Ellen let our subscription to the Post lapse, so we missed Opus's new comic. The internet, as always, comes to our rescue!
Oh be quiet mom. I may grow old, but I'm never growing up.
It's a joke. Laugh, damn you!
You knew it was bound to happen someday. Yes, Virginia, you too can create pornographic origami. Folded paper never looked so... odd.
It's pornographic origami. You decide if it's safe for work.
Now, this story about the Denver zoo is interesting enough in and of itself:
Practitioners of aromatherapy say their oils extracted from plants promote physical, spiritual and emotional health. There are thousands of essences, but they are used primarily on people.
The Denver Zoo is believed to be one of the first to try it out on animals. Keepers say it has eased ailments and tensions among the primates.
However, one of my close relations had a very... intimate (and unfortunate) encounter with aromatherapy gel. I post this in the hope we can shake the story loose from one of the witnesses :).
People often refer to him simply as "the cat man", which Shaw notes is not exactly a clever or original name. He is more like the postman, but even more dependable: He makes his deliveries despite snowstorms and hurricanes and doesn't skip holidays or weekends, all for the love of the cats.
Read entire article here.
I mean, I like Japanese animation and all that. Ellen and my friend Damion are absolute fiends about the stuff. But I think even they'd draw the line at dressing up as an anime character , complete with huge-eyed fake head. Note: video link, may take a few minutes to load up. Seriously creepy at times, but completely safe for work.
And for the religiously pure in your life, who may have an unfortunate problem with wanking, we present Anti-Masturbatory Chewing Gum. No, really!
Man invents the "orgasmotron", which does exactly what you think it does. The Sun is there!
Most everyone has heard the term "bejesus", as in "you just scared the bejesus outta me!" Yeah, I know, it's probably new to you, but that's because you don't get out much. Anyway, ever wonder what that word actually meant? Well, ok, I don't care if you've never wondered, because you're going to go visit Bejesus Quarterly anyway, if nothing else for the definitions:
Bejesus - (n) A substance found in the human body that determines how close one is to becoming Jesus.
I wonder what the die-hard aethiest section of the peanut gallery will think when they find they "got Jesus" after all!
Also from the "got-anything-better-to-do?" crowd, we have the ultimate in talking bass peripherials. He sings! He dances! He videoconferences! Billy will never be the same again...
What do you get when you mix too much free time, too many hand tools, and an X box? Project Plex-Box. I'm not doing anything to mine until the warranty runs out. I probably won't do anything even then.
Those of you in foreign climes probably neither know nor care that tomorrow is Thanksgiving. And for that, you should be grateful! The rest of you probably already know what's going on. I lost the coin toss this year, so am being held by radicals from the GLF*, in-law branch, where you are treated to Wonderful Holiday Dinner Conversation (note: done in Brooklyn accent):
Grandpa: "Have some gravy, Scott."
Scott: "Nah, that's ok, I'm fine."
Grandpa: "What? What? You want some wine?"
Scott: "No, I don't need any gravy."
Grandpa: "What's wrong with the gravy?"
Ellen: "Pop-pop, he said he doesn't want the gravy."
Grandpa: "Everyone should have gravy!"
Dad: "What, who doesn't want gravy?"
Ellen: "Scott doesn't like gravy on his potatoes."
Grandpa: "Hmm? What? Who wants potatoes?"
Dad: "Nobody wants potatoes old man, would you listen for once!"
Ellen: "Leave pop-pop alone!"
Dad: "What? He can't hear a thing! He never wears his hearing aids!"
Ellen: "That's no reason to yell at him!"
Dad: "Of course it is! He can't hear!"
Grandpa: "An ear? You want some corn on the cob?"
Dad: "Goddamit pop, nobody wants corn!"
Grandpa: "Whaa... what are you talking about? Every time I turn around someone's yelling at me in this house! Hey, Scott, want some gravy?"
Next stop, grandma's house, where the rule is "leave the window open when you shower [in November, in 30F/-2C tempratures] so it doesn't mess up the wallpaper!"
Blogging will therefore probably be somewhat spotty until Coalition forces arrive.
I've maintained all along that Bush is vulnerable as long as the economy is wobbly and Iraq keeps exploding in new and creative ways. I believe the converse is also true... if the economy turns around and Iraq stabilizes the dems could run Jesus Christ himself and only carry California. Well, looks like its time for the yellow-dog section of the peanut gallery to start getting religion:
The U.S. economy grew in the third quarter at an even faster pace than originally reported, the government said Tuesday.
Gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic activity, grew at an 8.2 percent annual rate, the fastest pace since the first quarter of 1984.
Claims of political bias in the GDP measurements (which were merrily being used by the opposition six months ago when the news was bad) in 3... 2... 1...
This is, of course, unsustainable. If fourth quarter growth is even close to this figure the fed will yank interests rates up in a hurry. Which they should. Nobody wants to go back to a wage-price spiral.
Space.com is carrying this nifty photo of what the latest solar eclipse looked like from space.
iPods are nifty little devices I know, but if, as this movie tends to imply, it has unreplaceable batteries that last about 18 months, well, it's not all that nifty after all. Who the heck designs a gizmo with unreplaceable batteries anyway?
Update: Joshua points out that, while Apple may not know about it, battery replacements do seem to be available.
Slashdot features an article that tells us The Peoples Republic of California has struck again:
The County of Los Angeles actively promotes and is committed to ensure a work environment that is free from any discriminatory influence be it actual or perceived
One such recent example included the manufacturer's labeling of equipment where the words "Master/Slave" appeared to identify the primary and secondary sources. Based on the cultural diversity and sensitivity of Los Angeles County, this is not an acceptable identification label.
People who work on computers will be groaning, while others may be puzzled. Master-Slave is a common technical term when talking about one-way communications controlled by a primary, well, controller. I'm actually surprised it's taken them this long.
Update: Always read the comments, wherein I found an even better example of moronic idealism so completely typical of college campuses everywhere:
Members of Feminist Majority, Queers & Associates, and the Center for Gender Studies organized [a panel on bathroom design] as part of the Coalition for a Queer Safe Campus. “Going to the bathroom is a moment where definition is very important in choosing a door,” said Mary Anne Case, one of the panelists.
She pointed out that many women’s restrooms have a caricature of a person in a dress on it. “Going into it implies that we are willing to be associated with that image. There are only two [images] to choose from. This moment involves an act of self-labeling.”
Enjoy college while you can folks, because you can't keep this Eutopian muddle going when you have to hold a real job.
Youth may be wasted on the young, but it appears immortality is wasted on a self-propelled nerf ball:
The red sea urchin found in the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean is one of the Earth's longest-living animals.
Also from space.com, this article summarizing new discoveries about the supermassive black hole found at the center of the Milky Way. Recent observations seem to indicate its mass is 3.2 to 4 million suns, spinning around once every 30 seconds. And you thought figure skaters were impressive.
Just when you thought the universe couldn't get any weirder...
Update: an astute reader points out it's actually once every 11 minutes. Dur.
Space.com is carrying this summary of new discoveries regarding the massive Permian extinction event. Ocurring about 250 million years ago, this extinction resulted in the demise of perhaps 90% of the Earth's species.
Previous theories suggested an extra terrestrial impact as the source, but foundered due to a lack of evidence. Now, evidence is starting to turn up.
To promote the none-too-soon premiere of Berke Breathed's new cartoon strip, Opus is making the rounds, right now interviewing with MSNBC.
Proof positive women keep the weirdest crap in their bags. Ellen tends to go through stages... bags get larger and larger until they're the size of a backpack, then suddenly the whole thing will implode under its own weird "chick stuff" gravity and she'll carry around a very tiny handbag. "It's so liberating!" will be heard many times that week. The bag will then of course slowly expand, usually over the course of a year or two, only to collapse again. It's a universe, in a handbag.
After the baby something happened to handbag physics, allowing expansion even beyond a single huge purse. At her peak, there were four bags and two water bottles loaded and unloaded from our car every single day. She looked like a sherpa going down the stairs every morning.
The collapse has ocurred, but is slower than previous encarnations. We're down to one very large bag that weighs ~ 25 lbs (11.3 kilos, I think ~ 1 stone). If this one collapses its mass is such it may take the house with it.
What's in your bag?
New Scientist is carrying this tidbit about cockroach aging. Turns out that, like people, they don't get around very well as they get older. There is, however, a rather unique way to get them moving again:
[scientists] found that the old timers were more likely to escape after they had been decapitated.
Nope, don't see that therapy working very well for gramma.
About every month (ok this time it was 2 months) I spend an evening with Scott to clean out Oscar's tank. The cats think this is the best time ever! 'Cause they get to check out all the gunk traveling through the Python TM* into the sink. This time Ajax literally sat on the hose waiting while we got everything ready. He didn't want to miss a second.
