June 28, 2005

Oh, this is funny!

In a completely Geneva Convention Compliant sort of way.

The "GITMO Terro-Gator".

They'll be begging to bring back the J-Lo.

Posted by Ted at 05:37 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

June 27, 2005

Boo Freakin' Hoo

NHL player Jeremy Roenick:

"I know we are going to give up probably more than any union has ever given up in the history of (professional) sports and, to me, I think that's enough to bring the fans back - to know what their players are going to give up as much as they have in the last year," Roenick said. "If people are going to chastise professional athletes who are making a lot of money they need to look at the deal we are probably going to end up signing in the next three weeks."

I'm supposed to feel sorry because millionaires stage the worlds dumbest "biggest dick" contest?

"We're going to try to make it better for everybody, period, end of subject. And if you don't realize that, then don't come," said Roenick, who spoke at a charity golf event he played in over the weekend.

"We don't want you at the rink, we don't want you in the stadium, we don't want you to watch hockey."

"I say personally, to everybody who called us 'spoiled,' you guys are just jealous ... we have tried so, so hard to get this game back on the ice," Roenick said.

You win Jeremy. You are indeed the biggest dick.

Posted by Ted at 08:22 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

The Entitlement Generation

Who didn't see this coming?

"We're seeing an epidemic of people who are having a hard time making the transition to work — kids who had too much success early in life and who've become accustomed to instant gratification," says Dr. Mel Levine, a pediatrics professor at the University of North Carolina Medical School and author of a book on the topic called "Ready or Not, Here Life Comes."

While Levine also notes that today's twentysomethings are long on idealism and altruism, "many of the individuals we see are heavily committed to something we call 'fun.'"

He partly faults coddling parents and colleges for doing little to prepare students for the realities of adulthood and setting the course for what many disillusioned twentysomethings are increasingly calling their "quarter-life crisis."

In other words, for the first time in their lives, someone isn't handing them the world on a silver platter. They're actually being expected to earn something.

Now, deserved or not, this latest generation is being pegged, too — as one with shockingly high expectations for salary, job flexibility and duties but little willingness to take on grunt work or remain loyal to a company.

Of course, you know that the nitwits who validated the mindset that produced this coming generation have something to say about it.

"It's true they're not eager to bury themselves in a cubicle and take orders from bosses for the next 40 years, and why should they?" asks Jeffrey Arnett, a University of Maryland psychologist who's written a book on "emerging adulthood," the period between age 18 and 25. "They have a healthy skepticism of the commitment their employers have to them and the commitment they owe to their employers."

Notice how they automatically assume that working for a living makes you a drone or a cog in the machine. And as an employer, how committed do you think I'm going to be to better pay and benefits if I know that this generation of workers has the mindset that every position is a temp job?

My daughter Rachael is "interviewing" for a job this morning (she'll start in August when she gets back from Governor's School). She's got the job already, but the boss asked her to come in for a half day "to make sure she likes it". Rachael already told her, "I don't care if I like it or not, I want the job and I'll work hard". She knows that if she does a good job during the summer, odds are that she can get weekend hours once school starts again. She also knows that she has to earn that schedule, because nobody's going to give it to her just because she wants them.

Posted by Ted at 11:31 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Links

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinaaahhhhhh!!!

This time of year our grocer is running almost weekly sales on fresh berries. Whip up a loaf of this bread and enjoy a tasty breakfast or snack, or turn it into a quick summer dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Blueberry Lemon Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp lemon rind
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed and drained

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
In another large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs and beat well.
Add the flour mixture and milk, beating at low speed until the mixture is smooth.
Stir in the lemon rind and blueberries.
Pour into a lightly greased 9"x5" load pan (see note below) and bake 60-70 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

This recipe comes from a cookbook called "Mr. Food Makes Dessert".

As an experiment, I used one of those flexible bundt pans made out of silicone that I just got. The bread turned out wonderfully moist and it looks pretty too. I prefer things less sweet, so I decreased the sugar to between 1 cup and 1 1/4 cup. I also found that using a microplane to zest one large lemon was just about right for the rind called for in the recipe. Easy and quick.

Yummy stuff!

Posted by Ted at 04:56 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

I'm an individual, just like everyone else

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Thanks Stephen.

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

June 26, 2005

Baseball and Bloggers

We enjoyed our second Baseball Blogmeet last night. Besides myself, my daughter Robyn and her boyfriend Jeremy joined us, as did daughter and blogger Mookie, Victor, Nic, Rob & Big Hair, and Buckethead and family.

We saw a pretty good game and had lots of good conversation. Victor gave Rob a copy of the album put out by Lancelot Link & the Evolution Revolution. Because, I believe that there was some controversy over Rob's continuing series on the 100 Top Guitar Players of All Time list (/understatement), some felt that LL&ER's axeman belonged on that list.

Buckethead and I got to thinking about baseball music, what song you'd want played as you came to the plate. Being the smartass that I am, I was better at picking music for the other team. Among my suggestions were "She's Having My Baby", the theme music from The Three Stooges, and then Buckethead knocked it outta da park with "Feelings". Do you think it'd be unsportsmanlike to play "Big Girls Don't Cry"?

They announced several groups who were there at the game, so we also thought we'd need some sort of group name for next time. After reading that random reputation shotgunning of Munuvians we recently experienced (and enjoyed mocking), I suggested "The Vast Both Wing Conspiracy".

So let's see... baseball music... blog group name... it sounds like a couple of contests and/or polls in the future, eh?

I'll announce next month's game date. And I encourage y'all in the DC Metro area to join us, it's a great time. Victor is going to check into a Frederick Keys game up at the north end of town to give us southerners a chance to enjoy Saturday traffic.

This area has lots of bloggers, so these gettogethers can and should become a regular and growing event. Invite a local blogger to the next one. Steve and Robert, pack up the families and come on out for an evening of baseball and good times.

And the fireworks after the game were pretty doggone good!

Posted by Ted at 07:29 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Titan IV Project

I've been following the progress of a team of hobby rocketeers who've developed a scale version of the Titan IV heavy lift booster. Like the real thing, this rocket would sport a pair of side booster rockets that would be jettisoned midway through the ascent.

This is a big rocket that they're sending up. For example, here's some of the data from their preliminary simulations as they calculate the best timing to deploy the chutes on the dropaway boosters.

Each booster is 9" dia, 8' tall weighing about 20 lbs at burnout. Boosters are connected fore and aft and will be released by blowing charges at both connection points. Vehicle will be traveling 404 mph at 2600' at time of release (6 seconds into the flight) CG on the booster will be slightly forward of center (maybe 12")

I suspect the large surface area and low weight will cause the booster to slow rapidly, compared to the main rocket weighing about 90 lbs, carrying much more inertia.

This weekend was the scheduled maiden flight from the field down at Whitakers, North Carolina. I don't have a link to the liftoff pictures yet, but here's one of the Titan IV on the pad as they prep before flight.

Word is, the launch was spectacular.

Posted by Ted at 02:10 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

Riding the lightning rod

Reportedly, after this photo, the pilot said:

"I'm a cowboy in the sky. Ms. Nature couldn't knock us outta the saddle."


Thanks to Corporate Mommy for pointing this out.

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

June 25, 2005

Berry season

Fresh blueberry pancakes, it's what's for breakfast!


Posted by Ted at 10:35 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Stuff to look at

There've been a lot of blog birthdays lately, folks being online for a year or two. CGHill, over at Dustbury, celebrated his fifth year blogging the other day (and the site has been continuously updated longer than that)! You ladies especially should head over and thank him for making you feel young, unless you're at that odd female stage where you want to be thought older than your actual age, in which case you should send him naughty pictures of yourself. Lets make it simple: all the ladies should send him naughty pictures.

Hey, it's worth a shot, and maybe he'll share with me.

When my diabetic Mom had her leg amputated, she spent most of a year in a hospice (leg and other related issues). Being at the other end of the country, I only managed to visit her once in person, but for the short time I was there I was impressed with the helpfulness and professionalism of the staff. Of course, Mom wanted to go home and her opinion was colored by that fact, but even she admitted that her stay could've been a lot less pleasant. Azygos of Spanky's Place has an interesting post about hospice care, the cost and the economics of Medicare. Very interesting.

From Owlish, we get links to the end of the world, and my oh my, a zombie simulator! *doing happy dance*

I used to read the Gray Monk regularly, but somehow he dropped off of my radar. I highly recommend a visit, you might enjoy his mix of history and culture from across the pond.

Posted by Ted at 10:32 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Wikipedia Wars and New Tools to Use

Wikipedia is a cool concept where anyone can enter information about a subject, and thus a "people's reference" comes to life. Unfortunately (as the L.A. Times recently discovered), it also allows any nitwit with a cause to enter, delete, edit and overwrite information about any subject. This means that Joe Bigot can write an entry on the KKK and make it sound like a social club with a few naughty fringe elements who got carried away with the whole lynching thing. Likewise, Daisy Treehugger can pound out a screen on Halliburton and the price of Ozone and to the unaware, it carries the same credibility as actual fact.

I like Wikipedia a lot. I don't trust it at all, but I like it.

This morning I stumbled across this idea and ensuing project to create a tool to track the editing history of a Wikipedia entry:

I'd love to see a tool for animating Wikipedia history for a given entry or block of text (see Udell's screencast for an example). Bonus points for highlighting what changed in each version, and extra special bonus points for a way to scrub backwards and forwards through time.

Check out the link and be amazed as they've made some quick progress towards the goal. I'll have to dig a little deeper, but this sounds like just the thing to help decide if a Wikipedia subject has been hijacked for a cause or not.

Thanks to Dawn for the original link which led to the link where I saw another link to where I found this. Oh, and you get to see a video where Tom Cruise kills Oprah.

Posted by Ted at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links SciTech

Good Joke

Courtesy of Eros Blog (link not safe for work, this joke is).

A prosperous old dairy farmer from someplace cold finally sold out to the local agribusiness giant and retired to Florida. Being a farmer, he liked owning lots of land, so he had to buy a big place with a large pond down near the swamp. He fixed up the pond a bit, dumped a few truckloads of sand to make a little beach, and kept a small swimming area cleared of weeds and scum. Nearby he had some picnic tables, horseshoe pits, and a stone barbeque. Shading it all was a mixed grove of fruit trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond to check his fruit trees, so he grabbed a five gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond, he heard voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer he saw it was a bunch of pretty young women skinny-dipping in his pond.

