Thursday, October 25, 2007

Separatists claim responsibility for California wildfires

ORANGE COUNTY, California (CNN) -- Radical Hispanic separatist organization MEChA ("Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan") is taking responsibility for setting the wildfires in California, confimed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
California officials received a letter earlier today containing photographs of individuals holding Molotov cocktails, then throwing them into dry brush. The faces of the individuals appeared to have been digitally distorted.

Also included was a rambling manifesto, stating that the reason for the act of arson was that "Aztlán belongs to indigenous people, the Chicanas and Chicanos of Aztlán. We are sovereign and not subject to a foreign culture."

Orange County Fire Battalion Chief Kris Concepcion told CNN that the pattern of wildfires definitely indicates arson.

If this is true, we may have a bigger problem than originally thought; this amounts to terrorism when a group attacks civilians. There may be some interesting times to come.


This has turned out to be a hoax, luckily. Glad that it does not seem to be true at this time; this could have gotten really ugly.

Poll: One-third believe in ghosts, UFOs

WASHINGTON (AP) — It was bad enough when the TV and lights inexplicably flicked on at night, Misty Conrad says. When her daughter began talking to an unseen girl named Nicole and neighbors said children had been murdered in the house, it was time to move.

Put Conrad, a homemaker from Hampton, Va., firmly in the camp of the 34% of people who say they believe in ghosts, according to a pre-Halloween poll by The Associated Press and Ipsos. That's the same proportion who believe in unidentified flying objects — exceeding the 19% who accept the existence of spells or witchcraft.
According to the poll, over a third of the people in this country believe in ghosts. Interesting, in a country like America in the 21st century.
A smaller but still substantial 23% say they have actually seen a ghost or believe they have been in one's presence, with the most likely candidates for such visits including single people, Catholics and those who never attend religious services.
I would have thought that more religious people would believe in the supernatural; evidently that is not so.
By 31% to 18%, more liberals than conservatives report seeing a specter.
Hmm, that explains a lot...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This is begging for a caption

Anyone got a good caption for this?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Warning: Geek Alert

This is one of the more interesting ideas I've seen in a while; a simple docking station for internal hard drives that connects to the USB. Instead of tossing out older, smaller drives, just use them for simple storage by swapping them in a dock. I wonder if you could boot from one? That could be a good thing, since you could have one drive with Windows, one with Linux, etc, and just swap them. It definitely bears some looking into to see how well it works, and how reliable it is.

Free Image Hosting at

Hat tip to Everything USB

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baggy pants

When the Virginia House of Representatives tried to outlaw the wearing of low-slung pants two years ago, they drew ridicule from Sydney to London. Comedians joked about a "boxers' rebellion," and so many online political blogs derided the bill that the state Senate quickly killed it.

The mockery in Richmond, however, hasn't stopped other politicians from trying to stamp out sagging pants. Bans have become law or are being considered in at least eight states. The movement is fueled by growing worries among lawmakers that sloppy dress by America's youth could be related, no matter how indirectly, to delinquency, poor learning and crime.

It's good to know that we have solved all the other problems in those states so that this is the most important thing on their agenda. Since when do baggy pants mean "delinquency, poor learning and crime"? If that's true, we better lock up clowns, since they have some of the baggiest pants money can buy.
Granted, seeing guys walking around looking like they shit their pants is not exactly esthetically pleasing, but neither is it a menace to society, only to good taste. Since when is it illegal to go around looking like a dumbass? If you want to fight "delinquency, poor learning and crime", then fight those directly. Quit wasting time worrying about Buttcrack McMoon and his baggy pants.
Just my opinion.

In a different vein, a music selection. The other day, Sir Philipston-Higham Johnston-Higham of nourishing obscurity didn't find the list I had as particularly cheerful. To help correct that, I have put together a playlist of more upbeat stuff, the top dozen of the shuffle being listed here. Anybody out there who is familiar with all/most of them? Any comments?

"Lookin' Out My Back Door" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Dreamboat Annie" by Heart
"I'm Alive" by Electric Light Orchestra
"Here For The Party" by Gretchen Wilson
"Soapstone Mountain" by It's a Beautiful Day
"Sugar Town" by Nancy Sinatra
"Reasons for Waiting" by Jethro Tull
"Orinoco Flow" by Enya
"You Got It" by Roy Orbison
"She'd Rather Be With Me" by The Turtles
"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys
"Here Comes the Sun" by The Beatles

Friday, October 12, 2007

After getting a letter from Hoplophobes-R-Us, it is time for something to lighten the mood; so I've loaded a playlist with ladies of rock; I don't know how familiar everyone is with them, but here is the first ten of the list:

"Holding Our for a Hero" by Bonnie Tyler
"Sometimes It's a Bitch" by Stevie Nicks
"I Only Want to Be With You" by Dusty Springfield
"Kiss Me Deadly" by Lita Ford
"Summertime" by Janis Joplin & Her Kozmic Blues Band
"Bette Davis Eyes" by Kim Carnes
"Promises in the Dark" by Pat Benatar
"As Tears Go By" by Marianne Faithfull
"Both Sides Now" by Judy Collins
"What's Love Got to Do With It" by Tina Turner

Any thoughts, observations, or opinions on this group?