How to Clean a Satanic, Homicidal Fish's Tank in 10 Easy Steps:
Step 1. Find Oscar in tank and start working at opposite end. Because a two-pound trout wannabe with no teeth is scary. No, really! Oh sit down.
Step 2. Scrub tank with very long aquarium scrubbing stick to ensure maximum distance from the Oscar. Smack husband when he notes without very long aquarium stick "vertically challenged" wife would need scuba gear to clean tank.
Step 3. Start feeling bad at amount of nasty weird glop being sucked out of tank because you have not cleaned fish in 2 months. Stop feeling bad because Oscars in wild live in dirty rivers.
Step 4. Yell at husband because bathroom is flooding a-la Brady Bunch episode due to water pressure from Python TM. Make note to self as husband giggles "soap suds! We need soap suds!" to never allow wine before tank cleaning.
Step 5. Laugh at cats chasing all the nasty shit running throught tube. Get grossed out when some meat plug has stopped up sink.
Step 6. Attempt to hold back vomit while cleaning out swamp-thing-meets-monsTurd-scented old filter.
Step 7. Ponder if you should add Stress Coat TM** or see what happens to fish if you don't use it. Realize fish was once stuck to kitchen floor and was dried out before rehydrating it last year, so probably wouldn't make much difference to Dirty Harry fish.
Step 8. Argue with husband on how far tank should be filled up. Keep eye on wine-wobbly husband who doesn't seem to realize fish tanks don't have emergency drains while rebuilding fish filter pump.
Step 9. Rearrange plastic plants in tank with long stick. Yell at fish attacking stick because you are planting fake Amazon in the wrong spot. Realize it's all pointless, because evil fish arranges tank as he pleases when he pleases.
Step 10. Figure out you have to do this again in a month... or two.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A little tropical fish that glows fluorescent red will be the first genetically engineered pet, a Texas-based company said on Friday.
The zebra fish were originally developed to detect environmental toxins, but Alan Blake and colleagues at Yorktown Technologies, L.P. licensed them to sell as pets.
Read entire article here.
No-Prize to Nina!
New Scientist has this article up detailing the latest efforts at a hypersonic weapon system. The goal is to eventually build an effective weapons platform that can deliver ordinance to any spot on the globe within two hours of launch.
My first thought was "ICBM", but apparently they're looking for an aircraft-style system. My second thought was, "well, why don't they just stop screwing around and call it Aurora?
Think of it as an online version of that scene from "when Harry met Sally". I am so sleeping on the couch tonight.
Just in time for the holidays, a detailed analasys of the real secret behind Santa Clause:
Obviously, not every person that believes in Santa Claus as a child will refuse the Lord Jesus Christ. The truth is, the author of this article "believed in" Santa Claus as a child. And the truth is, the author of this article did not trust the Lord Jesus Christ until he was 20 years old. And furthermore, there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever, that the lie and god-like attributes of Santa Claus influenced my early beliefs and confusion about the Lord Jesus Christ.
I'm making a preliminary judgement that this one's for real (well, in their own tightly-wound reality of course). If it really is a hoax please let us know.
And people say Americans are Godless...
Joshua gets a belated no-prize for letting us know the Japanese claim to have found an entirely new whale species. Said one of them got killed in a "boat collision". I wonder how harpoon-shaped a boat has to be before it's actually called a harpoon?
23,493 British pounds. That's, what, something like $35,000 US? Yeah, I know, I'm too lazy to use a currency converter right now. 41% of you appear to be "more pure" than me. You sick bastards.
Lord and savior seeks companion for fruitful relationship. Don't forget to take the compatability quiz. What I want to know is how well Meryl does. Oh, the irony...
I kid! I kid!
It took me a second to realize this article is describing a modern operation:
A team of negotiators and former soldiers from Tokyo has been sent to the jungles of the Philippines to try to bring home soldiers of Japan’s Imperial Army who are still fighting the Second World War.
The most famous of these old holdouts was Hiroo Onoda, who held out until 1974. Discovery channel ran a documentary about Mr. Onoda a few months ago, and you could tell this guy was still bugnut crazy. Total fanatic, the kind that still throws bombs at the doors of newspapers who criticise the emperor.
The 13-year-old boy's father was arrested last year on a variety of child abuse charges, including counts alleging that the man, a 37-year-old supermarket employee, may have "endangered" his son's health through "cruel and inhuman corporal punishment" that resulted in "a traumatic condition."
In a recent court bid for spousal and child support, the woman reported that she was unemployed and that her income was limited to a $769 monthly check from the federal Aid to Families with Dependent Children program. The woman stated her family had monthly expenses totaling $1340, which included rent of $425. The woman's support request was approved this March by an L.A. judge who ordered that $1499 be automatically deducted from her estranged husband's paycheck.
Sounds so much like Kenny-from-South-Park's parents its kinda scary.
So far, the only real innocent I see in this whole thing is the kid.
Found this nifty description of the restoration of an Alfa engine. Daddy want!
Oh, and a question to the "goddammit... get a V-8 and shut the f- up" crowd... can you think of a car, any car, that comes with a high powered V-8 that goes for less than, say, $20,000? How about $25,000?
I'm beginning to believe the reason the hotrod crowd moved away from 'murrican muscle is at least as much about price as preference. Remember, a new Honda or Toyota can be had for, what, $12,000? Sure, after it's rodded up it might be close to what a new V-8 cost. But they'll get to drive it the whole time.
Yeah, I know, probably too much "I'd rather push an ['murrican car of choice] than drive a Honda" out there for an honest answer. I'm just sayin...
Slashdot linked up yes Virginia, Farscape will return! 4 hours, while not another season, should be enough to wrap up the storylines and give all us fans a nice big sendoff. Yipee!
Nearly all of you, at one point or another in your life, will get stranded somewhere because of a car breakdown. Nearly all of you at one point or another will shell out more than a thousand dollars for an unexpected car repair. Nearly all of you will pay someone else to solve these problems.
Some of you, though, will think, "maybe I can do this". Of course, you'll be wrong. Just thinking you can do it is quite a bit different from actually gathering up everything you need to do it. The only time someone fixes a car simply by lifting the hood and twiddling with something unseen is in a movie.
Real car work, even simple real car work, requires an amazing amount of stuff to get done right. But don't worry, that's where AMCGLTD comes in. No, you can't have my tools, sod off! But you can have the knowledge I've gained from 20 years of working on various cars, which (as any professional mechanic will tell you after reading this) will be worth exactly what you paid for. What we're going to explore here are the things I've discovered that will a) allow you to fix cars and b) have at least some fun doing it.
Which reminds me... there are about as many different ways to work on a car as there are cars to work on. Automotive Maintenance is as much about philosophy as it is technique. This is my philosophy, my technique. You can (many will) disagree with it. That doesn't make you any less wrong1 , but hey, if you've been working on your own car long enough to disagree with me, then what are you doing here? The following is what I have found I needed to fix a car and have fun doing it.
To start, you must find a safe place to work. Parking lots are not safe places to work. Not only do you risk getting run over by Buffy the SUV slayer as your legs stick out from under your car, you also risk the wrath of the Condo (or Apartment) Nazis. These jackbooted thugs2 will not understand your quest for automotive enlightenment, instead persuing their own obsession with weird abstracts like "property value" and what a 96 Toyota on blocks leaking hydraulic fluid is doing to it. Avoid their attention at all costs.
Beginners will try abandoned parking lots or even back or (if you're desperate, isolated, and/or unmarried) front yards. The first time a 4mm screw slips from your fingers and into the tall grass, or a C-clip departs the engine bay at an appreciable percentage of the speed of light, you'll understand there are exactly two safe places to work... a garage and a driveway. Of the two, a garage is far superior, because there's nothing more effective at getting you to snap a bolt off than lightning hitting a tree a hundred yards away.
As with just about anything else involved in working on cars, you can borrow adequate working space. However, this will generally limit your projects to things that can be done quickly, usually less than a day. Worse still, it sometimes limits you to projects other people think you're capable of completing3. Finally, unless you're fortunate enough to borrow the space of someone who already does car work, you have to bring all your own tools. Having to make long round trips to your house (or a parts store) just to pick up a pair of pliers or a wrench, four or five times a day, is not conducive to an enjoyable repair experience.
Which brings us to tools. Ah... lovely, sweet, shiny tools. In auto maintenance, having the right tool is literally half the battle. The basics, sockets, ratchets and wrenches4 are only the beginning. There's also screwdrivers, pliers, cutters, punches, chisels, hammers, crimpers, and a whole host of specialized tools you probably won't even know to ask about when you start. The first time you do any new project, you'll end up buying a whole host of tools. The good news is, generally you'll only have to make big purchases at first. The bad news is, good tools aren't cheap.
