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

Making trouble today for a better tomorrow…

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To duck or not to duck?

June 2nd, 2009 · Comments Off on To duck or not to duck?

Those familiar with this blog may have noticed that ducks tend to float through its pages like a theme, perhaps, I hope, from a dreaming composer and not so much, I hope, like that annoying drum riff that the worst guy in the band loves to play.

Sinister ducks, rubber ducks, ducks in and out of water, even (way back in 2003) my first Flash animation Quack-Don’t-Quack.

So it is understandable that a clever person who knows me well, such as for instance a Nobel Laureate who is married to me, would think of me as somebody who would like this video making fun of Pat Robertson for comparing gay marriage to sex with ducks.

And I cannot resist in turn passing this on to you also, but let me just say that as much as I do like ducks, I do not like them THAT way.

But I do really, really like this song.

Tags: Frank Wilczek · funny · Wide wonderful world

Sinister steampunk ducks

May 26th, 2009 · 2 Comments

You think you have seen sinister ducks?

Bwa ha ha — you haven’t seen sinister ducks until you’ve seen these ducks.

Tags: funny · Wide wonderful world

The new and improved Big-Mac-Fat-Duck index

April 5th, 2009 · Comments Off on The new and improved Big-Mac-Fat-Duck index


Originally uploaded by uuuuuli

Four Big Macs per hour.

That’s what the average Dutch worker earns — although the Dutch 17 year-old working at McDonalds earns a mere 1.05 Big Macs per hour.

Yes, the Big Mac Index (and its more elite rival, the Tall Latte Index) are semi-serious efforts to match wages to cost of living in different countries.

Why not expand this to comparing cost of living across the lines of social class. Conservatives are outraged that US auto workers can earn 10 Big Macs per hour, but they seem quite content that GM executives get $3M to $14M per year.

This makes perfect sense, however, because GM executives do not eat Big Macs. The relevant point of comparison should be something like dinner for one at Oxford’s Fat Duck restaurant, which costs $170.

The Big-Mac-Fat-Duck Index requires, then, paying the GM executive at least $1,700 per hour. If a GM executive puts in 50 weeks per year at 40 hours per week, that is 2,000 highly valuable executive hours they should expect to get fair pay for, which works out to at least $3.4M per year.

And this does not even count beverage, tip, or air fare from Detroit to the UK!

The executives who get even more than that are no doubt eating meals somewhere even more expensive.

Tags: Editorial · politics · Wide wonderful world

The dock duck

July 10th, 2006 · Comments Off on The dock duck

One brown mother duck with five brown fuzzy babies.

They’ve been the big topic of neighborhood conversaion up in NH, where I’ve been hanging out email-free this past week.

Jamie says one of the babies is a wild child, who showed up all by himself at Jamie’s boat dock the other day. The baby hung out there for hours, loving the attention and little pieces of bread that came his way.

Then Mama Duck showed up to reassemble her family before bedtime, but not without giving both Jamie and her wild child a LOUD QUACKING-TO!

In other summertime news, I made chocolate cake and invited my siblings over to share it.

And my brother brought me the Manchester Union Leader with a new phone-jamming story inside, while my sister brought me the actual federal pleading for the defense in the upcoming trial of Shaun Hansen.

I have to say, I do have the most marvelous siblings.

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Whither “Duck Cheney”?

April 30th, 2005 · Comments Off on Whither “Duck Cheney”?

The mother duck under Secret Service protection just hatched a nestful of fuzzy ducklings today. Duck names being discussed include “Duck Cheney”, “Quacks Reform”, and ‘Treasury Bill.”

The official plan is to move the duck family, tomorrow, out of the gardens of the Treasury Department and into one of Washington’s many parks.

May I propose that instead we move the ducks north, to one of Alaska’s National Wildlife Areas. Maybe the compassion Washingtonians feel for this family of ducks may thereby extend to the 40,000 caribou whose habitat is threatened by Republican plans to drill there for oil

Tags: Life, the universe, and everything

Oops, I cut off Van Gogh’s ears!

July 15th, 2010 · Comments Off on Oops, I cut off Van Gogh’s ears!

Oops, I cut off Van Gogh’s ears!

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Both of them!

Such is the fate of the amateur photographer when confronted by Vincent Van Gogh re-conceived as a giant bearded bunny.

This Van Gogh self portrait reimagined is on the wall at The Duck and Bunny on Wickenden Street in Providence, RI. If you like crepes, cupcakes, champagne, iced tea, and great art with new duck-bunny components, I thoroughly recommend this good new restaurant.

Tags: food · Travel · Wide wonderful world

Mixed message media

February 25th, 2008 · 3 Comments

Mixed media

Originally uploaded by betsythedevine

Just at the edge between winter and cold early spring, two Oxford ducks were exploring the new possibilities.

