June 30, 2003
Museum of Souls

My sister Nina brings us this link on a new movie comming out in October.

The cool thing is that the creators of the movie are from my town I went to school in (Washingtonville,NY). My sister tells me that it's the owners from J and C Bagels that are creating this movie. Apparently it was bought by Dream Works. (she thinks, not 100% sure)

Posted by Ellen at 05:39 PM | Comments (23)
Insert Alice Cooper Joke Here

Ok, let's just say I'm glad momma smurf is an RN.

Welcome to everyone's nightmare.

Posted by Ellen at 05:01 PM | Comments (1)
Your (Canadian) Tax Dollars at Work

Live in a small town with a weird name? Need some cash for a new bus? Have some grant money laying around? Why not build a 31 foot long Enterprise replica? With Alberta tax dollars no less.

Posted by scott at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)
Goggle Vision, for Real

The Washington Post had this story up today about new research into human adaptivity. The test subjects? "Water gypsies" off the coast of Malaysia. Turns out a small group of nomadic asian people have eyes that are physically specialized for improved underwater vision.

Posted by scott at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)
Just When You Thought the Ocean Couldn't Get Any Weirder

BBCnews is featuring this article on the successful return of a deep-sea expidition near New Zealand. Fang-tooth fish, wonk-eyed squid, and armored shrimp are only a few of the completely weird things they found. With pictures!

Posted by scott at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)
No, Really, We Did Think He Was Straight!

The sad thing is, I know nearly all the answers to this "you might be a child of the 80s if...", and Ellen probably doesn't. Gah. Just give me my walker right now...

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (3)
Nutty Theater

Men with too much time on their hands.

No-Prize to Joshua for this submission!

Posted by Ellen at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)
Cat-Proofing Your Computer

Joshua over at Blue Lens brings us this cool gadget thats designed to prevent naughty cats from typing on your computer .

Check out the FAQ for more information.

Posted by Ellen at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
June 29, 2003
A Note From A Mom To Her Boys

Under XXX due to the porn pop-ups

This was too funny to pass up.

Posted by Ellen at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)
Missing Pieces

Spree Girl brings us to this entry from Crazy Tracy.

Go check it out!

Posted by Ellen at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia's Big Adventure

Ok, after much ado, relatives, and a failed refrigerator, we finally have Olivia's pictures up and finished. It's not quite blogging from the delivery room, but it's pretty close.

Olivia's Big Adventure

Posted by scott at 08:51 AM | Comments (7)
June 28, 2003
They're Coming to Take us Away!

Yeah, I know, lack of updates. Most parents out there probably think this is because we're too busy with the baby. You're wrong. We're too damned busy with the relatives right now. There are tons of people with advice for dealing with baby, but where were you people with advice for dealing with grandma?

Updates will follow as soon as we get everyone out of our freaking house!

P.S. If any of said in-laws and/or relatives are reading this, please note that we sincerely appreciate all your efforts. Now would someone please wake up Richie... my Mother, Mother-in-Law, Aunt-in-Law, Sister-in-law, wife, and baby need to sit down.

Posted by scott at 02:08 PM | Comments (1)
June 26, 2003
Hello, Baby!

Please everyone welcome the future Miss America and two-time Nobel Prize winner, Olivia Rachel Johnson. Tomorrow: Olivia's Big Adventure, wherein we discover just how fast a pregnant lady can walk when she's in labor.

Posted by scott at 08:23 PM | Comments (11)
2 Babies, 10 hours apart

2 people I have known since college (on-line) had their baby the same day as us!!! Congratulations Jamison and Dianne!

Posted by Ellen at 04:31 PM | Comments (1)
June 24, 2003
Happy Birthday, Olivia Rachel Johnson

Olivia Rachel Johnson premiered to rave reviews today at 11:17 AM. 7 lbs 4 oz., 20" long. Delivery was challenging but ultimately everything turned out just fine. Both mother and daughter are resting comfortably at the hospital now. Homecoming will probably be sometime in the next few days. Blogging will, of course, be somewhat light until then.

Pictures and details to follow soon. Thanks to everyone for your well wishes!

Posted by scott at 05:35 PM | Comments (26)
June 23, 2003
Well, at Least it Doesn't have Pink Handles

Damion gets an extra-creepy no-prize for pointing out yes, you can even get caskets on e-bay. Guess where I'll be getting mom's...

Posted by scott at 10:21 PM | Comments (1)
The Final Countdown!!

The clock has started! The balloon is up! The betting windows are closed, and the fat lady is getting ready to sing!

Richie! you have the closest bet so far with June 24th! We owe you a beer if she arrives before midnight on the 24th!

Thats right folks! The water has broken!

I wonder if that 7-11 hot dog and slurpee brought this on????

More news as the night goes on!

Posted by Ellen at 07:42 PM | Comments (16)
Being Good at Being Bad

Our favorite cracka has given us this extremely informative bit titled The Drunk But Smart Girl's Guide to Navigating a Successful One-Night Stand. Since neither of us were any good at this sort of thing, and we won't even be able to play make-believe for a good six months (twenty years?), it's always interesting seeing how the other half lives. Sorta like watching a travel show to Disney World. With sluts.

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Just in Case You Haven't Been Paying Attention

One of the great things about the Arab press is also the most obvious thing -- it's in Arabic. This means they can, as the TV show title goes, say the darndest things and get nary a mention in our "if-it-ain't-in-English-why-should-we-care" press corps. That's where MEMRI comes in. We've mentioned them before, but in a nutshell MEMRI's purpose is to inform the English-speaking world's debate on Arab problems by providing timely translations of their media.

One of the latest reports is a doozy. In May MEMRI took a look at The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-Up, a prominent think-tank advising the Arab League. It's very long, and very scary. Not to be missed:

[Purim, a Jewish holiday] has some dangerous customs that will, no doubt, horrify you… The Jews' spilling human blood to prepare pastry for their holidays. ... A needle-studded barrel is used; this is a kind of barrel, about the size of the human body, with extremely sharp needles set in it on all sides.


Israel has indulged in spreading lies and exaggerations about [the] Holocaust in order to squeeze out huge sums of money from European countries through [the] worst forms of blackmail, and to create false legends in support of the concept of Semitism and [the] establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine.


We know that only four planes took part in the attacks [on September 11th]. Earlier it was suggested that eleven planes were involved! The bombing of the White House Annex, known as the Old Executive Building of Eisenhower, was not mentioned. Yet, ABC transmitted live on 11th September, pictures of the fire which damaged the presidential headquarters.

(For those who might be wondering: the Old Executive Office building is fine. I walked past it more than a year after the attacks. I guess that makes me an active participant of the Zionist conspiracy to take over the world. If so, I'd appreciate them making the check out to SCOTT J.)

This one sounds suspiciously like the writings of a Berkely-based "Jews for Justice" treatise that was sent to me via e-mail by someone who told me "The Stand" was factually incorrect:

[The report] points to several Jewish religious documents based on Torah and the Old Testament that prove clearly that there hadn't been any real, permanent, and continuous existence for the children of Israel in the annals of history. Palestinians had defeated the Israelites several times and even enslaved them. The Jews remained dispersed, lost and displaced in areas of Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria… Palestinians throughout history remained in Palestine without leaving it. This is what the Old Testament verifies, but [is] denied by the Zionist Jews.

Not to be missed:

Former president Bill Clinton sent a July 17, 2002 letter of admiration to the Zayed Centre.[41] The Zayed Centre website states: "In a letter sent to the ZCCF, President Bill Clinton expressed his appreciation of various efforts exerted by [the] Zayed Centre." The Zayed Centre also released a report on June 5, 2002, titled "Bill Clinton."

Al Gore, the former American vice president, lectured at the Zayed Centre on January 19, 2002.[45] A transcript of his speech on the Zayed Centre website states: "I have admired the research done here… I compliment this centre for promoting a rare dialogue between the Arab world and the rest of the world.

Some may claim the two above are out of context. If so, it would be terribly important for them to provide the proper context to back that position up. No, I don't think either politician is antisemitic or out to get Israel. Yes, it's true that George W. gave a speech at Bob Jones University, probably due to a similar lack of research and staff manipulation. However, it goes without saying that the citizens of South Carolina are not trying to fly airplanes into the U.S. Capitol.

These are the folks advising Arab leaders. This is the stuff that regularly trots across the front pages and editorial columns of Arab-language newspapers in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and far too many other places in which a man in a minaret acts as a morning alarm. This is what they really believe.

Anyone who thinks Israelis are not anywhere near as innocent as they make themselves out to be or that Islamic militants and Palestinian militants are not necessarily the same thing should take a very long, very hard look at the entire MEMRI archive.

I took a stand for Israel for many reasons. MEMRI is definitely one of them.

Via Yourish.

Posted by scott at 02:26 PM | Comments (1)
Bits on a Rope

Saki gets a bank-shot no-prize via Carrie for bringing this report on a new Inca discovery. Turns out at least one scientist thinks the Inca may have used a three-dimensional binary language to keep records with. And you thought their calendar was a pain in the ass...

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
Way to Give My Mom a Heart Attack, #8

Have the devil jump over her:

A man dressed as the devil leaped over babies lying on mattresses on Sunday as the small Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia held its traditional Corpus Christi celebrations.

Eh, no harm done, why not? Hmmm... no devil though. I wonder if goths work just as good, I got lots of those.

Posted by scott at 01:06 PM | Comments (1)
Sweet Silence

New Scientist is featuring this article on the latest efforts of broadcasters to try and neutralize what is, to me anyway, a prime annoyance of commercial TV: the volume level of the ads. By performing hundreds of tests and using the data to create more sophisticated sound meters, broadcasters hope to better control these levels.

Advertisers screaming about how such technology will bring about the end of civilization as we know it in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)
The First President's Other Hobby

Found this interesting story about recent efforts to reconstruct a distillery on the grounds of Mt. Vernon. Turns out ol' George got a significant amount of his income from selling what seems to effectively be moonshine.

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)
June 22, 2003
39 Weeks

Hopefully Olivia is going to cooperate and get here on time or early (which is doubtful since I am told most babies are late.) There's no such thing as comfort anymore, especially when your feet decide to absorb 5 gallons of water. Well, foot. Nothing quite as sexy as having one semi-normal foot and one elephantitis victim. All I need to complete the ensemble is a hump and a bell tower.

This past week at the doctor's office I was going over my list of complaints, yet again. The nurse, always concerned, jots everything down and ever-so-helpfully notes that I haven't had a pelvic exam in several weeks. Ok, no problem. No wait there is a problem. I'm wearing support hose. Scott calls them "armor plating", and sometimes I think he might have a point. Shit.

Scott sits in the chair in the exam room giggling at me trying to get my pants off, then the socks, then the hosery. Ok, note to you pregnant ladies... always make sure the pantyhose have cleared the ankles before moving to smack the smartass husband. Your dignity and your buttocks will thank you.

Scott:"Is this going to be gross? Are they going to use tools of some sort?"

Me:" I don't know, last time I got fisted and that was about it."

Scott: [PAUSE!!!]

Ha! I was between him and the door. He wasn't going anywhere.

The doctor comes in and has the gall to ask me why I'm supposed to get a pelvic exam today.

Me: "The nurse said since I am having so many contractions that I should have a pelvic done."

