October 27, 2003

Things you don't expect to see

Mookie had stage crew yesterday, building sets and such for the upcoming fall production at school. When we got to the school, I noticed a group of guys playing cricket in the drivers education area, which is a big open stretch of asphalt next to the parking lot.

I drove by slowly to watch a little, but didn't stop because I just know they would've invited me to play and then taught me a bunch of silly made-up rules so they could laugh at me and get even for colonialism.

Posted by: Ted at 03:35 PM | category: Square Pegs
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My monthly quiz quota fulfilled

I seldom bother with the quizzes, but the bartender has asked that we take this one and post the results. Here ya go: more...

Posted by: Ted at 02:32 PM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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October 26, 2003

Just because it's rocket science...

...doesn't mean you can't experiment at home. Scott Binder has started to look into aerospike technology because he wasn't satisfied with the lack of data being reported by the big boys. This should be interesting.

I previously posted some background links on aerospike engines.

Posted by: Ted at 11:55 PM | category: Rocketry
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Futuristic fighting

Remember the old science fiction stories about death rays and laser beams flashing across the battlefield, and targets exploding instantly when they get touched by one?

Welcome to that day, coming to you within a decade.

The new American Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) being developed will be fitted with a 100-kilowatt laser cannon which will be powered by the jet engines of the aircraft.

For more information on the JSF, check out this page or this site. The 'official' page is here, but doesn't give a lot of information. After a lot of analysis of the competing design proposals, the Lockheed-Martin design won - it's the one with twin tails and not a candidate for fugliest aircraft ever designed.

Posted by: Ted at 02:09 PM | category: Military
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Zulu time

As part of the international Munuvian community, I've decided to change my date and time stamp to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), also called 'zulu' time. If everyone Mu does this, then all the Munuviana posters will be synchronized, regardless of their local time zones. If not, then oh well, it's not a big deal, and I may change back. Susie did it too, and there's more about zulu time here and here.

Posted by: Ted at 01:30 PM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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Baseball History 9 (last one)

Who's on first?

by Abbott and Costello

A complete word-by-word transcription is in the extended entry. If you have Real Audio, you can listen to the entire sound clip (scroll down and look on the left). more...

Posted by: Ted at 01:03 AM | category: History
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October 25, 2003

A gift from my Uncle Art

My Uncle Art loved baseball, and he passed that passion on to me. He'd take me to the schoolyard and hit grounders and fly balls for hours. On my birthday he'd take me to see the Giants or A's play. He had a small collection of world series games on cassette tapes that he'd made and let me listen to them. I loved going to his place, because he had his own copy of the Unabridged Baseball Encyclopedia, with the stats of every single player ever to play the game.

Once, he took me aside and told me that the next time my family went to visit Grandma and Grandpa (halfway across the country), that I should go look in the old barn. He described a spot on one wall and told me that whatever was there was mine if I wanted.

A year or so later, we made the long trip during the summer. We always drove, stopping in Reno and Cheyanne and Laramie, taking forever to cross the salt flats in Utah, and finally reaching the home stretch around Omaha, Nebraska. Then it was a whirlwind week of visiting Aunts and Uncles and cousins, catching fireflys, playing badminton and shooting BB rifles and playing in the same places my mom and dad did as kids.

One free afternoon I went out to the barn. It wasn't your classic barn structure, although it originally served the same purpose. Over the years it had become a garage and storage shed, and you could almost read the life story of my grandparents by sorting through the antique treasures inside. I opened the big sliding door and went in, picked my way along towards the spot my uncle had told me about, and there, next to a dusty window, I found them.

On the wall were baseball cards, tacked up years before by my uncle, almost like a little shrine to his favorite players and stars of the day. He had told me that if I wanted them that they were mine, and I did want them. But at the same time I kinda wanted to leave them there forever, to not disturb them for another who-knows-how-long, for another young baseball fan to find them and appreciate them. This was long before baseball cards became collectables and kids became investors who knew the difference between 'mint' and 'very good'.

Their value (or potential value) meant even less to the generation before mine. They were for collecting - for fun - and trading and sometimes clipping to your bike frame with a clothespin so they clattered in the spokes of the wheel as you rode along.

I knew most of the names, at least in passing. Harvey Kuenn and Rocky Colavito and Early Wynn, Ken Boyer (brother of Clete) and Carl Furillo and Al Kaline. There were more, eighteen in all.

I carefully took them down, and did the least damage I could doing so. But these cards were nailed up by a kid and the nails were rusty and the cards mere cardboard, so there was damage done. Once, out of curiousity, I showed them to a card collector, and he was actually angry at the condition of the cards. They were worthless, he told me.

