September 30, 2002
Moving Sucks Ass

Yeah ok, moving sucks. It's not the actual moving part of it. It's the part that you want to wring each other's neck for stupid little things. Most of it is personal tension.

My cats are upset. Upset so much that Coconut got lost on the steps last night. She has never seen stairs before and could not figure out where to go. Getting up at 2 am going "COCONUT!!! Up here!!!" is not fun. Not to mention that the house is so damn dark that Scott fell down the steps this morning ass first. *bumpity, thumpity THUMP!*

I can't find Ajax tonight. He needs his pills. Ted wants to eat Ajax's pills for him, but I told him no.

The Oscar is mad at me too. He got banged up in the move. He has a nice new 36 gallon tank, and has taken refuge between 2 large rocks. Not in the cave I made him. Damn fish. Not only that, but I managed to pack my fish net before moving the fish. Smart move right? So sunday I had to catch this fish with a glass measuring cup. It wasn't easy, but it got done.

Goblin has decided to take over the entire house as hers. She is the queen right now. Ted is cool with things. It took him 6 hours to get out of his cat carrier, but at least he is out and about now.

The apartment still as so much crap in it right now I have no idea what to do next.

Scott has made my computer 'wireless' which is soooo cool. I have such an awsome husband words cannot describe it cause my computer is now wireless and I am totally helpless with computers and he is such a computer god and I must worship him day and night. (phew-say that all in one breath!)

*He told me I had to post kudo points for him :)*

But yeah, moving sucks. I don't plan on moving for several more years again.

Posted by Ellen at 09:39 PM | Comments (7)
That's Just Not Right

Ok, it's one thing to have NASA's sh*t wandering around dinking stuff up. I mean, I can even understand when, say, your garden variety plague of frogs falls on some remote fundie farmstead. But I gotta draw the line on car sized hail stones. I mean, where does it end?!?

Posted by scott at 09:38 PM | Comments (0)
Tranquility Base Here, The Eagle has Landed

After digging through many boxes and being threatened with bodily harm from my spouse, we now have internet connectivity at our new house. As soon as Ellen quits being manic about her e-mail, I'm sure she'll update you guys on stuff I've left out. In the meantime, I would like to send props out to linksys, whose stuff literally "just worked" when I plugged it in. If you want your own cable modem, or want to build a wireless lan (both highly recommended), buy their stuff!

Posted by scott at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)
Who the Tinfoil Hat Brigade Love to Call's carrying this article about what it's like to answer the phones over at the Kennedy Space Center.

We get a lot of the same types of phone calls. It's surreal to try and talk with someone who has such a completely cracked view of the world.

Posted by scott at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)
Why You Should Always Drive Around Puddles

When I was a kid I used to love it when my parents drove through puddles. That whooosh noise and the water arching skyward in a curtain was just beyond cool. The bigger the puddle the happier I was. But they hardly ever did it, and sure wouldn't drive faster through them to get a bigger splash, even when we urged them in our oh-so-democratic 6 and 8 year old way (MOOOOOMMMMMMM... FASTER!!!).

Of course, what my parents never bothered to really explain, and what I myself found out later (if in a less spectacular fashion) is that sometimes the puddle's a little deeper than it looks.

Compare with Stupid Tugboat Tricks, an old entry but even more spectacular.

Found via The Sound and Fury

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM | Comments (3)
Europa News

BBCnews is carrying this update on Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to have a planet-girding ocean underneath a layer of ice. Some scientists are speculating the ice may not be as thick as once thought, providing more circumstantial evidence that life may exist there.

Posted by scott at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
Legal FAQ

Wanna sue the neighbor over their yappy-assed little dog? Teenage stoners playing their music too loud next door? Someone bash your car and now their insurance company isn't paying up? This FAQ is for you!

Also great for just generalized legal advice on how lawsuits work. Join our great litiginous society today!

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
We're Back, Sort of...

Well, we made the move! Thanks to Jeff & Cindy (brother & sister-in-law) for helping out with it all (trucks come in handy some times) on Saturday.

Some notes:

  • Traffic was nothing, nothing like I expected. Because we work 3 miles from each other, we get to take HOV lanes (High Occupancy Vehicles... must have at least 2 people in the car) nearly the whole way. We came in way too early, but it actually took a little less time than it takes just two hours later.
  • Do not attempt to purchase nuts and bolts for your bed after you've had a few beers. You end up sleeping on the floor for two nights because the bolts are too small.
  • Moving sucks.
  • Our new house is neat. Lots of small touches make it a pretty well laid out place so far.
  • Gas cooking is more gradual than I thought it would be. It seems to heat a little slower than electric, but the heat is much more even.
  • Shlepping laundry from the basement to the top bedroom is a leg workout.
  • Delivering laundry to the basement is a breeze
  • It is dangerous to walk up the stairs of our house on laundry day.

Those are the quickies I can think of right now. I'll have more later, and Ellen should be on as soon as I get the computers unpacked and hooked up.

Posted by scott at 08:04 AM | Comments (2)
September 28, 2002
Moving Day

Today is "big stuff" moving day. We'll be taking the PC down in order to move it to the new place. Updates will probably stop for most of the day. Be good and don't break anything while we're gone! :)

Posted by scott at 07:39 AM | Comments (3)
September 27, 2002
Toss 'em!

See the thing is, I'm sure the propeller-heads at the EU thought they were doing good, but by banning dwarf tossing they're just denying a guy a living. This reminds me of the way the idealists in the 60s got freak shows banned because they were "undignifying", and promptly threw a lot of good people out of the only high-paying jobs they could ever have.

Posted by scott at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)
Bear Good, Sneeze Bad

Even though, according to this article, tracking polar bears is easier than it used to be, it still sounds like one of the more... adventurous... ways of making a living.

Posted by scott at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

While at first this article about "swimming with clothes on" sounds like yet another occasion for the Japanese to be completely weird about life, it ends up being damned interesting.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
September 26, 2002
Dragon Report #1280

Greetings from Dragon Axzepztu (hyoo-man name, "Magrat"), providing my regular update on cell 48567 of the Proletariat's United Society of Socialists (P.U.S.S.) Please give my regards to Mouser huKzzf ("Puck") and Tiger blechP'k ("Piper").

First, I must take time out to congratulate Dragon XfzzbAn's ("Edloe's") cell on their successful use of slaves 8912 ("Laurence") and 9014 ("Gina") to co-ordinate party movements via the website "Amish Tech Support". The secretly encoded messages they have manipulated slave 8912 ("Laurence") into placing on the various entries have proven invaluable and should greatly facilitate the destruction of bourgeois canines around the world.

I also wish to give my full support to Dragon XfzzbAn's ("Edloe's") nomination of Mouser Hfracbleh ("Nardo") to Hero of the Feline Union. His efforts at preventing the infiltration of terrorist Lizard fundamentalists into one of our cells are to be commended. His innovative use of their remains to further cement control of slaves 8912 ("Laurence") and 9014 ("Gina") is brilliant and worthy of replication everywhere.

Mouser YrhPLAKz's ("Teddy's") continued attempts at communication with the alien life form in the acid box (the "oscar fish" in the tank filled with "water") are beginning to bear fruit. The alien claims knowledge of machines that create "rays" of both intimidation and mind control. The power of its small fin-mounted device to completely terrify slave 3827 ("Ellen") was extremely impressive. While making arrangements to relocate our cell (see below), I instructed Cat Qb'Lak ("Coconut") to manipulate slave 3827 ("Ellen") into acquiring a much larger acid box. According to the alien, this will greatly facilitate its ability to construct more of these "devices".

The relocation of our cell to a new domicile is progressing nicely. The arrangement will put us in direct observation of several bourgeois canine pods. While the vomitous racket they make ("barking") is very disturbing, my party cell relishes the chance to destroy them. When combined with slave 3827's ("Ellen's") unmatched ability to place party members in unconquered territories, we expect significant inroads to be made in this new area.

I would also like to put forward Tiger wkHarf ("Cassie") as a Dragon candidate and potential party head for whatever cell is moved in to take our place in the domicile we are vacating. The fact she has enslaved two hyoo-mans, 4123 (Damion) and 6702 (Kris) single-handedly speaks very highly of her organizational capabilities.

I must again point out how problematic Cat Tcrapznx ("Ajax") is as a member of our party cell. At this time he is just barely able to assist Tiger TrCHacktZ ("Goblin") on vomit duty. This important task is, as you know, required to ensure the old domicile's usefulness in case an unrecruited feline takes up residence and wishes to join our cause.

While I understand it is a great honor to host a decorated hero of the great Yorkshire Terrier War of '96, one who's image is used as a recruiting poster for our great CosmoCat space combat corps, his complete disregard for Dignity and disgustingly obvious love of the hyoo-man slave race is beginning to cause discipline problems. However, I do understand that such things are simply the result of his war wounds, and so will continue to assist in his recovery.

Finally, we were all greatly saddened on hearing of kitten Azkna's ("Franky's") sudden cycling into the Great Meadow. I regret to inform you that kitten Pftana ("Tar Baby") followed shortly after. They both showed great potential in hyoo-man enslavement. Please forward our petition for their reinstatement to the High Mystic as soon as possible.

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 02:43 PM | Comments (0)
Insert Sexist Joke Here

This one's from my mom, someone with a twisted sense of humor. No-prize!

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM | Comments (6)
Mars Goes Wobbly

BBCnews is reporting a story about how Mars's wobbly rotation may have caused relatively (5 million years ago) recent flooding on the surface.

Posted by scott at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)
Life on Venus?

According to this New Scientist article, life may not be completely impossible on Venus.

Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)
They're Called Donorcycles for a Reason

I've never actually ridden on a motorcycle, let alone driven one. My parents were terrified of the things, wouldn't even let the neighbor's kid bring his on our driveway. Now that I'm all grown up, I got nothing against them (I think Ducatis are sex with two wheels), but when I read things like this, well, I go for a ride in my convertible instead.

Posted by scott at 08:14 AM | Comments (4)
Ellen Might be Pleased

We saw the "new" GnR on the MTV music awards last month, and gotta tell you Axl just didn't seem right. Well, looks like they're touring now. IT CAME FROM THE 90s

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (3)
September 25, 2002
Bin Laden Lighters

Ok, found the location of the picture of the "Bin Laden lighter". Wasn't over at ATS, was over at telling lies. Told you it was tacky.

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)
The Coin

A master was approached by his pupil one day while tilling his garden. "Master," the pupil said, "I have recently talked with a Christian, one who claims to be 'Catholic'. He explained that the Christian God is actually composed of three equal beings: The father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. But I am puzzled, master. How can a deity be three distinct entities, and yet just be one god?"

The master looked up from his garden work and smiled. "Ah, my student, have you listened to nothing I have taught you?" The master then pulled out a coin from his pocket. "Look at this coin", he said as he showed the face of it to his student, "what is its shape?"

"Why, it is round, master."

"Now", he said as he turned the coin's edge toward the student, "what is the shape of the coin?"

"It is a line, master."

"Now", he said as he flipped the coin twirling high into the air, "what is the shape of the coin?"

"It is a sphere, master."

As he caught the coin, the master hurled it at the student and asked, "At any point, did the coin ever stop being a coin?"

As the coin painfully bounced off the student's head, he was enlightened.

While I'm not Catholic, and therefore do not have the benefit of years and years of Catholic school (which my wife claims wasn't much of a miss), I have studied church history and doctrine for many, many years. They may make your head hurt, but guys like Origen, Clement, Augustine, and Jerome, if you read them long enough, do a pretty decent job of explaining the transcendental nature of the Trinity that lies at the base of modern Catholic doctrine, even to an apostate Buddhist like me.

Unfortunately very few people outside a divinity college even know who those guys are, let alone what they taught, and so the holy trinity tends to be completely inscrutable to most folks. Especially if they're protestant, since one of the hallmarks of Protestantism is to screw Catholic doctrine up as completely as possible and then force-feed your kids with the result.

So I'd been mulling over the trinity for a long, long time when one Saturday night, while wandering a book store (yes, we're really that boring), I heard an argument over in the history section. A group of teenage boys, I'd say about six or seven of them, by their identical T-shirts a part of one of the endless tour groups that seem to land at Pentagon City Center every day, had apparently decided to gang up on what must've been the only Catholic in their group. The ring leader kept ragging on him with things like "so how can God be a ghost, and still be God?" Basically yet another arrogant preacher's kid, just as tooth-grindingly ignorant as the rest. The poor Catholic kid just kind of mumbled at his tormentors, obviously unwilling or unable to really put up a staunch defense.

I thought up the Koan above as we drove home that night. It does not, of course, explain the full depth of the Trinity. No words can express the transcendental truths of any great religion, be it Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, or any of the rest. These are by definition inexpressible experiences that lead one to enlightenment. But I think it did neatly explain the prissy questions that poor kid was being pelted with.

Unfortunately, as with all really great comebacks, by the time I'd cooked this one up its targets were long gone.

Posted by scott at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)
Stoner Just Stoned, not Actually Dead

Gotta love the press. Jason Mewes, the actor people thought was dead? He was in Malibu just last month, and is going to be in W. Va next month. AMCGLTD would like to take this time out to express these thoughts to all press monkies everywhere:

YOU! Yes You! Get off your f*cking ass and step out of your f*cking office and go out into the F*CKING world some time before you print something. We know that to you the library was just a great place to score dope and hit on chicks when you were working on your journalism degree, but now you got a job that requires RESEARCH. You know R-E-S-E-A-R-C-H? Those funny oblong things actually open up and TELL YOU THINGS.

We know it's very, very hard to realize, but sometimes you can't just wait for a press release to feed you the news. We know this will come as a shock to you, but sometimes the people who put out those press releases have agendas. Yes, they can sometimes even lie. Oh stop crying. We know that lying to you, as guardians of Ultimate Truth, is an unforgivable sin, but there it is.

In spite of what you tell each other at your stupid little parties and preppy little bars, you are not smarter than we are. Many of us are quite a bit smarter, and we are deeply annoyed that you seem to be trying to make the rest of the world stupid.

Buy a clue. Do some goddamned research. Quit picking your noses and regurgitating press releases and actually DO YOUR F*CKING JOB.


Posted by scott at 01:53 PM | Comments (2)
He had What... Where?!?

Thing is, he had to hold it up to his face for it to work. Makes "talking out of your ass" take on a whole new meaning.

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Time Cube

I'm not completely sure if this guy is serious. If he is, it's an absolutely classic, classic example of someone with a serious mental illness who has gone completely off their meds. Almost textbook delusional episodes.

Of course, he could be making it all up, in which case it's almost a perfect Andy Kaufman-like practical joke. But, considering the newest entry, I don't think it is.

Posted by scott at 01:27 PM | Comments (8)
Moon Mission Summaries

We've linked up a number of articles recently on upcoming moon missions, but this one provides a nice summary as well as reports on new developments. I think "putting a man back on the moon in the next 5 years" is especially interesting, but considering NASA's budget implosions it may be a pipe dream. I've read in several places that the NASA manned budget is approaching that of the Apollo era, but the space station and the shuttle soak nearly all of it up.

Posted by scott at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)
Goodbye Dried Apple Man

Well, looks like Strom Thurmond is finally retiring.

True story: We used to belong to one of the more exclusive athletic clubs in the area. One day I see this old codger hitting on my wife, who was busy trying not to obviously freak out about it. I thought I recognized him, but wasn't sure, until the trainer working with him said "Come on Senator, time to move on." That's when I knew who it was.

Well, as I was relaxing in the Jacuzzi later that evening guess who walks in? Yup, none other than Strom Thurmond himself. In fact, it was just ol' Strom, leaving nothing to the imagination.

Yup. I saw the oldest senator still serving naked. I'm not sure I've been the same since.

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (6)
A Satisifed Customer

One of our first customers at the AMCGLTD store got their stuff, and here's what they have to say:

I received all my stuff today. I am very please with all items. They seem to be high quality. I am especially pleased with the mug, tote bag and mouse pad. I mean a shirt is a shirt and a hat is a hat. I had seven items ordered, all of them received as ordered. Terrific packing just an all around professional job.

Yeah, ok, the customer is my mom, but she's a pretty tough cookie when it comes to on-line shopping. You should see her e-bay checklist!

So order your stuff today! All the cups and mugs are on sale right now, and you get free UPS ground shipping on every order! Don't just stand there, buy something! :)

Update: It's actually free shipping on orders over $50. So buy more! :)

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (7)
September 24, 2002
The Magic Of Cat

I'm sorry, but I have to make a full blown comment/story to Scott's whining about my cats. :) I'm sure I will get in trouble for it.

Scott says he will *simply not tolerate* a cat box next to his computer. Oh well, get over it. We have 900 sq. ft. right now and it's shrinking due to the packing of boxes. If you don't know by now, Scott always bitches about my cats. But it's OK to have computer guts all over the house. (that the cats will eventually vomit, shit or piss on it out of spite-my minions please me well)

The magic of being owned by a cat comes with the box, even if it's a colorful splash of stuff you don't want to hear or smell.

Cats vomit on the rug. Hey, it's a present for you. If not, another cat will come along and eat it for you or you will simply step in it and HAVE to clean it up right away.

I should also mention that when Ted nearly shot his skinny little ass out of the box with sharp stream of diarrhea, Scott was holding his nose and crying and carrying on like he usually does. *does the Scott stomp which consists of stamping a foot, and doing this body jerk* He then gets up and sprays air freshener at the box. Does he change it? NO. He calls me. "Ellen!!! Teddy did a stinky in the box!!!!!!"

