July 31, 2007

Light Racers

This announcement came in the email today, from the Spaceward Foundation:

The Spaceward Foundation opened registration today for the 2007 Great Light Racer Championship.

The Light Racers Championship, a space technology competition, challenges kids, young adults and grown ups to design, build, and race beam-powered lunar rovers that could help NASA get to the ice deposits located in the permanently shadowed craters of the lunar poles.

Total prize purse this year is $10,000.

For the Light Racers, teams build and remotely control vehicles that capture a beam of light (from a spotlight) and convert that energy into power to navigate a course. There are both hard-surface road courses, for speed, and an off-road course with obstacles. There are no batteries or fuel carried, all power is supplied by the lightbeam. More details are here.

This is the same foundation that sponsors the Space Elevator Games, which is its own special brand of coolness.

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

The Case for Population Growth

Over at Transterrestrial Musings, Sam has fired up an interesting debate with a post about population growth.

States should not be in the business of pushing people to have babies.

Yes they should. A baby will become a taxpayer and a useful citizen. Zero population growth did far more to hold back development of China and India than Reagan's (anti-) family planning policies.

He goes on with:
A populous world is a rich world. There will be greater grand challenges that can be tackled. There will be more people to conceive more ideas. A world with one trillion people at the current standard of living would have GDP of $10,000 trillion or $10 quadrillion dollars a year. If 0.2% of that was spent on space exploration that would be $20 trillion/year. At $20,000/kg, that's enough to lift one billion kg. At $200/kg, that's enough to allow one billion people to emigrate to space every year.

A populous world can be the Garden of Eden to settle a harsh solar system and galaxy.

Read entire, especially the comments, where an actual exchange of ideas happens, rather than the too-common degeneration into name calling.

Just imagine, millions and millions of young Asian babes... mmmmmmm.

Posted by Ted at 05:41 AM | Comments (204) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 30, 2007


A fitting tribute:

Frank-Zappa-Strasse or Frank Zappa Street - formerly Street 13 - lies on the eastern outskirts of Berlin amid empty industrial buildings in what was communist East Germany.

The street is home to Orwo Haus, a former Communist-era film factory that now provides practice studios for more than 160 bands.

Musicians at Orwo Haus campaigned for two years to have the street's name changed. Eighteen bands, including the Frank Zappa cover band Sheik Yerbouti, celebrated the renaming this weekend with an all-night concert for more than 2,800 people.

Bravo, Berlin!!!

Posted by Ted at 11:29 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Obviously Named Before Political Correctness Training Became Mandatory

I didn't know this. In 1954, President Eisenhower initiated Operation Wetback:

The operation began in California and Arizona and coordinated 1,075 Border Patrol agents along with state and local police agencies to mount an aggressive crackdown, going as far as police sweeps of Mexican-American neighborhoods and random stops and ID checks of "Mexican-looking" people in a region with many Native Americans and native Hispanics.[1] Some 750 agents targeted agricultural areas with a goal of 1000 apprehensions a day. By the end of July, over 50,000 aliens were caught in the two states. Around 488,000 people fled the country for fear of being apprehended. By September, 80,000 had been taken into custody in Texas, and the INS estimates that 500,000-700,000 illegals had left Texas voluntarily. To discourage re-entry, buses and trains took many illegals deep within Mexico before being set free.

This was the second such operation, the first being during the Great Depression when Mexican nationals and other illegal aliens were "invited" to return to their native countries because they were competing for scarce jobs with American citizens.

Posted by Ted at 05:15 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: History

July 29, 2007

Flower Blogging

I went outside this morning and spent quite a bit of time watering the flowers because it's been very dry around here lately. I also took a bunch of pictures of the various plants, but I used my old digital camera instead of Liz's new one, and the pictures were too blurry to use. Another day, maybe.

Anyway, as I'm deadheading and watering and generally putzing around the garden, I'm watching the activity around the various flowers. We have a basket of purple blossoms called petras that are like crack to bees. Little tiny bees, big-assed carpenter bees, bumblebees, wasps, mayflies and more. The entire plant is just swarming with 'em, lined up to grab a spot at the blooms. They're so intent on the flowers that they ignore me as I reach in with the soaker hose to water the pot. Bees and I get along, so there was no problem there.

