February 29, 2004
The Ultimate Chandelier!

My "weird and quirkieness" has always been low key. Well, ok, except when it comes to cats. Everything MUST be cats. But, there is always room for the [cue wavy 50s horror music and echo]weird... and... unusuaaaal... [/cue]

I have a tiny little fetish for funeral stuff. Always have, probably always will. We're talking the full deal here... graveyards, cemeteries, and hearses (Scott even helped me stumble on what I consider a modern mini hearse, which K&D made even cooler!). Once I even applied to Mortuary School, but thought a veterinarian would make more money. Which just goes to show teenagers really don't know a goddamn thing (Nina).

Went digging around tonight and stumbled onto this which I think is hot as, well, you know, but my mother would kill me since she bought me a 'gothic style' chandelier already. So I think, "maybe a car?", but Scott says that our neighbors probably wouldn't appreciate me parking a hearse in the driveway. He also says real-estate appraisers get all fluttery when a funeral car with a blower through the hood and chrome pipes under the fenders is sitting in front of the house.

So, Skullie, it's time that we re-evaluate our lives and open that funeral parlor. Battie can do the books ;). My mom said she would do the hair and makeup (No really! I come by my quirks naturally!).

Update: Link repaired and spelling checked. Should all work now.

Posted by Ellen at 07:45 PM | Comments (5)
The Hollywood Celebrity Diet Part 2

Top 10 things I have learned from this diet:

10. It does not work at all.
9. It's just some fruit cocktail mix that you have to dilute to drink or you'll burn the inside of your mouth with it. It probably would make a good floor cleaner.
8. Your brother calls you a pussy when you can't be on the diet for 2 days. This of course has absolutely no parallels with his smoking habit. Pussy.
7. Friends think you're binging and purging and going all anorexic.
6. People send you links to weird talking eggs.
5. It mixes well with alcohol.
4. Small people with fast metabolisms should not try this diet.
3. Small people with fast metabolisms and four boxes of leftover Chinese food in their fridge should definitely not try this diet.
2. IRONY: when you go on a purge diet, but your husband's the one in the bathroom all the time because of a bad burrito.
1. I now have the definitive answer to the mommy-question, "well, if your friends all ran off a cliff, would you do it too?"

Fine. I'm a lemming. At least I'm a lemming with a funky marguerita!

Posted by Ellen at 05:05 PM | Comments (1)
February 28, 2004
Gay Bob Doll

No Prize to Nina who showed me the item on Ebay

Here in Gay Pride is 'Gay Bob', a scarce and very collectible doll in wonderful all original condition. Introduced in 1977, but withdrawn from the market soon after. He is 12” tall, anatomically correct, flocked blonde hair and gorgeous blue eyes. Wearing his original clothes with neck chain, earring and hand bag. Complete with his original ‘closet’ box along with a catalog describing fabulous fashion outfits (tho they were never available). Closet box is in very good condition.

Go bid on Gay Bob.

I had no idea such a doll existed. I remember when WalMart recently yanked Baribie's friend Midge for being pregnant off the shelves.

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM | Comments (8)
Dude, Where's My Spacesuit?

Slashdot linked up this space.com article detailing an unusual experiment. Seems they've attached a specially-constructed dummy to the outside of the station to research the effects of radiation on the human body.

Posted by scott at 08:40 AM | Comments (0)
February 27, 2004
The Hollywood Celebrity Diet

All of the girls at work have decided this weeked to detox.

"What? When did you all turn into junkies?"

"No! It's a great way to lose 10 pounds fast!"

"Do we have to check into some center somewhere?"

"No girl, you can do it at home!"


Now I have never done this before, but I'm game for anything new diet related. Three of the ladies have decided to do something called "The Hollywood Celebrity Diet". I've heard of this, but thought it was bogus. Apparently not to these three.

Sona: "It really works! I did it 3 weeks ago and've kept 10 pounds off."

Sona did look smaller and was wearing a size smaller.

Monique: "Yep, it works, you just suffer for 2 days with no food, just the damn drink."

Me: "No food?"

Monique: "What part of detox don't you get girl? You'll see a huge difference, you exercise all the time."

From the label:

Important: Do not consume food, alcohol, or caffine while on this diet. Do not smoke. Pregnant or lactating women, diabetic or persons of poor health should not use this diet. Please consult your physician before using this diet program. Induvidual results may vary.


Me: " What happens with this diet?"

Katina: "You shit your brains out."

Eyes get big... "Really?"

"Yep, your ass is going to hurt from all the wiping. I suggest soft toilet paper. Eventually you feel like you got to go, but nothing will come out."

Do I really want to do this? Oh why not. I'm up for a challenge. Especially since there are 3 weeks left at the weight loss contest at work

Over my shoulder: "Oh God no. They challenged you at something."

Monique: "We're all gonna do this diet again this weekend. I did it 6 months ago and kept those 10 pounds off."

Sona: "Just stay in the house... really. I made the mistake of going out and was trying to kick someone else out of the bathroom 'cause I needed it so bad."

Katina: "I'm telling you, your ass is going to hurt. But it's worth it.

Worth it?

So here I am acting like a total lemming. I went out tonight and bought my bottle of diet juice, says "Cinema Citrus" on the label. Sounds like something they should clean theater floors with.

I have to drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day (which is not a problem for me, I'm usually 2 liters per day), and mix 4 oz of this juice concentrate to 4 ounces of water and sip it casually over 4 hours.

Lather, rinse, repeat. Or, according to them, drink, think, squat.

So this weekend, other than hanging with O and cleaning my house, I am going to "cleanse, detoxify, and rejuvinate my body while allowing me to lose those unwanted pounds of fat."

Before I start this in the morning, I have to make sure I have enough toys for O, ample supply of TP in both bathrooms. I get sip a funky looking orange drink all day, for 2 days straight.

Lord, help me throught this weekend and please don't let me prolapse something important.

Scott: "For once I am glad I'm working this weekend."

Posted by Ellen at 08:34 PM | Comments (17)
Mars Update

New Scientist is carrying this update on the goings-on of the Mars rovers. Apparently NASA scientists feel they're close to solving the mystery of whether or not Mars ever had liquid water on the surface.

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM | Comments (0)
My Brother...

Those of you who've ever been addicted to Super Mario Bros. may find this bit of animation entertaining. Personally, I never did understand what the point of all that jumping was for.

Posted by scott at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)
Somehow, I Don't See it Showing Up on MTV

Our socialist brethren at the PRK are at it again, this time showing us what a music video looks like when it's done by real workers in the paradise up North. I'm sure this is all very entertaining to the seven or eight people in North Korea who actually have a TV.

Posted by scott at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

BBCnews is carrying this summary of a recent development in physics. Scientists have developed a timing technique that allows them to record events in 100 "attosecond" intervals. What's an attosecond?

[If] 100 attoseconds is stretched so that it lasts one second, one second would last 300 million years on the same scale.

The development is expected to allow new sorts of quantum experiements to become possible. They're already taking pictures of electrons leaving an atom.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)

Yet another good reason to stick with cats:

A man who lived in his own “zoo” of lizards and insects was fatally bitten by a pet black widow spider — then eaten by the other creepy-crawlies.

To paraphrase Mark Twan, truth will always be stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense. Everyone all together now...


Posted by scott at 07:52 AM | Comments (1)
February 26, 2004
Clear Channel

The Howard Stern radio show has been taken off half a dozen channels for obscenity. The hosts of the similar Don and Mike radio show in Washington D.C. were placed on administrative leave for two weeks because a technical glitch allowed an obscenity to be heard on the air. "Bubba the Love Sponge" in Florida was fired outright. A cold wind indeed seems to be blowing through broadcasting, and you can't turn on a radio show today without hearing about it.

The thing is, for the most part I agree with what's happening right now. I reserve the right to change my mind or protest if I think it's goes too far, but at the moment to be honest I'm ever-so-slightly pleased at what's going on.

Nobody is as shocked as I am at that admission. For the longest time I was at the absolute tip of the anti-censorship crusade. "If you don't like it, change the damned channel" was the "phrase that pays" as far as I was concerned. Just a bunch of damned busy-bodies poking their noses into my entertainment, trying to tell me what I could and could not watch.

But you know what? As I've grown older, and more importantly had my own child, I'm beginning to realize just how much of this is crap for crap's sake. Shocking images, shocking sounds, shocking words that illuminate absolutely nothing, reveal only that we can be shocked, are simply a waste of everyone's time. Yes, I can (will) change the channel, but I'm growing increasingly tired of being required to every time I turn around.

So pardon me if I'm not particularly concerned that Howard won't be able to smear a woman's butt with cream cheese and throw bagels at it. Excuse me if I'm just a little relieved I won't hear even a bit of what Don or Mike saw in their toilet bowl this morning. And please forgive me if I think it's a good thing Arty Lang will have to be clever to get laughs instead of simply being good at "anal ring toss".

I've lived through all this before, and so have they. Reagan's Meese commission was far more effective at "suppressing smut" than the current FCC will ever dream of being. The country survived that, it'll survive this too. Slippery slopes? Please. I find irony deeper than an ocean trench every time some mindless twenty-something holds a "Bush = Censorship" sign up to a camera, or yet another drippy hippy writes a screed on their website proclaiming the police state has arrived. Got news for you sparky... people who have really lost their freedom of speech don't get the chance to complain about it.

I think everything, even pornography, has its place. I still believe changing the channel is the first, best choice for someone who doesn't like what they’re hearing or seeing. But I also believe people have an obligation to be decent to each other, that shocking people just to shock them is artistic masturbation, and that it's better to do good work than indulge in bad behavior. I don't think preventing Howard from broadcasting the description of a man's toe being inserted into a woman's vagina will result in the destruction of our free society.

I'm amazed anyone (except maybe Howard) does.

Posted by scott at 04:08 PM | Comments (7)
Lyin' and Dyin'

Albright Lied, People Died.

Yes, I can see the differences. But I wonder if you can see the similarities.

Posted by scott at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)
But Where's the Teeny-Tiny Diver?

Scientific American is featuring this article detailing new techniques for electron microscopy. In order to work, such microscopes require specimens to be in a near vacuum. This, of course, is not optimal for viewing things with a lot of water in them, like cells. What these scientists have done is create a membrane barrier that is invisible to the electron beam yet protects specimens from the effect of the vacuum. This should lead to much better observations of things like cells.

Posted by scott at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)
Just When You Thought it Couldn't Get Any Tackier

BlueLens gets a no-prize he can stick to his dashboard for bringing us the ultimate in poor taste marketing, The Passion of Christ licensed merchandise site. From mugs to nail-shaped necklace pendants (we are not making that up), they got it all. Dying was his reason for living, and I suppose making a buck is theirs.

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

Liz Ditz gets a no-prize fired from a cannon for bringing us RoxyFilms' "Punkin' Chunkin'", an on-line documentary about, well, chunkin' punkins!

Ellen rolls her eyes, but I think a hundred-foot-long air cannon that can shoot a pumpkin a mile is just damned cool. Now that's a potential father-daughter project! :)

Posted by scott at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
If This Were an Actual Test...

There are probably a few (well, at least one) readers out there who may find this breakdown of the "new" SAT test interesting. As usual, a test designed to be taken by millions of people in a short time span is much more about the logistics of grading than it is about testing knowledge.

The whole "a good essay looks like this" thing was one of the reasons I hated school (and Kuro5hin) and love blogging. Structural criticism is far too often a crutch for those not creative enough to even attempt understanding an original thought.

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (2)
Ok, that Does it, We're Moving to Mexico!

So close, so close and yet so far.

Do you think if I told the Virginia DMV it was a 1995 164 they'd know the difference?

Posted by scott at 07:59 AM | Comments (1)
February 25, 2004
ünbøring Pørn?

We have several friends with Ikea furnishings who may find this little exchange about a special... modification... to an Ikea door interesting. Hopefully they used grommets. Those splinters would be killer.

Note: Text only, totally safe for work.

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)
It's Our Damned Website, We'll Link to What We Want

Presenting Weapon of Choice, one of the coolest music videos ever made. Because I say so, that's why. I mean, who'd've thought Christopher Walken could dance?

No-prize to the first person to note the Dune reference in the song.

Posted by scott at 01:02 PM | Comments (6)
Wild Things

Now, to me, this story of a family isolated for 20 years from the outside world sounds an awful lot like an urban legend, especially with details like this:

Four members of the family - aged 26, 22, 18 and 14 - have never had contact with the outside world. Their behaviour is animalistic and they can't even communicate in an understandable language, officials said, adding one of them walks on all fours, almost like a monkey.

But it's from The Hindu, which means it must be true, right? Hey, certainly no worse than the Enquirer!

Posted by scott at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)
Censorship is...

