May 31, 2003
The Top 40 Things Women Think You Should do During Sex

A nice long list of what men should and should not do whilst having sex with the significant other.

Posted by Ellen at 09:29 AM | Comments (12)
May 30, 2003
The Great Exploding Watermelon

A tale from the past, simple, to get me back writing...

Ellen loves watermelon. No, that doesn't do it justice. Ellen cherishes watermelon. Nope, still not enough. Try this: my wife loves watermelon more than the pope loves God. Yeah, ok, that'll do. She's pretty good at telling a ripe one from one that could still use a few days on the vine. Unfortunately we both discovered that she's not so good at spotting overripe ones.

*GASP!!!* "OH MY GOD!!!"

Ok, this can only mean one of two things... either Ellen has found a kitten crawling around in the produce section, or...

"Watermelons are on sale!!!"

Yup. If my wife looked at me the way she looked at these giant green ovoids, sitting in a cardboard tub on the gritty-white tile of the grocery store floor, I'd be in the emergency room trying to explain just how I got teeth marks... well, never mind. I always wondered where Japanese animators came up with that deliriously happy face they give their characters when they see the true love of their life. The first time Ellen saw watermelon for less than $2.00 each, I found out.

(If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here then click here.)

Off she scampered, scattering unsuspecting shoppers in her wake, to stand in front of the bin chewing on her knuckles in excitement. "Wow!" she exclaimed in a breathy voice, "look at them all!"

"They look like rejects from Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. Like the pods could only grab dwarves or something."

"Oh shut up. *Heavenly sigh.* Which one... which one..."

Gathering at its most primal, that's what I was watching. Men hunt for things, we walk around with a clear picture of what we want, spot it, grab it, and head out the door. Good for shirts, bad for fruit. Women, well, Ellen anyway, can sit for what seems like hours pouring over one nearly identical fruit after another. After another. After another.

I'd long since moved on to the beer isle (I hunt for my own stuff, thank you) when she waddled around the corner with her selected prize slung in her arms. A just about perfectly round watermelon, about two, two and a half times as big as a bowling ball and nearly as heavy, a striped black-green croquet ball for giants.

"That's kind of a weird color," I said judiciously.

"Isn't it cool?"

One does not contradict the Empress, especially about fruit, so I let it slide. After all, the last time I picked up fruit it was only good for half a day. I mean, how was I to know syrup at the bottom of a strawberry container wasn't a good sign?

She was so proud of it that when we got home it was put in a place of honor on the dining room table. I had to eat around it. However, since we were running late that day, Ellen didn't actually have time to carve it up before bed time. It would get to spend the night overlooking the living room, like some giant green eyeball.

3 a.m. Can't sleep. Never play video games after 9 p.m., otherwise you end up dodging missiles in your helicopter only to be punched awake with a muzzy, "stop flying through the valley you retard, go to sleep." Apparently I tend to act out my dreams a little more forcefully than I realize. Well, nothing for it now, grab your book and head for the couch.

As I turned on the lamp in the living room I noticed the light gave the watermelon an almost malevolent look, all shadows and black-green stripes. Whatís worse, the longer I looked at it, the more I became convinced it had moved. Ok, no more playing video games after 9 p.m. and no more mint chocolate chip ice cream with beer. I settled down with my back to it because it kept freaking me out.

ping!

I looked around. What the hell was that? Couldn't have been the cats. When they want to make noise at night it usually involves something along the lines of a cavalry charge combined with a marching band. Besides I could see most of them, one was even busily trying to demonstrate that cat ass was the best sleep aid in the world. I tossed that one down and started reading again.

ping!

Ok, this is just weird. Sounds like someone thumping a basketball. Waitaminute. I turned and looked at the watermelon. Swear to God it looked back at me.

It's 3 a.m., you can't sleep, and you're staring at a watermelon. A goddamned bowling ball fruit. No, it hasn't moved again. It's a watermelon. It doesn't have legs.

Minutes seemed to go by. Nothing happened. So I went and turned back to my book, more than a little freaked out.

pingping!

Ok enough's enough. This time it was loud enough to wake me up from my snooze. More, I knew, I knew where it was coming from.

But there in the middle of the night, with a police siren echoing faintly in the background, I had to be careful. Didn't want to spook it. I quietly rolled out of the couch, stood up, and walked softly toward what had become my very own green fruity raven.

PING!!!

Ah-ha! I had caught it! I confidently walked up to the thing, now more curious than anything else. I even saw it tip a little with each ping. It really had moved! Ha-ha-HA! Everything was under control, mystery solved, no worries, no crazies. Then, as I touched it, it gave one last defiant PING!!!

And exploded.

Well, not exploded as in "KABOOM", more like a fissure opened up in its side and with a fwoosh a jet of watermelon juice shot out with enough force to splash against the wall it was sitting beside. When you're confronted with something so surprising, so completely out of your realm of expectation, the darnedest things go through your mind. For a second or two as I watched it spray its sugary wrath against the walls I could only think of one thing, "Oh my God. I've killed Ellen's watermelon."

I quickly came to my wits and grabbed the fizzing thing, ran around the counter, and dumped it (gently!) into the sink. I watched in a kind of horror as it actually began to deflate a little, like some sad vegetable monster from a 50's horror flick. The cats slowly gathered around doing their "curiosity bob", apparently intrigued that what was once merely a strangely shaped rock had suddenly become a fizzy smelly not-quite-food thing. As I turned off the light I could hear someone, probably Ted (the cat-shaped goat), licking at the juice as it trickled Hitchcock-like down the drain.

"Scooottt?" Every man knows this tone. Only a woman can put a six-word sentence into a single pitched word. "Why is the watermelon in the sink?"

Morning. I had survived the attack of the Really Weird Watermelon. Now I had to survive the wrath of Watermelon Woman.

"It blew up."

"What?!? What are you talking about?"

"No, really, it blew up... fwoosh! Started spraying juice all over the place like some sort of green fire hose."

She'd already got out the knife and started cutting. We could tell immediately that something was wrong... no watermelon either of us had ever seen was that red on the inside. Looked more like red velvet cake than fruit. What's more, it was still fizzing a little, like someone had poured half a Sprite into it. It smelled like the inside of a freshly opened soda bottle. Ellen didn't even try to eat it.

Of course, as with all triumphant rescues, there's always some chink, some flaw in your cunning plan.

"Look at these walls! Why didn't you clean this up last night?"

Posted by scott at 08:21 PM | Comments (27)
Chibi Jesus

A very f'd up Anime No-Prize goes to Damion for sending us a link on Jesus as an anime character.

Mute your computer! The music will make your ears bleed!

Posted by Ellen at 06:56 PM | Comments (0)
Vengance can be Yours, for a Price

Got $4.5 million laying around gathering dust? How about your own aircraft carrier?

Looks to be HMS Vengance, a WWII era carrier that's led a long and probably interesting life.

No, I don't think it's real either. But it would be kinda neat to have as an address, no?

Update: Well, yes, actually, after looking at the whole site this might just be real. I wonder how much the thing is worth in scrap... might be a decent price after all. Time to start saving pennies....

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)
Like I Needed a Test to Tell Me

Ok, so really, just how geeky are you?

39.68% ... why do you ask?

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (8)
Finally, a Reason for Those Headlights

Headlights on a lawnmower aren't for mowing at night, they're for driving cross-country. Literally cross country:

Phileas Fogg made it around the world in eighty days. The "Yard-Man" will cross the United States in that time ... on a lawn mower.
Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)
May 29, 2003
It's like Fix-a-Flat for Nurses

Since I know at least two of my readers are full-time nurses (well, more than two considering the "silent majority" drug to the computer on every shift my mom works), I figured this New Scientist article on a new type of surgical glove might be interesting. Disinfectant built in, should cut risk of infection by a factor of 15.

Posted by scott at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)
Stupid Penis Tricks

I've actually read about "Puppetry of the Penis", I think they played DC last year. Now we can see what they're all about.

Warning It's called "puppetry of the penis" for a reason folks. If a couple of naked Australian buns and willies would get you into trouble at work, well, wait until you get home.

Snide comment from my mom in 3... 2... 1...

Update: Home page is here. Warning still applies.

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
Here's a Simulator I Don't Want

Boy am I glad this pregnancy simulator is only sold to medical professionals. Which my wife actualy is. Uh-oh...

Update: Whew! At more than $1000 for the complete package, it is safely out of her reach. Now, none of your ideas about fundraising for one. No help from the peanut gallery!

Posted by scott at 01:55 PM | Comments (1)
I'm not Wasting Time, I'm Improving Myself!

Also from rednova, this article detailing new findings that indicate video games may actually be beneficial:

Playing action-rich video games like car racing and shoot-em-ups can improve visual perception and allow people to focus on many tasks at once. Such training helps them play the game at hand, but it might also give them an edge in real-world situations like driving a car in traffic, experts say.

Posted by scott at 01:20 PM | Comments (3)
The Universe's Biggest Firework Factory?

Rednova is featuring this article summarizing the recent discovery of a "supernova factory", an area in space that contains an unprecedented number of exploding stars. Seems to be at the conjunction of two colliding galaxies. And you thought a car accident was intense...

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)
War Strategy

Also from site-essential is this lengthy expose on the results of the US's war on terror. In summary: we haven't been neglecting it. We've just be going about it very quietly.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (2)
Warfighter

Site-essential linked up this very interesting analysis of General Tommy Franks, and how his plan won the war in Iraq.

One point of interest: The media and most especially the Arab media kept going on and on about Iraq's failure to blow the bridges on routes into Baghdad. This article strongly implies that it they were in fact prevented by special forces troops placed in Iraq days before the big conflict began.

Posted by scott at 09:08 AM | Comments (1)
Penny Power!

One penny, big deal. There's tons of them. But how many tons? How many pennies? Take this journey to find out. Very cool, even though it does go on a bit.

Posted by scott at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)
Weeble Programming

In yet another example of what can happen when someone wobbles off their meds in front of a computer, we present the AI Wheel for Windows. Um... yeah, ok. Let's just say I don't expect to see this ported to a game console any time soon.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
All He Really Needs is a Tiny Bandana

911: 911 operator, how can I help you?

Woman: [desperate voice] I'd like to report a car jacking in progress!

911: Yes ma'am, can you give a description of the perpetrator?

Woman: [rapidly] Yes! He's about 2 feet tall, forty-five pounds, and is wearing a mask!

911: Ma'am, it's against the law to prank call emergency numbers.

Posted by scott at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)
Ouch Ouch Ouch Ouch

Man, there are ways to go, and there are ways to go. Getting stabbed to death by a home appliance is definitely not one I'd be interested in :

A woman has died after slipping in her kitchen and landing on knives lying upright in a dishwasher.

Note to self: Find someone else to empty the dishwasher.

Posted by scott at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)
So That's Why Amish Tech Support is so Successful

What would happen if Madison Avenue were turned loose on modern religions? LostBrain.com speculates. And to think all this time I thought you had to buy your own hats before you went to synagogue.

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (1)
May 28, 2003
Insert "Right Stuff" Joke Here

Carrie gets a canvas-and-wood no-prize for bringing this news about the Wright Flyer to our attention. Looks like they're going to re-arrange the exhibit so you can see it at ground-level.

That's the one big problem I have with Air & Space... you just can't get very close to most of the exhibits. I understand why they have to do this, but it still dampens the enjoyment a bit.

Posted by scott at 03:39 PM | Comments (2)
Kangaroo News

NewScientist is carrying this interesting summary of fossil finds in Australia. Topping the list: a "horned" kangaroo, and giant marsupial lions. With picture!

Posted by scott at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)
Highway Parenting

Ok, first of all, want to go on record saying leaving toddlers in the median of a highway is dangerous and bad. However, I doubt if there's a parent out there who hasn't thought about doing this at least once. I know my mom threatened to do it more than once. Well, that and giving me and my brother away to the gypsies.

Of course, the difference is none of you ever actually did it. Which is why she's in jail, you're not, and the kids turned out all right after all.

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM | Comments (1)
Cuteness Alert!

Skippy, our favorite bush kangaroo gets a cut-n-cuddly no-prize for bringing us the Republic of Seabrook's latest "baby" pictures. Warning: if pictures of obscenely cute kittens would cause your teeth to turn to sugar, do not click this link!

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
May 27, 2003
Well, Where is He?

Heck I can't find him, maybe you can: where's Jesus?

Posted by scott at 04:46 PM | Comments (2)
Oldest Book on Display

If you happen to be traveling through Sophia, Bulgaria, be sure not to miss the oldest book known. Hey, you never know. Rick Steves just went through there. Looked like a pretty interesting place.

Posted by scott at 04:37 PM | Comments (0)
Kitty Porn

Only reason this is under XXX is due to all those naughty pop up ads!

With or without barbs

*if you know your cat stuff, you should get the 'barb' joke*

Posted by Ellen at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)
Jets R Us

Proof that with enough free time and spare parts an engineer can do anything, we proudly present TurbineNuts, a place who's philosophy seems to be, "if you can put a jet in it, you should put a jet in it."

Kris should make sure Damion never sees it. Trogdor might not be the same...

Warning: page is slow, may take awhile to load.

Posted by scott at 11:35 AM | Comments (0)
Is that a Black Hole in Your Pocket...

Slashdot linked up this interesting article about new developments in the attempt to make a grand unified theory of physics. With new supercolliders coming on line in the next few years, scientists are hoping to create subatomic-scale black holes and see what spews out of them as they evaporate via Hawking radiation.

I can remember when this was first proposed, or perhaps was first taken seriously, perhaps five to seven years ago. Everyone was afraid they'd make a black hole that'd swallow the Earth by accident. The author addresses this concern, but it probably wouldn't matter. There were some physicists who thought that the first nuclear explosion would just keep going and going, but they punched the button anyway (most knew it wouldn't.)

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Escalator: 1, Pregnant Chick: 0

Escalators are not your friend, as this story proves. In D.C. they've had to add all kinds of funky things to keep people from getting hurt, and even then I think something like 20-30 people have been injured and killed on them since the system opened in the 70s.

I actually saw a jam-up happen at an airport "moving sidewalk", a similar contraption. I was running late and decided to trot alongside the thing. Just as I came even with the end of it some twit with one of those three-ton carry-on roller things got a wheel caught in the mechanism. The sidewalk kept moving and it looked just exactly like someone had dropped a rock in a fast moving stream... people just shot over, around, and on top of this monster bag.

I kept going. I was late!

Posted by scott at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)
CowLick

Canadians discover that the whorls of hair on a cow's face can help determine it's personality.

Now if the Canadians would do some REAL research. ;)

Actually it's a rather interesting read. When I was in tech school we had 2 evil beef cattle that decided the Alpaca must go. So they killed him. Poor Andy.

I hated those beef cattle. They are very smart and will plot against you.

Posted by Ellen at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)
May 26, 2003
Clown Porn? WHY??

Ever since I saw House of 1000 Corpses by Rob Zombie, I have hated clowns more than ever (fried chicken is even crossed off my list).

This is a bit more disturbing.

Posted by Ellen at 06:33 PM | Comments (2)
Won't Make any Difference to Ellen

BBCnews is featuring this summary of new findings made by a British researcher on just what, exactly, ghosts might be. His conclusion? A collection of real, albeit natural, phenomena that are specific to certain geographic areas.

Posted by scott at 03:14 PM | Comments (1)
May 25, 2003
What The!?

Is this for real??

Posted by Ellen at 09:44 PM | Comments (1)
For the Men

Check it out! A toilet seat that glows in the dark!

Scott really needs one of these. Poor Goblin has been peed on several times in the middle of the night. Maybe having a seat that glows in the dark will give a more accurate target! *Hence, not the cat!*

Posted by Ellen at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)
No Really, Have Sympathy This Guy

In Sweden it is a bit of a custom for the groom to be kidnapped and whisked off somewhere for his stag night... these usually last all day..and all night... and rather than the typical English stag night where you all arrange it beforehand.. go out get drunk and hire a stripper... The Swedes do it different.. The groom has no idea until he gets nabbed..he might be dressed up in something crazy... and go do something fun...and then the fun starts!

