September 25, 2003

Galileo redux

Visit the USS Clueless (which is anything but), and find a wonderful explanation about why it was decided to crash the Galileo probe into Jupiter. Plenty of good links too. If you like science, space, physics, or mathematics, you'll enjoy the read.

Posted by: Ted at 11:52 AM | category: Space Program
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Insert favorite song title about 'time' here

Over at Coyote's Bark, Terry points out a cool little flash clock.

Which got me to wondering about what else might be out there in Google-land. Wanna see what I found?

Here's a neat variation of the digital clock we all hate in the morning.

I really really really like this one, in a manic where-is-my-ritalin sorta way.

This concept appeals to the art lover in me. (bandwidth alert) Click on the ‘clock’ icon at the top, then ‘set’ your time, the clock updates once a minute.

I'm not a chrono-snob, here's something for those who must measure elapsed time.

Now here are a couple of overlapping collections of wallpaper clocks, the flash ones are kinda interesting. This one is my favorite of the bunch.

Once again, just to prove that you can find damn near anything on the internet, here's an interesting little collection of BBC clocks and flash cards.

Right, that last one wasn't quite on-topic. Oh well.

Posted by: Ted at 09:55 AM | category: Links
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Ripple Fire

I was in a rotten mood driving in this morning, helped along by heavy traffic and people who donÂ’t know how to drive in it. Add in the fact that I woke up not a multi-millionaire and actually having to work for a living, and the day was off to a less-than-spectacular start. So while I was in the olÂ’ stop-and-go, I was thinking about a few things.

MacÂ’s vs. PCÂ’s. This reminds me of the whole democrat/republican debate, and my favorite quote about same. IÂ’ll paraphrase:

Mac users think PC users are evil. PC users think Mac users are stupid.

IÂ’ve got news for you Mac people, PCÂ’s are better. The market says so. Like it or not, Bill Gates is a better businessman than clan Apple, and his products are more useful to computer users. If it wasnÂ’t true, weÂ’d talk about Microsoft in the same way we talk about Commodore and Atari and Tandy. So grow up, enjoy the things that Macs do well and quitcher bitching.

I couldn’t think of a religion that doesn’t have ‘spread the word’ as a basic foundation. This makes sense, because what good is a religion (or any other social movement for that matter) which doesn’t attempt to grow? It’s also depressing, because this also means a continuation of religious-based strife. If everybody believes they’re right, then the only solution is elimination of the other guy. As for religious tolerance, the only time it happens it when it’s forced upon them, and it’s seldom comfortable for either side.

SUVÂ’s should be taxed like trucks. If youÂ’re driving a 19-passenger land yacht, itÂ’s a truck, not a car. If youÂ’re driving a do-nothing SUV-wannabe, then youÂ’re stupid and should be taxed for being an idiot (weÂ’ll just call it a truck tax). What to do with the extra revenue? Research into battery technology, because like it or not, thatÂ’s where the next big energy breakthrough is gonna happen. Notice IÂ’m not saying that SUVÂ’s should be taken off the road. Free choice is still free choice, but 90% of the folks driving SUVÂ’s donÂ’t need them, which proves that theyÂ’re stupid, and should be taxed.

Hell, call it the SUV lottery. Most of ‘em will line up to buy extra tickets.

Update: I was reminded of the judge who put the hold on the Do-Not-Call list. We've instituted a new policy in our house. Listen politely to determine source of the call, because we're nice to police, fire department, and veterans organizations doing fundraising. Anyone else, we get loud and verbally abusive. Screw it, they called me, so they must want to hear me, right? Oh yeah, they're gonna hear it all right...

Posted by: Ted at 08:25 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Rocket Jones' Great Random Google Junket

Boy howdy! ThiS epiSode iS eSpecially Spectacular becauSe of that letter that never StraightenS out - "S". Special thankS to thoSe who Suggested wordS.

