April 30, 2005

Better'n Special Effects

From Murdoc Online, these pictures of a sandstorm in Iraq, about to engulf an airbase. Incredible.

Posted by Ted at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Prom Night

Pictures later of Mookie in her dress (if she'll let me).

Posted by Ted at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

All Zombies, All the Time

(alternate title: Less Talk, More Zombies)


On a related note, I rewatched Day of the Dead last night while waiting for a loaf of bread to bake. Terribly underrated and not disturbingly gory until the last half hour (when it goes right on over the top).

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

Star Cards - 7

Someone was kind enough to scan and post a whole heap of Players Cigarette cards. This particular set of 85 cards is of Actresses, and were released during the late 1930's (from clues like "her latest film was...").

I'll post one of these every once in a while, with a couple of simple links to IMDB.com or a bio if I can find one. You might be surpirsed at some of the familiar names you'll see. The category is "Star Cards" (over on the right column), and you can click there at any time to see all that I've posted. Hope you enjoy.

(in the extended entry)

(click for superstar size)

Constance Cummings

Constance Cummings started her career on the stage and was "discovered" on Broadway. She had a brief but intense film career in Hollywood, but eventually moved to England and primarily back to the stage, where she stayed active for years.

Posted by Ted at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Star Cards

April 29, 2005

As Mookie would say, "That was random"

Just some thoughts.

I hate going to WalMart during the day, because all the senior citizens are there. Yesterday I watched a lady who probably shared a nice piece of fish with Christ himself on the mount as she tottered through the crosswalk. She was clutching her cart for dear life, and I'm positive it was the only thing holding her up. About a third of the way across (a two minute journey, I kid you not), she was almost flattened by another woman in a Cadillac who probably taught female gladiators to drive chariots in ancient Rome. That's entertainment. Like watching the Keystone Kops in slo-mo.

When I get old enough to drive a golf cart, I'm putting wheelie bars on the back.

Mookie's imagination has been fired by the speculative piece about Canada breaking up and parts joining the US, and now the Cambodian zombie story. She's been wandering through the house singing "Invade Canadaaaaaaah, with Zombies from Cambodiaaaaaah." She's such a special child.

It's looking like tomorrow is not going to be a go for the Culpeper rocket launch, due to a really lousy weather forecast. That's a personal decision, I'm sure there will be folks there and some flights will be made. I'm still on for Sunday though, which is supposed to be beautiful.

I may be putting a large "Sears sucks donkey dicks" banner up soon. Next week will tell the tale. Whatever happened to customer service?

Instead of sitting here, I should be cleaning something.

Posted by Ted at 05:39 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Helpful Reader Email

Sir Knight kindly sent an email that mentioned this Rocket Jones review of Revolt of the Zombies, which he found "when I was googling around for zombies + Cambodia".

How cool is that?

Well, he also sent along a link which talks about a real zombie problem they're having in Cambodia.

You read that right.

Many thanks to Sir Knight for that link. May your maidens be fair, your sword always sharp, and your dragons French.

Note: Because links eventually expire and this one is too good to lose, I've reprinted the entire article in the extended entry (without permission).

Cambodian Troops Quarantine Quan'sul

BBC news - Last Updated: Monday, 25 April, 2005, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK

There has been a small outbreak of “zombism” in a small town near the border of Laos in North-Eastern Cambodia.
The culprit was discovered to be mosquitoes native to that region carrying a new strain of Malaria which thus far has a 100 percent mortality rating killing victims in fewer than 2 days.

After death, this virus is able to restart the heart of it’s victim for up to two hours after the initial demise of the person where the individual behaves in extremely violent ways from what is believe to be a combination of brain damage and a chemical released into blood during “resurrection.”

Cambodian officials say that the outbreak has been contained and the public has no need to worry.

General Ary Serey had this to say, "We have obtained samples of this new virus and plan to learn how it starts the heart and other major organs of the deceased. We intend to use this to increase the quality of life for all."

US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice opposed the plan saying that the Cambodian government holds a great biological weapon and should destroy it immediately. Cambodian officials have yet to comment.

A United Nations team will be dispatched to Cambodia to confirm the safety of biological research in Cambodia.

[BBC must be Cambodian for Weekly World News - RJ]

Posted by Ted at 11:55 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Carnival of the Recipes is up

Hosted by fellow Munuvian CalTechGirl at Not Exactly Rocket Science (gotta love the name), is this week's linkfest to lots of ideas for good eats.

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

Snippet of Conversation

Driving through Norfolk yesterday:

Me: Look! The sign says they need a bartender. I could do that again.

(driving by and noticing that the place looks a little "rough")

Me: I dunno though, a black belt is probably part of the job qualifications.

Wife: A couple of tattoos and get something on your face pierced, you'd be fine.

Posted by Ted at 04:25 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

April 28, 2005

Someone's in the kitchen with Diiinaaaahhh!

This is an old favorite with our family that came about after being inspired by a happy combination of leftovers and the ol' "what's for dinner" blahs.

Italian Omelets

eggs (2 per serving)
butter, oil or non-stick spray
half-and-half or milk
garlic powder

fillings: pepperoni, sausage, canadian bacon, mozzerella or other cheeses, onion, green pepper, mushrooms, herbs - whatever you like on a pizza.

spaghetti sauce, warmed

My favorite omelet pan is one of those tiny frying pans with the gently rounded sides. Set it on medium heat, and put a small bit of butter in to melt.

Crack a couple of eggs into a high-sided bowl. Add a splash of milk (half-and-half is even better) and a dash of garlic powder. Mix it all up with a fork or whisk. The idea is to get lots of air into the egg mixture, so whip vigorously and really get it stirred up.

Tilt the pan around to distribute the butter, then pour the eggs into the pan. Leave it be until the edges begin to set, then gently left the edges and tilt the pan to let the uncooked egg on top run around and underneath.

When the top is soft-set, the bottom should be done. Use the spatula (it's a wide one, right?) to carefully flip the entire omelet over.

Add the cheese, veggies, meats or whatever else you're stuffing your omelet with. Gently fold half the omelet over to make a fluffy half-moon shape stuffed with yummy things.

Top with a tablespoon or two of heated sauce and a little more cheese if you'd like, and serve with toast.

Posted by Ted at 06:43 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Recipes

April 27, 2005

I love technology

Liz and I are visiting daughter Robyn down south in Norfolk tomorrow to pick up a load of her stuff. She's spending the summer at home, and she'd have to make a half dozen trips in her tiny little car to haul everything.

So we decided to make it a getaway and booked a room in Williamsburg for the night. Robyn has a final tomorrow afternoon, so we'll hit Williamsburg Pottery and have a nice relaxing morning before heading on in. We both needed this.

I have to admit that Liz knows how to get the best deals on rooms too. I'm posting this from the laptop, hooked up to the wireless network offered by the motel.

And now you'll have to excuse me, the hot tub is calling.

Posted by Ted at 09:46 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

I am *so* behind on my blog to-do list

...let's see...

... feed people... ok, that's "solve world hunger", check...

... broadcast "don't worry be happy" from every satellite... world peace, check...

... that leaves... crap, a whole boatload of new Munuvians to add to my blogroll.

Soon, dammit, I can't do it *all* in one day!

Posted by Ted at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Global Warming is caused by Environmental Activism

Found this over at Q and O:

"If we had simply built all the [nuclear power] plants that were in the pipeline at the time of Three Mile Island, then we would have reduced current coal combustion sufficiently to satisfy the Kyoto treaty." -- Peter Huber

Read about it.

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (10)
Category: Links

April 26, 2005

The Blight is back

Kelley is posting again after a long hiatus.


Posted by Ted at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

The scene I keep replaying in my mind (updated)

I finally got around to watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead a few days ago. I'm a huge fan of the original, and like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I think the new version is good but in a very different way than the original.

I really like the "fast" zombies. That's not to say they're better than the traditional slow shuffling zombies, because there's a whole 'nother flavor of terror in being inexorably overwhelmed by mindless masses of the flesh-craving undead.

But these new zombies that have been showing up, like the berzerkers in 28 Days Later and these hyper-aggresive monsters in Dawn - wow. They're not just shambling around, instinctively looking for the living. The zombies in Dawn of the Dead are actively searching. And when they see a target, they go full-tilt towards it, ready to rend and devour.

Which brings me to my main gripe about the movie. Like happens all too often in these flicks, everyone is a crack shot. Dozens of zombies sprinting towards you? Your escape route threatened? Ultimate pressure because if they get you, you die? No problem, because everyone instantly achieves perfect head shots each and every time. One of my favorite bits in Shaun of the Dead was the fact that none of the main characters could hit the broad side of a barn with a gun, and it was played to both comedic and suspensful effect.

But this is about "the scene I keep replaying in my mind". It was subtle, and only peripherally related to the main action. I'll try to keep it general enough to not give away any spoilers.

When the nurse is driving away from her home, the camera shot is from the hood of the car and through the windsheild and back window you can see the zombie that almost got her in pursuit. He's running in a full sprint down the street after her. As she begins to gain some distance and turns a corner, a lady comes out of her house and he peels off, still in full sprint, and tackles her and takes her down. By this time, they're far in the background of the camera shot, and you might not even notice.

This morning while getting ready for work, I didn't turn on the TV and I didn't have a radio on. I was completely oblivious to the world outside my home, much like that lady in the movie. As I went out front to take the trashcan to the curb, it struck me how similar my situation was to that lady, who was probably just out to pick up her morning paper.

That is true horror, peeps. Everyday life, interupted by the unimaginable.

Update: If you follow the very first link above it will take you to the IMDB entry for Dawn of the Dead. From there, click on the trivia link and you'll see all of the little tributes to the original movie that were included in the remake. Cool stuff.

Posted by Ted at 11:16 AM | Comments (9)
Category: Cult Flicks

Good Advice for anyone

Originally done by Chet Atkins.

