February 28, 2003

Ok, I just wanted everyone to know that cleaning 30-year-old dried glue from a convertible top frame using naptha and xylene is probably one of the most annoying jobs on the planet.

Ok, ok, yeah, it's probably not the most annoying job on the planet. How about in this country?

Yeah, all right, there's lots worse jobs. How about in my city?

Godammit. How about this:

Ok, I just wanted everyone to know that cleaning 30-year-old dried glue from a convertible top frame using naptha and xylene is probably the most annoying jobs in my garage



Posted by scott at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

What happens when you combine bizzare music with a, well, lack of flash animation skills? I Just Want... BANGBANGBANG of course. Duh.

Posted by scott at 01:20 PM | Comments (5)
Chupacabra Metal!

When garage bands attack! Mariachi meets metal in the chupacabra song. Ayeeeeee!!!

Posted by scott at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)
Definitely not Itsy-Bitsy

BBCnews has this update on the discovery of a very strange pulsar surrounded by a "cocoon" of gas.

Posted by scott at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)
The Sound of Silence

The so-called "pro-war" crowd likes to think of itself as better educated, more enlightened, than the so-called "anti-war" crowd. Certainly people carrying signs equating Bush to Hitler and celebrities being quoted as being anti-war because it's "hip" doesn't help. Yet for pro-war folks to call anti-war protestors "un-American" is to express an equal, perhaps greater, ignorance. There's almost literally nothing more American than protesting war.

The open questioning of military leaders is a Western tradition that goes back to the ancient Greeks. The entire Bill of Rights can be seen as an elaborate legal mechanism to preserve the right to poke our government in the eye. Anti-war dissent in particular has been with us since at least the Civil War, starting with the draft riots of 1865.

Foreign wars have been especially fond targets of our dislike for armed conflict. Without exception each expedition into the heartland of someone else's country has triggered at times massive civil disobedience and protests. Especially when conscription meant compelling young men to risk their lives whether they wanted to or not, protesting against war has been as natural for an American as watching baseball or eating apple pie.

The funny thing about today's anti-war protestors is that for many their motivation comes from a place normally thought to be the heartland of conservatives and Republicans-- a deep distrust of federal power. Conservatives worry what the federal government might do with their money. Liberals worry what the federal government might do with their kids. Both seem incapable of understanding the common ground they share: that government should not, must not, be unquestioningly trusted with things we hold dear.

"Fools" said I, "You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows."

Anyone who says anti-war protests have never brought anything but misery to this country needs to go back and read their history books more carefully. Anti-war protests stopped the Civil War practice of "commutation", the ability for the rich to use their money to either buy their way out of the draft or pay someone to die for them. They also ensured that diplomacy got more than its fair chance during both world wars.

Korea and Vietnam are the only two large-scale conflicts in our history that weren't preceded by some form of anti-war protest, and neither of them could be considered stellar victories. Vietnam in particular stands as a shining example of what can happen when politicians are trusted without question with our armed forces. The liberal elite's near fanatic and, far more important, unquestioning support of Bill Clinton resulted in eight years of inconclusive and ongoing conflicts precisely because, as the traditional heart and soul of the modern anti-war movement, they remained silent.

It may be true that going to war without France is like going camping without an accordion (in both cases one is only leaving noisy and useless baggage behind), but, for America at least, going to war without questioning our motives is like trying to make steel without carbon... the result is often brittle, inflexible, and prone to failure. We need this kind of debate, if for no other reason than to make the politicians answer tough questions and make proper plans to ensure a war is prosecuted quickly and decisively.

It's perfectly OK to say the current anti-war movement is elitist and poorly thought out. I do. It's fine to disassemble their arguments like the badly constructed tinker toys they are. I do that too. It's even OK to point out that the leaders of the movements may have agendas at odds with those of their members. I've done it before.

It's not OK to call them un-American. It's not OK to call them traitors. It's not OK to refuse to listen to them, or to attempt to silence them. Anyone who does these things, anyone, is simply an ignorant thug who's out to attack people just because they disagree with them. It means you have become exactly what they accuse you of... someone who should be clever but has instead gotten mean.

Really, for the most part it's not particularly difficult to drop their arguments to the mat and pin them for the three count. Sometimes, though, it won't be that easy. Sometimes you'll run into someone who's every bit as skilled at argument as you, every bit as prepared for each point you make. They may not convince you. You may not convince them. But you'll both have a better appreciation for each side when it's over, and your own beliefs will be stronger for the examining.

And that, my friend, is the miracle of America.

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (7)
February 27, 2003
Cat-Dog Mummy

Just when you thought mummification could not get any weirder.

You THINK you have one thing, but end up with ANOTHER!

Posted by Ellen at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)
Cat Hymns

Kris over at Demon Wurks sent me this today. It's a site dedicated to hymns. you can sing to your cat! How cute!!!

"Just in case you're having a mental block on what to sing to the kitties!!"-Kris

Now Scott will tell you all that I can sing the most annoying songs to the cats anytime day or night. From the Buddah-belly song all the way to Ajax's poofy tail song we sing before work. Of course Scott is in the backround protesting the entire time. "Ellllleeeennn!!! STOOOOPPPP!!! It's sooo annyoying!"

Hey, the cats like it!

Posted by Ellen at 06:56 PM | Comments (2)
Mmmm.. Feisty!

Just to prove that the US isn't the only country with really dumb politicians, we have this story of a Canadian MP calling Americans "bastards". The clarification was even better: she was saying it in a "private conversation". With a reporter. In a hall filled with them.

In the game of party politics, this is known as "not helping".

Note: I don't begruge the opinion. I just find all the backpedaling and "oops"-ing after the fact really amusing.

Posted by scott at 12:52 PM | Comments (3)
Dude! Where's my Wang?!?

Ok, sometimes I think people take that "detachable penis" song way too seriously. Cutting off your own penis just to prove your fidelity to your wife is, shall we say, a bit extreme?

Posted by scott at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
Stick a ... stake ... in It

All you Buffy folks who had sympathy for all us Farscapers when our show was canceled, I'd like to send my condolences that the slayer's going into retirement. All the ones who made fun of us: neener neener neeener!

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (3)
Animated Engines

Ever wonder just exactly how a 2 stroke engine worked? Want to get a look at the way a Wankle engine adapts the Otto cycle? Ever want to know how a steam locomotive engine worked? Well, animated engines is for you! Simple, clean, animated line drawings of pretty much every form of engine used in the past two hundred years can be found here. Very neat!

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)
February 26, 2003
Things Children Can Teach You.

I found this off of CompleteMother.com.

Things My Children Taught Me

If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

A 3 year-old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

When you hear the toilet flush and "Uh-oh," it's already too late.

Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

A six year old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36 year old man says they can only do it in the movies.

A magnifying glass can start a fire even on an overcast day.

A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq foot house 4 inches deep.

Legos will pass through the digestive tract of a four year old. Duplos will not.

Play Dough and Microwave should never be used in the same sentence.

Super glue is forever.

Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not like ovens.

The fire department has at least a 5 minute response time.

Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.

Posted by Ellen at 05:57 PM | Comments (3)
When Rice Goes Wrong

On the one hand, you got guys who take their plain Japanese sedans and hotrod them up but don't leave much on the outside to tell. On the other, you have these guys, who, well, don't.

Posted by scott at 05:47 PM | Comments (2)
Key Chain

I thought I'd never see a key chain like this one.


Posted by Ellen at 05:11 PM | Comments (4)
If Cheech & Chong Ran an Election

CHONG: "Hey maaan." [fwwwwppp] "All these elections man, everyone's so boring."

CHEECH: "Yeah man." [sssssspp] "It's like, George this, Al that, Robert and, " *giggle*, "Trent. I mean, who the hell names their kid Trent anyway?"

"I know what ya" [fwwwwwp] "mean man. They need to get some better, you know, candidates and stuff."

"Yeah! Yeah! Waitaminute... I gotta idea..." *giggle* [sssssspp] "wouldn't it be cool if, like, Frankenstein ran for president?" *snort*

"Dude! Oh man! That would be so" [fwwwwp] "cool man. And, like, we could vote for, like, old has-been movie stars like Tony Curtis." *giggle*

"Oh man, I had an even better idea!"

[long silence]

"Well, dude, what's your idea?"

"Huh? Idea? Oh! Oh yeah! Like, we could have politicians with names that didn't make no sense man, like 'Britain War' for governor."

"That'd be so cool man. Too bad nobody ever thought of that."

"Yeah. It sucks. Nobody'd ever do anything cool like that"

Posted by scott at 03:54 PM | Comments (1)
Hip to be Square

Well, let nobody accuse the entertainment industry of being shallow. They're protesting people's rights! They're protesting against the murder of civilians! They're pro--

"It wasn't very hip [to protest Clinton's military actions]."

Because we all know the #1 factor determining how worthy a cause is does not involve image or the amount of attention it attracts or whether it gives us an opportunity to bash people we don't like.


Posted by scott at 03:26 PM | Comments (1)
The Jersey Devil

Scott and I were watching a show on The Jersey Devil last night. *Yeah ok, I have NO idea why I do that to myself before bed and insist I stay up and watch the whole show!*

Scott, being his light-hearted self kept trying to make fun of the show and scare me at the same time. *Like I said, I don't know WHY I am drawn to these damn shows* So he kept referring to this silly cartoon and making fun of the show. I was still spooked most of the night.

Posted by Ellen at 11:44 AM | Comments (4)
How to Flat Kill My Sweety, Method #2

Method #1 is stick her in a haunted house and yell BOO at her. Method #2? Method 2 would probably be her opening a package and having a live snake jump out of it. That one would probably do in my mom too. I mean, you should hear her scream when the fish jumps around, and she's not really all that scared of him.

Posted by scott at 11:01 AM | Comments (2)
Sometimes Even Wacks Get it Right

Yeah, I know, the title "Bible Prophecy -- The Omega Letter -- Christian Intelligence" makes me itch too, but this op-ed on "Hollywood" foreign policy is still a good, funny read. I especially like the magazine cover pic: "ALEC BALDWIN -- I want you to help me move to France"

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (1)
So Long and Thanks for All the ... Snow?

Lynn over at Reflections in D minor has this polite request to all the Canadians in the world, one which, after spending 2 hours on a commute that normally takes only 40 minutes, we would also like to (politely!) echo. To wit: WE ARE WIMPS AND DO NOT LIKE ALL THIS REALLY F-ING COLD AIR YOU KEEP SENDING US. IT MAKES FUNNY WHITE STUFF FALL FROM THE SKY, AND WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO DEAL WITH IT. TAKE IT BACK! PLEASE!!!

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (5)
When Prudes Attack

See, the real problem with Shane's World Productions recruiting (legally adult) college morons for their movies is that they're using the wrong kind of talent. If the cast and crew were "islamic freedom fighters on a mission to educate America's youth on the injustices of their country" they'd probably be inundated with invitations. But sex? Sex is just purile.

I think I've been hanging out with Larry too much lately.

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (1)
Death Takes a Holiday

Can't you give away a free coffeemaker or something as an incentive for people to use your funeral services when buisness is down?

Banks do it. :)

Posted by Ellen at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)
Pioneer 10 Spacecraft Falls Silent

Pioneer 10, the first spacecraft to venture out of the solar system, has fallen silent after traveling billions of miles from Earth on a mission that has lasted nearly 31 years.

Read the entire article here No Prize to my brother Rich! * I promise to get that Ron Jeremy pix up! *

February 25, 2003
Pets As Labor Companions

Forget inviting people into share in your child's birth! Now you can invite your cat!

How cool is that! What a better way to feel comfortable then to have your pet by your side? If they can lower your blood pressure, imagine what they can do in times of excruciating (so I am told) pain?

If anyone tells me thats nasty and disgusting and their pets are dirty, are not worthy of the company of a cat! Oh yeah...you are also a waste of my time too. :P *ttwpwwwppptttt*

Posted by Ellen at 07:18 PM | Comments (2)

A tail of a GAY! Ocicat.

AMCGLTD gives this site a poofy whisker award!

Posted by Ellen at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)
Poop Report

Kris over at Demon Wurkz sent us a new site called Poop Report.com

Read stories about crap!, Have fun with feces! Read about intellectual crap!

It's rather funny, you all need to check it out.

I guess that leaves Kris with a skid-marked No Prize!

Posted by Ellen at 06:00 PM | Comments (2)
Another Type of Blowhole

My Aunt Donna sent me this.

Make sure you move the mouse over the pix for the full effect.

Posted by Ellen at 05:52 PM | Comments (1)
New: Email Addies

Sometimes we take forever to get around to things. Added an "email" sidebar that features my new e-mail address and more prominently displays Ellen's. Those of you who have my old address, that still works just fine. Those of you who don't, well, use the one over there dangit!

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (0)
Sound and Fury

is the title of bigwig's latest essay over at Silflay. He provided at least some proof for what I already suspected... that Bush is experiencing most of the same things that Regan did in the 80s, for most of the same reasons.

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (4)
Boy I'd Hate for One of Those to Break

Seems the latest smuggling trick in Sri Lanka is to swallow condoms full of gems. My mom's a jewelry freak, but I think even she would find this a bit much.

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (3)
February 24, 2003
Fear and Loathing

To me, one of the more puzzling features of the human psyche, or at least the American one at any rate, is the concept of "survivor's guilt." People who survive incredible disasters in which large numbers of other people (even complete strangers) did not are often overcome with tremendous feelings of guilt and remorse, guilt and remorse even when the disaster was quite patently not their fault because its origins were simply beyond their control.

As a nation we are told innumerable times by academia and the media that our country is built on theft, lies, deceit, treachery, oppression, and murder. In high school we're shown pictures of the aftermath of Wounded Knee, we read the declarations made about "manifest destiny", and hear about the stories of honorable treaties broken and torn. Everywhere we look we're taught and told we have no reason to be proud of who we are because we got here riding the backs of people who walked on the corpses of our victims.

The hardest part about it is these are not lies. This is not propaganda. Innocent people really were killed in the building of America. Hundreds of thousands of men and women were subject to oftentimes brutal oppression in the creation of this so-called "free" society. Treaties were broken at a whim, and entire peoples were rolled into obscure corners of the land all in the name of "progress". How dare we be proud of this gore-spattered, blood-soaked country of ours?