Today's fuel:
Jennifer (from the hold queue) suggested splice.
We also had a leftover from Victor, with safety.
Pixy Misa chimed in with squamous.
Jennifer added in shapely, as in "You'll never know, loser boy".
Victor seems to be in a rut, volunteering stinky.
Nic anted up with strontium.

Good words all. Thanks for playing!

First off, I want to mention that the word 'squamous' rattled around deep within the dungeon of useless information inside my skull. I thought about it a little bit, and remembered - I hoped - how to spell 'squamish', which was the subject of an imaginary sport courtesy of Mad magazine. Google is your friend! Here's that article, now who's up for a game or two of 43-man Squamish? By the way, when this article came out in 1965, I was 6 years old, so I suspect that I caught it first in a later 'best of' edition of Mad. But it's not inconceivable that I was reading the magazine that young, because Mad was the one magazine that I made sure to read every month for years and years.

Oh yeah, Squamish is also a place in British Columbia, Canada, and an Indian tribe. I had no idea.

Back to the words at hand.

shapely + squamous
I was afraid of this combo, for good reason it turns out. Four out of the first five hits were plastic surgery or otherwise medically related, all discussing forms of cancer. No links folks. Feel free.

safety + splice
Wow, the Safety-Splice signpost system! Snaps off at the ground when hit by a car, I think. The site is a little light on hard information.

safety + shapely
There were quite a few artsy hits for this combo, but nothing with nudity. Dang. For those who insist on sleaze, ask Stevie about her underoo-buddy.

On the second site, Joe Muscle wants to sell you suppliments to build shapely legs.

squamous + stinky
The first hit is the rather imaginatively named “Sweaty Vagina Stories”, which turns out to be mundane porn. Not worth going to (I checked so you wouldn’t have to).

Next up is the Carnivorous Plant FAQ. Very similar in concept to the above porn site, I suppose. Not really, unless youÂ’re a parent trying to scare the hell out of your pubescent young man. Convince him that everything his friends have told him is wrong, that helps.

splice + strontium
The poetic table of elements. Boron? Not Fermi. Ok, I'll stop now.

strontium + shapely
An article titled My Experiences In Reef-Keeping, from SeaScope magazine. Interesting for you aquarium buffs.

splice + stinky
What do a sinkhole, a park ranger, and a broken sewer pipe have in common? Add 'em all up, and you get news from legendary Tombstone, Arizona. Read all about it in the Tombstone Epitaph (which gets my vote for coolest newspaper name ever).

So there you have it. Suggest a word, any word, and we'll see where Google takes us. Sometimes it seems like the decorator is Dali, which is when it's most fun for me. Gotta run, the clock is melting.

Posted by: Ted at 07:04 AM | category: Google Junket
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September 24, 2003

Special Effects Rocket Motors

An ongoing debate among rocket hobbyists is the use of ‘effects’ motors. By adding carefully selected impurities to the chemical composition of a motor, you can create a variety of results. Common among these are smoky motors, sparky motors, and even exhaust flames of different colors. Such impurities can also produce sound variations like a crackling during the motor burn. In order to keep their product lines distinct, propellant formulations are closely held by commercial motor manufacturers (all of this applies to Ammonium Perchlorate motors and not the common model rocket motors available from Estes or Quest).

A high-efficiency propellant formula produces almost no smoke and very little visible flame. Most of the power of the motor goes to producing thrust and not the visible byproducts. ThatÂ’s the bottom-line purpose of the rocket motor.

But what fun is that? A small but vocal group of rocketeers are devoted to pure power and maximum thrust for a given engine size. Anything less than the ideal have been dubbed ‘knob’ motors.

I am a knob. I love the knob motors. So what if I lose some power or efficiency, when my rocket takes off trailing a thick plume of smoke, or leaps into the sky atop a long tongue of neon green fire? That's what's fun for me, and I think the majority of rocketeers agree with me. Here's a description of some of the knob motors that I love to fly.

