Saturday, August 30, 2008

Gonzo Gustav Gets Going

Gustav has been getting lots of coverage across the web, and from what I can tell, in major newspapers. I'm sure (though I haven't been watching) the Weather Channel is doing a good job; their coverage of tropical storms is second to none, and they've got the expertise on board to get it right.

Nevertheless, perhaps I can point you at some info and sources that are new and interesting. Make no mistake: like Camille, Andrew and Katrina, this is going to be a storm that we remember by name for years.

According to Reuters, New Orleans Mayor Nagin may order an evacuation of that city starting Sunday morning. Even without the official order, Nagin and others have already been encouraging everyone, particularly non-residents, to leave immediately. Train and bus stations are crowded, though I haven't seen any suggestion that those using public transportation have been unable to find space.

Bush declared Louisiana an emergency area (meaning that federal monies and materiel can be used to prepare and assist ahead of the storm) first, and later added Texas and Mississippi. Then he took a nice long bike ride (seriously).

Despite assurances that petroleum infrastructure is much safer and more resistant to damage from such storms due to technological and engineering advances in recent years, drilling and pumping platforms in the Gulf are being shut down and evacuated in front of the storm. According to the AP article linked,

As of midday Saturday, slightly more than three-fourths of the Gulf's oil production and nearly 40 percent of its natural gas output had been shut down,according to the U.S. Minerals Management Service, which oversees offshore activity. Shell said it was on schedule to complete the evacuation of more than 1,300 workers from 20 production platforms and other facilities by Saturday afternoon. The task took four days and involved 17 helicopters. BP said it also planned to have its workers evacuated Saturday.

Some spills are more or less inevitable. Crude oil prices have been creeping up over the last few days as traders get jittery over the prospect of Gustav, and it looks as if prices at the pump have also risen a few cents per gallon as a result of increased crude prices (See the above article). Serious damage to pumping and drilling facilities at sea, or to refining facilities on shore (or both), would almost certainly result in a serious spike in consumer prices, drastically reducing or eliminating the drop in prices we've seen over the summer.

For the weather wonks out there, first, I found a good page on MSNBC that appears to be an updated hurricane tracking site. This is the home page (which right now defaults to Gustav), and this is the (specifically) Gustav page. Note that by clicking on the "more" button to the right of the name on the upper left, you can select other active storms, and it looks as if going to the home site over the next few months will take you directly to whatever storm is of current interest (though that remains to be seen).

Next there's an article that has a nice clear explanation of the Gulf loop current, a deep warm vortex that, because it holds a large volume of warm water, can provide an energizing kick to any tropical storm passing over it. Normally the warm water layer is relatively thin, and as a hurricane passes over it, turbulence and mixing bring cooler water to the surface. This in turn removes much of the energy source (evaporation) that drives a hurricane. So the storm, in a sense, sows the seeds of it's own weakening. But with the Gulf loop current, the warm water extends to greater depths, so mixing in that deeper water still leaves plenty of warm, evaporating moisture to power the storm. This is what happened with Katrina, and it looks like it will happen with Gustav as well.

As I was writing this up, a WaPo piece came in saying New Orleans has ordered a mandatory evacuation.

The evacuation of New Orleans becomes mandatory at 8 a.m. Sunday along the
vulnerable west bank of the Mississippi River, and at noon on the east bank.
Nagin called Gustav the storm of the century and told residents to "get
your butts out of New Orleans now
." "This is the real deal, not a
test," Nagin said as he issued the order, warning residents that staying would
be "one of the biggest mistakes of your life." He emphasized that the
city will not offer emergency services to anyone who chooses to stay
. [bold added]

So unlike the Katrina episode, the Super dome (nor any other facility) will not be open for those who choose to remain behind.

Another site I've been paying pretty close attention to is Dr. Jeff Master's Wunderblog, a part of the Weather Underground site. This site is moderately technical, and if you don't have any background in meteorology, it might be more than you're interested in dealing with. On the other hand, if you're a weather channel junkie, and feel pretty comfortable with the terminology and ideas that get kicked around there in the more detailed discussions, you'll probably really like this site too: maybe a little more than you're used to, but not out of reach. Right now, he's got a great image of surface temps that really bring out the loop current mentioned above.

