says Don Norman, who has written about the design of everyday things and now works for Apple in Silicon Valley. "But we will fight back. We will have to find the way in which these technologies can merge with our lives so that our lives are still livable. And I think the technology will go along with it because companies will realize there's as much a market in controlling the technology as there is in providing it to you."

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 2, 2010; 5:06 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The power of market fundamentalism
Next: Talking to machines


Actually, and in keeping with the Kit, I have nothing of value to say.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 2, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I am on my way to see Ani DiFranco in concert. I used to have a running joke with a coworker that she has never had an unrecorded thought. She releases her albums through her own record label (Righteous Babe) and doesn't have any executives slowing her down.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 2, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

G-Mail does a very good job of hiding my spam from me. If there is anything important that has been incorrectly labeled spam, I am blissfully unaware of it.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 2, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 2, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, Mr. A, did you say something?

Posted by: MsJS | March 2, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

G-Mail does a very good job of hiding my spam from me. If there is anything important that has been incorrectly labeled spam, I am blissfully unaware of it.

Posted by: yellojkt


Ani's been trying to reach you. Songwriting help...

Posted by: byoolin1 | March 2, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Deleting emails is a significant act of decisiveness in the information age. It actually takes quite a bit of confidence (for people fully aware of the benefits of retaining electronic records, at least) to take that fateful step and forever discard that email.

Far easier and safer is to just save emails into various folders (a step which is effectively deletion since the out-of-sight and out-of-mind email will likely never be retrieved again, but will remain taking up space on the server forever).

Or at least forever in the computer sense.

Posted by: engelmann | March 2, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I know you're all just waiting for the relevant youtube links, so here they are.



Posted by: MsJS | March 2, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

So could we say that Joel envisioned Twitter 16 years ago?


Posted by: DLDx | March 2, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

oh, sorry. Misread that. I guess Hugh Heclo envisioned Twitter 16 years ago.


Posted by: DLDx | March 2, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

I read something to that effect, Cassandra. I did not exaggerate as far as I remember. I was angry all over again when I read it. Of course Lake Norman and Lake Wylie have been that way for a long time. So I wasn't surprised.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 2, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I love having the last seven years' worth of e-mails on folders, Engelmann. It's an archive which I can (and do) search when I need to remind myself of something. I'm still furious at a vile program called Eudora which actually downloaded and then deleted all my e-mails from before seven years ago. They were then no longer waiting for me in the ether, but tied to a vile, leaden metal box in the basement. Which died, taking them from me forever.

You think maybe I'm taking this a little too seriously?

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 2, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

scc - in folders

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 2, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I would say if the Post wants me to write out my email address so any spambot can read it, then they should screen my flipping mail.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 2, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Wildly veering off-kit, violin-playing daughter started practicing a new piece which sounded so familiar - couldn't quite place it. Other daughter and I speculated - was it from "Pirates of the Caribbean", maybe, or "Titanic."? Went to investigate, had never heard of the name. Palladio.

Looked it up. It's the Diamond commercial song, DeBeers' diamonds are forever grandiosity. Pretty catchy, though.

Posted by: Wheezy11 | March 2, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't get a lot of spam because I don't do much with email except send long-winded missives to friends and family. Most of whom, I suspect, delete them instantly. Or they get caught in their spam filters. At least that's what my mother always claims.

My wife gets spam because she does reckless things like making purchases. And my daughter insists of registering for all these cutesy websites like "happypuppyfun" which are actually, I suspect, run by Russian Mobsters.

But on to the "buzz." In the last few months I have made a conscious decision to avoid the maelstrom that is the blogosphere. I don't visit Memeorandum anymore because it has become so dominated by regurgitating echo-blogs that I feel like I have lifted a rock and revealed all manner of wiggly things underneath.

And I have found that, as my life gets more complicated, I really don't need the stress. For it is in my nature to want to engage people who say things that I think are factually or logically wrong.

(Surprise Surprise Surprise)

So for news I read the Washington Post, Slate, the New York Times, and, in moments of wild abandonment, 538.

Does this mean I am not instantly aware of the latest scandals, controversies, and bleeding-edge rumors?

Gosh, I sure hope so.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 2, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Blab posts, as long as this kit is up I will be on kit, joy! Cause we all know I always have something important to share :-)

Posted by: dmd3 | March 2, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy you up for a temporary child exchange, mine is currently learning the recorder at school, yesterday I was serenaded with, When the Saints Go Marching In and the Chorale - Beethoven's Ninth. Somewhere in there she hit the right note or two.

Posted by: dmd3 | March 2, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I am way behind the time, using the email website provided by my ISP. The upside is that I have limited space and must eventually delete most of the emails I get. I am okay with this. The only time I wanted to offload emails related to a particular project, the Geekdottir couldn't do it. But, yanno, it's been a year and I haven't needed any of them.

The site does a decent job with eliminating spam, too.

Posted by: slyness | March 2, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

A violin & recorder recital featuring BoodleSpawn? Where can I buy a ticket?

I figure after many years of horse shows and piano, vocal, and dance recitals and plays and musicals that others endured on my behalf, the least I can do is support later generations' efforts at creative expression.

*clap clap clap*

Posted by: MsJS | March 2, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Wheezy, me too. There was a period of time when I never checked my hotmail account, and all the old emails were auto-deleted, unfortunately including a few emails from when engelspouse and I had just met way back in the last century. Fortunately I had paper copies (ha ha) of the earliest ones.

