Thursday, December 25, 2008

Amateurs Are Trying Genetic Engineering At Home

"Honey, please pass the alkylizing agent."

What could possibly go wrong?

"Hideous reptilian abnormalities sprouting, bubbling and baking over a winking bluish-green spectre of dim flame in a far corner of black shadows."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Can Love Handles Power A Car?

The first rule of liposuction club is, you don't talk about liposuction club!

Yech. From Forbes.

Mega-orgy In Tel Aviv Cancelled Due To Public Pressure

The event in question, which was scheduled to take place on "International Orgasm Day," aimed to bring together some 250 participants seeking to promote world peace through multiple orgasms reached by masturbation or sex.

The orgy was organized by the Raelian movement, a UFO religion whose followers believe humankind was created by aliens. The group's spokesman, Kobi Drori, said that the orgy was meant to include straights, gays, lesbians and bisexuals, all of them over 18.

"The purpose of the event was to try and bring world peace through mass orgasm, this by experiencing consensual sex and natural, uninterrupted pleasure. It was important to make love without feeling guilty or shy," he explained.

Well, I'm going to be in Indianapolis that day anyhow.
Still ...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How To Build An Atomic Bomb

Pretty simple, actually:
Oh, yeah! I've got your First Amendment, right here!

N.Y. Man Pleads Guilty To Letting People See Hezbollah TV

"The owner of a satellite TV company has pleaded guilty to providing material aid to a terrorist organization by letting customers receive broadcasts from Hezbollah's television station."

Where is the #&%* ACLU on this!?

He could get six and a half years. Sentencing scheduled for March 24, 2009.

"Although Americans are granted freedom of speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution, the government contended in this case that Iqbal was not entitled to arrange the satellite broadcast of an organization designated as a terrorist group, regardless of the message."

Found on Haaretz.

And this is in New York? That citadel of First Amendment rights?

UPDATE: Here is the latest word from the ACLU - from August, 2006!

Why on earth was this guy allowed to plead guilty? Guilty?! To what?

Oh, please, oh, please, oh, please!

Photo-homages to classic Farside cartoons. This is my favorite.

Thanks to Say Uncle.

Self-Defense In Oak Park, Illinois

Armed robber shot by an armed victim, according to witnesses.

Isn't Oak Park one of those Chicago-area townships that used to ban handguns?

Thanks to Second City Cop.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Karlheinz Stockhausen

A few days ago I came across an article about the German avant-garde composer Karlheinz Stockhausen. This picture accompanied the article. Notice the 1/4" reel-to-reel audio recorders in the background. Now look at the amazing gadgets that the tape loops around. They look like triple-stacks of spindles, mounted on spring-loaded tension arms, mounted to heavy floor stands. What on earth are those things? Anybody know?

Stockhausen might achieve greater fame for his appearance on the cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band". Back row, fifth from the left.

Pope Marks Galileo Anniversary, Praises Astronomy

Well, you can't say they're sore losers ...

Although it took them 400 years to admit it.

Well, not exactly 400 years, for as the article points out, "In 1992, Pope John Paul II apologized, saying that the denuncuation was a tragic error."

So I guess they officially un-denuncuated it 384 years later.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Condoleezza Rice For President!

Partial transcript of a press conference today with Mexican Sec. of Foreign Affairs:
QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) -- from the magazine Power and Business.

(In English) – What is being done about weapons like the Barrett 50, which were – these weapons were banned in the United States until 2004 when President Bush declined to renew that ban, which was going on for ten years. My question to Secretary Rice is: Have you made President Bush aware of the direct connection between the expiration of the assault weapons ban and the proliferation of these powerful weapons in Mexico? And have you ever suggested to him that it was a bad idea not to renew the ban?

SECRETARY RICE: You know, it’s very interesting. I follow arms trafficking across the world, and I’ve never known illegal arms traffickers who cared very much about the law. And so I simply don’t accept the notion that the lifting of the ban somehow has led arms traffickers to increase their activities. Arms traffickers, by their very nature, don’t care about the law. And so whatever laws are in place, their business is to get around it.

And I’ll tell you, I know a lot about this area because it’s not just in the region, but it’s worldwide that this is the case. That is why the way to deal with the kinds of arms that are being trafficked by people who are doing it illegally, literally against the law, is to work through intelligence, to work through our law enforcement people, but also to make sure that we have sharing of intelligence across the border.

