September 30, 2006

Very Tired yet oh-so-content

Big day around the ol' homestead.

I woke up from a nightmare at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep. I haven't done that in a long time, but dreaming that you're about to be ripped apart by a pack of wild dogs with no chance of escape kind of shakes one up, ya know? No biggie, because the alarm was set for 6am anyway. I had things to take care of before the cabinet guys showed up at eight.

Guess who *didn't* show up again today? If you said "[expletive deleted] electrician", then give yourself a cookie.

I made sure that the dogs were penned up out of the way and let the cabinet guys into the house. They were in for a long day, because they have to be done before Monday when the floors get done. As soon as they arrived I took off to run a couple errands, one of which was picking up some plumbing parts for a leaky sink drain upstairs.

When I got back, I found out that my neighbor Mike had called. We had sort of made plans to install a laundry tub in my basement today. He was ready to do it, so we headed out again, right back to the big generic hardware store and then to it's equally big generic hardware store competitor across the street. Before long I had purchased a sink, faucet, and more various plumbing bits.

Mike does this stuff for a living, so I was looking forward to learning something new. In just a few hours we had rerouted the washing machine drain, installed and plumbed the sink, tapped into the hot and cold lines and run new to the sink and relocated the washing machine. I also made another run to the hardware store for a length of copper pipe and also found the lint socks I needed.

The aforementioned lint socks were the reason for this whole exercise. Our basements have a floor drain but no sump, and every couple of years the drains clog from the lint that flows out of the washer with the rinse water. By routing the washer drain into the laundry sink, I could fasten a lint sock to the end of the hose and it would catch all that soggy fluff and keep my drain from clogging. The lint sock looks kind of like a chainmail condom (probably $15.95 from Adam & Eve), and attaches to the hose with a zip tie. After two loads of laundry, there is already visible crud that was captured. Every month or so I'll throw it out and put a new one on, they cost about a buck apiece.

I did make one more run to the hardware store for an extension length of washing machine drain hose.

The cabinet guys were here until 7pm, and one of them will be back tomorrow for a while to finish with the last couple base cabinets. I sent a bag of tomatoes and jalepenos home with them tonight. My neighbor Mike got a bag too.

In totally unrelated news, one of the dogs has horrible gas. We're talking EPA-alert caliber dog farts. We think it's the new dry food they're eating. The plan is to switch back to the old stuff and see if that helps, because I keep expecting guys in white hazard suits to burst into the house and start to decontaminate the whole area.

Part of my movie order arrived today! Expect some reviews in the near future. Cringing won't help, stop being such a wuss.

Posted by Ted at 09:04 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Poe in the modern day

Found in one of the bulletin boards I visit:

Once upon a midnight dreary,
while i pron surfed, weak and weary,
over many a strange and spurious site of ' hot xxx galore'.

While i clicked my fav'rite bookmark,
suddenly there came a warning,
and my heart was filled with mourning,
mourning for my dear amour,

"'Tis not possible!", i muttered,
"give me back my free hardcore!"
..... quoth the server, 404.

404, even more evil than 666 according to some.

Posted by Ted at 05:56 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Beautiful and Addicting

From annika, the Falling Sand Game.

Posted by Ted at 05:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 29, 2006

Old friends with new information

That's "old friend" as in, I've known Taz for a long time, not that Taz is old.

Looking at a new cell phone? This lady knows her stuff, and gives a thorough review of the LG Chocolate, the hottest thing on the market since the Razor's debut.

She also does a quickie comparison of several recently released cell phone models.

Posted by Ted at 08:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: Links SciTech

A Beautiful Day in the Dramahood

When yet another post about our kitchen renovation just doesn't seem worth the effort, I have to do nothing more than step out onto the front porch to be inspired.

The very beginnings of last night's thunderstorms were rolling in (the worst of it brushed by to our west, there were tornados north of us as well). I was taking out the trash and saw a couple neighbors standing outside. They filled me in on the fun-in-progress.

Seems that the guy living across the street was teaching his daughter/wife/girlfriend (unclear) how to drive. As she was coming down the street, she hit two parked cars. Hard. Hard enough to knock the bead of a truck's tire off the rim. As she tried to back out, she almost hit a couple more parked cars. By this time, someone had come running out of their house and was yelling that they'd better not move that car. The police were called.

Two large groups of people stood around under umbrellas in the rain for several hours, first waiting for the police to arrive, and then as each told their story. As the cops finally drove away, the groups glared at each other from opposite sides of the street. This may not be over.

PS. My phrasing "large groups" may sound odd, but is explained by the fact that both groups are hispanic. I've noticed that the homes in our neighborhood that are owned by hispanics tend to have a lot of people living there. That is merely an observation.

Posted by Ted at 05:32 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 28, 2006

National Statuary Hall Collection

Check this out.

The National Statuary Hall Collection in the United States Capitol is comprised of statues donated by individual states to honor persons notable in their history. The entire collection now consists of 100 statues contributed by 50 states. All fifty states have contributed two statues each.

Follow this link for a list of the pieces in the collection. The list has links for each person, giving their place in history and often some interesting details about the statue itself and the artists who did the work. For instance, Kamehameha I of Hawaii:

Gould was commissioned to create a statue of Kamehameha by the legislature of the Kingdom of Hawai'i and modeled the figure at his studio in Rome in 1879. It was cast in bronze at a Paris foundry in 1880 but was lost in a shipwreck on its way to Hawai'i. A second statue was cast from the same model and arrived safely; it was unveiled by Hawai'i's last king, Kalakaua, in 1883 in front of the Judiciary Building in Honolulu, where it still remains. The first statue was subsequently recovered and brought to Hawai'i; in 1912 it was placed at Kohala Court House in Kapa'au on the Island of Hawai'i, in Kamehameha's home district.

The statue in the Capitol was made from molds taken of the Honolulu statue.

If you like history, here's a nice online place to visit.

Posted by Ted at 06:02 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Links

As if his films weren't scary enough

According to his daughter, the late director Alfred Hitchcock's favorite movie was "Smokey and the Bandit".

Posted by Ted at 05:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

Renovation: No Electricians Were Strangled During the Writing of this Post

There are electrical wires dangling from holes in the walls and ceiling of our kitchen! Yay!

If bees leave curses, we are so screwed. More on that farther down, after the boring crap that you couldn't care less about.

