January 18, 2009

U.S. Airways Flight 1549

Courtesy of CNN.

Click here for the full screen option (if it's still available):

And, speaking of amazing landings, I saw this one a few months ago and figured I'd hunt it down again:

Y'know, I remember years and years ago, when someone had asked Willie Mays about his amazing catch in the 1954 World Series, if he had any idea of what a special, momentus, iconic catch that that catch was about to become.

Willie winked at that guy and said, "I had it all the way".

That's what I remember when I see this "landing".

Cap'n "Sully" had a predicament. He knew what it was.

He responded just as his training and humanity had taught him to respond: Immediately.

He couldn't get back to LaGuardia nor could he make it to New Jersey. "We're gonna be in the Hudson" he told told 'em.
Obviously, he had already set his sights on the watery runway, just because there was nowhere else to set his machine's sights on.

He took aim and, with both engines dead, glided her along.

And, because he thought he ought to, told the passengers over the intercom that they should "brace for impact".

It was a hard landing. Why? Because the left engine failed to shear off as it was designed to do, and the plane took a vicious turn in those first seconds.

It was a soft landing. Why? Because the pilot had a problem that he knew, given his location, had the opportunity to fix.

No time to return to LaGuardia. check.
No time to make to New Jersey's airport. check.
Hudsun River available. check.

From there to splash-down it's just a matter of making it as soft a crash as possible.

I've never piloted a plane and I'm not going to pretend to know what he thought in those minutes.

But, I think, that when Cap'n Sully finally speaks he'll just tell us that he **pfft** had it all the way.

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August 31, 2007

Three images from the "UFO Haiti" animator, from the original renderer and without post-process




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July 03, 2007

Health Nazi's destroying harmless healthy fun tradition in the name of... Something or other

This just in from the Connecticut Post:

FAIRFIELD — A slice of Americana that's become a July 4th holiday tradition in the Southport section of town just got trimmer.
The Pequot Library's annual Independence Day Bike Parade has shed a key ingredient this year — the pie-eating contest — in the name of healthful eating.
Daniel Snydacker, the library's executive director, said kids inhaling pies, in an era of growing concern about childhood obesity, no longer seems like such a good idea.

Oh, cripes.

Now, you may be scratching you chin and wondering if this might actually be a wise move. But don't Snydacker's line about "kids inhaling pies" throw you.

Unlike some pie-eating contests, in which participants devour family-sized pies, the Pequot contest featured smaller individual pies, and whoever ate it the fastest — without hands — won.

That's right. One little blueberry pie. No hands allowed. Sounds like alot of fun for the kids. So why are they canceling it?
"We just had some comments that the kids were eating to the point — no one ever got sick, but some kids came as close as you can," Snydacker said Monday.
"There'll be pies there, but they will be there as prizes and there won't be any pressure to eat as fast as you can," Snydacker said.

Wait a minute. I thought this was all about childhood obesity. Now it's about kids not quite getting sick from eating a tiny little pie as fast as they can? With no hands?

No, wait....

Pies will be on hand for the holiday celebration Wednesday, but kids can get a slice only if they do exercises beforehand — like an American flag sack race, water balloon toss (red, white and blue balloons) and a Hula-Hoop contest.

But, even if they don't, they're kids. At a fair. They're going to be active. They need pie. Give them pie!!
Allie Marcus, 11, who won the pie-eating contest in 2005 and who came close to winning last year, said she's "kind of disappointed" it was canceled.
But Allie thinks Pequot Library's 4th of July Bike Parade will be fun even without the pie-eating contest.

No, she doesn't. She was looking forward to the pie eating contest. I'm sure she'll have plenty of fun and by the time it's all over she wont even care that there was no contest. But, sheesh. One day in the year.



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April 13, 2007

Imus In The Mourning

Looking back on when I was a little nappy-headed boy
and my only worry was, for Christmas, what would be my toy
Even though we sometimes would not get a thing
we were happy with the joy the day would bring

I wish those days could come back once more
Why did those days e--
--ver have to go?
'cause I loved them so....

--Stevie Wonder, "I Wish", 1976

I want to puke. Imus is off the air for adopting the parlance of a two-bit rap singer and, in an off-the-cuff remark, calling the members of the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team "nappy-headed hoes"?

