Get the 'Nac


Readers Joe Sharkey and Adam Scavone have pointed me to a bizarre FBI warning reported by the Associated Press:

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning."

It urged officers to watch during searches, traffic stops and other investigations for anyone carrying almanacs, especially if the books are annotated in suspicious ways.

The FBI noted that use of almanacs or maps may be innocent, "the product of legitimate recreational or commercial activities." But it warned that when combined with suspicious behavior—such as apparent surveillance—a person with an almanac "may point to possible terrorist planning."

For the record, the publisher of The Old Farmers Almanac doubted that his book would be of much use to terrorists (one awaits his admission that it's equally useless to non-terrorists, save those desperate to know the coming year's moon phases).

Though it's true that if Al Qaeda operatives are confronted with the daunting Almanac riddle "Why are two pints of strawberries after they are eaten like persons singing?" they will be able to pass as regular Americans. It's also true the the FBI should consider imprisoning the author of that riddle, whose answer is here.