It just occurred to me that we are two-thirds of the way through 2005. I don't know about you, but I'd be perfectly happy if the rest of this year were boring and uneventful.
My niece called. Her and the kids are
safe alive. They're still in the vicinity of what's left of Gulfport, Mississippi.
From a review of the movie Zombiegeddon:
Having real tigers chase and maul zombies...that's cool. It's like When Animals Attack, only better.
Now how can you disagree with that?
And nothing makes me smile more than making fun of others. Or potty humor. Or both all in one great place!
Someone in England compiled a list of the 100 most rude place names (wink, wink. nudge, nudge).
This might explain why British soccer fans are so testy.
Thanks to CGHill of Dustbury for pointing this one out.
Need a list of today's technologies that were predicted in Science Fiction?
Thanks to Owlish for the pointer.
California Yankee has collect a list of links where you can go to help with recovery efforts.
The entire quote:
"Let me tell you something, folks. I've been out there. It's complete devastation," Gulfport Fire Chief Pat Sullivan said Monday. He estimated that 75 percent of buildings in Gulfport have major roof damage, "if they have a roof left at all."
Gulfport experienced a storm surge of more than 20 feet. Think about that for a second. Stand up, and if you're six feet tall, the water level pushed inland was more than three times your height.
We've had no word about my neice in Gulfport, who refused to evacuate despite living within blocks of the beach. At this point, I could care less about her, but I'm worried sick about her small children.
"The hurricane was scary," Scott Radish told The Times-Picayune. "All the tree branches fell, but the building stood. I thought I was doing good. Then I noticed my Jeep was under water."
"I've never encountered anything like it in my life. It just kept rising and rising and rising," said Bryan Vernon, who spent three hours on his roof, screaming over howling winds for someone to save him and his fiancee.
Idiots like these shouldn't be spared natural selection. Call me hardhearted, but I'd leave 'em right where they are, especially if rescuing their stupid asses meant someone else has to risk their lives.
Across a street that had turned into a river bobbing with garbage cans, trash and old tires, a woman leaned from the second-story window of a brick home and pleaded to be rescued.
"There are three kids in here," the woman said. "Can you help us?"
You had the chance to save your children, and blew it. I hope they learn from this experience, and I hope they never forget that you're a selfish nitwit who endangered their lives for no good reason.
Worried sick and pissed off, that's me.
Update: Just got word that their house is gone. Completely. No news about my niece and the kids.
My latest review is up over at Mozongo, this time it's a Tetris clone with some interesting variations.
I think Tim Allen would agree. Me? I'm not so sure.
(This will be bumped to the top once in a while as updates happen)
One quick clarification on the rules. It's perfectly ok for more than one person to select a team, so just because someone else has declared for your favorite doesn't mean you can't play.
Oh, and yes, this is an excuse for a great big ol' linkfest. But it's a fun excuse.
Frinklin: Vancouver Canucks
Brian J: St. Louis Blues
Tom: Philadelphia Flyers
Derek: Colorado Avalanche
Gir: Calgary Flames
Grand Moff Trojan: Colorado Avalanche
Tilesey: Toronto Maple Leafs
Cal Tech Girl: Carolina Hurricanes
Victor: Washington Capitals
Michele: New York Rangers
Yours Truly: San Jose Sharks
1. If you have a favorite hockey team, place their logo somewhere on your front page. Let me know.
2. Every time your team plays someone else's team in the Jamboree, the loser must place the winner's logo (and a link) on their front page for 24 hours.
3. You don't have to actually be a Munuvian to play.
4. Trash talkin' is encouraged.
Or whatever you do to send good juju down to the folks in New Orleans and vicinity. I've got relatives close to the water in Gulfport who're determined to ride this one out. Stupid? I guess we'll know in a few days, eh?
(update) Wizbang! has the text of the official National Weather Service Warning. Here's a little bit:
POWER OUTAGES WILL LAST FOR WEEKS...AS MOST POWER POLES WILL BE DOWN AND TRANSFORMERS DESTROYED. WATER SHORTAGES WILL MAKE HUMAN SUFFERING INCREDIBLE BY MODERN STANDARDS.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF NATIVE TREES WILL BE SNAPPED OR UPROOTED. ONLY THE HEARTIEST WILL REMAIN STANDING...BUT BE TOTALLY DEFOLIATED. FEW CROPS WILL REMAIN. LIVESTOCK LEFT EXPOSED TO THE WINDS WILL BE KILLED.
The guys at Wizbang! also have a look at what the folks sheltering at the Superdome might go through. Pray for them too, they're going to need it.
I'm sure there's more.
I am fanatical about being organized when it comes to my rocketry. I make checklists for anything more complicated than your standard Estes rocket, and my standard kit for a day at the field includes boxes within boxes, organized so that I know where everything is and can get to it without fuss or confusion.
I even have a checklist to make sure I don't forget anything when I'm packing my truck for the launch.
I also have a binder full of useful rocketry stuff that goes with me every time. Inside are my checklists, a roster of my larger rockets showing weight, chute sizes, expected altitudes on various motors and other important things I need to know when flying high power. There are wiring diagrams for my altimeter bays, enlarged photocopies of the various motor assembly instructions (the originals are small and hard to read), specs for my launch control box and hybrid system, and anything else I might find handy, all collected up into one book.
The picture shows the new cover for my binder (click for bigger). We took the picture a couple of years ago at Battle Park in Culpeper, Virginia.
Cinefear is offering classic titles on DVD now.
You leap out of bed, scoop up the dog, race downstairs, throw open the front door, toss the dog outside, and watch him barf up all over the porch. Which you then proceed to clean by hosing it off.
All before properly waking up.
We are all individuals.
Seen over at Naked Villainy.
| Jimmy Stewart |
You scored 19% Tough, 19% Roguish, 33% Friendly, and 28% Charming!
You are the fun and friendly boy next door, the classic nice guy who
still manages to get the girl most of the time. You're every nice
girl's dreamboat, open and kind, nutty and charming, even a little
mischievous at times, but always a real stand up guy. You're dependable
and forthright, and women are drawn to your reliability, even as
they're dazzled by your sense of adventure and fun. You try to be tough
when you need to be, and will gladly stand up for any damsel in
distress, but you'd rather catch a girl with a little bit of flair.
Your leading ladies include Jean Arthur and Donna Reed, those sweet
|My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid|
I'm not displeased.
Here are a couple of blogs who've recently linked to Rocket Jones. I've visited them a time or two, and you might want to too. Who knows, they might become a favorite of yours.
Can You Hear Me Now (formerly Retail Hell)
RetroBabe (gotta love a name like that)
For the hockey traditionalist, here's a site with classic hockey fights to download.
Thanks to a commenter over at Off Wing Opinion for the pointer.
Remember a while back I mentioned that I'd been offered a review copy of an independent horror flick?
It showed up in my mailbox yesterday.
According to Mookie, the Bible is the most popular fanfic in history.
Just got home from work. The girls are off to their respective schools, and Liz isn't back yet from helping Rachael to settle in. It's just me and the dogs and a house that seems a little more empty than usual... until I get to the basement and see the ever-present pile of laundry that needs doing.
At least it'll be a smaller ever-present pile.
Silver linings, people, silver linings.
Yesterday, I listened to a co-worker gripe about having to go to yet another meeting.
Me: I know how to get out of meetings.
Me: Ask questions they don't want to answer. Bring up points they don't want to consider.
Co-worker: What's the point of that?
Me: Be obnoxious. They'll quit inviting you.
Co-worker: Can you teach me?
Oh yeah, he got me good.
Nothing definite here, but just in case I ever decide to start a cult, I've decided that this will be the official song.
(to the tune of Shambala by Three Dog Night)
Wash away my troubles, wash away my pain
With the rain in
Wash away my sorrows, wash away my shame
With the rain in
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah*
*This part repeats twice after each verse
Everyone is helpful, everyone is kind
On the road to
Everyone is lucky, everyone is so kind
On the road to
How does your light shine
In the halls of
How does your light shine
In the halls of
I can tell my sister 'bout the flowers in her eyes
On the road to
I can tell my brother 'bout the flowers in his eyes
On the road to
How does your light shine
In the halls of
How does your light shine
In the halls of
Tell me how, how does your light shine
In the halls of
Tell me how, how does your light shine
In the halls of
With various "oooo's," "yeah, yeah, yeahs," and
"Shambala""Rocket Jones" until the fadeout.
