July 31, 2004
Hello? ... Hello? *phut* *phut* *phut* ... Is This Thing On?

Ah! Cats who don't run! Web sites that don't take 20 minutes to load! A roof that doesn't sound like the second coming when it rains! 'Tis good to be back, verily we say.

More extensive reports to come.

Posted by scott at 09:12 PM | Comments (1)
Moore is in trouble again

It appears that the newspaper that Moore stole the "Latest Florida recount shows Gore won election" headline from is having issues with it's portrayal in the film. Apparently (and the rebuttal of F911 piece that was featured here earlier points this out as well), this was from an editorial page, not the actual front page, as the movie implies. The fun part of the story? The newspaper has sued him, asking for an explanation, apology, and damages of $1.

Posted by ron at 10:26 AM | Comments (1)
GGW to pay $1.1M

The wonderful folks that produce those family-oriented 'Girls Gone Wild' videos have been doing some other highly ethical things. Specifically, if you ordered one of their products, they were apparently loading you into their 'continuity program', which means you kept receiving new product - and being charged for it. For this, they've been ordered to pay $1.1M in fines and reimbursements.

However, they apparently didn't get nailed for having a 17yo girl in one of their videos...

Posted by ron at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)
Scott and Ellen returning

All - just to let you know, Scott and Ellen will be returning today, so expect your regularly scheduled blog to be back to it's old self by tomorrow.

Also, bug them for redneck pictures of Olivia!

Posted by ron at 10:12 AM | Comments (3)
July 30, 2004
Finding a healthy puppy

Okay - we need a dog category on this here site...

ABC News has this link about how to find a healthy puppy. Now, I'm sure that Amber and Ellen will happily fill in any blanks that they might have left out, this is some good solid advice.

And stay the hell away from puppy mills!

Posted by ron at 03:06 PM | Comments (1)
And Amber yells at me for speeding

One of those zany German drivers was actually driving at the speed limit. This apparently angered a German truck driver who proceeded to beat the slower driver down.

Police in the western town of Bochum said the truck driver told them he felt provoked by the motorist "because he was actually driving 30 kph in a 30 kph area."

This'll be a great excuse for me to speed in the future. Never mind the fact that this was in Germany and we don't have an Autobahn...

Posted by ron at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
Feminism as a method to fight terrorism?

Mama Smurf brings us this article on a new method to fight terrorism: Feminism. Very interesting. Also, it's rather funny because it calls out Kerry and Edwards for trying to act as macho as possible - while behind the total lockdown of security during the DNC.

An interesting quote:

So here in one word is my new counterterrorism strategy for Kerry: feminism. Or, if that's too incendiary, try the phrase "human rights for women." I don't mean just a few opportunistic references to women, like those that accompanied the war on the Taliban and were quietly dropped by the Bush administration when that war was abandoned and Afghan women were locked back into their burkas. I'm talking about a sustained and serious effort.
Posted by ron at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)
The Great Mouse Chronicles, part the 4th

Mice 2, Cats, 2

Well, we had another little mouse in the house last night. It was a small little grey mouse. We came home from cat-sitting for Ellen and Scott and noticed that the cats were intent on the dryer. This normally being a sign that something alive is under there, be it a spider, mouse, or whatever. So, we moved all of the cats and started to try and catch the little guy (or gal, as the case may be).

Well, in short order, we'd identified that this was a younger mouse and it was under the dryer. So, we got prepared to catch him - seeing as how we're experts on this now. We had towels out to block escape routes, a yardstick to help force the mouse to where Amber could grab it, Pongo blocking the route that Skippy would use to try and catch the mouse, and so on. We also, had put Garrison in the office and shut the door so he wouldn't interfere.

So, after adjusting the dryer around, lifting it, and trying almost everything we can to get to the little bastard, he comes sprinting out - at me. Mind you, at this point, I've just played soccer for two hours and have managed to completely cool down, so I'm about as stiff as a board. So, can I catch him? No, I was the lifting the dryer guy, so I don't even have a towel (you want to catch them in a towel, not with your hands so you don't get bitten). So, very similar to Amber's experience, I now have a mouse running down my leg. Very light touch, somewhat ticklish - get a feather, or some very flexible thing such as this, run it down your leg, and you'll know what I'm talking about.

So, uber-mouse decides to head to the linen closet. No problem - he can't get out of there, so we're safe.

Or so we thought. He somehow disappears in the closet and we can't find him - even though we empty the thing. So, now we figure he's in the wall and relatively safe. HAHAHAHA.

As I'm trying to eat dinner, the mouse is at it again. This time he's behind the bookshelves from the earlier Chronicles. We get the same set up, but no luck catching him. He's just too feisty. And then, he makes a break for open space - and Garrison. Garrison dives, the mouse disappears. We pry open his mouth and no mouse. Hmmm... That was a quick swallow - or was it. I pick him up, and the mouse had been trapped under his front paws. Mousey goes sprinting down the wall, the other cats are oblivious, and he disappears under the fridge.

Well, we decide to leave him there and catch him later. This will prove to be an ominious decision - for the mouse, at least.

So, after a good nights sleep, I come out and see some spots of blood on the floor. No real big deal- there must've been a kitty fight that I slept through - which happens frequently. Then, upon further inspection, I see a little grey thing. In the morning light, it looks like a clump of mud from my cleats, however, it's a bit to even of a shape for that. I get down and notice the shape has eyes. This time, they left the entire head instead of part of it. Guess the mouse wasn't content to stay safe under the fridge...

And, if you remember from the last post, we'd found one of the entrances? Well, we found another. And this time I've been threatened within an inch of my life if I don't block it up...

Posted by ron at 08:34 AM | Comments (2)
July 29, 2004
Panty Raid!

For you men out there that like to smell used panties.

Now you can buy them online!

Or you can just go to Japan and buy them from a vending machine.

Posted by Ellen at 05:40 PM | Comments (0)
Alaska Volcano Stirs From 12-Year Slumber

ANCHORAGE (AP) - Mount Spurr is showing some life these days, 12 years after the volcano last erupted. The Alaska Volcano Observatory this week raised its official level of concern to yellow, signifying an eruption is possible in the next few weeks.

The series of earthquakes don't necessarily presage an eruption of Spurr, according to scientists. The volcano was last significantly active in 1992 and, in an August explosion that year, spread a thin layer of ash over Anchorage.

Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)
Hogzilla snorts no more

Alapaha, Ga. — Around these parts, they are calling it Hogzilla: a three-and a half-metre wild hog recently killed on a plantation and now quickly becoming a part of local legend.

-The only proof being a photo that shows the dead beast hanging from a rope.

Read entire article here.With Pix!
Posted by Ellen at 05:25 PM | Comments (3)
More good things from Pres. Bush

Instapundit had an interesting link to an interesting article about the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI). Basically, it's an alliance of countries that, geographically-speaking, surround countries that are trying to make WMD (be they nuke, bio, or chem). These member countries then help to interdict shipments of materials necessary to make these weapons. It's all peaceful and non-violent (no cargo ship is going to try to fight an actual armed warship) and seems to be working.

If you want evidence, look to Libya. They've dismantled and sent a good portion of their nuke stuff to us, with the rest on the way. The next target? Iran - the Caspian Guard is being formed, with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as the first members.

Wow - as if I needed another reason to vote for Bush...

Posted by ron at 03:41 PM | Comments (1)
Kitty wants a squirrel

Okay - here I am, back from work and just trying to get a few things done before heading off to play soccer. Minding my own business, I go walking into the kitchen and what do I see? Skippy - absolutely intent on something on our back porch.

As many of you may know, Amber has a soft spot for little 'cute' animals. Now, cute isn't defined in the normal fuzzy manner as I've been subjected to cute lizards, katydids, frogs, and other such nonsense, as well as the normal gamit of cats, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. As part of her soft spot, we've got several bird feeders hanging in our little back porch area. Unfortunately for us, we've got stupid birds here in Virginia, so they're rarely used.

That doesn't mean we don't fill them up when all of the seed is blown out. We certainly do. And we have a nice bag of birdseed just sitting on the back porch. We also have a door from our kitchen that leads to the porch - and it's one of those with glass the whole way down to roughly 6" off the floor.

So, here I am, just trying to get a glass of water and what do I see? I see the Skipster, tail wagging in that snakelike fashion that cats tails wag when they're intent on death and destruction. He's just staring out the windows. So, following his gaze, I see the bag of birdseed. Next to the bag of birdseed, what do I see? A bird? Nope - our birds are stupid. I see a common grey squirrel. Well, interestingly enough, the squirrel sees me and wigs out. He goes a sprinting up the kayaks (don't ask) to the top of the porch rail. And just sits there, tail going much like the cats, only about 100 times quicker - guess Skippy didn't scare him at all, but the large human coming around the corner is particularly heart-stopping...

Well, it's good to know that our cats don't inspire fear into the warm fuzzy things out there.

And no, in spite of my strong, strong desire to do so, I didn't open the door and let Skippy chase him down...

Posted by ron at 03:15 PM | Comments (0)
How 80's are you?

Here's a fun quiz for those of you who are fans of the 80's - as I am. Unfortunately, I only pulled a 75 and you can see what I got...

Posted by ron at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
Bobbitt has relatives in Romania?

Stephanie gets an 'every man squeals like a girl' no prize for bringing us this article.

BUCHAREST (AFP) - A Romanian surgeon who underwent a fit of madness while operating on a man's testicles proceeded to amputate his penis and cut it into three pieces.

Yahoo News, in their apparent campaign to scare the bejeezus out of all men, is responsible for posting the article.

Posted by ron at 02:17 PM | Comments (0)
Hospitals are bad

So, you think you go to a hospital to get better? Well, studies show that might not always be the case. This article shows that the percentage of errors that are bad for the patients are on the rise. As one who works in the field, I can say that a lot of this is preventable with technology or better processes - but that there is a HUGE amount of resistance from doctors (who are all prima donnas) and the nursing staff (because it means more work).

Posted by ron at 08:01 AM | Comments (5)
July 28, 2004
Get out and play

Apparently, Nickelodeon is telling kids to get out a play. And to encourage this, they're going to go off the air on October 2nd, at noon EST.

So - let me get this straight. A TV channel wants us to stop watching TV. But only for three hours on one day. Hmmmm.....

Posted by ron at 08:11 PM | Comments (2)
Enough of Cat Week Okay – we’ve had three installments of cat week, three mouse chronicles, and not a damn thing about dogs. I just can’t let that stand. Thusly, I bring you Pongo – quite possibly the best dog in the world.


Pongo has been with me for a little over 13 years now. He is a black lab/chow mix, neutered male, and is one of the biggest love dogs out there.

As I stated before, he’s a bit over 13. I actually got him from my brother, who got him from his then fiancé’s aunt’s friend. He was a breeder and had chows and black labs. Apparently, a fence wasn’t quite tall enough and viola, puppies are on the way. Anyhow, my brother ended up with two of them and I later ended up with Pongo – he was 7 months old and 50 pounds of pure energy. The first thing he officially did was destroy my room. Ripped up the carpet, tore the curtains down, etc. Guess he didn’t like to be left alone.

Later on in life, he and I moved to Ohio State together and had lots of fun on campus. He’d go to the Oval, swim in Mirror Lake, and poop on things. This was considered great fun for him – never mind that I had to deal with stinky puppy until I could give him a bath.

Since then, he’s moved around Ohio, to Delaware, Maryland, and now Virginia, where Amber and I reside. At this point, he’s a dog besieged by cats. Of course, since he’s a bit of an elder statesman in the dog world, he just ignores them. In fact, all he really wants to do is sleep, eat, sleep, get loved on, sleep, poop and pee, sleep, etc. If you come over, he’ll come right up to you, put his head on your lap, and look at you with those big brown ‘nobody ever loves me’ eyes until you pet him. Then he’ll lick you to death.

He’s very well-behaved (except for that silly not listening to Amber thing…). I can put steak on the floor and he won’t go for it (even if the kitties will) until I tell him to. He responds to snaps of the finger (one snap means come, second snap means sit, third means lay down), and commands in English and Spanish.

His favorite trick is to be in the way. If you’re carrying something heavy, he gets in front of you. If you’re trying to sweep the floor, he’s walking through the dust pile. If you want to eat, he lays in front of your chair so you’ve nowhere to put your feet. Isn’t he the best?

Posted by ron at 07:02 PM | Comments (4)
Update from Redneck land

Okay - Amber's got the latest scoop from Arkansas. Apparently, O is up to 7 recognizable words. She can say "no", "stop", "don't", "yeah", "huh?", "bye-bye"and "ehwww". If she keeps watching XuXu, she'll have Portuguese going next...

She's also taken three steps in a row. Life is good on the overall.

Now - the frightening part - I hear Amber saying, "I want one. Need to make sure it's a girl, but I need to get me one of them."


Posted by ron at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)
Kids, videotaping, and sex

Key note to self - if you're going to have a 17yo girl over to have sex with your 13yo son and 15yo daughter - DON'T VIDEOTAPE IT!!! Okay - the best policy is not to do this - it's sick and they need help, I realize (though I don't think they do). However, the plain stupidity of taping it is beyond words.

A Bothell woman and her boyfriend were each charged Monday with three sex crimes after they allegedly encouraged her 13-year-old son to have sex with a 17-year-old girl and then videotaped it. Her 15-year-old daughter also was taped engaging in sex with the older girl, prosecutors said.

Read the entire story here.

Posted by ron at 05:47 PM | Comments (0)
My school lunches never had extra herbs

According the BBC, some teachers in India were spiking the meals of their schoolchildren with pot and alcohol.

And they thought this was a good thing?

Posted by ron at 05:39 PM | Comments (0)
Rutan's got competition

Well, it looks like someone else will get an entry going in the Ansari X Rrize Purse (the whole civilian spaceflight $10MM contest). It seems that Canada's da Vinci Project Team is about to unveil it's entry - The Wild Fire Mark VI. (trust the Canadians to try to capitalize on the Speed Racer's Mach V to get a part of their name...)

Space.com is carrying an interesting article on the competition between them and Rutan's Scaled Composites. Rutan does have a leg up - he's actually announced his next flight date whereas the Canadian's are about $500K short of launching.

One interesting note is that the Canadians are using a very novel idea - float the main ship up on a balloon and launch it from there. Also interesting is that there project is entirely publicly funded - Rutan's cash is coming from Paul Allen (ex Microsoft guy with megabucks...).

Posted by ron at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)
The Return of the Cat Week

Today we have Skippy. He’s the squirrelly little whiner of a cat that just loves to play. Amber got him roughly 5 years ago when she was still a vet tech. Apparently, someone’s son had kicked the hell out of him and broken his front right arm bad enough that they were going to put him down. Amber, being a lover of all that’s warm and fuzzy prevailed, had a steel pin put in his leg to repair the broken bone, and made sure he stayed alive. He got the name Skippy because he was in a cast from his little paw to his shoulder and had to skip around to get anywhere.


Now, like I said, he just wants to play or get loved on. He’s the only cat I know that likes to play tag – he’s almost like a dog (which is a HUGE compliment from me as I’m the resident dog lover). However, he does hate dogs. Even though Pongo (my 13yo black lab/chow mix) wouldn’t hurt a thing, Skippy still whines whenever Pongo gets near him.

The Skipster is also our only cat that likes to go outdoors. One day, just for fun, we put him in a little kitty harness and a leash and took him outside. After a bit of tentativeness, he’s decided he loves it. He almost even walks where you want him to go. Unfortunately, we created a monster with this – now, every chance he gets, he’s in front of the door whining like a 3rd grade girl.

The whining he does can’t be emphasized enough – pick him up and hold him, he whines. Grab his little tail, he whines. Basically, do anything to him and he whines. The upside is that it’s fun to make him whine. And the even bigger upside? He loves me and comes to play even though all I’m gonna do is mess with him until he whines again…

Posted by ron at 05:23 PM | Comments (1)
Note to Self - slow the hell down

A soiled underwear no-prize to Captain Howdy for bringing us the story of man, his truck, boat, and a cliff.

Wonderful (but big, d/l-wise) pic of a man trying to climb out of his truck - as it hangs over the edge of a cliff, held up only by a boat trailer...

The rest of the site my be NSFW, but this one is clean...

Posted by ron at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)
Dark Energy and Neutrinos

Thanks to New Scientist for carrying this article detailing a possible link between dark energy and neutrinos.

For all of you who've been ignoring all of Scott's posts on this subject, dark energy is a something that scientists have resorted to in order to explain their mathematical models of the creation of the universe, the expansion of the universe, and why normal scientists are completely unable to attract mates. Unfortunately, it's damn difficult to prove it's existence. If these researchers are successful, they'll be able to explain why neutrinos switch types and potentially by default, dark energy.

Oh, what a happy day that'll be, if you're a physicist.

Posted by ron at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)
Terraforming Mars?

