December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Here's hoping that all of my friends and family have a safe, healthy and joyous 2005. May all your wishes come true.

Posted by Ted at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Going out like a lamb

2004 that is. We've got uncommonly warm temperatures for the next couple of days, so I'm going to take advantage and paint the front fence. It's been needing it, but I couldn't get days off to match up with nice weather all autumn, and I thought I'd missed the chance until springtime.

My wife is at a job interview. Someone saw her resume on Monster and called her yesterday. We'll see how it goes. She's been talking about maybe going back to substitute teaching, which would be ideal for her since she can set her own schedule. Last time she did that she was in great demand and was often booked up a month in advance.

I don't know how much posting will happen for the remainder of the weekend. After we finish the fence we've got some household electrical work to do (replace a couple of outlets and rehang a ceiling fan). Mookie is going out tonight to a house party with drama friends and oldest daughter doesn't have plans as far as I know. Well, she had plans but I wasn't real happy about them so she cancelled. She was invited to drive into DC with a group to go clubbing, but what they really wanted was her to be designated driver so they could get ripped. Oh yeah, big fun - on the road on New Years with a carload of very drunk nitwits.

Us? We're planning our usual very quiet evening. At midnight we'll hug and kiss, exchange "I love you"s and mock Regis. Then we'll go to bed, happy that we've spent another entire year together.

Y'all take care and have fun.

Posted by Ted at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

December 30, 2004

I'm unique, just like everyone else (maybe even my shoes)

When I got home from work yesterday, I found that both dogs had been given badly needed haircuts, leaving me as the last shaggy beast in the house.

Afterwards, the dogs always spend a few days humping everything in sight, as if they were so traumatized that they instinctively look to spread their genetic material.

I was warned to check my sneaker before inserting foot, just in case.

Posted by Ted at 10:45 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Clerks: Uncensored

The movie Clerks is one of those movies where you love it or just don't get it. I believe it has to do with your sense of humor, to some it's outrageously funny, to others - eh, not very. I happen to fall into the "love" category.

My wife bought me Clerks: Uncensored, thinking that she was getting me the original movie. Instead, what I got is the animated series that briefly aired on television. In this case, "briefly" translates into "two episodes".

Dante, Randall, Silent Bob and Jay

There were actually six episodes completed, but the test audience watching the premier hated the pilot. After they showed the second episode to dismal response, the network yanked it from the schedule.

Apparently a whole bunch of people fall into the "don't get it" category, including network executives.

And that's a shame, because this had potential. True, it's primarily an attempt to cash in on Clerks cult hit status, but it's still some damn funny stuff. Dante and Randall return, as do Jay and Silent Bob, who've given up dealing dope to appease network television sensitivities. Instead, they're described as "merry mischief makers". Everyone's language has been cleaned up (a lot!) too.

Like the Simpsons and South Park, celebrities make guest appearances, whether they want to or not. If a celebrity doesn't want to make an official appearance, they'll often be worked into the storyline as a joke, and Gilbert Gottfried does the celebrity dialog - in his normal voice. Hilarious. The humor is very irreverent, with lots of sight gags and things to catch away from the main action, as well as movie take-offs. They pack a lot of funny into a short period of time.

Don't watch these expecting a Clerks movie clone, or you'll be disappointed. Instead, enjoy them for the toons they are, but be prepared for outrageous humor that'll make you laugh out loud.

There are also quite a few very cool extras in the DVD set (it's two disks). I'm especially enjoying the episode commentary, where you learn all kinds of back-story on what went wrong and what went right during the creation and life of the project. There are funny stories and fond rememberances of the process, tinged with a bit of bitterness over how the project turned out and why it ultimately died.

Snootch to the Nootch!

Posted by Ted at 04:59 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Cult Flicks

December 29, 2004

He put Baby on the shelf

Jerry Orbach, dead at age 69 of prostate cancer.

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

One helluva benefits package

Wish mine included this perk!

Via the CheeseMistress, long may she be unelectrified.

Posted by Ted at 06:04 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Brian Wilson's Smile

It is impossible to mistake Brian Wilson's music for anybody else's. He uses vocals in his songs to echo or replace bass and rhythm lines. His melodies are simple yet unforgettable. Every tune he writes is unmistakably his. The (finally) released album Smile is no exception. It opens with an a cappella piece that evokes images of a church organ. A church organ playing Beach Boys music, of course. The music turns melancholy, but even when Wilson writes a dirge, in your mind you picture the funeral being held on a bright clear sunny day.

If you're unfamiliar with Smile, it's because it was unfinished for almost 40 years. Because of professional obstacles and personal demons, Brian Wilson only recently completed the work that was to be his Magnum Opus.

In late 1966, fueled by the Zeitgeist, psychedelics, hubris and hashish, Brian set out to create his ultimate "teenage symphony to God." Earlier in 1966 he had almost singlehandedly created the acclaimed Pet Sounds, and had followed up that masterpiece with the gorgeous single, Good Vibrations. (Paul McCartney has called Pet Sounds "the classic of this century.")

Brian Wilson's album Smile

Good Vibrations was always to be the finale to this work, and throughout you'll hear echoes and teasers from it, as well as from other Beach Boys music. Bits and pieces of their well-known music are strewn about, and as you listen your ears perk up as you recognize a familiar tone phrase woven into the music, but joined together in unexpected and interesting ways. Even Good Vibrations is new again, the arrangement is a bit different and the mix is less polished than the classic we grew up hearing.

I've listened to it twice straight through now, and I think it's aptly named. This is a musical smile on a bright sunny day. I like it.

Notes: My wife had a heckuva time finding this for Christmas. Look under "Wilson", not "Beach Boys".

I intentionally did not read any reviews of Smile beforehand, wanting to hear it with an open mind. Here's one reviewer who agrees with me, but says it so much better.

Posted by Ted at 05:52 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

December 28, 2004

Porn for the blind

Obviously not very good porn, because he's reading with both hands (in the extended entry - marginally safe for work).

The cartoons in Playboy must suck if you're blind

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

Blogger Bowl 2004 - Final

It's all over but the shoutin', as my daddy says.

In the Championship game, Munuviana's DFMoore held on to defeat Brendoman for top honors. The last of the points from last night's contest haven't been included, but they weren't enough to close the gap on Daniel. Congrats!

For third place, Victor became a victim of his own success, needing the Eagles stars to have a big game in order to take the victory (wow, three 'vic' words in one sentence!). Since the game meant nothing to the Eagles, they sat most of their starters and Victor came up short on the scoreboard. Sorry Victor, in your shoes I'd be raising hell with the Eagles. Demand season tickets for next year, maybe they'll comp you a jersey or something.

So that's it. The Rockets will be back next year, bigger, badder, and more likely to explode on the pad more explosive next year.

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

My Moosey Fate!

The Hockey Whoopass Jamboree is still going on, and last night my Cleveland Barons (represented by a Shark wearing a monocle, natch), were blanked by the Gir's Manitoba Moose. In accordance with the prophesy rules, her logo will by displayed on my main page for the next day.

They play again tonight, so if she wins again, it'll still be there. If not, then I expect massive and prominent displayage on her page. I may have discovered her weakness, and plan to distract her with tanned cabana boys bearing tall glasses full of paper umbrellas. Us silly earth monkeys are like that.

Posted by Ted at 06:00 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

December 27, 2004

More zen of simplicity

This morning in the shower I noticed a whole bunch of new bottles and jars in the rack and stacked precariously on any level surface. Not unexpected because I live with three ladies in the family, and bath items are popular for gift giving. As I was reading the different labels, it occurred to me that my shower routine is simple.

1. Find the squirty bottle marked shampoo and wash hair.
2. Find the squirty bottle marked "Dove" and put some on my scrubber thing*. Wash everything else.
2a. In absence of squirty bottle marked "Dove", find alternate squirty bottle of soap and proceed as normal. Make mental note to ask why "Dove" isn't there.

No weird combinations of flora essensces and oils. No "morning" scrubs and "evening" scrubs. If I happen to get a zit, I congratulate myself on my continued youth and vigor and be done with it.

*My scrubber thing can be any color - I don't care - as long as nobody else has one the same color.

Posted by Ted at 04:44 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs


I still get comments on a post from last April about good songs for pole dancing. Just for fun, I googled "stripper music" and Rocket Jones came up #1 for that search.

You come for the content, you stay for the class.

Posted by Ted at 04:11 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

December 26, 2004

New tagline

Over on the right sidebar, and you can see the archive of previously posted taglines here.

If you haven't voted yet to name my new Chinese Chicken recipe, please do. It's also on the right hand column (so's a link to the story behind the recipe). If you already have, then vote again. This isn't some democratic process, it's my blog, and management says voting is fun.

The banner at the top of the page is the original one from Rocket Jones, and was done by my good friend Carl. He's an incredible talent, and you may have seen his work on CD covers and children's books.

Posted by Ted at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

A late Christmas present

Did you see the football game last night between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders?

Even though my beloved Raiders lost, that was a fun game to watch. Harkening (harking?) back to the old AFL days, it was all offense all the time, and the defenses seemed to be there only because they're required by the rules.

Thank you NFL, that was a treat.

Posted by Ted at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

It's Christmas all over

Even up!

A Russian cargo vessel bearing Christmas gifts and vital supplies of food and fuel has docked with the International Space Station (ISS), Interfax quoted the Mission Control Centre near Moscow as saying.

The ISS is depending on these robot supply ships from the Russians since the Space Shuttle has been grounded. Problem is, their cargo capacity is very small compared to what the Shuttle used to deliver.

The vessel was delivering more than two tonnes of water, oxygen, food, fuel and scientific materials -- as well as unspecified Christmas presents -- to Russian Salizhan Sharipov and American Leroy Chiao.

Supplies levels were critical. The astronauts were rationing food and would have had to abandon the ISS and return to Earth without this delivery.

This next part will probably scare hell out of Buckethead over at the Ministry.

A German-made Rockviss robot, designed to complete repairs on the outer surface of the station, was also in the emergency supply package.

Scientists will be eager to deploy the robot, which can be controlled from earth and is seen as opening new possibilities for space exploration.

So the ISS lives. Unlike a lot of people, I think that's a good thing. Having this 'permanent' presence in space is important, and it's worth can't be measured just in dollars.

