November 30, 2003

Fantasy Hockey

I've never been in a fantasy hockey league before this season, and knew absolutely nothing about it. It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what was going on, and despite myself I'm doing ok so far. Here's some things I've observed, which may or may not mean squat.

1. Luck plays a big part in success. You can do a lot to help yourself during the season, but luck or the lack of it will make or break your season. Players doing unexpectedly well, avoiding injuries, hot teams and more will all factor in.

2. The draft is critical (sometimes). Our league used an automatic draft, where team order was randomly determined just prior to the draft, and then players were assigned by offensive rank and position. So first the centers were doled out, then left wingers and so on. We were given the chance to 'customize' the draft order for our teams, but I decided to trust the automatic method. So far, it's worked out great for me (see 1 above).

3. Goaltending, goaltending, goaltending. You need two solid starters, and two stars would be better. Five of the top six teams in our league lead with goaltending, and the other is reminiscent of the old Pittsburg Penguins, ignoring defense and winning games 5-4 all season long. Once again, I got lucky here, picking up the hottest goalie of the season, Numinem of Atlanta. My second goalie is Esche of Philly, which is good because he wins almost every time he plays, but he's being platooned so he only plays around half the games. My original third goalie was Broduer's backup in New Jersey. I got rid of him quickly because Martin Broduer plays more games each season than any other goalie.

4. Go with your strengths. Early on I noticed that I was getting big points every week because my team made a lot of shots on goal (not every league awards points for this). I began waiving and drafting players with that stat in mind. Given two available players of roughly equal stats, I'd take the one who took more shots. You can't score if you don't shoot, right? This strategy has paid off in that my team has the second-most number of shots, and my players tend to score plenty of goals, assists and game winning goals.

The main weakness of my team is the plus/minus stat. Basically, if you're on the ice when your team scores, that's a plus one. If the other team scores while you're on the ice, then that's a negative one. An overall negative stat generally means that the opposing team has an easier time scoring while you're on the ice. Positive stats mean just the opposite. Players from the powerhouse teams like Detroit, Ottowa and St. Louis are generally going to have more plus players, although each has one or two guys who are really down there on the minus side. Again, I tend to give more weight to this stat than most because I'm trying to improve it. Once the season starts, you can do that only incrementally, because you'll seldom find more than marginal players on waivers.

5. Trades. If everyone in your league is just standing pat with their team or only dropping and picking up players via waivers, then basically the season becomes a lottery. Whoever had the best computer-generated draft is going to win. That's no fun at all. The league I'm in has had a few trades, but not many. I've made two out of a dozen or so that I've proposed or been offered.

I just made a trade that I knew would either make me look like a genius or an idiot at the end of the season. Early returns are for idiot. I traded offensive-minded Miroslav Satan (is that a great name or what?) and another player for two players who had great plus/minus numbers and slightly less production on offense. Once again I was trying to improve the most glaring weakness of my team without screwing up my other stats too badly. Unfortunately, one of the players I got in return was injured the day of the trade and is out indefinitely, so I shot myself in the foot there. So it goes.

I figure I spend about 20 minutes a day on average looking at scores and such, and it's been fun and added a lot to my enjoyment of this hockey season. If you're a hockey fan it's worth looking into for next season.

Posted by Ted at 07:36 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

November 29, 2003

An unexpected visit from an old friend

Mookie (who blogs dead people) and I had the house to ourselves today while mom did her last day of work for awhile. We did some chores and straightening up, then sat down to watch George of the Jungle together. If you haven't seen that movie, then you need to be smacked upside. If you saw it and thought it was stupid, well... duh!

So as the closing credits rolled, we were watching for the song titles because one in particular had caught our fancy, when a name jumped out at me.

Sergio Aragones. He was listed as one of the animators for the opening credit cartoon. Does that name ring a bell? I spent years loving his little doodles in the margins of MAD magazine. Each issue had countless little masterpieces scribbled in random corners of each page.

And that brought back names I didn't even know I remembered. Don Martin (master of odd sound effects), Dave Berg (The Lighter Side...), Antonio Prohias (Spy vs. Spy) and Mort Drucker. These guys were my heroes growing up, because I wanted to be a cartoonist too. I wasn't bad, but nowhere near talented enough to make a living at it. Oh well.

On the first trip to the grocery store every month I'd scan the magazine rack and snag the latest issue of Mad. My mom would just roll her eyes and add it to the pile at the checkout. She never complained much because I would read them cover to cover. Heck, most of my popular culture came from those pages, as I read parodies of the movies of the day - movies I'd never see in their original versions. I'd carefully fold each back cover to find their secret message (thanks to Al Jaffe), and cover my lunchbox with Mad stickers trumpeting inane sayings.

Once my brother got old enough, he started to get Cracked magazine, and I always looked down on him for it. Cracked was funny (remember "Shut up's"?), but it wasn't the original, ya know?

I have a box of old Mad magazines in my basement that I rescued from my parents house a few years ago. I was actually kind of amazed that they had kept them for all those years. I was proud to introduce my kids to 'the usual gang of idiots'.

Update: While doing some research for this post, I found references to early illustrations done by Basil Wolverton. I loved his work, but only found it in the complilations and paperbacks. He was a little before my time.

Also, fans should check out Doug Gilford's Mad Cover Site, especially his very cool cover trivia pages.

Posted by Ted at 08:35 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Cult Flicks


If you’ve read any of these, then you know what its all about. This is the personal stuff, the things I need to vent about or get off my chest in an attempt to de-stress myself. I do a little of that inside the extended entry. Read it or not, it’s up to you.

We've had our first "I don't want to be a bother" lecture. After all our time together we've gotten good at it, so all in all it goes rather smoothly. Here's how it works:

Liz has put together this long list of things that she needs to do before going into the hospital. That's fine, because usually I can do at least half of those errands myself. But now Liz is beginning to fret about "being a bother". She's reluctant to ask for anything at all, and her standard answer to most questions has become "I'm ok".

This is all familiar territory. Tonight I let her know that her "I don't want to be a bother" attitude is a bother. It pisses me off. Regardless of her good intentions (and they are), this whole situation is going to be a pain in the butt. It's going to be inconvenient as hell for me, and Mookie, and most of all for Liz herself. It's not a good thing, or a bad thing, it merely is.

Someone wise once wrote about finding a lion in your kitchen, and how instead of worrying about how it got there or how much trouble it was going to cause, the best thing to do was to accept it as fact and just deal with the lion.

She needed to be reminded of that.

Liz is also worried because starting tomorrow she's not supposed to take any more of her regular meds. Her doctor has prescribed serious narcotics to take for the pain this week prior to surgery. She won't take many of them though, because Liz refuses to get hooked on painkillers.

No bother at all sweetie. We'll manage just fine, all of us together.

Posted by Ted at 07:56 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Seriously


I was jes' chillin' last night and caught an interesting program on TV. Listed as Bram Stoker's Burial of the Rats, it stared Adrienne Barbeau and lots and lots of other scantily clad ladies. And rats. Although they're not treated all that kindly (there are a couple of rat deaths), they are an integral part of the story. Did I mention scantily clad ladies? We're talking serious leather bikini's and topless dancing. And rats. And scantily clad ladies.

It was on the Showtime Beyond channel, Victor.

Posted by Ted at 07:53 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

November 28, 2003

Hoser, eh?

Build your own outdoor ice rink. Link courtesy of the Hockey Pundits.

Posted by Ted at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Feeling good

Lynn from Reflections in d minor reflects on why Thanksgiving is special to Americans. This is a beautiful bit of writing and absolutely correct too.

President Bush visits the troops in Iraq for Thanksgiving. This man is amazing, and that was the perfect thing to do at the perfect time.

While I'm admiring leadership, let's give Hillary Clinton a hand as well, for visiting troops in Afghanistan over Thanksgiving. I've spent holidays working on the flight line, and visits like this are very much appreciated.

And although I'm at work today, that's a good thing too because Mookie and mom are putting up Christmas decorations. It's nice to come home and find that my only job is to haul boxes back up into the attic.

Oh yeah, it was a pleasant surprise this morning to find myself alone atop the standings in my Fantasy Hockey League. The top five or six teams have been tight all season, and it changes every day, but this is the first time I've been in first place all by myself. Woot!

Posted by Ted at 07:16 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Build It - 1

I’m going to start a series of posts where I’ll build a basic model rocket kit online. The idea is to show the process step by step, including pictures and passing along tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, while you follow along and build your own rocket.

I’ve asked a few people about this idea, and there seems to be some interest in it. Please feel free to ask questions as we progress, and hopefully we'll see some pictures as folks build and launch their rockets.

Once again, there will be a separate category just for these, called “Build It”, and the main part of the post will be in the extended entry so you don’t have to deal with it if you don’t want to.


The rocket I’m going to build is the Estes Fat Boy (see below). You can get this rocket in the toy section of WalMart for less than $9, look for 'Launchables' near the car model kits. You can also find it in some craft stores and hobby shops, sometimes in other packaging like a bag or box instead of the plastic bubble-package pictured, but it will probably cost a little more. If you’d like to build along and can’t find the Fat Boy, you can get something similar because the basic steps will be the same. The Baby Bertha or Alpha would also be good choices, although most any Estes rocket kit will do.



Now is also the time to gather building materials. If I mention a specific brand, it’s because I’ve used it and know it works. There are all kinds of products out there that’ll work just as well.

You’re going to need an x-acto knife (or equivalent, you could get by with a single-edge razor blade). You’ll also need some yellow or white glue. I recommend Elmer’s carpenters glue, if you get the exterior stuff it’s gelled and doesn’t run and drip nearly as much (it's also brownish). You can also use Eileen’s Tacky Glue, TiteBond, white school glue, or anything similar.

The only other must-have will be a pencil.

The following things aren’t strictly necessary, but if you use any or all of them you’ll have a nicer looking and better flying rocket. They’re completely optional, and I’ll note when to use them if you want to.

I highly recommend that you get a pack of sewing elastic. You want to get the flat 1/8" wide stuff, and it'll probably be 3 yards long. WalMart sells it for about a dollar, back in the sewing department.

Super-fine sandpaper, at least 220 grit (the higher the number, the finer the grit). You can find this in the hardware department in sheets, or small pads of it in the craft section. WalMart sells an assortment from 3M called 'wet or dry' sanding pack that contains two sheets of 220, two of 320 and a sheet of 400 grit.

Elmer’s Fill ‘n’ Finish. Also found in the hardware department, get the smallest tub of this. If they have more than one kind with similar names, hold a tub of each in either hand and pick the lightest weight one. We’ll use this to fill the grain in the balsa wood fins and the spirals in the rocket body. You could use a lightweight spackle too.

Fishing swivel. This makes attaching the parachute easier. Don’t buy a package of these, but use one if you can borrow it or already have one in your tackle box.

You can wait to get primer and paint, and I'll talk more about it later. Here's a little about it up front though.

Spray primer. I use Rustoleum sandable primer, it comes in white, gray, or even black. Get whatever they have.

Spray paint. Rustoleum or Krylon is what I use. Get whatever colors you want to use. The little cans of Testors paint near the models are cool colors, but very expensive for their size.

Masking tape. You’ll need a roll of ½” tape if you want to paint your rocket with more than one color.

Posted by Ted at 06:11 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Build It

Cheesecake review

A while back I made a quick and easy Caramel Apple Cheesecake using Jennifer's recipe. I also said that I wanted to try a variation using pineapple, so I made one for Thanksgiving.

The 'old-fashioned' recipe called for only 1 package of cream cheese, and the addition of 1 tsp of lemon juice. This resulted in a frothier and lighter cheesecake. Not better, just different. I used crushed pineapple (well drained) and coconut instead of apple, with 1/2 cup reserved for topping after baking. I also sprinkled more toasted coconut on the top.

Result? It's good. Mookie prefers the apple version, but she likes apple better anyways. I like 'em both, and they're easy enough to do two at the same time. In fact, maybe three, because I'm thinking about cherries with slivered almonds and maybe a splash of brandy, drizzled with dark chocolate...

Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Recipes

November 27, 2003

Giving Thanks

Today and every day, I'm thankful for all of my online friends and visitors who stop by. Your comments and encouragement mean more to us than you know. I also appreciate the time and effort you put in when you post to your own blogs. Reading you is like visiting with friends.

The blogosphere is an inside-out universe, where we can pour out our hearts and souls for all to see, writing things we wouldn't dream of saying to friends at work or church. Yet for all this honesty, the most common external details of our lives are hidden from each other. I may have a good idea of your fears and hot-buttons, even of your kinks, yet I don't have a clue as to what kind of car you drive or what your voice sounds like.

I'm richer for having known all of you. Thank you, and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by Ted at 08:03 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Anything will fly if you stuff a big enough motor in it

For some reason, rocketeers like to add the words 'of death' to the description of unconventional designs. The first time I'd heard this, I was admiring a huge fiberglass pyramid that was being prepared for launch. When I asked what it was, the owner proudly informed me that it was the Flying Pyramid of Death.

It's like an unwritten rule or something.

I've seen the Flying Tetrahedron of Death, the Flying Traffic Barrel of Death (including flashing traffic warning light), and the Flying Port-o-potty of Death (aka Our Stinkin' Rocket). But people soon enough branched out into things 'of Doom' and 'of Destruction'.

And of course, anything can inspire a rocketeer. For instance, the Vatsaas Brothers built and flew The Happy Birthday Party Napkin Rocket of the Apocolypse. The source for that should be self-explanitory. Well, except for the 'Apocolypse' part, but we already covered that.

You should visit their site and admire what can be wrought of insane genius.

Posted by Ted at 06:48 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

More non-Rocket Rocket Stuff

From the same artist who brought us the Oz painting from yesterday, say hello to Rocket the cat.

Now this is guaranteed to steam your buns! The Rocket Dog frankfurter vending system. It's Ergonomic too. Be still my heart.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

November 26, 2003


Ok, if you’ve read the first couple of these, then you know what its all about. This is the personal stuff, the things I need to vent about or get off my chest in an attempt to de-stress myself. I do a little of that inside the extended entry, along with the story of the birth of my son. Read it or not, it’s up to you.

Believe it or not, I’ve been steering towards a point with all these stories so far. The first bit about my mom was basically to provide some context for my attitude about things, and the second bit was to explain some of the crap that my wife has gone through. I thought both of those were needed in order for you to understand why I’m so stressed out about my wife’s upcoming surgery.

It all comes down to this: nothing medical is ever plain and simple for my wife. Her last visit to the dentist sent her to the hospital overnight when she reacted badly to the Novocain. She spent a week in the hospital earlier this year, after what was supposed to be a simple ‘scope and biopsy. That week and the results of the biopsy were the final impetus for this upcoming procedure. Everything is an adventure medically for my wife.

And, to put it delicately, she’s not young anymore. Middle age has snuck up on us, and we don’t rebound like the kids we used to be. Truth be told, she never did.

So that’s why I’m so stressed, because when my wife goes in for surgery, I really have no freakin’ idea about what’s going to happen – during or after.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Ok, whining over. Now I’m going to talk about one of my favorite memories, the birth of my son. Our first child. Fruit of my Looms, as Archie Bunker once put it.

It was nearly ‘time’. Everything was going just swimmingly, we’d gone to the classes and read the pamphlets, the overnight bag was packed and the only thing left to do was to actually have the baby. For some reason, I wasn’t nervous. There was none of this ‘new daddy’ anxiety at all.

So we’re lying in bed, and I’ve already fallen asleep when I get an elbow in the ribs.

“Ted, wake up. It’s time.”

“How far apart are the contractions?”

“Five minutes, I’ve been timing them for a half hour.”

“Ok, what time is it?”

“Just after midnight.”

I took a few seconds to mull it over and made a command decision. It had been a long day and we’d just gotten to bed. Hey, the first labor takes longer, right?

“Wake me in a half hour, unless the contractions start coming faster.” And I went back to sleep.

All too soon, I’m being shaken awake.

“Ted, get up. It’s been a half hour.”

“Ok,” and I sat up in bed. Liz is already dressed.

“Let me grab a quick shower.” Yep, that’s me, Mr. Calm. Wife in labor and I need a shower. It wasn’t entirely selfish though, I wanted to wake up a little before driving across town to the military hospital.

After an uneventful trip and check in, Liz is laying in the hospital bed, and her doctor is doing an internal on her while I stood outside the drawn curtain wall. The doctor left and I went back in to be with my wife. We both beamed at each other, and she quietly cursed me every five minutes while she tried to break my fingers.

The doctor came back with another doctor and after a few minutes left again. Liz said they did another internal. Soon other people dressed in scrubs arrived and this time I was kicked out of the room entirely. I stood in the hallway and mildly wondered at this, because I had no idea if this was normal or not.

After about fifteen minutes and ten people who came popping in and out, I finally grabbed our doctor and asked him what was going on. I wasn’t real happy because by now it was obvious that something wasn’t right, and I was tired of watching every stranger in the hospital take turns feeling up my wife.

He asked for about five more minutes, and told me to go back inside. When he got back, we found out that the baby was breach, and they recommended a caesarian delivery. Within a half hour we’d been briefed and counseled and signed waivers saying everything possible wasn’t anybody’s fault. Two things came to light; first, this caught everybody by surprise. The baby was very active, but no one thought this might happen. Second, thanks to ‘modern’ military medicine, this c-section meant that my wife would have to go through the same procedure in subsequent deliveries. That’s right, the military is tried-and-true when it comes to surgery, there’s no cutting-edge (no pun intended) procedure allowed.

Oops, one more thing. If I still wanted to go in to see the delivery, then I could. But that meant that my wife wouldn’t get general anesthesia, they’d just do a spinal block and she’d be awake for the whole thing. If I didn’t go in, they’d send her to la-la land.

I wanted to see my baby born. I didn’t want to watch a reenactment of Alien. Knock her out, doc.

So now we were all ready to go, right? Yeah, right. After another half hour, we finally track down a nurse to find out what the delay is about. She sends the doctor back and he explains that there’s another lady in labor that we’re waiting for.