Can we stop the insanity, please? One of these days, maybe? Can we grow some skin?

It was a joke. If we can't laugh it off, can we at least brush it off if for no reason other than that it was a frickin' joke?

So, no more interviews from the most direct and talented political interviewer on radio? No more of Charles McCord's brilliantly funny essays read by Larry Kenney? No more hillarious fear-of-driving-off-the-side-of-the-road inducing quips from Bernard McGuirk? No more Imus in the morning?

Thank you Al @#$% Sharpton. @#$% you, very much.

And you gutless advertisers who pulled your ads from the show? 15 million listeners at any given moment, and you don't want to be on his airtime anymore because.....?

Don Imus has been an asshole on the radio for over 40 years. So what's different today? Oh, right. The media made a stink and Al "the-assistant-D.A.-raped-Tawana-Brawley" Sharpton frightened you with his surprisingly arched eyebrows and his arrogantly droopy eyelids.


Yes, of course, the Rutgers girls didn't deserve to be the focus of an absurd verbal abuse of their dignity. But, come on, Imus appologized in the most sincere fashion. Fred Imus once said, when speaking of the execution of Karla Faye Tucker, something along the lines of "What's the point of saying we're sending them into prison to be rehabilitated when, when they get rehabilitated, we kill them anyway?"

This is Orwellian. It's madness maddened. An America saved is an America earned.

I want to puke.

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February 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, George!!!


Oh, right. Yay.

So anyway, in honor of George Washington's 275th birthday, I picked up a few of them new Washington dollars at the bank this afternoon. Pretty cool coin. Fer a coin...


The reverse has a nice image of the Statue Of Liberty. The neatest feature is that writing engraved along the edge.


I presume that the P stands for Philidelphia.

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September 05, 2006

Moon probe deliberately sent crashing into the moon at 10,000 miles an hour

Europe's first moon probe has completed it's mission. So, what else is there to do with it than to litter the lunar surface with it's remains.

Mmm, hmmm.

The European Space Agency's (ESA) unmanned SMART-1 spacecraft ended its three-year mission to test new propulsion technology and explore the lunar surface by crashing into the near side of the moon on Sunday.

Tip o'the tam to Wizbang!

Well, it DID serve out it's usefullness to the Europeans. Might as well just toss all them used up, obsolete things onto the moon, I suppose.


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June 24, 2006

When Cats Attack, pt 4

Lewis lives! Via the Connecticut Post:

After months of legal wrangling, the cat dubbed by some in the media as the "Terrorist of Sunset Circle" has learned its fate.

If he were in any way cognizant, Lewis would be relieved.

Lewis will continue to live, though that privilege comes at a high price. The feline, who had been facing the possibility of being euthanized, will never again be allowed to leave the home of his owner, Ruth Cisero of Fairfield.

For her part, Cisero must complete two years probation and 50 hours of community service.

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May 26, 2006

Rayburn Building Conspiracy Theory -- You Heard It Here First!

Okay, so Speaker Hastart declared that, due to the seperation of powers, Congressional offices are off limits to the FBI, right?

So now there's a report of "gunshots" and the smell of gunpowder in the Rayburn Office Building and the Capital Police are investigating, right?

But who else is in the building? The FBI's "Terrorism Task Force"!

Most members of congress and their staffs have already left for the Memorial Day weekend, and the people who are in the building were advised to stay where they were while the "Terrorism Task Force" (wink wink) searches the building for an alleged gunman.

Sound familiar? There was that little plan of G Gordon Liddy's, 35 years ago, where he wanted to pull a fire alarm at the Brookings Institute and, while the building was evacuated, the Plumbers would enter the building dressed as firemen and search some offices for who knows what.

They never went through with that plan. Has the Department of Justice pulled off what the ol' Plumbers never did?

I'm just thinking out loud here. ;)


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May 01, 2006

When Cats Attack, pt 2

About a month ago I wrote a post about Lewis, a cat who had attacked at least a half-dozen people in my neighboring town of Fairfield. Welp, there are some new developments

BRIDGEPORT — It began as a joke by a couple of college students. "Let's give Lewis the Cat a Web site," they said.

