September 30, 2003
Stupid Is... Media Style

Jeff gets a no-prize phoned to him by bringing what can only charitably be called a "row" between CNN and Fox news to our attention. More like playground justice. Remember folks, these are the guardians of truth and justice in our country, the arbiters of success in Iraq, and all that stand between you and the tyranny of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy tm.

Lair would not be surprised. But then, neither am I.

Posted by scott at 12:47 PM | Comments (1)
More "bad news" (Rah Rah Rah!)

Parts of this interview of three Iraqi exiles who left Britain in the summer and recently returned have made the rounds, but this is the first time I've seen the whole thing. The whole thing is well worth reading, but the concluding sentence was in my opinion compelling:

Don't spend your time hoping that Iraq fails just so you feel better about opposing the war.

Also gives some very nice, rational arguments for why the media are being such utter morons in reporting this war.

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (2)
No, Really...

The Japanese are at it again, this time with a very ... ummm... "innovative"... male sex toy. At first I thought it was even weirder than it actually is. When did I get so damned perverted?

Warning contains one relatively harmless diagram that *might* get you in trouble, but probably won't. If you're not sure, just wait until you're home.

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)
Yeah, That's the Ticket...

The fark headline says it all:

Iran claims enriched Uranium at one of their sites must belong to another country. Also claims bag of weed belongs to Holland.

Would someone please explain to me why the press hasn't made the most obvious point about this? Mainly, what does a country that has so much oil it limits production have any business doing developing a "peaceful" nuclear reactor? Yeah, wow, I can just see the board meeting for this one:

Achmed: "We can have peaceful, safe, hassle-free, cheap oil-fired electrical generators. Or we can have really expensive, hard-to-build, complex-to-administer, nuclear powered systems nobody but North Korea wants us to have."

Ahmed: "Well, of course we'd only be using the nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes. By Allah, let's go with the nuclear option!"

I mean, am I the only one who sees the "peaceful use" excuse as thinner than an "ultra-sensitive" condom and more full of crap than my kid's last diaper? I guess the media won't, at least until someone puts out a press release.

If Iran doesn't scare the hell out of you you're not paying attention. We're so damned busy with Iraq I can only hope Israel steps up to the plate again. Because all Europe (i.e. France and Germany) will do is "negotiate" via the oh-so-effective UN process all the while selling them the bits they need to finish the damned thing.

God I love international politics.

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (1)
Paging Battie, White Courtesy Phone Please

What merges the spirit of Halloween with the marshmallowy-goodness of everyone's Easter candy of choice?

Bat Peeps!

These'll probably be hanging all over our freinds' ceiling if they can find any. Well, right up until Ellen Homer-Simpsons them off the line that is.

Posted by scott at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)
Customers Suck!

I always try to be at least patient with the person behind the counter, because I used to be that person oh so long ago. That's why is such a hoot... this is what you look like to the person running the register!

Posted by scott at 08:25 AM | Comments (0)
September 29, 2003
Housecleaning 101

While this guide to housecleaning is supposed to be "for men", some of it describes our household as a whole, like:


Your second option is to put soap in the dishwasher and turn it on. It may take longer than doing it by hand, but you get much more accomplished and have a galley of clean dishes. Go ahead and leave them in there. Putting them away makes no sense when trying to save valuable television time. [We're actually a lot better about this now, but Ellen still tends to live out of the laundry basket, for the same reasons. --S]


Don't worry about separating colors and whites. Just turn the machine to cold and you can wash whatever is dirty.

TIP - Need to get rid of wrinkles? Your dryer also doubles as an iron!


The toilet paper roll is merely a suggestion. The bathroom counter or the toilet tank work as a quicker solution to storage of this valuable commodity

Ah, what a world...

Posted by scott at 02:31 PM | Comments (1)

Scott always thought if I really went into personal training (which is what I want to do REALLY bad, just don't have the time to quit my REAL job right now to do it) he would say I would be a bad ass mean instructor.

Scott has always hated working out with me, and I've never been able to find a workout partner with the same umm..craze for the pain than I do. ;)

Which brings me to this:

Even the most dedicated fitness fanatic occasionally needs extra motivation to make it to the gym, but a novel craze for slovenly New Yorkers takes encouragement to the extreme. Slavercise will raise your heart rate but there isn't a treadmill in sight. Be very afraid - and prepare to be whipped, slapped and intimidated into shape.

Slaves pay $20 for an hour-long weekly group session of verbal and physical humiliation, beatings and being bullied into shape. Latex, leather and rubber catsuits are optional - the only thing you need to bring to Slavercise is a pair of trainers and a bottle of water. The tone for the class is set when Mistress Victoria tells her students: 'You all look so pathetic.'

Interested to read more? Check it out here.

Now thats a job that I WOULD do.

Posted by Ellen at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)
More Taikonaut News

According to Rednova, a team of 14 "Taikonauts" has arrived at the launch facility. Two will probably be selected for the first flight. Soviet hardware, US organization. I wonder if the US will expose them if it blows up on the pad?

Of course, with today's publicly available sattellite imagery, it won't (or rather, shouldn't) just be the US government keeping an eye on them. However, this does require a set of journalists actually getting off their asses and researching something instead of just regurgitating press releases, so who knows.

Aviation Week will almost certainly be on the ball though. Time to renew that subscription...

Posted by scott at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)
The Sound of One Hand Slapping?

Imshin lead me to this interesting note about an interview with the Dalai Lama:

The Dalai Lama, Nobel Peace Prize winner and strong advocate of non-violence, says it might be necessary to fight terrorism with violence, and that it is too early to say whether the war in Iraq was a mistake.

For me, one of the tougher problems with Buddhism is reconciling its doctrine of non-violence with a world that daily comes up with new and more clever ways to beat the crap out of people. It's heartening to see I'm not the only one who has difficulty with this at times.

Also don't miss Imshin's reflection on the 3rd anniversary of Oslo. A moderate voice on the ground is something I always pay attention to.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Toys, not Guns

Sherri gets a no-prize for bringing this effort to send toys to Iraqi children to our attention. The cynical will sneer about sending toys when much more important things are needed. Tell me though, why not help a child smile?

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (0)
Chocolate Science

Slashdot linked up this cool article that tells you how to measure the speed of light using only chocolate chips, a microwave, and a ruler. It also finally gives me a good answer as to why microwaves tend to heat so unevenly:

There will be some melted hot spots and some cold solid spots in the chocolate. The distance between the hot spots is half the wavelength of the microwaves, and the frequency of the microwaves will often be printed on the back of the oven.

Of course, in my house the chocolate would never make it to the microwave...

Posted by scott at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)
Metal Kitties

The Metal Kitties bring us another song called *Scratch*.

Thanks to Eyeenvision for sending me the link!

Posted by Ellen at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)
September 28, 2003
What NOT To Do With A Vaccum

How to destroy a vaccum in a day.

Posted by Ellen at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Yeah, thats one big nut.

Posted by Ellen at 04:26 PM | Comments (2)
Umm....Ever Hear of Nair?

This is just not right.

Either this chick needs some Nair or a lawn mower. Hirsuitism at the most extreme. Imagine what the shower drain looks like.

Posted by Ellen at 04:23 PM | Comments (0)
Extra Credit? We Don't Need No Extra Credit!

Also from slashdot, a most excellent project that intends to create an internet connection* using bongo drums. Nope, not a typo.

* Oversimplification alert! To keep the geeks from showing up at my door w/ pitchforks & torches: Technically, they're creating a TCP/IP connection with the bongo drums, but mom wouldn't understand that...

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)

Slashdot featured this article detailing a new effort at creating an "aerospike" rocket engine. Conventional "bell-nozzle" rocket engines are optimized for a relatively narrow altitude range, and therefore aren't as efficient outside that range. The aerospike does away with the bell completely, and therefore promises significant efficiency gains.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)
My Brother's Next Gun

This quote will probably only make sense to my gun-nut brother, but I thought it was cool:

What's the Hatcher's Index of a projectile weighing fifty-thousand grains moving at 400 fps?

Well Jeff? How does that compare with, oh, say, that wackball .50 you got?

Posted by scott at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)
September 27, 2003

Very interesting.

This explanation appears in Websters World Encyclopaedia: "An explanation of the custom of dressing boys and girls in different colours is linked with their sex. Babies all look alike, and what better means of identifying them readily than by colours ? blue for boys and pink for girls? This colour scheme has been adopted all over the world. But who would ever suspect that the blue ribbon is tied up in a terror-crazed past and a haunting fear of anxious parents, deeply concerned with their baby's future?
Posted by Ellen at 10:31 PM | Comments (1)

When apples go evil.

Posted by Ellen at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)
September 26, 2003
Cat Kills Owner

Now before you all whine and cry on thats why a cat needs to be declawed, READ the fucking story ok? Pay particular attention to where it happened and what the owner fed it. M-kay?

A 76-year-old woman in Thessaloniki paid for her love for animals with her life, when she was attacked in her apartment by her cat, and died of blood loss.

Read entire story here.

This is a VERY VERY rare case. I'm not even 100% sure if this was a domesticated (note that I said domesticated) house cat. I guess the cat wanted FRESH raw meat.

Posted by Ellen at 07:50 PM | Comments (3)
Stupid Is...

Never trust your boss, or take a note to a bank without reading it:

Two men face charges in connection with a robbery last week at an RBC Centura bank -- an incident that one of the people involved says was simply a prank that misfired.

Assuming it's true, and trust me I have my own doubts, this has to rank high up in the "America's Stupidest People" list. And trust me folks, cops don't care what your intentions are... if you order a bank teller to give you money, and they do, and you take that money out of the bank, you're a bank robber. I know from an experience of a friend that it takes a long time and very expensive lawyers to talk your way out of a felony. Even that requires the plaintiff to be a moron, which banks are not. These guys are going to be looking at the inside of a jail cell pretty damned soon.

Posted by scott at 05:39 PM | Comments (1)
And We Thought the Japanese Were Weird

Ah merry olde England, land of rolling fields, quiet towns, ancient monuments, and people boinking in public parks:

Voyeurs and exhibitionists drawn to outdoor fun have discovered erotic pleasures in normally placid English parks that have nothing to do with walking the dog.
Posted by scott at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)
Home Again Elizabeth gets a kitty No-prize for bringing us this story!

SAN CARLOS, California (AP) -- Call it Ted's excellent adventure, with a high-tech twist: A cat with an ID microchip implanted under his skin was returned to his owner 10 years after he jumped out a window and vanished.
Posted by Ellen at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)
Addicted to Love No More

Robert Palmer, dead at 54. Seemed like a classy guy. Damned shame.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (0)
September 25, 2003
Price Drop

Also from RedNova, news that Nintendo is cutting it's gamecube price to $99.99 in the US market. Like I need another box strapped to my HiFi system...

Posted by scott at 02:48 PM | Comments (1)
Taikonaut Update

According to this RedNova article, the Chinese may launch their first manned space mission as early as the first week of October. This would make them only the third country to launch such a mission.

According to Aviation Week & Space Technology, and other sources, the Chinese craft is a modification of the tried-and-true Soyuz design, and the booster is a Long March (ballistic ICBM) variant.

Posted by scott at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)
Interviewme This

Better late than never... Crazy Aunt Maru gets a ... breezy... no-prize for sending us this Washington Life interview of Lloyd Grove, which has some hidden gems. Not the least:

Lloyd Grove: Well, let me tell you about something The Washington Post wouldn't let me print. About halfway through the general election campaign of 2000, I got word or shall I say, got wind of the fact that George W. Bush thought it was funny to punctuate a joke by breaking wind in groups of people. I first heard a story that during the campaign he called a new desk aide of Karl Rove's into his office to give him an "Austin Welcome".

Washington Life: Oh, you're kidding.

LG: And this story got some circulation. It finally got to the point where Ari Fleischer was calling to deny it up and down, after some rather non-denial denials from the principal himself. And then later on, he was doing an interview on the plane with a news-magazine reporter where he ended up adjusting the air nozzle on the plane. He said he had just broken wind and that part is off the record. That never made print. But later on, UPI reported that during one of those secret energy meetings that Cheney hosted, Bush joked that perhaps his own natural gas was meant to be harnessed to solve the energy problem.

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM | Comments (0)
The Way It's Supposed to Work

Problem: A mechanism for regulating and preventing a business practice that annoys the hell out of everyone is held up in court because the rules won't allow it.

