November 30, 2002
Interesting Art

Kathleen sent us to, a place with some pretty cool artwork. Thanks Kathleen! No-prize! :)

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)
November 29, 2002
Naughty Cat Update

I spoke to A today to check in on my kitties while we are at my mom's house. A is watching the funky bunch for the week.

Apparently Teddy decided to knock over one of my potted plants (my fault, I put the new cat chair near the plants) and decided that it is so COOL to roll in the dirt!!

She said it was so funny to watch him get all excited when she walked in the house, and run over to the dirt and promptly roll in it!

I can't be mad, it's TED!!! Plus I have taupe carpeting and A knows where the vacuum is.

Posted by Ellen at 04:40 PM | Comments (2)
Ball Lightning

Ok, yeah I know..slow day. But ball lightning is pretty neat stuff!

We should have some more 'interesting' articles put up this weekend when we get home.

Posted by Ellen at 04:37 PM | Comments (2)
Planet Error

Next time scientists are calculating space shit, they should double check their calculations so they don't run into this problem again.


Posted by Ellen at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)
November 28, 2002
Test Your Photo I.Q.

Think you know everything there is to know about telling the difference between fake photos on the internet versus real ones? Take this test and see just how smart you really are.

Posted by scott at 09:18 AM | Comments (3)
Lord of the... Peeps?

What do you get when you combine a fascination with Tolkien, a digital camera, and a lot (and I mean a lot) of Ellen's favorite marshmallow candy? I proudly present to you:

Lord of the Peeps

Posted by scott at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)
Nasca Update

Nasca, not NASA, you know, the people who made those weird drawings in the desert which can only be seen from the air? Well, has this article detailing some new theories about their purpose.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (4)
Primitive Love

We all know how incredibly left-leaning cultural anthropology departments are in higher academia. Their love of snot-drooling leaf-snorting natives is only equaled by the hatred of their own culture. Do other primitive cultures really feel this way about us? You be the judge!

It's a joke son, a joke!

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day to all US readers! We're having a big family day over at Ellen's mom's house, so posting may be light today. Don't just sit there,eat something!

Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (2)
November 27, 2002
Now I've Seen Everything, Pt. 3

Umm... Rap Snacks anyone? Richie's gonna love this one...

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (3)
Crispy Critter

Ok, just because I know how you guys can get sometimes, I want to tell you ahead of time everyone turns out OK. Kitten gets nervous, crawls into ductwork, and then into a working furnace. While disassembling said furnace, a repairman found what could've been a deadly leak. Kitten is fine, people are fine, etc. etc. :)

Posted by scott at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)
November 26, 2002
Death By Wax

Ellen hates hair. Any hair. And let me tell you, being Italian means she knows a lot about hair removal. Bikini lines, mustache, chin hairs, armpits so virile they must be shaved twice a day, and most importantly, eyebrows. I didn't realize it until today, but my girl has eyebrows that would do a muppet proud. Now, guys out there will be going "yeah, so?", but there's not a woman reading this who doesn't know the solution to that particular problem. Say it with me ladies... "WAX!!!"

Ellen doesn't wax, she "sugars". To a man, sugar is something you put in coffee, or glaze a donut with. Let me tell you fellas, women know how to do some perverted sh*t with our favorite confection. Now, if they were to just stay in the bathroom for an hour and a half, with only the occasionally "motherf*kerSONOFAB*TCH!!!" echoing down to us we would all remain blissfully ignorant, even grateful that we don't end up forced to eat hairball remedy on occasion. But no, dear god no, we're not given that option.

Well, some of us aren't. You see, your hero here was blessed with, shall we say, "ample" eyebrows. Is it my fault Ellen keeps calling me "Bert"? Is it my fault I can do a convincing imitation of caveman with no makeup assistance? IS IT MY FAULT CATERPILLERS TRY TO SLEEP ON MY FOREHEAD?!?

No, I tell you, no. And yet, Ellen insists I must have two, count them two, eyebrows. "NO MORE MIDDLE MAN!" she said ominously as she trooped up to the bathroom. See, I figured the reason we got "sugar" (womanspeak for 'small container of boiling lead') was so she could "sculpt" her own eyebrows. And, at least for a few minutes, that's exactly what happened.

The first sign of trouble was when the cats, male cats mind you, fled in terror down the stairs like animals in a Warner Bros. cartoon fleeing the Tasmanian Devil. During the pause, I could almost see the mist start pouring down, an evil vapor that always precedes one's doom.

And there she was, hazel eyes aglow, jar in one hand, a stick and some paper in the other. "THERE CANNOT BE ONLY ONE" she rumbled as she levitated down the stairs.

"No vile witch! No I tell you! My brow is my strength!" I cried.

"Oh hold still you big baby", she said as she sat on me.

"NNGGgggghzzz!!!" was all I could manage as she troweled on the foul sticky substance between my eyes. Faster than an executioner's ax a strip of paper was pressed on and then with the suddenness of the blade my strength, my very personality, was ripped away from me.

"See? That wasn't too bad, was it?"

Swear to god, I figured she had the front of my skull hanging from that paper as I opened my eyes. "Look at this! The cat's ass isn't this hairy! Nasty!" she said as she showed me what, I must admit, looked for all the world like a caterpillar trapped in amber. But, I thought to myself, at least it's over.

Then she got out the tweezers.

Ok guys, Satan doesn't have a pitchfork. Trust me, I know this. He has a tiny pair of metal tongs, and he'll come at you between your eyes. How do I know? One of his minions sat on me like an enraged fury and plucked, bit by bit, even the tiniest hint of a hair that might lie in the middle of my face."I'm sculpting, damn you! Hold still!" said the halo-haired demon astride me. "Dammit! They're not even! BE STILL!"

I didn't care. I'd rather have the cats pounce on my bladder in the middle of the night than go through more of that just so I'll be pretty.

I mean, now that she's pregnant, her farts alone are enough to bald the cats. So take this as a warning, my fellow men. If the wife decides it's time to "sugar", or "wax", she's not talking about baking, and she's not talking about shining the car. Do yourself a favor and head toward the nearest pub or bar.

Because the alternative is just too frightening to even consider.

Posted by scott at 10:06 PM | Comments (8)
Gauranteed to Make Nina Laugh

The latest Foxtrot is quite appropriate considering the igloo-like conditions in my mother-in-law's home. It's all we can do to keep her from opening windows as you go to bed. In 20 degree weather! We won't even talk about why the bathroom windows are braced open whenever you take a shower...

Posted by scott at 11:30 AM | Comments (2)
Mmmm... Beeeerrrrr

Oh what will those whacky Germans think of next? Now we have a monastery selling beer so good you can bathe in it. Suddenly drinking your bath water doesn't sound so disgusting!

Posted by scott at 11:25 AM | Comments (2)
Ellen Will Twitch Just Reading the Article

I'm always teasing Ellen about spending the night somewhere spooky like an old haunted house or a graveyard. Now I see sometimes it's not a good idea to even live near a cemetery.

No-prize to Nina!

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)
Thank God the PT is not an Option

Otherwise Jim might be tempted to vote for it, twice, on this poll, article, and slideshow on a baker's dozen of America's worst cars. I actually sort of liked the pacer when I was a little kid, but what does a 10 year old know anyway?

And I'm old enough to remember some of the later cars when they were new, and the automotive press was singing a different tune back then. It's funny how a journalist's attitude will change 180 degrees when the guys buying advertising aren't selling a particular product anymore. Consumer Reports may be reactionary and deeply in love with soulless Asian cars, but at least you can trust them.

No-prize to Pat!

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (10)
Weird Mars Pics

I'm linking this one up because it has some interesting pictures of mars. The text, however, is from the tinfoil hat brigade.

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (1)
Indie Visible

Jen sends us this little site funded by the "Foundation for Unnatural Research", created as an attempt to help us all understand the anatomy of Mattel's most famous creation.

No-prize! :)

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM | Comments (1)
November 25, 2002
Red Light Special

There are things in life you simply never question, habits so deeply ingrained you never even realize they're just habits. Take underwear, for instance. Initially just a way of keeping the dirtier parts of our anatomy wrapped up in small, easy-to-wash packages, it was made obsolete decades ago with the development of the mechanical washing machine and dryer. And yet I still sit here wearing a pair of whitey-tighties underneath my work clothes. Oh, people might say comfort or safety has something to do with it, but if we can design headwear for cats what's keeping us from designing a pair of jeans that won't grab Abbot & Costello on the zip up?

Societies have these sorts of built-in assumptions as well. Traffic lights, for example. These devices rule our everyday lives, and yet we never once question how patently ridiculous they are. A gizmo that only recently acquired the smarts of a meth-addled gerbil can simply switch one colored light off and another on and thousands of people will instantly move to obey its commands. Folks who are quite convinced the government is only prevented from deploying mind control because its top leader would point the thing at himself (would we be able to tell the difference?) will calmly obey traffic signals, never once seeing the connection.

And how slavish is our dedication in obeying our tryclopsian masters! How many of you out there have sat at a red light, not a soul to be seen, and patiently waited for it to turn green? How many of you have sat for minutes at a time waiting for a left turn arrow without any cross-traffic facing you? How many times have you felt shocked and indignant during those rare instances when you witnessed someone else defying your tricolored god?

All this might be taken as me becoming an advocate of ripping these triple-eyed beasts from their perches, storming the Bastilles that lie on every corner in every town in America and hurling their heartless guardians into the crackling flames. Vive la traffic! Unfortunately, you're wrong.

Because every one of us knows the real reason for traffic lights is not to prevent us from making our daily rounds, but rather to protect us from mouth-breathing morons who turn our streets and highways into a Jerry Springer show on wheels. Closely examining a modern traffic light is like opening up a "traffic control for dummies" book:

  • Put one light in front of each lane, because we want be sure and stop the ones who would assume it didn't apply to the entire intersection.
  • Be sure to put two lights up if there's just one lane, because lord knows that shoulder sure looks inviting.
  • Left turn arrows are good because letting them control their own destiny turns an intersection into a multi-ton game of chicken.
  • Make sure to hood every light so we'll stop the ones who assume any green light is their green light.
  • Put big black borders around every one you can, because three or four really bright red lights shining right in their faces probably won't provide enough contrast for them to notice.
  • Be sure to leave the lights red in all directions for a few seconds each cycle to stop the people who think taking advantage of their legal right to the intersection entitles them to put someone else in the hospital.

And even this isn't enough. There was one intersection near our old apartment that had a giant strobe light that flashed in one direction whenever the light controlling that direction turned red. It took me biking past the place for a few weeks before I realized there weren't any cameras that needed assistance, it was just to get people to notice the light was turning red. In our new neighborhood they've replaced all the incandescent bulbs with huge LED arrays that look like a lite-brite set on a stick just to make sure that last one on the cell phone will have their retinas burned through before they can get across the intersection.

They didn't set these and untold numbers of other weird devices up just because they looked pretty, or needed something to do that day (this is the highway department after all). They were put there because it was needed to keep morons from putting you in the hospital. The modern traffic light is if nothing else a concrete-and-steel monument to Rich Cook's famous saying:

"Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning."

So while I think a colored light's ability to make someone sit still at an intersection in the middle of an empty night is a little surreal, I do see its utility. I will, however, reserve the right as a responsible grownup to occasionally take the law into my own hands and treat traffic lights as stop signs when it's safe to do so.