You have got to read the story on what happened to this guy!

This good story found via Arwen.org

Click on the story above to go to the blog entry!

Posted by Ellen at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)
Meow TV

Set your TIVO's and VCR's! Cat TV is finally here!

Thanks to the company that makes Meow Mix, who decided cats need their own TV show. Filled with squirrel, fish and birdie clips, its guarenteed to keep your cat entertained for a good 1/2 hour.

*Yeah ok... I will admit Meow Mix is not the best food in the entire world to feed your cat. Our cat, Magrat ate the stuff for 1.5 years while Scott and I lived in downtown Arlington, VA eating off a cardboard box at night. Mags thought the food was quite yummy. We have only been able to upgrade her to Friskies Dental Diet since then. Anything else, she looks at you as if you lost your mind. *

Starting May 30th at 7:30 P.M. on the Oxygen Network.

Posted by Ellen at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
May 24, 2003
Told Ya She Was Nuts!

Here is the actual email sent to us from Scott's mother. For some reason, baby clothing just speaks to her and actually jump into her shopping cart. Must be some telepathic grandmother ability to speak to baby clothes! We are most grateful for the clothing shopping to be done for us. Scott twitches and starts to have small seizures when we walk into Babies R Us just looking at baby clothes. I just wander around aimlessly not knowing what to do with myself.

So thanks to a southern grandma for all the goods! XXOO

Are you ready to be astounded by the numbers!? We were!!

OK Guys here goes. This is the stuff I have in my possesion at this time. I promise I won't buy anything else unless you say you need and give me the go ahead. Well, I promise to try not to buy anything else. They shouldn't make little girl things so dam cute.

Bibs of different sizes- 22
hooded towels- 7
Pashmina shawl- 1
wash cloths- 23
Receiving blankets- 14
Burp pads- 6
8 oz gerber baby bottles- 6
5 oz gerber baby bottles- 2
pacifier holder- 1
comb & brush- 1
pair of shoes- 2
caps- 2
onesies diff. sizes- 6
T-shirts- 5
booties- 3
socks- 6
carrier (besides the one coming to you)- 1

I have several outfits that I won't list cause you will kill me.

If you need PJs they have a really good price on Carter's at Sam's just tell me what size you want. They have adorable little outfits but I slapped my own hand everytime I reached for one yesterday.

I really think I need some serious therapy.

I am waiting for your furniture to arrive to send this stuff. Actually I am going to send it at the last minute, if you don't mind, so I can see you open it.

I really don't know where half this stuff came from, I swear I didn't buy it, it just appeared on my dining room table while I was at work. lol

Mom

How's that for a list! We just got done doing a count on some of the stuff she has already sent for Olivia. Currently in our possesion we have over 25 onesies, 8 bibs, 6 recieving blankets, and 6 washcloths. Scott and I only have 3 washcloths for ourselves! This little girl is set for many many items!

We had no idea a baby would need this much stuff! WOW!

Posted by Ellen at 07:14 PM | Comments (2)
35 Weeks

Last week of the so called 8th month. As of next friday, we will be in the 9th month and ready to pop any minute. Hopefully any second. My midwife warned us that any time after 36 week is term and to 'be ready'. Shit... we still have to pack the hospital bag and the baby bag and toss it into the car.

Actual conversation in the car this morning:

Me: "We have to get an overnight bag for me and for the baby."

Scott: "The baby? Why the hell does the baby need an overnight bag?"

Me: "Duh. We'll need diapers, and clothes to go home with, diaper wipes, the works."

Scott: "You mean they don't just give you those things?"

Me: "Of course not. What the hell are you talking about?"

Scott [in a slightly smaller voice]: "Well, um... I figured you'd get, like, a complimentary set of, I dunno, like, paper clothes or something."

Me: "You're not picking up a new car you moron! You're picking up a baby. We'll be lucky if the hospital lets us go without donating a pound of flesh!"

We did our research on pediatricians, and managed to find one near home. So we have chosen to use the hospital pediatrician for the initial exam, then see our "real" pediatrician a few days later for the newborn check up (why they want you to bring a new baby into a living petri-dish of an office is beyond me).

We did most of the last of our shopping today for Olivia. We bought the diaper pail I have had my eye on for some time, got a few binkies (pacifiers... glow in the dark ones!), a binky clip to attach to clothing, the human-milking-device so that Scott or someone else can have the wonderful task of feeding Olivia since both of us need to return to work. And of course, the monitor.

My mother got Olivia a few lamps for her room that have cats on the lampshades. Very catty trend going on in this baby room (Scott says "duh", no idea why). The last thing left to do is get the blinds and curtains for the window. I think I want to sleep in that room now.

We have also finally assembled the stroller and playpen/bassinet. The cats are very into these items. Especially Ajax. He thinks the playpen is for him. When I first put it together, he made a cavalry charge to get into the playpen and got bounced back by the mesh sides. Boioioioingggg! Only then did the cat realize he had to go up and over to get into the playpen. How cool! *thump* Ajax looks out of all 4 sides, and then decides it's time for sleep. *thud* (Any of you out there who begin to bitch about my cat playing on Olivia's stuff is going to get burnt at the stake in my front yard. Note I will bring marshmallows to roast on you. I am adjusting my cats to the idea of something new coming as a good thing, not a punishment. Oh, and the anthropologist that says quadrupedal animals don't sleep on their back? I have a lump of roadkill snoring in the bottom of my playpen, twitching paws in the air, I'd like to show you.)

Scott and I are also in the process of doing Olivia's laundry. Lots of it. It doesn't seem like it's ending either! I hear we have at least 26 bibs coming soon, among other necessities. Apparently some southern grandmother is going to need to be institutionalized for her spending sprees on Olivia (Pat: "As long as they have chocolate and access to e-bay they can take me anywhere.") This child is set for quite a long time on clothing and accesories. Accesories we did not even think we needed, until we saw what was in the boxes.

Scott:"What on earth is this thing!?"

Me: "I think it's one of those burp cloth thingies, but its shaped for your shoulder."

Scott: "But it has cats on it. It's too cute to use. I think I'm getting cavities just looking at it."

Me: "You don't want to even look at the baby socks then. I think my ears just started leaking sugar."

This is the point where Scott runs away screaming and I find him twitching at his computer console later that night. "Must. Conquer. Aliens..."

Odd thing about getting larger by the day is that you can use your belly as a shelf. You can balance the TV remote on it even put your bowl of icecream on it (albeit with much protest of the parasite you are balancing it on). We think she is going to be born with crumbs of food on her head since I have a tendency to be kind of clumsy when I eat now and most of it ends up sitting on my belly.

One of the hard things in life is attempting to shave your bikini line. Yeah, we still have to do that. Just because one is pregnant does not mean that one gets all nasty and unkempt down there. Shaving takes at least 3 times longer, since there is this belly in the way and one cannot see certain areas of one's body anymore. Oh, and nics suck.

My feet are also deciding it's time to get swollen. Shoes are bad, and socks just suck. Scott laughs and notes this must be the 'barefoot and pregnant' stage.

I do want to remember this belly since it's not going to be around much longer. Got to whip out the camera and actually take some real pictures of myself with it. I also want to do one of those belly cast things, which Scott thinks is a weird idea.

All we do know is that Olivia is not getting here soon enough.

Posted by Ellen at 05:30 PM | Comments (4)
Aluminum Overcast (Part 3)

(part 1 is here)
(part 2 is here)

After that I basically had free run of the airplane. Most people were content to sit in their seats and look out whatever window happened to be near, but not me. I went through that thing like a monkey, taking every position except the tail and ball gunner's (which were off limits). I stood in front of the waist window with a genuine .50 caliber machine gun in front of me, staggered that the view I saw was different from the view so many saw only in place, separated only by time. The radio room of this perfectly restored aircraft was filled with black-crackle, vacuum tubes, and bakelite. I crawled through the partially-ripened-avocado chromate green bomb bay and marveled that in a plane so large it could be crossed with just three short strides. At this point they were still airplanes first, and bombers second.

I got to stick my head through the top forward turret, just behind the flight crew, and look back between another set of .50 caliber machine gun barrels. The 360 degree view was magnificent, and again history crawled inside my head as I remembered how loud a .308 hunting rifle was, and tried to imagine what two guns ten times more powerful must've sounded like going off six inches from my head.

Even better was when the crew chief removed the radio room's upper gunner's window, which was roughly oval shape, perhaps four feet by two feet. The ceiling of the plane sloped sharply downward here, so it was just a matter of walking under it in a crouch and standing up, and suddenly you were sticking your head into the 140 mph slipstream. Strangely, it was actually quieter, just the wind thundering in your ears. With literally nothing between you and the world the view ceased being washed out by scratched Plexiglas, no longer altered in color or tone by a funny angle of sunlight. It was real, and brilliant, with colors so vibrant you could almost taste them. I could stand facing away from the slipstream without much problem (except my ears getting cold), but could only face it very briefly. It reminded me strongly of riding in the back of a pickup truck. Well, if that pickup truck was going 140 mph on a 65-degree day at least. It literally took your breath away.

Most magical of all was the nose of the plane. Second only to the cockpit itself in importance, the nose was where the bombardier transformed this from a truck to a weapon. It was filled with equipment but no armor at all. Looking through the Plexiglas nose, surrounded only by a metal skin thin enough to punch a screwdriver through, you could only sit back once again in near horror at what men risked when they did this job. People shot at you sitting in this thing, sitting just like I was, just exactly like I was, right down to the thunder of the engines and the howl of the wind. Only this was not a black and white newsreel, flat and flecked with scratches. This was real, not just in sight but in sound, in feel, in smell. Many men, good men, younger than I was, met a violent end with these exact same sensations as the last thing they ever experienced.

The whole front end of a B-17's nose is Plexiglas. It had to be, in order for the bombardier to do his work. Surprisingly, the technology of the time did not permit a perfect glass-like enclosure. Instead it's distorted and warped and in places filled with strange bubbles and patches. Only the "clear window", through which the bombsite itself peered, was perfect, like the keel of a glass-bottomed boat. In spite of this, it was still far beyond the view you get peering the wrong way out of the poor excuse for a window you get in a modern jet liner.

This plane had come such a long way. Its sisters were tasked to do a horrible job, and were distorted and pricked with lead-spitting quills meant to fend off other people doing their level best to stop them. It had a phenomenal reputation for ruggedness and reliability, but a wound here put you at times six hours away from the nearest medical care. Once the job was done the vast majority of these noble beasts were hauled into pastures and hacked to bits for their parts, with all the dignity and compassion of a slaughterhouse row. Today no more than a dozen are actually able to be airplanes. The rest are simply frozen, nearly dead things, only able to point at the sky they once ruled.

As I sat there in the tiny bombardierís chair at the very front of this wonderful, terrible, beautiful airplane, I realized something. By moving my body out just a bit, all of the framework, all of metal of the plane disappeared. I was surrounded only by clear plastic and sky, able to look in any direction that mattered with complete freedom, yet safely enclosed in the furious sound of wind and propellers and engines churning away at the sky. Long ago this airplane stopped being a warrior and gave its terrible purpose to other, more capable craft. Decades on, now safely retired, it did what it probably always had done best, simply flying for the joy of it. Flying because it can.

And, as I pressed my head against the cool smooth plastic, with the wind hurtling by less than half an inch a way, so was I.

I was flying!

Part 2....

Posted by scott at 04:43 PM | Comments (4)
May 23, 2003
Aluminum Overcast (Part 2)

(part 1 is here...)

The difference between this aircraft and a jet liner on takeoff was immense. First, the noise was unique. A jet rumbles and hisses and whistles like a turbocharged teakettle. This thing creaked and rocked and vibrated and had an engine note somewhere between an 18-wheeler horn and a hundred giant ventilation fans. Modern aircraft, with modern tricycle landing gear, lift their nose first and then the whole thing comes off the ground. This aircraft lifted its tail first, and then came unstuck to fly away.

I was sitting just behind the co-pilot in a jump seat, facing the wrong way but craning my neck just the same. The need for headphones and a microphone became rapidly clear as the sound level increased well beyond a shout and into the range of a rowdy rock concert ten feet from the speakers. Thirty-six cylinders firing in sequence made the whole plane vibrate worse than the stick-shifter in a high performance car. It rocked and wobbled and thumped in time with every imperfection of the runway, faster and faster as four propellers seemed to literally beat the air into submission.

Then, just as I thought the next big bump might bounce me off the roof, we were airborne. The change was remarkable. The noise and the vibration were still there, yes, but as the plane lifted its wheels it came alive, moving in three dimensions doing exactly what an airplane was supposed to do. This was no static lump of metal, nor was it a set of pictures in a history book. It was a living, breathing thing carrying us, as it carried our fathers and grandfathers, into the skies.

As soon as we were safely in the air the co-pilot unstrapped and we swapped seats. And there I was, not just sitting inside a real B-17 staring at real instruments with a real control column in front of me, but sitting inside a B-17 with all of those things at 5,000 feet as they sedately went about the business of flying the aircraft. Flying the aircraft. Holy crap! I was flying around inside a B-freaking-seventeen!

"Unfortunately you're going to have to wait just a second to take the controls," the pilot said as he banked the plane rather alarmingly, "we've got a smaller local chapter just south of here we promised a flyby to."

Mind? I had one of the best seats in the house, why would I mind? I was enjoying the view trying not to have my head split open from the grin I was wearing. It was only as the pilot pitched the plane down to make its first pass on a tiny grass airstrip that I realized something disconcerting.

Airplanes do not move like cars. They pitch up and down and snake and slide and roll and just about everything else. All at once! I hadn't been on an airplane at that point since I was a small child (with an iron stomach). On the second pass the pilot rolled this big beast to the point I was peering out my window straight down at the people waving up to us from below, looking like tiny grains of rice with baseball caps on. I began to feel a bit of distress. It wasn't just that my stomach was trying to crawl out and have a look of its own, rather that after all this dreaming and working suddenly it seemed my one memorable reaction to the event would be to coat the cockpit with my breakfast. I took a deep breath and vowed I would not get sick in this airplane.

Fortunately after the one pass we were done. Then they said the magic words, and airsickness was long forgotten...

"Ok, it's all yours."

A B-17 doesn't have a stick, it has a yoke. Pulling back and forth on the yoke brought the nose up and down, while moving the wheel side to side banked the wings left or right. The rudders are the same as any plane, yes, but they are working a mighty tail indeed. The overall impression I got was almost absurd but I couldn't shake it. To me, the plane felt like an old golden retriever; it was simple, direct, responded happily but took its own good time doing it. This was only half its job, and the easy half at that, and it felt about as laid back as a machine could.

All of the controls were completely mechanical... there were cables and pulleys and levers that went from the controls in the cockpit straight to the surfaces on the plane. It was a very direct feel, and feedback was extremely positive. The elevators and rudders were surprisingly light for a plane this size, and it was quite easy to move it in the vertical. The ailerons (moved when you turned the yoke) were actually quite heavy, requiring a good bit of muscle to get things moving in the right direction. I could barely imagine what it must've been like to fly for ten hours, half of which loaded down past the gross maximum weight, to assault "Fortress Europe".

They didn't just let me put my hands on the controls, I was actually asked to climb a little, dive a little, and turn a little. I'd paid my bucks, and God bless 'em they wanted to make sure I got my money's worth. I couldn't help be impressed how incredibly simple it was to fly, extremely forgiving. Sixty years ago Boeing designed a combat aircraft a twenty year old with less than two hundred hours could fly in tight formation with other twenty year olds with less than two hundred hours. It showed.

