May 31, 2005


Ok, I was able to see Mr. Helpful from work (during lunch), but from home I get a 404 Forbidden screen. Apparently my IP or something has been banned by his server.

Posted by Ted at 04:06 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Links


Ace, among others, has cowbell.

Random Nuclear Strikes has Professor Booty (not safe for work).

What'cha think, a little Rocket Jones bouncy-bouncy for special occasions?

careful, you'll put an eye out!

Posted by Ted at 03:56 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Ashamed to be a native Californian

So the California legislature has passed a bill to limit textbooks in the state to 200 pages. *sigh*

You realize, of course, that this effectively limits them to 100 useful pages, since half will be printed in Spanish.

I'm not even sure if that's a joke or not.

Update: Oops, I wasn't clear. The bit about 200 pages tops is true, the part about half being in Spanish is my (poor) attempt at humor. If it were true, there'd be 25 pages in English, 25 in Spanish, 25 in Vietnamese, 25 in Ebonics, 25 in ...

Posted by Ted at 11:18 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Links

A couple of quickies

Squipper, aka Cindy, is enjoying her homemade cinnamon bread. Inexplicably, the USPS delivered it to her yesterday morning. Odd, that.

What the heck happened to Mr. Helpful? I must've missed the memo, did he move into a new place on the net?

In vacation news, I had a long list of things to take care of while I was off, and I got about 90% of it done. I also brought work home, but only spent about 15 minutes with it before putting it away again.

I also went to a very cool picnic on Saturday for my friend Bob, who recently got his associates degree in IT and is ready for a career change. Bob is a quiet guy, he and I knew each other for years before we did more than nod good morning in the hallway. He's been going to night school for awhile, sticking to it through new kids and family and work and everything else life could throw at him. Congrats, Amigo!!! (he reads this blog, but seldom - if ever - leaves a comment... like I said, real quiet)

Posted by Ted at 05:53 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Geekspeak for "Corvette"


Posted by Ted at 05:18 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Just Finished

Over the holiday weekend I finished reading Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders, a fictional story about an interesting lady. It was written in 1722, four years after his classic Robinson Crusoe.

What amused me though, was the title of the work as presented on the first page:

The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whoerof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and dies a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums.

Ms. Flanders (not her real name, we never learn that) is an extraordinary character, and despite the gruesome litany of her exploits given above, she's not an unkind person and is easy to be sympathetic to. The place of her birth, Newgate, was a prison of the day, where her mother was under a sentence of death.

An excellent read, once you get into the flow of the archaic writing style and vocabulary.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

From the plaque "To Honor U.S. Servicemen and Women Held Prisoner by Terrorists", in memory of Colonel William Richard Higgins, USMC:

He died far away,
Before his time,
But as a soldier and for his country.

I posted this piece about Quantico National Cemetary last Memorial Day.

Update: Nic has posted some wonderful pictures of the various memorials around Washington D.C.

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

May 29, 2005

More Team America Pictures, Audio and Video

Jerry O'Sullivan has posted some stills and videos of TARC 05 on his website. There's a whole heap of good pictures there covering the entire day. Especially nice are the shots of Vern Estes, Paul Rodgers (who built the Goddard rocket and dressed the part), and the beautiful field at Great Meadow where we fly every month.

If you've got the connection speed, I especially recommend the video of the on-board camera carried aloft by the Nike-Smoke. Awesome!

Also, someone passed along this link to an NPR spot that focused on one of the all-girl teams that competed. You can click on the 'listen' button for the related audio.

Posted by Ted at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

Iron Birds fly again

A group of historical flight enthusiasts are flight testing the first of five Me 262's that they're building. This Messerschmitt design was introduced near the end of WWII and was the first practical operational jet fighter.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

It didn't end with Burt

SpaceShipOne may have been first and the winner of the prize money, but the main goal of the X-Prize competition was to develop commercially viable vehicles for the business of space.

SpaceX has just completed a successful test firing of their main rocket motor (with picture!). A more detailed update is promised after the weekend.

Posted by Ted at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Skewed perspective

Rachael and I were talking about blogs and blogging the other day, and she mentioned how many of her friends have Live Journals that they use as a place to vent and rant.

If you've ever spent any time skimming through Live Journals, you'd come away with the impression that half the teens in America are Columbine-capable manic depressives with a severe death wish.

Rachael admitted to being worried about some of her friends that she doesn't see very often, because she reads their Live Journals and expects them to be seriously screwed up in the head. Then, when they get together she's a little freaked by how normal and happy they are.

That's the problem with blogs in general. Your place to rant and rave or bare all or throw out wry commentary is nothing more than a mask. Intimacy is simulated by the details and personal nature of one's posts, but we're all just looking at the face the author wishes us to see. When you don't understand that or forget, then you get a very skewed perspective on who a person is and what they're really like. Little wonder then, that not only is it almost impossible to adaquately explain what blogging is to someone who's never heard of it, but that the whole blogging phenomenom is so misunderstood by pretty much everyone (media, politicians and even bloggers themselves).

Posted by Ted at 07:09 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

May 28, 2005

TARC 2005

All right, this is the post you've been dreading waiting for: What Ted and Mookie did for this year's edition of the Team America Rocketry Challenge. FYI, we had the name first, waayy before the movie came along. Neener neener.

Quick recap: 712 student teams comprised of 10,000 young ladies and gentlemen from across the US (and one DoD school in Germany) entered the contest, vying for $60,000 in scholarship money (plus extra goodies, more on those later). Each team had a teacher sponsor, and many had mentor volunteers from the National Association of Rocketry. Bottom line though, the kids themselves had to design, build and fly the rocket without adult assistance.

The challenge was to build a rocket that would be aloft for exactly 60 seconds, carry one or two fresh eggs, and return the eggs unbroken. The rocket could be a single stage model, but would incurr a 3 second penalty. Carrying only one egg incurred an additional 3 second penalty. So if a team built a single-stage rocket that carried one egg and stayed aloft for 61 seconds, then their score would be 1 (the difference from the target time of 60 seconds) + 3 (single stage) + 3 (single egg) = a score of 7. Note that whether their time was long or short didn't matter (a time of 59 seconds in that example would result in the same score of 7), and it's scored the same way. A lower score is better.

Clear as mud? It's harder to explain that it is to understand.

So all 712 teams were required to make a qualification flight. The flights were witnessed and the results were sent in for tabulation. The 100 best scores were selected for the finals. Five finalists couldn't make it for various reasons and alternates were selected in order from the top scores. To give you an idea of the difficulty of the challenge, less than 300 teams were able to enter qualification flights.

At the finals, each team made a single flight for score. Talk about pressure!

We drove to the Friday night briefing at the newest high school in the county. First we had ours (the volunteer range crew), where we learned the details needed for the following day. While that was going on, the cafeteria was quickly filling with excited students and teachers. Teams had to register and then pick up their equipment. Many teams has shipped their rockets ahead to Aurora Flight Sciences (based in Manassas, Virginia and owned by one of our club members). Because of postal and airline regulations, most teams had pre-ordered rocket motors to be delivered at the contest.

After the range crew brief, the students filed in. Mixed in among the students were the volunteer from AIA (blue polos) and the NAR (white polos and khaki pants). Mookie and I talked to a couple of teams that were sitting near us before things got started.

In order to run an event this big and keep it strictly fair for everyone, things have to run on schedule. The two guys who put it together again this year are retired military, and have a unique way of driving that point home.

When everyone was seated, the contest director stood in front of the group and pointed to a digital clock on the podium. You know, the kind that synchronizes itself via a radio signal to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) (similar to this). He called a time check and hack exactly on the hour. There were some snickers amongst the kids, but it was emphasized that each team had a set prep 'window' and set launch 'window'. Failure to make your flight during your window was an automatic disqualification. No exceptions. That put notice to everyone that the schedule wasn't merely a suggestion of when things should happen, it listed when things *would* happen. Gee, just like the real world, eh?