I will also make sure I'm wearing clean underwear. You know, in case I get into an accident or something.

Posted by scott at 03:20 PM | Comments (4)
My Next Car

Yeah, yeah, I know I know. New baby on the way, new responsibilities, you-just-better-get-your-priorities-straight-right-this-second-mister, etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Still, it's fun to dream, no?

Swiped shamelessly from, the website of the Alfa Romeo Association. The car is a new ~$75k trollop currently only known as the "Evoluta".

Posted by scott at 01:17 PM | Comments (2)
The Truth About the Crap They're Replacing Farscape With carried this report on how the technique of "cold-reading" bears an awfully strong resemblance to John Edward and his ilk.

Posted by scott at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)
Why That's So Very... WEEEIRRRDDD!

Jimspot has recommended to us an entire site full of bizzare stuff, Anomalies-Unlimited. It doesn't display right in Netscape (grrr...), but it is chock-full of weirdness. Thanks Jim!

Posted by scott at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)
Like a Bullet Through Butter

BBCnews is carrying this article on what looks to be two events caused by "strange" quarks hitting the earth. Subatomic particles dense enough and fast enough to cause seismometers to register them all over the planet is kinda scary actually. From the article:

One event occurred on 22 October 1993, when, according to the researchers, something entered the Earth off Antarctica and left it south of India 0.73 of a second later.

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
Picture Perfect

Some Europeans are getting together to try to squash at least a few moon-conspiracy wackos. Personally, I think it would be even neater if they took pictures and found lots of tracks and footprints, but no vehicles. :)

Posted by scott at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
November 24, 2002
Garage Project

Apologies for the lack of updates this weekend. I've been involved in PROJECT: GARAGE TRANSFORMATION, Phase 2. I'm turning the one-car garage in our new house into an auto shop for my old Spider. Phase 1 was sealing the floor (and adding "decorative chips"). I wanted a surface I could walk on in my socks. Not because I want to (well, I do anyway), but because this surface will be a lot easier to keep clean, and when it comes to working on cars, cleanliness is everything.

Phase 2 was all about lighting. Like most regular garages, this one came with a single bare incandescent bulb, supplemented with two more bulbs in the garage door opener. Together they dribbled out just enough light for you to see the door with, but nowhere near enough to actually do any work under. 32 feet of 40W florescent tubes turned that around in a hurry. You can get a suntan in there now.

I've now started work actually involving the car itself. Not only does the garage have to be clean, but the engine must shine as well. Four hours of Simple Green, "Flex-E-Brush", and a soda bottle with a hole poked in the cap took care of that project. I still want a power washer though, to clean the really nasty grime under the car.

I've owned "classic" Alfas for, good lord, probably 16 years now, and I've never had a proper garage/shop for them. I've pulled starter motors out in the rain, installed injection pumps at 4:30 in the morning to avoid apartment nazis, changed untold gallons of oil in abandoned parking lots, and trudged miles back and forth to various apartments finding one tool after another. I've had to rely on the kindness of family and soon-to-be family (HINT: it's always a good sign when your girlfriend's parents let you change a rear axle in their garage after only knowing you for two months) to do the really big projects that took more than a day.

No more. I've already got four or five projects lined up (valve cover replacement, alternator rebuild, interior door panels, a new top, glass repair), any one of which would've cost $$$ at the $70/hr rate they charge around here.

Am I a great mechanic? Nah, not really. In no small part because of the constraints of not having my own garage, I've always been in a rush and tended to have way too many parts left over after a job. But I can hold my own.

My dad still tells the story about how I used his carport to change a head gasket in. For those of you unfamiliar with how cars work, you basically have to take the engine half apart to change this $20 part. My dad shook his head and clucked every time he looked at my engine's guts, quite patently convinced it would never, ever run again.

One of the highpoints of my adult life was the look on his face after I put it all together, turned the key, and started it on the first try.

Posted by scott at 05:43 PM | Comments (4)
Fetal Development Tool

How neat is this?

A small slide show! Now I know why when people have dreams and they see the 'grey men' and the connection to people calling their babies 'aliens'. They look awfully similar!

Posted by Ellen at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)
What or Treat?!?

Sometimes all it takes is a poor choice of fonts.

Posted by scott at 04:41 PM | Comments (4)
November 23, 2002
Store Sale!

Need the puurrfect x-mas gift for that friend you DON'T know who to buy for?

Check out the store! Lots of stuff on sale this week!

You can NEVER give enough coffee mugs stuffed with some candy for a present. Just think of it! An AMCGLTD mug with candy! What a cool gift!

So get to the store and buy your x-mas pressies!

Posted by Ellen at 07:03 PM | Comments (0)

Hormones are ugly, evil dwarves. They make you nasty, they make you cry at cat litter commercials, and they make you crave food that you would not eat even if you were on Survivor.

Today I wanted a hot dog with saurkraut so bad I could taste it before I even bought one. Yeah ok, ya got me. I was shopping at the mall and HAD to have a hot dog. The last time I had one was 2 years ago at an Orioles baseball game (thanks Jeff & Cindy!) Weird huh? Let me tell you that the hot dog I had today was so good it made my eyes roll in the back of my head. Huge sigh, and I felt totally content that I was eating bits o'... pieces of... well... (I don't care what they are made of, I just wanted to eat it!) wrapped in a bun, pickled cabbage on top and LOTS of mustard. Scott said he only wished I looked at him like that. He doesn't understand, he's just a man, this is food.

Scott was so impressed with my porn-star like reaction to my newfound love he made it a point to grab all the fixins so I could make my own kraut-dogs! Ok, so maybe he's not a pig all the time.

Right now I'm really not eating that much, more snacking on weird things than actual meals. Basically I'm busy trying not to vomit air you see.

Other silly cravings? Gerkins. Those damn mini pickles. Damn them they are so good. Klondike bars too. Now wait, a Klondike bar and a gerkin would be mighty tasty. Together. Oh. My. God. Alphabet soup also is another stupid craving. DAMN those comfort foods!

All Scott does is watch me and shake his head. His 'cook' has gone on strike. I cannot fathom cooking. When I do, I literally get ill. Thank god there is a sink right next to the stove so I can dry heave into it when I think spaghetti and meatballs look like decaying flesh and a pot of worms.

Luckily Scott is starting to cook more. He's decided hell with it, if we don't have the fixins for a particular dish he'll just make a list and run out to the grocery store and pick the bits up. Of course, he'll also pick up great big jugs of wine, which he says he needs for cooking. I notice way more goes into the cook than the dish, but I get free (and actually pretty decent) meals, so I don't complain too much. Even though I eat only about a quarter of what he makes.

So right now, I'll settle for some soup and a hot dog. With Saurkraut. [Homer Voice]MMMmmmm... Saurkraut... *drool*[/Homer Voice]

Posted by Ellen at 06:42 PM | Comments (5)
Punch Out!

This one is for my brother Richie, who is a total Nintendo, X-box, Playstation FrEaK!.

I can remember when he had his first Nintendo and one of the games he had was Mike Tyson's PUNCH OUT!

This is the story behind the character Little Mac who you played to get up to Mike Tyson.

Posted by Ellen at 06:11 PM | Comments (2)
November 22, 2002
9 Weeks

Today is the official 9 week marker. Yeah ok, more changes. My body has finally decided that I deserve some cleavage (it's not just Scott doing the boob dance out in the front yard either!) Just a little so far, but enough to notice a bounce when I go down the steps at home or work (weird huh?) Ok, I know, I am weird to announce that I have boobs, but you see if you have never started off with much and all of a sudden they are there you can't help yourself but to show it off!

My low rider jeans are getting uncomfortable. My ass is obviously getting bigger, not much, but the work out to get pants on is much longer now. I have graduated to a 45 minute aerobic workout vs the 30 minute one.

According to the book, my waist line is starting to thicken. No shit. I thought it was just all the damn junk food I was eating. I FINALLY got my semi-chocolate taste back via Klondike Bars (*drool*). Am I going to cut out chocolate? FUCK NO! Soda? NOPE. I just follow my daily allowance on it and don't go further. Why make myself miserable for 9 months telling myself I can't have something?

Next week will be exciting for us. Only 5 days to go and we hopefully get to see or hear a heartbeat the day before Thanksgiving.

Posted by Ellen at 05:27 PM | Comments (3)
Ted the Caver

I'm not at all sure what to make of this one. A long, probably too long, story of two guys who widen a passage in a cave and find, well, something weird. It was creepy (eventually), but I'm not real sure it's true. Still, a fun diversion.

Found via crazy-auntie-to-be Maru.

Posted by scott at 03:00 PM | Comments (81)
Um... Ouch? Pt. 2

Nina beat Jeff to it, but Jeff provided the link:

Laptop burns scientist's privates while he was "writing a report".

Our very first dual no-prize!

Posted by scott at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)
Tough to Spot

There's typos, and then there's typos.

Hint: Check the headline.

If you don't see it, then they've probably corrected it by now. Still, gave me a good chuckle.

Posted by scott at 11:29 AM | Comments (4)
Can you Tell the Difference?

Well, I got a few of these wrong, but not many. Gah. I need to get out more.

Posted by scott at 11:26 AM | Comments (3)
Well, at Least Grandpa Didn't Pick This One

There spirit, and then there's spirit. I have at least one member of my family who'd take a Dallas Cowboys one, and another who, at times, would take one with a Razorback and a basketball. Depending on whether or not they sucked that year.

Heh... hey Nina... you should suggest it to your school! :)

Posted by scott at 11:19 AM | Comments (2)
The Things Zookeepers Must Do

Well, I guess you gotta get it somehow.

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (5)
Capt. Euro

Hooray! A new installment of Captain Euro! (No, it's not a comic, mom, it's satire. Read it.)

A bank-shot via Yourish, who apparently has acquired a bigger gun than Rachel's. EeP!

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (3)

We're on the ramp up to what look to be the last episodes of the series, so you'll be hearing a lot about our favorite SF show for awhile. Found this interesting writeup which gives a more cynical, and realistic, reason for the show's cancellation... the new CEO doesn't like space shows.

Is a lobotomy just required surgery for all upper mangement types?

Posted by scott at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)
Why We Have 24 Hour Days

Found this article explaining why we have 24 hour days.

Other interesting date facts:

  • The Babylonians counted days from sundown to sundown. The Jews who were dragged off during the captivity in the sixth century BC probably picked up the practice there, and have kept it ever since.
  • The Babylonians may have also given the Jews their seven day week, as the pentatuch (the first five books of the bible) is widely agreed to have been composed during the captivity. The Babylonians (whose society was more than two thousand years old at the time Moses got fished out of the Nile) had a day for each astronomical body they knew of... the five planets, the sun, and the moon.
  • September, October, November, and December got their names from the way they were written in the Julian (as in Julius Ceasar, who had it cooked up) Calendar: VIIber, VIIIber, IXber, Xber.
  • The Julian calendar year started on March 25th.
  • Slight mistakes in the Julian calendar built up over the centuries. By the sixteenth century it had got so bad Easter was being celebrated on the calendar nearly two full weeks before it was supposed to ocurr. The Gregorian calendar was created on comission of Pope Gregory XIII to correct these errors, and in 1582 ten days were simply excised from October to catch everyone up. You went to bed on October 4th and woke up on October 15th.
  • Protestants, being highly suspicious of this new "papist" calendar, decided not to adopt it for nearly two centuries. When they did, in 1752, another day's worth of mistakes had accumulated. Eleven days were dropped from September of that year.
  • Alaska didn't switch to the Gregorian calendar until the 1870s, when it was purchased from Russia by the United States.

