December 31, 2006
December 28, 2006
I now take great pleasure in pronouncing it phonetically.
December 27, 2006
The Rocket Jones movie library increased by several, including Jack Nicholson's Goin' South (one of my all-time favorites), the exploitation classic I Spit On Your Grave, several oldies (some starring Bela Lugosi) and including the wonderfully abysmal Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, and Universal's Wolfman Legacy Collection. I also wound up with the complete television series Buffalo Bill.
More later. Been busy marrying off my kid and all, don't'cha know.
December 21, 2006
This will probably be the last post before Christmas. Tomorrow morning we pack up and head down to Norfolk. Saturday is daughter Robyn's wedding, and on Sunday morning the whole wedding party will be travelling back to our house for Christmas Eve and Christmas day, at least. Lots of celebrating, lots of cooking and eating, joy and all that happy crap.
See y'all next week.
And a little
child lizard shall lead them.
As reptiles have been known to do, a female Komodo Dragon who was lacking male companionship has self-fertilized several eggs and will be a mommy soon. This is the second zoo-kept Komodo who has done that recently, but there's an interesting twist this time. The first Komodo self-fertilized and then later managed a regular mating which resulted in offspring when a male was made available. In nature, self-fertilizing females have been unable to produce young the traditional way, it's been kind of an either/or situation.
This is the exact plot device exploited in Jurassic Park, and goes to show that Mother Nature is strange and wonderous, and she's always at her best.
December 20, 2006
We are living in
A.E. VanVogt's Cyril M. Kornbluth's** universe.
*Title acronym brazenly stolen - and mangled - from Derek.
**I misremembered the author who created the character Poopy Panda.
A few nights ago there was a murder up the street. A guy that I'd seen around (he owned a lawn-care business) was shot and killed in the middle of the street. Details were sparse, other than that he was shot in the back of the head.
This bothered me for obvious reasons, but mostly because it seemed so random. We live in a pretty good neighborhood. A robbery didn't make sense since he was shot in the back of the head. Drug dealing was possible, and gang related violence wasn't inconceivable, but something about the whole thing just didn't add up.
Until yesterday, when the local paper finally published their story. Long time readers may remember back in 2003 when we had another murder about six doors up from our house. It was probably over drugs, but the gist of it is that two guys walked up to the living room window and shot the wrong guy inside to death. Then they jumped into a car driven by a third guy and sped away.
All three were caught, and the two shooters are serving looooong sentences behind bars. The driver did some sort of plea-bargain thing with the cops, and did little, if any time.
You know where this is going, right?
The guy murdered the other night was the driver of that car. Knowing that, the story seems less random. Maybe it was payback, that's certainly a plausible motive. And in an odd way, it has actually eased my worries some.
Reap what you sow. Home to roost. Goes around, comes around. Those aren't just quaint, empty phrases.
December 19, 2006
Is finally done. Go say hi.
December 18, 2006
The Trinity series revolves around the adventures of two brothers. The younger is Trinity, and he has a knack for getting into trouble. His older brother is Bambino (*snicker*), who is a huge grouchy bear of a man. Neither are particularly honest, and when problems arise (as they always do) each is able to deal with it using their wits, fists, and speed with a gun. These movies aren't westerns with funny parts, these are comedies that are set in the old west.
In They Call Me Trinity, Trinity rides into a town, only to discover that his brother Bambino is the sheriff. We quickly learn that the two brothers don't much care for each other, and then find out that Bambino isn't the real sheriff. He'd ambushed the real sheriff, stole his badge and left him for dead. Now he's biding his time, waiting for his gang to show up after getting out of jail and planning a big job to steal horses.
Bambino is a pretty good sheriff too, despite his grumpiness. His standard greeting to the townspeople's cheery "Howdy, sheriff!" is "Shut up." He keeps the town reasonably calm and safe without unduly cramping the style of most of the less law-abiding residents.