After some remarks by the head of the NAR and AIA, the safety and information briefing was done, followed by a neat little presentation by Dr. Jay Apt, who flew on the shuttle four times. He started off by asking everyone to imagine the most fun they'd ever had, and then imagining that times 100. Then he said, "Space flight is even better than that". He went on to give a short autobiography, touching on his postings at various observatories (he's an astronomer by training), and showing the things he did to become an astronaut (it wasn't easy and he did some career moves specifically to get into space). A very impressive show. Dr. Apt is a trustee for the NAR and a helluva nice guy.

After the briefing, Rachael and I headed home for some sleep. We had to be back at the field at 6am the following morning.

The field had been set up the day before by about 25 volunteers who worked through about 2" of rain in four hours, all of it blowing straight sideways. Mookie and I have volunteered to help set up in previous years, but couldn't do it this year because of work and school commitments. I'm a bad person for not feeling guilty about that, because those guys worked their tails off in miserable weather.

The field was wet and squishy but there were no massive mud pits, thanks to the fact that it's like a huge front lawn and there's great drainage of the entire area.

Mookie was tasked to be a runner for the day, shuttling flight cards and paperwork amongst the various checkpoints (egg issue, safety check, range control, etc). They had enough runners to adaquately cover the main places, so she spent much of the day with me, running notices up to the PA and radio announcers and escorting teams and teachers to their media interviews.

I was one of two designated bad guys (referred to as "trolls" during the pre-brief). Along with a rocketeer from Florida named Bruno, we handled access to the flying field through the only open gate. Past us, only student teams were allowed. No parents, no teachers, no advisors. We said "no" a lot to folks all day long and even caught a few who tried to sneak casually stroll by, thinking that the rules couldn't possibly apply to them. On the upside, every single team and rocket went past us, and we got to see many of them up close and talk to the kids. I can honestly say that no team went onto that field without hearing Bruno, Mookie (when she was around) or I wishing them good luck. We also answered lots of spectator questions and made sure the media folks knew where things were.

Early in the morning, after a group of students sang the National Anthem (with a Jr ROTC color guard display) there was a helicopter flyover by the Marine Helicopter Squadron-1 (HMX-1), the first Marine aviation unit ever established and the unit responsible for all Presidential helicopter flights. Last year it was a pair of F18 fighters, but apparently the jets on afterburner scared the crap out of some local folks who thought some sort of emergency was going on. The choppers were cool though, check here and here for pics of the aircraft involved.

There was a "pool feed" for local television stations to tap into during the event, and I've heard from several people that they saw reports on various news programs. The winning team appeared on the Today show.

Also, there were plenty of VIP's around. Rachael and I spent a few minutes talking to Vern Estes and his wife Gleda. They attend a lot of rocketry events all over the country, and Vern mentioned that he'd never imagined this many young people all flying rockets in one place at one time. Mookie got her picture taken with the Estes, and her field pass autographed by Vern himself.

After the contest flying was over, several demo flights were made. There was a celebrity impersonator present who did a pretty good Albert Einstein (100 years ago he introduced the theory of relativity - Albert, not the impersonator), and then the Goddard rocket flight. Then nine high power rockets took to the sky, dwarfing the rockets that the students flew and showing them what the next step was if they wanted to pursue the hobby. Big wow factor, including a very nice flight made by a rocket sporting an Animal Motor Works "Green Gorilla" motor which fires with, you guessed it, a brilliant emerald green flame.

Then it was time for the awards. Speeches, VIP's, giant "prize" checks, photos of all the teams, special awards given by the various aerospace companies for things like best craftsmanship, lightest successful rocket, teamwork, etc. I can't quote her exactly, but The Director of Education for NASA said something I thought really brought things into perspective:

You designed and successfully flew a payload carrying vehicle. It launched safely, completed the mission it was designed for, and brought the payload it was carrying back unharmed. (pointing to the three NASA astronauts on the platform) I think they'll agree that you've conquered the important parts of this challenge, especially the 'bringing back the payload unharmed' part.

This contest is truly a space program in miniature, and for the third year in a row the kids kicked its butt.

If you go to the TARC site (click through the opening pages), you'll find photographs of many of the teams and what awards they won. The final results are up too, and I'm amazed at the precision these kids achieved. Remember that the challenge was a targeted time aloft of 60 seconds, and 43 teams out of 100 were within 10 seconds of that. Six teams were within 2 seconds of the target! Two teams dropped out of the top 10 because they decided to design and fly a less complex single-stage rocket and accept the time penalty involved.

The shortest successful flight was just under 18 seconds. The rocket arced near horizontal right off the launch rod. Staging was perfect, except for the horizontal part, and just as everyone was expecting it to slam into the ground (about 20 feet above and 200 yards downrange) the chute ejected. The recovery was abrupt and violent, but the chute opened, the eggs were intact (!!!) and everything else held together.

After the awards ceremony I got to play troll again and manage access to a huge catered BBQ. Talking to the caterer, they fed 400 people in the first 20 minutes, and almost a thousand in all in less than an hour. Mookie and I got our food (I was the last in line) and sat with an adult from one of the teams. Don't know if he was a parent or teacher, we originally thought he was just quiet, but it gradually came out that he was royally pissed at another adult who talked the kids into changing their parachute size at the last minute, and it cost the kids a place in the top 10. It was very uncomfortable because the students and adults were sitting at three or four different tables and nobody would talk to each other. I'm glad I didn't have to share a ride home with them!

As we headed to the truck after a long and happy day, Rachael and I noticed that Vern and Gleda Estes were walking in front of us, holding hands.

Posted by Ted at 09:37 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

May 27, 2005

Possible Motive

Iraqi forces have announced that they'll be establishing a cordon around Bagdhad before conducting security sweeps. Like a lot of folks, my first reaction was to question why would you announce something like that?

Thinking about it, I wouldn't be surprised if they're hoping that the terrorists (screw that misapplied "insurgent" label) make some conspicuous movements in response. Right now, a lot of Iraqi citizens are sick and tired of the bad guys inflicting civilian casualties. There might be some very directed action taking place thanks to tips provided by the locals.

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

All collectedly gathered together for your surfing pleasure

Got a *lot* done yesterday and finished up the evening by watching one of Misty Mundae's more recent efforts, Bite Me! Giant mutant spiders in a strip club. You know I'm loving it.

Boss: What's gotten into you?

Crystal: Spider venom, and I like it.

Consider that a mini-review and recommendation.

Speaking of clitorises... clitoris's... clitorii... what's the plural of clitoris? Oh well, doesn't matter... Speaking of female anatomy, wegglywoo points out an article that proves once again that there are always new things to discover right under our noses (ahem).

Sorry, I was up way late and up way early. Sleep deprivation makes me silly. It's a serious article though, and has some interesting implications for current surgical techniques.

Since we're navigating around the female form, it might be useful to be able to actually navigate, eh? And what better way than by sextant, especially an actual working sextant you build yourself using AOL cd's, mirrors and lego? Thanks to the Ministry for this nifty link.

Mookie picked up the soundtrack to Spamalot. Excellent. I especially enjoyed "The Song That Goes Like This". By the way, that is also one of the best home pages I've ever seen.

One Hit Wonder Central, courtesy of the Llama Butchers.

Gir has tagged me with another meme that goes on the ol' "get to it later stack", alongside the one from Elisson.

Squipper (who has a loaf of home made cinnamon-raisin bread heading her way at the speed of USPS) points out an amusing list: "Things I'd Probably Say If the Bush Administration Were Just a Weekly TV Show and I Were a Regular Viewer". In a completely non-partisan manner I'd like to mention that you can replace "Bush" with "Clinton" or even "Republican" or "Democrat" and the list would still be perfectly spot on.

(I know that contest was a long time ago and I'm just getting around to sending Cindy her prize, but I prefer to think of it this way: I take a long time to satisfy a lady.)