As with the parable of the blind men and the elephant, our guilt comes from having only part of the truth that makes up the whole. It arises partly from our own naiveté, and through the subtle and not-so-subtle machinations of elite nihilists and academics with an ill-disguised contempt of the "commoners". What started out as a much-needed injection of realism into the perception of our own history ended up getting manipulated into an almost paralyzing self-loathing, and twisted into a fear of the "bad old days" of patriotism and optimism that characterized the very fiber of this country.

We are told that we stole this country from the Indians. This is quite true. What we are not told is that there really weren't all that many Indians around to steal the country from. It's all too tempting to transliterate the colonial experiences of Eurasia, which was heavily populated and comparatively literate, with those of the Americas, which, especially in the north, was neither.

Most native North American cultures were not highly organized, and for the most part varied between hunting and gathering and horticulture as a method of subsistence. These lifeways simply did not result in the population densities experienced by highly organized agricultural societies such as those in, say, India. Furthermore, through a sort of bio-geographical coincidence, which was completely out of the control of the European explorers and colonists, much of the population that did exist had been mercilessly culled by the scythes of virulent diseases against which the natives had no immunity.

The land was, by and large, empty of settlements because of these factors. But, in spite of perceptions in our history books and popular culture, these native Americans quite patently did not go quietly into that great dark night. Especially during the colonial era, what tribes and nations there were quite merrily made war on settlers when they either thought or were convinced it would be in their best interest to do so. Neither side treated civilians with any distinction. Unspeakable brutalities were commonplace regardless of skin color. No quarter was asked, and none was given. The treaties signed toward the end of the conflicts were not made between two nations of equal power, but rather were an attempt by the Native American nations to shield themselves from an onslaught against which they knew from bloody experience they were unable to roll back themselves.

Does this excuse what happened, somehow make it right? No, it doesn't. But I didn't cause those things to happen, and neither did you. And, I'll wager, neither did your parents, your grandparents, nor (for most of you) your great grandparents or even great-great grandparents. I refuse to feel guilty about the conquest of America because there's nothing I can do to stop it. I was born at least a hundred and fifty years too late to do a damned thing about it. And so were you.

What I can do, and what you can do, and what all of us can do, is recognize that our history is no better, and, far more importantly, no worse, than the history of any other nation on the planet. England has Ireland, and France has Algeria. Canada has its Inuit, Japan its burakumin and India its untouchables. We are by no means unique in having minorities that experienced brutality and oppression.

America is unique in that the costliest war we ever fought was over the liberation of one of these minorities. A war, it should be pointed out, in which only Americans were killed. We may have herded them into camps and denied them their rights, but at no point, at no point, have we ever made an effort to consciously and systematically exterminate them. Great Americans of the twentieth century are defined not by their glory in battle, but rather by their struggles on behalf of these very minorities to overcome the discrimination of our forefathers. Like survivors coming to terms with their continued existence, some of us have decided to put the past behind us and instead fix the present to make the future meaningful.

Others, however, do not see it this way. Like some Old Testament prophet, they have decided that the sins of our forefathers must be visited on us a hundredfold. They have decided that because of the decisions made by a generation that has been dust for more than a century we must not be allowed to feel proud of who we are. They have decided that because of the policies of dead presidents it is somehow justified that more than three thousand living, breathing families were forced to bury pieces of meat in the ground.

I look back on my country's past and I am not ashamed. Neither am I proud. I look back instead and see a body of people who, no matter how misguided, genuinely thought they were doing the right thing. I see a body of people who sacrificed their sons when it turned out they weren't. I see a body of people who do not simply accept problems as they are, do not try to ignore them in the hopes they go away, do not pick a fight with someone else because they're not willing to do what it takes to solve them. More than anything else, I see a body of people who sincerely want the world to be a better, safer place for their children. Unique in all the world, I see a people who have both the power and the inclination to try and make sure it's safe for everyone else's.

We are human. We do, will, screw it up. But we try not to, we try damned hard not to, and when proven to be in the wrong are nearly always one of the first to ask "what can we do to make it right?" Sometimes we can't. Sometimes we screw it up so badly nothing can make it right, and for that I do feel guilty, and will try to do whatever I can to at least make sure it doesn't happen again. But I find it obscene that someone should suggest I must feel guilty simply because I exist.

Posted by scott at 07:46 PM | Comments (15)

This kitty tops the scales at 50 pounds!

And Scott says my Coconut (aka: Buddah Belly) is fat! HA!!

Yeah, ok, don't get me started on WHY the kitty needs to lose weight. I just can't think of work tonight. (so many sick kitties, so MANY ungrateful people that own them)

Posted by Ellen at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)
Poacher Offs Last Wild Born California Condor

Sure, let's add to the list of animals we will make go extinct in the next few years.


Posted by Ellen at 07:38 PM | Comments (1)
Ok, This Totally Beats My Relatives's Deer Problems

My brother's family is legendary for their ability to inadvertently deer hunt with their vehicles. Not their fault really, as they live out in the "fields and streams" of Western MD. Ellen's family has the same problem, for most of the same reasons, near the Catskills of NY.

But I think if any of them claimed their car damage came from a moose falling out of the sky we'd have their heads examined. To paraphrase Mark Twain, truth is always going to be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (2)
Scale Perfection

Some day, maybe when I'm dead, I'll try to start working on the stacks of kits I have sitting on a shelf in my garage. Hopefully I'll eventually be able to get them looking like this.

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM | Comments (4)
Stalin's Death

This BBCnews article summarizes one historian's findings about the mysterious circumstances of Stalin's death. His conclusion: Stalin was poisoned because he'd decided to risk war with the United States by attempting to turn all of Europe into a communist state.

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (4)
The Origins of the Moon

Also from BBCnews is this article on recent findings about the origin of the moon. Evidence now seems to point to a complex series of impacts started out by the glancing collision between Earth and an unknown body perhaps as large as Mars. "Glancing" here is a relative term, in that the collision seemed to have completely destroyed the other body and melted the crust of the earth down to a depth of about 6 miles. And you thought whacking yourself in the head with the door hurt.

Posted by scott at 11:15 AM | Comments (1)
Reality Check

This article giving the low-down on what really happens during a chemical, nuclear, or biological attack made the rounds quite some time ago, but has come around to us again and is still very relevant. Last time I saw it (I think before 9/11) the general consensus was it's dead right about everything it talks about. No surprise, the press monkeys are getting it all wrong and making everybody panic by advertising "theoretical" extremes as the norm.

No-prize to Pat!

Posted by scott at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)
An Interview with a Hedgehog

Ron Jeremy, aka "the hedgehog", gave this interview to RetroCrush.com while promoting his new documentary movie. An interesting look at the industry from a veteran. All pictures safe for work.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (1)
February 22, 2003
Causus Belli

(It means "cause of war", not acid stomach)

Sesh asked why Iraq, and not Al Quaeda. Victor Davis Hanson, an amazing historian, replies almost directly to this question in this extremely relevant essay "from Manhatten to Baghdad". You may not agree with it, but it'll certainly make you think about the whole thing in a different way.

Via On the Third Hand (site essential) who I will definitely be reading more often from now on.

Posted by Ellen at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)
Jump OVER The Fence, not ON It!


I'm sure you all heard on the news this past month of a person that jumped out of a window and got decapitated on a fence? Now you get to see the picture!

Posted by Ellen at 07:08 PM | Comments (2)
Welcome Back!

I'm always the last to know these things. Raed is back! A level-headed voice from the inside, he's still making fun of the press, the US, Europe, and the... well, considering what happened last time, let's just say he makes fun of everyone he should, and never makes fun of anyone he shouldn't.

Don't tell Reuters, ok? They're the reason he went underground last time.

Update: Thanks to Site Essential for bringing this to our attention!

Posted by scott at 05:51 PM | Comments (1)
Peace in Middle Earth

Also found this nice little parody of a news release from the anti-war protestors of Middle Earth.

Posted by scott at 05:05 PM | Comments (0)
War Watch

Orson Scott Card hits another one on the head with this dissection of the latest moves by the left, providing even more evidence that most of the left apposes Bush, not the war. Why?

Nither Sarandon or Garafolo really thinks that we have to wait for an evil tyrant to attack America directly before we have a responsibility to take action -- including military action -- to stop them.

Why do I know this? Because neither of them said a single, solitary word against Bill Clinton when he bombed Serbia.

Very insightful and well written. Found via Reflections in D Minor

Posted by scott at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)
Simpsons Simpsons Everywhere

A figure for all seasons, that's what the custom Simpson figure archive is all about. Sesh will be very happy.


Posted by scott at 04:32 PM | Comments (4)
Another Reason to Stay in School

Otherwise you end up believing in stuff like this:

Congolese villagers have stoned and beaten to death four teachers accused of casting an evil spell to cause an outbreak of the deadly Ebola disease that has killed nearly 70 people, a local official said Friday.

Hook these people up with the ones who think their country is run by vampires and you've got yourself a party!

Stay in school kids.

Posted by scott at 01:23 PM | Comments (0)
Cat! Pride! Cat! Pride! Cat! Pride!

Is probably what they're chanting at this march in Rome, home of the famous "sacred strays" who haunt the excavated ruins in the center of town.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Birthing Bloopers

From Japan comes these funny birth-date screwups and blunders. It's not always serious, apparently.

Posted by scott at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)
February 21, 2003
22 Weeks

22 Weeks already!? Where does the time go? I remember looking at the magic stick in the bathroom and watching Scott turn 6 shades of grey to white.

Things are starting to pick up pregnancy-wise. Olivia decided there was NO MORE room in my pelvis and literally overnight jumped into my abdomen, squashing my stomach against my diaphram and make everything a bit more jiggly than normal. I'm only 5 months, and I KNOW this is going to get worse! (So please, don't tell me how bad it can get. I take every day as a challenge and like to discover my new surprise of the morning.)

I finally have a real belly to look at in the mirror now. Scott finds it funny that when I sing to Coconut, one of the cats, (aka. Buddah Belly and her belly song *just don't ask...looong story*) in the morning, that 2 of us fit the description of having a 'belly'. I can't get enough of lotion either. Nice thick, anti-stretchmark goodness. Yeah, yeah I know, stretchmarks are genetic and also controlled by how much weight you gain, but it just feels so good to grease up and think you are making a difference. Scott calls it "applying the protective coatings."

My past exam this week at the Obgyn office was different from the rest so far. This time my midwife whipped out a minature tape measure and made sure I was 22cm. Apparently the size of your belly can determine or rather help out in determining how many weeks pregnant you are. Neat!

She also went over what to put on my 'birth plan'. Basically the do's and don'ts that I am requesting. Such as how many people do I want in the birthing suite (hence, no students, interns, people that start to annoy me ect..), how I want to have this baby (I DON'T have to lie on my back if I don't want) and of course pain control. I have already made my decisions on that area, and I won't go into it further.

I was also told to start reading up on breastfeeding. So, ok, I guess it's time to do some research on it. Of course at the book store Scott is like, "You need a manual for them!?"

"Apparently! You have to take a test to see if you qualify first to do it. I think the scantron test is in the back of the book".

If you are interested, I picked up this one. Quite funny, down to earth, and it does not make you feel like an idiot like some books out there can. I AM surpised there is not an "Idiot's guide" or a "Dummies" book on breastfeeding yet.

So I figured I give it a go when the time comes. Yeah ok, if problems occur, I know who to get some advice from... Cindy. :) The book mentions to find someone close to you to call (preferably that actually had a baby and did breastfeed) along with your doctor or "lactation consultant" (how do you get that job?) since they are able to give you their motherly advice and how they conquered any evil demons in that area.

So for 22 weeks, my Baby Center has tossed this information at me:

The baby now weighs almost a pound, measures nearly 11 inches long, and is proportioned like a newborn, albeit a thinner version since her baby fat hasn't yet developed. Although she's getting heavier every day, her skin still appears wrinkled because she needs to gain more weight. The lips are distinct and the eyes are formed, though the iris (the colored part of the eye) still lacks pigment. The pancreas, essential in the production of hormones, is developing steadily.

Even this early, the first signs of teeth appear in the form of tooth buds beneath the gum line. Before you know it, your baby will be born, and soon after, flashing his pearly whites.

You've likely gained between 12 and 15 pounds. Starting now you'll begin to put on weight more steadily, averaging about half a pound per week. You may crave certain foods, and you may notice an increased (but not bloody) vaginal discharge. Both are a normal part of being pregnant.

22 Weeks in, 18 to go.

Posted by Ellen at 06:02 PM | Comments (3)
Welcome to My World Pt IV

Background: A few weeks ago I receive an e-mail from Z4, stating that the president of the board of directors (the boss's boss's boss) and Z4 have decided that Z5, a member of a "special needs" volunteer advisory council, has inadequate Internet service and should be provided a gratis internet account from us. This is not an unprecedented request. I say, "fine, I can definitely do that, but..."

You see, 99% of the members of this advisory council have the computer skills of a sea sponge. Most of them literally do not know how to turn one on. I have not met this particular one, so I'm very political about it, "they'll need to have a technical person who can come out to their house to set it up for them."

Why so specific? Why so harsh? Because the last time around we provided an entire computer to a different member of this advisory council and it sat in the box for two months because they literally did not know how to get it out. I am not making this up. Getting your fingernails pulled out is only slightly less painful than having to explain over the phone which end of the power cord goes into the wall.

You see, setting up an internet connection is a real Russian roulette kind of operation. In order to work, it has to sink some hooks pretty deep into your computer. 90% of the time it goes in slick as oil on ice, but 5% of the time it blows up in some obscure way, and the other 5% of the time it takes the computer with it. You do not want to be half way across the country on the phone with Forrest "since-life-is-like-a-box-of-chocolates-lets-stick-one-in-the-floppy-drive" Gump when this happens. And for me, it always happens.

So yeah, I set the bar pretty high. They're getting an internet connection for free fer chrissakes. If they want it bad enough they'll dredge up a local techie or their IT-professional relative (ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS) to help them out. If they don't, then they really don't need it. Yeah, I'm a bastard. You'll find out why in a second.

