And no, they are not in search of nuts
They like to bake too! No Really!
"Learning to bake and use an oven responsibly is so much more fun with an oven squirrel."
We found the video of Saddam's execution.
~Enjoy! I know we did!
Fark linked up this Chicagoland police blotter summary which proves (again) my main axiom about criminals, to wit:
That's topped by the "my-kids-made-me-do-it" explanation a 25-year-old man offered after he was caught with cocaine in September. He told police he had gone back to using drugs because he was extremely upset after his 6-year-old was teased at school. He is officially banned from wearing "No. 1 Dad" hat.
People turn to a life of crime because they're too stupid to do anything else.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi dictator who spent his last years in captivity after his ruthless regime was toppled by the U.S.-led coalition in 2003, was hanged before dawn Saturday for crimes committed in a brutal crackdown during his reign.
Read entire CNN story here.
Keep an eye out. You know the FULL video will eventually leak out and we will be linking it.
Slashdot linked up this "top ten astronomy pictures of 2006." I especially liked the shot of the space shuttle and ISS crossing the sun, but they're all really neat.
I've put in place a new regular expression in an attempt to stop a persistent sophisticated comment spammer. In spite of lots of tests, there's a good chance it'll either not work, or snag your comment. In the case of the former, well, back to the drawing board. In the latter case, send me a note (and then I'll go back to the drawing board). Oh, and it's not personal, it's the machine.
Fark linked up this collection of photos detailing various escalating efforts to dislodge a huge group of bees from (what one hopes is) a disused swing set in the back yard. Seems to me it would've been much simpler/safer to call animal control, or just wait until they went away. I can't help but think somewhere in the vicinity is a honey farmer wondering what the hell happened to one of his hives.
My new tea tray! And NO, the cups and pot are NOT glued down!
The Washington Post today carried this article describing the nuts-and-bolts of going on the Hajj, the journey to Mecca required by the Koran. While most folks know it's required to be done at least once (as long as one has the means), just exactly how to go about it is another thing entirely.
Fark linked up this amazing collection of "lenticular" clouds. We don't have mountains tall enough, near enough, for us to see things like this (as far as I know anyway). I can only imagine what it must look like in person.
I never intended to go to South America. I watch XUXA [shoo-sha, -- ed], and that Simpsons episode that caused such trouble. I even laughed! But do I want to meet any of those people? Even her? No! Do I plan to lay on the beaches of Rio? No. Do I want to see my husband in a speedo? Everyone with me... NO!
Which is all well and good. But then there is the lunch hour. Well, after you eat your (stinking, annoying, nowhere near enough, why-do-I-have-to-pay-attention-to-points-oh-yeah-that-swimsuit 5 point) lunch maybe 30 minutes. Quick now, this is a pop quiz...
What happens when you go into your regular salon for a quick bikini wax and your regular esthetictian* is out sick?
Today was a slow day at work. Like, "how many different ways can I talk my favorite assistant, Griffy, into stuffing himself into the dryer?" sort of day (short answer: 3). So, after the owner of the place showed up and got the vapors about OSHA violations and liability suits, I decided it was time for lunch. And, while I was at it, getting a bikini wax done.
Hey, it's called multi-tasking! What I did not expect was my normal salon girl to be absent. Instead, another young lady all the salon girls raved about was there. Hey a waxer is a waxer, right? (For once, when the men in the audience all chime up they're right when they shout) WRONG!
I asked for a routine bikini wax. What I got was something much... well... more...
Ok, thing is, it's so important to communicate with your waxer. Communication is the key. A key so important that it can literally mean life and death to the look of your kitty. And not the one that goes "meow."
I asked for a routine wax, which for me includes a nice area around which one can wear panties or a bathing suit around without embarrassing oneself at the pool or a dressing room. You know, the kind of wax that stops that "spiders crawling out of your panties" look.
The room is a pale shade of lavender. Ok, for you neandertal guys, think purple, but with white stuff mixed in.
New Age music is being piped in the surround sound speakers. Incense fills the air, and there is a small rock fountain babbling in the corner. This is the waxing room. This is the room in which you bear all of your shame, in the name of vanity.
The waxer spools out clean hospital paper across the table in front of you, lights some candles, even more incense, and instructs you to take everything off from the waist down.
To add to the ambiance of this humiliating procedure, you get a lavender scented eye pillow to cover your eyes and relax with while being tortured. I'm convinced that the pillow is there to shield your eyes from seeing the skin ripped off your body. You also get a towel across your chest to clutch (and scream into, if needed.)
Torquema--- rrrm, the esti, esta, estee... oh hell, the lady with the wax: "Hhhmmm...when was last time you wax?"
"Well... about 7 weeks ago, just like the last time." Then I suddenly remember she's not my regular girl. My regular girl is out of the country visiting family for the holidays. This is where I should've run out of the room. But no, laying there half-naked with my music, incense, and babbling brook, I wanted my bikini line done, dammit!