Solution: Change the rules:

The House voted Thursday to grant the Federal Trade Commission explicit authority to create a national "do not call" list for telemarketers, and Senate action was expected later in the day.

Posted by scott at 01:34 PM | Comments (0)
September 24, 2003
Bad Plastic Surgery

When celebrities take it a bit to far.


Btw- I am collecting for the Ellen Needs New Boobs Fund! -but nice ones...not scary ones.

Posted by Ellen at 08:33 PM | Comments (10)
Medical Presidents

From angina to infarctions to anal resuscitation (yup, that's not a typo, check Lincoln's entry), this medical history of the presidents provides a fascinating clinical look at what ailed the leaders of this nation.

Posted by scott at 02:28 PM | Comments (0)
A Star Wars Triumph

Apparently this video of Triumph "the insult dog" goofing on a bunch of Star Wars geeks has made the rounds a few times, but it's the first time I'd seen it. Amazingly primitive rubber dog puppet riffing on amazingly nerdy Star Wars fans is just inexplicably funny. I defy you not to laugh!

I wonder if Richie was out there...

Posted by scott at 01:40 PM | Comments (2)
Going UP

Instapundit linked up this NYTimes piece summarizing a recent conference held near Los Alamos. The topic: space elevators.

For those of you who don't know, the idea is to hang a big (big... asteroid-sized) rock in geosynchronous orbit, then run a tether from a spot on the equator all the way to said rock. Getting into space would then simply be a matter of taking a (long, slow, but comparatively safe) ride.

The problem has always been with the materials... there simply wasn't anything in existence that would be strong and light enough to make the tether.

Enter carbon nanotubes. This new form of carbon, discovered just a decade or so ago, promises fantastically strong yet extremely lightweight fibers, and would make the perfect material for the tether.

According to the article, it would appear now the rest of it is engineering. The first cost estimate is 6-12 billion dollars for a "Wright Brothers"-style first try. Sounds like a lot, is a lot, but compared with, say, the 100 billion dollar space station, maybe not so much.

Posted by scott at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Zen Tags

While trolling around in slashdot I found this neat tagline (aka .sig):

Do not try to think outside the box. That's impossible. Instead, realise the truth. There is no box.

Posted by scott at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)
Ultimate Security

Greeblie et. al. will probably get a kick out of the ultimate in computer theft deterrance. You know, since concrete is non-conductive, I bet with only a little more effort you could actually get the system to work after this.

If Damion made a case like this we wouldn't be able to make fun of his wimpy swoopy Mac anymore, that's for sure.

Posted by scott at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)
Getting Better

If this BBCnews report is to be believed, we're a lot less likely to get blindsided by an asteriod than we have been in the past. In the past 2 years, half of the "top 10" approaches by major objects have been dected before they passed.

Of course, that means the other half wasn't, but it's a damned sight better than previous years.

Posted by scott at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)
Well, at Least They Didn't Set Anything on Fire

Oh, those crazy Japanese. This time we get to hear about the details of a celebration after a baseball championship. Roving bands of molesters, naked people jumping off bridges, mass hysteria!

But no riots per-se. I guess that does make them more civilized.

Posted by scott at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)
September 23, 2003
Stop Jawing at Me

Joshua gets a bone no-prize for bringing this Scientific American article to our attention. It details the discovery of what could be the earliest modern human remains found in Europe. Currently only a jaw bone has been accurately dated (to ~ 35,000 BP), but there are many other remains being examined.

Posted by scott at 03:46 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Cat Bowling!

Trust me, as with all things cat, cat bowling is far superior to Elf bowling.

It's funny. Laugh!

Via ATS.

Posted by scott at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)
First a Battlestar, Now This

The Toilet Seat Galactika, when a nightlight just isn't enough!

Well, now we know what to get K&D for Christmas...

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (1)
Oh, I Definitely Gotta Get One of These

With this computer display, I will no longer suffer from "mac envy" when I visit Damion's house and his big ol' 21"...

Monitor, you perv.

Heh... and Jeff thinks playing Quake on a 19" monitor makes him sick.

No price, which means I don't want to know. But I can dream!

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (1)
Old Bones

BBCnews is carrying this report summarizing the dating of what has proven to be the oldest cemetery in Britain. Dated to roughly 10,400 to 10,200 years old, it goes right back to the Mesolithic era, and probably represents some of the first people able to live in Britain... the glaciers had only just retreated from the island. In fact, they're not completely sure it was an island at that point. Sea levels may have been low enough to allow a land bridge between Britain and France, letting people walk back and forth freely.

Posted by scott at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)
The Great Radio Station in the Sky

Jeff gets a no-prize for letting us know Gordon Jump died yesterday. The name might not be familiar, but the face will be. He was best known for his role on the TV show WKRP. Others might know him from the Maytag commercials or the numerous other roles he had in his long career. Sounds like he'd been ill for some time, so let's hope the next time around he makes folks laugh just as loud.

Posted by scott at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)
September 22, 2003
Awwww... but... twisted

We visited the new goth store in DC and got a picture guaranteed to please.... Joshua's favorite pic. The first time our kid wears shoes and we stick her in a coffin. This girl just doesn't have a chance. Ha!

Posted by Ellen at 06:50 PM | Comments (3)
Counting Cats

BBCnews is featuring this article summarizing one researcher's results with African lions. Turns out they can count, sort of. She screwed with their heads by playing recordings of varying numbers of lions roaring out of loudspeakers. The reaction of the actual lions varied considerably with the number of lions in the recording.

Posted by scott at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)
To Obi-Wan You Listen!

Well, you can go on not listening to me, but how about the opinion of a Democratic congressman & former Vietnam vet?

These are goals worthy of a fight, of sacrifice, of more lives lost now to save thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands in the future. In Mosul last Monday, a colonel in the 101st Airborne put it to me quite simply: "Sir, this is worth doing." No one I spoke with said anything different. And I spoke with all ranks.

But there will be more Blumbergs killed in action, many more. So it is worth doing only if we have a reasonable chance of success. And we do, but I'm afraid the news media are hurting our chances. They are dwelling upon the mistakes, the ambushes, the soldiers killed, the wounded, the Blumbergs. Fair enough. But it is not balancing this bad news with "the rest of the story," the progress made daily, the good news. The falsely bleak picture weakens our national resolve, discourages Iraqi cooperation and emboldens our enemy.

And yet we still do not hear these things.

Posted by scott at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)
Little Old Ladies and Traitors

I heard about the story of Faith Fippinger on NPR about four months ago. In a nutshell, Ms. Fippinger is a 62-year-old retired schoolteacher living in Florida. To protest the war in Iraq, she became one of the "human shields" who were stationed near various installations around that country in an effort to prevent said installations from being destroyed by bombing.

In performing this function, she violated several travel and association bans imposed by the Treasury and State departments. Because of this, she is being prosecuted and stands to recieve very stiff fines and perhaps a long jail sentence.

At the time NPR played up the "little old lady" angle and played down the "knowingly broke the law because it doesn't apply to me" angle. Meanwhile I was shouting, "she broke the damned law" so loud someone in the car next to me shot me a look like I was from Mars.

Well, the BBC seems to have taken up the same story, and Steven Beste deconstructs it:

That Fippinger broke the law is beyond dispute. But the point the article tries to make is that she was doing so because of noble motivations, and thus should not be punished because she meant well.
She could have written about [her opposition]. She could have written about her political opinions online, as so many of us have. She could have had handbills printed and distributed them. She could have written letters-to-the-editor. She could have organized with others who opposed the war, tried to publicly express her point of view, tried to influence the majority of her fellow citizens to agree with her. A lot of people in the US did all of those things, and none of them have received letters from the Treasury Department threatening them with legal prosecution.

Read the whole thing, then accuse me of cheerleading.

I knew exactly what was going to happen to these people, because I'd read things like this happening to people trying to visit Cuba for years. The Treasury Department and the State Department take their travel and association bans extremely seriously, and they can, will, and do catch people violating them. The penalties, as this lady is finding out, are most definitely non-trivial.

When it comes to this sort of thing I'm very conservative, and I make no apologies for it. Laws apply to everyone, no matter how well intentioned or inoffensive you may be. Ask anyone with black or brown skin what "filtering" for supposed "good intentions" gets you. To be blunt, I doubt any of these articles or discussions would exist if the human shields were made up exclusively of 18 to 25-year-old single black males. Racism can sometimes be very subtle indeed.

The outcome of civil disobedience is always arrest and conviction. In fact, that tends to be a desired outcome. It's quite simply not my problem if you didn't check ahead of time to find out just what, exactly, you'd be subject to by breaking a law to make a point.

And yes, I do have a problem with Ashcroft and the patriot act and the way citizen "enemy combatants" are being treated, for precisely the same reasons. The difference is I'm going to make scrupulously sure I stay within the bounds of the law while I work to change things. While I still can.

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

After a long, tough mission, the Galileo space probe has been sent to the Great Partsbin in the Sky. With it's positioning fuel nearly exhausted, NASA guided the probe into Jupiter itself to prevent a possible collision and contamination with Europa, a moon thought most likely to harbor extra-terrestrial life.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

Fark linked up this bit of silliness in an op-ed about cats, madness, and toxoplasmosis.

I've got a pretty good idea who worked on the original study, and if I'm right he's been trying to prove a link for years and hasn't gotten anywhere with it. Plus, living with a vet tech like I do I know that not all cats have toxo, and it's not all that communicable. Ellen had worked with hundreds of cats for years and tested negative (i.e. "no exposure") during her first pre-natal exam.

If you keep your cats inside, make sure they don't get in fights, and scoop the box regularly you'll be fine. Of course, this goes a long way toward explaining Lair and Amish Tech...

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
September 20, 2003
Olivia's Ears

It's official. I got Olivia's ears pierced today.

Tiny CZ's in 14K gold. Very cute.

Of course she lit up the mall for 1 minute and turned bright red during the procedure. But a hug and a bottle fixed it all.

Now I have a happy baby once again.

Posted by Ellen at 08:00 PM | Comments (2)
Progress Report (Rah Rah Rah!)

More information you're not getting from big media:

Every hospital and clinic in Baghdad is now operating. The coalition is printing 5 million new textbooks, handing out school supplies to 1.2 million children and rehabilitating 1000 schools. Iraq is producing over 1 million barrels of oil a day. For the first time in history, Baghdad has a garbage collection service. Power production has jumped from 300 mega-watts per day after liberation to 3300 mega-watts per day. There are 1.3 million Iraqis drawing salaries, 92,000 receiving social security payments, and 90,000 working to clear irrigation canals of obstructions.

A report from a military paper distributed by the 82nd Airborne. No, I don't think it's unbiased, but, unlike CNN and MSNBC, at least it doesn't pretend to be. Via One Hand Clapping.

Posted by scott at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)
The Most Un-Amazing Magic Trick in the World

It's amazing! Unbelievable! See if your card disappears!

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)
Prevent Mind Control In Cats!

Tired of those pesky aliens trying to manipulate your cat into doing things it's not supposed to?
For example:

  • Crapping on the carpet
  • Peeing on the walls
  • Continuing to scratch furniture even when told, NO!
  • Stealing your stash of M&M's only to scatter them across the floor to play with them

Fear not! Now you can get something to protect puss from MiNd cOnTrOl!

We here at AMCG fully endorse this product. Not only do we back up a product like this, we firmly believe all cat households should have one.

Posted by Ellen at 11:34 AM | Comments (2)
Hey, I Work in I.T., I'm Hooked Up

Slashdot linked up this NYTimes article on an "electric sports car" capable of sub-4 second 0-60 times. The secret? 6800 laptop batteries. Probably those new 12-cell jobbers.

Posted by scott at 08:47 AM | Comments (0)
September 19, 2003
That's One Big Kaboom is carrying this article summarizing recent discoveries regarding the early universe. Research is providing more proof that it was an extremely violent place, with monstrous stars living and dying in a fraction of the time our sun's been around. Each supernova added variety to the atomic mix of the cosmos, making literally everything else possible.

Posted by scott at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)
Shiver Me Timbers!

Arrrrrrr!!!!! It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ye'll be only wantin to talk like a pirate today. Yarrrr...

If ya don't be talkin like one, you all be Sons of a Biscuit Eater! YARR!!! Be sure you be talking like a pirate all day. Yarr..arrr..arrr!!!

Posted by Ellen at 10:53 AM | Comments (2)
When Journalists Attack

I've always said the point when there isn't any more news can be spotted when the reporters start interviewing each other. I never even considered dumping them in 110-mph wind tunnels.