As soon as they noticed him standing there watching, they all shrieked and went deeper into the pond. One of the women shouted to him, "We're not coming out until you leave, you dirty old man!"

The old man thought for a moment, and then said "I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or to make you get out of the pond naked." Holding the bucket up, he said "I'm just here to feed the alligators."

What's that they say? Age and treachery beats youth and enthusiasm every time.

Posted by Ted at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

June 24, 2005

We now return to our regularly scheduled puppies and rainbows

I think I've exceeded my quarterly quota for swearing.

Posted by Ted at 12:13 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Food Glorious Food

Dana has done a wonderful job with this week's Carnival of the Recipes. Head on over to Note-It Posts and check it out.

And don't forget to enter a good suggestion for the Rocket Jones Name That Cookie Contest.

Posted by Ted at 11:48 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Recipes

I needed this laugh

I've been doing a slow burn over the sheer stupidity demonstrated by recent events. Durbin (no honoriffic for that asswipe) ignoring the worldwide impact his slur upon our American troops has inflicted, just to score a cheap political shot against the administration, followed by the flag burning amendment, to the manufactured outrage by Democrats over Rove quoting from a Dem fundraising organization, to our (you didn't read that "our" with enough sarcasm, go back and try again) Supreme Court deciding that owning property doesn't really mean you own it if someone else with more money wants it.* I've fucking had it.

Right up until I read this article about a Russian woman suing NASA over an upcoming scientific space mission.

When NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft hurls a barrel-size probe at a comet millions of miles from Earth on July 4, Marina Bai of Moscow will take it very personally.

The 45-year-old mother of two is so upset about the space agency's scientific assault on the celestial body that she has taken the unusual step of suing NASA in Moscow courts. Her lawsuit seeks to block the launch of the probe and to recover $311 million in "moral" damages.

Bai, a self-published author and spiritualist, said that she couldn't sleep after watching a television report about the Deep Impact mission, which is led by a team of astronomers at the University of Maryland, when it was launched Jan. 12.

"Somewhere deep inside me a voice told me the whole mission had to be stopped," she said in an interview yesterday. "I fear that it could have an impact on all humanity."

In court papers, Bai asserts that Deep Impact will "infringe upon my system of spiritual and life values, in particular on the values of every element of creation, upon the unacceptability of barbarically interfering with the natural life of the universe, and the violation of the natural balance of the universe."

Dolores Beasley, a spokeswoman for NASA, said it would be "inappropriate" to comment.

"Inappropriate" is NASA legal-speak for ROFLMAO.

And what the fuck are "moral" damages?

But Bai fears the bombardment could disrupt mystical forces. More practically, she added, it might create an open season on celestial objects by the world's spacefaring nations.

"If the Americans can study comets with the help of bombs, why not the Chinese?" she asked. "Americans want to be ahead of everybody. And maybe that's good, but not in this case. It's a barbaric method, to study the universe with bombs."

I'm not entirely certain, but I don't think the probe is an actual bomb. I thought it was just an impactor that would achieve its effect by kinetic energy.

"It's a barbaric method, to study the universe with bombs"

We'll never live up to those paragons of finesse and restraint, the Russians.

I don't care how long the line is Ms. Bai, stand in it and get another roll of tin foil. Your hat is obviously not thick enough.

*And for those proclaiming that this is a victory for WalMart, as if they're the main evil in the world, shut the fuck up and open your eyes. This isn't WalMart's doing, and nobody is going to steal your home to build another one. This is about developers putting up resorts and business parks and convention centers.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

Hella Pointless

We had a wickedcool thunderstorm blow through the other night.

My most comfortable pair of work shoes squeak.

Those two items are totally unrelated, but that's not really the reason for this post, now is it?

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

New MuNu

The Munuvian blogroll has grown yet again. Give a hearty "Yay!" and "Welcome" to the new cool kids on the block.

Owlish Mutterings
Mr. Babylon
Confederate Yankee
Country Pundit
Knockin' on the Golden Door
Mark Nicodemo
Dagney's Rant
The Gray Monk

Also, I'd forgotten to include one of the last batch of Munuvians. My apologies to Miasmatic Review, and welcome to the blogroll.

Posted by Ted at 04:17 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

June 23, 2005

I thought we'd already perfected that technology

I watched that documentary called Real Genius and saw where we could incinerate a person from orbit. Now they claim we're just developing it? No way man.

Seriously though, check out this priceless bit where the mouth breathers manage to go from solar sail powered spacecraft to...

"a military weapon, capable of destroying cities and incinerating armies in the battlefield from space."

...in several tortured leaps of logic (I half expect Spock himself to come back through time to apply the Vulcan Bitch Slap on me for even using the term "logic" here).

Best $4 million dollars we ever spent, eh? Which is, what, a fraction of what we pay for each cruise missile? Hell, for the cost of the free school lunch program, we could blanket the heavens with enough little magic mirrors (my suggested euphemism for "orbital based death ray platforms") to keep America's rich and powerful rich and powerful forever!


Thanks to Rand Simberg (who may have to disappear after leaking this smoking gun (yes, I torture lots of things, including metaphores, it's the conservative in me)).

Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

My Opinion - Second in a Series

The kids are in awe of me now that I've decided to take a public stand about things...

Prunes are hella good.

...even when they don't agree with me. Not only do they not think that prunes are yummy, they claim that I am not allowed to say "hella" anything.

Posted by Ted at 05:06 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs


From the "Naughty Places" category: EroticZipai.

"Zipai" is a Chinese term to mean pictures of a person taken by one's self. Sort of another way to say self-portrait except it's only in the form of photographes. The web is full of such pictures because many young girls love to showcase themselves in such manner. Zipai's don't have to be erotic but most of the ones you see on this site is. This site also features some voyeurism and amateur pictures.

Not safe for work.

Posted by Ted at 04:43 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Military Bling

From Dale Franks at Q & O, a very nice presentation of military insignia, selectable by branch of service.

Posted by Ted at 04:33 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links Military

June 22, 2005

If this blog disappears, you'll know why

Forsooth, in the joy that reacheth my very bodkin, I misremembered to add thy Witch with the majick fob to the roster of bards on thy right.

All is right with my world again.

Posted by Ted at 06:28 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Dilbert as Documentary

Real life Dilbertisms.

My favorite:

"We know that communication is a problem, but the company is not going to discuss it with the employees."

Thanks to Simon for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

I wonder what their real-time failure rate was during the cold war?

The converted Soviet ballistic missile that was to carry the solar sail spacecraft into orbit failed 83 seconds after launch.

Why the submarine launch? What was the advantage or benefit?

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Space Program

If I won the lottery, a little would be put aside for things like this

The Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. is major posh, so you can imagine what kind of celebration they'd put on for the 4th of July.

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in a luxury suite before departing for a Potomac River cruise aboard the former Presidential Yacht Sequoia to watch the National Fireworks show.

While on board, partake of a gourmet buffet, open bar and champagne, music and dancing.

Back at the hotel, overnight accomodations with breakfast included. Of course, valet parking is part of the package.

Don't forget the keepsake gift.

And an evening like this will run you $1,750 per couple, not counting gratuities. Personally, I think it'd be worth it for a once in a lifetime experience like that.

Posted by Ted at 04:58 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

June 21, 2005

Saturday is Baseball Night - Reminder

The Phipps clan will be there, as will Rob and Big Hair from Left&Right. Nic and Victor have rizvipped. Who else want's to join us for an evening of beer, baseball and conversation?

I'll have to remember to wear my cup. ;)

We're meeting at 6pm in front of the box office. Email me for cell phone numbers.

Posted by Ted at 06:17 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

What the NHL leadership has been doing during the strike

Apparently they're all working for Formula 1 racing.


Posted by Ted at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Real star power

Launch set for solar sail spacecraft. Solar sails catch the stellar 'wind' coming from our sun for propulsion, much like a sail works on watercraft. Because the solar wind is so much less dense than wind, the corresponding sail area must be much greater. Fortunately, the microgravity present in space means that the sail can be much thinner as well.

So the spacecraft will use a naturally occurring, non-consumable resource to move. Whatever will the environmentalists have to complain about?

If all goes as planned, Cosmos 1 was to be launched early Tuesday afternoon, California time, and carried into Earth's orbit by a converted intercontinental ballistic missile...

Oh. Ok.

Posted by Ted at 12:10 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Space Program

Rotating Blog Banners

VW Bug of One Happy Dog Speaks is having a bit of a formatting problem with her banner in some browsers, and as Munuvians do she posted her questions on our group blog. In the course of the conversation I mentioned Madfish Willie's excellent banner rotation script and some tweaking I did to allow it to handle banners of different sizes. Rather than try to describe it so that everyone could understand, I'll just post the changes here and go through it step by step.

(in the extended entry)

Here's the original code to randomly display a different banner each time you refresh the screen as posted by Madfish Willie. If you look it over, it's simple, elegant, and perfect to use if all your banners are the same size.

But the Rocket Jones banners aren't all the same size. Here's how we'll modify that code to handle it. First, after this line in the original code:

var logo = new Array() // do not change this

We'll add two new arrays, one to define the height of each banner, and one to define the width. Like so:

var tall = new Array()
var wide = new Array()

Next, are the definition statements where Madfish loads his images into the image array. You'll place your images here by replacing the part after the "http://" with your banner names (don't forget the path). It's important to start with the zero, and if you have more than the three listed, add more lines as needed. Original:

logo[0] = 'http://madfishwillies.mu.nu/images/madfishmetalB.jpg'
logo[1] = 'http://madfishwillies.mu.nu/images/madfishmetal2.gif'
logo[2] = 'http://madfishwillies.mu.nu/images/madfishmetal3.gif'

And modified to display four imaginary RocketJones banners:

logo[0] = 'http://rocketjones.mu.nu/images/RJBanner1.jpg'
logo[1] = 'http://rocketjones.mu.nu/images/rocketbanner1.gif'
logo[2] = 'http://rocketjones.mu.nu/images/LadyRocket.gif'
logo[3] = 'http://rocketjones.mu.nu/images/SaturnVbanner.gif'

And then add these lines to load the corresponding dimensions for the banners above.

tall[0] = 100
tall[1] = 150
tall[2] = 125
tall[3] = 150

wide[0] = 500
wide[1] = 400
wide[2] = 450
wide[3] = 450

Note that those are supposed to be square brackets for all of those value assignments like "tall[3]=150".