I heard a very professional "OK."
Holy shit! HOLY Shit!! Holyshitholyshitholyshit! HOLY SHIITIT!!!!
Times that by 20.
Next thing I remember, she's putting some cooling gel on and helping me up from the table.
"Your husband going to looooove this!" she cooed at me. "Men love this! My husband love it! You love it too! So nice! So clean!"
She reminded me of a commercial.
"Exercise even better! Much cleaner! Nice and soft!"
How about how it feels right now? How about how it looks?!? I have a baboon's ass on my crotch!
She hands me her card. "You see me in 6 week!!!" with a big smile on her face.
"You do these a lot don't you?"
"Oh yes! 90% clients want full bikini wax. You like it too! I promise!"
"What about men, do you get men?"
Her eyes immediately brightened up. "OH YES! Many many men! Everyone love it. Love it!"
Ok, everyone loves it. I get it.
I'm not so sure about me yet.
* Editor: "Ok, if the person who cuts your hair is your stylist, what is someone who does... well... that?"
The Gramma: "A sadist?"
Ellen: "An estha- esti- esthetician?"
The Gramma: "Sounds pretty sadistic to me."
Editor: "I'll take your word for it. Time for google."
Fark linked up this supposedly "revolutionary" weapon system. Using a combination of well-understood techniques, the DREAD weapon claims to fire over a hundred thousand rounds per minute with no heat, report, or recoil. I find it more than a bit strange that they didn't actually show more footage of the prototype in action. Makes me think perhaps it really isn't all that and a bag of chips. But if it'll saw Hajji in half faster and more efficiently, I'm all for it.
Jeff gets a cheap and easy no-prize for bringing us the real difference between PS-3 and the Wii. I know which one I want to buy, even though I'm pretty sure my wife won't agree. Chicks can be so unreasonable sometimes.
Why yes, that is the FUR-REAL Pony!
Pixes to come later this day.
Pat has finally decided to accept the fact the snakes are a part of the family.
Looks like Alfa will be returning to endurance racing for the 2008 season. Watching them will probably be as close as I can get to the 8c, so here's to successful racing! Other articles also mention a "significant American effort" in motor racing. Assuming they don't break into NASCAR* or some open-wheel series, I imagine it means they'll be running the 8c in the American Le Mans series. If so, I may actually get to see one in person!
* Hey, it could happen! It could! And that crack about monkeys flying out of my butt is not funny!
Ron gets a no-prize filled with obscure statistics for bringing us this informed discussion about why Dallas Cowboy player Terrance Newman did not make the pro-bowl. I tried to read it, but after the second table my head 'asploded.
Yeah, I know. But hell he reads most of the Alfa stuff, so I gotta spread the love, capice?
Also from slashdot, this stroll down video game memory lane. The hook? Each system featured, from the original Atari Pong right up to Sony's PS-3, has at least one contemporary commercial you can view right in the article. Yes, Virginia, there was a time when two paddles and "boop" was considered one helluva thing.
Slashdot linked up news that everyone's favorite robotic baby seal has won a national design award. Take that, you ungrateful wretched cats!
Daffodil lane linked up this example of just how flexible 4/4 time and a basic chord progression really is. Some of the pop tie-ins are damned amazing.
Oh, and as a trombonist way back when, the cross we had to bear wasn't Pachabel, it was Pomp and Circumstance. Every damned graduation, "da da da da, de de de de, do do do do, hm hm hm hm" for an hour and a half solid. Scarred me for life, it did.
New Scientist is reporting on the discovery of the largest dinosaur yet found in Europe. Discovered near Riodeva in Spain, the specimen is thought to be about 150 million years old, and represents a previously-unknown species of giant plant eaters, now called Turiasaurus. The find is complete enough to allow accurate bio-mechanical modeling of it and other "super giant" dinosaurs (Brontosauruses will be the most recognizable to most folks), allowing them to perhaps figure out how they managed to move and feed themselves with such a gigantic and strange body plan.
Ron gets a no-prize beyond comprehension for bringing us photos of the recent "solar tsunami". Sometimes it's hard for me to remember that thing is just a gigantic ball of gas. Something tells me it's most likely nowhere near that simple.
Double the uteruses (uteri?), triple the fun. Human biology is weird.
Lord knows I certainly have prayed over various computer bits before. Albeit without quite as much fervor or enthusiasm. Of course, I've also cursed them a great deal, and there was that one time with the chicken.
And they're all so enthusiastic about it.
For whatever reason tonight, I put on the music of Homeworld, the only video game which had a soundtrack that I would listen to for the fun of it. This lead me to Wikipedia, which then reminded me of what I'd always known, that the ships in that video game were essentially based on a book I'd inhaled and then memorized when I was 10 years old...
