October 25, 2004

Brazil successfully launches rocket

Last year they had a horrible accident on the pad that killed 21 scientists and technicians. This year, they made it. Congrats, mi Amigos!*

Thanks to both A.E. Brain and Interested Participant for pointing this out.

*Yes, I know Brazilians speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Work with me here.

Posted by: Ted at 12:08 PM | category: Space Program
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Hockey Whoopass Jamboree

The new schedule is up.

Posted by: Ted at 06:10 AM | category: Links
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A simple gold band

I lost my wedding ring last monday afternoon. In all the fuss about the trip to the dentist, I'd forgotten about that. Fortunately, I found it again. With the cooler weather coming on, and the weight I've lost this year, my fingers are thinner and it just slipped off when I was putting something into my briefcase. A few discreet wraps of tape and that won't happen again.

I'm on my second ring because the first one wore out. I wear it constantly, except for when I'm working on my car. I've witnessed ugly things happen to people who wear rings while playing mechanic. I've no desire to personally experience them myself.

I lost the first ring too once, and then found it again. Back when Liz was in a wheelchair, we went to a restaurant and while we were sitting there I realized my ring was missing. I freaked. I had no idea when I'd last noticed it, and by the end of the meal Liz had calmed me down enough to just accept that sometimes crap like that happens.

After dinner, I helped Liz into the car then took the chair around back to load it up (we used a bike rack to carry it). I got her chair folded and secured, and for some reason I looked down and there at my feet was the ring. Major relief!

When we were first engaged, I told Liz to get whatever ring she wanted (we were living in different states at the time), and to get me a plain gold band. No engraving, no markings, just simple gold a little over 1/8" wide.

Anything bigger than that and you could do yourself damage...

I'm going to tell this story exactly like I've told it to Liz. I'm careful never to change it or embellish it, or she'd know it's bull. It's not... sorta. Or maybe it is. I've never confirmed or denied it, I just tell the story as is and let everyone make up their own mind. To this day, Liz still isn't sure if I'm pulling her leg about this.

Liz was out with a bunch of girlfriends at a bachelorette party. She wasn't driving, so I expected her to stagger through the door in the wee hours, drunk and disorderly.

A couple of my friends had come over to the house, and we weren't doing much of anything when the phone rang. It was the girls, asking us if wanted to join them at the bar for the party. Their real motivation was that even the designated drivers were hammered, and they needed rides home.

We drove over, it wasn't far, and went inside. It was kind of fun to be the only three guys partying with more than a dozen drunk women. We were having a good time, and then for reasons I'll never fathom I did the single stupidest thing I've ever done in my life.

I decided to recreate that scene in Officer and a Gentleman where Patrick Swayzie swallows an engagement ring. Of course, I didn't actually swallow it, I tucked it under my tongue before taking the drink. Of course, nobody believed that I'd actually swallowed it, and a few minutes later it miraculously reappeared on my finger, to no one's suprise.

Someone mentioned it though at the other table and soon a whole new batch of drunk ladies wanted to see it. Remember that scene?

Open mouth, stick out tongue, place ring carefully on tongue. Take looong drink and open mouth. Viola! No ring. Of course, I wasn't going to continue the scene and go hang myself in the bathroom. There's limits to what I'll do for my art.

Except that, to my horror, the damn ring somehow slipped to the back of my throat and I involuntarily swallowed it.

There's a reason we chew our food. The throat isn't all that big around, and although there's some flexibility, it's not built to deal with things like a ring of metal. The ring got stuck. I wasn't choking on it, but it was too far down to discreetly cough up. The look on my face instantly gave it away, and of course everyone knew I was bullshitting them. It became a game, where did Ted hide his ring. The women searched my mouth, my hands, my pockets, and I could have really enjoyed it all if not for the fact that I'd swallowed my freaking wedding band. I finally decided that "this too, shall pass" and instead of bringing it up, I'd swallow it down and bide my time for its reappearance. I took several large drinks and tried to work the ol' swallow magic. No joy. Not coming up, not going down.