Now what these are saying is that the banner in slot zero can be found at the path described in logo[0], and it has the height (in pixels) described in tall[0] and the width (again, in pixels) described in wide[0]. The banner in slot 1 corresponds to tall[1] and wide[1] and so on. If you mix up the dimensions given for the banners, they'll still display, but the browsers will distort your banners to match the dimentions you entered (which is useful if you want to force the images into a set size).

The next bits of code do some initialization and setup that we don't need to mess with, so we'll move straight on to this line:

document.write('{img src="'+logo[whichImage]+'" width="780" height="173" border="0"}');

In the line above I changed the opening and closing angle brackets to squiggle brackets so that they'd display. You'll want to change them back to the 'less than' and 'greater than' symbols.

Madfish's original banners were all 780 pixels wide by 173 pixels tall, and those are the two numbers that we're changing with those two new arrays called tall and wide. See how simple this is? Almost logical, even.

document.write('{img src="'+logo[whichImage]+'"
width="'+wide[whichImage]+'" height="'+tall[whichImage]+'" border="0"}');

In the line above I changed the opening and closing angle brackets to squiggle brackets so that they'd display. You'll want to change them back to the 'less than' and 'greater than' symbols.

Leave the rest of the code exactly as he originally provided (beware that mix of single and double quotes), and put it into your template per his instructions.

To call it from your main template, add this bit at the top where your banner is called:

[div id="banner" align="center"]
[!-- Rotating Banner Script --]
[script language="JavaScript" type="text/javascript" ]
[!-- End Roating Banner Script --]

Once again, all the angle brackets were changed to square, you'll need to change them back.
Technically, what you've done is created a function that randomly selects and displays an image from the list you've provided each time the browser page is refreshed. In terms even I can understand, it's freakin' magic.

Posted by Ted at 06:06 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Build It

Star Cards - 8

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 IMDB.com 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)

Bette Davis

At this point in her career, Ms. Davis is a throw in to extend the set of cards. She was a rising star, but there's no hint in the commentary here that she'd go on to become the legend that she is.

Trivia: While Bette Davis was the star pupil at John Murray Anderson's Dramatic School in New York, another of her classmates was sent home because she was "too shy". It was pronounced that this girl would never make it as an actress. It was Lucille Ball. (source: IMDB)

Posted by Ted at 05:42 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Star Cards

A significant educational milestone was reached yesterday

In regards to the lack of exposure to classic cinema for my daughters. They can now both say that they have seen Young Frankenstein. They laughed, they cried (Robyn still has her stitches), they enjoyed it.

Posted by Ted at 04:18 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

June 20, 2005

My Opinion

I've always been, in the vernacular, a linker rather than a thinker. Proud of my place in the grand scheme of things, even when called that less than complimentary term: link whore. If the shoe fits, as they say.

But what does bother me is the idea that I might be the blogging equivalent of People magazine. Somewhere, some tech-savvy blogger takes his laptop into the john and calls up Rocket Jones while he sits upon the throne, because like the aforementioned dead tree rag, my public writings are short, shallow, insipid (or all three) enough to indulge in during the length of an average crap (to paraphrase a great movie line).

I'll never be exclusively a thinker, but in order to add some variety to my normal blogging, I'm toying with the idea of posting more opinion pieces. So, to kick things off, I'd like to say:

Peas. I like them.

A little mental fiber to go along with the flake.

Posted by Ted at 05:32 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

The Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic

Over at Dynamo Buzz (your source for all political Joisey things), I found a pointer to news that in February next year, there will be an outdoor hockey game at Lambeau Field, home of the NFL Green Bay Packers. The matchup will feature the University of Wisconsin and Ohio State. Roberto's got more details and a link.

Be there, or be warm.

Posted by Ted at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinahhhhhh!

Cookies Without A Name*

These cookies were brought in to my wife's work one day, and she liked them so much that she not only got the recipe, but she then stopped on the way home to get the ingredients.

You need a couple of mini-muffin pans to make these. They're worth getting if you don't already have them, and then you can make Madeleines too!

2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 (13oz) pkg miniature peanut butter cups

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the eggs, water, oil and vanilla until good and frothy. Stir in the cake mix and peanut butter until well blended.

Drop by teaspoonfuls into paper-lined mini-muffin cups, you want each cup about 3/4 full.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until just lightly browned. While they're baking, start unwrapping the peanut butter candy. Remove the foil and the paper cups they come in.

When you take the cookies out of the oven, immediately press a peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. Let them cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing them to finish cooling. After removing from the pans, you can also put the cookies into the fridge for 15 minutes to help the chocolate to re-set.

Makes 5-6 dozen.

*The recipe my wife brought home calls these the uninspired and misleading "Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups". So it's time to exercise your creativity by giving these cookies a worthy name. I'm soliciting suggested names in the comments, and then I'll put a poll up on the sidebar so that everyone can vote on their favorite.

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Recipes

June 19, 2005

Questions of my Childhood

Amy tagged me with this meme and went to the trouble of emailing me to let me know (and throwing in a little ego-stroking as well). Since I'm a sucker for flattery...

Five Things I Miss From My Childhood

1. The toys. We'd spend hours outside playing with G.I. Joes, and not those wussified later versions either with the lame-ass "real" hair and beard, or kung-fu grip, or even later those dwarf-i-fied posers. I'm talking real freakin' G.I. Joes, with miniature versions of actual machine guns and grenades and bayonettes instead of made-up "cool" weapons. We didn't have any stupid nicknames either, like "Cobra" or "Streetsweeper". No secret fortress or fancy basecamps, we'd dig actual trenches and ambush pits with twig and grass covers, and someone's Mom would make us little canvas ponchos and squares that we'd turn into tents. Each of us had one or maybe two Joe's, a rifle for each and maybe a pistol and a few grenades. Then there were the Erector sets. I had three or four of them, huge metal boxes stuffed full of metal girders and plates and L-beams and pulleys and hundreds of stripped little screws and nuts. Mine all came from the flea market, where my folks would run across them on someone's table and buy it for me. They weren't complete sets, just lots of random pieces thrown together for sale secondhand. That was ok though, and I would spend hours building giant cranes and cars, and every "new" box of parts was like Christmas. For a while, my brother and I were into Hot Wheels. When we finally talked our parents into getting us a set, I specifically asked for a Camaro. I was so disappointed when we opened the set and pulled out the two included cars, because one was a Camaro. Turns out that what I really wanted was a Corvette, and my parents achieved deification when they handed each of us an extra car and mine was the Corvette I so desperately wanted! I remember my brother's first car was the Hot Wheels version of the Beatnik Bandit in bright metallic green. We collected a couple dozen cars apiece and never went beyond a fairly basic track setup, although my folks bought us a pair of high-banked turns one year for Christmas. There's so much more... Lego, back when you had to use your imagination when building things with them, and your whole collection of parts consisted of red and white bricks with maybe a few clear plastic and the rare yellow, black or blue brick. I've posted before about the Secret Sam briefcase. We had a closet in the old house that was full of board games. The contents of that closet could become a post of its own, maybe for a rainy day, that seems appropriate.

2. Orchards
. I grew up on the outskirts of San Jose, California (before it became the Silicon Valley) and our playgrounds were fruit orchards. We spent the days running around and playing in them, we camped in them at night, and often we earned a little pocket money in them during the summer by cutting apricots for drying. Later we moved to the opposite end of the city and instead of apricots and cherries we had miles and miles of pear orchards. All summer long we feasted on pears picked right from the trees and towards fall had huge battles where the ammo was overripe fruit. At the end of the day we'd head home bathed in a sickly-sweet miasma from the smooshed fruit that we'd been splatted with.

3. Rainy days.
I still love rainy days, but when I was young my Dad built a patio cover made of corrugated aluminum. Next best thing to a tin roof, believe me. I loved playing outside even when it rained, and at night the best lullaby ever was the sound of the drops dancing and drumming outside the window.

4. Fishing with my Dad. For one stretch, my Dad worked nights. During the summer he would come home before dawn and get my brother and I up to go fishing. He'd send the dog in to wake us up while he brewed up a thermos of coffee for himself, and sometimes he brought a bag of donuts for breakfast. We'd quickly get dressed and grab our poles and tackle boxes and head for one of the local reservoirs. We had lots of choices in our area, but I remember going to Coyote and Lake Anderson most of the time. When we got there, we'd bait up with earthworms (sometimes with salmon eggs just for a change) and toss our lines in from the bank. We caught mostly crappie and bluegill, occasionally a small bass and even more occasionally a catfish. If someone was nearby we'd offer them our fish, if not we'd release them. After a couple of hours the sun would be fully up and the fish would quit biting so we'd head home. Dad would go to bed and we'd head outside to play all day.

5. Mom's Goulash. "Goulash" is what my Mom called it, although I know now that it was nothing like the real thing. I remember it had chunks of tomato and hamburger and maccaroni in it and I absolutely loved it. We didn't have it often because my Dad hated it, and I learned something valuable from him. As my kids were growing up we'd sometimes have something that I hated, but I ate it anyway because they liked it. And since I would do that, they learned that sometimes you do something you would really rather not just because it makes someone else happy. I asked my Mom for the recipe a couple of times before she died, but she never got around to giving it to me, if she even had it written down anywhere. I'll never try to make it from memory, because I remember it as being perfect, and I don't want to disappoint myself.

So that's my five. Thanks Amy, this one was fun!

The rules:

Remove the #1 item from the following list, bump everyone up one place and add your blog’s name in the #5 spot. You need to actually link to each of the blogs for the link-whorage aspect of this fiendish meme to kick in.

margi lowry *dot* com
Note-It Posts
Eat The Lettuce
Prochein Amy
Rocket Jones

Next, select four unsuspecting victims, list and link to them.

Son of Cheese
Dusting My Brain
Oorgo Blog

Posted by Ted at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Boring Stories Links

Happy Father's Day

My wife got me a DVD collection of classic SciFi movies. Like a lot of these collections, "classic" is in the eye of the beholder, and several of these titles rank right down there with Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Beast of Yucca Flats. What Liz didn't realize though, was how delighted I'd be with the unexpected treasury of peblum flicks included.