Until I make up my mind, just continue to treat me as usual, that is, like a wise and benevolent friend that you greatly admire.
I hear you snickering. Don't make me make kool-aid!
Belgian women's soccer team SK Berlaar had to stomach a 50-1 defeat against rival KV Mechelen on Saturday because their goalkeeper had opted to attend a music concert instead, a local newspaper said.
Oh man, that's gotta be tough, playing without a goalkeeper.
"Our keeper went to Pukkel Pop. That's why," substitute goalkeeper Charlotte Jacobs told Het Laatste Nieuws daily on Monday.
They had a sub? And the other team still scored 50 goals? I'd fine the starting goalie for not taking the substitute with her to the concert.
"At half-time the score was 27-0. But after half-time we were able to recover."
By "recover", she means she only allowed 23 more goals. Sounds like a political analyst working for the Democrats (yeah, I know, cheap shot).
"...we scored once ourselves, right at the end. They allowed us to score. That was sweet of them," Jacobs added.That's the difference between Belgium and the US. They have no fire or passion. You're winning 50 zip and you let the other team score a pity goal?!?!?! WTF? And they're grateful?!?!?!? I'd be out there in a raging fury, risking a stroke over this game. Either side, doesn't matter. Whether storming over getting stomped like that, or royally pissed off by my teammates letting them score. Sweet?
That's just wrong.
Exotic dancing is much more than "dancing sexy", it is learning how to reach deep within yourself, find your own inner beauty and grace, and combine it into a sensual movement. Through Exotic Dancing, you will learn how to fully empower yourself, connect with others, boost your self-confidence and self-esteem, become a role model, attract people to you, overcome your fears of self expression, let down your guard, and discover new ways to spice up your relationships.
That's what the women get out of it. Us guys just like tits and hope we'll get laid.
What a hoot! Screen captures of Revenge of the Sith, subtitled in English from the original Chinese translation.
Of complete ass-hattery, that is. We have four, count 'em, four, fools from the world of sports who should just STFU. Of course, they have the right to an opinion, but the only difference between them and the loudmouth at the end of the bar is that nobody is sticking a microphone in the lush's face.
Leading off is columnist Tim Dahlberg, who has spent this entire season ripping on Barry Bonds for not playing. Of course, three knee surgeries and rehab are no excuse to this hack, he's got his schtick (Bash Bonds) and he's beating the dead horse as hard and as often as he can. If you follow the link, make sure you catch all of his oh-so-subtle steroid references. This fool hates baseball, pure and simple. It would be nice if he quit writing about it.
Up second, Milton Bradley of the Los Angeles Dodgers proves that the anger management counselling he received last year worked well. He never once raised his voice as he ripped into teammate Jeff Kent, calling him a racist. Personally, I think that his voice was muffled since his head was up his ass. Jeff Kent is not an easy guy to get along with, but to play the race card is just low and stupid.
Kent had the perfect response, "Ask Dusty Baker if I'm racist, Ask Dave Winfield and Joe Carter."
Bradley's problem is that he was promised by management that he would be the leader of the team, and he believes that all you need to do to be a leader is to be told that it's the way it will be. When Kent jumped him about not hustling during one baserunning play, Bradley fires back and displays his mad leadership skills. I'd call him a Dodger jackass, but that would be redundant.
And I didn't make a single board game joke.
And then there's Frank Robinson. I have a lot of respect for the man, which is why I choose to believe that reporters caught him at a bad time, like maybe he'd just finished snorting cocaine from a DC hooker's bellybutton.
I'd say "batting cleanup", but I'd rather use the bat on the skull of the director of the Tour de France. After yet another smear attack on Armstrong by the French newspaper L'Equipe (who do so regularly), Jean-Marie Leblanc has come out firmly on the side of
science scientology. The newspaper printed copies of paperwork they claim proves that six year old urine samples belonged to the American cyclist.
Six year old urine sample? I guess the only question I have about the "proven scientific facts" is, tastes great or less filling?
He owes explanations to us and to everyone who follows the tour.
No, he owes you nothing. Armstrong has been repeatedly tested throughout his career and has never had anything but clean results. Now that he's retired and out of the country, French courage roars forth for one last cheap shot. It's telling that the other leading professional cyclists are all coming out in support of Lance Armstrong.
And until another American LeMond or Armstrong comes along to dominate, the Tour de France will drop back to the level of popularity enjoyed by Iron Man triathalons and Arena Football.
I suppose I should wrap this up somehow... ok, I've got it.
Via the Hockey Pundits (original link missing):
A large number of fans in the southern and western US hail from colder climes. Many, surprisingly, are even Canadian. I, for one, grew up a Boston Bruins fan, but over the years, I couldn't find any Bruins coverage after I moved away, and so I'm limited to what ESPN gives me in the morning. But what if there were a daily podcast of, say, five to ten minutes, for each home team? Many of these shows could be hosted by Comcast's regional sports network personalities -- who, naturally, would have access to the players themselves via the OLN deal. And finding podcasters to cover each of the Canadian teams would be like trying to find a cat who likes to watch mice. These are low-cost activities that would bring real fans in, wherever they may live. Fans who buy tickets, gear, and Internet access.
Gwen Stefani needs to get over herself.
He revolutionized electronic music. Rob over at Left & Right has more.
Every day that nitwit stays with the Eagles, I thank the stars that he's not with the Ravens. Don't miss this hilarious letter from his biggest fan. Out of the mouths of babes, as they say.
Thanks to Off Wing Opinion for the pointer.
What the hell happened?
Spoons fires off a good one!
And so begins its second mouth-watering year. Thanks Beth, for the original idea!
Paul, of the defunct Sanity's-Edge, is back and blogging over at Id's Cage.
I'm proud of this place.
I enjoy finding interesting and funny things to share with y'all, and I really appreciate the fact that you keep coming back. Not only that, but many of you still talk to me. That kinda amazes me sometimes.
Besides the regulars, I get hits from people searching the web for things. Besides the usual odd and downright perverse stuff (we all get 'em), I get visitors quite often looking for things like "build a rubber band gun" and "model rocket plans". I still get comments almost every week on the Box Hockey posts, Rob's Favorite Guitarists of All Time list, and Nog Watch.
Like I said, I'm proud of all of this. But when I'm talking to someone about Rocket Jones and want to toss out one datum with maximum wow power, well, there's really only one choice.
If you google "stripper music", Rocket Jones comes up #1 on the list.
Yeah, I brag about that often. I know you've heard it before, but dammit, it means something to me! Lots of blogs boast about how if you google "goat oreo rubber pants" then they come up at the top of the search results.
Bee Effen Dee.
"Stripper music" isn't some random pairing of words with a tenuous connection to my place, this is where actual DJ's and ladies of the dance come to check out the latest tunes and to leave their own suggestions. It's also become a popular target for women looking for pole dancing lessons. And up until now, all I could do was offer generic advice about where to look in their local areas, and to wish them luck.
This first link, A Pole Lot of Fun, looks to be a 'party' style setup, similar to the way Tupperware used to work.
We bring the pole, you bring the friends and together we create a magical night of fun, laughter, and support.
Follow that link and see if there's someone local to you. Ladies, do it for yourself if not for your guy. Guys, grow some romantic initiative and set it up for her (and don't forget a dozen roses so she doesn't think you got her hooker lessons, you insensitive bastards).
This link, PoleStars, is based in the UK and Australia. It looks like this is more of the traditional (if I may use that word) class instruction on the art of pole dancing and strip tease.
Both sites offer equipment and clothing too. And remember ladies, it's exercise!
Rich got his Level 1 Rocketry Certification on Saturday.
That means two things:
1. He can fly high power rockets now (H and I motors).
2. His wallet is gonna be empty.
Thanks to the Maximum Leader for pointing this one out!
The world is crisscrossed by our navigational coordinates, latitude and longitude.