See also this article and this site on the 7-day week.

Posted by scott at 08:46 AM | Comments (0)
November 21, 2002
The "C" Word

You hear it all the time in the foreign media, or from foreign world leaders:

"The confrontation of pious and martyrdom-seeking forces with the highest forces of colonialism is extremely dangerous, and might inflame a third world war."1

"In contrast [to Arabic history], terror as we know it today was introduced in the region only at the beginning of the 19th century, by Western colonialism and the Zionist gangs."2

"I am not against liberation of the nations of the world and the rebuilding of the Arab nation and confronting all the unjust forces of colonialism."3

"The Americans are coming! The Americans are coming! Imperialist pigs are coming to steal our land, eat our children, take our women, destroy our very culture!" On and on and on in so many varied, colorful, and different ways it actually becomes quite amusing to watch. Imperialism and colonialism, the two best, worst, "isms" the "developing" world has ever seen.

As with predictions of America's imminent demise, it's all crap. Moronic crap. It is the last, best, most useful Big Lie.

There are actually two different brands of "modern western" colonialism: settlement and economic. The first, settlement, is actually the earlier of the two. Developed primarily as a way of ridding oneself of meddlesome troublemakers and malcontents, as well as creating sources of cheap raw materials and "captive" markets for manufactured goods, this kind of colonialism was almost exclusively limited to the relatively (by eurasian standards) unpopulated western hemisphere.

But this is never what is really meant when you hear the words "colonialism" and (almost interchangeably) "imperialism". These terms are almost exclusively used in reference to the second type, economic colonialism.

Basically, economic colonialism is all about carving out more "captive" markets, places to buy cheap raw materials from and sell cheap finished goods to, by using existing populations instead of merely exporting the less desirable/more annoying parts of your own to unsettled lands. It's important to emphasize that, with one notable exception, this particular brand of colonialism really didn't exist until about 1870.

The history of colonialism is often presented as if some monstrous Rob Zombie-inspired steam shovel hacked its way through idyllic, peace-loving native peoples, turning them into shriveled famine victims living a dystopian nightmare of smokestacks and filth. This of course ignores the fact that all of these colonial holdings, all of them, were carved out of pre-existing empires, such as the Mughal in India, the Mamulkes in Egypt, the Manchu Dynasty in China, and the Ottomans in Asia. It's also not emphasized enough that before 1870 the greatest post-Roman empires were almost exclusively Muslim empires, the last of which lasted a full four centuries.

While fabulously profitable and only inconsistently oppressive, modern economic colonialism wouldn't last. Europeans' attitude toward the rest of the world may have changed, but their attitudes toward each other had not. The wealth their empires provided was squandered in not one but two massive bloodlettings we all know as the world wars, the end of which rendered them incapable of hanging on to what they'd built. The majority of the empires, most spectacularly that of the British, were completely dismantled by the 1960s. Even sub-Saharan Africa largely freed itself by the early years of the 1980s.

In other words, the vast majority of old-world peoples felt the "yoke of imperialist oppression" for less than a century, many times within the space of a single human lifetime. None lasted more than two centuries. When compared to the "native" empires that came before them, industrialized colonialism is just a blip on the radar screen.

Of course it's not Europe the world is supposedly worried about nowadays, it's America. "Imperium Americana" is regularly decried in the editorial pages, academic journals, and history books of the European, Arab, Asian, even at times American, press. Again, this is just more moronic crap from people who are exceeded in their ignorance only by their sincerity in expressing it.

The United States of America has never been a global imperialist on the scale of the European powers. During the first century of our country's existence we were dedicated solely to the expansion of our territory within the geographic boundaries of the North American continent. Certainly sections of America wished for empire, some quite vocally, but these were always kept in check by the vast majority of citizens who did not.

It is true America did eventually become a global empire, if only briefly, after the Spanish-American war of 1898. Puerto Rico and Guam became formal US territories. The Teller Amendment prevented America from annexing Cuba, and it was quickly (albeit with considerable and continuous meddling by US business interests) removed from direct American control. The Philippines were at first brutally suppressed by a US military far out of sight and mind of America, but even this island nation was quickly granted self-determination, with a fully elected legislature by 1916, less than 20 years after their "conquest". Indeed, by 1934 a plan was in place for complete Philippine independence, interrupted only by WWII.

This is not to say the US is an innocent lamb of peace wandering amongst European wolves. We quite merrily meddled in the affairs of nations less powerful than ourselves, mostly in Latin America before WWII. After WWII, the US acquired an unhealthy obsession with "communism" (although very few actually understood what the term meant). While Stalin was in power this was not necessarily just paranoiac ravings, but eventually it became little more than a lever used by big business to manipulate both the government and the people into most of our less savory actions in the last half of the 20th century. Regardless, the US never simply walked in and set up a colonial protectorate along the lines of French Indochina, India, or China. Never.

As for "cultural imperialism", it's a myth. There is only one country in the world completely taken over by America in the past sixty years: Japan. It's hard to imagine a more different culture when compared to the US. And yet America undertook a massive reconstruction effort, and less than ten years later Japan was again an independent nation.

Were the Japanese destroyed by this experience? Did they become slaves of white imperialist oppressors? Do we still rule Japan? Can anyone honestly say we exploit her?

Colonialism and imperialism were bad, very bad. But certainly no worse than what had come before, and undoubtedly would've come after had these peoples been left to their own devices. Colonialism, along with its big brother Imperialism, is a fact of history, with roots going back to first dynasties of ancient Egypt. By now most countries have had forty years to recover from the "modern western" variety, and all have had at least twenty.

Of all the great western powers of the colonial era, the United States in particular stands out as fantastically non-imperialistic. We consider it literally not our problem if your culture, government, religion, or power structure cannot stand up in the face of clean water, live babies, comfortable shoes, equal rights, air-conditioning, and automobiles. However, it does become our problem when your culture creates people who are willing to fly airplanes into our buildings to protest these facts.

Japan was the last country to directly attack the United States.

The Japanese experience should be most instructive to those who applaud terrorists.

Posted by scott at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)
Gothic Personal Ads

Gothics need a date too!

Our goth friends at Demon Wurkz dress casually during the day. We have NEVER seen them in full garb...yet.

Though their apt is pretty damn neat looking! SpOOkY!

Posted by Ellen at 06:48 PM | Comments (2)
Farscape Update

Thought the effort to save Farscape was dead? Think again! Fan groups have actually created their own commercials to air in many major markets (ha!) on November 24th. W00t!

Posted by scott at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)
More Amazing Legos

Dedicated in memory of an adopted cat, the Abston Church of Christ is one helluva thing (as it were). All I ever managed to do with legos was stack them into walls or scatter them over the floor!

Posted by scott at 11:27 AM | Comments (2)
Useful Baby Furniture

Who needs a high chair when I can get this?

Those of you horrified please send me a check for $1, as this means you simply do not know how to take a joke.

Posted by scott at 11:20 AM | Comments (9)
Star Trek in a Petri Dish

Saw this Washington Post story this morning and it's already beginning to zip around the blogosphere. Of course, everyone was freaking out about "should we?"

Listen up folks. If it can be done, someone is going to do it. This "should we?" debate seems to have originated with the development of the atomic bomb, and it's as naive today as it was sixty years ago. Do you really think it would've made any difference if we'd "banned" all research into nuclear technologies? Do you think that would've stopped Stalin, or Mao, or Britain, or France?

Let the scientists create. It's what they do. If what they're doing seems scary, keep a real close eye on them, but don't tell them to stop. Because they won't. They'll just move on to some other place that won't stop them and keep going.

People make fun of the Catholic church because it banned Copernicus and Galileo, said not only was their doctrine wrong it was so wrong it could corrupt you and so you should never, ever learn about it.

So please, tell me, what makes the congressional ban on, say, stem cell research any damned different?

Posted by scott at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)
November 20, 2002
Craters of Opportunity is carrying this summary of current thinking about where life, or life's remains, is most likely to be found on Mars.

Posted by scott at 06:53 PM | Comments (1)
Hungry Like a... Hyena?

While interesting, this hypothesis of why it took so long for humans to populate North America is still pretty tenuous. Giant killer hyenas as the primary roadblock to western hemispheric expansion definitely has problems. One of the hallmarks of early-modern human occupations of any region is predators simply evaporate.

This is most starkly represented in the Levant (Israel/Lebanon/Syria/Jordan), which was occupied by Neandertals very early. During Neandertal occupation, you had very clear stratigraphy indicating the Neandertals were seasonally sharing living space with the other big predators of the region. As soon as you get signs of early modern humans both the Neandertals and the other big predators just disappear, and there's no seasonal sharing anywhere. And there were predators every bit as nasty roaming the savannah and beyond (cave lions, 6-foot-tall baboons, cave bears, etc.) as there were in the North American region.

Posted by scott at 06:40 PM | Comments (0)
Ok, I Have Now Officially Seen It All

Folks, I am now happy to present to you, at no small cost in research and development, your very own "production" tinfoil hat. What will those clever Norwegians think of next...

UPDATE: Ok, nevermind, now I have officially seen it all.

Posted by scott at 04:17 PM | Comments (4)
Insert Dumbass Joke Here

Ok, proof positive rednecks don't just live in the south.

What ticks me off is they whacked the snake, which was just doing what snakes do when confronted by Darwin-award nominees.

And you'd be amazed at the flack I get on other forums for calling people 'rednecks'.

Posted by scott at 04:10 PM | Comments (1)
Insert Porn Star Joke Here

Just to prove we're every bit as juvenile and gross as Larry over at ATS (you still out there Lair?), I give you the all-semen diet. You can commence your gag reflex demonstration now.

Posted by scott at 04:06 PM | Comments (2)
November 19, 2002
Jessica Rabbit

For all the men out there, I'm sure you have been wondering what Jessica looked like sans the sparkly dress!

Posted by Ellen at 06:54 PM | Comments (1)
Playing with Snow

Scott and his buddies at college in Arkansas actually DID this one winter.

It took me a visit to Arkansas in the winter to realize they actually get snow!

But, when I look at this picture, I can't see Scott doing something like it.


Posted by Ellen at 06:34 PM | Comments (2)
Forgotten New York

People look at the spectacular ruins of the Parthenon in Greece or the Forum in Rome and wonder, "why didn't they keep it up?" Then some ancient cemetery is found in downtown London or a statue in the center of an Italian city is found to be 2000 years old, and people wonder "how could they forget these things?"

Well folks, it's happening even to this day. We build over, wreck, discard, or neglect places and things even faster than the ancients did, many times for different reasons. Don't believe me? Check out Forgotten New York, a website dedicated to ferriting out the weird, neglected, forlorn remains of one of Americas oldest, largest cities.

Not to be missed:

And much more. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (1)
Homely Motoring

Hey Robert UK, are these really the ugliest cars in Britian? Pretty close to it, I'd say!

And yes, Jim, the PT is in there, albeit only with 2 "bags".

Posted by scott at 02:56 PM | Comments (5)

Also-ran over at thinks that just because he's never going to link to us again we might ever link to him. I tell you, as soon as I can remember how to work blogroll again I'm droppin his so fast Whitney Houston would think it was her latest record contract!