Peblum, literally, is the short skirt worn by ancient gladiators, but it's also used to describe a genre of movies. Although generically it refers to any heroic fantasy movie set in ancient times (Hercules, Atlas, Jason, etc.), specifically the term applies to the movies made in Italy during the 50's and 60's. You can check out my earlier post on Steve Reeves for a bio of one of the superstars of the type.

I suppose the fantasy aspect of these movies qualified them for inclusion in a SciFi collection, but that's ok with me. Look for an upcoming Rocket Jones review of Hercules movies in the future. You know you can't wait.

Posted by Ted at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Cult Flicks

June 18, 2005

The things (insane) parents do for their children

Yesterday was the last day of school here in Prince William County, and I had agreed to chaparone a party for my daughter Rachael. We rented a pavillion at a local park, bought lots of food to feed dozens of newly-liberated teenagers, and I had agreed to chaparone a party for my daughter Rachael.

Most of the parents I met as they dropped off sons and daughters called me a brave man (translation: fool) because I had agreed to chaparone a party for my daughter Rachael.

But really, it wasn't that bad. In fact, the party was a huge success.

Mookie and I got to the park a little after 1pm, and kids started showing up around 2pm. All told, there were 45 people there and most stayed until almost 8pm when I called it over (the park closes at sunset). Unfortunately, two of her best friends couldn't make it because one had to work and the other moved earlier this week about 3 hours south. On the other hand, two other good friends made the trip up from downstate with boyfriends in tow.

I cooked burgers and hot dogs for 4 hours, and at the end of the day, only one uneaten dog got thrown away. We did run out of ice and drinks though, but still had plenty of cups for water.

Rachael had declared this a masquerade/costume party and had made masks for a couple of her friends. I was pleasantly surprised and pleased at how many of the kids showed up in costume and masked.

I was also struck by how diverse her circle of friends is. The youngest there was a freshman boy who swears Mookie helped him pass Construction class this year. The oldest was a girl who graduated the year Rachael was a freshman. A lot of these kids she knows from drama and theater, so they're an outgoing group. They hug a lot. Their standard parting is "I love you". They're mentally unstable, but polite. I got lots of thank you's for cooking and chaparoning.

Forty three minutes after the start of the party, I heard the first mention of water balloons.

Shortly after that, the first one was thrown. At that point, I made the only rule I needed all day: No water in the pavillion. There were too many cell phones and cameras laying around on the picnic tables. All water fights stayed outside the covered area after that. One great thing about the park is that it's a cell phone dead zone. It's almost impossible to get a signal, so the phones don't ring and there weren't a dozen teens constantly on their phones.

Back to the water fights. Another group of friends showed up with super soakers, and soon enough it devolved into cups of water, 2-liter soda bottles filled at the faucet and a few cleverly hoarded balloons. I fully expected the kids to just start dragging victims into the bathrooms one at a time for drowning in the toilets. Lots of very very wet teenagers running around.

And of course, the entire time they're in ever-changing little groups playing on the playground equipment, kicking around a hacky sack and soccer ball, and plotting the next liquid ambush.

Finally, most everyone drifted over to the soccer field where the athletically inclined played an actual game, and the rest of the kids all made up intentionally obnoxious and politically correct "positive reinforcement" cheers and planned an actual halftime show. Drama kids. They're all showoffs.

And then it was getting late. Everyone helped pick up around the area, including bits of exploded balloon, and parents were called for pickup (the few kids with working cell phones shared theirs out). Many more hugs and "I love you's" were exchanged along with lots of "great idea, Rachael!" comments.

And Mookie was positively glowing, which made it all so worth it to me.

Posted by Ted at 07:45 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Boring Stories

June 17, 2005

Good Read (so far)

The fourth sentence of the book lets you know that you're not in your half-remembered childhood version of Oz.

Though winter storms and the crowbars of agitators had torn up the road, still it led, relentlessly, to the Emerald City.

That's from the Prologue of Wicked, subtitled The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.

If you've never read the Oz books then you might not realize that the stories are satirical commentary on a par with Orwell's Animal Farm or Swift's Gulliver's Travels. If you've ever wondered where the Wicked Witch came from, or Dorothy's posse, or how the Wizard came to rule Oz, well, this book gives the background.

There's charm and delight here, but very much buried under a layer of grime and despair that many of the characters struggle with in their early lives. This feels right, because ofttimes strength of character is forged by overcoming adversity.

My recommendation? It's in the title. Just go in with your eyes open.

The book was the basis for the Broadway show Wicked, which has a kickass soundtrack too.

I started reading this yesterday during my wait at the hospital. I'm also in the middle of P.G. Wodehouse's Something Different in eBook format, but during yesterday's stressgrinder it was comforting to hold a solid, substantial book in my hands.

Posted by Ted at 09:23 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Stripping is big business

That's according to this report, and Rocket Jones is already positioned as a valuable resource for the ladies who want to dance.

Now *I'm* doing a happy dance. No charge.

Posted by Ted at 06:49 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

My Care Bears

One of my quirks is that I have to be covered when I sleep. Not necessarily all the way under blankets, but I sleep better if there's something thrown over me at least a little bit.

Now that summer is here, we've pulled out my Care Bear sheets. I don't remember which daughter they belonged to*, but they're at least 15 years old and worn enough to watch TV through. So thin that they don't block the breeze from the fan. Perfect for covering up Dad while he naps on the couch during the dog days.

I sleep much better curled up with my Care Bears.

*My family actually had a discussion about the other night when oldest daughter Robyn referred to "her" Care Bears. I immediately corrected her and we rediscovered the following facts:

  • they were originally used by Robyn

  • they were bought in 1986 (how does my wife remember stuff like this?)

I decreed that since my money was used to buy them in the first place, then that makes 'em my damn Care Bear sheets, although I graciously allow the entire family to use them.

When I'm not.

Posted by Ted at 06:07 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Square Pegs

June 16, 2005

Closure on the whole Rocket Jones Banner Contest

Derek was the winner and I promised an actual prize. Now I knew that he was a goalie in a rec league, so in an inspired moment I figured I'd find an autographed hockey photo on eBay and send it to him.

Lots to choose from, but I was got sniped at the last second twice. The second one really pissed me off because it was an uber-cool picture of Gump Worsley stopping a point blank shot by Brad Park (Gump was the last NHL goalie to play without a mask).

Next I thought about concentrating on Patrick Roy stuff, since Derek is from Colorado and Roy (pronounced "Wah") has been wowing Avalanche fans for years. So I emailed him and cleverly grilled him ("so you're an Av's fan, eh?"), and he sang like a canary that he was really a Quebec Nordiques fan. The Nordiques stunk up the NHL for years and then when they moved the franchise to Colorado they immediately won the Stanley Cup.

So on eBay I started looking for Quebec Nordique goalie photos and stumbled across his prize. I'm glad he likes it.

So there ya go. Two opportunities to win and two actual prizes awarded, and neither one had a thing to do with rockets. Gotta fix that.

Posted by Ted at 08:55 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Busy stretch (Updated)

Today is my daughter Robyn's surgery. We're headed out in about an hour to run a couple of errands and then to the hospital.

Tomorrow is Mookie's party. So far the RSVP list is 35, with more casual commitments on top of that. By one of those happy accidents of scheduling, tomorrow is supposed to be the nicest day we've had in a long time after a long run of 90+ days with high humidity.

Saturday is putz around the house day. Specifically, Mookie and I will be adding insulation batts to the attic. That's pretty much the end of the energy conservation upgrade we've put into the house over the last few years. New A/C, new attic fan, new windows, new doors, and now the attic. Short of pulling down outside walls, th-th-th-that's all folks!

In further Mookie-related news, an in-state college has been recruiting her rather persistently, to the point of actually calling the house. Now you may recall that Mookie hasn't graduated yet, she'll be a high school senior next year. The college has waived the application fee and offered her the chance to enroll beginning in the fall with a program designed to let her get her high school diploma at the same time she completes her freshman year. They do that by using the general studies requirements (needed for any degree) to do double duty by also fulfilling her required coursework for high school graduation.

There's no obligation, so she's applied. We're all discussing this right now. I'm leaning against it, for the simple fact that her class schedule next year is full of solid classes that will challenge her and she'll be able to use in life. If she were taking 3 study halls and an aide block before leaving early for work I'd feel different, but right now I don't see any need to rush things.

So that's what's going on in my world for the next short while. If I'm quiet, you know why.

(Update) Robyn came out of surgery just fine. She's doped to the gills right now and sleeping. Except for one particular nurse, everyone at the hospital was amazingly helpful and kind. The food in the cafeteria sucked though. Who'da thought?

Posted by Ted at 07:51 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Family matters

June 15, 2005

MILF: Mothers I'd Love to Free

In Iran, a demonstration by women for equal rights. These weren't just university students either. Read about it here and follow the links for pictures.

Thanks to The Everlasting Phelps for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

What he said!

I started a post on it this morning, but didn't finish it before having to leave for work.

I should've known that Random Nuclear Strikes would be all over it. Better than I could've done too.

Posted by Ted at 11:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Big Ugly Flying Fu... Fellow

Murdoc has the scoop on the latest electronic upgrade to the venerable B52 Stratofortress. In my opinion, the BUFF is easily the best military bomber of all time, and arguably the most successful aircraft of any type.

I spent many an hour walking in circles around one of these beasties in North Dakota.

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

Meme's for Dummies

This is the world's easiest meme, and it's going to spread like wildfire because it's amazingly simple yet powerful.

Post something. That's it.

I tag Instapundit, Daily Kos, Michele Malkin, Wonkette and Little Green Footballs.

Check 'em out, and if they post something today you can marvel at my power and influence! Mwahahahahahahaha.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Dem Bones Be Speakin' To Me

Jamestown was the first permanent English settlement in North America. It was founded in 1607 in what is now Virginia. One of the founders was Captain Bartholomew Gosnold, and there is evidence that a skeleton found outside the site of the Jamestown Fort is Gosnold's.

Archaeologists hoping to determine whether an unearthed skeleton belongs to one of the founders of the first permanent English settlement in North America began work Monday to excavate his sister's 360-year-old remains in eastern England.

A DNA match would be confirmation.