Frog Kissin'

Do you remember in the fairy tale, how the wicked witches spell
Turned the handsome prince to a toad?
By the power of a potion, she handed him the notion
He was lower than the dirt in the road.
And though she left him green and warted, her evil plans were thwarted
Their chanced to happen by a young miss
Who inspite of his complexion, offered him affection
And broke the wicked curse with her kiss

So if you've never been frog kissing
Then you don't know what you've been missin',
There's a wealth of opportunity under each and every log.
And if you've never been charm-breakin',
Then you've never been handsome prince makin'.
You've got to slow down, turn around, bend down,
Kiss you a frog!

Once upon a time ago, I was down and feelin' low
Like a lonely frog in a pond
My life was just a joke, and I was just about to croak
Cuz I'd be zapped by life's wicked wand.
But in the depths of my depression, there came a true expression
Of love from a person so sweet.
She gave me warm fuzzy feelings, feelings that were healin'
And she knocked me off my little webbed feet.

There's a happy-ever-after-land, deep in the heart of man
Where a prince and princess abides.
But all we get are glimpses, of the happy prince or princess
'Cauce they're covered with a green warty hide.
Though they're full of life's potential, they're lacking one essential
To enable them to shine like a star.
That's a handsome guy or missus, to smother them with kisses
And love them just the way that they are.

That's the secret of frog kissing
You can do it too if you'll just listen
There's a wealth of opportunity under each and every log.
That's the secret of charm-breakin',
That's the secret of handsome prince makin'.
You've got to slow down, turn around, bend down,
Kiss you a...
You've got to slow down, turn around, bend down,
Kiss you a...
You've got to slow down, turn around, bend down,
Kiss you a frog!

And because the site where I found this offered up the chord progression, here it is, just for us guitar players.


Am E7 F
G G7 C D
Am A7 Dm A7 Dm-A7-Dm
D7 G D G

G7 C A7
Dm G7 Am
G7 C A7
F F G Am

They also slightly altered the lyrics so they could be played in 3/4 time, so that they "could make it sound like a song that belonged at a Renaissance Festival." I changed 'em back to match what I hear on my original Chet Atkins version.

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Waxing Lyrical

April 25, 2005

A couple of quickie links

Shank is a sometime commenter here, and he keeps an interesting blog, The Reluctant Werewolf. It's full of fun anecdotes and unconventional wisdom.

Like this:

At work, we employ some Musical Therapists. Basically, they go around the oncology wards and such - places where people are pretty sick and face a depressing prognosis - and kind of help them become comfortable. They play music and sing and shit like that. Lots of patients and families really appreciate that kind of thing, but it's a little too new agey for me. So I'm going to make fun of it.

That's just the opening paragraph of a pretty funny post. He's always worth a visit, especially for his insights on the wedding-planning process, which he's also going through.

Rob and Carol have just gone through the wedding-planning process, followed by the wedding process and now the honeymoon process. Stop by their place at Left & Right and go through the comment process to wish 'em a big congrats. They're due back today.

This next blog, The Smoking Toaster, defies classification. Your pal, Bitterman, is the author and holds forth on everything from the pussyfication of the classic Dodge Daytona muscle cars to topical humor. Added to the mix is some pretty good photography from the Bay Area. He's a smartass, but too on-the-ball to be a dumbass. He's a daily read for me.

LeeAnn is the CheeseMistress of Munuviana and Queen of the evolving banner. She also offered up some living will suggestions. These are my favorites:

3. If I am unable to recognize or interact with friends or family members, I still expect gifts.

4. If I am unable to feed, clean, or dress myself, I would like to be referred to as "Mr. Trump."

There's more cheesy goodies at her place, each and almost every day.

More daily reads:

Stephen at Hold the Mayo. He's got his act together, so I don't have to.

That's an example of stealing an advertising slogan that doesn't quite fit.

Debbye, the Fierce American, is my main source of Canadian news. I guess I'm typically clueless about our northern neighbors because, well, there are plenty of domestic nitwits to deal with (and no, I'm not saying *all* Canadians are nitwits).

Finally, just because:



Random Nuclear Strikes.

Posted by Ted at 05:37 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

April 24, 2005

The new logo up top right

Frinklin pointed out this new blog devoted to sports team logos (talk about a niche audience). Since I like pretty pictures, I clicked through and found his latest poll on best team logo. I gotta tell you, I'm torn between the Dallas Derby Devils and the Rose City Rollers. They're both killer designs.

Posted by Ted at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Lava Balloons

I've never heard of this phenomenom before.

Columns of white vapor streamed from the Atlantic this winter. About 8km west of an island called Terceira in the Azores, a submarine eruption was under way. Hot lava squeezed up through cracks in the ocean floor at about 500 meters below the surface of the ocean. The lava solidified into lava balloons. These gas-rich lava balloons interacted with cold seawater as they rose. This process generated steam, which emerged from the Atlantic like smoke from dozens of chimneys. The steam rose about 10 meters high. As the lava balloons reached the surface, the gas that made them buoyant escaped through cracks, and the balloons filled with water and sank.

You can keep the Sunday papers, I love to leisurely surf through the museum sites on my weekend mornings.

Here's another weird volcano I posted about some time ago.

Posted by Ted at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

Even stars can be a little loose

Astronomers are used to seeing star clusters orbiting other galaxies. Up to now, they've always been dense little globes filled with millions of suns.

The Andromeda galaxy is one of the Milky Way’s nearest galactic neighbors.

Astronomers recently found star clusters of a type never seen before orbiting Andromeda.

More familiar to scientists are globular clusters. These collections of stars are densely packed.

The newly discovered clusters are much larger and less dense than globular clusters.

These “extended clusters” are not found in the Milky Way. Why not is still unknown.

Mankind may never know it all, but we continue to learn.

Posted by Ted at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

April 23, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Up at Be's place. She's a gal after my own heart, leading off with desserts.

Mmmmmm, dessert.

Posted by Ted at 06:18 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Recipes

Good writing is

I've told you about the McCovey Chronicles before, and I'm telling you again. Grant can flat out write, and he's funny as hell too.

Here's a recent gem, about something he saw at the San Fransisco Giants site:

The Budweiser Clydesdale horses will be on display near SBC Park on Friday (3-10 p.m. PT) and Saturday (11 a.m to 6 p.m. PT) in parking lot A across from the Lefty O'Doul bridge.

And his response:

The horses are a constant reminder that Budweiser tastes like something you'd milk from a horse.

He also links to blogs from many other teams, so if you don't know of one for yours, chances are he's the guy to see.

Fer instance, who knew about the Orioles Warehouse?

Posted by Ted at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Rocketry - Clusters

Matt asked in my comments section for help on clustering model rocket motors. An excellent topic! This is a beginner's guide at best. It's enough to help you be successful, I don't claim it's definitive.

What is Clustering?
Clustering is when a rocket has more than one motor that ingnites simultaneously. A perfect real-life example is the Saturn V rocket that took men to the moon. The first stage had five engines that lit all at once at lift off, and the second stage had five more smaller motors that fired all at once when the first stage dropped away (that's a good example of a staged rocket too). A variation on the theme is when the main motor(s) lift the rocket and then additional motors ignite in the same stage. These are called "airstarts" and are more complicated and difficult because on-board electronics must be used for the ignition system and the timing has to be correct. Good examples of that concept are today's Delta family of rockets and the ESA's Ariane. In fact, most current heavy lifters use combinations of airstarted boosters to increase their lift capacity and to tailor the thrust profile over the boost phase.

Why do Clusters?
In the early days of model rocketry, motor classes were very limited and the only way to get more power was to cluster available motors. Nowadays the selection of motors is excellent so it's less of a neccessity. That's not to say there aren't still good reasons for designing cluster rockets today. Many TARC rocket contest teams have gone with clustered motors because the smaller Estes motors are cheaper, more reliably ignited and more readily available. Personally, I love clusters because they're cool.

Design Considerations
On the model rocket level, the main consideration must be "what if all the engines don't light?" I've made test flights of my cluster rockets where I intentionally didn't ignite all the motors, to check the performance even when underpowered. You should be trying for a rocket that can still fly safely on half power. It might not be a great flight, but safety is always first.

Another consequence of not lighting all motors is unbalanced thrust. If two motors are firing and the third isn't, then the rocket has to work harder to stay stable because the thrust is trying to tip the rocket over into an arc.

There are a couple things you can do to minimize this. First, you can put your motors close to the main axis of the rocket. If all the engines are tucked in right next to each other then the imbalance is minimized. Conversely, if your motors are in outboard mounts on the fin tips, well, a motor that doesn't ignite is a much bigger problem. I don't recommend fin-tip motors. Ever.

Another way to keep stability is to aim the motors at the rocket's center of gravity. Tilt each motor mount in slightly (or not so slightly - this is an extreme example that works wonderfully), and once again all the motors can easily compensate for the one(s) that didn't ignite. Check out that Delta link above and notice that the booster engine bells are slanted out to achieve the same effect. Obviously, you'll need to have a good idea ahead of time about the design and how it'll balance out. I use an older version of Apogee Components Rocsim to design complex clusters.

One other way is to induce spin in your rocket. Spin increases stability (but increases drag), and if the rocket spins on the way up then the unbalanced thrust is evenly distributed all the way around. What happens is that you wind up with a wacky corkscrew or the rocket looks like it's wagging it's tail end on the way up. Some rocket designs do this on purpose. It's fun to watch.

Igniting Clusters
The key to reliable ignition of multiple motors is to be meticulous.

The battery of your launch controller must be well charged, don't try to ignite a cluster at the end of the day with your worn down AA's. Invest in a small sealed cell motorcycle or lawn tractor battery. They're cheap and deliver plenty of power when you need it. Rechargable batteries used in cordless power tools or RC vehicles work great if you connect them in series. Better yet, find a local club and use their launch setup, it'll almost certainly be good enough to fire clusters all day long.