Remember when everyone seemed to be shrieking about how they were "censored" by the facist Bushistas?

At events attended by President Bush and other senior federal officials around the country, the Secret Service has been discriminating against protesters in violation of their free speech rights, the American Civil Liberties Union charged today in the first nationwide lawsuit of its kind.

I wonder if quite so much of a fuss will be raised when its done by one of their own?

Protesters at this summer's Democratic National Convention in Boston may be confined to a cozy triangle of land off Haymarket Square, blocked off from the FleetCenter and convention delegates by a maze of Central Artery service roads, MBTA train tracks, and a temporary parking lot holding scores of buses and media trucks.

I find the turnabout positively dripping with irony. The silence from all the bloggers who talked about "fascist Bush policies silencing us"* will no doubt be deafening.

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)
Ender Update

Cobb leads us to this update on the progress of "Enders Game -- The Movie". Looks like they've hired some heavyweights to do the second draft of the script. It's still a long way from being shown on the screen, but this is definitely progress.

Posted by scott at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)
Near Miss

BBCnews is carrying this harrowing report about a sudden discovery that nearly resulted in a call to the president:

Some scientists believed on 13 January [2004] that a 30m object, later designated 2004 AS1, had a one-in-four chance of hitting the planet within 36 hours.

It could have caused local devastation and the researchers contemplated a call to President Bush before new data finally showed there was no danger.

Turned out the thing was actually 500m wide. Still, in my opinion this showed the system worked, in that we actually spotted the rock before it had passed us by. However, it also showed some problems with the system that need correcting.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)
Dixie Chick or Yankee Dude?

Pat gets a no-prize from the other side of the Mason-Dixon line for bringing us the Yankee/Dixie quiz. I scored 74% southern. Don't ask me why. Yawl.

Posted by scott at 07:58 AM | Comments (10)
February 24, 2004
What I Learned Today

  1. Frozen pizzas come with a cardboard circle to help stiffen the bottom.
  2. Cardboard smells like burned popcorn when it sits against a pizza stone in your oven for 20 minutes.
  3. This does not affect the taste of the crust.

And people say I can't cook...

Posted by scott at 08:34 PM | Comments (3)
Crotch In A Bottle

Why buy a bottle of this when you can just rub some skank's day old panties behind your ears?

Yeah, I know, some of you sick F*&ks out there would do that. Hell some guys buy dirty panties.

Excuse me, I'm going to vomit now.

Posted by Ellen at 07:59 PM | Comments (1)
Dust in the (Interstellar) Wind

Pat gets a dusty no-prize for bringing us this Nature article detailing recent theories about how the Earth itself may be spreading microscopic life throughout space as it travels around the galaxy. Sometimes I think the "life is how planets reproduce" bunch are full of it. Sometimes, though, it makes sense.

The theory does make some testable predictions, mainly that if we gather up some interstellar dust we should find an earth microbe or two mixed in. The recent stardust probe's collection effort may yield something along those lines. Of course, it just might find non-terrestrial microbial life in the dust out there, which would be beyond cool. We'll find out soon enough.

Posted by scott at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Iraq, the Model lead us to what may be the very first Iraqi memorial to the liberation of their country:

Kalat [an Iraqi sculptor] worked on [the project] night and day for several months. To the left of the kneeling soldier is a small Iraqi girl giving the soldier comfort as he mourns the loss of his comrade in arms.

I find it quite moving, but I wish they'd used a better picture of it in the article.

Posted by scott at 12:50 PM | Comments (1)
Freeing the Workers, One Web Browser at a Time

American Capitalist pigs beware! The superior power of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea will destroy your culture and widdle in your azaleas if you so much as look cross-eyed at us! Do not trifle with the Great Leader! Visit our website for cool gifts!

Posted by scott at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)
Love Formula #9

Nature is carrying this article detailing a new psychological study that has created a mathematical formula for predicting the success of a marriage. They claim a nearly 100% success rate so far, and are now starting to use the insights to develop new marriage counseling techniques.

Posted by scott at 10:21 AM | Comments (0)
"Poop" Art?

There's tourist attractions, and then there's tourist attractions:

Visitors to Britain will find a new stop on London’s site-seeing route this spring: a usable public toilet enclosed in one-way mirrored glass situated on a sidewalk near the River Thames.

And all this time I thought the UK had exported their kooks to California. That's definitely one you don't want to smoke in.

Posted by scott at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)
Insert Johnny Cash Joke Here

CNN is carrying this story and very cool set of pictures about the progression of a supernova over the past fifteen years. Takes a second to realize the ring in the pictures is so large that it takes a year for light emitted by one side to be seen on the opposite one.

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM | Comments (0)
February 23, 2004
Bye Bye Comanche

Jeff gets a no-prize with a rotor attached for bringing us news that the Comanche helicopter program has been cancelled.

My own reaction is "good riddance." Aviation Week usually carried an article or two per month about this thing gaining weight, failing stealth tests, or crashing its flight software. It wasn't doing what it was supposed to and costing the Army billions that could've been better spent elsewhere.

Yes, it's going to cost jobs, which will be hard on the people who work for Sikorsky. However, the military isn't a jobs program (even though Congress regularly tries to turn it into one).

The F/A-22 Raptor is having severe difficulties with its flight control software and also gained a lot of weight. However, it's already in limited production, and so would seem less likely to be cancelled any time soon.

The V-22 Osprey program looks to be next, IMO. It's still nowhere near production, was involved in some ugly test fraud scandals, and has a nasty reputation of being deadly unpredictable in flight. The Marines also aren't as strong on the Hill.

Bottom line: this is a good thing over-all IMO. Rumsfeld et. al. may be a-holes, but they're doing the right thing cancelling these monstrous programs.

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (1)
Road Porn

You knew it was only a matter of time:

Police said [Andre Gainey] from Clifton Park, New York, was watching a adult movie called "Chocolate Foam" on Tuesday night while driving his Mercedes Benz in the town of Schenectady when he was spotted by an officer at a stop light.

We're actually beginning to see a lot of these things inside vans because they're easy to spot at night. We may get one some day for the Cruiser to keep Olivia entertained on long drives. Scary to think you can mount them where the driver can see them.

Posted by scott at 03:52 PM | Comments (0)
Where's COPS When You Need Them?

Presenting the case of Mr. Dudley Hiibel a 59-year-old cowboy from Nevada who, according to the purple prose of the website, is trying to get an extremely important case put before the Supreme Court:

On the 22nd of March 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether Dudley and the rest of us live in a free society, or in a country where we must show "the papers" whenever a cop demands them.

Reading "the facts", the account written by Mr. Hiibel's lawyers describing the incident, makes you believe this man really was done wrong. Fortunately, they let you watch the video to judge for yourself. You can also read the Nevada State Court Opinion, which provides a more even-handed account of what actually happened.

What I saw was not much different than what's shown nearly every week on COPS. A belligerent, unreasonable, excited, and potentially intoxicated man confronting a lone police officer and refusing to co-operate in any real way. The cop made what seemed to be some real errors, mainly not adequately separating Mr. Hiibel from his vehicle and not checking on the occupant of said vehicle. The cop also seemed to get hung up on a procedural issue (asking for ID) which allowed the incident to escalate. Had the officer simply asked, "are you Mr. Hiibel?" and then continued his investigation, I wonder if it would have all turned out differently.

That said, Mr. Hiibel was definitely acting erratically and did not co-operate. The officer therefore secured (handcuffed) him and placed him under arrest for that offense. Had Mr. Hiibel simply handed over his driver's license, I think it almost certainly would have ended differently.

The assisting officer would also appear to have made an error by not seeming to inform Mr. Hiibel's daughter that she should, essentially, calm down. Instead a really poor effort was made to restrain her, which predictably failed, resulting in another escalation that required Ms. Hiibel to be violently restrained.

The Hiibels were unreasonable and irritating, but cops are supposed to be trained to deal with unreasonable and irritating people all the time. Were Mr. Hiibel's constitutional rights violated in the process? Probably not, but the Supreme Court will ultimately decide that aspect. Certainly I don't expect us to devolve into a police state over what happened when one wobbly cowboy got pissed at his willful daughter.

Posted by scott at 02:05 PM | Comments (0)
Sometimes, the Wing Nuts are Turned to the Left

And from the "a foil hat a day keeps the feds at bay" corner we have this worthy post from a clothing store that didn't much like who was searching for what on their website:

It seems that the anti-terrorist division of our government is spending its time (and our tax dollars) doing web searches on people who disagree with their politics and have the audacity to say so on t-shirts.

Which of course lead to one of the better examples of affirming the consequent I've seen in awhile:

Progressive clothing = potential terrorist?

No you paranoid hippy freak, it only means someone working at DHS (and other various federal organizations) took a look at your site. Last time I checked, that wasn't illegal. We get visits all the time from people in Saudi Arabia. Does that mean we're a terrorist target?

Of course, this isn't much different than what the right-wing loonies were shrieking about during the run-up to the "impeach Clinton" fiasco. It's like belief is a circle... if you place yourself as far in one direction as you can, you end up meeting people coming from the other direction.

To me, as an unabashed member of said Great Right Wing Conspiracy, the pattern looks like an idle (and ideological) intern was poking around one afternoon and stumbled across your site. They then forwarded the link around to some buddies in a "hey, look! Another milquetoast left wing looney who thinks buttons make a difference!"* kind of spirit. Said buds then took a look and were, presumably, amused.

I know it's a lot more fun to think a bunch of modern-day Plumbers are plotting to tape up your door lock tonight, but the sad truth is you have about as much proof for your scenario as I do for mine. To put it in a more hippie-compatible way: Nixon was the president who had the enemies list and gave Liddy a job. Bush is quite simply no Nixon.

Posted by scott at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)
Patent Pending?

Scientific American is featuring this article from their August 2003 issue detailing the wonderful wacky world of patents. Among them:

Method of treating chest pain, patent 6,457,474, Carl E. Hanson of St. Paul, Minn. This inventor has patented lime juice to replace nitroglycerin as a treatment for chest pain such as angina pectoris. Making the patented invention requires only modest skill. "Limeade in non-concentrated form," according to the document, "was prepared by opening a can of the Minute Maid brand Premium All Natural Frozen Concentrate for Limeade, removing the contents and placing it in a pitcher, adding approximately 52 fluid ounces (about 4.5 cans) of tap water to the frozen concentrate and stirring.

So much for Ellen's margueritas!

Posted by scott at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
Foul Fish

Fark linked up the Straight Dope on the Candiru, the famous Amazonian fish that supposedly swims up pee and lodges itself in the urethra. Turns out it exists, and may do something like that, although apparently it's safe to pee into the river if you're standing on the bank.

Well, except for the dinner-plate-sized spider hanging from the tree beside you. *shudder*

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
February 22, 2004
O in the Hat

Green Eggs and O.


In a box? With some rocks? Or breakfast with a fox?

(Seen at work at the bridge of her starship)

Update: The hat came from the Sunday paper. It's not a photoshop!

Posted by Ellen at 07:45 PM | Comments (7)
*Chomp!*, Black Hole Style

BBCnews is carrying this report about new observations of a black hole taking a chunk out of a passing supermassive star. If I'm reading the article correctly (no promises there), the thing sucked off 1/100th the mass of the (admittedly very large) star, and the subsequent X-ray burst was brighter than the entire galaxy containing it.

Sometimes the universe is amazing. Sometimes it's just plain f-d up.

Posted by scott at 06:41 PM | Comments (0)
Explanations, Get Yer Piping Hot Explanations Here!

Ok, I'm sure most of you knew what the de-gauss button on your monitor was for since you were 12. Well, I knew that it made the screen go all weird for a second, but I didn't know what that did for the monitor. Now, I finally know! Weird that the earth's magnetic field causes monitors to go all wonky, but there ya go.

Posted by scott at 04:53 PM | Comments (0)
Fixing a Motor, "BB" Style

Jeff gets a piston-shaped no-prize for bringing us the infamous "rotten apple" story. It answers, in graphic detail, the question, "just what, exactly, would happen if I dropped a cap full of BBs into the intake of a running car engine?"

That's right, BBs. As in "Red-Ryder". I just kept saying, "oh my god!" every time I looked at a picture. Gearheads shouldn't miss this one.

Posted by scott at 12:40 PM | Comments (0)
February 21, 2004
Fine, it's ok for my Kid to Get this Stuff... but Me?!?

Richie: "I'm gonna go see Aurora Snow tomorrow."

Ellen: "Who?"

Richie [in "must talk slowly to the retard" voice]: "Aurora Snow, the porn star?!?

Ellen: "What, another one?"

Richie: "You want anything or not?"

Ellen: "Yeah! Get me an autographed picture for Olivia!"

Richie: "Really?!? For Olivia?"