All too soon the requisite pictures were taken (one with the goofy flight hat, one without) and it was time for the next person to have their turn. I gave up the seat only reluctantly, but did my best to be a good sport about it. After all, the next guy wanted to fly it just as badly as I did.

To Be Continued...

Posted by scott at 11:24 PM | Comments (2)
Earth Pic

Hey, I can see my house from here!

Well, ok, maybe not, but seeing what the Earth looks like from Mars is still pretty cool.

Posted by scott at 04:23 PM | Comments (2)
Hello, Neighbor

Slashdot linked up this report on the discovery of a new star less than 8 light years from Earth. A small red dwarf, not even visible to the naked eye. Still, a star's a star.

Posted by scott at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)
Now That's Shocking Clothing

I don't know, I just get a giggle at the irony that it was MIT that developed the no-touch 80,000 volt jacket. I mean, come on, these guys need help touching women.

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)
Lion's Away!

Well, we don't have to worry about the lions anymore:

Lions once kept in a private zoo by the son of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will be moved out of Baghdad to start a new life in the South African bush, animal welfare groups say.

Shame they couldn't have fed a few of the Baathists to them before they left, but, well, you don't want to feed them too much trash you know.

Posted by scott at 03:49 PM | Comments (0)
May 22, 2003
Aluminum Overcast (Part 1)

"Excuse me," I said to the mechanic as he walked across the tarmac, "did you say you guys give rides on that B-17?"

"Rides nothing, we'll let you fly it!"

April 1995. I'd been living in Jonesboro Arkansas for only two months. Miserable place, 60,000 people and 300 churches, acres and acres of rice fields, in the heart of a dry county who's borders were lined with liquor stores. The place was so conservative Playboy videos were kept in "enclosures", and Maxim and Stuff were hidden behind the counter.

But on that warm summer afternoon it was also the temporary home of this B-17 Flying Fortress. The backbone of the 8th Air force, the B-17 was a beautiful brute, prickling with machine guns and tasked with a horrible purpose, the destruction of factories through aerial bombardment, it still had the graceful beauty of a swan frozen in aluminum.

I'd spent my whole life studying planes like this. Martin Caidin wrote what was in effect an ethnography of an airplane when he wrote Flying Forts, and my brother and I read it cover to cover at least twice a year for perhaps the entirety of our teenage years. I build countless models of the thing, in every scale imaginable, and had spent who knows how many hours wandering through the gutted (but flying!) example the Confederate Air Force brought to the small Pine Bluff AR airshow every year.

Yet for the admittedly princely sum of $395, I could not only get a ride in one, I could actually freaking fly it!!! Yeah, I know, even now that seems like a lot of money, and I'm making more than twice what I was then. But how much are you willing to pay for something that's literally beyond your dreams? How much to transform a ten-year-old boy's buzzing passes holding a plastic model into a real seat, a real ride?

I was so excited I took the entire day off work and pulled the money out in cash from the ATM. It would mean I'd eat peanut butter and miss rent for the next month, but who could miss an opportunity like that? I'd gotten so excited I'd showed up two hours early, and to my amazement the runway fence wasn't locked. All alone, in the cold velvet chill of a spring morning clear and bright, with sunlight like honey pouring across the birdsong-laced quiet, I literally had the airplane all to myself.

It's funny, you know, when something you've only seen in pictures, or to scale, confronts you in real life. It's the astounding level of detail that always impresses me. You don't just get to look, you get to touch the tight balloon fabric of the control surfaces, and smell the burning iron of the exhaust. Yet standing back from it I couldn't help but feel how small the thing was. This goofy collection of rivets, propellers, aluminum and plexiglass was all that stood between ten guys, ten guys just like me, and complete destruction. By unfocusing my eyes, stepping inside myself for a second, I could imagine staring at this plane as it was loaded with bombs, knowing that for the next ten hours it would be me in there, droning over a sky filled with clever things designed explicitly to answer in an extremely personal way the riddle of what, exactly, happens during a violent death.

In all honesty, I can only hope I would've been able to crawl inside and face it.

Fortunately, I didn't have to. Designed for warfare, this particular lady had quite comfortably settled into a retirement of ferrying civilians around city and farmland. I got to watch the mechanics, one an old man the same age as my grandfather and the other a short wiry guy who should've been driving sports cars, prep her for flight. My flight (well, me and eight other people that is). I did my level best to stay out of the way.

When everything was ready, we were all gathered around the tail of the plane. Of course we had to sign papers that said if the thing were to crash at the end of the runway our heirs would not be able to sue, yadda yadda yadda. It was also carefully noted that this plane was designed to haul bombs and guns and armor and an enormous amount of fuel around the sky, and since we were none of those things, it was noted that even with two engines out we could probably do whatever we wanted and get home safely (I'd read stories about Flying Forts making it home on just one engine if the pilot was lucky and careful, so I smiled as I watched other people's shoulders drop at this).

Then it was time. We had a "full crew", seven passengers and three "real" crew. three could be strapped in on either side of the tubular rear section of the plane, and one could be accommodated in the "radio room" (yes, Virginia, the radios of the time literally filled a room roughly the size of a kitchen). That left one seat, and that left me. I'd been studiously following the crew chief around, and he knew me from the previous day.

"You! Want to sit in the cockpit for takeoff?"

Might as well have asked a junkie if he wanted half a ton of free crack. All I could do was nod and follow him to the front of the plane.

Now, at this point in my life I hadn't flown in any plane since I was maybe five years old. Oh, I'd done a metric ton of simulations, but that was nothing compared to the sights, sounds, and smells of the real thing. Again, it was the level of detail that was amazing. These weren't near microscopic dots on a piece of plastic I could hold between my two fingers, this was a real live instrument panel with real live knobs and levers that did things. Everyone was very professional as they agreed on stuff like abort speeds, gear up timing, and navigational points.

And then the first engine started.

The thing about aircraft engines, at least these aircraft engines, is they're big. Really big. Nine cylinder radial engines totaling more than 1800 cubic inches. Just the starter motors were powerful enough to send silk-through-fingers vibrations through your feet. When each one caught, and they all caught roughly, the entire plane would ratchet and sway. Even better, as each one smoothed out, another one would start, four times in total, until it was all going strong.

Nearly everyone has flown in a commercial jet. Let me tell you, this was nothing like a commercial jet. It creaked and groaned and vibrated and rattled and thumped and made this unholy howl at my feet as a hydraulic pump pressurized the brakes. Yet I couldn't have felt safer, because it was all so basic. Jets are magic things, you can barely see anything move as they fly, and the pilots are behind a door working magic. This thing showed it all. You could still smell the spring air through the open (open!) windows, see the propellers turning, feel the rumble-thump of the runway through the wheels. The pilots were right in front of me doing their job.

The sun moved through the windows and across our faces as we turned onto the runway, reminding me absurdly of an old station wagon as it pulled onto the highway. And then the pilot quickly, smartly, moved the throttles forward...

To Be Continued...

Posted by scott at 04:21 PM | Comments (4)
Alzheimer's News

The Washington Post is carrying this article summarizing a surprising effect of a failed attempt at an Alzheimer vaccine:

An experimental vaccine for Alzheimer's disease, which was quickly pulled from testing last year after it caused serious side effects, has halted and even reversed the brain disease in some who got the shots, according to the first follow-up study of those patients.

The gist of the article is that, while this particular attempt is too dangerous to proceed with, it does seem to indicate scientists are on the right track.

Posted by scott at 01:30 PM | Comments (1)
Sex Study

Jody over at Naked Writing has this interesting take on the data behind the minor press frenzy that was unleashed when the New York Times et. al. reported on the amazing fact that 15 year olds have sex.

Being raised in the Bible Belt, sex education was an extremely prickly affair. In the south old traditions are submerged but not absent, merely rocks lying in wait for unsuspecting kayakers as they shoot the rapids.

But we did have some sex education, although probably not enough, certainly not enough for the doofus popular kids who were too busy giggling at the drawings to actually pay attention. There were so many racial and religious subtexts flying about it was amazing we were allowed to even say the word "sex" inside a classroom. More ironic was that there was actually a bigger fuss over teaching evolution than there was about teaching sex ed.

I don't have to worry about it, because my kid's not going to be allowed to date until she turns, oh, I don't know, 30. :)

Posted by scott at 11:18 AM | Comments (3)
The Gaytrix

Kris get's a pink-and-black (and 2nd of the day) no-prize for bringing us The Gaytrix. The things people can do with flash animation nowadays...

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (2)
Yet Another Voice

After reading "Echos", J. Grayhawk of Mudville Gazette alerted us to this stream-of-conscience account of his own war years covering some of the same periods. Very different, quite interesting.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (0)
And the Lord Said, "Thank you, Thank You Very Much"

Kris gets a velvet no-prize for bringing us The First Church of Jesus Christ, Elvis. Definitely not for the humor-impaired.

Posted by scott at 09:58 AM | Comments (1)
Wired War

Wired magazine is running this report on what one reporter's impression was of the new electronic battlefield.

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)
Stonehenge Developments

Digging around I found this update on a recent archeological find near Stonehenge. Turns out they've found a very rich and interesting burial dating from right at the transition from the stone age to the bronze age. With pictures!

Posted by scott at 08:37 AM | Comments (2)
Another Voice

Misha over at the Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiler (no, really, that's what he calls it) linked Blast Echos and also wrote this very nice piece about what it was like living in Denmark at the same time.

Also, have fixed the Regan/Reagan thing. Sometimes I think I should just stay in bed...

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
May 21, 2003
Ron Jeremy Arrested

No naughty pixes here! But it's about a porn star that my brother met! (Scott get the picture up already!!)

Ron Jeremy Arrested.

Exerpt: "Porn star Ron Jeremy got caught with his pants down and arrested after a 20-year-old woman claimed he assaulted her in a Michigan striptease club. ... Jeremy was arrested at his hotel and spent Friday night in jail. He was released the following morning at a bond hearing."

Posted by Ellen at 07:05 PM | Comments (2)
Grand Dame

One of the funniest things I've noticed about having a child is not how it has affected us, but how it has affected our parents. We seem to have ceased being their children and instead have become grandchild delivery systems.

Phone conversations are completely different. "How are you?" "What's new in your life?" "How are things going?" have been replaced with "How's my grandbaby?" "How's the baby doing?" "Are you sure the baby's OK?" Mysterious boxes arrive from points unknown with fuzzy pink things inside so cute they'll turn your teeth into sugar. Visits from parents turn into home improvement projects, even gardening expeditions, and you'd be glad for the help except for this scary gleam in their eye. Looking there, you know they're not seeing you, but rather they're seeing the people who'll be raising their grandchild.

I guess part of the reason is grandchildren are the ultimate "other people's kid." They are yours in a very real way, yet if you get tired of them you can (usually) give them back. What's more, unlike other people's kids, you can give advice on how these are raised and the other party has to listen.

It's especially funny to see how nice they are to the kids. Things my nephew does that would've gotten my brother in trouble are just cooed over, "isn't that cute?" I get this terrible feeling that if my daughter poured a bottle of chocolate syrup on our couch my mother-in-law would smile and hand her a spoon. Bill Cosby was definitely on the money when he said, "These are not the same people I grew up with! These are old people, trying to get into heaven!"

And you don't dare actually give them your children unsupervised. Not because they'd do anything wrong, far from it. I only too well remember, after upending yet another bottle of model paint on my new school pants, my mother saying, "one day you're going to have kids. And one day I'm going to get to keep them, and on that day I will spoil them absolutely, completely rotten, give them everything and anything they want, and then give them back to you." I know this will work, I know it will, because, looking back, I realize that is exactly what my grandmother did to me.

Of course, there's also the parent's curse... everyone say it with me now, "one day I hope you have kids, and I hope they act just like you." At the time you thought it was a silly threat, and pitched a fit anyway. Decades later, you can see the holy terror that was you at that age, and you fear.

Don't think that your parents won't be that way just because they claim not to want grandchildren. Trust me, they're lying. My step mom, my mom, and my mother-in-law all actively discouraged their kids from having their first grandkid. Tell them the news though, and it's like someone set a happy-bomb off inside their head. And God help you if your brother or sister has a grandkid and you don't. Babies are like crack to old people, and it doesn't take long before they start jonesing for another one. From there it's just a short hop to, "you know, it's so sad, seeing as how I'm going to die soon and all, that I won't ever get to see your child."

You shouldn't really worry too much though. Having someone around who's already been through it all can be a godsend. Especially since they've been through it all with someone who's going to act just like you.

Posted by scott at 04:07 PM | Comments (4)
The Real God

When Biblical figures stop being polite, and start getting real, the real Old Testament.

Warning: contains a bit of fuzzed-out anatomy done in a humorous way. If your bosses have no sense of humor, wait to watch this at home.

Posted by scott at 03:40 PM | Comments (0)
It's Life Jim, but not as We Know It?

BBCnews is reporting this summary on a new theory about that mars rock with the itty-bitty microbe like things inside it. Their conclusion: well, it may or may not be life, but rocks with very similar features found on earth are usually formed under water.

Posted by scott at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)
When Designers Attack

You know, I have some pretty colorful friends in my life. But I'm pretty sure none of them would want to drop $500 on something like this. I'm pretty sure most of them wouldn't drop $5 on it, but hey, just in case, there it is. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 11:27 AM | Comments (1)
The Matrix: Reloaded, an Explanation

Damion and I spent an entire afternoon dissecting The Matrix: Reloaded, and what the various bits meant. In that vein, I found this article (WARNING: major spoilers) in which someone else takes a crack at explaining what was going on.

I think some of his explanations (won't go into detail so as to avoid said spoilers) are a bit of apologizing for the director's self-indulgence, but others I think are bang-on.

But more importantly, I think this is just another example of TM:R being good science fiction. It presents us with riddles and rules, and by using the rules we can solve the riddles.

This won't make any sense at all if you haven't seen either movie, so if you haven't, go rent them and then come back and see if you agree.

Posted by scott at 11:11 AM | Comments (271)
Condemnation

Bigwig wrote this nice, simple, devastating indictment of the consequences of valuing cultures instead of people. Nicely done.

Posted by scott at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)
But Will They Scream, "TETSUOOOOooo"?

Slashdot noted this press release stating that Neon Genesis Evangelion will get turned into a live-action movie some time soon. No, I'm not sure what it is either, but I know people who do.

Posted by scott at 09:38 AM | Comments (1)
Umm... what?

This one is weird enough I'm not sure it's real:

Reclusive pop star Michael Jackson, wearing a red-and-blue Spider-Man mask, popped into a congressman's field office, seeking an answer to a critical issue.

Oh, and this marks our 2501st entry. Go us! :)

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (1)
Gothic Japan

I always wondered what might happen if one of my goth friends ended up in charge of a school. Now I know:

A public elementary school principal here has come under fire for giving a deadly twist to a squeaky clean song, education officials said Tuesday.
(...)
But [a] top teacher from the school has stood by his principal. "The kids were all a bit bored and I was only trying to lighten things up for them," he was quoted as saying by Saitama education officials.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)
May 20, 2003
Blast Echos

35 is a funny age. With, God willing, roughly as much life ahead of me as behind me, I'm starting to get a perspective on just how much the world has changed. Oh there are myriad little things we've added... antilock brakes, glow-in-the-dark condoms, DVD collections and CD box sets, wine in big boxes and juice in small ones, telephones that fit in your pocket and televisions that hang from the roof of your car. All of these are things my daughter will take for granted that I simply can't stop marveling at. But there's one thing that is gone from our lives, that I, and perhaps everyone over the age of, say, 33, remember. One thing that is never commented on by "pundits" but is no less remarkable for its absence.

My daughter will not know fear of the apocalypse.

