29 April 2006

United 93 - Now with Comments about the Actual Movie

I started out to write a review and ended up writing the September 11th essay that's been germinating in my brain for a while. So, here is an actual review.

First of all, I thought the movie was fairly well done cinematographically, despite suffering from shaky camera syndrome. There's one scene in the beginning, when a hijacker, looking very dark and somber, is walking through the airport and pauses for a moment in front of a garish advertisement depicting a scantily clad woman. For me, the juxtaposition of the hijacker and the ad recalled the pronouncements mullahs like to make on the evils of our society. I suspect that was intentional.

I thought the movie was even-handed and factual. The hijackers were not dehumanized, but neither was the enormity of their actions downplayed.

I found myself considering the difference between physical and moral courage. It takes courage of a sort, or perhaps audacity is a better word, to plan this sort of coordinated attack and to carry it out. I can't imagine myself ever having the physical courage to embark upon a suicidal mission, regardless of the strength of my beliefs.

But on the other hand, I do have the moral courage to step back from a situation and evaluate it, and to refuse to do wrong. And that is the sort of courage the hijackers lacked. None of them had the moral courage to examine their beliefs, to consider whether murdering innocent people in the name of Islam could possibly be wrong.

The passengers on Flight 93 had both. They had the moral courage to accept their death and the physical courage to do what they could to avert a greater tragedy, even to the extent of attacking men who were armed and fully prepared to kill them.

I've been reading reactions around the 'sphere, and there have been a couple remarks here and there about some features of the movie. One is that one of the hijackers calls his wife or girlfriend to tell her he loves her just before he gets on the plane. I personally wasn't particularly touched by that, because I believe that love must be founded on mutual equality and respect to exist.

Another is that toward the end, the hijackers are repeating some prayers in, I assume, Arabic, and the camera cuts from them to a passenger who is also praying, then back to the hijackers. My first reaction was disgust at the idea of having something in common with a filthy murdering coward, but the juxtaposition also shows the contrast between fanaticism and faith.

Finally, I have never heard a theater so quiet. After the screen faded to black and the credits began rolling, the theater was still dead silent, and people began slowly exiting, still silent, still thoughtful. There were three boys in my row who I am certain were freshmen cadets, and I saw one of them wipe his eyes roughly with his sleeve as he left. He was just fourteen on that day.

You must go see this movie.

Update, 9:51 Sunday morning: Other reviews 'round the sphere.

AOSHQ: Review thread. Haven't seen a review from Ace himself just yet.
Dave in Texas: United 93. I just got back
Muslihoon: A Review of United 93 - Must-read.
Dave at Garfield Ridge: Movie Review: United 93 - Also very good.
Marchard Chronicles: Let's Role

Feel free to post links to your own in the comments.

United 93

I've often thought to myself that September 11th is the pivotal event of my generation. Just as I asked my grandmother where she was on V-J Day, and asked my mother where she was when Neil Armstrong took those first halting steps, my children and grandchildren are going to ask me where I was when four planes were hijacked on that bright Tuesday morning four and a half years ago.

I don't know what I'll tell them. I came back from class to find my roommate hanging up the phone, and she told me that two planes had just crashed into the World Trade Center. I didn't believe it. I couldn't. That sort of thing just didn't happen in America. It couldn't.

I knew from the news accounts that it had happened, and I saw the footage for myself, but I still didn't believe it.

I don't mean that I believed that it was faked, or anything of the sort. I mean that the enormity of the attack was beyond my understanding. I couldn't believe that so much evil could be concentrated into nineteen people that they would willingly murder three thousand innocents.

In a way, I almost wish I still couldn't believe that.

I can't point to exactly when I did come to understand the nature of our enemy. I think it was around the time of the Madrid attacks, but it was such a gradual realization that I can't be certain.

But I know now what we are facing.

We are facing evil.

We are facing an enemy that wants to destroy us and our way of life. They can and will slaughter us with gleeful impunity, because to them, we are not people. We are animals, less than human. We may be suffered to live, but only under conditions of their choosing.

Islam does not mean peace.

Islam means submission.

United 93 reminds us of what happened that clear Tuesday morning. The scene that brought me closest to tears was when the second plane had just hit the World Trade Center, and every flight control center was still and silent, heads shaking and hands coming to mouths, as the reality of the situation began to sink in.