Posted by Ted at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Santa Claus was goooood to me

This year, the family veered to the practical with most of the gifts given, and there were quite a few homemade items exchanged as well. Amazingly enough, I had a rocket-free Christmas.

My wife made me an apron, including my name embroidered on the front. She also got me a new food processor. Standing orders in the house include strangling me if I ever holler "BAM!" or say "kick it up a notch".

I suspect every discount priced DVD bin within 200 miles of here was raided, and I wound up with a stack of wonderfulness. Some serious holes in my horror essentials collection were filled, along with a handful of truly craptacular titles.

I also got Brian Wilson's long-awaited masterpiece album: Smile. And yes, I am.

What did Santa bring you?

Posted by Ted at 09:13 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas to all!


Posted by Ted at 11:54 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

December 24, 2004

Santa Claus comes tonight


Staying at the top all day, scroll down for new entries.

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

Nice start to the day

Today is Christmas eve, and since Christmas day itself falls on a Saturday, today is a federal holiday. Yay! Next friday too, for the same reason. Yay again!

Mookie and I just finished watching Nosferatu, the silent classic and original vampire movie made in Germany in 1922. Good enough story to keep the MST3K moments to a minimum, and a riveting organ soundtrack added. My only complaint is that the Americanized version I have changed the names of the characters, making the story more familiar yet taking away from the original intent (for instance: Graf Orlok was changed to Count Dracula and Profesor Bulwer became Dr. Van Helsing). Still, that's a minor quibble, and if you can find a copy of this one, I highly recommend seeing it.

Posted by Ted at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks


I'm hopeless when it comes to wrapping presents. They always come out looking like a first-grader did the job, using odd bits of tape to hold down randomly buckled areas of paper. I'm also stubborn enough to do it myself every year, because that's part of my gift too: that I went to the trouble of wrapping it myself so you can laugh at me and my inept pretty paper skills.

I believe the ladies have something in their DNA that lets them whoof out beautifully done giftwrapping without effort, which annoys the hell out of me.

I also believe though, that I've found the perfect solution. Better than those tacky gift bags or pre-folded boxes even. You will never hear a guy complain or kid you about your wrapping job if you put his gift inside a toolbox.

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

Christmas Cheesecake - one last one

Asian style, more cute than raunchy, although the last one has nudity.

Posted by Ted at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Christmas Trinkets

A magical site full of animated Christmas cards and music. Thanks to Gordon for pointing this one out.

Posted by Ted at 06:17 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

December 23, 2004

Now this is a happy start to the holidays

Richmond, Virginia.

Hundreds of passengers are stuck at Richmond International Airport, after an airplane edged off a runway Thursday morning and got stuck in the mud.

Of course, in true Murphy's fashion, the plane is stuck in the mud where 98% of airport traffic is blocked, at the intersection between the two main runways.

But it is Christmas, and you know there has to be some good news, right?

Bell told a WRIC reporter that the airport does not have the necessary equipment to pull the jet from the mud, and American Airlines is locating the equipment and will get it to Richmond.

Maybe not.

Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

"I'd like to report a murder. Mine."

Before I get into the movie review, I want to tell you to get over any bias against WalMart and check out their DVD collections. Up near the registers they've taken to putting out boxes of $1.00 DVD's, and there are some minor classics in the mix. This movie is one of them, and I've got several more in the stack to be watched in the near-future.

D.O.A. Starring Edmond O'Brien, this 1950 film noir release is about as good as it gets.

The plot is intriguing: a man on vacation is poisoned and will die within a week. In that time, he tries to discover who poisoned him and why.

Parts of this flick are sheer brilliance, while others are... let's say less brilliant. Things move along quickly, and I wouldn't be surprised if this film were at least indirectly the inspiration for the series 24.

Because of the pace and complexity of the plot, most characters flash in and out of the picture, sometimes returning later, sometimes never to be seen again. There's enough going on that I'm going to rewatch it and take some notes to tie up some loose ends in my mind. The film is good enough that doing that isn't going to be a chore, it'll be pure pleasure.

Since the movie is set in the 1940's, men are tough guys and gals are dames. A lot of the acting is broad and overdone, especially one love scene between the main characters that just drags on and on and on.

The relentless pace of the story masks a lot of odd leaps of logic and believability, which helps because there's little time to reflect on the "huh?" moments. One bit that defies understanding is an odd slide-whistle "wolf call" that's used every time the main character sees a good looking dame. It's presence is senseless and distracting and goes onto my top-10 list of stupid movie moments. What the hell was the director thinking?

There's no happy ending, if there were it wouldn't be film noir. All in all this is a satisfying little film and well worth the buck you'll spend to snag a copy.

Pamela Britton plays O'Brien's girlfriend, and she later played Dagwood's wife Blondie in the television series and the landlady in My Favorite Martian.

Beverly Garland, credited as Beverly Campbell, made her debut in D.O.A. and continues to be active both in movies and television to this day. She later went on to star in the TV series My Three Sons and most recently in recurring rolls in 7th Heaven and Port Charles.

Actor Nevil Brand also made his movie debut in D.O.A. as Chester the sociopathic thug. With his chilling performance, he stole every scene he was in and went on to a successful career playing tough guys including Al Capone on television's The Untouchables. Brand originally intended to make the Army his career and emerged as the fourth most-decorated US Soldier in WWII. He caught the acting bug while making US Army training films and used his GI Bill to study acting after his discharge.

Posted by Ted at 11:37 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Cult Flicks

'fess up

Everyone has snuck candy and drinks into a movie theater, but I wonder how many of you can top my family.

Mookie once snuck a rootbeer float into the theater in her backpack. In order not to spill, she had to pretend she was an honors graduate of Miss Simmons' Charm School and put on her best posture ever. It was noticable enough that friends remarked on it.

Oldest daughter and wife once managed Chinese take-out. I am humbled.

So what's the craziest thing you've ever snuck into a movie theater?

Me? If there's a balcony, I'll bring a can of Campbell's Chunky Soup. Otherwise, I stick to the popcorn with psuedo-butter-colored liquid squirts and the 55 gallon drum o' soda.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Square Pegs

Christmas Card

Old traditions are the best.

Merry Christmas!!!

Posted by Ted at 04:47 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

A Bad Day

In pictorial format. Click on the links in sequence, they'll open in a new window.

Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
Picture 11

Update: Victor points us to the indispensible Snopes, where we discover that the story is not entirely true.

Posted by Ted at 04:27 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

December 22, 2004

Still time to return this one before Christmas

My buddy Rich (hahaha, I made a funny), gives the lowdown on the trendy new Senseo coffee maker that they've been pushing hard this holiday season.

He's moving his blog, so I'm going to copy the whole thing in the extended entry, and I'll update his link as soon as I get it.


The Phillips Senseo Coffee Maker

I researched this item before I bought it. Take a look at these exciting excerpts from the various web sites where I found information and reviews:

"The perfect cup of fresh coffee."
"Douwe Egberts is the number one roast & ground coffee brand in the UK and they have worked in conjunction with Philips to produce the perfect blend of coffee & machine for the perfect taste."
"The brewing process guarantees a perfect cup of fresh coffee within a minute every time."
"Senseo allows you to enjoy a perfect cup of coffee in your favorite flavor at any time of the day."
"..the Senseo coffee machine makes the perfect gift."
"When I've used creamer (either in liquid or powder form), the coffee is the perfect temperature and doesn't need to be microwaved."
"The intregal heating element brings your fresh cool water to the perfect temperature..."
"Philips and Sara Lee have been working for ten years to perfect this sensational cup of coffee."

ehhh, (to the reviewers) I do not think it means what you think it means. Let's journey through my personal experience.

Intro to the machine:
The machine is well built, I definitely feel it is of better build and quality than the competing machine from Black & Decker that uses the Folgers and Millstone coffee (I checked them all out at Wal-Mart). So I bought it (nevermind the whole "you shouldn't buy things for yourself right before your birthday" thing), and mailed in the $20 rebate (which I got back in less than a month, sweet!). The easy-to-follow instructions state that you need to run it through a special cycle the first time, which I did. If you find the sudden sound of a jackhammer (complete with vibration) in your kitchen to be alarming be assured that this is expected and that normal operation will not be this loud (what better way to help you wake up in the morning?).

The selection:
You get a choice of 4 kinds of pods (I hope I didn't make that sound exciting). You get Mild, Medium, Dark, and Decaf. Okay. Now I enjoy a nice cup of black, I really do, but lately I've discovered this Toasted Almond creamer in the dairy section of the supermarket and am really hooked on it, especially for my first cup of the day (coffee snobs don't bother to comment). So I figure big deal, when I don't want Mild, Medium, or Dark I'll just add some flavored creamer and I'll be happy.

The brew:
Okay, I'm ready, this is exciting! I put in the podholder for a single cup and drop in a Medium pod. The machine is on, warmed up, and ready with my cup awaiting perfect delicious coffee. I press the button for single cup and there is noise, although thankfully not of the jackhammer variety, think more like hammerdrill. Did I run the special cycle correctly? After rechecking the directions I had. Okay, well the cup brewed quickly and my next disappointment caused me to snatch up the manual again. After some frantic reading I've found that a "cup" of coffee is 4 ounces (WTF!?). Whatever, next time I'll just brew the double cup.

The perfect cup:
I pour in a little creamer. I still need to throw the used pod in the trash but First, let's drink, me from my glass, and.. the flavor is exactly what I expected, delicious toasted almond. The first sip was tentative, I find it irksome to burn my tongue you see, and it wasn't HOT. In fact, I drank down the rest of the cup immediately. This just won't do, my coffee needs to at least stay hot for the first part of my ride to work in the morning. Even black the coffee is drinkable right out of the brewer. I whipped out a thermometer (a cooking thermometer, not one of the rectal variety) and measured the coffee temp right as it was dripping into my cup - 155 degrees (who knew the tongue was so mighty?). I'll have to get around to measuring the temperature of my regular drip brewer and update this for comparison I suppose.

The FAQ:
Something must be wrong. It's always possible to get a bad unit. I checked the FAQ on the manufacturer's web site and find the question "My coffee is not hot. Why?" (YAY! Someone has had the same problem and the solution is a click away!). Solution: "When you first turn on the coffee machine, we suggest that you run a one-cup brew cycle with an empty pod holder in place. This will ensure that the boiler is heated to proper brewing conditions and that you will have a hot cup of coffee. Another suggestion is to rinse the cup or mug with hot water a couple of times." WTF!? You're telling me that to get my perfect cup of coffee that is brewed at the perfect temperature with the perfect grounds I have to defeat some of the allure of this machine by taking extra time to run a cycle of just water or to heat up my cup first??