The dream was always the same. We would all be playing with our Star Wars toys out in a harvested bean field, wearing ripstop nylon windbreakers to protect us from the cold bed sheet breezes of autumn. Luke (Jeff) and Wedge (Me) would be running down the Death Star trench described by a stubbly dirt row, valiantly dodging Darth Vader (Jimmy) and his evil henchmen (Stewart). Just as we were making our "final run" (when everyone got to change sides), the sky would be split by a ripping sound, like someone tearing apart a thousand sheets of steel. The gray clouded sky would show a spark arcing across it like a struck match head, quite clearly a missile inbound. I knew what it was, we all knew what it was, and we would start running for home.

Running for home as time slowed and sliced into heartbeats, as the beautiful, awful thing fell over the horizon. A single pause, a silence between breaths, a last look at everything I ever knew frozen in a moment, and then the dome of cloud above us would burst with a blinding flame and a skull-cracking roar. Only then would I jerk awake, realizing it was in fact just a dream, all the same still feeling the heat on my cheek, sunburn hot and as real as the bed I was sleeping in.

I can't think of anyone I knew who didn't have these kinds of nightmares at least once in awhile. And not just kids either... I would hear grownups talk in quiet voices about each international crisis, not in terms of how it would affect them or the country, but how it might bring about the end of the world. It didn't help that every Christian fundamentalist preacher, in a town full of Christian fundamentalist preachers, could barely disguise their glee convincing everyone that now was the rapture, today would be the kingdom, coming at us on the point of a missile.

"And we'll be glad too," the 'guest speaker' at our boy scout meeting said to us, standing on the pulpit of our local church. Normally I wouldn't set foot in the place, but as an awkward 14 year old I was trying to walk in the footsteps of my old man and become a scout like him. The meeting started out in the basement, but we were brought to the main hall, ostensibly to hear how important scouting was.

Instead we got an earful. "You boys need to learn how to survive, because the Bible tells us that everything around us is doomed to destruction. Doomed, by the godless communists who as prophesied in REVALATIONS will destroy us, manipulated by the antichrist. Your brothers, your mothers, your dads and your uncles will have to rely on you to save them, and you must remain PURE to your oath, and PURE to Christ, because when those missiles fall down it is written that only the just, only the righteous, will survive."

Needless to say my scouting career was quite short. I could only imagine what my friends, who sat through things like this all the time, must've had running through their minds. And it was everywhere, anywhere you looked. Every military thriller ended the same way. Each one wrapped up with tragedy, the heroes on opposite sides nearly coming to terms, only to be shattered when one of the generals drew a dagger simply to kill an asp.

It only got worse when Reagan became president. Reagan inherited a shattered and weak military, incapable of even rescuing a few hostages in the desert. He inherited an economy weakened by inflation and recession. He inherited a press corps and international community happy for American weakness that made their jobs easier. Most of all he inherited a people who had sunk into despair and self-loathing over a stupid war in a stupid place that sent all too many sons home in boxes.

Reagan would have none of it. A charismatic man, someone you literally could not help but watch speaking, who had a mind like a razor and a love of country from a simpler time. He decided appeasement would not work, communism was a danger to the entire world, and only through confrontation would it be defeated. He rearmed, rebuilt, and reaffirmed America. For the first time in a very, very long time someone was standing up in front of cameras saying this country was the best country in the world, and you could be for us or against us, but you didn't want to be against us because we were going to win no matter what it took.

The rest of the world went bananas. This crazy old man, this actor, was going to get us all killed. The press did everything to tear him down. Almost the rest of the world (lead by, no surprise, France) heaped scorn and did their level best to keep America where it should be... beaten down and only just strong enough to keep the tanks from rolling through the Brandenburg gate and down the Champ Elysee. The Hollywood elite completely blew a gasket, convinced the plebes really had managed to elect Hitler himself to the Whitehouse.

In truth it was a scary time, because even though nearly everyone else liked Reagan, we weren't really sure if he actually was going to get us involved in a nuclear holocaust. A veritable deluge of books, movies, and TV shows rolled out showing in graphic detail what, exactly, would happen if it all really did come apart at the seams, if the bombs really did fall. The nightmares weren't going away, they were getting worse.

Every year it was the most entertaining part of graduation. You were supposed to predict what would happen, where you would be, ten years after high school was over. "In ten years, Jimmy Freeman will be flipping burgers and working for Tom Steward." "In ten years, Jane Summers will be married to Greg Banner and have two happy, healthy children." "In ten years Scott Johnson will be doing something exciting, far far away from here." All were typical.

Also, at least as typical, were these: "In ten years, Ted Murphy will be on the front lines, helping win WWIII." "In ten years, Roosevelt Smith will be living in his bomb shelter with his wife Latonya Hooper." "In ten years, Jim McGhee will be serving alongside Ted."

That was 1986, but in truth at that time even we were beginning to laugh at it. Mikhail Sergeevich Gorbachev had been elected General Secretary of the Communist Party, the first Soviet leader who did not serve in WWII, a comparatively young man far more concerned with Russian people than with Soviet power. Seeing his own country rapidly approaching ruin, he decided to cut and run in the competition for world dominance with the United States. Taking a huge national, and in fact no less personal, risk, he reached out to Reagan. To nearly everyone's surprise, Reagan reached back.

It is every West German male's duty to serve in the military or the civil service. It's a requirement. It's also a requirement that every West German work toward re-unification with East Germany.

Two years later, and everyone chuckled as our European History professor so seriously intoned these words. Reunite with East Germany? The thought was self-evidently absurd. The Soviets would never, ever let it happen. Czechoslovakia and Hungary quite graphically demonstrated what would happen if either side tried. Anyone who studied the military situation around that border, and in that class we had all studied it, knew there were divisions of Soviet tanks waiting on one side and entire armies and air forces on the other poised on a hair trigger, a precarious balance that could, must, be maintained, perhaps forever.

Then less than a year later the goddamned wall fell down.

By this time the first George Bush was in the White House, a decent if rather colorless man. The media and entertainment elite proved incapable of absorbing that Reagan, their very own Hitler, probably was responsible for it all, and instead focused on the fact that really the entire world was caught flat-footed when it happened. I lived through it, and it really did seem like one day we were all gathered around ready to defend against an invasion, and the next a half-naked drunken German was dancing on top of the wall, surrounded on both sides with jubilant people holding hammers, smashing away at the everlasting symbol of their division.

And then it was over, so suddenly it was over. The Soviet Union collapsed, and we treated it with high drama but nothing compared to Kruschev banging his shoe. We signed nuclear reduction treaties with miniscule fanfare, utterly without somber comparisons on the evening news of cartoon stacks of holocausts, any one of which could end the world. The Cold War, which had been declared over and done with in 1968 by the 1977 press (as we cruised into purgatory of post-cold-war "detente"), was declared really, really over by that same press corps 15 years later. Everyone seemed to have forgotten what it really was like, as if by pulling Damocles's sword up into the shadows it had never existed at all.

"Daddy," she asks me, as she does every night, "tell me again what Grandpa did."
("Mommy," I ask her, as I did every night, "do you think the missiles will fall tonight?")

"Oh, your grandpa got to do really cool things. He got to help put people on the Moon."
("Oh of course not. We're going to be just fine")

"Oh I know that story daddy. What did he do before that?"
("But you say that every night.")

"Well, before he worked for NASA he was in the Air Force. He worked on Titan Missiles."
("I know, but really, it will be all right. I promise.")

"What are those?"
("But how can you be sure?")

"They were big terrible things that had huge bombs on them. We pointed them at Russia, which we called the Soviet Union back then. And they pointed ones at us too. If we'd ever actually used them, it would have been very bad."
("Because I'm your mom, and I know. It will be all right.")

"Wow, I'm glad we don't live back then."
("I'm scared.")

"So am I."
("So am I.")

Posted by scott at 06:39 PM | Comments (31)
House Keeping

No XXX here, but it has something to do with boobies!

Of course, I cannot afford a house keeper, but I'm sure Scott would find the way to get the money to get one of these girls to clean the house.

Hey, as long as the house got cleaned.

Posted by Ellen at 06:19 PM | Comments (3)
Yeah, that's Why I Want a Console

Joshua gets a no-prize wrapped in a really long strand of hair for bringing us the Secret Technique #87.5: Exploding Nostril Hair Ultra Fist video game. No, really, that's what it's called! And no, that's not a mistranslation... swear to god this character appears to use nose hair as a method of attack. All together... EEEEwwwwww.

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
We are Syndicated!

Matt gets an honorary napkin-wrapped no-prize for cooking up this livejournal syndication of our site using our RSS feed. In all honesty, we didn't think anyone was ever going to use that, so we're glad someone did! So, if you're a livejournal user you can... oh hell, I don't know what exactly people can do with it, hopefully you do and find it useful.

Thanks again Matt!

Update: Matt's galleries are cool, but contain some stuff that might not be safe for work. You've been warned!

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
A Chimp by Any Other Name?

New Scientist is reporting on one scientist's contention that chimpanzees should be moved to the same genus as humans. His justification? A new genetic comparison that seems to indicate humanity and chimpanzees share 99.4 percent of their genetic material.

Classic press-release reporting, although at least they did get a quote or two from someone who disagrees. There are big problems with trying to move troglodytes (chimps) into hominidae (human-like creatures). First, speciation is not just judged by genetics, but also by morphological data (what it looks like, how it's built). Hominidae have a fundamental morphological difference from chimpanzees... all of our ancestors, back literally as far as we have found so far, were fully bipedal. Chimpanzees are not.

Also, the author of the study seems to be engaging in at least two bits of what seem to be cherry-picking. The less important one is his contention the chimpanzee-human split ocurred only 5-6 million years ago (mya), when (last time I checked) the consensus was still that the split ocurred as long as 10 mya.

More importantly, Dr. Goodman compared only what he termed to be "most important" gene sequences. This seems to skate dangerously close to selective sampling, picking only the data you know agree with your hypothesis and then calling it proved.

So, it's an interesting hypothesis, but (from the evidence given in the New Scientist article at least) one which seems on the face of it seriously, perhaps even fatally, flawed.

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (1)
Blech!!!!

I hate bugs. They just creep me out. The bigger the bug, the bigger the heebie-jeebie they cause. So I just want you all to know if you're one of these weirdos that keeps cockroaches the size of a teacup saucer as a pet, I ain't visiting. I'm not gonna do it I tell ya, I'm not gonna do it.

Geeze people, buy a cat or something!

Posted by scott at 08:44 AM | Comments (4)
Einstein On Line

Slashdot noted that as of 3 PM yesterday afternoon, much of Albert Einstein's writings are available on-line. It doesn't make me any more likely to understand them, but heck someone out there might (will probably?) find them useful.

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)
Homebrew Electricity

When I was in college I had a friend who's dad lived on a farm that had a big natural gas deposit underneath it. The local gas/oil company came out and put a well on it, and (after his dad had paid for the gear) ran a pipeline to his dad's house, giving him free natural gas, basically forever. This meant free heat and free hot water, but because natural gas air conditioners are complex and unreliable, he still had to pay for AC.

It was only years later, well after I'd lost track of the guy, that I thought of the answer... his dad didn't need natural-gas powered AC, his dad needed natural-gas powered electricity.

And now I seem to have found a site that would've helped him build the darned thing. This actually seems to be a "wave of the future." NPR at least has mentioned several times that the cost of small generator plants has dropped to the point that in some areas it's cheaper to generate your own electricity and take your building completely off the normal grid. Perhaps one day we'll have generators sitting next to our air-conditioners. Weird.

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)
It's Only Rock n' Roll

Scott Weiland, our favorite stoned rocker, has gotten busted yet again. At least as interesting was the revelation that the non-Axle Rose portions of GnR seem to have formed a different band and are getting ready to release an album.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (1)
May 19, 2003
West of Eden

Last week we said goodbye to the West Wing as it went on hiatus for the summer. We also said good by to its creator, Aaron Sorkin. I worry for the show, because I think it's smart, entertaining, even funny, and I think Sorkin was the key to making it so. I also worry because, with the departure of Farscape this year, it's really the only good science fiction show on television right now.

It may not have blasters, exploding planets, or funky aliens, but to me it has everything else good science fiction has. It is set in a world so disconnected from the one you and I live in it might as well be another planet. The heroes wield enormous power, with the ability to change the lives of millions of people almost at a whim. Yet they are constrained, constrained by rules that are not always obvious and sometimes not even particularly well understood. The villains may not have green skin or bugged eyes, but they are no less evil, and many times no less alien. What's more, not all of them are villains, some just have weird motivations, unreasonable expectations, or simply don't speak the right language.

It's even written like science fiction. These characters do not solve problems with their fists, they solve them with their minds. As with all good science fiction, the show exhibits an almost clockwork quality as the players interact with the situations they find themselves in not by smashing things, but by manipulating the rules of their world. And as with all good science fiction, half the fun of watching is trying to figure out through the half-spoken lines and weird referrals just what those rules might be. Because, unlike the physics, biology, and chemistry that surrounds most other science fiction like nuns outside a catholic school dance, we have the built-in advantage of a decade or more of civics and social studies classes. We know, or perhaps rather knew, these rules. They tickle at us, like a single lyric from a song that suddenly floats into our mind even though the melody is long forgotten. The payoff is remembering, even predicting, the rules and how they will affect the outcome.

I worry because time and again Hollywood has proven incapable of producing large numbers of writers who really understand the concepts behind science fiction. I fear that they will think the show is about peril and drama and the occasional belly laugh, different only that they're played out with six syllable words. Certainly it has these things, nearly every successful show does, but it also has a complexity found in very few other places. It has high-stakes puzzles that require brains and not brawn to solve. It has inside jokes that you can only get if you reach out to understand the game. It doesn't stop to explain the rules, assuming instead you're plenty smart enough to figure them out as they go along. Because really, you are.

Most of all the show, like all good science fiction, is as much about teaching as it is about entertaining, and I am deeply worried it will lose this once Sorkin is gone. The West Wing shows us in a truly dramatic fashion just how it all works. Idealized? Yes. Slanted? Of course. Condescending? Perhaps, at times. But really, that's not what science fiction is all about, and it's not what this show is about. Like all good science fiction, The West Wing gives us hope that the future will be better. It teaches us that it really is possible for the best and brightest to succeed, succeed in spite, because of, a humanity that we share with the characters on the screen. These are not gods, these are not the elite, these are simply people who in the face of unspeakable power and consequence still manage to make the world a better place, as best they know how.

In our government. Like I said, science fiction!

Posted by scott at 07:38 PM | Comments (1)
The Real History of the Internet

Slashdot featured this timeline of internet history. Much more interesting and factual than anything a press monkey could come up with. Of course, someone will now probably use it in a press release...

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)
If Microbes Were Cat-Shaped, We'd Own Ten of These

Proof that if you try hard enough you can make anything warm-and-fuzzy (Islamic Fundawackamoles take note), we present the Giant Microbes. The site says "New York City 'A Hit' World Toy Fair 2003", but to me these plush germs are, well, a bit on the strange side.

Considering the double-dose of nerd genes Olivia is getting, it would surprise me not one bit if I heard "Daddy! I already have the flu! I want to get the cold next!"

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)
Dead Man Eating... Waitaminute... Eating?

Well, I will say that deadmaneating.com gets my vote for "most morbidly fascinating blog." Gives all the details on executions around the country, including (as noted) their last meal. Warning: no pictures, but graphic details of their crimes are included. Not for the squeamish.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)
Well Why Not

I didn't know any jails had ATMs in them until I read this story about one being set up in Maine, but when I think about it the thing makes sense. Certainly if Ellen were to get in trouble her chronic inability to have more than .25c in her purse would styme her release efforts. Well, that and the fact that the reason she would be in there was because she probably called the officer an asshat...