Aerotech makes motors in a variety of sizes and propellants, including Blue Thunder which has the most power, a thin blue flame, and almost no smoke, White Lightning with itÂ’s orange flame and thick white smoke, Redline with an intense red flame and moderate smoke, and BlackJack which roars and produces thick black smoke. They also manufacture EconoJets, which are smoky, loud and crackly motors, but you pay for the effects at the cost of motor power. Their selection is probably the best all-around available.

Ellis Mountain makes the ThorÂ’s Hammer line, which are super-aggressive motors with lots of thrust right from the get-go.

Animal Motor Works started a couple of years ago, and is slowly expanding their line. Their offerings include Green Gorilla, White Wolf, Blue Baboon, and Super Tiger. IÂ’m looking forward to Skidmark Squirrel, which is a sparky motor. Imagine a fireworks sparkler about two feet long, two inches around, and going straight up at a couple hundred miles per hour. Definitely not for the dry season!

There are others, but these pretty much show the range available. Of course, the motor and rocket airframe have to be matched up carefully. A rocket that can handle the relatively gentle thrust of BlackJack propellant may shred into confetti under the kick of ThorÂ’s Hammer. Likewise, you might need the big spike of thrust at the start of a Blue Thunder burn to get a heavy rocket off the pad and flying stably.

In my range box right now, I have an H-165 Redline, an H-128 White Lightning, a G-75 BlackJack, plus a handful of EconoJets and some smaller mid-power propellant reloads. IÂ’ve also got a pair of reloads left for my nitrous-hybrid motor. With a rocket launch this Sunday, and BattlePark in Culpeper, Virginia the first weekend of November, IÂ’m looking forward to being a knob.

Posted by: Ted at 12:32 PM | category: Rocketry
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Rocket Jones’ Great Random Google Junket

I let this slide during my life-threatening illness (it's called poetic license, give me a break), but it's back and even better than Virtual Jennifer: Skin or Other. Negotiations continue on version 2 of that game.

Words for this go-round:
Ostentatious by John at SilverBlue.
Flatulence also by John, going for the double play here.
Quagmire as suggested by Jennifer, she of History and Stuff.
Lucky from Victor, over at Publius & Co.
Jejune by our own Pixy Misa. My comments below on this one.
Proximity from Susie of Practical Penumbra. Obviously some sort of 'P' word fetish.

Ostentatious + Flatulence
An auspicious start - I misspelled flatulence (flatulance), and still got one hit. We’re supposed to trust this guy’s jargon dictionary even though he can’t spell the uppity word for fart? What the hell is 4/3 anyways?

Spelling the word correctly means that yours truly comes up as numbers one and two on the Google hit list. Thanks John, I think.

Interesting. Add quagmire and I’m still first and second, but in the fourth spot is a document titled “The 1000 Most Common SAT Words” (no link, it's a .pdf document).

Better yet, on the side of the google page is an ad for personal fart filters! Here’s my favorite bit:
Take Back Your Life Again! - No Need to Remain Trapped in Your Home!
Now you can go out in public without fear of embarrassment due to the odor of excessive intestinal gas - flatulence - caused by any reason or condition! Say Good-bye to excess gas odor -PERMANENTLY! Live Life Again!

Why not just do like the ladies, and keep a small dog around to blame?

Lucky + Quagmire
Bill Maher makes his first appearance on the Junket! Quagmire refers to the War on Drugs in a link to another article. The rest of this little rant is actually pretty funny. It’s very short, so screw it, I’ll quote the whole thing:

DID LUCKY LINDY GET LUCKY?
Three German siblings (Dyrk, David, and Astrid) are claiming that aviator Charles Lindbergh was their father and they want to take DNA tests to prove it. Their proof is that their mother talked about Lindbergh a lot and also received over 100 love letters from him. They also say they don’t want money; they just want “recognition”. So I guess in lieu of three fat checks from Lindy’s estate they’ll settle for the world knowing that their mother was a slut who banged foreigners and than an American icon was a philanderer. Thanks, people, for ruining our collective day over absolutely nothing.

