March 31, 2005

Yes, I've been playing with the banners

I've got a couple of new ones and some ideas I'm working on.

Posted by Ted at 09:21 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Free Association

Seen on the back of a Vlasic pickle jar:

"There's always time for a dill moment"

First thought that popped into my head: "Yeah, just before becoming a Darwin Award nominee."

Posted by Ted at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Spring has sprung

It kind of snuck up on me what with being busy as all git out lately. My wife pointed out the the hostas in the front are starting to sprout, which reminds me that I want to transplant them into the backyard sometime soon. I'll replace them with four small boxwood shrubs (or maybe three if I can find a small burning bush for the end nearest the gate). My goal is to have a front yard that looks great and only needs a little grass cutting and edging and occasional minor trimming and pruning. I'm about 80% there.

But even moreso Spring means rockets. Even though I fly rockets all year round, this is the season when the pace picks up. The farm fields that some clubs fly at have dried out enough to use but haven't been planted yet, so a lot of rocket clubs schedule big launches for springtime (our group is blessed with a great field that is available all year).

This weekend, both days, I have a rocket launch at Great Meadow. It'll be a contest launch sponsored by a club from Pennsylvania that lost access to their area, so they're using our field. The following weekend is our club's big Spring contest, another two-day event. There'll be sport flying too, just for fun, which is what I do since I don't fly contests. Everyone's invited, sport flying is free for everyone, and it's a great way to spend a day with the family.

If you come out, look for me near the red Mazda pickup. I'll definitely be there on Saturday both weekends. Bring your rockets and we'll fly 'em, and if you don't have one I've got some you can fly to see what it's all about.

Then, from April 29th through May 1st is BattlePark 2005, in Culpeper, Virginia. It's one of the biggest and best rocket launches on the East Coast. I'll be there both Saturday and Sunday.

Questions are always welcomed in the comments. Or email. Or look in my Rocketry category archives for tons more information.

I love Spring!

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

Liveblogging My Colonoscopy

Or are y'all still burnt out from the last election?

Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

March 30, 2005

I wish she would die already

I'm sorry, but there's no gentle way to put that. As soon as she dies then the real debate can start instead of this never ending circus horribilus.

Captain's Quarters is beginning to sound like the mirror image to Kos. It's depressing and boring.

Nobody wins, and until her body stops breathing, we can't even work towards making sure there is never a next time.

Posted by Ted at 08:22 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Out-of-context Quote of the Day

From Boudicca:

my husband's family are knife wielding bunny cutters


Posted by Ted at 12:54 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Smarter than a speeding bullet

That's me. Remember that book thing making the rounds? The one where the very first question is:

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Apparently I'm not the only one who didn't get it right away. Think about the story. Think about the people who hoard books. Remember that everyone in that group would memorize a single book?


Posted by Ted at 12:49 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs


Top left corner of this page. The pink button. Click it on friday, the first of April and leave a comment. No fooling.

Posted by Ted at 12:19 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Maybe I'm too Ameri-centric

The Major Soccer League is renaming their teams to be more like the teams around the world. So instead of, for instance, the Dallas Burn, you'll have teams like FC Dallas, where the "FC" stands for "football club". Yeah, maybe in the rest of the world, but not in Dallas.

New to the league this year are Real Salt Lake City (pronounced Ray-al) and Chivas USA. Chivas is spanish for goats. Really.

I was never a fan of that odd trend for new niche sports teams to name themselves for something other than a noun - the "Rage", the "Freedom" and so on. It just seemed so trendy, like a loser trying desperately to be cool.

So the MLS gets away from that nonsense, but decides that they need to be less American and more like Europe. Like I needed another reason to ignore them.

Posted by Ted at 12:17 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Carfax fun

Ptiza is looking to buy a car, so she ponied up the bucks for a month of unlimited Carfax. Smart move, and we do the same when we're in the market.

But Ptiza's creative genius had me laughing my ass off when she combines unlimited Carfax and eBay auto auctions into a hilarious blog post.

Be careful, for her wit is sharp and the edge drips acid.

Posted by Ted at 06:07 AM | Comments (16)
Category: Links

Happy Birthday

Today is Cindy's birthday. If you feel so inclined, head on over to Dusting My Brain and wish her a happy. While you're there, check out the Ken & Squip Show, which is a weekly podcast they do.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

That dumb, and I can't lick myself either

So I get home Monday to an empty (of humans) house. Son got called in to work, wife was working late, Mookie has musical rehersals, and it's just me and two dogs who are very happy to see me.

They went out. They came in. We played and just generally acted like guys do when they have the run of the house. Lots of toys being thrown about and growling and rough-housing going on.

I had to use the bathroom, so as usual I shut the door behind me and as I stood there I wondered why I did that since I was home alone. When I opened the door, both dogs were sitting there in the hallway and looking at me like, "You are soooo whipped."

There's wisdom there if you know how to read it.

Posted by Ted at 04:40 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

March 29, 2005

Asinine Quote of the Week

And believe me, there've been some doozys.

"But people would rather live under undemocratic rule than in the chaotic atmosphere of Iraq, for example, which the Americans tout as a model." -- Egyptian Diplomat

The definition of chaos being "more than one choice on the ballot", of course.

Posted by Ted at 08:36 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

I have seen no evidence of this (darn it)

According to Mookie's friend's sister-in-law's sister's friend's coworker, our town is the Swinger's Capital of the East Coast.

Good enough for Dan Rather.

Posted by Ted at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

I didn't hear the *pop*

Evidence that Yahoo still has their head up their ass.

I put in a team for annika's blogger fantasy baseball league. I, with a minimal interest in baseball, let the automatic draft happen, well, automatically. I didn't spend time adjusting my picks or deciding whether I wanted Joe Schmo or Joe Blow for my third-string bench warmer.

I got Barry Bonds.

The same Barry Bonds who just underwent his third knee operation since October. The one who was widely reported as possibly missing the entire season as recently as last week because he's rehabbing from KNEE SURGERY!!!!!!


I wonder who else wasted a draft pick on injured players?

Posted by Ted at 04:32 PM | Comments (6)

Love means never having to say "I'm in over my head"

A lady at work recently had her entire kitchen renovated. Nic is in the early stages of going through the process as well.

I mentioned it to my wife.

Suddenly there is graph paper and my big measuring tape on the bar. A night out might mean dinner and then a leasurely stroll through the hardware store.

I'm not too worried about it, because we're certainly not rushing into things. We've lived in the house for 15 years, and before the first was over we'd replaced the appliances and a few years later I redid the wallpaper. Other than that - nada.

So we've had time to dream and consider and ponder and decide, and of course we disagree on several key points, but nothing important enough to turn into a major fuss.

I expect I'll be starting phase 1 here in the next month or so, which is removing the "bar" and cabinets between the kitchen and dining room and replacing them with a new set of cabinets along another wall.

Step at a time, and it's not so hideously expensive that way as long as you don't do something stupid like total up the receipts.

Posted by Ted at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Not worry free, but getting there

Over at Dustbury I saw an interesting snippet about changes in the 401(k) rules. Glancing over them quickly, I can see where they'll benefit a lot of people, if they're smart enough to take advantage.

The company I work for has an incredibly generous matching plan, and I was really surprised to learn just how few of the younger employees are taking advantage. We've always tried to beat it into our kid's thick skulls instill in our children the idea that you have to treat savings like a bill. Pay into it once a month at least and leave it the hell alone. It'll add up fast. We were mostly successful. Oldest daughter bought her first two cars herself and Mookie purchased her own PC when offered yet another hand-me-down model.

My plan comes in two parts: upon retirement I live simply and long enough to have to learn to like the cheap dogfood.

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

With a bod like that, you knew she had to be bad

Barbies in bondage.

Popup photos not safe for work (or maybe they are, they're just dolls after all).

I especially like the cowgirl outfit.


Trussed up like a li'l heifer in 6.2 seconds.

I always wondered about that four-poster bed.

Barbies "Paris" moment: "Where did that video camera come from?"

Posted by Ted at 04:48 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

March 28, 2005

Dangerously Simple

Friday afternoon I was given a new assignment. Looking at the task, I realized that it would be very handy to have a copy of a certain manual, so I jumped on over to Amazon. In ten minutes I'd ordered the reference I needed.

It was delivered this afternoon.

Posted by Ted at 05:28 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

When Dorks Collide

Rejected titles:

  • When Dorks Attack!

  • It's a dork, dork, dork, dork, dork world!

  • Dorks gone wild

It's a knock-down drag-out dork-o-rama over at The Ministry of Minor Perfidy.

Round 1.
Round 2.
Round 3.

It's not pretty, but it is pretty damn funny.

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

New Blog Showcase

Before I knew what blogs were, I found Rachel Lucas. I googled "girls with guns" or some such nonsense and her site popped up. I read, and I was hooked. She's since retired her original place and resurfaced as the Blue-eyed Infidel, minus the internal censor and even more chock full of Ranty McRant opining.

Anyways, in honor of the very first blog I myself ever discovered, I've decided that the theme for this edition of the New Blog Showcase will be creepy floating baby heads.



Let's kick this off with a trip in the ol' wayback machine to a time when every toy we played with was dangerous and deadly. How in the world did we ever survive? Could it be that only the brightest of us did? *thinks about recent headlines* Nahhhh. Thanks to Melinama at Pratie Place for reminding me of that simpler if seemingly less-safe time.


Welcome to Hermitville, a mostly fictional collection of monologues and observations. I was going to include a sample here, but couldn't decide on just one snippet. This crab can write!


aTypical Joe chimes in with I say eat him. This is a very nicely designed blog, so I say read him (is there an echo in here?)


Michael Minton is an experienced blogger who recently started The Gunner's Corner. He's going to focus on news with a conservative slant. According to the creepy floating baby head, you must go check it out.


Scared Monkeys is two guys represented by the "see no, hear no, speak no" icon. Get it? Two guys... three monkeys? Nope, me either. Anyway, they invite you to drop in and read their take on a major US news media outlet. I notice that they don't promise to not fling poo at you. So, are you feeling lucky punk?


The masthead at The Nose On Your Face reads "News so fake you'll swear it came from the mainstream media". If you like your news with a hint of onion and with a heaping side of satire, then this might be your new daily special. Don't miss the "Top 9" list either. No hints, just go.


This next new blog is written by a reservist currently stationed in Iraq. Firstly, please accept my thanks for your service to our country, and pass those thanks on to your troops as well. Secondly, if the rest of you have ever wondered what the heck all that "hooah" business is about, well, Mustang 23 has the complete word. I almost forgot to mention that the name of his place is Assumption of Command, and if you hover your mouse over his creepy floating baby head (on your left... your military left) then you'll see that the enthusiasm starts young.


Atlas Shrugged is another blog taking on today's big issues, and Pamela has started a very nice weekly roundup op-ed series. I note again that she does not promise to not fling poo at you. Hooah! (I really need to get some sleep.)


