08 January 2016


Run your mouse over the dots.  Keep going....

The Pissed Consumer website focuses on consumer complaints and reviews.  You can enter a complaint, or search a company to see what negative experiences others have had.

"Last week, however, saw the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (Yale University Press), which reveals [Ernest Hemingway] was for a while on the KGB's list of its agents in America. Co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, the book is based on notes that Vassiliev, a former KGB officer, made when he was given access in the 90s to Stalin-era intelligence archives in Moscow."  More on Hemingway as a spy here.

This gif concisely depicts 'murica's values.

"Archaeologists claim to have proved that Julius Caesar set foot on what is now Dutch soil, destroying two Germanic tribes in a battle that left about 150,000 people dead.  The tribes were massacred in the fighting with the Roman general in 55BC, on a battle site now in Kessel, in the southern province of Brabant.  Skeletons, spearheads, swords and a helmet have been unearthed at the site over the past three decades. But now carbon dating as well as other historical and geochemical analysis have proved the items dated to the 1st century BC, the VU University in Amsterdam said."

A detailed, line-by-line explication of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

A 40th-anniversary reinterpretation of Bohemian Rhapsody "performed by a duet from the English National Ballet, a string quartet from the Royal Academy of Music and Trinity Boys Choir, cut with archive footage of Queen’s performance on Christmas Eve in 1975."

"A Modesto pastor is recovering after being shot during a gun safety class, CBS Sacramento reports.
Tom Smith, a family pastor who also helps with church security, was shot by his own gun safety instructor... The shooting incident comes at a time when church members in California are training to carry concealed weapons in response to recent mass shootings..."

A gif of peanuts being harvested.

A website that lets you look up how liberal or conservative an American town is.

A man displays the world's longest fingernails.  He's been growing them for 60 years.  "I can’t move much, so every half an hour or so I wake up and move my hand to the other side of the bed,” he admitted."

"Former Oglala Sioux Tribe police officer Rebecca Sotherland was found not guilty of using unreasonable force by a federal jury last week. The indictment against her stemmed from an August 2014 incident where she used a Taser an estimated 28 times on an unresponsive man in Manderson, South Dakota."  Video at the link.

gif of crowd control at a Tokyo event.

"ProPublica has identified 35 instances since 2012 in which workers at nursing homes and assisted-living centers have surreptitiously shared photos or videos of residents, some of whom were partially or completely naked... Abusive treatment is not new at nursing homes. Workers have been accused of sexually assaulting residents, sedating them with antipsychotic drugs and failing to change urine-soaked bed sheets. But the posting of explicit photos is a new type of mistreatment."

Here's what happens when you put powdered sugar on a birthday cake and then blow out the candles.

D magazine (from Dallas) offers a comprehensive backstory behind the "affluenza" teen, his parents, and the events that unfolded.

"The location of the oldest established European multi-year settlement in the United States is indeed in the heart of Pensacola.  Discoveries by local historian Tom Garner in October and research afterward by University of West Florida archaeologists confirmed where Don Tristan de Luna established his Spanish colony in August 1559 – six years before the St. Augustine settlement and nearly 48 years before the English settled in Jamestown, Va."

The etymology of the word "biffy," referring to a toilet, is from "privy."  It seems to be an outdated term now - one that I heard primarily from older generation residents of Minnesota.  Not sure if it was commonly used elsewhere.

"One thing most people don't suspect is Rogue Access Points, for wifi you set up an access point using your own insecure protocols and you put it at a mall and call it "Free wifi" or "Starbucks" and people when connect you can steal session cookies, personal information etc.  Most people just connect to any wifi point with the strongest signal or unprotected."

BBC One will be presenting a new movie version of Agatha Christie's classic And Then There Were None.  Yay !!!

An informative discussion thread about the history of labor unions in the United States.

"An Arizona lawmaker who believes the Earth is 6,000 years old is the new chairwoman of the state Senate committee that oversees education-related legislation."  In the video at the link she says at a committee meeting that "the Earth has been here for 6,000 years - long before there were environmental regulations - and somehow it hasn't been done away with..."

An incredible volleyball save.

How people make millions of dollars by buying the rights to structured settlements from uneducated injured people.

Video of a giant squid.

"Although it’s been nearly 50 years since the first color broadcast, more than 9,000 Britons are still using black-and-white TVs for watching Television and only 550 sets are registered in Scotland."

A new essay by Bill Moyers about plutocrats.

"... merely shopping at a gardening store could make you the target of a criminal drug investigation." With a raid by a SWAT team. More at the Washington Post.

Headline of the day: Fight breaks out at Newark anti-violence rally.

The embedded images today come from the Cabin Porn tumblr.  Top to bottom:
1 - House in Hemsedal, Norway.  Contributed by Turid Lismoen.
2 - Cabin on Tara Mountain, Serbia. Contributed by Dragan Drobac.
3 - Stone cabin in the village of Savogno in Val Bregaglia, Italy. Contributed by Maria Piccinini.
4 - A-frame in LandmannalaugarIceland. Contributed by Gaspard Sommer.
5 - Subterranean cabin in Palenzuela, Spain. Contributed by Edu Lartzanguren.
6 - Stone huts in Geiranger, Norway. Contributed by Elwin Zuiderveld.


  1. Only person I knew who used "biffy" was a friend's mother when I was a kid in the 60's. She was Dutch, moved over after the war, but have no idea where she picked up the term.

  2. Your Divertimento posts are so engaging. Hello, all of your posts are. I've plenty of fun reading and mesmerizing rabbit holes to fall into this cold weekend as a result, thank you so very much!

  3. Been lurking here enjoying your blog for years, and it's biffies that get me out of hiding! We used the term biffy at most Girl Scout camps in Southern California when discussing outdoor toilets. We were told it was an acronym for "Bathroom In Forest For You"

  4. I had a black and white television until last year. It had belonged to my great uncle and worked fine. As an aside, it was a television we had in our laundry room...which sounds very first worldly...


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