I posted a picture a couple of years ago of a mandevilla that we grew up against a trellis. It's a tropical and didn't survive our winter. This year I've been trying to grow another clematis. Actually, I've planted four there, of which one is still alive. It's scraggly and chewed on and spotted with fungus, but damned if it doesn't keep stretching upwards and weaving its scrawny self through the trellis bars. After all of that, it even managed to pop out a single pretty bloom. I hope it makes it through the winter, because this is a tough little plant and I admire its deterimination to survive.

You followed that link above, right? The other photo there is a shot of New Guinea Impatiens. Around here (northern Virginia), Impatiens and Vinca are *the* go-to annuals. Quick growing, prolific blooming over the entire summer and fall, easy to care for and resistant to insects and disease, if you need to add a spot of color, then plant one or more of these. Spectacular. This year I planted six vinca in the front bed, and they're doing nicely. They probably won't overflow the bed like in that photo, but I didn't plant as many and they were planted relatively late.

We did find a nice variety of impatiens that we hadn't seen before though. It has variegated leaves and the blooms look like little roses, about 1 inch across. Very pretty.

In the side bed we have another O'Hare-esque situation, this time involving a pink phlox and some blue pincushion flowers. Butterflies especially love the pincushions (which have the rather unattractive "official" name of scabiosa), and there will generally be anywhere from six to two dozen assorted butterflies flitting around these plants. What's funny is watching the bumblebees land on the pincushions, because their weight causes the flower stalk to immediately crash to the ground, like an overbalanced painter on a tall ladder. When the bee falls off, the flower springs back into the air. The phlox and pincushions are both perennials, and will come back bigger and better every year. Teamed up with some white Dragon Flowers (a Virginia-native perennial cousin to snapdragons) and an interesting little annual called Agaretum with tiny blue pom-pom blooms about the size of your pinky nail, the side bed has a nice mix of whites, blues, purples and pinks. Come fall, our order of blue asters and purple coneflowers will arrive and we'll get them established to make that side bed entirely perennial.

When I'm stressed from the work week, sometimes the best remedy for me is to watch rockets majestically climb into a big, blue sky, and sometimes it's better for me to look closely at the amazing amount of nature that's happening right in my front yard.

Whoever said "stop and smell the roses" was a friggin' genius.

Posted by Ted at 01:12 PM | Comments (100) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

July 27, 2007


This is funny as hell. Some guy over at Amazon has posted reviews of a couple of items using his less than perfect English (link from the comments over at Trying to Grok.

While reviewing an electronic Russian-to-English dictionary, he goes off on an anti-American screed. I think.


His review of a Zippo lighter is a bit better, in that he stays on topic and offers lots of handy advice:


I wish this guy had a blog.

Posted by Ted at 05:45 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Thinking Blogger Award


Zoe Brain nominated me for the Thinking Blogger Award, for which I'm very grateful and humbled. I'm also aware that with every recipient nominating five others, that within 17 days everyone in the blogosphere will have the award. Methinks Zoe may be misidentifying thought provoking ideas with the confusion caused by reading my nonsense. That's ok though, I'm not giving it back.

And now I am supposed to link to my five nominations for The Thinking Blogger Award, and since we're all Thinking Bloggers or esteemed readers of a Thinking Blogger, I'm going to label my choices in hexidecimal. Congratulate yourself for understanding the complexities of a 16-base numbering system, and by all means follow the links. These are in no particular order.

1. Hold the Mayo. "The Truth Served Plain", and a long-time friend. He doesn't post often enough, but when he does it's a treat.

2. Lovable Pixie. Not well known yet, but she's got the right idea about starting interesting conversations.

3. Mapgirl's Fiscal Challenge. Financial matters from a young single professional who's a little freaked out about her future.