A while back I linked to "By Ourselves, For Ourselves" over at Random Nuclear Strikes. Basically, it's a series of practical essays on survival if the shit ever hits the fan. I consider these a must-read, and the latest installment is up.

You might not like guns, but you should understand the purpose of the 2nd Ammendment. And if you think it's terrible that the government tells you who you can or cannot marry, or what you can or cannot do in the privacy of your own home, yet you remain anti-gun, then I say you're foolish to discard the ultimate Constitutional remedy provided by the men of wisdom who designed that document. Another link from Random Nuclear Strikes.

The Everlasting Phelps has a new advertiser that sells Japanese products. I got a kick just browsing the catalog, and just might order the "Respect the Emperor, Expel the Foreign Barbarians" t-shirt.

Lynn S has been on a roll lately, with links to this page of vintage pulp Octopus covers, and this group blog called Drawn!, which is all about illustration, and which led me to By It's Cover and The Planet of Sardines.

I love the internet.

Posted by Ted at 06:01 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Cult Flicks Links

May 26, 2005


Peeps, I'm taking a couple of days off for an extra-long weekend. This is my first real time off since last August.

I'm not doing anything special, just some down time. I've got a long list of little things to do around the house which I may or may not bother with. Rocket Jones falls into that category, so if you don't hear from me for a few days, well, you know I'll be back soon enough.

In the meantime, go visit Alien Loves Predator. Really. I had tears from laughing so hard.

Posted by Ted at 07:11 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Bub could be trained to do simple tasks, but then so can the average teenager


"All your base are belong to us."

Posted by Ted at 06:57 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

May 25, 2005


Female: I hate having my period.

Me: Look at the bright side.

Female: What bright side?

Me: In school, you never had to go do a problem at the black board while sporting a boner.

Female: *snort*

Posted by Ted at 07:28 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs


Professor Chris Hall appears after a long absence at his new site, under the same old name: Spacecraft.

You've been missed!

Posted by Ted at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Tipping Point

We've heard that term used a lot lately. There are the personal variety ("I've had enough!") and the group version (Lebanon is an excellent example, as is the Ukraine).

Here is one Canadian's declaration of having reached their tipping point.


Thanks to Debbye for pointing that out.

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

Way to go, Little Debbie!

Around this time of year, Little Debbie starts coming out with various 4th of July themed goodies. I noticed that on the back of the box for their "Stars and Stripes" cupcakes they've put a primer on how to display the American flag.

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

It's not that there's a little extra gravity lately

It's that my fantasy league baseball team sucks that bad.

Posted by Ted at 05:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Yes, exactly!

Speaking of baseball, over at the McCovey Chronicles, Grant tries to explain the rivalry between the Giants and Dodgers.

It's something so ingrained, so automatic, I can't even prevent myself from sneering when I see a child wearing a Dodger cap. It's ridiculous. There but for the grace of geography go I, you know? The reason most of us are Giants fans is because of where we were born, where our parents were born, the careers they might have pursued, the twists and turns of relatives seven or eight generations back, and little more. At times, the rivalry seems completely arbitrary.

Also, the Dodgers are objectively evil and wrong. That also has something to do with this whole rivalry thing.


Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

May 24, 2005

Because there's just not enough quirky and romantic New York stories out there

Alien Loves Predator.

Thanks to Red Ted for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:10 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Mookie News

She hasn't posted for a while, but she's still very much alive and kicking. In the county we live in, high school juniors must complete a research paper in order to graduate. They're given the entire year to work on it, and a lot of kids just barely squeak by on it (you may have met one this morning when you got your Egg McMuffin).

If there's one thing Rachael (aka Mookie) doesn't need, it's motivation to do well in school, so usually we just get updates on how things are going.

The other night, my wife Liz and I and Rachael went out. Over dinner I asked Rachael how her paper was going. Liz and I sat there stunned as she spoke for 20 minutes on her chosen topic: The National Theater Project, which was part of FDR's "New Deal". Without hesitation, she rattled off names, dates and places, and even tied it in with other similar programs of the day. The conversation went on for quite a while after dinner, even as we walked through a department store looking for something or other she needed (jeans maybe? I forget).

So between that, another huge research paper on the Canadian military in WWII, plus stage managing a show that the school chorus is putting on, she's been a busy busy bee. Yesterday I took her over to the Community College to get a library card and another reference book.

Hopefully, in a month things will settle down for her when school ends. Or maybe she'll just sleep for 36 straight hours and then charge right back into life.

Posted by Ted at 05:48 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Family matters

A Fish Story

From my friend Gordon Tatro:

This was a pretty interesting story from The Sunday Wichita Eagle Newspaper a couple of weeks ago. A resident in the area saw a ball bouncing around kind of strange in a nearby pond and went to investigate. It turned out to be a flathead catfish who had obviously tried to swallow a child's basketball which became stuck in its mouth!!

The fish was totally exhausted from trying to dive, but unable to because the ball would always bring him back up to the surface. The resident tried numerous times to get the ball out, but was unsuccessful. He finally had his wife cut the ball in order to deflate it and release the hungry catfish.

He finishes up with this bit of wisdom:

I suppose you need pictures in order to believe this? OK... But just remember:

Be kinder than necessary...
for every creature you meet (be they human or not)...
is fighting some kind of battle.

The pictures are in the extended entry





Posted by Ted at 05:12 AM | Comments (11)
Category: Square Pegs

May 23, 2005

President Bush Condemns South Korean Stem Cell Research

In other words, he's saying what he's said all along.

Regardless of what opinion you personally hold about the subject or the man holding the office, you have to admit that the President is consistant.

That's one of the things I like about him.

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

New Banner

The tapestry up top was done by yours truly and entered anonymously into the banner contest.

If you'd like, follow this link to make your own Bayeaux Tapestry (needs Flash).

Posted by Ted at 04:45 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

May 22, 2005

Back to the well, Gridley, one more time!

ZZ Bub.


"Lord take me downtown. I'm just looking for some tush."

Posted by Ted at 08:59 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Long but rewarding day

I'll put up a more complete post later, but for now here are some Team America Rocketry Contest highlights and things that come immediately to mind, in no particular order.

The top three student teams were all within 1 second of the target time.

Ken Mattingly of Apollo 13 fame (still sans measles) was there.

The Director of Education for NASA attended again, and in her remarks said that NASA was on the edge of a massive wave of engineer retirements, and that they desperately needed an influx of young talent. She said that they weren't able to get enough new people to backfill the positions left vacant.

No mention of commercial space. Not surprising since NASA and the Aerospace Industry Association picked up the tab for TARC, and none of the new players are members in the AIA (yet). Still, this is an opportunity to recruit and promote that private space companies should grab a piece of if they can.

One of the demo flights was a full-scale reconstruction of Robert Goddard's original rocket. Unlike the original flight, this one was designed to fly in a safe and stable manner, and did. It looked scale, it didn't fly scale.

Several teams managed to hang their rockets in evil rocket-eating trees, but all managed to get them back and return the egg payload for scoring. One team found their rocket after searching for five hours. Only one team never found their rocket.

God likes rockets.

Lots of goodies and stuff to check out along "vendor row". Mostly colleges passing out information on their engineering and sciences curriculums. The CIA was there, so was the Civil Air Patrol, and they had a nifty Wright Brothers flight simulator where you could sit in a reconstruction of their original flyer's cockpit (such as it was) and try to fly the darned thing. The line was too long for Mookie and I to get to try that.

I remembered sunscreen. Mostly.

My cheeks hurt from smiling all day long.

Posted by Ted at 06:37 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Rocketry

May 21, 2005

Team America Rocketry Challenge

Today is the day.

Last night Mookie and I sat in an auditorium with over 500 motivated and enthusiastic young men and women, their parents and teachers, listening to the pre-brief.

Gotta run. More info over on the right sidebar. Do a search for "Team America", or scroll down under the sections for "Rocketry" and "I'm Involved".

Fun, fun, fun, and a complete report later.

