March 26, 2007

Bigfoot sighting

Or maybe it's just another Bill Whittle blog post.

Good news: Bill says that he's going to post twice between now and April 15. So start checking his site regularly again.

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Circle flies

Received via email:

A cowboy in Texas got pulled over by a State Trooper for speeding.

The trooper started to lecture the cowboy about his speeding, and in general
began to throw his weight around to try to make the cowboy feel
uncomfortable. Finally, the trooper got around to writing out the ticket.

As he was doing that, he kept swatting at some flies that were buzzing
around his head. The cowboy said, "Having some problem with Circle Flies
there, are ya?" The trooper stopped writing the ticket and said, "Well yeah,
if that's what they are. I never heard of Circle flies." So the cowboy says,
"Well, circle flies are common on ranches. See, they're called circle flies
because they're almost always found circling around the back end of a

The trooper says, "Oh," and goes back to writing the ticket. Then after a
minute, he stops and says, "Are you trying to call me a horse's ass?"

The cowboy says, "No, Sir. I have too much respect for law enforcement and
police officers to even think about calling you a horse's ass."

The trooper says, "Well that's a good thing," and goes back to writing the

After a long pause, the cowboy says, "Hard to fool them flies, though."

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I really shouldn't read this stuff at work

Reading Iowahawk at work will probably get me fired one day. It might be worth it, too. Excerpt:

BILL: That's right Ann, you emaciated Eva Braun sideshow freak. By supporting this good citizenship effort, you will ensure that America's outspoken pundit community has the book and TV and speaking contracts we need to pay the critically important mortgages on our Laurel Canyon ranch homes.

ANN: And Manhattan apartments! So take it from me and my venereal diseased, dwarf-penis pinko fag colleague Bill - don't be a player hater. Stop the indignation, because there are enough zippy assassination one-liners for everyone. The next time you are repulsed by something we say, remember:

That is some seriously funny stuff there.

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March 23, 2007

Looking for old HBO series

Back in 1994, HBO aired 13 episodes of a series called Hardcore TV. It contained some real oddities and unusual parodies such as:

1) a commercial for The Pubic Hair Club for Men

2) Fairytales From the Dark Side

3) a Bob Vila spoof where Bob and Norm spoke like they were from the hood

Anyway, I've spent some time trying to find old episodes, even ones on tape. Apparently HBO has not released, and does not plan to release these episodes on DVD. Ever. Also, I cannot find even bootleg copies on YouTube, Google video, or Bittorrent, which is a decent indication of how rare any copies must be.

My search is hampered a bit by the fact that there is or was, apparently, a wrestling showed called by the same name. Regardless, I'd lie to put my hands on copies of these episodes. If anyone has them, drop me a line. It would be appreciated.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 03:01 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Good music

I've been listening to a CD from some young musicians who go by the name Mountain Aires. If you went to last year's state fair in North Carolina, you might have had the pleasure of seeing them live. However, you can now listen to their music wherever you go. It turns out that they released a CD recently, Echo the Legacy. It contains a collection of bluegrass and folk songs, most of which you'll recognize immediately.

Maybe you don't want to buy music sound unheard. Fortunately, the group's CD is hosted here, and you can listen to 20-30 second pieces of each song on the album. You even have the option of downloading the album in MP3 format, or individual songs if you prefer.

Full disclosure: I know the band members personally and they're a great bunch of guys, but I don't get any financial return, no matter how rich and famous they become. I just want to see them do well.

Here's the album cover:


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March 21, 2007

Book review

Steve at Hog On Ice recently had a book published, The Good, The Spam and The Ugly, wherein he tackled those irritating Nigerian email spammers. I've read with great amusement his blog posts on this topic for a long time, so I expected a lot from his book. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. My story doesn't involve bathing in diarrhea, nor does involve the manly lifting of bedsheets via prolific manly wind.

Sorry to disappoint.

I started reading Steve's book, as I usually do, in bed next to my wife. Beloved spouse is a, God forbid, morning person, so she usually drops off long before I do. What this means is that I'm free to do whatever I like, as long as it's quiet and relatively motionless; waking my wife in an untimely fashion tends to rouse the Sybil in her, so I take pains to stay very still. Normally, this is pretty easy. Unfortunately, I was reading Steve's book.

I knew that laughing out loud would cause me lots of grief, so I tried to keep quiet. I succeeded in not making a sound, but I was unable to keep my body from responding, which, in turn, created the dreaded bedquake. The first couple of times I was able to convince my wife that the shaking had been caused by one of our cats. Pretty soon, though, I ran out of cats, which meant I had run out of excuses, so it was time sleep or move into a different room. Fortunately, the bathroom was close.

Don't say it: every woman I know wonders why men like to read in the bathroom, while every man I know doesn't understand the question. Regardless, I finally finished the book last night, which was too bad because I was laughing until the very end.


Good work, Steve. I look forward to your next effort.

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March 19, 2007

Terrible news

It appear as though Cathy Seipp will finally lose her battle with cancer. Her daughter, Maia, posted this entry. Her doctors are simply trying to make her comfortable right now.