Ellen: "She needs to start collecting autographs. Might as well start somewhere. I'll frame it and hang it up in the hallway!"

Richie: "What? You will not."

Ellen: "I will too... I just know you can't do it."

Never, ever, ever tell a Carozza they can't do something. It's like yanking on a rodeo bull's tail and then mooning them five feet away. So now I have to explain this to my parents:

Posted by scott at 07:29 PM | Comments (7)
Nice Threads

Space.com is carrying this new Mars Rover update. Apparently they've found weird "threads" of, well, something. Current bets are it's stuff scraped off the airbags during landing, but nobody knows for sure. Includes standard environmental hand-wringing as well.

Posted by scott at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)
Wingnuts: Tight; Foil Hat: On; Bomb Shelter: Ready...

Ok, from this site, I gather that national ID cards, the new world order, Bush, Hitler, and the Jooooos!!! are inter-related. However, when I tried to understand exactly how, my head exploded. Maybe you can figure it out.

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (1)
February 20, 2004
I Honestly Can't Come Up with a Title for This One

There's music videos, then there's I Love Death, the Music Video. Original? Yes. Obscene? Most definitely. Addictive? You be the judge.

Posted by scott at 04:34 PM | Comments (2)
Different Eyes

What Ellen saw:


"What a great idea! Now I won't have to lug the stupid laundry detergent bottle over to the wash, or leave it sitting on the dryer. I can just fill the cup up and put it straight in the laundry. I don't even have to stand on my toes!"

What Scott saw:

Posted by scott at 01:47 PM | Comments (3)
A Product in Search of a Solution?

What do you get for the cellphone fan who has everything? How about humungo old-school handsets? Sometimes things circle back on you in the most unexpected ways.

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

Space.com is carrying the latest rover news. They both seem to have discovered evidence of brine, the funky spheres Opportunity found extend below the surface, and the way dirt is sticking to Spirit's wheels is beginning to make scientists think the soil might actually be moist. All in all, the rovers seem quite busy indeed.

Posted by scott at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)
Go Find Your Dead

Doing a slight bit of research for the article below, I found FindaGrave.com, a searchable database containing the locations of thousands of graves of the famous and not-so-famous. It was there that I discovered, for example, that while we know where Eleanor of Aquitaine was buried, her bones are long gone. Stupid French Revolution...

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
Bring Out Your Dead

The Washington Post is featuring this article detailing the latest scientific craze in Italy... the exhumation and study of ancient historical figures. The only one I'd personally heard of was Plutarch (and the Medicis), but that's just because I'm not all that up on non-papal medieval Italian history.

I've often wondered just what, exactly, was in the ancient tombs of, for example, Westminster. I'm sure UK readers will raise their eyebrows at a Yank being interested in their historic skeletons, but it should be pointed out that until 1776, they were ours too.

Posted by scott at 08:02 AM | Comments (1)
February 19, 2004
It's Like the CAF, but for Tanks

Liz Ditz gets a no-prize made from a tank tread for bringing the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation to our attention:

Our goal is to acquire, restore, and interpret the historical significance of 20th and 21st century military vehicles. Domestic and foreign combat vehicles such as tanks, armored cars, self-propelled artillery, and other technically interesting mobile platforms are the focus of the collection.

They don't actually say their stuff is operational (the parts that make them roll around, not the parts that blow stuff up), but it sure does look like it from the pictures. She told us about them because our previous note about the F-18 at auction reminded her about the MVTF folks's ocassional problems with de-militarization (apparently it all turned out OK).

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)
Wow, There Actually Are People Geekier Than Me!

So where are you in the hierarchy?

I've actually moved up the tree quite a bit, as I no longer do the role playing game thing and haven't gone to a convention in years. Of course, having a bunch of goths as friends makes it much easier to stay high up in the tree...

I kid!!! I kid!!!

Posted by scott at 02:46 PM | Comments (2)
Brain Find

BBCnews is carrying this article summarizing new findings from a group of anthropologists. By taking brain casts from Australopithecene skulls, they have found indications that hominid brains were evolving toward a human model much earlier than previously thought.

Posted by scott at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)
Real-Life Transformers?

Remember those wacky trucks we featured last year? Well, they're back! This time with cool night shots.

Again, not my particular cup o' tea, but I can definitely appreciate the skill & craftsmanship that went into their making. I may not understand it, but I can appreciate it.

Posted by scott at 12:43 PM | Comments (1)
Welcome to the Nanny State, Please Take a Seat

Slashdot brings us the latest example of "everything looks like a nail" government:

Monday the New Mexico House of Representatives passed a bill that would require every car sold in the state to have an ignition interlock. This device is essentially a breath analyzer that prevents the car from being started if the driver is drunk.

Which sounds all fine and dandy, until you read how the things actually work:

Ignition interlocks require a breath test, which takes 30 seconds to complete, to start the car as well as random 'rolling retests' to discourage others from taking the test for you. These rolling retests require the driver to take the test as the car is moving.

I can only imagine my mom or Ellen in one of these things, driving down the road, when suddenly it shoots out a tube and says, "you have 30 seconds to comply!" I'm not sure who would rip it out faster.

I normally expect propeller-headed "gee whiz" propositions like this to come out of the Federal government or the People's Republic of California. It's total lack of understanding of how human beings actually work is an absolutely textbook example of why government should always be seen as the solution of last resort.

It would take exactly five microseconds after this became law for someone to figure out a way to bugger or bypass the things. It might take a minute or two more before someone else cooked up a "Sobe-R-Lung" rebreather gizmo to fit over the end of the tube. There are thousands of Americans (I happen to be good friends with one) who can make a Honda Civic outrun an F-16. Having a gizmo like this stuck in their cars isn't an impediment... it's a challenge.

"Well, if they do tinker with it they'll go to jail! It'll be illegal to tamper with these devices!" Anyone who thinks along these lines obviously has no memory at all of the 1970s. The only reason rednecks aren't still hacking out emissions equipment is because it's too hard to get the car working right once it's gone. I'm sure anyone who thinks car companies should be required to embed this device that deeply into cars meant for a single state will happily pay the extra $10,000 per car it'll probably cost to do it.

California of course proved that if you pass nanny-state legislation like this and then back it up with serious muscle and funding, it can be made to work. Of course, their multi-billion-dollar budget deficit is also instructive. Look, I'm all for getting drunks off the road. But I wonder how many detox programs, educational opportunities, and police officer salaries it's going to cost to make this Rube Goldberg contraption a reality?

When someone comes up with a gizmo that can passively read blood alcohol content through the palms of the hands holding the steering wheel, I'll be interested. Until then I'd appreciate the politicians doing something useful, like fixing the damned roads, making sure schools actually work, and the cops get paid enough to do their jobs.

Politicians doing something useful. My God, I think Joshua really is rubbing off on me...

Posted by scott at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)
It's So Annoying When You're Right

News that Syria seems to be falling in line triggered this humorous screed from someone who doesn't agree with the "Bush Doctrine":

It bothered me. It still bothers me. But dammit, if you look at the patterns, it seems to be working. The Middle East thinks Bush is batshit crazy, and their governments are afraid of us. Do you get that? The bad guys are afraid of us, because against all logic and common sense, we went into Iraq and we took Saddam down.

Doubtful it'll do a damned thing to convince the isolationists in the peanut gallery, but it gave me a chuckle.

Posted by scott at 09:00 AM | Comments (0)
TiVo to the Rescue!

Slashdot linked up this NYTimes article detailing the effort that went into designing the TiVo remote. Gives a very nice summary of just how difficult it can be to achieve a good design, even on a common product.

We're on our second remote... the first one finally just wore out.

Posted by scott at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)
A Viking We Will Go...

Fark linked up this CNN article detailing the archeological find of what could be the earliest Viking boat burial in England. Right now they've only found a few artifacts, but those lead them to believe much more could be buried at the site.

Posted by scott at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)
February 18, 2004
Black Hole Seen Ripping Star Apart

PASADENA, Calif. - Two space observatories have provided the first strong evidence of a supermassive black hole stretching, tearing apart and partially gobbling up a star flung into reach of its enormous gravity, astronomers said Wednesday.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 06:32 PM | Comments (0)
See! I Have had No Life for a Very Long Time

How many 80s rock songs can you pick from just one line of lyric? Me, I got 13 out of 15, shoulda got 14 but second-guessed myself. Teenagers with no social skills have little else to do but watch MTV and listen to the radio. C'mon, let's throw a little pity party for me! :)

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (9)
Martiya Possession

I totally forgot to post this back in December. I misplaced my issue of The City Morgue magazine for the weblink.

Of course I'm all for local B-dancing groups. So go check out Martiya Possession's site. Lots of pixes and bios!


Posted by Ellen at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)
Yet Another Reason Car Alarms are a Complete Waste of Money

Found this MSNBC article relating the mysterious disappearance of "Honky", the technically un-stealable Honda Civic. The story is interesting, and has this nifty bit:

The new technology [of factory-installed anti-theft devices] has had a demonstrable effect on car thefts. The Highway Loss Data Institute reports that factory-installed immobilizing antitheft devices reduce the stolen car rate by 50 percent. “It doesn’t go to zero, because you still have the ever-popular method of rolling cars onto a flat-bed truck,” says institute president Brian O’Neil.

We went on record a long time ago on the uselessness of aftermarket car alarms. Take the keys out, lock the doors if you have to, and spend the extra cash on something else.

Posted by scott at 02:35 PM | Comments (1)
Sleep + Driving = Bad

Wear your seatbelts people, mmkay? When my mom was going to college and working the graveyard shift she'd get stopped once or twice a month for weaving because she was falling asleep. Scary stuff.

Posted by scott at 02:18 PM | Comments (0)
AWOL Funny

It's a joke. Laugh damn you, laugh.

Posted by scott at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)
Should We Call It "Beeyoch" Syndrome?

New Scientist is carrying this article on the findings of a new study concerning female attitudes, competitiveness, and reproduction:

Women judge the attractiveness other women more harshly when at their most fertile, suggests a new study. The phenomenon could be a strategy to devalue potential rivals, says the psychologist behind the work - being bitchy about others could help a woman win the attention of a desirable man.

Actual conversation in our house:

[The scene: watching cheesy reality TV show "The Surreal Life", a drunken single female "cast member" starts groping a married sober male "cast member" at a party. Guy gently but firmly pushes away said female.]

Me: "Wow, his wife must be really tolerant."

Ellen: "Why do you say that?"

Me: "If that'd been me, with cameras around..."

Ellen: [Arched eyebrows, spine slowly straightens, head comes around toward me like the Terminator locking on.]

Me: "I'd have to say 'no, no, really, you have to stop, because if you don't you're gonna die. My wife knows people. She'll make my life miserable, but you'll just disappear one day. Go over and play with Ron Jeremy, it's safer.'"

Ellen: [smirks, mutters, nods]

I may be a pain in the ass, but apparently I'm Ellen's pain in the ass. Other women tresspass at their peril.

Posted by scott at 12:26 PM | Comments (1)
That's One Big Kaboom

Ok, being a buddhist I must say I find it horrible that nearly 180 people died in a huge train crash in Iran today. However, being a mean old bastard means I also question who the hell would hook up a train filled exclusively with sulphur, gasoline, fertilizer, and cotton? The thing sounds like an attempt to mix a gigantic batch of guncotton ferchrissake!

Seems every two or three months we get a story out of Asia or Arabia about a train stuffed so full of people it's a fleshy playdough factory on wheels rolling over, blowing up, or catching fire. Is there just something in the water of third-world nations that makes train engineers morons?

Posted by scott at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Stupid Is...

Pat gets a no-prize with the trailer still attached for bringing us this list of funny, goofy, audacious, and just generally "oh-my-god-you-can't-be-that-stupid-and-still-breathe" stories. I think a couple of these people tried to rob my folks' liquor store a few times.

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (1)
So-long Soyuz?

Slashdot linked up this space.com article detailing a new Soviet Russian effort to create a replacement for the venerable Soyuz spacecraft. The hope is to create a system with a 6-person capacity, finally allowing the International Space Station to be fully occupied.

I'm sure AvWeek will have coverage of this on Saturday, and I'll try to have more details then. Last I read anything about it, Russian aerospace firms were still having cash flow problems, and this would make any real effort unlikely.

Posted by scott at 08:23 AM | Comments (0)
February 17, 2004
Diamond Update

New Scientist has a much better description of that monster "diamond" we covered last weekend:

[T]he crystal, which has been likened to a diamond, is in fact unlike any known on Earth. The pressure inside the white dwarf is a million million times the pressure that produces diamonds. This pressure strips electrons from the atoms, leaving the nuclei to form a crystal lattice surrounded by a sea of electrons.