Dr:"That makes sense." Mind you this person has a degree in medicine. But, she's been the nicest doctor we've dealt with so far. Gives lots of useful advice and really was concerned with my swelling. "No adding salt to your diet, no cooking with salt, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate."

Me: "I don't think I can drink anymore water. I drink a gallon a day."

Dr: "I know, but drink more anyway!" (smile)

In went the hand, FOOMP, elbow out, and YANK. Scott swore he could hear something ratchetting in there. He said she had the same expression as a mechanic trying to find a bolt he dropped in an engine compartment. So, after lots of digging around up there, we find out that I am 1.5 cm dialated. "Feel that!??" she said in the same tone those infomercial chicks use when they're selling, I don't know, dessert topping or something, "That's me tapping your baby on the head and making her bob up and down."

Me: (eyes begin to water) "Yup...I feel it" *remember to breathe*

Scott: *gagging noise*

After the exam I was attempting to put my clothes back on and watching the color come back to Scott's face, silently cursing since we have more than 8cm to go.

I keep getting asked if I passed this so-called 'mucus plug' yet (is it like the Goo you can get at the grocery store candy machines?) According to one book, it's this clear blobby bunch of goo, and another book says it may be tinged pink ect... Apparently this 'mucus plug' has the ability to shape-shift and disguise itself into just about anything. I have NO idea if I lost mine, or where it would go for that matter. There is alot going on down there and it all tends to look the same after a while.

Ok, hang on a minute... Scott just passed out reading this over my shoulder. Men...

Olivia's room is "the" room to be in according to the cats. Everytime I'm in there, all 5 of them have to come in. Looks kind of like a fuzzy (Scott: smelly) shotgun. They sit in the chair, crib, bookshelf, changing table-- you name it, they have decided to try it out. Getting all 5 out of the room without playing 'come here you freaking cat you are not going to yak in this room no don't you dare jump in that AAAAGGG!!!' is another story.

Family starts to arrive this week, we still have NO idea where they are all staying. Though I do feel a bit odd that I'm going to have people hanging around just 'waiting' for things to happen. Kinda makes me feel like the rich old aunt everyone keeps waiting on to drop dead. My last day of work is wednesday and Olivia is supposidly due on friday. I do have another doctor's appointment again on Wednesday, maybe we will find out if I have dilated even more.

All Scott and I know is that we are set with 3 weeks worth of cat food and litter. At least a small part of our lives is taken care of. Along with cleaning out Oscar to make him a bit more decent before all of this company arrives. Do they still call it company? Or are you allowed to make them do tasks around the house? All of these baby books say "mom must get pampered, have the company help out." As long as Pat has a connection to eBay I know Olivia's set for clothes, but as to the rest, does this really happen? (Scott is going to have to change out potty boxes whether he likes it or not this time around... sorry sweetie.)

Keep your fingers crossed and hope that this baby gets here on time!

Posted by Ellen at 07:56 PM | Comments (7)
The Next Moonshot?

Slashdot linked up this op-ed piece that not only mentions China's Taikonaut program, but also a recently announced intention by India to go all the way to the freaking moon. I need to renew my AvWeek subscription...

Posted by scott at 07:23 PM | Comments (0)
Proof Our Weapons Aren't the Only Ones Designed by the Lowest Bidder

Britain seems to be having its share of troubles with high-tech weaponry:

But there is growing controversy over Britain’s preferred choices for an £800m drone air force. The Phoenix has such an abysmal record that the army, which uses it for artillery spotting, has called it “the Bugger Off” because of its tendency never to come back.

Bah. Should've let the French design it. At least then they'd know the thing had simply surrendered.

Posted by scott at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)
I'm Glad They Finally Decided to Tell Everyone Else

I didn't know Russia'd been hit with a couple of big meteorites last year, did you? And you'd think some blogger would've caught it, because there are just too many good jokes about Russkies and rocks falling from the sky. At any rate:

Russian scientists say they have found the spot in Siberia where a giant meteorite came crashing to Earth last year.

Read about it here.

Posted by scott at 07:04 PM | Comments (1)
Oh, those Wacky Spanish

Throwing a goat from the church belfry was a premeditated violation of the law that protects animals, The National Association for the Protection and Wellbeing of Animals said in a statement.

A fiesta without throwing a goat is like Christmas without a Christmas tree.

No, really! No need to worry, apparently no goats were harmed in the making of this... colorful... tradition. With picture!

Posted by scott at 06:43 PM | Comments (1)
From the Mouths of Babes

Pat gets a no-prize for bringing these perls of wisdom from the ultimate source... children. Never hold a dustbuster and a cat at the same time.

Posted by scott at 05:46 PM | Comments (0)
Let's Play Thermonuclear War

Well, if this site is any indication, the survivalist movement of the 70s and 80s is alive and well. Includes some really cool targetting maps, complete with rings of destruction, for the entire country. I thought Virginia looked bad until I saw Maryland. The maps themselves are pretty outdated... Arkansas's still shows the old Titan missle complexes, now long gone. Still, yet another artifact from those wild-and-wooly days of the apocalypse!

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Well, at Least Now We Know What It's Called

Proof that airbrushing vehicles isn't confined to the Western hemisphere, we have Air Brush Hirayama. Very much along the lines of the super-custom-truck site we featured a few weeks back. I may not want one in my driveway, but I can appreciate skilled craftsmanship when I see it.

Posted by scott at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)
Swivel Your Way To Fitness

One thing I cannot wait to do after I have the baby is to start exercising like I normally did again.

Hopefully that may include going back to belly dance class on one evening a week.

One of the great things about going to dance class is that you DO meet great people, have fun and actually get out on your own for a bit.

Posted by Ellen at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)
June 20, 2003
Communication Overload

Ok, let's face it, I'm not exactly what you'd call a socializer. I'm just not real good at it. I guess I don't feel I have all that much in common with, well, almost anyone. In the great high school we call adult life, I am most definitely one of the weird kids in the corner reading a science fiction book. I'm actually used to it, so what has happened in the last nine months has caught me completely by surprise. In that short period of time I went from the guy people scheduled around to someone every person wanted to talk to.

Oh, I've found friends, good people who do in fact share the same interests as me, but most of the time my conversations with other people tended to go like this:

P: "Wow, that's an interesting picture on your calendar there."

Me: "Yeah, that's an He-111 bomber. In fact, it's the one that flew Franco around after World War II. The Confederate Air Force picked it up in the sixties and fly it around to this day. It's one of the only warbirds I haven't seen in person. If you'll notice the engine nacelles look funny. That's because they used Merlin engines with that model. Makes them look really different." (Ok, look, I didn't say being treated like I still had zit cream on my chin wasn't justified.)

P: [blank stare, bit of a pause] "Umm... yeah... wow... gee, look at the time, gotta go!"

Me: "Sure! No problem! You sure you don't want to see next month's--"

At which point they've usually escaped.

Worse still are lunchtime conversations. Those long, awkward silences while you're munching a sandwich with someone sitting next to you, even if it's someone you don't know very well, get under my skin in a hurry. This usually triggers a pitiful exchange like:

Me: "Wow, some weather we're having, huh?"

R: "Yeah. Rains a lot now. My geraniums have really started to wilt. Do you garden?"

Me: "Well, no, not really."

R: "And my husband hasn't been able to attend any baseball games either. Who's your favorite team?"

Me: "Ah. Well, don't really follow baseball that closely either."

[long pause.]

R: "Wow, some weather we're having, huh?"

It gets so bad I sometimes think people move their lunch hours around just to avoid me.

At parties I try to stay quiet, which works just long enough for me to find the beer, which gives me "can't-shut-up disease." This inevitably leads to fixed stares of slowly congealing horror on the faces of those around me as I barrel across the conversational savanna like a rhino charging a tour bus.

Ellen's not a whole lot better. I know it will be nearly impossible for regular readers of this site to believe, but in a party situation Ellen is usually a complete wallflower. A field mouse under a leaf pile hiding in mortal fear of a hawk is more conspicuous than my wife at an office party. Alcohol will loosen her up, yes, but when that happens at the end of the night I can find where she is by listening for the word "cat" interspersed with "and then I said what the fuck are you talking about?!?" Not hard to do, since her voice travels quite well enough to reach the host. And the people in the next county.

Yeah, party invitations were few and far between. Repeats less so. Well, at least until we found friends as weird as we were anyway (TCM! TCM! WE'RE A FAN! IF GOTHS CAN'T DO IT NO ONE CAN!)

Pregnancy changes all of this, and not just for the mother. A lifetime membership in the pocket protectorate is suddenly turned on its head. Not only do you have something to say to someone, anyone, they're actually interested in hearing it! Even stranger, they'll actually ask you questions, and listen to the answers!

Z, in gleeful tone: "Scott honey, just how is that wife of yours doing?"

Me: [Long pause. Turn around. Twice. Did they hire another Scott? Has someone replaced the woman who said "I'm sick of you talking to me like that, and I'm going to see it stops" with some alien clone? Is this in fact the fourth sign of the apocalypse? Is my fly undone?] "Oh, uh... she's fine, ready for it to end, but fine."

Z, so cheerful you expect the top of her head to blow off from the pressure of all that pure sunshine: "Well that's just great. Just great. Be sure to give her my regards and tell her to hang in there!"

Lunchroom conversations are an absolute breeze now:

D: "How's Ellen? When is her due date again?"

Me: "June 27th."

D: "Wow. Are you guys ready?"

Me: "Well, for the most part, but..."

The eyes don't glaze over, furtive looks of "oh my god make it stop make it stop!!!" are not exchanged with better-adjusted companions, they're not even curling in on themselves like someone opened a carton of six-week-old milk under their noses. Let's try an experiment...

Me: "... and it was a great excuse to pick up the latest Stephen Hawking book, and man let me tell you--"

D: "Umm... yeah... wow... gee, look at the time, gotta go!"

Ah well. At least lunchtime won't be so damned awkward anymore. Now if I can just figure out how to convince one of them Olivia could really use a 24 piece metric wrench set...

Posted by scott at 06:50 PM | Comments (4)
Finally, a Japanese Trend that Makes Sense

Looks like the latest fad in Japan doesn't involve bouncing round not-quite-kittens or neckties that look like boobs. Nope, seems the latest craze is a good ol' romp in the park:

Growing numbers of young Japanese are getting things out in the open when it comes to sex -- literally, according to Weekly Playboy (7/1).

No pictures, so relatively safe for work. And very amusing I might add.

Posted by scott at 02:27 PM | Comments (0)
Marriage to Saudis

Jeff gets another no-prize for bringing this sadly common story of a woman's experience trying to separate from a Saudi husband.

The story itself lead me to do some digging, and I'm happy to say I managed to find the most informative little document on the Kingdom I've ever read, Marriage to Saudis. Really, if you don't follow any other link on this site, follow Marriage. It is a total eye-opener, a cultural primer from the ground up.

Actually tracks very well with the way my mom describes her Arabic "baby docs." Mom works at a teaching hospital as a critical care nurse. Old time doctors learn early on one does not mess with one's nursing staff, most especially one's critical care nursing staff ("Top Gun" nurses). Her stories of "potty training" new doctors are always entertaining, but they are especially colorful when the subject is a new Arab doctor.

