March 31, 2004

This is too funny

Paging Mr. Green. Paging Mr. Green.

We've all gotten those Nigerian scam emails, but did you know there's a group of people who - like fellow Munuvian Mr. Green - live to mess with those scumbag fools? Going one better, they ask for photographic evidence of the scammer's sincerity, preferably holding up a sign or otherwise doing something unusual to prove their authenticity.

Look in the extended entry for a couple hilarious examples. Found on Eros Blog (not safe for work).



Posted by Ted at 08:31 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

A good overview of rocket history

Not just good, it's excellent. Over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy. Blast off and go read.

Posted by Ted at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Yay! Redux

Once again, the traditional Munuvian greeting, welcome and joyful exclamation (it's a compact language) echos through the hills as Munuviana continues it's assimilation of the blogosphere celebratory birthday expansion.

The newest batch to bribe their way through customs (hint: pineapple fried rice) have arrived. Stop by and say hello to:

Rambling Rhodes
Lemur Girl
Educated Beyond Her Intelligence
Primal Purge
Flying Space Monkey Chronicles

There are more pushing and shoving patiently waiting in line to join the Munuvia clan. They should, because we are the cool kids.

I expect there will be many housewarming parties held as folks get settled in.

Posted by Ted at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Angels and Demons

Interesting style. Many broken links, you'll have to explore a little. Not safe for work.

Posted by Ted at 05:29 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 30, 2004

More than one way to skin Shroedinger's cat

To become a scientist just like Daniel, you can either spend thousands of dollars in a structured and professional setting, or you can let your natural curiosity take over with loving, helpful guidance.

(Mookie, I would kill you!)

(in the most loving and kindest way possible, of course)

Posted by Ted at 02:26 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Preventing Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace

A pragmatic approach.

(in the extended entry)

Bandwidth alert (~1MB)
Video not safe for some workplaces

Download file

Posted by Ted at 05:31 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Just thought I'd mention...

The San Jose Sharks have achieved their first-ever 100 point season, and have all but clinched the Pacific Division title for the second time in three years.

Since the playoffs are a whole new season, I'd just like to take a moment at this time to gloat over my fellow Munuvians as the clear winner of the First Annual Inter-Munuvian Hockey WhoopAss Jamboree*.

San Jose Sharks
Go Sharks!

I'm also pleased to note that Helen's Dallas Stars and Heather's St. Louis Blues will also both make the playoffs, while Victor's Washington Capitals burnt to the ground (I feel your pain, really!) and Daniel never officially entered his Atlanta Thrashers.

Dallas Stars St Louis Blues Washington Capitals Atlanta Thrashers
I do believe next year's go-round might prove interesting, eh?

*Anyone interested in getting in on next year's edition, the rules are simple:
1. Declare your favorite hockey team.
2. During the season, when your team plays another in the Jamboree, the loser must display the logo of the winner for 24 hours.
3. Trash talking and good-natured making fun-of is encouraged.

Posted by Ted at 04:32 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

March 29, 2004

BestOfMe Symphony

I had a theme picked out for this Symphony, but I’m still in the midst of a flu-administered ass-kickin', so I just don’t have the energy to go through with it. You get the plain jane versions, which is fine, because these links are the highlights anyway.

Not that I won't run my mouth. Just pretend it's part of my folksy charm.

In no particular order...

Simon provides an essential guide to Hong Kong taxi's. There are even more helpful tips in the comments. Note to the tourism board: Louis Armstrong-impersonating taxi-drivers should be talked up more.

Pixy Misa wades into the philosophical debate with Idealism, Struggle, Despair, Passion, Success, Failure, and Enormously Long Lunch Breaks.

Meanwhile, Pixy's granddaughter writes from the future, but it was over two months ago that we first were able to receive Trixie's writing that she'll do later... I think the Nyquil just kicked in.

Ironbear of Who Tends the Fires offers up "Wax cannons and management training". A great story I enjoyed when it first appeared, and I'm happy to point it out for your enjoyment now.

Susie talks about the reasons for panic attacks.

Pierre of the Pink Flamingo Bar & Grill lays a righteous fisking on the Seattle Post Intelligencer when they explain that President Bush’s popularity is almost solely due to the fact that Americans are stupid. That’s pretty much a direct quote by the way.

Jeff Doolittle offers up The Death of Hit Counting, with the following statement: "Considering the weight that is placed on things like 'sitemeter' this post is extremely relevant to blogdom." Here's an exerpt:

Counting the number of visitors to your site has become a lesson in futility. It is no longer possible (if it ever was) to accurately track the number of anonymous users to your website. While cookies and/or user authentication can still help you track visits by known users, assessing the number of casual visitors is not possible.

I'll say this on the subject, that if you use Sitemeter as a measurement instead of a counter, then it works well enough. I once worked a project to reengineer a software system, and discovered that a particular value had been calculated incorrectly for a long long time. The clients were horrified, but I convinced them that since the values were consistently calculated that even though they were wrong they had value as comparison and evaluation numbers. We fixed it and told the users that we were using a new method to calculate that number, and everyone was happy. Now, sitemeter doesn't offer that absolute consistency (as far as I can tell), but it's good enough to give me an idea of ebb and flow in visitors. I'm not going to obsess over numbers, especially since it's free.

From The Owner's Manual, Gary submits his Fair Warning to Round-Eyed Weirdos. Exerpt:

We may be experiencing fallout from the supremacy of American culture as exemplified by the global popularity of Western movies.

I won't even tell you what it's about, but it's not what you think it might be. Good read though.

Now this one is fun. Dave at Blogo Slovo sends in some thoughts on the television series "The West Wing". I'm a fan of the series, and he's spot on with his observations.

Andrew Ian Dodge of Dodgeblogium fame gets my pick for best title this week: Consensual Cannibalism. I'll forego the obvious jokes, because they've probably already been (over)done.

From Interested Participant, we have HUMAN TRAFFICKING LINKED TO BACHELOR PARTIES. Here's an excerpt:

In several previous posts, I've discussed at some length the occurrence of human trafficking and sex slavery in Europe and Asia (see SEX SLAVES IN CZECH REPUBLIC, BALKAN CHILDREN SMUGGLING, SEX TOURISM LAW, and BALKAN SEX TRADE). Logically, it would be of interest to me when a United Nations expert in the field of human trafficking appeared recently as the guest speaker at a City Club of Cleveland luncheon.

Short version: Males are evil. Go read. Good stuff.

I mentioned I was sick. Actually, I mention it often around the house, because I'm genetically predisposed to whine when unwell. My wife is a gem, promising that when she finally decides to collect my life insurance, it'll be when I'm mercifully asleep.

So you can imagine my reaction to this email greeting:

Hi! here's my entry!

Oh please, don't wait, just do it now.

And then I read the submission, and it's a very cool bit of writing. The Cycling Dude presents My CRITICAL MASS Experience, and here's the Dude's description:

In this time of Liberal Protesting of President Bush & The War Against Terror, I thought I'd share my own experience, in a Bicycle Ride, at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.

An excellent post, and I take great comfort in being on the opposite coast from Kiril, because if he doesn't have a sense of humor he might want to assist my wife as payback for teasing him above.

I've been a big fan of Hold the Mayo from his earliest days. Read Pick a Theory and you'll see why. In his words:

This was my analysis of the reasons for the Howard Dean melt down at the Iowa caucus, so it's kind of old news but it was good when it was written.

It's still good, my friend.

Watcher of Weasels offers up the Myth of the Jobless Recovery. I can't agree with his conclusion though:

The Democratic nominee (whoever it may be) will look like an abject idiot if, come this November, he is still using last August's numbers to argue for the repeal of Bush's tax cuts and the resurrection of Hillarycare.

After all, aren't we supposed to be too stupid to realize this? C'mon, get with the program.

If All You Have Is Lemons, by Graham Lester of uncategorical (no caps in the name), makes some telling observations that are sometimes overlooked for the 'greater good'.

The Cheese takes her stand on activism, protestism, and any other ism you've got: Don't Assume I'm Comfy Just Because I Don't Squirm.

Next up is Going From Bad to Worse, from Zero Intelligence. Provided synopsis:

A student is punished for using the word 'gay' correctly and in context while speaking about his gay mother. The school board refuses to define what is and what is not appropriate speech.

200 Words or Less: Celebrating Diversity. Harvey from Bad Money calls it "a silly answer to a stupid question found on a University of Virginia admissions application". I call it Harvey at his best.

And then there's Am I the widower of a woman or the husband of a fish?, courtesy of Jim at Snooze Button Dreams. His description is accurate - "I react when contraband items are brought into my house" - as is the title, go see how.

Feste of Foolsblog submits Damn Straight, with the following comment:

A recent announcement of detente between Bush and Chirac reminded me of this post. It's true, we will not entirely forget this betrayal, nor will we eat French cheese or sup French wine with quite same enthusiasm. Now we know each bite or sip puts money into the pockets of anti-Semites and America haters who rejoiced when 3000 Americans died at the hands of terrorists.

Damn straight.

Enough of my moping and griping, eh? Let's end this with a chuckle from the ever-[look up word before posting] Bunsen, who gave us the memorable Opening Attachments From People You Don't Know is the New "Goddamn, I'm Stupid". Bunsen comments hillariously on the morons who make virus propagation possible.

[I know, I missed it and don't feel like dealing with it. -- Ed.]

So that's it for this BestOfMe Symphony. Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions. I've enjoyed meeting the new-to-me bloggers, and have lots of new and interesting places to visit.

As an added bonus, I've included my choice for greatest album cover of all time (in the extended entry). Just because I can.

blues for allah.jpg
Grateful Dead - Blues for Allah

Posted by Ted at 04:44 AM | Comments (12)
Category: Links

March 28, 2004

The Trunk Monkey

After the weekend I've had, I needed a good laugh. Major thanks to Off Wing Opinion for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 07:32 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links


That's the traditional Munuvian greeting, welcome and joyful exclamation. And if'n you listen carefully, you'll hear many a 'yay' in the distance as Munuviana expands mightily.

Pixy Misa, author of Ambient Irony, has generously decided to offer up space for relocation and settlement. So far, welcome:

Miss Apropos
Little Miss Attila
Um's Musings

Check back, there will be many more in the near future. Oh, and if they don't look active right away, give 'em a little time because it takes a while to pack up and move, not to mention decorate. Sheesh people, new homes are always painted stark white.

Posted by Ted at 10:07 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Three French Hens, Two Turtle Doves, and a Volkswagen in a Pear Tree

I grew up in rural San Jose, California, back when it was still getting used to the idea that it had become a small city and was no longer the farm community it once was. In those pre-silicon valley days, San Jose was figuring itself out, not wanting to be like it's snooty neighbor San Fransisco, and secretly worried that it might turn out to be like thuggish Oakland.

Out where we lived, it was as rural as was left in that part of the bay area. We lived in a newish trailer park (did you know that mobile homes appreciate in value in California?), in a big brand-new double-wide. The park was as far on the outskirts as possible while still being part of San Jose. We were isolated, at the very end of First Street (at that time the longest 'main street' in the US).

The park was situated at the end of a half-mile long stretch of raised blacktop off of First Street. The most remarkable thing about the road was a humungous drainage dip about 3/4 of the way to the park. Take it at speed, and you would be airborn. Nowadays kids would think of it as a near perfect half-pipe, at least a beginners version. The rest of the road sat about six feet higher than the land on either side.

Bordering the park on the back side was Agnew State Mental Institution (West Wing), where the safe crazy's lived. They farmed for therapy and sold produce at a roadside stand. Loony as all git out, but harmless. The violent and scary ones lived about a mile away at the East Wing, where the fences were topped with razor wire and inmates getting a little fresh air were chained to the benches. Every six hours, a siren would wail at one wing, and the other would answer, letting folks know that all was safe in the land of the normal. I've got some loony stories, but those are for another time.

So we've got the mental hospital on one side, and an interstate on another, with a big field between us and the highway. In season the field would be full of migrants, picking lettuce or onions or whatever was growing.

On the third side was a cactus farm, with big glassy greenhouses and complete with scary-assed watchdogs. You didn't mess around there.

But on the fourth side, where the road connected to First Street, was pear orchard. Across First Street was pear orchard. Acres and acres of orchards. Beyond the cactus farm was another onion field, and then more orchards. All those orchards were our playground. In the Calvin & Hobbes cartoons, Calvin used to go into the woods to get away and play. We had the orchard.

Because of our relative isolation, as kids all we had were each other. Galapagos Finches. We had few outside friends, because we were bussed across town to school (we passed at least three high schools on the way to our school). It was an interesting environment to grow up in, and we did have our occasional Lord of the Flies moment, but we mostly got along.

One friday night I was walking around looking for something to do, when I came across Moby and Mac (names changed to protect the stupid). Moby was as tall and bumbling as could be, and the closest thing to a stoner that we had in our little circle. Mac was the middle brother of three, and somehow he'd managed to get drunk. Moby was leading him around the park, trying to sober him up before taking him home.

I started walking along with them, and at one point Moby randomly complained about his mom being out on a date, and being bored. His mom drove an old blue VW bug, and it seemed like a good idea to go for a spin. We headed over to his house, and Moby searched for her keys. No joy.