I'm genuinely sad that people got killed in this storm. Especially since they were the wrong ones.

Oh, the karma...

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Triumph, Hope, and Deconstruction (Rah Rah Rah!)

Instapundit had some nice war-related links today:

At least some Iraqi exiles are returning with good news, and are desperately worried we'll leave too soon.

This Instapundit article links up an interview with some returning US soldiers who say much the same thing... it's going better than we're being lead to believe, and the only real worry is we'll leave before the job is done. It also notes a significant descrepancy in reporting after the embedded guys pulled out.

Finally, this Lileks essay (scroll down to "The Strib") that deconstructs a "massive" Star Tribune editorial, wherein he makes many very good points, among them:

If Clinton had risen to the occasion, wiped out al-Qaeda, sent Marines to kick down the statues and put bullets in those filthy sons’ brainpans, this would be the most noble effort of our time. We would hear clear echoes of JFK’s call to bear any burden. FDR, Truman, Marshall Plan, forbearance, patience - the editorial pages of the land would absolutely brim with encouragement and optimism every damn day, because the good fight was being waged, and the right people were waging it.
Would the editorialists of the nation be happier if Saddam was still cutting checks to people who blew up not just our allies, but our own citizens? I’d like an answer. Please. Essay question: “Families of terrorists who blow up men, women and children, some of whom are Americans, no longer receive money from Saddam, because Saddam no longer rules Iraq. Is this a good thing, or a bad thing? Explain.” [emphasis original]

As always, read the whole thing before commenting, lest ye look like a landlubber (it's talk like a pirate day after all!)

Since I've managed to claim the war might be going well, criticized Clinton, and implied Bush might actually be doing some things right, I should have at least three juicy responses coming, probably claiming I'm 1) blind, 2) unfair, and 3) insensitive.

Perhaps. It doesn't make me any less right.

Update: Don't miss this article that takes a long hard look at France's policies and wishes in Iraq. It was a one-off sentence, but something I think should be highlighted, because I know some of you were really into getting the UN involved, and bring up Kosovo & Bosnia pretty regularly:

Speaking of backyards, France, under a UN mandate, couldn't take care of Bosnia, which is in Europe. American troops, under a NATO mandate, sorted it out. As usual. America also had to sustain the bulk of the effort in the 1999 Kosovo campaign.

I remember the press going on and on while Yugoslavia ate itself, and waiting and waiting for Europe to do something about it. All the while knowing who's blood and treasure would really need to be spent to get it done. As noted in the article, the real reason France (and Germany, IMO) wants a strong UN presence is simple, and not related to the wellbeing of the Iraqi people.

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)
September 18, 2003
Hurricane Blog Part 4

Journalists Survive Worst Hurricane in Century

(Reuters) Washington DC- The nation breathes easier tonight, taking comfort in the knowledge that thousands of journalists and broadcasters based in Washington DC and New York are safe.

Unlike previous hurricanes such as Andrew and Hugo, which merely killed dozens and destroyed billions of dollars of their property, Isabel threatened the very existence of this nation... its print, radio, and television journalists.

It is widely understood in media circles that sensationalizing what would otherwise have been a comparatively moderate storm was completely justified. Without such action, the dual goals of protecting thousands of preening self-indulgent peacocks while advancing the careers of weatherman wannabes would never have been achieved.

"It was spectacular", said Ima Producer of Fox News, "we got to watch an entire NBC News crew get blown into Chesapeake Bay, and my five-bedroom in Falls Church is completely safe!"

About three hours later still. Well, the wind's picked up a little more still, and it sure as hell hasn't stopped raining since, oh, since about 3 p.m. this afternoon. It's pretty dark out there right now, but no darker than any other good solid rain. And no lightning at all, at least for now.

We have it on good authority that my "we-love-the-country,-it's-so-peaceful" brother has been without power for several hours now, and he lives a good sixty miles north and west of here. One good thing about living next to an airport... your power grid is rock solid.

If the Weather Channel's to be believed, the worst of the thing is still about 20 minutes away. Even still, the weather radar still looks like a giant, solid rain, but nothing else.

Posted by scott at 09:09 PM | Comments (1)
Guinea Pig From Hell

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 — It would be an exterminator’s worst nightmare: A 1,545-pound rodent with a voracious appetite and big teeth. Resembling a guinea pig grown to the size of a buffalo, the animal lived millions of years ago in a South American swamp and is thought to be history’s biggest rodent, researchers say this week in the journal Science.

See entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 06:55 PM | Comments (1)
Hurricane Blog Part 3

4 hours later...a little more rain, a little more wind. Damn trash can is sitting on the curb.

We stopped sitting at the window with popcorn and beer 2 hours ago.

We are very disapointed that no one from FOX news has tumbled down our street yet.

More to post later.

Posted by Ellen at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)
Hurricane Blog Part 2

So far Isabel is a bust! A little wind here, a little rain there. Scott and I keep looking out the window hoping that our neighbors trash can will go tumbling down the road. Instead it obstinantly insists on sitting at the curb.


My brother keeps telling me I'm going to Oz.

So he says this:" Ellen, scott and O are off to see the wizard."

Scott won't let me go outside to test the wind strength! :( Instead I am reduced to watching the FOX News team get blown around like bits of paper.

Posted by Ellen at 02:49 PM | Comments (3)
WARNING: Satellite <> Rubber Ball

The funniest thing about this "anomoly report" of an accident that resulted in catastrophic damage to a weather satellite before it even left the lab is the official language. A more proper example of cover-thine-ass beaurocratese I have not seen.

Satellites do a lot of things really well. Bouncing isn't one of them.

Reminds me of another incident I remember from AvWeek, probably a year ago. Someone forgot to un-bolt the cover used to protect the cargo (nose) section of a Delta V (I think) rocket that was already bolted to the launch pad. When the crane try to pull it off, the entire rocket came unstrung. The description sounded very much like what happens when you pull straight up on a "bendy" straw. Well, a "bendy" straw that cost ~ 40 million bucks.

Posted by scott at 12:21 PM | Comments (0)
Oh, the Flashbacks...

This guy's "typical" class at Brandeis sounds a lot like the typical stadium-stlye classes I took in college. The cute girl reactions were even the same. Yup Nina, you got a lot to look forward to.

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
Bumper Stickers You'd Like to See

A good friend sent this to me via email. Enjoy!

18. If you can't feed 'em, don't breed 'em!"
17. Jesus loves you...but everyone else thinks you are an asshole.
16. Impotence...Nature's way of saying "No hard feelings."
15. The proctologist called...they found your head.
14. Everyone has a photographic memory...some just don't have any film.
13. Save your breath...You'll need it to blow up your date.
12. Your ridiculous little opinion has been noted.
11. I used to have a handle on life...but it broke off.
10. WANTED: Meaningful overnight relationship.
9. Guys...just because you have one, doesn't mean you have to be one.
8. Some people just don't know how to drive...I call these people "Everybody But Me."
7. Heart Attacks...God's revenge for eating His animal friends.
6. Don't like my driving? Then quit watching me.
5. If you can read this...I can slam on my brakes and sue you..
4. Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.
3. Try not to let your mind wander...It is too small and fragile to be out by itself.
2. Hang up and drive!!

1. Welcome to speak English

Posted by Ellen at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)
dentist makes house call for Oscar the otter

Oscar, 5, is nursing a tender mouth today and is off her kibbles and fish diet for a day or two.

The female otter at Lansing's Potter Park Zoo is recovering from root canal surgery performed Wednesday by East Lansing dentist Richard Stilwill and zoo veterinarian Tara Myers Harrison.

See entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 11:43 AM | Comments (0)
Lost Plane

Jeff gets a side-scanning no-prize for bringing this "Lost B-29" site to our attenton. Apparently done as much to demonstrate a new imaging company's capabilities as to find a lost warbird, it includes remarkable pictures and video.

According to the site, a B-29 Superfortress was performing an atmospheric research flight in 1948 that required it to fly from 30,000 feet to "as low as possible" and back several times. Well, apparently the pilots got a little lower than "as possible", literally bouncing the plane off the surface of Lake Meade. The collision ripped three of the four engines out and set the last one on fire, but the pilots were able to ditch the plane successfully, and everyone got out. The plane then sat at the bottom of the lake undisturbed for the next 50+ years.

Very cool.

Posted by scott at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)
It's Coming to Blow Us Away, Ha-Ha!

They're rolling up the carpets and screwing down the windows all around the DC metro area as I type this. I thought this place went wacko during snow... hurricane-crazies make the snow-crazies look like Ben Stein on downers. I fully expect it to rain like hell all night, flood three block's worth of Old Town (like it always does), and then clear out by morning. Lots of people will be left with garages full of bottled water, batteries and flashlights.

When the feds close we close though, so I get a free day off. Predictably, the internet connection is fritzing, so blogging may be light, heavy, or moderate. Geeze, now I sound like a maxipad commercial.

Screaming baby time... back in a few.

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)
Plant News

BBCnews is carrying this report summarizing the latest news in plant paleontology. Turns out ugly little algae-like plants were populating the land much earlier than previously thought... ~ 475 million years ago.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
September 17, 2003
The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer

Now we know what to get our friends! You know who you are!

I was wondering though, doesn't this remind you of a Playdough Toy?!?

Posted by Ellen at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)
Mysterious Squid Deaths

I love squids! Can't get enough of them!

MADRID (Reuters) -- Scientists are trying to find out what caused two enormous squids, one of them 40 feet long, to wash up dead on Spain's northern coast this week.

See entire story here Very Cool!

Posted by Ellen at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)
Giant Star Seen Swallowing Planets

In a letter soon to be published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Dr Alon Retter and Dr Ariel Marom from the Department of Physics suggest that this phenomenon is an expanding giant star swallowing nearby planets, an event which may one day befall our own planet.

Their research provides data to support the theory that the multi-stage

eruption of the "red giant" known as V838 Monocerotis observed last year was fuelled as it engulfed three near orbiting planets.

See the entire article here.

*With Pictures!*

Posted by Ellen at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)
Violent, Yet Strangely Satisfying

Yet another simple flash game to take your mind off work: Osama's Liquor Store. It's the sound effects that do it for me... nothing quite as satisfying as popping a cap in an ass that needs it.

Via Greeblie.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)
Shine on Silvery Moon

Joshua gets a glowing no-prize for bringing this Scientific American article about the moon to our attention. Turns out the Chandra X-ray telescope is actually very useful not only for exploring deep space, but the composition of the moon as well.

Posted by scott at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)
Anger, Hate, and Loathing (Rah Rah Rah)

I found this essay that does a pretty good (and even-handed!) job explaining why:

Democrats are seized with a loathing for President Bush — a contempt and disdain giving way to a hatred that is near pathological — unlike any since they had Richard Nixon to kick around.

It's not just Dems... there seem to be a lot of independents (aka "indecisives") who feel the same way, for the same reasons.

Via Spacecraft.

Posted by scott at 10:06 AM | Comments (7)
Is that a Fusion Reactor in Your Garage...

Slashdot linked up this cool story about a high school kid who built a working fusion reactor from donations and junk in his garage. See, sometimes good things can happen when kids tinker with technical stuff (he was, however, supervised).

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)
And the Car Goes Round and Round

Fark linked up this surprisingly (for fark) technical bit about just how fast, exactly, a car would need to be going to "loop the loop". Turns out it's nowhere near as fast as you'd think, and is more related to the size of the loop than the size of the car. Physics makes my head hurt sometimes.

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)
Can 'Iron Chef Naples' be far Behind?

The Japanese score another direct hit by capturing the "best pizza award" at an international contest. The guy lives in Italy fer chrissake... is being Asian somehow an impediment to learning how to cook something?

Posted by scott at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)
September 16, 2003
Insert Jakov Smirnov Joke Here

Also via Jody, Russian sex doll raft Contests. No, really!

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (0)
I Gotta Get Me One of These

Need a warp drive? Of course you do! This is much better than that goofy rocket Damion keeps wanting to mount on his Civic.

Great. Just what the world needs. A faster-than-light Honda. Jeff (my big-V8-lovin' brother) will be pissed.

Via Jody.

Posted by scott at 02:30 PM | Comments (2)
Ancient Wars

New Scientist is carrying this summary of the work of one archeologist who claims to have an angle on the origins of warfare, at least in Mexico:

The advent of affluent village life with communities splitting into clans may have heralded the first wars, suggests archeological analysis of ancient Mexico.