But now, the fashionable spaghetti strap and crew-neck shirts they're selling online bearing Lewis' likeness may be all that separates the infamous "Terrorist of Sunset Circle" from a death sentence.

Erin Reeves, a graduate student at Fairfield University, never dreamed she'd end up raising funds online to save Lewis' life when she first read about the cat's run-ins with the law in the Connecticut Post.

"It was just too funny," she said.

She and a friend decided to launch a profile for the Fairfield feline on Myspace.com. Within weeks Lewis had more than 500 MySpace "friends."

Meanwhile, Lewis' owner, Ruth Cisero, was in despair. Lewis, violating a court order, had escaped her home and attacked a female neighbor. Prosecutors offered Cisero an option: if she put Lewis to death, she'd get off with probation.

Cisero has vowed to prevent Lewis' euthanization, but further litigation would cost big bucks, which she said she doesn't have.

Enter Reeves.

"I went over to Ruth's house and got to meet Lewis and I found him to be the nicest, most gentle cat," she said. "I have cats of my own, and I know if someone told me I would have to euthanize one, I would be devastated."

And so, Save Lewis T-shirts were born. They're available online for about $20 at Café Press in several styles and sizes.

Mousepads are also available.

So far, 10 shirts have been sold. Reeves said proceeds of the sale of the shirts would be used for Lewis and Cisero's legal defense. Anything left over, she said, would be donated to charity.


Here's Lewis' MySpace site.

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April 27, 2006

And the tour company was hired to do what exactly?

Yeesh. Talk about a bummer

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Four bus loads of students from O'Brien Middle School made the four-hour trip to Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, Calif., only to find the amusement park's gates locked Monday. The school-sponsored trip was supposed to reward top students.

"It was pretty much a fiasco," said Washoe County School District spokesman Steve Mulvenon. "They ended up wasting a day that those kids could have better spent in class or doing what they were going to do at the park."

School officials said the $50 fee will be refunded, and the tour company that arranged the trip has agreed to pay for the next one. "The tour company neglected to check the schedule," Mulvenon said.

"It is just a bummer for the kids," said parent Jeff Wood. "Now, they will have to wait another month to go and a lot of the kids might not be able to go then."

Principal Scott Grange said the school was even given printed tickets with Monday's date on them.

"But shame on us for not checking," he said.

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April 10, 2006

"we're looking for a happy story on kids"

Crappy Anniversary, li'l Jessica.

Ten years ago, on the morning of April 11th, 1996, 7-year-old "pilot trainee" Jessica Dubroff died in a crash only moments after take-off in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Her father and her flight instructor (the actual pilot, btw) also died.

A rivetting account of the sad details can be found here. (It is a rivetting read because of -- rather than in spite of -- it's stoic presentation of the facts.)
Lots more to read here.


Jessica Dubroff was allegedly setting a non-existent record for being the youngest pilot to fly cross-country and back again. According to the pilot's wife, the actual pilot, 52-year-old Joe Reid "considered the flight a 'non-event for aviation' and simply flying cross-country with a 7-year-old sitting next to you and the parents paying for it."

But little Jessica's "flight" had attracted media attention. Her father was given a camera and several cassettes by ABC News so that he might record her "accomplishment".

The autopsy report on the trainee's father noted that his left shirt pocket contained "numerous slips of paper with appointment times and dates of TV interviews," including one scheduled for that evening in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, and another for the next evening in Massachusetts. There also were numerous business cards from radio stations, TV stations and networks.

Only a short time before the flight from Half Moon Bay, California to Massachussetts to Florida and back to Half Moon Bay, the Dubroffs were squatting and penniless. Not-so-cynical analysis leads many to believe that this was a media stunt cooked up by the father in order to create a sellable story. The Guiness Book of World Records had eliminated the category of "youngest pilot to..." years earlier. Jessica was setting no official record at the time.

The plane took off from Cheyenne in a thunderstorm. In moderate rainfall and winds gusting to 15 knots, the pilot apparantly misjudged his airspeed by watching his groundspeed. With a tail-wind pushing the plane forward he apparantly failed to accelerate smartly and the engine stalled. Witnesses say the plane fell at a nearly vertical angle.

