September 30, 2004
Greased Lightning?

Can you spot what's wrong with this picture? If you can, you're better than a 1/2 dozen redneck racecar drivers!


Posted by Ellen at 08:53 PM | Comments (8)
At The Fish Hatchery



Just kidding. :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:49 PM | Comments (0)
Cocker Puppies

We here at AMCGLTD hate puppies. Can't stand them. So we bring you the same horrific puppies we had to be subjected to in Arkansas. They were so horrific that we were brainwashed into playing and cuddling with them and holding them while yelling at our husband to give us another puppy.... and I don't care if the little boy cries, I want his puppy too!


No I hate puppies dammit! Thats MY story and I'm sticking to it! :)

Posted by Ellen at 08:32 PM | Comments (3)
Mount St. Helens Update

The alert remains at a Volcano Advisory. Overnight the seismic energy level increased slightly and remains elevated with a rate of 3-4 events per minute and now include events as large as magnitude 3.3. All earthquake locations are still shallow and in or below the lava dome. In addition, initial data from the GPS instrument on the lava dome that was repaired Monday morning suggest that the site moved a few inches northward Monday and Tuesday, but has since been stable. Such movement is not surprising in light of the high seismicity levels. A USGS field crew continued their deployment of GPS equipment yesterday in order to monitor any ground movement on the lava dome, crater floor, or lower slopes of the volcano. A gas flight yesterday morning measured no significant volcanic gas, as was the case on Monday. Another gas flight will occur this afternoon. Press conferences will be held today at CVO at 9:30 am and 2:30 pm to update the media. Today's field work includes further GPS data collection and a gas flight.

The current hazard outlook is unchanged from that outlined in yesterday's Volcano Advisory. Updated wind forecasts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration coupled with an eruption model indicate that the wind direction are out of the northeast. Therefore any ash clouds produced today will drift southwestward.

Are ya scared yet??

Found here.

Posted by Ellen at 08:18 PM | Comments (2)
That's Mister Alfa Romeo to you, Bub

Read 'em and weep... 10.2 @ 128.

A 164Q is normally a mid-14s sorta vehicle. Lord only knows what he did to it to knock four full seconds off his ET. Alfas aren't normally 1400-feet-and-out. They like to turn and brake and go round and round. Still, as our friend Vader would say, "impressive... most impressive..."

Posted by scott at 06:52 PM | Comments (0)
Lost & Found

Missing for five centuries, a stolen page from a landmark book has been found:

The illuminated page depicting the occupations of the month of October comes from the Sforza Book of Hours, one of the most lavish books of the Italian Renaissance and a treasured item in the [British] national library's collection.

While historians understandably study the content of books, I wish someone would write a history of some books. Before printing came along, many of our most important works of literature, history, and science existed in only a handful of copies, sometimes only one. How Tacitus's Annals came to us (to pick just one example) is, for me, at least as interesting as what it says.

Posted by scott at 03:01 PM | Comments (1)
There is no Joy in (Jolly Old) Mudville...

Mighty Silverstone has struck out:

The British Grand Prix has been dropped from the Formula One schedule for the first time in over 50 years, it was reported on Thursday.

The guys on Speed channel had mentioned this as a rumor during the last British GP. It'll be the first time in the series's history no race is scheduled for Britain. Imagine NASCAR without Daytona, or if Indy just got closed up one day. And I like Silverstone! Very cool track! I don't understand how they can justify racing in the glorified alleyways of Monaco and yet not go to the for-real Silverstone. Bugger.

Jeff gets a no-prize for bringing us news of this dark day in F-1 history.

Posted by scott at 02:11 PM | Comments (2)

New Scientist is carrying this summary of yesterday's X-prize flight. Yes, he rolled a bit, but once every two seconds is not that bad. Otherwise the flight seems to have gone quite well. Bottom line is for now they're "on" for the second part of the trial.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (0)
This is Controversial How?

I'm not at all sure what the big damned deal is with finally figuring out the identity of the model for "Sunday on the Pot with George", but if it makes fun of Ashcroft I'm all for it.

Oh sit down. I've never liked the guy nor agreed with most of his policies. Then again, can anyone name an attorney general that was actually liked by anyone in the past fifty years?

Posted by scott at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

(We're all about onomatopoeia today at AMCGLTD...)

Today's "SUV goes swimming" story brought to you by Los Altos, CA. The reason?

A woman had parked the Jeep at the top of the hill and did not put the vehicle in gear and didn't set the emergency brake.

Yeah, that's what I always do. Turn the car off and just get out. Don't you? I mean, what's the fun of coming back to the car being in the same parking space each time?

This one needs a sign that's day-glow green with flashing lights.

Via The Tao of Me.

Posted by scott at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

You think you got problems... at least the ground's not trying to swallow your town:

The town of Kiruna in remote northern Sweden is seeking a new home before the earth swallows it up.

Its centre is in danger of sliding down a hole left by the iron ore mines which put this Arctic outpost on the map a century ago.

Apparently it's very slow-motion, so it's not like one day we'll wake up and there will be this hole where a a bunch of Volvos and Saabs used to be. Maybe they can become a "sister city" to one of those places in Florida that periodically disappear entire parking lots of SUVs?

Posted by scott at 09:59 AM | Comments (0)
I'd Just Call it a Parking Ticket

Well, here's one novel way to avoid traffic:

A man who told police he wanted to avoid traffic gridlock has been ticketed for landing a helicopter in his back yard.

Hey, weren't we all supposed to be getting around in flying cars by now? This guy's just an early adopter!

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (0)
September 29, 2004
This is SOOO Not Cool!

I'm actually watching NOVA right now. Trying to be intellectual and stuff and surf the net at the same time when I came across this.

Not good. Not good.

Posted by Ellen at 08:38 PM | Comments (0)
Buh-Bye Portland!

VANCOUVER, Wash. - Scientists raised the volcanic activity level at Mount St. Helens to a level two 'Volcanic Advisory' Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the week the mountain was at a level one 'Notice of Volcanic Unrest'
Read entire article here.

Scott: "Thats not fair! They have a great race track there!'

Me: "Buh-bye Portland! Buh-bye!!"

Get even cooler information here.

Posted by Ellen at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)
Arkies Arkies Everywhere

Ok, I'm not everything in this list, but I do "get" nearly all of them:

You Know You're From Arkansas When...
  • "Vacation" means goin' through Harrison on the way to Branson.
  • You have no problem spelling or pronouncin' Ouachita or Possum Grape.
  • You know what Toad Suck and Booger Holler are.
  • You think orange barrels are really part of the interstate system.

Ellen's a little trickier, because she comes from north of NYC but south of "upstate". Probably it's a melange of the city, Long Island, and a wee bit of Westchester.

Of course, I'm completely wrong about all of that. Ellen doesn't even have an accent! Just ask her!

Oh, and I guess we've been in Virginia long enough, because this one's a scream:

  • Speed limits are just suggestions
  • You are amazed when you go out of town and the people at McDonalds speak English
  • If you stay on the same road long enough, it will eventually have three new names.


Posted by scott at 03:39 PM | Comments (3)

Fark linked up news of what will probably be the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world:

A thrill ride that accelerates to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds and rises 456 feet off the ground.

In New Jersey no less, so it's definitely in range. Road trip time!

Posted by scott at 02:40 PM | Comments (0)
Taking "Cozy" Just a Little too Far

Ok, now we have an answer to the question what happens when you have too much free time, some knitting needles, and some yarn? If they had one shaped like a cat, I guarantee Ellen and Amber would get one.

Posted by scott at 01:44 PM | Comments (0)
Talk the Talk

Those of you who think George Bush's command of the English language is remarkable only in his ability to mangle it are also pleased to be sitting down and shutting the hell up:

In an unofficial but very formal poll taken in my freshman writing class the other day, George Bush beat John Kerry by a vote of 13 to 2 (14 to 2, if you count me). My students were not voting on the candidates' ideas. They were voting on the skill (or lack of skill) displayed in the presentation of those ideas
Nervous Democrats who see their candidate slipping in the polls console themselves by saying, "Just wait, the debates are coming.'' As someone who will vote for John Kerry even though I voted against him in my class, that's just what I'm worried about.

Via Silflay.

Posted by scott at 12:51 PM | Comments (0)
Reincarnation Gone Wild?

Ummm... Okayyyy...

Walt Disney is mounting a comeback, from the "heavenliest place in the universe." Jenifer Whisper, a San Diego clairvoyant and songwriter, claims she channeled Walt Disney not long after he died Dec. 15, 1966 ... What came to her, she claims, was Walt Disney himself who shared his new creation Buddah Mouse and a classic Walt Disney-style song, "Buddah Mouse," to go with it.

A California address... why am I not surprised? Remember folks, when God created the US, he picked up the East coast and gave it a good shake so all the loose marbles would roll down to California. Of course, then a whole bunch of other people moved in, but I guess loons are the price you pay for living in paradise.

Posted by scott at 11:55 AM | Comments (1)
... and Beyond

Those of you lucky enough to be at home should be watching the X-prize effort by SpaceShipOne. Those of you at work shouldn't even try the webcasts... slashdot linked up all of them and they're totally crushed. SpaceflightNow is carrying a text-only "blow-by-blow" account, which is probably the best way to check on it. Go Rutan, go!

Update: They made it, but it sounds like they had a bumpy, wild ride. More as it happens...

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)
Going to the Mat

Tim Worstall linked up this most excellent article by Brad DeLong that very nicely explains why free trade is the real solution to global poverty, and how the left's quest for "fairness" and distaste for "exploitation" merely propagate what they want to stop:

Seth Stevenson thinks that those who do not buy the coir mats are morally superior to Debbie and the rest of us: they are not complicit in the exploitation of Third World labor. But there is another way of looking at it ... Suppose that Seth Stevenson, on his bicycle ride, were to stop by a couple of empty huts, run into them, steal the looms, and then smash their looms to pieces on the beach and dance in front of the resulting bonfire. Then the villagers could no longer make coir mats. They would have to find something else to do--something else that is worse than making mats. Such a theft-and-bonfire would have the same effect on the people of Desperately Poor Village as... as... drying up demand for their products by urging First World consumers to adopt a higher standard of morality and eschew the products of Third World labor, no?

One of the biggest problems I have with the traditional liberal agenda regarding economics is their quixotic quest for that ever-elusive "fairness". It's not "fair" a peasant in India makes less than an autoworker in Detroit. It's not "fair" Bill Gates is worth billions of dollars while a mother of four with an eighth grade education can't find a job. It's not "fair" someone gets paid $3 a week to make doormats that I pay $26.99 for.

To which I can only reply, "what is fair?" How can someone, anyone sitting in their own air-conditioned home instant messaging their friend in California on their own computer while watching their brand-new plasma TV determine what is or is not fair for an Indian peasant in Kerala? How can any politician sitting in his office on Capitol Hill surrounded by pretty, well-scrubbed staffers hope to untangle the forces and incentives that created a single mother of four with no education? How can anyone so utterly ignorant of the spectacularly different conditions of each single person living in poverty think they can help create legislation to fix all of them?

They can't. I can't. You can't. The only people who can are the people themselves. The worker knows how much their labor is worth to them, and the employer knows how much they will be able to pay for that labor. Both base their calculations on hundreds of variables, and in a competitive market most of those (on both sides) will be secret. Do-gooder outsiders with little or no understanding of basic economics, let alone the unique stories behind each and every person in a village, can't even be trusted not to offend anyone, let alone offer any real help.

It's so baldly obvious it's no wonder technocrats and stasists do their best to ignore it: In a country with free markets, stable governments, evenly enforced rules of law, in which information is allowed to flow freely, exploitation is impossible.

A peasant works for 50 cents a day because he knows it only costs 25 cents a day for him to live. An educated peasant also knows to save that extra 25 cents a day, and will do so because his stable government won't take it away or murder him to get it. That same peasant can then one day use his savings to open a store selling mats, secure in the knowledge his landlord will be prevented from arbitrarily raising his rent because of his secure contract. This now successful businessman then learns through his newspaper that there is high demand for mats in the next province, and opens another store there, and then another, and then another. The peasant is now a wealthy man, even though at one point he was being "exploited" making a mere 50 cents a day.

Once we accept this axiom for the truth that it is, our policies change. Create incentives for people to use their own knowledge to succeed. Work for consistent and understandable laws, and try to make sure they're enforced evenly so that people aren't holding the hand of someone who's holding them down. Allow the free flow of information, capital, people, and ideas so that they can learn about opportunities and move wherever they may be. Educate them well so that they'll recognize those opportunities when they come.

All of which is, of course, anathema to the technocratic left. People are poor because they are exploited, and only by taking money from those who have made it and giving it to those who didn't can we right the situation. Jobs are lost because greedy corporations wish only to maximize their profits, and only by protecting these businesses from even greedier foreign competitors can the situation be salvaged. Laws are used to oppress the common man, and only by disrupting them through "empowerment" and endless lawsuits can wrongs be righted.

Common sense, of course. Unfortunately utterly wrong as well. Like energy maneuvers in air combat, to really succeed in providing prosperity we must sometimes do things that point the nose away from the target. Trust people, give them the tools to figure it out amongst themselves, and provide the opportunity for them to do so, and prosperity will happen faster than you can possibly imagine. Try to control them, to force them to fit into your idea of fairness, and you will create people who depend on your fairness just to survive. Prosperity becomes something that must be taken, not shared.

Which is, I suppose, what most political leaders want... an appreciating constituency completely dependent on the largess of their leader. It even works, as long as the leader is wise, never makes a mistake, and never dies. For myself, I don't want to be dependent on anyone. I should be allowed to succeed or fail by my own devices, and reap the rewards of my success without them being taken from me, and deal with the consequences of my failure without them being "cushioned" for me at someone else's expense.

I don’t want to rely on anyone but myself. Why does anyone want anything else?

Posted by scott at 10:23 AM | Comments (3)
A Real Close Shave

Ron gets a no-prize that misses him by inches for bringing us news of apocalypse delayed:

On Wednesday, Earth will get its closest known shave this century from a major asteroid, a monster big enough to extinguish billions of lives were it ever to collide with our home.

Roughly 3 miles by 1.5 miles in size, the asteroid 4179 Toutatis will pass by not quite four times the distance between the earth and the moon, so no need to call out Bruce Willis. Best of all was the reaction from the Loon League of America:

Six months ago, panicky rumors spread on the Internet that there was little point to booking next year's summer holidays — that NASA had got it wrong or lied, and we were all heading for The Big One. Websites run by Christian zealots and individuals in contact with aliens predicted the Second Coming of Jesus or a secret U.S. nuclear missile strike to neutralize the asteroid.

And we missed it. Dammit! I'll bet there were some good links in there! Ah well.

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM | Comments (1)
September 28, 2004
With Friends Like These...

Who needs Cowboy fans?

Ron and Amber at the game...


He who has the largest smile wins. Two seconds later... "goddammit, stop grabbing my ass!" *smack*


Homoerotic? What's that mean? Ah geeze, someone wipe Amber's chin...


"Who is this man, and why did he put this hat on me?"

Thanks guys! Hope you had a good time!

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

They came for a Lincoln, and I stood by. They came for a Cadillac, and I said nothing. Then they came for me.

Is there nothing sacred to the Mary Kay commandos?

Posted by scott at 07:34 PM | Comments (2)
BlondeStar in Europe

Yes, Virginia, there really are people this dumb:

Four women have contacted police after being persuaded to stand topless in their windows or balconies so that a satellite could give them a mammogram.

It's not that our favorite blonde wouldn't do it, it's just that she'd be running late and would "miss the satellite" as it went by.

Via Redsugar Muse

Posted by scott at 03:51 PM | Comments (10)
As Long as it Also has a Listing for Cab Companies

"AMCGLTD," we hear you ask, "I'm tired of going to a new beach bar, asking for a 'Captain Clutch' and being looked at like I've grown a second head. What am I to do?"

Fear not, fellow lush! AMCGLTD is here to help! Presenting the Mobatech Mobile Bartender:

With Mobile Bartender in your cell phone, you'll be armed with impressive knowledge of cocktails, shots and drop shots at the touch of button.

This full-featured bartender guide includes over 150 recipes that can be filtered by drink type, liquor or the first letter of a drink name. Shots can also be chosen by category with users being able to view the ingredients for Candy Shooters, Sexy Shooters, Fruity Shooters or Deadly Sins.