As you can see, Gustav should cross over the loop during the midday tomorrow; at that time it is anticipated it will kick up to category 5, the strongest and most dangerous level a hurricane can reach. Note that when I first wrote on Gustav, it was not really expected to reach Cat 5. It will then pass over cooler water, and probably diminish to Cat 3 or 4. Do Not take comfort in this prediction of weakening. This was exactly what Katrina did. When it hit New Orleans, it was in the upper-level Cat 3, where Gustav is expected to be. But Gustav (as of now) is anticipated to pass a little off to the SW of New Orleans- which is actually worse than a direct hit. To the NE of the eye, the wind speed adds onto the overall speed, so the highest winds, worst waves, and worst surges are off to the NE of the eye. More precisely, and perhaps a clearer explanation, imagine you are the hurricane; you are walking forward and swinging a rope so that it passes forward on your right side, across your field of vision from right to left, backward on your left side, and behind you from left to right. Since you are moving forward, and the rope is moving forward as it passes your right side, the fastest speed relative to the ground will be as it passes by your right side. Its slowest speed relative to the ground will be as it passes by your left. So looking at the predicted eye path of a hurricane, imagine yourself standing in the eye and traveling with it. The area off to your right is going to get the worst of the storm. This is where New Orleans sits. I am not trying to make a prediction here- I am nowhere near qualified for that- but based on simple physics and basic meteorology, and current predictions, it's beginning to look like this might be even worse than Katrina. To the folks on the Central Gulf Coast: my hopes and prayers are with you. Get your butts in gear.

Quote of the Day: The Emperor's Sith Apprentice

"[Sarah Palin is] going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he'll be around at least that long," said Charlie Black, one of Mr. McCain's top advisers. From The Washington Monthly.

How Would YOU Caption this Picture?

Samurai Frog provides not only a brilliant caption, but a brillianter post title.

More Palin

Count the metaphors regarding the McCain/Palin ticket in this clip. Another of my favorite Monty Python sketches.

A is for Amazon

Have you noticed that as you type a search term into Google, it puts up suggestions as you enter the letters? It's a nice time saver I appreciate. What if you only entered one letter? Google still makes suggestions. Brady Forrest at the site O'Reilly has posted what I suppose you could think of as a web child's first alphabet book. He notes some changes since the 2004 edition.

B is for Bebo.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Our Side

I don't want to idolize him, but he's so much better than anything I've seen for so long... it's difficult not to.


Say Who?
OK, I didn't think this was actually permissible under the constitution, but McCain, in a move that has stunned everyone, has tagged British Citizen and ex-Python Michael Palin for his VP spot. AND convinced him to wear women's clothing and campaign around in bars!

(Thanks to American Street for the picture and gag)

I think this says a great deal about McCain's diplomatic skills and his ability to convince others to act against their own interests- the core of Republican campaign strategy.


Say What?

(sra plin)

Oh. Never mind. As I was saying, McCain has chosen to tag 1 1/2 year veteran Alaska governor and former beauty queen Sarah Palin as his running mate. (Sorry, Michael, that's the breaks. You're probably a terrist synthesizer anyway.)

(Thanks to Sadly No! for the picture and the gag)

Wow! You know, I'll bet if I promise to vote for her and that lumpy guy, she'd sleep with me. Woo Hoo! I'm gonna take the VP POW! Just think about that! Two POW's on the same ticket!


Go Away! I gotta good fantasy going here.

(ss frtyfr)

SAY WHAT???!! Forty four???!!! Oh man, she's way too young! I thought we were talking about hot sex! You mean she's really going to hold the office? Well, poop. Heck, I'd do her anyway. If she asked nice. But no way am I gonna vote for her.

(oops, forgot to note the source... um, thanks)

Okay, to get serious (if only for a bit), this choice says nothing good about McCain and and his decision-making processes, and it has little to do with Palin.