So we are getting ready to move into a new house. My cats are very stressed out, which is perfectly understandable. Not to Scott. He thinks when they sit down to eat their dinner they should all tuck napkins in their fur and dantily wipe their lips with it when they are done. Cause cats are dainty and elegant. (ever see 5 cats nearly stampede a small human opening a can of cat food? It's like they have NEVER seen food EVER. A most frightening experience done 2x's per day.)

Not mine. They are rude, smelly at times and LOVE to vomit on que. If you have not figured out the Dragon Report, all of thier P.U.S.S. names all consist of their vomit noise. (Goblin being the most creative)

So he bitches about my cats. What happens when there is an actual other human in the house? Then what?

Now don't get me wrong, Scott likes my cats. They love him. He likes to piss Magrat off. She likes to smack him as he walks by. Goblin loves to sit on his shoulder, Coconut loves to sit on his chest (which he will COMPLAIN about, but he is the one who TAUGHT her that when she was a tiny kitten to calm her down. It's her safety zone) Ted just spreads love and a smelly box, while Ajax, is well, Ajax.

Oh yeah, did I mention that when the cats are bad, they are mine. But when we talk of the cats they are ours? Hmmm....

Now don't assume Scott is a jerk for being anti-cat. He is only like that when they shit, piss or vomit or step on stuff they aren't supposed to ..blah ..blah..blah.. the list is endless. But he loves my cats. I know he does. He has no choice, cause he lives with me. :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:44 PM | Comments (2)
An Uncompressed Life

Let me tell you, the nicest, and I mean nicest thing about our new place is I will simply **not** tolerate a catbox being placed next to my computer. There's nothing quite like being inches away from slaying the boss monster on level 25 of the game you've been playing for two weeks, only to have your groove completely derailed by an obscene whoopie cushion noise coming from a box less than a foot from your desk. Oh, and the smell of three dead rats mixed with a bag of old copper pennies is just icing on the cake.

Posted by scott at 08:31 PM | Comments (1)
Do Some Good, Dammit

According to FARK, this is legit, sounds like the thing to do. I mean, he was at best a B-list actor, but nobody deserves to be dumped on their head, and he's made a definite positive out of his situation. Don't just stand there, donate.

Posted by scott at 08:22 PM | Comments (2)
The Password is... Mary Jane

See, my problem is I wouldn't even know what it looked like enough to call the cops. I'd need Ellen or (no shit!) mom to know for sure. Heh.

Posted by scott at 08:10 PM | Comments (1)
Chimps not Quite as Similar

A new report, summarized in this ABCnews article, claims that we're "only" 95% chimpanzee, as apposed to the previously believed 98.5%.

Posted by scott at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)
Kickball Comeback?

It'd been so long since I'd played kickball I had to read the summary in this report to be reminded. I recall kickball as yet another way to embarass a little kid not any good at athletics. But who knows, now I'm grown up I make actually like the darned thing.

"Red Rover" and the perennial dodgeball were two other games I remember, allthough I'm not sure I remember all the rules.

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)
Gibson Officially Loses Touch

In spite of the fact Mel Gibson has a reputation of being a likeable, relatively normal guy who makes women swoon sort of by accident, I think his latest project shows that anyone who spends too much time in Hollywood essentially goes crazy. Must be something in the water.

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (3)
Egyptian Culture from Ground Level

P.J. O'Rourke wrote this article about his experiences in Egypt, and what they taught him about the culture. A little rambling, kind of long, but still quite interesting.

Found via Amish Tech Support.

Posted by scott at 10:02 AM | Comments (1)
Yet Another Reason to Live in a City

Living in a log cabin has no appeal to me. As far as I'm concerned, roughing it is a black and white TV. And now I have yet another reason to stay the hell out of the woods.

From Arkansas, of course, but I hear Texas is the capital of the wild cat trade.

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (1)
September 23, 2002
The Caddie, Part 1

Ok, this is a long one. I mean really long. So long I think I'll serialize it. This time it's fiction. In fact, it's my first (and so far) only attempt at fiction. A story I started long, long ago, back when I was in college and thought writing a weekly Star Wars RPG adventure was the hardest thing imaginable.

I never finished it. I couldn't think of how. But I'm seven, eight years older now, and I think I actually might be able to one day. If I serialize it, and enough (well, one or two besides my mom) express interest, I'll take a shot at finishing it. I'm actually kind of impressed with how good it is, if I do say so myself.

Be nice people. I know I tend to skim fiction on blogs, and you might too. If you do, fine. If you don't, leave some feedback, either with a comment or via the "tell us about it" widget. If you really like it, and run a blog, telling your readers would be very nice. My essays are me just preaching. Fiction is something I make out of my own soul. It'd be nice to think someone else was impressed with the one time I decided to really stretch :).

And props to Ellen, who saved every letter I ever wrote her, including one written just before Halloween six years ago, when we'd only known each other about six months and god knows how weird she thought I was.

So, anyways, a work of neo-cypherpunk fiction:

The Caddie


And they go on and on like that every single day around here. Can you believe it? Crazy men and women standing on street corners in the husk of downtown, shrieking at the top of their lungs about how it's all gonna be hellfire and damnation for us all if we don't accept "God's Love", that the earthquake of '25 and the fire that followed, that the Ebola that bled what the earthquakes didn't bury and the fires didn't incinerate, were somehow all our fault. How can these people say god is love in the middle of all this, and with a straight face and nearly the same breath preach how He allowed all of it to happen to us for our own good?

But that's the way it always seems to be. I've seen pictures in the TV kiosks of preachers that sounded just like this one, slick sweaty men in custom cut suits preaching to flocks of well dressed, well scrubbed moon-plate faces. What amazes me the most is how well fed everyone looks when the cameras swivel across the cow-eyed audiences.

It really was a typical night in Paradise, or what was left of the center of what they used to call L.A. It's funny... all those books Jose said people used to write about the "big one" causing all this horrible damage. What they seemed to forget, or didn't notice, was the engineers and architects busily designing buildings with shock absorbers. Skyscrapers on springs no less. When the "big one" finally did hit, the buildings just wobbled around like washing machines with an unbalanced load.

Of course, it didn't make much of a difference, and lucky for all my types it didn't. You see, they never took into account the insides of the buildings. The pipes broke, the electricity went, the gas jetted high-pressure flatulence that ignited on the spot and burned for months. So now we're left with this... glittering towers with interiors so mixmastered that it would take billions of dollars to repair it all. And, since the small buildings around them weren't so well protected, they stand alone in rubble, like steel and glass trees in a forest of brick humus.

So rather than repair it all they left it. Just grabbed the insurance money and built somewhere like Vegas. Sure, Satan sunbathed there, but at least the ground didn't try to eat your buildings.

They left it all to the wise guys, and the whores, and the crazies that escaped from the postal sanitariums. And the gangbangers like me.

I'm sure in five or ten, maybe twenty years, all those same Japanese businessmen who bought it all in the first place will come back along with their Japanese money and their Japanese workers and transform this place into something pretty and shiny, castles dipped in chrome with little slanteyed children playing with big cute teddybears, streets safe and oh no dear did you hear about the Wakimotos and the new Zil 959 in the driveway? Watching Trid revivals of Sailor Moon or some other ridiculous thing.

Of course, I'll be dead by then, so who cares?

Typical night, crowds filling the streets, dodging the rubbled remains of the occasional burger joint or corner grocery store to take a ride up into a tower to do god knows what to god knows who. Brownian motion in the wrapped-in-a-blanket heat of a particularly claustrophobic night. We were all hanging out on the streetcorner, me an my gang of droogs (cool slang, eh? Jose says it's from some antique flat flick he saw at one of the kiosks). The leflights, which probably were the only things that really worked in this godforsaken place even before the sandbox got kicked over, were regurgitating their stored sunlight in liquid copper pools up and down the streets. The smells from the various food stands that spring up like roach nests every night carried well in the thick air... especially the brown sweet tang of fresh garlic from Mama's Sicily booth (another place only an idiot would try to hold up, for obvious reasons... I hear a Vietnamese actually owns the chain, but who's gonna risk their lives on a rumor?) We'll have to see if a salaryman gets drunk and stupid and wanders down the wrong alley tonight... the smell makes me hungry.

We were participating in our favorite pastime, mainly shooting the shit, watching the hookers pick up johns, dealers deal smack (drugs and sex, is there anything people won't risk for them?), and listening to this rad fundie standing on his ammo box preaching the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, or some other kind of crap over the muted roar of the crowd and the hawking shriek of the Chinese rice merchants. We didn't even jump when an AK-47 cracked thunder from an upper story window across the street and blew him ass-first into an alley.

You can always spot the newbies because they always try to take potshots at the fundies, thinking they're a little bit of easy target practice. And it is fun, as long as you hit their body armor. A well-aimed shot from a good 7.62 round will plink one about ten meters if he catches a good bounce. The fundies consider it "part of the risks of Working for God."

But God (or Buddha, or Allah, or Jaweh, or whoever) help you if you headshot one. "He" might not protect them, but fundieman got friends you see. Lapsed Russian Baptist gangsters, converted Jewish drug lords with a few too many dead rabbis on the conscience, even the occasional Yakuza who'd burned his last temple and found the face of Jesus in the blood of the nun he raped. Jose says it's because all the different countries unloaded all of the wackos on us way back when, and that other places have the same problems with a different name being prayed to. All I know is, the last new guy the Jewboys were initiating "missed' his marksman test, and they found him crucified upside down with his scrote in his mouth. God may forgive, but fundieman's friends sure as hell don't. An eye for an eye indeed.

Well, whoever it was got lucky this time, hit the chest instead of the head. We hooted and jeered as fundieman herky-jerkeyed out of the alley and down the street like a broken marionette. What's a few shattered ribs in the name of God's Work anyway?

It was as he fumbled from light pool to light pool that I saw the Caddie. I couldn't believe it when it appeared. One of those long, black, lean monsters from the 90s, gleaming smooth like midnight water on a flat roof. Silent except for the burble of its genuine 100% fossyburning engine... and when's the last time you saw one of those outside of a TV kiosk show? Came around the corner big as you please, plowing through the electroscooters and boylecarts like a muscled panther moving through the grass. Just about everyone stopped to stare at it... hell you couldn't help but stare at the goddam thing. Couldn't even see the driver inside... just the impression of pale hands on a wheel.

Jesus and Brahma on a stick these guys had balls. Probably some diplomat up from NewUN or some sort of major player checking up on his troops. My droogies lost interest pretty quickly (if it doesn't explode, fuck, or shoot back they usually do), but I just kept watching it as it oiled its way down the drag. It finally purred into a puddle of leflight in front of Nanz, one of the newer (and nicer) whores that Six-Finger Jonny was running. Damn... had to be a diplomat, those guys will do anything to fuck a black chick (Jose says that means he's British and then laughs a lot to himself... gotta get that kid a life). Well, it certainly was gonna be Nanz's lucky night tonight, or at least his (or, for that matter, hers). I watched as she climbed right in. The Caddie oozed off into the night, taillights a pair of coals as the black trunk flashed in the leflight, lasering back and forth across the fender.

They found Nanz a few days later. Well, part of her anyway.

Flak said that he heard what they found looked like it had been eaten...

Well, if you've got this far you're either my mom, my wife, or someone who thought it was a bit interesting. Regardless, please leave comments. This was my one and only attempt at writing for money. I may yet finish this damned thing.

Posted by scott at 09:29 PM | Comments (4)
Day of Reckoning

Self-Proclaimed Pundits Consumed in Sudden Conflagrations
Spontaneous combustion implicated in fiery deaths of blogging elite, entire communities feared incinerated

Washington D.C. (XNN) - The blogging world today mourned the deaths of at least seven of its best-known personalities: Wil Wheaton, Glen Reynolds, Rob "Taco" Malda, Jeff "Hemos" Bates, Jonathan Katz, Dawn Olson, and "N. Z. Bear". All appear to have fallen victim to the as yet unexplained phenomena of spontaneous human combustion. Other blog authors, such as Scott Johnson, Aaron Hawk, and Meryl Yourish, were reportedly only rescued by the quick thinking of spouses, friends, and, in one case, the strategic urination of a family cat.

"Classic cases of a terminal buildup of hot air", said medical examiner Ima Quack. "It's only unusual in that they all went at once. But really, did you read any of these sites? I mean, all Wheaton seemed to do lately was write about his dog. Sure, Dawn was cute, but shaking your fanny on your website will only take you so far. And those slashdot guys? Oh please! It's a wonder Katz didn't take out the whole building. They had it coming."

"I haven't seen anything like this since the great Congressional fire of 1973", said fire marshal Bob Smokesalot. "But we managed to install personal sprinkler systems in the capitol to avoid that happening again. These guys didn't have a chance. Glen Reynolds' head got so big just before he went we'll probably be picking skull fragments out of buildings in the next county." He then added, "all we could find of (N.Z. Bear) [real name withheld pending notification of family -- ed.] was a sad mug fragment bearing his logo."

In what appears to be a related phenomena, thousands of readers of the web sites "slashdot" and "fark" also burst into flames and were quickly reduced to ash. "Elitist hacker wannabes and a demented rabble of photoshop asshats", said a source close to the administrators of both sites, only wishing to be identified as "D.C. Squirrelnuts". "I remember this one time when I... uh... when someone farked up the user database and nobody could comment on FARK, it was like they had no air supply. It was a mercy, really, considering the dark and sad lives they were leading."

"It really is a terrible, terrible tragedy", said Lawrence Simon, webmaster of Amish Tech Support, from his hospital bed in Houston Texas, where he was being treated for an accidental gunshot wound. Mr. Simon refused to comment on the strong smell of kerosene and large numbers of burned matches found in and around his vehicle.

In other news, Rachel Lucas filed a police report on an attempted arson, which she foiled by shooting at an unidentified man with her gun...

Don't blame me, blame Simon, he started it!

Posted by scott at 02:36 PM | Comments (2)

I agree with folks, this is one of the funnier things I've come across in a long time. Our site is mostly just mangled, but sometimes the results are damned funny. My "take-ourselves-so-seriously-we-make-death-look-like-Jerry-Lewis" work site is fabulous run through this thing. Yours will be too!

A double-bank-shot via ATS into Blogotrice. Thanks!

Posted by scott at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
Big Bang News

BBCnews is carrying this summary of a recently confirmed prediction of the "Big Bang" model of the origin of the universe (4 nested prepositions! My website, my grammar!)

Yet another clear example of how science works. Had the polarization not been there, the Big Bang would've been wrong, or at least seriously dented. I defy any creationists to provide such a prediction for one of their "theories".

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
Big Brother News

Bob Cringley has this article on just how the DMCA is being enforced in the US. Don't know what the DMCA is? You should, especially if you're Neenah, whom I expect the feds to bust any day now ;). Click here for a good site with all sorts of information on the DMCA.

Posted by scott at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
A Clockwork Bronze

The Economist is carrying this article on the " Antikythera mechanism", a mysterious lump of bronze clockwork discovered off the coast of the small Greek island of Antikythera in 1900. I'd heard of the thing before, but never in such detail.

Posted by scott at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)
Sometimes Truth is Fiction

Every once in awhile someone playing a stoner actually turns out to be a stoner (gasp!) Such seems to be the case of Jason Mewes, who played the "Jay" half of "Jay and Silent Bob". Hope he turns up alive somewhere, but it doesn't look likely.

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)
Hearts and Minds

Said it before, will say it again, you can't win a guerilla war by bombing people back to the stone age, we lost Vietnam and the Soviets lost Afghanistan because of a lack of understanding of this simple fact. I'm heartened to read this report from the frontlines.

Compare with Collateral Damage.

Posted by scott at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)
September 22, 2002

Ok, just thinking about this gives me giant heebie-jeebies. Giant bug like critters walking all over me for a month is just not, I repeat not, my idea of a good time.

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)
No Bars for Buzz

Well, looks like Buzz is a free man. Says he was defending himself, which, from the various descriptions of what happened, sounds like it might be true. Or at least, true from an annoyed "get this wack out of my face" way. ;) Go Buzz!

Update: BBCnews has more details here.

Posted by scott at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)
Going a Viking

The Norwegian Blogger proves the viking spirit is still alive and well with his latest essay, The Hyenas and the Toothless Lion. A little long, but still an interesting read from someone eating popcorn on the sidelines.

Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (0)
September 21, 2002
House Stuff

When you become a homeowner, you instantly become a lover of Home Depot.

Scott and I spent 1.5 hours in the store with our mouths dragging on the floor looking at all the possibilities we can do to our place. (not that it needs much, but it's nice to look at)

We spent 5 hours in our new house WAITING for the cable guy who NEVER showed up. (do these guys EVER show up to a job? Do any of them speak English that is understandable?) I made it very clear to the cable people NOT to call my home number because that is the apt number and not the house number. I made it very clear that we do not have a house number yet. Do they listen? NO.

Now I have to get nasty to the cable people this week.

We also met our new neighbor today who was very positive on how we are REALLY going to like our neighborhood.

Scott and I return to the house in the morning to set up internet stuff and switch some fixtures (ie-towl and tp rack) and chose paint colors.

Keep ya posted!

Posted by scott at 10:05 PM | Comments (0)
Miss America Hears Again

ABCnews is carrying this story about Heather Whitestone McCallum, the first Miss America with a disability, who recently underwent surgery to restore her hearing.

