OK take your seats please. Once again I have a couple housekeeping issues before we get rolling.
- I’d like to thank all those who wrote to me privately as well as those who commented on my Special Posting post epic 40 hours of rain over the Memorial Day weekend. So much rain has fallen this May on flood-ravaged Texas that it could cover the entire state with 8 inches of water, meteorologists say. We received more on Saturday Night, probably another 1.5 to 3 inches at a time when every drop of rain these days is a drop too many in much of Texas, 22 people have died and President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster.
- A special shout out to my pal ‘Roswell the Gazoo’, or as you folks probably know him ‘Little Green Dude’. I first met Roswell when I was the silent money behind a movie in which he was a stunt pilot called ‘Batteries Not Included. He stopped by to warn me of a possible Space Balls Invasion but after seeing our Congress and President realized it was too late so he hung around to help me
pranktest Impish on how he’d handle totally uncovered by the manual situations.
- Speaking of Impish it appears that his nemesis the Phantom Bus Driving Assassin has reappeared/awakened. Please be extra vigilant when crossing roadways in the area and while hanging around Impish for your own safety’s sake.
- There is a pretty important Leprechaun Tech Talk feature today dealing with the implementation of new a Credit/Debit Card standard and cards. Since the deadline for its implementation is October 2015 and it’s already June you’re going to be seeing the changes and new cards pretty soon so you’ll want to read up on it.
So much for the housekeeping shall we get right to it then?
For the record this is the only kind of Pot you’ll ever see me get behind or endorse using other than a cooking pot.
Some of you won’t get this joke because it’s a Game of Thrones reference.
Impish has discovered my newswire services connections which I use aid me in keeping track of global developments. Yesterday he came waddling into my office at high jiggle barging right through my closed door to show me this:
A fact you won’t soon forget…
Researchers for the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently, and there was concern that they may have died from Avian Flu.
A Bird Pathologist examined the remains of all the crows, and, to everyone’s relief, confirmed the problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be vehicular impacts.
However, during the detailed analysis it was noted that varying colors of paints appeared on the bird’s beaks and claws.
By analyzing these paint residues it was determined that 98% of the crows had been killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a car.
MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there was a cause for the disproportionate percentages of truck kills versus car kills.
He very quickly concluded the cause:
When crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to warn of impending danger.
They discovered that while all the lookout crows could shout “Cah”, not a single one could shout “Truck.”
I finally got rid of him by mentioning that since the newsfeeds also included the British tabloid ‘The Sun’ that meant we had access to all those Page 3 girl photo they now posted on their separate site ‘Page 3’. I have to say the speed with which Impish left my office so I might get back to work was impressive. I didn’t think he was capable of moving that fast unless power boosted by the adrenaline boost that only comes from being chased by bullets.
A short while later I went to his office door to find out why I had not yet seen the after-action report for his encounter with Roswell the Gazoo, only to find this hanging on the door:
Spare the bus and apparently the Dragon gets spoiled!
50 Shades of Grey for Seniors
Back and forth . . . .
Back and forth . . . .
In and out . . . .
In and out . . . .
A little to the right . . . .
A little to the left . . . .
She could feel the sweat on her forehead . . . ..
Between her breasts . . . .
And, trickling down the small of her back . . . .
She was getting near to the end.
He was in ecstasy . . . .
With a huge smile on his face as his wife moved . . .
Forwards then backwards. . . .
Forward then backward. . . .
Again . . . .
And again . . . .
Her heart was pounding now . . . .
Her face was flushed . . . .
She moaned . . . .
Softly at first, then began to groan louder . . . .
Finally . . . .
Totally exhausted . . . .
She let out a piercing scream . . . .
“OK, OK, you smug bastard, I can’t parallel park. You do it!”
Geeze Paul! I thought I said don’t stand too close to Impish the Bus driving maniac was back?!
Heads Up, Americans: Here’s How Credit Cards Are Changing in 2015
Credit cards are nothing new in the United States or elsewhere in the world (there’s even a format to the numbers!), but this year, a big change is coming to the plastic payment form that will make its transactions more secure.
Curiously, the USA is behind Europe and other countries that have already adopted the new credit card standard. Before you start seeing new terminals deployed in stores and get a weird new card sent to your house, let us explain what’s changing.