  • McCain wants to show he's a "maverick." Sorry, buddy: to those of us for whom that might have mattered, you blew it in '04 when you stumped for Shrub. It's the last thing you want to demonstrate to your base. Verdict: Fail.
  • McCain wants to balance his ticket in terms of positions. Sorry, she's pro-gun, anti-choice, anti-gay... the only issue she may differ on is that she participates in fundamentalist Christian rituals and beliefs instead of just courting and fawning all over them. Verdict: Fail.
  • McCain wants a veep who's strengths balance his weaknesses. Sorry, Palin's bachelor's degree was in journalism (I admit that voters, especially those on the right, consistently express great admiration, respect and trust for journalists) She has no experience running a business- unless you count running a fishing boat with her husband. Her political career consists primarily of being mayor for a town of 8000-9000, and a year and a half as governor of a state that's one of the most federally subsidized in the union, awash in oil money (no income tax- imagine all the simplification to her job on that issue alone), with fewer constituents than any of a dozen US mayors (2005 estimates, from here): New York, N.Y., Los Angeles, Calif., Chicago, Ill., Houston,Tex, Philadelphia, Pa., Phoenix, Ariz., San Antonio, Tex., San Diego, Calif., Dallas, Tex., San Jose, Calif., Detroit, Mich., Indianapolis, Ind., Jacksonville, Fla.). Verdict: Fail.
  • McCain recognizes that the right is eager to move on from the traditional GOP choices of wealthy, powerful white males. pfft. Phbbbbbtttt! HAHA! AHAHHAHAHHAHHAH-HAHHAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaa..... *snk* (gasp) snk-snk-snk.... AAAAAHHAHHAHAHAH- haaaaaa. oh man that hurts.... **sniff** hmph nononno, just move on now..... Really who do you think the Republicans are? That's right: wealthy, powerful white males, their chattel, and those they've managed to convince to act against their own interests. Verdict: Fail.
  • McCain recognizes the importance of Alaska as a key battleground state; with this decision he has a lock on those 3 electoral college votes. Heh. Verdict: Fail.
  • I could keep going in this vein for quite a while, but here is my realistic best attempt to understand the thinking represented here: McCain doesn't care a whit about what Sarah Palin can do for this country, or to help him perform well in governing it, but he's gambling there are enough women who will vote their gender and enough guys who will vote their testicles that he might pull out a squeeker. Verdict: the jury is still in recess, but likely, Fail.

The fact is, I don't know that much about Palin. What I do know is a mixed bag. A blogger I disagree with pretty fundamentally, but have a great deal of respect for, cued me in on Palin nearly two months ago, so I was probably less surprised than many; I was also not too displeased until I started seeing some of the other reports today on her stands on social issues. Those stands are very much at odds with her Libertarian politics. I honestly think she'd make a better president than McCain (certainly better than Shrub), but as I said to another coffee drinker a few hours ago, given the choice between rabies and dysentery, I'll take dysentery every time. Fortunately, we actually have a choice between rabies and Obama.

But for those guys who are tempted to think with their nuts rather than with their gray matter, I'll leave you with one last image to ponder.

Thanks to Just an Earth-Bound Misfit for the picture, in turn from Rising Hegemon

Thursday, August 28, 2008

McCain Bingo

OK, I've seen this transcript more times than I can count now, but I have a good tie-in as an excuse now, and in case you haven't seen it, you should:

Even if you didn't see John McCain's interview this week with Jay Leno, you may
have read about this exchange:

LENO: For a million dollars, how many houses do you

McCAIN: Could I just mention to you, Jay, that, in a moment
of seriousness, I spent five-and-a-half years in a prison cell. I didn’t
have a house. I didn’t have a kitchen table. I didn’t have a table. I didn’t
have a chair. And I spent those five-and-a-half years because, not because I wanted to get a house when I got out.
The above quote and quote-of-a-quote come from Hullaballoo in this post. The linked post provides a little game that everyone can play each time McCain gives a speech (really, anytime any Republican mouthpiece gives a speech)
BINGO! YES!! That's right: you too can reduce America's policy to a series of catch phrases and buzzwords! Part of the fun is that we are all invited to submit more words and phrases for this project, so if there's any more of McCain's (or repub generally) verbiage that is used frequently enough to get your attention, leave said phrase(s) or term(s) in the comments here or over in the original post. I'll start with "Drill Here, Drill Now," "Energy Independence," "Experience," "Determined [or] Determination," "Tax Relief," (used more than "tax cut," which is in the table above) and "Resolve." Have fun and good luck!

