October 31, 2004

Weekend update

Maybe tomorrow or Tuesday. Short version: camera problems, computer problems, rocket problems. No biggie 'cause I had a badly-needed mondo-relaxing weekend. Big fun.

Posted by Ted at 07:53 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Never miss a chance to be nice to a pretty lady

Due to some technical problems with an altimeter bay design I threw together at the last moment didn't completely think through, I wasn't able to make a couple of big flights yesterday like I wanted.

Fixed that little problem last night though, and it didn't keep me from flying other stuff.

The Hot Jets made a perfect flight, and once again many comments were made on the paint job and listing of all those ladies names. :) Gonna fly her again today on an F24 motor.

And the meaning of this post? Why, it gives me a chance to link to all of the Rocket Jones Hot Jets cheerleaders, best sideline squad in the Blogger Bowl fantasy football league!

The Hot Jets cheerleaders are:

Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!
Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!
Dawn of Dawn Enterprises!
Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
annika, of annika's journal!
Cindy, of Dusting My Brain!
Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!
Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
Big Hair, of Left & Right!
Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
Heather, of Angelweave!
Margi, of Margi Lowry!

Gotta run. Have a great Halloween!

Posted by Ted at 06:55 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Rocketry

October 30, 2004

BattlePark Launch is on!

It's a little foggy this morning, but once it burns off the weather is forecast to be beautiful!

Links to directions here. Spectatin' free, kids launch free, adults pay a minimal fee.

If you go, look for the red Mazda pickup next to a red sun canopy. I'll be somewhere around there, and I'd love to meet you! I also have several kid-friendly rockets with me that the junior space cadets are welcome to fly and take home for their very own.

Pictures later.

Posted by Ted at 08:29 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

October 29, 2004

Found Wood

A while back Robert Heinlein's lost novel was published.

Not long ago they discovered a complete Jimi Hendrix concert filmed in 1968.

Check out what they've found now:

Danny and Shirley are a young couple with a problem: it seems that Danny can't rise to the occasion, and Shirley's running out of patience. The mysterious Madame Heles is a necromancer who has the solution to their boudoir blahs - a hands-on approach involving her two lovely assistants, the house stud, and some very special rituals.

Bond.  Renee Bond.

Oh yeah. They're releasing one of Ed Wood's 'lost' smut films, Necromania (link safe for work, but I'd wait until I was home). Best known for "Plan 9 from Outer Space", some say his films were so bad that it's sure proof of his genius. Besides his attempts at sci-fi, westerns and horror, he also did porn. But of course even his blue movies are blessed with that Ed Wood magic.

As I went through the Ed Wood filmography, I was delighted to discover that Rene Bond starred in several of his more mature offerings. You may recognize her, she was very popular in adult movies and as a model in men's magazines in the 60's. Knowing that doesn't mean I'm old, it means that I can appreciate vintage erotica.

I don't watch much porn, but since this is Ed Wood, well, you know I'm gonna order it.

Posted by Ted at 05:07 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Cult Flicks

Launch Report Excerpt

From last weekend in Whitakers, North Carolina:

Probably the most anticipated flight of the day... Doug G, with Gerald R's assistance, launched the "Triton 2 Stage," a 50-pound, 13 1/2 foot, 6-inch diameter behemoth. The booster section was loaded with an L1300 staging to a K605 in the sustainer. The L1300 roared to life, lifting the Triton with ease. After booster burnout, the sections drag separated as intended, but the electronics failed to light the second stage igniter. The altimeters did their job and deployed the mains bringing all components down safely. It was still a very pretty flight despite the second stage issue.

This next rocket has a name that seems strangely familiar:
After passing his Level 2 exam, Blaine J brought a little spice with his rocket entitled "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy." Just over five feet tall, and fire engine red, its multi-diameter body ended with aluminum air brakes at the base of the fins. The name fit the bill. He launched it on a J270 for a beautiful take-off. Unfortunately, both sections came down without recovery, resulting in damage to the air frame. I'm sure we'll see him next month for another attempt! UPDATE: During motor disassembly, Blaine discovered the exit cone portion of the nozzle was gone. The onboard RDAS data showed a drop in thrust 0.3 seconds into the flight, confirming the nozzle had failed.

Rocket science fer sure.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

October 28, 2004

Today at the dentist's office

Dentist: "I'm determined to get this done today!"

Me: "From your seat, it's easy to be determined."

We got it done. What a team.

Posted by Ted at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

A very special time

When you have toddlers, and they reach that perfect age - it doesn't last long - and you walk through the door and they come running to give Daddy a hug. And basically you get a full-speed head butt right in the balls.

At that age, they're young enough to think you fell to the floor to play.

Posted by Ted at 05:25 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

So they've gotten it out of the way for this century

Red Sox win the world series. Let the whining begin anew until sometime after 2100.

Posted by Ted at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Ripple Fire

My mind is going about a gazillion miles an hour this morning. Lots to do at work, my basement looks like a cold-war era missile maintenance shop, and I get to go see my dentist again this afternoon.

As I was pulling onto our street the other day, a old and beat up red ford mini-station wagon was coming out. It had those new spinning hubs. A bit of Mookie-wisdom: "Before spending hundreds of dollars tricking out your car, have a car worth more than hundreds of dollars."

This picture made me laugh.

My wife thinks it's unusual that I say things like "I ran out of epoxy". According to her, most people wouldn't use it up before it went bad. I'm waiting for a good moment to tell her that the next time I'm buying epoxy, I'm getting a gallon of resin, a quart of hardener, plus a bunch of extras like microballons and milled fiberglass. And for completeness' sake, I highly recommend this guy for all your adhesive needs.

Superglue. Most folks buy those little tiny containers, the hobby-grade stuff I use comes in 8 ounce bottles. Thick and thin viscosity too.

Since I seem to be stuck on the subject (*owww*), I was digging through my adhesives box, and noticed that I had:

  • 5 minute epoxy

  • 15 minute epoxy

  • 30 minute epoxy

  • quickset epoxy (that stuff in the 2-part syringe)

  • epoxy clay

  • JB Weld (wonderful stuff)

  • Thin CA (Cyano Acrylate, aka 'superglue')

  • Thick CA (ditto)

  • CA instant-set (in a spritzbottle)

  • CA debonder (nothing more embarrassing than spilling CA in your lap and gluing your zipper to your dick)

  • Exterior Carpenter's Wood Glue

  • Interior Carpenter's Wood Glue

  • Elmer's School Glue

  • Testor's Plastic Model Cement

  • Something called "Liquid Aluminum"

  • 3M mondo-strong spray-adhesive

  • a spray 'temporary tack' adhesive

  • Duct Tape (not really, just seeing if you're actually reading this nonsense)
  • Oldest daughter Robyn went to the hospital in an ambulance the other day. She collapsed at school and the doctors say it was dehrydration. My diagnosis is stupidity so I yelled at her on the phone to take better care of herself and we both felt better. So anyway, she's done at the hospital and gets a ride back to campus, walks into her room, and has this conversation with her roomie:

    Roomie: "Were you really taken to the hospital?"

    Robyn: "Yeah."

    Roomie: "I guess you don't wanna go out partying tonight."

    Robyn: "Here's your sign."

    More later. Maybe tonight you can entertain yourself as Ted does codeine-blogging. What color spiders would you like to see?

    Posted by Ted at 06:00 AM | Comments (4)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Searchable Archives

    I found them while searching for old baseball cards, but there's so much more. Hours of fascination for those with a love of history.

    The US Library of Congress Online Collections Finder.

    Posted by Ted at 05:43 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: History

    From time to time

    I post something for my wife, just because.

    Lady Love

    Lady love, your love is peaceful
    Like the summer's breeze
    My lady love, with love that's tender
    As a baby's touch
    You give me all of the things
    That I need so much
    You're my world, lady love

    Lady love, your love is cooling
    Like the winter snow
    My lady love, with love that's cozy
    As a fire's glow
    And I keep on needing you, girl
    A little more and more
    And I thank you, my lady love

    You know, it's not easy to keep love flowing smooth
    People are people and they all have their moods
    But it's so nice just to have someone like you
    Who wants a smooth and easy thing
    And all the good times that it brings

    My lady love, you've been with me
    Through all of my ups and downs
    My lady love, I once was lost
    But now with you I'm found
    You got the love I need
    And I want to stay around
    Heaven sent you down, my lady love

    Let me tell you that it's not easy to keep love flowing smooth
    You know, people are people, they all have their moods
    But it's so nice just to have someone like you
    Who wants a smooth and easy thing
    And all the good times and the joy that it brings

    My lady love, you've been with me
    Through all of my ups and downs
    And my crazy turn-arounds
    My lady love, you got the love I need
    So stay around
    Heaven sent my lady love

    Lady love, sweet lady love
    You are so good to me
    Lady love, like a warm summer breeze
    (So glad I found my lady love, lady love)
    (so glad I found my lady love, lady love)

    Written by V. Gray and S. Marshall
    Performed by Lou Rawls

    Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Square Pegs


    Where I work, we've got this one elevator that creaks and groans and is generally cranky. During the day, when things are busy, it's kinda fun to watch people's expressions when it shows up and they get on, because more than a few are convinced that their next ride will be a nonstop Express to the basement. Just for fun I've considered hanging a sign in there that explains that jumping up and down in a falling elevator is a myth.

    In the wee hours of the morning, when I arrive, the damned thing is just plain creepy. About every third day it's the one that shows up when I press the up button. I never worry about the big plunge, because then it would be repaired or replaced, and it doesn't want that. It wants to bide it's time, and every once in a while, when no one is looking, it feeds. One person at a time.

    Posted by Ted at 05:21 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    October 27, 2004

    Rocket Launch this weekend

    I talked about it here, and the weather is looking very very good. By friday I should have some pictures of what I'll be flying. For sure, the Hot Jets rocket will be taking flight at least once.

    Posted by Ted at 08:35 PM | Comments (1)
    Category: Rocketry

    Time for a bondage related post

    Go ahead, you know you want to. I promise, it's safe for work.


    Posted by Ted at 07:48 PM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    Historical Baseball Cards Online

    Courtesy of the Library of Congress, 2,100 early baseball cards dating from 1887 to 1914.

    And here's a nifty site that includes some 30,000 vintage baseball card photos (click the "OBC Specials" button), and an article about Topps, the all-time king of baseball cards, and some of their more obscure card sets and collections (click their "Library" button, then select the "Topps Insert, Test And Supplemental Baseball Issues 1949-1980"). It sounds dry, but there's a ton of interesting history to be found inside.

    Years ago (1938 to be precise) four brothers, Abram, Ira, Joseph and Philip Shorin, erstwhile cigar manufacturers, established a chewing gum company in Brooklyn (where else?). Wanting to select a name that would let the public know how good their gum was and they settled on Topps (the extra "p" was for effect) and unwittingly created what was to become the largest bubble gum card entity in the Western Hemisphere. At some point, most probably toward the end of World War II, or just after, they began marketing their famous Bazooka bubble gum and yet another American institution was born. Looking for ways to increase product exposure, Abram hit upon the idea of packaging their bubble gum with trading cards. This was in 1948 and things have never been the same...

    Newer Rocket Jones readers might not have seen my personal collection. It's small but dear to my heart.

    Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: History

    100 Scariest Movie Scenes

    Check out the list at RetroCrush.