Posted by scott at 02:45 PM | Comments (0)
Have Hole, Will Travel

BBCnews is reporting on the discovery of a black hole moving fast through our galaxy. It's dragging a star along like a toddler with a balloon. Just when you thought the universe couldn't get more bizzare...

Posted by scott at 12:19 PM | Comments (3)

Can you ruin chocolate by putting weird sh*t in it? I dunno, you decide!

One of the few times Ellen freaked out about being pregnant was when she discovered she'd lost the taste for chocolate. It was sort of like the pope saying he hated God.

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM | Comments (6)
Mean Kitties

Every once in awhile FARK actually runs a funny photoshop contest. This time it's about cats.

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)
November 18, 2002
Buddhism 101

I'm a Buddhist. I'm always surprised people are surprised when I say this. I consider my religion to be as close to me as any Islamikaze or Christofundowackamole, but, well, I guess I just don't look "buddhish".

The other thing I find is people just don't seem to know much about it. Oh, they know there's this funny little guy with glasses who talks to Richard Gere a lot and upsets the Chinese, and there's a lot of chanting involved in there somewhere and didn't Keaneau Reeves make a phone booth stop somewhere nearby? Well, yes, sort of, at times anyway, but there's a whole lot more to it. And that's what, in 1000 words or less, I'm here to tell you about.

Personally, I was looking for something to give me spiritual comfort, challenges, and meaning without forcing me to accept the science, laws, and lifeways of six-thousand-year-old goatherds or fourteen-hundred-year-old merchants. Buddhism works for me because:

  • It does not consider the origins nor the ends of the world to be central to its doctrine. Oh, there are origin myths in Buddhist tradition, but they're not even of second- or third-tier importance to its core beliefs. In fact, in many ways buddhist doctrine is remarkably easy to reconcile with modern scientific theories.
  • It does not proselytize, nor does it ostracize people who do not accept its doctrine. One of the hallmarks of Buddhism is its practicality. "Try it", the doctrine says, "if it's right for you, you'll know".
  • It does not require a God to be at the center of everything (what it does require is a lot more complicated, but this could, and sometimes has been called "God" before, which is an over-simplification).
  • It in no way condones, accepts, or promotes violence in any shape form or fashion. Violence in the name of belief, even in defense of belief, is anathema to Buddhism.
  • It sees all living things as holy and important, and abhors cruelty to animals. True story: a Buddhist monastery in New York City had become infested with roaches. At first the monks simply lived with the problem, indeed denied there really was a problem, until the local health department threatened to condemn the building and shut them down. It was only after many long meetings and several elaborate rituals that exterminators were allowed to clean the place out.
  • It does not care what the sex, color, nationality, even religion of the person you love is, so long as you love them.
  • It discourages unthinking belief, the lynchpin of fanaticism, and encourages inquiry and discussion.
  • It does not see doctrinal differences as "outcast". There's no such thing as heresy or apostasy in Buddhism. As long as the main core is upheld (see below), Buddhism doesn't care how you go about the particulars of your worship.

So, what, you might wonder, does a Buddhist actually believe? Well, as with most true religions, the core beliefs are surprisingly easy to summarize:

  1. No one can deny suffering is a primary condition of the human experience
  2. The reason human beings suffer (NOTE: suffering is not pain) is because they desire
  3. Suffering ceases when desire ceases
  4. The way to cessation of desire is through the practice of the eightfold path.

Which is:

  1. Right View
  2. Right Thought
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right Effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right Contemplation

Of course, the next question would be "well, what is 'Right View', or 'Right Livelihood', or 'Right Contemplation'?", and from those simple questions an entire religion was born.

Buddhism gives me great comfort, but it also challenges me. To succeed as a Buddhist I must learn to love everyone regardless of their actions. I must learn to accept the impermanence of everything, and because of that meditate frequently on death and dying. I must learn to live forever in the present moment, letting go of past grievances and forgetting future worries.

Am I good at it? Well, not really. Another primary tenet of Buddhism is you can't learn it from books, and I'm too chicken to walk into a monastery or temple and ask for help. Simply writing about this has revealed to me how poorly I've done following these beliefs. But, in spite of this, I still hold them, and this has helped form the spiritual center around which I have built my own life.

In a funny sort of way it's lead me to a place very similar to the one a fundamentalist inhabits. Like them, I too have come to believe a human being isn't really whole without some form of spiritual practice in their lives. Like them, I too have come to believe a human being without some form of spirituality in their lives often experiences life as a cold, cynical horror. Like them, I too went through a revelation, a "rebirth", before I came to truly understand these ideas.

Unlike them, though, I don't want to hit you over a head with a rock just because you don't agree with me. And I don't think my soul or yours will be in a better place if I blow myself up because you don't agree with me. And I don't think your final destination will be any better or worse just because you don't agree with me.

And that, my friend, makes all the difference.

Posted by scott at 04:10 PM | Comments (11)
Proof Brits Also Can Have Way Too Much Time on Their Hands

I sure didn't know there were more than three dozen entrances to Hell in the UK, did you? And all this time I thought it was just the boundary line of my old home town...

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)
Feeny's Funhouse

Found (via ATS) this cute website actually run by a cat.

You guys need to rumble at Ellen some more to get her to put cat pics up.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (1)
The Lotus Effect

Slashdot linked up this article about the "Lotus Effect". Seems the lotus flower's ability to both shed water and clean its petals at the same time is teaching nanotech scientists a thing or two.

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM | Comments (1)
Stem Cells Heal Hearts

BBCnews is reporting this new research on how stem cells can be used to repair damaged hearts.

(Work will be busy today, trying to get a project out the door. Updates may be slow.)

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
November 16, 2002
Shower Door


Posted by Ellen at 07:21 PM | Comments (4)
The Thin Blue Line

It takes him awhile, but Larry over at ATS relates his experiences with law enforcement. As far as I'm concerned, everything I ever needed to know about police I learned watching COPS, and his story doesn't change that.

Posted by scott at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)
I had Pictures of What?!?

Note to all you pervs with porn collections: get rid of them before the feds search your house!

My first reaction, and the one almost certainly intended by both the feds and the press monkies, is revulsion. But, after reading the whole article and remembering you can only trust these two organizations about as far as you can throw them, I have to wonder if perhaps someone out there has an axe to grind against these two. Keep in mind not everything someone is accused of is even actually true.

But heck, I've been wrong about this stuff before. Let's all join in the peasant's brigade carrying pitchforks and torches to their house!

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)

Slashdot linked up this site concerning a new book release on the NR-1, the world's only nuclear-powered research submarine. You can get some detail on the NR-1 by reading "Blind Man's Bluff" (that's where I first heard about it), but this goes into much greater detail.

"Research" = CIAspeak for "spying" BTW. :)

Posted by scott at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
November 15, 2002
Time Travel Paradox

Ok, I think this story here puts a cannon hole through that well-known time-travel plot device of writing modern icons on ancient walls. We wouldn't believe it!

Posted by scott at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)

<Undertaker Voice>And if thinks he's gonna get any links from us just because we don't know Buffy... well, hey, lookit that, looks like doesn't even know how to fix his referral stuff, 'cuz we're still there!</Undertaker Voice>

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM | Comments (0)
Silly Blog Joke

Ok, took down the "poor me, let's have a pity party" entry, decided to replace it with the Oldest Dumb Joke I Know (adapted for blogging):

Glenn Reynolds was cleaning his attic one day when he came apon an old, dusty lamp he'd never seen before. He began to rub the dust off of it when lo and behold, a Genie pops out!

"Thank you for releasing me from the lamp", the Genie entoned. "I will now grant you one wish."

"One wish? Why not three?"

"Union rules", the Genie rumbled.

"Umm... Ok. Well then, I wish for peace on earth, good will toward humankind."

"Oh come on", the Genie said as he rolled his eyes. "Everyone wishes for world peace. I'm so sick and tired of 'world peace' this and 'peace and love' that and 'oh-Genie-can't-we-all-just-get-along'. Don't you people ever read any books? World peace is always such a pain, and it never really turns out right. Think of something else!"

"Umm... well, ok. I want every person in the blogosphere to carefully consider every other person's opinions, so that whenever one blogger comes up with an opinion diametrically opposed to another the first words published aren't 'what a complete asshat'. I want them all to calmly discuss each and every point rationally and objectively, and always come to an amicable and reasonable conclusion."

The Genie paused for a good long while, thinking hard.

"Ummm...", said the Genie, "what was that first wish again?"

Posted by scott at 03:06 PM | Comments (2)
More Parallels on the Other Side of the Pond

We have PETA, and the Brits, apparently, have the BBFC, who have got all worked up over a movie containing a scene with a chicken and a fake burning stick of dynamite. McNuggets, anyone?

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM | Comments (1)
November 14, 2002
8 Weeks

As of midnight tonight, the small bundle of cells that have put me on the wagon and made me crave onion rings and raw cranberrys, finally becomes a fetus. *POOF!* Just like that. It magically turns at its 8th week. (Magic?, I thought this was science)

According to the book I am reading it's about 8mm long, or 3/4 of an inch. It has body parts, a beating heart and it's starting to grow some eyelids (sounds like a chia-pet crossed with a tadpole). It has also begun to move. Won't feel that till the 4th month, and I may be lucky NOT to confuse it with other bodily functions when they really start.

Morning sickness, yep it's happening, and it's no longer just feeling queasy. I have to fight and yell at the cats to get their head out of the toilet so I won't puke on them. "Dammit!! Goblin! I need the toilet! Mommy needs to yak her shoes!" Cat looks up at me like "WHAT!? I was taking a drink, get out of the damned way!"

Scott still does not get that I am not sleeping simply because I am tired, but because my body is shutting down to grow that chia-baby as efficiently as it can. So usually by 8:30 I am in bed, while he is downstairs going " I'm lonely!! Come watch TV!" "NO! You come up here! I'm laying down dammit!" ZZZZZzzzzz....

This is when Scott discovers that he can watch all of his tivo-ed shows that I hate, while I'm watching the Discovery Channel and other odd shows the fifteen freaking seconds it takes before I start to sleep after I turn on the tv. You have to remember what a complete nerd I am about this stuff. I want to know the sexual habits of the spider crab! And yet the jelly bean prevents this, and so many other things.

For instance, I have learned the joys... oh, the joys... of non-alcoholic beer. All the bitterness, none of the buzz. All those guys who say they're drinking beer because of the taste? They're full of shit. Beer without alcohol tastes like skunk. I know there's some chemical scientist out there who spent his whole career figuring out some gabillion dollar technique to make non-alcoholic beer palatable, but as far as this yankee is concerned, if it doesn't buzz it's just not worth it.

But I do get donuts. [Homer voice] Ooohh... Dooonuts.... *drool* [/homer voice]. We're talking chocolate covered Entenmann's donuts baby! A full box of dark chocolate, deep-fat fried goodness. I am pregnant woman, hear me snack! Plus, I get to take as many breaks as I like. Client being a pain in the ass? "OH!" I say in a very dramatic fashion, "I'm feeling" (you gotta see me get all Scarlett, mama would be so proud) "fah-haint..." and damned if three of them don't take that client off my hands.

8 weeks in, 32 to go. Scott keeps saying "where's the goddamned boobie fairy?!? We Want Boobies... We Want Boobies..."