Prior to take-off, the pilot made some errors that investigators found to be "consistant with fatigue".

The errors included:
* started the engine while the nosewheel was still chocked;
* requested a taxi clearance without first obtaining the ATIS;
* read back a radio frequency incorrectly;
* accepted a radio frequency he could not dial up on his radios;
* failed to acknowledge, as requested, weather information from the controller;
* asked "are we going the right way?";
* failed to stop at the end of the runway;
* requested a "special IFR" clearance.

Congress subsequently passed laws forbidding children from flying planes for any reason other than instruction, but that doesn't address what happened in this case. The reason that Jessica, her father and her trainer are dead is because dear ol' Dad had scheduled commitments to the media that he wanted to keep. Three people died to fullfill the dreams of a bankrupt father and a ratings-driven media.

Jessica Dubroff today would be 16, going on 17. She's six months younger than my own daughter would have been. While I might see myself risking my own life to make my daughter's life infinately richer than I alone could've made it, I highly doubt that I could risk my daughter's own life in the process.

I appologize for blogging such a sad story.

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April 05, 2006

happy happy joy joy

The Random Penseur and the Viking Bride have become the proud mama and papa of their third child. And **drumroll**cymbal crash** it's a boy!

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April 02, 2006

News of the Weird

If you're gonna run from the cops, don't stop for a Whopper Jr and fries.

ABILENE, Texas (AP) - A police chase of a suspected carjacker ended abruptly when the suspect took a wrong turn: into a Burger King drive-thru.

Abilene Officer Ralph Garcia said he spotted a vehicle that was reported carjacked in Dallas on Wednesday and started following it. The car sped away, fleeing from Garcia and other authorities onto Interstate 10 before exiting and getting stuck in the drive-thru.

If you're gonna open up a child's skull to remove a brain tumor, make sure you know which side it's on.

A report by the state Department of Health Services found that the surgical team did not mark the child's skull as required. The team also failed to complete a required "time-out" to verify they were cutting in the right place.

Doctors reportedly became aware of the mistake when they opened up the left side of the child's skull and could not find the tumor.

After checking the patient's charts and X-rays, surgeons repeated the procedure on the right side of the child's head and successfully removed the tumor.

The report says the doctors also failed to document the wrong-site surgery in the child's medical records.

If you're gonna drive you pet snake home, don't wrap it around your neck.

NAPLES, Fla. (AP) - A man crashed his car after a pet snake he had wrapped around his neck began attacking him, authorities said.

Witnesses reported that Courtland Page Johnson, 30, of East Naples, was driving erratically and crashed his PT Cruiser into several barricades about 9 p.m. Tuesday. He got out of his car, wrestled with the snake and then drove off, reports said.

If you're rob a bank, don't go dropping wads of cash on the ground.

BELLEVUE, Ky. (AP) - A Detroit man is in custody after a witness saw him drop a large wad of cash in the street and called police.
As police hurried to the bank, delivery man Kevin NiBlack watched a jaywalker cross the street in front of the bank.
So NiBlack flagged down the next police officer he saw and pointed to where he saw the man run. Police officers chased the suspect and eventually forced him to surrender.

NiBlack's inspiration?
"I work - sometimes seven days a week - trying to make an honest living like every man pursuing the American dream, and someone had the audacity to rob a bank in front of me," he said.

These stories and more at The Daily Snopes.

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March 29, 2006

When Cats Attack

Via the Connecticut Post:

A ferocious feline terrorized a quiet Fairfield neighborhood, to the point that residents are seeking help from the law to stop the so-called "Terrorist of Sunset Circle."

Lewis, a 5-year-old, black-and-white longhaired cat, attacked at least a half-dozen people on the cul-de-sac and even took on the local Avon lady, neighbors say.

Usually you can't get near a cat that doesn't know you. But, this one? I guess he got bored with hunting mice and decided to try his skill at bagging bigger game. One of Lewis' victims described one recent ordeal:
"I was walking along the sidewalk when he sprang at me. I never saw it coming, but that's how it often is. He comes at you from behind, springs and wraps himself around your legs, biting and scratching," she said. "The last time I had three bites and eight scratches and I ended up at the walk-in clinic.

