October 31, 2003

Awful Green Things

Not boogers. Not gray-green blobby things that terrorize movie theaters either. I'm talking about The Awful Green Things From Outer Space!

It's the board game equivalent of watching old SciFi movies after too much Jolt Cola. Yum... I mean, Fun.

Posted by Ted at 01:50 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Pumpkins revisited

I talked about it here, and checked back today. You should too, because the winners are up in the Extreme Pumpkin Carving Contest. Way cool!

Too many great ones to choose a favorite.

Posted by Ted at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Rockets on the Discovery Channel

Starting November 9th, the Discovery Channel will be airing three episodes of Rocket Challenge, titled Wild and Weird Rockets, How High Can You Fly, and Supersonic Speed Demons.

You can find the times and dates of the programs here.

Thanks to RocketForge for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

Happy Halloween

Have a safe and fun day, and if you have a problem with it remember that to most people, Halloween has as much to do with satanism as Christmas does to the birth of Christ.

It's a fun holiday, that's all.

Check out Google.

I got into it one year with our school district when they sent home a letter saying costumes of devils and ghosts weren't allowed. I sent back a letter saying that if they were excluding that type of costume, then there had better not be any little angels or shepherds around either.

They got the point.

Posted by Ted at 09:38 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs


Here's a mouldering pile of bones links to ghost stories and information about haunts and real haunted houses.

Didja notice the tagline over on the right column changed? I do that once in a while ya know.

Here's some spooky quotations for you:

Just like a ghost, you've been a-hauntin' my dreams,
So I'll propose... on Halloween.
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you.
--Dennis Yost and the Classics IV, "Spooky"

He's not stupid; he's possessed by a retarded ghost.

If a man harbors any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.
--Lloyd Douglas

True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen.


The witches fly
Across the sky,
The owls go, "Who? Who? Who?"
The black cats yowl
And green ghosts howl,
"Scary Halloween to you!"

--Nina Willis Walter

From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!
--Scottish saying

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
--William Shakespeare Witches in Macbeth

There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world.
--Jean Baudrillard

What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!
--Washington Irving - From "The Legend of Sleep Hollow"

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble
--William Shakespeare Witches in Macbeth

I got a rock.
--Charlie Brown

Posted by Ted at 08:02 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

October 30, 2003

Educated guessing

Flying reptiles known as pterosaurs ruled the skies duing prehistoric times. They've always been portrayed as clumsy gliding beasts, but thanks to the application of modern technology and recent finds of remarkable pterosaur fossils, this view has changed. Some scientists are now suggesting that pterosaurs were more graceful and manuverable than modern birds and bats.

What I want to know is, did they scream like the one on Jonny Quest?

Posted by Ted at 10:44 PM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

The Chair

We found this chair at work. More precisely, we noticed it one day. It just kind of appeared, and nobody knows exactly when it arrived or who it belonged to.

It's similar to your standard office chair with dark blue fabric and dusty black plastic frame. We pretty much agree it's what they call a "manager's chair", because it has the high back and arms typical of that style.

But there's something besides the back and arms that tells me it's a chair for management. The seat has this odd, indentation, that I've never seen before. It's designed that way too.


We have theories about the reason for it. I'll list three of them here:

1. The indentation prevents the manager's voice from being muffled when he's making a command decision.

2. It's designed to hold the overflow when the manager wets himself upon discovering the catastrophic consequences from one of his decisions.

3. The indentation relieves stress on the neck when the manager is in the typical managerial position.

So what do you think? Give us your thoughts, theories and conjecture. Be creative and entertain us.

PS. if you know what it's really for, we'd like to know that too.

Posted by Ted at 09:37 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

One bummin' unit

That would be me.

This weekend's rocket launch, BattlePark 2003, in Culpeper, Virginia has been cancelled. The heavy rains of the last week prevented the farmer from getting his crops in on time, so we cannot use the field.

No word on when or if there will be a rain date.

Posted by Ted at 04:08 AM | Comments (10)
Category: Rocketry

October 29, 2003

Numbah ten, Joe

Google search:

"pictures of naked women at Stonehenge"

I'm number ten on the list, and actually got a visit. Druid babes.

I wonder if they were looking for the movie Untamed Women? The reviews are awful. If you insist on seeing this kind of crap (and I dearly love these B-movies myself), I'd recommend instead Cannibal Women in the Avacado Jungle of Death. Really!

Posted by Ted at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

It's never too late to be crappy

"Sure, the Sweat Hogs were all fairly popular in their day, but to think some poor 7 year old kid was wandering the streets dressed up as Gabe Kaplan is a crying shame. If you were really cool, you could wear the mask with a basketball uniform and go as Gabe Kaplan from FASTBREAK, or just go naked with it as Ron Jeremy."

Great commentary and more from this font of inspiration for those who just can't decide what to wear this year.

The Worst Halloween Costumes of All Time

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the link.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Rocket Jones' Great Random Google Junket

Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve done a Google Junket, eh? Today’s edition features lovely ladies showing off their vocabulary, because like the Grateful Dead say, “Man Smart, Women Smarter”. And if you remember the words to that song, then you didn’t spend enough time in the parking lot before the show. wink wink, nudge nudge

Ok, first we’ve got Stevie, who rolls up the first bomber with fingerling, curettage, pusillanimous and zucchini. She’s first.

Next to fire up is Lady TwoDragons, and her suggestions steatopygian, stentorious, propitious, osteomalacia, tintinnabulation and xeriscape. Try saying that without exhaling!

‘eather mellows out with griffin, kinesthetic and barnacle. Good words all.

LeeAnn doesn’t bogart the dictionary and offers up a one-hitter: pulchritude.

Susie passes on extemporaneous. With a big silly smile on her face. Matches mine, I’m sure.

I picture Nic in the corner, contemplating geometry and her place in the universe, hence Triangulation. Then again, she may just be thinking about Taco Bell drive-thru being open late.

I think we’re getting a little too out there with the words. Google searches aren’t finding anything except online dictionaries, medical sites, and good ol’ Rocket Jones. While the last is personally satisfying, it’s not a lot of fun for you guys. We should try for more common words I think, although my vocabulary has gotten a lot better!

Whoa. Did I just say that out loud? :)

Besides the expected fish hatcheries, we get recipe pages for fingerling potatoes and then this:

Ed brings back the reckless fire and primal, raw energy that made rock music the igniting force that changed generations and cultures.


We also find a children’s book by Monica Hughes – Little Fingerling. The synopsis says that "Issun Boshi is a little boy no bigger than your thumb, but he makes up for his small size in courage. He seeks his fortune in the big city of Kyoto, where he becomes the favourite in a merchant's home. He falls in love with Plum Bossom, the merchant's daughter, and dreams hopelessly of marrying her. When he overcomes two evil giants he uses their magic hammer with Plum Blossom's help, gains his wish and becomes a handsome samurai warrior."

Uh huh. We know who else has been smokin’ something tax-free...

pusillanimous + zucchini
Texas Monthly magazine had an article about restaurant food including The Texas Food Manifesto. Site required registration and login, so I didn’t bother.

Very cool word and concept meaning the conservation of water and resources through creative landscaping. The apex of the design would be the in-ground swimming pool, made with reinforced concrete to protect the earth below, and catch and conserve the water above. That was a lot funnier when I first thought of it. Have another hit and read it again.

Griffin + barnacle
Griffin’s Waterfowl, purveyor of fine Barnacle Geese.

Just to shake things up a little bit, let’s try something. We’ve got the following words left: pulchritude, kinesthetic, extemporaneous, triangulation. steatopygian, stentorious, propitious, osteomalacia and tintinnabulation. Pick a word or two, google it, and post the link to something that catches your fancy on the search results. Put it on your blog and link back here, or leave it in the comments.

Somehow I lack the ambition to continue this junket right now... 'ere.

Posted by Ted at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Google Junket

Ripple Fire*

Our T1’s are back this morning. After running the usual batch of Wednesday morning jobs, I kicked off a little monster that’s going to give me plenty of time to catch up on email and do a little blogging. I wrote it Monday morning and it ran for 3½ hours before coming up with nada. That’s ok, because the null result told me something all by itself. A little tweaking, and she’s off and running again this morning. It’s pretty cool, because we have our own mainframe to play on when I need to run some brute-force number crunching.

I have this cooking pot that I absolutely love. It’s huge, non-stick, and shaped like a cross between a wok and a frying pan. It also has a nice glass lid that I hate with a passion. Monday night while cooking, I lifted the lid – away from me to avoid the scalding steam – and the condensation trapped in the steam vents went pouring down over my hand. Since it’s a glass lid, I couldn’t throw it (although I wanted to), I had to find a place to set it down before doing the ouchie dance. Minor burns, and just one blister on my ring finger. Naturally, when I lanced the blister, it squirted like a grapefruit and got me right in the eye. Yuk.

Jennifer answered questions submitted by folks, graciously hosted by Daniel. Since I work at McDonalds have a liberal arts degree with a minor in psychology, I must say that her answers are very revealing. She reminds me of my mom in that she has that straightforward Iowa attitude. Watch the first part of The Music Man (the Robert Preston version please), and you’ll see what I mean. (disclaimer: it's a joke. I don't have a liberal arts degree.)

The new Disintegrator at work is tres cool! It’s like the 7-11 Big Gulp of shredders, except it handles metal too. The biggest problem they’ve had was feeding it telephones, because while it was chewing up the metal and circuit boards inside, it was melting the plastic cases, which dripped down into works and gummed things up. It eats hard drives all day long. Tim Allen would love this thing.

Writing is hard work for me. I so envy those people who’s words just seem to flow effortlessly. I hated English in school, and my first jobs didn’t require writing skills. Once I gained a couple of stripes in the Air Force and became a supervisor, I had to learn how to write and I worked hard to improve. Writing for the military is unlike any other in the world, the style and conventions are downright alien at times. My next phase of learning to write was technical writing as a programmer/analyst. Once again, this isn’t a whole lot like what ordinary people write like. Finally, once I got out of the military, I had to learn to write 'government'. Most of my consulting jobs since then have been with various Departments and Agencies, and they have their own ideas of what constitutes acceptable writing. Throw in my own natural tendency to write like I speak, including incomplete sentences, slang and intentional odd spellings, and you can see why I suck. At least I’m good at spelling.

I just started playing StarCraft about a year ago, thanks to Mookie. She regularly kicks my butt, but not easily. I usually play the Terrans. Before that, the last computer game I played with any regularity was SimTower, and before that SimLife, and before that SimCity, and before that SimAnt. See the trend?

Spork invited people to tell about their personal boycotts and I went off a bit in his comments about a few peeves of mine. Although not quite in the same category, I’m also sick and tired of commercials telling me that I should donate my car, house, boat, airplane, inheritance property (seriously!), etc. to such-and-such charity. The most annoying in this area is Melwood Academy for ‘special’ kids. I’m sure they do fine work, but quit using the kids to guilt people into donating. And as for donating inherited property and such – get real. I have a friend who tried to donate a car to a charity, and they wouldn’t take it unless it was less than a few years old and in perfect shape. Screw ‘em. When we have something for charity, it goes to the veterans.

Not to be totally ornery this morning (I did sleep good after all), but if someone says they want to 'axe' me anything, they're inviting personal injury as I go into self-defense mode. Hearing that particular mispronunciation is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

And to end on a happier note, Mookie made the Carnival of the Vanities.

* ‘Ripple Fire’ is a mode whereas multiple military rockets are launched at a (usually ground) target in rapid sequence. It’s similar to machine-gun fire, but with big booms at the receiving end.
I use the title for disjointed snippets and thoughts too short for their own posts.

Posted by Ted at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Perfection interupted

Last night was one of those perfect sleeping nights. The window was wide open to hear the slow steady rain. The temperature was chilly enough to appreciate the pile of blankets on the bed, plus the wife cuddled up beside me, not to mention the small fuzzy blanket stealer snuggled in behind my knees. But not so cold as to go into thermal shock when I had to crawl out from under the covers. It was one of those nights when you sleep so well that you feel really good when the alarm goes off, and you don't have any trouble getting up, although you'd really rather stay in bed for another four hours.

Too, too rare.

Posted by Ted at 10:29 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Boring Stories

October 28, 2003

TFZ indeed! *

I'm glad I tossed those two posts out there this morning, because our T1 lines at work are down, rendering every PC in the building nothing more than a standalone. It's frustrating and when you're entire functionality depends on the mainframe computer at another site, well, let's just say that I was bored to tears today. I spent time cleaning up my hard drive, and... uh, that's about it. No word on when the T1's would be working again, or even what the problem is. So for an undetermined length of time, I'll have no mainframe access, no intranet, no internet and no outside email.

*sigh* Tomorrow I'm taking a book with me.

* TFZ (for Technology Free Zone) courtesy of the lovely Susie.

Posted by Ted at 10:56 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Rod Roddy, Come on down!

Er, come on up! At least I hope so.

The long-time announcer for television's The Price is Right died yesterday after a long bout with cancer. Nuetered animals across the country were heard to mutter "wrong guy, dammit".

Posted by Ted at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!

Last night I was making my wife some chicken fried rice for dinner, which she really likes. I don't like fried rice at all, so I decided to experiment a little. This is the result.

Simple Chicken Stew

1 large boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups chicken broth (1 box of Swansons stock)
1 chicken boullion cube
2 cups water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup cornstarch disolved into 1 cup cold water

Put the chicken broth, 2 cups water and boullion into a large pot. Chop the veggies - except the peas - and add to the stock before you turn on the heat (medium). Add the rosemary, parsley, basil and pepper, and stir occasionally as it heats.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Cook until it turns white, about 3 minutes. It doesn't have to be completely cooked through. Add it to the stock and veggies.

Once the stock reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered about an hour or until potatoes are tender. Add the peas for about the last 10 minutes. Fish out the rosemary stems.

Turn the heat back up. Whisk the cornstarch in the cold water until well blended, then slowly pour it into the stock while stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often as it thickens.

Go light on the ceyanne pepper, because it will sneak up on you. You won't need to add salt, the boullion cube does that for you.

Rachael really liked this. It's easy to make, basically just chopping and heating, and full of good-for-you stuff. You could probably add some white wine to the stock as it simmers for flavor, or even a jar of chicken gravy for added body. I'll be making this again.

Posted by Ted at 02:24 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Recipes

October 27, 2003

This weekend invitation

Reposted from early September.

The fall BattlePark 2003 Rocket Launch is scheduled for the weekend of November 1-2. Located in Culpeper, Virginia, this is one of the premier events in the east, with rocketeers attending from all over the eastern U.S. and Canada. I'll be there both days, and Mookie usually makes at least one if not both. This launch features some of the most interesting projects and flights around. As usual, spectators are free, kids fly their rockets for free, and you'll never meet a friendlier group of people. Come on out, walk around, talk to folks, ask questions, and be prepared to say 'wow'. Oh yeah, they've already obtained an FAA waiver for flights to 15,000 feet.

You are invited and welcome. Contact me if you have any questions.

Victor and Nic, are you going to be able to make it? How about you Don, any interest?

Posted by Ted at 10:53 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Rocketry


Expand your horizons.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Calling all Bruce Campbell fans

Bubba Ho-Tep is in the house!

Thanks to Bad State of Gruntledness for the pointers. See him for trailers.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks


Volksmarching (literally people's walk) is a popular German pastime where folks take a stroll through the scenic countryside. The routes are marked, and there are checkpoints along the way where you get your route card stamped. At the end you get a trinket of some sort (pin or patch or similar item) and your milage and event cards get updated so you have a record of how many you've done and how far you've walked. It's a nice way to spend a day.

If you want information about volksmarching in your area, do a Google search. They've pretty much spread worldwide, and you can probably find one reasonably local to you.

The German word for large is 'gross'.

Professor Hall talks a little bit about the motorcyclists version called an Iron Butt Rally, and the troubles you can have on the road.

So what do all these tidbits of information have in common? Keep reading...

Two American ladies are visiting Germany on vacation and decide to go on a volksmarch. As they're walking along they happen upon a German gentleman relieving himself against a tree.

One of the girls says "Ewww, gross!"

The gentleman smiles and says "Danke."

Posted by Ted at 04:08 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Things you don't expect to see

Mookie had stage crew yesterday, building sets and such for the upcoming fall production at school. When we got to the school, I noticed a group of guys playing cricket in the drivers education area, which is a big open stretch of asphalt next to the parking lot.

I drove by slowly to watch a little, but didn't stop because I just know they would've invited me to play and then taught me a bunch of silly made-up rules so they could laugh at me and get even for colonialism.

Posted by Ted at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

My monthly quiz quota fulfilled

I seldom bother with the quizzes, but the bartender has asked that we take this one and post the results. Here ya go:

Congratulations on being manly (if you're a man), but you know you can get just as drunk on shots without drinking so much, don't you?
Congratulations!! You're a tall glass of nice cold

What Drink Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Ted at 02:32 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

October 26, 2003

Just because it's rocket science...

...doesn't mean you can't experiment at home. Scott Binder has started to look into aerospike technology because he wasn't satisfied with the lack of data being reported by the big boys. This should be interesting.

I previously posted some background links on aerospike engines.

Posted by Ted at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

Futuristic fighting

Remember the old science fiction stories about death rays and laser beams flashing across the battlefield, and targets exploding instantly when they get touched by one?

Welcome to that day, coming to you within a decade.

The new American Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) being developed will be fitted with a 100-kilowatt laser cannon which will be powered by the jet engines of the aircraft.

For more information on the JSF, check out this page or this site. The 'official' page is here, but doesn't give a lot of information. After a lot of analysis of the competing design proposals, the Lockheed-Martin design won - it's the one with twin tails and not a candidate for fugliest aircraft ever designed.

Posted by Ted at 02:09 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Military

Zulu time

As part of the international Munuvian community, I've decided to change my date and time stamp to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also called 'zulu' time. If everyone Mu does this, then all the Munuviana posters will be synchronized, regardless of their local time zones. If not, then oh well, it's not a big deal, and I may change back. Susie did it too, and there's more about zulu time here and here.

Posted by Ted at 01:30 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Baseball History 9 (last one)

Who's on first?

by Abbott and Costello

A complete word-by-word transcription is in the extended entry. If you have Real Audio, you can listen to the entire sound clip (scroll down and look on the left).

Abbott: Alright, now whaddya want?

Costello: Now look, I'm the head of the sports department. I gotta know the baseball players' names. Do you know the guys' names?

Abbott: Oh sure.

Costello: So you go ahead and tell me some of their names.

Abbott: Well, I'll introduce you to the boys. You know sometimes nowadays they give ballplayers peculiar names.

Costello: You mean funny names.

Abbott: Nicknames, pet names, like Dizzy Dean -

Costello: His brother Daffy -

Abbott: Daffy Dean -

Costello: And their cousin!

Abbott: Who's that?

Costello: Goofy!

Abbott: Goofy, huh? Now let's see. We have on the bags - we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.

Costello: That's what I wanna find out.

Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third -

Costello: You know the fellows' names?

Abbott: Certainly!

Costello: Well then who's on first?

Abbott: Yes!

Costello: I mean the fellow's name!

Abbott: Who!

Costello: The guy on first!

Abbott: Who!

Costello: The first baseman!

Abbott: Who!

Costello: The guy playing first!

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: Now whaddya askin' me for?

Abbott: I'm telling you Who is on first.

Costello: Well, I'm asking YOU who's on first!

Abbott: That's the man's name.

Costello: That's who's name?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Well go ahead and tell me.

Abbott: Who.

Costello: The guy on first.

Abbott: Who!

Costello: The first baseman.

Abbott: Who is on first!

Costello: Have you got a contract with the first baseman?

Abbott: Absolutely.

Costello: Who signs the contract?

Abbott: Well, naturally!

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?

Abbott: Every dollar. Why not? The man's entitled to it.

Costello: Who is?

Abbott: Yes. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Who's wife?

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: All I'm tryin' to find out is what's the guy's name on first base.

Abbott: Oh, no - wait a minute, don't switch 'em around. What is on second base.

Costello: I'm not askin' you who's on second.

Abbott: Who is on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott: He's on third - now we're not talkin' 'bout him.

Costello: Now, how did I get on third base?

Abbott: You mentioned his name!

Costello: If I mentioned the third baseman's name, who did I say is playing third?

Abbott: No - Who's playing first.

Costello: Never mind first - I wanna know what's the guy's name on third.

Abbott: No - What's on second.

Costello: I'm not askin' you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott: He's on third.

Costello: Aaah! Would you please stay on third base and don't go off it?

Abbott: What was it you wanted?

Costello: Now who's playin' third base?

Abbott: Now why do you insist on putting Who on third base?

Costello: Why? Who am I putting over there?

Abbott: Yes. But we don't want him there.

Costello: What's the guy's name on third base?

Abbott: What belongs on second.

Costello: I'm not askin' you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott & Costello: THIRD BASE!

Costello: You got an outfield?

Abbott: Oh yes!

Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask you.

Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.

Costello: Alright, then tell me who's playin' left field.

Abbott: Who is playing fir-

Costello: STAY OUTTA THE INFIELD! I wanna know what's the left fielder's name.

Abbott: What's on second.

Costello: I'm not askin' you who's on second.

Abbott: Who's on first.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott & Costello: THIRD BASE!

Costello: The left fielder's name?

Abbott: Why.

Costello: Because!

Abbott: Oh, he's center field.

Costello: Look, you gotta pitcher on this team?

Abbott: Now wouldn't this be a fine team without a pitcher.