    A rattle of the bones to Dave for pointing it out. I saw it in the comments at Vadergrrrl's place, and she has an excellent post on her personal favorite scary films too.

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

    October 26, 2004

    Just like real life!

    I've been tinkering with CSS lately at work, and using Rocket Jones and the Skunkworks as guinea pigs. This has been going on for quite a while, and the "Under Construction" signs will remain up for the forseeable future. So if you notice anything odd (like those damned gray boxes around various bits), well, it's me tweaking.

    For some reason, I can twiddle and play at work but don't always see the changes until I get home.

    Anyways, never mind the mad genius behind curtain #1, it's just me. Now maybe if I pull this level while twisting the that knob...

    Posted by Ted at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Movie Review: Astro Zombies

    Mad scientist. Check.
    Creepy assistant. Check.
    Pulsing brains and hearts. Check.
    Homicidal monster. Check.
    Splashing blood and gruesome gore. Check.
    G-Men. Check.
    Foreign spies. Check.
    Busty babes in bra and panties or bikinis. Check.

    So can someone please tell me why this movie is so damned dull?!?!?!?!?

    Tura Satana

    Astro Zombies has a decent cast, and you'll probably recognize several of the actors. Robert Carradine stars as the evil scientist, but he's barely trying here. Robert Bagdad checks in as the odd assistant, and while he looks like an evil assistant, he spends a lot of time alternating between evil genius in his own right and bumbling idiot servant. Tura Satana of Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is the head of an international ring of spies out to steal the doctor's secrets, but her acting is if anything even worse in this movie. The G-men are just annoying, and tend to die after long boring chase scenes. They're supposed to be the good guys, but such faceless drones that I really didn't care whether or not they lived or died.

    I think the idea was to build suspense by dragging out the action, but the director had no real clue about how to really build tension. There wasn't a lot to work with either, because the script is bad, the acting is bad, the plot is bad, the sets are bad... The cars are nice though, it's fun to see yesterday's roads filled with Mustangs and Galaxys.

    About three-fourths of the way into this movie, you can almost hear the director say "time to liven this mess up!" Suddenly spies and G-men start to get shot and stabbed, the monster starts to attack, the gore becomes more graphic, and characters actually run instead of meander around the screen. Not that any of it saves this bomb.

    One part that made me laugh was that the monsters (the Astro Zombies), are powered by photoelectric cells stuck to their heads. Yep, solar powered evil. For nighttime badness, they also have a built in battery pack that recharges during the day. In one fight scene, a G-man manages to remove the battery pack from the monster. The monster grabs the G-man's flashlight, and we're treated to a long sequence where the monster is struggling through the back alleys of Los Angeles, trying to make it back to the doctor's secret laboratory, all the while holding the flashlight to his forehead!

    An interesting bit of trivia, this movie was co-written and produced by Wayne Rogers - Trapper John of television's M*A*S*H. I'm curious to know how many times he's been punched for having a hand in this movie.

    Simply put, this movie sucks, and not in a good way. Stay away from this one, unless you need the sleep. What a shame, because it had so much potential too.

    Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Cult Flicks

    Blogger Bowl 2004, week whatever

    Whoooo! This is quickly becoming the Tidy Bowl 2004 for the Rockets. Jim of Snooze Button Dreams has two reasons to celebrate: first, he beat me this week even though one of his receivers was on a bye, and he found a new job. Looks like you can afford a lap dance or two to celebrate your gridiron prowess, my man.

    At least I know he won't be getting a happy lap from the the Rocket Jones Hot Jets cheerleaders, because these ladies are much too classy for that (and if I'm wrong ladies, let me know via email. Confidentiality promised. This definitely does not apply to Mookie.)

    Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!
    Dawn of Dawn Enterprises!
    Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
    Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
    annika, of annika's journal!
    Cindy, of Dusting My Brain!
    Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
    Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
    Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!
    Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
    Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
    Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
    Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
    Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
    Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
    Big Hair, of Left & Right!
    Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
    Heather, of Angelweave!
    Margi, of Margi Lowry!
    Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
    Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
    LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!

    So who's up for next week? The undefeated Fire Ants! That's ok, because it just makes it sweeter when I stomp you like a Dolphin stomps a Ram or like a Bengal stomps a Bronco.

    Who's this King of Fools anyways?

    Posted by Ted at 05:59 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    Baseball Oddities

    Just for fun, I googled the phrase "Baseball Oddities" and here's a sampling of what popped up.

    "Despite my enduring respect, there are many attributes of the game that make me scratch my head." -- Aaron Arkin.

    Four things that don't really make sense: Pitchers that can't hit, arguing balls and strikes, coaches in uniforms and pitchers wearing a windbreaker when they run the bases.

    Here's a quiz about odd baseball stats and trivia. It's tough, I only scored 6 correct out of 15!

    In May, 2001, Baseball Digest printed an article about the Nine Strangest Major League Games. Good stuff.

    This next one had me laughing. A Day at the Ballpark - with Middle-Schoolers. In it, the author talks about a surreal day watching the Oakland A's taking on the Boston Red Sox.

    Middle schooler: How much for the sodas?

    Vendor: Three dollars.

    Middle schooler (with a very sarcastic look on his face): No, for reals, how much?

    Vendor : (remains silent, but obviously thinking of a very bad word)

    Finally (I'm tired of typing, there's plenty more to choose from), this site is a baseball blog by a stats fanatic who does the analysis on the most undeserving selections to the All-Star Team. As expected, there's a lot of great players who made it long after their prime, getting there on reputation alone.

    Posted by Ted at 05:46 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: History

    October 25, 2004

    Brazil successfully launches rocket

    Last year they had a horrible accident on the pad that killed 21 scientists and technicians. This year, they made it. Congrats, mi Amigos!*

    Thanks to both A.E. Brain and Interested Participant for pointing this out.

    *Yes, I know Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Work with me here.

    Posted by Ted at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)
    Category: Space Program

    Hockey Whoopass Jamboree

    The new schedule is up.

    Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    A simple gold band

    I lost my wedding ring last monday afternoon. In all the fuss about the trip to the dentist, I'd forgotten about that. Fortunately, I found it again. With the cooler weather coming on, and the weight I've lost this year, my fingers are thinner and it just slipped off when I was putting something into my briefcase. A few discreet wraps of tape and that won't happen again.

    I'm on my second ring because the first one wore out. I wear it constantly, except for when I'm working on my car. I've witnessed ugly things happen to people who wear rings while playing mechanic. I've no desire to personally experience them myself.

    I lost the first ring too once, and then found it again. Back when Liz was in a wheelchair, we went to a restaurant and while we were sitting there I realized my ring was missing. I freaked. I had no idea when I'd last noticed it, and by the end of the meal Liz had calmed me down enough to just accept that sometimes crap like that happens.

    After dinner, I helped Liz into the car then took the chair around back to load it up (we used a bike rack to carry it). I got her chair folded and secured, and for some reason I looked down and there at my feet was the ring. Major relief!

    When we were first engaged, I told Liz to get whatever ring she wanted (we were living in different states at the time), and to get me a plain gold band. No engraving, no markings, just simple gold a little over 1/8" wide.

    Anything bigger than that and you could do yourself damage...

    I'm going to tell this story exactly like I've told it to Liz. I'm careful never to change it or embellish it, or she'd know it's bull. It's not... sorta. Or maybe it is. I've never confirmed or denied it, I just tell the story as is and let everyone make up their own mind. To this day, Liz still isn't sure if I'm pulling her leg about this.

    Liz was out with a bunch of girlfriends at a bachelorette party. She wasn't driving, so I expected her to stagger through the door in the wee hours, drunk and disorderly.

    A couple of my friends had come over to the house, and we weren't doing much of anything when the phone rang. It was the girls, asking us if wanted to join them at the bar for the party. Their real motivation was that even the designated drivers were hammered, and they needed rides home.

    We drove over, it wasn't far, and went inside. It was kind of fun to be the only three guys partying with more than a dozen drunk women. We were having a good time, and then for reasons I'll never fathom I did the single stupidest thing I've ever done in my life.

    I decided to recreate that scene in Officer and a Gentleman where Patrick Swayzie swallows an engagement ring. Of course, I didn't actually swallow it, I tucked it under my tongue before taking the drink. Of course, nobody believed that I'd actually swallowed it, and a few minutes later it miraculously reappeared on my finger, to no one's suprise.

    Someone mentioned it though at the other table and soon a whole new batch of drunk ladies wanted to see it. Remember that scene?

    Open mouth, stick out tongue, place ring carefully on tongue. Take looong drink and open mouth. Viola! No ring. Of course, I wasn't going to continue the scene and go hang myself in the bathroom. There's limits to what I'll do for my art.

    Except that, to my horror, the damn ring somehow slipped to the back of my throat and I involuntarily swallowed it.

    There's a reason we chew our food. The throat isn't all that big around, and although there's some flexibility, it's not built to deal with things like a ring of metal. The ring got stuck. I wasn't choking on it, but it was too far down to discreetly cough up. The look on my face instantly gave it away, and of course everyone knew I was bullshitting them. It became a game, where did Ted hide his ring. The women searched my mouth, my hands, my pockets, and I could have really enjoyed it all if not for the fact that I'd swallowed my freaking wedding band. I finally decided that "this too, shall pass" and instead of bringing it up, I'd swallow it down and bide my time for its reappearance. I took several large drinks and tried to work the ol' swallow magic. No joy. Not coming up, not going down.

    A few minutes later, I'm outside in the parking lot with a good friend. He's holding a huge glass of water that he got from inside, even though he's convinced that I'm faking it and laughing his ass off at everyone else's reaction. He chattering away while I'm trying to redefine "productive cough". All I could think of is Liz being pissed off at me for being an idiot and the stories that the ER staff would be telling about me in the morning. Finally, in desperation I stuck my finger down my throat and managed to throw up on the hood of a Corvette.

    Eureka! I gingerly pluck my ring from the puddle of yick and rinse it off with that glass of water. I put it back on my finger, poured the rest of the water on the 'vette to wash off my mess, and headed back inside. I felt stoopid, to say the least. I was amazed to find out that most of the folks thought I was full of crap when I told them what happened, even with my friend's eyewitness account. It was so confused that to this day Liz isn't certain about the actual events.

    I'm not that damn stupid. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Posted by Ted at 05:22 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Boring Stories

    McGillicuddy and McGraw

    Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy changed his last name and became forever known as Connie Mack. After eleven seasons as a catcher in the major leagues, he managed for a couple of years and then bought the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901. When New York Giants manager John McGraw called the Athletics "a white elephant nobody wanted," Mack adopted a white elephant as the team's logo, which the Athletics have used off and on ever since.

    Connie Mack loved baseball, but he never let himself forget that it was a business.

    ... he once confided that it was more profitable to have a team get off to a hot start, then ultimately finish fourth. "A team like that will draw well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win," he said. The most famous example of Mack's tight-fistedness came on July 10, 1932, when the Athletics played a one-game series with the Cleveland Indians. To save train fare, Mack only brought two pitchers. The starting pitcher was knocked out of the game in the first inning, leaving only knuckleballing relief pitcher Eddie Rommel. Rommel pitched 17 innings and gave up 33 hits, but won the game, 18-17.