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)
It's not a Blender, it's a MXER

Slashdot featured this Space.com article about a new take on an old technology... using spinning tethers to fling things from low orbit to high orbit. If it pans out, it promises to reduce launch costs by as much as a factor of ten.

Posted by scott at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)
More Science Fiction

Just when you thought material science didn't get any wilder, we now have this New Scientist article detailing the latest development in bone reconstruction... printing bone grafts. According to the story, a company has developed a new polymer-based material that's porous enough to promote bone growth while still being strong enough to bear weight. They use a rapid prototyping machine to create computer-designed graphs which can then be implanted into an injured patient. The implications for accident recovery alone are huge.

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
Bringing Home the GOODS

Rednova is featuring this story on the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS ... governments are always up for a silly acronym.) It's an effort to make a more complete survey of the history of the universe using the two (soon to be three) great orbital observatories, and already it's beginning to pay off.

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)
June 19, 2003
Where was This When I Had Braces?

When I was a kid I had horrible teeth. Eventually I even had a super-grody "extra" tooth in my gumline when my adult second incisor erupted before my baby tooth fell out. I had to deal with braces for four long years to get it all fixed (thanks mom!) Turns out all I really needed to do was marry a dog:

A 9-year-old girl was married to a stray dog in a ceremony attended by more than 100 guests in a village in India's eastern state of Bengal as part of a ritual intended to ward off a bad omen, newspapers reported Thursday.

Ah, traditional medicine.

Posted by scott at 03:28 PM | Comments (1)
Driving Miss D'haizi

Jeff gets a no-prize with its very own chador for bringing us this story from the Kingdom of Wisdom and Light:

A woman who tried to get around a ban on female drivers in Saudi Arabia by dressing up as a man was caught out when she was ordered to undergo medical checks, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

This is the "advanced" civilization who's superiority its religious leaders are rabidly declaiming from rooftops and minarets all over the Arab world. Pay attention folks, they aren't kidding.

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)
Ticket to Ride, Pt. III

Slashdot featured this story detailing the latest developments in the "space tourism" industry. Turns out they're gonna have 2, count them 2 tickets for an upcoming Soyuz mission to the ISS. Predictably, NASA has no clue about it, so don't count your pennies just yet. $20 million in pennies no less. Where's my checkbook...

Posted by scott at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)
Iron Man

Carrie gets a no-prize with its boots still on for bringing us this story of the forensic examination of a mysterious cast-iron coffin.

From my own experience I can say the state of preservation actually sounded quite good. Sometimes in the anth lab I worked in during undergrad school I'd be assigned to wash the skeletons found in historic grave sites. There were many, many times I'd pull a foil-wrapped bone-shaped lump from a box, set it in the washing screen, and spray away only to be left at the end with chips.

With these sorts of "emergency" projects (emergency in that there's a limited time in which to do the work) they take all kinds of casts and photographs in addition to the basic writeups and diagrams. Depending on the family's preferences, they also could have taken bone samples for spectrographic analysis. Eventually they'll end up with a very comprehensive profile of who this person was, what they did, sometimes what they ate and many times how they died. Bones of your ancestors indeed.

Posted by scott at 09:59 AM | Comments (1)
Paging Laurence Simon, White Courtesy Phone Please

Least desirable way to die, #41: terminal methane buildup:

More than 2,000 hogs died in a weekend explosion and fire that destroyed a building at the Big Sky Hutterite Colony, 35 miles northwest of here.

I didn't know who or what Hutterites were, so I did a little digging and found this:

Doctrinally the Hutterites are closest to the old order Amish. They stress separation from the world and the communal ownership of all property.

Can Hutterite Tech Support be far behind?

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM | Comments (1)
The Very First Fashion Fad of the New Millennium

One of the things that just kills me about the latest teen fashion crazes is how I grew up with them all. Bell bottoms (yes, dammit, bell bottoms, "flare jeans" is just a marketing gimmick), feathered hair, pastel makeup, platform shoes, and nearly all the rest come straight from that not-quite-decade of 1976-1982. We all just thought (hoped?) disco was dead.

Well folks, I'm happy to announce there seems to be a genuinely new fashion trend our ersatz elite have come up with. Their solution to fashion originality? Plumber's Butt. No, really.

Yeah I know, I know. I can hear that clock ticking too. Well, she's not going to date until she's 25, so I don't have to worry about it.


Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (1)
June 18, 2003
The Bones of Columbus

DNA testing is taking a crack at yet another historical mystery, this time where, exactly, Christopher Columbus is buried. Turns out two places, one in Spain and the other in Santo Domingo, claim the honor, and one group of Spanish scientists is setting out to figure out who is right. Results in six months apparently.

Posted by scott at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)
Persia and the Radical Left

If all you ever do is follow the nightly news you may not know Iran has been bubbling over a bit lately. Michael Totten does a pretty good job surveying what is going on, and why you probably haven't heard about it. Why don't I think Michael Moore will be talking about this dictatorship any time soon?

Via ASV.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)
It's Like an Amish Tech Mascot ... Made Real!!!

"AMCGLTD," we hear you ask, "I'm in a real bind. I want to be kept informed of the latest efforts of our government to keep its ass covered, but I need something that compliments my velvet Elvis. What am I to do?"

Fear not fellow traveler, we have the perfect solution! For the tacky religious wack who has everything, we're happy to present the Threat Alert Jesus. Now you too can be kept abreast of your government's ever more efficient mechanisms for scaring the, well, bejesus out of you while worshipping the almighty at the same time! Only $19.95 (+ s&h). Order yours today!

Funny thing is I think it'd be a race between Joshua, Larry, Meryl, Bigwig, and Michele as to who got one first.

Posted by scott at 11:21 AM | Comments (2)
Take a Stab at This One

Ok, this may be the very first flash game that should be noted in our favorite 'zine, The City Morgue. Five Finger, good when you want to play a mindless flash game and are feeling a bit, well, twisted.

Posted by scott at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)
Anime in Space?

Jeff gets another no-prize by brining us this update on Japan's own mars space probe. After most of a decade of bad luck and setbacks, it seems finally poised to rendevous with the red planet.

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)
Cue Slow-Motion Playback

BBCnews is carrying this summary on the latest developments in electronic enhancements to prosthetics. Still not Steve Austin, but getting better!

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
Hum This!

Jeff gets a mud-tired no-prize for bringing this unconventional use of a new H2 humvee to our attention:

Police said that [the store owner], identified only as Peter, followed the [robbery] suspects through a neighborhood and eventually caught up with them. He then rolled his Hummer over their car.

With picture!

Posted by scott at 08:36 AM | Comments (1)
June 17, 2003
Shaved Pussy

Goblin got a new hair-do today. I noticed my little black fuzzy cat had a few mats under the armpit and her 'stump'(she has 3 legs) area. Goblin hates to be brushed out.

So Goblin went into work with me today and got shaved!

Scott thinks she looks like a naked mole-rat with leg warmers and a hood.



P.S. Yes, the eyes look funny. Photoshop isn't anywhere near as easy to use as they say it is.

Posted by Ellen at 06:25 PM | Comments (10)
More Abandoned Places

Roswell isn't just where the aliens landed, it's also where a big strategic missile base was located in the 1950s. I found this cool account of what it was like crawling around inside one ten or more years after it was abandoned. Freaky.

Posted by scott at 01:46 PM | Comments (0)
Lesson of the Day: Don't Lick Boobies

Children, the word for today is Scopolamine, a wonder drug of zombification:

There are so many scopolamine cases [in Columbia] that they usually don't make the news unless particularly bizarre. One such incident involved three young Bogota women who preyed on men by smearing the drug on their breasts and luring their victims to take a lick.

Losing all willpower, the men readily gave up their bank access codes. The breast-temptress thieves then held them hostage for days while draining their accounts.

Ah! So that's how women do it!

Posted by scott at 12:55 PM | Comments (1)
Chicken Little Evolution

BBCnews is carrying this interesting summary of a new theory about what triggered the diversification of mammals. According to at least some scientists, new data appears to implicate a different but still massive cometary impact roughly 10 million years after the one that offed the dinosaurs.

Posted by scott at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)
Robot Smash!

Slashdot featured this article about a new robot that uses hyper-powerful jets of water to smash concrete to bits.

Posted by scott at 12:07 PM | Comments (0)
June 16, 2003
ANOTHER Pregnant Blogging Chick!

Hoooray! Another blogging chick bitching about pregnancy!

Thanks to Meryl at Yourish.com for the introduction to this blog!

Posted by Ellen at 08:52 PM | Comments (1)
Holy Blood Holy Grail Holy Bunk

It's funny sometimes how some of your interests have always been with you, and sometimes they drop on you like one of those practical jokes involving doors and buckets hanging from ceilings.

Such was Holy Blood Holy Grail for me. Before I read this book I knew next to nothing about early Christian history and the Middle Ages. I couldn't tell a Mason from a Crusader from a Templar even if they walked up an beat me with a stick. Because of this, HBHG was mind-crashingly difficult to work through. I ended up finishing the thing just to prove I could.

But by introducing me to these concepts, events, and characters this one book set me down a path that would dominate my library and my life up until this time. Now not only can I tell the difference between a Templar and a Temple, I can also follow along with and contribute in detail to historical discussions on periods as far back as 3000 B.C.E. (and I know what that means too!) all the way to the present.

I often wondered just what, exactly, the rest of the world thought of HBHG. At the time I didn't know enough to judge either way. As I learned more about the various fields it became pretty clear to me the book was more about making the authors rich than revealing any real conspiracy to place an ersatz descendant of a marginal Jew on a reconstituted Roman throne.

So, sitting here trying to figure out excuses not to write I decided to find out, exactly, whether or not there was in fact anyone out there who went to the trouble of debunking HBHG. It wasn't too hard to find them, and since there may be some of you out there who had similar experiences with the book I figured it might be of interest what I found. Turns out our man's name is Paul Smith. His work can be found here, and an informative interview is here.

Hopefully the payoff will be worth the long leadup I forced you through. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)
Bendy Airplanes

Rednova has this story on the latest developments in composite wing-warping technology. Instead of conventional control surfaces, this sort of wing simply bends to maneuver. Makes the whole thing lighter and simpler, and eventually perhaps even cheaper. Yes, the Wright brothers did this very same thing (as did a number of other early pioners), but you can't make a Wright flyer go supersonic.

Currently testing on a modified F/A-18, with a purpose-built research craft scheduled to fly a few years from now. Gah. I need to renew my avWeek subscription...

Posted by scott at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)

Don't ask me to explain it, just trust me that Japanese-speaking Simpsons are funny. Only Japan would turn Marge's famous gravelly voice into a helium squeak worthy of the best anime freak kid.

Update: Be sure to check the whole site out to see your favorite "a-list" actor, way "too important" to be caught in commercials over here, shilling Japanese stuff for cash.

Posted by scott at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)
Nanoparticle News

New Scientist is featuring this report on the latest development in nanotechnology... the ability to create nanoparticles using, of all things, Geraniums.

Posted by scott at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)
Kittens: A Hardware Review

For those of you in the market, here's one person's review of a new bit of hardware they've recently acquired... a "kitten." Also entertaining for those of you who's cute little kitten has recently been stolen and replaced with a big dumb cat. WARNING: People with low "cuteness" thresholds or a tendency to both giggle and cry at the same time when viewing baby cats (i.e. Ellen) should consider this site Not Safe for Work!