The complaint:
Time to write the company. Unlike some companies it was actually easy to find the proper link and write them an email. And also unlike some companies I got a quick response (very nice). The email I sent goes like:

"What should the temperature of the coffee be as it drips into the cup? I have measured mine at 155 degrees and that seems to be low, it is not quite hot enough for my ride in to work or even to drink at a leisurely pace relaxing at home without additional heating in the microwave.

BTW, the suggestion in the FAQ about rinsing your cup with hot water is not acceptable to ask of your customers and having to run a cycle with no coffee or pod holder is also poor advice and reduces one of the benefits of using your machine (speed). The low temperature is one of three disappointments I have with your product, the others are the lack of variety in compatible product for brewing, and the horrendous noise the machine makes as it brews my cup (yes, I have run the initial cycle as required in the instructions). For a product that is supposedly used by so many people I find these flaws surprising, unless the product sold in Europe is different than that sold here in the US."

The response:
The first response was to let me know that they were sorry that I was not satisfied with their product and that they would forward my email on to the proper people to help me. Okay, good. The next email I got was:

"The temperature range for coffee in the Senseo machine is 72 degrees C (162 F) to 90 degrees C (194 F). We are looking into the possibility of having Senseo coffee pods with flavored coffee. You are correct that there is a distinct noise and vibration during the brewing cycle."

Uhhh, hmmm. Okay. The perfect temperature appears to lie between 162 and 194 F. I just stared at this for a minute (and then stared at again when writing this blog entry). Maybe there is a way to get the upper end from this machine, so I wrote back. I told them I was good with tools and comfortable working with thing that are electrical in nature and would be willing to adjust the thermostat if they would explain how I could do this. The reply I got was:

"Unfortunately, the temperature is determined by the thermostat and the thermostat is not adjustable. Thank you for your interest in Senseo."

You've got to be kidding me. The perfect coffee maker's quality control allows a 32 degree (f) variance in the temperature of the brewed coffee!?! (And remember, "Philips and Sara Lee have been working for ten years to perfect this sensational cup of coffee.") TEN YEARS for a rumbling loud coffee maker that makes warm coffee (sigh). I do still use it, but only because it IS much faster than my regular coffee pot, even though I have to warm it in the microwave.

What I REALLY want is a Keurig machine, but they are a little out of my price range (another item on my "if I win the lottery I can't wait to buy" list). We have one at my office, and compared to everything else, it borders on being a magical device. No review on that one, but to put the Senseo up against it in a competition would be inconceivable.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Christmas Cheesecake

Actually, it's stronger than cheesecake, but still oh-so-yummy (link definitely not safe for work)!

Thanks to Wegglywoo for pointing this one out.

Posted by Ted at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

For that "nothing is ever good enough" person on your shopping list

(in the extended entry)


Posted by Ted at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

There's a limited food chain at the North Pole, and them elves gotta eat


If they're flying, ya just lead 'em a bit more.

Posted by Ted at 04:34 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

December 21, 2004

SimTerror 2005

The folks at Silent Running are going to be conducting an interesting experiment.


An interactive blog-based hypothetical scenario in which a terrorist attempt to stage an attack on Australian soil will be simulated in real time, over two weeks in January 1985.


Bloggers have opinions. It's what we do. But how many of us have actually wondered what we might do, and how we might respond, in the event of a major terrorist attempt at replicating a 9/11 scale attack? It's all very well for us to opine to our hearts content about what the West ought to do in the face of a generalised threat from radical Islam, but how would the blogosphere respond in an actual emergency? Can we put ourselves emotionally in that position? It isn't easy, is it?

Would we fall to pieces? Would we be simply struck dumb? Would we urge massive lashing out in retaliation? Or would blogs become a useful resource of opinions, options, information, argument and debate? Would it become the closest thing this planet has to a gigantic neural network of linked minds, all concentrated on a single issue?

SIMTERROR '05 is an experiment designed to help us think about the ways blogs might be able to respond to a sudden crisis using a simulation of real world events, but getting blogs to respond as if the events were real. In a sense, SIMTERROR 0'5 will be the first test of the Emergency Blogger System.

The Simulation

Beginning on Sunday, January 1st, at 12 noon, Australian Eastern Time, the blog "Silent Running" will go live as the central information hub of the exercise. It will run news items in real time, based on the decisions taken by the various bloggers playing the roles of significant leaders in this exercise. Those decisions and actions will go through "Silent Running" blogger "Tom Paine", who will act as umpire.

The players will be presented from time to time with updates on the situation as it unfolds, and their responses will help shape the simulation. Once it starts, no-one, not even the umpire, will know how things will turn out.

They have a dedicated Yahoo group set up and the list of players includes many prominent bloggers. Set your bookmarks, because no matter what happens, it's going to be fascinating. I'll be watching this one closely.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

When they outlaw gays with guns, then only outlaw gays will have guns

Forgive the title. Or not. Whatever.

San Francisco has decided to follow in the footsteps of our nation's capital and ban possesion of firearms within city limits. In case you didn't know, Washington D.C. is also the murder capital of the USA, and believe me when I tell you that it's not because of gang-related strangulations. They also expect law-abiding citizens to just turn in their firearms, which will go far in improving the survival rate of criminals in the city.

Practical example: rob a house where the owner might have a gun or rob a pizza place where corporate policy is "be unarmed". Tough choice, eh? Now apply that concept to an entire city.

I've seen this all over the net, but Publicola was the first to bring it to my attention. He's got more, including the text of the proposed law too.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

He sees you when you're sleeping

Which proves he's magical. If I did that, I'd be arrested.

Posted by Ted at 04:55 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

December 20, 2004

Gettin' Excited


This is staying up top all day, so scroll down to see new posts.

Posted by Ted at 11:49 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Nog Watch - special holiday report

According to Kyle (who remains intermittently anonymous), the Nog still stands, and probably could even without the carton. We've long passed disgusting and have moved into the realm of the scary.

What is Nog Watch? Background story here and here and here and here and in the name of all that is holy please stop here and here.

Posted by Ted at 11:55 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs


The CEO of Phizer has announced that they are not going to take Celebrex off the market.

For us, that's a good thing. You see, Celebrex is one of the suite of drugs that my wife takes that keeps her from needing to go back to her wheelchair. There are alternatives, and she's tried them as she and her doctors have tinkered with combinations and dosages over years. None of the alternatives work as well. Some don't work at all.

So yes, we're concerned about the eventual effects, but so far the increased danger has only been observed in one study. A second study showed no such problems, and we remain hopeful. And thankful for modern medicine that produces little pill-sized miracles that we too often take for granted. All of us are walking a chemical tightrope our entire lives, and sometimes even the safety net isn't 100% perfect.

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

Blogger Bowl Playoff Update

Just because I didn't make the playoffs doesn't mean I don't care how it turns out, especially since fellow Munuvians Daniel and Victor are in.

In the first game, Daniel easily handled the inexplicably mediocre Fire Ants. The Fire Ants shared a piece of first place the entire season, so their falloff in production came at the worst possible time for them. Buh-Bye.

In the other game, it looks like another upset in the making. This time Brendoman holds a fair lead over Victor's Rats of Chaos. Victor needs a big game tonight from Miami receiver Chris Chambers to pull this one out. It could happen.

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

Vintage Christmas Cards

Someone on the newsgroups posted a bunch of vintage cards and I thought I'd share some. For the bandwidth impaired, they're in the extended entry.

There's a couple things I noticed right off the bat. In the old days Santa was more than a little creepy.


In fact, the first thing I thought of when I saw some of these cards was Aqualung.


St. Nick also seems to have a drinking problem. Who needs Rudolph with a honker like that?


What's with his compulsion to go mining for nose gold? I believe that the bit about "laying his finger alongside his nose" was a literary attempt to cover for the old man's less than exemplary habit.


So apparently, the big red round dude has done some serious image modification for today's world. Is he hiding something, or has he really changed?


Posted by Ted at 04:01 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

December 19, 2004

First snow

No white Christmas according to the forecasts, but it's beautiful out there this evening.

I'll worry about the commute tomorrow morning, tomorrow morning.

Posted by Ted at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Man, those guys are everywhere

Via Dustbury, I learned about Unsafe Search, an idea whose time has come. Basically, they first do a universal Google search on your phrase, then a second one with the full adult-filter applied. Then they remove all the hits from the nice, leaving just the naughty. Obvious and brilliant. But when I went there to check it out, what do I find?

It's a shame when someone searching for pornographic material related to, say, llamas, is forced to slog though many pages of perfectly innocuous llama sites before finally hitting upon the llama porn he was looking for.

I don't know guys, I never took the phrase link whoring as a literal description. I think this also proves that those online polls are full of crap.

This also gave me a chuckle (and it's work safe):

And nobody who does a Google search for "nice tits" wants to find a site like this one.

That site too, while perfectly harmless, has a nice sense of humor about the subject.

Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Probably too late for Christmas, but Valentines Day is doable

Send these folks a photo of your tattoo, and they'll recreate it as a piece of silver jewelry. Tres chic, as my biker friends would say.

Posted by Ted at 08:01 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

The 12 Days After Christmas

I well remember this song as sung by our high school chorus. I can still sing the first half from memory, even though I was in the orchestra and never got a look at the actual lyrics. This version (yay internet!) is a little different than what I remember, but that could very well be the ol' memory going or too much nog or whatnot.

Anyway, this is not sung to the tune of the original, but is wonderful nevertheless.

The first day after Christmas
my true love and I had a fight
And so I chopped the pear tree down
And burnt it, just for spite
Then with a single cartridge
I shot that blasted partridge
My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas, I pulled on the old rubber gloves
And very gently wrung the necks
Of both those stupid turtle doves.

The third day after Christmas, my mother caught the croup
I had to use the three French hens
To make her some chicken soup.

The four calling birds were a big mistake
For their language was obscene
The five golden rings were completely fake
And they turned my fingers putrid green.