4. The Ministry of Minor Perfidy. An ecclectic group blog, and by that I mean the guys (and girl) writing there range from a BDS-afflicted commie to a right-wing potential tower-sniper. They post beer recipes too!!!

5. Random Nuclear Strikes. Another group blog, with a major focus on the Pacific Northwest. If tree-hugging hippies piss you off, visit here and get a glimpse of what it's like to live amongst the rainbow-heads.

So there you go. Be honest now, how many folks caught my little trick? Number 4 wasn't hexidecimal, it was actually octal!!! Don't you feel smart? That's why you come by, isn't it? To feel smarter than...


Posted by Ted at 05:14 AM | Comments (144) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 26, 2007

You Say "Tomato", I Say "Worthless Cocksucker With No Honor Whatsoever"

You've probably heard about the "Scott Thomas" affair, even if you don't recognize the norm-de-ploom. The New Republic published supposed first-hand accounts of alleged abuses by US troops in Iraq under the title "Shock Troops".

As you would expect, people across the spectrum reacted in accordance with how well the described actions fit their preconceived notions about the military. Certain shrillbots screamed vindication because this proved what they'd been saying all along. Others on the other end immediately called bullshit.

I am firmly in the "bullshit" camp, mainly because the stories don't pass the smell test. Parts of the story don't add up, and corroborating witnesses are as anonymous as "Scott Thomas". Just in case you haven't heard, here are the three alleged "eyewitness" accounts: 1. Soldiers in a chow hall make fun of a female contractor who has been facially disfigured by an IED. 2. Soldiers uncover a mass grave full of children's bodies and one soldier wears part of a skull like a hat for the remainder of the day. 3. In a Bradley fighting vehicle, the driver purposely and repeatedly swerves to run over dogs. In each of these cases, "Scott Thomas" gives a first-hand account, placing himself as part of the act. Not as an observer, but as a participant.

Over at QandO, like many places on the 'net, the fact checking has begun in earnest. You can follow links as well as anyone if you want to know more about the specifics, but that's not my point for this post.

What has become clear is that too many Americans today lack honor. Furthermore, they have no concept of what honor is or understand why it is such a powerful motivator for those with it.

A quote from the comments at QandO:

Honor or dishonor is irrelevant and a matter of opinion.

That's from a college professor, by the way.

Here's the reply:

No. NO it is not. That you can even make such a claim just shows that you donít understand what honor is, which probably means that you have none.

Honor isnít about opinion. It isnít about supporting someoneís narrative. It isnít about speaking truth to power. Itís not about agreeing with someone or not. Honor is about honesty, responsibility, integrity and true compassion.

"Scott Thomas" was a participant in these horrible (and alleged) actions. An honorable person would have reported the second and third to their superiors. In the first case, he would've stepped in and stopped the cruel teasing immediately.

So if what he claims is true, then he is just as dishonorable for his actions during as he is if he's lying about it all.

Honor is something found in greater concentration in the military than anywhere else in society. Those who have never served may never be able to grasp what honor is, why it is important, and how it motivates those "poor stoopid kids" to keep volunteering. They will never understand the lofty ideals that honor inspires, the willingness to risk everything to protect even those who refuse to acknowledge it, and the optimistic belief that by performing their mission they are giving each and every one of us the opportunity to thrive and achieve greatness.

Honor isn't an exclusive trait of conservatives or liberals or white people or the left-handed. It doesn't matter if you agree or disagree or like or dislike an honorable person. You will always know in every situation how that honorable person will act. With "honesty, responsibility, integrity and true compassion."

Thanks Michael.

Posted by Ted at 08:05 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 25, 2007

Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade California!!!

I was all set to panic and then I read the story... they mean Voracious Jumbo Squid Invade the ocean next to California!


Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: Links

New Movie Reviews

This week at Joe Horror, my review of Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and many more.

Posted by Ted at 04:52 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

July 23, 2007


Friends and long-time visitors know that my wife has fibromyalgia. She can no longer drive or work, and outside of our home she must use a wheelchair. Now there's a new fibromyalgia website with lots of information about the disease. It's worth a read, because with 6 million Americans suffering from fibromyalgia, chances are you know someone who's dealing with it.