Also note the conclusion that while kittens > videocards, videocards > babies.

Via a shareware life.

Posted by scott at 10:21 AM | Comments (1)
James Bond on a Leash

Proving that we're cruising farther and farther into sci-fi land, we have this story about the latest in pet tracking technology:

Secom said Monday it plans to unleash a new service later this month to track missing dogs, using satellite-based global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile phone networks.

Tinfoil hat brigade comments about "big brother is coming to get us!!!" in 3, 2, 1...

Posted by scott at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)
A Decade of Images

Also from the Washington Post, this nifty celebration of Hubble's 10th anniversary. A special no-prize to the first person who correctly identifies the music in the background of the flash slide-show.

Posted by scott at 08:37 AM | Comments (4)
Let's Play Indians and, well, Indians

The Washington Post is carrying this summary of recent discoveries about an ancient Indian settlement in North Dakota. Turns out it was a lot better fortified than originally thought, implying warfare was more significant than was previously imagined.

They also seemed to have hired some new professors at the U of A anthropology department. I don't recognize that guy's name. Ah, progress...

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM | Comments (0)
June 15, 2003
Mannequins For Sale

Just in case you need to buy a friend .

Posted by Ellen at 07:07 PM | Comments (3)
Fortune Telling Taken a Bit Too Far

Lingam Gnosis: The Ancient Art of Penis Reading:
Forget palmistry, everything you need to know about your man is written on his cock. Tell your friends and lovers to whip íem out, then let them sit back and prepare to be amazed. Lingam gnosis is here and it beats the crap out of reading tea-leaves.

Check it out here.

~No, I have not tried it out yet.

Posted by Ellen at 06:57 PM | Comments (1)
History of Father's Day

A small history of how Father's Day came to be.

Happy Father's Day to all Dads out there today!

Posted by Ellen at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
38 Weeks

UGHHH!!! Is it over yet!?

I officially have the fattest feet I have ever seen. Krusty the Clown got nothin' on me!

I went to the doctor's office last Wednesday with my small list of complaints. No, really, I don't know why Scott shook his head when the end of it rolled off the table. First complaint was of course the swelling in my feet, especially the right foot, which makes me look like I have some weird disease that's a cross between elephantitis and, I don't know, "stay-puf'd" disease. I can push my thumb into my ankle and the impression stays there for several minutes. It's a great party trick.

The nurse was concerned because when I stepped on the scale we discovered I'd manage to pack on 4 pounds in one week. That's when I was like, "my feet are swollen." (Scott said he could hear it from the waiting room but I think he's lying. It's not like I jumped up and down or anything. Well, not very much.) She took my blood pressure 3 times just to be sure nothing was out of whack, and checked my feet. "You have a nice amount of water retention." she says, "Good thing you only have 2 weeks to go." (smiles at me and walks out) "But... but... I gained 4 pounds in ONE FOOT!" (Scott rolled his eyes at me.)

My midwife stepped in, and I told her all of my complaints, to which she laughed and said, "that's what usually happens in the last few weeks. Be glad you're not having this baby in September." She obviously was not impressed with my bout of "marshmallow disease." Scott starting giggling quietly and mumbling about"Not Being Concerned with Our Profound Life Threatening Illness" (I really don't know how he manages to speak with capitalization, but he does), so I punched him. Made me feel much better.

I asked if putting my feet up would make it go away. I got an even bigger laugh and she was like, "Nope! Not now. The humidity makes it worse too. Here's your paper, see you next week." Fuck. My skin feels like it's going to split open, and she was right, the swelling does not go down.

Only 12 days to go (technically, if she decides to show up on time. Hear me baby? Show up on time!)

Posted by Ellen at 12:25 PM | Comments (4)
Mormon Cricket Invasion

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - Mormon crickets, the plague of the western United States, are on the march again, ravaging farms and turning roads "blood red."

See entire article here.

I did not realize crickets were Mormon. They really are everywhere! No wonder that damned choir is so popular.

Posted by Ellen at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
If You Haven't Been Reading "G" Regularly...

You'd have missed this interesting insight:

If we were in Beirut, grozny or Tehran with the same set of events we just had in Baghdad, We would have half of the politicians around us assassinated by rival factions, at least 10 suicide bombers, half of the American journalists here taken as hostages and sectarian / ethnic fighting’s in the streets. Instead of that what we see around us, is a city going back to life some times grudgingly but other times with fast speed.

So don't forget to Check G out.

Posted by scott at 11:30 AM | Comments (2)
Wacks R Us, the Islamic Edition

We've linked up plenty of "so freaking crazy they're setting monkeys on fire" Christian sites, so it's only fair we bring you answering-christianity.com, "Islam's answer to Trinitarian beliefs." Some of you may think we're being anti-islamic by making fun of this site, but really what we're doing is making fun of fundamentalist wackos of all stripes.

Of course, it goes without mentioning that as crazy as our Christo-wackamoles are, they have yet to manage to blow up a Bali nightclub. Or even the Delta Landing nightclub, the finest nightspot Dumas Arkansas could come up with. Trust me, it would've been an improvement.

Posted by scott at 11:19 AM | Comments (3)
X-Ray News

Rednova is carrying this story detailing the first use of an innovative new X-ray scanner. Originally used to scan miners for stolen diamonds, this South African invention now promises to allow emergency room workers to get an entire body X-ray in a fraction of the time and with substantially less radiation exposure for the patient.

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
Born Again Virgin In A Bottle

Only a guy would come up with something like this .

Posted by Ellen at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
Darwin Strikes!

Remember, if you have to pee when you are in the car, stop the car and get out.

Posted by Ellen at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
June 13, 2003
Magrat Update

Mags bloodwork is normal except for a bit of anemia. Or rather since it was such a smashing blood sample (I drew it), it could be lab error.

So all I have is a cat with kidney stones. Oh yeah, and diarrhea now from the stress of being at the cat hospital all day and having to start on some new food.

I have come to the conclusion that I was never destined to have a healthy pet. That would be too easy for me. It seems that I do well with the sick ones.

Posted by Ellen at 05:21 PM | Comments (3)
Soggy Memories?

Also from new scientist, this report of a possible confirmation that water "remembers" substances that were once dissolved in it but were subsequently removed. Controversial and more than a little wierd.

Posted by scott at 01:16 PM | Comments (2)
Flat Stars

From New Scientist we have this story about a recently discovered star that calls into question some theories about stellar construction. The problem? It's too flat.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Just Another Day

Since two of our friends treat Friday the 13th as a kind of semi-annual holiday, we thought they might find this brief history of the date interesting. Maybe you will too!

Posted by scott at 09:15 AM | Comments (1)
AIDS Ancestry

Also from the Post this morning is this piece summarizing recent findings of scientists concerning the history of the AIDS virus. It's pretty widely accepted AIDS came from a mutated version of the more common chimpanzee SIV. Turns out, according to these scientists anyway, the chimpanzee SIV is itself the mutation of two versions of a similar disease found in two specific types of monkey.

Posted by scott at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)
Last Flight

The Washington Post is carrying this story about what I think is the first "last flight" of a Concorde. #205 has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution for display at its new Dulles annex. If I'd known it was flying in I'd have stayed home... Dulles airport is only about 3 miles from my house, I probably could've watched it come in on final from my front yard.

They apparently only made 16 of them, so I think there's a good chance all will survive in museums of one sort or another. It's a shame they're so complex, otherwise I would imagine some non-profit group would probably get together to keep at least one of them flying. Who knows, maybe someone will...

Posted by scott at 09:06 AM | Comments (1)
Pit People

Pat gets a teeny-tiny no-prize for bringing the pit heads to our attention. Very small carvings made on, of all things, fruit pits. Very interesting...

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
June 12, 2003
Kama Sutra in Animation

Pictures not good enough for you in that enourmous "coffee table" book (who the hell leaves that book out on the coffee table)?

Now you can take a look at the animated version of the Kama Sutra. Complete with detailed instructions!


Posted by Ellen at 08:22 PM | Comments (11)
Flash Cats

What my cats do when we are not home .

Warning: this may make you ill, or cause some sort of seizure. I know I twitched for a bit.

Posted by Ellen at 08:19 PM | Comments (3)

For some reason the past 2 weeks Magrat has taken it upon herself to not use the potty box. Just the cat poop part, not the pee (thank god). It is much easier to clean up cat crap than cat urine.

We 'thought' we were not cleaning the cat boxes enough (as if 2x's per day is not good enough for them) or she did not like the litter.

I finally had enough (obviously this is not behavioral) and took the cat into work today. Magrat is not the most compliant cat at the clinic, thats why she does not go yearly. Of course, I can Never have a healthy pet.

Magrat has kidney calcification and a kidney stone passing through her ureter on it's way out.

Mags is not feeling well.

So now my poor BCOD (black cat of death) is on pain medication, subcutaneous fluids for a week and a prescription food.

We find out tomorrow what her bloodwork looks like. I'll keep you posted.

Posted by Ellen at 07:56 PM | Comments (3)
The Stand

I stand with Israel. In the endless finger-pointing game of "who shot first? Who stops shooting first?" I point my finger squarely at the Arab world, and wait with Israel for them to make the first real move. I admire Israel, because it is a ridiculously small country with ridiculously brave people.

At this point most other authors would say, "if you don't agree with me you'd better just skip the rest of this." I almost did just that. But I changed my mind. If you don't agree with the sentiments above I want you to read the rest of this very slowly. I want you to understand how stupid and ignorant you are. I want you to understand that being "for Jews but against Israel" is a contradiction that reeks of anti-Semitism. I want you to get so angry your blood fizzes. Because you see that's how angry I am right now, and I feel like sharing.

I'm sure anti-Semitism did exist in the little southern town I grew up in. The real problem with it was a lack of targets. There were two, count them two, Jewish families in Dumas Arkansas (population: 6400). Since everyone was busy discriminating against people who looked different (I mean, really, what good is bigotry if you have to ask before you discriminate against someone?) these two families had simply become part of the quirky background noise that flavors any small town, like candy flowers on a particularly tacky birthday cake.

One family had a wife who was a flat-out kleptomaniac. Her husband would keep an inventory of whatever she happened to shake out of her hand bag every night and come around to each store once a week to pay for the items. My mom cared for the matriarch of the other family to help pay for nursing school. Stories of a very tiny, very old, very crazy Jewish lady who insisted on putting up a Christmas tree every year regaled our household for that brief period.

When I was a kid, I learned about the Holocaust, and I learned about Israel. To me, the two became inextricably linked... very bad people had gathered up a bunch of other people and shot them and hung them and gassed them and burned them by the millions simply because they didn't like them very much. A country got set up by the people who survived to ensure it never, ever happened again. These people were still surrounded by other people who would shoot them and hang them and gas them and burn them if they were given the chance.

The difference this time around was the Jews had guns. Big ones, and lots of them. I was told these Jews, these Israelis, got most of their guns from us. Unlike their Soviet-sponsored neighbors they didn't use them as fancy parade pieces, and didn't use them as an efficient way to blow up their own people. They used them, very well, to protect themselves from everyone else. As I watched the television images of living naked people being rushed to the edges of trenches filled with dead naked people and shot over and over and over until it seemed the whole world would be mired in tears and blood I was proud to know my country was helping to keep this from ever happening again.

