September 30, 2004

Well, it's new to me

The other day Mookie and I were riding along in the car, and we were discussing the number of nutcase drivers on the road. I conceived the RCI (Rectal/Cranial Insertion) Index to give an idea of just how screwed up and dangerous some of these loons are. I may give updates as we refine the system.

Posted by: Ted at 02:14 PM | category: Square Pegs
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But of course mon'ami

The standard issue French Army Knife.

All it needs is a foot switch so you don't have to put your hands down to use it.

Thanks to INDC Journal for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 12:06 PM | category: Links
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Now all I need is a Porsche and a hooker

Wife Liz headed off to Michigan this morning to deliver a new PC to oldest daughter Robyn. Her laptop went kaput, and one thing you can't live without in college these days is a computer. Since I have the credit card that allows 12 months payment with no interest, we wound up buying it here and have to take it up there. Kinda like that christmas light that wouldn't light on one side.

Of course, that still leaves me with the boy (who's working now, but still job-hunting for a 'real' job) and Mookie. So no dancing around in my underwear for the forseeable future.

Posted by: Ted at 05:20 AM | category: Square Pegs
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September 29, 2004

XPrize models from Estes

In the comments, John mentioned that Estes is listed as a sponsor of Space Ship One's XPrize attempt. I don't know how much of a sponsor they are, but they are releasing eight flyable model rockets of the various XPrize entrants.

Courtesy of Ye Olde Rocket Shoppe, here's a look at four, and four more. Pretty cool. I'll be getting the complete collection.

Posted by: Ted at 04:17 PM | category: Rocketry
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Frighteningly good read

I don't know what's scarier in this story about an adventure while exploring a cave, the eerie atmosphere that the guy captures so well or the idea of squeezing through some of the passages in the photos. Either way, set aside some time and read this, it's chilling.

Major thanks to Rich for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 03:51 PM | category: Links
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Where's my rubber ducky?

Jeanne (or however you spell her name) the hurricane came through yesterday and dumped mucho water on our area. This morning I have some minor flooding in the basement. Not too awful bad, but enough to have to take the day off from work to deal with it.

See you this evening after all the fun and excitement is over. Or maybe tomorrow.

Posted by: Ted at 07:55 AM | category: Square Pegs
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September 28, 2004

For that disturbed someone in your life

How about a subscription to the Unfortunate Animal of the Month Club?

Something dreadful in the mail each month to brighten your life. I encourage you to have them delivered to your office.

Scroll on down and read the fine print, because these are one-of-a-kind creations, not mass-produced abominations.
They are the very best efforts I produce, mailed Priority Mail, and they will be “wrapped”, like a present from your really, really cool Aunt that you don't have. It may be packed in leaves, wrapped in an odd length of fabric, a placemat, yards and yards and yards of string, joss paper -- you just never know, and it won't be the same twice. There will be a note from the Unfortunate Animal to you, written on god-knows-what, and it's quite likely not to make a great deal of sense, or be written in verse (Unfortunate Animals are very odd creatures, after all); unwrapping it will be an adventure in a different way each time.

Ooooh looky, there's pictures too!

Blame J-Walk Blog for this one.

Posted by: Ted at 09:55 AM | category: Links
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Volcano pictures are worth a thousand words

Mount St. Helens may erupt again.

Last time she did, here's what happened - before and after.

The rest of the photo gallery is here. Thanks to My Pet Jawa for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 06:03 AM | category: History
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Blogger Bowl '04 - week 3

In the closest game of the week, the Rockets emerged triumphant over Brendoman! That brings my record to 2-1, with two wins in a row. After Sunday's games I had the victory sewn up, and still had Terry "foot in mouth, head up ass" Glenn of Dallas playing on MNF. The Giants' Ron Dayne also scored the big goose-egg for me as he didn't play despite reports that he'd be ready for the game. On the plus side, Bret Favre, Jamaal Lewis and the Baltimore defense had monster games.

And now, for your websurfing pleasure (annoying Victor is just a bonus for me), may I present the Rocket Jones Blogger Bowl cheerleaders, the Hot Jets!!!

Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!
Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
Dawn of Dawn Enterprises!
Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
Margi, of Margi Lowry!
Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
annika, of annika's journal!
Cindy, of Dusting My Brain!
Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
Heather, of Angelweave!
Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!
Big Hair, of Left & Right!
Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!

