July 31, 2002
Islam Follow-Up

Found this interesting rebuttal to the Jihad essay I posted about yesterday. Blogging is cool. I thought these slow-motion debates about issues in journals only happened in the bloodsport of professional academia. For some reason we haven't got caught up in any yet, probably because we don't write so much about current issues. I think it makes us charming, or at least interesting in a so-that's-what-garlic-looks-like-when-you-drop-it-in-horse-poo sort of way. :)

This one was a cool double-bank shot. Found via maru, who got a nice writeup at publicNuisance (kudos maru!), who linked to the article.

Posted by scott at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)
Oscar Tricks

Ok... my killer Oscar (wanna-be man-eating Amazonian fish, that I can't spell right now fish) is getting big. Too Big. For itself. Its tank. My living room.

I can't flush it, it will clog the toilet. I can't feed it to the cats, they don't eat pure evil on a regular basis and may get some nasty gastric upset. Which in turn will cause my carpet to have more shades of browns, yellows and oranges decorating it in spots I don't want to see them.

It's becoming tank destructive. It is picking the leaves off its Amazon plastic sword plant. The big leaves.

It's ALWAYS hungry. I should feed it a tin can and see what it can do to it. I feed it. I feed it chicklet flakes. *Ok...cichlid flakes..but I like to call them chicklets*

I have decided that this nasty ass of a fish is going to learn a trick when it gets it's food. Mainly because I am tired of it jumping out at me when I feed it. This fish is so smart, that on my days off when Scott is not home, he will tap the top of the tank lid. *thump-thump-thump* ~ Feeeeed meeeeee....you want to feeeeed meeeeee..~ "Uh...no I don't". ~ Yes you dooooo....~. "No really, I don't". Then it gets mad.

I have this feeding ritual with this fish. I tap one side of the tank. It comes over to that side. I quickly open the lip as little as possible and toss the food in! It races over and realizes I did not feed it the entire jar of food and gets even angrier. It does this by circling the water like a shark.

It has now realized my game and wants no part of it. It has caught on. This I don't like. I'm running out of feeding ideas.

The damn fish goes to the area I tap, but when I open the lid-even slightly. It races over and jumps out of the water at me. It has caught on. It could be the other side of the damn tank and it STILL makes it over in time to scare me.

I think it likes it. It thinks it is a cool fish.

It also changes color with the person who stands in front of it. It goes all pale for Scott, where as if I am in front of it, it goes all green and orange.

I have to clean its tank this week. I am NOT looking forward to this insane ritual of STICKING my hand in the tank again. This pisses the fish off even worse. I tell Scott it LIKES a dirty tank. Scott does not believe me. Nor does he believe me that the fish wants to die slowly by letting the water evaporate out and eventually drowning it in air.

I am stuck with this damn fish. Thank god this fish is getting a bigger tank when I get a house. I will have more room to tap and more time to escape the feeding frenzy of the Oscar.

Posted by Ellen at 07:16 PM | Comments (42)
Naked Writing & Etc.

Found nakedwriting.com from the review place that gave us a really good review. It's kind of a mix of Catholic-baiting (which Ellen should like), Bush-zapping (which Maru, mom & Jeff should like), and evolution-explaining (which I like). Jodyw1 seems to be a secular-humanist AIDS activist, with an unusual fascination with Lance Bass. Be sure to check him out! :)

(It didn't hurt he said nice things about us, but he could comment here once in awhile)

Jimspot also moved us to "must read", which I guess means we're doing something right. I check his site out every day too, if for no other reason than he has good taste in blogs and I've found a few regular reads over there.

Thanks guys! And thanks also to all of our other regular readers. Without you guys this whole thing wouldn't be worth doing!

Posted by scott at 07:04 PM | Comments (2)
Lions and Crocs and Kangas Oh My!

Found this cool BBCnews article about ancient Australian wildlife. And you thought what they have now is weird....

Update: Yup, sort of a double-post there. One of these days we'll read our own stuff! Ellen's link was to a yahoo article though, found here

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
Ok, So Even My Religion Can be Weird Sometimes

I'm a buddhist. I think it's a rational, relevant, well-thought-out religion that works extremely well in this modern age. But it seems that no matter what spiritual totem you happen to subscribe to, there's always some wackos in the woodpile. Christians have snake-dancing fundies, muslims have "Islamikazes", Jews have... well, I don't know what Jews have but I bet it's nowhere near as strange as Thai buddhists worshiping on a compound with a spaceship. In Thailand. With a spaceship. No, it's not a typo.

Posted by scott at 09:01 AM | Comments (4)
Proof Dragons Existed?!?

I'm not completely sure if this site is a practical joke or not, but figured it'd be fun to link up to anyway. I especially like the 19th century photos of a dead dolphin captioned as "some kind of marine dinosaur".

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (121)
Japanese Fetish

What the hell is it with the Japanese and fecal/anal fetishes?

I came across this article today about the new rage in Japanese stimulation. It's not what you think. Apparently the new addiction is having a bidet installed in your house. *for pleasure purposes*

Posted by Ellen at 05:05 AM | Comments (0)
No Shit Sherlock!

Amazing...they have to put an article stating that second hand smoke is harmful to pets.

What amazes me even more is that they are SURPRISED! that cigarette smoke is harmful to pets! *Apparently in the past, all pets are totally immune to the ill effects of smoke. Unlike today* The good point of the article is HOW they are linking it to a specific cancer in cats. Check it out. It's a good read.

Get with the program people! If it can fuck you up, it can fuck your pet too.

Posted by Ellen at 04:58 AM | Comments (0)
July 30, 2002
Litter Box Cam

How cool is this!!

These hep cats have decided to be a proper example to all cats of the internet that it is COOL to use the litter box!

These 6 cats minus one *all cats bow in a moment of silence to Black* all have personal bios that everyone should check out.

Are these cats part of the movement *aka conspiracy* to rule the world too??

MANY thanks to Maru at *WTF! is it Now?* You get the No-Prize of the day!

Posted by Ellen at 07:01 PM | Comments (1)
F***ing Micro$oft

Apologies for the tech-heavy angst, but here goes:

So I managed to keep IIS off my network for a good four years, but eventually <pachino>they pulled me back in </pachino>. Now the boss wants to track traffic on the bloody, git-spawned (did I do that right robert UK? :) ) thing. If this were apache, I'd pick up any one of a dozen different freeware analyzers and have fun. But this ain't one of those. Anybody out there got experience with traffic analyzers for IIS? This is a server we own, I'd prefer an analyzer that just serves web pages that contain traffic analysis. Cost isn't *much* of an Please comment below. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

Posted by scott at 02:17 PM | Comments (2)
The Circle of History

Ever wonder why Islam was such a hit with the south-eastern half of the Roman empire? Lots of reasons, but one of them is because Christian leaders would do things like this. Actually, compared to some of the arguments the church got into in the early Byzantine period, this one is pretty substantive. At least it's over something you can touch. And unlike those old arguments, nobody got burned to death over the disagreement, but probably only because they weren't allowed.

People in the Levant have started revolutions over things almost exactly like this for at least three thousand years. I'm not kidding. Thousands, millions of people killed over where a chair happened to be placed.

Posted by scott at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)
Get Thee to a Madrassa

Muslimpundit.com just posted an extremely interesting essay on the real meaning of "Jihad". Note: essay is quite long, so be ready to dedicate some time to it. At first I thought it repudiated my "firefight" essay (see HIGHLIGHTS) rather stoutly, but on completion I'm not so sure.

Definitely a blog of note, if he starts updating more than once a quarter anyway :).

Found it as a bank-shot from LynnUnleashed.

Posted by scott at 01:03 PM | Comments (1)
Revision

On the advice of my wannabe editor, I've revised "fanfare" somewhat, made it a bit shorter and a little less opaque/florid/thesaurus-like. If you got 1/3 through it and then fell asleep, might want to go give it another shot. Probably fall asleep again anyway, but hey, at least you tried!

Posted by scott at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)
Alton on NPR

Gah! How could we miss Alton Brown on NPR?!?. A great introduction if you've never been able to catch the show.

Posted by scott at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
July 29, 2002
CVCA

Forgot to tell you all that Ted goes here for his cardiology appointments.

Excpet Ted and I travel out of our way *1 hour* to go to a small emergency hospital in Leesburg, VA to get an appointment with his favorite doctor!

Posted by Ellen at 08:11 PM | Comments (0)
Ukraine Crash

I finally got a good look at some video of the Ukraine crash. As usual, the press monkeys are just making a big deal over how many people got killed and that the government is arresting everyone in sight. Here's some stuff that hasn't been covered so far:

  • Recent accounts state that the engines went silent, and then the plane augered in. Engines are rather important to an airplane's survival, so it's usually pretty hard to turn them off even on purpose. A MiG-29 augered in at a Paris airshow some years ago after a double birdstrike. It's possible that happened here, but an Su-27 is a lot bigger than a MiG-29. Mechanical failure will be the thing they look most closely at.
  • The video I see shows the plane decending vertically with the nose pointed at the horizon (hold your hand flat, point it at the wall, then move your hand down toward the floor), then there is a positive control movement. The plane banks left (as you bring your hand down, roll it left). This indicates the pilot had positive control even after engine-out.
  • Most importantly, the pilot and WSO (Weapon System Officer, the one that runs all the electronics) are still inside the plane as it hits the ground. An ejection seat means never having to say you're sorry. You want out, you get out fast. These guys were sticking with this crate after a wingtip had already hit the ground.
  • You can see a corner of a parachute as the plane cartwheels across the tarmac. The guys didn't get out until the plane was well beyond saving.

So what does all that mean? Something happened that knocked the engines out or caused the throttles to go to idle. No engines means you're going in, get out now. The positive control movement says to me these guys chose to stay with the plane, probably because they saw they were heading for the crowd. Unfortunately you can't climb when you got no engines, and they went in anyway. But these guys stayed with it until after the plane had actually hit.

Some REMF mechanic or fueler is wetting his pants right now, because it was his screwup that caused the accident. The organizers are wetting their pants because they didn't define the aerobatic area properly to exclude the spectator area. The CO's are wetting their pants because they didn't jot every i and cross every t to ensure things were right.

But the poor bastard pilot and WSO (what the hell was a WSO doing riding along on an airshow hop anyway?) who laid their asses on the line may end up taking the fall, because they aren't connected enough to avoid prosecution nor anonymous enough to fade into the background.

Caveat: I am not a pilot. I play one on the computer a lot, I read aviation resources voraciously, and I have an eye toward detail. The video is also not complete by a long shot. Take this all with your regular extra-large grain of salt. Personally, I'm waiting on my Aviation Leak issue, which will have the non-monkey coverage you need to make a real judgement.

Posted by scott at 07:29 PM | Comments (5)
Fanfare for the Common Man

I've already gone on record that it's not evil I'm worried about, it's stupidity. But I find myself stuck in a quandary. If we all have the same brains, if I can't fall back on race, religion, gender, or sexual preference, then how can I account for a world that is quite patently covered thicker than mayflies on a Louisiana houseboat with stupid people?

First, we have to qualify our terms here. We're all stupid once in awhile. You get distracted and don't notice the light turned red, or you whack an oven-hot pan on a counter and grab it with your bare hand, or you tear the house half-apart trying to find keys that are sitting in plain site on the dinner table. These kind of "stupids", and hundreds others like them, are just part of the human condition.

There's also the stupidity of youth. People who have the intelligence of a person but the wisdom of a squirrel on crack generally shouldn't even be allowed outside the house. And in most "traditional" cultures, they're not. What to do to keep stupid kids from doing stupid things is a problem "modern" cultures still haven't figured out. (See War and Peace for more on this topic.)

What I'm talking about here is the kind of stupidity that burns a cross in a yard, or keeps Ms. Cleo rich, or thinks Jews are at the root of a vast, global conspiracy, or decides skin pigment determines intelligence, or believes praying to the wrong god makes murder a blessing.

Actually, I don't think there really are all that many truly stupid people out there. Oh the pundits may rend their shirts at how ignorant the masses are, but time and again I've found that everyone can be amazingly intelligent about something.

This was not an insight I won easily. It took getting pole axed many times over many years before I clued into the fact I wasn't nearly as smart as I thought I was; and most people were quite a bit smarter than I had allowed. Once I learned to nurture my spiritual side I was deeply ashamed that I once thought myself better than these so-called "common" people.

So if everyone is smart, why do they all seem so stupid?

Most folks want only a few things: a steady job, a full belly, a comfortable home, and safe, happy kids. There are millions, perhaps billions of people all over the world who find deep satisfaction and personal fulfillment with just these seemingly simple things.

There's also the matter of leadership, and the fallacy of the "expert". Trusting our own judgment seems to be something that doesn't come easy to our species. When confronted with strange, frightening, puzzling, or just downright unusual things, most folks will seek out a person whose opinion they already trust. Across all cultures, this person tends to be a religious leader of some sort. This is the person the society "pays" to be wise while everyone else is busy making a living. And when that person is in fact wise, learned, and holds the interests of the community above themselves, the system works pretty well.

Unfortunately history has proven that leaders of any sort are usually the people you should be least likely to trust. Belief is much more powerful than wealth, and power not only corrupts, it attracts the corruptible like an ambulance driving past a lawyer convention. Power plays its own games, with its own rules, and it's a very rare bird indeed who doesn't start seeing people as pawns in a chess game.

My grandmother, who was as smart as they came and was nobody's fool, believed that communism was a plot to turn America's children into atheists. One of my best friends in college had a father who managed to keep up a farm, a regular job, an alimony payment, and still practice enough to play a mean steel guitar. He went to court to get custody of his step-grandson because his new wife's daughter was gay and they didn't want her "recruiting" the boy. These weren't things they cooked up on their own, they were given to them by men who had agendas far beyond the well-being of their souls.

Education is also a problem. In many ways the mind is a kind of muscle; it takes training and practice to learn to use it well. Education doesn't just teach you stuff, it teaches you how to learn stuff. You may think your local preacher is selling you a bill of goods, but if you've never seen the inside of a library, let alone learned how to use Wilson's Guide to Periodical Literature, how are you going to tell? If you don't even know how to read, how are you to know you can't get bigger boobs (or wangs) from a pill?

There's also more than a little laziness involved. It's a lot easier to ask someone what to think than to figure it out for yourself. Thinking critically is hard, especially if you don't practice at it. There's always this point when you're trying to learn something new where you look up and realize just how far you'll have to climb to reach where you want to go. Many people just aren't interested enough strap on a helmet, grab a rope, and start up.

We also have to deal with what is essentially a failure of nerve. It takes a lot of courage to question your own beliefs, let alone modify or change them. Most people, even scientists and engineers, would rather defend what they "know" to be true than accept proof to the contrary. A value system is a very comforting thing, something people fall into easily, like a set of flannel sheets. It's frightening to have things you love, even if they're just ideas, attacked. Fanaticism is a tragic, if understandable, result.

But this is far from a hopeless situation. Unlike the equipment between your legs or the coloring of your skin, minds are things that can be changed. Like learning to play tennis, the more you practice thinking critically the easier it gets. The sense of freedom you acquire from being able to pick apart an argument and find the reason it is wrong is tremendous. The feeling of accomplishment you get from building a new idea from the blocks of your own knowledge is almost breathtaking. The ability to defend that idea against all comers is the triumph that makes climbing the mountain worth the struggle.

Because let me tell you, the view up there is amazing. And, as with any great journey, all you have to do to start is put one foot in front of the other.

Let's go for a walk...

Posted by scott at 05:33 PM | Comments (5)
Ted Update

Teddy has his 1st cardiology appointment of the year today. *Ted goes 2x's a year for all of you that don't know*

Teddy has a heart condition known as Pentology of Fallot. (PDA, VSD, overriding aorta, pulmonic stenosis, and right ventricular hypertophy) If you want something in more detail, check here.

Ted has a messy heart. He is on 5 different meds right now to keep everything under control. He is on Theophylline(bronchodilator), Atenolol(heart med), Enalapril(heart med), Spironolact(diuretic), 81mg Aspirin, and now we have to add some Pepcid AC to his routine due to some vomiting issues he has been having.

My news is this : His diagnosis today was "very stable and improved left heart size and function. * You are supposed to get up and cheer and send Ted pressies now*

Teddy is usually very good at the cardiologist's. Today he was a bit hissy-spitty though. *probably cause I had to take him to my work for part of the day* He is a talker (mostly). But he is always good for them and really does not give any problems. He just voices his hateful opinions for a moment or two.

We go again in December. Teddy will be 3 then. *and this was a cat that was supposed to be put to sleep when he was 4 weeks old.-( we showed them Ted)*

Posted by Ellen at 05:01 PM | Comments (3)
And I Thought the Guys My Brother Exchanges Messages with Were Wacks

Ok, I'm not going to link directly to them, but want to see just how bannanas Americans can get? Read this summary of a just-to-the-right-of-Darth-Vader message board.

All those things I said about the crazy right-wing gun-nut guys on those message boards you read Jeff? I take it all back!

Unless of course they have members in common. EEP!

A bank-shot from uppity-negro.com, who probably doesn't really want credit for it.

Posted by scott at 12:28 PM | Comments (2)
Slashdot Translator

I just wish this had been made into an article. Non-slashdot readers: a little technical, but might still be worth a read.

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
R2D2 Lives!

Slashdot noted this cool item about an upcoming R2D2 model. Actually, consider aibo and his ilk, I'm surprised it took this long for someone to come up with it. Probably something to do with Lucas licen$ing fees. I especially like the model holding the beer can.

Do any of our readers actually own an Aibo? Ellen, predictably, wants the cat one (we've linked to it once or twice, go into the CAT archives to find), but I think that one looks more than a little strange.

Posted by scott at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)
Cringely on Ebay

Bob Cringely has this interesting commentary on e-bay and its effect on the economy.

I think everyone goes through this period of e-bay discovery. At first it's all tacky and hard to use and intimidating. Then you find a few things, set up a paypal account, and suddenly you've got 30 bids going at once every day, some on sh*t you don't really even want. And then you come to your senses, use e-bay as a tool, and go outside once in awhile.

We're still waiting on my mom to reach step 3. She's one of those e-bay vultures who swoop in at the last second to grab things up. She's even got these fancy computer widgets that do it automatically now!

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM | Comments (3)
July 28, 2002
Panties!!!

I ALWAYS wanted a pair of panties like this!

Posted by Ellen at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)
Skateboarding Tortise

Ever wonder how a tortise can get around fast?

Posted by Ellen at 06:50 PM | Comments (0)
Tour De France

Armstrong does it again!

Who says cancer slows you down? This goes to show you that if you have the determination, you can overcome anything.

Posted by Ellen at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)
Quality Family Time

Everybody join in!

Posted by Ellen at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)
Male Pregnancy

Ok..I'm all for equal rights, but this is just fucked up.

When evoloution fails, science steps in.

Thanks to Mellie for the submission! You get the No-Prize of the day!

Posted by Ellen at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)
July 27, 2002
Lemur FAQ

A lemur, for those who might not know, is a small primitive primate. You can find lots of cute pictures of them here.

Some time in the late 80s or early 90s, a "newsgroup" got started called "alt.fan.lemur". A newsgroup was what socially-impaired people used to talk to each other before blogs were invented1. Why lemurs? God only knows. They're kinda cool in a geeky sort of way I guess.

As time would march on, a newsgroup would slowly build up a body of knowledge, eventually distilled into a "FAQ". Short for "Frequently Asked Questions", some, like the talk.origins FAQ, became, and in some cases remain, invaluable overviews of whatever field of knowledge they happen to cover. The easiest way to become an expert on anything was to read the FAQ of the newsgroup that covered your topic of choice.

But then sometimes people got a little silly. Well, people got a lot silly, and more than a little weird. If you like Monty Python, or think Black Adder is a hoot, you will absolutely wet your pants at the alt.fan.lemur FAQ. Pick part one, and read away. An excerpt:

(7) Who is Rudolpho the Christmas Lemur?

Rudolpho the Christmas Lemur is said to have stowed away on Santa's sleigh during a stopover in Madagascar one Christmas. Upon finding the hapless Lemur shivering in the back of the sleigh after returning to the North Pole, Santa named him "Rudolpho" and adopted him into the North Pole community. Rudolpho aided Santa for a few Christmases, sneaking into houses and opening the chimney flues when required so Santa could get in. Eventually, though, Rudolpho yielded to a kleptomaniac urge and began stealing silverware... and jugs of Big K Grape Soda. Santa reluctantly discharged him on the spot, but Rudolpho has continued his irregular service nonetheless, breaking into houses and stealing the Big K Grape Soda and opening any chimney flues that need to be opened. If he should happen to be discovered, he flees by shaking up a bottle of Big K Grape Soda, opening it, and jetting off over the horizon. (If he gets thirsty in mid-flight he pulls a loop, fills a cup, and continues onwards.)

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Posted by scott at 06:25 PM | Comments (1)
Sex Story Cliches

Ok, please note the only reason I didn't put this under XXX is there aren't any pictures. This is very, very raunchy, but also extremely funny.

Sex story cliches

Posted by scott at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)
UFO over Washington?

I knew it!! They released the aliens out of the Archives building and now this happens!

Look out Maru!

Posted by Ellen at 05:36 PM | Comments (2)
Benefits of Chewing Gum

See!!!! I KNEW there was a good reason to chew gum!

Gum is probably my favorite type of candy aside of M&M's. Now I can tell Scott I can chew it for a GOOD reason other than being and obnoxious NY-er with big hair.

Posted by Ellen at 03:59 PM | Comments (74)
This Day In History

Thanks to Rotten.com's 'This Day in History".

Jul 27 1890
Vincent Van Gogh commits suicide with a revolver.

This is the same guy that cut his ear off and mailed it to his girlfriend.

Posted by Ellen at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)
More Giant Squid

Giant Squid are beaching themselves on the SanDiego shore.

WeIrD!~

Posted by Ellen at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)
Doctor, it Hurts When I do This

So a guy walks into a lady doctor's office. Says "it" hurts. Doctor examines. Lather, rinse, repeat, 24 times.

Mom's got stories like this. Cranky old patients that ask cute young nurses to "help" with catheters and things. I wonder if we could get her to tell some...