Last but certainly not least is a very new blog called Constructive Ideas, with some intriguing analysis of our educational system from an angle that hasn't occurred to me before. He writes under the moniker of 'Positive' from the state of Florida. Did you know that Florida has the highest incidence of lightning ground-strikes in the world? That's something pilots and steely-eyed missile men know.

Every blogger started somewhere, and those first few weeks are the hardest of all as you try to build up your momentum. Check out these newest members of the blogging community, leave a comment and some encouragement, and you just might discover a new daily read. That might not be enough reason for some of you. Fair enough.

Do it for the creepy floating baby heads.

Mandatory informational type goodies:
Do you have a weblog that's been open for less than three months? To join the Showcase and get the word out, send an email to with the following info:

* The name of your blog
* The title of the post
* The url of the post
* Your name

Or use the Multi-Carnival Entry Form.

Catch previous Showcases and volunteer to host new ones at the Showcase Home.

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

March 27, 2005

Hope y'all had a nice Easter

We had all the kids home for the weekend, and made a huge family dinner. The rabbit was delicious.


As Douglas Adams said, it's all about nailing a guy to a tree for the crime of saying that we should be nice to each other.

So I'm guilty of mocking the commercialized version of the holiday. When the Cadbury Police knock on the door, I'll go quietly.

Posted by Ted at 07:09 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Star Cards - 5

Someone was kind enough to scan and post a whole heap of Players Cigarette cards. This particular set of 85 cards is of Actresses, and were released during the late 1930's (from clues like "her latest film was...").

I'll post one of these every once in a while, with a couple of simple links to or a bio if I can find one. You might be surpirsed at some of the familiar names you'll see. The category is "Star Cards" (over on the right column), and you can click there at any time to see all that I've posted. Hope you enjoy.

(in the extended entry)

(click for superstar size)


Nancy Carroll was the most successful actress to make the adjustment from silent movies to talkies. She started acting on stage at a young age and was working on Broadway when she was "discovered" again and given a film role (she had appeared years before in a forgettable movie and had returned to the stage). Her singing and dancing talents enabled her to become the first talkie superstar, and reportedly she received more fan mail than any other actress in the 1930's. Incredibly versatile, she moved from deep dramatic roles to light comedies with ease. She was nominated for an Oscar in The Devil's Holiday in 1930 and went on to make over twenty more movies during the decade. She then retired from movies and went back to her first love, the stage, and continued to be active there and on television until her death in 1965.

There's a very nice bio site here.

Posted by Ted at 01:05 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Star Cards

March 26, 2005

Too tired to sleep

I'm really really really beat. So tired that I have a splitting headache.

(the reason why I'm so tired is in the extended entry, so's you don't have to read it unless you want to)

Work has been kicking my ass the last couple of weeks, in a good way. But on top of that my son has been taking a training class for a new job he starts this week. Problem is, his class started in the afternoon and ran until late at night. Late enough that the busses quit running before he got all the way home. The solution (for last week only) was to get up at midnight and drive 15 miles north of here to pick him up at the stop he could get to before the system shut down for the night. So I was getting up at 4am, leave for work at 5am, work until 3pm (and traffic has been heavy all week), then try to sleep until midnight and maybe a couple hours after getting back. Of course, today was the last day of class, and it was a different schedule, so after picking him up last night we were on the road again at 6:30 this morning to drop him off, and back again at 4pm to pick him up.

I'm too old for this crap.

Posted by Ted at 07:20 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs


Cassini has discovered another of Saturn's moons with an atmosphere.

An intriguing theory about this moon being the source of one of Saturns rings is put forth.

What was that quote? "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."

Thanks to Fred at the Eternal Golden Braid for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaahhh!!!!

According to historical accounts, tamales evolved to become a self-contained ration of food for the soldiers of the Indian empires that occupied what is now Mexico, Central and South America. Variations also appear throughout the Caribbean. There are two basic kinds, both made with corn dough wrapped in corn husks and then steamed. One has a filling and sauce wrapped inside the dough, and the other type has the extra goodies mixed into the dough. These are usually sweet tamales.

Tamales are the ultimate anti-fast food. They’re simple enough to make (although it takes a little practice) but they aren’t something you just slap together in a hurry. Tamales are cooking-for-the-love-of-cooking food.

You can also turn tamale making into a family event. There are plenty of things to do, even for the little ones. Making these in one day would make for a long but relaxed day in the kitchen.

I’ll list an overview of the process, and then put down detailed steps for each part. Please remember though, that I’ve done this a grand total of once so far. All I can say for sure is that the number of steps might seem intimidating, but they break down into easily manageable chunks and my results were spectacularly delicious the very first time.

I found this book: Tamales 101 (available from Amazon) to be a great help. I’ll be using this book as a reference and for recipes for a long long time.

(the rest is in the extended entry)

Since I was making these by myself, I spread the tasks over a few days. This also helps because you want everything cool when you put the tamales together.

Day 1: made sauces (took about an hour).
Day 2: made fillings (took about an hour).
Day 3: cleaned husks, made masa, assembled and steamed tamales (two batches took about 3 hours).

Essential kitchen tools and doo-dads you’ll need:

  • A mixer. A stand mixer is even better.

  • Big bowls. You’ll need a couple at least, and several smaller ones.

  • Steamer. Our big spaghetti pot came with a steamer basket that turned out to be just about right. Those stacking bamboo steamers would work too.

  • Tongs. You’re going to be dealing with steaming hot bits and pieces here. Avoid steam burns by using long tongs.

Other items you probably don't already have in your pantry:

  • Masa for Tamales. I found this in the Hispanic foods section of my local grocery store. Masa Harina is corn flour, and I’m not sure what the difference is, but I can tell there is one between regular masa and this stuff. You definitely want the masa for tamales.

  • Corn husks. Again, found at my local grocery store in the hispanic section. A package with about twice as many as I needed was around $3.00.

This first time, I made two kinds of tamales.

Chorizo Apricot Tamales

This is a Rocket Jones original. I’m sure someone somewhere has made these, but I’ve never heard of it, so I’m claiming them as my own.

1 lb chorizo (Mexican sausage)
½ cup onion, diced
12 dried apricots
Red sauce (recipe below)
Masa dough (recipe below)

Soak the apricots with enough water to cover for an hour or two. Drain and chop. I cut each apricot in half the long way, then into thirds crossways, giving 6 pieces each.
Brown the chorizo in a skillet, when almost done drain and add the onion. Finish cooking.
Mix in the apricots. Let cool.

When assembling the tamales, put a heaping tablespoon of the filling into the middle of the masa, then add two healthy tablespoons of red sauce over the top. Fold the tamale and put in the steamer rack.

Steam for about an hour, until done.

Poblano Jack Tamales

This is a more traditional tamale recipe. My Salsa Verde turned out pretty mild, so I used Pepper Jack cheese for extra oomph.

2 large fresh Poblano chilies
1 lb Monterey Jack cheese (you can use Pepper Jack or even Cheddar or Colby)
Salsa Verde (recipe below)
Masa dough (recipe below)

Roast and peel the chilies. Turn the flame on your gas stove to medium high. Put the chilies on the burner rack in the flame and let char, rotating them with tongs so that they blacken evenly.

When completely charred, lay one in your palm on a paper towel (careful, they are hot!) and use another paper towel to wipe away the charred skin. Do all of the chilies, putting them into a small bowl with a lid to steam themselves for about 20 minutes.

Slice the chilies lengthwise, remove the stem and seeds, then slice into ½” wide strips about 3” long.
Slice the cheese into about ¼”x ¼” wide strips, also about 3” long.

When assembling the tamales, put two chili strips and a cheese strip into the middle of the masa, then add a good heaping tablespoon full of salsa verde over the top. Fold the tamale and put in the steamer rack.

Steam for about an hour, until done.


Red Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp minced onion
½ tsp dried oregano
2½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp dried basil
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried parsley
¼ cup salsa
1 small can tomato paste
1 single-serving can V8 vegetable juice
1½ cup water

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for a minute.
Add everything but the water and mix well.
Add the water, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

Ted's Revved-Up Salsa Verde

My family preferes mild to wild, so there's always room to spice up my recipes to taste.

1lb Tomatillos
1 Jalepeno chilie, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 Poblano chilies, roasted, seeded and chopped
2 Green chilies (the kind used for chilies relleno), roasted, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano

Remove the husk from the tomatillos and wash. Slice the tomatillos into wedges. In saucepan combine everything, including the chilies and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool.

I like my salsa chunky, so I use a pastry cutter to break it up a little bit in the pan instead of putting it into a blender.

This recipe makes for heat about like medium salsa. You'll probably have leftover sauce, and it's great reheated and spooned over eggs.

Preparing the corn husks

Open the package of husks and run them under water. As they soften, separate each one and rinse off any dirt or silk you find. I discarded any that were especially yucky looking, but I assume that they were sorta cleaned before being packaged. Like I said, I threw away the yucky looking ones.

Important: Notice that there is a smooth side and a rough side to the corn husks. When you assemble the tamales, you want to have the rough side out.

Once you have a stack of washed husks, fill a big bowl with hot water, lay the husks in there and weight them down with a heavy pot or bowl. Leave them to soak for an hour or so.

Tamale dough (masa)

4 cups chicken broth
4 cups masa harina for tamales
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups combined total of lard, butter or margarine. I used a 1 cup stick of Crisco and 1/3 cup butter.

To make the dough, heat 4 cups of chicken broth or stock until lukewarm. I make broth using chicken base, so I just mixed it with hot water and it worked great.

Combine the masa, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then add broth a bit at a time, mixing with a spatula to make a moist dough.

In another large bowl, whip the lard, butter and/or margarine together until light and fluffy. Longer is better, so don’t skimp on the whipping, it makes for a lighter, less dense tamale dough. Start adding the masa mixture to the lard a bit at a time, mixing well between additions. Keep mixing and adding until fully incorporated. When ready, cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel until ready to use.

Assembling the tamales

Start the water in the steamer to heating. It’ll take time to reach a boil.

Take a corn husk and lay it flat on your palm (rough side down). Using an ice cream scoop, put a dollop of masa in the center of the husk (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of dough). Using a butter knife or small spatula, spread the masa in an even layer across the width of the husk, not quite reaching the top edge of the husk. Oh heck, here’s a crude diagram:

folding a tamale.JPG

Put your filling in the middle of that layer of dough - spoonful of meat or strips of pepper and cheese, and then a spoonful of sauce. Don’t worry about being neat with the sauce. Now fold the right side of the husk over the middle, followed by the left. Finally, fold the bottom of the husk up, making a package with an open top. After the first couple you’ll get the hang of it. Stand the tamale upright in the steamer. He looks lonely there, so make lots more and pack them in.

This is only one way to fold tamales. It’s easy and doesn’t require a lot of extra steps, so that’s what I used. It worked well too.

Steaming the tamales

Because the method I used to fold the tamales left one end open, I stood them upright in the steamer basket. When the basket is full, crank the heat up to return the water to a boil and then cover the top of the steamer with a dishtowel.