What’s Wrong with my Current Card?
As they are now, US credit cards have a magnetic strip that contains all the info about them, such as expiration date and card number. When you swipe one at a retailer, all that info is transferred to them so they can authenticate your purchase. When you shop online, you obviously can’t physically swipe your card, so you enter the card number, expiry date, and the secure code so you can be charged correctly.
This is all well and good, but insecure. In December of 2013, retailer Target suffered a massive breach that included some 40 million credit cards’ information leaked. Anyone that had swiped their card at Target transferred their information to the company’s database, and when the hackers broke in they had all they needed to start fraudulently using the cards wherever they wanted.
The bottom line: currently, the magnetic stripe on your credit card allows its static information to be duplicated. If someone gets a hold of all your card’s information, it’s essentially as good as having the card itself.
What do the New Cards Do?
Enter the new standard: EMV cards. Standing for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa (Discover and American Express are also on board), these new cards include a small chip that works with new payment terminals. Instead of swiping your card to pay, EMV cards require you to place them in a new slot, which is called “dipping.” Touchless payment is also possible with these cards, similar to Apple Pay and Google Wallet with your smartphone, but to simplify the rollout this won’t be supported at first in the USA.
You leave the card in the reader during the entire transaction, and it creates a unique ID for that sale instead of handing over the unchanging info of your card. Even if a thief were to steal this transaction information, it would be basically useless to them because they can’t use it to charge the card elsewhere.
How Will This Affect Me?
This new technology will affect both debit and credit cards. Most reputable providers already have a no-liability policy which guarantees that you as the user aren’t responsible for charges placed by a swindler, but the EMV standard changes the rules a bit.
October 1, 2015 is the deadline for businesses to start accepting the new chip cards and for providers to give them out to their customers. If a business chooses not to upgrade to the new readers and your credit card information is stolen at that store, for example, the business is responsible, not the card company. You won’t experience any changes in liability from the migration, but payment will be a little different.
New readers have a slot to accept EMV cards like the picture above. To make the movement more fluid, the first wave of chip cards will still have a magnetic stripe than can be used just like before. However, if you have a chip card and try to swipe it like you did in the past, it won’t accept this; you’ll need to “dip” it. The magnetic stripe is only included to allow you to interact with legacy readers that haven’t upgraded yet, where it will function in the same way it used to.
The authentication standard will be a bit different in the US than it is elsewhere. Chip and PIN, used abroad, is a method that requires a PIN at payment time for each different credit card. To avoid forcing people to remember yet another password for their credit cards, the US will be starting with the Chip and Signature method, more reminiscent of the current method. This less-secure protocol simply uses your signature to authenticate purchases, which isn’t great because many retailers don’t even bother to check if the signature on the card matches the one you give them.
Though this new standard will help prevent credit card fraud, it isn’t perfect. The physical cards will still have expiration dates, numbers, and security codes on their backs, so online credit card fraud won’t be defeated. A thief could also forge your signature with your physical card to make unauthorized purchases, or find an old terminal that haven’t adopted the new standard. However, when it comes to finances any bit of protection is a step in the right direction, so these cards will definitely help somewhat.
What do I Need to Do?
Realize that there won’t be a country-wide change on October 1. Card-issuing companies are trying to get EMV cards to customers before that date so that they aren’t liable after the deadline hits. You’ll likely receive an email, letter, or notice on your bank or credit card company’s website about the new standard, and how they plan to roll it out. Most will probably go by current card expiration date, so it may be a bit before you see your shiny new card arrive.
If you’re interested in getting a new card right away, contact your company by phone, email, or even Twitter and ask what can be done. Keeping on top of your finances is essential, as we’ve been writing about recently, and these cards are just one more way to protect yourself.
Chip cards won’t be a revolutionary change, but they are an important one. Now you know all about them and what to expect as they begin appearing in the wild.
Despite the weather, ‘tis the season for Graduation Parties here in Texas and we’re sneaking them in when and where we can. Molly and I attended one this weekend where I was handed this plate and instructed not to disappoint. I can say I didn’t, though I might not have done total justice to the corn (gave it to Molly as Corn on the Cob is her favorite veg.) or the loaded baked potato. Don’t worry I ate all the fresh string beans (behind the corn & under the crab legs as well as the mushrooms.