A confluence is defined as a flowing together; a meeting place (often of rivers). In our case a degree confluence is the exact spot where an integer degree of latitude and an integer degree of longitude meet.
Every person on earth lives within 50 miles of a degree confluence, and the world is dotted by 64,442 of these. Someone had the brilliant idea to have people visit each one and take a photograph, to be collected into one place and shared. Proof of visit is supplied by snapping a screen shot of a handheld GPS unit on the spot (or within a reasonable distance in some cases).
Of course, many are in the middle of the ocean, or located on the ice packs up where Santa lives (and his Summer home down South). So if someone visits one of those, it's great, but they're concentrating on the land-based confluences.
Maybe one is near you?
We never did get to the rocket launch on Saturday. I'd started feeling ill Friday morning, and had to leave early to take Rachael to the doctor for her pre-admission checkup. She hadn't been feeling all that great, and on the way home she urped. So between both of us feeling less than wonderful, her working both days, all the packing to get done (oldest daughter Robyn and her boyfriend each took a carload down to ODU), plus the hot, oppressive, humid weather, well, we took a pass on standing out in the sun all day (fun as that may be).
Liz takes Rachael to her campus on Thursday. Robyn continues to move her stuff all week. Busy little bees, we are.
Better than a year and a half ago, Ross left for Iraq. He's home again, and his blog still sucks. Drop by anyways to welcome him back and thank him for his service.
The headlines I'm seeing are rather misleading. The "missile" being talked about is the Russian-designed Katyusha rocket.
It's not insignificant, but as weapons go it's not very large either. They are unguided, medium-range weapons (~12 miles), perfect for harrassment and interdiction fire (the Russians load them onto truck-mounted launchers and fire them in salvos of five to twenty or more.
They can be purchased on the black market for about a thousand dollars each.
They can carry chemical weapons.
To see the threat that these rockets pose to Isreal, here's a map that clearly shows the areas that are in range of Katyusha's fired from within the Palestinian areas.
It must be borne in mind that Hezbollah has acquired its own strategic deterrent capability against Israel by means of long-range Katyusha rockets which can hit targets from the northern border area of Israel almost down to Haifa Bay. -- Ha'aretz, 26 May, 14 July 2000
Cheap and simple weapons can be incredibly cost effective when their proper use is understood.
With all but a handful of companies already reporting for the quarter, it turns out that three quarters of them met or exceeded their projected earnings.
Big thanks to John for pointing this site out.
In 1958 Alfred Hitchcock directed his masterpiece Vertigo, which was set in San Francisco. In 2003, this guy went around the city with a camera and took pictures from the same viewpoints as the movie. The photos are posted side by side, so you can see the changes that have happened in 44 years.
I love the internet for sites like this.
Premiere magazine just released their list of the "Top 20 Most Overrated Movies of All Time" -- which of them is the most overrated?
- 2001: A Space Odyssey
- A Beautiful Mind
- American Beauty
- An American in Paris
- Chariots of Fire
- Easy Rider
- Field of Dreams
- Forrest Gump
- Gone with the Wind
- Good Will Hunting
- Jules & Jim
- Monster's Ball
- Mystic River
- The Red Shoes
- The Wizard of Oz
I'd be interested to hear your take on this.
We hear a lot of noise from those who want us to ignore the fact that we were attacked (thanks to the Flea for the pointer).
Ten tons of steel from the World Trade Center’s twin towers will be used in the construction of the USS New York, according to a Navy official.
The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock is slated to be commissioned in 2008.
Forget? Hell no.
This is too cool. An Elvis mural done with Post-it Notes. Follow the links and find instructions on how to do your own digital sticky art.
Little tidbits I found interesting...
Goalie Curtis Joseph (aka Cujo) signed with the Phoenix Coyotes, which incidentally are now being coached by Wayne Gretzky. The 'Yotes haven't made a big splash in the free-agent feeding frenzy, but they've signed several quality players. Watch for them, they may surprise a few people.
I didn't realize that with all the the new rules changes, it could mean this (courtesy SharksPage):
Larger Neutral Zone, more difficult to clear the puck & blue line is now inside the doors - therefore if a player enters the ice and moves forward he'll be offsides
There's some question about this one. We'll have to wait and see it in action.
I heard on the radio this morning that the Capitals have made an offer to Peter Bondra. Now if he comes back, that would make me happy.
"Three teams not radically exploring the unrestricted free agent market because of the way they are built are Ottawa, Tampa Bay and ourselves. If that is the company I'm to be judged with, I’ll take that." -- GM Doug Wilson, San Jose Sharks
And finally, the Atlanta Thrashers website has been named best in the NHL by The Sports Business Journal and the University of Massachusetts Amherst (yeah, not a biggie to most of us, but who else does these rankings?). Sites were judged for design, content, commerce, and fan interactivity.
The top 5 were: 1. Atlanta, 2. Washington Capitals, 3. Chicago Blackhawks, 4. Columbus Blue Jackets, 5. San Jose Sharks.
Thanks again to SharksPage for the last two.
Don't forget to join us for the third annual Hockey Whoopass Jamboree!
For those reading the PDA version of Rocket Jones (as opposed to
those us 20th Century deskbound dinosaurs), I've done some tinkering with the templates and added Eric's routine to now allow comments.
It should be easier to read, and I'd appreciate any feedback you'd care to give. Danke.
Please don't drink and read Rocket Jones. Bad things can happen.
Trust me, I have it on good authority.
Taco Bell is as good at marketing as Burger King is bad. Very few clunker ads. They don't drive a commercial run into the ground either. The little mutt "Yo Quiero, Taco Bell" could've become obnoxious, but they know to quit a little early - leave 'em wanting more.
What got me to thinking about this is a pile of hot sauce packets in our kitchen. Each one has a prominent little spot on the front with a cute message. For instance:
"It's ok to say it. I love you too."
"Hey, where are you taking me?"
Subtle, simple, effective.
Almost two years ago, I put up a post about some of the unusual rockets that the kids and I have built and flown. In it, I said this:
I just realized I don't have pictures posted of another odd-roc we did, named Invader Zim's Song of Doom. She used a funnel for drag stability instead of fins, and the nosecone was a green plastic easter egg with silver alien eyes made from duct tape. This one had problems from the outset. Not with the going up part, but with the coming down part. As in parachutes not wanting to work correctly. She finally destroyed herself by becoming a lawn dart, and we have the video tape to cringe over anytime we want to watch it. Embarrassing.
I finally did find a picture of the Invader Zim's Song of Doom rocket. This is pre-decal, which were basically just "doom, doom, doom, doom..." winding up, down and all over the silly thing.
This next one is one of my early scratchbuilt mid-to-high power rockets, the Bootlegger. She's still in fairly good shape, but semi-retired after making many great flights. I made the logo in PowerPoint and printed it onto decal paper using a laser printer.
This rocket is called Watch the Birdie, and she was an experiment in finishing techniques. I used black primer followed up by an ultra-flat black cover coat, and around the rocket nozzle area I used heat-resistant barbeque paint. The flash adds a shine that really isn't there in real life, this thing is suck-all-available-light-into-it black. And for those who think all I do is big rockets, look closely at the picture and you'll notice that I built two. The little one is 3 inches tall and fully flyable.
Last one. The picture is small, but it's the only picture I have of this rocket, taken just before liftoff. Several years ago, Estes released a neat kit called the Prowler. It was a big rocket, being more than four feet long, and very customizable. What happened when I was building mine was that the glue siezed up before I got the tubes joined together and wound up with about a one half inch gap. It was strong enough to not matter, so I filled the gap with rocket bondo and got ready to paint it. Since this rocket was one half inch longer than the regular version, it must obviously have been crafted by the peace loving people of the workers paradise of the USSR as a defense against the inferior (by one half inch!) rocket built by the war mongering capitalist running dog lackeys. So after a red, silver and black paintjob (and the one yellow fin), in bold cyrillic letters she was christened the Prowlski.
I flew her on big motors for her size and weight. I lost her three different times, but since I had my name and number on the rocket, the first two times I got phone calls from the person who found it. The third time was in the early fall in a farm field (it wasn't cotton, corn or tobacco so I'm guessing soybeans), and even though I saw about where it landed I spent about an hour looking without finding it. I picked up the remains in the spring, because the farmer collected lost rockets as he did his harvesting, but this one went through the machine and was an almost total loss. I got the motor casing back undamaged (the expensive part - yay!).