I said we could hotwire it, and showed them how. More by luck than skill we got it started. I climbed in the back seat, while Moby took the wheel and Mac rode shotgun. We buzzed around the park for a while, and mostly I held on to Mac's belt to keep him from falling out the window as he leaned out and drunkenly hollered at signs and trees.

We made two or three runs down the main road to First Street, but since none of us had a drivers license, we weren't brave enough to actually leave the park property. So we'd go like a bat out of hell granny's VW down the straightaway, then turn around at the end and head back.

On one of those runs, Mac yelled something about hitting an animal and grabbed the steering wheel. We made a sharp right turn, straight off the edge of the road and headed into the pear orchard.

Remember the scene in Blair Witch Project where they're running through the pitch dark woods in black and white? Exactly.

When I came to my senses, my head was hurting. I think I hit it on the roof as we bounced through the field. The car was at an odd angle, up against a tree. The lights were on, the engine was running, the radio was playing, both doors were open, and the front seats were empty.

I looked out the back window and saw Moby and Mac scrambling towards the road. All I could think of was that the car must've been on fire and I didn't want to be in it when it blew up.

I caught up to them on the road. Moby was crying, mostly because he knew his ass was grass. Mac was laughing like a maniac, mostly at Moby. Me, I was already setting up my alibi. Going through the timeline out loud, making sure I was covered and completely unconnected with it all. Getting everybody's story straight.

When I got home later, I calmly said goodnight to my folks and went to bed. The next morning, I mentioned that it had been a while since we'd been to Confession.

That afternoon, we were sitting in the family room, and I remember my aunt and uncle being there. The phone rang and my mom answered. She listened for a moment, not saying much at all, and then handed the phone to my dad. Mom got up, walked over to where I was sitting on the couch, and started to beat me. It went like this:

"How" {SMACK} "Dare" {SMACK} "You" {SMACK} "Steal" {SMACK} "A" {SMACK} "Car" {SMACK} "And" {SMACK}...

Well, you get the idea. I was curled up, arms over my head protecting myself while mom wailed away and my relatives looked on with stunned expressions.

My dad hung up the phone and walked up behind mom and stopped her from hitting me any more. She hadn't done any real damage, she was too mad to do more than flail away, but I'd have some bruises on my arms for sure. Mom actually said to my dad "You hit him, my arms are tired."

Dad gathered me up and we walked down to Moby's house. The beetle sat in their driveway, looking beat to hell. Windsheild smashed, fender torn off, dented and scraped up pretty good. My dad talked to Moby's mom, and they agreed that I would buy a new windsheild and get a fender and put it on. The rest would be up to the other boys.

I found out later that Moby called his mom when he got home and told her the car was stolen. When the cops found it - not hard at night with the lights still on - they supposedly dusted it for prints and found ours. I still think Moby just guilted himself into ratting us out.

The phone call. When my mom answered the phone, Moby's mom said "Mrs. Phipps? Last night your son and two other boys stole my car and wrecked it in the pear orchard." Not once did she ever tell my parents that her son was one of the "two other boys".

I got a sunset curfew for a year, and my folks enforced it. Dad and I made a trip to the junkyard. I dipped into my savings and bought a windsheild and fender, and my dad helped me attach the fender. He was pretty pissed off when he found out the other two got zero punishment for our stunt, and we never did finish the glass.

My brother wrecked our family car in the same orchard a few years later after I'd left home. Drag racing or something equally stupid. Almost a family tradition.

And that's the story of #5 on my list.

Posted by Ted at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Boring Stories

March 27, 2004

Mach 7

NASA's X-43A unmanned scramjet test vehicle made it's first successful flight today.

Back in January I posted about the ramjet powered Project Pluto, which included this link for a look at various types of ramjets and how they work.

Posted by Ted at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

Rockets in Advertising

Bell South is sending out mailers for their new dial-up internet service.

Rocket = fast.

I approve.


Posted by Ted at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


Eleven lines. Sixty-one words. Essence.

Update: Taco has apparently set up a rotating quote on the page while he revamps his site. Still worth a look.

Posted by Ted at 06:22 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 26, 2004

But we already knew that


Make your own at LetterJames, found courtesy of J-Walk.

Posted by Ted at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Never having to say you're sorry

I'm watching Maine vs Harvard in the NCAA hockey version of March Madness. College hockey is a treat, the skill level is surprisingly good at this level.

I love satellite TV.

Posted by Ted at 07:32 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Sometimes you should just quit while you're behind

It doesn't matter what you say, because you're not going to be believed. Might as well just shut up and take your lumps.

(in the extended entry)


Posted by Ted at 06:07 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

I surrender

I've been fighting the flu all week, and I'd have stayed home a couple of days except that I've had important stuff to do at work.

It's friday, it's beautiful, and I've had it. I'm going home. Look for more this evening, after a long nyquil-induced nap.

Don't forget that Rocket Jones is hosting the symphony next week, so keep the submissions coming. Scroll down for details, I mentioned it somewhere. Blah.

(heh heh, I said "submission")

Posted by Ted at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Family matters

The Greatest Album Covers That Never Were

This is so cool. Round up 100 art designers and ask them to come up with an album cover for the artist of their choice.

Imagine Ralph Steadman doing a Rolling Stones cover. Or Vonnegut doing Phish. The concept is pure genius.

Posted by Ted at 06:51 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

March 25, 2004

Air Force Blue (part 9)

I'm going to backtrack a little bit, back to Security Police training (talked about it here and here). The last part was Air Base Ground Defense, where we threw grenades and patrolled and set ambushes and all that army-man stuff. Big fun. Really. Like playing as kids, except we had real M16's full of blanks.

So one day towards the end of our ABGD training, our job as a unit was to attack and secure a mock weapons storage area. It had a fence around it, and real bunkers and a tower, but the 'buildings' were mostly plywood boxes with door and window openings. Nothing too permanent.

So we attacked, and overran the base, and secured it. And after all this running around, the fire team I was attached to - four of us - were sitting in this corrugated tin shed that was used as the Entry Control Point for the area.

It was cool and dark inside, and we leaned back against the walls catching our breath, when one of the guys pulls out this little bottle from his shirt pocket. I had no idea what it was, being the naive youngster that I was then. It was a bottle of what he called "Locker Room" or some such, and I think they also called it a popper. The basic idea being you inhaled and it gave you a massive head rush and you got really dizzy for a moment and pretended it was like being high.

So the guy hits it, and for some reason reached for his weapon leaning against the wall. He manages to grab it by the trigger guard, and inexplicably his weapon wasn't on safe, it was on full auto. The fool accidentally machine guns a full 20-round magazine of blanks at the ceiling.

Remember now, we're in a tin shed.

The noise was deafening. We were writhing around on the floor, holding our ears. After a few seconds someone realized that we were being called on the radio, wondering what we were shooting at. There was only one thing to do.

We ran out of the shed, flopped to the ground, and started shooting into the treeline across the road. Soon every trainee in our unit is blazing away at that poor innocent clump of trees. Eventually we all ran out of ammo and the firing trickled off. We later got an 'attaboy' for detecting the attack, and our prompt action prevented the enemy from conducting the attack, forcing them to withdraw after surprise was lost. Uh-huh.

My ears rang for hours. The three of us beat the crap out of popper-boy later that evening.

Posted by Ted at 03:58 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Boring Stories

Mark your calendars now

BattlePark 2004, to be held May 1st and 2nd in Culpeper, Virginia, will be one of the largest rocket launches of the year in the United States. Rocketry enthusiests from all over the eastern US and Canada will be attending and making spectacular flights.

Located within two hours of Washington DC and Richmond, VA, the field is beautiful rolling farmland. You can find directions and a map here. Spectators are welcome (no charge), and kids launch for free. Everything from Estes-sized model rockets all the way up to extreme high-power will be launched. A 15,000' altitude waiver has already been approved by the FAA.

Mookie and I will be there both Saturday and Sunday, and we'd love to meet some of you! C'mon out and see something unique and exciting.

Posted by Ted at 09:32 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

Flugtag '88 Update

More photos of the actual mid-air collision.

Posted by Ted at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Flugtag '88

I know it's why you come here

(in the extended entry)


Posted by Ted at 05:26 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

March 24, 2004


Lots of beautiful fractal art.

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

BestofMe Symphony

Will be coming to Rocket Jones this monday, so dig deep into your archives and send an oldie but goodie. It's easy to do, and all the cool kids are doing it. Plus, if you'd rather nominate someone else, go for it! Or multiple posts, that's ok too. Anarchy rules.

That's like 'jumbo shrimp' or 'MicroSoft Works' isn't it?

Anyways, please please please make sure you put "BestofMe" or "Symphony" in the header of your email, because I've got a super-agressive spam filter and I don't want to miss anyone.

Posted by Ted at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Nifty Picture

Estes released a nice ready-to-fly rocket a few years ago called the Snitch. Basically, it's a plastic UFO saucer that climbs into the sky, fighting drag the whole way. When the engine burns out, then it flips over and floats back down to earth for a soft landing. It's perfect for night flights, going slow enough to see the bright engine flame yet staying low enough to remain visible (it's day-glo green). We've also staged ours by taping a second motor to the first. Lots of fun, and one of the best Estes releases of recent years.

In the extended entry is a nice photo of three Snitches taking off in formation. Thanks to Steve B. for posting it to the Alt.Binaries.Model.Rockets newsgroup.


Posted by Ted at 05:37 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

March 23, 2004

My Apology In Advance

I'm not normally a "bathroom" blogger, but it seems to me that if you're rattling around in a stall to get one of those sanitary seat protectors perfectly placed, and when you finally sit down noises emerge that come straight from a Lovecraft novel, then the last thing you'd want circling your nether regions is flammable tissue paper.

Posted by Ted at 09:21 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

Frecce Tricolori - the Italian Precision Flying Team

These guys are the Italian version of the Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, or Red Arrows. But whereas the Angels and such are known for precise machine-like maneuvers, the Italians have flair and panache.

On this page, maneuver #5 is the closest to the 'Pierced Heart' routine which resulted in the disaster at Flugtag. The difference being that the solo plane which breaks from the pack at the top of the split is shown flying off to the left. In the 'Pierced Heart', this plane did the same arc as the rest of the planes, but heading directly away from the crowd. As he came down towards the meet with the rest of the planes, he crossed over the top of the other nine planes and flew directly over the crowd at low altitude. Pretty spectacular.

At Flugtag, that aircraft clipped two of the other planes and broke apart, plowing into the spectators in a giant fireball.

The same modified maneuver is titled "Big Apple (figure 3)", and no mention is made of the "Pierced Heart" routine.

You can see all of the related Flugtag posts here.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Flugtag '88

Other side of the coin

I've had a few naughty links lately (and more to come, I'm sure), so to even things out a little bit, I present an extensive gallery of links to Religious Art.

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Tenuous Link

I have almost 20 years of experience working with the Model 204 Database Management System, aka M204. It's strengths are extreme flexibility coupled with excellent security features and blazing speed when working with massive databases. Here's a link to a recent press release about the product, and below an email I got:

Dear Model 204 User,

I wanted to draw your attention to a new press release posted on our Web site. Centrelink of Australia, one of the world's largest users of Model 204, has just signed an agreement with CCA allowing them to use Model 204 throughout their enterprise for at least the next ten years; that is at least until the year 2014. This is very exciting news not only to all of us here at CCA, but to the entire Model 204 customer base. It means that after 20 years of use at Centrelink, Model 204 continues to be the best product on the market to meet their ever-changing and ever-growing needs -- needs which are very likely similar to your own.

Centrelink originally chose Model 204 back in 1983 because it was the only product that could meet their performance and capacity requirements. Since that time their requirements have grown dramatically. What started out as a traditional database system with just a few thousand online users now services over 24,000 internal users and over 6 million customers over the Internet and Interactive Voice Response systems. They now run the fourth largest information and technology network in Australia and are still growing. With Model 204, they have been able to meet every new challenge, while integrating new technologies as they come to market.

This is the kind of application that would make Oracle do the 'dead bug'.

The tenuous link is that the company I work for had the original contract to optimize the Australian databases, way back in the 1980's. When I first hired on, I was hoping to be assigned to that contract.

Computer-wise, newer is not always better.

Posted by Ted at 04:26 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

March 22, 2004

Drivers Wanted

Once again, NASA presents a sweet way to teach a little science.

Drive one of the Mars Rovers.

Note that this isn't the same link I posted before (Maestro), this is all new coolness.

Posted by Ted at 08:05 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Ramstein Flugtag '88


I first mentioned the Flugtag Airshow disaster here, and have had three military guys who were on the scene find Rocket Jones via Google searches.

I've been doing further research on it, and have discovered that it's still discussed occasionally on internet Newsgroups. I've seen posts in German, Polish, Italian and English in various places. There is even a Yahoo group devoted to the disaster and those affected by it.

I'm hoping to build a web page dedicated to Flugtag, but until I get time to do that, I'm going to post gathered information here. Check the extended entry, and I'll announce updates as they happen.

There are a lot of links I have to put in, so things will be tweaked and added for a while.