Fast-forward three weeks. I'm sitting at my desk, trying to figure out how to introduce a new travel system I've created for the ship when in walks Z4, the person who requested the account, trailing someone I've never seen before, who immediately starts dissassembling themself (coat, backpack, etc.) like they own the place. "Hi Scott," Z4 says, "this is ZX, they are a member of the advisory council, they wanted to talk to you." And then Z4 just walks away.

So I'm sitting here while this person makes a great, long, rambling introduction. They obviously think I should know both who they are and why they're here, but I am clueless. I gradually pick up that this is Z5. Finally out from this huge backpack comes, of all things, a laptop. "Z4 said you were going to install my new internet connection for me today." Really? How nice of him. "It was acting a little funny with the old internet connection, but I couldn't get in touch with my tech support. Hoping you could take a look at that too. Here ya go!" *thud*

Ok, some points here:

  • If a tech person touches a computer, they own it from that point on. Any little thing, any burp, wheedle, crack, or thump that happens in the next six months, no matter if it's from what he or she did to it or not, is theirs.
  • Computers are fiddly little bastards, and laptops are fiddlier still. You won't find two laptops that even turn on the same way. All sorts of fun specific software required to make one tick. Fun, specific, easy-to-blow-up, hard-to-fix software.
  • There is almost literally nothing harder in a computer tech's professional life than doing tech support over the phone. People who do help desk for a living usually only last 6 months because of this. It's like trying to teach a jumpy person Russian over the phone so they can disarm a bomb.
  • Computer person axiom #44: If the Computer is already broken, it is a Very Bad Idea to install new system software.
  • Rule of Motivating Computer People #8: Do not surprise your tech. Techs do not react well to surprises.
  • Computer person axiom #73: Working on a stranger's computer is like playing in a minefield someone else planted: full of unpleasant surprises.
  • Scott's a Bastard, Rule #3: I get paid to work on the computers of this company. It is work, it is not fun. I do not work on other people's computers unless they are a) also paying me money (LOTS of money), b) a relative, or c) giving me copious amounts of high-quality alcohol as a reward.

I say "gosh, really sorry to hear the computer is giving you trouble, but I'm afraid you'll need to get that fixed first before anything can be done for your internet connection." This is true, good advice, something I'd say to anyone. "You'll need to contact your manufacturer." Because I really don't like working on computers I've never seen before.

"But [name], the President of the Board of Directors, said you'd be able to help."

This is where I got all hard and flinty. There are two, and really only two ways to deeply piss me off about computer stuff: acting like it's the end of the world if you don't get your problem fixed right this second, and name-dropping. Especially name dropping from people who don't actually work here. "Well, I'd love to help, but unfortunately I'm not allowed to work on computers we didn't purchase." (it's not a lie, it's a deflection), "especially if it's giving you trouble. I'll be happy to provide you with what you need to get your internet connection running once the computer is fixed."

"So I'm going to have to go to my tech support anyway then?"

What, you mean the tech support you paid for when you bought the computer, tech support who's job it is to know your computer inside and out? "Yes, I'm afraid so." [SHINEY HAPPY WORKER BEE MODE] "But I'll be happy to provide you with the settings you need for a new internet account once you get it fixed."[/SHINEY HAPPY WORKER BEE MODE]

"Hmpf!" they said as they re-assembled themselves. "I guess I'll just have to go back and talk to Z4 won't I?"

After relating a similar story to a friend, they said "doesn't it just make you want to shoot yourself?"

"No," I said, "it makes me want to shoot them."

Posted by scott at 04:03 PM | Comments (7)
The Terror Koan

Heather, a fellow buddhist whom I have been having some talks with, brings this discussion of terrorisim from a buddhist perspective to our attention. It was written shortly after 9-11, but I think it is still very relevant today. When people whose belief structure sometimes allows self-immolation to protest an unjust war start talking about kicking butt, you know something serious has happened.

I don't think we're going to carpet bomb anyone. I think that, ultimately, we'll do far more good than harm. I think that if we do invade we'll end up finding out Saddam was a lot worse than any of us thought. I just wish I didn't feel so blind going into it all.

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM | Comments (1)
Gnashing Discussion

Found this interesting discussion about why Americans think the British always have such awful teeth. Answer seems to be "yes, it's a stereotype, yes, there's a basis for it."

Posted by scott at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)
A BJ a Day Keeps Maternity Away

Every Junior High guy in Britain just got a new excuse. "But you see you must go down on me Stephanie, it's what the teachers advised!"

Posted by scott at 01:29 PM | Comments (1)
Somehow I Don't See Wrapping Christmas Lights Around One

BBCnews has this report on a potential technology for use in removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Dubbed "artificial trees", these modified-goalpost-like contraptions, on paper at least, would filter the carbon out of the air as it blew through the filters between its posts. The filters would then be recycled and the carbon stored elsewhere (a large pencil factory?)

All still very, very preliminary, but it does show that the greenhouse gas problem might just be a temporary one, instead of this chicken-little crisis the greenies tend to make it out to be.

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)
That'll Do It, Ayup

Since the press monkeys recently clued into, "gosh and gee Wally, did you know if I just throw away my computer all my goats3x p0rn and loveletters to Osama can be read by anybody?!?", we here at AMCGLTD would like to take time out to explain to you all probably one of the most effective ways of getting rid of hard drive information. I'm pretty sure even the NSA couldn't get anything off of them after that, but I doubt if they'd confirm that. :)

Posted by scott at 08:15 AM | Comments (2)

Anime fans, set your TiVos and VCRs... cartoon network is having a monster mecha festival! Still no shogun warriors. I wonder if they'll ever do a Battletech cartoon. Or have they already?

Posted by scott at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)
February 20, 2003
Matrix Chick

Scott's favorite movie chick is knocked up! Good thing they finished making the last 2 movies.

Posted by Ellen at 07:23 PM | Comments (0)
Um, Well, Ok Then...

Damion gets a chrome-plated Hurcules no-prize (ask him about the tire iron) for bringing this... well... cartoon? to our attention.

I'm getting a sneaky feeling that I'm linking up something that says "stupid Americans are a bunch of war mongering bunnies", but it's just too damned weird to let go by. Anyone out there willing to translate what the hell they're singing?

Posted by scott at 03:21 PM | Comments (1)
I Definitely Gotta Get Me One of These

Rubber-neckers clogging your lane looking at the guy with the flat tire on the other side of the road? Yet another power-yuppie twit doing her makeup while talking on her cell phone cut you off? Spotted your third HOV cheater in five minutes?

Lockmart is here to help! Not to be missed: the 2nd video at the bottom of the page.

I can have one, but Jeff, Cindy, and Ellen can't. Otherwise there wouldn't be any targets for me!

Via Silflay

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (1)
Hack Attack

Several of you have already noticed that two nights in a row we ended up with a weird message completely blanking our site. Apparently this was caused by a security hole in MT allowing some mouth breathing sister-sodomizing script kiddy morons to zap the main page of our site. I've (finally!) upgraded us to the latest version of MT, so all that should stop.

Didn't even have to run any scripts this time. If I'd know it was this easy I would've done it months ago.

Posted by scott at 12:50 PM | Comments (4)
Genies: Not Just for Wishing Anymore

Ok, so if you're a guy and a genie floats up to you, make sure it isn't holding anything sharp.

Help! Rabbi Blogman(stein!), what's a goyim to do when confronted with a crazed Arabic spirit holding an izmal in its hand?!?

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Found this article detailing the reminisces of and original Dalek, one of Doctor Who's first nemesis. For you poor mundanes who've never heard of it, Doctor Who was a delightfully cheesy British sci-fi show that ran for more than thirty years. A nice summary of what it's all about is here.

I hooked up with the show in high school in the early-to-mid 80s. I still fondly remember the cheesy costumes (in one episode the Daleks were killed by, as I recall, some sort of disease, and in their death throes they squirted shaving cream out of their seams), the clever dialogue, the occasionally hot babe assistants, and the sense of overall fun.

They still show them on the PBS station here, late at night. I tried to get Ellen to watch one but she doesn't get it. Ah well.

Posted by scott at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)
Welcome Your New Neighbor, SO025300.5+165258

BBCnews is reporting the discovery of the 5th closest star to the sun. At 7.5 light years away, it's still a minimum 15 year round trip. Cool... by the time I got back my kid would be a teenager.

Hang on, what am I saying?!?

Posted by scott at 11:31 AM | Comments (3)
Not Quite My Wife in 40 Years

Woman found living with 75 cats in her house, other ex-cats living in the freezer. Yet another consumer wobbling off their meds.

The difference in Ellen's case will be she'll probably have 80 cats and they'll all be completely healthy (but they'll all probably have something serious and incurable wrong with them). It'll be me that's dead.

Posted by scott at 11:23 AM | Comments (4)
February 19, 2003
Happy 1st Anniversay to The CiTy MoRgUe!!!

What are you waiting for?!? Head out right now to Dr. Dremo's(Purgatorio on Wednesday nights) in Arlington, VA for the 7th issue of the City Morgue. The best thing is if you go to the magazine party, you get it for FREE!!! Party starts at 9 P.M.

Happy Anniversary!!!! We at AMCGLTD hope your second year is twice as better as the first!

If you can't make it, contact TCM on how to get YOUR copy!

Posted by Ellen at 07:43 PM | Comments (3)
Survey Says...

Taken from Omnipolitan Magazine:

Those silly Americans are at it again, throwing their weight around and generally trying to get it all their way. But what's a leader to do in these uncertain times? George Bush is obviously a threat to the stability of the entire world, and we just bet you're feeling a little anxious about your own little corner of it. Fear not! The editors of Omnipolitan Magazine have prepared this survey to help you determine just how likely you are to be invaded by the United States:

  1. The government of your country is:
    1. Democratic
    2. Communist
    3. "Citizen-validated" dictatorship or Monarchy
    4. None of your beez-naus, you obnoxious American fart-knockher
  2. Your economy is run by:
    1. itself
    2. five year plans, when not meddled with by Capitalist scum whose entire race will be erased from history if we ever catch them at it again.
    3. Oil
    4. I cannot bee-leeve you. Onlee ig-no-rhant Americans would not understand the true way to Fhre-dhom is through zee kindness of zee state.
  3. Your military is:
    1. A well oiled, well controlled machine capable of striking anywhere on the globe
    2. The most fearsome proof of the innate superiority of the prolitariat's true power. Except when the minisubs wash up on someone's shore.
    3. Manned by illiterate draftees, lead by my best friends, equipped by France or the US.
    4. Sacreblu! Our militaree ees second to non! Jes because our haircraft-caree-er had to be towed back to zee harbor twice ees no sign of our pre-pahred-nas. [book falls from shelf, BANG!!] AAG! I surrender! I surrender!
  4. The women in your country are:
    1. Equal or near-equal participants in all aspects of political, social, and legal life.
    2. A part of the worker's paradise just like the men. When they aren't busy watching their children starve to death, that is.
    3. Only allowed out with their cousin's-uncle's-mother's-brother-in-law, and even then only when covered by three layers of cloth (if it's below 120 at least).
    4. Mon dieu! How ees ze way a so-sy-itay's tratemon zepposed to haf any bear-eeng on zee discu-shee-on? Ze weemon, zey are, how do you say, ha-pee. Who caires what the rest of zese monkees do with zaire weemon.
  5. The children in your country are:
    1. As safe and protected as we can possibly make them
    2. Ensuring the continuation of the glory of our wonderful, all-powerful, and joyous leader. When they aren't busy starving to death, that is.
    3. Fuses
    4. Hee-den away so zay cannot be corrup-ted by zee crass an 'orrible American cul-tyoor.
  6. When your people disagree with your government they:
    1. vote the scoundrels out the first chance they get.
    2. are obviously defective and must be taken quickly to a re-education camp for an indefinite period of time.
    3. disappear
    4. Are seemplee confused by zee enlightened policees of ze unelected beuracracy whose sole inte-rest is thaiyr libartee.
  7. When threatened, your country's first response is:
    1. To make a lot of noise, convince as many of our friends as possible of the danger, then start kicking ass.
    2. To threaten the corrupting capitalists with utter annhiliation.
    3. To secretly strap bombs to kids, cars, buildings, women, and donkeys, while wailing away about how our fourteen century old culture is about to be wiped out by Zionists and Americans.
    4. To negotiate, but of course, while our crack special forc-es find out wheech official eet will be most efficiant to bribe.
  8. If attacked, your country's first response would be to:
    1. Pull together, bury our dead, heal our wounded, then start kicking ass.
    2. collapse
    3. collapse
    4. Ha-ha! Onlee zee Americans, because of zayre eegnorant and boorish ways, haf anything to fear from zee world. Our enlight-eend policy of briberee and pro-test protects us from [cat knocks over vase, CRASH!!] AAG! I surrender! I surrender!
  9. If some citizens of your country organize so they can more effectively disagree with your policies, you:
    1. Are required by law to allow them to assemble. You also listen to what they have to say, modify your policies (if only a little) to try and accommodate them, and arrest anyone who's smoking pot, if only to thin the crowd a bit.
    2. Roll tanks into whatever village or neighborhood is full of these dangerous spies and traitors to show them the consequences of disagreeing with our benevolent and enlightened policies.
    3. Use gas. It's faster.
    4. Allow zem to para-lyze zee entire countree because zay tink zay need forty more hou-ers of vacation.
  10. If shown an inkblot, an average citizen in your country would think it was:
    1. A burger. MMmm... burgers...
    2. What was left of their husband, who disappeared six months ago because he said the glorious leader might need a haircut. No! Wait! I didn't mean that he-[BANG!]
    3. What was left of your sister after she nobly sacrificed herself in the name of God ensuring the Zionist conspirators infesting that daycare center were taken care of.
    4. Pah! EEt iz obvious-lee zee work of an enlight-ened arteest, only zee ignorant American would theenk it was a bur-ger.


A answers: 0 points
B answers: 10 points
C answers: 25 points
D answers: -5 points

0-20 points What the hell is wrong with you? The US might be loud, annoying, and obnoxious but you know damned good and well what would happen if something really bad happened to your country. Hint: it won't be the French offering you the biggest airlift force in the world, and it won't be MADE IN JAPAN stamped on the tons of relief supplies raining down from the sky.

21-100 points Well, the US probably isn't all that interested in invading you, but you shouldn't be surprised if mysterious airplanes so full of electronics you can pick them up from your fillings patrol off your coasts.