I still have a couple of Prowler's in the box, I probably should build another one.
This is the revised version:
"Someone once said that there was no doubt that we would colonize the Moon and Mars. The only question was what language would be spoken: the language of science or the language of business. My money is on business. The language of business is universal, ignores national borders, and is capable of speaking all human languages."
You can go to RocketForge to see the original quote, and his reasoning behind thinking that the original is not necessarily true.
Amy made it for me. She rocks.
Hosted by the Northern Virginia Association of Rocketry. Held at Great Meadow Equestrian Center, in The Plains, Virginia. Starts at 9am, flying until 5pm. Normal FAA waiver to 4500 feet altitude, J motor maximum. Spectatin' and model rocketry free, high power is $5.00 for the day. Performance Hobbies of Washington DC will be onsite for all your rocketry needs.
I know Doug Pratt is planning on flying a biggun' on a HyperTech (or is that a SkyRipper?) J-330 hybrid motor (with nitrous injection). If I get the altimeter bay rebuilt in time I'll be putting up "Ain't Misbehavin'" on a RATTworks I-80 hybrid (now where did I put that picture?). I'm also going to launch my scale Phoenix (another picture here) on an Aerotech H-128 White Lightning. Plus my usual box o' little fun stuff.
I couldn't decide on how to start this. First I wanted to just go "neener, neener" because it's me and not you, but I've already used up my "jerk" points for the month (don't ask). Then I thought about telling you about how excited I was (I did a nipple check, and it's true, I'm *very* excited), but that would give y'all mental images that would scar my children, frighten friends, and maybe (he said hopefully) bring a wistful smile or two to the ladies.
Secret message to Blue: I sound like a straaange creature, never before seen on B-B-B-Broadway!
I can hear you saying, "would somebody please smack him so he gets to the point."
To which I reply, "careful, we both might like it."
(mental note: we haven't had a bondage post in a while)
So, if you've been following along, the aforementioned Blue is host and MC of The Simian Syndicate podcast. Their latest show is up, and not only do I get a shoutout, but Blue and Mad Monty (more than a sidekick, less than that crazy uncle you're ashamed of) run wild with it. After singing my new theme cue (think choirs of angels: "Rocket Jones"), Blue reads some words I wrote about the podcast (the Bobcat Goldwaith voice was classic and not far off the mark), they flatter me unashamedly and boost my ego until I swear I'd make Bob the dick drug guy look depressed.
Rereading that last paragraph, I see where I use the parens like my own virtual sidekick, interjecting asides here and there. So what would I call this new medium? Kind of a written podcast thing... wordcast? Oh wait. It's called a blog. Never mind.
So yes, they give me mad props and proclaim Rocket Jones hella good (that line inserted to annoy and embarrass my daughters). Blue also heaps praise upon Cindy and the Ken and Squip Show, which shows that he's a class act and shouldn't be judged solely on what he says about me. I'm sure it's the alcohol talking.
Ok, enough of that. Being serious for a moment, The Simian Syndicate is one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time. Their recent bit "Our Global World" had me in tears (and it's Mookie approved!) and they've introduced a MadLib segment to the show. Add in the great music, keep-you-on-your-toes banter ("drinking makes me Carl") and you've got one heckuva entertaining hour.
Aside to Blue: how about putting in a word for me with Soccergirl? I want a shoutout from her too.
I've come up with the perfect way to say thanks to The Simian Syndicate, and the beauty of it is that it's free for you and I but it could cost him money! What could be better?
Here's the deal: head on over to his place and download a show or two or all. Give 'em a listen (please use headphones at work or around the genteel). Or don't listen. Whatever. See, they talked about how they wish that they had bandwidth issues, so I figure that the least I can do is help them realize their dream.
Wordsmith. I'm a fucking wordsmith!
I promised I'm going to promise (trust me, it'll make sense eventually).
(in the extended entry - safe for work but may offend delicate sensibilities)
When I get to it in the next day or two...
Drink Rum. Sample:
Bigger = More Better
My life has been clouded by mystery. I've lived my entire legal drinking life in Virginia, where liquor sales are run by the "man". All liquor has to be purchased through state run stores. Not that big of a deal I always thought... until now.
Apparently, in South Carolina, liquor can be sold by anyone. Including those big crazy bulk warehouse type stores. I have found that Sam's Clubs down their are stockpiling liquor in amazingly large quantities.
Want to pick up 1000 rolls of two ply toilet paper? Hell no, but I would love to get a 5 gallon drum of Bacardi Silver!
Buying in bulk always seemed so silly to me until now.
It's like the light of enlightenment (shut up) has been shined in my left eye very brightly while my right eye is closed tightly fearing the wonderment of it all.
Liquor in bulk. I can die happy.
Funny, funny stuff.
None of my children were afraid to spread their wings and take a chance on the big world outside our family home. It's hard as a parent to let go and watch them make mistakes, because you're used to being a safety belt and suddenly you've instead become a safety net. They may fall, but you're still there to keep them from crashing. They discover the hard way that independence isn't easy, but as you test the air every bit of turbulence you encounter increases your confidence and allows you to truly soar.
I'm excerpting some lyrics from the musical Wicked. This song is sung as a duet by Elphaba (before she becomes the Wicked Witch), and her good friend Glinda (who becomes the Good Witch).
(some intro omitted)
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by
The rules of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes
It's time to try defying gravity
I think I'll try defying gravity
And you can't pull me down
Can't I make you understand
You're having delusions of grandeur?
I'm through accepting limits
Cuz someone says they're so
Some things I cannot change
But till I try I'll never know
Too long I've been afraid of
Losing love I guess I've lost
Well if that's love
It comes at much too high a cost
I'd sooner buy defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye, I'm defying gravity
And you can't pull me down!
So if you care to find me
Look to the Western sky!
As someone told me lately
Everyone deserves the chance to fly
And if I'm flying solo
At least I'm flying free
To those who ground me
Take a message back from me!
Tell them how I am defying gravity
I'm flying high, defying gravity
And soon I'll match them in renown
And nobody in all of Oz
No Wizard that there is or was
Is ever gonna bring me down!!
I didn't leave out parts of the words because they aren't beautiful, but because they didn't fit the picture I'm trying to paint (to mix mediums and metaphores).
I highly recommend that you get a copy of the Wicked soundtrack and give a listen. Amazing work, and this particular song thrills me every time I hear it.
And makes me think of my kids.
That's right folks, it's time to start getting ready for the third annual
The rules are simple:
1. If you have a favorite hockey team, place their logo somewhere on your front page.
2. Every time your team plays someone else's team in the Jamboree, the loser must place the winner's logo on their front page for 24 hours.
3. You don't have to actually be a Munuvian to play.
4. Trash talkin' is encouraged.
So start deciding on your favorite team. We're gonna be gearing up real soon now.
(cross-posted to Munuviana)
If I understand the story correctly, they bummed around for years under various band names, finally cut an album and waited a couple more years before becoming an overnight sensation.
Now, they're so overplayed that I'm sick of them and wouldn't mind if they faded back into obscurity for a few more years.
Visit A Perfectly Cromulent Blog for the pointer to the "10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time" and "Son of 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pics of All Time". Great fun!
Ante up, podner! And mosey on over to Mozongo to take a gander at what I think about Texas Hold'Em Poker.
This one's the Carnival of the NHL! WooHoo!!!
Hosted this week at SharksPage.
Ask and ye shall receive!
In the comments, or drop me a line at RocketJones -at- gmail -dot- youknow.
You may recognize the title of this as a toast given by Dr. Pretorius in Bride of Frankenstein.
I haven't done a movie review in a while because I haven't watched many movies lately, and the ones I've seen have been unremarkable. But last week, thanks to my lovely wife, I scored a copy of Frankenstein: the Legacy Collection. I've been lusting after these since they came out, and I've already let Santa know that I expect the Dracula and Mummy sets for Christmas*.
But this isn't going to be a simple movie review, nor even just a review about the collection on DVD. Right now (and I may edit the heck out of this before I hit "publish"), this might best be described as a love letter to a dear old friend.