If you're a new visitor to Rocket Jones, you can click on the link immediately below ("Light this candle...") to see the rest of this article. You can also click on the little "Flugtag '88" link at the very bottom of this post to see all Flugtag-related articles.

What is Flugtag?

Flugtag, German for "flight day", was the name of the Ramstein AB 'open house'. Like many military bases, they would hold an annual event where the local community is invited to see what goes on. Grand Forks AFB called their's "Friends and Neighbors Day", and I'm sure other bases have catchy little names. There are displays of military equipment (aircraft and tanks and such), and like many of these events, an air show is part of the fun. The air shows feature unusual aircraft (Harrier jump jets doing their hovering act or a helicopter acrobatic team*) and flybys. There might be a demonstration from a precision parachute jumping team. Flugtag was a huge event, and planning for the following year began immediately after the end of one.

In 1988 the Italian acrobatic team Frecce TriColori was scheduled to perform at Flugtag. They had a reputation for putting on a dashing and daring performance.

*I seem to recall a Canadian Precision Helicopter Team called the Dragonflies, but Google doesn't turn up any information. The closest I found was a Dutch team called the Grasshoppers, and even that was scant info.

The Area

The rest of this is from memory as of the mid-1980's. If you know something has changed, please let me know and I'll make note of it.

Ramstein AB is the headquarters for US Air Forces, Europe (USAFE). It's a large base, and there are units from the US Army, and various NATO countries have troops stationed there as well.

Located in the German state of Rhineland-Phalz, in the city of Kaiserslautern (literally: Kaiser's Hunting Lodge), the area boasts the world's largest concentration of Americans not living on US soil. There are lots of little villages and towns dotting the immediate area, and many military installations (Sembach, Einsiedlerhof, Vogelweh, Kapaun, various French kasernes and the US Army Regional Medical Center at Landstuhl).

What Happened?

Briefly, three Italian aircraft collided, and one was headed directly at the crowd watching their performance. This plane plowed into the audience in a gigantic fireball.

This is a photo of the scene as it happened.

A crowd estimated at over 100,000 was at Ramstein that day for the airshow. According to the Ramstein Flugtag '88 Memorial page, there were 70 dead that day and 450 injured.

Posted by Ted at 01:58 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Map

This excellent diagram provided by Gordon Tatro.

(in the extended entry)

Diagram copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.


Update: I received the following in an email from Guido Esposito:

Hi there! I apprecited so much your reconstruction of 1988 ramstein airshow disaster. I must notice that crash site map has one mistake: there were five (not four) mb339 flying left to right and four (not five) right to left. crossing planes position was like this (from above): |4> |2> |1> |3> |5> <8| <6| <7| <9|

plane #10 (solo) hit team chief (#1), which spun and slammed into inside
left (#2).
I'd like to share your opinions about that, thanks a lot!
all the best,
Guido (Italy)

Posted by Ted at 01:55 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 1

These are the first three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 2

These are the second set of three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:52 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 3

These are the third set of three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:50 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 4

These are the fourth set of three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:48 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 5

These are the fifth set of three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:46 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 6

These are the sixth set of three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:44 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Flugtag '88

Crash Site Pictures - 7

These are the seventh and final set of three of 21 pictures taken and scanned by Gordon Tatro. For an overview of the crash scene and picture orientation, see the crash site map.

(pictures in the extended entry)

All pictures copyright 2004, Gordon Tatro. All permissions granted for non-commercial use.




Posted by Ted at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Flugtag '88

Flugtag Airshow Disaster Links

The Ramstein Flugtag Memorial pages. Check out their links page for many more resources.

The Flugtag88 Yahoo Group.

A Psyche debrief from the American Psychiatric Association, titled Debriefing Following Trauma. The Ramstein Flugtag is used as a case study in post-trauma counselling.

A Christian relates 3 stories about God in his life, one of which is related to the Flugtag Airshow.

Posted by Ted at 01:32 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Flugtag '88

More Flugtag photos

Courtesy of, links to photographs of the actual mid-air collision and results. Thanks to Gordon Tatro for locating these.

Note: Clicking the below links will take you to If you see a picture of a passenger jet head on, click your browser refresh button. Use your browser Back button to return here.

The solo pilot tried to avoid a crash against the control tower by pulling over the two groups. Instead he crashed into them.

The solo pilot's #10 plane arcs along its fateful path towards the crowd as the leader and a wingman impact on the far side of the runway.

The Frecce Tricolore solo display aircraft, still moving directly towards the crowd at show center.

Posted by Ted at 01:22 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Flugtag '88

March 21, 2004

Senior Moment

Saturday night I was watching the Capitals game on TV, and saw that they had a bunch of former Caps there. They were celebrating 30 years of the Caps or something, and I thought to myself "Man, that would've been cool to see."

Then it dawned on me, Mookie and I were supposed to go to that game.

Victor, Nic, and anyone else too polite to mention our no-show, sorry about that. It was just one of those complete and total blank moments.

Posted by Ted at 10:11 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Some you may know, some may be new to you. Enjoy.

Remember a few weeks ago when Tuning Spork and StMack held their First Annual InterMunuvian Trivia Death Match and Pizza Demolition (or some such title), I asked a question of StMack, two questions actually, about the most expensive spice in the world (saffron, which he got right), and the second most expensive (vanilla, which he didn't know - go me). The point? I forget...

Some silly billies in Tennessee want to pass a law making it illegal for homosexuals to live in their county. Which county? Why, the same one that wanted to outlaw the teaching of evolution. Makes perfect sense to me, since evolution obviously doesn't apply there. Ably covered over at Classical Values, Norbizness, SilverBlue and Alphecca. Y'all go'way now, y'heer?

DUSTBURY! That's what I meant to say earlier about the saffron and... He gives the reason for the rising costs of vanilla and background and analysis and, and-

Ever get into something that you couldn't get out of? Yeah, like the paragraph above. Move along, nothing to see here...

I shall distract you with Babes with Guns. Courtesy of the Flea.

Mother Earth almost caught a rock. Read the details over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy.

And if that wasn't serious enough for you, check out this bit about voting over at Anticipatory Retaliation.

When I take pictures of my dogs, their eyes get that weird demon-possessed glow. Someone once told me it's because of the way a dog eye is constructed. So if humans had that same thing happen, how would camera's be different?

Once again, I digress, but this time I remember my point, which has to do with dogs, dogs in pictures, and cameras! Go visit Two Nervous Dogs, firstly because she has a sweet demon-possessed doggie on her banner, and secondly because she stalks the neighborhood at night to document her neighbors Christmas decorations. Which are still up and running.

Random Nuclear Strikes celebrate St. Patrick's Day as only the nuclear-armed can.

Staying militaristic - sorta - over at Texas Best Grok we get a rundown on his extended visit aboard the USS Lexington aircraft carrier, now open as a floating naval museum. Three parts, too cool.

The synergist in Michele emerged with this brilliant fusion of two blockbuster movies of the year.

I shall mention here that I've been watching a live taped performance of Jezebel Diary, courtesy of Mr. Helpful. Now I can say I knew them before they were huge. Rock on!

Starhawk (who annoys me by living in Houston where they're having beautiful weather at the moment) posts about a new VIP member of the Dead Poet's Society.

Say Uncle is pondering blog slogans, and he's got some good ones there. He also has an interesting link about computer security and how to Google up passwords.

Wanna know why the US military kicks butt? Because of ideas like this. A mortar shell that you fire high over the battlefield, where it deploys a parachute and hangs there, transmitting a battlefield picture from the camera in it's nose.

Nic posted a very good piece about misfits in the workplace. We have a couple in our company, probably everyone does. I once had one as my contract supervisor, and though I only saw him once a month, my client hated him. He had zero people skills. One day our Vice President said to me "He's the type of guy you lock in a room and let him do great things." But for heaven's sake don't let him interact with the paying customers.

Thanks to H.D. Miller of Travelling Shoes for pointing up this little bit of scholarly research. An Iraqi professor collected data about graffitti on the streets of post-Saddam Bagdhad. Interesting and enlightening.

All right, that's where my notes run out.

Posted by Ted at 12:29 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Attack of the 60 Foot Centerfold

This one was on Showtime Beyond late last night. I needed something like this movie, because I'd just watched the Caps/Thrashers hockey game, and it was the worst possible result - a tie. Why was that bad? Well, the Thrashers goalie, Numinem, is on my fantasy hockey team, so a win would've been welcomed. A win by the Caps would've been welcomed. Instead we got a tie. Blech. To be fair, it was a fun game to watch. Anyways, I tried to not let my disgust with the hockey game color my movie review.

This movie is horribly, tragically, pathetically bad. The acting is laughable, the characters are one-dimensional, and the plot is simplistic and childish.

In other words: so far, so great!

Victor and Nic will be interested in the presence of a lab rat who advances the plot in a big way. As Victor says, the presence of rat automatically makes this great cinema. To be truthful, the rats are actually someone in giant rat costumes, but it's at least as realistic as Alf was.

It also helps to have a 60' tall naked blonde with lines like "Help me, I'm huge." Yes dear, you certainly are. She's horny too, which reminds me of the Tubes lyric:

She left me there though I tried and tried
A fifty-foot woman's never satisfied.

Special effects suck were impressive. I especially liked the sledge hammer made from a rubber mallet spray painted silver. It would have been more realistic if they would've masked off the handle first. They also seemed to have a problem getting the actors to actually look in the right direction during some special effects scenes. A little more directorial care goes a long way.

Favorite line, spoken by one centerfold candidate (probably not an exact quote): "You know I'm a shallow person, I want you to be honest with me."

The climax is a lame-assed cat-fight between rival giant bikini-clad centerfolds (wow, three hyphenated words in one sentence, a personal best!). The good guy gets the good centerfold, and for some reason the bad centerfold and bad guy inexplicably and spontaneously combust. And yes, I feel really bad for not warning you about that spoiler.

This one doesn't try to take itself seriously, which is why it works as well as it does. If nothing else is on, this one's worth a look.

Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Cult Flicks

March 20, 2004

non-Launch Report

Well, we drove to Culpeper, and things weren't looking good. Flags were standing straight out from the poles, and despite the weatherman calling for 'diminishing winds', the trees were whipping around pretty good.

When we pulled up into the field, there were a total of four vehicles there. Not good at all. Nothing was set up to launch, it was just too much wind. So we visited with some rocket friends we haven't seen in a while, and talked about new projects and 'EX' rocketry.

'EX' is a part of rocketry where you actually make your own solid propellant motors. You take the various chemicals and additives and mix it up like you would a cake, following a recipe, and you wind up with a slug of homemade rocket propellant. It's similar to the process that Homer Hickam and the Rocket Boys did in the movie October Sky. I've never done 'EX', and although it fascinates me I don't know if I ever will. It would certainly be a royal pain to get the permits where I currently live. Maybe someday, but for now I'm satisfied with buying and flying the commercial stuff.

Ken, the owner of Performance Hobbies was showing off this neat little beastie. It was a 3" diameter rocket, completely built of carbon fiber veil. Very light and incredibly strong. In fact, the rocket was built to take a 3" motor, meaning that this ~5lb rocket was designed for a motor that can lift 150lb rockets. I have no idea what the max speed would be, but I don't think mach 2+ would be out of the question.

We've got the cell phone number of one of the guys who'll be there tomorrow. We'll call in the morning and see what it looks like before heading down again. It's supposed to rain tonight, and today was supposed to be the better weather day.

Oh well, Mookie and I had a nice day together, and we got to visit with friends. Not at all a wasted day.

Posted by Ted at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

Rocket Launch Invitation

Mookie and I will be headed out in a while for today's launch. It's a two-day event this month, held in Culpeper, Virginia. According to the local weather, today is going to be the nicer half of the weekend.

Air Munuviana is scheduled to fly today on my new I90 hybrid motor. Woot!

Directions here. The open invitation still stands, no charge for spectators, and if you do make it out stop by and say hi. Just look for a red Mazda pickup.

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

Why I Love the Internet - Reason # 8,923

Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.

Posted by Ted at 07:08 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 19, 2004

This 'n' that

Up top, another go-round for the most popular Rocket Jones banner, judging from the number of positive responses.

Stage right, a new tagline for the archive. If you've got one you like, leave it in the comments and we'll add it.

I haven't forgotten the next series of Build It posts, on Box Hockey. Life got busy and I haven't had a chance to get going on it. Very soon, I promise.

Likewise on the special pages I talked about last week. That's become my number 1 priority blog-wise, because it's the most important personally. But it's just so darned hard to do. You'll understand why when you see it.

Posted by Ted at 10:22 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Long Night

We got home last night after 1am, thanks to a 7 hour stretch at the ER. Everyone's home, everyone's fine. Everyone's still asleep, except for yours truly, who has to hit the pharmacy when it opens in about 45 minutes.

It's going to be a long zombie-like day. Maybe I can get a nap this afternoon.

Beal. It's what's for dinner.

Update: I've slept for a few hours, and Mookie and I are still going to a rocket launch tomorrow. :D Thanks for all the kind words and well-wishes.

Short version: Wife Liz has had a headache on the left side of her head since Saturday last, and it got bad enough yesterday to see the doctor (she doesn't suffer from migraines). Doc found a suspicious mass at the back of Liz's head and sent her to the ER for a CT scan.