Today most of the rough-in electrical work was accomplished. Of course, this means that the drywall crew will be here again tomorrow to patch all the various holes that must be cut when running wire. As a consequence, the cabinet installation will now start Friday and be finished Saturday, no matter how long it takes.

Bright and early tomorrow morning the electrician will arrive to finish up his bit on the main floor, and then descend to the basement level to swap out the main electrical panel. Wire has already been run for that, so it's a straight exchanging of parts that should take about four hours.

One interesting discovery was made by the electrician downstairs. He cut a couple of holes in the ceiling in order to run the wire to the panel, and over by the back wall of the house he discovered honeycomb. Old honeycomb.

Years ago, we had a bee problem where the little bombers were crawling into a crevice around one of the outside window frames, and into the wall itself. We'd have bees in the house all the time and couldn't figure out where they were coming from, until we finally we caught several emerging from behind some interior window moulding. I leaned down to look closer and my hand went through the drywall and into a beehive. They were as surprised as I was. We quickly blocked the hole by covering it with a large trash bag taped to the wall, and then plans were made. I started off by fogging the hell out of the opening of the hole, and then leaving the fogger on inside to get to as much of the space as possible. We closed it up again and repeated several times over the next day. As the bees left in a hurry, we found the spot on the outside frame that they were using to enter and I fogged that entrance too. Next I caulked that entrance up good and tight.

I wound up replacing a good two foot square of drywall where those bees had eaten the back away until it was damn near paper thin. When I cut the wall away, hundreds of dead bees fell out. No more problems after that.

So our walls are full of old honeycomb and thousands of mummified bee corpses. Lets just hope that we don't have the insect equivalent of those WWII Japanese island soldiers still living in there, waiting for their chance to get even.

Posted by Ted at 05:15 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 27, 2006

Find Peace, Iva Toguri

Iva Toguri, age 90, passed away yesterday. You've heard of "Tokyo Rose", now read the tragic story of the woman falsely convicted of being an American traitor.

Thank you Q&O for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 06:59 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack
Category: History

One hand clapping

Have you ever imagined a world without hypothetical situations?

Posted by Ted at 05:22 AM | Comments (50) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Renovation: Vocabulary building edition

Let's play a word game! I'll give you four words and four people. You can match them up. What fun!

1. Livid.
2. Enraged.
3. Bewildered.
4. Missing.

A. Wife.
B. Prime Contractor.
C. Electrical Contractor Dispatcher.
D. [Expletive Deleted] Electrician.

Lots of work done yesterday. None of it involved electricity in any fundamental way.

The kitchen, dining room and bathroom drywall is finished. The kitchen and dining room are now painted (except the trim). The floor is fixed where the old walls were and the heat/air vent is relocated.

Everyone is waiting on the electrician now. Nobody knows why they didn't show up yesterday, not even their boss. Cabinet and appliance installation has been delayed by a day, and will now take place Thursday, Friday (and Saturday if needed).

Liz raised hell with the appliance people. Our refrigerator was backordered and so I set up the delivery date for just that on October 10th. When Liz called to confirm that everything else would be delivered yesterday, they told her that the fridge wouldn't be available until later in the month. We just gave away our old fridge to one of the construction crew, so this wasn't acceptable. After dealing with Liz for a while, they magically "found" a refrigerator in their warehouse for us. Same model, same options, same style. They even delivered it yesterday with the rest of our stuff.

I wonder if someone else is wondering where their fridge is. It's probably bad juju on me, but right now I don't care.

All the cabinets were delivered and are now stacked all over the living room. Installation must wait for the [expletive deleted] electrician. The dining room is full of shiny new appliances.

I'm trying to keep a good humor about this, because really, it hasn't been too awful bad. If this goes on another day though...

Posted by Ted at 05:05 AM | Comments (422) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 26, 2006

Renovation: Much promised, some delivered

On Saturday Liz and I went out to the prime contractor's showroom to pick out a nice piece of granite for the bathroom vanity. While we were there, we discussed the upcoming schedule and changes caused by the [expletive deleted] electrician and our floor fiasco.

On Sunday the new floor guy came out and took measurements and gave us an estimate. The estimate was within our budget, enough so that we were able to replace *all* the carpeting in the house instead of just the main floor and one stairway. They can't do the kitchen/dining room/bathroom/foyer install on Friday like we were hoping for, but the crew will be out Saturday and finish up on Monday. Carpet will be done in a couple few weeks.

The [expletive deleted] electrician didn't show up again today. Turns out he called in sick and nobody bothered to let us or the general contractor know. So tomorrow (hopefully) the electrical work on the main floor will be done and on Wednesday the main panel gets switched out.

Today was more drywall work. The drain pipes in that wall got re-routed. The bathroom floor was taken up and the existing vanity removed. Partly because the schedule is slipping and partly to save a few hundred bucks, we gave the go-ahead to just paint the kitchen and dining room walls white instead of the blues we had picked out.

I patched nail holes in the stairwell heading to the basement, and will probably start in on the ceilings tomorrow in the stairway, hall and living room.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day all around. The cabinets get delivered (but have to be set in the dining room while the [expletive deleted] electrician does his thing. Which is going to cause the drywall guys to have to re-do some of their work, which means the painters will have to re-do some of *their* work. The appliances are due tomorrow too.

There's a reason why you hire a general contractor to deal with the individual tradesmen, and this is it. We're staying on top of things, and every time we talk to the general contractor we have a list of questions and issues. But this guy is paid to deal with the scheduling crap that happens with every project, and as far as I'm concerned he's worth every penny (and he's earning it too!).

I wish it wasn't happening, but it is kind of reassuring to see the pros go through the same kind of unexpected project futz that we do-it-yourself'ers do. There's nothing more annoying than getting into the middle of something, and then having to run back to the hardware store to pick up a part that you didn't know about or expect to need.

I'll keep blogging the renovation progress, as much for us to look back at in the future as for you to be enthralled over. Heh, right.

Posted by Ted at 05:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 25, 2006

A Gift for Gift Giving

Of the members of our family, I am, without a doubt, the worst gift-giver. It's not that I don't try or don't care, I just don't seem to have the knack for picking presents that make the recipient go "wow".

Mookie, on the other hand, approaches genius when it comes to giving gifts, at least when it comes to presents for papa.