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (1)
Yet Another Boomer Attempt to Avoid the Inevitable

Scientific American has this interesting article on research into an anti-aging pill. Conclusion? Boomers will still die. Someday.

But I think we all may end up riding their coattails to immortality.

Posted by scott at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)
Just When You Thought it Didn't Get Any Weirder

I present to you, the Tokyo Shock Boys. If you liked the engrish stuff, you'll love this. I think. I'm not sure if I should laugh or call Rod Serling.

Posted by scott at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
July 26, 2002
Birthday Boy

Hey everybody, it's Jimspot's birthday! Go over and visit his site and wish him all the best!

Posted by scott at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)
More Stupid Dog Owners

Apparently when a kid gets bit by a dog, *even if its the family dog*the adults in the house become incredibly stupid. Shut up before you start getting all bent out of shape because I don't have a kid ..blah..blah...blah....*save me from your bullshit OK?*

This article ia about a dog *family pet* to get euthanized because the family child decided to check out her 2 week old puppies. How fucking dumb are the parents to allow this? Pretty dumb if you ask me. Not only did the dog get euthanized* the owners wanted a rabies test--this goes into question, WHY your fucking dog is not vaccinated!* but her 2 week old puppies got the pink juice too. The reason was that there are no voulenteers to take care of the puppies..so next best thing! Line of reincarnation starts over there!

People are stupid. They should have to take a test in order to have pets and kids.

I am glad I was raised in a family with LOTS of pets, was taught to love them and you get what you deserve if you piss them off.

But thats me..and that will be my philosophy with my kid. * I forcast lots of scratches and bites in the future- "You wont yank on kitty's tail like that again right? You already lost 2 fingers today."

Hopefully this family learned a good lesson. Leave your fucking dog alone when it has puppies. Not every dog remains cute and cuddly when it has puppies.

Posted by Ellen at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)
Spark Test

According to The Spark, I am the following:

""

Posted by Ellen at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
Where's my Checkbook???

From slashdot, we have someone who's selling an approximately 1/32nd scale model of a rebel blockade runner. Sounds reasonable? Take a look, the model is 32 feet long. Built so you can play with the action figures Kenner makes inside it to scale.

Lord help us if Richie sees it. He'll probably want to live in it.

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)
Miracle Dog

This story, sent by Jeff (I'll bring your no-prize when I come visit next), proves 2 things: 1) Laboradors are the dumbest dogs on the planet (sweet, yes, but stoopid) and 2) God protects the stupid. Still, it's nice to know the dog was OK. Note also the use of microchips, which my wife highly recommends.

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
Thats Some Sun Catcher!

I love suncatchers. Especially if they have cats on them.

I was dorking on Ebay this morning and came across this.

Odd right?? Question is, would you put it on a window?????

Posted by Ellen at 09:29 AM | Comments (1)
Conjoined Twins Ready for Seperation

Conjoined twins ready to undergo surgery for separation at the skull.

Must be an expensive surgery? Who pays this? The parents? Or is this some really neat way for doctors to get some experience with weird shit and they do it for free?

Why would you put 2 small children through this? Did they not see this conjoinment in an ultrasound as little as 12 weeks into the pregnancy?

Yet, this to me is another act of selfishness of the parent. NO, I'm not a parent, but I am practical in the sense when I think I can make a correct decision on when it is fair and not fair to bring a life into this world. It just was not meant to be at that point.

Same goes for some parents out there that want to bring severely deformed or mentally retarded children into the world and attempt to watch them make it on their own. I am talking 'severe' problems. Not some minor mental or physical impairment.

Why would you WANT to make another human go through unneeded bullshit, mental/physical strain and basically YOU taking care of a baby that continues to grow for the rest of your life, but needs the constant care of a small child. Ask yourself " is that fair'? Not just for you, but for that other human YOU made a choice to make it suffer for the rest of its life.

Touchy subject, I know. But until you have seen something suffer, and being able to release it from the suffering. You will NEVER see what I am able to see. Even if I just work with animals. I know when its NOT fair to keep something going when the suffering is so severe that you can't fix the pain, only manage it.

It takes a smart, caring person to understand that.

Posted by Ellen at 08:52 AM | Comments (8)
Face on Mars

Remember the face on Mars?? Remeber how everyone was totally convinced that it was aliens that built that face there. *kinda like a link to this face and the Egyptian Sphynx?*

New research has been done. New cameras have been used, and we now have a better look on what this 'face' really looks like

Do you think its a face now? Or is Science trying to cover up an alien operation!??

Posted by Ellen at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)
Depression and Anger Linked

Apparently this is a new discovery.

Erm...sounds like someone I know. *laughs to self*

I don't know why this seems like a new thing. I have heard of this link several times in the past. But, a study was done, so I guess in the eyes of science that makes it legit!

Posted by Ellen at 08:27 AM | Comments (4)
The Mullet

Everyone knows someone that had a mullet. I do. My stepdad had one for years before my mom made him cut it off. Except that he used to wear it in a pony tail.

I saw an OLD picture of Scott once with this person known as "she who shall remain nameless". I could not tell if that was a mullet or not he had going. It was just all this HAIR! CuRlY hair too! *scary* (and he thinks my hair has a life of its own)

Posted by Ellen at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)
More Space Doom!

Just when you thought it coudn't get any worse with a fucking asteroid. Now we have to worry about 'ghost' space matter that can ultimatly screw us all without knowing it!

Apparently this time, we need to worry about mirror matter spewing twoards our planet. The good side. Well we just don't know when one of these bad boys will smack into us.

Hrmm......this matter is so mysterious! Kinda like black holes and dark matter. Maybe I will have to add yet another space obsession in my book.

Posted by Ellen at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)
Ghost??

Apparently ghosts can get caught by a camera. BUT, only in a parking garage.

Remind me NOT to park my car there.

Be sure to check out the video!!

Posted by Ellen at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
July 25, 2002
What a Bike!

Of course its the weekend, and I have a special set of groupies that LOOOVE to look at XXX on the weekend. :)

How bout a bike like this ladies!???

Posted by Ellen at 06:08 PM | Comments (2)
What Redneck Dogs Look Like

Let's guess what state this dog is from?

Louisiana? Arkansas? West Virginia????

That some set of TEETH!! LOL!!

Posted by Ellen at 04:18 PM | Comments (1)
Human Carrying a "Litter" of Fetuses

How wrong is this?

Ok, I am all for fertility treatment and all if you can't have children, but this is fucking ridiculous! Humans were not meant to deliver a litter of kids. 1-3 tops. Hello... need to pick and choose here. Can u tell I'm pro choice????

In my eyes these people are selfish. WHY do you WANT this many at once?? This means the whole fucking town has to raise your damn kids for you because you WON'T have the time to even take care of 2.

No it does not take a village to raise a damn kid. They are YOUR responsibility. Not your neighbors or your family.

This makes me ill thinking of this person. Medicine has come a loooong way as far as fertility treatment goes. It's now time to THINK what is ethically and medically right for one human to go through. Maybe have a few at a time. But NOT all 9 at once.

Hrm...well maybe this is a way for this family to get that FREE house, FREE car, FREE lifetime supply of diapers and other bullshit. Pretty soon the average female going under fertility treatment will have at least 5 to a litter. HEY!! just like a damn dog!

Maybe the commercial/grocery/car/ industry will get a hint and stop sponsoring people like this.

Maybe you can put an add in the paper and sell what ever children you DON'T want like a puppy or kitten? Ya know an add like this : 3 males, 1 female left, needs good home. $200 each.

Makes me ill...

Posted by Ellen at 03:42 PM | Comments (6)
Donkey Revenge!

Whatever you do, don't wave your wank at a donkey or else this happens!

OUCH! question is...Why would you show a donkey your wank???? Little boys are weird!

Posted by Ellen at 03:32 PM | Comments (0)
Scott Needs This!

Scott needs one of these.

Not so he can aim right, its to prevent him from pissing on the cats head all the time. Poor Goblin likes to look into the bowl and he assumes she is in the way and well.... she gets peed on.

Perhaps Scott has a urine fetish for peeing on cats? * I can assure you the cat is NOT into golden showers*Probably not. He just thinks its annoying that Goblin must show him where to go. With this product, maybe he won't need as much direction with the cat. PLUS, I don't have a cat come to bed with a wet head smelling like pee.

Posted by Ellen at 03:19 PM | Comments (25)
Pigs

How nasty is this!?

I would of pulled over and vomited. $25 dollar certificate my ass. How about you pay for my therapy for a year!

Posted by Ellen at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)
More Asteroids

According to this article, the world will end February 1st, 2019.

Great. Might as well not buy a house or have kids until 2020. *if we are still around*

Since this is more than 20 years away..hopefully astronomer and scientists will be able to get rid of this small issue before we become very extinct.

Posted by Ellen at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)
A NY Skyline Even My Wife Will Love

Ok, so all the current proposals for the WTC stink. How about this one?

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)
Scott's Toy Store

Found this site on one of my e-mail digests. I especially like the 6c 2500, "only" Eu 125,000 (about $125,000 US). Gotta get my checkbook out...

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Beer Train!

Those Japanese, they think of everything. First toilets that wash your bum, now beer trains!. No bathrooms on the train though, gotta be quick during the stops!

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)
Asteroid to Be Visible in August. Foil-Hat Wearers Begin to Stock Up

Mom sent this note about an asteroid that's going to come close enough for most people to view with the nekked eye. Except us, because we barely see the stars inside the beltway as it is. I blame Traficant's hair (or the British, take your pick). ;)

Posted by scott at 12:08 PM | Comments (2)
New Evidence for Massive Earth Bombardment

BBCnews.com has this new report on conclusive evidence of a "Late Heavy Bombardment" about 3.7 billion years ago. Big, big rocks smacking the earth every 100 or so years it seems.

I wonder if one of the preconditions for the precambrian explosion was the cessation of bombardment?

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)
Even a Queen Shouldn't Walk Behind a Cow

As this SUN.com article will attest.

You guys have got to get Ellen to tell the story about a veterinary school cow exam she did that went very, very wrong.

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Mayor Offers Ass for Kicking

Ok, so now we got a mayor offering his rear end for charity. One of these days we have to get my mom to tell some of her stories about being the only woman on the city council of our dinky-assed Arkansas town. She and the mayor definitely had a hate-hate relationship going there.

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
Attn. Blogspotters: Apportunity to Dump Always-Broken ISP

Now that I'm linking to a bunch of blogspot blogs, I'm noticing that blogspot is down a lot. Like, 10% at least. Just wanted you guys to know that you can get hosted with our bunch, logjamming.com for $5/month ($60 per year) and not have to deal with all the funky downtime. If you're using blogger as your management system, you just point it to your new domain, publish, and viola! it works.

Comment below or use the feedback widget on the left if you have technical questions as to how to get this done. This is what I do at work all the time, and can help you make the transition if yer interested.

Nope, not a paid advert, just a satisfied customer trying to get the blogs he reads more reliability.

Posted by scott at 07:44 AM | Comments (2)
July 24, 2002
Pieta

One of the things that bothers me a lot is when people say "If you're not X, you won't understand Y". Certainly if I know nothing about X, figuring out what Y is will be impossible (unless you happen to be a member of the media, in which case you'll probably just make it up). But if you've observed enough and read enough different things over a long period of time, I think that while you may not get the details of understanding Y, you are certainly entitled to claiming the basics of Y.

The Y I'm talking about in particular here is being a parent (put the bat down, Aaron). No, I don't have children right now. But I once was children, and I've watched my parents raise children, and watched other people raise children, and watched my brother raise children, and read countless accounts of raising children.

So, being the kind of guy I am, I'll speculate that having a child is like having your own heartbeat standing outside you, which you have only at best tenuous control over; which can cause love and terror and hope and rage and pride and disappointment of incredible intensity all at once; which has a mind of its own that soaks up the most alarming and amazing and embarrassing things from you and then tells them to your mother (honestly mom, I don't know where she learned "asshat"... must be daycare); which holds the handles to levers in your soul you never knew existed and can barely articulate even to yourself; which will one day be the only thing left to prove you ever existed.

Yes, yes, I know, I still don't understand it. But I'll wager you don't really understand it yourself. This is not at all surprising.

I doubt there's a parent in the world who will disagree with the statement "children are the biggest pain in the ass in the whole world." Oh, they're wonderful and beautiful and miraculous, yes, but when they detonate a big gulp1 they insisted getting inside your car, or when they upend their bowl of choco-coated-sugar-bomb cereal on the dog, or when they get in a screaming fight with their sibling over which identical toy belongs to who, they're a pain in the ass.

And kids have always been this much of a pain in the ass. We owe this fact to our mammalian ancestors, who found adaptive success by having relatively few offspring and lavishing relatively large amounts of care on them. Dinosaurs seem to have taken this route as well, and if the birds left to us are any indication their kids were just as much of a bear (as it were) to raise as mammals' are.

So what's a prospective helpless infant naked ape (or kitten, or puppy, or sparrow, or elephant) to do when your parents are too stupid to read Dr. Spock? Well, successful infants will, one way or another, find ways to make their parents take care of them. We are, all of us, the ultimate product of billions of years of evolution aimed at one goal: making sure babies are able to make more babies.

If you think about it, this only makes sense. We've already established babies are a pain in the ass. If they don't have the ability to force their parents into ensuring their survival they will die. If they do have this ability, they will survive and pass these manipulative genes to their own offspring. The infants who have maximal control over their parents will multiply and thrive, while those who don't, well, won't.

So long before we were able to think about how wonderful babies were, babies were busily making sure that we would have no choice. The fact that we are able to articulate how we feel is just a bonus. Now there are things uniquely human which make human babies uniquely valuable (to us at least). The ability to see the world with new eyes, and then tell you what it looks like, is just cool beyond description. But the deep feelings you "just can't understand if you don't have a child" are happening on a level of consciousness that was old when we were all eating bugs and dodging T-Rex feet.

I really do think this goes a long way toward explaining the horrors of child abuse and molestation. Not excusing them, but explaining them. Everyone's heard stories about mother cats eating their kittens, or mother birds abandoning their nests full of fledglings, or zoo-bound bears killing their cubs. These animals aren't evil, they've just had something go wrong inside them. When child care is hard-wired, that wiring can be incorrect or go bad or wear out from stress, and then babies die.

Because our children's requirements are so much more complex than, say, a kitten's, we require a lot more than just hard wired instinct, but instinct does still play a role. Any nursing mother who's had an embarrassing moment in a mall when a child cries near them will attest to that. And so I would submit that at the very least the most egregious examples of abuse and neglect are the results of instinctual behaviors which have gone wrong or gotten out of control. When I watch other people with children, or hear what they say, or read in books what they've written, I can simply find no other explanation. And for the most part neither can anyone else.

Does this excuse such horrific behavior? What, do you really think a kid deserves such a thing? But in my opinion it means we should try to help as many of these people as possible. One of the main experiences of the human condition is rising above the imperatives of our biology to reach for something more, something different, than our genes have dealt us. I firmly believe there are ways to break out of the cycles of abuse and neglect that seem to circle some families like red-clawed ravens.

But it also means we must accept there are certain individuals in our society who must be forever locked up very very far away from any child, no matter when their prison sentence happens to run out. And the more incomprehensible the crime, the more likely this should be. It takes the Wisdom of Solomon to know the difference between the two camps, and I do not envy judges who have that job.

I'm sure there are a lot of you who still think I just don't get it. That it will take my having a child before I really understand it all. And maybe you're right. But if you do think this way, if you really believe I still haven't gotten it at least a little right, I better not ever catch you rolling your eyes when someone says to you "you'll never understand, because you're not black." Or Asian, or Jewish, or Muslim, or Italian, or whatever.

Because if I don't have the right to understand the Y of children because I don't have any, what makes you think you have any right to understand the Y of anything else?

----

1 For those without a 7-11 near them, a "Big Gulp" is a titanic fountain soft drink. A small Big Gulp is 32 ounces (not quite one liter) of soda. And they get bigger from there.

Posted by scott at 05:02 PM | Comments (2)
Finch

As you all know, I work in a veterinary hospital located inside of a PetsMart. *which my last fucking day there is August 8th*

Now I love PetsMart. I buy too much damn stuff there. *nice employee discount too* They even have lots of interesting critters to purchase. I was already told by the fish guys *who laugh at me when I bring this up* that I am not allowed to bring back the killer Oscar. They say it's a good life experience and that it LOVES me. It wouldn't try to get out of the tank to kiss me everytime I fed it if it didn't. *yeah right, it wants to poke my eyes out with a small stick it found in the tank!*

They also have birds. I love birds. My cats LOVE birds, so I can't have one. Some birds have a tendency to get out of the cages. This is always exciting. Watching everyone go after these little birds with nets.

So today, one of the girls at work *Jamie* says: "there is a finch in pharmacy". Stupid me goes, : "a finch finch? or an outside finch?" "Its a real finch" she says.

Hrmmm!!! got to check this out. Sure enough! Its a finch! A little orange headed one too! So I go and grab a towel and attempt to wrangle the 1 inch beast that will shit on your head at will.

Dr F was in the pharmacy too and suggests *which was a neato idea* to turn the light off and the bird would come down. Why would it do that? I have no damn clue. But it WORKED!

Of course now I have this birdie in my hands. I walk over to a manager in the store and ask them if they lost a finch. "YES!!!, did you find it?" " No..I'm handing you some dog shit.. of course its your finch. It was in pharmacy."

Tossed the bird back in the cage, and that was that. Cute bird though.

Easy cat lunch at my house.

Posted by Ellen at 04:41 PM | Comments (5)
One BIG D*%K!!!

This rather 'interesting' piece of art was submitted by Lynn.

You get the 'no prize' of the day!!!

Apparently, if you look at the pix close enough (don't worry, it wont poke your eye out) the guy is weighing it. Rather scary.....

Posted by Ellen at 04:18 PM | Comments (3)
AAAG!

Well, looks like we're losing a cast member on West Wing. The nice thing about this is since it's an ensemble cast, the show definitely won't go down the tubes. Still, considering how much money NBC is making on this thing you'd think everyone would be walking out and demanding more money. Dinky-assed Friends castmates get XX million bucks per show nowadays, and I think West Wing is lots better (even funnier).

Now if they can just keep Sorkin from snorting coke at the airport...

Posted by scott at 12:23 PM | Comments (2)
Cool Airshow Pix

SimHQ has a thread on their forms that has a lot of Duxford 2002 pix. Would love to see that lanc, 4 merlins turning at once must sound amazing. Didja get to see this one Robert UK? When's the next one (yah, 2003 I know, but date)? Looks like it was a helluva gathering.

Posted by scott at 12:11 PM | Comments (2)
More Changes

Added some more "blogs of note" and re-worked the way that sidebar looks. To try to make it a little different from other "blogs we read" lists, I've tried to add three-word descriptions of each one. If you want a different three word descrip, just comment below.

I'd put logos on for everyone, but not everyone has them. Let me know if you want me to gin one up for you. Will be "free as in beer", when I get around to it.

Posted by scott at 12:07 PM | Comments (1)
Death by Chocolate

This is one of those things you want to laugh at, but can't, because somebody ended up dead. Didn't the Smothers Brothers make up a song just exactly like this? Maybe he forgot to yell "fire!"

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)
July 23, 2002
Australian Road Block

No wonder why they are so upside down! They do weird shit like this!

I will never look at Koala Bears the same way again.

Posted by Ellen at 08:32 PM | Comments (0)
Eye in the Sky

Also from BBC news is this cool shot of the latest Hubble photographs.

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)
Mars Lander Update

BBC news is running this update on "Beagle 2", a lander scheduled to ride ESA's Mars express mission late next year. I wonder if it'll have SU carbs or Lucas electrics... :)

Posted by scott at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)
Voices from the Bloggosphere

I'm learning to bank-shot my way through various blogs. Great stuff. For instance, I found this great 9-11 article via LynnUnleashed, whom I found because she commented on one of the essays (Intellectual Arrogance, below).

I'm linking to both becase a) I wanted to show my mom that Ellen isn't the only one who swears creatively on the internet and b) Lynn is cool. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Chickens: Not Just for Rednecks Anymore

Ok, now I think I've seen everything. ABCNews.com is reporting Gen-Xers and other urbanites are now keeping chickens as pets. There are some things so weird only yankees will do them. Woo hoo! Ellen can't make redneck cracks any more!

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (2)
Sanity Test

I'm sure Ellen will claim that Jeff and I just do this sort of thing anyway. Be sure to have your sound turned on, otherwise you won't get it (and no, it's not scary, well, not "boo" scary anyway). It's even funnier if you've watched a recent F-1 contest.

Contributed by Tim Lentz, one of my Alfa buddies. Thanks Tim! Your no-prize is in the mail!

Posted by scott at 07:44 AM | Comments (1)
Pioneer 10 = Energizer Bunny of Space

Scientific American has this cool writeup on Pioneer 10 and our other far-distant space probes. The viking landers, launched around the same time as this stuff, went quiet long ago. But there were Viking orbiters too. I wonder what happened to them?

Posted by scott at 07:22 AM | Comments (1)
July 22, 2002
Ellen & Stryker... Separated at Birth?

I never thought I'd see the day when I found someone as congenitally angry, and funny, as my wife. Then I found Sgt. Stryker.com. It's like reading a testosterone'd version of my sweetie (heh... bet he never thought anyone'd call him "sweetie"). Gotta get these two together. Ammm... well, on second thought, maybe not... :)

Posted by scott at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)
Yo! Peeps!

Wanted to give a shout out to Jimspot, who said some nice things about us (even if he did imply we had a psychosis), and has a pretty decent blog going. Jimspot gets an honorary no-prize for being the very first person to ask probably the most obvious question about this blog.

Yet more proof that even guys can blog sometimes. Normal guys. :)

Posted by scott at 07:39 PM | Comments (8)
Cat in Chair

Only a cat will lounge like this.
*Thanks Neenah*

Posted by Ellen at 05:48 PM | Comments (4)
Bin Laden

Courtesy of my sister Neenah.