Welcome to The Terran Trade Authority. Spacecraft 2000 - 2100 (upper part of the site, third from the left, Wikipedia entry is here), is a book that has stayed with me to this day, which I found (of all places) in my 6th grade school library. The thing is basically a future-world encyclopedia of Gear. Spaceships, in fact. In action, and otherwise.
In 1978, when it came out, Star Wars had only just detonated over the landscape, and Star Trek was nothing but stale reruns. Far, far from today's dozens of Sci-Fi series on their own channel. Anything that had anything even vaguely rocket-ship-like would be swirled into my hands like rare dust into a hungry black hole.
Its optimistic and realistic view of humanity* was refreshing for the time (really even to this day), and the ships, like those of Star Wars, weren't glittering chrome and needles. They were used, and worn, and streaked. They were real, and not all of them made sense. They existed to me, in a strange sort of way.
I checked the book back in some time in early 1980, and I never saw it again. In spite of that, I sometime think of them to this day.
And here I go rediscovering it all with just four days before Christmas. The Lord definitely has a sense of humor, he does. But that's OK.
Yet another thing to read to Olivia. Some day. If I'm lucky.
Time to throw the dice...
* Yeah, we'd made it through, and were doing OK. There were other civilizations way more advanced than ours, but as long as we didn't screw with them they left us alone. And when they screwed with us, well, it didn't always go their way.
If it's silly, stilted, and full of cats, you know we're going to link it. The best part is I can re-cast it almost person-for-person with our friends. EllBer were particularly easy to spot.
BARCELONA, Spain - The Virgin Mary. The three kings. A few wayward sheep. These are the figures one expects to find in a traditional Christmas nativity scene. Not a smartly dressed peasant squatting behind a rock with his rear-end exposed.
That's right. A baby Jesus, a manger, a few animals, some snotty tourists and smelly shepherds, and a squatting peasant. I mean, what's not to love?
No, Ron, you can't have one.
J. K. Rowling fans may be interested to know the next, and apparently final, Harry Potter book has a title. A kinda spooky one, even. Personally, I've never read any of them, even though basically everyone I know who has loves them to death. I think now I'll save them for when Olivia is older, and we'll read them together.
Oh, be quiet you. Only Ellen gets to make fun of me when I get mushy.
I could've sworn we'd linked up these harrowing pictures of the results of a commercial cargo jet's encounter with a severe hailstorm, but I couldn't find them. This article includes the back-story, which I don't believe I've seen anywhere else. To me, the picture of the windscreen is the most dramatic. I can't imagine what it must've been like to be inside the aircraft at the time.
See, I'm calling conspiracy. I mean, if they've found a two-headed reptile, it must've been in some weird, decrepit, road-side attraction museum, right?
Why yes, actually, I did forget to take my meds today. Why do you ask?
Congratulations go out to longtime blogger Bigwig over at Siflay Hraka at the announcement of a new addition to the family.
No, The Grammas, you can't have another one.
New Scientist is carrying this report summarizing the discovery of mammals which can sniff under water. By using high-speed camera work along with some carefully designed experiments, scientists have been able to determine that at least two kinds of semi-aquatic mammals, the star-nosed mole and the water shrew, are able to track scents underwater by rapidly inhaling and exhaling small bubbles. The site includes a creepy but fascinating video of one of these critters in action.
Slashdot linked up news that NASA may have imaged the oldest objects to have formed in the universe. By using the new Spitzer infra-red telescope, and a great deal of computer power, scientists believe the clusters of bright, "monstrous" objects they've found are more than 13 billion light-years away. Just what those objects are is still unclear, but current theory seems to think they're smallish proto-galaxies composed of supermassive early stars.
While it looks to be inactive if not outright deceased, Fire on the Line still represents a fascinating "behind-the-scenes" look at life as a prison guard. As usual with most jobs which require one to interact with the worst people in life, it's a lot harder than it looks. Which in this case is definitely saying something.
I'm not completely sure it's real, but it certainly is entertaining.
Or, at least in one case, that they were never told:
I saw pictures of masses of skeletons, even of kids. I heard horrifying accounts of some of the people who had survived the terror of Auschwitz and Sobibor. I told my half-sister all this and showed her the pictures in my history book. What she said was as awful as the information in my book.
With great conviction, my half-sister cried: "It's a lie! Jews have a way of blinding people. They were not killed, gassed or massacred. But I pray to Allah that one day all the Jews in the world will be destroyed."
She was not saying anything new. As a child growing up in Saudi Arabia, I remember my teachers, my mom and our neighbors telling us practically on a daily basis that Jews are evil, the sworn enemies of Muslims, and that their only goal was to destroy Islam. We were never informed about the Holocaust.
And they're building a bomb. Tell me again about the "religion of peace"?