I also hate it when we have changed computers and all my old online calendar entries go. I recently found my old Daytimer (remember those?) and it had a treasure trove of day to day stuff from back in the day. The years between then and the most recent upgrade will be harder to reminisce about.

Posted by: engelmann | March 2, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

And I am shocked that Joel mentioned the Peacock-shaped mountain. I thought news of this had been properly suppressed.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 2, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm napalmed spam and eggs mmmmmmmm

Posted by: greenwithenvy | March 2, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

LOL, GWE! Excellent!

Posted by: slyness | March 2, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Joel, Joel, Joel, I fear you have acted much too hastily. Late this afternoon I was out behind the Post building doing a little dumpster-diving, and found all that spam your filter threw out. I agree nearly all of it was worthless trash, but in your haste you overlooked one e-mail that looked realy important, so I retrieved it an saved it for you. Here it is:

Deer Mr. Joal Achenback
The Washton Post
Washton DC America

I wish to introduce myself. I am Mr. Digby Carmellon, a barrister from unhappy Zaire, and I am going to ease the burdens of your daily hellish grind. I have just figured out how to relieve you of several of the obligations that you are currently agonizing over and probably will fail to meet in any case. Here is how.

In my profession as Senior Beancount Manager for Central Bank Institution of Unhappy Zaire, I have been assigned account of the late Mr. Horatio Tickworth, a American engineer employed by the unhappy and hated Robert Mugabe regime, during which unhappy time Mr. Tickworth managed to embassle the sum of $28 million dollars by forging entertainment expenses on his expense account. This monies Mr. Tickworth put into a large steamer trunk, which now is in safety deposit vault in the Royal Bank of Luxembourg in north central Europe near the Duchy of Grand Fenwick (all hail!). I am unable myself to leave my office for more than 20 minutes, or I would go retrieve the steamer trunk myself. This is why I ask the assistance of you and your team of henchmen, whom many Africans have heard of, called the Doodle. The Doodle is a group of devoted and loyakl followers of your writings and thoughtful droppings upon the Intertubes, yes? Especially I am amused by one such, the Lone Mule, who cracks me up. I understand the Robert Mugabe regime arrested him and had him executed by a firing squad, most unfortunate for the Lone Mule's loved ones I am for certain they miss him very much.

Anyway, with your kindness I ask that you travel to Luxembourg where I will contact you and give you the information that allow you to retrieve for me the steamer trunk, for which serive I will gladly share with you 33 percent of the $28 million in the trunk. If you do the math you will see this is easily in excest of $2 million dollars US currentage.

Most sinceriply

Digny Carmellon (Mr.)

Posted by: Curmudgeon5 | March 2, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I believe we abandoned our way back in the Clinton Administration when we concluded that only organized-crime needed encryption and that anything a law-abiding person could legally wish to convey online might just as well be scrawled on a postcard.

Little did we realize that encryption would've helped us distinguish our own legitimate correspondence from clever, Mob-created, social-engineering artfulness.

Posted by: Entenpfuhl | March 2, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Joel, first I am surprised that you wrote about Donald A. Norman 16 YEARS ago. It makes me feel old. I wrote about Don Norman vis-a-vis the design of the butterfly ballot designed by Theresa LePore and used in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, because by then I owned and knew portions of his "The Design of Everyday Things." The Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal, published my op-ed, if you will, about Norman and the ballot design, but I can't recall if they ran it in full. A quick check of shows that Norman has written a subsequent book with the same type of theme, his 2009, "The Design of Future Things."

What comes as a surprise, a huge surprise in your Kit, is the mention that Norman worked for Apple. I am curious when Norman started there.

The mention whisks me back in a big hurry to Bandley Drive in Cupertino and 1981, when I had turned 30 and had left Lake Tahoe, and images of Steve Jobs next door, at Apple, from our Iconix offices. And the back story of the move involves Red Buttons, indirectly, and his burlesque act early in 1981 at one of the casino showrooms. I went to Silicon Valley and San Francisco to celebrate my birthday in May and that's when I interviewed at Dave Davison's Iconix.


Posted by: laloomis | March 2, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. I've always wanted to be a henchman. Or a hired goon.

Now I'm a doodle, too.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 2, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I am so very, very sorry that I wasn't around that afternoon not but a month or so ago when you had a short-lived Kit about Steve Jobs' announcement of the IPad. Because I was ready with something to contribute. I see that I had still saved out the links (thankfully for me, but perhaps not for others here) I had intended to use. The reason I selected them is because Jobs chose Yerba Buena Center for the Arts In San Francisco, as he has in the past, as the site to make his newest product announcement.

But there's more behind the selection than you might realize. Dennis McCarthy constructs a good metaphor for ivy vs. the tree of life in his recent "Here Be Dragons."

*I see the polls in Texas closed one minute ago. My husband begins his night shift in an hour and I have a light dinner to fix immediately. So, after dinner, let's see if I can find McCarthy's metaphor to share--a month or so later than intended.*

Posted by: laloomis | March 2, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

That was a happy sigh... of satisfaction.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 2, 2010 8:05 PM | Report abuse

That's OK, Ani left me a backstage pass.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 2, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Proud Doodler here. Please to send me $10,000 US and I can aid you to access the Swiss account in Luxembourg where is the moneys held.

OMG, an Entenpfuhl joins our Engelman. My mind is filled with tasty snacks, Entenmannfuhls all. Chocolate Chip, anyone? Fudge Cake?