A few minutes later, I'm outside in the parking lot with a good friend. He's holding a huge glass of water that he got from inside, even though he's convinced that I'm faking it and laughing his ass off at everyone else's reaction. He chattering away while I'm trying to redefine "productive cough". All I could think of is Liz being pissed off at me for being an idiot and the stories that the ER staff would be telling about me in the morning. Finally, in desperation I stuck my finger down my throat and managed to throw up on the hood of a Corvette.

Eureka! I gingerly pluck my ring from the puddle of yick and rinse it off with that glass of water. I put it back on my finger, poured the rest of the water on the 'vette to wash off my mess, and headed back inside. I felt stoopid, to say the least. I was amazed to find out that most of the folks thought I was full of crap when I told them what happened, even with my friend's eyewitness account. It was so confused that to this day Liz isn't certain about the actual events.

I'm not that damn stupid. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: Ted at 05:22 AM | category: Boring Stories
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McGillicuddy and McGraw

Cornelius Alexander McGillicuddy changed his last name and became forever known as Connie Mack. After eleven seasons as a catcher in the major leagues, he managed for a couple of years and then bought the Philadelphia Athletics in 1901. When New York Giants manager John McGraw called the Athletics "a white elephant nobody wanted," Mack adopted a white elephant as the team's logo, which the Athletics have used off and on ever since.

Connie Mack loved baseball, but he never let himself forget that it was a business.

... he once confided that it was more profitable to have a team get off to a hot start, then ultimately finish fourth. "A team like that will draw well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win," he said. The most famous example of Mack's tight-fistedness came on July 10, 1932, when the Athletics played a one-game series with the Cleveland Indians. To save train fare, Mack only brought two pitchers. The starting pitcher was knocked out of the game in the first inning, leaving only knuckleballing relief pitcher Eddie Rommel. Rommel pitched 17 innings and gave up 33 hits, but won the game, 18-17.

Mr. Mack managed the A's until 1951, when he retired at age 81. In all, he managed 7,878 games, ending up with 3,776 wins and 4,025 losses. Each of those numbers is the major league record.

In the 1890's, the Baltimore Orioles were first a National League team before moving to the American League. Their 3rd baseman during those years was John McGraw. He displayed a talent for innovation within the game and his desire to win was fierce. Among his credits, he helped develop the hit-and-run and suicide squeeze play. McGraw was an excellent player, hitting over .320 nine seasons in a row and leading the majors in runs scored twice.

After retiring from the field, he took charge as manager of the New York Giants. In 31 years as manager, his teams won 10 pennants, finished second 11 times and took home three World Series trophies.

His 2,840 wins rank only behind Connie Mack in baseball history. On July 6, 1933, John McGraw came out of retirement to manage the NL in the first All-Star Game. He died less than a year later.

One interesting article I found while researching this talks about John McGraw and the Negro Leagues.

McGraw was a man ahead of his time. He tried to sneak a man past baseball's Color Barrier nearly fifty years before Branch Rickey. In 1901 as a manager of the old Baltimore Orioles McGraw brought second baseman Charlie Grant to training camp. Claiming that Grant was actually "Chief Tokohama," a Native American, McGraw hoped to use Grant's talents in the coming year's pennant chase. The problem with this was that Grant was by no means a Native American. He had played the previous year for the Columbia Giants, a Negro Leagues outfit. Charles Comiskey caught wind of this and the hammer came down. That season Charlie Grant again played for the Columbia Giants.

The article has plenty more about not just John McGraw, but other players who could look past race and enjoy playing the game with other men who loved it too.

Posted by: Ted at 05:07 AM | category: History
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October 24, 2004

Full Moon for Halloween

I found this over at Eros Blog (not safe for work):

pumpkinass.jpg

Posted by: Ted at 03:02 PM | category: Links
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I was up disgustingly early

According to Mookie. As she explained it to me:

  • before 7:00am - unholy

  • before 8:30am - disgustingly

  • before 10:00am - awful
  • For the record, she was up disgustingly early too. Yesterday she spent almost nine hours doing Statistics homework, and today she's got Physics and an English essay. We got her interim report card last week, and her hard work is certainly paying off.

    She's going to dress like an elf for the drama department's Christmas play too.