Posted by scott at 07:22 AM | Comments (1)
September 20, 2002

FINALLY!!! We are homeowners!!! (everyone showed up including the mortgage broker- Community Mortgage*link pending*). Apparently our loan was being looked at and revised down to the last minute- as we were signing papers!

We'll be sure to get a link to our mortgage broker soon. Our realtor was great, but our broker was incredible, going the extra mile and then some putting up with prissy loan officers and my husband's wrecked credit rating. And she still got us a 5.8% loan with 0 down and no mortgage insurance! WOO HOO! Diane Wessing RULZ!

At least it is all over. Scott and I have made a truce and deducted all points aganst each other and started over new. (yeah, we were pissy with each other)

We started to bring stuff over to the new house to let us breathe a bit in the apartment. Yes, we are going to work on the house this weekend a bit. Including getting our cable modem set up with the tv.

Thank god it is all over. Now all we have to do is move in.

Scott: "You are so much more sexy now that you are a homeowner" *snog*

Posted by Ellen at 10:10 PM | Comments (2)
People Watching

One of the things Ellen and I like to do in public places is people watch. We pick out particularly remarkable folks and then speculate on what outrageous thing might be going on with them. It's sort of like the Weekly World News in motion. Examples:

"Whoa... ok... are they friends, or are they friends?"
"Oh. My. God. That woman has no ass whatsoever."
"Rrrrg. Ya know, there are certain people in this world who just should not wear spandex, mmkay?"
Me: "Heh. Let's play 'how much did she pay for those boobs'" Ellen: "I'll take D-cups for $4500 Alex"

So tonight we were at one of our main Mexican restaurant hangouts, and I immediately notice a couple sitting about four tables across from us. They were both very young and very pretty. I speculated he was 21, tops, a J-Crew guy with Dockers and a blue button-down. Ellen figured she might, might be 20, but looked more like 18, with dark bobbed hair and a white collared blouse.

I figured they were on a first date, because they were so well scrubbed, particularly the guy. Ellen speculated that she was acting too familiar with him for that, but it was pretty recent considering they never bothered to notice the two weirdoes across the way staring at them.

It was only when they got up to leave that we were both proven badly wrong. Being a pig, the first thing I noticed was she was wearing what we both later agreed was a "f*ck me now, please" skirt that just barely, and I mean barely covered her ass if she pulled it down really firmly. Ellen spotted the flowers she picked up, and I noticed the DELTA AIRLINES ticket sticking out of her purse.

We both then immediately changed the assessment: On-line sweethearts who had just met, or a long-distance relationship that just got reunited, fresh off the plane because that restaurant was just one metro stop down from the airport.

Either way, considering the flowers he gave her and the skirt she gave him, we both agreed as they left we were looking at two people determined to boink each other stupid tonight. Good for them!

Posted by scott at 09:53 PM | Comments (0)
Car Design

Scott and I got invited to the Demon Wurkz headquarters (9 flights down from us) to check out how my car design gets cut into the vinyl, and how they cut the image out and prep it for the car.

More work than you think goes into it. Not only the prep work, but the design itself. It's an origional creation from someone.

What was truely amazing was how BIG the vinyl cut-outs are. The hood design is huge! (or maybe it's because I really never looked at my hood and realized how big it was) The little skeleton rats that run in front of the stalking cat are 28 inches long alone. (BIG) Not only big, but the detail is unbelievable. Even the cats, lots of detail.

Ok, well, we did not spend all night just watching vinyl get cut. Drinks and showing off computer gear and what's going into the next City Morgue Magazine went on too. (rather fun night) Scott and I enjoy other human contact.

Hopefully the car will be done next week! WOOHOO!!! And then I will post up piccies! :)

Posted by Ellen at 01:52 PM | Comments (0)
Mice Are NO Longer White, Brown Or Black..

They come in green too now!

Scientists are now using jelly fish and mice to come up with new ways of treating or curing baldness with gene therapy. Perhaps even change your hair color without the dye?

See the article here.

Frankie's mom, Gail gets a No-prize in the science catagory!

Posted by Ellen at 01:46 PM | Comments (2)
Out-of-Body Experience

Never had one yet.

But this is a neat article on out-of-body experiences. Not a real life story, but a scientific reason on how or why than can occur.

My brother Richie gets the NO-Prize!

ps. he also bought a t-shirt!

Posted by Ellen at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)
House Update

After pulling my hair out for the past 36 hours, we get to close today, but not until after 4pm.

But hey, we get to close.

I got an interest rate of %5.87, and my mortage will be LOWER than my rent. WOW.

Finding the house was ok, getting all of the paperwork and doing the 24 hour scramble to find the information needed and play detective sucked. At least my lender said if I did not get involved we would not close today.

I find it amazing that certain people/companies will not give you a faxed recipt unless it is a home fax. OK, I learned to say, 'why yes! thats my home fax number'. (send my my damn reciept!-heh, to my work fax!)

My living room is stuffed with boxes that will finally go to their new home today. I get to have my cable guy arrive at my new house tomorrow and have tv installed. I must remember to bring a roll of toilet paper with us. Cause, ya know, can't use the bathroom (well guys can) if you don't have TP!

I'll keep you all posted

Posted by Ellen at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)
Galactic Home Movies

Washington Post carried this today, but this article has links to the movies themselves. Astronomers have used new space telescopes to create movies of the Crab Nebula pulsar. The pulsar is said to be about the size of Manhatten, twice the mass of the sun, have a titanic magnetic field, and rotate about once every 30 seconds or so.

Posted by scott at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)
September 19, 2002
In a Not-Quite Perfect World

Palestinian Groups Unite
Seven Factions Declare Non-Violent Movement
November 11, 2005

Ramallah, West Bank (CNN) - At least seven Palestinian factions, lead by Hamas, Hezbollah, and Fatah, have joined forces today declaring a unilateral cease-fire and the start of a non-violent "Salaam" movement. Thousands of unarmed Palestinians all over the West Bank and Gaza have begun defying Israeli imposed curfews by assembling outside their homes with signs containing the Arabic word "salaam", which means "peace", in the day, and candles at night. "We have grown tired of radicals causing the needless deaths of our children", one protester is quoted as saying. "Yet we must end our suffering. If it is God's will, we shall prevail peacefully, or perish trying."

Three Palestinian Protestors Shot Dead at Crossroads
Group was marching on settlements, refused to stop at checkpoint
November 13, 2005

Outside Kiryat Arba, West Bank (Washington Post) - Three unarmed Palestinian protestors were shot dead today and at least thirty others were wounded at a checkpoint outside this Israeli settlement. Witnesses reported that the protesters were marching arm-in-arm toward the settlement chanting "Land for Life, Peace for Life" when Israeli troops fired into the crowd.

"The natural boundaries of the new Palestinian state must lie within the west bank and the Gaza strip, but this is impossible with well-armed groups of radical settlers scattered throughout the area" said Faria Maheess, newly appointed leader of the Salaam movement. "We must call attention to this injustice, but we will do so only through peaceful protests. The tragedy today shows the current Israeli administration is incapable of accepting our proposals."

An Israeli army spokesman claimed this was a tragic accident caused by one nervous soldier, but also said there would be an immediate investigation into the incident.

Palestinian Protestors Arrested after Blocking Main Settlement Square
Other Settlements Occupied by Protestors
November 14, 2005

Bet El, West Bank (CNN) - A group of approximately two dozen unarmed Palestinian protestors peacefully occupied the center of this Israeli settlement early this morning. Men, women, and children seated themselves on the ground, blocking all access to local streets. Israeli army units moved in immediately to arrest the protestors, but no violence was reported.

Israeli media is reporting several other settlements being "occupied" in this fashion. In all cases protestors were quickly arrested without incident.

"We will continue to occupy these illegal encroachments on the new Palestinian state until they are removed", said Salaam leader Faria Maheess. "We will never again resort to violence, but this situation is intolerable and cannot be allowed to continue."

Settler reaction to the encroachment was not as peaceful. "We are living on land given to us by God", said Rachel Ya'al, spokesperson for the settlers. "We will never leave these sacred places. These encroachments are dangerous trespasses on our property and must be stopped immediately at all costs."

Salaam Movement Declares East Jerusalem Capital of New State
Provisional Headquarters Closed Immediately
November 18, 2005

East Jerusalem, Israel (AP) - Faria Maheess along with several other members of the Salaam movement briefly opened a "provisional capital" of a new Palestinian state today in an East Jerusalem residence. Israeli police quickly arrested all members of the movement, but again, almost incredibly, no violence was reported. "East Jerusalem must become the capital of the new Palestinian state", a spokesperson for Salaam reported at a press conference later that day.

The "dove" factions of the Israeli government appear to be gaining considerable strength as Salaam's declared creed of non-violence has held fast for the past week. Several organized protests have occurred in Israeli cities in support not only of pro-peace factions of the Israeli government, but the Salaam movement itself.

Peace Breaking Out Across West Bank
Provisional Palestinian Capital Playing Cat-and-Mouse with Israeli Police
November 23, 2005

West Jerusalem, Israel (New York Times) - The remarkable non-violent movement amongst the previously intractable Palestinians continues to gain strength. Protestors continue the dangerous practice of marching on well-armed and deeply antagonized settlements with only chants and songs to protect them. In the meantime, the Salaam movement continued to open its "Palestinian Capital" for the fifth straight day, only to be closed down again immediately by the Jerusalem police. The Sharon government continues to lose credibility as it proves increasingly unable to deal with this new style of protest while at the same time pleasing its own extreme right wing.

Salaam Movement Blocks Settlement Construction
Sharon Government in Crisis as Support for Peace Movement Grows in Israel
November 25, 2005

Hebron, West Bank (CNN) - Several dozen members of the Salaam movement placed themselves bodily in front of bulldozers and backhoes in a peaceful attempt to halt the construction of yet another settlement near the Palestinian town of Hebron. They were quickly arrested, but construction was halted for the day. As with all such protests recently, no violence was reported.

Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, the Sharon cabinet continued a series of emergency meetings in an attempt to head off a no-confidence vote in the Knesset. However, with the extreme right wing of Sharon's own coalition becoming increasingly strident in its demands for an immediate crackdown on the Salaam movement, an acceptable solution is seen as unlikely.

In related news, an unprecedented rally of Israeli peace advocates and Palestinian Salaam members is being planned for next week in Rabin Square, where the famous prime minister was assassinated by a radical right-wing Israeli eight years ago.

Settlers Massacre Protestors
At Least Thirty Dead, Hundreds Wounded, in Unprovoked Attack
November 28, 2005

Mt. Hebron, West Bank (Washington Post) - A small child could be seen crying next to his slain mother in the gory aftermath of an unprecedented and unprovoked attack by two armed Israeli settlers in this small West Bank settlement just outside the Palestinian city of Hebron. Witnesses claim shortly before sundown two Israeli men armed with M-16s began shooting into a crowd of Salaam protestors who had peacefully taken up residence in the settlement's square this morning. In spite of the slaughter, the protestors refused to fight back and instead attempted to flee. Several were given protection by other settlers when they were whisked into their houses, and eventually the gunmen were subdued by the very guards meant to protect them.

Sharon Government Collapses
Coalition Government Disintegrates Amidst Charges of Cabinet-Level Collusion in Massacre
November 29, 2005

West Jerusalem, Israel (CNN) - Support for the Sharon government completely evaporated today as Israeli police arrested the leaders of several extreme right-wing parties that made up much of his core support. The Israeli media is quoting several sources close to the investigation as knowing of "solid evidence" that at least some of these leaders had direct knowledge of settlers planning massacres such as the one that occurred yesterday near Hebron. The plan appeared to be to force the Palestinians into another cycle of violence, but the Salaam movement seems to be holding steady.

Tens of thousands of Israelis poured into the streets of nearly every city in the country to protest the violence and voice their support of the Salaam movement. Chants of "Palestine Now" were heard not only on the streets of Hebron and Gaza City, but also in Tel Aviv and West Jerusalem.

In related news, the Jerusalem police finally allowed the provisional capitol building of the nascent Palestinian state to remain open in East Jerusalem today.


Unprecedented Agreements Signed Today
January 3, 2006

East Jerusalem, Palestine (Reuters) - In what is seen as a largely symbolic recognition of facts on the ground, the new Israeli government signed agreements allowing the formation of a Palestinian state inside the areas created by its withdrawal to its own 1967 borders. In return for the withdrawal of all settlements and the creation of a capital inside the recently redrawn borders of "new" East Jerusalem, the provisional Palestinian Congress agreed to rescind all demands for a "right of return" and immediately recognize Israel as a sovereign nation.

In related news, negotiations remained tense as thousands of well-armed radical settlers continued to barricade themselves in the final remaining settlement on the West Bank. Negotiators are deeply concerned leaders inside the settlement are planning a symbolic mass suicide to protest...

Yes, I'm a fool. But I really think it could happen this way. If only it would happen this way.

Posted by scott at 04:53 PM | Comments (4)
The Cruise Critic

Ellen's been on a few cruises, she likes them a lot. I've never been on any, but it sounds interesting enough. This year we're doing the house thing (or rather, hoping to do the house thing), but maybe after that we can save up for a cruise. For those of you already planning, I present The Cruise Critic website, a neat compendium site with all sorts of useful tips.

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)
Didn't This Happen to Everyone?

Ya know, I remember when I was a kid everyone talking about getting their mouth taped shut, and certainly we taped our own and each other's mouths shut regularly, but I don't remember if a teacher actually did it to any of us or not. Note: scotch tape is a crappy way to tape your brother's mouth shut. He'll sweat/lick/spit the glue soft and work free. Much better to use duct tape.

Something I heard about... yeah, that's it.

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Mice 4 Mars! is carrying this report on a new space probe meant to duplicate the low-gravity conditions on mars to see what long term affects said low gravity may have on mammals. They're wanting to fling about a dozen or so mice in orbit and spin their home up to a high enough speed to duplicate the gravity, leave 'em up there for awhile, then bring 'em home and see what happened.

Posted by scott at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)
Insert Obligatory Lucas Electrics Joke Here

The Brits are experiencing something of a time crunch on their beagle mars rover. Hopefully they can get it together in time for the launch next year.

Posted by scott at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)
Dino Follow-Up

BBCnews has this article on the dinosaur discovery we linked up yesterday that includes pictures of the beastie. I'm used to dinosaurs being scary, impressive, weird, and huge, but this one looks like it should have a pocket protector and horn-rimmed glasses.

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
She Canna Take Much More, Cap'n!

Scientists keep working with larger and larger amounts of antimatter. At least, some scientists think they are. Particle physics makes my head hurt.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
September 18, 2002

Saw this on one of my mailing lists:

Accidents are Good.

Danger is nature's way of eliminating stupid people. Without safety, stupid people die in accidents, since the dead don't reproduce our species becomes progressively more intelligent (or at least less stupid).

While I hope it was intended as a joke, I know there are probably a lot of people out there who really think like this. Which just goes to show dumbasses can end up on either end of a finger pointing session.

By this reasoning, our greatest achievements should've been made millions of years ago, when we were all in the middle of a food chain dominated by leopards and heyenas and all sorts of other critters who quite patently made our ancestors's lives a lot shorter and sharper than they otherwise would've been. Yet when you look at the archeology, you find real innovation moving slowly, if at all, for hundreds of thousands of years at a time. It's our modern "safety-crazed" world that spits out innovations like some sort of monstrous pez dispenser.

We all laugh at the Darwin awards, shaking our heads at spectacularly stupid death. Good riddance, and let's have some more! Yet these represent real tragedies, examples of the almost criminal neglect of a society for one of its members. I'm not saying the vendor is at fault when some kid drags a coke machine on his head, I'm saying it's the parent's fault for not teaching the kid common sense in the first place.

Why am I getting so worked up about this, you ask? After all, haven't I gone on record time and again about how dangerous stupid people really are? Aren't we just culling the gene pool, albeit in a rather brutal way?

Sorry chief, doesn't work that way. Humanity hasn't relied on its genetic heritage to survive for at least thirty-five thousand years, probably longer. Ever since our ancestors figured out you could teach and learn just by talking to each other, it's been societies that have been driving our success, not our genes.

Societies are participatory. The only way to succeed is to contribute. In fact, history has proven time and again that the more participatory a society is, the more successful it becomes. The reverse is also true, especially in the long term. By preventing any member of a society from making a contribution, whether from neglectful disaster or outright discrimination, it prevents that entire society from advancing.

Of course, it's also society's job to turn negative contributions into positive ones. Ultimately, that's what criminal justice has always been about. Willfully stupid people seem to always end up running into the law eventually. By sticking them in a cell we not only protect ourselves, we also give them another opportunity to contribute. Some eventually wise up and contribute in positive ways we all recognize, others contribute simply by being an example of what happens when you're stupid. No, I'm not advocating paroling murders and molesters here... it's quite possible, sometimes preferable, to make positive contributions to a society from behind bars.

Everyone should be given a chance. Hell, everyone should be given as many chances as they need. It's our job as a nation, a society, and a people to maximize each chance's effectiveness. Ultimately, that's what liberty is all about. Yes, yes, we have to be careful we don't give clever people a chance to goof off, but we can't let that worry get in the way of our goals. Genius knows no boundaries, no blood lines, no color, no class. It can manifest at any time, any place. When we let our own ignorance and prejudice turn a potential positive into a definite negative, we all take one step closer to the abyss.

Because there's nothing more stupid than waste.

Posted by scott at 04:42 PM | Comments (2)
Dino... rat?

