Saturday, May 23, 2009

Let's Do A Time Warp!

(Picture from here)

Followup: This Accretionary Wedge is now up.

This is a call for submissions for a June edition of the Geoblogosphere's favorite Carnival: the Accretionary Wedge! Rumors of its demise were greatly exaggerated.

As a geology person, one of my favorite ways of wasting time is daydreaming and trying to imagine what various events in the history of this magnificent planet (and its surrounding environment) would have looked like if I could have been there when they happened. For me, some of my favorite contemplations are eruptions at Mazama and Yellowstone, the Cretaceous-Tertiary impact event, the great waterfalls, rapids and river created when the Strait of Gibraltar opened up and the Mediterranean Sea refilled. I would love to actually watch dinosaurs go about their lives, and the Burgess fauna as well. I, and I imagine most geologists, could fill a book with historical (or future) places, things and events for which we'd consider sacrificing body parts to witness first-hand.

So your mission, should you choose to accept it, is this: “Where and when would you most like to visit to witness and analyze an event in Earth’s history?” Suppose you have a space-time machine to (safely and comfortably) watch an event unfold; which event would you most like to see? Why? What do we already know or hypothesize about that event that appeals to you, or that you would like to test? What would be the result, the upshot, of knowing more about this event? You do not necessarily need to limit yourself to Earth, nor to the past. You do not need to limit yourself to a particular instant if peeking several times over a period of minutes or ages helps you envision the evolution of something. You do not need to limit yourself to environments that could support life as we know it... imagine being able to take a time-sampling of magmatic composition from 10 miles below the surface as a nascent mid-ocean ridge opens up, or examining the circumference of the vent during one of Yellowstone's mega-eruptions! I'll tell you, this technology is basically magic. (See the third law here.) Feel free to toss in a few "also-rans" of your favorite day-dreams, but please develop one. This isn't intended to be just a set of lists.

Kim has suggested June 15th as the date, and after looking at a calender, that's about perfect. It's a Monday, so I can use Sunday to assemble it. Early submissions would be wonderful, late submissions will be added post-hoc, but I'd like to set a dealine for Saturday, June 13. (Oh noes! Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday next month!)

Kim, Chris and I are helping BrianR get the Wedge back on its feet; it's been pining for the fjords the last few months. Please help by mentioning this to all your geobloggy buddies. I'm looking forward to sharing your time-space daydreams.

P.S. Leave a comment to let me know when you have posted your submission.

Caturday: Ozma Outside

I mentioned in one of my recent Caturday posts that within a certain time frame, Ozma waits somewhere behind my apartment building for me to show up. If I do show up, she ambushes me and escorts me to her food. Tuesday I thought to take the camera out and try to get some pictures before I walked through the neighbors driveway...
A moment before this she was bounding at me, but she's a little thrown off by the clicky thing. She recognizes the camera, and doesn't really like the flash. But it was bright enough to photograph by natural light. A few seconds later she's sort of crouched down, not quite certain what I'm doing.
A crop from the previous.
She decides that the clicky thing is not a threat, and turns to show me the way to the food. Not the greatest picture, but that uplifted tail says she's pleased with the way things are going, and I like the sense of motion.

And I think this is the best picture I've ever taken of her. "Hurry up you oaf. My patience isn't limitless."


I do not support torture! I think sending the prisoners to Louisiana would be cruel and inhumane. (BTW, has Louisiana ever been suggested as a prisioner destination? By anyone?)Especially not if we're going to force-feed the prisoners corndogs without the sticks. David Vitter, who pays strange women to change his diapers, apparently agrees with me. The poll (which I think I've linked to the above screen capture) offers two choices:You can either support Guantanamo, or oppose prisoners coming to the US. It's not clear whether you're supposed to vote once or twice. I'm reluctant to vote; I don't want to touch anything Vitter has vetted.

In fairness to both David Vitter and myself, I should point out that the two of us probably came to this conclusion for very, very different reasons. (hat tip to Google Ads)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yes It Is

I have never shoved a pencil through my cheek. Common sense, a couple of photos and discussion with others have convinced me it would be an unpleasant experience. On the other hand, if I was honestly unconvinced that it would be bad, it would be quite sensible for me to try it out. It would not be very wise to spend months going on about how it's no big deal, and that only sissies think shoving a pencil through someone's cheek is an unethical, immoral, and unhelpful means to any sort of reasonable end.

I'm a big fan of empiricism. And I'm not entirely unhappy that right-wing radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller seems to be a fan too. That does not mean I support torture or poking pencils through someone's face. It just means that it's good to have evidence and experience to support your claims and contentions.