Costello: The pitcher's name.

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: You don't wanna tell me today?

Abbott: I'm tellin' you now.

Costello: Then go ahead.

Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: What time?

Abbott: What time what?

Costello: What time tomorrow are you going to tell me who's pitching?

Abbott: Now listen. Who is not pitching. Who is on fir-

Costello: I'll break your arm if you say Who's on first. I wanna know what's the pitcher's name.

Abbott: What's on second.

Costello: I don't know.

Abbott & Costello: THIRD BASE!

Costello: You got a catcher?

Abbott: Oh, absolutely.

Costello: The catcher's name.

Abbott: Today.

Costello: Today. And Tomorrow's pitching.

Abbott: Now you've got it.

Costello: All we've got is a couple of days on the team.

Abbott: Well, I can't help that.

Costello: Well, I'm a catcher too.

Abbott: I know that.

Costello: Now suppose that I'm catching, Tomorrow's pitching on my team and their heavy hitter gets up.

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Tomorrow throws the ball. The batter bunts the ball. When he bunts the ball, me being a good catcher, I wanna throw the guy out at first base. So I pick up the ball and throw it to who?

Abbott: Now that's the first thing you've said right.

Costello: I don't even know what I'm talkin' about!

Abbott: Well, that's all you have to do.

Costello: Is to throw the ball to first base.

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Now who's got it?

Abbott: Naturally!

Costello: If I throw the ball to first base, somebody's gotta catch it. Now who caught it?

Abbott: Naturally!

Costello: Who caught it?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Who?

Abbott: Naturally!

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

Abbott: NO, NO, NO! You throw the ball to first base and Who gets it?

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's right. There we go.

Costello: So I pick up the ball and I throw it to Naturally.

Abbott: You don't!

Costello: I throw it to who?

Abbott: Naturally.


Abbott: You're not saying it that way.

Costello: I said I throw the ball to Naturally.

Abbott: You don't - you throw the ball to Who?

Costello: Naturally!

Abbott: Well, say that!

Costello: THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING! I throw the ball to who?

Abbott: Naturally.

Costello: Ask me.

Abbott: You throw the ball to Who?

Costello: Naturally.

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: SAME AS YOU!! I throw the ball to first base and who gets it?

Abbott: Naturally!

Costello: Who has it?

Abbott: Naturally!

Costello: HE BETTER HAVE IT! I throw the ball to first base. Whoever it is grabs the ball, so the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to What, What throws it to I Don't Know, I Don't Know throws it back to Tomorrow - triple play.

Abbott: Yes.

Costello: Another guy gets up - it's a long fly ball to Because. Why? I don't know. He's on third and I don't give a darn!

Abbott: What was that?

Costello: I said I don't give a darn!

Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop.

Posted by Ted at 01:03 AM | Comments (0)
Category: History

October 25, 2003

A gift from my Uncle Art

My Uncle Art loved baseball, and he passed that passion on to me. He'd take me to the schoolyard and hit grounders and fly balls for hours. On my birthday he'd take me to see the Giants or A's play. He had a small collection of world series games on cassette tapes that he'd made and let me listen to them. I loved going to his place, because he had his own copy of the Unabridged Baseball Encyclopedia, with the stats of every single player ever to play the game.

Once, he took me aside and told me that the next time my family went to visit Grandma and Grandpa (halfway across the country), that I should go look in the old barn. He described a spot on one wall and told me that whatever was there was mine if I wanted.

A year or so later, we made the long trip during the summer. We always drove, stopping in Reno and Cheyanne and Laramie, taking forever to cross the salt flats in Utah, and finally reaching the home stretch around Omaha, Nebraska. Then it was a whirlwind week of visiting Aunts and Uncles and cousins, catching fireflys, playing badminton and shooting BB rifles and playing in the same places my mom and dad did as kids.

One free afternoon I went out to the barn. It wasn't your classic barn structure, although it originally served the same purpose. Over the years it had become a garage and storage shed, and you could almost read the life story of my grandparents by sorting through the antique treasures inside. I opened the big sliding door and went in, picked my way along towards the spot my uncle had told me about, and there, next to a dusty window, I found them.

On the wall were baseball cards, tacked up years before by my uncle, almost like a little shrine to his favorite players and stars of the day. He had told me that if I wanted them that they were mine, and I did want them. But at the same time I kinda wanted to leave them there forever, to not disturb them for another who-knows-how-long, for another young baseball fan to find them and appreciate them. This was long before baseball cards became collectables and kids became investors who knew the difference between 'mint' and 'very good'.

Their value (or potential value) meant even less to the generation before mine. They were for collecting - for fun - and trading and sometimes clipping to your bike frame with a clothespin so they clattered in the spokes of the wheel as you rode along.

I knew most of the names, at least in passing. Harvey Kuenn and Rocky Colavito and Early Wynn, Ken Boyer (brother of Clete) and Carl Furillo and Al Kaline. There were more, eighteen in all.

I carefully took them down, and did the least damage I could doing so. But these cards were nailed up by a kid and the nails were rusty and the cards mere cardboard, so there was damage done. Once, out of curiousity, I showed them to a card collector, and he was actually angry at the condition of the cards. They were worthless, he told me.

He was full of shit.

Maybe to a collector they're worthless, but to me they're priceless. These were a gift from one generation of baseball fan to the next. They were a gift from my uncle, who I loved very much (he passed away, much too young, a few years ago). I appreciate them, not because they're rare or perfect, but because they are.

I'll post a few pictures of these cards in the next few days. I've got them in plastic sleeves, which makes it hard to take a good picture without glare. For now, there's a couple in the extended entry.



Both of these are 1957 Topps.

Posted by Ted at 04:59 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Boring Stories

Baseball History 8

A lot of these courtesy of the Baseball Almanac.


The Chicago Cubs got their name after the rival Federal League raided the roster and signed away most of their veteran players. Newsmen coined the nickname ‘Cubs’ to describe the youngsters left on the team.

The Dodgers were originally known as the ‘Trolley Dodgers’, and have also been known as the Robins, Bridegrooms and Superbas.

The Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins both started life as the Washington Senators.

Then-owner Charlie Finley offered pitcher Vida Blue a bonus to change his first name to “True”. Vida refused.

In 1938, Cinncinati pitcher Johnny Vander Meer pitched consecutive no-hitters, beating Boston 3-0 and Brooklyn 6-0. In all, the lefty had a string of nine straight wins.

Joe McGinnity pitched complete game victories in both halves of a double header three times, all within the same month of the same season (August, 1903). He was already nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ because he worked in a foundry in the off-season. This just confirmed the moniker.

The first feature length baseball movie was released in 1915 and its title was Right Off The Bat.

In 1944, “Red” Barret of the Boston Braves threw only fifty-eight pitches during a nine inning complete game. Barrett's Braves shutout the Reds 2 - 0 and the game set major league records for least number of pitches known to have been thrown by a single pitcher in a complete game and shortest game played at night (one hour and fifteen minutes).

St. Louis owner Bill Veeck had everyone in stitches after substituting a midget to pinch-hit during the first inning in game two of a doubleheader. Eddie Gaedel, a three-foot, seven inch dwarf, emerged from a cake wearing the number 1/8 during pre-game festivities, then took the plate for center fielder Frank Saucer and walked on four balls. His strike zone had been measured at 1½ inches tall.

Abraham Lincoln played an early version of baseball, a sort of cross between Rounders and Cricket. This account appeared during his presidency:
"At about six o'clock, the President, who was prevented from appearing earlier on account of the semi-weekly Cabinet meeting, came on the ground and remained until the close of the game (Washington Nationals 28 vs Brooklyn Excelsiors 33), an apparently interested spectator of the exciting contest." - in the Washington National Republican (09-18-1866)

Posted by Ted at 01:00 AM | Comments (4)
Category: History

October 24, 2003

Betty Bowers...

... is a better Christian than you.

In fact, according to her website, she's "so close to Jesus, he uses her birthday when he plays Lotto."

Sharp satire and penetrating parody, but be prepared to spend a little time, because there's that much good stuff to go through.

Posted by Ted at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Tour de Munuviana

Daniel said he hoped this would become a regular feature. The rest of you rolled your eyes and said “ohmigod no” under your breath. This is what happens when you don’t speak up.

Jennifer interviewed Daniel. Due respect guy, but half the questions gave you the chance to strut your stuff and instead you went all 90’s touchy-feely with it. You don’t have to impress the ladies with your intelligence, because they already knew that, and we know they knew that because the other half of the questions basically translate to ‘how horny are you?’ except for one ‘how well hung are you?’ question.

Things definitely took a turn towards Eros this week as Jen posted about beastiality and Helen discussed hair care and the law of diminishing cleavage. Which reminds me of a joke:

Q: Why don’t women wear shorter skirts?
A: Because they’d need two hair-do’s.

Hey, I promised last time that Jim would get top billing. Life lesson Jim. Never trust anyone except members of the federal government.

(I’m contractually obligated by the IRS to include that last statement in personal correspondence once a day. But by 2008, my back taxes will be paid off and I can tell them to never trust anyone except members of the federal government.)

Jim pronounces creek correctly too.

Then we have Don of Anger Management. I’ve been trying to figure him out for a while now, and just when I think I’ve got it, he goes and writes something brilliant and off-the-wall. Psst Daniel, I think Don asked the ‘shoe size’ question.

New fish bloggers: Simon, Tom, Chuck, and Willie, let the vicious backstabbing attacks begin please let me welcome you. I look forward to getting to know you. What national flag would you fly? Yes, that’s a real question and it does make sense and I do want an answer. Thank you. (I already heard from Simon. Tom, Chuck and Willie, I assume U.S. – but let me know, mm’k?)

Tiger, I don’t get it. Sorry.

Heather points out a link-o-rama where you can see pictures all of the various lady bloggers you read. She also talks about mustard, rants a little about Peta and their transparent concern for your waistline, and gets serious about the new nuclear reality.

Helen, all I can say is that although a little introspection is good, it’s easy to get too deep into what it all means. I'm just sayin', ya know?

Stevie talks about cows. Frequently.

Mr. Green doesn’t post often, but when he does it’s worth reading. Chicks dig him too.

LeeAnn gets a new job. With all the talk of raises and knees, maybe I should have put this up with Jennifer and Helen. She also observes a practical physics lesson.

Mookie is heavily indebted to mom and I for getting her the new Barenaked Ladies CD. She celebrates with nightmares (actually it sounds a lot like my life – thanks) and blood sport.

Victor scores big points about fools and consequences, before going into shock. He’s been good about displaying the winner’s logo in our inter-Munuvian hockey whoopass jamboree.

Cherry is the quiet sort.

Tim’s been quiet too. Busy people with real lives. What a concept.

Tuning Spork gets the debate going with his posts about the best position players in baseball in various era’s.

Over at Practical Penumbra, Susie is trying to rally folks to prevent the League of Liberals from claiming victory with a post about the evils of capitalism. Huh? When did they add a category for theater of the absurd?

She’s over at Munuviana doing the same thing. Pixy chips in too.

Pixy has a scientifical mind, which allows him to creatifically thinkerize and edumacate us downside-uppers in “The Way The World Works”. Pay attention to him.

Werd. (still attempting to boost street cred)

Posted by Ted at 09:09 AM | Comments (15)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Air Munuviana update

For those who don’t know what this is all about, check out here and here and here and here and here and here.

A week before her maiden flight, things are going smoothly. Literally. I’ve put the second coat of primer on, and have finished sanding with 400 grit sandpaper (which is slightly more coarse than Charmin). One more coat of primer tonight and I’ll start painting the color coats tomorrow. Decals will go on probably Wednesday – folks, I need to know what flags you want to fly! If you haven’t let me know yet, please do. Tiger, that’s you too (I’m assuming US, but you might prefer Texas – your call).

Posted by Ted at 08:41 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Rocketry

Baseball History 7

"If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I'd trip her. Oh, I'd pick her up and brush her off and say, 'Sorry, Mom,' but nobody beats me." – Leo Durocher, Chicago Cubs manager

"On my tombstone just write, 'The sorest loser that ever lived.’” – Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager

"All last year we tried to teach him (Fernando Valenzuela) English, and the only word he learned was million." – Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers manager

"I've played a couple of hundred games of tic-tac-toe with my little daughter and she hasn't beaten me yet. I've always had to win. I've got to win." – Bob Gibson, St Louis Cardinals pitcher

"Don Drysdale would consider an intentional walk a waste of three pitches. If he wants to put you on base, he can hit you with one pitch." - Mike Shannon, St Louis Cardinals utility player

"Every time I look at my pocketbook, I see Jackie Robinson." – Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants outfielder

"When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth." – Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder

"I ain't ever had a job, I just always played baseball." – Satchel Paige, pitcher

"Holy cow!" – Harry Caray, Chicago Cubs broadcaster

"The biggest thrill a ballplayer can have is when your son takes after you. That happened when my Bobby was in his championship Little League game. He really showed me something. Struck out three times. Made an error that lost the game. Parents were throwing things at our car and swearing at us as we drove off. Gosh, I was proud." -- Bob Uecker, former major league catcher

"I don't see why you reporters keep confusing Brooks (Robinson) and me. Can't you see that we wear different numbers?" - Frank Robinson

"It's a great day for a ball game; let's play two!" – Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs

"There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best." – Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees outfielder

"Man, if I made one million dollars I would come in at six in the morning, sweep the stands, wash the uniforms, clean out the office, manage the team and play the games." – Duke Snyder, Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder

Posted by Ted at 05:07 AM | Comments (1)
Category: History

October 23, 2003

Almost as good as Joe Cartoon

Happy Tree Friends! It's cute, it's gory, it's sick. It's hard to find good childrens programming like that these days.

Thanks to mnavarre for the pointer.

Oh, if you've never seen Joe Cartoon, well, you've lived a sheltered life.

(bandwidth alert for everything linked here, and some of the language gets a little rough)

Posted by Ted at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Hardened criminals in the schools

Six British schoolboys were rushed to hospital after taking the erection-enhancing drug Viagra at lunchtime for a dare, the school said on Thursday.

Sorry about the headline, I couldn't resist.

Posted by Ted at 01:01 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

Open for business all night

Pixy and Susie commiserate with each other about grueling work schedules. Being a programmer, I've worked some helacious stretches too, it seems to come with the job. One time, while working for a difficult client, we had this memorable exchange:

Client: You charged me for 21 hours that day!
Me: That's correct.
Client: How can you be productive for 21 hours?
Me: I can't. Towards the end, I was so tired I was practically incoherent.
Client: Then why did you waste my money like that?
Me: Because you brought me a hot project a half hour before quitting time, and said it was due first thing the next morning.
Client: Well, you should work faster. And quit wasting my money.

Posted by Ted at 07:32 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

More NASA controversy

(excerpted from this article)

NASA's decision to launch a fresh two-man crew to the International Space Station last weekend came over the strenuous objections of mid-level scientists and physicians who warned that deteriorating medical equipment and air and water monitoring devices aboard the orbiting laboratory posed increasing safety risks for the crew, according to space agency documents and interviews.

There is a history of tension over health issues between conservative medical personnel, on one side, and engineers and astronauts eager to fly, on the other, NASA insiders say. However, in what some medical personnel described this week as a chilling echo of the decision-making leading up to the Columbia space shuttle disaster, arguments in favor of scrubbing the latest crew replacement mission and temporarily shuttering the space station were overruled by managers concerned with keeping the facility occupied.

When the shuttles were grounded after the Columbia accident, the facility lost its major supply line and left NASA heavily dependent on the Russians and other partners to keep the space station operating. The Russian spacecraft, however, can transport only a small fraction of the cargo and equipment that the shuttles can. As a result, construction of the incomplete space station is at a standstill, and the customary three-person crews have been replaced with caretaker crews of two, who now spend much of their time doing maintenance and a minimal amount doing scientific research.

Posted by Ted at 07:21 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Space Program

Baseball History 6

Here's the story of the greatest pitcher that nobody had ever heard of.

In an April, 1985 issue, Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch and he could reportedly throw a baseball faster than anyone ever measured. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before, having been raised in a Tibetan monastery. Mets fans everywhere celebrated at their teams's amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. Can you say 'April Fools'?

Posted by Ted at 05:31 AM | Comments (4)
Category: History

October 22, 2003

Man does not live by blood and gore alone

Criss Angel, magician extraordinaire, will have a special on the SciFi Channel at 9pm Halloween.

Posted by Ted at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone loves me very very much

I had to take half a day off with my wife today to deal with some things, and afterwards we did some shopping. I wound up with the following DVD's:

Killer Klowns from Outer Space
The Last House on the Left
Return of the Living Dead
WWII movie 3-pack including A Walk in the Sun, Gung Ho!, and Go For Broke!

Best Buy* has a sale going on, three for $20.00. The first three titles were from that deal. Other available titles were Amityville Horror, Burnt Offerings, Species and Child's Play, among others. Fun stuff for those who like their horror a little cheesy.

The WWII movies are the kinds of flicks I watch on AMC and TMT sometimes, starring folks like Van Johnson, Robert Mitchum and Dana Andrews. Sorry Victor, no Joe Don Baker.

Excalibur was a freak find at the Wal-Mart bargain bin. Classic.

* I hate Best Buy with a passion because they sell those crappy extended waranties and then weasle out of honoring them even though it breaks the heart of the little girl trying to get the service they promised. But sometimes you go where the deal is, and as long as you know that the bastards will screw you over given half a chance, well, forewarned is forearmed. Ya know?

Posted by Ted at 08:27 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Cult Flicks

Whole lotta shakin' (up) going on

Colorado left wing Paul Kariya will be out indefinitely with a sprained right wrist, so the Avalanche acquired left wing Steve Konowalchuk in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Something has to be done with the listless Caps. I just didn't expect it to be Kono. Wow.

So when is Jagr going to the Rangers?

Posted by Ted at 08:09 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Ice cold vs. cool

My beloved San Jose Sharks are ice cold, but this site explaining some of the science behind hockey is pretty cool.

In (not very) related news, I'm in 6th place (out of 20 teams) in my fantasy hockey league. And no, I still have no clue what I'm doing.

Also, it looks like the Sharks have some connection to the San Jose Stealth, a brand new professional lacrosse team starting up in a fledgling western league. For those of you not from the northeast U.S., lacrosse is a wicked cool sport that's kind of a cross between hockey and soccer and rugby. It was taught to early settlers by the native indians, who almost certainly didn't have a team called the 'Stealth'. This link takes you to a virtual tour of the Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame.

Posted by Ted at 08:58 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaaah!

These might be the favorite cookies in our house. They certainly don't last long when I bake them. If you like your cookies soft and chewy, then you'll love these.


½ cup butter, softened
½ cup shortening
1½ cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

2¾ cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt

2 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, 1½ cups sugar, eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
3. Mix the 2 Tbsp white sugar and ground cinnamon together in a small dish.
4. Shape the dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls. Roll balls of dough in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen.

Posted by Ted at 08:29 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Recipes

Baseball History 5

The Chicago Cubs put together a legendary double-play combination in the early 1900's. "Tinker to Evers to Chance" were immortalized in a poem by Franklin P. Adams. They were elected to the Hall of Fame together in 1946.

They weren't the only team to have a legendary defense in that era though. The Philidelphia Athletics boasted their "$100,000 Infield" (photo here - the guy second from the left was a teammate but not a member of the infield). They earned that nickname when Owner/manager Connie Mack claimed that even that amount of money could not get him to break up his stellar infield.

Comprised of first baseman John "Stuffy" McInnis, second baseman Eddie Collins, shortstop John "Jack" Barry, and third baseman Frank "Home Run" Baker, the four did eventually move on to other teams but continued to have a major impact on baseball. Combined, the four members of the $100,000 Infield appeared in 12 of the 16 World Series played from 1910 to 1925 - on the winning side eight times.

Posted by Ted at 05:08 AM | Comments (0)
Category: History

October 21, 2003

Excuse me, I have to scream now

I'm watching the World Series and Pudge Rodriguez comes to bat, and the graphic along with his name tells me that his favorite movie is Scarface and his favorite musical artist is Yanni.


Freaking World Series brought to you by the XFL. Tell me how much money he makes, what his batting average is against left handed dyslexic kleptomaniacs, or that he doesn't change his underwear during winning streaks, but for Pete's sake don't tell me non-baseball related stupidity. I get enough of that elsewhere.

UPDATE: Yanni is in the stands. So is Mike Tyson. I say put 'em together and Mike gets a meal, and gets put away for good. With leniency for doing in freakin' Yanni.

Posted by Ted at 09:27 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Laugh and the pain goes away

On the little opening sequence of The World According To Jim, Jim Belushi's wife and her brother are talking about how long 'he' has to stay with them. The answer is "could be until the Cubs win the World Series".

Jim Belushi comes down the stairs with the Third Base Guy!* He's in hiding, but dressed just like he was at the game (headphones, jacket, etc). Jim tells him that his new name is "Ed... Ed Gameblower. No, sorry, that was mean. How about Ed Dreamwrecker."

Then the wife goes to throw Jim his car keys, and you can guess what happens.

Funny as hell.

* I don't know if it was the actual guy, but the resemblance was there.

Posted by Ted at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaaaaah!

Pixy's classic Ranchovie post, and subsequent comments by LeeAnn and Susie, have inspired me to share this recipe.

Mock Octopus Chowder

1 can mushroom soup
1 cup pencil erasers

Combine. Heat and serve.

Posted by Ted at 12:49 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Recipes

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Short but intense. Busy busy week.

