Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sweet Freedom

Gizmodo asks, "Could you stand to be without your computer, just for one day?" And I answer, "Hell, yeah!" (I occasionally do, and quite happily.)

But for those who love to try to deny themselves the things they like, there is the forthcoming "Ditch Your Computer for a Day":
The 24-hour period in question is March 24, which happens to fall on a Saturday....

Be a part of one of the biggest global experiments ever to take place on the internet. The idea behind the experiment is to find out how many people can go without a computer for one whole day, and what will happen if we all participate!

Hey, this is like that "turn off your TV" day.
"Turn off your TV" day--now that's an easy one! I will actually be in Stamford, CT, at the 30th Annual Crossword Puzzle Tournament on March 24, so it will be easy enough for me!

Power Plays

Via Boing Boing, what I suspect may be the wave of the wired future: being forced to pay for power. Get ready:
Yesterday on a stop-over at Dallas/Fort-Worth airport, I spotted these $2-per-use electrical outlets aimed at business travellers who wanted to get some electricity for their laptops.
A follow-up post says this:
airports are going to begin charging travelers for access to power outlets.

How much? $3 for 30 minutes, according to Carlson Wagonlit Travel's CWT Traveler e-newsletter and USA Today. One of the companies providing this "service" is Minnesota-based Smarte Carte, who's known for charging travelers a few bucks for access to carts to transport luggage from baggage to your car.
Just a matter of time, really. My advice: stock up on batteries.

A Life in the Day

The current issue of Scientific American has an interesting (yet disturbing) article on a Microsoft project called LifeBits. No, it's not the merger of Life and Alpha-Bits cereals, but rather:
a quest to digitally chronicle every aspect of a person's life, starting with one of our own lives ([Gordon] Bell's). For the past six years, we have attempted to record all of Bell's communications with other people and machines, as well as the images he sees, the sounds he hears and the Web sites he visits--storing everything in a personal digital archive that is both searchable and secure.
Digital memories can do more than simply assist the recollection of past events, conversations and projects. Portable sensors can take readings of things that are not even perceived by humans, such as oxygen levels in the blood or the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Computers can then scan these data to identify patterns: for instance, they might determine which environmental conditions worsen a child's asthma. Sensors can also log the three billion or so heartbeats in a person's lifetime, along with other physiological indicators, and warn of a possible heart attack. This information would allow doctors to spot irregularities early, providing warnings before an illness becomes serious. Your physician would have access to a detailed, ongoing health record, and you would no longer have to rack your brain to answer questions such as "When did you first feel this way?"
Yeah, right. My PC can't even find a Word file when I know the name of it. I'm going to trust computer hardware and software to run my life and health? Oh, I don't think so.
Every word one has ever read, whether in an e-mail, an electronic document or on a Web site, can be found again with just a few keystrokes. Computers can analyze digital memories to help with time management, pointing out when you are not spending enough time on your highest priorities. Your locations can be logged at regular intervals, producing animated maps that trace your peregrinations. Perhaps most important, digital memories can enable all people to tell their life stories to their descendants in a compelling, detailed fashion that until now has been reserved solely for the rich and famous.
Oh, that sounds useful. I give any machine that nags me about time management 0.5 seconds before it goes out the window. Let's have it time how fast it takes to hit the pavement.

Granted, there some things I wish I could remember better, but I'm not sure that every second of my life--or anyone's life--is really worth remembering in toto. And anyone whose life is exciting or interesting enough that 100% of it needs to be recorded will probably need to be committed to Bellevue for nervous exhaustion before they need software to keep track of it all.
[M]anufacturers are producing a new generation of inexpensive sensors that may soon become ubiquitous. Some of these devices can record a wealth of information about the user's health and physical movements. Others can gauge the temperature, humidity, air pressure and light level in the surrounding environment and even detect the presence of warm bodies nearby.
I'm pretty good at detecting the presence of warm bodies nearby. Unfortunately, most of the bodies near me tend to be ice cold. But that's neither here nor there...

As for ubiquitous sensors tracking our movements, well, Orwell that ends well.

Meanwhile and Far Away...

Over at The Industry Measure blog, commentary on digital rights management (DRM), online video (shocker: advertisers are not jumping in with a fist full of dollars! Quel horreur!), I propagate Dr. Joe's meme about hardware and software tools (and without using any profanity!), and one of the most unique "value-added services" I've experienced from a commercial printer.