Bin Laden Cartoons

Posted by Ellen at 05:43 PM | Comments (0)
Edward and Ein

My 3 little kittens minus 1 got homes today. They went out togther with a nice gentleman that could not see them parted. *plus it does help that I said they HAD to go out together!* :) They are big trouble makers. I hope he will enjoy them.

I also got Faye-Faye's ashes back this week. Now my cat-spice collection has added up to 4 in my cabinet.

I am on the look out for an urn with cats all over it. If someone sees one, please let me know! :)

Posted by Ellen at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)
Cast Iron Chef

So yesterday I got to try out my spiffy new Lodge 12" cast-iron skillet. For me, cooking has always been something you pulled out of a box and followed the directions to get. Hamburger helper was my original bachelor chow. After I discovered I was rooming with a person who was writing down everything I took out of the fridge, down to the last dollar, I would make a pot of this stuff and then hit the microwave with it for the rest of the week. I think I saw a look of severe concentration as this person tried to figure out a way to charge me for the electricity.

I'm a picky damned eater. Not as bad as my brother mind you (Mr. Biscuits and Gravy is a Food Group), but picky nonetheless. I'm especially not fond of seafood, bell peppers of any sort, mushrooms, or olives. Yeah, I'm a freak, but that's the way it is. Most of the cook books I pulled out always had recipes that seemed to include one or more of these items, and tended to start out with "remove your French curly double-bronzed copper broil pan from its protective leather case..." And they were boring.

But then I got I'm Just Here for the Food, by Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. Unlike other cookbooks, this one gives you entertaining examples of why foods turn out the way they do. In it, he introduces the most common forms of cooking: searing, boiling, baking, grilling, and others I can't remember right now. There are recipes, not many, but they all sounded interesting in a tasty way.

Like auto maintenance, having the right tools seems to be half the battle when it comes to cooking. In the back of the book is a helpful appendix called "necessary tools" (or something like that). #1 on the list of pots & pans was a 12" cast-iron skillet, according to Brown one of the most versatile things in anyone's kitchen. It took a long time to find, but eventually we acquired ourselves a 12" cast-iron skillet. And wouldn'cha know, it's even a Lodge, the same brand recommended in the book (oh god, I'm becoming a cook groupie).

Ellen did a Bad Thing the next day by going to work and leaving me at home by myself with my new cooking widget. I'd "seasoned" the thing the night before, and it was fairly speaking to me, "Scott... Scott... pay attention dammit, stop playing on the computer Scott... cook with me... it will be tasty... "

So I pawed through the book to find something to cook with my new pan. There's a whole chapter that involves meats and cast iron, called "searing". Sounds sizzley, but I got no steak or duck or tofu, and am pretty much without most of the spices and things in the recipes. But what I do got is hamburger. I got lots of that. So I read forward a bit about "grilling", which has a whole sidebar about burgers. The whole point is to improvise, so why not?

Now, it may have been that I was cleaning the oven at the time I was ginning up this plan, but it sure as hell seemed like a brilliant idea to me. So, here's what happened:

  • Retrieve rock-hard-frozen burger meat from fridge. Ponder "when holding hammer, everything looks like nail" saying while tapping it TOCKTOCKTOCKTOCK on countertop to frighten away feline vultures.
  • Book advises defrosting in fridge. At that rate burger will be ready some time tomorrow.
  • Stick burger in microwave, set on DEFROST, 7 minutes. Double-check DEFROST, because cooking frozen hamburger results in freakish Frankenstein-like meat cookie (black on the outside, frozen on the inside).
  • Wait 5 minutes, check burger. Transitioned from rock-like cat threatening tool to slightly softball-like stiffness. Replace burger, turning 1/4 turn because microwave is model God gave to Noah after ark came to rest on Ararat.
  • Remove half-thawed burger. Break off 1/4's worth by bending back and forth like old cardboard. Foil wrap large portion and replace in freezer along with other half dozen mysterious silver packages (label? What's the fun in that?)
  • Replace new 1/4 portion on plate being careful to watch for cross-contamination. Wash hands after linebacker-tackling long-haired feline vulture. Wash hands again after tackling second feline vulture for which the first was actually running interference for in classic feline double-pump-fake tactic. Place in microwave (burger, not cat) to finish thawing
  • Remove burger. Pick out bits that cooked anyway because we want to do this right for once.
  • Set stovetop burner on HIGH and place pan on burner. Set timer for 3 minutes, then re-set timer for 4 minutes because was once told by friend electric stoves suck and cannot heat cast iron.
  • Prepare hamburger patty by first sprinkling kosher salt, then drizzling with tiny bit of vegetable oil. Read instructions and note was supposed to drizzle (actually spritz, but wife had not returned with new spritz bottles yet) with oil and then put on salt. Realize that dabbling involved double-dipping into oil container from finger just touching raw meat. Imagine tiny e.coli colonies now doing hot salsa rumba inside oil container. Discard oil container (was nearly empty anyway).
  • Observe that friend was completely full of sh*t, electric stove quite merrily heating up cast iron pan. Note alarming discoloration in center of pan but remember that pan is 15, 20 lbs (nearly 8 kg) of same stuff they make redneck-brother engine blocks out of.
  • Turn on vent hood because book says "searing may make smoke".
  • Place patty on pan surface, set timer for 3 minutes. Note that "may make smoke" must be Alton-Brownspeak for "imitates Canadian forest fire". Patty quickly resembles outgassing comet on nearest pass to sun. Open windows to 95 degree heat before living room disappears in blue haze.
  • Frantically wave pillow at smoke alarm so as to prevent detonation of said item. Calm down after remembering enraged wife violently disemboweling said alarm with towel tip several months ago after it implied she may be wrong about broiling steak. Wife had replaced decapitated smoke alarm remains as head-on-pike-over-London-bridge-like warning to all other smoke alarms that We Do Not Tolerate Such Impudence.
  • Flip burger over at timer alarm sound. Watch as other side shoots smoke like trailer park firework stand after well aimed cigarette butt flick. Reset timer.
  • Look for burger buns. Note that buns, which reside at all times in back of refrigerator, have as with all suddenly needed items vanished into same space-time pocket that contains half of contents of sock drawer. Have really stupid idea. Pull out last four pieces of sandwich bread.
  • Remove admittedly tasty-looking burger patty from pan. Place on "resting rack" as advised in book. Attempt to implement Really Stupid Idea of toasting bread on iron pan.
  • Find out that while food + heat may = cooking, cast iron + dry bread = fire. Quickly remove torched remains and dump into kitchen sink.
  • Pat self on back for NASA-like ability to have backup plan and place patty on other non-carbonized bread slices. Add ketchup and slice of American "cheese food", grab beer & Pringles and sit down for late lunch.

And you know what, it was darned tasty! Next up, seared chicken...

Posted by scott at 05:04 PM | Comments (12)
This Day in History

Courtesy of Rotten.com

July 22 1376 The Pied Piper of Hamelin makes off with the town's rats and children.

Ok. was this guy for real or what? Many still claim he is a fairy tale, while others say he was a serial killer of that time.

Here is a neat article I found. Check it out, it kinda gets you thinking a bit.

Posted by Ellen at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)
Giant Squid Find

ABCNEWS.com is running this story about a giant squid find. No, they didn't get footage of a live critter, but they think they may have found a new species. Ellen loves these things, but I'm not quite sure why.

Update: Cnn.com's article has pictures.

Posted by scott at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)
My NEW Job

I got the positon at the cat hospital!!! :) I start August 12th! Cool right! I am going to pass out. I have always wanted to work excusivly with cats. This is a good thing. Now all I need is a body peircing or tattoo to celebrate my new change in life!

Posted by Ellen at 04:40 PM | Comments (3)
Cowboy Beebop Movie!

Ok, fess up, just when did they make a Cowboy Beebop movie?!? Premieres nationwide in 2003. Can't wait!

Bad dog! No Biscuit!

Posted by scott at 12:22 PM | Comments (9)
Woo-hoo! More Reviews!

We got yer pipin' hot reviews right here! A 5 and a 4.75! ~ cabbage patch dance ~

Thanks to Wendy and Ropejumper for your very kind words (however, I prefer the term "pompous gasbag" to "long winded", thankyouverymuch *grin*). And if you've decided to become regulars, welcome! We do this for our growing legion of fans (all, what, eight of you now? ;) ), because without you guys the whole thing wouldn't even be worth doing.

Now comment some, dang you! :)

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (3)
Why I Love Alfa Romeo

Swear to god Alfa was the only company in the world crazy enough to put this thing in the back of their sedans. For those not in the know, that's a DeDion rear axle assembly. It's a way of giving your car that last extra bit of high-performance handling without the need to worry about whether the wheels will knuckle under just as you hit the apex of a corner (cf Corvair, Nader, Ralph, "unsafe at any speed").

There were only two production automobiles in the world (that I know of) in the 1980s to have this setup. One was the Alfa Milano (75 in Europe). The other one?

Aston Martin.

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Military Funnies

One for my brother, who was once in the army and carries the mental scars to prove it: 213 things Skippy can't do in the army. Got it from what I must award "least expected name for a blog" to, uppity-negro.com. Huzza to another non-single-white-30-something-female blogger!

P.S. He's also damned funny in his own right. See The Vocabulary Lesson (II).

Posted by scott at 07:17 AM | Comments (0)
July 21, 2002
Cat TV

Our good blogger buddy, Maru directed me to a site for this! A show for cats!! *see Skippy below for the entire site, he posted it first*

Thats right. Not you, your cat gets a tv show. I want to be in it.

The site I got it from..Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Posted by Ellen at 08:12 PM | Comments (1)
Intellectual Arrogance

It may be surprising to those who know me, or who read this site a lot, but I really don't think I know everything. I would at least like to think I'm conscious of the boundaries of my own knowledge, and will quite readily admit when I don't know the answer to a question. This leads to very amusing looks from people who work with me, I guess because they're so used to me knowing the answer. More frequently than I'd like to admit a person will walk into my office with some obscure or bizarre question. When I say "I'm sorry, I just don't know" I get this look like I've hit them with a brick between the eyes. One executive was so disturbed by it she sat down and rehearsed a "proper" answer before a big conference. Apparently, "I don't know" is not acceptable in certain political situations.

Oh, I used to think I knew a lot of stuff. Certainly my head is stuffed full of completely useless crap about any number of obscure things. But it took reading Plato's Dialogues (or at least trying to... I've lost both copies before finishing them) before I really understood the difference between knowledge and smarts.

The Dialogues are Plato's tribute to his master Socrates. Written between 390 and 347 BC, they are easily the most accessible of Plato's works1. Socrates was the original gadfly. Were he alive in the United States today, he would probably be an extremely effective lawyer for, say, the ACLU, and would think nothing of defending even Osama in court. He was brilliant, abrasive, argumentative, ugly, and almost rabidly a-political. It eventually killed him.

Unfortunately nothing Socrates himself wrote has made it down through history to us. All we have are what Plato, his most brilliant student, chose to record for us. Because of the ancient's ambiguous sense of "the truth" and their tendency to fabricate dialogue if it suited the spirit, if not the letter, of the character in question, we cannot be completely sure if Socrates actually said the things Plato puts in his mouth. But even if the words are not "jot-and-tittle" correct, the spirit certainly is.

One of Socrates' main points was, in spite of common perception, he knew nothing. He could talk at length about pretty much anything that concerned men. He could, and regularly did, embarrass contemporary self-styled "intellectuals" with his logical constructs and philosophical arguments. But he maintained that when confronted with something as vast as the cosmos, his knowledge was infinitesimally small. Further, he argued quite persuasively on more than one occasion the only true sign of intelligence ("smarts") was the admission that one knows nothing. Even 2500 years later you can feel the consternation of his intellectual foes when they are beaten by a cranky, smelly old man who claimed to know less than a beggar on the street.

I took this argument to heart, and have kept it as a guardian ever since. Before, if confronted with a question on a topic I knew little or nothing about I would pontificate at length by pretty much making it up as I went along (having a large vocabulary and a quick wit can make you sound intelligent about any damned thing). Today, however, I will quite readily admit I know absolutely nothing about, say, CPU micro code or Sri Lankan history or differential equations or any other thing under the sun. It was not an easy habit to break, the "faking" of knowledge, and I have to keep close watch on myself to this day.

Now, I'm not completely inside the Socratic ideal. When I do know something, I'm not at all shy about pointing it out. And I know a lot of stuff. I would like to take pains to point out that in no way does this make me smarter than anyone else. My wife for one will very quickly point out that I quite regularly do things that even six year olds know not to.

But growing up with a brother who is easily as, if not more, intelligent than I am taught me again and again to only argue from absolute authority. He has probably forgotten it, but I learned a deep, hard lesson one day arguing over the performance of WWII aircraft2. Every single statement I made with incontestable older-brother authority was refuted in that oh-so-subtle "you're wrong and you suck neener-neener" 10-year old style. And the little squeaker quite gleefully pulled the books out he needed to back him up.

So I was fortunate enough to grow up with someone who was different, but equal, and wouldn't let me get away with anything intellectually just on principle. Combined with my own later learning of the great philosophers and religious thinkers, it trained me to become a kind of argumentative ninja, striking only when absolutely certain of victory, and retiring instantly when proven weaker.

But there are a lot... a lot of "smart" people out there who haven't learned the hard intellectual lessons I have. I can spot them instantly in a crowd. Large (even when physically small), loud, arrogant, and typically pontificating nonstop, they stand out like Springer guests at a MENSA meeting. The funnest thing about these people is they think just because they know a lot about one, or even a few, things, they know a lot about everything. It's usually trivial to manipulate them into stepping out of the narrow bounds of their real knowledge into the vast desert of ignorance that surrounds it.

I live for these moments, and have ruined more than one dinner party swooping in for the kill. Because these people think they're better than you and me. Because they have a degree in Computer Science, Psychology, Electrical Engineering, or run their own successful business, or make a million dollars a year, they think they've given themselves the right to judge who in this world has value, and who doesn't, in their own mind or in the minds of others.

There's nothing more savory than to publicly, either in person or via the internet, take these people down a notch or two, to expose the crosses burning behind the lofty rhetoric, the brittle crystal fanaticism behind the loving words, the reactionary goals behind the conciliatory gestures.

I know it is very bad karma to take glee in watching these people squirm impaled on pikes of argument they know nothing about. I know I should feel compassion for the most gibbering demon of belief, even when its ugliness is exposed to the light in front of friends. I know it is a faux-pas at least to hold those appointed to be our leaders and elders in front of the on-coming steam locomotive of real life. But I do it anyway. I enjoy it.

Because I may not know much, but I do know the difference between intelligence and knowledge.

Posted by scott at 07:06 PM | Comments (1)
Feeling Sappy

Ok, I'm feeling sappy for some reason. If you never read "kitten crazies", you've probably never seen this picture:

Sometimes you have to say goodbye, yes, but sometimes you get to say hello. Coconut was about 2 hours old in that picture. Mom wasn't able to nurse, so we became mommy. Note: whenever possible, let mommy be mommy. Kittens are nearly as much work as babies!

Posted by scott at 05:28 PM | Comments (4)
Top 10 Things

Ok ladies, please comment below whether/how true this is. I will be taking notes, as I am stoopidhusband. :)

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (3)
19th Century Terrorists

Ok, so what do you do if you are pissed off, have a lot of dynamite, but no car? Well, you could always use a horse instead.

Posted by scott at 12:04 PM | Comments (1)
Homebuilt Observatories

NY Times is running this story about amateur astronomers building their own observatories in their back yard. Years ago my brother bought an enourmous home telescope, I think a 12"-er. It was so big it really needed to be set up permanently, but that wasn't going to happen in their small town-home. Now he lives out in the middle of nowhere, with a great big back yard. Hey, this sounds like a project for ya Jeff!

Posted by scott at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)
July 20, 2002
Toilet Train Your Cat

I want to try THIS! with my bunch.

The best part about this site, is pixxies!!! You get to see a cat in action! On the Toilet!

Posted by Ellen at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)
Salt Container

Oh my god!!! I found the kosher salt holder Alton Brown uses in Good Eats! You will have to email me for more info. I am not going to advertise for the store.

Of course as soon as I got home, I had to fill it right away. I got a warm fuzzy from it.

Scott had to purchase a cast iron skillet. I have no idea what he is going to cook, but he had to have one.

12/01/02 UPDATE: Salt container solution is here.

Posted by Ellen at 03:26 PM | Comments (29)
Yoga Sex

NO! I have not, nor do intend to try this move out!

Posted by Ellen at 03:21 PM | Comments (7)
3rd Arm

Um.....ouch?

Posted by Ellen at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)
July 19, 2002
Ted Pix!

Mr. Ssssiiipppsss!!! *aka- Ted E. Bear* In case you are all wondering, Ted got his nickname by his favorite cat treat. Its called Cat Sips. Teddy has pentology of fallot, a rare heart defect/disease. He is currently 2.5 years old, who should of not made it past a year. He is my special little guy.


SLUUUURRRPPP!!!!

"What does it do!?? It sits up!"

YAWWNN!!

It's sooo cute!!

Hopefully Ted will live quite a long time. Scott won't make anymore bets with me on this cat learning a new trick though. Last time we did something like that, I got a Nikon N65 out of it. *got Ted to sit up*

Ted can also jump through a hoop, roll over and show his *chocolate chips-spots* on his belly, and is always open to an invite to the bathroom when called. He is also a theif. He can open closet doors, then into the cat food bin and steal Friskies dental diet *dragon food*. You KNOW it's him because the food bin door goes *thumpa-thumpa* (since he only steals ONE piece at a time).

Ted is also our projectile vomit cat. He currently holds the record for being able to spew 14 inches across the floor in a single vomit. *this happens because his heart is so large it presses against his esophagus allowing pressure to build and then *SPEWWWW!!!*. He is very proud of this feature. (He does not have a defect, we call it a feature-builds character).

Posted by scott at 10:29 PM | Comments (5)
Fainting Goats 4 Sale

Now my brother and sister in-law can actually purchase livestock for their backyard! *its big enough* Plus they are pure entertainment and will mow the grass for free!

How can you NOT have fun with fainting goats?

Get yer fainting goat!! Only $100.00

Posted by Ellen at 09:22 PM | Comments (20)
Historic Contraceptives

The article does not state if they were used or not.

I'd rather not find out.

Hope they used gloves or washed their hands after handiling it. *shudder*

Posted by Ellen at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)
Another Arkansas Church-ism!

Churches, especially in the south, will advertise anything! Including the pancake breakfast held before or after church on sundays.

Now that I remember correctly. A baptist church in Arkansas had written or rather stuck the letters on its billboard : Forbidden fruit makes for bad jam!

Pretty southern huh? Not like us italian NY-kers that are mostly Roman Catholic and standing in line with a one way ticket to hell. We just walk into a booth, tell the priest some personal dirt and have to recite over and over and over again some chant, *that I can no longer really remember- there were 5, I think* and VOILA! instant goodness, until you walk out side and say the lords name in vain because something stupid just occured.

Anyhow, I'm off topic. I have never seen a church in NY with a billboard out side its church advertise anything except the times of worship. Though it would be funny to see what they would say. Example : 2 for 1 deal on sins! or something else...

Posted by Ellen at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)
Britain in Race w/ US for Serial Killer Record???

Robert UK sent us this entry:
==========================

Britain has a new high-scoring mass-murderer

The story doesn't really give the background to this, but here's my take. Mass murder seems to be a peculiarly American pasttime. Even the great British mass murderers come in at less than ten (I think Jack the Ripper killed about 5 people - I probably should research this better), but even then they're extremely unusual - Jack is still a cause celebre more than a century on.

The American high-scorer is of course John 'Wayne' Gacy with about 40 and the all-time World high score is held by 'Countess Dracula' a Hungarian(?) noble who killed about 400(?) young women, several hudred years ago, in the belief that their blood would keep her young.

Anyway, this guy has just been awarded 215 confirmed kills and could actually have gone over 500. Just an ordinary town doctor working quietly away. Infact if he hadn't forged a will he might still be racking them up.

=======================
Thanks Robert! Your no-prize is in the mail, although it may be awhile before it passes through customs :).

P.S. Actually, Britain has had its fair share of wacknut killers. I remember seeing something on A&E a few weeks back about a guy in the 50s that got rid of his victims by stirring them in vats of acid. I think it was a suburb of London. I thought the worlds A#1 serial killer was a Russian guy back in the 1980s, but we'll have to ask my mom about that. She's probably America's foremost expert on serial killers, past and present. Swear to god, this is a near-actual conversation:

Mom: "Oh, gosh, I love the northwest... cool, green, lots of calm people... I'd just love to move there!"
Me: "Well, why don't you just move there?"
Mom:"Oh I could never move there. That's where all the serial killers live"

Anyway, thanks!

Posted by scott at 08:40 PM | Comments (1)
Peter Pan Is Real!!

Apparently Peter Pan IS real!!!!

No really! You have to check it out!

Thanks to Elizabeth and her kitties! *Riley, Buffy and Polly*(I used to kitty sit them!!!) Your no-prize is in the mail! :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:16 PM | Comments (1)
Cookie Monster Girl

Yeah, I'm gonna catch hell for this one, but I just could not resist. Your webmaster's gonna take a bullet for the team!

Found this while cleaning out my e-mail, came from one of her uncles. Ellen's the one on the right (Nina can bust who the one on the left is if she feels like it):

There's one of me out there at about this age. I'm sure if Ellen can find it you'll see it real soon. :)

Quick! Everyone comment on how cute she is so she doesn't take it down!

Posted by scott at 11:38 AM | Comments (9)
I'm Just Here for the Food Review

For those of you who haven't bought Alton Brown's (host of Good Eats) new book, I'm Just Here for the Food, Slashdot has this review. He's a good guy. Buy his book, and do it through our link so we'll get a bit of change in the bargain :).

Posted by scott at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)
Vacation Fun

Just when you thought scuba diving was only to check out fish and stuff.

You can actually put your diving license to good use!

Check out sunken ships! Discover exotic fish and coral! Have SEX when done looking!

Posted by Ellen at 11:09 AM | Comments (1)
ERmm....Ok

How can you not know someone is dead?

Thats one long friggin nap!!!