This poor woman had been in labor for something like twenty hours. She was a tiny little Philippina and was exhausted, and no closer to delivery than six hours ago. The doctors had finally given her something to relax her, and were monitoring mom and baby closely. Obviously, anything you give the mother in this situation directly affects the baby, so they were concerned.

Meanwhile, Liz was squeezing the hell out of my hand every five minutes like clockwork, and getting more and more vocal about being ready to do this.

About an hour later, the other lady is taken into one delivery room, and an hour after that Liz goes into the other. I sat, paced, and fussed in the expectant father’s room, right outside the double doors leading to the delivery rooms. This was the good ol’ days, where you could actually smoke there, and I was smoking like a chimney. Nerves had arrived big time, because our nice simple let’s-have-a-baby adventure got complicated, and I was completely and unexpectedly out of the loop.

Some while later, the double doors opened and two nurses walk out. I trailed down the hall after them and hear them talking about the delivery, which hadn’t gone well. From the snatches of conversation I heard, the baby had been born not breathing and they had had to resuscitate, and there had been other problems as well. What I couldn’t tell was which baby they were talking about!

“Excuse me! Which baby?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, if you wait in that room, the doctor will be out shortly to talk to you.”

“Which baby?!?!?!?!” I was freaking out.

“We can’t tell you that. The doctor will be right out.”

So I head back to the expectant father’s room, pissed off and so hyped that I can’t stand still, let alone sit down.

A while later, the doors open and the doctor comes out. That bastard didn’t even look into the expectant father's room where I was, he just headed down the hall. Once again I hustled after, and corralled him.

“Is my wife ok?”

Some people have told me that this was a strange question to ask first, because I should have been more worried about the baby. I honestly don’t understand that, because the new baby was a brand new person that I hadn’t even met yet. Also, cold as it may sound, if my wife was ok but the baby wasn’t, then we could try again. At that point, my wife was definitely first on my list of worries.

Yes, my wife was fine. They’d be taking her to recovery in a few minutes. There had been a couple of minor problems with the delivery, but the baby was doing fine as well. Nothing really bad, but a pediatric specialist was going to be talking to us in a while. Turns out that the baby managed to dislocate a hip somewhere along the line and there would be some special things that needed doing. Not to worry, because everything was good. When I asked about the ‘not breathing’ part, he told me that it was the other mom and baby, and they were going to be ok too.

I thanked the doctor and he started to walk away. Then I remembered something else.

“Hey doctor, is it a boy or a girl?”

I was proud papa to a bouncing baby boy.

Kind of an epilogue to this: when they brought my wife to the recovery room, I was waiting. They wheeled her in and got her into the bed, she was completely out of it. I picked up this big baggie of… stuff… and realized that I was holding the placenta. Interesting, and a lot more of it than I thought there would be. The aides got snippy with me for messing with it, like the uninitiated weren’t allowed to interfere. When they started to wheel the gurney back out, I saw that they hadn’t unhooked the catheter bag from the gurney and it was almost out of slack. I hollered and they took care of that, and then stood there looking sheepish while I gave them hell for being idiots.

I was a Dad, and no one messed with my family, dammit.

When Liz was coherent enough, she reminded me to call all the new grandparents. On the phone with my mother-in-law, I passed along the good news (realizing that I still didn’t know the weight or length of my son). Yes, Liz was doing ok. Yes, the baby was fine, ten little fingers, ten little toes. Six on the left, four on the right. My mother-in-law knew me well enough to be pretty sure that I was kidding her about that.

One last weird little thing. My wife had three children and went into labor with all three, despite having three c-sections, and her labor pains were never more nor less than five minutes apart.

Posted by Ted at 08:45 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Seriously

Where would Jack Nicholson sit?

Finding Oz.

Posted by Ted at 07:20 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

New Ad Campaign from NORML

The top 15 Slogans for Legalized Marijuana

15) Got Buzz?
14) Pot: When you care Enough Not to Care At All.
13) A Day Without Pot is like School
12) Weed My Lips!
11) Hemp: the World's Practical Solution to making, like, paper and rope and necklaces and stuff.
10) It's Not Just For Glaucoma anymore!
9) Help eradicate Road Rage in our Lifetime
8) Official Sponsor of the NBA
7) Because the waste is a terrible thing to min....Dude! I totally fucked that up!!
6) When Was the Last Time You REALLY looked at your hand.
5) SMOKE POT! ( Did We Just Say That Out Loud? Or Did We Just Think It?)
4) Recommended by 5 out of 5 deadheads
3) Just Doob It
2) It's the all-the-time smokey, skunky, sticky, greeny, seedy, stemmy, doobie so-you-can-get-high medicine.

And the Number 1 Slogan for Legalized Marijuana.....

1) Skull shaped bong: $12.00, Primo Maui-Grown Bud: $100, Watching Teletubbies with your Buddies: PRICELESS

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that this list is in fact copyrighted from Topfive. I went to the site and looked and it is indeed, although their are minor differences. Go visit their site and enjoy their humor, but don't steal it and email it to all your friends like some nitwit did to me. Here's hoping that this link will make things right. Thanks to Brian J. for pointing this out.

Posted by Ted at 07:12 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs


US ballistic missile submarines make up the third leg of our nuclear triad, along with our land-based missiles and long range bomber forces. The subs are nicknamed boomers, and go out for months at a time, sitting quietly in their assigned areas - just in case.

When it's time to fire a missile from underwater, a complex sequence of actions happens. One of the first things is that a 'gas generator' is set off in order to near-instantaneously create a large bubble that the missile 'rides' to the surface. Once the missile breaks the surface the motor fires and lifts the missile into the air, where it's guidance system takes over. This happens in split-seconds.

Just in case the motor misfires, the submarine leans off of vertical by a few degrees, so that a malfunctioning missile doesn't fall back and hit the submarine.


The crew that test fired this missile didn't wet themselves until later, when they saw this launch photograph.

Posted by Ted at 06:20 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Military

November 25, 2003

Winter on the doorstep

Starhawk over at Freedom Lives posted a picture of his beautiful Arizona rose which, incredibly enough, is blooming right now.

I've already pruned back my roses and put them to bed for the winter, but in the extended entry is a shot of the first bloom we had this past spring. Enjoy.


This climbing rose sits next to our front door. Blooms start out deep salmon, and fade through peach with yellow tints until finishing out a pale pink. By autumn, the vines go up and across the top of our doorway, and we get waves of blooms all summer long. The fragrance is very delicate.

Here's another shot of the same rose later in the season after it really gets going.


Posted by Ted at 12:22 PM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

Your Alpha Bravo Charlies

Thanks to DeltaTangoBravo (and I even stole his excellent post title), you can now learn what your initials would be in the Radio Operator Alphabet. Military types might already know this, but it's still fun.


Interestingly, many folks seem to wind up sounding like old porn stars and strippers.

This is Romeo Tango Papa signing off. Over and out.

Posted by Ted at 10:48 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Links

It takes a village to raise a child

And y'all are letting me down! Mookie started her 'Dead Guy of the Day' posts, and so far she's only gotten a couple of comments about being a troubled child. Heck, I already knew that.

So the parenting gene kicked in (translation: my wife told me I'd better deal with my child), and I'm steering her morbid sense of humor towards a quest to learn more about capital punishment and the debate surrounding the issue. Hence the recent descriptions about methods of execution and even a little bit about her personal feelings on the subject.

Which is more than you folks are doing. C'mon people, in modern society everyone else is responsible, so if she grows up sick and twisted then she's a chip off the ol' block it's your fault too!

While you're there, engage her by leaving thoughtful comments. Challenge her, make her think. And don't forget to give her hell about her spelling and grammar too. Heaven knows she doesn't listen to me anymore, and lately that frightens me.

Posted by Ted at 09:57 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

How to know whether or not you are ready to have kids

Take these few simple tests for yourself.

Smear peanut butter on the sofa and curtains. Place a fish stick behind the couch and leave it there all summer.

Obtain a 55 gallon box of Legos (or you may substitute roofing tacks). Have a friend spread them all over the house. Put on a blindfold. Try to walk to the bathroom or kitchen. Do not scream because this would wake a child at night.

Borrow one or two small animals (goats are best) and take them with you as you shop. Always keep them in sight and pay for anything they eat or damage.

Obtain one large, unhappy, live octopus. Stuff into a small net bag making sure that all the arms stay inside.

Obtain a large plastic milk jug. Fill halfway with water. Suspend from the ceiling with a cord. Start the jug swinging. Try to insert spoonfuls of soggy cereal into the mouth of the jug, while pretending to be an airplane. Now dump the contents of the jug on the floor.

Prepare by obtaining a small cloth bag and fill it with 8-12 pounds of sand. Soak it thoroughly in water. At 3:00p.m. begin to waltz and hum with the bag until 9:00p.m. Lay down your bag and set your alarm for 10:00p.m. Get up, pick up your bag, and sing every song you have ever heard. Make up about a dozen more and sing these too until 4:00a.m. Set alarm for 5:00a.m. Get up and make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.

Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take a toilet paper tube and turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Use only scotch tape and a piece of foil. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty box of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Forget the BMW and buy a station wagon. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it into the cassette player. Take a family size package of chocolate chip cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There, perfect.

Obtain a large bean bag chair and attach it to the front of your clothes. Leave it there for 9 months. Now remove 10 of the beans. And try not to notice your closet full of clothes. You won't be wearing them for a while.

Go to the nearest drug store. Set your wallet on the counter. Ask the clerk to help himself. Now proceed to the nearest food store. Go to the head office and arrange for your paycheck to be directly deposited to the store. Purchase a newspaper. Go home and read it quietly for the last time.

Find a couple who already have a small child. Lecture them on how they can improve their discipline, patience, tolerance, toilet training and child's table manners. Suggest many ways they can improve. Emphasize to them that they should never allow their children to run wild. Enjoy this experience. It will be the last time you will have all the answers.

Posted by Ted at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

November 24, 2003

New Jams

I'm sitting here watching the hockey game in my brand new flannel jammie pants. My wife made them for me today, and she's going to attempt a scrubs-style top this weekend.

Nothing more comfortable, so eat your heart out. Nya Nya. :D

Posted by Ted at 08:14 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Can I get an 'Amen' from my brothers?

"We like to hunt and golf on our days off,
scratch and spit and cuss.
And no matter what line we hand you when we come draggin' in,
We ain't wrong, we ain't sorry,
and it's probably gonna happen again."

-- Tracy Byrd, The Truth About Men

Posted by Ted at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Underwater Robots

A new generation of underwater robotic vehicles are nearly ready for introduction. The earliest versions were essentially remote control torpedoes, and the last generation were little more than undersea blimps, riding the ocean currents much like their atmospheric brethren travel the skies. The newest models actually ‘soar’ underwater using batteries and pumps to change buoyancy, which in turn provides the lift to move forward. This means that there isn’t a motor in the conventional sense, they operate in a similar fashion to airborne gliders.

"There are no new principles being invoked here. The sea is a very, very harsh environment but it is a fluid. Air and water, except for their densities, are very similar creatures," said Thomas Swean, team leader for ocean engineering and marine systems at the Office of Naval Research in Arlington, Va.

Projected missions include naval patrol, industrial inspection of pipelines, tunnels and cables, environmental monitoring (scroll down or search for 'red tides') and scientific measurement and sampling. With potential cruise times measured in weeks and months and ranges out to hundreds of miles, this promising new technology could greatly extend our understanding of the oceans.

Posted by Ted at 07:36 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

November 23, 2003

Don't worry, he won't bite

Say hello to Goddard the Rocket Dog up there at the top.

At least, Goddard is what I'm leaning towards right now. Do you have a suggested name for our intrepid canine? If you do, leave it in the comments.

Posted by Ted at 02:14 PM | Comments (12)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Who gets the wishbone?

There's nothing better than the whole family getting together for Thanksgiving.


Posted by Ted at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

The Duke

A while back I bought a two-DVD set of old old John Wayne westerns. I try to watch one every saturday while the girls are at work, and I've noticed a few things.

More happens in a one-hour western than happens in today's two-hour action movies. Yeah, the special effects are gazillions times better now, but for sheer plot movement and storyline, you can't beat 'em, and this includes the long stretches of horse chases and riding back and forth between town and the ranch (or wherever the secondary locations are). I'm also realizing that there is truly nothing new in Hollywood. Today I watched the Duke, in grainy black & white, run up the side of a wall and dive back onto the bad guys he was fighting. In how many kung-fu movies have we seen that done?

He always got the bad guys and got the girl too. He was honorable when wrongly accused. When someone needed help, he was there for them. He never started trouble, but he always finished it.

John Wayne was America. What a cowboy.

Posted by Ted at 12:53 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Cult Flicks

Trendy words


I've come to hate that word. It's a roasted jalepeno pepper, fer pete's sake. But yuppiedom has taken that word and made it the 'in' thing, like they did to 'fajita'. Remember when every-freakin-thing was fajita-this and fajita-that?

Paradigm. Habenero. Meme.

People make me pro-nuclear.

Posted by Ted at 12:15 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

More housekeeping

More entries into the 'meant to blogroll these but forgot' category.

Quibbles and Bits is quirky and scattershot. Not for everyone, but definitely worth a look.

Enjoy one of the most beautiful blog layouts I've ever seen. Now if only the font size was just a tad larger. Welcome to Candy Universe.

Fellow Munuvian Daniel is one of the minds behind Bsurot Tovot. Check it out.

Primal Purge. She knows Kerpal, who kicked my dog. Oh, just go see her and click the link.

Margi Lowry is taking a short break for personal reasons. Worth waiting for.

The troll blog from On the Fritz has been on the roll for awhile. I've now added his main blog. His site is one of those that won't let you 'back button' out.

Conrad is the author of Gweilo Diaries. He's another expat in Hong Kong, ala our Simon.

Idiot Villager, where "solutions are not the answer". 'Nuff said.

More well-written randomness, courtesy of Travelling Shoes.

Allah. Yahweh. In the house.

Posted by Ted at 12:09 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

November 22, 2003

It's that time of year

As I was cooking dinner, a mouse ran out of the pantry and under the dishwasher. They move in every winter. *sigh* Gotta set some traps out.

Posted by Ted at 07:42 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Program Comparisons

Here's a pre-release review of the new DVD about the Clinton presidency. I figured that since the gift giving season is upon us, someone might find it useful.

It might be helpful to compare the new movie to one that most everybody has already seen. The similarities to the movie Titanic are eerie.

TITANIC: $25.49 on
CLINTON: $13.99 on

TITANIC: Over 3 hours long.
CLINTON: Over 3 hours long.

TITANIC: The story of Jack and Rose, their forbidden love, and subsequent catastrophe.
CLINTON: The story of Bill and Monica, their forbidden love, and subsequent catastrophe.

TITANIC: Jack is a starving artist.
CLINTON: Bill is a bullshit artist.

TITANIC: In one part, Jack enjoys a good cigar.
CLINTON: Ditto for Bill.

TITANIC: During ordeal, Rose's dress gets ruined.
CLINTON: Ditto for Monica.

TITANIC: Jack teaches Rose to spit.
CLINTON: Let's not go there.

TITANIC: Rose gets to keep her jewelry.
CLINTON: Monica's forced to return her gifts.

TITANIC: Rose remembers Jack for the rest of her life.
CLINTON: Monica doesn't remember jack.

TITANIC: Rose goes down on a vessel full of seamen.
CLINTON: Monica...uh, never mind.

TITANIC: Jack surrenders to an icy death.
CLINTON: Bill goes home to Hillary - basically the same thing.

So there you have it. I'm not Santa Helpful, but I try to do my part. Ho.

Posted by Ted at 07:34 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Good News

An elderly Jewish man is sitting on a park bench reading Louis Farrakhan's newspaper. His best friend walks by, sees the paper, and stops - in shock.

"What are you doing reading that paper?" he says. "You should be reading the 'Jewish Journal'!"

The elderly man replies, "The Jewish Journal has stories about anti-Semitism, problems in Israel - all kinds troubles of the Jewish people. I like to read about good news."

His friend gasps, "WHAT good news could possibly be in that paper???"

"Well, Farrakhan's paper says the Jews have all the money, the Jews control the banks, the Jews control the press, the Jews control Hollywood -- see? It's all good news!"

Posted by Ted at 07:14 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Oooooo, pretty pictures!

Check out the magnificent archive page of Astronomy Pictures of the Day. You'll see some beautiful, amazing and historically significant photos, along with plenty of links to other pix and further information.

Folks, these archives stretch back to June of 1995!

Jen, you may recall one of my comments about the Valles Marineris canyon on Mars, and how it dwarfs our Grand Canyon. They have a great photo of it here, and mucho links to explore.


Posted by Ted at 07:10 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech

November 21, 2003

Silent Service Stuff

We got the family newsletter from my son's boat today, the USS Philadelphia, and it confirmed what we suspected: their sea duty has been extended for a good bit. TJ called from Greece a few weeks ago and cancelled Christmas plans, and now it looks like the earliest they'll return to port is February 2004.

This is pure speculation, but I wonder if they're not having to cover for the USS Hartford, which is returning to Norfolk, Virginia for repairs.

Posted by Ted at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Military

They speak Latin when you aren't watching

Evil little fuckers. Have you ever seen that Geico commercial where the squirrel runs out into the middle of the road, causing a car wreck? Of course you have.* And then they celebrate, getting all jiggy widit.

Need more proof of their sinister nature? Ask and ye shall receive!

I'm just glad they live in my neighbor's attic. In fact, I'm tickled pink about that, because he's a jerk.

*To my international friends, just smile and nod. It works for teenagers.

Posted by Ted at 01:27 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links


Here's another post where I talk about life and stuff. It's written as much for me as anything, but you're welcome to read it. Leave comments if so moved to do so, or not - whatever works for you - including not reading it at all.

It all started with a bowling ball.

At least, for both of my wife and I, that was the first memorable manifestation. My wife and I used to do quite a bit of bowling, and at one point, she wanted to get a new ball. She had been using a very light ball, and I convinced her that she needed to move up in weight a little bit.