I would just note that we had a very good presentation by our bureau of ATF, arms trafficking and alcohol and arms trafficking control. And it was about our concerns about the increasing capability to acquire some of these weapons that are indeed very serious. But I think it would be a mistake to assume that arms traffickers care very much about what laws the United States has in place.

QUESTION: So you don’t see this connection?

SECRETARY RICE: Actually, you know, I haven’t done – since I’ve not done – I’m a social scientist. And since I haven’t done a formal study of the variable that you mention and the outcomes that you mention, I’m not going to comment. But I will tell you I’ve never known an illegal arms trafficker who cared very much what the laws were.

An "Extinction-Level Event"

It's the end of TV as we know it. Quote:
This reminds me of a joke Tina Fey told at the Television Critics Association awards ceremony. She thanked us “for making ‘30 Rock’ the most successful cable show on broadcast television,” and added: “Oh, it’s a great time to be on broadcast television, isn’t it? It’s exciting! It’s like being in vaudeville in the ’60s!”

A Beautiful Remington

Thanks to Marko The Munchkin Wrangler.

Vote For The Sexiest Geeks of 2008

Choose from:
Kari Bryon ("Mythbusters")
Jewel Staite ("Firefly")
Danica McKellar (actress/author)
Tina Fey (writer/actress)
Summer Glau ("Firefly")
Anna Paquin (actress)

And they accept write-ins!
I know who I'm votin' fer!

from Wired.

It's A Pitiful Life

I love this movie, but I've gotta agree: the message is very ironic and ambiguous.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

City of L.A. Enacts New Gun Control Laws

In the LA Times.

More "common-sense" gun control laws; illegal, unconstitutional and futile.

Here's an excerpt:
The council approved the measures unanimously.

But C.D. Michel, a Long Beach attorney who represents the National Rifle Assn. and the California Rifle & Pistol Assn., said his clients were likely to sue over the new laws governing ammunition sales and vendors because they either conflict with or are duplicated by state law.

Michel, the law partner of city attorney candidate Carmen A. Trutanich, also questioned the effectiveness of the ammunition measures, noting that there are only a handful of gun vendors left in the city and buyers could go elsewhere.

"A lot of these don't really do what the sound bite would portray them as doing," said Michel, who accused Weiss of pushing the measures to get publicity for his own campaign for city attorney. "It's about trying to look like you're doing something when you're not really doing anything. . . . My clients will just challenge the ones that are illegal in court."
So L.A. has practically regulated gun stores out of existance, and they're still passing more laws; laws affecting non-existant stores.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Sen. Lautenberg's Foundation Hit Hard By Madoff Ponzi Scheme

Fifty billion dollar Ponzi scheme on Wall Street. Billion, not million. And Senator Lautenberg's family foundation is among the hardest hit.

"Lautenberg's attorney, Michael Griffinger, said they weren't yet sure the extent of the foundation's losses, but that the bulk of its investments had been handled by Madoff."

That's a shame.

No word yet on the Joyce Foundation, but a feller can dream, can't he?

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Angriest Woman In The World

Drilling down for info on Bettie Page, who died yesterday, I came upon the late artist Dave Stevens, who was a friend of Page's and helped her get financial compensation for the use of her image. Stevens had a messy personal life, including a relationship with "The Angriest Woman In The World."

Visiting her website was like opening a furnace door. I could feel the heat radiating from the screen.

Ten Thousand Hits

This was my blog's 10,000th hit.
Thank you, Indianapolis!

170-mph Steam-Powered Car

British steampunks have successfully tested a steam-powered car they want to see race across the California desert at 170 mph. They aim to break a record that has stood for more than a century.
From Wired.

1896: Marconi Demonstrates Radio

On this date in 1896, Marconi sent radio waves across a room. Five years later, to the day, he sent radio waves across an ocean.

From Wired. [completely without irony]

Bettie, We Hardly Knew Ye

"As Eric Reynold of Fantagraphics says: "First Dave Stevens, then Forrest J. Ackerman, and now Bettie Page. 2008 has been a brutal year for some of the icons of my Southern California adolescence."

From Boing-Boing.