For model rocket engines, use the Estes igniters. Quest tigertails are too finicky to deal with. You can make them work, but to me it's not worth the extra hassle. Pick through your igniters and select the ones with a good blob of pyrogen on the end. You want the igniters to go instantly when you press the button.

Also, check inside the nozzles of each engine. You should see black up inside. If you see light gray, then there's excess clay from the nozzle blocking the propellant, and it won't matter how good your igniter is, it's not going to help. If you need to, you can gently scrape the inside clean with the end of a straightened paper clip.

All right, your battery is charged up, your motors are ready to go and you've got a handful of blobby little igniters.

Wiring Clusters
Here's where the 'meticulous' bit comes in again. Once you've got the cluster hooked up to the ignition system, take a minute to carefully inspect everything. Make sure igniter wires aren't touching except where they're supposed to. Make sure the clips are hooked up securely and not touching the blast deflector, the launch rod, or other exposed metal. You need everything to be absolutely perfect. It's not hard, just fiddly.

Start by putting the igniters into each motor and inserting the ingniter plug. If you want, you can carefully remove the paper tape that Estes puts on their igniters. I just fold the ends out of the way.

cluster wiring

Click on the image for a bigger picture.

For two-motor clusters (assuming that they're right next to each other), all you need to do is twist one leg of each igniter together. You'll end up with two 'tails' consisting of the two igniter leads, which you hook up to the launch controller clips. Just like in the upper left part of the diagram.

For three and four engine clusters (or more complex motor arrangements), you're going to need a set of clip whips. These are easy to make, see below.

Notice in the diagram for three motor clusters that one leg from each of the three igniters are twisted together in the middle. Then I take two of the remaining leads and twist them together. One ignition clip goes on the set of three twisted together and the other clip is attached to a clip whip. The other, dual ends of the clip whip are connected to the twisted pair and the single lead, respectively.

Four motor clusters in a square pattern are simple. Twist the two leads together from each corner so that each igniter is connected to the ones on either side. This time you'll use two clip whips to connect oppsosite corners together, and then the igniter clips from the launch controller attach to the clip whips. It sounds more complicated than it really is, check out the diagram.

bus bar ignition

Another alternative is to use a "bus bar" setup. With this method, you take a length of heavy solid copper wire and wrap a leg from each igniter around it. If needed, a second bar is used for the other side of each igniter. Finally you hook the bus bars up to the launch controller ignition clips.

There's no need for the bus bars to be straight either. I've seen some people use a three-quarter circle of wire to eliminate the need for a clip whip when doing three-motor clusters.

Making a clip whip

A clip whip is just a way to deliver electrical current to more than one place at once. No matter what kind you make, one end will always have a single clip that hooks up to the ignition clip, and the other end will have two or more clips.

Making a pair of three-whips will cover 99% of your needs. You'll need eight mini-clips (available at Radio Shack) or small alligator clips and three or four feet of solid core copper wire - none of that stranded wire for this.

Cut the wire into lengths between 6"-8" long, then strip the ends. Solder clips onto one end of each wire (you can get by without soldering, but it's not nearly as reliable. If you don't know how, find a friend who can, it's worth the trouble.)

Here's the magic part. Take four wires and twist their ends together, then solder to make a solid connection. Ok, so that's not so magical, but that's really all it is! You can use a wire nut if you want, and/or cover the connection with electrical tape. I lay one wire opposite the other three so that it's obvious which connection is which, but it doesn't really matter. I also use different color wires for the three leads, to help me keep my cluster wiring straight.

So there ya go. That's most everything I know about clustering model rocket motors. There are a few things I've left out, but these are the basics, and if you're careful there's no reason you can't have a near 100% success rate with cluster ignition. Using these exact same methods, I've only had two motors not ignite in the last seven or eight years, and even then the flights were safe.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry Rocketry Resources

Daniel's "Five Things" Meme

Five things that people are wild about that I just don't get.

1. Washington Redskins - I never really disliked the Redskins until I moved into the area. Every year it's the same thing, instead of eternal optimism like Chicago Cubs fans display, the Skins fans are arrogant as hell. Right up until the moment they admit to themselves that they suck. Again.

2. Drinking - My parents were social drinkers, and I grew up knowing what beer and various liquors tasted like. I'm not anti-drinking, but I seldom think to myself, "a scotch would taste good right about now". We've always got alcohol in the house, but some of it's pretty damn old. If we go out somewhere I'll occasionally get a beer with dinner, but it's not something I do very often for some unknown reason.

3. TV - I watch very little, mostly hockey and football. If that's not on, I'll switch over to a music channel (Sirius, the satellite radio stations) and leave it on in the background. Very occasionally I'll catch an ad for something on the History Channel that I'd like to see, and sometimes I'll even remember and make a point of watching it. Other than that, eh.

4. SUV's - There are some who legitimately require 4-wheel drive and off-road capability. Medical personnel in the winter come to mind, or someone who lives way back in the country. But the soccer moms and Joe Commuter have as much need for a Cadillac Escalade as a tank needs a kickstand. They're a fad people, and you're certainly free to drive one. But they don't make you special, they don't allow you to drive as if the roads aren't wet/snowy/icy, and I hope you're going freakin' broke pumping $2.50/gallon gas into it every third day.

5. New Movies - I can't remember the last time I went to a movie theater to see a movie. I rarely hear of a movie that fires my interest enough to even remember it, let alone want to see it. Mostly I'll scan the movies for the week and I'll see something I remember being a megahit some months back, and then I'll set the Tivo to record it. Eventually I'll watch it. Maybe.

Looking back over these five, I really come across as an anti-social bastard. I think that a better explanation is that I'm pretty easy-going, so if there's something I "don't get", it's annoying enough to be a peeve.

Here are Daniel's lists.

Wanna run with this? Go for it and let me know and I'll post a link to yours.

Posted by Ted at 04:32 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

April 22, 2005

Today is Earth Day

I had no idea.

I'll dig up a patch of the back meadow after work so I can see the dirt underneath.

Posted by Ted at 06:13 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

Oh great, another post-nuclear mutant nightmare to worry about

After the world blows itself up, it won't be enough to watch out for the mutants roaming the blasted landscape. Scientists have discovered a species of ant that builds group-sized traps that allow them to subdue insects many times larger than themselves.

Giant ants waiting in ambush. Sweet dreams.

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (1)
Category: SciTech

Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

Life has been kicking my ass lately. Yeah, I know that's not news. It happens to everyone, but I offer it up as the lame excuse for the light posting on Rocket Jones, both in quantity and quality.

This morning my XHTML final is due. We were given a set of specs and a bunch of content and turned loose to whup it into a site. It's got image maps (those pretty pictures you click in different areas for links), input forms, lists inside lists, tons of text formatting and anything and everything else the instructor could think of to toss in there. Individually, nothing too difficult. Except that we're doing this all from scratch - no Front Page, no Movable Type or Blogger. Every last bit of code is by hand. Believe me, finish a test like this (10+ hours for me so far, mostly at home in the evenings), and you freakin' know XHTML.

Daniel, I haven't forgotten the meme you tossed to me. I just haven't had a chance to give it any thought. Although when I do come up with something, I'll be able to format it beautifully. Heh.

Ooooooooooooklahoma! - Mookie's school musical - opened last night. She said it went well. Liz and I are going tonight.

Everyone else in the family (wife, kids... not the dogs, so not everyone), has had some sort of drama or minor tragedy happen this week (I'm not trivializing the tragedy aspects, it's minor in that nobody died). I'm rather proud as I watch events unfold and see how everyone keeps their cool and just deals with the crap that life dishes up sometimes. Maintaining composure and doing the right thing doesn't mean you're unfeeling, it just means that you can save the tears or hurt or frustration for later, when it won't be so inconvenient to let it out.

So the weekend is upon us. Things to do are already piling up like cop cars in a Blues Brothers movie, and I'll just take things one at a time and do as many as I can until the critical ones are taken care of or I decide that enough is enough and it's time for a nap.

I'll try to do better, but no promises for the immediate future.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

April 21, 2005


Lock your doors

Posted by Ted at 05:36 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


Turn off your phones

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


It's time to visit

Posted by Ted at 05:32 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


Rocket Jones

Posted by Ted at 05:30 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


Burma Shave!

Posted by Ted at 05:28 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

April 20, 2005

I think I'm a funny guy

There's a short list of people on the 'net that make me green with envy amuse the hell out of me, and Anna is one of them.

Primal Purge is back.

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

How warm was it?

It was so warm inside my freezer that Ted Williams was complaining.

Posted by Ted at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

I hate ranch dressing, but you might not

This week's Top Secret Recipe is for Hidden Valley Original Ranch Dressing. It's only up for the week, so if you want it, grab it now.

I thought the background story was kinda neat:

Indeed, ranch dressing was invented at Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara, California, by a real salad-wranglin' rancher. In the '50s and '60s Steve Henson and his wife, Gayle, shared their 120-acre dude ranch with University of California at Santa Barbara students and other festive partiers for rousing weekend shindigs. The dozens of guests were serve meals of steaks and salads topped with Steve's special blend of herbs, spices, mayonnaise and buttermilk. As word got out about the fabulous dressing more guests were showing up at the ranch and walking home with complimentary take-home jars filled with the stuff. Eventually Steve figured he could make a little cash on the side by packaging the dressing as a dry mix and selling it through the mail. At first he was filling envelopes himself, but within a few months Steve had to hire 12 more people to help with the packaging. Soon Steve had a multi-million dollar business on his hands, from a product that for 10 years he had been giving away for free.

Dude ranch. Cowboy. Steak. Buttermilk. Don't mind me, just settin' out some Google-bait.

Posted by Ted at 12:13 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Baseball Blog Meet

I talked about getting together at a minor league baseball game and got several responses from folks interested in meeting up. Most suggested a Saturday game to make getting around the metro area a bit simpler. Sounds like a plan to me.