For my birthday two years ago she bought me a much coveted hybrid rocket motor.

When Mookie went to London this spring, she brought back little presents for everyone, and mine was The British Museum "Little Book of Erotica". It's a digest sized look at naughtyness through history, from the first acknowleged sculpture of "doing it" (11,000BC!) up to Chinese pottery from the 19th century. An excellent gift, and it had the added bonus of shocking her friends when they found out she bought it for dad.

Also from London, she found a man who researched family crests. With some family history to help the search (a Commodore Phipps in the British Navy from the days of sail), they were able to track down which crest belonged to my particular branch of the Phipps family. Then she had a plaque made with the crest on it for Father's Day. It's still in the box, waiting for renovations to complete before being hung on the wall (click for bigger).


For my birthday this year, a small box arrived. When I opened it, this is what I saw:


I knew this was going to be good! You gotta love a company that can put a little whimsy into a surprise. Here's a close up of that little beastie:


And what kind of coolness did Rachael manage this time? Check it out.


It's a pen. It's a rocket. It's a rocket pen. And it launches from the pad. Too cool!

I'd suggest that y'all be very very nice to Mookie from now on, just in case she has occasion to buy you a present.

Posted by Ted at 05:53 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack
Category: Family matters

Low Key, but High Hopes

I haven't seen much buzz about this, but did you realize that Bigelow Aerospace is on the way to establishing a privately funded manned space station by 2010?

Two years after that, expansion will allow for nine space tourists at a time.

The idea is to create a destination, and then let the transportation sort itself out once they have some place to go.

So who are these guys with the big plans? I've talked about them before here and linked to another RocketForge story here. Bigelow Aerospace put up the entire $50,000,000 prize for the next commercial space contest, and one of the requirements is to win by January, 2010. A little added incentive (if you can call fifty million dollars little) to spur those private space companies along.

Again, it's not commonly known, but in July Bigelow launched Genesis I aboard a Russian rocket. Genesis I went into orbit, successfully inflated (remember, balloons in space), and is busy relaying data back to earth. These guys don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk.

Commercial space. It's coming. Soon.

Posted by Ted at 04:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Space Program

September 24, 2006

Muse Strikes

It seems that once again, I have been inspired by one of the lovely ladies of the blogosphere. Yet truth be told gentlemen, when are we not?

Hmmm... reread that last. Apparently Velociman has his hand in the ol' inspirational link as well.

Back on point:

The friars made extra money for the monestary by growing beautiful flowers to sell.

They also grew man-eating plants to protect their gardens.

One day, some village children strayed too close to the gardens and were eaten by the man-eating plants. The outraged villagers confronted the friars and demanded that the man-eating plants be destroyed. The friars refused.

The villagers went and got Hugh. Now Hugh was the village blacksmith, and the biggest and strongest man in the village.

Hugh went to the monestary, destroyed the man-eating plants and chased the friars out of town.

Moral of the story: Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.

Groan elsewhere.

Posted by Ted at 08:30 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 23, 2006

Look at all the cute bunny rabbits

If there was any question as to whether Rachael was truly my child, this link should dispell all doubts. Bunnies committing suicide.


What makes it even better is that she sent that link to her mom, who passed it on to me. There are a lot of 'em, go check it out.

Update: Mad William Flint offers up the Amazon link to the first bunny suicide book.

Posted by Ted at 04:45 PM | Comments (2304) | TrackBack
Category: Links

What else would you call it?

Liz was telling me about this television commercial selling a swivel seat that fits in your car (something like this). It's a great idea for the elderly or handicapped people who can't easily swing in and out of a car seat. I mentioned "captain's chairs" and she explained that what she saw is a cushion that sits on the regular seat, and only the cushion pivots, not the whole car seat.

There's only one thing you could call it: the "Lazy Ass Susan".

Posted by Ted at 04:22 PM | Comments (925) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Renovation: Day 2 Progress

I don't have the camera handy, but the pictures aren't all that interesting so I don't want to hear a bunch of clamoring and whining.

Every project has unexpected glitches and gotchas, and day 2 was our day full. For progress, drywall was put up to cover the places where the ceiling and wall used to be, the pantry entrance was opened up, and the dining room carpet was removed. Also, work sorta started in the bathroom in that the medicine cabinet was carefully removed. I'll be recycling that to the other bathroom, because it's in better shape than the one upstairs.

As for the problems, most of them are minor, and all are already dealt with. The electrician goofed up his schedule and couldn't come out on Thursday and Friday as planned. He'll be here Monday to get started by replacing the main panel for the house.

The plan for those two drain pipes in the pantry entrance wall is even better than the one I expected. They're going to lower the joint to almost floor level and reroute both pipes back flush to the main wall. They'll still protrude, but not very much, and the cabinets can be modified to hide them.

The biggest problem was with the guy we were working with to do the floors. He screwed up big time. He lost all of our paperwork, so not only doesn't he know what we picked out, but none of it got ordered. The estimates and orders all happened a few months ago, and what with the packing up the main floor, we can't find our copies either. On top of that, he suddenly can't meet our schedule. Very unprofessional.

Last night Liz and I went to his place of business to straighten things out. He wasn't there and couldn't be located (out on a call - "somewhere"), and his clerk was the singularly most unhelpful person I've ever dealt with. We walked out and went looking for an alternative.

We did find one. We found equivalents to what we wanted from the other place. The guy will be coming out Sunday morning to do the measurements and give us the estimates. He *might* be able to do our schedule (ideally, kitchen floor installation happens next Friday), but because this is so last minute we'll understand if it can't happen right then. Carpets will get done in a few weeks.

Cabinets get installed starting Tuesday, and appliances show up then too (except for the fridge, which will show up two weeks later - backordered). Countertop templates happen on Thursday, floor on Friday (fingers crossed) and that's all written in sand.

We're making progress, and this is the normal kind of scheduling problems that I expected, so we're not stressing too much about it. In fact, every time we run across one of these little speedbumps, we just look at each other, grin from ear to ear and say, "we're getting a new kitchen!"

Posted by Ted at 04:46 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 22, 2006

Another ebook resource

Elegant Solutions Software and Publishing Company (ESSPC) has a fine collection of free ebooks available for downloading to your PDA.

This week's feature on their main page is Inaugural Addresses Of The Presidents Of The United States From George Washington To George W. Bush.