Add water to the steamer as needed as it boils, and after an hour remove a tamale from the steamer with tongs. Partially unwrap the tamale from the husk and if it comes away cleanly then they’re done.

Stack ‘em on a platter and serve with extra sauce on the side. Rice or beans and a simple tomato and cucumber salad are traditional side dishes.


This makes about 3 dozen tamales. You can store leftovers in a tightly covered container in the fridge, and they freeze well. To reheat, put into a microwavable container with a lid along with a tablespoon of water, then nuke 'em at 50% power for 3 minutes per tamale. Even better is to resteam them on the stove for 10 minutes.

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

March 25, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Hosted this week by Pajama Pundit. Get cooking!

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

Another legend joins the web

Wally Schirra, one of the original seven American astronauts, now has a web site detailing his career from military test pilot to astronaut and since. Schirra is a dedicated practical joker, and the site includes a link to his most famous "gotchas" that he pulled on his fellow astronauts. Pictures, video, lots of information. Nifty.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Space Program

March 24, 2005

Is no tradition sacred?

Even in that most tradition-ridden culture, Japan, the influence of modernization creeps ever closer...

A tussle has broken out in Japan's tradition-bound sumo world over the right to wear pants in the ring.


Gargantuan sumo wrestlers generally compete naked but for a "mawashi," an arrangement of wrapped cloth that preserves a bare minimum of modesty.

Sumo's amateur association hit upon the idea of allowing shy youngsters to wear "sumo pants," a more substantial garment similar to cycling shorts, to try to boost the dwindling numbers of children taking up the sport, the daily Yomiuri Shimbun said on Thursday.

What's next? A kabuki version of Gigli? I'm no hidebound stick in the mud, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

And if they start allowing pants, well, I'll just have to forego my career in Sumo. I already had a great name picked out too: Yomama.

Posted by Ted at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

It's part of the job

Mookie was scheduled to host the New Blog Showcase this week, but instead zoomed off for the beach for Spring Break (I can totally understand that). So to cover for her, I'll be hosting the Showcase here on Rocket Jones on Monday, and Mookie will host one in the future.

Send submissions for the Showcase to:

showcase -dot- carnival -at- gmail -dot- com


Update: Around this place, confusion doesn't reign, it pours!

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

March 23, 2005


Didja know that The Onion has a PDA compatible site?

Now you do.

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

It's "Doo-maaaahhhh", dumbass.

Alexandre Dumas was an incredibly prolific writer, best known for his "The Three Musketeers". A lost work of his that was published in serial form in a French newspaper will be released in June.

The 900-page book appeared in serial form in a French newspaper and lacked just a few chapters when Dumas died in 1870. Claude Schopp, the Dumas specialist who made the discovery, has added a short section to bring the tale to its conclusion.

The story was discovered almost ten years ago, and it's existance has been kept secret while being made ready for publication. The title is "Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine" (The Knight of Saint-Hermine).

In typical Dumas fashion, his characters are inserted into real history, and this time the lead character is involved in the Battle of Trafalgar.

I'm looking forward to this one.

Posted by Ted at 06:08 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Retro, but not safe for work

This is one of the coolest sites I've seen on the net, just for the implementation of the interface. The vintage pinups don't hurt either. Click and drag the pages to turn them.

Thanks to Rodger for pointing this one out.

PS. When you go to look (and I really urge you to do so), turn up your speakers and enjoy the background music too. This is a really well-done site.

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

March 22, 2005

The older I get, the more tame I become

I just didn't know there was a reason for it.

and I'll respect you in the morning too!

(click for huge kinky size, just once only please)

Posted by Ted at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Conversation in our house

Mom (to me): We saw a movie we thought you might like.

Daughter: At WalMart, in the discount bin. Some babe in a fur bikini.

Mom: One Million B.C. starring Rachel Welch. Would you want that?

Me: Oh yeah!

Daughter (to mom): Told you.

Posted by Ted at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Faces of the Fallen

A new tribute has been opened at Arlington National Cemetary, outside of Washington, D.C.

"Faces of the Fallen," 1,327 individual portraits of the dead produced by 200 artists, opens to the public Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

The images, each 6-by-8 inches, are mounted on plain steel rods that reach to near eye level. Each rod includes a label with the soldier's name, hometown and date of death.

The display does not include every soldier who've given their life to date.

The artists worked mostly from newspaper and Internet photos, and some sent by families of the dead.

One particularly poignant portrait was done by John R. Phelps, a Vietnam veteran chosen to design the World War II memorial in Lander, Wyo. He painted his son, Marine Pfc. Clarence Phelps, who died April 9 from head wounds.

The artists, who donated their time and paid for all the materials, plan to give the portraits to the families when the exhibit is over, Polan said.

The memorial will be on display until September 5th, and admission is free.

Posted by Ted at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Spacked upside with the meme-stick

From Stephen at Hold the Mayo.

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?
Green Eggs and Ham, Sam I am.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
The only one I can think of that might apply is Corson, from the series Silverglass. She's a strong, stubborn, cagey sword-for-hire. I'd never be bored around her, and there's more to her than a pretty face and a sharp edge. Here's the cover illustration of her from the cover of the first book of the series: Corson (big graphic image).

The last book you bought is:
Tamales 101.

The last book you read:
I just finished rereading P.J. O'Rourke's Eat the Rich.

What are you currently reading?
Sams Teach Yourself PHP in 24 Hours, Third Edition

Five books you would take to a deserted island.

Hmmmm... I could read these over and over (and have). I'm shallow... deal.

1. Job: A Comedy of Justice. Heinlein. My all-time favorite book.
2. Starship Troopers. Heinlein. My all-time favorite book that isn't listed above.
3. Team Yankee. Coyle. War fiction. Love it.
4. Any anthology of H.P. Lovecraft. The closest thing to mind-altering drugs without involving actual drugs.
5. The Lord of The Rings. Complex and rich in texture, this is a story you can spend years understanding. Not one of my all-time favorites, but I'm thinking about whiling away many hours with this one.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

Nic, who always has something interesting to say, even when she claims she's being trite.

Rob, who also goes to concerts at King's Dominion, and I don't hear from often enough.

Oorgo, another guy who has interesting opinions, even when we disagree.

Amy, because I have counting issues and her cute toes would've come in handy right about now. Besides, she only does one meme on her blog and I'm a sucker for rejection.

Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Look at the funny man

A humorous look at President Bush contrasted with Senator Kerry, in pictures.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for pointing it out.

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

March 21, 2005

The banner up top

What it's all about:

On January 11, 2005, Greg Hammond hosted a comment based fundraiser on his blog, The fundraiser was in memory of his lovely wife, Cheryl, who lost her battle with breast cancer after more than 5 years of fighting. The proceeds from the fundraiser totaled $2,846 and were donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's education and screening programs.

The fundraiser worked by spreading the word of the need for donations and asking those who heard about it to please leave a comment on his blog. Sponsors pledged money for certain numbers of comments. For example, Greg himself donated $1 for each of the first 500 comments. A different sponsor donated $1 for each of the first 50. The another donated $1 for the 50 following those. And on and on.

On April 1, 2005, the one year anniversary of Cheryl's death, Greg plans to host another fundraiser. Again, the proceeds will go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation's education and screening programs, and the format of comments and sponsors will remain the same.

You can get more information here. Please consider clicking the banner and leaving a comment on April 1st.

Thanks to Tricia for pointing this one out and asking me to help.

Posted by Ted at 12:32 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

WWII Japanese Submarine Discovered

This isn't some little mini-sub either.

The submarine is from the I-400 Sensuikan Toku class of subs, the largest built before the nuclear ballistic missile submarines of the 1960s.

They were 400 feet long and nearly 40 feet high and could carry a crew of 144. The submarines were designed to carry three "fold-up" bombers that could be assembled for flight within minutes.

The story says that the wreckage was discovered near Pearl Harbor, and also mentions that two of the type were deliberately scuttled near Pearl after the war because the Russians were demanding access to them for study. What isn't clear is whether this is one of the deliberately sunk boats or an actual war casualty.

An I-400 and I-401 were captured at sea a week after the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Their mission — which was never completed — reportedly was to use the aircraft to drop rats and insects infected with bubonic plague, cholera, typhus and other diseases on U.S. cities.

When the bacteriological bombs could not be prepared in time, the mission was reportedly changed to bomb the Panama Canal.

More here.

Posted by Ted at 05:57 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Military

Whiny little bitches... bitch

I dunno Jennifer, apparently I don't have the knack for adding "bitch" to the end of every sentence... bitch.

See? Oh well.

Anyways, I get these emails griping about how the contest "wasn't fair" and "I didn't make it clear" and other crap like that.

I won't kid you and claim that I care. But I do see some possibilities here.

So, here's what we'll do. I won't name names (you know who you are), but I invite Rocket Jones readers to. Leave a guess in the comments about who you think sent me a complaint about the contest and results, and say something snarky about them. This has the potential to be hugely entertaining and I won't be happy unless we see at least three flame-filled linkwars started... bitch.

Hey, maybe I'm getting the hang of this!

Posted by Ted at 04:14 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

March 20, 2005

Star Cards - 4

Someone was kind enough to scan and post a whole heap of Players Cigarette cards. This particular set of 85 cards is of Actresses, and were released during the late 1930's (from clues like "her latest film was...").

I'll post one of these every once in a while, with a couple of simple links to or a bio if I can find one. You might be surpirsed at some of the familiar names you'll see. The category is "Star Cards" (over on the right column), and you can click there at any time to see all that I've posted. Hope you enjoy.

(in the extended entry)

(click for superstar size)


Tala Birell was born Natalie Bierl in Romania. She performed as movie double for Marlene Dietrich before coming to the US with the wave of European actresses imported by studios looking for the "next Greta Garbo". She made over 40 movies before fading into obscurity.

Looking over her filmography, I saw that she played in The Monster Maker. I just happen to have that movie but hadn't had a chance to see it yet, so I watched it last night. She was lovely (as expected) and gave a solid performance.

Forty movies, I'd call that a successful career.

Posted by Ted at 09:46 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Star Cards

Food for that Hockey monkey

The Hockey Hall of Fame website is a nifty place to visit. For instance:

One Game Wonders

Brief bios of all the players who managed but a single game in the NHL. Don Cherry, the player, coach and hockey icon is on this list. Way cool.

The Players

A registry of every player who's ever played in the NHL. Built-in searches on Name, Birthplace, Position played, Team, and career milestones like number of goals scored or total games played. I've spent a lot of time here just browsing around.

The Legends

The members of the Hockey Hall of Fame. Players, builders, officials, media, each category is comprehensively covered with bios, stats and photos. Searchable too. Did you know that eighteen different clubs from Calgary are represented in the HOF?

Lots more to see too.

Posted by Ted at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

March 19, 2005

Kitchen report (updated)

The first batch of tamales is done.

Wow. These are good.

The other batch is in the steamer. It's a more traditional version. Update in an hour.