So, the official word is: I and the family will be attending Potomac National's games on May 14th and June 25th for sure. They're both Saturday games with fireworks afterwards. We'll probably be seeing other games throughout the season too.

Leave comments or email me at Rocket Jones (one word) at gmail dot com.

Posted by Ted at 11:58 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

Royally pissed off, and I want to stay that way until after the phone call

Remember I wrote about "Bad Surprises"? Specifically, when our washing machine conked out and dumped an entire cycle of water onto the basement lake floor.

Oh, the joy continues.

Last night we discovered that when they delivered the new washer, the guys unplugged the freezer in the basement. We hadn't gone into the freezer since and only found it last night. We lost everything.

We called and raised hell. Sears is supposed to call back this morning. I faxed them an itemized list of all the food in the freezer.

Pissed off is an understatement right now. They have one chance to make it right. If they screw this up they'll have lost a lifelong customer.

Posted by Ted at 04:28 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

April 19, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI

Best of luck to him as he guides the Church through difficult times.

Posted by Ted at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

So over the top, but I couldn't stop laughing

Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes for pointing the way to this... I have no idea how to describe it, other than rude, crude and hilariously funny.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

Black Smoke?

I don't know much about the subject, but the only reason Pujols wasn't picked to be the top Cardinal right away has to be because of his age. Either that, or that bastard Rolen is campaigning behind his back.

Posted by Ted at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Banner Contest Reminder


Derek and Amy have already entered.

Posted by Ted at 05:07 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

April 18, 2005

Team America Rocketry Contest Finalists Named

From today's Aerospace Industry Association press release:

Teams Will Meet in Fly-Off May 21

Arlington, Va. – The stage is set for a fiery showdown of the top teams in the Team America Rocketry Challenge after AIA announced the 100 finalists Friday.

The teams will meet for a final fly-off on May 21 at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. for the title. It is the third year AIA and its partners are putting on the world’s largest model rocket contest. A list of the finalists is available at www.rocketcontest.org.

A total of 712 teams from 49 states and the District of Columbia – and even an American middle school in Germany – took part in the preliminary round of the competition. That represented close to 10,000 middle and high school students.

AIA President and CEO John W. Douglass said interest in the contest shows it is succeeding in reaching out to middle and high school students.

“We are excited to see the enthusiasm surrounding TARC and look forward to another great final day of competition,’’ Douglass said.

This year’s competition tasks students with launching a one- or two-stage rocket and having it fly for exactly 60 seconds. The payload of one or two raw eggs must return safely to the earth, and each flight receives a score according to performance and weighted for the number of stages and eggs. Teams had until last week to send in preliminary scores to see if they made the finals, which features schools from 28 states.

AIA created the contest two years ago as a one-time event to mark the 100th anniversary of flight, but overwhelming interest turned it into an annual event. The goal is to promote aerospace to students to attract more young people to careers in the industry. The contest is also sponsored by the National Association of Rocketry in partnership with NASA, the American Association of Physics Teachers and 34 AIA member companies. The winning teams share a prize pool of $60,000 in savings bonds and cash. NASA also provides top-performing teams with grants for students to build more advanced rockets and for teachers to attend workshops and meet space program engineers.

For more information about AIA’s Team America Rocketry Challenge, including details on how to sponsor a high school team and to apply for press credentials to attend the finals, visit www.rocketcontest.org.

Mookie and I will be attending again as volunteers. We've worked all three (they hold the finals at our home field), and it's fun and exciting to see the various ways that the student teams solve the challenging task they're given.

Spectators welcome.

Posted by Ted at 06:50 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

New and Improved!

It was only a matter of time:

"Each year, 15 million cases of bacterial food poisoning originate in U.S. home kitchens, resulting in nausea, diarrhea, fever, and even death," read a press release French's issued Monday. "Now, lunch doesn't have to endanger your health! All-new French's Antibacterial Mustard is the perfect way to add flavor to, and subtract harmful disease-causing bacteria from, your family's favorite meals!"

Coming to a television near you:

"Approximately 9,000 deaths per year are attributed to foodborne pathogens, and the most germ-filled location in the house is the kitchen," a woman says as computer-generated footage zooms in to show worm-like spirochete bacteria multiplying on a slice of bologna. "Normal mustards do nothing to combat the germs that begin forming on meats and cheeses as soon as they're taken out of the refrigerator. But an hour after spreading on our powerful French's Antibacterial Mustard, your lunch is still free of everything but zesty mustard taste!"

Not really. It's the Onion.

Posted by Ted at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

The Jamboree is over

Click here for Jamboree info!

The AHL season concludes today and playoffs begin shortly. Hopefully next year we can cheer for NHL teams once again.

Here's the list of players, thanks to all of you for playing:

Albany River Rats - Victor
Lowell Lock Monsters - Kin
Binghamton Senators - Dr Funk
Bridgeport Sound Tigers - Spork
Portland Pirates - Nic
Hershey Bears - Derek
Worcester IceCats - Heather
Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins - Catt
Cleveland Barons - Ted
Hamilton Bulldogs - Cindy
Manitoba Moose - Gir
Houston Aeros - Matt
Rochester Americans - GEBIV
Milwaukee Admirals - Brian J & Frinklin
Utah Grizzlies - Jenn

For those who don't know what this is all about, the simple rules are here.

If you didn't play this year, you're welcome to join us next year for the Third Annual Hockey Whoopass Jamboree. Not interested? What have you got against tradition?

Posted by Ted at 12:09 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

More new Munuvians. Yay!

Kitty Says
Pole Dancing In the Dark
American Warmonger
Alex In Wonderland
Weasel Manor

Hola and welcome.

Posted by Ted at 06:07 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinnnaaaahhhh!!!

This dish comes from a set of recipe cards called "My Great Recipes" that we got in the early 80's. Somewhere along the line, they were packed up and sent to the attic. Last year I found the cards and went through them, throwing away the ones I knew I'd never make. This one was a survivor. I made it this weekend as a side for roast chicken and it's really tasty and different for a rice dish. As given, this makes quite a bit, but the recipe is easily halved or even quartered.

Toasted Herb Rice

2 cups long grain rice
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
20 oz chicken or beef broth, boiling
1 1/2 cups water, boiling
6-8 green onions, chopped
4 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp dried tarragon or basil leaves

Put rice into an ovenproof casserole dish with a lid and place into a 325 degree oven. Roast for 20 minutes or until the rice is toasted and golden. Remove from the oven.
Add butter to the rice and stir until melted. Pour boiling broth and water over rice and stir.
Cover and return to the oven. Bake 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and rice is done.
Stir in the chopped green onions, soy sauce and herbs.

Serves 8.

If you're baking a chicken or roast at 350 degrees, this can still be done at the same time, just reduce the baking time and keep an eye on it.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Recipes

April 17, 2005

Quietly chanting "Die. Die. Die."

One of the things on our household "to do" list is to replace the dining room light. It's been on the list since the day we moved in fifteen years ago.

It's a nice enough looking light, all smoked glass and brass with those goofy bulbs that are shaped like candle flame, in fact it would be beautiful in a two-story home entryway or foyer where it could hang above everyone and cast it's gentle light upon the scene.

But in our dining room it's misplaced. It hangs too low. It's not centered in the room. It's not centered over the table. And on those occasions when the dining room table has been taken out (like for painting) I crack my skull on it repeatedly. I hate it for physical reasons. My wife hates it for ascetic. She just thinks it's ugly.

There are only two of the eight bulbs currently burning. I discovered a while back that my wife's plan was to let it die a slow lingering death, and when it finally goes dark it will be replaced by something newer, smaller, neater and easier to keep clean.

I joked that she's probably got the same plan for me. She didn't deny it.

Posted by Ted at 08:08 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Just beware the suck zone

Last time I'll mention this, I promise.

Right now I'm feeling like Rusty's bragging on me, "I am the *Extreme*, Baby. The. Extreme!"

The wireless network is up and running. Yesterday, amongst my other chores, I figured out MAC addressing (even better security) for the laptop, Mookie's PC (she went wireless because her wired connection went wonky) and even for Liz's iPaq!

Yes, I'm feeling rather pleased with myself. And I didn't sit in front of a monitor all day either. Yardwork got done, laundry is almost caught up and I cooked a pretty darned good roast chicken dinner (look for a new recipe in the next day or two). Met Mookie's new boyfriend too. He seems like a nice guy and the dogs like him, which says a lot. Sam has a nitwit detector that's so accurate that it's scary.

At the end of the day I was beat. I fell asleep halfway through Lon Chaney's Indestructable Man, but did see Phantom from 10,000 Leagues first. An excellent Saturday.

Posted by Ted at 06:47 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

April 16, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes

Over at the Countertop Chronicles. Bon Apetit!

Posted by Ted at 09:51 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Recipes

Meet George Jetson

I'm sitting here in the master bedroom, as physically far away as is possible to get from our new wireless router switch and still be in the house, getting used to this new laptop keyboard. Signal strength is good, wireless security is about half implemented (I still have to set specific MAC addressing, 128 bit encryption is in place. Major thanks to Victor, Rich, Stephen, Shank, and GEBIV for steering me to the know-how to do this the right way).

The new router switch has wired ports too. Maybe they all do, but when I saw that I did the happy dance because everything that was connected stays connected.

The other day for Liz's birthday I asked her over lunch what she wanted as a gift, and she kind of freaked when I offered her a choice of laptop of DVD burner.

The laptop solves a couple of problems for the family. Liz's embroidery machine uses input files that she stored on her PC in the living room, which meant she had to run up and down the stairs when doing her sewing. Big pain in the butt, metaphorically and physically, especially when her fibro is flaring up. With this new magic beastie, it sits on the desk next to her sewing table and everything she needs is right at hand.