    Posted by: Ted at 01:51 PM | category: Square Pegs
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    Dizzy Dean and the Gashouse Gang

    In 1934, the St. Louis Cardinals fielded possibly their best-ever team. Loud, bold and brash, they became known as "The Gashouse Gang", and can be summed up thus:

    "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." --Dizzy Dean

    Featuring the pitching duo of "Dizzy" and "Daffy" (Jay and Paul, respectively), the Dean brothers combined for 49 wins that year. The team also boasted exceptional fielders and hitters like Joe "Ducky" Medwick, Pepper Martin and Enos Slaughter.

    The Gashouse Gang won the World Series in seven games over the Detroit Tigers, with each Dean brother picking up two wins.

    In 1947, six years after retiring from baseball, Dizzy Dean was the sportscaster for the St. Louis Browns. The Browns were terrible year after year, and probably best known for bringing in a pinch-hitting midget. In exasperation, Dizzy one day stated on the air that he could do better than the team on the field. Management took him up on the boast and allowed him to start the last game of the season. Dizzy Dean took the mound, allowed no runs in four innings, and rapped a double in his only at bat.

    Posted by: Ted at 05:46 AM | category: History
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    "Man our ship and bring her to life"

    "We cannot ever blink. We cannot ever flinch. We cannot yield." -- Senator John Warner, Virginia.

    The latest and greatest in US submarine technology was commisioned today in Norfolk, Virginia. The USS Virginia is a fast attack submarine unlike any other before.

    The 377-foot-long sub is the first to be built without a periscope, using a high-resolution digital camera instead. That meant the control room, which always had to be directly below the periscope, could be moved to a larger space in the sub's lower deck.

    The Virginia also can launch unmanned undersea vehicles. Other improvements include a new computerized autopilot designed to reduce stress on the crew and a reconfigurable torpedo room that can hold extra beds for special operations forces.


    With the ability to get close in shallow coastal waters, the Virginia class is designed to be versatile enough to deliver special forces for anti-terrorism operations as well as performing traditional open ocean missions.

    Senator John Warner from Virginia, a former Secretary of the Navy, made specific mention of that mission in his keynote address:

    "This ship will very definitely play a role in that war on terror."

    The second ship of the class, the USS Texas, was commisioned in July at Newport News. Eight additional boats of the class are on order, and current plans call for a total of thirty.

    Update: Rob straightened me out on the local Warner situation.

    Senator JOHN Warner is a Republican, former SECNAV and married & divorced Elizabeth Taylor.

    Governor MARK Warner is a Democrat, was never SECNAV and never married
    Liz Taylor.

    John, not Mark.


    Thanks Rob, I always get 'em confused.

    Posted by: Ted at 12:52 AM | category: Military
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    October 23, 2004

    True

    I was bartending at a dinner theater one night for a special event. It was Secretary Appreciation Week (this was back in the early 80's), and the whole place was full to the brim with secretaries, courtesy of thankful bosses and the local Chamber of Commerce.

    It was an open bar, and some of them were taking full advantage and getting pretty well lit. There were no wait staff either, so the ladies had to come to the bar to order. During an intermission, I'm hustling along trying to keep up with the orders coming fast and furious. One very drunk lady made it to the front of the bar, propped up on either side by two slightly less drunk collegues, and says loudly, "I'll have a rum and cock."

    After a split-second of silence, everyone cracked up. In her foggy state, it took her a moment to realize what she'd said, and she managed to correct herself, "I mean, I'd like a rum and coke."

    Still pouring and mixing as fast as I could, I said with a smile, "Make up your mind, so I know what to stir it with."

    Posted by: Ted at 08:08 PM | category: Boring Stories
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    Closure, of a sort

    More than a year ago, we had a murder in the last house at the end of our row of townhouses. Two nitwits walked up to the living room window and opened fire on the guy inside. They shot the wrong man, the one they wanted wasn't home at the time.

    Ok, I found the original posts on the old Blogspot site, and rather than deal with their linkhell, I'll repost 'em here:

    July 6, 2003:
    In January of this year, an execution-style murder happened on my block. We live in a row of 10 townhouses, and the shooting took place at the far end house. I heard the shots that night, and to me it sounded like a short string of firecrackers going off. That's what I told my wife (she heard it too), and that's what I told the police. The victim was sitting in the living room in front of the TV when someone walked up to the window and started blasting away, hitting him in the head.