100-200 points Probably not any time real soon, but I'd make sure to pack some fresh underwear in your [pinky to mouth] super-secret escape capsule [/pinky to mouth], because if you don't straighten up soon you're probably next.

250-500 points Goddammit Saddam, quit screwing around.

-50-0 points You're French, which makes you annoying, effete, two-faced, deceitful and an ingrate, but it doesn't make you a target. Go back to eating cheese and boinking your mistress and let the real countries take care of business. We'll let you know when it's safe to come out and play.

Posted by scott at 02:24 PM | Comments (5)
Happy Birthday Jeff!

Today is my brother's ... 33rd ... birthday. Everyone wish our favorite gun nut and big-iron fan a happy one!

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)
Blogs as Cultural Thermometers?

This New Scientist article summarizes the findings of a Cornell University (New York) computer science professor on "word bursting". He has developed new algorithms which not only count the frequency of words, but their rate of use. The tools could be used to help make searching and sorting more efficient.

Posted by scott at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)
February 18, 2003
The Other Side of the Coin

Yourish brings this reality check to our attention, reassuring us that half a million lunkheads are still, well, half a million lunkheads.

The whole antiwar thing, in the US at least, to me reeks of ad hominem. Certainly when Clinton struck Iraq with cruise missles ("killing 5 civilians") we did not even get a whiff of uproar. Yes, this is different. This is invasion, not just bombing. Certainly at that time we had not been attacked on US soil. Surely by that point nightclubs full of people had not been flattened in the middle of the night. Most definitely in that era people had not been stuffing their shoes with explosives.

I respect the anti-war bunch, I really do. My problem is that for at least the past ten years and perhaps for the past sixty we have been dancing on needles trying to protect our interests while making sure we didn't so much as offend anyone. We were more concerned about bruising someone else's ego than we were about making sure wackos couldn't attack our very way of life. This. Did. Not. Work.

You're against war. Fine. Are you against burkhas? Are you against having a baby's spine broken because they don't have a penis? Are you against the legal rape of a woman just because her brother doesn't like the way she looked at a man? Are you against children twisted and blackened by gas, or men starving behind barbed wire? If you're against these things why are you trying to stop us?

You say we made Saddam. Fine. I'll accept that. You say we're chasing the wrong target. Fine, I'll even accept that. But consider that I'd accuse you of taking the short view just because you don't like the guy in charge. This is not a climax. This is not the final battle. This isn't the whole point.

We tried moral relativism, saying that just because we think what you're doing is wrong doesn't mean it's wrong. We ended up with smoking holes in our cities and three or four sets of maniacs trying to get their hands on nuclear weapons to make sure the next time they took out cities and not just buildings.

Me, I think Saddam is the epitome of that old joke about lawyers at the bottom of the sea.

A start*.

Posted by scott at 07:58 PM | Comments (0)
Possessed Skull

Get it now!! Your own possessed skull! On Ebay!


Posted by Ellen at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)
Sunday Night Sex Show Recommendation

Sue Johanson and her crew tried out this product on sunday.

Accordoing to the site, "great sex is all about angles".

One problem with this kind of toy. Since they look like furniture, I don't think you will be able to hide them under the bed.

Posted by Ellen at 03:17 PM | Comments (15)
The Butt Light

Just when you thought flashlights were a tool used to see in the dark, you get an item like this rear it's little head.

Don't forget to read the caption for it!

Posted by Ellen at 03:08 PM | Comments (0)
Geek Toys

I'm sure we'll get dragged to Toys R Big Bucks by our kid, but if I have anything to say about it the book store and the Discovery store will be visited at least as, hopefully more, often.

And if she brings home something like this, well, I'll have to test it out several times. Just to make sure it's safe, you know.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (2)
Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys, Pt II

Pat gets another no-prize for bringing this priceless, if perhaps apocryphal, account of a US Marine Corps. officer's recent encounter with a French officer in Bosnia. Just enough detail to make me think it might be true. Never mess with a jarhead. :)

Posted by scott at 01:25 PM | Comments (1)
When You Love Death Too Much

All I can say is, YUCK!

Posted by Ellen at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)
Even Ellen Would Think this was a Little Extreme

I mean, cutting off the hands and feet of your mother-in-law because she pisses you off is a little much, no?

Us? What do we do? Our respective in-laws are a joy and light in our eyes, we are constantly greatful for their divine wisdom an@$#%@


Posted by scott at 09:53 AM | Comments (2)
U-Make-It Drivethrough

Ever wonder why parking lots and anything else a car gets near always has concrete-filled poles surrounding it? Wonder no more

The Wal-Mart in the town I grew up in didn't have them for a long time, and roughly every other year someone would drive right through the place. Audi nearly went bankrupt in the early 80s because of lawsuits over "sudden acceleration syndrome". Extremely uncritical and sensational reporting on behalf of the press monkeys nearly destroyed their business.

It took some really ugly, intense, and (not surprisingly) unreported cross-examination to get moms to admit their foot slipped or they just got confused and hit the wrong pedal, and that's why they ran over their kid. This is why modern cars require you to put your foot on the brake before you can place them in gear.

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
February 17, 2003
Sometimes, a Fry is Just a Fry

It was only a matter of time, really, until some guy got his back up and decided to name them "Freedom Fries". Inspired by one of the nastier periods of xenophobia in our country no less.

I don't want to move to another place because my fellow Americans are so messed up. But I wouldn't mind putting some on a boat and sending it to, say, Greenland.

Found via Amish Tech Support.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (5)
When Alfa Guys get Bored

Well, at least this guy is getting creative with the snow.

Posted by scott at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)
Becoming Human

This article summarizes a new finding which could explain why, when, and how humans became creative. To wit:

A specific genetic mutation seems to have ocurred in humanity at roughly the same time as an explosion in our creativity as expressed in the style and functionality of tools and the creation of abstract art.

Anthropologists have always known something really unusual happened to our species somewhere between 35,000 and 75,000 years ago. Before this time, which is actually after "modern" humans had developed physically, there were few variations in tool making and essentially no art. After this time, bang, tools started coming in all shapes and sizes, and suddenly people started to decorate them, or just make art for art's sake. The deliniation is as remarkable as it is mysterious.

Is this the "smoking gun" that tipped humanity from being extremely bright chimps into the creature that would eventually walk on the moon? Hard to say at this point, but it certainly is worth persuing.

Posted by scott at 02:22 PM | Comments (2)
Well, that's One Way to Finish the Basement

Problem: The old church pipe organ you grew up playing is going to be taken apart and sold for scrap so the preacher can have a smaller electric model sitting in front of the church.

Solution: Put it in your basement.

Yes, a whole organ, in a basement. I don't want anyone making fun of me wanting a lift in my garage anymore, 'kay?

Posted by scott at 02:13 PM | Comments (0)
February 16, 2003
Race Riot

Black folks and white folks are eating together. Right there, in front of me. Not just eating in the same restaurant, but sitting at actual tables together. Not just black folks. Asian folks are sitting with Latino folks, white folks are sitting with Asian folks, Latino folks with black folks, and every combination in between. You even catch the occasional homogony lilt of an African accent, the beef stew roll of a Russian one, even the bright sun tang of an Australian among the tables. The whole world was sitting in front of me, having some lunch, and nobody thought anything of it.


"Mom! We got on a Little League team!", I said with the enthusiasm only a ten year old can muster. It was, oh, 1978. Star Wars was still dominating the country's theaters, the first "test-tube" (i.e. 'in-vitro') baby was born, and almost a thousand people killed themselves deep in a South American jungle at the command of a madman. I remember all these things, but at the time I didn't care about them. All I cared about was that I was going to be one of the "cool" kids by playing baseball. Oh I hated the game, I was never one for athletics, but it got me with the "in" crowd, and all my friends were there. Well, all except one.

"Why isn't Travis in the league?", I asked. Travis was my best friend. We talked so much on the phone our moms teased us about being a couple of little girls gossiping. We talked about comics (we shared a passion for Spider Man), science fiction (he liked Spock, I liked Kirk, how perfect was that?), the latest bully reports, and who knows what else. I was seriously worried about baseball. Two weird geeky kids are a team. One weird geeky kid is a target.

"Travis? Well... I don't think Travis wants to be in that league," my mom said with the all-too-quick phrasing of someone trying to side-skirt an uncomfortably complex topic.

"What? Well, maybe I can call him and talk him into it."

"No, no, you don't need to do that, I'll talk to his mom later on." Which was mom-jujitsu doing a number on my attention span. Because I didn't know the real reason Travis didn't come to play on our teams. I wouldn't figure it out for years.

Travis, my best friend, was black. I don't know if he was officially barred from our league, but he sure as hell wouldn't have been welcomed. The black folks had their own leagues on the other side of town. I wouldn't have been welcomed there either.


"C'mon nigger, deal the cards!"

It was four years later, 1982, and Travis and I were in our second go-around as roomies at band camp. Fourteen-year-old boys with cash money and no direct supervision, and what do we do? Order some pizzas and start playing cards, of course. Guys are guys, you see, no matter how old they are.

We had V, who had a speech impediment that made him hard to understand but who was smarter than six other people put together, A, a new kid who was a little high-strung but otherwise OK (the fact that his older sister, C, was gorgeous didn't hurt), M, a preacher's kid who would remain the most arrogant and ignorant person I would ever personally know, Travis, and me. We'd scarfed most of the pizza sitting on the gritty-dusty mottled gray asphalt tiled floor of our dorm room and were waiting while A fumbled with the shuffling so we could play a game I can't remember anymore. That's when Travis said that, the most amazingly shocking thing I think I've ever heard anyone say in my life.

"C'mon nigger, deal the cards!"

It was at that point that I got clued in. It literally had not occurred to me up until that second that I was the only white kid in the room. In all honesty, I don't really think anyone else had noticed it either, although I think I caught a sly grin or two as I tried to subtly pick my jaw up off the floor. It was the first time I'd actually witnessed the other double standard, of things that can and cannot be said by certain people at certain times.

I knew on a visceral level that word meant nothing but evil, ignorant rot so foul it made six day old corpses smell sweet. It came out of the mouths of the bullies I hated and feared, out of the mouths of relatives who I was supposed to respect and love but who I could only hold in sad contempt, out of the mouths of preachers and teachers, but only when "off-duty", when they thought nobody who counted would hear.

It also came out of the mouth of my best friend, who up until that time I knew on an academic level was black. To me, he was black as in "wow! I didn't know black people didn't have tan lines!" (to which he replied, "damn, white people have white butts!" The showers in the dorm were "open", you see), something to be remarked on like a hair color or a distinctive birthmark, something we could discuss to distract ourselves from the completely bizarre transformations our bodies were undergoing in the depths of puberty.


For whatever reasons, and I don't really think it was this, our relationship would gradually change, and we would drift apart. He lived in the "nice" section of "his" side of the town, and I lived in the "nice" section of "mine". Oh, we were still able to banter about our differences ("This is what white people do on the weekends?!?" was his incredulous question when I showed him the cruise route for teenagers), but our social lives diverged (he had one, I didn't), and in the mid-80s there was no such thing as a "crossover" relationship, certainly not in the south.

One event, though, sticks clearly in my mind. I was a cook at a Pizza Hut in 1986, and Travis, along with a few other of my high school friends (black and white) were working there. We had an employee meeting about who knows what, sales probably, when the manager mentioned his one real scheduling difficulty. You see, the manager was from California. He didn't know You Didn't Talk About Such Things in the south.

"The biggest problem I have is that I have to keep a white waitress on the clock at all times. A third of the people who come into this place won't speak to a black waitress or waiter. Sonya [who was the nicest lady I ever met, and the best waitress in the whole joint] can walk up to the [very prominent, "pillar of the Baptist church" family] when they come in and they just won't speak to her."

What surprised me wasn't the admission. I'd known there were stupendously ignorant, dangerous, and evil people in my town for years. I was counting the days until I graduated and could escape the entire mouth-breathing mass of them. What surprised me was the complete lack of surprise the black folks expressed when the manager said it.

I've already said many times I study things that interest me. Some things, like science, have interested me for my entire life. Others are struck by an epiphany, a revelation which can happen at the oddest points.


I remember it distinctly. It was a typical hot, muggy, northwest Arkansas July 4th in 1992. I'd come there to go to college, and had settled after graduation while I tried to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. I was driving down the "bypass", a sad little excuse for an interstate that surrounded the college town I lived in, steering my old convertible. My beween-the-shoulderblades hair was stinging my eyes as it whipped in the hot towel-snap wind. I was going to the mall, probably to pick up some books, wondering if the sky's ominous color change to soap-scum covered copper would cancel the fireworks scheduled for that night.

While I was driving I pondered the country. How proud I was to be an American. How proud everyone who lived in this country should be. How we were a nation of people who had picked up, packed up, and pushed up to make the most powerful nation on the planet. All except, I suddenly realized, one. One set of people had ancestors who didn't really want to be brought here. People, regardless of who was ultimately to blame, regardless of how ultimately promising their lives turned out to be, who did not seek this country out, but were instead carried here against their will. It sounds almost Joan-of-Arc-ish, but from that point forward, sweating on that dusty road in a car that was more rust than it was steel, I decided to at least try to pay attention to what was going on "on the other side of the tracks", to educate myself as much as I could on what it really was like to be considered different only because of your looks. I started to pay attention, and I watched.

I watched as the bitterness of the civil rights boomers seeped into the racial debate. I watched people who were so deeply naive they really thought they could overturn three centuries of racism in less than a single lifetime grasp desperately for relevance amongst the generation after my own. A generation whose parents were raised integrated, who, no matter what was spoke at home, understood that in the schools and at the workplace it was wrong to notice color (even if you did anyway). I watched them define their failure not by how far race relations had progressed in the courts, not how far they had progressed in the media, but by how far they had progressed in the social order of our life. "Black folks and white folks may be forced to work on equal terms", they would say, "but they don't socialize very much. We don't eat together, and we never will." To them, it seemed, every time the goal was in site the goalposts moved farther away, never getting any closer.