Wait. Wait. Wait. See doctor, get CT scan. Wait. Liz has sinus infection on left side (all 4 - my dear overachiever), and the mass is a bundle of muscle that's spasming from the ensuing headache pain. IV with painkillers, then with antibiotic, and handful of prescription slips to take home. And that's the key, she got to go home. Most of the time a trip to the ER for her means automatic admission.

She's doing ok, not great, but ok. The doctor said it'll be a few days before she starts to feel better. With the Fibromyalgia that Liz has, the pain is not an uncommon thing, just the cause is different this time. I've said it before, if it's bad enough that she's complaining about pain, I know it's bad enough that I'd be on my knees begging to die.

Once again, thanks my friends, for your good thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Ted at 08:15 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Family matters

Oscar Worthy Performance

Scandalous that this one was ignored.

Thanks to the Llama Butchers, via Farm Accident Digest, for pointing this one out.

Posted by Ted at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Cult Flicks

March 18, 2004

Elvis Has Left the Building

That's what my computer announces loudly when I shut down at the end of the day. There's no sneaking out early for me.

What kind of custom sound-bites do you have loaded on your machine?

Posted by Ted at 02:09 PM | Comments (14)
Category: Square Pegs

Movie Review - The Beast (1988)

Not the 50's horror feature of the same name, this movie is sometimes found under the title "The Beast of War".

The Beast of the title is a tank. A Soviet main battle tank involved in the invasion of Afghanistan, which becomes separated from the rest of its unit. The story involves the crew of the tank and their efforts to rejoin their comrades despite being surrounded by hostile mujadeen and forbidding country. It's a war story, but the focus is on the people involved on both sides, both Soviet tank crew and Afghan's fighting the invaders.

There are rumors that you can occasionally find this one in the $5.00 bargain bin at WalMart. I haven't seen it there, but I'm going to look more carefully from now on.

Another underappreciated movie, this one is thumbs up, comrades!

Posted by Ted at 08:10 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Cult Flicks

We now return you to the regularly scheduled crap

The intervention over at Bloviating Inanities is over. For a brief time yesterday afternoon, BI sucked a little less than usual. You can tell things are back to normal, because Bill is back to being a whiny little bitch.

I'd like to thank the rest of the swarm:

Michele (my apologies for misspelling your name before)
Ron, the blogless
Wind Rider
Keith, the photoshop wizard

Special thanks to the organizer of the event.

Nothing says "Love" like being TP'd, even online.

Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Chocolate Goes To War

The Hershey Ration D Bar.

Posted by Ted at 05:36 AM | Comments (1)
Category: History

More teacher heroes and students learning

From Sophont (who points out some of the coolest stuff):

"Think of a diamond in the sky," says Robert Rochte.

Rochte, director of technology at the Grosse Pointe Academy, and his eager third-grade students hope to see a tetroon within the next month, depending on the sun and wind conditions, when they launch the fifth in a series of experimental balloons from Grosse Pointe Farms in an effort to learn about weather, navigation and electronics.

They're also having fun.

Go read the whole thing, it's really impressive.

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 17, 2004

How thoughtful

Bill sent me this thank you e-card, which just goes to prove that he's more than a little creepy a considerate guy.


His attached message was “Oho!"

No Bill, thank you!

Posted by Ted at 05:00 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Freakers Ball

Well there's gonna be a freakers ball
Tonight at the freakers hall
And you know, you're invited one and all

Come on babies grease your lips
Grab your hats and swing your hips
Don't forget to bring your whips
We're going to the freakers ball

Blow your whistle and bang your gong
Roll up something to take along
It feels so good it must be wrong
We're freakin at the freakers ball

Where all the fags and the dykes they're boogyin' together
The leather freaks are dressed in all kinds of leather
The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too
Screaming "Please hit me, and I'll hit you"

The FBI are dancing with the junkies
All the straights, are swinging with the fogies
Across the floor and up the wall
We're freakin at the freakers ball
Y'all, we're freakin at the freakers ball

Everybody's kissing each other
Brother with sister, son with mother
Smear my body up with butter
Take me to the freakers ball

Pass that roach please and pour the wine
I'll kiss yours if you'll kiss mine
I'm gonna boogie till i go blind
We're freakin at the freakers ball

White ones, black ones, yellow ones, red ones
Necrophiliacs looking for dead ones
The greatest of the sadists and the masochists too
Screaming "Please hit me, and I'll hit you"

Everybody falling in batches
Pyromaniacs striking matches
I'm gonna itch me where it scratches
Freakin' at the freakers ball.

-- Dr. Hook

The inmates have taken over Bloviating Inanities!

Posted by Ted at 04:15 PM | Comments (7)
Category: Waxing Lyrical

It’s Goofy Game Time!

Everyone knows about Where’s Waldo, those busy little cartoons where you’re supposed to find that red & white striped twerp in a crowd of people. Oho, what fun!

Let’s play the Bloviating Inanities special edition version: Where’s Bill? (in the extended entry – nsfw)

Hint: he’s not staff.


Posted by Ted at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Goofy Game Time again!

Oho, it’s another classic, a word search! Full of fun nicknames and pet names people have had for Bill over the years. In case you don’t know the game, look forwards, backwards, up and down and diagonally for the words hidden in the grid below.


Posted by Ted at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Sir William Pickering 1910 - 2004

Dr Pickering was a Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and an early pioneer with the US Space Program. He became known as "Mr JPL".

Silent Running has an excellent post about him, well worth the read.

Posted by Ted at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Breakfast Cereal is EVIL

First they tempt the young with the minor demons FrankenBerry, Count Chocula and Boo Berry, who are truly abominations unto His eye.


Once in the unholy grip of the sugar coma, they roll out the big guns (in the extended entry).


Posted by Ted at 08:53 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Paper Models

Here are a whole heap o' places where you can find detailed plans for models constructed of paper. Historical spacecraft and satellites, aircraft and ships, robots and more.

NASA's site with many plans for satellites and space exploration related equipment. Rated easy to challenging.

NASA's Mars pages have a nifty model of the Pathfinder here, and a different set of plans for the Pathfinder here. Each focus on different educational goals.

This incredible site has everything from precision paper airplanes to models for several versions of the Delta, communications satellites, UFO saucers and many more.


Beaucoup models here of everything under the sun. Sydney Opera House or Wrigley Field anyone?

Robots, Japanese style.

There were plenty of rocket models in the links above, but how about a real flyable model rocket kit made completely out of paper? FlisKits is producing some of the most innovative designs out there, and one of them is their Midnight Express. Yes, it really flies! Note that the link leads to their product page, scroll down a little bit and click where it says "Free Download".

Texas-based Art Applewhite offers some unique saucer designs, including this page of free stuff to build and fly.

And of course, you just knew some clever genius came up with software to turn your CAD file into a paper-model plan.

Thanks to BoingBoing, Texas Best Grok, EGB, and the Rec.Models.Rockets newsgroup for these pointers.

Posted by Ted at 05:48 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Yet Another 100 List

The difference being that this one isn't work safe. Not even close.

The 100 Worst Porn Movie Titles.

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

March 16, 2004

Iraq Blogger KIA

Bob Zangas' Journey In Iraq. Bob Zangas was killed in an ambush wednesday last. He was on his second tour in Iraq, first as a Marine, then as a civilian working for the Coalition Provisional Authority. His posts provided an inside look at what some are doing as they help rebuild Iraq.

Thanks to A.E. Brain for the pointer. His words are better than mine.

Posted by Ted at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Short and sweet

Fifty Word Fiction.

This is an interesting idea, and I love some of the different approaches taken. Give it a try. Either leave it there, leave one in the comments here, or put it on your site and link back to this.

Look for mine soon. You, in the back, knock it off!

Posted by Ted at 08:16 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Mu.Nu News - New Mu.Nu

Say hello to Debbye over at Being American in T.O., the newest Munuvian. As far as I can tell, if you imagine Iron Chef Rivendell, speaking only in verse whilst competing in a dessert battle, you've got a fair idea. Then again, first impressions can be so misleading.

Welcome Debbye. I'm not really an idiot (see 'first impressions', above).

And if you didn't already know about it, over on the right I have a tagline that changes once in a while, and a tagline archive with some classic favorites.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Sam = Karl

Our dog Sam has always been a grunter rather than a barker. But as he gets older, his voice is getting deeper, to the point that now he sounds like Karl, played by Billy Bob Thorton in Slingblade.

"I'd like me some of those french fried potatoes. Mm-Hmmm."

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Family matters

March 15, 2004

Huge freakin' Paooki

(Serenity, you probably don't want to click the link below, and most certainly don't want to enlarge the picture there)

All I can say is that I'm thankful that Australia is completely waterbound. You can keep 'em down there, mate!


Posted by Ted at 10:39 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Substance over style (when am I ever going to learn?)

I had one of those 'oh shit' moments this morning when I opened my email.

If you've been reading regularly, you've heard me mention that we're installing brand new computer software which bears a remarkable resemblance to Linda Lovelace.

Last week, my boss's boss asked me a couple of questions about the old and new software. I was on my way out the door, so I gave some off-the-top-of-my-head answers. The next morning I came in and wrote up a detailed analysis based on his questions because I wasn't satisfied with what I'd originally told him. I sent it to him via email and forgot about it.

Since it was an informal email, it was written much in the style of this blog: full of odd contractions, slang, quick jokes and asides, but it did get the message across. Here are the last lines:

I feel like Tevya: on the one hand… on the other hand… Oy!


So this morning I open my email and get a very nice thank you for the "excellent write-up - balanced and reasoned." The thank you came from my boss's boss's boss's... aw hell, it's from four levels above the guy I sent it too. The forwarding trail shows where each boss in turn read it and sent it on up the line.

It's good analysis, but I'm waiting for someone to come talk to me about how to compose 'official' correspondence.

Posted by Ted at 07:57 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Bad Vibes

A lot of people seem to really have it in for hippies, and it's just not fair. I grew up in the 60's, and my best friend from those days had an uncle who had a barbershop right on the edge of the Haight Ashbury district of San Fransisco (talk about poor location!). My friend and I would visit his uncle during our summer vacations, and since he was working, we'd basically run the streets all day. Remember the days when you could do that without worry? Here's what I experienced: like any other group, there were good people and bad people. They didn't stink, they weren't all stoned all day, a lot of them had jobs, or at least something that they worked at. Nobody ever offered me drugs, and as a child I was treated with respect and kindness. Pretty freakin' horrible, eh?

Yet a lot of people who start raising hell when someone labels an ethnic group with an offensive word or stereotype have no problem joking about "smelly hippies". Enough with the negativity, hypocrites.

Learn something about what being a hippie really meant. You don't have to agree with them, I don't. But having different beliefs doesn't mean you have to look down at them either.

In some ways, hippies were the ultimate 'minimal government' movement. "Do your own thing", "whatever turns you on" and other phrases all boil down to "Leave me alone". They were never, and could never get organized enough to become a real political force.

Being a hippie was more than long hair and beads and bell bottoms. A lot of people dressed like hippies, because it was trendy. For a while in the 80's a lot of people dressed like Rambo, that didn't make them mercenaries.

So there's my minor-league vent about hippies. And here's a twofer: take most everything I said above and apply it to bikers too.

Posted by Ted at 05:30 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Fake Celebrity Nudes

There are thousands of pictures on the internet that show celebrity skin, and a lot of them are fakes of varying quality. For a cool look at how some of these fakes are created, and how to tell if a pic has been 'photoshopped', take a look at the link below.

The Fake Detective (not work safe).

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

March 14, 2004

How do they do that?

So anyone who's read the Sunday funnies today and saw this joke in Pickles is wondering how my dad anticipated that.

Parents just know stuff. Like how my folks always knew when I came home from school that I'd cut a class or two, even though the school hadn't called and they were at work all day anyways. They just knew.

I once told my mom that I was glad they named me Ted. When she asked why, I said that it's what everyone called me. Pretty smart (ass), eh? I probably got smacked, or at least sent outside to pester the neighborhood.

Oh, and that whole 'cutting class' thing... the rule in our house has always been "Do as I say, not as I do". Right Mookie?

Posted by Ted at 12:22 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Haircut Day

Not for me (though I certainly need one), but for the dogs. A few times during the warm months, Liz and one of the daughters gets down on the floor and shaves Sam and Trix. It's a two-person job, and I only get involved towards the end when the dog has had enough and starts to really squirm.

The dogs do appreciate the results, but at best only tolerate the process. If Liz didn't do it, I'd probably just schlep them down to PetSmart or something and pay to have someone else deal with it. Liz soothes and talks and plays quiet music while she does it, whereas I'm the "Sit. Stay." kinda barber. She's also a lot more particular about results. To me, short is good enough, I'm not gonna worry about making a dog beautiful.

Sam is first today, and Trix (the younger) is clinging to my side, fretting and having mini-nervous breakdowns every time Sam whines or yelps. If I sit down, Trix the empath wants up in my lap and snuggles in, worried to death.

Liz just hollered down the stairs that we now have three dogs, the pile of hair removed from Sam being large enough to have it's own name. The birds are gonna love it when we put the fur out for nest building.

