CIA kept prank threat to Santa under 'secret' classification - C'mon CIA! Release that info on Santa! The public needs to know when St. Nick is in danger from terrorists.
The US Central Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) classified as "secret" and withheld from public dissemination for nearly 29 years a prank terrorist threat against Santa Claus, according to documents released.

The threat -- purported to come from a then- and still-unknown group calling itself the "Group of the Martyr Ebenezer Scrooge" -- was contained in a classified compilation of intelligence on possible terrorist attacks produced by the CIA in late 1974, according to the documents.
There's Got To Be A Morning After Pill - Companies are beggining to request permission to sell morning after pills without a prescription. Will the FDA approve it? If it does, this opens the door to advertising about the existence of such a pill and perhaps putting more reproductive control into the hands of American women. The ability to decide within a day or two of having unprotected sex that having a child would not be a good idea is something that should have been available for a while now. To para-quote a friend, it's about damn time.
The Cheap Seats - I'm all for cheaper movie theatre tickets. This takes that to an extreme: Cinema Paradiso it ain't (via BBC).

The people behind EasyJet are applying the no-frills idea to theatre tickets. Even better than cheap tickets, to me, would be a wider availability of independent films. If this could make it worth the money for a theatre to run indie films, I'd love one of these in the neighborhood.

Am I a helpless romantic, however, from feeling that going out to the movies would not be the same without the smell of theatre popcorn? They really should consider at least piping in the scent. Popcorn (or at least the scent) is not an option, it's required.
Friday Five - I'm out of creativity today, and under deadline, so I will resort to a Friday Five post.

1. What brand of toothpaste do you use?
At the moment, Aqua Fresh Sensitive. I have a sweet and cold sensitivity that's bugging me. So far, this toothpaste does not have the problem licked.

2. What brand of toilet paper do you prefer?
Right to the point, eh? OK. Truly, I don't care. Somehting cheap that's a little less rough than sandpaper and won't clog the plumbing. For real luxury, you just can't beat those pre-moistened wipes, though. Call me weird, but I like to be clean.

3. What brand(s) of shoes do you wear?
Timberland hiking boots on rainy days. Rockport black shoes when I want to look decent (rarely). Sneakers - whatever I have that isn't suitable for running.

4. What brand of soda do you drink?
Coca-Cola, if i'm drinking soda. But there are a lot of other ones I like. Whenever I'm feeling a little out of sorts, Canada Dry Ginger Ale. But mostly, lately, the Stop & Shop brand of sugar free clear fancy soda.

5. What brand of gum do you chew?
Orbit Spearmint gum or Wrigley's Juicyfruit.


Generosity Game - A world-changing game. This is just a simple enhancement to the idea of doing a random act of kindness. You do a good deed and pass the card along, telling someone to do something for someone else.

Who cares how big the deed is? What if people had a reminder, like a little card, that someone was randomly kind to them? Would they remember how it felt to be the recipient of a good deed? Would they want to pass it along?

Generosity Game: spread random acts of kindness
And I quote -
Every spring and summer, Darth Kitty is on vacation. - Katherine Moira Burke


Sweet, Sweet Immunity! - Yahoo! News - Smallpox Immunity Lasts Decades, Study Shows. Not only is this great news for those who have been immunized, it's great news for everyone. Smallpox, if used in a terror attack, will not spread as fast as previously thought. Also, one would think the vaccine will last longer if it isn't necessary to vaccinate everyone.

I was vaccinated as a child when my family visited to Spain and Morocco. In fact, I believe I succumbed to an autoinoculation of vaccinia in my eye.

This is very good news to the people most at risk from smallpox: the immune suppressed.

And perhaps it will reduce the likelihood of a smallpox attack in the first place.
Buzzards Bay Spill Is Bigger - Boston Globe Online reports: Spill was far larger than reported

How do you mis-report the size of a spill by more than a factor of 6? FIrst it's 14.7K gallons, and now it's 98K gallons!


Music Activities for Kids - Summer is coming up, and Maggie is putting together the summer curriculum for the kids. I'm sure I'll be posting more about that some time later.

Dom sent me the following link, which has a number of music-related activities that I bet will fit in nicely somewhere in the summer agenda:
DSOkids: Dallas Symphony Orchestra | Music, Fun & Games!

Both of the girls love music (who doesn't, really?) and though we already have quite a few instruments in the house, making their own instruments is always a big hit with the kids.
Gotta love the crackpots - I was captivated, in my youth, by occult stories. One that seemed to stick in the minds of people was how American presidents are assassinated (or simply died in office) every so many years.

People figure that once they see a pattern - any pattern - that this pattern will repeat and so it can be used to make accurate predictions of the future.

There's no shortage of crackpots ready to expound on their theories, cornering anyone who will listen. And it's easier than ever to find these theories in today's connected world.

Just by way of example, take a quick peek at The Antichrist and the Apocalypse. No, it's not worthy reading material, but a quick skim will give you the flavor.
Were Napoleon, Hitler and Bin Laden reincarnations of the same soul who unconsciously repeated his attempt to conquer the world three times?
That soul being the Antichrist, of course. It's never just some shmoe... it's always the Antichrist.


Why I Hate Cobb - Driving in to work this morning, I came to the realization that I hate California Cobb salad. The odd thing is, I've never had one.

What triggered the realization was a sign at a McDonalds on Faunce Corner road. "CALIFORNIA COBB SALAD IS HERE!"

I think the reason I've had such a strong reaction is that I have the distinct feeling that someone out there (and he or she works in marketing) thinks I need California Cobb salad in my life. How this decision was made, I'm not quite sure. But when I was in D'Angelo's the other day and saw another sign for Cobb salad, it was the first time I had heard of the beast.

There is a passably good chance that I would like the Cobb salad if I were to try it. In fact, I think it has ham in it, which I am fond of. And I like salad. But I resent the sudden onslaught of this Cobb salad meme on my senses. Having detected this intrusion, my anti-meme defenses have been raised.

That, and I just don't like the name. "Cobb..." It doesn't do a thing for my appetite. In my gastronomic vocabulary, "cob" is already taken. And if we're not talking fresh sweet corn from a New England farmstand or farmer's market in July, I don't want to hear it.

Is this how that nameless guy in Green Eggs and Ham felt? I agree that people ought to try new things. Sam I Am was right about that. But what if Sam I Am were some guy trying to market a new product to you, something new every day. Often this new thing is just a small variation on an old thing, with a different name. He's at you constantly - every time you turn on the TV, read a magazine, go for a drive, on a plane, on a train, in the house, with a mouse.

The green eggs take on a little bit of a different flavor now, don't they?


DVDs With An Expiration - Warning: This DVD will self-destruct in 2 days (story via the Chicago Sun-Times)

Sounds to me like an interesting way to increase landfills.

Personally, I like the used DVD market. Many of the DVDs I own are rental DVDs I have bought once the demand for renting them had died down. I like getting used DVDs cheap. But I know that used media (DVDs and CDs) is something that the media companies don't like. They don't like the idea that they don't get a cut when you resell a DVD you've decided you don't like so much.

So this is a good idea for them, but is it a good idea for consumers? I'll stick to Netflix for now, thank you.