Tuesday, December 29, 2009

On TCM Tonight

On The Waterfront

Classic - check. Black and White - check. Made before I was born - check.

Followed by:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Wait... What?... TCM? Geez, I'm getting old.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

If Earth Had Rings

3DS Max Animation by Roy Prol.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Great Gift under $90k

Thursday, December 3, 2009

What's Wrong with this Picture?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Imagine being in a coma for 23 years

Patient: So,... how is President Reagan?

Doctor: I'm sorry to tell you this, but he's dead.

Patient: Oh crap, that means Bush is President!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Black Friday? No Thanks.

Black Friday again? I can think of some really nice ways to spend a day off. Going to war at O'Dark-Thirty with fellow consumers to fight over limited-quantity, no-rain-check, bait-and-switch, crap-quality merchandise just doesn't thrill me these days.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cafe Press

I have decided to remove this blog's link to Cafe Press. I am also closing all of my stores there and terminating my account.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cheney/Palin 2012!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Best Movie Monster

The "Id" monster from 1956's "Forbidden Planet" not only wins for being terrifying, but could pretty much kick any other monster stupid enough to piss it off. Being invisible and able to draw power from 9,200 fusion reactors really gives you an edge when you want to vaporize a starship or warn unwelcome suitors away from your daughter.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Where's Snoopy?

"Snoopy" then lunar module from the Apollo 10 mission has not been seen for over 40 years. A dress rehearsal for a Moon landing brought astronauts Thomas Stafford and Eugene Cernan within 8.4 nautical miles (15.6 km) from the lunar surface. After returning it's crew back to "Charlie Brown", the Apollo 10 Command Module, the ascent stage of "Snoopy" was launched into heliocentric orbit making it the sole intact lunar module ascent stage remaining out of the Lunar Modules sent into space. The Apollo 5, 9 and 13 LM ascent stages burned up in Earth's atmosphere, the Apollo 11,12,14,15, 16 and 16 LM ascent stages crashed onto the Moon.

Maybe some day, Snoopy will be found again. It's orbit around they Sun occasionally brings it back into the vicinity of the Earth-Moon system (perhaps every 11-12 years), but it will be very difficult to spot. At least one of the much larger Saturn S-IVb third stages from the Apollo Lunar missions may have paid us a visit in 2002 (Apollo 12 - J002E3).

Monday, October 26, 2009


Farewell to Geocities. No more Waltzing the Tilde there.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I have noticed that the title of each blog post this month, and even going back to the last two posts from September, has been shorter than the previous post. I hope to reverse this trend before this somehow crashes Blogger with negative length titles.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


When I was growing up in the 60's , dining during those long family vacations by automobile could be an adventure. There were few chains (except HoJos) or restaurant guides, so you pretty much had to take your chances. One of Dad's rules was to avoid any place that had the word "EATS" on it's sign.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A.L.I.C.E. Found!

Recently, I posted my interest in seeing images of craters left by the impact of the Saturn S-IVb stages from the Lunar Apollo missions. A few days ago, NASA released this image.

A distinctive crater about 35 meters (115 feet) in diameter was formed when the Apollo 14 Saturn IVB (upper stage) was intentionally impacted into the moon. The energy of the impact created small tremors that were measured by the seismometer placed on the Moon by Apollo 12 astronauts in 1969.

Since NASA did not seem to have a name for this experiment, I came up with Apollo Lunar Impact Crater Experiment (ALICE). Also in honor of Alice Kramden from The Honeymooners.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Where's the Kaboom?

There was supposed to be an Earth shattering KABOOM!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Your Agonizer Please!

Evil Spock is pleased!

Portable pain weapon may end up in police hands

"The Pentagon's efforts to develop a beam weapon that can deter an adversary by causing a burning sensation on their skin has taken a step forward with the development of a small, potentially hand-held, version. The weapon, which is claimed to cause no permanent harm, could also end up being used by police to control civilians."...

"Like all supposedly non-lethal weapons that could be used to control civilians, the Pentagon's new portable weapon is raising concerns. "I'd like to know why they want another advanced pain compliance weapon like this," says Steve Wright, non-lethal weapons analyst at Leeds Metropolitan University in the UK. "Persuading by pain rather than brain - through conversation - has led to push-button torture in the past. If it leaves no mark on the skin how will anyone prove it's been abused?"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You Will Go to the Moon!