Posted by Ted at 05:37 AM | Comments (217) | TrackBack
Category: Seriously

July 22, 2007

De-Romanticizing Moonlight

When the first rock and dust samples from the moon were returned, many folks were surprised because they were dark gray, almost black. We think of the moon as light colored because it's the brightest thing we see in a dark sky, but in actuality it's not very reflective. In fact, on average, the surface of the moon only bounces about 7% of the sunlight back. That's about as reflective as asphalt.

Posted by Ted at 07:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Space Program

What I Did For Summer Vacation

I promised you a picture of my latest project.


She makes her maiden flight on August 18th. The white part of the airframe is where I had to stretch it to make room for a new, larger altimeter bay. It'll be painted black to match this week. I also plan to stretch the rocket another fourteen inches in the near future to accommodate the "big honkin' motor" that I originally envisioned flying in her.

Posted by Ted at 01:19 AM | Comments (556) | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry

July 21, 2007

Someone's in the Kitchen with Diinaaaaah!

Here's a simple dessert that will impress guests.

Caramelized Pineapple

1 fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp butter, divided
4 Tbsp dark rum, brandy or water

Preparing the pineapple: If you've never done this before, you will be amazed at how easy it is. Using a sharp knife, cut off the end with the stem. Cut off the bottom. Slice the pineapple in half from end to end, then cut the halves into quarters, then again into eighths. Now slice off the inside wedge containing the tough middle (there's a reason for pineapple rings) and slice off the outer skin. Chop the fruit into 1 inch long chunks.

Put pineapple chunks into a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Toss to coat all of the fruit well.

On high heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large non-stick skillet. Add the pineapple to the hot pan and cook for 10 or 15 minutes. Don't turn too often, but shake the pan frequently. You want the sugar to form a rich brown crunch coat on the pineapple. When it's ready, remove the pineapple.

Add the remaining butter to the pan juices, then the rum or other liquid. Heat and cook, stirring frequently and scraping up any tasty bits that stick to the pan, until it thickens a bit. If you used water instead of spirits, a small dash of almond extract can be added too.

Serve the hot pineapple over vanilla ice cream with a drizzle of the sauce.

Posted by Ted at 07:12 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: Recipes

July 20, 2007

World's Oldest Swinger?

I had no idea that Cheeta, the famous chimp who appeared in so many Tarzan movies in the 30's and 40's, is still alive!

He turned 75 last April.

Posted by Ted at 11:26 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Podcasts! Yay!!!

Episode 6 of the SciFi adventure Silent Universe is up! Clicky here for the previously posted Rocket Jones review.

And the second season of Second Shift has begun!!! Two episodes and a supplimental podcast have already been posted. If you didn't catch the first season, you can still get them by following the link. Here's the Rocket Jones review of the first season.

Hey!!! Oh, uh... Update: I just looked at the new Second Shift advertising flyer and guess who's review is quoted from? Rather prominently, I might add. Woot!!!

Really though, it's a lot of fun. Give 'em a try.

Posted by Ted at 05:18 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 19, 2007

Apollo 8

I'm re-reading A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts*, and thought I'd pass along a few things that fired my imagination as I read.

Nothing like a little history to refresh your memories, or to educate you youngsters who don't remember back that far.**

Apollo 8 was crewed by Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders. They were the first men to fly to the moon and go into orbit there. It was quite a jump for the day because the farthest away man had been from the Earth before them was 850 miles. Their destination was 240,000 miles away.

If the Saturn V (pronounced "saturn five") was standing next to the Statue of Liberty, the crew could look down and see the top of the torch about six stories below them.

The crew had lunch with Charles Lindberg the day before liftoff. During the conversation, they figured out that in the first second of their flight they would burn twenty times as much fuel as Lindberg used on his trans-Atlantic trip.

Forty seconds after liftoff, they went supersonic.

As the crew was preparing for liftoff, Bill Anders noticed a hornet building a nest on the outside of the window of the Command Capsule.