But for me, the primary message of United 93 was that Americans will not submit. We will stand together and fight. In the face of evil, we will employ all our considerable ingenuity and what Mark Twain called our "Americanniness," and we will triumph.

There's a scene in Secondhand Lions where Uncle Hub is giving part of his "what every boy needs to know about being a man" speech. "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most," he says. "That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil...Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."

Honor, courage, and virtue.

The passengers on United 93 died with honor, having had the clear-eyed courage to accept their imminent death, and the virtue to act to save others despite knowing it would hasten their own end.

Good will always triumph over evil.

Intriguing editorial from the New York Times

Or New York Birdcage Liner, as the inimitable spurwing plover calls it.

The reason this particular editorial intrigues me is that I can't tell if it's serious. It seems that the Capitol Hill softball league has split into two, due to a difference in opinion on how the championship series should be held, and the New York Times considers this event proof positive that the wicked, backbiting spirit of Congress has poisoned everything in Washington.

On the one hand, such sentences as "Complaints that easygoing Democratic players prefer 'softball welfare' and that hard-sliding Republicans are into 'class warfare' precipitated a schism," "[the championship system supposedly preferred by Democrats] forces the teams with the strongest records to risk playing one another in the opening challenges, rather than letting them feast first on the weaker teams, as in the great American way of professional sports," and "Perhaps Congress should take time out from mangling the budget to contemplate what its tooth-and-claw behavior has wrought in skewing one of the few bits of innocent fun in Washington" sound like excerpts from the sort of subtle tongue-in-cheek article I might write to mock people who take this sort of thing too seriously.

But on the other hand, we are talking about the New York Times. Is there any group more prone to take itself far too seriously?

Plus, the anti-American remark quoted above and the carefully fostered impression that Republicans are responsible for the controversy really sound very NYT-esque. Notice that while the political alignments of the commissioners of the two leagues are given, the alignments of the teams in the leagues are not. Yet the NYT goes to great effort to make sure that the reader has the impression that the Republicans have monolithically split off to form their own league, leaving the Democrats bereft.

All things considered, I think the editorial may be serious.

And that's sad.

27 April 2006

Odds and Ends

As of 11:30 this morning, I had slept 12 of the preceding 76 hours. Since I had finally turned in the last assignment due this week and given all my presentations (I still have an exam tomorrow), I promptly proceeded to nap the afternoon away, and now I am feeling much better.

Some useful tips for others who might be similarly suffering from sleep deprivation:
  1. When removing your pants on campus, take the keys out of the pocket before you sling them over your shoulder. It'll save you a (thankfully successful) trip to the lost and found later.
  2. Keep copies of your work on your school-provided H:/ drive(s) and on your own computer as well as on your flash drive. This way, if you forget your flash drive in the departmental office and don't notice until after hours, you won't have to restart your project from f'n scratch the night before it's due.
  3. Do not drink Dr. Pepper. The combination of sugar and lack of sleep will engage the babbling reflex, and you will irritate everyone around you with your constant stream of irrelevant chatter.
Anyway, I haven't been commenting or posting, but I have occasionally glanced over the posts of folks on my blogroll. Ace is the go-to place for all things McCarthy, and the Innocent Bystanders are looking less innocent every day. (I like "All-Ace All-Star Team" better. Too bad we didn't think of that.)

The Battalion has a cover story today entitled, "With finals approaching, students hit the books." It's that sort of brilliant investigative reporting that keeps me picking up the Batt. (That, and Academic Accolades. C's and Tease has gotten better all semester, too. The "lingerie for men" strip had me laughing for a couple days. I also made use of "And a hot load of Napalm!" in at least one away message.)

Also, Dave at GR has a post that caused me to write such a long comment in response that I felt bad about leaving it on his site and decided to put it here instead. Dave complained that at McDonald's, they don't give him ketchup unless he asks for it, and when he does ask, they give him very little. I have the opposite problem: Whataburger often gives me ketchup without asking. I hate ketchup. So, Dave's comment inspired the following rant, which I have tentatively entitled Mrs. Peel's Burger Manifesto.
Go to Whataburger instead. They always either ask me if I want ketchup (which I f'n don't, ugh!) or put it in the bag without asking. They're pretty generous with the packets.