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
New Civilization Found

BBCnews is reporting this summary on the discovery of a previously unknown pre-Mayan civilization in modern Nicaragua. Looks to be about 2700 years old, small but apparently different from any other culture around it.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)
May 18, 2003
The World's Shortest Matrix: Reloaded Review

  • It was too long.
  • It takes awhile to get started.
  • It blows up real good.
  • It is not a "check your brain at the door" flick.
  • It is still Quite Good.
  • I liked it a lot, and thought it was well worth the price.
  • Ellen thought it was stupid but stayed awake through it and did not run off to pee.

Ellen says: wait for the DVD. I say: go see it, go see it NOW.

Oh, and if you do see it, stay through the credits, you get a trailer for the next one if you do.

Posted by scott at 09:02 PM | Comments (4)
May 17, 2003
34 Weeks

Have I mentioned yet how 'done' I am with being pregnant? I did? Many times? Yeah, ok, I'm bitching again. There comes a point, usually when vericose veins start popping out like cheap firecrackers at a trailerpark 4th of July, that presciption grade maternity hose don't help. I'm not kidding, your toes get shorter, I swear they do. Just to show God has a sense of humor, your shoes get tight in spite of your shrinking appendages and you wind up with stupid sock marks on your ankles.

When you do get to sit down, you never ever want to get up. Mostly this is because your balance is so messed up you're not sure you can get up. Scott used to make fun of me by going "BEEP BEEP BEEP" when I backed into a couch, but now I really wish I had one of those things. Because let me tell you folks, once the pregnant ass is on its way to couch docking there ain't nothing gonna stop it. Steal my seat at your peril!

I'm also in the process of working on one of the bits of furniture that will go into O's room. A rocking chair that my mom gave to me, that she used with my sister. Of course, Mom and I looked at this rocking chair and determined that it should be painted. In retrospect, this was one of those moments that screams, "it seemed like a good idea at the time."

No longer should it be some boring wood colored chair, you know, the kind that just sits there and is comfortable and doesn't require two weeks of detail painting. Nope, not good enough. It should be painted white and lilac, just like O's room. With cat feet painted all over the chair. Did I mention my mom cackled gleefully and then left for home right after this "suggestion?" What, please, exactly is it about becoming a grandparent that turns you into a devious, evil being? Scott says it's karma for all the times we as children try to flush sneakers down the toilet, but I'm not sure...

The other thing to finish up is to place saw tooth hangers on Olivia's letters for her wall. It's going to be cute. Scott already thinks a six dozen sugar-coated lavendar easter eggs detonated in there, but he ain't seen nothin' yet. OLIVIA spelled out in large white letters going across one wall.

We are still waiting for the final furniture. That is supposed to come the weekend after Memorial Day. If my mom suggests it needs to be painted I'm going to set her on fire. Oh, you just think I'm kidding.

Other than that, all there is to do is wait.

Scott did find it funny the other day that I was on my hands and knees, with the top of my head on the floor, ass in the air, typing on the computer. What can I say? It was the only comfortable position I could find at that moment. I'm just glad I can type upside down.

According to my pregnancy calender, a 'term' baby is considered 37 weeks. I am hoping this baby will be early. I was told that O is going to most likely be an average sized baby of 6-7 pounds.

One thing that I am happy about right now. No stretch marks. Anywhere! And if any of you say you don't notice the stretch marks until after they're born, I'm going to set you on fire.

Oh, you just think I'm kidding!

Posted by Ellen at 08:14 PM | Comments (7)
Speaking of Anniversaries

In this brief article, Scientific American notes the very first in-vitro baby will turn 25 on July 25th. While brief, the article notes most of the same fears about cloning were expressed about so-called "test tube babies." I remember well when all of that happened, how freaked out all the grownups were. I was just wondering what she'd grow up to be. Now I, well we, know.

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)
Could it be... Satan?!?

Everyone's favorite wacko fundamentalist church, The Landover Baptist Church, weighs in with this review of The Matrix Reloaded:

This movie has Polish Catholics at the helm. If we need any reminder of the pernicious threat Polish Catholics pose to our American values, we need look no further than that crazy old coot, Pope John Paul II, who treats our nation's thousands of pubescent altar boys like his own personal petting zoo. When I discovered that The Matrix was a trilogy, I should have known right away that the series was an open attack on my three-headed God: the angry Father, His loving Son, and their flying sidekick with superhero powers, the Holy Ghost.

And, by the way, if you haven't already figured out it's a big joke, I'd like to give you this dollar so as to allow you to pay a visit to the ClueStore.

(It's enough to make you delusional... I just thought cluestore.com would be a neat URL, typed it in for no reason, and bang, there's a site. Gotta love the internet.)

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)
When Finals Attack

Guess which freshmen took intro to psych this semester:

Three college students were arrested for allegedly staging a kidnapping as a part of a psychology experiment to see how bystanders would react.

Finals are the ultimate freak time for a full-time college student. You have amazingly intense crunches, followed up with absolutely nothing to do. They are both the best and worst times to be living in a dorm or a frat house, because everyone gets so wound up. We didn't do anything quite like this, but there was the raid on the cafeteria with super-soakers and sun glasses...

Posted by scott at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)
It's Raining ... Golf Balls?

Showing police have a sense of humor too, we have this little bit detailing 4 am golf-ball bombings on the roof of a house. The owner? Mr. Orenthal James Simpson, of course.

What amazes me is nobody seems to hear the helicopter... dropping stuff out of an aircraft and have it hit anything, even something literally as big as a house, is not easy unless you're going pretty slow. Or you have a lot of practice. Your tax dollars at work!

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)
May 16, 2003
Utah Court: Cat <> Dog

This report on a Utah court decision in which cats are in fact declared not to be dogs starts out funny enough just from the subject matter. However, about 2/3rds down the guy decides to be Dave Barry and the whole thing kind of jumps the rails.

Posted by scott at 03:55 PM | Comments (0)
In Remembrance of the Funkiest Magician Who Ever Lived

Imagine my surprise when I found out Ellen had never heard of Doug Henning, the world's most famous hippie magician. I found it actually a little difficult to describe the guy, even though he was all over the place on kid's television in the 1970s. I'm happy to report I've found a site that gives a nice summary of his career, with pictures, because trying to explain Doug Henning without pictures is like trying to describe skittles without using the word "rainbow."

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (3)
Mars Airplane

BBCnews is carrying this nice summary of recent developments in the attempt to create a flying probe (shaddup Kris) to be sent to Mars. This is even more difficult than you'd think. The atmosphere on Mars is so thin it makes flying quite difficult, even considering the reduced gravity.

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)
May 15, 2003
EcoPod

A recycling coffin. Or rather I should say, "earth friendly".

Mind you, they do not recommend cremation. It apparently caused 'pollution'. But what they don't tell you is that all those nasty embalming fluids your body gets pumped full of when you are dead, prevents you from rotting at a natural pace.

Hence, what could of taken the earth to do it's job in a matter of days to weeks on you, can take up to several months to even years with the aid of embalming chemicals.

Posted by Ellen at 08:06 PM | Comments (3)
Start Them Young

This is our house. Lots of beer, and of course, cats.

Posted by Ellen at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)
Uncomfortable Truths

  • No matter how hard you try, you're still going to die.
  • Nobody really knows what happens when you do.
  • Most of the people who claim to are insane.
  • George Bush probably wasn't the best candidate the Republicans could come up with.
  • Al Gore probably was the best candidate the Democrats could come up with.
  • If you've gotten good at a driving video game you've probably had more training than 90% of the people on the road.
  • One day you'll probably have to place at least one parent in a nursing home
  • If you could figure out how to afford it, you'd probably wish you could check yourself in with them.
  • One day, your kids will be in charge.
  • No matter how hard you try, you'll still end up acting like your parents.
  • You probably are already.
  • There is a small, but non-zero, chance that humanity really is the best the universe can do.
  • Your camera doesn't lie.
  • Cosmopolitan's does.
  • If you could get bigger boobs from a pill, every woman in the US would already have have D cups so firm you could bounce nickels off them.
  • So would a quarter of all men.
  • If you could get a bigger wang from a pill, half the men in the US would have ones so big they'd have to coil it in their jeans.
  • The other half wouldn't be able to leave the house.
  • The Osbornes are popular because they're weird looking but act just like your family.
  • Only with less swearing.
  • You would have to spend the next hundred years in an airplane to be at serious risk of a terrorist attack.
  • You only have to drive to the grocery store to be at serious risk of getting run over by Buffy and her Magic Cell Phone.
  • If you're over 40, somewhere someone has a picture of you in a leisure suit.
  • If you're under 20, one day your parents will show your kids a picture of you with purple hair as a justification for your kids getting theirs done in stripes.
  • Orange and green stripes.
  • There are good kids out there who just don't have a chance.
  • Sometimes you wish you could trade them for your kids.
  • Anyone over thirty can't be trusted.
  • Your parents thought the same thing.
  • Little old ladies know more about sex than you ever will.
  • Sometimes they'll end up on TV to prove it.
  • The real reason Hollywood celebrities speak out about politics is it's the only time they're actually in control of anything.
  • The real reason politicians speak out is it's the only way they can prove they're in control of anything.
  • The people who hold real power never speak at all.

Next...

Posted by scott at 06:49 PM | Comments (3)
Extinctification!

Digging around in the comments on slashdot I found this very nice site that provides an overview of both major and minor mass extinctions that have ocurred throughout history. Also gives nice summaries of the geologic eras.

The critters that ran (and swam) around before the dinosaurs were every bit as weird, perhaps more so. Anyone know of any good books that cover the pre-dinosaur eras?

Posted by scott at 03:17 PM | Comments (1)
Science and Typos

Looks like they're finally going to build that crazy flood protection scheme for Venice you've been seeing on the Discovery channel for the past 10 years:

After nearly four decades of planning and debate, work has finally begun on an innovative scheme to try to protect Italy's island city of Venice from its constant enemy -- flooding.

Of particular interest is this factoid:

Venetians have endured tides and flooding since the city was founded on a collection of marshy islands in the 15th century.

Let's see how long it takes them to correct it (Venice was founded in the 5th century). I'll bet the typo was in the original press release and they just typed it right up there.

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
GuyThink

Pat gets a no-prize for bringing us the diary entry all men wish they could make, but are too smart to try.

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)
The New Duct Tape?

New Scientist is carrying this summary on the latest developments in trying to create artificial gecko feet. Well, the sticky part anyway. It's already yielding some promising results.

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)
Where Have all the Mirrors Gone?

Found this article that gives an update on the whole "love hotel" phenomenon over in Japan. Includes brief reviews of many. Boy, how'd you like that job?

Posted by scott at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
Best. 404. Ever.

A 404 error, for those of you who do not know, is code for "this web page cannot be found." But of course, we all know this is just a giant imperialistic conspiracy, don't we now?

Posted by scott at 09:16 AM | Comments (2)
Adios, You Fishy Muchacho

Remember the goldfish in a sling we featured awhile back? Well, he's finally on his way to the big goldfish bowl in the sky. 14 years is a good run for a goldfish, so no sadness, let's just hope the next time around he comes back as something that doesn't need a swim bladder to survive!

Posted by scott at 09:14 AM | Comments (1)
May 14, 2003
Smarty Pants Sexual Knowledge

Cool and fun facts about one of our favorite topics here...sex.

Interesting!

Posted by Ellen at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
Lizard Salad

I will never ever eat at this resturant again.

YUCK!!!!

Posted by Ellen at 02:49 PM | Comments (2)
Our Very First Shameless Plug *sniff*

Joshua gets a special-edition TCM-logo'd no-prize for creating the which editor of The City Morgue are you test. I ended up as Franken Chicken, and when I told the Bunch all they did was snicker. Makes me suspicious...

The City Morgue is a Washington, DC based magazine that covers what's going on in the Goth/Industrial community with a little punk thrown in for a little spice. You can read more about them here

Posted by scott at 02:41 PM | Comments (0)
The KISS Principle in Ants

BBCnews is featuring this summary of recent findings in the genetic history of army ants. Turns out that they probably did not evolve "several times in many places", as was previously thought, but instead evolved once in the early Cretaceous (~100 million years ago) and then were carried all over the world by continental drift.

KISS= Keep It Simple, Stupid, in case you didn't already know.

Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)
Welcome to My World, Email Edition

Ok, let's open our mailbag at work today, see who's going to piss me off...

From: [Mr. Mysterious]
To: Scott
Subject: (no subject)
Message:
I have a problem.


From: Scott
To: [Mr. Mysterious]
Subject: re: (no subject)
Message:
I will need more detail to provide you with assistance. Please elaborate on what, exactly, the problem is you are experiencing.


From: [Mr. Mysterious]
To: Scott
Subject: re: re: (no subject)
Message:
Hi; I have just returned from [my local chapter]. I am a member of [my local chapter] and I wanted some advise [sic] on a problem I have right now. They did not have the resources needed for help for me. Can you help?
[Mr. Mysterious]



From: [Ms. Forgetful]
To: Scott
Subject: Login problems remain
Message:
Every name that I use in order to login gets the message that "there is a problem with my account" and to contact the administrator. I would prefer to have "the problem" resolved so that I can simply login without bothering you each time. Please advise -


A brief search through my SENT messages (no accident that they go back 2 years) reveals 8 messages over the past six months, remarkably identical, consisting of:

try username: [correct username] instead
try username: [correct username] instead of [incorrect username]
you should try username: [correct username]
do not use [incorrect username], use [correct username]
try username: [correct username] instead
use: [correct username]
try username: [correct username] instead
please use [correct username]



From: [Mr. Guess My Problem, I Dare You]
To: Scott
Subject: (no subject)
Message:
What about my account being in question?



From: [Mr. Mind Reading Candidate]
To: Scott
Subject: I have a problem? [Mr. MRC] [Chapter Name] - President
Message:
 



From: [Yet Another F*cking Consultant]
To: Scott
Subject: StaffPres
Message:
[YAFC's name]
President
[YAFC's Company, which I'm never going to use]
[YAFC's Street Address]
[YAFC's City & State]
[YAFC's four, count them four, contact numbers, definitely going to call them the second I see them, yeah right]

Background: "staffpres" (not it's real name) is the name of a pan-organization mail group. I mean, doesn't everyone use mail group addresses as their subject line?



From: [Ms. Bet She's a Hoot with a Road Map]
To: Scott
Subject: Not Sure What is Wrong
Message:
Dear Scott,
I am not able to access [intra net] because it says that my address is already in use and that I should go back through at least six months of E-mails. Unfortunately there is not time to do this. I need to access [useless bureaucratic] documents for a teleconference today at 3:30 [message was sent at 11:00 am].

Actual text of error message she received:
The e-mail address you specified is already listed for another [intranet] member.

This is nearly always caused by you already having [an intranet] account. Please go back through your e-mail records for at least the past six months to see if you have not overlooked your [intranet] account notice.



From: [Mr. Excitable]
To: Scott
Subject: Posting on Our [Little Local Website, hosted on your server]
Message:
Dear Scott: [Yet Another F*cking Consultant, #2, that they actually hired] suggested that I send Scott the 2 pages for posting on our web site hosted by [you] [Did he now? Well wasn't that just peachy of him]. Please post under (What's New) page of our site, 2 pages that I faxed you at [god knows which fax machine this was] tonight. That fax # is the one I used last year [oh really?]. If [no you mouth breather, WHEN... fax <> web page] you have to manually enter the text it can be very plain, not "fancy" [I'm so glad you've given me permission]. Also please change the text in What New on (The 18th Presentation---to read (The 19 Pres----and 2004 Series:--) and delete the text under Details and add under Details(Please look here for the schedule and 2004 sign-up in December 2003. Sincerely, [Mr. Excitable]


From: Scott
To: [Mr. Excitable]
Subject: re: Posting on Our [Little Local Website, hosted on your server]
Message:
All items for posting to websites must be provided in electronic form. Please e-mail the attachments to this address.