Not the Only Flame in Town

Ever wonder why people tend to act like complete dickweeds online? Well, social psychology to the rescue! Sez the New York Times:
Jett Lucas, a 14-year-old friend, tells me the kids in his middle school send one other a steady stream of instant messages through the day. But there’s a problem.

“Kids will say things to each other in their messages that are too embarrassing to say in person,” Jett tells me. “Then when they actually meet up, they are too shy to bring up what they said in the message. It makes things tense.”

Jett’s complaint seems to be part of a larger pattern plaguing the world of virtual communications, a problem recognized since the earliest days of the Internet: flaming, or sending a message that is taken as offensive, embarrassing or downright rude.

The hallmark of the flame is precisely what Jett lamented: thoughts expressed while sitting alone at the keyboard would be put more diplomatically — or go unmentioned — face to face.

Flaming has a technical name, the “online disinhibition effect,” which psychologists apply to the many ways people behave with less restraint in cyberspace.
And try reading comments to magazine articles or blog posts, or even buyer comments sometime. ("My god! Who could evre posibly like this spoon?! Ths is an insullt to the very concpt of spoon-ness. It makes me so mad Ilm not eve going to profread anythig I typr!") So why are people such assholes?
[T]he anonymity of a Web pseudonym; invisibility to others; the time lag between sending an e-mail message and getting feedback; the exaggerated sense of self from being alone; and the lack of any online authority figure. Dr. Suler notes that disinhibition can be either benign — when a shy person feels free to open up online — or toxic, as in flaming.

The emerging field of social neuroscience, the study of what goes on in the brains and bodies of two interacting people, offers clues into the neural mechanics behind flaming.

This work points to a design flaw inherent in the interface between the brain’s social circuitry and the online world. In face-to-face interaction, the brain reads a continual cascade of emotional signs and social cues, instantaneously using them to guide our next move so that the encounter goes well. Much of this social guidance occurs in circuitry centered on the orbitofrontal cortex, a center for empathy. This cortex uses that social scan to help make sure that what we do next will keep the interaction on track.

Research by Jennifer Beer, a psychologist at the University of California, Davis, finds that this face-to-face guidance system inhibits impulses for actions that would upset the other person or otherwise throw the interaction off.
But isn't that what those idiot smileys are for? (Doh! I've just done it myself!)
True, there are those cute, if somewhat lame, emoticons that cleverly arrange punctuation marks to signify an emotion. The e-mail equivalent of a mood ring, they surely lack the neural impact of an actual smile or frown. Without the raised eyebrow that signals irony, say, or the tone of voice that signals delight, the orbitofrontal cortex has little to go on.
By the way, the same basic phenomenon explains why people often behave downright rudely while driving--the notion of anonymity, the enhanced sense of self, and the lack of any real consequences for antisocial driving behavior (so-called "road rage" aside).

In fact, the NYT article goes on to discuss the first recorded case of "Web rage" in, of all places, Britain:
a 47-year-old Londoner was convicted of assault on a man with whom he had traded insults in a chat room. He and a friend tracked down the man and attacked him with a pickax handle and a knife.
I have no doubt the fear-mongering U.S. media will seize on this and manufacture an epidemic of "Web rage" to scare the pants off people, like they do with just about everything else. ("Salad: The Silent Killer!" "Death by Escalator!" "Fresh Air: Dissolving Your Lungs from the Inside!" "Your Own Shadow: The Dark Stranger Who Walks Behind You!" "Be Terrified of Everything! We're the gods! We're the gods!! Bwa-hahahahahaha!!!!)

Sorry, I inadvertently watched a bit of the Today show the other day (at someone else's instigation) and I swear I'm not exaggerating all that much.

Appendix BB

Only in Alaska. From the Anchorage Daily News:
Though it may look vaguely like a hand grenade, the solid white structure in the X-ray is actually someone's appendix, visible only because it is full of shotgun pellets -- so full, in fact, that it is stretched to about three times its normal size.
The patient, a 73-year-old Inuit woman at Norton Sound Regional Hospital in Nome, had probably been swallowing the pellets inadvertently for decades, in the meat of ducks and geese shot by local hunters.