While this may sound obvious, it's always good to have proof of the obvious (or at least putative proof at any rate).

Posted by scott at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)
Boom-Boom Isabel

Nasa is featuring this cool pic of Isabel taken by one of their new sattelites.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)
A Voice from the Belly of the Beast (Rah Rah Rah!)

Instapundit linked up this very interesting excerpt from the upcoming book "Embedded: The Media at War in Iraq, an Oral History."

Yeah, it was an absolutely disgraceful performance. CNN's Eason Jordan's op-ed piece in The New York Times missed that point completely. The point is not whether we protect the people who work for us by not disclosing the terrible things they tell us. Of course we do. But the people who work for us are only one thousandth of one percent of the people of Iraq. So why not tell the story of the other people of Iraq? It doesn't preclude you from telling about terror. Of murder on a mass scale just because you won't talk about how your driver's brother was murdered.

Read the whole thing before you start ranting about my radical cheerleading.

Say what you will about Fox News, they make absolutely no apologies about their point of view. I know which particular set of filters to put on when I watch them. Nobody knew CNN was giving kickbacks to the information ministry until they got caught, and no real changes were made afterword. And yet I hear constant prattling about how awful Fox News is and yet nary a peep about CNN. Just who do you trust? Are you sure?

I'm sorry, if I have to choose between Quisling and Goebbels, I'll choose Goebbels every time. At least he isn't hiding the knife.

Posted by scott at 10:22 AM | Comments (0)
Cars R Us

Slashdot linked up this nifty article about how, after nearly 10 years, the Porche 959 supercar finally managed to be federalized.

All fans of foreign cars know two things: 1) The cars we get in the US are hardly ever the most exciting available, and 2) importing the really cool cars is effectively impossible due to all the red tape. These guys got around the federalization process in a very innovative way... they got their senator to write a new law:

Dean went to EPA, NHTSA and all the major manufacturers, to keep everyone happy. We formulated a law—that if 500 or fewer cars were produced, if they weren’t currently produced, if they were never U.S.-legal, and if they were rare—you could import them without having to pass DOT standards. As long as they met EPA standards and were driven no more than 2500 miles per year, they’d be legal.

Unfortunately this means no soopa Nissan Sky-thingy for Damion right now, but if production ever ends...

The only "super" car Alfa made that might meet this is the SZ, a really weird looking thing based on a Milano chassis. Of course, they made 150 too many. Ah well.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (2)
Have Cat, Will Travel

Fark also linked up this story about an Infinity Q-45 (it's a car, mom) that needed, in their words, "de-kittening." No worries, everyone ended up just fine. Oh stop crying Ellen.

Posted by scott at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)
Super Suit

Fark linked up this story summarizing new developments in ceramic armor. Turns out that by sandwiching layers of polymers and kevlar between ceramics, you get something that is light enough to be wearable but strong enough to stop armor piercing bullets. Weirdly, they have no real idea why.

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM | Comments (7)
September 15, 2003
Somehow, I Don't See Gramma Picking Up a Pair of These for Olivia

Can't afford diapers? The open crotch pants are for you! No, really.

*Shrug* Who am I to judge... I wear white shoes with black pants!

Posted by scott at 04:21 PM | Comments (0)
Fact Checking

Yourish does a nice bit of deconstructing by fact checking a Reuters article. Watch a 14 year old vandal transform in to an 11 year old victim! See an off-limits army base turn into a public airport! Watch as an "innocent victim" "wanders into an area" by cutting through a fence!

Bias? We don't see no stinking bias!

Posted by scott at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)
Clarity and Purpose (Rah Rah Rah)

Instapundit linked up this Financial Times essay that very clearly articulates what is often only vaguely felt by most conservatives. To wit:

The moral paralysis of the left, when it comes to non-western tyrants, may also have a more sinister explanation. The Israeli philosopher, Avishai Margalit, calls it moral racism. When Indians kill Muslims, or Africans kill Africans, or Arabs kill Arabs, western pundits pretend not to notice, or find historical explanations, or blame the scars of colonialism. But if white men, whether they are Americans, Europeans, South Africans or Israelis harm people of colour, hell is raised. If one compares western reporting of events in Palestine or Iraq with far more disturbing news in Liberia or Central Africa, there is a disproportion, which suggests that non-western people cannot be held to the same moral standards as us. One could claim this is only right, since we can only take responsibility for our own kind. But this would be a rather racist view of world affairs.

Read the whole thing before you come back with, "Bush is still a git you reactionary extremist, neener-neener-neener!"

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Batty and/or Skully, White Courtesy Phone Please

I mean, who can't at least look at a site titled, your one-stop shop for all the stock that goes "plop" (HA!)

The characters in question did, after all, actually pay money to rent Monsturd, a film that definitely gives Plan 9 from Outer Space a run for its money in the "stupid is..." department.

My child's godparents. Gotta love 'em.

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)
Bright Tiles

Joshua gets a solar-powered no-prize for bringing this Scientific American article about solar panel developments to our attention. It would appear that scientists have finally made a successful "first step" in applying carbon nanotube technology to solar electricity generation.

The biggest problems with current solar panels are a) they're expensive, b) they're not real efficient (15%, as I recall), and c) they're made up of really nasty toxic chemicals and materials. This development could pave the way to solving all these problems.

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

As I expected (at least according to this article), it's not that we're having a hard time, it's that we've merely forgotten:

Six months before, the world had cheered as the statues of the dictator came crashing down. The Americans had seemed heroic. But now things were going very badly. The occupation was chaotic, the American soldiers were hated and they were facing threats from the surviving supporters of the dictator, whose whereabouts were uncertain.

Germany had only a little experience (through a glass, and darkly) with representational government, and Japan had none. Both countries' infrastructure had been laid to waste, literally ashes on the ground in Japan's case.

Iraq's not like that, but we don't have millions of soldiers to sit on them with either. It's not as good as we want, but I firmly believe it's nowhere near as bad as it seems.

Via On the Third Hand

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (0)
Dye Hard

BBCnews has this post summarizing one man's attempt at discovering just how "senatorial purple" was actually made. It was a trade secret kept so well nobody really knows how they did it. Turns out, it involves a very specialized bacteria.

Posted by scott at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Not that You Care, But...

Meetings meetings everywhere, and not a thought to think. Postings will be few & far between as my job actually makes me work today.

Posted by scott at 09:08 AM | Comments (0)
September 14, 2003
Washing Baby

"Don't forget... you need to wash the baby before you go to bed!"

So says Ellen, She Who Must be Obeyed. Nina and Richie, her siblings, were taking mommy out to see a concert, and that meant daddy was Home Alone. After three or four worried looks and six or seven times through the thirty-step instruction manual ("here's the number of the doctor, and the emergency number, and our number, and the ambulance, and here's the 911 number just in case...") mommy went on her merry, if worried way.

Eventually 9 p.m. rolled around and it was time to Wash the Baby, which I had not been allowed to do before. Hmm... I could just spray her with air freshener a few times and say I washed her. On careful consideration (and a second reading of the WARNINGS on the can), I came to the conclusion that I probably wouldn't be able to pull that off. So, upstairs we went.

An aside... Ellen ranks bathing just under chocolate and several steps above a husband on the enjoyment scale. To save time, she'd long since resorted to washing the baby at the same time she washed herself. Splashing and giggling and silly bubble bath hairstyles had become part of our nightly ritual. It also meant the actual baby bath had been squirreled away in the same place women hide all the rest of the stuff men only start looking for after their wives have left for a trip. So we were going to have to wash Olivia Ellen-style, which meant everyone was going to get a washing.

How to wash the baby in 25 easy steps:

  1. Endure 2 hours of being reminded You are Not Mommy. Chalk it up to early husband domestication practice.
  2. Go upstairs to gather up all essential bathing tools. Note complainant tones change from "You are Not Mommy!" to "Hey, come back here! You are Not Mommy!"
  3. Check off list: diaper, new clothes, baby wrap, baby towel, baby shampoo, baby soap, baby brush.
  4. Start water
  5. Retrieve complainant from Swing Chair of Doom. Make sure to observe proper shin-to-chair clearance as previous encounter was Unpleasant.
  6. Note miraculous transformation of complainant into MegaCuteHappyGrinningBabytm once running bath water is heard.
  7. Place baby on soft towel on floor. Note in amazement that this does not pull the pin, but in fact causes baby to simply wait patiently.
  8. Remember Empress's comment, "I keep the temperature just under what I like it at." Note Empress usually exits bath with skin same color as well-boiled lobster. Note this is several dozen degrees above tepid wimpy-man bath water temperature. Observe visibly excited but barely shivering MegaCuteHappyGrinningBabytm. Turn temperature up.
  9. Undress baby. Enter magic "naked baby!!!" time, involving many expressions of HappyGrin #6 and SillyGiggle #4.
  10. Undress self.
  11. Face Bathing Paradox #1: Who goes in first? If self is placed in tub first, baby is out of range. Remember, from observing bath time with Ellen, baby is only slightly less buoyant than glazed brick, so baby cannot go in first. Observe Ellen has scrubbed bathtub to teflon-like sheen during manic bathtub cleaning previous day, so dual-entry is not recommended.
  12. Solve Paradox #1 by placing self in tub, then dragging towel on which HappyNakedBaby is burbling on into range, then hoisting baby into tub.
  13. Observe bemused "you are definitely Not Mommy" look on baby's face as she thumps chest experimentally several times. Keep expecting her to say, "[phut] [phut] [phut]... is this thing on?!?"
  14. Note Ellen wasn't kidding... wet baby only slightly less slippery than crisco-covered watermelon. Remember to use two hands at all times.
  15. Observe plethora of bath paraphernalia arranged attractively on tub edge. Remember the various squirt bottles, brushes, pads, and soaps are all used in proper washing of baby, in a specific order.
  16. Observe salamander-slick baby squirming merrily between clenched fingers.
  17. Use hands to wash baby.
  18. Teach baby new game of "baby torpedo!!!" Note bathtime can actually be fun.
  19. Face Bathing Paradox #2: Who gets out first? If self gets out first, baby does brick imitation. If baby gets out first, risk BlueBaby. If both get out first, risk first father-daughter gymnastics demonstration.
  20. Solve Bathing Paradox #2 by placing baby on towel and then quickly exiting tub, dripping warm water on baby.
  21. Use daddy's towel to dry baby
  22. Use baby's towel to dry daddy
  23. Observe surprised "certainly Not Mommy" look on baby's face. Become very grateful long-term memory formation will not occur for some time hence.
  24. Play "boobaBUUBBAbooba" game while dressing baby to distract from fact that naked time is now over.
  25. Finish bathing ritual by giving baby night-time feeding.

Pretty good for a first time effort, even if I did use three times as many towels as Ellen does!

Posted by scott at 06:23 PM | Comments (4)
Dumb Court Questions

Yes, lawyers can be stupid too.

Well not just the lawyers, but the clients too!

Posted by Ellen at 11:12 AM | Comments (0)
Ramen Noodles - the essential foodstuff

I LOVE Ramen Noodles. I lived on the stuff in college. I had a friend name Mike who's mom would bring him Ramen Noodles every semester. Mike was not fond of those noodles. So he would give me the case of noodles to eat. The problem was that I had no hot pot. But Mike did. Mike 'lent' me that hot pot for 2 years only to come to my room to borrow it back for the occasional cup of coffee or hot chocolate or soup he wanted to make.

For the 2 years at my technical college for Veterinary Technology, I injested so much sodium that I am not surprised that I did not have high blood pressure from it.

Anyhow, here is a neat site on the power of the Ramen Noodle.

Posted by Ellen at 10:04 AM | Comments (1)
September 12, 2003

Shadow puppets gone wrong.

It's talent!

Posted by Ellen at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)
Well, that's One Way to Shorten the Line at the Stadium Bathroom

Geeze, like women don't already carry enough crap in their purse, now they can bring along their own urinal

All together now... EEEEeeeeewwwwwwww!!!

Posted by scott at 08:01 PM | Comments (1)
That's a Big F'ing Fish!

Looks like someone just caught the world's largest halibut. Billy, my die-hard fisher father-in-law, will be very disappointed.

True story: (as I recall, anyway) My parents went ocean fishing one day, either before or shortly after I was born, and caught one of these things (might've been a flounder). Being from Arkansas, they'd never seen nor heard of such an ass-ugly fish, and assumed it was some sort of mutant. They were going to throw it back until their friends shouted to stop them. "No! You eat it! It's good!"

