September 30, 2007

As Usual, Congress Screws It Up

Maryland crab processors have been relying on *legal* temporary immigrants to pick steamed crabs and put the meat into plastic tubs for sale at the market. You can't pick crabs by machine, and there aren't enough local citizens willing to do the work for the pay that's offered. So the industry fills the workplace with people working under H2B temporary visas, which allow them to come for the season to work. Now problems with that process are putting those Maryland businesses in jeopardy.

Since 1990, the H2B program has allowed foreign workers into the country on a temporary visa that allows them to work in seasonal industries, such as landscaping, fisheries and hotels. For most of those years, the program worked smoothly -- workers were happy to come because they made far more than what they could earn at home, and employers were happy to have them as it became increasingly difficult to find American workers for the jobs.

But the program appeared to be heading for trouble in 2004, when the national cap of 66,000 workers was reached in March. Employers can't apply for the visas any earlier than 120 days before they need their workers. Most seafood processors -- who use the workers to pick the meat from steamed crabs, then put it in small plastic tubs -- got their workers that year, but several other industries that have later starts were shut out.

Then, in 2005, the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services, which is now under the Department of Homeland Security, announced that the cap had been filled by January 4 -- so early that most of Maryland's seafood processors weren't even allowed to apply yet -- their season runs from about April to Thanksgiving.

The processors went to Capitol Hill, where they had found an ally in U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski. The Maryland Democrat pushed for an expansion to the H2B limits, but the issue kept getting mired in the larger national debate on immigration.

Undeterred, Mikulski led efforts to slip emergency legislation into an unrelated Iraq-spending bill so that workers who had held seasonal jobs in the U.S. in the past, such as most of the Shore's crab pickers, could return to those jobs in 2005 and 2006 regardless of the national cap. Last year, she again got language included in a defense bill to extend the provision one more year.

Now, there are some reasonable arguments against the program (follow that link to see the whole thing), but truthfully, I discount all the grousing by organized labor. Unions care about unions, that's all. The real bottom line is that if the program isn't extended again, several things will happen for sure, and I'm not even going to talk about the H2B workers themselves. First, the packing companies will go out of business, which includes their drivers, warehouse workers, and admin staff. This in turn will impact the local economies, and also affect their suppliers. The price of crab will skyrocket in the stores, which will likely reduce demand, meaning the watermen who depend on Blue Crab fishing will be hurt.

All because Congress cannot get it together enough to extend a federal program that actually works.

Posted by Ted at 10:02 AM | Comments (276) | TrackBack
Category: Politics

Coming Attractions

Mookie will be posting a review soon of our theater experience last night.

Posted by Ted at 09:35 AM | Comments (116) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 29, 2007

Quickie Movie Review

Mookie and I watched the sequel Ginger Snaps: Unleashed last night (here's the Rocket Jones review of the original movie).

No spoilers for you, but I will say that it has one of the most infuriating endings I've ever seen, so original that it blindsides you like a truck despite the foreshadowing (clear in hindsight, as it should be).

This one is being added to my personal library. See Ginger Snaps first, and then definitely see this one.

Posted by Ted at 09:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 28, 2007

Sweet Dreams

I swear, having a naturally curious mind can be a curse sometimes...

Spiders freak me out, as long time readers know. Today while googling around semi-randomly, I learned the following:

Jumping spiders, the largest spider family, with some 5,000 species described so far, have six to eight eyes and unusually good vision. They don't hunt with webs but sneak to within a few centimeters of their quarry and then pounce. It's "very catlike," says Nelson. The strike takes less than 0.04 second. Some of the jumpers specialize in hunting ants or even the dangerous challenge of bagging other spiders.

Notice the word in bold above: Some.

The jumping spider of East Africa doesn't have the mouthparts to get vertebrate blood directly, says Ximena J. Nelson of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. But it often catches female mosquitoes bloated with a recent blood meal.

Now, laboratory tests show that this spider (Evarcha culicivora) actually prefers the engorged mosquitoes to other prey such as midges.

Here's a clue: You and I are vertebrates. These eagle-eyed, cat-quick, eight legged paooki from hell prefer blood!!!!! Our blood!!!!! And as for that "doesn't have the mouthparts..." bit. Does it creep anyone else out that they didn't say "mouth" or "lips" or "teeth"? Spiders have "mouthparts". *shudder* And you know damn well that evolution is working to correct that little deficiency, because with mouthparts that can open our veins directly, they can eliminate the middleman and we'll have even more mosquitoes buzzing around contributing to mankind's collective anemia.