After the first few times of using the new ball, Liz (my wife) complained of backaches. Within a month, she was laid up after ‘throwing out’ her back. Having no experience in back problems, I was surprised when it took a couple of weeks for her to get better. Liz blamed the new bowling ball, I said nonsense, it was a fluke.

It happened a couple more times over the next three years, and the Air Force doctors did the normal things and prescribed the normal exercises and rest. Each time was a little bit worse and took a little longer to come back from.

After being transferred to Germany, my wife really wrenched her back and this time our medical care was provided by the Army. The new doctor put my wife into the hospital to recover this time and ordered a whole bunch of tests based on Liz’s medical history. I have mixed emotions about this doctor, because he was the first to realize that something wasn’t ‘right’ with my wife, but at the same time he decided to use that week in the hospital to force my wife to lose some weight and quit smoking. Yep, Liz was in enough pain to warrant hospitalization, but he puts her on a restricted diet (as if the food wasn’t already bad enough) and refused her permission to go outside for a cigarette. Liz spent a miserable week, pissed off and doped up.

An aside: in those days in military hospitals the patients were frequently tasked to work as their condition allowed. You would often see patients mopping hallways or laying in bed doing paperwork. A sergeant once brought my wife a stack of files and showed her what they wanted done. A couple hours later the sergeant returned and found the files in the trash can where my wife dumped them. Liz’s response was “I’m not in the military, kiss my ass.” They didn’t try again.

The test results came back and the doctor could only tell us that something was wrong, but couldn’t pinpoint it. My wife’s blood chemistry was severely out of whack, and they didn’t know why, nor how to correct it. The most frightening part was his description of what was happening (wildly simplified): In order to build muscle strength you tear down the muscle a little bit, and it recovers stronger. In Liz’s case, the muscle didn’t recover stronger, it didn’t even recover back to where it was. Every time she hurt her back, it got weaker and would keep getting weaker.

He also told us that at some point in the future, Liz would need a wheelchair to get around. No maybe about it. We could delay it by being careful, but it was inevitable.

Things went downhill for Liz slowly. Her back problems continued and got worse. One year she spent seven months bedridden in two long stretches. It was costing us a fortune in fees to rent a powered hospital bed, and we finally just bought one. Because we lived in a multi-level house and the bedrooms were upstairs, the main floor living room became our ‘bedroom’ and we gave oldest daughter the old master bedroom. I slept on the floor in case Liz needed anything during the night.

Remember the first ‘Seriously’, and it’s point about keeping a good attitude? As far as we were concerned, life was still good. We knew that other people were worse off than us, and if there was one thing that the doctors could say for sure, it was that whatever it was that Liz had, it didn’t seem to be life-threatening. Count your blessings, and all that.

Liz fought every bit of the way. It took me a year to convince her to get a cane to help her walk, and she looked at it as a defeat, even while knowing that she moved around so much better with it. It was her knees as much as my nagging that finally brought her around, because they’re a mess from the frequent falls she was taking.

I learned though that what she lost in mobility she more than made up for in reach. I quickly figured out that I had best be nimble or, better still, distant when I teased her.

By now, we had a name for her condition. Fibromyalgia. In many ways it’s current status is like Muscular Dystrophy was when Jerry Lewis started his telethons. A lot of doctors still don’t believe that it exists. Diagnosis isn’t a concrete yes-or-no proposition. We’ve had doctors tell us that Liz is just stressed out, or she needs to take more vitamins, or get more exercise. Hers is one of the most extreme cases they’ve seen.

The primary symptom is pain. Imagine getting a charley horse, or a back spasm. Now imagine having it last for days or weeks.

Technically, it’s a problem with her neuro-transmitters; those little things that tell the nerves to feel and muscles to contract or relax. Sometimes as she was walking her brain would tell her leg to move, but the neuro-transmitters wouldn’t pass along the message, and taking that next step meant falling down because your brain knew that it had given the right command, and expected that leg to be there. Except it wasn’t. The other side of the coin was when the neuro-transmitters would continuously fire, causing the cramps and spasms. Sometimes her hand (for instance) would just stop working, paralyzed in position for some time, until things returned to normal on their own.

Pain. Everyday. The condition itself isn’t life-threatening, but one of the leading causes of death among those with fibromyalgia is suicide.

The wheelchair was another defeat, but life was still good. We had each other, and we had great kids. They grew up before their time, helping dad keep up with things. In some ways it was like being a single parent, especially when Liz couldn’t drive anymore and had to give up her job as a teacher. She kept involved in life as much as possible, doing volunteer work and trying a variety of home-based businesses. She agonized over not being able to contribute more to the family, and I constantly tried to ease the guilt she felt.

Her family never really understood, and barely tried. Liz kind of grew apart from them because of it. They refused to realize how much our lives had changed, and blamed Liz for her condition without realizing they were doing it. I quietly fumed and was there for Liz when she needed to vent and rage against them. Once in a while I would try to make them understand, but I could tell they just didn’t get it. That changed when Liz and the girls went to visit them for a week, and mom-mom and pop-pop had to deal with the chair and ramps and store aisles and all the other daily bits of life without me around to automatically take care of it. To their credit, and my everlasting gratitude, they learned a lot that week. Things got a lot better between them and Liz.

We learned a lot too. Liz would get cabin fever because she depended on me to get out of the house, and felt bad asking. She thought I’d mind because we didn’t just ‘run’ anywhere. Getting her anyplace was a time-consuming process, but well worth it. She was easier to live with when she wasn’t cooped up, so it wasn't like there was nothing in it for me. Plus, I considered it time well spent, because we were together.

Liz often asks me why I stay with her. I tell her it’s because of her parking privileges.

I’ve been chewed out more than once by little old ladies for being mean to Liz. We’d be in line at the store, oftentimes Liz would have a basket in her lap so I could push her chair instead of a cart. Liz would be saying something and unloading the basket onto the belt, and I’d tell her that the best thing about shopping carts was that they didn’t talk. Liz would tell me to shut up, pay and push, because I was nothing more than hired muscle. Sometimes I would ask the checkout lady if there were a bus route nearby, so I could push Liz in front of one. We’d get some weird looks, but most folks could tell that we were madly in love with each other.

Once, at the amusement park, I let her go at the top of a path. I laughed my ass off as she careened downhill, trying to slow down and yelling “you bastaaaaaaaaard!”

We also got to be quite the crusaders for handicapped access. Our local Lions club replaced it’s front doors because they were a designated voting station, but wheelchairs couldn’t fit through them because of the center jamb. Two stores modified their register layouts because Liz raised enough hell (up to the county level) about wheelchair access and, more importantly, fire safety. I once got into it with the manager of a computer store (major chain) because they had the aisles packed with stacks of extra inventory, and I was kicking them over one by one as we shopped to make room for the wheelchair. He wanted to call the cops, but hesitated when I wanted that too. The county supervisor got involved and I assume they’ve changed their ways, but we’ve never gone back. I refuse to give my money to assholes.

You’d be surprised how many times someone pulls up in front of a store and blocks the wheelchair ramp. If they have the grace to apologize when they come running out and see us waiting, we’d figure they learned the lesson and be more aware next time. If they didn’t care, I’d scrape the chair along their car getting around it. Call the cops asshole, and make sure you mention how you were threatening a lady in a wheelchair.

I have crip tags on my truck, but I don’t park in a handicap spot unless Liz is with me.

Several years ago, Liz’s doctor told her about some new drugs just coming onto the market, and how they might help her condition. They started her on a combination, and have tinkered with the combinations and dosages ever since. The drugs are very expensive, and we had to fight with our HMO each time a refill was necessary. Fortunately, our doctor loved to fight the system, and we’d eventually get approval. That’s gotten better with time. When it looked like a new HMO wasn’t going to cover the cost of her medications, I made plans to take a second job, because they’re worth it.

Thanks to these meds, Liz can work, drive and even walk without a cane again. She’s not close to 100%, but she manages just fine. On the rare occasions where her prescription refills are held up because of some HMO snafu, within a week Liz’s condition begins to deteriorate.

It scares hell out of her. Her other major fear is that at some point the medications will lose their effectiveness for her. We have no idea when or if that will happen, but we’ll deal with it if it does, like we’ve done up to now. With lots of love and patience and understanding, and crip jokes.

These drugs aren't painkillers. She lives every day with pain that would bring me to my knees. I can't bear to think that it might be worse than that, but I know that it frequently is. When I can tell Liz is hurting, then I know it's horrible, because she's gotten very very good at hiding it.

Her doctor thinks she might have Multiple Sclerosis, but Liz won't have the tests done to determine that for sure. She's afraid of the results. If she doesn't want to do something I don't wheedle or nag because she's old enough to make her own decisions. I also refuse to baby her. I'm there to help and assist and take care of what she can't by herself, but she's an adult and I treat her as such.

When Liz regained her ability to drive, one of the first things we did was rent her a car, and her and the girls took a trip to Canada. As often as work allows, she’s gone. It’s as if she’s trying to sate herself now with road trips and freedom, just in case there are darker day ahead. Mookie will attest to that, more than once the kids would wake up for school one morning and I’d tell them that mom would call that evening from wherever she was. Often Liz will take off with no more destination than ‘west’ or ‘south’. She loves to explore new cities and areas, and I’m trusting her to figure out where we’ll move to once we complete our lives here in the DC metro area. She’s the traveler and I’m the homebody, so while she’s out stretching her wings she knows that she always has a place to return to, and someone who’s patiently waiting.

You may have noticed that I’m very fond of ‘yin and yang’ and terms like that. Now you know why. Liz and I are very much a team, the sum infinitely more than mere husband and wife. She completes me.

One more thing, her condition isn’t all-consuming in our lives. It’s there, and we live with it, but it’s a tiny aspect of our everyday. I do like her parking privileges though.

Posted by Ted at 10:04 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Seriously


Most of these were previously mentioned, but never added to my blogroll for one very good reason: Mookie distracted me with her teenage attitude and crap.* I hope to remedy all of it this weekend.

Carol’s Chaotic Collection of Curiosities – Tino Martinez news, some good recipe links, and a roundup of spam news for which I was included for this. Why didn’t I see this coming?

Reflections in d minor – I don’t visit as often as I should, because I’m never disappointed by Lynn’s gentle good humor. She also makes me want to learn more about classical music.

This blogger named Taco lives in Norway and he’s into politics and history. He has some interesting things to say.

Delusional Duck is a very news-oriented open blog. Everyone is invited to post, or as they put it “No rules, just write.” Somewhat local to me.

Left & Right. Salt & Pepper. Lea & Perrin. Rum & Coke. Some things are just naturally right (and left). He’s another local blogger too.

These guys kind of fell off of my radar. I’m an idiot. Vote for me! (seemed like a natural followup)

Sheri can’t come to the door right now. Anyone know what’s going on?

Glenn of Hi, I’m Black! has a t&a blog called, appropriately enough, Not Work Safe. He doesn’t update often, but I see someone from there visits me every day. So I return the favor. I know, it’s a terrible imposition, having to visit a site with pretty and near-naked ladies. That tells you what a nice guy I am.

Fleshbot is fairly new and rather adult oriented. It’s not really a blog, but more like an e-zine. But hey, gotta love a site that points out a link to ‘Women of Wal-Mart’.

I stumbled across this blog while googling for images. Nice site and nice guy.

I'm sure there's more. I'll get to it when I get a chance.

*That was for her creepy post about the death row inmate that was executed on my wedding aniversary. She's a punk.

Posted by Ted at 07:10 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Because it's friday

It's been a terrible week at work. I can handle being busy, but it's the stupidity that drives me up a wall. Blog-wise my job and workplace are what they call a 'target rich environment' but I don't talk about it because most of the frustration derives from training and forethought, or rather, the extreme lack of both. I mean, Custer's soldiers probably weren't incompetent, although you couldn't tell from the end result.

So I'm very happy because it's finally friday! And to celebrate:

Good reasons why you should go to work naked.

13. No one ever steals your chair.

12. Toner ink is really hard to get off of your blouse.

11. Much quicker to get that picture of your ass, boobs or balls on the photocopier without being seen.
Bonus: No one will do it right after you and you will have an exclusive.

10. Gives "bad hair day" a whole new meaning.

9. Diverts attention from the fact that you also came to work drunk.

8. People stop stealing your pens after they realize that you have no pockets, yet manage to keep your pen with you all day long.

7. So that -with a little help from Muzak- you can add "Exotic Dancer" to your exaggerated resume.

6. You want to see if it's like the dream.

5. To stop those creepy guys in in the computer room from looking down your blouse.

4. "I'd love to chip in, but I left my wallet in my pants."

3. Inventive way to finally meet that special person in Human Resources.

2. Can take advantage of computer monitor radiation to work on your tan.
Special Bonus: No Tan Lines

And, by far the number one compelling reason to go to work butt naked...

1. Your boss is always yelling, "I wanna see your ass in here by 8:00!"

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

November 20, 2003

Must've been a little rusty

Brings a whole new meaning to 'stain stick'...

Oil Stains.jpg

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

Air Force Blue (part 3)

Part 1 here and part 2 here.

Camp Bullis was an interesting environment all right. It was more Army than Air Force, with luxurious 12-man tents and eating C-rations and hot meals served in your mess kit instead of on plates. Not to mention the community latrine, where you and twenty of your closest friends could all perform your morning sit down together, sans stalls or walls or any semblance of privacy. It was like Boy Scout camp, except we got yelled at a lot and got to play with lots of neat things that went boom and ka-pow!

We were there to learn Air Base Ground Defense, which was cool because the Air Force believes that the best defense is a good offense. Most people don't realize that the Air Force Security Police (SP's) were collectively one of the most effective and efficient units in Vietnam. They didn't get that by sitting inside the perimeter fence and waiting for the bad guys, the SP's went out and found the bad guys first. We were being taught the agressive techniques that were learned by hard experience in southeast asia. We learned to set up ambushes of various types, long-range patrol, map reading and basic artillery spotting. The ways of camouflage, cover and concealment, and search techniques for areas, buildings, and persons. We learned how to shoot well with a variety of weapons in a variety of positions and situations - both right and left handed. Combined with plenty of classroom time on theory and tactics, it was pretty intense.

Among the most vivid memories I have of Camp Bullis is the morning ritual of attaching the blank suppressors. This was before the neat little laser-tag type simulators, where if you get 'hit' you beep (the link goes to a nifty page describing the system and other simulation aids). Back in the late 70's we used a little red metal box that screwed over your M16 flash suppressor, and 'judges' pointed out who was dead or alive during firefights.

The agressors (instructors) never seemed to die, and those bastards had ground burst simulators (on the link, scroll down to see figure 5-5, right above the M-80's which seem puny in comparison). The M115A2 was thrown around to simulate grenades and mortar fire. The instructors would pull a cord to light the fuse and throw it, and before it exploded the simulator gave this piercing whistle. And these weren't harmless either, they packed a punch when they went off. Nothing was scarier than setting up in the perfect camouflaged position, face painted in black and greens, and during the confusion of the ambush an instructor didn't see you there and tossed one of them directly at you (they supposedly weren't trying to kill you). Your ears would be ringing for a while, and I swear the concussion would lift you off the ground a little bit - probably not, but it seemed like it.

Since it was just training, we were constantly reminded to pay attention to where we dropped. In combat, you stop and drop instantly. In training, you took a quick split-second to make sure you weren't falling onto a pile of rocks containing a snake, scorpion, or centipede. Getting bit or stung by any of these little beasties was cause for disciplinary action, on top of hurting like hell for some time.

And then of course, there were the C-rations, affectionately known as C-rats. Despite the horror stories, and I have a few of my own, they really weren't that bad. It was a little disconcerting though, opening and eating a can of apricots that had been packed the year before you were born. I've had MRE's too, and for my money, C-rats were way better. Well, except for the scrambled eggs or the 'ham and muthers' (lima beans), and the only way to deal with them was to give them to the truly disturbed individual in your unit who actually liked them. There was always one.

How many vets carried the legendary P38 (aka 'John Wayne') can opener on your keychain? I did for years, wrapped in a piece of masking tape, and still wore many a hole in pants pockets.

Chris Hall not-so-fondly remembered chukka boots in my comments. These low-cut abominations were probably the worst footwear ever designed, and very few people wore them, let alone liked them. These were the first thing everyone ditched first chance you got.

Also remembering basic, do you remember the dreaded 'herpes folliculitis' lecture and shaving waivers? We had one poor guy in basic who had the worst acne I've ever seen in my life, and every time he shaved his shirt would just become a blood-soaked mess. They finally got him a shaving waiver. Poor guy desperately wanted to be in the military too. I don't recall what happened to him, but every morning we were convinced he was going to bleed to death right there in front of the mirror.

Posted by Ted at 06:50 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Boring Stories


"I read somewhere that 77 percent of all the mentally ill live in poverty. Actually, I'm more intrigued by the 23 percent who are apparently doing quite well for themselves."
-- Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead)

"Clinton lied. A man might forget where he parks or where he lives, but he never forgets oral sex, no matter how bad it is."
-- Barbara Bush (Former US First Lady)

"Things you'll never hear a woman say: 'My, what an attractive scrotum!'"
-- Patricia Arquette

"Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships."
-- Sharon Stone

"Honesty is the key to a relationship. If you can fake that, you're in."
-- Courtney Cox (Monica on "Friends")

"Hockey is a sport for white men. Basketball is a sport for black men. Golf is a sport for white men dressed like black pimps."
-- Tiger Woods

(On the difference between men and women:)
"On the one hand, we'll never experience childbirth. On the other hand, we can open all our own jars."
--Bruce Willis

"And God said: 'Let there be Satan, so people, don't blame everything on me. And let there be lawyers, so people, don't blame everything on Satan."
-- George Burns

"The Web brings people together because no matter what kind of a twisted sexual mutant you happen to be, you've got millions of pals out there. Type in 'Find people that have sex with goats that are on fire' and the computer will ask, 'Specify type of goat.'"
-- Jason Alexander (George Castanza on Seinfeld)

"Luge strategy? Lie flat and try not to die."
-- Carmen Boyle (Olympic Luge Gold Medal winner - 1996)

"There are only two reasons to sit in the back row of an airplane: Either you have diarrhea, or you're anxious to meet people who do."
-- Henry Kissinger (former US Secretary of State)

"My girlfriend always laughs during sex - no matter what she's reading."
-- Steve Jobs (Founder: Apple Computers)

"My cousin just died. He was only 19. He got stung by a bee - the natural enemy of a tightrope walker."
-- Dan Rather (News anchorman)

"I saw a large woman wearing a sweatshirt with 'Guess' on it. I said, 'Thyroid problem?"
-- Arnold Schwarzenegger

Posted by Ted at 06:45 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

November 19, 2003

Admit it

You wanted to say it...