And from the BBC.

[Update:] Big item in the L.A. Times:

It's the #1 most-viewed and most-emailed story today in the LAT.

Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

Thanks to Breda.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Legacy Media Wheezing Becomes Louder

New York Times mortgages the building to stay afloat a few more years.

L.A. Times parent company files for Chapter 11.

Wish I'd Said That ...

I suspect that when we get to the bottom of the Obama birth certificate story, we will learn that Obama's true mother is Bristol Palin. I mean, have you noticed that that there are no photographs available of Bristol Palin in 1961, the year Obama was born? What is the media hiding?

- Orin Kerr at The Volokh Conspiracy

Medicare Handgun

Too delicious!

From The Volokh Conspiracy and Geekpress.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Bacon Martinis!!

Woo-hoo! Happy dance!

'Unforgettable Amnesiac' Dies At 82

Brings to mind the title of Oscar Levant's autobiography, Memoirs Of An Amnesiac.

Honda Pulls Out Of Formula One

They made an all-magnesium car back in the 1960's:

It lasted two laps before crashing and killing the driver.

Folding Scooter from the 1960's

It was marketed to private pilots and boaters.

Disney and Heisenberg - Separated At Birth?

I'm not certain... but they were both born exactly 107 years ago today.
From Wired.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ground Resonance

Mysterious Force Destroys Helicopters!!
Via Boing-Boing.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai Police to use Truth Serum on 'Baby-Faced' Terrorist Azam Amir Kasab

Mr. President, we cannot allow a Truth-Serum Gap!

London Times.

Periodic Table of the Awesoments

And Element Number 1 is, you guessed it, BACON!

Bacon In A Tube!

From Norway.

Lebowskifest 2008

Make yourself a White Russian and let's go bowlin'.

Or how about a White Trash Russian: take a bottle of Yoo-hoo, drink half, then fill it with vodka and enjoy.

Common-Sense First Amendment Restrictions

Great letter to the Editor of the NYT:
To the Editor:
A practical, commonsense way of reducing gun violence -- especially against schoolchildren -- would be a federal law prohibiting, or at least seriously limiting, the interstate reporting of sensational gun crimes like Columbine, Virginia Tech and now Westroads Mall for seven days.
Such a law would not affect local coverage, where there is a need for the immediate dissemination of information, but would make the event 'old news' when it was finally reported nationally and therefore unlikely to get the massive publicity that invites further, copycat violence. Even a small reduction in today's intense coverage of such events might, by not stimulating some potential gunman to action, save lives. Surely the responsible media would be willing to wait a week to save a life.
Experience has shown that 'gun' laws are hard to pass, and harder to enforce because of the easy transportation and concealment of firearms. Given the concern of the national media with gun violence and the public nature of 'news', passage and enforcement of this law should be virtually automatic.
Because the proposed publication delay would be short and serve a compelling government interest, it will pass Constitutional muster; the Brady law serves admirably as a precedent here. While the pornographers of violence and their cynical corporate sponsors will raise a smokescreen of First Amendment 'concerns' to protect their profits, the simple fact is that it is as wrong – and as wrongful -- to hold that the Press Clause protects a media 'right' to lethally endanger the public as it would be to hold that the Religion Clause protects human sacrifice.
I solicit your endorsement of this proposal.
Sincerely, etc.
Oddly enough, it hasn't made it past an editor yet.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Steampunk Sewing Machine

Boing-boing again.

Banana Dentata

Hey, you in the back! Stop giggling! It's just a Photoshop contest.

From Boing-boing and Worth1000.

Steampunk Shed

It's a slide-show. Note the door.

From Boing-boing.

Chainsaw Bayonet

He says he'll make one for you for $300.

Perfect zombocalypse weapon, people.

Via Neatorama and Boing-boing.

Today in 1942: The Italian Navigator Reaches The New World

No, not THAT Italian navigator! That was 1492.
The acronym SCRAM means to do an emergency shutdown of a nuclear reactor. In Fermi's reactor, he had a gravity-fed control rod held up by a rope. In an emergency, an assistant would cut the rope with an axe, hence the expression, "Safety Control Rod Axe Man."

Be Late For Work ...

... and watch this wonderful video:

Which I found at Snowflakes In Hell.

