January 20, 2010

Farewell, Momma Cat

Filed under: Randomness — Tags: — Nicholas @ 22:12

Yesterday we bid farewell to our senior cat, Mollie:

She decided to adopt us as her family in 1996, and indicated that by attempting to have her first litter (literally) in my lap. Unfortunately, she was a very small cat and her first kitten was too big to be born normally. After an emergency C-section, she was the proud mother of three, and we had a vet bill we could barely afford.

We eventually found homes for all her kittens, including the eponymous “Big Bill”. Some of her great-grandkids are still living with friends of ours from that time . . .

She did a wonderful job of adopting all the cats who entered our lives from that point onwards, being literally the “Momma Cat” to all of them. We’ll miss her.

This has got to be a mis-communication

Filed under: Americas, Bureaucracy, Military, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 21:55

At least, I hope it’s just a miscommunication:

Food handouts were shut off Tuesday to thousands of people at a tent city here when the main U.S. aid agency said the Army should not be distributing the packages.

It was not known whether the action reflected a high-level policy decision at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or confusion in a city where dozens of entities are involved in aid efforts.

“We are not supposed to get rations unless approved by AID,” Maj. Larry Jordan said.

Jordan said that approval was revoked; water was not included in the USAID decision, so the troops continued to hand out bottles of water. The State Department and USAID did not respond to requests for comment.

Surely not even the most pig-headed rules-lawyer would have required this . . . I hope.

H/T Castle Argghhh.

Update, 21 January: For reasons of incompetence, I forgot to actually include the URL in that link to Castle Argghhh. Fixed now.

While I’m updating the post, this may be relevant:

The MRE (Meals Ready to Eat, in a pouch) are frequently used as emergency rations. The MRE has evolved from its initial introduction in 1983 (12 separate entrees) to today (24 menu entrees). The MREs change from year to year, and new entrees are added in place of others. The U.S. military has generally switched out entrees each year (apparently the notion that such a deal is a zero-sum game seems to persist, as opposed to just adding new ones). This constant evolution has done much to diminish the bad reputations MREs had early on. Back then, the MRE (officially, “Meals, Ready to Eat”) was often called “Meals Rejected by Everyone”.

The United States also has other rations, including variants for cold weather (which has a higher calorie count than the regular MRE – 1540 per meal compared to 1250 for an MRE), and a kosher/halal variant for Jewish and Moslem soldiers (both religions, for instance, forbid the consumption of pork). Vegetarian entrees are provided, as well. The United States also has developed the Humanitarian Daily Ration (HDR), which has three meals and is based on vegetarian entrees to provide a low chance of offending cultural sensibilities. Many of these HDRs were dropped over Afghanistan in late 2001. Several hundred thousand HDRs are stockpiled for disaster relief, and production can be ramped up quickly. MREs and HDRs are particularly attractive because they provide uncontaminated food that does not require refrigeration, in a compact package. The UN, and many other food aid organizations, use the HDR for situations like Haiti.

If you wonder why it’s nicknamed “The Grauniad” . . .

Filed under: Humour, Media — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 13:13

This is the sort of thing they were notorious for:

You wonder why those “Crotians” and the “Sebians” can’t get along . . .

Amusingly, they got the national names correct in the article’s URL.

Air New Zealand goes for free advertising by courting outrage

Filed under: Humour, Media — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 08:16

It’s been done often enough, but apparently still works every time. I’m talking about generating huge amounts of press coverage by creating a highly controversial ad (whether you ever intend to run it or not), and allowing the media to publicize it for you. This is Air New Zealand’s offering:

Here’s some of the free publicity, by way of The Economist and The Telegraph.

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