    Mr. Mack managed the A's until 1951, when he retired at age 81. In all, he managed 7,878 games, ending up with 3,776 wins and 4,025 losses. Each of those numbers is the major league record.

    In the 1890's, the Baltimore Orioles were first a National League team before moving to the American League. Their 3rd baseman during those years was John McGraw. He displayed a talent for innovation within the game and his desire to win was fierce. Among his credits, he helped develop the hit-and-run and suicide squeeze play. McGraw was an excellent player, hitting over .320 nine seasons in a row and leading the majors in runs scored twice.

    After retiring from the field, he took charge as manager of the New York Giants. In 31 years as manager, his teams won 10 pennants, finished second 11 times and took home three World Series trophies.

    His 2,840 wins rank only behind Connie Mack in baseball history. On July 6, 1933, John McGraw came out of retirement to manage the NL in the first All-Star Game. He died less than a year later.

    One interesting article I found while researching this talks about John McGraw and the Negro Leagues.

    McGraw was a man ahead of his time. He tried to sneak a man past baseball's Color Barrier nearly fifty years before Branch Rickey. In 1901 as a manager of the old Baltimore Orioles McGraw brought second baseman Charlie Grant to training camp. Claiming that Grant was actually "Chief Tokohama," a Native American, McGraw hoped to use Grant's talents in the coming year's pennant chase. The problem with this was that Grant was by no means a Native American. He had played the previous year for the Columbia Giants, a Negro Leagues outfit. Charles Comiskey caught wind of this and the hammer came down. That season Charlie Grant again played for the Columbia Giants.

    The article has plenty more about not just John McGraw, but other players who could look past race and enjoy playing the game with other men who loved it too.

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

    October 24, 2004

    Full Moon for Halloween

    I found this over at Eros Blog (not safe for work):


    Posted by Ted at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    I was up disgustingly early

    According to Mookie. As she explained it to me:

  • before 7:00am - unholy

  • before 8:30am - disgustingly

  • before 10:00am - awful
  • For the record, she was up disgustingly early too. Yesterday she spent almost nine hours doing Statistics homework, and today she's got Physics and an English essay. We got her interim report card last week, and her hard work is certainly paying off.

    She's going to dress like an elf for the drama department's Christmas play too.

    Posted by Ted at 01:51 PM | Comments (1)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Dizzy Dean and the Gashouse Gang

    In 1934, the St. Louis Cardinals fielded possibly their best-ever team. Loud, bold and brash, they became known as "The Gashouse Gang", and can be summed up thus:

    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." --Dizzy Dean

    Featuring the pitching duo of "Dizzy" and "Daffy" (Jay and Paul, respectively), the Dean brothers combined for 49 wins that year. The team also boasted exceptional fielders and hitters like Joe "Ducky" Medwick, Pepper Martin and Enos Slaughter.

    The Gashouse Gang won the World Series in seven games over the Detroit Tigers, with each Dean brother picking up two wins.

    In 1947, six years after retiring from baseball, Dizzy Dean was the sportscaster for the St. Louis Browns. The Browns were terrible year after year, and probably best known for bringing in a pinch-hitting midget. In exasperation, Dizzy one day stated on the air that he could do better than the team on the field. Management took him up on the boast and allowed him to start the last game of the season. Dizzy Dean took the mound, allowed no runs in four innings, and rapped a double in his only at bat.

    Posted by Ted at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: History

    "Man our ship and bring her to life"

    "We cannot ever blink. We cannot ever flinch. We cannot yield." -- Senator John Warner, Virginia.

    The latest and greatest in US submarine technology was commisioned today in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS Virginia is a fast attack submarine unlike any other before.

    The 377-foot-long sub is the first to be built without a periscope, using a high-resolution digital camera instead. That meant the control room, which always had to be directly below the periscope, could be moved to a larger space in the sub's lower deck.

    The Virginia also can launch unmanned undersea vehicles. Other improvements include a new computerized autopilot designed to reduce stress on the crew and a reconfigurable torpedo room that can hold extra beds for special operations forces.

    With the ability to get close in shallow coastal waters, the Virginia class is designed to be versatile enough to deliver special forces for anti-terrorism operations as well as performing traditional open ocean missions.

    Senator John Warner from Virginia, a former Secretary of the Navy, made specific mention of that mission in his keynote address:

    "This ship will very definitely play a role in that war on terror."

    The second ship of the class, the USS Texas, was commisioned in July at Newport News. Eight additional boats of the class are on order, and current plans call for a total of thirty.

    Update: Rob straightened me out on the local Warner situation.

    Senator JOHN Warner is a Republican, former SECNAV and married & divorced Elizabeth Taylor.

    Governor MARK Warner is a Democrat, was never SECNAV and never married
    Liz Taylor.

    John, not Mark.

    Thanks Rob, I always get 'em confused.

    Posted by Ted at 12:52 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Military

    October 23, 2004


    I was bartending at a dinner theater one night for a special event. It was Secretary Appreciation Week (this was back in the early 80's), and the whole place was full to the brim with secretaries, courtesy of thankful bosses and the local Chamber of Commerce.

    It was an open bar, and some of them were taking full advantage and getting pretty well lit. There were no wait staff either, so the ladies had to come to the bar to order. During an intermission, I'm hustling along trying to keep up with the orders coming fast and furious. One very drunk lady made it to the front of the bar, propped up on either side by two slightly less drunk collegues, and says loudly, "I'll have a rum and cock."

    After a split-second of silence, everyone cracked up. In her foggy state, it took her a moment to realize what she'd said, and she managed to correct herself, "I mean, I'd like a rum and coke."

    Still pouring and mixing as fast as I could, I said with a smile, "Make up your mind, so I know what to stir it with."

    Posted by Ted at 08:08 PM | Comments (2)
    Category: Boring Stories

    Closure, of a sort

    More than a year ago, we had a murder in the last house at the end of our row of townhouses. Two nitwits walked up to the living room window and opened fire on the guy inside. They shot the wrong man, the one they wanted wasn't home at the time.

    Ok, I found the original posts on the old Blogspot site, and rather than deal with their linkhell, I'll repost 'em here:

    July 6, 2003:
    In January of this year, an execution-style murder happened on my block. We live in a row of 10 townhouses, and the shooting took place at the far end house. I heard the shots that night, and to me it sounded like a short string of firecrackers going off. That's what I told my wife (she heard it too), and that's what I told the police. The victim was sitting in the living room in front of the TV when someone walked up to the window and started blasting away, hitting him in the head.

    In today's paper is an article announcing the capture of the shooter. The case against him looks pretty solid, and this guy should go to prison for a long long time.

    Good deal, eh?

    Well, yeah... kinda. It turns out that the reason for the shooting was an earlier argument between two groups of people. According to the story, one man who lived in the house down the street (we'll call him 'Daddy') punched the shooter and split his lip, hence the return that evening for revenge.

    The man who was killed was NOT the one who threw the punch! It was his roomie. In fact, he was sitting in the living room playing a video game with the young daughter of the guy who punched out the shooter. So daughter got to see up close and personal what Daddy had caused by losing his temper. Daddy had run to the store and wasn't home.

    The other night, there was another fight at their house. This time, two women were trading punches in the front yard and street when the cops showed up. Daddy was outside with them, egging them on. Everyone involved was noticably high. The fun didn't end with the arrival of the police. They called for a female officer to do searches and wound up practically hogtying one of the women to keep her still. The subsequent search was interesting, as this woman is apparently a dealer, and they found a whole drugstore in her purse and in her car. Meanwhile, Daddy just kept being an asshole and instigating for all he was worth.

    Here's the chilling part. The drug dealer, in front of the cops and everyone else, yells at Daddy that "next time they won't miss".

    So now the whole neighborhood is uptight, and with damn good reason. Parents are afraid to let their kids outside, because if there's a real 'drive-by' next time, the bad guys won't be worrying about a kid on a bike, or someone walking the dog if they get in the way. It's a real shame too, because except for that one house (and resident idiots), and one other (best buds with the idiots), the neighborhood is pretty darned nice. I like my neighborhood. I like my neighbors.

    I'm waiting for the cops to come out again. Apparently the owner has put the house up for sale (Daddy doesn't own it, but he's a relative of the owner - long story), and Daddy keeps taking the sign down. The realtor comes by and puts it back up. On and on, around and around.

    Please God, let the house sell quickly. Please get those nitwits out of here before someone else loses their life. Not that I give a rat's ass about Daddy, but it always seems to be the innocent bystander that gets it too.

    For those of you who look for silver linings, when the roomie died in January his mother recieved his kidneys and ended a decade of dialysis for her. Now that is a helluva silver lining.

    Here's the followup a few days later:
    July 10, 2003:
    Today's paper had another article with more details, including the arrest of the driver of the getaway car. He was going to school at Virginia Tech, and police picked him up in campus housing. They're still looking for suspect #3, and although they don't give his name, I get the impression that they know exactly who it is.

    The two triggermen from that night have been sentenced to 27 years and 15 years, respectively, and the driver just entered an Alford plea to related charges in order to get the murder charge dropped. He'll be sentenced later, but is on the hook for up to 15 years.

    The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind on.

    That asswipe, "Daddy", did move, but we occasionally see him around the neighborhood. I talked to his ex-wife a while back, and she said things haven't gotten any better for him, nor for his daughter who's now a guest of the state juvenile authorities.

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

    Before there was Bill Buckner

    Forever identified in baseball lore for "Merkle's Boner", 19 year old Fred Merkle was first baseman for the New York Giants when the blunder happened.

    The play itself was clouded by contradictory affidavits by players, conflicting opinions by various baseball officials, and protests lodged by both teams over the umpires' handling of the incident.

    The confusion started when Merkle, the runner on first, failed to touch second after an apparent game-winning base hit. Instead, he turned back toward the dugout, as was customary at the time, when he saw the run cross the plate. As the happy Polo Grounds crowd filed across the field towards the centerfield gate, second baseman Johnny Evers got the ball and stepped on second, claiming a forceout which negated the winning run. With the fans already crowding the field, the game could not be played to a decision, and had to be replayed.

    When the Cubs and Giants ended the season in a tie, the Cubs won the rematch, sending them to the World Series.

    Fred Merkle played in three World Series with the NY Giants, another with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and a fifth with the Chicago Cubs, and all ended up losing. In 1926 he was a coach for the New York Yankees when they made it to the World Series, and they lost too.

    Fred Merkle never won the World Series, but he made it there six times. Not many players can say that.

    If you're feeling a sense of deja vu about this post, it's because I covered the exact same subject last year during the World Series. Doh!

    Posted by Ted at 04:39 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: History

    October 22, 2004

    Heinie, Hack, Stuffy and Amos

    Who? Just four of the guys who played on the last Boston Red Sox team to win a World Series, in 1918.

    From the book Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox, by Allan J. Wood:

    In 1918, the United States was struggling through the first World War. An epidemic of influenza took the lives of more than 650,000 Americans. Fuel shortages and food rationing were daily facts of life. Against this chaotic backdrop, the Red Sox began their quest for an unprecedented fifth World Series title. And a young Boston player named Babe Ruth began his historic transformation from ace pitcher to the greatest slugger the game has ever known.

    This nifty site is a treasure trove of baseball history and links. For instance, this page shows who played where that season for the Beantown Boys. You can click on the player's names too to go to bio pages.