Lucky + Flatulence
Hey, who would’ve guessed the virtual cornucopia of links this produced?

Whale flatulence, as reported on Electric Venom in the last couple of weeks. Do a search there if you must.

Mr. Goodbeer offers up the FartMatic 5000. Also check out the Whoopie Cushion costume advertised farther down the page.

The Flatulence Dictionary. Someone felt a need for this?

And finally (finally!), a real news story about farmers protesting a proposed flatulence tax. The idea is bad enough, but just thinking about wearing the meter gives me the willies.

Ok, enough with the fart jokes. Let’s move on…

Jejune + proximity
This combo nets us a blog entry about springtime. And for those of you who don’t know what the word ‘jejune’ means, I checked the dictionary for you (I didn't either). It means ‘devoid of substance or interest’, much like the Google Junket. By the way Pixy, that thinly veiled insult was pretty darned snotty. Now I’m glad I looked it up. I shall retaliate, or maybe I already did. I lose track sometimes.

I also found the word Jackassery in the Dictionary too! And it means exactly what it sounds like. You learn something every day. In modern usage, we’d say Asshattery.

I’ve still got Safety and Splice for the next Junket. How about a few more ‘S’ words to add to the mix?

Posted by: Ted at 10:21 AM | category: Google Junket
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Rocket JonesÂ’ Great Random Google Junket

I let this slide during my life-threatening illness (it's called poetic license, give me a break), but it's back and even better than Virtual Jennifer: Skin or Other. Negotiations continue on version 2 of that game.

Words for this go-round:
Ostentatious by John at SilverBlue.
Flatulence also by John, going for the double play here.
Quagmire as suggested by Jennifer, she of History and Stuff.
Lucky from Victor, over at Publius & Co.
Jejune by our own Pixy Misa. My comments below on this one.
Proximity from Susie of Practical Penumbra. Obviously some sort of 'P' word fetish.

Ostentatious + Flatulence
An auspicious start - I misspelled flatulence (flatulance), and still got one hit. WeÂ’re supposed to trust this guyÂ’s jargon dictionary even though he canÂ’t spell the uppity word for fart? What the hell is 4/3 anyways?

Spelling the word correctly means that yours truly comes up as numbers one and two on the Google hit list. Thanks John, I think.

Interesting. Add quagmire and I’m still first and second, but in the fourth spot is a document titled “The 1000 Most Common SAT Words” (no link, it's a .pdf document).

Better yet, on the side of the google page is an ad for personal fart filters! HereÂ’s my favorite bit:
Take Back Your Life Again! - No Need to Remain Trapped in Your Home!
Now you can go out in public without fear of embarrassment due to the odor of excessive intestinal gas - flatulence - caused by any reason or condition! Say Good-bye to excess gas odor -PERMANENTLY! Live Life Again!

Why not just do like the ladies, and keep a small dog around to blame?

Lucky + Quagmire
Bill Maher makes his first appearance on the Junket! Quagmire refers to the War on Drugs in a link to another article. The rest of this little rant is actually pretty funny. ItÂ’s very short, so screw it, IÂ’ll quote the whole thing:

DID LUCKY LINDY GET LUCKY?
Three German siblings (Dyrk, David, and Astrid) are claiming that aviator Charles Lindbergh was their father and they want to take DNA tests to prove it. Their proof is that their mother talked about Lindbergh a lot and also received over 100 love letters from him. They also say they don’t want money; they just want “recognition”. So I guess in lieu of three fat checks from Lindy’s estate they’ll settle for the world knowing that their mother was a slut who banged foreigners and than an American icon was a philanderer. Thanks, people, for ruining our collective day over absolutely nothing.

Lucky + Flatulence
Hey, who wouldÂ’ve guessed the virtual cornucopia of links this produced?

Whale flatulence, as reported on Electric Venom in the last couple of weeks. Do a search there if you must.