January 20, 2005. George W. Bush has just delivered his second inaugural address to the nation and the world. As soon as it was made available we captured it and included it in this book. Here in one volume are the inaugural address of the presidents of the United States. Presented in chronological order they are a living reminder of those men who have lead this nation in times of peace and war. In times of prosperity and want. In good times and bad. Their words reflect the spirit of the nation over the past two centuries and the beginnings of the third. This is a reissue on January 20, 2001, Inauguration Day, with the inclusion of the second Inaugural Address of George Walker Bush.

They also offer every ebook in their collection (over 500 titles) on one CD-ROM for $7.95 (that's to cover shipping and handling). That's a heckuva deal.

In the non-fiction section, I found lots of Dickens, Kipling, H.G. Wells, Verne and Edgar Rice Burroughs plus much more. I haven't finished exploring all they have to offer, but so far, so great!

Update: Wow, this keeps getting better and better! In the history section I found The Federalist Papers and the personal memiors of Generals Grant and Sheridan.

Posted by Ted at 05:44 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Links PDA Reviews

September 21, 2006

Renovation: Day 1 Progress

These guys ain't fooling around. I got home from work to find all the cabinets out and gone, the wallpaper stripped, walls removed and kitchen floor taken up.

Where the peninsula and soffet *used* to be

I told you that the cabinets there were going into the basement. Thanks to our prep work clearing the move path, those cabinets were in the basement less than half an hour after they started.

Looking into the pantry

The dining room carpet is still there, and as you can see that little odd pantry opening is still there. Like all renovations, you always run into something unexpected, and this one is ours (if this is the only one then we're getting off lucky). There are two drain pipes in that odd little wall that nobody knew were there. If building codes allow, I expect that they'll lower the pipe joint about six inches to fit beneath the countertop height and fit the cabinets around it. That's my guess anyway, we'll see what the experts come up with.

For all the progress made, the room (and house) is remarkably clean, almost as if they vacuumed and dusted afterwards.

Posted by Ted at 07:14 PM | Comments (146) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Not really funny, but...

After years of hearing the radical vegetarians telling us that red meat will kill you, I wonder how many see the irony of bad spinach knocking off a few folks.

Posted by Ted at 12:07 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

I thought they were supposed to be evil?

WalMart testing program to sell generic drugs for $4.00 for a 30 day supply.

Those poor people in Detroit will have to head for the 'burbs to save money. Good thing the city council is looking out for them, eh?

Posted by Ted at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Some things that are...

...just plain wrong.

Posted by Ted at 05:55 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack
Category: Links


I'm going to show just the last line of this link-filled post over at Jawa Report, about a massive supernova detected in February. Go. Read.

...had GRB 060218 happened in our galaxy, life on Earth would have ended Feb. 18.

I feel very very small and very very vulnerable.

Posted by Ted at 04:58 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Links SciTech

September 20, 2006

Renovation: And so it begins

After months of planning, our renovation began today. Last night we finished moving the last of the kitchen/dining room stuff out.

Here are the "before" pictures, pop-up style.

Kitchen side

Dining Room side

This peninsula of cabinets shown in these first two pictures creates a pass-through bar between the two rooms. It's outta here. The floor cabinets and countertop are going into the basement to replace a couple of old card tables that we've used forever for folding laundry. You'll notice the square holes in the soffet, those were cut by the contractors to see what was inside the wall before finalizing plans to remove it.

Kitchen from the pantry

Here's a shot down the length of the kitchen from the pantry. The fridge will be moved so that it'll be directly to your right from where this picture is taken.


In most houses with our floor plan, this room is a big ass pantry. The previous owner did this to the doorway and put a small built-in table and benches for a nook for his kids to eat. They had three sets of twins, so they needed the space. We converted it back into an open pantry as shown here.

The plan is to completely open it up so that there's no "doorway" left. The new cabinets will extend into the space and around the back wall, creating a butler's pantry. Lots of countertop space for things like the food processor and bread machine too. The fridge will be sitting to the left of the opening, with a new cabinet next to it.

I took more pictures this evening of the first day's progress. I'll post 'em tomorrow night.

Posted by Ted at 09:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs


It is claimed that Westerners do not respect nor understand Islam.

Right back at'cha, assholes.

Thanks to Triticale for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 10:24 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Links


Happy Birthday Pixy Misa!

Thank you for everything you do for us Munuvians.

Posted by Ted at 05:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Links


A co-worker recently returned from an Alaskan vacation and has posted his photos online (ignore the sign-in). He's a much better photographer than I, and the scenery is spectacular!

In a similar vein, Chris Hall did one of his motorcycle excursions, this time to the Gila National Forest in New Mexico. This is rugged, beautiful terrain, and Chris shares a lot of great pictures of his trip.

He does the same thing with a trip through the Santa Fe National Forest.

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

September 19, 2006

Now you've gone and riled him up

Actually, I get the same way when I see a Patrick Swayze movie.
Bub: Official Undead of Rocket Jones

Posted by Ted at 07:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

You might not care, but now you know

The US Department of State offers RSS feeds, podcasts and listservs you can sign up for.

Posted by Ted at 11:48 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Box Hockey

Google is linking to an old Rocket Jones page about building your own Box Hockey, a page without links to the other parts of the series.

Box Hockey, part 1.

Box Hockey, part 2.

Box Hockey, part 3.

Box Hockey, part 4.

Posted by Ted at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)
Category: Build It

I'd say there's a link

On the radio this morning, I heard about a new CNN/Money magazine poll that measured the "smartest" cities in the US. Washington DC came in at number four, based on the percentage of degrees and the number of colleges and universities in the area (45% bachelors and 34). There's a lot of talent involved with government (yes, there is. Be nice.)

Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina came in at number 3. San Fransisco is number 2 and Seattle is number 1.

I don't know about Raleigh, but it doesn't surprise me that the two biggest moonbat concentrations are products of our esteemed institutions of higher learning. They keep telling the rest of us how much smarter they are, and we're just too dumb to realize it.

Explain to me again why it's bad that North Korea can reach the west coast with their missiles?

Posted by Ted at 05:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Dear BillyJoeJimBob

On this morning's commute, I was dazzled (literally!) by the stunning number of lights on your pickup truck. Headlights, foglamps, lightbar across the roll cage, corner markers, and others too numerous to count.