    This page links to the box scores for the series (in six games over the Cubs), and here's a chronological list of baseball happenings that year.

    Grab a dog and a brew, and enjoy some baseball history.

    Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: History

    Thanks Pixy!

    Yesterday Mu.Nu went down thanks to some rather inexpertly applied maintenance to our server. This was not Pixy's fault, although when we were restored he apologized.

    Pixy, you're doing a wonderful job here, and I hope you're having as much fun at it as we are who're enjoying the fruits of your labors. I'm sure you don't hear it often enough, but thank you.

    Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    Is there anything we won't turn into a contest? (I'm in)

    Over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy, they're holding a "Guess the end of the election" contest. Head on over and make your guess for the date that all the post-election litigation nonsense will be settled.

    Maybe it's just that I'm paying more attention this election cycle, but I already feel like I need a long hot decontaminating shower with a stiff scrub brush and plenty of disinfectant.

    Scrub my back, I'll scrub yours?

    Posted by Ted at 05:21 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    A dip into MT Blacklist

    A munuvian recently discovered that the word "Cialis" was blacklisted and not allowed in our comments. Good deal. Except that, you can't spell "socialism" without "cialis". That gave me a couple ideas for new advertising slogans:

    You can't have Socialism without Cialis!

    ... or how about:

    Cialis, it's like medicine from Canada!

    I'm kidding guys, put down the ice pick.

    Posted by Ted at 05:16 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Square Pegs

    October 21, 2004

    Last word from CBS?

    Very very funny. Thanks to Publicola for the pointer.

    Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links


    In recent Jamboree news, my Cleveland Barons held a 3-1 lead midway through the second period, and wound up losing to the Milwaukee Admirals 4-3 in OT. For Brian J and Frinklin, I now have their logos up top. This has been a mediocre sports year for Rocket Jones. Thank goodness I'm not a Yankees fan.

    Posted by Ted at 04:31 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    October 20, 2004

    Cherry on top

    Don Cherry, that is.

    A while back, the Meatriarch talked about a poll going on up in the Great White North to pick the 10 Greatest Canadians of all time.

    The list has come out, and to the dismay of many, the combustible Don Cherry made the list.

    Debbye has the details, and just for the record, I'm grinning.

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

    Putting out the welcome mat

    For first time visitors or those who are trying to figure out what this "blog" stuff is all about, I've added a new button over at the top right. Click on "Introduction and Help" and you'll get the nickel tour of Rocket Jones and blogs in general.

    Thanks to the online Button Generator for the pretty cool service.

    Posted by Ted at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    October 19, 2004

    This is so politically incorrect that all I can do is yell 'Yay!'

    Tard Blog is back!!!!!

    Thanks Dawn, for pointing that out.

    Posted by Ted at 06:56 PM | Comments (5)
    Category: Links

    Consumer Aerospace

    That's a term coined quite a while ago by some rocketry guys to describe what I call hobby rocketry. It takes on a new dimension with the recent successes of SpaceShipOne and the upcoming DaVinci Project, among others.

    What follows is a brief explanation of the various types of organized hobby rocketry. Even the federal government weenies at the BATFE muddles the issue by confusing the terminology.

    Hobby rocketry falls under three categories: model rocketry, high power rocketry (HPR), and experimental (EX). Model rocketry and HPR can also be described as "airframe engineering", because both include the use of commercially available motors. Model rocketry is up to and includes "G" motors, and HPR is "H" and above.

    These motors are manufactured by companies like Estes, Quest, AeroTech, Ellis Mountain, Animal Works, Kosdon, RATT Works, Propulsion Polymers, SkyRipper, Cessaroni (and I'm sure I've forgotten a few). The motors are then tested by one of the national hobby rocketry organizations. The primary ones that in North America are the National Association of Rocketry (NAR), Tripoli Rocketry Association (TRA or just Tripoli), and the Canadian Association of Rocketry (CAR). There are others, but these three groups are the ones that do motor testing and have reciprocal agreements to honor each other's motor certifications.

    The motor certifications are critical because it's what allows us to get affordable insurance.

    As long as we launch under the guidelines of the organizations using approved motors, we're covered by the group insurance. That coverage also makes it possible to obtain permission from municipal facilities and private landowners to hold rocket launches.

    Experimental rocketry is supported by Tripoli (and maybe the CAR, I'm not sure). EX is for those guys who manufacture their own motors. It's not cheap to manufacture homegrown propellant, the basic starter's library and safety equipment alone runs a pretty penny. The old term for those who ignore safety and common sense is "basement bomber" and you still hear about them once in a while when their house becomes a smoking hole in the middle of their neighborhood. Those clowns are *not* doing EX, because you inevitably hear about "large amounts of black powder" and other assorted explosive goodies. It drives us crazy because they get lumped under the "model rocket" umbrella by ignorant press and government officials who don't know the correct terminology, nor do they care who they slander with their inaccuracy.

    If the explosion is small, basement bombers might be known afterwards as "lefty" or "two fingers".

    EX launches are held around the country during the year, and most of the time what happens is a two or three-day launch is planned, with one day being strictly experimental, and the other day(s) being strictly commercial motors. EX motors don't neccessarily mean big motors either, they can be as small as common Estes-style "C" motors you find at hobby shops and WalMart.

    Here's a nice video taken at the recent Whitakers Experimental Launch Days (WELD) in North Carolina. The rocket weighs in at 35lbs. Listen to the soundtrack on the video, and you'll hear some of the safety and technical discussion going on among the launch crew and folks watching.

    So now you know more about the subject than the average BATFE agent (and newspaper reporter or Senator for that matter). Personally, I fly model rockets and HPR, I don't do EX. Maybe someday, but I'm in no hurry.

    Posted by Ted at 10:44 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Rocketry

    Blogger Bowl 2004 - week 6

    Nick said in my comments last week:

    Hey how's that tie working for ya?

    Nick, that tie works quite nicely, considering it makes my record 3 wins, 2 losses and 1 tie, whereas yours is 3 wins and 3 losses. Yep, from up here, it looks just fine.

    Thanks for asking.

    It was another close one. I was 6 points up going into Monday Night, and once again we each had a wide receiver in the game on opposing teams. Tampa Bay's Clayton did well, but not quite good enough to overcome the lead and the Rams' Isaac Bruce.

    They don't call it Fantasy Football for nothing, because that's what the above outcome is. Nick made a strong comeback and soundly thumped the Rockets, dropping us to 2-3-1 for the year. Congrats, Nick! Great game. Very cunning move to pick up Clayton at the last minute.

    In order to console myself, I'm gonna talk about pretty girls. Let me introduce you to the Rocket Jones Hot Jets cheerleaders!

    Margi, of Margi Lowry!
    Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
    Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
    LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!
    Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!
    Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
    annika, of annika's journal!
    Cindy, of Dusting My Brain!
    Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
    Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
    Dawn of Dawn Enterprises!
    Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
    Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!
    Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
    Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
    Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
    Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
    Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
    Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
    Big Hair, of Left & Right!
    Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
    Heather, of Angelweave!

    This week's opponent is another guy with a winning streak: Jim of Snooze Button Dreams. He's at .500 for the season, so I'm not quivering in my boots, but then again, I'm sure he isn't either at the prospect of facing the mighty Rockets.

    Hey Jim, the phrase "You Snooze, You Lose" is true. You're going down!!!!

    Posted by Ted at 09:40 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    October 18, 2004

    Throbbing, but not in a good way

    I hate breaking in a new dentist.

    I had an appointment today to take care of a molar that had cracked. It was hurting a little bit occasionally, but nothing that a couple of tylenol wouldn't take care of. Last week my wife was going to see the dentist, so I had her make me an appointment while she was there. It was time to take care of this before it became a real problem.

    It turns out that my regular dentist is on maternity leave, so I had to see one of her 'associates'. I'm not the best patient in the world ('baby' would be a good description), so I was already a little shook up by this revelation. Dammit, I was used to my regular dentist. The receptionist told me to take a seat, but I was too nervous to sit.

    When they called my name, I could tell right away that it was going to be a bumpy ride. Like any medical professional, this guy wants to do his own x-rays and exam and then talk to me about what needs doing. I understand that, except that I'd already been through all of this with my regular dentist and we'd already decided what the plan was. But fine, whatever. I was determined to be reasonable and at least listen to what he had to say, because I certainly don't want to have him pissed off at me before he starts in with the needles and what not. So he buzzed my head with radiation and began explaining the options. I calmly let him know what we'd had planned, but it wasn't what he wanted to hear, so we waited for the films to come back.

    Turns out that I was right, and the best course of action was what we'd already decided on. Step one was extracting that tooth. Cool, let's get it done.

    Dentistry has made amazing progress during my lifetime. With the right dentist, "pain free" has become truth in advertising. But I still hate the shots. Maybe it's the growing up I've done, or maybe I'm tougher, or maybe the needles are sharper, but the shots don't hurt nearly as much as they used to. Doesn't matter though, because my hands go into a white-knuckle clench and my whole body gets trip-wire tense as they shoot me up.

    A few minutes later, he does a few test pokes. He's got the sucky-thingee hanging out of my mouth, plus what feels like his arm elbow-deep, not to mention whatever ancient torture devices he's wielding in there, and he's asking me questions. My regular dentist has the decency to remove her hand before expecting me to answer, but this guy wants to carry on a conversation.

    "You jumped. Was that pain?"


    "Pain? Or Pressure?"


    So we go for round two with the needle. Actually, we got to round three in short order, and it's still hurting like hell every time he does whatever he's doing. We play 20 questions: yes, it's pain. No, it's not just pressure. Yes, I'm numb. Yes, the tongue too. I'm telling him it's deep pain, not around the gumline, and then he mentions that there's an infection down there. Wonderful.

    We give it one more try, and I almost end up on the floor when he grabs the tooth. I'm bathed in cold sweat and I've got a headache from the tension in my neck muscles, and finally I have to ask him if it would be better to take an antibiotic to knock out the infection and try again in a week or two. He agrees, and then looks me in the eye and tells me straight up:

    "I'm going to give you a prescription for codeine, because you're going to be in a lot of pain when the numb wears off."

    Oh. Crap.

    We head out to the front desk, me on weak knees, still mopping flop sweat from my face and neck. My jaw is throbbing, and as I walk out to the waiting room there are two young kids sitting there. Both of them are staring at me wide-eyed. I knew that I hadn't been silent during our little adventure, but there's no reason these kids should be afraid of the dentist, so I smiled at them and said "Man, I hate getting my haircut!"

    They laughed, which is what I was going for.

    The dentist is a nice enough guy, and I'm (reasonably) sure he's competent, but he hurt me and now I don't trust the sonuvabitch. I'm a little concerned about the infection thing, I mean I shouldn't have been the first one to mention antibiotics. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, and at that moment I brought it up more in self-defense than anything.

    I drove home and Liz ran to the store to get my prescriptions filled. Now I'm sitting here feeling fortunate that tomorrow is going to be a light day at work. My tooth is letting me know that it's not happy, but it's tolerable.