Without giving away too much, I'll mention that the real sheriff plays a prominent role later on, as do a bunch of Mormon farmers, the crooked Mayor of the town, and some Mexican banditos. Oh, and Mormon daughters. Very lovely Mormon daughters.
Each brother has his own reasons for getting involved, and it's not from the goodness of their hearts. The ending becomes a giant slapstick fistfight involving practically everyone in the movie, a highlight being the beating bestowed upon the bandito leader Mezcal by Bambino. Who suspected that Mormons could fight like that?
They Call Me Trinity gets a hearty "shut up" from Rocket Jones, and the first sequel, Trinity Is Still My Name, is almost as good. There are more in the series of varying quality. I also highly recommend the similarly titled My Name Is Nobody, starring Terence Hill and Henry Fonda. Classic western comedy.
About the actors:
The two main characters, Trinity and Bambino, are played by a pair of Italian actors who took the English names Terence Hill and Bud Spencer. Individually successful, their careers really took off when they teamed up. These two co-starred in 19 movies in all, mostly action-adventure flicks.
Besides acting, Terence Hill has been a writer, director and producer for movies both in Europe and America. His mother was German, and during WWII his family lived in Dresden, where they survived the WWII bombings. Currently, he and his long-time wife live in New England.
Bud Spencer (Bambino) has worked as writer, director, producer, plus he has composed movie scores for television, films and children's features. He was educated as a lawyer, is a licensed jet and helicopter pilot, and represented Italy as a swimmer in the 1952, 1956 and 1960 Olympics.
Remember, Che had a direct hand in the murder of children by firing squad in Cuba.
Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the pointer.
His latest effort in anti-community relations revolves around his radio "network". He's purchased three stations in the area in order to broadcast his team's games, but that wasn't enough. He is now in final negotiations to buy the last remaining classical music station in the region, and has already announced plans to switch to all-talk sports and, you guessed it, Washington Redskins football games.
At his funeral, I hope they play His new theme song should be the Blue Damn You Waltz.
December 17, 2006
December 16, 2006
Me: Honey, I just bought some stuff online. Don't look too closely at it. (she handles the banking)
Liz: How much did you spend?
Me: One hundred ten dollars and change.
Liz: Whoa, that's a lot!
Me: Well, porn is expensive.
Liz: So is a trip to the emergency room if you aren't kidding.
I love my wife.
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Both have their place. For egg nog, there must be brandy and nutmeg. And an expiration date clearly and prominently marked.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? As a child, we'd open gift-wrapped family presents on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas morning we'd find Santa's gifts stashed under and around the tree. Santa didn't bother wrapping. With our kids we did the same thing, except Santa delivered wrapped presents.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Colors on the tree, and the picket fence is lined with white lights. A single electric "candle" is in each window.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Nah, I'm a druid and I refuse to desecrate the sacred plant for a Christian holiday.
5. When do you put your decorations up? On the day after Thanksgiving I go into the attic and pull down all the holiday decorations. During the following week, my wife and the kids decorate while I'm at work and each night I haul boxes back up into the attic.
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Liz makes a killer sausage stuffing, and we're collectively addicted to cranberry sauce, but the olde German in me insists that it's the mashed potatoes.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: One year Santa really outdid himself. On Christmas morning our gifts were laid out on a brand new ping-pong table. My brother got an HO-scale train set (which I fell in love with and sparked my lifelong fascination with model railroading). Even better, I scored a .22 bolt action rifle. Another is sitting down with Uncle Art and watching, back to back to back, multiple versions of A Christmas Carol. A television station where we lived did that every year, starting with the oldest available (1930's). Good times.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I don't remember but I was pretty young, maybe kindergarten or first grade. I do remember conspiring with my folks to keep my kid brother in the dark far longer than I was.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? All of 'em.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Regardless of the tree (we've had real and artificial over the years), and the lights (colored or all-white), most every ornament is special somehow. Some came from Liz's family tree, others we bought for the kid's special birthdays. We have several wooden ones we bought in a Christkindlmarkt in Perminsens, Germany, and we've made several ourselves. The only real sticky point about tree decorating is that Liz is a tinsel person and I prefer the icecikles (how the heck do you spell that?).