The guys at Random Nuclear Strikes keep posting quality stuff. As I scrolled through their blog, I couldn’t decide whether to link to the bit about rebels without a clue, or the one about the legacy of Ronald Reagan, or Noah. Until I found their new effort, the Bellicose Woman’s Brigade, and its primary topic – the right of self defense. Personal note to oldest daughter and Mookie: go read this, and think about it.

While I’m on that subject, go check out the Shooter’s Carnival too. Lots of good stuff for beginners, in a group blog format. Entries by Publicola, Alphecca, and Say Uncle.

There’s a nice little debate going on over at Across the Atlantic about the most beautiful airplane ever, prompted by the soon-to-be-retired Concorde.

This guy always has something thought-provoking to read. You should stop by, and while you’re there ask him why I’m not on his blogroll.

There’s always a party going on at Madfish Willie’s Cyber Saloon.

Mr. Helpful is going to be posting chapters of his novel online (there are a lot of bloggers writing novels, which I suppose isn’t all that surprising). Megan is also writing a new story for the Second Spherewide Short Story Symposium. With an owie, no less. That is a dedicated wordsmith.

Kin's back, and he's picked up right where he left off.

Nic talks of charity walks and poor pumpkin crops. Blame Canada!

TwoDragons is having problems with our comment routines not remembering her. We discussed the problem and unofficially decided that it’s the ‘system’ keeping you down.

New peeps. Say hello.

Alright, lunch is over. Later.

Posted by Ted at 12:14 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

Musical tastes

Oldest daughter forgot one of her CD's when she went away to college. I threw it in my case so it didn't get scratched up, and it's been sitting there for a couple of months now. Today at work I popped it into my little boom box.

Robyn, I mean this in the most loving way possible: you have rotten taste in music.

Posted by Ted at 08:06 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Family matters

I needed this

Grand-Mu Pixy Misa over at Ambient Irony has posted the funniest thing I've read in a long long time. Make sure you click the links.

Posted by Ted at 07:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Baseball History 4

Ballplayers go to war

Ballplayers, like every other American citizen, understand the importance of giving one's self for their country. Hall of Famer Morgan Bulkeley served in the Civil War. Twenty-five Hall of Fame members served in World War I. Thirty-five Hall of Fame members and more than 500 major league players served in World War II. 95 percent of the players who were major leaguers in 1941 eventually served in World War II in some capacity. Five Hall of Famers served America during the Korean War. A few examples:

Ted Williams flew for the US Marines during World War II and the Korean War, losing nearly six years of his career to military service. He was almost killed when he crash-landed his plane in Korea in 1953.

Warren Spahn missed the entire 1943, 1944, and 1945 seasons to war service and appeared in only four games in 1942. He won his 100th career game after his 30th birthday, but still won an amazing 363 games in his career. No left-hander has ever won as many.

Detroit slugger Hank Greenberg was in the Army prior to Pearl Harbor and was discharged on December 5, 1941. After Pearl Harbor he voluntarily enlisted again as an officer candidate in the Air Corps.

Pitcher Christy Mathewson was gassed while in the US Army in World War I and died several years later still suffering from the effects.

Cleveland Indians hurler Bob Feller (from Iowa!) enlisted in 1942 and earned eight battle stars in combat during World War II. He missed four seasons while in the service.

Here's a memorial and list of those ballplayers who gave their lives in service to their country.

Posted by Ted at 05:32 AM | Comments (2)
Category: History

October 20, 2003

Beating the rap

A US judge gave her ruling in rap when she dismissed a case by a former schoolmate of Eminem who was suing him for defamation.

"Mr Bailey complains that his (Eminem's) rap is trash, so he's seeking compensation in the form of cash," she wrote.

"Bailey thinks he's entitled to some monetary gain, because Eminem used his name in vain.

"The lyrics are stories no one would take as fact, they're an exaggeration of a childish act.

"It is therefore this court's ultimate position, that Eminem is entitled to summary disposition," she concluded.


Posted by Ted at 02:53 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Baseball History 3

The two greatest hitters you never heard of.

Josh Gibson was a catcher in the old negro leagues and one of the greatest sluggers the game has ever seen.* He was selected to the Hall of Fame in 1972.

Sadaharu Oh is the greatest slugger in Japanese baseball history**. He finished his career with more homers than Hank Aaron, and led the Japanese league in home runs for 13 straight seasons, averaging 45 homers a year. Upon his retirement, he became the manager for his team, the Yomiuri Giants.

* Take most stats from the negro leagues with a grain of salt because accurate records were not always kept and the newspapers of the day often did not cover the games with any consistency. Historians usually try to determine the actual numbers by cross-checking multiple sources, some of dubious reliability. The numbers might not be correct, but there's no doubt that Josh Gibson was a monster at the plate.

** There is some dispute over whether Josh Gibson hit more homers in his career (see note above).

Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (8)
Category: History

Model Rocket Q & A for Beginners

Several years ago I put together a web site devoted strictly to model rocketry. One of the most popular pages was an introduction set up in question and answer format. Looking back on it, I can see that we've come a long way since those early days. I've copied that page into the extended entry, and added links where I could.

Q: Why do you think rockets are such a great thing to do with your kids?
If I sit down to play video games with the kids, or we watch sports together, or read in the same room, we might be spending time together, but it's not necessarily 'together' time. Model Rocketry is more interactive for us, there is a give and take, and an exchange of ideas. It's not just spending time together, it's spending time with each other.
My kids have picked up some very good habits from rocketry; setting goals, planning, following directions, working together, teamwork, and keeping records.
They've also felt satisfaction. Imagine the look on 9 year old Rachaels' face as her U.S.A., designed, built, and launched all on her own, roared off the pad for a perfect flight. As it drifted down on its pink streamers, everyone was cheering and congratulating her. I don't know who was more proud at that moment, her or me.
And they've learned how to deal with the minor tragedies of life. The lost rockets, and the ones dinged when the parachute didn't deploy (because Dad forgot the baby powder).
Flying rockets teaches about science too. You'll see practical demonstrations of aerodynamics, physics, chemistry, and more. The kids become engineers, meteorologists, photographers, and journalists, without any pain, and possibly without even realizing it.
One thing we've discovered about rocketry is that the only way to get bored with it is to quit dreaming. We've yet to launch anything bigger than a 'C' motor, but that's ok. We've still got clustered rockets to try, and staged rockets, and 'gap' staging. We haven't done near enough glider or helicopter recovery. How about night launches, how can we make these smaller rockets visible in the dark?
My kids have a million ideas, to go along with my one or two.
I probably should also mention that model rockets are fun.

Q: Isn't model rocketry like launching fireworks?
There are some basic differences between rocketry and fireworks.
To start with, model rockets are never launched by lighting a fuse. The ignition is electrical, with the power supplied by batteries. This lets you stand back a ways from the rocket when it is launched. Much safer.
A second difference is that model rockets are designed to be recovered. This means that you can reuse a rocket over and over. There are various ways of recovering a rocket, such as parachutes, streamers, gliding, and more (there's more about recovery later).
Another difference is the use of a launch rod. This is simply a guide for the rocket to follow for it's first few feet of flight, keeping it straight up until it's going fast enough to be stable on its own. Once again, it's a safety thing.

Q: Is this really safe enough for kids?
Model rocketry is an amazingly safe hobby, provided you follow the Safety Code. When you read it over, you'll find most of it is just common sense. Over the years, there have been literally millions of rocket engines fired safely.
As for kids doing rockets, if you insist on following the safety code, and have adult supervision, it's almost impossible to get hurt. Explain that each and every one of them is responsible for safety when launching rockets.
I have normal kids, they get into their share of mischief. But when we launch, they know what is expected of them, because it's been that way since day one. A brief example that really happened:

My youngest, Rachael, was doing the countdown. When she got to '3', her brother TJ yelled 'STOP' from where he was standing (about 100 feet away). Rachael immediately pulled the safety key and put the launch controller down. Then we saw a mom chasing a toddler, who was running full steam towards the rocket.
After mom corraled her child (he never even got within 20' of the rocket), we made sure the area was clear again, and started the countdown over. It was a perfect launch.

Some rules we use:

The countdown is LOUD.
ANYONE can stop a countdown at any time, for any reason.
When someone yells 'stop', that's it. No exceptions.
The only time the safety key is in the launch controller is during a countdown.
We don't resume a countdown from where it stopped. We start over.
Before a countdown starts, everyone has to give an 'OK', meaning they're in position, ready, and the area is clear.

We have never had anyone hurt, or been even remotely close to having an accident. It's not luck, it's designed to be that way. And by the way, that mom and child stayed and watched us for about an hour that day, and still stop by occasionally when we are launching a few.

Q: What's the easiest way to get started?
I'd suggest an Estes Starter Set. They start around $15.00 [~$20.00 in 2003], and you can get them at stores like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Toys-R-Us, hobby shops, and even some craft stores like Michaels or MJDesigns. The starter set includes almost everything you need, except batteries and glue. There are even some 'Ready To Fly' starter sets out now, where the rocket is pre-built for you. Other sets have a variety of rockets (1 or 2) that you have to build yourself. Rockets like the Alpha 3 and Sabre goes together quick and easy. Other sets have 1 simple rocket, plus another that takes a bit more skill to assemble. Another company, Quest, also makes starter sets, but I've never seen one. I hear they're pretty much the same.

Q: Launch controller, recovery wadding... What's all this stuff really do?
I'm going to assume that you are looking at a starter set, and I'll just run down the assembled parts.

* Launch pad - Usually has 3 or 4 legs, with a blast deflector and launch rod sticking up from it.
The launch pad holds the launch rod and blast deflector. The wide legs keep it from tipping over in a breeze, and you can adjust the pad to tip the rod a few degrees for launching into the wind. The launch rod is what guides the rocket until it's moving fast enough for the fins to keep it stable. In the starter sets, the launch rod is usually sectional, always use both pieces. The blast deflector keeps the engine exhaust from hitting the pad and ground. Safety again. There is also a rod cap included. Put it over the tip of the upright launch rod, and it helps prevent injuries where someone leans over the top of the rod while preparing a rocket for launch. Make sure you remove the rod cap just before the countdown, and replace it immediately after.

* Launch controller - This is where the batteries go, usually 4 AA size. It has a continuity light or buzzer that tells you when the rocket is set up properly for launch and the safety key is inserted. The safety key must be inserted before pushing the 'fire' button has any effect. In other words, keep the safety key with you when you work around the rocket, and no one can accidently launch it when someone could get hurt. Coming out of the launch controller is a long wire (about 15 feet) that ends in two small microclips. These clips connect to the ignitor, explained below. When you launch, the length of the wire makes it easy to stand back at a safe distance.

* Rocket - A simple rocket is 3 or 4 fins and a nose cone. These are connected to each other by the body tube. On the side of the body tube is the launch lug, a small tube or loop which is slipped over the launch rod prior to igniting the engine. Connecting the nosecone to the body tube is the shock cord. This keeps the pieces of the rocket together as it comes down. Inside the rocket is the recovery system, often a parachute (there is a whole section on recovery later on). The recovery wadding protects the parachute from the ejection charge, which is what deploys the recovery system. Finally, at the bottom of the rocket is the motor mount. This is the place where the engine goes, and it transfers the thrust of the engine to the rocket itself.

* Engine - The 'whoosh generator', also called a motor. This small cardboard cylinder is actually quite complex in design and function. That doesn't mean it's complicated to use. First turn the engine upright so the small hole is facing up. That's the nozzle, the business end of the engine. The ignitor is a small U or V shaped piece of wire. Drop the point of the ignitor into the nozzle, and gently make sure it goes in as deep as possible. There will be two wires sticking out of the nozzle quite a bit. Next take an ignitor plug (color coded, check the directions in the set), and gently push it into the nozzle. This holds the ignitor where it needs to be to fire the engine. Insert the engine into the rocket motor mount and you're almost ready to go!
When ready to launch, connect the controller clips to the ignitor. After everyone is away from the rocket, insert the safety key, and the light should light (or buzzer buzz, depending on your controller). This means that the rocket will be launched when you push the button.

Q: What do the motor numbers and letters mean?
This is an easy code to provide complex information. Here's the bare minimum needed to start with.

A sample engine code might be: B6-4

The 'power' range of an engine is indicated by the letter, in this case a 'B'. The codes start with 'A' and keep right on going up the alphabet. So B is twice as powerful as A, C is twice as powerful as B (and 4 times more powerful than A), and so on. This is overly simplified, but you'll absorb the details as you gain experience.
Bigger engines (higher letters) achieve higher altitudes, or lift heavier rockets.

The '6' is the average thrust of the engine. It's measured in 'newtons', but don't worry about it for now. Just keep in mind that a '6' has a higher average thrust than a '4'.

The '-4' is the delay, measured in seconds. This means that 4 seconds (more or less) after the propellant burnout, the ejection charge fires. That deploys your recovery system.

There are '-0' engines. These are booster engines designed for multi-staged rockets. As soon as burnout occurs, the ejection charge fires to ignite the next engine. Don't use these on a single stage rocket. '-P' engines are plugged, and have no ejection charge. They're made for gliders.
Some Estes engines have a 'T' listed after the delay time. This means it's a mini-motor, and has a smaller diameter casing.

Q: Where can I launch a rocket?
We launch at the local middle school (Jr. high) field. This is a football field, a baseball diamond, and 2 soccer fields, all bent around an L shape. The bigger the field, the better your chances of recovering the rocket. We've had a few rockets drift away on the wind into, or over the trees. Be aware that it can be calm on the ground, and fairly windy a couple hundred feet up! Because of the L-shape of our regular launch field, we limit ourselves to A and B engines on most rockets. We've got a few heavier birds that fly normally on C's, and on one spectacularly calm day, we launched our little rockets on C's. Straight up well over 1000', and recovered on a parachute less than 30 yards away. For more information, read about rocket clubs below.

Q: How do the recovery systems work?
You spend time to get your rocket looking good, and to fly well. You hate to lose them! Recovery is one thing that keeps this hobby from being glorified fireworks (I'm not knocking fireworks hobbyists). There are many ways to recover a rocket. Here's the most common:

Featherweight - for the lightest rockets. The have such a high surface area compared to weight that they 'float' to the ground, like the name says.

Tumble - for very light rockets that are too stable for featherweight recovery. Usually the nose cone is ejected (it's all connected by the shock cord, remember), and the whole thing comes down. If something wasn't done to ruin the stability, it might come down like a dart. At best, hitting the ground like that could damage or destroy the rocket. At worst, it could hit and hurt someone. There are terms for rockets that accidently come down hard, they're called Prangs or Lawn-Darts. No fun, and very hard on the rocket.

Streamer - this is a long, thin piece of plastic or crepe paper. It creates enough drag to bring the rocket down gently. These are good for days when the wind causes too much drift in a parachute.

Parachute - these range in size from 8" up to 24" for model rockets. To minimize drift, you can cut a spill hole in the center of the canopy. This will help the rocket come down faster, but it hits harder when it reaches the ground. If you cut a spill hole, cut it large because too small a hole can actually increase the lift the parachute generates as it descends. Estes parachutes have a spill hole marked with dotted lines, just cut it out if needed. Another technique to minimize time in the air is to 'reef' the shroud lines. Take a piece of masking tape and wrap it around all the parachute lines about halfway between the rocket and the canopy. This prevents the chute from opening fully.

Glider - It goes up like a rocket, and comes down like a glider airplane. Really cool.

Helicopter - Ever see a maple seed fall? Spinning on one wing is one method of helicopter recovery. Another is to have rotors deploy at ejection, causing the whole rocket to rotate.

Q: What about rocket clubs?
The National Association of Rocketry (NAR) is America's model rocket organization. Their site can be reached from my links page, and from there you can find a local chapter near you. Flying with a club is a great way to learn from others' experience. The NAR also offers insurance for rocketry activities. Sometimes the deciding factor on whether you can fly in some areas (a public park, for instance) is whether or not you have this insurance. On top of that, you receive the NAR rocketry magazine, full of useful tips, plans, and articles. NAR also offers it's Technical Services division, called NARTS. This is where you can get anything from rocket designs to wind tunnel plans to baseball caps. Check out their site, it's worth it!
Another organization devoted strictly to high power rocketry (HPR) is the Tripoli Rocket Association (TRA). Since this is Q&A for beginners, I'll mention that they're there, and not go into HPR. You can find a link to TRA from Rocketry Online.
A new organization is just starting out, the Independent Association of Rocketry (IAR). They are very new, and not yet completely organized. They're worth checking into. [years later, I take this back. they've gone nowhere.]

Q: Can you recommend a book or something to learn more?
Some very good books:

The Handbook of Model Rocketry by G. Harry Stine.
Model Rocket Design and Construction by Tim Van Milligan.
The Art of Scale Rocketry by Peter Alway. [out of print]

At least the first two can be found in your local library, NARTS also offers these books and more for sale. See my links page for Saturn Press, they have the entire collection of Peter Always' rocket books. There's also a link to Apogee Components, where you can find Tim Van Milligan's books. Apogee has a complete line of educational rocketry publications, including 69 Science Fair Projects with Model Rockets: Aeronautics.
The Rocketry Online webpage has all kinds of links to good sites on the web related to rocketry. See my links page for a link to them.
The Rec.Models.Rockets (RMR) newsgroup is a vast source of experience. I've always found the folks there to be willing to answer questions without talking down at you. A great group of people.
The RMR FAQ (frequently asked questions) file will answer many questions you may have. I keep a copy of this handy by my workbench, because it's that useful.

Q: Couldn't I save money by making my own rocket engines?
No. When you factor in the cost of the chemicals, equipment you'd need, and materials, the store bought motors are actually a pretty good deal. Also consider that a home-made motor is more likely to malfunction, which could destroy your rocket or, worse yet, hurt someone. The commercial motors are reliable and consistant performers, and you'd have to make literally hundreds of motors yourself to even come close to that kind of reliability.
Now let's talk about safety. It's dangerous to deal with some of these chemicals unless you know what you are doing. Even among experienced rocketeers, there is a surprising amount of 'lore' and common knowledge that is just plain wrong. It's not safe to try to make your own motors, please don't do it.
If you absolutely have to make homemade motors, check out the RMR FAQ (links page) where there is information about a course in making rocket motors. The Rec.Pyrotechnics newsgroup has folks that can help too.
Simply put, Model Rocketry means using commercially available motors. To save money on these, you can mail order them (or order from companies on the internet), or buy them in bulk packs at your local store.

Q: I remember these cool rockets I saw as a kid. Are the old companies still around?
Estes is still with us. They absorbed Centuri a while back, and once in a while release an old Centuri design. There are many small companies producing quality rocket kits today, check the Rocketry Online website for links.

Q: I can't believe that white glue is strong enough for rockets. Shouldn't I use model glue or epoxy?
For gluing plastic to plastic, model airplane glue is best. There are some times and places where epoxy is handy. But for Estes kits, white or yellow glue is king (yellow is superior). A bond you make between the cardboard body and the balsa or cardstock fin will be so strong that the tube itself will tear before the glue joint breaks. Two secrets to getting even stronger joints; lightly sand the body tube to remove the glasine coating (the glossy stuff), and use the double glue method. The way to double glue is to apply a small amount to the pieces to be joined and press them together. Pull them back apart, and let the glue dry for a few minutes. Apply a little more glue, then join like normal. This technique results in super strong bonds that will easily handle A-D engines. I've heard of rockets built with just yellow glue that fly on G motors. [I've flown H motors this way.]

Q: It goes up, it comes down. What's next?
If you look at rocketry webpages out there, you will find a hundred people experiencing rocketry in a hundred ways. I mentioned in passing cluster rockets, staging, scratchbuilding, high power rocketry, scale modeling, gliders, and more. I didn't mention payloads, or contests, or arial photography, or altitude records, or... The list just goes on and on, and you can decide what suits you best.

Do it safely, and have fun!

Posted by Ted at 05:18 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Rocketry Rocketry Resources

October 19, 2003

Tour de Munuviana

When I do Rocketing Around the Blogosphere, I tend to link non-Munuvians. Thanks to Victor (again!) for the inspiration, I'll start doing an occasional post like this that is mainly, but not necessarily exclusively, Munuvian.

First things first, but not necessarily in that order. We've got trolls! Mr. Green had the first run-in with one JadeGold and soon many Munuvians were involved. Rather than try to make sense of the running battle, I'll just link to a few and let you sort it out for yourself. Lots of non-Munuvians on the link list at Heathers place too. They've also set up the Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists, complete with graphics supplied by Jennifer and Cherry. Woot! (can a privileged capitalist say that?)

Later, Mookie got her own troll. I know the gentleman (notice I didn't say 'boy') in question, and I am not happy.

In other MookieNews, there are recent reports of not just one, but two many other Mookies out there! Be afraid. Also, just to embarrass her (which is one of my favorite parental perks), I'll announce now that although she was born in Landstuhl, Germany, Mookie was concieved in Luxembourg.

Victor attended the Tour of Hope ceremony this weekend. He posted some excellent pictures as well. If you haven't already, do go see.

Our resident Rat-meister also set up an informal wagering system for us Munuvian hockey fans. Losers must display the logo of the winner's team for a day.

Uber-traveler Lady H continues her globetrotting ways. She's in Atlanta, was there time or inclination to set up a visit with Daniel?

Pixy gets into an analysis of Cowboy Bebop, which is a famous Anime series. I always thought 'anime' was Japanese for 'crappy cartoon', but my opinion has changed some in the last year. I've seen a couple series where the story was so good that you forgot the quirks of Japanese animation. Unfortunately, I've also seen popular series (Trigun comes to mind) where my original opinion is just reinforced.