Act now and never worry about being without your favorite brain scrambler again!

Posted by scott at 02:56 PM | Comments (1)
True Italian

Pat gets a no-prize smothered in tomato "gravy" for e-mailing us the following humorous and "so-close-it's-scary" look into the lives of Italian-Americans:

Some of you that I have sent this to are not of Italian descent but can relate with your nationality &/or race. So just read, picture your family background & enjoy

  • Italians have a $40,000 kitchen, but use the $259 stove from the discount Appliance store in the basement to cook.
  • There is some sort of religious statue in the hallway, living room, front, porch and backyard.
  • The living room is filled with old Bombonieri (they are too pretty to open) with poofy net bows and stale Almonds.
  • A portrait of the Pope and Frank Sinatra is in the dining room.
  • God forbid if anyone EVER attempted to eat Chef Boy-are-dee, Franco American, Ragu, Prego or anything else in a jar or can. (Tomato paste is the exception.)
  • The following are Italian Holidays:
    • First weekend in October - Grapes for the Wine
    • 3rd weekend in August - Tomatoes for the Gravy (Speaking of which, it's GRAVY and not Sauce).
  • Meatballs are made with Pork, Veal and Beef. We are Italians, we don't care about cholesterol.
  • Turkey is served on Thanksgiving, AFTER the manicotti, gnocchi, lasagna.
  • If anyone EVER says ES- CAROLE, slap 'em in the face -- it's SHCAROLE.
  • If they ever say ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP, let the idiot know that there is no wedding nor is there an Italian in the soup. Also, the tiny meatballs must be made by hand.
  • No matter how hard you know you were going to get smacked, you still came home from church after communion, you stuck half a loaf of bread in the gravy pot, snuck out a fried meatball and chowed down - you'll make up for it next week at confession.
  • Sunday dinner was at 1:00. The meal went like this... Table is set with everyday dishes...doesn't matter if they don't match...they're clean, what more do you want. All the utensils go on the right side of the plate and the napkin goes on the left. Put a clean kitchen towel at Nonno (Nona) & Papa's plate because they won't use napkins. Homemade wine and bottles of 7up are on the table. First course, Antipasto...change plates. Next, Macaroni (Nona called all spaghetti Macaroni)...change plates. After that, Roasted Meats, Roasted Potatoes, Overcooked vegetables...change plates. THEN and only then (NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL) would you eat the salad (HOMEMADE OIL & VINEGAR DRESSING ONLY)....change plates. Next, Fruit & Nuts - in the shell (on paper plates because you ran out of the other ones). Coffee (Espresso for Nono, "Merican" coffee for the rest) with Anisette, plus Hard Cookies to dip in the coffee. The kids go play...the men go to lay down...the women clean the kitchen.
  • Getting screamed at by Mom or Nona - half the sentence was English, the other half Italian.
  • Italian mothers never threw a baseball in their life, but can nail you in the head with a shoe thrown from the kitchen while you're in the living room.
  • Prom Dress that Zia Ceserina made you...$20.00 for material.
  • Prom hair-do from Cousin Angela...Free.
  • Turning around at prom to see your entire family (including Godparents) standing in the back of the gym...PRICELESS!

The true Italians will love this, those of you who are married to Italians will understand this, and those of you who are friends with Italians will remember and will forward it to their Italian friends.

Yup, that'd be my girl, almost 100%.

Posted by scott at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)
The Cat's Caboose

Rob E. gets a brown-eyed no-prize for bringing us the tale of the (cat) ass-filled digital camera:

First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on the acquisition of a Casio Exilim S20 compact digital camera. No doubt it was an exciting find after your fine meal at Houston's on Park, where delicious spinach dip is the signature item ... No doubt, you're wondering why the memory card contains 17 close-ups of a cat's ass.

The sad thing is, Ellen would not only not be put off by the contents, she'd a) diagnose the problem, b) share that diagnosis with me and call me a wuss for turning green, c) share that diagnosis with Amber and coo with her over the poor kitty, and d) try to find the owner to ensure the cat turned out OK. Which it did.

But that still wouldn't stop me from turning green.

Posted by scott at 01:10 PM | Comments (0)

Fark linked up this site that makes an attempt to turn some of M.C. Escher's most famous drawings into 3-D models. Not surprisingly, in order to "work" the models rely as much on forced perspective as they do any sort of special shape.

Posted by scott at 12:10 PM | Comments (1)
Paging Homer Simpson, White Courtesy Phone Please

MMmm... Doughnuts...

Every Krispy Kreme doughnut cake will be unique, since the cake should reflect the individual personality of your special occasion. Let your cake decorator know what kind of event you are planning (elegant, humorous, casual, formal, etc.) and discuss colors or any other pertinent information.

Well, at least now Amber won't have to pick out a wedding cake! Oh don't worry, you can thank us later.

Posted by scott at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)
Nuclear Power: It's not Just for Submarines Anymore

Also from slashdot, this IEEE article about a new breed of batteries. Powered by the decay of radioactive isotopes instead of simple chemical reactions, these batteries hold the promise of powering electronic devices for months or even years at a time. Now, calm down a second. The decay particles the things use are comparatively low-energy stuff, easily stopped by skin or even plastic. Interestingly, one of the methods of generating power involves a mechanical process.

Posted by scott at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)
Make Tracks, Spot Tracks

Slashdot linked up this Astrobiology Magazine article that details a new photo technique for the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter. By using something called "compensated pitch and roll targeted observation", resolution is more than doubled and objects as small as 1.5 meters can be imaged. Includes nifty images of the Mars rovers' tracks as they mosey across the landscape.

Posted by scott at 08:48 AM | Comments (0)
September 27, 2004
~ Are you Ready for Some Football? ~

Just got a call from our blogsitter Ron (of "Ron & Amber" fame). They're at tonight's game, less than 20 feet from the end zone. Yeah, the end zone. "Well, it'll be exciting every once in awhile" was the exact words I believe. At any rate, according to Ron if you look at the helmet in the middle of the field they're on the end zone it's facing, on the left side (as it faces). If you see a big goofy looking guy with Cowboys logos all over him waving like mad at the camera and a shorter, puzzled looking blonde staring at him with a "WTF?!?" expression, that's them.

Yeah, I know, like you care. It's our blog, so there!

Posted by scott at 07:59 PM | Comments (2)
Everyone Who Doesn't Want to Volunteer, Take One Step Back

Joshua gets a no-prize with a characteristic bulge for bringing us the world's most bizzare pregnancy site:

Thank you for visiting Pregnant Men. This site is dedicated to everything related to the idea of men being pregnant. Whether it be stories, movies, real life news, or anything else. If it pertains to men being pregnant, you can be sure to find it here.

You know, science being what it is, I actually have little doubt one day men will be able to have babies. I take comfort in the fact that, at age 36, I should be comfortably dead before this actually happens. Otherwise...

"I don't think so, ass-goblin. You want another one, you have it."

Posted by scott at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)
Acid Trip

Ellen and other fitness fanatics will probably be interested in this ABCnews article on the real purpose of lactic acid:

But people like [George Brooks, a biologist at the University of California] have since shown that lactate from lactic acid is a valuable fuel derived as the body breaks down carbohydrates. Not only do muscles consume it eagerly, the brain and heart also suck it up from the bloodstream to keep systems running. High levels of the stuff can cause some sensation of muscle burn during exercise (thanks to the hydrogen ions that are released when lactic acid is broken down into lactate), but it doesn't stick around long after activity.

And now, new research shows that lactic acid serves as more than a fuel.

We'll see if the article holds up under the scrutiny of my resident personal fitness expert.

Posted by scott at 03:34 PM | Comments (0)
The Other Side

I check Riverbend's weblog pretty regularly, although nowadays she hardly ever posts. The relentless negativity, the single-minded inabilty to admit any single aspect of the occupation had any redeeming qualities, and the refusal to admit Iraq had a future consisting of more than explosions and death provided an interesting counterpoint to the more moderate and optimistic Iraqi bloggers. I knew at least some of the stuff she was writing was, shall we say, spun, but not actually living there I let it all pass without comment (shocking, I know). Ali doesn't have this problem, and feels no such inhibition:

Let me show you where the lies are: “On our better days, we get about 12 hours of electricity”. A straight out lie, as we get 16-18 hours of electricity per day on our worst days, while on our best days we get 20 hours per day, lately. I want to explain that I don’t give all the credit in that for the Iraqi government efforts only, as it’s simply the fact that during this time of the year the consumption of electric power is at it’s lowest rates.

(Italics original)

The whole thing is well worth reading, and provides its own counterpoint to the "bleeding leads" our own media love so dearly.

Posted by scott at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)
The Long Slide Down Hill

Cybil Sheppard has what seems to be a well-earned reputation as an impossible witch to work with. Well, if these pictures are any indication, she's actually beginning to look the part. Good God woman, didn't they have a hairbrush somewhere?

See mom, there are people in the world who go outside looking worse than I do!

Posted by scott at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)
Rolling Artwork

Ron gets a very red, very fast no-prize for bringing us some nice pictures of the latest Ferrari supercar:

A natural evolution of the brilliant 360 Modena, the 4.3-liter Pininfarina styled F430 ups the ante in the power race, with 490 horsepower pushing this exotic machine to a top speed "in excess of 196 mph" and 0-62 mph in exactly four seconds. It features competition-developed flat-floor aerodynamics, carbon-ceramic brakes, and new levels of aluminium technology.

Much prettier than the Enzo, and probably nearly as fast. Costs as much as my house, but hey, you gotta have priorities here.

Posted by scott at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)
Finally, a Reason to Upgrade Ellen's Phone

Why spend thousands of dollars on surgery when all you really need is the right ring-tone on your cellphone:

Hideto Tomabechi ... claims to have developed a tune for ring tones that promises to increase the breast measurements of those who listen to it ... "I listened to the tune for a week expecting all the time that I was being duped," says Chieri Nakayama, a 19-year-old pin-up model, tells Shukan Gendai. "But, incredibly, my 87-centimeter bust grew to 89 centimeters! It was awesome!"

Hey, if a random "pin-up model" says it's for-real, well that's all I need. Honey, you're getting a new phone!

Posted by scott at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)
Wood Walkers

Wood + art + engineering + wind = well, this. Can't really describe them, but they're freaktastically cool. Don't miss the videos, they're just weird looking until you watch them move.

Posted by scott at 11:11 AM | Comments (1)
When Partisans Attack

Sometimes the dorks on the other side (either other side... Joshua's had this problem as well) steal your cool signs and rip off your bumper stickers with impunity. However, this story and this one too show that, occasionally, the bad guys get busted, or have a good idea go very bad:

I noticed that the car coming down the street was slowing down and pulling over to the curb right next to my yard ... Just as he was about to uproot and desecrate [my sign], I opened my gate and let my dog [run to the end of her lead and] make the initial introduction! As he ran to hide behind the rear end of his car, I promptly moved to the driver-side door, which was still open ... While my dog continued to "introduce" herself, I rolled up the window and hit the power door lock button ... slammed the door, grabbed my Bush sign and headed into the back yard.

Ah, sweet justice.

Via Siflay.

Posted by scott at 08:57 AM | Comments (3)

Welcome to The Tricks of the Trade, where you'll find quick tips for just about everything. Nina will probably find this one either old hat or interesting:

When mixing a record, a band member will often insist that a track could be improved if you make their instrument or vocals louder relative to everyone else. To please this person while not screwing up the sound, twiddle some knobs and then turn up the overall volume. Since the person making the demand will be focusing on their own part, and their own part will now be louder (along with everything else), they will usually think you've fulfilled their request.

I guess you could also call it Headology 101.

Posted by scott at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)
September 26, 2004
Not that it Makes Any Damned Difference But...

All of you weenies who like to call Bush a draft dodging coward are pleased to be sitting down and shutting the fuck up now:

The Air Force, in their ultimate wisdom, assembled a group of 102's and took them to Southeast Asia. Bush volunteered to go. But he needed to have 500 [flight] hours, but he only had just over 300 hours so he wasn't eligible to go.

I remember this one from when it broke back in February. Hell, even Newsweek covered it:

The standard rap against Bush is that he was ducking combat by joining the Guard. Actually, the Texas Air Guard had a program called Palace Alert that allowed pilots to volunteer for flight time in Vietnam. Three of Bush's fellow pilots—Udell, Woodfin and Fred Bradley—recalled to NEWSWEEK that Bush inquired with the base commander about signing up for Palace Alert. He was told no; he had too few flying hours at the time and his plane, the F-102, was by then deemed obsolete for air combat.

I don't doubt for a second that the next thing to sneer out of your mouths will be "of course he was too green and his airplane was too old. Do you think that's a coincidence?" But you'll have to be careful when you say it, otherwise your foil hat will show.


Posted by scott at 08:29 PM | Comments (4)
Neurotically Foamy

Ok, ok, ok. Apparently we are the absolute, without a doubt, 100%, irretrivably last people on the planet to hear about Foamy the Squirrel and His World-Famous Rants.

Well, except for you, that is. Well, ok, maybe mom, but she hates animation, so that doesn't count.

Did I mention she wears two different shoes in public?

Anyway, if you want to hear a squirrely rendition of what Ellen's inner dialog is actually like, be sure to give these things a whirl.

Joshua just barely missed out on a no-prize for this one, beaten by FARK by only 3 hours.

Posted by scott at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)
... and Knowing is Half the Battle

Behold the power of Wikipedia, wherein it can even be discovered how bra sizes actually work:

The size of breasts is often expressed in terms of the size of the bra. This is measured as follows: Two measurements are taken, the first is a circumference of the body with the tape being placed under the breasts. This provides the "band size." The second measurement is similar, but includes the breasts. The first result is then subtracted from the second. A difference of 1 inch requires an A cup size; 2 inches, a B cup; 3 inches, a C cup; and 4 inches, a D cup. Therefore, a woman who has a band size of 36 inches, and a measurement over her breasts of 39 inches, would be best served by a bra size of 36C.

Part of me is going "ummm... eh?", but the other part is going "heheheheheheheheh... you said cup... hehehehehehehe."

Posted by scott at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)
I Wonder if the Indian Chicks Flashed their Boobies on this Lake Shore?

Fark linked up this Denver Post article that details how scientists finally puzzled out the purpose and use of a mysterious set of centuries-old earthworks:

The people of this high desert, without benefit of metals, wheels or written language, maintained at least four massive waterworks from A.D. 750 to 1180 to survive the devastating droughts of the Four Corners region. The last of these works studied, a large mound dubbed Box Elder Reservoir, wasn't discovered until a 2002 wildfire burned off a dense, high carpet of sagebrush.

Includes the very weird phrase "water impoundment". Makes it sound like someone was trying to jack cases of Perrier.

Posted by scott at 07:55 PM | Comments (1)
Well, at Least You can Pause it for Bathroom Breaks

Slashdot linked up final info on the LOTR - Return of the King release. 4 discs, with the "recut" feature clocking in at a whopping 4+ hours across two DVDs. I always thought Tolkien's books would be better done as a 12+ hour miniseries instead of a set of movies. Who would've predicted that Peter Jackson would get away with doing both?

Posted by scott at 07:48 PM | Comments (1)
Err....Well, You Watch and Decide.


Posted by Ellen at 04:28 PM | Comments (2)
~ I Compute to the Finish / Cos I Eats Me Spinach ~

Ron gets a healthy green no-prize for bringing us the latest development in power generation for electronics:

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they have used spinach to harness a plant's ability to convert sunlight into energy for the first time, creating a device that may one day power laptops, mobile phones and more.

We're still ten or more years away from having to water our laptops to keep them going, but it's a start.

Posted by scott at 12:15 PM | Comments (0)
September 25, 2004
Weirdness from Beyond the Grave

Just when you thought Brando was done being a neurotic wack job:

Some of Marlon Brando’s ashes were scattered with those of comedian Wally Cox — said to have been his GAY LOVER.

Of course, this is in the Sun, so it has to be true, right? Oh be quiet mom and go read your Enquirer. Don't forget to pick up Amber's copy of The Star!

Posted by scott at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)
Oh No! It's Makealovich Knight and His Car Kittinski

Ok, now we have proof even Eastern Europeans have too much time on their hands. Jeff's rust bucket would've done just as well. At least, once he put air in the tires and cleaned off all the tools and paint buckets.