Mr. Goodbeer offers up the FartMatic 5000. Also check out the Whoopie Cushion costume advertised farther down the page.

The Flatulence Dictionary. Someone felt a need for this?

And finally (finally!), a real news story about farmers protesting a proposed flatulence tax. The idea is bad enough, but just thinking about wearing the meter gives me the willies.

Ok, enough with the fart jokes. LetÂ’s move onÂ…

Jejune + proximity
This combo nets us a blog entry about springtime. And for those of you who don’t know what the word ‘jejune’ means, I checked the dictionary for you (I didn't either). It means ‘devoid of substance or interest’, much like the Google Junket. By the way Pixy, that thinly veiled insult was pretty darned snotty. Now I’m glad I looked it up. I shall retaliate, or maybe I already did. I lose track sometimes.

I also found the word Jackassery in the Dictionary too! And it means exactly what it sounds like. You learn something every day. In modern usage, weÂ’d say Asshattery.

I’ve still got Safety and Splice for the next Junket. How about a few more ‘S’ words to add to the mix?

Posted by: Ted at 10:21 AM | category: Google Junket
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Mother Nature

She's like a houseguest that just won't leave.

According to radio reports, almost 200,000 people still are without power in Virginia. Flooding continues, closing major commuter routes, and one of the mass transit lines is shut down because of an enormous 20 foot deep sinkhole.

The massive amount of rain we got night before last (about 2" for us, some areas got up to 6") caused a little flooding in my basement. We handled it easily, because it happens almost every time we get significant rain.

The morning commute has been a bear the last couple of days, but I'm counting my blessings because I didn't have to deal with the mess yesterday. They had to close a 6-lane drawbridge for emergency repairs, but that was north of me, and I live south. Whew!

Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Posted by: Ted at 07:58 AM | category: Square Pegs
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A Poem

Spring has sprung,
Fall has fell,
It's the end of September,
And wetter than usual.

with apologies to Nipsy Russell.

Posted by: Ted at 07:36 AM | category: Square Pegs
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September 23, 2003

I can't help myself

Nic posted her favorite joke. Hey Victor, how can you not love that? That's funny!

Since it's apparently going around, I'll toss in my contribution.

What's green and sits in your backyard?

Paddy O'Furniture.

Posted by: Ted at 11:54 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Zuppa Toscana

The Olive Garden restaraunt chain serves this wonderful sausage and potato soup. I don't know if this recipe is identical, but it's very very close.

Ingredients:
1½ cups sweet sausage links (12 links)
3-4 slices bacon, cut up into small pieces
¾ cup diced onion
1¼ tsp minced garlic
2 medium potatoes
4 cups chicken stock (1 box of Swanson stock = 4 cups)
2 chicken bouillon cubes
red pepper flakes to taste for heat
2 cups Kale leaves, sliced into thin strips
1/3 cup heavy cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place sausages onto a sheet pan and bake for 25 minutes or until done. Cut into half lengthwise and slice at an angle into ½" slices.

Cook bacon and onion together until onions are almost clear. Add garlic and cook an additional 1 minute.

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise then cut into ¼" thick slices.

Add Chicken stock, bouillon, pepper and potatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

Add sausage, kale and cream. Return to boil, then simmer 5 minutes.

Posted by: Ted at 08:35 AM | category: Recipes
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My Y2K Story

Airplanes falling from the sky, microwaves working at half-power, medical machines going haywire, all civilization crumbles. All because of an event given a catchy little name (that’s what we demand in today’s world). “Year Two Thousand” just doesn’t ring in the ears like “Y2K”. A high-tech abbreviation to describe the real-life situation caused by another (necessary) high-tech abbreviation years before.

For the most part, Y2K was a letdown. Unheralded hundreds of thousands of people worked untold millions of hours to make it so. I was one of those folks, but my Y2K wasnÂ’t quite the non-event that most of us had.