I'm sure there will be more of this trivia as I continue the books. Wonderful stuff.

* The Amazon link is to a paperback version released with a Foreward by Tom Hanks. I have the original 3-volume hardcover set.

** I'm one of those youngsters. I was too young to pay attention to Mercury and Gemini, and barely recall the later flights of Apollo and the moon landings.

Posted by Ted at 07:32 PM | Comments (316) | TrackBack
Category: Space Program

Now I Just Have to Remember Your Damn Words

A Quiz: How Technologically Useful Are You?

Seven out of ten! I'm almost ready to head back in time and take advantage of my educashun.

Posted by Ted at 11:43 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 18, 2007


I've been meaning to post a photo of my latest project, but hadn't gotten around to it. Taking the photo, that is. Probably a good thing, since I discovered last evening that I am going to have to extend the airframe by four inches. Wouldn't want y'all to be seeing this thing all stubby now, right?

So by the end of the week, I'll have pretty pictures for you.

Posted by Ted at 05:58 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry

Motivational Posters for the Zombie-pocalypse

"Looking silly does not automatically make them harmless"

Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (602) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

July 17, 2007

The Underappreaciated Art of Firecracker Labels

You gotta love it!

Psst, Jimbo... check out the "Metallic Crocodile" brand. Woo-hoo! Big fun!

Thanks to Maelstrom for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 07:45 AM | Comments (336) | TrackBack
Category: Links

New Movie Reviews

This week at Joe Horror I review Addicted to Murder and Addicted to Murder II: Tainted Blood. Check 'em out, along with all the other cult flick reviews.

Posted by Ted at 06:33 AM | Comments (333) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

July 16, 2007

Mookie: Birthday Girl

Yesterday. I didn't forget, except the posting about it part. Good thing I'm married to a woman with a better memory than I.

We didn't go see her because she's up to her neck in her summer job getting the second show up and running. La Boheme premiers on Saturday, we'll be seeing it in two weeks.

"It's an opera." I'll pass on the body-cavity search.

(Points to whoever identifies the reference.)

Posted by Ted at 06:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 14, 2007

Beautiful Day, But Not For Rockets

I went to the monthly NOVAAR rocket launch this morning, ready to generate some serious thrust. I had two big rockets prepped, but wound up leaving before either could fly due to a family emergency, which turned out to be nothing (and I'm ok with that!).

There's always next month.

Posted by Ted at 12:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry

July 13, 2007

Dinah, in the Kitchen, with the Poison

Ok, so maybe not as bad as *poison*, but still...

Friends, I can cook. I'm a damn good cook! A few of you have been to our house for meals and I'm confident that you'll back me up on that.


My guacamole sucks. Seriously bad suck, which makes it worse because I love the stuff. I've gone the zen route with just avocado, tomato, onion and cilantro. I've tried adding all kinds of goodies and extras to it, but nothing seems to help.

If you make great guacamole, please pass me the recipe. If you only make good guacamole then I'd still love the recipe, because it's gotta be better than the crap I've been turning out for far too long.


Posted by Ted at 10:52 PM | Comments (198) | TrackBack
Category: Recipes

Rocket Launch Tomorrow

I've been getting ready for it all week. I'm planning on making a flight using my new Missile Works altimeter and the Contrail hybrid motor, another using a new hemispherical parachute that Liz made for me, and I'll be posting some pictures of my newest rocket.

It's supposed to be beautiful, have a great weekend!

Posted by Ted at 09:23 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry

July 11, 2007

Special Day

Today is our 26th Anniversary.

Never My Love
by Don and Dick Addrisi

You ask me if there'll come a time
when I grow tired of you;
never my love, never my love.

You wonder if this heart of mine
will lose its desire for you;
never my love,
never my love.

What makes you think love will end
when you know that my whole life
depends on you?

You say you fear I'll change my mind
I won't require you,
Never my love,
never my love.

How can you think love will end
when I've asked you to spend your
whole life with me?

I love this song as performed by The 5th Dimension. I feel this song every day for my wife.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack
Category: Family matters

July 10, 2007

Gee, Who Knew the Pope Was A Republican?