Michael Jackson is negotiating with authorities on how to turn himself in.

Betcha he wants to go to Juvenile Hall.

Posted by Ted at 07:16 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhh!

If you like biscotti with your coffee, tea or hot chocolate, you might like these traditional mexican dunking cookies.


6 cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
2 cups shortening
1½ cups white sugar
2 tsp anise seed
2 eggs
¼ cup brandy

¼ cup white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Mix the ¼ cup sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Set aside.
2. Sift flour with baking powder and salt.
3. Cream shortening with sugar and anise seeds until fluffy.
4. Beat in eggs one at a time.
5. Mix in flour and brandy until well blended.
6. Turn dough out on a floured board and pat or roll to ¼” or ½” thickness. Cut into shapes (the fleur-de-lis is traditional but I use a biscuit cutter and cut them in half).
7. Dust with the sugar cinnamon mixture.
8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

makes 3 dozen

Posted by Ted at 01:37 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

That could've gone better

Mookie and I went to the library last night. I had a list of books that I wanted to look for, some suggested by fellow bloggers. Megan talked about the newest book by Lemony Snicket. No luck, big waiting list. Someone, I forget who, talked about the Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson. Nope, checked out. The DaVinci Code? Longer wait than for Snickett.

I wound up with the dregs from Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt, which was apparently pieced together from his computer files after his death along with some previously published non-Hitchhiker work. I also picked up another Patrick O'Brien novel. Thanks Norbi for that suggestion (I think that was yours, right?), and for those who don't know, this series is the inspiration for the movie Master and Commander.

I'm going to wind up buying most of these I guess, although the last thing I need is more books. More bookshelves now, those I could use.

Posted by Ted at 07:38 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Why Men Make Lousy Secretaries

Husband's note to his wife:

"Doctor's office called... Said Pabst beer is normal."

Posted by Ted at 07:01 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Is there really a need for this?

Not one, but two books on the complex art of napping. Further proof that you can make money selling most anything on the internet.

Posted by Ted at 06:25 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

November 18, 2003

New Category


It's going to be that, because I think I need to get a few things out there over the next few weeks. Because you might not want to read it, I'll just put the title as Seriously and the actual post in the extended entry. The plan is not to dwell on depressing miserable shit, but some of that may occasionally happen.

Comments, commiseration, quips, slams, mocking, etc. are cordially invited.

On December 5th, my wife goes in for major surgery. I'm scared to death about this. More about that another time maybe.

A couple of people have noticed that I've been 'different' lately. Thank you for being observant, because I've been trying not to let it show. I've resorted to posting old 'office humor' crap, or at least the best of it, and old enough that hopefully some of you have forgotten it.

On my side of the family, adversity has always been met with a smile and a joke. We're not obnoxiously optimistic, but we know that things could always be worse.

In that vein, I'm going to tell you a little bit about my mom. She was a diabetic for years, but she had the non-juvenile type, so it wasn't something that ruled her life. She took her daily shots, and was generally pretty good about what she ate and drank, and life went on.

She passed away a few years ago, in her sleep, laying in her bed next to dad. I think she knew her time was up, and was at peace with it. But that's another story too.

A few years before that, she stubbed her toe. Broke the damn thing actually. This is bad news for diabetics, and things went sour for mom pretty quickly. Gangrene set in, and they amputated the toe. Unfortunately, the gangrene had already spread beyond the toe, so later that week they took part of her foot. The next week they took the whole foot. Then the doctors told mom that they needed to amputate above the ankle. Mom was tired of the mickey mousing going on, and suggested they take her leg below the knee to make sure they got enough of it, because the important part was saving the knee. The doctors agreed, and that's what they did.

A few weeks later mom moved into a hospice for recovery, and Mookie and I flew out to see her (we live in Virginia, mom and dad lived in California). Basically, Mookie came along to give me something to keep me occupied during the long flight, instead of constant fretting about my mom. My wife is wisdom incarnate.

I'd talked to mom and dad on the phone and knew things were going well, considering. Mom was recovering fine, there was no more talk of further surgeries, and it was just a matter of her healing up enough to get the hell out of there and going home.

Dad picked us up and was in a good mood. Typical, there's no gloom and doom about my family. We went to see mom and there's a roomful of people there. A catholic priest, a couple of old co-workers (my folks were both retired), a nurse doing whatever nurses do.

Rachael (mookie) runs in and hugs grandma, and smiles are all around. Introductions are made because I'm the son that nobody has ever met.

I said to my mom that she should get a peg leg with a spike on it, so she could get a job with the state picking up trash along the side of the highway.

Talk about polarizing moments. My mom, dad, and I laughed our asses off about that while everyone else in the room glared daggers at me.

Over the next week, people got used to the banter between mom and I. I heard over and over about what a wonderful attitude my mom and dad had, and how important that was.

I remember asking mom if there was a club or something she could join that would match her up with another amputee so they could go shoe shopping together. She replied that she'd just set the empty shoe on the footrest of the wheelchair to fuck with people's minds.

It took my mom something like six months to get out of the hospice. She had a temporary prothesis, and complained that it didn't have a flask built in. In another six months she was riding her bike, going dancing and even rollerblading (which was scary as hell even when she had two good pins).

So what's the point of all this? I don't know. I like this story because it was the last really happy time I spent with my mom. It also kind of illustrates my attitude about life and the crap everyone has to shovel at some point. You'll get more examples of this if (when) I talk about my wife and kids, and some challenges we've faced together.

Up to this point, I've kept a lot inside. It was actually my wife's idea to write about this stuff here, she's hoping it'll help because I'm stressed out in a major way. Which is kind of weird because I'm probably the only blogger on the net who doesn't have a novel started, or dream of becoming a better writer. My writing sucks, therefore I am. And I am content with that.

Posted by Ted at 11:54 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Seriously

Morbidly Curious Department

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has created a web page detailing what each death row inmate had for his (or her) final meal. It's interesting that tobacco is prohibited, even to those about to be executed.

Posted by Ted at 08:51 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

If it isn't true, it should be

I have no idea as to whether this actually happened as related here, but it's funny as hell, so enjoy!

Radio Game Show

On the WBAM FM morning show in Chicago, the DJs play a game where they award winners great prizes. The game is called "Mate Match." The DJs call someone at work and ask if they are married or seriously involved with someone. If the contestant answers yes, he or she is then asked 3 random yet highly personal questions.

The person is also asked to divulge the name of their partner (with phone number) for verification. If their partner answers those same three questions correctly, they both win the prize.

One particular game, however, several months ago made the City of Big Shoulders drop to its knees with laughter and is possibly the funniest thing I've heard yet. Anyway, here's how it all went down:

DJ: "Hey! This is Edgar on WBAM. Have you ever heard of 'Mate Match'?"

Contestant: (laughing) "Yes I have."

DJ: "Great! Then you know we're giving away a trip to Orlando,Florida if you win. What is your name? First only please."

Contestant: "Brian."

DJ: "Brian, are you married or what?"

Brian: "Yes."

DJ: "Yes? Does that mean you're married or you're what?"

Brian: (laughing nervously) "Yes, I am married."

DJ: "Thank you. Now, what is your wife's name? First only please."

Brian: "Sara."

DJ: "Is Sara at work, Brian?"

Brian: "She is gonna kill me."

DJ: "Stay with me here, Brian! Is she at work?"

Brian: (laughing) Yes, she's at work."

DJ: "Okay, first question - when was the last time you had sex?"

Brian: "She is gonna kill me."

DJ: "Brian! Stay with me here!"

Brian: "About 8 o'clock this morning."

DJ: "Atta boy, Brian."

Brian: (laughing sheepishly) "Well..."

DJ: "Question #2 - How long did it last?"

Brian: "About 10 minutes."

DJ: "Wow! You really want that trip, huh? No one would ever have said that if a trip wasn't at stake."

Brian: "Yeah, that trip sure would be nice."

DJ: "Okay. Final question. Where did you have sex at 8 o'clock this morning?"

Brian: (laughing hard) "I, ummm, I, well..."

DJ: "This sounds good, Brian. Where was it at?"

Brian: "Not that it was all that great, but her Mom is staying for a couple of weeks..."

DJ: "Uh huh..."

Brian: "...and the Mother-in-law was in the shower at the Time."

DJ: "Atta boy, Brian."

Brian: "On the kitchen table."

DJ: "Not that great?? That is more adventure than the previous hundred times I've done it. Okay folks, I will put Brian on hold, get his wife's work number and call her up. You listen to this. (3 minutes of commercials follow.)

DJ: "Okay audience, let's call Sarah, shall we?" (touchtones ringing)

Clerk: "Kinkos."

DJ: "Hey, is Sarah around there somewhere?"

Clerk: "This is she."

DJ: "Sarah, this is Edgar with WBAM. We are live on the air right now and I've been talking with Brian for a couple of hours now."

Sarah: (laughing) "A couple of hours?"

DJ: "Well, a while now. He is on the line with us. Brian knows not to give any answers away or you'll lose. you know the rules of 'Mate match'?"

Sarah: "No."

DJ: "Good!"

Brian: (laughing)

Sarah: (laughing) "Brian, what the hell are you up to?"

Brian (laughing) "Just answer his questions honestly, okay? Be completely honest."

DJ: "Yeah yeah yeah. Sure. Now, I will ask you 3 questions, Sarah. If your answers match Brian's answers, then the both of you will be off to Orlando, Florida for 5 days on us. Disney World. Sea World. Tickets to the Magic's game. The whole deal. Get it Sarah?"

Sarah: (laughing) "Yes."

DJ: "All right. When did you last have sex, Sarah?"

Sarah: "Oh God, Brian....uh, this morning before Brian went to work."

DJ: "What time?"

Sarah: "Around 8 this morning."

DJ: "Very good. Next question. How long did it last?"

Sarah: "12, 15 minutes maybe."

DJ: "Hmmmm. That's close enough. I am sure she is trying to protect his manhood. We've got one last question, Sarah. You are one question away from a trip to Florida. Are you ready?"

Sarah: (laughing) "Yes."

DJ: "Where did you have it?"

Sarah: "OH MY GOD, BRIAN!! You didn't tell them that, did you?"

Brian: "Just tell him, honey."

DJ: "What is bothering you so much,Sarah?"

Sarah: "Well, it's just that my Mom is vacationing with us and..."

DJ: "She saw?"

Sarah: "BRIAN?!"

Brian: "No, no I didn't..."

DJ: "Ease up there, sister. Just messing' with your head. Your answer, please?"

Sara: "Dear Lord...I cannot believe you told them this."

Brian: "Come on, honey, it's for a free trip to Florida."

DJ: "Let's go, sister. We ain't got all day here. Where did you do it?"

Sarah: (short pause) "In the ass."

(long, long pause)

DJ: "We'll be right back after a word from our sponsors."


Like I said, this one is completely unverified, but I did see the episode of the Newlywed Game where something similar happened. You can guess the answer given by the clueless bride when asked "Where's the most unusual place you've ever made whoopee?" It was bleeped, but you could read her lips.

Posted by Ted at 08:13 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Cynicism 101

"The girls with the bodies
like the boys with Ferrari's.
Girls don't like boys,
Girls like cars and money."

-- Good Charlotte

Posted by Ted at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Waxing Lyrical

November 17, 2003

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

For a wonderful report on a pro-US rally in Washington state, with lots of pictures, go see these guys. Say hello and thanks in their comments too.

Al points out a webring of sites owned and operated by military personnel.

Across the Atlantic. List of countries with troops in Iraq. How unilateral of us.

Every Monday, Jeff at Alphecca does a roundup of firearm related stories and some damn good analysis. We’re talking fair and balanced here, in it’s original sense. Whatever your personal take on guns and related issues, you should visit him and read what he has to say. He also provides tons of links to sources.

Related to the above, Publicola relates the story of a woman who sees men with guns on her front porch. She shoots and wounds one of them, and is now being prosecuted because they were police SWAT team members preparing to break down her door unannounced. The first trial ended in a hung jury, but she faces the possibility of going through it all over again.

Being one of those twisted individuals who enjoys obscure and historical military trivia, I found this item at the Flea to be fascinating. Imagine being a member of one of the Canadian Tunneling Companies during World War I…

Kelley has the new Cul-de-Sac up. Good links to several blogs I’ve mentioned before, so if you didn’t believe me, trust her. She also includes fellow-Munuvian Heather, of Angelweave fame.

Thanks to Jay at Sophont, we now know that art is shit. And vice versa. I'm so glad we've learned to synthetically produce that, because I live near Washington DC, and if the Saudis can run short of sand...

Let's finish up with a cool little optical illusion, courtesy of Jockularocracy.

Posted by Ted at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

You know you're in California when...

1. Your co-worker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.
2. You make over $250,000 and still can't afford a house.
3. You take a bus and are shocked at 2 people carrying on a conversation in English.
4. Your child's 3rd grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Breeze.
5. You can't pot illegal?
6. You've been to a baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.
7. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown and can taste the difference between Sumatran and Ethiopian.
8. You know which restaurant serves the freshest arugula.
9. You can't pot illegal?
10. A really great parking space can move you to tears.
11. A low speed pursuit will interrupt ANY TV broadcast.
12. Gas cost 75 cents per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.
13. A man gets on the bus in full leather regalia and crotchless chaps. You don't even notice.
14. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 am at Starbucks wearing the baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney IS George Clooney.
15. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.
16. Your hairdresser is straight, your plumber is gay, the woman who delivers your mail is into S & M and your Avon rep is a guy in drag.
17. You can't pot illegal?
18. It's sprinkling and there's a report on every news station about "STORM WATCH 2003."
19. You have to leave the big company meeting early because Billy Blanks himself is teaching the 4:00 PM Tae Bo class.
20. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cell phones or pagers.
21. It's sprinkling outside, so you leave for work an hour early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.
22. Hey!!!! Is Pot Illegal????
23. You AND your dog have therapists.

Posted by Ted at 08:46 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Another hobby designed to keep your wallet free of finance

Of the various Radio Control hobbies, RC boats is a small part, almost an afterthought compared to cars and airplanes. Most RC boats are racers, but there is a small and dedicated group dedicated to military warships. This group is further divided into the scale-model contingent and the combat enthusiasts. The scale-modellers create miniature versions of real ships, taking great pains to fill them with exacting detail. The combat guys don't go to the trouble, since their goal is to sink everything else floating.

That's right, they build models of warships that have working guns. Most of the ships are at 1:96 scale or better, meaning that a scale WWII aircraft carrier like the Yorktown will be around six feet long.

There's a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions file) here with lots of information about this interesting hobby, including estimated starting costs and construction tips. My favorite part:

3. Do the ships actually sink?

Yes. There is no challenge otherwise.

The ships are built to rigid standards that ensure that they can be damaged easily and can be sunk if sufficient damage is sustained. Low-powered BB cannons are used to poke holes in the 1/32" balsa wood that is used on the hull of the ship. Ships also have homemade bilge pumps on-board that can be used to pump out as needed.

However, if the rate of incoming water exceeds the pumping rate, the ship will fill with water and eventually sink.

There's more information here at the Home Port of Big Gun RC Warship Combat. If you look around this site, you'll find a list of clubs in various areas of the US and around the world, as well as an extensive listing of materials suppliers and resources.

And if you look here, you'll find a list of links to many Australian battlegroups, among others.

Cool stuff, but the last thing I need is another expensive hobby.

Posted by Ted at 07:40 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Stacy's Mom Has Got It Going On

Fun song, by Fountains of Wayne.

And I'd like to apologize to Rob, a good friend growing up, for having the serious hots for your mom back then. :D

Posted by Ted at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

November 16, 2003

Launch Report - 03/11/15

After a windy and rainy week, the weatherman was predicting a beautiful weekend. Except for being a little colder than expected, it was absolutely gorgeous.

Even the traffic cooperated, and I made it to the launch site in record time. I'd planned to show up early to help set up the flying range anyway. About 15 minutes after I got there, the equipment trailer arrived and we got to work.

More help arrived and soon we had things ready to go. We had 7 low-power pads for Estes-sized stuff, a pair of pads slightly farther away for mid-power, and four high-power pads set up out away from the crowd.

We had a great crowd for this launch. There were several Team America teams from various schools, testing prototype egg-lofters. I've talked about them before, do a search of this site on 'Team America' for more info. I helped one group out who had never before flown a rocket. They showed up with a basic rocket, and I walked them through the prep and check-in after which they made a successful flight. They're going to do fine, they asked a lot of questions and spent the day watching people set up and fly more complex rockets. We also had a group of Boy Scouts. Lots and lots of kids, which is great.

There was also a reporter from the Wall Street Journal there, researching an article on recent government regulations and overreaction against various activities. I don't know when the article will appear or if he'll even mention it, but he got the whole story of the Air Munuviana and watched her with us.

First up for me was my original high-power rocket, an upscale of the old Centuri Groove Tube. I flew her on an H128 White Lightning motor for a perfect crowd-pleasing flight. Because the wind was so light, I put a 45" parachute on her and she managed to drift about a mile. I had to cross an icy-cold running spillway to get to the field she was in, and got glared at by some hunters in the treelines. On the way back, I hiked past a small pond and saw a beautiful swan floating there peaceful as could be. I took a couple of pictures with my crappy digital camera, but they don't do it justice.

