December 31, 2002
Give Us Santa Back!!

Apparently the bones of the 'real' Santa Clause, aka: St. Nicholas are really buried somewhere, in Italy! Turkey is pissed and wants them back!

Posted by Ellen at 11:36 PM | Comments (0)
Stradale, Mi Amore!

Got a feeling this one might outrun my brother's Trans Am, yup! We actually knew the folks who owned a cousin to this car. It was under a cover when we visited their shop, we never knew!

Yeah yeah, I know, baby on the way, responsibility, what-are-you-thinking-young-man-time-to-get-serious.

But still, fun to dream!

Posted by scott at 11:03 PM | Comments (2)
Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year from!!

Scott and I have our bottle of champagne to open at midnight and then go to sleep! I have to be up at 6-730 am to a white cat stepping all over me for food! (yeah, you people who THINK you can stop the white cat from comming in the bedroom, think again!)

Posted by Ellen at 09:05 PM | Comments (1)
New Year's Traditions

Ever wonder why we have certain New Year's traditions? Like kissing at midnight, and making those dreadful resolutions that no one seems to keep? (one reason why I DON'T make them anymore)

Well you can stop wondering and check it all out here.

Posted by Ellen at 01:23 PM | Comments (1)
A Vegan Riddle

If the steak on the plate didn't actually come from a cow, can a vegitarian eat it?

Posted by scott at 12:49 PM | Comments (1)
When College Boys Attack

There's not a guy out there who doesn't know, or weren't actually, a bunch of guys like this. I bet their landlord (you know this wasn't a house either of them actually owned) was real happy.

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
Insert Potty Joke Here

BBCnews is reporting on some neat photos of Uranus taken by the Very Large Telescope. I wonder if I can fit that thing in my back yard...

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (3)
December 30, 2002
By the People

Conservatives love to go on and on about how great this country is, but if it's so great how do you explain the DMV, Trent Lott, and the Corps of Engineers? Liberals love to go on and on about how awful this country is, but if it's so awful how do you explain the Stealth Fighter, my wife, and Sam Adams beer? In truth, as is typical with political opinions, both are completely right, and both are utterly wrong (usually at the same time, c.f. Streisand, Barbara). The United States, like pretty much all modern representational governments, is not the paragon of efficiency or virtue, it is instead a shining example of the principle of "least worst".

It's amazingly easy to find more efficient, effective methods of government. Without question the most efficient and effective possible is a dictatorship. No, really! History is replete with examples of well-run, relatively enlightened dictatorships. Ramses, Chin, Augustus, Charlemagne, Shaka, Capac, and Tokugawa are just a short list of comparatively just despots who lead their peoples to glory and prosperity.

Of course, we all know there are some glaring problems with the dictatorship style of government. First and foremost the enlightened, wise, and charismatic dictator has this annoying habit of ending up dead. Most are such egomaniacs their eventual demise simply never occurs to them. Even worse, the ones who do plan on a successor tend to entrust their dynasties to their son or nephew, who typically hasn't been seen sober in a decade or more.

Even when the successor isn't obviously insane or immediately incompetent, absolute power tends to be corrosive over time. It is a rare bird indeed who can resist wanting to decapitate yet another rich party boy caught boinking a rebellious daughter, greedy housewife trying to steal her neighbor's cookware, or cranky old man throwing rocks at effete (but effective) bureaucrats because they're trampling his azaleas. Most importantly, without fail, there is simply no way to get rid of these kinds of rulers short of "accident" (murder), "disease" (poison), "old age" (better poison), or revolution.

Communism, on the face of it, presents a far more elegant system of government, avoiding all the pitfalls of a dictatorship. In reality, pure communism is almost an "un-government". At root, it simply means everyone owns everything (see Happy May Day for more details).

Of course, anyone with the common sense god gave oatmeal immediately sees communism is completely unworkable in the real world. Its disconnect with the human condition is so staggeringly apparent that the only people who really buy into it are intellectuals and the hormone-addled twenty-somethings they are teaching. By requiring a fundamental change in human nature to function it strays dangerously near religious ground, and the thought police required to enforce the doctrines that make it tick are far too easy to use as a path to absolute power.

Socialism would at first seem a happy medium ground between the two camps. It spreads the decision making around to a select few, but not so many as to allow the ignorant rabble to run the country into the ground. At the same time it keeps the decision making process simplified enough to react quickly to crises whenever they arise. These enlightened leaders delegate their power to their enlightened bureaucracy, which carry out their plans with brilliant efficiency. Because these enlightened leaders would of course be selected only from the most learned of the society, it remains to this day fantastically popular with higher-level academics and garden variety elitists around the world.

Unfortunately what actually ends up happening is the best and brightest selected to lead this utopian ideal tend to be neither. Either they're machiavellian cutthroats interested only in stealing whatever isn't nailed down and routing it all into Swiss bank accounts for the enjoyment of their growing collection of mistresses, or they're ivory-tower academics who, when they aren't busy arguing over the best time to have tea, treat the society as a giant laboratory useful only for deciding if, for example, businessmen really are the only people qualified to run a business. This conglomeration usually wraps itself in a Byzantine bureaucracy that quickly ossifies, fixing the people in amber, trapping them in an entire country run by a DMV.

Theocracy has been popular of late, especially around the sunnier regions of the planet. Unfortunately such governments have so far only proven it is in fact possible to combine the efficiency of socialism, the concrete reality-based beliefs of communism, and top them off cherry-like with a wild eyed lunatic of a leader, creating a system of government that is even worse than its constituent parts.

This leaves us with the red-headed stepchild of all systems of government, democracy. Of any system of government, it (and its representational variants) is probably the least efficient, least effective form yet invented by mankind. By spreading power as widely as possible, it guarantees no one visionary will ever have enough to enact really effective laws. By allowing everyone, anyone, a say in government it ensures the vast majority of that government's time will be wasted on endless, pointless, passionate debates about the shape of toilet seats.

In essence, democracy locks a society into a perpetual state of crisis management. Long-term planning becomes impossible because leaders never look further than the next all-to-soon election. The only time any problem gets solved is when it becomes so glaring and obvious a four year old with glasses can see it. As any academic, pundit, or elitist celebrity will tell you (in private if not in public), the common people are only occasionally able to govern themselves, and even then only badly.

In spite of all this, democracy actually has many powerful features working in its favor. It provides rich and ambitious people many paths to power. It ensures only the most important ideas are turned into law. It prevents the coalescing of power into the hands of a dangerous few, or one. It requires no modification of natural human behavior, choosing instead to balance one need, one greed, against the other to achieve a safe, relatively effective whole.

Most important of all, and most unique of all, modern representational democracies provide many extremely powerful methods of self-correction. First and foremost is a free and unfettered press. Democracies can only function when everyone knows what is going on. In fact, democracy simply wasn't possible on a large scale in the ancient world because it was so difficult to inform the public. Pundits may bemoan its many and varied biases, but without this populist counterweight there is no accountability of the elite to the common people.

By including formal mechanisms of change inside the core documents of the government, democracies guarantee long-term flexibility in the face of adverse and unknown future conditions. The United States today is not in fact the country our founding fathers created. It's better.

Finally, by their very inefficiency democracies guarantee stability and liberty. History has proven time and again that efficient, effective government is efficient only at rape, effective only at pillage. Such efficient governments succeed only rarely, when a combination of genes, education, and flat-out luck combine to allow a single person (nearly always a man) to claw his way to the top and rule well in spite of the difficulties.

But by investing power in a person instead of an idea, by bending knees instead of opening eyes, these societies hook their prosperity to the mortality of a man, ignoring the immortality of the ideas behind him. Such societies hold a revolver to their head every time their leader dies, spinning the cylinder and pulling the trigger with each new successor. Sometimes, perhaps even most of the time, the chamber is empty, and the trigger clicks without harm.

But sometimes it doesn't.

So take heart America! Take heart Japan, Britain, France, Germany, and the dozens of other representational governments! Wear your "least worst" mantle proudly! After all, "least worst" gave you electricity. "Least worst" paved the road to your house. "Least worst" ensured it was a reporter who listened to your complaint in your home, instead of a soldier taking evidence in your cell. "Least worst", my friend, put a human being on the moon less than seventy years after we learned to fly.

Posted by scott at 08:05 PM | Comments (0)
That's One Helluva "BOOM!"

I didn't know the largest conventional explosion ever triggered was in the Midlands of the UK. It sure makes for an interesting read.

Posted by scott at 11:04 AM | Comments (3)
Nuclear Mishaps

Always read the comments! Found this interesting site in a slashdot comment that lists all the known nuclear weapon goofups that have ocurred involving US gear.

I'm sure the Russians have as many, if not more and more colorful, stories. Anybody know if they're listed anywhere yet?

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (1)
Interview with a Wacknut

Funny thing is, this interview with a radical muslim wacknut reminds me a whole lot of conversations I've had with Christian fundawackamoles over the years. Change "Islam" to "Jesus" and switch the topic from international terrorism to the Davidians and evolution in the schools and I'm not sure you could really tell them apart.

Seems like its only the color of their shirts that change.

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)
December 29, 2002
XXX Update

Ok, figured out the small glitch. Ya need NETSCAPE to see the pix. Not Explorer.

Sorry for the bug!

Posted by Ellen at 07:45 PM | Comments (1)
Sponge Bob

Little. Yellow. Absorbant.

Posted by Ellen at 07:35 PM | Comments (1)
Welcome to Photo-Shop!

Ok, it's obviously a XXX night!

Still, this picture makes you look twice!

Posted by Ellen at 07:27 PM | Comments (1)
Strapless Dress

All Scott could say is "Yeah! OK!

Posted by Ellen at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)
A MasterCard Moment

Ok, its NOT that naughty people!

But it sure is a priceless moment!

Posted by Ellen at 07:18 PM | Comments (4)

One of the reasons a story has power is it speaks about and to the core ideals and beliefs of a culture. The latest installment of The Lord of the Rings (The Two Towers) is a fine example. We all know it's a good story, but there's more to it than just interesting characters, clever dialog, and spectacular visual effects. At its core, the film is also about one of the defining aspects of western, and therefore American, culture: war. And not just any sort of war, but the peculiarly unique form which our culture practices. The west, unique in all the world, has for more than 2500 years viewed war as a collaborative, co-operative endeavor dedicated to the complete annihilation of an enemy.

Nearly every point in the film speaks to this simple, but deeply important, premise, and yet we hardly even notice it. Indeed, the post-war era of western thought has busily tried to repudiate it at every step. And yet it is very important to understand and accept that the success of the most advanced, progressive, and liberating lifeway the world has ever seen is due primarily to that lifeway's ability to both attack and defend in unprecedented, innovative ways that have been proven superior to all other cultures it has ever encountered. Understanding, even accepting, this heritage is key to realizing why other cultures detest the west, and, paradoxically, why the west has little to fear from this hate, no matter how spectacularly demonstrated it may be.

We simply accept as normal, for example, that a king's nephew could repudiate that king's policies to his face without fear of mortal reprisal. We are not surprised at all when junior officers, even outsiders, innovate on their own on attack or defense in the face of sudden adversity on the battlefield, without even considering consulting the king. It requires not one ounce of suspended disbelief that a siege could be lifted by rushing head on into the teeth of the adversary, seeking out a simple, violent, conclusive battle to decide victory or defeat in the shortest time possible. Finally, we accept without question the premise that there can be no compromise with an enemy, no settlement. To win we must not just defeat a single force in a single battle, take captives, or cause dishonor, but rather must utterly destroy an entire army, wreck its infrastructure, and exterminate or transform its people. While it is all too easy to focus on the latter and weep, we must, as Tolkien did, focus instead on the former, and take heart.

Because in reality, if given the proper opportunity, every society seeks the annihilation of every other society. The difference is that the west's traditions of individual responsibility, free inquiry, personal liberty, rigid discipline, and citizen-soldiery have made it actually capable of outright conquest far more often than any other culture it contacts.

It would be simply inconceivable, to choose an example, for a samurai to openly dispute the decisions of his shogun. Far more expected would be to protest by suicide, thereby not only silencing a potentially important idea, but also removing a strong back and ready hands to fight whatever type of battle is decided.

It would also be impossible for, say, an Iraqi lieutenant to exploit an obvious hole in the lines of his Iranian adversaries, rush in, and thereby assure a victory in battle. While such victory might bring him glory, if it highlighted his superior's incompetence he could probably expect his reward to instead be a long stay in a small cell. Defeat would simply mean execution out of hand.

It is also almost beyond imagining for any non-western army to openly confront a western one by seeking out a single, decisive, "shock" battle. Even when equipped with near equal, even superior, materiel, and always equipped with far greater numbers, these battles and these wars have invariable resulted in the defeat of such a force.

As has been amply demonstrated time and again throughout history, the things which make the west great, individual responsibility, free inquiry, personal liberty, rigid discipline, and citizen-soldiery, are not things which can be "cherry-picked" one over the other, one instead of the other. Rather they are things which come of a piece, a totality that at root makes the west, well, the west.

The collapse of the European colonial empires and the experiences of America in Vietnam and Russia in Afghanistan taught the rest of the world important lessons. It taught them we are no smarter, no better, than they are, that white skin bestows no special form of invulnerability, that we can be as moronic as the next guy, that we bleed the same blood and die the same deaths.

Unfortunately it also caused them to forget other, equally important lessons. We do not fight for personal honor, symbols, or glory. We never fight the same way twice, and learn from our defeats rather than surrender because of them. We care little for the rank, status, color, or creed of a soldier if he or (lately) she has an idea that works. That soldier also has the expectation that, success or fail, their life or their liberty will not be taken away at the whim of a commanding officer.

We do not defend ourselves until an attacker gets what they want or goes away; we defend until we are able to attack and then exterminate our attackers so they may never threaten us again. When humiliated, frightened, or threatened, we do not negotiate, we do not prevaricate, we do not moderate. We defend, we learn, we invent, we adapt, we seek out, we attack, we win, and then we sow salt into the earth of your lands to ensure you never threaten us again.

The Japanese were the first non-western nation to seriously challenge the western world on its own terms, with weapons of its own design and tactics of its own making, in more than five centuries. They remain the only nation in the world to be victimized by an atomic device.

Some parts of the world have already forgotten these lessons. They do so at their peril.

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (3)
December 28, 2002
Rare Whale Species Found..dead!

A rare whale species found beached ashore in Japan earlier this year, turns out to be one of the most complete specimins found.

I am surprised they did not eat it.

Posted by Ellen at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)
Stealth Oops!