I've also installed the Sims2 on it. I got it for Christmas, and then we realized that we didn't own a PC with enough horsepower to actually run the darn thing. I piddled around playing God for an hour last night. It looks like it could be fun.

It's going to be a beautiful day, so I'll close for now. There's yardwork and rocket fins to cut and laundry to catch up on (still). If you see me outside you might notice something different about me, a certain extra coolness (if that's even possible), because I have a laptop.

Well, I do when my wife lets me use it.

Posted by Ted at 07:04 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

April 15, 2005

Proud Papa

We got word today that Mookie was selected to attend Governor's School. She's one of only 200 kids from the state to be selected for the Humanities program.

She's bouncing off the walls at the moment, and even the thought of spending all of July in school and away from home doesn't faze her.

Posted by Ted at 09:34 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Family matters

What to do with that old PC you've got lying around

Wanna build your very own Windows web development server? Here's a tutorial on what you need and where to get it, and it looks like all the software is free.

Posted by Ted at 03:56 PM | Comments (0)
Category: SciTech

Then and then

From this American Bosch Arma advertisement (1959):

This nuclear-fueled reconnaissance craft is preparing to land on Mars' outermost satellite, Deimos— 12,500 miles away from the "red planet" (center) and 35 million miles away from the Earth.

Under the ad is the (I assume) title of the illustration: Mars Snooper.

The reason it caught my eye - other than it's a rocket - is that Estes used to produce a rocket kit known as the Mars Snooper, and it's remarkably similar and obviously based on the illustration. Cool.

Posted by Ted at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Rocketry

A Journey in Other Worlds

Nowadays, being rich means you become a celebrity, as if that were a career.

John Jacob Astor, the great-grandson of the famous fur trader and financier of the same name, was one of the wealthiest men on earth, with assets somewhere around $100 million (compared to J.P. Morgan, who had amassed a fortune of only $30 million). Astor was an inventor (of a bicycle brake, a storage battery, an internal combustion engine, a flying machine, a machine for removing surface dirt from roads, and an improved marine turbine engine) and also founder of the Astoria (later the Waldorf Astoria) Hotel in New York City. His pneumatic walkway invention won a prize at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and he was one of the first Americans to own a motor car. One of his dreams was to find a way to create rain by pumping warm air from the surface of the earth into the upper atmosphere. His fascination with science led him to begin writing his only novel, A Journey In Other Worlds when he was only 28 years old, and spent over two years writing it. He served in the Spanish-American War, and lost his life in the Titanic disaster, leading his wife to a lifeboat but returning himself to the sinking ship.

I'm almost through his book, and it's pretty fascinating. Besides the extrapolation of then-current science (most of which, understandably, is gotten badly wrong), the most interesting part is the difference in attitude and viewpoint compared to today. Piety vs Pragmatism runs as a theme throughout, and the main characters think and act as if the entire universe is already theirs in the ultimate extension of manifest destiny. Americans still possess that can-do spirit, although it's been softened somewhat over the last hundred years.

Astor’s novel, with descriptions of an antigravity device, aeroplanes, television and space travel was widely read and became a bestseller on publication in 1894. Set in the year 2000, the book is a futuristic novel of three utopias: a Christian heaven on Saturn; an Eden-like new world on Jupiter; and a technologically-oriented, businessman's paradise on Earth.

The writing isn't too terrible, and once in a while he really nails it.

"... they looked up at the sky. The Great Bear and the north star had exactly the same relation to each other as when seen from the earth, while the other constellations and the Milky Way looked identically as when they has so often gazed at them before, and some idea of the immensity of space was conveyed to them. Here was no change; though they had travelled three hundred and eighty million miles, there was no more perceptible difference than if they had not moved a foot."

For all we've accomplished, for all our collective greatness, we're still a humble speck in the grand scheme of things. It's good to be reminded of that once in a while.

Most of this came from here.

Posted by Ted at 05:26 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

April 14, 2005

Happy Birthday

To the love of my life.

See ya tomorrow.

Posted by Ted at 09:51 AM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs

April 13, 2005

Holy Koran - PDA version

Many formats (scroll down to find one compatible with your handheld).

While you're at it, this might interest you as well: Towards Understanding Islam.

I am a serious ebook junkie.

Posted by Ted at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Launch Report - 4/9/2005

Where: Great Meadow Equestrian Center, The Plains, Virginia
When: 9am – 6pm
Who: Northern Virginia Association of Rocketry (NOVAAR)
Weather: 60’s, variable gusty winds, sunny.

This was a two-day launch packed full of activities. In addition to flying several contest events, NOVAAR was handling TARC students making flights on the last weekend before qualification closed. Also, there were students from a high school physics class making flights, a scout group, a Junior ROTC group, plus a team from Oakton high school making final test flights for their NASA Student Launch Initiative flight (I supervised construction of their Aerotech I300 motor). All this going on while still managing plenty of just-for-fun launches, both model and high power.

The evening before I called Ken at Performance Hobbies and ordered some high power motors for delivery at the field. He arrived not long after I did and once he got set up I picked up my motors and got ready to fly.

1. Groove Tube Upscale - H165R-M - Beautiful boost (as usual) from this rocket. She coasted to an estimated 1500 feet before ejecting the 36” parachute right at apogee. I’d gone with an undersized chute – normal is 45”, I need a 40” – to minimize drift and she landed softly on the thick grass without damage. (takeoff photo here).

Since I planned to return on Sunday, that was the extent of my high power flying for the day. Everything else was from the Sport Range.

2. Pacifyer - D12-5 - This battleaxe shaped rocket always gets noticed. Beautiful boost and good altitude, she’s picked up a bit of spin since repairing a broken fin. Recovered nicely very close by.

3. YJ-218 - C6-7 (x2) - Arrow-straight boost for this dual-engined cluster and a perfect recovery.

4. Vampyre - A10-3T - This mini-engined ring-fin always surprises people by how fast it is. 3-2-1 and gone. I’m used to it and followed it all the way. Recovered undamaged on a streamer.

5. Zen Doggie - C6-7 (x3) - It’s been quite a while since I flew this rocket. Remembering that her last flight was a little squirrely (the fins are a tad undersized), I added some clay to the nose to increase stability and asked it to be announced as “heads up”. Only two of the three motors ignited. The delay was about two seconds too long due to missing one-third of the thrust during boost phase, but the climb was stable and she recovered nearby without damage. I’ve regained confidence in the design and I’ll start flying her again.

6. Sparrow Upscale - B6-6 - It doesn’t take much to boost this plain-jane rocket way up there, and the B6 did a nice job. She came down on one fin and slightly cracked it. Already repaired.

At 4:30 I took over as Range Safety Officer (countdown and button-pushing guy) and had a great time announcing and launching some fun flights, including some TARC qualifiers.

On Saturday night it became apparent that I wouldn’t be out flying on Sunday because I’d gotten so wrapped up in events that I never applied sunscreen and wound up with a severe and painful sunburn on my neck and ears. Since I do this every year on the first or second launch, you’d think I’d have learned better by now. Sheesh.

Posted by Ted at 12:26 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Rocketry

One track mind, apparently

Let's see, we've had unisexual lizards and modesty-protecting swimsuits, it must be time to step into the wayback machine for some ancient sex.

Archaeologist finds 'oldest porn statue'.

Over 7,000 years old, depicting a man and woman practicing the world's oldest intramural sport. They even named the male half of the statue, which is described as an 8 centimeter lower half of a man.

"This is such an interesting discovery," said Dr Sträuble, "as these figurines are not stylistic, but realistic.

8 centimeters? That ain't realistic around here, bucko.

Posted by Ted at 06:05 AM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

A little dressed is sexier than naked, but there are limits

View the latest fashions in Amish swimwear. Safe for work. Safe for the Vatican.

Forgot where I found this. Sorry.

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

April 12, 2005

SimTerror '05

I talked about this a few months ago, but it was postponed due to the tragic tsunami that swept through that part of the world.

It's going on now. Check out the unfolding events at Silent Running.

Posted by Ted at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Evolution in Action

The American Museum of Natural History website has an intriguing article up about the whiptail lizard, and how they avoid a problem that occurs among most species when cross-bred in nature.

Most products of crossbreeding, such as the mule, are sterile. But the New Mexico Whiptail, as well as several other all-female species of whiptail lizard, does reproduce, and all of its offspring are female. Moreover, it reproduces by parthenogenesis -- its eggs require no fertilization, and its offspring are exact and complete genetic duplicates of the mother.

The article is short but interesting, and makes me wonder anew at the workings of Mother Nature. Here, she's obviously used natural selection to solve a common problem, by eliminating the wet spot.

Posted by Ted at 04:16 PM | Comments (2)
Category: SciTech

Wanna be one of the cool kids?

The Spacemonkey has had an amazing response when he offered up Gmail invites for the asking. And since I'm nothing if not derivitive, I'll extend the same deal.

Leave a comment asking for a Gmail invite, and I'll send one to you. How's that for complicating your life?

Posted by Ted at 11:41 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Links

Boiling water is my only vulnerability, although drawn butter makes me uncomfortable

After watching The Incredibles this weekend (and as good as the movie is, the extras on the DVD are just wow), I've been tagged with my new super-hero name. Just call me Lobster Man, in honor of my sunburn.

Posted by Ted at 05:56 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Star Cards - 6

Someone was kind enough to scan and post a whole heap of Players Cigarette cards. This particular set of 85 cards is of Actresses, and were released during the late 1930's (from clues like "her latest film was...").

I'll post one of these every once in a while, with a couple of simple links to IMDB.com or a bio if I can find one. You might be surpirsed at some of the familiar names you'll see. The category is "Star Cards" (over on the right column), and you can click there at any time to see all that I've posted. Hope you enjoy.

(in the extended entry)

(click for superstar size)


Joan Crawford is one of the all-time greats of the silver screen. She won one Best Actress Oscar and was nominated for two others. Today she's perhaps best known as the subject of the tattlebomb Mommy Dearest.