"The Avon lady was getting out of her car when Lewis attacked her from behind," Kettman said. "She ended up going to the hospital."

It got so bad that a restraining order was imposed.
At first, the restraining order allowed the cat limited freedom if Cisero [Lewis' owner -- TS] gave him Prozac. But the cat refused to take the drug, Cisero said. And it got out of the house and attacked another neighbor, Maureen Bachtig, according to police.

"I felt Lewis' claw on my left leg and I shook him loose, he then lunged and clung to my right leg, leaving one very deep puncture wound, one long deep gash across the top of my knee," Bachtig told police.

Cicero explains that Lewis is "a cat's cat"; he climbs trees and sits of rooftops and it's a travesty to keep him locked up inside all day.

I wouldn't worry too much, though. Cats are clever. Lewis will find a way to do what he loves to do.


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March 28, 2006

Total Eclipse of the Facts

Sheesh. The Associated Press can't even get simple, well-known, scientific facts right.

AP's Kwasi Kpodo describes the "path" of tomorrow's eclipse thusly:

The moon is expected to first begin blocking out the sun in the morning in Brazil before the eclipse migrates to Africa, then on to Turkey and up into Mongolia, where it will fade out with the sunset.

Huh? Yuh!

But Kwasi isn't the only floater in the pool. Check out this graphic that accompanies the article:


"A total eclipse will occur Wednesday, beginning in Brazil, before crossing over Africa and Asia."

Heh. Heh heh. **snort** BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

In truth: The eclipse will begin and end at sunrise in Brazil and will **gasp** (say it with me now) si-mul-tan-e-ous-ly begin and end at sunset in Mongolia. The total eclipse only lasts for a few minutes, fercryin'outloud. It ain't gonna begin in Brazil and "cross over" Africa and Asia. If it did then, amazingly, the Sun would be moving across the sky from west to east tomorrow.

They seem to have a somewhat talented graphics team, but could they hire some better copy editors? Like, maybe, people that are at least as bright as my elementary school-aged nephew?

This is almost as amusing as the news babe who said during a live TV report: "The president wont be landing in Air Force One, he'll be arriving in, oh, 'Helicopter One' I suppose we can call it."

I don't expect everyone to know everything, of course. But, I mean, these are the folks who are supposed to be giving us info'mation and I think it oughta be morer accurater.

"Helicopter One". Crikey. I expect even CBS to get that one right.

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March 26, 2006

What the huh?


Afghan Abdul Rahman was charged with having converted from Islam to Christianity. He faced the death penalty. He refused to renounce his faith in Jesus. He openly confessed to an unshakable faith, even though he knew that that meant that he may have to face death.

His case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

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March 12, 2006

Police raid movie set

Found this story at the Connecticut Post's website.

STRATFORD — Police with lights blazing and sirens blaring descended on Sikorsky Memorial Airport Saturday after reports of a dozen armed men of "Middle Eastern origin" on the tarmac.

What authorities found instead was the crew of a low-budget independent film called "Soldier in the Shadows." Crew members were dressed in dark-colored clothing and carrying large black rifles.

Six police cruisers from the Stratford and Bridgeport Police Departments stormed onto the tarmac at about noon yesterday. I wonder how close they came to shooting the scene...
He said a pilot who saw several armed men of Middle Eastern descent near the planes contacted the control tower. The tower personnel, however, failed to tell the pilot about the movie and the pilot then called 911.

Heh. Oops.
"The same thing happened to us about a week ago while shooting on a rooftop on the Lower East Side," in New York said Goldsmith, who plays Tyler, a former Delta force operative looking for revenge after his wife and daughters were killed in a terrorist attack. "The police broke down the doors and came onto the roof with their guns drawn."

Aren't the police supposed to be notified of on-site film making? I guess not.

The real shocker is that they may actually be making a movie featuring terrorists of "Middle Eastern origin" who are bad guys.

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just some pointless points...