Nobody ever answered my question. What's the difference between Manga and Anime?

Susie gets my vote for best blog banner out there! She also thinks Daniel is adorable. Jennifer agrees, but says she knew it first.

Jen also claims that there is in fact water in Iowa. Sorry dear, that's not water, it's creamed corn.

Tuning Spork is still out there, because he leaves comments. But he's not posting much. My guess is it's the combination of the Cubs losing, beautiful fall weather, and idiotarians. Guess he picked the wrong day to quit smoking, eh?

Over at Chez Cheese, LeeAnn blogs about panty liners and the importance of accuracy. For some reason, I kept hearing those scenes from Memphis Belle in the background... "Steady... steady... right in the pickle barrel!" Make sure you read the comments, but don't touch the cars or you might set off the alarms.

Mmmmm. Carrot cake, courtesy of the official mascot of the Alliance.

Stevie never ceases to amaze me.

Anger Management's Don posted this link about the unedited communications when man landed on the moon. Priceless.

Jim, being the last kid picked when we chose up teams, gets this single solitary mention. Mainly because otherwise he'll get mad and take his blog home. Actually, it's just because I'm tired of all this linking. You're up at the top next time guys - for a small financial consideration - because I am part the Gold Enclave of Privileged Capitalists.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Baseball History 2

Before 'the hated one' in Chicago, even before Buckner, there was a goof so outrageous that the others pale in comparison.

Merkle's Boner

It happened in September of 1908, in NY City. The Cubs were facing the Giants with the pennant on the line. Each and every game was a must-win situation. The score was tied 1-1, in the bottom of the 9th, the Giants had runners on the corners with two outs.

Fred Merkle, a 19 year-old rookie, was the runner on first. The next batter lined a single. The runner at third came home. It appeared to be a Giants victory, they had taken the lead for the pennant, the cheering fans swarmed the field. Merkle looked toward home plate and saw his teammate cross the plate. Merkle, startled as the crowd swarmed out of the bleachers onto the field, stopped. Thinking the game was over, Merkle sprinted off the field. But, he had forgotten an important rule of baseball, he did not go touch second. The Cubs retrieved the ball, went and touched second.

The game was declared at tie because order could not be restored because the fans could not be removed from the field. The two teams went on to finish the season in a dead tie for the pennant. They had to play a one-game playoff. The Cubs won and went to the World Series. One loss, the loss, that day knocked the Giants out.

Merkle was never forgiven by the NY fans for that blunder. He went on to have a solid career of 14 years and a lifetime average of 273. However, everywhere he went he always was reminded by fans of his terrible mistake on that day of his rookie season. A mistake that will always be called Merkle's Boner.

Didjaknow: The ball that Bill Buckner muffed was hit by Mets batter Mookie Wilson. Our Mookie was indirectly named for him.

Posted by Ted at 08:53 AM | Comments (5)
Category: History

Positive ID

You guys are awesome! Victor commented about being called ‘sir’ the very first time, at the Bull and Finch in Boston (the television show ‘Cheers’ was based on this bar, but it really didn’t look anything like it). Truly inspirational, and it reminds me of another story. Like the druid tale, it meanders a bit, so once again I ask your indulgence...

In 1978, the legal drinking age in North Dakota was 18. The legal drinking age in Minnesota was 21. This wasn’t a problem as long as I stayed on my side of the state line. It became a problem because the best bars were on the Minnesota side of the line. In Grand Forks, North Dakota you had the Mr. Spud disco and that was about it. In East Grand Forks, Minnesota there were several nicer non-disco places to drink and meet girls. ‘Nicer’ is a relative term here, because it's not the cultural center of the universe. The NoDaks weren’t too fond of us basers either.

I was an Air Force Security Policeman, and as the old military saying goes, “young, dumb, and full of cum”. Definite emphasis on ‘dumb’, although the others certainly applied. Knowing that I’d get carded across the river, I needed some form of identification that would pass muster. I don’t remember exactly when I got the idea, but less than a minute’s work with an x-acto knife, and the date of birth on my California drivers license changed from 1959 to 1956. Score!

I used my altered license as ID for almost four years without problem, even having to hand it over to a Canadian policeman once when pulled over for speeding in Manitoba. One night my best friend and I went to buy beer, and out of habit I used my drivers license when carded. Things quickly went to hell when the world’s most observant 7-11 clerk detected my handiwork and called the cops. The true bitch of it was that I was 22 by this time and didn’t even think about the license anymore.

Finally the policeman arrived, checked out the license, and invited me to get into his car. He asked me if I worked at the base (as if the haircut didn’t give it away). “Yeah,” I replied.

“What do you do at the base?”

Head hanging low, “I’m a cop.”

“Do you know Sgt. Thomas?”

I was a little puzzled by this question, but I admitted that yes, I knew Sgt. Thomas.

“So what do you think he’d say about this?”

Huh? Why would Sgt. Thomas care at all... and it dawned on me that his Sgt. Thomas isn’t the same Sgt. Thomas I knew. Something like one in three people at the base were cops of one type or another, and Thomas isn’t an uncommon name. My answer was obvious.

“He would be very disappointed, officer.”

So I got a stern talking to, and he confiscated my drivers license. That wasn’t a major problem, because I was of legal age and my military ID sufficed. In other words, I didn’t bother to get another license for about 6 months. Then I got orders to report to Mississippi for computer school. Driving across country (in the short direction) without a license wouldn’t do, so I went down and applied for a new North Dakota license. They got a kick out of California boy missing every ‘winter’ question on the test, but I did well enough to pass. Piece of paper in hand, the new license would be coming in the mail in a week or so.

Except it didn’t. I was ok for the trip because of my DMV paper, and I figured that the license was in the mail somewhere catching up to my change of address. One day I got a notice telling me that I could stop by the DMV to get my picture taken, but the appointment was for about a week previous. I wrote back and explained that I was in Mississippi and couldn’t come in for a picture. They sent back a nice letter apologizing for the short notice last time and scheduled me for another picture appointment, this time about a month ahead. It was comical. Once again I wrote back and informed them that I wasn’t going to return to North Dakota. Since I’d already paid for my license, I asked them to refund my money and I’d go ahead and get a Mississippi license.

Two weeks later I got my North Dakota license, and man it was a beauty! Heavily laminated (tamper-proof), there was big bold lettering on the front where the picture would normally be that said ‘VALID WITHOUT PHOTO OR SIGNATURE”. The back had a big banner stating “90 Day Temporary License”, which wasn’t entirely accurate. North Dakota law says that military personnel can use a temporary license until they return to the state to get their permanent version.

I used my 90-day temporary license (without photo or signature) for nine years as valid ID. Most people would do a double-take, but accept it, and very occasionally I would be asked for a second ID, which is when I would produce my military ID card. It took a while to get my new Maryland license when I got out of the military because I no longer had a military ID, and the only things I could show was my North Dakota license and my European drivers license, neither of which had photo or signature. Both valid and perfectly good while managing to be utterly worthless as positive ID.

Back to the Bull and Finch. We were in Boston for a week of training, and we wanted to do some sightseeing, including the ‘Cheers’ bar. When we tried to get in, the bouncer wouldn’t let me enter because I didn’t have a picture on my license, and he wouldn’t accept our Military ID’s as valid. He wanted to see drivers licenses and that was all he’d take (time to make the donuts). We finally raised so much hell at the entrance that nobody could get in or out and they threatened to call the cops. I wanted that too, until the manager came out and pulled the bouncer’s head out of his ass.

The bar was a huge letdown. Sgt. Thomas would have been very disappointed.

Posted by Ted at 08:46 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Boring Stories

October 18, 2003

Baseball History 1

In honor of the World Series, I'm going to do a post a day about Baseball History. First up is the story of one of the greatest pitching displays in Series history.

1905 - New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Athletics.

Game 1: Giants: 3, A's: 0, Christie Mathewson (W)
Game 2: A's: 3, Giants: 0, 'Chief' Bender (W)
Game 3: Giants: 9, A's: 0, Christie Mathewson (W)
Game 4: Giants: 1, A's: 0, 'Iron Joe' McGinnity (W)
Game 5: Giants: 2, A's: 0, Christie Mathewson (W)

Each game was a shutout, with Christie Mathewson winning three times. In the last game he outdueled 'Chief' Bender (nicknamed because he was a member of the Chippewa tribe) who had pitched the shutout victory in Game 2 for the A's.

Christie Mathewson was one of the original five players to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, along with Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and Honus Wagner.

Didjaknow: Chief Bender is also in the Hall of Fame, and is credited with inventing the slider.

Posted by Ted at 05:29 PM | Comments (3)
Category: History

Ripple Fire

Jen's comment on this got me to thinking about age. I don't know about you, but the only birthdays I cared about were:
18 - legal to drink in some states.
21 - legal to drink everywhere.
25 - auto insurance went down.
30 - officially no longer a 'kid'.
Other than that, I really didn't care. Now here are some milestones that bugged me a little:
First time I saw a Playboy playmate younger than me.
First time I saw a Playboy playmate younger than my little brother.
First time I saw a Playboy playmate younger than the year I graduated high school.
Being called 'Sir' for the first time. This one was due to my military rank and a young MP. I was a sergeant and too damn young to be a 'Sir'!

In the NHL, the Phoenix Coyotes have completely revamped their uniforms, scrapping the old "peyote-dog" (my description, but I loved it) for a cleaner and more traditional look. I have to admit I like the new ones better, and their 'evolution video' is way cool. Meanwhile, both the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild introduced new 'third' logos and jerseys this year. Minnesota also moved more towards the traditional while Dallas tries to become Texas' team.

You know what just occurred to me? When I think about vintage television, I picture old black&white shows, but I talked about 'vintage television' and was referencing a show from 1979! Hell, I was already in the military in 1979. Must be the mind going...

The song 'I Love You More Today (Than Yesterday)' was sung by Spiral Staircase, a classic one-hit wonder. I know this because my wife told me so last night. It had been bugging her after hearing it on the radio.

Not to sound obsessive or anything, but Jennifer is a punk. She only slightly amends my opinion by inviting everyone to spend the day on her boat.

Mookie and Mom are getting ready for work. Mookie just popped downstairs to tell me she noticed that Jethro Tull's first compilation CD is titled 'M.U. The Best of Jethro Tull'. I'm a big Tull fan. One of the best concerts I've ever seen was Tull in Germany, in a smallish hall. Just me and a few thousand very mellow friends. I was one of the youngest people there.

I'm wearing a baseball cap because I had to go out back and hush the dogs up. It's too early to be barking, which has nothing to do with the hat, but I have a world-class case of bed-head going on.

Lots to do, enjoy the day!

Posted by Ted at 08:16 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

October 17, 2003

Tweaking again

I've been moving links off the main page and putting them here, which works well for me. Unfortunately, links not on the main page are missed by Technorati, so I've put most of them back at the bottom of the right hand column.

I'll be fiddling with it over the weekend I'm sure.

My Sharks logo is up too.

Posted by Ted at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Vintage Television

Anyone remember Harry Broderick?

Here's a hint:

Once upon a time, a junkman had a dream...

Ringing any bells? The name of the show was Salvage 1, starring Andy Griffith. It ran for 20 episodes in 1979, and was among the worst crap ever broadcast or the most brilliant and inspirational programming - depending on who you talk to.

In it, Andy... uh, Harry rounded up a team of experts and built his own rocketship. He was a junkman, and the moon was full of stuff that NASA had abandoned. The whole tone of the show was that ordinary people could do extraordinary things and like the original Star Trek, the technology was only a background to the 'people' stories being told.

Wonderful pilot movie. The series was pure crap, and I never missed a single forgettable episode. Am I the only one who remembers this?

Y'all were probably watching Three's Company or Dukes of Hazzard.

Posted by Ted at 01:34 PM | Comments (13)
Category: Cult Flicks

I still play with Lego

But this guy plays a lot better than I do.

Cool pointer courtesy of Spacecraft.

Posted by Ted at 11:16 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

Rocket Jones' Great Random Google Junket

Daniel, who works with dangerous substances and thinks of Spinal Tap (connection? possibly.) grooved four straight fastballs down the middle with:
apodyopsis, hypnerotomachia, callipygian, colpocoquette

Can you tell I stayed up last night to watch the Sox implode?

Also in the on-deck circle, we have:
Susie, who uses way too much pine-tar, chipped in with Protagonist.
Jennifer suggested Horsepower while pulling on her batting glove (make sure the logo shows or you don't get the endorsement check).
Stevie tossed out Pixilated, underhand. The crowd booed.
And StMack confused the umpire by using the word Discursive while delivering the lineup cards.

But wait, there's more!
Victor, who is the one man in this world that Don Zimmer is afraid of, suggested Nomad.
It's such a nice day that Jennifer decided to play two! Wondrous.
Susie is a closet Pirates fan, but her practicallity gets in the way. She turned the double play and gave us Remuneration.
Serenity heard about cricket bats and thought that was a wonderful idea, so she now carries a paooki bat. Her battle cry is Tergiversation!

Batter up!

apodyopsis + hypnerotomachia
Daniel, my friend, you have issues. Cherish them. This combination brings up a whole heap o’ hits (ok, five total) mostly relating to rare words.

The first on the list is this site, containing these gems (among others not related to our words):

apodyopsis (AP-oh-dy-AHP-sis) - the act of mentally undressing someone.
hypnerotomachia (HIP-nur-oh-tuh-MAK-ee-uh) - the struggle between sleep and sexual desire.

I mention in passing that the following does not apply to me, since according to my wife, I have no butt.

callipygian (KAL-i-PIJ-ee-in) - having well-formed buttocks.

Our next stop bills itself as Language and Linguistics Notebook, and there’s some pretty fun and interesting things here. If they’re not fun and interesting to you, it’s because you’re not fully committed to dorkdom.

Third on the list is this, which contains semi-coherent scribblings about balsa wood. Obviously a tree-hugger. The last two sites are just poor imitations of the first two.

Now, Daniel also suggested callipygian and colpocoquette. I mentioned callipygian above, and my alleged lack of same. Here’s what the same site had to say about colpocoquette:

colpocoquette (KAHL-puh-koh-KET) - woman who knows she has an attractive bosom and makes good use of its allure.

I am a gentleman (despite recent evidence) so I won’t say anything. But please feel free to leave your funny remarks in the comments. I’d like to hear them.

Protagonist + horsepower
The first site was a no-page-found. The second was interesting, I think. It’s a review of an album, I think. A passage to illustrate:

From here, the protagonist travels a vast emotional tundra to humility, working through narcissism ("I Felt My Size"), and toward acceptance ("I Felt Your Shape"), even if that involves a (romantic) loss so painful it could drive you to off yourself.

Down the list a ways is this automotive discussion board about the movie ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’ and one of it’s muscle car stars, the ’67 Shelby Mustang. Some beautiful pictures here, besides the gearhead talk.

Wow. Author Mark Leyner’s book Tetherballs of Bougainville from Amazon. Is this a must-read? Judge for yourself (review paraphrased):

Young Leyner-- a fictionalized 13-year-old version of himself --must watch the state of New Jersey execute his PCP-addled father; lose his virginity in a drunken, drugged revel with the comely warden; and write a screenplay about these things, all within the space of a day.

Pixilated + Discursive
A list of abstracts for a Tourism and the Media Conference. Not a complete waste of time to skim through it, but close.

We also find a thesis for the Cultural Studies Postgraduate Program by Daniel Marshall, who examines… aw hell, read it for yourself:

This thesis will examine the deployment of the "boy" as an erotic fiction in twentieth century Western modernity. Using a broadly Foucauldian framework, it will construct a genealogical inquiry into modern cultural intersections between discourses of male homosexuality and paedophilia as centred on constructions of the "boy."

There’s lots more. Lots more. While you read, I’m going to get an aspirin. I’ll take my time, since there’s lots more to read. Actually there isn’t, but it just bludgeons you with scholarly vocabulary and structure, so it seems like there’s more. Lots more.

Another essay. Think they'd be upset to learn that they show up after the homo-boy thesis on Google?

Hey, a blog archive! Here’s his home page.

Nomad + wondrous
Culture. First up is an article about the Nomad theater (in Boulder, Colorado) and their production of "Darwin in the Dreamtime". Skimming the review, it sounds like moonbat feelgood bullshit. But where, you may ask, is the wondrous part? Read on.

Throughout the performance, the wondrous Ash Dargan, Australian didgeridoo master, weaves an entrancing sound score; his occasional appearance onstage as a spirit guide is no less arresting.

Graphic Novels from Japan. Manga. I’ve heard the term, but don’t really know what it is beyond ‘cartoon’. Any help?

Here we have the homepage of His Holiness the Seventeenth Gyalwa Karmapa, who was born on the eighth day of the fifth Tibetan month in the year of the Wood Ox (June 26, 1985 using the Western calendar) in Lhathok, located in the nomad community of Bakor in eastern Tibet.

His father’s name is Karma. Talk about predestination, eh?

Lots and lots of hits about equal pay for everyone, with a few scattered here and there about executive salaries or industry averages. Susie, are we supposed to read something into this? I think it's a plea for help that your beloved Pirates have among the smallest payrolls in baseball. How do you feel about that?

Tergiversation + remuneration
Ahhhh, much better. First up is a blog: Lies, damned lies, and equivocation. Good stuff.

Here’s the first of a few sites about Thomas Paine.

And the Council of Trent was the 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic church, was held at Trent in northern Italy between 1545 and 1563. It marked a major turning point in the efforts of the Catholic church to respond to the challenge of the Protestant Reformation and formed a key part of the Counter-Reformation.

Finally, another blog, but it looks to be a deader. About living in Paris. Actually, it appears to be basically one long bitch about living in Paris, and dealing with Parisians, which Paris would be crawling with by definition. I’ve visited France but not Paris, and it wasn’t pleasant, so I can only assume that the poor blogger finally gave in to despair and jumped out a window. I hope it was a high window, and that he made a huge splat that some Frenchman had to clean up. Just to piss ‘em off.

I’m going to save the following for the next Google Junket.

Stevie: fingerling, curettage, pusillanimous, zucchini

Denita TwoDragons: steatopygian, stentorious, propitious, osteomalacia, tintinnabulation, xeriscape

Heather: griffin, kinesthetic, barnacle

Ooooo, three intelligent ladies together… drift off into standard male fantasy number 4... don't worry, you're all still dressed. I am a gentleman ya know.

Posted by Ted at 08:01 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Google Junket

Drop the ball

The Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Egypt have all made tiny moves towards a more democratic method of government.

Such steps are encouraging in a region for the most part run by dictators who keep their people under tight control. But the Middle East has seen encouraging signs before that did not develop into democratic reform, and there's reason to believe the most recent events also may only offer false hope.

Except that this time there is one major difference. Nothing says "I'm serious about this" quite like thoroughly kicking the ass of the neighborhood bully, and then sticking around and challenging all-comers to bring it on. For all the whining and breast-beating going on, one thing remains certain - the United States is again respected. And that means people listen to what we have to say.

I'm hopeful, but wary. The US scored similar and significant victories in South and Central America in the 80's and 90's as many countries established democratic governments. Unfortunately, a lot of those gains have been squandered, at least partially due to US neglect of the region. Democracy is robust, and the situation is complex and fluid as both sides try to gain the upper hand, often using the same democratic institutions at hand. Venezuela is a perfect example of this, as pro-Castro president Chavez fights in the courts and polls to remain in power even as he tries to install a socialist regime.

We need to stay involved in the Middle East. We need to get reinvolved in the Americas. If we're going to lead the way towards the form of government that we believe is best for everyone (in the capitalist sense), then we can't afford to drop the ball again.

Posted by Ted at 07:35 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Politics

October 16, 2003

American Stonehenge

Professor Hall left a comment in my druid story about a 1/3 scale model of Stonehenge at the University of Missouri at Rolla.

Further digging shows that the UM-Rolla site is entirely appropriate as it is also home of the Rock Mechanics & Explosives Research Center, where they do experimental work with high pressure water jets used to cut stone. Their ROTC detachment is nicknamed the Stonehenge Battalion. UMR was also the site of the first nuclear reactor in the state of Missouri.

And then I found this page - Stonehenge Clones and Metaphorms - which covers North America only. Among the nifty links are the UMR model, Nebraska's Carhenge, Texas' Stonehenge II and Cadillac Ranch (the link wasn't working when I tried it). If you like surfing for the unusual, then these links are fun and interesting.

Posted by Ted at 08:52 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links


One of my favorite groups is The Rainmakers. Today I found an interview with their main singer/songwriter Bob Walkenhorst. You really should give 'em a listen.

Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 02:29 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Airport Security

First it was box-cutters, knitting needles and nail clippers. Now it's Teddy Bears, pillows, and ping-pong balls. Twice now in two days I've heard someone mention that we'll all be flying naked before long, maybe wrapped up in colored tamper-proof security saran wrap to prove who's gone through the mandatory pre-boarding body cavity search.

Security Hostess: Coach on the left, First Class on the right.

Passenger: What's the difference?

Security Hostess: Vaseline.

Posted by Ted at 09:20 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Balsa wood

Everyone's seen it, a piece of incredibly lightweight balsa wood, maybe at a craft store or hobby shop or perhaps in one of those hand-tossed gliders or rubberband powered planes we played with as kids.

But what do you know about it?