"She's slept with every male star at MGM except Lassie." -- Bette Davis, referring to Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford started her career as a dancer and was discovered while dancing in a chorus line. She did a tap dance in Hollywood Revue of 1929, which was the first-ever tap dance to appear in a talkie. After appearing with Lon Chaney in a film, Joan Crawford was so impressed by his concentration and professionalism that she forever after credited him as being her inspiration to become a better actress. Despite her myriad quirks (she was almost phobic about cleanliness), she also had a heart of gold. She never forgot her humble beginnings and personally answered every fan letter she received, except for those from her college classmates who had teased her for coming from a poor family. When Carol Lombard died in a plane crash while doing a war bond tour, Ms. Crawford was asked to take over her role in They All Kissed the Bride. Joan Crawford then donated all of her salary to the Red Cross (who had found Lombard's body), and promptly fired her agent for taking his usual 10%.

She passed away in 1977 from cancer.

Posted by Ted at 05:21 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Star Cards

April 11, 2005

Astronomy Blog

Check out Tom's Astronomy Blog for news and bits about the science of looking up. Cool pictures too.

Posted by Ted at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaahhh!!!!

This one is quick to make, and it's Mookie-approved!

Apple-Pecan Cake

1 egg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped tart baking apple (I peeled and cored a largish Granny Smith)
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, beat the egg until light and airy.
Add the flour, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, salt and baking soda. Mix well.
Fold in the apples and pecans.
Pour mixture into a greased 8" pie plate.
Bake for 25 minutes (it should be well browned).

Best served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Serves 4 - 6.

Posted by Ted at 03:30 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Recipes

Goes Around Comes Around

Something I've found among rocketeers is the willingness to share equipment and knowledge. You need something? Ask the guy next to you, and chances are he'll gladly lend it to you, and if he doesn't have it, he'll point out someone who does.

That, more than anything, has impressed me since day one about this hobby.

Saturday was a perfect example. I had some parts that I no longer needed, but I knew that Bart, a good friend could make use of them. I also remembered talking to him about rail buttons, and mentioned that I had a bunch and would give him some to try. So I added those to the bag and found him talking to another club member, Mitch. Bart wanted to pay me for it, but I refused. Instead I asked for some advice.

My Level 2 rocket has been designed and I've collected all the parts except for the fins. I was going to use plywood, but more and more people were suggesting that I go with fiberglass sheet. I asked my friends what thickness they'd recommend considering the motor I was going to use. Mitch immediately said "use the thickness of the ones I'm going to give you for free right now," and he handed me three large sheets of G10 fiberglass. The stuff they make circuit boards out of. They're about 15" square, in pristine condition, and Mitch salvaged several hundred of them from his workplace when they started to throw them away. All in all, he gifted me with about $50.00 worth of fin material, along with instructions on how best to cut it into shape. He told me to consider it payment for giving Bart the rail buttons.

This kind of stuff happens all the time.

PS. Yep, I'm at home today. The sunburn is still bad enough that I can't wear a collared shirt, let alone a tie. I'll tough it out tomorrow, but for today I'm still slathered in aloe burn gel.

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

April 10, 2005

Lobster Ears

Man, I was an idiot yesterday. I had such a wonderful time at the rocket launch. Everything I flew worked to perfection, there were boy scouts and a high school physics class and junior ROTC and TARC rocket contest teams all over the place, in short, big fun the entire time. So much fun, in fact, that I never got around to putting on any sunscreen.

I am one hurtin' unit right now. I wore a ballcap to protect the ol' solar panel, but my ears and back of my neck are toasted to a screaming hot pink. I've got a nice little 'V' where my shirt was open too. Fortunately I'm prepared for this, because I'm stupid like this once a year or so, and I've got this soothing blue aloe gel that I've been coating myself in. Just going out into the sun in painful today, so no launch for me. Dammit.

Ted's Groove Tube - AT H165-M - Great Meadow

On the plus side, yesterday was excellent! I said that, didn't I? Oh well, a detailed report (like you care) will be coming in the next day or two, but for now, I'd like to show you a picture that was taken yesterday by a student from Oakton High school. His name is Enrique, and I understand that he's the official photographer for the school's SLI team.

What's SLI? That stands for NASA's Student Launch Initiative, and these young ladies and gentlemen are headed to Huntsville, Alabama to take part in it. They're the next generation of engineers that're going to take us to Mars and beyond.

Enjoy the picture, click for full size. The rocket is an upscale of the Centuri Groove Tube, which was a tube-finned kit from the 70's and 80's. My version is about five foot tall, is 2.6" in diameter, and it's taking off on an Aerotech H165 Redline motor. The intensity of the flame washes out in photographs, but it's bright screaming red (yes, sorta like my ears). This is an amazing photo, and Enrique did an excellent job capturing a difficult shot.

Posted by Ted at 01:00 PM | Comments (6)
Category: Rocketry

April 09, 2005

Rocket Launch

Today and tomorrow. Yay!

Supposed to be beautiful weather here, hope it's as nice where you live. Have a great weekend.

downscaled model rockets

About the picture: These are some downscaled models I built based on classic Estes kits from the 70's and 80's. They are (from left to right) Cherokee D, Big Bertha, Der Red Max, Alpha and Goblin. They're not all to the same scale. The Red Max (center) is just under 6" tall, and the brown cylinder next to it is a standard Estes rocket motor.

Posted by Ted at 07:32 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Rocketry

April 08, 2005

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

This week's collection of recipes is being hosted by Aussie Wife. Check it out!

Posted by Ted at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes

It's official

Nine out of ten doctors surveyed believed that a daily visit to Rocket Jones was good for stress relief. Doctor Kevorkian suggested a radically different approach.

Posted by Ted at 05:57 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

April 07, 2005


Not the TV series, and not the number of the greatest baseball player of all time (Willie Mays), but the number of a race car.

NASCAR's number 24 has a new prime sponsor: Bourdreaux's Butt Paste.

The driver is Kim Crosby. I don't follow NASCAR, is she the only female on the circuit? Anyways, it's like Stroker Ace come to life.

Thanks to McQ at Q&O for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 11:45 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Not to sound unfeeling, but... (updated)

I heard a commercial where AIDs was described as a "life challenging" condition.

Terminal. The word is "terminal". You get AIDs, you're gonna die from it. Eventually it's going to kill you. Coming up with yet another polite phrase to sugar coat reality isn't doing anyone any favors, it just degrades the message being communicated.

Update: From the comments and email, I've been reminded that more people die "with" than "from" diseases these days. While I understand the point and even agree with it somewhat, I think that our medical arts have advanced enough to prolong life despite whatever the terminal disease is. I'd guess that more HIV positive people die from pneumonia than from the actual AIDs itself, but that doesn't mean the AIDs didn't kill them, just that another complication facilitated by the AIDs was the final step.

People who succumb to cancer don't get that kind of consideration. And in the end, does it really matter?

Still, maybe "terminal" isn't the correct term to use. My objection (badly put it seems) was to the politically correct term "life challenging". The attempt to not offend anyone is vague enough to encompass everything after conception (or birth, depending on your viewpoint). I commuted to work this morning in the fog and rain on an interstate highway, that also fits the definition of life challenging.

Posted by Ted at 11:35 AM | Comments (7)
Category: Square Pegs

Recent Comment Spam Floods

It's been so bad the last couple of days, that Spork posted on it too.

Here's a relavant quote from the Tagline Archives:

Imagine standing at a street corner and spitting on people to get their attention, then trying to sell them something. Spamming is a better marketing method than that only in that you get punched less often. -- Esa A. Peuha

So true.

Posted by Ted at 06:11 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Purty Pitchers

We have entries in the Rocket Jones Banner Contest!

Go check 'em out (yep, it's another linkevent).

Derek, who names computers after dairy products.

Amy, who is flamboyantly and extravagantly carnivorous.

These are wonderful and I can't wait to see what you come up with. Yes, you.

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

We've been known to smoke it too

Lynn S posts this hilarious conversation between God and St. Francis.

Subject? Yardwork.

Yips to the Llamas for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 04:25 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links

April 06, 2005

50% Off!!!

I heard a commercial on the radio advertising half-off plastic surgery.

That's like "buy one tit, get the second tit free".

Posted by Ted at 08:33 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Square Pegs


I heard on the radio that 5,000 people are attending Johnny Cochran's funeral. That's impressive.

Then I heard that an estimated one million people have stood in line to view Pope John Paul II's body in state.

Posted by Ted at 04:10 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Happy 3rd!!!

Brian J. Noggle celebrated his 3rd blog anniversary yesterday.

Why aren't you a Munuvian?

Posted by Ted at 12:25 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Links


Kicks ass.

Posted by Ted at 06:12 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Links


MuNu and Rocket Jones got hammered last night by a flood of spam comments. What a pain.

Update: It's still going on.

Update 2: I finally remembered that I could block the IP. Doh! Oh well, mess cleaned up.

Posted by Ted at 06:00 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs


That's the official Munuvian greeting and expression of joy. Find a fiver on the ground? Yay! Your team is playing like they're unbeatable? Yay! Girlfriend comes home from a bachelorette party half-sloshed, horny as hell and arm in arm with her bisexual college roommate? Well, duh. Yay!

Like I said: expression of joy.

But it's also the official Munuvian greeting. So go visit these latest residents and if they've bothered to post something, leave 'em a Yay! in the comments.

Rhymes With Right
Something for the Weekend
Seven Inches of Sense
Stolen Beauty
View from the Pew
A Swift Kick and A Bandaid
Professor Chaos
Cal Tech Girl's World

Tell 'em Ted sent ya.

Posted by Ted at 05:10 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Links

Someone should be fired for thinking that one up

Around here, bus systems like to use the word "link" in their name. We've got OmniLink and MetroLink and who knows what else. Just south of here is the oldest continuously chartered town in Virginia, Dumfries.