Posted by Ellen at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)
One LOOONG Ride

This cat decided to get out of his kennel in cargo and go missing for 10 days.

What amazes me is WHY do flights make cats and small dogs under 15 pounds fly in cargo? Is it the complaining, whiney ass people that claim they have pet allergies? It has been know that stewardesses will allow the cat out in the cabin to relax with their owner and they have also found that the rest of the cabin will calm down also. Amazing right? Still proves the theory that pets reduce stress :)

Posted by Ellen at 10:52 AM | Comments (2)
July 18, 2002
The Sex Trade

For those of you who haven't read it, I highly recommend the blog Ellen linked up in the naughty bits post below. Firstly, it's a damned entertaining look at life behind the counter of a porn video store. Secondly, there are no pictures. In a funny sort of way it reminds me a lot of the kinds of stories my parents used to tell when they ran a liquor store years and years ago.

When it comes to sex, the United States is one messed up country. Personally, I blame the British. No, really, think about it. For about a hundred years the US was Britainís dumping ground for people too pigheaded, weird, dangerous, fanatical, or crooked to be left on their doorstep. With the Enlightenment giving both the continent and Britain a bit of a conscience, it ended up being a lot easier to stick all these folks on boats rather than hang them from trees or burn them. Much less mess, and sometimes they actually would end up paying taxes.

Oh, some of them would promptly hop boats back, but the ones who were dumb enough to do this were usually dumb enough to head right back to their old villages. Once the constable found you out (and they always found you out... even London was a smallish city in pre-industrial times) it was a quick trip to the gibbet for you.

Now, the first puritans are actually well known for thinking sex was just fine, as long as you were either married (to each other) or unmarried. They did have big, hairy problems with it if it was your neighbor's husband you were playing ride-the-pony with out in the woods, and usually the penalties were pretty darned unpleasant. But overall, sex was seen as just another natural part of being a human. And of course you couldn't have kids if you didn't have sex, and in pre-industrial societies procreation was felt to be an almost sacred duty.

But something really weird happened on the way to the brothel, and this one I can't pin on anyone but ourselves. As late as the 1860s the bawdy business of sex rollicked along in America. Big cities, D.C. and New York especially, had entire city blocks given over to ďhouses of entertainmentĒ. Every wide spot in the road had "special ladies" that were available for discreet and not-so-discreet encounters. Oh, sure, there were temperance unions and reform leagues and revival crusades, but those were mostly dried up raisin people too bitter about the world to really enjoy it.

The Civil War changed all that. It's really hard to understand from this distance in history, but the Civil War represented not only a physical trauma, but a mental, spiritual, and emotional wrenching beyond experience before or since. September 11th was an event which brought the country together. Imagine an event with that much emotional intensity tearing the country apart. Now imagine events like that happening with that much intensity again and again and again for four and a half years.

When it was all finally over pretty much everything was turned upside down and inside out. Permissiveness, tolerance, and the old "wink-wink, nudge-nudge" attitude were seen as casus belli to the event, and so suddenly the dried up raisin people started to get listened to. America went through a tremendous moral retrenchment, and the whole country was swept end to end with a fervor that represented the beginning of fundamentalism as we know it today.

And so the brothels started to be outlawed and closed up. Morality police stalked the streets of the cities and the halls of government. Comstock got his act passed and suddenly even attempting birth control was illegal. In a way that would be strikingly paralleled eighty-five years later, people had had a bellyful of chaos, death, and destruction, the panicked fears and pitiless wastes of war, and they were quite willing to legislate calm and order if that's what it took.

It wasn't all bad. The people that took away the red light districts and briefly took away all the booze also gave us child labor laws, public education, and the idea that a prison was a penitentiary, a place to learn from your mistakes, instead of just a holding cell until you got turned loose or sent to the gallows.

But the Civil War cast a long, long shadow on the generation that lived through it. The few good things that the reformers came up with were probably more than outweighed by the systemic oppression they felt necessary to impose as part of their security blanket against the bloated corpses of the battlefields. Overt sexism, racism, and plain old upper-class snobbery on a scale that must be read to be believed held our country in thrall for the rest of the 19th and most of the early 20th century. At some points it was so stultifying to our intellectual climate that entire communities of expatriates sprang up in places like Paris and London.

And each time a generation would start to crawl out from under this onerous weight of reactionary self-protective custom, another war would manage to impose itself, and a whole new generation would want to keep the old ways because it was all they had left to remind them of a time when they didnít know what happened to a horse, or a man, when they got shot in the stomach. It wasn't until war itself got so expensive that it was simply impossible to involve entire generations in it at once that we started to really become socially liberal again.

And yet we still live in the shadow of the moralists. To this day prostitution, the archetypical victimless crime, is illegal throughout most of the country. Pornography is caught in an Oruborous of desperation drawing desperate people to do desperate things and perpetuate a desperate image. Proper use of contraception is still not taught in most schools because too many people believe that teaching how to prevent pregnancy somehow promotes the attempt. We have a very long way to go.

But I think I'm still going to blame the British. Anyone that can come up with Benny Hill has to be guilty of something. ;)

Posted by scott at 09:21 PM | Comments (1)
Tennis Ball

I could not pass this one up. This mouse is using a tennis ball for a house!

Cute huh?

Posted by Ellen at 07:07 PM | Comments (0)
True Porn Clerk Stories

This is a rather funny blog that I found on a site called smacktalk.org

Check both of them out. They are rather funny. SmackTalk is not a graphic site whatsoever...kind of a personal soap box. Improvisation is not naughty either..but since it talks about porn, I have to rate it in the XXX spot.

Enjoy!~

Courtesy of Mellie. Mellie, your no-prize will be waiting for you when you get home. :)

Posted by Ellen at 06:00 PM | Comments (3)
Bizzare Pterosaur

And on ABCNEWS.COM, we have this cool story about a really weird looking pterosaur recently discovered. Kinda looks like Toucan Sam in a hat.

Posted by scott at 05:17 PM | Comments (0)
World's Oldest Chocolate

Scientists seem to have found that people were drinking chocolate drinks about 1,000 years earlier than previously thought. Mmmm... Chocolate....

Posted by scott at 05:10 PM | Comments (0)
Flying Aces Stories

Found this cool site that has the stories of WWII combat pilots from 14 different countries. This is also to announce the creation of a new category for our site, "airplanes", to help folks looking for that stuff to find it. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 10:17 AM | Comments (2)
July 17, 2002
Something to Make Ellen Cry, Again

Fark's running this photo of a mommie cat and a baby bunny. Just how cute is that?

Makes up for the other cat story running over there. Do yourself a favor and just don't even look at it, the headline should be enough. I'm serious.

Posted by scott at 05:11 PM | Comments (1)
No Dog for Pony Show

A follow-up that's sure to disappoint our anti-shrub crowd (you know who you are). A judge disqualified the pooch running for election in Florida.

Posted by scott at 05:10 PM | Comments (1)
Mechwarrior 4 News

Gamecenter is running this story about the upcoming mechwarrior 4 expansion. It'd be good to get the team of SS, FS, and Slack back together. One couldn't hit, one couldn't move, and one couldn't shoot. :)

Posted by scott at 05:02 PM | Comments (0)
Birth Control Hormones found in EU Soda

New Scientist is reporting on some bizzaro ocurrances in the European Union of hormones getting into animal feed and soft drinks. EEP!

Posted by scott at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)
Foot Phones!

Well, at least some scientists think now that elephants communicate through their feet. Get smart, eat your heart out! :)

Posted by scott at 04:51 PM | Comments (0)
British Aircraft Restorers

BBC news has this cool article about the Old Warden aerodrome. Something I've seen again and again is that when the British have themselves an old machine, be it an airplane or a ship or a monstrous steam engine, it isn't enough to just have it sit there to be looked at, it has to do what it was meant to do. They regularly trot out what in the US would be considered a priceless artifact, turn it on, and let it do its thing. During Battle of Britian memorials, for example, one of only two airworthy Lancasters trundles into the air after having been pulled out of the museum it sits in.

Robert UK: Any other examples? I personally think it's damned neat.

Posted by scott at 04:42 PM | Comments (3)
Can I BBQ This Guy???

I was told NOT to open this story. But of course, I have to go see what it is.

I am ill.

I am glad that this person will most likely be jailed for being a fucking cruel human, which is not on $10,000 bail and being fined several thousand dollars.

Kudos to the person who rescued this poor baby. She is a wonderful human that deserves her rightful place in society.

If I was her I think I would of beaten the living shit out of this guy, put his face on the hot grill till he cried and poked him with a stick. Fucking sick human he is.

I am also upset that everyone that WATCHED in AMUSMENT did not get fined either for cruelty to animals. I would like to travel to MO. and go grill this fuckhead.

People are incredibly cruel to things that are too small and innocent to hurt them. * I am not talking about children, I am speaking only for animals *How big was this guys dick to do something like that?* I'm sure you need a microscope to see it.

Posted by Ellen at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)
Finally!

I put my 2 weeks in today at work. It only took me a year to do it. But I finally found my niche and swiped at the opportunity.

I am going to work at a "cats only" hospital. Yep, only feline medicine. Like I always said, "cats rule, dogs drool'.

I have always wanted to work with cats only. Dogs have always been too big and messy for me. Cats are so nice and dainty. yet they can turn into this evil being in less than 2 seconds. But I still find them fascinating.

Once again I am branching off into a different area of veterinary medicine. Last time I did this, I was in a research lab with some primates trying to understand the tests and research for HIV, SIV and hepatitis.

I think this will be an exciting adventure for me.

This hospital I will be working at is right by Scott's work so I have a nice walk everyday, plus it's right in between 2 metro stops too. It's a house. 2 levels. You walk in and it's very quaint, quiet and clean. Not a hospital at all. More comfortable. 4 cats walk around the place. 2 of them are British shorthairs. They own the place. Surgery, treatment and the cattery are all located upstairs *more exercise..yay*

I really like that place. I felt comfortable and welcome. You know when you are in an interview and you just feel like you don't belong, but this place was totally different.

Hopefully I will enjoy myself. Scott is surprised that I have not gone into a coma for just walking into a hospital with only cats in it.

I will let you all know how it goes once I fully start there.

Posted by Ellen at 03:54 PM | Comments (4)
Bf 109 Site

Here's a cool site about the BF-109, the German fighter used most often during WWII.

Even after 9 months I still fly Sturmovik, the WWII eastern front flight/combat simulator. It's a great multiplayer experience. One of the most rewarding things I've done is transition from a "turn and burn" fighter guy (driving Russian birds almost exclusively) to a "boom and zoom" fighter guy (driving the Bf-109 G2 most of the time).

The two techniques are completely different, and B&Z takes a lot of practice. Turn & burn is a simple one to understand... the guy goes by you and you turn the airplane horizontally to get on his tail. You always strive to be on the same level as him, and keep turning. Nearly everyone that starts out in combat flight sims uses T&B tactics.

"Boom and Zoom" is what you do when your airplane just doesn't turn as well as the other guy, but is fast. Instead of horizontal maneuvers, you use the vertical to get around. You always try to be above the badguys, pick one out, and dive on him (the "boom"). If he turns you pull up and away (the "zoom"), and then dive back again when you're in position.

It sounds easy, but it isn't. You always have to keep in mind not to try and turn with the guy. Sometimes you'll get sucked into it anyway because he's almost in your sights, and then you're screwed because now you're playing his game.

I think the airforce had a saying "you meet a better class of people in the vertical", and they're right.

Yeah, it means I play the bad guy, but at least I get to shoot down communists! :)

Of course, since I can't shoot worth a damn all I usually do is scare the guy.

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)
July 16, 2002
Cat with Balls

I'm sure you have all seen this one before.

Posted by Ellen at 07:40 PM | Comments (1)
Not Just the Tip

And hot on Maru's heels is Pat's submission of this really neat picture of an iceberg. Two no-prizes in one day!

Posted by scott at 06:13 PM | Comments (2)
Tug-o-War

Maru is our very first AMCGLTD.COM no-prize winner with this submission:

The National Organization of Genitalia Confrontation held their annual nude olympics in Minnesota on Monday. The oddest, and most painful looking, event was the tug of war competition.

Definitely one the nurses will want to look at. Thanks maru! :)

Posted by scott at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)
Hominid Skull Follow-Up

BBC News also has this follow-up story on the new hominid find I wrote up a few days ago. What you're seeing here is classic, absolutely classic back-biting that is positively endemic to the field. What will happen now is a series of slow-motion arguments as each side takes pot shots at the other through journal and book publications. The best one of these I ever saw was the Leaky vs. Johansen battle in the mid 80s.

But eventually their bickering will lead to a greater understanding of the truth. It's the process that matters, not the personalities.

Posted by scott at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)
Horse Origins Traced

BBC News is running this interesting story about the origins of the domestic horse. Turns out that, unlike most other big domesticated animals, the horse was domesticated in several different places at once.

Posted by scott at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)
The $2002 Race

The Alfa Romeo Owner's Club has this cool article about the $2002 challenge. The task? Put together a car for no more than $2002 dollars and then compete in a drag race, an autocross, and a concours (non-gearhead translation: fancy car show). They came in 8th with a spider! Woo-hoo!

Posted by scott at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)
Black Hole News

New Scientist has this interesting article on recent black hole discoveries. Seems they've finally figured out experimental proof for an "event horizon". If something falls into a black hole past its event horizon, it disappears from this universe and can never come back. What happens inside is literally unknowable with current scientific knowledge, and is one of the prime movers toward a unified theory of physics.

Posted by scott at 09:03 AM | Comments (3)
July 15, 2002
The Quest for Immortality

Sometimes living inside the beltway can be trying at best. Traffic that makes cold molasses look like quicksilver, radio advisories suggesting you take a shower after just walking around outside, and a cost of living that gives you single family starter homes "in the $230,000's", can make it all seem a bit much at times.

But then you find out you get dibs on things like The Quest for Immortality, Treasures of Ancient Egypt, a collection of New Kingdom (1550-1069 BC) artifacts that have largely never been seen in the west.

Of course, D.C. is crawling with tourists this time of year ("If it's tourist season, how come we can't shoot them?" is a common bumper sticker). Large clots of identically dressed youngsters clog the museums like rainbow hued mold on three-week-old milk. Giant buses radiate thermite-like heat and spew dry sulfur diesel fumes while they idle eternally outside. Beleaguered adults demonstrate it's not just cats which are impossible to heard while teens and youngsters barrel through the halls playing "knock over the locals".

But dammit, we wanted to see this thing so we went ahead and braved the "4-H club of the Future Farmers of the Knights of the Young Leaders of the CubBoyGirlscouts" crowd and took the plunge into the city.

D.C., like many east coast cities, has a very well developed public transit system. It's clean and it's safe, and if you're ever planning on visiting it'll be the way you get from point A to point B inside this town. It gives the city a certain weird Disney-like feel, with islands of outside attractions connected only by dark modern tunnels and near noiseless trains. You can easily visit, say, Arlington Cemetery, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and the White House and have little if any knowledge how these sites interrelate in the "real" geography of the city.

As with most weekends this time of year the Orange line train we pick up underneath my workplace was already crowded with colorful chattery clueless throngs, all heading toward the only stop they recognized... Smithsonian. The Smithsonian complex is large enough (you did know there eight or nine museums on the mall alone, didn't you?) that you could actually use two or three stops to cover it all, but when they put the metro in they didn't want to put the tour bus companies out of business, so the exit marked Smithsonian actually dumps you in the middle of the mall, far away from anything you might want to visit. To avoid the crush we got off a stop early at Federal Triangle and hiked the five blocks to the East Wing of the National Art Gallery.

The East Wing is the newer wing, an almost painfully self-conscious distillation of late 60s architectural thinking. It's very open, very gray, and almost completely forgettable once you set foot outside its doors. The views inside are, of course, magnificent, but I'm always left wondering just where the hell the museum part of it is.

We followed the signs up to the second floor only to be confronted with a classic case of Johnson-luck-meets-Carozza-planning. The line for the exhibit was folded into no fewer than six 100 foot sections completely full of people. Figuring that this would work like the White House and the Washington Monument, our plan was to pick up some timed-entrance tickets and go get something to eat. Nope, not this time, tickets were on sale elsewhere. Our luck was it seemed most of the Western Hemisphere had decided to come see this thing with us.

In all honesty we didn't have anything better to do, so we hopped in line. Ellen and I like to people watch in situations like this, and this line did not disappoint. Ahead of us we had the slightly overripe but otherwise attractive French 20-something girl hanging onto her shorter, balding, but otherwise attractive American boyfriend, with Ellen and I taking bets as to who would grab the other's ass first. Passing us back and forth one "fold" ahead was a very well dressed female power-forward from some law firm or another, her professional demeanor only somewhat sabotaged by her seventh-month pregnancy. Just behind us was an older mother with an eight or nine year old boy trying valiantly to convince him that no, the mummies don't rise up like on Scooby Doo because they're really old.

After about 45 minutes we wended our way up to the front of the line. In spite of the fact that this was supposed to look like some sort of "timed release" of visitors, in actual fact it seemed more like what determined the flow of the line was how many people they could stuff into the exhibit with a stick and hot poker. But one of the advantages of being married to a perpetually angry Italian-New Yorker is her ability to throw elbows to make Dennis Rodman proud, and so we got "in the mix" pretty quickly. The exhibit did not disappoint.

You see these things all the time on TV and in books, so at first you don't expect much. The difference is with well designed exhibits (and this one is quite well designed), you can walk right up to the artifacts. Putting your nose six inches away from a chunk of wall off a tomb is a completely different experience than seeing it in a book. The level of detail is astonishing. It's not some abstract illustration of people who dressed funny. It's got brush strokes in it, and imperfections from fingers. You can see divots from the chisels used to write the hieroglyphics, and uneven colors where the artist had to make up another batch of paint. And then you realize these people died fifteen hundred years before Caesar kissed Cleopatra.

When you look at a chair and realize it looks pretty much like chairs your grandmother had in her parlor room (only a bit smaller), then read the placard and realize that chair is three thousand years old, the humanity which comes rushing up at you has to be experienced to be believed. You see that the caskets weren't just painted, but actually carved in relief, with a care that brings home these people believed when you went you needed instructions printed somewhere handy so you'd know what to do when Anubis arrived with his feather and the scales.

There is some gold on display, but not all that much. Again, it's not the gold itself but the exquisite detailing that grabs you. It's one thing to see a close-up photo of an amulet necklace, but it's completely different when you can see how it changes color in the light, and pick out the marks of the carver's hand in the engraving he held on a workbench. At that moment instead of being just a pretty picture of a pretty bauble, the thing bridges a gap you didn't know could be spanned, and you almost expect to see the craftsman smiling over your shoulder when you turn around. And maybe he is.

The climax of the exhibit is an amazingly detailed replica of the tomb of Thutmose III (d. 1450 BC). All that was found in the original was a few bits of broken furniture and a massive stone sarcophagus, but the walls themselves ended up being the real treasure, forming an essentially complete text of the Amduat, a royal book that acted as a guide to the underworld. Again, it's the detail that gets you. Even in reproduction you can see that these are handwritten hieroglyphs. At times you can watch the columns of text slowly bend to the right, just like you do when you write lists on unlined paper, only to be corrected half way through.

And then you walk through a door and are brought, almost jarringly, back to the modern world. But even though you've returned to the world of tacky t-shirts, smoggy buses, and yowling car alarms, you still carry a little bit of that ancient world inside you.

The ancient Egyptians believed that by preserving their bodies and all their worldly possessions they would achieve immortality. When you stare down at the face in the sarcophagus you realize that in a funny sort of way they have.

If you could just get the damned 4-H'er to move out of the way.

Posted by scott at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)
Dolls

My sister dug this one up on the net. I don't know if its for real or not?

Posted by Ellen at 09:15 PM | Comments (0)
WTC Site News

Jeff sent me this story about news on how New York City is planning on re-developing the WTC site. But this is just a start. I'll be amazed if the plans don't get tied up in court for years a-la the WWII memorial down here in D.C. When you have this many people with this much passionate interest, it's going to be bugger-all to please them enough not to sue.

Posted by scott at 03:23 PM | Comments (7)
Calvin, Ellen, and Gnomishness

There will be times when I refer to my lovely wife's "gnomishness". This is actually a reference to a Terry Pratchett book series called "Truckers", in which a straggling band of gnomes find greatness.

One of the things the gnomes have in common with Ellen is a tendency to take new, complex concepts & things very, very literally. Want to know what I'm talking about? Here's a Calvin & Hobbes strip that will explain it exactly.

Please note that this in no way means anyone is dumb. It just makes teaching really abstract things (like computers)... challenging.

And how would I solve the problem? If you've read the "numerology" essay, my solution should come as no surprise.

Posted by scott at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)
Alfa-zilla

This site has cool pictures of an Alfa Romeo engine after it has been all rebuilt and cleaned nice and pretty. There's also a cute kitty for Ellen! The main restoration site is here

My Spider's motor is getting up there, starting to burn a bit of oil. I may do this to it in ~5 years or so.

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
July 14, 2002
A Man's Ultimate Beer Holder

Scott would probably want one of these for his beer.

Real or fake???

Posted by Ellen at 05:36 PM | Comments (1)
Warning: This Web Site Could Waste Time

The sad thing about this collection of warnings is that most of them were probably put on because people actually tried doing this stuff. Here's your sign...

Posted by Ellen at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)
Sesame Street

Just when you thought Sesame Street couldn't be more politically correct, they go and decide to add an HIV Positive muppet with uber high self esteem.

So far they have deaf, blind, handicapped, you name it muppets. Now they want to add one more. Mind you this character will be set in S. Africa where HIV is pretty high. *will they be teaching monogamy and safe sex too??* No word yet when this character will hit the U.S.A.

Thanks to my sister* Neenah*, who thought this would be a neat addition to the site.

Posted by Ellen at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)
July 13, 2002
Philosopher's Lament

Sometimes I really think stupid people have it made. It would be so much easier to believe that people are bad just because they have dark skin, or funny-shaped eyes. Or that they're bad because they go to a synagogue instead of a church. Or that they're bad because they don't go to church at all.