To compensate for not helping with haircut day, I take care of the crappy little chores that nobody gets around to around the house. This morning I've cleaned the aquarium, dealt with the houseplants and overwintered outside plants in the basement and might run to the grocery store later.

Liz calls it "guilt putzing".

Posted by Ted at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Family matters

Graffitti Artists

As opposed to the vandals who tag indescriminately, regardless of how talented they are.

These guys are artists, although they probably did get their start by spraypainting everything that didn't move.

Posted by Ted at 08:14 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

March 13, 2004

Launch Report

pictures in the extended entry, popup style

The winds never did calm down, but it was still a beautiful day for rockets. Temperatures were in the mid-40's and everyone stayed bundled up, but it wasn't too bad. It helped that there wasn't a cloud in the sky, so the sun was warm. We had a great turnout, including a dozen or so high school teams making practice flights for the Team America Challenge, and two kids doing documented launches for Science Fair projects.

I personally only made one flight, and that was the maiden launch of our "Build It" rocket, the Fat Boy. It was a nice flight, but it weathercocked into the wind quite a bit and didn't get as much altitude as it should have (maybe 500'). It was recovered without damage and will fly again.

The team I'm mentoring was there and ready to go. They brought two completed rockets, and made three flights total. On their first flight, they had perfect ignition of all three first-stage motors, perfect ignition of their upper stage motor, and overshot the target altitude of 1250', hitting 1588'. That's not too bad, because it's easier to make a rocket go lower than it is to make it go higher. Both eggs were recovered in perfect condition, and they learned a lesson in picking the correct size parachute for the wind conditions (they had a long walk to recover the rocket).

Next flight for them was in their second rocket, and this time they used a smaller upper-stage motor. Another perfect ignition, but this time they didn't get enough altitude and had a problem with staging and the booster lost a fin when it separated.

Their third flight (first rocket again) was perfect except that at some point the altimeter reset when the battery came loose, so they don't know exactly how high it went. On all three flights, the eggs were recovered unbroken. They'll be ready for their qualifying flight on April 2.

Last year, there was probably an overall 80% failure rate for Team America flights. Today, I'd say there was a 90% success rate, and most of the malfunctioning flights happened at the end of the day when teams were rushing to get in one last flight. I manned the safety check-in table for the last hour, and the variety and quality of the rocket designs was striking.

Great day. Great fun.

The students I'm mentoring with one of the rockets they built.

Hooking up the igniters.

A closer look at their rocket. The two eggs are packed into the nosecone. Below that (where the hole is) is where the altimeter is. Below that is the parachute bay. The diamond fins are where the second stage begins, powered by a single engine, and the triangle fins are the booster section. The booster is powered by a cluster of three motors, and falls away after the upper stage ignites. Also, notice another team rocket in the background. Very different designs to accomplish the same goal.

Moment of ignition.

Happy team bringing back their rocket.

Their second rocket (blue and red one in the foreground). Same basic design except for the fins.

Posted by Ted at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

We are Go for launch

The sun is out, the sky is clear, the field is dry, winds are diminishing and we're gonna fly some rockets! Pictures later.

Posted by Ted at 08:19 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Rocketry

I will not invite the homeless to spend the night in Bill's car

You know in the beginning of The Simpsons, where Bart is writing some wicked message on the chalkboard? Ever wish you could do that?

Now you can. (sample in the extended entry)


Posted by Ted at 07:37 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Real hardware

Real Hardware. Photos and some historical background. Especially intriguing is the page about the ROTON. Alas, that company went bankrupt a while ago.

Posted by Ted at 07:10 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

March 12, 2004

Ghost Towns

Some not so ghostly, but plenty of cool photos, if you dig around a little.

And here's the home page for a whole web ring of ghost town sites. To get to the good stuff, scroll to the bottom and click "Previous / Next / Random... " I'd suggest "List Sites" so you can pick and choose what interests you.

Posted by Ted at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Tact, I must use tact

I was just mildly chewed out after a meeting with the managers. They understand my frustrations, and admired the descriptiveness of the phrase, but I'm no longer allowed to say that "the system goes down more than Linda Lovelace."

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

Nog Watch

It's been more than a month since our last Nog Watch entry, so I took a look inside the work fridge this morning. The carton is still there, apparently undisturbed, although someone obviously went through the shelves and tossed the worst of the science experiments.

I noticed that as the light shined through the carton, you can tell that the carton is half full. Some unholy impulse made me pick up the carton and give it a shake. It doesn't slosh. *shudder*

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

Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Peeps, I've been busy. Swamped busy. Not too busy to blog some (although my backup supply of Beal-concealment posts has been greatly diminished), and I'm managing to at least drop by your place every couple of days.

I've also been working on a side-project that will hopefully be ready in the next few days. I've talked about it before, but it's been consuming a fair amount of time and energy and a great deal of emotional reserve. Soon.

In the meantime, I'll pull out the forty-'leven post-it notes I have stashed on my desk, each one reminding me to take a closer look at this or that post. Throw 'em together, tack on the title suggested by Susie the Wonder Llama-tamer, and hey, it's a post!

Red Ted Keeps A Diary, and he's starting a series about logically evaluating President George W. Bush. Here's his opening paragraph:

One of the striking things about people is that smart folks can look at the same body of information, focus on different aspects of it, and come to radically different conclusions. This process is fun to look at from the outside, but dreadfully frustrating when otherwise smart people look at the same body of information that you are looking at, and then come out completely opposed to your views. How, one asks, can someone who is otherwise so clever, be so very wrong? And does this mean that I am wrong? I can't be wrong!

I'm looking forward to seeing his analysis. I'm also fairly sure no llama's were harmed during the writing of that article.

Sentinal Chimneys. Velociman. It's the part of history I love most, the "I wonder what happened here?" part.

Jay at Sophont tells of the Pocket Vault, which is the neatest little gizmo I've seen in a long time. It wouldn't be very useful for me, because I don't carry a lot of credit cards, but for business travelers I can see it as being a very handy item. Check it out. (If it's blogspotted, scroll down to Chameleon Card Changes Stripes, and say hello to his llama).

Zero llama count observed at SilverBlue, QandO, and The Meatriarch, though I suspect JimiLove has been kidnapped by peruvian maoist llamas. It's been a while since he posted, but he's shown up in comments here and there.

Via Ghost of a Flea, we find The Exorcist and Apocolypse Now, starring llamas bunnies! Yay!

Mark Oakley of Rocket Man Blog has just accepted a position as lead propulsion engineer at TGV Rockets! This is great news, and I'm thrilled for him. Go say hi and congrats, and be sure to mention me for a valuable discount on all your consumer rocketry propulsion needs.

Over at Left & Right, Rob posted a hilarious roundup of comments regarding his Official L&R Top 100 Guitar Players list. There seems to be general consensus that his list is better than Rolling Stone's list, but still sucks big gorilla... uh... llama.

This was bound to happen. A Swiss Army Knife with USB flash memory stick. It's probably at least as useful as the corkscrew that comes on many of their knives. And it's great for survivalists, who can now take their porn with them into the mountains. Listen carefully and you can hear llamas all over the world heave a sigh of relief. Thanks to The Ministry of Minor Perfidy for the pointer.

Thanks for joining us for this edition of Rocketing Around the Blogosphere, and we hope you join us again soon. At this time, we ask that you please return your llamas to the upright position and welcome to the end of this post.

Posted by Ted at 05:22 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

March 11, 2004

Letter from my dad

Heard from my dad, and thought I'd share some of it with you.

Working people frequently ask retired people what they do to make their days interesting. This is a great example.

I went to the store the other day. I was only in there for about 5 minutes. When I came out there was a cop writing out a parking ticket.

I went up to him and said, "Come on, buddy, how about giving a senior a break?" He ignored me and continued writing the ticket.

I called him an asshole. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for having worn tires.

So I called him a piece of horse shit. He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first.

Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on for about 20 minutes, the more I abused him, the more tickets he wrote. I didn't give a crap.

My car was parked around the corner. I try to have a little fun each day. It's important at my age.

Posted by Ted at 01:13 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Ted Is

Thanks to LeeAnn for pointing the way to Googlism. Here's how Google defines Ted:

ted is now owned by the sapling foundation
ted is chad
ted is one hell of a role model for young kids
ted is little ted's best friend
ted is available in binary format
ted is a box office hit
ted is voodoo chili
ted is my new favorite
ted is not 100% human
ted is very quiet and trapped in a box
ted is the patron saint of shark jumping
ted is available for download from ftp
ted is the imaginary friend of a lonely little boy
ted is not looking for the quick sale
ted is not doing the show every night
ted is not
Posted by Ted at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Team America Update

Info about the Team America Rocketry Challenge can be found in this old Rocket Jones post.

The team of high school students I'm mentoring will be going to our rocket club launch this saturday. Yesterday they finished up final details on their first rocket, and she's ready to make her maiden flight. The students also got a good start on their second rocket, this one using fiberglass for fins and having a different fin geometry. As per the rules of the contest, both rockets are two-stagers designed to carry two fresh hens eggs to 1250 feet and then parachute them back safely.

The high school team that won the TARC last year has been busy since then, designing a payload experiment and rocket that must reach an altitude of one mile. They'll travel to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama for an April launch along with nine other teams, and the winning team will get to spend a week at Space Camp.

Also, our Fat Boy will finally be making her maiden flight too.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

Extremely Naughty Bits

Glenn of Hi, I'm Black! fame is trying to become a big-time internet smut peddler.

So if hardcore floats your boat, visit his new site called, appropriately enough, NOT WORK SAFE (which is itself Not Work Safe). Glenn says FleshBot needs some competition.

Posted by Ted at 05:29 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 10, 2004

Heh heh... he said 'pot'

Over at Silflay Hraka, Bigwig talked about a theoretical construct called the CD Potlatch. He also included his list of music from his iPod, and invited folks to make fun of his musical taste. I didn't, but I'm always interested in seeing other people's music collections, because tastes vary so much.

Take my music list for example (Excel format). A lot of my music was purchased when I was a DJ, so there's a little bit of everything in there, including lots of compilations. Because I had to handle requests, there's not much on the list that I didn't listen to at least semi-regularly. You can see some patterns in the list too. For instance, I used to do a couple parties a year at a VA Hospital, so I have a lot of Big Band music for the old-timers. But I love Big Band music, so that was never a problem. I also noticed that the list isn't quite complete, because I have some instrumental 'dinner music' that isn't there. I'll have to figure out where those CD's are. I don't have much classical either, but none at all made it onto the list. *scratching head*

If Bigwig can do it, so can I. Go on, make fun of my taste, I can take it.

Posted by Ted at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Old-fashioned Gentleman

Last night, I once again had the pleasure of Dawn’s company for dinner. She’s bright, witty, vivacious, and neener neener because you missed out.

She said something that stuck in my mind and got me to thinking. Dawn told me that she wasn’t used to guys being gentlemen. You see, I open doors for ladies, including car doors. I held her coat while she put it on. I walk on the outside of the sidewalk. It’s basic manners that I learned from my dad, and now unusual enough to be remarkable.

Shame on you guys.

Update: I removed all the silly footnotes. It flows better without them, and obscured the fact that I actually had a point to make.

Posted by Ted at 09:02 AM | Comments (6)
Category: About Ted

How do you pronounce that?

Simon uses it, so does Helen (I think). I've seen it on other non-US blogs too.


Is that whinging, as in "wing-ing"?

Or is that whinging, as in "win-jing"?

Posted by Ted at 07:14 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Y'all are a bad influence on me

I didn't used to take these stupid quizzes...

Scroll in your toga?
Estne volumen in toga, an solum tibi libet me videre?
"Is that a scroll in your toga, or are you just glad to see me?"
You're smooth, okay, but you also need a girlfriend. Bad.

Which Weird Latin Phrase Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saw this all over the place (and sorry if I've not included you).

Posted by Ted at 06:47 AM | Comments (1)
Category: About Ted

Blizzard Rankings

The superstorm of 1993 was the most devastating blizzard to strike the Northeast in at least a century, according to a new system that rates the impact of East Coast winter storms.

Interesting, but rather limited. Since the 1-5 scale takes into account the population affected, it has to be derived from historical records. It's also only usable in current form for the Eastern Seaboard of the US, other regions will have to have their own custom formula developed.

I would like to see the correlation between IQ, size of the SUV, and bodyshop repair bills immediately following storms.

Northeastern winter storms rated "crippling" or higher on the new Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale.

Category 5: Extreme

1. March 12-14, 1993
2. Jan. 6-8, 1996

Category 4: Crippling

3. Feb. 15-18, 2003
4. March 11-14, 1888
5. Feb. 11-14, 1899
6. March 2-5, 1960
7. Feb. 10-12, 1983
8. Feb. 5-7, 1978
9. Feb. 2-5, 1961

So since I've moved into this area, I've experienced the top 3. Liz remembers 7 and 8, and my mother-in-law remembers 4 and 5 (just kidding!).

Posted by Ted at 06:18 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

Hockey Goalie Mask Slideshow

Now this is cool. The Hockey Hall of Fame has this slideshow of various masks worn through history.