What einstein thought Dumflink would be a good name for their bus service?

Posted by Ted at 04:39 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

April 05, 2005

Not Disabled Enough


Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin has been stripped of her title because pageant officials say she can stand — and point to a newspaper picture as proof.

Janeal Lee, who has muscular dystrophy and uses a scooter, was snapped by The Post-Crescent newspaper standing among her high school math students. The photo was not an expose.

Standing. Not walking or bowling or skating or running track, she was standing.

“I’ve been made to feel as if I can’t represent the disabled citizens of Wisconsin because I’m not disabled enough,” Lee said Thursday.

Well honey, your feelings are right on the mark, because that's *exactly* why they booted you. Count your blessings that you don't have to deal with those politically correct nitwits any more. Why do I say "politically correct"?

Candidates for the crown have to “mostly be seen in the public using their wheelchairs or scooters,” said Judy Hoit, Ms. Wheelchair America’s treasurer. “Otherwise you’ve got women who are in their wheelchairs all the time and they get offended if they see someone standing up. We can’t have title holders out there walking when they’re seen in the public.”

Yep, can't offend the real crips. You know, the ones who are disabled enough. And of course we all know who gets blamed for this farce:

Hackel said Lee should have been aware of the rules.

You knew it was coming. It's her own damn fault.

I wonder if Miss Black America ever got bounced because her skin wasn't dark enough?

Posted by Ted at 05:02 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Links


This has been sitting in my inbox for a few weeks now, not out of neglect or indifference, but because these posts are so damned hard to do. Even after all these years.

I wasn't "on the scene", but I was dealing with several wives who's husbands were. I had several airmen (generic term includes women too) who worked for me, there that day doing crowd and traffic control.

Gordon Tatro, who has generously shared his reconstruction and photographs of the aftermath, passes along this link to a new website posted by Roland Fuchs, a German gentleman who lost his wife and 5 year old daughter at the Ramstein Flugtag that day. Included on the site are photos of his family, the day itself, the actual crashes, and the monument and memorial that have since been erected to honor those who died. This photograph shows clearly the list of names of the Flugtag casualties, and underscores just how many young victims there were.

I still receive email and comments about Flugtag, and I'd like to thank Gordon, Roland and the many others who've shared their experiences from that day. May everyone find peace.

Posted by Ted at 04:19 PM | Comments (5)
Category: Flugtag '88

Turning two - a second time

Rand Simberg of Transterrestrial Musings provides pointers to these nifty sites:

Google Maps - in about 5 minutes I zoomed to a map of my street, and then with one click of a button got a fairly detailed satellite image.

Economics in One Lesson - the classic by Henry Hazlitt, now available online.

Posted by Ted at 12:36 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Geek wear for the aware geek

Courtesy of RocketForge, T-shirts showing the correct proposed plan for America's return to space.

I especially like this one. Now I need a RocketBabe to model it.

Posted by Ted at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
Category: Space Program

Turning the double play

Over at Frinklin Speaks, we're treated to two funny links:

Superman is a Dick

The Old Negro Space Program (a film not by Ken Burns)

Just what I needed this morning.

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

April 04, 2005

Bad Surprises

Tomorrow we dip into savings for a new washing machine. I ran a load this evening and when I went down to the basement to swap it into the dryer I found our entire bottom level a shallow puddle.

Judging from the black ooze that came out from under the washer and the fact that the agitator is frozen in place, I think the clutch or motor seized early on and the beastie just kept chugging through the wash/rinse/spin cycles, turning belts and bearings into so much sludge.

It took Mookie, Mom and I about a half hour to get the water up (thank goodness for heavy-duty carpet cleaners!) and reasonably dried out. Of course, our son managed to leave every blanket and sheet on his bed dangling onto the floor, save one. Oh frickin' well, looks like he'll be cold for a few nights. Maybe it'll teach him to pick his crap up like he's supposed to.

Probably what annoys me most is that it didn't start to smell like burning or make any odd sounds, so it had plenty of time to dump that entire cycle of water out onto the floor. Bah.

Posted by Ted at 09:26 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

Rice Cake?

This morning on the way to work I heard that song Short Skirt, Long Jacket by the group Cake. It's been quite a while since I've heard it, and this time, what came to mind was that photo of Condoleeza Rice in her duster and knee boots.

Oh, this explains it.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (3)
Category: Square Pegs

New Banner Contest

If you've visited Rocket Jones more than a couple of times you've noticed that the banner at the top of the page changes every week or so. It's nothing automatic, I just switch it when I think of it.

I also add new banners every once in a while, and they all go into my queue and make their way back to the top in time. Derek said it best, "you can never have too many banners." He's an artist, so consider that expert testimony.

Here's your chance to be creative. Design a banner for Rocket Jones. Drawing, painting, photography, simple, complex, I don't care. Enter as many as you'd like. Even if all you can do is stick figures, as long as it's done with charm, it's fine with me.

Sometime in the near future I'll put 'em all up and we'll have a vote on the favorite and I'll come up with some sort of actual prize, but probably all of them will make it into the banner rotation.

Guidelines are simple:

  • keep the width to about 500 pixels maximum

  • keep the height to about 300 - 325 pixels maximum

  • naughty is ok, vulgar is not

Other than that, well, wow me.

I've displayed several of the current Rocket Jones banners in the extended entry to give you an idea about what's already been done. I'd love to see entries unlike anything ever seen on b-b-b-broadway!*

*Reference for the hardcore Zappa fan.

My first banner, courtesy of Carl the artist.

mucho thanks to Carl for this cool logo

Santa, photoshopped heavily from a children's book cover.

The width makes me giggle, and yes it was intentional

Lost in Space.

Something wicked this way comes

French Doors.

redefining hospitality since 2003

Posted by Ted at 04:56 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

April 03, 2005

Rob is wise, you should listen to Rob

Rob said that Springtime doesn't officially come to DC until the manhole covers start to explode.

He's right.

Posted by Ted at 07:41 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Building a simple but unusual rocket

I’m going to show you how to turn an ordinary badminton birdie into a real launchable rocket. These are easy to make and bigtime fun to fly, plus they don't go so high that you'll lose it.

Best of all, they fly on Estes "mini" motors. You can find these in the toy department at WalMart, and a pack of four will cost around five bucks. You're going to need one to help you construct the rocket, so pick up a pack before you start. Look for motors labeled A10-3T or A3-4T, they'll be a little less than 3" long and about one half inch in diameter (pinky sized).

If you need more information about rocketry, check out my Rocketry archives, there's lots there, plus links to even more.

I'm going to assume that you have a launch pad and controller. The ones that come with Estes or Quest starter kits work fine. Starter sets are cheap, include everything you need and the value is very good.

And finally, just to prove I'm not a complete loon, here's the original plans for the birdie rocket as it originally appeared as an Estes rocket kit.

(in the extended entry)

Click on the pictures for Saturn V size

tools and materials

X-acto knife or razor blade
Circle template – I used an empty spice jar

Badminton Birdie (aka shuttlecock)
Thin cardboard (from a cereal box or soda 12-pack is perfect)
Cardboard tube (Estes BT-5, or make your own)
Soda straw
Yellow or white glue
Hot melt glue


Motor Mount Tube
The only real complicated step is right up front, and that's only if you have to make your own motor mount tube. I'll explain how, and then suggest a couple of super easy alternatives.

Cut a strip of thin cardboard (manilla file folder is ideal) 2.75" wide and about 4 or 5 inches long. Pre-curl it by running it over the edge of a table. Wrap it around one of the mini-motors, it should wrap two or three times. On the last wrap, squirt a little glue under the layer and use the rubber bands to hold things together while the glue dries. Be careful not to glue the motor inside the tube permanently, it has to be able to slide out. What you'll wind up with is a cardboard tube 2.75" long. Let it dry.

That's the hard way (and it's not all that hard to do). There are some easier ways to do it though. First off, you can buy that size tube from hobby shops and cut it to length, but a package contains 3 18" lengths, which is seriously oversupply for what you need (unless you're making a lot of these). If you go this route, look for Estes BT-5.

You can also buy a rocket kit and salvage the parts from it. Current Estes kits that use BT-5's are the Mosquito, Quark, and Swift. There are probably others, look for a rocket kit that uses the mini-motors (A10-3T, A3-4T, etc. - look for the "T" at the end of the motor designation).

Centering Ring

Using a template (I used a small empty jar), mark a circle on the cardboard. See the picture farther down to judge about how big a circle you need. Take your motor mount tube and use it to mark another circle centered inside the first.


Carefully cut out the inner circle with the X-acto knife, and then cut out the outer circle using scissors or the knife. Be careful, that knife is sharp! Take your time and make multiple light passes instead of trying to cut through the cardboard in one stroke.

Save that inner circle. We're going to use it in a moment.

Assemble the motor mount
Glue that inner circle into the very top of the motor mount. This makes a bulkhead that protects the birdie from the ejection charge of the motor.

When that has dried a bit, fit the centering ring into the bottom of the birdie and then slide the motor tube into place until the top end (with the bulkhead) touches the front of the birdie. Glue the motor tube to the centering ring with a bead of glue where they meet. Remove the centering ring from the birdie and do both sides of the centering ring/motor tube joint. Let it dry.


Aligning the launch lug
Next you need to place a hole in the centering ring that the launch rod will go through when it's on the pad. Line it up by using the rod and either punch the hole with a hole punch or drill it with the x-acto blade. If it looks like the rod won't pass through the cardboard and birdie smoothly (important!), take a short length of soda straw and glue it into place as a conduit for the rod to pass through.


Gluing it together
Run a bead of hot melt glue around the perimeter of the cardboard ring where it meets the birdie to join the two pieces together. That's it!