A favorite book from my childhood.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Farthest Point In the Lower 48 from Any McDonald's

This time, credit blogger Stephen Von Worley for finding this week's Geographic oddity. And once again, South Dakota is the winner. Between Meadow and Glad Valley, South Dakota lies the spot in the lower 48 states farthest from any McDonald's Restaurant : 107 miles , as the crow flies, and 145 miles by car.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She wore a Green Dress

I was four years old when my parents took me to a Peter, Paul and Mary concert. This was in Birmingham, Alabama in the turbulent year of 1963. I was far to young to understand what was happening in that troubled city at the time or the significance of what they were singing about. But I do remember that Mary wore a green dress and they sang "Puff the Magic Dragon". Goodby Mary.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Censure Tougher than Rep. Wilson Expects

If Wilson doesn't apologize on the House Floor, we're sending over the Mitchell kid for a visit.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Farthest Point in U.S. from any Ocean - Part 2

Previously, I speculated that the farthest point in the United States from any ocean (Including Hudson's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, but excluding the Great Lakes), might be the Red Lobster in Sioux Falls, SD. Further research has provided a more accurate answer. It turns out that the Red Lobster in Rapid City, SD is farther away from any coastline:
I also found out that there is a geographic term for the place on a land mass that is farthest from the ocean: "The Continental Pole of Inaccessibility".

In North America, the continental pole of inaccessibility is in southwest South Dakota. Due to uncertainties in the definition of coastlines, there have been two spots documented (43°26′N 102°23′W - located 1024 miles from the nearest coastline) and (43.36°N 101.97°W.). Roughly between these two coordinates, is the town of Kyle, South Dakota:

Part - 3
I mentioned to my wife that someday we should go to Rapid City and eat at the Red Lobster just to say we did it... Her response:
"We have a coupon!"

Monday, September 7, 2009

We've Heard It Before

Desegregation, Social Security, Medicare, Healthcare Reform... Same clueless song every time.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Phaser Shmazer

When it comes to dealing with hoards of cyborgs, Romulans or other hostile entities, there's nothing quite like a steady dose of good old kinetic energy.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Spock's Brain

I do it too.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I'll be off for a couple of weeks on a long train trip. Not likely to blog much, if any while travelling.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Looking for A.L.I.C.E.

During Apollo 13, 14, 15, 16, and 17, the Saturn S-IVB stages of these five missions impacted on the moon, to create artificial "moonquakes" which were measured by equipment left on the Moon in earlier missions.

Now that the LRO has returned images of the Apollo Lunar landing sites, I'm interested in seeing some detailed images of the S-IVb impact sites. Depending on a number of variables, I would estimate that the craters are probably 30-50 meters wide and 8 meters deep with a debris field many times larger. While researching this post, I did in fact learn that a few of the impact sites have been photographed before. For example, this image of the Apollo 14 S-IVb impact site was taken during the Apollo 16 mission:

I have not found a name for these experiments, so I have come up with my own: Apollo Lunar Impact Crater Experiment (ALICE). Also named in honor of Alice Kramden from The Honeymooners.
Bang, zoom - to the moon, Alice! to the moon!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Farthest Point in U.S. from Any Ocean

I'm not sure exactly where it is (even Google let me down on this question), but I have a hunch that it is probably near the Red Lobster in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

View Larger Map
(* I'm counting Hudson's Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, but excluding the Great Lakes)

Edit : See newer post with UPDATE!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Why is my hand blinking?

By now you have probably been inundated with the propaganda blitz describing health care reform as something between Soylent Green and Logan's Run (only without the sexy costumes and shopping mall interiors). I had no idea that this is what life must be like in every other modern industrialized country! Who knew that those benevolent private insurance companies were the only thing between you and a trip to Carrousel?

But, in case you just have to answer that cut-and-paste email from an in-law, take a look at HealthCareMyths.org

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Moon Hoax Conspiracy

It should be fairly obvious that the special effects for 2001: A Space Odyssey were too advanced for 1967. Comparing the movie to other science fiction films of the era makes this very clear. It is also suspicious that Kubrick had all of the "Models" used in the movie destroyed after filming.

The movie was actually made on location in Earth orbit and on the Lunar surface. Rather than admit that Stanley Kubrick not only beat NASA to the Moon, but constructed a studio there, the C.I.A. forced him to claim that the space scenes were filmed at Shepperton Studios in England using "Special Effects". All of the real sets were deliberately buried in Tycho Crater.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Good Cop / Bad Cop

Sheriff Andy Taylor (The Andy Griffith Show)
Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Smokey and the Bandit)

Sgt. Mick Belker (Hill Street Blues)
Deputy Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show)

Sgt. Joe Friday (Dragnet)
Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (Dukes of Hazzard)

Chief Marge Gunderson (Fargo)
Lt. William Snyder (The Sting)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gulf OIl's Cardboard Lunar Lander

Gulf Oil stations gave these away as a promotional item. As Apollo 11 approached the Moon, many kids and their parents were attempting to assemble the darn things. I wasn't easy - there were a lot of parts to punch out, folded and tabs to be inserted into slots. I think it took me hours to assemble. But when it was done, it was beautiful.