Posted by Ellen at 07:21 PM | Comments (5)
Shroud News

Even more evidence the Shroud of Turin is a fake, this time repudiating the people who repudiated the original 1988 study. What the wackos seem not to understand is scientists would love for this thing to be original. First century textiles are quite rare, and a textile used to cover a crucifixion victim, any cruicifixion victim, would be amazingly important.

The problem is, it's fake.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (2)
Unusual Aviation

Found this cool site with "unusual aviation" photos and movies. Not to be missed:

747s on final less than 20 feet over a public beach

and the Apache movie here with this classic interchange:

Pilot: "think I can fit it through there?"

Gunner: "nnnope"

Pilot: "oh ye of little faith"

[helicopter moves forward, suddenly jerks sideways]

Pilot: "oh sh*t!"


Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (4)
Sunspot Photos

This news about really cool sunspot photos has been making the rounds, but I figured I'd link it up here as well.'s coverage is better anyway! :)

Posted by scott at 01:07 PM | Comments (1)
Just in Case You Haven't Lost All Faith in Humanity

Finally a typed police report I can read. One Steven Bailey has been accused of 2nd degree manslaughter in the S&M-related death of Maceo F. Brodnax. Note: only a mug shot, no gross pictures, but boy howdy that police report is something else.

The scary thing, well, one of the scary things, is this is probably just one of many.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)
Iceman Earliest Contract Vicitm?

Latest news is that the "iceman" may have been killed by his own people.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (1)
Press Monkies Take It to Its Logical Conclusion


What, they haven't already?

Posted by scott at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)
And I Thought Atomic Batteries Were Just Cheesy Batman Stuff

Boy was I wrong. This c-net article details new developments in both teeny-tiny fuel cells and the aforementioned "atomic" batteries. Both are meant to provide more power to consumer electronics.

Posted by scott at 08:21 AM | Comments (0)
November 13, 2002
Rat Chicken

Ok, one of my friends at work sent me this one.

Rat Chicken.

You must watch them in ORDER!!!!! All I can say is that its fuxed up!

Posted by Ellen at 03:05 PM | Comments (41)
Venus De Milo's Arms Found!

Well archelolgists have done it again. They have found the arms of Venus De Milo in someones basement.

* If you believe this article, there is no hope for you after all. *

Posted by Ellen at 02:13 PM | Comments (1)
What The!?

WHY would you even want a baby after the age of 50?

Not only does it increase risks on both ends, but by the time your kid is in high school, you are way into retirement!

Hey, if ya want a kid after the age of 50, just don't get my tax dollars involved in it. OR better yet, go adopt. You should have the money to do that by now. Oh yeah, when I say adopt, prepare to have between 20-50 thousand dollars on hand to pay for the kid. I did say adopt not buy right?? (How do I know this??--a friend at work in looking into adopting a baby and they sent her pictures of the kids, and the COST for them. CHA-CHING!)

Posted by Ellen at 01:45 PM | Comments (3)
Atomic Batteries to Power... Turbines to Speed...

Like nearly every other American kid in the late 60s and early 70s, I was a Batman freak. I was too young to see the series in first-run, or the movie in the theaters. In fact, I didn't realize there was a TV show and a movie until I was in college I think. Up until that time, I thought it was just a weird, cool show with a 2 hour premiere.

Anyway, turns out I'm not the only one to go nutsoid over the batmobile. has just a ton of pictures and info on the coolest car to come out of the 60s. One tidbit: The batmobile was not based on a Chrysler sedan, but was actually an only slightly modified Lincoln one-off show car from the 1950s. It still survives, as apparently do the three replicas created during the series's run.


Posted by scott at 01:25 PM | Comments (0)
Home is Where the Heart Zaps

While I think having a home difibrilator is a good idea in theory, in practice I feel my wife may be far too tempted to stick the paddle thingys to my feet at night as a way of getting revenge.

Maybe we can use them to keep the cats from crapping on our floor.

Posted by scott at 01:03 PM | Comments (5)
Kids do the Darndest Things


*sigh* ..."What Suzie?"


"Well wash her off then"


Posted by scott at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)
A Liberal's Perspective linked up this interesting article from a "liberal" perspective on current events.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Chasing the Slayer

Ok, I admit it, I screwed up. I didn't really follow Buffy the Vampire Slayer when it started out, even though it looked interesting enough. The guy from the Taster's Choice commercials as professor was always a hard one for me to take.

So anyway, everyone around the blogosphere keeps talking about this show. And talking, and talking, and talking, giving me a serious case of pop-culture and SF envy. I've been wanting to give the show a second chance for a few years now, but seeing as the whole thing is in its, what, seventh or eighth year, figured I'd miss nearly all the nuances and be mostly lost.

So my question to you, dear Buffy-fan reader (no, not you mom, sit down. I already know what you're going to say), is what would you consider the best way to get into this series from this distance? Should I start catching it in syndication? Rent episode compilations on DVD? Go to some website and read up? Just start watching the new ones and figure it out as it goes along? Advice needed!

Posted by scott at 09:05 AM | Comments (16)
November 12, 2002
Here Kitty Kitty.....

When Cougars attack!

Still this story does not tell me weather or not the other cat made it.

No-prize covered in cat hair goes to Mama on the cat category!

Posted by scott at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)
Being Diplomatic

Here we have yet another instance of the monkey press being fed releases instead of getting off their asses and doing their jobs. This is not "shocking". This is not "worrying". This is acceptable, even expected, behavior of a diplomatic corps, and has widely been known as "legal spying" at least back to World War II (where I first encountered the term reading history books of the period).

Here's how it works: in order to function on the international stage, Freedonia must send representatives to Sylvania. Freedonia informs Sylvania of the names, addresses, functions, etc. of all the people it's sending to Sylvania. Sylvania is assumed to now know who these people are, and if they think they must, follow these members of Freedonia around while they are living and, presumably, working in Sylvania (certainly the one in the trench coat with the horn would be suspicious).

Countries are specifically prevented from restricting the mobility of diplomatic staff by at least two international treaties. Therefore, if Trentino and Rob Rolland want to take a stroll there's nothing the Sylvania can legally do about it. The idea being since they've been registered as part of the diplomatic corps it's Sylvania's job to keep an eye on them.

If their stroll happens to take them by, say, Acme Arms Incorporated while AAI was having a show-and-tell of Sylvania's new "widget-o-wonder" death ray, Trentino and Rolland would be well within their rights to stop and listen. They could even take pictures if they liked, and as long as it was legal for any citizen of Sylvania to do this there's not a damned thing Sylvania can do to stop them.

Even if it wasn't legal... lets say Trentino and Rolland happened to get caught paying someone to break into AAI's offices late at night to take pictures of the plans of the "widget-o-wonder", all Sylvania can legally do is send them home. That's one of the points of diplomatic immunity. We are not barbarians here in this world of nations, and if a diplomat gets loose and sees something he or she isn't supposed to it's the host country's fault (now, the someone they were paying, that's a different story).

The Soviets and Americans were famous for these hijinks during the Cold War. Both embassies had many times the number of required staff working there. And you can be darned sure everyone was keeping a really close eye on everyone else.

That's why this particular "shocking" report is so annoying. The only reason we know the diplomats are doing this is because they are diplomats and sometimes that's what diplomats do. Some Pentagon weenie or a spook over at Langley decided to "send Iraq a message" that we know they're watching us, and they used the press to do so.

The monkies freaked because, even though this isn't illegal spying, it kinda sounds like it and gosh darned it there isn't anything else going on in the world so why not?

Posted by scott at 06:07 PM | Comments (1)
Weird Kentucky

Unusual Kentucky is a big, interesting site about all things, well, unusual in Kentucky. Mostly a photographic collection of weird and unusual places and things, it definitely lives up to its name.

Be sure not to miss abandoned places, which I'm sure will remind Ellen of all the spooky little towns we went through when visiting Arkansas, and also the cemeteries section, with some of the most bizzare inscriptions and memorials you have ever seen.

The webmasters seem like nice enough people, but the longer I visit the more creeped out I get. Recommended!

Posted by scott at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Hats

For the cat wacko in your life, the one who likes to dress up fluffy, I give you Clifford's Cat Hats. Of course you all know who that is in my life.

Posted by scott at 02:19 PM | Comments (2)
Stupidity International

Jerk knows no color, stupidity knows no bounds. This time it's actually a German moron. "Germany's Dumbest Criminal" was sentenced today to four years in prison.

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
Car of My Dreams

From an ad printed the same year as my car (1971). And it's even the right color! :)

Posted by scott at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
Redneck Tip #437

Whenever you vandalize your own stadium in celebration, make sure your team has actually won.

Those goalposts aren't light either folks. Years ago an only-slightly-brighter-than-oatmeal cheerleading coach decided to put my high school's fifteen-strong cheerleading squad on the crossbar of the goalpost because it would "make a neat picture". The results of stacking nearly one ton of teenage girls on a structure barely meant to support itself surprised only the teacher. Sent a bunch of them to the hospital and got nearly one of them paralyzed for life.

Goalposts don't kill people. Morons kill people.

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

Pat sends us this nifty website which will provide you with a customized sky chart for your area. Our sky is so badly light polluted we can't see much, but it's nice to know what would be out there if only we could see it! No-prize!

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (4)
November 11, 2002

I was heading out to work this morning and found my car was gone from the parking lot. So what do I do? I head back in the house and ask Scott where did he put it. "Dumbass, it's in the same spot we placed it yesterday", he says. "NO it's NOT!" I screamed back.


It has either A. been towed, or B. been stolen. Of course the homeowners association does not post the number of the towing company on the signs out front. My car is perfectly legal to park there. I have the HOA sticker on it.

So now I have to wait till 9 am for the offices to open and see if it has been towed, and who decided to have it towed. If it was towed, is it wrong of me to tell the HOA that they have to pay for the towing and impoundment of my car? I mean they towed it with an HOA sticker on it and I checked the bylaws of the HOA book and it was perfectly legal for me to park there.

All I have to do is wait till 9, and find out.

Update: Cruiser got towed, we're still not sure why. Some busybody probably didn't like us taking "their" space and didn't see the permit in the window. --Scott

Posted by Ellen at 08:34 AM | Comments (6)
November 10, 2002

Scott would not agree to this.

Posted by Ellen at 05:58 PM | Comments (2)

Have your cake and eat it too!!!

Posted by Ellen at 05:56 PM | Comments (1)
November 09, 2002
Cat Sitters Anonymous

Ellen has a friend, we'll call her "A", who, I kid you not, is every bit as cat-obsessed as she is. In fact, A has even more cats than we do (6), in a house slightly smaller than ours. Ellen and A are so close they've been accused more than once of being "the cutest lesbian couple I've ever seen" by complete strangers.

"A" tends to be, well, "organizationally challenged", but she's so cute about it all you can do is secretly plot to drown her. Like my wife, fate needs only the slightest tease of loose thread to completely unravel an entire sweater's worth of planning in A's life. You don't hold it against her, but she tends to be the kind of person you lie to and say an event is an hour earlier than it actually is, just so she'll show up on time.

One of the things A and Ellen do is cat-sit for each other. Not only do they cat-sit, they look forward to it, not simply changing litter and filling the food bowls, but hanging out with the cats, playing with them, even singing songs with them. Swear to god if they could get away with it, they'd build campfires for them and roast marshmallows. Sleepovers are not uncommon.

So today it was our turn to make the half-hour drive to A's house to provide the full ten-point-deluxe cat sitting experience. Even better, since Ellen is in "that delicate state", I would be the mule privileged to slop out the two cat boxes while Ellen got to play involuntary snug-and-cuddle with whichever cat was unfortunate enough not to see her coming.