I still am.

I learned later there was more to it than that. Actually a lot more. I learned that Palestine didn't even exist for two thousand years, it was merely the southern part of Syria. I learned how groups of Jews started simply buying land there from whomever would sell it to them. Turned out that at the end of the nineteenth century there were a lot of sellers. A lot. After all, it was mostly desert. So many sold that by 1917 an appreciable amount of what had then become Palestine was under Jewish ownership through the simple expedient of purchasing it.

I learned of the deeply cynical deals England and France made to everyone and anyone whom they thought would help them defeat Germany in the First World War. Southern Syria was sold not once but twice to two different peoples in secret agreements hardly anyone really knew the details to. When it was over England was given the whole thing in spite of all the agreements.

I learned that the Jews of Europe knew the rules of this system and how to make it work for them. While the Arabs squabbled amongst themselves as to how to deal with this new Crusade from the primitive infidels, the Jews continued to quietly buy land and bring in families. They built farms and houses and canals and universities. It became such a scandal among Arabs they started shooting each other to prevent the legal sale of land to Jews.

I learned that in order to quell Arab unrest in Palestine Britain closed it off to Jewish immigration at precisely the time Hitler came to power, and that thousands, perhaps millions, died because of this. When the war was over Britain turned the whole mess over to the UN, which, in typical UN fashion, came up with a plan that tried to please everyone and ended up satisfying no one.

I learned that in order to support their "Palestinian" brothers the rest of the Arab world decided to crush the nascent Israeli state instead of deal with it. When the Israelis handed them their heads the Arabs annexed whatever bits of land they could grab for their own countries, said to hell with whoever happened to be living there, and rooted out and booted out every Jew they could find inside their borders. Israel took every single one of them with open arms.

I learned the United States was officially no great friend to Israel in the beginning. It was the French who supplied arms and armor to the Israelis for the first fifteen years of their existence. The IAF flew Mirages, not Starfighters. Israel was denied direct help by one US administration after another because providing it would annoy the Soviets, who had the place surrounded with their client states.

I learned it was only when those client states attacked and threatened to annihilate Israel not once but twice did the US come around and realize the country they were ignoring as inconvenient was the only working democracy in the region. A democracy that would be unable to continue its existence without our help.

But most of all, I learned the United States did not create the "problem" of Israel. Israel created itself, by legal means where it could and by force where it had to. It won its existence the same way our country did, through blood and toil and tears, promising nothing and apologizing to no one.

I learned that even secular Jews consider Israel important. I learned that every time a restaurant or bus gets blown up they feel it like it happened on their street. I learned that even today it is ridiculously easy to get Arab leaders to admit the only logical path they can see toward peace is the utter destruction of Israel.

I say these things to Americans in the hope they will understand. Understand that even today when Israelis say they're fighting for their existence they aren't kidding. Understand that the Palestinians are not the helpless victims they so often claim to be. Understand that it's not radical Jewish terrorists who blow themselves up in the name of Jaweh. Understand that someone saying they're not against Jews, they're against Zionists is like someone saying they're not against Americans, they're against the United States.

I say these things to Israelis in the hope they, too, will understand. Understand that we realize one culture in the Middle East helped found ours, while the other wants to destroy it. Understand that we know we only got a taste of what it's like to live in your shoes. Understand that because of this the most powerful country the world has ever seen is working with all its might to ensure your nightmares, now ours, remain nothing more than dark wisps left behind on children's pillows.

I say these things to Israel's enemies even though I know they will never understand. Never understand that by destroying two buildings they succeeded only in transforming an ambiguous friend into a staunch ally. Never understand that by singing the praises of human detonators they merely dig a deeper hole in which to bury their own culture. Never understand their religion is no longer a force to be reckoned with, ceased being one six centuries ago, and their traditions are what got them in this mess in the first place.

I say these things to everyone so they may all understand. I am just one man among an ocean of men, a sea of women, living in a country of our own making with our own blood and treasure. I look across half the world and find in a region as old as time itself only one small nation that looks like mine. Unique in that region, its government is of its people, by its people, and for its people, and I am willing to do whatever I can to ensure it does not perish from this earth. True, I am just one man, standing up for what I believe in.

But I do not stand alone.

Posted by scott at 04:44 PM | Comments (145)
~ As We Go, Taxing Merrily Along ~

Of course it'll only be a matter of time before some Republican wing-nut says something every bit as frighteningly stupid, but for now let's all bask in Scrappleface's zing-o-rific take on the latest example of Democratic foot-in-mouth disease.

Sometimes I really do think it's not that the Democrats don't want to hatch dark, secret conspiracies to snatch power from the people, it's just they can't organize themselves enough to pull it off. This is only comforting to true believers who don't think about it very much.

Posted by scott at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)
What He Said

As usual, our media's impressively gnat-like attention span and willful disdain of institutional memory is serving us very well with story after story about the "complete lack" of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The looney left is characteristically humble as its members twirl atop their bell towers all over the land loudly proclaiming the administration's jedi-like deception of the country.

Well, except for these people, of course.

Can you say "fact check"? I knew you could...

Via ASV.

Posted by scott at 09:39 AM | Comments (1)
Funny Thing is, My Mom Can Probably Still Sing Along with the Chorus

Seems once or twice per decade a Spanish-language song makes it big in the mainstream pop charts. I'm not sure if this was from the 50s or 60s, but I know it's definitely from that era.

And you just thought it was the name of a really bad Plymouth.

Posted by scott at 09:25 AM | Comments (3)
Imagine Making a Leisure Suite out of This Stuff

New Scientist is reporting this summary of the latest developments in carbon nanotube technology. Someone has finally figured out how to make really long composite threads of the stuff. This is a big deal folks. The CN-based material is three times stronger than spider silk, which until now was the strongest fiber known. Imagine the impact nylon had starting in the 1940s, and remember nylon was in part a replacement for "regular" silk. This has the potential to be much, much bigger.

This is still a composite, with funky polymers helping to hold it all together. The next big payoff will be if/when they figure out how to spin the nanotubes themselves out to infinite lengths. The strength of the material is predicted to be incredible, and is the material of choice with which to build a space elevator.

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)
Mediocrity, Thy Name is Powerpoint

My workplace's leadership has an unfortunate fascination with power point presentations. Endless, repetitive, mind-numbing power point presentations so chock full of buzzwords they're louder than a broken neon sign. That's why this is so funny it literally makes my teeth ache.

Someone else mentioned in a different forum that you know it's bad "when the living envy the dead." No kidding...

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)
June 11, 2003
Kinda Gives the Phrase "Tea-Bagging" a Whole New Meaning

It's bad enough I have to put up with the "juice guys" on the radio all the g-d time. Now I've found liquid nutz. No, really!

Posted by scott at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)
You Know You've Lost Control When...

You have to use a stungun on your teen girl to keep her off the computer.

I never will understand this. If it were us, it'd never get that far. If, for whatever reason, we were to, I don't know, take in a foster child that acted like this, there would simply be no computer in the house. If they ran away because of that, well, buh-bye.

Yeah, I'm a bastard. Got a card and everything.

Posted by scott at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)
Hominid News

BBCnews is reporting this summary of a recent fossile discovery in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Two adults and one child, at 160,000 years old they are easily the oldest modern humans found to date.

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)
You Gotta Love Finals Time at College

What do you get when you take a dremel tool, a box of CDs, and some bored college kids? Click here to find out!

D: people are crazy. why didn't I think of that.

Update: Got it from slashdot, where it always pays to read the comments. Found this example of someone testing the truth in advertising of 56x and 64x CD-ROM drives. Answer: at those speeds, CDs explode with enough force to "[deform] the shrapnel protectors, made out of 1.0 mm aluminium."

Posted by scott at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)
Considering I Only Own 2 Pairs of Shoes, This is not Surprising

Well, c'mon, hurry up and tell us just how gay are you?

36%. Says I need to loosen up. Duh.

Posted by scott at 12:08 PM | Comments (10)
Radar Love

ABCnews is carrying this article detailing new developments in the weather-radar field. By using "phased array" technology, which has been utilized by the navy for about twenty years now, meterologists are hoping to as much as double the warning time given to people in the path of a tornado.

Which means my dad probably will be able to take pictures of the next one. Or at least, Ellen will expect him to.

Posted by scott at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)
When the Stars Turn Red

Rednova is carrying this article about the completion of the first-ever survey of "Mira-like" stars in a nearby galaxy, Centaurus A. "Mira" stars are variable stars near the end of their stellar life, and have provided a large amount of useful data about the galaxy. With pictures!

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
When Controllers Attack

Taking realism to a perhaps extreme level, we have this how-to on electrifying your X-Box controller. Finally! Something to slow down Jeff and Damion and Richie on those fight games they're always waxing me on.

Controller paranoia... boy, have we come a long way from Pong or what?

Posted by scott at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)
Boinking as Art?

Proof positive that the United States is not alone in its collection of oddball left-wing artists, we have a Canadian theater troupe putting on a live sex act as a form of protest. Ellen is a rabid fan of Sue Johansen, the Canadian "talk sex" lady. Considering her callers's prediliction for questions about, as she so delicately puts it, "butt sex," it was with a bit of trepidation that I examined the article. It would appear attendees will instead be treated to a long discussion of the principles of Canadian obscenity law and then presented with two "amateur" actors performing oral sex on each other. Leave it to theater to suck (as it were) the life out of even basic fun.

But is it art?

Posted by scott at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)
June 10, 2003
Somewhere, Burt Reynolds's Agent is Making a Call

Not quite rice, not quite rigs, not quite mecha, we're happy to show that even truckers get the... well... whatever the hell this is. I kind of admire it. Those things aren't cheap, and the pictures show a helluva lot of skill. I may not like some kinds of "art", but I know and respect craftsmanship when I see it.

Kinda brings a whole new meaning to the lyric, "East bound and down", no?

Posted by scott at 06:35 PM | Comments (1)
Paging Joshua Hoover, White Courtesy Phone Please

Wow, I think I may have found two, count them two bits of memorabilia for our favorite not-quite-wookie photographer. Let's all hope Joshua hasn't heard of puppet terrors either. Oh, and if you have, let's just say blood clashes with purple, mmkay? My kid's going to have enough problems...


Posted by scott at 06:32 PM | Comments (1)
Well, Who Knew it Wasn't "~The girl with colitis goes by~"?

One of my very few talents is the ability to pick through accents and noise to understand what someone's saying, so while I might not be able to find the right key with a compass, map, and flashlight, I rarely suffer from "modegreens". What are those? Well, apparently they actually have a word now for what happens when you completely screw up the lyrics in a song because a) you're not really listening or b) the singer has, I don't know, gravel in their mouth or something. The ones they pick out (including the title for this bit, a mangle from "Lucy in the Sky") are definitely choice.

Posted by scott at 06:24 PM | Comments (3)
And to Think We knew Him Way Back When...

Hey everybody, it's Jimspot's birthday! Go over and wish our favorite "regular joe (jim?)" a happy bloggiversary. Maybe we should send the lizards a box of crickets or something...

