Betsy Devine: Funny ha-ha and/or funny peculiar

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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Entries from March 2006

Hypnotic webcam on an eagle’s nest

March 31st, 2006 · Comments Off on Hypnotic webcam on an eagle’s nest

An eagle sits on a nest.

Wind ruffles a feather.

One rain droplet sparkles.

Then another.

The bird turns her head very slighly to one side….

I could watch this all day, even if I didn’t have other work I should be doing…

Update, April 3: I updated the EagleCam URL–thanks to Rebecca Blood for the heads up!

Tags: Science

Paradise enow (unlocked) on eBay

March 30th, 2006 · Comments Off on Paradise enow (unlocked) on eBay

My bid was already the eighth, and no wonder!

Wouldn’t you love to acquire these items all on offer in the same eBay auction?

  • Item: an unlocked Motorola Razr quad-band phone, the jetset special, donated by Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing. Zoom camera, polyphonic ringtones–and unlocked, so you can pop in a simcard for any carrier or any country you choose.
  • Item: A first-edition of Eastern Standard Tribe, the Locus-finalist new novel written by Cory Doctorow, signed by Cory Doctorow, and donated by Cory Doctorow.
  • Item: The satisfaction of know that your pounds sterling go to Suw (of Chocolate and Vodka) to be used for the benefit of the Open Rights Group, London-based cyberactivists who are trying to stop bigcos from planting an evil Broadcast Flag in Europe.

As the great Omar Khayyam might have remarked,

A book of sci-fi underneath the bough,
Some chocolate, some vodka (mmm), and thou
Beside me chatting on a Razr cellphone
That once belonged to Cory Doctorow…

In short, please point all your blog readers right over to eBay!

Tags: Metablogging

Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blogge?

March 29th, 2006 · Comments Off on Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blogge?

Wait until The Smoking Gun findeth this:



ITEM. the kynges chambre shal be adorned wyth tapestries depictinge the supremacye of kynge over subjectes by meanes of subtyl and lernede allegorie…

ITEM. the followinge victuals and beverages shal be available at alle houres:
-oystres yn gravy
-henne yn broth
-capone fryede in manere kentuckie, XIV pieces…

(Alle manere thankes to Rebecca Blood for hir linke!)

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Fourth indictment: Telemarketer who made it happen.

March 27th, 2006 · Comments Off on Fourth indictment: Telemarketer who made it happen.

I was hoping for something bigger, but the feds hauled in just one more little fish today:

Shaun Hansen, former co-owner of Idaho-based telemarketing firm Mylo Enterprises, appeared in a federal court in New Hampshire today to face charges for conspiring to commit, and aiding and abetting the commission of, interstate telephone harassment relating to a scheme to jam several New Hampshire telephone lines on Election Day, 2002, the Department of Justice announced today.

I’ll be curious to see how this case keeps evolving, but I wish the Feds would head up the political food chain instead of downward.

Somebody gave James Tobin a green light on this. And the RNC has paid almost three million dollars so far to keep the rest of the country from knowing who did it.

Tags: New Hampshire!

James Tobin’s Consulting Contract with the NRSC, dated Feb. 5, 2002

March 25th, 2006 · Comments Off on James Tobin’s Consulting Contract with the NRSC, dated Feb. 5, 2002

Government Exhibit 64 in the criminal trial of James Tobin in NH’s Federal District Court, CR 04-216-01-SM, was his contract with the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

Here are some salient excerpts:


WHEREAS, Tobin is in the business of political consulting.

WHEREAS, the NRSC desires to engage Tobin for performance of above said services as a regional political director;

Now, THEREFORE,..the parties agree as follows:


A. Services Provided. Tobin covenants and agrees to provide to the NRSC the following services: Tobin covenants and agrees to provide services as consultant to NRSC and its candidates.

B. Directives. In performing its [sic] duties, Tobin shall routinely consult with the NRSC’s political director, Chris LaCivita….


Tobin shall indemnify and hold the NRSC.. harmless against and from any and all claims .. (including attorneys’ fees..) .. arising out of or attributable to Tobin’s performance of this contract…

The contract promises Tobin $6,000 per month for his services. I think it’s interesting that whoever drafted this contract went to a lot of trouble to make sure Tobin kept the NRSC’s secrets, most especially its donor lists, assessing a penalty of $50,000 for each incident of his violating this provision.