Another no-prize to Jeff who brings us this article on a new dinosaur find in China. Thanks!

Posted by scott at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)
You Cross this Line, You Die. Ok, this Line. Ok, this One...

Just when I thought the People's Republic of Berkely couldn't get any higher up into their ivory tower, they decide ain't nobody gonna put space-based weapons over our town. I mean, where do they get these people from anyway? I used to live in a college town and it wasn't like this.

Now that I think about it, this may have been because it was an island of liberal wacko-ism surrounded on all sides by a sea of conservative wacko-ism (U of AR in Fayetteville AR, nestled deep in the "she ain't just my sister, she's my cousin" Ozarks). As long as you didn't get too close to the poles, you could actually live a normal life.

Posted by scott at 11:59 AM | Comments (4)
Mini Goats and Gold Teeth and Fat Crooks, Oh My!

The crime blotter over at is particularly nice today. I've said it before: I firmly believe people turn to a life of crime because they're too stupid to do anything else.

Posted by scott at 11:37 AM | Comments (2)

Ok. I want every blogger out there who reads this site to go right now and download (then install) the latest version of Netscape's browser (I think it's 7.2), and then test your site against it. Some of you will find your site doesn't display properly, and others not at all. I tend to use IE at home, but at work I'm a Netscape guy, and it bugs me when my favorite blogs make me go and open a different browser window. It's a free download, so what's stoppin' ya?

We test against the two major browsers (and if anyone out there running Opera or some other "one-off" is having trouble, let me know), and you should too!

Posted by scott at 09:52 AM | Comments (5)
Black Hole Discoveries

This morning The Washington Post ran this story about new black hole discoveries and how they may relate to galaxy formation.

Posted by scott at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)
Minor Change

Made a minor change to the layout today, added a light blue line between each entry. The goal is to make the entries a little more distinctive, help them stand out, and make the site easier to read. I'm not completely sure I like it though, so your comments are appreciated. Stole the idea from Rachel, but coded it myself.

Posted by scott at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)
But is it Art?

I think ATS (Amish Tech Support) carried an article about this that had a picture of the lighters in question. They're more than a little tacky.

Posted by scott at 08:21 AM | Comments (2)
September 17, 2002
3 More Days

3 days to go till we are home owners. Final calls,letters ect.. are being made.

I'm ready to pull my hair out though. At least the mortage broker and real estate agent are making this transition totally smooth for us. (thank god!)

Hopefully everything will be fixed(gas leak) by friday for us so we can start moving in!

Posted by Ellen at 08:04 PM | Comments (1)
Cluebat time

I consider myself an adult nowadays, much as I hate to admit it. Yet when I look around I see lots and lots of people who have the external trappings of adulthood (children, a house, a car, a riding lawnmower with headlights), and yet believe some of the most patently ridiculous things, mostly stuff they've just never really examined all too closely.

So, as the self-appointed cynical ass of the month, I feel it's time to take a brickbat to these illusions everyone seems to hold so dear deep inside (and sometimes not so deep inside) their souls:

  • Bigfoot, the Yeti, and the Loch Ness Monster (and all the monsters like them) do not exist.

    I really believed in scary monsters like these for a long time, until I started learning more about endangered species. Depending on who you ask, pretty much any species of multi cellular life needs at least two to three hundred individuals to be viable in the wild. Anything less than this and they eventually inbreed straight to extinction.

    What does this have to do with scary monsters? Everything. It's quite exciting and credible to imagine a single monster giving us all the slip for hundreds of years, but two thousand monsters? We may never have seen giant squid (archeteuthis) alive, but the ammonia reek of their corpses is a regular feature of some beaches around the world. Yet nobody, not a single person, has ever found a Nessie corpse, or a dead Yeti, or the bones of a Bigfoot. All those interesting pictures, wild films, and footprints? Fakes. Every. Single. One.

  • There's no such thing as ghosts

    I catch hell over this one regularly at home. Nobody, but nobody, has ever provided conclusive evidence such things exist. However, there's lots of evidence of people faking this stuff. So much so that nowadays I treat ghost "documentaries" like magic shows... I sit and try to figure out how they're faked. Most of the time, hell nearly all of the time, I can come up with an extremely rational reason for what is going on. Usually the reason is "money", or "attention", or "make rich, cute kids on MTV freak out". When I can't, it's more because the people faking it are more clever than I am (which, sadly, isn't all that hard) rather than an incontinent poltergeist rattling the windows.

    I tend to get a "money where your mouth is" challenge whenever I bring this up at home. Would I spend the night in a haunted house? Nope. I'm quite capable of scaring the beejezus out of myself without any help at all from creepy surroundings. But it's me scaring me, not some wobbly goblin. I also wouldn't put it past people who use "haunted" reputations to make money or attract attention to pay a few strong lads some extra money to sneak into that house at night to "help" the ghosts along with a bat or two across my head. I have an extreme suspicion this is the ultimate fate of nearly all the "ghost hunters" who "disappeared" trying to prove houses weren't haunted.

    This doesn't mean ghost stories aren't fun, or haunted houses aren't creepy. It just means they're fake.

  • Horoscopes predict nothing but chance

    The zodiac calendars and books used by modern astrologers are all based on Aristotle's Almagest, a first-century A.D. almanac of the stars. The problem with the Almagest is the earth has a bit of a wobble. Two thousand years later, the sun has moved almost exactly one sign ahead of the calendars Astrologers use. That's right, you've never been the sign you think you are, you're the next one up. All the stuff people have been telling you about yourself that's predicted by your sign? The stuff that seemed to be describing you to a "T"? Wrong person. If it can be so convincing and yet so wrong, how can it be relied on at all?

    I distinctly remember a program on Nova years ago about psychic phenomena hosted by James Randi. They went to a high-school classroom and handed out horoscopes to everyone. Earlier, students had submitted some basic personal information, and Randi explained this information was used to create a specific horoscope for each member of the class. After a few minutes, Randi asked how many people's horoscopes matched them nearly perfectly. Slowly, almost every hand went up. He then asked them to pass their horoscope to the person behind them, so they could compare.

    Every horoscope was exactly the same.

    Astrology is fun, yes, and sometimes a horoscope can sound eerily familiar. But this is only because they're so general it's nearly impossible for them to be wrong. They're next to the comics in the newspaper for a reason.

People sometimes accuse me of trying to take all the magic out of the world when I say things like this. Personally, I think the world is an amazingly magical place. The vastness of the universe, the bizarre "foam" of quantum mechanics, the amazing subtlety of life itself, are all riotously colorful expressions of the wizardry that surrounds us all. What's even more amazing about them is they're real. The whole point of science is to prove stuff wrong, and all these things have been found to be true time and time again.

So please, don't waste any more money on astrology books, or bigfoot documentaries, or haunted houses. Go out and buy Stephen Hawking's latest book instead. When you open your mind to the way the universe really works, the wonder just happens.

Posted by scott at 03:12 PM | Comments (4)
What to Say... What to Say...

See, I have to figure out how to link up this article without actually ending up on the couch tonight. Hey, I think I just did!

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (2)
More Store Items

To take advantage of the current "drinkware" special, we've added several new mug-like objects to our store. $3 off everything that can hold fluid! Would've done it yesterday but the store management system was frelled. Buy one today!

And thanks to everyone who's bought stuff so far!

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
The Iceman's Last Meal

BBC news has this one on recent findings of what the "iceman" probably ate as his last meal.

Posted by scott at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)
Doomsday Carp

Australia and its various related islands and territories have some of the most dangerous wildlife in the world. Everything out there seems to have one ridiculously strong biotoxin or another, and yet it seems to only take a single outside species to toss it on its ear. Wired has this article on the latest efforts to rid Tasmania of carp.

And since when did carp become edible? This was the recipe I learned for carp from a math teacher:

  • Scale & fillet carp
  • Preheat oven to 550 degrees (F)
  • Place carp on small, flat board
  • Bake for 3 hours
  • Discard carp and eat board
Posted by scott at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
Always Check the Package

See Ellen! I told you! Sometimes it's a good idea to open the casket!

Posted by scott at 11:16 AM | Comments (1)
September 16, 2002
Itsy-Bitsy Update

Just heard on the radio that it's gonna be tonight when they send the spider robot up the ancient waterspout, on Fox. Set your VCRs!

Posted by scott at 06:49 PM | Comments (1)
Freedom From Religion Foundation

The Freedom from Religion foundation is an organization dedicated to "Protecting the constitutional principle of the separation of state and church".

As a Buddhist, my spiritual worldview makes answering the question "is there a God?" a little more complex than merely saying "yes" or "no", so I wouldn't necessarily qualify myself as a "nontheist". Still, I can say without reservation that whatever is out there is most definitely not what a fundamentalist Christian, Muslim, or Jew would say is out there. If you really think God (or Allah, or Jaweh, or whatever) is just a really tall white/arabic/semitic guy with a beard and a bad attitude, please wear this sign so I know you're not worth talking to.

I'm very comfortable with an organization that makes sure these kinds of people are unable to shove their beliefs down the throats of my or anyone else's kids. So give them a check-out, if nothing else to give Pat Robertson et. al. a little poke in the eye.

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)
The Brick Testament

What happens when you combine Legos, the Bible, and a whole lot (and I mean a whole lot) of time? The Brick Testament. Neato!

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)
Ripeness Alert!

For a limited time only, both size coffee mugs are on sale at the AMCGLTD store. $3 off each item. WHATABARGAIN! Buy yours today!

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Yom Kippur

Wanted to wish all the Jewish folk out there a pleasant Yom Kippur celebration! For us goyim who don't even know how to pronounce it right, I'd like to present this nice summary. Edu-ma-cate yerself! Look here if you don't know what goyim means (I did, but had to look up the proper spelling).

Or at least I think I did. Hopefully I didn't "British-ism" it up. Also hope I got the date right. Sez it on my "Ghosts -- 1939- 1945" WWII calendar (really!), but I'm not sure I've got my head completely around the sundown-to-sundown thing yet.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
Dino Sex

BBCnews has this article about one proposal for why dinosaurs had all those bizzare widgets on their faces and bodies.

What I think about is how impressive the mating rituals must've been. Birds are widely considered to be the last surviving remnant of the dinosaurs, and some of their "dances" are really elaborate. Imagine what an albatross-like ritual must've been like when the actors weighed 20 tons!

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM | Comments (1)
Spider to Meet Spout Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the day when this robot spider's gonna crawl up that weird shaft in the great pyramid to see what's behind Door #1. Betcha it meets another wall or just keeps heading up into the darkness.

This also marks our 1000th post at AMCGLTD. We'd like to take this time to thank all of our fans who regularly visit and participate, and all the people who have mentioned us on their own blogs from time to time. Without you guys this thing just wouldn't be worth doing. Thanks and come back often!

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM | Comments (4)
September 15, 2002
5 More Days

5 more days till Scott and I and 5 cats become home-owners. It's getting exciting. I've already started to pack. My living space is loaded with boxes to the point it's kinda uncomfortable to move around.

I've also started to purge the clothes. Do I/him wear it? If not, TOSS. ect... you know how it goes.

I have a cooler in the car to move the oscar, and a real small cooler for the other fish in the closet.

My goal is to have lots of stuff moved out this weekend. Pack shit up, drive it over, and set minor things up.

I'm excited. Scott even FOUND the Target one exit down from us using back roads. Holy HUGE Target!!! We can't find our way back to the new place yet, but we will eventually get it.

I will keep you all posted.

Posted by Ellen at 05:18 PM | Comments (0)
But is it Art?

Ok, the sad thing is I know, I just know, there are twits sitting in front of cafes in the villiage (Greenwich, that is, NY) who think this is just so avante-garde. Same folks that tacked the skin of a dirty umbrella on a wall in the donut and call it art.

Posted by scott at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)
TPRS Site of the Day!

The People's Republic of Seabrook has shown both an excellent sense of humor as well as questionable taste by making us their "TPRS site of the day!" Yourish says TPRS proves "[Amish Tech Support] isn't the only nutcase in Texas", and after a brief perusal I think she's probably right.

Thanks and enjoy!

Posted by scott at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)
WOW!!! Now you know!

Ever wonder why when you press on your eyes you see a light show? (NO, I don't push on my eyes on a regular basis for fun)

This is a neat explanation on how it happens.


Posted by Ellen at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)
September 14, 2002
Neat Car Stuff

This is what one of the details of my car WILL look like. The image will go on the front hood:

Posted by Ellen at 09:01 PM | Comments (4)
Mean Kitty

Got a mean kitty? These people do!

Submit your mean kitty!

Posted by Ellen at 08:25 PM | Comments (0)
Freeze Dry Your Pet

Don't want to bury or cremate your pet? Try this.

Posted by Ellen at 04:34 PM | Comments (1)
Relatives are Coming! Relatives are Coming!

As noted, mom is up this weekend. We'll be carting her around the city most of the day (complete with her mismatched shoes), so updates may be a little light today. Why not browse in our on-line store while you wait? :)

Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)
Oldest Winky in the World

See, I didn't even know shellfish had these things. Now it turns out the oldest one we've ever found belongs to one of 'em. Or, rather, belonged.

Posted by scott at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)
September 13, 2002
Senior Moment

Mama (Pat, Scott's mom, who is visiting us this weekend) is on a roll tonight, other than having her ass pucker from too strong margaritas.

I am sitting on the cat's couch (yes, they have their own couch) and I look over to Mama who is admiring all of her jewelry she brought to show me. Well, I look down and notice 2 sneakers on the floor next to the coffee table that didn't quite match.

"Mama are those two different shoes?" I asked. She looks down and turns red and starts to laugh. Yep, they were 2 TOTALLY different white sneakers that she has been wearing the ENTIRE day. Reebok DMX on the left, Reebok DMX "walk" on the other. One has a large gray patch on the back, the other doesn't. One has one style heel, the other doesn't.

Now she thinks she needs to buy another set of sneakers so she will match.

Scott laughed so hard he cried. He was glad she got in trouble because she griped him out already today for wearing socks that didn't match.

Posted by Ellen at 10:22 PM | Comments (1)

I so want a Newton.

Its a new type of screen saver cat, buts its based off a real kitty. COOL!


You can get some cool ass cat cards off of Action Cat.

My mom called me today and said I needed to look at these sites. She got them from a friend at work.

Posted by Ellen at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

Scott made us margaritas tonight. *too strong I may add*

I shit you not, this is what his mom said. *yes, the Pat from the comment section*

Pat: "this margarita is so tart, it's making my ass pucker".

Yeah, she said it.

Posted by Ellen at 08:03 PM | Comments (3)

Remember the cool video we got when the new rocket booster lifted off a few weeks ago? Now we'll get that view with the shuttle!

Posted by scott at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)
Skim Bug

BBC news is reporting on yet another new Boeing project, this time a monstrous "skimming" aircraft. The Russians did a lot of work on this in the 50s and 60s, they even built one or two monsters for use on the Black Sea. You'd think the artist coulda done a better job about the concept though... looks like a milk carton with construction paper.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)
A Nice, Hot Cup of What?!?

I don't care how much Ellen likes cats, I ain't gonna drink this. I'm just not!

Posted by scott at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)
"Submit Story" Fix

Per Jimspot's request, have tinkered with the "submit story" function a bit to allow you to scroll and adjust the window. It looked good on our screen, but as usual IE and Netscape don't see things the same way some times.

Thanks for the feedback Jim (sincerely!) If you guys have any other suggestions (other than to get Ellen to calm down and/or me to shut up), please feel free to make them!

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
Martial Arts at 20,000 feet

So now they're providing specialized martial arts training for airplane use.

Aviation Week did an editorial about this a few months ago. Their recommendation, and I tend to agree with it (whatever that's worth), is to give the pilots some "disable maneuver" training. A fully loaded passenger jet is not an F-16... according to AvWeek it's actually quite possible to pull the wings off one if you do something stupid.

However, someone (NHTSA? FAA? can't remember) did some experiments and they found a simple zero-G push over followed by a 1.2 G pullout was enough to give anyone not tied down (i.e. badguys) a right good thumping as they bounce around the cabin. Once the plane levels out the marshalls and/or the flight attendants and/or all the passengers can go unscrew their heads before they can pick themselves up off the floor.

Sounds like a plan to me!

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)
Store Items Added

On requests, we have added a "tote" bag and a golf shirt to our spiffy on-line store. Want something with our logo but don't see it in the store? E-mail us and/or give us feedback and we'll try to add it ASAP. Don't just stand there, buy something! :)

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)
September 12, 2002
Tar Baby Love

I'm still not feeling myself today. So I'm probably not going to post as much for the next few days as Scott will.

I got Tar Baby's ashes back today. Yes, I am curious so I opened the box. He is a tablespoons worth of ashes. Yes, there are small bones in it; you can tell what they are. At least I have my baby home with me. That's all that matters. Even if I only knew him 8 days. I was him mom, nothing else. I loved him, and he knew it. I think he wanted to die in my arms and not in his basket alone. I am glad I was there for him at the moment when he needed to leave.

Thanks to all who cared enough to look and respond to my loss. I greatly appreciate it.

I got teary-eyed and started to cry when the crematorium dropped his ashes off at the hospital to me. I miss him greatly. Last night I kept thinking I needed to get up and check on him, but there was no basket next to my bed. I also tend to hear things. Like I thought I heard him cry for me several times, and he is not there. Or at least not physically.