To many people, the term "horror movie" is interchangable with "slasher flick". I'm not a huge fan of blood and gore, preferring to be scared instead of grossed out (yes, I said that with a straight face, even though my movie collection contains more blood orgy's than the average).
Even within the horror genre there are sub-genres. Just as Dracula is the embodiment of supernatural evil and Alien has become the ultimate "creature" movie, Frankenstein's Monster is the ultimate monster character. Written by Mary Shelley** at the age of 19, the tale is less a horror story than a morality play about the consequences that result when man plays God.
Over time though, Frankenstein became a parody of itself. Mention the name and for most what comes forth in the mind's eye is a figure comprised of equal parts Herman Munster, Lurch and maybe Peter Boyle's comic portayal in Young Frankenstein. All fun, but none of them are even close to the original. Many people don't even recognize the original story when they see pieces of it in other movies (I give Van Helsing big points for being fairly true to the original in it's opening scenes). For instance, that brilliant bit in Young Frankenstein about the abnormal brain? Mel Brooks lifted that scene almost verbatim from the original movie, and most people never even realized.
The various stage versions of Frankenstein were very popular, and when the film was released in 1931 starring Boris Karloff, it became a huge hit.
The film is riddled with anachronisms and peculiarities, yet it retains its underlying believability because everyone acts consistantly within the story. The village is full of peasants named Hans and Karl, and led by a Burgermeister, yet everyone speaks with a very British accent. Somehow it works, and it's not until later that you think to yourself, "just where the heck was all that supposed to have happened?" The answer supplied by Universal Studios was "alternate reality", which neatly explains away all the inconsistancies.
I was pleased to find that the original version had been restored. In 1931 and again in later years during each rerelease, censors insisted on editing out scenes deemed too intense or inflamatory for the mores of the day. Unfortunately, these cuts also altered the story in significant ways. Probably the most famous of these edits involved the scene where the monster encounters Maria. What moviegoers originally saw was the monster looking at the little girl through the trees at the edge of the lake, then later the father carrying the body of the drowned child. The restored version shows how the child was unafraid of the monster and they played together tossing flowers into the water to watch them float. Innocently, the monster then tosses Maria into the lake, thinking she'll float too. The result is still tragic, but the motivation is revealed to be completely different, even sympathetic instead of evil.
Without going into the story beyond that, here's a one sentence review of the original version of Frankenstein: See it.
So how does one go about creating a sequel worthy of a megahit? First, you convince the original director to come back, then you bring back as much of the original cast as possible.
Thus, becomes 1935's Bride of Frankenstein.
This followup may be even better than the masterpiece it reprises. Once again, the keystone of the story is man inpinging upon God's purview, and the consequences of doing so. Rather than just recreating the style and mood of the original story, Bride is more in every sense. More humor, more pathos, more irony.
Dr. Frankenstein is recovering from his final encounter with the monster he created when he recieves a visit from an old acquaintance. Dr. Pretorius was one of Frankenstein's professors at the medical institute, one who was a main inspiration and motivator for Frankenstein's experiments.
Doctor Pretorius introduces elements to his character that evoke Hannibal Lecter more than fifty years before that human monster appeared. He is brilliant, urbane, witty, magnetic and utterly amoral. He shows Dr. Frankenstein the amazing progress he's made in his own experiments, and blackmails Frankenstein into combining their talents to advance even further.
I won't give any more of the story here, suffice it to say that there are plenty of peasants bearing torches, rampaging monsters and spectacular electrical effects in the laboratory. That's for the those who haven't seen it before (or recently). There's so much more to the story though, including religious references that pushed the limits of what the censors of the day would allow. This is an incredibly rich movie experience, and I haven't even talked about the bride.
Once again, in one sentence: See it!
On to the DVD collection itself. There are three more movies in the collection that I haven't gotten to yet: Son of Frankenstein, Ghost of Frankenstein and House of Frankenstein, along with hours of theatrical trailers, movie poster archives, production stills from scenes edited out of the movies, short subjects and commentary by film historians for the two films I talked about above. This isn't filler, it's an amazing amount of additional material that really adds to the package. All total, you get two disks in the package, and the second disk is double sided. I've heard that there were problems with the early packaging that resulted in some damaged and unplayable disks, but the issues mentioned seem to have been resolved in my set. I'll let you know if I run into any problems.
Ok, bottom line for the Frankenstein: the Legacy Collection: Folks, this set runs less than $30.00, and it's well worth it!
Quick, what were Dr. Frankenstein's and his assistant's first names? If you said Viktor and Igor, you were wrong. The correct names were Henry Frankenstein and Fritz.
Bette Davis was considered for the role of Dr. Frankenstein's fiance.
Many consider the first horror film to be a fifteen minute long version of Frankenstein done by Thomas Edison's film studio in New York in 1910.
**Mary Shelley was travelling as Percy Shelley's lover at the time***. Percy Shelley is now considered one of England's greatest poets, and they were visiting with Lord Byron, another extraordinary poet. During the visit they experienced a powerful thunderstorm, which inspired Lord Byron to suggest that they each write a ghost story. Frankenstein was the only story from the group to be published.
***Technically, she was still Mary Godwin when she wrote the story. Shelley abandoned his wife and two children to run off with Mary Godwin. Soon, in the same year that Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was published, Shelley's wife committed suicide, leaving the way open for him to make Mary Godwin his wife.
Meryl Yourish had an encounter with a big-assed spider who built it's web in her front doorway.
I had a similar situation recently, and managed to get photos too.
(in the extended entry)
*Paook is the Russian word for spider.
I much prefer my universe.
I've been sitting on this one awhile, awaiting further developments.
Some bloggers, like Instapundit, get free books to review. That's cool.
Lastly, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email referring to the Rocket Jones online biography on Brinke Stevens. It seems that Ms Stevens has written a new horror movie which is now out as an indie effort, and yours truly was offered a review copy. How cool is that?
The internet is a twisted place full of unexpected surprises. If you're using it right.
So here, take your pick:
Michele defined the need, which was the ability to post comments to blogs when reading via a PDA. See, she reads at lunch, away from her desk, and wanted a way to provide feedback without annoying her bosses by doing it on company time.
She emailed me, and I sent an email to one much wiser than I in this kind of technical matter. She also contacted Eric, who has come up with a solution! Rob at Light&Dark also chipped in to help avoid a potential pitfall for some of us.
Michele is also going to do a kind of "RSS Feeds for Dummies" post this weekend. I'm looking forward to that.
So there you go, Mu.Nu collectively putting it's heads together to resupply those poor nuns with enough hollow-points to tire out their holy little trigger fingers.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
At least Pete mentions hockey in this funny story.
I've been listening to quite a few podcasts lately, and it seems that the hardware of choice is the PowerBook. I did some comparison shopping, and dang, those things are expensive!
So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this ad on television last night, offering me a Book of Power for only $89.95! Plus it's personally autographed by the Right Reverend Joe Jim Skeevy. It's smaller than that clunky thing y'all are using too.
I know, y'all are rolling your eyes at me right now, but listen, this guys' a preacher, and he made this little crippled kid stand up and everything. I trust him.
I plunked down an extra twenty for super-rush-immediate delivery. So y'all can expect the first Rocket Jones podcast real soon now, as soon as my new Book of Power shows up.
Boy howdy, I'm excited.
...and then Sears called, asking if I wanted to extend my warranty on, of all things, my freezer.
I know she was just a drone, but it still felt good to rip into yet another Sears employee after the way they screwed us over.
I didn't even swear. Honest.
But I know quite a few people who can't wait for this keyboard designed for gamers.
Got home from work yesterday afternoon, chatted with Liz and Rachael for a short bit, said no to dinner, then went to sleep until this morning. I remember getting up twice for a glass of juice and once to let the dogs out.
Once in a while you gotta catch up.
Apparently there's a series that's been airing lately called "Rockstar INXS" that I don't watch (and according to Spoons, I'll burn in hell for missing it - sounds like double jeopardy to me). Anyway, one of the contestants, a young black man named Ty, laments:
It was hard for me... because, like, being the only black person on the show, sometimes I do have to think about like what I represent. You can count on your hand how many people have been able to succeed in Rock and Roll that are, you know, African-American, and I think it's unfair... (sobbing, squealing) you know it just hurts me!