I kept lots of emails in folders for years. Then my computer crashed and they all disappeared. Now I have to figure out how to (a) copy my email folders into something more permanent or (b) back them up somehow (or perhaps (a) is (b) is (a)?). Most of the organizations to which I devote my copious spare time communicate by email and it is so much easier to save those - and ultimately so much more devastating when they are gone forever.

I've sat through comparatively few Child Music Programs, but way too much Bad Student Theater (The Boy excepted, of course).

Posted by: Ivansmom | March 2, 2010 8:06 PM | Report abuse

That's OK, Ani left me a backstage pass.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 2, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

And in my question to Tom Friedman from the mic at Trinity, I fumbled (only) the mention of Bill Gates and Monterey. If I'd have had the time or more time, I could have been more clear:

Posted by: laloomis | March 2, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I use yahoo mail and just counted 43 folders I filter mail into. And when I discovered once that my Inbox got too full and became too cumbersome for my iPhone to handle, I created an Inbox Archive folder and every once in a while I moved all my Inbox emails into it.

My yahoo emails go back to January 2002. Before that I had AOL (back to late 1994 I think), but those emails are archived on some iMac in the basement (the Bondi blue one? or the purple one? I'm not sure).

Sometimes I just randomly pick a spot in a folder and start reading emails. It's like time traveling. Since I have unlimited space, I keep everything. And when you're reading six-year-old emails, sometimes the more mundane ones become the most interesting... the better snapshot of my life at that moment.

Come to think of it, my emails are the most organized thing IN MY LIFE. I wonder what that says about me.

Posted by: -TBG- | March 2, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I know what you mean, TBG. I have sent lengthy e-mails out to my friends and family once every few weeks for the last decade. There's almost 400 pages of them. Sometimes they make me laugh. Sometimes they make me sad. Often they make me cringe. But it's nice having them.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 2, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

What's in a name?

The islands

Alcatraz Island was originally called Yerba Buena Island and Yerba Buena Island (which now anchors the center of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge) was called Alcatraz. Those were the names given them by Ayala during his 1775 exploration of the bay.

Apparently the herb yerba buena was growing wild on the island, as well as over most of the peninsula at the mouth of the bay, and there is some confusion as to where the name first settled--on the island or on the shore. What is known is tht it was applied to the North Beach area as early as 1792, long before it was applied to Yerba Buena Cove, on the opposite side of Telegraph Hill.

Ayala named the other island Isla de los Alcatraces (Island of the Pelicans *hey, yhe Loomis crest *l*) because of the big-billed birds he saw there. But the two names were accidentally switched by a British ship's captain *LOL* Frederick Beechey, who surveyed the bay in 1826, and they have remained switched ever since. From 1895 until the early 1930s, Yerba Buena Island was generally known as Goat Island [Isla de el Cabrito, I presume], because an enterprising farmer was rearing a colony of goats there.

--As excerpted from the 1994 book "San Francisco Memoirs, 1835-1851: Eyewitness accounts of the birth of a city," compiled and introduced by Malcom E, Barker, p. 29. Purchased by me at one of the Half Price Book store locations (not telling which one)--I'm positive that I visited more than one location--on Feb. 11.

*now to find the ivy metaphor*

Posted by: laloomis | March 2, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Spam and firewalls, what a subject. My esteemed employer publishes many of its employees' e-mail addresses in full on the web. Unsurprisingly the IT department complains that 3/4 of the incoming mail is garbage, that is spam and other commercial carp. So we have a very strong firewall, one that insist on blocking long-time correspondants that are replying to our very own e-mails.
And yet they let spam coming in that have a frighfully accurate knowledge of our s3x lives.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 2, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

SCC carp, the whole of it. G'night.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 2, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

My spam is limited as I try to be careful about my email address. Caller ID takes care of the phone pretty well, except when #2 is in CR and I have to remember that any call that says, 'out of area' is most likely her as she is definitely out of this area.

Dog sitting is very hard work, especially when the dog is spoiled rotten but too cute to be mad at. He has apparently become quite fond of me, when I went to tennis last night "S" said that he cried almost the whole time I was gone. And when I came in the door, he ran for me like I'd been gone for a year. I can't imagine how he will greet #2. It is fun having him around tho' and I'm loving his unconditional love.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 2, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

That you have the kind of life that permits a happy sort of chaos, TBG.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 2, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Hard to tell when a satirist is telling the truth, but Andy Borowitz says this really is true...

Posted by: -TBG- | March 2, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, all.

Napalming your spam? Hey, you've got spam in my naplam! (Two great tastes that taste great together...)

Speaking of email time travel, spams and scams, I dug this one out of the archives...

Remember, Past Performance is no guarantee of future returns from the Sun, the stock market or Global Climate Change.


Posted by: -bc- | March 2, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse


Just as evolutionary processes require a continuous genetic flow through time, with no inexplicable disjunctions, those same processes also require a continuous genetic flow through space. For a botanical metaphor that may help enliven this perspective, we may imagine, instead of the tree of life drawn alone on a blank page, an intricate system of creeping ivy steadily extending and branching over the surface of the globe, tracing with its myriad stems the divergent lines of descent through continents and oceans. Two of the stems of this unifying global ivy, corresponding to a couple of primitive marsupial lines, would extend into Australia (Trinity's Ahlburg, I'm thinking of you) and divide into nearly 200 branches representing kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, and all the pouched animals down under. In South America, we could trace a lone stem for Darwin's finches running from the coast into the Galapagos Archipelago and there splitting into thirteen branches that extend among the different islands. As all the stems and branches of this symbolic plant must remain whole and return to the same root, we can get an idea of what is and is not biologically feasible, helping to provide distributional analogues to that impossible Precambrian rabbit.

