The Snoozeletter @

Pluto Heart... or Pup? 

The scientists say: Pluto is Dominated by the Feature Informally Named the “Heart”.

My friend Michael E Kerpan wrote: "Our family thinks the spot looks like Pluto Pup."

Pluto Pup
GoDaddy downtime. 

My website went down sometime in the last 3 days. So I just spent 48 minutes on the phone with GoDaddy - after 3 tweets, 2 previous calls and a posting on their Facebook page generated no results.

When the idiots finally fixed it, they tried to blame it on me. I said it was working 3 days ago, then it wasn't working, and I did nothing to change that status.

Then they said I didn't update the software that runs my hosting server. I said: that's why I pay you idiots, to provide me with a hosting server that actually works.

Then they quieted down, and thanked me for hosting my website with them for the last 16 years. I said: you'll be lucky if I make it to 17.
Green Serpentine Marble of Westfield, Massachusetts...

(Westfield green marble is in the Empire State Building, Lincoln's tomb in Springfield Illinois and the columns at Saks Fifth Avenue, N.Y.)
Shark Week... 

...supposedly begins on Sunday, but they jumped the gun in the Carolinas.

Or maybe they jumped the shark.
Facebook unpublishes pages without any warning. 

I received the following notification on one of my Facebook commercial pages this morning:

"The Page ____ isn't visible on Facebook since it hasn't been updated for more than a month. You can always visit and publish it again."

The message quoted above was more than a little worrisome, since I have created several dozen Facebook commercial pages that don't get updated very often. So I immediately visited all my other Facebook commercial pages, none of which were showing notification numbers on this list:

According to the banners at the top of the page Timelines, SEVEN of these pages had been unpublished by Facebook! And I had not received any warning at all!! HOLY CRAP!!!

So if you have Facebook commercial pages that are not updated regularly, I would recommend that you visit them. NOW!


Text above originally posted here:
Pet peeve: lightening. 

Some newswriters seem to think "lightening" refers to a sudden electrostatic discharge during an electrical storm.

Which reminds me of an old joke:

A priest and a nun are golfing on their day off... and on the first tee, the priest completely misses the ball. He says, "Oh sh*t, I missed."

The nun admonishes him, "Father!"

He misses again on the second tee and says, "Oh sh*t, I missed."

The nun says, "Father, stop with the gutter language!"

On the third tee, he misses yet again and says, "Oh sh*t, I missed."

The nun exclaims, "Father, you're a man of God. If you keep using this filthy language, the heavens are going to open up, and God will strike you dead with a lightning bolt, right where you stand!"

The priest says, "Sister, don't be silly. That'd never happen." So, to teach the nun a lesson, he deliberately misses his tee shot on the fourth hole, looks at the nun and says, "Oh sh*t, I missed."

At that moment, the skies open up and a lightning bolt strikes the nun dead where she stands.

As the priest looks on dumbstruck, a powerful voice comes from the heavens, saying, "Oh sh*t, I missed!"
Class of ´69 obituaries and gravesites. 

In Memoriam, Class of 1969, Westfield High School, Massachusetts.

In Memoriam, Class of 1969, Chelmsford High School, Massachusetts.
The Last Stronghold of the Pure Gospel: An-Diugh. 

So we're in a B&B on the Isle of Skye a few weeks ago, and I'm flipping through the TV channels, trying to find something that will trick my jet lag into letting me sleep. All of a sudden, this angelic music starts pouring out of the box. Now, I'm not a religious guy, but these spiritual songs were mesmerizing. The whole show was in Gaelic, with English subtitles, on a BBC channel called Alba, which is the Gaelic name for Scotland. This 50-minute documentary, an episode of a series called "Everyman," was entitled "The Last Stronghold of the Pure Gospel: An-Diugh" and was apparently shot in 1979 by Michael Radford, before he got famous and started winning awards. It profiles the Scottish islanders on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides who believe in the literal truth of the Bible. The episode now includes an update on what happened to some of those featured in the original program.

And the tunes knocked my socks off.


Later: if you're in the UK, I think you can watch it here.
Dan Foley's Pub. 

Summer of 1991, Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula: behold a typical scene in an ambitious campaign to infiltrate the secret pub culture of western Ireland (native rituals dictate inhaling vast quantities of a thick brownish health shake). In the Gaeltacht, we find our hero reeling from the doorway of a local establishment, out like a carp.