Update: The second batch is mucho tasty, but the one I tried fell apart. I'll have to try another one tomorrow after they 'set' to see if the sauce was too 'saucy'. I've had three now, and I'm too full to try another tonight.

Apparently I make big-assed tamales, because I doubled the Masa recipe called for and didn't get anywhere near double the number.


Posted by Ted at 10:28 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

To die or not to die

Her husband says his wife told him she would not want to be kept alive artificially.
Her parents dispute that, without giving a single supporting shred of evidence.
The parents hope she might get better.
The parents and everyone else involved went doctor shopping until finding specialists who supported their position.
The judge who ruled on the case had weeks and months of testimony and all the facts of the case before making his ruling.
Congress and other judges waited until the last second to get involved. When Jeb Bush tried to step in long ago, he was slapped down pretty convincingly.
The blogosphere has rallied to her cause, and the total effect has been zilch. Zip. Nada. A good reminder of just how important we are in the universe.

The woman was stripped of her dignity long ago.
This isn't even about her any more.

I'm disgusted.

Posted by Ted at 09:32 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

Contest Winner!

Since I can't actually tell who the official Rocket Jones 100K visitor was, I've decided that Cindy of Dusting My Brain is the winner.

I had narrowed it down to her and Collins, until Paul made a late charge with his decision to use the word "mofo" more often in conversation. Despite the massive increase in street cred, Paul fell just short. So how did Cindy emerge victorious?

(in the extended entry)

Collins Cindy
asked for my daughter's phone number asked for home baked bread
honorary Haitian
(secret name: click click durk)
New Yorker
(secret name: Squipper)
sucks is a Lady, and I would never inquire about that
(but I'm not such a gentleman that I'd reject the idea of volunteered information)
is a horny scumbag guy
(see daughter above)
is a girl
(see Lady above)

There's more, but I think you understand that it wasn't really close, in a completely arbitrary kind of way.

So Cindy, contact me via email and we'll figure out what kind of genuine Rocket Jones machine-made bread you'd like.

Posted by Ted at 07:44 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Rock 'n' Roll is a strange and wondrous place

I always thought that Dread Zeppelin was the oddest rock band out there. I mean, they've got it all. Led Zeppelin tunes done in reggae, and their lead singer is an Elvis impersonator.

Way more cool than "The Charmer", that calypso artist who changed careers and is now better known by his real name: Louis Farrakhan, outspoken head whackjob leader of the Nation of Islam.

But then, along comes Hatebeak. Self described as:

Face-crushing guitars, head-pounding drums, bass so low you'll vacate your bowels, and vocals so scorching, so extreme they simply can't be human! They're not. This death metal outfit with a parrot for a singer trashes the pathetic birdfeeder you call the metal underground!


Songs are available for download.

Thanks to John of Texas' Best Grok for the pointer to The Charmer.
Thanks to Johno of the Ministry for pointing out Hatebeak.

Posted by Ted at 07:18 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

Sleeping In - completely bassackwards

Wife Liz had a rough day yesterday at work, so when she got home I sent her upstairs for a long hot bubblebath to unwind. When she was done, I'd fixed some dinner and we sat upstairs on the bed and ate and talked and watched a little TV. I fell asleep before 6:30pm and slept straight through until Liz's alarm went off this morning at 6am.

I could get used to that, if I weren't completely guilt-ridden over that fact that I wasted a friday night. Just not enough hours in a day, days in a week, life's too short and all that. I think I could happily amuse myself if I were immortal.

Posted by Ted at 06:47 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Carnival of the Recipes

A heapin' helpin' of kitchen alchemy is offered each and every week somewhere on the 'net. This week, it's at the Flying Space Monkey Chronicles, so head on over and make sure you're wearing your drool bib.

The archives for all the past Recipe Carnivals can be found at the lovely Beth's place, and I've made that link a permanent button on my sidebar (psst... on the right column of the main page).

Do yourself a favor and check it out. You'll never eat cold pizza for breakfast again.

(That's not true, because I just did. Really.)

Posted by Ted at 06:36 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Recipes

March 18, 2005


Rocket Jones has moved past the 100k visit mark this week, according to Site Meter.*

To each and every one of you, my sincere thanks.

I don't fret much over stats like that, but it gives me yet another chance to parade around in front of y'all, hollering "Look at me! Look at me!"

That is a good thing. My therapist says so.

*That number doesn't include the counts from the original Blogspot home of Rocket Jones, nor does it account for the fact that I didn't bother to put Site Meter on all my pages until last fall. So in reality, this happened some unknown time ago. Like I said, I don't fret over stats.

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

In any given group, there's bound to be at least one jerk

Disabled con artists and their shyster lawyers are becoming a problem.

Gary Walker was horrified when legal documents arrived at his small restaurant notifying him that he was being sued for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, the federal law that requires wheelchair ramps and other features for the disabled.

The feeling turned to anger when Walker found out the man suing him, Shiloh Hobleman, had filed a series of practically carbon-copy lawsuits against more than a dozen small businesses in the area.

"Hobleman is what can only be characterized as a `serial plaintiff,'" Walker's lawyer said in court papers. "Except for the named defendants, each of the ADA complaints is virtually, if not exactly, identical to the instant suit — right down to the typographical and grammatical errors."

My wife Liz was in a wheelchair for several years. Here's an old post about that, and what I said about it:

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

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

So I've seen what kinds of problems the ADA is supposed to solve, and I've seen the difficulties caused for the disabled when those laws are ignored. At the same time, we never even considered suing.

I hope they can come up with some way to limit these nitwits who make a career out of filing ADA lawsuits (I especially like the judge's decision to not award costs to the one plaintiff). However they manage it, it'll have to be fair, and that's going to take someone with the wisdom of Solomon. And a thick damn skin, because you know the nanny-state believers will be crawling out from under every rock to whine about disabled rights.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links


Survived work week*. Check.
Changed color on the blog calendar thingie with this post. Check.

That is all.

* I don't count a day once it's started. So just by getting to work this morning, I can consider it completed, even though it's still in-progress. I've always done that, and I don't know why.

Maybe that isn't all. Check back later for an announcement about a contest with a real prize awarded! Ooooooooooo.

Posted by Ted at 05:15 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

March 17, 2005

The closest I got to green all day

This week is whipping my butt. I've mentioned that my job runs in cycles. Busy week followed by insanely busy week. Repeat. Well, this is supposed to be my merely busy week, and I'm looking forward to insanely busy next week, because it'll be a bit of a slack for me. Whew!

Good thing I love what I'm doing. That makes all the difference in the world.

Got home this afternoon and helped clean the house. Oldest daughter came home for a doctor's appointment, and then took Mookie back to ODU with her for a few days.

After dinner I started cooking. The weather forcast is calling for rain Saturday, so I'm committed to making tamales. Tonight I made a variation of my salsa verde for one type (maybe two, haven't decided), and a red sauce for the other kind I've got in mind. Look for recipes this weekend or early next week. The house smells like roasted chilies, at least for a little while yet.

I also got the bread pudding made and in the oven. So soon it'll be cinnamon and nutmeg in the air.

On a totally unrelated note, we've been listening to a satellite radio station (comes with the dish) called Buzz Saw. Classic hard rock is what they call it, and it's heavy on Zepplin, ZZ Top and AC/DC. I've also heard Nazareth, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Sabbath and various others. Pretty good, and a nice change.

Posted by Ted at 07:37 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

St. Patrick's Day

Big whoop. I don't drink, I don't leave ladies to drown in my car, and I don't stab bar patrons to death. I'm not wearing green, and I'm half tempted to celebrate tonight by cracking open a cold Corona.

If I cared.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Square Pegs

March 16, 2005

Bread Pudding requires bread

I pulled out the bread machine a couple of weeks ago, because hey, we own the stupid thing, we might as well use it. And I have been.

Yesterday evening I made a loaf of white bread, thinking that I'd make some bread pudding. Problem was, when I got home this afternoon, the house apes had gotten into it and half the loaf was gone.

Now how can I get mad at that? So I whomped up another - bigger - loaf this evening, this time honey wheat. Before it had cooled I'd sliced it up and tore a heap of it into chunks for tomorrows bread pudding. A good half dozen slices are left over, and I'm thinking peanut butter and orange marmalade for lunch tomorrow.

Good thing I get up earlier than the kids, or there probably wouldn't be any left.

Posted by Ted at 08:43 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

Not far from the tree

I just noticed that Mookie has the lyrics to a toe-tapping minor classic on her sidebar. From the Chairmen of the Board:

Give Me Just A Little More Time

Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow

Life's too short to make a mistake
Let's think of each other and hesitate
Young and impatient we may be
There's no need to act foolishly
If we part our hearts won't forget it
Years from now we'll surely regret it


You're young and you're in a hurry
You're eager for love but don't you worry
We both want the sweetness in life
But these things don't come overnight
Don't give up cos love's been slow
Boy, we're gonna succeed with another blow

Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Baby please baby
Baby please baby

Love is that mountain we must climb
Let's climb it together your hand in mine
We haven't known each other too long
But the feeling I have is oh so strong
I know we can make it there's no doubt
We owe it to ourselves to find it out


Give me just a little more time
And our love will surely grow
Baby, please baby
Baby, please baby

[Repeat And Fade]

It runs in the family.

Posted by Ted at 12:28 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Waxing Lyrical


Q: How do you make Holy Water?

A: Boil the Hell out of it.

You're welcome, my child.

Posted by Ted at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

It appeals to the non-conformist in me

The AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres hockey team is experimenting with a new ice surface.

The Sabres offered to try it and, after some experimentation, settled on painting the sheet in what they call "electric powder blue." To offset the new colored surface, arena officials decided to make the blue lines fluorescent orange, which is also the color used for the faceoff circles.

The center line, normally red, is now dark blue.

I like it. A lot. From the few pictures I've seen I already like it. One of my biggest gripes about televised hockey is that the glare in some arenas makes it darn near impossible to follow the action, and you can give yourself a headache, like staring into the sun.

The Cleveland Barons will be Rochester's first opponents on the new ice on Sunday.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

Quote of the Day

From A Smell of Honey, a Swallow of Brine:

I may be a bitch, but I'll never be a butch!

I was going to do a review of this DVD from Something Weird Video, but to be honest, it just isn't going to appeal to anyone but someone whose taste in movies runs far to the odd. Like me.

Briefly: three movies, and Honey is by far the best of them, and it's not very good. Joining in on the disc are The Brick Dollhouse, which is a pitifully poor murder mystery, and A Sweet Sickness, about a wannabe starlet who's sleeping her way into the biz. They're both listed at, you can read the reviews yourself if you've a mind.

These are 60's-style sexploitation flicks, specifically the sub-genre known as "roughies". The goal was to have a bit of story, and as much naked boobage and buns as possible. There's no happy ending in a roughie, and at some point someone gets manhandled. Usually one of the ladies, but not always. Simulated sex (very simulated), make these barely softcore. More time is spent on foreplay than on anything else, which is actually refreshing and one of the good points.