I mean, tossing out the whole "unity" thing.

Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Fair is fair. I remember being told by a Southern Baptist that all Catholics were going to hell.

Posted by Ted at 11:19 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Dole Shares Are Probably Up

I have no idea why, but for the last year I've been on a major pineapple kick. I'll often have a can of pineapple chunks in juice for lunch, I love to grill pineapple rings, and the other night I even hacked up a fresh pineapple and carmelized it in a butter-rum sauce (with vanilla ice cream - yummmmmm!).

Now you know. The caring part is up to you.

Posted by Ted at 11:13 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

It's Not the Heat, It's the Stupidity

Mu.Nu has been getting hammered with gibberish spam. Not only that, but it's booby-trapped so that when folks add it to the blacklist, valid domains like google.com get inadverdantly blocked too. That bonks the comments in a big way.

I've been busy working on a couple of other projects, hence the light posting here. Pictures and announcements coming soon.

I know it's not original, but I couldn't resist the title. Damn, it's hot!

Posted by Ted at 05:24 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

New Movie Reviews Are Up

Over at Joe Horror, this week's reviews have been posted. Check out my take on Abby (aka "The Black Exorcist") and Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama. Go on, you know you want to!

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

July 07, 2007

World's Most Dangerous Tourist Route

There's some disagreement in the comments about whether it's in Tibet or China, but still, this is insane

sheer cliffside trail

Follow this link to Damn Cool Pics for more of what the title promises.

Posted by Ted at 07:28 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 06, 2007

World's Most Expensive Calimari

There's only one of these, so far.

What appears to be a half-squid, half-octopus specimen found off Keahole Point on the Big Island remains unidentified today and could possibly be a new species, said local biologists.

The specimen was found caught in a filter in one of Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority's deep-sea water pipelines last week. The pipeline, which runs 3,000 feet deep, sucks up cold, deep-sea water for the tenants of the natural energy lab.

"When we first saw it, I was really delighted because it was new and alive," said Jan War, operations manager at NELHA. "I've never seen anything like that."

3,000 feet! Pitch black at that depth.

War, who termed the specimen "octosquid" for the way it looked, said it was about a foot long, with white suction cups, eight tentacles and an octopus head with a squidlike mantle.

The octosquid was pulled to the surface, along with three rattail fish and half a dozen satellite jellyfish, and stayed alive for three days.

Tough little sucker too, to manage three days after undergoing a pressure change such as that. Follow that link for a picture of the odd little beastie. It's a beautiful bright ruby red.

Posted by Ted at 11:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: SciTech

Remove Head From Ass. Open Mouth. Insert Foot.

Baseball fans know that the San Fransisco Giants stadium is built on the edge of the bay, and that just behind the right field wall is "McCovey Cove", where during any given game many fans float around in kayaks and canoes or anything else that floats. They do this in the hope of catching a home run ball that travels far enough to clear the stadium and plunk into the water.

San Fransisco hosts this year's All-Star Game and it has been announced that motorized watercraft will not be allowed in McCovey Cove for safety reasons. Also, to accomodate the press, the Giants have chartered two media boats for reporters, which prompted this quote:

"Most of the media appreciate this," Daum said. "They didn't know how to charter their own boats."

To which Grant replies:

I knew a guy who majored in Boat Chartering at M.I.T., so I understand where they're coming from. You can't leave that kind of fact-finding and research in the hands of people who do fact-finding and research for a living.


Posted by Ted at 05:13 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 05, 2007

Not A Transparent Attempt To Look Like I Posted Today

Pixy is testing a problem we're having with Movable Type. This post is trying to recreate the problem for him.

In related news, I definitely have a problem. Just ask my wife.

Update: Dang. It worked perfectly this time... I don't know whether to be happy or not about that.

Posted by Ted at 07:15 AM | Comments (34) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

July 04, 2007

In Which I Attempt A Burkian Circle of Connections

Yesterday I left work at noon because Liz had some lab appointments to take care of. After the first one, we headed to Wal-Mart for a few things and while we were there we decided to buy some flowers for the front yard.