Sean, it's your turn. C'mon, try it. You'll like it. (Not.)

(Hat Tip to Blue Oregon)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hot For Teacher?

Mary K. Letourneau hosts "Hot for Teacher" nightclub event.

Okay, as an ex-teacher, I have to say this totally rocks my creep-0-meter. I don't know if people outside the NW are as sensitized as we are to news on this woman, but she captured her fifteen minutes of fame for being convicted for statutory rape of a student. At the time she was 34, he was 12. Is hosting the event legal? Yes. Is it tasteless? Oh, yes. Is it right or wrong? I can't really answer that.

But consider... I have been a life-long supporter of equal rights and treatment for all, regardless of whatever inherited variables you want to point at. If, as a 34-year-old man, I had been convicted of statutory rape of a 12-year-old girl (and for context, I was about 32 when student teaching; my students were in the 13-14 age range), served 7 1/2 years in prison, then married that student, I would certainly expect to be lynched if I tried to monetize that experience. And I would expect the headline to read, not "Hot for Teacher," but "Cold Dead Lecher."


I don't have the opportunity to watch first-run movies very often, which is OK... I enjoy them just as much later. For example, I just watched Serenity a couple of weeks ago; I don't know what I was expecting, but that wasn't it, and I really enjoyed it.

However, I am very jealous of all the people that do get to watch a movie as soon as it hits the theatre, and then get to tell us behind-the-timers all those juicy tidbits that we recall years later and make us think, "Oh, yeah... I really wanted to see that one."

Then I realized I didn't really need to limit myself to movies that have come out in the last 24 hours. Consider yourself warned.

*Spoiler Alert!*

  • The Wicked Witch is allergic to water. So are the aliens.
  • Darth Vader, the Emperor, Obi Wan Kenobi, Padme, and Yoda all die.
  • The ring gets destroyed.
  • The Pope's son did it.
  • It was all a dream.
  • He actually died at the beginning of the movie.
  • Despite all the disasters, and the painful, one-by-one loss of the crew, the mission is finally completed successfully.
  • Pretty much everbody is going to die, but a few may survive in underground bunkers.
  • The independent, rambunctious, disrepectful, but ultimately honorable, hero sacrifices himself at the end, and saves mankind.
  • Chief suffocates him, then makes his escape by throwing a sink through the window.
  • Luke and Leia are twins. So are Arnie and Danny.
  • Lecter gets free.
  • After the Nazi's faces melt off, the Ark gets stored in a giant warehouse.
  • Dave returns as a moon-sized fetus.
  • Mary Poppins really does do a topless scene.
  • Finally, they manage to destroy the terminator.
  • Only Ripley survives... oh, and the cat.
  • Despite a series of comedic mishaps and misunderstandings, the couple does finally fall in love.
  • Knowing how to identify obsidian can set you up for life.
  • Despite his initial disinclination, Michael does end up following in his father's footsteps.
  • In an enormous, fiery, slow-motion explosion, the enemy headquarters is destroyed.
  • Though borderline insane, his genius ultimately propels him to success.
  • It's actually Earth, in the future.
  • He's possessed. So is she.
  • There's a great nude scene with a really hot babe whose name I don't remember.
  • All in all, it was worthwhile, but not without its flaws.
So there you have some drive-by reviews of a number of my favorite movies.

Story Time

Tagged with a Splotchy virus by Dean. My contribution is after the rules...

Here's what I would like to do. I want to create a story that branches out in a
variety of different, unexpected ways. I don't know how realistic it is, but
that's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, at least one thread of the story can make
a decent number of hops before it dies out.

If you are one of the carriers of this story virus (i.e. you have been tagged and choose to contribute to it), you will have one responsibility, in addition to contributing your own piece of the story: you will have to tag at least one person that continues your story thread. So, say you tag five people. If four people decide to not participate,
it's okay, as long as the fifth one does. And if all five participate, well that's five interesting threads the story spins off into.

Not a requirement, but something your readers would appreciate: to help people trace your own particular thread of the narrative, it will be helpful if you include links to the chapters preceding yours.

The ground crunched beneath my feet. Besides my noisy footsteps, I heard only the sound of the gentle crackling fire behind me. Its faint orange light lazily revealed my immediate surroundings. Beyond the glow, there was total blackness. I whistled. I took the small rock I had been carrying and whipped it away from me, expecting a thud, crack or plop -- but a soft yelp of a cry answered. [Splotchy]

Failing to leap tall buildings of uneaten Nestlé Crunch and Krackel bars in a single bound, I had waded through them instead, the crunchiness of the candy adding to the crunchiness of the drought-stricken, pebble-strewn soil, elevating the aural to a heretofore unknown level of crunchiness, as if Dick Cheney himself were trampling the defleshed bones of third world refugee children scattered about his clawed feet, the dried marrow spewing forth from between shards glistening in the wan moonlight.