Go visit them, because each one is a unique and excellent read.

Next we come to the trash talking portion of the post. This week is going to be a tough game, because I'm going up against Victor's undefeated Mice of Mischief. I've got a secret weapon, I just hope it's enough.

Posted by: Ted at 04:20 AM | category: Links
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September 27, 2004

Fully Realizing the Implications

Probably like most people, I had no true comprehension of what reincarnation really implies, until I read this bit of a story (in the extended entry): more...

Posted by: Ted at 04:41 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Newsweek says about Iraq, "It's Worse Than You Think"

My suggested subtitle: "Bad News Sells More Magazines".

It's not all sweetness and light, but at the same time it's not all doom and gloom like so many of the current headlines lead you to believe.

Good news and optimistic stories from Iraq, courtesy of Winds of Change.

Posted by: Ted at 12:12 PM | category: Links
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A minimum of fifteen pieces of Flair

Hood ornaments.

Reminds me of a true story that would be perfect for an Air Force Blue post, except that some things must never be put into writing because there is no karmic statute of limitations. You'd laugh your ass off though, it's a good one.

Thanks to Lynn S. for pointing this one out.

Posted by: Ted at 04:49 AM | category: Links
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September 26, 2004

Television of my childhood

I saw a commercial late last night about the Action network showing episodes of the old Irwin Allen series Time Tunnel.

This is another of those series I remember watching with my dad, along with Combat, Bonanza, and The Rifleman (with Chuck Connors, who played baseball for the Dodgers - boo! - but I liked the show anyways).

So the commercial came on, and even though I haven't thought about it in years, memories of the show instantly clicked back into place. Airing in 1966 and only lasting one or two seasons, later shows like Star Trek, Quantum Leap and many others owe thanks to Time Tunnel for inspiration. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

Posted by: Ted at 08:49 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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September 25, 2004

Enjambment free for your safety and convenience

The Joe Don Baker haiku contest was a rousing success, with forty-six entries received. Despite demands for instant gratification, annika is meditating over the winner from nine carefully chosen and brilliant finalists.

Two of them are mine. Remember when I said I didn't have the talent for poetry? I lied. Or more likely I just don't know my verse from a hole in the ground. No matter, go and read, and see the comments where annika praises me for my total lack of enjambment. That's a good thing. Trust me, I'm a poet and I know about this stuff.

Posted by: Ted at 12:31 PM | category: Links
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Someone's in the kitchen with Dinaaaahhhhh!!!

Almost a year ago I posted recipes for two kinds of vegetarian enchiladas. I'd had to use salsa verde from a jar and speculated that it would be much tastier with homemade sauce.

Recently I found fresh tomatillos at the grocery store and picked up a pound. What follows is the recipe I used and believe me when I say it's a world of difference from that jar stuff.

Salsa Verde

1lb Tomatillos
6-8 Anaheim chilies
1/2 cup onion - chopped
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp oregano

Remove the husk from the tomatillos and wash. Slice the tomatillos into wedges. In saucepan combine everything and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Pour it into a blender and pulse to desired consistency.

This is a 'flavor' sauce and not a 'heat' sauce, so it's pretty mild as is. Replace the chilies one-for-one with jalepeno's for extra zing. I used Anahiems, which seem to be available everywhere, instead of the roasted and peeled New Mexico chilies called for in the original recipe. I also cut back on the broth so as to make a chunkier, thicker sauce.

If you're making this strictly vegetarian, replace the beef broth with vegetable broth.

About Tomatillos - the most common description of their flavor I find is 'lemony', but they remind me of a lighter and less acidic version of regular tomatoes. When you buy them, they'll be wrapped in a loose papery shell which you peel off. Wash them well, because the inside skin is sticky and has a bitter taste before washing. With the husk off, they look like small unripe tomatoes on the outside, while the inside reminds me of a kiwi with white seeds. A little odd, but tasty.

Posted by: Ted at 11:55 AM | category: Recipes
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September 24, 2004

I'm only half-joking about this

Iran is surrounded by our allies (not to mention having a population restless for revolution), and North Korea is, by anyone's definition, massively delusional and capable of anything, which makes them less than ideal for our next target in the War on Terror. Since preemption is the concept of the times, I propose a next step that is both bold and preemptive against a re-emergent threat to US security.