That motor was my last solid-propellant high-power motor, and I needed to burn the rest of my stock before the first of the year, thanks to the BATFE and their ever-changing interpretation of the rules and regulations. (This paragraph brought to you by the 'hyphen'. Yay!)

Time for the Air Munuviana! Because of the complexity of this rocket, I have a checklist that I follow during the prep work, and I did do a couple of practice runs at home too. The nice thing about the checklist is that I can see exactly where I stopped if I get interupted, and with the number of folks at the launch, I got interupted often by people asking questions.

Oh yeah, the kids dubbed her the "Cow Rocket" and she drew great attention and lots of 'wows' even before flight.

I put together the hybrid motor (my first ever without assistance) and she was ready to fly. We took her out to the pad and pictures were taken. A minor problem with the nitrous venting was corrected and the countdown began.

Beauty! She took off straight as an arrow, coasted for a good while, and just after arching over at apogee the chute ejected perfectly and she floated down to a perfect landing about 200' from the pads.

That was so much fun, let's do it again! I hustled back to the truck and started to get Air Mu ready for another flight. That first one was on an H70, and I'd just gotten a new I80, which is twice as powerful and burns twice as long. Quick cleanup of the engine casing from the first flight, disassemble the electronics and reset everything for the next flight, put together the new motor and we're on our way out to the pads again. Once again shouts of "Cow Rocket!" are heard.

Everything goes smoothly this time with the nitrous fill and venting, but at ignition something goes wrong. The rocket is undamaged, and in fact it never left the pad. Back to the truck we go, amid many awwws and even a moooo or two.

Taking apart the motor showed us what happened. The pressure of the filling nitrous pushed the pre-heater grain down too far and when it ignited the nitrous just dumped out the nozzle instead of combusting with the fuel grain. Very rare, but not unheard of.

I didn't have enough time to try for another flight, since we had plans. So for the day, Air Munuviana successfully made her maiden flight, and managed to not kill anyone with an accident on the pad (to any government agents reading this, that is a joke. see Websters.).

Next scheduled launch is December 13th, depending on weather.

Now for the pictures. Remember I mentioned 'crappy digital camera'? I didn't get a liftoff shot of the Air Munuviana. Several other people were also taking pictures, so if anyone sends me some good ones, I'll post them. What I did post in the extended entry are three shots.

Part of the crowd, taken from the away pads where the Air Munuviana (and other high-power rockets) were launched.

Air Mu on the pad, with Doug Pratt hooking up the nitrous connection. This was just prior to her successful maiden flight.

Descent under parachute. You can't judge scale in the photo, but that's a 36" parachute, and you can see the rocket hanging underneath.

Posted by Ted at 08:57 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Rocketry

I don't own any of these

In fact, I don't even want any of these, so my ranking on the geek/fanatic scale should be adjusted downwards by a few points.

For the record, I don't own rocket jammies either.

But for those who feel a bit rocket-deficient, I offer the following suggestions.

Shaken, not cryo stirred.

And while you're sipping your martini, you can prepare a delicious dinner with the help of the RocketChef food chopper.

Toys! How about the Rocket Football? Or perhaps your youngster (or you yourself?) has one of those wooden Brio trains, in which case you couldn't pass up your very own Curious George and the Rocket Ship track add-on.

You just knew that this one had to be here - the Pocket Rocket.

Ooooo, rocket clip-art.

Go Google on Maurice 'Rocket' Richard and Roger 'Rocket' Clemens.

And finally, a whole page full of rocket-shaped crapola, presented with flair and humor.

Posted by Ted at 07:09 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Things that sound dirty at Thanksgiving but really aren't

David Letterman Top-10 style...

10. Reach in and grab the giblets.

9. Whew... that's one terrific spread!

8. I'm in the mood for a little dark meat.

7. Tying the legs together will keep the inside moist.

6. Talk about a huge breast!

5. "And he forces his way into the end zone."

4. She's 5000 pounds fully inflated and it takes 15 men to hold her down.

3. It's cool whip time!

2. If I don't unbuckle my pants, I'm going to burst.

1. It must be broken 'cause when I push on the tip, nothing squirts out.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

November 15, 2003

Rocket Launch today

Air Munuviana makes her maiden flight. I've got fresh batteries for the digital camera, so pictures will be posted tonight or tomorrow.

Update: Perfection! Details (and some pictures) tomorrow.

Posted by Ted at 06:31 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Rocketry

Application To Date My Daughter

NOTE: This application will be incomplete and rejected unless accompanied by a complete financial statement, job history, driving record, lineage, and current certified medical report (including drug tests) from your doctor.

1. NAME _______________________________ DATE OF BIRTH ________________

2. HEIGHT ______________ WEIGHT __________ I.Q _______ G.P.A.____________

3. SOCIAL SECURITY # _____________ DRIVERS LICENSE # __________________

4. BOY SCOUT RANK____________________________________________________

5. HOME ADDRESS _________________ CITY/STATE ___________ ZIP __________

6. Do you have one MALE and one FEMALE parent? ___yes ___no

If No, EXPLAIN ______________________________________________________

7. Number of years your parents have been married ________________________

8. Do you own a van? ______ A truck with oversized tires? ______
A waterbed? _________

Do you have an earring, nose ring, belly button ring,
or a tattoo? _____________________

(If "yes" to any of #8, discontinue application and leave premises)

9. In 50 words or less, what does "LATE" mean to you?



10. In 50 words or less, what does "DON'T TOUCH MY DAUGHTER" mean to you?



11. In 50 words or less, what does "ABSTINENCE" mean to you?



12. Church you attend _____________
How often do you attend ______________________

13. When would be the best time to interview your father, mother
and priest/rabbi/minister? ____________________________________

14. Answer by filling in the blank: please answer freely. ALL answers are confidential (That means I won't tell anyone -ever- I promise.)

a) If I were shot, the last place on my body I would want wounded is

b) If I were beaten, the last bone I would want broken is my

c) A woman's place is in the

d) The one thing I hope this application does not ask me about is

e) When I first meet a girl, the first thing I notice about her is
(NOTE: If your answer begins with "T" or "A", discontinue. Leave premises keeping your head low. Running in a serpentine fashion is advised.)

15. What do you want to be IF you grow up?

Please Review the Following
Ten Simple Rules for Dating My Daughter

Rule One:
If you pull into my driveway and honk you'd better be delivering a package, because you're sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two:
You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter's body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:
I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don't take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object.
However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four:
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five:
It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of theday. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is "early."

Rule Six:
I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you.
If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven:
As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don't you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight:
The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter:
Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka - zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which feature chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine:
Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten:
Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy near Hanoi. When my Agent Orange starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car - there is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine.


Signature (That means sign your name)

Thank you for your interest. Please allow four to six years for processing. You will be notified in writing if you are approved. Please do not try to call or write. If you do attempt any communication before your application is approved, automatic disqualification will result.

If your application is rejected, you will be notified by two gentlemen wearing white ties and carrying violin cases (You might want to watch your back).

This is your "last chance" to check your answers.
(Perhaps you should re-check your response to question #10.)

Do you still want to date my daughter?

_____ Yes, please accept my application

_____ I um, no, I uh, think I have the wrong house.

Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (11)
Category: Square Pegs

November 14, 2003

Sore Loser Good Sport

As agreed, I've posted the St. Louis Blues logo at the top of my page since they beat my San Jose Sharks last night in overtime.

Congrats Heather!

Posted by Ted at 11:53 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Spamming my way to Easy Street

I was trying to come up with a way to make some extra bucks for Christmas, and I think I've hit upon the perfect scam scheme plan!

Since Miss Cleo left the business, there's a definite imbalance between supply and demand. Plus, this doesn't rely on phone calls, so I don't have to bother with hiring those pesky clairvoyants who already know I'm not giving anyone a raise - ever.

All I need now is a small amount of seed money to purchase the email lists and software spawned in the depths of hell. Of course, I immediately thought of my friends and how I should offer them the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of this exciting venture. Anyone interested in investing in a high-growth-potential enterprise?

I've done some research and have decided that AutoSpam3000 is the package for me. In the extended entry is the letter I've decided to clog millions of email boxes with use.*

* For the severely humor impaired, this is a joke. I feel stupid for thinking I even need to put this disclaimer here, but my psychic said I should do it because of you, David. Idiot.

Hello there! The cards told me to contact you today for an important message! (They also asked me to pick up a loaf of bread on the way home today, but don't worry about that - unless you want my special "messages to me and how they affect you" reading, only $19.95 right now if you click on the link below).

I can sense that you are a Leo. I know this because I got your name, email address, and birthday - along with about 200,000 others - on a list I bought. This list cost me a lot of money, so I need you to assist me in helping you and others like you. Click on this link:

Very good. Now I shall draw your card from the deck and place it on the table before me. I do this for two reasons; 1. you are not here in person, and 2. if you were, and you sat on the table before me, there wouldn't be room for the cards. It's a small table.

Ok, your card is the 6 of spad... I mean the Queen of Wands. This represents you. Just flatter and kinda rectangular.

Now we draw the first card. This represents everything in your life that's going to happen in the next hour. And that card is the 3 of club... er... the Jester of Cups!

Now I will interpret this card for you. Remember, this is a complimentary reading designed to get you to actually pay for more of these, so the cards don't actually mean anything unless you have jacks or better to open. Also, at this time, I wish to remind you that you can influence your fate - and your reading - by clicking on the following link. And, as always, please be generous.

Back so soon? Hmmmmm... things don't look so good for you, you cheapskate. In your case, the Jester means terrible things will happen. Your eyeglasses prescription will run out just as you are crossing the street. Your husband will accidentally switch his Viagra and Minoxodil, which makes the hair he has left stand up on end, and he will be constantly hacking up hairballs. This will cause you to become moody and exceptionally crabby for at least one week out of the next month. Your child will sue you for mal-parenting when scientists discover that people who run with scissors are 25% less likely to get fingernail cancer. You will be humiliated when your mother appears on the cover of the Weekly World News because of her sinful love triangle with bigfoot and the ghost of elvis.

What can you do? Well, click on this link:!-here'

and I will get back to you.


This reading is a free service, and you'll be getting these annoying things every couple of weeks for the rest of your life. Don't change your email address, I'll just buy another list! Same goes for moving... that ain't gonna cut it, bucko! If you absolutely, positively, have to be taken off of our automatic "people who haven't filed a lawsuit against us yet" list, then click the link below:

Posted by Ted at 07:30 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Kitchen Tips

* With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, it's time to buy new spices. Get rid of the old stuff in your spice rack or cabinet, and buy fresh. Do this every year around this time, and you'll notice the difference.

* Get a pepper grinder. You don't have to spend a fortune for one of those riot-baton sized monsters, small ones are available at Wal-Mart or kitchen specialty stores. Fresh ground pepper is a whole 'nother matter compared to the usual stuff folks buy.

* Along the same lines, try kosher salt for cooking. It's not iodized, so it doesn't have that metallic taste we've grown used to.

* Buy good knives. Unfortunately, quality costs. Even if you can only afford one a year (a present for yourself), it's worth the money. And regardless of the knife, keep it sharp. A sharp knife is safer to use.

* You should have at least two cutting boards. A wooden board for veggies and general use, and a glass or non-porous plastic one for poultry. Believe it or not,
wood is naturally anti-bacterial. That doesn't mean you don't have to clean them, just that the board itself is helping.

* Ever see Rachel Ray on the Food Network? Love her or hate her, one excellent idea she taught me was to keep a big 'garbage bowl' close at hand. That way you're not running back and forth to the garbage can all the time.

* The first time you make a recipe, follow the directions and measure carefully. That way, if you want to adjust things to your taste the next time, you have a known baseline to work from.

* Something I've found that really works is to do like cooking shows and pre-measure spices and such into little bowls ahead of time. Yes, it causes a few extra dishes, but makes it much easier during the actual assembly and you're not running around snagging items from the pantry and fridge when things get cooking.

* Keep up with the dishes if you can. It just makes things easier if your workspace isn't cluttered with bowls and pots and pans. Plus, if you do one or two when time allows during cooking, then you won't be discouraged by the memory of the mountain of dirty dishes created next time you feel like cooking.

These are just common sense and little things, but it's stuff that I've learned or been taught over the years. They work for me.

Posted by Ted at 06:33 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Recipes

November 13, 2003

Rocketing Around The Blogosphere

This edition is the Happy Birthday celebration for Bill, who just turned the big five-oh! It's all downhill from here, guy, so just settle into your rocking chair, put on your reading glasses, and try not to doze off.

I was going to link to this article over at Rocket Man, about the most recent technology involved in tomorrow’s airships and how the US is planning to use them (you should read it and be amazed), but then I ran across the post where he relates his father’s experiences in WWII. Both well worth the visit.

Over at Transterrestrial Musings, Rand Simberg points out an interesting discussion about how nanotechnology is described to everyday people, and how the metaphors used in that description could be part of the acceptance problem. Daniel, did you already see this?

Kate of Electric Venom is dealing with her military husband leaving for situations unknown. Harvey says it so much better than I could, so my thanks and best wishes to Kate and her family, and to Harvey and his. This particularly touched me because at this time we don’t know exactly where our son is. I’ve talked about him before, he serves on a US Navy attack sub. His last message was a middle-of-the-night phone call from the Med to let us know he was ok, but heading right back out again. No details other than to forget Christmas plans.

Also, on Jocularocracy, an excellent post about American sports figures who served their country.

Genital Warts: the Musical. Seriously. Which is also what this guy is. Seriously funny that is, not genitally warted. Uh, that I know of. I mean, I don't know for sure either way, ok?

Aaaaagh! My eyes! The flea must pay for this atrocity. Oh wait, he has. With this… I’m in lust! (This excerpt brought to you by Lithium, trusted by multiple personalities the world over.)

StMack of Hold the Mayo goes on an analysis binge. He’s spot on about the current filibustermania and what it really means. He’s also done some introspection about his own postings and decided that it all breaks down into two categories: It Amuses Me, and It Pisses Me Off. Yin and Yang.

Now Alice (who is married to a much older man) is posting pictures from a pig roast. At least they claim it's pig. Pretty grotesque if you’re not into whole roasted animals. Pretty yummy otherwise. Is it just me, or does that look like Alf lying there after the Feds finally caught up with him? Betcha Willie’s doing hard time for that one, or maybe spending the reward money…

Speaking of throwing meat-flavored animals on the fire, the Meatriarch posts about objectivist pickup lines, which probably pleases Don no end, because to hear him tell it, he needs all the help he can get.

Plus, Mr. A points to one of the coolest online toys/time wasters I’ve seen in a while. I love this kind of stuff!

SantaHelpful has arrived. Be joyous and merry.

This kind of stuff is why you should read this guy.

Bill, wake up... Bill, we're almost done.

The AnalogKid at Random Nuclear Strikes is planning to show up to support the troops because the screwballs from Not In Our Name are planning to show up to encourage troop mutiny. Here’s a followup post as well.

Ross at Rocket Penguin is going active duty. Drop by and wish him well, and encourage caretaker Phil.

Dead Pool anyone? The clock is ticking – no pun intended, Bill. Thanks to Paul for the pointer, and who hates the elderly (well, just one specific old guy).

Homemade pies and strip joints and antique silver.

McTroll meets TwoDragons and is warned: “you'll discover what "McAlteration of McComments" means.”

Bill has been bitching about his job quite a bit lately. My advice is to quit. Maybe McDonalds is hiring greeters. He's such a people person, ya know? Besides, folks expect the elderly to be grouchy.

Nic is riding the roller-coaster of Washington Capitals fandom, along with everyone else who roots for them. I won’t even mention mood-swings to Victor, because he’s undoubtedly going through them too. What was that about Yin and Yang? Oh yeah, which Capitals team will show up on any given night.

All done. I'd call Bill a link-whore, but that would imply an active libido, and there's no evidence he can even get it up anymore. Anyway, stop by and say hello and wish him a happy birthday. Stop by again later, don't worry, he won't remember.

Posted by Ted at 11:51 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

The next best thing to being there

Today, we have ways of observing the skies that previous generations of astronomers couldn't even conceive of. Software and computer generated star maps have reached the point where the simulations are almost as good as actually getting outside with a telescope.

Two popular titles are Starry Night and Redshift.

Starry Night lets you plan your sky observations, pointing out selected items of interest and printing out simple maps that will let you locate them in the heavens. The price ranges from about $25 up to about $150, depending on the version you buy. I've never used it, but have heard good things about it from those who have.

Redshift is another virtual planetarium. The latest version sells for around $100. Once again, I haven't used this one, but it's been recommended to me by people I trust.

A neat feature of both of these titles is the ability to go backwards and forwards in time to view the sky, so if you missed the last eclipse because of clouds (as seen from the moon), you can catch it on screen.

This next one isn't quite the same as the other two. Celestia is a 3D Space Simulator that you have to see to believe, and best of all, it's free! There are continuing updates to the software and extra libraries to add destinations like satellites and probes. It also has a guided tour and teaching mode. I've played around with this one for a year now, and it's fun, versatile and addictive. There is a version available for the Mac too.

Posted by Ted at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

Perfect Days


8:15 Wake up to hugs and kisses.
8:30 Weigh 5 lbs. lighter than yesterday.
8:45 Breakfast in bed, fresh squeezed orange juice and croissants.
9:15 Soothing hot bath with fragrant lilac bath oil.
10:00 Light workout at club with handsome, funny personal trainer.
10:30 Facial, manicure, shampoo, and comb out.
12:00 Lunch with best friend at an outdoor cafe.
12:45 Notice ex-boyfriend's wife, she has gained 30 lbs.
1:00 Shopping with friends.
3:00 Nap.
4:00 A dozen roses delivered by florist. Card is from a secret admirer.
4:15 Light workout at club followed by a gentle massage
5:30 Pick outfit for dinner. Primp before mirror.
7:30 Candlelight dinner for two followed by dancing.
10:00 Hot shower. Alone.
10:30 Make love.
11:00 Pillow talk, light touching and cuddling.
11:15 Fall asleep in his big, strong arms.