From: [Mr. Excitable]
To: Scott
Subject: Re: POSTING ON [Little Local Website]2nd request [note helpful increment manually put in by Mr. Excitable]
CC: [My Boss]
Message:
Scott, I'm desparate [sic]! We do not have the ability to scan and deliver the 2 pages that I faxed you. Please review the material and put the essentials on our web site. This was done a few months ago and I realize it's a lot of trouble for you but we must have the site carry the material on the 2 pages. Best Regards, [Mr. Excitable]


Four hours of ass-busting later:

From: Scott
To: [Mr. Excitable]
Subject: Re: POSTING ON [Little Local Website]2nd request
Message:

[Link to very spiffy (if I do say so myself) work-up of even more than what they asked for (included a little Yahoo map to where this stuff was happening)]

Please make sure to include electronic copies in the future, as it makes things much easier to work with. Let me know if you spot any mistakes or need any changes made.


From: [Mr. Excitable]
To: Scott
Subject: Fw: POSTING ON [Little Local Website]
Message:
Please post this 1 page per the message.

[Awful barely understandable HTML spaghetti that vaguely resembles what was faxed]

You're welcome


It just don't get much better than this, folks.

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)
Insert Beatles Joke Here

An Albanian couple apparently took the song on the radio a bit too literally and actually did it in the road:

"The couple came out of their car completely naked and started making love on the asphalt," taxi driver Vangjush Poci told Korrieri. "They did not care about onlookers. After a few minutes, they kissed and walked back to their car."

Can Albanians Gone Wild be far behind?

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (1)
May 13, 2003
Neandertal News

BBCnews is carrying this report summarizing new genetic findings by an Italian group about Neandertals. In a nutshell: while modern man and Cro-Magnon man (a form of early-modern human, ~35,000 years before present (ybp)) show a very strong relation, Neandertals show little if none.

Some notes: while significant, this is not a complete refutation of the interbreeding hypothesis. Usually sequence comparison is done over a narrow selection of the genome instead of the entire thing, so it's possible there are more correlations somewhere else on the DNA tree. Also, the two samples they used were from Europe, where it's widely considered little if any interbreeding took place.

Neandertals ranged widely, as far south as the Levant (Israel-Lebanon-Syria). Archeologically (trash and old tools) and paleontologically (bones), there is evidence that modern humans's interaction with Neandertal varied considerably according to the geography. The closer Neandertals were to Africa, the more likely it seemed they got encorporated into modern human populations. Conversely, the further away they were the more likely a flat replacement was.

So, while interesting, this is far from the last word.

Posted by scott at 08:02 PM | Comments (1)
A Test for the Rest of Us

Damion gets his 2nd no-prize today for bringing us this how "goth" are you test. I came out as an "angry goth", someone who swears a lot apparently. *shrug*

If you don't know what a "goth" is, take a look at the thing, it may give you some insight. If you think goths are just a bunch of sad death-obsessed rich white kids playing dress-up, well, f*ck off.

Guess it was right...

Posted by scott at 02:30 PM | Comments (3)
Submarine: 1, Polar Bear: 0

"Uh... captain?"

"Yes Lieutenant?"

"There's a, well, a polar bear chewing on us sir."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Outside, sir, on the ice, there's a polar bear chewing on the back of the submarine."

"Let me see that." [looks through periscope] "Well I'll be damned. Don't just stand there, help me take a picture!"

Posted by scott at 02:00 PM | Comments (2)
The Fine Art of the Cutaway

Joshua gets a cut-up and pasted-back-together no-prize for bringing us this little bit of creative editing on one of Bush's state of the union speeches. Maru and Pat will almost certainly get a kick out of it. Warning: movie. Be patient, especially if you're on dialup.

Posted by scott at 10:20 AM | Comments (2)
Welcome to the 17th Century, Hope You Enjoy the View

Damion gets a naughty-shaped no-prize for bringing The Americans for Purity (winning the war on masturbation) to our attention. Go check it out, then come back, we'll wait.

Outraged? Can't believe we linked such stuff? HA-HA! (3rd site down). I told you mom, just because it's on the internet doesn't make it true. But don't feel bad, Damion and I both thought it was real until Joshua pointed out all the links lead to parody sites.

Unfortunately this is probably not a hoax.

Christianity's penchant for asceticism is very weird, and very old. Early Christian writing is filled with tales of naked people eating dirt, castration, and, most interesting of all, the curious practice of standing on columns for decades at a time. Even weirder was how these and other ascetics would be forced to constantly move around because enormous groups of people would gather around them in the desert, making their own practice untenable.

The first time you see the Life of Brian the crowds of people who follow him out into the desert are funny because it's silly. It becomes far funnier when you later learn that such things actually happened, and what they show is merely an exaggeration.

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (2)
The Real Battlebots

They don't smash stuff up, and they don't hack things to pieces, but in the prelims for Robocup 2003 the robots do everything independently. Aibos and teeny-tiny R2D2 wannabes compete in classes on a miniature soccer field to see which team is the best. Very cool.

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
Zapped!

Remember the "internet toilet"? Turns out it was all a big hoax:

Microsoft Corp. said a company news release that it was developing a portable toilet with Internet access, called an "iLoo," was a hoax perpetrated by its British division.

The Borg has a sense of humor. Whodathunkit?

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)
See! I Told You They Were Evil!

There's cat burglars, and then there's cat burglars:

This petite and friendly female doesn't look like the stealing type. But this feline tabby has a shoe fetish rivalled by few others.

Guaranteed Ellen will go awwwww when she sees this. Ours aren't allowed outside, but if they were I know we'd end up with mountains of socks and the occasional sadly murdered roll of toilet paper. Criminals...

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (0)
May 12, 2003
Red vs Blue

In case you've forgotten, the latest Red vs. Blue is out today.

No! Wait! I've gone back in time!

Posted by scott at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)
Mark Your Calendars

There's going to be a total eclipse of the Moon on the night spanning May 15th and May 16th. That's this Thursday & Friday if you don't have a calendar handy.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)
And You People Think I'm Obtuse

Frieda gets her very first no-prize by bringing the results of this year's world's worst writing contest to our attention. First prize:

"The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power."
Judith Butler, professor of rhetoric and comparative literature,University of California 1997

See! I actually did find someone wordier than me! You all owe me a dollar. Or a beer. Mmmm... beer...

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM | Comments (1)
Well, I Found Mom's Stocking Stuffer

Nothing better than a good fart joke to lighten your day. Even better when you can make fun of the President at the same time!

There's a whole bunch of people I can think of that I'd get this for on Christmas, but most of them would get all ritual on it and set it on fire. Ah well.

Posted by scott at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)
FYI

Just wanted to post a reminder that the world is going to end day-after-tomorrow. You know, in case you have a doctor's apointment scheduled or something.

Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (1)
I Call It, "Cheeto Horse"

BBCnews is featuring this article on the discovery of the world's smallest sea horse species. Average size for Hippocampus denise appears to be right around 12 mm, smaller than most of your fingernails.

Posted by scott at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
May 11, 2003
Maternity Undergarments

I want to know, who the hell invented the maternity bra? Was this a guy too? What, once you're pregnant and nursing a baby, your boobs are no longer seen as some sexual side of you? Seems you get punished with the ugliest piece of underwear on the face of the earth.

Women (well most women... some women... ok, this woman) like to be lacy, silky, satiny, ect... not frumpy, 100% hemp or cotton or whatever 'natural' fibers there are out there. I am not a hippie! I don't like the idea of a bra clasp 3 inches wide that has 5 settings to choose from. It looks like a hatch on a battleship. Only uglier.

It had to be guy who invented the maternity bra. Maybe there was one woman on the design team saying, "at least put some sort of eyelet lace or embroider some flowers on it for god's sake," but she must've gotten voted down.

Was it also a man's idea to just shove these bras into a plastic bag, and hang them in some kind of maternity ghetto in the lingerie section? It was like a treasure hunt looking for this thing. Scott and I danced in the aisle when we found the "X" marks the spot on the wall. Well, ok, I did. Scott was busy staring at the wonderbra section (*bop*).

There we were, surrounded by frilly lingerie, and we were looking at plastic bags with these puritan things stuffed in them. Bras with a purpose. Bras that are meant to hold up bowling balls for boobs. Bras that have these 'convenient' trap door openings so you do not have to disassemble yourself completely to nurse your baby. You just let down the trap and you're all set. Mind you, these trap doors have 3, count them 3 settings to choose from. They're expandable. Just in case you get larger than anticipated.

Shopping for your size can also be a bit odd. Take me for example (I really don't give a shit if I give you my bust size.) You are supposed to measure right under your boobs, and add 3. This is your bust size. If you are an odd number, round it up to the next even. Hence a 34 is really a 37 but you need to round to 38. Then you are to measure across your boobs, take that number and subtract your bust line measurement to that and VOILA! your cup size is determined by how many inches you vary between your boobs and your ribcage. Scott says it's easier to figure out gear ratios and overbore sizes. Whatever the hell those are.

This is where we scanned the wall searching for this odd size. The entire time we are saying, "Oh boy, look at this one! 52DDD!", "Dear god! They get that big!?"

We manage to find 2 bras. Basic. Boring. But a needed maternity essential apparently.

I take my 2 plastic bags with bras in them home. I try one on, it fits. It's not pretty. There's no cleavage showing! I mean, isn't that one of the highlights of the magic pregnant boobies?!? Everything is covered up. I try out the trap doors. Yep, they work, opening and closing with the same clasps that hold the back of the bra. I kept expecting to hear that dive klaxon you get on those old W.W.II movies, or maybe that crazy alarm from one of Scott's video games. **GRAUNK** **GRAUNK** **GRAUNK** WARNING. WARNING. BREAST HATCH OPENING. STAND CLEAR. **GRAUNK** **GRAUNK** **GRAUNK**

I show the bra to Scott. "Well? What do you think?" He looks at me. *Blink* *Blink*

"Is it comfortable?" he asks.

"Well yeah, but how does it look?"

*Blink Blink*

"Um... nice?"

I sigh.

"It's not supposed to be pretty Ellen, It's functional" he says.

That tears it. These things have got to be designed by a guy. I go back up the stairs, doomed to the land of ugly panty problems for the next several months.

But I won't give up my thongs. The line must be drawn here!!!

Posted by Ellen at 05:44 PM | Comments (13)
Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to any lady out there with kids, pets, a husband that acts like a 2 year old ect...

For all of you that do not know, he is some 'history' on why Mother's Day is celebrated.

The earliest Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday". Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent. "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England. During this time many of the England's poor worked as servants for the wealthy. As most jobs were located far from their homes, the servants would live at the houses of their employers. On Mothering Sunday the servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. A special cake, called the mothering cake, was often brought along to provide a festive touch.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother Church" - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration . People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.

In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to peace. Ms. Howe would hold organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, Mass ever year.

In 1907 Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.

Ms. Jarvis and her supporters began to write to ministers, businessman, and politicians in their quest to establish a national Mother's Day. It was successful as by 1911 Mother's Day was celebrated in almost every state. President Woodrow Wilson, in 1914, made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.

While many countries of the world celebrate their own Mother's Day at different times throughout the year, there are some countries such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, Turkey, Australia, and Belgium which also celebrate Mother's Day on the second Sunday of May.

I found this little article on Gcards.com, but I did not make a direct link to it. Too many *pop up* ads!!

Posted by Ellen at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)
May 10, 2003
Deep Impact

Get your name sent to a comet for FREE!

The Deep Impact project announces Send your name to a comet! offering you the opportunity to have your name put on the impactor spacecraft that crashes into Comet Tempel 1 July 4th 2005. If you want your name and the names of your friends and relatives to make a Deep Impact, take a moment and Send Your Name to a Comet!

Of couse, we already did this. Pretty neat!

Posted by Ellen at 08:11 PM | Comments (1)
So that's Where He's Been All This Time

And to think all this time none of us, even his wife, knew that Joshua was secretly a really cheerful dance dude with really bad taste in clothing.

Yeah, ok, 90% of you won't have any idea what we're talking about. This one is for that 10%...

Posted by scott at 04:54 PM | Comments (3)
All You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex and The Great Outdoors

Well, ok, it's not naughty. But it has to do with sex , so I had to catagorize it under naughty.

~Enjoy!

Posted by Ellen at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
Cuteness Alert!!

Check out some really cute kitten pictures from Diva Divine's album.

Thanks to Skippy The Bush Kangaroo! You get the sticky sweet kitten No-prize!

Posted by Ellen at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)
May 09, 2003
33 Weeks

Things we have learned during pregnancy:

  1. If you try really hard, you will avoid "shelf ass" for seven months (Ellen)
  2. No matter how hard you try, shelf ass will overtake you by the eighth month (Ellen)
  3. Learn to Love the Ass (Ellen)
  4. It's a time when you can actually understand why they're unpredictable and psychotic. (Scott)
  5. It's god's payback for allowing women to be without scruples or conscience when dealing with the opposite sex for the other 90% of their lives. (Scott)
  6. It's the only time you can say "my God you're getting big" and not be hit with something heavy. (Scott)
  7. It doesn't matter what your Denise-Austin-clone mother says, walking up and down two flights of stairs (at work and at home) is plenty f*cking enough exercise thank you very much. (Ellen)
  8. It's a time you get to watch your Denise-Austin-clone wife, who would run up fourteen flights of stairs with a glint in her eye and a smile on her face and make you feel like a flabby troll, huff and puff at the top of the 2nd flight. (Scott)
  9. There really is a bowling ball in there (Ellen)
  10. And it doesn't have the decency to even be vaguely ball-shaped (Ellen)
  11. When watching your wife's belly, no matter how hard you try, it still looks like the world's worst gas attack. Ever. (Scott)
  12. To a cat, a swelling belly is just a really weirdly shaped trampoline. It's especially fun to bounce on it at night. (Ellen)
  13. Having a spouse permanently on the wagon means more booze for you (Scott)
  14. Nesting is real. There's nothing like watching an 8-month pregnant chick trying to clean a counter top and vacuum at the same time, and snarl at you when you try to help. (Scott)
  15. Vacuuming at 4 am is perfectly normal. Why would anyone complain about the noise don't you understand there's more cat hair on thefloorandgeelookhowawfulthesecounterslookanddoesn'ththefishtankneedcleaning? (Ellen)
  16. It's a time when the spouse who would wrap themselves in six blankets sits on top of a sheet naked and sweats while the other can feel icicles forming on their nose. (Scott)
  17. When pregnant chicks claim they're farting for two, they're not kidding. (Scott)
  18. Simply getting out of the bathtub at month 8 requires a strategic consultation and at least two tactical maneuvers. One of which usually fails. Spectacularly. (Ellen)
  19. Cats laugh at you. No, really, they do! (Ellen)
  20. Women learn Stupid Fetus Tricks, like "no no, push this way, not that way. If you push that way they pull their foot back in." Pregnant women are weird. (Scott)
  21. Belly buttons are not turkey timers. (Ellen)
  22. Oh yes they are, oh yes they are. (Scott)
  23. It's actually possible to keep a navel ring in the entire time. It just stops being a navel ring after awhile. (Ellen)
  24. The cheapest, nastiest fast food is suddenly the nectar of the gods. (Ellen)
  25. And slushies... mmmmm... slushies [drool] (Ellen)
  26. Slushies. Are. Not. Dinner. (Scott)
  27. Oh yes they are, oh yes they are [drool] (Ellen)
  28. Why is it all the syndromes and features of pregnancy are named after men?!? (Ellen)
  29. Ok, measure out 10 cm on a ruler. Compare it to a tea saucer or dinner plate. Now look at your wife's... well, you know. Suddenly understand what "shock and awe" really mean. (Scott)
  30. Even icewater can cause heartburn. (Ellen)
  31. If you look hard enough, you actually can find baby decorations with cats on them. Lots and lots and lots of cats. (Scott)
  32. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? (Ellen)
  33. No. (Scott & Ellen)

Ok mom, there's your funny. Laugh dang you, laugh.

