Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Raise a glass to the geeks!

I've been away from this here blog lately devoting my ever decreasing work blogging time to following the Phoenix Mission to our solar system next door neighbor planet Mars. I will never tire of seeing shit like this work and stand in awe of the guys and gals who make it happen. I enjoy every little bit of news no matter how minute in detail. 10 months through space at 17,000 miles an hour to a parachute/retrorocket slowed decent and touchdown. Just amazing.

I'll never be able to understand the math and biology that goes into and results from our space exploration beyond a layman's comprehension, but I experience the same wonderment that I see in my kids eye when she reads her space books and watches her Universe program. It also reinvigorates my optimism on all fronts by providing proof that, if we are capable of making something like Phoenix happen, no problem in front of us is unsolvable. We put a lander on Saturn's moon Titan for Christ's sake, do you have any idea how fucking far away that is from us!

I know if I sat down at their lunch table and started asking questions they'd probably make inside jokes at my expense and generally goof on me, but I don't care. I'd still buy'em as many virgin margaritas as they could handle and hoist'em high in praise of their work.

Sorry to leave you, but I've got to check and see if all the prep tests went okay for the robotic arm retraction...

This is a picture taken by the Huygens probe of the surface of Titan. Titan has seas of liquid methane and it even rains methane.

This is a ariel photo taken from the the Huygen's Probe as it decended through Titan's atmosphere. Check out the methane river against the mountainous shoreline. It looks like any point north of New City in the Hudson Valley.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Now that's a ramblin' gamblin' hell of an engineer!

I hate to admit it, but there's a small place in my heart for those who possess nads this size.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gimme back those ruby slippers...

So Friday night my gals and I joined Thunder Thumbs and his brood at the Frederick Brown Jr. Amphitheatre to see the seminal 70’s/80’s ponder rockers Kansas. Why would I do this you might ask? A couple of reasons:

1. The shows at The Fred are cheap. All of us can go and we don’t have to get a baby sitter for Mini Alva.

2. The Fred is literally right around the corner from our house so you travel by golf cart.

3. Hanging with Thunder Thumbs’ family is always fun.

4. The Fred has a grassy patch stage right that you can spread a blanket out on vs sitting in crappy plastic fold down chairs too small for my fat ass.

5. Lastly (and most importantly), you can bring your own cooler packed with libations.

Now, my mindset for attending this show was one of mild curiosity at best, comical Spinal Tap like mocking session at worst, but a good excuse to hang out and drink some wine with friends. What I got instead much to my surprise was blown away. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to go out and pick up the ‘Point of No Return’ re-master or anything, but these fucking guys were undeniably GREAT! I really shouldn’t have been surprised. They ran through their catalog both hits and deep cuts with spirited perfection. All in the band were multi-instrumentalists (think Rush) and played with tremendous amount of zeal for the largely middle aged suburbanite crowd. Steve Morse wasn’t with them, but it didn’t matter really since long time member Richard Williams was more than capable.

I saw Rush quite a bit during the late seventies and early eighties. I wasn’t really a huge Rush fan, but I always made sure I tagged along with the crowd anytime they came around just to dig the musicality and tight performance they always delivered. It still amazes me how three guys can coordinate all that instrumentation and make it sound so good. Kansas' performance turned out the same experience. You may not be gaga for Kansas’ music, but their playing was top shelf and cannot be denied, particularly Phil Ehart’s drumming. And man, those voices!

So I got much more than I bargained for. Would I have gone to see Kansas if the forementioned five circumstances didn’t exist? Not a chance, but that’s just how it is sometimes. If you happen to be at your local county fair and you see Kansas on the bill performing in the big top, forgo the pie eating contest and check out what accomplished musicianship sounds like. You won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Badongo es muy mal...

Since I don't pay for the service I can't really fire them, but their hosting site is sucking wind. Anybody got any suggestions on where I can upload Mp3's and get a widget to plant into the margin? Oh yeah, it has to be free...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cool Photos...

I recently reconnected with an old grade school friend and we've had a great time catching up on things. She sent along some cool photos so I thought I'd put them up here with some others I had kicking around.

This is a fairly badass photo of me working out on the halfpipe we built in 1979. It was taken during the same era as my blogger avatar. Note the killer stripped tube sox and cut off jean shorts. I will NEVER be anywhere near that skinny and in as good a shape ever again.