    Posted by Ted at 08:59 PM | Comments (4)
    Category: Boring Stories

    A little good news to start the week

    Winds of Change has the latest installment of Good News From Afghanistan up. In the introduction, this caught my eye:

    Peter Bergin, a veteran journalist and certainly not a George Bush cheerleader writes:

    "Based on what Americans have been seeing in the news media about Afghanistan lately, there may not be many who believed President George W. Bush... when he told the United Nations that the 'Afghan people are on the path to democracy and freedom.' But then again, not many Americans know what Afghanistan was like before the American-led invasion."

    Bergin recently visited the country after a few years' absence. His surprised verdict: "What we are seeing in Afghanistan is far from perfect, but it's better than so-so."

    Check it out, there's lots to be optimistic about.

    Posted by Ted at 06:41 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    October 17, 2004

    Mucho Queso Gracias!

    I recently had the pleasure of getting reaquainted with old friends: Mexican horror movies. These were a staple on late-night TV when I was growing up, usually coming on after Monty Python and the bullfights from Mexico City.

    "Mexican horror films are, without a doubt, the closest thing to a cinematic acid trip you are ever going to encounter." Keith Crocket - Cinefear Video

    Like Japanese monster movies, there's a certain atmosphere and quirkiness to these flicks, a "feel" that is recognizable and (to me) much more accessable than the Japanese flicks. Keith Crocker pegs it with his definition: simplicity. These are no-frills, straightforward efforts. No tongue-in-cheek, no broad overacting, no subtle messages or morality plays, these movies are simply meant to entertain.

    The movie that fired me up again is called The Brainiac. It was part of a three-movie collection I found digging through the WalMart bargain bin.

    In the movie, a Baron is condemned to death by the Catholic Inquisition in Mexico. As he's being burned alive, he looks up and sees a comet passing overhead. He then proclaims a curse whereby he'll return when the comet appears again and wreak his revenge upon the court's descendents.

    And that's just what happens, except with typical Mexican-style surreal twists. It's 1961 and 300 years have passed. The Baron doesn't just come back with the comet, he comes back *from* the comet, as a brain-sucking alien monster who can assume his human shape as the Baron, turn invisible and hypnotize people with his eyes!

    That 'brain-sucking' description is literal, in fact, the medical doctor who does the autopsies on the victims describes it just so:

    "Two puncture wounds are here at the base of the skull, and the brains are sucked out."

    I love technical medical terminology.

    During the movie, you see a lot of this monster, there's no fleeting subliminal glimpses here. Obviously, the makers of this movie are proud of the mask they created (it is pretty cool), so they show it often. You might think that he's got massive fangs to make those "two puncture wounds", and you'd be wrong. The monster has this giant dorky-looking forked tongue that flops out when he's about to kill someone.

    And he goes about exacting his revenge, being the charming Baron to meet the people he later kills, and occasionally snacking from a bowl of brains he keeps in a locked cabinet in his castle mansion. Mmmmm, tapioca!

    Just as he's about to feast on his last victim, two policemen who've been hot on his trail - sort of - show up and just happen to have flamethrowers handy. Bye bye Baron Brainsucking Alien.

    I left a lot of plot out so's not to spoil it for you. The Braniac is a great introduction to Mexican horror, and an excellent example of the genre, but there's so much more to explore!

    Here's a blip from The Astounding B Movie Monster archive:

    Let's browse through the musty catalog of video categories. What am I in the mood for? There are B-movies. There are horror B-movies. There are Mexican B-movies. There are Mexican horror B-movies. There are Mexican wrestling B-movies. There are Mexican wrestling horror B-movies. There are Mexican wrestling WOMEN horror B-movies. That's the one! Just what the doctor ordered.
    All of the Mexican Bs seem to star the same actors and were apparently all made by the same director, producer, writer and crew. More significantly, they all have essentially the same plot. (Mad doctor murders women. Wrestlers to the rescue.)

    If you get a chance, these are fun movies to watch. Three of the best from this sub-sub-sub-genre are Doctor of Doom, Wrestling Women Vs. the Aztec Mummy (one of my all-time favorite titles), and Night of the Bloody Apes.

    Wrestling women Lorena Velazquez and Elizabeth Campbell

    "Well, I think we better be careful! Maybe that stupid mummy has fits, and undresses! Who knows what he has beneath his clothes?!?" - Wrestling Women Vs. the Aztec Mummy

    Why wrestling? Well, wrestling used to be big time in Mexico. Like American kids dreaming of growing up to be NBA superstars, Mexican kids used to dream of becoming wrestling stars. In pre-WWF days, American wrestling was fun but kind of bland. Mexican wrestling, on the other hand, added huge portions of schlock Hollywood to its product.

    A typical match: To the beat of drums, ten beautiful Mexican ladies in brass bikinis would come down the aisle, dropping rose petals and waving feather banners on long poles. Next, four brawny men in loincloths would carry a gilded litter to the side of the ring, and out would step - The Aztec God. He would slowly and majestically climb into the ring, where some of his bikini-clad maidens would remove his headdress and perform silly purification rituals with incense and more dancing and drumming. When they finally withdrew, the Aztec God would be standing alone in the ring, stoic, arms crossed, waiting for his opponent.

    And what an opponent! The cameras would suddenly pan upwards as bright beams of light shined down, and a UFO flying saucer would hover down on cables, belching smoke and flashing colored lights as it was lowered, until it rested on the ground. After a moment, the door would open, and two beautiful Mexican women in silver bikinis would step out. They would lay out a red carpet and suddenly a bright light would shine from the doorway, illuminating from behind a figure standing there. The Alien had arrived.

    When he finally made it into the ring, they'd have a regular ol' wrestling match. And when it was over, the next match would be announced, and it would be more of the same wonderfully tacky theater, maybe Doctor Love against Snake Charmer.

    For more about Mexican horror films, I highly recommend reading this article at Cinefear.

    I took some trouble to format this one a little nicer than the normal Rocket Jones post. Two reasons: first, because I can use the html and css practice, and secondly because I'm truly fond of these movies and they deserve a little something special.

    Posted by Ted at 12:20 PM | Comments (4)
    Category: Cult Flicks

    More about the Kassam rocket

    Bill S continues his excellent posts about the Palestinians home-grown weapon.

    After a lot of digging, I found an excellent Kassam construction article, written by a aeronautical engineering PhD, on the website "Middle East Missile Monitor"

    This article is fascinating, it bolsters the point that pretty big rockets can be built without AP [Ammonium Perchlorate, which is what hobby rocketry uses - RJ] using common steel pipe and steel stock material, along with fertilizer and sugar for the propellant.

    The article states that the motors are a combination core and external burner.... with square propellant slugs constructed of 60/40 mix of potassium nitrate and sugar that slide into the steel pipe (that is one heck of a large burn area). ISP is estimated to be around 130. The motor base plate has seven steel nozzles, and is threaded into the casing before being tack welded into place. Estimated burn time is 1 second, which minimizes erosion. Warhead is a combo of urea nitrate and smuggled TNT. Fusing is a simple device based on an empty small arms cartridge filled with an explosive booster material operating against a spring-loaded nail. Article has Interesting photos of the rectangular slugs and the rear end/nozzle assembly. Since this article was written over a year ago, the total number of rockets fired has roughly doubled.

    The article is "The Growing Threat of the Kassam Unguided Rockets".

    If the link doesnt work, go to the web site and click on "articles".

    As an aside, an article was in today's DC post [WaPo - RJ] on the Kassam, "Rockets Deliver Daily Terror to Residents of Israeli Town".

    The article correctly states that these are wildly inaccurate and few have ever hit anything. There is radar alarm system for the local town that gives about a 20 second inbound warning.

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

    October 16, 2004

    A few quickies

    I gotta agree with The Everlasting Phelps about this one. Best training video. Ever.

    Courtesy of Wince, train webcams.

    An old joke you probably haven't heard in a long while. Funny too, perfect for work. And while I'm thanking Mad William, head here and check out the perfect example of why I won't buy Sims. I too, would not be a benevolent God. Laughed like a maniac while reading it though.

    Casey points out this nifty online US Constitution resource.

    Posted by Ted at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    Monitors in a vacuum

    Last night on the History Channel I watched a show that touched on the famous battle between the ironclads Monitor and the Merrimac.

    For some reason (ok, it's my limited imagination, satisfied?), I never thought of the Monitor as anything but a one-off, a unique design that fit the circumstances of the moment. I knew that because of the low freeboard - only 12" above the surface of the water - the original Monitor sank during an attempt to navigate the open ocean. What I didn't know was that because of the success of the original Monitor, six further classes of that type of warship were built by the US.

    The nine ships of the Canonicus class displaced 2,100 tons and were supposed to have a top speed of 8 knots, though they never quite reached it. Armament consisted of two 15-inch Dahlgren guns mounted in a revolving armored turret, and ship's crew was 100 officers and men. Like all monitors, they were designed for river and close coastal work.

    From this nice site about Civil War Monitors:

    Five of these nine ships saw action during the Civil War. The Canonicus operated in the James River, then in blockade service, and in attacks on Fort Fisher: the Saugus saw extensive service in the James River and in the assault on Wilmington; the Tecumseh operated in the James River, then in the Gulf of Mexico. It was mined in Mobile Bay on 5 August 1864 and sunk almost immediately; the Manhattan operated also in the Gulf of Mexico, including attacks on Mobile Bay; the Mahopac participated in the attacks on Charleston and Wilmington, and also operated in the James and Appomattox Rivers. The Wyandotte, the Ajax, the Catawaba and the Oneota were never commissioned.

    Peru later bought two of the US ironclads, which participated (rather ineffectually) in their war against Chile.

    There are some fine photographs here of various classes of monitors, showing the variations and evolution that they underwent during their run. If for no other reason, they are remarkable for transforming modern naval warfare from the classic "steer the entire boat to aim a broadside" into the flexible tactics allowed by turretted arms used ever since.

    The last of the type, the USS Cheyenne, was decommissioned in 1937.

    Posted by Ted at 06:57 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: History

    Comet hits Europe in 200 BC?

    I'm having a problem with this.

    A comet or asteroid smashed into modern-day Germany some 2,200 years ago, unleashing energy equivalent to thousands of atomic bombs, scientists revealed.

    That should say 'theorized' instead of 'revealed'.
    Colliding with the Earth's atmosphere at more than 43,000 kms (27,000 miles) per hour, the space rock probably broke up at an altitude of 70 kms (43 miles), they believe.

    The biggest chunk smashed into the ground with a force equivalent to 106 million tonnes of TNT, or 8,500 Hiroshima bombs.

    "The forest beneath the blast would have ignited suddenly, burning until the impact's blast wave shut down the conflagration," the investigators said.

    "Dust may have been blown into the stratosphere, where it would have been transported around the globe easily... The region must have been devastated for decades."

    Now, this is the heart of Europe we're talking about, and even though it's a couple hundred years before Christ, this area isn't unpopulated. I find it hard to believe that an event of this magnitude wouldn't live on in lore or folktales. I've never heard anything that even hints at it.

    I can certainly believe that a comet or meteor hit that area, but it's their timeline that I question. Make the impact a thousand or two years earlier, and the lack of historical references makes more sense to me.

    Posted by Ted at 04:44 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: SciTech

    October 15, 2004


    Oh man, say it isn't so!!!

    The NASA spacecraft that smashed into the Utah desert last month while bringing home fragile samples of the sun may have been doomed by engineering drawings that had been done backwards, an investigating board said Friday.