Posted by Ellen at 08:05 PM | Comments (5)
Insert Shampoo Joke Here

Spaceflight Now is reporting scientists have finally figured out the origin of cosmic dandruff. No, really!

S'got a neat picture anyway.

Posted by scott at 03:22 PM | Comments (0)
Neal Stephenson Update

Neal Stephenson, an author who just doesn't write fast enough, has finally got a release date scheduled for his new book, Quicksilver. Look for it starting September 23rd, 2003. In the meantime, you'll have to make do with this preview & excerpt.

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM | Comments (0)
Macs Anonymous

Joshua get's a user-friendly no-prize for this much more realistic Macintosh "switch" ad. Every bit as good as the gamer one!

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (0)
Words to Live By

There will come a day when I shall give up and resort to dealing with idiots by brandishing a pointy stick.

Getting closer and closer...

Posted by scott at 11:23 AM | Comments (1)
It Means Very Tall Engine Cooling... Duh

Damion gets a gold-plated flame-shooting no-prize for bringing the rice story to end all rice stories (note: video, dial-up users be patient). If you're into cars, you will have a hard time breathing for awhile. If you're not, well, show it to someone who is, then watch them pass out from laughing.

Want a teaser? How about a Ford Mustang with a honda VTEC badge on the back?

Posted by scott at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)
LEGO Tarot

Is there anything you can't do with legos? Now someone's cooked up a full tarot card set out of them. Just how long does it take to put these things together anyway?

Posted by scott at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)
Air Crash Update

BBCnews is carrying this story summarizing the nearly-complete accident investigation of flight 587, the Airbus A300 that crashed into Long Island after the tail ripped off. A bit on the "fluffy" side, but still provides interesting information.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
May 08, 2003
It's NOT a Squeak Toy!!

This is the reason why I do not own a dog. This would so happen to me.

Warning: If a picture of a "personal relaxation device" would get you in trouble at work, wait till you get home to see this one!

Posted by Ellen at 09:06 PM | Comments (0)
Elton Does Vampires

Apparently, Elton John is making a musical out of Interview with a Vampire.

Thanks to Rich, you get a No-Prize!

Posted by Ellen at 07:35 PM | Comments (2)
That's No Moon... It's a Jellyfish!

Cnn.com is reporting on the discovery of a really freaking large deep-sea jellyfish. We're talking 3 feet across or larger. Bigger than most manhole covers! (shaddup Kris :) ) With Picture!

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)
More Mars News

Pat gets a no-prize for sending us this article summarizing a new theory about what may have caused at least some of the gullies on Mars. Not water, not CO2, just plain old dust.

Posted by scott at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
Icarus on the Launchpad

Slashdot noted this space.com article summarizing the progress of the current private efforts at constructing spacecraft. Ok, now I know what I'm going to be spending my child's inheritance on. God help me if Ellen can figure out how to wedge a cat carrier in one.

Posted by scott at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)
Must. Recite. Sutra.

Buddhism teaches me I must love all human beings and not take pleasure in their suffering. But when I read about dumbasses being dumbasses, it's really, really hard not to smile a little:

An 18-year-old tried to imitate a stunt from the television show Jackass by jumping into a pool from the roof of a five-story condominium. He missed, shattering both legs, police said.

Hard to believe, but I really do hope he survives with as little permanent injury as possible. That way he can meditate on his stupidity and perhaps come a little closer to enlightenment. I hope.

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)
Necessity is a Mother...

People will always find a way. Scared of SARS? Can't find a surgical mask? Well, there's always your sister's bra:

Villagers in southern Taiwan are strapping bras to their faces to guard against the deadly SARS virus due to a shortage of surgical masks.

Another one of those "if it weren't so goddamned scary it'd be funny" kind of things.

Posted by scott at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
Well, You Just Know Someone's Going to Call it a Sperm Garden

New Scientist is carrying this update on what appears to be successful efforts to create sperm cells from stem cells.

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
A Brush with Greatness

Digital Camera: $350
Gas to get to the church: $13
Getting your picture submitted by some dorkus (not us!) so 150,000 asshats can play photoshop with it: priceless.

See! I told you our friends were colorful!

Update: Just skip the comments. There's a reason FARK is sometimes known as the largest tree full of poo-flinging chimpanzees in the world.

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM | Comments (1)
May 07, 2003
Reasoning

America is a Christian nation. By moving away from God we have forgotten our roots and turned this country into a bubbling, reeking cesspit of secular depravity. All our troubles would become far easier to solve if we were simply to allow morality and good Christian values to be taught in our schools and become a part of our government. Nowhere in the constitution do the words "separation of church and state" appear, because the founding fathers knew that driving God from government would destroy the country.

Nowhere is this country's lack of perspective, understanding of history, and poverty of education more starkly lit than when activist Christians discuss the separation of power in their own country. What's worse, those of us who know they're wrong are saddled with the same inadequate education, and find it surprisingly difficult to argue against their lines of reason. After all, what exactly is the harm in learning the Lordís Prayer? The Ten Commandments actually make sense when you read them, why not mount them on the walls of city hall? We ask these questions, even if only to ourselves, and are uncomfortable because most of us have difficulty coming up with good answers.

The thing is, the reasons behind it are simple. Like all basic truths, the trouble is it's so obvious it's hard to explain to someone who refuses to see it. We have a separation of church and state because history has proven time and again that, with Christianity at least, any other combination results in chaos, murder, manipulation, and oppression in the name of love.

Christianity is a weird religion. Notwithstanding the truly mystical riddles of the trinity, the resurrection, and the kingdom, there are some basic features that make it almost completely unique and more than a little, well, quirky. Unlike Judaism or Islam, its founder was humiliated and then murdered less than four years after beginning his ministry. His followers then experienced a full three centuries of at times grinding persecution that more than once threatened the extinction of the movement. Christianity, unlike virtually any other religion, developed rigid doctrines and powerful hierarchies simply to survive.

Christianity did not create a system of government, as both Judaism and Islam did, it was recognized by a system of government and then provided with the tools of civil power. The result was a disaster. For the next thirteen centuries it would be riven with breaches that literally threatened the souls of its followers, afflicted with doctrinal disagreements that frequently devolved into bloody wars, and used by power brokers both inside and outside its ranks to promulgate the ugliest and most brutal scenes of carnage the world had ever seen. Schism, apostasy, heresy, investiture, inquisition, all and more are words invented by a religion patently incapable of wielding civil power and yet paradoxically all too easily manipulated by civil power.

This all culminated in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648), a conflict that claimed a greater percentage of Christians than any before (and probably any since). More were slain in a few decades of horror than in previous centuries of plagues. By the time it was all over it had become quite clear to many that the only way to real and lasting peace was to completely and utterly separate religious and secular power. Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, and countless others like them began to envision a society that did not rely on religion, because their own history showed religion as utterly unreliable.

These are the people who influenced our founding fathers. There were no examples of a "godless" society causing any sort of trouble at all, yet there were countless examples of the opposite causing untold suffering throughout the ages. By placing a legal firewall between religious and secular authority, the founding fathers sought not only to exclude religion from government, they also sought to exclude government from religion. Hence:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

If history is any example, it seems to have worked. A fanatic Christian may decide you will burn in hell for disagreeing with them, but for the past two and a half centuries they have largely been prevented from hurrying the process along with a little fire of their own. Conversely, police have stopped showing up at the doors of people accused of sedition simply because they believed the wrong number of angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Has it been perfect? Not really. Religion really does provide many, perhaps most, people the rudder, paddle, and compass needed to navigate the hurtling rapids and bubbling swamps that describe the human condition. Christianity, like all good religions, is hard enough to teach to a dedicated student. It's no wonder parents in this modern world of distraction and destruction feel they could use all the help they can get. Why not bring the schools in?

Unfortunately this just cannot be. Any recovering alcoholic can tell you sometimes all it takes is a sip of booze to send them rocketing down into a pit so black they can't even see their own shoes. Once inside the belly of this beast any number of horrific things become possible. The only real solution is to admit the problem and swear the stuff off completely.

Christianity went on what amounts to a thirteen hundred year bender with the liquor of secular power. Eventually the society it helped create became sick and tired of being sick and tired, and took away the drink. But as any spouse of a recovering alcoholic knows, it only takes one glass to turn it all inside out and upside down. They, we, just can't risk it.

And if you're a good Christian, neither can you.

Posted by scott at 04:28 PM | Comments (6)
Still No Cure for Cancer

Jeff get's a number-filled no-prize for sending us this article about a particularly bizzare statistical finding making the rounds today:

A woman who has a boy out of wedlock is much more likely to marry the father than if she has a girl, U.S. economists reported on Monday.

We have a patrilineal culture folks. Sometimes it just shows up in funny ways.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)
There and Back Again

Pat gets a no-prize for letting us know Salaam Pax is back. Since it's been a long time, there's a lot there. I'm still working through it myself. Great look at what it was like "on the ground." Very glad to see he's not blown up!

Posted by scott at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)
So That's Why Ellen is So Interested in Getting a Console

I've always wondered what the hell the point was about the "rumble packs" of modern console controllers. They have to be small, so there's not enough mass to fling around to make it *really* rumble, and since the controller isn't anchored it can't get enough leverage to make force-feedback credible (in my opinion, of course). But then I read this article, and all became clear.

Of special note are all the comments (this story has been around the block apparently), which prove prudishness and intolerance are alive and well in the good ol' US of A, having made the transition to a "new" generation intact. Like we needed a reminder...

Warning: Site has two pictures of some chick in her underwear giving a pretty explicit demonstration of where the "pack" is best placed. If this could get you in trouble at work, wait till you get home to look.

Posted by scott at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)
You Definitely Don't Want to be in There When This Crashes

Looks like the little blue building that gives everyone the shivers is going to get a little blue screen:

The iLoo being developed by the MSN division of Microsoft Corp. in Britain is a standard portable toilet ó a loo to the English ó with a wireless ... keyboard and extending, height-adjustable plasma screen in front of the seat.

From the sight and smell of the things I know people sit in them, but I sure never have. Most of the women I know are so creeped out they do the "hover" thing.

Gives a whole new meaning to the term, "blue screen of death," no?

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)
If Italian Rice is Risotto...

Then I guess this thing would be "American Rice." Be sure to read the extra-cogent comments in the guest book for a look at why real hot-rodders snicker when these things go by.

And Jeff better not be drinking anything when he sees the "bragging rights" entry on the left side of the page.

I hope Damion appreciates this no-prize, because it took all our madd skillz to put the triple-decker wing on it. Worth 20 horsepower!

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)
Mercury in Transit

Joshua gets a no-prize for sending us this site all about today's (yesterday's?) transit of Mercury across the sun.

Posted by scott at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
May 06, 2003
Feeling. Very. Small.

We missed the introduction of a new hubble photo. Bad us! Bad us! No biscuit!

Posted by scott at 11:29 AM | Comments (0)
Whither Kyoto?

I'm sure this will rip through the blogosphere pretty quickly, but that's never stopped us from chiming in!

Remember the Kyoto treaty? The one Bush backed out of because it was unrealistic, and could hurt our economy? The same one the Euros used to beat the drum of anti-Americanism? Well, guess what:

On present trends, [the EU] appears to stand almost no chance of keeping its [Kyoto protocol] promise.

...

The prominent UK global warming sceptic Professor Philip Stott commented: "One of the most galling things about the whole climate change debate has been European duplicity.

"While lecturing everybody else, especially America, on the morality of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it has been abundantly clear from the start that most European countries didn't have a snowflake in hell's chance of meeting their own Kyoto targets."

So, let me give a knuckle-cracking sigh and let's all just not bring Kyoto up anymore, mmkay?

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (3)
Ellen's Fantasy

If we weren't about to have a kid, I know without a doubt this would happen:

Black stray cat Tinker got all the cream when an elderly widow left him his own detached house in London and a trust fund to keep him comfortable.

Note I don't mention whether or not I'd still be around. I'm not sure it'd matter!

Posted by scott at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)
More Silly Town Names

Well, turns out Americans aren't the only ones with goofy names for their towns... the English have them too. At least theirs have somewhat-classy (or at least understandable) origins, as apposed to a couple of cowboys at a wide spot in the road too busy to actually come up with a "real" name.

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)
X-Box News

Slashdot linked up this bit of X-box news yesterday. Looks like X-box users will be getting some nice upgrades to their multiplay services soon.

Never was much into console games, but now I have two friends who are inveterate console fans. If the multiplay stuff really starts to pan out I may have to break down and get one of these things. If that ever happens, can the Trogdor League be very far behind?

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (4)
OS X Resource

Freshmeat, the ultimate resource for open-source software, has opened an OS X section. C'mon mac people, learn to love the command line!

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
Mega Happy Flash Battle!

The best parodies keep you guessing whether or not they're serious right up to the end. I wasn't sure about the mega happy flash battle until I saw the credits. Anyone who's a fan of anime will get a serious case of the giggles, while anyone who's not will get a taste of just how weird it can be. This is only a mild exaggeration.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (0)
May 05, 2003
Wicked PrON!

Brought to you by my brother, Richie.

In his own words:So here's how it went. I went to nYc thursday to meet he Wicked Video girls. I parked my car. When I walked around the corner in Times Square there they were gettin out of their car. Hence the picture on the street.

From left to right(group photo), Sydnee Steele, Devinn Lane, me, Stormy and Julia Ann. Then I got more pics inside. One of me and Sydnee, and one of me, Devinn and Julia Ann together.

They were all really nice, very surprising. Not a bit of attitude. They even remembered me from outside. Devinn wouldn't tell me the cliffhanger from 7 Lives X-posed though, but she said now I know she didn't get shot. They were really cool.

Posted by Ellen at 07:08 PM | Comments (2)
So That's What $167,000 Looks Like

Carrie gets a British-racing-green no-prize for showing us this review of yet another car we plan on getting once we win the lottery... the Aston Martin DB7.

I first encountered Astons in the pages of Road and Track (James Bond had long since stopped driving them). Big, old-school, and very, very, very fast. That era's DB7 would typically be in the top 3 of the highest of the high-speed cars. Plus, because Britain's roads have a reputation for being, well, "imperfect", Astons have always provided an extremely supple ride even over the worst surfaces.

Of course, it costs as much as a house, but one can dream, no?

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (0)
How not to Be Seen -- Halo-style

Joshua gets a heavily-disguised no-prize for this very informative video on how not to be seen. A must see (as it were) for anyone involved in on-line gaming.

Now then, if Joshua would please stand up to receive his prize?

...

BOOM!!!

Posted by scott at 02:23 PM | Comments (1)
Domestic Issues

Kehaar over at Silflay linked up this harrowing account of one man's first-hand experience of a raid conducted under the auspices of the USA PATRIOT act.

Some of it I understand. Police use intimidation and certain forms and procedures that are undignified but have proven effective in allowing them to control a situation in a way that nobody gets hurt. What I find inexcusable is the lack of professionalism exhibited by the police in this situation. You're there to do a job, not get your jollies by preaching, lying, or browbeating people into seeing it "your way." The main things, perhaps the only things, that distinguish a cop from a thug with a gun is their training and their professionalism. These were thugs, pure and simple.