And you want good tools. Sure, they all have lifetime warranties, which in theory makes them all equal. However, as with Mr. Orwell's barn, some are more equal than others. In America, there are three tool brands professional mechanics use in preference to all others... Snap-On, Mac, and Matco. Of the three, Snap-On is considered the best, with good reason. Unfortunately, Snap-On knows this, and charges accordingly. A small Snap-On metric socket set can easily set you back $300. No, that's not a misprint. On my patented "scale of beers"5, Snap-On is equivalent to Guinness poured from a tap in Dublin. It may take awhile to appreciate, but there just isn't anything better.
Mac and Matco seem to be roughly co-equal with each other, their reputation setting them below Snap-On but far above anything you'll find in a department store6. Their pricing is substantially less than Snap-On as well, usually by almost half. Still, $170 for a set of ten sockets and a ratchet will shock the hell out of anyone used to shopping at Wal Mart. On the scale of beers, they both rate in the "Sam Adams/Pete's Wicked/[Your Favorite Microbrew]" league. Definitely premium, but there are (a few) better things, if you can afford them.
Which leads us to the department-store stuff. While few can question the quality of the "big three", there's a lot of variation in the "amateur" ranks. Without exception, "real" mechanics will call most of it junk. Pure junk, if they're in an ugly mood that day. For the most part, they're not far from wrong. Because I wanted to actually eat, there have been times when I've been forced to buy the cheapest tool I could find. Some of them are so poorly made they won't even fit what they're supposed to. Worse still, many will damage nuts and bolts that need some grunt to loosen. On the beer scale, anything with made in "Taiwan", "India" or "China" is equivalent to the plain white can in your grocery store labeled in large block letters with the word "BEER". You can buy them, but you're not working on my car with them!
Of all the tool makes "mere mortals" can buy, the only two I personally would recommend are Craftsman and Husky. Craftsman makes decent quality tools and sells them for (comparatively) bargain-basement prices. I've found their sockets very high quality, their wrenches somewhat crude but effective, and their ratchets sub-par but workable. There's also the legendary Craftsman guarantee on hand tools:if it breaks, no matter how old, worn, or nasty it is, take it in to any Sears anywhere in the world and you'll get a new one, no questions asked. Husky, a brand found mostly in Home Depots in the south, is supposedly made by the same company, but regardless the quality is roughly equivalent. On the beer scale, they're in the Yuengling/Michelobe range. Certainly not the best you can do, but definitely acceptable considering the price.
And then there's e-bay. Because all of these tools have lifetime warranties, it really doesn't matter how used they are. If they break, you get new ones. So, e-bay is an extremely useful place to find discount tools. Probably half the hand tools I now have I got from e-bay. Snap-on is, ironically, the most common professional grade tool you'll find, but absolutely everyone knows how much they're worth. You won't have to pay $320 for a set of 10 wrenches, but you'll usually have to pay at least $120.
Mac and Matco are also out there, but much rarer. The sets tend to go for only a little less than the Snap-on stuff, but because they're not as well known it's possible to "snipe" an occasional auction and get a really great deal. It's still better than what you'd pay buying them off the truck.
The real bargains are Craftsman. Those are the tools you'll get literally for pennies on the dollar. Not only that, a lot of the stuff is new, usually still shrinkwrapped. Be careful though! As with any e-bay item, make sure you know how much any of it costs new. Include the shipping! Craftsman is available at any Sears in the country, and there are very few things in the world that'll make you feel more foolish than buying used tools for more than you'd pay for new.
So, now you've got your tools, you've got your car, and you've got a place to do some work. Now what? Well, you could just start loosening and unscrewing until stuff starts to fall off. And if I want to get rich I can just go to Vegas and start playing slot machines. Both have a roughly equal chance of success. But, as with blackjack, there are systems you can use, strategies and techniques that, while they can't guarantee success, can at least minimize the pain.
For those, you'll have to wait for part 2.
Joshua gets to field the no-prize we just batted out to him for bringing this Scientific American article about the science of home runs to our attention. Yeah, I know, "still no cure for cancer", but who says science can't be fun?
Nina gets a nuclear-tipped no-prize for bringing us this profound description of what Armageddon will be like.
Me, I'm with Austrailia... WTF?
Note: Flash animation, has some swearing. Use headphones or wait until you get home if your boss might object to this sort of thing.
Ok, I know it's a little over-the-top, but being able to park a 707 in your driveway is just goddamn cool. Travolta used to own this Lockheed Constellation, hell he may still, but I do know it's now operated by an air museum group.
I guess if I ever meet him I'll be able to ask why he "traded it in". Even though I have some guesses at the answer.
Yourish got a reasonably rational and even-handed note from an Egyptian, and gave a very reasonable, rational, even-handed reply. She also gave me the first clear definition of Zionism I've seen in quite some time:
Zionism originally was the movement for the establishment of a Jewish state. It is now the movement in support of the continued existence of the State of Israel.
I can hear the leftists, apologists, and anti-semites yelling at the screen from here, but I agree with and support this definition. Don't agree? Feel free to supply your own formal definition. Be sure to cite your sources.
And don't forget to blame the JOOOOOOS!!!
Listen up folks, just because you want a Ferrari, and can hang tacky sh*t off your Japanese car, doesn't make the result a Ferrari. Or even a pseudo-Ferrari.
At least this time around the guy actually did a good job 'rodding up the motor... an overbore, balance job, and new turbo are things you actually have to remove the motor to do (and therefore add horsepower). So, while it may be ugly, it probably scoots.
Still, none of that stuff is cheap. I have a feeling if he'd pooled the money he spent on this thing he'd get most of the way to, say, a mid-70s Ferrari 308. If he's got the skillz to do all that engine work, he'd have the ability to keep it running I'm sure.
Ah well. No accounting for taste.
PINE BLUFF, Ark. - A wild boar like the University of Arkansas' beloved porcine mascot wasn't a welcome sight for schoolchildren in Pine Bluff on Tuesday, who needed police to save them from the hog's tusks.
Read entire article here.
Michael Kamen, dead at 55. Yeah, I know, his orchestrations could be a little over-wrought, but really, would November Rain be the same song without him? Would Elton John be the rich poofta he is today?!?
Oh sit down. It's a joke.
Anyway, serious suckage tonight in the not-quite-pop music world.
From Carrie, who gets a vintage No-Prize, brings us Retro Raunch. Your one stop for classy vintage pixes.
Instapundit linked up this bit of historical perspective on the current "anti american" spasm in Europe, and the last one of any note, back in the mid 80s. I wonder just how many people decrying our "loss of prestige in Europe" really remember the Pershing missle crisis?
And in the "don't you people have anything better to do?" category, we have this report of congresscritters protesting the paint job of an airplane in the new Smithsonian annex:
Just weeks before the opening of the Smithsonian's new aviation museum, 20 House members have asked the Smithsonian to remove beer logos from a historic aerobatics plane.
Dems and Reps are in on this foolishness, so neither side gets to claim the busybody high ground.
Ya know, my wife gives me hell all the time about being a redneck and living in trailers and marrying cousins. My sister-in-law still cracks jokes about eating squirrels and possums. While I've never done any of those things and don't consider myself much of a redneck, I'd like to point out the dad who strapped a dead deer to his Hundai and drove through the neighborhood with it is not in fact my dad. Look to the right of the vicious attack dog and you'll see those are New York plates.
Now, let's think... which side of this family lives in New York again?
Warning: Involves graphic picture of a very ex-deer. Don't look if that sort of thing bothers you.
Slashdot featured this CNN article on silbador, the most elaborate "whistle" language in the world. Yup, you whistle instead of talk. 4,000 words no less. Not to be missed: a recorded conversational example that goes:
Look, go tell Julio to bring the castanets.
Lili says you should go get the kids and have them bring the castanets for the party.
Richie's favorite obsession, Jenna Jamison, is rumored to be buying Penthouse:
According to our sources, [Jenna's] in the running to buy Penthouse magazine.
Note: scroll down to 2nd story.
Instapundit linked up this Healing Iraq story about how the NY Times and its friendly hired thugs are harassing a friend of his before I spotted it. Lair has some fun observations:
How much freer can conditions get for the press in Iraq if they're able to hire armed thugs and threaten to shoot people if they complain?
Or, the Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations wherein you will find the most detailed global photograph of Jupiter ever assembled, among other neat things. Keep in mind folks, several dozen earths can fit in the red spot of Jupiter. Amazing stuff.
BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing the startling discovery of a new sub-atomic particle that doesn't easily fit into any category described by the current standard model. Officially referred to with the inelegant moniker "X(3872)", it has recently been dubbed the "mystery meson". Nearly as heavy as an entire atom of helium, it does not match any of the expected quark-antiquark constructions for meson particles.