Which are the words that echoed in my head as I walked into "El Pollo Rico", which as I understand it translates into "rich chicken". It's the paragon of the modern "mom-and-pop" local fast food joint, South American style. It happens to be across the street from Ellen's cat clinic, and apparently has the best rotisserie chicken on the planet. You walk in to a stark, plain, florescent-lit dining area with randomly scattered and tightly grouped wooden tables and chairs on white tile, a giant counter at the back flanked by huge ovens filled with chickens doing a slow-roast samba. It is very, very good.

The place was packed when we walked in last Friday. While Ellen waited in line (she knew what to order) I tried to stay out of everyone's way as they busily dissected tasty Peruvian chicken and went over the day's events in the ratchetty buzzy rumble that is a group discussion in a crowded room. It was then that I really noticed what I was seeing...

Black folks and white folks are eating together. Right there, in front of me. Not just eating in the same restaurant, but sitting at actual tables together. Not just black folks. Asian folks are sitting with Latino folks, white folks are sitting with Asian folks, Latino folks with black folks, and every combination in between. Nobody cares, nobody notices, except for one white kid, who can remember wondering why his best friend couldn't play little league on the same team as him.

It can still be dangerous to simply have the wrong color skin in the wrong part of town in this country. But I no longer fear for the future of race in America, all because of what I saw in a dinky little grab-and-go.

In America.

Posted by scott at 09:38 PM | Comments (4)
More Mars News

This BBCnews science report summarizes the most recent findings from Mars researches. In a nutshell: there's quite a bit of water on Mars, enough to cover the entire planet in a very shallow ocean if it were all released at once. This is very promising for, say, future human exploration. Not only can you use the water for drinking, but also creating rocket fuel for your return trip, making the craft that needs to get you there far lighter (and hence less expensive).

Posted by scott at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
Gotta Love Those Typos

Sex Arrested after Man Attacked. You can't make stuff like this up folks.

Posted by scott at 05:45 PM | Comments (0)
The REAL Reason Scott Can't Sleep at Night

*Warning! Not Safe for Work!*- not because of the pix I'm going to show you, but cause of all the XXX pop up ads.

The Thing In The Closet.

Posted by Ellen at 02:04 PM | Comments (1)
Is This For Real?

One BIG shift stick

Both Scott and I took about 3 minutes before we came to our conclusion.

Posted by Ellen at 01:59 PM | Comments (1)
Is that a Coconut in Your Pocket or... oh, wait... it is

Just when you thought nature didn't get any more bizzare, someone goes and finds plants whose "parts" mimic peoples' "parts". No, really. Go read the article, you'll never be the same.

Posted by scott at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Slashdot featured this cool history of Anime yesterday. Figured the anime fans out there would appreciate it. :)

Posted by scott at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)
February 15, 2003
Tales of Love, Mormon Style

I will state it again. I've known several Mormons throughout my life, and I still get freaked out because they just don't seem this weird. I mean, what's up with these folks?

Posted by scott at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)
Meet the Hedgehog

Some of you will know who Ron Jeremy is, I know of at least one person out there who's met him. Turns out there's a documentary about his life coming out soon, and it seems to be an interesting one. Everyman's porn star, the guy who makes all the rest of us guys say, "well, if he can do it...", turns out to be a quick-witted romantic who did good in an unconventional profession.

Anyone who's been intrigued by "the countdown", and anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about when I say that, might want to give it a look.

Posted by scott at 03:17 PM | Comments (2)
February 14, 2003
21 Weeks

According to my online baby calender, this is what's happening this week.

How your baby's growing: Your baby now weighs about 12 1/2 ounces and is 10 1/2 inches long, head to toe. The eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed, and the fingernails are starting to sprout. Watch what you say from here on in: If you talk, read, or sing to your baby, she'll probably be able to hear you. You may want to try reading to her. Choose some children's classics, or read aloud one of your own books. After birth, some studies suggest a newborn will suck more vigorously when you feed her if you read to her from a book frequently heard in utero.

I have also been told to stick some headphones to my abdomen and her listen to some music. Do people normally just listen to classical or what?

How your life is changing: It's hard to be a smooth operator when you're pregnant. Don't be surprised if you find yourself a little more clumsy these days. You're carrying more weight, your center of gravity has changed with your growing uterus, and your fingers, toes, and other joints are all loosening due to pregnancy hormones. Be careful and watch where you're going, and if you haven't already, say good-bye to high heels. They make keeping your balance more difficult and cause backaches.

Yeah, the joint thing is noticeable now. My wrists and fingers click and pop, and my legs grind in the hip sockets in really strange ways. Flexibility is not there. I have to keep working on that. I was told by books and by some friends that you can literally do splits when pregnant.

It's already hard to believe that this baby is almost a foot long. Scott and I remember looking in our book and remembering her as the size of a jelly bean. Less than 20 weeks to go and there will actually be another person in this house. 5 cats, 3 people.

1 demonic fish.

21 weeks in, 19 to go.

Posted by Ellen at 08:31 PM | Comments (5)
Gummy Dongs

Ever want a spiced up gummy snack ?

Now you get can gummy dongs, gummy cock rings, and gummy vibrators.

All I can say is "sticky".

~make sure you watch the animated movies!

Posted by Ellen at 02:38 PM | Comments (3)
Happy Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and happy Birthday dad!

Thanks to everyone who has commented on Quiet Man too... that's exactly the kind of debates we're looking for. Special mention to Sesh, who sticks to his guns without getting personal.

You all seem to have voted that essay a home run, and I'm very grateful. While I'm working on the next one, you may want to peruse the archives by hitting the highlights on the left of the main page or just trolling through the essays. Last I checked there were more than a hundred of them in there, so there's bound to be something to like.

Again, thanks for visiting and don't forget to come back soon!

Posted by scott at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)
Everyman's Candidate

Well, he sure is mine! Anyone who wants a more sensible calendar, to rename a campuses main hall more realistically, and turn stadiums into parking lots has my vote. Definitely not for the humor impaired.

Posted by scott at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)
Shuttle Update

Pat gets a no-prize by brining this NYTimes article (free reg, blah blah blah) summarizing the latest findings about the Columbia disaster. In the "dur" file comes the revelation that conductive heating (which is what you'd get if a few tiles were missing) wouldn't produce the temp changes they're seeing in the data. Only superhot plasma is able to do that, and to get plasma you need a hole.

My own armchair quarterback opinion: they ran over something out there. We've known about the dangers of space junk for decades, and IMO it finally got us. It's also quite possible that the plasma leaked into the wheel well, detonated the tires and threw shrapnel everywhere, and that's what took the wing off.

More as we find it out...

Posted by scott at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)
It's Always Something

Ya can't move to the Bahamas because of the hurricanes. Ya can't move to California because of the earthquakes. Ya can't move to Seattle because of (according to my mom) serial killers. And ya can't move to Florida because the ground swallows up your car. YOU JUST CAN'T WIN!

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (3)
February 13, 2003
That's No Moon, that's a Kibbutz!

Larry over at ATS took our post on Jedi becoming a religion and ran with it. What would Star Wars have been like if George Lucas had used the Torah instead of Joseph Campbell? Click the link to find out!

Posted by scott at 08:30 PM | Comments (0)
.50 Caliber Introduced

As if you needed a bigger gun .

I don't have to tell you all about the saying of a man and his gun right?

Let me know if I do.

As for women who want a bigger gun? We are just that pissed off.

Posted by Ellen at 08:06 PM | Comments (1)
When Babies Attack!

As I get further along in this pregnancy, I whip out [whoosh-CRACK] my "What to Expect When You're Expecting" manual on pregnancy and birth (You need a manual??- who had a manual 1000 years ago?) and look up the latest symptoms ect... to see if what I'm feeling is "normal". I have yet to find a book that gives you the down and dirty on feelings and what's really going to happen to you without making you feel like dirt because you are pregnant. Scott says it's a conspiracy to convince unsuspecting women "NO! It's not really that bad." For once, I'm not sure I disagree.

Last night I was in the tub (like I normally am every night) reading some magazines (like I usually do) and relaxing before bedtime, relishing my time in the tub with the 5 cats lounging on the floor, toilet, sink, on the side of the tub ect...

Everything was going as planned when *thump*, *thump thump*. "Wow, the baby is really moving tonight", I'm thinking. But it was a much harder thump than normal. So what do I do... I look down at my once flat stomach that the bath water used to (used to) cover and just took a moment to observe.

*THUMP!* Eyes get bigger...*THUMP!!! THUMP!!!* Goblin stares down at me from the tub ledge and looks at my belly like, "something's not right with the hyoo-man" in her eyes. This is when I see part of my lower abdomen stick at least 1/2 inch away from the surface of where it normally lays and scoots across like a shark fin in the ocean.

"SCOTTT!!!!!!! COME SEE THIS!!!!!!!" All the while Olivia is twisting and turning all over the place, to the point I'm feeling a bit queasy seeing it.

"What!???" he goes.

"Look at this!", I point to my belly.

Of course by the time Scott has walked up 2 flights of steps, she has stopped her alien-esq quest for escape.

So that night, I'm laying in bed watching TV with Scott's hand on my belly making him feel what this baby is doing. It's getting more interesting as the days go on. It's funny to see that she is so active between the hours of 7-10 pm and again at 5-9 am. Plus you find yourself looking foward to that thump every night, just to make sure everything still feels real and that in a few months, you will actually be looking at it face to face.

Hopefully it won't have an extra set of jaws and an exoskeleton.

Posted by Ellen at 07:31 PM | Comments (4)
Go-Vegan! Jesus Wants You To!

Ok, this site is just f*&d up. Thanks to Battie over at Demon Wurkz , we can all become veggie-tarians. Cause Jesus wants us to.

ermm.....Battie, you get the F*&d- Up no prize of the day.

Posted by Ellen at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)
Dress Jesus

Thanks to the Josh over at BlueLens, you can finally dress up Jesus .

Posted by Ellen at 07:08 PM | Comments (1)
Guess What, We Don't Like You Either

We're always hearing about how one country or another doesn't like us, or how they like us less now than they did then. Yet we never hear about how we look at other countries. Turns out it certainly isn't from a lack of finding it out. So one has to wonder, why don't we hear about this stuff?

Can anyone imagine France or Germany actually caring? Then why do we care what they think about us?

Posted by scott at 11:52 AM | Comments (1)
World's Most Inappropriate Valentine's Day Gift?

Somehow I don't think this will substitute for a boquet of flowers.

Posted by scott at 11:06 AM | Comments (5)
Say, is That a Lightsaber in your Pocket...

It's official folks, Britain has more Jedis than Jews. The 2001 census report had a write-in blank for religion, and some internet wing-dings got a campaign going to get people to write "Jedi" in the blank. I think it's funny they felt they had to put an explanation at the bottom for what, exactly, a Jedi was.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)
You Just Thought Brakes Were Important on the Highway

Ker-plunk! The thing about an EA6-B prowler going splash into the ocean off the end of a flight deck is, well, they don't have all that many of them left, and aren't building any more. It's funny because nobody got hurt.

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
February 12, 2003
The Quiet Man

The United States is the most powerful nation on the planet, and has been attacked in a spectacular and egregious way. Yet we prevaricate and protest. Europe once ruled the entire planet with an iron fist and yet brought literacy and enlightenment where once war and abject slaughter ruled. Yet they see in their greatest trade partner and staunchest ally a force of chaos, good only for ridicule, while a culture that has worked to destroy them for more than a thousand years sharpens its knives yet again. Why is it this way? What the hell happened?

One of my favorite "old" movies is John Ford's The Quiet Man. In it, John Wayne plays Sean Thornton, an American returning to Ireland to reclaim the homestead of his ancestors. Sean has a secret, one which drives a major portion of the plot.

Sean used to be a boxer. Sean beat a man to death in the ring.

Because of this Sean won't fight, he just won't. This stand threatens his health, his love, even his standing in the community. Everyone thinks he won't fight because he's a coward. Everyone is, of course, wrong. He is eventually drawn into a fight, but not until grossly provoked. Fortunately this is "old" Hollywood and so everyone plays by the rules, and it all has a happy ending.

Such anti-heroes have become a staple in American cinema. From Pale Rider to Rambo and Star Wars to The Godfather, all and many more contain people who turned away or tried to stay out of it all, to no avail.

It's a tradition that has its roots deep in western thought and culture. The Greeks, unique in all the ancient world, had armies made up of free men who quite literally had better things to do. The Romans worshipped Cincinnatus who, after all, just wanted to plow his fields. Of course, for every Cincinnatus there were a hundred Caligulas, for every Washington a thousand Napoleons. We cherish these quiet men because they are in fact exceedingly rare.

The west drove itself to the brink of annihilation in the twentieth century because we ignored the lessons of the quiet man, not just once but twice. Europe immolated the old order in a drunken orgy of death and destruction that, were it not for the reluctant intervention of the United States, threatened to literally go on forever.

Sick to their very bones of fighting, the west then ignored the rise to power of a series of dictatorial governments whose leaders were so insanely out of touch with reality they made Charles Manson look like Buddha. What Germany and Japan did not understand was the rest of the world gave them what they wanted not out of cowardice, but from an unwillingness to go through all that again, to throw wave after wave of their children into a bloody, futile meat grinder, where even the survivors can't truely be said to be human anymore.

So Europe did whatever it took short of war to avoid it. Even when it came to war, it should be no surprise that the nations whose soil soaked up the blood of Verdun, Somme, and Flanders chose to surrender instead of going through it all again in less than a single generation. Britain remained standing more out of luck and the insanity of the opposition than any defense, no matter how valiant it may have been. It took an unprovoked invasion of the largest country in Eurasia combined with a humiliating defeat on a tiny island in the Pacific before the last of the great western powers awoke, rolled their sleeves up, and got down to business.

And what a business it was. The west became powerful because of the way we fight wars. We're good at it, better than any culture has ever been. At the climax of the Second World War, we were cooking people in bomb shelters because the fires in the cities were so intense. We vaporized people by unleashing a force hotter than the surface of the sun. Like a boxer who can't hear the bell over the thundering in his ears, we kept punching and punching and punching, not noticing that the other guy's skull had been completely bashed in.