Spoons then proceeds to convincingly smack Ty upside his virtual head. This is a must read, folks.
The word "crusade" is generally accepted in the West as a term meaning a great struggle for a cause. To us, it's a strong word to denote a noble and just effort. Yet we're not allowed to use it because it offends Muslims who only see it as a historical reference.
The word "jihad" is generally accepted in the West as a term meaning a great struggle for a cause. The cause may be good, but good is defined by the individual, and we hear most often about the jihad against us infidels, and how they want us all dead or enslaved. So, basically, jihad means war against the West.
Explain to me why we can't use our word, yet they can use theirs?
Take the quiz: "Which Holy Grail Character Are You?"
The Bridge Keeper
'Answer me these questions three, n'er the other side ye see.'
Seen all over, most recently at TexasBestGrok.
Robyn (about her boyfriend): I have to take him to work on Monday because his car failed inspection.
Robyn: He's hoping to get his motorcycle fixed this weekend, but he needs a truck to get it to his Dad's house so they can work on it.
Me (remembering): Doesn't he own a truck?
Robyn: Yeah, but it's parked at his house. Needs a transmission.
Me: You might be a redneck if...
Robyn: Be nice.
The last three trackbacks to Rocket Jones are:
Yesterday Eric was nearing the landmark of the 1000th comment left at his place. My timing was perfect and I managed to leave that magic comment, and of course it was pithy and philosophical without being too emotionally charged.
It was also about zombies.
So head on over, check out the awesome prize I've been awarded, and leave a comment to kick-start the climb towards #2000.
(this rant brought to you by my findings while doing some online research)
Microsoft is big and rich and evil and gets no credit for their good charitable works, because they're not doing *enough*. Besides, they're big and rich and evil.
Apple is hip and cool and stands for the common man, because they're not Microsoft.
The iPod Shuffle has a built-in battery designed to deactivate after 144 charges. The battery is charged through the USB connector, which is also how you load songs onto the Shuffle. So if you change the songs on your Shuffle, regardless of the battery status, it counts as a recharge. And you only get 144 of them.
Apple charges sixty bucks to replace the Shuffle battery, which is 35%-65% of the entire unit price, depending on the model. If Microsoft tried crap like folks would be up in arms about what a ripoff it was and how they were taking advantage of their monopoly to jack up the little people for bigger profits. You know, like Republicans do.
Yet people bend over and let Apple stick it to 'em without complaint because you *know* that Apple is cool and hip and stands up for the regular guy. Like Democrats do.
You ignore the fact that *both* sides are screwing you over.
Update: Pixy did some investigating and it looks like the 144 charge claim is an
unsubstantiated myth lie. So we're back to the status quo, i.e. Microsoft is still evil, Apple is still hip and cool (even though they've sucked up bigtime to U2. Ick.)
Not to mention letting Moses head up the NRA. Yet another "nun gun fun" post.
(in the extended entry - safe for work)
You know Dennis Miller would've made some obscure quip about the Reformation here. I'm too damn lazy to look it up, and you probably are too, so I'll go for the cheap and easy joke.
There's something about a woman in uniform, eh?
Guys, if you're packing to the left, try switching to the right, or vice-versa. Of course, if you're scoring plenty then you should ignore this.
We have one of those tower fans in our living room. You know the kind, with three or four little fans stacked vertically. It does a nice job, oscillates, different speeds, all that happy crap a fan does.
But they slipped up on the design. They forgot to hide its intelligence.
This thing has LED displays on the front face, at the top, where it's convenient to read. But when you set it to oscillate on low speed (arguably the most common setting), these two lights look like shining red eyes, tirelessly scanning back and forth across the room. Noting the positions of all life forms in the vicinity.
This fan has a remote control! And guess where it sits? That's right, it's brain sits under a clear plastic canopy on top of the beast. Where it can control things.
Granted, this thing is seriously limited in the amount of malevolence it can project. I mean, it's on a pedestal base. But don't let that fool you, because they've already figured out how to use remote mobile robots to recconoiter your home. Roomba? Small, cheap, dispensible. Sounds like a scout to me.
What we're seeing here is the very beginnings of the takeover. Hollywood gave us the Terminator, then T2 and T3. This fan is probably something like T1/64th. But don't let it's relative weakness lull you into a false sense of security. It wants that. And it's eyes never stop scanning.
For another few weeks, until it gets unplugged and put it up in the attic.
It's nice to air out your darkest paranoias once in a while. But if you forget to put it away again, you wind up on talk radio.
Alas, I actually own less than half of these titles.
(in the extended entry - safe for work)
(click for holy mackeral size)
What, you'd rather I bring back the zombies?
Last week some wasps decided that the crevice between my front storm door hinge and door jamb would be a dandy place to construct a nest. I grabbed the can of wasp killer (Mookie was impressed that you could aim it accurately out to twenty plus feet) and we hosed the area down pretty good, killing what were probably the insect version of the doozers.
This afternoon at work I got a phone call from the girls, letting me know that the wasps were back in force. I told them where the can of spray was and how to work it. We're not alergic to stings, so bees and such get no drama or hysterics, if they become a pest they are simply dealt with. Humans two, wasps zip.
When I got home, the front stoop was littered with dead wasp carcasses. The girls weren't kidding when they said "back in force".
A little while ago I stepped on a wasp that managed to get into the house before dying, the living room carpet being pretty good camoflage. I was barefoot and the stinger got me on the instep. I swear I heard, in a tiny little buzzing whisper, "From the depths of hell, I spit at thee."
Our Skye Terrier Sam has a new scam going on. If someone's in the kitchen cooking, he'll hang out near the food and water bowls, just kind of loitering. When you go to open or close the fridge, he manages to get in the way of the door, getting whacked in the process. Then he looks up with this expectant look in his eyes and a wide smile*, trying to con you into giving him a goodie since he just got "hurt".
Freakin' ambulance-chasing begger.
*When I say Sam smiles, I mean a full human-type smile showing teeth and all. It's not a snarl or baring his teeth, because I've seen those and this isn't at all menacing. He just looks like a friendly damn dog with a big toothy grin.
My apologies for the title, I couldn't resist.
I saw this over at Wizbang:
STS-114 Mission Specialist Steve Robinson transmitted the first podcast from space.
They're safely back on the ground now (in case you hadn't heard), but follow that link to get to the audio feed and/or NASA transcript.
Now, how can I get a shoutout from orbit?
To the person who reached Rocket Jones by googling "honkies favorite TV shows":
1. Cops. I keep hoping I'll see one of my relatives.
2. Jerry Springer. Same reason.
Hope that satisfied your curiosity.
No, this isn't a movie review of Midget Gangbangs #4.
Gak, would they even make such a movie? Sure they would, but that doesn't mean I'd want to watch it. Even I have standards, low as they may be.
... trigger NetNanny... done...
Mind out of the gutter, intrepid surfer (those faint of heart have long since clicked the back button), this supposed-to-be short post is just to let you know that reality has been hectic lately, so posting will be light for a while longer.
Of course, in blog-speak, that means there's a 75% chance of an increase in volume from the norm from me.
Coming in the near future: more about my mixed feelings about Empty Nesting, the financial education you get before setting foot on a college campus, geektech wizardry and an interesting trend in blogdom that may have touched yours truly.
Yes, it's exciting times around ol' Rocket Jones! In the words of the immortal bard:
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks,
Who partook of the merry company 'round Jones.
Yeah, I made that last line up. Sue me. Or pretend it's Danny DeVito reading it to you. Whatever floats yer boat.
I must've slept through this part of catechism class.
(in the extended entry - safe for work)
Disclaimer: This should in no way be taken as an endorsement by the Catholic Church on the proper method of dealing with zombies.
(in the extended entry for the bandwidth impaired - it's safe for work)
(click for Holy Moley size)
Remember during the last election when the Dramacrats were so vocal about moving to Canada if Dubya won?
Canadians can put away those extra welcome mats -- it seems Americans unhappy about the result of last November's presidential election have decided to stay at home after all.