Besides, I've had a McDonald's burger exactly once in my life, and it was disgusting. So disgusting, in fact, that even though it was a good 15 years ago, I have never forgotten how appalled I was at the flavor, and never even thought about trying another. And don't get me started on the weird grey color of Burger King burgers (not to mention that after those King commercials, I don't want to reward them with my business), and as for Wendy's, chicken nuggets are their reason for existence as far as I'm concerned. (I didn't even know they sold burgers until fairly recently because I never look at the menu.) For fast food burgers, Whataburger is the only way to go.

Actually, there is a local burger joint called Carter Burger that is incredibly good. Plus they have tater tots, which are far superior to fries. But alas, it is not a chain.

Before I discovered Carter Burger, I used to go to Texadelphia when I wanted a burger. They also had good queso. But then Texadelphia closed for some reason, leaving no place on Northgate where a burger could be obtained (McDonald's was never an option, as discussed above). I suffered through several burger-poor years in CS, when the only time I got a whiff of a burger was when I got one in the Underground, before being pointed to Carter Burger.

At home, I used to go to Skeeter's, where I could get a burger that had been mesquite-smoked. Oh my yes. (For those who don't know, mesquite is a tree that grows in the Southwest. When its wood is used to smoke barbecue or burgers, it adds a distinctive & delicious flavor.) Unfortunately, Skeeter's changed their recipes, and nothing tasted good anymore, so I quit going there. I started going to Sweet Mesquite instead, so I could get my mesquite fix and incredibly good onion rings. But now Sweet Mesquite has changed its name and presumably its management. It remains to be seen whether they have retained their successful recipes.
Anyway, all this talk about burgers reminds me that I haven't eaten today. I'm thinking I'll have a you-know-what.

Also, I seem to remember reading somewhere that Whataburger's reach does not extend to the North. Wow, as if there aren't enough reasons to remain comfortably ensconced here in Texas. Y'all already don't have decent Dr. Pepper, and now you tell me there are no Whataburgers? The North must be a desolate, miserable wasteland.

(Incidentally: Dr. Pepper is not worth drinking unless it's bottled in a glass bottle or aluminum can, under the authority of Plano. Check the label before you buy. The exception, of course, is Dublin Dr. Pepper, which is made with 100% pure cane sugar and is simply sublime. In addition, Dr. Pepper must be served chilled and without ice, as ice will negatively impact the flavor. And don't even think about getting it from a soda fountain, because they never get the mixture right.)

21 April 2006

The Battle of San Jacinto

On April 21, 1836, 910 Texicans led by Sam Houston attacked and thoroughly routed a force of 1,200 roughly 1,600 led by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Houston's army suffered 9 killed and 30 wounded, while Santa Anna saw 630 killed, 208 wounded, and 730, including himself, captured.

The Battle of San Jacinto, which we, as the victors, pronounce "San Juh-sin-to," was the final battle of the campaign for Texas independence. With this victory, the Republic of Texas, which included what is now New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma, was born. It would remain an independent nation for nine years.

I believe "Texas Independence Day" is actually March 2, since that is the date on which the Texas Declaration of Independence was enacted in 1836; but for me, April 21 is the date that never passes without a moment spared to think of the heroes of the Texas Revolution.

Not coincidentally, April 21 is also the date on which we Aggies celebrate Muster, about which you can read here. I'll probably blog more on that later tonight.

19 April 2006

World's Unsexiest Men

It's not often you see a list like this.

I'm amused by Randy Johnson as #2. Don't they realize he has a certain joie de vivre? And you know they can't call him the Big Unit for nothing.

Ebert comes in at #3, demonstrating that the Boston Phoenix does not appreciate his use of his sexuality as armor in daily life, and Alan Colmes is at #5. And #8? Osama bin Laden.

Ron Howard is #21, and Chris Kattan is #31, demonstrating that the writers have not fallen under the spell of Mango. Julian Tavarez clocks in at an unspectacular #33. I'd have to put him higher than that...can't think of many "men" grosser than he is. Same for Michael Moore at #39.