Don't ya just hate it when shit like this happens?

Posted by Ellen at 07:19 PM | Comments (3)
The Best Parenting Book of the Year-according to Fark

Scott and I laughed out loud when we saw this.

Of course, it's from Fark, so please don't take it seriously!

Posted by Ellen at 07:16 PM | Comments (0)
Another Great Alfa?

When I see an Alfa, I see great engineering, style, and sophistication. When my brother sees an Alfa, he sees this. Ellen, of course, thought they were cute.

Posted by scott at 01:27 PM | Comments (1)
NASCAR: Not Just for Rednecks Anymore

Some who follow the sport more closely already know Toyota is scheduled to join NASCAR soon, but it was news to me. They said the hardest part was making the motor out of cast iron (must be in the rules somewhere), since nearly all Toyota engines are made of aluminum nowadays.

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)
When Translators Attack

You think it's embarassing to ask personal questions of your own doctor. Imagine what it's like when English is your second language.

Posted by scott at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)
December 27, 2002
14 Weeks

I'm officially at 14 weeks, that's the start of the second trimester.

According to my pregnancy online calender, this is what's going on: "Crown to rump, your baby is between 4 and 4 1/2 inches long, and weighs 1 3/4 ounces. The body is now growing faster than the head. This week, its parchment-thin skin covers itself with lanugo (ultra-fine, downy hair that usually disappears before birth). Though eyebrows are beginning to grow and the hair atop the head is sprouting, this hair may change in both texture and color after birth. About now, the fetus can grasp, squint, frown, and grimace. It may even be able to suck its thumb. Researchers believe these and other movements probably correspond to the development of impulses in the brain."

I had my 3rd DR.'s appointment today, which let us hear the heartbeat again. It was much slower than it was last time. I have a doppler at work that we use on cats to check their blood pressure, and of course I've used it on myself. I'd always thought I was hearing my vena cava or some other large vessels pumping away. Seems it was the baby the entire time.

Of course now I feel kinda stupid that I would get disapointed 'cause I could not find the heartbeat on my own, when I really had it every single time. Of course now I know I can hear it any time I want.

I also got quite a shock from my doctor today when he went into great detail on how they have a large percentage of natural childbirth. They only have a 15% rate of epidurals and other types of drug managed pain. Also this practice assists in the birth of 1000 babies per year out of the 3500 born at the hospital we will be going to.

This part is best told by Scott:

I was sitting there, basically a guest in the "seige perilous" of a gyno office, when I got to see the birds come home to roost on my girl. She had been feeling the luxury, the permissiveness, of being early-pregnant in a house with an appreciative husband. Dishes? Done. Vacuum? Done. Laundry? Done. Catbox? Done (Cat puke? Ellen... I have my limits).

So there my girl was, thin, fit, and happy. Then the Doctor started talking about "natural childbirth". We'd talked about this before. Ellen was going to feel one "oompf" of pain and then she'd scream DRUGGSS!!!, and then we'd all be invited to hold hands and sing "happy-happy-joy-joy".

But you see this doctor had other ideas. "We're mostly a natural childbirth place. Oh, sometimes we'll do an epidural, but the vast majority of our births are natural."

The transformation was most impressive. Swear to god, she turned white, then green, then an amazing shade of... plaid (really!) This was not in the original plan. I must admit, I burned a few karma points here. I could have, at any point, noted that the doctor candidly stated that drugs would be provided at request, but all Ellen heard was "natural" and she just stopped listening. She got really, really quiet, and I swear her arms came up and her legs crossed. I half expected her to say "eep!" Definitely a payback moment for all those litterboxes with... colorful... contents.

Well, ok. I think I could do it (my mom said she had a natural childbirth with my sister- it hurt-alot). Maybe some Demerol? I know, almost sure that I don't want an epidural at this point. I may change my mind later! He also explained that this is not a hospital room. It's a' birthing suite'. "Ooo..a suite?" I say.

He shook his head and was like "Tsk...think of you having your baby at the Hyatt Regency. You get a suite dear, not a white hospital room. You are having a baby, not a procedure."

Ok. "I'll take your word for it, I've never done this before". Scott says he plans to try to hide his nuts from me so I won't make the attempt to rip them off at the appropriate time.

Again, Scott:

Bah. Ellen was completely freaked out at this point. Like I said, she heard "natural" and then went on autopilot. I'm amazed she remembers the conversation. You guys have read all these reports, I think you have a decent insight into her mindset... "like a big, tough workout, only laying down". Pride so hard you can bounce rocks off it. Well, the words "natural childbirth" stuck a pin in that particular balloon. If any of you out there wanted to strangle this little Italian Denise Austin over her "not-quite-six-pack" and "Oh god, I'm so disgusting, I'm a size 5" complaints, you got yer revenge. Little miss fitness got a reality check right between the eyes.

Of course, if I bet her she couldn't do it without drugs she wouldn't even flinch dialated 10cm. Never bet an Italian, especially one proven to train cats to sit up.

Posted by scott at 07:28 PM | Comments (11)
Ellen Probaby Knew What "micturition" Meant, but I Didn't

Want to know why soap expands in the microwave? Why the sky is blue? How to make a potato battery? All these things and many, many more are available at The Mad Scientist Network. Very cool, highly recommended.

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM | Comments (3)

We always tell people to go put on their tinfoil hat, but really, are we doing them a service? I mean, what sort of foil? How do you shape it? Should it incorporate a pie tin? These are important questions! Well, as a public service, we're proud to present a genuine how-to on building the thought-proof cap you need to prevent those annoying abductions.

Posted by scott at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
Now That's Freaky

Ok, this is just plain messed up. 10 day old infants should not need to have fetuses removed from them. Mmmkay? Gah. Be careful what you wish for!

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)
Finally, a Top 10 List that Doesn't Suck

Dark energy, planets that shouldn't be there, ancient rocks in space, it's all here in the top 10 space mysteries for 2003.

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (2)
December 26, 2002
No News

Sorry people, the world is just NOT very weird today!

So, NO NEWS! (at least from me)

Message to the world from AMCGLTD: We need more weirdness! More cats shooting ping pong balls out of their asses!, More small children being eaten by large reptiles in colorful ways!, More martians disguised as Wal-Mart greeters!

Dammit world! We need more news!

Posted by Ellen at 08:23 PM | Comments (4)
December 25, 2002
Happy Holidays!

We here at AMCGLTD would like to wish all of you out there seasons greetings & happy holidays. It's snowing like crazy outside, so of course we're going to get on the roads and drive around. If any of you see a purple PT Cruiser with weird bone graphics on its sides on the TV that'll be us! :)

Posted by Ellen at 10:43 AM | Comments (3)
December 24, 2002
A Dragon Christmas

Fourth in an ongoing saga of the P.U.S.S. Confused? If you haven't already, be sure to read Dragon Reports 1279, 1280, and the Dignity Ladder -- Ed.

Magrat: "I have gathered you all here today, comrades, to explain this bizarre ceremony the hyoomans call... 'chah-reest-mess'".

Goblin: "I thought they called it 'x-mouse'."

Ajax: "Mouse? Where's a mouse? Mice are fun."

Coconut: [slap!] "Mice are yucky."

Teddy: "I thought they called it kristmas? Anyway, seems to be more like 'dammitteddygetoffthetree' day to me."

Magrat: "Be quiet comrades! We must maintain proper discipline as is proper of true party members! Now, as I was saying, this is a very strange ceremony hyoomans engage in, once per year. They first remove a large not-quite-tree, not-quite-litterbox, from a box more properly used to dispose of bourgeois canine spies. "

Teddy: "Like that floppy dog across the street!"

Magrat: "Yes, comrade, all in good time. They wrap this treething in lights in an obvious and incompetent plot to ruin our superior night vision. Then they 'decorate' the treething with superior cat toys. Why do we know they are superior cat toys?"

Ajax: "Where do the mice go?"

Goblin: "Dammit! Go rub against more paint! I know comrade... because they are breakable. Just two days ago I managed to shatter a particularly shiny glass ball."

Magrat: "Yes! And of course, these hyoomans, being clever and evil, punish us for taking advantage of such an amazing and rare collection of baubles! The nerve!"

Coconut: "But why do they insist on stacking boxes underneath the treething?"

Ajax: "I like peeing on the boxes!"

Coconut: [smack!] "Looser! Shut up!"

Magrat: "Most puzzling is the hyoo-man tendency to stack boxes underneath the treething. Not all hyoo-mans particpate in this practice. Dragon XfzzbAn (Edloe) reports that slaves 8912 ("Laurence") and 9014 ("Gina") do not even erect a treething, let alone stack boxes. The only information XfzzbAn could provide to explain this unusual exception was that slaves 8912 ("Laurence") and 9014 ("Gina") are 'jyoo-hiss'. She reports they instead make feeble attempts to ignite her fur by lighting 'candlz'".

Ajax (in a whispered voice): "oooh... candlz... those are bad! I once lost all my whiskers to a candl... wow, that was a story! It was just before the war--"

Coconut: "But what about the boxes?"

Magrat: "After consulting with Party Headquarters of the Proletariat's United Society of Socialists (P.U.S.S.), it has been determined that the hyoo-mans's propensity for placing boring non-cat involved items in boxes and covering them in colorful, easy-to-tear coverings and fun-to-play-with ribbons is simply another form of offering to our increasingly powerful leadership of this slave race. Therefore it is recommended that we make every effort to enjoy these offerings at every opportunity by removing the coverings and ribbons, allowing the hyoo-mans the privilege of re-covering the offerings and presenting them again."

Ajax: "WowribbionsaresocoolIreallyliketobatthemaroundbuttheysticktomyfeetIdon'tlikethatverymuchbutowowtheyarefunlookthere'saribbon canIgo--"

Coconut: [smack!] "Go eat some more paint chips!"

Magrat: "But what none of the hyoo-mans understand is that the P.U.S.S. long ago took over this 'chah-reest-mess' holiday."

Goblin: "Yes! I read about this in GlamourP.U.S.S"

Coconut: "How decadent!"

Goblin: "Well, I have to keep up with these things."

Teddy: "Yes! It's true! We went over this in Tiger training. Shortly after the battle of Beagle Hill several party members were able to infiltrate the 'north pole', inserting powerful mind control implants into the brain of the creature the hyoo-mans call 'Zanta-Claws'."

Magrat: "You are correct, comrade. Now that we have attained control over this 'holly-day', we will be able to more easily spread our mind control devices across the world. Why, only a few days ago a specially planted 'orne-a-mint' allowed mouser xPlkah (Crash) to easily infiltrate and re-inforce an outlying party cell."

Ajax: "I like ribbons. They're shinyandplayfulandIreallylikethemexceptforthesticky--"

Coconut: [smack!] "Will. You. Shut. UP!"

Teddy: "Shhhh! Leave him alone! He's a veteran you know"

Coconut: "Oh. My. God. Just because some old fart vaporizes a few hairy rat-sized canine 'yorkies' in some ancient 'war' I'm supposed to--"

Magrat: "COMRADES! To put it simply, this so-called 'char-reest-mass', has now become another powerful tool in the P.U.S.S's arsenal in our ongoing efforts to maximize kibble, destroy the bourgeois canines, and ensure our supply of fuzzy mice forever! In fact, I have only just now learned that our feline scientists have created a powerful new mind control device scheduled to be deployed this very char-rist-mass night. By opening their presents tomorrow, the hyoo-mans will be placed even further under our control!"

Goblin: "But what about the Jyoo-hiss people?"

Magrat: "Who do you think makes the candles?"

Posted by Ellen at 08:51 PM | Comments (19)
When White Cats Turn Blue

I decided that I wanted my downstairs room to be blue instead of red. So how do I spend Christmas Eve? Painting!

I was not counting on for a certain white cat to help.

Apparently, at some point, the white cat decided to rub up against the wall. Not just a nudge, not just a bunt, but a full-blown side rub. Now his left side is blue. We're talking his shoulders, his thigh/butt area and his tail. Nice and blue.

I still have half a room to go. Ran out of paint. Perhaps the cat will rub his right side against the wall so he'lll match his left?

Posted by Ellen at 06:58 PM | Comments (1)
Well, There Was This One Time...

Villiage Voice has this extremely R-rated article about most embarassing sex moments during the holidays. Funny, but very "blue". You have been warned!

Posted by scott at 03:23 PM | Comments (0)
X-Mas Cats

Ok, it's Christmas Eve, and I'm not allowed to open any gifts yet. Not even ONE!

So what do I do? I head out to Petco or Petsmart and gather loot for the cats. I head straight for the 10% off section because my cats WILL loose toy mice right away. They hoard them under the fridge or stove, or sometimes in Scott's sneakers.

I bought them not just any kind of mouse today. I bought *sparkly* mice. Not just any sparkly mice either. Apparently these mice are made with a hard wad of cat-nip wrapped in sparkly seisal rope. All I can say is that all of them were infatuated with these mice for 10 minutes, then the magic was over.

What a fabulous 10 minutes though! All of them had the crazies, and I'm sure most of the mice are under the fridge or stove.

One of the other things about Christmas is that my mom used to tell me on Christmas eve animals could talk. Scott does not believe it, but it's one Christmas story I do think about every year.

He thinks I'm crazy anyway. Especially if I can hold a complete conversation with 5 different cats at once.

Posted by Ellen at 11:52 AM | Comments (4)
Scary Stuff

Ok, Scott shit his pants.

Thanks to Fierce Fade-Away! You get the X-mas wrapped NO- PRIZE!

Posted by Ellen at 11:35 AM | Comments (2)
"Granny" & "Grampy": LOCK NEENAH UP NOW!

'Cos, you know, otherwise, things might happen.

Posted by scott at 11:26 AM | Comments (1)
When INS Attacks

Yes, it sucks when your parents screw up your immigration paperwork, but I'd like to remind everyone, including our oblivious monkey-media, that just living in the US does not automatically make you a citizen. It does not entitle you to the rights and priviledges you hear us talking about on TV and radio. It does not entitle you to tear your shirts and cry "persecution" when we ask you to leave when your cousins cause us trouble.

When you enter this country, any country, you are a guest. There are certain obligations you must fulfill, certain paperwork that must be kept up-to-date. If you don't, the only thing you have a right to is a ticket back to wherever you came from. I expect nothing more or less when I travel abroad. I get deeply annoyed when the rest of the world, and our own media, don't understand this simple fact.

Posted by scott at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
My Kingdom for a... Plane Ticket!!!