The sub-atomic world makes my head hurt. I think I'll go lie down now...
In terms of income per head, America is the wealthiest large industrial country. It is also the only western democracy to have practised slavery in the industrial era. It has the highest crime rate and highest rate of imprisonment (though crime, at least, is falling towards European levels). Its society is among the most religious in the world. Perhaps less obviously, Americans are more likely than almost anyone else to join voluntary associations.
Very interesting read.
Ok, I've seen 'em in lots of different colors, but this one's a real doozy. Auction link, so check it while you can. No, I don't want it for Christmas, not even in a scale model. Yeesh.
What to do with a cat and a fruit rind.
Thanks to James, you get a lemon-wedged No- Prize!
BBCnews is also carrying this report summarizing new finds regarding megafauna extinction in the Western Hemisphere. By studying horse fossils, scientists have determined climate probably played a much greater role in the extinction of those animals, as well as others like Mammoth and Rhinoceros, than has previously been thought.
I'm sure it'll zip all over the blogosphere very soon, but just in case... Blogrolling seems to have been hacked, and everyone who uses it now has "laura's blog" as the only link in the thing, thousands of times over. I've turned ours off for now, for obvious reasons. Here's to hoping they can get it all sorted out and back on line! It's a free service, so we can't complain too much, but it'll be a bear to put it back together. Ah well.
Now, I'll admit the Corner Shot, a weapon that allows you to shoot around corners, is one nifty gizmo. However, close examination seems to show that it is ultimately just a pistol with a remote trigger and a bunch of fancy sensors. I can't help but think someone's come up with this idea before. Does the gun-nut peanut gallery know of any "prior art"?
Update: I personally find the Vektor 20mm a much more effective weapon. That's what you call a safety seat. Now if I can just figure out how to brace Olivia in the chair...
BBCnews is carrying this article detailing the discovery of the largest Kuiper-belt object found to date. A giant ball of ice and rock about 240 miles across, it lies in a stable orbit near Neptune.
Of course, it could be the frozen waste sludge from an intergalactic transport. Oh, come on, it could too! Geeze, you people gots no imagination...
Instapundit brings us a bunch of links to stories that much more definitively link Saddam to Al Quaeda and other terrorist organizations.
Of course, my brother will only say this confirms the timetable he has discerned the devious Bush et. al. have put in place to ensure his re-election. As with all good partisans, he then gets to have it both ways by claiming Bush is also an idiot.
I kid, I kid!
New Scientist posted this new article detailing what may be the first observed instant of a gorilla grandmother teach her daughter how to care for an infant.
Yup, it's true, guys really do buy Real Dolls. Two of them no less. And it's not like the guy weighs 400 lbs or anything. Umm... yeah...
Note Has pictures, but all are complete safe for work.
From the makers of Clone Your BoneTM, now you can Match Your Snatch.
The Match Your Snatch™ kit comes complete with:
* specially designed casting cup,
* special fast-casting mix,
* a rainbow of color chips,
* a magnet,
* and easy, fun instructions.
No engineer looks at a television remote control without wondering what it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer can take a shower without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating would make showering unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a toy box full of sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.
No, I'm not an engineer, but I know several. Some of their habits rub off on you.
One my digests linked up this neat article detailing proposed new features for the next "big Alfa" sedan. They're gonna put the drive wheels where God intended, in the back, and add rear wheel steering. Assuming they do come back in '07, this will probably be one of the models they bring.
Of course, it'll probably cost $50,000 or so. Ah well. I wonder how much a lease would be...
After more than nine months of silence, there's a reasonably credible rumor going around about Farscape continuing. We've had the last episode sitting on the TiVo for nearly a year now, don't have the heart to watch it. Maybe now we will!
Yeah, I know, preliminary. Could turn out to be nothing. But still...
Update: Slashdot featured this article from a different source, which seems to confirm it. Says it'll be a stand-alone mini-series, "independent" of the SciFi channel. Could still turn into vaporware, but for now it's very good news!
Hot chocolate is actually good for you!
Cocoa's antioxidants are almost two times stronger than red wine, two to three times stronger than green tea, and four to five times stronger than black tea, reports Science Daily. Antioxidants--vitamins C and E and beta carotene--are widely believed to fight cancer, heart disease, and aging. They may even help stave off the memory-robbing Alzheimer's disease.
Carrie get a very hot chocolate No-Prize!
Well, I found the trash can. It was several blocks from the house hinding behind some bushes as if it was not wanting to be found.
So there I am, walking away with Olivia in her SOOPA STROLLER and dragging a trash can behind me. ( I KNOW it's my trash can due to the variety of car jizz and grey paint splattered inside of it as well as some ad that has been stuck to the bottom of it for 3 months.)
The lid is still MIA.
I saw it on slashdot, but I'm sure it'll be all over the news tonight. It would seem scientists have figured out how to make viruses:
[A]n important technical bridge towards the creation of such life was crossed Thursday when genomics pioneer Craig Venter announced that his research group created an artificial virus based on a real one in just two weeks' time.
Predictable "oh my God! Pretty soon they'll be making people!!!" hysteria followed. However, what nobody addressed was something I thought of right away: If a lab can make one kind of harmless virus, just how hard would it be to make a harmful virus, like smallpox? I'm not making a judgement here, I'm just wanting to know how, or how not.
And don't give me any of that "what hath man wrought" crap. Science should always be done, never ignored. Sticking your head in the sand and farting "immoral!!!" just because you don't like the implications of a discovery isn't going to prevent someone else from exploiting it. Better to stay ahead of the game and understand the implications so you can better defeat them.
Trolling our Iraq blogs and other sources today I'm struck by how diverse opinion is among Iraqis themselves:
Regarding the Governing Council, it is wrong to upset the arrangement too drastically now. No matter what misgivings you may have about their performance, they still represent quite a wide spectrum of the Iraqi political scene, and what is more important, they are all for the new Iraq, that we all pray for. However fundamental changes are required, and I think now at last serious steps are underway.
There's a complete and total lack of communication between the Council members and the people- they are as inaccessible as Bremer or Bush. Their speeches are often in English and hardly ever to the Iraqi public. We hear about new decisions and political and economical maneuverings through the voice-overs of translators while the Council members are simpering at some meeting thousands of miles away.
I think that dissolving the whole council would be another huge mistake. Expanding it into a national conference with greater powers and authorities would be more realistic. We can add professional technocrats and non-partisans from different Iraqi provinces who would be more of service to us than party leaders and tribal sheikhs.
A national conference is a good idea, but it will fail as miserably as the Puppet Council, unless… there's a timetable. The occupation forces need to set a definite date saying, "We're going to begin pulling out on *this* month, next year- let's get organized before that." A timetable is vital to any progress, if any is going to be made. Only then, will things begin to move forward.
The Gallup poll [of Baghdad residents completed in October] found that 71% of the capital city's residents felt U.S. troops should not leave in the next few months. Just 26% felt the troops should leave that soon.
--USA Today, 10-14-2003
Part of me wants to throw up my hands and say, "how do you expect us to help when none of you can even agree on what help is?"
But another part smiles, looks at our own newspapers filled with people passionately advocating diametrically opposed views, and thinks they're halfway to where they need to be already.
Joshua gets a no-prize made of tiny plastic bricks for bringing us this nifty site using game-like computer animation & video to explain how legos get made. I'm not sure which is neater... the site, or the way the things are made.
BBCnews is carrying this summary of recent events in the Mars Express orbiter project, along with its Beagle lander. In spite of the worst solar storms on record, the probe itself is functioning normally. The lander should be fine, but they won't know for sure until they turn it on next week for testing.
Assuming everything checks out, they're "go" for a December 25th landing. Now, won't that be a nice Christmas present for everyone?
Thursdays is trash day here. We have a large green trash can that sits on the curb that day with an assortment of trash goodies. Used diapers, kitchen trash, used litter, you know, stuff you don't want in the house.
Yesterday morning we put the trash out like we normally do. Yesterday evening there was no trash can. This morning there is no trash can.
Either the garbage men took the trash can OR it blew down the block.
This morning Scott can't find it. Must've been the strong wind that blew it away.
So now I have to go out this morning and get a new trash can.
Joshua finally managed to hunt down one of the people with video cameras and posted this video of your AMCGltd heroes in their fashion debut, as previously described in Costume Drama. No closeups, so it's a bit hard to recognize faces, but you'll be able to spot me by how stiff I am. And not in the good way. We're the 2nd couple out.
Note: free login required to view the vid.
Joshua gets his second no-prize of the day by being the first to tell us of Judge Moore's fate:
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from office Thursday for refusing to obey a federal court order to move his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state courthouse.
