August 17, 2007

Answers to Quickie Quiz

The quiz is here.

Answers in the extended entry. more...

Posted by: Ted at 04:55 AM | category: Square Pegs
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August 15, 2007

Quickie Quiz

One of these is made up:

1. Combination tanning parlor and video store.

2. Combination interior design and casket/urn sales.

3. Combination daycare and martial arts academy.

Leave your guess in the comments.

Update: Answer can be found here.

Posted by: Ted at 05:05 AM | category: Square Pegs
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August 14, 2007

New Movie Review

Over at Joe Horror, my review this week is of Onibaba. Classic Japanese horror, and one of the most powerful movies I've ever seen. Read the review, see the movie.

Posted by: Ted at 05:24 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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Menage-a-ensemble

If Dr. Hook were singing this alone, it'd be one thing:

We could bring in the morning girl
If you want to go that far
And if tomorrow find us together
Right here the way we are would you mind
Sharing the night together
Oh-yeah, sharing the night together
Oh-yeah, sharing the night

Sharing the Night Together


But he's not alone, the whole band is singing along in sweet harmony.

Every time I hear this, it sounds like an invitation to a gangbang.

Posted by: Ted at 05:17 AM | category: Square Pegs
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August 13, 2007

China Toys

So the Chinese bigwig who's company had a million toys recalled because of lead paint has committed suicide.

It's all part of Karl Rove's plan to ruin the Chinese economy, one executive at a time.

Related observation: On the news page where I read about that (the suicide, not the global conspiracy conceived and controlled by the evil puppet master Rove), there were two targeted ads. One was warning me about the massive recall of Mattel toys, and the other was encouraging me to invest in China.

Now I'm wondering what I did to piss off Karl Rove.

Posted by: Ted at 05:22 AM | category: Links
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Yeah, I Got Smacked For It

Lazy Sunday morning, not even properly awake yet.

"Lets play Pearl Harbor," I said to Liz.

"What's that?"

"While I lay here, you blow the hell out of me."

Posted by: Ted at 05:11 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Of Course They'll Respect You in the Morning

I heard an AllState Insurance radio spot this morning where they're offering "accident forgiveness" coverage. Pay a little more each month now, and they won't raise rates when you have an accident.

Smart move. Them, not the suckers who voluntarily raise their own insurance rates for the exact same coverage.

Posted by: Ted at 04:51 AM | category: Square Pegs
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August 12, 2007

Movie Review: Cool World

Ralph Bakshi animation is either hit or miss.

Miss.

Posted by: Ted at 06:55 PM | category: Cult Flicks
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Just Because I Think It Looks Cool

A WWII sub docked at the Baltimore Maritime Museum.

Photo courtesy of Inside Charm City.

Posted by: Ted at 08:52 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Last night I met a former co-worker for a minor league baseball game. His son is about to enter college, and they're doing a tour of the "local" ballparks. By local I mean northern Virginia, Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The weather really cooperated. After a couple of scorching, humid weeks yesterday was dry and a relatively comfortable upper-80's.

The game was exciting, with our Potomac Nationals pitcher, Justin Jones, taking a no hitter into the 9th inning. The first out in the 9th was easy, and then the next batter lined a clean single into center. Oh well. Big standing ovation for Jones. He struck out the next batter, then allowed another single to right. The PNats brought in a closer (another long standing ovation for Jones) and the final batter bounced it back to the mound for the game. PNats: 2-zip. They scored both runs in the first.

Excellent. As were the fireworks afterwards, as usual. The game time was less than two hours too.

Posted by: Ted at 06:55 AM | category: Square Pegs
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August 11, 2007

The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!

This weekend is a treat for skywatchers and amateur astronomers. The annual Perseid meteor shower should be beautiful because it arrives while a new moon is in the sky. As many as 60 meteors per hour may be visible, with larger ones leaving a streak across the night sky as they burn up in our atmosphere.