"Here be Dragons," the 2009 book by Dennis McCarthy, p. 11.

*now I return myself to my own reading program. *l* *

Posted by: laloomis | March 2, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Bunning loses (not soon enough):
woo hoo!

Posted by: seasea1 | March 2, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments on that Bunning story are unreal, makes me glad I just hang out here!

Posted by: badsneakers | March 2, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

march is kind of in like a lion. snow here, and a 2 hr delay for school in the a.m.. my window faces the south.

Posted by: -jack- | March 2, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Rick Perry takes more than 50 percent of the vote (it strongly appears, though not all precincts are in). Hutchison has already conceded. San Antonio-born and former Houston mayor Bill White takes about 85 percent of the Democratic vote statewide. So, a Perry-White matchup in the fall.

Kinky Friedman loses his bid to be the Democratic candidate for state ag commissioner.

School board candidates, statewide races, will probably be the morning's news.

Preliminary news coverage says there's much anti-D.C. sentiment in the state (which will, more than likely, flavor the next stage of the governor's race.)

Posted by: laloomis | March 2, 2010 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Washington needs a copy of that statue outside of the Uffizi in Florence of Amerigo Vespucci with a dragon (green iguana) curled at his feet. Maybe at the Zoo?

No runoff for Gov. Perry. Looks like Medina's political career is on hold. The Democratic candidate looks interesting but I assume has no chance whatever.

We're entering into the last really cool spell of the season. Our winter's been a record breaker in terms of duration of cold, but not for depth. In and near the yard, one laurel oak is naked, another shedding pollen.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 3, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I think the US government might graciously consider evacuating its military posts in San Antonio and El Paso if Texas helps foot the costs.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 3, 2010 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Brand new song by Ani Difranco:

She played a long song in support of the ERA.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 1:09 AM | Report abuse

The death toll for that fallen-over Alto Río condo in Concepción, Chile has fallen. Seven known fatalities, 6 missing, 79 rescued.

There's recriminations about the lack of tsunami warnings, of course. I hope Oregon does better when the big one happens.

On the coast at Constitución, lots of campers disappeared. Not known who was there, or from where.

Lots of concern over looting. Lots of emergency-related advertising from banks, cell phone providers, etc.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 3, 2010 4:06 AM | Report abuse

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Morning, friends. Well, we have a little of the white stuff, but not a lot. There doesn't seem to be any ice. The g-girl is still here, so I have to find out about school. Not drying clothes in the microwave this morning. We're good on that front.

Interesting kit, JA. Like so many things, computers aren't easy for me. The new fangled technology is intimadating to me, and I suspect to many older adults. I've just learned how to text on a cell phone, but I love it. Still learning on that one.

Scotty, Yoki, Martooni, Mudge, Lindaloo, and all, enjoy the day.

Slyness, hope there isn't too much snow in your town.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 3, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for the information. That's horrible. People sometimes give me fish from the local streams and fishing holes, now I'll be suspect, but I love fresh fish. I know at one time state officials were warning people not to eat fish from certain areas where those hog farms had made everything nasty, and there are plenty of them in this area. Chicken farms too. In the summer, the stench from these places can invade a home from distances you would not believe.

You know how those trucks smell when you pass them on the highway, imagine smelling that all day and night? At one time here, people were so up in arms about the smell from the chicken and hog farms, county meetings had almost become ballistic. I think they had deputies on hand. One of the people that own one of those places said that the smell was good for people because it opened up their nose and breathing became better. There was such an uproar when he made that comment. The people opposing those facilities went absolutely wild. You know they wanted to shoot him on sight.

But seriously, once that smell gets in your home, it's hard to get it out, and it contaminates everything. It's like having poop on your top lip. It just does not go away.

Posted by: cmyth4u | March 3, 2010 6:00 AM | Report abuse


Monday WaPo did a story on the rising concern over animal manure as an unregulated pollutant.

In a documentary I saw about factory farms, one farmer took a big whiff and said "Smells like money."

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

'morning all, Cassandra. Those huge chicken farms are evil Cassandra, or at their smell is.
Another brilliant day, sunny and warm. The little snow we got is melting away quickly.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 3, 2010 6:24 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, Boodle!

Santiago mostly normal. Just a couple of tall buildings threatening to collapse. Tsunami has caused 100% devastation in some areas.

In the city of Talcahuano fishing boats are blocking traffic downtown.

To comprehend the magnitude of the disaster, imagine all of California and parts of Oregon affected by the quake with every single city heavily damaged except LA that would have had only 7,000 homeless.

Army has restored order in the south. Food, water, field hospitals and other critical aid beginning to arrive.

The country is mobilizing to provide sustained assistance.

UNICEF has opened an account for international donations.

My area was one of the last to have power restored in Santiago. Airport is again operating with passengers processed in large tents.


Posted by: Braguine | March 3, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, you all. So good to see Brag is safe. You paint a very grey picture of the disaster with your writer's brush, Brag. Those poor people. I have always liked UNICEF, since children's trick or treat days.

Cassandra, I believe we would all be healthier if we skipped the red meat, the pork and even the chicken. Wild fish is still my favorite to eat, but that may have pcbs so need to limit consumption. I have never eaten farm raised fish, knowingly.