Short Story: Cathaoir Synge (Synge's Chair)

Dan Foley's Pub, Main Street, Anascaul, County Kerry: Google Map Street View ~ Sale ~ Postcard
Fernando Botero. 

Picnic"Picnic" (1999) by Fernando Botero (Colombian artist, 1932-), oil on canvas.

I was first exposed to the paintings of Botero when "The Kids" (now all grown up) took us to a lovely restaurant high in the hills overlooking the Danube. We were confronted by these strange-looking (and often nude) overweight people at every twist and turn in the stairways and hallways leading up to a beautiful dining room with a spectacular view of Budapest at dusk. The three strongest memories I have of Udvarház Étterem are: (1) wow, that gulyás leves was tasty, (2) why is this twisted Hungarian artist painting all these fat folks, and (3) I should probably go on a diet when we get back Stateside.

Well, it turned out that: (1) Anikó's gulyás leves was just as delicious, only different, (2) Botero was Colombian, not Hungarian, and (3) my diet, like the many eating regimens I've tried before and since, was a complete bust.
89-Year-Old Learns About Birds & Bees... 

‪#‎Hitchcock‬ ‪#‎TheBirds‬ ‪#‎BeeAttack‬
Self-publish a book in 14 countries for under 10 bucks... 

...using Amazon's! When I published a 108-page book in 2009, it cost $3.66 + $3.55 shipping to get a galley/proof copy. Then I ordered 10 copies for $36.60 + $5.08 shipping, to use at book signings. Prices are comparable today.

Paperback + e-book (Kindle/iPad):
1) US
2) UK
3) India
4) Germany
5) Austria
6) France
7) Italy
8) Spain

E-book (Kindle/iPad) only:
9) Canada
10) Australia
11) Mexico
12) Brazil
13) Japan
14) Netherlands

(It looks like Amazon's China site may soon offer CreateSpace books, too.)

I also published a 435-page book for a friend in 2011, which cost $6.08 + $3.59 shipping for a galley/proof copy. Then I ordered 28 copies for $170.24 + $17.00 shipping.

UPDATE: Amazon Author Pages and Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords.

So, people in my levels of access for systems administration or as an infrastructure analyst typically have higher accesses than an NSA employee would normally have. Normal NSA employees have a combination of clearances called TS, SI, TK and Gamma. That's Top Secret, Signals Intelligence, Talent Keyhole and Gamma. And they all relate to certain things that are sort of core to the NSA mission. As a systems administrator, you get a special clearance called PRIVAC, for Privileged Access, which allows you to be exposed to information of any classification, regardless of what your position actually needs.
In the end, if you publish the source material, I will likely be immediately implicated. This must not deter you from releasing the information I will provide.
My personal desire is that you paint the target directly on my back. No one, not even my most trusted confidant, is aware of my intentions and it would not be fair for them to fall under suspicion for my actions. You may be the only one who can prevent that, and that is by immediately nailing me to the cross rather than trying to protect me as a source.
My family doesn't know what's happening, they're unaware. I don't think I'll be able to keep the family ties that I've had for all my life because of the risk of associating them with this. And I'll leave what to publish and what not to publish to you guys, I trust you'll be responsible on this.
This is our country and the balance of power between the citizenry and the government is becoming that of the ruling and the ruled as opposed to actually, you know, the elected and the electorate.
So for me it all comes down to state power against the people's ability to meaningfully oppose that power. And I'm sitting there every day, getting paid to design methods to amplify that state power. And I'm realizing that if, you know, the policy switches, that they are the only things that restrain these states, were changed there, you couldn't meaningfully oppose these. I mean, you'd have to be the most incredibly sophisticated technical actor in existence.
And I'm more willing to risk imprisonment or any other negative outcome personally than I am willing to risk the curtailment of my intellectual freedom and that of those around me.
I appreciate your concern for my safety, but I already know how this will end for me, and I accept the risk. If I have luck, and you are careful, you will have everything you need. I ask only that you ensure this information makes it home to the American public.

--Edward Snowden, "Citizenfour" ~ schedule ~ website ~ IMDb ~ 6/6/2013 interview part 1, part 2

Some would say to him: "You're a traitor."
I'd just say: "Thank you for your service."
White-blooming trees. 