I really wish I could believe that hanging a teacher's pet outside their window would actually cause them to change my grade. Or because I'm good at athletics I don't have to learn a thing and can beat a kid to death just because he likes guys and not girls. Or because I drive a fancy car and live in a fancy house that makes me better than the kid who has neither. Or if I make a lot of money the rest of the world can go fuck itself while I and my friends barbeque on the porch of my yacht.

It would be so much nicer to think because I live in a crappy neighborhood and have dark skin fathering seven kids with six women makes me more of a man, or because I carry a big gun and a lot of drugs I can shoot at policemen. Or since my boyfriend will leave me if I insist he wear a condom I should just forget about it and have some fun.

It would be so much simpler if I could believe that since I watched grinding poverty go in and out of my store every single day for years that it was the color of the skin that made the idiot. That I could quit school at 14 and hang with my buds and lift my fist in the air when I heard a great man try to speak for me and say "content of their character", and then pull an AK-47 out and shoot at a kid walking down the street because he's wearing blue instead of red, and still be a part of that man's vision. That just because someone has light colored skin when they remark on these facts they are a racist.

I just wish I could believe in my heart that Jihad means strapping bombs to my child and sending them to kill other children. That only through slowly strangling a people by driving tanks down their streets I will be safer. That only by flying this airplane into that building I can lift the oppression of a people.

It would be much more comforting if I could teach my kids it was the Jews who killed Jesus and black people are black because it's the mark of Cain and we can do whatever we want to them because of it. I only wish I could believe the only reason Africa is in such a mess is because there aren't any white people in charge any more. That this is a white, Christian nation threatened on all sides by immigrants and liberals and blacks and Jews, and Jesus knew it was OK to try to kill these people if you had to, even if he didn't actually say it.

I only wish I could say "nigger" casually in conversation, any conversation, even if it were just me and one other person. I only wish I thought "nigger" was OK to say because I am black. Or because Hispanics like to gather on street corners and talk with each other it makes them dirty and dangerous and if only we could send them all back to wherever they came from life would be better.

But I can't say those things. I can't believe them. I can't. Once you've held a dozen human skulls in your hand and only noticed how much they look alike, it's impossible. Once you learn that you can definitively tell a woman from a man, or a grownup from a child, just by looking at the bones because those are real. physical. differences. but can only make a provisional, educated guess about race, forget religious belief, because those are made up, it's impossible. Once you understand that there isn't any biological test on the planet that can definitively tell the race or religion of one completely healthy human being from another completely healthy human being, it's impossible to believe any of these things.

Because believing these things, believing any single one of these things is just stupid. And yet I know that we all have the same brains. I know it. We are all, under the skin, very, very much alike. There is genius in all of us, a god in every soul.

And yet the world is filled with people that hold ridiculous beliefs. Stupid, crazy, ignorant, here-please-wear-this-stupid-sign-around-your-neck-so-I-know-not-to-bother-talking-with-you idiotic beliefs. What I want to know is, given the incontrovertible fact that we all have the same size and functional brains in our skulls, how come there are so many people who are so goddamned stupid?

Philosophers all over the world throughout history have pondered why, if there is a benevolent god, evil exists. My question is why, if we all have the same brain between our ears, stupid people exist.

Because, as far as I'm concerned, if you eliminated all the stupid people evil would just take care of itself.

Posted by scott at 07:39 PM | Comments (2)
Proof Media = Stupid Gits

I've been ranting about how dippy and lazy most journalists in "mainstream" media are, now abcnews.com (OH! THE IRONY!) has proof (readme, part of nyu.edu, also has this article about skaggs)

This sort of thing has happened before, but in an even more embarassing (for the media) way. In 1994 we had the Jammal Ark Hoax.

These stories and others, combined with the way my bunch writes and uses press releases, has revealed to me the vast majority of "objective journalists" don't do much more than sit beside fax machines and regurgitate things that advocacy organization, people with axes to grind, write for them.

And we're not just talking about the Dumas Clarion or the Fayetteville Observer. Places like the Washington Post, New York Times, all the major TV news networks (the morning programs especially), and even most radio outlets have fallen victim to these things many, many times.

Your mother always told you not to believe everything you read (of course my mother says it holding an Enquirer). I just hope these stories will give you some concrete proof as to why.

Posted by scott at 09:06 AM | Comments (1)
Wander Lust Problem

Wander-lust seems to be having some troubles today, so I've removed that graphic so our page will load properly. I'll put it back soon.

Posted by scott at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)
July 12, 2002
Sex Change?

This article tells you how to check and see if somone you know is getting a sex change.

Sometimes, you just got to know these things. *eyes Scott suspiciously*

Posted by Ellen at 08:21 PM | Comments (0)
MIB

Maru! I thought I should post this .

MIB (men in black) are no longer going to be MIB's, the are going to be MIG's(men in grey)

Posted by Ellen at 08:12 PM | Comments (1)
What The!!

I think I saw this sign outside of Dumas, Arkansas!!!

I have NEVER EVER seen a chain gang, let alone a prison officer with a very large rifle pointed at people picking weeds. * in the HOT sun too*--- they should of made them wear winter jackets while they were at it. Make em suffer a bit more.

Posted by Ellen at 07:46 PM | Comments (5)
Cat Whizz

This is not a funny pix. Though Scott has peed on Goblin's head many times during the night when she stuck her head in the toilet while he was using it.

Cat Piss

What gets me, not only is he peeing on a cat..but in a tub?? Ok, we know this guy pisses in the shower now. PLUS he has got a super small wank!!!!!!

Posted by Ellen at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)
Dragon Report #1279

Comrades,

Greetings from Dragon Axzepztu (hyoo-man name, "magrat"). Please give my regards to Tiger Zraxktav ("Puck") and Cat rKSookz ("Egon").

Our struggle against the bourgeois canines continues with great success. Instructing the Tiger TrCHacktZ ("goblin") to use her special tail hairs of mind alteration to cement my control over humans 1138 and 3827 ("scott" and "ellen", respectively) has resulted in surprising success. Her insistence that merely laying the tail over their food and air orifices during the night would result in significant obedience gains has proven quite true. The choking noises they make have the additional benefit of being greatly amusing.

Already 3827 provides kibble almost instantly apon my command. 1138 has been tricked into imposing order on my minions by chasing them off when they attempt to steal my kibble. This obviates the need to mildly poison them and cause them to vomit my food on the "car-pet", but I still exert control over 3827 to ensure she provides the correct unique food appropriate to my status.

Mouser YrhPLAKz ("teddy") continues to attempt communication with the alien life form in the acid box (the "oscar fish" in the tank filled with "water"). Unfortunately he as ascertained that it will be some time before this new alien will be able to communicate with his fellow "oscars" to assist us in our conquest, as he has not yet reached maturity. However, your command to poison the previous occupant of the acid box was most wise, as already this alien has intimidated 3827 almost effortlessly.

Tcrapznx ("ajax") continues to prove problematic as a party member. His dedication to the hyoo-mans is most embarassing, and even repeated attempts by mouser YrhPLAKz ("teddy") to engage in dignity-raising exercises (known to the hyoo-mans as "play") has only met with limited success. Tcrapznx's ("ajax") sabotage of my effort to eliminate 1138 before 3827's "marriage" still rankles, but 1138's almost comic inability to prevent my recruiting efforts has shown the "marriage" to be largely ineffective.

Qb'Lak ("coconut") remains extremely effective at keeping bourgeois canine's spies (known to the hyoo-mans as "pigeons") at bay. Her chatters of warning are all that my minions need to rush to the windows and intimidate these admittedly tasty looking creatures into departure. Your command to manipulate 3827 into leaving a "window" open turned out to be a near-disaster. Instead of acquiring a tasty treat, I nearly lost rhPLAKz ("teddy"). In the future, please remember that we are located in a "high rise" domicile. You assigned me this observation post to keep an eye on bourgeois canine activity and co-ordinate with other party cells. Attempts at collection and destruction of bourgeois canine spies, while gratifying, should instead be left to ground-based Tigers.

Attempts at further recruitment have proven unsuccessful. 1138's resolve has unexpectedly hardened, and several manipulations of 3827 into providing recruits have failed because of his interference. We must discuss further how best to eliminate 1138 as a source of problems.

Perhaps manipulating 3827 into getting him to clean the windows, followed by judicious use of Tiger TrCHacktZ's ("goblin") feline-fu martial art skill can cause him to exit the picture?

I remain your faithful servant. Only through rigid discipline can we maximize kibble, destroy the bourgeois canines, and ensure our supply of fuzzy mice forever.

Dragon Axzepztu (hyoo-man name, "magrat")

Posted by scott at 05:59 PM | Comments (3)
Southwest Finds Way to Increase Profits

I always knew Southwest was just a bus with wings. Now they're turning into cattle cars. It's satire people.

Posted by scott at 04:52 PM | Comments (2)
More New Stuff

Just when you thought we couldn't cram any more sh*t onto the margins, we get clever and do it anyway! On your left, you'll notice a new "tell us about it" section. Use it if you find something you think would fit amongst all the other "science fiction, cats, and anger" stuff we put up, want to propose a "guest author" gig (we do it sometimes), or if you just want to give us some feedback that may not be appropriate to a particular story.

On your right, we've got "other cool sites", currently linking to our favorite goths (who have not yet stopped coming up with clever ways to get Ellen to spend my money), and also the "blogs of note" section got spruced up a bit.

You can also "havabutton" of ours to use if you choose to link to our site (hint, hint).

Now you've got two two two ways to tell us how full of sh*t we are! :)

Posted by scott at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)
Engrish Pt 3

Ok, I'm linking to this article about Japanese language skills only because it lets me link up engrish.com again, which I think is probably the funniest thing we've ever mentioned on this site.

No, I'm not making fun of Japanese. Far from it. But as a computer programmer, syntax is everything, and I love wordplay. The unintentional malapropisms of "engrish" are deeply funny from a purely structural point of view. You see, I'm one of those people that falls over laughing when someone writes "GREEN" on a red sheet of paper.

Yes, Ellen thinks it's wierd too.

Posted by scott at 04:48 PM | Comments (0)
Igia Hair Braider

I love getting my hair to braid. I think it's a neat thing. Always stylish, formal and funky at the same time.

So I picked up this gadget, hoping it would make my life easier.

My fingers hurt from it. But I have a full head of braids. I don't know how many I have. But Scott will say I look like Medusa. *more so than usual*

If you are considering this gadget, take in mind it's NOT as easy as that damn commercial makes it. It does not braid your hair. It twists the hair on itself, then retwists it in a pattern. It does not look like a normal braid.

The gadget itself is rather large *it looks like a scary fetish type vibrator*. It is bright pink, with 3 prongs on the end. When you push up these special tabs, you clamp your hair in it and braid away. 2 braid selections too.

It comes with hair twists for the end of your hair so your braid stays in place, even some beads. *I'm not doing the Bo Derek 10 look*

It's an OK gadget. When my hair gets longer, I'm sure I'll enjoy it more.

Posted by Ellen at 02:30 PM | Comments (3)
Cat In A Tree

Maybe the cat wanted to live in the tree?

The couple that decided to save him via calling out a cherry picker for $350 bucks, will immediatly pass go and collect $200. Hey they cared about some stray cat. They deseve a prize!

Posted by Ellen at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)
30 Day Accessibility Guide

For all you bloggers out there who don't check the Movable Type website, they've got a really cool article series called 30 days to a more acccessible weblog. We've implemented a few of these things as of now. Some are a little beyond me, but if you, as a viewer, think they'd help please comment below and we'll work a lot harder to incorporate them. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)
When Dogs Attack

This is one reason why I hate working with big dogs.

I have seen many nice rotties, but I would never trust one. I have also never seen a really responsible owner with one either. Many of our clients will beat the dog in front of you in the main lobby. Not only in front of us, but other clients.

Think about it. Do you really think someone like that should even be able to have a dog? Dogs just don't attack for no reason. They like to have a reason.

Plus I'm laughing at the 10 day quarantine for rabies. It can take longer for it to show up. I am surprised that they are not gung-ho to chop the dogs head off and send it out just to double check the rabies. *people are so stupid*

Posted by Ellen at 09:25 AM | Comments (1)
Directions Needed

As a request for more naughty bits!

For those of you that are too drunk and need directions.

Posted by Ellen at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
"The Victim" Toy Kit

Just to show you how bizzare the toy scene in the early 70s could get, I give you Aurora Models's Monster Scenes.

The only Aurora kit I think I ever built was a Nautilus (the nuclear submarine, not Capt. Nemo's boat) kit. Actually, my dad built it for me with superglue. Alas, polystyrene is really too brittle for a six year old, so after about the forth kit got pulled out of the tub in peices (what the hell else is a submarine model good for?), I was allowed no more.

I didn't go for figure models, especially not girl ones (smacked of "dolls", which were for girls), but I do remember playing with Steve Austin the 6-million-dollar-man and Evil Knievel "action figures" (boyspeak for "dolls"). The Steve Austin dol... ahem... ACTION FIGURE had "bionics", clear plastic blocks, imbedded in his arms and legs you could pull out. Knievel came with a lot of cool 'extras" like a motorcycle that would actually move and a car you could crash and make fly apart.

These were all the big GI Joe-sized figures, probably ~8 inches (20 cm) tall. It wasn't until Kenner came out with the 4 inch (10 cm) Star Wars figures that my collection really took off.

Those were the days though. You could get guns and knives and GI joe could jump out of a helicopter! What a time...

Posted by scott at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)
July 11, 2002
Pet Passports

Great Britian has finally decided pets that meet the requirments not to go into quarantine!

Did you know the quarantine period there is 6 months? Long time. I had a client that had an ill cat have to go through that. Cat did very well. Nice facility, nice people. Thats still a long time though. What most people do not realize is the importance of maintining your cat/dogs vaccines. If you are not current, most likely due to country regulations, you will not be able to travel with your pet.

Time your trip well. If you KNOW you will be going to europe or Britian, make sure the pet is current on all vaccines at least 6 months beforehand! Call the damn embassy! They can tell you more than most veterinarians can! Most regular vets CANNOT issue an international health certificate. You need to find a vet that is certified from the USDA for one. * they do more than check meat ya know* I have several clients come in for one, get the certificate and immediatly go drive to Richmond, Va where one of the offices are and get it stamped to go out. Many countries REQUIRE the USDA stamp. ( these were the people that waited till the very last minute for a health certificate)

Here are the guidelines for a health certificate right from the USDA!!! I did your work for you!

If you do it right, you pass go and collect $200. If not, you are shit out of luck my friend and its the pet that suffers.

Check out the article here

Posted by Ellen at 10:02 PM | Comments (2)
A New Ancestor?

Ok, by now nearly all of you have heard about this (link courtesy Jeff). Since the press monkeys are all working from the same press release, here's some stuff you may not know from your not-quite-a-real-anthropologist:

So, what does this mean?
Well, it depends. Since the guy that wrote the press release obviously works with the guy that found the skull, it sounds pretty earth shaking. But, since it's just one skull and some teeth, in reality we can't be all that sure what it means.

That's not very damned helpful.

Ok. Please keep in mind that I am to a real anthropologist what Alton Brown is to a gourmet chef (we know what we're talking about to a certain extent, but we also know who the "real" cooks are). The skull is interesting because:

  • It's old. Really old for a hominid1. The next oldest one we have, Ardipithecus ramidus2, is probably 5-6 million years old. This one is 7 to perhaps 10 million years old.
  • Chimps and people were thought to have split off from each other between 10-15 million years ago, so this fossil is really close to the time when that happened.
  • It looks funny. If it'd had a really "snouty" face (technically, a large amount of prognothesis), it would be interesting, but not earth-shattering. But it doesn't. It has a relatively "flat" face, which makes it seem a lot more "homo"-like than anything ever found that's close to that age. And it's a lot earlier than the earliest clearly homo fossil ever found (~2.5 million years).
  • It's a relatively complete skull. A lot of hominid fossils are represented by just a few teeth or a jawbone (the toughest parts of any animal's body). A near-complete skull of any age is always a find.
  • It's in an area we didn't know hominids lived. In my own opinion, this is at least as important as the fossil itself. There could be other, better things out there not yet found because we just didn't know to look for them there.

So why aren't you dancing in the streets?

  • It's just one skull. In spite of what the press monkeys are saying, you can't easily overturn an entire chronology based on just a single skull. It may yet, but it's still really early.
  • No postcranial3 remains. Skulls are interesting, but the postcranial stuff can tell you just as much. The things that made Lucy and the Turkana boy so fascinating was the postcranial stuff. Before then we didn't know, for example, that Australopithecenes had long arms and curved fingers4, or that Homo Erectus could get so tall (6+ feet).

So is this the "missing link?"
As we have found more and more hominid fossils, the whole concept of a "missing link" has pretty much gone out the window. It's becoming increasingly apparent that in ancient (Miocene) southern Africa there were a lot of different kinds of bipedal apes wandering around. It changes from time to time, but I think we're up to at least four different species co-existing at one point about three million years ago (from memory: Australopithicenes, Homo, Paranthrapacenes, Aridipithicenes). Our family tree is a lot "bushier" than we originally thought. And this is several million years after the critter that owned the skull we're all talking about became leopard food5. Our family tree may have been even "bushier" at that point, so figuring out just exactly which bipedal ape ended up going to the moon is a lot harder than was once imagined.

So you're saying this poor thing had to worry about leopards and rhinos and who knows what else?
Actually no. Until about 3 million years ago, Africa, and most of Europe as a matter of fact, was covered from end to end in forests. There really wasn't much savannah to speak of. During the time period we're talking about our ancestors were flinging poo at each other through trees instead of across grassland. Them and all the other apes.

You mean chimps and gorillas?
Yes, but a lot of others too. Something not widely understood is that apes and monkeys evolved at roughly the same time, one did not spring from the other6. And at one point there were a lot of apes. Instead of the four pitiful remnants we have today (gorillas, chimps, orangs, and us), there were once more than a dozen different kinds of apes swinging through the trees of Africa and Asia. When the climate changed about three million years ago, ape species (along with everything else that lived in the forests) had three choices: stay put, adapt, or die. The vast majority of them took the third option, a few (at least one) took the second, and three took the first.

Monkeys had a different adaptational strategy that involved having more, dumber offspring that took less time to reach adulthood (and thereby make more monkeys). Smaller brains, more offspring, and quicker growth cycles apparently fit the savannah far better than what apes had (roughly opposite), and so eventually the monkeys took over.

But not all at once. As noted above, at one point there were perhaps as many as four species of bipedal apes motoring around the savannah. The shorter, skinnier ones seem to have taken a crack at scavenging to make a living, while the larger, heavier ones seem to have tried grazing on grasses. The big ones did pretty well for awhile, some had molars as big as the end of your thumb and massive muscular jaws. But eventually, for reasons that are not at all clear, all but one of these savannah apes died out.

There are some indications that the rest of the apes that survived by staying put in the forests (gorillas, chimps, and orangs) were on their way out too, without any help from us at all. We are the spectacularly successful offspring of what is otherwise a dead genus.

So there you go. Human origins in 1000 words or less. A lot of this is from memory, so hopefully I didn't get it too badly wrong. Please feel free to comment with any questions you may have about this stuff, and I'll do my best to answer. For further reading, a great place to start is the talk.origins hominid FAQ. The entire talk.origins site is well worth browsing, especially if you have questions about evolution or want to take your fundie friends down a notch or two.

Posted by scott at 10:01 PM | Comments (3)
Another Type Of Cat Watering Fountain

This is a cute cat pix.

I just had to share it all with you. My question is how did the cat get up there? =^^=

Posted by Ellen at 06:03 PM | Comments (2)
Bin Ladenism, if not Bin Laden, is Dead

Mom sent me this interesting article about how Bin Laden"-ism" if not Bin Laden himself, is dead.

This rational was almost exactly what my dad gave last time he visited... Bin Laden is almost certainly dead because that's just about the only way you can get an egomaniac like that to shut the hell up. I tend to agree.

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
Atari Adventure

I think we had Atari Adventure when we were kids. We had pretty much every other 2600 game we could lay our hands on. Now you can play it on the net!. Hey Jeff, do you remember playing this one?

And, yes, this was the height of computer graphics in 1978. I mean... look at how realistic those dragons were! :)

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (3)
July 10, 2002
Cult of Personality

I've always been something of an iconoclast at heart. I've never respected someone just because I was told to respect them, or because they expected it, or society expected it. I respect people who can do things I can't, or who do things I can but better than me, or who try really hard to learn to do new things, or do things well that I already know are hard. I also know from my own humbling experiences that just because you know a lot about one thing doesn't mean you know a lot about everything (also known as the "engineer's disease").

So I've always found fame a bit of a puzzle. If I'm interested in knowing how to create, produce, and promote a blockbuster music album, then Madonna is obviously someone I should try to talk to. But why should I give what she thinks about, say, the President any more weight than I would give to any other person on the street? Who cares what Michael Jordan's cologne is? Why should I care who Julia Roberts married this week, or who Tom Cruise happens to be boinking this month?

But on some level I do. And I'll wager you do too, about some celebrity. I almost hate to admit it, but I find it interesting that Harrison Ford is smooching Callista Flockheart. I'll bet you've mentioned something gossipy to someone else this month about one celebrity or another. True Hollywood Stories and Behind the Music are big hits, and everyone I know has seen at least one episode of each at some point. It's like watching a fish tank... you just can't stop yourself. I bet every one of you has glanced through a People or an US or an Entertainment Weekly some time in the past six weeks. People who say they don't read such trash are like anyone over 40 who says they never went near a disco (somebody out there was buying all those Abba and Bee Gees albums, it wasn't just one psycho family in Portland). But why?

A lot of celebrities, the ones who have brains to go along with their talent at least, are puzzled by it all too. Creating entertainment in this industrialized age is an extremely artificial process. It's not until you are forced to step through the various histrionics involved in getting a motion picture, music album, Broadway production, or sporting event made that it really sinks in how fake it all is. The gun is made of rubber, the orchestra lives in a machine, and it all stops for a TV time-out every time you go to commercial.

Many of them don't understand why we care what they think about things outside their craft either. And yet we do. And even they do... celebrities are still people. Bill Clinton got in a little hot water for a while because he found out that as president you could just phone up Barbara Streisand and damned if she didn't come over to your house right away.