Spiders eat midges. Spiders eat midgets. It's not that far a climb up the ol' evolutionary ladder. Nature is a Mother.

Posted by Ted at 04:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: SciTech

September 27, 2007

A Higher Form of Stupid

Washington DC is building a new stadium for the Washington Nationals major league baseball team. What was ignored during the planning stages is that there are only 1,300 parking spaces available for the stadium. This isn't a surprise, it was pointed out, but city officials pushed ahead anyways. Part of their reasoning was that people would take Metro. Yay, Metro!

Expansion of the nearby Metro station is almost two months behind schedule. Right now, it can barely handle the crowds that pass through it during a normal work day.

As for parking, why, they'd just borrow parking from all the nearby government agencies! Why plan or build when you can use existing, right? Wrong. The local agencies have denied permission to use their parking lots for security reasons. I completely agree with that. I can't think of an easier way to disrupt (for instance) the Department of Transportation than to take a car bomb (or a fake one) and abandoning it in their parking lot under the guise of going to the baseball game.

When Marion Barry was Mayor, we knew for sure that the boss in DC were on drugs. Now we have to rely on anecdotal evidence.

Posted by Ted at 04:52 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 26, 2007

Mookie and I Go to the Theater

Saturday night, Mookie and I will be attending Synetic Theater's production of "The Fall of the House of Usher". The last time I saw one of their productions, it was "Dracula" (I talked about it here). I'll let you know how it goes.

Posted by Ted at 04:57 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Before I Go Screw It All Up

The new Rocket Jones is up, all pristine and defaultish and ready for me to move in. Once I give the say so, Pixy will finalize the move and then it'll become the permanent place under this URL. So don't adjust your links, because we're going to do it all for you. We're nice like that. Well, Pixy is.

Posted by Ted at 04:59 AM | Comments (322) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 25, 2007

All Shapes and Sizes

This week at Joe Horror, I review two, count 'em, TWO vampire hunter flicks.

Go read the Rocket Jones take on Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter, and yes indeedy, Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter.

Just all kinds of fangy, cheesy, holy, blood-dripping goodness at the other end of that link.

Posted by Ted at 03:02 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 23, 2007

A Line I Wish I'd Have Written

From "The Curious Education of Epitome Quirkstandard":

"I'm sorry I'm late," the girl said once more, in a voice that seemed to blend the best parts of honey and heresy together.

The above is from an audiobook I'm listening to, which is very much in the whimsically absurd style of Wodehouse. So far, so great!

Posted by Ted at 01:56 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

National Novel Writing Month 2007

November is fast approaching, and that means dusting off the ol' inkpot, sharpening your quills and neatening your stack of parchment. Or just clicking [File][New]. Whatever floats yer boat.

Yes, it's almost time for this year's edition of National Novel Writing Month! The purpose: to motivate you to finally get started on that book you've always wanted to write. The goal: 50,000 words. Don't worry about editing or proofreading or revising or the details. Those can come later. In November, just churn out the words to your story. Get the framework in place, you can patch the plaster later. The prize: fawning adulation from millions of fawning, adulating fans. And self-satisfaction for achieving a difficult goal. One of those.

Now in 2005, yours truly wrote "Zombies of Autumn". It remains, alas, three-fourths completed. You can read it on Rocket Jones, even though I've cleverly hidden it behind the sidebar link labeled "Zombies of Autumn".

Last year, I assembled a group of over a dozen people. The idea was to each write one or more pieces that involved, however peripherally, a grand, central, unifying theme. That theme was: Giant Evil Space Robots. All those works would be collected into an anthology and we could whup ass on the 50,000 word goal and all be proud and bask in glory and such.

Ahem. Didn't happen. In fact, our word count was... let me check my notes... ah yes, the total word count was zero. But that's ok, because we had a cool group banner, which I'm going to post here again so that I can provide another link to the artist who so graciously granted permission to use it.


Special thanks to Webster Colcord for permission to use his graphics.

Rambling on, here is the first and only story to emerge from last year's group debacle:

Hercules and the Giant Evil Space Robots

Hercules stood in the hot sun, facing the metallic invader. His muscles rippled as he hefted his bronze shield and tightened his grip on his mighty club.