In the days after President Bush won a second term, the number of U.S. citizens visiting Canada's main immigration Web site shot up sixfold, prompting speculation that unhappy Democrats would flock north.
But official statistics show the number of Americans actually applying to live permanently in Canada fell in the six months after the election. (emphasis mine)
Apparently they all decided to stay and whine. It certainly doesn't seem as if many decided to join the political debate in any meaningful way.
When a goal is scored in hockey, a horn sounds in the arena.
Here's a page where you can download an audio file of each NHL team's goal horn. Tres cool!
Thanks to Off Wing Opinion for the link.
Over at Wizbang, Jay Tea tells the story of a family with a sewage problem. The solution to all their problems, in his opinion, could be handled by an adjacent WalMart. If, of course, they weren't such awful, uncaring, insensitive neighbors.
I was heartened to read the comments, because the response was overwhelmingly in WalMart's favor for a variety of reasons. In a later post, Paul slaps Jay down convincingly with more facts about the story.
I recently read somewhere (can't remember where) that Bill Gates and Microsoft aren't evil, although some people wish they were. That parallels the question I always ask when someone starts bashing WalMart: At what point does a company grow so big that it becomes evil?
I once asked a friend who lives in a small town what she thought about the WalMart that opened in the next town over. She was enthusiastic about it, and when I inquired about how it was affecting the local small businesses, her reply surprised me:
Screw them. When they were the only game in town they jacked up their prices and took advantage of us all because they could. Now that WalMart is here they're whining about how unfair it is. Ask me about unfair, and I'll remind you about when your choice was to pay out the butt to them or drive an hour to the city to get a decent price.
I've heard the stories about how when WalMart opens, they send armed groups of WalMart police to every house, round people up and force them to shop there. Oh wait, no I haven't. If your local businesses are closing up, it's because YOU didn't support them by shopping there. Don't blame WalMart for your decision about where to spend your money.
In the 60's it was fashionable to blast IBM (remember "fold, spindle and mutilate"?). In the 90's it was Microsoft's turn, and now the groupthink have turned their collective hatred towards WalMart. Notice how each of those companies got to where they were by doing business better than their competitors. Each achieved dominance by being better capitalists. They treat their employees rather better than average. But dammit, they're evil! They're... big! They're evil!
It's fashionable. It's stupid. Either think before you make that reflexive leap, or find a cliff first like the rest of the lemmings.
Lots of good things been happening 'round the ol' homestead lately, some I've talked about and some I haven't.
Recently I started posting original themes for Pocket PC's over at PocketPCThemes.com. A theme is the background picture, along with the associated Start menu graphic and color schemes.
I've got four in the top twenty most popular for the week, totalling over a thousand downloads.
This is one of those tiny happy things that seem to happen when life is going smoothly.
Have you seen that television commercial where the guy walks through a lab and "reads" the ingredients from an anonymous drink? It sounds horrible and even he can't pronounce some of those evil chemicals.
Then he says, "or you can have my favorite, orange juice. Ingredients: fresh air, rain, sunshine."
Damn, that's the ingredients for hemlock too! And marijuana! Or the actual freakin' orange tree itself by that logic. Mmmmm, liquified tree.
Here's a thought, instead of assuming I'm an idiot, why don't you read me the actual chemical composition of OJ, and lets see how many compounds you mispronounce.
I think I'll have a glass of apple juice.
Former Capitals defensiveman Sergei Gonchar signs with Pittsburgh. Added to Lemieux, Crosby and goalie-phenom Theury (assuming he's over the shell shock from last season), the Penguins are very much improved. Haven't heard much about moves to buck up their defense though (Gonchar is an offensive-minded guy).
I may have to update this later to correct mispelled names.
These are yummy cakey cookies, perfect for summertime treats and special enough for those times when you want to impress.
Iced Orange Cookies
2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp grated orange zest (see note below)
½ tsp grated orange zest
2 Tbsp frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1½ cups confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together the grated orange zest, thawed OJ concentrate, vanilla, melted butter and confectioners sugar to a smooth spreading consistency.
After icing, let the cookies sit for several hours until the icing sets.
Note: I've found that two medium oranges provide enough zest for a light and delicate flavor. If you use extra it'll boost the taste nicely.
Well, he does now*.
(warning: massive linking to occur because I'm pretty damned happy!)
Cindy (aka Squipper), of the blog Dusting My Brain, recently teamed with her partner Ken to create a new episode of their podcast (which I talked about here). This was actually part 2 of their show, and some amazing things happened. First, there was much talk of and about Cindy's breasts which, you may remember, I suggested. Talk about being responsive to the audience! Second, Adam Curry* called in and they did quite a long bit with him, which was fun to listen to because they're long-time friends and they obviously enjoyed each other's company. Third, in the middle of all of that, they gave Rocket Jones (and moi), a huge shout out and said many kind things about me. On the air. With Adam Curry* (who agreed that more breasts is a good thing). Me.
And, since many of you are fellow bloggers, well hell, we all know it's all about me. Right?
So I'm doing the happy dance, which is a unique and memorable sight to see. I'd podcast it for you, but that's an audio medium and all you'd hear is much crashing about and breaking of things. Watch the final twenty minutes of the Blues Brothers with your eyes closed and you'll get the same effect.
Better yet, listen to the last twenty minutes of the Blues Brothers while watching the elephant ballet in Disney's Fantasia and get the full effect.
In further podcasting events (I'm infatuated with them at the moment), I've listened to Silent Running's very own, which goes by the name "Shire News Network". Andrew Ian Dodge and Laurence Simon both do regular bits on it (I gather, I've only heard the one so far). So for rather more serious news with a down under slant, check it out.
Digital Podcast has tons and tons of links, information, ratings, reviews, etc on podcasting.
I tracked down SoccerGirl, Incorporated (remember, I said I would) and gave a listen to several of her shows. Interesting, and really hammered home the point that podcasting is the audio version of blogging. There are many styles and viewpoints and you'll find something for every taste if you look.
Finally (I saved it for last, but definitely not least!), over at the Simian Syndicate, Blue grabbed an original song by CruiseBox (released under the Creative Commons License) and built a wicked show around it. Strange, yes, but very very cool. If you're tired of the pablum spewed out by your radio, look into podcasts. There's a lot of great indie music out there that you don't get to hear.
(humming) ... mp3 killed the radio star...
*For those asking, "who the hell is Adam Curry?" Let me answer that, oh ye of little technical prowess (that's not a slam, I was one amongst you until very recently). He's known as "The Podfather" for his groundbreaking efforts in podcasting, and other things. Here, go read his Wikipedia entry and be impressed.
I don't watch much television, and most shows bore me about halfway through a season. This is, without a doubt, one of the funniest episodes of any show I've ever seen.
Dharma & Greg: "Much Ado About Nothing", aka The Seinfeld Plot.
Dharma and her friend Jane vie for possesion of a stuffed duck, awarded to the couple who has sex in the most unusual place. Dharma comes up with the idea of doing it on the steps of City Hall during the airing of the last episode of Seinfeld, since everyone will be inside watching TV. While planning the caper, Greg's very conservative parents learn of the plot and are apalled. Jane interferes and Dharma and Greg are busted. Sitting in the police station, Greg's parents are brought in for the same thing, it seems they were inspired. When it comes out that the parents actually consumated their lovemaking, as opposed to Dharma and Greg's arrestus interuptus, Jane and Dharma award the duck to Greg's parents. Looking at the stuffed waterfowl, Greg's dad says, "This is a goose".
To which Dharma replies, "That doesn't rhyme."
I laughed so hard my sides hurt.
Murdoc provides a pointer to an interesting article about littoral combat (shallow water or close inshore) and the ability of the US submarine fleet to do so. The author makes some good points about the current situation happening between China and Taiwan.