This stuff is so exotic because it is so dense. I wonder if you were to somehow scoop or break a chunk off and carry it away, would stay this super weird kind of matter or "devolve" into something more common? Would it spring back to a much greater volume like a balled up piece of paper, or would it stay collapsed like a crushed can?

Posted by scott at 03:27 PM | Comments (1)
Suddenly, I Feel Like Casey Kasem

Pat writes:

Ronnie is the youngest son of my best friend at work, Judy V. He has just put up a website in an effort to raise money to help with his living expenses for the few months he will have to be off work after a kidney transplant.

Most patients like this just sit on their butts, railing at the world and doing nothing. Ronnie has never stopped working since his diagnosis. He had to stop long haul trucking but was lucky enough to find company in Denver that will work with him around his dialysis schedule. He takes dialysis all day three days a week and drives a truck the other four days.

He is getting no traffic on his site. Would you maybe post something on your site with a link to his? If you don't want to I will understand, I will change my will but I will understand . lol

Can't say it much better than that, so here it is Pat, your long-distance dedication. :)
Posted by scott at 02:31 PM | Comments (6)

Just because you're the deputy Mayor it doesn't mean you get to play with the siren:

One of [New York City] Mayor Bloomberg's top deputy mayors will have the lights and sirens stripped from her car after she was caught by a television crew abusing them to get to work faster.

My mom was a city councilman (person?) long time ago in our old home town. As little as Dumas Arkansas was (pop. 6400), the stunts the local government would pull were much worse than what you normally hear coming out of a place like NYC. Big fish, meet small pond, etc.

Posted by scott at 01:22 PM | Comments (2)
Come Fly With Me

Jeff gets a blue-and-gold no-prize for bringing us this story about a full-up FA-18 for sale. The auction itself is here.

Very interesting, this. A law was passed decades ago (I think just after the Cuban missile crisis) stating all surplus US military aircraft would be "demilled". This entailed not only removing all the things that went "boom", but also cutting up the main wing spars to ensure the plane would never fly again. Basically all the military aircraft you see flying under civilian ownership (built after 1962 at any rate) were purchased from foreign countries without this restriction.

I think Air and Space magazine was the last place I read anything about an aircraft "escaping" the demill process. That case was an F-104 (as I recall) which was certified as cut up but for whatever reason never actually got cut up. It's just possible that's what has happened here, especially since it would seem the FBI has already given this guy the sniff test.

A potential buyer would also have to deal with the Navy beauracratic machine, no small task. The Navy retains ownership of all its aircraft, right back to the very first one. Ones purchased before their own "mine! mine! mine!" regs are exempt (although I think they tried for those too), and of course there's always overseas, but anything else is Navy all the way. For example, people fishing WWII-era fighters and bombers out of lake Michigan for restoration must jump through all sorts of hoops to get permission to even dive on the wrecks, let alone salvage them. It will be very interesting to see what sort of reaction the fleet has.

Finally, military jets are not Hondas. Even the new "maintenance free" 4th-gen jets were designed with the assumption of a dedicated full-time maintenance crew on hand with all sorts of special tools and testing gear. I distinctly remember a picture in Air & Space Magazine of a man standing next to the maintenance manuals of his F-5 fighter, an aircraft designed specifically to be maintained by the poorly trained mechanics typically found in the third-world air forces of the '60s and '70s. The stack of books was five feet high and about fifteen feet long. And, unlike a race car, if you screw up maintenance on a fighter jet you generally end up dead.

This is not to say operating such an aircraft would be impossible, just a lot harder and more expensive than most people think. From my various readings it seems the stuff built in the Soviet Union is much more rewarding/far cheaper to fly. Those things were meant to be maintained by conscripts out on the frozen tundra and muddy steppe of Russia. Their jet trainers in particular are very popular with the high-performance aviation crowd.

Must admit though, owning your very own F-18 certainly has its "my wang is bigger than yours" appeal.

Posted by scott at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)
Pictures from the Edge

BBCnews is carrying this report on the most-distant-yet-found object in the universe. It's a cluster of stars that formed around the time the universe was about 750 million years old. I think that's getting pretty darned close to the farthest away/back in time we can see, as eventually the universe becomes opaque (in its early history).

Posted by scott at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
GOOOOD Morning Iraq!

Instapundit leads us to remember that not only does Adam Curry have a blog, but he also happens to be blogging from Iraq.

For those of you who don't know (Nina, and probably most people younger than 25... gah...) Adam Curry was one of the "second generation" MTV VJs. Remarkable for his towering height and amazing hair, he not only did MTV but also European TV and US radio. Apparently now he's based in Amsterdam again, doing a popular radio show, and (obviously) blogging from Iraq. Pretty neat!

Posted by scott at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)
But Where's the Type R Sticker?!?

Hell, I didn't know Honda was making airplanes, did you? Finally, a Honda that actually requires wings.

Posted by scott at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)
Playing it Both Ways

Instapundit linked up this interesting point, which is short enough to be excerpted in its entirety:

What I don't get is this: why was it wrong for Judge Roy Moore of Alabama to unilaterally declare federal law wrong, and defy it by installing a Ten Commandments monument in a courthouse rotunda ... but it's okay for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom to unilaterally declare state law wrong in prohibiting same-sex marriage, and defy it by issuing marriage licenses to gay couples? I mean, I know why the media was outraged by the former episode of grandstanding and not the latter, but as a legal matter, what's the difference?

As a radical Jeffersonian Republican-Libertarian (why yes, I'm reading Founding Brothers, why do you ask?), I have to say I agree with the basic point of an official overreaching his authority, but there is in fact a difference. Moore was an appointed state supreme court judge with (I can only presume) a lifetime term. The Honorable Mr. Newsom is an elected official with a proscribed term.

Mayors have to please people to keep their job, and it's quite easy to remove them when they don't. While the media circus surrounding Moore was mostly about the secular media punching a religious nut in the, well, nuts, it was also the only effective way to call attention to a judge abusing his powers.

Posted by scott at 08:35 AM | Comments (3)
Vote Early, Vote Often

Well, we lost the opening round in the BlogMadness tournamnet, but while we weren't looking we won the next four rounds in the elimination bracket (Jeff pointed it out on Saturday.) If I'm reading the brackets right, we're now in the final four!

So, when you get the chance, go do the right thing:

  • We're in the right-hand box. Click the word VOTE! under this box
  • Over on the LEFT SIDE you should see a tan section with the voting information. Click the proper entry (*cough* Great Exploding Watermelon *cough*), then click VOTE.

That's it! Thanks a bunch!

Posted by scott at 07:55 AM | Comments (0)
February 16, 2004

This is how my step-dad catches deer. He lures them into the yard with cracked corn and sits on the back deck and waits...



Just kidding people!!! The deer are starving this year and they decided to feed them. My mom says they get between 20 and up in the yard during the feeding.

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

The Post gets an AMCGLTD hat-trick by running this third article on the latest USO tour of Iraq. One of the more surprising headliners? Al Franken:

Franken worked up a Saddam imitation so good (he'd borrowed a costume from "Saturday Night Live") that [country music singer Darryl] Worley says it was both hysterically funny and almost frightening.

I wonder if they'll film it?

Posted by scott at 10:48 AM | Comments (3)
Voting Rights

Also from the Post, this summary of election efforts in Iraq. Includes this unintentionally optimistic passage:

For a civilian administration often criticized for its isolation and disproportionate presence in Baghdad, the Coalition Provisional Authority in Dhi Qar has demonstrated a flexibility and improvisation more commonly exhibited by the U.S. military in Iraq.

The military's being flexible enough even a journalist notices. That's a good sign.

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)
To Hoax, or not to Hoax?

Washington Post carried this article detailing the latest controversies over the "Vinland Map". This map, discovered in 1954 and supposedly created in the sixteenth century, purports to be the earliest representation of the new world. Or is it? It was declared a hoax shortly after its discovery, but the controversy continues.

Posted by scott at 10:41 AM | Comments (0)
February 15, 2004
Marked Territory

Enjoy another cat metal video!

Posted by Ellen at 12:26 PM | Comments (0)
Wanna Fly A Kite?

SEVEN people were killed and more than 100 injured in Pakistan during the annual kite flying festival marking the arrival of spring, officials said today.

Read entire story here.

Whats really F*%d up is that one of the victims is an 18 month old kid that was not even involved with the fesitval itself.

Posted by Ellen at 12:08 PM | Comments (1)
February 14, 2004
Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day from AMCGLTD!

Now send your honey a virtul kiss.

Posted by Ellen at 04:53 PM | Comments (1)
As Long as It Doesn't Show Up on HSN

There's diamonds, and then there's diamonds:

The heart of that burned-out star with the no-nonsense name [BPM 37093] is a sparkling diamond that weighs a staggering 10 billion trillion trillion carats.

It's been hypothesised that Jupiter and perhaps Saturn have gigantic spheres of diamond inside them at the level where pressure and heat would create such things. Arthur C. Clarke included the idea in his "2001" series (2061), I'm sure it's been used elsewhere.

At that density and size, it should be noted, the thing has a gravitational field about three thousand times stronger than the earth's.

Posted by scott at 08:52 AM | Comments (0)
February 13, 2004
Hand Grab Story

Nina gets a framed no-prize for leading us to the real story behind the "fetal hand grab" picture. Turns out the original story, that the baby reached out and grabbed the doctor's hand, may not have been the urban legend it was claimed to be. Includes a full sequence of probably never-before-seen pictures taken before and after the "famous" one.

Posted by scott at 03:53 PM | Comments (1)
Hard Heads, Soft Hearts?

CNN is carrying this summary of a new theory attempting to explain why Homo erectus (shaddup Kris) had such a thick skull. Their conclusion? They were whacking each other over the head to impress chicks.

Which basically means nothing has changed in 2.5 million years.

Posted by scott at 03:44 PM | Comments (1)
Down the Throat

BBCnews is carrying this story and pictures of Mars Express's latest image run on Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the solar system. Actually, I wonder about that... a lot of Mars's geographic extremes have at least as much to do with a lack of a "sea level" as any real distinctiveness. Anyone know how "tall" Mauna Kea would be if you traced it all the way to the bottom of the ocean?

Posted by scott at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)
Iraqi Notes

Two good entries in the Iraqi blogosphere of late:

Salam gives a heartfelt answer to a soldier's e-mail:

Was it worth it? Be assured it was ... Does this mean that I will be wearing a (I [heart] Bush) t-shirt? NO, ... the way he sees the world scares me.

And Riverwind relates a harrowing personal experience her family just went through:

And so we reviewed the possibilities. He had been detained by Americans. His car had been hijacked. He had been abducted. He had been killed. He had a car accident and his beat-up old vehicle was overturned in some ditch…

Posted by scott at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)
When Christians Attack

bin Laden et. al. call Americans a bunch of godless heathens, and sometimes he's right. Of course, sometimes he's wrong:

Forget buying that special someone a diamond necklace or a heart-shaped box of chocolates this Valentine's Day: a Dallas-based ministry thinks it has a better idea: "Her gift for Valentines? Stop looking at porn."

I got a whole bunch of friends who are going to have very disappointed girls in their life if this ever becomes a requirement. Umm... yeah... friends!

Posted by scott at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)
Balloon Fun

Joshua gets a no-prize made out of a water balloon for bringing us these high-speed films of said balloons being punctured in microgravity. I dunno why they wanted to do it, but it sure does look neat!

Posted by scott at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)
Care Bear, Meet Vulgar Bear

On the one hand, even I think this is a little crude. On the other, the look on Olivia's various grandmothers's faces when they see her holding it might just be worth the cost.

Posted by scott at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)
Postcards from the Edge

Instapundit brings us the latest breathless worry of the right: those fiendish lefties might cheat to try and win the election!

Say it ain't so, Joe, say it ain't so! All it really proves is Moby's political sophistication is just above the level of yanking ponytails on the playground. It's like something out of a basement sequence on "That 70s Show":

Kelso: "Aw man, Jackie dumped me again!"

camera spins

Forman: "Aw man, Donna dumped me again!"

camera spins

Moby [giggles, barely see him through the smoke]: "So, like, what we need to do is [giggle] call everyone up and tell them, like, [eyes wide, whispers] Reagan's gonna put the National Gaurd in your living room!!! Man, nobody will vote for that guy!"

camera spins backward

Forman: "What?!?"

camera spins to Moby

Moby [giggles]: "Yeah, man, it's the only way! Then we could call people up again and say, like, [giggles, whisper]the Republicans are gonna give all your jobs to the Mexicans! This will totally work!"

camera spins

Hyde: "What are you talking about, man?"

camera spins to Kelso

Kelso: "No, man, lay off... [giggling, snorting] I think he's onto something here!"

camera spins to Eric

Forman: [stares at Kelso]

camera spins to Moby

Moby: [uncontrollable giggling]

camera spins to Steven

Hyde: [stares at Moby for a moment, looks at Eric] "Who is that guy?"