    In today's paper is an article announcing the capture of the shooter. The case against him looks pretty solid, and this guy should go to prison for a long long time.

    Good deal, eh?

    Well, yeah... kinda. It turns out that the reason for the shooting was an earlier argument between two groups of people. According to the story, one man who lived in the house down the street (we'll call him 'Daddy') punched the shooter and split his lip, hence the return that evening for revenge.

    The man who was killed was NOT the one who threw the punch! It was his roomie. In fact, he was sitting in the living room playing a video game with the young daughter of the guy who punched out the shooter. So daughter got to see up close and personal what Daddy had caused by losing his temper. Daddy had run to the store and wasn't home.

    The other night, there was another fight at their house. This time, two women were trading punches in the front yard and street when the cops showed up. Daddy was outside with them, egging them on. Everyone involved was noticably high. The fun didn't end with the arrival of the police. They called for a female officer to do searches and wound up practically hogtying one of the women to keep her still. The subsequent search was interesting, as this woman is apparently a dealer, and they found a whole drugstore in her purse and in her car. Meanwhile, Daddy just kept being an asshole and instigating for all he was worth.

    Here's the chilling part. The drug dealer, in front of the cops and everyone else, yells at Daddy that "next time they won't miss".

    So now the whole neighborhood is uptight, and with damn good reason. Parents are afraid to let their kids outside, because if there's a real 'drive-by' next time, the bad guys won't be worrying about a kid on a bike, or someone walking the dog if they get in the way. It's a real shame too, because except for that one house (and resident idiots), and one other (best buds with the idiots), the neighborhood is pretty darned nice. I like my neighborhood. I like my neighbors.

    I'm waiting for the cops to come out again. Apparently the owner has put the house up for sale (Daddy doesn't own it, but he's a relative of the owner - long story), and Daddy keeps taking the sign down. The realtor comes by and puts it back up. On and on, around and around.

    Please God, let the house sell quickly. Please get those nitwits out of here before someone else loses their life. Not that I give a rat's ass about Daddy, but it always seems to be the innocent bystander that gets it too.

    For those of you who look for silver linings, when the roomie died in January his mother recieved his kidneys and ended a decade of dialysis for her. Now that is a helluva silver lining.


    Here's the followup a few days later:
    July 10, 2003:
    Today's paper had another article with more details, including the arrest of the driver of the getaway car. He was going to school at Virginia Tech, and police picked him up in campus housing. They're still looking for suspect #3, and although they don't give his name, I get the impression that they know exactly who it is.

    The two triggermen from that night have been sentenced to 27 years and 15 years, respectively, and the driver just entered an Alford plea to related charges in order to get the murder charge dropped. He'll be sentenced later, but is on the hook for up to 15 years.

    The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind on.

    That asswipe, "Daddy", did move, but we occasionally see him around the neighborhood. I talked to his ex-wife a while back, and she said things haven't gotten any better for him, nor for his daughter who's now a guest of the state juvenile authorities.

    Posted by: Ted at 01:43 PM | category: Square Pegs
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    Before there was Bill Buckner

    Forever identified in baseball lore for "Merkle's Boner", 19 year old Fred Merkle was first baseman for the New York Giants when the blunder happened.

    The play itself was clouded by contradictory affidavits by players, conflicting opinions by various baseball officials, and protests lodged by both teams over the umpires' handling of the incident.

    The confusion started when Merkle, the runner on first, failed to touch second after an apparent game-winning base hit. Instead, he turned back toward the dugout, as was customary at the time, when he saw the run cross the plate. As the happy Polo Grounds crowd filed across the field towards the centerfield gate, second baseman Johnny Evers got the ball and stepped on second, claiming a forceout which negated the winning run. With the fans already crowding the field, the game could not be played to a decision, and had to be replayed.


    When the Cubs and Giants ended the season in a tie, the Cubs won the rematch, sending them to the World Series.

    Fred Merkle played in three World Series with the NY Giants, another with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and a fifth with the Chicago Cubs, and all ended up losing. In 1926 he was a coach for the New York Yankees when they made it to the World Series, and they lost too.