Tags: Stories

Now we know what the little red hand really means

March 25th, 2006 · Comments Off on Now we know what the little red hand really means

Driving near Harvard Square is…educational. The world’s most aggressive drivers are totally vanquished by the world’s most entitled pedestrians.

Today, as I struggled to drive my car through a short green light, Frank took me to a new level of enlightenment:

Betsy, to the pedestrians who couldn’t hear me: “I don’t suppose it means anything to you that I have a green light here.”

Frank, in the persona of a pedestrian: “It means we can walk but we can’t make eye contact.”

Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · Learn to write funny

I just felt a vast disturbance in the force…

March 25th, 2006 · Comments Off on I just felt a vast disturbance in the force…

galaxyM101: Messier 101 spiral galaxy from Hubble telescope

Towards a new test of general relativity? from
Scientists funded by the European Space Agency have measured the gravitational equivalent of a magnetic field for the first time in a laboratory. Under certain special conditions the effect is much larger than expected from general relativity and could help physicists to make a significant step towards the long-sought-after quantum theory of gravity.

But the force detected was a gajillion times stronger than the force predicted…How lovely that gravity still has some surprises!

Thanks to Kottke’s Remainders for the link!

Tags: Science

Chorus and verse and unexpected cousins

March 23rd, 2006 · Comments Off on Chorus and verse and unexpected cousins

SandWatch: wristwatch lying on beach sand “…life’s adventures are the verses and chorus of your unique song, and when it is over, you are dead.

So far, I am still singing, but I would point out that adventures don’t come calling like unexpected cousins calling from out of town.

You have to go looking for them.”

Jimmy Buffett, A Salty Piece of Land

Thank you, Mr. Margaritaville, for a very enjoyable beach novel.

Tags: Sister Age

Who’s next? NH phone-jamming case readies fourth indictment

March 23rd, 2006 · Comments Off on Who’s next? NH phone-jamming case readies fourth indictment

In less than a week now, the US Attorney will name the fourth co-conspirator in NH’s 2002 election day scandal, when the GOP paid telemarketers to make non-stop hang-up calls to NH Democrats and a firefighters’ union.

So who’s the fourth co-conspirator?

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman?

According to John DiStaso, convicted conspirator James Tobin phoned Ken Mehlman more than 75 times between Sept. 30 and Nov. 22 of 2002. Could this be why the RNC paid Tobin’s lawyers , and has kept on paying even after Tobin’s conviction, now up to $2.8 million

Terry Nelson and Chris LaCivita were on Tobin’s witness list, but never called.

Terry Nelson is most famous recently for helping Abramoff and Delay launder $190,000 in corporate political funds. DCI Group lobbyist Chris LaCivita was a media strategist for the Swift Boat Veterans. In 2002, LaCivita and Nelson (like James Tobin) worked on the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). Tobin reported to LaCivita, according to his contract with the NRSC. Putting Democrats’ phones out of order on Election Day was a very bold step, an innovative use of the new technology of telemarketing, pushing the envelope of political ethics and legality. It’s hard to believe Tobin would have kept it a secret from his boss…

Darrell Henry, a lobbyist for the American Gas Association?

Chuck McGee testified that “Daryl” Henry knew about the planned phone-jamming and said he’d arrange for some help prolonging the phone calls. Mike Gehrke and Paul Kiel think Henry’s the most likely fourth conspirator.

Former NH State GOP Chairman John Dowd?

Chuck McGee testified that he went ahead with the phone-jam only after (he thought) Dowd had approved it. In January, 2003, Dowd awarded McGee a $6,000 bonus. On Election Day, however, Dowd was the person who got the phone jam stopped–and Dowd has stated that when he paid McGee the bonus, he was under the impression that the phone jam had never started. In my opinion, John Dowd deserves the benefit of the doubt here.

So, who’s my favorite for the fourth conspirator?

Chris LaCivita.

Less than a week to go before we find out…

Tags: New Hampshire!

Hermit crab and the fingers of a blogger

March 21st, 2006 · Comments Off on Hermit crab and the fingers of a blogger

Just how emblematic is this of blogging?

I imagined my focus was on the world outside me–in this particular case, on a hermit crab.

In retrospect, I now see a much clearer focus on…my blogging self.

Leaving you to unpack that thought, I have to go re-pack my life into a suitcase. Frank and I are leaving for home in about an hour.

Thanks to CERCA, Jeffrey Epstein, Lawrence Krauss, and everyone else for this opportunity for Frank to confront gravity and for me to forget real life.

Tags: Metablogging