Posted by scott at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)
Well, it Could Be Worse

It's worse:

Warner Bros. studios has given the green light for "Terminator 4" to begin production next year, despite doubts that the movie star turned politician will be free to take on more enemies, Daily Variety reported.

After a year in development, the latest film in the hit movie franchise will return under the direction of "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines" director Jonathan Mostow, the industry daily said.

The only problem I had with T3 was the dumb plot, poor dialog, and wooden acting of everyone else. Maybe if we're lucky it'll just go straight to DVD.

Posted by scott at 10:38 AM | Comments (1)
September 24, 2004
Oh Shibbit!

Anyone feel like hitting the tip jar for, oh, I dunno, $595,000?

We are pleased to offer 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 Autodelta team car s/n 75033*022. This car has a well documented history as an Autodelta team car with races at Le Mans, Monza, the Nürburgring, Brands Hatch, Mugello, The Targa Florio and multiple other races ... at $595,000 needing only the new owner to inspect his car and chose his colors!

See! See! All I'd need to do would be to pick the color! Pick the freaking color!

Anyone? ... Anyone? ... Beuhler???


Posted by scott at 08:25 PM | Comments (1)
You've Gotta be Kidding Me

First song, now pictures. Where does it end? Someone, please, stop the madness!

Well, I know what the subject of our next fifteen rolls of pictures will be. Stop laughing Ron, they went shopping for film together.

Posted by scott at 08:05 PM | Comments (2)
Here We Go Again

Ellen only now stopped singing that stupid "Cat, I'm a Kitty Cat" song. Now we have this. Techno too. Lord help me.

Via Lisa.

Posted by scott at 04:03 PM | Comments (2)
The Pileup on I-95 Ain't Got Nothing on This is carrying this report on recent discoveries about a titanic galactic collision. By using newly available x-ray observatories, scientists were able to image the ongoing pileup of two clusters of galaxies, one consisting of about 300 and the other about 1,000. The storms and types of turbulence this event is creating are providing valuable confirmation of many aspects of galactic evolution.

Plus they make you feel very, very small.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (3)
Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday Nina!!!

Posted by Ellen at 02:06 PM | Comments (1)
A Happy Ending?

Remember Mary Kay LeTourneau, the teacher who went to prison for having sex with a 13 year old student of hers? Well, if this report is to be believed, she's now out of prison and is getting ready to marry that very same (now very legal) guy. After having two children with him, of course.

I dunno. Banging a 13 year old ranks right at the top of the skeeve chart, but it seems to be working out. Of course, anyone who would do something like that probably can't be trusted to tell the whole truth on camera.

Feh. She served her time (7.5 years). I officially am not caring any more.

Posted by scott at 02:04 PM | Comments (1)
Feeling... Woozy...

This appears to be a pic of Ivan taken from the ISS. The snopes set will have to check for sure, I got a meeting coming up. If it is, it's pretty nifty.

Posted by scott at 01:09 PM | Comments (0)
Medical FUD

Sherri gets a no-prize for bringing us this wacky bit of Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt about screening for mental illness:

President Bush plans to unveil next month a sweeping mental health initiative that recommends screening for every citizen and promotes the use of expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs favored by supporters of the administration

I happen to know several people who are very close to this issue, but on the other side. Here's what one had to say when I showed him this article:

[This article] flows out of the New Freedom Commission. The entire [anti-psychiatry], [anti-medication] community... sees screening as mandatory, schools forcing meds on kids, etc. But it's not, and [the White House] and [the Department of Health and Human Services] reportdely have denied any such broad initiative being launched (rumors this summer), although they are supporting Gordon Smith bill (for colleges). There IS some question whether TADS study has languaguage that might be interpreted as mandatory. The link posted ... comes from a recent latest email circulated by Vera Sharav who is [anti-pharmaceutical], focusing on the FDA/kids debate.

[I would say to your readers] "This isn't really accurate. In July 2003, the President's New Freedom Commission report recommended volunatary screening programs. Not mandatory. See the Mental Health Commission Report. Read and decide for yourselves. There's no recent sweeping initiative, at least that I know about. The reason for screening is to help identify depression and other major disorders early, and help prevent suicides."

Considering the tone of the other articles hosted on Worldnet, I'm not all that surprised by the shrill tone and extreme spin. But Sherri was concerned enough to send it our way, so I figured some counter-spin was in order. Thousands of people take their own lives every year due to undiagnosed or improperly treated mental illness. While I think we should be cautious, I firmly believe any initiative that tries to take positives steps in fixing this serious problem is a very good thing.

Posted by scott at 12:02 PM | Comments (1)
Have Neck, Will Travel

Jeff gets a sneaky no-prize for bringing us news of a new aquatic reptile discovery:

Scientists have discovered what may have been one of the first stealth hunters, a long-necked swimming dinosaur that could sneak up on prey and attack without warning.

I wonder about the "dinosaur" designation. From everything I've read, all the giant water reptiles weren't actually dinosaurs, but were instead from a different family. Maybe I'm just not listening well enough?

Posted by scott at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)
~ Lowered Expectations ~

In the "kick-ass nerd" category, we have, a one-stop-shop for the lonely Asian assassin. Or wannabe. From the looks of the pictures, mostly wannabe.

Posted by scott at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Smart Car

Fark linked up this summary article of the latest computer development for production cars... the inclusion of neural network systems in engine management. It seems "normal" management computers couldn't handle the speed at which Ford's super-fancy Aston Martin DB9 generated events with its high-rpm V12. However, neural networks take a completely different tack on the problem, analyzing the overall data stream for exceptional patterns, and dealing with those as they happen. While development costs were surely impressive (which is why it's premiering on a high-dollar car), production costs apparently are only about $5 per vehicle. Ford expects this tech to rapidly make its way down into "normal" production vehicles, making them all more efficient and longer-lasting.

Posted by scott at 08:32 AM | Comments (1)
September 23, 2004
Ship vs. Bridge

Now this story about how the booming cruise ship business is outgrowing its harbors would be merely interesting were it not for the pictures of one of the newer Carnival cruise ships sailing underneath the Dames Point bridge in Jacksonville FL.

Clearing it by five feet.

Posted by scott at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)
Bob's Not Smiling Anymore

As suspected, great marketing does not necessarily mean an effective product:

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, best known for taking the fun out of Chinese take-out and ice cream by revealing how unhealthy such treats are, is now taking on the nonprescription sex supplement industry.

The CSPI filed a complaint on Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission saying one company, Cincinnati-based Berkeley Premium Nutraceuticals, had crossed the line in television ads touting its supplement Enzyte.

Includes a nice breakdown of what, exactly, is in Enzyte. Which is to say, not much.

I always figured this thing was completely bogus. Any time I hear the words "herbal", "natural", or "safe and easy", my snake-oil detector starts to buzz. But their ad campaign was so brilliant I still couldn't help but watch.

Posted by scott at 03:19 PM | Comments (4)
I Wonder if "Chutzpah" Translates into Portugese?

Ron gets a blushing no-prize for bringing us this story of protectors needing protection:

Forty-six Brazilian policemen traveling to a sports competition were caught with their guard down this week when four Brazilian thieves robbed the bus carrying them to the event ... “We are looking for them, but I cannot say there’s any particular ardor here due to the fact that policemen have been robbed.”

"Brazen" just doesn't cover this one.

Posted by scott at 02:22 PM | Comments (0)
Not Dead Yet has this update on the aftermath of the ill-fated Genesis mission. The remains of the probe are being sent for examination to determine what, exactly, was the cause of the failure. However, it has turned out that a surprisingly large amount of material actually survived the crash, and scientists are hopeful the mission will still manage to yield a lot of information.

Posted by scott at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)
Smacking Him Around

Silflay linked up this Mark Steyn essay that does a nice job of summarizing some of the reasons to vote against Kerry (to compliment those who have a laundry list of reasons to vote against Bush). Also includes some good one-liners:

“But if George W Bush’s Republican smear machine wants to make our service in Vietnam an issue, I say to them: BRING. IT. ON!”

“But they have brought it on.”

“Well, if they want to continue bringing it on, I say to them: BRING. IT. ON!”

“But your campaign has put out an ad that President Bush call it off.”

“Well, if he wants to make an issue of my begging him to call it off, I say to him: BRING. IT. ON.”

The day ends with the Senator throwing the first pitch at the Red Sox game. It lands on his red sock and breaks his toe, resulting in him taking two weeks off for surgery, in the course of which his numbers go up four points.

Why did John Kerry cross the road? “I crossed the road to volunteer for Vietnam. Some of us know something about what it means to cross the road.” Who was that lady I saw you with last night? “That was no lady, that was my meal ticket.” How many John Kerrys does it take to change a lightbulb? At least four. One to approve the removal of the old lightbulb. One to declare his courageous commitment to replacing the old bulb. One to vote against funding the new lightbulb. And one to denounce George W Bush and America’s Benedict Arnold CEOs for leaving everyone in the dark.


Posted by scott at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)

Capt. Howdy gets a big blue no-prize for bringing us this nifty video that demostrates just what "big surfing" really means. No, it's not Ivan, probably somewhere around Hawaii. But still...

Posted by scott at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)
Welcome to America, Land of the Loony

Let's hear it for the good ol' USA, land of the free, home of the wacky:

To hear Jake Jenkins tell it, he's battening down the hatches in a battle against evil.

As he opens the door on his Waller Street home, the sound of scraping metal and wood escapes through the cracks. He's pulling back the bars and beams that keep his family secure.

And the witches out.

And yes, folks, he has kids, 8 of them. Home schooled no less. Liz gets a no-prize that weighs less than a duck (look it up) for bringing us this story of just how quirky quirky can be.

While researching that story, I also stumbled across this follow-up:

A man who spoke about his fear of witches says he's concerned his comments will prompt the county's child-welfare agency to conduct an unwarranted investigation of his family.

Jake Jenkins said a story in Wednesday's Times Leader made him sound "like I'm crazy." He didn't deny talking to a reporter about what he believes is his battle against evil, but he said he thought his name wouldn't be used and that he could give a "generic story about the witches out there."

Further research revealed he has in fact registered properly for home schooling, apparently with better-than-average plans and paperwork. The family keeps to itself, doesn't bother neighbors, pays their taxes, and doesn't seem to have broken any laws. To their credit, law enforcement has therefore left them alone.

But I do worry a bit about this guy. The original report makes it sound very much as if the father has some form of untreated mental illness, and that can be dangerous. However, it would seem he's been living like this for at least twenty years, so it may just be he's really, really weird.

I'm happy the current administration is one that doesn't seem inclined to go after people just because they are extremely weird. Those who think we now live in a police state would be well served examining these other incidents. Not that it will make much difference. It's only a police state when it's attacking my weird hangups. Otherwise it's just rational, no?

Posted by scott at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)
September 22, 2004
Blue Screen of Death, or So They Say

Joshua gets a no-prize that won't communicate with him for bringing us this story of an apparent Borg meltdown:

A major breakdown in Southern California's air traffic control system last week was partly due to a "design anomaly" in the way Microsoft Windows servers were integrated into the system, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

It would seem they've been slowly migrating to Windows systems, replacing their Unix systems with them. According to the article, these new "more efficient" Windows systems require regular reboots (every 2 months or so) in order to continue functioning. Someone forgot to, and so eventually the whole thing crashed.

Ya know, now that I think about it, this is almost certainly not a classic case of "Borg meltdown", but is instead a far more mundane example of bureaucratic CYA. While not as stove-bolt reliable as Unix, modern Windows installations are actually pretty bulletproof. What are not always so reliable are the applications that these Windows systems run.

The symptoms are actually classic indications of what's known as a "memory leak". This happens when a poorly written application uses a bit of memory, is done with it, but then doesn't give it back. Imagine a bucket brigade... someone scoops water into a bucket, then passes it down the line so eventually the water gets dumped on a fire, then the bucket gets passed back to the person with the water. Now imagine the water gets dumped, but the bucket never gets back. Pretty soon, no buckets.

So, from the article description, it would seem SCAT (ha!) has purchased (at the expense of Cali taxpayers mind you) a poorly written application that gradually eats away at the memory of the servers that run it. Only by rebooting the system does this "greedy" app release all the memory. Now, a Unix system wouldn't require a flat reboot, but it would require some sort of user intervention (technically, a process reset).

In utterly classic government butt-covering, instead of actually explaining the problem (and accepting blame for it), they are instead blaming Microsoft. Because everyone knows how bad they are. Now, don't get me wrong, I think the Borg are as tacky and nasty as any slashdot weenie. But when some ninny tries blaming the road for their truck throwing a rod, well, that's when I have to call bullshit.

Pardon me. I have to go pick Jeff up off the floor. Yes, Virginia, I actually defended the Borg. Mark your calendars, 14th sign of the apocalypse, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by scott at 07:32 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Snoopy, White Courtesy Phone Please

Jeff gets a rare back-to-back no-prize for also bringing us this CNN story about new insight into what may have contributed to the Red Baron's ultimate demise:

A University of Missouri at Columbia researcher and his Ohio collaborator argue a severe injury to Manfred von Richthofen's brain during an earlier aerial confrontation figured in his death.

Helmets are your friend!

Posted by scott at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)
I Wonder if the Extended Warranty Covers It?

Jeff gets a rusty-red no-prize for bringing us news that the Mars rovers have had their mission extended another six months. They seem to have passed most of the Martian winter with relatively little problem, and are now beginning to gear up for a new "summer" season, starting in January.

Posted by scott at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)
When "Hubba Hubba" Attacks

I learned two things from this article:

  • Australia has some seriously stone-cold hotties and isn't afraid to show 'em.
  • The US has no monopoly on busy-body talking heads who get vapors every time a lady steps out a bit.
  • [You are sleeping on the couch tonight -Ellen]

Rrrmm... ok, make that three things. Woot?

Posted by scott at 08:23 AM | Comments (2)
Welcome to the Nanny State. Please Buckle in as Specified in Rule 43251, subsection A.1.5.6, Paragraph B

Problem: You're an unelected bureaucrat given the task to enforce "equality" regulations in housing practices, but where to begin?

Solution: Start telling people how to write classified ads:

The [new EU] rulings will make it an offence for home-owners to stipulate whether they want men or women in their houses ... The plan is part of a European Commission anti-discrimination directive.

During the run up to the Iraq war, some pundits floated the idea that that UK should ditch the EU and enter into some sort of equivalent treaty relationship with the US. When the propeller-heads in Brussels come up with crap like this, I'm not sure I'd disagree.

Posted by scott at 08:13 AM | Comments (2)
September 21, 2004
Clear Ecstasy

What would you do if your kid came out of your bedroom thinking this was a magic wand?

What do you say? "No, no sweetie! We don't play Harry Potter with THAT wand!"

Posted by Ellen at 07:57 PM | Comments (1)
Kitty Pix

This is cute!!!

Posted by Ellen at 07:51 PM | Comments (1)
Going Up

Slashdot linked up this summary of recent developments in space elevator technology. It's still just a lot of talk, but it's a lot of talk coming from many more people and it's a whole lot more serious than it used to be.

It's also nice to see people actually debating private sector funding. In the past, a project of this scope would have only been an occasion for a bunch of lobbyists to huddle and try to find a way of prying the money out of the government. NASA stands out as a shining example of the limitations and inefficiencies of that method.

It would seem now is the first time in history we are wealthy enough to buy (if nothing else as part of a company) our own spacecraft. Risky? Absolutely. But the first group to field a system for lofting things into orbit at $1 per pound will effectively have a license to print money, and the efficiencies provided to all will literally transform the way we live. NASA couldn't be replaced in 1982 because nobody knew how to make money in space. Today, that is no longer a problem, and so privatization is much more than just a buzzword.

Stasists and technocrats around the country will be saying things like "this is too important to let the markets handle", which is of course merely an elitist shorthand for "this is too important to me to let the markets handle." Only the power of government can simply take money away from people and spend it on a project someone else thinks is a good cause. "It's my dream, and the only reason you don't see it is you're stupid, greedy, or ignorant. Give me your money anyway." The whole point of representational government is to give the people who have money a voice in the way it is spent. But the mechanisms aren't pretty, and even when they work they do so only poorly.

Far better to have people willingly come together and spend their own money reaching for the stars. Only then can the people providing the money be sure the people spending it are doing so wisely, and remove them easily if they are not. Only then can setbacks be seen as mere obstacles to be overcome, and not opportunities to prove the entire effort folly. Only then can we be certain what is finally accomplished can stand on its own, last beyond our years, and not simply be seen as a pinnacle, one small step, on a path never to be walked again.