Snap to black, sound of door slamming.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
All Your Code Are Belong to Us

When we found out Windows NT and Windows 2000 source code had been released publicly, we had to go find it. First we found this brief snippet, but it took trolling the comments on FARK to find the real stuff. Click MORE to see the super-secret powerhouse engine behind the Microsoft juggernaut...

/* Source Code to Windows 2000 */

#include "win31.h"
#include "win95.h"
#include "win98.h"
#include "workst~1.h"
#include "evenmore.h"
#include "oldstuff.h"
#include "billrulz.h"
#include "monopoly.h"
#define INSTALL = HARD

char make_prog_look_big[160000];
void main()
if (first_time_installation)
if (still_not_crashed)

if (detect_cache())

if (fast_cpu())
set_mouse(speed, very_slow);
set_mouse(action, jumpy);
set_mouse(reaction, sometimes);

/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.1"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 3.11"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 95"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows NT 3.0"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows 98"); */
/* printf("Welcome to Windows NT 4.0"); */
printf("Welcome to Windows 2000");

if (system_ok())
system_memory = open("a:\swp0001.swp", O_CREATE);

Posted by scott at 08:03 AM | Comments (0)
February 12, 2004
Of Course, It Would be a Chick Who Gets This Power

Nina gets a see-through no-prize for bringing us this story of a "super" girl:

Russian scientists have been unable to disprove a teenage girl who claims she has x-ray vision and can see inside human bodies.

In Soviet Russia, teenager sees through you!

Posted by scott at 03:44 PM | Comments (3)
Maturity? Us?

In the annals of parenting there are guides, tips, and dirty tricks. This is definitely a dirty trick of the foulest sort.

ELLEN, in sweet, innocent, congested voice: "Could you check Olivia? I can't smell anything because of this cold!"

SCOTT: "Sure, no problem." Leans over to baby gumming a toy block sitting at the foot of the couch... *sniff* "Yup, she needs changing."

ELLEN, in completely clear normal voice: "HA-HA! You found it first! You have to change her!"


Women are evil. I'm only just beginning to realize the implications of having two in the house.

The horror... the horror...

Posted by scott at 03:36 PM | Comments (1)
Powell to Congress Critters: Drop Dead

Sometimes the political infighting is boring, but sometimes it's not:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a retired four-star general known for his even temperament, paused yesterday during a congressional hearing to berate a Hill staffer for shaking his head as Powell offered a defense of his prewar statements on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

I've met a few hill staffers before. The junior ones fairly ooze a special kind of elitist obnoxious attitude, sort of like a skunk in a suite (but a skunk at least stinks with a purpose). Anyone b*tch slapping them in public is OK by me. Woot! Go Colin! Go Colin!

Posted by scott at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)
Here Comes the Mud

Those of you who think Kerry is a lock, think again:

A frantic behind-the-scenes drama is unfolding around Sen. John Kerry and his quest to lockup the Democratic nomination for president, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

Intrigue surrounds a woman who recently fled the country, reportedly at the prodding of Kerry, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Now, since I think all politicians are spineless nanny-state cheerleaders with the morals of a gerbil on meth, I'm not surprised something like this has floated to the surface. Depending on what it is, it may not even affect my vote choice all that much. But in a nation that goes all wobbly at a two-second flash of a boob, expect the sparks to fly and the mud to sling. I can't help but have a few chuckles when a pundit-laden pick implodes with a bang. Could it actually happen twice in a season?

Can you say "Gary Hart"? I knew you could...

Posted by scott at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)
Olivia's Game

Violence as a training tool. It's a good thing.

The next one they should come up with is "dads hitting boys with bats."

Posted by scott at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)
Mars Rover: TNG

Space.com is carrying this review of the next generation of Mars rover currently in the planning stages. This being an American space agency, and having already sent two cars to Mars, we will of course now send an SUV. They've got some nifty ideas for landing the thing without requiring airbags, and the rover itself could last several years. All told, very cool plans. Let's just hope they become more than plans.

Posted by scott at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)
AIM'ing to Annoy

AIM users take note: do not under any circumstances accept or install a "humorous Osama bin Laden game" if offered to you:

Some users of the popular AOL Instant Messenger program were bombarded Wednesday with messages seemingly from friends that linked to a humorous Osama bin Laden game.

Downloading the game, however, installed a piggybacking program that broadcast the advertisement from the infected computer to all correspondents on its AIM buddy lists.

No word on MSN Messenger, so that seems safe enough. For now.

Posted by scott at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)
Fun with Junk

While I wouldn't necessarily call this stuff "amazing", it is pretty cool. I wonder how much the Jenga costume weighed...

Posted by scott at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)
February 11, 2004

Ok, so I have to tell my kid not to run with scissors, play with knives, or remove underwear with chainsaws?

A German actress was taken to hospital after an artist injured her breasts while trying to cut open her bra with a chainsaw during a rehearsal for a stage show, she told a newspaper on Wednesday.

Now that's what you call a boob job.

Posted by scott at 02:58 PM | Comments (1)
Red Rover, Red Rover...

Slashdot ran a story noting that robots have been trundling around on celestial objects longer than you probably know. I certainly had never heard of the Lunkhod program, the Soviet's successful set of rovers that rolled around the moon in the early 70s. Drowned out by Apollo and cold-war posturing I suppose.

Posted by scott at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)
Insert Fifth Dimension Joke Here

BBCnews is carrying this summary of what one type of future probe to Mars might look like. This one's a special-purpose balloon contraption that allows vast distances to be covered quickly and precisely while at the same time allowing tiny robotic probes to do the science.

NASA's talked about things like this for quite some time. Let's hope the current success of the Mars rovers helps get some of these ideas off the drawing board.

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
Yet Another Way to Prove You're Smarter than Us

Being famous for my (lack of) observational skills, it's not at all surprising I only scored 380 on the snapshot game. Stupid pictures...

Posted by scott at 10:53 AM | Comments (3)
A Thunderclap of an Idea

Instapundit got an e-mail with a suggestion I'd never even considered:

Resolved: There is no significant downside, and nearly limitless upside, in Pres Bush's replacement of Mr. Cheney with the lovely Ms. Rice. Please discuss.

The VP position now seems to be widely seen as the batting deck for the Presidency (a 180 degree turnaround from what it was a century ago.) The combination of choosing an extremely qualified person who also happens to be a member of two influential minority groups for a position that could bank-shoot them into the Presidency is, to me, almost literally breathtaking.

Of course, it's not a slam-dunk. Ms. Rice's association with the Great Right-Wing Conspiracy has made her none too popular with large sections of the black community. I'm not sure anyone even knows her positions on the various hot-button issues of the activist women's movement. But in an election that promises to be every bit as close as the last one, the choice could (would!) provide valuable swing votes.

And it would probably make my mom actually consider voting for the Republican ticket, which is worth the price of admission all by itself.

Of course, when an idea is this good it can't possibly happen. Which is good for the Dems, who have enough trouble as it is. Still, fun to think about!

Posted by scott at 09:46 AM | Comments (4)
See! See! Games Aren't Useless!

Slashdot linked up this interesting Wired article detailing efforts by government agencies to make processes more inclusive by including methods and ideas worked out in the online gaming community. Turns out the two processes have some stuff in common, mainly unruly, unreasonable, passionate participants all trying to change everything at once.

Posted by scott at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)
Scandalous I Tell You, Just Scandalous!

In the "prudish is as prudish does" category, we have this breathless article detailing the latest snow board craze: porn star decoration. Well, Richie did need something to hang on the walls you know.

Posted by scott at 08:08 AM | Comments (1)
February 10, 2004
'Star Wars' DVD Set to Debut in September

The original three "Star Wars" films — among the most anticipated on DVD — will be released in the digital format Sept. 21 in North America, LucasFilm Ltd. and 20th Century Fox announced Tuesday.

A price for the package and international release dates were to be revealed later.

Read entire article here.

A very Sci-Fi No Prize to Rich!

Posted by Ellen at 05:42 PM | Comments (4)
Crocodile Smiles

Just how many fake smiles can you pick out?

I thought I'd be killer at this thing, but since there are 20 I ended up relying on intuition as much as anything else. Definitely harder than it sounds. I still managed 16 out of 20.

Posted by scott at 03:43 PM | Comments (4)
Well, it Beats Looking at Janet's Boob

You knew it would only be a matter of time. Yes, Virginia, someone has stuck a webcam in a casket. I'm getting about eight different levels of heebies just thinking about it.

Buddha: All existence is impermanent. This is actually a good reminder of that.

Scott: That doesn't mean I want someone to stick a webcam in my coffin.

Buddha: Of course that won't happen to you. You'll be cremated and mixed in with all of Ellen's other pets.

Scott: Don't you have some karma to distribute somewhere?

Posted by scott at 02:20 PM | Comments (2)
~To-may-to/To-mah-to~, the Islamic Version

Raed gives us a nice, irreverant look at the whole Shi'a/Sunni split. This is another one of those things I've known about for so long it never ocurred to me to write about it. You people need to ask about this stuff more often!

Posted by scott at 01:17 PM | Comments (0)
Gotta Love Big Brother

Pat gets a wire-tapped no-prize for bringing us this article detailing the government's ham-fisted attempts to get information about a recent war protest rally.

While all reports are universally spinning it as another example of the Bush administration's attempts to stifle free speech, there is another side to the story:

According to a story in the Des Moines Register, Nov. 17, 2003, the rally also apparently involved criminal trespass by about a dozen of the 70-odd people who attended; and, according to Capt. Doug Phillips of the Polk County Sheriff's Department, the woman being prosecuted for assault, Chris Gaunt, "became limp and kicked a deputy in the knee as they were putting her in the (police) wagon."

The political implications of federal subpoenas being served on people who participated in a political rally makes me think this is all coming bottom-up from an eager prosecutor trying to make a name for themself. If that is in fact what is happening, expect this one to get buried very deeply very quickly.

If not, well, I've got my tinfoil hat on. Do you?

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
Dark Matter a Myth?

Slashdot linked up this Economist article detailing some problems with the existence of "dark matter". Personally I've always thought it sounded like a kludge... "we have niggling problems with our cosmology theories that could be explained by a) problems with our cosmology theories or b) a completely different sort of matter never seen anywhere else ever before. After careful observation, we're choosing option B."

Of course, dark matter theory has made some predictions that seem to have been proven, so it's definitely not a done deal. More as we find it out!

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

This National Review On-line piece very nicely debunks the whole "Bush AWOL" brushfire. Yeah, I know, NRO is not exactly non-partisan, but the author cites his sources very well. He also points out this was all dredged up in 2000 and went exactly nowhere then as well.

I'm sure someone will pout and say, "well, they made such a big damned deal about Clinton avoiding service..." To which I can only say yes, that's true, but it was also 8 years ago. It's time to move on.

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM | Comments (2)
Candy, for the Rest of Us

Jen C. gets a heart-shaped no-prize for bringing us news of the newest "bittersweets". Made by the folks who bring you the "Demotivator" calendars, they consist of the classic sugar hearts with romantic slogans like "Aim Lower", "C That Door?", and "Return 2 Pit". Now if that doesn't say romance, I don't know what does.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
February 09, 2004
When Senility Attacks

Rob gets a no-prize made of Mars rock for bringing us this howler from the journalist voted "Most Likely to Drop Dead at His Desk" this year:

The moon is like a trip to the mall compared with going to Mars. The moon is 250,000 miles away. Mars is 35 million miles. Scientists have said that it would probably be a one-way trip for whoever made it, because gravity on Mars is so strong that it would be impossible to bring along enough fuel for them to take off and return to Earth. [emphasis added]

Scientists? How about simply misremembering a New York Times columnist? (Slashdot link because NYT wants money to see the article now.) Besides, the whole fuel issue is, well, a non-issue at this point.

Of course, this is just Andy Rooney. Don't bother writing an angry letter, because it'll just give him a reason to create a snarky reply bit rhythmically snorting about "space geeks and sci-fi nuts with no jobs." Besides, it's not like he's on a prestigious news show famous for its investigative reports and fact-checks.

Oh, wait...

Posted by scott at 03:18 PM | Comments (0)
Weird Rock

Space.com is carrying this update on Opportunity's examination of a rock near its landing site. Turns out the rock is full of weird "sphericals", which are exactly what they sound like... very tiny, very round accretions. They should be able to find out what the heck formed them with the instruments on Opportunity, and yes it could be water. But it might not...

Posted by scott at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)
Save the LUT!