In the extended entry is the version for us guys.


6:00 Alarm.
6:15 Blowjob.
6:30 Massive dump while reading the sports section.
7:00 Breakfast. Filet Mignon, eggs, toast and coffee.
7:30 Limo arrives.
7:45 Bloody Mary en route to airport.
8:15 Private jet to Augusta, Georgia.
9:30 Limo to Augusta National Golf Club.
9:45 Play front nine at Augusta, finish 2 under par.
11:45 Lunch. 2 dozen oysters on the half shell. 3 Heinekens.
12:15 Blowjob.
12:30 Play back nine at Augusta, finish 4 under par.
2:15 Limo back to airport. Drink 2 Bombay martinis.
2:30 Private jet to Nassau, Bahamas. Nap.
3:15 Late afternoon fishing excursion with topless female crew.
4:30 Catch world record light tackle marlin-1249 lbs.
5:00 Jet back home. En route, get massage from naked supermodel.
7:00 Watch CNN Newsflash. Clinton resigns. (ok, so this is a little dated)
7:30 Dinner. Lobster appetizers, 1963 Dom Perignon, 20 Oz. New York strip.
9:00 Relax after dinner with 1789 Augler Cognac and Cohiba Cuban cigar.
10:00 Have sex with two 18 year old nymphomaniacs.
11:00 Massage and Jacuzzi.
11:45 Go to bed.
11:50 Let loose a 12 second, 4 octave fart. Watch the dog leave the room.
11:55 Laugh yourself to sleep.

Posted by Ted at 07:04 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Small town in the big city

All right, 'big city' is kind of a misnomer. I live in the burbs, one of those areas that started as a small town and grew up and filled in to become part of the endless sprawl around metro areas. Even so, if you look carefully you can still find the small town it used to be. I was reminded of that tuesday.

We live in a townhouse that's almost 40 years old, so when something breaks we have two options. Option one is replacing the item, which means heading out to HardwareChain to buy a new one. Option two is repairing the item, in which case I head to our local old-timey hardware store. I could spend hours there, browsing and talking to the employees, many of whom have been there for years. They stock all the specific parts for the houses that were built in our area, so if I need a left-threaded twaddle-stomper they probably have it, whereas at the HardwareChain they'd look confused and call the manager, who would tell me that everyone uses right-threaded twaddle-stompers now and I need to buy a whole new thing. Yeah, it costs more at the old-timey place, but I consider it money well spent.

Thanks to the magic of digital cameras, I didn't have to dismantle the entire bathroom fixture and take it with me. I went in and met Roy (who probably did the original plumbing at Montecello), and we started looking for the needed replacement parts. We found them, I paid and headed home.

Wrong parts. Looked the same as the picture, but the internals were completely different once disassembled. So I headed back to the hardware store, this time with the original in hand.

My blood went cold when Roy looked at the part and said "I've never seen anything like this before." In my mind I'm hearing cha-chings and wondering how much a complete replacement is going to cost. Then Roy tells me to call Carter's Plumbing and see if they sell this brand of stuff, if so they're worth checking with first.

He also told me to take the incorrect part to the register and just tell them that 'Roy said to accept it' and they did - refunding my money with no problems on a package already opened, just because Roy said so.

Back home again, I looked up Carter's and gave them a call. First things first, yes they do carry that brand, and second, "where are you located?" I knew the general vicinity, and it was one of those streets that progress bypasses, close to everything, but unnoticed smack in between major roads and shopping centers.

I found the place with no problem and walked in. Obviously a family business, because the girl behind the register would've been in high school on non-holiday tuesdays. When I mentioned what I was looking for she went back and got her mom.

Mom looked at the part and immediately knew who made it, what it was for and how it worked. She also knew that Roy had mis-identified the manufacturer and showed me why, comparing it to a similar item. Lo and behold - they had two hanging on the wall. Maybe the last two on earth, because the company went out of business some time ago. I bought 'em both. She even showed me how to fix them, laughing that she shouldn't do that because it was probably costing her a service call.

We talked for about a half-hour about this and that. They've been at that same address for 34 years. She knew Roy, they'd worked together for a long time. And next year when I do a complete remodel on the bathroom, I'll probably call Carter's for at least part of the work, just because they were kind enough to treat me like an individual and a friend and not just another customer.

Posted by Ted at 06:43 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Boring Stories

November 12, 2003

Super-duper Nifty Cool

Not just another picture of the lunar eclipse.

Thanks to Professor Hall at Spacecraft for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 10:32 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

Wisdom of a child

A man and a woman were driving down the road arguing about his deplorable infidelity. Suddenly the woman reaches over and slices off the man's pecker. Angrily the woman tosses the pecker out the window of the car.

Driving behind the car is a fella in a pickup truck with his 10-year-old daughter, chatting away beside him. All of a sudden, the pecker smacks the pickup in the windshield, sticks for a moment, then flies off.

Surprised, the daughter asks her daddy, "Daddy what in the heck was that?

Not wanting to expose his 10-year-old daughter to sex at such a tender age, the father replies, "It was only a bug, honey."

The daughter gets a confused look on her face, and after a minute she says, "Sure had a big dick, didn't it?!"

Posted by Ted at 07:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

That was so much fun

Let's do it again!

Another church sign in the extended entry.


Posted by Ted at 07:28 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

I am da bomb!

Almost literally.

Yesterday I needed to take care of some emergency plumbing in the house. One thing you need for that is one of those little propane torches, which is cool, because it's an excuse to buy another toy. :)

I remembered that my father-in-law had given me a torch kit years ago, one that he had owned forever. All it needed was the torch propane tank, and I knew the hardware store had those. So I bought one while I was there getting plumbing parts.

Turns out I didn't need the torch since no copper pipes were involved. So after repairs were complete, I pulled out the torch kit and looked it over. It needed some cleanup, which I did, and it was time to try it out. I went out into the backyard and screwed on the nozzle and attached the whole thing to the tank. At the base of the torch part, near the top of the tank, is a wheel you turn to open and close the tank. So far, so good.

I turned the wheel and heard the hiss of propane. I tried the little scratch-sparker but it wasn't working right, so I reached for plan B, which was my long fireplace lighter. One click of that and *fwoof*, I had torch!

Well, not exactly. The nozzle assembly was so old that it leaked from every crack and crevice and opening, so what I was holding was a giant fireball. I stood there holding this thing while my hand singed, wondering how I could reach into the flames to shut off the propane again. I was holding a pressurized tank of propane that was enveloped in fire. Oh boy.

I threw it. Not far, just about 10 feet into a bare patch of dirt where the garden used to be. I immediately closed the back door, because even a glass door is better than nothing when the damn thing explodes, plus I didn't want the dogs to come out just then. I knew that if I went to call the fire department, it would take way too long. Thank God I had raked leaves a couple of days ago.

Finally I did the only thing I could think of, I got the garden hose (it was right there) and turned the water on full. I didn't know if I could put the torch out, but maybe I could keep the tank cool enough to keep from exploding. I imagined standing there like a fireman for hours, waiting for a neighbor to come out into their back yard or a kid to wander by out back that I could flag down. I wondered how long it would take for the tank to empty.

No worries. After a bit I managed to drown the entire flame. Another minute of spray to cool everything down, and then I turned the propane off, disconnected everything and threw that torch kit in the trash. It wasn't my father-in-law's fault. And now I get to buy a brand new torch. :D

Mmmmm, hardware store...

Posted by Ted at 05:37 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Boring Stories

November 11, 2003

Air Force Blue (part 2)

Part 1 is here.

Spork wants to hear about me losing my first 341 in basic training. For those who don’t know what he’s talking about, ‘341’ is the form number for a little slip of paper that all trainees are required to carry around and present on demand. They’re used to document minor offences and unmilitary stupidities committed by said winghead. When I went through basic, it was highly recommended that we carry two of them at all times, along with a pen. Not having the 341 or pen was itself punishable. Lose enough 341’s and the TI’s would whack your pee-pee or take away your birthday or something.

Sorry amigo, but I never lost a 341, a fact that I’m rather proud of. Unfortunately, my originals were ruined when a whole bunch of us went into the water during the confidence course. This isn’t to say that I was the perfect little recruit, because I did manage to get confined to the barracks during liberty weekend, as well as having one ‘conversation’ (translation: I got yelled at while I stood at attention) with the section superintendent. I just never did anything trivial enough to warrant a 341.

Instead, I present the continuing story of Airman Basic R T Phipps.

I survived basic training and moved on to the next phase of my training. My selected (not by me) career field was Security Police. Yep, Ted was gonna be a cop. SP’s do important work, and many of them are intelligent and dedicated. I hold all SP’s in high esteem because they do their thankless jobs in extreme conditions.

But to give you an idea of what it takes to be an Air Force Security Policeman, if you can’t make it through ‘cook’ school, they make you a cop. Too dumb to be a truck driver? Cop. I think you get the point. SP’s are the ‘grunts’ of the Air Force – cannon fodder infantry in blue.

So we did cop school, doing classroom work and learning cop things like riot control and search procedures and lots and lots of shooting of weapons (.38 pistol, M16, M204 grenade launcher and M60 machine gun), as well as more military things like the UCMJ. This part of training happened at the same base as basic training: Lackland AFB in San Antonio, Texas.

Part two of cop training was conducted at Camp Bullis, located in the hills overlooking San Antone. From civilization to Boy Scout camp - with automatic weapons. We lived in 12 man tents and ate C-rations and tromped through the hills and learned the skills called Air Base Ground Defense. More about that in another story.

To celebrate something (probably Friday), a whole bunch of us took the bus back to Lackland for an evening of drinking and hellraising. Once there, we went to a bar that someone knew of right outside one of the gates, and we settled in. I don’t remember much of the time at the bar, except for much flirting with the waitress and an unknown number of pitchers of beer.

This was my first real drunk. I’d been buzzed before, but remember I had turned 18 years old not long before this in basic training, so my opportunities had been limited.

I remember having some vague plan about spending the night on base in our old cop barracks, because the bus back to Camp Bullis didn’t run until the following day. I also remember leaving the bar with my buddies, and all of us staggering across an empty field (parade ground? football field?), falling-down drunk and singing loudly, all the while holding hands so nobody got lost.

I got lost.

At one point that night, I got pulled over by the base police. No surprise, since I could barely stay on the sidewalk, let alone walk a straight line. They asked to see my ID card, and after a minute of trying to figure out how my wallet worked, I just handed them the wallet and told them to pull it out themselves. No go. Another minute or two and I got it figured out and my ID card was handed over. One of the cops was a female, and she told me that there had been a rape (or rapes?) on base. I asked if she was accusing me or worried about me, which I thought was funny as hell. They asked where I was going and I told them I had a room that I was headed for, just down the road. They told me to be careful and drove off. I had no idea where I was nor where my room was.

I woke up under a tree next to the base swimming pool. The sun was up, and my eyes opened. I looked up into the branches of a tree, and I was lying on grass. Just realizing this much felt like a victory.

Some time later, it may have been minutes or weeks, I sat up and took stock. Alive? Check. Dressed? Check, sorta. I was in baby step mode. First things first, where were my shoes and socks? Looking around I realized that my glasses were gone. Shit. At least my jacket was there, I’d been using it as a pillow.

Under another tree I found my shoes, neatly placed side by side, with my socks stuffed inside. A third tree must have been my designated closet, because here I found the contents of my pockets including my wallet, a bag from the BX with some pictures I’d had developed and picked up the day before, and my glasses, all in a neat and orderly stack.

It took me about an hour to gather everything up and walk the block or two to the bus stop. I don’t think I’ve ever moved so slowly in my life. When I got there, I sat on the bench and took forever trying to put on my shoes. I still had a long wait for the bus, so I decided I should probably get some food. Coffee and breakfast passed in slooooow motion. Back at the bus stop, the other guys showed up and we exchanged stories. Only two guys actually found our room for the night, another guy also slept under the trees. I don’t remember what everyone else did.

I found out later that I’d asked the waitress for a date, and she’d accepted. I had absolutely no recollection of it, in fact I thought the guys were screwing with me. But I called her at work, we talked and I did take her out. We had a good time, but it was just one date.

Camp Bullis turned out to be a very interesting environment.

Posted by Ted at 04:30 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Boring Stories

Veterans Day

Remember them. Thank them. Honor them. Fly the flag.

Me? I've got some plumbing to do (damn).

Posted by Ted at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Chinese Proverbs

Virginity like bubble, one prick, all gone.
Man who run in front of car get tired.
Man who run behind car get exhausted.
Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day.
Man who walk through airport turnstile sideways going to Bangkok.
Man with one chopstick go hungry.
Man who eat many prunes get good run for money.
Baseball is wrong: man with four balls cannot walk.
Panties not best thing on earth but next to best thing on earth.
Foolish man give wife grand piano, wise man give wife upright organ.
War does not determine who is right, war determine who is left.
Wife who put husband in doghouse soon find him in cat house.
Man who fight with wife all day get no piece at night.
It take many nails to build crib, but one screw to fill it.
Man who drive like hell bound to get there.
Man who live in glass house should change clothes in basement.
Man who fish in other man's well often catch crabs.
Man who fart in church sit in own pew.
Crowded elevator smell different to midget.

Posted by Ted at 06:08 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

November 10, 2003

American Science and Surplus

One of the essential catalogs to have handy, because they sell things you won't find anywhere else, and they're online too. Their service is first rate, prices are reasonable, and they have a twisted sense of humor. Thanks to Tod for pointing this one out.

Posted by Ted at 08:37 PM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

Save me a seat, I'll bring the sunscreen

I'm going to hell for this, I just know it.

My church sign is in the extended entry.

Go here to make your own. Don't worry, we'll scoot over.


Posted by Ted at 09:36 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!

It's cold outside - soup weather - here's another of our favorites.

Baked Potato Soup

2 medium potatoes (about 2 cups chopped)
3 Tbsp butter
1 cup diced onion
2 Tbsp flour
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups water
1/4 cup cornstarch (dissolved into a little warm water)
1 1/2 cup instant mashed potatoes
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp basil
1/8 tsp thyme
1 cup half & half

Garnish: shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled crisp bacon, chopped green onions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake potatoes until done (an hour or so). When cooked, remove from oven to cool*.
2. As potatoes cool, prepare soup by melting butter in a large saucepan, and saute onion until light brown. Add the flour to the onions and stir to make a roux.
3. Add the chicken stock, water, cornstarch, mashed potatoes and spices to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
4. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the contents with a large spoon. Discard potato skin. Chop the baked potato with a large knife to make chunks about 1/2 inch in size.
5. Add chopped baked potato and half-and-half to the saucepan. Bring soup back to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the soup for another 15 minutes or until it is thick.

Garnish and enjoy.

* If I know I'm going to make this soup, I'll go ahead and throw a couple of potatoes in the oven a day or two ahead of time if we're already using the oven. They'll keep in the fridge until you're ready to use them.

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

Mountain of God

In a remote corner of Tanzania stands an astonishing mountain called Ol Doinyo Lengai, where lava fountains harden in midair then shatter like glass.

It's also been called the strangest volcano on earth.

The late photographer and renowned volcano chaser Katia Krafft was captivated by what she called the "toy volcano" because its diminutive flows are cool enough to collect with a spoon.

"It's a perfect little laboratory volcano," agrees Barry Dawson of the University of Edinburgh.

There's more about this odd little piece of our planet here and here and here, including lots of pictures. If you can get your hands on a copy of the January 2003 issue of National Geographic magazine, there is an excellent article including some spectacular photographs.

Posted by Ted at 08:41 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

I haven't done one of these in a while, mainly because real-life has been kinda full lately. This one is a simple list of blogs I've recently started reading. Some you've probably heard of, but maybe some are new to you. Hopefully you'll find someone new and interesting to visit.

Quibbles and Bits

Gweilo Diaries

reflections in d minor

bsurot tovot

Allah is in the house

Yahweh is in the house

Idiot Villager

Left & Right

On the Fritz

Travelling Shoes

Forget who you are, and you'll fit right in

Margi Lowry

Primal Purge

Candy Universe

Posted by Ted at 05:50 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

November 09, 2003

Collins and the Challenge

Well, it must be the Geritol clean living curse of satan (screw you prince of darkness, I'm too pissed to capitalize your freakin' name), because today the Oakland Raiders actually almost looked like a professional football team. They beat rolled over like a dead dog against the Jets.

I'm going to eat a heapin' helping of crow now, and post my Jets Raiders jokes. I said I'd rework them where possible, so the second part will be the ones that just can't be changed because they're too Jet-specific. Yeah, I'm still slamming them some, because they still suck. Just not as bad as the Raiders.

God invented the Raiders so Cincinnati fans would have someone to make fun of.

Bill’s toe was invited to the Raiders training camp next year. It’s already the right color.

They considered playing some Raiders home games in Puerto Rico next year, but the Puerto Ricans said they didn’t need pro football that bad. Raiders fans suggested Vieques. During the shelling.

The Raiders are to football what Marc Gastineau was to sportsmanship.
And modern dance, come to think of it.

The Raiders play like they’re channeling Linda Lovelace.

Al Davis felt the need for a change, so he hired Barry Manilow to write a new fight song. They didn’t use the song, but fit him for a uniform in an effort to toughen up the defense.

There’s three things you can count on from the Raiders this year. First, they suck. After that first thing, who cares what the other two are?

And their cheerleaders, jeez. They look like a cross between the tackling dummy and Carol Doda.

I mean, if the dumbest half of the Jets cheerleaders joined the Raiders squad, the average IQ of both groups would go up.

It’s just a rumor that President Bush has given the Air Force permission to shoot down the Raiders team plane in the interests of “National Dignity”.

After the disaster that this season has been, Coach Callahan is concerned that his career is over. Word is that he’s currently in talks with Madonna.

Last year to this year - there hasn’t been that big a dropoff since the last two minutes of Thelma and Louise.