Posted by scott at 03:32 PM | Comments (3)
A Birth Story You Won't See on TLC

Possibly in the "oldie but goodie" section, we have The Lizard Birthing Story, wherein one daddy saves the day by rescuing a "pregnant" lizard that turned out not to need all that much rescuing after all.

Via Silflay.

What will I do when Olivia wants some animal or another as a pet? Same thing I did with her mom, say "no". Of course, considering how well that worked each time Ellen brought home a cat, I'm not holding out a lot of hope.

Posted by scott at 01:08 PM | Comments (1)
Alex, I'll Take "What Were They Thinking?" For $300 Please

This company graphically demonstrated what happens when you have professional sewing equipment and watch too many mafia movies.

"What is... Kropserkel?"

The rest of their stuff is pretty cool. And the "severed horse head" pillow is just morbidly weird enough to be interesting to some of our darker friends. But if it ends up in my bed one morning someone's gonna pay.

Posted by scott at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)
~ Let's Go Fly a (Killer) Kite ~

Note to self: a Pakistani kite festival should not be mistaken for the one that happens in DC:

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

Garroting, electrocution, stray bullets, vehicle crashes, you name it, someone got killed by it. Sounds more like a scene out of the old Deathrace movie than an actual celebration.

No date on the story, so the reference to spring is pretty weird. They're on the same side of the equator as us, and last time I checked it was fall coming in, not spring.

Posted by scott at 10:16 AM | Comments (4)
Mars Methane is carrying this article summarizing the latest discovery about Mars. The Mars Express probe has found that methane and water vapor levels are both uneven and concentrated in certain areas. One possible (albeit only possible) explanation for the data is microbial life living in water ice deep beneath the surface of the planet.

Posted by scott at 09:18 AM | Comments (1)
Revenge Return of the Dorks

Carrie gets a special edition no-prize for bringing us this representative sample of the "do as I say not as I do" attitudes of many (most?) Star Wars purists. She had one particular purist in mind, but of course he just scratched his head and growled a bit.

Posted by scott at 08:24 AM | Comments (2)
September 20, 2004
Scott: Here's Your Sign...

Ok. I like swords. They're cool, ok? You know what's better? Don't you read this site? Swords on fire!!!

Even better are poi. No, not those things you eat, fire poi. Of course, one cannot just start dancing with flaming pots on a chain. Well, unless one wants to learn all the names of the fire department anyway.

Ellen: "Can I get practice fire POI? They're flags to simulate fire."

Scott: " You're gonna play with fire in the house?"


Ellen: "Here's your sign..."

Posted by Ellen at 08:58 PM | Comments (1)

OMG!!!! I need one of these!!!

Posted by Ellen at 08:45 PM | Comments (1)

We mundanes here at AMCGLTD would like to wish our good friend Carrie of The City Morgue a Very Happy Birthday!!!

Posted by Ellen at 08:34 PM | Comments (2)
I'm Sorry, Dave; You Haven't Met the Reserve Bid

Slashdot linked up this nifty Ebay auction:

HAL 9000 is the Cinerama 160 degree Fairchild-Curtis lens used to film the actual scenes from HAL's point of view for "2001". It also doubled as the prop, the eye of HAL 9000. HAL is one of the few artifacts left from the movie “2001”.

Cool also for the trivia point that the camera filming HAL's point of view was the actual camera you saw in the film.

See Joshua? Toldja ya shouldn't have bought that TV. Why, for... 25 times more, you could've had this!

Posted by scott at 07:14 PM | Comments (0)
Toys for Not-Really-Tots

The folks over at Landover Baptist Church have done it again, this time educating us about evil toys with a hidden agenda. Note: No pictures, but a pretty graphic opening paragraph. Still, couldn't help chuckling.

Posted by scott at 04:09 PM | Comments (6)
She's Only Blonde on the Inside

Saturday morning...

Ellen: "Finally, I got a good night's sleep last night."

Scott: "Not me. I had really weird dreams, one after the other. Strangest thing is I can't remember what happened in them."

Ellen: "Really? What were they about?"

Scott: [thoughtful pause, meaningful look] "Here's your sign."

Posted by scott at 03:11 PM | Comments (2)

Spaceflightnow is carrying this article on the "Sloshsat-FLEVO" satellite, an innovative effort meant to study fluid dynamics in a microgravity environment. By lofting what seems to essentially be a 10 gallon fish tank full of de-ionized water into a low earth orbit, scientists are hoping to refine and improve existing fluid dynamic models through real-world experimentation. This could have long-reaching effects on, for example, space craft design by making fuel tank installations more efficient and reliable.

Posted by scott at 02:34 PM | Comments (5)
Trust Me, She Didn't Want to Marry Him Anyway

This has to be one of the funniest ways of breaking up with a girlfriend I've ever seen. There's no escape from Power Point!

Posted by scott at 01:48 PM | Comments (1)
More "Personal Relaxation" Devices

Not to be outdone by the Japanese, the Germans are coming out with their own extremely... clever... gizmos:

The "lazy thing" is reminiscent of a rubber respirator. A woman puts it on her head, placing the little vibrating latex cylinder between her lips. The cylinder makes the oral cavity vibrate, giving extra oral pleasure to a partner.

And also probably sound like a didjeridu. How romantic!

Posted by scott at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)
When Technocrats Attack

Problem: the grand European Union, in its never-ending quest to protect and more importantly control its unruly subjects, has made it impossible for small-volume traditional cheese makers to stay in business.

Solution: Call it something else:

A Czech organic farmer whose family has made goat's cheese for six generations is evading new European Union food regulations by selling his produce as "animal feed", The Sunday Telegraph writes.
Mr Hajek said, writes the British paper, he is not responsible for what his customers do with the cheese, and has put up a sign outside his farm in southern Bohemia to that effect.

Consenting, informed adults using their own money to purchase something, and use it however they please. Can't have that. Might lead to dancing:

Armies of health inspectors have taken to standing outside the farm, interviewing customers about what they plan to do with the cheese.
Unable to close the legal loophole, Czech officials now claim that it is unfit for animal consumption because it is mixed with herbs and spices. Mr Hajek faces being closed down, or a million- crown fine, The Sunday Telegraph says in conclusion.

Nanny-statism at its finest. I can just hear the techno-dems now... "suppose he makes a bad batch and someone eats it who doesn't have insurance and has to go to the hospital and it all comes out of your tax dollars. Now see why it must be stopped?"

No. Not particularly. But then, I trust people to read labels, understand what they mean, and use this as a basis for a calculated risk. I trust people to accept the consequences of their actions regardless of the outcome. I want legislation that ensures the whiners and idiots who don't accept them are not able to use my government to transform foolishness into advantage. I want, in short, government to stay the hell out of our lives and let us live them on our own terms.

Democrats, feeling differently about all these points, will of course disagree.

But it could be worse. We could live in Europe.

Posted by scott at 11:47 AM | Comments (4)
Halo News

Yeah, still November, but in the meantime you can take a look at this very detailed preview of a beta build. Goes over the multiplayer bits quite nicely.

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)
Hominid News

Washington Post today is carrying this article detailing a new fossil find in remote north-east Romania. The article is pretty heavy on the "Jesus you have to go down a deep scary cave" stuff and kinda light on the real details, but it would seem that the find consists of at least skull and mandible fragments from three individuals. All three show a very interesting melange of early-modern human and Neandertal traits, providing more evidence that, early on at least, Neandertals and humans interbred.

Posted by scott at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)
September 19, 2004
Save Dance in Bethesda!!

To: Montgomery County Officials


For NON-Montgomery County Residents


We, the undersigned are concerned about the unanticipated displacement of key arts organizations and the resulting negative educational, artistic and economic consequences caused by impending demolition of the existing retail building located at 7702 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. That building houses certain educational arts organizations, including Joy of Motion Dance Center (JOM) and The Academy of the Maryland Youth Ballet (MYB). Both institutions are self-supporting nonprofit organizations that have grown to become Montgomery County’s largest centers of learning for dance and movement arts. Together, both centers serve 10s of 1000s of adult students and 1500 child/teen students annually within its Bethesda studios. The undersigned are seeking your support to locate appropriate alternative space for JOM/MYB to lease on a long-term basis or build in conjunction with other planned development projects in close proximity to its current Bethesda studio. JOM and MYB seek to create a state-of-the-art facility in Bethesda that supports its building and expansion plan as a premiere educational dance institute in the area. Your immediate assistance is required if JOM and MYB are to remain operational in Montgomery County and in Maryland. Therefore, we respectfully request your immediate assistance and support in this matter.

For more information, please visit:



The Undersigned

Now what are you waiting for!!! Go click on the link and SIGN on the petition!

Posted by Ellen at 08:30 PM | Comments (2)
If Other People Had Kryptonite's Problem

Ok, obligatory background: Kryptonite bike locks have been proven to be ridiculously easy to pick, using just a bic pen. Their reaction: recall the locks, which might save them half a dozen lawsuits. Won't be much good against the other 20,000 though. But what would it be like if some other manufacturer or entitiy was responsible for this debacle? Well, let's find out::

The solution to the problem, THAT is the issue. Let's gather around and think of what the big organizations/individuals would do to solve a problem such as this.

US goverment: Liberate bike from thief using a squadron of B2 bombers. At one point or another, several brits die, even if Rhumself has to find them and kill them himself. Bic pens linked to Al-Qaida.
Australian goverment: Send in Steve Irwin. If he gets killed, it's a good thing. If catches the thief, it's a better thing.
Brittish goverment: Sod the thief, fancy a scone, dear chap?
United Nations: Convene in an emergency session, go into recess after 10 minutes for cookies and tea. In the end, they condemn the theft but none of them manages to do fuck all.
European Union: The French and the Brits start bitching at eachother about which country has superior Bic pens. Germany and Spain wonder since when the damn Brits are part of Europe. The rest of Europe tried to talk tough before getting bitchslapped into submission by Germany and France.

RIAA: Claim that people who open locks use it to fund terrorism. Randomly sue locksmiths.
Microsoft: Vehemently deny existence of faulty locks. Release hotfix for existing locks, which consists of pouring glue in keyhole.
SCO: Sue Bic, 3M, Canada, a random seagull and the tooth fairy for copyright infringement on their proprietary way of opening locks with ballpoints.

Richard Stallman: Proudly proclaim the bike simply wanted to be free.
Eric S Raymond: Something irrelevant that contains a plug for "The Cathedral and the Bazaar".
Larry Wall: Make all locks so confusing that thieves don't know how to open them. Nor do the owners. Or manufacturers, for that matter.
George Lucas: Make a movie about bikes being stolen with Bic pens. Milk this movie out until 2050.
Bruce Willis: Get a bunch of oil drillers to find the thief and shove a nuke up his ass. And for the love of Eris, someone PLEASE screw Liv Tyler!

Mine is sitting next to my computer, unused and not even pulled out of its package. Good thing I never actually got around to biking to the beer pub!

Posted by scott at 07:40 PM | Comments (1)
Must. See. Movie.

Ok, well, I might have gotten used to some of you (SOME of you) not having your VCRs/Tivos set for the new Farscape mini. But by God, if you don't mark 11-5-04 on your calendars you're just not part of my world.

Unless you're mom, who hates all animation. But she goes out in public with two different shoes on, so I guess it all evens out.

Posted by scott at 07:18 PM | Comments (2)
Lost & Found

Sometimes the stuff you find in the ocean you don't want to keep:

Government experts are investigating a claim that an unarmed nuclear bomb, lost off the Georgia coast at the height of the Cold War, might have been found, an Air Force spokesman said Monday.

The thing has been sitting there since 1958, and was lost during a training accident. Yes, Virginia, there was a time when our military thought it would be a good idea to fly around the sky with unfused nuclear weapons just for fun. I used to laugh out loud at Dr. Strangelove, but now that I've learned a lot more (then-classified) stuff about how the Air Force was set up in the '50s, I get a serious case of the heebies when it comes on. No wonder the Soviets had thousands of nukes pointed at us. We were capable of anything.

Posted by scott at 07:11 PM | Comments (1)
Gospel Shoes

Now you can walk in Jesus's shoes!

*Shoes do not allow you to walk on water.*

Posted by Ellen at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)
Mmmm...Now if you just don't fly away...

Neat cat pix.

Posted by Ellen at 10:36 AM | Comments (0)
Well Shiver Me Timbers!

It's "Talk Like A Pirate Day!"

Go here and be a pirate for a day!

Here are some basics:

Top Ten Pickup lines for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day

10 . Avast, me proud beauty! Wanna know why my Roger is so Jolly?
9. Have ya ever met a man with a real yardarm?
8. Come on up and see me urchins.
7. Yes, that is a hornpipe in my pocket and I am happy to see you.
6. I'd love to drop anchor in your lagoon.
5. Pardon me, but would ya mind if fired me cannon through your porthole?
4. How'd you like to scrape the barnacles off of me rudder?
3. Ya know, darlin’, I’m 97 percent chum free.
2. Well blow me down?
And the number one pickup line for use on International Talk Like a Pirate Day is …
1. Prepare to be boarded.

Posted by Ellen at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)
Staff celebrates life of saved cat

Dr. Sue Burkhart helps her cat C.C. make the first cut of the cat's birthday cake at Animal Medical Center in Ontario on Friday afternoon. C.C., who is celebrating her first birthday, used to stand for "Coma Cat," but it now stands for "Clinic Cat" since she has recovered from a drug-induced coma that took the life of her brother early this spring. The animals' owner administered ear mite medicine intended for horses, and C.C. spent two weeks in a coma. She is fully recovered and spends most of her time in the center's waiting room. More than 30 staff and clients came for the lunch and party.

See caption with pix.

Posted by Ellen at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
For the Ricer With Everything?

Ron gets a well-endowed no-prize for bringing us bumper nuts, the car accessory that delcares to the world that your vehicle's got a pair. They even sell them for kid's toys!

Posted by scott at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)
And People Think Our Politicians are Petty

Well, ok, they probably are. But New Zealand's seem to be catching up fast:

A Hamilton woman says she was embarrassed and offended when front-running city mayoral candidate Martin Elliott wiggled his little finger in her face and told her his main rival for the city's top political job "had a small one".

Let's hear it for "big" government!

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week... try the veal!

Posted by scott at 09:24 AM | Comments (1)
September 18, 2004
Doom3 Done

Finished the damned thing this morning. I tend to agree with Gamespot... 8.5 out of 10. It had a nice, detailed, and long single player campaign, which is a big plus for me as I don't do much shooter multiplay (too much twitch, I usually don't even see what's killed me a dozen times). It was a damned scary game at times, sometimes (especially after a glass or two of wine) I just couldn't keep playing it. Too much adrenaline.

That said, it definitely had some flaws. The "boo" factor that's so nifty can also at times get very old. Eventually I found myself rushing back and forth from point to point just to trigger the spawn events. The lack of open or outdoor levels confine you to a pretty linear transit of what is already a linear game. The tight confines also help disguise what is essentially a pretty weak AI. There are no gang tactics, no flanking, no running to get help, etc. Again, because of the nature of the game, it's not glaringly noticeable, but in the post-Half-Life universe smart baddies are half the fun.

The storyline was very immersive, and unfolds nicely, but I would've liked a few more main objectives. I wanted a little more redemption, maybe an extra rescue or two.

Still, it is a very good game, definitely a healthy "check-your-brain-at-the-door-and-blow-stuff-up" bit of entertainment. If all you want to do is run around and blast demons and devils, you could do a whole helluva lot worse.

Posted by scott at 04:36 PM | Comments (0)
London 'call girl' gives up blog

The infamous call girl who recorded her liaisons and encounters with clients on her web diary, or blog, has signed off.

Belle de Jour captured the wave of blogging and earned notoriety for the sometimes explicit online accounts.

Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)
You Mean We Needed To Use Protection?

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- California officials fined two adult film companies more than $30,000 each for allowing actors to perform without using condoms, the first time the state has taken such action.

The fines against Evasive Angles and TTB Productions follow an investigation into a complaint filed by a porn industry worker. The companies have 15 days to appeal the decision Wednesday by the state Division of Occupational Health and Safety.