I am a mainframe programmer. I started out by punching IBM cards and stacking them together into ‘program decks’. No, I’m not that old, it’s just that the military is always a little behind the times. Proven technology is preferred over cutting-edge stuff that might not work when you most need it. Thinking about it just now, that punch card technology was still heavily used just 20 years ago.

In 1994, I was working as a civilian consultant to the U.S. Government. My partner and I (we were a two person contract) were discussing the upcoming ‘2000 situation’ and what we would need to worry about to prevent problems with our systems. This was even before the phrase “Y2K” was coined.

One day, we mentioned it to our client (the big boss) and she told us not to worry about it, because our systems were going to be replaced long before 2000. Part of what we get paid for is to anticipate problems and devise possible solutions to things that might not even happen. Knowing that replacing computer systems is a complex job, we werenÂ’t nearly as confident as she was that it would happen before 2000, so we quietly did some preliminary analysis and wrote up some specs and notes.

Two years later, I’m sitting in my office and we get the official word that we have to convert our systems to be ‘Y2K compliant’. By now, the other guy has left for another project, and the staff consists of me, myself, and I.

I won’t go into a lot of detail, but I lived and breathed Y2K for the next four and a half years. Our systems contain over 2,000 separate programs and our data files maintain almost 10,000,000 (yep, million) records, and it’s all real-time. We – the government folks I worked with and I – busted our asses and got it done ahead of time and under budget.

So I was feeling pretty good about things.

My wife and I didnÂ’t have any plans for December 31, 1999. We were just going to relax at home and have a quiet evening. Sometime after dinner, I mentioned to my wife that it felt like IÂ’d just had a shot of Novocain and that my jaw felt funny. Within an hour, the numbness spread to the whole right side of my face and, after talking to the HMO duty-nurse, we were on the way to the emergency room.

They did a CAT scan, which told us that I hadn’t had a stroke (and that thought had never crossed my mind before that). In fact, the doctor came into the room and announced that ‘they looked at his entire head and didn’t find anything’, which cracked my wife up.

By now the entire right side of my face was paralyzed; canÂ’t blink, canÂ’t move my lips, nothing. The doctor tells me that IÂ’ve got BellÂ’s Palsy. ItÂ’s an inflamation of the cranio-facial nerve (the third, in my case), and they donÂ’t know what causes it. What happens is that the nerve runs through this little tiny tunnel in your skull, and when it gets inflamed, it pinches itself against the bone and gets damaged. They gave me steroids, which medical logic says will help, but they admitted that they almost never do. The nerve grows back ever so gradually, over the course of months.

Other than that, they just taught me some things I needed to be aware of. For instance, because I couldnÂ’t blink my right eye anymore, I had to tape it shut before I went to bed so that it wouldnÂ’t dry out. I had drops I had to put in my eye to keep it moist during the day. I figured out early on that I wasnÂ’t the worldÂ’s best dinner partner, because food kept falling out of that side of my mouth. I drooled too. It was actually kind of funny, but IÂ’d never laugh at anyone else who had it.

Probably the worst part was my sense of taste. ItÂ’s rare, but yÂ’all know IÂ’m special, so it was inevitable I guess. I completely lost the taste of sweet. Eating a cookie was like eating cardboard. Ranch dressing tasted like rancid buttermilk (to this day I canÂ’t stand it). Think about your favorite foods, and imagine no sweetness at all in the flavor. Not fun.

My recovery was about 85% complete in the next year. Most people canÂ’t even tell, but I can. I still slur the occasional word, and my right eye droops when I get tired. My sense of taste returned, thank God.

We were checking out of the ER that New Years Eve of Y2K, just about an hour before midnight. It suddenly struck me - I did all that work getting my computer systems ready to go, and it turned out that half my face was non-compliant. I told my wife that and laughed like a madman. She threatened to make me walk home.