The image did not surprise the doctors who interpreted her X-ray, William Cox and Gene Pesola, who were used to seeing pellets -- though not this many -- in the appendix in Alaska Natives.
Let's just hope that, if her appendix ever bursts, it's not in a public place. I'd hate for innocent bystanders to get shot by someone's appendix.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Squid Pro Quo

Well, this is no surprise:
Your Squid Quotient = 150
Interpreting your results: An average Squid Quotient is around 100. A SQ of 100 means you have a normal affinity for squid. A SQ above 100 means you have an attraction or fondness for squid. Below 100 means that you should probably stay away from the deep ocean.
Via Pharyngula, take the SQ (Squid Quotient) test here., interesting squid-related quizzes there, as well.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More Gas Pains

Sez Wired:
Gas prices are on the way up again and could likely pass $3 again this summer in many areas, according to the Detroit News. Gas in Detroit is up a whopping 38 cents in a month, and based on last years' precedent is on course to again pass 3 bucks in May.

If you don't live on the West Coast, consider yourself fuel-lucky. In Sacramento gas is now at $2.72 compared to the national average of $2.26.

Passing $3 a gallon when people are planning their summer vacations won't make drivers happy and will probably increase sales of hybrids while not doing any favors for the Detroit automakers soon to be known as the big 2. High prices will also put pressure on politicians and prompt more interest in ethanol.
Ethanol is a bit of chimera (according to a feature article in the January 2007 Scientific American, at present ethanol production is no more efficient or economical than petroleum
production, and is really little more than a political sop to the cornbelt, though with luck and effort that will change), but I like the idea of hybrids.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Well, all told we got about 2 1/2 to 3 feet of snow here in Saratoga in the past two days. Not having the benefit of a wussy snowblower or snowplow (just my trusty shovel), it was a struggle to stay on top of it all. (Or, eventually, a struggle to not fall over on top of it all.) Wednesday morning, I went out at 10 a.m. and there were about 6-8 inches on the driveway, plus a two-foot windroll from the plow. By the time I was done, the plow came by again, adding another one-foot windroll. By the time I was done with that, another inch or two had fallen and covered the rest of the driveway, so I got rid of that before heading in to go back to work.

I went out again at 1 p.m. and there were another 3-4 inches on the driveway. As I was taking care of that, the plow came by again, adding another two-foot windroll. Oy.

After taking care of that, I collapsed in a heap on the couch. I went out again at 4:30 p.m., at which time another 3-4 inches had fallen (and, yes, another one-foot windroll). After that was done, I could no longer move, so I was done for the day.

This morning, I went out at 9 a.m. and there was a residual 1-2 inches (and a 1/2-foot windroll). That wasn't too bad, but the mailbox was completely inaccessible. At the risk of incurring the wrath of Rose (my mail carrier), and after seriously considering having the Post Office hold my mail until April, I began the two-hour process of excavating the mailbox.

I had no idea so many parts of the body could ache simultaneously. Why did I leave L.A.?

Wrapped Up in Books

Taking a tip from a blog I read occasonally (Crooked Timber) I thought it would be a good idea (for some reason) to keep track of all the books I read. And what's the point of having a blog if one can't inflict the tedious minutiae of one's life on others? So, below the fold, I chronicle the books I've read over the past 12 months (the ones I remember). The comments are not intended to be a comprehensive review; just some random notes that occurred to me.

The Most Evil Pirates in History
Shelley Klein
Read: Feb. 2007
A Christmas present from mi hermano. Some of the pirates didn't seem that evil, although many had a bizarre tebndency to cut off people's lips, cook them, then feed them back to the victim. Odd. Still, an entertaining read, if you're into pirates.

Running with Scissors
Augusten Burroughs
Read: Feb. 2007
Fairly entertaining if somewhat implausible memoir of growing up as a gay teen in a highly dysfunctional family--and eventually going to live with his mother's therapist's even more highly dysfunctional family. A lot of this was hard to believe (and I'm told that the author has come under fire for purportedly making things up). We showed the movie at the Film Forum, but I was told it was terrible (by our own Managing Director) so I avoided it.