Four actors were diagnosed earlier this year with HIV, prompting state officials to say they would investigate whether state laws were being followed. Officials at Evasive Angles and TTB Productions could not immediately be reached for comment; calls to them went unanswered early Friday.

Read entire article here.
Posted by Ellen at 09:34 AM | Comments (1)
Shoe Fetish

Podge the cat, whose mother Kizzi used to steal rugby socks, has spent much of the past two and a-half years flogging shoes from porches.

He lost part of his tail during one late-night raid - his owner, Aileen Smith, suspected it was caught in a door as he tried to get away - but he continues to steal shoes by the pair.

Read entire cat tale.
Posted by Ellen at 09:18 AM | Comments (0)
Thank You, Captain Obvious

FYI: Political campaigns aren't always teling the whole truth:

Whether a distortion on jobs, hairsplitting on health care or a half-told story about Iraq, facts are getting lost as President Bush and Democrat John Kerry reach full-throated roar in the campaign.

I don't know what's sadder... that they ran this story, that they felt they needed to, or that the information in the article will come as a revelation to many.

Is it noon yet?

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (1)
September 17, 2004
Tip Often, Tip Well

Or else:

A 20-year-old waitress has been arrested for allegedly ordering the slayings of two customers who allegedly made rude remarks and tried to grab her as she served them drinks, authorities said.
Ellen: "Amateur. I'd do it myself. The fewer people involved the better. Heh."*

She's read Death's Acre and taken notes. Let's just say it's good that Ellen went into medicine.

* Actual quotes from AIM conversation regarding this article. No, really!

Posted by scott at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

Meet Lina Medina, who, in 1939, became (according to the article) the world's youngest mother at the tender age of 5. Yes 5.

Oh, and don't bother, I already checked Snopes for you, and apparently it's true.

Just when you thought the world couldn't get any more bizzare...

Posted by scott at 02:54 PM | Comments (8)
Mark Your Calendars

Amateur astronomers and other large telescope owners (you know who you are) should set some time aside this December for a new comet that will be making an appearance around then. This one might be bright enough to be seen by the naked eye.

Posted by scott at 01:13 PM | Comments (1)
"Sign" of the Times

Is language innate, or is it learned? Scientists have been debating the point for as long as we've thought to ask the question. This BBCnews article discusses a find that could help bring us closer to an answer:

A new sign language created over the last 30 years by deaf children in Nicaragua has given experts a unique insight into how languages evolve.

Apparently deaf people in Nicaragua were very isolated until around 1981, when a vocational school for the deaf was opened. The children attending developed their own sign language, without instruction from any adult or outside agency. Like other forms of language, this "new" system holds many things in common with regular languages, notably the ability to break concepts down into "chunks", and then reassemble them into sentences that can convey other meanings.

Posted by scott at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)
Game Time!

A little something for a slow Friday: Blox Forever, yet another one of those "easy to learn, hard to master" puzzle games that drive me insane. Puzzles are not my friend! But they are Ellen's... I'll bet she spends an hour obsessing over this tonight.

Stuck at level 8, but not for long... oh, no, not for long... MUHAHAHAHAHAHAH...

Posted by scott at 10:13 AM | Comments (1)
~ Wouldn't You Like to be a Meanie Too? ~

The sound you're hearing is a campaign staffer chomping on a hook:

Three-year-old Sophia Parlock [pictured] cries while seated on the shoulders of her father, Phil Parlock, after having their Bush-Cheney sign torn up by Kerry-Edwards supporters on Thursday, Sept. 16, 2004, at the Tri-State Airport in Huntington, W.Va. Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwardsmade a brief stop at the airport as he concluded his two-day bus tour to locations in West Virginia and Ohio.

One side will play up the mean grownup making the little kid cry. The other side will play up the mean grownup using his little kid to hold up a sign at a place it really wouldn't be welcomed. Both sides are, of course, right. But, like that crude little saying about the special olympics, winning this particular argument still means you're retarded.

Are we having fun yet?

Update: As noted in the comments, it looks like this guy is a "serial disruptor" who likes to play with signs a lot. See? Retarded.

Posted by scott at 09:12 AM | Comments (3)
They Didn't Even Have to Use Their AK

Ever wonder why you don't hear about a gang problem in Canada? Well, turns out it's because their youth gangs can't talk:

A beastly crime spree has shocked the well-heeled residents of Whistler, a swank western Canadian ski resort that will host alpine events in the 2010 winter Olympics.

Black bears, which have learned how to unlock car doors and crack open dumpsters, are being blamed for nearly 100 house and car break-ins in the scenic mountain village so far this year.

Ron gets a honey jar no-prize for bringing us this story of a particular kind of "youth gone wild."

Posted by scott at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)
September 16, 2004
When Drinks Attack

After reading this, I think the correct phrase is, "that's mister moonbat to you, bud":

A piledriver is a screwdriver with a kick, is what I usually say with a sheepish grin when someone wants a taste of [the drink I invented]. The primary ingredient is of course Pure Grain Alcohol (PGA) and orange juice. I sometimes put a splash of vodka on for taste to fool the weak-minded who lack the ability to distinguish between PGA and orange juice.

Which is why I think I'll be sure to bring my own drinks whenever we visit. Lord knows what he'd get me to agree to after one or two of those things. Gotta make sure I lock away all the cameras, at the very least.

Posted by scott at 07:22 PM | Comments (1)
"Jaded" Just Doesn't Cover It

I knew Germans were formal and stuff, but these Berliners just take the cake:

So when [the department store] opened and a young woman - naked from the waist up - handed out sale leaflets to customers at the door she elicited no visible response whatsoever.

If I were shopping with Ellen I would have no visible response either, but that's just because I like certain portions of my anatomy to stay where they are, instead of in Ellen's clenched fist.

Posted by scott at 03:36 PM | Comments (0)
A Michael Moore Movie I Might Actually See

The title says it all: I am not an Asshole -- the Micheal Moore Story.

Posted by scott at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)
And in the Darkness Bind Them...

Spaceflightnow is carrying this article on new discoveries about the "Cat's Eye nebula", which bears more than a passing resemblance to everyone's favorite disembodied bad guy. New Hubble pictures and extensive study of older ones have revealed interesting structures and developments not predicted by current stellar evolution models. Scientists hope that figuring them out will lead to new insights into how stars form, live, and die.

Includes hyper-cool picture!

Posted by scott at 01:11 PM | Comments (1)
The Perfect Addition to a Real Doll?

Liz gets a... well, a no-prize for bringing us news of an intriguing new substance used for medical research:

In Kevin Dyches' mind, the future is yellow. Dyna-Tek Industries, a company Kevin and his wife, Sandra, bought five years ago, has developed synthetic urine for the research industry.

The potential for the fetish industry is, of course, an obvious bonus.

Yeah, sometimes I even skeeve myself out.

Posted by scott at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
I Think it Should be Called "Catsersize"

The thing is, I think Ellen actually owns this book:

Bad, a longhaired tortoiseshell who, judging from her attitude in the photographs, apparently believes that both the exercises and the photo session are for her benefit alone. The chubbier Masi - used for exercises that require extra weight - looks tolerant enough, but nowhere near as pleased as Bad.

But I bet Amber doesn't have a copy yet. You can thank me later, Ron :).

Posted by scott at 10:57 AM | Comments (1)

Slashdot linked up this interesting bit of news about a theme park in Florida (no, not that one) using RFID tags embedded in wrist bands to help you keep track of your group as it roams the park:

Visitors can locate other members of their group by using touch-screen kiosks throughout the park that are linked to the system, called SafeTzone's Real-Time Locating System.

The dot-heads are predictably up in arms about "big brother", but personally I think it's a pretty neat idea. Ellen has always had the ability to teleport across a store when my back is turned, and I'm sure Olivia will inherit this talent. Avoiding the spot-by-spot search would be very nice.

Posted by scott at 09:21 AM | Comments (0)

Johnny Ramone lost his battle with prostate cancer yesterday, dying at age 55. He'll be playing his four chords for a different audience now.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (1)
September 15, 2004
That Fairness Thing

Jason does a nice bit of deconstruction on an "early whiner" on the other side. Includes this extremely nifty bon-mot:

[Democrats demonstrate their ignorance of] game theory because they fail to grasp this inalterable truism ... If one side feels it is at a clear disadvantage on the issues, they will simply not allow a general engagement on the issues, for the same reason a master swordsman in a blood feud is more likely to get shot than stabbed.

It's not about "fairness", it's about winning. "Fairness" is the refuge of people who don't care who wins, and losers who do. The Dems had a whole week of media dominance, and the Repubs knuckled under and sharpend their swords. The Repubs got the same week a little later, and the Dems imploded, their self-inflated campaign wheezing and whining, leaking ink and documents on the way down.

I know the Dems are better than this. Why don't they?

Posted by scott at 08:06 PM | Comments (0)

Aaron Hawk, author of, was found dead recently, victim of an apparent suicide. When he chose to be funny, he could be laugh-out-loud funny, and that's why I kept track of him. I was also deeply intimidated by him, because he could seem so damned angry sometimes. Looks like it may have gotten the better of him, which is a damned shame and a terrible waste. Not much you can say at a time like this, we can only express our deep condolences to his family.

So if any readers have a family member who gives birth in the next... oh, let's see... the next week or two, and the kid has strange hair and a glint in their eye, say hello for me, eh? And here's to wishing the next time around gets him closer to the peace we all strive for.

Posted by scott at 07:45 PM | Comments (1)
Death Bunnies

First, there was Titanic. Now, Jaws.

Laughed out loud at this one. Maybe these guys really do have talent. Strange, rabbit-obsessed talent, but still...

Via Silflay.

Posted by scott at 03:23 PM | Comments (2)
Health Care, Health Cost

Nearly everyone who says "health care needs to be reformed" usually follows it up with "we should have a system more like Canada's." This is, as usual, simply because most people really don't know much about Canada's system:

Canada often boasts its universal health care program shows it is more caring than the United States, but the system is creaking alarmingly, with long wait lists for treatment, and shortages of cash and doctors.

Ok, once more, and slowly... this is not unique. All forms of socialized or government-controlled medicine inevitably experience shortages and poor service. All of them. Without exception.

The reason is simple, yet vast numbers of people (including many who read this site) don't seem to understand it... of all the different methods of allocating scarce resources with alternative uses, government has been proven time and again, for thousands of years, to be the worst agent available. Not just a bad agent, the worst.

There are a huge number of "things" that make up the ultimate cost of, say, a medication, or a doctor's time and expertise, or a hospital stay. Because of this, it's effectively impossible for any third party to accurately "set" or "control" the price of (or access to) any one of them, let alone all of them.

Of course, this doesn't stop technocrats from trying, or from discontented citizens from trying to make them. The results are as inevitable as they are depressingly predictable. People consume more when the price is low, so setting an artificial ceiling on how much can be charged for something results in greater consumption of that something than would otherwise be the case. Conversely, people do not produce as much (or at all) when the price they receive for something is below what it costs them to make it, and so production drops. This leads to a simple and incontrovertible axiom:

When price controls are instituted on a good or service, shortages will always follow.

What's worse are the incentives price controls set up. Since profits on goods and services are typically fixed in most price control schemes (when they're allowed at all), there is no incentive to reduce costs. Why improve a dilapidated hospital when you're guaranteed a profit running it as it is now? Innovation is at least stifled, if not halted outright. Why attempt creating a daring new drug when you can't recoup your costs? Quality of service falls, sometimes dangerously. Why should anyone go to the considerable effort of becoming a doctor when your fixed compensation comes nowhere close to the cost?

The ugly truth is that, as perhaps the only free market medical system remaining on the planet, the United States is effectively subsidizing the rest of the world's medicine. Canada's system (and everywhere else governments set the price of things medical) functions as well as it does only because international companies are able to transfer the costs of their artificial and inefficient systems to our free markets, making health care more expensive for us than it otherwise would be. They have access to new and innovative drugs, machines, and procedures only because the United States allows companies and doctors to cover their risk in whatever manner they see fit. The prices of all forms of medical care fall only because the United States provides choice and competition, which pressures providers to become more efficient lest they fail completely.

Is our system perfect? Hardly. If you can't afford a car you can walk or ride a bicycle. If you can't afford a specific cancer drug you die. The simple and inhuman finality of this equation puts a unique spin on markets dealing in human medicine, and creates different pressures and incentives, ones that even cold-hearted economists can't deal with comfortably. Markets in general are always messy, sometimes dangerous, and never a good place for the sick, unlucky, or stupid. As with democracies, they are not the best solution to the problem, they are simply the least worst solution that humanity has found. And as with any human construction, there is always room for improvement.

But anyone who thinks government is the solution simply because Canadians pay less for Viagra than we do is not paying attention.

Posted by scott at 02:53 PM | Comments (0)
The [8-bit] Sound and Fury

Joshua gets a no-prize in a cartridge for bringing us Name that Video Game, a contest of sound and memory. This one I actually did pretty well on... 16 out of 18, although maybe four of those were just flat guesses. Amazing what you can do with, what, 16 sounds?

Posted by scott at 12:26 PM | Comments (2)
Oh Dear

I mean, the review for Dead Alive says it all:

Lionel and Paquita are falling in love when his mother is bitten by a "rat monkey" at the zoo. Vera soon succumbs to the beast's poison and transforms into a zombie, killing her nurse and a few others while driving her son crazy. Lionel is unable to kill his undead mother or her victims, since people killed by zombies become zombies, so he keeps them drugged and locked in the basement.

A catholic priest enters the picture at some point. I think.

I can't remember if Joshua's talked about this one before or not. Something tells me I just stumbled onto another "surreal movie night" pick.

Posted by scott at 11:32 AM | Comments (5)
Dino Day Care

New Scientist is carrying this article that summarizes information about an important new dinosaur fossil find. Located in the Liaoning province in China, it is a collection of at least 34 juvenile and one adult Psittacosaurus dinosaurs. These were not individuals who happen to be thrown together during a flood, but instead appear to have been buried alive in a single incident. The find provides the strongest evidence to date that dinosaurs cared for their young, and even provides insight into just how they cared for them as well.

The article includes a nifty picture of the find!

Posted by scott at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)
Stupid Senses

Far as I'm concerned, the whole first half of this senses test is just about impossible without a ruler. Then again, since you guys are all a lot smarter than I am, I imagine you'll have little trouble beating 7/20. Bastards.

Posted by scott at 08:36 AM | Comments (1)
September 14, 2004
Trailers, Get Yer Fresh Hot Trailers Here!

So, like, you all have your VCRs and/or TiVos set to record the upcoming Farscape miniseries, right? Right?!?

Gah. Phillistines. Don't look at the trailer then. You're not worthy.

(But everyone else should take a look. Here's to hoping it doesn't suck!)

Posted by scott at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

Japanese professor Asaki Geino claims that the type of pubic hair a woman has affects her sexuality. He classifies women into five types, the most likely of which to be unfaithful being the type whose hair resembles the mouth of a river.

Read entire muffed up article here.
Posted by Ellen at 06:35 PM | Comments (1)
Avast, me hearties!

Are ye ready for Talk Like A Pirate Day 2004?

4 days and counting! ARRR!!!

Posted by Ellen at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)
Raqs Sahara Belly Dancers, Holding Sway

Washington's belly dancers rival Elvis with their ability to shake a body part to a crowd's delight. Or at least they did Sunday during a performance presented by Sahara Dance that showcased an array of enthralling, sensuous Middle Eastern dance styles.

Raqs Sahara, a dance company housed in Sahara Dance's studios and directed by Rachel Kay Brookmire and Saphira (all dancers but Brookmire listed only stage names), filled much of the show at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Saphira enraptured the audience in "Rannet al Tabla," her arms beckoning the audience to join. Saphira, then Brookmire in "Zay al Asal," put their bodies in conversation with the music.

Read entire article here. Free reg, blah...blah...blah...

Posted by Ellen at 06:20 PM | Comments (0)
Like the Star Wars Kid, Only Cooler

Joshua gets a ninja no-prize for bringing us this fine example of reach exceeding grasp. Ninja attack!

Posted by scott at 06:06 PM | Comments (0)
Spider vs. Spider

Everybody knows one of the main reasons to own a convertible car is to allow lots of fresh air and sunshine into the vehicle. What's not often mentioned is that sometimes other stuff gets in as well.

"So you're taking the day off." Ellen's great for turning questions into declarations. Never a good sign.