The culture that had ruled the world for nearly two hundred years collectively recoiled in horror at what it had done. A nation whose cornerstones are liberty and justice burned whole square miles of city completely to ash, ensuring the last thing too many children saw was the way a firebomb blew open like a dandelion, just before it hit. Like an alcoholic waking up from a blackout and finding blood all over the house and a knife in his hand, Europe quite willingly let the US handle the liquor of war and has ever since tried to convince the rest of the world to go on the wagon (even as they themselves occasionally fell off).

For a brief period of time the United States, which through geographic co-incidence hadn't suffered serious domestic casualties in nearly a century, put down its traditional disdain for foreign conflicts and threw itself full-force into defending what it saw as the entire free world. It took an additional 58,000 or so bodies coming home in bags during the course of a decade over a place so remote most people couldn't find it on a map before we realized we were in fact not omnipotent. And always the shadows burned into the walls of Hiroshima and Nagasaki haunted us.

So, eventually, the cultures of the west collectively decided to sit it out. The rest of the world could be nasty and brutal and dangerous and, as long as they didn't do it in front of a camera, we all, almost subconsciously, decided to let them. The quiet man decided he'd had a belly full of death.

Then the walls fell.

It's never as simple as this. The peoples of Europe are not a monolith, and the peoples of America are nothing if not the peoples of the entire world. The governments and businesses and academia of continental Europe, along with the intelligencia and entertainment elite of our own country, oppose the war for cynical, self-serving reasons. Reasons that have very, very little to do with peace on earth, good will toward man. But the people of Europe, our founding Britain, and in no small part our own country, the ones who stand up for ridicule and, God help them, go running around in the snows of central park wearing nothing but boots and scarves, they oppose war because the quiet man still wishes to simply be left alone.

The tragedy is it can't happen this way. It just can't. Where we see holding back out of mercy, the tin pot dictators see retreat out of cowardice. Where we see concern that only combatants are annihilated, the religious fanatics of the world see an effete concern for the welfare of the expendable. Where we decide through simple economics that it just isn't worth it to save a people who don't want to be saved, the leaders of those people decide we simply don't have the stomach to take them on, and kill a few more out of spite.

Even sixty years on, the peoples of Europe are still heartsick over what happened in the middle of the last century. Fortunately for them, we are not, and have seen what must be done. The quiet man west of Albion has been awakened with a terrible fury and purpose. Fortunately for us, our allies in Europe (and Britain, and Canada) stand by, if nothing else to protect us from our own excess, grounding us and ensuring the less savory elements of our own culture are kept in check, and that we really do act on the international stage in the world's best interest. It's not comfortable, and it hurts us more than they know, but we need it desperately.

The fanatics and dictators of the rest of the world see the hole in Manhattan as a triumph, the prevarication of the west in its aftermath an opportunity. They do not understand that the smoke merely woke again the sleeping giant, and the debate is merely over how best to dissect the insect.

More's the pity.

Posted by scott at 06:16 PM | Comments (42)
The Ever Changing Nose

More dirt on Michael Jackson .

Posted by Ellen at 04:42 PM | Comments (2)
Ok, I HATE These

Note to husband:
"Stop sending me stuff like this , I almost gave birth 4 months early".

Well no, not really. But I almost wet my pants.

Posted by Ellen at 04:09 PM | Comments (2)
Gonads and Strife

The WEEEEEE!!! song.

It's bizarre.

Posted by Ellen at 04:06 PM | Comments (5)
WOW! They Just Found This Out??

Is the media this dumb ?

I mean really, who did not know that shit? Let's upset the general public even more today.

Posted by Ellen at 02:06 PM | Comments (5)
That's not Very Nice

But it is very funny. Michele's got a new slogan T-shirt for sale.

Posted by scott at 12:26 PM | Comments (1)
Insert Skeleton Joke Here

For the Goth who has everything, Galavant.com helps fulfill your new and used skeletal needs. Not to be missed: the MCD art gallery, where customers get a little funky with the company's products.

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Pregnancy Tip!

Of course I got it off of my favorite site right now. Pregnancy.com

Pregnancy Tip: A pineapple a day makes the heartburn go away "Fresh pineapple (eaten in small amounts)

Yeah ok, a small amount? I ate a whole pineapple this morning. A WHOLE pineapple. Was it enough to eat? Nope..but I am watching the weight I pack on, so no food till lunch.

Posted by Ellen at 11:47 AM | Comments (5)

Take a look at this! An entire site dedicated to nearly 4000 beers !

Not only that, they have all been taste-tested!

Posted by Ellen at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)
Ancient Egyptian Town Discovered

Looks like a bunch of Scotsman running on a shoestring budget have discovered a previously unknown old-kingdom era town. See Ellen! Listening to bagpipes makes you smart!

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)
Happy Pervert Personals

Even worse than the City Paper here in the metro area!


Posted by Ellen at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
Missouri Trailer Trash

What a great site. Not only does it give you a tour of Missouri's finest trailer trash folks, but it tells you how to make the perfect trailer lawn and how to be constructive with all those extra car parts laying around.

Do all people do this in front of their trailers?

Posted by Ellen at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)
Westminster Winner

Possibly the only time I really watch dogs on t.v.

I love to watch the yearly Westminster to see who wins. The past few years, small poodles have one, a Dandy Dinmont (who was very cute) one, but this time a Kerry Blue Terrier won the Westminster.

If you missed the Westminster, USA(tv channel) tends to replay it the weekend after it first aired.

Posted by Ellen at 09:26 AM | Comments (4)
February 11, 2003
When Oscars Attack, Pt. 2

So I'm sitting here, minding my own business enjoying my newly-reworked computer playing a first-person-shooter and defending the free world from communism when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, comes from upstairs:



Now, I have a hunch what this is, but sitting down here is definitely not Politically Correct. Not when "Oi-yam carryin' yoi chyld!" So, like a dutiful husband I put the game on pause and trudge upstairs to see what the hell is wrong.

"Th-Th-Th-The osc-osc-oscar... it-it-it jumped out at me!!!" she said, pale and still bouncing up and down like a pogo stick, "i-i-i-it jumped awl the whay outta tha tyank an took da food right outta my hyaa-and!!!" (she gets New York when she gets scared) [hop hop hop]

I look at the oscar. The less-than-one-pound, barely bigger than your hand oscar. He looks back at me, swear to god, with this look like, "don't ask me man, I was just hungry." If he had shoulders he would've shrugged them.

Some people are frightened by ghosts, others by spiders, still others by things that go "bump" in the night.

My girl loses three years from the antics of a half pound wannabe trout.

Posted by scott at 08:15 PM | Comments (5)
The Dog Goes... bbrrRRAPP

Battie & Skully get our first double no-prize for this little... um... "ditty"? A little potty humor brightens everyone's day!

Update: According to B, 'twas she who found it. Unfortunately I fed-exed the prize already, so you two will just have to duke it out.

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (4)
St. Peter's Through Time

I'd always known that the modern St. Peter's Basilica was constructed on the site of the original in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but how different one was from the other was never very clear to me. So, being the kind of guy I am, I went and did some digging. Here's what I found:

  • This site, while hard to look at because of the bright background, contains a very nice illustration that shows the floor plans of the new basilica, the old basilica, and the imperial circus.
  • This is a really nice illustration of what the old basilica probably looked like from the inside, facing the "martyrium", where St. Peter's tomb was located.
  • This site provides a nice, simple cut-away view of what the original Basilica looked like. When combined with the floor plan illustration found above, it gives you a good feel for just how different the old church was.
  • Rudolfo Lanciani wrote this interesting, if somewhat roundabout account of the history of St. Peter's and the Vatican hill on which it sits.
  • This site provides a shorter and more readable history of the basilica, includes links, but doesn't have any pictures.
  • Peter's Bones provides a fascinating and detailed account of what, exactly, was found underneath the altar of the basilica during and after WWII when renovations of the crypt underneath it were undertaken.
  • This entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia gives a nice summary of the causes and controversies surrounding the destruction of the original cathedral and the creation of the new one.

Archeology and architecture are two of my biggest interests, and the two-thousand-plus-year-old-history of the Vatican hill combines both. I find it fascinating that at one time it was not much more than a swampy old hill, then became the private back yard of the emperors, only to become the epicenter of the largest religion in the world.


Posted by scott at 02:24 PM | Comments (1)
Finally, a Holiday all Men Can Enjoy

And to think I almost let Steak and BJ Day go by without a single mention. Consider that to be corrected!

Posted by scott at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)
Well, at Least He's not from Arkansas

God is my co-pilot, Jesus is my lawyer. Thing is, I can't tell if this guy is clinically psychotic or simply an unreasonable wacknut. If it hadn't been for Versaille and the Great Depression, I'm convinced Hitler would've been a German-speaking version of this guy. Which is why he and his kind should be watched very, very carefully.

Posted by scott at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)
Cosmological Constant Proven Real

While everyone is busy thinking about its implications for the end of the universe, the announcement that NASA seems to have confirmed the existence of "dark energy" has, in my admittedly lay opinion, extremely interesting implications for advanced technologies. The existence of, for example, antigravity was always discounted by most physicists because there seemed to be no opposing force. They seem to have just found it...

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
This I do not have to Worry About

Since "sky burial" (the buddhist practice of simply leaving dead bodies in remote fields for scavengers) is not an option in the modern world, when I go I have left explicit instructions that my remains be placed in a simple wooden box. If I go by "unnatural" causes (probably involving someone named "Celeste"*), I have been given explicit instructions there will be nothing to be found.

In either case, I don't want to be left laying in front of the door to my house like this little old Japanese lady did to her husband.

Of course, Ellen tends to leave coats, hats, socks, underwear, etc. in a trail from the front door to the bathtub, so I guess anything is possible.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (1)
February 10, 2003
Score One for the Rational

Jeff wins a sainted no-prize with this follow-up to the "fencepost virgin" story last week. Someone finally tore the thing down. Of course, they're going to put it back up again, but hopefully changed enough to keep the moron religious wack crowd away.

Posted by scott at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)
Insert Dell Joke Here

Here's mine:

Dude! Yer goin' ta jail!

The new "intern" group is nearly as obnoxious, but at least I don't want to do the "Homer strangling Bart" thing to them.

Posted by scott at 03:05 PM | Comments (3)
See Ellen, You Were Right!

Great, just what I always wanted, crows bad-assed enough to kill a sheep. At least they're in Germany.

Crows infested our old place, numbering literally in the hundreds in a space not much bigger than a football field. Well, if Battie & Skully (who still live in our old building) ever stop answering their phone, we'll know the crows got them.

Posted by scott at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)
Stonehenge's Archer King

Well, we're all about science today at AMCGLTD.

Found this Reuters report about the "Amesbury Archer", a man found in a 4000+ year old grave about three miles away from Stonehenge. It's apparently the earliest, and one of the richest, bronze-age burials in Britain. Turns out, he ain't from around there... isotopes in the enamel of his teeth reveal he was from somewhere in the Alps originally.

Posted by scott at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)
Trojan Discoveries

BBCnews is reporting that Homer was a lot more accurate than previously thought. No, not that Homer, the Homer who wrote the Iliad and the Odyssey. While the Argive plain today does not at all resemble what's described in the epics, new geologic research has discovered this is due mainly to silt deposits over the intervening 3000 (!) or so years. According to this new research, the plain as it existed during the Bronze age is quite accurately represented by Homer.

The Greeks, and pretty much the Greeks alone, were quite well-known for this. Five centuries later Herodotus would write a much more conscientiously "accurate" history, which for centuries was treated as not much more than an old man telling stories. Yet every time modern scholars have been able to check him, Herodotus is quite accurate. That is, when he himself considers the information accurate. In some places he was working from what people told him, and states very plainly when he thinks his sources are full of horse-hockey.

Posted by scott at 09:19 AM | Comments (1)
Hook, Line, and Sinker

Latest research says fish are incapable of feeling pain because their brains don't have the widgets required to experience it. While they can express "nociception", responding to a threatening stimulus, this is different and distinct from the perception of pain, according to the report anyway.

They may not be able to feel pain, but if our Oscar is any indication, they can still be evil.

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (1)
February 09, 2003
25 Laws of Japanese Animation

This is for my fellow animation nut Damion.

The 25 Laws of Japanese Animation.

Exerpt: #11 - Law of Inherent Combustability: Everything explodes. Everything.

First Corrallary: Anything that explodes bulges first.

Scott and I could not stop howling with laughter!

Posted by Ellen at 06:46 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Survives Stabbing

Complete with an X-ray to look at!

Posted by Ellen at 06:35 PM | Comments (1)
20 Weeks

Sorry for the delay in the boring episodes of my pregnancy, but I was away on business for my veterinary group I belong to (I'm the VP so I had to be there).

Anyway, what I write up about my pregnancy is not really meant for you in the first place (if you don't give a shit) it's for Olivia when she gets older, to appreciate the fact that I took the time out to tell her about her 9 month adventure in the human fish tank.

Whats' going on this week: According to Baby Center.com, You've hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy. By now your baby is about the size of a large sweet potato and you should be feeling her move around. Enjoy it — those rumbles are one of the true joys of pregnancy. She's also giving her new digestive system a little practice by swallowing amniotic fluid. She absorbs nutrients and water from this fluid. The unabsorbed matter continues into her bowel where it concentrates into meconium, the greenish black or light brown substance she'll pass the first few days after she's born.

Yep, we feel her move all the time now. It's an odd feeling. It kind of feels like a fish is swimming around in there at times. Yeah, yeah, I know it's going to get more exciting. I'm not so stupid to realize that the baby will get bigger and eventually see parts moving under my skin. Jeeze, pregnancy is not rocket science. If I really want information, I usually ask, and usually do.

While I was away this weekend, I was amazed by the number of people that feel you need advice. Of course I was polite and thanked them for the information, turned around, rolled my eyes and walked away. The 'old wives' tales that I was told were frightening and just plain ODD!! "If you're not really showing by 5 months you're having a girl", or, "Craving salty means boy, craving sweet means girl", (ACK! So, tell me, oh wise women, what the hell does craving pineapple mean?!?), "No matter what you do your body will never ever be even vaguely like what it was before." After a while the person turns into a buzzing noise that is easily drowned out.