The end

This year, I don't know if I'm going to go for it again. November is such a lousy month for me. Set right between the end of the fiscal year and the end of the calendar year, it's one of our two crazy-busy times at work.

I have a story in mind, and it's been simmering in my mind for several years. Problem is, I don't have any real details beyond the vaguest partial outline. So I don't know. But that doesn't mean *you* shouldn't go for it! It's your chance to feel superior to me! Go ahead, make me your bitch. Set pen to paper, or electron to whatever electrons set against, and give it a try. Why not? What have you got to lose?

Do it for Hercules.

Posted by Ted at 08:20 AM | Comments (1956) | TrackBack
Category: NaNoWriMo2006

September 22, 2007

Tinkering Before the "Big Move"

Cleaned up the blogroll some. Pruned away some dead or long unread links. Nothing personal, believe me. Also added some long overdue such as my daughter Robyn's blog and Joan's exceptional Primordial Slack. Re-added the Universal Church of Cosmic Certainty, who had been absent for a while but has made a triumphant return. Also, way down at the bottom, I added links to, Come, Let Me Whisper, and a couple other online resources that I frequently use.

Bet you're just thrilled to have read all that, eh?

Posted by Ted at 05:01 PM | Comments (780) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

History and Hockey

You know I'm a hockey fan. You know I'm a fan of history. This story tickles both of those interests.

Courtesy of Off Wing Opinion: The Colored Hockey League.

Plenty of links to follow. Fascinating stuff.

Posted by Ted at 02:42 PM | Comments (365) | TrackBack
Category: Balls and Ice

Aaargh (No, I'm Not Stuck On "Talk Like A Pirate Day")

Last Monday evening I pulled an abdominal muscle. As you can imagine, pretty much everything you do involves your abs to some degree. Walking, breathing, standing, sitting... I've been pretty miserable this week, but since it wouldn't feel better if I stayed at home instead of going to work, I still put in a full week. It's getting better every day, slowly but surely.

Point is, I haven't felt much like blogging this week, hence the light posting.

Posted by Ted at 07:39 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 21, 2007

Hang On Kiddies, This May Be A Wild Ride

Some of you may have noticed that Rocket Jones got hacked last night by some cyber-jihadist. Chief bit-Wizard Pixy fixed things up in short order, and things are back to as normal as they get around here.

I've also given him the go-ahead to migrate Rocket Jones from Movable Type to Minx. Same bat-channel, but the default templates are clean and basic and, well, default. Expect a very different look for a while as I tinker with things under the hood to bring you a new and exciting version of Rocket Jones.

Yep. Dazzle 'em with presentation if the content sucks. It works for Power Point.

Posted by Ted at 05:04 AM | Comments (27) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 19, 2007

Aye Matey, 'tis That Time o' Year Again

Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Arggh, pirates and rockets, shiver's me timbers, it does!

Any further bloggin' done today will be done with one o' these.

Posted by Ted at 05:26 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 17, 2007

New Movie Review

This week at Joe Horror is my review of Gwendoline, the movie version of the classic 1940's comic strip "Adventures of Sweet Gwendoline". Complete with mondo boobage, bondage galore and Tawny Kitaen in the title role! Woot!

Posted by Ted at 07:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 16, 2007

How Do You Spell A Self-Satisfied Sound?

So far today, I've installed an underground downspout extender on the corner of the house, set in a small stone patio, filled in some low spots in the yard with topsoil and put new grass seed and fertilizer down to get established before fall comes on.

It's not even noon yet, I've showered and right now breakfast is sounding pretty good.

Posted by Ted at 11:42 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 15, 2007

Too Good to Not Pass Along

I saw this thanks to Dustbury, from Writer Chick, on the subject of Assclowns:

Personally, I blame the schools. Back in the day when I was in school, you weren’t taught about sexuality and multiculturism, you were taught math, english, history and economics. You were expected to use your brain and be aware of the fact that there were actually other people in the world, who also had opinions. And said opinions were expected to make sense by using facts and critical thinking. Can you say, debate club? You were expected to actually earn your grades through study, hard work and turning in legible papers, reports and passing tests. You weren’t graded on a curve - you were graded on what you got right and what you got wrong.