Posted by scott at 06:16 PM | Comments (0)
Insert "Denial" Joke Here

Pat gets a tightly-wrapped no-prize in a gold box for bringing us this update about the recent identification of Nefertiti's mummy. Nefertiti, for those who don't know, was King Tutankhamen's mother and the wife of Akhenaten, probably one of the strangest pharoahs ever to rule. He was the one who has all the really weird statues (well, the ones that survive anyway) and tried to single-handedly switch an entire country to monotheism.

Posted by scott at 06:06 PM | Comments (2)

You know what? No matter how weird this is (click the yellow box to get it to start), I'm sure either Ellen or Damion will be able to tell us if it's taken from an anime show, and if so which one. Olivia has no chance I tell you, no chance at all.

Posted by scott at 01:05 PM | Comments (0)
Zen Flash Game

Who would've thought flying around and interacting with the scenery would be well, kinda fun. Definitely something to distract you from a tough day.

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

BBCnews is carrying this report on a new genetics study on human origins. According to this scientist, humanity may have faced a serious extinction crisis as little as 70,000 years ago, dropping the population down to as few as 2,000 individuals.

Posted by scott at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)
Cursive's Demise: Good Riddance

Time to do a little dance, because cursive is on its way out:

Handwriting experts fear that the wild popularity of e-mail, instant messages and other electronic communication, particularly among kids, could erase cursive within a few decades.

For as long as I can remember I've been a practical guy when it comes to learning. Even when I was in kindergarten the teachers had a devil of a time getting me to outline my coloring books. "Why?" I'd ask, "they've already got outlines!" It was such a colossal waste of time.

Cursive writing was another teeth-grinding exercise in redundancy. I already knew how to write. If the way I was doing it was right in the first grade but wrong in the third, why the hell did you teach me the first way at all? The books I was reading certainly weren't in cursive, they were in print, something I'd already been taught. I watched secretaries on TV type things for crying out loud. They printed things, they didn't "cursive" them.

I very rapidly decided that, like math (when was the last time you did long division on paper?), cursive classes were just another mind-numbingly boring and unnecessary thing grownups forced children to do because that's what their grownups had forced them to do. To me, grade school wasn't about learning, it was about various kinds of revenge.

I know there are parents out there smiling condescendingly saying "oh you just wait mister, you'll see." I mean, look at this:

Parents who pride themselves on their penmanship often bemoan their children's cursive ... Many adults pine for a return to the Palmer Method or even its fancier predecessor, Spencerian.

"Cursive was so character-defining when I was in school," says Amy Greene, whose 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son prefer keyboards to cursive in their Palo Alto classrooms. "The way you wrote something was considered part of your inner being, your core, your worth. ... Now it's considered an anachronism."

Pardon me while I polish up your rose-colored glasses, I truely am sorry the world is changing right before your very eyes. Cursive was an anachronism thirty-five years ago, probably more. It's losing ground, dying out, not because kids are lazy (it takes real balls for someone born between 1946 and 1960 to say that), or because the teachers just don't take the time. It's dying out because it's inferior to the new way of doing things. I know, I know, it's such a damned shame anyway, isn't it? Such a shame that we're losing one of the very cornerstones of classic public education...

You know, that what you write is less important than the way it is put on the page.

And before you try some snappy comeback about "what good is what you write if people can't read it?" I want you to please explain to me how this is easier to read than this.

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (12)
June 09, 2003
"V" isn't Just for Victory

According to this CNN article, we're probably going to get another installment of "V", the hit 80s sci-fi miniseries about "visitors" taking over the earth. I liked the miniseries (as I recall there were actually 2 of them), but thought the series that followed was flat boring. They've got the original writer/producer on board, so here's to hoping for better quality!

Posted by scott at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)
Toxic Teddies

For the truely twisted person in your life, we're happy to present toxic teddies. A perfect desktop decoration to help you fight off the legions of too-cute troll dolls and those weird mouth-less children things.

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM | Comments (1)
Night of the Living Dead... Dolls?

Well, it appears our goth friends already know about the living dead dolls, so we all get to look amazed while they yawn a bit. However, I bet most of them didn't know this:

Living Dead Dolls has now entered it's fifth year as of April 2003. To start off the festivities we released series five in special silver coffins and closed casket dolls of each doll in series five done strictly in black and white.

Feh. They probably knew that too. Ah well...

Posted by scott at 01:00 PM | Comments (1)
Barging Through

BBCnews is carrying this summary of developments with a recent archeological discovery of an extremely well-preserved Roman barge. It's apparently the very first one found with all of its gear intact. With pictures!

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
Bug on a Wire

First time out I got 58.98 seconds. How long can you keep the bug on the wire?

Rules: Control your bug using the right and left arrow keys. Don't let him run into a bird.

Posted by scott at 11:22 AM | Comments (3)
I Keep Waiting for My Mom to Bid on this Stuff

From golfing dead frogs to naked soldier dolls to the hall-of-fame gator bride and ram's head snuff mull (no, we don't know what it is either), Disturbingauctions.com is your one-stop-shop for the completely bizzare things people think other people will pay money for.

This makes me glad that the only thing my e-bay mom is obsessing over right now is baby clothes.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (0)
It's Like Atom Smashing, with Monitors

The only real problem I have with this otherwise very neat test-to-destruction of a computer monitor is the guy didn't seem to have a clear backstop for his impromptu shooting range. Still, a very entertaining way to turn a computer monitor's insides into outsides.

Posted by scott at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)
Cirque du ... ummm...

Just my luck, when I was childless Vegas tried to turn into Disney, and right when I need Disney Vegas goes and gets all adult. Ah well, probably for the best. All I ever do is hit the nickle slots anyway.

Posted by scott at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Ram Air ... Marketing or Mechanics?

Damion gets a no-prize fitted with an impressive scoop for bringing this discussion of why, in the author's opinion, "ram-air" is a myth. Just a point of discussion, I take no sides in the matter. I know other people who might, and who also might have a counterpoint or two available.

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (1)
June 08, 2003
Dinosaur Pix

A really neat T-Rex pix.

Posted by Ellen at 11:21 AM | Comments (1)
More Alternate Voices

Salam over at Where is Raed seems to have found, probably helped, another Iraqi start a blog. Gee's English isn't as good, but no less interesting because of it. Featured now: a look at weapons searches from the other side. The opinion will surprise you.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
Museum Birthday

This year is the British Museum's 250th anniversary. As the oldest national museum in the world, it has a lot to celebrate, as this story can attest. The main article gets a wee political, but the sidebars are not to be missed.

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
M&M People

Something I've recently come to realize, which this story tends to bear out, is that the weirder people are on the outside the more normal they tend to be on the inside. The reverse, history seems to have proven, is also true. Trust me folks, it's not the tatoo freaks or goths or sci-fi geeks you should be keeping an eye on. It's the squeaky-clean evangelist wearing the double-breasted suite.

Posted by scott at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)
Have Nose, will Travel

None other than the BBC seems to think Barry Manilow is becoming cool again. In truth, I've always kinda liked the guy's music, and he does put on a pretty good show from what I've seen on TV. Ellen's mom has seen him in concert I don't know how many times. Why not?

Posted by scott at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)
Mon Dieu, I Can See My House From Here!

Rednova is featuring this nifty picture of Paris from space.

Posted by scott at 07:50 AM | Comments (0)
June 07, 2003
Weird Laws

What? Tell me these are NOT true!

It is illegal to visit a cemetery for any other reason than visiting the deceased.
It is against the law to have a bathtub inside your home. (If this one is true, then EVERYONE needs to be arrested in VA, and I would REFUSE to live in the state)

It is illegal to mispronounce the name of the state of Arkansas while within the state.
The state legislature passed a law that the Arkansas River can rise no higher than the Main Street bridge in Little Rock.

How messed up are those?!?

Posted by Ellen at 06:36 PM | Comments (3)
Top Secret

Top Secret Food Recipes

I checked out the link and this week you can make your own Burger King Onion Ring Sauce or Bloomin Onion Sauce (same thing). So I tried it out.

Tastes the SAME to me! Check out the site. A new recipe is up each week!

Posted by Ellen at 06:26 PM | Comments (0)
Weird Food Facts

Got a favorite food? Want to learn some neat facts about it?

Click Here!

Posted by Ellen at 05:44 PM | Comments (1)
Taking the Plunge

Ok, not that anyone cares, but it's our site and I can talk about whatever I please.

I've decided to quit dabblng in the kiddie pool and jump straight into the deep end. I am now Micro$oft-free on this computer. Yup, bought the propeller-head hype and switched it to Linux. For the non-computer folks out there, about the closest thing I can say to relate it to you is imagine switching from your PC to a Mac. Only not as pretty. Or friendly. But a lot cheaper (free!) Potentially a helluva lot more powerful too.

Some observations so far:

  • Whoever says Linux is ready for the business desktop is on crack.
  • Linux on the desktop right now is about where Windows 3.0 and DOS were in 1992.
  • Far, far too many Linux applications still start out with "recompile your kernel to enable [this obscure feature]"
  • The default desktop for Gnome is close enough to Windows probably anyone can get around in it with just a little instruction.
  • Absolutely no crashes.

Do I like it? Well, yeah, there's the geek factor of getting to play with a completely different kind of computer. It's also a poke in the eye of the Borg. I should also be able to play with a ton of new software (as long as I'm willing to compile it.) Would you like it? Well, if you like tinkering with computers for the sake of tinkering with computers, probably. If you've got someone who can set it all up for you, and don't do much gaming, maybe. If you want it to "just work", well, IMO it's still not ready for prime time.

Update: Just got "WINE" sort-of working. WINE is a package that (supposedly) allows the installation of windows software onto linux machines. Took two days to get rid of all the error messages. My first shot? Windows Media Player (for watching ... cartoons, yeah, that's it, cartoons). Result: "This Player is Meant for Windows Only."

Well, it was a windows error this time, not a linux error. Back to the drawing board...

Posted by scott at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)
While We Are On The Subject of Shit...

The british are just odd! I mean, restoring fossils is a neat thing, but a piece of fossilized Viking poo?

Posted by Ellen at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)
Toilet History

BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing a new exhibit in Paris chronicling the history of, well, the toilet. Peasants in the high middle ages were nowhere near as nasty as we're lead to believe... that practice (or lack thereof) came much later, after the great plagues of the fourteenth century.

Posted by scott at 11:04 AM | Comments (1)
June 06, 2003
37 Weeks

21 days and counting. The days are not happening fast enough at this point. We are definitely in the "Chinese Water Torture" phase. Drip [CLENCH] Drip [CLENCH] Drip [CLENCH]...

We went for our hospital tour last night. When we signed up for this thing, that's exactly what we though we would get, just a tour. Not a classroom about "What to expect when you are at the hospital plus a movie and a 4 floor tour." Say about 8 couples, many of whom should not be breeding, many of whom asked the same. Fucking. Question. 3 times until the nurse was like, "just read the damn packet, it goes over that". Well, in a Spanish accent. Are all maternity ward nurses 4' 5" hispanic ladies with boufant hairdos? Ours certainly was.

The hospital is quiet, clean, and the rooms look like something from a Holiday Inn. Well, Holiday Inn with klieg lights in the celing. It sort of looked like a Hollywood premier setup, all ready to throw translucent dowel rods into the night sky. "Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause for the grandmother! [roar] ... and isn't she just gorgeous in her rotund plum Vera Wang. Tell us Pat [off camera... GROAN!!!] just how do you feel your second time around? Well, Joan, [off camera... ARRRGGG!!!] It's just great..."