Ambitious Brew: The Story of American Beer
Maureen Ogle
Read: Jan. 2007
Another Christmas present from mi hermano, a compelling history of the American beer industry, from its humble beginnings among German immigrants to the mass-produced (and foul-tasting) swill produced by the major breweries today. The book smashes some common myths and is well-researched. Good reading while drinking a pint or two of a good craft brew.

A Taxonomy of Barnacles
Galt Niederhoffer
Read: Jan. 2007
Not that good story of six sisters and their eccentric father. There is a goofy attempt to tie the sisters (who are named Barnacle) and their WASPy neighbors the Finches to Darwin's writings on finches and barnacles but it so doesn't work. The author is wildly inaccurate with regard to many points of Darwinism (The Origin of Species has nothing to do with the beginning of life, but rather how natural selection gives rise to new species) as well as New York City geography (the D train does not go to Queens). (The book also needed a good copy editor.) It was occasionally kind of funny, especially early on, but all the characters got pretty annoying very quickly. Not really recommended.

Thomas Pynchon
Read: Jan. 2007
Flushed with the success of making it through Against the Day unscathed, I thought I would start back at the beginning. I did enjoy V., although I suspect a second pass would clarify some things--like, for example, the plot.

Bee Season
Myla Goldberg
Read: Dec. 2006
OK, I admit: I bought this book because of The Decemberists' song "A Song for Myla Goldberg" which I like. This enjoyable debut novel, about a teenage girl's adventures in the dog-eat-dog world of spelling bees, takes a bizarre turn about halfway through and ends up ultimately being slightly less than completely satisfying, but is still recommended.

Against the Day
Thomas Pynchon
Read: Nov.-Dec. 2006
Mammoth, 1,000+-page tome which I didn't quite understand all of, but enjoyed immensely. More commentary here.

The Brooklyn Follies
Paul Auster
Read: Nov. 2006
I first read Auster when I was in college and his "existential" mind-f--k "New York Trilogy" came out and I loved it (you know, characters answer ringing phones and end up talking to themselves…weird stuff like that). Auster has gotten a bit more down to earth in the 20 years since his debut, and The Brooklyn Follies is a nice tale of a retiree who moves from the 'burbs to Brooklyn and chronicles the universe of personalities that surround him. Nice, thought-provoking read, well-drawn characters, but the jaunt to Vermont has that typical New York contempt for anyone who doesn't live in an urban setting, which is faintly annoying. Still, an enjoyable book.

Nature Girl
Carl Hiaasen
Read: Nov. 2006
I love Carl Hiaasen's crime fiction (I've read all his books) but this one should just be buried in a Florida swamp. Really annoying protagonist, a "bad guy" who really isn't all that bad, no real plot to speak of, and a final scene that goes on interminably. I cannot recommend this one. Go check out Skinny Dip, Basket Case, Sick Puppy, or Tourist Season (or any other book of his, really) for much better Hiaasen.

The Lay of the Land
Richard Ford
Read: Oct. 2006
The weakest of the three Bascombe novels (see below), but it still has much to recommend it. This time, Bascombe is in his 50s and is fighting prostate cancer. Ford likes to set these novels over holiday weekends (this time it's Thanksgiving) with some big, climactic event short-circuiting the resolution to some family crisis. This time it feels really forced and doesn't quite work. Still most of the book is quite enjoyable and Ford's use of language is a joy to read.

Independence Day
Richard Ford
Read: Oct. 2006
The sequel to The Sportswriter (see below) picks up Bascombe five years later and is a much more powerful book than its prequel (and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995). I read this when it first came out and loved it; I reread it before reading The Lay of the Land. The paperback of Independence Day came out about the same time as the wretched movie Independence Day (which had nothing to do with this book). I remember when I bought it mentioning to the clerk in Barnes & Noble that I didn't like the film version. She gave me an odd look, probably for good reason.

The Sportswriter
Richard Ford
Read: Oct. 2006
When The Lay of the Land came out, which was the third book in Ford's trilogy, I dedided to reread the first two. The Sportswriter introduces the titular Frank Bascombe at the tender age of 38 (ahem), in the wake of his divorce following the dwath of his young son. A long stream of consciousness, at times quite poignant. I really liked this book, although the sequel Independence Day was better.