Update October 6, 2008: Holy cow! It took me nearly 4 months to get 1000 visitors, and I've 350 in the last few days, most of you looking at this page. Note that it was posted about a month and a half ago, simply because I thought it was amusing. If you really want to play the game though, one card won't do it. Check out this site for randomly generated cards (refresh to create a new one). And while the Biden-Palin debate has passed, who knows, the Campaign may allow Caribou Barbie an unscripted moment. You might want to be prepared with Palin Bingo cards as well. Thanks for visiting!

Popeye McCain

From the American Street Blog comes this comic:
I was going to plug the T-shirt similar to this, which is much the same drawing, but with the caption "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. That Gasoline smell reminds me of victory" But I can't save the image. So I won't. But I do like the humor of the one I could save. This cartoonist shows up regularly on this blog, and I look forward to his posts.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Welcome to Minneapolis

Over the past couple of months I've been accumlating the occasional imagery that I would like to offer to the RNC as they prepare for their big week. When you're through looking these over, I invite you to scroll down a couple of posts and look at the hurricane pictures; they may want to figure out some way to spin Gustav in their favor (heh). For example, if McCain gets his tax plan passed, everyone will earn more than 5 million dollars a year, and will own seven houses. So no one will need to evacuate; they'll just go on vacation.

So first, here's McCain's response to Obama and his audacity:
Then there's the official RNC seal for the convention. You didn't really think they'd be all critical of Barack, and not try to pirate his idea now, did you?
This one has been out there on the intertubes for a while. McCain's crew has been very savvy about courting the lumpy, wrinkly white male gazillionaire demographic, 'cause it'd be a shame if 50 percent of the potential campaign donations, from the 0.1 percent of voters who fit that profile, went uncollected due to misunderstanding the role of technology these days. There's a parallel ad series reassuring those same folks that McCain is familiar with all button conventions, and has no intention of switching America's nucyooler deterent over to a mouse. He knows how to use the button. And that was good enough when he was a POW; it's plenty good now.
The RNC is bending over forward to make the Porcelain Stall Republicans welcome. The Log Cabin Republicans, not so much.

And finally the good folks at the Daily Show (despite what I said earlier, I love this show; it's the medium that exasperates me to distraction) have all chipped in to make all the conventioneers feel right at home.
And can anyone explain to me just how they came to choose Minnesota?

In Case of Emergency

Look for someone wearing this t-shirt. Original post and link to vendor here.

This Could get Ugly

Hurricane Gustav moving away from Haiti, toward Cuba and the Gulf of Mexico.

And New Orleans? (Reuters- larger image at link)

So Fay just dumped 2-3 feet on my brother and his family. If there had been serious problems I would have heard. Then I hear there's a storm headed toward Haiti- it makes a blip on my radar. It hits Haiti, and this morning I see this:

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Gustav drifted away from Haiti
and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday after killing 22 people and was set to
become a dangerously powerful hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico oil fields.

I had no idea it was that strong... and that bit about threatening oil fields is not good. Then as the day goes on, I start seeing more. And More.

"A powerful storm in the Gulf of Mexico could force shutdowns on the offshore
rigs that account for a quarter of U.S. crude production and much of its natural

This is really not good.

Current projections have God's Staff barreling towards the Gulf of Mexico, then
straight on towards New Orleans, Louisiana.

The fellow with the preceding quote, a meteorology blogger, explains that "Gustav" means "Staff of the Gods." If the storm passes to the west of New Orleans, he says, "You're looking at 2005, only worse."

From the NOAA National Hurricane Center- I think this link may lead to the latest update. If not, you shouldn't have trouble finding it. Full-size version of above image here.

I have come to have some respect for Reuters (note that the first story I linked, the first I saw was also from this feed:

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) "Three years after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the
Louisiana coast, New Orleans residents on Wednesday again faced the prospect of
an evacuation as Tropical Storm Gustav loomed."