And as you drove down the road, each of these lights pointed in a different direction, making your vehicle look like a 70's-style disco ball on wheels. Your lane was illuminated. The lane on either side of you was illuminated. The shoulder of the road was lit up. You shined into my rear view mirror. Heck, you shined into mirrors two lanes over.

Maybe that was your intention. Maybe you spent time carefully adjusting each and every light for maximum coverage, so that everywhere you drove, you were enveloped in a giant ball of blinding glare.

I think though, that the simpler explanation is probably true. You're just an idiot.

Posted by Ted at 04:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 18, 2006

"Nobody puts Baby in a corner!"

The irrepressible Dogette muses upon the cult classic Dirty Dancing (full disclosure: I didn't see it in the theater, but I own copies on VHS *and* DVD). Specifically, she wonders about how useful it would be in various movie situations it would be to throw out that infamous Swayze line in the title above.

Being somewhat irrepressible myself (in that annoying, get-the-hell-away-from-me sense, not the cute and lovable hijinx-pulling sense), I decided to run with the idea.

What would HBO's Deadwood be like if we inserted that line?

Seth: Any more gunplay gets answered. You call the law in Sampson, you don't get to call it off just cause you're liquored up and popular on payday.

Patrick: Nobody puts Baby on a shelf!

Hmmm... not bad. Let's try another one.

Al: God rest the souls of that poor family... and pussy's half price for the next 15 minutes.

Patrick: Nobody puts Baby on a shelf!

Somehow I just don't see the piano player in the saloon breaking out Righteous Brothers tunes.

Let's move on to the video game genre. How about Grand Theft Auto?

Snake: Yo, homes. I'm gonna bust a cap all over your ass.

Patrick: Nobody puts Baby on a shelf!

Nope. That doesn't work either. I think Dogette is on to something here. Just what is open to interpretation, but I've managed to wring a post out of it, so I'm satisfied.

Posted by Ted at 05:03 AM | Comments (87) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 17, 2006

("Bell" - "bee" + "aitch") + ("Nose" - "ess ee")

The Return of Nog Watch.

Me: You know, I was thinking...

Wife: Uh oh.

Me: Well, we're getting a new refrigerator, and I thought that it would be the perfect chance to resurrect Nog Watch.

Wife: No.

Me: It was one of the most popular Rocket Jones features.

Wife: No.

Me: Think abo--

Wife: No.

Sorry. I tried.

Posted by Ted at 07:49 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

September 14, 2006

Digging through the attic

Here's an animated US history lesson that I linked to back in September of 2003. It's still cool.

Posted by Ted at 06:16 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: History Links

More about the Hobbit House

Late last year I mentioned that my best friend owned a resort bar in the Philippines called The Hobbit House. The place is staffed by midgets.

A co-worker pointed me towards a blog entry that talks about the former manager of The Hobbit House. Perry Berry is a man short in stature, but giant in spirit.

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Category: Links

September 13, 2006

Pentagon - 9/11/06

Beautiful photo of the tribute I mentioned here.

Pentagon - 091106

Click for wallpaper size.

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Category: Countdown to 9/11

Danged Colonialist Expansion

Did you realize that there are now four satellites orbiting Mars, in addition to the two rovers that are still chugging along on the surface?

The most powerful spacecraft ever sent to Mars has settled into a nearly circular orbit, a move that allows scientists to begin studying the planet in unprecedented detail, NASA said Tuesday.

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter fired its thrusters for 12 minutes Monday to adjust to its final position six months after it arrived at the planet. Its altitude ranges between 155 to 196 miles above the surface.

Kick. Ass.

Posted by Ted at 11:49 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack
Category: Space Program

Ansari Blog

Anousheh Ansari is the first woman to purchase a commercial ticket to space with the Russians. If the name sounds familiar, it's because her family sponsored the Ansari X-Prize for commercial access to space which was won by Burt Rutan's SpaceShipOne.

She's blogging her trip into space.

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 05:53 AM | Comments (2)
Category: Space Program

Not True!

Liz calls my PDA the iPorn.

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Category: Square Pegs

September 12, 2006

27-zip ?!?!?!

The Oakland Raiders got stomped by the San Diego Chargers last night. After watching that pathetic performance, I'm trying to figure out the best spin for it. Should the Raiders claim that they're coming off a bye week or that their season starts next Sunday?

Posted by Ted at 05:11 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Fair is Fair

There's a political ad playing on the radio where someone is writing to their local congresscritter about American factory jobs moving overseas. You know the kind, where you hear a keyboard tapping while the "citizen" reads his words aloud as he types.

In this one, they want a representative who will "demand" that China, India, and a couple of other countries all stop subsidizing their industries in order to steal American jobs.

Maybe as a good faith gesture, we should close all those Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and Volkswagen manufacturing plants in the US. After all, we're stealing jobs from their workers.

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

Out of Context Scare Quote of the day Yesterday

A type of root rot is infecting Christmas Tree farms in the mid-Atlantic, the same one that has been plauging American Chestnut trees.

According to the story, the culprit is a mold that affects over 900 species of plant life around the world.

Interesting story, right up until the end, where they close with this quote:

"It is a case of mankind unwittingly changing his environment for the worse."

That was said by one of the tree farmers who is dealing with the mold. Did man spread this mold by transplanting trees? It *is* described as "world wide". Or did man somehow create the mold? There's no way to tell from the story because there is nothing to indicate that this problem is anything other than mother nature being herself. It's always safe to blame mankind though.

Posted by Ted at 04:50 AM | Comments (30) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 11, 2006

184 Beams of Light

The Pentagon has illuminated 184 beams from its courtyard, one for each person killed there on 9/11/2001. I was fortunate enough to see it early this morning as I drove by on my commute. Instead of all pointing straight up, they are arranged to shine at various angles. I couldn't discern any real pattern, but much of my attention was on the road and traffic, which was heavier than usual for an early Monday morning.

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Category: Countdown to 9/11

Exhibit 13

Have you seen the Blue Man Group's short film about 9/11?

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Category: Countdown to 9/11 Links

Looking Back

Here's a link to the Rocket Jones 9/11 archives. I think they're worth checking out, if just to glimpse the mood of the country over the last five years.