Barry Bonds is only #83. I would think his nasty attitude and the fact that he's clearly hopped up on steroids would put him a lot higher. Man, I can't stand Barry Bonds. I wouldn't care if we lost to the Giants 15-0 as long as Bonds didn't hit any home runs.

A few other names in politics, like O'Reilly, Ashcroft, and Lieberman, are on the list, and the bottom ten include Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich, and Brad Pitt. The glaring omission was Tom Cruise.

But y'all will notice that Chris Klein, the Brawny man, and Chuck Connors, all staples of the Skylark of Valeron Lifestyle, are not on the list.

(While trying to get the link for the story, I ran across an interesting blog called "mAss Backwards." He was going to respond with a list of world's unsexiest women, but...well, go see for yourself.)

18 April 2006

Memo to Texas A&M:

If you must survey your graduating seniors by phone, please hire interviewers who can speak English intelligibly.

(Damn outsourcing. I blame Bush.)

Math teacher + mom = crazy delicious geometry problems!

An email from my mom:
The problem below is being used in geometry and we're trying to figure it out. The answer is 1/27 pi h-cubed. We have no idea how they got that. Do you know?

Water is being stored in a conical tank with height 12 feet and base diameter 8 feet. Write an expression for the volume of water in the conical tank as a function of h, the height of the water in the tank.
This is a pretty good problem. Feel free to give it a shot in the comments. The only further information you need is that the volume of a right circular cone with base radius r and height h is (1/3)*pi*(r^2)*h.

First hint: the answer above is wrong.

17 April 2006

Virtual Reality Games: Pets vs. Owners

Sometimes blogging is easy. You just let the story speak for itself.

Researchers develop games that allow you and your pet to compete on equal terms:

If you've ever wanted to match wits with your pet hamster, Mice Arena could be the game for you.

As in a traditional video game, players navigate a virtual world in a bid to stay alive. The twist? Computerized movements in Mice Arena are mapped to and from the real world, where an actual predator (your hamster) gives chase to a digital avatar (you) by pursuing a real piece of bait.
[Insert obligatory Richard Gere joke here.]

"We want to enable pets to play games in a way very similar to the way human players' play," said RASTER's Vladimir Todoroviæ, a collaborator working on the Metazoa Ludens project. "To play a computer game with your hamster would definitely make us think about where we have come with digital tradition now."

It may sound like a really complicated version of Ms. Pac-Man, but the goal of the game makers is ambitious: to merge human spaces with pet spaces through pervasive computing interfaces. By creating high-tech, pets-versus-owners computer games, researchers hope to gain new insights into animal behavior, and perhaps develop new technologies that could close the gap between the species.

What "gap between the species"? Are they talking about the fact that we're taller than hamsters?

In addition to Mice Arena, two other games in the Metazoa Ludens series have been proposed. In Chicken Petman, a real chicken will don the role of a ghost and chase movable bait controlled by a person within a maze. In Jellyfishtrone, the team plans to translate the swimming motion of a jellyfish into the serpent's movements in the traditional game of Snake.

Chicken Petman sounds suspiciously like a certain film starring Mr. Don Knotts. And since when do people make pets out of jellyfish? A chicken, maybe, but a jellyfish?

All the games are being designed to remove the dominant "human edge" and allow both animals and people to have an equal chance of winning, while potentially opening up an entirely new dimension of enjoyable pet-human interaction.

"There is a history and tendency of playing games with animals but most games use very simple items that aren't as 'smart' as computers," said Todoroviæ. "For example, people use tree branches when playing with dogs. What we are exploring is a device that will enable clearer relations and maybe bring some completely unexpected results."

Hey, I do use a tree branch to play with my dog. It's a fun game I like to call "Drop That Damn Dead Bird or Else, Bitch!"

I'm not sure how well that would translate to the virtual world.

12 April 2006


Sometimes a story just makes you shake your head.

Couple fakes birth of sextuplets:
On Tuesday, authorities said the mystery had been solved -- the entire tale was deemed a hoax aimed at tapping the generosity of others to pay the couple's mounting bills...

The Eversons -- Sarah, 45, and Kris, 33 -- claimed to have given birth to four boys and two girls on March 8. The babies were apparently in intensive care.

The tale exploded in the local spotlight Monday when The Examiner in Independence ran on its front page a photograph of the couple holding six one-piece baby outfits and announcing the births.