Civil disobedience in the name of a higher cause is supposed to result in punishment as directed by the law. He stood up for what he believed in by breaking the law and got canned for it. I am simply dumbstruck that today's permissive "me" culture and utterly uncritical press corps allow individuals to be deluded into thinking there will be no consequences for breaking a law if it's broken for a "just cause".
And don't think I'm coming down on this guy because he's a fundie wack. I think he butt should be parked in the cell next to that sweet little-old-lady school teacher from Florida who violated federal travel & trade bands by sitting in front of an Iraqi power station. Well, assuming he did something worthy of getting tossed in the pokey over. Not sure if this is.
Joshua gets a no-prize for bringing HoaxBusters to our attention. Your one-stop shop for the most common internet hoaxes floating around out there. Great for that friend or relative who sends you yet another "post office charging for e-mail" message!
"AMCGltd," we hear you ask, "I'm so tired of my bleak, materialistic existence. Hanging out at the mall with my friends just doesn't have the snap it used to. Cults sound easy and entertaining, but I think purple shrouds and white tennis shoes are so 1997. I tried church, but organized religion is really hard! Is there anything you can do to help?"
Fear not, gentle reader! AMCGltd is here to help! With Plug-n'-Pray religion kits, you can go from reject to rabbi simply by dropping a disk into your computer! Don't want to be accused of participating in the Great Global Conspiracy? No problem! Kits exist for Christian, Muslim, even Hindu and Buddhist!
"But what about me? My parents picked my religion! Is there anything Plug-n-Pray can do?"
Glad you asked! With Plug-n'-Pray's E-Z Switch technology, even the most endoctrinated religious fanatic can easily transform themselves into a different endoctrinated religious fanatic! With new patented SMS-MSS technology, switching can even be done with a compatible cell phone!
So don't delay, act now! The next soul you save could be your own!
BBCnews is carrying this summary of a recent fossil find that seems to indicate now-extinct cousins of spiders were spinning webs a good 55 million years before anyone else. With picture!
For all our console fiends out there, slashdot linked up this announcement that Nintendo is going to launch a new gaming platform soon. Unfortunately, that's about all anyone seems to know... they're not sure if it'll be handheld or another console. Something else for Richie & Damion's mantle.
Olivia's at the point now we can start 'solid foods'. We put that in quotes because it's actually more like 'mushy foods', resembling not so much food as a better-smelling variety of the stuff we spoon out for the cats. We went out and bought the rice cereal and basic 'baby veggies in a jar'. Ha! Have fun parsing that one! Of course, Ajax and Ted now always come running at suppertime since they think it's "their" baby food for pills.
We didn't realize how messy it could be with a baby that has hand-eye coordination along the lines of "place in hand, stick in eye".
How to teach a new baby to eat from a spoon in 10 easy steps:
Step 1. Place baby in highchair. Note how very tiny baby in very large chair with huge baby table attached bears close resemblance to 5'1 grandmother sitting behind wheel of new 2 ton SUV. The primary difference being, of course, baby can see out.
Step 2. Prepare cereal. Make sure water is not too hot or cold. Taste cereal. Note flavor resembles puree made from pizza boxes and paper sacks. Add maple syrup to cereal since baby imitated tank-cleaning suckerfish trying to get your French toast at IHOP the other day.
Step 3. Make sure you have baby spoon with special soft end on it. Note that the spoon must stay away from cats at all time since plastic end seems to be made from extremely tasty stuff, at least to cat.
Step 4. Attempt to feed baby. Note most of the food goes on the baby and not in baby.
Step 5. Play the game of food-covered airplane trying to land in baby's mouth. Note this results in baby energetically demonstrating that while mouth may be landing strip, neck and chest are taxiways.
Step 6. Make mental note that next meal baby will only eat in a diaper.
Step 7. Finish meal and scrape the rest of it off the baby and feed that to the circling cat-shaped-vulture that just perched on the side of her high chair.
Step 8. Give baby to Daddy to hold and listen to him exclaim now she smells like a "Bear-Claw". Give Daddy lizard-blink while he convulses in laughter at our comment, "baby's don't eat cookies."
Step 9. Stare in awe at mess on highchair, floor, cat, walls, ceiling, and baby. Hand still giggling husband-thing 409 and paper towel roll... "who's laughing now pastry boy?"
Step 10. Wash baby. In the tub.
Baby food is amazing stuff. Baby carrots will stain a binky nipple orange- FOREVER. It will also stain a baby's face to the point you think you need to break out the Brillo to get it off. "Out, damned Gerber!"
You also don't get to eat first. She sees you eating, she wants to eat too. Sometimes it's to the point you can't shovel the food in fast enough she gets so mad at you.
Next up... ice cream...
Was the 1876 election between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel J. Tilden the only other election in which a president lost the popular vote but won the election? Jim Miller doesn't think so, and his conclusion will be unexpected to most people who didn't live through the election he has in mind.
Joshua gets a sandy no-prize for bringing us this unique performance art video from Korea. Trust me, you've never seen anything quite like it before.
Unless, of course, you've seen it. :)
Perdue University is working on a study trying to figure out why old people fall down. This is near and dear to our hearts, as my mom usually finds an innovative way to pitch herself head-over-heels about once every six months or so.
Anthony Romaro got the scare of his life Wednesday night when two Akita dogs, each weighing about 100 pounds, attacked him near his best friend's home in Coral Springs.Read entire article here.
Witnesses said a 2-year-old pit bull named Missy played the part of hero during the attack.
Akitas, Chows, Sharpeis are dogs in the veterinary world that are blacklisted as being automatically bad during a visit. I have met a sweet Akita named Bear, I have had the pleasure of working with a Sharpei named Kat, that was a cuddle bug, and I have met a super sweet Chow named Chewie that thought he was a Great Dane. You can never just 'label' a dog, you have to take into consideration of who they live with, what the living situation is and how they are cared for. That plays a huge part in the attitude they develope. If all else fails, yes you can blame bad breeding.
Go Missy Go!
I've always wondered if these tasted like real bacon.
Beggin' Strips slogan is "Dog's don't know it's not bacon!" Newsflash: Dogs are retarded. Mine used to eat his own vomit, and wag his tail while he did it. I'll be the one to decide if this stuff tastes like bacon or not.
This is laugh out loud funny. You have to read it!
CNN, the yellow-dog peanut gallery's favorite news outlet, is at it again:
CNN, which has marketed itself as an outlet for serious news, planted a question about computer preferences at last week's debate of the Democratic presidential candidates, according to the student who posed the query and on Monday wrote about it in an online forum of Brown University's Daily Herald.
The summary sounds innocuous enough, but read the article, it's worse than you think.
I actually don't watch Fox News all that much, but considering this is, what, the second or third time CNN's gotten caught doing something stupid this year, I think I'm probably going to stop tolerating people who hold FN up for ridicule. They may not say what you like, and they may not report the way you like, but I have yet to see them make any claim to be other than what they are... news from a conservative viewpoint.
Considering the minor dustup we had a few weeks ago over just who knows more about federal contracts than whom, this New York Times op-ed is particularly interesting:
The problem with the story [that the Bush administration "sold America down the river" with its Haliburton contracts] is that it's almost entirely untrue. As Daniel Drezner recently established in Slate, there is no statistically significant correlation between the companies that made big campaign contributions and the companies that have won reconstruction contracts.
Most of the sources he cites are from the Clinton administration no less. This should put an end to that particular debate. Time for the Dems to come up with something else to gnaw on.
BBCnews is carrying a better summary of a report I read about yesterday... plastic surgeons have decided it's possible to transplant whole faces from dead people. The whole point is to give people who's faces have been, say, burned completely off another shot at a normal life.
Just saying "from dead people" conjures up images of grandma's face attached to someone else's body, but nobody seems to have pointed out that a face is not just skin and muscle. It's bone structure, eye color, hair style and color, and a host of other things. In spite of what Hollywood has portrayed, I doubt very much if there'd be any resemblance of the living to the dead.
Still, it is a bit creepy.
Ok, it wasn't exactly 20 years ago, and it wasn't exactly today either, but it's close enough. Let's all take some time out to enjoy the cheesy-ness that was the 1984 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I'm sure I watched the original... I watched most of them. Oh be quiet, you probably did too. Unless you weren't born yet. Good lord... when did 1984 become nearly 20 years ago?
This is just wrong!!!
The second in a series of occasional essays on various aspects of warfare.
One of the problems with being a lifelong student of military history is you start assuming everyone knows things that very few people actually do. There have been many times in the past few weeks where I've shouted "DUR!!!" at the TV only to be confronted with a quizzical look from my wife. So, apologies if this all seems a bit too obvious to you, or a gross oversimplification. I'm just trying to make sure we're all working from the same page.