Proof that stupid liberal policies aren't just confined to America, I give you the Great German Beer Rush of '02. In summary: a bunch of green enviro-weenies decide the best way to stop disposable containers from multiplying is to use a taxbat to bludgeon its citizens into "behaving". The result? 5c beer and three times the number of tossed bottles and cans getting pushed out on the street in a week.

Posted by scott at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)
Eduma... Eju... Learnin!

Lots of teenagers sit in class bored out of their skulls wondering why they have to be put through the Chinese water torture of public school. Well, let's put it this way. Without such schoolin', you'd end up being a grownup convinced your government is colluding with vampires. Convinced enough to riot no less. Stupidity international!

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)
How Not to Impress God

I dunno folks, I'm pretty sure boinking hookers in a confessional's bound to be a sin somewhere.

Posted by scott at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)
December 23, 2002
One More Step to Science Fiction

BBCnews is reporting scientists have successfully grown a (mouse) kidney using stem cells. When they finally figure this one out it'll revolutionize many types of medical care. If someone can grow a new heart for you from your own tissues, transplants suddenly become not much more complex than a bypass operation.

Posted by scott at 06:07 PM | Comments (0)
My God, It's Full of... Smileys?

Of course, Ellen would say that in Arkansas it's more like 50%

Posted by scott at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)
I Bet Her Husband is Just Glad it Wasn't Him

My mom doesn't have to worry about throwing away jewelry. She just puts it in a place she'll always remember. We never see it again.

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
December 22, 2002
Just in Case You Haven't Lost all Faith in Humanity, Pt. 2

I give you, your #1 source for adult diapers, supersized baby clothes... ah hell, I can't even finish this, it creeps me out so much.

Which is a damned shame too. I mean, if it weren't for the completely, irretriveably icky subtext, I might actually be interested in "feety" pajamas. It'd be kinda cool to go skidding across the kitchen floor in the same... AAAGG! NO! I STILL CAN'T GET PAST THE CREEPY PART! ICK ICK ICK ICK!

I'm going to take a shower now.

Posted by scott at 07:05 PM | Comments (4)
When a Magazine Just Isn't Enough

Part of the skidmark brigade? (Shut up Ellen!) Maybe you just need some entertaining shapes to keep you company.

Posted by scott at 06:54 PM | Comments (2)
But... is it Art?

The last apartment complex we lived in ended up being this bizzare crow convention center. Thousands of the things would nest in the trees around our complex, to the point that they literally looked like they had their leaves back. You walked outside between 4 pm and 6 am at your peril, and there just wasn't much point in washing your car.

What I didn't know was we could've used these "facts" to make a website. Birdpoo as art. Brilliant!

Posted by scott at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)
Cheap Suit Santas

Combine a bad attitude, a cheap Santa costume, and one too many pub crawls and what do you get? SANTARCHY! HIDE YOUR WOMEN! PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES! SECURE YOUR PETS! THEY'RE JOLLY AND THEY'RE COMING FOR YOU!

Posted by scott at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)
Parks Get Redesigned

According to this Reuters article, lots of Civil War parks are in for a redesign due to "pervasive Southern bias". I say good for them.

One of the things you get in the south, a lot, is how the Civil War wasn't about slavery, it was about "states rights". Now, I'm no Shelby Foote, but from my own studies of the war (consisting of watching hours of documentary and reading probably a half dozen or more books), this is right in word but wrong in spirit. From my studies, the south seceded because of states rights, yes, but the particular right they were seceding over was in fact the right to own slaves.

However, I will say that there exists a nearly equal bias in many places in the opposite direction. In Fayetteville AR, where I went to college, there was a large, well-maintained federal civil war monument and cemetery. In contrast, the confederate cemetery was at the end of a gravel road, privately maintained, consisting mostly of identical 6"x6" plain markers. Just marble bricks really.

There are no winners in a civil war. Gods and giants fight to their utter annihilation, leaving only the poor and meek behind to inherit the world. But it was something that had to be done. It was in essence the detonation of a time bomb left inside the constitution by the founding fathers, who, for all their effort and brilliance otherwise, simply could not find a way out of this problem.

Because it wasn't our glorious constitution that saved America in the years between 1860 and 1865. That was what got us into the mess. It was the shambling, faltering, amazing, brilliant leadership of one man, leading a small cadre who at their core never really agreed with him about anything.

America survives not because of the brilliance of its leadership, nor the rock-solid prescient power of its constitution. America survives, and thrives, because the system that governs it allows the right person to be in the right place at the right time, and then allows for that person (or persons) to be shuffled off safely when inevitably they become irrelevant, even dangerous.

And that's what I love about America. Funky, biased monuments and all.

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)
Solves At Least One Problem

They've opened one of those swanky new "pet hotels" just a few miles from us. At least now we know where Buddy can stay when "granny" comes to visit.

Posted by scott at 09:39 AM | Comments (0)
Another Mastercard Moment

Maserati: $80,000
Purebred Bulldog: $1,100
Letting Poochie learn about the heart and soul of Italian motorcars?


Posted by scott at 09:03 AM | Comments (0)
Merry X-Mas Neenah & Richie

Apparently this Joe Cartoon flash animation has been around awhile, but it's the first I've seen of it. Warning to non-blood-relatives of Ellen (i.e. Pat): it's bizzare, violent, and more than a little gross. Still, I laughed out loud.

A bank-shot from Amish Tech Support (why am I not surprised?)

Posted by scott at 08:58 AM | Comments (1)
December 21, 2002

Yup, as expected, they've finally come out with a "fart pipe" for Alfas. Of course you know this thing gives you an extra 40 horsepower, right? Following that logic, why don't I just weld a coffee can to my muffler, that aughta be good for another 20, no?

Gah. Ricers. Gah.

Update: Didn't even notice that you can make the tailpipe flash in time with your turn signals. Considering the number of times I've been rear-ended in spiders (2x), hell, maybe...


Posted by scott at 09:04 PM | Comments (1)
13 Weeks

Ok, not much excitement going on this week for me. I did manage to take the belly shots with my digital camera so I can remember what I looked like at my first trimester. Basically, I look like I've gotta pee real bad. You know the look (well, girls do. Guys, feel free to make the "wha?" look). You can actually see your bladder pushing your lower abdomen out.

Zip-up jeans have become too uncomfortable to squeeze my ass into. I have resorted to my elastic large-amount-of-crying-'cos-they-are-so-tacky jeans. My legs also don't make it out of the house without lycra surrounding them, al-la sausage skins. Makes me feel like a bipedal Oscar Meyer product.

I've bought several pregnancy exercise videos, and they all start out with the same LAME intro : "Hi!!!", no, not 'hi', as in 'hello, I'm glad to meet you', but rather 'HI!!!', as in 'I'm Charlie Manson and we're going to have a great workout today. Now, everyone get out their kitchen knives so we can start'. It gets better though. "I'm [insert annoying California name here], I'm pregnant and I feel great!! And you should too!!!" They're so perky and shiny and clean, a tofu Donna Reed in spandex. Whereas I'm busy pushing cat's ass out of my face, trying not to roll into the new puke stain, so I can just see the tape.

At this point I'm like: "Shit, it's going to be corny!". Do I break a sweat? No. Keeping your heart rate under 140 beats per minute is very difficult. Not to mention you feel like you are NOT working out at all!

Pregnancy yoga is even cornier. All the hosts look like they just took a hit from the same bong, and, like, isn't it so natural and [DEEP SIGH] centering, to be [DRAMATIC PAUSE, BREATHY VOICE] P-huRHEGnant?!? Then they make you lie down and close your eyes and be real still. Hello, sleepy time! Scott once walked upstairs because he wondered what all the snoring was about.

I've realized that I'm suffering from a mild form of carpal tunnel syndrome since I'm not comfortable putting my weight on my wrists for certain positions. These positions never bothered me before, they bother me now.

I still like to take nice hot steamy baths. Probably means I'm going to give birth to a lobster at the end of it all. My little psychic buddy (as Scott calls it) tells me hot baths are liked very much. As well as now it really likes to make decisions on the food I eat now. I want one thing, it wants another. Sometimes there is no compromise and the psychic buddy wins. It's only when the psychic buddy votes for chocolate ice cream and pickle relish that it gets ugly. Makes the waiters give you funny looks, donchaknow?

Overall, the only other noticeable change that I feel is I find myself wanting to sleep on my back vs. my side. I actually wake up on my back. I know, I know, you're supposed to sleep on your left side for blood flow ect... blah blah blah. I'm definitely uncomfortable on my right side. My heart rate rises instantly. Weird.

Scott sees no other difference in me except that the boobie fairy has finally granted me my wish of bigger boobs! MEN!

Of course, the fact that I must get a whole new sweater wardrobe and push-up bras ASAP has nothing to do with it. I can't wait to have guys look me in the chest! WoOt!

Posted by Ellen at 07:38 PM | Comments (3)
Moon Smashup Confirmed

Also from BBCnews, the crater created by the only confirmed sighting of a lunar impact has been found.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
Beagle Progress

Last time we heard about Beagle 2, the Brits in charge weren't sure they would be able to finish it on time in order to make its ideal launch window. Looks like now they'll be able to make it. Assuming everything goes well, it should be wandering around Mars this time next year.

Posted by scott at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)
Seperate Bedrooms Please

Why are relative still like this with married people?

Hell, my parents were not like this when I was not married. Well, to my sister they are. She's just 16 and not married, but her boyfriend gets to sleep over at night. They do it camp out sleep over style. Hence, one couch for each or he crashes on the couch, and she goes to her bedroom.

When I was dating Scott, there were no seperate bedrooms. But I was also 19.

If I were ever to be faced with a circumstance like that, I would find the nearest hotel to crash at. Families that seperate husbands/wives/fiancees have their own sexual problem to deal with.

Posted by Ellen at 12:04 PM | Comments (4)
December 20, 2002
Baby Sign Language

This is pretty darn neat.

Scott and I are thinking about doing this science experiment with our baby.

Other sites about the program are:

Baby Bumble-Bee

Signing Baby

Kinder Signs

All of them have neat information to them. Pretty neat project if I might say so myself.

Posted by Ellen at 08:11 PM | Comments (4)

I so want this Barbie Doll.

It's not Barbie, it's her friend Midge!

You actually have to read the article to find out what's going on, I'm not going to give it away.

Posted by Ellen at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)
Not That You're Going to, but Just in Case

If any of you out there are actually looking for a classic Alfa, this one certainly looks to be worth considering. I've already got mine, and it's just about this nice, so I'm going to keep an eye on it to see how much it goes for.

Posted by scott at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
Brake Rotor Myths

My Alfa will vibrate so badly it'll rattle your teeth if you brake hard from highway speeds. It's done this from the day I've bought it, and three tries at various mechanics to fix it haven't worked, or rather haven't worked for long. According to this extremely interesting article, what my car is suffering from is not warp at all, rather a "cemetite" transformation causing uneven brake pad deposits.

The cure? New rotors and new pads. I was already planning on this, so it's no suprise. However, it's got very good recommendations on how to "bed in" your brakes so this sort of thing doesn't happen again. Highly recommended if you or someone you know is a gearhead.

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)
Mark Your Calendars

Looks like we're going to get to see a comet next month. How cool is that!? :)

Posted by scott at 11:06 AM | Comments (2)
Where is Raising Hell When You Need Them?

I really want to know what the folks over at Raising Hell would've made out of a school's reinactment of ancient human sacrifice rituals. I get the feeling Michele, at least, would want to be the one wearing the jackal headdress, but I'm not sure...

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)
December 19, 2002

Finally! I have found a site dedicated to cat puke!

How cool is that!?

Posted by Ellen at 06:28 PM | Comments (3)
The Conspiracy Widens

Lynn got herself adopted by another cat. Maybe this will finally be enough to kick loose a dragon report...

Posted by scott at 04:06 PM | Comments (1)
Where is Salam

For those of you wondering, yes, Salam has stopped blogging. Details are here. Summary: His blog got mentioned in a major US wire story, and suddenly he wasn't under the radar anymore. We wish him luck and hope he re-cloaks successfully.

Update: I forgot to say this was a bank-shot from Reflections in D Minor.

Posted by scott at 04:03 PM | Comments (3)
Stupid Crook Stories

Canada brings us the dumbest crooks of 2002.

My parents ran a liquor store, which is a moronic criminal magnet, for ten years. Among other things they encountered:

  • Two crooks who found the wired-sandwiched glass door too difficult to smash. Not thinking to bring gloves, they pulled the glass out with their bare hands and left perfect bloody hand and fingerprints all over the store as they left.
  • A crook who worked for what must have been hours unsuccessfully trying to hacksaw through the $60 hardened-chromium-steel padlock protecting the drive-through window*, completely ignoring the $12 hasp which held it.
  • A dumbass who brought an admittedly impressive (and quite illegal) switchblade in and, while loudly flicking it open and shut, posited that he could probably knife my dad before he could reach the sawed-off double-barrel shotgun (it wasn't the best neighborhood, and this was back in the 1970s when such things were accepted) set up behind the counter.

    Dad said it would be fine with him to try but would he first cut the head off this snake? You see, dad had a very realistic rubber snake under the counter he used to f-k with his buddies when they visited (dad was weird). The door was pushed open so hard and so fast as the idiot left it bent one of the hinges out of true. He left his very impressive, and probably very expensive, knife spinning on the floor.

  • A moron who somehow manage to break in the store early one summer morning and escape before the police arrived, only to be busted by a trail of "crumbs". While the police were taking statements, the mail man walked up and asked if the small white object he was holding wasn't one of our store's cash register tapes. Sure enough, it was. He'd found it on the street outside the store. As they looked over they saw another one, and a few dozen feet past that yet another.

    My parents would tightly wind up each day's register tape into a cylinder, then rubber band a week's worth together, then rubber band a month's worth together, getting a group of cylinder-like objects about the size of your fist. All the months went into a paper sack for record keeping. The thief must have thought it was a bag of change, because he stole it as well as some booze. As he was walking back to his hideout, he would pull one out, realize it was not a roll of quarters, then discard it, then pull another out, examine, and discard. The police, the mail man, and my dad slowly followed this trail all the way to his house, where he was discovered passed out on the couch.

  • A mouth-breather who simply walked in the door brandishing a .38 special and threatened the elderly semi-retired couple working for us that Saturday night until they gave him the cash register drawer. Instead of running straight out the front door toward freedom, he instead made a sharp left turn, then another sharp left turn, and ran right past the drive through window, on the drive-through window's driveway, apparently because his cousin lived down that road.