The sixth day after Christmas, the six laying geese wouldn't lay
So I sent the whole darn gaggle to
The neighborhood A.S.P.C.A.

The seventh day, what a mess I had found
The seven swans-a-swimming all had drowned
My true love, my true love
My true love gave to me

The eighth day after Christmas, before they could suspect
I bundled up the
Twelve drummers drumming
Eleven pipers piping
Ten lords-a-leaping
Nine ladies dancing
Eight maids-a-milking
(well, actually I kept *one* of the ladies)
And sent them back collect

I wrote my true love
"We are through, love!"
And I said in so many words
"Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the
(Soprani) Birds!"

(Soprani) Birds!!!

(Everyone else) Four calling birds,
Three french hens,
Two turtle doves
And a partridge in a pear tree!"

There are a couple of alternate (and more crude) versions here. PS. I attended high school in the late 70's, so the "1992" attribution is just wrong.

Posted by Ted at 07:23 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Waxing Lyrical

December 18, 2004

A most memorable Christmas story

I may have mentioned M1ke before (yes, that's a one, and it's how he spelled it online). He had the ability to write some of the funniest dirty stories I've ever read. He 'retired' in 1997, but before he disappeared (or more likely changed his online name), he left us an unforgettable short story titled The Night Before Christmas. This story is neither dirty nor funny, and I hope he's still somewhere around and sharing his amazing talent.

I'm serious about this, go read the story.

Posted by Ted at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Boris Karloff

While cruising the net, I ran across this image, which brought back memories:


[The stamps issued consist of] five portraits of the actors based on publicity photographs of their most famous horror films. Lon Chaney appears as the Phantom of the Opera, Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein and the Mummy and Lon Chaney Jr. as Wolf Man.

The descendants had wanted stamps that carried two portraits of their famous relatives, one with monster makeup and one without. Designer Derry Noyes of Washington met their wishes by placing signed photographs of the four actors at the top of the sheets of 20 stamps.

The stamps are the second to contain hidden images, using a process developed by Graphic Security Systems Corp. of Lake Worth, Fla. This time designers have scrambled an image -- not letters -- into each of the stamps: bats on the Dracula stamp, hieroglyphics on the Mummy, masks on the Phantom, wolves on the Wolf Man and lightning bolts on Frankenstein.

To see the images requires purchase of a $4.95 "decoder lens" from the Postal Service.

With that as inspiration, here's the last in a series of brief bios based on those classic stamps.

(in the extended entry)

Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in 1887 in London, England. Coming from a long line of British diplomats, he turned away from family tradition to become a performer on the stage.

"When I was nine I played the demon king in Cinderella and it launched me on a long and happy life of being a monster." - Boris Karloff

In 1912, a then-unknown Karloff had taken some time off to canoe while performing in Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada. Upon his return, he learned that his hotel had been destroyed by a tornado that killed 28 people. He helped to organize a concert that raised some much needed relief funds for the city.

Karloff had a dark skin tone from his mother's East Indian heritage, so in silent films he was cast most often in Arab and American Indian roles. His breakthrough role was as the monster in 1931's Frankenstein, when he was 44 years old. Frankenstein was his 81st movie. All total, he acted in some 200 movies and made almost 100 television appearances.

He got the part as Frankenstein's Monster when Bela Lugosi turned it down because there was no dialogue and he'd be unrecognizable under the makeup. The costume included huge lifts and a heavy brace, which made the role physically difficult. In fact, Karloff suffered from back trouble for the rest of his life as a result of the costume, and underwent three major back surgeries.

After becoming a star, he wasn't so self-important that he couldn't poke a little fun at himself. His first Broadway play was "Arsenic and Old Lace" in a role that was written for especially for him. He played the black sheep of the family, whose face has been changed by a disreputable plastic surgeon so that he looks like Boris Karloff. The resemblance is comically remarked upon often during the play (and later the movie starring Cary Grant but not, inexplicably, Karloff).

Known as a warm and generous man, Boris Karloff enjoyed a reputation both as a professional performer and as a good friend. He was married five times and died in 1969 in his native England.

Posted by Ted at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

Scientific theory and good parenting

When Daniel first started blogging, he did a series on "how and why things work" that was very interesting and informative (sorry, no link to specifics, couldn't find anything on his page for that).

Being a grad student and lab rat research assistant, he probably doesn't have time for that series anymore, and we haven't seen one in quite a while. That's a shame.

So as a service to the Rocket Jones readers, I'm going to pick up the torch and run with it, much like the scissors mom warned you about. Not being a professional scientist (or even one in training), I'll have to apply my innate parental skills to the task.

First question:

Why does water run downhill?

continued in the extended entry

Answer: Because it is lazy.

See how simple that is? Now I could list pages of mathematical formulas and logic constructs to explain it all, but a good parent crafts an answer that simultaneously accomplishes two things.

Firstly, the answer should make sense to the young and inquiring mind, thus shutting him up satisfying their curiousity.

Secondly, once the answer is recognized as nonsense by the now-older child, it gives the parent the opportunity to say "go look it up". That moment is one every parent relishes, and probably drives 30% of all sales of home reference materials.

Next time, we'll explain how teenage sex causes zits.

Posted by Ted at 09:43 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

December 17, 2004


Hockey. Fed up with it. Disgusted. Barely paying attention to the labor problems because the average NHL player busts his ass for more than a million dollars per year while I bust my ass for a pitiful fraction of that. Shut up you whiny bitches and enjoy your season playing in Podunk, Russia. Hope like hell you don't suffer a career-ending injury there either. If I sound sympathetic towards the owners, it's only a matter of degree. They've done it to themselves with idiot owners (why are the biggest nitwits always in New York?) who wildly overpay for average talent. But you know what? The players agreed to the contracts. I never heard of an owner saying "I'm not going to pay you what we agreed to because you didn't perform up to expectations." Hockey is a business, and the players seem to think that the owners owe them the ability to make a living playing professional hockey for top dollar. I wonder how many owners have secretly admitted that they'd be better off folding their team and being done with the annual ritual of losing money? To the players: the owners don't owe you squat. How do you say "Bend over and enjoy it" in Swedish?

DC Baseball. The Nationals might never be. Boo freaking Hoo. I'm an Orioles fan and it wouldn't break my heart at all not to have a "local" team (transplanted from Canada and known for it's distinct Latin character) move in and take away televised games I actually care to see. Nobody local should be surprised, because it's Washington DC fer pete's sake! What did you expect?!?!?!?! The Nationals were a political hostage from the day they were announced, I'm just surprised their official uniforms weren't announced as orange jumpsuits.

Update before I even posted this: I just caught the briefest radio flash on this so the details might be wrong, but apparently DC is requiring a non-refundable $10,000 payment with each financing plan. This fee will be used to hire private auditors or some such because the District's CFO is out of the country until mid-January. This doesn't make much sense to me as I write it, but the additional up-front money is typical DC gov.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Need a good laugh?

A Perfectly Cromulent Blog, where you'll get such wisdom as:

(discussing what hot dog condiments reveal about your personality) I'm largely ambivalent on the subject of corn dogs, however. On one hand, there are a limited number of useable toppings. On the other, any foodstuff that leaves you with a potentially deadly weapon afterwards is all right by me.
Posted by Ted at 12:08 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Which screw to turn

The repair guy showed up late yesterday afternoon to fix the oven. Two hundred dollars for 10 minutes worth of work, it was a straight part swap-out of the igniter module. Apparently they lose efficiency over time and ours lasted more than twice as long as average. To make the one stove burner "just like new" would be another hundred and a half, but we've learned to work around it even though it works "just like old", so we passed on that. I can't complain much because the range is 12 years old and this is the first trouble we've ever had from it.

Posted by Ted at 06:13 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

I don't care how cool they are, they're still punks

I have to work in the morning dammit, and they're out there partying all night long.


Posted by Ted at 05:47 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

The beauty of simplicity

Kaya no te wo
Hitotsu hazushite,
Tsuki-mi kana!

A simple haiku, written in the 1700's by the Japanese poetess and Buddhist nun Chiyo.

Her challenge was to write about a square, a triangle and a circle within the 17 syllables of a single haiku, and it is said that she immediately responded with the above verse. Here's the english translation:

"Detaching one corner of the mosquito-net, lo! I behold the moon!"

The top of the mosquito-net, suspended by cords at each of the four corners, respresents the square. Letting down the net at one corner converts the square into a triangle. The moon represents the circle.

There are many more beautiful pieces at the link above.

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

My current favorite "crank it up during the commute" song

Vindicated by Dashboard Confessional

Hope dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption
Winding in and winding out
The shine of it has caught my eye

And roped me in
So mesmerizing, so hypnotizing
I am captivated, I am

I am selfish
I am wrong
I am right
I swear I'm right
I swear I knew it all along
And I am flawed, but I am cleaning up so well
I am seeing in me now the things you swore you saw yourself

So clear
Like the diamond in your ring
Cut to mirror your intention
Oversized and overwhelmed
The shine of which has caught my eye
And rendered me
So isolated, so motivated
I am certain now that I am


So turn
Up the corners of your lips
Part them and feel my finger tips
Trace the moment, fall forever

Defense is paper thin
Just one touch and I'll be in
Too deep now to ever swim against the current
So let me slip away (3x)
So let me slip against the current
So let me slip away (4x)


My hope
dangles on a string
Like slow spinning redemption...

Posted by Ted at 04:37 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

December 16, 2004

Like real-life 'Groundhog Day' meets Siskel & Ebert

Most people have a few special movies that they can watch over and over and over again. For me it would be the following:

Father Goose - Cary Grant
Victor Victoria - Robert Preston, Julie Andrews, James Garner
King Ralph - John Goodman
Sahara - James Belushi

Maybe this has been done before, but feel free to post yours and link back, or leave 'em in the comments.

Posted by Ted at 12:20 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Cult Flicks

Opportunity knocks but once

Except in Nigeria.

Posted by Ted at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Damn straight it's all about me


Courtesy of 'Tis the Season, and found via the effervescent Squipper!

Ho x 3 indeed.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Reviewing movies you'd never hear about otherwise

Not me, well... yeah, me. But I mean besides me. Ptiza of Chicken Soup for the Vegan Soul (love that title, love her writing), tells about the Number One Worst Movie of All Time.

Posted by Ted at 05:18 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Cult Flicks

Keeping it straight

I think I've got it right...