Posted by: Ted at 07:32 AM | category: Boring Stories
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It could be a long season

I'm not a fair-weather fan, but last night my beloved Oakland Raiders looked like an old team a year past their prime. They're going to win some games, and possibly even make the playoffs, but it's going to be a roller-coaster ride this year.

Posted by: Ted at 07:10 AM | category: Square Pegs
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September 22, 2003

Book tour

If you've seen the movie October Sky, or read the book Rocket Boys upon which the movie was based, then you've already met Homer Hickam. Homer was one of the original Rocket Boys, and he wrote the book as well as several more since. You may also remember that Homer Hickam went on to become an aerospace engineer with NASA, and helped design the Space Shuttle.

Homer Hickam will shortly be beginning a tour to promote his seventh book. Details and schedule can be found here. If you haven't read any of his stuff, I highly recommend it. He's also been very supportive of educational programs including the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

I posted this on the old blogspot site once, but it's one of my favorite pictures, so here it is again. Mookie and Homer Hickam, taken at the Team America Rocket Challenge 2003 Finals. more...

Posted by: Ted at 07:40 PM | category: Rocketry
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Safe and sound

John and crew have reported in. All's well in the land of SilverBlue, meaning nobody was hurt. They had a much rougher time of it than we did, that's for sure.

Posted by: Ted at 11:13 AM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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Rocketing Around the Blogosphere

Good morning everyone! Let's jump right into it, eh?

IÂ’ve been misspelling KelleyÂ’s name now for a while, and sheÂ’s been kind enough not to have someone come by and break my kneecaps. Visit her at Suburban Blight, because sheÂ’s nice and her Cul-de-sac rocks.

Meanwhile, Kevin at Wizbang! survived Isabel while posting away despite losing power. That's dedication. In addition to that, he's always available to help people like me with technical problems. Check out the new in-line trackback ping-o-rama bling-bling at the end of my posts (those are my words, I'm sure Kevin would know the technical terms). Thanks Susie and Jen for pointing me at this.

Kevin also points to the story of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Honorable men like this are why we are free.

Post-Isabel pictures from Victor and Nic.

What do Wesley Clark and the Magic 8-ball have in common? Rattle their liquid-filled domes, and a random answer pops out. Read all about it at Jockularocracy.

Daniel expands upon the concept of moral relativism, and gets my vote for his entry in the New Blog Showcase. According to that concept, just because the other entrants exist, doesn't mean they're worth a crap, or something like that. I just skimmed the article, because it's full of big words.

Not Quite Tea and Crumpets shows another example of political correctness gone wild. No wonder our education system is all NÂ’d up.

Rocket Man talks about ‘A Formidable Military Force’. Take his little quiz. You’ll learn something. I guarantee it. In case I'm not clear about this, I think this is a must-read. Why must I hint?

This guy is snotty and vicious, which is everything I like in recreational reading.

Megan, meet Tim. Tim, Megan. Two very good bloggers who happen to be devout Christians. Which reminds me of a t-shirt I saw once that said: "Be a Christian. Take a lion to lunch." Hey, I laughed.

Glenn over at Hi. IÂ’m Black! is considering selling t-shirts. Pretty funny stuff, and make sure you read the comments. Unfortunately, when I tried to order one, he said I could never be considered an honorary black. That's why I used 'bling-bling' up above, I'm trying to build my street cred.

Harvey comes awful close to causing me to become curt with him by using a picture of my dog in his war of lies and propaganda. Note that my dog is an innocent bystander. Also note that it takes some doing to make me get curt. Unless you’re Mookie, in which case I can go from zero to “you’re grounded” in seconds.

SanityÂ’s Edge pointed out this endearing little screed. Thanks Paul! The last line is a classic. "...there's a reason why there are hundreds of statues of Charles Darwin and none of River Phoenix."

I forgot to thank Pixy Misa for his technical expertise. He keeps things running smoothly around Munuviana.

Finally, a quick tour of the weird. Mookie presents us with viking kitties. That's right, she wants to take us to a Gay Bar. This cracks me up every time.