The small country of Ecquador on the western coast of South America is the primary source of model grade balsa in the world. The scientific name for balsa wood is ochroma lagopus. The word balsa itself is Spanish meaning raft, in reference to its excellent floatation qualities.

There is no such thing as entire forests of balsa trees. They grow singly or in very small, widely scattered groups in the jungle. For hundreds of years, balsa was actually considered a weed tree. Each tree produces thousands of seeds which are scattered by the wind. Wherever there is an opening in the jungle canopy, made either by a farmer or by another tree dying, balsa will spring up as thick as grass. A farmer is often hard put to keep his food plot clear of balsa.

Balsa trees grow very rapidly (like all pesky weeds). Six months after germination, the tree is about 1-1/2 inches in diameter and 10 - 12 feet tall. In 6 to 10 years the tree is ready for cutting, having reached a height of 60 to 90 feet tall and a diameter of 12 to 45 inches. The basla leaf is similar in shape to a grape leaf, only a lot bigger. When the tree is young, these leaves measure a much as four feet across. They become progressivly smaller as the tree grows older, until they are about 8 - 10 inches across.

Nature evidently designed the balsa tree to be a "nurse tree" which would protect the slower-growing species of trees from the scorching jungle sun during their critical early years. For instance, in an area of the jungle that has been ravaged by a tropical storm or other natural disaster, the balsa trees will quickly sprout and begin to shoot up to impressive heights in a very short time. Their fast growth, and the extra large leaves they have in their early years, provide shade to the young seedlings of the slower-growing forest giants. By the time the seedlings are established enough to take care of themselves, the balsa tree is beginning to die.

The secret to balsa wood's lightness can only be seen with a microscope. The cells are big and very thin walled, so that the ratio of solid matter to open space is as small as possible. Most woods have gobs of heavy, plastic-like cement, called lignin, holding the cells together. In balsa, lignin is at a minimum. Only about 40% of the volume of a piece of balsa is solid substance. To give a balsa tree the strength it needs to stand in the jungle, nature pumps each balsa cell full of water until they become rigid - like a car tire full of air.

Most people are surprised to hear that botanically, balsa wood is only about the third or fourth lightest wood in the world. However, all the woods which are lighter than balsa are terribly weak and unsuitable for any practical use. Balsa wood is often considered the strongest wood for its weight in the world. Pound for pound it is stronger in some respects than pine, hickory, or even oak.

(excerpted from An Introduction to Balsa Wood)

Posted by Ted at 06:55 AM | Comments (8)
Category: SciTech

Silver Lining

No matter who you root for (or against), this year's baseball playoffs are everything that sports promises to fans. Rivalry, controversy, close series, joy, despair, spectacular plays and excrutiating flubs.

One of the best in a long long time.

Posted by Ted at 06:49 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

October 15, 2003

Lose, don't excuse

At the risk of ticking off several people that I respect highly, I'd like to make the following statement.


If it makes you feel better to blame some poor guy because on one play he went after a foul ball (like that never ever happens), and your team blew it big time, then knock yourselves out. But you're overreacting like toddlers throwing a temper tantrum.

The luckiest man in the world today is the Cubs shortstop, who committed an error that nobody seems to remember...

Posted by Ted at 07:04 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs


Back in July I wrote about a good day spent with my friend John and his students. These were kids in summer school, enjoying a program developed by John to expose them to various types of technology including robotics, computer sciences and aeronautics.

John emailed me today. He got a state educational award for his program! This guy is way too modest, and he's a sterling example of what teachers should aspire to. His summer staff (four other teachers) are all the same way.

Way to go John and team!!!!!

The text of his award is in the extended entry.

T.C. Williams High School Teacher John Nunn was recently honored by
the Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition (VMSC) for his
Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Science program (TEMS). The
VMSC recognizes schools and individuals with a "Programs that Work"
award for initiatives that change the levels of success that Virginia
students reach in mathematics and science. The "Programs that Work"
award included a reception and buffet at Governor Mark Warner's mansion
in Richmond, Va., on October 13, and a $300 honorarium.
"We are delighted and extremely proud of Mr. Nunn and his
accomplishments with the TEMS program," said ACPS Superintendent Rebecca
L. Perry. "It is a huge tribute when the Governor commends you and
recognizes your achievements on the state level. We are very honored to
have a teacher of this caliber serving the students of ACPS."
The TEMS program was created four years ago to enhance minority
students' performance in math and science to narrow and ultimately close
the achievement gap. As the program coordinator, Nunn has seen the
summer program for 7th to 9th graders grow exponentially along with the
curriculum. Students in the TEMS program learn math and science through
hands-on projects in robotics, engineering, web page building, field
trips, and job shadowing. The TEMS program has been featured nationally
by the National Society of Black Engineers.

Posted by Ted at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

What goes up... (updated)

Successful manned launch for China. Now the next step is getting Taikonaut Lt. Col. Yang Liwei home safely.

"I will not disappoint the motherland," Sina.com, the country's leading Web site, quoted him as saying. "I will complete each movement with total concentration. And I will gain honor for the People's Liberation Army and for the Chinese nation."

Why is it that these Communists always have to sound like freakin' robots? How about a little emotion? Ya did good, go ahead and show it.

Nice photo of the launch here.

Update: More cool photos here, including shots of the Chinese version of 'Cape Canaveral' and a nice profile drawing of the rocket itself.

And from the Encyclopedia Aeronautica, a page chock full o' information and links about the Shenzhou-5.

Final Update: He landed safe and sound, 3 miles from the targeted point (according to Chinese officials). China, like Russia, returns it's capsules to land instead of at sea like the US.

Posted by Ted at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Rocket Jones’ Great Random Google Junket

We’ve got a full roster of interesting words to work with this time, and a full bench of reserves for the next go-round.

Starting lineup:
Vaseline – from Tuning Spork
Vainglory – from Susie
Hysterisis – from Pixy Misa
Strop – from Victor
Supernumerary Jennifer
Aberrant Serenity

vaseline + vainglory
We’re seeing lots of dictionary word lists, but the second hit for this combination is a list of unclaimed domain names. Inconceivably, both Vaseline.com and Vainglory.com are available.

The second page of hits turned up this poetry and writings. Farther down the page both words are used sensibly. I like how it starts out though, as if talking to a priest in the confessional:

Bless me Father
for I have sinned
And it was so much fun
I might do it again!

vainglory + hysterisis
Google suggested the alternate spelling hysteresis, and the only hit for the original was my site for the last Google Junket. Using the new spelling generated three hits, the first from a German university with the page titled “C. Geertz and Twentieth Century Chinese Cultural Discourse”. Written in english no less.

Hit number two is a page from the Morgan Stanley brokerage house, a Global Economic Forum. Pretty depressing reading, these folks need some prozac or a swift kick in the ass. According to them, we might as well line up now to jump out the window or lay down in front of a bus.

From the third and final hit:
"This is a fragment of a startling drama, sadly not unique, in the life of a great scientist who dared to stand against the Atomists of this century. Atomism is a belief system which holds that by describing the particle composition of material an explanation is thereby produced not only of universal physicality but of all reality. It would reduce thought itself to contingent atomic reactions."

Uh huh. Pass the prozac swift kick please, it’s some kind of epidemic of doom and gloom all of a sudden.

hysteresis + strop
An evaluation of the fibre rope properties for offshore mooring in pdf format. Undoubtably useful to someone, but it’s anti-exciting to me.

There are several more hits, all having the same basic premise – materials engineering. Mildly interesting is that the word strop also means a bight of rope. I didn't know that.

strop + supernumerary
Grand Slam! First up is a portion of David’s Glossary of Theatre Terms. Second on the hit list is the Poet’s Corner, with an introduction to John Masefield’s Dauber, including another glossary, this time of nautical terms used in the poem. Hmmmm... Polydactyl Facts seems to be about cats with extra toes, including one extraordinary example of a kitty with 27 total toes. Is this common? I’d never heard of it. The last page listed is another poem, with the confusing title of “Untitled Birthday Greeting”.

supernumerary + aberrant
Five of the first seven hits relate to cancer of various kinds. The sixth has something to do with dentistry, and the seventh talks about people with extra breast(s). No links.

aberrant + vaseline
This completes the circle, and I was kinda dreading it, but I shouldn’t have worried, because most of what came up was more medical stuff. Apparently Vaseline is some sort of wonder substance. One interesting site is this page of ramblings by the guitarist of a band. And we’ve got a trend going here, with the final link being from IndyMedia. Clinton and Vaseline, and Dean and Aberrant, in one article. Honest!

Ok, so this wasn't the most exciting Junket ever, but at least we didn't have fans reaching in and grabbing letters.

Next time we have several words from Daniel, who was trying to impress me with his vocabulary. Actually I am impressed.


Susie chipped in with Protagonist.
Jennifer suggests Horsepower.
Stevie tosses out Pixilated (I think she was dreaming about Justin Timberlake naked. Pixilation is exactly what I'd want in my dream).
And StMack antes up with Discursive.

Should be fun! Thanks for the suggestions, keep ‘em coming.

Posted by Ted at 07:23 AM | Comments (10)
Category: Google Junket

Hey, I recognize that snark

High-profile people doing advertising in Japan.

From the site:
Pander: n. 1. go-between in clandestine amours, procurer; one who ministers to evil designs. 2 v.i. minister (to base passions or evil designs, or person having these)

Japander: n. 1. a western star who uses his or her fame to make large sums of money in a short time by advertising products in Japan that they would probably never use. ~er (see synecure, prostitute) 2. to make an ass of oneself in Japanese media.

Enjoy the weirdness at Japander.com.

Posted by Ted at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

October 14, 2003

Blogroll stuff

The list over on the right column shortened up again. This doesn't mean I no longer read those folks, it means that I go to my links roster to get to them. It's at the top of my links section, titled "All the cool people and places".

Nobody was permanently removed, but two more were added. Welcome to Denita and Eric of Who Tends the Fires, and StMack of Hold the Mayo. Both good reads, and the reason I didn't list them before is because... uh... giant spiders were living under my keyboard. Yep.

Posted by Ted at 08:15 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

More skeletons from Bill's closet

Is anybody really surprised?


Bill tried a career in acting after losing out in his Village People audition. A quote from Variety: "Hey, I already had the uniform."

Jennifer works her magic once again.

Posted by Ted at 01:01 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Jeff at Alphecca talks about lists and who keeps them. I’m firmly in the list-making camp, but only because my memory is so lousy. I’d hate to forget someone on my ‘must bite’ list if I ever get rabies.

Annika shares my shame. They should change the Raiders motto from “Pride and Poise” to “Every time the Raiders play, the baby Jesus cries”.

Navarre is excited about the Army’s new 12 gauge shotgun that mounts under the M4 carbine. Me too! I used to carry the M203 grenade launcher and although it’s comforting to carry a 40mm round full of double-ought buckshot, the M203 was a single shot weapon. Besides, he quotes Army of Darkness, so bonus points in my book!

The Meatriarch gives valid advice to guys taking a leak for urinalysis testing. “Clink” is bad.

Dana writes about this years hot new Christmas toys. My favorite:

"Politically-Correct Crayons - New set of crayons assures that your child will never offend a classmate with their drawings. Crayola has removed any color that, when used to draw a bodily feature, might cause emotional hurt or discomfort to minorities. Out are brown (Latinos), black (African-Americans), red (native Americans), yellow (Asians), orange (Middle Easterners), gray (the elderly), green (Martians), blue (Smurfs), and purple (one-eyed, one-horned, flying people eaters). The boxes of white crayons will sell for the same price as the regular, racist crayons."

Publicola discusses a new California law and its impact. The inability to consider consequences by some lawmakers is truly frightening.

"The law officially defines guns lacking these features as 'unsafe guns.' As a result, nearly every single handgun used by California law enforcement officers will be officially defined as an 'unsafe handgun,' a notion certain to be exploited in lawsuits involving police use of firearms.'
In short, California sheriffs and police chiefs must now choose between issuing mechanically unreliable guns to their officers or issuing guns deemed legally 'unsafe'. "

SilverBlue has posted a hilarious cartoon!

Over at USS Clueless, Den Beste contrasts elections held in America vs most everywhere else. This line cracked me up, but you should read it all:

"We [Americans] have to take candidates as packages, and can't really pick and choose features to create a best-of-breed candidate (i.e. Clinton's charisma combined with Dole's erectile dysfunction)."

Kevin of Wizbang! writes the following about a neat new blog tool:

"Jay Allen's MT Blacklist is a Swiss Army knife for comment and trackback content management as well as a spam killer."

Which is all well and good, but what we need is an American Army knife feature like automatic ‘track down and kill the spammer’.

Did you know that the National Cathedral in Washington D.C. has a stained glass window that includes a piece of moon rock brought back by Apollo 11? I didn’t either, but Chris Hall did. Thanks!

In November, the Discovery Channel will be airing a program called “Rocket Challenge” (I’ll post dates and times when they become available). Well, a grass-roots effort to buy commercial time during the programs to promote hobby rocketry has really taken off (pun intended). The goal was to raise $68,000, and it was done in a matter of weeks. I’m proud to be a rocketeer! Thanks to Rocket Forge and all those who contributed for working hard to promote the hobby.

Blackfive honors fellow blogger Baldilocks for her service to our country. I’d like to add my congratulations and appreciation as well.

Wanna read about a situation where timing is absolutely key? In this case, being a little late to the party is a good thing.

Megan always has intriguing and thought provoking posts.

Jon reports about yet another poll, but this one is interesting in so many ways besides the fact that it was conducted in Baghdad. Get this:

"Almost everyone responded to the pollsters' questions, with some pleading for a chance to give their opinions."

Man, how could we do this to these people?

See what happens when you have a Militia and a Sheriff willing to talk? My God, reasonableness breaks out all over the place!

Remember the story about the German day-care for men who’re out shopping with their wives? Jay of Sophont makes a good point:

"This may not be as silly as it sounds. After all, the last time German men were left without adult supervision, they ended up overrunning Europe."

The Delusional Duck gets a link, just because he’s from Waldorf, Maryland. I lived in Fort Washington long ago, when you took back roads over one-lane bridges through beautiful countryside to get to Waldorf. Now it’s four-lane divided highway through housing developments. Progress can really suck.

Thanks to Velociworld for the pointer, for he has fine taste in unknown celebrities bearing (not baring) impressive chests.

Nic gives with her super secret chili spices. She doesn’t specify, but I bet you could change the character of the chili a bit by using sweet paprika vs the hot stuff. I’m going to have to try her recipe.

Over at Jockularocracy, there’s a pointer to one of those must-have products for today’s world. I can’t wait till it shows up in the ‘As Seen On TV’ store, so I can save on shipping and handling.


Posted by Ted at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Today is my daughter Robyn's 19th Birthday. Have a great one kiddo, and remember what Dad told you; sex is really really painful until you're 30 years old.

Posted by Ted at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Family matters

Jumping the shark

In a late episode of the television show Happy Days, Fonzi jumped a shark tank with his motorcycle on waterskis. This became the standard metaphor for the defining moment at which a series began it's decline into crap.

For some interesting comments on classic (and not-so-classic) television, see Jump The Shark. I especially enjoyed reading and reminiscing about Barney Miller, which is one of my all-time favorites.

I saw this in an article in Entertainment Weekly which has a policy of being accessable online only to subscribers and newstand buyers, so screw 'em - no link for them.

Posted by Ted at 07:27 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

File under 'Cool'

A collection of more than 12 million historic photographs, capturing scenes from the Boer War to the D-Day landings, was published on the Internet Monday.

The images, which date back to the turn of the 20th century, have been captured from the archives of the British Pathe newsreel, a cinema news service that pre-dated television.

Peter Fydler, archive marketing director at Britain's Independent Television News, which owns British Pathe, said the collection should provide a powerful learning aid and a trip down memory lane.

"By using the newsreel archive to create a huge collection of still images, people can have access free of charge to printable pictures which will add to their enjoyment of history," he said.

The collection can be accessed at www.britishpathe.com. This morning the link was very slow, I suspect due to the amount of traffic trying to reach it. The quotes above come from a story accessed via Yahoo! News, which has more details.

Posted by Ted at 07:12 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Silver sickles and Mistletoe

The flea talks about the Salisbury plain, home of Stonehenge, Avebury and other ancient wonders. I’ve had a fascination with this area ever since discovering a copy of Stonehenge Decoded on my uncle’s bookshelf as a youngster. Too young to understand most of it at first, I could nevertheless sense the romantic mystery of the region. Over the years, I read and reread that book countless times, and checked out everything I could find on Stonehenge in the library.

Common knowledge holds that the druids were the builders of Stonehenge, who held blood soaked rituals involving human sacrifice on the site. As usual, common knowledge has it completely wrong.

Stonehenge as we know it is merely the remnants of a construction that evolved over a long period of time, and was added to, subtracted from, and heavily modified by various peoples along the way. Although the best known of the features in that region today, the entire Salisbury plain is positively littered with archeological treasures and mysteries.

As for the druids, they weren’t so much a civilization as a sort of combination civil service and learned class, performing functions as healers, spiritual guides, accountants and judges. There is absolutely no evidence that they performed human sacrifice. Stonehenge also predates the druids by several centuries.

My long interest in Stonehenge led to my ‘fifteen minutes of fame’, and since the story also involves Halloween, it seems a good time to tell the tale. It requires some setup and meanders a little along the way, so bear with me.

In the late seventies, I was stationed in Grand Forks, North Dakota, serving as an Air Force Security Policeman. The Soviet Union had just invaded Afghanistan, and rumors were running wild that Uncle Sam was going to get involved. After work one day a clipboard was handed around and we were told to list our personal information for dog tags. Name, serial number, date of birth, blood type, and the last column listed “BAP” by the first several guys to fill out the roster. Thinking it meant ‘baptized’, I just put the little ditto marks under the ones above and forgot about it.

When the dog tags arrived, I learned that my religion was listed as Baptist (you saw that coming, didn’t you?). Any inaccuracies were to be reported, so I told my Sergeant that they had the religion wrong. I didn’t tell him that I was an idiot. When he asked what religion I wanted listed, I told him ‘nothing’. He asked me to reconsider, his reasoning being that having a religion listed could conceivably be a good thing if worse came to worse. I didn’t agree, but not wanting to argue the point I told the sergeant to put down the first thing that came to my mind - druid.

It became a pretty good conversation starter, being an official druid. Official, as far as Uncle Sam was concerned. Over the next several years, I would get the occasional survey form (this was the early days of ‘diversity awareness’), apparently looking for the druid viewpoint on issues. I assume Devil worshippers, Wiccans, animists and other pagans all got the same mailings. Since I wore the tag, I did some reading and learned a bit about what druidry was and is.

My next assignment was Montgomery, Alabama – heart of the Bible (thumping) Belt. I’d since acquired cross-training into the computer career field and a wife (I still have both as a matter of fact). Working at my desk one October morning, I was listening to a local radio station where the DJ was taking callers, most of who were rabidly anti-Halloween because of its ‘devil worshipping’ connotations.

Finally one caller managed to push my buttons. Among the yadda yadda about paganism and Halloween, he claimed that Great Britain was collectively going to hell because they weren’t Christian (read ‘Baptist’) and that Druids sacrificed humans at Stonehenge.

I called the radio station and talked to the DJ. Not a local boy, he was loving the nuts calling in for their comedic value. I gave him my rebuttal about druids and Stonehenge, and he asked me if I would go on air with it. I agreed and did my thing, staying on the line afterwards at the request of the DJ. Talk about stuff hitting the fan! For the next two hours, I became a most inexpert on-air expert, arguing my points after every four of five callers screaming for my sacrilegious hide. Eventually word got around at work that I was on the radio, and people started coming by to see me. When my commander dropped in, I wrapped it up and got back to work.

I consider myself a lapsed druid nowadays.

Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Boring Stories

October 13, 2003

Last of the Titan II's


Vandenberg AFB News Release

(Vandenberg AFB, OCT 10) The era of Titan II space boosters comes to a close Wednesday as the last Titan II blasts off of Space Launch Complex-4 West here. The launch window is from 9:17 to 9:28* a.m. The rocket will carry a 4,200-pound Defense Meteorological Satellite Program payload into low Earth orbit approximately 458 nautical miles above the Earth. This is the first DMSP launch in four years. The DMSP satellite constellation monitors the Earth's atmosphere and oceans providing nearly complete coverage of global cloud distribution every six hours.

This final launch is a joint effort between the men and women of the 30th Space Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Lockheed Martin, and Aerojet. The Titan program is being phased out as the Air Force moves toward the more cost-effective, efficient Evolved Expendable launch vehicle program.

The first Titan II rocket took off from Vandenberg AFB Sept. 5, 1988. There have been 70 Titan II missile and rocket launches from Vandenberg AFB, according to the 30th Space Wing historian.

Posted by Ted at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Rocket motor sizes

If you click on the extended entry, you'll find a picture of the common rocket motors that Mookie and I fly, to give you an idea of the range available. The 3.5" diskette in the background gives some scale. These are commercially available motors of three basic types.

The back row, from left to right:
Quest MicroMaxx, about 1"x.25" diameter.
Estes mini-engine, 13mm diameter.
Estes standard engine, 18mm diameter.
Estes "D" engine, 24mm diameter. These first four can be purchased in a lot of Wal-Mart type stores, as well as some craft stores. They all use a kind of black powder for propellant.

AeroTech "E" engine, 24mm diameter.
AeroTech "F" engine, 29mm diameter.
AeroTech "G" engine, 29mm diameter. These three all use Ammonium Perchlorate based propellant. In general, each 'letter' is twice as powerful as the one before.