Space.com is carrying an interesting article about terraforming Mars. As I'm reading Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars series (Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars), it's fairly interesting to me.

The good thing is they even touch on what affect there might be on any indigenous life there (assuming there is).

Posted by ron at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

All - my cable modem has been down, so I haven't been able to post. I've broken down now and am sitting here in my kitchen with my work laptop plugged into the phone line so I can finally get something posted.

Damn cable companies...

Posted by ron at 03:13 PM | Comments (0)
July 27, 2004
Rate my Kitten

All - Garrison is now on Rate My Kitten. Please go and vote for him - we want to see his stats up...

Dan - the link should be fixed now. Thanks Sherri!

Posted by ron at 06:07 PM | Comments (2)
Space Pajamas Fight Infant Death

No, I'm not making that title up. It's the actual title of a Wired article about new technology that helps monitor babies in their sleep.

While aimed at helping to prevent SIDS by alerting parents when certain risk factors are present (heartbeat and/or breathing abnormalities), it doesn't actually prevent the disease - it just alerts you that there might be a problem.

Posted by ron at 09:35 AM | Comments (0)
Russia in Iraq?

It seems that Russia may delve into Iraq by sending 40K troops in. This article, courtesy of Instapundit details the specifics.

The article shows some of the political reasons why Putin would want this, some of the interesting politics about how Russia treats it's troops and the world in general, and an interesting view as to what this would mean to the 2004 election.

Posted by ron at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)
I'd heard about it...

Theresa Hines-Kerry telling a reporter to 'shove it', but I haven't been able to find it on any of my news sites, so I did a quick search to chase it down.

It seems that the reporter asked her about some comments she made and she went off on the guy. Not that I haven't wanted to take issue with the media before, but do we really want someone like this at a State dinner?

Here is the skinny:

Heinz Kerry's comment came Sunday after she told a group of voters, "We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics."

As she was leaving, Colin McNickle, the Tribune-Review's editorial page editor, asked her what she had meant by, in his words, "un-American activity."

According to an exchange posted on the paper's Web site, she denied having said "activity" and also denied saying "un-American."

After stepping away and speaking briefly with Democratic organizers of the event, she returned and asked the reporter whether he worked for the Tribune-Review. He said he did.

"Understandable. You said something I didn't say, now shove it," she told him.

Posted by ron at 09:16 AM | Comments (11)
July 26, 2004
Cat Week strikes again

Today’s Kitty is “Uma” and as you can see she isn’t a small cat (and not really bright, either). She is our resident love-kitty who wants nothing but food and attention.


Uma originally joined Ron’s household several years ago when he was living in Ohio. Someone’s cat had apparently given birth and the bastard just dropped the kittens near Ron’s warehouse. Uma managed to somehow sneak in the building and took up residence in a stack of pallets. As a precursor to her proven lack of intelligence, she tried to escape the warehouse and hide under Ron’s car. Ron lured her out with a piece of grass and captured her, brought her home and introduced her to his other kitty (Target) who is currently on the Heavy Side Layer. Roughly 4 days after he brought her into his apartment, she finally decided to come out and be seen by the world.

Currently, she lives in the bedroom – she hates Garrison with a calico passion as he has this unholy urge to rape her and she is not that kind of girl. So she decided that living in our bedroom is a much better option. She also licks herself what is loved on, she rolls over (summersaults), and makes little bird/burble noises. If you smack her little (well, not so little) ass too much, she gets a bit over-stimulated and tries to attack your hand – an operation somewhat impeded by the fact that she closes her eyes and turns her head the other way…

She also has the nickname “Uma Toes”. Why? When under furniture, she positions herself in such a way that all you see, if you’re walking through a room, are the tips of her toes. If she was in the musical Cats she would be my Jenny Annie Dots.

Posted by amber at 07:49 PM | Comments (2)
35MYA wouldn't have been a good time to be in Virgina

It seems that roughly 35 million years ago, we had a barrage of asteroids.

One crater is in Chesapeake Bay off the Maryland coast. The other, called the Popigai crater, is in north-central Siberia. Estimates of their age suggest they were created a mere 10,000 years apart.

The first article details some of the facts about the overall effect, while the article in the quote has a rough outline of the Chesapeake Bay crater - seems that most of the area around there would have gone bye-bye...

Posted by ron at 06:36 PM | Comments (0)
If you tried the drink recipes...

that I posted yesterday, you may have come up with a case of the beer flu or the Monday morning disease - in other words, you're hungover. If so, there are things you can do to help ease your pain.

See? We do care.

Posted by ron at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)
John Edwards - how much does he cost you?

Scott stumbled across this article from ABCNews.com that speaks to John Edwards background. The article brings out a couple of very interesting points:

Trial lawyers tend to increase the cost of everything by suing anyone they can for negligence, malpractice, etc.

John Edwards won, for his clients, a $6 million dollar lawsuit against a doctor who may not have done anything wrong

Read the article for yourself. Do you really want a leech on society as the next Vice-President?

Posted by ron at 06:17 PM | Comments (1)
What's It Feel Like to Be Struck by Lightning, and How Can You Avoid It?

Experts believe lightning kills up to 100 Americans each year, and summer is the deadliest season, with up to 50,000 strikes each day in the United States.

"The last thing I remember was an extremely bright light which lit up everything around me," Pendergast said.

Survivors often complain about loss of memory and chronic pain in the part of the body where they were struck. Some health problems don't show up until weeks or even months later.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 02:39 PM | Comments (1)
ET Phone Home

New Scientist is carrying an article that states that we should hear extraterrestrial life talking to each other within the next 20 years.

If intelligent life exists elsewhere in our galaxy, advances in computer processing power and radio telescope technology will ensure we detect their transmissions within two decades. That is the bold prediction from a leading light at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, California.

Well, that should make life interesting, then...

Posted by ron at 06:28 AM | Comments (0)
Meteor Showers Galore

Space.com is carrying an article detailing out when to watch for this summer's best meteor showers. It seems like this'll be a great time to see the Perseids, along with several other showers.

So - prepare to get up early and get to somewhere without a light source and watch to your heart's content.

Posted by ron at 06:23 AM | Comments (0)
Who has nukes?

Not that many of us think about this while we're out and about, but I did stumble across the Nuclear Threat Initiatve that details who has nukes, how many we believe they have, who's on the doorstop, etc.

However, if you don't want to plow through reading all of that material, try this Encarta article that summarizes things for you.

Posted by ron at 06:18 AM | Comments (0)
The Revenge of the Sith

Well, it appears that George Lucas has finally named the last installment in Star Wars - The Revenge of the Sith (Episode III).

Our only hope is that someone other than him wrote the thing...

Posted by ron at 06:11 AM | Comments (1)
The Great Mouse Chronicles, part the third

Folks, here's the last (well, until another mouse makes it in the house) of the Mouse Chronicles. Note that it does feature Garrison, who is bio'd a bit further down this page.

Okay, here we are again. Amber and I’ve just returned from our normal weekend shopping trips. After everything is put away, I run off to visit the great white throne. All of a sudden, in mid, well, uhmmm, push, I hear a blood-curdling scream. Since I’m kind of stuck, I decide to wait and see if there’s another scream. I do keep hearing, “Let go. Let Go. LET IT GO!!!!!” Then another blood-curdling “SWEETIE PIE!” So, without any, uhmmm, clean-up time, I go running out to see what in the hell is going on (I’m figuring that one of the pets has ingested something poisonous and that without my running out there, they’re going to die. So, after running out I see Amber holding Garrison down – and the cell phone is lying next to them.

Apparently what has happened is that Amber calls Ellen. She then (as Amber can’t just talk on the phone – there must be talking and cleaning) goes into the pantry to grab the broom. Garrison then dove headfirst, much like an Olympic diver, into the pantry. She tries to grab him, but of course, it’s hard to grab 16 pounds of kitty on a mission, especially with just one hand. However, she does grab him. All Amber can see at this point is the mouse’s tail hanging out of Garrison’s mouth – and he’s got a death grip on the thing. She hangs up on Ellen and attempts to get the mouse out, and trying with all her strength to pry his jaws of death open, he relents and lets go. The mouse then makes a beeline to the refrigerator.

This is the point were I finally make my entrance, shorts around my knees (and it isn’t easy to move this way, mind you…). After a quick synopsis, I’m given permission to go and finish taking care of business.

I then return to the kitchen and we formulate a plan. I’ll pull out the fridge and keep the determined kitties out of the kitchen. Amber will jump behind the fridge and snag the mouse (at least I didn’t have a suitcase and suit-wearing mouse dream to deal with this time…). So, the plan is simple. Flawed, but simple.

I successfully get the fridge out and we find the mouse under there. After a few attempts, he comes sprinting out and runs along the floor of the kitchen next to the cabinets where I could snag him. So, I’m trying to get a towel on him when he, much to dismay of Isaac Newton and the laws of inertia, manages to flip around without loosing any momentum and sprint back at Amber, whose stuck kneeling in the hole the fridge sits in. From there, he proceeds to run under her legs. Amber is squealing like a 3rd grade girl with a frog in her pants while trying to snag the little guy. She keeps grabbing and he keeps getting away. Well, after about 10 seconds of this, the mouse gets the idea that a safe thing to do would be to run up Amber’s leg, then down the calf and hide in her flip-flop – while it’s still on her foot. The squealing has now reached epic proportions. There is a bit more squealing, squirming, and then Amber has him. Sort of. He then has the temerity to bite her (didn’t break the skin, no shots needed) which does get him about 3.5 seconds of additional freedom.

Finally, he’s snagged and successfully balled up in a paper towel and a kitchen towel. We take him out to the field, check him to make sure he wasn’t bitten half to death by Garrison, and then the required “ohmygodit’ssocuteihavetotouchit” comes out, the mouse is petted, touched, and otherwise frightened to death, and released. He hops through the grass and heads for the hills.

After later inspection, we find out that the little bastards have eaten a hole in the wall of the pantry and that’s how they’re getting in. Amber has great plans of me patching this with something that’ll prevent more intrusions. However, considering the pure amusement level that I’m getting, I suspect it’ll be awhile…

Posted by ron at 06:08 AM | Comments (1)
July 25, 2004
Small Kitten Doing Better After Being Shot Twice With BB Gun

A 10-week-old kitten shot twice with a BB gun is alive due to the efforts of a good Samaritan out for an early morning walk, Wednesday.

Samperi called the emergency veterinarian's line and left a message. A staff member at St. Johnsbury Animal Hospital called her around 8:30 a.m. and told her to bring the kitten in.

Hoppe said the kitten had been shot once in the head and once in the back end.

Read entire here.

Hey Vermont! Be on the look out for a serial killer in the making.

Posted by Ellen at 08:21 PM | Comments (5)
To help you enjoy your summer

Here at the Kitty Condo, we're always concerned about our (okay, well, Scott and Ellen's) readers. We sincerely want you all to enjoy your summer days off. To that end, I have two drink recipes which you might find enjoyable. The first is a favorite of Ellen and Amber, the second is my personal favorite.

Watermelon Daquiri

In a blender, combine two cups of ice, two cups of chopped up seedless watermelon, and 6 ounces of Rum (your choice on the rum, we use Malibu Caribbean Coconut flavor). Blend until the whole thing is nice, smooth and creamy. Serve it in a hurricane glass with some whipped cream on top. If you can pull it, get the little drink umbrellas and a slice of the watermelon for garnish.

Ron's Sex on the Beach

There are about 1.5 billion recipes for a SOTB, however, this is the one that I've enjoyed over the years. In an ice-filled shaker, combine 4 oz of vodka (Absolut 80 proof), 2 oz of Chambord, 2 oz of Midori, and 4 oz of Orange/Pineapple juice, along with a splash of grenadine. Shake liberally and pour of ice in a tall glass. Looks like reddish-brown dishwater, but tastes wonderful. And you don't even notice the vodka after the third sip or so...

Note: As we want you to remain our loyal readers, please drink responsibly.

Posted by ron at 08:04 PM | Comments (0)
Armstrong wraps it up

Well, our buddy our pal, Lance Armstrong has won the now has the record for Tour de France wins.

PARIS (AP) - Lance Armstrong rode into history Sunday by winning the Tour de France for a record sixth time, an achievement that confirmed the victory-hungry cancer survivor as one of the greatest sportsmen of all time.

Go Lance! However, he doesn't know if he's going to go for the seventh win. Since he already has the record, does he really need to?

Posted by ron at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)
Columbus, OH comes through again

Yahoo news is carry a story about John Kerry being heckled during one of his stops in my old hometown of Columbus, OH

Four days before he makes a crucial speech at the national Democratic convention in Boston, the Kerry bandwagon rolled into a suburb of Columbus, Ohio, for a "front porch" rally at the home of Jessie and Janet Aitkins.

The carefully choreographed event was gatecrashed by a vocal group of local Republican residents brandishing placards in support of President George W. Bush (news - web sites) and chanting "flip-flop" Kerry -- echoing Republican criticisms of Kerry's Senate voting record.

Apparently, he spoke at a church there as well and an older gentleman was asked to leave for calling Kerry a big phony.

*Sniff sniff* My old hometown is doing me proud!

Posted by ron at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Week here at the Kitty Condo

As you may know, the Discovery Channel has “Shark Week”, where the entire week is dedicated to different sharks and their behavior, habitats and so on. Well, since we have control over amcgltd.com this week is now “ Cat Week”. Each day a different cat will be highlighted, a small biography will be written dedicated to that feline and all of it’s little quirky idiosyncrasies. It may be one of ours or it could be one of Scott and Ellen’s.

Garrison Phillips


Today’s Shark…… is “Garrison”. He is a rotten, badly behaved feline with incredibly selective hearing, who was found outside about 7 years ago and has done nothing constructive since then. He breaks things, chases the other feline residents tries to rape them. (He has no neu-neu’s Editor's note: Neu-Neu's are those things that you had before you went to see the vet and didn't have after - which now means you have a compelling urge to decorate) He is loud, always in the way and eats non-stop. He's the infamous mouse catcher in the house. Editor's Note: Yes, the same one written about in the Great Mouse Chronicles. We have had a few little fuzzy visitors and he thinks they are his personal play things that run and wiggle, and apparently are rather tasty.

Note from Ron - Typically, the first thing people say when they see him is a paraphrase of what they say when they first see Cartman of South Park fame - "Goddammit that's a big, fat cat." He's roughly 5' long from the tip of his toes to the end of his tail when he's stretched out fully. He also weighs around 25lbs when he's healthy. Currently, he has diabetes and has lost an enormous amount of weight, but due to the skill of the vets that Ellen works with and Amber's diligence, he's come back from 13lbs and is up closer to 20 now.

When visitors come over, Garrison steals the show. Everyone loves him and wants to take him home. However, these nice people who claim they are our friends would cease to be were they to take him home and have a large portion of their belongs 'defiled' by him. He is rather destructive and has moved large objects, like coffee tables, by running into or under them. To I think he's doing this to help simplify our lives. For example, we now have 4 wine glasses instead of 6. Those pesky pictures that I framed and put on the coffee table are now gone. Those little knick-knacks on the kitchen counter? Gone. The $700 couch *scratching post* that Ron bought? At least it's and Ikea so we can replace the cover... Apparently, he has a burning desire to visit Shanghai because he's currently trying to dig to China, but has yet to get through that pesky layer of carpet and concrete first.

His current habitat is laying on the dining room table, crawling above the refridgerator, or laying on the tile floors. His favorite foods include his DM (a diabetes specific food), olives, flowers, mice, and anything else he can get his little mouth around.

For those of you who've seen Cats, he's my Rum-Tug Tugger.

Posted by ron at 10:38 AM | Comments (3)
And I thought I had bad grammar...

Engrish brings us another fun image for some slippers that ultra-right wingers might like:


Posted by ron at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)
Michael Moore - world's best liar? Part II

Okay - I earlier posted an article about Michael Moore's new film (note that I don't say documentary, because it doesn't fit the definition) Fahrenheit 9/11 (F911). In this, I stated that I hadn't found a good rebuttal or criticism. At least one reader interpreted this to mean that there weren't any, so I bunkered down and did some more research (even prior to getting my caffeine hit this morning). In that, I quickly found two rebuttals - one from an apparent left-winger and another from an apparent conservative. To help educate the world on Moore's deceit, I'll post the links below:

Unfahrenheit 9/11 - The lies of Michael Moore is an interesting and short take on rebutting the claims Moore makes in the movie. It doesn't spend too much time quoting original sources, but it has a few relevant citations and all.

59 Deceits in Fahrenheit 9/11 is a much more detailed analysis of the movie. This is also one of the best pieces of criticism I've seen in awhile. It truly dissects the film, provides the contextual basis for any quote or clip that Moore uses, and makes sure the reader understands exactly why what Moore is attempting to prove is false. Note that it also doesn't praise Bush either - it truly does attempt to be neutral, IMHO. Also, in the interest of parity and fairness, it does note that Moore has attempted to address the points made and even provides the link to his rebuttal (not that the rebuttals don't fail, but still...)