Yeah, it's July and I still hadn't planted in the flower beds. I had ordered several types of perennials from Spring Hill Nursery in April, and we had some problems with the order. The Asters are *still* backordered, and after using the credit that they sent for new plants, I discovered two things. One, Spring Hill customer service isn't all that great, and two, *everything* is backordered until September. That's right, they won't ship the stuff they owe me until Fall.

Hence the flower purchases at Wal-Mart. We picked up some Vinca for the front bed, a few nice variagated impatiens to fill in on the side bed, and a beautiful pink phlox that will come back every year. There were a couple other nice plants in blues and purples, so at least there would be something growing in the dirt.

After dropping off the flowers at home, I took Liz to the hospital. She was scheduled for some tests and had to spend the night. We got her checked in and then I headed home again. Got a few things done around the house, and finally settled in and watched the Benny Goodman Story before falling asleep around 1am.

I got to sleep in until 5am (normal wake-up on work days is 4am), and then drove to the hospital to pick Liz up around 6 or 6:30. They let her sleep in a little extra because it was a holiday, which was nice, but I would've appreciated knowing that because I could've used some extra z's myself. Oh well. We got her checked out and hit IHOP for breakfast.

After eating, we stopped at Lowes for mulch and then headed home. It was such a nice morning that I weeded the flower beds, put the new plants in the ground, spread two hundred pounds of mulch and generally tidied up the front yard. When that was done Liz went inside for more sleep while I got to talking with the neighbors who were just emerging for the day. We're planning a family trip to Old Dominion Speedway one evening to watch the home-town boys race, kinda like minor league NASCAR.

By the time I got inside and cleaned up, it was one in the afternoon. I grabbed a two hour nap, then got up and put together Liz's new sewing table, which involved much furniture rearranging in order to get it where it needed to be.

It's been a long, active 24 hours with too little sleep. Right now, I'm tired. Which also describes my attitude towards Spring Hill Nursery, who started this whole burst of activity.

Somehow, when James Burke does this, it comes out so much better.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

We Can Laugh Now

Iowahawk has a first-hand account of the attempted terrorist bombings in London and Glasgow, straight from the horse's ass doctor's mouth. This, my friends, is a hilarious must read.

So okay, the big weekend arrives, and the guys come over to my place bright and early, everybody's jazzed about rolling up some kufr carnage. All the propane tanks and propellant and nail cannisters are ready to go. I look at Ali and say, "okay mate, back up your car to the garage and I'll start loading it up." He gets this dumbstruck look on his face and says, "my car? I thought Hassan was going to do the martyrdom." And then Hassan does a massive spit-take with his tea, and he's like, "whoa dude, I rigged the cell phones, I didn't agree to blow up. I thought Mohammed was going to do the blowing up." Then Mohammed's like, "don't look at me, pal, I thought I was just providing the spiritual guidance. Plus my car's in the shop for transmission work." From there it just descended into this big shouting match. Holy frickin' prophet, two years of planning this prank and now everybody wants to pussy out on the actual martyrdom.

Long story short, we decided to draw straws. And guess who wins? Yep, yours truly, good old sucker Khalid, the same guy with a pile of charge card receipts for petrol and propane and hardware. The same guy who ended up having to host two thirds of the martyrdom planning parties at HIS house, because his good old college "pals" always have some convenient excuse about "kitchen remodeling" or "MI6 surveillance," and never lift a finger to help clean up the empty bottles or paper plates or the C5 mess. Well, you know what they say: no good deed goes unpunished. Then the other short straw get pulled by Bilal, and I'm like, oh, great. Now I'll be banging some celestial virgin with that wanker looking over my shoulder.