    Unfortunately for Mr. Robber, the old man whom he had frightened rather badly while threatening his wife, was a retired security guard from San Quentin's death row. Not realizing the thief was too stupid to be a threat to anyone but himself, the old man thought the robber was coming back. To protect himself and his wife, he pulled out the .44 magnum my dad had borrowed from a friend that afternoon and put a police-special bullet right between the theif's shoulder blades. The impact literally knocked him from his feet, triggering the second of his problems.

    My dad had only ten minutes before taken all the cash and brought a fresh load of change in to accommodate the rush. Our fresh-as-oatmeal-and-only-slightly-dumber criminal had stuffed his pockets full of more than $100 in pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, and this all broke open as he hit the pavement. While the EMTs were loading him onto a gurney (amazingly, he was not killed outright, but only paralyzed) all this change literally started streaming out of his pockets and tinkled its way out the drive-through. The police wanted to know, if he was as innocent as he was quite loudly proclaiming, he needed all this change.

    The answer was not recorded.

There's a reason I think people turn to a life of crime because they're too stupid to do anything else, and it's not just from watching cops.

Posted by scott at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)
When Activists Attack

PETA is at it again, this time giving fur coats to homeless women. Now they'll be warm crack whores, at least until their johns take them away. Gah. There's nothing more annoying than a freshman with a cause.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (2)
Most Popular Driving Songs?

I don't know, I haven't even heard of the first most popular "driving" song of the year. I have heard of most of the others, actually too much. Is it just me, or does radio seem to suck more during the holidays?

Posted by scott at 10:19 AM | Comments (1)
Well, at Least They Don't Live in Arkansas

Proof that completely weirdo new age cults don't just set up in Texas, Arkansas, or California, I present to you the Raelians, who appear to be set up near montreal. It seems they're working hard to make a human clone, which would fulfill their prophecies of an alien return

The line for the tinfoil hats starts over there --->

Posted by scott at 10:13 AM | Comments (3)
T3 Trailer Released

There's a Terminator 3 trailer out now. Cameron only got writing credit, and it looks an awful lot like the last. I don't know, looks like they may have jumped the shark with this one...

Posted by scott at 10:07 AM | Comments (5)
December 18, 2002
Damned if They Didn't Actually Do Some 'Splainin!

We got this in our "tell us about it" bin today:

Dear Neighbors,

First off, welcome to the neighborhood. I too have recently moved in and like it a lot here. I have to say, it is very interesting to read your blog every now and then. The banner on your cruiser is effective advertising. Again, welcome.

Now, on to my story. One day I came home from work, turned on my laptop, and went to fix dinner. I came back and the PC had detected a wireless signal and automatically connected me. SWEET! That snazzy Bill Gates and is swish XP. I saw this wireless signal as a gift from the networking gods. There are actually two networks that I detect in our neighborhood. The only one I can use is named "Wireless", so I assume that's you. There's a "francois1954", but I can't pick it up very well. I must say the "Wireless" signal is spotty at best and only works on the side of the house closest to you. It is fast, however, and super cool to surf away while watching Sunday football. Oh, and can you really beat instant messaging your buddies while taking care of business in the bathroom? I think not.

Now I honestly had no idea where this signal was coming from. I could only guess based on the strength of signal in different parts of the house that it was in your general direction. When you moved in I saw the banner on your car and started reading your diary. Somewhere in there you mentioned that you had a wireless LAN so at that point I assumed it was you.

[This Paragraph Removed to Avoid the Cable Police, *winkwink* *nudgenudge*]

I never had intention of hacking you or abusing your network. It was truly an accident that I came across the signal, and merely a convenience ever since. I suppose you’ve learned a lesson in WAP encryption, [CABLE POLICE AVOIDANCE TRIGGERED!]. You can reply to me or through the website… Chief Moose style


You’re Good Intentioned Not So Mysterious Neighbor (XXXXXX)


Personally, I'm amazed you were able to pick up the signal. Sometimes we have difficulty picking it up just upstairs! Serves me right for not implementing security in the first place. Thanks for the note, and we'll be getting back to you on the other thing via e-mail.

P.S. Ellen wants to know if you have a dog named Tucker?

Ain't that something?

Posted by scott at 12:39 PM | Comments (1)
Guns, Morals, Freedom, and Greatness

Rachel Lucas asked for fighting points on gun control, and got a response out of all proportion to her expectations. She took the best and made this long, interesting, passionate post.

An excerpt:

Me, personally, I'll take an American flag on the moon over free health care. I can buy health care. I wish to hell I could go to the moon. (Some of us in the Mojave desert may still have few tricks up our sleeve on this one. We're still free to build airplanes and spacecraft and fly the goddamn things. From our garages. Try and keep up with a nation that builds working spacecraft in the garage. As a hobby. For FUN.)

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
Carnival 13

Carnival of the Vanities 13 is up. Go look! :)

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
They Just Keep Getting Younger

When I was 7 I'm not sure I could even reach the pedals of most cars, but this kid apparently could. Twice.

The thing that just blows me away is that you have to have a permit to own a gun (most places), a license to drive a car, but anybody, anybody can have a kid without so much as a "mother-may-I". Anybody in the world can put themselves in charge of the smartest, handiest, deadliest predator the world has ever seen without even a test.

This scares me way more than Saddam ever will.

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (3)
Top 10 Weird News? has their picks for the top 10 weirdest stories of the year, but considering what a staple weird news is to the blogosphere I wonder. What do you think was the weirdest, funniest, or most f-d up major news story of the year?

Posted by scott at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
Your Tax Dollars at... um... Work?

Two videotapes? $10
A Senate recording studio? $10,000,000
Throwing the wrong switch and sending your p0rn into a senate office building?


Posted by scott at 09:03 AM | Comments (2)
First Jet Returns to Skies

The Me-262 project has finally managed its first flight. Ok, it was nearly a month ago, but still...

Posted by scott at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)
What Would Jesus Buy?

For the person who has everything, a Jesus action figure, fully equipped to walk on (shallow) water!

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM | Comments (1)
One Fine Ride

Even in minature, Alfas Rule!

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM | Comments (4)
December 17, 2002

It's almost axiomatic that we marry our parents. Guys marry their mothers, girls marry their fathers. Gays, well, I guess they get to choose. Regardless, it's an almost sacrosanct tenet of psychology, this Oedipal quest buried deep inside us.

Now, at first glance this seems, well, icky. I mean, most of us, even the ones with grown children, still can't picture our parents... well... you know. The concept of us actually going after them just sucks us right through the other side of icky and into this weird space where we lay sobbing on a couch and talk to a bizarre Austrian with glasses.

But really, when you get right down to it, it makes sense. There are only two people in your life who you get to watch in all their screwball glory. Gramma and Grandpa are semi-frightening legends, your friends only teach you how lame you are, and you don't trust the people at your work with business news, let alone anything personal.

Scary as it may seem, your kids pick people like you on purpose. And you picked people like your parents on purpose, because at heart they're the only people you really know how to deal with. Your parents, nearly always inadvertently, gave you a set of tools to deal with one particular kind of person on an ingrained, almost subconscious level. And of course while you may not realize it you are ensuring your own children will seek out your simulacrum, because you're the only people they'll ever see stuck on a toilet with no paper, or trapped naked under a mis-hung shower door, or fighting with a father, or crying with a mother.

Sure, you try to make sure they're not exactly like your parents, because let's face it your parents were psychos. Nice, even well intentioned for the most part, but quite patently escapees from Bedlam. The scary thing is every once in awhile you'll catch your own kids with these looks on their faces, watching you like a specimen in a jar, and you half expect them to be in white lab coats holding clipboards, clucking sadly as they take notes.

But here's the weird part. It's a kind of serial immortality. I mean, where does it end? If we're all marrying (hopefully improved) analogs of our parents, in a strange sort of way we really are keeping them alive. As they kept their parents alive, as their parents kept their grandparents alive, and so on, and so on.

So, when we look at our significant other, in a funny sort of way we're looking at a singular, gradually modified persona, which perhaps stretches back in a continuous, ever-shading thread into eternity. The ultimate communal creature, never existing in more than three individuals at once, never existing in a single bloodline at once, but definitely existing in them and ancestors stretching back to a time when we thought a stone axe was the "in" tool.

In a weird sort of way, we quite literally exist outside ourselves, a soul so big, so overarching, it can't really be contained in a single vessel. This creature is still recognizably human. It can be terribly broken and destructive, or amazingly powerful and enlightening. Sometimes it can be both in a single triptych of existence, because we don't pick exact analogs, but improved ones.

On the face of it, this is frightening beyond all reason. But on deeper reflection, I find it bizarrely powerful, this vision of what must only be a few hundred thousand "true" individuals existing in the billions of singular human beings alive today, immortal but changing, improving, sometimes slightly, sometimes profoundly, over thousands, maybe millions of years. It makes me wonder what you and I will be like a thousand years from now.

Because we won't just meet again. You see, we've never left.

Posted by scott at 09:23 PM | Comments (8)
Fo Shizzle My Mizzletoe... yeeah..

Almost on cue, Michele brings us a Snoop Christmas. It's like, I dunno... Richie & Michele are long lost siblings.


Posted by scott at 09:15 PM | Comments (1)
~The Bugs Are Raining Down On Us/Hoorah, Hoorah~

What nobody seems to understand about this story is that, if it pans out, we could already be studying E.T.'s. Tiny, microbial ETs, yes, but still...

Posted by scott at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)
It's Not Nice to Fool with Mr. Geek

FYI: If you're going to piggyback off my (admittedly insecure) wireless LAN, at least have the decency not to give your machine your name. It makes it way too easy to spot. One of my four neighbors has some 'splainin to do!

Hah. Cut 'em off, take THAT!

Posted by scott at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)
Cowboy Beebop Update

Slashdot is reporting the release date for the Cowboy Beebop movie is January 2003. Mark your calendars!

Also, Cartoon Network seems to have aquired the rights to three new anime series. Hopefully they won't feel the need to mangle them very much.

Posted by scott at 05:26 PM | Comments (2)
You Try to Get Them to go to AA

You only thought uncle Ted was a mean drunk. Howsabout a herd of pissed off drunken elephants?

Posted by scott at 05:05 PM | Comments (1)
December 16, 2002

Everyone knows what whackballs Star Trek fans are, right? I mean, who else does such wacky stuff? Well, 1) only a very few fen take it to that extreme, and 2) Star Trek fans aren't the only ones who do such silly things.

Posted by scott at 04:17 PM | Comments (0)
Tribal Justice

Larry and Meryl and many others may perhaps claim this is yet another example of the "peace and justice" religion of Islam, but that's taking the wrong lesson from it. This is yet another example instead of the way the world used to work for the past ten thousand years or so. Might makes right, and you don't piss off the powerful folks otherwise it will go very badly for you. This is the kind of "traditional" culture we are being railed at for destroying.

The ugly fact is that these sorts of "traditions" have resulted in the torture, death, and dismemberment of far, far more native people than any colonial regime imposed by the west has ever even approached.

"Traditional" cultures are, at heart, about how to keep powerful families as powerful as possible and the weak masses as weak as possible. The fancy dresses, fancy dances, and fancy literature are merely window dressing to distract from this mean, ugly truth. Just because a family shows up to church clean, smiling, and in pretty clothes doesn't forgive the fact that the husband goes home, gets drunk, and beats his wife and children.

Because, when it gets right down to it, if enabling small people to stand up to rich thugs means I'll never again see a Ramayana dance, if forcing families to raise baby girls instead of leaving them in the far corner of a rice paddy to die means I'll never again hear a Muezzin call the faithful to prayer, if giving the common people a voice in their own destiny means I'll never get to eat a traditional Massai meal, well, I'm just fine with that.

Aren't you?

Posted by scott at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)
652nd Least Likely Way to Die

Arafat and his cronies have been going at it all the wrong way. I mean, who needs C4 when you can just use bananna gas?

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Turk Trek

Just go read this. Trust me, you'll laugh.

Posted by scott at 12:49 PM | Comments (2)
Value Meal Miracle

I guess you could file this one under What Would Jesus Eat?

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (0)
What Would Jesus... Ummm...

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

Posted by scott at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)
Seyfert's Sextet

BBCnews is carrying more miraculous pictures from Hubble, this time of four galaxies slowly coming apart under each other's gravitational influence.

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)
December 15, 2002
My Favorites are CV-6 & CVN-65...

Rachel Lucas, who has readers I would love to bundle up, steal, and join you guys, brings us this representative sample of what Victor Davis Hanson is all about. He's talking about aircraft carriers in this essay, but Carnage and Culture (see lower-right) is just like this. A damned fine academic who is actually proud to be an American.

It took me a long time to realize how special, subtle, and unbelievably powerful our navy is. Here's one fact that brought it home to me:

The "big" aircraft carrier, perhaps defined simply as a ship which allows at least 50 conventional aircraft to operate from its deck, is an invention not much more than sixty years old. Without question, it is by far the most effective method of conventional power projection in any navy's arsenal. In all the world, in all of history, only five nations have ever fielded them. Of those five, only three operate them today. Of those three nations, the second-most numerous operator is Great Britain, with three.

The first-most numerous operates twelve. Three guesses as to who that nation is, and the first two don't count.

It must totally infuriate tinpots abroad and socialists at home that, in actual fact, it doesn't really matter if you give the United States access to your airspace or airbases. It doesn't matter if you manage to browbeat your neighbors into denying the United States the same. It doesn't even matter if you manage to stand in your minaret and foment the ignorant street into making it too expensive for us to use bases your own government has allowed us to use.

Because in less than two weeks we can park our own goddamned airfield off your coast, and operate seventy aircraft of such sophistication and performance you can only hope to knock down one or two if you're lucky. If you piss us off enough, we'll bring two or three more. They'll be able to stay out there until we get what we want because we have ten more where those came from

And there's not a goddamned thing you can do about it.

Posted by scott at 07:23 PM | Comments (10)
Well, at Least We're on Someone's Radar

I'm not sure if being immortalized for what is essentially an 800 word fart joke is a good thing or not, but hell, why not...

Posted by scott at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)
Drivin' Home

Our favorite Goddess brings us this cool bank shot of a cat (of course!) flash animation. I actually like the tune too... bluesy, not to sappy.

Could Joanie be a crazy-cat-lady in hiding?

Posted by scott at 06:52 PM | Comments (1)
12 Weeks

This is the last week of my First Trimester. Yeah, ok, I still forget I'm pregnant.

According to my baby calander thingy, the baby is doing this: This week, your baby's face looks practically human. Her (HER HER HER HER HER) eyes have moved closer together and her (HER HER HER HER HER) ears are right where they should be. Your baby is all of 3 inches long now and has entered what is known as the fetal period, when tissues and organs rapidly grow and mature.