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it. I grew up in a climate without real weather. I relish each change of season.
12. Can you ice skate? Not anymore.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? My wife got me one of those electric lightning balls several years before they became common. That was very cool and appealed to my inner mad scientist. As a kid, my Uncle Art gifted us with books. I still have a Rand-McNally World Atlas and a Moon-Flight Atlas from the mid-60's.
14. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you? Family. Reflecting on the good things of the past year. Refreshing my soul by being cheerful to people, whether they appreciate it or not.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Pecan pie (Liz makes the best I've ever had).
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? When it's time to open gifts, I sit on the floor and hand out presents one at a time to the family. Everyone gets to ooh and ahh over each other's gifts as we open them.
17. What tops your tree? An old, ratty, beat-up angel that might have come from Liz's Christmas tree when she was a kid. I love it.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Giving, without a doubt.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Al Jerreau's version of The Christmas Song. White Christmas. The soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Christmas. Anything I can sing along with.
20. Candy canes: Take it or leave it.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? The 1951 version of A Christmas Carol starring Alistair Sim. Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol. It's A Wonderful Life.
22. What do you leave for Santa? Dad, er, Santa prefers a Dewars on the rocks.
December 15, 2006
Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.
The development of synthetic insulin was a huge breakthrough, but it pales in comparison to this. Test results from human trials are expected in a year.
Too late for Uncle Art and my mom, but incredibly exciting news nonetheless.
Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes for the pointer.
When hordes of police and immigration officials stormed meatpacking plants in six states this week, the illegal workers arrested may not have been the only victims.
Victims? Illegal workers arrested for breaking US law are not victims because they got caught!
Who are the other victims? Why, you and me of course, because we may have to pay more for meat because all of those other victims (you know, the ILLEGAL aliens) got busted by big, bad Uncle Sam.
The meatpacking industry has become dependent on an unauthorized labor force, and it is not good government to destroy an entire industry.
Lets parse that out. "The meatpacking industry has become dependent on an unauthorized labor force...". Sounds to me like the meatpacking industry needs some civic lessons on being a good corporate citizen.
"...it is not good government to destroy an entire industry." I agree with this completely. Just ask tobacco what they think. However, when you put those two statements together like some kind of hybrid rationale, the entire argument is bullshit.
According to the article, union membership is down and wages are way down since the meatpacking industry moved out of the northeast and into the plains states. The reason behind the move is clear and undisputed. There is a larger, cheaper labor pool (translation: illegal aliens) in the midwest.
Personally, if my meat prices go up because criminals are no longer involved in the supply chain, well, that's ok with me. That includes those criminals who knowingly hire illegal aliens to cut costs and boost profits. If you need a touchy-feely aspect, think about the meatpackers who lost their jobs when the plants relocated. This is outsourcing an industry without even leaving our own porous borders.
And don't ever, Ever, EVER try to tell me that those busted illegal aliens are victims.
December 12, 2006
December 11, 2006
It sounds worse than I could imagine:
To reach the lake, surfers drag their boards across snow drifts and beaches littered with used condoms and syringes, Ditzenberger said. The most popular surf spot is Edgewater State Park. It is nicknamed Sewer Pipe because, after heavy rains, a nearby sewage treatment plant regularly discharges untreated waste into Lake Erie.
As if that's not bad enough, I keep picturing Drew Carey in a speedo.
December 10, 2006
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.
Much wisdom there, and plenty more follows.
What really made me laugh was the closing quote, because I just happened to get an email on a similar subject with the same quote at the end. So for your educational enrichment, I present:
HEALTH QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION
Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... Don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.
Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.
Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!
Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.
Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!
Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!!... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?
Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO . Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!
Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.
Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.
And the closing quote:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming : Woo Hoo, what a ride!"
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