Didn't take them long, did it?

Part of the latest mail from the Brady Bunch.

Brady Campaign [logo]
More Guns at Schools While Senate Stalls on Improving Background Checks
Your support can help us break the logjam on a bill to strengthen the Brady law's NICS

Dear Robert,

I'm once again heartbroken that a deranged teenager was so easily able to get his hands on two guns and ammunition, shooting four people before killing himself at a Cleveland school on Wednesday.

Together, we must stop senseless tragedies like this. And we can.

The first thing we must do is convince the U.S. Senate to strengthen the Brady background check system by passing the National Instant Check System (NICS) Improvement Act.

Will you help me by making a special contribution to the Brady Campaign right now? Your contribution will be used to bring pressure to bear on the Senate, garner media attention, and rally public support for this critical bill.

Somebody gets goofy and these people immediately have their hands out asking for money.

It's For The Children™.

Just how is the NICS Bill supposed to prevent something like this? He was already unable to buy any kind of firearm legally; obviously the law was unable to prevent him from obtaining them. The problem, in this particular case, was a bad home environment; it seems he and his brother had been in and out of trouble for quite some time. As long as there are people growing up under bad conditions, you are going to have violence. Blaming a piece of metal and making "feelgood" laws does not solve problems.
Just my opinion.

Monday, October 08, 2007


I'm actually surprised I wasn't farther out on the upper right quadrant.

You are a

Social Liberal
(86% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(75% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian (75e/86s)

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Saturday was one of those sort of cloudy, dreary days, so we decided to go up in the hills for the day. Just south of Salt Lake Valley is Utah Valley, home to BYU and Provo. At the north end of Utah Valley, branching off to the east, is American Fork Canyon. The road through it takes you up over the top and down into Provo Canyon, the home of Sundance. The drive is quite scenic. There was a light rain in American Fork, with snow in the higher elevations as we journeyed toward the summit. Going down the other side we went down through snow, and into patches of rain and sunlight. The temperature was not too bad; a long-sleeve shirt and a light vest were enough to stay warm. It was a relaxing day, but winter is definitely on it's way.
The first two pictures are from the American Fork side, the bottom two are from the Sundance side. The one of the stream is at Sundance Institute, where it was not snowing at all (the sun was shining) at the time I took the photo.

Click on pictures for full size.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Uh, no thanks...

Welcome to We make custom photo memorials by creating a custom ink formulation using ashes from a loved one or pet and our ink. We then print a beautiful memorial photo using that blended ink.

Is it just me, or does that sound sort of creepy? I'm not sure I want someone's remains hanging on my wall.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I ar iliterut

Been trying to knock some of the cobwebs out of my brain today; my linguistic skills are getting a bit rusty, and I decided I needed to do a bit of vocabulary and grammar revues. I was looking up something that Caesar wrote, and found that my Latin was a bit out of practice, so I thought I might brush up a bit. I had already found that my Anglo-Saxon was not what it used to be, so I will be spending a bit of time with Beowulf, also. It's interesting how you lose touch with a language when you aren't using it a lot. Though not fluent in any language, I have a working knowledge of several, mainly in their written form. Looks like I need to do a bit more work with them than I have been doing lately.

I found music helps when studying, but only instrumental, highly structured types. For studying, lyrics can be distracting, and some repetitive types are mind-numbing if you are trying to concentrate. My favorite for studying is mainly baroque (Vivaldi and Bach, in particular), and some light jazz, such as Brubeck; I find it to be conducive to thinking and organizing the thoughts. Any suggestions on methods that you have found to work well with languages?

Tiny twin-engine plane

This has to be one of the smallest planes ever. Seems like you would feel every little variation of the wind, and I can't imagine what would happen if you hit a decent-size bird. Check out some of the other pictures at their site.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Better times

This is a time of year that always brings bittersweet memories to me; experiences that bring joy to remember, but sadness in knowing they will never be repeated.
While I was growing up, I went camping a lot with my dad. Even after I grew to adulthood, we would get together and go camping and fishing at times. Fall was always sort of special to us; the temperature was cooler, and it was the start of the hunting seasons.
I recall the crisp bite of the morning air when getting up in the morning; the way you could smell everything around you with crystal clarity, and your ears were tuned to hear and interpret all of the sounds, whether in woodland after deer, or in more open plains and chaparral looking for rabbits and hares.
Sitting around a small campfire, bacon and eggs in an old cast-iron skillet, with a couple of slices of bread to sop up the grease before it hardened in the clear cold air as you stood before the fire to warm up, since the sun was usually still down behind the mountains.
A few pieces of jerky or peanuts in your pockets, check your rifle and ammo, and go off hunting. If you were lucky, you brought home game. If you didn't get any shots, it was still ok; you had the experience of doing something out away from the city together.
When traveling or sitting around the campfire, it was a time to talk; children and parents don't always agree on everything, but as long as they can communicate with one another, they can get along and bond at some level.
I lost my dad in November of 2005, and now those experiences are relegated to the status of memories. I have a lot of them, but there never seem to be enough to fill up the empty space that a loved one leaves behind.
To those out there with children and parents, make as many memories as you can now, because later there may not be time.

Thanks for sitting through this uncharacteristic post, I usually don't get this maudlin.