Second row:
Two Dr. Rocket Reloadable Motor Casings for "H" motors. For these, you buy reload kits that provide solid slugs of Ammonium Perchlorate propellant and all of the necessary parts to assemble the motor. The casing on the left holds one more slug than the one on the right, so it's the more powerful motor. The casing on the right is a fully assembled motor. There's no danger here, because the motors need to be electrically ignited to fire. These are both 29mm in diameter.

Front row:
This is the motor for the Air Munuviana. It's a RATT-works "H", again in 29mm diameter. The reason for the length is that this is a hybrid motor, and a tank for nitrous oxide is incorporated into the design. The fuel is a slug of PVC plastic. I've designed the Air Munuviana to handle up to "J" motors and the motor mount will accept motors up to 38mm in diameter.

A little about the diameters. Standard diameters for rocket motors are 10.5mm, 13mm, 18mm, 24mm, 29mm, 38mm, 54mm, 75mm, 98mm, 3 inch, 4 inch and 6 inch. As you can see, I still fly at the smaller end of the range, but I'm slowly working my way up. [insert Tim Allen grunting noises here]


Posted by Ted at 01:48 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry Rocketry Resources

Spider update

I've added a couple of pictures in the extended entry to "Sometimes words just aren't enough".

Posted by Ted at 01:38 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Boring Stories

Air Munuviana update

The basic airframe is done! Today I'm working on the electronics bay which will house the altimeter and safety switch. I'm building light but strong, so the main body tube is cardboard, the nosecone is plastic, and the fins are 1/8" birch plywood. The adhesive throughout is good ol' fashioned Elmers yellow carpenter glue, which is plenty strong enough for this rocket.

She's a sleek little sweetie, there's a picture in the extended entry. That's a 3.5" diskette on the ground next to her for scale.


Posted by Ted at 01:34 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Mmmmm, crow

Dallas beat Philadelphia. Oakland lost to Cleveland.

Today, Paul was right, and Stevie is happy. But sweetie (Stevie, not Paul), the Cowboys will never be cool.

Posted by Ted at 12:14 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

October 12, 2003

Big enough to do the job

Not every rocket has to be a towering giant. The kids and I have had a lot of fun with Quest MicroMaxx rockets and motors, which are 1" long and 1/4" in diameter. Our smallest rocket is about the size of a crayon with fins, although they can get even smaller. Or how about a rocket glider that weighs in around 2 grams?

Of course, not every crayon rocket has to be tiny either.

Now these guys are building tiny motors, both rotary and rocket. They talk a little bit about why to miniaturize this much (more here). Not too shabby for Berkely boys.

Posted by Ted at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

The Cul de Sac is up

I'm going to take my time going through this one, because Kelley is headed to Hawaii for a vacation. If you've been wanting to expand your reading circles, then you definitely need to check it out.

Posted by Ted at 07:21 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Sometimes words just aren't enough

(Serenity - warning, paooki story)

This morning we did fall cleaning on the bedrooms, and all the pillows and bed linens and rugs were hauled downstairs for washing, which is my job.

Mookie came upstairs at one point and mentioned a "big ol' giant" spider hanging from the ceiling in the basement. I was busy doing something at the time and it didn't really register.

I made a couple of trips downstairs to rotate the washer and dryer without even thinking about the "big ol' giant" spider. Then, coming out of the basement with a stack of folded blankets, I finally saw Mookie's spider. I almost swallowed my tongue and dropped the laundry when I noticed it, because it was indeed hanging from the ceiling. Specifically, it was sitting in the middle of a web about two feet across stretched between a chair and the ceiling, about four feet off the floor.

I've admitted that I'm extremely arachnophobic, and Mookie is probably almost as bad. That's why I'm impressed with her description of "big ol' giant" spider, which showed great restraint and maturity. In contrast, my description was loud, obscene, contained many more words (several which rhymed somewhat with 'truck') and was accompanied by a cry of fright. Yeah, I screamed like a girl.

Let me describe the spider. This wasn't one of those bulky hairy things that look like an overdeveloped weightlifter denizen of spider-hell. Nope, this was one of those alien hard-shelled beasties with little a huge bloated abdomen and long slender legs. Did I mention that this paook's body was an inch across, and the legs added another inch all around. This was one huge freaking spider!

Ok, now I'm bigger, smarter, and in my instant adrenalin rush (flee or fight) I realize that I have access to a basement full of household chemicals. After making sure that the spider wasn't going anywhere, I retreated to find something that the military would describe as 'nerve-agent, aerosol'.

Selecting a nice spray can of gloss-coat (he died, but had a beautiful finish - old joke) and a piece of cardboard to catch the overspray, I sealed that paook with a nice long burst. Then I reversed the cardboard and spraycan and did his other side, just for good measure. The spider curled up a little bit and tried to retreat but was rather quickly overcome. Because of the glossy spray, I could see just how extensive (and beautiful) the web really was. I went for a broom and swept up the web and spider, and took it out back to get rid of it.

I wasn't ready for the little ReAnimator moment that came next. This spider came back to life and scrambled up the fence, startling me all over again. Then it crawled into a crack and disappeared. I gave the crack a shot of clearcoat, more for myself than for him.

Update: The extended entry now has two pictures of the paook taken before I sprayed it. I wasn't sure if they would come out, so I didn't mention them before. The first is a closeup, the second is farther away to give some context to the size of it and its web (the paooki is just low right of center, the web stretches beyond the top of the picture if you look closely).

Hug me, I'm cute!

rhymes with truck

Posted by Ted at 05:12 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Boring Stories

Someones in the kitchen with Dinaaaaah!

Last weekend I experimented with a couple of recipes for vegetarian enchiladas. I’m definitely a carnivore, but oldest daughters’ vegetarian best friend stays at our house for extended visits, so this is my attempt to feed her something other than salsa and grilled cheese sandwiches.

My oldest daughter used to be my taste tester on these recipes, especially the Mexican ones. Wife and Mookie, being extremely picky eaters, want nothing to do with most of the food I like, and oldest daughter is away at college, so I recruited a neighbor and her daughters to help. I didn’t tell them anything beyond ‘enchilada’ when I took a tray full over to them. I’ll give you their (and my) reactions about these after the recipes.

Note: The first recipe calls for a simple Tomatillo sauce. My store didn’t have any tomatillos, so I settled for a bottled Chile Verde (green chile sauce). If at all possible make the homemade stuff because it puts the bottled sauce to shame.

Tater Enchiladas

2 cups diced cooked potatoes
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
3 green onions, chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ tsp salt
¾ cup sour cream
8 corn tortillas
3 cups Tomatillo sauce (recipe below) or chile verde
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can of sliced black olives

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl.
Soften the tortillas in heated tomatillo sauce.
Spoon equal amounts of potato mixture onto tortillas and roll up.
Place enchiladas seam-side down in a shallow baking dish.
Top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Garnish with olives.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

Tomatillo Sauce

1 pound tomatillos
8 fresh New Mexico green chilies, roasted and peeled *
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp oregano

Husk and wash tomatillos. Slice into wedges. In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Pour into a blender and pulse to desired consistency. (Makes about 4 cups sauce).

* Try to get New Mexico chilies instead of the ubiquitous Anaheim variety. Different chile, different flavor.

Zucchini Enchiladas

4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp flour
2 tsp chili powder
2 cups milk
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup grated monterey jack cheese
2 cups zucchini, diced
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup onion, chopped
2 green chilies, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
16 corn tortillas
2 cups tomatoes, diced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour and chili powder to make a roux (thick paste). Gradually add the milk a little at a time, whisking well after each addition. Add both cheeses and heat gently until melted.

Steam the zucchini until just tender (about 10 minutes).
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat and cook onion, green chilies and garlic until limp – about 3-5 minutes. Don’t let the garlic burn, add it at the very end or stir constantly.
Add zucchini and 2/3 of the sauce. Toss gently to coat.
Spoon filling into each tortilla and roll, placing seam side down in baking pan.
Spoon remaining sauce over all and sprinkle with tomatoes.
Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.

I made a third type of enchilada with the leftover ingredients of these two, using my homemade enchilada sauce.

My taste testers said they really liked these, even after I told them to be honest (it is a test recipe after all). Their favorite was the potato kind. Myself, I didn’t care for the potato enchiladas at all, but I have some ideas about that and I’ll try it again. First, I’ll have to make the homemade sauce instead of that lousy jar stuff. Second, dice the potatoes into smaller chunks and don’t use as much lime juice, it really overpowered the mixture instead of adding that ‘hint of lime’ you expect. Now I loved the zucchini enchiladas and will definitely be making them again. One of my taste testers hates zucchini but loved these.

I don't see why you couldn't add yellow squash to the mix for a nice change, and probably grill it with the onion and garlic instead of steaming.

These were fun to make and tasty. Making enchiladas isn’t particularly difficult, and it’s pretty impressive to set out dishes of several varieties of these at a party. Chicken, cheese, beef, and now two kinds of veggie, I loooooove Mexican food!

Posted by Ted at 09:28 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Recipes

Halloween stuff

One year I took one of those decorated kiddie bedsheets, this one had cartoons of Donald Duck, Huey, Dewey and Louie, Mickey Mouse and Pluto, etc. I cut out eyeholes and draped it over our son for trick or treating. When people asked what he was supposed to be, he told them he was the ghost of Walt Disney.

This is cool - Extreme Pumpkins. Thanks to TwoDragons for the link posted at Suburban Blight.

Q: How do West Virginians celebrate Halloween?
A: They pumpkin.

(Every state has a neighboring state that they make fun of. Washington has Idaho, North Carolina has South Carolina, Virginia has West Virginia, and everybody has California.)

Posted by Ted at 01:49 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links


Ever watch it? It beats infomercials.

Posted by Ted at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

October 11, 2003

New Links

I've been meaning to add some folks to my Links Roster, and tonight I finally got around to it. Most of these I've been visiting from other blogrolls or technorati, so all I've really done is make it easier on myself.

(in no particular order)

Rocket Forge
JimiLove, Inc.
Madfish Willie's Cyber Saloon
Say Uncle

If you haven't seen them yet, drop in and check 'em out, you might find something you like.

Posted by Ted at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

How to measure perfection

Mary Zorn is a student at Texas A&M University. She's also one of the world's best archers using a compound bow, winning the 2003 World Outdoor Archery Championships and setting five new World Records. Just how good is she?

According to Sports Illustrated, at the world championships some of the targets had tiny cameras in the dead center of the bullseye. From 70 yards away, she shot an arrow directly into the lens and exploded the camera. Twice. An official gave her one of the cameras as a souvenier and the shots were replayed constantly during the matches.

Posted by Ted at 03:14 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

And here I thought it was the Oompa-Loompa's

Ever wonder where Gummybears come from? (not work safe)

Posted by Ted at 02:46 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

What is wrong with me?

Be nice, I know what you're thinking. :)

A while back I spent a week thrashed by an infection that started with a broken molar. Well, today I'm starting the sequel. I've been trying to wait until after the new year to get some dental work taken care of, but it looks like I'm going to need another tooth pulled and another round of heavy-duty antibiotics ASAP. This time it's on the other side of my mouth, and it's a tooth that hasn't bothered me before, although the dentist agreed that it needs to come out. It started to hurt pretty good yesterday, and this morning the swelling has started. I'll be calling the dentist in a little bit for an appointment and (most importantly) drugs.

This is two three-day weekends in a row that this has happened. I'm a creature of habit, but this is getting ridiculous.

Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Mandatory reading

This guy tells the story of waking up one night to the sound of a breaking window. He investigates and sees an armed man in his house. Go read the rest.

Thanks to Kelley for the link.

Posted by Ted at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

October 10, 2003

Connections, bastard step-child of

Bonus points if you understand the title without reading ahead to the end.

Tonight’s Final Jeopardy answer was about someone being killed by a spear (1700’s I believe), and the price said spear fetched in auction. The correct question – which I didn’t know – was Captain Cook, who was skewered in the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii. The host of the show tossed in another little tidbit. The spear was recovered from Captain Cook’s body by his navigator, a man named Bligh who later became a captain of his own ship – the Bounty.

This kind of historical trivia floats my boat, so off I went into the realm of Google to see what more I might find.

Here’s a site maintained by a distant ancestor of Captain Cook with some nice background information about the man and his voyages. I especially like this part:

What he had bequeathed to future generations was at once grand and simple: a coherent map of the Pacific.

Helluva legacy.

After reading this stuff for a while, I became curious about historic maps in general. Back to Google.

The very first site I found was this nifty online collection of historical maps. I love maps, especially old ones. They just fascinate me. In fact, when I worked at the US Department of State in Washington D.C., I went to a special seminar once in their research library that was totally devoted to the maps in their collection. So I went looking for a link to that.

What I came across instead was this extensive link list to online cartography resources, which includes the above link, the Library of Congress archives, and much more both modern and historic.

Back to Google, and looking for ‘antique map’ brings up a long list of map auction houses and retailers. This non-commercial site jumped out at me, it lists antique maps of Iceland. Their home page displays a map from 1547, and there are many more to view.

Frozen rocky bits of land in the middle of nowhere made me think about maps of the planets in our solar system. This link, from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is pretty cool. The maps are stitched together from satellite images and such.

Further Googling led to this page containing a map that many scientists believe shows positive evidence of the asteroid strike that ended the reign of the dinosaurs. You can read more about it here.

From NASA to Vasa. Why? Because I knew a little about the Vasa already, and was curious about the progress. You see, the Vasa was a Swedish vessel that was designed to be the most powerful warship afloat. Unfortunately, she capsized and sank on her maiden voyage in 1628 – within a mile of her starting point and in sight of throngs of people gathered to watch her launch. After more than 300 years on the bottom, she was salvaged and raised, and a museum built to display her and tell her story. There’s another nice site about her here, which includes detailed lists of the items salvaged from the wreck.

The Vasa wasn’t the first ship to sink in such a manner. The British ship Mary Rose had suffered a similar fate about 80 years before. This site gives a little history, as well as a look at underwater archeological techniques.

Unlike James Burke, who manages to neatly wrap everything up at the end of his columns (no longer in Scientific American – drat) or shows on the Learning Channel, I’m going to take the easy way out here. By the way, if you’ve never had the chance to read or watch his Connections, you should. It’s a fun look at history, in ways you’ve never dreamed of.

Anyway, back to my copout... The Mary Rose was a British ship, and Captain Cook was the leader of a British exploration voyage. All wrapped up into one neat little package, right back where we started from. C'mon, if I was any good at this, I'd get paid for it!

Here's a little personal map story. When we first got married my wife could not read a map. One long weekend we travelled to a nearby city to shop and just get away for a few days. When we got inside the city limits I handed my wife a street map and told her that she had to navigate every bit of the way around town. We spent most of that weekend lost, but by the end of it my wife could read a map and get us to where we wanted to go. To this day she keeps an accordian folder full of maps in her trunk, and she knows how to use them when she travels.

Posted by Ted at 09:27 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

Dammit, now I want one (again)

Dana at Note-It Posts tells of a great Google search result. Hilarious!

What caught my eye though was a little farther down the page, the listing for Dean Guitars. Way back when, I wanted one of these in the worst way. Not that I was hurting for a quality instrument, because at the time I was playing an Ibanez (the one on the right).

Then I got married and did some serious growing up and re-prioritizing in my life. (I'm going to bookend this whole post with another) Dammit!

Posted by Ted at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Bill is a whining baby

Not only that, but he's a whining baby with a dark past. I guess I should be more careful since he's got Michele and God on his side (not necessarily in that order). I've never been one to take the hint and lay low, so here you go Bill, all the freakin' linkage you've been begging for.

I've got the goods on you, pal. You're living a lie and I have proof that you're not the wild-assed party animal you pretend to be on the internet. Photographic evidence exists in the extended entry.


Concept and research by Ted, damning evidence provided by the supremely talented Jennifer. With love Bill, with love.

Posted by Ted at 09:05 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Missing Man Ceremony

I once had the honor of being the narrator for this ceremony in remembrance of American POW/MIA's. It's incredibly moving and if you ever get the opportunity to see it, I highly recommend it.

Another wonderful one to see is a formal Flag Disposal.

Contact your local VFW or American Legion for information about patriotic events and ceremony's in your area.

Posted by Ted at 07:37 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Happy anniversary

Bill sucks 18% more now that's he's shovelled a year's worth of crapola at the unwary.

Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


I missed this when I put together Rocketing Around the Blogosphere last night, but that's ok, because it's worth a post all to itself.

This is so freaking awesome.

Thanks to Mark of Not Quite Tea and Crumpets for pointing this out, and thanks to One Hand Clapping for originally posting it.

Posted by Ted at 05:25 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Unique WiFi application

In the October issue of ComputerUser there are several articles about wireless computing and WiFi (wireless fidelity). I didn't know anything about the subject, but learned a lot.

It looks like some very creative uses are being implemented for this technology, and often a niche segment of the market leads the way.

This is a perfect example, a small group of wargame enthusiasts travelling around Europe on a historic battlefield tour. From the tour website:
We have assembled a unique tour designed by a wargamer for wargamers. This is NOT an ordinary plain-jane tour with 52 people stopping at gift shops to buy porcelain souvenirs (if that is what you want, call I have hundreds of tours like that). And not a Veterans tour that spends half its time in cemeteries. We see many major battlefields, have the opportunity to play games en-route & enjoy it all without all the hassle of planning and travel details. We are limited in how many travelers we can take because our custom-redesigned motorcoach will have tables installed for wargaming while driving.

The tour coach also has an installed WiFi hotspot as well for online LAN games while travelling. There are planned stops at Agincourt, Waterloo, the Maginot Line, Ypres, Sword and Utah beaches, and more. They've got room left on the tour. I did say 'niche'.

In other WiFi news (this caught my eye this morning), parents are suing a school district that has installed a wireless network because they're afraid that the invisible computer beams are going to harm their children. Uh huh.

We haven't gone wireless with our home network. I'm not in any hurry to do so, partly because of my ignorance of the technology and lazyness about learning it. My main concern is security, it bothers me that important personal information would just be 'out there' floating around and could be intercepted and read by unintended people. Maybe that's not a problem (remember, I'm ignorant), but I remember picking up my neighbors cordless phone calls on our baby monitor back in the day.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

October 09, 2003

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Welcome back Kin. You’ve been missed. Special thanks to Jennifer for letting me know.

Welcome also to the newest Munuvians: Heather, Don, Jim, and the Lady H. Stop by and say hello.

Interestingly enough (and this has nothing whatsoever to do with the new Munuvians), I saw on the referral list that someone visited Rocket Jones from a porn site. Possibly the one I wound up on today at work. Doesn’t matter, because the lesson to learn is: surf porn, increase hits!

Daniel points to a funny test to see if you’re a leftist. Here’s my favorite quote: "You believe President Bush is too dumb to be President and Arnold Schwarzenegger is too dumb to be Governor of California, but the Dixie Chicks, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Barbra Streisand, Eddie Vedder and Jeanine Garofalo are qualified to discourse at length on foreign policy."

Hockey lovin’ blogger buddies! If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand. Go Sharks!

I love these “xxx things about me/my car/whatever” lists that bloggers do. Really I do. Compile more of them, because I’ll read ‘em.

Serenity has reached her 6 month anniversary as a blogger.

Wind Rider pulls a fast one on Bill. It’s mean and funny as hell, but a little sad too. Like teasing the slow kid at school, ya know?

Starhawk has been posting regularly about WiFi hotspots and all. I have a WiFi story I’ll talk about tomorrow.

I don’t agree with most of what Norbi says, but I don’t have to. That’s the beauty of friends and laughter.

Glenn is... Glenn. He’s got a viewpoint that’s all his own, as well as weird fetishes for fish and Ivan Drago. He also posts near-naked women pictures and dedicates ‘em to me. Panderer. Works every time.

John cracked me up with this one. And just below that, another list! I’m doing the happy dance.

Kelley did not do the Cul-de-Sac last week, but promises one on Sunday. That’s ok though, because she’s headed to Hawaii to visit with Kate of Electric Venom. I look terrible in green.

Tiger points the way to the Hokey Pokey as done by Shakespeare. Good one Cherry.

Meet Al. Al’s in the Air Force. Al’s learning to fly AWACS. He already knows how to fly. Not fly by himself. Fly airplanes. The AWACS is an airplane. Why can’t he fly that then? If I knew that, I’d still be in the Air Force.

I’m going to finish up with one of the best posts I’ve read in a long time. If you haven’t already read about the Indepundit (aka LT Smash) having to fire someone, you should now. Seriously.

Posted by Ted at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Rocket Jones' Great Random Google Junket

It's about time, eh?

This is a special all-Stevie edition of the Google Junket, courtesy of a whole list of words submitted by our good friend Daun. These words tell a lot more about her than she's comfortable with, I'm sure. You'll see what I mean.