British and American researchers on Monday began work to remove a small part of Elizabeth Gosnold Tilney's skeleton from beneath the floor of All Saints Church in the English village of Shelley, 60 miles northeast of London. Scientists working with skeletal remains can only trace DNA through maternal relatives.

I didn't know that part about maternal relatives. Archeologists also believe they've located one of Gosnold's nieces and will attempt a DNA match from her remains as well.

Gosnold, though largely unrecognized historically, is considered a primary organizer and head of the expedition that led to Jamestown's founding. Capt. John Smith's role received most of the attention because Gosnold became ill and died at age 36 - three months after arriving in Virginia.

You can read the whole story here. I also did another post about Jamestown way back, there are good links there too if you're into history.

Posted by Ted at 04:23 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech

June 14, 2005

So silly, I could swear I saw it on an old episode of "Love, American Style"

Wolf brings up some good points about Scientology and it's chief spokesdrone.

This site purports to have the real story about the Barefaced Messiah. Plenty of sordid sex and cult wierdness.* I've been reading it off and on for a while now as time allows. One thing is undisputed: L. Ron Hubbard was an odd duck, and he had a knack for attracting other gullible oddballs to himself.

I tried reading that Dianetics book once or twice, but just couldn't wade through the pseudo-scientific gibberish to make any sense of it. I don't think I got past the first 30 pages.

*Ok, there's more cult wierdness than sordid sex, but what are you really more interested in?

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

Ham and eggs. Salt and pepper. Martin and Lewis.

Mookie informed me today that she was looking around at the Sims 2 website and found a downloadable game version of Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural masterpiece Fallingwater.

Being me, I immediately thought of zombies (thanks to this post) and sure enough:

One of the new career tracks that comes with "The Sims 2 University" is the Paranormal career. The Paranormal career reward object is the Resurrect-o-Nomitron, an object that can be used to bring Sims back from the dead.

Oh yeah, Sims 2 zombies and Frank Lloyd Wright. It's a natural.

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

Classy and Assy

Denzel is pure class.

Sean is pure ass.

Posted by Ted at 04:43 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

One of us is confused

And I don't think it's me.

I can't find the exact quote, but yesterday while speaking about the Congressional apology about lynchings, Prince William County Supervisor Jack Johnson said (something like):

The apology is nice, but I think the healing will happen when there is verbal atonement.

I wasn't aware that Congress did that bit of business via interpretive dance.

Posted by Ted at 06:13 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs


NASA style:

''I have to do that to get the door of my pickup truck open sometimes.'' - Rookie astronaut Donald Pettit after he used his ''Fonzie touch'' to open a hatch on the International Space Station

Cheaper than $400 hammers. Cooler too.

Posted by Ted at 05:02 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Boeing vs. Airbus

I knew that Airbus had been chipping away at Boeing's longtime dominance in the world aircraft market, but I hadn't heard that Boeing has since rallied strongly and has put "Airbus on the ropes".

From Der Spiegel:

While Boeing is practically fighting off demand for its new 787, which consumes significantly less jet fuel than earlier models, Airbus's managers are seemingly ripping each other apart in internal power struggles and intrigues.

Boeing has already received firm orders and commitments for over 260 787 Dreamliners, which is made entirely of lightweight synthetic materials. It's also using the technology and experience gained to update their popular 737 aircraft. Meanwhile, Airbus concentrated solely on it's A380 superjet and a new military jet, all but ignoring its aging small-to-midsize line of passenger jets.

Despite lots of buzz about the superjumbo, Airbus faces heavy customer penalties (measured in the tens of millions of Euros) as they recently announced that first deliveries will be delayed by at least six months. In addition, Airbus was once considered the leader in the competition to supply the US military with new tanker aircraft, but congress has since passed legislation forbidding the award of contracts to companies subsidized by governments, on the theory that such subsidies allow the artificial lowering of bid prices. Airbus now has almost no chance with the contract that they believed they could win.

Airbus isn't nearing collapse or bankruptcy, they've just squandered the chance to continue to grow their share of the world airliner market.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer. Read the comments there too, because they bring up some points and counter-arguments that I hadn't heard or considered before.

Posted by Ted at 04:36 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

June 13, 2005


A blog devoted to NFL Cheerleaders, with plenty of links and photos.

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

Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun... oh, and a side of data... to go

Simon is asking for your help. In the past, various surveys have been done based on the number of hours a McDonalds employee must work to be able to buy a Big Mac. Now it's time for an update.

We need three things:

1. Your location (city and country).
2. The price of a Big Mac at your local McDonalds.
3. The hourly wage (in local currency) of a worker at that McDonalds.

This is serious by the way. If you get a chance, grab a Mac and ask the cashier what they make. Then send the data to:


And help spread the word. They'll be publishing the results soon.

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

The new Axis of Evil?

Amnesty International

Because with them, it's their way or no way, and we've all heard how that kind of black & white thinking is wrong.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Fallen Heroes Memorial

Recently at Mookie's high school, they held a ceremony to dedicate a new memorial. Gar-Field High School has lost two alumni in Iraq, and another school in our county, Hylton High, lost two more, including one last week. I've heard that there is another one or two from other schools, but I don't have any solid information about that.

The write-up was in the local paper, but because I'm not confident that their links will last for any length of time, I've reprinted almost the entire article in the extended entry (click below on "light this candle...").

One interesting note. I've heard that while setting up this memorial, a search was made for similar things done at other schools. Apparently, their research turned up the fact that no school has dedicated a permanent Memorial to the military since midway through the Vietnam War. This was attributed to the fact that wartime memorials fell out of favor at that time because of the general anti-war and anti-military feelings of the public. Take that with a grain of salt, because although I thought it interesting enough to mention, it's all second-and-third-hand information.

In any case, I'm very proud of the school for doing this. Mookie and Robyn were at the dedication, and they said it was a moving and emotional event. Pictures of the memorial will be posted in the next day or two (assuming Rachael gets a few moments between classes).

Gar-Field honors fallen graduates

Amanda Stewart
Potomac News
Friday, June 3, 2005

It was a time for community, shared memories and some tears.
Students, parents, teachers and other members of the community gathered Thursday at Gar-Field Senior High School in Woodbridge for the dedication of the school's new Fallen Heroes Memorial.

The memorial honors the three Gar-Field graduates who died while serving in the military: class of 2002 graduates Brian Medina and David Ruhren, who died in Iraq, and class of 1968 graduate Richard Yates, who died in Vietnam.

The dedication ceremony was a time for teachers, students, family members and others touched by the lives of the soldiers to remember them.

"Though separated by several decades, each in their own way answered the call of their country and gave the ultimate sacrifice," said Bill Willis, physics teacher and chair of the Gar-Field Memorial Committee.

The memorial contains three plaques bearing soldiers' names and pictures under the words "Honoring Through Remembrance."

"The greatest reward for teachers is to make a difference in a student's life," Willis said. "This memorial is our way of thanking our students for making a difference in our lives."

Yates was killed in action in South Vietnam in 1969. Willis spoke on Yates's behalf at the ceremony.

Yates was eager to do his part and serve his country in the Vietnam War, Willis said.

"Even though it's been 35 years, it's never too late to say thank you," he said.

Brian Medina was killed in action in Fallujah in November.

His father, Greg Medina, spoke on his behalf at the ceremony.

Like many other soldiers, Medina was proud to enter the Marine Corps after graduation, Greg Medina said. Medina looked forward to going to Iraq and serving his country there, his father said.

David Ruhren was killed in a mess hall tent bombing in Mosul in December.

His mother, Sonja Ruhren, wrote a letter to him which Willis read at the ceremony.

Ruhren was also proud to join the Army after graduation. Sonja Ruhren recalled the special relationship she had with her son and the plans he had for his future, she said in her letter.

The ceremony ended with the unveiling of the memorial which will remain on display in the school.

At the ceremony's closing, the Junior ROTC folded a flag that was flown over the American Embassy in Iraq in honor of Medina and Ruhren and placed it at the memorial.

The school's choir and band also performed.

In his closing remarks, Willis stressed the importance of remembering not only the soldiers who lost their lives in combat, but also those who continue to serve the country today.

"We should never forget those who serve at this moment, in distant places," Willis said.

Yates, the young man who was killed in Vietnam, was a crewmember on a medivac helicopter. After loading wounded onto his aircraft, he jumped back out to gather their personal gear and was shot in the back while climbing back inside. He died during the flight back to the medical facility.

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links Military

It ain't all rockets all the time

Sometimes NASA flies balloons.

The westward flight from Esrange [Sweden - RJ] to Alaska will test NASA's new long-lasting balloon vehicle and carries a 5,940-pound telescope at an altitude of 25 miles for six to nine days.

These are huge balloons. For example, an NFL football field is 300 feet long.

The balloon is 396 feet high and 462 feet in diameter. It is made of advanced materials and uses a pumpkin-shaped design to achieve flights up to 100 days. It holds up to 1.3 million cubic yards of helium.

Some interesting stuff happening. Who knew Sweden had a space corporation?

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

June 12, 2005

Movie Quote

From Mystery Men.

"We're on a blind date with destiny, and she just ordered the lobster." -- The Shoveler

This flick is available in the $5.50 discount bin at WalMart.

Posted by Ted at 09:42 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Cult Flicks

Bub's in hiding

Because the guys over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy are talking handguns, and rating them by the only scale that really matters: its effectiveness as an anti-zombie weapon.

Check out the latest object of my lust the Kimber .45 ACP and the Smith & Wesson 686P in .38/.357 Magnum.

I love the original Model 1911's, and owned an earlier version of the S&W, which was a fine weapon. Go read the reviews, and don't forget to lock your doors and windows at night, just in case Bub gets hungry.

Posted by Ted at 08:54 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Recent television trends

I saw someone (sorry, forgot who) mentioned that new show "Hit Me Baby One More Time" or whatever it's called, and that you get to *vote* on which washed-up relic was the best during the episode. It's getting so that you can't have a program anymore without a viewer vote. Before you know it, on "The L Word" you'll be deciding who gets to eat who.

Posted by Ted at 07:35 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

June 11, 2005

You might not get this if you're not a PC geek

Yeah, right. Who am I kidding?

Posted by Ted at 09:49 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Baseball and Bloggers

Our next blogger get-together will be on June 25th at the Prince William County Stadium to watch the Washington Nationals farm club play the Baltimore Orioles farm club. This could be the start of a long and heated rivalry.