    Because of the backward drawings, the switches that were supposed to detect Genesis' re-entry into Earth's atmosphere and trigger its parachutes were placed incorrectly, said Michael G. Ryschkewitsch, chairman of the board.

    They're still investigating so it's not for certain, but this would be a really stupid way to end it. At least enough of the payload was salvaged to allow much of the originally planned research to happen.

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

    Standing Invitation

    It's almost time for the fall Battlepark 2004 rocket launch. Held in Culpeper, Virginia, the spring and fall launches are among the largest on the east coast every year.

    As always, spectators are welcome (and it's free), and all sizes of rockets will be launched, from fun-sized Estes model rockets all the way up to big-honkin' serious-sized high power birds.

    You may recall the spring launch was where the Air Munuviana met its end. This time around, I've got a new type of altimeter bay system I'm developing, along with more of the nitrous-based hybrid motors to fly (and a full 20lb tank - woohoo!). I'm also going to try my hand at a neat one-finned rocket design that I saw at NARAM this summer.

    So if you're in the mood for a nice drive in some beautiful countryside, consider heading out to the piedmont of Northern Virginia on the last weekend of October. The launch will be going on both days, the 30th and 31st. I'll be there, look for the red Mazda truck and the red canopy.

    Posted by Ted at 05:53 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Rocketry

    Hockey Whoopass Jamboree doo-dads

    Ok, I've been fiddling around and have some Jamboree things for y'all to look at. They're all stashed over at the Skunkworks, so you can link directly there if you'd like, or click the Jamboree link on the right column when you need to get there.

    Besides a list of who's playing, I've also put together a schedule for the games coming up for the next week, and a list of logos you can link to (for Blogspot players).

    Give it a look and let me know if there's anything you'd like to see added or changed. Thanks.

    Posted by Ted at 04:50 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    October 14, 2004

    Hockey Whoopass Jamboree is in business!

    First off, welcome Brian J who is supporting the Milwaukee Admirals in the Jamboree. The updated list of everyone playing is here.

    And in the opening game, Gir's own Manitoba Moose defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-3 (sorry Catt). The Moose had Wade Flaherty in net, which is interesting only because Flaherty was born in the early 1920's by all accounts. Or maybe it just seems like it.

    Also on tap last night, visiting Cincinnati dropped Jenn's Utah Grizzlies, 4-3. Kin might be interested in the Mighty Ducks of Cinci, but I haven't heard from him yet.

    In other interesting news (to us hockey fans anyways):

    The AHL has added several new rules for the 2004-05 season, including:
  • Employing a shootout to decide regular-season games which are tied after overtime

  • Permission of “tagging up” to negate off-side plays

  • Implementation of “no-touch” icing

  • Widening the blue lines and center red line to 24 inches (from 12 inches)

  • Moving the goal line back to 11 feet from the end boards (from 13 feet)

  • A seven-week test, ending Nov. 28, restricting the areas where goaltenders may play the puck in an attempt to increase offensive opportunities without wholly eliminating a goaltender’s ability to assist his defensemen.
  • The league’s on-ice officials will also have a stricter interpretation of hooking and holding fouls against a puck carrier and of interference in the attacking zone. Additionally, the AHL’s standard of supplementary discipline on acts where there is deliberate attempt or deliberate injury of an opponent will include more severe suspensions without pay.

    Check back for updates folks. I'm working on a way to post schedules and results in a way easy for everyone to deal with (including myself).

    Posted by Ted at 06:14 AM | Comments (4)
    Category: Links

    Don't forget the Haunted House

    Here's the original. Add to the atmosphere.

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

    Last Night's Debate

    Slept right through it. Laid down for a nap with instructions to wake me up in an hour. I must have been tired enough to say the heck with getting up and just kept on sleeping. Did I miss anything?

    Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Cornfield Mazes

    Nope, it's not Children of the Corn (book or movies), nor is it Psycho Scarecrow (truly putrid, no review needed beyond that), we're talking about gigantic farm field mazes laid out for fun.

    A lot of these places offer more than just wandering around lost in a cornfield for a little while (or a long while, depending on the complexity), they also have traditional farm activities like pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides and more.

    Here's a map of cornfield mazes from the largest company in the world to specialize in them (who knew?). They have mazes in the US, Canada, Mexico, England and Italy! I'd suggest Google too, because this is just one company's offerings, and there are many others, and some farms do their own without hiring professionals.

    Still not convinced? Read this description of someone who did a maze, it sounds like a lot of fun. If you do try this, let me know about it.

    Posted by Ted at 04:43 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    October 13, 2004

    Pat Tillman and Jake Plummer

    Denver Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer wears a sticker with the number 40 on his helmet to honor former teammate Pat Tillman. You may recall Tillman as the pro football player who walked away from millions of dollars to join the military because he believed in making the world a better place. Sadly, he was killed in Afghanistan during his tour of duty.

    The National Football League has announced that it will fine Jake Plummer for each game that he wears the sticker on his helmet, because it goes against league rules. The fine started at $10,000, and doubles each game that the sticker is on his helmet. Plummer has said he'll pay the fines like a man, but the sticker stays.

    Two people who decided to do what's right rather than what's easy, and you can show your support as well. Eric McErlain has more information, including links to the Pat Tillman Foundation. Here's a quote from their statement of vision:

    Pat Tillman was deeply concerned about the apathy he saw in the world around him. Apathy towards bettering ones-self. Apathy towards personal relationships. Apathy towards public policy. And apathy, towards important world events.

    Pat Tillman recognized this fact and dutifully took responsibility to rise above the concerning state of indifference and apathy that has taken hold in our nation. Pat’s actions demonstrated his convictions to fight this saddening trend. Sadly, many people act as though the best way to demonstrate tolerance is through indifference. Such a mindset prevents individuals from striving to achieve an understanding of each others’ views – often out of fear that questioning may be perceived as intolerance.

    The emphasis is mine. The words say what I try to, so much more eloquently than I ever could.

    Visit Eric. Visit the Pat Tillman Foundation. Thanks.

    Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    I can think of several bases in Germany that we should close

    Romania gets it. Not only are they inviting us to permanently move into one of their airbases, but the Romanian Defense Minister has indicated that they may increase the number of troops in Iraq to help bolster security before the January elections.

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

    Practice makes perfect, even on Mars

    Russia is planning a simulated mission to Mars to study the effects of such a voyage on the crew.

    The 500 Days experiment, under development by the Russian Institute of Medical and Biological Problems, will isolate human volunteers in a mock space station module for -- as its namesake suggests -- a complete 500 days to study how a long mission to Mars might affect its human crew.

    "Obviously, we're very interested in the results," NASA spokeswoman Dolores Beasley said of the long-duration study during a telephone interview. "It is a high priority for us."

    During the 500 Days study, six volunteers will depend on a preset limit of supplies, including about 5 tons of food and oxygen and 3 tons of water. A doctor will accompany volunteers inside the module to treat illnesses and injuries. Volunteers will only be allowed to quit the experiment if the develop a severe ailment or psychological stress.

    Make sure you check out some of the related stories there too, the Russians are doing some interesting things regarding a future Mars mission.

    Posted by Ted at 04:46 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Space Program

    October 12, 2004

    Hockey Whoopass Jamboree

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the Jamboree is on!

    By mob majority rule, we're going to use AHL teams for the season, at least until the NHL gets it's act together. Sorry for the late notice, because the season starts Wednesday, the 13th of October. So declare your teams*, and let's get ready for some Whoopass!

    Personally, Rocket Jones is backing the Cleveland Barons, farm club of my beloved San Jose Sharks. Y'all can choose your teams by location or affiliation, we're not real big on rules around here. In fact, there's only two:

    1. Declare your team, and place their logo somewhere on your front page. It's ok if more than one person wants the same team.

    2. When your team plays someone else's in the Jamboree, then the loser must display the logo of the winner on their page for 24 hours.

    So get back to me folks, and we'll get some ice action going on!

    The original crew (and original teams):

    VegasBaby - Calgary Flames
    Derek - Colorado Avalanche Hershey Bears
    Catt - Pittsburg Penguins Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
    Jenn - Colorado Avalanche Utah Grizzlies
    Heather - St Louis Blues Worcester IceCats
    Dr Funk - Ottawa Senators Binghamton Senators
    GEBIV - Buffalo Sabres Rochester Americans
    Victor - Washington Capitals Albany River Rats
    Helen - Dallas Stars
    Daniel - Atlanta Thrashers
    Gir - Calgary Flames Manitoba Moose
    Pogo - Calgary Flames
    Cindy - Montreal Canadiens Hamilton Bulldogs
    Frinklin - Vancouver Canucks Milwaukee Admirals
    RP - New York Rangers
    Tricia - Atlanta Thrashers
    Nic - Washington Capitals Portland Pirates
    Kin - Anaheim Mighty Ducks
    Matt - Dallas Stars Houston Aeros
    Wendy - Philadelphia Flyers
    Tuning Spork - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
    Brian J. - Milwaukee Admirals
    Ted (yours truly) - San Jose Sharks Cleveland Barons

    Also, welcome Tuning Spork who said if we go AHL he simply must go with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

    *To see all the AHL teams, head over to their home page and the mini-logos are listed right under the main banner. Rollover the logos and the team name and city appear just above the logos. Now you can find great full-size logo's here, thanks to Eric of Off Wing Opinion for pointing this one out.

    Posted by Ted at 07:44 PM | Comments (16)
    Category: Links

    Palestinian Kassam Rockets

    Posted by Bill S on a rocketry mailing list I belong to:

    The links below contain pretty concise short articles on the "homebrew" Palestinian terrorist Kassam rockets being fired at Israel. A search of Google using the term "Kassam" illustrates its a pretty hot topic in that country.

    Bill goes on to excerpt from the first link:
    ".....Based on technical assistance received from the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, and what Palestinian technicians and engineers learned from books and the Internet, a workable design was developed.......There have been roughly three versions of the Kassam developed so far......The “Kassam I” is 31 inches long, 2.4 inches in diameter, weighs 12 pounds, has about a pound of explosives in the warhead and has a range of about three kilometers. “Kassam II” is 71 inches long, six inches in diameter, weighs 70 pounds, has about 11-15 pounds of explosives in the warhead and has a range of about eight kilometers. “Kassam III” is over 80 inches long, 6.7 inches in diameter, weighs about 200 pounds, has 22-44 pounds of explosives in the warhead and has a range of about ten kilometers....."

    I highly recommend following both of these links for more information on the rockets, the attacks, and the tactics being used to counter them. Here's more from Bill:
    From the photos in the IDF page (second link), these are made out of metal, with the motor and warhead casing also being the rocket body. The unguided rockets have welded metal fins.

    As Stormin Normin said in the gulf war of Iraq Scud missiles, they are "militarily insignificant". But, they do keep the population stirred up and therefore the military engaged far more than should be necessary from a truly military perspective...... as is the terrorists intent. Unfortunately the bad guys have achieved 4 kills to date out of about 400 rounds fired.

    Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: SciTech

    Blogger Bowl 2004 week 5 results

    Daniel had a bad day.

    His Braves got whupped again. Now we see whether Jennifer is the type to kick him while he's down (and whether anyone would notice me holding him there for her). :D

    Going into last night's game, I was 10 points up on Daniel. He had Jevon Walker of the Pack on his roster, and I had Denarius Bennet of the Titans on mine. Wideout to wideout, mano a mano.

