Hallo Knut!


BERLIN (Reuters) – Knut, Berlin Zoo’s celebrity polar bear cub, is growing from a cuddly ball of fur into a shaggy, powerful predator who could soon pose a serious threat to his devoted human keeper who has nursed him from birth.

The cub, which still draws some 5,000 fans every day, turns six months on Tuesday and his 28 kg (62 pounds) are starting to show. His snout is longer, his torso chunkier and teeth sharper.

Here’s a video of Knut‘s glory days as a cub — set to German techno, of course. (Also, I love the fact that the German word for polar bear is “eisbaer” [ice bear].)

“Thank you so much for comfortable stay. Fight Terrorism!”

So here I am, minding my own business, reading The New York Times online, when I come across this article about Bush’s upcoming dinner with the Queen of England. The article mentions that it’s a “white tie” dinner, and not knowing what that is, I go look it up.

Then I continue reading the article, and come across this line:

Even so, as it does for every official state visit, the White House has been consulting with the State Department chief of protocol.

Chief of protocol?

What in the heck is that? Sure enough, there’s someone who’s job it is to do various things, like:

1. Plan and execute detailed programs for foreign leaders visiting the President and accompany them during their official travel in the United States, including their visit with the President at the White House.

10. Organize treaty-signing ceremonies.

15. Manage the Blair House, the President’s Guest House for foreign leaders.

Huh, ok — the Blair House, that sounds neat. So I click there and then click on the Guestbook page. And here, I find what may be the most unintentionally hilarious internationally geeky page on the Internets.

These are scans of entries from the Blair House guestbook, ranging from the historic (Charles de Gaulle), to the printed-like-a-third grader (Hamid Karzai), to the simple (Carlos Salinas de Gortari, President of the United Mexican States), and finally to the screaming: Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan (pictured at right).

And that, my friends, is how one gets distracted by the Internet.