So, I'm like, "okay, whose donating the cars?" And these dicks just look around at each other, and ANOTHER big argument breaks out, because "I still have 28 payments left," or "it's due for a tyre rotation," or some other lame excuse. So we draw straws again to pick the explosion cars, and guess who wins? Yup, my Benz, the same fucking car I just paid £129.95 to have detailed. So I go to the house and tell my wife Jumanah about the whole deal, and here it comes -- The Look. complete with the whole exasperated eye roll and head shake. I swear, if her dad wasn't my uncle, I'd be tempted to smack that irritating sneer right off her face. So she's like, "fine, go have your fun with your lazy jihad buddies and your 72 virgins. Just leave me the keys to the Jeep so I can get groceries."

There's so much more to the story. Really, go read.

Posted by Ted at 04:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 03, 2007

New Movie Reviews Posted at Joe Horror

Lots of good stuff this week, including my review of Jess Franco's Nightmares Come At Night.

Posted by Ted at 06:04 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Beverly Sills Passes Away

Brooklyn born opera singer Beverly Sills succumbed last night at age 78 to lung cancer. She was never a smoker.

Known for her bright red hair and shining personality, "Bubbles" worked hard to foster an appreciation for opera to Americans, making numerous appearances on The Muppet Show and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

Thank you for sharing your gift with us. You will be missed.

Posted by Ted at 05:51 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

I Am So Annoyed That I Didn't Think of This First


Thanks to Silent Running for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 02, 2007

Colorful Inspirations

Here at Rocket Jones, I've had exactly two style designs over the last four years. The "retro" one that you see now, and the original, rather subdued version that lasted for most of three years. Lately I've been giving some thought to another redesign, and looking at different ideas and concepts because I don't want to change things just for the sake of change. The idea is to stretch my HTML/CSS skills, and if it involves some Javascript or other goodies, so much the better.

The point to all this is a link I found:

Color Inspiration from the Masters of Painting

This blog entry examines the color palettes used in several famous paintings. The comments to the post are great too, as designers chip in with the palettes from their favorite paintings.

If you're looking for color ideas (blog or otherwise), this is great inspiration.

Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: Links

July 01, 2007

A Review to Come, Eventually

I mean, when you see quotes like this, how could I not?

One of the most profoundly artistic and important cinematic landmarks to ever grace celluloid

We're talking, of course, about Scream Queen Hot Tub Party!

Brinke Stevens (who I've talked about before here and here) is one of the five lovely ladies, and she is joined by Monique Gabrielle (Night Shift, Bachelor Party, Amazon Women on the Moon), Kelli Maroney (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall), Michelle Bauer (Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama, Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, and various bondage and hardcore flicks) and Roxanne Kernohan (Critters II, Not of This Earth, Tango & Cash). The plot is simple: the scream queens are invited to a horror movie seminar in a spooky old castle. They strip down and get into the hot tub and talk about movie scenes they've appeared in, complete with flashbacks. Simple, but boob-a-licious!

This masterpiece is available at Amazon, so just look over on the sidebar and click the little "wish list" button and buy it for me. I'll mention you in the review too, how cool is that?

Huh? No button on the sidebar? Dang, I'll add it to my to-do list... eventually.

Posted by Ted at 10:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Intriguing Idea for Baseball's World Series

I can see the appeal of "World Series Weekend" to a lot of people, from players to owners to cities across the country.

Scott Boras loves the World Series so much, he wants to make it best-of-nine -- and open with two games at a neutral site.

Arguing that the shift would create a marketing bonanza that would rival the Super Bowl, Boras outlined his ideas in a two-page letter he sent to baseball commissioner Bud Selig on April 15.

For cities like Chicago and Washington D.C. that haven't seen a World Series at their parks in years, this could be huge.

I especially like these ideas:

He would open the weekend on a Friday night with a televised gala announcing the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards, and have the five top candidates for each in attendance.

Hall of Fame voting would be announced Saturday, with the opener that night and Game 2 on Sunday night. After that, the Series would pick up the 2-3-2 format that's been used since 1925...

Not that I think any of this will actually happen, but maybe the proposal will shake up some of the moribund thinking in baseball circles.

Posted by Ted at 08:56 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Level 2 Rocket

Friday and Saturday I spent some time doing finishing sanding. Today I shoot the first coat of primer.

Posted by Ted at 08:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry
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