Each room is private, with a lounge for friends and family if they want to be there. I will repeat... with friends and family who want to be there (in the distance, Scott: "bring beer! Lots of beer!") The rooms are also equiped with a large bathroom and shower for the 'highly recommended' hydrotherapy during labor (again, in the distance, "perfect to ice a keg!") All of the needed equipment is hidden behind the bed curtains or in the dressers that are located in the rooms.

Apparently you get to stay in your labor/delivery room for exactly 2 hours post baby to bond, recover ect... I dunno, just about the time it takes to, like, unroll a bit of duct tape and wrap it around you and the kid... i.e. HMO bonding. Upstairs on the 3rd floor is your own private "recovery" (what am I, a space shuttle?!?) room with a shower.

Yeah ok, I felt a bit ill knowing that in a few weeks I'm going to be at that hospital (in the distance, "WITH BEER!") Most of the women there were busy bitching that you are only allowed 2 other people in the birthing suite to watch the whole deal (not including the husband). What, they could not get through their heads was that you get this private lounge for family and friends (up to 5... remember willing family and friends [with beer!]) to hang out in your lounge right next door to the suite?!? Then 2 couples were downright puzzled that they actually would need someone else to watch a sibling if they wanted them present. Oh, sure, bring your 5 year old, we can let them pick the noses of the newborns while you're a "little busy."

It was kind of like a tennis game with the eyes. Eyes to instructor, stupid question, eyes to stupid couple, stupid answer, back to instructor, ect...

We were the only ones in the room who did not have a pediatrician affiliated with the hospital. Felt like being asked "who doesn't have a date to the prom?" and being forced to raise your hand. So we are going to use the hospital pediatrician and then have our first 'well baby' visit with our pediatrician out by the house.

One cool thing though, we had a deaf couple there with us, with an interpreter. That's all we really stared at. To us, the sign for "baby arrives quickly" looked a helluva lot like, "plunge toilet to remove clog."

We did finally get the crib set up. It took 2 people with college degrees and just crib parts, no instructions to put it together. 4 times. Well, maybe 6. Damn rails.

Of course after it was all said and done and dressed up, we had the official cat toss into the crib. Ajax for some reason seems to have the most interest in all the baby stuff, so we think he may acutally be the one that will 'like' the baby first.

The room is almost done. I have 2 shelves I am in the middle of painting for her room, just needing to finish all up tomorrow. More sticky gooey girlie stuff. Scott says it's amazing his shoes stay attached to his feet when he walks into the room. He also could not get past the fact that I managed to find curtain rods that have these glass spheres on the ends of them. He says they're like something from a D&D game. I thought it was cute until he started whirling them around and making "whummm... whumm... whummm..." noises at the cats. Let's all hope Olivia is cute, because socially she has no chance at all.

Everything is slowly coming together. We have no idea where we are going to put family when they visit. I do believe it's going to be called 'camping out on the living room floor, OR using the pull out chair and half downstairs in the computer dungeon." Scott may end up sleeping in his garage for real.

One thing I did have to do today was take out the belly ring. It got caught on my pantyhose, YEOOOWCH! So now I shed a small tear. Out goes the ring, in goes some fishing line to keep it open.

Friends and family are starting to take bets on the date and so far we have the following:
June 10th- according to my hospital managers Dad.
June 14th- according to Damion(he wants to share HIS birthday).
July 4th- according to my Mother.

We're curious to see what other people think. We (ok, I) have this fear that she's going to be late...

Posted by Ellen at 10:29 PM | Comments (7)

StormTroopers got to go too!

Posted by Ellen at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)
Was Caligula Really That Nuts?

Was the Roman emperor Caligula as crazy as they say?

A really neat article on one of the many notorious Roman ancestors.

I unfortunately have not been able to see this so called 'movie' Caligula that people say is out there in the porn world. A really interesting read, and some cool books recommended to read!

Posted by Ellen at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)
Old Friends, Long Gone

UrbanAdventure.org chronicles what appears to be one guy's journy through all sorts of abandoned places. Old car factories, bridge tops, bunkers, even a ship or two, all have secret places and dusty echos this guy photographs. Places dead now but with enough left to at least guess at their lives, you look and see the grooves of souls worn into them, filled now with dust and dirt.

You only thought ghost towns were in the southwest.

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)
Blandifying America

Welcome to Wal-Mart, where we have every day low prices and absolutely nothing to offend the Christian wackamoles that infest our corporate offices:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will begin obscuring the covers of some women's magazines stocked in checkout lanes, shortly after a decision to stop selling some men's magazines over their racy content.
Posted by scott at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
When Car Geeks Attack

Ok, sometimes when work is slow Damion and I get to talking about souping up cars. Today's topic, how to soup up a Honda Civic so as to enable it to beat an 01 Pontiac Trans Am (why so specific? No reason...)

I do this to prove that I am not the motor wacko in this group. To wit:

S: beat him in it once, then sell it so he can't go build something else to beat it
D: right
S: oh no... D has a mission... what have I done....
D: we would have to get a standard tranny, but that shouldn't be too expensive
D: (borrow kris's)
S: heh
S: remember, we hafta do it cheap
S: cheap cheap cheap... want to build TA killer for, like, 1/5th cost of TA
S: "We can whup your ass *AND* carry more groceries!!!"
D: or we could add turbines to the back of the CRX as well
S: JATO rockets here we come
D: and a big fat spoiler on the roof
S: must APPEAR stock
D: we can do "appear"
D: Auction example of potential "victim"
D: now we're getting somewhere
S: I'd forgotten how frumpy those things looked
S: heh... jeff is on phone now
S: should I narc you to him?
D: oh, if you want, hahha
D: see if he laughs at us.
S: heh... indignity!!!
S: he doesn't think we can find a tranny that will hold all that horsepower
D: heh, with rocket power, we'll just drop it into neutral once we get up to a certian speed.
S: he sez "will still be a civic"
D: yeah, but a civic w/ a quarter mile time of like 6 seconds
D: if not less
S: he sez, "TA = chick magnet, Civic=gonzo nutball what-the-hell-izzit"
D: heh, he's just making excuses now.
S: no, final word was "well, yeah, there are 9 sec civics out there, but that's a total race car"
D: well, what about the stock engine w/ the solid state rocket in the back?
D: that's stock with (1) performance mod
S: I gotta write this up... just to prove to ppl I'm not the gearhead crazy in this group
S: well, the thing is, model rocket body = 6 oz.
S: civic crx = 25,600 oz.
S: um... think you might run into scaling problems eventually
D: wonder if my little igniter would work, or if you would have to hold a blowtorch to it...
S: *I* will not be holding blowtorch!
D: well, the like 50 of them, the size of of a 2 liter soda bottle
S: JATO rockets... if 8 of them can push a C-130 into the air in ~ 800 ft, I think we'll only need 2 of them to push a nutball D in a civic 1400 ft
D: well, better play it safe than sorry, get 5 of'm
D: wonder how much those rockets go for...
D: Hmm, actually, my mom is an ex-chemist.
D: I bet she could brew me up some.
S: lissen you hotroddin goth garb wearin skateboard moddin WACK
D: can I put Type R (for rocket) stickers on it?
D: sure ya don't wanna ride shotgun?
S: positive
S: more likely we'd light the fuse, there'd be this huge WOOSH, and when the smoke cleared the civic would be sitting there w/ no roof
S: and you'd have no eyebrows
D: no, cause it would go in the hatch
D: not on the roof
D: bolt it down to the floor
S: you crazy nutball... you actually want this thing BESIDE you?!?
D: weld a hell of a cage to hold it in place
D: well, technically behind me, a few feet hanging out the back ain't nothin
D: as long as you tie a red flag onto it so no one drives into the rear of your car
S: har
D: sure you don't wanna go for the test drive???
S: most definitely

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (5)
Even More Mars News

Lots of things going on with Mars this week:

The ESA's probe, including the British Beagle rover, launched earlier this week.

The first of NASA's two probe/rover combos should lift off on the 8th.

A new report describes even more strange things geologists have discovered using new thermal imagery.

"Dammit Yurplex, I told you if we blew up one of their stupid probes they'd just send another one. Now look what's happening."

"Bah! Puny humans! They are no match for our technology!"

"Listen you sand turd, we live in a desert. Nobody wants to invade a desert"

"Xpang, haven't you been watching their news channels lately?"


Posted by scott at 09:29 AM | Comments (2)
For Fish, Toilets <> Escape Hatches

The quote says it all:

"In truth, no one would ever find Nemo and the movie would be called 'Grinding Nemo,'" wrote the JWC Environmental company, which makes the trademarked "Muffin Monster" shredding pumps.

Who the hell names a sewer pump a "muffin monster" anyway?

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (1)
Silent Stupidity

Proof that criminality is the profession of last resort all over the world, we have this tidbit from BBCnews:

A man who tried to steal a till from a corner shop while wearing a pair of underpants on his head is being sought by police.

And we thought the burglars who hit my parent's liquor store were dumb...

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)
Say What?

You always know it's the beginning of the Silly Season of election time when the media starts talking about how stupid politicians are. Of course, how dumb the press is tends to remain a state secret, no?

Posted by scott at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)
June 05, 2003
Saturn Seasons

BBCnews is carrying this report on recent discoveries about Saturn made by the Hubble telescope. It seems that while Saturn's atmosphere is not as active as Jupiters, it's variations are a lot greater.

Posted by scott at 03:01 PM | Comments (0)
We'll Call it, "Counterfitnik"

The good news: You can buy a Sputnik satellite on e-bay

The bad news: there are more Sputniks in circulation now than ever were made.

An aside: Sputnik is on what I tend to think of as a "seam" in the historical record. I've read so many conflicting accounts of what, exactly, it did that I have determined in my own mind that 1) nobody really knows and 2) it probably just went, like, BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
Stick 'em Up!

Pat gets a pearl-handled no-prize for bringing us this N.Y. Times article (heh... God only knows who actually wrote it, no?) about recent efforts to prove what really happened to Billy the Kid.

Posted by scott at 01:27 PM | Comments (1)
Super Soldier

Slashdot linked up this CNN article summarizing the latest R&D on weapons technologies for the "next generation" soldier. Some of it sounds very nifty, some of it sounds a little wacky. I certainly wouldn't want to be wearing a uniform made by the lowest bidder with a "remote torniquet activate" feature on it!

Posted by scott at 01:22 PM | Comments (1)
A What in a Where?

Fark linked up an actual auction, but Damion gets the real no-prize by suggesting to us that we do a search for "ghost in a jar." Amazing what people will pay money for nowadays.

Posted by scott at 01:12 PM | Comments (2)
June 04, 2003
Barry Manilow Breaks His Nose

Richie, my brother brings us this story of Barry Manilow, who apparently broke his nose in the middle of the night by walking into a wall.

A very Manilow! No-prize to Rich.

Posted by Ellen at 07:07 PM | Comments (2)
Is This For Real!!???

This is linked under XXX due to the extreme sexual content. So I say this once, NSFW!!! (not safe for work)- at all!

What the F&#k?