I can't remember what happened to it, but a few years ago I picked up an original on ebay. I decided to keep it in it's unassembled form, but the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 inspired me to search out a replica.

Via Google's Lunar X Prize, you can download a printable Lunar Lander model!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

40 Years

Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe. —H. G. WELLS

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Are You a Raven?

After the third or fourth time it gives you the same answer, it's time for some control questions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The "Department of Law"?

This may well be one of the the most stupifying comments from any modern American politician (and that includes W!). That it came from Sarah Palin should not surprise anybody.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Sarah Palin is not Vice President

In this or ANY Parallel Universe. She is however, "Queen of the Galaxy" in one or two Perpendicular Universes.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Useful images.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In Reality

I'm so square that when I walk around the neighborhood, there's a dotted line behind me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Great News Everyone!

In every alternate universe in which Futurama was not cancelled, Al Gore became President.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Anubis Goes Bye-Bye

Spotted this west-bound on I-40 in Arizona this afternoon:

Not sure where it was heading, but I think it may have been in London and Dallas, where it was somehow controversial.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Retro 2001

Here's a cool video that combines Disney's "Man in Space" animation with the "Blue Danube" scene from "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

That Which Does Not Destroy Us...

Makes us old!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sim Environments

A few years ago, I spent a few minutes playing with Microsoft's Train Simulator while riding on Amtrak. I found that the actual motion of the train made the sim a more realistic experience.

What might be better?

Saturday, May 9, 2009


If business has been slow for the past couple of years, maybe it is because I lack this kind of marketing genius:

Or maybe I should have recognized a long time ago that just because the Cold War was over, didn't mean that the global market for missiles was going to be in trouble.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Last week my workplace laid off approximately half of the office staff and there was considerable concern about disgruntled former employees. This led me to wonder about the word "Disgruntled". Is it the opposite of "Gruntled"? Can a former employee who has become  disgruntled become "Regruntled" if rehired?

It turns out, "Gruntled" is a word, but it has been a while since it has been applicable to many American workers.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Doubleminusbad Newspeak Grammar

What is the opposite of "Doubleplusgood" (and should doubleplus have a hyphen)? I have been using "Doubleminusbad", since bad is the opposite of good and minus is the opposite of plus. However, in correct "Newspeak" the opposite meanings of words are removed as redundant, so "bad" became "ungood".  And I have been using minus and doubleminus in the same way grades and credit ratings do. For example,  F- is worse than F+.  However, in correct Newspeak, plus and doubleplus are intensifiers (very good is plusgood and excellent would be doubleplusgood). So the correct opposite of "Doubleplusgood" should be "Doubleplusungood". But, I think I'll keep using "Doubleminusbad" just to honk off the Thought Police (Bureau of Grammar Crime Division).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Missed it by That Much

Turns out that the Four Corners marker for Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is off by a couple of miles.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dutch Angle

When I was six I had a hard time figuring out the geometry of building interiors for villain hideouts on Batman.  The idea that the tilt was an artistic camera effect was a bit beyond me - obviously crooks lived in crooked buildings. Sometimes they would tilt to the right and at other times to the left, even when the camera was facing the same wall. Eventually I figured it out - The Joker, Riddler, Catwoman and all of the other arch-villains constructed their headquarters on seesaws. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How to End a Series

In memory of Skylab and Mir.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Moving Again

Moving again. I'll be back to blogging in a few days when the computers are unpacked and running.  Meanwhile, everybody try to look busy...  Big Brother is Watching!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hello Meteor!

News from last week included the recovery of meteor fragments from a small asteroid that broke up over the Sudan last October. To celebrate this remarkable find, let's watch this memorable promotional ad from vintage dot-com days:

Ahhh! The Atmosphere! Ahhhh!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Alternate BSG

The final episode of Battlestar Galactica has aired. Although I did enjoy the series, I became a little disappointed in the direction it took, especially after the New Caprica era (Plan? What plan?). While creating debate with muddled plot and character motivations might have been part of marketing design, I don't think it really creates satisfactory story telling. And the revelation was one of the oldest cliches in science fiction.

If I had been steering the plot, here's where I think I would have taken the forgotten history: The Cylons were created by Earth humans to protect themselves from the Colonies in a brutal religious civil war between the monotheistic Earth and the polytheistic Twelve Colonies.