Godspeed, Cathy. You will be missed.

Update: Cathy's fight ended yesterday afternoon. Her daugher, Maia, posted information about the service this Friday, as well as links to the Lung Cancer Alliance and the Humane Society, the latter of which is where Cathy requested that people send money, rather than spending it on flowers.

I'll finish this post by paraphrasing some words from George W. Bush:

"Now she belongs to the ages. We liked it better when she belonged to us."

Update: Okay, I had to link to Michelle's post, if for no other reason than the picture of just how pissed off Cathy could make some idiots become.

Read all of the obits.

Tangential update: Apparently Elizabeth Edwards is still struggling with her cancer. Please offer her your prayers and well wishes.

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March 15, 2007

Go strong

I assume that, by now, everyone has seen the Wired article about the Glove, which can be used to cool off you body between sets. Nomadlife has a theory of his own, which seems reasonable to me:

"You can increase your resistance training between sets by getting a bucket of ice in your gym and cool your body by putting your hand in the cold water. Give it a try."

Link via Sullivan.

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Humor break

Received via email:

A few days ago I was having some work done at my local garage. A blonde came in and asked for a seven-hundred-ten. We all looked at each other and another customer asked, "What is a seven-hundred-ten?" She replied, "You know, the little piece in the middle of the engine, I have lost it and need a new one.." She replied that she did not know exactly what it was, but this piece had always been there. The mechanic gave her a piece of paper and a pen and asked her to draw what the piece looked like. She drew a circle and in the middle of it wrote 710. He then took her over to another car which had its hood up and asked "is there a 710 on this car?" She pointed and said, "Of course, its right there."

If you're not sure what a 710 is see below the fold for details: more...

Posted by: Physics Geek at 09:20 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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March 14, 2007

The club of the state

I have no problem with the compact flourescent bulbs. In fact, as my reading lamps burn out, I'm replacing them one by one with CFBs. However, I've got several light fixtures, including the kitchen table chandelier, that use clear incandescent bulbs. I could shove CFBs into it, but they'd look ugly and retarded. However, if some self-important dickhead busybodies get their way, I won't have a choice soon. Excerpt:

A coalition of industrialists, environmentalists and energy specialists is banding together to try to eliminate the incandescent light bulb in about 10 years.

In an agreement to be announced Wednesday, the coalition members, including Philips Lighting, the largest manufacturer; the Natural Resources Defense Council; and two efficiency organizations, are pledging to press for efficiency standards at the local, state and federal levels. The standards would phase out the ordinary screw-in bulb, technology that arose around the time of the telegraph and the steam locomotive, and replace it with compact fluorescents, light-emitting diodes, halogen devices and other technologies that may emerge.

Compact fluorescents are three times as efficient as old-fashioned bulbs, and light-emitting diodes six times as efficient. These also last much longer. But while they cost much less to run, they are more expensive to purchase, and getting home users to change the bulbs in the estimated four billion sockets in the United States would probably require eliminating the choice.

So you're eliminating my choice of which bulb I choose to use? Lucky for me, I guess, that I have a veritable plethora of ways in which to kick your sorry ass.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 01:57 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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Happy chip and pi day

This is of no practical use whatsoever, but today happens to be National Potato Chip Day. Here's some history of the chip, which dates back to 1853. Thank you for your marvelous invention, George Crum.

March 14 also marks Pi Day, since pi is approximately 3.14. So if you haven't had lunch, I guess you could celebrate by buying some Doritos and discussing Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler. Sounds like a banner Wednesday to me.

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March 13, 2007

Two little words, Mr. President

For the record, they are Fuck and You. I've got your "comprehensive immigration reform" right here. ::pointing to crotch::

Karol manages to not use foul language in her post. I'll confess to being amazed by this.

Update: Allah is not amused, either.

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An idea whose time has come

I'm so proud of this Duke graduate that I could cry.

When John Cornwell graduated from Duke University last year, he landed a job as software engineer in Atlanta but soon found himself longing for his college lifestyle.

So the engineering graduate built himself a contraption to help remind him of campus life: a refrigerator that can toss a can of beer to his couch with the click of a remote control.

"I conceived it right after I got out," said Cornwell, a May 2006 graduate from Huntington, N.Y. "I missed the college scene. It embodies the college spirit that I didn't want to let go of."

It took the 22-year-old Cornwell about 150 hours and $400 in parts to modify a mini-fridge common to many college dorm rooms into the beer-tossing machine, which can launch 10 cans of beer from its magazine before needing a reload.

With a click of the remote, fashioned from a car's keyless entry device, a small elevator inside the refrigerator lifts a beer can through a hole and loads it into the fridge's catapult arm. A second click fires the device, tossing the beer up to 20 feet -- "far enough to get to the couch," he said.

Is there a foam explosion when the can is opened? Not if the recipient uses "soft hands" to cradle the can when caught, Cornwell said.