Bul Go Gi - Korean marinated beef.

Pa Go Gi - Korean marinated pork.

Ka Go Gi - Korean marinated dog.

I'm torn as to whether I want you to correct me or not. Some knowlege is just better left fuzzy.

Posted by Ted at 04:55 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

December 15, 2004


Actual conversations and comments from my youngest daughter.

Here's where I wish I had multiple sets of eyes so I could glare at more than one of you at once.

Discussing attire for a semi-formal this weekend:

I have formal and I have informal. Maybe I should just wear my prom dress and a hoodie.

In her Physics class with her lab partner:

Partner: Give me a random number so I can solve this quadratic equation.

Mookie: 76.

Partner (after a few moments): Whoa, that's weird. Let me double check that... (more time passes) Holy crap, the answer is 75.9!

Mookie: Tuesday is jello day.

Posted by Ted at 07:09 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

One sad goodbye, one happy hello

Sgt Hook is signing off. Thanks to Jennifer for passing on that sad news.

Rachael Lucas is back as Blue-Eyed Infidel. She was the first blog I ever discovered, and if you thought she was full of ranty mc-rants before, well lookout!

...this blog is not going to be as nice as Piquant Rants. Yeah that's right I said not as nice.

Curse words will be used. Insults tossed forth carelessly. That sort of thing. My former blog got to be markedly unpleasant for me the minute I started worrying what elderly relatives or future in-laws or my more conservative section of readers would think if I said I hope Barbra Streisand suffers from chronic yeast infections.

So screw all that. No more touchy-worry-cringey manners. You no likey, you go now!

I'm so looking forward to reading her again. Thanks Jeff for pointing out her new home!

Posted by Ted at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

The PB&J of Science

I heard a nifty little radio spot this morning on the way to work, courtesy of Boeing and Bill Nye, the Science Guy. There's a complete transcript here (it's pretty short).

I really liked this part:

Science is a way of thinking. We explore, observe, test, and eventually know. It’s a process we want our kids to embrace. It’s the P, B, & J, the Passion, Beauty, and Joy of science that will give them the means to understand the world around them and try to make it better.

Of course, not everybody is a Bill Nye fan.

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

I dreamt about blogging

dreamTed: "I think I'll start using random punctuation and italicizing on Rocket Jones, just for fun."

dreamMookie: "I though you already did."

I grounded her for dreamLife. Did you know there was a dreamChild Services?

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

Christmas Cheesecake - 5

She'll have to hurry to finish in time for Christmas.

(in the extended entry, safe for work unless you work for Scrooge)

whatever you do, don't pull that string

Posted by Ted at 04:51 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

December 14, 2004

I'm really really sorry Daniel (on the inside)

So please ignore the happy dance and taunting, nano-toast.

Thanks to a career game from Titans receiver Drew Bennett, I beat Daniel in this week's Blogger Bowl matchup. Going into Monday night's game, he was up by 13 points, which was a lot closer than I figured it would be since he's one of the top teams in the league and the Rockets have been hovering near .500 most of the season. Apparently he's on the Santa's 'bad boy' list, because we rose up to righteously smite him. And the horse he rode in on.

What makes this doubly special is that I get to do my happy dance with the lovely, talented and loyal Hot Jets cheerleaders!

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

This is it for the Rockets in this year's fantasy season. I finished out of the playoffs in 6th place with a 6-7-1 record. Daniel though, doormat to the Rockets that he is, did make the playoffs and I wish him the best of luck. Victor is in the playoffs too, so march on Oh Mice of Mischief!

I'd like to thank the Hot Jets for their support this year. Victor proclaimed bad juju for recruiting his girlfriend for my cheerleader squad, but I always say that when life hands you bad juju, make jujubees. I appreciate all the folks I've played against too, because the trash talk and back 'n' forth has been fun. Special thanks to Nick for setting it all up.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Simple Rubberband Gun

As kids, we used to make these as needed every summer, although occasionally someone would fashion a more elaborate one and keep it from year to year.

And no, none of us ever put an eye out with one of these. Then again, we were bright enough not to intentionally aim at the face. We also did a lot of target shooting with 'em. That's what I recommend: target shooting at cans or flies or plastic army men. Don't be dumb, and I'm not responsible if you are.

Wood - length of broomstick or dowel, or a 1"x2" or even a 2"x4". Whatever you use, you need a piece about 12" long (more for a 2"x4" rifle).

Clothespins - tradition says use the wooden spring type, but the plastic ones will work just fine. The simplest gun uses one, we usually used at least two. They come in bags of 100 or more, so borrow from a neighbor if you don't have your own. Or make lots of guns, you politically incorrect brute.

Rubberbands - in our house, we kept rubberbands around the doorknob on the furnace closet, and had plenty because you got one with every newspaper delivered. They're cheap, so don't go mugging the paperboy for his.

How To
Take sandpaper and round off any sharp edges to eliminate splinters.
Use a file to cut a shallow "V" notch in the end of the wood.
Use one rubber band to fasten a clothespin to the wood on the opposite end of the wood from the notch.
That's it!

Here's a picture of a fancy store-bought model that works exactly this way. It's a good view of the clothespin and notch setup.

To Use
Hook a rubber band around the end of the wood so it's in the notch.
Stretch it back with one hand, use the other to open the clothespin and catch the rubberband.
When ready to shoot, press on the clothespin and zing!

You can cut out pistol or rifle shapes from the wood, mount multiple clothespins (and make extra notches), and do all kinds of custom coolness with the basic design. Often we'd grab a piece of scrap wood, use a rock to gouge out the notch, grab a clothespin from the clothesline out back and a handfull of rubberbands from the doorknob. Within minutes you had something that worked, and sometimes the ugliest thing was the straightest shooter (my best was from an old yellow broomstick with two clothespins attached). Showing up with a store-bought rubberband gun was tolerated - barely - mainly because we'd closely examine it to see how they managed multiple shots if it worked that way.

Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Build It

25 Things Men Shouldn't Find Sexy, But Do

Their primary purpose is to be straddled. Is it any wonder we want to be reincarnated as one?

Cursing, crying, pulling hair, throwing drinks, abusing bathroom attendants and being convicted of assault: sexy. A mug shot with a tear-streaked face: even sexier.

"I think you said, 'Spank me hard.' Is this correct? To confirm, press 1 or say yes."

Very serious matter, seven years of training, blah, blah, blah...We just want a set of those stirrup things. Think they can be rented for private parties?

Because they say, "I really do not care." Just add vodka and Bon Jovi for a down-and-dirty good time.

They were hot when we were 13 and didn't know any better. Then we grew out of it - only to grow back into it. We were right the first time.

Look! Their nipples are almost touching! Damn those blouses!

Either lolling around in our shirts the morning after or doing the full drawn-on-mustache cigar-suit thing. It's like Groucho Marx with a vagina.

It was the most mind-blowingly erotic experience of our young lives. Now we have to buy $500 shoes for the pleasure. At least we're smart enough to ask for double knots.

If we passed them on the street, we wouldn't look twice. But put them in a dark room and in charge of beer and suddenly we're babbling idiots. And not just because we're wasted out of our mind. Well, it's not totally because we're wasted out of our mind.

Beneath the stern expression, starched shirt and firearm is the soft, yielding, lightly scented flesh of a woman. A woman who could shoot us if we looked at her the wrong way. Ideally, while we're handcuffed to the headboard.

Because their boobs get even bigger. And because they're broadcasting to the entire world that they just had sex.

We come for the cleavage. We stay for the sex. We leave in shame - satiated shame.

Especially when worn by Japanese girls. White socks optional. Pigtails essential. It's not a fetish if 100 percent of men like it - it's a law of nature.

If she lets a stuttering bunny take a crack at her, it means we might actually have a chance. But unfortunately, we're not a cartoon. Hear that, Lucy Van Pelt? There's no way that's our baby!

Yes, a monkey girl. Is that so wrong? Know what? Watch a female ape eat a banana and get back to us.

Not that we need instruction, but the detailed language and explicit diagrams make us want to try it right now. (And don't think we won't.) They're also good for a little light bathroom reading.

Particularly if they've belittled us in front of our friends, called us ugly and/or gay and are going out with much better-looking, manlier men than us. Those girls are as hot as our confidence is shattered.

She's like a female cop, but with an extra dash of fascism.

Not the lingerie itself, but rather the notion that we might get a sales girl so wildly turned on by our blithely fingering the same undies she's wearing that she has to enact her fantasy of raunchy sex with a total stranger in the nearest dressing room. (Preferably, that stranger would be us.)

We hear that women who wear them also sport ultrasexy lingerie underneath, reserved for the eyes of their husbands. Now that's all we can think about. Allah, please forgive us! And angry husbands, don't stone us!

The pale parts look even more naked next to the tanned parts. This also works with sock marks and bra indentations.

You respect her. She respects you. Then you stare at her ass crack like it's the Grand Canyon.

Because they're visible! And they're panties!

Expert thighs clamped around hard, quivering muscle? Ass-whipping? Steamy snorting? Notorious for giving young women their first orgasms? Bareback and mounting? If that's not sublimated sex, then neither is Kathy Bates' nude hot-tub scene in About Schmidt.

And as an added bonus, in the extended entry are Five Things We Should Find Sexy...But Don't.

The only thing she should be squirting is perfume. Or mace.

One's an actual lesbian, and they don't even work it in? We wuz robbed!

Next thing you know, they'll be farting and stealing our Cheetos.

Cuddling is only hot when penetration is involved.

Unless you have a horse fetish.

Posted by Ted at 04:53 AM | Comments (11)
Category: Square Pegs

December 13, 2004

Good thing I'm not suicidal

Our oven has gone bonky. The stove part works fine, but the oven itself doesn't want to light. It will, eventually, but I wouldn't stand in front of it when the gigantic *WOOF* happens, because one of these times it'll blow the door open and emit a fireball that'd make Smaug proud. So we aren't using the oven until it gets fixed.

Fifty dollars for the guy to walk in the door to tell us the oven is broken. And I've already done most of the diagnostic work for him, thanks to a friendly and experienced neighbor. Yesterday we checked the gas pressure in the house at the furnace and water heater (it's good), even did a little pre-winter maintenance on the appliances and they're all ok. I took the oven apart a little and made sure the glow plate is working and cleaned out the gas vents, which seem to be working just fine. So it's the thermocouple or a gas valve or something like that, and will probably be hideously expensive and rediculously easy to replace.