I don't think they believed them.

(Note: Story pulled from deep recesses of memory, almost certainly wrong in detail. Maybe certain readers of this website can clarify?)

Posted by scott at 07:43 PM | Comments (1)
My Sweet Baboo

Ok, here is one of the latest pictures of my Sweet Baboo Olivia.

Posted by Ellen at 06:56 PM | Comments (2)
Must be the Lack of Sunlight

Ah, Finland... the fijords, the piny forests, the long dark winters, the homicidal TV stars:

With her former boyfriend’s head in her backpack, the Finish TV-star went bar hopping. She is now charged with a double murder, and her new boyfriend admits to cannibalism.

Ok, I've heard of "lover's revenge" before, but that's carrying it a bit far...

Posted by scott at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)
Looking Forward to it? Of Course!

Jeff gets two no-prizes in a row for bringing a preview of what my life will be like in 2 years. And I know it will, because this sounds exactly like what Ellen warns me about in sing-song tones:

Here is how you play Princesses: You get a Princess, or a Barbie. Then you brush her hair for a while. Then she gets married. That's it! You don't even need a Prince! Or, sometimes Winnie the Pooh is the Prince. It doesn't matter! It is not about the Prince. It is about the Princess. She is beautiful. She has beautiful hair. So she gets married! She lives in a big castle! It is not clear who is paying for this lifestyle. Maybe somewhere there are a bunch of licensed taxpayer characters.

Maybe if I paint all the wrenches pink...

Posted by scott at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)
Diesel Rice?

Jeff gets a weighty no-prize for brining the ultimate in reciprocating internal combustion engine power (that means it's a big engine). We're talking 25,000+ liters of diesel-powered lovin here! When I say 108,920 hp and 5.6 million pound-feet of torque, well, even Damion might look up from his crazy rocket powered project.

Of course, the fact that it's nearly 100 feet long and 4 stories tall might make it a bit difficult to fit into his civic. But I don't doubt he'd try!

Posted by scott at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)
Insert "Holy Grail" Joke Here

"Acme Insurance company, how can I help you?"

"Yes, I'd like some help filing a claim. My camper's been damaged."

"I can help you sir. I just need to get some details. Can you tell me what happened?"

"Well, you see, a cow fell on it."

"Ah. Ran into it you mean?"

"Well, actually no... fell on it. As in, from the sky

And to think of all the trouble I went through getting my car fixed when another car ran into it!

Posted by scott at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)
Dennis Miller on Dems

Dennis Miller is one of us!:

Al Sharpton's ramblings have gone so far afield now, somebody's gonna have to install an On-Star button in the middle of his forehead.

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)
John Ritter and Johnny Cash Dead

(CNN) -- Actor and comedian John Ritter has died unexpectedly after he was rushed to the hospital for a "dissection of the aorta," his publicist Lisa Kasteler told CNN.

See entire article here.

(CNN) -- The "Man in Black" died Friday. Johnny Cash was 71. Cash died early Friday of complications from diabetes at Baptist Hospital in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman Nicole Bates said.

See entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 07:34 AM | Comments (0)
September 11, 2003

Bin Laden accuses us of being soft. Have we no stomach for violence? In the long run, will it make a difference?

We've all seen it at one time or another... the hero, after witnessing the deaths of his loved ones sets out to avenge these misdeeds. After questing long and hard, he finally confronts the evildoer and after an epic battle disarms him. Just as he's about to send this murderer to his maker, some supporting actor always runs up, grabs the hero's arm, and shouts, "No! You can't do this! If you kill him you'll be no better than he is!" After a few moments of dramatic music, the hero takes a deep breath, puts away his weapon, and the credits roll.

This tableaux, acted out so often in our media we can almost recite the dialog word for word, represents a fundamental contradiction in our modern society. The elitist, the academic, the intellectual, both self-styled and actual, is bemused by simple, outdated concepts like "good" and "evil". After some sixty years of post-war cultural relativism, they fully believe in the utopian delusion that misunderstanding and miscommunication are the root of all evil and only by refusing to "talk it out" do we descend into madness.

The "common" people, however, hold no such delusions. In a world of strong versus weak, where success is too many times defined by how hungry you are when you go to bed, where prosperity is always bestowed to the mean and the clever instead of the virtuous and responsible, they know without a doubt that good and evil are both concrete and easy to spot. They do not look to the latest vogue social theories to guide them, they look instead to the books of their ancestors, whose admonitions will be with them long after the latest behavioral theory has been discredited.

And so, since Hollywood is filled with the former while the rest of America is filled with the latter, our heroes seem to always be forced through this existential angst at doing what is, after all, the hero's job. As with all modern streams of liberal thought, Hollywood has forgotten what middle America has not. There are always differences between the hero and the villain, deeply rooted ones that could never be undone with a single act of violence.

It wasn't always like this. The foundations of our culture, the quasi-mythological histories of Greece, Rome, and Judea, are filled with vengeful characters carrying out their missions with, as the modern saying goes, "extreme prejudice." Ancient criminal justice systems could be sophisticated in the extreme in the procedures used to find guilt, yet had exactly three sorts of penalties: fines, mutilations, and death. Such sentences were always carried out publicly, and at the ancient high point of our cultural tradition were turned into macabre sport. In warfare, extermination of an entire people was the understood, and desired, goal, so obvious it was never even articulated.

What changed? The answer lies at the feet of the industrial revolution. The upward mobility and burgeoning middle class created by industrialization redefined what was a threat to society. Because agrarian cultures (and, before about 1760, all advanced cultures were agrarian) are always ruled by an extremely small, extremely rich elite surrounded by masses of very poor, very desperate people, the slightest transgression was always seen as a direct threat to society*, and was treated accordingly. Defeated cultures could be annihilated simply by lopping off a few thousand heads and enslaving the rest.

Industrialization's emphasis of wealth over birth as the arbiter of power shattered this construct. For the first time in the history of civilization, being born poor did not automatically doom someone to a life of poverty. Unprecedented numbers of people suddenly had the wealth and time required to be creative, and therefore define the culture. The weapons of these societies were so powerful they doomed any army that didn't have them, and so such creativity could not be snuffed at the will of a thug who happened to be good with a horse.

With so many people having a "buy" into a society, and industrial technology arming them with weapons of such unprecedented lethality, cultural extinction simply fell off the radar screen. Since birth no longer solely determined a person's value to a society, the concept of "rehabilitation" became possible, even desirable in an age of freewheeling opportunism. It took a lot longer for massacring an opponent's army to go out of fashion, but eventually even that was seen as denying one's own producers a set of future consumers.

Modern societies are now ever further removed from violence of any sort. A person nauseated by the thought of killing a chicken, cow, or pig would've starved 150 years ago yet today can prosper without eating meat at all. The effectiveness of modern police forces have made private gun ownership an at times dangerous luxury instead of an obvious necessity. We have become so insulated even obviously fictional violence upsets us, and viewing real, albeit televised, death is perceived as a shattering experience.

What's important to understand, and far too often ignored by insular academics, elitist diplomats, and policy wonks, is that the rest of the world still works the old way. A "traditional" society is almost by definition agrarian in nature. This is far too often romanticized into bucolic visions of peaceful farmers riding carts pulled by braying donkeys, but such is not the case.

Instead, these are societies ruled by very small classes of elites, defined more by blood than by talent. Social mobility, especially by women, is seen as (and in fact is) an immediate and direct threat to the very foundations of these cultures, and because of this is dealt with in the most harsh and brutal ways imaginable. "The people" simply don't exist in the western conception of that term, instead being composed of masses of very poor, very ignorant people with no conception of or concern for the policies, practices, or preachings of their rulers so long as it does not affect their fields.

The events of September 11th represented a literal clash of these two cultural conceptions. To the traditional culture, this was a logical attempt to exterminate at least some** of the ruling elite that threatened their utter destruction. In their mind, such destruction would perforce result in the implosion and extinction of that society, since the elite were the only ones actually responsible for it. Victory would be, therefore, inevitable.

To the most culturally advanced (i.e. liberal) members of the industrial society, it was the violent "acting out" of a people who had simply "missed out" on the benefits of modernity. Cultural extinction, on either side, simply never occurred to them because their society was made up of all the people, not just a small subset, and it would be assumed the other side was likewise composed. Negotiations should be the rule of the day, not primitive vengeance.

Of course, of the two miscalculations, the former is much more dangerous to the traditional society than the latter is to the industrial. Modernity is an uncomfortable suit of clothes for many, perhaps even most, of its inhabitants. Even two centuries is not enough time for such people to forget apocalypse. To them, the attacks represented a clear and present danger not just to their country, but to their way of life, even their very existence. It doesn't help much that they're right. And it's those millions of people who understood on that terrible day one simple truth the liberals, elites, and academics had long forgotten.

The good guy can never turn into the bad guy simply by killing him, because the bad guy is now dead.

Posted by scott at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)
Comics & Speech

Damion gets a no-prize for bringing the interesting case of Jesus Castillo, the manager of a comic book store who got sentenced to 180 days in jail, 1 year probation, and a $4,000 fine for selling an adult comic book to an adult.

This will probably raise eyebrows with most of you until I note this ocurred in Texas.

Fortunately, on appeal, his sentence was reduced such that the portion requiring jail time was discarded. However, the overall obscenity charge was upheld, and a hearing by the supreme court was denied.

Was the comic obscene? Well, as with everything, depends on your definition. However, even in my own very liberal definition of obscenity, a woman having sex with a tree root pretty much crosses the line.

What I found much more interesting was that the jury ignored the fact that magazines like "Hustler" and "Penthouse" were available for purchase within a mile of the comic store. Of course, one of the very assets of comics is they allow the depiction of events that would be impossible to illustrate otherwise, so it's quite possible the comic went far beyond what could even be found in Hustler.

A very interesting case...

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM | Comments (1)
A Lawsuit of Biblical Proportions

All that crap about Americans suing just because the wind blows the wrong way? Well, we're not alone:

An Egyptian lawyer said Wednesday he was planning to sue the world's Jews for "plundering" gold during the Exodus from Pharaonic Egypt thousands of years ago, based on information in the Bible.

And people thought slave reparations were ridiculous.

Colorful reaction from Amish Tech Support in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)
Smart Fenders for Stupid Drivers

New Scientist has this article on a German team that's developed "smart" body panels for cars. The hope is that by combining sophisticated fiber optics and computers, the car can react by, say, opening the hood, to protect a pedestrian in an accident.

As long as they make it mandatory for cars in Flordia, I'm all for it!

Posted by scott at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)
Tunnel Tech

Also from BBCnews, this story about biblical archeologists's success at dating an artifact from biblical times... the Siloam tunnel. Of course, as a paragon of "unbiased" journalism, someone saw fit to throw this in:

But [unnamed scholars] say [the discovery] does not constitute proof that any particular race or community settled in Jerusalem before any other, and shouldn't be used to claim any kind of primacy.

Only in academia will you get something like, "just because an ancient book says it's so, and archeology confirms that, yes, it's so... doesn't make it true!" We ran into this sort of attitude all the time in anthropology... there were some physical anthropologists who wouldn't firmly declare the maker of a stone tool until they found one literally clutched in the cold, dead hand of its maker.

Anti-semitism, or just plain priggish obstinancy? You decide...

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
Concorde News

According to this BBCnews article, you could own a piece of the Concorde, in theory for as little as $1.25. Air France is auctioning off all its Concorde stuff, from whole engines and nose cones down to pictures and scale models, later on this year. None of the items will have a reserve, so it will all go to the highest bidder no matter what that might be.

Ok, now to get my family's ebay sniper on the job...

Posted by scott at 07:30 AM | Comments (2)
September 10, 2003
Putting a Voice to the Words

They actually managed to get our shadowy Baghdad friend Salam Pax to sit down and give a radio interview. Listening to it right now... seems to be covering what he said in the Guardian, but with added dumb questions ("What, exactly, is your real name?") and giggles from the interview.

Via On the Third Hand

Posted by scott at 03:38 PM | Comments (0)
Rah Rah Rah

I don't know, maybe it's a combination of Jeff's bioterror and staying up late last night watching rag dolls falling from a tower... it's just lately I seem to be getting more reactionary. I'm feeling increasingly less tolerant of morons who think 2700 people died because of postmodern western globalism.