MUST! CATCH! TASTY! SHINY! RED! MOUSE!!! Our cats loved these things so much all I had to do was swing the key chain part silently in the air to get them running from the other side of the house. Nowadays they're all too old to go after them this fast, but they will still chase them whenever they show up.
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. - "SNAKE!" Hearing this shout, Skip Snow slammed on the brakes. When the off-roader plowed to a halt, he and his partner, Lori Oberhofer, leaped out and took off running toward two snakes, actually — a pair of 10-foot Burmese pythons lying on a levee, sunning themselves.
Scott! Let's go visit Florida!I found my new career!
CINCINNATI (Dec. 18) - A 13-foot boa constrictor wrapped itself around its owner's neck and killed the man in his home, authorities said.
Read entire article here
Bit of advice, don't go INTO your snake cage. Use a hook for crying out loud.
Lord knows how much one of these things must cost. Quality don't come cheap, folks.
Yup, just looked. $400. But dude, it blends anything! Ah, well. Fun to watch, if nothing else.
BBCnews is carrying this report on the discovery of yet another new species of "extreme fish". These critters live, as you'd expect, at the bottom of the ocean near thermal vents. The interesting part is they seem to enjoy skipping across pools of molten sulfur at temperatures of up to 350 degrees.
Joshua gets a no-prize that keeps breaking the tank for bringing us the latest development in the Halo universe. Real time strategy games tend to fray my nerves, but I do like them. Maybe this'll be a "second game" to think about when H3 finally comes out.
Blogger Bill Roggio is currently embedded with the coalition forces in Fallujah, and has this first-hand account of what works, what doesn't work, and what can be done to fix it. It would appear that all the classic screwups found in Arab armies everywhere are alive and well in Iraq, but there also seems to be real progress and definite (simple?) steps which can be taken to encourage what works and fix what doesn't.
Sometimes electricity is your friend. Sometimes, not so much:
Every cable that was connected to the laptop, Ethernet, Firewire, Power, and USB, was forcibly shot out of each portal, and each portal covered with the black soot. Metal bits and electronic debris from the power cable hub and other cables was scattered around the room and some wires had split apart into copper shreds. Molten silver metal flecks are still lodged in the windowsill.
Of course, since this is the cable company we're talking about here, this person is now in tech support hell trying to get them to replace all the gear. Now that's what I call a class-A screwup!
Fark linked up this first-person account of how a "spring cleaning" event at an Air Force base nearly triggered WWIII. My dad, who worked with Titan missiles in the early 60s, has a similar story (although his involved a shorted out alert board), which makes me think these things happened far more often than anyone realizes.
It's a wonder we're still around, no?
One of the Christmas presents delivered to NY was one of the "Pod Bayz" kittens, given to Ellen's Dad's family. We think probably the middle one in that particular picture (they grew up a lot and we never did name any of them, all have been adopted since). It's a good thing the proud family doesn't have other cats, because if they did I'm sure this would eventually happen to him.
Instead, by the reactions we saw, there's going to be a whole lot of education going on with the two dogs already in the house. Watching an eight-ounce kitten holding off a 60-pound dog is quite instructive. To everyone.
Hell hath no fury like an 11 year-old scorned. Come for the preteen angst, stay for the warm-and-fuzzy 80s feel-good solution.
I was 13 in 1981, but I can definitely identify with the sentiments here.
While I'm not sure about the accuracy of every question in this Japanese "SAQ", there are enough interesting entries to make it worth reading.
But if it's OK with everyone else, I don't think I'll be asking a beggar on the street to pinch me.
Slashdot linked up news of a fundamentally new way of treating diabetes, so effective scientists are openly talking about it leading to a cure. The secret? By treating diabetic mice to counteract malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas, scientists were able to bring full function back, often with just a single treatment. At this point there have been no studies to see if this treatment will work as well with humans. Trials to test are expected to start next year.
The discovery has implications for a whole host of chronic disorders, such as asthma and Crohn's disease.
(We're in NY for the weekend, hence the extremely light posting.)
Well, there could be worse things than spending your time rescuing dolphins. Then again, there are probably better things than spending your time reaching half-way into a sick fish-eating machine. I'm just not sure.
Slashdot linked up NASA's latest Mars reports. This time the article includes pictures taken by the new MRO, which is returning spectacular images.
Nina gets a no prize she definitely didn't leave there for bringing us yet another case of a giant snake found in a toilet. See, years ago when we first linked up a story like this, I said it'd be a great way to become single. Nowadays, it'd be all I could do to keep her from adopting the dratted thing.
The Grammas, well now, that would be a different matter.
[A memorial "library"] designed in part by consultants who used to work for the Walt Disney Co., is not a library, [crime novelist Patricia Cornwell] says, but a large barn and silo -- a reminder of Billy Graham's early childhood on a dairy farm near Charlotte. Once it's completed in the spring, visitors will pass through a 40-foot-high glass entry cut in the shape of a cross and be greeted by a mechanical talking cow. They will follow a path of straw through rooms full of multimedia exhibits. At the end of the tour, they will be pointed toward a stone walk, also in the shape of a cross, that leads to a garden where the bodies of Billy and Ruth Graham could lie.