Barbra Streisand has a new "statement" up titled Art in the Pursuit of Truth. While I agree with her statement overall, what inspired it is a bit curious. This is her concluding "point":

Members of the Hollywood community should not be apologetic, but proud...proud to have provoked conversations, proud to have challenged ignorance and proud to have helped shape our history for the better.

Did I miss where someone suggested that Hollywood ought to be "apologetic" for making films like "To Kill a Mockingbird", "Schindler's List" and "The Grapes of Wrath"?

And just one more observation:

During the McCarthy Era, when actors and filmmakers were being blacklisted, the brave "Hollywood Ten," calling on their 1st Amendment rights, refused to testify in front of the House...Un-American Activities Committee. The courts disagreed and they all were found guilty of contempt of Congress and each was sentenced to between six and twelve months in prison.

Refusing to testify when subpoenaed is not a 1st Amendment right, it's a 5th Amendment right, and it's on the grounds that your testimony may tend to incriminate you. If the "Hollywood Ten"'s point was that their 1st Amendment rights were being assaulted by HUAC and/or Hollywood's own blacklist, then they are free to make that point to the Committee.

Ciao for now.

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January 11, 2006

Newsflash: The Unborn Aren't Old Enough To Drive

A pregnant Arizona woman tries to justify her use of the carpool lane.

Unborn children don't count when it comes to carpool lanes, according to a judge's ruling.

Even after being fined $367 for improper use of a High Occupancy Vehicle lane, Ahwatukee Foothills resident Candace Dickinson stood by her contention that Arizona traffic laws don't define what a person is, so the child inside her womb justified her use of the lane.

Ooooookay. The reason the carpool lane is there is to encourage people to er... carpool, right? Now, that would be to try to have as few cars on the road as possible and to ease congestion. I don't think the fetus was gonna to be taking the second car out for a spin any time soon.
When he asked Dickinson how many people were in the car, "she said two as she pointed to her obvious pregnancy," Norton said.

The case set off a firestorm of opinion but Phoenix Municipal Court Judge Dennis Freeman used a "common sense" definition in which an individual occupies a "separate and distinct" space in a vehicle.

"The law is meant to fill empty space in a vehicle," Freeman said.

Actually, the law was meant to empty full space on the highway. Even if Mrs Dickinson had seven kids in the car with her, that doesn't qualify as carpooling any more than eating pizza qualifies as windsurfing. Words mean things. Language is funny that way.

Good luck, kid.

Tip o'the tam to Drudge.

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January 07, 2006

Japan digs out

I've shoveled snow that was up to my thighs, but I can't imagine digging out of 13 ft of the stuff.


At least, the thing about snow removal in Japan is that, wherever you are, you're never very far from the ocean.

Then again, why get rid of it when you build giant snowmen! :)


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December 29, 2005

When Painkillers Kill

According to this article, acetaminophen poisoning is on the rise.

Acetaminophen bottles currently recommend that adults take no more than 4,000 milligrams a day, or eight extra-strength pills.

Just a doubling of the maximum daily dose can be enough to kill, warns Dr. Anne Larson of the University of Washington Medical Center.


The Food and Drug Administration has long wrestled with the liver risk, warning two years ago that more than 56,000 emergency-room visits a year are due to acetaminophen overdoses and that 100 people die annually from unintentionally taking too much.

About eight years ago I had a wicked toothache that caused so much pain that I was popping Tylenol ever couple of hours. After I vomited and made it to my dentist I told him that I'd had about 14 Tylenol in the past 24 hours. I believe that that's about 7,000 mg -- nearly twice the recommended maximum.

"Don't take anymore," my dentist said. "I can't even give you lanicain right now or you'll start vomiting. I had to wait 'til the next day to have the work done, all the while suffering through the excruciating agony. I'm just glad a puked before I took anymore Tylenol.

So be careful out there, folks. Overdosing acetaminophen can cause sudden liver failure which, in a short time, can kill you. If you have a severe toothache, don;t overdue the meds. Better to just smash your kneecaps to take your mind off the pain in your mouth.

And don't forget to wash metal cans before you pop them open or open them with a can opener. Rats sometime urinate on them in warehouses and rat urine is poisonous.