Posted by: VintageLady | March 3, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for that update Brag! Hang in there.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 3, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Good to hear from you, Brag! I thought Anne Applebaum's column earlier in the week was interesting in positing that Chile would recover more quickly than Haiti because it's a functioning democracy. Sounds like that's the case.

Yes, Cassandra, white stuff on the ground here, but the roads are clear. I knew we were okay when I saw a school bus on Providence Road at 6:30. Mr. T left on time, and the Geekdottir cleared off her car and was off for jury duty about 6:45.

I'd try to scoop up some snow to make snow cream for Mr. T, but there isn't enough. Oh well. With temperatures forecast to rise into the upper 40's today, it will be gone by the end of the day. I'm okay with that.

Hmmm, I feel like being a little different today. Ham/cheese/eqq croissants on the ready room table, with appropriate hot and cold beverages. Enjoy, folks!

Posted by: slyness | March 3, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Man, even if one keeps to the pedestrian main stream media sometimes gruesome twisted and thoroughly messed-up stuff pops up.

I mean, this is just sick.

People Eating Bunnies.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | March 3, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

Oh dear, poor bunnies.

Good to see the Dawn Patrol up and running. Where is Scotty?

Posted by: VintageLady | March 3, 2010 7:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm over HERE now...

*particularly-hectic-morning Grover waves* :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 3, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Today's follow-up to the chicken sh1t story from Monday.

Perdue's defense is that all the farms are family owned and run and they have no liability. Their sharecropping system was deliberately set up that way to give them plausible deniability.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Side by side in Style today, dueling duella stories. Out with the old:

And in with the new:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

And covering all things Smoot, the Smoot Bridge in Cambridge:

And a close-up of the measurements:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

I was impressed by Applebaums column. Her gig is usually Eastern Europe. Very well informed lady.

NYT has good article on Tsunami, writer keeps mentioning Federal Government. LOL, we have a central gummint.

Though democracy works well here, there has been growing corruption. This is beginning to show as buildings less than five years old collapsed.

The new government taking over in a few days is like a dream team selected to lead the country out of this disaster.

On the other hand, Chile is probably the most quacke ready country in the world.

Similar disasters happened in 1938, 1960, 1985.

At the moment, lots of criticism of government. The big question: Why it took longer to send help south than it took to get rescue teams to Haiti.

I just had my first hot shower since Friday
and will head to help gather food.

Two blocks away, 150 young volunteers are getting briefed. At noon they will be bused south.

More news latta. :)

Posted by: Braguine | March 3, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Well, I say good luck to the incoming president of Chile and his team! I hope they perform to expectations. Brag, I'm glad to hear that you're involved in the recovery effort and hope everything goes smoothly.

Posted by: slyness | March 3, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse


I really love your updates. It gives a great perspective. It's cool to have first hand reports.

As I mentioned earlier, I watch Amazing Race and they spent two episodes in Chile. At one point the teams had to travel by bus from one city to another. I was very impressed by the size and luxury level of the buses. These were every bit the equal or superior to the MegaBus buses I take to New York.

And the scenery was breathtaking even if it was raining during the episode. The did keep panning to the snow-covered volcanoes.

For one of their pitstops, they used the courtyard of truly gorgeous church that seemed to have a lot of German influence in the architecture. I hope that church survived the quake.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

My dessert today is a nice pre-quake red&yellow plum from Chile. Amazingly the fruit trade was barely affected by the quake. The fruit trees have no buildings to fall on them and the main port of Valaraiso operates at near capacity. release EQ.pdf

Hmmmm, thanks for the rabbit cassoulet flashback. It was great.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 3, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Brag!!! Best of luck in the coming recovery period-to you, the government, and everyone.

Headed to Chez Frostbitten today, where it's time to decide what to do with the old desktop and all the stuff stored therein. It's been easier to just fire it up and search for something than to actually organize the years of e-mail and other assorted stuff. Each time I've left one computer for another I've sworn this time will be different and the little odds and ends of my life will be transferred completely, if not seamlessly. So far I've been a complete failure at this, but hope springs eternal.

Later gators.

Posted by: frostbitten1 | March 3, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, the dust has settled on the Texas primary election results as of this morning.

It'll be a race between Hairy (Perry) and Hairless (White). Also known as the race between BlowDry and NoDry. The upcoming battle until November for the governor's seat, in my opinion, can also be termed the Battle of the Blowhards.

Perry, during the primary race against Big Hair Kay Bailey, positioned himself as an outsider, despite the fact he's been in the governor's seat since late 2000. Perry is the ultimate insider.

Late last night, Washington Post's Chris Cilliza reported that Bill White wanted to position himself, and the Democratic Governor's Association wanted to position White, as an outsider in the upcoming governor's contest, despite the fact that White is the former mayor of Houston. Another insider, though on a smaller scale. It's going to be curious to watch these two experienced politicos craft their messages. Seems both will be turning the truth of their experience inside out.

And DotC, I would hardly count White out yet. He'd be favored in Houston, San Antonio, and along the heavily Democratic Rio Grande Valley. Perry is sure to sweep the farm and ranch and jet jockey vote, given his background.

I've some letters to dash off this morning. Haven't written letters here since the one to Clint Eastwood about his WWII two-part movies. I see on the television morning news that Iwo Jima is celebrating an anniversary today. From reporting by AP:

IWO JIMA, Japan — Dozens of U.S. veterans, now in their 80s and 90s, returned to the remote volcanic island of Iwo Jima on Wednesday to mark the 65th anniversary of one of World War II's fiercest battles.