I'll be more than happy to answer any criticims, but I bet the left will be left trying to pull their pants up after reading the articles...

Posted by ron at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)
Holy Thunderstorm!

Thunder storms in Arkansas are pretty spectacular. Especially at 2 A.M in a 'prefabricated home'. It sounds like the world is going to end out there!

The roof on this place is flat and obviously a bit thicker than tin foil. Rain does not sound like rain. It sounds like somone throwing a bucket of rocks on the roof.

Posted by Ellen at 04:33 AM | Comments (6)
July 24, 2004
Moving the PT Cruiser

Well, apparently yesterday at about 5:30am, the phone rings here at Ron and Amber Central (otherwise known as the Kitty Condo or the Love Shack). Note that this didn't affect me as I'm away on business, but Amber does answer the phone - fearing for the worst. Well, apparently, it's Ellen. The conversation went something like this:

Amber "huh?"

Ellen "Amber, are you awake?"

A "It's 5:30am, what's wrong? whose dead?"

E "No one's dead. I need a favor. I called because I called the !$%#$%^@ cab company and they can't get a cab here in time for us to make the plane."

A "okay..."

E "So, can you and Ron come a pick up the Cruiser from the airport?"

A "okay..."

E "It's parked in garage 2, 1A. right by the entrance. You can't miss it."

Now - I'm going to end the conversation there, because it was just over additional details about the cats and all. However, I want to jump to the next part of the story. This occurs roughly 15 hours later. Mark the fateful last words of Ellen...

Me "Here's the entrance." Note that I had a fun idea to just drop Amber off and have her run into the Cruiser so we could save everyone the cost of getting out of the garage, but I couldn't see it, so I decided to just drive in. Turns out this was a wonderful idea.

Amber "I don't see it. It's in 1A and we're in 1J.

M "I thought it was right by the entrance"

A "So did I. Are there other entrances?"

M "I don't see any. Let's just drive to 1A and see what we find."

So, we drove around, looking at the handing numbers on the pillars holding up the floors above us. What, to our surprise, do we discover? THERE IS NO FRIGGIN' 1A IN THIS #@$%^@# GARAGE!!!! Well, this is disturbing. We put our heads together and figure out another plan. We'll just drive the whole garage looking for the Cruiser. After all, how hard can this be? It's a maroon Cruiser with a cat skeleton wrapping the whole way around it. So, off we go...

M "I'm not seeing it on the first level. Do you suppose she's in the other garage?"

A "No, she said Garage 2, 1A"

M "Well, we haven't found 1A or another entrance..."

A "I know, but we can't leave until we find it"

M "Hey - what's that over there. It looks like another part of this garage."

A "Yeah - but how do we get to it?"

M "Dunno, let's drive up and see if we can get to it."

Well, it turns out that once you go to the third level of the garage, you can drive over to this other section. Then, if you drive the wrong way down a ramp, guess what? Hidden, right next to the 1A pole (but not really near the entrance) is a maroon Cruiser with a cat skeleton on it.

So, what do we learn from this little escapade?

1 - Don't get directions from Ellen at 5:30am.

2 - If you do get directions from Ellen that early, assume that going in the main entrance to anything isn't what she meant by entrance.

3 - Dulles has the worst parking garage plan ever devised

Posted by ron at 05:50 PM | Comments (3)
Armstrong Virtually Wraps Up Tour Title

BESANCON, France - Too strong. Lance Armstrong capped his most dominant Tour de France with a crushing win in the final time trial Saturday, all but guaranteeing him a place in history as the first six-time winner of the 101-year-old race.

He said hard work is the secret of his success.

Read entire article here.

*I'm sure France will some how come out with new rules of how many times one can win the Tour De France*.

Posted by Ellen at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)
Two Guilty of Canine Cocaine Smuggling Bid

LONDON (Reuters) - Two Britons were found guilty on Wednesday of an elaborate plot to smuggle cocaine into the country by surgically implanting packets of the drug inside two Labrador dogs.

Gregory Graham, 27, and Kaye Chapman, 20, plotted to smuggle 1.3 kilograms of cocaine into Britain hidden inside the stomachs of golden Labrador Rex and black Labrador Frispa.

Read entire F'd up story.

Posted by Ellen at 05:25 PM | Comments (1)
Smoking 'stunts penis growth'

THE Swedish organization A Non Smoking Generation has covered Stockholm in posters claiming that smoking stunts penis growth and that cigarette filters are filled with mouse excrements, along with other lies aimed at getting kids to stop smoking.

"Our lies are so exaggerated that we hope they will make people stop and think, and then come to our website to find the truth," she added.

Read entire silliness here.

*Did I mention that you can buy pipes and an assortment of weaponry in dollar stores here in Arkansas!?*

Posted by Ellen at 05:19 PM | Comments (1)

LOS ANGELES -- Chesty swimsuit models and Hollywood starlets are running scared -- because of a new disease that whittles large breasts down into teensy nubs not much bigger than mosquito bites! * OH THE HORROR!!*

At least 500 cases of the bizarre boob-shrinking disease have been reported, the majority in California.

Researchers believe the disease is caused by a bacteria that feeds on body fat -- in particular, fat generated by the female hormone estrogen. * Can I get this injected in my ass!?!*

Read entire article.

Rednecking It

Helloooo from Arkansas! (Many thanks to Ron and Amber for baby sitting AMCGLTD!)

Nothing much to do here except sit in an 8 person hot tub *sigh*, swim in the pool*It's damn HOT here*, drink as much alcohol as possible*BuRp!* and visit lots of Walmarts.

Tonight we get to see Scott's dad drag race in his "Silver Bullet". A cut apart truck with an engine from HELL. Tomorrow we go to the trout farm and go hunting for much needed 'southern-ish' pressies for everyone.

I'll keep you all posted on the fun!

Posted by Ellen at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)
Are power ballads the death of a musical genre?

As I'm listening to the current schlock on the radio, I'm thinking back to the late 80's and early 90's. At that point, we'd gone from good rock-n-roll music and had started to get into the power ballads from the hair metal bands. Then, rock died, we got a plethora of boy bands, and grunge hit. In thinking about this, I came up with a theory - as soon as a genre of music gets to be uber-cool, it gets invaded by wussies who write power ballads. Then, that type gets a huge boost in the ratings and dies off a few years later.

To illustrate, here's a progression of bands that I want you to consider: Jethro Tull, Foghat, AC-DC, and the like give way to Journey and their cohorts. What happens? Hard rock basically dies off (in an interesting subnote - this does give rise to millions of mullets...)

Then, after a bit of weak music hangs around for a bit, we start to get the harder bands of the 80's - Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax, and the like. The kids in shop class rejoice as they have hard anti-social music that they can annoy old folks with. Then what happens? Hair metal - Ratt, Poison, Dokken, and others. While they were mostly hard music (sex, drugs and rock-n-roll), they started down the path of wussie music. Remember 'Every Rose Has Its Thorn'? Probably Poison's biggest hit. That opened Pandora's box. Then you got Warrant, Nelson, and Richard Marx. Need I remind you that this was one of the darkest moments in musical history?!? Coinciding with this was the explosion of the boy band.

Relief soon followed. Nirvana exploded on the scene along with Pearl Jam, STP (who desperately wanted to be Pearl Jam), Alice in Chains, the Breeders, and a plethora of bands that rocked. Some had social songs, others had dark emotional tracks, and no one over 25 could understand a damn thing they said. Life was good. The buzz on grunge continued unmolested for years.

Then came the slow change. The constipated bands (think Creed and their clones) showed up. Now, we've got the power ballads coming out again. Would Nirvana have done a ballad? Could you imagine Pearl Jam doing one (ignore the Last Kiss cover - that's a tribute to the past)? STP singing about anything other than drugs? No - but now you have Hoobastank and others pushing their schlock. It's the death of grunge, I tell you.

Do I know what's going to replace it? No - but please, by the Goddess, let it ROCK!

Posted by ron at 01:27 PM | Comments (10)
Michael Moore - world's best liar?

It's no secret to those I know that I detest Michael Moore. In fact, I've vowed that not one single cent I earn will ever go to support the man. His treatment of the facts in Bowling for Columbine (and Scott's posted links to those sites, check the archives) is, IMHO, basically criminal.

However, I haven't found, until now, a good rebuttal of F911. Now, I'll admit, I'd like to see the sources quoted on this guys facts, but he makes several very good points. If you read between the lines, you'll see that this isn't a documentary - it's propaganda.

Posted by ron at 12:18 PM | Comments (2)
The Great Mouse Chronicles, Part the Second

For those of you familiar with the first story, this will come as no surprise. We’ve had another mouse in the house. Shocking, but I guess that since we’re one the ground level and near some uncut grass, trees, and the like, I guess they just naturally explore their surroundings – which includes us. However, these mice are in for a rather large surprise. They duck in the house and think to themselves – I’ve hit the mother load: Food and water lying out in easy to get to spots, plenty of things to hide under, etc. Then, probably 20-30 minutes into their revelry, one of our 7 cats notices them. As you might guess, this is probably quite a shock to a little mouse to see several sets of rather sharpish teeth coming at them rather quickly. Being that mice aren’t particularly good at defending themselves, they tend to run like hell and hide under something until the cats get bored. However, cats don’t bore easily when there is food available…

However, for this particular incident, I have to first take you back to a day prior to the incident. As is normal for my job, I’m up and out of the house almost prior to the sun rising while Amber gets to sleep in until 6:30. So, while on the way to the first appointment, I give her a wake up call. After waking her up, I’m informed that I’ve disrupted her dream and she’s lost her mouse. Her mouse that was wearing a nice suit and carrying a suitcase. A mouse that she picked up at the airport and which subsequently fell through a crack in the floor. A mouse that she was trying desperately to find. Now, I’m thinking that this is a rodent and that loosing it somewhere other than in the house is a good thing, but who am I to comment. However, Amber heads off to work and I put the dream out of my head. Later that night, it comes up again. She is really distraught over the fact that she lost her mouse in a suit with a suitcase. Nevertheless, the evening proceeds as normal and we go to sleep.

As luck would have it, I have to be at an appointment rather early again, so I’m up while Amber’s still sleeping. On the way out the door, I notice that Stinky, our tortoise-shell, is next to one of our bookshelves huffing away. Upon closer inspection, I notice that this is due to the mouse hiding there. Now, I have to leave so I can make my appointment on time, so I let Amber know that there is a mouse in the house – again. Since she’s in a deep sleep, I’m not sure it registers, but I do have to leave.

About 45 minutes later I get a call. Amber’s caught the mouse with a yardstick and a paper towel. However, she didn’t catch it normally. She had to move the bookcase by hand, block the mouse’s escape route, use the yardstick to wedge him up against the wall, then wad him up in the paper towel like a snowball – all while keeping several VERY interested cats away. This, in and of itself, is a rather amazing feat. However, the next part is what was a bit more, well, odd.

Amber then takes the mouse outside and holds it in her hands so she can look at it (she does have a thing for ‘cute’ animals. In hiking through the wilds of everywhere, any animal she sees tends to get the “ohmygoditssocuteletmetouchit. Touch it. TOUCH IT” treatment.). After petting it a few times, the dream comes back to her. This is her mouse in the suit with the suitcase. She’s saved it and now she’s setting it free. The world is now safe for democracy and puppies. We can all sleep safe now. And most importantly, the mouse with the suitcase and the suit is free…

Posted by ron at 11:49 AM | Comments (0)

Okay - This isn't the normal kind of thing you find here, but since Scott and Ellen did tell Amber and I to host the site, I just can't help myself...


This is a huge deal as Dallas has needed a running game. We now have a decent quarterback, a good passing game, and a fresh group of guys running the ball with an incredible mentor in Eddie George. Note that Eddie George was THE running back when I graduated from OSU, and that makes things even sweeter.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Posted by ron at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)
July 23, 2004
Sign me up!

It appears that the FAA won't be licensing commercial spacecraft, according to this article from MSNBC.

This is good because the FAA would attempt to make everything psychotically safe, thereby limiting the initial pioneers in the field as it would be financially impossible to meet their criteria. Not that we should abandon safety, but let's have the pioneers go for it first...

Posted by ron at 07:25 PM | Comments (0)
Satellites and rogue waves

Space.com is carrying an article on using satellites to map rogue wave* activity. This appears to be significant because it's the first time that synthetic aperature radio from satellites has been used to look for these waves.

It appears that these waves are much more common than originally thought and they could be the cause of many of the unexplained ship sinkings out there. The article is also nifty as it spends some time explaining how rogue waves form.

Rogue waves are unusually large waves that occur typically out of the blue. Most are in the 80-100ft in height range, from what I can gather. Bad luck for you if you're kayaking into one...

Posted by ron at 07:17 PM | Comments (0)
Before snatching documents...

it seems that Sandy Berger was holding the United States back from capturing or attacking al Qaeda - all prior to 9/11, according to an article in the NY Sun.

In other words, according to the commission report, Mr. Berger was presented with plans to take action against the threat of Al Qaeda four separate times — Spring 1998, June 1999, December 1999, and August 2000. Each time, Mr. Berger was an obstacle to action. Had he been a little less reluctant to act, a little more open to taking pre-emptive action, maybe the 2,973 killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks would be alive today.

This is interesting because it shows a pattern of failures before Bush came to office that may have directly contributed to Al Qaeda's ability to attack the US. Now, I haven't read the 9/11 Commision's report, but stuff like this is making me consider it seriously...

Found this article link on Instapundit

Posted by ron at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)
Arafat is doing what the Israeli's couldn't

It seems that Yassar Arafat, the old guy in charge of the PLO is in a spot of trouble. The Israeli's have been trying to remove him from power for years and couldn't do it. However, once he got a position of legitimate authority, he appears to be doing himself in.

The latest round of insanity appears to be due to his posting of a nephew to a high security position - which almost (and may still) lose him his control of he government.

Given the overall stability (or lack thereof) in the region, I don't know if removing him will be better or worse. However, if we could get rid of a sponsor of terrorism and replace him with someone TRULY interested in helping the Palestinians to gain world legitimacy, safety, and a future for their children, the world would be a better place.

Posted by ron at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)
Hot or Not for cats?

Since Hot or Not came out, there've been a view others that I've seen or heard of that follow the same format - rating everything from poo to boobs. Now, in a morning search, I see Rate My Kitten - and for some reason, I'm not amazed anymore...

Note to cat lovers everywhere - just like Hot or Not, you can post your own kitty pixes for approval from the networld. And for some reason, I get the feeling that pics of Amber's and Ellen's cats may soon be posted...

Posted by ron at 06:13 AM | Comments (2)
Get ready for the 'ohmygoditssocute'...

This site, though a bit sparse on any text, does show you random pictures of cute little kittens and the like.

Look at it at your own peril...

Posted by ron at 06:05 AM | Comments (0)
July 22, 2004
You Know You've Been Married Awhile When...

Actual conversation in our house, while we're putting new sheets on the bed:

Ellen: "You know, eventually we'll have to start being quieter... Olivia's bedroom shares a wall with ours, and she's nearly talking already."

Me: "Nah, I got this one all figured out... we'll just tell her 'Mommy and daddy are being affectionate.'"

Ellen: "Oh yeah, that'll work, I can just see it now. Olivia meets her best friend, grabs them in the school parking lot, and starts shouting 'OH Yes! YES! YES!"

Me: "Yeah, you know what she'd tell her teacher..."

Together: "What? I was just being affectionate."

Me: "Even better, when her friend goes home to mom and does the same thing... you know what mom will say?"

Together: "You've been playing with that Johnson child again, haven't you?"

No, I won't tell you where she eventually goes to school. Your kid's not going to get off that easy.

Posted by scott at 09:29 PM | Comments (2)
Well, their babies won't be pretty

Quentin Taratino is now apparently dating Sofia Coppola. This could mean a wonderful leap in incredibly violent films with even odder plots (cross Reservoir Dogs and Lost in Translation...)

Read about the young lovebirds here, article courtesy of AP via MSN Entertainment.

Posted by ron at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)
Posting Fun

Just wanted to let you know that I'm having a bit of fun getting any messages and fun articles you might have sent. I'll be trying again tonight so hopefully there'll be some more posts up then...

Damn blog-sitters...

Posted by ron at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)
Quantum Superfluidity

New Scientist is carrying this summary of a recent development in the study of "superfluids". Previously this exotic form of matter was only thought possible when using bosons with integer spins. However, a pair of Austrian scientists have managed to create a superfluid using fermions, which have half-integer spins.

What I'm proud of is that I actually have some idea what they're talking about. Not much of an idea, but better than clueless. Woot!

Posted by scott at 04:01 PM | Comments (0)
Pass the Sunblock Please!

This is a VERY true problem in the cat world! Especially for light colored outdoor/window loving pusses. So Pass the Sunblock! Spf 30!