Seems like these days you don’t need facts, the ability to think or even a valid argument of any kind. Having an opionion is more than enough. And since we’ve leveled the playing field, we are supposed to be willing to listen to anybody about anything, lest we show our racist, bigoted or intolerant selves. Hey, just because is a convicted serial killer and rapist doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a right to an opinion. Charles Manson is just a grossly misunderstood guy. Suddam wasn’t hurting us, why did we hurt him? That five year old who kissed the little girl in the playground awaits trial for sexual harrassment. If he’s lucky, he’ll get counseling and some mind altering drugs that will set him straight.


Posted by Ted at 06:02 PM | Comments (64) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Is There Something About the Northeast That Sucks the Class from Your Soul?

Besides the Yankees, it's a given that they have no class.

First, the Patriots get busted for cheating, to the tune of a half-mil fine for the coach, a quarter-mil for the team itself, and the loss of either a first round or second and third round pick in the next draft. In other words, this wasn't a slap on the wrist. So then Patriots fans throw a huge collective tantrum because life is so unfair and the cheating bastards were nailed for it. No class.

Next up, Buffalo Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen will be undergoing open-heart surgery next week to repair a valve. He's known for years that he would eventually need it, and doctors decided that now is the time. He could conceivably rejoin the team by December. So what does the team do? The oh-so-supportively suspend him without pay. What scumbags. Utterly without class.

At least when I do it, it's cute.

Posted by Ted at 11:32 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Meaningless Factoid That Pleases Me To No End

Rocket Jones is number 5 on Google for "I hate the Denver Broncos" and number 3 on Yahoo for the same.

Posted by Ted at 07:34 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 13, 2007


On Mars, the rovers Spirit and Opportunity were in danger of failing because of a massive months-long dust storm that engulfed them both. The amount of dust in the air severely restricted their ability to generate electricity from their solar panels, so NASA controllers put both into hibernation mode. Even so, there was a real danger of one or both of the rovers shutting down for good.

But these little guys are tough!

NASA's Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit have resumed their three-year-old mission after surviving giant dust storms that nearly destroyed the twin robots, the US space agency said.

The rovers, which arrived on the Red Planet in January 2004 on a mission that was originally supposed to last three months, had been placed in hibernation mode in July to protect them from the Martian dust storms.

Three plus years into a scheduled three month mission. Amazing.

Posted by Ted at 11:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Space Program

Come On Out of the Closet Already

C'mon, a *spoiler* on a pickup?

Even without that nonsense, your gelding is already so fancified it's clear you're not driving a real truck. You might as well paint it pink, you pussy.

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (38) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 12, 2007

It's A First!

Mookie sent this link to the first "Old Timer" T-shirt designed for today's kids. And by that, I mean, it's a shirt today's kids can wear when they become oldsters. You know, like 30 or something.

On a related note, I kinda like this one too.

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Deja Vu

Cheech and Chong did this first, but they made it up. This, on the other hand, is real.

At a job fair today, you can interview with a company who's touting their location on the coast in SouthEastern North Carolina. Interview where? Why, the Westin hotel, of course.

Posted by Ted at 04:51 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 11, 2007


My archives.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Countdown to 9/11

September 10, 2007

Blue Music

Local independent musician Blue sent out an email late last week:

Hi kids!

I hope this finds you all well.

I've (finally) finished the 8-song preview for the forthcoming Booze
Monkey album, "4th St."

I'm going to distribute this preview freely to anyone who is willing
to give it a listen. I'm currently preparing to print up a short run
of preview discs. I have two songs remaining to record. After
recording those I will be manufacturing the record for full
distribution (ala "Gorsky" or "Holly").

Below is a link to a zip file containing digital copies of this
preview, with lyrics and artwork embedded into the mp3s. They are
LAME encoded at 160. A preview-cover jpg and an rtf featuring lyrics
and quasi-liner notes is also included. If you use iTunes you can
simply unzip, and then drag the folder over the "playlist" portion of
iTunes to generate a gapless (important) playlist for the album with
the lyrics and artwork displayed as well.

If you are interested, please check it out. If you dig it, please
share it by any means possible... (except selling it... grin)... burn
it, rip it, mix, muddle, cut, copy, paste, et al.

The website (including the page linked below) is currently dead wood.
I will revisit it as I gear up for the launch of this record.

The link is located in the body of the text on the page.



So, follow that link and download the .zip file you'll find there and give it a listen. I did, and it's goooooood.

What I'm hoping for is to set up some sort of blogmeet in Winchester, Virginia when Blue does a live show in that area. Hopefully this fall or winter. A bar-based get together with live music? What a switch, eh?