The one feature on this DVD that makes it all worthwhile (to me) is watching Honey with the commentary on. They've got the two owners of SWV sitting there with the producer of Honey and a bunch of other sleazy flicks just like it, and the guy is a treasure. Funny stories, inside details and insight on the movie business. He had me laughing my ass off when he explained the title "A Smell of Honey, A Swallow of Brine". His first choice was "C.T." for cock tease, which is what the main character is, but the censors wouldn't allow it. Then he tried "Maneater", but no newspaper would run ads for it with that title. He finally got fed up and came up with Honey. He also released Dollhouse after buying it from the original producers. They had about 100 minutes of incoherent nonsense going on, and he edited it down to about 60-odd minutes of barely coherent dreck. It's terrible and he knows it and doesn't care.

Look at me, after saying I wouldn't do this I go ahead and review it anyway. If you're a fan and can rent a copy, this is worth it for Honey and the commentary. Otherwise give it a pass.

Posted by Ted at 04:22 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

March 15, 2005

day passes quickly

Ever seen the TV show where the main character wakes up, staggers into their workday, and the whole episode is one little drama and adventure and serendipitious event after another? And at the end of the day the character collapses into bed with a huge "oh shit, I have to do this again tomorrow". End of episode.

Today I had one of those days.

Posted by Ted at 08:40 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

It was that damned compassion that screwed me, wasn't it?

Would you survive a zombie emergency?

Official Survivor
Congratulations! You scored 64%!

Whether through ferocity or quickness, you made it out. You made the right choice most of the time, but you probably screwed up somewhere. Nobody's perfect, at least you're alive.

According to the results, I scored higher than 99% of males my age.

Link: The Zombie Scenario Survivor Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid

I'm assuming I rate slightly above 'spare' with the guys at the Ministry?

Posted by Ted at 12:06 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Links

It hurts when you snort cornflakes through your nose

From the Jawa Report:

Achmed: We demand 1 million lira for Sgrena's release! (pinky to mouth)

Sgrena: Er, 1 million lira is like $700 U.S. dollars.

Achmed: Oh? Really.....

Sgrena: Yeah........

Achmed: Ok....We demand 1 billion lira! (pinky finger to mouth)


Achmed: What? Too much??.....

Sgrena: That's like $700,000 U.S.




Sgrena: Wouldn't you be able to fund more Iraqi 'Minutemen' to kill the Zionist-Crusader forces with like a trillion lira......???



Achmed:You know we invented the zero, don't you?

You owe me a keyboard.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls!

Collins has reappeared (only in various comments, so far).

This could be scary and funny and touching and infuriating in turn and all at once. For a sample, or a warning shot (depending on your viewpoint), check out his archives.

I'm all a-tingle.

Posted by Ted at 06:00 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Munuvian Daily Tattler

Unconfirmed, but so funny I *want* to believe

About 10 years ago the "new" Russian embassy was built in Washington DC. The back of the property backs up to a residential neighborhood and as the story goes video survellience wasn't allowed or was severely restricted.

Some wag spray-painted "Wolverines!" on the rear entrance gate of the embassy compound.

Posted by Ted at 04:59 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

March 14, 2005

Updated Rocket Jones Movie Review List


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

Carnival of the Cat Recipes?

Now this is interesting. Check out this recipe that wasn't sent in to the Carnival. I'm having a hard time believing that a cat wrote that post because, frankly, I don't think a cat would care enough about anyone else to bother. But then, I'm a dog person.

Posted by Ted at 04:56 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Testing to destruction

The decommisioned aircraft carrier USS America will be the target of an extensive series of attacks in tests to see just how much damage our modern carriers can absorb.

Murdoc has details and links.

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

March 13, 2005

Danny Joe Brown - RIP

Russ alerted me to this a few days ago, but I couldn't find a link until now.

Danny Joe Brown passed away.

Danny Joe Brown, a founding member of Southern rockers Molly Hatchet, and singer and co-writer of the band's biggest hits from the late '70s, died on Thursday at his home in Davie of complications from pneumonia. He was 53.

Brown had been a diabetic and had problems with his health for years.

Posted by Ted at 07:56 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

Hockey Whoopass Jamboree

The Milwaukee Admirals edged my Cleveland Barons over the weekend. In accordance with the prophesy By the rules, I hereby display the victorious Admirals logo here


and provide links to Brian J and Frinklin, who doubled up for Beer City.

Posted by Ted at 04:42 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

I'll vote as soon as I finish taping my knuckles

Eric of Off Wing Opinion asks:

Has Miracle knocked Slapshot out of the top spot for the greatest hockey movie of all time?

The comments are interesting and amusing, and personally, while I liked Miracle a lot, it doesn't top Slapshot.

Posted by Ted at 03:59 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

Pamibe is hosting this week and even redecorated for the occasion. Looks great! I've already made mental note of several of these recipes that're going on my 'to try' list.

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

Forsberg's Last Game?

Peter Forsberg suffered a concussion after being cross-checked into the boards during a game in the Swedish League a couple of nights ago.

It was Forsberg's first game back after missing six weeks with a broken hand. His father coaches the team, MoDo, and says this:

"He's had his share of concussions, I think it is enough now (to cause him to retire)"

The player who made the illegal hit was ejected from the game and has been suspended for the next two.

Posted by Ted at 11:13 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Looking inward

Most everyone has heard of the SETI@home project, where you can download a screensaver that uses your PC's downtime to process data collected by the big radio telescopes pointed "out there" looking for life.

There is a similar effort to utilize PC's as a massively distributed platform to study protein folding.

What are proteins and why do they "fold"? Proteins are biology's workhorses -- its "nanomachines." Before proteins can carry out their biochemical function, they remarkably assemble themselves, or "fold." The process of protein folding, while critical and fundamental to virtually all of biology, remains a mystery. Moreover, perhaps not surprisingly, when proteins do not fold correctly (i.e. "misfold"), there can be serious effects, including many well known diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Mad Cow (BSE), CJD, ALS, Huntington's, and Parkinson's disease.

Check out details here, and Rich has more links and information at his place.

Posted by Ted at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links SciTech

March 12, 2005

I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK

I'm that good kind of tired that comes from getting a lot accomplished during your day.

This morning I met a buddy for breakfast in a little diner down the interstate a ways. We caught up on what's going on with each other and then I headed home. The plan was to attend today's club rocket launch, but I never made it. Shame too, because it was a beautiful day.

Got home and decided to take care of a quick repair job on my truck. Twenty minutes later and a smidgen of epoxy and it looked that it was going to be good as new. Then my neighbor dropped by and asked about taking down that maple tree in my backyard. Well, of course I'm not going to head off for the day while he's doing me a favor, so we got going on that.

Something we saw right off was that the maple was bigger than either of us had realized. At the end of the day, we'd taken down every branch reachable with a fully extended 32' ladder, and there's a lot of tree left above that. We even managed to do it without dropping anything on a fence.

There's a nice pile of twiggy branches out in the common area that my son and I will be taking care of over the next week, and a fair pile of fresh cut maple logs to stack. They'll make nice fireplace and firepit fuel. We really opened up the yard with today's work (pictures to come), but the monster trunk and root system is still in the way.

We're tossing around the idea of taking down my back fence and using some tension ropes and come-alongs to just drop the rest in one swell foop. A couple of hours to set things up just right and fifteen minutes to actually bring the beast to earth. I'm also thinking about getting a tree company out here for an estimate, since we've done everything we can do safely and reasonably easy. The problem with that is that it wouldn't surprise me to get an estimate for a thousand dollars, and there's a lot of other home improvements I could do with that kind of money. Then again, I might just leave it for awhile and see how it's going to be. I'm not in any hurry now that the yard will get some reasonable sunlight.

Can you tell my mind is going a mile a minute? It's been a good day.

Posted by Ted at 06:35 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

March 11, 2005

Fair is fair

The ladies have Valentine's Day, and are showered with roses and chocolate (you did shower someone sweet, right?). Well, a gentleman has come up with a brilliant equivalent for us guys. March 14th shall henceforth and forevermore be:

Steak and BJ Day

No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town; the name of the holiday explains it all, just a steak and a BJ. Thats it. Finally, this twin pair of Valentine's Day and Steak and Blowjob Day will usher in a new age of love as men everywhere try THAT much harder in February to ensure a memorable March 14th!

I'd say that I think this is a fine idea, but being a guy, that would be redundant.

Thanks to the guys at The Ministry of Minor Perfidy for pointing this one out, and who've redecorated and returned refreshed and kicking butt. Mmmmm, Caribou steak....

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

What's in your pocket?

Standard for me:

Right front: pocket watch, loose change (if any)
Left front: keys
Right rear: wallet and comb
Left rear: handkerchief and Swiss Army knife

How about you?

Posted by Ted at 06:22 AM | Comments (18)
Category: Square Pegs

Now where did I leave my towel?

I've talked about Infocom games before (Zork is an example). Now, thanks to Alan Brain, you can recall the good ol' days, or find out what you were missing.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (online versions).

Posted by Ted at 05:02 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

March 10, 2005

Chris Ledoux - RIP

His music career sputtered along until he was mentioned in a Garth Brooks song.

Chris LeDoux, a former world champion bareback rider who parlayed songs about the rodeo life into a successful country music career, died Wednesday from complications of liver cancer. He was 56.

He had a lot of great songs, but my absolute favorite was called Five Dollar Fine:

Five Dollar Fine

We're a fun lovin' crowd, kinda rowdy and loud
Our jukebox won't play no sad songs
So don't come in here, and cry in your beer
'Cause we don't care 'bout who done who wrong

We've got a five dollar fine for whining
We'll tell you before you come in
If it ain't on your mind to have a good time
Ya'll come back and see us again

Well we don't really care about your clothes or your hair
This party is open to all
Yeah we like a good joke, and it's alright to smoke
We got just one rule on the wall

Repeat Chorus

Now there's too many fools makin too many rules
That's one thing you can't say about us
Cause we all get along when we sing the same song
There's just one thing that causes a fuss

Repeat Chorus

Adios amigo, you were never appreciated enough.

Posted by Ted at 12:15 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs


I try to stay fairly professional in the workplace, especially the more formal setting I'm in now. I'm also careful about my language around folks I don't know, because it's the polite thing to do. Lately I've noticed that my co-workers have used a few curse words in my presence. The comfort level must be going up.

They probably got a clue the other day when I was shouting at my computer, swearing up a blue streak, in German.

Posted by Ted at 12:07 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

A movie review you won't see here

Even I have standards. Admittedly low standards, but still...

Slaves of Love

A tribe of Amazon women use a magnetic force to pull down airplanes flying over their island. They enslave all the men aboard the planes and use them as their sex slaves.

I wonder where I can find a copy?

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Cult Flicks

The things you learn

In my HTML class we're going over images, and the instructor told us that the "alt" attribute on the "image" tag was so that special browsers used by the visually impaired could read a description of what the image was since they couldn't actually see it. This falls under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act:

Section 508 requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology is accessible to people with disabilities. The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA), in the U.S. General Services Administration's Office of Governmentwide Policy, has been charged with the task of educating Federal employees and building the infrastructure necessary to support Section 508 implementation.