Guerrilla warfare is one of the most complex, and yet paradoxically one of the most simple, forms of warfare man has created. Like chess, the pieces are straightforward, their paths well-known, but in combination give rise to a nearly infinite number of combinations and strategies. Because of this, guerrilla warfare is usually considered one of the more difficult fields of fighting to study, and often seems barely understood by the popular media. We're going to try, in 1500 words or less, to take at least a baby step in rectifying this situation.
First off, it's important to emphasize that because of their very nature guerrilla conflicts are always unique. Generalizations are very difficult, and dangerous besides. It's very tempting to think just because you understand one guerrilla conflict very well, you understand them all. Gigantic volumes have been written simply detailing the differences between the various conflicts. Trying to inflexibly apply rules that worked in one to another can get you killed.That said, comparing all the various conflicts and the writings of the people who fought them does reveal some commonality.
The basic units, the guerrillas themselves, are nearly always taken from the poorest sections of a society. They are usually young men, poorly educated but not stupid, drawn directly from the local population. As such, they come with a built-in knowledge of local language, custom, and geography, items invaluable to a guerrilla's survival.
The leadership of these bands are oftentimes not drawn from the same "local boys" as the rank-and-file. Instead, leaders tend to come from groups of the better educated middle- and upper-class sections of a society. University students and recent graduates are common choices, as their youth and uncritical idealism make them prime candidates for indoctrination, while their education allows them to see alternatives to the injustice the current society is inflicting.
Because guerrillas are at heart a grass-roots movement, they are always chronically short of supplies. Since they have no factories, no foundries, no depots to call on, they must beg, borrow, or steal essentially everything they need to do their job. Simply acquiring and maintaining the advanced weaponry needed to make the entire project work is a major and difficult undertaking.
Because of this utter reliance on the world around them for supply, the guerrilla must have the support of the common people. As Mao Tse-Tung once said, "the guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea." The common people provide the guerrilla with food, shelter, and places to train, as well as accurate and timely information about the enemy. Without the people the guerrilla is simply a starving target hiding in the wilderness. This single factor is central to a guerrilla's existence. Without the people, guerrilla movements wither and die.
The support of an outside "great power" providing weaponry, pots of money, and/or logistical support is nice, but not required for the success of guerrilla operations. If an outsider isn't around to just hand you things like SAMs, recoilless rifles, howitzers, and mortars, then a guerrilla unit will simply attempt buy, borrow, or steal them from the enemy. Don't laugh... the Viet Cong were for a very long time equipped with some of the finest weaponry the US government could provide.
Indoctrination and ideology are also essential to a guerrilla movement's success. You'll always have a certain number of individuals who'll fight just for the sake of fighting, but to really build numbers you must give people something worth fighting for.
It's important to also understand how limited guerrillas really are. While easily able to harass and hinder, they are not capable of occupation in the face of determined, well-organized resistance. They can run amok when all they're facing is infantry, even regular infantry, but when the tanks and planes show up they run or they die. Guerrilla movements can drive "regular" generals insane and hamper their ability to operate, but it takes a regular "real" army to make the final moves in a revolution.This does not mean the guerrilla leaders need to build their own army from scratch, although some have done so. At least as common is co-opting existing generals by indoctrination, blackmail, or kidnapping.
This is why guerrillas need safe places, far away from enemy interference. Without a haven, regulars cannot be trained, supplies cannot be built up, training cannot take place. This is where the dumb luck of geography comes in... some places have terrain almost purpose-built to hide huge numbers of people doing really noisy things, while others make it impossible for three guys to stand together without being noticed.
While it is very difficult for a guerrilla force to win, it's equally (and more famously) difficult for them to lose. Because a guerrilla is as much about mindset as equipment or training, they can fade back into the peasantry as quickly as they sprang up, only to return again when the conditions are right. When lead well, guerrillas never even attempt to confront their enemies under anything other than ideal conditions. Again, Mao: "When the enemy advances, withdraw; when he stops, harass; when he tires, strike; when he retreats, pursue." If the enemy won't stand and fight, and looks exactly like a peasant once he's ditched his rifle, it's just about impossible to win a battle with him.
This does not mean guerrilla forces are invincible, far from it. Guerrilla movements are created by external conditions, and it is only by controlling and removing these external conditions that they can be reliably defeated. Sometimes this is simply not possible... a brutal, corrupt dictatorship is not going to introduce land reform or give away its power, no matter how many soldiers die in ambushes. In such places the best that can be hoped for is a bloody stalemate, with both sides grinding away at each other, sometimes for decades at a time.
When the conditions can be alleviated, guerrilla movements evaporate like puddles on a hot street. However, these conditions are by no means obvious, and their solutions not simple at all. Roads, bridges, schools, and hospitals can be built by the dozen, but if half the project is sucked up in graft and the other half is spent meeting the requirements on the cheap, nothing will be gained. Children can be sent to schools and protected on safe streets but if it requires the locals to be uprooted from the land of their ancestors they'll simply move right back where they started, and send their sons to fight the infidel. Fences can be constructed and leaders assassinated, but as long as settlements are built in the heart of an erstwhile homeland while bags of money are being handed over the border by cynical fools, nothing will change.
So when you hear the report of a bombing, consider the targets. Were they soldiers, or their supporters? Were they instead common people, or those known to help them? Are soldiers working with the locals, or are they trying to sweep the opposition aside so that a "new order" can take hold? Are the guerrillas drawn from the local population, or are they filled with ranks of "foreigners" from other places? Do the guerrillas have a safe haven to operate from, or terrain to use as cover for their operations, or are they stuck with flat, exposed country in which even dead dogs can be spotted a half mile away?
Ironically, as far as Iraq goes the conclusion to my first "101" essay is essentially the same as this:
What you watch for then is how patient our guys are. The Iraqis have no love for us, because we have invaded their country. Never lose sight of this fact. It doesn't matter if we're there to "liberate" them... we're big, scary, weird looking, and in their front yard. Only by being patient, by removing the bastards with the sniper rifles and the mortars, without killing anyone else, will they decide we are the lesser of two evils. When that happens they'll do our work for us, because unlike us they know Achmed's kid Achmad is no damned good and has been playing with some awfully smelly stuff in his basement lately. It is only with the villagers' help that we'll transform a successful suicide bombing into a dumb kid sitting in a cell.
When good toilets go bad, your one-stop-shop for all weird & wonderful toilet-related stories. It has pictures, but I'm afraid to look at them. You do it.
Ok, I'm genuinely sorry to hear when a child dies from something, anything. People tell me you can't imagine the grief and pain, and I believe them. However, I do feel there are limits to the demonstrations of grief, and after some consideration I think this lady may have found them:
A grieving mother said on Thursday she plans to fight after her town set a deadline for her to remove decorations on the grave of her 9-year-old son or have his remains moved to a different cemetery.
Armstrong decided to bury the boy in a nearby public cemetery but found it to be "cold and raw" -- and so she covered the grave with mulch, white stones, fencing, plants, toys, Halloween decorations, solar-powered lighting, prayer cards and other objects.
Now, hysterical grief can cause people to do all sorts of things, but you have to draw a line somewhere. Turning your child's gravesite into a landing strip definitely sounds like that line has been crossed.
Nigel Marven's at it again, this time taking on prehistoric sea-monsters. We really enjoyed the "Scientist-as-bait-meets-prehistory" format the last time around with his dinosaur show (title escapes me), so we have high hopes for this one. The article is talking about a UK broadcast, but Discovery seems to get the same program a few months later.
Nigel's kind of like Steve Irwin with a better education and less caffeine. I'm sure he grates on plenty of people, but we think he's a hoot. "Oiym Noy-jel Mah-ven, and we-yah going to have a great toim."
The ancient seas are not well covered by documentaries, so there should be quite a bit of cool stuff in there. Time to set the TiVo...
So, I've got a thirty-two year old car with 94,000 miles on it. Far as anyone knows, the motor's never been opened up. It smokes a bit when cold, or when I really tromp on it, and it does tend to consume a quart of oil every 600 miles or so. Yeah. A rebuild candidate for sure, but nothing that has to be done tomorrow, next week, next month, or even next year (so sit down, mom). I can only hope whoever eventually rebuilds the motor takes the time and care this guy did for a "good friend" of his. With pictures!
Damion has a guy this good for his Honda, who will do stuff and then ask Damion how much it should cost. The professional Alfa mechanics left in the US are all crusty, cranky old men with chips on their shoulders. Ah well, that's what my Roth account is for. Go stock market, go!
For the person that has almost everything.
No corpses were harmed in the making of this product.