Slashdot linked up this article noting NASA is taking steps to scrap the last remaining Launch Umbilical Tower (LUT) remaining from the Apollo era. This was the tall orange thing that was part of the mobile launcher, one of the bits my dad was in charge of all those years ago. It's sad to think it'll be heading toward the scrap heap, but at least NASA is giving a nascent non-profit a shot at preserving it.

If they do scrap it I hope they chop up the bits and sell them on e-bay. I'd definitely pick up a chunk or three.

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
Lieutenant's Notes

Both Instapundit and Iraq Now linked up this detailed e-mail recording observations of the media by a Lieutenant who had to occasionally ride herd on them in Iraq. Many good points here, and things I've read before. What I find extremely disturbing is this:

Another major contributor to inaccuracy is most reporters are only in country for a month at a stretch. Though some embedded reporters were around long enough to establish a rapport with their units (during the war, before I got here) that is no longer the case.

One of the primary contributors to our failure in Vietnam was the rapid "ticket punch" rotation of individual soldiers in and out of the theater. Just about the time an officer, NCO, or even line-level grunt got his bearings and figured out How Things Worked, he'd be rotated somewhere else and someone new would take his place. Basic mistakes were repeated over and over again because of this. Men died because of this.

In contrast, the media would leave correspondents there for months, sometimes years at a time, significantly contributing to the accuracy and depth of their reports. This allowed people like Neil Sheehan, Stanley Karnow, and David Halberstam to expose the incompetence and excesses of the leadership of that conflict when that leadership was claiming absolutely nothing was wrong. It's no exaggeration to say that without such reportage Vietnam would probably have been an even bigger debacle than it turned out to be.

Now it would seem the situation has been turned on its head. Units seem to be left alone and to their own devices without the constant disruption of individual rotations or over-controlling careerists looking for a ribbon. They seem to be passing on what they've learned to their replacements. They seem to be, in short, succeeding in this occupation.

I say "seem" because, as this report reveals, the media can't tell us for sure. Instead of good investigations we end up with press release parrots (BWAHK! POLLY WANTS A PULITZER!) who tell us only what the military wants us to know on the one hand, and what a bunch of 6th graders tell them on the other.

The media complained bitterly about the controls and constraints of the first (and to a lesser extent the second) Gulf War. Yet during the most important part of the current conflict they are allowing themselves to become the willing mouthpieces of a system with a proven track record for deception, concealment, and reactionary self-protection.

How can we possibly even tell if Iraq is a "quagmire" when the self-appointed watchdogs can't even be bothered to drag themselves out of their air-conditioned press briefings to find out? How can we know if our billions of dollars are being spent to set up a stable democracy when most reporters aren't there long enough to unpack? How can we be sure the loss of a soldier was for a better cause and not the result of some incompetent policy or leader when the only people able to tell us are too busy getting their ticket punched to investigate?

People are dying over there. I find it horrific (and horrifically unsurprising) that the media seem more interested in the blood than finding out why they die

Posted by scott at 10:24 AM | Comments (11)
Hi, My Name is Scott, and I'm an American

Come with us and join Americans Anonymous:

Yes, unfortunately, I must confess the truth, there's no use denying it: I'm an American. That means I am not intelligent enough to realize the gravest dangers threatening mankind today are Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and a rodent named Mickey. It means I am too simple-minded to realize that modern European society represents the pinnacle of brotherhood (or is on the path thereto). It means I am too myopic to realize that referring to régimes such as Saddam's or Kim Jong-Il's or Brezhnev's as 'evil' is hopelessly retrograde, not to mention preposterous. (And I hope that one day Iraqis, North Koreans, and citizens of former Warsaw Pact countries who think the same will be able to make a pilgrimage to Western Europe, where the powers that be will, in their infinite wisdom, sober them up by telling them to shut up and by otherwise correcting all such reactionary beliefs.)

It takes awhile to get rolling, but once it does it squashes nearly every snide soft-headed argument I've ever heard come out of an "enlightened" citizen's mouth. Also puts a nice kibosh on some of the "we should've waited, we should've built a coalition" arguments. But that's just me.

Via Iraq Now.

Posted by scott at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)
Dinosaur Dimensions

Scientific American is carrying this article detailing a new theory that attempts to explain why predatory dinosaurs grew so enormous during the Cretatious. Turns out it was probably a combination of factors, including huge land masses, an explosion in available plant life (and hence plant-eating dinosaurs to feed on), and a lack of competition from tother large predators. No surprise, the theory is controversial but so far has passed several tests.

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)
February 08, 2004
Constructing Turbans 101

Ever wonder how they do it?

With pictures

Posted by Ellen at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)
Welcome to NASA. Here's Your Prize

Slashdot linked up news that NASA is getting in on the X-prize bandwagon:


Sorry about the caps... that's the way it is on their site. Anyway, I've always thought private enterprise should be given some sort of incentive to work toward space travel innovation. It worked for air travel between the wars!

Posted by scott at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)
Feeling... Small...

Stop staring at your shoes. Wonder at the universe instead. Hint: it looks like this.

Posted by scott at 05:38 PM | Comments (0)
Girl Buried After Removal of Second Head

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic - An infant girl born with a second head bled to death after complex surgery to remove her partially formed twin, her parents and doctors said. The family buried Rebeca in a private funeral.

The girl lost a lot of blood in the operation, which apparently caused her to suffer a heart attack, said Dr. Jorge Lazareff, the lead surgeon. Friends and family donated almost 4 gallons of blood for surgeons to use during Rebeca's operation.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 04:54 PM | Comments (1)
Baby Experiment #2, Turkey Trial

Olivia is in the process of teething. This is painful not just for the baby, but for the entire family. Sort of like a board game from hell.

We've tried it all by now. Baby Orajel, Baby Ambesol, Baby Solves-it-all, Baby's Paid to Harvard, the works. We even included Baby Tylenol and Baby Motrin. Hey, they work for hangovers! A few nights ago there just wasn't any sleep at all... twenty minutes up, twenty minutes down, and me having to show up and be cheerful for sick cats the next day. That's when Scott decided to bring in the Redneck Home Remedy kit.

Yes, we're talking about Wild Turkey Bourbon and a box of q-tips. We always thought those itty-bitty bottles were for airplanes. Turns out, they're perfect for your teeny-tiny wino's needs.

Scott: "Now if I remember this right, my dad said 3 swabs to stop the pain, 5 to put them to sleep".

Me: "Q-tip swabs or cotton ball swabs?"

Scott: "He just said swabs. 3 good ones."

Me: "Ooooo-kay"

So Scott hands me a bottle and a baby Q-tip. If you've never seen one of these, baby q-tips look more like a tampon for the ear. Sorta swollen in the middle, like a snowman on a stick. You can't put them in the ears period. But, they are good for swabbing gums.

We immediately noticed one real advantage of the booze swab over the oragel: the amount and ease of delivery. With the oragel, you squeeze a bit on your finger and then swab it on their... nose. Try again, swab it on their... lips. One more time, got their... toungue. Eventually you might, might get a bit on their gums, but by that time your kid is drooling and smacking trying to figure out where the front of their face went.

However, with a Q-tip you don't have this problem. With this amazing tool, you can push aside all obstruction and resistance, instantly dousing the affected area. Dunk-dunk, swab swab.

Olivia: "Whaa!!! BA BA BA BA!! GAHHHHH!!!!!" *grasping at mouth screaming her head off.


First, she got that "stopped in mid-sentence" sort of expression. Trust me, babies learn how to express "wtf?!?" way before you can wash their mouths out with soap for saying it. She crossed her eyes for a bit and got a pretty sour look, but nowhere near as sour as when we tried to give her Coca-Cola (which, by expression, is fist-clenchingly foul.) The kid's got priorities, I guess.

Scott said, in the frantic desperation of a firefighter who just saw part of the flames go out, "hit it again!"


We were awarded with a "well, that's not too bad at all" expression. Plus some extra smacking.



Now things had settled down quite a bit. No more kicking, no more screaming. Just a few left-over grumbles and eye rubs to let us know who's boss. At this point we thought we were done. Nearly everyone we knew suggested at one point or another we do this, but I wonder just how many actually do it because of what happened next.

She started to giggle.

Now, we're not talking a coo or a smile, but big ol' belly laughs. All was fine with Olivia and the world. Wow! Look at these hands! Aren't hands cool? Isn't mommy a fine person? Let's play kick for awhile! And it feels really weird to move our head back and forth... this. is. so. cool! WHEEEEE!!!

I had to play with a very happy baby for about fifteen more minutes before everyone settled down to sleep. Of course, then we wanted a hit of the stuff.

Posted by Ellen at 03:57 PM | Comments (5)
Well, at Least They're not Studying All of Keanu's Movies

Fark linked up this AZ central article detailing the latest Phoenix college literature course offered... on Science Fiction.

Personally I have no trouble at all with it. It took someone pointing it out for me to realize that SF is one of the very few literary genres created in America.

Posted by scott at 01:13 PM | Comments (1)
February 07, 2004
Two-headed baby dies after surgery

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) -- An infant girl died Saturday after surgery to remove a second head, her mother said.

Read entire article here.

Very sad

Posted by Ellen at 01:54 PM | Comments (2)
Open Mouth, Insert Foot[ball]

Boy, when they say it's a competitive recruiting environment in college athletics, they aren't kidding:

The head football coach at the University of Colorado has told a former colleague it would be harder to recruit star athletes if the school did not show them a good time and take them to sex parties.

The battles between the athletic department and the rest of the school at the University of Arkansas are legendary. I doubt if it's any different at other land grant colleges or other universities with heavy athletic traditions. The traditional sop is prominent athletic programs bring big donors to a university. However, it's been my experience those big donors just build larger athletic facilities. As far as I know, not a single independent study has ever confirmed the assertion.

Posted by scott at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)
Ocean Farts?

New Scientist is featuring this article detailing recent discoveries about hydrogen sulfide eruptions off the coast of Namibia, Africa. Turns out their much larger than previously thought, and has been blamed for killing a billion fish with one eruption.

Sorta reminds me of when Mt. Pinatubo erupted back in the 90s. Scientists (as I recall) discovered that one eruption dumped more greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than what man had generated in the past century.

Posted by scott at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)
February 06, 2004
Two-headed baby has surgery

An operation to remove a second head from a baby girl - and make medical history - has begun.

The operation, performed by an 18-strong Los Angeles team, started just after noon (1600 GMT) in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic.

Seven-week-old Rebeca Martinez has the head of an undeveloped conjoined twin fused to the top of her skull.

Her second head has a partially-developed brain, ears, eyes and lips, and if it continues to grow would prevent Rebeca's brain from developing.

Read entire story here.

With picture

Posted by Ellen at 06:37 PM | Comments (1)

I'm not dead yet!:

Stephen Laskowski, Sr. had claimed [his wife] Donna was working on the 12th floor of one of the towers of the World Trade Center when it came crashing down. He had turned in paperwork requesting more than a million dollars from the 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund, just a week before the cut-off.

Donna's name was even listed on the victim's compensation website as a victim.

"That's when it hit me how bad this was," says [Donna] Laskowski.

Actually, I'm surprised they haven't found more people trying to scam this.

Posted by scott at 02:57 PM | Comments (1)
Re-Enlistment Made Easy

Well, Jeff, how's this one for motivating the troops? Click the powerpoint presentation at the bottom of the story.

~ 99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer... ~

Posted by scott at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)
Words to (literally) Live By

People aren't kidding when they tell you having kids puts a whole new spin on a range of things. Before we had Olivia, we always felt terrible when someone's child disappeared only to turn up in a box or worse. Now, however, we look at the screen, look at our child, look at each other, and it's just a whole other vibe.

We both felt ill watching the eleven-year-old girl being lead away by a stranger, and now that they've found what he left it's even worse. That's why I think these simple rules are important to teach every girl and boy out there. Some people may think it's extreme to want to tatoo them on your kid's left arm, but that's only because some people don't have kids.

Some folks will shake their heads and say, "look what we've come to, we didn't need any of that way back when..." which is just rose-colored memory playing tricks. I bet every one of us over 15 knows stories of someone who came to grief by trusting too much in the kindness of strangers. The predators have always been with us. We just shine lights on them more quickly nowadays.

Via Site-Essential.

Posted by scott at 12:14 PM | Comments (1)
Bird Brains, Road Ways

Jeff gets a feathered no-prize for bringing us this reuters article detailing a recent discovery about how pigeons navigate. Turns out, on short trips at least, they follow the roads, right down to intersections and traffic circles.

My grandad was famous for following highways and rail road tracks to find his way back and forth in his old Cessna. I guess we've found a likely reincarnation candidate for him!

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

It's been said a Republican is a Democrat who got mugged last night. It could probably also be said a Democrat is a Republican who's job just got exported overseas. Color me glad I work IT in a company too small to make outsourcing practical.