As a bonus, the planet Mars will be visible as a bright red dot in the sky to the northeast.

Unlike most astronomical events, meteor watching is done best without telescope or binoculars. Get comfortable, pick out a patch of black sky away from light pollution, and watch patiently. The closer towards dawn, the more meteors you might see. The peak number should be Sunday night into Monday morning, but they'll be visible for several nights afterwards too.

Every August at this time the Perseid shower occurs. Named for the constellation Perseus - because that's where the meteors appear to come from - their real origin is the comet Swift-Tuttle. When Earth crosses the path of the comet, debris from the comet's passing enters our atmosphere and gives us a light show.

This was cross-posted at The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls.

Posted by: Ted at 02:03 PM | category: SciTech
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August 10, 2007

Some Things Man Isn't Meant to Discover

Peanut Butter flavored Jell-O.

Posted by: Ted at 10:50 PM | category: Square Pegs
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August 09, 2007

Podiobooks

I don't know what it is about the online community, but they seldom miss an opportunity to give something an odd name.

Podiobooks is a term combining the "pod" from podcasting and audio books. In other words, downloadable audio books, which in itself is nothing new. The twist here is that the books are generally free - ala podcasts - and often the author is the one reading the book. Some places solicit donations that get split between the website (to pay for bandwidth) and the author.

I've started listening to a few from Podiobooks.com, and so far I'm liking it. I use the free aggregator Juice to automatically download chapters as they become available, which is working out nicely. There are lots of aggregators out there to choose from and they make things easier but you don't have to use one if you'd rather not.

So, to give you an idea of what's going on here, I'm enjoyably working my way through Come, Let Me Whisper, which is a collection of horror short stories written by Russell Burt. I use the term "horror" as a catch-all, because the stories range from pure ghost stories to Lovecraftian horror. He's got a website too (at the link above), with plenty more beyond what's offered at Podiobooks.com.

I've also listened to the first chapter of Crescent, which is SciFi set on a space station. So far, so good, and I'm eagerly awaiting the next episode.

The third book I'm working through is called Forever Fifteen. In it, a girl who was involuntarily made a vampire to save her from the black plague is living and trying to cope in the modern day. She is, literally, forever fifteen years old. I almost didn't start after seeing it touted as a cross between V.C. Andrews and Stephen King. I'm not a fan of either author, but I'm giving it a chance. So far, I would prefer a little more King and a little less Andrews, but I'm still engaged enough to keep listening.

So there you go. If you're already listening to podcasts on your mp3 player, then these make a nice alternative. If you already listen to audio books - perhaps in your car during your commute - then these are another source for you to check out. I've selected a couple of horror and a SciFi to start, but there were many other genres to pick from and I'm sure a few minutes with google will turn up many other sources.

Posted by: Ted at 05:08 AM | category: Links
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August 07, 2007

The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls

(sticky: scroll down for new posts)

Folks, I'm proud to announce the launch of a new group blog: The Dangerous and Daring Blog for Boys and Girls (The Dangerous Blog for short).

We hope to fill it with the kind of wonderfulness that you can find in the bestseller "The Dangerous Book for Boys".

Visit, read, comment, bookmark, send email (DangerousBlog@gmail.com), tell your friends, mention us on your blog and/or post links. Whatever you do will be appreciated.

Posted by: Ted at 09:50 PM | category: Links
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Movie Review

This week at Joe Horror, I review Black Magic. Hong Kong film fans might enjoy this 70's-era Shaw Brothers horror film that contains, astoundingly, *no* kung fu!

Posted by: Ted at 05:08 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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August 06, 2007

Vincent Price on TCM

On August 10th, Turner Classic Movies will be showing Vincent Price movies all day long. I've already got the recorder set for classics like The Tingler, The Masque of Red Death, and The Abominable Dr. Phibes, amongst others. This is a grand opportunity to fill in some holes in my Vincent Price collection, and I'm taking full advantage.