Pretty weird huh? How can something be 3 inches long inside of me, let alone a uterus the size of a small melon and I cannot feel a thing. Well, almost not a thing. The only time I feel something odd is when I am exercising and doing my crunches ect... Kinda feel a large ball in my abdomen and I can't crunch as small as I used to.

I still have the two upper parts to my 6 pack abdomen, and the center line cut from my sternum to my belly button. WoOt! Not bad for a pregnant chick! Cellulite is under control, as is my diet. I'm not going too nuts, though I do find that my blood sugar is going all wonky again. Now I have to carry around granola bars (the cracker thing has made me ill since I've eaten too many these past few weeks) so I won't get these monstrous headaches (Tylenol is NO help for headaches!- they suck in that dept! Plus you can only take so many in a day.)

Scott doesn't find it funny that bedtime is right after my bath. That's about 8:30 in my world. I still feel I'm not getting enough sleep, though everyone laughs at me like I am some dumb ass fool saying: "Wait till you have the baby, then sleep becomes something you hardly hear of." Um... no shit. I never asked for a full nights sleep caring for a baby, I think I know the consequences of it. I've had my fair share of waking up every two hours for kittens. Yeah, kittens may not be people, but people won't fucking die if you forget just one feeding either. There's stress, and then there's stress...

Remember I chose to get pregnant. This was not an 'oopsie' and now I'm paying for it. Scott always says "You can sleep when you're dead." I'm not sure if I agree, but who knows...

I take frequent naps only to be woken up to the White Cat Alarm[tm] (Ajax) joyously kneading either my boobs or my full-but-not-full bladder for food and some attention. OR, 4 cats have to sleep with me during my nap. One at my head, two at the foot of the bed and one at my side. For some reason, they won't bug Scott!

Me: "Dammit you cats! Leave Mommy Cat alone for an hour! Go bother Daddy Cat!"

The cats: "Oh but Mommy Cat, your bed is so nice and toasty and you are napping so we must share the napping experience with you. Daddy Cat yells at us and calls us yak factories."

Shit. Me: "Ok, everyone in bed! Pick your position and stay in it. No stepping on the boobs or bladder!" (in the background, Ajax: "awww...")

The cats: "Whee!!!! Nap time! ZZZZzzzzZZZzzzz"

Still, the first part of the rollercoaster ride is almost over. We've pulled out of the coaster station and headed up the rail for the first drop and now we're getting ready for that first curve.

87 days pregnant, 193 days to go.

Posted by Ellen at 06:15 PM | Comments (3)
Engrish in Space

After many setbacks and more than a few spectacular failures, Japan has finally made a successful launch of its home-grown rocket, the H-2. No word yet if it transforms into a giant winged robot.


Posted by scott at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)
But Only if You Open the Box...

Happy belated 100th birthday goes out to Quantum Physics. Actually, it was 100 years ago yesterday, but we've been busy with last-minute Christmas shopping and just now got around to it.

Posted by scott at 05:57 PM | Comments (0)
You Heard it Here First, Folks

I have a new axiom courtesy of Ellen the Vet Tech:

Ugh. It's never a good sign when your vet's office is next door to a Chinese restaraunt.

-- heard while driving past same.


Posted by scott at 05:49 PM | Comments (1)
December 13, 2002
For Some Reason I Suddenly Feel Very, Very Small

Using a ground-based European telescope, scientists have discovered galaxies even further away than what Hubble has seen. They're redshifted so far their light is infrared now.

Most of these objects are so far away their light left before the stars that formed the nebula that formed the stars that formed the nebula that formed our star were born. At least.

Posted by scott at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)
Testing, 1... 2... 3...

Jim noted that his site didn't look right in old versions of Netscape, to which Joanie replied "Who Cares?" I started this as a reply on Jim's site, but figured a wider audience might be interested.

Who should care? You should, and you should, and you should too! The netscape browser is making a comeback now that it's been revamped, is stable, secure, and has more features than IE. It also follows the CSS rules more closely, and doesn't have as many quirks as IE.

The old Netscape browsers (4.x and lower) were written when CSS was in its infancy, and as a result they don't follow style sheets very well, if at all. Because of CSS's growing popularity, increasing numbers of sites are gradually becoming unreadable to these early browsers. It will be difficult to get your site to view correctly in 4.x.

As a web site administrator I consider it a duty to make sure my sites look correct in at least the two "big" browsers. Luckily, the MT writers think so too, and so it's quite rare for me to find an MT site that doesn't display properly in Netscape 6+ (yours, Jim, and yours, Joanie, both look fine, for example). Unfortunately blogspot doesn't work that way, and so Maru's site, for example, is almost unreadable to me at work, and Larry's is unreadable to Ellen at home (although that might be because Ellen's computer is schizophrenic "quirky"). We don't check those blogs as often as we want to because of this.

It's a free download folks. Take the time out to get the latest version and at least glance at your site in both versions when you make changes. Sure, it's a pain in the ass, and yes, there's nothing quite as frustrating as having everything look "just so" in the browser YOU use but having it get mangled in the browser someone else uses. But until IE catches up with Netscape's (actually Mozilla's) conformity to standards, you still have to do it.

Do you have to make your blog look perfect in both browsers? No. Ours looks perfect in Netscape but there are weird little details in IE (the text in the sidebars tends to run off the margins at times, for example). But it's quite readable. One of the points of blogging is to allow as many readers as possible to check you out. I, for one, will thank you.

P.S. Also keep in mind AOL is still making noises about switching its default browser to a Mozilla-powered system, making it essentially the same as Netscape. If that happens we Netscape users won't be such a small minority!

Posted by scott at 09:06 AM | Comments (5)
eBay Scam Alert

There's another e-bay scam making the rounds, so you all be careful out there. What was the GI Joe saying? "Forewarned is Forearmed", or something like that... Anyway, be careful!

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)
When Static Attacks

Just about every modern car today will zap you as you get out of it after driving awhile. Sometimes when it happens to me you can see the spark in broad daylight and hear it on the other side of the car. According to Road & Track, this is because the carbon content in tires has changed over time, making them less conductive and therefore allowing a static charge to build up on/in/around the car. When you step out and touch the door to close it, POW, the difference is discharged through your body.

Why do I bring this up? Well, because avoiding the ZAP can cause other problems.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (1)
December 12, 2002
Ask Jade

When puppets go to porn.

Posted by Ellen at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
Ass Jewelry

Scott sent me this. NO! It does not mean he wants me to buy one! He just wanted you perves to get a XXX fix!

Though, this tells me this is NOT the kind of jewelry to get your girl/guy for the holiday.

Posted by Ellen at 05:46 PM | Comments (1)
Door Fixin's

Wherein, Our Hero decides to actually use his garage for something other than storing potatoes in, and finds that fixing an old car is a lot like dating an Italian woman: full of gaffs, unintended screwups, expensive trinkets, yet strangely satisfying at the end.

  1. Turn on garage heat, go back inside while garage warms up
  2. Go Christmas shopping because a) you need fender covers and b) mall will be empty because only crazy people go shopping in an ice storm.
  3. Remember on way home to turn off space heater in garage
  4. Watch fire trucks whizz past car on way home
  5. Laugh weakly to self remarking how one only notices such events when one has been a moron
  6. Scan the sky for smoke anyway
  7. Arrive home, noting with relief it is not smoking hole in ground
  8. Deposit various spares and bits into toasty-warm garage
  9. Climb upstairs to find BouncyHappyEllen has been hormonally replaced with Linda Blair clone. On second head-spin-round go back down to toasty-warm garage, allowing cats to feel full wrath of pregnant she-devil.
  10. Remove new shiny rare (expensive) interior door panels (NSR[e]IDP) from box
  11. Remove shoes so as not to step on NSR[e]IDP's with dirty shoes
  12. Note space heater heats space, not concrete, as toes discover socks not good insulation vs. 40 degree garage floor
  13. Replace shoes
  14. Remove old, water-ruined door panel. Curse previous owner (PO) for not placing moisture barrier inside doors (PO had a habit of this, neglected to replace other "niceties" like the lock washers that help hold the camshafts in place inside the engine).
  15. Remove 10ft x 25ft sheet of 4 mil plastic. 250 square feet of visqueen, smallest size Home Depot carried, to make a moisture barrier for 6 square feet worth of door panels.
  16. Proceed with sharpy marker to mark out new pattern for moisture barrier (MB).
  17. Use MB to measure where to place clip holes in new panel. PO used six clips instead of more standard screws to hold door panel in place.
  18. Use power drill to very, very carefully place four new holes in NSR[e]IDP.
  19. On cue, wife appears in garage doorway to allow Scott's Fuzzy Little Helpers access to garage.
  20. Have this conversation:

    Ellen: "What are you using a drill for?!?"
    Scott: "Need to put holes in for some clips."
    Ellen: (in doubtful tone) "How did you figure out where to put the holes?"
    Scott: (in confident tone) "I measured them using the old panel"
    Ellen: (even more doubtful) "Like you measured the speakers on the wall?"
    Scott: (in annoyed tone) "Go away. Nobody notices that."
    Ellen: (in "here-we-go-again" sing-song tone): "Okaaay..."

  21. Place MB in door, clips in panel, and attempt to mount door
  22. Notice door panel does not fit because it has no cut-out for door opener
  23. Spend next hour on knees measuring, chipping, cutting, scoring, drilling, cursing, praying new door opener hole into panel. Ponder sacrificing Scott's Fuzzy Little Helpers to door panel god in the process.
  24. Fit door. Note, out of four carefully measured new clip holes, only one actually fits.
  25. Drill two new holes. Note Rule of Old Cars will now hold true, as two clips will now be "left over"
  26. Decide one panel is enough for tonight. Get wine glass and book, sit in car to ponder next move
  27. Jump two feet in the air, catch knee under steering wheel, spill wine, drop book, and yell "JESUS CHRIST!!!" as five foot tall shrieking harpy suddenly leaps into garage
  28. Explain to Ellen that it's Not Funny to imitate screaming fury just to announce dinner is ready.
  29. Wipe up wine as Ellen wipes tears from face

I still don't think that was very damned funny!

Posted by scott at 03:36 PM | Comments (3)
Another Convert

Lynn of LynnUnleashed has moved, changed her name, and converted to MT. Things are looking great from here, but she's still tinkering so don't be surprised if a beam comes loose or a light bulb falls out occasionally. Good job!

Posted by scott at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)
Playin' with your head

First try this the "normal" way by reading the word, but saying the color. Then try it my way: look at the last letter of every word and say what color it is. Easier, no?

Yeah I know, old, but fun!

Posted by scott at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)
Just When You Thought People Couldn't be any More F-d Up

I present to you the bizzare case of a man who answered a classified ad asking for "someone willing to be slaughtered".

I'm going to go take a shower now...

Posted by scott at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)
Insert Obligatory Mormon Joke Here

I knew, in an offhand way, that mormons had a tendency to do postmortem baptisms, at least to their own families. I wasn't aware, though, that they tended to do this with Jews. A lot, apparently.

I've known a lot of people who were mormons over the years, and they're just not this weird. Are they just hiding it well?

Posted by scott at 01:12 PM | Comments (4)
Those Crazy Southerners

To prove that Arkansas isn't the only place filled with weird and tacky sh*t, I give you Wacky Alabama.

Heh. They only have a Boll Weevil monument. Arkansas has an entire Boll Weevil College. No, really!

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (2)
A Case Good Enough to Eat

Hey Jeff, how well do you think a gingerbread house PC case would do in overclocking?

Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)
Carnival Up

Gah, like Meryl I forgot to note the latest Carnival is up. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)
Somehow I Don't See Horace Getting One

One more reason for Jimspot to get himself a bike, seems like they're developing airbags for motorcycles. Unlike a helmet, which from what I have read in several places won't do you too much good in a high-speed accident, these seem to have real potential.

Posted by scott at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)
December 11, 2002
Betcha Ellen Can Do It

The Japanese can think of the weirdest stuff. Only mildly raunchy, no nudity, but it's noisy and we haven't had a naughty bit in awhile (ELLEN).

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (1)
Why Ellen Should Never Be a Cop

It's one thing to have to deal with death and carnage in a car crash, a whole other when dozens of snakes start pouring out of one of the vehicles.

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (1)
Proof White Trash Doesn't Just Live in the South

If every man's wife shot him for watching porn, well, who would be left to do all the auto maintenance and heavy lifting?

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (1)
Urban Renewal, the New York Way

I've heard of home improvement projects going awry, but this is rediculous.

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (1)
X-Mas in Pac-Land

I really remember watching Pac-Man the animated cartoon on saturday mornings back in the 80's. Thats right Scott, the 80's! You were what? In college then? (wink)

Anyway, here is a overview of the X-Mas Special.

Posted by Ellen at 07:47 AM | Comments (1)
December 10, 2002
Opera Baby

My sister and her boyfriend sent me this.

Like Scott says, everything in my life is an opera.


Posted by Ellen at 06:54 PM | Comments (2)
Out Today

I'm out a training for our new jiffy-pop web management system. We've got at least two "anvils" coming to this training, so I may actually be able to do updates while the teacher explains what double-clicking is to them. We'll see...

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
December 09, 2002
A Day at the Range

This one's inspired by Rachel, who just now related her own experience on the shooting range.

My brother likes big, noisy things. The bigger and noisier, the better. He has a 77 Trans Am with the biggest, meanest, loudest engine he could stuff in it without having to tie the hood down with bungee cords. He has a riding lawnmower (with headlights!) that can seat 2. Hell, even his computer has something like seven cooling fans inside it... it sounds like a 747 starting up when he turns it on.

He also has, I kid you not, a Desert Eagle .50 caliber handgun. Take the biggest, meanest, most unreasonable ur-gun you've ever seen, and then make it twice as big and four times as loud. A pavement-black poster child of everything that's both right and wrong about America's gun culture, that's a DE .50.

And it was exactly what my brother wanted. And purchased. For defense? Nope, that's what the 10mm Glock he already had was for. He wanted it precisely because it was the firearm equivalent of a monster truck. It's a gun you only read about in magazines or see in movies. Nobody actually owns one of these things.

Now, I like guns. But even I will admit to thinking my brother had gone right out the other end of redneckville and had instead landed within walking distance of Colonel Kurtz himself when he pulled this thing out of its case. I mean, even the slide action was enough to wake the neighbors. I knew it was only a matter of time until I got drug to the shooting range to go kill some targets. So, rather than fight the inevitable, on our next visit I quite willingly hopped into his car and he drove me to his favorite shooting range.