In developing his beer catapult, Cornwell said he dented a few walls and came close to accidentally throwing a can through his television. He's since fine-tuned the machine to land a beer where he usually sits at home, on what he called "a right-angle couch system."

For now, the machine throws only cans, although Cornwell has thought about making a version that can throw a bottle. The most beer he has run through the machine was at a party, when he launched a couple of 24-can cases.

"I did launch a lot watching the Super Bowl," he said. "My friends are the reason I built it. I told them about the idea and hyped it so much and I had to go through with it."

A video featuring the device is a hit on the Internet, where more than 600,000 people have watched it at, earning Cornwell more than $3,000 from the Web site.

Cornwell said he has talked to a brewing company about the machine, but right now only one exists. Asked if he might start building some for sale, he said: "I'm keeping that option open, depending on interest."

When Cornwell was a student at Duke he participated in the engineering school's robotic basketball contests, said mechanical engineering Professor Bob Kielb. He said students tried to build a robot that could retrieve a pingpong ball and toss it into a small hoop.

"He always did well in it," Kielb said. "He came up with completely unique ideas."

And here's the video.

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Bring out yer dead!

Animals, that is. Meryl Yourish reminded me that this Thursday, March 15, is the 5th Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day. More details can be found here.

I like Meryls' idea of givng her cat tuna as part of the celebration. I have 3 cats and 2 dogs, all of whom would love some tasty animal parts. Guess that I'll have to stop by the store tomorrow to grab us all some grub.

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I don't think it means what you think it means

When Dr. Ruth tells you, "I'd hit it", she might be referring to her skills as a sniper from her days in the Israeli Defense Force.

In a tangential note, reading about Dr. Ruth reminds me of Sam Kinison's little jab at her:

Who is this dried up old woman offering sex advice to people?

::mimicking Dr. Ruth:: First, you must take the man's penis...

Yeah, when's the last time you saw a man's penis? Were there cars back then, or did you suck dick on horseback, Annie Oakley?"

I had the pleasure of seeing Kinison live in concert, back before he became a household name. He was quite funny, and incredibly loud. I swear that they de-amplified his voice, because he sound quieter when yelling into the microphone.

Let me leave you with Kinison's appearance on Married With Children, part 1 and part 2.

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Excellent news

The NRC issued its first site approval for a nuclear power plant in 30 years.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thursday approved the first Early Site Permit for a nuclear power plant - demonstrating a new and previously untested licensing process for locating new nuclear plants in the United States. Critics say new nuclear plants are not needed if energy conservation is implemented.

The approval - for Exelon Generation Company's Clinton site, in central Illinois - was hailed by U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman as "a major milestone" in the Bush administration's plan to expand the use of nuclear power.

"NRC approval of the Clinton Early Site Permit represents a major accomplishment in this administrationÂ’s effort to address the barriers and stimulate deployment of new nuclear power plants in the United States," Bodman said.

"By demonstrating effectiveness and predictability in the licensing process, utilities will have the information they need to make sound business decisions that can lead to the construction of new nuclear power plants," he said.

The Early Site Permit resolves environmental, site suitability and emergency planning issues with regard to the possible construction and operation of a new nuclear plant next to the Clinton Power Station in Clinton, Illinois. Exelon has not decided to move forward with building a new nuclear plant.

The Early Site Permit process was established by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, NRC, in 1989 for utilities to complete the site and environmental evaluations before a decision is made to build a nuclear plant.

Once issued, the permit is valid for 20 years and can be used in conjunction with a subsequent combined Construction and Operating License application.

Look for a lot more of these over the next few years as the nuclear industry gears up in the United States.

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March 12, 2007

Health Awareness

Older than the hills humor to follow, but I just re-received in an email and thought that I would take 5 minutes of your life that you'll never get back.


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 remember:

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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March 09, 2007

You dog

Dave at Garfield Ridge got to spend two days on the set of BSG. I believe that I speak for many scifi geeks when I offer him both my congratulations and my sincere hope that he get teleported to some distant planet populated by slavering beasts with a taste for humans.

Not that I'm jealous or anything.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 12:55 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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how to be a good neighbor

I received the following email and thought it was pretty funny. What's even better is that it is a true story:

A city councilman, Mark Easton, lives in this neighborhood. He had a beautiful view of the east mountains until a new neighbor purchased the lot below his house and built.

Apparently the new home was 18 inches higher than the ordinances would allow, so Mark Easton, mad about his lost view, went to the city to make sure they enforced the lower roof line ordinance. Mark and his new neighbor had some great arguments about this as you can imagine - not great feelings. The new neighbor had to drop the roof line - no doubt at great expense.

Recently Mark Easton called the city and informed them that his new neighbor had installed some vents on the side of his home. Mark didn't like the look of these vents and asked the city to investigate. When they went to Mark's home to see the vent view, this is what they found... (see pictures in the extended entry)


Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:44 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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Sad news

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn't always fair and,
  • Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Tylenol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason
He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

Posted by: Physics Geek at 11:19 AM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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