Posted by Ted at 04:44 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

May 20, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

The latest is up over at Curmudgeonry, and fellow Munuvian Jordana has done a fine job of whetting my appetite before lunch. Enjoy!

Posted by Ted at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

Best Hubble Space Telescope Images is asking you to vote on the best Hubble images. From this page, click on any image to go to a slideshow that allows you to rate each image on a 1-5 scale. There are some amazing and beautiful choices.

Posted by Ted at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Andrews AFB Airshow this weekend

The airshow is one of the biggest events of the year in the Washington DC metro area, but it's always kind of melancholy and bittersweet time for my family. We don't attend, and haven't been to an airshow since 1988.

I suspect that others' thoughts go back as well, since comments on the original Flugtag '88 series of posts increase as this event approaches.

Read the posts, read the comments. Count your blessings.

Posted by Ted at 06:13 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

The scariest thing I've ever read

In 1815, Mount Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, erupted in the largest and most powerful display ever witnessed by mankind. The eruption itself and associated tidal waves killed 88,000 people.

If we reduce all the ash from Tambora to dense rock equivalents and include all ash flow tuffs that formed at the same time, we come up with about 36 cubic miles of rock. Quite a bit compared with the destructive U.S. eruptions of Mount St. Helens in 1980 that produced about 1/4 cubic mile.

Wow. Except, that's not the scary part. Geologists have been studying a geologically active region that has in the past underwent events of unimaginable power, dwarfing even Tambora. That place is called Yellowstone.

The volume of volcanic rock produced by the first Yellowstone caldera eruption was about 600 cubic miles—about 17 times more than Tambora, and 2,400 times as much as Mount St. Helen's, an almost incomprehensible figure. One more statistic: Ash from Tambora drifted downwind more than 800 miles; Yellowstone ash is found in Ventura, California to the west and the Iowa to the east.

Yellowstone was created by three separate volcanic geologic events. The last may have removed the southern portions of the Washburn mountain range.

Read that last sentence again.

Here's a simple analogy:

Imagine a bottle of carbonated water lying in the sun. Pick it up, shake it vigorously, maybe tap the cap...boom, it blows off. Instantly the pressure in the bottle drops, the dissolved carbon dioxide exsolves into bubbles and an expanding mass of bubbles and water jets into the sky. In a few seconds, the event is over. Wipe off your face and check the bottle; some of the water remains, but most of the gas is gone. This simple scenario is a scaled-down analogy of what happened 600,000 years ago in Yellowstone when the volatile-rich upper part of the magma chamber vented and erupted the Lava Creek Tuff.

And a simplified reconstruction of the real thing:

Nearer the vents, fiery clouds of dense ash, fluidized by the expanding gas, boiled over crater rims and rushed across the countryside at speeds over one hundred miles per hour, vaporizing forests, animals, birds, and streams into varicolored puffs of steam. Gaping ring fractures extended downward into the magma chamber providing conduits for continuing foaming ash flows.

More and more vapor-driven ash poured from the ring fractures, creating a crescendo of fury. As the magma chamber emptied, large sections of the foundering magma chamber roof collapsed along the ring fractures, triggering a chain reaction that produced a caldera 45 miles long and 28 miles wide.

Yellowstone is three separate but overlapping caldera, and the area is still extremely active in the geological sense. So a reoccurance isn't necessarily imminent, but at some point, it will happen.

Victims of the Mt. St. Helen's eruption were found with their lungs, sinuses and mouths full of ash. We've already seen how relatively minor that eruption was. Here's what you'll experience if you happen to be too close to the action.

Hot ash flows are fascinating. Driven by expanding gas, they are really clouds of hot glass shards and pumice plus expanding gas whose turbulence keeps everything flowing like water.

Not that you'd experience it for more than a fraction of a second. Merciful, that.

So there you have it, the scariest thing I've ever read, and I meant that literally. The full text is here: Yellowstone Calderas, and I have Transterrestrial Musings to thank for the nightmares.

Posted by Ted at 05:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech

I got tagged and never saw it

Fridge meme from Elisson... Early next week Amigo, best I can do.

Posted by Ted at 05:49 AM | Comments (0)

Most every Jason I've ever known has been a jerk

Even the ones who aren't hockey mask-wearing psychopathic serial murderers. But if you want a rundown on most of the Friday the 13th franchise, you're in luck, because Pete gives his take, right down to "best killing" in each flick.

I've still got an unopened copy of the original on my shelf, a gift for Christmas.

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

May 19, 2005

Floating an idea

Maybe the US should head north and provide a little (re)democratization in Canada. The political situation there has gone way beyond farce.

I'd love to see a contingent of Iraqi peacekeepers patrolling the streets of Ottawa.

Posted by Ted at 06:11 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Some interesting and entertaining links

Today and tomorrow and, hell, I'm gonna be swamped until Monday at least...

Weg noticed that someone is proposing to make a Ray Bradbury short story into a movie, and hopes that they'll do it justice. I hope so too. Personally, I hate Bradbury with a passion, but he's done a few stories that I like, and one of them is A Sound of Thunder. Head on over to her place and read the background, plus she provides a link to the story online. It's a good read.

Moving from Science Fiction to science fact, the guys at Random Nuclear Strikes point the way to a nifty experiment in reality vs. Hollywood-reality. We've all seen the bit where the guy confronts a padlocked door or gate, whips out his pistol and, kapow!, removes the lock with a well-placed shot. Does it really work that way? Head on over to Life, Liberty, Etc. to read about the test and see pictures of the results. Way cool.

Rich puts up the best analysis of each episode of Survivor that I've seen on the net. I've never watched an episode, but his posts were good enough to know what was going on.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Minor Perfidy has overplayed their hand and it's now obvious that they desire nothing less than world domination under Canadian financial control. A most excellent writer who began as a commenter, became a blogger, then returned to commenting only has now been assimilated into the MoMP collective. As such, the call has been put forth:

...think of clever and mildly (mildly!) deprecating snippets to include in the random list of capsule bios that appear under every minister’s name...

Take 'em up on their generous offer to mock Patton before you actually read any of his posts. It's the Democratic way!

Oops, almost forgot. Buckethead posted his take on the blogmeet/demolition derby we had last Saturday night.

Nic is posting uber-cool pictures!

Gotta run. See ya when I get a chance.

Posted by Ted at 05:41 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

May 18, 2005

Instant Gratification Theater

The butler did it.

Posted by Ted at 04:30 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Can I get an Amen?!


News Editors need to dig deep into their values and go back to a place before news was a commodity; before news became earnings, ratings and subscriptions competition, to a place where a News Editor's role is once again that of a vanguard and protector of the truth. For that is what the American people want, and that is what our system of democracy demands.

There's more.

Posted by Ted at 11:31 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

First impressions

I haven't heard a whole lot so far, but I'm really beginning to like the music of Lisa Loeb.

Posted by Ted at 11:27 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

I needed a laugh this morning

And Gir provided not one, but two!

Posted by Ted at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links


My "official" email address has changed over on the sidebar. The hotmail account has been gradually overrun by spam, so I'm making the switch to Gmail. You'll still be able to reach me at the old account, but be aware that my response might be delayed because I'm not checking it as often as I used to.

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

May 17, 2005

Boob Blogging

There's been quite a bit happening around the ol' household the last couple of weeks.

First up, my son is looking for his own place. He's been living at home for almost a year now after doing his hitch in the Navy, and I've decided that it's time for him to get out there and tackle the world on his own.

Yep, I threw him out.

He's looking at places to live nearer his work (he's got a pretty good job, but the commute from our house is a real bitch), and the plan is for him to be out by the end of the month. Call it tough love, but sometimes if you don't kick 'em out of the nest they never learn to fly.