Posted by Ted at 05:19 AM | Comments (285) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 09, 2007

Someone Should Explain It To Them

This is the best unintentionally funny corporate name since Wang.

Posted by Ted at 10:54 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Boy, Do I Have You People Fooled

At least, I've fooled the ones who think I'm a nice guy. Evidence: my recent movie viewing, and I'm talking about the stuff I'm not writing reviews for over at Joe Horror.

Movies like Flower and Snake, where professional dancer Shizuko is handed over to the Yakuza by her industrialist husband when they threaten blackmail for some shady business dealings. She spends much of the movie in various stages of undress and in beautifully done Japanese-style Shibari bondage as the gangsters force her to star in sexual fetish shows. She had kinky fantasies before being betrayed by her inattentive husband, and over time she begins to enjoy the constant humiliation and frequent gangbangs. It sounds like an odd thing to say, but the film is very beautiful to look at, as the director and cinematographer were both at the top of their game during the making of the film. Japanese Pinku are not for everyone tastes, but I enjoyed it. There are sequels too.

At the other end of the quality spectrum is Black Candles, a creepy low-budget Italian flick from the 80's in which a woman and her fiance travel to England for her brother's funeral. Her sister-in-law and the locals are all part of a satanic cult and things get topless confusing in a hurry. The "highlight" of the movie is a ritual involving beastiality with a goat. That's a kind of horror porn I've never seen before, and realistic enough to make you wonder if it was really simulated. Ick. Besides that, there's lots of nudity and softcore sex between good looking humans, but overall this one is only recommended for fans of the genre and PETA activists (trust me, the goat looks happy).

Yeah, yeah, I'm going to hell. But I also keep cute little bunnies as pets. It all evens out.

Posted by Ted at 08:48 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 08, 2007

I'm Pretty Sure It's Just Me

Am I the only one who thinks it would be hilarious to serve Chinese food in one of these bowls?

Posted by Ted at 04:35 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Forgot to Mention the New Movie Reviews

This week at Joe Horror, I contributed reviews for Happiness of the Katakuris (previously reviewed here on Rocket Jones and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Go check 'em out.

Posted by Ted at 03:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Glad It's Over

It was *that* kind of week at work.

Posted by Ted at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

September 07, 2007

Chicks Dig Rocket Jones

Hi Ashley!

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 06, 2007

Yet Another Reason Why My Life Is Better Than Yours

Because Mookie buys me stuff like this for my birthday.

Glow-in-the-Dark Flesh Eating Zombies Play Set

You know I giggled like a little kid and immediately ran into the dark bathroom to see 'em glow.

It's the perfect accompaniment to the Horrified B-Movie Victims Figure Set that she got me for Christmas.

Hey, I've got a zombie *dog*! Not to mention the bathrobian zombie on the far right. I know Dogette is jealous.

Posted by Ted at 03:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks Links

September 03, 2007

Bachelor Dad - redux

Got back a little bit ago from dropping Liz off at the airport. She's headed to Vegas for the week.

Why does it freak people out when they find out that she's off on her own? The whole idea of a powered wheelchair is that you *gain* some independence! Sheesh.

Posted by Ted at 11:06 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Family matters

September 02, 2007

You've Been Educated, and Didn't Even Know It

One of the hot trends in movies lately are "grindhouse" flicks. This summer past Rodriguez and Tarantino released a new movie with that title which set off the whole grindhouse craze. Suddenly, small companies are releasing old movies and hyping them as grindhouse classics.

But you know what? If you've been paying attention to Rocket Jones movie reviews then y'all have been learning about grindhouse movies all along. Nudist camp exploitation, nunsploitation, crappy B-movies, roughies, boob-o-liscious foreign films that include Mexican horror, Italian giallo and so much more cheesy goodness.

So the next time some friend gushes about discovering "grindhouse" and how it's just so retro, tell 'em that you've been watching them for years. And that's the secret, stick with Rocket Jones and stay ahead of the pack.

Posted by Ted at 08:44 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 01, 2007

Rocketry Videos

EMRR (Essence's Model Rocketry Reviews) has posted the entrants from their rocket video contest. Quite a few are from on-board cameras and are way cool.

I notice that Dick's Rocket Dungeon posted a link to it as well.

Posted by Ted at 06:05 PM | Comments (157) | TrackBack
Category: Rocketry
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