The Demolished Man
Alfred Bester
read: Sep. 2006
I picked this up based on the fact that Walter Koenig's character in Babylon 5 was named for the author Alfred Bester, and on the Earth of The Demolished Man, telepaths exist and have been drafted to make crime impossible. This book was somewhat of the inspiration for the Psi Cops in B5. A compelling book, fascinating ideas (megabillionnaire kills his rival and finds ways to elude the telepaths). Recommended.

Rainbows End
Vernor Vinge
Read: Aug. 2006
Good science-fiction tale set a scant 25 years hence; has the ruing of truth. More commentary here.

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
Haruki Murakami
Read: Aug. 2006
One of my favorite authors of all time; a collection of short stories which were not bad, although I like his novels better. In particular, The Wind Up Bird Chronicle (one of my favorite books of all time), A Wild Sheep Chase, and Kafka on the Shore.

Stumbling on Happiness
Daniel Gilbert
Read: May-June 2006
Interesting look at why we are not as happy as we think we are--why we are never as happy with material things as we think we will be, and similar permutations of those ideas. Good quantitative data to back up his ideas. I wasn't surprised by any of it (I never expect anything to make me happy!) but it was an interesting read. He has a very light, often very funny style.

The Da Vinci Code
Dan Brown
Read: May 2006
Ugh. I read this on the beach in the Outer Banks. I would have tossed it into the ocean, but I borrowed it from Ken (not that he would have minded.) Horribly written and just generally annoying. Probably the most overrated book ever.

John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics
Richard Parker
Finished: May 2006
It took me forever to get through this, but it is a well-done bio of perhaps the most famous economist--probably ever. Dense book, which covers I think every day of his 90+ years. Good detail on his ideas on those of his opponents. One is saddeend that at one time in this country there were serious intellectual thinkers debating intelligently on TV, rather than the shrieking heads we now have. Sigh.

Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner
Read: Apr. 2006
Controversial look at "the economics of everyday things," but seemed a bit lackluster to me. Why do drug dealers still live with their mothers, if it's so lucrative? Was Roe v. Wade responsible for the 1990s drop in the crime rate? Etc. Much of it is a reach, but some of it was kind of eye-opening.

Gregory Maguire
Read: Mar. 2006
I have always hated The Wizard of Oz (the movie) but I was intrigued by this "biography" of the Wicked Witch of the West. Everyone has read this already, but I really enjoyed it.

The Planets
Dava Sobel
Read: Feb. 2006
More or less short odes to each of the planets of the Solar System, with some science of the planets and the stories of their discovery thrown in. I like Dava Sobel's science writing--I loved Longitude and Galileo's Daughter, but The Planets was a bit too "lyrical," touchy-feely, and stylistic for me, and too skimpy on actual science. Not bad, but I'd recommend it hesitatingly.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Heel Thyself

While I have never worn high heels myself and, quite frankly, am not much of a fan of them on others (they just look painful), here is a weird idea: convertible high heels. Here's what would make this idea really cool: if they could be adjusted automatically while they are being worn. How cool would that be? You're standing there, talking up someone at a party and, suddenly there is a whirring sound, and her (or his) heels grow like four or five inches. Sort of like a sexy Nosferatu. Even I would go for that.

Wake Up Next to UXB

Via Engadget, another bizarre alarm clock, this time in the guise of a bomb:
The DangerBomb alarm clock from Banpresto is yet another oddball way of coaxing you into the morning grind. To disable the alarm, you must reconnect the red, yellow, and blue cables in the correct order. Fail your mission and suffer the annoyance -- and possible death -- of a mocked audible explosion.
Word of advice: do not bring this on any junket to Boston. Or, come to think of it, on a plane anywhere....

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Gut Feelings

Or would that be "intestinal fortitude"? Be that as it may, my advice to the truckers of the world is that if you are hauling 40 tons of cow intestines (and good god, why?) you might want to pull into a rest stop before fiddling with your MP3 player.
Truck spills 40 tons of cow intestines

About 40 tons of cow intestines and bones spilled onto a major highway after a truck driver became distracted by his digital music player and his semitrailer tipped over, officials said.

Authorities closed parts of Interstate 43 for about two hours Thursday while the beef byproduct was cleaned up, said sheriff's Sgt. Blaine Spicer.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Animal Magnetism

Another personality quiz. This time: which super villian are you?