The most frustrating thing about being pregnant is that you wake up one morning and you find something new about your body (or your significant other has) that can be horrific to you and you try to find ways to hide it immediately. Example "Are those supposed to get dark like that?"(pointing at a certain body part... plural, starts with "N") Looks down at body, "Ah shit. Yeah, I think so. It doesn't hurt, so I guess it's normal". Looks back as self in the mirror, thinks: *Pregnancy is supposed to be beautiful? It's scary.* At least the belly button (turkey timer) has not popped out yet. Yet. Of course, he's such a moron, he just keeps saying "no, really, it doesn't make any difference to me!"

Another thing I'm being asked about frequently is the baby shower. Yeah, well I don't know about that. I feel guilty about having one. A baby is a choice, and one should not expect other people to furnish things for your baby. I have a friend that wants to throw one, but will it happen? Probably not. My feelings hurt? Well, no, not really. I don't expect a shower for me. That's something a friend does for you as a cute, fun experience. It would be pretty selfish of me to expect someone to throw one for me. Then again, I've never been to a baby shower before, so I don't know how they exactly work. I guess lots of oooing and ahhing at cute baby things. Scott says "It's this thing where, like, women detach the privates of all their men and then take them out of their purses at a party to compare notes." Stupid man. That's a wedding shower.

So Scott did ask me to register anyway, just in case. So of course us being big time computer oriented people, I registered online. It's just a 'wish list', I don't expect people to get us anything, but people have asked.

So if you are one of the people that want to find out what's on our list, you can check it out here

Ok, sorry, I had a really cool summary for this, but Sue Johansen just pulled out a 13" leopard print spinning vibrator out of her "pleasure chest" and that just blew it all to hell.

20 weeks to go....

Posted by Ellen at 03:22 PM | Comments (3)
It's Official: TV Execs are Morons

So, what I want to know is, just which TV exec was smoking crack the day they decided to let Anna Nicole do her "reality" show live? This thing has "debacle" written all over it. Sorry, watching the highlights of an overweight blond stoner's life was boring enough. In realtime it'll be more painful than trying to stop a car on a gravel road in your bare feet.

I like the Ozbournes because it shows someone who is widely considered to be a big scary freak is really just a normal, even charming, every day guy. I dislike the Anna Nicole show because it shows someone who is widely considered to be a big fat freak is actually a lot fatter and freakier than we ever thought possible.

Don't even get me started on Jacko... Oh. My. God.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (2)
Yup, Ellen Likes it Too

Seems cheetahs like Calvin Klein too. Next they'll be wanting Gucci bags.

Posted by scott at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)
I've Fallen, and I Can't Get Up -- Jumbo Version

There's rescues, and then there's rescues. When your kid gets stuck in the mud you shlep out there and yank 'em free. When an elephant gets stuck in a pond, well, that's a whole different story.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Even I Knew This Wouldn't Work

Problem: Funny looking people dressing in black and spikey bits keep hanging around your museum scaring the little old ladies because they look funny.

Moronic, didn't-anyone-learn-anything-from-the-60's solution: Play classical music really really loud

Result? More goths show up.

A choice FARK comment:

I've had the easiest time beating the crap out of [frat boys and ganstas], and had the hardest time against drunk Goth chicks (because they usually stab you with things).

Note to self: Make sure Kris doesn't have anything sharp on her next time we go out.

Posted by scott at 10:11 AM | Comments (3)
February 08, 2003
Heads so Soft They Make Nerf Look Like Granite

"We're totally vulnerable out here, yet we're making a wonderful statement." ... "This event derives from the belief that people can do things".

Do things like making a vague statement about your pubic grooming habits you mean?

If you want to send a message, use Western Union.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)
February 07, 2003
A Voice I Trust

Aviation Week & Space Technology, often called "Aviation Leak" for its insightful, accurate, and unwelcome speculations on the more "black" portions of the aviation community, finally has news on Columbia. As the mainstream press monkeys go off to find something else to fling poo at, AvWeek is on the case and weighs in with this report on new Columbia developments. In summary:

  • An Air Force ground tracking camera appears to have shown significant damage to the leading edge of Columbia's left wing 60 seconds before re-entry
  • The orbiter's attitude control jets were firing as it hit the atmosphere to compensate for this apparent damage
  • In spite of NASA's denials, the foam insulation still seems to have played a role in damaging this area.
  • The leading edge materials are attached in a different way than the rest of the tiles (bolted rather than glued), and this may have played a role in the failure.
  • The space station was completely out of reach of Columbia. Even if they had known about the damage ahead of time, the ISS would have provided no safe haven
  • Had the damage been spotted beforehand, the best NASA could've done was fly a profile perhaps allowing the shuttle to make it low and slow enough to allow the crew to bail out.
  • The wheel well area does not appear to have been breached, rather hot gasses were somehow making their way in.

The AvWeek guys (and gals) will be the ones providing (IMO) comprehensive, coherent coverage of this event. Most of the rest of the media lost interest after the bodies were recovered. Spectacular disaster and firey death sell advertising very well, but only for so long.

Posted by scott at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)
Tax Deductions

The shit people will attempt to deduct as a tax write off.

Posted by Ellen at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)
More Oneline Tests

You are Earth...you are stable and practical, and
sometimes thought of as stubborn. You can have
trouble with non-tangible ideas.

What Element Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to BogieBlog for the link.

Posted by Ellen at 10:08 AM | Comments (2)
One for Ellen & Josh

Say you're a dumbass redneck pothead, and you just scored a really great bag of "recreational herbs". But you have a problem! You don't have anything to roll it in, and it's a long-assed drive to the quik-e-mart to get some good paper. What to do, what to do...

Well, there's always the Bible.

Posted by scott at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)
Pilling Your Cat

It's not really that hard !

Posted by Ellen at 09:02 AM | Comments (3)
The Value of Self Confidence

This Washington Post article detailing how Rev. Richard "Rich" Weaver crashed a presidential party and managed to hand the President a note before being escorted away demonstrates something I've always found to be true: if you look and act like you're supposed to be somewhere, people will generally assume you are. My own personal experiences:

  • I once walked up to the front of a very long line and stood at the door without a word from the people in line. I was carrying a ton of camera gear around my neck and in a bag, and when asked merely said I was here to photograph the event (which was true, but it was only because a friend was in the contest).
  • Amazing but true, with the advent of cell phones people will sometimes call for pizza delivery at a sporting event. In college I walked right through the back door of the stadium carrying nothing but a pizza box, wearing my dorky-assed red-suspender uniform. If I'd had street clothes in that box instead of a pizza, I could've changed in the rest room and watched the game.
  • "Old Main", the first building on the U of A campus and a very impressive (for Arkansas anyway) piece of 2nd Empire architecture, had been undergoing renovation for nearly four years, and by 1991 was essentially complete. One day when walking by I noticed the security guard for the front door was standing thirty yards away hitting on a co-ed, so I simply squared my shoulders, put a serious look on my face, and walked right in without looking around. Once inside I had the run of the place, tinkered with lights and actually crawled around in the attic.

So if you really want to go somewhere, dress nicely, act nicely, assume that you're supposed to be there, and there's a darned good chance you'll go right in.

As long as you don't carry a gun!

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)
February 06, 2003
Don't Forget To Floss

Toothbrushes are for your mouth, not your ass.

Remember to brush your teeth, not your hemorhoids.

Posted by Ellen at 08:36 PM | Comments (2)
One Step Closer

Scientists are getting close to cloning a mammoth.

Interesting article.

Posted by Ellen at 07:18 PM | Comments (5)
Great Taste!

Yeah, ok, I'm a pig, but Richie is too and I know he'd appreciate being able to see the extended version of the "catfight" Miller Lite commercial.

Oink Oink Oink...

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (1)

Hey Fierce, did you know about all this US invading Canada in the '20s stuff? We sure didn't. Looks like a maple-leaf tinfoiler has got hold of it, claiming we were just inches away from creating the 51st + states out of them in 1926 or so, but I tend to agree with the Straight Dope guys that it was pretty much an academic excercise.

Sometimes the internet (including this site) isn't much more than a giant fart joke, but sometimes you do learn something.

Posted by scott at 11:13 AM | Comments (3)
At Least They Don't Live in Arkansas

Proof positive that religious wacks and gullible knuckleheads aren't just confined to the US, we give you the Australian "Fencepost" Virgin. Seems some folks have determined that, if you stand far enough away during the right time of day, a set of fence posts supposedly casts a shadow in the shape of the Virgin Mary. If it were in Arkansas they'd probably put a tent around it. If it were in New York they'd probably charge admission. :)

Before you shake your head and think we shouldn't make fun of these people because they mean well, understand that a person who would find salvation in a shadow is exactly the kind of person who would believe that Jews eat babies in the dark, or that homosexuals "recruit" small children, or that black people are forsaken by God because of the color of their skin.

Ignorance, stupidity, and uncritical thinking are never forgivable, no matter what the intent of the person.

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)
Hiccup History

BBCnews has this report on the history and function of hiccupping. No, really!

Posted by scott at 08:25 AM | Comments (2)
February 05, 2003
You What in Peace?!?

Finally, wanking for a good cause!

I mean, it's what most of the protestors are doing anyway, no?

A bank-shot via yourish.

Posted by scott at 02:52 PM | Comments (1)
Now There's a Church I'd go to

Josh over at bluelens gets a heiroglyphic-enscribed no-prize for bringing the Landover Baptist Church to our attention, wherein you will find the answer to that perennial question, "Can Star Trek Help Us Understand Muslims?"

Yeah, it's old to you, but it's new to us! :)

Posted by scott at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)
What the...?!?

I knew Leona Helmsley wasn't much to write home about, but I never thought she'd look like this. Nice eyebrows lady.

A bank-shot via silflay

Posted by scott at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)
Weird Shuttle News

This'll probably spread across the blogosphere like lightning, but Jeff gets our no-prize for bringing us this potentially startling development in the Columbia investigation. Could be nothing.

But might be something.

Posted by scott at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)
Joe Million... err... Wrestler?

Yah, construction worker, right. Gotta love those ethical and honest Fox producers!

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)
Gloom, Dispair, and Agony on Me

From the people who brought us de-motivational posters, we now are happy to present Bittersweets, the Valentine candy for the rest of us. Be sure to scroll down and check out the designs.

Posted by scott at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)
Nurse, or Nag?

At not quite $8400 US, this new "home care" robot might make for an economical alternative to live-in home care for the elderly if it works as advertised. In my own quite limited experience, there seem to be a lot of elderly people who could do well on their own as long as there was someone around to call for assistance in an emergency. Of course, knowing my family, it'd be turned off in a corner just as soon as I left! :)

Posted by scott at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)
But is it Art?

Not quite naughty, not quite nice, these "optical illusion" paintings only look like porn from a distance. Up close they're just weird splotches (no, not those kind of splotches). Another variation of the "magazine covers turning into pictures" kind of thing I guess.

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
February 04, 2003
Ajax Needs This

My Ajax thinks using the carpet next to the garage door is much better than the potty box at times.

So I think he needs this. If all else fails, I think I'm going to staple his ass shut.

Posted by Ellen at 07:20 PM | Comments (2)

I will never look at Spiderman the same way again.

Posted by Ellen at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)
Ok, That's Just Wrong

I mean, why couldn't the jerk have driven a boring car like, I dunno, a Honda?

(Exit stage right dodging empty beer bottles from Damion)


Posted by scott at 04:42 PM | Comments (2)
Old Friends, Long Gone

Found this site detailing one man's experience getting an "incentive" flight in an F-4 Phantom. Includes several neat pictures. The last time I saw any of these things fly on active duty was back in the late 80s at an airshow in my college town (Fayetteville, AR). The Fort Smith ANG was still flying them and they did some simulated bomb runs on the airport. At the time I didn't have a car, but I could watch the action from my highrise dorm room about ten miles away (the building was on a high hill and the airport was in a valley). Amazing aircraft.

Update: From the same site, this harrowing account of an A-10 taking a SAM hit over Kosovo.

Posted by scott at 04:13 PM | Comments (0)
All Aboard!

Found this cool site containing tons of personal recollections and funny stories from the engineering department of CVN-65, the USS Enterprise. A great "inside" look at life deep in the bowls of "the pig". Note: Sometimes is a bit heavy on the jargon, and occasionally a bit graphic, but still very interesting.

Posted by scott at 01:52 PM | Comments (1)
Why do I Hate Pressmonkeys so Much?

Because they do things like this:

Posted by scott at 11:22 AM | Comments (6)
Shadows of the Night

Most of you were probably wondering what, exactly, was wrong with us on Saturday. I mean, great tragedy, much news, and from us, nearly zippo. My mom, who thinks opera is merely a slight exaggeration in life, of course thought we'd been turned into a particularly compact can of spam on some freeway somewhere in the area.

Far from it. In actual fact, we were being introduced to "goth" culture by our very best new friends, Batty & Skully, aka Kris & Damion. Now, for us, we felt very much like one of those British documentary film-makers (in sing-song Cambridge voice): "Notice... how... the Goth uses not only the TEXture of fabric but also the, creative. color. schemes. Only in this parTICular culture, will you find, so many shades of black..." sort of thing.

Since this was an event planned by guys (myself and Damion), Ellen received exactly, oh, four hours of notice (she says... I think it was more like 12. Is it my fault she says "sleeping doesn't count!") that we were going "out". "WHAT?!?" was the reaction I was confronted with, "I have nothing to wear!!! I am pregnant and Nothing. F*cking. Fits."

"But I think you're sexy just the way you are." (see! see! I'm well trained! TOLDJA!) "Besides, Damion says Kris will come and help you pick stuff out!" (see! see! Damion is well trained too!)

"Do I look Kris-shaped to you?!?"

An aside: Kris and Ellen are normally quite similar in build, the primary difference being that Kris is 4 inches taller. Damion and I, being the Neanderthal descendants that we are, simply assumed, clothes-wise, one needed only especially tall platforms ("Yeah," Ellen says, "like, off-shore drilling platforms.") to be able to wear the clothes of the other. Normally. Unfortunately, as you all should know by now, Ellen has an... addition... that makes this equation not work out so well. At this point Ellen looks like she swallowed a 2-for-1-get-them-before-they-explode cantaloupe.

"But you'll get to go... SHOPPING" (both said in unison, Damion and Scott, separated by many miles geographical distance, only a few microseconds in the Land of the Domesticated Man).