Thanks to DocBlogulus, you get the XXX f'd up no-prize of the day.

Posted by Ellen at 07:04 PM | Comments (4)
That's What Ya Calls a "Comprehensive Meltdown"

Jeff gets an oil-soaked no-prize for bringing this gear-head message thread to our attention. An edited version of the introduction:

A couple of weeks ago, I was cruisin with my friend on a Sunday in his RSX-S. Well, he decides to drop the hammer and show me what his car has. He started redlining every gear ... for whatever reason, he decides to downshift into 4th... So, instead of shifting to 4th, he accidentally shifted into 2nd gear right around 7k RPMs. All of a sudden, we hear a "boom" ... We jump out of the car to realize his motor was on fire. Needless to say, we put the fire out before the fire truck came, and got a friend to pull us back home.

Let's all have a moment of silence for a car what got done wrong to.

Posted by scott at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)
Just Say "no"

Carrie gets a no-prize for bringing us this website detailing the latest changes in CafePress's user agreement. Just for fun we set up a shop over there about a year ago. It never really took off, but it was fun to tink with, and the people who did buy stuff seemed quite pleased with it.

However, CP has now changed their user agreement, giving themselves exclusive royalty-free rights to our works (and yours too, if you own a CP store). This is unacceptable, we've closed the shop. We'd like to thank all of you who bought some stuff. Hang on to it, because it's a collectors item now!

There are other services which we'll be exploring. It's a nifty logo, or at least we think it is!

Posted by scott at 03:33 PM | Comments (3)
More 70s Tech

Long before DVDs and even CDs there were "laser discs" for video playback. Like all 70s electronics they were huge, a little larger than a PC computer box set on its side. There were two competing standards, one from RCA and one that I thought was created by Pioneer but appears to actually have been created by Phillips. A friend of mine in High School had the RCA version and while it was neat, you couldn't rent a damned thing for it at the video store.

The Phillips version, eventually championed by Pioneer, lasted a lot longer, really until the advent of DVD players in the mid 90s. I bought one for a place I used to work for in 1996.

Of course now they're all long gone, but, thanks to this web site, we can all take a moment to reflect on just how far couch-potato tech has come in thirty years.

Posted by scott at 12:56 PM | Comments (1)
Living Science Fiction

BBCnews is featuring this article about a new use for laser scanners and computer cutters... creating exact duplicates of ancient clay tablets.

I think this technology is completely amazing. For a long time in the archeology/anthropology field one of the toughest things was getting a fossile or artifact out to other people for review. The best you could hope for was an expensive, reasonably-but-not-quite accurate cast of the object. Far more common was the less-than-ideal photographs or diagrams. Heated academic debates have gone on for decades simply because people couldn't get a good look at the items.

I think it's only a matter of time before the laser scanners get small and cheap enough to take out into the field. The cutters and carvers will probably never be very portable, but like paper copy machines probably won't need to be.

I find it amazing to think that some day, probably soon, a paleoanthropologist will dig out a skull or jaw or tooth, place it in a scanner, make a transmission, and literally within minutes colleagues on the other side of the world could be looking at a high-fidelity model of what was just pulled out of the ground. What's more, copies of that file could be made and, like the clay tablets in the BBC article, created by anyone with access to the correct machine.


Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (3)
Sometimes it's Good to Come Home to an Empty House

It just doesn't get any more f'd up than this:

A Manassas couple returned home from a weekend vacation yesterday afternoon to find two strangers slain in their longtime home, apparently shot to death in recent days, police said.

And you thought the homecoming to your vacation was bad.

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)
Don't Blame Us, Blame Kris

Ok, proof that you can write an article about anything, we present the compleat rules of punchbuggy. Ellen loves this game, gets so excited she sometimes bops me two or three times. Now we can all know if we're playing it right or not!

Posted by scott at 09:11 AM | Comments (1)
June 03, 2003
How Many do You Remember

Test your Saturday morning 70s TV knowledge with quiz 1 and quiz 2 from funtrivia.com. I managed to get 7/10 on both.

Oh shut up, or I'll hit you with my walker.

Update: Even better, I found this set of schedules of all the Saturday morning programs during most of the 1970s. Yes kids, at one point you could show an entire network schedule on one four-row table. One of those rows was PBS!

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (3)

Salam Pax linked up this slate article about, well, Salam Pax. Turns out our blogger from Iraq was a busy guy after all. And not an Iraqi spy, thank you very much.

Posted by scott at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)
I Guess You Gotta Learn Somehow

Joshua gets a ... well, Joshua gets a no-prize for bringing the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health to our attention. I mean, when you think about it there's bound to be a lot of interesting stuff going on there, and certainly a museum of women's health sounds justified. I just can't get past the "ick" factor. Cultural caveman, that's me.

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)
Jupiter Pic

Also from space.com, this discussion of a really nifty picture of Jupiter. Turns out the cloud formations at the poles are even weirder than the stuff around the equator.

Posted by scott at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
Planet Problems

Space.com is carrying this article detailing new discoveries and theories about planet formation. In a nutshell: gas and dust seem to be disappearing a lot faster than current planet formation models predict. When coupled with discoveries of supermassive planets in many different places, it appears current models have some very serious problems.

Posted by scott at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

BBCnews brings us this summary of research into an ability almost unique to domestic dogs... the ability to follow the sightline of a human to find an object. Most interesting of all, this appears to be a genetic modification, not just a learned behavior.

Posted by scott at 12:41 PM | Comments (1)
Compression FYI

Jeff gets a forged alloy no-prize for bringing us this neat summary of how compression works in a piston engine. Great stuff for the gearhead in your family.

Posted by scott at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)
Stupid is as Stupid Does

Funny only because nobody got hurt, how not to catch a flight:

A man running late for his flight to Phoenix called in a phony bomb threat Monday in hopes that the plane would be delayed long enough for him to get on board, police said.

Years ago we had to take a plane trip with my brother's family, with their then very-very new little boy. We miscalculated a few things and ended up missing the flight. If only we'd known...

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM | Comments (2)
June 02, 2003
Move Over Spiderman!


Move over Spiderman! Here comes Gecko Boy

A very sticky No-Prize to Rich.

Posted by Ellen at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)
Goose News

Jeff gets a spruce (of course) no-prize for bringing us this update on Howard Hughes' greatest folly. I can remember reading in Guiness Books when I was a kid that this thing had been chopped up in the 60s. I can also remember when the rent ran out on the warehouse it was stored in, right across the harbor from its launch. It's incredible to believe in this modern age we actually lost something that huge and unique. Puts a whole differen perspective on, say, forgetting how to build pyramids, no?

Posted by scott at 06:13 PM | Comments (0)
Game Theory Explained. I Think.

Not having seen A Beautiful Mind yet, I'm not sure just how well they explained game theory, the field of research Mr. Nash won a nobel prize for. Knowing Hollywood, they probably didn't explain it very well. Scientific American is hosting this article that tries to summarize this interesting but perplexing field.

I gave it a shot, and I think I get the gist of it now. Math makes my head hurt...

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
On that Same Subject...

Oh, and by the way, the end of the world is nigh. I know these constant announcements keep dinking up your schedule, what with the need to schedule around dentist appointments and piano lessons, but as they say "knowing is half the battle."

The best end of the world announcement I ever saw was on the door of a horn instructor:

Due to a lack of adequate trumpet players,
the end of the world has been postponed 22 days.
We apologize for any inconvenience.

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
That's One Helluva 'Kaboom'

Damion and I were talking about what, exactly, might happen if a terrorist managed to actually truck a nuke next to the white house and light the fuse. This gives us an idea. Tracks in nicely with "blast echos" as well. A 25 megaton airburst over the Washington Monument would probably get us all the way out in Herndon. Wild.

Important to note these really aren't terrorist-quality weapons. This is the stuff that was mounted on ICBMs (hence the "blast echo" connection). From what I have read, the consensus is a terrorist nuke, should one ever show up, will be much smaller. Well, smaller on a nuclear scale anyway, on the order of Hiroshima.

Something to brighten your Monday!

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (1)
June 01, 2003
Women Mechanics

When men WON'T mind it when chicks work on cars.

Posted by Ellen at 08:52 PM | Comments (189)
36 Weeks

The 9th month is finally here! *bing bing bing!* That's the sound of the timer going off! Yipee!

We are officially 'allowed' to have this baby as of next friday if she decides to show up early. Though I am told (rather snidely from many people) that most 1st times babies like to be in the oven so much, they enjoy being late.

Scott decided that he didn't want to attend this past doctor visit. Of course more testing for diseases and stuff was involved, as well as some Q-tips. What I was not expecting was when the midwife told me, in a bright, cheerful voice mind you, that she was having a hard time palpating the baby's position and was going to perfom an 'internal exam'.

What I was not expecting was almost an entire hand going up there. Yup, the Good Witch Glenda felt me up. At least there weren't any stirrups. For you to get overly groped, apparently all you have to do is relax in a 'splayed out' position. Only makes me wonder what they make you do when you actually have the baby. Oh be quiet. We did find out that she's a pretty small baby. The midwife said she would be very surprised if Olivia was even up to 6.5 pounds. Meanwhile I'm thinking, she still has time to cook, so who knows how big she will get.

We've also finally got the baby furniture in. My brother, Richie, and my dad did a day trip from NY to bring them. Needless to say, everything looks great and fits well. After they left, Scott and I ran for all the boxes of baby stuff and started unloading everything 'baby' we could find.

All 300 diapers and 8 boxes of wipes (care of Sam's Club) were put away, along with all the clothing that has been sent to us. It took an entire day to wash her laundry, fold it and put it up. We also found sheer curtains for the room, and put up a stuffed animal hammock in the corner. No more can go in it. I actually over stuffed it (ha ha!) 3 times to find that it was like building a castle of cards. One too many, and they all spill out.

So the room is officially done, and it is very cute.

Scott has also managed to figure out his kangaroo pouch to carry Olivia around in.

We also got our carseat. Originally we went to Toys R Us, but after paying for the seat we wanted, waiting 20 minutes for them to bring it up, one of the workers said they were all out of stock in that item. *eyebrows raise*

"What do you mean *you are out of stock?*" I said. (In the background, Scott: "I think I'll go check the video games out.")

"Well miss, we don't have anymore in the back". Then he says the wrong thing to me. " We can't find this item, so we are out". (Again, in the background: "Wow, what a great selection.")

My ears begin to burn. "OK, thanks". (very fake smile,with a hint of "I am going to kill you" look mixed in. Scott quickly appeared with the same expression a fireman wears when he sees kids playing with cups of gasoline.)

So I march right to costumer service, return the product and tell them that maybe they need to take out all 5 coupons for the product listed OFF the shelf so some other poor ass pregnant chick thinks she is purchasing something and after waiting finds out your store can't find the damn thing.

Scott seeing me upset, takes me to WalMart to see if we can find something. We return with a small car seat that seems to suit our needs fine. It even has cats on it (thought the packaging fabric was called "teddy". But what a nice surprise to see cats, teddy bears and dogs on the fabric.) So it seems to have called out to us.

After figuring out the instructions, installing it in the car we feel kind of odd driving around with a phantom baby.

We just keep saying only 20 something days (days! Do ya hear that? DAYS!) to go.

Posted by Ellen at 05:08 PM | Comments (5)