Secondly, and even more exciting, is related to that odd little post about googling 36CC and 36HH. Our health insurance has approved a breast reduction for our oldest daughter, Robyn. She is, ah, over-endowed* shall we say, and has suffered from chronic back pain since the age of 14. Thanks to the foresight of our wonderful family doctor, it's been documented the entire time. Robyn is just shy of 21 years old now, and my health plan has agreed that physical therapy and other non-surgical methods have been ineffective, and that in the long run a reduction would be best for her health. I can blog this because she said it was ok, plus she's already called all her friends** and relatives to let them know. Yep, we're all excited and happy for her.

So my household shall soon be rid of three big boobs.

Oh look, I made a funny.

*At 36HH, she left Barbie in the dust long ago.

**So far my favorite reactions*** have come from some of her male friends, who suggest that she should wait awhile before going through with it, because "you might like them that big when you get older". That, my friends, is looking out for your fellow man.

***My second favorite reaction comes from some of her female friends, who freak out when they find out that dad is taking her to the hospital because mom can't get the day off of work.

Posted by Ted at 12:08 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Seriously

Webpage Design Tip

When putting together your color pallete, don't forget that about 1 in 12 people who visit your site will be color blind.

Here's a good page with ideas on how to incorporate color blind awareness into your design.

Posted by Ted at 11:59 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Quirk (kwerk)

One of my little foibles is that I hate to mispronounce someone's name. I won't remember it (I'm terrible with faces and names), but I'll absolutely work on the pronounciation until I get it right before forgetting it.

A couple of blogging friends have names that I'm sure I butcher, even if only in my mind.

Boudicca - I pronounce it "bow (like the front of a ship) dee-cha", and the emphasis goes on either of the first two sylables interchangably, for no good reason.

Prochein Amy - In my mind, I say "pro-cheen", rhymes with protein. Dunno if that's right or not.

There are others too, but mostly I can suss 'em out if I don't know right off how to say it. So there ya go, I fret over mispronouncing names. Weird, eh?

Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

Must be the new math

The headline reads "At Least 24 Iraqis Killed; 50 Bodies Found".

Uh, yeah. In my school 50 was more than 24.

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

May 16, 2005

Have an earworm, and don't say I never gave you anything

Who remembers Peaches and Herb? Here's a little bit of Shake Your Groove Thing:

Let's show the world we can dance
Bad enough to strut our stuff
The music gives us a chance
We do more out on the floor

Groovin' loose or heart to heart
We put in motion every single part
Funky sounds wall to wall
We're bumpin' booties, havin' us a ball, y'all

Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah
Show 'em how we do it now
Shake your groove thing, shake your groove thing, yeah, yeah
Show 'em how we do it now

I'd pay money to hear William Shatner sing that live.

Posted by Ted at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Waxing Lyrical

Team America Rocketry Contest update

This is the final prep week. Starting Friday evening, Mookie and I will be immersed in students and rockets. It looks like over 500 students and teachers will descend on our little corner of Virginia to launch raw eggs and see if their designs are successful enough to snag a share of the scholarship money. Most importantly though, these teams are the finalists, each scored well enough in the qualification round to place in the top 100 of over 750 entered teams.

The goal is difficult, and just getting a successful flight was a huge challenge. These kids are flying amazingly complex rockets, and making it look routine, that experienced rocketeers seldom attempted just a few years ago.

Speaking from experience, whoever said that you learn more from failures than successes, knew what they were talking about. Every team that attempted the challenge this year learned a lot about technology and various sciences, even if they never got their designs to work correctly. This year.

From the final status update:

This year we will have more media coverage, much more NASA/industry participation, and more elaborate site facilities than in previous years. Neither Senator Enzi [Wyoming - RJ] nor Homer Hickam can make it, but we are optimistic about the new NASA Administrator making it. The Marines are sending a flyover of helos from the Presidential helo squadron as part of the opening ceremony. We have a great HPR demo lined up for the end of the day, and Steve Humphrey and Paul Rodgers have built a full-size replica of Goddard's original rocket to fly as an afternoon demonstration flight as well. Goddard was a physicist, and our event co-sponsor this year is the American Association of Physics Teachers.

Kids and rockets, you can't go wrong with a combination like that. I'm gettin' excited!

Posted by Ted at 11:21 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Rocketry

Note on Saturday Night's "Rainout"

It wasn't.

I remember looking at my watch and seeing it was nearing 9pm when we dashed for our cars through the rain. At this point, we'd been standing around under cover for at least a half hour.

The game resumed at 9:40pm after the storms rolled on out.

So those tickets we all bought aren't any good. I'm mildly annoyed at the length of the delay, because by then most everybody had to have left the stadium. Then again, I realize that minor league teams probably have a razor thin profit margin and will do most anything to avoid rainouts. Oh well, at least we got to see a good inning and a half of baseball.

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

May 15, 2005

One year later

Last year on May 11th, I posted this picture, showing a small flower bed in my front yard and describing what I was hoping would happen.

Here's the same bed this year, taken this morning (in the extended entry). You don't need a lot of space for a spectacular flower bed, especially if you go vertical with it.


Posted by Ted at 01:52 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

I Could Have Danced All Night (updated)

Sometimes when you get together with friends it doesn't matter what's going on, nothing is going to spoil a good time. Raging flood? Lash the cooler to a tree so the beer doesn't wash away. Alien invasion? Lash the cooler to a tree so the beer doesn't get captured. You get the idea.

Last night's get-together was just such an evening for me. Mookie, oldest-daughter Robyn and I arrived at the stadium to find Dawn already there. A few minutes later near simultaneous calls from Victor and Buckethead came in, letting us know that they were stuck in traffic but on the way.

We managed to get a block of seats, and when the game started an actual baseball game was just background to the great conversations going on all around. Altogether, it was Victor and Nic, Buckethead and his lovely wife and son (who was seeing his first ballgame), Dawn, Mookie, Robyn and myself.

The sky had been threatening for quite awhile, and the first wave of thunderstorms had missed us, but the second wave rolled in during the second inning. The groundscrew unrolled the tarps and everyone in the stands headed under cover while the lightning put on quite a show.

I have no idea how long we spent together, packed in with the rest of the crowd under the grandstands, waiting out the rain. It didn't look like it was going to end anytime soon, so we headed over to a restaurant for more great conversation over drinks, chips and guacamole.

Nic easily told the funniest story of the night, about recognizing people in old photographs. I'm still chuckling over that one. I'll add links to the others blogs if they give their version of events, because I very much skimmed over lots of what went on.

Damn people, lets do this again real soon. Saturday, June 25th is already marked on my calendar for another game.

Dawn tells her version here, it involves emperiled children, road rage, and a seriously screwed up back bumper.

Nic and Victor decided to get most of their adventures out of the way early in the evening.

I gotta tell you, Victor's is *much* bigger than mine. In fact, I'm a girly-man in comparison to the tool that Victor totes around.

Also, I'd like to thank Buckethead publicly for his foresight and wisdom. While buying souvenirs (jeez that word looks wrong, but the spell checker ok'd it), he picked up a miniature bat for his son, but thought of the potential for damage and put it back down. Instead they bought him a set of those inflatable thunder sticks. Later, his son whacked me right in the strike zone with it. Recap: thunder stick = hilarity; baseball bat = I might still be in the fetal position.

Posted by Ted at 08:34 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

May 14, 2005

Baseball game tonight

We'll be at the stadium in front of (or near) the ticket windows between 5:30 and 6:00. I've emailed our cell phone number to those who expressed interest, so if you haven't heard from me, let me know in the comments.

Background and details here.

I'm looking forward to meeting y'all.

Posted by Ted at 09:04 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Urkel Moments in Hollywood

What is an "Urkel Moment?"

Any time you suddenly stop and say "did I do that?" Named after the character Steve Urkel, who made a (brief) career out of doing just that in the the television sitcom Family Matters. You know, the one where the youngest TV daughter grew up to do porn movies.*

Did I do that?

I'd make bets that you've mentally asked yourself that after breaking up with someone. Any incriminating photos in your past (Dr. Laura - nsfw)?