The veterans, some in wheelchairs, flew to the island on a chartered airliner and fanned out across its famous black-sand beaches, where the U.S. invasion began on Feb. 19, 1945, and lasted 36 days. All told, nearly 28,000 troops were killed.

Posted by: laloomis | March 3, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Brag, glad you are okay and had a hot shower, nothing like it to make you feel better. I'm enjoying your first-person accounts of the quake, keep 'em coming but stay safe!

Snow/rain mix here, not good for dog walking. I have picked up a cold and feel pretty carpy but will persevere. Have to keep the pup occupied and happy, I think I trip to BJ's will be a nice ride for him.

Posted by: badsneakers | March 3, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

The problem isn't just poop. It is the monoculture that created it.

Lacks balance. Throws mother nature out of whack.

Posted by: --dr-- | March 3, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Maureen!

Glad to see you back in the saddle at the NYT. Hope you enjoyed your brief hiatus and your time off, wherever you went and whatever you did.

Was up late last night, as you might expect, with husband toiling on the late shift for several evenings. So I caught your op-ed for today's paper shortly after it was posted online, around midnight, and, man oh man, did it make me laugh. Guess I was in the mood, because I laughed so hard and so loud several times that my husband became "disturbed."

I laughed hardest at the paragraph about the Sauds and Valentine's day. You know, I missed Gerald Posner at the last Texas Book Festival, but I was able subsequently to pick up his book about Saudi Arabia quite cheap at the local big-box book retailer. I see that Posner, who was tailing Tiger Woods recently, gives a big shout-out at the start of his Saud story to his editor, Bob Loomis at Random House.

Again, thanks for the late-night good times. It was a good evening, actually, an evening spent with you and another good woman (writer, that is). Isabel Allende. I got to that portion of her book "My Invented Country," in which she talks about women in Chile, mucho machismo, and sex.

We three think quite alike. I had some good laughs with her, too, not long before I laughed at your op-ed. I identify with Allende. Sje and I are not so much daughters of fortune, but sisters who share long coastlines and earthquakes and seaquakes, and I think of my home state of California, not my invented state of Texas.

So, Maureen, if it isn'tWahhabism or Catholicism, it'd be pretty easy to stick in the name of other organized religions, no doubt, who want to repress women and sex. So I give you Isabel's Chilean story, though it's more dated that your current reporting, on p.56.:

In colonial times, while Chile was part of the vice regency of Lima, the Inquisition sent a Dominican priest from Peru to accuse a number of women of high social standing of engaging in oral sex with their husbands. (And how did they know *that*?) The trial never went anywhere because the women in question refused to be browbeaten. The night after the trial they sent their husbands--who somehow or other must have participated in the sin, though only the women were being judged--to dissuade the inquisitor. They overtook him in a dark, narrow street and without further ado they castrated him, like a steer. The poor Dominican was returned to Lima sans testicles, and the matter was never mentioned again.

Is there any benefit to castrating camels, I wonder?

Keeping this short. Dashing off to write a longer letter to Don Norman.

See ya.

Posted by: laloomis | March 3, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I remember the Black river disaster in 2005. The 8 million gallons manure lagoon (from the 5000 milking cows) of a mega dairy farm spilled in the small river, killing all fish for over 20 miles downstream. It also killed the fall tourist season along the river...

5000 cows on a single farm doesn't make sense, period.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 3, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

P.S., Maureen.

That was a pretty weird analogy that your fellow columnist used last night--also for today's paper. Comparing the inside of LAX with a woman who's had too many facelifts. Maybe he's just got a touch of Academy Award fever?

I know he loves one of those new airports in China, but I feel that ol' Tom is seeing the inside of too many airports these days. Reminds me too much of "Up in the Air." Maybe there should be a sequel of "Up in the Air," the Tom Friedman version, but I don't think Clooney could play Tom too well. I'm thinking Robert Downey, Jr. Probably the right height and able to grow his own full moustache. What do you think?

Posted by: laloomis | March 3, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

///Hope you enjoyed your brief hiatus and your time off, wherever you went and whatever you did.///

From the linked column:

Loosey Goosey Saudi
Published: March 2, 2010
***RIYADH, Saudi Arabia***{emphasis added}

"The word progressive, of course, is highly relative when it comes to Saudi Arabia. (Wahhabism, anyone?) But ***after spending 10 days here***{emphasis added}, I can confirm that, at their own galactically glacial pace, they are chipping away at gender apartheid and cultural repression."

Posted by: Mo_MoDo | March 3, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dear Don Norman:

You don't know me from Eve. That said, I'm writing to you to tell you about--actually complain--about our two very new appliances, a microwave and a dishwasher, both built by Whirlpool, as it turns out.

It was actually quite a week last month, the built-in microwave went belly up. The dryer that we owned no longer heated at the right temperature, I could no longer set the timer, and then the drum failed to spin--it pretty much gave up its last hot breath, so to speak. Add to that the fact that a tree root caused the water pipe coming into the main house to crack and leak, making the ground really soggy, and my husband shattered his World Savings-issued cell phone on the door jamb into the laundry room and had to go out and buy a replacment phone on his dime.

Have no doubt that you were with me very much in spirit when I was shopping for the replacements for the old ones that last many, many moons. I have read and have owned your book, "The Psychology of Everyday Things" for quite a few years now.

The microwave. Two litte nits of complaint. Most people are right-handed. So, why is it, that many of the keypads, including the one we have on our newest microwave, still has the Start button on the inside left instead of the outside right? And with this new device, when the heat up is complete, the microwave actually sends a message, "HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR MEAL."