Ok, so I'm not a cop, and have never been a cop. What I know about policing comes from a few criminology classes in college, a handful of books, and a lifetime watching Cops and various court- and crime-related TV documentaries. With that said, I would recommend if you are ever in a similar situation with unprofessional members of law enforcement:

  • Ask firmly and politely for what you believe is due to you under your rights, once. A lawyer, a phone call, a walk out the door, etc. If you're refused and are in a public place with a lot of other people around, ask as many times as you like. If not, sit down and shut up. The rest will go much faster if you do, and there's a far smaller chance of you antagonizing one of the bad ones into taking you somewhere for a "private interrogation" (it does happen, and it is very, very bad.)
  • If you see name tags and badge numbers on the unprofessional cops, start memorizing them. If they're hidden ask (again, politely) to see some identification. Don't write anything down if you can manage it until you're far away. Again, we're trying not to antagonize people with guns who have a decent chance of shooting you and getting away with it.
  • Once the dust settles, take your knowledge of badge numbers, names, dates, and times, and go file a formal complaint against the officer(s) that you feel treated you unprofessionally. State only what happened. DO NOT LIE. In many jurisdictions, simply filing such a thing will seriously impede their career, enough that officers appear to frequently file for damages in small claims court in an attempt to intimidate you into retraction. This may happen to you, but by keeping your statements as factual as possible and clearly marking your opinions as your opinions, they will lose.
  • Keep the cats and dogs inside, your nose clean, and drive 5 mph under the speed limit until it all gets resolved. You do not want to give a bad cop's buddies a free shot at you or your loved ones.

Now, some of you may think this is a jab at police in general. Not so. My own opinion is that most cops really are trying to do the best job they can. However, there are always going to be troublemakers and unlike most professions a troublemaking cop has a gun.

Others may think this is all straightforward common sense, and that is true. However, as most cops will testify, there are some amazingly unreasonable and pigheaded people out there who think nothing of shouting insults, loudly proclaiming their innocence, and telling cops exactly what the cop can and cannot do. It's these people I'm trying to reach.

Power flows from the end of a gun, and at that particular time and in that particular place, the cop has a gun and (hopefully) you don't. Act accordingly and you will go far. Act like an idiot at your peril.

Posted by scott at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)
Wanking for Charity

When God made the United States, he picked the country up by the east coast and gave it one good shake. This caused all the loose marbles to roll down to California:

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - More than 100 men and women gathered in famously liberal San Francisco this past weekend for what organizers said was the city's second annual public "Masturbate-a-Thon."

All over the country teenage boys have suddenly found another thing to shout through the bathroom door: "Leave me alone! I'm raising money for charity!"

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (1)
Attention K-Bird Shoppers, Blue Flower Special on Lane 8

BBCnews is carrying this summary about discoveries in bird behaivior. Turns out that they can be "steered" toward certain items using the exact same techniques supermarkets use to steer people. Yes, I know, "still no cure for cancer."

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)
Water Rockets, Away!

Slashdot featured this cool site detailing the adventures of a "water rocket" enthusiast attempting to create a new power source for one pink Barbie-mobile.

The water rockets I remember were cheap plastic store-bought things with a tiny bycycle-pump to pressurize them. You filled the rocket, which was about 8" tall, about 1/4 full of water by turning it upside down under a spigot. Then you clipped it to the end of the pump with a kind of sliding lock. You then turned it right side up and pumped the hell out of it. When you just couldn't pump any more, you slid the lock back and FWOOSH (a technical term, you know), it would disappear in a cloud of water vapor, typically to crash down on a) your brother's head (the most desired outcome), b) your head (rare) c) a tree or d) the neighbors house (very common).

But those are literally toys compared to the stuff described in the article, and what I saw my engineering friends playing with in college. No flames involved, so it's all relatively safe. Ah, I now have my first father-daughter project...

Posted by scott at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)
Gadgets R Us

Pat gets another no-prize for bringing this NY Times article on "new" kitchen gadgets to us. Is it just me, or do they all look like something you'd see on those old 40s "Popular Science" newsreels the History Channel shows sometimes?

Posted by scott at 08:14 AM | Comments (0)
May 04, 2003
Car Nuts

For you men out there, you can finally give your car the set of balls it always dreamed of!

Posted by Ellen at 06:34 PM | Comments (1)
For Scott

The 5th episode of Red vs. Blue.

If you all have not check out the episodes yet, I suggest you do. They are funny as hell!

Posted by Ellen at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)
Boy Pregnant with Twin

The siamese twin phenomenon is quite odd. Sometimes they actually develop into 2 living entities, or you get some sort of 'tumor' like effect of one twin developing inside the other one.

Strange!

Posted by Ellen at 05:30 PM | Comments (0)
Biniki

Ever need a bra for your ass? Look no further! Get a Biniki.

Posted by Ellen at 05:25 PM | Comments (0)
May 03, 2003
Matrix Explained?

Slate is featuring this article which attempts to explain the appeal of the movie, "The Matrix." Some of this is right on the money for me, in that the movie represents a kind of ultimate "Walter Mitty" adventure for computer geeks. However, I think the author failed to emphasise what, to me at least, is important about it, and in fact is important about nearly all good science fiction.

In The Matrix the filmmakers created a completely new world. But, and this is something "mundane" screenwriters seem to have a really hard time getting their heads around, that world has rules. We may not know them, we may not completely understand them, but by watching, reading, or listening carefully we can begin to tease them out.

As we tease them out we get to play games with them, turn the movie or book literally into "science" (using observation to hypothesise rules, make predictions with those hypotheses, test them by further observation) "fiction" (in a fake world). We try to get our head around how a particular kind of faster-than-light (FTL) engine works as it is introduced. Later on, when the heros get in trouble because this FTL engine has broken down, we put ourselves in their place. What would we do if we needed to fix this thing? How would we get ourselves out of it?

In good science fiction, the authors (who presumably already know in at least a vague sort of way what makes it all tick) use rules to figure out what is going to happen. In really good science fiction they use these rules to make completely unexpected, and yet at the same time consistent and logical, plot corners and twists to get our heros out of their jam.

It doesn't even have to be "hard" science fiction. Everyone knows Dr. Frankefurter is a really weird crossdresser with a penchant for singing and a tendency to vat-grow bodybuilders in gold lame' speedos. But he does a lot of other weird things, ones that have a pattern, but which for some reason just don't quite stitch together. It is only when Riff-Raff and Magenta reveal their true nature that it all falls into place. A weird, twisted, ambiguous, and funny place, but a place nonetheless.

This consistency, the ability to build not just fancy spaceships or shiny guns but entire worlds, cultures, whole universes, is not easy. Whole chunks of Hollywood all too often think creating the former automatically leads to the latter, and then wonder why Earth 2 bombs while Babylon 5 thrives.

When the computer is just a computer, the girl is just pretty, and the hero simply quick with his hands, well, it's just another flat, cynical attempt by people who Just Don't Get It. It's only when the computer is a self-aware monster with an agenda and a history, the girl someone with a past that controls her reactions, her fears, and her hopes, and the hero simply a normal guy trying to figure it all out before it gets him killed, that it becomes something magic.

It becomes The Matrix.

Posted by scott at 09:08 PM | Comments (5)
32 Weeks

Ughh!! this won't end soon enough! In the past week major changes have taken place. It seems like I have gotten larger overnight.

Comfort is quite difficult. So is bending over, shaving your legs, putting on stockings (an essential!), sitting down without some sort of pillow behind you, standing up for more than 15 minutes in a stretch, your back always hurts... the list is endless right now.

It comes to a very sad point in your life when all you can think about and look foward to is laying down on your bed on your side, tucked into all 5 pillows and just attempt to relax. Of course, when you are all relaxed, you suddenly realize you have to pee. This requires you to roll out of the bed. At any point if you attempt to pick yourself up out of bed like you did months ago ( using your ab muscles) you realize there is a good chance of giving yourself a hernia.

There is no more room in this belly, though its going to get more crowded soon. Scott cannot wait for this to all be over with. His point of view is that he is just a passenger on this ride and it's not as real for him as it is for me.

We finally booked our hospital 'tour'. This happens June 5th. Apparently , this was one of the only tours for the month of May and June for the hospital, and we got one of the last 3 slots.

I did get griped out by one of the midwives this week at my appointment. She looked at me like I had 6 heads that I was not taking a Lamaze class. I felt like asking her if she would like to pay the $160 for the class for me. My lamaze class is going to be a brown paper bag. This is where doctors and midwives clash. One of my doctors, who owns the practice and has been an OB/GYN for more than 25 years recommended if that if I did not know what kind of birthing method I wanted, just to wait to see what midwife I got that day. He said she would most likely get me to relax with what ever method she felt I would do well with, and not to worry.

My mother on the other hand, told me she forgot how to breathe when she had my sister. She did the Lamaze thing, no pain control. All she told me was that 'it hurts'. She did not go into the details. She only told me that you will look at your baby in amazment and think "that really came out of me?"

Apparently, the baby is supposed to be approximately 3 3/4 pounds and is about 16 1/2 inches long from head to toes. And she is only supposed to get bigger.

8 weeks seems like a long time away.

Posted by Ellen at 08:26 PM | Comments (8)
Old Man Of The Mountain

New Hampshire's Old Man Of The Mountain apparently fell off the mountain side overnight.

If you don't know what I am talking about, take your New Hampshire quarter out of your pocket and take a look at the back of it. It's the side of a mountain that has a profile of a face of a man.

I got to see that mountain several years ago with my grandmother when she took me on one of her expedition trips.

Posted by Ellen at 07:58 PM | Comments (1)
May 02, 2003
Miss Elizabeth Dead!

Ex-Wrestling Star, 'Miss Elizabeth' Dies.

You remember her right? She was the glamourous one that married Macho Man Randy Savage in the wrestling ring. He used to hoist her on his shoulder after every event he won. Everyone was smitten by her.

I think she was wrestling's "sweetheart" at the time.

Sent to me by my brother, Richie. You get the No-Prize!

Posted by Ellen at 08:03 PM | Comments (20)
E.T.'s Helix

BBCnews is reporting this summary of a new computer model of DNA that leads them to believe there's a reason our DNA is made up of four base chemicals. It also leads them to conclude that, due to physical and chemical laws, life in the rest of the universe has a pretty good chance of having the same structure.

Posted by scott at 12:45 PM | Comments (0)
May 01, 2003
The Alphabet

This is for my good friend Damion who sent this to me a week ago. Apparently the site was down last week and I was unable to link it up a that time.

Enjoy!

Posted by Ellen at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)
Yup, that's about Right

Just to prove you're not the only one it happens to, we present the "realistic" internet simulator.

Posted by scott at 02:56 PM | Comments (0)
Must Buy Album... and a Bannana

Joshua gets a pink-and-white no-prize for bringing this adventure of weebl to our attention. There are some very creative, yet at the same time disturbingly weird, people out there.

Posted by scott at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)
Iron Age

BBCnews is carrying this summary of a new discovery made by a revived instrument on the Hubble space telescope. By using the "Nicmos" instrument, Hubble has revealed stars containing iron that were much earlier than previously thought. It would seem that the elements that could lead to planets and perhaps life have been around a lot longer than we imagined.

Posted by scott at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)
Just When You Thought Humanity Didn't Get Any Weirder

Token sucking, anyone?

The criminal carefully jams the token slot with a matchbook or a gum wrapper and waits for a would-be rider to plunk a token down. The token plunker bangs against the locked turnstile and walks away in frustration. Then from the shadows, the token sucker appears like a vampire, quickly sealing his lips over the token slot, inhaling powerfully and producing his prize: a $1.50 token, hard earned and obviously badly needed.

Ok everybody, all together... EEEEEWWWWWwwwwww!!!!

Posted by scott at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)
Best. Auction. Description. Ever.

Damion joins the rare club of people who have nailed two no-prizes in a single day by bringing this auction item to our attention. Why is it so special? Check out the description:

You are bidding on a 600 Watt AMP + 2, twelve inch MTX subwoofers in an enclosed box. This system is pretty sweet, its got loud distinct bass, nothing to obscene, if you have an SUV or a truck this is perfect, it comes prewired already, just enough to feel your music, but not to irritate anyone else, or you can if you tweak it, or if your a loser who drives a Civic with a type R sticker, racing stripes, blasting really bad rap music through your suburban area with your pretentious "I’m 21 but I’m still in high school girlfriend" while driving with your hand up on the top of the steering wheel exposing your underdeveloped pasty white vitamin deficient arm and wearing your backwards BS upside down visor hat while feeling the tacky as a "Florida vacation" single diamond earring in your ear, If you are this person...with any luck the sun in its precise celestial positioning as you putter on by...will reflect its scorching rays into your earring, bouncing intensely in your rearview, and finally making contact with your eyes through the thin cheap lense of $5 gas station Oakley rip off glasses.. then burning your retnal cones into smoldering melting gobs of ocular material as you are blinded by the purest form of energy in our known universe, and as you scream no one can help or hear you because they don’t know what’s going on since the weed whacker sound of your shitty tiny little muffler which makes the Civic sound like a 747 rages on underneath making everyone turn at disgust and comment to thier husbands or wives how much of a dickweed you are by attaching that automotive abnormality to your stock economical daily driver engineered by Japanese Automotive specialists to fit the needs for entry level business workers in their early 30's, however your pathetic looking $11,000 car which you want to look like a friggin spaceship with redundant ground effects is now out of control since you are blinded, and as your car plunges off the side of a cliff while you scream in the purest form of terror while knowing you have lived a horrid excuse for a life, by doing the bare minimum in every facet of existence, while getting fired from one pathetic job to another, the majority of your time spent slacking smoking dope, getting kicked out of school, polishing your "game" on sweet innocent underage girls you eventually 'de flower' through exhaustive yet succesful attempts to get the date rapist drugs you have stashed in the glove compartment, into your poor victims drinks while offering them to take the "Pepsi Challenge" while making your mother hate you, and your poor father who wishes he had a daughter instead of your pathetic ass, since a girl would be more of a man than you ever were, like the occasion when you were hit in the arm by a wild pitch in little league, then you cried like a fat kid who dropped his ice cream cone, I'm already envisioning you impacting the rocks below, in a spectacular fireball ignited from the residue hairspray from your girlfriend plastered in the fabric passenger seat, blinded by your earring, deafened by the loud "Bling Blingin", and I will smile and roll around on the ground in orgasmic delight while you are consumed by flames whose intense heat and fury will liquefy your bone marrow that I will use to make jelly beans out of and eat them happily at your funeral as midgets dressed like Alex 6005321 from "A Clockwork Orange" dance around your coffin to loud industrial style techno music and strobe lights, and I will sleep soundly at night knowing another successful conquest of Darwinism has been attained. So...you can either use the system I'm selling like the fore- mentioned guy did, or you can buy it from this Cadet and use it properly and enjoy the compliments people will give you as you pass and let them listen to your outstanding taste in fine diverse music. Disclaimer: -No..Im not crazy...Following my 8 years of Military Service as a Naval Aviator, I plan to be a screenwriter. And no, you cant hire me...yet. I almost forgot, the RESERVE is UBER low, like dirt cheap. Shipping might be a bit expensive so if anyone is close to THE CITADEL, in Charleston South Carolina I can arrange a delivery, or you may pick it up. Thank you, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. My profile and feedback is immaculate. Thank you. EMAIL [removed] if you need to get in contact with me for any reason.
Posted by scott at 10:50 AM | Comments (40)
Hell of a Test

I scored surprisingly well (or, depending on your point of view, poor) on this "what level of hell are you bound for?" test, ending up all the way on #7. Ellen's convinced she's going to be scratching Satan's ass. I wonder if the test will back that up...

Posted by scott at 09:48 AM | Comments (5)
Chat Pervs Anonymous

Damion gets another no-prize for brining us this transcript purporting to be an actual AOL AIM conversation. I tend to lean toward authenticity, or very fine parody, because when Ellen was doing the chat stuff a lot she would have guys exactly like this try and "virtually" hit on her all the time.

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)
And We Thought They Only Did Cars

One of the advantages of having artist-type friends is they make all kinds of cool things for you. Case in point:

Of course, when those same friends are slightly twisted with an unhealthy obsession with cats, hondas, and what goes in litterboxes, well, you get the above.

Still, a fun time was had by all, and I got a torque wrench! Combined with the creeper my brother's bunch got me, I'm actually building a pretty decent home autoshop. WoOt!

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (3)