Those who heard the Eversons' sad story of tight finances set up a Web site to solicit contributions -- including a van, washer and dryer, cash and gift certificates. A real estate agent was even working to find the family new housing.

Hours before admitting it was a scam, Sarah Everson showed an Associated Press reporter pictures of her in maternity clothes, her baring a huge pregnant-looking midsection, even sonogram images she claimed were of her infants. She showed off a tiny nursery, a closet full of baby clothes and the tiny diapers premature newborns must wear.
Did these people actually think this scam could possibly work? Wouldn't someone eventually notice they didn't have any children?

Oh, no problem. Pin it on the in-laws:
She said the entire story of her children's births was being kept secret by a court order enacted because a member of her husband's family was trying to kill the Eversons and their new sextuplets.
Maternity clothes...$300
Baby clothes...$1000
Special diapers...$500
Fake sonograms...$20
Fake tummy...$75
Getting your brother-in-law arrested on six counts of infanticide...Priceless!

11 April 2006

Even my uncle is pissed off.

Here's an email he just sent. Not sure who wrote it; he doesn't give attribution and denies its authorship himself.

Dear President Bush:

I'm about to plan a little trip with my family and extended family, and I would like to ask you to assist me. I'm going to walk across the border from the U.S. into Mexico, and I need to make a few arrangements. I know you can help with this.

I plan to skip all the legal stuff like visas, passports, immigration quotas and laws. I'm sure they handle those things the same way you do here.

So, would you mind telling your buddy, President Vicente Fox, that I'm on my way over? Please let him know that I will be expecting the following:

1. Free medical care for my entire family.

2. English-speaking government bureaucrats for all services I might need, whether I use them or not.

3. All government forms need to be printed in English.

4. I want my kids to be taught by English-speaking teachers.

5. Schools need to include classes on American culture and history.

6. I want my kids to see the American flag flying on the top of the flag pole at their school with the Mexican flag flying lower down.

7. Please plan to feed my kids at school for both breakfast and lunch.

8. I will need a local Mexican driver's license so I can get easy access to government services.

9. I do not plan to have any car insurance, and I won't make any effort to learn local traffic laws.

10. In case one of the Mexican police officers does not get the memo from Pres. Fox to leave me alone, please be sure that all police officers speak English.

11. I plan to fly the U.S. flag from my house top, put flag decals on my car and have a gigantic celebration on July 4th. I do not want any complaints or negative
comments from the locals.

12. I would also like to have a nice job without paying any taxes, and don't enforce any labor laws or tax laws.

13. Please tell all the people in the country to be extremely nice and never say a critical word about me, or about the strain I might place on the economy.

I know this is an easy request because you already do all these things for all the people who come to the U.S. from Mexico. I am sure that Pres. Fox won't mind returning the favor if you ask him nicely.

However, if he gives you any trouble, just invite him to go quail hunting with your V.P.

Thank you so much for your kind help.


Personally, I think that Mexican federales firing on our Border Patrol agents constitutes an act of war, and that we would be perfectly within our rights to declare war on Mexico. Also, I think if people are publicly admitting that they are here illegally and therefore breaking our laws, then maybe we should, I don't know, arrest them.

Mr. President, with all due respect, wake up. I know you like Fox personally, but he is no friend to you or to our country.

10 April 2006

We asked, HayZeus answers

The responses to our questions.

I'm surprised someone else thinks it would be a good idea for the Stingray to make a comeback...it was just wishful thinking on my part. In general, I see cars as a way to get from Point A to Point B. My apathy extends to nearly any other mechanical mode of transportation. But Corvettes, and specifically Corvette Stingrays, are the exception, because they exude beauty and power and grace.

I was actually kidding about the hitting-on question. The real answer is that I don't go to the sorts of places where hitting on occurs, and as soon as a guy starts giving me that smarmy grin that inevitably precedes an attempt at flirting, I immediately turn prickly and sarcastic.

09 April 2006

Extremely light blogging

will continue for the next three or four weeks. This is my last month of college (as an undergraduate, anyway), and I've got projects and papers galore.