"I'm not saying I'm gay or anything, but I would so do David Hasselhoff." from the Urban Dictionary

One night while stationed in Alabama my wife and I and another couple went to a drive-in theater we'd heard about that showed porn movies. I don't remember a thing about the movies we saw except for one item. One of the male stars was none other than David Hasselhoff. This was pre-Knight Rider days and long before Baywatch. But he was still a star, appearing as a regular and important character on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. His character name? Snapper. I shit you not.

I wonder what he got paid for doing that porn movie? Definitely an Urkel moment.

Did you know that Harlan (Colonel) Sanders used to offer free fried chicken to movie crews if they'd give him walk-on bit parts? It's true, and there are several very forgettable movies in which he makes an appearance. Something I didn't realize was that the man was 6'5" tall, so he often literally stood head and shoulders above the other characters in a scene.

Probably best known as the upper and lower left corners of the original Hollywood Squares game shows, Wally Cox and Charlie Weaver each fell into doing parts in crap movies after their careers faded. Cox in particular did some really odd and disturbing work making use of his milquetoast personna.

Neil Sedaka's Urkel Moment is undoubtedly an uncredited appearance (probably the wisest thing he ever did, the uncredited part that is) in a 70's movie called Chatterbox. Here's the plot synopsis:

A young woman who works in a beauty parlor discovers that her vagina can talk, which causes her no end of trouble.

Who says Hollywood has gone to hell lately?

Titled with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, you know this one is on my "track down and see someday" list.

* The youngest daughter on Family Matters was named Jaimee Foxworth, so if you believe at all in karma, then that name doomed her to porn right from the start. Her porn star name was Crave and she starred in flicks such as "Booty Talk #20". She's since "found God" and is trying to get back into mainstream acting. And no, I've never seen any of her movies, but Google is my friend.

Posted by Ted at 08:58 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Cult Flicks

For those with the balls to think big

main-frame ('mAn-frAm noun): An obsolete device still used by thousands of obsolete companies and government entities, serving billions of obsolete customers and obsolete constituents, making huge obsolete profits for obsolete shareholders, and this year's obsolete models run twice as fast as last year's.

Posted by Ted at 06:30 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

May 13, 2005

What a difference a couple of letters makes

If you type "36DD" into Google, you'll get page after page of porn sites.

If you type "36HH" into Google, you'll get page after page of online bra stores.

Posted by Ted at 08:21 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Carnival of the Recipes is up

This week it's hosted by fellow-Munuvian Boudicca, who is automatically tres chic because she and I share the same birthday.*

So go visit, I've already noted several new dishes that go straight into my "to try" recipe binder.

*Better than some cheap parlor trick, that it happened is a statistical certainty! Look it up! Now. You're on the freakin' internet, get your lazy butt over to Google and look. It. Up. And if you ask me how to spell "statistical" I'll answer


Kids these days. Sheesh.

Posted by Ted at 12:02 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Ouch, if this is correct (updated)

The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) list has reportedly been leaked, and there are some surprises.

Fort Belvoir, Virginia is on the list.

Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota is on the list.

Redstone Arsenal, Alabama is on the list.

Belvoir is local to where I live, and I spent five winters in Grand Forks (you can read the stories here). Redstone is steeped in history in regards to American space programs.

Like I said, if the leaked list is accurate... ouch.

UPDATE: The list as originally linked to above is not very accurate. For instance, Redstone Arsenal is indeed on the final list, but not for closure. It will actually be growing as personnel from other organizations are transferred there.

Likewise, Grand Forks is not closing, but will lose over 2,600 personnel in realignment.

My third example, Fort Belvoir will actually gain 11,000+ people.

Exit polls and leaked reports, you just can't trust 'em. Here's the official list (.pdf format).

Thanks to Wizbang for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Military

Banner Contest Results!

Official results later, after we locate some missing absentee ballots.

Also, I'd like to officially announce that there was almost zero participation by minorities in the voting process, but it was due to the fact that my street cred is right up there alongside Pat Boone, not that we disenfranchised an entire class of people for nefarious purposes.

In the meantime, enjoy the apparent winner, subject to change by recount or lawsuit.

Posted by Ted at 06:03 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

The difference between ignorance and apathy

I don't know and I don't care.

Posted by Ted at 04:42 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Beautiful flowers

Photographed in a way you may have never seen before, by x-ray. Thanks to Lynn S for pointing this one out.

Posted by Ted at 04:16 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

May 12, 2005

Somebody's momma hated them

From Not Exactly Rocket Science, this Amazon list of unfortunately named authors. Funny stuff!

Posted by Ted at 07:09 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Adjust your links

Who Tends the Fires has moved.

Posted by Ted at 06:27 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links


Nothing in particular, I just love the way that sounds when you say it loudly.

Posted by Ted at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Rocket Jones Blog Banner Contest - Time to Vote!

Stuck up top for a week, scroll down for new posts.

A month ago I wrote this:

Here's your chance to be creative. Design a banner for Rocket Jones. Drawing, painting, photography, simple, complex, I don't care. Enter as many as you'd like.

Then I mentioned voting for favorites and actual prizes and what not. Banners were thunked up, creativity was exercised, and links were tossed about with abandon.

They're all gathered in the extended entry (in no particular order) for your perusal. Some you've seen before, some were last minute arrivals, all are super-neato-keen. Check 'em out and vote for your favorite by leaving a comment.

Thank you.









Posted by Ted at 02:28 PM | Comments (27)
Category: Links

Gettin' My Groove On

One of the best things about my iPaq PDA is that I can use it as an MP3 player, and storage cards are coming down in price all the time, which means I can carry more music with me.

The frustrating part is that since it's not a dedicated music player, it only accepts the MP3 format. Now that wouldn't be a problem except that Windows Media Player - and most other equivalent apps - don't save CD's in MP3 format. So even though I've got hundreds of legally purchased CD's full of music, I couldn't download them to take with me.

Enter Quintessential Player. This is a completely free music player that does so much more, including ripping my music collection into the MP3 format that I must use. Lots of add-ons and extensions over and above the already impressive list of standard features. If you're tired of dealing with Windows Media Player (eh) or Real Player (barf), give this one a try. So far I'm loving it!

Now I need more (and bigger) storage cards.

Posted by Ted at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Scale (updated)

Here's a group of illustrations that show the myriad types of Star Trek spacecraft together, showing relative size.

Update: I missed this before, but if you scroll down, there are 3-view silhouette recognition charts and more.

Posted by Ted at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links


Vespa returns! Tres cool!

Posted by Ted at 05:57 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech


I've mentioned before how much I like the Rainmakers, especially their lyrics. Here's a great example of packing a lot of story and meaning into a few words. From their album The Good News and the Bad News.

We Walk The Levee

In the '51 flood the river got mean
The levee broke at a town downstream
Up on our levee where the county lines meet
Caught a couple of their boys with some TNT

Something had to give and it gave down there
My thoughts are with you but my family's here
It was you this time it was us before
Nothing's fair in flood and war

And blood's thicker than water
But thin and cold in the flood
The mud and the guilt and the gun get heavy
We do what we gotta
We walk the levee

My sisters married brothers from the neighboring town
My cousin and his boy farm his father's ground
I'm a Christian man with a bible and a gun
Just praying to God ain't gotta shoot no one

And blood's thicker than water
But thin and cold in the flood
The mud and the guilt and the gun get heavy
We do what we gotta
We walk the levee

Now I'm just a man protecting his home
Why do I feel like a dog out killin' his own
Itchy on the trigger, quick on the draw
Shined the flashlight in the face of a twelve year old kid
Who started cryin' for his ma

(spoken) I told him to get on home

I saw him in church on Sunday, heard the minister speak
About Noah and the ark and the other cheek
And Jesus' love and Judas' kiss
I'll think of that tonight on the graveyard shift

And blood's thicker than water
But thin and cold in the flood
The mud and the guilt and the gun get heavy
We do what we gotta
We walk the levee

And blood's thicker than water
But thin and cold in the flood
The mud and the guilt and the gun get heavy
We do what we gotta
We walk the levee

Yes we do what we gotta
We walk the levee

Damn good albums if you can find 'em.