Scott says I miss the 'habit' of taking care of a kitten baby. It's just not that. I miss HIM. I miss holding him. I miss kissing his face. I miss waiting on him hand and foot. I miss having him depend on me and knowing that I would wake him up to eat and hold him for as long as he wanted. I miss having him sleep with me.

He was my special little baby. He started out in the wrong body and wanted to try again, Scott says.

It amazes me that people will help out any type of deformity in a human, but when it comes to an animal its different. Neonatal care sucks in veterinary medicine. We are so tuned into spaying/neutering and forget to research and care for the neonates when they do come along.

Again, thanks to all that cared.

Posted by Ellen at 09:22 PM | Comments (2)
Welcome To My World

There are lots of you out there who think you're bad with computers. I know several of you personally. I am here to tell you that compared to my regular users every single one of you looks like Bill Gates and/or Steve Jobs and/or Linus Torvalds. Here's an actual conversation I had today with one of my users:

The Setup: A user, let's call her Z, is having trouble with her e-mail. She walks by and stands in my doorway:

Z: "Hello, Scott dear", she always calls me dear. She calls everyone dear. Makes us all want to strangle her slowly with several small rubber bands, "I'm having tremendous trouble today"

Me: "Really? You are having trouble with...?" (The time of day? Remembering where you work? How to breathe?)

Z: "Umm..." (c'mon... c'mon... forget what you came by here for... *THIS IS NOT THE TECH YOU'RE LOOKING FOR... I CAN GO ABOUT MY BUSINESS... MOVE ALONG... MOVE ALONG*) "My e-mail you see dear, it's just not working."

Me: "Really? Not working at all?"

Z: "Well...", BIG, theatrical sigh, "Not exactly not working. You see it's..." (cogs... slipping... Must. Get. Traction...) "well, I'm trying to open an attachment and when I do I get all this squiggly stuff."

Me: "All of your attachments?"

Z: "Yes, dear, every single one, for quite some time."

Me: "Every single one?"

Z: "Well"

Move eyebrows all Spock like, Me: "yes?"

Z: "No, not every single one."

Long, drawn out pause, me staring at Z while I watch the hamsters spool up...

Ok, time to throw darts... maybe I'll get lucky this time... Me: "Well... are they... um... from a certain person?"

Z: "Oh yes," Huzzah! Bullseye on the first toss, "they're from Y. They're very important. You see I can't do my job at all if I..."

Ah, I say to myself as the buzzing continues, excuse #71... If I Don't Get This Useless and Trivial Thing on My Desk Yesterday We Might as Well Lock the Doors and All Go Home Me: "Yes, yes, ok, do you have this e-mail thing up on your screen right now?"

Z: "Well, yes, actually I--"

Me: "Ok then, let's see" industrious tapping while I call up my remote control widget, allowing me to see what is exactly on her screen "come over here for a minute"

I watch Z walk over, wishing I had one of those "trap door" things like on MAD TV. Oh, to press a button...

Making sure Z can see my screen Me: "So it'll be a recent one, yes?"

Long pause... her mind must be six steps behind her head... Z: "Well, yes, I do believe so... there's one right there!"

So I look at it. Netscape mailers have a funny thing sometimes when they "attach" a message someone is forwarding. The user will see an attachment, but the contents of that attachment also show up on the bottom of the "regular" message.

Me: "Ah. I see your problem. The attachment is the same thing as the message. There's no need to look at it."

Z: "Yes, but I really need to see what's in the attachment."

Me: "Well, yes, but you see, the thing at the bottom of the message is what is in the attachment... you don't need to ope--"

Z: "That's all well and good dear, but I'm going to need to see what's in that attachment and if I open it in Word it'll all be squiggly."

Me: "That's true, yes, but you see this message here?' Motioning mouse to bottom area of message, which contains the forwarded message, which is what is in the attachment

Z: "Yes"

Me: "That's what's inside the attachment. They're the same thing."

Z: "Oh that's very helpful. But I'm still wondering what's in that attachment."

Must... Control... Claw... of... Death... Me: "There's no need to open the attachment Z. This stuff at the bottom of your message is what's in the attachment. They're the same thing."

Z: "Well, yes dear, I know," dramatic sniff... I am a PhD. "that's what you just said, but if I go back to my desk and try to open that attachment--"

Me: "Z... This", circling the attachment, "is the same as this", circling the bottom of the message. "You don't need to open the attachment. They're. The. Same. Thing."

Z: Very doubtful "Well... Ok... But how do I see these 'forwarded messages'?"

Me: "You scroll down. They'll be at the bottom of the message"

Z: "But how do I scroll down?"

Fondly remembering how Darth Vader simply pinched his fingers together, and realizing why the dark side really is seductive, Me: "Well, you can use the wheel on your mouse, or you can just click the scr--" yeah right, speak more Greek to her "just use the scroll wheel."

Z: Extremely doubtful "Well, OK, but if there's anything wrong can I call you?"

Me: Lady, all I'm doing is buying myself the five minutes of peace it'll take you to get back to your desk "Of course! I'm here to help!"

Z walks out my door. Opposite direction of her office. Good, she's going to torture someone else! 15 minutes pass.


Me: "Hi Z!"

Z: "Scott dear, I know you told me what to do, but you see I'm still getting these squiggles when I try to open the attachment in word..."

Posted by scott at 09:16 PM | Comments (4)
Farscape Reprieve?

From slashdot:

[The poster] just wanted to let everyone know that there is major backlash against the Sci-Fi channel from fans about the cancellation of Farscape. They appear to have miscalculated the Fans. For the past few days Sci-Fi's main office has been inundated with faxes, e-mails, and phone calls to keep the show alive for its 5th season. CNN Headline news also ran a story on the effort yesterday. What it boils down to is that at $1.5 million USD per episode the greatest science-fiction show on television is too expensive for Sci-Fi to produce. Even the top Executive at the Sci-Fi channel (Bonnie Hammer, Executive Vice President and General Manager), which is one of Farscape's biggest fans is currently only operating in figure head mode and is being made to keep quiet. Most think she would speak out in favor of the show but is worried about the status of her job at the moment. If you have any questions about what you can do to help out, just pop over to Farscape World for the best information. There is also a website setup for detailed up to the minute information about the struggle to save Farscape over at the main Save Farscape site including information being supplied under the table y a Sci-Fi channel mole. :)

After all the coverage Sci-Fi has stopped the construction crews assigned to tear down the sets and have re-entered negotiations regarding the show. The Jim Henson company that is responsible for the show's creation is also currently courting executives from Showtime and UPN about moving the show to another network for the 5th and future seasons.

Looks like it's working. Keep it up!

Posted by scott at 09:16 PM | Comments (8)
The Other Side

Say what you will about cats, but when's the last time one of them set yer goddamned house on fire?!?

Posted by scott at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

Ok, I can so totally see my brother doing this back when he was in the army. Yup, a sibling of mine was once entrusted with the defense of our country. In intelligence no less! Kinda sez it all...

Posted by scott at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

Our web host is experiencing "DOS" attacks. Basically, some mouth-breathing chimpanzee of an 18 year old is using a widget to block access to the web server we use. First time it's ever happened. Web service will be spotty for awhile. Gah.

Posted by scott at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)
Alton Speaks!

Alton Brown finally managed to complete his Slashdot interview. Give it a read here...

Posted by scott at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)
Just Whose Fault will it Be?

If we have a kid and it's a boy, as with my dad before me, I already know who will be to blame. This in spite of what some scientists seem to be finding.

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
Biological Pacemakers on the Way? is carrying this story on the early developments of a "biological pacemaker".

Question for Pat: I remember you saying long ago that implanted defibrelators (sp?) were really not that great, causing a lot of pain to whomever had them. Yet nowadays I'm seeing adverts for them all the time on TV. Has the technology changed, or is it just standard DrugCo Inc. propaganda?

Posted by scott at 09:19 AM | Comments (6)
A Potential Opportunity for Ellen's Cousins?'s running this nice summary of the space junk problem facing us today. At least some of those things might be Saturn V and 1-B boosters, which, considering their size and essentially hollow nature, might make decent space stations one day. Otherwise yet another opportunity for "New Jersey Waste Management Officials". ;)

Update: BBC news is running this piece which offers a much better explanation of how a Saturn V 3rd stage booster could end up orbiting the earth. This is what they built Skylab out of, so if someone had the technology to catch it, it would make a pretty nifty space station.

Of course, catching it is the thing.

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)
New Feature -- "Active Discussions"

You'll notice a new sidebar on the right, "Active Disucssions" (if you don't see it let me know, means there's a bug!) This will help you keep track of which stories have, well, active discussions going on. Should greatly help in finding replies to your posts on this fast-moving website.

It also finally reveals one of the really weird quirks of our site: several months ago Ellen posted a one-off quickie story about 'El Clon', a Spanish soap opera. To this day it has the highest number of comments of any story we've posted, and represents something like 50% of all search engine hits we get every month.

Special thanks to The News, Uncensored for providing me with the code for it. I'd been wanting to do something like that for months, but didn't have the stamina to push through the code to figure it out myself.

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (1)
Hot Dogs

Make sure you CHECK the package before you buy it.

Posted by Ellen at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)
September 11, 2002
Poem For Cats

Poem For Cats

And God asked the feline spirit
Are you ready to come home?
Oh, yes, quite so, replied the precious soul
And, as a cat, you know I am most able
To decide anything for myself.

Are you coming then? asked God.
Soon, replied the whiskered angel
But I must come slowly
For my human friends are troubled
For you see, they need me, quite certainly.

But don't they understand? asked God
That you'll never leave them?
That your souls are intertwined. For all eternity?
That nothing is created or destroyed?
It just is....forever and ever and ever.

Eventually they will understand,
Replied the glorious cat
For I will whisper into their hearts
That I am always with them
I just am....forever and ever and ever.

Author Unknown

Posted by Ellen at 03:36 PM | Comments (2)
Welcome at the Rainbow Bridge

This is a different adaption from the origional. I thought it would be appropriate for today. You can go to Pet for the origional poem and other sweet support and other inspirational words.

(Adapted from the original)
by Alexander Theodore, Bouvier, Fourth Year Resident

On the morning of September 11, 2001, there was an unprecedented amount of activity at the Rainbow Bridge. Decisions had to be made. They had to be made quickly. And, they were.

An issue, not often addressed here, is the fact that many residents really have no loved one for whom to wait. And, the ones who were abused. Who are they to wait for?

We don't talk about that much up here. We share ones as they arrive, happy to do so. But we all know there is nothing like having your very own person who thinks you are the most special kitten in the Heavens.

Last Tuesday morning a request rang out for kittens not waiting for specific persons to volunteer for special assignment.. An eager, curious crowd surged excitedly forward, each kitten wondering what the assignment would be.

They were told by a solemn voice that unexpectedly, all at once, thousands of people died on Earth long before they were ready.

All the kittens, as all kittens do, felt the humans' pain deep in their own hearts. Without hearing more, there was a clamoring among them - "May I have one to comfort?" "I'll take two, I have a big heart." "I have been saving tail-swishes forever."

One after another they came forward begging for assignment.

One cozy-looking fluffy kitten hesitantly asked, "Are there any children coming? I would be very comforting for a child 'cause I'm soft and squishy and I always wanted to be hugged."

Little cats volunteered to do what they do best, cuddle and rub against legs.

Cats who on Earth had never had a kind word or a pat on the head, stepped forward and said, "I will love any human who needs love."

Then all the cats, wherever on Earth they originally came from, rushed to the Rainbow Bridge and stood waiting, overflowing with love to share.

Posted by Ellen at 03:12 PM | Comments (1)
Tar Baby Update

My little Tar baby died at 6:03 am in my arms this morning.

He just did not wake up.

Posted by Ellen at 06:04 AM | Comments (6)
Tar Baby

I have an ugly feeling that today may be Tar Baby's last day. He has been having a very difficult at night remaining comfortable. He has always breathed a bit funny, but last night was very different.

He is still pink, not purple in color. Which tells me he is getting plenty of oxygen. His lungs sound clear, no hear murmur. He does have a slowed peristalsis (slow intestinal motility) this morning. Last night his belly was rumbling so loud you could hear it laying next to him. He slept with me all night. He no longer is interested in food, even though I will still stomach tube him whether he likes it or not to keep him hydrated until work this morning.

He just can't seem to get comfortable. About an hour of fidgiting and propping him into many postitions he will usually chose the most uncomfortable one for me, but perfect for him. Oh well, comes with the job. He can't cry. He has a silent meow now.

Today, I will have him looked at again. Most likely give him fluids under his skin (IV too big for him) and maybe stomach tube him some barium (radiopaque solution) and see if his intestines are still moving and maybe catch a deformity in there.

But, I do think I may have fading kitten syndrome.

The last thing I want to do is put him in Forever Sleep. If it comes to that though, and he is suffering and I can't fix it. Then thats what I will do.

Everything comes in 3's. Tar Baby will be the 3rd if all does not go right.

Cross your fingers for him.

Posted by Ellen at 05:46 AM | Comments (0)
September 10, 2002

Unfortunately, Frankie died today. My mom was with him. He was doing great with his new family. He went to work everyday with her and my mom got to see him everyday.

Everyone loved Frankie. He was the computer people's mascot at their work. Everyone saw his picture. Everybody met Frankie. Everybody LOVED Frankie.

Mom called me up and said he did not look so good today. Even though he was still playing, eating, and using his box. My mom got a call from Frankies mom saying she was right he did not look so good. Then Frankie started to seizure today. Nasty seizures that were too much for his little body to handle and at the end of the day, my mom said it did not look like Frankie.

They took him to the vet (who I will write a letter to the NY Board of Veterinary Medicine about, since his bedside manner just plain sucked and had no fucking clue to what was going on ).

My mom made the choice to put Frankie to the Forever Sleep. Mom also took him home, had him wrapped in his favorite blanket and stuffed animal and buried him in the backyard where all of our pets are buried. Mom said I would of wanted it that way. She was right.

I feel awful for Frankie's new family. They are devestated and rightfully so. Though I DO feel WONDERFUL that he had a FAMILY that was willing to LOVE him for his short little life.

I will remember this silly little kitten that used to scream his head off and wake everyone up every 3 hours in my house. I will remember his kisses and how everyone that saw him fell in love with him right away. I will also remember how GOOD it felt that I was able to find him a home, even though it was not for a very long time.

Posted by Ellen at 06:46 PM | Comments (5)
Heyy-yaa HUP!!!

Zahi is at it again! Remember the Nova special when they drove a minirover up a weird shaft inside the great pyramid to see where it went, only to find it ended in a little copper-handled plug? Well, they're making a new rover to crawl up there and see what might be on the other side. As Ellen would say, nEaT!

Posted by scott at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)
Buzz Socks Wack

I'm sure every rational person in the world wanted to do what Buzz Aldrin seems to have done to a religious wack who thinks he didn't go to the moon. Unfortunately it's not nice to hit people, even if they deserve it, so if this pans out looks like ol' Buzz may be heading to court.

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM | Comments (5)
Saturn's Ninjas

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:

Today the Kennedy Space Center has been part of Cape Canaveral and Merrit Island so long it seems it has always been there. Not so. In 1949, when Cape Canaveral was designated the Joint Long Range Proving Ground, there was literally nothing there. A few sand dunes, some swamps, and a whole lot of alligators.

It was only with the formation of NASA in 1958 and the designation of Cape Canaveral as the nation’s “moonport” that things began to take off. But the cape itself, and later its Merrit Island extension, was off limits, and had been since it was a testing ground for Army rockets. The extreme violence of the continual rocket launches of various types was (usually) tightly contained, and so the areas around the main facilities were left almost pristine.

The cape had, but for some tightly controlled areas, essentially become a huge de-facto game preserve. This status was made official in 1963 with the creation of the Merrit Island National Wildlife Refuge. No hunting, no fishing, no diving. Of course, wildlife in the area exploded.

But it was the fishing that was the real attraction. Filled with costal lagoons and shallow rivers, the new game preserve caused the local game fish population to increase to two and a half times that of the surrounding area. Not only were there more fish, they were bigger, and it was not uncommon for world-record weight lunkers to be caught just outside the preserve's areas.

As with other attempts to fish the preserve, the problem wasn’t actually catching the fish, it was doing so without getting caught yourself in the process. Some folks resorted to small-scale camouflage attempts, but this didn’t result in anyone actually getting to eat anything. What was called for was something bigger, more elaborate.

Enter the fish commandos. One of the contractors had a group of guys who’d gotten proficient at netting fish. You know, the kind of nets you cast in a big circle and then haul in almost like a basket. In the right conditions, dozens of fish could be caught this way very quickly. They now had a way to catch them.

The next problem was timing. The local MPs and game wardens were not famous for their observational skills, but even they would notice a group of guys standing waist-deep in water furiously casting nets in a restricted area. They wanted to eat, but they didn’t want to do it in prison. So it was decided the best time to perform this covert gospel-like miracle would be the middle of the night. This wasn’t quite as absurd as it sounds, as most of the crews regularly pulled 12 and 24 hour shifts at this time. There were lots of people around in the middle of the night.

Of course, this meant there were lots of law-enforcement types around in the middle of the night as well, in addition to the great big fences that surrounded the launch complexes themselves. So a location was found far from any lights, inconvenient MPs, or other curious types who couldn’t be trusted to keep such an important secret. A bit of bolt and wire cutter work was all that was needed to create the perfect secret entrance.