Not surprisingly, at least to me anyway, some of the Graham family appear to have a problem with the whole talking-cows-as-recruiting-tools" angle, hence the controversy. I mean, didn't Chick-fil-a patent that whole thing decades ago?
From the "where the hell did that come from" department, we have the announcement that circumcision somehow provides substantial protection against AIDS. Substantial protection even, something like 50%. Apparently the evidence was so striking the experimenters called it off early and told their "control" group about the results.
Just when you thought medical science couldn't get any weirder...
Don't blame the environment, blame the food:
Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.
I kept waiting for him to say, "impurify all of our precious bodily fluids." But, sadly, he did not. Came pretty close though.
On the death of Augusto Pinochet, there was much emphasis on his brutal ways and abrupt seizing of power. Not surprisingly, there wasn't much mention at all of what brought Chile to the nadir of their country's existence. Probably because the truth would hurt just a little too much. Turns out the country essentially asked the military to intervene, and with extremely good reason. The result may have been a classic case of being careful for what one wishes, but it was far from the string-pulling puppet show it has so often been portrayed as.
To their credit, most of the MSM articles I read did, eventually and more than a little begrudgingly, admit that Pinochet's regime is directly responsible for what is now South America's most successful country by far. They did seem to make sure, however, that such faint praise was always "under the fold".
We don't want the truth to impinge too much on our illusions of social justice now, do we?
Slashdot linked up this remarkable video production in which someone who does not know how to play the piano or drums uses both to create a very catchy pop tune. His secret? Record each note and drum beat separately, one at a time, and use video editing tools to "stitch" it all together.
I've worked with video editing before. This is actually a lot harder than it looks, and that's saying something.
Update: what appears to be a follow-up is just about as good. Staggering, really, how creative we are as a species. Oh, and no more complaining about me needing a hair cut, capice?
While a bit rah-rah in tone, this paean to everyone's favorite shelled critter is nonetheless informative and fun. Om's probably quadrupled in size since we got him, and shows no signs of slowing down. Leopard tortoises are not known for extreme longevity (as I recall, they average about 25 years), but he'll most likely be around long enough to serve as a ring bearer at my daughter's wedding.
The mind boggles.
Mark gets a sappy no-prize wrapped in tinsel for bringing us this very nice Christmas story. No doubt it's some sort of urban legend, but even if it is at least this one has a nice ending.
Funny only because nobody got hurt: Bicycles aren't the only vehicles which need to pay attention to road signs. That's what ya calls a real close shave there, yup.
Joshua gets an incomprehensible but strangely entertaining no-prize for bringing us the trailer for the upcoming David Lynch movie, Inland Empire. As long as I can get beyond the whole, "I'm just making this movie to screw with your head, not tell you a story" angle, I tend to enjoy Lynch's stuff. Well, except for the talking cockroach behinds anyway. But 3 hours? Just don't know about that.
A December tradition around here, Abbot and Costello at the computer store. Sometimes it's a lot like that. Well, most of the time, really.
Slashdot linked up news that a controversial theory about how the sense of smell works has received some support. The central hypothesis, that smell works not on a chemical but instead on a quantum-mechanics basis, has been proven to be possible. This does not mean it's true, just that, from a physics perspective, there's nothing so far to say it isn't.
National Geographic is carrying their top ten list of stories from 2006. Some of them made me think it was all a big parody post (Noah's ark?), but apparently it's legit. Bring on the lists!
Mark gets a no-prize that's going to be expensive to repair for bringing us proof that even after some seventy years of regular use, pilots still sometimes forget to lower their retractable landing gear. Career, meet toilet. Toilet, career.
Sad thing is, there are a whole bunch of people out there who won't understand this list. I mean, witness the legions of folks who still have no trouble with someone hooking an Apple laptop to an alien computer system and transmitting a virus into it.
Iran on Monday hosted a conference gathering prominent Holocaust deniers that it said would examine whether the World War II genocide of Jews took place, drawing condemnation from Israel and Germany.
I mean, what could possibly go wrong? Don't be hatin'!
... Why are men, taken on average and as a whole, funnier than women? Well, for one thing, they had damn well better be. The chief task in life that a man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex, and Mother Nature (as we laughingly call her) is not so kind to men. In fact, she equips many fellows with very little armament for the struggle. An average man has just one, outside chance: he had better be able to make the lady laugh. Making them laugh has been one of the crucial preoccupations of my life. If you can stimulate her to laughter—I am talking about that real, out-loud, head-back, mouth-open-to-expose-the-full-horseshoe-of-lovely-teeth, involuntary, full, and deep-throated mirth; the kind that is accompanied by a shocked surprise and a slight (no, make that a loud) peal of delight—well, then, you have at least caused her to loosen up and to change her expression. I shall not elaborate further.