Slapping on the sunscreen is a well known precaution to prevent the damaging effect of the sun, and for one cat it could be a lifesaver.
Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)
Somehow I Don't See Mom Bidding on this One

And the winner for "grossest auction item to-date" is:

The "mounted" hairball paperweight.

It's already got one bid!!! Ok folks, all together now...


Posted by scott at 01:17 PM | Comments (2)
That's My Baby!

Another day, another entry in the "Ellen's-family-is-more-redneck-than-mine" contest. This time, my caption is:

If the cutest picture you have of your grandchild is the one where she's holding a beer bottle in her hands...


At the recent "1st-birthday-and-Nina's-graduation-party" celebration in New York.

Oh sit down, the bottle was empty. I was thirsty too!

Now, as to who taught her how to drink out of bottles like that, well, that's none of your damned business.

Posted by scott at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)
When Costumes Attack

Just when you thought nerds couldn't get any weirder, you stumble across what appears to be a video game convention with costumed gaming geeks.

Ok, look, I've gone to several science fiction cons. I've even helped put together more than my fair share of costumes for the masquerade. So I don't have much of a beef with this stuff. However I can say that (to me at least), photos like these will be the geek equivalent of "hair-metal era" pictures hidden in the closets of thousands of more conventional parents...

"Mom... please tell me the person wearing the leg warmers and the white belt is not you!"

"Ha... you should see the ones of your dad in his Dragonball costume."


And let me tell you, nothing screams "chick magnet" more than a guy dressed up as Mega-Man. Heh...

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)
Be On the Lookout

Looks like Maryland has its own new "mystery critter":

The beast is not shy, and visits most often under bright sun. While no one here knows what it is, they do have a name for it -- the hyote, a combination of a hyena and a coyote.

With pictures!

Posted by scott at 10:21 AM | Comments (1)
And the Reporter Goes, Spin Spin Spin

Instapundit has this nice roundup of our "unbiased not-liberal-leaning-at-all-in-fact-too-damned-conservative" media doing a mambo under a limbo bar trying to shuffle the Sandy Berger story under the carpet:

I think this tells us that they're really scared that this story has real substance, and legs. As with Pravda, you have to read between the lines.

Read the whole thing. Very nice summary of what, exactly, he did. And it worked... all the drafts, with unique hand-written notes no less, have been *ahem* "inadvertently" lost.

Foil hatters take note: these are the people you think are hatching the dark "need-to-know" conspiracies that infest your clammy dreams.

Posted by scott at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

Slashdot linked up the very first series of benchmarks using Doom 3, which should hit the shelves week-after-next. In a fit of uncharacteristic rationality, they had this to say:

Having a last-generation video card and playing DOOM 3 is simply going to provide a great gaming experience with all features turned on that make DOOM 3 what it is ... What good is a $500 video card if you don't have money left over to purchase DOOM 3?

Which is exactly why I went with the 9800XT I could buy instead of the next-gen that was due out a few weeks afterward.

I *think* D3 is going to be available for consoles, but even HD users won't experience the level of graphics available on high-end PCs. Regular TVs will be even less impressive.

"Yeah, but my X-box didn't cost $1500". True, true, but my TV only cost $400, and I can game downstairs on my PC without worrying about the carpet shark sneaking up and grabbing the controller because it's got lots of pretty lights. To each his own, ya see...

Posted by scott at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)
The Great Mouse Chronicles

This is the first in a series about the escapades that Amber and I've been having with the little field mice that want to come into our home. Unfortunately for them, it's a home with 7 cats...

It all started about a week or so ago. I came home like normal and as I was changing out of the suit and tie, I noticed that Uma (a normally sedentary fat cat) was behaving rather oddly. She kept looking around the foot of the bed and the laundry basket like she'd lost something. As I was trying to figure out whether or not she had just smoked crack, I saw a little brown mouse shoot across the floor and hide under the laundry basket. As one whose lived in 2nd floor apartments for the last 5 years or so, this was a bit of a shocker to me. I quickly decided that Uma was a broken kitty because she didn't notice the little guy run behind her.

So, in a fit of humanitarianism, I decided to try and save the little idiot (any mouse that comes into a house with 7 cats and a dog isn't a rocket scientist...). So, I proceeded to empty out the cat's food dish and moved the basket. The thing just sat there - apparently exhausted. I put the upside down bowl on the thing and left it there.

I then placed a quick call to Amber. Her first reaction was as expected - "ohmygodthere'samouseinmyhouse". Then, her animal-loving instincts took over - "gotta touch it" was the next thing I heard. So, I get out the old fish tank and, with the help of a magazine, get the mouse into the fishtank. I put a spot of water and a nugget of cat food in there, and mouse proceeds to munch on the food, shit a few times, and generally just sit there.

Later that night, Amber comes home and is enamored by the thing. However, it's apparently exhausted and can barely keep itself alive. So, we stuff the fishtank with some TP, put some birdseed and catfood in there (note: This is all being done for an invading, disease-spreading rodent), and then let the little guy sleep - we think he's going to die, so we figured to make his final hours comfortable. However, there is a growing fear that the mouse won't be released. That he'll become a permanent addition to the family. This is driven by the extreme care that's being taken with his health and safety, the 'ohhhhh it's soooo cute' comments that come about constantly, etc.

The next morning, the mouse is up and running, ready to get out. He seems to be completely over whatever was ailing him the night before. So I take him out to the field and let him go.

End of story - or so we hoped...

About a week later, Amber is up and ironing stuff first thing in the morning and she sees a little mouse run behind the washer. Of course, the initial reaction is still the same "ohmygodthere'samouseinmyhouse". I get the phone call as I'm on my way to my first appointment and we discuss this (note - the first mouse was considered cute and lovable - something that must be touched, coddled, etc.). This mouse isn't considered cute. It is an Invading Rodent that Must Be Evicted Promptly. The humane mouse trap thing (no glue, snappy bars of steel, crushing jaws of death, etc.) is baited with peanut butter and set out.

After the first night, no mouse. We figure that maybe he's escaped, but we move the trap to another location just to be sure.

The next day I come home, have a bowl of cereal and proceed to start watching TV. Then Amber comes home and notices something on the floor in front of the cat tree. The next thing I know, she's standing straight up with her hand over her moutn saying 'ohhhhh - what's that?'. Looks like a crushed red M&M from where I'm sitting, but what do I know, so I'm back to watching the history of something or other. Then the squealing starts. And then the jumping in place. The noises of disgust. A yell or two at the cats. More jumping. More squealing. A frantic grab for kleenex's. Apparently, this current Invading Rodent wasn't fast enough... All that is left at this point is most of it's face, with a little eyeball sort of attached. Hence, the squealing and other carrying on.

Somehow, the cats and I are all being yelled out for eating the mouse (and me, because I've been home for about an hour and sitting about 7' from it without noticing). Now, everyone is about to get dewormed.

At least there's a bright side to this (unless you're the mouse). At least one of our cats isn't broken...

Posted by ron at 07:27 AM | Comments (2)
Last time I used my Magical Sword

in a hardware store, I was arrested... Oh, wait, this is a different type of 'magic' sword.

TLC has a little story about some poor druid who didn't want to be parted with his Magic Sword. Not that I have anything against druids, but I seem to remember from my D&D and Evercrack days that Druids didn't use swords...

Posted by ron at 07:18 AM | Comments (3)
July 21, 2004
Big Foot or Feet...Or Whatever... Monkey...Ape...blah, blah,blah...

For the Big Foot lover in your life.

NO! this is not a sexual foot fetish site! It's about the hairy beast. NO! not the person that sleeps with you at night and farts under the covers... no wait... dammit Scott!

Posted by Ellen at 08:45 PM | Comments (0)
Guest Admins: Ron and Amber

We're going "on holiday" for a week, starting on Friday. To keep the rabble happy with bread and circuses, we've actually had some folks dumb enough unwittingly left holding the fuse graciously volunteer to take over duties at the ol' ranch.

Please to be welcoming Ron and Amber. Amber is Ellen's long-time friend and fellow future-crazy-cat-lady-all-the-kids-are-scared-of. Ron is the her fiancee, who is only now realizing the horror that all women become as The Date approaches... Bridezilla.

Tonight and tomorrow are "training wheels" days, where we'll both be posting stuff at the same time. On Friday, they're on their own. At best, they'll be our second "blog children" (after Daffodillane, who's words were, as I recall, "Jesus, if they can do it...") At worst, well, they've got seven cats and a dog, they can't run away that quickly.

[Homer voice]I, for one, welcome our noob masters....[/Homer Voice]

Posted by scott at 08:03 PM | Comments (2)
Oh, Those Clever Japanese

Not content with square watermelons, the Japanese have now come up with triangular ones (bottom of the page). God knows how much they cost. I don't know if I should eat it, or put it on the mantle.

Ellen would eat it, and fast.

Posted by scott at 06:26 PM | Comments (3)
This is Bound to be Worth a Gold Star or Something

Car: 0, Phone Wires: 1. Yes, phone wires.

We've had two "amazing" wrecks in my neighborhood lately. While I didn't witness either, I could piece together at least some of what happend in both. The first was at a garden-variety four-way residential intersection with traffic lights. Someone driving a Ford Escort wagon managed to go through the west-bound lanes fast enough to cross the intersection, roll over, and totally cream the light control box on the opposite side. The box was nearly as big as the car, and it was completely ripped off its concrete foundation.

The second was at a different, but no less garden-variety, light-controlled residential intersection. There, at least one police car left the north-bound lane fast enough to bound over the curbs, down an embankment, through a set of six-inch-thick trees and a picket fence, finally embedding itself in the deck of the house on the corner. It then, in what must have been a Warner-Bros. Wiley Coyote-worthy moment, apparently caught fire.

And to think I bike through those intersections...

Posted by scott at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)
Stranger from a Strange Land

Scientific American is carrying this article announcing the discovery of another Martian rock on Earth. This one was found, as most of the others were, in Antartica, and weighs about 1.5 pounds. Researchers will be able to apply for samples of the rock for examination. The rock is thought to have been blasted free of Mars during an impact event about 11 million years ago.

Posted by scott at 12:19 PM | Comments (2)
Draft Note

Jason linked up this NYT op-ed explaining why re-instating the draft woudl be a really stupid idea:

Renewing the draft would be a blow against the men and women in uniform, a dumbing down of the institution they serve. The United States military exists to win battles, not to test social policy. Enlarging the volunteer force would show our soldiers that Americans recognize their hardship and are willing to pay the bill to help them better protect the nation. My view of the citizen-soldier was altered, but not destroyed, in combat. We cannot all pick up the sword, nor should we be forced to - but we owe our support to those who do.

Very nice point-by-point dissection.

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)
Bright Light = Achoo?

Slashdot did a poll that introduced me to a condition known as the "photic sneeze reflex", a real affliction that causes people to suddenly sneeze when exposed to bright light. Apparently nobody really knows what causes it, but it affects between one-sixth to one-quarter of all people.

Maybe that's why I sneeze my head off sometimes. Never even thought to look for a pattern.

Posted by scott at 09:30 AM | Comments (2)
Paging Joshua Hoover, White Courtesy Phone Please

Egyptophile Joshua (and others) will probably find this heiroglyphics translator interesting. AMCGLTD comes out as, well... "hawk owl left-pointing-frond ... rrmm... 'pants' lion 'something' obelisk".

Only thing I wish they'd done was enable a way to link up the names. Ah well. Enjoy!

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (4)
July 20, 2004
Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Presenting Dyke Dolls, "the world's first series of Lesbian action figures". The first series, the "Bobbie" doll, is on sale now!

Feh, why not. But at $65, it's definitely not something I'd let Olivia coat with cheese ball dust.

Posted by scott at 07:12 PM | Comments (0)
On This Day

35 years ago, some time tonight, Niel Armstrong will be landing on the moon. Kind of funny to think about, but Olivia is only two months younger than I was when it happened.

And the music goes round and round

Posted by scott at 03:41 PM | Comments (2)
Mark Your Calendars (again)

World to End, September 29:

That's the chilling news from E.T. expert Dr. Terry Johnson, who claims various conglomerations of alien races are conspiring to destroy planet Earth on that day -- with the help of a few volcanoes and earthquakes.

Well, at least we won't have to sit through the damned election.

Every time I see one of these things, I'm reminded of a sign on my high school band director's door:

Due to a lack of qualified trumpeters,
The end of the world has been postponed six months.
We apologize for any inconvenience

Yeah, I know, band people are weird.

Posted by scott at 02:56 PM | Comments (6)
"Hooked" on a New Pastime

Now, I'm all for consenting adults doing whatever they want to each other, but I reserve the right to be weirded out by it:

Law enforcement officials in the Florida Keys are mystified by a bizarre new pastime -- young people dangling themselves from meat hooks on a popular sandbar.

Just when you thought people couldn't... well, ok, no... that story awhile back about the guy running a classified ad because he wanted to eat someone and getting an answer was way weirder than this. But still..

Posted by scott at 02:12 PM | Comments (4)
English Literature's Most Famous Stenographer?

Rueters is running this story detailing the discovery of just who exactly it was that transcribe Chaucer's Canterbury tales:

Adam Pinkhurst -- whose name was found by a U.S. handwriting expert -- wrote the 14th century manuscripts of Chaucer's pilgrims' stories, the most celebrated work of medieval English literature.

Until this time, all we knew about him was what Chaucer himself wrote, which wasn't very complimentary. Dead men may tell no tales, but sometimes they speak nonetheless.

Posted by scott at 01:14 PM | Comments (0)
Mothers: 1, Genes: 0

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing a new study in Rhesus monkeys that seems to confirm the results of a similar study in humans: mothering trumps genes. Careful study has revealed that children are much more likely to be aggressive and antisocial if they have a "short" version of a specific gene. However, both studies have now confirmed that the gene only "expresses" itself when the infant is reared in an abusive home.

So be sure to call your mom and thank her... she's the only one who kept you from growing into a homicidal maniac!

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (2)
Insert "Holy Grail" Joke Here

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

A Russian taxi driver got a rude shock when he discovered his blind ex-wife, who thought he had died in an explosion, had him buried in a Moscow cemetery, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

Of course, the question now is who's actually under that headstone?

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
Mercury Rising

BBCnews is carrying this report about the first space probe to Mercury in 30 years. Called Messenger, its mission is to orbit the planet and use its seven instruments to study the planet extensively. The launch is scheduled for August 2nd, but the mission itself won't begin until 2011.

Posted by scott at 08:08 AM | Comments (0)
July 19, 2004
Olivia's Kitchen


The box this kitchen came in was ENORMOUS! She already has a certain white cat sleeping in her kitchen sink too.

Posted by Ellen at 09:22 PM | Comments (3)
Captain Olivia


Set a course Number One, warp five. ENGAGE!

Posted by Ellen at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)
Terror Follow-up

Instapundit linked up a follow-up to our "terror" story last week. I still think this represents progress... they are emphatically not sneaking up on us anymore. Without exception, the only time people have "got one over" on the US is when we didn't see it coming. We're watching you now, and you don't have a chance.

Our chaotic nature may be seen as our greatest weakness, but it's actually our greatest strength. You're not facing a few powerful leaders in charge of millions of weak sheep. You're facing millions of cougars, badly herded along by leaders who barely understand us, let alone control us.

You've only seen the claws so far. You do not want to see the teeth.

Posted by scott at 07:18 PM | Comments (2)
Ouch Ouch Ouch

Ya know, it's bad enough that you get drunk and shoot your own nuts off. I think this pretty much defines "adding insult to injury"

A man who shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his trousers was jailed for five years Tuesday for illegal possession of a firearm.

Ron gets a sawed-off no prize for bringing us this not-quite-Darwin-award winner.

Posted by scott at 05:57 PM | Comments (1)
Does Michael Moore know the Temperature Yellowcake Burns?

Ok, all you "Bush lied" believers, please feel free to (as we are fond of saying around here) sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up:

Bush had spoken the plain truth. Did Saddam seek uranium from Africa, evidence of his continuing illegal interest in a nuclear weapon? Here is Lord Butler's nonpartisan panel, which closely examined the basis of the British intelligence:

". . . we conclude that the statement in President Bush's State of the Union Address of 28 January 2003 that `The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa' was well-founded."

Debate your beliefs, disagree with my positions, but leave your propaganda at the damned door. It makes you look feebleminded and small. And the rest of you, the ones who believe the media is not liberal... where are the headlines? The 24 hours exposes? The documentaries? The Hollywood acceptance speeches?

Yeah. That's what I thought.


Posted by scott at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)
Super... err... Person?

Jeff gets a no-prize with a cape for bringing us the superhero and (for the ladies) superheroine quizzes.

I came out as "Mr. Fantastic" (the rubberized guy from the Fantastic 4). Not bad, not bad, because you know he can stretch any part of his body...

Oink oink oink.