So once again Rocket Jones is on the cutting edge of social issues by posting things like Porn for the Blind.

Other than that though, I'll probably just continue to use the "alt" attribute to attach sly little jokes to the images on this site. Having a conscience doesn't mean I have to be fanatical about it.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Star Cards - 3

Someone was kind enough to scan and post a whole heap of Players Cigarette cards. This particular set of 85 cards is of Actresses, and were released during the late 1930's (from clues like "her latest film was...").

I'll post one of these every once in a while, with a couple of simple links to or a bio if I can find one. You might be surpirsed at some of the familiar names you'll see. The category is "Star Cards" (over on the right column), and you can click there at any time to see all that I've posted. Hope you enjoy.

(in the extended entry)

(click on the card for superstar size)


Miss Carroll earned a college degree in order to become a teacher, but soon left that behind to become an actress. She became a star after appearing in two early Alfred Hitchcock thrillers, and during her career she played opposite leading men Gary Cooper, Ronald Colman, Fred MacMurray (five times!), Bob Hope, and Tyrone Power. She became an American citizen in the early 40's, but returned to her native England during WWII to help with relief efforts (her sister was killed during the blitz). She retired from acting after the war.

IMDB filmography and brief bio.

Posted by Ted at 04:24 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Star Cards

March 09, 2005

BattlePark 2005

The Spring BattlePark 2005 Rocket Launch is scheduled for the weekend of April 29, 30 and May 1st. Located in Culpeper, Virginia, this is one of the premier events in the east, with rocketeers attending from all over the eastern U.S. and Canada. I'll be there both weekend days, and Mookie usually makes at least one if not both. This launch features some of the most interesting projects and flights around. As usual, spectators are free, kids fly their rockets for free, and you'll never meet a friendlier group of people. Come on out, walk around, talk to folks, ask questions, and be prepared to say 'wow'. And for those wondering about how high they might go, the club has already obtained an FAA waiver for flights to 15,000 feet.

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

Posted by Ted at 08:07 PM | Comments (8)
Category: Rocketry



Look for a couple of Rocket Jones original recipes coming soon.

Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Bare neccessities

There's a case to made for travelling light, toting nothing more than your bindle with the wind at your back. But for some of us, bringing along the essentials means at least one extra piece of luggage.

(in the extended entry)


Damn straight it's Samsonite. It's protecting precious cargo.

Posted by Ted at 04:31 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

March 08, 2005

It's snowing in Maryland

...and blowing straight sideways through Virginia on it's way to West Virginia.

A pair of cross-country skis and a sail and I'd be home in 15 minutes.

Posted by Ted at 11:58 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Die (insert your choice of scum here)!

This morning on the commute to work, we had that perfect set of conditions where the darkness and headlights and misty rain and rolling tires combines to make each vehicle look like it was trailing smoke.

Glancing to my right to make sure my wingman was covering, I eased in behind the Fokker. Apparently oblivious to my presence, the range closed until I could practically knock the bloody hun out by throwing rocks. Instead, he got a long burst from my Lewis gun. I saw the pilot slump as his plane sideslipped down and away.
The lumbering Heinkel was easy pickings. Either the tail-gunner had been killed by a lucky long-range shot, or his gun was jammed, because there was no defensive fire coming from his rear arc. I had to throttle my Spitfire way back to avoid overtaking him, and when lined up perfectly I let loose with everything I had. I was close enough to see large pieces of his plane break free under the withering fire, and within seconds the starboard engine was trailing smoke. He veered away in a shallow dive, heading back across the Channel to his base in France. One less kraut making his delivery to the shipyards at Liverpool.
What a farrago! Everywhere you looked the sky was full of planes, twisting and turning, occasionally trailing a dark plume as he made his final dive. I saw a chute open below me, and noted that the pilot would come down to the south of the Yalu. A MIG flashed by in front of me and I snapped off a burst. He was gone too quickly to assess, but I had other problems, as another Red was trying to turn inside me to get on my tail.
I have no idea where he came from, he was just suddenly there in my sights. Before I even had target locks I was squeezing the trigger, and we were joined by twin beams of light. I saw a plume of flash frozen atmosphere erupt from behind the crew compartment, and they suddenly decelerated. As I rolled past them in a defensive vector, I wondered whether that crew had been suited up when the hull was breached.

Some mornings you don't even have to turn on the radio.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

March 07, 2005

Air Force Blue - Part 16

I almost titled this one "Martha of the D'Iberville".

This will be another one of those rambling posts about my military days, this time a very special time that happened around 1980-81. For those coming in late to the story, I was a military policeman in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Frozen blue. I was getting near enough the end of my first tour to think about what to do next. Being one of the Strategic Air Command's finest, I thought I'd be a natural for law enforcement. Problem was, all the queries I'd sent out came back saying that I was overqualified for regular police duty, and they weren't looking for SWAT at the moment, thanks for asking.

It was looking like I had a fine future in the pizza delivery field or as an armed receptionist. Plan B was needing to be implemented, and plan B was to cross-train and reenlist.

The Air Force has this nifty program where you can pick another career field and they'll train you for it, and all you have to do is promise them a few extra years of your life. I did a little research and figured that computers were the way to go. I decided that I wanted to become a computer programmer, because that sounded more interesting than computer operator, plus it had a bigger bonus. That's right, Uncle Sam would pay me some serious bucks, plus train me in a new field, if I stayed in.

Only problem was, everyone wanted to become a computer programmer. I knew of four of us cops who applied, one the week before me and two the week after. I lucked into an open slot and got what I wanted while the other three got orders to computer operator school.

I'd be travelling to Biloxi, Mississippi for my training. It was a condensed twelve weeks of insanely intense pressure, at the end of which we'd be real live gen-u-wine computer programmers. Boy howdy. I might have told you this before, but I once met another AF programmer who decided to get a head start by taking a semester of "Introduction to Computers" at a community college before reporting for tech school. At the end of the first day, she called her husband in tears because they'd covered everything in that semester before lunch. We're talking seriously condensed, to the point that those twelve weeks gave me almost a year of college credit.

Intense. Spending all day in classes, after classes in smaller groups getting tutoring for the concepts you didn't pick up during the day (the instructors were the best I've ever had, and incredibly generous with their time - they understood what kind of pressure cooker environment it was). Most nights were spent at the computer lab, punching card decks (yep, the good ol' days), debugging programs, and helping each other by looking over output listings.

At the end of each block was a test. Pass the test, you move on to the next block. Fail it, and you 'wash back' into the following class to take the block again. Two wash backs and you were out. I think only about 40% of our class made it all the way through without a wash back, and probably 20% didn't make it at all.

Of course, there were moments of surreal. One lady in our class was having a horrible time with her program logic, so a group of us sat down with her to go over her listing and figure out what the problem was. The first problem was obvious, every single variable and data name was in French! We couldn't make heads or tails of the code because of it. Byeeeeeeeeeee. She washed back. I hope she learned that lesson.

One day I was called in to see the Superintendent. Seems he had a problem with my headgear, because I was still wearing my blue beret. This was before *everyone* in the Air Force wore the beret, it was a cop thing and I was proud of it. The conversation went something like this (civilianized version):

Sup: You can't wear the beret, you aren't a cop anymore.

Ted: What is my specialty code?

Sup: Cop.

Ted: When does it change to Computer Programmer?

Sup: When you graduate.

Ted: When do I graduate?

Sup: In six weeks.

Ted: So I'm still a cop for six more weeks.

We compromised, and I wore the beret for another three weeks. I was right, but he had the stripes. It evens out.

But Ted, I can hear you saying, you were in a military training town! Tell us about the strippers and hookers and bars and stuff!

I never met Christopher Walken.

I went to the strip joints one night early on, and they were lame. Biloxi was trying to clean up their act, figuring that the only way they'd manage legalized gambling was to be squeaky clean first. It worked. Biloxi is now the Atlantic City of the gulf coast, for whatever that's worth.

Hookers? Never saw one that I know of.

We did go to an adult theater one night, and that's a tale worth telling, but there's a little setup needed first. Remember those block tests I told you about earlier? Well, my normal celebration for passing those consisted of getting a couple of six packs of malt liquor and getting thoroughly smashed by dinner time. That way I could pass out and still be sober enough for class the following morning.

One night after a block test, several buddies came to my room. I had a car, they wanted to go to an adult theater. They bundled my extremely inebriated self into the back seat and off we went. At the ticket counter one of my friends had to pull out my wallet and pay for my ticket, because I couldn't figure out how to work my pocket.

Once in the door, I leaned against something to steady myself and a whole rack of skin flicks crashed to the floor. My friends parked me in a seat at the back of the theater, and all I remember was staggering back and forth to the bathroom a dozen times over the next couple of hours. Beer does that to me.

Ok, so maybe that wasn't a tale worth telling.

But that brings us to "our" bar. On one of our first nights out, four of us kind of wound up together in a group that stuck together throughout the course of the classes. And that first night, we stopped in at one of the fancier hotels along the beach, the D'Iberville.

We sat down, ordered drinks, and started listening to the band. It wasn't half bad for what you'd expect in a hotel band. I still remember their name: Dave Dudley and Breezin'. Cheesy, in a good kind of way, and a nice change from the slime pits we'd just come from (those strip joints).

Our drinks arrived, and mine was wrong (Dewars scotch on the rocks). Hell, three out of the four were wrong. We flagged down our waitress and tried again. This time only mine was wrong, but one was completely missing. Another try and we finally settled in with our glasses.

After ordering the second round, we discovered that this wasn't an isolated incident. Our waitress (barmaid?), who's name was Martha, just couldn't get it straight. By the end of the evening, we'd adopted her as *our* waitress and looked forward to whatever liquid randomness she might deliver next. Not that we drank whatever she brought, we'd just keep sending 'em back until she got it right.

The following Friday we decided that the D'Iberville was the place to be. Relaxed and mellow without being boring, after our stressful week we needed that. When we entered, we immediately asked to be seated at one of Martha's tables, and Dave Dudley and Breezin' had undergone a roster change. The bass player was missing, and for the rest of our almost three months there, the bass parts were handled by the capable left hand of the keyboard player, who also managed most of the singing (I don't remember if he was Dave himself, but it seems likely).

Martha completely screwed up our first drink order.
Martha got half of our second order wrong.

Well, you get the idea. She wasn't killer cute or anything either, kinda plain actually, but she tried hard and that was enough. A simple "Er, Martha? This scotch has soda in it." worked well, and she'd look embarrassed and go make it right.

By the fourth week, she was getting the drink orders straight. Actually, I think the bartender recognized us coming in, and since we always ordered the same thing, he started ignoring what Martha asked for and just poured from memory.

Like most of these stories, this one just peters out without a real ending. We eventually graduated and went on to our next assignments. I heard from those three guys a time or two and then we lost touch again.