I'm not a big fan of Anderson Cooper (I think most of the TV news reporters are preening egotists: "The most important news on television! Me!'), but you'd have to be a complete ding-a-ling to miss the political implications here: "On Friday, all eyes might turn to McCain and the Republican convention. OR… they might turn to Hurricane Gustav." Even science people are looking at the political aspect. "As New Orleans prepares to evacuate three years to the day that Hurricane Katrina hit, Republicans should not be happy."

And of course the political bloggers are all over it:

Lawyers Guns and Money: "2 PM Monday is when the GOP convention is scheduled to be kicking off, so this might possibly be taken as evidence that Mother Nature has a mordant sense of humor."

Just an Earth-Bound Misfit: "The Navy's forecast for Hurricane Gustav has it drawing a bead on New Orleans."

The weather services are all over it too. These are on accuweather right now:

Gustav Revs Up
Major Gulf Hurricane
Threat of a Direct Hit on the United States
Energy Futures up on Gustav Worries
Potential Storm Impact on the United States

And so on. Three years to the day after Katrina devastated the city, New Orleans will be making the final decision on whether to order another evacuation. Or an evacuation may have already started. And of course, it may miss the city completely. As you can see from the map above, the center has quite a wide projection at this point: from the Eastern Florida panhandle to the Texas-Louisiana Border. Landfall will most likely be Monday afternoon or evening. There's plenty of time for things to change.

But here's one more thing to keep in mind: we're at basically the hottest part of the summer, and more to the point, the highest water temperatures. And high water temps are what power hurricanes. The following map, from Weather Underground, shows an interpretive water temperature map based on buoy data. (I was under the impression that satellite IR measurements were quicker, cheaper and more accurate, but I couldn't find that info; I may have been mistaken there.) Note that temperatures out in the central Gulf are up near 90; mid to upper 80's in the coastal Delta region, mid to lower 80's near the base of the Florida Panhandle. This suggests if Gustav runs out through the middle of the Gulf, it could power up very rapidly, and maintain the high energy if comes on shore close to or west of New Orleans. (See Weather Moose- also linked above- for an explanation for why a miss to the west of New Orleans could be much worse than a direct hit) On the other hand, while poor Florida does not need more wind and rain, swinging along a more eastward path, skirting the western Florida coast for example, probably means it would not be as strong when it finally makes landfall.

Now I for one do not think that this administration has been held accountable in any reasonable way for it's dereliction during and after Katrina. And I think McCain got an inexcusable pass from the MSM when he claimed he had voted for every Katrina relief and reconstruction bill that had come up. In fact, he had not voted for any of them. I dread that we are about to learn first hand that little or nothing has been accomplished during the last three years to prepare us for the next blow, come all too soon.

I am saddened beyond description by the possibility that the final silver bullet to McCain's were-dog of a campaign is a human tragedy of the same magnitude that at last woke most Americans to the incompetence of our current deciders.

Irony alert: McCain's birthday is Friday, maybe +/- a day. He was having a photo-op with his buddy Shrub and a cake as hundreds of his fellow citizens, "my friends," were gasping and sputtering their final breaths. Three years later, almost to the day, there's a good chance that hundreds more of his "friends" will be respiring their last as he cheerfully cuts his birthday cake in front of adoring cameras, and prepares to accept a nomination for which he was never qualified, and clearly, at this point in time, is not fit.

"Heh heh! Sucks to be you!"

Why They Call it a Feed

There was an old, old cartoon, I'm guessing 1930's, that I associated with Warner Brothers and Looney Tunes (it played on the same Saturday morning cartoons as Bugs Bunny, Road Runner, Daffy Duck, Tweety [no, not Chris Matthews- the other Tweety], and so on) but I'm not even certain those companies existed at the time. It was about a gluttonous little pig that was caught by a mad scientist and strapped into a chair then sent through a crazy feeding machine. A mechanical arm attached to his snout and another attached to his chin forced his mouth to work, and other apparatus kept shoving the food in. Turns out, if I remember correctly, that the pig was having a nightmare. It was pretty nightmarish for a kid to watch, too, but it was enjoyable in a cartoonish scary way.

So I just wrote up several posts. Went outside and smoked a cigarette. No more than a couple of hours away from the RSS. There are 236 new items for me to read. I really feel like hitting the "mark all items as read" button. *sigh*

But I wouldn't want to miss anything good.