He was full of shit.

Maybe to a collector they're worthless, but to me they're priceless. These were a gift from one generation of baseball fan to the next. They were a gift from my uncle, who I loved very much (he passed away, much too young, a few years ago). I appreciate them, not because they're rare or perfect, but because they are.

I'll post a few pictures of these cards in the next few days. I've got them in plastic sleeves, which makes it hard to take a good picture without glare. For now, there's a couple in the extended entry. more...

Posted by: Ted at 04:59 PM | category: Boring Stories
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Baseball History 8

A lot of these courtesy of the Baseball Almanac.


The Chicago Cubs got their name after the rival Federal League raided the roster and signed away most of their veteran players. Newsmen coined the nickname ‘Cubs’ to describe the youngsters left on the team.

The Dodgers were originally known as the ‘Trolley Dodgers’, and have also been known as the Robins, Bridegrooms and Superbas.

The Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins both started life as the Washington Senators.

Then-owner Charlie Finley offered pitcher Vida Blue a bonus to change his first name to “True”. Vida refused.

In 1938, Cinncinati pitcher Johnny Vander Meer pitched consecutive no-hitters, beating Boston 3-0 and Brooklyn 6-0. In all, the lefty had a string of nine straight wins.

Joe McGinnity pitched complete game victories in both halves of a double header three times, all within the same month of the same season (August, 1903). He was already nicknamed ‘Iron Man’ because he worked in a foundry in the off-season. This just confirmed the moniker.

The first feature length baseball movie was released in 1915 and its title was Right Off The Bat.

In 1944, “Red” Barret of the Boston Braves threw only fifty-eight pitches during a nine inning complete game. Barrett's Braves shutout the Reds 2 - 0 and the game set major league records for least number of pitches known to have been thrown by a single pitcher in a complete game and shortest game played at night (one hour and fifteen minutes).

St. Louis owner Bill Veeck had everyone in stitches after substituting a midget to pinch-hit during the first inning in game two of a doubleheader. Eddie Gaedel, a three-foot, seven inch dwarf, emerged from a cake wearing the number 1/8 during pre-game festivities, then took the plate for center fielder Frank Saucer and walked on four balls. His strike zone had been measured at 1½ inches tall.

Abraham Lincoln played an early version of baseball, a sort of cross between Rounders and Cricket. This account appeared during his presidency:
"At about six o'clock, the President, who was prevented from appearing earlier on account of the semi-weekly Cabinet meeting, came on the ground and remained until the close of the game (Washington Nationals 28 vs Brooklyn Excelsiors 33), an apparently interested spectator of the exciting contest." - in the Washington National Republican (09-18-1866)

Posted by: Ted at 01:00 AM | category: History
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October 24, 2003

Betty Bowers...

... is a better Christian than you.

In fact, according to her website, she's "so close to Jesus, he uses her birthday when he plays Lotto."

Sharp satire and penetrating parody, but be prepared to spend a little time, because there's that much good stuff to go through.

Posted by: Ted at 01:18 PM | category: Links
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Tour de Munuviana

Daniel said he hoped this would become a regular feature. The rest of you rolled your eyes and said “ohmigod no” under your breath. This is what happens when you don’t speak up.

Jennifer interviewed Daniel. Due respect guy, but half the questions gave you the chance to strut your stuff and instead you went all 90’s touchy-feely with it. You don’t have to impress the ladies with your intelligence, because they already knew that, and we know they knew that because the other half of the questions basically translate to ‘how horny are you?’ except for one ‘how well hung are you?’ question.

Things definitely took a turn towards Eros this week as Jen posted about beastiality and Helen discussed hair care and the law of diminishing cleavage. Which reminds me of a joke:

Q: Why donÂ’t women wear shorter skirts?
A: Because theyÂ’d need two hair-doÂ’s.

Hey, I promised last time that Jim would get top billing. Life lesson Jim. Never trust anyone except members of the federal government.

(IÂ’m contractually obligated by the IRS to include that last statement in personal correspondence once a day. But by 2008, my back taxes will be paid off and I can tell them to never trust anyone except members of the federal government.)

Jim pronounces creek correctly too.

Then we have Don of Anger Management. I’ve been trying to figure him out for a while now, and just when I think I’ve got it, he goes and writes something brilliant and off-the-wall. Psst Daniel, I think Don asked the ‘shoe size’ question.

New fish bloggers: Simon, Tom, Chuck, and Willie, let the vicious backstabbing attacks begin please let me welcome you. I look forward to getting to know you. What national flag would you fly? Yes, that’s a real question and it does make sense and I do want an answer. Thank you. (I already heard from Simon. Tom, Chuck and Willie, I assume U.S. – but let me know, mm’k?)