Thanks to Eric of Off Wing Opinion for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 09, 2004

Heaping Insult upon injury

Former Washington Capital Calle Johannson came out of retirement today to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Washington Post also reports that Ottawa Senators plane is scheduled to head back to Canada this afternoon after the 3pm EST trading deadline, in anticipation of taking Caps goalie Olaf Kolzig and defenseman Brendan Witt along.

Forwards Bates Battaglia, Kip Miller, and Mike Grier are also expected to be moved before the trading deadline, meaning the Caps might have the deepest minor league hockey roster currently playing at the NHL level.

This is beyond depressing.

Posted by Ted at 01:15 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Tiny Bubbles

Cavitation is the term for the formation and subsequent collapse of small bubbles in a liquid.

When a propeller spins in the water, the hydrodynamic forces may result in the creation of tiny bubbles. The bubbles are almost immediately crushed upon themselves which causes noise. The cavitation sounds are one method of detecting submarines on passive sonar. Great amounts of time and money are spent on refining propeller design to limit cavitation.

Cavitation can also damage propellers by pitting the metal over time. Naturally, this pitting further reduces the efficiency of the propeller while making it noisier at the same time. Scientists wondered what was actually happening during cavitation, and began to study the process in more detail.

What they discovered was that each bubble underwent an extremely violent death. As the bubbles collapsed upon themselves, the interior experienced supersonic shockwaves which reflected back from the bubble's outer surface. Happening in a fraction of a second, these shockwaves raised the interior temperature enough to rival the surface of the sun. It was these millions of microscopic sunbursts that were causing the pitting on the propellers.

The effect has also been exploited in various ways by weapons designers. One 'underwater' missile rides in it's own cocoon of cavitation bubbles, which form a barrier to the surface-drag caused by dense water, and allows the missile to 'fly' underwater at several times the speed of typical torpedos.

Now researchers are taking advantage of cavitation outside of naval affairs. According to this report regarding Bubble Fusion:

The research team used a standing ultrasonic wave to help form and then implode the cavitation bubbles of deuterated acetone vapor. The oscillating sound waves caused the bubbles to expand and then violently collapse, creating strong compression shock waves around and inside the bubbles. Moving at about the speed of sound, the internal shock waves impacted at the center of the bubbles causing very high compression and accompanying temperatures of about 100 million Kelvin.

These new data were taken with an upgraded instrumentation system that allowed data acquisition over a much longer time than was possible in the team’s previous bubble fusion experiments. According to the new data, the observed neutron emission was several orders of magnitude greater than background and had extremely high statistical accuracy. Tritium, which also is produced during the fusion reactions, was measured and the amount produced was found to be consistent with the observed neutron production rate.

Earlier test data, which were reported in Science (Vol. 295, March 2002), indicated that nuclear fusion had occurred, but these data were questioned because they were taken with less precise instrumentation.

Note that this was described as cavitation in a vapor. Most definitions I've seen specify liquid, although a vapor could be described as a low-density liquid.

Thanks to Fred for the Bubble Fusion link.

Posted by Ted at 09:41 AM | Comments (4)
Category: SciTech

Sometimes I feel like changing my name to Gomez

Mookie posted her report on Arsenic.

I chose Arsenic because it seemed to me to be the most sinister, and fun, of all 115 elements.


Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Family matters

Blues Interlude

Mojo Boogie

I been to New Orleans, I sure had a wonderful time
I been to New Orleans, I sure had a wonderful time
I was high, high as a Georgia pine

You know, my auntie carried me all down on Rampart Street
I seen everybody I wanted to meet
She said, J.B., son, stop and listen to me,
They got something knock you off of your feet

They got the mojo boogie
Mojo boogie
They got the mojo boogie, begin to slide on down

- J. B. Lenoir

The Johnny Winter version of Mojo Boogie was cranked on the way to work this morning. I've been in a nostalgic mood lately as I catalog my CD collection. Billie Holiday is on as I write this, and B.B. King is on deck.

Posted by Ted at 07:18 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Dear Tide

Dear Tide,

I'm writing to say what an excellent product you have. I've used it since the beginning of married life, when my mom told me it was the best.

In fact, about a month ago, I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse.

My husband started to berate me about my drinking problem. One thing led to another and I ended up with a lot of his blood on my white blouse as well.

I tried to get the stain out using a bargain detergent, but it just wouldn't come out.

After a quick trip out, I stopped and got a bottle of liquid Tide with bleach alternative, and all of the stains came out!

They came out so well, in fact, that the DNA tests were negative!

I thank you once again for a great product.

Well, gotta go. I have to write a letter to the Hefty bag people.


Posted by Ted at 05:08 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Or you could wait 32 years

Five planets will be visible to the naked eye later this month. The next best chance to see this somewhat rare alignment is in 2036. Details here.

Thanks to J-Walk Blog for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

March 08, 2004

Air Force Blue (part 8)

It was the meanest practical joke I was ever involved in. Not the funniest and certainly not the most fun, but unsurpassed for pure mean...

I'm going to change enough details here to make the victim anonymous, because you could Google his name and find out all kinds of things about him. I know it because I did just that.

He was a nice enough guy, if a little naive. He and his wife were newlyweds, devoted to each other, and devout. His name was Jerry P (changed), and his family was famous in certain circles. Jerry was a proud family name, so much so that his twin brother shared the same first name. Jerry's brother Jerry went into the Marine Corps at about the same time our Jerry joined the Air Force.

And that's everything you need to know as setup to this practical joke.

It wasn't my idea, and I don't know who first thought of it. The only reason I was involved at all was because the luck of the duty roster put me on a post with a phone that night. But I went along wholeheartedly, because the plan was brilliant.

It was well after dark on swing shift, during that evening lull after dinner, and a few hours away from the midnight shift relief. The phone at my post rang, and when I answered a friend told me about this joke being set up on Jerry. I was to monitor my radio and be ready to pick up the phone and listen quietly.

This was the security phone system, not connected to the civilian world, but we could do things like set up party lines and such.

In a while Jerry P was paged on the radio and given a telephone number to call. He had to phone Central Security first (they were in on the joke), and asked them to transfer the call outside our network.

While the phone was ringing, cops all over the base were quietly picking up their phones to listen in.

A doctor answered the phone. The 'doctor' was actually another cop that Jerry P didn't know. The doctor verified personal information (social security number, etc) with Jerry P to convince him that the call was legit. Then came the joke.

"Airman Jerry, you have a brother in the Marine Corps, correct?"

"Yes sir."

"And he has the same first and last name as you, correct?"

"Yes sir."

"Well, we have an unfortunate mixup here then. As part of standard procedure, everybody going through basic training is tested for various things, including venereal disease. Your brother tested positive and has been undergoing treatment for syphilis for the past month, but we've discovered a mistake in our records, and, well, this is difficult to say..."

(confused) "What do you mean?"

"Unfortunately Airman Jerry P, your brother doesn't have syphilis, you do."

I will never know how we all managed to keep quiet. I was bent over, holding the phone and my stomach, desperately trying not to laugh out loud.

It took a moment for Jerry P to respond, and at first he was sure it was a mistake. It had to be. The doctor kept insisting that Jerry P stay calm and report the next day to the base hospital. Jerry P kept getting more and more agitated, and that's when he dropped the bomb.


He was in tears, and suddenly it wasn't funny anymore. Jerry thought he had VD, and since he'd been a virgin when he got married, the only way he could have gotten it was from his wife. His newlywed wife.

And he was on duty, and had a gun.

I heard a quiet call on the radio, sending someone over to Jerry's post ASAP. Hopefully to disarm him before he did something stupid. Then someone on the party line snickered loud enough to be heard, and we were busted.

Oh man, he was righteously pissed. Couldn't blame the guy one bit either, talk about a roller coaster of emotions we'd put him through. He didn't shoot himself, but he was close to shooting the supervisor who went over to take his rifle away until he calmed down. Calming down took several hours, and it was a week or more before he would talk to anyone. Eventually we could kid him again, though not about that. The joke was never ever mentioned. I don't know about the other people eavesdropping that night, but I always felt major guilt over that practical joke.

I still think it was brilliant though.

Posted by Ted at 06:59 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Boring Stories


Stolen en toto from Curmudgeonly & Skeptical:

Rene Descartes is finishing dinner in a small cafe when the waiter asks "would you like desert?"

He answers " I think not," and disappears.

Posted by Ted at 08:41 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Advice to my kids

Jim at Snooze Button Dreams has a wonderful list of things today's kids should know. I'm proud to say I've tried to hammer most of these into the thick skulls of my kids as they grew up.

Parenting tip: bigger hammer.

Posted by Ted at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Mergers I'd like to see

Hale Business Systems, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Fuller Brush, and W.R. Grace Co. to become:

Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace

Polygram Records, Warner Bros., and Zesta Crackers to become:

Poly, Warner, Cracker

3M to merge with Goodyear to become:


Zippo Manufacturing, Audi Motors, Dofasco, and Dakota Mining to become:


Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers to become:

Fairwell Honeychild

Grey Poupon and Docker Pants to become:

Poupon Pants

Knott's Berry Farm and the National Organization of Women to become:

Knott NOW

Posted by Ted at 06:40 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs


Tonight (Monday, March 8) on TCM - Turner Classic Movies, beginning at 8pm Eastern Standard, are three Sherlock Holmes movies in a row.

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

She was right, but not in the way she thought

Like most folks, I like to bring in a few personal items to put here and there around my work area. I've only ever had one problem, and I honestly didn't see it coming. From my days as a serious guitar player, I had some posters of a few dream guitars I hoped to own one day, so I brought them in to hang on my bulletin board. One day I came in to find one poster (in the extended entry - work safe in all but the most conservative environments) taken down by the boss, with a note telling me that pornography would not be tolerated.


I know she was talking about the woman in the bikini, but to me, the sexiest part of the picture is that beautiful Dean axe. Guitar players reading this are nodding right along with me.

Posted by Ted at 05:01 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

March 07, 2004


Mid-life means that you become more reflective. You start pondering the 'big' questions. What is life? Why am I here? How much Healthy Choice ice cream can I eat before it's no longer a healthy choice?

Posted by Ted at 05:29 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Say hello to...

Jen Speaks, who is probably already known to some of you.

The Llama Butchers, just because of the name. I have a note here on my list of movies to see someday about "Barn of the Blood Llama". Coincidence? I dunno, but I'm not taking any chances. And it's not just because of the name.

Blogeline is back after a long hiatus.

Posted by Ted at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Watching the crap so you don't have to

Oooo boy, this group is a mixed bag. One thumbs-up crapfest, one so-so offering, and one real stinker.

Behind door number so-so, we have Snowbeast. This made-for-TV bigfoot thriller stars a whole heap of washed-up TV stars like Clint Walker, Bo Swenson, Yvette Mimieux and others you'll probably recognize. Amazingly enough, this bland thriller was written by the same guy who wrote the screenplay to Hitchcock's Psycho, proving that Bob Marley was right when he sang "a hungry man is an angry man". This guy must've been desperate for grocery money (I know that doesn't quite fit the point I'm trying to make, but I wanted to throw in a Marley quote to impress you).

The plot is full of holes, and the actual violence seen is minimal - it was for TV after all. Not very good, but not unwatchable either.

Much better, in a crapesque sort of way is Night Train to Terror - a trio of tales embedded in a senseless concept meant to tie the stories together. God and Satan are riding a train together, discussing souls. Also on the train, for no apparent reason, are quite a few teenagers, partying like only teenagers in 60's beach movies can. There's a catchy song they play at various times, and you'll likely wind up with an ear-worm from it. The stories here are actually not too bad. The special effects range from tacky to good, including some pretty cool stop-action claymation work. There are gruesome moments and blood and gore, and several gratuitious breast shots (and one bush sighting as well, for those who're keeping track).

The ending credits note that God is playing himself.

Remember the Lurch-like actor Richard Moll? Apparently he had a (so-called) career playing freaks in cheesy horror movies before he hit the big time, playing the freak bailiff on the television sitcom Night Court. I used to think his role in House was what his acting career had sunk to, but apparently it was a simple return to his roots. He plays a couple different roles in this one. Recommended.

Finally, we have The Severed Arm. This flick should be studied in every cinema course as how to completely screw up a great concept. Here's the story line: "Trapped in a cave, five men cut the arm off of another companion in order to ward off starvation. After they are saved, their victim seeks revenge on them one by one."

Isn't that cool? Unfortunately, everything else about the movie is absolute dreck. I should've known that suck was inevitable when, in the first two minutes of the movie, we have an extreme windblown comb-over moment. I mean, the actor gained eight inches in height as his hair stood straight up in the breeze. Believe me, it was all downhill from there. I suggest remembering this title for the express purpose of avoiding it.

Posted by Ted at 01:15 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

March 06, 2004

Smithsonian Trip

Every time I visit the Smithsonian Museums, I am awed at the national treasures available for all to see.

These are rightly described as treasures, and they aren't hidden behind massive vault doors. It's emphasized often in each museum that the contents belong to the entire American people. You get the sense that you're not being allowed to see the items so much as that the caretakers are making sure that everyone gets the best view possible.