Fame as we know it, the screaming hysterical sort that makes politicians pay attention and teenage girls do unnatural things with trout, is in fact largely a modern invention. Ancient examples do exist, but they are remarkable for their rarity. What, exactly, is it about celebrity that makes people who control nuclear arsenals and clone the dark dreams of lonely Scottish shepherds care if Britney Spears's boobs are fake? What makes otherwise intelligent, well educated people-in-the-street read the headlines of tabloids in the checkout lane and speculate seriously on how true they are?

They key lies in an unexpected direction... the movie close-up. It took nearly sixty years for scientists to come up with a name for what D.W. Griffith did to turn Lillian Gish into one of the first movie stars. E.T. Hall's "proxemics", a term he coined in 1963, codifies the distances which delineate our own public, social, personal, and intimate spaces. These spaces form "spheres" around us. People are allowed comfortably closer only if we feel they belong in a given space. If they're not, we take steps to cope with it, from simply staring intently at elevator numbers to punching someone in the nose.

The distances these zones take up vary from culture to culture. Americans have relatively large zones, while, to pick a random example, Turks have relatively small ones. Which is why a US tourist tends to think Turks are really friendly and why Turks tend to think we're kind of stand-offish. The distances themselves vary all over the world, but they do exist, everywhere.

What movies do is manipulate these spheres for emotional effect. By zooming in to the face of an actor as they portray a powerful emotion, we are on a subconscious level forced into accepting this person as an intimate associate. The fact that the image on the screen is usually many times larger than a real face merely serves to magnify the effect. But because it is an image on a screen, the non-visual cues that would accompany an actual confrontation aren't there, and so we're able to accept this sudden forced intimacy without it overtly disturbing us.

A skillful actor can portray a wide variety of emotional states in an extremely convincing fashion. When coupled with the forced intimacy and emotional manipulation of a director's camera shots, the effect is to force us subconsciously to accept their character not only as real but as an intimate personality. Deep down, we begin to think of this person as a very close friend, or sometimes an extremely dangerous enemy (because they make us feel fear at such very close range). It is from this psychological effect the motion picture derives its enormous power.

But what happens is some of this artificial familiarity "bleeds over" in to real life. Because it's all happening on a subconscious level, most of us are hardly aware of it at all. So an actor in a successful movie will suddenly be confronted with thousands, sometimes millions, of people who just assume they are intimate associates when they have never in fact met.

Since the actor didn't get to experience us in such a safe yet intimate fashion they often, not surprisingly, feel extremely uncomfortable when confronted by their "fans" in unstructured situations. Such discomfort is very often interpreted by the fans as cold, dismissive, sometimes even mysterious, when in fact it is just a simple, natural human reaction to strangers literally getting too close.

Television, and to a somewhat lesser extent radio before it, relies on the somewhat different proxemic of territoriality to foment its magic. Because televisions are placed in our homes, we are on a subconscious level allowing total strangers into our most intimate of spaces.

Actors who "cross over" from television to movies, or visa-versa, often comment that the fans of one medium are very different from fans of the other. Movie fans often treat the actor in a near worshipful way, in no small part because they experience their performance in what amounts to a temple of popular entertainment. The fans of television programs usually treat the actor like a long lost friend, a "buddy" with whom they can shake hands, tell their life stories to, or gripe out in the most personal of detail.

Since we obviously can't all get to know this new "friend" we've made in person, we get proxies, the media, to know them for us. Because we feel we "know" this person on the most intimate level, we think nothing of having our proxies go to the most extreme lengths to find the intimate details in their lives which we require to fill out our internal portrait. Of course this only serves to make our real-life encounters even more surreal for the celebrity involved, because now not only are they confronted with people who think they know them, they actually do know things about them only their own intimate friends should have ever found out about.

We're often uncomfortable standing in an elevator with someone who is just a bit too close. When you try to imagine what it must be like to have thousands, even millions of complete strangers who know your life in amazing detail constantly trying to get this close to you, it becomes obvious why so many celebrities turn to drugs or alcohol, if nothing else just to escape from the desperate crush of well-intentioned others they constantly find themselves surrounded by. Couple that with the fact that, historically, humanity's most artistically talented individuals have been what can only charitably be described as extremely weird, and Mariah Carey suddenly starts making a lot more sense.

So the next time you're in a diner, or a pub, or a restaurant, or just walking down the street and see someone "famous", step back for a second. Realize that in spite of the fact that you know them, they don't have any idea who you are. Try to put yourself in their shoes... how would you like to be approached by a total stranger? When would you consider it appropriate? What would you want to talk about?

And then be sure to get their autograph for me.

Posted by scott at 11:48 PM | Comments (2)
Snowball Earth

Found this really cool article about the "Snowball Earth" theory. I'm linking it here because the idea is fascinating and still not in very wide circulation at this time. Apologies if you've heard about it before.

One of the things that's puzzled me about this whole global warming schtick is that people don't seem to have a real historic perspective on it. The earth used to be a lot warmer than it is today. And studies have shown that it has gradually cooled to this day.

One of the things that "fixes" carbon out of the atmosphere really well is life. We're all carbon-based. When most of us die we get eaten by something else, which gets eaten by something else, which gets eaten by something else, lather-rinse-repeat. Other times we fall off a cliff, get sucked into a tarpit, fall asleep on a glacier, caught in a flood, or some other spectacularly unpleasant thing that triggers our sudden disappearance and rapid burial.

Instead of making CO2 to warm up the atmosphere, the carbon is pulled out and turned into algae, fish, dinosaurs, Steve Irwin, and other atmospherically useless forms.

It would seem to me that over time this fixing and removal of carbon would gradually decrease the amount of carbon available in the atmosphere. By burning fossile fuels, we're simply releasing the carbon that got removed so long ago.

But what the heck do I know, "I'm an anthropologist Jim, not an environmental wacko". :)

Posted by scott at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)
Well, I Know Who Maru & Pat & Jeff Would Vote For

So now a dog is running against the FL Secretary of State that helped lead the 3-ring circus of the last presidential election.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (5)
July 09, 2002
Feline Leukemia Support Site

I am always out there looking for neat cat oriented sites. I was doing some research on FELV due to a bunch of kittens we found homes for this week. These tiny kitties came to us mangled, abcessed, eye infected, flea ridden, and just plain gross!

I'm a sucker for a cat. No matter how dirty or nasty it is on the outside. So these kittens hit a soft spot and were tossed on antibiotics, eye medication, and some hydrotherapy on one of the kittens with a foot 5 times larger than it was supposed to be and with a chewed up shoulder.

2 days before we deemed them healthy to go out, we had to do 'the works' to them. This consists of *for those of you who do not know- a DECENT rescue society will do this* the first feline distemper vaccines. *no no, this is not a 'change the attitude of the cat vaccine*. Feline distemper or FRCVP takes care of many of the upper respitory and other viral diseases a kitty can get. It also consists of the first deworming with pyrantal pamoate. A de-fleaing product called Advantage. We also make sure every cat gets the felv/fiv test. (feline leukemia and feline immunodefecieny virus)

Of course, one of them needs to turn up positive for feline leukemia. No, they weren't put to sleep. Jeeze... euthanasia happy aren't you? Or should I say, what a lack of education you have. *This is the TYPICAL attitude I get from most people. "oh, its sick! It's going to be put to sleep right?" *

Should I say, due to education and getting this bunch out in pairs, all of them got a home by monday. Mind you, they were put on the floor sunday.

We are concerned that the rest of the kittens may turn positive one day. We did recommend for them to be retested in 3 months. The one kitten that is positive, we cross our fingers for him. There is a chance hey may turn out negative in the future. Immune systems in kittens are funny that way. They still have lots of 'mom's immune system in them. Most of the time their system will kick in and combat what is left of mom's.

Our kittens are well taken care of. We make sure they are healthy, or if someone wants one with an 'issue', we make sure they get a home that won't give up on them.

They all got homes. All with people that are understanding and willing to treat their cat accordingly if needed.

This site is a neat place to look at many different avenues on FELV care and treatment. FelineLeukemia.org

This is also a neat CD that I purchased a few years back. All the proceeds of the CD go to funding research for FELV. You can find it at Amazon. Cat-Shaped Hole in My Heart

Rember, FELV is not a death sentence to a cat. It's a challenge to it. Yes, it will most likely expire from lymphosarcoma eventually. BUT, with lots of TLC and regular visits to a vet that is WILLING to try new avenues of treatment, you are likely to have your cat around for a long time.

=^^=

Posted by Ellen at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)
The World's Coolest Museum

Ok, I'm an airplane nut. If its got wings, I love it. If it flies in the air, I love it. If it flies into space that's even better, but all it really needs to do is get a few feet off the ground for me to be interested in it.

My work's annual convention this year was in Cincinnati. Now, I'm sure there are lots of things cool to do in Cincinnati (although my bunch was hard pressed to find any), but what interested me in Cincinnati was it is less than an hour away from Dayton, Ohio. "So what?" you might say. Well that means you've never heard of the US Air Force Museum, which, as far as I'm concerned, is the coolest museum on the planet.

I'd heard of this place since I was a little kid. I was an avid plastic model kit builder and many of the kits would mention this museum as their primary source of information. But no matter what I simply couldn't think of an excuse to actually visit the place. Ellen treats airplanes the way our cats treat store-bought toys ("yes, that's pretty I guess. Show me something shiny!"), so just visiting was out. But if my workplace is going to fly me out to a city less than an hour away, well, that's just too good an opportunity to pass up.

So I arranged my flight schedule so I would be leaving very late (7:00 pm-ish) on the Sunday after our convention ended. I would check out of the hotel early, get a cab to the airport, rent a car, head up to the museum, visit, head back, turn the car in and fly out that afternoon.

Eventually Sunday arrived and I shared a cab with other staffers who were leaving that morning to get to the airport. Turns out they weren't the only ones... the line at the ticket counter reached nearly out the door. Chaos reigned as I waved goodbye to my hapless friends and made my way to the car rental counter.

This is the second time I've done this sort of thing. The first time was when our convention was in San Diego and Ellen and I rented a (get this) red Mustang convertible1. That's a whole different story. This car wasn't anywhere near as glamorous... just a plain Chevy Cavalier.

It's funny driving a rental car for fun in a place you've never been before. It feels like you're cheating, like you've snuck out of the house when your parents were asleep and went to party with your friends. And yet on another level it's almost surreal in its normalcy. You're just driving, and as far as the road is concerned one interstate is pretty much like every other interstate. But I couldn't help get this feeling that I'd just been told by my mother to make sure I'd put on clean underwear, in case I got in an accident.

Cincinnati was just as hot and humid as D.C. that weekend. The kind of sticky heat that makes you feel like you're walking around in the tropical fish section of a pet store. Fortunately while the car didn't have power windows, it did have air conditioning (and cruise control!), so I made the trip in relative comfort.

The museum is about an hour's drive north of the airport, and I timed it just right, arriving less than ten minutes after they'd opened. It actually sits in the middle of an old airfield, so there's a lot of open space around it. The directions on their web site take you all the way around the perimeter before you reach the entrance, then you can park.

There were some outside static aircraft displays on one end of the grounds. Like I said, I love things with wings, and these were big things with wings. Not for the first time I was reminded that it probably wasn't too smart to go to a huge museum complex after spending nine 12-hour + days on my feet, as even this 100-yard walk was definitely a challenge. Highlights: this B-50 (a B-29 variant I'd never seen in person) and this C-131, the aircraft the C-5 replaced3. Not for the first time I was impressed that you could just walk up to the aircraft and really get a good look at them.

Even at 10 AM the heat was beginning to build, so I trudged back to the main buildings to start the real tour of the collections. When you walk out of tropical heat air-conditioned air even smells good. The lobby and IMAX theater looked very new, perhaps the newest part of the complex, and (predictably) you had to walk through the gift shop to get to the collections.

The first "hangar" (they're not really hangars, but they're shaped like them) seems to be the oldest part of the museum, with a very characteristic 60s look to all the exhibits (Arial fonts, pastel colors, etc.). I got the impression from several exhibits this portion was put up around 1962. It's a huge building with what must be a 100 foot (33 meter) ceiling. The walls and the ceiling were all black, and the lighting was for the most part standard incandescent bulbs, giving a very dark impression, almost an antique feel. this picture gives you an idea of what it was like.

Walking along the bare concrete floor you're first taken to the "pioneers" gallery, with many reconstructed and occasionally original aircraft from the beginnings of flight up through the 1930s. Highlights: this complete full-scale barrage balloon (which is kind of saggy today, but in a much more dynamic display) with a Fokker DR. 1 triplane hanging upside-down beside it so it looked like it was trying to shoot the balloon down, several nifty old wind tunnels, and the only existing B-10 Bolo bomber in the world.

The B-10 photo is especially indicative of the way the museum is laid out. Unlike the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) here in D.C., where everything is at least 15 feet away with ropes and guards, you can walk right up to most of the aircraft. When they were roped off I (mostly) respected it, and I made sure never to touch anything at all times. But a lot of times the aircraft weren't roped off at all and you could just look at whatever you wanted as close as you wanted. The lack of crowds and security guards gave an overall impression of a far, far more laid back place than the frenetic NASM.

This first hangar is in two sections, "pioneers" and then "airpower and Korea" (my terms, not theirs). Between the two sections was one of the most puzzling parts of the museum... a holocaust memorial dedicated to survivors local to the Dayton area. Now, I have no problems with a holocaust memorial per-se, and this one was modest and well done, but it did seem a bit out of place in the middle of an air museum.

The second section of the hangar is where the museum really came into its own for me... "airpower and Korea". Walking down a wide, dark hallway on the edge of the hangar I was startled by an enormous wingtip and aileron sticking out over my head, like a big ovoid diving board. It was only later I learned exactly what that was connected to.

This section is crammed with airplanes, something like 70 or 80 in all. Especially in the Korea area, the planes are almost wingtip-to-nose4. Highlights: Being able to walk up and stick my head into the landing gear wells of the plane that dropped the second atomic bomb, other aircraft which actually saw combat and had the bullet patches to prove it, hydrogen bomb cases that are as big, intimidating, and ugly as their purpose, the only P-61 I've ever seen outside of a book, and two German airplanes I actually fly in simulation in my IL-2 game (see the right side of the main page).

Two things I think deserve special mention: I stumbled onto a small side exhibit of the remains of a crashed WWII transport recovered from the jungles of the south pacific. Many guys survived, but some were badly injured. Two parties were sent out into the jungle to go get help, leaving the rest behind at the crash site.

It took the two exploration parties weeks to get out of the jungle, and by that time they were so lost they couldn't find their way back. The guys remaining behind wrote a journal in pencil on a wrecked panel of the airplane. The panel, and the crash site, was eventually found in the 1970s, thirty years too late. You could look closely at this panel and see the graphite from the pencil lead, scrabbles in a hand not unlike your own, entries made by people lost in a jungle on the other side of the planet, waiting for rescue that never came.

The other thing was something I'd been looking forward to... this B-36 bomber. Looking at a distance with the plane outside just barely gives you a perspective on how huge it is. When you put it inside a house, the scale sucks down to the point that the airplane literally became part of the scenery. I watched several people bump into it, look up, and nearly fall over when they realized it was an airplane and not a wall. This was the owner of the wingtip I saw on my way in. The 230 foot wingspan, longer than the Wright brother?s first flight, stretched from one side to the other of this enormous building, with only a few feet of clearance. It was completely amazing.

At this point my legs were lead weights with sand in the joints, so I sat down in the "Bob Hope memorial" exhibit (the second, albeit less somber, bizarre exhibit in the museum) for a bit of a rest.

The second, much newer section of the museum was called "modern flight". Built in 1985, it is about half the size of the older gallery, but still just as impressive. Instead of sparse conventional lighting with dark walls, it's a huge, brightly lit white space, albeit with the same concrete floor, filled (mostly) with aircraft from the Vietnam era to the present day. This picture of a BQM-34 "Firebee" gives a good impression of the "feel" of this section.

Highlights:

  • Getting to actually touch an SR-71. You can see and feel the seams in the fuel tanks. The thing was suppose to pour fuel from leaks in these tanks while on the ground. Only the heat of mach-3+ flight would cause them to seal.
  • Seeing a B-18 Bolo, the aircraft that beat the B-17 out in its initial competition. I'm glad they kept going with the B-17.
  • Walking around this B-58 Hustler. Just like my parents said, it is one of the most ridiculous aircraft you'll ever see. Wings are just big enough to hold the engines on, and that's about all the wings are good for.
  • Seeing a B-52 mounted on pedestals like some monstrous trophy.
  • Getting to peer into the cockpit of an X-15. The X-15 at NASM is hanging from wires, and you can't get anywhere near it. The one at the AFM isn't even roped off.
  • Stumbling over the tires of the XB-70, and only then noticing that it was even there. I almost literally fell over, because unlike the B-36 I'd forgot that it was there. A massive, amazing aircraft with six huge afterburning jets all in a row.
  • Noticing, not for the first time, that a lot of our early X craft are basically refinements of designs we stole from the Nazis, who were too busy getting bombed to build them.
  • Getting to actually feel the leading edge of an F-104 Starfighter wing. I'd always read about how it was so sharp it had to be covered on the ground to prevent injury. It wasn't a razor, but it was a really dull butcher knife. Not fun if you were to back into it.

I had to sit down several times just to keep from collapsing. I was probably a lot like a toddler that's exhausted but too excited to sleep. It was probably a good thing I was alone. I went and saw an IMAX film (nice, but pretty much like every other IMAX film I've seen... good to sit down though), ate at the cafeteria (cheap, decent), toured the whole thing one more time in reverse, then headed for the airport.

I got there at about 5:00, with a scheduled 7:00 pm flight. The terminal was empty, which gave me a smile. I found my gate, collapsed into my chair, cooked up loving-kindness in my head, finished my book, (eventually) got on my flight for home, greeted by my beautiful wife, and given an extra-special gift.

But that... that's a story I'm keeping to myself :).

---
1 Something my brother, an almost pathological Ford-hater, has yet to forgive me for. We just call it "the incident"2. :)

2 Well, ok, we don't really call it "the incident". It just sounds funnier that way.

3 Yeah, I suck. I only brought one of those dinky little disposable cameras, and hardly any of the pix turned out. But since the AFM has such nifty pictures already there, why not use them?

4 The new section, concentrating on the cold war, should go a long way toward alleviating this problem.

Posted by scott at 09:15 PM | Comments (5)
Let Me At Her!!!!!

This is one sorry sick fuck. I hate people that do shit like this.

You know that her psychotherapist is going to connect it to some odd child hood sexual abuse bull shit. Scott is telling me that this 'reeks of mental illness". Do I care right now? NO. What I care about is some poor ass cat had a very nasty end to it. Fuck mental illness. Can I explain all of my quirky behavior as mental illness? *well..wait I can. Bipolar! Bipolar-> its all chemical..its not you, it's your brain*

Can I fucking choke her and bake her ass in the oven? Why the fuck didn't the neighbor go rescue the poor thing after he saw what she did? No wait, why didn't he go beat the living shit out of her till her brains decorated her lawn? I would of.

People amaze me..amaze me. This is one of the reasons I want OUT of the veterinary buisness.

Posted by Ellen at 08:45 PM | Comments (1)
Arkansas Razorback

This looks like a razorback!! -well its a red pig anyway. BUT, have you ever seen it used like this!?

Posted by Ellen at 06:52 PM | Comments (2)
Worst Bridesmaid Dresses?

Ok. I'm a guy. I wear mismatched socks with shorts on (and pull them up to my knees). My wife threw out a bunch of my underwear when we got married because they had... "character". I've walked around out in public with my shirt on backwards, white socks with blue slacks, and an undershirt with a pattern you could see through my button-down shirt (not all at once... well not often all at once).

So I'm a guy. I'm a moron when it comes to clothes. So would someone please explain to me why women pay money to go out in huge public ceremonies in these things?!?

What's the worst thing you ever had to wear to a wedding?

Posted by scott at 06:29 PM | Comments (6)
ENRON Voice Mail System

My Aunt Donna sent me this one via email.

Ever wonder HOW they get the same person to do just about every damn voice mail system out there? This is the same guy!?? WeIrD!~

ENRON voice mail system.

I'm sure all of you also know that the current issue of Playboy is the "Women of ENRON"- only had 4 nice looking chixes to pose nekkid. My question is * If these are the women of ENRON, are there only 4 of them total? or 4 only worthy of posing naked? * HMM......

As Scott would say " I don't look at the pictures..much".

Posted by Ellen at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)
WOW!!!

Wow! Check out the review we got! Wow!!! If you feel like it, let us know if that led you to us.

I really don't know what else to say, except thank you very much and it'll help us keep providing (wait for it...) some of the best damned content on the web. Phoxxe rox!!!

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM | Comments (4)
WTF Banner?

Hey, maru, how's this for a banner:

Comment below with what you think. All (well, many) things are possible, like re-sizing, color changes, etc. This one was a quickie, so feel free to take shots at it. :)

P.S. Don't swipe it directly from here. This is the "small" version for our link to you (it's going to get a lot smaller). I've got a 640x(something) version if you want to put it on your site.

Posted by scott at 12:48 PM | Comments (3)
The Owl's Eye

Here's a really cool article about OWL, the Overwhelmingly Large telescope. With a primary mirror more than 300 feet (100 meters) across, it'll be 10 times larger than anything ever built before. If they can build it. Note they don't even have a project cost at this time. Still, it would be awful neat.

Posted by scott at 12:34 PM | Comments (0)
Smoke Heralds Canadian Invasion

Hey, Ellen, that smoke we're seeing from Canada? It's the first shot in their invasion! I told you those Canadians you work with were up to no good. Spies I tell you! Spies!

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (2)
More Mates at the Pub Getting Busy

Here's a pretty cool article about a new, "mysterious", crop circle near stonehenge. Yet another case of guys with too much time on their hands twiddiling the knobs on peoples' reality.

I've read in several places that south England, around Glastonbury and the 'henge, is very much like California is to the US... full of really odd people. Anyone else ever heard this?

