Friday, July 30, 2004

When kids disappear, they put their pictures on milk cartons or (more likely these days) mass mailings (aka junk mail). Many, apparently, do return.

But what do you do when a lake disappears? That one came back. Others, it seems, are gone for good.
It's not every day you see an image of John Kerry picking his nose on TV. And what makes it more interesting is the creative way he's doing it ...

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Now why do you think this guy would expect an apology? Under the current administration, and especially since it took place in Texass, he ought to be grateful he's not being billed for wasting police time.
Official UK Government emergency preparedness site, and a parody of same.
How To Be Lazy, by some French tart. I kid you not.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Oh! Canada! "Last month it was reported that Canada had issued a record number of visas to strippers to meet a national shortage" (BBC News). And, to make sure the women being granted stripper visas know what they're getting themselves into, they're being asked to provide nekkid pitchers of theirselves ...
Raffi is a Canadian guy who makes funny, clever, gently weird music for kids. There's a strong overlap between, say, Raffi, some works by TMBG, and Trout Fishing in America.

One of his best-loved (and catchiest) pieces is the title track from 1994's Bananaphone. A little too catchy for some people, it seems ...

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

What would you do with $2,000,000,000? Well, this guy has some ideas on what Sun Microsystems might do with their windfall from our old friends Monoposoft.

Speaking of which, anyone want an e-mail address? I just might know the "JS" character who owns the domain.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

This is a followup to my post of July 16th on weird weather phenomena.

I'd heard the term lenticular clouds before but didn't think to include it at the time - see also here and here - heck, you can just Google up loads of examples.

Not quite a weather phenomenon, perhaps, but mistpoeffers or "the Barisal guns" is (are?) an interesting atmospheric phenomenon.

Seems there's also been some recent developments in the search for the elusive red sprites and blue jets that sometimes occur above thunderstorms; also, although it's not news as such (other than being news to me), it seems that the visible return stroke of lightning strikes is preceeded by emissions of X-rays, gamma rays, and beta particles ("fast-moving electrons"). Who knew?

Finally (at least for now), no roundup of lightning-related phenomena would be complete without at least a passing reference to ball lightning - anecdotal evidence here, scientific speculation on its nature and origins here, and a pair of Kiwi researchers who think they know what causes it here.

Friday, July 23, 2004

The voices in my head made me do it.

Every now and then, a name will pop into my head, unbidden. The names are mostly uncommon, and within a day or two I usually see the name (or a close variant of it) written somewhere, or on TV.

A good example of this is the name "Arbogast", which popped into my head sometime in late June or early July 2001. I know this because it was followed a few days later by the incident in which then-8-year-old Jesse Arbogast had his arm bitten off in a shark attack. I later found out there's also a local tree and lawn-care service in this part of the world called Arbogast (Arbogast the Arborist?)

A few weeks ago, the name was "Inamorata". A day or two later, I spotted an article about someone whose surname was "Enamorada". I'll take a Spanish version of an Italian name as a "hit".

Today, the name was "Sutphen". Sutphen, it turns out, make various pieces of fire-fighting equipment.

More interesting, though, is one David Sutphen, hypnotist, who wrote a widely plagiarized piece on mind-control and brainwashing.

While following up on one of the terms he used (specifically "voice roll"), I came across this review of a book called "Trance Formation of America". Given the overall non-believing tone of the review, I assumed it was a site run by skeptics, until I came across this little aside:

I'm not suggesting False Memory Syndrome but rather that she may be
accessing, via her imagination, the lower astral plane which is rife
with ethereal perversions, the very plane that attempts to control
us through low vibrational thoughts


Anyway, the review also contained an interesing term I hadn't seen before - NLP, which stands for "Neuro-Linguistic Programming" which turns out to be yet another pseudo-scientific area of study, of "techniques for mind, body and spirit [...] applicable in business for sales, management, communication, and coaching, as well as teaching, sports, therapy, and personal growth". The site goes on to say that "These techniques really work, producing tangible results" which, to me means precisely the opposite.

Still, all in all, a nice little diversion thanks to the incredible neuro-linguistic feat I achieved by tapping into the, uh, lower vibrational modes of the astral plane. Well, either that or complete coincidence.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Insect Battledrome - a new concept in entertainment.
Anyone who knows me probably knows I like hot, spicy foods. But what I like even more is hot sauces. Because with a hot sauce, I can make any food (or drink) as spicy as I like. Which, by most people's standards, is pretty damn spicy.

So, I've been delighting in local establishment RJ's Hot Sauces, here in Leesburg. Now RJ himself is a bit of a mystery. He opens the store only on Saturdays, and then only from "about 10am" to "about 5pm". In practice, "about 5" means that you are likely to be out of luck if you get there beyond 4:30. He is, as you may have guessed, very laid back, and very knowledgeable about the hundreds of hot sauces, salsas and bbq sauces he stocks.

RJ, however, is going to be closing his store at the end of the month of July because he's lost his lease. So, anyone who lives nearby and shares my passion for hot sauces, get yourself over to RJ's - he's opening his store every day except Sunday to move his stock, and offering a "buy three, get one free" promotion. He's not real thrilled to be working in the shop every day, which makes me wonder how he actually makes a real living. But I digress.

So, I was hearing RJ's tale of woe and talking sauce and decided to stock up on some of my faves (1, 2, 3) and maybe see what else he had to recommend.