Late last week, as I was leaving Interzone after a marathon day of reading (i.e., I started before mid-afternoon), I told Katy I had finally finished it.

"What?" she asked.

"The internet."

"The whole thing?"

"The very last page."

"Wow, that's great!"

"Yeah, I won't spoil it for you, but the ending is great. Totally out of left field, took me completely by surprise. But I'm a little upset."


"Yeah, I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow."

Turns out all the netizens all got together that night, and wrote a whole bunch of sequels.

And I'm still strapped in, being force-fed by this mad scientist. But I'm not missing anything good. ; )

Aaaahh, So THAT's the Problem

I gather HRC's speech last night was a real Barn Burner: even the bloggers who are not Hillary fans are giving her a lot of credit. A few have said they wish she (and others) had lashed out at McCain more sharply, and some felt that she (and others) delivered a few good zingers. But I don't think that anyone has expressed disappointment with her. (Historical background: I felt much more positively about her before she decided that the rules needed to be rewritten, and before she decided that "the popular vote"- a non-concept in dem primaries- was the important thing, and before she decided that the Clintons needed to dominate the convention. See here, here, and here. Despite all that, I hope she doesn't pull a Gore and drop out of politics- not that I blame Gore or feel he made the wrong decision. I think HRC could contribute in many important ways to the leftward swing of American politics I've been waiting for since Reagan was elected.)

McCain has been accused of using one sentence form: A subject, a verb and POW. If you didn't know, it was Biden who coined that quip and contributed to the quick demise of Rudy Giuliani's prexy denchal bid, but with "911" in the punchline position. But the mainstream media is just as subservient to that sentence form as McCain and his staffers. We expect a candidate to speak in propagandese, and to a large extent, adjust for it- whether it's dem or repub, I am very alert to buzzwords and the phrase of the day. But we don't expect and therefore don't adjust for a media megalith that one hand talks in terms of subject, verb, POW, and on the other...

Clinton gave the best speech she's capable of delivering. And finally, the
Democrats looked like they know how to throw a party.

From a Newsweek article, just a few hours old, entitled, "Hillary Rex." I don't want to pick this apart line by line, for two main reasons: first, it's not worth my time, and second, I don't really enjoy reading that kind of post. I tend to skim the first paragraph or so, then scroll through the rest of it, sometimes pausing for a block quote, or if a highlighted segment draws my interest. Now, in fairness, this is called a "review," not an "analysis" or a "report." It is also not called an "editorial-" though a review in this context is almost necessarily editorial in nature. You know, like a movie review, or a book review, or a discussion of the socialite's do. Like a party. And of course, now that Jeremy McCarter has pointed it out, it's clear: the reason that dems have not been able to get anything done since the 1960's (Sorry Bill, but like Michael Moore said, you're the best Republican president this country has ever seen) is that they just don't know how to throw a PARTY! Nothing to do with policy, or negative campaigning, or outright lies, or media bias and complicity, the dems just don't buy the upper shelf booze. They hire the cheap neighborhood caterer, not the old-school midtown established in 1820, at $7500 per seat. They let any old body show up, without even checking the tux label!

I do recommend this article- I hope it angers you as much as it did me. It'll give you new appreciation for the phrase "damning with faint praise." Although, it's not so much faint praise, as the fact that the good isn't good enough, the bad isn't wicked enough. The fact that a person can write so much and say so little is amazing. The idea that a convention should be reviewed as in the NYT society pages infuriates me; doubly so if there's not similar coverage for the repugs next week.

And Jeremy McCarter, you have a standing invitation to kiss my hairy, pimple-ridden butt. Let me know when it's convenient.

Well, That's Interesting!

Didja hear Obama chose Biden for his VP position. Oh... you did?

Sorry, this campaign stuff has been really getting on my nerves. I can't even watch the Daily Show, which is close to the only thing on the idiot box I like. Missed the Olympics entirely: I don't think I saw one moving shot- quite a few photos, but no video, no pundits, no commentators, no "up close and personals." I'm very much aware of what's happening, ...but...

Wait a minute...

You know, that may be why I feel a stroke coming on, and the pulse in my arteries becomes audible, every time I turn on the tube.

It's implemented only for those who don't know and don't want to know what's going on. Okay, I feel much better now.