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (4)
Immigrant Song

LaShawn Barber linked up this important decision in a Virginia suit that claimed illegal aliens' constitutional rights were being violated because state colleges were refusing to enroll them:

A federal judge has dismissed charges by a group of illegal aliens who claimed that state-sponsored colleges in Virginia were violating the Constitution by refusing to enroll them.

As a conservative, it probably won't surprise you that I applaud this decision and think illegal aliens should be denied access to any tax-supported services. What may surprise you though is that I think the problem can only be solved by liberalizing our immigration laws to make it easier for people to achieve legal status.

Personally, I find it outrageous that people who are not paying taxes are getting access to things like free education, legal representation, and medical care. These are benefits of citizens, people who through birth or effort belong in a very real sense to the United States. They are extended to legal aliens because those legals are paying at least some taxes, and are therefore entitled to the same access. I also think it's a good idea, because it makes it more likely that people who work hard and are productive will become citizens of this country, making it a better place for us all.

But again, in no uncertain terms, I do not think illegal immigrants should have access to any of these services. In fact, I think these services should be actively denied to them.

However, as a dynamic progressive, I think it's current immigration and minimum-wage law that are in fact creating the problem of illegal immigration. I strongly believe we need to liberalize current laws and make it easier for people to legally immigrate to this country. For related reasons, I support initiatives to roll back minimum wage laws.

As any illegal (or employer thereof) will tell you, this would simply legitimize what's already a fact on the ground. If federal officials found every single illegal immigrant in this country and deported them tomorrow, the results would be disastrous. Entire chunks of our economy would simply evaporate, or slowly grind to a halt. We're talking a full-blown collapse here. Anyone who believes otherwise doesn't live in even a medium-sized city or major agricultural area.

Illegals are in such high demand because our minimum wage laws set an artificial lower boundary on labor costs, making it too expensive to hire citizens or legal immigrants for most, if not all, entry-level and/or low-skill jobs. Not just because they don't want to do the work, but because employing them at an illegal, albeit realistic, wage would be an unacceptable risk to the employer. An illegal's status also creates incentives for them to under value the cost of their labor, because the threat of deportation is so high, making them even cheaper to employ (and, by definition, exploit).

Common citizens oppose the liberalization of immigration law because they think "they'll take our jobs", not understanding that the jobs illegals "take" are nearly always those that nobody else wants. Organized labor opposes it because it represents the last bastion of their anti-market, protectionist power. Powerful business interests oppose it because it would in fact increase their costs, since now-legal immigrants could demand a market-set price for their labor, as well as humane working conditions that the threat of deportation keeps them from demanding.

Unfortunately, just reforming immigration law won't be enough. Even if we were to suddenly grant everyone who stepped into the country legal status, the results would still be a disaster. At the very best, prices would spike upward on pretty much everything as now-legal immigrants could demand unrealistically high wages for their unskilled, entry-level labor. At worst the immigration problem would continue unchanged, as legal status would rightly be seen as only useful for the very skilled (as it pretty much is today). Ending our immigration problem will require not only liberalization of immigration law, it will require the repeal (either dejure or defacto) of the minimum wage laws that make hiring any unskilled or entry-level labor unrealistically expensive.

Note I do not say "repeal immigration laws"... I still think the ability to deport those who cause trouble or try to find some sort of free ride is important. But by making it easier for immigrants who come to this country to work to achieve legal status, we'll gain far more than we'll lose:

  • The tax base will increase as now-legal aliens by the tens of thousands start paying income taxes.
  • Services such as free education will grow as new revenue allows for their expansion.
  • Exploitation will decrease because legal aliens will have open access to laws that protect everyone in the workplace.
  • Unemployment will plummet for all workers (both citizens and non-citizens) especially on the lower end of the scale, as the cost and risk of employing low-skilled and entry-level workers is allowed to settle at a market-driven price point.
  • Thousands of people will have the opportunity to learn the skills required for higher income jobs because it will now be cheap enough to teach them when they start out.
  • Crime rates, dependency, and poverty will all decrease markedly as more and more able-bodied people are gainfully employed.
  • "Offshoring" and other "outsourcing" pressures will ease because the US labor market's traditionally unmatched efficiency will suddenly be paired with much lower labor costs.
  • Thousands, if not millions, of new people will place their foot on the bottom rung of the only ladder proven to yield success in America: time, jobs, education, and a stake in the system.

The Bush administration's relatively enlightened policies on immigration are one of the reasons I support his re-election. Inflation is slowly repealing the now set-in-stone minimum wage laws, and I support a Republican congress in part because they have an "over my dead body" stamp to use every time a Democrat tries to push legislation through that attempts to raise it.

Providing tax-supported services to illegal immigrants who pay nothing into the system is not only unfair, it creates the counter-productive pressures of dependency and exploitation. Only by reforming and liberalizing immigration and wage laws will we break this vicious cycle. By doing so, we will not only be recognizing the facts on the ground, we will be setting the stage for millions of people to become productive members of our society. In a nation in which every single member is an immigrant of some sort (even if they were just hunting mammoth, they moved from somewhere else), how can we do otherwise?

Posted by scott at 12:44 PM | Comments (4)
What a Great Exuse!

Oh be still, can't you see I'm reading?

The Vancouver-based company just released a new line of provocative T-shirts. With naughty mess ages written across the chest, the shirts encourage people to run their hands over them to find out what’s on your mind.

Around about that time would be when Ellen would say, "yeah, no, sorry, don't think so", and then smack me.

Posted by scott at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)
Youth Gone Mild

Instapundit linked up this Tech Central column noting something I'd already observed directly: today's kids actuall get along:

Violence, drug use and teen sex have declined. Kids are becoming more conservative politically and socially. They want to get married and have large families. And, get this, they adore their parents.

The Mood of American Youth Survey found that more than 80 percent of teenagers report no family problems -- up from about 40 percent a quarter-century ago. In another poll, two-thirds of daughters said they would "give Mom an 'A.'

While I'm not sure Nina would give her mom an "A", I doubt she'd give her anything less than a B-. We just got back from a big party in New York that included a lot of Nina's friends, and the lack of pissing and moaning about parents was only remarkable when I thought about it.

To those of us who grew up in the 60s and 70s, when cultural liberalism (and, perforce, cultural strife) was at its height, the change is amazing. Maybe year 14 won't be a horror of teen angst and hormones for us.

Yeah, right.

Posted by scott at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)
Solving A "Great" Death Mystery

Washington Post today ran this article about new developments in that perennial favorite of classical-death myseries: what, exactly, killed Alexander the Great? Tradition held he was poisoned, but for perhaps the past century the leading theory has been some sort of infection. Recently, the leading candidate was typhus, but now a rare West Nile virus derivative has been proposed.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)
July 18, 2004
Vet is guilty of animal cruelty

FORT WORTH - A veterinarian was convicted Tuesday of felony animal cruelty for bludgeoning a neighbor's miniature dachshund to death last year with a log-splitting maul after the dog got into his back yard in Colleyville.

Volosen faces a maximum of two years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

In September 2002, he killed a black Labrador retriever, Coty, with a blunt object after the dog killed several rabbits and chickens, according to a police report filed by Volosen.

An official with the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners in Austin, which licenses veterinarians, said the conviction does not mean Volosen's license will be automatically suspended. Volosen has no history of disciplinary action, according to the board.

Read entire article here.

Free reg blah blah blah...

TEE-HEE!! Go to jail you bastard!

Yeah yeah, comments are closed on this one so CrAzY Texans don't comment.

Posted by Ellen at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)
July 17, 2004
Help! Help! I'm Being Held Captive...

Well, ok, not really, but we are in New York (deep in Indian Country for native southerners Scott and Olivia) visiting relatives. Posting therefore will be rather light.

Posted by scott at 11:11 AM | Comments (0)
July 16, 2004
The Kind of "Rice" You Get from Price Club

CaptainHowdy gets a large, decorative no-prize with a Japanese singer painted on it for bringing us... well... this. I got no idea what sort of vans those are, but they seem really popular over there. I'm actually kind of surprised the people who drive those breadbox-with-wheels Toyota vans haven't started doing this yet.

Posted by scott at 06:10 PM | Comments (1)
Happy 35th!

This one snuck up on us all... next Tuesday is the 35th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (the launch date anniversary is today). Ok, that "thud" you heard was my mom falling over. Don't worry folks, she falls down a lot.

Sometimes I worry the nutballs in the turban-and-virgin-fetish crowd might have a shot at us. At least, until I remember that we put men on the moon before most of them were born, and they're still sitting inside caves. Then I don't worry as much.

I just get mad.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (2)
Seriously Silly

Yeah, I know, it's filled with the same-old same-old moonbat propaganda, but this "campaign" ad had a punch line that still made me laugh.

I'm seeing the glimmerings of a sense of humor on the left. Sort of like looking down and seeing a bug playing a guitar. Oh well, time to roll up a newspaper...

No-prize to Damion for giving us an excuse to run a really virulent pro-Bush ad, as soon as we find it. :)

Posted by scott at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)
Now You Know

If you use internet explorer regularly, you've probably already gotten annoying, nearly-impossible-to-remove adware installed on your system. Well, guess what, now you've got to be careful which removal package you use.

I use Mozilla products. Best adware protection in the business.

Posted by scott at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)
Terror Tale

Instapundit linked up this harrowing account of what certainly seemed like a "dry run" by a new bunch of terrorists on an airline. While the account is quite frightening, I also found reasons to be optimistic:

  • "Several air marshalls" seem to have been present. To me, this strongly implies we are in fact profiling, we're just doing it a lot more subtly than dragging people off and searching them. I just can't see "several" marshalls being assigned to a garden-variety domestic trip unless some computer somewhere threw a red flag noting a lot of arab nationals were awfully interested in flying from Detroit to LA together.
  • Law enforcement was most definitely waiting at the other end of the trip. If that group had just sat there reading magazines, I doubt anyone out of the ordinary would have been waiting at the gate.
  • The flight crew and pilots were aware at all times about what was going on. Aviation Week has noted several times that pilots are asking for and receiving training in how to fly an airplane in a way that "disables unsecured persons" (via bouncing them off the ceiling like pingpong balls). Aviation Week reports that testing has revealed a simple .5g pushover was all that was needed to do the trick, easily within the realm of what commercial airliners are capable of.
  • Most importantly, most if not all of the rest of the passengers were quite aware of what was going on, or at least what appeared to be going on. Three years ago, a hijacking meant a free trip to Cuba. Now, it means a wrestling match between a dozen arabs and a hundred-plus Americans scared out of their wits. Beat-downs, as they say, will ensue, perhaps before the air marshalls can even start moving.

Bottom line: we're all inconceivably more aware of suspicious people moving around on airplanes, and as scary as it is the system does seem to have worked this time. For comparison, James Woods noticed and reported suspicious activity on a flight he was on prior to 9-11, and that report was simply filed away. It may not have been as public or reassuring as the reporter would've liked, but the wheels did seem to be turning here.

Posted by scott at 10:37 AM | Comments (65)
Color Coding

Finally I have a scientific explanation for how women can tell the difference between the 8 billion shades of red available at the nail polish counter: they can see that part of the color spectrum better than men can:

The increased [genetic] variation enhances the ability to discriminate between colors in the red-orange spectrum, particularly among females, because they have two copies of the X chromosome

I wonder if this also somehow explains how women just know that you're wearing brown socks with your blue suit?

Posted by scott at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)
Oh NO!

The Borg has assimilated my favorite cars:

Microsoft Corp. and Fiat SpA have formed a partnership to develop a standardized system for designing wireless communications into vehicles made by the Italian automaker ... The goal of the alliance, announced Thursday, is to create a flexible, easy-to-use telematics system for Fiat and its Lancia and Alfa Romeo brands...

(emphasis added)

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

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
July 15, 2004
Personal Training

Not your typical personal training session.

It's a funny cartoon. NSFW

Posted by Ellen at 09:08 PM | Comments (0)
See Jane, See Tom, See Jane Boink Tom, Boink Jane Boink!

As with all stupid, goofy things that the press locks on to, Norway's media seems to have come to the conclusion that since they've noticed it, it is automatically a trend:

More Norwegians seem to be engaging in sex outdoors, after a couple made headlines for coupling on the stage of a live music festival last week.

The thing is, 90% of the people out there who want to be seen naked, should not be seen naked. Therefore, this is probably nowhere near as interesting a development as it would first seem. Don't think Brad Pit and Jenna Jamison, think Ed Asner and Rosie O'Donnel.


Posted by scott at 09:04 PM | Comments (0)
What a Winner

In the "revolving door recidivist" category, we're proud to present Gary W. Rogers. When he's got his teeth in and has had a recent bath, he actually stops looking like a cartoon. Also, check the dates... he's probably sober at least as often as he's drunk.

Posted by scott at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)
~ Up, Up and Away in my Explosives-Filled Balloooooon ~

If you made a list of all the US territories Japan attacked in WWII, I bet Kansas wouldn't be on it, but it should:

The year was 1945 and the United States was in the middle of World War II. Omaha seemed relatively safe until one night in April when a Japanese bomb dropped in Dundee.

I'd known about the balloon bombs for quite some time, but I had no idea one had made it as far as Kansas. Air & Space magazine did an article on them a few years back... they built hundreds of them. What the Japanese didn't seem to count on was that US population densities and distributions weren't anything like Japan's or China's. Once you got past the West coast, the US (especially in 1945) was a whole lot of empty. The vast majority of balloons that actually made it ended up attacking various forests and corn fields.

Of course, that was cold comfort to the few poor bastards who ended up underneath one at the wrong time.

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (4)
It's Life, Jim, but not as We Know it?

BBCnews is carrying this report that details a remarkable new finding about Mars's atmosphere. The Mars Express orbiter seems to have detected ammonia in the atmosphere. Since ammonia survives only a short time in the Martian environment, it can only be generated one of two ways: volcanism, or life. Since there has been no evidence found of any sort of recent (on a geological time scale no less) volcanic activity, if the observation holds out this could be the "smoking gun" for life on Mars.

Posted by scott at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)
The Gullibility Paradox

One of the greatest sources of power for liberal leaders is people's tendency to believe whatever a charismatic, famous person tells them. It doesn't much matter if they're actually qualified, just that they're pretty and/or charming when they say it. It's gotten to the point that I tend to agree that there are two Americas today:

One America agrees ... that life is getting harder for working Americans, that things have been going down hill for thirty years, and that our only hope is bigger government. The other America realizes that it is nonsense to suggest that the middle class is disappearing and that the standard of living is eroding for working Americans.

That's right, nonsense. However, unlike most lefties, the author goes on with proof that such beliefs are the modern equivalent of insisting the sun goes 'round the earth. Read the whole thing before you write it off. Again.

What's sad is I've seen these same proofs at least four or five times before, from different sources using different material no less. Yet people insist on believing it's all still going to hell, and only government can save it.

I've had good friends imply, hell come out and say, only idiots vote Republican, that a Republican victory in November will just confirm giant swaths of the country have subhuman intelligence. Fine. If believing that the only person responsible for your prosperity is you, if believing that government isn't the solution, it's the problem, if believing that America is great and will only become greater if we get government out of the goddamned way makes me an idiot, sign me up for the short bus.

But let me dust off my shoes before I go...

Posted by scott at 09:46 AM | Comments (3)
~ OHHHH... What do You Do with a Drunken Swee-eede Earl-eye in the Morning~

Ron gets a wobbly no-prize for bringing us news that Sweden really needs to get its own COPS show:

Police, ambulance and fire crews rescued a drunken Swede found trapped early Monday without any clothes after he tried to crawl under a gate in downtown Oslo ... the man, whose real name was not released, urged reporters to say he’d gotten stuck while trying to save a kitten. Failing that, he asked them to mention that the object of his affections was “a real stunner.”

Which they seem to have done, albeit probably not in the way he intended. My mom shaking her head and saying "men!" in 3... 2... 1...

Posted by scott at 08:42 AM | Comments (0)
Black Hole News

New Scientist (via slashdot) is carrying this story about a new development in black hole research. It seems that Stephen Hawking has (or at least is thought to have) finally worked out a way around the quantum information paradox that his own earlier research about evaporating black holes revealed. Ironically, this will cause him to lose a bet he made with another physicist in the mid 90s, which will apparently cost him an encyclopedia.

Look, it's taken me twenty years of reading popular scientific books to even begin to understand what these guys are talking about. I ain't gonna summarize it all here.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)
July 14, 2004

God bless the Wikipedia, without which I would never have heard of the Coconut Crab the largest terrestrial arthropod on earth.

Ellen: "Says they're hermit crabs. Do you think they'd make good pets?"

Scott: "NO!"

Ellen: "Geeze... just asking..."

Last thing I need is a 10 pound bug crawling around my house. *shudder*

Update: Speaking of big bugs, how about A 6"+, 1/4 pound cockroach?