"Yup. Just worked four fourteen hour days in a row dealing with quirky people and excitable staff. I get a day off." As all husbands know, you gotta be firm, otherwise they walk all over you.

"Hmpf. Well then. You better make damned sure you pick up a dryer hose some time today. I'm not going to face rush hour alone both ways just so you can scratch your butt and play Doom."

"Yes, dear." (Firm, I tell you, firm.)

And why not? It was a gorgeous day, without the used gym sock humidity we'd been suffering through the previous week. So, after waiting for Home Depot to open up (sleeping late on Olivia time means making it to 7 am), I put the top down on the spider and headed out. At the store, I even managed to find a super-spiffy dryer duct with "FirmAttachtm" collars. It was such a nice day I decided to head to the book store a few blocks down the road just to delay going home for awhile. As I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the street I noted with some sadness a single yellow leaf falling from a tree as I drove underneath it. Fall was definitely arriving.

"You know," I thought to myself, "that didn't look quite right. Looked like it was attached to something." I then briefly glanced down at a tickling sensation on my arm. "Oh, that's why... it was a spider."

A bright yellow-green spider, about the size of a nickel, now gingerly making its way across my arm. Which makes it sound nice and calm, and to anyone without an utterly irrational, blood-curdling toe-dancing girl-screaming fear of bugs, this would merely be yet another charming indication of the fall season's arrival. "Why hello there, little fellow," someone might say, in a suitably kind Burle-Ivesian baritone, "I'm afraid you won't find any bugs in here."

Which is, sadly, not what was going through my head at the time. No sir, instead of a kind grandfatherly voice chuckling at the coincidences of nature, I had Robin Williams on crack in my head screaming "holyshitHolyShitHOLYSHITspiderSpiderSPIDERarmArmARMtouchdon'ttouchtouchdon'ttouchgetItOffGETITOFF!!!!"

So I had a choice. I could hop out of my moving car and dance around screaming like a girl while said car rammed into something, crushing irreplaceable and to-date collision free body panels, or, I could suck it up and drive to the book store and fix it there. It was actually a pretty easy decision. My autonomic nervous system may have been thrumming like a guitar string twisted three turns too tight, but I was hanging on and sucking it up as I stopped in front of the first traffic light between me and my destination.

Which had, unnoticed in the midst of my spider-induced fuge, just now turned red. A nice, safe, long red.

So, sitting there for this side to turn left, then that side to turn left, then this side to go, then that side to go, then oncoming to turn left, then my direction to turn left, I waited. As I waited, of course, my new chartreuse friend crawled out of site underneath my seat belt. I'm proud to say I did not drop the clutch and burn through the intersection, but I did transit the thing very quickly.

God then smiled on my bug-o-phobic butt and the next three traffic lights were all green. I was therefore able to make my way to my destination at best possible (legal!) speed. After all, the last thing I needed was a cop to see me hopping up and down and swatting myself like an electrified marionette ("Subject exited car in rapid and erratic fashion screaming incoherently. Officers in charge quickly subdued subject with tasers and pepper spray.")

So after what was probably a three minute (hour, year, epoch) drive, I came to a rapid but controlled stop in the book store parking lot. It was only then that I turned the screaming chimp loose and hopped around the car swatting erratically at nothing anyone could actually see. In the unlikely event she's reading this, I'd like to now apologize to the woman with the green stroller who I believe I alarmed rather severely, because you see dear there was a frikken spider on me somewhere!!!

But, it turned out, there actually wasn't. Nothing shook out, nothing fell off, most importantly nothing sank its fangs into me. Apparently, while I was concentrating on not freaking out and not driving into the scenery, my multi-legged friend had crawled away into the dark recesses of my car, where it probably wanted to be in the first place. That didn't stop me from the occasional precautionary swat as I drove home, but to date "my little friend" has remained quite hidden.

Which is just as well. I mean, it would've been pretty sad to leave such a nice car in the parking lot and walk home, ya know?

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (6)
It's All So Clear to Me Now

Instapundit linked up the obvious reason for the Rathergate debacle:

Clumsily forged documents would be released by the Kerry campaign to the media, creating a scandal designed to rebound on Kerry. Dan Rather, already planning his retirement, played the part of the sacrificial lamb in this scenario, giving up a short piece of his career for the good of the Democratic Party. Kerry [will] deny any wrongdoing, but will be 'persueded' by party members to step down as candidate. Then, a replacement candidate will be put on the ballot ... Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This whole RatherGate scandal has been the first stage in Operation Hillary in 04.

Why no, actually, my foil hat doesn't itch. Why do you ask?

Posted by scott at 02:06 PM | Comments (2)
Possibly The Only Thing Denser than a Politician is carrying this report on new studies of neutron stars and how they are constructed. By using new X-ray instruments, scientists were able to gain much more detailed information about the size, composition, and spin of one of these hyperdense celestial objects. Because the matter in a neutron star is in such an extreme environment (an object not quite twice the mass of the sun compressed into a form about as wide as Mount Everest is tall, spinning around 45 times a second), getting detailed observations can provide insight into the nature of matter itself.

Plus learning about a substance that would weight a billion tons per teaspoon is just flat cool. No, Ron, you can't have any.

Posted by scott at 11:43 AM | Comments (3)
The Peanut Gallery Probably Thinks I Have This Problem

Who says Germans don't have a sense of humor? Note: video link, patience required.

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

As proof positive that there's no such thing as "too big" of a truck, we have the Navistar CXT:

At 258 inches, or 21-1/2 feet long, the CXT is about 4-1/2 feet longer than the new Hummer H2 pickup, and about 2 inches longer than the F-350 Crew Cab ... At 108 inches, or 9 feet, the CXT stands only a foot below a basketball rim and more than two feet above the Hummer or the F-350.

With, of course, pictures. Looks like a cement truck that got its butt chopped off.

Actually, I wouldn't worry too much about this one. Both Ford and GM are having trouble moving their monster SUVs in numbers big enough to make them profitable, and this one just takes all their troubles and makes them bigger. At a planned production of 50 per year, even if they sell out you won't be seeing one any time soon.

But hey, if it takes a rich guy's toy to keep three hundred employees working between cement truck orders, I don't really have a problem with that.

Posted by scott at 10:01 AM | Comments (4)
Ancient Mariner

BBCnews is carrying this report summarizing the discovery of the remains of a sailor from an ill-fated 1652 expidition from Oliver Cromwell's navy. Originally sent to put down a rebellious Scottish clan, the fleet ran into a storm that sank half of the force. Some 350 years later, archeologists and physical anthropologists have found the wreck and examined the luckless sailor's remains within it. Turns out he was about 20, 5'2", had the upper body of a trapeeze artist and a lower body with rickets-bowed legs and injuries consistent with someone doing a lot of jumping around.

Posted by scott at 09:04 AM | Comments (0)
An Invention Who's Time has Come?

Always on the forefront of innovation, we here at AMCGLTD are proud to present [drum roll] the Doggy Diaper:

Paul LeFevre's 'doggy bag' is essentially a designer nappy for dogs, reports the Montreal Gazette.

As the proud owner of what has effectively become a quarter-million dollar litterbox due to cats with "issues", I can only hope the feline version is not far behind. As it were.

Posted by scott at 08:12 AM | Comments (4)
September 13, 2004

Joshua gets a swoopy no-prize for bringing us a video example of just how maneuverable a passenger jet can be.

I'm almost certain this is a shot from the old Hong Kong airport, which was world-famous for its loony "a**holes and elbows" approaches. Unregulated (and therefore spectacularly successful) development resulted in what was literally an approach corridor, surrounded by tall buildings which had to be slalomed through to reach the runway. There are several films and music videos that feature shots of a 747 flying below the rooftops of buildings... they're shot under the approach vectors of that airport.

Fortunately for everyone flying into Hong Kong, the old airport was closed down about a decade ago, and the new one has nice calm approaches over the harbor itself. But there never was anything quite like watching an old lady shake her fist at a passing 747 because it had blown her laundry off the roof on its way in.

Posted by scott at 07:10 PM | Comments (1)
Train + Car Carrier = Squish

Pictures of the train collision referenced below can be found here. Note: There must be nearly 100 pictures on the site, only 1/2 reference the wreck, they're thumbnailed, and everyone on FARK is trying to look at them. I thought they were worth it, but for the impatient, these "after the fact" pics should say it all:



Perfectly restored, perfectly cared for, and now perfectly wrecked. I'm not the world's biggest fan of Porsches, but even I cringe to see such rare and pretty machines bent beyond repair.

Posted by scott at 02:37 PM | Comments (0)
Pioneering Weirdness

Slashdot linked up this Gaurdian article noting there's something small but very strange acting on the Pioneer space probes:

The strange behaviour of the Pioneers - which swept by Jupiter and Saturn in the Eighties [sic] - was discovered by John Anderson and Slava Turyshev of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and Michael Martin Neito of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

They had been tracking the probes using the giant dishes of Nasa's Deep Space Network. By the time the two spaceships had swept beyond Pluto, they noted there were persistent anomalies in their trajectories. Every time they looked the Pioneers were in the wrong place. The effect was not large, but it was significant. Something more than the Sun's gravity appeared to have a grip on the craft.

The reporter is mixing up the Voyager and Pioneer probes... the Voyagers passed by in the 80s, the Pioneers a decade earlier. Still, very strange.

Posted by scott at 01:21 PM | Comments (0)
Told You They Better be Careful!

Jeff gets a no-prize smashed to bits for bringing us news that the famous giant B-52 scale model has recently augered in. The video is all weird and funky for me, but from what I could see it appears to have fallen victim to the exact same phenomena that destroyed a for-real B-52 back in the early 90s. This is all from memory, so YMMV, but anyway: the B-52's design uses spoilers, not ailerons, to generate bank. Unfortunately, once the wing goes past a certain degree of bank, the spoilers become ineffective. At that point, you either go all the way around and hope the wings don't fall off, or you auger. Since B-52s aren't supposed to be operated at high bank angles, it's almost never a problem.

Well, unless you get a gung-ho pilot (either real or remote) who gets a little careless. The real accident killed six people, I think. I imagine the pilot of the model simply wishes he was dead.

Posted by scott at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)
Wave Runner

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing an innovative new development in ship design. In an effort to reduce disruptive wave patterns in crowded harbors and sea lanes, Taiwanese scientists have designed a unique "wavy" hull shape that promises to reduce such turbulence by nearly a third. Even better, the hull generates less drag, and therefore ships using it should be cheaper to operate. Sometimes everyone wins!

Posted by scott at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)
Could've Been Worse

Could have been Alfas:

A car-carrier loaded with vintage Porsches was struck by a freight train Sunday after becoming stranded on railroad tracks, officials said.

Somewhere in America an insurance agent is having a mild heart attack. And somewhere else, a lawyer is beginning to smile.

Posted by scott at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)
~ One of These Things is Not Like the Other ~

Ok, I've been around chicks long enough to know this "distinctive" cell phone design is supposed to evoke a makeup compact thingy*. But to me, it screams "pill case".

Eh, I wear white socks with dark blue pants. What the hell do I know?

* Just because I hang around them, doesn't mean I read the labels on all the crap they carry. What the hell is that thing called anyway?

Posted by scott at 10:15 AM | Comments (3)

The whole "CBS Hoax" story came and went across the blogosphere while I was gone, forcing me to miss out posting at least a "ha-ha" in response. Well, nobody's ever accused me of missing an opportunity to lay my own whip to a deceased donkey, so HA-HA!:

On Wednesday night, CBS News released four memos it claimed were written in 1972 and 1973 by George W. Bush's commander in the Texas Air National Guard. In one of the documents, Lt. Col. Jerry B. Killian writes that a Guard official was "pushing to sugar coat" Bush's training evaluation; in another, Killian suspects that Bush is "talking to someone upstairs" about getting transferred. Within a few hours of the CBS report, bloggers were questioning the authenticity of the documents. By today, the doubts were on the front page of the Washington Post.

A very nice summary all-around. I remember reading the original story in the Post on the way to Day 0 (set-up day) of our convention and thinking, "here we go again." That big media fell all over itself to report this new wrinkle in Bush's ANG career while they sat on the Kerry/Cambodia fiasco until their asses burned was disappointing but not particularly surprising. When it turned out they rushed so fast they didn't even bother to make sure the documents were written on a typewriter, let alone had even the slightest whiff of legitimacy, well, let's just say "tickled pink" doesn't even cover what I felt.

Of course, the $64 question now is who really wrote the damned things? Who gave them to CBS? Why did they run so fast with them?

Yeah, I know the answers too, but I want to hear you say them out loud. ;)

Posted by scott at 08:27 AM | Comments (6)
~ Star Wars / Made Lots of Money / Made Me a Big Star / Paid Off My House ~

Mark your calendars folks... the original three Star Wars films will hit the shelves in long-awaited DVD form September 21st. In the meantime, you can read all about what, exactly, went into creating them:

The process: First, [John Lowry of Lowry Digital Images] analyzes the film and notes its biggest problems, be it dust or softness. Then he sets parameters for the restoration software. The computer system divides the film into segments and applies fixes, identifying flaws by comparing neighboring film frames. Lowry and his team check the processed scenes daily, frame by frame.

Sorry purists, word on the street says this'll be the re-(re-re-re)-released 90s versions, not the stuff that was in the theaters in the 70s. Doesn't much matter to me, I liked just about everything that was added and could tolerate some of the sillier stuff. But I've been called a cinematic Phillistene before.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
Double Exposure

No, you're not seeing things, it really does have six wheels. And a whole load of other things too. What I find surprising is no ricer has ever tried this with a civic. Lord only knows how much it'll cost, if it ever sees production in the first place.

Posted by scott at 07:16 AM | Comments (0)
September 12, 2004
The Best Episodes Ever

The very best of the episodes of FuturamaPosted by Ellen at 08:26 PM | Comments (1)

Sorry California!

You sick fucks of California can no longer have sex with corpses

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Having sex with corpses is now officially illegal in California after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill barring necrophilia, a spokeswoman says.

The state's first attempt to outlaw necrophilia, in response to a case of a man charged with having sex with the corpse of a 4-year-old girl in Southern California, stalled last year in a legislative committee.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)
Exit Only!!

The headline says it all; Tucker tries buttsex; hilarity does not ensue".

A week prior, after Jaime consented to buttsex, I realized that I didn’t have any idea how to do it. How exactly do you fuck a girl in the ass? Luckily, I had the world’s best anal sex informational resource at my disposal: The gay waiter. I consulted several gay waiters who worked at one of my parents restaurants about the mechanics of buttsex, and each one recommended AstroGlide as the lubricant of choice. Much to my dismay, I learned that spitting on your dick is not enough lube for buttsex. Stupid, lying porn movies.

Funny as shit! -as it were.

Posted by Ellen at 08:06 PM | Comments (1)
The Ultimate Fly Catcher

Ron gets a bug-zapping no-prize for bringing us this report of a new robot with a distinctive power supply:

A British-built robot generates its own power by gobbling flies, but it has a stinky downside — it needs human sewage as bait to catch the insects and then digest them.

Which means you definitely won't be using it to vacuum your house, but I think it might make a nifty addition to, say, a campsite.

Posted by scott at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)
September 10, 2004
Testicle Festival

NSFW. WHY? you ask? Well because of all the hick ass rednecks that should not get naked. EVER.

So come one down to 22 miles next east of Missoula and eat some testies! Dates are September 16-20th.

Posted by Ellen at 07:40 PM | Comments (1)
Slow, Children at Play

A day in the life of a social worker/care giver of mentally disturbed boys.

Very interesting.

Posted by Ellen at 07:32 PM | Comments (1)
The Cat and the Naughty Bird

Make sure your speakers are on for this one! This is great!

Naughty Bird.

8 small episodes, you can watch them all!

Posted by Ellen at 07:28 PM | Comments (2)
September 09, 2004
Two-Headed Baby Born

Photos show an apparently normal torso with two separate heads cramped together on the shoulders.

Medical officials said tests have revealed the baby has two functioning brains, each one controlling its respective side of the body.

In addition, the single torso is said to contain two hearts and two spinal cords.

Article with picture.

Amazing and heart-breaking at the same time.

Posted by Ellen at 07:18 PM | Comments (19)

A beachcomber strolling on a Mendocino County beach found a human head three weeks after a fatal shark attack that killed sports fishing advocate Randall Fry.