Google Earthed

The front door of my house, and not too long ago, either. That's my funky "I've got a kid in college, this is all I can afford" car, too.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Things I've Done

THINGS I'VE DONE (in bold):

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland.
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (From a tiny sailboat; I could feel the lightning strikes in the wet line. I was 14.)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train. (Auto-train to Florida.)
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon. (In 1978)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community.
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David.
41. Sung karaoke.
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Had your portrait painted.
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China.
57. Started a business.
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia.
60. Served at a soup kitchen.
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies.
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Got flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a check.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial. (I work across the street.)
71. Eaten Caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Toured the Everglades.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Had chickenpox.
89. Saved someone’s life.
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby. (Two of 'em!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.
100. Read an entire book in one day. (Well, I suppose so; it must've been a short book.)

h/t Roberta X.

Well, This is New . . .

Powerful magnet holds gun in place under desks, cabinets, or inside vehicles (one hopes!)
Interesting idea.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera."

Interview with press photog Sebastian D'Souza, who bravely snapped away during the Mumbai massacre.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Final Word on Last Saturday's Pin Shoot

Red has some new pictures AND two videos here.

Including this rare snap of Turk Turon at the firing line. Anybody know the guy on the right?


The boys and I were all invited to spend Thanksgiving with close friends at their second home in the mountains, near Skyline Drive. As it happened, only my mother and I could make it but we had a splendid time. I was inducted into the Ancient Order of the Gin & Tonic Club (the only male member).

Before The Meal I went on a long hike to burn off some calories. I encountered this little waterfall.

The cats had been hauled up to the country house, too. This is Lila.

Lila is a bit of a ham; here she is trying to retrieve a green toy mouse from the tree.

The tabby is Tiger, age 21.

And the big orange tabby is Percival.

My contribution was to bring six cheeses from Planet Fromage:
1) Gorgonzola Dolce
2) Mirabou (brie with walnuts)
3) Stilton with cranberries
4) Stilton with mangos and ginger (tasted a lot like cheesecake)
5) d'Amboise (brie with a sweet rind)
6) elderberry

The cheese selection was a gigantic hit, as there were many other cheese-lovers, and Wednesday night's dinner consisted mostly of cheese.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Memorable Weekend

Tam has already blogged about the weekend in Indy most effectively, and there isn’t much to add except to agree with her. Emphatically.

Bowling pins get brittle when cold, and some of them literally exploded when hit. But pin shooting is the most fun you can have with your gloves on. Next time I’m bringing a video camera in case yet another footrace breaks out. Tam’s got the pin shoot covered here.

And here.

Roberta X’s coverage is here.

I had packed a 10mm pistol but three 9mm magazines, so I was well and truly hosed but for the kindness of friends, and I made do with a Glock 17. That did not prevent me from taking my limit of bowling pins, viz:

Brigid was stuck at work but through the magic of today’s advanced cell-phone technology, she managed to contribute this outstanding poster. That’s Roberta X on the left and Tam on the right, mano a mano.

At lunch, Tam, Roberta X and I all had the Dolsot Bibimbap, which is the perfect way to warm up after standing around for hours in sub-freezing cold. Ahhhh… Korean comfort food. And even an hour later, you can still warm your hands on the bowl.

Elmore’s gunstore was as amazing as Tam says, 1911s were packed cheek-by-jowl (muzzle to front strap) and if you can’t find something you like there, it hasn’t been made yet. Bradis had some nice Russian revolvers and I might have taken one home if I had remembered to bring my C&R license.

Brigid’s lasagna and mushroom turnovers were delicious. Check it out.

The next morning, while Tam and her buddy raked leaves, Roberta X and I walked over to Zest, a charming little restaurant of local ownership and high quality, of which Broad Ripple has a seemingly inexhaustible supply. They had an adventurous chef who made Eggs Benedict, not on English muffins, but on crab cakes! Yes!

Later that afternoon we motored to the blogmeet and made numerous new friends and caught up with Old Grouch, RobD, Shermlock Shomes et ux, and Red (again, et ux). Shermlock has pictures here. And Roberta X has a few comments, too. And Red has more pictures here, plus a couple of videos! Wow!

It was a rockin’ weekend and Tam says she’d do it again in a minute. So would I.