Like the old joke about the machine problem that no one on site could fix, so they called the vendor technician. He walked in, watched it for a few minutes, took out a screwdriver and turned a screw 1/4 turn, after which the machine ran perfectly. Then he presented a bill for $600.00. The plant manager threw a hissy fit and demanded an itemized bill, so the tech wrote:
"turn screw - $2.00"
"knowing which screw to turn - $598.00"

We'll find out thursday which screw to turn.

Posted by Ted at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


A heaping helping of kudos to the guys at Anticipatory Retaliation for pointing out this military ode to the poncho (pdf). Take comfort Skippy, you are not alone.

Posted by Ted at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

It's about time my true genius was recognized

It's awards season in the blogosphere, but I won something I didn't even know about the one I most coveted. That's right, I won a Windy! Go me.

Specifically, I won The Underpants Gnome Award (and don'tcha wish you knew why, neener neener). Go me.

In other Jen-related news, she's also pushing her referral contest and the prize is a stuffed bear with a skin condition and a book called White House Wisdom, which is probably one blank page. Ok, I took a second look at the bear and it's not a skin condition, it's covered with red and blue stars. Go me. Doesn't matter. I want it. So go over to Jen from here and leave a comment about how Ted deserves the damn bear so just give it to him and screw the statsmeter.

Plushy bears and Underwear Gnome Award winners. There are certain mysteries in the universe you just don't mess with, and the symmetry there is one of them. Give me the bear.

Posted by Ted at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Christmas Cheesecake - 4

Because unwrapping your present is the best part.

(in the extended entry - more or less safe for work)

Wow, look what Santa brought me!

Posted by Ted at 05:46 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Interplanetary Christmas

In an exclusive interview with NASA, Santa discusses his plans for Christmas on future space colonies.

Mars is going to start to stretch us a bit. See, it takes 687 days to go around the Sun. That's about two of our Earth years. So every other year I'll have two Christmas runs to make, the Earth-Moon run and the Mars run. We'll really have to 'haul Rudolph,' as the reindeer are fond of saying. Fortunately, a Martian day is 37 minutes longer than an Earth day, so we can still do our usual overnight delivery.

There's lots more too. Enjoy!

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

December 12, 2004

A couple of movies starring Scandanavian lovelies

Ursula Andress in Dr. No

Ursula Andress will be forever remembered by me as Ursula Undress, thanks to Mad Magazine and one of their most accurate parody monikers ever. She starred in Dr. No, the first James Bond movie, and became the prototype Bond girl.

When Ursula is in a movie, you just know that at some point she's gonna get naked, right?

Slave of the Cannibal God was a pleasant surprise. Costarring Stacy Keach, there's a lot of plot going on, the acting was better than average for the genre and Ursula manages to stay dressed through more than half the movie. That last might not seem like a plus, but by not taking the easy copout (who needs plot when we can distract the audience with breasts?), the movie manages to sustain interest and when she finally does get naked, well, that just makes it better.

To wildly oversimplify the story, Ursula hires explorer Keach to lead her and her brother in a search for her missing husband, who disappeared on an expedition into the jungle. Shit happens.

There are uncomfortable scenes in the movie. It's about cannibals after all, and what would a cult flick be without some gruesome, eh? A lot of the jungle atmosphere is achieved by stock wildlife scenes, and we're not talking Bambi nibbling grass in a meadow. These are mini-vignettes of mother nature at her most violent and vicious, very in-your-face and disquieting.

Overall, I recommend this movie, especially if you like the jungle/cannibal sub-genre. It's done better than most, and it's got Ursula Andress naked.

Anita Eckberg. Say it slowly, let it roll off your tongue. Ah-neet-ah EK-berg. Sweeeeeet. The second movie unmistakably demonstrates that beauty overcomes talent (or lack thereof) every time.

Anita Ekberg

This time the title is Fangs of the Living Dead. Originally made in Spanish, the half-assed dubbing done here adds to the charm and unintentional hilarity. As good as the other movie was, this one isn't, which is not to say it isn't worth seeing if you love crap movies. Since it is set in Italy and Transylvania, brunette ladies abound, which is worked into the story when the conspicously blond Ms. Ekberg arrives in the village.

You get a double-shot of Anita as she plays both the main character Sylvia and her mother (in a brunette wig) in flashbacks. Sylvia, as far as I could tell, is a fashion model who inherits a castle from the mother she never knew. Or something like that. She travels to the castle to find that she has a creepy and mysterious uncle still living there. He might be a vampire, and the women chained up in the dungeons below probably are too. Her boyfriend follows her across the continent and tries to rescue her until the uncle foils his plans with, of all things, a locked gate. Yep, true love is no match for a good fence.

You can tell that this was meant to be a serious film because there's additional (some would say redundant) comic relief in the character of the boyfriend's best friend, who tags along for the adventure and bumbles his way through the movie.

"I knew your mother. She was very blonde." - Fangs of the Living Dead

One more thing, in a cherry on top kinda way, is the background music. Here's a sample:

That's the sound of an organ chord in some minor key, signifying suspense. You hear it about 600 times during the course of the film.

The acting is melodramatic and overwrought (especially Anita Ekberg's) and the dialogue doesn't help matters at all. On the other hand, we get mondo cleavage, vampire women cat fights, shirtless guys chained up (for you ladies), and cheesy special effects. In other words, Fangs of the Living Dead earns Rocket Jones' highest recommendation!

Posted by Ted at 08:31 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Cult Flicks

December 11, 2004

Christmas Cheesecake - 3

Since Susie asked, I have to offer my apologies for not finding "firemen in nothing but red suspenders". Apparently there is a limit to what you can find on the internet, and now I'm getting popup ads that scare me.

But I might have an acceptable compromise or three (in the extended entry, and it's even semi-safe for work)

firemen find 'em hot and leave 'em wet

This is about the best I could do. Notice the fire extinguisher, which I have a problem with (unless it's filled with whipped cream). Do you really want a professional who, just when things get really heated up, jumps out of bed and grabs extra equipment ...wait, that didn't come out right... yells a warning before he hoses you down ...that's even worse... calls Central Dispatch for additional units ... uh, forget I even started that sentence, ok?

rich, handsome and a body like that, he'd better be stupid

Or I could offer to get Susie the list of all the guys who've ordered this book. In a group like that, it seems like there'd be more than a few keepers.

Aren't I thoughtful

Then again, since giving is better than receiving, I could just give Susie this, and then she could give me a show. Give, give, give, everybody wins. It's the holiday spirit in me, I tell ya.

Posted by Ted at 07:04 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

A Space Station Christmas

Ho Ho Ho, NASA style. Here's a little bit of the story:

Astronaut Cathy Clarke opened her eyes and yawned. Mission Control was playing Jingle Bells over the intercom for about the two hundredth time. "OK," she barked into the microphone. "I'm awake and I know it's Christmas!"

Cathy, one of the crew of the International Space Station (ISS), was feeling homesick.

Back on Earth, she knew, her family was gathered around the Christmas tree, sipping eggnog and opening presents. Later they would radio from Houston, but she yearned to be with them now -- not stuck in an orbiting laboratory, 350 km above Earth, with no Christmas spirit.

Months earlier Mission Control had turned down her request for a tree. "The pine needles would just float around and poke you in the eye," they said. "It's a safety issue."

"Oh, humbug," grumped Cathy.

Never underestimate Santa Claus!

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

December 10, 2004

Coal prices are up, so instead we get this

Bloviating Inanities is a Munuvian.

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

Toy memories

This guy put up an excellent page in loving tribute to the toys he had as a kid in the 60's. That's my general age-frame too, so this brought back plenty of good times. Check it out and discover why our toys were cooler than the ones you grew up with.

Posted by Ted at 09:02 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

More Accoustics and Relationship Advice

Be a considerate neighbor. Use a little hot-melt glue to attach a couple of pieces of foam rubber to the back of the headboard.

Posted by Ted at 08:28 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Baseball and Steroids

I've been silent about the whole subject while I worked it out in my own mind.

Bottom line: Bonds, Giambi, McGwire, Caminiti and all the rest did nothing against the rules. When McGwire took Andro, it was legal, and there's been nothing in the rulebook prohibiting steroids. Change the rules and then start enforcing them, but don't get all righteously indignant because someone looked for a legal competitive edge, found one and took advantage of it. There was a time when spitballs were allowed, but baseball didn't throw out every pitcher's record when that rule changed.

Over at Only Baseball Matters, John has been writing about steroid use and the myths and realities surrounding them for quite a while now. I really recommend visiting and reading his posts, there's an entire section devoted to the subject.

Posted by Ted at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

December 09, 2004

Tastier than a Bumble Bar

Head on over to Son of Cheese and feast on his classic review of an organic knosh.

A nibble? But of course!

Who, in their right mind, would wander into a pet shop, spy one of those birdseed bells and think "damn, if we squarshed it flat, that'd make one fine "people snack?"

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

Bare-Assed Hattery

The assistant to the President of Notre Dame has shaved her head to protest the firing of former football coach Tyrone Willingham.

"The process was flawed," Johnson said. "There weren't enough people in the conversation. And there was little or no consideration of the ramifications of the decision."

In other words, the people who were delegated the authority to hire and fire football coaches did so, but because Willingham is black, that makes it wrong and different this time.

Johnson also said the decision has hurt Notre Dame's goal of improving diversity on campus.

Bullshit. Notre Dame has hundreds if not thousands of applications for each student slot available.

"I think the damage that was done by this decision is irreparable in the immediate future," she told the newspaper.

Yep, doom and gloom. "Irreperable" damage. Whitey is just jumping for joy over this one.

On Wednesday, [University President] Malloy said he was surprised Willingham was not given more time to try to succeed and that he was embarrassed by the firing.

Translation: "A shitstorm has developed over the firing of a non-performing football coach who happens to be black, and I need to cover my ass. Besides, football isn't that important to colleges anyways, especially not to Notre Dame."

I have a dream, when a man will be judged not by the color of his skin, but by the performance of the job he's been hired to do.

Posted by Ted at 04:47 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Greek Farmer Finds 2000 Year Old Monument

Another archeological find.