I'll be there for sure, and I believe the rest of the family is in this time too. Rob & Big Hair have confirmed as well.

Last time we got a block of seats and they were pretty darn good at only $9.00 each. We had a great time, so c'mon out!

Posted by Ted at 09:44 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Faith in Me, Faith in You

For Dawn, because she has more of this than anyone else I know, even when she doesn't quite believe it herself.

Faith in Me, Faith in You

A single mother with two children
Makes lunches in the morning
And on her way to work she drops them off at school
And tells them
Faith in me
Faith in you

A farmer kneels in his fields with dust
Running through his fingers
Says "I'm gonna lose you if it don't rain real soon"
He looks up and says
Faith in me
Faith in you

Oh, I have to have faith
That's where it all starts
I know I have to have faith in myself
It's free and it's found right here in my heart
When I think about things and all the dreams I wanna see come true
Let me tell you just what I do
I take a look in the mirror and I smile and say
Have faith in me
Faith in you

In the shadows of the city
By the banks of the river
From the doorway of his cardboard room
A man cries out
Faith in me
Faith in you

Before the poverty and prejudice
All the hunger and pain
And the social injustice, just watch the boss' reign*
Here 'em sing
Faith in me
Faith in you

Oh, I have to have faith
That's where it all starts
I know I have to have faith in myself
It's free and it's found right here in my heart
When I think about things and all the dreams I wanna see come true
Let me tell you just what I do
I take a look in the mirror and I smile and say
Have faith in me
Faith in you

I take a look in the mirror and I smile and say
Have faith in me
Faith in you

-- Doug Stone

Every last one of us is stronger than we realize. All too often people give up on themselves long before they break.

*that "boss' reign" line is probably incorrect, but it's the best I can figure out from listening to the song and I can't find the lyrics on Google.

Posted by Ted at 08:35 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Waxing Lyrical

My wife is really annoyed with me right now

I started wearing glasses sometime around the 5th grade I think, and my wife started wearing hers in elementary school as well. My wife's eyes are constantly changing, and there have been times when she's gotten a brand new prescription twice in one year. Me, I tend to wear out glasses. Not from rough handling, but from age, because my prescription has changed very little over the years. I'll wear a pair of glasses until they're practically falling apart before getting a new pair, and most of the time the prescription stays the same or doesn't change enough to bother with.

I should mention here that my wife is a few years younger than I am. That matters because she's a practical woman, yet she has her little vanities like the rest of us. I wouldn't say she was devastated when she found out last year that she needed bifocals, but she certainly wasn't happy about it. Thank goodness for the "no-line" style that's available now. She took great solace in the fact that I'm older and therefore would be likely to need bifocals myself the next time I got my head eyes examined. You may recall that she used to manage an optometrist office, so she knows how to work most of the toys and equipment, and she knows of which she speaks.

On Thursday Robyn, Rachael and I went to the eye doctor for our checkup. The good news is that we all have fine healthy eyes. Glaucoma testing showed excellent pressure levels for each of us, and we got nutrition advice to help ward off Macular Degeneration, which runs in my side of the family (green leafy veggies and zinc). Rachael finally got glasses (she's been borderline for quite a while), while Robyn's eyes are perfect.

The bad news is that my eyes are indeed changing as I grow older. I'll order a new pair of glasses in the next month or so because mine are pretty rickety after three years. Same prescription, because that didn't change enough to matter.

Per doctor's orders, I'm supposed to take my glasses off from now on when I read. Yep, Liz is *really* annoyed with me right now.

Posted by Ted at 08:07 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Boring Stories

June 10, 2005

The Carnival of the Recipes is up

News from the Great Beyond is hosting this week. Bon Apetit!

Posted by Ted at 06:42 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Steve Cropper inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame

My love of music is broad, but my knowlege is spotty. To me, Steve Cropper will always be one of the members of the the original Blues Brothers band.

Mention that he was a member of the classic Booker T and the MG's and I'll say "yeah, I'd heard that before, I think". But basically, it was Jake and Elwood and Mr. Natural and Matt "Guitar" Murphy and Donald "Duck" Dunn and Steve Cropper and the rest...

Which goes to show the genius displayed in putting together the Blues Brothers band. Those guys could play, which made for a solid foundation for the comedy. Instead of being a one-shot joke with a lame-ass garage band, these guys lifted it into brilliance. They turned it into a franchise and taught an entire generation about the blues and soul by featuring guest stars like Cab Calloway, James Brown, B.B. King, Wilson Pickett, Taj Mahal, Bo Diddley and the entire composite super-band Louisiana Gator Boys featured at the end of Blues Brothers 2000.

So Steve Cropper, already a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, will now be inducted into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, alongside John Fogerty and Isaac Hayes (think he'll do "Chocolate Salty Balls"?). Even if you didn't know Steve Cropper's name, you know his music. Songs like "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay", "Knock on Wood", "Soul Man" and "In the Midnight Hour".

Yes indeed, you know his music.

Posted by Ted at 06:09 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Those little speedbumps in song lyrics

Something that really irritates me is when listening to a song and coming across something like this:

"I can't stay on your life support, there's a shortage in the switch" -- Pink, Just Like A Pill

I love that song, really I do. But I cringe every time I hear "shortage in the switch". I realize that the tune flows better with that phrase, but c'mon, it's not slang or idiom, it's an intentional misuse of a word that makes it nonsense. You can have a short in a switch, but not a shortage.

Nitpicky? You bet.

Need another example? How about in Maria Muldaur's Midnight at the Oasis. A very sexy song with a wonderful melody, sung by a singer with a great voice for it, and the word play and imaging is excellent. Oasis, sultan, camel, sheik, belly dancer, nomad, and so on, right up until the line:

Come on, Cactus is our friend

Cactus?!?!?!?! Where the hell did the cactus come from? I thought we were in a thousand and one Arabian nights, not a Roadrunner cartoon. You say cactus and I'm picturing the American southwest or Mexico. Your romantic camel just became a burro refusing to budge for no damn reason while Gabby Hayes mutters "dagnabbit". Talk about a mood breaker.

What about you? Got some song lyric that just grates on your nerves?

Posted by Ted at 05:57 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

Cool Stamps

Yesterday at the Post Office, I found this set of stamps that display some striking examples of American architecture.

Very cool.

Posted by Ted at 04:38 AM | Comments (0)

June 09, 2005

Since it popped outta my brain, I may as well take credit for it

Combine two trendy Japanese passtimes, and you'd have:


Inspired by Squipper's "caption this" post.

Posted by Ted at 08:18 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

I got mine!

A friend of mine is selling these on eBay.

I bought one for my wife's car (lifelong Orioles fan), Mookie wants a couple for school notebooks, and I'm gonna put one on a rocket.

The price is extremely reasonable, and includes free shipping. Why don't you have one already?

Tell him Rocket Jones sent you.

Posted by Ted at 07:30 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

'Rithmetic 'bout Readin' and Writin'

I'm going to start you with a quote:

Across California, children are bringing home notes warning of dire consequences if Gov. Schwarzenegger’s scorched earth budget is approved – a budget that slashes Proposition 98 public school spending from $42.2 billion this year all the way down to $44.7 billion next year. That should be proof enough that our math programs are suffering.

That's the beginning of an article penned by Senator McClintock, who represents the 19th district in the California Legislature (his website here). In this article, he goes on to itemize funding for a hypothetical school of 180 students with a budget of $1.2 million to get through the year.

I have nitpicks with some of his numbers, but overall I think he's on target. Among his hypothetical suggestions:

  • lease commercial office space for classrooms (which includes "washrooms, around-the-clock janitorial service, wall-to-wall carpeting, utilities and music in the elevators")
  • hiring 5 teachers ("but not just any teachers. I propose hiring only associate professors from the California State University at their level of pay")
  • replacing in-school PE classes with fully-funded annual memberships to a local gym ("This would provide our children with a trained and courteous staff of nutrition and fitness counselors, aerobics classes and the latest in cardiovascular training technology")

There's so much more worth reading. This guy isn't anti-education or anti-teacher, he's anti-teacher's union, and he makes his points with common sense.

He starts his conclusion with this:

The school I have just described is the school we’re paying for. Maybe it’s time to ask why it’s not the school we’re getting.

Mucho thanks to Jay at Sophont for pointing this one out. In fact, he's been very very good lately, and you should just start at the top and scroll on down to see everything.

Posted by Ted at 11:41 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

This could replace Nog Watch

I'm *still* getting comments and email about my posts on stripper music. If you Google "Stripper Music", Rocket Jones comes up #1.

No idea what I'm talking about? Follow that link and read the comments, then let everyone know what your favorite music is to watch and/or dance to.

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

Michael Jackson

I don't think I've mentioned my view of the whole spectacle.

When that much money is involved, I start with the assumption that everyone is lying. Since I can't see for myself the mannerisms and reactions of the parties involved, forming any opinion would just be shooting off my mouth.

I have to trust the system to do the right thing.

Posted by Ted at 05:20 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Something you don't see every day

Fellow Munuvian Ogre has a horizontal blog.

Posted by Ted at 04:35 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

June 08, 2005

Soprano, eh? Only if I pull my underwear up real tight

Exciting news from Germany:

Experts have discovered a previously unknown work by Johann Sebastian Bach in a German library.

It's been authenticated, and his last unknown vocal work was discovered in 1935. That piece was only a fragment, this is a complete work, and it's dated!

The find is a well-rounded composition - not a major work, but a casual piece of superior quality.

Bach composed the work for a soprano, to be accompanied by strings or a harpsichord, to mark the 52nd birthday of the duke of Saxony-Weimar, for whom he worked as a court organist.

An award-winning conductor is preparing to record it, and the score will be published in the fall.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for pointing this out.

Posted by Ted at 08:19 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Bachelor Dad

That probably should be Dad Bachelor instead, to put it into the right order.

My wife Liz needed a break, so she left from work on an overnighter out of town (tomorrow is her day off). She had enough travel points for a freebie at one of the hotel chains, and is now, even as we speak, pulling the handle on slot machines and maybe even placing a bet or two on the ponies.

I'll probably do something similar this fall, 'cept I'll head south to spend the weekend launching rockets down in North Carolina. She's got her ways of burning money. I've got mine.