To say I don't like the city of Washington DC is an understatement. I believe that if they were to give Uncle Sam an enema, the nozzle would be inserted in DC. But I also think that everyone should spend a couple of weeks visiting Washington, because there is just so much history to see. I hate DC, but I also sincerely recommend it as a vacation destination for all.

We started our trip by driving to the nearest Metro station and parking there. The DC Metro system is excellent, it's much easier than trying to find a parking spot in DC, plus the metro fare is less than parking in the city. Plus, the metro took us to within a block of the National Museum of American History, our choice for the day.

We had a 5 minute wait to get in, standing in line as everyone went through security checks. When it was my turn, I handed over my car keys and pocket watch, walked through the metal detector, and buzzed it. Stepping back through, I realized that I was still holding my umbrella. I handed it to the guard and set off the detector again. Hmmmm... doing a quick pat of my pockets, I realized that I was carrying (as always) my Swiss Army knife. Wondering what kind of reaction I'd get, I pulled it out and put it on the table, then walked through the detector again. No problem this time, and the guard handed me my things without a second glance at the knife.

So let's get to the treasures, eh? We started on the third floor and worked our way down. First up were the music exhibits, including two really nice features on Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington.

A display case full of Star Trek stuff caught my eye, and when I wandered over to look I saw the really cool stuff. There were three more displays in a nook: one had the original ruby slippers from Wizard of Oz, another had one of Dizzy Gillespie's trumpets. The third case held (get this), Muhammed Ali's boxing gloves, Sonja Heine's ice skates, a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth, a Michael Jordan Bulls jersey, a sweater from the 1980 Miracle on Ice US Olympic hockey team, and tennis racquets from Arthur Ashe and Chris Evert.

I'm going to quickly mention a few other nifty items, and then get to the real 'wow' stuff. There was a very impressive exhibit about the First Ladies. Money, clocks, transportation (many restored vehicles, I'd love to see what's stored in their warehouses). Archie Bunker's chair. The key to the padlock of rod 21, which is the one removed to start the chain reaction on the worlds first nuclear pile.

It takes more than "stuff" to make a museum come to life, and the Smithsonians are world-class. They use innovative displays and lots of hands-on, you don't just look at the exhibits. They use sound and touch as well, and it's consistantly impressive.

Ok, the 'wow' things:

The top hat worn by Abraham Lincoln on the night he was assasinated.

Everyone has seen that picture of the workers unfurling the American flag from the roof of the Pentagon when they began making repairs. That flag is now hanging in the second floor rotunda, and you don't appreciate just how huge it really is until you stand in front of it and look up and up and up.

The space suit worn by Alan Shepard on board Freedom 7, making him the first American to go into space.

The Star Spangled Banner. Not the song, but the original flag that flew over Fort McHenry that inspired our National Anthem. It's being restored, and just the glass walled room showing the restoration equipment is pretty amazing. Without a doubt, this was the highlight for me.

We just skimmed the museum today. Realistically, there is just so much to see and absorb that each building of the Smithsonian is a two-day visit. You really should make the trek at least once, you won't regret it.

Posted by Ted at 09:38 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Family matters


Wife is working today and our oldest daughter heads back to college in thawed Michigan tomorrow, so the girls and I decided to head into DC this rainy Saturday and visit the Smithsonians. I wanted to see something artsy, Mookie preferred something sciencey, and Robyn wasn't around to throw in her two cents so that's just too darn bad for her, eh? We compromised on the National Museum of American History.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm kinda sick of the Air & Space Museum and Natural History Museum. All out-of-town guests want to go see these two, and I was right across the street from Air & Space when I was working at the Department of Education. So I'm very familiar with it. Too familiar. On the other hand, it's been awhile since I've been to the American History building, so I'm looking forward to it.

Posted by Ted at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Family matters

Is "Virtual Synthisizer" redundant?

Thanks to A.E. Brain, a link to a demo online version of the famous Moog synthesizer.

If it's Blog*spotted, scroll down to "In the Moog".

Welcome him to the blogroll as well (down at the bottom clump with the rest I haven't gotten around to alphabetizing yet). He lists me as "Just Plain Good", and that without monetary renumeration! He kept a straight face while typing that too (I hope). Anyway, go read his blog. It's gooder than 'just plain'.

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

March 05, 2004

Fantasy Team Names

Here's a list of great team names you might consider for your next fantasy league:

Fluffy White Bunnies
Yellow Brick Roadkill
Fridge Raiders
Bobbin' Monicas
Fighting Pacifists
Tijuana Tabledancers
Red Headed Step Children
Northeast Southwesterners
Altoona Fish
Battling Budgies
Boston Stranglers
Brooklyn Draft Dodgers
Santa Monica Lewinskis
Sears Craftsmen
Anhauser Buschwhackers
Pabst Smears
Iowa Cowtippers
Cleveland Earthtones

and of course my favorite: Rockets

Posted by Ted at 01:48 PM | Comments (10)
Category: Square Pegs


As of right now, Kerry has been campaigning for President longer than he spent in Vietnam.

Important Note: I saw this on someone's site a day or two ago and can't find it again. Please let me know where so I can give credit.

More Important Note: It was over on the most excellent Hold The Mayo! Thanks Stephen.

Posted by Ted at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Politics

Air Force Blue (part 7)

This story is about an odd little incident that happened to me one day on duty. I'm going to relate it exactly as it happened, but there are a few not-quite-right details that I'll mention at the end.

I wasn't wearing a parka that day, which means that it was sometime in August in Grand Forks, North Dakota. I was also working Six-Charlie. Some cops loved working Six-Charlie, some hated it. I was an in-betweener, as it was a nice change occasionally, but it could also be a royal pain.

In those days Grand Forks had five B-52's on alert at all times. Fully fueled and loaded with nukes, crews close at hand on standby, they could take off with five minutes notice (click the pic for a real appreciation of the size of the B-52). As you can imagine, there were cops all over the place in that area, guarding and protecting things.

"The Pad" was where the spare aircraft were kept. Most of the time, the pad was patrolled by one cop in a pickup truck (Six-Charlie), while the majority of security was provided by the maintenance crews and flight personnel that swarmed the area. A lot of times, it was a sleepy backwater.

I was just cruising slowly around the area when I got the call on the radio. An unidentified aircraft was on approach, and not answering radio calls. I turned on the lights and stomped the accelerator and raced to the end of the runway.

We had standard procedures for this. It wasn't common, but occasionally some poor flight student doing a solo would mistake our runway for the one at Grand Forks International, ten miles east of us. The runways were oriented the same way, and an inexperienced or nervous pilot might not notice details like the airbase, especially from the direction this one was coming. That's if they could see the base at all, for the day was far from clear. The clouds were low and thick, it was rainforest muggy, and it felt like a good thunderstorm could happen at any moment.

I positioned myself at the edge of the end of the runway and watched the clouds. As soon as the tower gave the word I'd drive alongside the runway, and when the plane landed I'd lead it to a holding area where the pilot would be detained. Most of the time, we felt sorry for them, because they'd be all kinds of embarrassed for their mistake.

The tower called go, and I started rolling down the edge of the runway, picking up speed. I was expecting a little Piper Cub or something similar. Instead, this huge and wicked looking jet materialized out of the bottom of the cloud deck, startling the bejeebers out of me. I frantically looked for markings, trying to figure out what it was as it roared by.

As the jet passed me and touched down, I called the tower and let them know that it was a Canadian RF-101 Voodoo. I could tell it was the reconnasance version from the long boxy nose that housed the cameras. In those days I was an aircraft geek, since I worked around them every day.

As the Voodoo slowed down to below 90mph, I managed to pull up alongside and signalled to the crew (twin seater) to follow me. They acknowleged and I concentrated on not wrecking the rattletrap I was driving as we continued to slow down.

They followed my truck to the holding point, and as they shut down the aircraft I got out and, weapon at the ready, waited for them to climb out. The pilot started talking to me from the cockpit but I couldn't understand a word because it was in french. I gestured that they should come down, and finally they climbed out of the aircraft. More hand signals, and they put their hands up in the air. Every time they tried to drop their arms I raised my rifle and their arms went back up. They both wore smiles and chattered at me in french, I assumed they were cursing me out.

Within a minute or two backup arrived. Fifteen more cops, armed to the teeth, and one of them spoke french. My part done, I went back to my interupted patrolling.

That's basically it. I found out later that their base had been closed by bad weather, and they didn't have enough fuel to go anywhere else, so they flew to Grand Forks unannounced. I always thought english was the international flight language, so at least one of those two should have been able to speak at least a little. I also never heard why they wouldn't communicate with the tower on the emergency frequencies, instead of coming in dumb and silent.

Thinking back on it, they could've been surrendering Montreal to me.

Also, it's mildly interesting (to me, anyway) that the Voodoo was retired from active USAF duty in 1971. This story took place in probably 1979 or 1980.

Posted by Ted at 07:02 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Boring Stories

Box Hockey - 1

When I was a youngster, one way we filled our summer days was by going to the local elementary school for ‘rec’. Rec was shortspeak for “Recreation Services” and it was a program sponsored by our school district. Basically, for a few hours a day, someone (usually a college kid earning some pocket money) would sign out kickballs and jump ropes and games. There would be organized activities like bike races and weenie roasts and marble tournaments. I fondly recall heading up to the school to find out who was there and what was going on. It was one of the ‘mixing bowls’ of the area, because otherwise groups of kids mostly hung around together based on what street they lived on.

Some days it was just too darn hot to do anything. Even marbles sucked, because the best dirt beds for that were in full sun, and nobody felt like frying their brains.

That’s when the board games would come out. Alongside the playgrougd were several fixed benches, shaded by the buildings and close to the cool bricks of the school wall. Looking like birds lined up on a telephone wire, we were grouped up in various ways as we played the games. Parcheesi (ick), Sorry and Chinese Checkers, Mandala (we called it something else though), and my personal favorite – Box Hockey.

Box Hockey was the low-tech version of Air Hockey. In fact, to that point we had never heard of Air Hockey. Play is similar, and so is the speed of it, if only because the ‘rink’ is smaller.

The puck was a regular ol’ checker, and the paddles were wedge-shaped pieces of hardboard. Each end had three goals, larger ones on each side worth one point, and a smaller one smack in the middle worth three points. Games went to 11 or 15 or 21, and there was usually someone hovering nearby with dibs on the next game.

When my kids were that age, I built our own Box Hockey game. It proved to be a hit, and I built several more over the years to give away as gifts. On the underside we put a checkerboard and backgammon board, and just flipped the hockey rink to play those. We'd usually include a set of checkers, some dice, and if the child was old enough a set of chess pieces.

So that’s what we’re going to do this go-round of "Build It", we’re going to build a Box Hockey set. It makes a great birthday gift, or save it as a surprise for those heat-wave days coming up. It's also a great family project, simple enough to have the little ones pitch in. It makes it more special when they help.

If you’ve never done any woodworking, no worries. The skills are basic, the materials are readily available and inexpensive. Power tools will speed things along, but aren’t at all necessary.

Update: While out running errands tonight, I made a quick stop at the hardware store to price the lumber needed. I'm estimating right up front that you can do this project for around $30.00. Not bad for a from-the-heart gift.

Next time (probably this weekend), a detailed parts and measurement list, and pictures!

(Update: click here for the next part of the series)

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack
Category: Build It

March 04, 2004


Everyone (yes, everyone, and if that doesn't include you it's because we're all keeping it a secret from you), asks where I find all this useless drivel obscure trivia to talk about. When I'm lovingly describing movies (that period between 'about' and 'When' just slipped out. The management apologizes and to compensate shall not put a period after this sentence)

Here's one place I go when looking for info about the lesser-known lights of the silver screen. Some of it's not work safe.

Posted by Ted at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

Flying rockets with the big boys

A couple of days ago I linked to the Gates Brothers website, for a peek at some amazing projects that they fly.

This time around, meet Wedge Oldham, who doesn't just build and fly big scale versions of famous rockets, he builds 'em bigger than original!

I look positively Orion.

Posted by Ted at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

March 03, 2004

So it's come down to this

The grand announcements were met with a yawn. As was the reminder. So now I'm moving right past threats and heading straight for bribery.

You may remember, back when the Axis of Evil Naughty (Classic) was nothing but a disorganized mob - not that that's a bad thing - and Jennifer decided to bribe folks with topless pictures of herself. You may also recall that yours truly was the first to vote for Jennifer, and I got the 'special' picture. ;) The rest of you got the innocent version. Nya nya slow-pokes.

Get your butts in gear and send some questions to Spork and Stephen. Google if you must, but don't let these two share a meal without your input! If it helps, pretend you're controlling their thoughts long-distance.

And don't forget the picture of Jennifer!*

*This offer applies to all but Jennifer. Dearest Jen, I'll post it on the newsgroup ALT.BINARIES.AMATUER.TOPLESS if you don't send at least one question to each. Don't test me, I'll do it.

Update: Susie is a classy lady.

Update: Victor is one hep rat too.

Posted by Ted at 02:23 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Fat is Dead

Now this sounds like a diet I could get used to.

New Nietzschean Diet Lets You Eat Whatever You Fear Most

Oh wait, that would be spiders. Never mind.