Over at The Cheese Stands Alone, LeeAnn always seems to find the sublime. From the mildly odd to the entertainingly depressed, you owe it to your analyst to go visit.

Stevie, I reminded Mookie to get with you about your PC sounds. If she hasnÂ’t contacted you yet, get ornery with her. I recommend grounding her, it does wonders for her cooperation and attitude.

Speaking of. FREE MOOKIE! Like Susie says, consistancy is for wimps.

Wow. I just realized that I used the following in a single post: moral relativism, Darwin, magic 8-ball, devout Christian, bling-bling, formidable military force, and street cred. Google is gonna turn up some interesting hits in the weeks to come.

Posted by: Ted at 07:35 AM | category: Links
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September 21, 2003

Too funny

I missed this one when it originally happened, but a friend pointed it out.

California Governor Gray Davis on his vision for the state: "My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state. We have the sons and daughters of every, of people from every planet, of every country on earth," he said.

Another friend noted that Gray Davis is so boring that bringing out Al Gore was intended to "spice up" his campaign!

Posted by: Ted at 05:48 PM | category: Politics
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Dog Rules

1. Dogs are never permitted in the house. The dog stays outside in a specially built wooden compartment named, for a very good reason, the dog house.

2. Okay, the dog can enter the house, but only for short visits or if his own house is under renovation.

3. Okay, the dog can stay in the house on a permanent basis, provided his dog house can be sold in a yard sale to a rookie dog owner.

4. Inside the house, the dog is not allowed to run free and is confined to a comfortable but secure metal cage.

5. Okay, the cage becomes part of a two-for-one deal along with the dog house in the yard sale, and the dog can go wherever the heck he pleases.

6. The dog is never allowed on the furniture.

7. Okay, the dog can get on the old furniture but not the new furniture.

8. Okay, the dog can get up on the new furniture until it looks like the old furniture and then we'll sell the whole darn works and buy new furniture... upon which the dog will most definitely not be allowed.

9. The dog never sleeps on the bed. Period.

10. Okay, the dog can sleep at the foot of the bed.

11. Okay, the dog can sleep alongside you, but he's not allowed under the covers.

12. Okay, the dog can sleep under the covers, but not with his head on a pillow.

13. Okay, the dog can sleep alongside you under the covers with his head on the pillow, but if he snores he's got to leave the room.

14. Okay, the dog can sleep and snore and have nightmares in bed, but he's not to come in and sleep on the couch in the TV room, where I'm now sleeping. That's just not fair.

15. The dog never gets listed on the census questionnaire as "primary resident", even if it's true.

Posted by: Ted at 05:16 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Chinese Space Shot

I mentioned in passing that the Chinese would be making their first attempt at manned space flight, probably around the first of October. As the Brazilians learned earlier this year, accidents can happen at any time and quickly turn triumph into tragedy. The Chinese have learned this lesson as well. Then again, like any totalitarian society, what's a few peons killed when you have an opportunity to steal technology?

Posted by: Ted at 04:40 PM | category: Space Program
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Commercial aircraft countermeasures

The Bush administration plans to spend about $100 million to develop an anti-missile system for commercial planes, more than originally discussed, reflecting concern that terrorists might try to use shoulder-fired rockets to shoot down an aircraft.

They're talking about things like Stingers and vintage Soviet SA-7's. Of course, this will be difficult and take time, which is one reason why certain members of congress are facilitating the crackdown on dangerous terrorists like Cub Scouts and others who fly hobby rockets and RC cars and planes. These politicians aren't interested in solving the problem, they're interested in appearing to be solving the problem.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has sponsored a bill to equip the 6,800 planes in the U.S. commercial fleet with some form of anti-missile device at an estimated cost of $10 billion. He said the Bush administration was still moving too slowly.

They must be taking care of us, because they're spending so much money. We're just not smart enough to appreciate it.

Posted by: Ted at 04:23 PM | category: SciTech
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