Women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way...
Read the whole thing, and then come back and accuse me of being a Neandertal. It's more complicated than you think. It usually is.
Whilst trolling my online bicycling haunts, I came across this informative article detailing where, and by whom, most bicycles are made. It's not always the obvious choice!
Making the rounds: Scientists have discovered a remarkable case of very recent evolutionary change in the human species. This time it's the relationship of lactose tolerance and the domestication of cattle. Scientists are finding a direct correlation between the two in several different populations. The mechanisms that provide this are different in different populations, but the result is still the same.
Now that winter seems to have well and truly closed my own personal bike season, I'll just have to settle for spinning and looking at videos like this. Canary Island tours on a bike? Well why not?
Happy 7th Birthday. Mommy misses you and wishes you were here with her for your kisses and hugs. Remember when I told you that you had to wait till your 7th birthday to leave me? You left me early, and not a day goes by that I do not think of you sitting on my kitchen counter waiting for your heart medication or sitting on my lap making biscuits for an hour. I even miss you talking to me while I was in the shower in the morning and helping me get ready for work everyday, and I miss seeing you sitting at the top of the steps waiting for me when I got back. You were my special little guy.
Keep watching out for me. I need all the help I can get.
AMCGLTD will be closed the rest of the weekend. Thank You for your understanding.Please enjoy our archives. We will start posting again on Monday.
These are possibly the BEST tattoo artists I've had create designs for me.
I have a new, rather large (OK very large) tattoo in progress of being sketched out.
This is the same group who introduced me to Jed, who tattooed Ted on me.
Check them out! Amazing studio, talented people, and a fun place to hang out for 5 hours plus!
While I'd heard of several people on this list, there were definitely a few new ones. Who knew that Jesus was a Japanese politician?
Pat gets a dark and mysterious no-prize for bringing us the latest developments in dark energy research. By combining Hubble space telescope observations with increasingly powerful ground-based systems, scientists have determined this mysterious force has been around since the beginning of the universe, but only became a real factor in its evolution in the past 4-5 billion years.
This morning Fark, amazingly, had a whole passel of links worthy of attention:
Three hours worth of posting in a single entry. I think I'm going to lie down for awhile now...
Vatican officials are now reporting the remains of St. Paul may have been found. The Vatican is traditionally apposed to destructive testing, like those done for radiocarbon dating. I wonder, however, if they'll have the same opposition to non-destructive things like MRIs and X-rays? I'd definitely like to know what's in the box!
Via La Shawn Barber.
The latest hypothesis to make the rounds about why the Neandertals went extinct, that their women were spending too much time hunting, has made it to the New York Times and Instapundit. However, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin—Madison John Hawks doesn't think there's much hunt in this dog. Read on for a wild ride through the more "science-y" section of my favorite scientific field. This is the kind of thing I lived and breathed for the better part of eight years. Great stuff!
Congrats go out to Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith for his Heisman trophy nomination. Which we are mentioning only in passing, because there's something way more important going on:
[Third nominee Darren] McFadden, a sophomore, finished the regular season with a school-record 1,558 yards rushing, scored 16 touchdowns and led Arkansas to the Southeastern Conference title game. The running back is the first player in Arkansas history to be named a finalist for the award.
The best part? McFadden's going to be back next year! Go Hogs!
Mark gets a grumpy no-prize for bringing us these decidedly politically in-correct road signs found outside an eating establishment somewhere in Pennsylvania. I'm sure this place is a local legend, but I'd never heard of it. I don't agree with everything, but I do think, at least sometimes, whoever is writing the signs has a point.
A New Jersey mom is creating an innovative present for her son and his unit. What's inside the box? Silly string:
American troops use the stuff to detect trip wires around bombs, as Marcelle Shriver learned from her son, a soldier in Iraq.
Before entering a building, troops squirt the plastic goo, which can shoot strands about 10 to 12 feet, across the room. If it falls to the ground, no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, they know they have a problem. The wires are otherwise nearly invisible.
What will they think of next? The whole concept of a "spray-on condom" is certainly intriguing, but I can't help but think (like everything Germans create) this thing will contain twice as many parts as it should, cost three times more than anyone will want to pay, and work with absolute precision and utter reliability. Then again, lots of people buy Porsches, so what do I know?
The Washington Post today carried this article detailing efforts to study and preserve the USS Arizona, a war memorial and the grave of more than 1100 sailors. It's estimated the wreck still holds some 500,000 gallons of fuel oil in its remaining bunkers, and scientists want to find out if they can determine when these structures will be in danger of collapsing, and what (if anything) can be done to prevent it. The research should also help in preservation efforts of other shipwrecks all over the world.