Posted by Ted at 03:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Countdown to 9/11

September 10, 2006

William E. Wilson - A 2996 Tribute


I don't remember where I first read about Project 2996, but I signed up immediately. I have the honor of writing this tribute to William E. Wilson.


I didn't personally know William, but I've spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks researching him and looking for clues about the man and his life. Details are sparse, but I do know that he was working at the World Trade Center on 9/11.

He was a marine insurance broker for Aon Corporation, and I believe he worked in Tower 2. Aon Corp occupied all of floors 98 to 105, as well as the 92nd floor. Aon had about 1,100 people in that building, and 176 of them died on that day.

William was 55 years old (58 according to some accounts), and his home was listed as the city itself. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a city like New York, or to work in a building like the WTC.

I've read that he played golf, and to celebrate his 50th birthday he and his wife went on a golf cruise, where every day they would play a round of golf on a different island.

If William was a "turn the other cheek" kind of guy, I'd hope that he would understand the smouldering rage that I have for the perpetrators and conspirators of that vile attack. Like so many others that day, William E. Wilson was randomly murdered for reasons that only the uncivilized or insane might understand.

William, you've been in my thoughts a lot lately, as has your family. May you rest in peace, and may your family find peace as well.

Update: Be sure to visit Dawson's Danube, and his excellent tribute. Bill also drew William Wilson on the second go-round, and managed to uncover much more information about the man than I was able to.

Posted by Ted at 05:17 PM | Comments (1106) | TrackBack
Category: Countdown to 9/11

September 09, 2006


In 1958, the movie Hercules was released in Italy, starring American body builder Steve Reeves. This started a phenomenom of similar movies over the next five or six years, when dozens of gladiator, biblical and mythological movies were made. The wave continued until the advent of the spaghetti western.

These films are collectively referred to as "sword-and-sandal" or even as spaghetti-sword-and sandal. From Wikipedia:

Another name for the genre is peplum, from a Latin word for a sort of tunic that was easy to make and favoured by the costume departments for these films.

Hercules was only one popular figure in these movies. Ulysses, Jason (of argonaut fame), Samson, Goliath, and the ubiquitous Maciste were also common heroes. A lot of these movies were eventually (poorly) dubbed into english and released on American television, becoming a staple of weekend afternoon movie features.

I've had the chance to watch several Hercules movies over the last couple of weeks, and I thought that rather than doing straight movie reviews, I'd look at them through a comparison of the various actors playing Hercules.

One thing I did notice was that the best part about being Hercules is that evil queens automatically get the hots for you.

Steve Reeves was the first and best Hercules. I did a biography on him here.

The Reeves movie I watched for this review was Hercules Unchained, and it was a lot of fun (as these all are). Two brothers are vying for the throne of Thebes, and Hercules is enlisted to set up a peaceful transfer of power. One brother is insane, the other is a perpetual whiner, and in the middle of these touchy negotiations Hercules is taken prisoner by the evil Queen Oomphale, who uses magical "waters of forgetfulness" to keep him under her control.

In the end, Hercules escapes with the help of his friend Ulysses, the brothers end up killing each other in a duel, and Hercules kills the other bad guy and rescues his bride (played by the stunning Sylva Koscina).

Let's see... pretty servant girls (eye candy for the guys): check.
Plenty of Steve Reeves beefcake for the ladies: check.
Hercules fights beast (tiger in this case): check.

The fights and battles are only fair, quality-wise, which is about as good as it gets in this genre. One nifty scene happens early on, when Hercules and party are stopped by Antaeus, the giant (played by former world boxing champion Primo Carnera). Antaeus is bested by Hercules twice, but both times comes back to conciousness laughing. They finally figure out that Antaeus is the son of an earth god and draws strength from laying on the ground. Hercules' solution is to pick him up and heave him off a cliff into a lake. Problem solved.

Worth watching, even if it's just to see Reeves do his thing.

Peter Lupus - best known to US audiences as Willy Armitage from the television series Mission Impossible, Lupus did several peplums under the pseudonym "Rock Stevens". I watched him as Hercules in Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964). The man has an impressive physique!

Rock Stevens, aka Peter Lupus

In this movie, Babylon is ruled jointly by two brothers and a sister. Of course, the sister is beautiful, one brother is scholarly, and the other is a warrior. They all plot and intrigue against each other as they attempt to gain sole control over their empire. Their troops make frequent raids on surrounding kingdoms to collect slaves to do physical labor, and in one raid manage to unknowingly capture a queen.

Hercules keeps thwarting the slave raids in his country, although the stories about a single man defeating many warriors aren't believed. With his mighty silly club, he rights wrongs and all that happy crap. At some point, Hercules allies with the Assyrian king (who knows about the captured queen and wants to marry her for control of her kingdom) and the fun moves to the city of Babylon itself. The sovereigns each double-cross and backstab (figuratively) each other without a second thought, and when they get busted everyone does the ol' "no harm, no foul" act and moves on as before. Hercules is played as a pawn the entire time, but you know an honest and virtuous man always comes out on top.

If you've ever seen a Hercules movie before, you know that there's always some scene where he performs a physical feat that would normally take dozens of normal men. In this case, the royal sister has secretly rigged up the city of Babylon with a giant underground wheel. To the central shaft of this wheel are attached huge chains, and the other ends of these chains are attached to various walls of important structures in the city. When the time comes, one hundred slaves will turn the wheel, which in turn will cause the collapse of the city itself. She'll then rule alone from the city of Nineveh. Guess who does the wheel all by his lonesome? Yep, and he doesn't wait for the signal, which throws a monkey wrench into everyone's plans. I liked the wheel.

The fight scenes are often wretched, which is to be expected. What really grates though is Hercules' club. He wields this giagantic telephone pole of a club as if it's made of balsa (which it very well might be), and is just generally silly-looking doing it. I was trying to figure out how to describe the odd noise that the club makes when it hits something and a reviewer at IMDB nailed it. It sounds like a whiffle-bat!!! There was no attempt to disguise it either.

Peter... er, Rock is no Steve Reeves. There's no charisma, and instead of the hearty "what the hell" laugh from Reeves we get this goofy Gomer Pyle grin throughout. Reeves looks like Hercules. Lupus looks like Forrest Gump's stronger brother.