Chicago (SatireWire.com) — A freighter containing 62,000 metric tons of popular impotence drug Viagra struck a reef and sank in Lake Michigan today. As a result, the once-frigid lake no longer dangles into Illinois and Indiana, but now spans majestically across northern Wisconsin.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott McCallum declared a state of emergency, while in Minnesota, Gov. Jesse Ventura declared: "Is Lake Michigan a threat, or is it just glad to see me?"
Read entire article here.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Foreign belly dancers are appealing to the Egyptian courts to overturn a decree that stops them working in the country they consider the home of the dance, a performer and her lawyer said Thursday.Read entire article here.
Tickets fetch 200 Egyptian pounds ($35.52) for performances by top dancers in Cairo's luxury hotels, where the mixed-sex audiences often throw generous tips onto the dance floor.
Apparently stripteasing and pole dancing is becomming super popular at Crunch Gyms in the United States.
Now you can do this exercise in the privacy of your own home.
Sheila Kelley's S Factor Workout, Stripping for the Everyday Woman: The Basics, is a beginning workout video that focuses on teaching the S factor foundation with the final benefit of a stripping routine thrown in for good measure. Fun, sexy, athletic and strenuous, you won't believe that you ever lived with out it!
Not only can you get the video, you can buy the POLE!
No Scott, no pole for us, we have vaulted bedroom ceilings.
This stuff is laugh out loud funny!
I can remember when Scott and I would troll for weirdos on the net and wind up doing this to them!
Some weird pictures and videos of ghosts.
Great...now I'm going to sleep with the lights on tonight.
Sex positions for use in your car!
One persons experience from the famous Bunny Ranch.
Ellen found another reason for God to drop a brick on her head next time she's in a church with this church sign generator. Of course, we couldn't let that one go by:
Ellen, of course, had a different take:
Simple. Funny. Cool. Make your own, share with friends!
Update: Don't miss Amish Tech's signs.
Piston engines always fail in spectacular ways, but I can honestly say I've never seen one simply split in two. That's right folks, those aren't cylinder heads you're looking at, that's the block. Amazingly, according to the owner, all the spinning bits of the engine were completely undamaged.
This photographer has way to much time on his hands to hunt for stuff like this.
The name says it all... 100 worst porn movie titles. I defy you to read them and not laugh out loud at some point. "PRIME CUTS - YO QUIERO TACO SMELL" did it for me, but " BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE VAGINA" came awfully close.
Warning: Lots of profanity, and some silly but explicit cartoon drawings (not gross). If that stuff'll get you in trouble, wait until you're home to look.
BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing Europe's latest effort at space exploration... the Darwin project. Composed of new instruments as well as new ways of looking at things, the Darwin project will attempt to find planets capable of supporting life orbiting nearby stars. Their first candidate goes by the esoteric designation HD 172051. "Just" 42 light years away, it apparently holds great promise.
Say what you will about Texas, it appears their state board of education has got some backbone:
The State Board of Education voted Thursday to approve biology textbooks, despite criticism from religious activists who say the books as written fail to present the anti-evolution point of view.
I'm sure there will be a few people who read this and want to say something along the lines of, "but it is just a theory" or "don't you know there are serious problems with evolution?" or "alternatives deserve equal time." To them I would direct first to the talk.origins archive, probably the best introduction to biological science ever created. Trust me, your question or caveat is answered in there, better and more clearly than I ever could here.
Instapundit linked up The Messopotamian, another Iraq blog. This one is also quite well written:
I am particularly touched by this comment:
On the personal side, my son ships out the end of Nov for his tour in Iraq. He'll be leaving behind his family and their little 9 month old daughter. I have alot at stake in your land now too.
Chuck T | Email | 11.06.03 - 3:48 pm | #
Dear Chuck: Your son and my sons will be in the same boat, may god preserve him and them from evil. My heart goes out to you and all the families of servicemen.
Each time I hear of a casualty, a hand squeezes my heart with pain. This has to stop. They were not bad these boys. We never saw anything bad from them. Perhaps some people had. The worst things happen when searches are carried out. I will have to make suggestions about that. Searches are important to be sure, but they could be carried out in quite different manner. The searches are carried out usually based on information received. Sometimes, and quite often, the information is false. This matter has to be discussed in greater detail.
We're getting enough now (we link 3 in our blog roll, and to my count there are probably twice that many out there at least) that in my mind a picture is beginning to form:
Overall, I think it's a positive picture. Not as positive as it could be, but definitely more than what you're getting from big media. Now, I must say again, I'm just a guy with a computer sitting in an office. Why aren't we hearing any of these points from the reporters who are actually there?
One of the more challenging parts of growing up, for me at least, was learning about sportsmanship. Oh, we'd be told about "it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game", but the way adults acted when a team played well but lost versus when a team played poorly but won was not ignored by the children involved. As I grew up, hard lessons taught me the only time people play for the sake of playing is when they have nothing to lose. People who win, and do it consistently, have always understood rules are flexible things, rewarding most only when bent just to the point of breaking, but no further.
It's everywhere. Pro ball players, business owners, real estate developers, labor union leaders, senior citizen groups, gun nuts, peacenicks, hookers and homeless are all looking for an edge, an advantage that will give them exactly what they want, and at the top will do absolutely anything to get. Every one of them always keeping in mind the old axiom "it's not breaking the rules as long as you don't get caught."
What I find surprising about such things is that other people find them so surprising. In business and sports it's amusing, but in politics it's simply staggering. Thankfully, our founding fathers were nowhere near as naive about human nature as the current generation seems to be. They knew far too many of us prefer to bend our knees than use our heads, and that people who seek governmental power are always smart, charming, perceptive, funny, and at heart the absolute last people you would actually want to give that sort of power to. So they designed from the outset a system of government so Byzantine in its complexity we still haven't completely figured out all its subtleties more than two centuries later. Even then it was nearly torn apart by the efforts of the rapidly industrializing North to defang the power of the old-money South. Only the truly credulous think the Civil War was just about slavery, or state's rights.
I'm not so cynical as to say everyone is like this. Far from it. Our country is fantastically successful not just because it puts ruthless, vicious people in a precarious balance against themselves, but because it also makes them directly accountable to the vast majority of decent, law-abiding folks who make up the rest of it, folks who really do think good works, a pious soul, and living a clean life are signposts along the only real road to happiness. But to deny the monsters exist, or to claim they infest one side only, or that they are not in charge and have always been in charge (no matter which label happens to hang on them) is to at best show a fawning ignorance in the way the world works, at worst a denial so complete as to be called cynical itself.
It's very important to remember this... the US is not successful because of any innate virtue bestowed on us, but rather because the dark, powerful people who run our society are kept in balance with each other, while being held in check by and accountable to the rest of us. Even more importantly, the rest of the world is not as successful as we are not because we've lied or stolen or killed our way to the top. They fail instead because for the most part their countries do not have such checks and balances, and therefore are always at risk from the predations of evil and the miscalculations of good intent. History has proven time and again that such nations all too easily succumb to the abyss of totalitarianism, no matter what its disguise may be.
It is to our discredit that we fail to recognize this, and instead blame ourselves, and allow ourselves to be blamed, for all the evil that is in this world.
The funniest part of this satirical announcement of TiVo's new "future view" technology, which "adds the ability to fast-forward through the television program you are watching, before the show has even aired", will be missed by anyone who doesn't actually own one. I've had to explain to four different people in the past three months that no, you can't actually do this.
I vaguely remember reading about "ancient Egyptian artifacts" found in Michigan as proof that somehow they were able to cross the ocean. Can't remember exactly where though, I cruise a lot of wacko sites. Well, in case you actually come across someone who talks about them, as you'd expect they're all fakes, and bad ones at that:
Last June , [artifact invenstigator Richard] Stamps visited the Slate Valley Museum on the New York-Vermont border and asked workers there to examine several of the relics. The workers could identify the specific quarry each piece came from and what it originally was made to be: a window sill, a shingle or other construction pieces. But one trapezoidal tablet still puzzled Stamps. In the next room, he looked at a display of items made from slate, including a laundry tub. On closer examination, he noticed the end pieces of the tub were trapezoids, exactly matching the tablet.
Let that be a lesson to you kids. Be sure to log back in as yourself whenever you're done editing someone else's posts. All posts done so far today are from me (Scott) and not Ellen. Well, that's only the second time in nearly two years, so I guess we're Ok.
Ok, not that I'm judgemental or anything, but anyone who'd want to stick themselves in what is essentially a giant vacuform machine for fun is basically nuts. I wonder if it'd make your ears pop?
Jeff gets a no-prize for bringing this article about comparisons between postwar Iraq and Germany. I've always thought this particular comparison was invalid, but I'm deeply puzzled why nobody's even bothered to compare Iraq to post-war Japan. There, the culture and predominant religion was fundamentally different, the people had never experienced democracy, and were unable to even conceive of defeat.