Posted by scott at 07:33 AM | Comments (0)
Fireflies!

Washingtonpost.com has this cool article on fireflies. We called them "lightening bugs". It took a long time for me to see them, because where I grew up you just didn't go outside after dusk and before sunrise. The mosquitoes would almost literally carry you off. Yet another reason to dislike southeast Arkansas.

Posted by scott at 07:29 AM | Comments (2)
July 08, 2002
Joe Cartoon

One of my veterinary friends told me about this site. Joe Cartoon.

Weird, yet funny! Go check out Classic Joe. * froggie blender included*

Posted by Ellen at 06:43 PM | Comments (1)
Cursing Is GOOD For You.

Scientific findings has proven that cursing is good for you. Keep cursing people! *lowers blood pressure*

Posted by Ellen at 06:39 PM | Comments (2)
Matrix Reload, Redux

Bizzarely, this dinky little story actually drives traffic to our site, so I'm gonna link up this Matrix Reload story too. They're closing down whole chunks of Syndey, AUS, to film this thing, which just goes to show that Aussies know a cool think when they see it. I just hope It Doesn't Suck.

Get up Trinity... Get up...

Posted by scott at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)
Monitor News

First they raised the Hunley, now they're raising the final interesting bits of the Monitor. It took years of Yankee propaganda in grade school until I found out the Monitor fought the CSS Virginia, not the Merrimack. Bloody carpetbaggers. :)

Posted by scott at 06:10 PM | Comments (3)
Apple-Nipple-Monkey

Ok, it's animated, but it's pretty raunchy too. Mom should probably pick the "lil kids" version. But it's damned funny. Apple-nipple-monkey

Posted by scott at 06:06 PM | Comments (1)
Stuff Moved Around

Moved the monthly archives to the bottom of the page, mainly 'cos I felt like it, and added a new section on the right, "other cool sites". We're going to try to put up "logo-buttons" like that on our "blogs of note" section, but Maru doesn't seem to have one right now. Hey Maru, mind if I gin up a quick logo for your blog? Free! :)

Posted by scott at 05:14 PM | Comments (1)
Free and ExCiTiNg! Cat Toys

Most of you people out there do not know about cat toys. Sure we all love to buy our pussy cats somthing nice to play, *usually expensive* and somthing new to keep them busy *cause they are lazy little shits*.

I am totally guilty for spending money on my bunch. Mostly on stuff they DON'T need. Except for those cute fuzzy mice, cat nip, sticks with feathers on them, or cat nip infused toys, blah... blah... blah...

BUT, I have found out that the BEST toy there is for a cat is free.

Let's take the PAPER BAG for instance. What a cool friggin toy! Not only is it a cave, it's a crinkly one! How bomb is that??? Plus it's so neat that the cat inside has NO idea that the cat outside is getting ready to take a dive right on top of it. Hours of fun with a paper bag. Downfall is that it looks like a sad paper bag within 30 minutes. Usually the bag gets put to sleep after that.

CARDBOARD BOXES are cool too! Just like a paper bag, but it lasts longer! Not only that, the cave can't collapse on you! The cardboard box is allowed a 3 day lifespan only. After 3 days, it's no longer a cool thing to have around.

BITS OF PAPER! How cool are these things! Not only are they fun and exciting for 10 minutes, you can collect hundreds of them!

THE SHOWER CURTAIN. This is perhaps one of the neatest permanent toys in the house. They can use it to hide behind and stalk their prey that is attempting to use their water fountain (aka- the toilet). They can lick it when you are done showering in it *fresh water, especially soapy/shampooy water is the best-lots of nutrients in soap*. Sleeping under and inside the 2 shower curtains is perhaps the best place to be, cause they get to watch you freak out and remain VERY quiet as you tear your house apart looking for them.

ORANGE JUICE INNER SEALS and FUZZY MICE are the neatest toys next to the shower curtain. Cats can cause lots of trouble with these. Watch your shoes, cats like to plant them in shoes in the hope that the toy will play back with them. Also check under your stove and fridge. Cats will come running if they see you laying on the floor by the fridge or stove * they KNOW you are rescuing their toys, and will promptly scoot them back under it when you are not looking*.

There are other cool things to for a cat to dork around with. Aluminum foil, milk rings, left over cat hair tufts on the floor *yes they DO believe this is a living critter out to get them*, and perhaps that french fry you dropped on the floor.

CAT NIP!- this is the neatest shit in the world. Makes any upset cat into a very stoned cat. Plus its cool to see them drag themselves all over the floor and just be plain stupid for once. *Oh the indignity!!!- no pictures please!*

Next time you go looking for cat toys, ask yourself if YOU want it. Most likely, the cat doesn't.

Posted by Ellen at 03:50 PM | Comments (16)
It was WORTH It!

This shit is great! Whoever did this caught this guy red-handed.

In my opinion, she was being mild about it. Only a tad mad. I once told Scott( our on going joke) that if this ever happed to me, I would mail him her head in a nice white box with a red ribbon on it. Oh yeah, then he would 'disapear' too. *wink*

Cool comeback

Posted by Ellen at 03:34 PM | Comments (2)
Something for Ellen

Found this "neopets" thing while randomly cruising the internet. Sort of reminds me of the picachu thingy she had going on my computer years and years ago. Yet another ridiculously cute item to crowd up her computer screen. Enjoy!

Update: found it on BitsOfKittyLitter, another blog! :)

Posted by scott at 01:21 PM | Comments (1)
The Magic Bullet

I play a lot of on-line games. Most people who hang out with me know that while I can be a hassle to shoot, I'm usually not all that dangerous because I can't hit a damned thing. It's almost cartoony how I can empty an entire machine gun at a badguy and then have them just walk away. Hey, Jeff, you think this would help? I was figuring on putting you in the sling!

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (6)
July 07, 2002
Saturn's Measurements

My dad used to work on the Apollo space program. He has any number of stories, all of them funny. Some of them may actually be true. Here's one of them:

The Apollo program, really the entire space program in the 1960s, was in such a godawful rush to get things done that it essentially ran on a "war footing". What this meant was that instead of designing, building, testing, and finishing item A, then designing building, testing, and finishing item B, then C, then D, you basically built A, B, C, and D all at the same time and then put it all together at the end and tested it as one unit. The bonus was you got it all done in a fraction of the time. The risk was you had to be extremely careful about it, because you didn't get to test anything until it was all done.

As this photograph shows, two of the things that were being built at the same time were the mobile launchers (on the right of the photo) and the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB, on the left). The mobile launchers were to be carted into the VAB by the crawlers, the Saturn V rocket would be assembled in the building, and then the whole thing would get rolled out to the pad.

Now, the program's tolerances, even on stuff this big, were always measured in fractions of an inch. It didn't take much of a margin of error to really screw things up. Making sure everything fit together was a real challenge, and a lot of times things didn't, at least at first. It was such a problem that NASA had ordered a Saturn V with no intention of flying it... they would just use it to make sure absolutely everything fit together (called a "boilerplate").

As the mobile launchers and VAB began to near completion, a few people started to get nervous. Nobody knew if the one would actually fit inside the other. And it could be really expensive if they didn't.

Today we'd use all kinds of whiz-bang laser guided measurement widgets and get all the dimensions down to a tenth of a millimeter. They didn't have anything like that, and while they had all the money in the world, they didn't have the time to invent it. Instead, they sent a guy up to the top of the mobile launcher with a big coil of rope, the yellow nylon kind you can pick up at pretty much any hardware store to this day. Before making the climb, knots were tied in the rope, at first every 50 feet, then every 25 feet, then every 10 feet, and then every foot when they knew they were getting close to the proper length.

Of course they knew about how tall it was all supposed to be, so the guy had roughly enough rope handy. The big problem, 380 feet + (115 m +) in the air, was wind. Every time he tried to lower the rope, the wind would blow it sideways. Canít get a good measurement that way. So, being a self-starting gung-ho NASA type, he tied a roughly 5 lb (2.2 Kg) weight on the end. No good, wind still blew it sideways. Well, how about 10 lbs? Nope. 15? Thatís better, but not quite. 25? There ya go. 25 lbs (11.3 Kg) was heavy enough that the rope stayed nice and straight even in the wind.

So the guy slowly lowered the now properly weighted rope from the top of the burnt-orange umbilical tower to the top surface of the launcher. Simply counting the knots was all that was needed to get a really good measurement. They already knew the heights of the other parts of the system, so the rest was just addition. And, sure enough, they had a good five, six feet to spare.

What nobody seemed to realize was something obvious to any second grader... rope stretches. When you're dealing with lengths less than 10 feet, it doesn't stretch very much, say only a few inches even when you pull it really hard. But with that much weight on the bottom of a measuring rope dropped over that great a span, it really added up.

And so the big day arrived. Getting a mobile launcher wheeled into the VAB was a major milestone in the program, and quite something to see. Lots of people gathered round, press folks, NASA bigwigs, contractor presidents, etc. But, as the crawler began to inch closer and closer to the door of the VAB, it became increasingly obvious that something was very wrong. Things happened slowly enough that a collision didn't actually occur, but the entire show was stopped within feet of the VAB entrance.

The mobile launcher was two feet too tall to fit inside the building.

Now, two feet isn't that much, but it would've been plenty enough to make lots of horrible grinding and crashing noises as the umbilical tower played a slow-motion game of chicken with the top of the VAB entrance door. If nothing else a really nice "blong" noise would've been heard as the thing hit the roof of the building. Instead of risking it, NASA made a big deal about how awesome it was and gee doesn't it look keen and as a special favor to you folks we'll just wait and let you take all the pictures you want and gosh look at the time seems like your passes have all expired time to go home seeya buh-bye!

It was only after a great deal of swearing, finger-pointing, jacking, cutting, and welding that the mobile launcher managed to safely make it inside the building.

At 2 a.m. the next morning.

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM | Comments (5)
Milestones

The "new metal created" post marked our 500th entry, the site is now 6 months old, we're getting 141 visits per day, have had nearly 9,000 visitors since March, and served more than 36,000 pages in the same period. June was a record-breaking month and we're on track to beat that one in July.

We'd like to thank all of you who take time out to visit us every day, and hope to bring you more of the best damned content on the web as we climb toward our first anniversary.

Want to help us break our previous records? Send one person a notice about our site, or e-mail a story to someone. If you run your own weblog, send an email to us and we'll talk about cross-linking.

We'd be nowhere without our fans, so thanks to all of you again for stopping by!

Posted by scott at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)
Lego Catapults!

Here is an interesting site about some guys that made trebuchet (mideavil catapults) out of lego blocks. Way cool!

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM | Comments (2)
July 06, 2002
New Metal Created

MSNBC has this cool article about a new metal alloy that has the strength of steel but is worked like a plastic. Very interesting!

And yes, I recognized immediately that it was a discarding sabot round next to him in the picture. Look closely, and you'll see it resembles an arrow with one of those drive-up-deposit capsules wrapped around it. When fired from a tank, the round "discards" the extra bits, giving it an extra boost, sort of like a skater yanking in their arms in a spin.

When hand-held firearms were first used one of the things they shot were metal arrows designed to pierce the plate armor of knights. Things have come full circle now, because in essence that's all a discarding sabot round is... a metal arrow made out of exotic stuff. And tanks are considered the "cavalry" of any modern army. The more things change...

Posted by scott at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)
Possible Planet Spotted Forming

Space.com has this article about a possible sighting of a planet actually forming. The telescopes NASA has on the drawing boards should allow us to actually see these things. I wonder what it'll do to society if we actually detect some sort of life signs out there?

Posted by scott at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
Russian Brides

Next time you are thinking about that mail order russian bride, I suggest you read this.

Its all a scam people. They really don't want to leave Russia, they would rather scam you for some money and live out their pitiful lives out in some russian city. Cause ya know, 2 grand to you is like 20 grand to them. Maybe they could afford somthing to eat other than vodka (since there is no water in Russia) and some sort of bread or meat staple. (they have grocery stores, but they only like to shop to look at the empty shelves there)

Now don't get me wrong, there may be some nice russian girl that wants to leave, have a nice life in america ect.. but the majortiy love to suffer. It must be a russian thing.

link was busted earlier.. fixed it. works now! thanks for letting me know!

Posted by Ellen at 09:57 AM | Comments (3)
Manilow in the News

Hey, Nina, get your mother to finally start reading our website with this article on Barry Manilow. No, I'm serious. Go get her right now!

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
New Hominid Fossil Find

MSNBC has this article about a new fossile find in Georgia (the country, not the state) that seems to indicate our anscestors were wandering about the landscape a lot earlier than first suspected.

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)
The Things Women Do

The funniest thing about this article is that it was written by a guy in Kenya. Which just proves that some things are universal.

Posted by scott at 08:34 AM | Comments (4)
July 05, 2002
Greater Tuna

I took Scott to a play tonight at the Kennedy Center. YES! we can be cultured. We live in a city ya know. Might as well act snobby like the city folk. Dress up, go out, spend money on a play. Have a good time ect..

We went to see a play called Greater Tuna. All I have to say, or what Scott would say "it's a hoot". He can relate more to any of the play than I could. Why? Well, it's about the south. Not just the south, but TEXAS! * "Texas is its own thing, it's not the south"- my southern mama would say* To me, it is the south. Its south of NY, therefore it is the south.

The play only consists of 2 men playing a variety of characters. ALL of them are funny in their own way. Joe Sears and Jaston Williams are very talented guys. I should mention that the entire play takes place in a small town called "Tuna" in Texas. *According to the play its the 3rd smallest town in Texas.* The characters have their ups and downs. Big hearts, small minds according the playbill. I mean how can you not like a play that has silly ass people with a radio station of 750 watts of power? How can you not like Didi and her used weapon store? "If we can't kill it, then it's immortal".

From screwball families, to an animal shelter worker that is overburdened with cats, dogs and now homeless ducks. Don't forget the UFO that looks like a chalupa. "You know something's going wrong in Texas when Democrats have money and Republicans are learning Spanish!" Its all the charm of Tuna.

Scott and I have managed to see all 3 Tuna plays.*Backwards!* It all started off a few years ago by him getting free tickets from a friend at work. Apparently this guy's daughter worked or had something to do with the Warner Theater in DC. Well hey, free is free right? So we gave it a shot and it was great! *Red, White and Tuna* Last year we saw A Tuna Christmas. So like I said, we saw them backwards. But at least we have seen them all.

A Greater Tuna is celebrating its 20th year. Tour dates are up on their website. I suggest you check it out. ** Mama! they are coming to Little Rock in October- you need to get you and your friend's tickets and see it! I PROMISE you ladies will love it!**

As the guys would say in the play "This is OKKK Radio in Tuna, Texas, signing off."

IF you want to purchase Greater Tuna you can check it out at Amazon.

Posted by Ellen at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)
Tan Update #2

I am so proud of myself. I am tan! I did not fuck up! - mind you that I needed stronger soap to wash my hands, cause they are somewhat tan now too.

Now mind you that I am a nice 'golden' color. Not some polynesian dark ass tan. I am not orange or striped. It came out pretty darned good. :)

I totally recommend the Coppertone Endless Summer.

Posted by Ellen at 10:34 PM | Comments (1)
July 04, 2002
Tan Update

I AM TAN!!!!!!!!! I look like I have sat out in the sun for weeks! I have suceeded in my mission of a fake tan w/out the harmful effects of the fire ball that we worship called the SUN!

Ok, so it has only been 30 some odd minutes since I applied it. We shall see how it is in the morning.

Posted by Ellen at 11:01 PM | Comments (1)
Self Tanners

I have decided to self tan myself tonight. I have no idea why I picked today, but I cannot sleep. I just finished exfoliating in the tub, so why not give it a go.

So I am trying Coppertone "Endless Summer" Sunless Tanning Lotion. You can go to Coppertone and check their stuff out.

I have decided NOT to real tan this year only because it will fade my tattoo and Scott says I'm going to look like a leather sack in 30 years. I have debated WHAT kind of self tanner I wanted. I KNOW I did not want any that was dark in color (I want a tan, not a whole new ethnicity) so I went with a light/medium tan.

So now I have slathered myself silly with this great smelling tanner. * Scott had to do my back cause I can't reach it*.

Now I have to wait 30 minutes.

Posted by Ellen at 10:39 PM | Comments (0)
Chia Kitten

Scott has told me I need to do a write up on how to grow a kitten properly. Imagine me, in overalls with a watering can in my hands, standing over a patch of grass, watering kittens. Silly sight I know.

I can't tell you how to raise a kitten, they are all different. I can tell you how to grow one. *I've been in veterinary medicine for 8 years, and countless kittens have crossed my path for some extra TLC and that small boost they need before a home.*

Scott and I have raised some wonderful kittens and in the process lost many. The ones we have lost were due to some mysterious illness and the kitty just never woke up. The ones we have raised are either with us, or in a good home that I have picked out. * I am VERY picky about that-not just ANYONE will do.*

You only need a few supplies for a Chia-kitten. I am assuming you are growing a kitten from either moment one (brand spankin new!) OR a kitten that is less than 3 weeks old.

  • You need TIME. If you don't have time to STOP every 2 hours, this means even during the night, then you don't need to take care of such a small kitten.
  • You need PATIENCE. If you do not have the patience for such a small wonder, then don't do it. You need the patience to observe their attitude, body language,is it going potty? Is it eating? ect... *starting to sound a bit hard right?, well it is. No one said it was easy.*
  • Be prepared to take that kitten EVERYWHERE! Especially if it is less than 3 weeks old. Coconut lived in a leather backpack for 3 months. We took her everywhere! Coconut has been to nice restaurants, biking, checking out the Cherry Blossoms in DC at 3 days old, even to an ice skating show in Baltimore.
  • A quick note on how to keep this kitten warm! -Get a men's tube sock, and a condom (unlubed!) Fill the condom with water to the consistency of a floppy water balloon, tie off the one end and put it in the sock. Warm it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds at a time until warm *not HOT! you don't want to burn your kitten if the latex weakens and breaks.* You can line the bottom of your nap sack with them *this will keep the kitten warm for 3 hours at a time*. Make sure you have a small stuffed animal in there with the kitten in case it does get too warm, it has a place to escape on the stuffed animal- PLUS this give the kitten an extra 'mom'. Keeping a small kitten warm is VERY important. DO NOT use a heating pad. This will almost always guarantee an overheated kitten. You just want something warm for it to snuggle up to. They even make these really cool Surrogate Mom stuffed animals now in the shapes of cats and dogs that even come with an artificial heartbeat. * I have 3 of these*
  • Kittens less than 3 weeks old need to be told to go potty. This means you rub their special little spots *gently! Rub how you would want to be rubbed! Do not rub the kitties special spots off!* A rule of thumb with kittens is that you make them potty after eating, and after lots of stimulation *ie)playing, lots of petting, ect) A kitten should potty every 2 hours *mostly urinate, expect kitten poop at least 2-3 times a day* Yes- kittens CAN get constipated and have ugly boughts of diarrhea. TAKE THEM TO THE VET IF THIS HAPPENS!- ask for a kitten enema with warm water and ky lube if it is constipated or some VETASYL fiber tabs(or some other magic potion) if it is having bad diarrhea. *remember, fiber works both ways* Items to use for the potty break are : warm wet washcloth,or a cotton round (nice and soft! AHH!!!) Please email me if you want a more detailed way on getting a small kitten to potty properly
  • Feed your kitten GREAT foods. If you need to bottle feed your kitten, take special care that you do not hold the kitten like a baby when you feed it. Cats DON'T like to be on their backs to eat. Hold the kitten upright. If you don't, they risk aspirating the kitten formula and getting aspirate pneumonia or worse. A good formula to start any kitten off with is KMR. Easy to mix. I highly recommend the powder mix vs. the already made *lasts longer* Let your kitten eat as much as it wants! It will tell you when it is done. Kittens less than 3 weeks old on the average should eat 6-8 times a day
  • If your kitten does accidentally aspirate some of its milk, IMMEDIATELY turn it upside down so its head is pointing to the floor! Let gravity drain it out. You may even want to do the "kitten flick" Which is : sandwich kitten with a good firm grip in both hands(make sure the head is STABLE!), raise kitten to ceiling and with a firm flick, bring the kitten toward the floor. Do this only once or twice. This will bring the milk up faster from the lungs. The cat will tell you it can breath by showing utter distaste for what is happening to it. *it will YELL at you*
  • You can start to wean your kitten to normal food at about 4 weeks old. Just be sure to use a Second Stage formula (KMR makes one) and mix it with its new food. This will gradually introduce the kitten to its new food. Not only will it make the transition easier, but it lessens the chance of gastrointestinal upset. One of the best items to use to get a kitten used to a new food is Gerber turkey baby food. *DO NOT get the baby food mixed with vegetables! its a carnivore not an omnivore* You can also used canned kitten food - a good one! Not some grocery store crap. Remember, you are growing that prized one of a kind roses, not a weed.
  • You CAN start to teach good litter habits at 3 weeks old. Accidents will happen, just accept it. Start with a small litter pan, (disposable cookie sheet or a ferret pan)this allows the kitten to get in and out easy. Scratch the kittens feet in the litter! Make it fun. The more you put the kitten in the litter, the more instinct will kick in and the cat will eventually get the hang of it. Start with whatever kind of litter you plan to stick with.

Raising a kitten is not rocket science. It is trial and error. Bad things can and do happen. Pour as much TLC into that kitten as you want, but do expect some kittens not to make it. Especially the very sick ones. If they do pull through *and many do!* you did your job. If it doesn't, then it just wasn't meant to be for that kitten.

Scott and I have lost several kittens. Each time it was a harsh slap in the face to us. We thought we were doing something wrong. Each time we found out something was very wrong with our kitten.

Make a very good relationship with your veterinarian and their technical staff. They are there to help make sure you are doing everything correctly and answer any questions you may have.

Each time I look at Coconut, I see many other kittens we grew and found homes for, or ones that did not make it *like Panda*. My Coconut was the best challenge we have had yet. She is our C-section baby. Never knew her kitty mom. We are Mom. *we may be very large and naked, but we are Mom* I feel good when I look at Coconut. I feel good when I look at her baby pictures in the hallway.*yes! We have baby piccies! One of which is published. She is 3 hours old in that photo and is smaller than the palm of my hand* Now I look at a 13 pound cat, that looks exactly the same way she did as a kitten, but much bigger.