Here are some links to various games and sites I find entertaining.
  • Jigzone - Jigsaw puzzles. Entirely mindless.
  • Big Al - Totally rockin' allosaur game from the Beeb.
  • AdventureQuest - Very silly, very campy online RPG.
  • Crashdown - Entirely too addictive. Also mindless.
  • Project Gutenberg - Yay e-books! You can find all kinds of entertaining works here, like Edgar Rice Burroughs's Tarzan and John Carter books, the original Tom Swift series, E. Nesbit, Frances Hodgson Burnett (including the absolutely kickass The Lost Prince), and more fairy tales than you can shake a stick at.

    Also, if you have read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and remember Francie's two favorite books, If I Were King and Beverly of Graustark, both of those are on PG. (My reaction to the ending of Beverly of Graustark was, and I quote, "Awww! I was hoping he would be castrated.")
  • Red Hen - Some people put just a little too much thought into Harry Potter. But if you enjoy speculation about the Potterverse, these essays are well worth reading. I particularly like the fact that she shares my less than salutary opinion of the Ron/Hermione 'ship.

    *runs for cover*
I hope to be blogging more steadily once I am finished with school. In the meantime, I'll try to put something up here and there. Stay classy, and thanks for stopping by.

07 April 2006

Now that's edutainment!

You are William John Cavendish-Bentinck-Scott, the Fifth Duke of Portland!

Sometime Marquis of Tichfield, Earl of Portland, Viscount Woodstock, Baron of Cirencester, co-heir to the Barony of Ogle and renowned as the finest judge of horseflesh in England, you took the tradition of aristocratic eccentricity to unprecedented heights. Having inherited the stately home of Welbeck Abbey, you proceeded to construct miles of underground tunnels and a ballroom, in pink, beneath it. The ballroom was complete except for one small detail. It had no floor. Despite this vast home, you lived exclusively in a suite of five rooms, each one also pink.

Having been turned down by your opera singer objet d'amour, Adelaide Kemble, in your youth, you suffered a broken heart and never married. This did not stop you from caring deeply about the wellbeing of your servants. Occasionally you would even help them muck out the stables. However, you did not neglect discipline, forcing disobedient underlings to skate themselves to exhaustion on your subterranean skating rink. Servants were given strict instructions regarding conduct: if they met you in a corridor, they were to ignore your existence while you froze to the spot until they were out of sight; and a chicken was to be kept roasting at all times in case you felt like sneaking into the kitchen for a snack.

You became ever more eccentric with age. You built another tunnel, this time to the railway station, through which you would ride your carriage. When you reached the station your carriage, with you inside, would be hoisted up onto the train in its entirety.

Upon your death, your multitude of titles passed to your cousin, who was obliged to delve into your curious domain to find your body once the servants had reported your absence. Entering your private rooms, he found that, aside from a commode in the centre of your bedroom, the only objects in the whole suite were hundreds of hatboxes, each containing a single brown wig.

Which historical lunatic are you?

Hat tip to HayZeus.

06 April 2006

De Villepin and his job law less than popular

Here's an article about Dominique de Villepin, who is a man, and his jobs law. There's nothing really new in the article. Blah blah, de Villepin proposing a law that will allow employers to fire people who are under 26, blah blah, instant rioting of normally lackadaisical French youth who don't want to be fired but apparently don't like employment either, blah blah, Chirac trying to save face for de Villepin, blah blah. Here's the good part:
The standoff over the law, pushed through by Villepin in February, continued to pummel his popularity. In an opinion poll scheduled to be published this week in L'Express magazine, 45 percent of those surveyed said he should resign.

"What use is Villepin?" said a headline appearing in the newspaper Le Parisien.
That, folks, is a question often asked aboard the Skylark of Valeron. But now that de Villepin is pissing off the French, I think we finally have an answer.

04 April 2006

For the record

I write dates either in ISO format, as 2006-04-05, or in what I call "engineering format," as 05 APR 2006 (most often the latter, but I've been known to use the former). These formats make the most sense because they're in order of significance. It's just stupid to write 4/5/06 and have the significances all out of order. I mean, would you write a time as MM:SS:HH? Of course not, because it doesn't make any damn sense.

So, as far as I'm concerned, tomorrow is not 04/05/06. 04/05/06 is either the fourth of May in 2006 or the sixth of May in '04.

Sometimes a headline just grabs your attention.