Earth lost the war and human life was exterminated there, but the Cylons survived and continued their war against the Colonies. The split among the Cylons is between those who believe their function is to exterminate the enemies of Earth and those who want to restore the human race, but convert it back to Earth's "One God".

Friday, March 20, 2009


I know I'm not the first to think of this, but after downloading Vanishing Point's model for Poser, I couldn't resist exploring the universe of AT-AT behavior.

Later edit: Dr. Zaius has also found this.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What "Going Galt" would really be really like

It's the latest right-wing fantasy (after fighting Soviet and Cuban troops in Red Dawn).  I just wonder who would get eaten last? Oh sure - the world would just fall apart if we did have the productive, creative skills of wing-nut pundits to guide us.

Friday, March 13, 2009


How bad were the 1980s? Here was one movie that is a monument to the era. 

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The GOP FInds a New Leader

Rush has never held office, but in another universe he may have been:

Hazzard County Commissioner "Boss" Hogg

Monday, March 2, 2009

History Lesson

Just a bit of history for Senate Republicans to think about.

71st Congress (1929-1931)

Majority Party: Republican (56 seats)

Minority Party: Democrat (39 seats)

Other Parties: 1 Farmer-Labor

Total Seats: 96

75th Congress (1937-1939)

Majority Party: Democrat (76 seats)

Minority Party: Republican (16 seats)

Other Parties: 2 Farmer-Labor; 1 Progressive; 1 Independent

Total Seats: 96

Heck'uv a job GOP!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jindal vs. The Volcano

One of the many odd moments of Gov. Bobby Jindal's "rebuttal" to President Obama's address to the nation last night, was his criticism of the stimulus bill allocating $140 million for "Volcano Monitoring". First of all (and we're getting used to this) the claim is inaccurate:

For an additional amount for ''Surveys, Investigations, and Research'', $140,000,000, for repair, construction and restoration of facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages, and seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities; and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects.

And we have to wonder just what the GOP has against volcano and seismic monitoring? Are they unaware  that earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are a significant hazard in the United States?  Does Jindal understand what stream gages are, and why a state at the end of the Mississippi River should care? Would he poke fun at spending for the National Hurricane Center? When this speech was being prepared, was there nobody in the room with enough brains to raise their hand and ask "Uh - aren't people going to ask if maybe volcanoes need to be monitored?". 

It is not just some unlikely hypothetical disaster we're talking about. USGS volcano monitoring has already saved thousands of lives:

The USGS and PHIVOLCS estimate that their forecasts saved at least 5,000 lives and perhaps as many as 20,000. The people living in the lowlands around Mount Pinatubo were alerted to the impending eruption by the forecasts, and many fled to towns at safer distances from the volcano or took shelter in buildings with strong roofs. Additionally, more than 18,000 American servicemen and their dependents were evacuated from Clark Air Base prior to the June 15 eruption.

Perhaps the GOP believes that volcanic eruptions can be prevented by a prayer from Pat Robertson. Of better yet, throw a few virgins in the crater - just to prove that "abstinence works". Or maybe they think a volcano could be pacified with a big tax-cut.

This seems to be a continuing fad with Republican contempt for spending on scientific research and education. Senator McCain had his moment when he described a planetarium star projector as an "Overhead projector" and Governor Palin was unable grasp why fruit-fly research was important. I guess when your party is down to pandering to people who believe the universe is 6000 years old, you have to attack science at every opportunity.

102nd Post

First I fail to note this blog's 1st birthday (Jan 20), then I miss noticing the 100th post.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Finger Frakkin' Good!

KFC had to make some modifications to their Battlestar Galactica "Frak Pak Sweepstakes" tie-in after somebody explained to them what "Frak" meant.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Monsters are Attacking the City!

During the Cloverfield hype last year, Wired Magazine ran an article on how to destroy a 500-foot monster.  The comments have some good suggestions - some people really know their weapons systems (and after all, it's what we're really good at). I'll go with air delivered bunker busters and would have probably tried 16-inch naval guns if the last Iowa class battleships had not been taken offline.

When the attack happens, here is what to expect:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Is Skynet Hiring?

Some random unsolicited advice for villains, evil aliens, mad scientists, mutant monsters and the heroes who fight them.

The Terminator

Advice to Skynet:
Instead of sending back a slow-witted assassin robot with a 6502 for brains, t-mail a score of 10-megaton nukes spaced around the LA Basin. It's not like you're worried about altering history. Topless Robot has "10 Helpful Suggestions for Killing John Connor".