Mookie has been agitating for a party. Her birthday parties always suck because in July everyone is out of town for the summer. This year she came up with the idea of a birthday/end-of-school party, to be held in the afternoon of the last day of school. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and two fake heart attacks on my part, she whittled the guest list down to 50.

The next battle was over the venue. Her idea (and not all that bad) was to have the party in our backyard and the common area behind our house. The stopper there was the certainty of neighborhood crashers, some who would probably be taking full advantage of the chance to case my home for a later, unsupervised, visit. Nope, our house was out for that many kids.

We suggested checking into pavilions at some of the local parks, and this afternoon Mookie and I drove to one close by and looked around. Even if it was too late to reserve a pavilion for next friday (as I suspected), there was still plenty of room to spread out blankets and toss frisbees and footballs and kick around the hacky sack. We found the number for the park office and she made the call.

Half an hour later we were in the park office and I was signing the contract to reserve the largest pavilion for the entire day. We got it for half price because it was a weekday ($20 bucks and some change - cheap!), and we were about 15 minutes ahead of a cub scout leader who also wanted it. Maximum of 50 kids, no alcohol, no live band or DJ, all the usual stuff you'd expect.

So that was the "dad" part. The "bachelor" part isn't that my wife is away until tomorrow night, it's because I had a bowl of corn flakes for dinner.

Posted by Ted at 07:22 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

The Official L&R Top Guitar Players

Over at Left & Right, Rob has reworked the list of Top Guitar Players. Go check it out and review his revised methodology, or just rant in his comments about how misguided he is.

Posted by Ted at 06:38 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Enforced Atkins

What the hell happened?

I remember when you'd have a barbeque by throwing some hot dogs and burgers on the grill and lay out a bowl of baked beans, another of potato salad, and maybe some cole slaw and pickles. Then Atkins came along and the meat disappeared instantly while everything else went untouched. So you adapted and grilled a ton o' critter-du-jour and maybe a few veggies alongside. Now it's like the pendulum swung back the other way while I wasn't looking.

We've been eating a lot of salads lately, because that's what we do in the summer. I might cook up a burger or chicken breast each, but just as often we'll forage from the salad bar in the fridge.

We've also had quite a few visitors over for dinner recently, but apparently they're all on the anti-Atkins diet and nobody bothered to warn me. Going through the fridge this morning, I found Italian sausages, marinated chicken breasts, pork roast and a big bowl of leftover Chicken Mo Fo. I'm not a fanatic about wasting food, but throwing out that much would be ridiculous.

For lunch today, I'm having a bowl of meat. For dinner tonight, we're having leftovers.

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

Sounding Rockets

You've heard me use the term "sounding rocket" before, but you might not know what it means.

Sounding rockets take their name from the nautical term "to sound" which means to take measurements.

This NASA site explains what sounding rockets are, and why they're an important tool for science.

Posted by Ted at 04:49 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

June 07, 2005

I'm male, white and overweight, so I can tell honky, man and fat people jokes without guilt

Driving past Ikea, an employee wearing the standard blue and yellow work outfit was waddling through the crosswalk, and not being brisk about it. Sitting there, waiting for said employee to clear the street, it occurred to me that since Ikea gives everything some odd name, he probably works under a sign that says "Rolypoly".

Posted by Ted at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

I let her know who's boss around here... now where the hell is my apron?

Last night was my wife's late night at the office, and she had errands to run afterwards. When she walked in the door, she handed me a grocery bag full of things, dug a piece of paper out of her purse, dropped it into the bag and commanded me to "Bake!"

It's some kind of cookie that one of the nurses brought in. Liz loved it so much that she got the recipe and stopped on the way home to get the ingredients. I'm thinking Thursday evening, since it's supposed to rain then. I'll let you know how they turn out, because they do sound yum.

Posted by Ted at 06:08 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Hide the espresso, or at least make a proper cup of it

Two Nervous Dogs. She comes, she goes, I laugh, I cry. Go read, and enjoy some of the bestest funniest cleverest writing on the net, before she says "screw it" and packs it up once again.

How's about a little bitter to go with your caffeine? What better than Four Honkies, who are some attitudinally-blessed dudes. Excellent read so far, I have great expectations for this group.

WitNit has this on his sidebar:

Munuvians I Am Methodically Checking Out One By One Because I'm Just A Curious Kind of Guy

Add in the bondage link (I haven't followed it) (yet), and some very sharp writing and I invite you to have a looksee and maybe you'll find something to your liking.

Posted by Ted at 05:35 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

June 06, 2005

Da-da-da Dahhhhhhh!

According to CalTechGirl:

Starting Tuesday, the BBC will be offering all 9 of Beethoven's symphonies for FREE AND LEGAL download!!!

Not precisely correct, because Mookie and I downloaded Symphonies 1 and 3 this evening. Yay!

Follow yon link for details. There was a quote painted on the wall of our music room in high school:

Music washes from the soul, the dust of everyday life.

Never pass up a chance to absorb a little culture.

Posted by Ted at 07:31 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

I just figured out what's missing

Viking kitties. You can never have too many Viking kitties.

I've missed them.

Posted by Ted at 05:48 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links


"Africa is worth fighting for. Europe, in its present form, is not." -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair

This refers to changing the focus of his administration from joining the EU to fighting poverty in the Third World.

Thanks to Q&O for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

More Real Rocket Science

I humbly admit to a small role in getting young people involved in aerospace engineering by acting as a mentor during the Team America Rocket Challenges (TARC) of the last three years.

I've also spent time talking to students who're building and launching CanSat payloads (real electronic payloads fit into a space the size of a coke can). Almost every month at our scheduled club rocket launches, we get several teams testing new designs for both TARC and CanSats.

Some of those kids have gone on to participate in NASA's Student Launch Initiative (SLI) program.

Some of the kids involved have gone on to college and are now working towards a career in aerospace. When they do, they get to do things like the Virginia Tech Sounding Rocket Project.

The mission is being sponsored by NASA's Sounding Rocket Operations Contract (NSROC) in Wallops Island, Virginia. NSROC has provided Virginia Tech with manufacturing of most payload components, a rocket motor, as well as official engineering analysis of the design. As part of the process, the students have attended 4 professional meetings at the NASA Wallops facility and have gotten the opportunity to collaborate with NSROC engineers on how to improve the design of the payload. The launch will take place on Wallops Island in mid-May of 2005.

Jealous? You bet I am.

The payload weighs approximately 190 pounds and is about 10.3 feet in length. The Orion motor will carry this payload to an altitude of nearly 60 miles above the surface of the Earth in approximately 150 seconds. After apogee, the payload will reenter, a parachute will deploy, and the payload will splash down in the ocean. A recovery team will then retrieve the payload from the water, and then will be brought back to NSROC's facility where it will be taken apart. The MAGIC instrument will be returned to NRL for analysis and the students will analyze the rocket flight data obtained through telemetry transmissions.

They recently made their successful launch. Check out preflight coolness, and then some launch and recovery pictures. Thanks to Professor Chris Hall for sharing this. Now, how can I get one of those decals for my rocket?

Posted by Ted at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry Space Program

Something to do at your next bong party

There is supposedly a strange synchronicity between the movie Wizard of Oz and Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon CD.

One crucial aspect of the WOO/DSM experience is timing. It is important to begin the CD at the end of the third, final roar of the MGM lion.

Get the timing right, and then get ready for an eerie ride.

The opening credits of the film began to roll to the heartbeats and ticking of Speak to Me. The familiar black-and-white farm scenes begin with the song Breathe. Dorothy is talking with the farm hands, then begins to walk the fence rail. The lyric "And balanced on the biggest wave You race towards an early grave" plays as Dorothy loses her balance and falls from the fence.

Of course, the movie goes on long after the CD ends.

The CD ends with the beating of a heart as Dorothy listens to the Tin Man's chest.

Give it a try sometime (altered personal reality optional). Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to other Wizard & Dark Side sites.

And your little dog too!

Posted by Ted at 05:59 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Cult Flicks

Yep. Yep.

This makes sense:

It's infinitely better to work with nature than to work against it - just as it's better to work with the grain of the wood. -- Dame Jill Knight

Then again, so does this:

There is nothing that great about nature. Nature is full of diseases; it's full of failures. Almost every organism that's born on the planet fails - doesn't make it to reproductive age. Humans are rather better than that - most of us do make it to reproductive age. In fact many of us reproduce. That's a great achievement, and that's an artificial achievement. If you leave it to nature, all you get is a lot of dead babies. -- Oliver Morton


Posted by Ted at 04:49 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

June 05, 2005

Launch Report - 6/5/05

Our rocket club had a rare Sunday-only launch today, and I managed to sneak over there for a couple of hours this morning (we've got family visiting from out of town).

I travelled very light, only bringing two rockets and a handful of engines. Pity too, because the day was hot and humid and the air was almost calm, meaning straight up and straight down. A perfect day for altitude.

Click here for a picture of the two rockets.

The first rocket (the yellow one) is a prototype of a kit being produced by my buddy Rich of Vertical Force Rocketry. He gave me a pre-production kit to build so I could give him feedback on the instructions and materials, and then make some test flights. It's a ring-fin model called the Odin's Spear and folks, this bird rocks! If you're looking for something new to build after a couple of Estes kits, I very much recommend this rocket.

The second rocket (white with black nose) was an experiment. Someone at NARAM last summer built a single finned rocket that relies on spinning to remain stable (fin detail here). I took pictures of it and built my version to play with. The original basically unravelled the cardboard tube on the third flight (serious torque!), so mine has two tubes, one inside the other for extra strength. Thinking back on it, his might have kicked the entire motor mount out the back to deploy the chute, making the nosecone permanently mounted up front. That's important to remember as you read further on. It's a fun rocket, spinning like a ballerina on handfuls of speed washed down by double-espressos.

It was sorta successful. So all told I made five flights:

1. Odin's Spear - A8-5 - When the motor burned out you could hear a whistle! Stays low enough for schoolyard launching, chute right at apogee.

2. Odin's Spear - B6-6 - Another arrow-straight boost, very quick and gets great altitude for a B motor. The whistling happened as she slowed down before deploying the chute, again right at apogee.

3. Nameless spinning prototype - D12-5 - About 20 feet up she was spinning and the nosecone came off. Tipped unstable and landed in the grass where the ejection charge went off. No damage.