The Raiders are trying a new slogan this year: “Homeless America’s Team”

The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy team offered to redesign the Raider uniforms, but backed out after discovering that ‘tight end’, ‘split end’, and ‘wide receiver’ were football positions and not job descriptions. Several players were reportedly disappointed. And embarrassed, because they thought the same thing.

Of course it’s spelled differently, but did you know that the phrase ‘Oakland Raiders’ is phonetically the same as the French words for ‘fight to the last man’?

Gannon might become the new spokesman for AARP. I guess Bill will have to look for a new gig.

Part of the problem with the Raiders offense is that, after watching the coaches diagram a play, half the team doesn’t know if they’re supposed to be the hugs or the kisses.

The Raiders are positioning themselves to be the dominant team in that new league starting next year – the AARPFL.

Jets Jokes (and personal attacks against John Collins)

They took x-rays. Collins is not playing with a corked head.

Admit it. You miss Pete Carroll.

What exactly do you call that color? Sea green, putrid green, gan-green? The last time I saw that color, I was changing a baby diaper.

The waiting list for season tickets is long, but look at the bright side John. It’s probably like the New York voter registration, and half those folks are already deceased.

Collins bitched about having to pay to be on the waiting list for Jets season tickets. But look at how much money he's saved not having to buy Super Bowl tickets for the last 35 years.

While interviewing Vinnie Testaverde’s new girlfriend, she shyly admitted that she thought she’d have to be an archeologist in order to see a bone that old.

Face it, things can’t be going well when four of your best players leave to join the Redskins. That’s as bad as having your lifeboat rescued – by the Titanic.

A guy walks into a bar with a dachshund under his arm. The dog is wearing a Jets jersey, helmet and is holding Jets pom poms.
The bartender says,"Hey! No pets allowed in here! You'll have to leave!"
The man begs, "Look I am desperate. We're both big fans, my TV is broken, and this is the only place we can see the game!"
After securing a promise that the dog will behave,and warning him that if there is any trouble they will be thrown out,the bartender relents and allows them to stay in the bar and watch the game.
The game begins with the Jets receiving a kickoff. They march downfield stop at the 30,and kick a field goal.
With that the dog jumps up on the bar,and begins walking up and down the bar giving everyone a high-five.
The bartender says,"Wow that is the most amazing thing I've ever seen! What does the dog do if they score a touchdown?"
"I don't know," replies the owner, "I've only had him for four years."

Joe Namath proved that you can wear panty-hose and still be a man. John proves that all over again each and every day.

Remember that ditch they dug in front of John’s driveway? It was actually a 4” wide trench, but when you’re a Jets fan, every obstacle seems insurmountable.

I know exactly what that feels like.

Posted by Ted at 08:36 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Eclipse picture

This photo (in the extended entry) was taken in Hartford Connecticut by a friend. I'm posting it because the quality of his picture is much better than mine, and it looks the same as from where we watched it, several hundred miles to the south.

Susie, you'll be glad to know that we watched through the open front door, so no Mookie was frozen even though last night was our first hard freeze of the season. Yeah, I dragged her all the way to the front door. Poor kid. ;)


Posted by Ted at 09:18 AM | Comments (4)
Category: SciTech

TV program reminder

Tonight on the Discovery Channel, beginning at 8pm Eastern Time, three episodes of Rocket Challenge will air. Each episode is one hour long, and after they show, the entire block will repeat. Show times are:

8pm and 11pm - Wild and Wierd Rockets
9pm and midnight - How High Can You Fly?
10pm and 1am - Supersonic Speed Demons

See here for their complete broadcast schedule for November.

Posted by Ted at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

Redneck Haiku

Damn, in that tube-top
You make me almost forget
That you are my cousin

Naked in repose
Silvery silhouette girls
Adorn my mudflaps

A painful sadness
Can't fit big screen TV through
Double-wide's front door

In WalMart toy aisle
Wailing boy wants wrestling doll
Mama whups his ass

Unemployment's out.
Hey, maybe I can get on

Distant siren screams
Dumb-ass Verne's been playing with
Gasoline again

Flashlights pierce darkness
No nightcrawlers to be found
Guess we'll gig some frogs

Posted by Ted at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


Read this question, come up with an answer and then check the extended entry for the result. This is not a trick question. It is as it reads.

A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met this guy whom she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy she believed him to be, that she fell in love with him right there but never asked for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed her sister.

Question: What is her motive in killing her sister? (Give this some thought before you answer)

Answer: She was hoping that the guy would appear at the funeral again.

If you answered this correctly, you think like a psychopath. This was a test by a famous American Psychologist used to test if one has the same mentality as a killer. Many arrested serial killers took part in the test and answered the question correctly. If you didn't answer the question correctly good for you. If you got the answer correct, please let me know so I can take you off of my e-mail list unless that will tick you off, then I'll just be extra nice to you from now on.


Alright, the above is pretty much how I originally saw the question/answer the first time, but Snopes blows that myth out of the water.

What, you don't know about Snopes? Good grief, Snopes is the place to find out all about urban legends and the like. There's also no truth to the rumor that it's run by a Nigerian who needs your help...

Posted by Ted at 08:26 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

November 08, 2003

Air Munuviana update and pictures

If you don't know what this is all about, look here for links to previous posts.

The rocket is fully dressed and ready to fly. In the extended entry are photos of the decals and paint job. They're not great photos, but you'll get the idea. There are eight of them, but sized rather small to help the bandwidth.

Maiden flight is next saturday, the 15th of November, at The Plains, Virginia.

This first photo shows the entire rocket.

Here's a closeup of the fin can and bottom rows of flags. The same flags are repeated just below the nose cone, rotated 180 degrees.

This is a pretty rotten picture of the top part of the rocket. It's the same logo and cow that I posted, and the top set of national flags.

Here are the decals where the rocket separates for access to the electronics. The state flags are in alphabetical order (extra credit for naming them all), above that is a row of 'special request' logos, including the US Navy flag, a 9/11 tribute, the POW/MIA flag, and more continued around (you'll see them in the next picture). The top row are logos for rocketry related things. The hole in the airframe allows the barometric sensor on the alitimeter to measure the outside air pressure.

This is the continuation of the decal above, showing two projects that Pixy and all Munuvians can be proud of.

Munuvian requests and logos. Pixy's MuNu button tops the Iowa Hawkeye, Purdue Boilermakers, U of Chicago crest, and Chicago Cubs logo - there's more around the curve. The bottom row has a tribute graphic for Stevie Ray Vaughn (for you, Daun), and a couple you're probably already familiar with. The hole in the airframe here is the exhaust vent for the Nitrous Oxide.

Continuing around the airframe, you can see the Baltimore Orioles logo (for my wife, who indulges me and my hobby), and Mookie's Axis of Evil Naught flaming monkey head logo. You can also see the edge of the Munuvian roster, and the flags in front of each blog name. The screwhead you see is part of the upper rail guide.

The Munuvian blog roster, topped by the Munuvian flag and MuNu 'meatball'.

Posted by Ted at 02:13 PM | Comments (10)
Category: Rocketry

There's a Viagra joke in here somewhere

Researchers said on Wednesday they had found erectile tissue in the tentacle of a male octopus, the first time such tissue has been seen in an invertebrate.

Octopuses, known for their intelligence and complex behavior, are shy animals. Observing their mating is difficult and often the females attack and eat the males during courtship.

In humans, that behavoir has evolved into divorce court and custody hearings.

"We haven't gotten a male octopus to perform for us, as it were, in the lab," Thompson admitted. "Maybe we should try Viagra."

I knew there'd be one! I had nothing funnier, so we'll leave it at that.

"Erectile tissue might be a way to have a large copulatory organ when it is in use," Thompson said. When not in use, it would be small and out of the way. "Running around with an erection potentially could be difficult."

This one invites the humor, but instead take a second and think about what human cultures would be like if men were perpetually erect. Would the penis have evolved into a smaller and less intrusive organ for it's own protection? What would men's clothing - and women's come to think about it - look like? How would customs and conventions have been different? There really is some interesting speculating to do over a cuppa if you leave the humor out of it. Then have another cup and go for the jokes.

Posted by Ted at 09:27 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech

Lunar Eclipse Tonight

I live in Virginia, skies are forecast to be clear, and the show starts at 8:02pm. Details can be found here.

Mookie and I will be bundled up and out there with our crappy little telescope.

And here's a link to '10 Cool Lunar Eclipse Facts'.

Posted by Ted at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

Probably, yeah

A man was in a terrible accident, and his "manhood" was mangled and torn from his body. His doctor assured him that modern medicine could give him back his manhood, but that his insurance wouldn't cover the surgery, since it was considered cosmetic.

The doctor said that the cost would be $3500 for "small," $6500 for "medium," and $14,000 for "large." The man was sure he would want a medium or large, but the doctor urged him to talk it over with his wife before he made any decision.

The man called his wife on the phone and explained their options. The doctor came back into the room, and found the man looking quite dejected. "Well, what have the two of you decided?" asked the doctor. The man answered, "She'd rather remodel the kitchen."

Posted by Ted at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

November 07, 2003

Finishing rockets - 1

For rockets of the size that I fly, most of my final painting is done with cans of spray paint. For the real big rockets, people either use automotive paint guns or take the rocket to a local auto-paint shop. Sometimes you can make a deal where they'll paint your rocket for a reduced price if they can use up leftover paint from another job.

The most interesting finish I've ever seen on a big rocket didn't use paint at all. One guy laminated uncut sheets of US one dollar bills (info available here on how to get them) onto his rocket. I remember it took just over one hundred bills to cover the entire airframe, and he said it was actually a bit cheaper than taking it into the shop for a professional paint job.

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

Inca Lost and Found

Another lost city found in the jungles of Peru. Lost twice actually, because explorer Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu, described the site in 1912 but was vague about the exact location and it wasn't found again until this year.

Because of the heavy jungle canopy, an airborne infrared camera was used to locate the ruins of Llactapata. Then the expedition used machetes to hack through the jungle to reach it, 9,000 feet up the side of a mountain.

You can see pictures of this stunning region here (there are some great related links at the bottom of the page too), and learn more about the Incas here.

Posted by Ted at 07:39 AM | Comments (1)
Category: History

Sharks Hockey

Last night the San Jose Sharks played the Boston Bruins and wonder of wonders, it was televised. That's a good thing, because watching the local Washington Capitals lately has been painful and last night was no exception.

The game was mucho fun to watch, ending in a 5-5 tie. After the Sharks imploded last year, a major overhaul was begun and this years version is younger and faster than previous teams. They also unloaded some high-priced and underachieving stars, which seems to have changed the chemistry of the team for the better. They have enough veterans to provide the leadership needed, and the older players are all grinders and workers, setting the example for the youngsters.

There were a couple of times during the game when the old Sharks would have folded or gotten panicky and made a stupid mistake. That didn't happen.

The Sharks need the young kids to mature rapidly this season, and players like Marleau and Sturm have to play up to their potential. We've been waiting for them to break thru for several years now, and we're getting impatient.

In goal, the Sharks have three solid goalies. Most teams only carry two, and I don't know what the Sharks are planning to do long-term. Last night third-string goalie Teskala played a pretty good game and although the Bruins scored five goals, there were no 'cheap' goals on either side. It was good goaltending getting beat by good shots.

Young and rebuilding, the Sharks have a chance to make the playoffs this season (I know, I know, that's not hard to do in hockey... tell it to the Rangers). This team is going to be fun to watch.

Posted by Ted at 07:10 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Nerd, Geek or Dork?

Take the test and identify your inner self.

Also, for your N/G/D entertainment, this is a cool look at video game and computer history.

Posted by Ted at 05:26 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

November 06, 2003

Trolling for Borg

Voyager, leaving our solar system.

Posted by Ted at 02:28 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Daily Affirmations

Enough for one each day of the month, with a couple spares. Become one of life's success stories, courtesy of Rocket Jones.

1. As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I can get in touch with my Inner Sociopath.

2. I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.

3. I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else’s fault.

4. I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.

5. In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.

6. Having control over myself is nearly as good as having control over others.

7. My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of good judgment.

8. I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no personality at all.

9. Joan of Arc heard voices too.

10. I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.

11. I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and complain.

12. As I learn the innermost secrets of the people around me, they reward me in many ways to keep me quiet.

13. When someone hurts me, forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit. But not nearly as gratifying.

14. The first step is to say nice things about myself. The second, to do nice things for myself. The third, to find someone to buy me nice things.

15. As I learn to trust the universe, I no longer need to carry a gun.

16. All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and disgusting parts.

17. I am at one with my duality.

18. Blessed are the flexible, for they can tie themselves into knots.

19. I will strive to live each day as if it were my 40th birthday.

20. Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.

21. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.

22. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than “I told you so.”

23. False hope is nicer than no hope at all.

24. A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.

25. Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day watching TV. Instead I will move my TV into the bedroom.

26. Who can I blame for my own problems? Give me just a minute... I’ll find someone.

27. It’s not whether you win or lose, but where you place the blame.

28. Why should I waste my time reliving the past when I can spend it worrying about the future?

29. The complete lack of evidence is the surest sign that the conspiracy is working.

30. I am learning that criticism is not nearly as effective as sabotage.

31. Becoming aware of my character defects leads me to the next step - blaming my parents.

32. To have a successful relationship I must learn to make it look like I’m giving as much as I’m getting.

33. I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to learn from them.

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

(not) completely forgotten

Collins had set up a challenge before going haitian he disappeared. Details are here, but basically each week if his beloved Jets won the game then he would rag the other team and designated fan or vice versa, and links would be provided.

It went according to plan for exactly one week, when Rob of Left & Right treated John like a red-headed stepchild. Then life got interesting for John, and the challenge went by the wayside.

Everyone seemed to just let it lie, but I already had some killer jokes prepared for him. I was confident then, before the Raiders started looking like a team in the new AARPFL. So on sunday, I'm going to watch the game, and if the Raiders beat the Jets, I'm going to slam Collins and his Jets according to the original plan. And if the Jets whup the Raiders, well, I'll rework the jokes where possible and do my drunken mick impersonation, showing no mercy to the Black & Silver.

Bill, Wind Rider, Paul or anyone else who talks to John occasionally, point him this way next chance he gets. I'm thinking about him.

Posted by Ted at 09:58 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

One particular comment

Yesterday I ranted about the BATFE and their latest attempt to expand their power. Publicola left a comment to that post that is so dead-on accurate that I wanted to make sure you had a chance to read it. It's fairly long, but worth the time it takes to read through.

In it, he wrote this, which is the best summary of the BATFE I've ever seen:
"Publicity is BIG for them. More press, more congressional attention = bigger budget. That's what it's all about."

Exactly. The BATFE will do anything to keep the control they have and to grow their empire, including issuing official letters and reports to sympathetic congressmen that are full of factual errors, misrepresentations and deliberate lies. They also like to hold press conferences to announce sensationalized events that always turn out to be less than meets the eye. The BATFE has gone so far as to assign agents as part of the staffs of certain cooperative members of congress.

This is the same goverment bureau that originally required fingerprinting of Cub Scouts before being allowed to launch model rockets as part of (long-established) Scouting programs. When the complaints began flooding in, they allowed the smallest possible exception, which helped Scouts but left educational institutions out in the cold.

This is the bureau that managed to wreck quite a few Fourth of July fireworks displays last year by requiring complete background investigations on everyone in contact with 'explosives'. That meant that every warehouse worker, truck driver and railroad employee needed that check. Predictably, the universal reaction was "we won't carry those items". By the time the rule was rescinded, it was too late for many towns.

This bureau has already started to clamp down on all those potential terrorists who use RC cars, planes and boats. Their plan is to require licensing for all users of radio-controlled toys.

If you click on the Rocketry category link at the bottom of this post, you'll see my other articles about the BATFE and their efforts to protect us all from ourselves.

It's not just rockets or RC or even guns. This is an organization out of control, and Homeland Security has given them a smokescreen and excuse that they are using to grab even more power.

By the way, if you like reasoned argument and debate about the 2nd Amendment, you really should visit Publicola. He cites sources and research throughout his work, and he writes well.

Posted by Ted at 06:59 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry


This site (click this link) has just been put up thanks to the volunteer efforts of rocketeers across the US. It will be referred to during the commercial breaks of The Great Rocketry Challenge scheduled to air beginning November 9th on the Discovery Channel.

Lots of great information there.

Posted by Ted at 05:32 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Rocketry

November 05, 2003

Rat sighting

Victor, Nic and Stevie: thought you might be interested. There are pictures and everything.

Posted by Ted at 01:35 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs


Over on the right column is a tagline that changes every few days, and right below it is the link to my tagline archive where you can view past bits of wisdom and whimsy. If you have one to contribute, send it in and I'll post it up.

Posted by Ted at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

This is why PETA hates Bill

It's been a while since I've posted a Bill picture.

Bill throws a lot of parties. It's because no one will invite him to their house.

Open it up to see Bill's halloween costume.


There is some debate as to whether he's the cowboy or the sheep.

Posted by Ted at 07:43 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Great big 'huh?'

Welcome to the visitors who reached this blog by searching Google for:

"Lanced boil pictures"
"Auction houses in San Fransisco"
"Anti-Halloween Poem"
"Estes rocket vegetable"

Posted by Ted at 05:48 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

I HATE the scumbags at the BATFE

November 4, 2003 - The ATFE and its contractor, Applied Research Associates, have been purchasing high power rocket motors, rocket kits, launch rails, electrical launchers and other items to conduct tests at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. The purpose of the tests is to provide proof that high power rockets can be used to shoot down commercial aircraft during landings and takeoffs. The tests will be documented by videotape. It is expected that the video tape will be
released during a press conference for maximum media exposure.

The ATFE plans were first discovered by a high power rocket vendor who recognized the name of ATFE agent, David Shatzer, as he purchased launch rail equipment. Mr. Shatzer has been traveling across the country purchasing other high power rocket supplies using the cover story that he is a high power rocket hobbyist. He changes the story with respect to who he will be flying with depending on his geographical location. Applied Research Associates has purchased at least 40 J350 rocket motors and large numbers of rocket kits from
different suppliers.