Mendocino County authorities on Tuesday said the head belonged to Fry.

Fry, who was wearing a wetsuit, was diving head first in about 15 feet of water when the shark swiftly moved in and attacked.

The shark apparently ripped Fry's head and neck from his body, a move sharks usually reserve for marine mammals.

Read the entire follow-up here.

Posted by Ellen at 07:13 PM | Comments (2)
Anime on the Loose

Ok, I spotted Damion and Joshua already in this video clip from an Anime Con.

There was no Michael Moore fan for Mandrake to dress up as. SORRY! (You're supposed to have FUN at these gatherings!- *eViL GrIn*)

I have tentacles...and I do tentacally things with them! ROTFL!!

Posted by Ellen at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)
The Original Venus


Ok, this is not right.

The Original Venus was designed to hide the male genitalia while providing an ultra realistic outer appearance. The Original Venus allows for body cavity penetration.
Posted by Ellen at 06:46 PM | Comments (1)

NSFW!!!!!! If you do watch this at work, wear a HEADSET!

Yank here.

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

Fun with fruit and veggies!

Posted by Ellen at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)
Doggy Poo World

Everybody has a purpose.


Posted by Ellen at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)
Cat Graphics!

How cool! A whole site dedicated to cat graphics!

Thanks Joshua!!

Posted by Ellen at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)
Dog Wiggles Paw Free to Shoot Florida Man

PENSACOLA, Fla. - A man who tried to shoot seven puppies was shot himself when one of the dogs put its paw on the revolver's trigger.

Read entire article here.

What I don't get is people would rather shoot a poor animal than to drop it off at the local shelter. SPAY AND NEUTER PEOPLE! Then shit like this won't happen!

Thanks to Joshua for this puppy revenge story! A dog bone shaped No-Prize! to you.

Guns don't kill people. Puppies kill people!

Posted by Ellen at 05:42 PM | Comments (2)
Blue Mars

Ron gets a watery no-prize for bringing us this Discovery Channel On-Line article that provides even more evidence that liquid water once existed on Mars. This time, by combining evidence from all the various probes that have recently been working the planet, scientists have concluded that liquid water probably existed for "much of its history". Unfortunately, a more precise definition of "much" wasn't provided.

Posted by scott at 05:31 PM | Comments (0)
September 08, 2004
Beer Anyone?

From the Taipei Times

Doctors remove beer bottle A man with the habit of inserting odd objects into his rectum was admitted to the emergency room of National Taiwan University Hospital yesterday. Doctors spent two hours removing a bottle of Taiwan Beer he had inserted into his anus. What particularly complicated the procedure was that the bottle had been inserted wide-end first. The man was required to remain in hospital for thee days for further observation. Records of the Veterans General Hospital over the past 20 years show that the man's habit is by no means an unusual one. Other objects retrieved from anuses include flower vases, glass bottles, vibrators and table legs. The largest object ever removed was a bowling pin. One of the hospital's male patients was admitted on three separate occasions with a different object each time.

Thanks to Joshua at Blue Lens for bringing us this strange story! A 5 cent No Prize Refund to you!

Posted by Ellen at 06:24 PM | Comments (3)
Student brings his hunting hawk to college

UNITY, Maine — When Andrew Fleming packed for college, he needed two cars: One for his clothes, computer and mini refrigerator, and the other for his red-tailed hawk Belle and all her gear.

Fleming, who plans to major in wildlife biology and dreams of becoming an ornithologist, became hooked on falconry when he attended a sporting exposition. He was entranced by the owls, falcons, hawks and eagles on display.

Falconers must have federal as well as state licenses. Maine has 20 licensed falconers, said Mark Stadley of the state Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Department. Maine also requires a hunting license is the bird hunts, Stadley said.

Read entire article.

Posted by Ellen at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)
Volcano Burp

ROME (Reuters) - A new fissure yawned open on the southeastern side of Sicily's Mount Etna volcano on Tuesday, oozing out enough lava to cross a city block, researchers said.

Read entire article here.

Posted by Ellen at 03:48 PM | Comments (0)
Toilet Rats

Rats climbing up through toilets are relatively rare, but they routinely move into yards, burrowing beneath doghouses, sheds, or sidewalks or hiding out in woodpiles. And young rats in search of new territory sometimes climb through dryer vents. They can squeeze through openings as small as a dime.

Read entire article here.

And Ron wants to move back to Ohio?

Posted by Ellen at 03:26 PM | Comments (2)
September 07, 2004
When Back Yards Attack

See, the thing is, if I do something like this I'll end up walking a long way home, because we got no back yard right now. The judges score an extra half point for inclusion of Scotty's not-quite-swearing. With Ellen as a mom though, I'm expecting Olivia to catch up rather quickly to her one-month-older blog-cousin, at least in the "colorful metaphor" department.

You see, as far as Ellen is concerned, if you can't use... well, umm... "fuh"... at least three times in a sentence, you're not really trying.

Posted by scott at 07:42 PM | Comments (1)
You Gotta Be Kidding Me (or, Flip Flop III)

Instapundit links up yet another flippy-flop, this time straight out of the candidate's mouth:

"[The owner of Toy's, a restaraunt at a campaign stop] just gives you what he's got, right?" Mr. Kerry added, continuing steadily off a gangplank of his own making: "And you don't have to worry, it's whatever he's cooked up that day. And I think that's the way it ought to work, for confused people like me who can't make up our minds."

It's callled a "free shot", and it's damned refreshing to see one inbound, instead of watching it sail toward grinning faces on the other side of the net.

Ok, everyone in the peanut gallery that made fun of my candidate's inability to pronounce "nuclear" (or some other verbal gaffe) now officially owe me a pizza.

Posted by scott at 07:34 PM | Comments (3)

Tomorrow is the start of my workplace's annual convention. Today was the setup, hence the posting gap. Slacking is nearly impossible with thousands of quirky attendees wandering around and an excitable staff exploring new and distinctive methods of destroying computing gear at a remote location. Blogging will therefore be on the light side until it all wraps up this weekend.

Are we having fun yet?

Posted by scott at 05:32 PM | Comments (0)

Ron gets a pricey no-prize for bringing us this report from the recently held Pebble Beach classic car auction. The feature car, a 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster, fetched a record-setting 4.455 million dollars. No word on whether any Alfas were on sale there, although I'd wager they were there. Then again, considering most pre-war Alfa models never made it much past double-digit production numbers, it's just possible none were on offer.

Posted by scott at 05:26 PM | Comments (0)
I Shall Call it, "Kermit"

Sarah G. gets a distinctive no-prize for bringing us news of a particularly weird aquarium find:

A new species of "furry" shark which hops like a frog has been discovered in a German aquarium.

A picture of the beastie is here. Looks like some sort of nurse shark to me, but whaddoIknow?

Posted by scott at 08:07 AM | Comments (2)
September 06, 2004
Dear God, No!

Not only is Air Supply, the bane of my early teen years*, still around, they're still freaking touring!

I'm just glad my nephew will be too young to remember if his dad drags him to one of these things. He might be permanently scarred otherwise**.

* For some reason, my brother decided one of their songs, "All Out of Love" I think, was the World's Best Pop Song. Had it been even a year earlier, he'd have simply worn a hole in the 45 or cassette. But no, no, that had to be the year I bought a CD player. Never before or since have I ever rued the creation of a music medium that could not be worn out by overplaying.

The horror... the horror...

** Oh geeze C, it's a joke. Laugh. Anyone? Anyone? Ok, then, read this and laugh because Jeff doesn't get it.

Posted by scott at 07:53 PM | Comments (1)
Well, This Explains a Lot

Confused about the upcoming election? Wondering just exactly how everyone can be so sure they're right, when you don't even understand what they're saying? Fear not! The Swidge is for you!

I thought the libertarian and communist ones were the best. At least now I know why the peanut gallery gets all dreamy about Bill C.

Note: Video link, be patient, it's worth it.

Posted by scott at 03:02 PM | Comments (0)
"Boo" Baby

As Olivia is getting bigger, more self-aware, and mobile, we're actually starting to discover many "games" together. The most entertaining by far is the recently worked out "boo daddy!", also known as "got the baby!" However, as with all games there are definite rules, and breaking them can lead to ruin.

"Your turn with this child!" Ellen said as she plopped Olivia on her feet in front of me, with a dripping snaggle-toothed chocolate grin on her face, "M&Ms aren't holding her back and Amber and I need to cook!"

We were over at Ron and Amber's house for dinner. While Ron and I were drinking and discussing the finer points of why car mechanic shows needed a flouncy blonde announcer, Ellen and Amber were in the kitchen doing... oh hell I don't know, doing something that involved a lot of chattering and the occasional high-pitched squeal. When guys are watching TV the women around them turn into blurry clucking objects that flutter around the edges, sort of like chickens in sweatshirts.

But as with all male constructs, a woman simply has to be determined to break through the barrier, and nothing shatters a TV-woven cocoon quite as well as a babbling 2-foot tall M&M addict. "Dah-DEE dah-DEE wup woh ric grrrr" [chocolate-covered hand flops twice], which in Olivia-speak means "pay attention to me now or the couch gets it." So, thinking quickly, I hopped up, yelled "oh no! It's Olivia!" and ran down the hallway.

This puzzled her enough that the upholstery was saved. This was very unusual daddy-behavior. As she peered down the hall I poked my head around the corner, gasped, and quickly pulled back. "Ok, now that's really strange," you could almost hear her think, "I wonder what he's up to? I can see his pants leg... I bet I can smear chocolate on him before he grabs me!" So, with a sly grin, she started toddling down the hall, smudgy hands held high.

Since just about the only thing behind the corner of the hall was my head, I was easily able to track her movements, and once she got about 3/4ths the way down I rushed from around the corner with a "GRRRR!!! GOT THE BABY!" This immediately resulted in wide eyes, a hop of surprise, and a great big belly laugh. I scooped her up as I went by, tickled her belly for a second, set her back down at the other end of the hall, then turned around and ran away with another "oh no! It's Olivia!"

The spark of recognition was instant and obvious. "Time to find daddy!" This time, giggling the whole way, she immediately headed down the hall. When I jumped out we were all regaled with a huge belly laugh that continued the whole way back down the hall. The rest of the game was spent with me dropping Olivia off at the start of the hall and then having to beat her back to the corner as she chased me. Eventually everyone was watching and having a great time.

Fast forward to the next day. Olivia decides she's done eating before we are, so Ellen pops her out of the high chair and sets her down. This is Quite Simply Not Good Enough for the princess, who insists that mommy is also done eating and must come play. So, bowing to the inevitable, Ellen gets up from the table to oblige.

"Why don't you play 'got the baby'? She really liked that." I suggested, innocently enough.

Now, our house is laid out quite differently... no hallways. So instead, Ellen placed Olivia at one end of the living room, then hid behind the kitchen counter.

And when I say hid, I mean hid. It slowly dawned on me that Ellen had not really been paying attention to the rules of "got the baby". The objective was not to in fact hide from the baby, but instead was to allow the baby to find you. An admittedly subtle but very important distinction, as time was quickly to reveal.

You see, Ellen's competitive nature had taken hold and she had obviously decided to improve on daddy's piss-poor hiding performance by completely disappearing from view. This greatly puzzled Olivia, who was cautiously walking up to mommy's disembodied calls of "o-LIVVV-EE-AAA.... o-LIVVV-EE-AAA!", trying to figure out exactly where mommy had gone. I was just opening my mouth to warn Ellen she wasn't playing properly when four things happened in very quick succession:

Ellen leapt out from behind the counter, landing on both feet with a BANG! on the kitchen tile, and immediately ran straight at Olivia with arms extended letting loose not a silly growl but a mighty "ROAR!!!"

Olivia jumped about a foot into the air and landed squarely on her butt, bug-eyed with surprise, and immediately began a huge "silent scream."

Ellen rushed to her side, snatched her up, hugged her and started yelling, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! Mommy's so sorry!"

Both then burst into tears.

So there I was, sitting there almost literally with spaghetti hanging out of my mouth, helpless as this tiny opera rapidly unwound in front of me. Greek tragedies don't have this much emotional impact. Hurricanes don't make this much noise. Worse still, like a master chess player who's attention lapses just long enough to make exactly one wrong move, I suddenly could see my fate unfolding, preordained and unavoidable.

Checkmate ocurred slightly later, after everyone had calmed down. "Why didn't you tell me I was doing it wrong?!? You knew she was going to react this way! You were the one that made up this stupid game! Now look how upset you let me make her!"

Posted by scott at 02:03 PM | Comments (6)
Tiny Tech

Slashdot linked up this tech journal article detailing recently patented processes for building 3-D "nanostructures". By using innovative laser techniques, scientists are able get these materials to self-assemble atom by atom. By removing both impurities and imperfections, the results are far superior to anything that could be created with conventional processes. The article specifically mentions copper that's as strong as steel, as well as new kinds of computer circuits that could allow the construction of a 10 terabit memory chips.

Because these processes are highly automated and involve fewer steps than previous techniques, the materials they produce are much cheaper. Cheap enough, in fact, that some companies appear to already be using them, and products incorporating the materials are expected to be commercially available in as little as 5 years.

Posted by scott at 12:01 PM | Comments (0)
~ Up, Up and Away in My Beautiful Fan Wing ~

Fark also linked up the story of the "fan wing" aircraft, a revolutionary new idea in powering a flying vehicle. Basically, a giant "squirrel-cage" fan is mounted in the leading edge of the wing, which then blows air across the top surface. The design seems to be very efficient at low speeds and hovering, while promising significant load-lift improvements over helicopters, with far less complexity than V-22 style tilt-rotors.

Pictures and even more information on the design are here.

Posted by scott at 10:40 AM | Comments (5)

Mahmood linked up the nifty Shoufy the Cat blog. "Trying to promote good feelings about living in the Middle East" is a pretty tall order in these trying times, but if a cat can't do it, nobody can.

Posted by scott at 09:49 AM | Comments (4)
Old [Food] Friends, Long Gone

Fark linked up this nifty trip down gastric memory lane, also known as "what was your favorite now-extinct restaraunt chain?" The ones they mention that I remember were:

  • Burger Chef. Loved those kid meals, drove my parents bananas over them. Sitting in the back of my dad's VW bug trying to talk my brother out of the chocolate cookie he got in his meal while ABBA played on the 8-track is one of my earlier memories. We had copies of their Star Wars posters on our walls for ten years or more.
  • Shakey's. There was, as I recall, a Shakey's in or around Merrit Island Florida. They had a player piano, which was possibly the coolest thing I had ever seen. Badgering my parents to let me run up and see it again is probably one of my earliest memories.
  • Arthur Treacher's. Never ate there, but I thought the commercials were memorable and goofy. Someone ran one less than a mile from our old Apartment, on Duke street as I recall. It finally closed down about three or four years ago.
  • Godfather's pizza. A college staple. The radio commercials were excellent too.
  • Taco Tico. Just a name to me, but I do remember seeing it on dozens of signs.

Of course, some of these chains are still around, just much changed or much smaller, but they're not around here or anywhere else I have frequented over the years. Be sure to give the thread a look and see if you spot any of your own "old friends".

Dang. Now I'm hungry!

Posted by scott at 09:02 AM | Comments (10)
B.T.K. Returns

Washington Post today carried this article detailing the re-emergence of the "B.T.K." (blindfold bind [thanks Ron!], torture, kill) murderer. After disappearing for nearly twenty-five years, new letters purported to be from the killer have started arriving at Wichita investigator's offices, claiming responsibility for a whole new slew of murders.

Posted by scott at 08:05 AM | Comments (1)
September 05, 2004
And People Thought the CIA had Some Looney Ideas

Just when you thought the North Koreans couldn't get any weirder:

An American army sergeant who spent 40 years in North Korea has revealed that the Stalinist state operated a programme to breed spies who could pass themselves off as Westerners.

You know, if even half the rumors that have come out of the DPRK are true... well... geeze man, just how screwed up can a country get?!?

Wait... nevermind... when someone asks a question like that, God smiles, and the North has nukes. They're plenty f-d up enough Lord, ok? You don't have to prove it can get even better!

Posted by scott at 04:02 PM | Comments (0)
The Sound of One Campaign Collapsing?

Instapundit has a nice roundup of Democratic self-flagellation over the very real post-convention Bush bounce. The theme is pretty consistent: "we lose because we're not mean enough", which is a particularly naive lament. Politics is, was, and always will be a mean, nasty business because to get past the unreasonable loons that infest representational politics you have to be mean and nasty.