Watching this in action is always a slightly surreal experience. Ellen is well known for having quite distinctive "voices" for each of our five cats. Right down to accents and unique vocal rhythms. What is not widely known is she can, in as little as fifteen seconds, come up with such voices for any cat on the planet. She had long ago bestowed "true voices" on A's six, and was looking forward to having long discourses on the texture and bouquet of the latest three-day-dead-rodent wet cat food.

Ellen justifies my participation in this scheme by telling herself "I'll buy him dinner". And she'll mean it too, because she and A are the only two people in the universe who think schlepping out cat boxes, whose odor favorably compares to a four-day-old armadillo roadkill on a west Texas highway and actually has an airborne texture, is fun. Why was I really doing it? Don't you read this site? Hint: We Do Not Make Requests to Those Who Should Rightfully be Grateful Serving Our Majesty.

A had dropped off keys and instructions (written, and signed, by one of her cats). And therein, as they say, lies the rub. Because A didn't know you were only supposed to get keys made by a locksmith, and she also didn't know if you simply had to get them made by the Simpson's teenager at Home Depot you should test them.

Me, I know how Ellen and A work. I was surprised we'd made it all the way to her house without having, say, a seagull spear through our windshield or a crazed chipmunk gnaw through our tires. As Ellen most colorfully puts it, "sh*t always happens to us, always."

So I didn't even roll my eyes when Ellen started rattling the keys in the lock. I knew that this was tantamount to accusing The Empress that she was... *GASP* ... w-r-o-n-g (we don't even say it at our house, we have to spell it) about something. Being quite experienced in A and Ellen's relationship, I let the goddamned lock take the first bullet for not cooperating with my beloved.

"It's not working... none of them are working." In the meantime we're hearing "MIAOW!!! MIAOW!!! GGGRRRrrrrRRMIAOW! MIAOW MIAOWMIAOWMIAOW!!" on the other side of the door.

Did I mention that A lives in a condo complex? And has a neighbor who is a complete stranger to us? One who was probably listening to Ellen get all New York on a defenseless door, while, to them, some desperate and defenseless cat was putting up an Alamo-like last ditch effort to protect the house? Of course, all Ellen did was say "HI G! IT'S AUNTIE ELLEN! WE'LL BE THERE SOON!" I pictured A's neighbor hanging up her 9-11 call and digging out the phonebook for the men in white coats.

We'd been wrestling with the front door for a good fifteen minutes when Ellen, as wives are wont to do, mentions only in passing "I bet she locked the back door too". "BACK DOOR?!?", I say... ON THE INSIDE. What I actually did was simply grab the keys and start heading out that way, with Han Solo's immortal words "NO TIME TO DISCUSS THIS IN COMITTEE" ringing in my head (I got nearly the same answer back too).

So 'round the back we went. My perfect plan was then confronted with two realities... A's house was at the top of a steep embankment who's bottom lay somewhere outside Beijing, and A's back door was protected by a five foot tall wall. Ellen's friend, Ellen's cat project, and so, for once, Ellen went over the wall doing a convincing imitation of a G.I. going over the side of a landing craft on D-Day.



... PAUSE ...

"I'm okay!"

In an ideal world, i.e. the one everyone else lives in, the back door lock, being different from the front door lock, would've popped right open and our adventure would've been quite standard, albeit slightly delayed. In our world, the one where you trip over carpet just because it's there, we had no such luck. The best part was watching A's cats react to us through the mostly-glass back door.

Being members of a six cat household kept by someone who is quite patently a crazy cat lady in waiting, many of A's cats are... well... we'll just say three steps inside neurotic. The expression they had on their face as they gathered 'round the door was not "oh, we are SAVED!", but rather "ohmygodohmygodtheressomeoneatthedoorandthey'recomingcomingcomingforusshitshitshitwhatdowedoWHATDOWEDO!!!"

Well, it didn't matter, because, as expected, that door stayed locked too. Ellen, being busy plotting how to put the impudent lock at the bottom of the East River, blithely leapt over the wall to start heading back to the car, forgetting the Sarlaac pit underneath. After several moments of desperate scrabbling and at least one "GETOWFFME", we dusted off and headed home.

Life-and-death cellphone calls were exchanged. After all, to these cats hunger was something that happened to other people and the shock would probably cause them all to roll on their chubby fuzzy backs and stick four paws into the air. Fortunately, A's ex-husband had keys that would work, and so A would not be confronted with sunken-eyed, half dead emaciated east African famine cats, as she was quite patently convinced she would.

Hey, I didn't care. I managed to skip the damned cat boxes!

Posted by scott at 08:45 PM | Comments (7)
Must. Not. Stereotype. White. Trash.

Ok, lissen up people. If you're going to yell at your boyfriend for being a dumbass, roll down the window, don't lean out of the f-ing door! The trailer park will thank you.

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (2)
7th Week Woes

I started my 7th week as of yesterday. According to my on-line baby calender, the cellular bundle they call a fetus/embryo is the size of a small raspberry. It also stated I still won't be seeing any physical signs of a pregnancy yet. Yeah right! Obviously they are not a size 5/6! At the smallest sign of having to pee (before I got pregnant) my bladder protruded from my abdomen. And after a large meal, I had a distended stomach that was painful to look at.

This is where trying on pants is a bad thing. Thank the Gods I saved my pants when I was a 7 a few years back. Jumping up and down attempting to yank a pair of pants over your hips then laying on the bed, sucking in all of your air and attempting to button your pants results in a small aerobic workout.

So I purchased my first pair of maternity pants last week for work. Low riders. Got to be stylish. BUT, when I went to the store, they had to go in the back and get a pair of pants for me. Apparently, since the average American woman is not a size 6, they really don't keep that many on the shelf I am told by the saleswoman. But, she says not to worry, I am allowed to walk into A Pea In the Pod or Mimi Maternity and get a pair of pants that will make me comfortable and yet 'grow' into them.

Changes? Body changes, they are happening. I have cellulite showing again. I worked so hard to get rid of the jiggle, and now even though I am still very tight, the backs of my thighs and ass are starting to rebel against me. So there I am slapping on lotions with vitamin E, and collagen and other anti-stretch mark goodnesses in them. Scott keeps asking me when the magic boobs are going to show up. I dunno, one day I suppose.

Hormoes are evil evil things. I cry at Geico commercials, and silly cat litter ads. Scott still thinks I am just plain evil at all times and have not changed a bit. BUT crying at a Geico commercial (not just tearing up, full blown BOO-HOO's) is a funny thing to him.

Having to remain sober at all times sucks ass in the worst way. We had guests over last night for dinner and a movie (Demon Wurkz). Alcohol was involved. Scott bought me 'near beer' O'Doules so I would not feel left out. I did. Nasty, nasty stuff. It tasted like Budweiser. Mind you this is coming from a girl who is very passionate about Guiness. From drinking road tar to dog piss is a big difference to me.

I will have to say that Scott bought a very special bottle of wine last night and I had some. *GASP!!* Yeah, I did. I had it in this small ass glass that resembles a liquor shot glass with a stem on it. So Good!! Still I felt special. Do I feel I hurt my little raspeberry in anyway with that? Nope.

Sleep is an essential thing. Except when you find you are sleeping an entire day away because you are so tired you can't remain awake. Exercising is hard. I've attempted a yoga tape, I fell asleep on the floor only to wake up mid tape. There is no energy. My form of exercise now is going up and down the steps in my house and at work.

7 weeks in, 33 to go.

Posted by Ellen at 09:53 AM | Comments (12)
November 08, 2002
Lizard Man

Jimspot has some pretty cool pics of his lizards up. Considering how Larry's crew seems to be dedicated to the extinction of all lizard kind, it's probably good they live on opposite sides of the country.

In our little corner of crazy (see DRAGON REPORTS), lizards are fundamentalist terrorists. Hm... this has potential...

Posted by scott at 03:45 PM | Comments (3)
Ancient Music

I always wondered what, if anything, survived of ancient music, because it really was a central part of life even back then. Thanks to Lynn Unleashed, who linked up this article, I have a better idea. In a nutshell: a very little bit of music survived, even some instructional books on how to read and perform it, but nobody (until now) has tried very hard to put it all together and reconstruct it. Really interesting stuff.

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (2)
Looks Like They're Making Their Own Boycott

Sometimes I feel a little envious when I read about the latest stuff Jim, Aaron, or Jason is listening to, because I haven't purchased a new CD in probably five or six years now. Then I read things like this, and then I start to think they'll be joining me soon enough.

Want you all to listen up: if AOL can give away millions of CDs, that means they can be manufactured essentially for free. We're already being charged a "tax" on both blank tapes and CDs which goes straight to the record companies. The record companies cleared billions of dollars in net profit last year. Now they're breaking compatibility with existing players, meaning "upgrade or else".

Enough already. Vote with your pocketbooks and stop buying music. BOYCOTT is an ugly word to any industry, because it works.

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (9)
Why You Should Always Read Comments

Found this harrowing account of a way-too-f*cking-close encounter between a Mercedes 190E and an Albertson's Grocery Semitrailer (with pictures) in the FARK comments about a different car accident. It's funny because he made it out.

Update: Jim will like this one, if he hasn't already heard about it before. Apparently the "Llama Incident" is well known in motorbike circles.

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM | Comments (2)
Trivial Pursuit

One of the natural byproducts of a liberal arts education is your head gets stuffed full of useless crap. So, since I can't think of anything funny to write today and I've already done my stuffed-shirt essay for this week, I give you these tidbits of information you (hopefully) didn't already know and (perhaps) might find useful in, oh I don't know, maybe sticking pins in your local version of Cliff from Cheers:

  • They're called parkways because the original roads that bore the name were meant to take you from New York City (where the first ones originated) to one park or another in Long Island. The very first parkway, the Long Island (Vanderbilt) Motor Parkway, was originally designed to allow high-speed (60+ mph) racing at the turn of the century. Robert Moses took the concept of a limited-access roadway designed for safe high-speed travel and used it to further his ideal of the suburb.
  • They're called turnpikes because of the toll plaza. A "turnpike road" originally meant a roadway protected from attack by special turnstiles fashioned from pikes (long, sharp, pointy sticks). The first ones date back to the late middle ages, and the term came to mean a toll gate late in the 1600s.
  • Books as we know them, rectangular, bound, and full of pages, are a comparatively late ancient invention. Originally called "codexes", they were invented some time in the first century A.D. At first, they weren't at all popular... too weird and too different for the conservative reading public of that time. However, they were adopted immediately and totally by Christianity, which needed an easily portable, easily hide-able format in which to store their sacred writings. Perhaps even more importantly to an extremely political and insecure religion, a bible in a codex could never be mistaken for a Torah on a scroll. It wasn't until Christianity became the most powerful religion in the western world that the codex format took over from the scroll.
  • Ancient writing contained no punctuation, capitalization, or word spacing. It was meant to be read aloud, and you were thought extremely weird if you tried to read silently. Greek and Hebrew writing at first didn't even have vowels (Hebrew used apostrophe-like marks to mark where the vowel sounds went). In the west, capitalization (actually, the invention of lower-case letters), punctuation, and word spacing were all gradually introduced during the early middle ages, but didn't find complete expression until the advent of the mechanical printing process.
  • Nobody really knows why prostitutes are called "hookers". The most common story told relates the extreme fondness of one Joseph Hooker, a Union General during the civil war, for "ladies of the evening" as being the origin of the term, but you'll also find stories claiming relationship to garment districts and even distinctive styles of dress.
  • It is impossible to figure out the sex of a child just from their bones. Before puberty, there simply are no differences (skeletally) between girls and boys.
  • During WWII Charles Lindberg, the guy who first flew solo non-stop across the Atlantic, helped the war effort by touring pacific squadrons and helping them get the most range from their aircraft. A group of P-38 Lightning (a big, fast, twin engine fighter) pilots were being instructed by him when they were attacked by a Japanese squadron of fighters. Lindberg shot two of them down.
  • The molecular structure of crystallized carbon, otherwise known as "diamond", is laid out in such a way that the surface of the crystal readily binds with hydrogen atoms. When you touch a diamond, you're actually touching an extremely thin layer of hydrogen atoms and not the carbon underneath.
  • The universe was initially composed of lots and lots of hydrogen and perhaps just a little be of helium. Everything else, everything else was made inside a star, including everything required to create you.
  • Early gasolines were of such poor quality it was nearly impossible to compress a fuel-air mixture using them without causing detonation. High-performance cars of the era were routinely equipped with enormous (7 Liters and up) four cylinder engines to compensate for this.
  • If you fire a gun pointed straight ahead and drop a rock from the same height at the same moment, the rock and the bullet will hit the ground at the same time.
  • Ants evolved from wasps.
  • Police Boxes (think Dr. Who) were made of cast concrete.
  • The reason wagon wheels look like they're turning backward in a movie is due to a strobe-like effect involving the camera shutter. Motion picture cameras take 27 pictures each second. If the wagon wheel's motion is such that in each picture the spokes are behind their previous position, the wheel will look like it's turning backward. You can point a strobe light at a moving fan and get the same effect, for the same reasons.
  • A similar effect is responsible for TV and computer screens having large moving bars across them whenever they are videotaped.
  • Gospel facts: Matthew and Luke contain birth stories, Mark and John do not. In Matthew the infant Jesus is visited by wise men, in Luke he's visited by shepherds, and neither account mentions the other group. There are three different accounts of the last words of Jesus on the cross. The number of times Jesus visited Jerusalem are different in John, and he has Jesus being crucified at a different time than the other three.
  • Natural gas is odorless. The funny smell you get from your stove is added as a safety precaution.
  • Proportionally, compared to other primates, human infants are born almost exactly one year premature.

These are all from memory, so if I got one wrong please feel free to correct it in the comments. I am Uber-Cliff Claven. Fear me.


Posted by scott at 11:25 AM | Comments (10)
Park n' Ride

Ever wonder why most cars that are just sadly banged up are driven by women? Wonder no more. In the interests of equal time, note that men are much better at killing people and outright wrecking their car. Woo-hoo!

At our house Ellen is no longer allowed to drive to and from work. The third time she made homicidal threats and did a kamikaze move on a lane change I took matters in my own hands. The drive is much calmer now. :)

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)
November 07, 2002
A Boy and His Kitty

This is both funny and serious at the same time.

Make sure you read the video preview! And pay close attention to the video!

Posted by Ellen at 06:06 PM | Comments (1)
Palestinian Laptop

This one is for Larry & Meryl.

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM | Comments (0)
Now That's What I Call Razor Burn

Ok, now, I'll admit exploding electric razors in and of themselves are pretty interesting, but what I want to know is who the hell uses an electric razor they picked up in a McD's bathroom?!? Anything in one of those places is by default way past the 5 second rule.

Posted by scott at 01:55 PM | Comments (0)

Need to move fluffy in a hurry? Want to show just how much love you have for your new girl? can help!

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Goes Postal for Real

Ok, before you get all worked up over this, I want you to know ahead of time the kitten is just fine thank you.

We had a similar "oh that's just awful" situation that turned out fine. Someone spotted a crow trying to make off with a 3 week-old kitten. They chased the crow off, took the poor thing to the vet, and Ellen and I nursed him until he was big enough to eat on his own. He got adopted and is now king of the house somewhere.

Sometimes it turns out OK.

Posted by scott at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)
A Warthog Story

Found this interesting story about A-10 missions during the Gulf War. The aircraft in question is still flying today, you can see pictures of it here.

Posted by scott at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)
Blog List Change

As some may have already noticed, we've changed our blog list and linked it up to to make it easier to manage. From now on, your spot in the ranks will be determined by when you last updated. Nothing personal!

We've also added the following blogs which we like to visit regularly:

  • A Small Victory. Yet another pissed off yankee, who has attitudes so much like my wife's she might be a long-lost sister. I especially like the logo. If you want to know what Ellen is like when she wakes up in the morning, that's it. Just ask Neenah (nina? Gah...)
  • Joanie, subtitled hairy toes and the lemonade rhino, "have rack, will travel". A solid combination of information, humor, and outright silliness. Yet another reasonably normal person with entertaining insights on the world and her place in it.
  • Yourish. One of my guilty pleasures. She's not quite as outrageous as Maru (who is reaching ever-more-dizzying hights of purple prose now that the Evil Empire's conquest is complete), but she definitely has her moments. An unabashed and unapologetic supporter of Israel, and the sworn enemy of all things related to scientology, she can be a lot of fun. When she's not busy trying to die from pneumonia [respelled... thanks meryl!] that is. :)
  • Silflay Hraka, which gets my award for "most bizzare name for a blog", is a combination site like ours. A little bit of linking, a little bit of original content, and a whole lot of silliness combines to make a very entertaining site. They also do the "Carnival of the Vanities", a clearninghouse of good blog content.
  • Where is Raed, which I recently linked up in a different story, has thankfully not been bundled off by secret police and continues with his insider point of view on the whole Iraq thing.
  • Middle East and Morality, which still doesn't update enough, provides a first-person view of the events in and around Israel. Far, far more authentic than what you'll get from the monkies who infest the various press bureaus (bureaii?).
  • Heather Corrina, more a web site with a journal than a pure blog, reveals (and I do mean reveals) the day-to-day life of a professional artist and writer. A for-real Dharma without the frou-frou perky bits imposed by a Disney-owned network, combined with the grit, wit, and gumption of someone taught practicality through hard living. I think she's the only blogger on our list who actually might be making a bit of money off the whole thing.
  • Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, another links-and-original-content place like ours with a decidedly more political bent, who seems to be out to put it all in perspective just like we are. To my knowledge, the only weblog with its own theme song.

So there you have 'em! Please be sure to visit each one at least once (along with all the others we already link to), you'll be glad you did!

Also, I know I'm leaving some folks out. This is not a slight, it's just because I'm an old fart and can't remember things properly. If you link to us and you're not on this list, please e-mail or use the feedback thingy and we'll put you right up. Links for all!

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM | Comments (3)

Of course, misandrist women in my life will deny it, but at least some scientists and nutritionists are claiming men suffer from a syndrome similar to PMS, caused by basically the same thing (hormone imbalance).

Posted by scott at 08:49 AM | Comments (4)
Ossuary Update

As expected, there's something fishy about the "James" ossuary. The person who wrote the article, who claims to be an expert in ancient enscryptions and writing, makes a pretty convincing case that only the first part of the enscryption ("Jacob son of Joseph") is legit, while the rest is a much later fake.

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)
November 06, 2002
Missing Commandments!

Apparently, there are 13 Commandments not 10 as origionally thought. Perhaps Moses did not like the last 3, perhaps the stone was too heavy to carry down the mountain? Either way, christians have been missing out these several thousand years! (Scott says 3 thousand)

See the article here!

Posted by Ellen at 06:16 PM | Comments (3)
The Colossus of... Deerfield?

Well, I guess everyone's got to have a hobby... how about someone who collects photographs of giant fiberglass people? Actually, it's kind of cool, in a strange sort of way. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 11:58 AM | Comments (4)
You Want How Many Bags of Hot Sauce?!?

Anyone for a 1300 pound taco? It's as big as a bus! Cool!

Posted by scott at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
Best of the Best

Bigwig's got his latest Carnival of the Vanities up. Looking for something interesting/informative/weird/funny to read? Go here and have fun!

Posted by scott at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)
Ok, The Japanese are Way Weirder Than Either of Us

Go ahead, read the first sentence of this article, because there's not a damned thing I can do to write a headline better than that.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (3)
Just When You Thought New York Couldn't Get Any Weirder

Ok, all those things I said about the British being more bizzare than we are? I take it all back. A "superheroine" dedicated to protecting drunk women from themselves and predators, while admirable, is still, well, kinda quirky. The pink is definitely jarring.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM | Comments (3)
Laser Update

The Army is reporting the successful shootdown of a arty shell with a laser. No detail as to whether it's solid state or chemical.

Of course you know this is just a Zionist plot to deny peace-loving Islamists the ability to shell whomever they please, you decadent imperialist scum.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
Larry Will Call it a Palistinian Plot to Get Him

And who the hell knows, he may be right. This sort of thing used to happen all the time in Florida too, which is where my family lived for awhile. Swallow up whole parking lots there.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
November 05, 2002
A Poverty of Expression

One of the things not often understood about our modern world is that, in many ways, we have solved the problem of poverty. Hopefully you weren't drinking anything when you read that, because if you were I have a feeling you just blew it all over your computer, but hear me out.

Poverty, along with organized warfare, government, writing, and beauracracy, is at root an invention of the agricultural age. Before the time of the plow, as hard as it is to imagine, there simply were no poor, at least not in the sense we understand the term. People lived in very small groups, typically no more than 40. Greed was kept in check because hoarding didn't do you any good. You never lived in one place for more than a few months, and if you couldn't carry it on your own back it quite literally was not going with you.

Agriculture changed all of this in a hurry. About 15,000 years ago groups of people scattered around Eurasia discovered tall grasses that naturally grew in the deltas around various flood plains were actually not all that hard to raise yourself, and if you worked at it for awhile you could make quite decent meals with the stuff. More importantly, it gave you a reliable supply of the raw ingredients for various fermented drinks (such as the true elixir of the gods, beer1).

The decision to settle down to grow crops wrought profound, far-reaching changes for humanity. We'd been hunters and gatherers for so very long our biology had adapted to the diet that lifestyle provided. Now we were confronted with coarse, extremely simplified diets that (among other things) wore out our teeth and shortened our stature2.

But the cultural changes were much more profound. Farmers that group together are much more efficient than they are alone, and the food surplus that results is far larger than anything that could be gathered or killed. This allows even larger groups to live together, and from there it's just a short hop to the first city-states 3.

Even more important for our purposes, the agricultural lifeways allowed greed to rear its ugly head in a most extreme fashion. Fields don't move, so you were forced to settle in one place, which for the first time in human history made hoarding on a grand scale possible. The formation of governments, pretty much required to allow agriculture to work on a really large scale, allowed the strong to take from the weak and hoard not only food, but later money and other valuable goods.

All of this combined to form an impoverished underclass on a scale that simply doesn't exist in the industrialized world anymore. The demographics of ancient civilizations, especially western ones, is that of a stylized pyramid (see Figure 1), with the vast majority of people making up what we would call "the poor" (broadly, those people existing at a subsistence level 4), accompanied by a very, very small, almost unimaginably wealthy and powerful upper class (in Roman times estimated to be less than 5% of the total population), and essentially no middle class.