My wife and I visited Biloxi several years later and I just had to visit the D'Iberville again. Dave Dudley was long gone, the bar had been redecorated, and there was no sign of Martha. In short, it sucked.

For a short time though, it was the most perfect bar in the world to me.

Posted by Ted at 04:58 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Boring Stories

Mad Genius

Jack Parsons was one of the founding members of the famous Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Prior to WWII, he was part of a group researching rocket propulsion.

Parsons, moreover, came up with the first "castable" rocket fuel (so called because it could be cast in a mold), replacing conventional black powder with an asphalt mix. This innovation made rocket fuel safer and easier to handle, and set the stage for the use of solid fuels by the space shuttle and other spacecraft in later decades.

He was also rather better known as a figure in the world of the occult.

Try a google on "Jack Parsons" for a whole slew of odd sites. For instance, there's Jack Parsons & the Curious Origins of the American Space Program or this Rotten Library entry on the man.

There are at least two biographies available from Amazon: Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons, and a newer one Strange Angel : The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons.

Via Transterrestrial Musings.

Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (1)
Category: History

Hockey Whoopass Jamboree

Cindy, aka Squipper, of Dusting My Brain fame (who is also a podcasting pioneer I might add), is rooting for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Jamboree this season. Her Bulldogs edged the Barons in this weekend's game and so I'm posting her team logo here.


Nice doggie.

Posted by Ted at 04:50 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

March 06, 2005

Update: Important Medical Announcement (International Edition)

This just in. Japanese pinup star Yuki Aoyama has just been informed of my previous announcement, and we had a photographer on hand to capture her reaction.

She looks pleased.

(click photo for superbig most-happiness size - safe for work)

Posted by Ted at 06:30 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Something I heard recently


One secret of good managers is to keep the people who hate you away from those who are undecided.

The first thing I thought of was pirate captains.

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

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinnnaaaahhhh!!!

This one is simple and simply wonderful. If you've ever eaten at Chipotle, they add some rice flavored with lime and cilantro into every burrito. It also makes a great side dish.

Cilantro-Lime Rice

2 cups uncooked rice
3 1/4 cups water or chicken stock

1 small lime
1 bunch fresh cilantro

Cook the rice in the water or stock however you normally do. For this recipe I like the rice a little drier, so the amount of liquid is less than what you're probably used to using.

When the rice is almost done, zest the lime (see notes below), and then cut and juice it too. You want a couple good tablespoons of juice.

Pull the leaves off of the cilantro stems and then mince the leaves until you have three or four tablespoons worth.

Put the rice into a bowl and fluff it, then sprinkle the lime juice, lime zest and cilantro. Toss until it's well combined.


I use a microplane like this one to zest citrus, and let me tell you, it makes the task easy. I heartily recommend this kitchen tool.

Before slicing the lime for juicing, roll it around on the counter firmly between the surface and your hand. Try to smash it flat (but don't). This crushes the little juicy pulpy bits inside before you cut it open and you'll get more juice easier that way. I've also heard that microwaving the fruit for 10 seconds first helps, but I've never done that.

Posted by Ted at 09:24 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Recipes

March 05, 2005

Ain't no blues 'round here

This morning I let oldest daughter sleep in a little bit before having her follow me over to the tire store. Despite getting there an hour after they opened on a Saturday morning, the wait wasn't too awful.

Talking to the guy at the counter, I told him I wanted the cheapest steel-belted radial possible in that size. I'm planning on trading in the truck this spring, and can't see spending lots on a new tire right now. Besides, there's good tires already on the beast.

The guy tried to talk me out of buying a tire. The only one they had in stock is a really crappy tire (from a good name). Lots of problems with it, blowouts and sidewall failures, and they won't sell them anymore once the current inventory is gone. Wasn't a very good price either.

But it was convenient and I didn't feel like making this an all-day event to save a few bucks, so I told him to check the flat. If it could be repaired, then do that, otherwise I'd take the new tire. We told them we'd be back in a half hour to see what was up and walked next door to the grocery store.

I bought another brisket. On the way back, oldest daughter asked why she was carrying this gigantic slab of meat, so I started in with the double-entendre jokes about my enormous meat. My meat is so big it needs it's own seat in the car, and other juvenile comments. I also called my wife at work and sang Leo Sayer's "You Make Me Feel Like Dancing" to her - loudly - in the parking lot. Oldest daughter finally tired of the public humiliation and drove back home, with instructions that my enormous meat was so valuable that she was to immediately put it in the freezer.

The tire guys showed me where I'd picked up a screw that caused the slow leak. Easy repair, for about 1/8th the cost of the new tire.

So if I'm singing the blues, it's 'cause I wanna.

Posted by Ted at 07:58 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Cultured pearls before swine

Mookie has been expressing an interest in classical music, so when mom and I saw a multiple CD collection arranged by composer, we had to get it. Brahms, Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Chopin (I explained that it was pronounced "show-pan", Vivaldi, a couple of the Russians (that I won't bother misspelling here), and even one of Gershwin.

She's been working her way through the set, and I had to smile when she said her biggest problem was knowing where she left off, because right now it all sounds pretty much the same to her. She'll figure it out, and she seems to be giving it a real chance, which makes me happy.

In related news, I became so disgusted with our local "classic rock" station that I took them off the main buttons in the truck and replaced them with classical. It's been a nice change.

What did the classic rockers do? Besides the most annoying collection of DJ's I've ever had to spend time with, they've decided that the Beatles and Rolling Stones are responsible for 30% of all classic rock worth listening to. That gets old fast.

Adios Ringo and Mick. Hellooooo Wolfgang.

Posted by Ted at 04:35 PM | Comments (10)
Category: Square Pegs

Secrets, unpleasant and otherwise

Apparently my "medical announcement" brought some unexpected responses. Oldest daughter has a web site that I didn't know about (and I've been asked not to search for, since it's a rant and vent place), and she linked to that particular post. Later, she got a phone call from her roommate from last year - different college, different state - that was directly about my announcement. I'm sure much "ewww"ing was involved. *smirk*

All I can say to the roomie is, young lady, that the one time I met you, you were drunk, passed out and about half-dressed. *bigger smirk*

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

March 04, 2005

Nothing spoils my Friday

I work early hours so as to avoid traffic. I'm in the office before 6am and scoot out at 3 in the afternoon. Usually it works pretty well. Today though, as I walked up to my truck, I saw the right front tire was mostly flat.

I've had this truck for almost 5 years now, and never have I had any problems with it. Not even a flat tire. But what the heck, that's a simple thing to take care of, so I took off my tie (yep, all dressed up), and got ready to get it done.

Everything went fine until I'd gotten the flat tire off and went to put the spare on. Problem was, the jack was fully extended and it wasn't up high enough for the wheel to fit back over the lugs. Couldn't fit the flat back on there either, because it wasn't a complete flat so it had regained it's shape without the weight of the truck on it. I think the jack is broken and won't extend as far as it should.

As I was standing there laughing (my car insurance coverage includes this kind of situation, but on a Friday afternoon it'd take forever. I was resigned to it now.), a coworker walked by and suggested one of the guys in the office who drives in (most everyone - except me - takes mass transit to work). There ya go, I borrow his jack, get the tire on, and I'm outta dodge.

Done, done and done. With very little additional complication, I pulled out of there an hour late and right into the teeth of weekend getaway traffic. My normal 35 minutes drive took an hour forty-five, thanks to a couple of accidents way south of where my exit was.

And I'm still in a good mood. We had dinner, and then Liz and I went to the grocery store together to get the hell away for a little while. We haven't done shopping together in ages, so that was nice.

Tomorrow morning I'll take the tire to the service station and see if it can be fixed. If not, I'll get a new tire. Ho hum. Not a problem. No sweat. No biggie.

It's not gonna spoil my weekend either.

Posted by Ted at 09:25 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Cue strings

Happy (327th) Birthday to composer Antonio Vivaldi.

Posted by Ted at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)
Category: History

Carnival of the Recipes #29

There I was, sitting at my desk. The only light in the room came from the blinking neon sign outside and the occasional flash of lightning. That was fine by me, because it fit my mood, as did the glass of smoky single malt in front of me.

Then she walked in. Her hair shone like spun cotton candy. She had cherry lips and plump breasts. Half turning to close the door, I admired her prime rump and appreciated her succulent thighs wrapped in a tight skirt. Definitely not chicken legs.

Before she could speak, I said, "let's go sister, I'm hungry."

Before long we were sitting in a booth at Clancy's. I could tell she had something to say, but she kept quiet, waiting for the right moment. I like that in a dame. Finally, Clancy himself brought two drinks to the table. He knew what I liked. He brought her the same.

Her first words, "I thought you were hungry?"

Ok, so no chorus of Angel's from on high, just an ordinary voice. Still, I'd better take control of the situation. She'd come to me after all.

"I'll ask the questions, sweetheart."

She sipped her drink and looked at me over the rim of her glass with lidded eyes.

"First question," I began, "do you like Tzatziki?"

That took her by surprise. But it broke the ice, and before the end of the second drink, I knew her story. I also knew that I could help her.

St. Paddy's Day Toast - Bobo Blogger

Tzatziki - from Cathouse Chat

Quite Early One Morning, Greek Eggs.

Yogurt Cheese, from A Mentsh Trakht

Helen's Salsa - a nifty slideshow presentation.

Suddenly the door burst open and a guy ran in, yelling and waving his arms. There was something odd about him, and I finally figured out what it was: his words didn't match the movements of his mouth. With another wild yell, he rushed back outside just in time for a giant reptillian claw to come down and stomp him flat. I grabbed her arm and we hustled out onto the sidewalk, where I saw the monster topple a skyscraper. Damn, I liked the restaurant there too. When the lizard turned back our way, we joined the throng of people stampeding for safety as behind us, the giant monster destroyed the city.

Crab Cakes from Eat Your History.

Sante Fe Salmon from Boudicca's Voice

Inside Allan's Mind, Crab Imperial.

Lowering his binoculars, the General looked grim. "Poor bastards never stood a chance."

Nodding to his second-in-command, all eyes turned towards the skies as a flight of jet fighters peeled off into attack formation. The lead pilot squinted into his sights as he mentally calculated his escape route to avoid the monster's swishing tail. He was in a hurry to get home, because it was sushi Mexican night at the chow hall.

Daily Pundit's Tacos al Pastor.

Enchilada Pie, from AZ Perspective and Junk

Rocket Jones's California Chili

"There they go, Sarge," sighed the Corporal wistfully. "That's the life for me. Lounge around until they need you, fly where they tell you to go. Drop a couple of bombs and head for home."

The gruff Sergeant looked over his platoon. He was rough on them, but he knew that it was the best way to keep them alive, to always be there watching over them.

Behind a pile of rubble, three soldiers were discussing mom's home cooking. The sarge listened for a moment as each described in loving detail his favorite homemade meal.

It was time. "Let's go, ladies," boomed the Sergeant as he stood up.