I asked my neighbors for the name of the trees that are currently putting out white flowers around Leisure World. I received several suggestions, including:

Orchid tree:
Desert willow:
Callery pear:

, but nobody knew for sure, so I finally decided to get serious, and take a photo, which I sent to Moon Valley Nurseries. They said it was a Pyrus kawakamii, or Evergreen pear. and That's when I found this article, which has some beautiful photos.
Freeway Birthday Triple-A. 

So there I was this morning, standing on a 12-lane freeway in the 6am darkness, watching the cars whiz by me, three feet away, at 75mph, and I'm singing, in my scared-sh*tless voice:

Happy birthday to you / Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday YOU MORON / Happy birthday to you.

You see, my car had run out of gas on the Superstition Freeway. Bonehead move, right? I knew the tank was getting empty, but based on the odometer reading, I calculated there were 10 or 20 miles left to go. The car had traveled at least that far before, without any problem. But I forgot to factor in the three mornings last week when the ice on the windshield was obscuring my view. Each of those times, I sat in the parking lot at work, running the heater/defroster/defogger for ten minutes, so I could see enough to drive home.

10 minutes x 3 = 30 minutes, or about 30 miles.

But I neglected to do that calculation until the power steering stopped working this morning, in the middle lane of the eastbound 60. As I struggled to get the car over into the breakdown lane, I was chanting my mantra of denial: "The gas tank can't be empty, it can't be, it CAN'T be!"

That's when the equation 10x3=30 flashed into my brain, and I began singing my very-special birthday song.

The Triple-A guy couldn't stop grinning. As he poured gas from his canister into my tank, he said, "Make sure you plan carefully. There are only two gallons in here."

Then he chuckled. Bastard.

"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?"

I'll find out the answer to this question today.

The Golden Screw (old joke). 

A couple has a baby with a strange birth defect – a golden screw stuck in his navel. Doctors assure them there's nothing to be done about it.

The boy grows up ashamed of his difference and blames it for the fact that he has no friends, can't get a date, has a crummy job, etc. Anyway, he goes to scientists and surgeons and witch doctors around the world, but he gets nowhere. He's told to just live with it.

Finally, the guy goes to a holy man in the desert, who says, "You can simply dream it away, but you probably won't like the results. Maybe you should just accept yourself as you are." But the guy insists, so the holy man instructs him on lucid dreaming.

The guy falls asleep, and in his dream, a golden archangel descends from on high, and inserts a golden screwdriver into his navel. After a few quick turns, the golden screw falls out.

When the guy wakes up, sure enough, the golden screw is gone. He's so happy, he jumps up to do a celebratory dance...

...and his a** falls off.
12 days=$116,273. 

Did you ever wonder how much it would cost to buy everything from "The 12 Days of Christmas" in today's dollars?

Well, wonder no more. It's $116,273.

(AP/AOL) The cost of six geese-a-laying spiked considerably this year, while most of the items in the carol "The Twelve Days of Christmas," saw little to no increase, according to the 31st annual PNC Wealth Management Christmas Price Index.

See also: Inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids and White Christmas: Berlin/McPhatter/Held and Rudolph's Revenge and Drive hammered, get nailed and Holiday Rum Cake and Christmas tree angel and A Festivus for the rest of us and Alice's Restaurant and 7,000 Macedonians in full battle array and Letter To Santa: The Ransom Note and An AZ Xmas and Christmas split.
818 Blues. 

If you've ever lived in L.A., you'll understand this story. If not: area code 818 was split from L.A.'s area code 213 in 1984, and since then, "true Angelenos" (213 dwellers) have secretly (and not-so-secretly) looked down on the "hinterlands" of 818.

My buddy Sean was born and raised in L.A., and his family has been part of the Hollywood backstage (props, camera, stagehands) for decades. His widowed mom was going downhill last summer, so Sean and his siblings sold the family house in Nichols Canyon, which his mom had designed and built, and moved her into a cottage behind his sister's house.