"This is the location of one of the biggest battles in Greek history ... where a huge army from the east was assembled against Rome," the official, Vassilis Aravantinos, said.

The site near Orchomenos, about 75 miles northwest of Athens, was recorded by the Greek historian Plutarch. But the actual location of the long-sought monument — originally believed to stand 23 feet — was a mystery until last month, when the farmer plowing his fields stumbled upon a buried column that led researchers to uncover the monument's stone base.

When my neighbor digs, he hits the gas line and the neighborhood is evacuated.

Posted by Ted at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)
Category: History

It all makes perfect sense now

Seen on an online bulletin board:

In LotR all the elves sailed to the “undying lands” to the west. Continental drift caused those lands to move further north and eventually they were left to spend eternity making toys for their new red-suited overlord.

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

Christmas Cheesecake - 2


(in the extended entry - not quite safe for work)

naughty and nice 2.jpg

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

Back safe and reasonably sane

Remember the Beverly Hillbillys and their loaded-down truck? Pots and pans hanging off'n it, and the washtub lashed to the front bumper. Granny's rocking chair was sitting up top, balanced precariously on the pile of everything they owned.

The trip back from Michigan wasn't quite that bad.

Bungee cords are your friend.

No college student should own that much crap.

I carefully planned this one around good weather, and we made the return trip on the one non-rainy day forecasted for the week. The ride up was an adventure, going through Pennsylvania I hit fog so thick you couldn't see fifty feet in front of you, then a blinding driving rain on the turnpike's downhill run. Mostly though, it was drizzly and rainy and showery and blustery. Enough to keep you alert and paying attention to the road, not enough to dampen my good spirits.

I saw the most vivid rainbow in my life in Ohio. The colors were electric and it was very close. A few minutes later it was joined by a second, slightly more faint arc. Awesome.

We packed the truck twice. The first time in the parking lot of her dorm and the second time in a commuter lot about 10 miles south of her campus. I made her give stuff away to the kids who helped bring her stuff down from the room. Stuff that wouldn't fit in the truck.

No one should own that many shoes. Her nickname as a teen was "Imelda", and she's still living up to that name.

I ended up driving the entire way back (11+ hours) because I just couldn't contort myself enough to sit in the passenger seat around the crap on the floor. When we tried to make the driver swap, Robyn popped into the Starbucks on the turnpike plaza for a large coffee and a double-shot of caffeine. It was kinda funny watching her buzz for awhile after that. Yakata-yakata-yakata-yakata...

So I drove on, doing fine and enjoying the ride. We got home late last night and unloaded granny's rocker Robyn's life, and even got most of it put away (at least temporarily).

Son just left for work - job 1 this morning, first day at job 2 this afternoon - and Mookie is bumbling around getting things together for school. So why am I up? My legs are griping a little bit this morning about the long drive, teetering on the very edge of a massive charlie horse. I get up and walk around every few minutes, do the stairs a couple of times, stretching out and keeping them warm.

The whole family is home again. Nice. (temporarily... temporarily... temporarily...)

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

December 06, 2004

Road Trip

Headed to Michigan to pick up oldest daughter from college. Be back in a couple of days. Take care.

Posted by Ted at 11:16 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

Accoustics and Relationship Advice

Being male, there are certain things you can't help but notice in a public men's room. Audio things. Things you might not even realize conciously, but you notice.

For instance, some men like to direct their stream against the side of the porcelain to minimize the sound, while others aim directly for the deep end to go for the big splash. The more frivolous might be trying to recreate in miniature the effect of water erosion against the deodorant cake, and there are always the bubble games to amuse the mind while neccessarily occupied in standing still (cool, that one looks just like Florida!).

More fundamental are the physical differences. The male organ is highly variable in detail, even in it's non-recreational role. A gentleman with a larger diameter urethra sounds like he's pouring water into the toilet from a glass (or a fire hose). A man closer to garden hose functionality won't make nearly as much noise and will take considably longer to complete the task at hand. Then there are those guys who seem to have a sprinkler head attached to the end of their willie, and cannot hit the target regardless of range or proximity.

Those last are the ones you want to avoid ladies, else you'll be wiping the seat and mopping bathroom floors for the rest of your life.

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

A moment of Culture

Tennessee Birdwalk

Take away the trees
and the birds'll have to sit upon the ground.
Take away their wings
and the birds'll have to walk to get around.
Take away the birdbaths
and dirty birds will soon be everywhere.
Take away their feathers
and the birds will walk around in underwear.
Take away their (whistle)
and the birds'll have to whisper when they sing.
(Chirp chirp!)
Take away their common sense
and they'll be heading southward in the spring.

Oh, remember me, my darling when spring is in the air,
And the bald headed birds are whispering everywhere.
When you see them walking southward in their dirty underwear,
That's the Tennessee Bird Walk.

How about some trees
so the birds won't have to sit upon the ground?
And how about some wings
so the birds won't have to walk to get around?
And how about a birdbath or two
so the birds will all be clean?
And how about some feathers
so their underwear no longer will be seen?
How about a little (whistle)
so the birds won't have to whisper when they sing?
(Chirp chirp!)
And how about some common sense,
So they won't be blocking traffic in the spring?

Oh, remember me, my darling when spring is in the air
And the bald headed birds are whispering everywhere
When you see them walking southward in their dirty underwear
That's the Tennessee Bird Walk (Chirp chirp!)

-- Jack Blanchard and Misty Morgan

You can hear the whole thing here (chirp chirp).

Posted by Ted at 05:13 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

December 05, 2004

It's probably just me

Have you seen that Staples commercial where grandma takes a picture of the family with a stapler? The voiceover helpfully tells us that she's hinting that she wants a digital camera from Staples.

Those folks don't hear the voiceover. If I were in dad's place, I think grandma would get a nice room at a home for Christmas.

Posted by Ted at 04:11 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Christmas Cheesecake - 1


(in the extended entry)


Posted by Ted at 10:48 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

More fun than the Holy Handgrenade of Antioch

A Trebuchet simulator.

Contests for distance, accuracy and power. Lots of background information too, so don't tell your kids that they'll be learning about physics while they play.

Thanks to the Ministry for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 10:30 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Leaps and Bounds

Our online community, Munuviana has grown enormously over the last year, and Pixy deserves more good karma than I alone can give for all the hard work he does to help us thrive and survive. He also gets the best spam.

It has come to my attention that there are two new-ish Munuvians that were not on my sidebar. That has been corrected, and I extend my apologies for not adding Loren and Kirsten sooner. They're both excellent writers with interesting things to say, and you should pay them a visit.

If you're wondering about the odd order of the Munuvians over on the right, I list them in chronological order of citizenship instead of alphabetic by title. Also, clicking on the NASA MuNu meatball logo will get you to our Community blog Munuviana.

Finally, please remember the new comment policy on Rocket Jones. It makes about as much sense as anything else around here.

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

Lon Chaney Jr.

While cruising the net, I ran across this image, which brought back memories:


[The stamps issued consist of] five portraits of the actors based on publicity photographs of their most famous horror films. Lon Chaney appears as the Phantom of the Opera, Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein and the Mummy and Lon Chaney Jr. as Wolf Man.

The descendants had wanted stamps that carried two portraits of their famous relatives, one with monster makeup and one without. Designer Derry Noyes of Washington met their wishes by placing signed photographs of the four actors at the top of the sheets of 20 stamps.

The stamps are the second to contain hidden images, using a process developed by Graphic Security Systems Corp. of Lake Worth, Fla. This time designers have scrambled an image -- not letters -- into each of the stamps: bats on the Dracula stamp, hieroglyphics on the Mummy, masks on the Phantom, wolves on the Wolf Man and lightning bolts on Frankenstein.

To see the images requires purchase of a $4.95 "decoder lens" from the Postal Service.

With that as inspiration, here's the third in a series of brief bios based on those classic stamps.

(in the extended entry)

Lon Chaney, Jr., is the only person to have played all four of the classic movie monsters: the Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster, the Mummy and Dracula.

Born Creighton Tull Chaney in Oklahoma City in 1906, Lon Chaney Jr was inextricably tied to his father's acting career. From the earliest days, in addition to doing regional theater under his own name, he worked menial jobs to support himself without calling upon his father. He was at various times a plumber, a meatcutter's apprentice, a metal worker and a farm worker. Despite his attempts to separate himself from his father's legacy, there was no animosity between them. From his father he developed skills as a makeup artist, but was seldom allowed to utilize them because of strict union rules.

After his father died in 1930, Creighton Chaney began making films, appearing in several small parts. In 1935 a producer insisted on changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr. for marketing purposes. Chaney was uncomfortable with the change but recognized that the famous name would help his career.

Lon Chaney Jr as Lennie

In 1939 he was given the role of the simple-minded Lennie in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. This proved to be his breakout role, giving an incredibly sensitive and touching performance. The role was his personal favorite as well, and often after a few drinks, he would recite scenes from the film at parties.

His next legendary movie role was in 1941 as the Wolf Man. Once again, he brought uncommon life and pathos to an unconventional role, this time as the lead character who struggled with personal demons as well as lycanthropy.

After this, Chaney starred in a string of minor horror films and gained a reputation as a solid character actor in more prestigious, big-budget films such as High Noon.

All told, Lon Chaney Jr appeared in over 170 movies. Not too shabby for a son whose father told him that he was too tall for a successful career in film.

He suffered from various illnesses and alcohol problems later in his life, and died in 1973.

When he died, it was as an actor who had spent his life chasing the fame of his father, but who was much beloved by a generation of filmgoers who had never seen his father.

Like his father, he refused requests for autographs.

Posted by Ted at 01:05 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

December 04, 2004


Santa plane wing anim.gif

Posted this last December, and cute enough to repeat (plus I know most of you wouldn't click if I just linked to it).

Posted by Ted at 07:58 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Carnival of the Recipes

The latest is up at Fresh as a Daisy, and it includes culinary yumness from fellow Munuvian Triticale as well as my world-famous recipe for roadkill reindeer tartar.

Just kidding, my entry are the Veggie Patch enchiladas, and thanks to Dawn for suggesting the name.

And welcome to new visitors to Rocket Jones. I hope you poke around and stay awhile, and come back again. Exchange links on the sidebar? You betcha, just let me know in the comments.