Advice for John Conner:
Watch "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" and learn how to use a time machine properly.

Independence Day 

Advice for Humans:
Once your computer virus has knocked out the force fields, don't screw around with F-18s and air-to-air missiles with wimpy warheads. A few hundred missiles with 50 pound warheads are not going to get the job done against city-destroyers that are 15 miles wide. Now is the time to pull out the low yield tactical nukes and finish the job before they finish rebooting whatever gawd-awful OS they are using. I think you should be way past worrying about collateral damage at this point.

Advice to Aliens:
You can download a free 90-day trial version of McAffee and conquer the Earth before it expires.

War Of the Worlds

Advice to Humans:
Hang out at Day Care Centers - it won't save you, but at least before a Martian eats or vaporizes you can sneeze on them with a full load.

Advice to Martians:
Eat your vegetables.

The Wizard of Oz

Advice to Wicked Witch of the West:
Replace that hour glass with an egg timer. And you really should care what the Flying monkeys do with the others.

Advice for Dorothy:
Don't go back to Kansas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

50 Years Ago - Final Flight of the B-36

Previously, I posted about the Graveyard for the Covair B-36 Bombers.  Feb 12, 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the last operational flight of a B-36.

I also found this video about the dismantling of the giant bombers:

Update - this was the last operational flight. B-36J AF Serial No. 52-2220, is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force (formerly The U.S. Air Force Museum) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Its flight to the museum from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona on April  30, 1959 was the last flight of a B-36.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

Here are two scenes from 1953's "The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T". 

From Wiki:

It is best known for being the only feature film ever written by Theodor Seuss Geisel ("Dr. Seuss"), who was responsible for the story, screenplay, and lyrics.

The plot revolves around young Bart Collins, who lives with his widowed mother Heloise. The major blight on Bart's existence is the hated piano lessons he is forced to endure under the tutelage of the autocratic Dr. Terwilliker. Bart feels that his mother has fallen under Terwilliker's sinister influence, and gripes to visiting plumber August Zabladowski, without much result. While grimly hammering away at his lessons, Bart dozes off and enters a fantastical musical dream, in much the same fashion as The Wizard of Oz.

In the dream, Bart is trapped at the surreal Terwilliker Institute, where the piano teacher is now a madman dictator who has locked up all non-piano-playing musicians in a dungeon and constructed a piano so large that it requires Bart and 499 other enslaved boys (the aforementioned 5,000 fingers) in order to play it.


I think that in 1953, movie audiences simply weren't ready for anything even close to this.

First up, Hans Conried goes WAY over the top with "Doe-Me-Doe Duds":

Jaw dropping isn't it? I have to wonder how audiences reacted to that in 1953. My guess is that it was something like the scene in "The Producers" after the "Springtime for Hitler" number.

And then there is the memorable ride in the Dungeon Elevator:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

El Santo

Feb 5 marks the 25th anniversary of the passing of legendary Mexican professional wrestler and film actor Rodolfo Guzmán Huerta, better known as El Santo

His wrestling career spanned nearly five decades, during which he became a folk hero and a symbol of justice for the common man through his appearances in comic books and movies.

Previously I posted the trailer for the classic Santo vs. The Martian Invasion. Here is the trailer for the equally astounding Santo vs. The Vampire Women (1962).

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Last Phone Booth in Washington D.C. Area

View Larger Map

Disappointing if dialing a special number does not open a passage to one of Cheney's old "Undisclosed Locations".

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Uh Oh...

I bet WAY too much money on the Puppy Bowl.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photoshop Phake Trolls

There are the ones who insist that any astonishing, but real image is fake because... (insert bogus claim of technical expertise).  And then there are the real "Pros" who can prove that a picture of Sarah Palin shooting Bullwinkle and Rocky is fake.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Two Ocean Creek, Wyoming

View Larger Map

This is a place I learned about many years ago, but will probably never have the opportunity to visit. The Google Map image above includes the approximate location where North Two Ocean Creek, splits into Pacific Creek, which flows to the Pacific Ocean via the Snake and Columbia rivers and Atlantic Creek, which flows to the Gulf of Mexico via the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Mississippi rivers. There are other continental divides throughout the world, but this is the only place that I am aware of where a significant drainage splits to different oceans.

According the the National Park Service, his is the point at which the Pacific Drainage cutthroat trout crossed the divide into the Mississippi Drainage.

This site includes maps and several photos of the point where North Two Ocean Creek splits.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Let's Not Do this Again...

In fact, I would prefer to take Bob the Angry Flower's approach and forget it ever happened.