Well, seems ol' RJ's been holding out on me, because it was only last week that he hipped me to Ring of Fire, which he casually described as the "world's greatest hot sauce". He wasn't kidding. It's not that it's incredibly hot (because it isn't - I mean don't get me wrong, it's hot, but it's not, say, Pure Cap), but it is intensely flavo(u)rful - a wonderful mix of hot peppers, vinegar, crushed black peppercorns, coriander and other things.

I opened some today, mixed with a regular store-bought salsa and ... oh ... my ... God ... yeah, it's that good.

So, needless to say, I'll be back there this weekend to buy some more while it's easily available from a local merchant, and I suggest you do too.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Flash: Dodge Ram trucks' hood ornament proclaims: "I am a pussy". No-one surprised.

Monday, July 19, 2004

It may sound like the punchline to a bad joke, but it's not. The entire proceedings of the 9-11 Commission Hearings are available for free download on the iTunes Music Store, free of charge, courtesy of C-SPAN. 50 hours of hearings are spread across 36 volumes. Can't wait to hear the remixes by Coldcut, DJ Shadow and Jay-Z.

Finally, truth in politics. Of course the idea of W being able to complete full sentences and remember his lines puts a hurtin' on that whole "truth" thing.

Still, it's funny stuff.
As the Onion commemorates the 35th anniversary of the first moon-walk in its own inimitable style, it's nice to know that the men possessed of The Right Stuff were also capable of fluffing their lines, and taking a few bum holiday snaps, too, recently and lovingly scanned at super-high resolution from the original film for all to smirk superciliously at.
How dumb do you have to be to seriously suggest that Micro$oft would ever EVER think of simply calling it quits? Answer: this dumb.

Of the three possible reasons Dvorak cites for MS's recently announced $1B cost-cutting drive ("Someone sees a rocky road ahead, they are even greedier than ever, or they are planning a shutdown") the one he chooses to write about is #3. As a credible precedent, he mentions the orderly shutdown of "Processor Technology" (uhh ... who?)

You don't even have to ascribe this exercise in prudent corporate governance to greed - it simply reflects their responsibility to the shareholders. Oh, that, and the fact they're the most fucking avaricious donkey-raping ass-monkeys ever.
Florida, it seems, is the new California.

Used to be that stupid crazes started, pretty reliably, in the Golden State. Now, it seems, the Sunshine State (you know, the one that's shaped like the receiver of a semiautomatic) has become the breeding ground for all things weird and ... well, weird.

Take, for example, the "dangling yourself from meathooks embedded in your own shoulder-flesh" craze. Hadn't heard of that one? Well, here's some suggestions for how to get ahead of the curve and get a jump on the next Next Big Thing:

  • The "Shave your head and tattoo a serial number on your arm" craze

  • The "Take a shower with Zyklon B" craze

  • The "March yourself at gunpoint into a communal gas oven" craze

  • Sunday, July 18, 2004

    This ignoramus (from Florida!) hit his girlfriend with an alligator. Apparently he couldn't lay his hands on a bat. (Bonus detail: not only was he charged with battery, he also charged with ... possession of an alligator. A neat twofer.)

    Friday, July 16, 2004

    Weird weather phenonmena: sky haloes and sun dogs, anticrepuscular rays, hole-punch clouds, (also here and here)

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Why do news outlets bother putting a date on warnings like this, rather than just, say, run a continuous ticker that says "Microsoft warns of critical flaw"? I guess in theory it allows you to distinguish one incident from another (or another). But when something keeps happens over and over and over and over again, doesn't it eventually stop being news?

    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    If you thought that having a Republican administration meant that DC was full of clowns you ain't seen nuthin' yet. There's always the DC city council. But wait, there's more. Maybe these folks can teach the GOP a lesson on humor, humility, heart, compassion and other namby-pampy crap.

    Note to self: don't type such things while drinking Coke. It hurts like hell coming out of your nose.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    How better to combine a love of tinkering with mechanical gadgets (made from such diverse components as a KitchenAid stand mixer - here, and a Sawzall - here) and extreme hard-core porno than with Fucking Machines? I'll be buggered if I know! (But preferably not with any of the equipment illustrated). Thanks, Tim! (Incidentally this company, one of the equipment suppliers for the site, has nothing to do with me)

    Monday, July 12, 2004


    Take one lack of understanding of basic camera optics, add some scientistic mumbo-jumbo, and hey presto - OrbStudy! (aside: the supposed birthplace of this phenomenon, Gulf Breeze, is also the name of a cracking Eat Static track that can be found on both Abduction in its original form, and in the Zetan remix on Epsylon. But I digress)
    Got Cray?

    Come on, Ken. You know you want it.
    Those of us who are single can certainly understand the frustration that comes from not being able to find just the right person. Some people look to personal ads, or their on-line equivalent: dating web sites like or Yahoo Personals. Others have tried speed dating or other creative means. This woman, however, claims to have taken her fate into her own hands by demanding that she be married by the end of 2004. Or at least expecting it. Or something like that.

    Anyone here want a desperate, high maintenance, needy woman? Look no further!

    Saturday, July 10, 2004

    Tired of having nothing to put on your Freedom Fries since John "Ketchup" Kerry became the presumptive Democratic candidate for President of the United States? Fret no more. God's Own Party has the solution for you. What would we do without them?

    Wait - don't answer that.

    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    From the "way too much time on their hands" department, I present to you this interesting waste of time.