What we were really doing was the well-worn guy technique known as "buying time". What we were actually wanting to do was tinker with my car and talk hot-rodding for several hours. Normally this is greeted with much eye-rolling and loaded-gun sighing by the ladies in our life, but by providing a convenient "out", we were able to distract ninja-like our lovelies while we got down to the real purpose of the visit... that being Banging on Cars.

Unfortunately Banging on Cars didn't go very well... this particular car needing an extra special tool that, in spite of valiant efforts on Damion's behalf, simply couldn't be created. Instead of triumphantly healing my wounded steed, we instead spent the next three hours learning new ways to express the phrase, "mother f*cking nut won't f*cking come loose". Fortunately, Kris and Ellen had a far more interesting encounter:

We were on a quest for Goth clothes, something that would fit a pregnant chick and look good and not scream "look at me, I'm a mundane trying to fit in!" The problem was, the nearest "real" Goth store was two hours away in Richmond. The best we could do was a tiny wannabe store in a very large rich-yuppie mall. We didn't find stank. I even ended up dragging poor Kris into a maternity store so I could find stockings.

However, on the way out we did watch a girl collapse at a boutique store, dragging down a whole display of purses like a tiny not-quite-leather avalanche. 'Oh look, she's having a seizure' walk, walk, walk.

Kris later related that she was glad other folks immediately rushed to this girl's aide, because it was all she could do to keep up with Ellen.

After the girls returned from the shopping excursion, Kris and Ellen went upstairs to try on the various outfits that Kris had raided from her closet(s). As per usual, none of it fit, but there was an entire apartment full of clothing to choose from at their place.

Of course, that left me. While waiting for Kris and Ellen to decide that nothing fit (why does this always seem to take two hours?!?), Damion and I were sitting on the couch doing what guys always do when they are waiting on women... watching TV.

"Scotttt..." came the all-too-familiar voice from upstairs, "we need to go to the mall to get your costume."

"Costume?!?" Kris and Damion were quite bemused. "Oh, no problems," Damion said to me as we searched for a car race, "you can just get your black pants and we'll find some shirt at my place."

"Umm... do they have to be black?"

"Well, yeah, and black shoes too."

"Umm... does really dark blue count?"

"Hang on a minute," he said, growing horror in his eyes, "you mean to tell me you don't own any black pants?!?"

Apparently this is a major faux pas in the Goth world. It felt sort of like someone noticing I had crashed a wedding reception for the free booze.

"Ummm... no?"

"At least you have black shoes, right?"

"Well, I have a pair of really dark brown ones for my suite... does that count?"

I could tell by the look in everyone's eyes (of course Ellen and Kris had come downstairs by this time) that no, that doesn't count, not at all. This was when I was confronted with... the horror.

I, Scott, who thinks a ratty t-shirt and sweat pants are, if not the height of fashion, certainly a plateau on the way, was going to Have to Buy an Outfit.

At this point memory fast-forwards a bit, sort of like one of those montages from a bad Monkies episode, where everyone and everything is moving at double-speed. Only instead of "I'm a Believer" playing in the background I had "Black #1" by Type O Negative. Shirts were tried on, pants, even shoes, until finally we had everything assembled to make sure Scott didn't embarrass everyone with white shoes and brown socks. I felt more than a little like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman stuffing all my new bags and boxes into the back of the Cruiser as we traveled to Kris and Damion's house to finish the outfitting.

Again, Ellen:

Ultimately, after we arrived at Kris & Damion's place, I found an outfit in Kris's closet that did the trick. A form-fitting red velour dress (which showed off the cantaloupe quite nicely) that Kris accented with a black jacket with fake fur trim. Unlike my knuckle-dragging husband, I already owned a proper pair of boots to set the ensemble off.

This was where we were confronted, once again, with a difference in culture.

Ellen and I only look like a young couple on the outside. In reality, we merely need bad plaid pants and an especially tall Cadillac (allowing Ellen to peer through the steering wheel) to do a convincing imitation of snowbirds in Florida. We tend to end our day at 10 pm, and that only when we're feeling especially energetic. I'd read about people "going out at 9 pm to get an early start" like other folks read about Maori starting into the surf at 4 am to go fishing. By the time we set out we were worried everything would be closed.

We arrived at a club named, appropriately enough, "Midnight", for an "evening of the 80s". Set in one of the more pedestrian downtown office areas of the District, as with most small clubs you had to know what you were looking for or you missed it. Now, I'd been to clubs before, so I was prepared for the guy at the front taking your money and joking about things you could barely hear over the music. Unfortunately for me, as I was to encounter many times during the night, Goth folks are a lot brighter than your average club-goers. The bouncer was completely clued-in to the fact I had no idea what he was talking about, and so kept chattering at me so I'd feel even sillier.

The club itself was down two flights of stairs, a small affair consisting of two rooms: a dance floor and a "bar" area, each a square not much more than 20 feet to a side, connected at the corners. Dark (of course) with bone-thumping music crashing through the sound system, but only temporary "midnight" decorations (i.e. black cloth) covering the standard screwed-on monochrome photos of anonymous 1930s scenes from... oh hell I don't know, where do they get these pictures from anyway... Pacoima? At first there weren't really that many people, but that would change. Oh my, would that change.

I'd been to clubs before, back in college. Sterile, intimidating places where I knew going in I had only slightly less in common with the "regulars" than I would with someone from, say, Alpha Centauri. In these earlier clubs I was struck with how much the people had in common with the devout church-goers of my small town... unbelievably self-conscious, rigidly conformal, whose sole reason for attending was to see and be seen, completely ignoring the real purpose of the place. Looking into their eyes, in the middle of the apse or the center of the dance floor, your gaze echoed inside the cats-eye hollow windows of their pretty metal souls.

This place couldn't have been more different. In outward appearance, Goth culture is about nothing if it is not about ambiguity. We saw guys with more, and better, makeup than a fashion model, girls with short hair and piercings enough to make any airport security guard weep, and literally everything in between.

Yet on the inside these people couldn't have been more sincere, less self-conscious, and just plain happy to find themselves among other people who valued the differences. Folks think the heart of America lies at the 50-yard line of a football stadium, the middle of a church social, the Ferris wheel of a state fair. They're all wrong. You haven't seen diversity until you've watched a six-and-a-half foot tall woman with a buzz cut, spiked collar, and wings tattooed on her back chatting amicably with a bald man in a black leather kilt. They'd all be flabbergasted to hear me say it, but as far as I'm concerned America's center was in the middle of Midnight's dance floor.

If you learn anything about me, about this site, about what either of us value, it's intelligence. Neither of us care what you look like, who you were born to, who you happen to love, as long as you can stand up for what you believe in without using your fists, accept that you have been outmaneuvered through words alone, and agree to disagree and mean it without a rise in blood pressure. Every single one of these people, every single one of these people, was like that. In spite of, or perhaps because of, what they looked like.

Oh, it wasn't all serious, not even by a quarter. We got to meet up with our other new best friends, Josh and Carrie. Josh is like a wookie without the hair. Really large, really smart, really nice, but, like, really large. Carrie is Betty Paige in black fabric, the chronicler of the bunch and our guide to exactly what the hell was going on. Without Carrie, I probably would've been beaten to a pulp by a large, heavily tattooed Asian lady whom I inadvertently whacked across the back of the head.

Things we learned while people watching at a Goth club:

  • When a Goth asks you to dance, that means they're inviting you to the floor. Don't take it personally if they do their own thing. That's the point.
  • If you're a girl, it's considered completely normal to ask makeup tips from the guy in the mesh top, pleather pants, and purple lipstick.
  • It really is possible to dance gracefully in seven inch platform shoes.
  • Black matches.
  • Lace doesn't... it must be "of the same pattern" (don't ask me, Ellen made me type that). This was apparently Deep Magic for which we had not learned the Gothic Secret Handshake and Double-Wink to earn instruction.
  • There's no such thing as a corset laced too tight.

Toward the end, no matter how hard our four friends tried, we still felt like we had "kiss me, I'm the mundane" signs around our necks. It wasn't a bad feeling, we really were having a blast, but eventually it all caught up with us and the music started to feel a lot like someone ramming aluminum foil into your ears. It took a few tries, but Damion finally managed to corral an alarmingly wobbly Kris off the dance floor.

"Just one more song guys... just one more song!"

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (8)
February 03, 2003
From the Archives: Bestiarii

While I wrote Bestiarii more as a reply to the criticism "car racing is only interesting because of the wrecks", I think it also says a lot about why we are reacting to the Columbia tradgedy this way, why it is hurtful and disappointing on such a deep level. An excerpt:

What you're looking at when you see a race car crash and the driver walk away is not some garish orgy of blood and destruction narrowly avoided. It is a symbolic demonstration of our mastery over machines, the beasts of our modern era. The drivers are our bestiarii.


At the moment of impact in a race crash, on a basic, almost subconscious level, you are watching a wild animal attempting to kill a human being. The bestiarii has lost control, and the panther is leaping at his throat ... It is only when the driver exits the car, or rather what is left of it, and waves to the crowd that celebrations begin. At that point we all know the beast's attempt to kill the human has only resulted in its own destruction, something well worth celebrating.


Injury and death are never celebrated. The beast has won then, has proven to be our master. It is only when the mainstream "popular" media get their hands on something like this that it turns into a circus, because to the mainstream media nothing sells advertising quite as well as spectacular death. To them it's coincidental that it happened at a race.

The beast killed the bestiarii this time, and the media circus has already started. It's up to us to rise to the occasion and prove no machine will be our master.

Posted by scott at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)
What Will Those Crazy Aussies Think of Next?

For the hot rod crowd (I know there's at least two of you out there), we have this site detailing an Australian hot-rod organization's latest project... stuffing a Merlin V-12 into a 55 Chevy. Well, sort of. It's more like "building a car ourselves that sort of looks like a 55 Chevy and stuffing a big horking airplane engine in it", kind of thing. (note: the pics don't work on the first page but do for the rest of them)

Keep in mind this is a 1650 cubic inch (27.02 Liters) engine, weighing in at a whopping 1385 pounds (628.2 kg), with (in aircraft trim) a nominal output of 1415 horsepower. For comparison, a really big American V-8 is 500 cubic inches (8.2 Liters), and a typical Euro or Japanese "big" 4 cylinder motor is 153 cubic inches (2.5 Liters). The motor alone is nearly as big as my car!

Chrome-plated fuel-injected no-prize goes to Jeff for finding this for us!

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (1)
You Just Thought Jacko was Wacko

ITV, a British broadcasting network, will be airing a new documentary about Michael Jackson tonight at 9 pm which purports to provide an unprecedented look at the weirdest man in show business today. Hopefully it'll make it to the states soon, as this one looks to be pretty good.

Posted by scott at 08:16 AM | Comments (0)
Is That a Sausage in Your Pocket...

Proof that the US isn't the only country skittish about terrorists, we bring you this story relating how a giant police reaction was triggered by someone mistaking a salami for an assault rifle.

To paraphrase Dr. Freud, sometimes a sausage is just a sausage.

Posted by scott at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)
February 02, 2003
More Finds from Sterkfontein

BBCnews brings us news of a recent find from the venerable Sterkfontein cave complex in South Africa. Sterkfontein is one of the first, best sources of human fossile remains in the world. They even have their own website (warning: very slow).

The biggest problem with Sterkfontein, along with most other of these sorts of cave complexes, is the stratigraphy is a horrific jumble. Things fell into these caves all the time (our ancestors just being a small part of the heap), got stirred around in floods, storms, and cave-ins, and were eventually blasted out of the ground when the site was used as a limestone quarry. Until the latest radiocarbon dating techniques came along, it simply wasn't possible to figure out just how old things were in those caves.

While it's not reported in this story, it is widely believed the reason our ancestors actually ended up in the caves wasn't because they fell in, but rather because leopards tended to drag their kills into the trees which inevitably surround these caves (and perhaps are key to their formation), and, well, bits fall off. We weren't always at the top of the food chain.

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)
In Perspective

I was going to write an essay about how the press monkeys are going to start running stories calling for the end of manned space flight, but scrappleface does a much better job than I could have.

A bank-shot via ATS.

Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

A HUGE thanks to Damion and Kris (Who hopfully isn't hurting too badly from last night. Scott woke up feeling shitty.) over at Demon Wurkz for being nice enough to scan Olivia's pixes and burn them on a cd for us!

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!

Posted by Ellen at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia's Ultrasound Pixes!

If you have never looked at an ultrasound picture before, they can be pretty confusing. But if you look right at the picture and don't read into it, it just kind of pops out at ya. (Just like those weird posters they used to sell. You know the ones, cross your eyes and the picture pops out?)

Olivia looks like an alien in her pictures. Unfortunately, the midwives and nurses were all talking bogus to me about a 3-D ultrasound (hell they lose my file all the time, I shouldn't listen to them), so I had a high grade 2-D one. It was still really cool.(At times it was 3-D but in black and white) Scott and I just looked at her on the screen and were like " WOW! There really is a baby in there!!" (Sorry, no tears fell or the feeling of being over-emotional. We were just stunned at what she looked like-HOW COOL!)

So, after great delay, here they are:

Face shot... ALIEN!!!

A more complete front view

Classic profile

In the first picture, it's just her face. So its her skull, eye oribts, nose and mouth.

Second shot is her head, brain cavity, eye orbits, nose, and mouth. If you look at the second 'bubble' under her head, it's her abdomen. You can even see her heart and stomach in the shot. Her left arm is right by her head, and her umbilical cord can even be seen.

Third shot of course is the classic profile.

Posted by Ellen at 10:50 AM | Comments (4)
A Long Walk

A cute article on Fila the Cat who walked 60 miles to go home.

Posted by Ellen at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)
6 More Weeks of Winter

Happy GroundHogs Day!

Acoording to that rodent, we are going to have 6 more weeks of winter.

Posted by Ellen at 10:19 AM | Comments (2)
February 01, 2003
Mission Control, We Have A Problem..

We may have just lost another shuttle.

Communication was lost between mission control and the shuttle upon re-entry this morning. Keep your fingers crossed on the updates from the T.V.

Update: it exploded. Scott and I have been watching this mission on NASA TV all week, and now something as silly as a heat tile came off and potentially caused the problem.

Posted by Ellen at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)