The decor of the place was a liberal activist's nightmare. The posters fairly dripped red-white-and-blue (this was before 9-11 mind you). The NRA not only had most of the signage, they also had those little tear off pen-and-pad "sign me up" displays I normally associated with the timeshare condo crowd. And of course there were guns. You name it; they had it, all on display in the glass cases like so many Nikon or Cannon cameras.

Even I was expecting this to be a place where they had a pegboard meant especially for KKK robes, but I couldn't have been more wrong. While the ownership was white, the clientele was everything... I saw black folks, white folks, Asian folks, Latino folks, pretty much every kind of folks under the sun, both native and -American. The staff was friendly and helpful, and because of the kind of place this was, everyone was very, very careful.

You could already hear the snare drum "tak! .. tak! ... tak!" of people inside the firing range proper. After buying targets and renting hearing and eye protection we went through two doors, rounded a corner and there it was... a dozen or more classic stalls just like in the cop movies, with targets held downrange on motorized guy wires, shaped for all the world like a half-finished bowling alley.

It was with a combination of bemusement and worry that, as instructed, I put in my earplugs and then put the mouse-ears over them. Because it had been awhile since I'd shot anything we decided to go with the "smaller" of his two guns, the 10mm Glock, first. We went through a few clips of this while the rest of the range booths slowly began to fill with patrons. With so much hearing protection it wasn't a din, more of a rhythmic, percussive music:

"taktataktakBANG[the glock]taktakBOOM[someone brought a shotgun]tatatakBANGtakBOOMtaktaktatak" ... the sound of people earnestly trying to ensure they're not more of a danger to themselves than to a potential attacker. Unfortunately I merely proved to be good at frightening our paper bad guys. Oh, I knew which way to point the thing and the proper moment at which to take the safety off, but I've just never gotten the hang of pistol shooting.

After making fun of my inability to deal hot lead death to our erstwhile enemies for a clip or two Jeff decided it was time to bring out the "real" gun. A Glock 10mm is a big gun, probably the biggest handgun on the range that day. But next to that absurd Warner-Brothers-cartoon-made-real monstrosity it looked little more than plastic cap gun.

Jeff's grin kept getting bigger and bigger till I thought the top of his head would fall off. He checked everything out, pushed a fist-sized clip into the butt end, made sure I was a safe distance away, then took aim. "[WATCH THIS]" he mouthed to me as he popped the safety off:


I only thought it looked absurd. Each time he pulled the trigger on this monster the concussion, standing two feet away mind you, was like getting slapped by a gloved hand. Even with two sets of hearing protectors it still felt like I was getting smacked in the ear with a ball peen hammer. And it wasn't just the noise. There was also the two foot flame that shot out of the barrel with every round, making me worry we might actually set the wooden walls of our stall on fire. Even more impressive was how the cadence reacted to it:



taktaktak taktaktak


tak ... tak ... tak ...


tak ... ... tak ... ... ...

Now, remember, we had someone with a shotgun firing in this place. But, compared to that godawful .50, the shotgun was simply a hoarse cough. Everyone slowly stopped firing and at first looked our way, then put their guns down and actually walked over, wanting to investigate what was making this outrageous racket. We actually had to stop and let them have a look. Jeff removed his ear protection for a bit (nobody was shooting at this point) to explain the finer points of this Rosy O'Donnell nightmare in gunblack steel.

After everyone had left it was my turn to shoot the damned thing. It wasn't the noise or the flash or the kick that was bothering me, it was getting my hand caught in the action of it, which slid back the entire top of the gun as it worked. I'm sure it would've just given me a nasty pinch, but at the time it looked quite capable of taking my thumb off. I carefully widened my stance, popped the safety, aimed, took a deep breath, let it half out, and

KA - BOOM!!!

The kick sent the gun rocketing straight up in the air, allowing the evil thing to spit the hot, spent brass straight between my eyes, which, given the weight, actually hurt! I immediately grabbed my forehead, making Jeff think I was going to let the gun go spinning into the standing area behind the range. He grabbed it just as it topped the arc my arm was moving in and helped me pop the safety back on.

Did I hit the target? Good lord how could you tell? You can't see around the muzzle flash, you're expecting your head to crack open from the sound, and the kick causes it to do a convincing imitation of a shuttle launch. I could have sworn it was actually trying to wriggle out of my hand and rush out the door, giving me the finger as it went. By the time I got everything reassembled neither of us were sure which, if any, of the new superholes in our paper bad guy were mine.

But by that point it didn't matter. I'd fired the damned thing, hell it was even fun. But I was still too worried about the action to want to fire it again. I handed it back to Jeff, and for the remainder of our ammo he shot the .50 while I shot the Glock.

As we were driving home I realized the purpose of such obviously purposeless machines. They're not for defense, although they can do that. They're not for killing, although they're quite patently capable of that as well. They're for people who enjoy controlling fire and violence and solid sound, who like being the only one on the block with a toy everyone's heard of, who use their machines as a method of introduction, a social calling card capable of holing an engine block at fifty paces.

And really, what the hell is wrong with that?

Posted by scott at 05:59 PM | Comments (19)
Happy Birthday Ted E. Bear!!!!

Teddy is 3 today. My special little guy!!!! :)

I cannot believe we have made it this far with this kitty. He is very special. He takes medication willingly, and sees his cardiologist 2x's per year and with the slightest problem, he goes to work with me for bloodwork and the full workup! Hopefully I'll get several more years out of him. I told him he has to live till he is 20. So far there is no sign of slowing down.

Happy Birthday Mr. Ssiippss!!!!!!!

-Love Mommy Cat

Posted by Ellen at 05:33 PM | Comments (1)
Charity Work

So I work at a non-profit. One of the "new" fundraising ideas is to get employees of the non-profit to donate some of their own salary back to the company.

So, like, am I being a mean cranky bastard when I think if they really needed the staff to donate they should just garnish our wages up front? I mean, that way at least we know what it is.

Gah. I'm in a nasty mood today, aren't I?

Posted by scott at 12:53 PM | Comments (7)

Well, I guess everyone needs a hobby of some sort.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)
Paging Wallace and Gromit... Your Car is Ready

Ok, sometimes cute customization can go just a little too far. Ah well, at least they didn't paint nighthawk on it.

Posted by scott at 09:01 AM | Comments (1)
Not Just an Old TV Manufacturer has this interesting article on new discoveries about quasars, including a surprising new revelation about our own local area of the Milky Way Galaxy.

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)
December 08, 2002
Hero Builders

Get your Osama action figure!

Don't want Osama? What about other camel jockeys? Yes, if they live in the desert and use camels, I call them camel jockeys. How EvIl and PrEdJuDiCe of me!- see a trend people? I can't stand the Middle East. Yeah ok, we link a blog to a guy who basically told America to fuck off. But hey, that means I can call them camel jockeys, Genies, magic carpet riders, you name it. Because I can.

So what are you waiting for! Get a character GI Joe will be exited to 'play' (blow back to Allah) with! Get him a REAL villian! Get him an Osama or a Saddam to play with!

No Prize! to Nina!

Posted by Ellen at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Sitter Update

So last weekend we went and visited A, you know, the person who Ellen likes to cat-sit for all the time? So we're telling her what happened, talking about how the keys didn't work, and guess what...

Yup, that little minx took those keys, the same keys Ellen wanted to get Medieval on because of their obstinate refusal to Obey Our Imperial Majesty This Instant, walked to the door and without so much as a wiggle popped that door right open.

We were both sitting there, open-mouthed, for a good five seconds. Ellen finally asked "how did you do that?!?"

"Oh," A said with her characteristic cotton-candy bounce, not one ounce of malice in her voice, "there's this trick to my door..."

Posted by scott at 05:26 PM | Comments (2)

Right now, I don't need to fit into maternity clothing. I'm still good with what I have. What I did need was a kinder cut stocking to wear at work under my pants so my knees and ankles aren't the size of championship bowling balls by the end of the day.

So I walk into MotherHood Maternity in the mall. Just for stockings. If you go to JC Penny's for stockings and buy your normal size, one size up, they are guaranteed to fall off. All I needed was a set of stocking that were nice in the waist and tight everywhere else.

Of course the damn stockings are set right on the counter so the sales girl can talk to you. Shit. "Hi", she says. "Do you need help"? Me? no, I just wanted the stockings.

"Um, well, do you have full support stockings? Not just medium support?" I ask.

She rolls her eyes. "Are you pregnant?" No, I just like to shop in maternity stores, you stupid shit. "You are awfully small to be shopping here yet." I wanted to ask her if she was pregnant or did she just have a permanent fat ass.

"Well yeah, I'm just 11 weeks, but my support hose doesn't fit right in the waist anymore". I'm wondering if I have to go into detail that I'm on my feet for nearly 8 hours a day. We're talking Golden Gate Bridge-class support here.

Suddenly the other sales girl, who had obviously been listening, comes up and says. "Look at the time! Time for you lunch break right"? The other girl looked at her and left.

Now I have to deal with an apologetic sales girl who did nothing wrong, but had to run in to prevent something nasty from happening. Needless to say, she helped me pick out the right kind of stockings I would need for work to prevent 'pooling of blood' in my lower extremities.

I even found out she was due on June 27th also. So she was rather excited to help me pick out the items I needed.

I should've asked her for the hours she worked, so I wouldn't have to deal with the 'other' girl again.

All of this, for a pair of stockings.

Posted by Ellen at 03:39 PM | Comments (3)
Frizzle Like a Fritter

I would literally shit in my pants if this happened to me.

Question is, how did the snake get in there?

Posted by Ellen at 01:14 PM | Comments (3)
Jesus of the Week

Do you have a picture of Jesus that is web worthy? If so, go submit a Jesus!

C'mom people! Even Bush made it to the submit a Jesus! What are you waiting for!? Submit a Jesus!

Posted by Ellen at 08:37 AM | Comments (1)
F-16 Fuck Up

Um...aren't they supposed to stand upright?

Posted by Ellen at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
Socks the Cat to Lead X-Mas Parade!

Socks the cat is going to be in Little Rock, Arkansas this holiday to lead the annual X-Mas parade.

He is still entrusted to Betty Currie, Clinton's secretary. She will be making the trip with him.

Mama!! You need to go see Socks in the parade!!! :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)
December 07, 2002
SnowMan Pinball

X-mas games are back!!! I really have to find Elf Bowling again, but for now, enjoy some SnowMan Pinball.

Update It's Elf Bowling. This is the ultimate X-mas game!

Posted by Ellen at 04:11 PM | Comments (2)
Bionic Eyes

BBCnews has more updates on ocular implants to help blind people see.

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)
11 weeks

This is the 2 week marker till the end of my first trimester. The baby is 2.5 inches long and actually looks more like a baby now, it just needs to get bigger. I am not any bigger at all, I even forget that I am pregnant at times.

Scott bought me an early X-mas gift, the book "From Conception to Birth, a life unfolds" by Alexander Tsiaras and Barry Worth. I'm sure you have seen this book on Oprah by now. It is too cool for words. Though I still can't believe it's happening.

I am actually feeling better now. I want to exercise, although I was told I MUST slow my aerobic activity down to 140 bpm. This is really tough because I am used to well above that heart rate. So when I exercise now, it's so boring. I'm even trying to do yoga during this pregnancy, but I feel pretty stupid throught the whole video. Example of some of the dialog: "Now look at your belly and say 'hello'." What belly? Oh, you mean the non-existant one?

I just can't seem to get spiritual right now. Am I supposed to get spiritual over this? I just think of this as something I get to partake in like millions of other women who have done this for thousands of years before me.

Thank god we heard a heartbeat over Thanksgiving to actually make us believe that I do have a little parasite that I am only host to right now. (Yes, get over my attitude, I am a scientific person not a spiritual one) Right now, I have no emotional attatchment to it. As I said earlier, I do not feel pregnant at all. I am moody, which is normal for me. So Scott says that does not count as pregnant mood swings.

As far as reading information on pregnancy ect... I have tons of the stuff. I love the magazines, and I have the 'book'. What I do find funny is that you need a book to learn how to do this. Something so primitive, yet I need someone to tell me how and what will happen. But my new book is so damn cool, it does remind me of some science experiment that all of a sudden goes right.

Week 0-9 is a jumble of cells that resmemble a bunch of goo to a stegasaurus, then all of a sudden at week 10 *SHABAM!!* it actually looks like a baby. A really really small one, but it's human. All in the matter of 3 months. Now all it has to do is get bigger.

11 weeks in, 29 to go.

Posted by Ellen at 03:51 PM | Comments (6)
December 06, 2002
The Other Side of the Coin

Salam over at Where is Raed told us to basically f*ck off, which, considering everything, is perfectly within his pervue and quite understandable. What surprised him, but didn't surprise me, was the huge, angry, mouth-breathing, so-dumb-it-scares-you set of replies he got in his comments (you have to click the comments to read them, can't link them here). So he wrote this as a reply.

What irritates me is there are people who will visit his site from ours who will agree with the comments but not the post. Look folks, reality check time:

  • The Iraq thing is our mess. We made it. This is what happens when you treat governments like they're things and not like they're big piles of extremely clever people scamming angles on your ass every chance they get.
  • The Iraq thing has little if anything to do with terrorism, and most, if not everything, to do with national pride.
  • Saddam is a lot brighter than a Palestinian housewife, and when those towers fell he was emphatically not out in the street dancing around. I have yet to see anyone provide any proof that he did anything other than run like a scalded monkey as far away from it as possible. I have yet to see any proof that he wasn't just as surprised as anyone else when it happened.
  • There are a bunch of old white men out there who think the reason Cuba is not an American territory is because a Democrat got in the White House and screwed it up. They look at forty years of sanctions against Cuba and see Castro is still waving his wank at "us" every chance he gets.
  • These men, and their sons (not just Bush), look at Iraq and think "never again". What many of you do not seem to understand is it's not the towers they have in mind, it's a small Caribbean island just off our coast.
  • Unfortunately, these men are in charge.
  • Because our media is too stupid to actually do a little research and stop regurgitating press releases from groups with obvious axes to grind, the American people by and large do not see these and other extremely obvious connections that have little to do with terrorism and everything to do with darker, uglier, irrelevant things.
  • The rest of the world does not have this problem.
  • If I lived in a country who's leader was kept in power for a decade by the US, and who's region was kept unstable because of the US, and who's people were kept in poverty because of the US, I'd want to send a big ol' "F*CK YOU" out as well.
  • This is what a "normal" Iraqi sees. They do not care about international law, or liberty, or terror. They care about food and shoes, clean hospitals and full pharmacies, national pride and prosperity. We may say we're bringing those things, but to a mother who can't get her baby vaccinated because of our embargo it sure as hell doesn't look like it.