I shivered.

Silently thanking the Old Ones that I had decided to stuff my backpack with packets of instant coffee instead of those mini boxes of Rice Krispies or stalks of celery because those things are far too crunchy in comparison to things that are not like packets of instant coffee and all that Xtreme! crunchiness would've only disoriented my delicate sense of hearing, therefore preventing me from ever hearing the creature amidst the cacophony. Sore feet and a diet of nothing but caffeine and sugar for days and days. No wonder I ended up lost in this haunted quail preserve.

That feeble sound, I soon found out, was made not by a hideous hellbeast bent on tricking me by deceptive vocal prestidigitation into becoming its next meal, but by a meek, mousy, nearly hairless creature no more than three feet tall, almost like a midget hobbit dwarf with skin more pale than a made-up Twilight extra who dwells in a sunless condo. As it entered the camp, illumined by the rustle and pop of burning wood, I saw through the curling smoke that it was visibly frightened. I calmly gestured towards it, quickly pulling back, trying to reassure it that I meant no harm."

Do you understand me? Can you speak? Who are you?"

"My name -- my name is Dick Cheney." [Randal Graves]

I'd been living with Cheney in his small hut for only a matter of weeks but it seemed to have been years at this point. I had come to this haunted quail preserve looking for Cheney, hoping he could train me as he had my father.

So far all I'd faced was exhaustive physical training peppered with gems of Cheney's grammatically challenged "wisdom" as he taught me how to try and change reality through sheer exertion of willpower. I was having trouble taking Cheney's ancient bullshit belief seriously.

Today I was running through a jungle obstacle course with Cheney, as usual, perched lazily on my back sipping from an airplane bottle of scotch. We (I) had been running, swinging and jumping through the impenetrable brush for several sweat-soaked hours already when he tapped me on the shoulder.

"Piss, I must."

Having to go myself and grateful for the respite I skidded to a stop and placed the horrible little gnome onto the ground next to me. We both unzipped and started to drain our rancors. Curious; I snuck a glance at his miniature lightsaber. He must of caught sight of me looking.

"Judge me by my size? Size matters not."Cheney groaned and shook his head. He put his repulsive, gnarled claw on my hand led me to a nearby clearing. At it's immediate center sat a small, grizzled man with an unbelievably long, white beard.

"Control the mind of the Blitzer you must," said Cheney.

"I can't Master Cheney," I whined. "He's too logical."

"That," he sighed, "is why you fail." [Dean Wormer]

"When you confront the Dark Lord, the true meaning of logic will you face. And before you face that terror, the Olberman and Darth Maddow fall before you, they must. A mosquito's flatulent emission in a hurricane by comparison, the mind of Blitzer is."

"Yes, Master Cheney... I'll try."

"There is no try! Enhanced interrogations there are! Terrorists there are! Wiretaps there are! Try there is not! Hmph! A true Gopi you will never become."

And so it went, week after week, month after month... the endless sessions of paintball, the ceaseless repetition of arcane, ancient spells of fearsome power. The painfully vexing meditations bending the power of the fuzz to shape the world as it ought to be, rather than the way our pitiful senses perceive it to be. Contemplating hallowed koans and paradoxes: justifying the unjustifiable, attacking the unassailable, soiling the sacred, and deifying the dishonorable. The excrutiating full-body waxes, followed by the catharsis of scented oils. Master Cheney was my stern taskmaster and guide through it all. The mind of the Blitzer had long since crumbled before the power of the fuzz.

Finally one day, like a fatal cerebral hemorrhage, enlightenment burst forth. "Master!" I cried, "there is no spoon!"

Master Cheney scowled at me, and with tight, cold eyes growled, "A true Gopi have you become." He paused and grimaced in the heart-stopping manner I had come to recognize as "pleasure."

"Grass Squatter, time for you to leave, it is."

Packing my few possesions, a small briefcase of Rice Krispies and celery (it didn't occur to me to wonder what had become of my instant coffee, at the time), and my Osmium Galacticard, I strode to my HmV. My faithful droid, Rush2Hanni3, had kept it idling for the duration of my education. Brimming with confidence, and exulting in the glory of the power of the fuzz, I bade goodby to my Master Cheney's swamp.