Buffalo Chicken Sub
Great take along tailgate, beach or Little League supper!
Total Time: 25 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: One 36-inch sandwich
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup your favorite wing sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
2 medium carrots, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
One 36-inch fresh French loaf
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
Homemade Ranch Dressing:
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon fresh dill, minced
1/2 teaspoon honey or agave syrup
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with some salt and pepper, the brown sugar, paprika and cayenne. Sear both sides of the chicken in the skillet until golden, about 4 minutes. Add in the wing sauce, bring to a simmer and finish off in the oven until the chicken registers 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Let cool, and then pull the meat with your hands. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and place back in the oven at BROIL until crusty and caramelized on top, about 4 minutes.
In a bowl, the combine carrots, celery and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Mix until combined.
Cut the French loaf horizontally. Place an even layer of blue cheese crumbles on the bottom, then the chicken and then the veggies. Serve with a side of Homemade Ranch Dressing.
Homemade Ranch Dressing:
Mix the mayonnaise, buttermilk, garlic, dill, honey, salt, mustard and pepper in a bowl. Store in an airtight container.
Total Time: 5 min
Prep: 5 min
Yield: 1 drink
Margarita salt or kosher salt, for rimming glass
Ground chipotle powder, for rimming glass
1 small lime wedge
2 ounces tequila, preferably anejo
1 ounce grapefruit juice
3/4 ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
Grapefruit twist, for garnish
Lime twist, for garnish
Mix some salt and chipotle powder together on a plate. Cut a slit in the lime wedge and run it around the rim of a rocks glass and dip the rim in the salt mixture. Fill the glass with ice.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the tequila, grapefruit juice and orange liqueur. Vigorously shake until very cold and strain the drink into the rimmed rocks glass. The margarita can also be served up in a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with grapefruit and lime twists.
Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Total Time: 4 hr
Prep: 25 min
Inactive: 3 hr
Cook: 35 min
Yield: 10 bars
For the base:
Butter, for greasing
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 lemons, zested and juiced
About 1/2 cup sugar, eyeball it
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting
For the base:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the texture of bread crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and gently pat down with the base of a glass. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes until golden. When done set aside to cool.
For the filling:
Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice and sugar to the food processor and mix until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooled base and then cover with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should still be half exposed — as the cake bakes they will sink a little more and break down.
Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars. Dust with powdered sugar.
Ninja Kitty Clan Mistress SC teaching an advanced class in concealment and blending into the background in open areas.
Feckless feds slap Times Square’s billboards
The government’s next mission: Ruining Times Square. Obama Administration: Times Square’s Iconic Billboards Must Be Removed Or Else
Feds To Enforce 1965 Highway Beautification Act, Could Deny NYC $90 Million In Funding.
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You can call it a bureaucratic blunder … or a Washington blooper.
But any way you slice it a move by the federal government to make the city remove Times Square’s iconic billboards falls in the category of “whose bright idea is this?”
You don’t have to live or work in New York City to have an opinion about Times Square. That space in Manhattan between 47th and 42nd streets where Broadway intersects 7th Avenue has been the subject of scorn and mockery, of praise and wonderment, for well over a century. Times Square has been scoffed at by New Yorkers following Rudy Giuliani’s reforms as a plastic, Disney-fied tourist trap. Even if they avoid it for the swarming pedestrians, New Yorkers would also candidly concede that they’re happy to no longer have to avoid it out of concern for bodily safety.
It is known as the “Crossroads of the World,” the “Center of the Universe” and “the Great White Way,” but if the federal government has its way, Times Square could become like the “Black Hole of Calcutta” more closely resembling Red Square in the coming years. The feds say many of Times Square’s huge and neon-lit billboards must come down or the city will lose about $90 million in federal highway money.
Supposedly, a 2012 law put the crossroads of the world under the restrictions of the 1965 Highway Beautification Act — which limits signs to 1,200 square feet. Now Washington is pushing the city Department of Transportation to comply. “The feds say many of Times Square’s huge and neon-lit billboards must come down or the city will lose about $90 million in federal highway money,” CBS 2 reported. Reporter Marcia Kramer indicated that not even the federal government was aware that the act covered Times Square until recently.