When's the convention again?

Oh, and by the way (you know, P.S. and all that), Wolf Blitzer is an egotistical, self-satisfied buffoon who thinks it's more important to yammer on about trivia and ask irrelevant questions of a whole panel of egotistical, self satisfied buffoons, and tell you how many times he's interviewed someone (candidate or official), than to actually let them speak. You know, more than three seconds of coherent thought, and the viewers might come to expect it and all.

Thus endeth the rant.

Space Opera...

...takes on a whole new meaning in this clip. Thanks to Dark Roasted Blend for this one. I just came across this site a week and a half ago, and it immediately ended up an RSS subscription. Many interesting pictures, some just beautiful, some weird, retro, spacey, amazing. You name it. Each post seems to sort of revolve around some theme, but it varies a great deal. Lots of links to sources and related stuff; sometimes just selected cool links.

They pose this as a question, but really, it's what they do: "Looking for the weird and wonderful things to complement your daily coffee ritual." And since I'm quoting them liberally (I guess most any time I quote someone, I'm quoting them liberally), this is what they have to say about the video: ""Positronic Duo" sings a charming love song in this final chapter of "La Nave de los Monstruos" (1960, info)."

OK, I've just figured something out... the site looks very different from what I see in my RSS feeder- I do like to link to both the post of interest and the overall site home. Turns out, the previous vid clip (below) was in this same post. As I have tried to indicate, there is quite a bit here; quite a bit in each post actually. This clip is one of those that's just so bad, it's kind of charming. If your three year old had drawn it, you'd put it on your refrigerator door. I won't say enjoy....

Holy Cow...

...I just went through my notes and stuff. I have been awful busy reading this week. Lotsa stuff. Lots and lots. Let's get on with it.

This video took me a minute or two to figure out, then when I thought I knew where it was going, it ended up going somewhere else. Quite charming, unless as a human you don't like the ending (literally and figuratively).

As a geology person, one learns, in a symbolic way at least, to contemplate the world from completely different time scales. Mostly longer and slower, but sometimes, as with volcanic explosions, meteorites and other fast, energetic events, you need to be able to consider the world on time scales shorter and faster than human experience can really register. It's a joy of the discipline, to look for consistency across scales of time and space, that most people never have the opportunity to perceive- to their great loss. But despite all that, I never really considered what the world would look like to the rock itself, if it could see and think like I do.
(This is about 8 1/2 minutes long, but it's very much worth it.)

On the Spot Storm Reporting

Whoever does the online weather reporting for the Oregonian deserves a pat on the back and a beer. Maybe a raise; I don't know what he/she/they make. But in addition to a brief description to the day's forecast, there is generally some amusing anecdote, and sometimes a vid clip. Today's extra was a gem. I should include the same disclaimer that the writer did: disastrous storms aren't funny. Nevertheless, this storm is, well, pretty funny. I always wondered about those guys- you know, "Don't put yourself in harm's way, but if you happen to get yourself into a horrific situation and you want to give us your video for free, so we don't actually have to pay one of our reporters to stand out there in Hell manifest on earth, here's how you do it." I guess the reporters normally set the can on the ground so it's not in the shot.

Well, That Oughta do it... ummm...

I have been irritated for some time with the amount of blank space around the edges of this darned blog, and particularly by the cut-off edges of pictures. Now I don't know HTML, but I have a certain amount of confidence in logic. And Trial and Error. And one of the few truly important things that I've learned in my life is to save before you start messing around. Long story short, I just widened the post box. The little roundy corners are now odd little teeth into the post (main) panel, but I'll figure that out and take care of it some other time.

Puts me in mind of a Piraro (my favoritist cartoonatist ever) comic I saw some time back...
Yeah, and if it wasn't obvious, what finally pushed me to distraction was my LOL Lion having his caption cut off (see below). That'll fix ya.

My First LOLcat

Busy web week. I know, I know, I'm an addict. I'm getting an early start today, so maybe I'll get a few posts up. I've come across a lot of good stuff- time to share.

Speaking of which, I just captioned my first LOL cat; I'm happy with it. Even it's only a recaption of someone else's.
funny pictures
moar funny pictures