I guess that's why even though it skates a wee bit close to the edge of social conservatism, I still think this is goddamned funny.

Reader comment accusing me of being duped by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracytm in 3... 2... 1...

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

Pat gets a smoking no-prize for bringing this NY Times article to our attention:

In the quarter century since the discovery of the hydrothermal ("hot water") vents, scientists have found a world's worth of life: hundreds of unfamiliar species, new genera, new families and whole new orders. Together, they constitute major gains in measures of global biologic diversity, and they have gained a name: the dark biosphere.

To think that we all, and I mean "All", evolved from microbes that could survive at 250 degrees F and ate iron is just cool. Sounds like some sort of microscopic comic book idea.

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)
Black Hole News

Joshua gets a super-massive (don't drop it!) no-prize for bringing this Scientific American article about recent black hole discoveries to our attention. Turns out there's a black hole out there that's been "singing" a single note (a B-flat 57 octaves below natural C) for at least the past 2.5 billion years.

Yeah, I know, sound in space. Puzzled me too. Seems like the thing is nested in a gas cloud, maybe that's how it transmits sound.

Heh... and your ricer friends thought their subwoofer kicked...

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
Speaking of King Arthur...

Also from BBCnews, this article detailing the discovery of a 1500 year old boat in "Langstone Harbour", wherever that is (I've notice this a lot about Britain, that they never actually tell you where, exactly, a spot in their country is. Probably a Whig conspiracy...)

Oh, the Arthur reference? King Arthur, if he lived at all (probably did), probably was around some time between 470 A.D. and 520 A.D., maybe as far out as 560.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
But Where is the Earth Shattering "Kaboom?"

BBCnews is carrying this summary of the results of a DARPA program to reduce the intesity of sonic booms thrown off by supersonic aircraft. Turns out that by making the aircraft, well, ass-ugly, you can significantly reduce the noise. Could mean that someday we may have homely supersonic aircraft streaking from one end of the country to the other. Trust me, if it means you spending 3 hours less sitting next to my child when she throws herself a meltdown, it'll be worth every penny.

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)
We Demand... A DVD! Waitaminute... DVD?

Fark linked up this story about Doune Castle, where much of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" was shot in 1974. Turns out it's a for-real historic treasure, complete with tails of ghosts, intreugue, and coconuts. Well, the caretaker has the coconuts of course. That's what the swallows are for.

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM | Comments (1)
September 09, 2003
Spin Doctors

Ok, Spinsanity has been around awhile, but I'd never heard of it. Therefore, of course, neither have you (fallacies R us!)

Seems to be a great place for even-handed dissection of major media outlets and various talking heads/pundits. I mean, any place that picks apart Ann Coulter and Michael Moore with equal aplomb is worthy of a bookmark.

Posted by scott at 03:58 PM | Comments (1)
Good Thing I Only Believe in Karma

I almost feel bad linking this Christian "porn parody site" up, considering we're on someone's prayer list now (see 2nd comment). Of course, that's never stopped us before.

Note: Nothing objectionable (that I could find) from a "get-you-fired" point of view, unless you work for Pat Robertson or something.

It is, however, just about as tasteless as you can get. Joshua and Ellen should love it...

Posted by scott at 03:31 PM | Comments (1)
Follow the Bouncing Ball

Jeff gets a green fuzzy no-prize for letting us know about garage door tennis, yet another cool flash game to help you slack the day away.

We didn't have a garage door while growing up, so instead we played "house tennis". One team of whoever happened to show up with a raquet would stand on one side of the house, and the other team would stand on, well, the other side. The objective was to hit the ball over the house as many times as possible. Not as easy as it sounds for a 10-year-old. We could always tell when dad was on the other team because the ball would land in the neighbor's yard, with three or four kids running like hell to catch it before it rolled into a storm drain.

The things we did for fun before cable and video games...

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)
Germs... Winning...

I think this is the third time in six or seven years that my brother's underhanded attempts at biological warfare have succeeded. Thanks for the cold you barstard! Next time you sneeze around me I'm going to put on a moon suit.

Posted by scott at 10:12 AM | Comments (3)
Tea in the Sahara?

Joshua gets a sunscreened no-prize for bringing this Scientific American article to our attention:

Recent studies have suggested that tea can protect the heart and battle bad breath. Now researchers report that it may help stave off skin cancer, too. Applied topically, components of black and green tea known as polyphenols inhibit the development of cancer in the skin of mice exposed to ultraviolet light, they say.

Somehow though, I don't think "I was just trying to read what the tea leaves said" would save me from a beating if Ellen caught me staring at a bikini.

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
But will it Glow in the Dark, or Play Music?

New Scientist is featuring this article detailing a new and novel effort at preventing the spread of HIV... the "living condom". Scientists are trying to, well, "train" the, umm... "natural vaginal microbial fauna" (why do I always end up with these stories?) to destroy HIV before it has a chance to infect.

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
Salam History

Salam Pax tells the story of his various blogs in this Guardian piece. And to think we knew him when...

Posted by scott at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)
Rah Rah Rah!

We engage in more shameless cheerleading by pointing out Max Boot has updated & added much more detail to his report from Iraq:

Not the least of their achievement is that no Marine has been killed by hostile fire since May 1, when President Bush proclaimed "major hostilities" at an end. Almost 70 Army soldiers have been slain in that period. This success isn't a result of flooding south-central Iraq with soldiers. Mattis never deployed more than 8,000 Marines, along with some Army civil affairs, psychological operations, and military police units, to control an area the size of Missouri.
The Marine strategy was based on three principles. First, do no harm. That meant not alienating Iraqis by violating their religious or social customs. Women, for instance, should not be subject to intrusive searches. When talking to Iraqis, Marines were instructed to point their firearms away and take off their sunglasses. Above all, it meant using as little firepower as possible. As Mattis put it: "If someone needs shooting, shoot him. If someone doesn't need shooting, protect him."

Of course Jeff and others would rightly point out that just when the one chunk of US troops who seem to have a clue are making headway, they get pulled out and replaced by Bulgarians of unknown quality. I can only hope they, or at least their commanders, are being pulled out for re-location into other hotspots. If they're not it's one more step I'll take toward holding my nose and voting Democrat. No, really.

Posted by scott at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)
Another UL Bites the Dust

UL, as in Urban Legend. According to this article some British tax money was spent proving that yes, duck quacks do in fact echo. I'd never heard of this one until very recently, but for the life of me I can't remember where. Some old movie I guess.

Posted by scott at 08:28 AM | Comments (0)
Sub News

Looks like the navy has a new toy:

The lead boat of the Navy's next-generation attack submarine, Virginia (SSN 774), will be christened during a ceremony Aug. 16 at Electric Boat Corporation’s shipyard in Groton, Conn.
I can only think that the date is a typo... the story's dateline is today. I think this is the "new" class of attack subs that take the stuff Seawolf pioneered but put it in a less expensive package. Not sure though. Anybody? Anybody? Beuler? Jeff?
Posted by scott at 08:21 AM | Comments (1)
September 08, 2003
When Lawyers Attack

Well, I guess there's a reason none of us have any faith in lawyers. Witness the dumbest things said in a courtroom. I mean, who can't smile at, "Were you alone or by yourself?"

Update: Don't miss Wacky Court Cases (warning: annoying background music... hit MUTE), wherein we find out for sure whether or not Satan himself was the victim of a class action suit, and how one person's communications with "Proteus" lead her to sue the government in an attempt to reveal that the first Gulf War was in fact designed to re-stock American sex-slave camps with fresh recruits.

Well duh, didn't everyone know that?

Posted by scott at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)
Your Celebrities are no Match for our Facts!

Also from slashdot, looks like the Scientologists have taken a hit. Now we can all learn even more about Xenu and his shadowy minions. WoOt?

Posted by scott at 01:18 PM | Comments (1)
Toyenbee Tiles

Slashdot linked up this Kansas City Star article about "Toyenbee Tiles". These strange artificial tiles have been embedded in streets all over the country, and in some other countries, with a strange message about Stanley Kubrik, 2001, and ressurection on Jupiter. Nobody has any idea who is doing it, but they're going to an awful lot of trouble.

Sometimes they're just Urban Legends, but sometimes...

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM | Comments (1)
Gentleman's Diary

P.J. O'Rourke, whom I remember back when he wrote for Car and Driver (no, really!) writes of a visit from his French in-laws:

Meanwhile Françoise was holding forth on American cheeses: "The secret to the taste of the cheese in France is the solidarity of the cows, their empowerment to roam the fields, choosing the seasoning herbs for the cud at their will. The pleasure of the eating is all in what has been eaten by les animaux. This cheese, it is insipid. It has no piquancy, no bouquet." Although, when she sliced the Vermont Liederkranz, the family of skunks that lives under our kitchen porch beat a retreat across the lawn.

Via On the third hand

Posted by scott at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)
Opposing View

Yet again, a non-journalist gives an optimistic report about Iraq:

Now the media are portraying Iraq as a proto-Vietnam, a land where U.S. troops can't do anything right and where they can expect a prolonged and painful defeat. But as in Vietnam, U.S. troops in Iraq are slowly winning the war on the ground, even as they're losing the public relations battle back home.

That, at any rate, was the conclusion I reached after spending 10 days last month with the 1st Marine Division, based in south-central Iraq, and the 101st Airborne Division, based in northern Iraq. Speaking with everyone from privates to three-star generals, I was impressed by an overall sense of optimism and resolve in spite of well-publicized setbacks such as the horrific bombing of a mosque in Najaf. Maj. Gen. James N. Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division, put it succinctly: "We've got the bastards on the run."

Of course, this guy's not a Journalist. How can we tell? Well, he didn't stay within an hour's drive of Baghdad. I mean, of course you could go traipsing around the country, but it's dangerous, and everything we'd see out there would be a lie anyway, because it doesn't agree with what we already know to be true:

After a string of setbacks, President Bush had to confront the obvious last night, that the postwar conflict in Iraq is not going well and that it will take considerably more time, money and sacrifice for the United States to prevail than he had told the country when he launched an invasion last April.

So let's all just stay close to the hotel and interview the locals. Who speak English. We all know they're not biased, because they promise they're not involved with the Ba'ath part at all. Anymore.

Update: Ok, the first guy actually is a journalist, works for the WSJ. Didn't indicate that in the initial bio.

Posted by scott at 10:13 AM | Comments (7)
Silly is as Silly Does

Ok, this little bit (Sister vs. Mecha Sister) is so goofy I couldn't help but link it. I'm not completely sure it's that funny though. It's just so damned strange...

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
A Fungus Among Us Pt. 2

Washington Post featured this article summarizing a striking new biological finding... "cold" fungi. Turns out there's a lot of microbial life in those supposedly "lifeless" tundras and snowfields, even in the depths of winter. There are significant implications for global warming models (although, as usual, nobody's sure what they are), and industrial biochemical applications.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
September 07, 2003
Tex. Veterinarian Accused of Killing Dog

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A veterinarian accused of using a mallet to kill a miniature dachshund that had entered his yard has been charged with felony animal cruelty.

Dr. Mircea Volosen, who was indicted Thursday, could receive up to two years in prison if convicted of killing his neighbor's pet.

Police say the dog was killed July 4 after it entered Volosen's Fort Worth-area yard, where he keeps chickens and rabbits.

Read entire story here.

Mind you this is the SECOND neighbors dog this guy has killed. He offed a golden retriever for messing with his livestock also. I hope he gets that jail sentence. I hope he gets his license revoked and his clinic taken away. I hope he gets shunned by the veterinary community.

Posted by Ellen at 05:30 PM | Comments (21)
When Perspective Attacks

I never could get those "holographic" illusion posters to work for me. You know, the ones that were popular in the 90s, that looked like TV snow but were suppose to resolve into an image if you stared at them long enough? But these illusions work just fine for me. So much so I think I'm going to lie down now... head might explode otherwise.

Posted by Ellen at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)
The Farting Dot

Apparently dots do fart.

Olivia is better at it though. Scott and I wonder why she has not flown around the room yet.

Posted by Ellen at 09:33 AM | Comments (2)
Snow Baby

This picture of a snow leopard is too cute !

Posted by Ellen at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)
September 06, 2003
Police call in the ghostbusters

IN THE STILL of night, doors rattled and stairwells creaked in the city’s police department. In the light of day, a secretary’s desk drawer opened on its own. A city worker who toured the building late one night even reported feeling something grab her leg.