The emphasis is on eat, eat, eat. More than 50 percent of the time, I'm not cooking a meal. I may be reheating coffee or a dab of leftovers, or slightly melting some butter for a recipe, or boiling some water. I hope the silly message--that I would love to erase or eliminate--doesn't assume that I'm eating packaged microwave dinners. The horror.

But it's the design of the dryer that really takes the cake.


Posted by: laloomis | March 3, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

dr your- 9:39 AM makes me realize the problem in Congress is indeed... a monoculture of poop.

Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 3, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Yes, Don, the Westinghouse Cabrio dryer.

There are two things I really like about it, and as I mentioned, when I was role playing with different models in the showroom at Lowe's, I was thinking of you.
I or we picked the one I or we did because it's recessed around the front door portal, meaning that it's easy to sidle up next to the dryer and get closer to the machine's frame (than before) with my shoulders so I can better reach the dried clothes at the back of the drum.

When I open the dryer door, a light comes on inside the machine. Why didn't folks think of that earlier? My old machine didn't have a light. That means that no matter how dark and stormy the day, nor how matter how late into the night, when most people have long quit their day's labors, nor how many weeks since my husband last changed the burned-out light bulb in the laundry room light fixture, I can reach into the machine and see every last clean sock or pair of underwear! You don't know how happy this makes me!

Now, for the big negative. The lint screen. I overlooked this on the showroom floor, much to my dismay. I have to say that with the new Westinghouse Cabrio dryer I am now ready to play jai alai at a moment's notice, the world's fastest sport, or so the Basque say. By that I mean that the lint filter is shaped like jai alai's long xistera.

Of course, jai ali is only for men. However, I remove my new lint filter xistera with an upward motion because it doesn't fit the slot well, so it takes longer to remove and reinsert than I'd like. (I will say that the lint screen is finer than the old one, so it catches finer particles of lint. So no byssinosis.) So, when I remove this awkward xistera from the new dryer, I immediately think of the women basket weaver of old, since xistera literally means "basket." But it IS nice to know, though, that the new lint screen is dual purpose, so that if I *want* to play jai alai, I can, as soon as I find a willing partner.

My next question, is when will industrial designers better design washers and dryers for the male frame, to help alleviate the drudgery of the female workload? Because I'm ever mindful of your sections on pp 42-3 of "Psychology of Everyday Things" titled "Learned Helplessness" and "Taught Helplessness."

Looking forward to your insights and feedback.

Sign me,
Your Devoted Fan

Posted by: laloomis | March 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Lunch break.

In the supermarkets shelf fillers are busy keeping shelves full as people are buying "food baskets."

Evey few blocks have collection spots.

In the semi destroyed city of Talca, people are sending food and clothes to worse of areas.

Arriba Chile is the watchword.

The Catholic church, spontaneous private orranizations are raising to the task. The military, police, and firemen are the only visible sign of the central government. The political and cabinet members seem overwhelmed. TV and radio stations have taken a position of leadership

Mario Kreuzberger (Don Francisco) who has largest TV audience in the world, is holding a 24 hour telethon on Friday. Many artists who came for the Vina del Mar Festival and got stuck agreed to remain for this huge fundraiser.

The general mood is chaging from stoic shock to one of optimism and an opportunity to rebuild the country into a better place than it was before.

The job is huge.


Posted by: Braguine | March 3, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Glad to hear humanity's good side is coming to the fore, Brag!

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 3, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Writing tips that include recommendations about dogs, just not for dogs:

Posted by: yellojkt | March 3, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Brag, I appreciate the work you're doing down there, and thanks for the on-the-ground reporting.

Best to you, sir. If there's anything we can do, you know where to find us.

s_d, please fax cassoulet, stat.


Posted by: -bc- | March 3, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

No rabbit for me today bc.
I am the rabbit, munching of greens, olives, feta and pepperoncini peppers.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 3, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Coo-coo-ka-choo, Shriek... :-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 3, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Je voudrais de cassoulet, moi aussi, Shriek.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 3, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

You've done it. I'm pining for cassoulet now. The real thing with duck confit and full-fat pork sausages on white flageolets simmered in duck fat.

Posted by: shrieking_denizen | March 3, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet my bottom dollar there are at least one or two Boodlers who vehemently assert that there is no such thing as "dogless well-nourished fiction," indeed, that if it ain't got a pooch in it somewhere it ain't worth the paper it's printed on.

There's some would say that canine-free communications are like...well, a day without fire hydrants.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm far enough from the Spanish-language world to have not noticed Don Francisco's efforts.

Posted by: DaveoftheCoonties | March 3, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Sending hopeful thoughts to you and yours, Brag.

Anyone know who is pooling aid to Chile? Red Cross? The authorities are clearly on the job, but the property losses sure look massive (sorry, I didn't backboodle all the earthquake kits if it is there).


My grandmother used to cut up rabbit into our rice. All the pieces were recognisable. I'd get half the skull and my grandfather the other half. Delish, but I've never found good rabbit here. it's always stringy and kind of bitter.

Posted by: qgaliana | March 3, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I was looking for some more specific information on safety of eating freshwater fish in your area and I'm sorry I didn't come up with much except a list of fish to be careful about, listed here:

(that page is not about rabies) Mercury is the danger, especially for pregnant women but too much will hurt anyone.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 3, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Wow, David Broder pretty much gives it to Dana Milbank right between the eyes at point blank range.