Funniest moment not involving a club: At the end of the movie, Hercules and the rescued queen and entourage are walking across the barren desert towards their home country. As they crest a rise, Hercules sweeps his arm across the vista and announces, "My Queen, you are home". The scene cuts back to the scenery, and it's just more endless miles of scrub brush and dirt. Hilarious!

Funniest moment not involving a club before the ending scene: According to the credits, the name is spelled "Christophisis", but everyone pronounces it "Chris Syphilis". I had to rewind the movie twice to make sure I was hearing that right the first time.

Overall though, this is an ok movie for the genre. Worth a watch.

Alan Steel (real name: Sergio Ciani) - Hercules Against the Moonmen.

Here we've got another evil queen. This time, she's allied herself with moonmen who arrived in a meteor and live under the mountain. Every three months, she supplies children as sacrifices to the moonmen in an attempt to reawaken a moon goddess. Or something like that.


Hercules gets involved when asked by an old family friend, and has to figure out how to stop the sacrifices, overthrow the queen, and defeat the moonmen. He's not working alone, but his allies tend to die or get seriously injured at the worst times.

There's plenty of intrigue, double-crosses, traps and nick-of-time rescues. In addition, *this* Hercules knows how to fight! He's ambushed on the road into the city, and we get to see the old Hercules standby: throwing something big and heavy at the bad guys to knock several down at once. This time, he uproots a good sized tree and uses that. No whiffle-bat here, as he takes the time to snap off a big tree limb to use as a club after tossing the rest of the tree.

This Hercules is probably my favorite after Steve Reeves. Everything about him is "not quite". He's not quite as handsome, not quite as charismatic, and his physique is not quite as perfect. All in all though, he's excellent in every way, right down to his joyous "come and get me" laughter during a fight.

The chief of the moon men walks around in a robe and full face stylized skull mask, but the moon men themselves are made of rock. This would've worked a lot better if every last one of them wasn't identical. Maybe that was the idea, because they were stone robots from the moon. Or something like that.

A Hercules movie must have a fight with a beast, and rather than the standard tiger or lion we get some kind of odd moon monster hiding in the dungeons. Really, it was a gorilla suit with spock ears and sabre-tooth cat fangs (sticking up!) attached. Pointless but required standard fare.

Favorite out-of-context quote: "For the cause of liberty and justice I'm ready to do anything!" -- Agar, daughter of Claudis, upon first meeting Hercules.

Beavis and Butthead moment: "When the planet Saturn comes into conjunction with Mars, and under the evil influence of Uranus, then will occur unimaginable disasters..." - Moon Man to Queen Samara.

I wasn't expecting much from this flick, considering the title. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was!

The last of the foursome I watched was Hercules and the Captive Women, starring Reg Park as the hero. I think that by now a little genre-fatigue had set in, because this one was a real chore to sit through.

Reg Park

Reg Park has everything needed to be Hercules: massively impressive physique, deep booming voice, thick black beard and short curly hair, narcolepsy... Hmmm, maybe he's overqualified.

This is the sleepiest Hercules I've ever seen. His answer to everything except a direct attack seems to be "nap time!". I do wonder if maybe he hadn't seen advance rushes of the film, and the director desperatly worked scenes of Park falling asleep from boredom into the story.

As for the story, it's got the mandatory beautiful evil queen, this time from Atlantis. There's more to the story, but boiled down it's Hercules saves the day from a power-grab from another greedy monarch. Again. The plot is done to death, but this time it's done badly enough that it just might have stayed dead and buried. Even the frequent shouting of "Uranus" couldn't save this silly mess.

So there you have it. By the hand of Zeus, I heartily recommend Hercules Unchained and Hercules and the Moonmen. Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (which I saw in the dollar-DVD stacks in WalMart) is an ok flick (certainly worth the buck), and Hercules and the Captive Women will make you as sleepy as that version of Hercules.

Posted by Ted at 07:11 AM | Comments (539) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 05, 2006

Are you afraid of clowns?

Here's one reason why you should be.

Bobo drank the tears of children.

Short. Sweet.

Posted by Ted at 08:50 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 04, 2006

It's my party and I'll die if I want to

Sorry for the mixed-up title. You see, my birthday is coming up, and this year my wife gifted me with several of those crappy horror movies that I love so much.

I've already reviewed Happiness of the Katakuris, and I'm proud to say that I now own my very own copy.

But one I'm *really* looking forward to seeing again is The Horror of Party Beach, featuring radioactive monsters, bikini-clad girls, bikers, scientists, and the memorable music of the Del-Aires!

I tell ya, I'm hyped over this batch o' flicks.

I also have a couple of new reviews in the works, so if you like your movies a little cheesy or a little off the beaten path (as I do, so help me God), then stay tuned.

Posted by Ted at 10:45 AM | Comments (229) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks

September 02, 2006

Pretty Pictures

Via Elisson, this wicked time-lapse photograph of Toronto, taken at two hour intervals. Scroll down and check out the flash version to see each shot in its entirety. Sam the photographer even created a wallpaper sized version for you to enjoy.

Posted by Ted at 04:25 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack
Category: Links

Sharpen those pencils, sharpen those wits

New category.

If you are an aspiring writer, or just someone who likes to write for fun, then this might be for you.

What follows is an excerpt from an email I sent out last December:

I have an idea for a group effort for next year's National Novel Writing Month. I'm sure most of you know what that's all about, but if not then here's a link:

National Novel Writing Month

Short version: in November, you commit to writing a 50,000 word story in whatever format or style that you choose.

Obviously, it takes a tremendous amount of effort and dedication to make that goal, but I've also found it to be fun, challenging and creatively stimulating.

My idea: Next November, we produce a group anthology revolving around a central theme. There will be a variety of types of works, such as (for instance) poetry, sci-fi, chick lit, horror, erotica, fan fiction, historical fiction, play, and/or whatever else someone wants to do. Interested in doing more than one piece? Knock yourself out. I'm not talking about assigning genres to people, I'm talking about everyone doing whatever interests them.

The central theme will be "Giant Evil Space Robots". Every piece should work that into the story, either centrally or peripherally.

More from the email:

According to the "rules" of NaNoWriMo, you're not supposed to actually write your piece ahead of time. What you can do is plan plot lines, story arcs, and that sort of preliminary idea work. If you'd rather, just make it up as you go along. Whatever works for you. Actual writing is supposed to begin on November 1, 2006. I'll do the final compilation, other details to be worked out.