Tiger, I donÂ’t get it. Sorry.

Heather points out a link-o-rama where you can see pictures all of the various lady bloggers you read. She also talks about mustard, rants a little about Peta and their transparent concern for your waistline, and gets serious about the new nuclear reality.

Helen, all I can say is that although a little introspection is good, itÂ’s easy to get too deep into what it all means. I'm just sayin', ya know?

Stevie talks about cows. Frequently.

Mr. Green doesnÂ’t post often, but when he does itÂ’s worth reading. Chicks dig him too.

LeeAnn gets a new job. With all the talk of raises and knees, maybe I should have put this up with Jennifer and Helen. She also observes a practical physics lesson.

Mookie is heavily indebted to mom and I for getting her the new Barenaked Ladies CD. She celebrates with nightmares (actually it sounds a lot like my life – thanks) and blood sport.

Victor scores big points about fools and consequences, before going into shock. HeÂ’s been good about displaying the winnerÂ’s logo in our inter-Munuvian hockey whoopass jamboree.

Cherry is the quiet sort.

TimÂ’s been quiet too. Busy people with real lives. What a concept.

Tuning Spork gets the debate going with his posts about the best position players in baseball in various eraÂ’s.

Over at Practical Penumbra, Susie is trying to rally folks to prevent the League of Liberals from claiming victory with a post about the evils of capitalism. Huh? When did they add a category for theater of the absurd?

SheÂ’s over at Munuviana doing the same thing. Pixy chips in too.

Pixy has a scientifical mind, which allows him to creatifically thinkerize and edumacate us downside-uppers in “The Way The World Works”. Pay attention to him.

Werd. (still attempting to boost street cred)

Posted by: Ted at 09:09 AM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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Air Munuviana update

For those who donÂ’t know what this is all about, check out here and here and here and here and here and here.

A week before her maiden flight, things are going smoothly. Literally. I’ve put the second coat of primer on, and have finished sanding with 400 grit sandpaper (which is slightly more coarse than Charmin). One more coat of primer tonight and I’ll start painting the color coats tomorrow. Decals will go on probably Wednesday – folks, I need to know what flags you want to fly! If you haven’t let me know yet, please do. Tiger, that’s you too (I’m assuming US, but you might prefer Texas – your call).

Posted by: Ted at 08:41 AM | category: Rocketry
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Baseball History 7

"If I were playing third base and my mother were rounding third with the run that was going to beat us, I'd trip her. Oh, I'd pick her up and brush her off and say, 'Sorry, Mom,' but nobody beats me." – Leo Durocher, Chicago Cubs manager

"On my tombstone just write, 'The sorest loser that ever lived.’” – Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles manager

"All last year we tried to teach him (Fernando Valenzuela) English, and the only word he learned was million." – Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers manager

"I've played a couple of hundred games of tic-tac-toe with my little daughter and she hasn't beaten me yet. I've always had to win. I've got to win." – Bob Gibson, St Louis Cardinals pitcher

"Don Drysdale would consider an intentional walk a waste of three pitches. If he wants to put you on base, he can hit you with one pitch." - Mike Shannon, St Louis Cardinals utility player

"Every time I look at my pocketbook, I see Jackie Robinson." – Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants outfielder

"When I put on my uniform, I feel I am the proudest man on earth." – Roberto Clemente, Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder

"I ain't ever had a job, I just always played baseball." – Satchel Paige, pitcher

"Holy cow!" – Harry Caray, Chicago Cubs broadcaster

"The biggest thrill a ballplayer can have is when your son takes after you. That happened when my Bobby was in his championship Little League game. He really showed me something. Struck out three times. Made an error that lost the game. Parents were throwing things at our car and swearing at us as we drove off. Gosh, I was proud." -- Bob Uecker, former major league catcher

"I don't see why you reporters keep confusing Brooks (Robinson) and me. Can't you see that we wear different numbers?" - Frank Robinson

"It's a great day for a ball game; let's play two!" – Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs

"There is always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time, I owe him my best." – Joe DiMaggio, New York Yankees outfielder

"Man, if I made one million dollars I would come in at six in the morning, sweep the stands, wash the uniforms, clean out the office, manage the team and play the games." – Duke Snyder, Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder

Posted by: Ted at 05:07 AM | category: History
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October 23, 2003

Almost as good as Joe Cartoon

Happy Tree Friends! It's cute, it's gory, it's sick. It's hard to find good childrens programming like that these days.

Thanks to mnavarre for the pointer.

Oh, if you've never seen Joe Cartoon, well, you've lived a sheltered life.