Figure 1: Stylized pyramid representing typical economic distributions for agricultural societies.

What is remarkable about our modern industrialized lifeway is not how wealthy certain individuals are able to become. There have been people as rich Bill Gates and Donald Trump and King Fahd and Reverend Moon for as long as we've known how to turn grass into flour, and flour into steel. What is remarkable about a modern industrialized society is how wealthy everyone else is.

Because the pyramid really hasn't changed all that much. Study after study has found that something like 90% of the "wealth" (whatever that means) is still owned by a "measly" 10% of our population. What they tend to leave out is the remaining 90% of the population is emphatically not living at a subsistence level.

Far from it. By simply earning what everyone else does (a "median" wage), you are now able to afford at least one, typically two, fabulous self-powered chariots able to whisk you back and forth in, compared to an oxcart, nearly obscene comfort and safety. By simply earning what everyone else does you are able to purchase a dwelling with magical devices that cook, clean, provide safe water, remove dangerous wastes, and present hours of cheap information and entertainment for you. By simply earning what everyone else does you are able to have someone else educate and enculturate your child into society, for most of that time without directly paying a dime.

By historical standards even the people we would all consider "poor" are wealthy beyond all reason. Today, in industrialized countries, when we talk about poverty we talk about people with drug habits, people with mental illnesses, people cheated out of opportunities or denied the ability to make a "living wage".

We're not talking about people rotting in the streets from leprosy, or kept in constant fear of legal murder because they happened to be born with the wrong last name (or without a penis), or denied the ability to feed themselves because a group of thugs needed supplies to fight a different group of thugs on the other side of the mountain. These are truly poor people, and not a one lives inside any country commonly recognized as "industrial", or "westernized". Poverty, as it was known for more than ten millenia, has ceased to exist in our particular part of the world.

All of this could be taken as denying there is a poverty problem in the western world. Not by a long shot. As I've said many times before, genius strikes in random places, on random people, at random times. A society which runs on idea and ideals as ours does must find and encourage the growth of these geniuses regardless of where they live, what language they speak, or what color their skin happens to be. We're not doing it, and this is the real problem.

Don't complain to me how rich just a few people are in this country. I can see the yachts in the harbor as well as you can. Don't scream at me about how unfair it is that some people inherited what they have while so many others sleep on the street. I already know how tough life is. Don't tell me it's all the fault of an uncaring majority and an inhumane government. Unlike you, everyday I see people make stupid decisions and yet receive help from both.

Instead, tell me how you plan on keeping babies from having babies so at least one generation will have the time and energy to learn. Tell me how you plan on talking a battered wife into leaving her husband and getting a GED. Tell me how you plan on convincing a religious fanatic to send their honor-roll kid to Harvard instead of Bob Jones University.

Because until you tell me these things, until I see you really working at these things, you're nothing but an unimaginative sack of hot air.

Posted by scott at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)
Scientists Can Figure Out the Darndest Things

Found this fascinating study about what some anthropologists have discovered about the lifestyles of the ancient Incas just by studying their... well... poops. Howdya like to write that grant proposal? Still, extremely interesting reading.

Posted by scott at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)
Attack of the Clones IMAX review

Slashdot is carrying a brief review of the IMAX version of AotC. In brief: if you liked it, go see it, if you didn't, don't, if you haven't, well, your choice, but apparently it didn't add that much to the experience.

Posted by scott at 08:34 AM | Comments (1)
Oh the Pain, the Pain

Dr. Smith is no more! 87 is a pretty good run, but sounded like a pretty sudden way to go. I had no idea he was the voice of the old toy repair guy in Toy Story 2!

Posted by scott at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)
November 04, 2002

Apparently scientists have done it again! They have figured out the reason for homosexuality, and they have concluded this by watching gay sheep.

I did not know sheep were gay. I mean I know cats can be, cause we have a gay cat sticker on my works front window. But hey, if cats and people can be gay, sheep can too! BAAA!!!!

Posted by Ellen at 08:46 PM | Comments (1)
One BIG D*&K

This guy does have a big dick.

Don't pay to look at it. You get an eyeful just with the window piccies.

Posted by Ellen at 08:38 PM | Comments (1)
My Racist Aunt

Also, a bank shot from uppity-negro, a very funny map of America according to my racist aunt, from tremble (semper lazy!). No, not my racist aunt, his.

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)
Blogger Exposed!

Sometimes you discover the darndest things digging around in peoples' comment sections. Now I know what Aaron looks like (of fame). All guys reading this article should visit his blog and give him a big round raspberry for cavorting with half nekked women while we have to slog around with our normal lives.

Found via Heather Corrina's very interesting site and blog. Her other photographic work is here, but please note some examples are not safe for work!

Posted by scott at 11:31 AM | Comments (2)
I Wonder if Rachel Wears 'em? And What About Larry?

You have to be from, or have lived near, Texas to understand just how funny this one is. Only in Texas would cowboy boots become a major election issue.

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)
A Different Angle on the Chechens

The Norwegian blogger (link to the right) has this interesting take on the whole "wrap them in pigskin" thing, and I think quite rightly points out that our monkey press isn't giving us the Russians' point of view. Doesn't anyone remember a few years ago when Al Qaeda blew up some half dozen apartment complexes in the name of Chechen liberation? These are not nice people!

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)
But Will it do Holographic Yellow?

BBCnews has this story about new developments in camoflage paints. Sound boring? How about a paint that a) "heals" itself of scratches and abrasions, b) tells the maintenance guy it needs a touchup, and c) can change colors so as to blend chameleon-like into the background. See, even paint can be interesting sometimes!

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
Finally, an Auction I Want My Mom to Poach

MiG-21, anyone? The "outruns an F-16" is a bit much, but I like that it comes with rocket pods! Where's my checkbook...

Posted by scott at 08:18 AM | Comments (2)
November 03, 2002
Crib Notes

Scott and I are college graduates, smart college graduates. What we did not realize is that a college degree DOES NOT prepare you for simple things in life. Like shopping for a baby. Well not shopping, but browsing.

So today Mama had the idea of going to Burlington Coat Factory to look at the baby section. This store is huge. We're talking back-wall-recedes-into-the-mist huge, and the area for the baby stuff can keep you occupied for hours. We thought we would get some ideas for the baby room.

So there we were in the store, jaws dragging the ground. SO MUCH STUFF! Where do we start? Over there near furniture? Or do we go up and down each aisle to just see what we are in for? Both of us had this look of fear in our eyes just going down the aisle for grooming accessories for a baby. How many different brushes do you need for something that's normally mostly bald? And the safety items! What, do little kids spend all their free time grabbing boiling pots and licking electrical outlets? The thing that was designed to keep them out of a VCR looked like it belonged on the back door of a chimpanzee enclosure!

Mama suggested we look at cribs, just to get an idea of what we want. (When do you buy the crib?? I still have to paint the damn room!) There were at least 15 cribs to look at. (I know at Babies R Us there is a whole area of just cribs. At least 50 to look at)

So this is where it all gets complicated. Scott and I could not figure out how to slide the crib bars up and down.

Now, I must point out again that, on paper, we would generally be considered at least somewhat above average in the smarts department. Yet we stood there, struggling for 10 minutes just trying to get the goddamned bars to go down. At first we jiggled them, then rattled them, then, as it became increasingly obvious to us that these things were designed by NASA engineers in their spare time, a few really desperate yanks. Moms were protecting their children and walking away quickly when we finally managed to drop the first gate. We're talking NFL dance baby!

Of course, then we spent another 10 minutes trying to get them up. The store clerk, who was giving us this "great, another set fell off the turnip truck" look, came up to us and demonstrated with total ease how the bars actually worked.

Apparently we must be suffering from DIPS (dumbness induced pregnancy syndrome) 'cause we had no idea where to start, what to look at ect... Like I said so much stuff to look at and make decisions over.

The clothing alone for babies in this store had my head spinning. I so wanted to buy some cute outfits, but Scott said NO because I will jinx myself and wind up with the exact opposite for what I am buying for. Then we lost Mama in the jacket aisle! This is not good. She may moan and groan and take five minutes coming up the steps in our house, but put a shopping cart in front of her and a three hundred acre outlet store at her feet and suddenly she's smoking past the Road Runner. After a long period of desperate searching, we finally found her. She was using someone else's little kid... a complete stranger's little kid, to try jackets on for her to see what our nephew James would fit in. When we rounded the corner she was busy stuffing his tiny arm into a jacket... he gave us this look like "would you please do something with this woman?!?"

Needless to say, that was the ONLY baby store we have looked at so far. Many more to go. I even had to buy my first pair of khaki maternity pants today when I found out that my normal pants for work will not button anymore.

Only 6 weeks along, 34 to go. What a rollercoaster ride.

Posted by Ellen at 04:53 PM | Comments (14)
Collin Huggins

You must go visit THIS page.

From hospital visits to an obsession with SpiderMan. This little boy is going through alot. Please take a look at his site and sign his guest book for well wishes!

Posted by Ellen at 04:40 PM | Comments (2)
Flying Cows

Thanks to Gail who sent me this totally addictive game!!!!

Time to FLING cattle!

Gold-plated no prize for you!

Posted by Ellen at 04:20 PM | Comments (1)
November 02, 2002

We have Mama (Pat) over this weekend. So you see. Updates may be slow for the weekend.

I am supposed to tell you all that we have been assimilated and got ourselves Sam's Club cards, makin chili ect... Lots to do. Lots to do!

Posted by Ellen at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)
The Flu

Take a gander of this.

Perhaps this year I WILL get the flu shot.


Posted by Ellen at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)
November 01, 2002
Other Voices

I always like to read blogs from people with radically different viewpoints than mine. It's said the best way to appreciate your own culture is to visit those of other people. Since I can't travel right now, this is the next best thing. So:

Where is Raed is a well-written blog by a regular-joe (jh'oe?) kind of someone living inside Iraq. I'm sure he'd be surprised to hear me say it, but to me he is the "Arab street". Well, the Iraqi street anyway. Ok, his street.

I'm pretty sure "Salam Pax" (which, in my extremely creaky language skills, I think translates to "peace" in both Arabic and Latin) is a pseudonym, but who knows. I only hope he's taking appropriate precautions, because the impression we get over here is anyone voicing true and honest opinions tends to get bundled off and "disappeared" with alarming regularity over there.

On the other side of the Jordan, we have Middle East and Morality, written by a self-professed Israeli lefty who I think represents a widely-held viewpoint we're not hearing... a citizen of Israel who really, really wants peace, but is now sick to death of the Palestinian leadership's unstated, but no less real, goal of "sending [them] all back to Poland".

Both are very well written, and very different. I only wish MEM would update more often, and I worry that WiR hasn't. Enjoy!

Both blogs brought to my attention through Lynn Unleashed, who is rapidly becoming my dealer of choice when I'm looking for a high-quality blog fix. :)

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM | Comments (2)
~ Her Name is Rio/and She Points/for Fish and Clam ~

BBCnews is reporting on the first known study of long-term memory in a non-primate. A sea lion named Rio, to be specific. Turns out yes, they can remember sh*t pretty well, at least if there's fish involved somewhere.

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
The Daily Funny

Larry has posted the latest twice-per-week daily funny. Lots of good stuff there. I think blogs should be used at least as much for giggling as for long winded diatribes about whatever you're feeling anxious about today. Certainly I appreciate the funny ones more, and read them more often. And I know from experience funny is a lot harder than serious. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)