Yeah, ok, technically not a cockroach, but sure as hell looks like one. And I thought the ones infesting our first apartment were big! At least Ellen doesn't want one of these as a pet!

Posted by scott at 08:49 PM | Comments (2)
M&M Baby
Posted by Ellen at 08:04 PM | Comments (4)
A Beer Bong, for the Rest of Us

Fark (of course) linked up this SMH Australia article about a recent decision to ban a deviced called "AWOL", which stands for "Alcohol Without Liquid".

Apparently the thing works by mixing regular "alcoholic spirits" (which I take to mean gin, vodka, whiskey, et. al.) with oxygen. The resulting vapor is then inhaled by the "drinker", resulting in a supposed high 10 times stronger than regular-style consumption without hangover or (in this diet-crazed world) calories.

Which only proves to me that Aussies are clever bastards indeed. The thing looks like a vending machine, no idea how much it might cost.

Posted by scott at 03:07 PM | Comments (2)
The More Things Change...

Proof positive that, compared to the rest of the world, Americans have far more in common with each other than we realize, we have Why Lawd, Why?:

Dude: "Where are you from?"

Lashunda (Me): "I'm from the US."


Yes he did y'all.

Lashunda (Me): "WHAT!?!"

Dude: "You just go to hell you damned American. You Americans have no heart anyway. You go to hell."

Despite the trains, the screams of schoolkids, and even the tiny little birds...you could have heard a pin drop.

All you'd have to do is put a New York accent on Lashunda and it'd be tough to convince me this wasn't my wife. Switch it to a Maryland accent and my brother would start looking around for his wife. Add the Carolinas, and Joshua's ears perk up. Change it... well, ok, you get the picture.

No wonder foreigners don't understand Americans. Anyone who'd try to tell any of these women how to behave deserves what they get, because they're obviously dumber than a lemming on pot.

Via Aaron

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (0)
Still no Entry for "Puke in Shoes"

CaptainHowdy gets a multi-lingual no-prize for bringing us this cat translation dictionary:

Miaowmioaw - Have you noticed the shortage of available cat toys in this room?

Mioawmioaw - Since I can find nothing better to play with, I shall see what happens when I sharpen my claws on this handy piece of furniture.

Raowwwww - I think I shall now spend time licking the most private parts of my anatomy.

Ellen already pre-translates everything our cats "say", in their own distinctive voices no less, so my need for this is somewhat less than, say, someone who isn't married to a crazy-old-cat-lady-to-be.

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (0)
Worm Planet

New Scientist is featuring this article detailing the results of microgravity experiment on planet formation launched in 1999:

The experiments showed that dust particles seem to grow in long strings as opposed to clumps, as originally thought.

This experiment helps explain the interactions of particles in the very beginning of planetary formation, which is very poorly understood.

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)
Perilous Legos

Is there anything that can't be done with legos? Apparently not, as this extremely entertaining movie, "The Perils of Doc-Ock" amply demonstrates. And to think all I ever built with them was walls.

Posted by scott at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)
Sounds Like a Perfume Sold at K-Mart

Space.com is carrying this update on recent developments in dark matter and dark energy research. The latest hypothesis put forward posits that the two are actually expressions of the same force, which the scientist who came up with it calls "k-essence".

Unlike quantum physics articles, this one deals with head-crunching ideas on a very large scale. It includes the startling speculation that dark matter and dark energy may be the visible influences of other universes outside our own.

Posted by scott at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)
Video Vault

While trolling around more comments about yesterday's "Top Dumb" story, I found this nifty site filled with various amazing aviation videos. Includes the clip the Spitfire shot was taken from, a clip related to the hyper-low Jaguar picture, and several clips of aviation mishaps and mahem. Some of the links don't work, but there's still plenty to choose from.

Posted by scott at 08:03 AM | Comments (1)
July 13, 2004
The Tantrum

Posted by Ellen at 08:44 PM | Comments (5)
Best. Parody. Ever.

Ok, stop what you're doing and download this JibJab parody of "This Land". Lefties will love it because it slams Bush. Righties will love it because it smashes Kerry. I love it because it's really freaking funny!

Note: It's so good about three billion people are trying to download it right now. Be patient and keep trying (it's worth it, trust me), or pony up the $2.99 to get it from a different server.

~ This land will surely vote for me ~

Posted by scott at 03:24 PM | Comments (3)
Saving Private Hammer

Just in case all you thought the Army only kept dogs for pets, we have this nice story about an Iraqi-born mouser who got himself adopted in a combat zone:

Pfc. Hammer is an Iraqi tabby cat [the 3rd Brigade Combat team] adopted after he was born last fall at a base in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad.

Not to worry, Pfc. Hammer is safe and sound now that the rest of his unit has rotated home.


Posted by scott at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)
Voodoo U

We've just found the perfect pre-election stocking-stuffer for all the Dems in your life: political voodoo dolls! Includes every lefty's fave, GW, as well as Saddam, Bill C, and even Tony Blair. Stick a pin in yours today!

Posted by scott at 01:41 PM | Comments (1)
Low Flying

Always read the comments, wherein we found these amazing photos attached to the previous "Top Dumb" story. Apparently the RAF has something of a habit of flying "in the weeds":


Probably blurry because the cameraman's getting knocked around by the noise


Looks like just after takeoff, but reports are that at Red Flag the buccaneer guys would come back with grass in the pitot tubes, so who knows


I actually saw the video clip this was taken from. Alan Decatenet (the guy on the left) is almost knocked over as the guy pulls up. Lots of "F-- me! F-- me!"'s get bleeped out.


If it isn't a photoshop, this is easily the most impressive low-flyer I've ever seen. Holy m-f'ing crap!

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (1)
Pole Dance

Spaceflightnow is carrying this nifty update of the latest pictures from Cassini. This time, it imaged the south pole, which revealed thousands of lighter color clouds dotting a region dominated by a single large, circular feature.

Posted by scott at 10:59 AM | Comments (0)
Choosing Sides

This platform quiz goes far beyond your typical "choose A, B, C, or D" one-liner questionaire. In this one, they present an excerpt from each party's platform, and you choose which one you agree with. None of the platforms are marked, and they change position with each question. At the end of the quiz, you're presented with a list of how many points on each platform you agreed with. All in all, a much nicer way of finding out what the parties stand for instead of against.

Hmm? Oh... Libertarian: 4, Republican: 2, Green: 1, Democrat: 0. That Green vote kinda scares me a bit. No idea which one it was.

Via LaShawn Barber.

Posted by scott at 10:03 AM | Comments (4)
It's got that Great Ranty Freshness

Frank leads us to RightWingDuck, a blogger who is taking great exception to being called a cockroach. The resulting Top 10 reasons Latinos can't vote Democrat are a scream. The dems better hope the "old white racists" they keep railing against never die, because if they do, the Republican party that will be left (a multi-racial conglomerate believing in personal responsibility, limited government, and free markets) will be un-freaking-stoppable.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
Top Gun, Top Dumb

Fark linked up this Sun article about a Jaguar (older British attack airplane) pilot who, while celebrating the completion of a hard week-long training, clipped a lamp post with the wing tip of his plane. Airplanes are good at a lot of things, but hitting stuff with the wings isn't one of them. He's damned lucky to be alive.

Back when the Reno unlimited air races were a lot more "wild n' wooley" than they are now, pilots would sometimes land with severely damaged wing or horizontal stabilizer leading edges. One of the fastest ways around the pylons is to fly as low as possible, and these guys were so far in the dirt they were hitting jackrabbits with their airplanes. No kidding.

Remember folks, when you're racing for "who can fly the lowest", you want second place.

Posted by scott at 08:10 AM | Comments (1)
July 12, 2004
Damned Goths are Everywhere

In the "just-when-you-thought-you'd-seen-everything" category, we have Darkfurrs, a group that seems to be a cross between furries and goths. That's right, furries and goths. They've even got pictures.

I really do think God puts these people on earth to remind us we're nowhere near as weird as we think we are. Even the goths! :)

Posted by scott at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)
Dating Palms

Mohammed over at Iraq the Model takes some time out to show us what Iraq's national tree looks like when it's ready for harvest. I'd read about dates and date palms, and of course remember how they were featured prominently in Indiana Jones, but had never actually seen what the trees look like in full fruit before. Reminds me of gigantic grape bunches wired to a palm tree. I wonder what they taste like?

Posted by scott at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)
When Advertisers Attack

Just in case you thought America was the land of crass, anything-goes-commercialism, you should be reminded that every person who lives here came from somewhere else:

Billboards have become an increasingly common sight on Rome's monuments since a 1997 law authorizing the sale of advertising on scaffolding to cover the costs of restoration work to the city's vast cultural heritage.

Which sounds all well and good, but the law of unintended consequences tends to find the ass of beuracrats most tasty of all:

Some buildings are putting up scaffolding just to make money from advertising,

However, restorations are expensive and don't pay for themselves. Tacky? It's advertising... I'm not sure you can be tasteful with the stuff. But if putting up with a few years of gaudiness is what it takes to ensure chunks of history aren't falling on the heads of tourists, well, that's a pretty easy decision as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Harry Potter, White Courtesy Phone Please

New Scientist is carrying this report about new developments in airport security devices. Seems the next generation will be devices that use "terahertz" radio frequencies to pick out the tell-tale signatures of weapons and explosives. Their shape? A wand. Magical!

Posted by scott at 12:53 PM | Comments (0)
The Cakes of Decemberween

Sometimes the guys over at Homestar are damned funny. Sometimes they're just... well... I'm not even sure if I can call this weird. It's definitely something.

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

Slashdot linked up this extra-snarky NYT Magazine article describing the rise of the graphic novel as a form of "serious" literature. Contains wonderful bon-mots like this:

Comic books are what novels used to be -- an accessible, vernacular form with mass appeal -- and if the highbrows are right, they're a form perfectly suited to our dumbed-down culture and collective attention deficit.

Which, along with the rest, is among the better examples of affirming the consequent I've seen in a long time.

The rise of the graphic novel is not some sort of dystopian signpost of the crumbling of western civilization, it is instead yet another indicator of the rising wealth of people under 35, in all industrial cultures.

The left may believe it's axiomatic that "the rich get richer while the poor get poorer", but this is only because they choose to see what they want to see. Wealth is not a zero-sum game, it is created. The pizza of wealth is not cut into different sized slices, it grows larger, and the slices grow with it.

One of those slices belongs to people under 35, who are in real terms far wealthier than their parents were at the same age, let alone their grandparents or great grandparents. In a free market, goods and services follow the preferences of whomever happens to have enough dollars to spend, and the youth of today have a great deal to spend indeed.

Comics and graphic novels are being taken seriously not because they're "suddenly" a lot better. As anyone who grew up in the 70s can attest, comics were exploring sophisticated narratives with adult "situations" long before publishers like Dark Horse ever opened their doors. The Watchmen was a culmination, not an innovation. Comics and graphic novels are today being taken seriously because for the first time serious money is being made off of them.

The rise in quality is also no accident. For perhaps the first time, a market that has always appreciated quality and sophistication now has enough money to spend to attract it. Furthermore, a growing market will always provide far more opportunity than a static one, and comics and graphic novels are growing very fast indeed.

This is a culture that is quite patently not "dumbing down", but is instead exploring new themes and new ideas using a medium older than both film and television in which to do it. The perceived “dumbness” so often decried from the tops of various chattering ivory towers is far more about what a very small group of people think we all should listen to, read, or watch, instead of what we simply want to listen to, read, or watch. What they are incapable of understanding is this is a culture and a generation that simply has better things to do than reading very long stories about very small changes in very small people just because their elders tell them they should.

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)
Think Smart, Spend Foolish

Finally, a liberal who makes sense to me:

John Kerry's revolutionary 3-level ThinkSmart Plan to improve public education has been endorsed by the NEA, a grassroots organization founded on those very principles. Rather than focusing on test scores as a key indicator of student progress, the NEA supports"unprecedented public awareness, legislative lobbying, and a member empowerment campaign -- working for the things children need to be successful."

Me feel smarter already.

Because if the NEA wants it, it's got to be good.


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

Fark linked up this New Scientist article that describes a new innovation in beer brewing. By creating super-fine filters using technology originally created for DAT*, beer can be filtered much more quickly and efficiently. It worked so well in prototype that the researchers started up their own brewery!

* Digital audio tape. It was a technology created in the late 80s to bring CD-quality sound to the recording world. Unfortunately the recording industry sued, sued, and sued again, screaming that unfettered pirating would bring about apocalypse (to recording executives at least). The tech died for audio, but lived a very long life in the data world, where the tapes and their drives were used as backup technology.

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
July 11, 2004
Kitten Overboard!

"There was a 9-inch-long kitten doing the paddle and screaming at the top of his lungs," said Rogers, the director of finances at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. "We scooped him up and he sat on the boat with me for eight hours."

The question: How in the world did a kitten get 3 miles out to sea?

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)
A Car, for the Rest of Us

Skoda... it's not a Czech beer after all!

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)
Feeling... Woozy...

Remember folks, the image is actually not moving.


Posted by scott at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)
July 10, 2004
Parenting 101-Your First Year

  • Men don't wash toddlers, they soak them. Like tea bags. You can always tell how deep the tub was by the scum line on their chest.
  • The one who smells it, changes it.
  • Being a parent means learning how to breathe through your mouth. A lot.
  • Our child is odd. Yours is too!
  • Cat food is a special treat when mommy and daddy are not looking.
  • Clean, what does clean mean?
  • We have our own weather system in the house. It's called Hurricane Olivia.
  • Cheese balls are your friend. Especially when bought in bulk.
  • Cats like cheese balls too.
  • Cheese balls turn white cats orange. This was Olivia's first scientific experiment.
  • Vacuum cleaner hoses are the perfect place to hide your extra cheese balls.
  • You may be married, you may have a house, you may have a car, your parents still yell at you.
  • Your child is they only reason they visit you now.
  • Cat boxes are NOT sand boxes!
  • You can never have too many binkies! (pacifiers)
  • You have 50 binkies in your house (at $2.25 each) and you can only find 4 at a time.
  • With high chairs, you can judge how much your child ate by the amount of food you find under their butt.
  • Learn to tip well at restaraunts, because they have to call in the cleaning crew to clean up under your child's chair.
  • Every household should have the "Redneck's Home Remedy Kit": cotton swabs and Wild Turkey.
  • M&M's are really "baby crack".
  • Friends? What friends? Oh! Those are the ones running away screaming.
  • "NO!!!" is the first word every child learns.
  • You can tell, because they grin when you say it.

Up next: When your child's monitor picks up some other baby in the neighborhood.

Posted by Ellen at 06:54 PM | Comments (4)
Melon Mate

Fed-up with produce available for women? MelonMate was designed to turn your choice of melon into the love of your life. Whether watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew -- Melon Mate will provide hours of wet juicy fun, as well as provide breakfast the next morning. Now you can have your cake and eat it too!

Melon mate is the perfect novelty gift for the single, divorced, or love deprived men around the world. Buy one today!

Buy one today!

Posted by Ellen at 11:56 AM | Comments (0)
Ex-‘Blue’s Clues’ Host Reinvented As Rocker

Burns is the former host of the beloved Nickelodeon children’s program, “Blue’s Clues.”

Since he left the show in 2003, he has seemingly reinvented himself as an indie rocker.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)
Another Reason Why We Hate the French

Plastic swords confiscated by French customs Two-year-old twins had their dream Disneyland holiday ruined – when French airport customs officers swooped on them for carrying plastic swords.

The Luton girls, dressed in Peter Pan outfits, were making their way home through Charles de Gaulle airport when they were stopped for 'posing a security threat'.

Read entire article here

They must be mad cause they are going to lose the Tour De France AGAIN! .

Posted by Ellen at 09:31 AM | Comments (8)
Brown Dwarf News

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing a new development in the theory of how brown dwarves are formed. These celestial bodies are too large to be called planets but too small to self-ignite into stars. The two leading theories were that they either formed like stars or were ejected out of nebula due to explosions. A recent discovery, detailed in the article, has given the "forms-like-a-star" theory a boost.

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (0)
July 09, 2004
Naked Thieves

The sad thing is, there are probably folks out there who would actually give these people money:

GRDI Select, L.P. is a private, unregistered investment pool that is unencumbered by disclosure and filing requirements imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission ... all monies will be safely held in off-shore tax havens ... GRDI Select, L.P. will not track recognized indexes. GRDI Select, L.P. will seek out unconventional investment strategies, which will guarantee much higher returns.

Yeah, returns for them. Looks like some of those pay-pal scam guys have grown up, eh?

Via Jason

Posted by scott at 03:35 PM | Comments (0)
Naked Dwarves

Space.com is carrying this report on the discovery of a "naked" white dwarf star. The only white dwarf found to date completely without an atmosphere of any sort, it's also very young, with perhaps only 100 years passing since its nuclear engine shut down. Its lack of an obscuring envelope of hydrogen or helium means astronomers will be able to very closely study what happens inside this very strange member of the cosmological menagerie.