Personally I don't think either comparison is particularly valid. I'm leaning more toward a comparison with the Phillipino experience, but this could simply be because I don't know all that much about the period.
Spaceflightnow is carrying this article on the "roses in the southern sky", a pair of giant nebular complexes found in the Megellanic galaxies around the Milky Way. With pictures!
Ok, if the peanut bag feels like its got sugar in it, just give it to the feds:
Federal investigators Thursday found about $20,000 worth of cocaine disguised as snack-sized bags of peanuts on an Avianca flight from Colombia to Miami.
Hmmm, let's see... an airline flight from Columbia. Nah, we won't search that one at all.
Bobby Hatfield, half of the Righteous Brothers, died yesterday. People over 35 or so will go "damn", while most people under 25 will go "huh?" Damned kids....
Scott sent me this story from Silflay Hraka's site.
Ngnat had been a little girl all of her life. She was a little girl when she got out of bed in the morning, and a little girl when she went to bed at night.
But one day, when she woke up, something had happened. Instead of hands, Ngnat had a pair of paws! Instead of feet, Ngnat had another pair of paws! Instead of a bottom, Ngnat had a tail, and it swished back and forth, back and forth as she watched it. Ngnat had turned into a kitty!
Now go read the rest of it!
Space.com is carrying this update on the Voyager probes' continuing mission. The latest issue is whether or not Voyager 1 has in fact crossed the "termination shock" barrier, an area of space around our solar system where the particles from the sun's solar wind are substantially slowed by interstallar plasma.
IusedToBelieve.com, your one-stop-shop for all the completely bizzare things the partially wired brain of a small (and not-so-small) child latches onto. Funny stuff.
I can't remember much about things I used to believe that were silly. I do recall being shocked one day (at the age of about 5) finding out the sun didn't go around the earth. It was on a kid's show about learning Spanish on PBS, of all things.
Maybe I was just too experimental as a kid to believe the really weird stuff. Or I just don't remember. Somehow I think my mom, who can't remember where she hides Christmas presents from year to year, will have lots to say about this subject...
From the "still-no-cure-for-cancer" category, New Scientist brings us the intriguing news that, well, fish fart for a reason:
Biologists have linked a mysterious, underwater farting sound to bubbles coming out of a herring's anus. No fish had been known to emit sound from its anus nor to be capable of producing such a high-pitched noise.
Your tax dollars at work!
Some Welsh scientists think they've figured out just how much damage Guy Fawkes would have done if the damned bomb had actually gone off.
For those of you who don't know Guy Fawkes was... hey, wait a minute. This is the internet! Do your own damned research!
Zeyad gets all ranty-McRant with this heartfelt post about what it's like in Iraq right now:
You see a handful of teenagers dancing in front of the camera celebrating dead Americans, and you judge an entire people, you start whining about pulling the troops out of Iraq and giving the Iraqis what they deserve. Are you people really so close-minded? It is the fault of your news agencies that show you what they want, its certainly not ours. If you want us to go out and cry for your dead soldiers and wave American flags, then don't count on it either. We are losing way too many innocent Iraqis daily to be grieving over dead soldiers who have actually made a decision to come here. What about the thousands of dead Iraqis who were not as lucky to have a choice? Did you cry for them?
The whole thing is quite excellent. I find Zayed a very nice counterpoint to Riverbend, who sometimes sounds so much like a Berkely student it rattles me.
Oscar was being a bit weird today. Much weirder than normal.
This morning he was thrashing around in his tank, attempting to jump out of the small holes in the back where the filter and heater attach. Out of curiosity and to make sure he was not actually dying (yeah right), I got up to check him. As I got close to the tank, I kept hearing this odd buzzing noise. Turn off the filter pump... no, thats not it. Turn off the light. Nope not it. Turn off the heater...oh shit!
The F*&cker broke the heater! He apparently got so angry at it that he decided the best thing to do was to kill it. Kill it good! Oscar managed to beat the heater so hard he created a 4 inch crack running up the heating tube. It went all the way around, meaning the bottom was ready to flat fall off.
Ok, first, disconnect heater then fish (ha!) it out of the tank (don't want to get electrocuted). As I pulled it out of the tank, the entire bottom fell off with a "ploonk". DAMN FISH! That was a $25 heater!
I did remember at one point a fellow oscar lover said that sometimes they get mad at heaters because of the red light. This heater, of course, had a red light. When he was the size of a quarter, his attempts at aquarium appliance homicide were amusing. Now that he's the size of a softball, things aren't so damned funny.
After safely removing the heater from the tank, I turned to put it in the sink to drain before tossing it. Suddenly, I hear even more thrashing and splashing. That damned Oscar was trying to get at the telephone next to the tank! He proceeded to get all "in your face" at it through the glass. Hmm... how to describe five pounds of pissed off trout wannabe. Lets just say if he had arms and a switchblade he would've been waving the knife at our defenseless phone going, "You talkin' ta me? You talkin' ta me?!?". Very strage. Normally his psychotic attacks are limited to the stuff in the tank. I look at the phone and notice, sure enough, it has a red light, blinking away at its base.
Scott will be on the fish's side with this one. He thinks I use the phone too much already.
Now I am on a quest to find a heater with NO light. And a phone with no light. Gotta remember to make sure Olivia never has a red light too.
Anyone have any suggestions on the heater?
New Scientist has this article detailing the discovery of the closest galaxy to our own. So close, in fact, the Milky Way is slowly "consuming" it by stealing its stars. Some of them may even be passing nearby us, in galactic terms at least.
Instapundit linked up this Economist article providing an update on progress in Iraq. Amazing how two different sets of reporters (Newsweek and Economist) can look at the exact same situation and come up with diametrically apposed evaluations.
Damion will be pleased to hear that the next-Gen X-box will be powered by the same chip that lives in his new metal monster. No idea what the reaction will be from my winTel-borg-assimilated brother though. Heh...
Ok all you dope heads out there, let's keep the stash away from the kids, mmkay?:
A five-year-old girl allegedly handed out hard drugs to classmates at a Hilversum school last week, leading to the arrest of her mother and the girl's three brothers.
Chong: "Hey man, these Strawberry Shortcake lunchboxes are great! They, like, hold a huge amount of grass!"
Cheech: "Yeah, dude, that's great... so where is it?"
Chong: "Where's what?"
Cheech: "The lunchbox dude... where's the lunchbox?"
Chong: "Oh, the lunchbox? Oh my daughter takes her lunchbox to school every day, man."
Ring yourself and put your phone in your hand to test the strength of your phone's vibrations. VibraSMS are shaped to conduct the vibrations from your phone as strongly as possible. Remember that the area VibraSMS is designed for is more sensitive than other bodyparts!
See girls using them! (adults only!)
Get yer phone cover here
I'd bet you'd think next time you ask to borrow a friends phone that set on vibrate.
Bethany Hamilton was lying on her board off Kauai's North Shore, a shark bit once and then disappeared, taking off her left arm just below the shoulder.
"It was a very clean amputation," Dr. David Rovinsky said.
Read entire article here .
And that's just for infants. God knows what the older parents know about...
This site is for all of our gothic friends out there.
I know all of you will be running to 'adopt' one of your own.
2 VERY talented people make those dolls.
Check out the top 10 signs on how to spot a shemale.
TOKYO (Reuters) - The oldest person in the world, Kamato Hongo, died on Friday aged 116, a spokesman for a hospital in southern Japan said.
Hongo's death comes a month after the world's oldest man, Yukichi Chuganji, passed away at his home on the same Japanese island aged 114.
Read entire article here.
Well, actually the site shows you how to make your own dildo .
Be Creative! Make a cast of your wink for posterity!
Arkansas wins longest game in NCAA history in 7 overtimes
Arkansas stopped Kentucky on a fourth-down play in a 71-63 victory Saturday night.
The game was the longest in NCAA history, matching the seven overtimes in Arkansas' 58-56 victory at Mississippi in 2001. The game lasted four minutes shy of five hours.
Read entire article here .
There was an "all Italian" car show in Alameda CA this weekend, so of course your friendly neighborhood Alfa wack wanted to share the pictures with you. No, I didn't go, I'm on the wrong side of the country, but I was there in spirit!
Now, seeing as how most of you are phillistenes and don't know a GTV from an Alfetta, and therefore would be comparatively lost in a simple list of photos, I thought you might instead like to see a few highlights, like:
After nearly two months in the garage, my own Alfa is finally 100% (well, as close to 100% as it ever gets), so I'll be motoring around soon myself. If you see a white Alfa Spider driving down the toll road in the next few weeks, be sure to wave!