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

May 11, 2005

How to recognize me at Saturday Night's ballgame


I'll be wearing a cap and holding a pennant.

Posted by Ted at 08:56 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

Alien Worlds through Artists' Eyes

A wickedcool look at other planets, courtesy of

Posted by Ted at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Sears Resolution

Sears is dead to me. After being bumped up the chain of command at least three times, the latest drone dealt with the pissed-off customer by sending a check. It wasn't for the full amount from our list of damages, but it was close.

It was a shut-them-the-hell-up check, because there was no phone call and no apology. I meant an apology for having to go through this mess in the first place. For all the people I wound up talking to about this situation, only two even bothered to say "I'm sorry", from the rest it was "prove that it's our fault". When I wasn't being patronized I was being treated like a liar and a thief.

Sears will be gone soon. Their corporate attitude has gone to hell and their customer service is a joke. You cannot stay in business with that mindset. I was a longtime customer, my workshop is full of Craftsman tools, my appliances were almost all purchased through Sears. If I needed paint, I'd wait for a sale at Sears.

Never again. Ever.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Seriously

May 10, 2005

There's a fine line between screwed and staying screwed

Derby bettor loses, finds ticket worth $864,253.50

Spokane, Oregon Mayor Taking Leave Amid Allegations

Posted by Ted at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Tech Savvy Needed

My wife's PC finally gave up the ghost. The message we're getting is "Operating System Not Found" at startup, so I'm guessing something on the motherboard is kaput.

Fortunately we have most of it backed up, and what isn't we can easily recreate.

This PC has a new hard drive in it, which I'd like to remove and put into my PC. It's configured as the C: drive, and what I need to know is if I need to reformat it when I install or can I just rename it (D:)? It'd be great if I could get the rest of the data off of it.

Any help?

Posted by Ted at 07:30 AM | Comments (5)
Category: SciTech

Yeah, kinda like that!

You've got this mental picture of all these different bloggers you read every day, and then you get a chance to meet them face to face, and they look totally different than what you've imagined, but they're still wonderful anyway and you have a great time and can't wait for the next chance to get together again...

Mookie and I went to see Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy last night.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

Shaving Ryan's Privates

This one *is* naughty enough to go into the extended entry, but I just couldn't pass up on the title.

(not even remotely safe for work)


Posted by Ted at 04:29 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

May 09, 2005

Swiss Army Knife

Handy in so many ways, I can't understand how people have gotten away from carrying a knife. I have a Swiss Army, the Fisherman model, that goes with me everywhere, and I've given smaller versions to the girls as gifts.

Here's a dandy guide to "The Care and Feeding of the Swiss Army Knife". Good information here, whether you're looking to buy or already have one.

Posted by Ted at 12:10 PM | Comments (10)
Category: Links

Fractured Fairy and other Tales

I found this incredible tribute to Stan Freberg (thanks Ti!). Some of you may be asking yourself, "who?" Go read, because you know him, you just might not realize that you know him.

A brief bio and more can be found here.

Oh my darlin'. Oh my darlin'. Oh my daaaaaaarlin' Clementine...

Posted by Ted at 05:42 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Supply your own Pink Floyd lyric

It's art dammit. I'm not hiding it in the extended entry.


Posted by Ted at 04:35 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

May 08, 2005

We came this close

Alan E. Brain plays synergist to show that a derelict early version of the Star Wars Death Star might be orbiting Saturn.

Seriously! Well, kinda. Go check it out.

Posted by Ted at 02:51 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Morning Exchange

Dad, upon observing two dead-ass daughters laying around the living room: "It's Mother's Day, you should make mom breakfast in bed."


Dad: "Do we have cinnamon rolls? Mom likes those."

Robyn: "Yeah, mom pointed those out yesterday."

Dad: "Probably because she wants them this morning."


Dad: "Someone should go into the kitchen and make Mom some cinnamon rolls. He said pointedly, with a hint of suggestion in his voice."

Rachael: "Huh? Sorry dad, I was zoned out."

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

For Debbye

My favorite "fierce American" expressed surprise at the lack of hockey-related logos in the banner contest. So I'll put Maurice "Rocket" Richard (pronounced Ree-shard) up top for awhile. From his bio pages:

Richard became the NHL's first 50-goal shooter in 1944-45. This feat was accomplished in 50 games, a performance that wouldn't be equaled until Mike Bossy did it in 1980-81.

Now you shouldn't confuse him with a later legend who also played for the Montreal Canadiens, Henri Richard. For you heathens who don't know who "Pocket Rocket" Richard is:

The only individual to have his name on the Stanley Cup 11 times as a player. Incredibly, he played on a Stanley Cup winner in more than half the seasons he played.

More on his career here.

Posted by Ted at 08:45 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

It wasn't until miniaturization advanced that the German marital aid industry really took off


"Und here is vhere ve install ze automobile batteries."

Posted by Ted at 08:24 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

May 07, 2005

Rockets in the News

The Team America Rocketry Challenge happens in two weeks (click here for more info), and local newspapers across the country are starting to notice.

EDUCATION: It IS rocket science

Grand Forks Herald - Grand Forks, ND,USA
... perhaps the first thing the three-member Red River High School rocket team will check this afternoon after they launch the 3½-foot model rocket they designed ...

Houston, we have ignition
Delmarva Daily Times - MD,USA
... an invitation to compete in the Aerospace Industries Association's Team America Rocketry Challenge fly-off -- the nation's largest student model rocket contest ...

Counting down - Fort Lauderdale,FL,USA
... Right Stuff -- has placed the eight-student group in the coveted finals of the Team America Rocketry Contest, billed as the world's largest model rocket contest ...

Thanks to Bill S. for emailing the links.

Posted by Ted at 09:34 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Rocketry

Carnival of the Recipes

Is up at TechnoGypsy, served up with plenty of Pascha basket related commentary. Good food and good reading.

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

May 06, 2005

Baseball Meetup

Just a reminder and an invitation to join us at the Potomac Nationals baseball game on the evening of May 14th. Here's your chance to see the future of the Washington Nationals, put some faces to blogger names, and there will be fireworks afterwards too.

Hope to see you there!

Already expressing interest:

Mookie (and at least my wife and one other kid)
Goddess Dawn
Nic of Shoes, Ships & Sealing Wax
Victor of Publius & Co.
Buckethead (and family) of the Ministry of Minor Perfidy
Newlyweds Rob & Big Hair from L&R

Details, details: The game starts at 7pm, and the ticket office opens at noon. Rob suggested the $10 box seats which looks to be right down on the field. I was thinking Section 3 of reserved seating ($9) because it might be easier to get a group of seats together there. What say you? Either works for me.

Directions and stadium map are here.

Posted by Ted at 05:29 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Links

May 05, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinnaaaahhh!!!

Everybody knows that a lot of chocolate isn't good for you. Peanut butter is better for you than chocolate. And oatmeal is even better for you than peanut butter. Except that oatmeal is that kind of anemic tan color and peanut butter is the same color as baby poo. Ick. So the best way to make something look appetizing if it has peanut butter and oatmeal in it is to add a little chocolate, right? And it's still health food, you just have to hide that fact from the kids.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Super-Duper Healthy No-Guilt Peanut Oat (and chocolate) No-bake Cookies
(does it get any easier and healthier than this?)

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky, doesn't matter)
1 3/4 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

In a medium saucepan stir together the sugar and cocoa.
Add the milk and butter. Turn heat to medium and bring to a boil.
Boil 1 minute.
Remove from heat. Add peanut butter and oats. Stir well to combine.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto foil-lined sheet pan.
Let stand until firm and cool.
Store in an airtight container.

That's it!

Note to visitors from the Carnival of the Recipes: While you're here, take a gander at the Rocket Jones Banner Contest and vote on your favorite.

