Saturday, September 6, 2014

Right out of Hitler's playbook...

Right out of Hitler's playbook...  Russia has abducted an Estonian military officer, at gunpoint, from Estonian territory.  Typically, the Russians first denied it, then claimed he was a spy on Russian territory – despite ample evidence to the contrary.  The past few days even the lamestream media has been full of speculation that Putin was about to make a move on the Baltic states, most likely Estonia.  Some reports have even speculated that Putin would use (or would threaten the use of) a nuclear weapon.  All very disturbing stuff.

Some of my Estonian friends are extremely worried about recent developments.  They've been getting increasingly worried ever since Putin first went after Crimea, and his actions and words since then have been anything but reassuring.  At least two of my friends have emigrated from Estonia, with their families – in one case leaving a thriving business behind.  I'm worried for them, and the parallels with Hitler's behaviors are increasing my concern.  About the only comforting thing I see is that at least European leaders aren't taking an appeasement course – at least, not yet.  But they aren't reacting with a vigorous defense of Ukraine (neither an EU nor NATO member), and I have to wonder how much more than words they would use to defend Estonia (an EU and NATO member)...

Math beats thieving government tricksters...

Math beats thieving government tricksters...  Ha!  But I'll bet they take away the “Other” button!

Rappel into an erupting volcano?

Rappel into an erupting volcano?  Um, no, not me.  Tempting, but that looks too risky for my taste.  But this guy said “yes!”

Vacationers' complaints...

Vacationers' complaints...  These are allegedly actual complaints by customers of Thomas Cook Vacations.  They're splattered all over the intertubes, but I haven't been able to verify their authenticity.  They sound plausible, though – we've met travelers like these.  We go out of our way to avoid such people...
  • "I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts."
  • "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time -- this should be banned."
  • "On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food."
  • "We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price."
  • "The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room."
  • "We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow."
  • "They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax."
  • "No-one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared."
  • "Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers."
  • "We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish."
  • "The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun."
  • "It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair."
  • "I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends' three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller."
  • "The brochure stated: 'No hairdressers at the resort.' We're trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service."
  • "When we were in Spain, there were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners."
  • "We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning."
  • "It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel."
  • "I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes."
  • "My fiancee and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.

I thought this was from the Onion at first...

I thought this was from the Onion at first ... but it's for real.  Some folks in San Diego are quite upset about the city passing an ordinance to raise the minimum wage over the next few years.  They're trying get an initiative on the ballot to repeal it.

A challenge for my barn builder...

A challenge for my barn builder...  An Amish community builds a barn – in ten hours!

If you're skeptical about anthropogenic global warming...

If you're skeptical about anthropogenic global warming ... then you'll enjoy this!