Er, what I mean is …

After a lot of trouble and with much help from Cecil Coupe, my trouble-plagued blog has come through a WordPress upgrade and onto a new ISP. Wish me luck as I now move from treading thin ice to (I hope) a dramatic re-entry into full springtime.

Tags: Wide wonderful world

Things to think about on Election Day, 2006

November 7th, 2006 · Comments Off on Things to think about on Election Day, 2006

Think about the following when you VOTE today

Abu Ghraib
Unwarranted Phone Taps
Unprecedented Powers
Unmatched Incompetence
Unparalleled Corruption
Governor Bob Taft
Representative Tom Delay
Representative Roy Blunt
Representative Ken Calvert
Representative John Dolittle
Representative Tom Feeney
Representative Katherine Harris
Representative Jerry Lewis
Representative Gary Miller
Representative Marilyn Musgrave
Representative Richard Pombo
Representative Rick Renzi
Representative John Sweeney
Representative Charles Taylor
Representative Curt Weldon
Representative J.D. Hayworth
Representative Don Sherwood
Representative Bob Ney
Representative Duke Cunningham
Representative Tom Reynolds
Representative Chris Cannon
Jeff Gannon
Representative Mark Foley
Representative Dennis Hastert
Senator George Allen
Senator Bill Frist
Senator Conrad Burns
Senator Rick Santorum
David Safavian
The Vice Presidential Energy Task Force
Three bucks a gallon
Record oil company profits
Anwar Pipeline
Anbar Province
Arthur Anderson
Global Crossing
Global Warming
Global Boiling
Adam Kidan
Timothy Flanigan
Ralph Reed
Harriet Miers
The Supreme Court
John Bolton
Florida, 2000
Ohio, 2004
North Korea
Stem Cell Research
Scooter Libby
Valerie Plame
Golden Parachutes
Shrunken Pensions
Bernie Kerik
Eminent Domain
Social Security
Habeas Corpus
Ahmad Chalabi
The Baghdad Museum
Tora Bora
Taliban Resurgence
Iraqi Insurgents
General Eric Shinsecki
General Anthony Zinni
Mission Accomplished
Illegal Immigration
Intelligent Design
Kenneth Tomlinson
Claude Allen
Swift Boat Hit Squads
Ari Fleischer
Scott McClellan
Tony Snow
Ann Coulter
Expiration of Assault Weapons Ban
John Ashcroft
Alberto Gonzales
George Tenet
Paul Bremer
Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Kissinger Redux
Duck Cheney
Donald Henry Rumsfeld

And finally, the Uniter-Decider-Reader of Camus, Shakespeare and “My Pet Goat,” who describes the party that successfully prosecuted two world wars as people who “cut and run”.

Tags: Editorial

Robocall hijinks are last-minute tactic this year

November 6th, 2006 · 1 Comment

MiniElephant: Elephant, labeled "GOP Phone Jammer Follies", crushing telephone. Why didn’t I guess–this year’s last-minute deception is illegal phone-calls with a new twist on deception.

Says Eric Moskowitz of the Concord Monitor:

A letter-writer to the Monitor said she had been “bombarded by recorded election messages from [Democratic candidate] Paul Hodes.” Marilyn Jewell of Concord wrote that she would be sure to vote for [his Republican opponent Charlie] Bass, in part because “he doesn’t pester me to death.”

What’s wrong with this picture? Hodes isn’t pummeling voters with repeated robocalls–Republicans are.

But it sure does sound that way, for the first ten seconds (“Hello, I’m calling with information about Paul Hodes…”) Hang up the phone? That’s fine with the robocallers, because they’ll call you back, again and again and again.

And NH isn’t the only place where this is happening.

So where is our national media on this national story?

Too slow to catch up with this brand-new voter suppression tactic, at least until well after Tuesday’s election.

“The calls are designed to make you hang up right after the words ‘Paul Hodes,”‘ says Hodes campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin.

* OK, it’s a nasty trick, but is it illegal? Well, shouldn’t it be? FCC regulations provide that all prerecorded messages must “at the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call.” [47 C.F.R. § 64.1200(b)]

Hello, “real media”–could you please cover this story?

p.s. Many thanks to Dave Winer, David Weinberger, Jeff Jarvis, Frank Paynter, and Elaine of Kalilily for your support on the the last-minute-deception story!

Update: I just got recordings of two NH robocalls.

Tags: New Hampshire!

And now join me in saying, wtd?

July 12th, 2006 · Comments Off on And now join me in saying, wtd?

Farewell to the dock duck, we’re on the road again, so I leave you, dear blogreaders with a few more of the most ducky stories from this blog….

Bonus linkage: Niek Hockx emailed me a webcam showing Dutch sea lions–I’m en route to see some, so this bloggery comes to you over Logan’s wifi, not much more than a week after my visit to the Galapagos sea lions. The Dutch call them “Zeehonden” (sea dogs)–in Galapagos they were “lobos del mar” (sea wolves)…

Tags: Wide wonderful world