So the police took the probe to another dimension. “The way I treat it is not that there is a ghost, there’s just things that I can’t explain,” said Officer John Wilson, who contacted the Scientific Investigative Ghost Hunting Team, based in Louisville.

Yeah, I'm sorry, if something not there "grabbed" my leg, my ass would be out of there faster than a cat on fire.

Read the entire story here.

Scott: "There is no such thing as ghosts Ellen".

This is comming from the person that gets creeped out if he watches "Aliens" at night.

Posted by Ellen at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)
September 05, 2003

Totally addictive game on catching flies with chopsticks.

It's not easy!

Posted by Ellen at 08:26 PM | Comments (0)
The Mormon Way

How not to masturbate the Mormon way.

These people are harsh. Might as well tell you to chop off your ding-a-ling.

Posted by Ellen at 08:18 PM | Comments (2)
Welcome to My World, Part V

U1: "Scott! Help! I sent a message to a few people and it ended up going to the whole staff! What's wrong?!?"

Just what I need on a Friday. An e-mail mystery.

U2: "Scott! Oh my god! I sent a message to someone and it went to the whole staff!"

Well, ok, one person having a problem is, well, one person having a problem. Every network admin worth his/her salt knows the biggest source of bugs and errors comes from the device sitting between the chair and the keyboard. More than one person having a problem, well, that's a network issue, and that's my job.

U3: "Scott! What's going on?!? I sent..."

Me, in unison: "a message to someone and it went to the whole staff?"

U3, disappointed (spoiled it for her): "well, yes."

Me: "No idea what's causing this. I'll get on it."

U3: "Well, great, because ... " [insert user dialog #6: "something weird happened and now people are calling me and I just wanted you to know because it's completely your responsibility at least a little and I know you're interested anyway"]

While trying to tease out what the hell might be going on with these messages (I got them too), a miracle occurred. Not just a "wow-look-a-20-dollar-bill-on-the-sidewalk" miracle, but a genuine gold-plated divine intervention, complete with clouds parting, sunbeams descending, and a chorus of angels singing hosannas on high.

One of my users figured out what was going wrong. All by themselves. And they actually came by to tell me about it.

U2: "I've got it! The messages I sent to [Known Clueless Usertm, aka KCUtm] got sent to all the staff. Just those, nothing else."

Cue wavy-screen flashback effect and music as Scott looks skyward. Voiceover of Scott: "Hmmm... [KCUtm]"

Flashback: Yesterday, 3 pm, phone rings

Me: "This is Scott"

KCUtm: "Hi Scott! This is [KCUtm]!"

Me: *GROAN* (on the inside)

KCUtm: "What was that? Is my cell phone acting up again?"

Note to self: must keep inside thoughts inside

Me: "I guess... what's up?"

KCUtm: "Well, umm... I was... umm... wondering. How do I set it so that it sends out umm... you know... whenever I log in?"

How to get tech support to help your clueless ass [page 28]: Be as vague as possible. Tech support people enjoy trying to figure out what the hell you're talking about. Words like "computer" and "email" are too specific and disappoint your tech support person. Instead, use pronouns that could refer to six or seven different things on your computer. Finally, make sure to refer to something that's just impossible, like sending everyone on the staff a message when you log into your computer. Support people live to help you specify your problems before they can solve them.

Me: (Hooray! Another dart throwing contest! Let's see... what does KCUtm always want to do yet never remembers how... ah! I remember, the thing KCUtm called about the past three times in a row) "You mean you want to set a vacation autoreply on your e-mail account so when people send you mail they get a reply that you're out of the office?" (Swear to god, Jane Goodall got nothing on me when it comes to translating the intentions of the primitives)

KCUtm: "Yes! That's it!"

Me: "Ok, go to [intranet website] and visit [clearly labeled e-mail section], then click [clearly labeled account management section, even says "autoreply" on it], then follow the directions."

KCUtm (long pause ... I can almost hear claxons sounding in her brain and the announcement "DANGER! DANGER! SELF-RELIANCE REQUIRED! SYSTEMS OVERLOADING! STAND CLEAR! SYSTEMS OVERLOADING!"): "The directions?"

Me [oh no you don't, not this time]: "Yup, the directions are right there. Just follow them."

KCUtm: "And they'll tell me what to do?"

Me: No, they'll tell you how to make chicken and dumplings in a spare tire. "Yup."

KCUtm [in doubtful singsong tones suggesting "You'll be sorr-rey"]: "Umm... Okay..."

Cue wavy-screen flashback effect and music as Scott nods his head

Me: "Thanks [U2], I think I already know where the problem is."

Let's see... nope, don't know her password, not on file (things like this are why I keep them in a file, not because I like spying on them. Well, much.) Too bad, so sad, going to have to call me to find out what it is now. A quick password re-set and I'm in. Sure enough, there it was.

You see, right below the part where you set your vacation reply is another section marked AUTO FORWARD. Let's repeat that... another section. That being something marked clearly and separately from the correct section. And right there, in the auto forward section, was the all-staff e-mail address. Now, this isn't some sort of button you just click and suddenly mail is going somewhere else. Nope, you have to click two boxes and type some text in to get forwarding to work. You have to want it to work.

Yup, this person had, for reasons I at first refused to even attempt understanding, set it up so anyone sending her e-mail would automatically have that e-mail forwarded to the entire staff of this organization.

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence -- Napoleon Bonaparte

I should have that carved into my door. No, I don't think she did it on purpose. Wait, what am I saying, of course she did it on purpose... it's the only way something like that can be done. What I mean is I don't think she did it out of a sense of malice.

Putting on my "moron goggles" I had to admit that, in spite of the fact these were two separate sections with two obviously different functions, there were no explicit instructions saying "use this for that, and this other thing for that other thing." In my own defense, nobody in the past five years this system had been in use had managed a stunt like this. However, by crossing my eyes and focusing on exactly and only what was in front of me and ignoring everything else, I could almost see what happened...

KCUtm [in voiceover]: Let's see... here's the autoreply stuff... well, this is easy... who needs those squiggly "instruction" things anyway. Now, type up the reply, and, oh! Look! It's even got this blank at the bottom for me to tell it who to send the reply to! Wow, it's got more squiggles around it... "A-U-T-O F-O-R-W--" oh god, this is so confusing... Well, it's obvious what it's for anyway. Let's send it to everyone on the staff, that's so great!"


Now if I can just get out of here before she calls wondering what happened with her password...

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM | Comments (7)
More Voices from Fundie-Land

"AMCGLTD," we are so often asked, "my son stubbed his toe last week, and now his head is spinning around and he keeps screaming 'swallow your soul! swallow your soul!' I've already worn out two steam-vacs cleaning the oozing yellow pus and green vomit from the carpets! What am I to do?!?"

Fear not gentle reader! AMCGLTD has the answer for you! is your one-stop-shop for everything a budding exorcist needs to remove those stubborn, hard-to-get-at demons from the souls of your friends and loved ones. From chants to books to those impossible-to-find props you'll find it all here. Best of all, it's free!

So don't wait! Supplies are limited, so act now! Get rid of all your demon problems today!!!

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (2)
Another Stand

Nelson Ascher takes a colder, harder look at Israeli nightmares than I did with "The Stand", but the conclusion is almost as positive:

Thus, one of the salutary effects of these last two years has been that covert anti-Semitism and Judeophobia hiding behind the convenient label of anti-Zionism have been forced out in the open. Whenever a British journalist, an American professor, a French diplomat, an Arab politician speak their minds, we should be grateful. It is only in hindsight, but I think the false calm of the 90s was much scarier and dangerous than the open conflict nowadays. The deniability the left, the Arabs, the Europeans and others had so carefully built up since the end of the Cold War has, thanks god, crumbled. Thanks also to their knee-jerk anti-Americanism, so magnificently exhibited lately, the effort needed to convince the Americans that Europe has not sincerely outgrown its vices or repented of its crimes will be much smaller and won’t be wasted.

Conspiratorial? Perhaps, but no worse than an Egyptian airing of "The Zionist Protocols", or an intellectual comparing the Stern gang with Al Quaeda.

Posted by scott at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)
Of Course, Babies Just Put Everything in their Mouths

Five second rule! *much*

Ah, a common call in a college dorm, and pretty much everywhere else. Well, now someone's gone and got all scientific about it:

High-school student Jillian Clarke investigated the scientific validity of the "5-second rule" during her apprenticeship in Hans Blaschek's University of Illinois lab this summer. You know the rule: If food falls to the floor and it's in contact with the floor for fewer than 5 seconds, it's safe to pick it up and eat it.

At my house there is no five second rule. Cat hair will stick to teflon in .010 seconds flat. There's nothing quite as appetizing as picking up a piece of bread off the floor with identifiable hair from five different cats all over it. Or discovering the next day that yes, cat hair actually can pass through the human digestive system (i.e., yours) intact.

Posted by scott at 08:43 AM | Comments (1)
When Actors Attack

Can you say "backpedaling"? I knew you could:

Denying any anti-American sentiment on his part, actor Johnny Depp said on Thursday that quotes attributed to him as likening the United States to a "dumb puppy" were inaccurate and taken out of context.

Who knows, maybe they were. Certainly the fact he made career-threatening headlines had nothing to do with it, right? I mean, the Dixie Chicks didn't wait for their album sales to tank before they apologized. Oh, wait...

Posted by scott at 08:31 AM | Comments (0)
September 04, 2003

The Japanese are at it again with some weird ass toys.

Rub them and they can give you magical powers!

Posted by Ellen at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)
Maxi Pad Slippers

Ever find yourself desperate for a pair of slippers but just can't find a pair?

Now you can make some.


Posted by Ellen at 06:39 PM | Comments (0)
Feto Soap!

Wanna wash your bod with a fetus? Now you can! For $5 a bar and 6 fetus choices.

Don't forget to check out Fetopia for all of your fetal needs!

Posted by Ellen at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)
Real Doll Surgery

*Warning! We file this under weird well, because it's WeIrD!! I would normally file this under XXX, but it's just wEirD!*

What happens when you break your Real Doll and it needs some surgery?

Posted by Ellen at 06:17 PM | Comments (0)
Spotter's Guide

How to spot a:


  1. Thinks Al Franken is funny
  2. Isn't sure what's causing all this bad weather, but knows George W. Bush is behind it somehow
  3. Sincerely believes this would be a better place if government got more involved
  4. Thinks world opinion is more important than actually getting something done
  5. Is actually surprised when politicians lie. Well, Democratic politicians that is.


  1. Thinks Rush Limbaugh is funny.
  2. Isn't sure what's causing the economy to flop around like a trout in the bottom of a boat, but knows Hillary Clinton is behind it somehow.
  3. Believes big business has only the best interests of this country at heart.
  4. Thinks the US would be much better off if we'd just put all these funny looking people back on the boats they came in on.
  5. Believes Christianity automatically makes someone moral.


  1. Thinks the UN is an honest, efficient agent for world peace.
  2. Isn't sure what caused that huge heat wave, but knows the US was behind it somehow.
  3. Believes Israel would be much better off without so many damned Jews.
  4. Wishes they could stick all the funny looking people on boats and ship them to the US.
  5. Thinks the safe-house of radical Islam is in the Middle East.


  1. Thinks the occupation is the root cause of all suffering
  2. Wonders why soldiers are so mean to them when "someone else" lobs an RPG through a Humvee.
  3. Doesn't know what the answer is, but knows the US, the OA, the Imams, the tribes, their elders, the Ba'ath, their mom, and their cousin aren't it.
  4. Wonders why 200,000 soldiers can't find 20 million people jobs.
  5. Believes a working air conditioner is a bigger worry than their kid ending up in a wood chipper.


  1. It's all the Jews' fault
  2. It's all the Jews' fault
  3. It's all the Jews' fault
  4. It's all the Jews' fault
  5. It's all the Jews' fault


  1. Doesn't care who's fault it is as long as they get a byline.
  2. Thinks research is reading the New York Times and the Washington Post.
  3. Sincerely believes liberals are under-represented in the mainstream media.
  4. Thinks a microphone in their hand automatically means they have something interesting to say.
  5. Knows that they are the only thing standing between the mooing masses and a Republican-led dictatorship.

Hollywood Actor

  1. Thinks having a microphone stuck in their face automatically means they have something meaningful to say.
  2. Believes money is a good substitute for education
  3. Wishes all these plebian, ignorant "fans" would just leave them alone so they can go about practicing their "craft". At least until their next movie comes out.
  4. Thinks playing make-believe turns them into a political analyst and foreign policy expert.
  5. Sincerely believes things like "good" and "evil" are antiquated notions unsuited to this "post-modern" age.