More importantly, the world is full of unreasonable loons who have neither the time nor inclination to "play fair" just because the other side isn't mean enough. Only these loons have guns, and it doesn't take a genius to realize the easiest way to get whiners to shut up and get out of your way is to put a bullet through their mouth.

Humanity is the paragon of nature red in tooth and claw. People who shed a tear and lament it shouldn't be, instead of accepting it and taking action, have no business in charge of the most powerful nation on the planet.

Posted by scott at 03:42 PM | Comments (3)
Wooo! Pig! Sooey!

63-13 baby, 63-13. Of course, they've beaten these poor bastards five times in a row now, so it would seem the first game on the schedule is a gimme. But hey, take what you can get, no?

Posted by scott at 03:13 PM | Comments (1)
When Typos Attack

This Green Bay WI news article would be just another garden-variety "overturned on a technicality" story, were it not for this amazing revelation:

The “year-and-a-day” law states that if a victim survives more than 366 days, it can be “conclusively presumed that the injury did not cause the death.”

The law dates back about 800 years to the common-law era and went in effect when Wisconsin was a territory.

Them Indians were a lot more clever than you folks realize!

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

Fark linked up this nifty interview with the real-life "Coppertone girl." She doesn't really have all that much to say, but her mother, the artist who created the illustration, was far more interesting:

"So whattya want to know?" she growled.

I wanted to know everything, I confessed, from the beginning to now, but especially about the Coppertone Girl that had titillated me as a young boy.

"Be careful, Mother," said her daughter from across the table. "Don't use any swear words."

I'd like to think I'd be this entertaining at 86.

Posted by scott at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)
September 04, 2004
Well, at Least These are Meant for Kids

Star Wars kiddies rejoice! The animated Ewok TV movies are coming on DVD. Oh, you know, the ones made 20 years ago?

Hee! That sound you're hearing is Ellen's and Richie's bones creaking a bit. I told you guys you'd catch up with me eventually!

Posted by scott at 07:56 AM | Comments (2)
September 03, 2004

New Scientist is also carrying this article detailing a new development in research to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrom (SIDS). A decade-long study just concluded in Britain, and it seems the presence of a certain kind of protien in maternal blood could be a very strong indicator of SIDS risk.

Posted by scott at 02:07 PM | Comments (0)
Paging Woody Allen, White Courtesy Phone Please

For the paranoiac who has everything, we're proud to present the Q-sleeper, a fortress-like bed that promises to protect you against everything from terrorist attack to biological spills. Personally, I think they should've named it "coffinette". Then maybe Damion would buy one.

Posted by scott at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)
Um... A Tissue is EASIER To use.

Joshua gets a slithery NO-PRIZE for bringing us this disgusting photo.

Posted by Ellen at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)
Tomb Time

Joshua gets a no-prize covered in heiroglyphics for bringing us news of yet another new tomb discovery on the pyramid plateau:

Egypt’s antiquities chief on Thursday revealed a 2,500-year-old hidden tomb under the shadow of one of Giza’s three giant pyramids, containing 400 pinkie-finger-sized statues and six coffin-sized niches carved into granite rock.

That would be none other than everyone's favorite Egyptologist, Zahi Hawass. I think the freakiest thing of all is that this tomb was created around the time of Herodotus, the Jewish Captivity, and the great Persian wars, and even then the pyramids were a thousand years old.


Posted by scott at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)
Walk Like an Ape...rrr... gyptian?

New Scientist is carrying this article summarizing new discoveries about early hominid locomotion. Two new fossil finds, Sahelanthropus tchadensis and Orrorin tugenensis, date from the critical 6-10 mya period when hominids and chimpanzees went their separate ways. By electronically scanning the Orrorin specimen, scientists have found strong evidence that hominids started walking upright very shortly after the split.

I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps walking upright was the reason for the split. Either way, bipedal locomotion has now been pushed so far back that the old "walking upright to use tools" hypothesis is now quite dead. In truth, we don't have a good reason why some of our ancestors ended up walking on two feet while others didn't.

Update: this MSNBC article also includes a nifty computer scan picture of the fossil bit in question.

Posted by scott at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)
Well of Course! I See it So Clearly Now!

Just when you think you've found the outer edges of extremisim, someone goes and punts the football another sixty yards:

Who benefited then from the US war?... The only major beneficiary of the war is the State of Israel, which succeeded in having the US destroy its most consistent Arab adversary in the Middle East ... The plan to “democratize” the Middle East proposed by US Zionists in the government in essence meant a joint control by the US and Israel over the entire Middle East via a series of wars.

It's the JOOOOOOOSSSS!!! I'm sure the kids who got blown up on that bus a few days ago, and the ones who managed to escape from that school today, were just part of a third-tier coverup to ensure the real plans are never exposed.

See? See? I don't just make fun of the tree-huggers!

Why link it? I'm with Stern on this one... the best way to show how completely wack these people are is to let them say whatever they please. Like all loonytards, the longer they speak the less sense they make. Plus, it puts them in a spotlight, so they can't sneak off and do something really destructive.

Posted by scott at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
Bah, Ellen can Do This Already

Most of the time commercials are dumb and boring. Sometimes, though, they can be pretty damned clever. If you changed one of the actors into a short angry Italian chick and the other into a bouncy cheerful BlondeStar subscriber, you'd have spitting (HA!) images of Ellen and Amber.

Posted by scott at 08:30 AM | Comments (1)
September 02, 2004

NSFW due to PrOn! Pop-ups!

What happens when an alligator has deer for lunch.

Posted by Ellen at 08:44 PM | Comments (4)
Too Much Information (Welcome to My World VIII)

Power outages are so much fun. Our network has had essentially nothing invested in it for the past three years, in spite of near continuous growth in the overall organization. Well, essentially nothing, except for the quarter-million dollar website that the previous Executive Director thought was far more important than, like, ensuring everyone got paid. Which is why he isn't by us anymore.

At any rate, by now the network compares favorably to Enterprise at the beginning of ST III... it can fake being a real network, as long as you don't bang on it too hard. Even then, as long as I'm in engineering, you can still bang on it a bit, as long as you ignore the screams coming from my office.

But when the extra-helpful folks from Virginia Power & Light dropped a large branch on some power lines while trying to clear them, the network got far more than just a solid thump. With a loud "BANG!!!", power dropped to the entire building, and most of the rest of the block. Four days from our annual convention. In an office full of excitable social-work majors. It was such a lovely evening.

The next morning was spent re-lighting various electronic pilot lights. Even then, the shambling mound of bailing wire and ductape that is my network had nooks and crannies of darkness that required someone else stumbling over the furniture to find. So the rest of the day was spent finding these poor lost souls, throwing the breakers required, and leading them to safety.

Which brings us to the point of the post. My organization serves people who, on the best of days, can be rather fragile of mood and quirky of personality. Having a severe illness can turn you into an object of compassion, but it can also turn you into a gold-plated pain in the ass.

So I definitely rolled my eyes a bit when the operator told me QLZ was on the phone. Nice guy, as long as you were willing to follow the lines of his hypercubed personality:

Me: "Hello, QLZ"

QLZ: "Hello, Scott, how are you?"

Me: "Oh, fine, just fine... how are you?"

QLZ: "Well, turns out I have cancer."

For once, someone else got to listen to my train of thought derail and skid into a nearby oil refinery.

QLZ: "Yeah, kidney cancer. But that's not why I'm calling. I can't get [a trivial section of an infrequently used website] to work... what's up with that?"

It's times like that I realize why I'm there. Most of these folks are even less clueful than a Kerry campaign staffer confronted by a Swift boat veteran. One of them left a brand new computer in its box because he literally couldn't figure out how to get it out.

But dammit, it isn't their fault. Their brains went south on them, usually just as they were beginning "real" life. Their heads get caught in Doom3 sometimes, but they can't hit save, can't just push away from it when it gets too much. The pills that pop them out of that horror don't fix it, they just tone it down enough for them to hear over hell and rejoin the human race. But even then, some of them can't escape.

Which is why, pain in the ass or no, I did what I was supposed to. I fixed his dinky little problem, and wished him a nice day.

I made a goddamned difference.

How many of you have today?

Posted by scott at 08:12 PM | Comments (2)
No, Ellen, You Can't Have It

Boy, now this would make basic training pretty interesting:

A massive search is underway at Fort Polk military base in western Louisiana for a Bengal tiger running loose in the base's pine-covered hills.

Includes Captain (well, Major) Obvious quote of the day:

The tiger is wearing a collar. How it got on the base is a mystery, said Fort Polk spokesman Maj. Ron Elliott.

"We think it belongs to somebody," he said.

Your ROTC program at work!

Posted by scott at 03:30 PM | Comments (2)
Adventures in Discount Land

Apparently an oldie, but one I'd not seen yet: the Wacky World of Wally World, wherein we get what seems to be a CSM's* eye view of what it's like to work for everyone's favorite discount chain, Wal Mart:

Toilet Gump came by the front checkouts today holding a thong and bra. I made the mistake of making a comment. I jokingly said "Those for you?" His reply to me was "Maybe after six or so beers." The therapist I have to see now because of that incident says whenever I remember that conversation I should just go to my happy place.

Never did have the pleasure of working for this bunch, although I did apply to the corporate office a few times. From reading these accounts, it's absolutely everything you'd think it would be.

* Customer Service Manager... if I recall correctly, exactly one step up from a cashier. Sort of like the difference between a private and a private, first class (do they even have those anymore?)

Posted by scott at 02:16 PM | Comments (1)
Speaking of ET... is reporting sightings of giant floating "black triangles" are on the rise. The article talks about the "brazen" and "open" way in which these things are flown, yet I have not seen a single picture or video of one. Yet. No word from Aviation Week either, at least in the issues I've read. Still, very weird.

Posted by scott at 12:52 PM | Comments (1)
ET Phoning Home?

Slashdot linked up this New Scientist article that details a rather startling development with the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) program:

This radio signal, now seen on three separate occasions, is an enigma. It could be generated by a previously unknown astronomical phenomenon. Or it could be something much more mundane, maybe an artefact of the telescope itself.

But it also happens to be the best candidate yet for a contact by intelligent aliens in the nearly six-year history of the SETI@home project, which uses programs running as screensavers on millions of personal computers worldwide to sift through signals picked up by the Arecibo telescope.

Warning: Slashdot linked it up, so approximately a billion geeks are busily trying to read it. Be patient, or try again tomorrow.

Nobody's calling it yet... there are some discrepencies in the data that are at least as puzzling as the signal itself. But it's a damned sight better than "all quiet on the intergalactic front."

Update: BBCnews finds the scientists saying "signal? What signal?"

"It's all hype and noise," said its chief scientist, Dr Dan Wertheimer. "We have nothing that is unusual. It's all out of proportion."

Of course they'd say that! They've obviously been co-opted by the government! Don't you realize the Republicans will stop at nothing?!?

Ahem... sorry about that... channeling Michael Moore again...

Posted by scott at 11:58 AM | Comments (1)
Finally, a Review We Can Take Seriously

Nina gets a colorful no-prize for bringing us Spider-Man Reviews Crayons, a clever little photo essay about, well, crayons actually. Never knew dolls action figures could be quite that flexible.

No, not like that. The site is SFW. Geeze you people are sick.

Update: Part 2 is here and part 3 is here.

Posted by scott at 09:42 AM | Comments (1)
Disparate Developments of Dyslexia Discovered

BBCnews is carrying this article discussing new findings on the origins of dyslexia. By studying Chinese children, NIMH researcheres have discovered that the location of written-word processing in the brain is actually culturally determined, depending on whether or not the written language is alphabetic or symbolic. Since the two different kinds of processing take place in two different regions of the brain, it is difficult to conclude that dyslexia (which apparently also affects "symbolic" readers like the Chinese) has a single cause. This discovery has the potential of opening up new avenues of both research and treatment of the disease.

Posted by scott at 08:49 AM | Comments (1)
September 01, 2004
(Constitutional) Ground Zero

In the heat and rhetoric of the oncoming election, it's all too easy to forget what it's all really about. To help ground us all, I think linking Wikipedia's superb summary of the US Constitution is extremely appropriate. The history section should also be of interest to any Iraqi readers we might have, and US readers who are concerned about that country. In spite of appearances to the contrary we all learned in grade school, the process of creating our own constitution was at best messy, at worst an outright brawl, that took years. Even then it was a fundamentally and nearly fatally flawed document that required a war which scythed away essentially an entire generation before its own internal contradictions were resolved.

Everyone, especially in Europe, remarks about how young a country the US is, as if this somehow makes the wealth and power we have accrued somehow ill-gotten. Yet nearly everyone forgets one simple fact:

The Constitution of the United States is ... the oldest written national constitution still in force.

We are also the oldest federal republic by far, and have had a functioning representational democracy longer than any country on the planet. Our power is not a coincidence, our wealth did not simply decend from heaven. Both were hard won, at a cost horrifyingly dear, and at no point was either ever a foregone conclusion. We've come a long way, indeed.

Posted by scott at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)
The Ring Does Sometimes Come Off

I've heard of people being obsessive about their wedding rings, but this is ridiculous:

An x-ray of the lump [found on a newly admitted patient's finger] (Box 1, B) revealed a wedding ring totally encased in the soft tissue.

With extra-freaky x-ray & exam pictures. Yet another example of what can happen when mental illness strikes and nobody's around to help the victim get treatment.

Posted by scott at 02:24 PM | Comments (2)
Goat Droppings? (or, Broken Clock News II)

Moonbats to the left of me, Cabalists on the right. Just because they're extreme doesn't mean they're always wrong:

"Listen to this," [my mother] said, preparing me for a snippet from a tome by the popular, late and liberal historian William Manchester. It describes Franklin D. Roosevelt's initial reaction to news of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, that devastated the American fleet, killing 2,403 soldiers, sailors and civilians.

After calling the secretary of state, Manchester writes, "the President of the United States did nothing for 18 minutes." ... Why, that's 11, maybe 12 minutes more than George W. Bush paused during a visit to a Florida elementary school before taking action on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Not surprisingly, Kerry didn't do any better himself:

Mr. Kerry told "Larry King Live" that on the morning of Sept. 11 nearly three years ago, he "sat stunned and unable to think for more than 30 minutes in the Capitol until he and other senators were whisked out of the building to safety."

I treat this whole "freeze up" thing with about the same amount of seriousness as the Bush AWOL/Kerry Cambodia fiascos. So why bring it up at all? Because I think Michael Moore is a class-A asshole and I'm going to take every shot I get to prove it.

Which means, I suppose, that it takes one to know one. Guilty as charged.

Posted by scott at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)
Different Beams for Different Nerds?

Fark linked up this brief tidbit about "Trekkies around the world" and their differences. Looks like it was done in part to plug the upcoming Trekkies 2 movie. Never did manage to catch the original, even though as I recall it was well-regarded. Proof positive that not all SF fans are thirty-something men living in their parent's basement.

Posted by scott at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)
Mummy "Unwrapped"

New Scientist is carrying this article and pictures of a new technique used to "unwrap" mummies: electronic imaging. By using multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), scientists were able to construct a high-fidelity 3-D image, which was then used to create a nylon and plasticine model. The technique has the obvious advantage of perfectly preserving the mummy, instead of totally destroying it as was previously required.

Posted by scott at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)
Probe Return

BBCnews reminds us all that the Genesis mission, whose objective was to return a sample of the solar wind, is scheduled to arrive this Sunday. To ensure a landing doesn't hurt the samples, the thing is going to be snatched in mid-air by a helicopter. This is the first time material collected beyond the moon's orbit has ever been returned to Earth. Sweet!

Posted by scott at 09:34 AM | Comments (0)
I'm not Even Supposed to Be Here!

Ron gets a no-prize in a slurpee cup for bringing us news that a "Clerks" sequel is in the works:

The sequel -- titled "The Passion of the Clerks" -- is set to begin shooting in January. Miramax Films, which turned the original into a cult-hit after buying it at the Sundance Film Festival, plans to distribute the follow-up.

Looks like all the originals will be back, although considering the many subsequent adventures of Jay & Silent Bob, I imagine there will be a lot of changes.

Here's to hoping it doesn't suck!

Posted by scott at 08:39 AM | Comments (3)