Posted by Ted at 07:25 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

The Temple of the Forest Beneath the Clouds

In far northern California is the little rural town of Weaverville. In Weaverville is a beautiful little part of the California State Parks system called The Joss House (refresh that link for more pictures too).

Weaverville Joss House

The temple is the oldest continuously used Chinese temple in California. On display are art objects, pictures, mining tools, and weapons used in the 1854 Tong War. This Taoist temple is still a place of worship and a fascinating look into the role played by Chinese immigrants in early California history. The temple was built in 1874 as a replacement for another that had burned.

My family visited the Joss House occasionally because the head ranger there was an old friend of my dad.

The temple and museum contain some striking pieces of Chinese history. Check out this page for some beautiful pictures of the temple and it's contents, especially the traditional Lion headdress (scroll to the the bottom).

Related sites and more information can be found here and here.

There's more in the extended entry about the 1854 Tong War and life for early Chinese immigrants.

The 1854 Tong War occured in Tuolumne County, California over a mining claim between the Yum Wo and Sam Yup Companies. The pitched battle, complete with gongs and drums, wrought-iron pikes and shields involved more than 500 Chinese and 2,000 spectators, and resulted in relatively few casualties.

And finally, for an idea of what Chinese immigrants had to deal with in early California, here's an excerpt from a timeline I googled up when looking for information about the Joss House.

  • California imposes Foreign Miner's Tax, mainly against the Chinese.
  • There are 25,000 Chinese in California.
  • 1854

  • California state law prohibits people of color from testifying against a white person in court.

  • People v. Hall rules that Chinese can not give testimony in court.
  • 1857

  • San Francisco opens a school for Chinese children (changed to an evening school two years later).
  • 1858

  • California passes a law to bar entry of Chinese and "Mongolians."
  • 1859

  • Chinese are barred from attending public schools in San Francisco.
  • 1860

  • California enacts a law to tax Chinese engaged in fishing.
  • 1862

  • Central Pacific railroad imports Chinese laborers.

  • California imposes a "police tax" of $2.50 a month on every Chinese.
  • 1864

  • Over 10,000 Chinese work for the Central Pacific.
  • 1868

  • The Burlingame Treaty between the United States and China is ratified for free immigration of citizens of both countries.
  • 1869

  • Transcontinental railroad is completed leaving many Chinese laborers out of job.
  • 1871

  • Chinese are massacred in October in Los Angeles.

  • The Queue Ordinance of San Francisco requires all prisoners in San Francisco jails to have their hair cut to no more than one inch long (the 'queue' refers to Chinese pigtails).

  • San Francisco passes an anti-Chinese Cubic Air Ordinance requiring at least 500 cubic feet air space per inhabitant.
  • 1872

  • California Civil Procedure Code drops law barring Chinese court testimony.
  • 1873

  • San Francisco passes Laundry Ordinance penalizing Chinese laundrymen for not using horses or horse-drawn delivery vehicles.
  • 1875

  • Page Law bars entry of Chinese, Japanese, and "Mongolian" prostitutes, felons, and contract laborers.
  • 1877

  • Anti-Chinese riots breaks out in Chico, California to protest the use of cheap Chinese labor.
  • 1878

  • California Constitutional Convention completes a new constitution that calls for restriction of citizenship to natives or foreigners of Mongolian blood and prohibiting corporations from employing Chinese laborers.
  • 1879

  • Congress passes Fifteen Passenger Bill on February 22 which limits ships crossing the Pacific to no more than 15 Chinese passengers. President Rutherford D. Hayes vetoes the bill, because it contradicts the terms of the Burlingame Treaty.

  • California adopts a new constitution on May 7 forbidding employment of Chinese labor.
  • Posted by Ted at 07:20 AM | Comments (0)
    Category: History

    December 03, 2004

    New Policy here on Rocket Jones

    Over at Sanity's Edge, Paul is sharing a very funny story about his visit to Japan. One thing that intrigues me is the Japanese habit of everyone yelling a greeting as they enter and leave a restaurant. According to Paul, you walk in and the entire staff hollers at you, and you holler back when you leave. Or something like that.

    So that's it. From now on, you come to Rocket Jones, you yell a greeting in the comments, and before you leave you yell again.

    Maybe this way, next year I'll be eligible for "Best Asian Blog" award.

    Posted by Ted at 12:12 PM | Comments (11)
    Category: Links

    The 10 Least Successful Holiday Specials of All Time

    I don't know which is my least favorite, but there are several hilarious choices to pick from.

    Listeners of radio's Columbia Broadcasting System who tuned in to hear a Christmas Eve rendition of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol were shocked when they heard what appeared to be a newscast from the north pole, reporting that Santa's Workshop had been overrun in a blitzkrieg by Finnish proxies of the Nazi German government. The newscast, a hoax created by 20-something wunderkind Orson Wells...

    Don't miss the lost Star Trek Christmas episode either!

    Thanks to Dean Esmay for the pointer.

    Posted by Ted at 12:04 PM | Comments (2)
    Category: Links

    That "Cult Flick" thing going around

    And we all know how I avoid crap like that...

    Pep and Liz from Truly Bad Films lend their take.

    Steve and Robert, the Llama Butchers give their two yips worth.

    "Seen it" in bold, occasional comments made (in the extended entry).

    1 This Is Spinal Tap - this is one of those "get around to it someday" movies for me.
    2 The Rocky Horror Picture Show
    3 Freaks - wonderful.
    4 Harold And Maude
    5 Pink Flamingos
    6 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre - oh yeah.
    7 Repo Man
    8 Scarface
    9 Blade Runner
    10 The Shawshank Redemption - better than the original King story.
    11 Five Deadly Venoms
    12 Plan 9 From Outer Space
    13 Brazil - I rent this every few years to rewatch.
    14 Eraserhead
    15 Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
    16 The Warriors - I fell in lust with the whiskey-smooth voice of that DJ.
    17 Dazed And Confused
    18 Hard-Boiled
    19 Evil Dead II
    20 The Mack
    21 Pee-Wee's Big Adventure - I can't stand him.
    22 Un Chien Andalou
    23 Akira
    24 The Toxic Avenger - my introduction to the entire Troma lineup.
    25 Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory
    26 Stranger Than Paradise
    27 Dawn Of The Dead
    28 The Wiz - ease on out, ease on out-ta my head.
    29 Clerks - I liked it, and the alternate ending really drove home the filmmaking process and how it can alter the entire tone of a movie.
    30 The Harder They Come
    31 Slap Shot
    32 Re-Animator - loved it.
    33 Grey Gardens
    34 The Big Lebowski - didn't like it, couldn't even finish watching it.
    35 Withnail and I
    36 Showgirls
    37 A Bucket Of Bood - the first half was 5 stars, the second half was pretty lame.
    38 They Live
    39 The Best Of Everything
    40 Barbarella
    41 Heathers
    42 Rushmore
    43 The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension
    44 Love Streams
    45 Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story - what a voice that woman had!
    46 Aguirre, The Wrath of God
    47 Walking And Talking Nicole Holofcener
    48 The Decline Of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years
    49 Friday
    50 Faces of Death, Vol. 1 - not my cup of tea
    51 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    52 A Clockwork Orange - one of my all-time favorites
    53 Mommie Dearest - until you've seen this dubbed in German, you haven't truly experienced it. Would probably be great in Klingon too.
    54 The Princess Bride
    55 Swingers
    56 UHF
    57 Valley of the Dolls
    58 Fight Club
    59 Dead Alive (aka Braindead)
    60 Better Off Dead
    61 Donnie Darko

    Robert the Llama Butcher likes The Adventures Of Baron Von Munchausen, and I'll heartily agree.

    Pep and Liz have a few suggestions too: Matinee - hell yeah! Office Space - ehhh.

    My additions: Red Dawn, Idle Hands, My Favorite Year, and I definitely second the nomination of Matinee! In fact, let me add King Ralph and Always, and make it a John Goodman triple crown.

    Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (8)
    Category: Cult Flicks

    You know you're not in the city when

    You can access the interstate from a dirt road.

    Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (1)
    Category: Square Pegs

    December 02, 2004

    *sniff* I could vote for that man

    This line from President Bush's speech in Canada:

    Paul [Martin, Prime Minister] and I share a great vision for the future: two prosperous, independent nations joined together by the return of NHL hockey.

    Thanks to Debbye and Gir (who's posted the entire transcript).

    Posted by Ted at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)
    Category: Links

    Debate all you want, you won't change my mind

    Velma is *much* sexier than Daphne. She's intelligent, brunette and wears glasses.

    Update: My wife doesn't read Rocket Jones, so when I told her about this post and the talk about Velma being gay, she instantly opined:

    Velma? Hell yeah. Skirt and knee socks. Definitely gay.

    Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (7)
    Category: Square Pegs

    Life is full

    Lots going on around the ol' homestead and at work right now, so posting has been and will continue to be light.

    Notable event: Mookie cooked last night and tried a new recipe on us. It turned out pretty good. She's an indifferent cook, so I tell her she's got a promising career in the military food services field.

    After dinner, she got on the PC and downloaded some software and drivers for her TI scientific calculator. She's got the same teacher for Statistics and Physics, so he expects more from her in both classes. It amazes me when I watch the kids work their magic on those things, because I can barely count to ten.

    We also watched a 1960's drive-in classic: Tales of Terror. Three stories loosely based on Poe, written by Roger Corman, and starring Vincent Price (in all three), Peter Lorre and Basil Rathbone. I might do a review later, but if you see it in the TV Guide, it's worth watching. It was Mookie's first real exposure to Price and Lorre, and she had no idea who Basil Rathbone was.

    Almost forgot, I baked one of those Peanut Butter & Oatmeal pies. Pretty good and very very rich. The cookie crust burnt a little bit, and we were thinking that it might be better with a crushed chocolate 'nilla wafer crust instead to cut the sheer intensity of the peanut butter. Next time.

    And that was pretty much my evening. It sounds boring, but there's something special about spending it with the family. Works for me.

    Posted by Ted at 04:21 AM | Comments (2)
    Category: Square Pegs

    December 01, 2004

    Subtlety didn't work

    Since everyone missed it in the Blogger Bowl post below, here is an explicit link to my newest fans: Rats for Rockets. Check it out.

    Posted by Ted at 06:07 AM | Comments (4)
    Category: Square Pegs
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