Little did I know what I was to face; I might have been less eager... (Lockwood)

I tag Mr. Wayne, Viking, Darius Whiteplume, Samurai Frog, and Utah Savage... but I hate tagging people, and won't be the least offended if you don't feel like playing.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wednesday Words

Ben had a couple of good definitions last week:

Dicatess- noun: 1) A female dictator. 2) An overbearing girlfriend.
Trarroma- noun: Trauma suffered from heavily applied old lady perfume.
I would add that doodi is a word that comes up in the context of potty training: "Did you do your doodi?"

Without further adoodi, here are the next five.

Will's Wit and Wisdom

I went looking for an attributed version of the last quote on this list and found all these others first. Stewart is really, really good. Will Rogers was better.

  • We can make this thing into a Party, instead of a Memory. Letter to Al Smith regarding the Democratic party (19 January 1929)
  • You can't say that civilization don't advance, however, for in every war they kill you in a new way. The New York Times (23 December 1929)
  • You've got to be optimist to be a Democrat, and you've got to be a humorist to stay one. Good Gulf radio show (24 June 1934)
  • There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you. As quoted in Peter's Quotations : Ideas for Our Time (1979) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 524

  • Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. As quoted in The Wordsworth Dictionary of Quotations (1998) by Connie Robertson

  • Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need. As quoted in The Mammoth Book of Zingers, Quips, and One-Liners: Over 10,000 Gems of Wit and Wisdom, One-liners and Wisecracks (2004) by Geoff Tibballs, p. 16
  • We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others. "The World Tomorrow" After the Manner of Great Journalists
  • I am not a member of any organized party — I am a Democrat. Ch. 9 "Rogers was a lifelong Democrat but he studiously avoided partisanship. He contributed to the Democratic campaign funds, but at the same time he frequently appeared on benefit programs to raise money for the Republican treasury. Republican leaders sought his counsel in their campaigns as often as did the Democrats." ~ P. J. O'Brien

Interzone: The Early Days

Cassidy found this picture in (as I understand it) yesterday's GT. The interzone would actually be off the right edge near the horizon, not where the arrow points. The one building in the picture that is still standing is Benton Hall, now the music building, with the tower. The impression on the sidewalk outside says "4-12-19," so I'm guessing this building was completed shortly before that.
I'd like to walk down the street and snap a modern view from this spot, but I think there are a lot of trees in the way... might not be much to see.


Lifted from Bad Astronomy. Words are inadequate.

Galactic Center of Milky Way Rises over Texas Star Party from William Castleman on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dang! I Missed It!

A whole era gone while I batted my eyes. The Great Black Dope tells me,

"The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now
officially over,'' Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National
Committee, told state party chairmen today at an assembly at a Potomac
Riverfront convention center.
Gosh, I wish I'd seen it... a republican! Apologizing! It must have been glorious.

More oral excrement and a video here.

Just a Few Finishing Touches

I opened a story from this afternoon's NYT e-mail update, and confronted this unfortunate juxtaposition of advertisements:Almost ready for my close-up!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Bama is Not Beyond Criticism

I've been a big fan of Tom Tomorrow's "This Modern World" for years... this week's comic is a great example. You can also get a notification and a link via RSS. (You may have to flip past an ad, but it's worth it.) Here's one frame, but I'll make you click over to read it all in it's appalling hilarity. Tom has appalling hillarity down.

Monday Minerals: In Which Others Pick Up My Burden

I just haven't been very inspired to do my Monday Minerals and Friday Fragments lately. So imagine my pleasure when I found some of my favorite bloggers had posted minerals today...
Feldspar! (by Splotchy)
Zircon! (by Bubs)
Pyrite! (by SamuraiFrog)
Hematite! (by Mnmom)

I'd be a jerk if I didn't play along...

A very nice butterfly twin in the south steps of the Chemical Engineering building on the OSU campus. (quarter for scale near the bottom)

Today's Trivia

From The Guardian:
At 487bn gigabytes (GB), if the world's rapidly expanding digital content
were printed and bound into books it would form a stack that would stretch from
Earth to Pluto 10 times. As more people join the digital tribe – increasingly
through internet-enabled mobile phones – the world's digital output is
increasing at such a rate that those stacks of books are rising quicker than
Nasa's fastest space rocket.
Now I don't know if that latter comparison is literal or figurative, but the image of a stack of books growing, as data is added to the internet, faster than a spacecraft travels (~8 miles per second in orbit, 10 or more miles per second if it's leaving earth orbit) is kind of mind-boggling, you know?

Clouds, Confined

Fluffy cirrus today, caught in the power lines... Hot and sunny...but the moon is out.

Earthquake Survival Tips

The Onion has 'em. Here are a couple of examples:
  • Look out your window often. If you see a large, zig-zag-shaped crevasse moving rapidly from the horizon toward your home, step either to the right or the left.
  • A doorway is the safest place to be during a quake. Eat, sleep and work in doorways.