Launch Instructions
Put a motor into the motor tube and insert the igniter normally. Slide the rocket onto the pad by passing the launch rod through the straw or holes you made for that. Hook up the igniter to the controller wires, count down and launch.

When the ejection charge goes off, it will eject the motor out the back of the tube, which lightens the birdie enough to recover safely via drag or "featherweight" recovery.

To fly it again, just insert another motor and you're good to go.

Why it works
A badminton birdie stays stable because the rubber nose is heavily weighted compared to the rest of the body and the many holes (feathers) create enormous amounts of drag. These two factors combines keep the birdie flying nose first, but it also decelerates quickly when the thrust ends (either by striking with the racquet or by our rocket engine).

On recovery, the extreme amount of surface area compared to the light weight combine to keep the speeds low. It's the same principle as a whiffle ball, no matter how hard you throw it, the area/mass ratio means it'll slow almost instantly.

Now I'm kinda glad I didn't

A couple of months ago I had this killer idea for completely redesigning Rocket Jones for one day only - April Fools day. Apparently several others did too.

Fortunately, I got too busy to even make a start on it, so I don't look like some kind of predictable lemming.

Posted by Ted at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)
Category: Square Pegs

April 02, 2005

Plenty of scumbaggery to go around it seems

Via Sarah, I see where the poor saintly parents of Terri Schaivo have agreed to sell the list of names of everyone who supported their cause to a direct-mailing company.


Posted by Ted at 08:23 PM | Comments (4)
Category: Links

I see a new PC in my near future

Mookie came downstairs the other night while I was at my computer and said that my monitor was *really* blurry.

I hadn't noticed, but she's right. I think it's getting worse too.

Posted by Ted at 08:07 PM | Comments (2)
Category: Square Pegs

Funny Stuff, and now he's gone

Mitch Hedberg passed away. You can find more at The Ministry of Minor Perfidy, but for now I'll just leave you with some of his jokes that I shamelessly stole from the Ministry. They had me laughing out loud.

I got an ant farm. Them fellas didn’t grow shit.

Last week I helped my friend stay put. It’s a lot easier than helping someone move. I just went over to his house and made sure that he did not start to load shit into a truck.

I got my hair highlighted, because I felt some strands were more important than others.

I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn’t work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.

I want to be a race car passenger: just a guy who bugs the driver. “Say man, can I turn on the radio? You should slow down. Why do we gotta keep going in circles? Can I put my feet out the window? Boy, you really like Tide.”

I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument, because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap.

I type a 101 words a minute. But it’s in my own language.

I don’t have a girlfriend. But I do know a woman who’d be mad at me for saying that.

I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.

I was walking down the street with my friend and he said “I hear music.” As if there’s any other way to take it in.

At my hotel room, my friend came over and asked to use the phone. I said “Certainly.” He said “Do I need to dial 9?” I say “Yeah. Especially if it’s in the number. You can try four and five back to back real quick.”

My lucky number is four billion. That doesn’t come in real handy when you’re gambling. “Come on, four billion! Fuck. Seven. I need more dice.”

I love blackjack. But I’m not addicted to gambling. I’m addicted to sitting in a semi circle.

I don’t own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know, all the time.

I used to do drugs. I still do drugs. But I used to, too.

The thing about tennis is: no matter how much I play, I’ll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They’re fucking relentless.

I would imagine if you could understand Morse Code, a tap dancer would drive you crazy.

I went to the park and saw this kid flying a kite. The kid was really excited. I don’t know why, that’s what they’re supposed to do. Now if he had had a chair on the other end of that string, I would have been impressed.

Posted by Ted at 08:03 PM | Comments (1)
Category: Links

Gauging Interest

Our local minor league baseball team is the Prince William Cannons recently renamed Potomac Nationals (Carolina League - A level). My wife and I are planning on attending several evening games this season.

Would anyone be interested in attending a game as a group? They have Saturday night games with fireworks afterwards, and I believe we can get discounts and/or set up a picnic for groups of 20 or more.

If this sounds like something you'd like to do, leave a comment and/or drop me an email. If you'd just like to hook up for a game some evening, that'd be cool too.

Potomac Nationals home page
Map showing directions to the ballpark

Posted by Ted at 09:36 AM | Comments (5)
Category: Square Pegs

More hockey oddness

I know that I had a Hockey Whoopass Jamboree game yesterday, yet the AHL website comes up "not found". Guess I'll have to Google the results...

Ah yes, my Cleveland Barons whupped all over the Rochester Americans. This was the Barons' first win in seven tries this season against the Amercs.

Posted by Ted at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Square Pegs

Dali inspired sports equipment

Those crazy Buffalo Sabres are at it again, trying to save hockey by being all innovative. This time, they're proposing a rounded net that increases the target area by 13%.

rounded net

It's odd looking, and I'm not sure what I think of it. I like the idea of making it harder for a goalie to completely shut down the angle by hugging the post. But still, to my mind, why not just make the goalie pads smaller?

An observation about that picture: the goalie is an employee of the Sabres organization and to me appears to be a rather smallish man. Modern goalies are big tall guys who absolutely fill the net, so that illustration looks to be a little overstated about the effect of the change.

Posted by Ted at 09:05 AM | Comments (6)
Category: Square Pegs

To those who clicked that button yesterday

They didn't reach their goal at the comment-a-thon for Breast Cancer yesterday, but the important thing is the effort. Thanks everyone, it's appreciated.

Posted by Ted at 08:53 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Links

April 01, 2005

Today is the day

Please click on the pink button at the top right corner of this page. Go there and leave a comment. It's easy and it'll do some good, and this ol' world could use all the good we can dish out.

Pass the word too. This is a one-day comment-a-thon.


(this post will remain at the top of the page all day, scroll down for new postings)

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

Satan has Martha Stewart on speed dial

In 2000 an animated series aired for about three episodes before being yanked from the schedule due to intense pressure from religious groups.

Maybe you saw it. God, the Devil, and Bob.

God and the Devil

The premise is explained in a short clip at the start of every show. God is thinking that maybe he should start over, but being a benevolent God, he decides to let one person convince him that humanity is worth saving. In a sporting gesture, God lets the Devil pick the person.

Meet Bob. Bob works for a Detroit automaker. He is everyman. A family man with a young son and rebelious teen daughter. His wife is trying to go back to college and they're doing ok. Not great, but ok. Bob definitely has his human foibles.

As God puts it, "I wouldn't go making any long-term plans."

Except that Bob manages to convince God that humanity is worth saving, and the series goes from there.

This series is wonderful. Despite the objections from the fire-and-brimstone fundamentalists, God as depicted here is loving and mysterious and unfathomable and immediate.

Probably the single biggest objection was the way God is portrayed. Voiced by James Garner, God looks a lot like Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. If the circumstances call for it, God will wear a baseball cap and sunglasses. He's been known to hoist a beer on occasion.

Most of the time, God is only visible to Bob. And Bob is trying to wrap his mind around the consequences of being God's chosen one. At first Bob thinks his job is to be a prophet ("that's what prophets do: draw a crowd and shout at people"), and in one episode comes to believe that he's invincible. For a thrill he goes skydiving without a parachute. God shows up on the way down and disabuses him of that notion ("Bob, haven't you ever heard of dumb luck?"). God is not mocked, but organized religion is.

Not unexpectedly, some Christians were up in arms:

Another segment of the show was a direct attack on those preaching the gospel. Bob goes to a preacher, who is naked and smoking a cigar, while getting a massage from a blonde whose cleavage was ready to fall out of her dress. -- George Whitten, editor of Worthy News.

More correctly, Bob went to a televangelist from the God Network (the sign out front reads "formerly UPN" *snicker*) and pitched his idea for a new show about talking to God. Bob was thrown out when the televangelist found out his idea wasn't designed to make money. As for the massage, cleavage and money-grubbing TV preacher, well, that was about the most realistic part of the show as far as I'm concerned.

Now the third side to this triangle is the Devil (voiced by Alan Cumming), and he's a treat. His character makes me think of Felix Unger if he were played by David Niven, with a healthy dollop of wicked in the mix. God and the Devil are on speaking terms, and the relationship mostly seems to be the Devil scheming while God keeps half an eye on things.

The Devil tempts Bob mightily ("I'm Evil, Bob, it's what I do"). In one hilarious episode, Bob blows off the Devil once too often and the Devil retaliates by dating Bob's daughter. In another, the Devil decides to redecorate Hell and calls on Martha Stewart to manage the job. He gets distracted by something on Earth and she takes over for a while.

Satan's sidekick is a little demon named Smeck. He's the administrator of Hell and gets nervous when the Devil goes off on a tangent. He's happiest when the Devil is doing what he's supposed to be doing, namely, raising hell.

The idea behind the show was not to be disrespectful towards God and religion. There is a theologian listed in the credits, a Catholic priest I believe.

Still, I can see why this show had so many people upset. If you'd rather believe in the Old Testament God, then this depiction is not for you. On the other hand, the stories consistently show a strong family relationship that succeeds despite the very human flaws that we all possess.

God, the Devil, and Bob is available on a two-disk DVD set that has the entire (mostly unseen) first season. Well worth it if you can deal with the subject.

Posted by Ted at 09:12 PM | Comments (3)
Category: Cult Flicks


The bread machine has been getting a workout lately. I made my first loaf of rye the other day and everyone agrees that it's good but a tad too subtle. The next loaf will have more rye flour in the mix. Not that it seemed to matter, there was only one slice left this morning, and we're not a big bread-eatin' family.

Last night the house smelled of cinammon as some raisin bread baked. A thick slab of that toasted and slathered with butter made for a fine breakfast.

Bread machines. Another easy way to appreciate the simple things that make you happy.

Posted by Ted at 06:10 AM | Comments (8)
Category: Square Pegs

Carnival of the Recipes is up!

Over at Munuviana's own TexasBestGrok, JohnL has assembled a Heinlein quote-filled buffet for this week's Carnival.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Recipes
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