Is it your fault our government was an obsessive-compulsive crackhead obsessed with communism in the 80s? No. Is it your fault a crazed leader for whom no less than Donald Rumsfeld himself helped arm up in the 80s decided to point those guns at the wrong country? No. Is it your fault our government decided to back off of throwing this nutjob out the first time because an unstable region was a profitable region? No.

So why are you so angry about it? Why do you care? Are you actually willing to send your own child out there to die just to salve the white conservative establishment's pride?

I'm about to become a father. If someone provided clear and incontrovertible proof Saddam was directly involved in the 9-11 attacks, I would have no problems sending my daughter/son (not sure yet, give us a few weeks) over there to kick him down the darkest hole on the planet. If someone provided clear and incontrovertible proof that he was planning to attack Israel, Britain, hell even France I would have no problem sending them over to protect those, or really any other country's, citizens. If someone provided clear and incontrovertible proof that Osama bin Laden was actually dumb enough to take shelter inside a country we have been bombing every single stinking day for the past ten fucking years I would support the leaders who sent my child to put both their heads on pikes.

But I haven't seen anything like that. And neither have you. And neither have they. And that's why Salam is pissed off, along with millions of his countrymen.

And if you think he's unreasonably stupid and nasty when he says "F*ck you United States" then you're just not paying the hell attention. Because if a dumbass redneck from Arkansas can see these connections and understand these emotions then I don't know what the hell is wrong with you.

Posted by scott at 12:46 PM | Comments (4)
Ok, Last One, I Promise

Most of my forays into spiritualism, natural history, biblical criticism, and biology have started out as ways of poking holes in Christian fundamentalists. Oh, they lead me to other, far greater things, but that's where they started out. Unfortunately by the time I'd got really well armed I'd moved completely out of fundieland (Arkansas), and never got to play smackdown with any of them.

But these guys did, and it was glorious. I'd've paid money to see that, I sure would!

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)
Shroud Facts

Ok, just go and browse the skepticTank's collection for yourself. Lots of good "old school" text collections from a time when the web was all about information (porn is information! :) ) and nobody'd ever heard of "flash animation".

I found this item on the Shroud of Turin particularly interesting. While a bit rambling and strange (it appears to be an old usenet post from "back in the day"), it does contain incredibly interesting points, such as:

  • Travelers' accounts from the 14th century (when it was first "discovered") frequently comment on how vivid and bright the image is.
  • The earliest known literary reference to the shroud is actually from an annoyed cleric writing the pope, ticked off that another church was making a ton of money off an obvious fake
  • Said cleric apparently dug up the guy who painted it and made him confess how he'd done it (unfortunately not included in the letter).
  • A real burial shroud would never have been laid over someone like a sheet. It would've been wrapped around them, and therefore made up of several different pieces.

Sometimes the internet is a huge sinkhole. Sometimes, though, it can be a shining beacon.

Posted by scott at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)
Evolution FAQ

Just in time to give your fundie friends a good drubbing for Christmas (oh, the irony!), I present to you this really nice summary of evolutionary facts. It's a bit wordy at times, but if you find yourself glazing over simply skip down a bit, it gets better.

My favorite:

[Since all Creationists claim to really want is "balanced" treatment,] Let's balance [it] by including the fables, myths, parables, and legends of the Aaragon, Abenaki, Acoma, Ainu, Aleut, Amunge, Ange vin, Anishinabek, Anvik-Shageluk, Apache, Arapaho, Ararapivka, Arikara, Armenian, Arrernte, Ashkenazim, Assiniboine, Athabascan, Athena, Aztec, Babylonian, Balinese, Bannock, Bantu, Basque, Blackfoot, Blood, Bosnian, Breton, Brul, Bundjalung, Burns P aiute, Caddo, Cahuilla, Catalan, Cayuga, Cayuse, Celt, Chehalis, Chelan, Cherokee, Chewella, Cheyenne, Chickasaw, Chinook, Chippewa, Chirachaua, Choctaw, Chukchi, Coeur d'Alene, Columbia River, Colville, Comanche, Congolese, Concow, Coquille, Cow Cre ek, Cowlitz, Cree, Creek, Croat, Crow, Crow Creek, Cumbres, Curonian, Cushite, Cut Head, Da'an, Devon, Dihai-Kutchin, Diyari, Dogon, Duwamish, Egyptian, Elwha, S'Klallam, Eritrean, Eskimo, Esrolvuli, Eta, Even, Evenk, Flathead, Fijian, Fox, Fuegan, G aul, Gooniyandi, Gond, Govi Basin Mongolian, Grand Ronde, Gros Ventre, Haida, Han, Haranding, Havasupai, Hendriki, Heortling, Hidatsa, Hindi, Hmong, HoChunk, Hoh, Hoopa, Hopi, Hunkpapa, Hutu, Ik-kil-lin, Inca, Innu, Intsi Dindjich, Inuit, Iroquois, I sleta, Itchali, Itelemen, It-ka-lya-ruin, Itkpe'lit, Itku'dlin, Jicarilla Apache, Jotvingian, Kaiyuhkhotana, Kalapuya, Kalispel, Kamchandal, Kansa, Karuk, Katshikotin, Kaurna, Kaw, Kazahk, Ketschetnaer, Khanti, Khoi-San, Khymer, Kickapoo, Kiowa, Kirg hiz, Kitchin-Kutchin, Klamath, Knaiakhotana, K'nyaw, Koch-Rajbongshi, Kolshina, Kono, Kootenai, Koyukukhotana, !Kung, Kurd, La Jolla, Lac Courte D' Oreille, Lac Du Flambeau, Laguna, Lake, Lakota, Lao, Latgalian, Leech Lake Chippewa, Lemmi, Lower Brul , Lower Yanktonai, Lowland Lummi, Lummi, Malawi, Makah, Mandan, Maori, Maricopan, Martinez, Mayan, Mazatec, Mednofski, Menominee, Meryam Mir, Mesa Grande, Mescalero Apache, Metlakatla, Miniconjou, Mission, Moallalla, Modoc, Mohawk, Mojave, Morongo, M uckleshoot, Murrinh-Patha, Nadruvian, Nagorno-Karabakh, Na-Kotchpo- tschig-Kouttchin, Nambe, Namib, Natche'-Kutehin, Navajo, Nes Pelem, Neyetse-kutchi, Nez Perce, Ngiyampaa, Nisqualli, Nnatsit-Kutchin, Nomelackie, Nooksack, Norman, Norse, Northern Che yenne, Nyungar, Oglala, Ogorvalte, Ojibway, Okanagon, Okinawan, Olmec, Omaha, Oneida, Onondaga, Ordovices, Orlanthi, Osage, Osetto, O-til'-tin, Otoe, Paakantyi, Paiute, Pala Mission, Papago, Pawnee, Pazyryk, Pechango, Penan, Piegan, Pima, Pitt River, Ponca, Potowatomie, Prussian, Pueblo, Puyallup, Qiang, Quileute, Quinault, Red Cliff Chippewa, Red Lake Chippewa, Redwood, Rincon, Sac, Saisiyat, Sakuddeis, Salish, Salt River, Samish, Samoan, Samogitian, San Carlos Apache, San Idlefonso, San Juan, San Poil, Santa Clara, Sartar, Sauk-Suiattle, Selonian, Semigolian, Seminole, Senecan, Sephardim, Serano, Serb, Shasta, Shawnee, Shiite, Shinnecock, Shoalwater Bay, Shoshone, Sikh, Siletz, Silures, Sinhalese, Sioux, Siskiyou, Sisseton, Siuslaw, Skal vian, S'Klallam, Skokomish, Skyomish, Slovene, Snohomish, Snoqualmie, Soboba, Southern Cheyenne, Spokane, Squaxin Island, Steilacoom, Stillaquamish, Stockbridge, Sunni, Suquamish, Swinomish, Tadjik, Takhayuna, Tala, Talastari, Tamil, Tanaina, Taos, T arim, Tasman, Tatar, Tesuque, Tlingit, Toltec, Tpe-ttckie-dhidie-Kouttchin, Tranjik-Kutchin, Truk, Tukkutih-Kutchin, Tulalip, Tungus, Turtle Mountain, Tuscarora, Turk, Turkmen, Tutsi, Ugalakmiut, Uintah, Umatilla, Umatilla, Umpqua, Uncompagre, U-nung 'un, Upper Skagit, Ute, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Viking, Vunta-Kutchin, Wahpeton, Walla Walla, Wasco, Wembawemba, White Mountain Apache, Wichita, Wik-ungkan, Winnebago, Wiradjuri, Wylackie, Xhosa, Yahi, Yakama, Yakima, Yakut, Yanamamo, Yankton Sioux, Yankt onai Sioux, Yellowknife, Yindjibarnd, Youkon Louchioux, Yukaghir, Yukonikhotana, Yullit, Yuma, Zjen-ta-Kouttchin, Zulu, et al., ad infinitum del mundi.

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)
Just What I Needed... More Cats

Pat brings us this story (free reg, blah blah) about a new entry in the robotic toys market, this time a cat. At $35, it's only a matter of time before I end up with at least one of them. Thanks Pat.

I think.

No prize! :)

Posted by scott at 08:37 AM | Comments (4)
December 05, 2002
Alien Cats

Can I be abducted by these cats? Puuuhleeeze!!

Posted by Ellen at 06:33 PM | Comments (2)
State of Confusion

The confusing "Scott voice/Ellen Signature" posts below were brought to you by Mr. "doesn't look closely at the posts". They're all mine (Scott). Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by scott at 04:11 PM | Comments (5)
SETI Update

Those of you running the SETI screensaver may be interested in this update on what they're doing with your data. No BEMs yet, but at least they have 100 "candidate" signals.

Posted by Ellen at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)
Training Your Cat, the ATS Way

Lair's take on training a cat to lose weight sounds about right to me. The only thin cats in Ellen's family are either a) victims of strokes that only have about 1/4 of their brain left or b) too busy just staying alive to get fat (Teddy is perpetually 6 seconds from his heart detonating in his chest).

The rest, including "gramma's", are in various stages of fat-tub-o-lard-dom. Maybe we can get Nina to send us some pictures of "jabba", an Edloe-class cat if I've ever seen one.

Posted by Ellen at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)
Just When You Thought Guys Couldn't Be Bigger Pigs

A guy has come up with a website dedicated to humping stuff. Well, if we can put a man on the moon, why not demonstrate our primate anscestry to the entire world?

I have to admit that this pic did make me laugh out loud though.

Posted by Ellen at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
You Just Think Your Refrigerator is Noisy

Howsabout a refrigerator that uses sound so loud it'll set your hair on fire to cool things down? And mom always told you loud music would get you nowhere...

Posted by Ellen at 11:43 AM | Comments (1)
My Wife's Long-Lost Sister?

Sometimes they threaten, sometimes they actually do it. Both Ellen and my mom have threatened to do this to various vehciles I've owned or operated over the years. Do all women think threatening and/or attacking a man's vehicle is a good proxy kick-in-the-nads?

Posted by Ellen at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
Brrr... Pt 3

The gas guys came by at 3 am to finally turn our heat on. I didn't hear it, but Ellen jumped up and ran downstairs saying "THE DOORBELL RANG!" in the same pitch and tone a small child would say "SANTACLAUSE!"

Posted by Ellen at 10:45 AM | Comments (1)
December 04, 2002

Ok, house is at 60 degrees, and the gas company says we may not have any heat or hot water till sometime tomorrow.

But..they did say, "Oh, there is a shelter set up at the Herndon High School if you are that cold." It's not just the cold, it's the not having hot water or being able to cook anything except for microwaveable food that's uncomfortable. What about a shower tomorrow for work? Not going to happen. The gas company has to go house to house to turn your gas back on, and I'm sure they don't want to do it tonight. Plus, they won't give all the details excpet there is a major gas leak in our city.

Brrrrr.....thank god for space heaters.

Posted by Ellen at 06:58 PM | Comments (3)
Fo Fizzle My Schnizzle

I am going to catch hell for this...but ( I probably messed up the title too). If you all do not know who this is, this is my brother, Richie with my mom's cat Arbour(RB) who was an old clinic cat of mine that needed to retire to a good home. RB is NOT all there motor skill wise since he had a few strokes in the past. But, he LOVES to cuddle and find anyone to sleep with.

Thanks to Nina, my sister who took the pix.

Posted by Ellen at 06:42 PM | Comments (5)
Mens Room

Scott says the USA does not have signs like this in the mens room.

This must be Japan or something.

Posted by Ellen at 06:20 PM | Comments (7)
Aquatic Ape Debunking

Always good to read the comments! Found this nice summary of hard facts that solidly debunk the "aquatic ape" theory, which states at some point in the distant past we had an ancestor which spent most if not all of its time in the water.

Debunking Aquatic Ape Theory (AAT) people in the early 90s is what got me started down the road that eventually lead to this site. I used to rip into AAT people on the usenet group constantly, even getting into a heated e-mail debate with a guy in Australia (you can still see part of it here, on a thread started by none other than the late Douglas Adams).

Update: Ok, I found a much better thread on my AAT stuff. In response to this:

If that is your version of history, you are welcome to it. You are the one who will end up a laughing stock . . .

I posted this:


I believe this is now called a "fisking", but I'm not completely sure why. Boy was it fun though!

Posted by scott at 04:58 PM | Comments (6)
This Stuff Never Happens When I'm Around

Gah. If things like this happened more often I wouldn't mind so much paying to drive on their dinky-assed toll road!

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (1)
I Just Keep Expecting Something Like This to Happen

Both Ellen and my Mom are inveterate e-bay hounds. Mom especially is well known for her poaching/vultching/swooping skills. Fortunately, neither of them have got up the gumption to sell anything, because if they did I'm sure something like this would happen!

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
Paging Edgar Allan Poe... Please Pick Up the White Courtesy Phone

I'm not sure what's weirder about finding a guy who's been missing for 44 years walled up in your home. The event in and of itself is bizzare enough, but really, what were the cops searching for this guy in 1958 thinking? "Nope, nothing here, but boy he was sure crappy at home improvement... look at the quality of this brickwork!"

Something else is going on here.

And boy, how's that for a home improvement project?