We should invade and conquer France.

France has been self-described as "possibly the world's first Islamic nuclear power." Sounds pretty ominous to me. Their military is better than Iraq's was (barely) although stretched woefully thin around the world. Not to mention badly underequipped. Aircraft carriers don't actually need aircraft you know, because that costs money that could be better spent paying farmers their bribes to stay home and not make trouble subsidies.

Eastern Europe (you know, the 'new' one) would be loudly cheering us on. If Spain fusses, we send three cranky WWII vets with hand grenades into their subway system and change their government. And we keep doing it until they elect one we like.

Belgium would tie itself in knots in EU red tape while it tried to figure out what to do. Face it, nobody does indignation like the French, and no matter how hard they try, the Flems and Walloons place a distant second. We can ignore them.

Britain would stay quietly neutral, but I'll betcha that Maggie Thatcher's smiling face will miraculously appear somewhere as reported in the Weekly World News.

Russia would get the message too. Maybe we could soften the reality of the situation by sending Jimmy Carter over for "discussions and consultations", with tacit approval to jail his cardiganned ass when he becomes too annoying to stand. Hell, I'd nominate Putin for the Nobel Peace Prize for that one.

Now some would argue that NATO wouldn't allow it. My response is: "what are they going to do about it?" If they actually wanted to do anything, like say, fight, they'd have to walk to get to the battle, because Europe's armies depend on US Military airlift capabilities. Commercial airliners? Threaten to drop a few Lufthansa Airbusses into the dirt and watch how quickly their fleets would be grounded for maintenance problems. That's assuming, of course, that they can get union approval for war.

Now, once that's all done and over with, we need to do something in order to show old Europe that we're not all stick and no carrot. Like moving the UN to Paris. And making Kerry our ambassador to the UN.

Posted by: Ted at 04:23 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Like a non-lethal Darwin Award entry

Ignore the politics-related context if it helps, but visit Wizbang and enjoy the funniest story I've read in a long long time.

Posted by: Ted at 10:29 AM | category: Links
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I don't quite go this far...

... but I also don't have a GMail account.

Thanks to Johno at the Ministry of Minor Perfidy for the pointer to concentrated electronic paranoia.*

*Note that paranoia about something does not automatically mean that you're wrong.

Posted by: Ted at 08:11 AM | category: SciTech
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Personally, I think the mouse is a much more elegant solution

Fifty years ago, they were dreaming about home computers...

(in the exended entry)

Thanks to both Silflay Hraka (who also has some kick-ass nursery rhymes) and Curmudgeonly & Skeptical (who may or may not be work safe on any given day). more...

Posted by: Ted at 06:10 AM | category: Links
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To be stealthy, you gotta suck

At least according to a new report released by scientists studying Dinocephalosaurus, a long-necked aquatic reptile that lived in what is now China some 230 million years ago.

"The long neck would allow it to approach prey without the whole body becoming visible," Olivier Rieppel of the Field Museum in Chicago, a co-author of the report, said in a telephone interview.

Which is good (for the Dinocephalosaurus, not the fish), but it may have done even better than that. Ever notice how when you try to catch or swat certain insects, they seem to know and escape at the last second, even if you sneak up on them? Some insects have organs that sense air pressure, like the wave of air that arrives a split second before the rolled up newspaper. Fish have that ability too, and water, being much more dense than air, telegraphs the pressure wave even more noticably (try it in a swimming pool or bathtub, you'll see what I mean). So how did Dinocephalosaurus solve that little problem?

Michael LaBarbera of the University of Chicago, a co-author of the report, said the rib-like bones along the side of the neck may also have played a role in hunting.

Those bones give the neck some stiffness, Rieppel explained. It could flex, but not like a snake.

According to LaBarbera, contraction of the creature's neck muscles could have rapidly straightened the neck and splayed the neck ribs outward.

That would have greatly increased the volume of the throat, allowing the animal to lunge forward in the water at prey. Ordinarily, lunging through water creates a pressure wave that a fish can sense, allowing it to flee. But the researchers said that by suddenly enlarging its throat Dinocephalosaurus could, in effect, suck in and swallow its own pressure wave, giving it the ability to strike without warning.

The original Big Gulp. Nature does some amazing things.

Posted by: Ted at 06:01 AM | category: SciTech
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