Your results:
You are Magneto
You fear the persecution of those that are different or underprivileged so much that you are willing to fight and hurt others for your cause.

Click here to take the Supervillain Personality Quiz

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Jarring Video

Have a jar you can't get open? All the more reason to get a pet octopus, one of which was easily taught how to unscrew a jar. Cool video here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Zombie Nightmare

Oh, I don't know:
New Yorkers who blithely cross the street listening to an iPod or talking on a cell phone could soon face a $100 fine.

New York State Sen. Carl Kruger says three pedestrians in his Brooklyn district have been killed since September upon stepping into traffic while distracted by an electronic device. In one case bystanders screamed "watch out" to no avail.
Yeah, because the ban on driving while on the phone has been so &%$#%^ effective. (I almost got nailed again in CVS parking lot yesterday by a dork on a cellphone. It's a good thing I'm never on a cellphone; one of us out there has to be alert!)

Actually, I think it's rather entertaining watching people on cellphones try to cross streets--like watching someone play a video game like Frogger. I don't think we need a law; when it comes to the cellphone zombies, I'm perfectly willing to let natural selection take its course.


Get St. Patrick on the phone. Creepiest thing I've seen in some time (via Boing Boing):
There's a spa in Israel where people pay to receive therapeutic massage from a bunch of live, nonvenomous snakes.
Seeing that Saratoga Springs is the "Spa City" (and is abbreviated SS, or maybe SSS), I hope this trend doesn't make it here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Filipino Clambake

Get the drawn butter and head on out to the Philippines:
New mollusk species found in Philippines

A French-led marine expedition team believes it has discovered thousands of new species of mollusks and crustaceans around a Philippine island, officials and scientists said Monday.

Some 80 scientists, technicians, students and volunteers from 19 countries surveyed the waters around Panglao island, 390 miles southeast of Manila from 2004-05.

"Numerous species were observed and photographed alive, many for the first time, and it is estimated that 150-250 of the crustaceans and 1,500-2,500 of the mollusks are new species," said a statement from the expedition team, which was led by Philippe Bouchet of the French National Museum of Natural History.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Examined Life

Here is one of those ideas so cool I wish I had thought of it: what if your life were conceived as a corporate annual report?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Would You Believe...

...that Get Smart is finally coming to DVD? Interestingly, it is only available as a $200+ five-season box set via Time-Life, but supposedly each season will be individually available come Fall 2007. The "red car" seasons were the best ones. When Max and 99 got married and spawned, the show pretty much went downhill.

Straight to Hell, Boys

You know the Bible 77%!

Wow! You are truly a student of the Bible! Some of the questions were difficult, but they didn't slow you down! You know the books, the characters, the events . . . Very impressive!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

Not bad, I guess, for someone who has never actually read the bible or is even remotely religious. Chalk it up to a) many of the questions referring to characters or events that have permeated pop culture and b) easy to figure out multiple choices.

For the Birds

Do you hate your officemates? Sure, we all do. Now, here is a novel way to torture them:
Designed by Japan's leading toy company: Takaratomy presents "Kotoridayori" (Humming Bird), the all new 2007 adorable solar powered toy. Featuring a chubby bird in the middle that sings in random tunes. The bird will also tweets when it senses vibrations. It has a built-in battery that will charge when it sits on the solar powered system. Takaratomy's Humming Bird is small and fits nicely in the palm. Great gift idea for anyone. Available in 3 different colors.
I can only assume the "humming bird" is different from a "hummingbird," since that thing is never a hummingbird.

Car Talk

Wired asks:
What Will Your Car Look Like in 2010?
I would imagine that my car will look pretty much the way it does now, although I may get around to washing it by 2010.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Wicked [Cute?] Pack of Cards

For those who are Tarot-fied, the self-described "cutest Tarot deck you will ever own" based on Hello Kitty characters.

All the major and minor arcana are included, such as The High Priestess:
The Hanged, Pig:
And, my favorite, Death:

I Me Mine

In which the world continues its descent into complete insanity:
What Rachel Rasmussen thought was an explosive situation ended without a bang once the Army rolled into town.

Rasmussen, who recently purchased a new home in Wittenberg, thought she had found a land mine in her backyard but discovered Wednesday that it actually was an old base for a large umbrella.
You don't even want to know what her reaction was to the barbecue pit.