    Titans won big, but Walker had a huge game, and we ended up in a tie.

    A freaking tie.

    Maybe I should change my team name to the Braves. Oh wait, that wouldn't fit, because the Rockets didn't lose (Sorry Daniel, couldn't resist the cheap shot).

    Being the eternal optimist, I've played three of the strongest teams in the last three weeks and come away 1-1-1, and all three games were very close. I'm still tweaking the roster, we'll see if I can get to the next level, give that little extra, and any other sports metaphores you can think of.

    Actually, I consider this a win because I've got sweet ladies cheering me on, while Daniel has stodgy old men with goatees and muddy shoes. They probably all smell of formaldahyde too. May I present the Rocket Jones Hot Jets cheerleaders!

    Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!
    Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
    annika, of annika's journal!
    Cindy, of Dusting My Brain!
    Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
    Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
    Dawn of Dawn Enterprises!
    Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
    Margi, of Margi Lowry!
    Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
    LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!
    Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
    Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!
    Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
    Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
    Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
    Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
    Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
    Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
    Big Hair, of Left & Right!
    Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
    Heather, of Angelweave!

    While grabbing links for this post, I see that Jennifer has already put on the heavy boots! Hahahahahahahaha Jeez I hate the Braves.

    Who's up next week? Hmmmm, Patriot Paradox, owner of a three game winning streak after dropping the first two of the season. Sorry bucko, you'll be .500 this time next week.

    Posted by Ted at 04:41 AM | Comments (5)
    Category: Links

    October 11, 2004

    Half-baked Halloweeny Idea

    Let's build a Haunted House!

    In the comments, leave a description of a room or area in our haunted house. What does it look like? What kind of eerie stuff is there?

    Two starters:

    Butler's Pantry: a small narrow room dominated by a huge desk built in along one wall. There are two oil lamps on the back wall, and a dusty, decrepit wooden chair before the desktop. On shelves above the desk are the old volumes of ledgers used by the butler as he managed household affairs, and dozens of small drawers and cubbyholes. One drawer is conspicuous by the large padlock holding it closed. The hasp looks hastily added and was clumsily installed.

    Root Cellar: only accessable from outside the house, just by the kitchen door, opening the door reveals narrow stone steps leading down into darkness. The air inside is damp and cool.

    So come on, put on your imagination caps and join in the fun.

    Posted by Ted at 05:03 PM | Comments (9)
    Category: Build It

    Right in front of my eyes

    MicroSoft and Martha Stewart share the same initials! Coincidence? I think not.

    Posted by Ted at 04:41 PM | Comments (1)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Heroes and SuperHeroes, only human after all

    Former Superman actor Christopher Reeve is dead at 52.

    San Diego Padres 1996 MVP Ken Caminiti is dead at 41.

    Both faced a lot of adversity towards the end, and they handled it with dignity and courage.

    Posted by Ted at 07:46 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    October 09, 2004


    LeeAnn is back! Yay!

    Debbye is back! Yay!

    And just to make it an uneven three, John Howard is back! Yay!

    Posted by Ted at 09:56 PM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    Movie Reviews for Dummies

    Don't write lines like this:

    "The music that was played throughout was so awful it makes you want to rip your eyes out of their sockets."


    Posted by Ted at 08:46 PM | Comments (3)
    Category: Cult Flicks

    If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times

    You've got to pause once in a while to appreciate the simple things. Other than that, this post has no real point except maybe to change the color of today's number over on the right-hand calendar thingo.

    I was up way late last night, chatting with Spork, Stephen and Flibbertigibbet during the debate. Later on Alaska Dave signed on and we talked a while longer. While the debate was happening, I've been going through a merest sliver of what Pixy's been up to, as my wife's PC hard drive went kaput this week. I swapped it out yesterday, and have been reformatting and restoring since. It's mostly back up and running, and we managed to save the most critical files. Yay!

    So this morning I got up before dawn and finish up the PC work, then roused the youngster dog (Trix) for a walk. We strolled the neighborhoods for almost an hour, just enjoying the crisp air and light fog. Saw lots of geese honking their way overhead, just starting to gaggle up. When we got back, I took the old man Sam for a quick walk too, then started diving into the day's chores.

    I've got one of Denita's heavenly bread puddings in the oven, and I've promised Liz a batch of macaroons too. Between that and breakfast, I think I can have it all done by noon, and then spend the rest of the day working on rockets.

    I've put together plans on modifying my existing rockets to use the new hybrid motors (nitrous - woohoo!), so that's one thing on my to-do list. Another is to start construction on my newest rocket.

    This one is going to be my Level 2 certification bird - 4" diameter, around 7 feet tall, and powered by a hybrid motor that'll kick her with around 60lbs of thrust and burn for 5.5 seconds. Doesn't sound like much, but picture how far something can travel at well over a hundred miles an hour in that short time.

    I've been collecting parts for quite a while, and it's time. Maiden flight will be next spring at the latest, before Christmas is very possible.

    Like I said, no real point, but it sure is a beautiful day and I'm going to head out into the back yard and enjoy some more of it.

    Posted by Ted at 10:31 AM | Comments (4)
    Category: Links

    October 08, 2004

    Melissa Etheridge cancels tour

    She's undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

    Etheridge, 43, will undergo surgery and her doctor expects a "speedy and complete recovery," publicist Marcel Pariseau said in a statement.

    The cancer was detected early and Etheridge has been receiving treatment, Pariseau said Thursday.

    Best wishes to her, I've been enjoying her music since her first album.

    Posted by Ted at 09:20 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    F. H. Hogue was a dirty old man

    Or maybe it was just truth in advertising. Either way, enjoy these authentic vintage produce labels (in the extended entry - pinup quality stuff, no nudity).


    Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: History

    Two Three Ok, Four Remarkable Movies

    I've recently seen a foursome of interesting movies, each fun and worthwhile in a unique way, yet flawed enough to keep them from reaching their full potential.

    First up, and probably the best known here in America, is The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, starring Sean Connery. Critics panned it and a lot of people hate it for various reasons.

    Too bad, 'cause I like this movie. Characters not true to legend? Boo hoo. Unbelievable special effects? That's the point. It doesn't follow the storyline it's based on? It's based on a comic book, get over it. Much like Starship Troopers Earth vs. Soup, you need to suspend belief and just enjoy the ride. I enjoy these bigger-than-life adventures in the Raiders of the Lost Ark style (I think RotLA is overrated too). Lots of fun.

    Next, I've got a pair of international offerings courtesy of my friend Dan. He's got the same twisted taste in movies that I do, so we trade flicks often and suggest weird little offerings for each other.

    Shogun Assassin. From Japan, this is the movie that inspired Kill Bill. In fact, Kill Bill is an Americanized version of this cult classic and pays tribute in little ways to the original, but you probably missed them if you've never seen this one. The cover of the box proclaims that this flick has been banned since 1983 (due to extreme violence), and that it's impossible to keep a body count. The violence is intense and frequent by 1980's standards, but is fairly tame in today's slasher flick-infested world. The gore mainly consists of gushing blood and is cartoon-like in the way it sprays all over the place.

    Lone Wolf is an elite and loyal Samurai for a senile and paranoid Shogun. The Shogun's ninjas kill Lone Wolf's wife, so he vows vengence and, accompanied by his toddler son, they begin their quest to topple the Shogun. Lone Wolf pushes his son along in a stroller-like cart (remember, this is medieval Japan), vanquishing all mercenaries, samurai, and ninjas sent against them, and there are a lot!

    The son narrates:

    "My father tells me not to count the number of men he's killed, just to pray for the souls of those he's killed. I need to know how many souls to pray for, so I keep count..."

    As silly as this sounds, it works. The actor who plays Lone Wolf has a powerful screen presence (unfortunately he died a few years ago of a heart attack), and the spiritual aspects of Japan are played up somewhat. There is some nudity, and like I said the violence is plentiful but not particularly gruesome by today's standards. In short, this is a Samurai movie, and an excellent one at that.

    The third movie goes in about a dozen directions at once, and although it can't seem to make up its mind about where it wants to be, it's still a riveting and enjoyable movie.

    Made in France, Brotherhood of the Wolf tells the story of a legendary beast that terrorizes a rural province in pre-(French) revolutionary times. The cinematography is beautiful, and you can enjoy it just for the scenery, which is a good thing because some aspects of the plot are just plain silly. I tend to be overlook that, because what do I know about French cinema (other than I can't stand Jerry Lewis)? Same for Japanese films, so I just shrug and move on.

    We've got a beast running around wreaking havoc, killing men and women, children and adult alike, and the local French army garrison has had zero luck tracking it down. The King sends his Royal taxidermist to determine what exactly is going on, and he charms the local yokels as he begins to unravel the mystery.

    And it's quite a mystery. A local brothel is involved, as is the Catholic Church. His sidekick, an American Indian he befreinded during the French Indian War, gets quite involved with the local gypsies, and between them and the peasants and the clergy and the hookers and the resident royalty, well, everyone has something to hide and an agenda of their own.

    Remember that "silly" part I mentioned? For some odd reason, many of the fight scenes are straight out of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In fact, I had no idea that the French in those days were such kick ass kung fu fighters! I have absolutely no idea why this was included in the film, and the film doesn't even try to justify it. You're just cruising along, digging on the hoop skirts and powdered wigs, and suddenly it's Bruce Lee time, baby.

    Once again, suspend belief and just go with the flow, and you'll find a lot to like. The plot keeps you guessing pretty much right to the end, and I have to again mention the absolutely beautiful scenery and cinematography.

    Finally, we have a flick that I saw on the SciFi channel, titled Retroactive. This is a little gem for action film fans. The premise is inspired: if you could go back and relive a moment, what would you do differently?

    Jim Belushi plays the baddie in this movie, and enjoys the hell out of it. He's a low-class Texas redneck and the kind of guy who owns a gun and is always on the edge of the law. Critical, but oddly peripheral to the story is a government lab with an experimental but functioning time machine.

    Belushi and his meek wife pick up a stranded hitchhiker, a good-looking lady who's car has broken down in the remote Texas desert. Along the way they encounter a few other people and things get out of hand quickly, resulting in Belushi killing his wife.

    The hitchhiker gets away, finds herself at the lab and accidentally gets to relive the last stretch of time. Knowing what's about to happen, she tries to change events but just makes things worse. It happens again and again, and each time it gets more complicated and goes more wrong as she desperately tries to set things right.

    There's lots of explosions and gunfire and car chases and crashes, and like I said, the SciFi aspect is critical to the plot but not really used beyond that. Once again, just go with the flow and enjoy the action. It's by no means a great movie, but it's interesting and entertaining and Belushi makes a great bad guy.

    So there you go, four movies I can heartily recommend, and I only used the word 'silly' for two of them.

    Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (6)
    Category: Cult Flicks

    October 07, 2004

    What the hell, I own a comfy couch

    Women drivers.

    Click for picture 1.

    Click for picture 2.

    Click for picture 3.

    Thanks to Gordon Tatro for these.

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

    Steely-eyed Missile Man

    If you peruse the latest issue of the NOVAAR Free Press (here in .pdf format), you can read about some of the neat stuff we've been doing rocketry-wise here in Northern Virginia. As an added bonus, yours truly is pictured in there twice and mentioned thrice!!!