(FWIW, I agree with Broder, for once.)

qg, I know the Red Cross is taking donations, etc., and has a hotline.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 3, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, 'Mudge, indeed... (re: Broder)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 3, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Karl Rove admits he made a mistake: he didn't defend Bush enough. Yawn. No, I'm not providing a link. The sumb1tch isn't worth it.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 3, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

That is the first Broder column I've agreed with in years.

I wasn't impressed with Applebaum's column. Haiti is ostensibly a democracy, isn't it? One with no resources and a history of corruption and poverty, and that was destroyed along with the rest of Port-au-Prince. And Haiti is not prone to frequent earthquakes, so not being prepared to deal with one is understandable.

As for Chile not responding quickly to the south - I would maintain that 2 days is not a long time to wait, under these circumstances. It was weeks in Haiti before any food and water distribution was underway. Remember how supplies were at the airport but could not be moved? I can only imagine what it's like to be in such a catastrophe, and I know that people cannot be prepared for eventualities like this. I'm sure the Chilean government could improve on how things were handled. But it has not even been a week since the earthquake happened.

Posted by: seasea1 | March 3, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I thought Applebaum's Haiti-versus-Chile comparison was crazy, too, seasea. The levels of destruction aren't remotely comparable, it appears. Also, the quake hit very near Haiti's capital city (such as it was), and destroyed it. Chile's quake left the capital relatively undamaged, or perhaps minimally damaged, however you want to put it. Also for what it's worth, Haiti began requesting assistance right from the gitgo, whereas for the first day or two the media kept reporting Chile had not yet asked for assistance. You remember those reports? I don't know for sure, but would speculate that the leaders in Santiago looked around, saw that it wasn't too bad in their neck of the woods, and made assumptions based on that. I can sort of understand "the fog of war" being unclear for a little while, but it seems Chile was perhaps slower than it ought to have been requesting aide, and perhaps dispatching it as well.

I don't quite understand the lack of tsunami warning, but given the failure, I think everyone will now start issuing widespread tsunami warnings at the drop of a hat, and maybe that's not such a bad thing. There's always a question of which side to err on, too soon or too slow. Better to have some false alarms than lack of real ones, most people would say, I think.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 3, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

What am I, subhuman?
Trash, mere sentimental fuzz,
meritless in art?


Posted by: Wilbrod_Gnome | March 3, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

John Yoo is on chat right now (or was). I started reading it, but chose to keep my lunch down. *I* am not without brains, yanno.


Posted by: -ftb- | March 3, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The John Yoo chat- is that the one titled "Tool Talk"?

Posted by: kguy1 | March 3, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Faxing an extraordinary number of bonus point *hearts* to kguy!


Posted by: -ftb- | March 3, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Another kennel heard from.

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 3, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Er...referring to the 2:05, of course.

(Knew it was coming.)

Posted by: curmudgeon6 | March 3, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You heard a pitch none of the rest of us (apart from bc on certain evenings) can hear, 'Mudge?

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 3, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse


Talk about taking "Bring Your Kid to Work Day" a little far. Wow.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 3, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

before we started on the water line project at the shack, i brought up he proposal for using a waterlesss commode that had the ability to ash tiw easte. my wife promptly said no, on the basis that it wwould stink. surely a waterless toilet has tha potential to stink, especially if it isn't installed correctly. this link jumps to a story about the invention of an even simpler receptacle that may be composted. this is the alternative to the current technology in urban slums, a helicopter toilet. interesting read, considering that the author states that 2.6 billion people don't have access to a toilet.

Posted by: -jack- | March 3, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, Jack. I must say, that several times when I lived and have otherwise been in Sweden, there was nothing like evacuating to the woods to evacuate. I've also pee'd in the Serengeti. When ya gotta, ya gotta.

When I work (*AHEM* -- different subject now) I typically do not listen to the radio, music, etc. This week has been different for all sorts of reasons. All week so far I've been listening to the latest CD of Eva Cassidy's music, called "Somewhere". It is just simply glorious. There is a particularly haunting song called "A Bold Young Farmer" which never fails to strike me exactly where it is intended. I highly recommend it to all Eva Cassidy lovers everywhere and to those who don't yet know her. My other favorite CDs are "Songbird" and "Wonderful World". What a voice. What a loss.

Toodley Boodley till anon.

Posted by: -ftb- | March 3, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I wish there was a way to compost human waste for safe garden use without it being, you know, gross.

Posted by: Jumper1 | March 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

If you love movies you know who Roger Ebert is. This piece in Esquire is quite good.

Posted by: kguy1 | March 3, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If you need a spam filter, your company is in the "old days" ... Or, they don't care how much time you waste. (you are on salary with established production goals).

Larger companies actually delete the vast majority of your spam for you.

95 to 99 percent of email these days is spam.

Posted by: russianthistle | March 3, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I was gripped by this account of the earthquake in Chile.

Posted by: rickoshea1 | March 3, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

New (recycled) Kit!

Posted by: seasea1 | March 3, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm heading out of town ... but got the laptop and will blog some photos... Florida here I come...

Posted by: joelache | March 3, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

RT, isn't one of Sturgeon's Laws "90% of everything is crap," or something like that?

Read enough of Sturgeon's stuff, I should know that like I know what TANSTAAFL is.
And the flippin' Three Laws of Robotics, including the Zeroth.

And Jumper, I've seen enough Surprise Office Compost Gift Starter Set attempts to more than last me the rest of my life.



Posted by: -bc- | March 3, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

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