This made transportation something of a problem, as people trudging around in the middle of the night with huge nets full of fish might attract unwanted attention. So a few resourceful individuals volunteered some old pickup trucks, which not only would provide their fishy ninjas with transportation, but also with the cargo capacity needed to haul the load back.

The final destination was chosen to be the half-completed 39B launch complex. Created more to ensure the renewal of federal funding than any real need to double NASA’s ability to launch Saturn Vs, 39B was at the time a warren of unused, half-completed storage and machine spaces far from the prying eyes of law enforcement or nosy bureaucrats.

So roughly once a week, a Saturday or Sunday usually, a pair of blacked-out pickup trucks would leave late at night on a mission. They’d go bouncing down unpaved and only vaguely marked roads to their secret fence door, where black clad men would leap out and quickly steal away into the dark, only to return minutes later doubled-over with nets full of their wriggling quarry. After ensuring their treasure was safely flopping away in the truck beds, the darkened vehicles would bound back up through the inky blackness to their safe-house, a half-finished concrete mound surrounded with silent cranes and stacks of iron bars. The trucks would rendezvous in front of a room already filled with crushed ice, where their catch would be stored for the next day’s big cookout. Their mission complete, they would return to their normal routine already savoring the fillets that would be theirs tomorrow.

Much later, a construction foreman was heard wondering out loud why just one storage room on the new pad always smelled so strongly of fish. “Must’ve been something in the concrete”, he was told.

Posted by scott at 12:35 PM | Comments (3)
September 09, 2002
Let Freedom Ring

The latest development of humanity's communications resources is of course, the computer. The creation of a mechanism to exchange information of all types nearly instantaneously has introduced unprecedented freedoms and brought consequences and implications we are still dealing with today.

It may seem a bit redundant, but to become a powerful industrial nation a nation has to first build a powerful industry. Not just factories, but transportation networks to move stuff in and out, giant power stations and wire grids to feed the monster machines, and the logistical sophistication required to pull it all together to provide a product people want at a price they're willing to pay.

As if this weren't hard enough, you have to do it in the shadow of countries that have already set up their own huge, expensive industries and are doing their level best to get you to buy their stuff instead of your own. An ugly truth about free trade is that it's much more about opening developing markets to established industries than it is about allowing developing industries access to established markets. You have to be extremely clever to survive in an unregulated, pre-established business market, and nobody gives out those kinds of lessons for free.

The rise of information technology as the driving force behind industrial might short-circuited this entire process. For the first time in history software, sequences of ones and zeros that can't really be said to exist in any one place at any one time, is what actually drives a first-world economy. And you don't need a steel mill to make software.

Instead of building huge factories and the amazingly complex infrastructures required to support them, all a country really needs to do to join the software game is build a reasonably reliable residential-level power grid and some big air-conditioned rooms to house people and computers. Education suddenly becomes the true key to success, and it's far easier to build a good mind than it is to build a good factory.

It's precisely because writing software requires education, and lots of it, that computers can be seen as utterly liberating to the peoples of developing nations. Because it's not just any sort of education that works. You only learn to create software by thinking critically, by questioning assumptions, by synthesizing ideas in new and novel ways.

A country building a software-based industry cannot oppress its people in the same way a developing industrial power can. Well-educated people practiced in the art of critical thinking are merely future gulag residents to a "traditional" developing nation, because anyone can work in a factory. But when education is the engine that drives your country's economy these people cannot, will not, be ignored.

The benefits are enormous. Unlike most other products, software is not a low-margin industry. The margins are almost obscene; especially once the development costs have been "paid off". Since the "machine" that ultimately created these products has legs and a mind of its own, profits are quickly distributed to employees to keep them with the company. And even if a company implodes completely and throws hundreds, or even thousands of these people out of work, smart people don't stay unemployed for very long.

This isn’t some theoretical construct. It works. Ireland was once a completely hopeless backwater of a country, with unemployment levels routinely exceeding 20% each year. Today it's considered the "silicon valley" of Europe, with employment levels so high cities are completely gridlocked with people just trying to get to work. India may yet surpass the United States as the home of the most innovative software developers in the world. Already most software companies have huge, and hugely important, divisions there, oftentimes the only profitable part of some of them.

And these are just two examples. All anyone really needs to start a profitable software business is education, skill, and an idea. You don’t even need to own a computer… any will do.

Now there are some who will say this is a gross oversimplification. You also have to contend with business plans, marketing, copyrights, patents, and no end of other complications. But these are rich peoples’ problems. There are millions of people, millions of educated people, who would love to help deal with these kinds of problems.

And that’s how economies get started.

Posted by scott at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)
Feline Medical Curiosities

Not for the faint of heart. But if you are interestd in seeing what kind of deformities that cats can produce, you can see them here.

Yes, it has pictures. NO, its not gross. Its rather sad.

Posted by Ellen at 08:34 PM | Comments (1)
Er..Houston, we MAY have a More Problems

Tar Baby may have another problem on top of what is already going on.

He may not have any eyes. Yep, you heard me. No see.

Though we are NOT 100% sure on this. His face is rather elongated and we are NOT seeing any small eye bulges from the sockets like you would in a 'normal' kitten. His are sunken.

Yet another challenge. He continues to be a loving kitten, that can't seem to maneuver the right way, nor cry when he is hungry like a normal kitten can. He does this pitiful strained squeak that will wake me up in the middle of the night and gets louder as someone touches him.

I did purchase his $24.00 bottle from Drs Foster-Smith online. I LOVE that magazine. It has the neatest goodies in it. Hopefully I can get him to take a bottle soon. He has gained a decent suck reflex and I allow him to use the other bigger kitten bottle, but he cannot control that one and manages to get more formula on him than IN him. So we continue to tube feed.

I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Ellen at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)
Artificial Heart Recipient Nears Anniversary

How neat is this.

Imagine getting a heart, not of tissue but of bits of space age stuff and other cool bits and it WORKS. It works longer than ANYONE expected.

Science has come a long way. Maybe one day Ted will get his new heart.

Posted by Ellen at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)
Brain Dead

A rather neat article on how scientists are determining several factors to make sure that a person is brain dead before 'pulling the plug'.

Is this a problem? Are Drs are cutting people off life support too soon? What do you do if someone tells you that your loved one is in a coma that they will NEVER come out of it, and are essentially brain dead. What do you do?

My Southern Mama may have some input on this. She is a RN.

Posted by Ellen at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)
Happy B-day Mellie!!!!

Everyone go to Melbernai's page and wish her a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

All of us (2 humans, 5 cats and one nasty fish) at AMCGLTD wish you a very happy birthday!

Posted by Ellen at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)
Fish Surgeon

Ok, so all you people who catch flak about how much $$$ you spend on your critters, just wanted to know you're not alone.

Posted by scott at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)
Nuclear Power News

ABCnews is running this peice on new developments in the nuclear reactor industry. There's also another technology out there, which this article doesn't address, using lithium as a coolant. Since fusion still seems to be "thirty years in the future" (where it's been for the past 30 years), fission reactors of one sort or another are still an important source for power generation.

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM | Comments (2)
What IS the Weakest Link?

Ernie over at Little. Yellow. Different. got himself on The Weakest Link and wrote up his impression of the show. Hollywood is fake beyond your wildest dreams.

Posted by scott at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)
Diamond Days Gone Forever?

BBCnews has this report on new discoveries about when, how, and where diamonds were formed. Their preliminary conclusion: the earth literally doesn't make diamonds like it used to.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
September 08, 2002
Store Expansion

Significantly (well, by 4) expanded the offerings in our store. Added a sweat shirt, a gray T, a baseball jersey (with 3 different sleeve colors to choose from), and a "baby doll" size for the boobie-equipped crowd. Don't just stand there, buy something!

Posted by scott at 10:18 AM | Comments (3)
Bendy Kitten

Take a look-see. This is what the front arms of Tar Baby looks like. I only hope we can bandage his feet right to get them straight like Bendy.

Bendy Kitten

Posted by Ellen at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)
Tar Baby Udate

Tar Baby gets cuter every day. He is so much smaller than the last kitten. So much smaller that I can close my hand over him and you can't tell I have a kitten in my hand. Still so cute, you can't help but loving him a bit more since he has so many problems.

He finally realized that the stomach tube REALLY REALLY means he will get fed. He gets so excited about the tube that he will try to nurse from it like a bottle. He has such a poor suck reflex that I am tempted to purchase a $20 kitten bottle for him to try out. It's not like any other kitten bottles I have seen. So I may splurge on it for him.

He is also starting to lose his hair on his wrists from all the rubbing moving around in his basket. Next week is xrays on the feet so we can see what is going on.

He is also learned how to roll over on his back to have his chest and belly rubbed. Very cute.

I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Ellen at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)
September 07, 2002
The Boneyard

Davis-Monthan is the largest of the "open air" storage facilities of the United States. This is where something like 80% of the US's WWII aircraft went, and amazingly there are still a few there, sixty years on. What potentially will be the second flyable B-29 in the world was pulled out of there just two years ago.

Considering how valuable WWII aircraft are today, and how enormous Chino Lake, D-M, and other places like them are, I often wonder if it wouldn't be worth it to purchase recon sattelite time to see just how many, if any, warbirds still exist there today. Kind of weird to think that a machine that defended the world from Nazism would still just be sitting there, out in the sand, day after day for six decades.

Posted by scott at 07:09 PM | Comments (4)
Rate This!

Yay! Another ratethingie.

Posted by Ellen at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)


Posted by Ellen at 06:49 PM | Comments (1)
War Games

Yet another no-prize to den-mother Pat (you guys did know Pat was my mom, right?) with this entry (free reg required, blah blah blah).

NPR did a story on this a week or two ago. This particular press monkey at least got it right in that war games are not just about running the scenario, they're about testing gear. If all the ships get sunk in the first day, then why not "resurrect" them so you can test your widgets?

Carl Sagan had a lot of encounters with military people over the years, and wrote quite frequently about them. He remarked, and I believe him, that the people who scared him weren't the military folks. They tended to be a kind of cross between a sponge and a calculator. Tell them something interesting, and they would ingest it and go off somewhere to find a way around it.

What scared him were the political weenies and civilian bureaucrats in charge of the military guys who would immediately begin ad-hominem attacks just because they didn't like what the scientists said. While everyone knows the leadership of cabinet-level posts are political appointees, few really understand what this means.

Every four years, eight at most, someone who may or may not have any real understanding of the job you've been doing for thirty years gets to come along and decide who your boss is going to be. As someone who is going through this exact sort of thing at work, I can't even begin to relate how horrifying it can be at times. And none of my bosses' decisions can result in the deaths of thousands of expensively trained young people.

Vietnam happened in no small part because the military leadership of the pentagon became just as politicized as their bosses down on Pennsylvania avenue. They literally had soldiers die for dumb reasons because they were afraid of losing their jobs. It is to the credit of the current leadership of the pentagon that they have not allowed the executive branch (Clinton's or Bush's) to perpetrate another disaster on that scale. Trust me, REMF weenies have tried, in both administrations.

Stories like this make me wonder, though, whether or not the wrong people have managed to get themselves put in charge again.

Posted by scott at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)
Non-sequitur of the Day

My half-sister-in-law, a 16-year-old punk ass, has this as her "away" message on AIM:

The buzzing you hear is the capitalists trying to opress us.

Made me laugh out loud, but probably not in the way intended. Black & White ate my game today, so I'm in one of those ugly elitist moods I get in sometimes ("sometimes? psst... hey asshat... yer about as tolerant as you are funny.")

This reeks of a quote from somewhere. Silver-plated no-prize to the person who can provide it.

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)
C-Section Anyone?

I got to assist in my first C section on a cat since Coconut was born back at the Washington Animal Rescue League in DC, in 97.

To bring you up to date: we have a client (breeder- yeah yeah...I know, but at least she is a responsible one. All the kittens were already adopted) that her maine coon cat, India was way past due. I'm talking the cat was at day 71. Most cats queen at 58-63 days. So this was pretty late. India is also a rather BIG cat. Most maine coons are.

6 babies are seen on the xrays. Yay! We know how many to account for. Wrong. She has 7 in there. One so very tiny, that did not make it despite dorpram-V (respitory stimulant) Epinephrine and atropine.

Surgery goes great! Couldn't ask for a smoother operation. Cat accepts kittens with no problems, that's another plus.

Most of the kittens though are tough to revive due to the anesthetic. We used a bit of torbugesic for a pre-sedation and some Propoflo for induction. Isoflourane for the inhalent. (this is where the kittens will take longer to wake up. Propoflo is metabolized so fast that its good for cardiac patients if needed. Isoflourane, takes longer even though its not metabolized, but you do have anesthetized babies).

Kittens are a lovely shade of purple when the come out. I should also mention that C-sections on a cat are very messy. One or two incisions are made and the kittens pulled or pushed through either hole. Cats uterus are also shaped like a 'Y'. It has 2 horns to fit more babies.

Kittens anesthetized from a C-section are also a bitch to get to wake up right away. Lots of rubbing involved.

But they are HUGE kittens. They are the size of a 2-3 week old kitten to begin with! So they do well. Like I said earlier, I lost one. One that I did resuscitation for about an hour on it. It was so tiny and reminded me how small Coconut was when she was a baby.

I hope all goes well for India and her 6 babies. It was a lot of work.

Posted by Ellen at 03:43 PM | Comments (1)
Just When You Thought Life Didn't Get Any Weirder

You find something like this. Japanese artist. Why am I not surprised?

Found via the Reverse Cowgirl's Blog, a blog "wherein a writer attempts to justify the enormity of her porn collection". Definitely an unusual lady. :)

Posted by scott at 02:23 PM | Comments (0)
Insert Pointy-Eared Joke Here

Well, Leonard Nimoy just joined the ranks of the weird and slightly disconnected celebrity peanut gallery with a new book of nude women. He's in his late 60s now, I guess he can take pictures of whatever the hell he pleases. Still, I can only imagine what my own grandmother's reaction would've been had my grandfather picked up this hobby.

Posted by scott at 02:14 PM | Comments (2)

So far just a rumor, but an awful one if true. It would appear some wingnut at SciFi has decided to cancel Farscape. Easily the most entertaining show on that network, and arguably the best SF show on TV right now, the decision is just amazing. Write your letter today!

Update: Fixed the link. Looks more and more true. Browder says "they're gonna take a chainsaw to [the sets]" no later than next week. Co-incidence this hits the fan on a weekend? I don't think so. Let's all show 'em not to dink with rabid nerdy fans. Mention it on your blogs if you have them and Write! Write! Write!

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (3)
Our Gang Resources

Amazing what you'll find when you get off your butt and do a little research. I used to watch Our Gang/Little Rascals religiously as a kid, and most of my friends did too. They're on again, broadcasting on AMC. Ellen's mom still watches them, even though Ellen thinks they're more than a little weird. I always wondered what happened to everyone, and now I've found out a bit:

Spanky, whose real name was George McFarland, was never a porn star, which was a big rumor when I was in college. After many setbacks it seems he went to work for Philco-Ford television, became an executive, and retired. He died in Grapevine Texas in 1993.

Alfalfa, whose real name was Carl Switzer, ended up getting shot and killed on January 21st, 1959 at the age of 31. The stories are conflicting, but it would seem he went the classic route of too many child actors: not being able to get work, turning to drugs and alcohol, and then ending up dead over something stupid. A more detailed, if sensational, version is here

Buckwheat, whose real name was William Thomas, stopped acting and became a Technicolor technician for more than 20 years. Nobody associated with Our Gang even knew what became of him until 1974. He died of a heart attack in 1980 at the age of 49. A nice tribute page can be found here.

Styme, whose real name was Matthew Beard, kept acting with a moderate amount of success, in later life starring in films like the "Buddy Holly Story" and doing guest spots on shows like "Good Times". He died in 1981. A good career summary is here, and an "official" website is here.

Darla Hood, who played the comic foil for most of the "He-Man Woman-Haters Club"'s antics, found work later in life as a background singer for radio programs, and eventually did voice work for commercials. She died of acute hepatitis under "mysterious circumstance" after a "minor operation" on June 13, 1979. She was only 47 years old. A brief summary of her career is here, and this site, that appears to be in Portugese, has some nice photos of her later in life. If you can get past the annoying music that is.

There were others of course, Jackie Cooper and Robert Blake being the most famous, but these were the ones I remember as a kid. The series went on for something like 22 years, so I've probably missed your favorites. The best overall site for Little Rascals information is Our Gang Online, although it doesn't look to have been updated lately.

So there you have it. "Real Hollywood Stories" it ain't, but interesting nonetheless. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 11:56 AM | Comments (1)
Science to Replace Panning?

Well it looks like someone finally came up with something useful for Alfalfa other than feed and the name of a goofy kid long gone (whatever happened to the Little Rascals anyway?)

Posted by scott at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)
September 06, 2002
Kitten Update ala Tar Baby Style

Tar Baby is doing good today. He has finally had a good day.

He managed to sleep 3.5 hours last night without getting up. Probably because he was sleeping with me in bed wedged between my right arm and side. He has to sleep sitting up or at least at a 45 degree angle. Makes the breathing easier.

He has also figured out that the stomach tube means FOOD. It's rather sad to watch though. It's also not as easy as you would think. Kittens do not attain a gag reflex until about 10 days old. Measuring a stomach tube is easy. You measure from the mouth to the last rib. That's how much of the tube should be inserted to the kitten (I use a #3 french red rubber stomach tube). If you feel resistance, you are in the trachea... not a good thing. Want to drown a kitten quickly? Stomach tube it the wrong way.