Without giving away too much, "battlespace dominance" against an identified threat such as China invading Taiwan begins long before any shooting ever starts, by the key task for SSNs of "waterspace preparation." This involves missions of the types listed above, into extremely shallow waters for prolonged periods, to study in great detail hydrography, map seabed wrecks, measure local acoustic propagation characteristics (which includes background noise from sources such as oil drilling/pumping platforms, coastal industrial activity, even heavy freight train movements!), also to quantify water transparency, find spots likely to make good enemy minefield locations before mines are ever laid, and using all these different parameters note possible ideal lurking places for enemy diesel subs before those subs have a chance to deploy. Signals intercept antennas are raised for long periods while at periscope depth to monitor and map enemy coastal defense sites, learn the location and organizational structure of various hostile units and headquarters, quantify characteristics of radars so that they can be most effectively spoofed and jammed in time of war, and so on.
All prudent and sensible actions to take when preparing for conflict, but not things that the average person would consider. Which is exactly why we have a military, so that professionals can think about things like this and make sure that they get done before the shit hits the fan.
It's a good read. Recommended.
PS. I knew there was some talk of unmanned underwater vehicles, but I had no idea that things were as advanced as is briefly mentioned in the article. Wow.
Thanks to SilverBlue for this link to the Rubber Ducky Condom Company (mildly not safe for work). When Mookie saw the t-shirts they sell, she mentioned how great they would be for gift-giving. I chose to ignore the hint, but the shirts are great!
As much fun as "No Ducky, No Lucky" is, my taste runs more towards the surreal. That's why this site just tickles me no end (major kudos to the Ministry of Minor Perfidy for pointing this one out!). Featuring religious arcana such as "The Flying Spaghetti Monster" (may his noodly appendage touch your heart), and my personal favorite:
Someone is attuned to my sense of humor to a frightening degree.
TOYING WITH MY TICKER
I saw in a flyer today where Walgreen's is selling a personal defibrillator for
$1,495. Please. My coinhabitants of this hovel can't even put their dirty socks in the hamper. And I'm going to let them put the paddles to my heart? I don't fucking think so.
I am a fan of 911. Call it. Let the professionals revive me. You? Stay the fuck away from me, with those paddles.
Velociworld is full of brilliance like this.
According to Rocket Forge, Virgin Galactic has booked it's first Honeymoon couple.
George Whitesides (NSS Executive Director) and Loretta Hidalgo (past President of the Space Generation Foundation and currently at NASA HQ) are the first honeymoon couple to fly on Virgin Galactic.
Congrats you crazy kids!!!
The debate over hockey rule changes is beginning to sound like the one going on over global warming.
The water level is the lowest it's been in seventy years! They want to reduce the size of goalie equipment by 15%!
Yep, just like it was when your
grandfather was your age.
The size and shape of the lines on the ice, the goalie restriction rules, over-expansion, and so on and on and on.
All sports change over time. Baseball raises and lowers the pitcher's mound every decade or two, trying to restore balance between offense and defense. The sun didn't supernova over the designated hitter rule, and God didn't smite the unbelievers over wild-card playoff teams (although I've heard it was a near thing. Luckily, they've got a team called the "Angels". Jersey Devils? The NHL might be in for a righteous smiting.)
At one time, goalies weren't allowed to leave their feet. That's right, flop on the ice and it was a penalty and an automatic goal against. So for those who're bitching about rules changes, let's go back all the way and play the original game. Anything that changes the purity of the game is sacrilege, right?
Finally, the talk about over-expansion. The NHL has thousands of new fans in places that had never heard of hockey before expansion, and right now hockey needs every friend it can get. Shutting down franchises just because they're not in traditional hockey areas strikes me as spectacularly stupid. Last year (or was it the year before?) Ottawa was bankrupt and missed payroll a few times. Yet nobody wanted to shut them down. Welcome to NHL Business Math 101. Running a club like a business, with decisions based on financial reality, is optional if you're a Canadian team or in one of the traditional hockey cities (like Calgary and Edmonton, who've both been teetering on the edge of solvency for years now). I'm not saying to shut them down, I'm saying let's quit playing geographical favorites based on arbitrary rules. Shut down the San Jose Sharks! Why? Well, they're Californian. Never mind that they've been a solid hockey club that's gone deep into the playoffs several years in a row. Forget that they routinely sell out their arena for home games. Ignore that they've turned a profit and are near the top of all sports teams in terms of merchandising sold. They're from California, dammit! We don't want them in the NHL!
Hockey has some serious problems. The fan base was shrinking, costs were out of control, the game was boring to the casual fan and difficult for the uninitiated to understand. To Joe Football, a hockey game could be distilled down to about one minute of highlights: goals, great saves, fights. Everything else is filler.
So now they've gotten a handle on the cost issue. Yeah, the players paid, but don't forget that the owners also lost a season's worth of revenue, not to mention the myriad people who depend on the NHL for their living. Now to make the game more fan-friendly. How is it bad for hockey if more people come see the games?
For the purists in the eco-movement, the only sure way to save the Spotted Owl is to completely ban logging forever. Those who refuse to see that hockey has no choice but to adapt might as well move to New York, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Toronto, or Montreal. If hockey falls back into oblivion - and it's on the precipice, wildly waving its arms as it tries not to go over the edge - those cities may be the only place you can see hockey. And it won't be on television, you'll be lucky if your local paper carries the box scores. Kids who play youth hockey now will be doing Junior NASCAR or Cadet Poker Leagues (stressing the statistical and mathematical basis of the game and downplaying the gambling part - hey look, it's math!).
Hockey has to do *something*, and they finally are. Now we get to see if it's too little too late.
The Vice President of Sudan has died in "an airplane crash".
The scare quotes are mine. There is no evidence at this time that points to anything except a tragic accident.
This doesn't encourage me:
Garang, who earned a doctorate from Iowa State University, is seen as the sole figure with the weight to give southern Sudanese a role in the Khartoum government, which they deeply mistrust.
You know, the Islamic government that routinely bombs it's own non-Muslim people in refugee camps. The government that refuses to acknowlege the thriving slave trade going on where Islamic northerners kidnap Christians and Animists living in the south. Yeah, that government. And now the main player in the mix for the infidel south has died in an aircraft accident.
He also was a strong voice against outright secession by the south, calling instead for autonomy and power-sharing.
Sudanese have celebrated the power-sharing agreement — and a new constitution signed afterward — as opening a new chapter of peace and as a chance to resolve other bloody conflicts in Sudan, including the humanitarian crisis in the western region of Darfur. Garang was also seen as a great hope for peace in Darfur.
Some hated him because they saw no need for power-sharing, they already had the power. Others wanted secession and civil war, despite being hopelessly outmatched and the near-certainty that the government would have gleefully accelerated their systematic destruction of their southern population. You know, the one's not under Sharia law.
The article tries hard to be upbeat about the continuing prospects for peace, indicating that no Rwandan-style buildup to violence has been noted. Of course, no buildup was noticed in Rwanda either before almost one million people were massacred in three months. Everyone is saying the right words, but some things aren't adding up quite yet. It could be the confusion of the moment, and the situation may clear up as details emerge.
I hope I'm wrong. I won't be surprised if I'm not.
Is there really any doubt? But take a look anyways, because the super slow motion sequences of what happens are incredible. Too bad that in practical terms it means two smaller holes instead of one big one.
Thanks to the Flea for the pointer.
After questioning the results of a "type of humor quiz", Dawn wounds me thusly:
No offense doll, and I hate to detract from your image, but you're about as menacing as a Care Bear.
Well, sweetie, since this is Rocket Jones...
(in the extended entry, safe for work in all but the most conservative office environments)
Not all Care Bears were universally popular. For instance, Beer Fart Bear and Bong Bear were both left off of the television show, which in hindsight was probably a good thing. Then, after Blonde Bear's tragic encounter with an animal trap (she survived, but gnawed off three legs before freeing the correct limb), a schism developed between those who thought that the franchise should stay where it was vs those who favored "growing up" with their audience. We all know how that came out. Who's heard from Bimbo Bear lately?
One result was the emergence of the Bear's Who Don't Care faction, who never really caught on. Personally, I thought Swear Bear was a natural.
Then there's my personal favorites, the Bondage Bears*. The photo came from here. This page is safe (if you're ok with Teddy Bears being tied up) but consider yourself warned about clicking anything but the thumbnails or "next page" once you get there.
So yeah, I guess I am about as menacing as a Care Bear, depending on which Care Bear you're talking about.
* I love google, you can find anything!