That should piss pretty much everyone off. My day is complete. :)

Posted by scott at 01:36 PM | Comments (3)
Knives, Symbolism, and the Radical Left

Instapundit eventually lead me to this illustrative discussion about almost everything I dislike about the left.

I'm quite aware of the power of symbols, and know very well that artists sometimes like to use shocking images simply to make us think about an issue. The problem I have with these images isn't that they're shocking, or that they're radical... it's that they're stupid.

Comparing a psychotic holding a knife to the US, who bled its own blood dismantling an oligarchy that thought nothing of shooting women in soccer stadiums and a dictatorship that gassed children and fed people into wood chippers is ludicrous. Simply ludicrous. Calling people who feel this sort of imagery is appropriate willfully ignorant of their own country and the world around them is about as big an understatement as I know to make. Moronic **cktard is probably more appropriate.

Placing the image of an elected official who might be gone in a year and will be gone in five next to the images of two of the west's worst modern dictators again demonstrates a complete and utter ignorance of what they're talking about. Sticking the caption "hate=war" underneath it just adds a cherry of irony to the top of that particularly clueless confection.

The other three illustrations, of the Statue of Liberty, a bar code, and a vaguely anti-semitic flag of some sort, only cement my opinion of these people, and prove conclusively that watching TV and surfing the web are no substitute for actually thinking.

Those funny looking heavy things that fill a library are called "books". Hard to imagine I know, but by opening them up you can actually learn things. Even more difficult to comprehend, most of those things aren't covered by an MTV expose or an E! True Hollywood Story.

Here's a tip to all these artists: try reading a few books on the issues at hand before putting pen to paper, brush to canvas, or mouse to photoshop. Maybe then you'll be able to make a cogent argument instead of flinging sh*t like the shrieking chimpanzee you seem to have become.

Posted by scott at 12:47 PM | Comments (9)
Bitty Buckets

BBCnews is carrying this report on nanotech researchers' latest effort... the nanobucket. By mixing two special chemicals, a unique molecular honeycomb structure is set up, forming voids that can hold a few hundred atoms each.

What's it good for? Well, even they don't seem to know for sure, but I mean, really, it's cool.

Posted by scott at 10:32 AM | Comments (1)
Prices Slashed

Pat gets a musical no-prize for bringing us news that at least one record company has "discovered" record prices are too high, and is doing something about it (NYTimes, free reg, blah blah). I love this:

The deep price cut — the only one to apply to new CD's since the format was introduced in the early 1980's — represents a gamble by Universal that more consumers will buy more CD's once the price dips below $13. [emphasis added]

The only real problem I have with this is it doesn't mention if this will affect new releases only or their entire catalog. I don't much go for the new stuff, I like old stuff and classical. If those still stay above $18, I'm still staying away. I'd also be more likely to buy two sub-$10 CDs than one $18 disc.

I have a gorilla hi-fi system at home. It'd be nice to play something other than video games and TV through it.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (1)
Europa News

Fark linked up this RedNova article summarizing the latest theories about weird dome-like structures found on Europa, a moon of Jupiter thought to be a likely host for extra-terrestrial life. Seems impurities in the "surface" ice allow more pure interior ice to "bubble up" and break the surface. Most importantly, they could allow a space probe to sample the interior of the moon without actually having to drill through miles of ice.

Posted by scott at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)
Oh Yes He Did

Sometimes I'm really glad I have a daughter, because only guys seem to be dumb enough to do this sort of stuff:

The 26-year-old man suffered a fractured pelvis and severe burns to his genital area after a firecracker exploded between the cheeks of his buttocks.

Firecrackers + ass = bad, mmkay?

Posted by scott at 08:33 AM | Comments (2)
September 03, 2003
Ghost Town

Weirdlinks, one of our favorite bizzare websites, has put up this photo essay on Bodie CA, "a notorious old west gold mining town." One of the few genuine ghost towns left in the west, the site has been a state park since the early 1960s. Once you get past the somewhat lurid captions ("Bodie: The town of death!"), the pictures are quite compelling.

Well, I know where we're spending our next summer vacation... whatcha think Ellen?

Posted by scott at 03:58 PM | Comments (0)
Repressed Memory or Repressed Truth?

New Scientist is carrying this interview with Elizabeth Loftus, one of the most important scientists involved in debunking the "repressed memory" craze that swept the country in the 80s and 90s.

I read some of the Skeptical Enquirer articles involving this years ago, and was amazed at how vitriolic the repressed memory people were when their theories were questioned. It was when they started accusing their detractors of having repressed memories themselves that I decided the inmates really had taken over the asylum. When "scientists" start looking a lot like "scientologists", it's time to step back and call B.S.

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

Funny thing is, I don't know what half the stuff even means on this "tach for ricers". Damion isn't one, but can speak their lingo (as I can speak some l33t, even though I'm not a haXor). Maybe he can explain some of it.

Posted by scott at 02:42 PM | Comments (0)
That's Fine, Nina Probably Looks Good in Stripes

Now they're going after college and high school kids:

The industry plans to pursue pirates with some vigour, using a carrot-and-stick: pay quite a lot for past free down-loads and we'll call the dogs off, or resist and get hit by a mega-penalty later.

My sister-in-law was an inveterate downloader... making her a criminal worthy of felony-level fines in the minds of RIAA. Run girl, run!

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

Well, while the answer doesn't exactly match the question, this New Scientist article does give a nice explanation as to why you get dehydrated when you drink alcohol.

Posted by scott at 01:50 PM | Comments (0)
Urban Legends Fun

This flash animation of a series of urban legends really brought back memories. I hadn't heard about the Ohio Player's rumor since I was a little kid, when it scared the hell out of me (7 year olds just don't think the way grownups do).

Before mom gets all freaky and forwards this to forty people, here's the "real deal":

Urban legends are fun, as long as you don't take them seriously. Too many morons out there do, so we're always up for a little de-bunking.

Posted by scott at 09:40 AM | Comments (2)
Bean Juice?

When Babelfish attacks... the weirdest warning screen ever.

Note:: This first page contains little or nothing to get you in trouble if you're at work, but it most definitely links to other sites that do. Be careful or just wait till you get home.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
Fish Brains

BBCnews is carrying this summary of the latest views on fish intelligence. While interesting, I can only wonder that presumably large amounts of tax dollars were spent on what could have been learned by simply asking a local bass fisherman.

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM | Comments (1)
September 02, 2003
Ellen Should Sue!

Well, one of my girl's more draconian ideas appears to have "been done":

[Project Prevention] offers drug addicts and alcoholics a sum of $200 for opting for a long-term form of birth control, such as sterilisation or a contraceptive implant.

Eugenics? Hardly. Nobody's making anyone do this. Implants are even reversable. However, I think the quote, "Barbara Harris couldn't care less about the addicts themselves and what might be best for them" is a straw man. Why should she care about someone who has flushed their life down the toilet? There are other agencies to serve that function. She's just out to make sure they don't bring any innocent lives into the picture, lives we'll all have to deal with in one way or another.

If it keeps babies from being born doomed, I have to say I'm for it.

Posted by scott at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)
Hole Shape has this discussion of just what, exactly, a black hole would look like. Great stuff, with lots of mind-fizzing things like:

One theory -- and this is not so farfetched by black hole standards -- suggests there are five dimensions of space-time involved with a nonspherical, rotating, donut-shaped "black ring." Other research, using computer simulations, shows that at the very least, the fabric of space-time is distorted around a spinning black hole.

Sometimes I really do wish I could handle advanced mathematics. I once had a guy sit down and go through the math of relativity, and (while I was sitting there), it really was amazingly elegant. Unfortunately as soon as I got up from the table I'd reverted to my standard "33-24= ... ummm.... 7?" mentality. Maybe my kid will be better at math. Couldn't be much worse.

Posted by scott at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)
I've Heard of People Being Pissed Because Their Pizza is Late, but This...

Ok, as a former pizza delivery man myself, I find this one to be completely f'd up:

Autopsy results expected to be released today could help investigators begin to unravel whether there was a link between the deaths of two pizza delivery men, including one killed when a bomb strapped to his chest exploded after a bank robbery.

Apparently they have video of the first poor bastard going up, which I'm sure will be on one of Ellen's sicko websites any second now. It gets even weirder:

Wells allegedly entered a PNC Bank branch in Erie, some time after leaving Mama Mia's Pizza-Ria, where both he and Pinetti worked, to deliver two sausage and pepperoni pies to a rural location along a main road, near a television transmission tower.

This thing just screams slasher movie. Like something out of that Rob Zombie flick we saw last winter. Sheesh...

Posted by scott at 10:05 AM | Comments (1)

Ok, it's the beginning of the football season, you're a starter, and you're team has a pretty good shot at going all the way. What happens? You get shot in the butt:

[All-pro linebacker Joey] Porter was standing outside a Denver sports bar following Saturday night's game between alma mater Colorado State and rival Colorado when he was struck by a bullet that entered his left buttocks and lodged in his right thigh. Police say he was an innocent bystander during what may have been a gang-related shooting.

Ok, no more complaining about my bad luck because I've got a siezed lugnut on my Spider.

Posted by scott at 09:53 AM | Comments (0)
Tire Calculator

Damion gets a low-profile no-prize for bringing this automatic tire calculator to our attention. It says "miata", but it'll work with anything as long as you know the size you started out with and the size you want to go to.

Your speedometer was calibrated with the stock tires it came with. By changing the size of the tire, unless you're careful, you'll throw your speedometer off by certain amount. This calculator will tell you just how much. Very useful when you want to get wider tires but don't want to send your speedo into la-la land.

Posted by scott at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)
A Fungus Among Us

New Scientist is carrying this article detailing how the levels of a certain kind of fungus in the soil of Madagascar can tell the story of human habitation on the island. As always, not a fun history, but an interesting new technique to figure out how, and when, we moved in to certain areas.

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)
September 01, 2003
The Crayola Experiment

Someone in my house has been taking a sh*t by the garage door every day for the past several months. I don't know who it is... it's not Scott I know that (in the distance, "is that right?") It's one of the cats. I'm pretty sure who it is, but not 100%.

It's annoying to find cat crap on your floor every day. There's no need for it. There are plenty of litter boxes in this house. There are 2 types of litter in this house. The litter boxes are changed on a daily basis, sometimes twice a day. I've done everything by the behavior book.

All of the cats went to work with me for bloodwork, urine, xrays, you name it, we did it and everything turned out fine excpet that Ajax has pancreatitis and Magrat has some renal issues. (So I'll say this once, so I do not get asinine comments. I work in a cats only veterinary facility. I am a licensed vet tech, My cats can have problems too.)

Mind you, Ajax is so mad at Scott for not letting him into his garage to play with his tools, he pees against his garage door several times a week. This is more annoying that cat shit. I have managed in the past to burn out a Hoover Steam Vac at our old apartment trying to clean pee smell out of carpet.

This is where the new experiment comes in. One of the new veterinarians that I work with is into behavior. *Woohoo!* When I told her about the problem, she was all gung-ho to help out. One of the things I had to do for her was fill out this behavioral questionare. It was not a quesitonaire. Questionaires are 20 questions. This was a novel. A novel that seriously needed an editor.

This is where the crayons come in. I am supposed to shave crayons and feed them to the cats and that should tell me who is taking a shit on the floor once and for all. So there I was last night, shaving 2 crayons. I started with Ted and Ajax. Ted is Carnation Pink, and Ajax is Yellow/Green. Why those two cats first? Because those two will eat anything put in front of them. Especially if it's mixed with baby food. I could stir gravel into it and end up with cement poop a day later.

So, everything was ready. The two most suspicious culprits were "loaded", the downstairs was cleaned, we even put some extra-attractive empty boxes for "insurance." Sure enough, next morning we had two class-A piles on the floor, lacking only a few buzzing flies to convincingly imitate horsepiles on the trailside of the old west. Well, from really tiny, really smelly horses. And the culprit was...

Nobody. Absolutely nothing. Just two stinky piles defiantly left by our very own phantom poopster.

Goblin gets tested tonight. Coconut does not get tested. The cat lives in the closet upstairs and like a good girl uses the potty box.

Hopefully today or tomorrow, someone will poop out the crayons.

Posted by Ellen at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)