Bailey, the new Private, looked up in terror. "Sarge, I'm scared."

With a grim half-smile, the Sarge said "So am I, kid. Now, fix bayonets!" And he began his walk into battle, knowing that his platoon would be right behind him.

The Glittering Eye - Open Faced Moussaka

Shephard's Pie, from Aussie Wife.

Daly Thoughts - Brunswick Stew

Publius & Co. - Beer Can Chicken

As long as I stay moving and don't think too much, the Ninjas cannot harm me. Staying focused yet relaxed, my body continued to move in measured forms. Always just enough to make the throwing stars and flashing blades miss. Around me, the ground is littered with the remains of my enemies, and more than a few friends. I would mourn for them later, when there was time. Only then would honor allow for needs of the flesh.

Prochein Amy's Stuffed French Rolls

Leniwe Pierogi (lazy pierogi) - from

Egg Salad, from Booklore.

They fought hard even as they fell back, and we, sensing victory, pressed all the more. Eventually, only a small knot of warriors remained, exhausted but still defiant. Formed into a defensive circle around the Princess, the wizard pulled aside a slab of stone, grabbed her around the waist and jumped into the hole thus exposed. We quickly slaughtered the rest of the warriors before they could join him. No one was keen to follow the mage into those stygian depths, where the very bones of Mother Earth were visible. But the Princess depended on us.

Golabki Casserole and Spinach Artichoke Casserole, from Shoes, Ships & Sealing Wax.

Helen's Christmas Roast - a slideshow presentation.

Blog d'Elisson - Lil Pachter’s Braised Brisket.

"What's that, boy? Timmy fell down a well?"

Triticale - Crockpot Breakfasts.

Let's Play Restaurant! with Single Boy's Breakfast.

Easy Egg Pie, from Punctilious.

Fine. You take the remote.

A quick note about my blog name. Jones isn't my last name, but one of my hobbies and passions is rockets. I am, literally, jonesing for rockets. The kids and I build and fly model and high power rockets, hence the name. Check out the sidebar for links to online resources and rocketry vendors, and my rocket-related category archives are here and here.

And for those not into rockets (although I can't possibly imagine why not), have a look through the Rocket Jones Cult Flicks archives and be prepared for all kinds of cheesy cinema wonderfulness.

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (18)
Category: Recipes

March 03, 2005

One ringy-dingy... two ringy-dingy...

We had to buy new phones for the house, and it got me to thinking about phones and how they've changed over my lifetime. The set we bought (yep, a whole set) consists of four cordless handsets with intercom capability between them, a "base station" with four built in voice mail boxes and caller ID, and associated charging cradles and such. We didn't go for super quality this time around (for a very specific reason that I won't go into here), and I'll be happy if they last a couple three years.

Four handsets? Well, there's one for the basement where my workshop and computer are. One for the main floor, and two for upstairs (master bedroom and Mookie's room). The intercom feature will be a welcome feature.

Are you old enough to remember when you didn't even own your telephone? Growing up, I recall the telephone man showing up to install your phone, and hearing mom complain when the phone was broken and having to wait for the repairman to show up. It was a big deal in those days deciding where to put the phone too. We always had ours hanging on a wall in the kitchen. And then we had a second phone put into the master bedroom after someone tried to break into the house one night (Dad worked nights). But those weren't our phones, they belonged to the phone company.

When Liz and I got married, things were just switching over to where you actually bought your own phone (some 25 years ago... wow, it just hit me that I've been married for a quarter of a century). We went to the "phone store" and looked around at all different models, and it was amazing because suddenly it wasn't just colors you could choose from (I'm guessing maybe six colors on three or four models), but all kinds of choices were available. And man, did you pay premium prices for your phone. Our first telephone was kind of fancy looking because my attitude was that we might as well spend extra up front for something we liked instead of paying all over again later to upgrade. I mean, why would you ever buy another phone? This one ought to last forever.

It had a rotary dial. Oh yeah, my crystal ball was clear as mud on that one.

Then phone stores disappeared and the market was flooded with hundreds of models from who knows how many brand names. You could buy a telephone in almost any store, and most of them were incredibly cheap. As in crap. There was a little slide switch on the side of most of them, so you could make the push-button phone act like a rotary dial, because not all phone systems could handle digital. Remember flip-phones? Forerunner to the cell phone, before cordless was available. And the era was you bought new telephones on a regular basis, maybe because the last POS fell apart or quit working, or you wanted the latest in technology (ooooo, light-up buttons!). Two line phones! Whoa.

Car phones. Still had a cord and you looked like you were talking into a beige brick. Then cordless came along, for a price (naturally) and you could walk around free talking into your beige brick.

I remember borrowing a cell phone at a picnic to make an emergency call (I was getting ready to get in the car to drive to a pay phone when he offered), and I hurried through the call knowing that every second was costing big money. I'll never forget what the owner of the phone told me: "It's an expensive luxury". I still think that's true, and I wish more people would remember that. Not that I mind paying for my wife and daughters to carry one at all times (I still don't have one though).

When we were stationed in Germany (late 80's), they still operated the phone system the old-fashioned (to us) way. Maybe they still do, I dunno. Everything had that odd European styling that I could never get used to, including the phone. Our phone was pumpkin orange, because that's what it was when we moved in, and getting it changed meant a wait measured in months and a hefty service charge. Screw that. The phone was also in it's own little alcove in the hallway, on a short short cord so you were leashed to the spot whenever you used the phone.

There was a counter on the phone, which is how you paid for your phone service. For every call, the counter would click over during your conversation, and the farther away the other party was the faster the counter turned over. Call your bud on the next block? Tick... tick... tick... Call Mom back in the States? Tickticktickticktick, fast enough to make the numbers blur.

It seems like every new cell phone today has a camera built in. It also seems like every day you hear about some place forbidding the use of cell phones with built-in cameras. The US Department of State has a new directive out saying you can't have them on premises (or maybe "use" them, I'll have to check again).

Anyways, I have a new phone setup at home, with a whole bunch of buttons I'll never use and would probably never miss.

Posted by Ted at 11:58 AM | Comments (16)
Category: Boring Stories

Wish I'd said that

From Blather Review:

Y'know, I was eating Alpha-Bits one morning and was surprised because I saw that it read "oooooo." Then I remembered that I was eating CheeriOs.

There's more, and it's all good.

Posted by Ted at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Important Medical Information

I have no problem getting an erection.

Hey, it's important to me.

Posted by Ted at 04:53 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

March 02, 2005

If it's worth doing, it's worth doing with power tools

Last night I told my wife that I was thinking about taking down the big maple in the backyard. She surprised me with a hearty "go for it", then she mentioned that it was going to be expensive.

Heck, we are men with chainsaws. What is this "expensive" nonsense?

I took a closer look at the job, and it's not an unreasonable do-it-yourselfer, but it will take some care and planning. And my neighbor has to help. I'm pretty sure he will, because it involves chainsaws, and he's that kind of guy.

I'll talk to him, and might get started with the pole saw and rope saw on lower branches. Taking out the stump and roots is going to be a back-breaking couple of weeks of evenings, but it's cost free if I do it myself, and that's what the backyard is all about. It's my garden/landscaping playground where I test ideas and learn new skills like masonry and rock wall construction and now, maybe, tree removal.

Liz is already thinking small Japanese maple or dogwood to replace the monstrosity.

Posted by Ted at 05:17 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

March 01, 2005

Star Cards - 2

Someone was kind enough to scan and post a whole heap of Players Cigarette cards. This particular set of 85 cards is of Actresses, and were released during the late 1930's (from clues like "her latest film was...").

I'll post one of these every once in a while, with a couple of simple links to or a bio if I can find one. You might be surpirsed at some of the familiar names you'll see. The category is "Star Cards" (over on the right column), and you can click there at any time to see all that I've posted. Hope you enjoy.

(in the extended entry)

(click on the card for superstar size)

Joan Bennett

Joan Bennett had a long career in film and television (60+ years!), including a lead role in the original Dark Shadows.

The card mentions one of her early roles opposite Ronald Colman in Bulldog Drummond, which is a pleasant surprise because I've recently been reacquainting myself with this early action mystery series (Ray Milland also took a turn as Drummond, as did John Howard).

Here's a nice Joan Bennett bio.

Posted by Ted at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Star Cards

A couple of links for fun

Via Physics Geek, some ideas of how to let vacationing co-workers know you were thinking about them. Drink alert on this one.

A few days ago Mookie was telling me about this interactive buddy flash game, and I finally tried it. Oh man, is this addicting. You start off with a generic virtual buddy, and you get money for each interaction. Start small with tickles and shoves and such, and eventually you build up to tossing around fireballs and grenades. If you're not convinced that you need to release your pent-up psychotic yet, you can also purchase "skins" for your buddy, so that you're abusing interacting with Dubya, Michael Moore, and many others.

Posted by Ted at 09:30 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

No particular point

Another "snowstorm", another bust for the local weathermen. I'll give them this, with all the major rivers, the coast to the east and mountains to the west, this area is a real Meteorological crapshoot to predict. Still, just claiming "sunny" every day would result in about the same accuracy rating in the winter.

But this morning the roads are an icy mess in our corner of the world, so I called in and took the day off. My job is cyclical, so this week I could do that, next or last week I wouldn't have had the option. My wife works for a medical facility, so she doesn't have that choice either. I made sure the sidewalks were de-iced and scraped the snow and ice from her car and walked the neighborhood a little bit to check the roads. She made it ok, but it was icy dicey until she got to the main drag.

Mookie is on day six of her weather-enforced pre-Spring break. She spent yesterday online looking at college information and found a place similar to Monster for theatrical jobs and internships.

For every star on Broadway, there's a thousand hardworking people behind the scenes who make them look good.

I looked outside a bit ago and it was snowing again. Huge fluffy, slow-falling flakes. Absolutely beautiful, but it was spoiled a bit by the cars parked everywhere you look. There's a reason Currier and Ives always pictured the Vermont countryside instead of Virginia townhouse suburbs.

But I'm tired of winter. I have a new gardening book, yet another "small space gardening" reference, and a renewed desire to turn my backyard into a peaceful green retreat instead of the dirt covered expanse of dense shade that it is. I did almost nothing last year out back, needing to take a break from my continual attempts to make it something beyond a handy place for the dogs to take a dump.

Part of me says that this is the year to finally take down the maple tree that dominates the back half of the yard. It won't completely open up the space to sunlight, because the neighbors on both sides have huge trees in their yards as well. But my maple drops those accursed monkey balls year round, and much of it's root system is at ground level, meaning I had to build a makeshift retaining wall around it's perimeter in order to hold enough soil for a few scraggly hostas and succulents. I'm tired of the tree and it's awkward location, and the entire space would be open to infinite change if it were gone.

Something to consider, I'll have to talk to my wife about it.

So that's my day in a nutshell. Pondering garden projects and happily sweating under the April sun. Planning and anticipating the renewal of spring.

And laundry.

Posted by Ted at 08:52 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs
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