Thomas Sowell hits another one out of the park with this de-construction of "Hollywood Economics":
The irony is that the average Hollywood star who is making anti-business movies is far wealthier than the average owners of those businesses, who are half the population of the country.
Hey, it's not about spending their money. It's about making the rest of us spend our money, for things they care about! That's what taxes are all about, man!
Pat gets a no-prize that dribbles water when nobody's looking for bringing us the latest Mars news. Looks like the late, lamented Mars Global Surveyor has found evidence that liquid water may have been flowing on the surface of Mars as little as just a few years ago. The implications for life on the red planet are, of course, profound. However, not everyone is convinced. The much more capable Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter may be able to help confirm or deny the evidence.
I thought people only did the "light a match" trick in movies. Me, I just blame it on someone else. Usually Ron.
NASA has released new images of the Mars rover Spirit taken from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The article also includes links to images of both Viking landers as well as Spirit's twin Opportunity. They're not much more than dots, but do at least seem to provide proof that LGMs* didn't 'jack the Vikings after we lost contact with them.
* Little Green Men. Hello? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?
New Scientist is reporting on the development of "live stats" basketball uniforms. By using electroluminescent panels, the jerseys can display the number of fouls a player has, how many points they've shot, how much time is left in the game and how much time is left on the clock. The early tests (in Australia) have received very positive results, but there appears to still be some development left before production units can be made available for sale.
How long it takes one of these things to turn the players themselves into walking billboards I have no idea. Of course, race car drivers have been wearing uniforms that aren't much more than sewn-together sponsor patches for years, and their sports seem pretty healthy.
Instapundit linked up this insightful article detailing why European bans on the wearing of the hijab and niqab, the traditional Muslim coverings for women, are actually increasing liberty. It would do those who consider themselves liberal well to remember that the other side doesn't play by our rules. I find it striking myself that I had never considered these women would be wearing these things involuntarily (in a modern western state anyway) until I read this article. Religious freedom is such a knee-jerk issue in America it simply never occurred to me that a ban on religious practice, any religious practice, would be a good thing.
Sometimes, it is.
MEMRI has translated this TV segment with a Saudi chief executioner. Includes efficient-sword goodness, but (thankfully) no actual beheadings. Not to be missed: the extremely surreal "Today-show-like" give and take interview at the end of the clip.
Not content with flinging unsuspecting tubers and gourds across the horizon, the folks over at Spudgun have now moved on to soda bottles. There's quite a bit more mass in a soda bottle than in a potato, so hopefully these guys are being extra-careful. They look kinda redneck-y, but the accent sounds midwestern to me.
Joshua over at Bluelens has been experimenting with various iPod analogs and competitors, and has settled (for now at least) on the Archos 404. Those of you who, like me, have never heard of Archos should find his review of the product interesting. Having seen the thing in person, I can say it is definitely a sleek little product. While not on my particular Christmas list, those of you with music, photography, or movie buffs in your life may find this a distinctive choice.
Some people are taking this whole "constantly connected" thing way too far. I can just see it now... "This movie is about to start. Please be courteous and turn your ass off."
Making the rounds: NASA's revealed its latest long-term plans for human space exploration. I don't think most people really understand the scope and scale of this fundamental change in direction. They really mean it this time, and are already making changes that will not be easily undone.
Assuming this all survives the next administration change, and by that time it's likely it will, the NASA Olivia learns about in school will have transformed from an agency that engages mostly in robotic exploration with some (extremely expensive) dabbling in human space flight, to a very human-centric agency that sends people to interesting places.
Notwithstanding the screams and shirt-tearing going on over at JPL, I'm cautiously optimistic about this new approach. We'll see...
Damion gets a realistic no-prize drawn with crayons for bringing us an impressive demonstration of electronic artistry. Doing something this sophisticated on a tool that simple is just about as impressive as it gets. However, careful observation will reveal he was really hitting the limits of what MS Paint really is capable of. In fact, if I hadn't seen so many mistakes get corrected I would doubt it was actually done with Paint.
Ever wonder what it looks like when someone actually lands one of those monster catfish? Wonder no more. I can't believe anyone would be crazy enough to stick their hand in the mouth of something that big, but the thing didn't seem to fight it much, so maybe it's not all that dangerous after all. Doesn't mean I'm going to do it!
I guess Muslims the world over will be glad to know that stunning an animal before its throat is cut does not affect how it bleeds out. I'd probably have a much higher moral ground from which to disapprove if I were a vegetarian, but hell I eat meat like most folks and I know the "stun-and-cut" method is probably similar if not identical to industrial meat preparation techniques. Helpful people who wish to provide links to edify me on this are advised to just hold off. On this, I'm OK being wrong.
Hell at least they're killing them for a higher purpose. All I want is a burger.
Remember folks, monkeys are not pets, they're wild animals. The number of people who do not know or refuse to admit this astound me.
