Would You Like Outsourcing With That Order?

So I guess when it gets too expensive to do business in one state, go to the next, right? Oregon McDonalds (and some in Eastern Washington) are now outsourcing to other states. So when you drive up to the order window you order is taken via the phone line some 1500 miles away in North Dakota, a photo is taken and all the information is sent back to that location and your order processed?

Why, you might ask? The minimum wage in Oregon is $7.50 while the minimum wage in North Dakota is only $5.15.

Is McDonalds not making enough money off their Mad Cow Burgers that they need to rape employees now?

Food for Thought!

Viva la France

“It is not in God that the French trust …but in human rights and in the power and responsibility of ordinary men and women to make a good society without reference to gods or kings.”

That choice quote is from this article in the Guardian called “If only we were more like the French.” The writer ties a lack of revolutionary history to Britain’s failure to embrace “egalite.” Worth a read. And begs the questions: What’s our excuse?

Eating my way through Venice

There is a very small and homey restaurant in Venice called Alle Testiere, which, if you are lucky and make reservations well in advance, you can sit back and spend a few hours while Bruno Gavagnin takes the day’s catch from the Venetian waters and turns out some of the most balanced and interesting seafood dishes imaginable.

If you are very lucky and have not made reservations in advance, you might be able to find a free table not long before Alle Testiere closes for the evening and enjoy an entree, and perhaps one of owner Luca de Vita’s incredible cheese plates.

If you are extremely lucky, you might also be seated at a table next to Annie and Liz and Graham and Nick.
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Blog from Iraq

Dahr Jamail is doing the type of reporting that most of the rest of the media won’t or can’t. As sad and scary as these blog entries are I think everyone should take a look and get a rude wake up to the reality of what this “war for democracy” is doing to civilian Iraqis.

I am so appalled that this is being done in the name of this country and in the name of freedom. The stories about Fallujah are especially troubling.

And for anyone that thinks that we are going anywhere after the elections I would just like to remind them of the 14 “enduring” US military bases that are currently under construction.

Regardless of the success or failure of the Iraqi election, we should all be ready for US troops to be in Iraq for a very long time.

Culinary Smackdown


There’s no way I can argue with Risotto with Prawns, it will take the award over Wurst mit Kraut any day. But I can not stand by idly while Paulette claims the supremecy of the Italian pastry.

Today we visited the Eddegger in Graz, one of the K und K Hofbakereis (former bakers to the palace) with which I have a calorie laden obsession. And I contend that while the Italians do a fine job, a superior job with the main course, if you want pastry, you go to Austria.

We shared the Nusskipfel (lower left corner) a festival of buttery flaking pastry interspersed with ground almonds. Of course, there was coffee, too.

the italian charm school for boys

It’s hard not to get lost in Venice. I would imagine that even those without an incredible talent for getting lost such I possess could easily lose their way in the labrynth of alleyways and squares and bridges and dead ends here. Some of the passageways, some even with shops and bars along them, are barely wider than I am.

Somehow, though, it’s also entirely easy to get unlost. You no sooner realize that you’ve all but completely lost track of where you are, consult the map, realize that you can’t find any of the recent street names anywhere on it, give up, and head once again in the direction you thought was right before realizing you were hopelessly lost, and suddenly, you find yourself at your intended destination.

It’s quite a nice change from the whole, finally realizing where you thing where that realization is accompanied by the dawning understanding that you’ve actually walked completely out of the city and now have several miles between you and a state of unlostedness.

This may be one of Venice’s charms, it’s surreal and yet simple navigability. There are lots of them, many of them almost bordering on not seeming quite real. There are no cars, so it just doesnt sound like a city. There are no main boulevards to speak of, other than those filled with water. You are constantly crossing bridges and making unexpected little turns. And, increasingly tonight as Carnevale is set to begin, you encounter people wearing long black cloaks, white masks, and tritipped hats.
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Budget Bling

On the way in to the office today, I saw either (1) an example of over-reaching or (2) marvelous commentary— perhaps both.

By now, you’ve probably seen wheel spinners (as the term is currently used, though that’s also been the name of things like this and that), and they’ve probably been huge, shiny chrome wheels with a spinning add-on component on a huge SUV. At least, that’s the way I’ve always seen them.

This morning, on a Nissan Quest minivan, I saw spinning wheel covers. No extra large diameter, since they were covering stock wheels, and not particularly shiny. I didn’t see any other custom or aftermarket parts on the vehicle. Imagine the last wheel covers on this page with a significant layer of brake dust on the Quest.

A propos of our recent bans

Boing Boing just posted a link to what they call outstanding tips for community moderation:

1. There can be no ongoing discourse without some degree of moderation, if only to kill off the hardcore trolls. It takes rather more moderation than that to create a complex, nuanced, civil discourse. If you want that to happen, you have to give of yourself. Providing the space but not tending the conversation is like expecting that your front yard will automatically turn itself into a garden.

Well, it looks like I started in the right place this week. Read the article for more great tips, and thanks to everyone who helps keep this front yard a garden!

I can’t explain it, Carol

Carol emailed me a few days ago, with a link and a plea for understanding. “You’re from Oklahoma,” she wrote. “Can you explain this?”

No, Carol, I don’t think anyone we know can explain this:

An Oklahoma state senator hopes to revive cockfighting in the state by putting tiny boxing gloves on the roosters instead of razors.

Click Here!
The Oklahoma Legislature outlawed the blood sport in 2002 because of its cruelty to the roosters, which are slashed and pecked to death while human spectators bet on the outcome.

But Sen. Frank Shurden, D-Henryetta, a long-time defender of cockfighting, said the ban had wiped out a $100 million business.

To revive it, he has proposed that roosters wear little boxing gloves attached to their spurs, as well as lightweight, chicken-size vests configured with electronic sensors to record hits and help keep score.

“It’s like the fencing that you see on the Olympics, you know, where they have little balls on the ends of the swords and the fencers wear vests,” Shurden said. “That’s the same application that would be applied to the roosters.”

So no, no explanation possible. I will say that between Shurden’s wild desire to cockfight and Bush’s dreams about a mandate, I am sensing some seriously repressed homo lovin’. As Freud said, fantasies about roosters wearing gloves can only mean one thing…

He goes to a church/ called the UCC…

…SpongeBob SquarePants!

This is awesome… absolutely the right way to deal with the lunatic fringe: laugh at them!

Joining the animated fray, the United Church of Christ today (Jan. 24) said that Jesus’ message of extravagant welcome extends to all, including SpongeBob Squarepants – the cartoon character that has come under fire for allegedly holding hands with a starfish.

“Absolutely, the UCC extends an unequivocal welcome to SpongeBob,” the Rev. John H. Thomas, the UCC’s general minister and president, said, only partly in jest. “Jesus didn’t turn people away. Neither do we.”

While Dobson’s silly accusation makes headlines, it’s also one more concrete example of how religion is misused over and over to promote intolerance over inclusion,” Thomas said. “This is why we believe it is so important that the UCC speak the Gospel in an accent not often heard in our culture, because far too many experience the cross only as judgment, never as embrace.”

Amen, brother!