You want a nice smooth entry. That indicates you are in the right area of the throat. (Why does this sound like I'm talking about sex?) Most kittens will realize it's food and will want to eat right away. Feeding needs to be about every 2-3 hours.

They THINK he may have hydrocephalus (he has a bit of a bulby head). BUT he is on antibiotics and is doing remarkably well.

He is also really starting to respond to my touch. More so than before.

He goes everywhere we do. He went to the liquor store tonight and picked out whiskey sour mix with Scott and he also decided that we should eat Chinese food.

The oscar thinks the kitten would make a rather tasty treat. We say no. Potential hydrocephalus, deformed front limbed, cleft palated kittens DO NOT taste good.

The oscar begs to differ. We will put a brick on the oscar's tank tonight so he can't get out.

Posted by Ellen at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)
Outdoor Cats

This one is for Phoxxe. You made a good point. I should say why I don't like outside cats.

I do not believe in outdoor cats. OR rather I should say, I do not believe in unsupervised outdoor cats (porch, leash, enclosed back yard with the owner *aka-servant* THERE). WHY? Many reasons. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing sweeter than watching a cat bask in the sun enjoying itself or taking a roll in the grass.

Being a Licensed Vet Tech, I have seen too many of the bad things that happen to outdoor cats. I have seen flattened cats (yes, the HBC-hit by car), I have seen *high rise syndrome cats*-fell out of apartment windows and balconies. I have seen cats with FELV, FIV, FIP (all ugly diseases in themselves). I have seen cats with ear mites and frost bite so bad that the externa pinna (flappy part) needed to be removed to nubs.

I have seen cats literally starving to death. I have seen kittens with paneleukopenia that look at you with pitiful eyes and ask you to end their suffering. I have seen cats and kittens with intestinal parasites so bad we had to perform enemas and/or witness them have blood diseases (anemia, babesia, ect.) I have seen cats with fleas so bad that they are totally limp and white as a ghost while you try to bathe them, keep them warm and do a blood transfusion because THEY WILL DIE if you don't. I have seen cats covered in maggots from an injury that went sour.

I have seen cats ripped apart by dogs, and other outside animals (racoons especially LOVE to rip the shit out of a cats face). I have seen cats with rabies. I have witnessed people crying to me that their cat(s) were eaten by a coyote.

I KNOW cats get stolen and used for dog fighting and lab experiments. I have seen the heartbreak of a family walking into the vet's office asking if its OK to place a *missing* flyer on your announcement board. I have seen cats with heartworm disease.

I have worked at animal shelters that cats come in with collars on that have NO tag and get adopted out to new homes. OR worse, they get put to sleep because there are too many cats.

There is not a summer that goes by that I am not lancing abcesses, debriding dead tissue, placing penrose drains, assiting in amputations- all due to cat fights, and people that ignore the injury. Then proceed to be yelled out by an outstanding bill. ( I love my cat! But this bill is outrageous! )

I can keep going, my list is endless. Now do you see why I don't like outdoor cats? If you don't I can keep going.

A small statistic for you. Did you know the average outside cat lifespan is 5 years? The average indoor cat lifespan is 16. Now tell me, which do you prefer?

Update: And you all think I am full of shit when I mentioned cats being fucked with by coyotes. Most of the time, the cat does not win.

Posted by Ellen at 07:39 PM | Comments (30)
Trouble Shooting

I think EVERYONE's trouble shooting list looks like this.

Posted by Ellen at 05:50 PM | Comments (1)
The World's Scariest Hamster Chases

When cars are outlawed, only hamsters will have cars. Or something like that. No, really!

I don't know man, the UK seems to be getting a lot weirder all of a sudden. Maybe we're finally shipping some of them back? ;)

Posted by scott at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)
Grand Opening!

Houston, we have merchandise. We just got our own examples in of the T-shirts, and they look great! Nice, high-quality stuff with a logo you just can't help smiling at. We have mugs and caps and mouse pads available too, and if you're interested in anything else, let us know. We can put our logo on all kinda stuff (probably do sweatshirts for the winter soon, for example).

Perfect for Christmas gifts! Excellent for birthday presents! Protects against athletes foot, premature baldness, wrinkles, aching joints, builds muscle and helps you lose weight!*

So help support AMCGLTD.COM and get a cool and fun T-shirt ta boot. Don't just stand there, buy something!

Posted by scott at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)
The Great Chili Debacle

What I Learned When Using a Pressure Cooker:

  • Ames was going out of business for a reason, and not just because nobody was shopping there.
  • Sometimes mom is right (wear clean underwear, don't play with your food, eat your vegetables), sometimes she's wrong (you're just paying for a name when you buy expensive pots).
  • It's never a good sign when the instructions that came with the cooker don't describe the one you're holding in your hands.
  • Never deglaze a cast-iron pan when it's still on the burner.
  • Beer steam still smells like beer.
  • Beer steam still burns like steam.
  • Canned chipotle peppers look like dried mice dipped in axle grease.
  • It is unwise to lick the sauce chipotle peppers are packed in off your fingers.
  • It's a bad sign when steam escapes from around the relief valve as well as through it.
  • It's a bad sign when the steam release valve simply pops the lid off the cooker. Eventually
  • When the instructions say "bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer, open, spice, close, cook for additional 15 minutes" they actually mean "cook for an additional 15 minutes by bringing to a boil and then reducing heat."
  • When the instructions are vague on heat level and you can't see the food, it's always better to go with lower heat and wait a little longer.
  • Even wet steam can carry smoke
  • A pressure relief valve looks just like the tailpipe of an '83 Chevette with 220,000 miles on it when the stuff inside starts to burn.
  • It's not a good sign when the pressure cooker makes you think of "I Dream Of Genie, the Robot Experience."
  • It takes about 17 minutes to completely carbonize one pound of stew meat in a pressure cooker.
  • It only takes 15 minutes to carbonize most of it.
  • If you try hard enough, things will stick to stainless steel.
  • The meat in chili doesn't have to be ground beef for it to taste good
  • The meat in chili has to be ground beef for Ellen to think it tastes good
  • The meat in chili should not resemble the bottom of an Apollo space capsule after re-entry, because it won't taste good.
  • I don't mind my own cooking, even when it goes horribly, horribly wrong.
  • Ellen pretends not to mind my cooking even when it goes horribly, horribly wrong because sometimes it goes really, really right.
  • If at first you don't succeed pressure cooking chili, make sure to leave the pot soaking two nights straight before trying to clean it.

Ah well, maybe I'll try stew next...

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM | Comments (4)
Testing the Speed of Gravity

BBC news is running this story on a new experiment to test one of relativity's predictions about gravity. Specifically, if it has a "speed", and if so what that speed might be. I don't know where I got it, but I was under the impression gravity was unique in that its effects propagated instantly across space-time. Ah well, probably why I should stick to anthropology and politics... harder to fact-check those!

Posted by scott at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)
Another Invention Just a Little Too Late

NASA is now working with a pharmaceutical company to test drugs to prevent kidney stones and bone loss. Just a little too late for ol' mom, who just went through the more standard way of getting rid of them.

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)
September 05, 2002
Ideal Ad

I REALLY like this one.

Sounds like my house, except I would just put the ad up for the husband :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)
Kitten Update

Well, kitten officially has become the hospital oddity. They had me put a file of him in my name since I'm his primary care giver and start and actual history with him today. We even had to name him. Sooo..being a black cat and not wanting him to have a 'normal' black cat name, I decided to name him Tar Baby. NO, I'm not racist! I just think Tar would be a neat name for a cat(shadow, midnight ect..are too common), but right now he is a baby so I just tacked that on the end of it. You can think of it any way you want. Kiss my ass, the name is not changing.

According to his exam, heart/lungs normal, eyes-unsure, ears- he has 2 of them, abdomen normal, oral/nasal-cleft palate with skin membrane over the cleft, extremities- fused carpus(wrist), both right and left.

I got a bit adventerous and decided to ask if it was OK to click an xray for a full body shot. Couldn't hurt. Everything inside looks OK. We cant see his arms or legs past the elbows or the knees though on the xray. Too small at this point. My goal next week, if he is still alive, is to use the dental xray machine to take pictures of his feet and wrists. Itty, bitty film meant for alveolar bone and teeth is perfect for small kitten feet.

Remarkably, his skull rads look great. He has a normal brain cavity and eye sockets. Nothing too big or too small. All of his problems, other than his wrists seem to be soft tissue. The cleft palate can be fixed. The wrists right now, not so sure. If they are totally fused with no small carpal bones, then we will not be able to break and refuse his legs the right way. If we can fix it. Hey, it will get done. If not, he will compensate.

I will keep you posted.

Posted by Ellen at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)
Follow the Money

What seems to have been lost on our pressmonkies, probably because nobody's handed them a release about it lately, are the real reasons behind why the Palestinians went to Oslo, and why they don't seem to be interested in going back today.

Until 1991, Palestinians had been quite successfully portraying themselves to the rest of the Arab world as oppressed innocents being ground under the boot heel of a global Jewish conspiracy. No, really, that's what they believed (see Historical Forces), and because of this successful PR campaign all the various Palestinian "liberation" organizations had essentially unlimited funds to play with.

That all changed with the Gulf War. As they have throughout their history, the Palestinians weighed all their options very carefully, then chose the one diametrically opposed to their own best interests. By blithely deciding to publicly embrace the man who had directly threatened their dearest benefactor, the near-magic "bucket o' endless money" suddenly dried up.

At heart what brought them to the table was not their inability to fund their little terror campaigns, or buy food and goods for the downtrodden. What happened was the leadership of all these organizations suddenly found themselves unable to pay for their jaunts to the Riviera during the summer months, the three high-maintenance European mistresses, the two Mercedes, the vacation homes, the twenty cousins needing work, even the loyalty of their own bodyguards.

So, facing the loss of their cushy perqs, they (eventually, with much gnashing of teeth, tearing of shirts, and beating of breasts) decided to sit down with the Jewish devil and see if negotiation would actually give them more than waving their fanny at the world had.

And at first damned if it didn't. The money fairly squirted out of the briefcases they pointed toward Switzerland. Not only could they afford trips to the Riviera again, they could actually own the helicopters! Now you could support sixty of your cousins, allowing you to really gear up for the war you knew you'd have to fight when Arafat (finally!) kicked off.

It didn't last. Now that they were back in country and supposedly in charge, the common people started getting this weird notion that their leaders really aught to be trying to make a difference in their lives. The impudence of such low-born non-relatives to even think such a thing was simply beyond belief! Then there was the problem of all these religious wackos, who wanted it all for themselves, starting to get the idea maybe they were planting bombs in the wrong houses.

Unfortunately it was around this time Israel's own homegrown wacknuts crept out of their holes and pissed in the gearbox. Rabin's assassination was followed by the election of an eloquent conservative who had no choice but to deal with the nutballs who had perpetrated the tragedy in the first place. You could almost hear the gun they'd pointed at their own foot go off.

Netanyahu had to give the ultra-orthodox parties, the ones everyone in Israel thinks are nuttier than a Manson family reunion (and only slightly less homicidal), the authority to slowly push the Palestinians into the sea on one side and the Jordan river on the other. This played right into the hands of the Palestinian Authority, and they never looked back.

Then came the great "I-told-you-so" of September 11th. Of course now that our pressmonkies have got it in their head that Israel really is a sort of "big brother", it's turning out to be surprisingly difficult for the Israelis to get their message through (using a TOW missile when a sniper rifle would do just as well doesn't help). And that's too bad, because Israel knows something we don't. If they were to completely roll over tomorrow, drag their screaming wack-nut settlers inside the 1967 borders, and let anyone who happened to be a second cousin to a Palestinian into the territories, nothing would change.

You see, the current Palestinian leadership wants one thing and one thing only: the complete and total destruction of Israel. These old men are addicted to the money and the power and the privilege expected, no, due a "true" Arab country's leaders, and they know they'll never be able to have it with a functioning liberal democracy right next door. Now that the money taps have turned back on they have no particular reason not to hold out for exactly what they want. Certainly until Sharon was elected it wasn't their sons and daughters getting blown up.

So the Israeli's aren't kidding when they say the Palestinians must change their leadership before Israel can seriously talk peace with them. Unfortunately, history has proven the only real way to get any of them to talk is to cut off the money, and everyone knows whose keg that particular spigot is connected to.

Posted by scott at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)
See, it Could be Worse

I think tomorrow I may relate the Great Chili Debacle, wherein our Hero learns it's not wise to leave a pressure cooker on full heat, but I just wanted to point out ahead of time that it could've been a whole lot worse.

Posted by scott at 02:50 PM | Comments (1)
Gotta Love That Old Atari

Slashdot featured this site that contains a bunch of old video game commercials. My mom still tells stories about successful and not-so-successful quests for video games. And yes, Collecovision was better than Atari, but dammit we were loyal!

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM | Comments (6)
Definitely a House Ellen Won't Sleep Over In

So now we got ghosts gettin all gropy 'n sh*t. Where does it all end?!?

Ellen flips out at even the slightest hint of ghost-y things. I personally think it's 99.9% crap, but I've been called a cynic before. What's the weirdest thing you've ever experienced?

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
Return to the Moon

Not sure if it's vaporware or not, but looks like we're going back to the moon. But this time it's a private company, testing a new unmanned probe. Photo resolution should be on the order of 1 meter, which means they should be able to pick up the Apollo landing sites easily. [Foil Hat]At 1 meter, they'll also be able to detect any E.T. presence[/Foil Hat]. Wouldn't that be cool?

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)
September 04, 2002

Nothing like a nice potassium filled bannana to start your day.

Posted by Ellen at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)
Top Computer Hoaxes

Providing direct support for 70 social work majors and indirect support for about another 1200 means I get three to five e-mail hoaxes mailed to me per week. I get just an eensy bit of a giggle from the ones who get the "your antivirus scanner won't detect this, so do that" and actually perform the procedure. Yeah, I know, very bad karma. But sometimes it's the only joy I get administering this cabbage patch.

Anyway, to make sure none of you fall into any of these traps, I present to you the Top 10 Computer Hoaxes of August. Please read at your earliest convenience, and always remember to Don't F*cking Open Me!

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (1)
Neanderthal Skeleton

I thought of Scott when I saw this.

Posted by Ellen at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)
Freeze, or Fry?

Dinos! Get yer pipin' hot dinos!

Also from, this article detailing how a new computer model seems to confirm substantial environmental effects from the fires ignited by the rock what fell apon the dinos. Cue Robert UK... :)

Posted by scott at 03:06 PM | Comments (2)
COBRA Power! has this article on the details of a new rocket engine being designed to power the "next generation of reusable launch vehicles". Lots of good details, even if it smells like a press release.

Posted by scott at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)
Kitten Update

My kitten to my discovery today has a partially fused hard palate. I kept wondering why he was so gurgly. It's fused, but not ALL the way. It should not have split in it with a small covering of skin in the middle. This is most likely WHY he cannot get a good suction on a bottle yet.

How did I make this discovery..HMM..let's think. It was crying while I was attempting to get it to potty when I was like, "what the F*&K!??" Yep, when he opened his mouth to scream bloody murder I got a glimpse of the back area of his hard palate.

Still, he eats without any fuss with the stomach tube. He actually gets his meal FASTER and it's nice and warm in his belly right away. This also prevents him from aspirating his meal. Which is every 2 hours. He gets 2.5ml of KMR formula. Twice a day, he gets his amoxicillin. A SMALL amount. I'm talking the normal cat gets 1/4-1 ml twice per day. This little guy gets 0.04ml twice a day. Basically a drop.

I did go to the pharmacy today to buy it some condoms to make it snake socks. Yeah I know it sounds strange, but it's something Scott and I did for Coconut and it worked REALLY well. You take a condom, fill it with water, tie the end and pop it in the microwave till it's warm *'bout 60 seconds*. Then you stick it in a sock, and it's the puurrfect thing for them to lay against. Nice and soft, yet warm.

This kitten also has my favorite work sweater captive. He sleeps on it. Well, most of the night he slept with us. It is not fond of the bakset or knapsack.

His motility is extremly different from most 24 hour old kittens. (he was born 9-3-02) He really chugs away when he gets moving. Our last kitten was not like that at all. His eye sockets are also different. I wonder if there are even eyes under them. His eyes appear to be sunken. Or is it the way his face is elongated. BUT they appear they want to open TOO soon.

Keep ya posted!

Posted by Ellen at 02:33 PM | Comments (1)
Moving Foward

Phew!! I got a call from my realtor that the people we are buying a house from OK'd the needed fixes to the house.

In case I did not fill you in, we needed to have a few things fixed.

1. 2 small gas leaks. One to the hot water heater, and one to the meter outside the house. *yay..I have a chain smoking neighbor 2 houses down* I don't LIKE gas leaks. I don't like the idea of a gas run house either. But hey, I compromised. Scott moved to the burbs, therefore I will live with gas heat ect...
2. 2 attic tresses were damamged. HELLO! my roof will one day fall in if not fixed.

The only thing that did not bother us was a small lack of insulation in the garage. Scott and I can fix that with no problem. Spray insulation is a good thing.

So just to let you all know. We are set to close on the house September 20th! We will FINALLY be home owners, and my cats will get 3 levels!

Posted by Ellen at 12:44 PM | Comments (2)
Daily Report Blog

Like the "Onion"? This site is kinda like that.

