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Member since: Tue Nov 22, 2011, 04:44 PM
Number of posts: 423

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I'm learning some amazing things about Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor

(First, a disclaimer. I'm getting all this from the Roosevelts' Wikipedia pages, meaning I'm certainly no historian, and some of this could be inaccurate.)

Contrary to what I had previously believed, Teddy Roosevelt was not FDR's uncle. Teddy was Eleanor's uncle. Roosevelt was her maiden name and her married name. She was born Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, and married Teddy's fifth cousin, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

FDR's New Deal was born of a Republican's ideology. Republican Teddy Roosevelt introduced the "Square Deal" in a speech he gave a little more than a year after leaving office. He didn't live to see the New Deal.


Teddy's mother and his first wife both died of separate causes on Valentine's Day, when he was just 25 years old. (Typhiod fever took his mother, and kidney failure took his wife. Her pregnancy had masked her condition, and she died two days after giving birth. The baby girl went to live with Teddy's sister until she was three, at which point he took custody of her.)

Teddy's second wife, Edith (who served as First Lady during his presidency) campaigned for Herbert Hoover in his 1932 reelection bid. Hoover's challenger was FDR.

Looking for Halloween costume suggestions, but the parameters are very specific

I appreciate any input. I almost never "do" Halloween, other than giving out candy to trick or treaters. So the specs are as follows.

I'm looking for a costume that:

1. takes almost no effort

2. cost nothing, or close to nothing

3. is appropriate for a party I'd rather not attend

4. is appropriate for a guy like me who doesn't really care for Halloween all that much

5. is appropriate for a Halloween party which has as its theme: "Bring something to eat that starts with a letter of the alphabet"

Age test: And just what the hell is THIS?

I suspect this one might be something I don't understand because I'm too old, not too young.

I was in a waiting room yesterday, and saw a basket with a sign: "Free stuff!" The basket contained things like condoms, laminated cards that gave suggestions on how to spot human trafficking, and this item.

I apologize for the terrible quality of the photo. I save a lot of money using this crap phone, and it's the only camera I currently own.


The blue thing on the right is a cap. The black strips attached to the silver thing are spongy, like ink pads, but clean and dry.

The presence of a ring suggests it's an item that one might need badly enough to carry it on his or her key chain.

It's very light-weight, and other than the blue lid that caps it, the item doesn't open or close.

A friendly warning: Don’t be too quick to get rid of all those DVDs and Blu-rays

(Before I start, please understand that I don’t consider this a “problem” compared to actual problems such as poverty, sickness, the death of a loved one, a friend’s betrayal, and so on. I learned a long time ago to keep little annoyances such as this one in their proper perspective. This is simply a friendly warning to anyone who might be about to make the same mistake I made.)

I’m afraid to add up how much I’ve spent on Amazon Instant Video movies and TV shows since I bought my Kindle Fire HD. It’s definitely more than “hundreds,” but I’m not sure if I can claim to have spent “thousands.”

Adding up the total cost would make me sick, given what I just discovered, so I won’t add it up. But it’s a lot.

When I purchased season 9 of The Office on Amazon Instant Video last June, the season finale (which was also the series finale) was 52 minutes long. (It was 52 minutes long when I watched it on NBC the night it originally aired, and it was 52 minutes long when I purchased and downloaded it on Amazon Instant Video.)

Over the past four months, I’ve been slowly re-watching the season on my Kindle. Last night, I began watching the season finale again.

It was 44 minutes long. Amazon had shortened content I already “owned.”

This left me wondering why I had fallen under the assumption that physical media was somehow inferior to digital media. I have never had a DVD or Blu-ray suddenly and inexplicably become shorter in length after I watched it and put it on my shelf.

My first clue was when Dwight failed to refer to PBS as “the propaganda wing of Bill and Melinda Gates - and (addressing the camera) viewers like you” in the first minutes of the episode. It was a great line, given Dwight’s authoritarian personality. (I can’t help but wonder what was behind the decision to censor that particular line.)

But at first I just assumed my memory was failing. I knew Dwight’s PBS/Gates comment was there, because when I bought the season in June, I plugged my Kindle into my TV and watched the finale with a friend. (This was just a short time after NBC originally aired the episode.) We talked about the PBS/Gates comment at the time.

So last night, I thought at first that Dwight’s PBS/Gates comment must have been somewhere other than in the first few minutes of the episode. Then I checked the length of the episode, and that’s when I got a shock that made me lose faith in digital downloads.

At some point since I watched the finale last June, Amazon has cut eight minutes from the episode.

I called customer service, and they refunded the original purchase price. That was really nice of them (normally, a customer has up to seven days to return digital content), but I can’t see any reason to ever buy another Kindle book, movie, TV show, game, or app.

I bought the content on the assumption that it was safe on Amazon’s servers, because why would they want to lose a compulsive spender like myself? But lose me they did. There’s just no reason to keep buying content that can be altered/shortened when my back is turned.

And since I’ve gotten used to the extra space where my physical media used to be (before I donated hundreds of books and movies to charity) ... well, I guess I’m done buying those, as well.

A question for those who watch movies in theaters

I haven't been to a movie theater in years. (I like movies, but I watch streaming rentals, digital download purchases, DVDs, and Blu-rays.) The last time I was in a movie theater, texting hadn't really caught on yet.

My question is about an article I just read...


Madonna banned from movie theater chain after reported texting incident

Madonna apparently crossed over the "Borderline" while attending the recent New York Film Festival screening of Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave."

The Queen of Pop is now "banned" from the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain after she was reportedly spotted texting away on her Blackberry during the movie at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theatre. The Texas-based chain doesn't own the theater where the premiere took place, but it does have a much-publicized, strict no-texting rule.

Many of the comments below the article are in agreement with the theater, and having never been in a theater while someone was texting, I can't figure out what the problem is.

It's not like I have a pro-texting position. If it's a distraction to other patrons, then I can just add it to the long list of other reasons I avoid theaters.

Is it the light of the phone that bothers others? An audio signal that sounds each time a text is sent? (I do use my own phone to send texts, but it's a silent process when I need it to be.)

Kicking for the Sunday morning lounge

I can't stop listening to this

"The bird mummies of Natron: Lake's waters petrify animals that fall in"


The Rift Valley's Lake Natron is the chosen mating ground of the endangered lesser flamingo. The long-legged waterfowl may flourish, but to any other living creature, Lake Natron is hell on earth. The lake's steeply alkaline waters are a graveyard for thousands of small birds. Wildlife photographer Nick Brandt used the corpses littering the Tanzanian lake shores as posed models for a haunting new series of photographs.

Natron is usually a toasty 80 degrees Fahrenheit and blood-red from bacteria, the only living things that can survive its deadly alkalinity. Lately, it's earned a reputation for washing up the bodies of small animals on its shores, each wrapped in a delicate crusty shroud.

Brandt was captivated by startlingly well-preserved bodies of bats, flamingos, eagles and swallows, and created a whole series of photographs to document the eerie phenomenon.

"I unexpectedly found the creatures — all manner of birds and bats — washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania," Brandt told NBC News in an email. "I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in 'living' positions, bringing them back to 'life.'"

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