Posted by scott at 03:21 PM | Comments (0)
But Will They Bring Out Their Dead?

Ron gets a rustic no-prize for bringing us rent-a-peasant, a duo specializing in "historic recreation" for monuments and special events. I wonder if they'd let us repress them for a few hours? We'd pay extra!

Posted by scott at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Card Crazies

Sherri gets a no-prize in a tuna can for bringing us the latest in obscenely cute cat animation and music. Gah. Ellen and Amber only now stopped singing that "Cat, I'm a Kitty Kat" song. Now this...

Posted by scott at 01:30 PM | Comments (2)
A Guide, for the Rest of Us

The name sort of says it all: The Stupid Person's Guide to Life, wherein we find such valuable advice as:

  • Don't eat rocks.
  • The stuff on the bottom of your shoe is not for internal consumption.
  • Don't listen to music from the Spice Girls.

Sad thing is, you know there are people out there who need this sort of advice.

Posted by scott at 12:00 PM | Comments (2)
Monkey See, Monkey Grab

New Scientist is carrying this extremely interesting new development in brain research:

Brain implants have been used to "read the minds" of monkeys to predict what they are about to do and even how enthusiastic they are about doing it.

It is the first time such high level cognitive brain signals have been decoded and could ultimately lead to more natural thought-activated prosthetic devices for people with paralysis, says Richard Andersen project leader at the California Institute of Technology, in Pasadena, US.

Of course, the foil hat brigade will be far more interested in the other obvious "use" such a technology could be used for. Because you know most people are all about having electrodes implanted in their brains just so the government can find out what they're looking at.

Posted by scott at 10:56 AM | Comments (1)

One of my all-time-favorite flight simulators is IL-2 Sturmovik, and now that I've got a high-horsepower computer I've started flying again in Forgotten Battles, the 2002 expansion. Turned out most of my friends weren't very familiar with the type, so I figured a few links might help out:


Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (1)
Basic is as Basic Does

Let's all pause for a moment to consider this well-cared for Yugo for sale on e-bay. Before Hundai or Kia or Daewoo, there was Yugo, the ultimate in low-cost motoring. Listing for $3990 when introduced in 1986, they actually sold reasonably well until it was realized that even "enlightened" socialism was incapable of producing a car that would hold itself together for more than six months.

Unlike our socialist brethren (and their equally enlightened liberal counterparts in places like California), there was no elite bureaucratic agency to force Americans to buy cheap crappy cars, so sales plummeted. Those who had to bought Japanese and Korean cars at twice the cost that lasted ten times as long, and the Yugo was allowed to rust, clank, and smoke into the sunset.

Except for this one, apparently. I guess it just proves that if you sit on anything long enough, it will gain in value.

Posted by scott at 09:22 AM | Comments (1)
Probe Updates

BBCnews is carrying this update on the Cassini project, which returned some pretty spectacular ultraviolet images of Saturn's rings. They're also carrying this Mars rover update, which discusses plans to keep the rovers operating at least until September, and perhaps through the Martian winter to start roving operations again next (Martian) spring.

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)
July 08, 2004

Oh, to have rabbi Blogstein again... I feel only he could tell us if Yarmulkbra was simply tacky or a one (two?) way ticket to hell itself. At the very least, it'd make temple a whole lot more interesting, no?

Oh good lord, I am so going to come back as a bug.

Ron gets a no-prize for bringing us just that much closer to being Satan's bed buddy.

Posted by scott at 08:18 PM | Comments (2)

CaptainHowdy gets an anonymous no-prize for bringing us BugMeNot.com, your one-stop-shop to read all those news links we post that require registration. Ok Nina, no excuses now, you'll have to read all the articles!

Posted by scott at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Crackdown

Well, Italians at least seem to be taking steps to enforce responsibilty toward pets:

The [Italian] Senate gave final approval Thursday to an animal cruelty bill which would impose prison terms of up to one year and fines of up to 10,000 euros ($12,350) for those convicted of abandoning their pets .
Pessimists wonder how easy it will be to track down Italians who abandon their pets and bring them to justice, but at least one Italian region has come up with a solution.

In northern Piedmont, the government has introduced a bill requiring all dog owners to plant microchips in their pets.

Great. Now Ellen will want to be an Italian police officer.

Posted by scott at 02:55 PM | Comments (2)
Brings a Whole New Meaning to "Pole Position"

This has to be a record of some sort:

A man caught driving naked from the waist down while watching kiddie porn on his laptop computer has become the first man in Toronto charged with allegedly stealing an Internet connection.

Looks like "stealing an internet connection" was just what the cops charged him with to hang on to him until the detectives could show up. Paperwork for that sort of arrest must be easier in Toronto or something. Sick, stupid, and dangerous. Boy, now that's a trifecta.

Posted by scott at 01:45 PM | Comments (0)
Galactic Puzzle

Space.com is carrying this article summarizing new findings that punch a serious dent into the standard model of how the universe formed. By using new surveys and new telescopes, astronomers have found that large, mature galaxies were in existence at least 12 billion years ago, far earlier than previously thought or predicted by existing theory.

Posted by scott at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)
Cave Man, Handy Man

Washington Post today ran this article (free reg, blah blah) detailing some new developments in early-modern human research. Turns out that the human remains at Vogelherd, a German cave site that provided one of the strongest links between early-modern humans and the Aurignacian culture, were only a few thousand years old. Hence, no strong link. This finding opens up the possibility that it was neandertals who created this artwork, perhaps even the entire Aurignacian complex itself.

If it can be proven, it would be a ground-shaking discovery. Until this time, one of the primary differences between early modern humans and neandertals seemed to be cultural.

Posted by scott at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)
Hippity-Hoppity Murderers

Ron gets a deadly-but-cute no-prize for bringing us this story about Australia's killer kangaroos:

Australians living in the nation’s drought-ravaged capital were warned on Wednesday to keep their distance from aggressive kangaroos after the iconic marsupials attacked one woman and killed a pet dog.

Vorpal bunnies, killer kangas... what's the world coming to?

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)
Buried Treasure

Fark linked up this story about an amazing find that should prove to be a real boon to Philadelphia schools:

In the city's cash-strapped public schools, a multimillion-dollar treasure trove of art has been discovered in basements, boiler rooms, closets and hallways.

The collection encompasses about 1,200 works in all, many of them paintings but also sculpture, wall murals, tapestry, ancient artifacts and works on paper. The collection is likely worth tens of millions of dollars, school officials and art experts said.

Nothing like a 10-million dollar shot in the arm to help the ol' school budget along, eh? Of course, now they have to do something smart with the money. Public school administrations don't have a very good track record in that regard. Expect massive bureaucratic bickering soon.

Posted by scott at 09:38 AM | Comments (2)
July 07, 2004
Puppet Show

Well, its' not really XXX, but you will have to see it for yourself.

Oh yeah, don't forget to get tested for syphilis.

Complete with a mini movie!

Posted by Ellen at 06:53 PM | Comments (0)

XXX Cartoon!

A while back Shockwave asked South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to make two short animated flash films for them. Although the creators had warned Shockwave that they would deliver a cartoon with no holds barred, Shockwave insisted on having them make it. So, they did! And "Princess" was the result. See why Shockwave never aired them . . .

Warning. Extremely offensive content.

See the first episode here.

Check out the second episode here.

Posted by Ellen at 06:46 PM | Comments (2)
Danzig Down

~ I know/It's only rock and roll but I like it~:

[North Side Kings frontman Danny Marianino said] I confronted Mr. Danzig backsatge while he was signing autographs ... In a fit of rage he turned around and slammed me into the wall yelling "fuck you motherfucker" trying to be a big toughguy in front of his fans. I -in self defence punched him in the face knocking him out as he was attacking me again.

The video of the incident seems to prove the guy's story. Also proves Mr. Marianino was a very large man, in the "big ol' biker dude" school of body shape. Picking fights with people that weigh ~ 100 lbs more than you is not generally a good way to win friends and influence people, donchaknow.

Posted by scott at 02:37 PM | Comments (9)
Just When You Thought You'd Seen it All

Three words: home circumcision kit. Single use, to gaurantee sharpness and sterility. No, really!

Joshua gets a uniquely shaped no-prize for bringing us the ultimate tool for those of you too cheap to get a hospital or rabbi to do the job.

Posted by scott at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)
Those Crazy Norwegians, at it Again

And by it, we mean, well, it:

As Kristopher Schau and his band Cumshots were in the middle of their concert; a young couple entered the stage, stripped and had sex.
The young couple, Tommy Hol Ellingsen, age 28, and Leona Johansson, age 21, are members of the environmental organization "Fuck for Forest." They have sex in public in order to put focus on the rainforest.

Note: Includes not-safe-for-work photos.

Just when you thought hippies couldn't get any weirder...

Posted by scott at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)
Sim Tech

Flight-sim officianados may be interested to learn Saitek has a new product, the X-52, coming out this fall. No price listed yet, but the X-45 system is $80, and I seriously doubt this one will come in less than that.

I've used Saitek's line of high-end controllers for about eight years now. They are not perfect; there were serious design flaws in the X-36 and the X-45's spring system isn't as precise as I'd like, but for the price there literally is nothing else that even comes close.

Posted by scott at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)
Face Fan

For the narcissist who has everything, we bring you the home face casting kit:

The ArtMolds Face Casting kit contains professional quality instructions and materials to create a mold and casting of a similar famous person or more importantly that special someone.

"Honey! Come downstairs! I need you to stick your face in this bucket of plaster because you're my special someone."

Boy if that's not romance I don't know what is. And imagine the looks of surprise and delight when you give bronze-painted copies of your own face to friends and family! What a tremendous gift!

Posted by scott at 10:14 AM | Comments (0)
Queen to King's 4. Rook to Queen's 1, Check

One of the more interesting political discussions going around now is how the Bush campaign will react to the Kerry campaign's move of picking Edwards as his running mate. This otherwise straightforward article has the niftiest suggestion to date:

Bush will drop Cheney from the ticket, and replace him with someone more exciting, and with less baggage -- think John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Colin Powell, or, my favorite, Condi Rice.

I like Ms. Rice as well, but I personally think Giuliani will be picked (if anyone). However, I have to root for McCain simply for the potential Nomad-like meltdown it could produce in my brother, who is both a huge supporter of McCain and a huge opponent of Bush.

Politics can be fun!

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (3)
My Mom's Spiritual Sisiter?

We all know someone who's a victim, now we have a name: e-bay binge buyers:

"I set up a "watching" page, where you can keep a list of all the items you like and monitor the bidding.

"It got to the stage where the first thing I would do in the morning and the last thing at night was check the list for any changes.

Hey, make fun of it if you like, but (if you're careful) you can get some damned good bargains. 90% of Olivia's clothes are grandma-poached e-bay items.

Posted by scott at 08:22 AM | Comments (1)
July 06, 2004
Annoying Them is Half the Fun

Liz D. gets a helmet-clad no-prize for bringing us what happens to cats when spare time attacks

Yeah, I think we might have featured it before, but can you really have too many cute cats?!?

Posted by scott at 04:02 PM | Comments (2)
Watch for Falling Prices

Those of you looking to pick up one of those hyper-cool LCD TVs will be pleased to know prices are expected to drop significantly this year:

DisplaySearch expects priced for LCDs to [drop] faster than expected. Despite strong LCD TV shipments, inventories were growing in the first quarter of this year, the market research firm said Friday.

A new TV is a definite "maybe" for our FY 05-06 budget. Even though we're right now interested in DLP technology, LCDs might end up dropping into our budget range. Regardless, this will put downward price pressure on pretty much everything (except plasmas), so this is good news for everyone!

Posted by scott at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Best. Bus. Ad. Ever.

Much better than those lame Scooby-Doo jobs running around town right now.

Posted by scott at 01:57 PM | Comments (0)

Aaron over at Uppity-Negro somehow stumbled onto my worst computing nightmare:

Hello Kitty responds to your keyboard motion by talking and moving!

Hello Kitty will talk with you along with the input motion of the keyboard (moves both arms and head). Hello Kitty is able to talk in both Japanese and English. The languages can be switched. There is an English or Japanese manual available to you.

Includes excruciatingly-cute pictures of said product.

I'm so glad Ellen went for eye surgery instead of a new laptop this year. However, some of this stuff might make nice wedding presents...

Posted by scott at 12:48 PM | Comments (1)
Commando Kitty

Joshua gets a camo-and-whisker no-prize for bringing us the commando kitty.

Dogs will die tonight...

Posted by scott at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

Ok, I laughed out loud at this one:


Neither side's had an original idea in the past sixty years, but at least the right's old ideas work.

Update: In the interests of equal time (see! see! I'm not a reactionary! Nope! Not me! Now get these damned kids off my lawn!!!), one of the members of the Yellow-dog peanut gallery provided this product as a counter-point.

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (2)
Platform Politics

The LA Times has this summary (free reg required, blah blah blah) of the Democrat's campaign platform for '04. The Times positively squeaks with disappointment that it essentially continues nearly all of the current administration's foreign policies.

Which simply confirms what I already suspected: if Kerry's elected, he won't trash what's been built so far. While it lets me sleep at night, it doesn't mean I'm voting for him. Kerry may be very moderate and reasonable, but his cabinet won't be. It'll be as wacky left as Clinton's was and as wacky right as Bush's is. Fortunately, an opposition congress will mean Kerry's administration will be completely ineffective at getting anything done, so the really loopy stuff will remain safely out of reach, trapped in the endless circles of lefty talking heads.

Posted by scott at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)
The Grandmother Hypothesis

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing a new study on hominid fossils. By doing a survey of dental fossils, a pair of scientists has found evidence of an explosion of people surviving into old age may have been fundamental to the success of our species, and perhaps the failure of other hominids.

The use of teeth is clever, and has a reason. Hominids, up until about fifteen thousand years ago, were quite rare and therefore their fossils are few and far between. Much of the hominid fossil record is only teeth, because teeth are the most likely things to fossilize. In fact, teeth are probably the only hominid fossils common enough over a long enough period of time to make a statistical analysis like this meaningful.

Just goes to show there's no such thing as "old, useless" evidence.

Posted by scott at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)
College Crime Blotter

Fark linked up this search engine that allows you to examine the crime statistics of various colleges and universities nationwide. My alma mater, U of Arkansas, seems to come off pretty good, with very low per-capita rates (15,000 students, crime stats mostly below 30 incidents per year). Not surprisingly, the vast majority of violations were alcohol busts.

How does your college stack up?

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
July 05, 2004
Mouse in The House


Me: "Who the fuck is calling now!?!" (the phone rang 5 times in a row this evening)

Amber: "Hey! It's me! I just got your message about the ...AAAIIIIEE!!! PUTITDOWN!!! LETITGO!!LETITGO!!!!!" (my ears are ringing at this point) "I'll call you back!" *CLAP!!!*, the phone goes dead.

Me: "Oooo K."

5 minutes later the phone rings again.

Amber : "Hiiiii!!! OMFG!" (no, really, she says it so fast it sounds like initials) "You won't believe what Garrison had in his mouth!" [Garrison is one of Amber's cats. Gigantic brown-striped dino-cat. He should star in a Flinstone's episode or something. -SJ]

Me: "A mouse?" (Garrison lurvs mice. But not in a nice way. More like a "self-propelled snack" sort of way.)

Amber : "Yes! The fucker! I KNEW something was up! He was laying in the kitchen and I opened the pantry door to get my broom and out this mouse came and Garrison woudn't let it go and I couldn't get his mouth open and Ron is trying to take a shit and he's screaming" ( As you can see, Amber does not come up for air when she gets excited) "and it was sooo cute and it was ok, cause there were no bite marks but I was sure Garrison killed it that naughty kitty! He is sooo naughty!" (comes up for air finally)

Me: "Did ya find the hole?"

Amber: "Oh yeah it's a tiny hole I'm going to have to plug it up with spray insulation" (comes out as "Ohyeahit'satinyholeI'mgoingtohavetoplugitupwithsprayinsulation")

Me: "Make sure you use steel wool, they don't like steel wool."

Amber: "OOO.. they don't? It was so cute! I had it in a paper towel..."

Then Olivia, who has really bad diaper rash and was getting naked time sudenly pees on a stair-step cat ladder Magrat uses to get to her food. [Finally, a human gets to pee on something the cats think is important. -SJ]

Me: "Uh... Amber, I got to go. Olivia just peed on my floor."

Amber: (very seriously) "She... peed?" ("These things you call.. ch-i-l-dren... why do they behave in this unusual manner?")

Me: "Yep."

Amber: (all cheeful once again) "OK!!! SEE YA!!!!!" (you can almost hear her ruby slipper heels clacking as she skips off down the yellow brick road while I go clean up kiddie pee.)