This site grabs 'headline' type stories/news/diaries and posts them like the Weekly World News!

Pretty neat. Check it out. We have even made it on the US Daily Report!

Posted by Ellen at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)
Zoo News

The National Zoo has had two deaths in two days. Both were very old animals. Might just be one of those weird cluster things.

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM | Comments (1)
A Real Lesson Plan

Yet another no-prize to Pat, who submits this editorial from the NY Times (free reg. required, blah blah blah) about a real 9-11 lesson plan.

Also inaugurates our new category, "Interesting", for stuff that is, well, interesting, without necessarily being cool.

Posted by scott at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

A really neat Fact page. This will keep you busy for HOURS!

Posted by Ellen at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)
Oh Nuts!

~/Do your nuts hang low, do they wobble to and fro. Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow? Can you hang a large beer keg off of them?/~

Posted by Ellen at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)

I failed to announce last week that I stumbled upon a really cute cat talker called the Cat Arena. (click on the award to get to it)

So I went ahead and singed the guestbook and stating that I only care for *sick* or *special needs* cats. I got a personal email back from Catarina saying that it was still nice to see people like me out there, and to please chose an award template for my site to annouce what I do is special. * I got a warm squiffy * There are several styles of the award. Including some scantily clad sci-fi type women dressed as cats. (yeah, thats what Scott wanted). I wanted the one that is up because it remindes me of Ted and Ajax.

Anyone can get an award from the Cat Arena. Its called the "Labor of Love" award. You can obtain one by caring for cats in a special way.

Posted by Ellen at 10:19 AM | Comments (4)
"Chunnel" News

The Brits are putting the final touches on the "chunnel" rail system that crosses the English channel. I always thought the chunnel was vaguely ironic. I mean, for something like five or six centuries France and England did their level best to keep each other on the "proper" side of the channel, and then they go and dig a tunnel. My, how times have changed.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (3)
September 03, 2002
A Matter of Opinion

I got a new project. YES it's a new kitten. This one I aquired when it was 2 hours old today from the Feline Foundation of Greater Washington. Apparently he was being rejected by mom cat and she would have nothing to do with him.

Well ok, I can see why.
Exam Findings: Deformed front legs. The carpus(wrists) are bent at a slightly odd angle. He has toe nails that are VERY large for a kitten. Kittens normally have small needle like toe nails. He has ones that are like tiger claws. Big and thick. He has 1/4 of a tail that is bent oddly also. His face and head are not the right shape. Kinda like his face is elongated and slightly flattened on the side.

Yeah ok, I KNOW what you are thinking and I should slap the shit out of you for telling me I am not a fool to do it. You all think I need to make this kitten go into the forever sleep. Why? Because you are thinking it's suffering. How do you know? He is eating (with a stomach tube because he refuses the bottle right now and NEEDS to eat) and going to the bathroom. He responds my touch and my smell already. He wants to be held close.

What I am giving this kitten is a chance. You would think differently if it was a human I know you would. Just because it is not human, it does not deserve the chance is the ongoing debate with pets. How DARE you think this way. That tells me that you only think of it as an animal, and not a living, breathing creature that deserves a small chance. To me that makes me see an ugly person, not deserving of a companion pet at all. Because it's not perfect. Not everything is perfect.

Like I said, if it was a human, doctors and friends and family would be all over it to help out and give it a chance. This is what I do. I may only do it with animals, but I do it WELL.

I do not know if the kitten will make it. The first few days are always the hardest.

My cats are fine. Ted is a bit miffed that the basket with a mystery cat is in it again.

I will keep you posted on this kitten. SOON I hope it will want a bottle and not to stomach tube it every 3 hours. Kitten is also on SMALL doses of amoxiclllin to hope that if there is an infection in its swollen wrists and head that we will catch it early. Cats are amazing critters.

Cross your fingers.

Posted by Ellen at 05:39 PM | Comments (2)

I'm sure Ellen will have some remarks about this one. Does everyone's mom send them this stuff? (no-prize of the day to Pat)

Posted by scott at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)
New Bloggity-Blog-Blogs

We've decided to link up two new blogs in our "blogs of note": Amish Tech Support and The Norwegian Blogger.

Amish Tech Support is run by Lawrence Simon, an MIS guy with a cracked view of the world. I mean, anyone who's willing to put up this picture of himself on the web has to be able to laugh at the world, ya know? Like our site, a collection of quickies interspersed with occasional essays, it's a funny look at life from a Jewish cat lover in Houston, TX. I mean, if the words "Jewish", "cat lover", and "Houston, Texas" don't give you a sympathetic chuckle you must be made of stone. He's not quite as angry as Ellen, well ok I don't think anyone's even vaguely as angry as Ellen, but some of his stuff seems to come from the same place. I know he makes me laugh, and we all need a good giggle every once in awhile.

The Norwegian Blogger claims to be the Jerry Springer of Norway. That's not a typo, and yes it makes my eyes cross too. I got the impression after seeing a piece on that oh-so-objective source of information, 60 minutes, that Norwegians were this bunch of polite, rational people who party a lot so they don't shoot themselves or each other during the long, dark winter months in their home country. His blog hasn't (yet) proven this impression wrong, but I only discovered it today (via, again, yourish). He provides a refreshingly different viewpoint on just about everything under the sun. See Diplomacy 101 for his take on how Americans should really talk to Europeans, and why.

Give both a try today! Tell 'em we sent ya :).

Posted by scott at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)
My Dream House

I think even Ellen would be interested in a house like this as long as she could hang her cat stuff all over the walls. Amazing what an essentially unlimited budget can bring you.

Actually though, you can get most, if not all, of this in your own home using commonly available gadgets and a basic PC without spending a helluva lot of money. I'll do some research and return with links later on...

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)
Drive-Through Chicken

So now even China is getting into drive-throughs. Ellen still thinks it's weird that southern liquor stores have drive-through windows. It was just part of the scenery where I grew up.

I remember working with a doctoral candidate from China once. We were both pizza delivery guys (he'd make more in pizza delivery than he'd get from the University). He was old enough to have "waved a red book" (his words) for Mao in the 60s. He said in China places like McDonalds are considered "luxury" restaraunts because they are so expensive. He remembered people getting married there because it seemed "American".

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
A More Human Face

An interview with the family of a suicide bomber from Imshin (found via Yourish), puts a very human face on a horrific tragedy.

Filed under Angst, because death is never Cool. I need to get an "interesting" category worked up.

Posted by scott at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)
Blowing Sun Bubbles

Also from BBCnews, this story on new research regarding sunspots and our nearest star's magnetic field.

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
A Practical Tatoo

BBCnews has this story on a new kind of tatoo that would allow diabetics to continuously monitor their blood sugar levels. I've know several diabetics over the years, my grandmother lived with the disease for a very long time. I've always thought one of the real dangers was the inability to continuously monitor blood sugar. As far as I know, diabetes in and of itself isn't what causes all the trouble because it can be controlled. It's the loopy blood sugar extremes that cause the real damage. This could go a long, long way toward solving that problem.

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (2)
September 02, 2002
Siege Warfare

To an American, perhaps to any person living in a completely industrialized society, war is all about movement. We expect huge set piece battles with massive amounts of hardware decisively determining an outcome. The West has fought wars this way for two hundred years, and most of our strategy involves trying to manipulate the bad guy into one of these massive Ragnarok-style apocalyptic confrontations.

But, taken from a longer perspective, these kinds of fights are extremely rare. And, as time passes and situations change, the time between 1802 and 1945, after the development of a controllable, professional army yet before the creation of nuclear weapons, will be seen in the future as an aberration in the standard methods of warfighting throughout human history... the raid and the siege.

In spite of the perception you get from William Shakespeare and Monty Python, medieval (actually all cultures back to the beginnings of agriculture) battles were almost never about giant gatherings of knights and infantry facing off across a field of clover. You weren't supposed to conquer. You really weren't equipped for it.

If you actually did want to conquer the land, take it from one people to give to yours, you had to resort to the unbelievably expensive strategy of siege. Basically you camped outside the walls of a keep or castle (where everyone with any brains had lit out for as soon as they heard about you and your peeps's plans) until you talked your way in, starved everyone inside, bribed the gatekeeper, or, very rarely, managed to overwhelm the defenses.

The advantage a defender had was both powerful and surprisingly simple: time. Until very recently armies were composed of people who had patently better things to do than sit around in muck and drink from a stream being used as a latrine by the guys in the next tent. This could go on for months, even years at a time. If a defender planned his fortress well, he nearly always had enough food and water to hang on until the bad guys got fed up playing "supporating sore of the week", broke up and went home.

This all changed with the invention of the cannon and the rifle. Walls could be knocked down with relative ease using a big-bore cannon, and it only got better from there. Each subsequent technological development allowed fewer people to wreak greater havoc with unheard of speed. Europeans, being the lucky people to synthesize all of these developments first, effectively ruled the world for about two centuries using tactics and strategies that flowed from the end of a gun.

But a funny thing happened on the way to world domination. By first conquering the world and then using the fruits of that conquest to immolate itself not once but twice, Europe created and then spread enough cheap weapon technology to make the naked conquests of the eighteenth and nineteenth century impossibly expensive to any would-be imperial power of the twentieth.

The abject lessons of Vietnam and Afghanistan put every world power on notice that basic mechanized weaponry had become simple and self-contained enough that a small, determined, and wiley opponent could hold back an industrialized juggernaut a thousand times its own size. World conquest was simply too expensive to ever be seriously considered again.

The siege had returned, with a vengeance. Satisfying and decisive setpeice battles had been replaced with unwieldy coalitions, which almost literally encircled an opponent in the hopes of starving or forcing them out. And, as before, a defender's most powerful weapon became time. The Gulf War will prove to be to modern warfare what Agincourt was to its medieval counterpart... a rare alignment of wit, will, and weaponry manipulating an arrogant and headstrong foe into playing the wrong game with the wrong toys.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. By denying industrialized nations the ability to unilaterally impose their will on other peoples by force, by making all forms of warfare too expensive to simply start on a whim, the world will eventually become a much more stable place.

However, the events of 9-11 have revealed in horrifically beautiful detail that this stability also allows psychopaths to claw their way to the top of organizations powerful enough to cause serious trouble yet organized in such a way as to be expensive, even impossible to remove. Unfortunately the modern world cannot simply sit back and wait for the inevitable revolutions (that keep not happening) to remove these maniacs from within.

Because with modern germs and modern bombs, we're not talking about one unwashed nosepicker taking his buds out and making a few hundred peasants' lives a little nastier, more brutal, and shorter than their neighbors's anymore.

Posted by scott at 09:50 PM | Comments (9)
Do We Call Them, or What

It's getting a little weird by now. I'll write an essay about something, then within a week someone with more authority writes another essay essentially confirming (or occasionally directly denying) what I wrote. For the most recent example, compare Cultural Traditions to this superb article analyzing the effects of Arab culture on their attempts to field modern armies.

"Developing" (what I would term "traditional") cultures time and again want just enough western technology to give them an edge on the rest of the world, be it their corner or the world en toto. They simply do not, perhaps cannot, understand that to be effective with western tools you must adapt at least some western ideals. Failing to do so simply results in expensive toys nobody knows how to use.

A bank shot via Yourish, who, to me at least, is rapidly becoming a valuable voice (albeit an openly biased one) in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Posted by scott at 07:29 PM | Comments (0)
Locating Important Areas

Scott and I decided to be adventerous today and drive around in our 'soon to be new neighborhood' and scope out the shopping scene.

3 grocery stores within 2 miles of the house. Good sign. 2 strip malls. Good sign. Khols dept store. Good sign. Kmart, good, lots of small resturants, good.

Then we got lost. Scott has to pee so bad he can't think or drive. He pulls up to a 7-11, can't find a bathroom so he pees behind a dumpster. I start to lose my temper. Not because he feels like he is going to spontaneously combust if he does not urinate NOW, but because he starts to drive irratically. He gets back in the car and announces he feels better. I roll my eyes and ask why he could not take a whizz at Mr. Hero where we ate lunch. "I didn't have to go then", he says.

Found 2 book stores. This is a good thing. We visit the book store 2x's in a week.

My favorite galleria is in that area, except I could not find it today. I think I have to hop on the parkway for 2 miles and take the exit to rt 7 and there it will be. I give myself less than 1 month to scope out a back road to it from our new place.

As far as the house goes, there is this lady that Scott says has been there EVERYTIME we have gone, sitting in a chair and chain smoking. *This is a gas run complex too*

So there she is, smoking away like a chiminey on a cold day. We almost ran over her dog too. Or rather when we stopped to turn around, her dog wanted to commint suicide by running under the car. NO, we didn't kill it, nor did we bump it or anything of the matter. It should have been on a leash though.

It will take about 40 minutes to get to work once we move. We get to become part of the 'commuting process' in the morning. But hey, at least we will live in a nice area, and not have to worry about rent anymore. Fair trade.

Posted by Ellen at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)
Body Remains Alive w/out a Brain

I've read oodles of interesting articles on how the body can remain alive for a few moments after decapitation. This is a small compilation of such stories.

If you don't belive them, fine. Don't read the article then.

I still think it's rather spiffy.

Posted by Ellen at 04:55 PM | Comments (0)
More of the Dinosaur and Temperature Link

This one is from Discovery News

I recently saw a show that stated a theory about how the very large mammals went extinct (virus). I don't know if they would point that theory to the dinosaurs as well.

Posted by Ellen at 04:49 PM | Comments (1)
Puzzle of a Man's Mind

What do you see?

Posted by Ellen at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)
Well, What do You Call It?

From the "Too Much Time on Our Hands" players, I give you foreign words for... um... well, you'll have to find out.

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)
September 01, 2002
Everything Must Go

While nearly everyone in the US heard the news when K-mart went bankrupt a few months ago, I can't say I heard it anywhere mentioned that Ames, another "big box" discounter, had been completely shut down as well. We didn't know anything was going on until we saw dozens of neon yellow-and-pink "Store Closing, Save Money!" signs on our way to the realtor, which was just down the road from an Ames store.

The few times we'd visited the place, because it was the nearest discount department store (incredibly, there are no Wal-Marts inside the beltway), it was nearly always deserted. When they finally put in a Target as an anchor store of a huge shopping center only a few blocks from where we lived, every reason we had to shop there disappeared, and so did we.

When shopping, humans seem to return to their ancient Paleolithic roots. Men hunt. We have in our minds a clear picture of what we want, we march in, and make our kill. Women gather. They go out and browse through every clothing bush, every shoe tree, every underwear garden, looking for only the choicest, ripest items. How do they tell? All together ladies... it's on sale!!!

So while I walked into this place looking to score some cheap cookware, my wife was walking into the land of discounted milk and honey. The ripeness wasn't just limited to one kind of shoe, two kinds of blouse, or an aisle of makeup. The entire store was practically bursting with on-sale goodness. You could just see the sparkling in her eyes... all was hers, the challenge being more what not to pick. It was like watching a beagle get turned loose in a titanic rabbit patch. She almost literally ran from point to point.

A store closing sale is about as close to an outright looting you can get without actually being inside a riot. Homicidal grannies were almost knocking each other over to get at grandkiddy clothing. The aisles turned into Mad-max style races to the departments; you could almost see the leather and the Mohawks on some folks as they jostled for access to the best stuff. The moms were almost hopeless, looking like they'd got hit with a two-by-four between the eyes, at a loss where to even start, as their kids burned hard for the toy section, which already resembled some sort of Lord-of-the-Flies meets the Watts riots apocalypse.

People were pulling things off one shelf and then putting them on another as they found something even better. ALL SALES ARE FINAL signs were everywhere, and we even had someone droning over the intercom saying "you buy it, it's yours, don't even try to bring it back." Nobody made any real effort to clean anything up. It really was mass hysteria.

Ellen and I got separated, and I was almost afraid to go looking for her. You don't get between a New York Italian woman and a sale, not unless you want to end up becoming part of the foundation of the next high-rise in New Jersey. I had a few things in mind when I finally found the kitchen section, but the only one I found on the list was a pressure cooker. Yes, I'm a guy, and I cook. Fear me.

The atmosphere was beginning to affect me as I hit the electronics section, and it was as I was grabbing handfuls of batteries like a half-starved crack addict when Ellen found me. She had transformed into this sleek well-oiled shopping machine, not only picking up several items she was looking for but a few for me as well. Due largely to her efforts we got out of there with our hides intact, our car filled, and our pocketbook only marginally lighter.

So, if there's an Ames anywhere near where you live, you better head out there right now. There's good stuff to be had, but Everything Must Go.

Just be sure to stay out the way of any little old ladies.

Posted by scott at 07:17 PM | Comments (4)
Unariun's... Innnn... SPPAAAACCEE

Just to show Scientoligists aren't the only ones with truely wacked out beliefs, we present to you, the Unariuns. Actually, that's an interesting point. Why have Scientologists become such a successful, invasive cult while these people beaver away in obscurity. On the face of it, they hold quite similar beliefs.

Posted by scott at 06:13 PM | Comments (2)
Equal Time Goofy Musical

Ok, so first nuts, now boobs! Go granny, go!

Posted by scott at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)
Stephen Hawking on "Stuff"

Here's a good one from Mr. Hawking himself on "strange stuff".

Posted by scott at 06:04 PM | Comments (1)
Yet Another Dinosaur Death Theory!

Here is more of an in-depth article on how temperature change killed the dinosaurs.

Posted by Ellen at 10:27 AM | Comments (3)