Let's jump right into it, eh?

gastropod + heifer
Interestingly enough, the number one hit on this combination of words is yours truly. The second is an alphabetical list of words from MIT. You can’t trust those guys, I’ve seen the movie Real Genius.

gastropod + heifer + naked
At this point, the plan was to add 'naked' or 'nekkid' to every combination and see what happened. First hit is still Rocket Jones, second is a different list of words, this time from the UK. Finally we hit paydirt! Well, not quite. I was redirected to a porn site, which I immediately backed out of, and then had to call the IT department to let them know that I wasn’t surfing for porn on company time (I’m on my lunch break). Darn it, the link looked promising too, here’s the description:

Cheech and chong action figure, pictures of animals of all over…
... boys adult naked photos. ... pictures of the sun; frog cow wolf cartoon heifer, cartoon pictures ... gastropod known for its Voyeur five letters.: msn 8.5 known issues ... www.theii.net/ precious-gems-that-are-mined-in-western-australia.html

Oops, I didn’t notice the boys adult naked photos (honest!), gotta be more careful. No more adding 'naked', that's for sure.

fistula + hedonism
Stevie dear, what the hell is wrong with you? This combo brings up a medical dictionary, a political rant site that looks suspiciously like a porn-redirect, and then four no-bones-about-it porn sites. A little further down the list (I need links, fer cryin’ out loud) is a glossary of US Naval Code Words. Now this is something that appeals to the history loving geek in me. Ignore what I said, this is neat.

A quick skim through the extensive Code Name list shows that VICTOR I, II, III, IV and V were all WWII Allied invasion landings in the south pacific, and that GLENN stood for 'domestic'. I'm assuming you're housebroken guy, although all girlfriends/wives/partners automatically assume the opposite.

custard + algebra
Now we’re getting somewhere. First up is a bookstore where you can get cookbooks (containing recipes for custard) and algebra books (containing recipes for headaches). Next is a page of education related Teachers Notes for a television program called Keep Your Balance. Neat. Everything, the Math Project. Hey, they use the word Blather. And I know what Boolean logic is. If you don’t, then look it up! Ok, I did for you. An explanation is here. Finally – for this pair of words – we find the staff listing for New Bloomfield High School in New Bloomfield, Missouri. Besides having Algebra teachers (imagine that), their attendance clerk is named Marita Custard.

zymurgy + protean
Hey, I’m number one again! That’s great news, because I’m sure gazillions of internet users search on this combination while looking for barely-legal babes. Next up though, is a site hosted on a French server, talking about a role playing game about Vampires. Third up is the same information, looks like a ghosted version on a different server. Fourth through whatever seem to be those darned alphabetized lists again.

Mainly because I’m afraid to see what naked + redneck will bring up, we'll just move right along past this one and go straight to:

mohair + redneck
Crap, this page is dismantled, and it looked good too. Redneck Miniature Bears, only 2 ½” tall, named Kilroy. Awwwww. Too bad we can't see 'em. (redneck named Kilroy?)

Now for some reason, we get into the musical portion of our entertainment.

A page about an interview with a stoner-rock group named On Trial, whose slogan appears to be “where there’s smoke, there’s smoke”. That probably sounded really profound at the time. Next is a British music company specializing in American Country albums. My favorite title is by Barbara Carr – Bone Me Like You Own Me. The Derailers sing about Mohair Sam, and Charlie Daniels chips in with the title track of Redneck Fiddlin’ Man. Music galore! An Elton John lyrics page, which for our purposes could have been shortened to two songs, because Bennie and the Jets contains mohair and Honky Cat has the redneck.

Stevie + nekkid
So sue me. Besides, we got hits. Nekkid Radio has Stevie Nicks songs on their playlist. No link because I’m at work and I don’t want to have to call IT again today. Killoggs is smart enough NOT to wave at Stevie Wonder, and proud of it. It looks like a group hive mind sorta thing. Interesting. And then Acid Man checks in, again with Stevie Nicks, but he wants to see her nekkid. Better than Stevie Wonder.

It’s become traditional to end with a truly disturbing link (well, twice in a row now), and this is one of those that might not be universally popular. Here is a review of Justin Timberlake’s release Justified. I could care less about him, but this reviewer compares him favorably to Stevie Wonder. Really? Oh yeah, he also dwells on Justin’s confession of performing oral sex on then-girlfriend Britney Spears. Sorry, I’m not impressed.

Lotta sex stuff in this go-round. Way to go Stevie!

Next time, we get:
Vaseline from Tuning Spork, who apparently didn’t learn a thing from his last word ‘saliva’.
Vainglory from Susie.
Hysterisis from Pixy Misa.
Strop from Victor, who owns two of them. He’s a perv.
Supernumerary from Jennifer.
Aberrant from Serenity (and thank you for the compliment, m'lady).

As always, leave your suggested words in the comments and we'll see where Google takes us.

Posted by Ted at 01:08 PM | Comments (7)
Category: Google Junket

Air Munuviana

I've been promising previews of the decals and logos for our community-inspired rocket. The description and main decal pages are in draft form, and should be ready to post today or tomorrow, and I think I've got a surprise or three for you.

In the meantime, here's the Logo that will run up the side of the rocket. I hope you like it.


Posted by Ted at 07:49 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Political aspirations

No, not Arnold. Not me either. I'm talking about that very first exposure to practical and organized politics: Student Council. Hall monitor and roll call runner were small potatoes, and the playground pecking order paled in comparison to the enormity of this decision unceremoniously thrust upon thousands of unprepared freshmen.

Composed of the popularity contest winners, the brainiacs who needed it to pad their college resume's, and the pie-in-the-sky dreamers who actually thought they would be able to make changes in an adult-dominated system, the Student Council never interested me. I just couldn't see the import of whether we should have both coke and pepsi machines in the school and other such trivial crapola.

What got me started thinking about this is that Mookie* has been approached to run for Student Council, and apparently has some rather wide-spread support. She acknowleges that it would look good on college applications, but doesn't seem all fired up at the prospect. She's too cynical and sarcastic to take it seriously, and despite what I said above, it should be taken seriously precisely because it's the first exposure to real-world politics. Ignore the results and study the process in action.

Why Mookie? It seems that there are some subtle things at work here, beyond the generalizations I made earlier about who runs and why. She's not cliquish, so she doesn't automatically get the popularity vote, but that group knows her from her work with Homecoming and Drama projects. Even the groups she doesn't hang around with (or can't stand) are at least on nodding terms in the hallway because she makes it a point to be civil to everyone. Her attitude is that she doesn't have to like someone to work with them on school projects, and I like to think she learned that from me.

She does have that snotty and sly sense of humor though, which apparently is part of her appeal. She apologizes to people who have no idea that she insulted them just a few minutes before, because they didn't get the joke. It's kind of like Dennis Miller running for President under the "I'm OK, You're Romulus or Remus (not that it matters)" slogan.

She really has no time or interest in this right now, but if she did, I'd suggest making her campaign slogan "I Am Not A Crook." Once elected, find out who voted for her, round them up and shoot them. Because nothing is more dangerous than the arrogant intelligentsia.


* Mookie is my teenaged daughter and blogger-at-large. She's the last one at home, her older brother and sister already having escaped the asylum flown the coop left the nest.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

October 08, 2003

A Study of the Effects of Celery on Loose Elastic

I don't remember where I first heard it, but the name Art Frahm always stuck in my mind, so I suspect it was in some sleazy True Detective magazine or some such nonsense I used to read as a kid. In truth it was his illustrations more than the name that caught my attention. Looking at it now, his work seems pointed directly at every young man raging through puberty. It's the stuff of adolescent (wet) dreams. It also helped that his name seems absurdly contrived to match his occupation.

Several years ago, I did an internet search for Art Frahm and found this site. This was long before I'd heard of James Lileks the writer or blogging.

You can find more of Art Frahm's work here, along with a little more history. It's still cheesy and crappy and wonderful all at once, just like I remembered. Have fun.

Posted by Ted at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

It's Dubya's fault

On October 2, 2003, Ahmad Chalabi, Head of the Iraqi Delegation to the 58th U.N. General Assembly, gave a speech.

Go read, and feel vindicated that we did the right thing.

Thanks to C.D. Hall for this wonderful link. Gotta love a guy who measures time in fortnights.

Posted by Ted at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Politics

What is a polaroid?

Jeopardy answer: what penguins get from sitting on the ice.

Using satellites in orbit, scientists are studying ice-locked oases called polynyas and their thriving populations of penguins.

The researchers used data from two satellites: NASA's Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer. See images here.

It's enough to make a tree-hugger cry. Imagine using evil technology to non-invasively study some of God's happy creatures.

Posted by Ted at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Bad dream or old joke?

The mother of an employee who killed several co-workers before taking his own life is filing for workers' compensation because her son lost his life in the workplace.

Isn't that like the boy on trial for murdering his parents, and asking for clemency because he's an orphan?

Posted by Ted at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

The hurrier I go, the behinder I get

I haven't done the promised 'Stevie' special edition of the Google Junket, and I haven't done a 'Rocketing Around' in a while, but I did warn y'all that things get hectic for me around the start of Uncle Sam's fiscal year.

Not an excuse, just the reason.

Posted by Ted at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Light Sails - followup

Victor left the following comment on my post about spacecraft propulsion concepts.

Ted, pick up a copy of the Nov 2003 issue of Discover magazine (cover story: "How Long Can The Human Body Last?"). It has an inteview with Dr. Sagan's widow, Ann Druyan, which discusses the Cosmos 1 solar sail spacecraft. BTW, at the end of the interview, it says an extended version of the interview is on discover.com but I can't find it to save my life.

Discover certainly doesn't make it easy to find, that's for sure. Then I realized that they don't have the November issue online yet. But I did find a related article from August 2003. They don't allow direct links, but here's how you can get to it. From Discover's main page, click the Recent Issues button on the left. Scroll down to the August 2003 issue and click the very first article, titled Star Trek.

Why bother? Because reading the article, you'll find passages like these:

About 10 years from now, NASA plans to launch a mission called Terrestrial Planet Finder, a space telescope specifically designed to detect another Earth. The odds are good that a survey of 150 or so nearby stars will reveal at least one small, Earth-like planet.

You know we're already working towards getting there once we find it. It's early in the development process, but we are working on it.

The physics is not out of reach," says Robert Frisbee, an engineer who directs advanced propulsion concepts studies at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. His job, and his lifelong dream, is to find a way to master interstellar travel. He is studying five distinct propulsion technologies that could get an astronaut from here to Alpha Centauri in less than 50 years.

The article goes on to talk about the five technologies, which include the aforementioned light sail, referred to as a laser sail. This is a comprehensive overview of the challenges involved in going to another solar system. Food, water, air, gravity, psychology, and more. There are a number of good links at the end of the article too.

"What we're talking about here is not fantasy," Frisbee says. "It's only science fiction until someone does it"."

The meek may inherit the earth, my great-grandkids are going to the stars.

Posted by Ted at 11:28 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Space Program

More Telemarketing Fun

Dave Barry has inconvenienced the Telemarketers yet again. The whole story is a riot, but here's the most important bit.


Call the American Telemarketing Association at the number above and try to sell them on the idea that calling us to sell us stuff isn't such a great idea.

Posted by Ted at 07:37 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Collins found

Spork, you work in a printing plant. Something else Collins could probably use is a stack of 'Get Out Of Jail Free' cards. Maybe you can put that adhesive along one edge and make a whole pad of them, so he can just pull one off whenever he's arrested.

Good idea checking the police blotters, but I bet it was a bitch finding the right John Collins.

Seriously though, good job Bill, Michele, Stevie, Paul, Susie, Jen, and everyone else who helped track him down. My apologies if I've forgotten anyone.

Posted by Ted at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

October 07, 2003

Aerospike test

In June of this year, a team consisting of professionals and students from California State University, Long Beach successfully conducted a static test firing of their aerospike rocket engine design.

This was followed up last month by an in-flight test.

"Several seconds later [after liftoff] it abruptly pitched ninety degrees and demonstrated unstable operation until finally transitioning into a ballistic terminal descent."

That's geek-speak for "Lawn-dart."

"The subsequent impact with the desert floor destroyed student payloads provided by a USC/JPL team and another from Cerritos High School, but the aft section with the aerospike survived relatively intact. Preliminary analysis indicates that the most probable cause for the observed flight behavior is that part of the engine's graphite exit outer ring experienced excessive and asymmetric erosion, which in turn created a side thrust component."

There are a couple of key points here. First, notice that one of the payloads riding this rocket was designed and developed by a high school. I'll do a post in the near future on the CanSat program, it's pretty cool. Second, there's absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of failure because that's how you learn. They'll analyze the remains (the important bits survived relatively intact) and figure out what improvements need to be made. Then they'll try again. And again, as often as needed. This is solid scientific method in action, with a viable application waiting at the end of the development cycle.

Follow this link for more information about the concept behind aerospike engines and how they differ from standard rocket engines.

Posted by Ted at 08:05 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Space Program

Line drive into the gap

"Why can't this team just lose? Why do they have to write the greatest chapters in the history books of other teams? Stupid Angels. I mean, Marlins."

It's a San Fransisco Giants blog, but it's fun to read if you're a baseball fan.

Posted by Ted at 03:09 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

And it didn't cost taxpayers a cent to learn this

A British scientist has calculated the optimum thickness for a slice of cheese to make the perfect cheese sandwich.

Being the mildly lecherous soul that I am, I'd further suggest that the perfect cheese sandwich would be served by LeeAnn in a french maid outfit with an ice-cold beer and a napkin containing one of her weird and wonderful little artwork discoveries.

It is cheese ya know.

Posted by Ted at 12:21 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Fantasy Hockey

All right, the draft is done and I got a chance to see what my team looks like. I'll just start off listing a few names I recognize. I'll have to do some digging for some player info, because the roster is deep and I've never been in a fantasy hockey league before.

Centers: Mats Sundin (Totonto) and Olie Jokinen (Florida) are my main guns here. I've heard of three of the four other centers on the roster. Not too shabby.

Wingers: Brendan Shanahan (Detroit), Miroslav Satan (Buffalo), Anson Carter (NY Rangers) and Tie Domi (Toronto) up front. I also have former Cap Chris Simon, when did he join the Rangers? The rest of my wingers are a mystery to me.

Defense: This doesn't look good. Local boy Jason Doig (Capitals) is the only name I know except for Radek Martinek (NY Islanders) and Nolan Baumgartner (Pittsburgh), and both those teams were horrible last year.

Goal: A good goalie can make all the difference. Unfortunately the closest I have to a good goalie is Robert Esche (Philadelphia). I'm going to have to do some homework on the backups, because I don't know anything about either of them. Other than that they aren't named Nabokov or Hasek or Joseph or Kolzig or...

Interestingly, Doig is the only member of the Caps on my team, and I have zero Sharks. It looks like I have more Phoenix Coyotes than anything else, so maybe some Gretsky magic will rub off on the team.

I won't obsess about this, but I'll occasionally mention when I accidentally do something right or something comically stupid. Advice gladly accepted.

Posted by Ted at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

To Robyn

Care package is on the way. Sweaters and sweatshirts and cookies. Stay warm sweetie.


Posted by Ted at 11:30 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Family matters

From the forebrain

Over at Everyday Stranger (welcome to Munuviana!), H waxes philosophically about foreskin.

The muse wanders in...

Did you hear about the new wallet made of elephant foreskin?
Rub it a little and it turns into a garment bag.

...how about...

A Texas cowboy is drinking in a New York bar when he gets a call on his cell phone. He hangs up, grinning from ear to ear, and orders a round of drinks for everybody in the bar because, he announces, his wife has just produced a typical Texas baby boy weighing 25 pounds.

Nobody can believe that any new baby can weigh in at 25 pounds, but the cowboy just shrugs, "That's about average down home, folks... like I said, my boy's a typical Texas baby boy".

Congratulations showered him from all around, and many exclamations of "WOW"! were heard. One woman actually fainted due to sympathy pains. Two weeks later he returns to the bar. The bartender says, "Say, you're the father of that typical Texas baby that weighed 25 pounds at birth, aren't you? Everybody's been makin' bets about how big he'd be in two weeks. We were gonna call you; so how much does he weigh now?"

The proud father answers, "Seventeen pounds." The bartender is puzzled, and concerned. "What happened? He already weighed 25 pounds the day he was born."

The cowboy takes a slow swig from his long-neck beer, wipes his lips on his shirt sleeve, leans into the bartender and proudly says, "Had him circumcised".

...the muse wanders out, where a crowd of people await to administer a vicious beating.

Posted by Ted at 08:11 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs


Mookie's education in movie classics continued last night, with her first viewing of Blazing Saddles. It's been a while since I'd seen it myself, so we had a fun couple of hours together.

The other night on one of the movie classics channels, they showed the Hammer version of The Mummy. October is easily my favorite month for television movies because all the classic horror gets trotted out for Halloween. More fun for Mookie.

I also saw an advertisement on the Bravo network that starting in November, they will be showing the 60's classic war series Combat. One of my warmest childhood memories is of sitting in the living room with my Dad watching Combat and Bonanza. I was too young to understand what was going on, but it didn't matter, because I was with Dad. I'm really looking forward to seeing this series. The main star is Vic Morrow, who was killed in a stunt gone wrong on the set of the remake of The Twilight Zone movie. Something I didn't know about him was that his daughter is Jennifer Jason Leigh. Small world, eh?

Next up for Mookie is Slap Shot.

Posted by Ted at 07:39 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Cult Flicks

October 06, 2003

China's Space Shot

They're keeping it quiet to minimize embarrassment in case of problems, but it looks like sometime next week is the likely launch date.

Posted by Ted at 10:07 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Challenge accepted

The hombre over at Sanity's Edge is a Dallas Cowboys fan. This means that he cheers for scissors-stabbing, dope-smuggling, cattle-molesting criminals who wear silver and blue instead of orange jumpsuits.

South America's Team. "Why yes officer, this two hundred pounds of pot is for my personal consumption."

And he called me delusional. Hah! As (in your words) a blaspheming non-believer, let me do a careful and detailed analysis on your beloved Dallas Cowboys and their play so far this season.

Let's start with an overview. First off, the Dallas Cowboys suck.

The hell with detailed analysis. The above says it all. Don't push me Paul, I'm a Raiders fan.

Posted by Ted at 01:43 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs


Chocolate Bill Cookies.

Posted by Ted at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

October 05, 2003

Spaceflight Propulsion

Current rockets use solid or liquid chemical propulsion, some of our current space probes use Ion engines - so did Darth Vader. Star Trek has Impulse and Warp drive, and the first Motie contacted used light sails.

You can find an interesting overview of spaceflight proplusion concepts here.

Posted by Ted at 08:52 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Football television scheduling

What are they smoking? For the second week in a row, we get the Dallas Cowboys on national TV. They're not a very good team, and these games aren't really important to the leagues playoff picture. The only thing I can think of is that it's the "Parcell's Factor". I don't like the Cowboys, I don't like Parcells, and as we've beeen repeatedly reminded, it takes his teams three years to get good, yet this is only his first season as coach.

It's been really sad this year. Bears vs Packers. Ok, you expect the Pack to be reasonably decent, but nobody thought the Bears were going to be any good. Just because it's a rivalry doesn't mean anyone who isn't a fan of those two teams wants to watch the carnage. Or comedy. Like I said: sad.

Why not Raiders vs Lions? There's an epic for you. I'm a Raiders fanatic, but unless they pull their collective heads out it's going to be a long and painful season for me.

Maybe I'll just do yardwork today. :D

Posted by Ted at 09:13 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

October. Autumn. Crisp air, chilly mornings, frost on the front yard. Breath billowing. Halloween.

How many parents (or aunts and uncles) have made the little ones green eggs and ham? A couple of drops of blue food coloring in the scrambled eggs and you're good to go. Doesn't matter what they say though, they taste different! You'll probably go "ick". Unless you were in the military way back when, in which case you'll say "hey, where did you get c-rats?"

So in honor of the season, here's a french toast recipe I made up a long time ago. Little kids love it, older kids roll their eyes at how hokey it is while asking for seconds.

Mutilated Monster Fingers

White bread (slightly stale is better)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
cinnamon to taste

red food coloring
blue food coloring
powdered hot chocolate mix

strawberry pancake syrup


1. Heat a frying pan.
2. Cut the bread into fingers (4 'sticks' per slice of bread).
3. Beat two eggs with a good splash of milk, add vanilla and cinnamon. Whip until well mixed. Add blue food coloring - a single drop at a time - until you get a really putrid green color.
4. Drop the bread fingers into the egg mixture. Let it soak a few seconds. Flip them over to get both sides.
5. Put the fingers in the hot frying pan. Splatter some red food coloring over them to make drops of blood. Spinkle the hot chocolate mix over them for graveyard mold (you want the mold to be clumpy, so don't be neat about it).
6. When done on one side, flip 'em over to finish cooking.
7. Serve on a plate laying in a pool of strawberry syrup.

You can make more egg mixture as you go along. Don't call it french freedom toast, it's Mutilated Monster Fingers! Yum.

Posted by Ted at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

October 04, 2003

Team America Rocketry Challenge

(Note: I originally posted this in three parts when I first started blogging. I never moved it over from the old site, so I'm reposting it here in revised form.)

See the link on the right side of the page (under "I'm involved") for the official word about the Team America Rocketry Challenge. One thing for sure is that the TARC is proof positive that kids will rise up to expectations.

The task for teams of high school students was that they had to plan, design, build and fly a rocket. Because you can buy kits in Wal-Mart to do that much, a lot of required complexity was added. The rocket had to fly as close as possible to 1500 feet, and since altitude measurement was a required, the team had to plan on using an electronic altimeter.

The next requirement was that the rocket had to have two stages. In other words, the first motor has to stop burning before the second motor fires. If you've seen pictures of the old Saturn V moon shots, that's how it worked. Three stages, each one dropping off as it was done.

The last requirement was that the rocket had to carry a payload. Two fresh hens eggs, to be brought back to earth unbroken.

Now that is a challenge!