    Fred Merkle never won the World Series, but he made it there six times. Not many players can say that.

    If you're feeling a sense of deja vu about this post, it's because I covered the exact same subject last year during the World Series. Doh!

    Posted by: Ted at 04:39 AM | category: History
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    October 22, 2004

    Heinie, Hack, Stuffy and Amos

    Who? Just four of the guys who played on the last Boston Red Sox team to win a World Series, in 1918.

    From the book Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox, by Allan J. Wood:

    In 1918, the United States was struggling through the first World War. An epidemic of influenza took the lives of more than 650,000 Americans. Fuel shortages and food rationing were daily facts of life. Against this chaotic backdrop, the Red Sox began their quest for an unprecedented fifth World Series title. And a young Boston player named Babe Ruth began his historic transformation from ace pitcher to the greatest slugger the game has ever known.

    This nifty site is a treasure trove of baseball history and links. For instance, this page shows who played where that season for the Beantown Boys. You can click on the player's names too to go to bio pages.

    This page links to the box scores for the series (in six games over the Cubs), and here's a chronological list of baseball happenings that year.

    Grab a dog and a brew, and enjoy some baseball history.

    Posted by: Ted at 06:10 AM | category: History
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    Thanks Pixy!

    Yesterday Mu.Nu went down thanks to some rather inexpertly applied maintenance to our server. This was not Pixy's fault, although when we were restored he apologized.

    Pixy, you're doing a wonderful job here, and I hope you're having as much fun at it as we are who're enjoying the fruits of your labors. I'm sure you don't hear it often enough, but thank you.

    Posted by: Ted at 06:03 AM | category: Links
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    Is there anything we won't turn into a contest? (I'm in)

    Over at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy, they're holding a "Guess the end of the election" contest. Head on over and make your guess for the date that all the post-election litigation nonsense will be settled.

    Maybe it's just that I'm paying more attention this election cycle, but I already feel like I need a long hot decontaminating shower with a stiff scrub brush and plenty of disinfectant.

    Scrub my back, I'll scrub yours?

    Posted by: Ted at 05:21 AM | category: Links
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    A dip into MT Blacklist

    A munuvian recently discovered that the word "Cialis" was blacklisted and not allowed in our comments. Good deal. Except that, you can't spell "socialism" without "cialis". That gave me a couple ideas for new advertising slogans:

    You can't have Socialism without Cialis!

    ... or how about:

    Cialis, it's like medicine from Canada!

    I'm kidding guys, put down the ice pick.

    Posted by: Ted at 05:16 AM | category: Square Pegs
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    October 21, 2004

    Last word from CBS?

    Very very funny. Thanks to Publicola for the pointer.

    Posted by: Ted at 05:55 AM | category: Links
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    Dang

    In recent Jamboree news, my Cleveland Barons held a 3-1 lead midway through the second period, and wound up losing to the Milwaukee Admirals 4-3 in OT. For Brian J and Frinklin, I now have their logos up top. This has been a mediocre sports year for Rocket Jones. Thank goodness I'm not a Yankees fan.

    Posted by: Ted at 04:31 AM | category: Links
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    October 20, 2004

    Cherry on top

    Don Cherry, that is.

    A while back, the Meatriarch talked about a poll going on up in the Great White North to pick the 10 Greatest Canadians of all time.

    The list has come out, and to the dismay of many, the combustible Don Cherry made the list.

    Debbye has the details, and just for the record, I'm grinning.

    Posted by: Ted at 12:24 PM | category: Links
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    Putting out the welcome mat

    For first time visitors or those who are trying to figure out what this "blog" stuff is all about, I've added a new button over at the top right. Click on "Introduction and Help" and you'll get the nickel tour of Rocket Jones and blogs in general.

    Thanks to the online Button Generator for the pretty cool service.

    Posted by: Ted at 10:24 AM | category: Links
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    October 19, 2004

    This is so politically incorrect that all I can do is yell 'Yay!'

    Tard Blog is back!!!!!

    Thanks Dawn, for pointing that out.

    Posted by: Ted at 06:56 PM | category: Links
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