My eight grade class photo. I'm the guy in the back with the chick magnet mushroom hair and paperthin Ted Nugent concert T-Shirt from the Free-For-All tour. I know, you're all so jealous. That teacher on the right actually threw an eraser at me for uttering the rhetorical question during lit class "Didn't Edgar Allen Poe do opium?". Good times.

This is actually a post card one can purchase in any gift shop in Highland Falls, NY. The buses are carrying the US Embassy workers held hostage in Iran. This was a defining moment in my political developement. I knew at that moment that the only effective way for our country to preserve and protect our way of life was from a position of strength. It was the day I became a "Hawk". Me and my buddies are high on the hill holding a flag/peace sign.

If you don't like this you hate music...

Simply perfect in every way shape and form.

(click the player in the margin)

Friday, May 09, 2008

"This happens every time you do coke man..."


Thanks to John Cole at Baloon Juice for breaking this story to us all.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Dicks be gone...

I hate dicks**. What are dicks you ask? Dicks are people who go out of their way to be a dick to you. How does one get deemed a dick? When everybody agrees that based on their continuous acts of dickdom, they are worthy of the title. In the case of the dicks I'm dealing with these last two weeks, there seems to be unanimous and overwhelming consensus that these individuals are indeed dicks.

How does one react to dicks? Well, since these are work dicks and I'm at an age where maturity restrains me from executing the obvious choice of poetic and just response, landing one of my now legendary left hooks upside their enormous dick head is out. Nope, all I can do is lay in wait for the day (coming soon) that I see them carting their little box of personal effects onto the elevator while on my way to lunch and ask, "So, how's it going today?"

Until that day, I must grind my teeth.

God, I hate dicks...

**The photo of Dick Van Dyke is being used in lieu of an actual penis photo to ensure that those referenced in the above post don't get out'ed do to the astounding similarity in the likeness. I have nothing against Dick Van Dyke other than the fact that he was and remains unfunny, which doesn't constitute being a "dick" per se.

Friday, May 02, 2008

I love Europe, but this is why they are weak...

I know everyone has seen this story and is as outraged as everybody else, but here's what many are missing in the tail section of all the fantastic journalistic peices we've seen covering this horrific freak show...

Let recap what we’re talking about here: This absolute galactic piece of shit starts raping his daughter at age eleven, imprisons her at eighteen in a windowless basement, continues raping her for more than two decades, has multiple children by her, may be responsible for the death of a baby, and what do Austrian prosecutors have in mind for this prick?

Anybody care to guess? Josephine?

That’s right pimply faced kid in the back row, can you stand up and tell the rest of the class your answer?

That’s right people, FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS!!! Oh wait, Chuck hold the phone… prosecutors say that if he’s found responsible for the baby’s death by neglecting to seek care when the poor thing was experiencing trauma shortly after birth the sentence could be increased to A WHOLE TWENTY YEARS!!!. Oh, well THAT extra five years sure evens everything up. My brother’s the mathematician in the family but, let me take a crack at this equation:

Years kept in basement being raped regularly = 24.
Possible maximum sentence for perpetrator = 20.

So, if...
And if...
And if, oops... I broke my pencil lead, wait a minute...

Minus the rotation of the earth...

And the answer is: 4. Four less years than the crime itself.

Snark aside, this is why I am unapologetically a death penalty supporter. Use DNA, or whatever science makes certain the charges stick (he’s already confessed) and put this fucker’s head on a pike. It’s still woefully inadequate punishment, but it’s a good place to start. This girl should not have to live one more day with the remotest of remote possibility that this guy will ever experience another kernel of joy. I don’t give a shit that killing him could be construed as “vengeful” justice. Why must we pretend that vengeance isn’t a part of the human condition, and that somethings are worth exacting revenge for?

Some fuckers simply deserve to die period, and this stain of humanity qualifies in spades. Get over yourself people, we’re not THAT enlightened. Inject’em, hang’em, shock’em, I don’t care which, but every subsequent breathe this guys takes, is an insult to his victims.

If it makes Austrians feel better, the fact that he’s no longer breathing can be spun as a global warming deterrence measure.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Pistol's you magnificent bastard...

Sorry I've been absent here, but work is getting in the way and actually making me angry.

Until I get a breather, take a look at this Pulitzer worthy work. If this isn't representative of "A trailblazer in the emerging field of Cartesian doucheism" I don't know what could be.

Well done sir. I say bring this man the finest meats and cheeses...