The organizers expected a couple hundred teams to enter, and planned for twice that. Instead, almost 900 teams of students signed up.

Designing a rocket is like any other engineering project, it boils down to tradeoffs. Think about a car for example; designing for lots of people room means a larger body which means a heavier vehicle which means a bigger motor which means less room for people which means…

For the rocket design, the only set dimension was the size and weight of the eggs. The teams were provided with eggs that were weighed and measured to be within contest tolerances (and candled to make sure there were no unseen hairline cracks).

Other than that, the design was freeform. Each team was given a list of commercially available rocket motors that they could use for the flight. These motors ranged in size and power – the largest allowed motor was 256 times more powerful than the smallest. The teams had to come up with a combination of staged motors to meet the requirements. There were other considerations too, because some motors required additional electronics to ignite the upper stage.

There are photos of the teams accessable from the TARC page. In particular, look at the rockets they flew in the finals, and how teams devised different solutions to the same problem.

Each team consisted of high school students and a teacher. There were entries from every state and one from an American school overseas (APO address). Over 9000 students were participants. The teachers were there for adult supervision, but the students were required to do the actual design and construction work, and to fly the rockets themselves. Some teams were only a few students, while other teams comprised a whole class. Some schools entered more than one team. Looking at the team photos, you’ll notice a fair number of young ladies involved, including a few all-female teams.

Each team received sophisticated rocket design and simulation software so that they could build and fly ‘virtual’ rockets before starting construction. Teams were not required to use the software, but I think the benefits far outweighed the time spent learning to use it well.

The team photos were taken at the Finals, held in Virginia in May. Many teams couldn’t afford to send the entire team, but I thought it interesting to see that the teams from small towns often had banners or shirts listing their sponsors and local businesses who donated money to help them meet expenses for the contest. For some, it looked like everyone on ‘Main Street, USA’ chipped in!

An unofficial member of many teams were the mentors, who were experienced rocketeers volunteering time to help. Few students and teachers had experience building and flying rockets, so the teams were encouraged to contact their closest rocket clubs for assistance.

And what is a contest without prizes, eh? From the AIA site:
A grand prize pool of $59,000 in cash and savings bonds was shared by the top five teams. In addition, the top ten teams will compete for three $2500 grants to design, build and launch an advanced rocket with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Each of the top 25 teams is being invited to send one of their teachers to an advanced NASA rocketry workshop.

This is real rocket science.

The TARC was originally concieved as a one-time event, but the response from students, teachers and industry was so overwhelmingly positive that the 2004 Challenge has already been announced.

A couple of good articles about the 2003 Challenge have been posted this month (.pdf files).

Posted by Ted at 11:39 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

Nemo found

LMAO, courtesy of Silent Running.

I needed that. Damn Giants.

Posted by Ted at 10:06 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Dr. Strangelove

"You can't fight in here, this is the War Room!"

Gotta love this movie.

Posted by Ted at 08:48 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Cult Flicks

October 03, 2003

Photo Caption Contest

Shamelessly stealing from Wizbang!, and running with scissors his idea, here's an Octoberiffic edition of Caption that Photo.

Enter your caption in the comments below, and the winner will get a special prize. Bill has agreed to whisper into the winner's ear that Carly Simon wrote You're So Vain about himself.

Apologies to those on dial-up, because the photo is a rather biggish.


Posted by Ted at 10:06 PM | Comments (14)
Category: Square Pegs

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

The Day the Earth Stood Still is on right now. One of my all time favorites, and the first movie to use the phrase 'Klaatu Barada Nicto'. Do you know what the second was?

Ready for some great flash animation? An official Huffington production. Priceless!

Also, this from one of the lesser known California candidates. Does the name Abner Zurd mean anything to you? Thanks to Jockularocracy for the pointers to both of these.

Incommunicado is handing out a new sportscaster award. McCarvers, for inane and stupid commentary.

Laugh therapy, from Across the Atlantic.

Staying in the humorous vein, Mr. Helpful has a new series, Adventures of Bionic Dick.

This one made me laugh! Good one John. Maybe now my boss will see my point...

Cherry has an excellent explanation of moon orbit dynamics and the end of the dinosaurs.

Jon over at Q and O notes that Hillary gets her first international endorsement to be US President.

Paul writes a touching story about a town, a boy, and a mailbox. Keep the tissues handy.

I read Serenity every day, but Serenity is to serene like I am to terse.

Tasberry is an edgy slice-of-life blogger. She's also donated a pic of her self-described 'choco-rockets' to the boobie-thon, as well as some cash. Have you?

Meanwhile, Tiger holds a little contest of his own alongside the boobie-thon. The winner? The -thon, now $60 richer thanks to Tiger.

Tink fantasizes about straight single massage therapists, but settles for hot Krispy Kreme donuts. From a hetero point of view, I think she made the right choice.

You know when Pixy starts talking computer-tech and tosses around acronyms and terms that nobody understands? Well, Nic does the same thing about grammer. She must grind her teeth when she reads my blog, because for me 'creative writing' means I take liberties with words, spelling, grammer and everything else. Victor, if she wakes up screaming with nightmares, she's dreaming of me. Hah!

Are you a hockey fan? So are these guys... which reminds me. I need to check my fantasy hockey roster.
Update: draft not held yet.

Flea talks about the Chesapeake Mill. There is a restoration project underway to save this historic British building built from the timbers of the American Frigate Chesapeak, captured during the War of 1812.

Wind Rider bids a fond farewell to the Concorde.

Wanna beat on something? How about Ken Brashears virtual drum kit? Have fun! Kudos to the Ministry of Minor Perfidy for this one.

Look for a special photo caption contest tomorrow. Kevin of Wizbang did it firstest and bestest, but you'll want to check this one out.

Posted by Ted at 09:05 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

"Roll us both down a mountain"

"and I'm sure the fat guy'd win, woooh." At least according to Ian Anderson.

Don tells of his favorite bumper sticker, which reminds me of a joke.

A severely overweight big-game hunter hires a skinny little guide to take him into the mountains.

Deep in the mountains, the hunter takes a fall and breaks his leg. While doing first aid, the guide listens to the hunter bitch and moan about his bad luck and how he's going to die there.

Finally the guide has heard enough. "Listen," he says, "last year I shot a 400 pound bear in these mountains and I got it down just fine, so shut up!"

The hunter is impressed and asks the guide how he managed such a feat.

"Four trips," said the guide.

Posted by Ted at 01:55 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Put your money where your mouth will be

From their website:
"The purpose of the Long Bets foundation is to improve long-term thinking.

Long Bets is a public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake. The foundation furnishes the continuity to see even the longest bets through to public resolution. This website provides a forum for discussion about what may be learned from the bets and their eventual outcomes."

This is a fascinating concept. The basic idea is that you make a prediction that you think will come true some time in the future (2+ years), and your reasoning behind the prediction. Others bet against you, and explain why they disagree.

Bets may be time limited, such as "In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 2007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times' Web site.". They can also be open-ended, as in "The first discovery of extraterrestrial life will be someplace other than on a planet or on a satellite of a planet."

Charities are designated by each bettor, and when a winner is determined the charity is given the money (plus interest).

Discussion is encouraged. You really should check this out.

Posted by Ted at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

About three people will get this

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Marvin the interrupting cow.

Marvin the inter-

Gimme a dollar.

Posted by Ted at 09:06 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Friday Drinking Stories

Bill, Paul, BlackFive and others have been talking about drinking stories. Thanks for the inspiration guys, here’s my take on it.

Got a favorite drinking game? Quarters comes immediately to mind for a lot of people, and there was a board game whose name I’ve forgotten. It was in a bright pink Monopoly-sized box, and it seems that everyone bought it at Spencers in the mall.

Then there were the group participation games, keyed to a television show or movie. A local favorite was Chug Boat, where each player took a Love Boat character and each time your character appeared on screen you took a drink of your beer. When three or more characters appeared together, those players had to chug the remainder of their beers, and when the whole crew showed up together, everyone chugged a full beer. A variation was "Oh, Bob" using the Bob Newhart Show.

For those living at 78rpm in a 33 1/3 world, try the same game watching the movie Clue.

Nothing like a game of Guts Checkers to get roasted in a hurry. Each checker is a shot glass, dark liquor on one side, light on the other. Twelve shots if you clear the board. Being a wuss (highly recommended) meant you used mixed drinks instead of straight shots. This had the advantage of letting you play more than one game before the world went away. Screwdrivers vs. Vodka Sevens works well, but any contrasting drinks will do.

Feeling cerebral? Try Shot Glass Chess. Many suggested variations too.

Up in the Great White North, where winter runs from September to June, drinking is practiced often and continuously. The drinking game of choice is Chug Hockey, played with a deck of cards. Chug Hockey is the penultimate drinking game because it’s simple and quick playing. Hands last all of about, oh, thirty seconds, and the loser of a hand immediately downs a shot. Two people will get thoroughly trashed in twenty minutes on as little as two six-packs, and have fun doing it.

Here’s the rules. Deal three cards to each player, stack the rest of the deck in the middle of the table. Turn over the first card from the stack. Players take turns laying down their cards and add the numbers to the total. So, for instance, a five is showing and you lay down a seven, you call ‘twelve’. The next player lays down a queen, calling ‘twenty two’, and so on. You take another card from the stack so that you always have three cards in your hand (and if you forget, oh well). The idea is to stay under 99. Simple, eh? Suits don’t matter, and aces are ‘1’. There are a few special cards. A ‘4’ reverses the order of who plays. A ‘9’ is a free card and doesn’t add to the total. A ‘10’ subtracts ten from the total. And finally, the King means the total is automatically 99. That’s it!

If more than two people are playing you can go quite a while without having to drink, which occasionally leads you to intentionally losing just so you can wet your whistle. It also leads into a drinking story.

My wife and I once had the best babysitter in the world. One night we had a party at our place, and our babysitter was invited to, well, babysit while the adults partied. She brought along her new boyfriend, a young military kid full of attitude and the ability to make people immediately dislike him.

We decided to play some Chug Hockey. There were eight of us sitting around the table to play, including boyfriend. We explained the rules and he understood them soon enough. It’s wasn’t long before the babysitter came in and saw what was going on. She just rolled her eyes and walked back out, because we’d already told her that her boyfriend was a dick, and she knew what was coming.

It didn’t take long before he was buzzed enough to be distracted (here, have another shot). A short time later we were stacking the deck right in front of him before we dealt (wow, another shot for loser boy). When he was almost comatose, we decided to add insult to injury and played three hands in a row where the loser had to eat a raw egg. Wanna guess who got ‘em all? When he passed out, we dragged him outside and let him sleep it off on the grass. We had a great babysitter, but she had lousy taste in boyfriends.

Posted by Ted at 08:38 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Boring Stories

Again with the Synergist

Bill has been telling drunken fool stories which prove once again that he's crude and crass and falling-down funny all at the same time. Meanwhile John has taught us a new word that means 'fear of turning into a pumpkin' - apocolocynposis.

Not since "Virtual Jennifer: Skin or Other" has the synergist in me emerged so strongly.

This is why we should all fear Bill becoming a pumpkin.


Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

October 02, 2003

Rocket Jones’ Great Random Google Junket

Looks like it's either feast or famine. Today it’s a feast. Thank you thank you thank you.

On today’s menu:

Phogiston, with cream of Pixy Misa
Centrifugal, with Jennifer on the half shell
Period, ala Victor the younger

Apocolocynposis, with dill and just a hint of John
Prosaic, lightly tossed with balsamic vinegarette and Daniel
Huslanka, grilled and served with The Meatriarch

Reciprocity, sounds deliciously LeeAnn, doesn't it?
Fatuous, rich and smooth, pure Serenity
Illustrious, traditional, yet Susie

From the bar
Bier, imported or domestic (we ID Mookie)
Saliva, by the glass, magnum, or Tuning Spork

Bon Apetit!

phogiston + centrifugal
Gnomish weaponry. Who didn’t see that one coming?

And, The Encyclopedia of World History tells of the 1673 theories of phlogiston and centrifugal motion, as well as the invention of the pendulum clock.

period + apocolocyntosis
Sorry John, I think the original was misspelled although it looks like it was intentional. Google corrected it and we got hits! Well, what we got was multiple hits about The Satyricon by Seneca the Apocolocyntosis, a book about a period in Roman history.

prosaic + bier
The Beer Advocate and a review of Samuel Adams Weiss Bier. These slug puppies want you to subscribe in order to get full access to their site. Translation: pay for their beer. Nice scam guys, but I’ll do my own research. Reading some of the reviews is creepy because these guys aren’t just describing a beer as much as autopsying their best friend.

On a happier note, this newspaper article describes a person who organizes the funeral of your dreams for you. Me? I wanna watch mine from the balcony. With a pellet gun.

saliva + reciprocity
Slicking one finger with his saliva, Riker carefully inserted just the tip into Spock's anus.” Star Trek Porn, entitled Reciprocity. First on the list too. No link, because if it don’t have T’Pau getting down, I don’t wanna read it.

Farther down the list is a site about some pagan religion and the positive aspects of holy saliva.

Fess up, A. I figured out enough to know that this is a foreign word and has something to do with yogurt. Sour milk? There were hits in Italian, German, Polish, and some slavic language. Very very sly.

fatuous + illustrious
The first hit is a rambling screed against Arafat and the 9/11 hijackers. Here’s the link, although I don’t think it worth wasting time on.

Wild Wales: Its people, language and scenery. An online book of mild interest to me, you might find it more or less so.

Ahhh, history. The Great Historic Families of Scotland. Scroll down for lots more information. Now this is stuff I can get into.

We’ll finish up with a moonbat posting. Decline of the West, by George Szamuely. It’s dated from 2000 though, so I have no idea what else he’s done or is currently up to. I don’t care enough to check.

So that’s everything this time except for one special set of submitted words. Next time we’ll have the special Stevie edition of the Random Google Junket. Make sure you tighten your seatbelts for that one, because it could be an interesting ride. With any luck that is.

Again my thanks to everyone who suggested a word. Do it again. Don’t make me beg because you never know, we both might like it.

Posted by Ted at 02:51 PM | Comments (9)
Category: Google Junket

Rocket Science

Over on the Rec.Models.Rockets newsgroup, Jesse asked:
"How come on real rockets they always have funnel like things on the back of the thruster thingo?"

To which Peter Alway* replied:
"Because the hot flamey stuff that comes out of the thruster thingo is accelleratized to the fastness of that noisy stuff you hear by passing through an other-way funnel-like thingy before it reaches the funnel-like things you see, and by going through the funnel-like things it embiggens, which acceleratizes it to several times faster than that noisy stuff you hear. The faster the flamey stuff leaves the thruster thingo, the faster the rocket travels when it runs out of the gunk it burns."

He's absolutely right you know.

*Peter Alway wrote Rockets of the World and its many supplements as well as historical reference and scale modelling data books. He also raises rabbits and teaches astronomy at a college in the midwest.

Posted by Ted at 07:57 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Rocketry

Immanent boobage

Do some good with that stack of folded Georges, gentlemen.

The second annual Blogger Boobie-thon is underway. Billed as "the charity drive that gives you a little something in return", monetary donations are being accepted for research into breast cancer. Pictorial donations are being posted on the photos page. Yes, it's for real.

Guys, explain to a stripper why she's not getting a tip from you and she just might flash you a freebie for being such a sweetie.

There has been some speculation about 'the picture' that Jennifer sent to me and nobody else. Since this is for a good cause and all...

If you promise you'll go visit and donate, then I'll let you have a peek at some genuine Munuvian erotica.


Posted by Ted at 07:37 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Yet another "huh?" moment

Sniper suspect Lee Malvo took the stand yesterday and invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent.

Afterwards, his defense attorney held a news conference and said that it would be unethical for prosecutors to call Malvo to the stand in front of a jury knowing that he would plead the fifth.

I'm not a lawyer, I don't even play one on TV, but how the hell would that be unethical? At worst, it should be a null action, neither good nor bad. Realistically, it would probably be looked at negatively by a jury, although it could be argued that the jury might look at it as picking on the 'poor' child.

Unethical? I don't think so.

Today is the one-year anniversary of the first death from the D.C. snipers. These two are guilty and everyone knows it. I'm glad to see the system working, and the defense fighting as hard as they can for their clients. It's not going to help though. I hope they fry.

Posted by Ted at 06:34 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Trick or treat

I know what Victor and Nic are giving out Halloween night.

Posted by Ted at 06:28 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

October 01, 2003

Wait until the CSPI gets wind of this

California candidate Cruz Bustamonte has a sister, Nao, who is a performance artist. In 1992 she did a piece called "Indigurrito" in which she strapped-on a burrito to her loins and called for white men to come up on stage, take a bite out of the burrito and absolve themselves of 500 years of the white man's guilt.

Do you think all that absolution burns more calories than eating the burrito?

Posted by Ted at 06:17 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Politics

Ejection over the Suburbs

Bill Whittle of Eject! Eject! Eject! has his newest essay posted. Power.

It's hump day people and you might be looking for new and interesting stuff to read. May I suggest the Cul-de-sac, courtesy of Kelley at Suburban Blight?

Posted by Ted at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Limbaugh slams Huffington

Rush Limbaugh today slammed Arianna Huffington for dropping out of the race for California governor.

"I don't think she's been that good from the get-go," Limbaugh said. "I think what we've had here is a little social concern, and the media has been very desirous that a woman do well. There was a little hope invested in Huffington, and it's proved to have been misplaced."

When later asked about his remarks, Limbaugh further described Huffington as a "shrill, overbearing, know-nothing blowhard with nothing substantial to contribute". He also added that this revelation came to him that morning while looking in the mirror as he shaved.

Posted by Ted at 07:45 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

What if?

An Allied victory in World War II was by no means a sure thing. Adolph Hitler made several strategic mistakes that helped turn the tide and probably shortened the European war.

An interesting book on the subject is Hitler's Mistakes, by Ronald Lewin. In this book, the author points out twelve major blunders made by Hiter in the prelude to the war and during the actual conflict.

If you enjoy speculative fiction, you might like Hitler Victorious. This alternative-history collection of short stories contains eleven tales based on the premise that Germany won WWII. This is by no means great literature, but it is a thought-provoking read. My favorite story is Thor meets Captain America with it's chilling rationale behind the mysticism practiced by the Third Reich.

One thing Hitler possessed was vision. Sometimes his dreams were near insanity, but in many ways this faculty allowed his scientists the freedom to design wildly imaginative solutions to a given problem. Add the classic Tuetonic attention to detail, and there were warmaking weapons on the drawing boards that were twenty years ahead of their time. Take some time to visit Luft '46 and look around. As you explore the site and admire the elegant designs and breathtaking creativity, remind yourself that it's not fiction. Each and every idea outlined was a real and documented project of Hitler's Luftwaffe. Truly frightening.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (2)
Category: History

Roast Ted Time

Okey-dokey. I'm in a debate on another blog, and I made the following statement (quoting myself):

The government has the right to nothing not specifically allowed by the constitution. The vast majority of constitutions allow the citizenry rights, the US Constitution allows the government rights. Big difference. Critical distinction.

One person tells me that I have it 'precisely wrong' and that 'reality is the exact opposite'.

Am I brain dead? Did I state it as badly as that? Looking at it, I think maybe I did. What I didn't expressly say - but meant - was that most constitutions assume that the State has supreme power, whereas the US Constitution assumes that that people have supreme power.

Go on. Fling stuff at me. Spears and arrows of derision, or support and encouragement. Suggestions for getting this point across better than I have. Cash. Whatever.

Update: Agreement was reached after adding that one clarifying statement about supreme power. It's good to not be stupid, accidentally or otherwise. Thanks for the input.

Posted by Ted at 05:59 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Sinking of the Kursk

On August 12, 2000, the Russian submarine Kursk suffered a catastrophic emergency during a training exercise which quickly caused the boat to sink with all hands lost.

According to the Russian Naval Museum, there were two distinct explosions heard aboard the Kursk. Some maintain that a third explosion was detected as well. These explosions were verified by two US submarines and a British submarine which were shadowing the Russian fleet. Further corroboration came from US and a Norwegian Intelligence gathering ships in the area, as well as units of the Russian fleet involved in the exercise.

there were many theories about what happened aboard the Kursk, some downright silly. Among the plausible ones put forth:

Collision with unknown surface or submersible ship.
Hitting a mine (modern or World War II times).
Foreign torpedo hit as a result of fatal error of foreign submarine.
Explosion during trial a "secret torpedo" or other newest Russian weapon.
Mass debilitation of crew by a decompression sickness at the moment of transition from "whale jump" to emergency diving. In result the submarine went out of control, was stuck against the seabed, there was weapons explosion later.
Hit by "secret, latest" weapon of NATO.

Some crew members survived the original explosions, but it's almost certain that they knew nothing of what had actually happened since they were trapped in the aft engineering spaces, far from the source of the explosions. These crewmen all died before the badly bungled rescue efforts could get underway.

It is now generally accepted that there was an accident with a new type of torpedo on board. This torpedo used a combination of liquid fuels for propulsion which were volatile and somewhat unstable. This same type of fuel had been tested and rejected by the Royal Navy as being too dangerous for use aboard submarines.

Many people fail to realize just how large these modern submarines are. Our first thought is often of old war movies and the U-boat. The Kursk was a new boat, being commissioned in 1995. Her crew had just recieved an award for performance and readiness. On her last cruise, she carried 118 men.

The extended entry contains a picture that will help you gauge her actual size.


Posted by Ted at 05:52 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Military
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