Courtesy of The Onion.

Posted by Ted at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Air Force Blue (part 6)

Last time I talked about my very first day in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and my up-close and personal encounter with a military police dog. Ahhhhh, memories, eh?

This story needs a little set-up. Working around the nukes (which besides the actual weapons themselves includes the bombers, missile fields, maintenance shops, and storage areas), you are held to a higher standard. Quite rightly so, in my opinion. In those days, it was called the Personal Reliability Program (PRP), or maybe it was “Personnel”… doesn’t matter. The point being that you not only had to be a good guy to work those jobs, you had to be constantly monitored to make sure you were trustworthy around such important things. Even something like prescription medications could knock you temporarily off the PRP, and you’d be assigned to a less-sensitive job for a while. Getting into certain kinds of trouble was definitely a no-no…

“Airman Phipps, Grand Forks Security. State your location.”

“Grand Forks Security, this is Airman Phipps. I’m at one-Juliette.”

Long pause.

“One-Juliette, Grand Forks Security. Wait one.”


I’d been waiting for that call all morning. I could imagine the shit hitting the fan right then.

I was sitting in the Weapons Storage Area, near the bunkers where they keep the extra big-glowing-hole-in-the-ground devices, armed with my trusty M16 and 120 rounds of ammo.

I had been busted for drugs the night before.

There was no way I should have been issued a weapon and put on post. I figured I’d be steering a floor buffer for at least a few days while things got straightened out. So I sat there for a few minutes, until the Area Supervisor drove up in his truck. I was relieved of my weapon, read my rights (again), and transported to Central Security Control. Before too long, I was standing before the squadron First Sergeant. He asked me what the story was.

The night before I’d been laying in my bunk reading a book when someone knocked on the door, and then the door opened immediately. I looked up and saw a cop dog-handler, his K9 bud and the dorm chief.

Our dorm had two-man rooms with common latrines down the hall. My roomie wasn’t there that night, I don’t remember where he was. It wasn’t uncommon for the squadron to run the drug-dogs through the dorms.

The cop told me that the dog alerted on our door, and that he was going to search the room.

“Knock yourself out.” I really wasn’t worried. When I got this roommate I had been very clear about one thing: no drugs in the room. I couldn’t have cared less about what he did elsewhere, but don’t bring it to the room. Ever.

So I lay there reading my book. The dog alerted on one wall locker, and I unlocked it so they could search it. As I expected, the dog had smelled a loaf of bread in there and went right for it. They emptied the locker anyway. Nothing.

“Ah ha! Look what I found!”

That was an instant attention-getter. As I got up from my bunk, I was already mentally calculating how long I could keep my roomie alive while I killed him. The phrase “burnt beyond recognition” came to mind.

Over by the desk, the cop stood there with a triumphant look on his face, pointing into the pencil drawer. I looked inside and stifled a laugh. Forgetting that he had two weapons, the pistol on his hip and that dog, I made my first mistake.

“Are you an idiot?”

Not very diplomatic, and precisely the wrong thing to say. At that point I was busted, no matter what else was said. I could see that much in his eyes.

I looked back down at his ‘discovery’. It was a small plastic packet of pizza seasonings. At that time, one of the frozen pizza brands had a gimmick where you got a little bag of oregano and other herbs, mixed with some garlic salt and such. It was included in the box, and you sprinkled it on your pizza before popping it into the oven. The packet was about two inches square.

“Do you really think drug dealers are going to heat-seal that little baggie closed?” I couldn’t help it, I burst out laughing, which just pissed off the cop even more.

As I laughed, I noticed the dorm chief was looking pretty doubtful about this bust. I tried to explain about the pizza thing, but the cop ignored that, read me my rights, and put the suspicious ‘dope’ into an evidence bag. He then searched the dressers, mostly by emptying drawers onto the floor. He did that last just to get even for me laughing at him. The dog was bored, mostly just staring wistfully at the locker containing the bread.

After they left, I wondered why they didn’t arrest me. Something wasn’t quite right about the whole thing. Still chuckling about the ‘dope’, I cleaned up the room and went to bed. The next morning I went to work as usual, which is when they had called me.

At this point the First Sergeant sent me out into the hall to wait while he called in the K9 handler, I assume to hear his story. The cop glared at me as we passed, I just smiled back. I stood there for awhile, and wondered how bad the chewing-out was going to be for screwing up my arrest. Someone would catch big-time hell for me being issued a weapon and put on post, I was just glad that it wouldn’t be me.

A few minutes later, I got called in again. Standing at attention before the First Sergeant’s desk (K9 cop beside me), he told us that the lab results had come back on the evidence. Looking at his notes, he read it to us.

“Oregano… Parsley… Garlic… Onion…”

I managed to keep a straight face. Inside I was more than a little relieved, and made a mental note to let my roomie know just how close to death he had come. Just in case he needed reminding.

I was dismissed, and the First Sergeant told the K9 troop to stay for a little talking to.

That wasn’t quite the end of it though.

I didn’t keep the story quiet, it was too funny not to share. I’m sure it got back to the K9 cop, which must have been pretty embarrassing for him. I had no hard feelings, because he was young and inexperienced. He, on the other hand, was holding a grudge, as I was to find out.

A few weeks later, I got called in to see the First Sergeant. Never a good thing, I was trying to figure out what I had done wrong this time. I knocked, presented myself, and waited at attention.

“Airman Phipps, we have a report that you had your personal vehicle checked by a drug dog on (some date I don’t remember). Any comment?”

Oh jeez. “Yes sir. I bought a used car, and figured it would be smart to have it checked right away. I went over to the kennels and asked a friend to run a dog through the car as a favor. It was clean, sir.”

“Why would you do that?”

I reminded the First Sergeant about another Airman who bought a used car and got busted at the main gate when a drug dog alerted on it. As far as I knew, that person didn’t smoke dope, so whatever was found was probably there when she bought the car. He knew who I was talking about, and knew she was a good cop too, so what I had done made sense in that light.

I did ask where the First Sergeant got that report, but he wouldn’t tell me. It didn’t take a genius to figure it out though.

Not long after I had another direct confrontation with doggie-cop. I was on duty with my team, and we had just come out of the chow hall. At the street, I turned right to go drop a letter into the mailbox, while the rest of the team continued on towards our truck.

A police car was parked at the curb, and just as I walked by the driver’s door opened and K9 cop stepped out and glared at me. I just kept walking towards the mailbox.

“You! Halt!”

I turned around slowly, and sure enough, the nitwit was pointing at me, he also had one hand on his sidearm.

“My dog alerted on you! Halt right where you are!”

“Your dog alerted on me? You’re kidding, right?”

“There are drugs in that envelope. Freeze!”

I’d had enough of this stupidity.

“You’re dog alerted on me. From inside a car with the windows rolled up. As I walked by. Because I have drugs in a sealed envelope. Go to hell, you idiot.” And with that I turned around, took the final few steps and dropped the letter in the mailbox. When I turned around, K9 cop had his weapon out and was shaking because he was so pissed off.

Since his weapon was drawn, I didn’t argue any more. Hell, my team was witnessing the whole thing. He disarmed me (M16, I was on duty), put me on my face spread eagle (for being ‘belligerent’), and we waited for backup. I snickered when my team was called to attend the situation. Fastest response ever.

I stayed calm until I saw the First Sergeant again, then lost it a little bit. Apparently he agreed with me this time, because I didn’t get into any trouble (not that I had done anything wrong, which didn’t always mean you weren’t punished), and I never saw that K9 cop again.

Posted by Ted at 09:37 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Boring Stories

Encyclopedia Astronautica

If you've never visited the Encyclopedia Astronautica, well, be prepared to spend some time. This site is amazing.

Posted by Ted at 06:11 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

The synergist emerges once again

First read Spork's tale of squirrels.

Next, read Bigwig's thoughts on peace.

Spork, I bet you could get Federal grant money if you have your attic designated as a foreign aid food bank.

Posted by Ted at 05:54 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

In the digital world his name is Quasimodem

The Gray Monk has written a fascinating post about bell ringers and the art of bell ringing.

For those of us who don't have access to a tower full of bells, you can get your practice in using Abel. This versitile software can also be used by folks using hand bells. All proceeds go to charity.

Here is an impressive collection of bell-related links.

I wonder if Eric Lindros has an honorary membership?

Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

March 02, 2004

"Zoom" is such an understatement

Eric and Dirk Gates are famous in rocketry circles for their big-time projects. You may have seen them on the Discovery Channel show Myth Busters, when they were the 'experts' brought in to help on the episode about a car with rockets mounted on the roof.

They have an awesome website, full of pictures and good information and video clips that have to be seen to be believed (including on-board cameras). It's so popular, and there is so much to see there, that they routinely shut down midway through each month for excessive bandwidth. It's up right now though, you really should visit, and if you have a high-speed connection, be sure to check out the videos.

They've also put up Dirk's son's 8th grade research project on spin-stabilization of model rockets, which took 1st place in the California State Science Fair. Like I said, impressive stuff.

Posted by Ted at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

Nothing So Strange: the movie

This is a mock documentary, pure fiction told absolutely straight. If you'd like to see something not like every other Hollywood movie out there, check this one out.

J-Walk has details.

Posted by Ted at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

World's Easiest Quiz

(answers in the extended entry)

1. How long did the Hundred Years War last?

2. Which country makes Panama hats?

3. From which animal do we get catgut?

4. In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?

5. What is a camel's hair brush made of?

6. The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?

7. What was King George VI's first name?

8. What color is a purple finch?

9. Where are Chinese Gooseberries from?

10. What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?

1. 116 years
2. Ecuador
3. Sheep and Horses
4. November
5. Squirrel fur
6. Dogs
7. Albert
8. Crimson
9. New Zealand
10. Orange

Posted by Ted at 06:44 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

Captain's Rock, Stardate 2168 BC

Stone Trek.


Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Ig Nobel Prize

Awarded annually, according to the official site:

The winners have all done things that first make people LAUGH, then make them THINK.

Some of my favorites (go to the link above for full credits and cites):

Physics, 2003 - "An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep over Various Surfaces."

This one's from Australia. Is anyone surprised? Montana residents put your hands down.

Biology, 2003 - for documenting the first scientifically recorded case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck.

You really find out who your friends are.

Physics, 2002 - University of Munich, for demonstrating that beer froth obeys the mathematical Law of Exponential Decay.

More beer research, now this is something I can support.

Astrophysics, 2001 - a televangelist and staff, who for their discovery that black holes fulfill all the technical requirements to be the location of Hell.

So does Sunday morning television programming.

Peace, 2000 - The British Royal Navy, for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout "Bang!"

As opposed to the more aggressive "Boom!"

Chemistry, 1999 - a detective in Japan, for his involvement with S-Check, an infidelity detection spray that wives can apply to their husbands' underwear.

The thrifty version is called superglue.

Peace, 1999 - a South African design for an automobile burglar alarm consisting of a detection circuit and a flamethrower.

I've barely scratched the surface here, go check 'em out. Science doesn't have to be boring, and stuff like this certainly makes me think... about committal papers.

Posted by Ted at 04:50 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

March 01, 2004

I should've mentioned this before

Pixy is hosting this week's Bestofme Symphony. One of my old posts is in there, something ghostwritten from my thoughtful and serious side. Guaranteed to make you think of pod people.

Posted by Ted at 05:14 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Maybe he'd adopt me

Like someone said in the comments, this guy is every 10 year old's dream dad.

Posted by Ted at 02:33 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs


I took the 'Peanuts' quiz (found all over).

( results in the extended entry)

You are Sally!

Which Peanuts Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Posted by Ted at 11:42 AM | Comments (5)
Category: About Ted

Investment Advice

Thanks to Stevie over at Caught in the XFire. Follow her plan, get a better return than you would with some so-called 'blue chip' stocks, and - beauty - even if you don't, you won't care!

Posted by Ted at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Air Force Blue

Someone asked in the comments here if I ever felt 'unloved' by the other branches of the service since I was Air Force. There are definite rivalries going on, but for the most part there's also a lot of respect once you get past the lowest ranks.

Of course, there were jokes...

"Lancer 1 to Tower, time check please."

"Tower to Lancer 1, branch of service please."

"Lancer 1 to Tower, repeat last. Over."

"Tower to Lancer 1, branch of service please."

"Lancer 1 to Tower, what difference does that make? Over.

"Tower to Lancer 1, if you're Navy, then it's 1500 hours. If you're Air Force, it's 3 o'clock, and if you're Army, then the big hand is on the three and the little hand is on the 12."

I once ticked off a retired Marine when I told him that if God had intended Marines to fly, he would have made them smart enough to join the Air Force.

Actually, the Air Force enlisted do believe they're at the top of the military food chain. Think about it. In the Army, the officers say "There's the enemy, go get him." In the Navy, it's "There's the enemy, let's go get him." But in the Air Force the enlisted ready the aircraft, help strap the officer in, then salute and say "Go get 'em, Sir."

Aim high.

Posted by Ted at 08:14 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Military

Who was that band?

Ultimate Band List is a site with tons of information and links to official band website and fansites. It includes concert information, promoter and venue links, e-zine's and much more.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links
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