It was reported to ARSA that Applied Research Associates employees along with ATFE agents were to conduct tests yesterday at Hill Air Force Base using a target drone to simulate a commercial aircraft. The high power rockets were to be launched out of a parked van. The rockets were going to be launched one at a time at the drone as well as several at a time. The rockets did not contain explosive warheads. It is not known whether the drone was rigged to simulate an explosion as a high power rocket passed by.

The information in this story was made available to Senator Mike Enzi's staff. It is not know at this time, what action, if any, Senator Enzi plans to take. Watch for further updates on this story as it develops.

Thanks to Izzy of Rocket Forge for posting the article to the Rec.Models.Rockets (RMR) newsgroup.

First of all, some questions immediately come to mind:

1. Does Agent Shatzer posses a LEUP (Low Explosives User Permit)? We are required to in order to purchase these motors. In other words, it's already regulated.

2. Is Agent Shatzer posses at least a Level 2 certification from the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) or Tripoli? We are required to in order to purchase these motors. In other words, it's already regulated.

3. Is Agent Shatzer storing his motors in a BATFE-approved magazine? Getting approval for his magazine shouldn't be hard since he is a BATFE agent, but the magazine requirements are not simple to comply with. Again, it's already regulated.

Someone brought up a good point - the BATFE doesn't have to videotape anything but a van driving up, opening the doors and launching a rocket from the back. That alone will be sufficient to scare enough idiots Senators and Representatives that they will get their way.

And what exactly is it that they want to do? They want to eliminate hobby rocketry. Not because it will make anyone safer, nor will it stop a single terrorist action, because there are easier and more effective ways to shoot down airplanes. In fact, using one of our unguided rockets is a pretty damned silly method with virtually no chance of success.

But they could point to this and crow that they're protecting Americans.

Here's a nice quote from C. Stewart on RMR:
The actual point of the silly cloak-and-dagger routine is that the BATF wants to be able to shout loudly that "Terrorists can easily get model rockets!" while showing vids of this character doing just that... wait till they trot out those vids at the scarefest... er... "press conference".

Update: David W. states in RMR: The cert requirement is only in NFPA 1127, which at this time is not very widely adopted, as far as I know. And J350 reloads currently require neither an LEUP nor storage, althought how that gets interpreted and/or enforced depends on which agent you talk to.

So the only people who are being required at this time to follow the more stringent proposed regulations are hobby rocketry enthusiasts. I hate these bastards with a passion.

Posted by Ted at 04:45 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Rocketry

November 04, 2003

Mad Scientist's Club

As a kid, my favorite book was The Mad Scientist's Club, written by Bertrand Brinley. This collection of tales were great fun as the seven club members used science to solve problems, uncover mysteries and pull off outrageous practical jokes. Many of these stories originally appeared in Boy's Life magazine.

Maybe you remember tales such as The Strange Sea Monster of Strawberry Lake, The Unidentified Flying Man of Mammoth Falls, The Secret of the Old Cannon, or The Great Gas Bag Race. If not, then you really missed out and should track down a copy.

Ok, so I tracked it down for you. Amazon has the original, the second collection, and the only published novel length story - The Big Kerplop!

There's talk of finally printing the final unpublished story in the future. I'll be getting a copy as soon as it's available.

Posted by Ted at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

I hear Satan calling...

Sheri at Two Nervous Dogs damns us all to hell. That deserves a great big Munuvian hug and howdy!

Posted by Ted at 12:06 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Hey, did you see this stuff?

Over at You Can Call Me Al, Alan posts a beautiful description of the US Flag folding tradition.

Meanwhile, Nic did exactly what I did this weekend, namely getting the yard ready for winter. She ate some spam too. Mmmmmm, spam… For those of you who refuse to try it, well, that just means more for us barbarians.

Tink is enjoying the Indian Summer, and hoping for a moderate winter. I don’t know about that, every farmer’s almanac I’ve seen is calling for a harsh winter. We’re kinda due for one too, because the last few have been relatively light.

Kevin of Wizbang fame has an interesting debate going on about certain required children’s vaccinations and their potential dangers. His article focuses on the MMR vaccine, but I know that the DPT series also has occasional disastrous side-effects. You can read more here. The site is a little heavy on the scare-tactics, but the information is there.

Denita posts an original cartoon that captures the perfect afterlife – for homicide bombers. Brava!

I’ve told you about Wince and Nod before. If you need further convincing that it should be a regular visit, then you should check out his take on the media in Iraq, censorship via internet blocking in the name of ‘security’, and the Bill of No Rights.

Another debate, this time at Velociworld, about shooting your lawyer. Pro or con, you should go chip in with your two cents.

Jay points out an article about amateur groups building and launching ‘near spacecraft’. Fascinating stuff.

Personal ads from prisoners. Tiger’s analysis is a perfect example of why you need counsel if you’re considering a little caged heat.

Speaking of crime and punishment, you should head over and check out the story of the executed murderer. How mundane, you say? They hanged an elephant (hung? nah, hanged sounds right.). Thanks to Say Uncle for the pointer!

From Silent Running:
Of course, the fact that Saddam was going out of his way to make everyone think he had WMDs is of no consequence to the 'where are the WMDs?' crowd.

Perhaps they actually never did exist, excepting in what Saddam wished for people to believe.

Case in point: be careful what you wish for. Someone might actually believe you are as scary as you want people to think.

Another classic fisking by Jon of Q and O, one of many. My favorite line:

It's magic! The President would tell the UN to "handle it" and it would be "handled". Magical Self-Determination Fairies would wave their Peace Wands and everything would be ok, again!

Finally, we'll finish up with some beauty.

Terry is a master with the camera, and his photographs continually amaze. His sunsets are particularly awe-inspiring.

I enjoy the photos posted by Starhawk as well. He’s done beautiful series on the World Trade Center site and his garden.

Posted by Ted at 10:51 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Appropriate Imagery

Annika points the way to an interesting survey of blogs and bloggers.

A couple of things jumped out at me.

BlogSpot and LiveJournal are the two market leaders, each with 31% of these hosted blogs. While BlogSpot is growing more quickly, its retention rate is lower, and the two sites should continue to race neck-and-neck in the near term in terms of active users.

Making BlogSpot the AOL of blogging. That's not really a surprise, because I've noticed a bias against BlogSpotters in the blogosphere.

Also, this survey only included Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga. Their rationale seems reasonable.

The report concludes that the blogosphere is like an iceberg, where a very few (the big boys) are read by thousands every day, yet the vast majority of blogs remain unseen by most, 'under the surface' if you will. They then discuss nanoaudiences (not to be confused with the off-Broadway production of Nano-Nanette) and the methodology used.

According to the report, this is the first in a series of surveys to be done. Future results will be interesting.

Posted by Ted at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Election Day

Be sure to vote.

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

November 03, 2003

Passing the torch

As I mentioned here, on October 21st the last Titan II rocket launched and succesfully deployed a satellite into orbit. A nice picture of the liftoff is here, along with some background information about the rocket and it's history.

More amazing photos here and here.

According to online sources, "there are probably 30 more Titans at Davis-Monthan AFB, but maybe only one fully reconditioned and ready for flight. At the time of the Titan II deactivation, there were 52 missiles + spares in serviceable condition - I think something less than 15 were selected for use as satellite boosters - they got guidance upgrades, safety upgrades, and assorted what-not."

The current undisputed workhorse of the US lifter fleet are the Boeing Deltas. Some beautiful pictures of the Delta II, Delta III, and Delta IV can be found at the Boeing Gallery website. Be sure to look around a bit, because there are multiple pages of photos.

Posted by Ted at 09:56 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Space Program

Air Force Blue

Basic Training at Lackland AFB, Texas. San Antonio in August. Hell with an accent.

For some strange reason, our 'flight' of recruits was almost evenly divided between New Yorkers and Californians. There may have been a few other states in there, but not many. The Californians (including yours truly) took one bay of the barracks, and the Noo Yawkahs took the other.

We had arrived on a friday, and official training didn't start until monday, which meant that our TI (training instructor, as opposed to drill instructor) had the whole weekend to fuck with us to his hearts content. And he did.

He began by running our asses ragged all day long. Mostly by announcing fire drills one after another which caused us to hustle down three flights of steps and across the street into a field where we tried to get into some sort of formation, and then we'd take verbal abuse until the TI and his assistants got thirsty from yelling. Then we'd return to our barracks ("Double-time Hollywood! Hup hup!") and do it all over again in 10 minutes. We were hot, sticky, tired and generally pissed off. A little scared too because this neckless dude with the big voice and little smokey-the-bear hat suddenly had supreme power over our lives.

Finally we were told to grab showers before evening chow. As seventy teenagers gratefully (and wearily) stripped down, we heard the TI's voice ring out, making our blood run cold.

"Holy Shit!!! Will you take a look at this?"

Most of us knew better than to look at him, not wanting to draw attention to ourselves. We'd learned that much already.

"All of you, strip to your skivvies! Then get to attention at your bunks."

Oh crap, this couldn't be good. He walked over to the other bay to give them the same directions, the east coast boys were being watched over by the assistant TI. We could here whoops and hollers from the two sergeants. We finished undressing and stood there at something resembling attention, wondering what the hell was going to happen next.

I feared another fire drill.

Then the bay was filled with the rest of the flight as the guys from the other bay hurried in, being verbally herded by the TI's. They fell in between us, filling the ranks.

The kid directly across from me was buck naked. The TI called for everyone without underwear to take a step forward (I have no idea how many there were), and he read them the riot act for free-balling it. Many dire warnings about what constituted proper and complete military uniforms were issued, along with a promise of random, frequent checks to ensure compliance.

Next the TI walked down the line and pointed at various people as they walked by. "You... you... no... you... no..." We held our breath and prayed that we weren't singled out. Those selected were told to take a step forward.

Suddenly there were more smokey-the-bear hats in the room. I'm guessing that the assistant TI called the other sergeants up for the fun and games. Six or eight of them I think.

It was a fashion show. Many of the California boys were wearing, uh... unusual underwear. Various bikini styles. We were all reminded that Uncle Sam issued us six pairs of white boxers or briefs, and that's all we'd better be wearing during Basic Training.

As the troops marched up and down the aisle of the barracks, the TI's made comments. Nobody else laughed or even smirked, that was a sure way to catch personalized hell.

Afterwards, assignments were handed out for Flight Leader, Squad Leaders, Guide-on, road guards and so on. These were temporary, and could (and would) be pulled immediately upon screwup. The TI's voted and gave the jobs out based on the best underwear.

I became (temporarily) a squad leader.

Posted by Ted at 03:01 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Boring Stories

I haven't laughed this hard in a long long time

Over at Rocket Penguin, a story about a Sergeant, a boy and his poncho.

Oops, I guess I should warn y'all that it's a .pdf file, if that matters. It shouldn't, because it's that good.

Posted by Ted at 12:35 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Links


Watching the commercials for Cadillac yesterday, it struck me that they made a brilliant choice of theme music for their SUVish model: Led Zepplin (I recognize the song, but can't place the title). The song has energy and fits perfectly with the image they try to show, plus the target audience are the exact same people who grew up listening to Zep.

I've also been enjoying the Chrysler "Harley" whatever-his-name-is commercials. Very nice.

Posted by Ted at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Painful to watch

I don't know what was worse yesterday, listening to Chris Collinsworth compare the Redskins pass rush to high school football, or hearing Howie Long and crew mock the 'skins. Because every single thing they said was absolute truth. The Redskins have sunk to the lowest of the low. The Lions, Bengals and Texans have been replaced by the Raiders and Redskins this year.

Patrick Ramsey isn't going to last the season at this rate. The kid is tough, he's got talent, but he's going to get hurt badly one of these games. Right now, Ramsey has the chance to be the new Manning. Archie, not Peyton. A fine quarterback on a hopelessly cruddy team.

Spurrier has to go. So does about half of the roster, because even less talented players would be better than the overpaid quitters that are collecting paychecks now, as long as they tried hard. Every play. Lose every damn game - fine - but go down swinging.

I don't even like the Redskins, but they're local so you pick up the information by osmosis.

Rick freakin' Mirer. Oh God, help the Raider Nation.

Posted by Ted at 11:10 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

November 02, 2003

Spacecraft computers

Someone on the Rec.Models.Rockets newsgroup asked what kind of computers were run on board 'capsules'. The best answer posted was from Mike Gerszewski, a Graduate Assistant at the University of North Dakota Space Studies department. He concentrated on US programs, and his excellent reply follows:

Mercury: No computers on board, ground systems used IBM 709 & 7090 computers developed for the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System. An additional system was added to solve communication problems with geographically distant ground stations, a 7281 I Data Communications Channel.

Ranger, Surveyor and Early Mariner Unmanned Probes used sequencers.

Apollo Age
The Gemini Digital Computer. IBM received the contract for the GDC on April 19, 1962. It weighed approximately 59 pounds, performed more than 7,000 calculations per second, and required 1.35 cubic feet of space. It used a magnetic core memory, which was originally deisgned for the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE). The GDC failed at re-entry during the flight of James McDivitt and Ed White. They had to manually de-orbit and landed 80 miles off course.

Apollo: The Apollo guidance and navigation computer was designed by MIT.

Skylab: NASA went with IBM again and the system was designed around an off-the-shelf version of the IBM 4Pi processor, a direct predecessor to the System /360. This is the first time I saw when a system that implemented microcode was flown in space.

Voyager, Galileo: Used a distributed computing system designed by JPL.

Space Transportation System (Shuttle):
Initial design for the main computer was a repackaged version of the F-15 fighter jet's IBM's AP-1, called the IBM AP-101, based on the IBM 4Pi processor. The IBM AP-101 was a collective effort between IBM and Rockwell International. The size of the AP-101's memory was settled on as 32K, but later in the software engineering process the memory requirements grew to over 700K.

The first use of Open Source in space was when Debian GNU/Linux flew on the shuttle in 1997 controlling a hydroponics experiment. This was most likely on an IBM laptop, but I didn't find any concrete references to this.

I don't know who the contractor was for the main computer aboard the ISS, but the individual astronauts use IBM laptops, running MS software, for everyday ops.

So just as home computers can be traced back to military computers, so can spacecraft computers, perhaps more directly.

Posted by Ted at 07:58 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Space Program

More Baseball Cards (again)

Previous entries about these cards are here and here.


Duke Snider's card is a 1956 Topps. The Spahn all-star card is 1958 Topps.

Posted by Ted at 09:30 AM | Comments (1)
Category: History

Cleaning out the corners

For some unknown reason I just looked under my computer table and noticed a big spider web in the far corner between the wall and leg and floor. There are two daddy long-legs dead and hanging in this web. Now I'm freaked out. I'll be back, I need to get the flamethrower broom and vacuum cleaner.

Posted by Ted at 09:14 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Southern Virginia Rocket Launch

On November 29, in Toano, Virginia. That's between Richmond and Norfolk on I-64. This is the first launch at this field as they've just gotten permission to fly there. FAA waiver to 8000 feet. Directions can be found here, and as always spectators are welcome.

Posted by Ted at 08:20 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Rocketry

November 01, 2003

Ripple Fire

"If you really believe that after death comes eternal bliss, then why are you wearing a seatbelt?" I heard that on the Man Show.

Helen discussed personal grooming a bit ago and it reminded me of a picture I wanted to post. Unfortunately, I couldn't find it. Fortunately, Eros Blog posted the exact picture! I must be living right. Helen, if voting is still open, then this gets my vote.

I've finished off most of a bottle of Spatlese wine today (pronounced spate-lace). It's a German wine, and with this bottle my annual consumption of wine has doubled.

Does anyone have a good onion soup recipe? I have an ok one, but it's nothing special. My recipe has wine in it, which is what got me to thinking about it.

I've been on a horror flick buying binge this month. Yesterday I picked up Stephen King's Silver Bullet, which is ok. It's one of the few horror movies my wife will watch, and it stars Megan Follows, and I've stalked lusted after enjoyed her work for years.

I also picked up Rosemary's Baby. Classic. The last addition to the library was a collection called "AMC Cult Classics". Four movies - The Atomic Brain (the link has the movie under an alternate title), The Brain That Wouldn't Die, Night Tide (with Dennis Hopper), and Carnival of Souls. I have Carnival in another collection, it's kinda weird to double up on an obscure flick like that.

If you like love those cheesy classics, you'll enjoy The Astounding B Monster website.

My friend Dan lent me 28 Days Later. It's almost midnight and everyone else is in bed. Time to go watch zombies.

Posted by Ted at 11:04 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhh!

Not one of mine, but Jennifer's Caramel Apple Cheesecake is in the oven right now. I'll post the taste test results later, but what's not to like?

Here's the recipe.

Update: Yum! Thanks Jennifer!!!! One tip: I think I used too much apple in the caramel sauce. Go with her suggested one spoonful of apple and let the caramel flavor rule. Also, take the time to use her presentation tips as it makes for a pretty dish.

Something else I want to try, just to see the difference, is a recipe for 'old fashioned' cheesecake that came with the pie crust. It's identical except it calls for 1 tsp of lemon juice and only 1 pkg of cream cheese.

Another variation that occured to me was to use pineapple chunks instead of the apple. For the topping mix some toasted coconut with crushed pineapple and sprinkle with crushed macadamia nuts.

Posted by Ted at 12:33 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Recipes

More Baseball Cards

For the story behind these cards, see here.

As promised, there are a couple more pictures of my uncle's baseball card collection in the extended entry. Braves and Cubs fans will be particularly pleased I think.


The light for this shot was a little 40 watt desk lamp, that's why it looks so yellow. Aaron's card is a 1958 Topps, Mathews is a 1957 Topps.


1956 Topps. I only saw Banks playing first base, and it seemed that he was there for years. Anyone know how long he played at shortstop before moving over?

Posted by Ted at 06:52 AM | Comments (4)
Category: History
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