(bandwidth alert for everything linked here, and some of the language gets a little rough)

Posted by: Ted at 05:56 PM | category: Links
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Hardened criminals in the schools

Six British schoolboys were rushed to hospital after taking the erection-enhancing drug Viagra at lunchtime for a dare, the school said on Thursday.

Sorry about the headline, I couldn't resist.

Posted by: Ted at 01:01 PM | category: Links
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Open for business all night

Pixy and Susie commiserate with each other about grueling work schedules. Being a programmer, I've worked some helacious stretches too, it seems to come with the job. One time, while working for a difficult client, we had this memorable exchange:

Client: You charged me for 21 hours that day!
Me: That's correct.
Client: How can you be productive for 21 hours?
Me: I can't. Towards the end, I was so tired I was practically incoherent.
Client: Then why did you waste my money like that?
Me: Because you brought me a hot project a half hour before quitting time, and said it was due first thing the next morning.
Client: Well, you should work faster. And quit wasting my money.

Posted by: Ted at 07:32 AM | category: Square Pegs
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More NASA controversy

(excerpted from this article)

NASA's decision to launch a fresh two-man crew to the International Space Station last weekend came over the strenuous objections of mid-level scientists and physicians who warned that deteriorating medical equipment and air and water monitoring devices aboard the orbiting laboratory posed increasing safety risks for the crew, according to space agency documents and interviews.

There is a history of tension over health issues between conservative medical personnel, on one side, and engineers and astronauts eager to fly, on the other, NASA insiders say. However, in what some medical personnel described this week as a chilling echo of the decision-making leading up to the Columbia space shuttle disaster, arguments in favor of scrubbing the latest crew replacement mission and temporarily shuttering the space station were overruled by managers concerned with keeping the facility occupied.

When the shuttles were grounded after the Columbia accident, the facility lost its major supply line and left NASA heavily dependent on the Russians and other partners to keep the space station operating. The Russian spacecraft, however, can transport only a small fraction of the cargo and equipment that the shuttles can. As a result, construction of the incomplete space station is at a standstill, and the customary three-person crews have been replaced with caretaker crews of two, who now spend much of their time doing maintenance and a minimal amount doing scientific research.

Posted by: Ted at 07:21 AM | category: Space Program
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Baseball History 6

Here's the story of the greatest pitcher that nobody had ever heard of.

In an April, 1985 issue, Sports Illustrated published a story about a new rookie pitcher who planned to play for the Mets. His name was Sidd Finch and he could reportedly throw a baseball faster than anyone ever measured. Surprisingly, Sidd Finch had never even played the game before, having been raised in a Tibetan monastery. Mets fans everywhere celebrated at their teams's amazing luck at having found such a gifted player, and Sports Illustrated was flooded with requests for more information. Can you say 'April Fools'?

Posted by: Ted at 05:31 AM | category: History
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October 22, 2003

Man does not live by blood and gore alone

Criss Angel, magician extraordinaire, will have a special on the SciFi Channel at 9pm Halloween.

Posted by: Ted at 09:47 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Someone loves me very very much

I had to take half a day off with my wife today to deal with some things, and afterwards we did some shopping. I wound up with the following DVD's:

Killer Klowns from Outer Space
The Last House on the Left
Return of the Living Dead
WWII movie 3-pack including A Walk in the Sun, Gung Ho!, and Go For Broke!

Best Buy* has a sale going on, three for $20.00. The first three titles were from that deal. Other available titles were Amityville Horror, Burnt Offerings, Species and Child's Play, among others. Fun stuff for those who like their horror a little cheesy.

The WWII movies are the kinds of flicks I watch on AMC and TMT sometimes, starring folks like Van Johnson, Robert Mitchum and Dana Andrews. Sorry Victor, no Joe Don Baker.

Excalibur was a freak find at the Wal-Mart bargain bin. Classic.

* I hate Best Buy with a passion because they sell those crappy extended waranties and then weasle out of honoring them even though it breaks the heart of the little girl trying to get the service they promised. But sometimes you go where the deal is, and as long as you know that the bastards will screw you over given half a chance, well, forewarned is forearmed. Ya know?

Posted by: Ted at 08:27 PM | category: Cult Flicks
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Whole lotta shakin' (up) going on

Colorado left wing Paul Kariya will be out indefinitely with a sprained right wrist, so the Avalanche acquired left wing Steve Konowalchuk in a trade with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

Something has to be done with the listless Caps. I just didn't expect it to be Kono. Wow.

So when is Jagr going to the Rangers?

Posted by: Ted at 08:09 PM | category: Square Pegs
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