Slashdot linked up this authoritative-sounding blog entry on the mechanics of cell phone tapping. There are definite limitations. But they're vague enough that I think Haji should still be damned nervous about leaving his phone on when he's plotting the next damned fool thing they want to try.
Countercolumn linked up conclusive proof that Americans can make fun of anything, anywhere, including themselves and others. I'm figuring all those "IEDs" the "hunter" is playing with are fake and/or disarmed, but when it comes to US soldiers, anything's possible.
HOOORAYY!!! No more kittens as of today!
It was nice while we had one, but time for them to move on to find homes.
Well, two of them are going. One is going to NY.
Parents of toddlers the world over will most likely feel bittersweet at the announcement that Greg "Yellow Wiggle" Page is retiring. Bittersweet because the kids love them, but the shows are repeated so often parents are gradually reduced to a special sort of gibbering lunacy whenever they come on.
Fark linked up this fun little flash game in which you play an asteriod desperately trying to avenge your rocky fellows by smashing up all these annoying ships. Clever idea, amazing it took this long for someone to get around to it.
Did I mention we hit the Botanical Gardens today too?
Instapundit linked up this detailed, and intriguing, account of everyone's favorite "flying imams." As suspected, they were doing a lot more than merely "flying while Muslim."
However, more interesting (to me anyway) is the admission that the pilots consulted an air marshal. To my knowledge, every flight that's ever had any reported "suspicious person" problems has had an air marshal on board. How many people did they really hire after 9-11? I'm not complaining, mind you. For once it sounds like a federal program that really works. For me, at least, it's quite comforting to think that a majority, perhaps even all, domestic flights now have at least one person on our side "packin' heat."
And if you need more evidence that 9-11 will never ever happen again, look no further than:
Another passenger, not the note writer [who originally complained of suspicious behavior], was an Arabic speaker sitting near two of the imams in the plane’s tail. That passenger pulled a flight attendant aside, and in a whisper, translated what the men were saying. They were invoking “bin Laden” and condemning America for “killing Saddam,” according to police reports.
Arabs have been telling us ever since it happened that they're not all wackamole loons looking for 72 virgins. Far from it. And here we have proof. Yeah, I know there are hundreds* of Arabic speakers reading this, thinking to themselves, "well duhh! It's my butt on that plane too!" But you gotta remember most of us English-only Americans are uncomfortable when people speak only Spanish around us, and the only joke any of us make about them is how much a Texan fears them when they have a driver's license.
In a really twisted sort of way, I actually hope Al Qaida et. al. are still fascinated with flying airplanes into things. Far as I'm concerned, it's probably the only method of attack that is now completely out of their reach.
* Well, probably only one, or two. On Fridays. If we're lucky. But you get the point.
By the same guys.
Pay attention to the stuffed animal.
This is hysterical! Do not miss this one! Men are the SAME all over the world!
Thanks to Ron who sent me the original Aqua video. I went searching and found this gem!
This is the wet noodle that all the grandmas whine about being in Olivia's room. Can't you see by his mean nature that he keeps the monsters out! Mean I tell ya! GRRR!!! Look at those fangs!
Paging Nina, white courtesy phone please...
Yes, Olivia got flowers from a boy! One of her day care friends. His name is Alex, but we're not allowed to say that in front of Daddy, who's been groaning, "What the the hell am I going to do in ten years?" ever since. Of course, Alex was a boy, so he got it all wrong, but she didn't care. And she is SURE proud of them!
NO! We aren't keeping any!
AW&ST this week is carrying this detailed article describing what it's like to take a flight on White Knight, the one-of-a-kind carrier plane for the Rutan group's successful X-prize winner Space Ship One. While it's completed its designed purpose, it's such a unique aircraft many other agencies are paying to use it for high-altitude research. The article also does a nice job of explaining why the thing looks so weird, and what it's like to try to see out of the front.
A former Russian premier was poisoned in Ireland the day after Alexander Litvinenko was killed by radiation, it was claimed last night.
The pro-Western Yegor Gaidar was close to death after the poisoning but has since improved and is now under guard in a Moscow clinic.
I mean, come on people, what the hell is going on here?
Microsoft Exchange's Intelligent Message Filter blows big meaty chunks. I'm sure it's bright enough, but it has essentially no management interface. Just a couple of registry hacks. And no site-wide whitelisting! WTF?
On the other hand, Symantec's Mail Security for Exchange (SMSE) seems damned nice indeed. I should've installed it much sooner, but other projects kept getting in the way. Not now. User-defined regexp filters! Woot!
However, I still [heart] MailScanner + ClamAV + SpamAssassin. With this combo, I was doing everything SMSE does four, five years ago, for free. In contrast, SMSE cost us north of eight grand. MailScanner in particular is probably the best open source project I've encountered to-date.
Hey, it's my site, I'll talk about what I want. :P