I'm sure there are many steel, automotive, textile, and other heavy industry workers who have very, very little sympathy for folks in the hi-tech field getting tossed out on their cans because of low-price foreign competition. However, I'm old enough to remember the beginning of the computer revolution, when (as noted in the article) there were regular news stories on how the sky was falling because thousands of bank tellers, stenographers, switchboard operators, and other such jobs were being eliminated by computers. I wonder if anyone's ever done a study on the relation of the women's movement to the elimination of big chunks of what were traditionally considered "women's" jobs in the 1970s?

The world didn't end then, and it won't end now. Thirty years later, I often wonder what's become of all those people dislocated by the various factory closings of the 1970s. Certainly they didn't stay in breadlines all those years. Since I have a feeling the answer is "most worked their ass off and eventually got back on their feet again", I don't expect professional victim-exploiter Michael Moore to be doing a documentary on them any time soon.

Posted by scott at 10:51 AM | Comments (5)
Zoom-Zoom inna Box

Ron gets a bright-yellow no-prize for bringing us Ultimasports.com, manufacturer of "self-assembly supercars". If you've always wanted to build your own car, and have a hankering to b*tch-slap the occasional ricer and/or ponycar driver, you could do a lot worse. Nifty stuff!

Posted by scott at 08:59 AM | Comments (1)
Hitchhiker Update

Well, I know at least one person out there is going to be interested in news they've cast Zaphod's role in the upcoming Hitchhiker movie. Those of you going "Zaf-who?" can just take my word that it's important. No, I've never heard of him either.

Posted by scott at 08:17 AM | Comments (1)
February 05, 2004
Catch Mono

No-Prize to Rich for sending me a early Valentine from America's Sweetheart.

Posted by Ellen at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)
That's "Bangu-Busai" to You, Bud

In the "tought-job-but-somebody-gotta-do-it" category we have this reporter "assigned" to cover the latest trend in Japanese entertainment... orgy busses. Ellen and I always peer suspiciously at limos that drive by*. Now I guess we'll have to keep an eye on the busses too.

Posted by scott at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)
Spanish Flu Mystery Solved?

Also from BBCnews, this report on recent discoveries concerning the flu virus that caused the great pandemic of 1918. Scientists now believe it "jumped" from birds to humans, probably somewhere in Asia.

Posted by scott at 03:23 PM | Comments (1)
Evil, Spinning Eyes

BBCnews is carrying this story about the "Evil Eye" galaxy, a bizzare galactic formation in which the gas flows in one direction at the center, while further out it flows in the other. Turns out it's all the result of a collision perhaps a billion years ago. With picture!

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)
Testing 1, 2, 3...

Finally, an e-bay auction item that won't expire! Well, not for the next 27 years at any rate. The bid history page is a hoot.

This sorta reminds me of when my college buddies took a hex editor to their copy of Moria, a netHack clone. They were trying to pre-stock all the really good stuff in the store, but instead ended up with a store stocked with ,'s. That's right, commas. Damned things were expensive too! They were great for squashing peasants with (you could throw them a long way), but apparently didn't do much damage to dragons.

Yeah I know. After about fifteen minutes of giggling even we thought it was all too geeky for words. Ah, college...

Posted by scott at 12:33 PM | Comments (1)
Well, I Guess it Beats Staring at Snow

Liz Ditz gets a no-prize with a horned helmet on it for bringing us this report of even more Norwegian quirkiness:

[The Gathering is a] youth festival which is generally tagged as a nerd exposition, is a huge cult event, with participants bringing along their machines to install them in the hall and commune with peers for days on end.

The article is long on snarkiness but short on facts, so it's difficult to say exactly what this thing is all about. It kinda sounds like the world's largest LAN party. But after reading the previous two stories I've decided Norwegians are capable of anything.

Posted by scott at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)
Gotta Getcha

Lt. Van Steenwyk does the journalist's job for him in this perceptive post. In it, he makes this very valid observation:

We have turned a corner. We are focusing on an entirely different kind of insurgent, now. The foreign fighter-dominated jihadist terrorist cell is a very different animal from the former regime loyalist. Their tactics may be similar at times, but the channels through which they receive support --hence their set of critical vulnerabilities--are totally different. They are financed differently, they are armed differently, they are motivated differently, they are recruited differently. They pray differently, they communicate differently, and have an entirely different set motivations.

It's just possible, but only just, that the monster troop rotation happening right now ended up being timed just right. Different faces, different ideas, all ready to face a different foe. Of course, it could also be said these new people just spent the past several months training to shoot the wrong insurgents. However, as long as the commanders on the ground are allowed to do their job I have a feeling the new insurgents will go the way of the old.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
Extreme Nursing

Carrie gets a... hmm... well, Carrie gets a no-prize for bringing us this tale of a mom that did what she had to do:

A 23-year-old Norwegian woman who's been nursing her infant son suddenly found herself faced with 10 more hungry mouths when her dog died after giving birth to a large litter of puppies. She literally took them all to her breast.

First "dead sheephead metal", now this. What is it with Norwegians? Suddenly the Viking rampages are making a lot more sense.

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (0)
Where's Tipper When You Need Her?

Fark linked up this Sun article describing the latest SIMS knock-off to hit the streets. Yup, you guessed it... the only real differences is these sims get to boink "on camera", as it were.

Ellen was always more interested in cheating up a Sim's account so she could spend days decorating enormous houses. While she did badger me to get the "uncensored sims" patch on, I can't help but think if the gizmos and decorations aren't up to snuff we'll probably end up passing on this one.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (0)
February 04, 2004
Orange County Choppers

Scott and I watched the show "Orange County Choppers" for the first time tonight (on recommendation from Amber & Co.) What we didn't realize was where they are located. We always thought it was Orange County, California. Not Orange County, NY (where I am from).

Check out Orange County Choppers here. they have a new shop opening up in the Newburgh Mall (15 minutes from my Mom's house). Small world.

Apparently my sister says there is one in the Middletown Mall too.

Posted by Ellen at 07:27 PM | Comments (2)
Cat Feces Fumes Poison Vet

From Yahoo.com

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A vet sent to inspect a strong stench coming from an uninhabited rural cottage in south-west Sweden collapsed, poisoned by fumes from the feces of some 20 cats locked inside for months, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

The regional daily Goteborgs-Posten said the vet spent three days in hospital with hydrogen sulphide poisoning.

Rescue workers equipped with gas masks had to be called to the scene to bring out the cats, which were taken to an animal shelter, the newspaper said.

Posted by Ellen at 07:22 PM | Comments (4)
Singing Hedgehogs

No Prize to Rich for sending me this F*#d- up site.

Posted by Ellen at 05:24 PM | Comments (1)
Janet Who?

In the "never-think-it-can-get-any-weirder" department, we have this account of the Norweigan "black metal" band Gorgoroth's nationally televised concert:

On stage there was blood everywhere. About ten decapitated sheep heads and naked people, alive, on large crosses. Everyone was painted with 100 liters of sheep blood. Also there were Satanist symbols everywhere.

Televised in Poland, that is. I wonder what the NFL'd make of that. Now, I'm all for naked chicks, don't get me wrong. It's all the blood and gore that'd bother me. A lot. Certainly I'm not going to talk about how extreme Marlyn Manson is now.

Posted by scott at 03:57 PM | Comments (0)
A Lie is a Lie is a...

In the never-ending round robin of "who lied to whom?" we have this entry:

Saddam himself did not know he lacked weapons of mass destruction. [His regieme] functioned like an unstaffed mental asylum.
Copious hypothetical plans were drawn up, and again and again the Kay teams found the paper equivalent of a "smoking gun", only to be unable to pair it with real-life evidence. That was because Saddam's weapons programmes -- except for some progress in illicit missile-making -- existed only on paper.

Not that it'll make much difference to the sword-bearers on the other side of this particular holy war.

Personally, I take heart at revelations like these. It took six years before Americans knew the Gulf of Tonkin incident was essentially a fabrication (and one far flimsier than this). By that time more than fifty thousand soldiers had lost their lives.

Politicians lie. Beauracrats lie. Governments lie. It's what they do. You judge the health of a system by how quickly the lies are caught.

Posted by scott at 02:15 PM | Comments (1)
That's My Girl

Ellen is a literalist. If you say it, she tends to take it at face value. This is almost a prerequisite for someone who measures out drugs that go from cure to kill in 1 mil or less, but it tends to make discussing far fuzzier things like, say, politics, a bit of a challenge.

Not clear enough? This day-by-day cartoon should help.

Actual conversation around the time of the last presidential election:

Jeff (my brother): "I'm voting for Gore, but only because I think Bush is an idiot. Who are you voting for, Ellen?"

Ellen: "I'm voting for Nader. I think the issues he addresses are important to me, plus I think Gore is weird and Bush is stupid."

Jeff: "But if you vote for Nader, you'll be wasting your vote!"

Ellen: "No I won't. I'll be voting for Nader."

Jeff: "But Nader can't get elected! It's a wasted vote!"

Ellen: "It's not wasted. I show up, I color in the dots, I drop it in the box. No waste."

Jeff: "Bush and Gore are the only ones who have a chance! If you vote for Nader, it'll be like tossing your vote into the trash!"

Ellen: "How can it go into the trash if I put it in the box? Is that even legal?"

Jeff: "...!"

No folks, don't even try to explain it. She's smarter than three of you put together. It's just a very focused sort of smart. Which is fine by me. I mean, which type of person would you want working on your cat?

Posted by scott at 12:13 PM | Comments (1)
Umm... Yeah...

There are faces, and then there are faces. No, I don't know what to make of it either. Kinda creepy, actually.

Posted by scott at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)
Deficit Shuffle

Instapundit linked up this interesting fact-check on the "balooning deficit":

As a percentage of the gross domestic product -- which many economists consider a better measure than simple dollar amounts -- the currently projected deficit, at 4.2 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office or 4.5 percent according to the Bush administration, is equal to or smaller than those recorded in six years during the 1980s and 1990s.

No coincidence the six years chosen were recession years.

The deficit and debt don't worry me, mostly because:

  • We own most of it. I'd rather voluntarily give the government my money and earn interest on it than have it taken from me in taxes.
  • As noted above, percentage-wise it's just not that big. International figures are not included, but as I recall France, Germany, and Japan are all running deficit percentages much higher than this.

Do I like deficits? Nope. I'm very disappointed that Bush has turned into a typical "dollars are meant to be spent" politician. But it does give a nice stick-check to the Chicken-Littles who think the deficit is going to cause the roof to cave in.

Posted by scott at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)
And You Thought Gore was Bad

This one's bad enough to make me suspect misquoting:

David Hasselhoff has complained to museum curators after finding his photo absent in a collection of memorabilia about the fall of the Berlin Wall. The actor and producer, who says he is working on a film version of TV series Knight Rider, claims he is partly responsible for the fall of the concrete divide.

Much scarier is the admission that Knight Rider is in the works for a movie treatment. Ellen nearly clawed her eyes out when I made her watch the "evil KITT" episode (an evil twin episode in the first five is never a good sign). I think making her watch this would definitely be paybacks for making me go see Battlefield Earth in the theater.

Posted by scott at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)
Battlestar Returns

Fark linked up this Reuters story claiming the Sci-Fi network has in fact picked up Battlestar Galactica for development into a series.

I thought the premiere was quite good. Did a nice job of updating, and wasn't as remarkably cheesy as the original. It remains to be seen if they can solve the "find a new planet, deal with a disaster, move on, find a new planet, deal with a disaster, move on" problem that helped torpedo the first series. Of course, it hasn't stopped Star Trek.

I can't help but be irritated that they'd pick up a new, unproven show that costs 1.5 million per episode yet dumped Farscape, which reportedly cost two thirds as much. Bitter? Me? Never.

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)
February 03, 2004
Ice Ice Baby

We drop Olivia off at daycare around 7 am every morning, Monday through Friday. Including when the government has liberal leave, blah blah blah... we still have to get to work. Only today, I was by myself. Scott was home sick.

Of course we had an ice storm that morning and skating Olivia to the car without killing ourselves was a feat in itself. Mind you, I have my bag, her bag and her in my arms. Scott says sherpas climbing Mount Everest carry less stuff, but I was too busy trying not to imitate a Warner Bros. cartoon to hit him this time.

Getting out of the driveway and down the street was tricky. We slid several times. Must..get..to..main..road is all I kept thinking. The main streets were not bad at all. They were treated with salt and other cancer-causing ice-melting stuff. Getting to the daycare was not bad, until I hit the side street where it's located.

The driveway is a slight incline. Went up the driveway, made sure I was on level ground, put the car in park with the emergency brake on and got out to get Olivia.