    I suggest printing it out and sliding it under your refrigerator to scare away vermin.

    Actually, there's a very nice shot of the Air Munuviana prior to her maiden flight.

    Posted by Ted at 03:45 PM | Comments (0)
    Category: About Ted

    October 06, 2004

    If I were a girl, I would've known this

    I've been informed that wearing panties with SpongeBob Squarepants on them does not mean that you no longer need to wear feminine pads.

    Excuse me for thinking like a guy.

    Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Square Pegs

    We interupt your blogging to bring you reality

    Wasn't able to join the VP Debate chat last night. Wasn't even able to watch the debate (coverage seems rather neutral about it this morning - oops, is "rather neutral" an oxymoron?).

    Blogging may be light for the next few weeks as real life has asserted itself. Then again, maybe you won't even notice.

    Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Fire Prevention Week

    It's a good time to make sure your smoke detectors are working and replace the batteries in all of them. Also make sure your kids know the escape plan from the house in case of fire. Dig on Sparky the Fire Prevention Dog for fun and educational stuff for the whole family.

    I don't know about you, but when I think about fire, I think about marshmallows. Yummmmmm.

    Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    October 05, 2004

    Like Google for Movies

    Over at TexasBestGrok, John is having another poll on SciFi babes, and this time it's the women of BattleStar Gallactica. I have to admit here and now that this show never did a thing for me, and I've probably watched a grand total of two episodes in my life.

    Nevertheless, Robert the LlamaButcher, being the belligerent blogger that he is, pulled on his nappy little jammies and protested that a sweetie from the series had been left off the poll. Then he wondered aloud who she was.

    Thanks to the wonders of IMDB, we find that Sarah Rush (or "Flight Corporal Rigel" as she whispers into Robert's dreams), also appeared in such gripping roles as "Nurse #3" on Friends, as "Woman at Garage Sale" on Everybody Loves Raymond, and "Fern" on Happy Days. And the list goes on and on. But wait! Her multifaceted talents also apply to the big screen, where she had roles in The Nude Bomb (aka The Return of Maxwell Smart), and the more recent Fangs and Catch Me If You Can.

    Gotta love the internet.

    Posted by Ted at 12:16 PM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    How did I miss this?

    Jennifer (who is on a roll) mentioned it yesterday, but I completely misunderstood what she meant. When she posted "Who's the greatest pilot you ever saw?", and then wrote "Goodbye Gordon Cooper", I thought she was referring to the new SpaceShipOne astronauts.

    What she was referring to was that Gordon Cooper, one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts, passed away yesterday. He was a flake, but he was also a great pilot.

    Posted by Ted at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links Space Program

    Truer Words Were Never Spoken

    Jennifer is hurting, because her Cubbies let her down yet again. It could be worse Jen, my wife's grandmother has suffered through 80-some years of disappointment from those clowns.

    And we Giant fans know just how she feels. Check out this hilarious description of the Five Classic Stages of Giants Grief.

    G also coins a new phrase that I'll be adding to my lexicon:

    "counting on the rockies"

    The official definition:

    Counting on the rockies - Hoping someone or something will perform a task which benefits you, even though this someone or something is very, very, very unlikely to do so.


    “I told Mary to bring the salad for the party.”
    “Uh oh. So we’re not going to have a salad?”
    “Yeah, I guess I was kind of counting on the rockies.”


    Everything this team [Colorado Rockies - RJ] has done in their existence has screwed the Giants. They couldn’t win a single game against the 1993 Braves, and the Giants lost the division by a single game. They lost 13 of 20 to the Diamondbacks in 2001, screwing the Giants. They developed Neifi Perez. In a secret bunker lab beneath a mountain, most likely. Perez hit a homerun against the Giants to prevent them from winning the wild-card in 1998. They couldn’t beat the Astros, and they couldn’t beat the Dodgers. They need no biscuit to roll over and drool on themselves, begging you to itch their bellies. They just do it.

    Nah, I'm not bitter. I also don't write nearly as well as he does, so head on over and read it all.

    Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Links

    An idea

    Nowadays, a lot of elevators 'ding' at every floor so the visually impaired can tell where they are.

    Wouldn't it be fun to replace that 'ding' with a relieved sounding "whew!"?

    Imagine the look on the faces of those who hate riding in elevators.

    Posted by Ted at 05:39 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Square Pegs

    I'll need a comfy pillow to sit on all week

    Victor, GM and cheesemeister of the Rats of Chaos, opened a 55 gallon drum of industrial grade whoopass on the Rockets this week.* I make no excuses, but how often does Bret Favre get knocked out of a game (not very), and although my wide receivers are all great they're playing in share-the-wealth offenses. Jerry Porter is a wonderful player, but when seven or eight different Raiders get receptions in any given game, his stats are not going to be where I need them.

    Great game Victor!

    Victor's Hot Rats cheerleaders are cute, but if you prefer your pretty ladies a little taller, then check out Rocket Jones' very own Hot Jets!

    Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
    LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!
    Dawn of Dawn Enterprises!
    Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
    Margi, of Margi Lowry!
    Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
    Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!
    Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
    Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
    Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
    Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
    Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
    Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
    Big Hair, of Left & Right!
    Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!
    Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
    annika, of annika's journal!
    Cindy, of Dusting My Brain!
    Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
    Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
    Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
    Heather, of Angelweave!

    Next up are the ominously named DFMoore...s. I wasn't sure about the significance of the name, so I asked Jennifer, who's into history and stuff. She was busy climbing through a haunted storage shed or something (it's almost Halloween dontchaknow), so I finally wound up googling it instead.

    Piecing things together from multiple sources, it appears that DFMoore is an acronym or anagram (or both for you conspiracy fans!) for a secret society of fast-food restaraunt owners who read dictionary's for fun and secretly worship an old bucket of paint.

    The only other hit was about some guy in Atlanta with a fetish for Chicago. But that's too pat, I'm a most-complex-explanation-possible kinda guy.

    Almost lost my thread there... DFMoore - You're Toast!!!

    * Actually, it was a close game.** I could have won it with the right personnel move, but I never seriously considered replacing Favre with Leftwich. Would you?

    ** Victor was top score for the week, I was second, and we both would've beat everybody else in the league. Victor played big when he needed it. ***

    *** Oooo, cascading footnotes, shades of Tiger!

    Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    October 04, 2004

    Janet Leigh

    Best known as the woman stabbed to death in Psycho's infamous shower scene, actress Janet Leigh has passed away at age 77.

    Besides that signature role, she had a long and distinguished career, starring in movies with leading men such as Van Johnson, Van Heflin, Robert Mitchum, James Stewart, Martin and Lewis, John Wayne, Dick Van Dyke, Victor Mature, and Tony Curtis.

    Thank you Ms. Leigh.

    You can get the "Mad Mother Shower Curtain" here. I always wanted one of those.

    Posted by Ted at 12:00 PM | Comments (4)
    Category: Cult Flicks

    Home safe, with a little jingle in their pocket

    Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites has just won the XPrize!!!

    Thanks to Pixy for the heads up, and Transterrestrial Musings for the live coverage.

    Posted by Ted at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Space Program

    Rain Dance Practice

    I don't pretend to be any great philosopher or deep thinker, but I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about pacifism (thanks Nic!), and I'm beginning to sort some things out in my mind. Bear with me a moment while I try to lay this out in some way that makes a little sense.

    Some time ago, I remember hearing a comedian talk about Indians doing a Rain Dance. He was wondering if they had a practice first and if they did, and it didn't rain, then how did you know if you did it right?

    Pacifism strikes me as offering that same dilemma. You resolve to be peaceful above all - the ideal - and yet when the other guy does violence against you, your only option is more peacefulness. In fact, maybe you weren't peaceful enough and if you'd only try harder then they would get the idea. Except the violence happens again and again, and each time you vow to do better.

    The trap lies in believing that everyone is basically good inside. Love thy neighbor. So when he refuses to react accordingly to your peaceful nature (why doesn't he understand?), then you start to look for reasons. And since the problem couldn't be him (you must believe in him), then the problem is you or something else. Nobody likes to admit that they're wrong (but you resolve to try harder just in case), so the problem must be an outside influence. And since the violence is still directed at your side, then it's a simple leap to believing that the blame lies completely on your side.

    In nature, a weakness is always exploited. The weakest members of a herd are culled out by predators. A flaw in defence is used by another as an opening to attack. It's instinctive, but refining the tactic is a learned behavior.

    Being a pacifist makes you an easy target, but eventaully it is realized by "the bad guys" that you're useful in another way. You advocate for them, because you believe in them. They can't be evil, it must be us! PR is a learned behavior too.

    Ghandi was able to use peace as a tool to achieve his goals. Martin Luther King Jr did the same. But in both cases, they were making their points against a culture and society that was already somewhat civilized. The British and American cultures already tended towards peaceful behavior. We've seen no such tendencies from the terrorists in today's world. You can't explain away shooting children in the back. How can you understand the ability to blow up innocent people during their prayers? There's not enough love in the world to change the mind of someone who believes that killing you is what his God wants him to do.

    I really want to see peace in the world, and I hope that someday it'll happen (but I don't think it will for a long, long time, if ever). I hope that those who believe in pacifism keep their wits about them and don't fall into the traps inherent in their worldview. I hope for the best but prepare for the worst, because I've learned to be a realist in life. Sometimes, no matter how well you dance, it doesn't rain because it's just not ready to rain.

    Posted by Ted at 06:16 AM | Comments (6)
    Category: Square Pegs

    October 03, 2004

    Simple Indulgences

    On Sunday mornings I like to make myself a nice breakfast. Here's one of my favorites.

    Make oatmeal (use the real stuff, not that nasty instant). When it's done, stir in a dollop of vanilla extract, then a half-handfull of raisins and crushed walnuts. Once it's in the bowl, drizzle a little brown sugar or maple syrup over the top.

    While the oatmeal is cooking, quarter and core a pear. Melt some butter in a small skillet, add the pears and saute for a few minutes. When done, sprinkle with cinnamon or ginger.

    If you're watching your fat intake, use cooking spray instead of the butter to saute the pears.

    Quick, easy and yummy.

    Posted by Ted at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Recipes

    October 01, 2004

    Frankenfish, the movie

    You may recall the ongoing hullabaloo about Snakehead fish in the mid-Atlantic states. It's mean, tough and voracious, with the ability to scour small ponds free of other life.

    Sounds like a bad movie, right?

    Thanks to the SciFi Channel, now it is. I just saw a preview where the Snakeheads not only survive, but "move up a few rungs on the food ladder". They're still mean, tough and voracious, but now they're also twenty feet long.

    You know I'm gonna be watching.

    Posted by Ted at 09:39 PM | Comments (1)
    Category: Cult Flicks


    Skippy's list of things not allowed to do by the Army has been posted and reposted all over the net (I linked to a version back in January). Now Skippy is back with an 'official' website, including some guest submitted list additions. Good fun and worth checking out.

    Thanks to Wince and Casey for the pointers.

    Posted by Ted at 09:06 PM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    Happy New Year!!!

    Welcome to Uncle Sam's Fiscal Year 2005. Let's hope it's more sane than the one just ended.

    Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: Square Pegs

    I see dead people

    And most of them are wearing Cubs uniforms.


    Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (4)
    Category: Square Pegs
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