"Spider-hunting nudist ends with ring of fire":
A red-faced Australian nudist who tried to set fire to what he thought was a deadly funnel web spider's nest ended up with badly burned buttocks, emergency officials said Monday.

The 56-year-old man was at a nudist colony near Bowral, about 60 miles southwest of Sydney, Sunday when he spotted what he believed to be a funnel web spider hole.

Ambulance workers, including a helicopter crew, were called to the scene after the man poured petrol down the hole and then lit a match in an attempt to kill the offending arachnid.

I've read this three times and I can't see how you burn your ass by throwing a match in a spider's hole. I think there's something more to the story.

"The exploding gasoline fumes left the man with burns to 18 percent of his body, on the upper leg and buttocks," the NRMA Careflight helicopter rescue service said in a statement.

It said the man's lack of clothing probably contributed to the extent of his burns.

No shit?
NRMA Careflight said it was called to a property in the same area in January when another man kicked a spider that was crawling up the wall of a friend's cabin. The man broke his leg in two places, it said.
Spiders 2, Aussies 0.

03 April 2006

Victory smells sweet...

...like an old baseball glove, or like that first burst of fragrance when you open a Dublin Dr. Pepper, or like the interior of a Corvette, or like the gunpowder from the first time you ever shot a .22 rifle, plugging a Coke can almost dead center at a good 20 yards. (I still have the can in question.)

I know that someone has probably beaten my time even by now, but I was king of the hill for just a few sweet moments, and there's the screenshot to prove it.

Ooh, it feels good.

Well, beat the drum, and hold the phone,

The sun came out today!
I'm born again, there's new grass on the field,
And roundin' third, and headin' for home,
It's a brown-eyed handsome man!
Anyone* can understand the way I feel.

*Yes, I know some of you think baseball is "boring" and "slow-paced." Humor me.

Update and Bump:

Fairy tales are seriously f'd up.

'I have come for something else besides a bed,' replied the young man, drawing his sword, 'and if you do not promise to give me your youngest daughter as my wife I will stab you through the heart.'

What could the poor man do but promise? And he fetched his youngest daughter, who seemed quite pleased at the proposed match, and gave the youth her hand. (Emphasis added.)
What the...

I gotta say, if someone made a similar remark to my dad, I wouldn't be pleased. In fact, I would get my .22, which I think would trump his sword.

Things to know about women

Dave at Garfield Ridge reads Maxim? Oh, he found the link from someone else. That's a relief. I couldn't bear to think of a fellow Powers Boothe groupie reading a chick mag.

mmmmm Powers Boothe...

Hmm? Oh, uh, anyway, here is Maxim's list of 100 things you need to know about women.
96. Jewelry. Now you always knkow [sic] what to get her for a last-minute gift.
I don't recommend trying this on me. I'm extremely picky about jewelry. For one thing, I'm allergic (both literally and figuratively) to cheap jewelry.
91. She still has all the love letters and cards from her past boyfriends.
Nope, I've chucked it all. Why the hell would you want any reminders of past relationships?
82. What do women really want in bed? More blankets. They get colder than men.
True dat.
77. The average woman kisses 79 men before getting married.
*counts on fingers* Hmm, nope.
24. A good but flawed man is a fixer-upper gem, and women love nothing more than home improvements.
That is, sadly, very true. One of these days I will write a post about the Beauty and the Beast ethos and how it's still mirrored in fiction today.
20. All women think they’re smarter than their partners in some significant way.
In my case, that's because I fucking am. As my favorite bartender puts it, we are on the edge of the mate value bell curve.

The whole list is pretty ridiculous. I can't believe people read that sort of crap.

Random Quotation

"The heart has its reasons which reason will never know." --Blaise Pascal

Usually translated as "The heart has its reasons whereof reason knows nothing," but I prefer the above translation. It just sounds better. Probably because it's pretty close to iambic pentameter.

(Here's a handy little poem by Coleridge that helps me keep feet straight:
Trochee trips from long to short
From long to long in solemn sort
Slow Spondee stalks - firm foot! but ill able
Ever to keep pace with Dactyl trisyllable.
Iamb goes from short to long,
With a leap and a bound the swift Anapests throng.

01 April 2006

Exciting news

I am the #1 and #2 results on a Google search for "brawny man chuck connors."