It might be worthwhile to check out the rest of the month, as they're highlighting a star each day.

Posted by: Ted at 04:36 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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Pretty Pictures

Japan ran a contest to select the new logo for their Ministry of Defense. You'd think there'd be samurai swords and ninjas, cherry blossoms and rising suns, right?

Nope. Instead, they selected some new-age tree-hugging-ish soda pop logo. Absolutely sickening.

Go check it out over at Who Sucks, along with twenty two other logos from countries around the world. See who gets it right and who gets it oh-so-wrong. Don't forget to log your vote for favorite in the poll at the bottom of the post.

Thanks to Tinkerty Tonk for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 04:02 AM | category: Links
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August 05, 2007

Like Sheep After a Visit to Barber College

The dogs have been needing a haircut. Of course, they don't like haircuts, so we put it off far longer than we should have. With the onset of hell-on-earth month, we went ahead and got it done because they're much more comfortable without all that hair, plus they dry off faster when I hose 'em down while we're out watering the garden (they act like they don't like that either, but they don't move out of the way).

Because they fight the scissors and clippers, they look kinda scraggly for a while. Liz is a perfectionist, whereas I'm like, "who cares, they're dogs". Today, I won that debate because it was just too hot to fight very hard when the dogs resisted. They mostly got shaved, more or less evenly.

Now comes the three day hump-fest as they get over the trauma of a haircut *and* a bath, all in the same day.

Posted by: Ted at 07:45 PM | category: Square Pegs
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August 04, 2007

Rocket Jones Goes to the Opera

Last night was our annual trip to Ash Lawn, home of President Monroe and current venue of the Ash Lawn Opera Company. Once again, daughter Rachael is working there for the summer as assistant costumer.

The performance that we chose to see this year was Puccini's La Boheme, possibly the most famous opera of them all. Unfortunately, with the extreme heat and humidity, Liz decided she'd better not go, so I went with Rachael and the other assistant Brittney. Once there, I met several of the technical crew and walked around the grounds for a bit.

There was much concern about the weather because some rather ominous looking clouds were headed our way, and the rumble of thunder was getting louder and more frequent. Most of the audience headed for the indoor pavilion, assuming that the performance would be moved under cover, but many of us stayed put and waited for Mother Nature to make up her mind. The breeze picked up and cooled things off nicely, the humidity dropped noticeably, a few small drops sprinkled on us, and after a 40 minute delay the show started in the outdoor amphitheater. We were treated to a nice little lightning show going on in the background during the first act as the storm that just missed us receeded into the distance.

I spent that delay time having a nice conversation with the people around me. A lady had flown in from Austin, Texas to see the shows (The Sound of Music is the other performance that the company is doing this year). Her daughter was part of the chorus in La Boheme and played Lisle in The Sound of Music (...I am 16, going on 17...). Another nice couple were the Dean of Libraries at William and Mary college and her husband. For a Friday night, the crowd was very much on the older side, there weren't many there that were younger than I. I didn't relate the tale of how a few years ago, a snake fell out of one of the trees overhanging the stage and audience, although I was sorely tempted.

Among the "regulars" at Ash Lawn are three skunks, one of which is an albino, and a peacock with the most horrible ear-splitting screech. At random times during the performances, the peacock will let loose. You can always tell first-time guests because they jump when the feathered beastie screams. If you're not used to it or don't know what it is, it's positively blood-curdling.

So, I haven't much said anything about La Boheme, have I? I really enjoyed it. I did not cry at the end, but there were a couple of moments where the music really did move me, and I think I'll be searching out more opportunities to attend the opera.

Posted by: Ted at 08:54 PM | category: Square Pegs
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August 03, 2007

A Pause for the Cause

Liz and I are headed to Charlottesville this morning to visit Mookie. Tonight we'll attend La Boheme. I'll be back tomorrow, in the meantime check out The Dangerous Blog (link on the post above this one).

Posted by: Ted at 06:05 AM | category: Family matters
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