The story inspired eye-rolling on the part of New York City residents who thought the idea that the federal government would dare remove the very features of Times Square that make it recognizable was a perfect waste of time and taxpayer dollars. Apparently, the city intends to fight this order.
“I love the signs. I think they’re just fantastic and they’re a part of New York. It would be really, really bad for New York if they were down,” Midtown resident Fran Weisfeld said.
New York residents and tourists alike say highway beautification shouldn’t apply to Times Square, where the innovative, in-your-face billboards personify New York City, itself.
City Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg agrees.
“The signs in Times Square are wonderful. They’re iconic. They’re not only a global tourist attraction, they’re important to the economy,” Trottenberg said.
She said she’s not going to let it happen.
Earth to Uncle Sam: Don’t be a jerk.
In-your-face billboards have marked Times Square for decades; modern technology has only added fresh marvels. The tourists love it, and so do the locals. “Highway beautification” doesn’t apply.
Here’s a use for President Obama’s phone and pen: Call the bureaucrats, sir, and tell them to drop it. If you have to, take out your pen and issue an executive order directing them not to enforce the law in this case. Or how about an Executive Order declaring Times Square exempt from the law?
Aside from being things you’d hear said in New York (probably by a cabbie or someone from Jersey, you’ll also hear these things uttered everyday M-F starting shortly after 4 PM by my dear Molly on her drive home. I suspect her of having been a New York cabbie in a previous life. Aside from the obvious link here you should hear her Bronx Cheer!
I swear he bothered me just to ask me this!
I’d like to thank Ninja Kitty Clan Mistress SC for reaching out to Cat and obtaining this other side perspective of Impish’s Diary.
Unfortunately Cat doesn’t seem to have been nearly as articulate the writer as Impish was and we have but this since feature since most of the other pages are with shredded or have been render illegible with hairballs.
Dragon’s Cat by Cat.
*Shaking head* Dragon said through a mouthful of drool. This won’t end well.
Rainy day. Napping. Sent dragon for fishes. Very useful pet, though I wish dragon would stop trying to groom me. Knight-breath is gross.
So I say to the dragon, “You’ve been chasing unicorns again.” D says, “Have not.” I say, “Then why the dried rainbow on your snout?” D says, “…”
Purple sparklys and woozy? Sigh. Lie down, and next time try to remember that inhaling is an important part of talking, ya big dummy.
What makes a noise like 6 armored knights on a giant hamster wheel? A snoring dragon on a metallic hoard. Dragon + nap + sparklys = OMG!
Dragon brought home a knight’s horse and is now using fire breath to melt gold into a horn mold he dug in the cave floor and mumbling about presentation. Sigh.
Package arrived today—ACME fairy unicorn princess dress, size extra small. Wrapped it in bacon and let dragon ated it. Heh.
Am seeing a world of possibilities in Dragon becoming a local politician. Eat the right folk and we can rule the forest! Bwa-ha-ha! Steel claws in a velvet paw anyone?
Teaching dragon benefits of napping. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
My pet dragon just bought a leather biker jacket. Soooo cute. Am thinking of using it to make a couch.
Thinking I need a better pet. There I am having a little quiet me time in the litterbox when my big stupid lizard sneezes fire everywhere. It sounded like a flock of exploding geese. Still fluffy. Stupid lizard.
Twas the night before catmas and all through the wood
My pet dragon was a-stalking and up to no good
Hunting that stupid old unicorn and plotting its end
He had him a plan did my big lizard friend…
But the pointy-face horse is a wily old beast
And dragon is headed for famine not feast
Sneaky and snooty, with skin like thick leather
It sparkles so white, and hides in the weather
I’d just settled my bones for a long winter’s nap
still very much missing one silly dragon’s lap
When out in the woods there arose such a clatter
That I nearly rose to see what was the matter
Got my pet dragon a mirror, so next time the bloody great lizard wants to complain about Cthulhumas with the relatives, it can talk to someone who cares.
I’ll Update When I’m Damned Good And Ready!
Dragon’s Cat by Kelly McCullough