Monday, February 18, 2019

The Superlative Degree

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

-- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859), Chapter I - The Period

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Difference

The difference between American parties is actually simple. Democrats are in favor of higher taxes to pay for greater spending, while Republicans are in favor of greater spending, for which the taxpayers will pay.

-- Patrick Jake (PJ) O'Rourke (1947 -), American political satirist, "Letter to Our European Friends" (4 February 2008)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

National Emergency

President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action -- including a national emergency -- to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border.  The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country.

-- Sarah Huckabee Sanders, posting as @PressSec on Twitter, Statement on Government Funding Bill, 14 February 2019

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

RIP Opportunity Rover

It is because of trailblazing missions such as Opportunity that there will come a day when our brave astronauts walk on the surface of Mars.  And when that day arrives, some portion of that first footprint will be owned by the men and women of Opportunity, and a little rover that defied the odds and did so much in the name of exploration.

-- NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, in a statement marking the end of NASA's Opportunity Rover Mission on Mars, at, 13 February 2019

Designed to last just 90 Martian days and travel 1,100 yards (1,000 meters), Opportunity vastly surpassed all expectations in its endurance, scientific value and longevity.  In addition to exceeding its life expectancy by 60 times, the rover traveled more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) by the time it reached its most appropriate final resting spot on Mars -- Perseverance Valley.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

In My Position

Something unusual happened to me yesterday.  Actually, for me it wasn't just unusual -- it was a first.  I was made an offer I couldn't refuse.  Or at least that's what the top people at the National Enquirer thought.  I'm glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing.  Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I've decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.

[Email from Dylan Howard of AMI describing semi-nude selfies of Jeff Bezos and his mistress Lauren Sanchez]

Well, that got my attention.  But not in the way they likely hoped.  Any personal embarrassment AMI could cause me takes a back seat because there's a much more important matter involved here.  If in my position I can't stand up to this kind of extortion, how many people can?

-- Jeff Bezos in a blog post at, "No thank you, Mr. Pecker", accusing David Pecker and AMI, owner of the National Enquirer, of extortion,  7 February 2019

Monday, February 11, 2019

Quit Bugging Me

Looking to get yourself a present this Valentine's Day?  The El Paso Zoo has you covered.  It will name a cockroach after your ex and then feed it to a meerkat live on camera.

You can message the zoo on Facebook with your ex's name, then wait patiently for February 14 to watch the roach get devoured during the "Quit Bugging Me" meerkat event, which will live-stream on Facebook and the zoo's website.  The names of those exes will also be displayed around the meerkat exhibit and on social media starting February 11.  The zoo calls it "the perfect Valentine's Day gift."

"This is a fun way to get the community involved in our daily enrichment activities," El Paso Zoo event coordinator Sarah Borrego told CBS News. "The meerkats love to get cockroaches as a snack and what better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than by feeding them a cockroach named after your ex!"

-- Reported by Sophie Lewis of CBS News, 7 February 2019

Friday, February 08, 2019

Round-The-Clock Liturgy

It was one of the longest religious ceremonies ever recorded, lasting for more than three months and involving nearly 1,000 pastors and priests.

But on Wednesday afternoon [30 January], a Dutch church's nonstop 96-day vigil finally came to an end after its organizers received confirmation that a family of refugees sheltering inside the church would no longer face immediate deportation from the Netherlands.

Taking advantage of an obscure Dutch law that forbids the police to interrupt church services, ministers at Bethel Church in The Hague had been running a round-the-clock liturgy since Oct. 26 in order to prevent the five members of the Tamrazyan family from being arrested and sent back to Armenia.

-- Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, "96 Days Later, Nonstop Church Service to Protect Refugees Finally Ends", 30 January 2019