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)
New Carnival

The latest Carnival of the Vanities is up. A self-selected set (ha!) of highlights from across the web, it's a great way to find good reading. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
Be Careful What You Wish For

Arabs have for decades claimed Jewish conspiracies were out to get them, and justified some of their support for terrorism because of this. Well guys, now you got yourself a real one. I'm not sure which would scare me more... the thought that a missle could come literally out of nowhere and blow me to bits (predator + hellfire = BOOM!), or the thought that a Mossad agent might be creeping through my window right now.

And anyone who thinks this just proves how unjust Israel is hasn't been paying attention.

Update: Missed this one at first. Should read down FARK a little more sometimes.

Listen folks. The main reason the west took over the world is not because we're smarter than anyone else, or because Christianity is better than everyone else's religion, or because we're richer or prettier than you. Because we're none of those things. Not one.

The west is on top because our military traditions have made our culture the most deadly the world has ever seen, depending on how you count it for more than 2500 years now. It's an ugly truth, and you can rail at us all you like, but there it is. The west built a culture that is much more than that, providing unprecedented wealth, protection, and opportunity to its citizens, but all of these things, all of these things, are built on a foundation of blood and gore and violence so ruthless, cold and efficient we scare ourselves with its power.

Many of you, even in the west, will claim this power is too great and too unjust and too concentrated. Hell, you're probably right.

But you've only begun to see what happens to people who try and take it all away from us.

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (2)

So what happens on one of the coldest days of the year? An f'ing gas break that knocks the heat out to the whole neighborhood! So I'm at home waiting for the repair guy to arrive, sitting next to the heater that was supposed to just keep the garage warm. Updates may be infrequent, as I have to periodically hold my hands over the thing to keep them warm.

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM | Comments (3)
December 03, 2002
La Familia!

We're already working on an essay about "living Italian", but for the moment I'd like you to read Michele's memories of her own genuine Italian Gramma. Sounds like a version of my wife's great grandmother.

Posted by Ellen at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)
So This is What I Have to Look Forward To?

A Riddle:

A woman notices her car won't start. After some investigative work with a helpful patrolman, she places an infant against the wheel, starts the car, then drives off.

Many of you will be scratching your head trying to figure out what the connection is. Others will instantly know this was the mother of a small child.

Posted by scott at 11:32 AM | Comments (3)
Adoption Center Opened

Greeblie's put out a call to all bloggers with space to spare to adopt some folks, and we're happy to oblige. Any readers sick of blogspot or just looking to start their own little wingding, just let us know.

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM | Comments (7)
Twas the Night Before... Bagdhad?

Ok, in the interests of equal time, I give you Bigwig's version of "night before christmas".

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (1)
George's Song

Skippy has this nifty parody that's getting pretty close to the way I'm beginning to feel about this whole Iraq thing.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)
December 02, 2002
10 Weeks

Yeah I know, I'm late with my weekly post. BUT, I have a good excuse. I was in NY with family and my sister is a hound with her computer and would not let me on it for more than a few minutes at a time.

So I am at 10 weeks now. It was also the second dr's visit this past Wednesday. It was supposed to be an exciting exam too. We were supposed to hear our jelly belly's heart beat, and actually realize something is there and I was not pretending it all along. Scott would finally understand it was not one big conspiracy to get another cat.

So there we are, sitting in the waiting room. I get called in by one of the nurses there. They are too damn cool. I like them much more than the dr's. "Ok, on the scale you go", she says. *Shit* This is were I must disassemble myself. Off with the jacket and extra sweaters, and of course the 10 pound purse. "Doing good! Only a 2 pound gain. You are right on track." I look at the scale, ok, 126 pounds, not bad. I can do this. Apparently I have to manage to ONLY gain 25-30 pounds tops- I am told I am much too small to gain anymore.

Scott and I are sitting in the room where he looks around, totally bewildered to FINALLY get to see the inside of a woman's exam room. "There are boobies on the wall!," he exclaims.

"Well yeah, it's an ob/gyn office you asshat."

He then looks at me and says with this nervous tone "What the hell is a dilation chart? Is that how big your crotch will get!?!". I look at the wall. Holy shit The first one starts out a little smaller than a wine cork, but the last one looks like a frikken dinner plate! EeP!

Then the dr walks in. One of 7 I will be meeting for an exam. I decide right there I don't like her. She has a limp handshake and obviously does not want to be at work that day. "Ok, lay down". Poke, poke, probe. "Ok, you can get up, you're done."

"Um, the midwife told me that today I would get to hear the baby's heartbeat" I say.

" Yeah, well you are only 9 weeks, and you are barely showing at all." (is it my fucking fault I am a small human that can still wear a size 6 pair of jeans? is it my fault that before I got pregnant I had a goddamn six pack of abs? NO)

"Can you try anyway? We were looking forward to this."

"Ok, fine, but I'm not saying that it will be there."

So she whips out the SAME Doppler I use on the cats at work to get blood pressures on them and tells me to yank my pants down to my pubic bone. (Thank god I waxed that week!) She then slathers on the jelly and proceeds to 'look' for this heartbeat. I hear mine, no problem. Then she finds it.

Both Scott and I look at it like some queer science experiment and all we can say is, well, "cool".

It was only after we were done, while we were walking in the parking lot, Scott got himself a revelation.

"This is the place where you get your 'exams', isn't it?"

"Well, not this exact one, but yes, a place like this."

"So that was, like, a gynecologists examination room", I could sense a certain amount of awe creeping into his voice.

"Duh. Of course it is. What do you think the GYN is for dumbass?"

There was a long, very thoughtful pause.

"Well," he said, sounding a little disappointed, "don't you guys have some sort of secret handshake or something?"

Ha! Secret handshake. Ha!

As if I was ever gonna tell him...

Posted by Ellen at 07:46 PM | Comments (3)

A pseudo-journal of our post-Thanksgiving trip from Dinkytown NY to BigCity VA:

  • 11:00 AM, Sunday, December 1, 2002 Depart from Father-in-Law's house. Pat selves on back because, after some checking, we are still sane after exposure to screaming hypervelocity projectiles (a.k.a. "the boys", 5 and 8 years old) for more than 24 hours.
  • 11:45 AM Drive through ArchieBunkerland on the Garden State (ha!) toll road is uneventful, although after the 67th 35c toll plaza we were becoming a little worried as we were running out of quarters. For some reason keep expecting to see this guy in a plaza. Ellen does not think this is funny.
  • 12:00 AM Enter the New Jersey Turnpike. Make sure this time to go southbound, not as simple as it sounds. Northbound takes you deeper into Sopranoland. Ellen doesn't think this is funny either.
  • 12:15 AM Run into "slow traffic". Bumper-to-bumper across all six lanes, rolling along at 15 MPH. Remain reassured because this is probably caused by the traffic merge (this section of the turnpike separates trucks from cars).
  • 12:30 AM Finally crawl up to a recognizable landmark after cruising at idle for past 2 miles. Realize traffic merge is fifteen miles away.
  • 1:15 PM Learn to appreciate a whole new definition of "irony" as we cruise at a brisk walking pace underneath a "SLOW: TRAFFIC CONGESTION AHEAD. REDUCE SPEED TO 45 MPH" sign.
  • 1:30 PM Reach truck/car merge area. Notice remarkable lack of trucks, in spite of gargantuan number of cars. Decide truckers are the smartest human beings on the planet today.
  • 1:45 PM Discover god-like ability to control dozens of cars in our lane. By allowing the car ahead to spool out several hundred yards, can maintain near-constant trotting speed without stopping. Delusions of grandeur soar as we realize all cars behind us Must Obey.
  • 1:46 PM Note snag in automotive deification as clear lane ahead collapses red-sea-like when asshats from adjacent lanes think this means they'll make better time. For 30 seconds.
  • 1:47 PM Pray to the God of Traffic to Smite These Infidels
  • 1:49 PM Pray to the God of Traffic to Smite me. At least then someone will be entertained.
  • 1:55 PM Give up praying altogether and instead start examining Jersey walls in their native habitat
  • 2:00 PM Realize Jersey walls are the ugliest form of prefab concrete in existence.
  • 2:15 PM Realize Jersey walls are essentially alike everywhere on the planet
  • 2:20 PM Ponder forming the Cult of the Concrete Divider.
  • 2:30 PM Begin to pick up speed as Jerseians are siphoned off to their various home bases.
  • 2:35 PM Get thumped by pregnant wife, barely visible underneath seven layers of clothing and two jackets (I called it an "endothermic hormonal reaction". Ellen didn't think it was funny), "I'm hungry and I gotta pee."
  • 2:40 PM Stop at the World's Most Crowded Rest Area for fuel and waste management. Note stadium-at-halftime-like waiting lines in front of Women's room and stadium-at-halftime-like stench from Men's room.
  • 3:00 PM Discover that there are absolutely no attractive people at this rest stop (well, except for us of course). Note this place would probably turn Cindy Crawford into a halo-haired gum chewer with an inch deep coating of eye makeup.
  • 3:20 PM Get back on Turnpike (normal speed) and wave at the poor bastards going in the opposite direction at 5 mph. Get off 3 exits ahead of final toll plaza because we're not that stupid.
  • 3:30 PM Note that it's a Bad Sign when your "work-around to avoid jammed up toll plaza" route is jammed up with people trying to avoid the toll plazas. Clears out soon enough. Home free! WoOt!
  • 3:45 PM Turn onto the approaches for the Delaware bridge and discover the treacley mass of traffic we thought we'd avoided was just lying in wait for us, sucking and bubbling as it oozed along its evil way. Glittering in the sunlight, filling all six lanes of a towering celery green suspension bridge, is a solid mass of four wheeled vehicles moving at exactly. Five. Miles. Per. Hour.
  • 4:00 PM Drive the 200 yards it takes to get to the bridge, speculating on just how much weight that many cars packed that tightly must exert on what at this distance looks like a strip of paper held together with hair. Ellen doesn't think this is funny.
  • 4:05 PM Start fantasizing about what it might feel like to plunge 300 feet into the icy, olive-brown, windswept waters of the Delaware river because it would at least be more interesting than this glaciating traffic-born hell. A small mittened fist cannons out of the misshapen pile of clothes, coats, and blankets to my right and lands on my bare arm (I'd long since changed into a T-shirt). "That's not funny!", a muffled voice says.
  • 4:15 PM Creep through the bridge toll plaza and "after traffic", only to face a new nemesis... the sun.
  • 4:20-5:15 PM Watch as thousands of my fellow travelers become captivated by the strange glowing light slowly sinking toward the roadway in the west. Each time it appears they must all slow down for fear of this new and frightening god which they have obviously never encountered before in their lives. Each time it disappears we speed back up, only to jump on the brakes again as we top a hill because My God! It's STILL THERE!
  • 5:20 PM Decide that Garrison Keillor is the funniest man on the planet.
  • 5:30 PM Decide we are the funniest man on the planet.
  • 5:45 PM Feel the blood congeal in my veins as it mixes with the sugary sap pouring from the radio. While I was busy trying not to get killed on the Beltway, the blanket-swaddled mound next to me extruded a mitten-clad arm and started twiddling with the radio. We have finally come in range of Ellen's favorite "all Christmas all the time" radio station.
  • 6:15 PM Arrive home just in time to avoid third rendition of "Deck the Halls".

But you know, I learned something on that trip. I learned that there are thousands of people who think being stuck for hours in traffic with their dogs is a fun way to spend an evening. I learned that no matter how much crap you stuff in the back of an 84 Dodge Reliant, it still won't drag the ground. And I learned there really is something worse than having a piece of barbed wire pulled slowly through your nostrils.

And those are the greatest lessons of all.

Posted by scott at 04:05 PM | Comments (6)
Like a Balloon. With Wings.

Take one moron, add his bodged-up gauge-without-a-stop, stir in another earlier moron who thought safety valves were just inconvenient holes, and what do you get?


Found via Sgt. Stryker.

Posted by scott at 01:39 PM | Comments (1)
I've Heard of High Heels, but...

Ellen's wanted a scooter for as long as I've known her. Now that someone's come up with this, well, I'm not so sure I can stop her! Yet another thing for my mom to have a heart attack over. :)

Posted by scott at 12:41 PM | Comments (4)

An old Alfa buddy of mine is being forced to sell his spider. If you're looking for a classic car in superior shape, you've found it. The 2L spiders are powerful cars, perhaps the most powerful in their class (ya ya ya "V8s are more powerful whydonchagetarealcar"), and this one's had a thorough going-through.

In this condition Alfas are quite reliable. They're not Honda-reliable, no, but they'll get you where you need to go. Definitely worth a look if you're considering a Miata-like thing in your midlife crisis but actually want to understand what's going on under the hood.

I got no financial interest in it, just a friend looking to help another find a good home for his buddy, etc.

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)
Richie's Gonna Love This One

Howsabout a website dedicated solely to finishing moves? Video games and comic books are what kid's (well, boys aged 8-18 anyway) entertainment would look like if they were left to their own devices. Cartoons aren't like this because parents actually watch those.

Posted by scott at 11:52 AM | Comments (4)
Great Book

Go out and get Carnage and Culture. It's an amazing book, and very well written. I'm only 1/2 way through it and am extremely impressed. Much essay-fodder in there. :)

I'm now reading books specifically to give me stuff to write about on this site. I have no life...

Posted by scott at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)
Well, Sometimes I'm not Full of Crap

This article detailing how some folks figured out how to get information off two videodiscs encoded by an obsolete and extinct computer system tracks pretty well with Dead Trees, doncha think? Concrete proof that the only thing keeping digital information unreadable is a lack of time and money, not some sort of catastrophic inability.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)
Fellow Blogger Improvements

Jim has finally bitten the bullet and converted to movable type. He seems to be quite pleased with the results, and it certainly looks and behaves much better than before. Check him out if you haven't already.

Having sub-blogs is actually pretty straightforward with MT. It never ocurred to me to offer a similar service, but if anyone out there is interested use the "tell us about it" widget on the left and we can talk.

I also do full-blown site setup (see, but I do charge a bit of $$$ for that sort of thing (although my rates are very reasonable!) Again, if you're interested, use the widget and I'll get right back to ya.

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

Found this one over at slashdot (which means the 'dotters are busily trying to crush it out of existence, so be patient). Just when you thought legos couldn't get any more creative, someone comes up with, a satirical look at misfortune using our favorite plastic blocks.

Posted by scott at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)
December 01, 2002
Computer Talk

Ok, this one was sent by my sister Nina.

Excpet that my brother Richie should REALLY read it closely since he did not know what ROTFLOLPIMP meant!


Posted by Ellen at 07:54 PM | Comments (1)