Many more at the link.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Funnies

This has been one of my most exasperating posts ever... pictures won't load, Windoze Explorator keeps crashing, one locking up Windoze along with it, and I've had to restart twice. Grumpy, but I think we have an explanation... the whole Microsoft crew has gone looney:bill gates
see more Political Pictures

My First Dictionary summarizes my mindset perfectly...I seem to have come across quite a few religion-themed funnies this week. Samurai Frog found a whole passel of them. This one was my favorite, but there's quite a few more on this post. The Good Kentuckian reminisces about the good ol' days...
I don't remember who pointed me at this blog, but I appreciate it. Try to imagine the Colbert Report if Jed and Granny Clampet were the hosts. If you think Jonanthon Swift's "A Modest Proposal" (Wiki, Text) was a little tepid and shy, The Good Kentuckian might be up your ally.

Those danged science revisionists are still at it; if four elements were enough for Jay-Zus, they oughtta be enough for chemists. (From the Stupid Idea blog... this was another recent find I'll be keeping an eye on)
Yet another fairly recent find that I've been meaning to give a shout out to is "It's Lovely! I'll Take It!" This is kind of a Cake Wrecks for real estate. Sometimes the pictures are funny in themselves, but the real humor is in the author's dead-on snark. The following was titled, "We represent the realtors guild, the realtors guild, the realtors guild."
The accompanying text reads: "A teeny tiny little real estate agent took this photo, holding the camera as high as he or she could. The camera was too heavy for the teeny tiny little real estate agent's arms; thus the blurriness. Poor teeny tiny little real estate agent." I try to avoid swiping other's posts in their entirety, but this was just too funny to NOT pass along. Highly recommended.

The ever-dependable "Pets Who Want to Kill Themselves" depicted an ingenious feline who's learned to find it's own seafood... ...but that look of irritation shows a kitty who's just realized how hard it is to chow down with a great glass bubble over your head. The sea food, on the other hand, is terrified, but has developed a surprising counter-measure:Yes, my friends, that is exactly what it looks like: a flying squid. (From here, via Pharyngula)I don't recall if I've posted funnies from Picture is Unrelated (front page here) before... think of this spot as a surreality show. The real question here is "How did that happen?" Lots of funny thoughts in the comments.

Criggo somehow manages to make me laugh more often than any other website. Recently the site prompted me to look up some information on a holiday that, to me at least, was fairly obscure: Armed Forces Day. According to the linked Wiki, it's the third Saturday of May in the US. Other countries celebrate similar holidays, but on different dates. (Above here, below here)Unbeknownst to me, right about the time I was posting my own slight modifications to our Vulcanizer-In-Chief, Maureen Dowd posted an op-ed accompanied by the following artful rendering of our favorite alien. I most often don't read MoDo, so I didn't even see this until Monday or Tuesday.
After my closing comment on the validity of comparing rocket science to teaching in a recent post, I had to put up this picture:
moon landing
see more Political Pictures

I found this pretty funny, but honestly, this dog is so goofy looking that the second line just becomes overkill. Earlier this afternoon I commented to Iris that I'd bet every adult on the planet remembers some kid from elementary school who looked just like this.
funny pictures of dogs with captions
see more dog and puppy pictures

Returning to Barack for a moment, here's one more example of how things are changing in the country:
barack obama
see more Political Pictures

A number of leaders made me laugh this week...
osama bin laden
see more Political Pictures

boris yeltsin
see more Political Pictures

(This was titled "The Zen of Alaskan Politics")
sarah palin
see more Political Pictures

Have a good week at work, but if you need a distraction to completely shut down any useful activity (for whatever reason), break this out. (Hat tip to Duhism)

So looking at my "post options," I started putting this together shortly after four. It's now after 8:30. I'm sticking a "Sick and Tired" tag on this post... but I hope you enjoy the funnies as much as I did. And I really hope you have an easier time reading them than I did getting them up.

Join the Sean Hannity Waterboarding Team!

Thanks to Dr. Zaius, we can help Sean Hannity keep his promise to get waterboarded for charity. It's not torture if the cause is just.

If this is unfamiliar to you, here's a report from several weeks ago, explaining Sean Hannity's "talking big, living small" offer to be waterboarded for charity. I haven't heard of him following up on this, and I think that's probably why Dr. Z brought it up again (you can the get the embed code for your own blog at this link, if you wish). After all, there's kids suffering out there because Sean Hannity isn't getting waterboarded, and that's just unacceptable.

Not only that, but I can get some more cool bling for my sidebar!