I don't think we need to set a minimum contribution, so don't sweat timing and scheduling. Anything at all is welcomed, so even if all you have time for is a half-dozen haiku or limricks, then that's cool.

So that's the idea. The primary purpose is to have some fun, the goal is to put together an anthological work for next November's NaNoWriMo, with all pieces including a common theme.

Right now, I've gotten firm commitments from a dozen people, and maybes from three or four more. The more, the merrier, so if you'd like to contribute a word or three, drop an email to me or leave something in the comments.

More news coming in the next few weeks.

Posted by Ted at 01:49 PM | Comments (4)
Category: NaNoWriMo2006

It's familiar

Since life has been bouncing up and down lately for us, this page o' bouncy boob icons just seems like the right thing to link to.


Thanks to Loup over at Babble-on for the pointer.

Posted by Ted at 12:34 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack
Category: Links

September 01, 2006

Ernesto, so far

We've had worse winds, but seldom for this extended length of time. The rains haven't been terribly heavy, but they've been steady.

I've gone out back to lift a large tree branch off of the back fence, and there's an even bigger one out there now that I'll have to saw in half to move. I don't feel like standing out in the rain with the saw, and it's straddling the fence, not actually on it, so it can wait until Sunday.

Mother Nature is saving me big bucks by bringing down that Maple piece at a time. At some point I'll have to hire a tree company to take down the main trunk, but it'll be like taking down a telephone pole at this rate.

I noticed another big tree snapped off about 30 feet up down by the creek. Ernesto must be muy offended because I called him a wuss.

Posted by Ted at 05:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack
Category: Square Pegs

Review: Four boob-filled horror flicks

Last winter I picked up a discount four-movie collection called Too Hot For Hell. I'll admit right up front (no pun intended) that one of the reasons I bought it was because all four movies included nudity, and once in a while I just want to see some boobs. Moving beyond that obvious character flaw, let's look at these movies individually.

Crystal Force II. This flick is damn near unwatchable, and after reading a review of the original, I'm gobsmacked at how anyone could think that a sequel was a good idea.

Jake is a nice guy and tends bar at a nondescript place owned by someone that the producer knew (I'm guessing about that last part). He desperately wants Allison the barmaid, and a mysterious stranger arrives on the scene to help Jake's dream come true. For a price, of course.

For a low-budget horror film, the simulated sex is pretty darned explicit, not that it saves this mess.

Demonsoul is the second movie in the set. It's a step up from Crystal Meth Force, but it's a very tiny step taken by a drunken baby.

The boobs are better, the sex is less explicit. That about sums it up. Sad, isn't it? This is another complete waste of time.

Bloodbath. Dammit, I think I detected actual plot!

Someone is murdering aspiring actresses, and a pair of hip young detectives are on the trail of the killer. Set in the seedy underworld (I always wanted to say that) of Hollywood's independent movie studios, the story turns kinky and it slowly comes out that a coven of vampires and a centuries-old power struggle lie at the heart of the mystery.

The acting is (marginally) better than your average high-school production, but the police work isn't. In fact, it's the "detective" parts of this movie that really detract from the whole. And that's saying something, because mostly this movie is bad, bad, bad.

Production values are better than high school as well, barely. The "blood" is heavily watered down tomato juice (cheaper than using it straight I suppose) and the sound quality is full of echos. The swordplay and martial arts are pathetic. Overall the story is good, but as to details the plot is inconsistant to the point of nonsensical.

There are really only three sets. An apartment, the alleyway outside the studio and inside the studio. The studio appears to be a community center or some such in real life, and the major set dressing consists of drapes covering shit you're not supposed to see.

This is pretty bad, but it's pretty bad in the way that I love. Plenty of bondage and implied S&M too, which is always nice to see.

Funniest gaffe: An actress is buzzed into the studio building for an audition. While wandering the hallways, looking for anyone in the apparently abandoned building, she randomly opens doors and in one you can see several people in a mirror on the far wall. Obviously they weren't supposed to be there, and the character ignores them as if the room were empty.

Evil Sister.This movie is everything a crappy horror movie should be. The acting isn’t terrible (among the main characters at least), the story is coherent and involves more than your average slasher flick. Add in better than average cinematic competence from the makers and a few good looking women who get naked often and “that’s entertainment.”

My biggest gripe about slashers is that the plot too often consists of “group of teenagers gather in one place and get killed.” I’m sorry, but six cool methods of murder in a row do not make a storyline.

A woman spends fifteen years in a mental hospital, and when she’s “cured” she moves in with her sister and husband. She’s turned into a promiscuous nympho, which the husband attributes to being locked up in the loony bin all those years. Actually, being possessed by a succubus has the same effect. Who knew?

As the story advances, the sister can’t convince her husband that the former Miss Padded Cell is evil, mostly because he refuses to believe that the odd things going on are anything more than coincidence. In the end, the evil sister wins.

Included in the mix are satanic black mass rituals, a weird midget fortune teller, several slit throats and plenty of gratuitous boobage and simulated sex. Not a boob job to be seen either, the woman all sport unenhanced bosoms.

Mostly, the characters act like you would expect them to in a given situation, and the suspense builds nicely as the movie goes along.

Everything isn’t hunky dory in consistancy-land though. The evil one slips her sister the date-rape drug at work and has a friend rape her in her office, where she gets busted by the boss. The sister knows what happened, and when she tries to explain to the husband the conversation gets out of hand and he walks out on her. The very next morning though, everything is fine again between the sisters (“screw the husband, that loser”) and they spend the day together as if nothing happened.

Funniest prop: While sunbathing, they’re downing “beers” which are actually bottles of IBC Cream Soda.

The credits, both start and end, go on way too long, showing various scenes from the movie. To their credit, there aren’t any real spoilers given away, and it serves mostly as an excuse to string together the nudity and (poorly done) gore. After the movie ends there’s an extra few minutes of bonus trailer that I think was added just to pad the minutes listed on the box.

For a low-budget flick, this one is pretty good.

To sum up, this collection is pretty bad. The first two movies are bad in a bad way, but the other two are bad in the delightfully cheesy way that I love. There are some pretty good boobs on display, and since that's partly why I bought it in the first place, I don't feel like I got ripped off. Much.

Posted by Ted at 11:42 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Category: Cult Flicks
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