4. Nameless spinning prototype - D12-3 - I added some masking tape to the nosecone shoulder to make it harder to some loose, but it did anyway some 50 feet up. Chute deployed normally this time and she also spun on the way down. Minor fin damage, can be repaired (although I don't know if I'll bother).

5. Odin's Spear - C6-7 - Zoooooom! Almost lost sight of it way up there, but saw the chute deploy, once again right at the top. Another brief whistle as she slowed down. My longest walk of the day for recovery, maybe 50 yards.

It was almost noon and I had to get going, so I made a quick stop at the Performance Hobbies trailer (gotta love a hobby shop that comes to the flying field!) and picked up a pair of AeroTech H128 White Lightning motors and an AeroTech H165 Redline motor. I'll fly them in my big rockets another day. Said goodbye to my friends and left. I briefly talked to frequent Rocket Jones commenter Russ, who was arriving just as I was heading out.

Short and sweet, that's how to describe my day flying rockets. Big fun.

Posted by Ted at 02:52 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Rocketry

Back Online

Credit where due. Sometime late this morning we lost internet service at the house. When I got home around 1pm I did the normal routine (reset the modem, reset the router, reboot the PC), but apparently not in the correct order or something. A call to Comcast and the help desk technician helped us get back up and running in less than an hour.

I also note that they've gotten used to the idea that many people hang routers off their modems. Time was, they'd have you disconnect everything so that only your PC was on the modem. Now they assume you're using the router and deal with it in a generic way.

Comcast has been extremely reliable for us over the last several years, and although fixes haven't always been this quick and easy, they've gotten it right sooner or later. Your milage may vary, but based on my experiences I'd recommend them.

Posted by Ted at 02:46 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

June 04, 2005

Frank Lloyd Wright vs. Zombies

A light analysis of one of his masterpieces and how defendable it is if the undead rise again. Plenty of interesting background history too, of the more mundane sort.

Thanks to Mrs. Spoons for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Cult Flicks Links

Still catchin' up

From Gir.

Immediately following there is a list of 28 different occupations. You must select at least 5 of them (feel free to select more). You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select 5 of the items as it was passed to you). Each one begins with "If I could be..." Of the 5 you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession.

For example, if the selected occupation was "linguist," you might take the phrase "If I could be a linguist...I would learn Hebrew, Greek, Russian, Italian and Chinese." See how easy that is? Here's the list:

The list thus far:

* If I could be a scientist...
* If I could be a farmer...
* If I could be a musician...
* If I could be a doctor...
* If I could be a painter...
* If I could be a gardener...
* If I could be a missionary...
* If I could be a chef...
* If I could be an architect...
* If I could be a linguist...
* If I could be a psychologist...
* If I could be a librarian...
* If I could be an athlete...
* If I could be a lawyer...
* If I could be an inn-keeper...
* If I could be a professor...
* If I could be a writer...
* If I could be a llama-rider...
* If I could be a bonnie pirate...
* If I could be an astronaut...
* If I could be a world famous blogger...
* If I could be a justice on any one court in the world...
* If I could be married to any current famous political figure...
* If I could be a superhero...
* If I could be a comic book character...
* If I could be a jail guard...
* If I could be an animal...
* If I could be a hacker...

If I could be a gardner, I'd love to have acres to play with. Formal, informal, meadow, with plenty of minions to do the heavy scut work.

If I could be a chef, I'd probably lose weight. I eat less when I'm doing serious cooking for some reason.

If I could be a librarian, I'd be in heaven. To be paid to be surrounded by books and to do research all day would be wonderful. I think I'd like to be involved in the efforts to commit historical works to eformats.

If I could be a llama-rider... sorry, I don't swing that way.

If I could be an astronaut, when I wasn't in space, I'd want to be doing educational initiatives for younger kids to get them excited about science and math.

I'm not going to pass this one on to anyone specific, but if you want to take a whack at the ol' meme-pinata, feel free and link back. Your name will show up at the bottom, so there's the link-carrot to go with the pinata-stick.

Posted by Ted at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

More catchin' up

I'm up early this Saturday morning because Mookie has her SATs. I think this is her first try at the new ones, I know she took the old version at least once. She's not done badly, but since you can submit the best scores you get, why not spend a few bucks to improve the numbers, eh?

So while waking up for the drive across county (why can't they schedule the dang thing nearby?), I thought I'd knock off a meme that was handed to me a while ago by Elisson, who just happened to post this bizarre bit o' arcana recently about the oddest guest appearance in a comic strip (plus, he flew rockets).

Anyways, the meme is:

Take a picture of your fridge and/or describe the contents in poetry form.

Uh huh. Right. Early on a Saturday morning, I'm gonna wax poetic. Being a bit cranky and rushed this AM, I'll do a quick description in free form (play those mental bongos in the background and call me beat, daddy-o).

Two types of eggs. Eggs for baking. And reduced-cholestorol eggs for jes' plain eatin'. Lots of each, because two of us went to the store separately last time and both bought eggs without realizing the other did too.

Sodas, the giver of caffeine. Diet Coke (wife), and Diet Pepsi (yours truly), with a few odd Dr. Pepper's tossed in there because I like a little variety. In the drinkable liquids category are also ice water and several cartons of OJ. Milk is there as well, but we use it mainly for splashing over cereal (oh heavenly cornflakes) and cooking.

A half-empty carton of heavy cream, used for cooking, and the remainder used for scrambled eggs and/or mashed potatoes. Also in the back are my containers of base, one chicken, on beef, for making stock when I cook. More convenient than canned, boxed or homemade, and better tasting than those frightful cubes.

A huge jar of diced garlic, for convenience, next to a small jar of horseradish, for fire.

Yogurt. Our traditional at-work breakfast is to snag a container of low-fat yogurt and a piece of fruit. Been doing it for years, and you'll usually find at least a week's worth of the "active cultures" in the fridge.

With summer here, in spirit if not officially, veggies abound. We have a huge old Tupperware salad-bar thingie that is chock full of grape tomatoes, broccoli florets, julienned carrots, diced scallions, sliced cucumbers and more. That sits on the shelf above another monstrous bowl full of salad greens. Dressings are in the fridge door (which reminds me, we need to restock as I'm out of Bleu Cheese).

Leftovers. Last night we had Italian sausages grilled, with grilled fruit and veggies alongside. A platter of sausages, pear quarters, green pepper and slabs of onion are waiting for lunchtime picking at.

There's a container of Chicken Mo Fo in there too. Oldest daughter Robyn took some to work yesterday for lunch and brought back rave reviews. That makes me happy.

The crisper drawers are stuffed full of more veggies (top) and meats and cheeses (bottom). The door contains a few various jams and jellies for PBJ's, some ketchup, mustard and other sauces (mostly for cooking) and a brand spanking new jar of yeast for the breadmaker.

Gotta run.

Posted by Ted at 06:20 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

June 03, 2005

Burny. Gar-Field High School Choir. Asshole.

I'm pissed off right now. Mookie has spent probably 40+ hours as a student volunteer doing stage managing work for a show put on tonight by her school choir, including 12 hours just in the last few days.

Burney, the choir teacher, didn't see fit to say thank you to her or the other three kids who ran the stage and handled lighting and cues. Not even a mention in the program. He did give the kids what they took as a veiled threat before the show about not screwing it up.

The title of this post is Google-bait. I want anyone who looks for "GarField" or "music" or "choir" or "Burny" to find this.

Mookie would probably say something like, "Mr. Burny, you suck.", because she's too polite to flat out call you an asshole. But I'm not.

In fact, the phrase "ungrateful cocksucker" comes to mind.

Posted by Ted at 10:32 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

Catchin' up on some things

First, new Munuvians. Yay! Each of these people had to be nominated to join our happy clan of bloggers, and then voted on in a super-secret process involving thought and counting and everything. We're like the Island of Misfit Toys. I'm the Teddy Bear with the very large ego and the very small diplomatic ability. But hey, my questions get answered.

So please go visit and welcome:

Feisty Repartee
Snugg Harbor
One Happy Dog Speaks
Stuff I Think You Should Know
Quality Weenie
Bobo Blogger
Drunken Wisdom
Two Roads Diverged
And What Next
Id's Cage

Bring pie. Pie's always nice.

Posted by Ted at 06:39 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

June 02, 2005

Read the whole dam thing

Gordon Tatro does it again!

It would not be correct for me to copy and paste the letters here (they would not look correct or official anyway, if I did that), so please click this link and read it...the reply from the owner to the State of Michigan...is GREAT!

Don't'cha love it when the beauacracy plays straight man?

Posted by Ted at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links


I'm tired of those lame Bush's Baked Beans commercials. I bet that I could dice that canine traitor fine enough that nobody would know the difference between salt pork and salt Duke.

The more I hear about it, the less I want to see Star Wars. I'd spend the entire movie snickering and mocking the lame-ass names that pepper the franchise. I almost retched over the original Luke "Skywalker", and it's gone downhill in a hurry from there.

The family of "Deep Throat" may cash in on fame. Surprise, surprise. He wasn't the hero a lot of people were hoping for, he was a disgruntled employee getting even for being passed over on a promotion. In hindsight, being capable of that kind of treachery makes me believe that it's a good thing he was never put in complete control of the FBI. I'm not defending Nixon and what that gang of nimrods did, but it's now obvious that he wasn't the only asshole involved either.

Speaking of, damn Bush for causing those homes in California to fall off that mountainside. I bet global warming or nuclear winter or something eco is the cause of it.

Posted by Ted at 05:34 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

June 01, 2005

Love is...

Laughing my ass off at these twisted "Love is..." cartoons.

Wegg, thanks. I needed that.

Posted by Ted at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

I'm not a lover of poetry

But this week's poetry day offering, courtesy of annika, is wonderful.

Posted by Ted at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Our next blogger demolition derby get-together will be on June 25th at the Prince William County Stadium.

The Nats Kory Casto just ended a streak of eleven straight games where he hit a double. The MLB record is seven games, held by several players. And who says there's no excitement in single-A ball? Heck, they even sell beer!

The Prince William Cannons Potomac Nationals will be playing the Frederick Keys. Last time we got a block of seats and they were pretty darn good at only $9.00 each. We had a great time, so c'mon out!

Posted by Ted at 05:40 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

You gotta see this

Over at Spork's place, an absolutely outstanding photo taken on Memorial Day.

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