In NO way is this article ANY substitute for veterinary medical advice. It is only advice from personal experience

If you do have ANY questions or comments, feel free to contact me.

Posted by Ellen at 08:03 PM | Comments (15)
Advertisment At It's Best

This is priceless. You KNOW what it is, you KNOW whats it's for, so why try to hide what it REALLY is.

Don't just look at it , READ the caption for the gizmo. It's priceless.

Posted by Ellen at 06:52 PM | Comments (1)
Do the Revolution, Baby!

It's funny to think about, but the United States actually represents the first, most successful revolt of a colony against its imperialist overseer. Listening to both the world's media and our own left wing here at home you'd hardly realize it, but we are in fact the very first to throw off the "yoke of imperialist oppression".

The thing that isn't really emphasized much in history books is how lucky the United States was. Historically, revolts and revolutions pretty much always seem to fail in one way or another. Most are doomed from the start. The Jewish revolt, from 66-74 AD, was probably one of the most tragicomic examples.

In a classic case of "dog-catches-car-now-what", a group of malcontent priests and upper-class party boys decided that if Rome wasn't going to protect them (because Nero was busy boinking yet another senator's wife... usually in front of the senator), they would bloody well protect themselves and by the way we also think we'll be keeping this big pile of gold instead of giving it to you as tribute. They told the "king" (a Roman lackey) to sod off and tossed him out when he wouldn't, and completely destroyed the small Roman garrison in Jerusalem itself.

Now, Palestine itself was actually part of the province of Syria, which is where the legion (more than 5000 crack troops) assigned to protect the province was stationed. The problem was Cestius Gallus, the governor assigned to Syria and therefore the commander of that legion, actually was more of a pencil pusher than a sword swinger. What followed was an abject lesson in why politicians and bureaucrats should never lead an army. The legion was destroyed and poor Gallus himself, who wanted nothing more than to skim the provincial tax horde and spank the occasional virgin, ended up dead.

The "common" people, who like the "common" Palestinians two millennia later on a certain September afternoon (their time), were just as dumb as a box of rocks and rejoiced thinking they were about to conquer Rome. The upper classes were numb from shock. The initial plan was almost certainly to cause a bunch of trouble, oust the lap-dog king, and wring some concessions from the governor before going back to business as usual. But now anyone with any sense knew Rome was going to crush them all like a walnut under a steamroller.

And that's exactly what happened. Rome considered itself amazingly tolerant of this incredibly stubborn, pig-headed, disagreeable people since they'd taken over the place about 120 years earlier. Pave their streets, clean their water, feed and protect them for this1? Not only did Rome re-conquer the province, they crucified men, women, and children by the thousands, razed Jerusalem to the ground, tossed out whoever was left, renamed the place and moved a different group in2.

And that's pretty much what happened to revolutions and revolts for the next seventeen hundred years. A government oppressed, the people revolted, the government didn't take them seriously, a small army got defeated, the stupid people rejoiced and the smart people ran for cover, the government sent a huge army and utterly crushed the movement, put the leaders' heads on sticks, and sent everyone else home to start it all up again in a hundred or so years.

What puzzles me is why the US ended up being so successful, and, more importantly, why so many subsequent revolutions weren't.

The nascent United States had a number of things going for it that these earlier revolts didn't. First and probably most important of all, there were 3,000 miles of ocean between us and Britain. News, supplies, and reinforcements took months to arrive. If you screwed up in America, you couldn't just expect the cavalry to march up behind you. There was also France's help, but they were far more interested in kicking Britain in the nads than in supporting some upstart nation. We also had competent, if not exactly brilliant, military leadership3.

But those things just tell you why we won the war. Why did the we win the revolution?

Our revolution started at what ended up being the peak intellectual period of the pre-industrialized world. I don't think this has really been emphasized enough. Things were already beginning to change. Watt's improved steam engines were beginning to make an impact on the English countryside, and soon would power the world into the industrialized era. But the differences between 1550 and 1776 are nothing compared to the differences between 1776 and 2002. In many ways the founding fathers can be seen as medieval merchants done good.

People weren't talking about class struggle and who controlled the means of production; they were talking about liberty and the control of government. They weren't reading Marx and Engles, they were reading Hobbes and Locke. They weren't pondering the inevitability of the rise of the proletariat; they were questioning whether people were actually able to rule themselves.

The mid-to-late eighteenth century would be the last time it was possible to have a group of people really concerned about these issues. In a bit more than fifty years the world would be nearly unrecognizable, and the causes and concerns of rebellions even twenty years after our own would be profoundly different.

So for the first, and perhaps only, time in history a group of intellectuals were handed the reigns of power at nearly the very last moment that "liberty and justice for all" was considered the most important issue of the day. They had crystalline lessons of the abuse of absolute power in England's Glorious Revolution less than a hundred years before. And they had an entire continent?s worth of resources, nearly a quarter of the planet, at their disposal.

From this distance in history it looks like they did a superhuman job of coming up with a near-perfect government. It ain't so. The constitution was in essence a fatally flawed document. Its acceptance of slavery and lack of an explicit forbiddance of secession pretty much destroyed the country the founding fathers built less than a hundred years after they built it. The United States was lucky enough that when it immolated itself in civil war a benevolent tyrant had ascended to power, one who had the good graces to get himself shot just after the war's successful conclusion. The country that Lincoln and subsequent congresses built is the country we live in today.

In spite of this very significant detour, the United States has had a remarkably successful revolution, certainly the most successful of any colonial territory to date. Latin America remained a basket case, in no small part through our own meddling, until about twenty years ago. Africa, with one significant exception, is just a sad joke. The Middle East isn't much better. Asia has a five thousand year tradition of ruling with laws, and it is serving them well. But the only functioning democracies out there are ones we set up less than sixty years ago (South Korea, Japan).

There are two exceptions: South Africa and Iran. South Africans, to perhaps even their own surprise, have so far managed not to destroy themselves. They have enormous natural resources (something like 90% of all diamonds and much of the world's gold comes from there), and a century and a half of British rule to guide them4. They were also the first revolution to happen after the fall of communism, when the US started to become rational again and stopped seeing third-world tyrants as proxies to flip the USSR the bird. They got lucky and fielded an amazing statesman as their first president, which is what gave the US its great start, and their constitution seems complex enough to be relatively despot-resistant.

But South Africa is a long way from a success. There are a lot of South Africans that think what Mugabe is doing in Zimbabwe is what should be done in South Africa. They're all conveniently not noticing that his actions are starving the country. Grinding poverty and a complete lack of infrastructure hangs heavy weights on the new nation, because democracy can only survive in the midst of an educated electorate. But of all the countries on the continent, on both side of the desert, South Africa seems to have the best chance.

Iran is an almost unique case. They managed to build themselves a reasonably functional democracy in the middle of the cold war, with the US doing its level best to screw it all up. They may yet be the first people to figure out how to successfully incorporate ancient religion with modern government and industrialized technology.

But Iran's constitution contains, like our own once did, a fundamental flaw. By giving enormous power to unelected clerics, they are relying on the wisdom and benevolence of people they have no direct control over. History has shown that you can usually expect one, perhaps two, generations of autocrats to have any damned sense, but inevitably some wack comes to power that thinks rule by fiat is vastly superior to this bloody inconvenient rule of law, and that's when people start to disappear. Once that happens, civil war is sure to follow. I hope for the Iranian's sake, and really the world's sake, they find a way out of it before it's too late.

Because the world could use a few more good democracies, ones that did it all on their own and manage to keep it creaking and wheezing along through their own blood, sweat, and tears.

You don't really want us running it all, do you?

Posted by scott at 02:59 PM | Comments (1)
Moon + Earth = *SPLAT*

Ever wonder just exactly what would happen if the moon hit the earth? Yeah, so did I. And so did "Connor", a kid in "grade 4 - 6". Here's the answer he got.

Hehehe... eheheheheh... ehehehheh... global destruction is cool... heheheheh... ehhehehehe

Posted by scott at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)
Iron Chef D.C.

I can't believe it. I was sitting around here yesterday being bored and they were doing Iron Chef downtown! Arrrrggggg!!!!!!

Posted by scott at 07:41 AM | Comments (1)
July 03, 2002
The BEST Advertisment EVER!

LOOK at it first before you go.. " goddamit Ellen! that's nasty!"

It's NOT what you think!

I should say that Scott did a double take and then laughed.

See it here

Posted by Ellen at 07:03 PM | Comments (4)
Earliest Land Critter Found

I saw this on headline news, but cnn.com has a more elaborate story. Scientists say they've found a fossile of the earliest known land animal. They've got a picture of your great-great-e^15 grandfather right there.

Posted by scott at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)
More From Hubble

CNN is showing off these latest hubble photos of a "dying" supernova. Interesting fact: it usually takes months for the shockwave of a supernova to travel from the center of a star to its surface.

Space.com has better pictures

Posted by scott at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)
Apollo Archive

The Apollo Archive is the website for all things related to the Apollo moon shots. Includes a very cool picture archive with lots of Saturn-V photos (so far haven't found one with my dad in it, but I'm still looking!) Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (1)
Vacation Follow-Up

Well, maybe we'll go on a cruise.

Posted by scott at 02:09 PM | Comments (1)
Loving-Kindness

It's become fashionable today in many scientific circles to question just what, exactly, makes us human. The more we research, the fewer things we find about ourselves that are truly unique.

For a long time, it was thought that tool making is what we do that nobody else does. It took sending a determined, if somewhat naive, 26-year old woman alone into the Gombe forest before we found out that no, we aren't the only ones using tools. And if you think sticking blades of grass into a mound and fishing termites out is just too easy to count as tool making, be sure to read this (taken from google's cache because the original seems to be down right now).

Perhaps abstract thought then? Well, no. Research is proving that at least some dinosaurs (birds) and mammals can solve very complex problems just by thinking about them. Octopus, which don't even have a spinal cord and have green blood, are able to solve remarkable puzzles as long as, apparently, there is a lobster involved in the mix somewhere (lobsters unfortunately do not seemed to be equipped for anything other than tastiness).

Our intellect? Aside from its ephemeral quality and our consistent inability to measure it with even a taste of objectivity, research has shown that up until about three years of age, chimpanzees actually develop faster than humans.

More and more documentaries and books are emphasizing that we are only different in degree, and not in kind. This attitude tends to make Christian fundies go bonkers. Bring this up at any tent revival1 or really in any conversation with a Christian fanatic and I can guarantee something along the lines of "God created man separately from the animals, and they were created for us to use as we saw fit" will come popping right out (as with most strongly held fanatic beliefs, this one's wrong2).

But the scientific belief that we're just a bunch of apes that happen to be a little brighter than the rest of the animal world is also every bit as wrong. What separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is not our ability to build better mousetraps, or think more complicated thoughts. It's our potential for nearly infinite love.

Don't roll your eyes! I'm serious! Humans will love anything. There are millions of people out there who feel deep, serious emotions about bits of glass, stitched cloth and stuffing that just happen to be bear-shaped or cat-shaped or soft and full of plastic beans. People give affectionate names to big hunks of metal containing enough flammable liquid to blow up a house and an electrical source powerful enough to weld metal.

Our intense love for living things lead directly to our earliest religious beliefs. It's an uncomfortable fact for pet lovers that their pets enjoy tormenting and playing with the living things they have caught and will kill. Predators all over the world look specifically for the weak, the helpless, the young, and only kill quickly when not doing so endangers them in some way. Orcas, "killer whales", routinely toss baby seals around until something important gets broken inside them and it stops being "fun".

And yet our own ancestors turned their hunts into religious events. Some of our earliest gods were the creatures we killed because killing them was the only thing that would keep us alive. Nearly all hunter-gatherer cultures paid homage to the spirit of the animals they had to hunt. Shrines to them can be found everywhere, and some of the deepest, oldest myths that survive are about their spirits.

And it doesn't even have to be a thing that we love. We have so much to go around that we've figured out how to love ideas, things that you can't even touch. Without this propensity, science would not exist. The inventions of writing and printing were in no small part attempts to immortalize our love of ideas.

Of course, it is ridiculously easy to pick out examples where we are most definitely not capable of infinite love. When you think about it, this is actually not all that surprising. Unthinking reflexivity and caring only for our own young has been a hallmark of evolution for hundreds of millions of years. A creature with such an amazing capacity for love has existed for just a few tens of thousands. We carry those instincts, those reflexes, along inside us, and our new capabilities fit with considerable discomfort.

Learning how to really love everything isn't impossible, but it's pretty close to it. Religions are, at their core at least, attempts to guide people, ease their way, into figuring out universal love. It's still not easy, but it needs to, must be, done. Because this capacity we have is a tool of unspeakable power, and like all tools it can, and quite regularly is, perverted and misused. In some ways religions are also an attempt, however prone to failure, to prevent this from happening.

Because hate is in many ways simply love turned inside out. We cherish the things we love, and wish to protect them, sometimes at all costs. Hate arises from the mistaken belief of that which is outside us is attempting to destroy us and the things we love. Hate is when we turn the ape inside us loose with the tools of a human in its hands.

The logical conclusion of universal love is that people who hate are deluded, and therefore must be pitied instead of destroyed. Of course, those that hate feel no such compunction and so life tends to be short, sharp, and colorful for those who truly follow and believe the doctrine of loving-kindness. Most of the past six thousand years of human history has been about trying to find a balance between loving all things and not getting the crap kicked out of you by them.

Fanaticism and Nihilism are the two real enemies of our modern age. Fanatics represent a failure of nerve in humanity, an inability to cope with the sudden overwhelming rise of the third leg of our existence, raw intellect. Their explosive, if otherwise essentially futile, lashing out at the "modern" world is in many ways an attempt to preserve the things that once worked for them, but can no longer stand in the way of the never-ending steamroller of progress.

Nihilism is the other end of this continuum, what happens when a society completely embraces raw intellect and the things it provides. By ignoring the spiritual part of our existence, which is older and more deeply rooted, we provide ourselves with a very pretty, very comfortable, but ultimately very cold and very frightening existence. Fanatics quite rightly point out that there are hidden brutalities in the modern world, shocking mechanized cruelties that aren't even remarked on by those who live around them.

Both sides are right, and both sides are wrong. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle.

But love of all things is the first, best, and in many ways only thing that really makes us human. No matter how you find your way there, you must find it.

If not love, then what else makes you different from a bright chimpanzee?

----
1. Yes, tent revivals do still happen in America. I think the last one I personally knew about was back in the late 80s in my fundie-infested home town in Arkansas, but I'm positive they're still going on today. Terrorists would do well to consider that large chunks of the US population think sitting in an un-airconditioned tent in the summer working themselves into a religious frenzy is fun.

2. The first Genesis account, from the "E" source, actually has man and woman created simultaneously at the top of a chain of creations. The older "J" account in Genesis 2, which is basically a retelling of an even older Sumerian myth, is the one with the waters and adam's rib and all that jazz. Yes, Virginia, there are two completely different stories of Genesis in Genesis, and they don't agree with each other one bit. Put that in your "jot and tittle" pipe and smoke it.

Posted by scott at 11:06 AM | Comments (3)
Another Cool Aviation Site

ArmyAirforces.com is a really neat site for all things related to the AAF. Be sure to check out the photograph section, which has many interesting details on surviving WWII aircraft.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
July 02, 2002
Vacation Woes

So we want to go on vacation, see? We haven't been anywhere other than this area and family areas (New York [scott sez UGH!], Arkansas [ellen sez UGH!]) since our Jamaica-mon wedding in 99. I'd like to go to Rome, see where the emperors used Christians to light their gardens. Ellen says "no, no, you want to see where my ancestors tossed your ancestors into pits with lions". This is Ellen's version of humor. :)

But the problem is that Rome is $$$. We're talking $2500+ easy, not including airfare.

So Ellen wants to go to an island. Any old island will do. As long as it has a beach with which she can do her imitation of a lizard and bask all day [blink... blink...] I say that's a cool way to get lots of fun skin cancer, plus we did that already. And it's not a heck of a lot cheaper than Rome.

So we thought about Iceland, but just for a bit. We can't find packages that are all that cheap, and I'm not so sure traveling somewhere cold for the summer is all that great an idea. Still, they advertise cheap packages on the radio every once in awhile, so this one's still on the short list.

Then we turned to Disney World. No, we don't have kids, but my mom thinks we're just barely grown up enough to take care of cats, so I guess we count as kids. Ellen hasn't been there in 10, 12 years, and I haven't been there in 25 years (yup mom, jeff, that was in 1978). So we did some serious research into that bit.

But then we both realized that we're trying to save up for a house this year, so now it looks like we may end up piggy-backing off a cousin's wedding in New Jersey. Ellen is happy because she gets to wear makeup and jewelry on the beach (Ellen: "what the hell is wrong with wearing makeup on the beach?!?") But it's in October, so not much beach fun then.

So we're kinda stuck. Looks like vacation is next year, but then Ellen has decided next year is baby year dammit (Ellen: "you have also agreed that next year is baby year" Me: "Yes mistress, whatever you wish mistress" [genuflect]), so traveling may be out then too.

Ah well. Enough navel gazing for today. Just wanted to vent for a bit :).

Posted by scott at 04:55 PM | Comments (2)
Flyvintage

Flyvintage.com is a slash-based weblog dedicated to vintage & warbird aircraft news. Very cool! Check it out :).

Posted by scott at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)
Fishtanks Fishtanks Everywhere!

Yes, now you can have your very own toilet tank! Ellen will want 3. Wonder if it makes getting rid of the ones that croaked any easier?

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (6)
Early Paleocene not as Dead as Once Thought

CNN.com has this cool article about some new discoveries about the early paleocene, the time just after the dinosaurs. Turns out at least some parts of the planet recovered a lot more quickly than was once thought.

I've always thought these "edge" periods to be at least, if not more, interesting than, say, the ice age or the age of dinosaurs. I really think the Discovery channel should do a whole series of shows on, say, the cambrian explosion, when multicellular life sort of suddenly "appears" on the world's stage.

Posted by scott at 09:59 AM | Comments (1)
Science Quickies

MSNBC has this cool article about a bunch of different little weird things scientists are trying to puzzle out. Before you think "geeze, instead of tinking with this why not figure out a way to splat Bin Laden?", remember that electricity, the main thing that separates us from the 19th century, was discovered by a bunch of guys playing around with wires.

Posted by scott at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)
A New Rocky Horror?

According to this report, a "new" Rocky Horror movie is in the works. It's unclear whether this will be a remake, a new film, or YASRHD (Yet Another Stinking Rocky Horror Documentary). Ellen should have some choice comments about this one. She has the whole script of the original memorized.

Posted by scott at 09:47 AM | Comments (4)
Solar Flare Pix

Here's a cool picture of a super solar eruption. Bizzare as it may sound, "weather" on the sun is actually created by electromagnetics. Very cool.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (1)
July 01, 2002
Battleship!

Battleship was a great game when I was a kid. Jeff and I played it all the time, but our parents hated it because all the pegs would get scattered everywhere. Here's a free on-line version!

UPDATE: Fixed the link. Stupid link.

Posted by scott at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
Return from the Edge

Yup, I made it back. I almost wrote a day-by-day account, which is probably what I would've done if I'd had a key to the pressroom and could sneak back at night. But I didn't, so instead I give you...

The Things I Learned at Convention:

  • Never accept mysterious green shot drinks from a tall Yankee, no matter how good people say they taste.
  • Always bring Advil with you. Do not wait until your head fissures open and allows tiny blue monsters inside with pickaxes and evil intentions before correcting this oversight.
  • No matter how much you drink, there's always someone dumb enough to drink more. This is God's way of showing you what will happen the next time you ignore him.
  • A nameless staff member, let's call her Nermal, who is so insanely bouncy you've secretly decided to drown her when the opportunity presents itself (and her roommate has agreed to help), is actually a darned good hangover buddy.
  • When working registration, it's always better to have someone just as hungover as yourself sitting next to you.
  • Downtown Cincinnati smells like the inside of an old tire after it gets rained on.
  • There's no hiding from our members. While trying to ride out my pre-hangover (to go along with the pre-conference I guess), a tiny old Jewish lady with an absolutely classic queens accent just sort of wandered in to the staff office. She bitched her husband out, who was trying to get her to come into the right room, and then talked to me for thirty minutes about a state congressman she didn't like. All I could focus on was that her teeth clacked in time with the red demon pulsing behind my eyes.
  • Dana and Connie have enough to do, and put up with our members more frequently and for longer durations. Do not expect rescue from them. Smile and take your medicine.
  • Convention time brings out the true nature in the staff. You get to find out who is truly cool, truly lame, particularly clueless, prone to panics, or a complete poser. I've taken notes. You know who you are.
  • It's funny having a roommate that swears in his sleep.
  • Subway puts some scary stuff in their roast chicken sandwiches in Cincinnati. Much safer to go to the Sbarro's next door.
  • Quiznos makes the best sandwiches on the planet.
  • The only problem with a free continental breakfast is that other staff members, chatty, loud, teetotaler staff members tend to take advantage of them at the same time as you. Worse still, you know it's not their fault, so you have to be chatty and cheerful back to them. This is God's version of a noogy (for those who don't know: a noogy is when you grab someone around their head and then rub your knuckles hard and fast on the top of their skull).
  • Cincinnati has at least one good steakhouse, but the ribs are over-rated.
  • The people that put on our convention may be politically inconvenient, but they are the coolest people on the planet. Nothing is more impressive than watching one person solve three crises at once while being nice to the member standing in front of them chatting about their cat.
  • There are elevators out there big enough to hold full panel trucks.
  • Always remember to pack dark socks.
  • Just because you're four hundred miles away does not mean you get to stop being a husband. Learn how to get flowers delivered by internet or by phone. You'll be glad you did.
  • Convention is the time when you can ignore the petty political bullshit of this place and focus on the passions and pains of the people that really count. The members you're trying to help.

I also got to go to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH, which is one of the coolest places on the planet. I'll save that for tomorrow.

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)