I opened the back door to the Cruiser, unlatched the car seat, then all of a sudden, *LUUURCH*. Felt like someone pushed the car.

"WTF?" I was thinking.



Yes, the car started to slide down the driveway with Olivia inside and me hanging onto it for dear life going, "hang on baby! The car will stop sometime!" She just sort of stared at me, intrigued that mommy had decided to move the car by standing outside it. Of course at this point I'm hanging onto the inside door dragging my feet, bouncing back and forth like a drag race brake chute. It looked just like those old movies of ships launching. All we needed was Rita Hayworth standing at the front with a smashed champagne bottle.

Eventually the car stopped with a solid thud when it hit a hard ice/slush pile in the middle of the road. Of course, this gave Olivia a very visual demonstration of Newton's second law of motion as I was flung past the door onto my butt. I swear she had this look like, "well, that was different. Whadja do that for?"

Next time I parked the car in the grass.

Posted by Ellen at 08:15 PM | Comments (3)
Nothing Says "Romance" Quite as Much as a Cockroach

And from New York we have the latest trend in Valentine gifts:

Looking for a little something special for your valentine? How about a hissing cockroach? That's the suggestion from the folks at the Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, N.Y

Well, actually it's a way for the zoo to raise money. Still, somehow I think Ellen's reaction to such a gift would define the word "nonplussed".

Posted by scott at 04:47 PM | Comments (0)
Atmospheric Disturbances

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing the first discovery of an extra-solar planet losing carbon and oxygen as it passes in front of its sun. Unfortunately it's the wrong type of carbon and oxygen to be caused by life, but at 200 times the Earth's mass and orbiting its star eight times closer than Mercury, I'm not sure what sort of life might even exist. The upper atmosphere is said to be 10,000 degrees C!

One of the more interesting SF ideas I've come across is in David Niven's "Integral Trees". In it, a planet somewhat like this moves so quickly and dissolves so thoroughly that a sort of "smoke ring" of inhabitable gas is created circling the star. The implications of living in a place where there literally is no solid ground is interesting to say the least.

Posted by scott at 04:41 PM | Comments (2)
X-box 2 Specs?

Gamespot is carrying this brief bit concerning the latest rumors about the X-box 2. Triple 64-bit processors, some new flash graphics card, and flash memory. More worrisome, it's not clear if MS is going to commit to backward compatibility with the original X-box games. If true, I think it'll be a big mistake. Having backward compatibility means you can play the old standards (and new hotness) for the previous platform while you wait for the new stuff to come out.

But, for now, just rumors.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (1)
The Drudge Report

For all of you out there who did not get to see Janet Jackson's boob.

Scott and I were at Amber's for the pee party* on the cats and watching the Super Bowl. Everything was going great, both men drank themselves silly, until Scott jumps up and points at the T.V.

Scott: " BOOBIES!!!!!!"

Ron: "Boobies?" WHERE!?

Scott: "Yes!! Her boob fell out of her top! It flopped out!"

Needless to say, it was a funny moment. All Amber and I did was roll our eyes and hunt down the next cat for pee.

Posted by Ellen at 06:49 AM | Comments (0)
The Laughing Cat

NO-PRIZES to Rich and Pat for sending me The Laughing Cat!

Posted by Ellen at 06:19 AM | Comments (0)
February is Pet Dental Month Part 2

Time to clean those teeth again for Rover and Fluffy!

But, I got an update for you all. Veterinary medicine seems to change all the time, and we sit and preach to our clients the basics of good pet care until some veterinary researcher pulls a twist or essentially in this case, an OOPS!

According to the AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) wet food does not contribute to dental disease any more than dry food does.

Ok, this is rather annoying. For the past 10 years, it has been * WET FOOD IS A NO NO! * Now it's * WET FOOD IS GRAND! YUMMY! FEED IT ALL THE TIME!*

So like any good veterinary technician should, I listened to the AAFP and started my own bunch on wet food. After all, cats are true carnivores and should eat a meat-based diet. Plus our clients are given a Carnivore Connection handout from JAVMA (Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association)

Wet food has additionally been proven to keep your cat leaner, aid in diabetic health and add that extra moisture your cat's kidneys need.

The nice side to the wet food is that it doesn't matter what brand you feed, as long as the first 3 ingredients are water, meat and more meat (or meat byproduct- not chicken heads and feet. It's the gizzards)

So get out there and get your pet on the right diet, and don't forget to brush it's teeth!

Posted by Ellen at 06:10 AM | Comments (0)
February 02, 2004
Happy Birthday to Us!

On February 2nd, 2002, a tiny corner blog opened up its doors with this rather piquant entry:


FINALLY!!! a new fucking web site!!! Its only been what, 2 years?? BOUT TIME!

~(BlOG-bLoG-BlOg-bLoG!..bloggity blog!!!!)~

I have no clue how to operate this thing, hopefully cat photos will be posted soon.

From such humble beginnings the internet powerhouse soon to be known world-wide as AMCGLTD was born. Well, ok, more like the internet shack in the back yard where you keep the mumbling people who amuse you was born.

Two years, not quite 4000 entries, and more than 5600 comments later, and look at us now. Still the shack where you keep the mumbling yet vaguely amusing people, but with icons!

So what have we managed to do for these two years? Aren't you going to be sorry you asked that question. Quick, director, cue the montage! Music! Sound! Action!

And tell Janet to put her boob back in her dress. Flopsy is not an attractive style!

Well, we scandalized my mom so often we had to put up a special category to warn her, which promptly became the most popular part of the site amongst her nurse friends.

We learned that Scott can cook, eventually, as long as he doesn't try to toast bread on a cast iron skillet.

We explained to the world the true Power of Chocolate, exposing a secret for which the author continues to pay a heavy price (in thin mints).

Ellen made our first deposit into the "Send Damion to Drag-Race School" account when we got her Cruiser done up somethin' special. And no, those are not dinosaurs, they're cat skeletons. Little did we know the last-minute decision to place the URL on the back would result in our advertising the site to perhaps ten thousand surly morning commuters a day once we moved out to the 'burbs. We don't know how many folks read us because of that, but there are definitely a few (poor bastards).

Scott wrote an essay that one of his friends thought was extremely pro-war, and another one thought was extremely anti-war, when all he set out to do was explain why people were sometimes pro-, and sometimes anti-war. This has lead him to decide none of his friends have any idea what they're talking about, and if they'd just listen to him we could end this destructive conflict and Bring Order to the Galaxy. Scott needs to get out more.

Ellen got a tiny trout wanna-be that terrorizes her to this day. Browsing through the archives she even discovered he's secretly plotting to destroy the world.

She also related a cat sitting incident and introduced Scott to the joys of "waxing". He only thought she meant the car.

Now let's see... what else happened....

Wha? Nah, nobody cares about tha--

Ok, ok, ok. Mom, put the pan back in the oven next to the pizza boxes where it belongs. We conclusively proved socially-challenged geeks do in fact know how the 'birds and bees' work.

So ends our little highlight reel. As the credits roll, we'd like to thank:

  • WilWheaton.net, who is the popular pretty girl who quite literally does not know we exist but who inspired us to start the whole thing (if an actor can do this...)
  • My brother Jeff, who snorted and claimed we'd never get more than a dozen people to read this site a month when Scott told him about it. Now that we've passed 1800 visitors per day (most people call these "hits") and served 160,000 pages last month, I think we can safely say he was inspiringly wrong.
  • Mellie, who helped us advertise when we really were getting a dozen visits a day.
  • Daphne, who gave us our very first (glowing!) review, letting us know we were not, in fact, total asshats.
  • Jim and Maru, our first best friends. It's been so long guys, I can't even remember how we stumbled onto each other.
  • Meryl and Laurence, who taught a couple of goyim when to take it seriously and when to fling boogers at it. And, best of all, when to smash!!!
  • Bigwig and crew at Silflay, who with this very entry confirmed there were in fact people as silly as we were. Of course, we're not sure if this was heartening or frightening.
  • Joanie, JessaJune, Aaron, Lynn S, Misha, Kathy K, and all the others who have linked to our ramblings or placed us on their blogroll. We love all you guys!
  • Jeff, Pat, Cindy, Joshua, Battie, Skully, Richie, Nina, and all the other proud no-prize recipients. We'd be a lot less weird and entertaining without your help!
  • Tatterdemalian, Robert UK, the yellow-dog peanut gallery (you know who you are), and all the other regular commentors. Your comments, compliments, rants, flames, and notes help make this place twice as much fun!
  • All our other readers! Without you guys there wouldn't be any point at all. We hope we've made you laugh, kept you informed, and maybe even touched you once in awhile. Our whole purpose is entertainment, and your continued (and increasing!) visits let us know we're doing the right stuff.

Well, enough weepy thank-you's, the band is playing the "get the hell off" music now. Here's to you all, thanks for taking the time to make our silly little site a part of your day!

Posted by scott at 08:27 PM | Comments (4)

Slashdot is running this interview with Alan Davidson, a (for want of a better description) journalist/computer geek who helped form Iraq's first Linux User's Group (LUG) while he was based in Iraq. He provides an interesting and different perspective not just on technical progress in Iraq, but the general stuff as well.

Posted by scott at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)
Ali's Awakening

Ali over at Iraq the Model decided to play a little game of "Rip Van Winkle" with the essay 5 Gallons of Gas:

Finally I got to work and there I didn’t find a large difference although I missed those sensational moments when a child dies simply due to the lack of cheap medications and their mother’s cries and the reporters from all over the world who were always around would rush in to get a good shot and make a smashing report about the effects of the sanctions. Things are now very boring, we just treat people and a lot of them even get well!

Posted by scott at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)
How About Some Cheese Instead?

Space.com is carrying this detailed report on a business you probably don't know exists yet is amazingly profitable... selling lunar real-estate:

Every day hundreds of people fork over about $30 for 1-acre slices of the Moon and Mars. (Prices are going up: For roughly the same amount, prior to 2001, you could get 17,700 acres.) The cost includes shipping and handling of a deed, a map, and the lunar or Martian "Constitution and Bill of Rights," all printed on simulated parchment.

A lot of leftist back-and-forth about whether or not someone can sell chunks of something when there's nobody to actually buy it from in the first place. I particularly liked the blatherings of one Virgiliu Pop, a British legal scholar:

One precedent Pop draws on involves the Masai tribe in Africa, which "has a similar legal claim over all the cows in the world, yet in reality, people all over the world continue to buy and sell cattle without involving the Masai. What I dispute here is the 'it is mine because I say so' approach."
If the Masai were in charge of, say, the same resources as Germany we would take their claims far more seriously, probably devoting a whole section of the UN's world court to debate the matter endlessly while diplomats parked on the sidewalks of Manhattan and sent their daughters to Bloomingdale’s. If they controlled the resources of, say, the United States, we'd all be paying a cow tax.

Ownership of the moon depends a lot on whether or not there's anything on the moon worth owning. If it's all just dust and gravel, I fully expect some sort of high-minded international agreement along the lines of what works in Antarctica. If, on the other hand, a meteor blew the top of a mountain off and revealed, say, a gold deposit the size of Brazil, I fully expect it to be settled the old fashioned way... last one to the top the hill is a Frenchman!

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (0)
Welcome to Wingnutville, Hope You Enjoy Your Stay

And on the right side of Wingutville's street, we have someone comparing the US with North Korea as far as our freedoms are concerned:

The [Heritage Foundation's 10th annual] index [of economic freedom] delivers the comforting conclusion that the US is the 10th most free country, far ahead of 155th ranked North Korea.

The Heritage index is ahistorical. It is blind to the enormous loss of freedom in the 20th century, especially in the US and the UK. It takes as its starting point the re-enserfment of populations and predicates a “freedom” index on unfree labor.

Or, to summarize it much more succinctly, we have Delong's take:"Slaves Were Happy! And Well Cared-For! Really Happy! Much Happier Than People Like Me, Who Have to Fill Out Schedule C!"

And people call me extreme...

Via cobb.

Posted by scott at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)
In Soviet Russia, Computer Blows Up You

Slashdot linked up this William Safire column detailing how one successful CIA operation in the early 80s triggered "the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space" in Siberia. Is it true? Who knows? It's an interesting story though.

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)
Now Why Didn't I Think of That

Techie is as techie does:

Tacking Jr. or II onto a boy's name is too common, a new father decided, so the self-described engineering geek took a software approach to naming his newborn son.

Jon Blake Cusack talked his wife, Jamie, into naming their son Jon Blake Cusack 2.0.

Considering the row that almost developed here over boy names, it's probably not worth the risk. But still...

Posted by scott at 09:31 AM | Comments (0)
February 01, 2004
Shh... Don't Tell Joshua

Say it ain't so Joe, say it ain't so!

Posted by scott at 02:09 PM | Comments (1)