At least her cat does its cat-like jobs. Mine would offer one a beer.

Posted by Ellen at 08:24 PM | Comments (1)
Browser Wars, Part II?

Slashdot linked up yet another major outlet recommending dumping IE for Firefox. At work we've been a Netscape shop from nearly day one, and have therefore avoided essentially all the various viruses that have wracked the internet over the years. No, really, out of the hundreds of attacks that shut down entire networks, we've only had to deal with one virus, in nearly ten years.

Unfortunately, now that we're beginning to hire younger (i.e. cheaper), more savvy employees, IE is creeping in. Now suddenly I'm getting all sorts of calls about "weird" behavior that turns out to be spyware that the not-savvy-enough users browsing porn and shopping "mysteriously" ended up with. Next massive upgrade comes around, I'm getting rid of that damned blue "E".

Except the $300,000 website the previous administration saddled us with (right before they departed, after dropping our cash reserves from 2 million to 20,000) requires IE. Gah. Never ends.

Don't worry mom, I'll install the "new hotness" when we visit.

Posted by scott at 05:11 PM | Comments (1)

Happy 25th birthday to the Walkman!

I remember when they came out, and how damned expensive they were ($200 in 1979 was a helluva lot of money for a tape deck). I ended up with a competitor's product that was 1/5th the price, but I never will forget the impact that gizmo had. Changed everything.

At some point they'll show the "Walkman-CD", and that's when all you high school graduates (Nina) will really get a laugh. The thing was as big as a purse, and I think it took 4 C cell batteries. Weighed a ton. People jogged with them anyway. Ah, the 80s... good times, good times.

Posted by scott at 04:46 PM | Comments (1)
Plywood Playa

Fark linked up this site that details the construction of what would normally be brass instruments out of plywood. I wonder what the square cross-section does for the tonality?

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (1)
July 04, 2004
Massive Black Hole Stumps Researchers

Sitting at the heart of a distant galaxy, the black hole appears to be about 12.7 billion years old, which means it formed just one billion years after the universe began and is one of the oldest supermassive black holes ever known.

A supermassive black hole a few million times the mass of the Sun is thought to sit at the center of our own Milky Way galaxy, and some of the largest supermassives seen date have reached up to two billion solar masses, researchers said.

Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
History Tidbit

Jul 4 1054

A supernova suddenly appears in the constellation Taurus. It is so bright that for the first 23 days it is visible during the day. Then it gradually fades away, finally disappearing after a year or so. Today the remnants of this star are the Crab Nebula.

Thanks to The Daily Rotten for the historic info!

Posted by Ellen at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)
Probably Only Improved the Taste

As we quest to bring you the weird-and-f'd-up in the world, we've come across our fair share of "critter in the cup" stories. However, this story of a Missouri judge finding a mouse in his beer is probably the first we've found with pictures. Includes this "understatement of the year" caption:

The mouse appeared not to have gone through the pasteurization process.

Ya think?

Posted by scott at 12:27 PM | Comments (0)

Happy 4th of July!

For all of you out there using firecrackers tonight, here is some information from the CDC on firecracker related injuries for you.

Posted by Ellen at 10:18 AM | Comments (2)
Belly Bombs

From the "things-you-should-know-but-don't-really-want-to" file, we have this breakdown of the highest calorie burgers available at various restaraunt chains. Surprisingly, McDonalds only just makes it on the list, with one of their "double" sandwiches.

1300 calories in a single burger. Damn.

Posted by scott at 08:45 AM | Comments (0)
July 03, 2004
Like Something You'd See at Wimbledon

Title pretty much says it all about Cassini's first pictures of Titan. Looks like a tennis ball without the seams. The upcoming probe in December should provide far more detail, as will Cassini's own centimeter-resolution radar. Still, good to know it's still there.

Posted by scott at 07:44 PM | Comments (1)


Thanks to Iraq The Model for the neato poster!

Posted by Ellen at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)
Marlon Brando dies at 80

CNN) -- Marlon Brando, the stage and screen actor whose performances in "A Streetcar Named Desire," "On the Waterfront" and "The Godfather" earned him plaudits as one of the greatest actors of all time, has died, his attorney said. He was 80.

rando's agent, Jay Cantor, said the actor was admitted to UCLA Medical Center on Wednesday evening and that the cause of death was pulmonary fibrosis, a condition that involves scarring of the lungs.

Brando had suffered from congestive heart failure and was overweight.

Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 11:50 AM | Comments (0)
Traffic Sim

DC-area readers at least should be interested in this New Scientist article about a new traffic flow simulator. By using a new model that takes more sophisticated driver behavior into account, this new program is able to predict future traffic jams as much as an hour in advance.

Of course, in this area pretty much anyone can predict most of the local traffic jams. Say it with me folks: "Wilson bridge, 270 spur, 66 at rt 50, 395 at Duke"... you can set your watch by it sometimes.

Posted by scott at 09:09 AM | Comments (0)
H. erectus Update

CNN is carrying this more elaborate story on the new hominid fossil find we featured earlier this week. This time includes pictures, and notes that there's strong evidence that this ancestor, at least, started its road to "fossildom" by first becoming something else's lunch.

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
July 02, 2004
Hot Hot Hot!!

Ya know, today I learned something.

I learned that you should make sure after cutting hot peppers that you wash wash wash wash wash those hands till they are raw before rubbing your face near your nose (near... not in... nope, not in. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

I learned something else today. I learned that no amount of jumping up and down, running in circles, climbing stairs, or washing your nose with soap and water will stop the burn.

Finally, I learned that putting milk on a cotton ball and shoving it up your nose is the only thing in the world that will stop the burn.

Oh, don't worry, Scott's on the couch tonight. "It does a body good" when your spouse is streaming milk out of her cotton-stuffed nose is only funny when you say it on the inside.

Posted by Ellen at 08:55 PM | Comments (7)
Mel's Diner

Scott and I think Olivia looks like a short order cook in this picture. Next time she has spaghetti, she will ONLY be wearing a diaper.

Posted by Ellen at 08:52 PM | Comments (1)
Color Me Unsurprised

While it would appear Moore's latest film isn't as egregious as previous books and movies, there's still enough screwing around that Spinsanity can write a whole article picking the thing apart:

"Fahrenheit 9/11" is filled with a series of deceptive half-truths and carefully phrased insinuations that Moore does not adequately back up. As Washington Monthly blogger Kevin Drum and others have noted, the irony is that these are the same tactics frequently used by the target of the film, George W. Bush. Moore and his chief antagonist have more in common than viewers might think.

If you think spinsanity is just another Republican dissembler, then my friend you aren't reading it regularly.

As I've said before, I've thought Moore was an ass since his TV days twenty years ago. This hasn't changed my opinion one bit. Buttmunch, you see, knows no party.

Posted by scott at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)
~ Fame/it’s not your brain/it’s just the flame ~

Jason over at Iraq Now provides graphic evidence that the US's and UK's cult of celebrity will make the media fawn even if you're a mass murderer:

In court, he was clear-eyed, calm and most of all - unbowed. --AP

Although fallen, stumbling and unimpressive on his only appearance since his capture seven months ago -- The Australian

Of course, considering how famous Charlie Manson still is, I guess I really shouldn't be all that surprised.

Posted by scott at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)
When Curmudgeons Attack

Looks like Bill Cosby's mad as hell, and he's not taking it anymore:

Bill Cosby went off on another tirade against the black community Thursday, telling a room full of activists that black children are running around not knowing how to read or write and "going nowhere."
Cosby also said many young people are failing to honor the sacrifices made by those who struggled and died during the civil rights movement.

"Dogs, water hoses that tear the bark off trees, Emmett Till," he said, naming the black youth who was tortured and murdered in Mississippi in 1955, allegedly for whistling at a white woman. "And you're going to tell me you're going to drop out of school? You're going to tell me you're going to steal from a store?"

Finally someone famous enough to be heard with bona-fides (and money) enough to be listened to is stepping up. Liberal wailing and tearing of shirts in 3... 2... 1...

Let's posit for the sake of argument that the Republican party is composed of rich fundamentalist bigots. What's important to realize is this is not an end state. Change the people, change the party. Whichever party figures out free markets, rule of law, and unintrusive government is what most people want first will be the party that rules the country for the next twenty years. Looking around, I only see one that even comes close.

Time to change the people*.

* Note to the peanut gallery: "changing the people" does not mean "putting people who want to take my money 'for the common good'" in charge. While working for change, I'd much rather the country be run by people who want to change what some of us do than by people who want to change what most of us think.

Posted by scott at 12:44 PM | Comments (1)
SNAFU, Legislation-style

The Post carried the story this morning of our state government's foot-shooting, but they didn't exactly detail how the screwup ocurred. This newsleader story does a much better job:

The problem came about because state legislators attempting finally to remove [laws requiring a "sabbath" day off be granted to employees] from the books goofed, only completing half the job. They left the actual laws, but repealed later amendments that nullified the law and others that listed businesses and government agencies that were exempt.

My state tax dollars at work this time. As always, it has to be a crisis of epic proportions before any real action can be taken. God I love government...

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)
Planets Plantets Everywhere...

BBCnews is carrying this report summarizing the latest in Hubble's long line of "telescopic" discoveries. This time, a survey of the Milky Way's galactic "bulge" has revealed evidence of at least 100 planets orbiting various stars. I can remember a time when we didn't know of any planets outside our own solar system, and now it seems we find them everywhere we look. There are new telescopes and other instruments on the drawing boards right now that promise to be able to study the atmospheres of at least some of these planets. Amazing!

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (4)
What's Good for the Goose...

Scott Ott hits another one with this new development in the "your money's actually mine" foot-in-mouth incident:

In the same week that Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, told a San Francisco audience that future President John Forbes Kerry will take money away from wealthy Americans "on behalf of the common good", the former First Lady's publisher announced it would not pay the $5.3 million deferred advance it owes for her book Living History.

Somehow I doubt if she'd even see the connection.

Posted by scott at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)
Attic Find

Sometimes all you find in the attic is crap. Sometimes you find a lot more:

igeons fluttering through a hole in the ceiling of a Spanish cathedral led an art restoration team to discover an exquisite Renaissance fresco of winged angels that had been covered up for more than 300 years.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)
Beware the Power Pizza

Take two guys, an idea, and a pizza box and what do you get? The Power Pizza, the "perfect disguise" for a mac powerbook (shown) or any other laptop. Unfortunately around here you'd merely be exchanging one sort of teenage felon for another (stoners get the munchies too!)

Personally, the very best deterrence I've found is simply throwing a towel, shirt, or jacket over valuables. When done correctly anything underneath is invisible. Because if a thief decides they want something in your car, there's not a car alarm in the world that's going to stop them.

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

New Scientist is carrying this summary of a recent hominid find in east Africa. While the article is a little light on specfics, anthropologists seem to have discovered a new Homo erectus skull. Since erectus is so poorly represented in the fossil record, any find is important. This one is unusual because it's much smaller than previous finds (about 30%). Predictably, calls have gone up to call it a new species, but thankfully at least some people are fighting this attempt.

Posted by scott at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)
July 01, 2004
When Wives Attack

set picture = 1000 words;


My caption: "What, you think I'm gonna tell her she put it in the wrong gear?"

Actual caption: Pat Campanella, left, and Affordable Towing and Recovery owner Devin Statts discuss how to get Campanella's SUV out of Katherine Peacock's pool in Hawai'i Kai. Campanella was giving his wife a driving lesson when she overcompensated and drove into the pool.

Ok Ellen, all those times I gave you grief while I was teaching you how to drive? I take them all back! There are most definitely worse things than doing a burnout in front of a cop.

Posted by scott at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)
I'm Sure They Were Polite Hippos

Sherri gets a waterlogged no-prize for bringing us this news of hippo fossils found in the UK:

The bones of seven-tonne hippos half as big again as today's descendants have been found [in East Anglia] alongside those of horses, hyenas, deer, primitive mammoths, rodents and plants giving an unprecedented insight into the distant past.

Crazy to think, but the UK was, 700,000 years ago, more like the African savannah than anything else today, and it had wildlife to match.

Posted by scott at 01:03 PM | Comments (0)
F3ll0wsh1p of teh R1ng

You know anything can be "translated" to l33t when they manage it with the Lord of the Rings:

[later, in Bag End]
Gandalf: "Give teh ringz0r to Frodo"
Bilbo: "Sif! It r precious!"
Gandalf: "STFU NOOB!!!"
Bilbo: "ok"
Gandalf has logged on as admin
Bilbo has been kicked from The Shire

Gandalf: "Show me teh ring, foo!"
**Gandalf rides out, does some research, comes back
Gandalf: "OMGZ, it R teh ring!"
Frodo: "***?"
Gandalf has logged on as admin
Frodo has been kicked from The Shire
Sam has been kicked from The Shire

L33t AIM users and Everquest zombies should get a good chuckle. Everyone else? PWNED!!!

Posted by scott at 12:35 PM | Comments (1)
Chernobyl Hoax

Remember that really cool "Chernobyl-on-a-motorcycle" story we linked up awhile back? Well, turns out it was a damned dirty hoax:

I am sorry to report that much of Elena's story is not true. She did not travel around the zone by herself on a motorcycle. Motorcycles are banned in the zone, as is wandering around alone, without an escort from the zone administration. She made one trip there with her husband and a friend. They traveled in a Chornobyl car that picked them up in Kyiv.

The pictures are of Chernobyl, which means they're still extra-freaky weird, but any visions of a lone chick on a bike in a big empty silence are just that, visions.

Posted by scott at 10:58 AM | Comments (1)
Playing Politics, Hockey-Puck Style

One of the advantages of a democratic system is self-correction. When someone spots a screwup that can be fixed with legislation, the mechanisms exist to get them fixed. Of course, it's never really that simple, as this blackfive piece makes abundently clear:

HR 4323 is a bill designed to give the Department of Defense the ability to have Rapid Acquisition Authority (RAA). This ability is desired in order to speed up deployments, make them more effective and to provide adequate protection and facilities for our troops during combat emergencies.

The holdup is, no surprise, politically-based. The leaders are, of course, the same Democrats who blame the administration for the military's lack of preparedness. Can't have a law passed that would make it easier to be prepared before the election, can we*? Pay no attention to the armor-less hummvee on your right as you enter the booth please.

Via Misha.

* "Wouldn't need it if..." blah blah blah. Yeah, but that misses the point. Petty politics is holding up a bill that, if enacted, would save lives. The system's broken, it's been that way for at least the past twenty years, and this bill helps fix it. Why stop it at all except to get a few extra digs before November?

Posted by scott at 10:34 AM | Comments (1)
To Infinity, and Beyond (Comrade)!

Slashdot linked up this article detailing what must be the ultimate "swords-into-plowshares" story, the Russian's conversion of SS-18 ICBMs into one of the most successful heavy-lift commercial boosters in history. What's not mentioned in the article but was given an entire issue in AvWeek last year is that ex-Soviet engines power one of the new US boosters (the Boeing model, I think). They couldn't manage their way out of a paper sack, but I've always thought the Soviets' engineering was second-to-none. This pretty much proves that point.

Posted by scott at 09:52 AM | Comments (0)
Quit Your Bitchin'!

Don't you just hate it when you volunteer your time to help others,(ie veterinary questions since most people out there are too F*&ING cheap to call their vet) and all the people do is bitch at you?

I have stated several times in my bio on the volunteer site that I DO NOT replace your vet, nor am I a vet nor do I give out FREE medical advice that your veterinary office should. I merely give suggestions and what questions you should be asking your vet.

So for all of you cheap asses out there, learn to budget for your pets! Can't afford the vet once a year, then rethink the type of pet you have.

Posted by Ellen at 09:00 AM | Comments (2)
It's a Teardrop! No, it's a... rrmm... well...

Not to be outdone by the "pile-of-ham-in-a-bedroom" school of New York art, New Jersey has decided to comission the Western Hemisphere's most tacky sculpture. What they don't mention, but the Post did a few weeks ago, is that the center clitoris "teardrop" will be chilled well below ambient so it will constantly "weep" real water. If they build it, this thing will be to tasteful memorials what Tammy Fae is to evangelisim.

Things like this do happen. Ellen's dad's bedroom community decided to show how civic-minded (and conspicuously wealthy) they were by comissioning a well-known sculptor to put something avant-garde up in their new park. What they didn't seem to notice was the person who won the contract was a radical far left feminist lesbian. The result was a somewhat abstracted representation of a rather intimate portion of the female anatomy erected (as it were) in the middle of a conservative "family-values" town.

The unveiling ceremony must've been something out of Waiting for Guffman. To this day I regret missing it.

Posted by scott at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)
Arriving at Gate 1: Cassini

In case you missed it, the Saturn probe Cassini made it into orbit last night. The primary mission will last 4 years, but apparently the probe has power and propellant enough to go for much longer than that. The Huegens lander is scheduled for release toward Titan some time this winter.

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (0)