Posted by Ted at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

Happy Cinco de Morte!


I always get those two holidays mixed up.

Posted by Ted at 05:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

May 04, 2005

Way past obsession, nearing career territory

Thanks to Victor, a link to a movie ad parody: Zombies make movies.

I think the undead chick is pretty darned hot.

Posted by Ted at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Not zombies, but still a monster

Over at SilverBlue (who has moved, let linkage adjustment commence), we are treated to this wonderful bit of fun:

The Top 15 Signs You Are Worshipping GodZILLA, Not God

15> Less smiting, more biting!

14> Every single story in the Old Testament ends with God destroying a city.

13> You insist that every courthouse display a copy of 10 instructions for destroying Tokyo.

12> Your hymnal is copyrighted by Blue Oyster Cult.

11> You’re expected to build a cross big enough for crucifying Godzuki.

10> You issue a fatwa for jihad on Mechagodzilla.

9> The whole “Bambi is Satan” thing should have been a big tip-off.

8> His sole commandment: Thou shalt run screaming through the streets.

7> Every time you kneel to pray, your Lord steps on you.

6> Golden calf? No response.
Sacrificial lamb? Not even a twitch.
Passenger train full of screaming Japanese passengers? Bingo!

5> The sermon is lovely, but Reverend Takoshi’s words are out of sync with his lips.

4> Instead of a communion wafer, you’re supposed to eat Tokyo.

3> Recently chosen Pope Megalon XVI crushes all attempts to alter church doctrine.

2> You just spent $20,000 on eBay for the Virgin Mothra stuffed calzone.

and’s Number 1 Sign You Are Actually Worshipping GodZILLA…

1> That thing about keeping the temple’s lamps lit for eight days with no oil? Not a problem.

I posted the whole thing, but he posts good jokes and photos often, so you should visit him regularly.

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

Lyndie England

She's about to be sentenced for her role in the Abu Gharib prison abuses. This might be the first time I've mentioned the whole mess, but I'll say this much now:

When she pled guilty, Lyndie England didn't flinch or try to deflect the blame. She said that she knew it was wrong, and caved to peer pressure to participate. Once again, she admitted that she knew it was wrong, yet she chose to do it anyway.

That's called personal responsibility, and it's far more than Sergeant "Military Intelligence ordered us to do it" Graner has shown.

I hope that her sentence is less harsh because of her admission. It was wrong, it was stupid, but still, my respect for her has gone up a notch.

Posted by Ted at 08:12 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

Sky on Fire, Earth on Fire

Not one, but two nifty internet places to visit from Iceland, land of geothermal energy.


Posted by Ted at 07:39 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

I'm an Old Testament kinda God

One of my Christmas presents was Sims2, which nobody played because none of our computers at home had enough horsepower to run it. Since we got the laptop, it's become the Sims machine when not being used for anything else.

I've futzed around with it for a few hours over the last couple of weeks, and on Monday night I killed my first Sim. He was a whiney snot and I got tired of his attitude. The killing part wasn't fun and I was amazed that his bladder lasted longer than his little electron heart.

People all over are playing God in these virtual worlds, but to me it's like a horrible training program on how not to take care of someone. Like, oh... the elderly? It strikes me as singularly stupid that we've given youngsters the means to refine and perfect their cruelty when it comes time to deal with an aging Mom and Dad.

Maybe I've just been in a mood lately, but a home isn't looking like such a bad thing any more.

Posted by Ted at 05:42 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

May 03, 2005

It's the soft background color and recipes I bet

The latest meme I've seen around (Gir was first) is something about "How gay is your website". I submitted Rocket Jones and it came back with "50% gay - at least bisexual".

That surprised me, what with all the zombies and rockets stuff lately. My wife might be right. She says I'm overcompensating. Plans to redecorate the place have been scrapped, although I am thinking about building a deck off of the right sidebar. With a built in grill. And a beer cooler. With a tap.

Not that there's anything wrong with "bisexual" (he says in a deep manly voice while scratching himself). Especially if you're a woman.

Posted by Ted at 07:50 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

One for Mookie

Zombie Prom, the off-broadway musical.

Sometimes the synergy of this ol' world is frightening.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Tired of the zombies yet?

Be glad it wasn't something really scary like Abba.

And what about Zombies? You never hear from Zombies! That's the trouble with Zombies, they're unreliable! I say if you're going to go for the Angel bullshit you might as well go for the Zombie package as well. -- George Carlin

New tagline over on the sidebar too.

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Texas Wisdom

I ain't worried 'cause my wallet's fat.

They come a-running just as fast as they can.
Every girl's crazy for a sharp dressed man. -- ZZ Top

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

May 02, 2005

More Prom Pictures

Mookie and her date (an interpretation by Dad):

I forgot to order a corsage!

They all kind of look like this to me. If you have daughters, then you understand.

Posted by Ted at 08:55 PM | Comments (10)
Category: Square Pegs

It hasn't stopped with Rutan

Over at Transterrestrial Musings, Rand Simberg has been giving updates on the Space Access Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Teasers and snippets:

Three kinds of space people:

Saganites: "Space is big, billions of stars, isn't God's creation incredible...DON'T TOUCH IT."

Von Braunians: "We vill go boldly into space, and you vill watch on television, and you vill enjoy it." That's the current space program.

O'Neillians: "We will build the tools, go into space, and use its resources to expand humanity and freedom into the cosmos."

About Chuck Lauer of Rocketplane, Limited's talk:

Chuck actually gets quite emotional when describing the feeling of going into the hangar and seeing all the people working, earning a living, finally living the dream that he and Mitchell started working on a decade ago.

There's so much more. As they say, go read the whole thing. Scroll on down through the articles (or start at the bottom and read up) as it covers multiple posts.

Posted by Ted at 11:52 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Space Program

Out-of-context Quote of the Day

From Ace:

I didn't know a girl-on-girl tickling scene with Andie MacDowell could be so... disturbing.

A couple of things here. First, I was busy on the computer when the movie being talked about came on. When I realized something other than music was playing in the background, it took me a few minutes to realize that the character was supposed to be "special". She acted exactly like Rosie O'Donnell always acts. Loud and obnoxious.

Secondly, Andie MacDowell is an actress that I cannot stand. She was marginal in Groundhog Day, but I think she became irrevocably dead to me after her performance in Michael.

"Pie. Pie. Me oh my..."

Posted by Ted at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

I forget which channel it was, but it had to be one of those educational ones...

I was puttering around the house last night, half-watching some documentary about teaching youngsters or something like that. This caught my ear:

Boys have a penis. Girls have a vagina.

Anatomy? Sex-ed? Either way, those kids were way too young for that.


Yes, I'm aware it's from the movie Kindergarten Cop. That's the joke, get it? I pretend I didn't know that... oh never mind, you rotten joke spoiler person you.

Posted by Ted at 05:27 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

May 01, 2005

Prom Picture

As promised, a photo of my daughter Rachael (aka Mookie) before heading out to prom.

(in the extended entry)

all this and brains too

Posted by Ted at 02:57 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Links

Bub for President

Meet Bub, star zombie from 'Day of the Dead'

Not "Dub", Bub!

Posted by Ted at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

So much for that rocket launch

BattlePark 2005 in Culpeper, Virginia was a complete personal washout for me. Dammit. Since the field is plowed farmland, I assume that anyone who shows up today is going to be hubcap deep in mud. It rained here all night both Friday and Saturday, which made for good sleeping, but lousy rocketry.

Oh well. That's weather for ya.

Posted by Ted at 09:37 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Rocketry

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaahhhhhh!

Meet Bub, star zombie from 'Day of the Dead'

Q: What do you call zombies in your whirlpool?

A: Stew.

Posted by Ted at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Caption Fun

Meet Bub, star zombie from 'Day of the Dead'

"Do you have Prince Albert in a can?"

Posted by Ted at 01:06 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs
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