Sean writes: She kept watching old movies and the Dodgers, listening to good jazz and classical music and polishing up the humor that has kept the Irish from killing themselves for generations. When she bemoaned the fact--repeatedly--about having to sell the family house, I had to remind her that the money for her final years' full time care required us to do it. "And you're at your daughter's house, her hubby and son and dog are great... Jasmine, your helper, is an angel... the rest of us kids are here all the time with you... leaving the house in Hollywood was necessary and you've got it pretty nice here."

"Yes," she said, "But I just don't want to die in the 818 area code!"
Just another Ebola story... 

MORTICIAN: Bring out your dead! [rings bell] Bring out your dead! [rings bell]
CUSTOMER: Here's one - nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
CUSTOMER: Nothing - here's your nine pence.
DEAD PERSON: I'm not dead!
MORTICIAN: Here - he says he's not dead!
CUSTOMER: Yes, he is.
MORTICIAN: He isn't.
CUSTOMER: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
DEAD PERSON: I'm getting better!
CUSTOMER: No, you're not - you'll be stone dead in a moment.
MORTICIAN: Oh, I can't take him like that - it's against regulations.
DEAD PERSON: I don't want to go in the cart!
CUSTOMER: Oh, don't be such a baby.
MORTICIAN: I can't take him...
DEAD PERSON: I feel fine!
CUSTOMER: Oh, do us a favor...
CUSTOMER: Well, can you hang around a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
MORTICIAN: Naaah, I got to go on to Robinson's - they've lost nine today.
CUSTOMER: Well, when is your next round?
MORTICIAN: Thursday.
DEAD PERSON: I think I'll go for a walk.
CUSTOMER: You're not fooling anyone y'know. Look, isn't there something you can do?
DEAD PERSON: I feel happy... I feel happy. [mortician hits him with a club]
CUSTOMER: Ah, thanks very much.
MORTICIAN: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
CUSTOMER: Right. [hoofbeats in the distance]
MORTICIAN: Who's that then?
CUSTOMER: I don't know.
MORTICIAN: Must be a king.
MORTICIAN: He hasn't got shit all over him.
--"Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) ~ video ~ necktie
Sunny upside-down. 

My Hungarian wife said this morning she likes her eggs "sunny upside-down."
I love the jiu-jitsu she performs on English.
Ebola Containment Suit Halloween Costume, here:

The deadly Ebola virus has landed in the United States and the crisis has reached new levels of domestic escalation. You are sure to be prepared if any outbreak happens at your Halloween party. This will literally be the most "viral" costume of the year.
Boots not included


Later: Sexy Ebola Costume (As the deadly Ebola virus trickles its way through the United States, fighting its [sic] disease is no reason to compromise style. The short dress and chic gas mask will be the talk of Milan, London, Paris, and New York as the world's fashionistas seek global solutions to hazmat couture. Ending plague isn't the endeavor of a single woman, so be sure to check out our men's Ebola Containment Costume for a great couple's costume idea.)
Time to make the donuts. 

A one-armed man applies for a position as a short-order cook. The restaurant manager is not sure he can handle the job, so he asks the man to demonstrate how he would make a pizza. The guy is able to slice up the mushrooms, grate the cheese and stir the sauce, but he has to take off his shirt to flatten out the dough by pounding it on his hairy chest.

The restaurant manager is disgusted and yells, "That is the most repulsive way of making a pizza I've ever seen!"

The one-armed man replies, "If you think that's gross, wait'll you see how I make the doughnuts!"


Video: Time to make the donuts...
Big news at Leisure World. 

A contract post office usually opens in the Admin Building on October 1st, when the snowbirds get here. It's only open for a few hours a day until April 30th (during the "Non-Melting Season"), but the HOA announced yesterday that the post office won't open until next Monday this year. The prevailing mood is ugly. Anikó and I haven't visited a P.O. since we got email in 1995, but we expect the bluehairs all around us will hold demonstrations and sit-ins. This place is a tinderbox.
The 20 Strangest Sentences In The English Language. 

Link. For example, "I never said she stole my money" has seven different meanings, depending on which word you emphasize:
[I] never said she stole my money. - Someone else did.
I [never] said she stole my money. - I didn't do it.
I never [said] she stole my money. - I only implied it.
I never said [she] stole my money. - Not necessarily her.
I never said she [stole] my money. - She borrowed it.
I never said she stole [my] money. - Not necessarily mine.
I never said she stole my [money]. - She stole something, but not money.