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December 19, 2005

Western music banned in Iran again


From Brietbart:

Hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has banned Western music from Iran's radio and TV stations, reviving one of the harshest cultural decrees from the early days of 1979 Islamic Revolution. Songs such as George Michael's "Careless Whisper," Eric Clapton's "Rush" and the Eagles' "Hotel California" have regularly accompanied Iranian broadcasts, as do tunes by saxophonist Kenny G.

There's only one thing to do: Pump up the Clash!!!

Now the king told the boogie men: "You have to let that raga drop!
The oil down the desert way has been shakin’ to the top!"
The sheik, he drove his cadillac. He went a-cruisin’ down the ville.
The muezzin was a-standing on the radiator grille...

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

"By order of the prophet we gotta ban that boogie sound.
Degenerate the faithful with that crazy casbah sound."
But the bedouin, they brought out the electric camel drum.
The local guitar picker got his guitar picking thumb.
As soon as the shareef had cleared the square
they began to wai-ai-ai-ail.....

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

Now over at the temple oh, they really pack ’em in.
The in crowd say it’s cool to dig this chanting thing.
But as the wind changed direction the temple band took five
and the crowd caught a wiff of that crazy casbah ji-i-i-i-ve....!

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

The king called up his jet fighters.
He said "You better earn your pay!
Drop your bombs between the minarets down the casbah way!"
But as soon as the shareef was chauffeured outta there
the jet pilots tuned to the cockpit radio blare.
As soon as the shareef was outta their hair
the jet pilots wai-ai-ai-ai-ailed....!

Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don’t like it
Rockin’ the casbah! Rock the casbah!

Shareef don't like it...
He thinks it’s not kosher!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don't like it...
Fundamentally, he can’t take it!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah!

Shareef don't like it...
You know he really hates it!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah!
Shareef don't like it...
He really really hates it!
Rock the casbah! Rock the casbah....!

--The Clash, 1982


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December 11, 2005


Congratulations to FrankJ and SarahK on their marriage!


May their future together be full of laughter, prosperity and target practice.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

November 04, 2005

Get U.S. off o'the road!

In a typical year there are over 40,000 traffic fatalities in the United States. There have been well over 100,000 deaths in traffic accidents since President Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.

Let's drive safely, people. It's not like it's a war or anything.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 21, 2005

Oh, my...

So anyway, I was standing in line at the checkout counter and happened to glance at the tabloid magazine rack. In Touch Weekly had this cover:


In the upper left corner you'll notice a photo of Jennifer Aniston with the caption "WHY JEN'S KISSING VINCE".
Now, I had no idea if it was Vince Gill, Vince Vaughan or Vince Edwards. But, I later found out that it was Vaughan.

Then I glanced to my left and saw this US Weekly cover:


In the upper right you'll see a photo captioned "MEET VINCE'S MOM". If I'd've been bagging my groceries at the time I might've plopped the package of chicken breasts on top of the loaf of bread and never noticed. The resemblence was spooky. I mean, right down to their eyes and smiles.

Crude photoshop blow-ups:



So, just remember: If yer ever in a room with Vince Vaughan, and he asks you why everyone's looking at him strangely, mum's the word.

UPDATE: Okay, I realize now that that is a picture of Jen, not Vince's mom. The headline over the photo reads "Jen is dating!" and, even though the "meet Vince's mom" line appears on the photo itself, that is not a picture of Vince's mom. Duh.

I'm such a dumbass when I'm sober.

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October 18, 2005

Our tax dollars at work:

From the Boston Herald:

BOURNE – Hurricane Katrina evacuees hastily handed $2,000 in federal relief money last month have been living it up on Cape Cod, blowing cash on booze and strippers, a Herald investigation has found.

Herald reporters witnessed blatant public drinking at a Falmouth strip mall by Katrina victims living at taxpayer expense at Camp Edwards on Otis Air Force Base. And strippers at Zachary's nightclub in Mashpee, a few miles from the Bourne base, report giving lap dances to several evacuees.
On Oct. 5, the Herald observed a virtual parade of evacuees from a bus stop in the Wal-Mart parking lot in Falmouth to nearby liquor stores. Some emerged and openly swilled from brown-bagged containers, while others poured booze into jugs or plastic cups and casually sipped drinks at the Wal-Mart bus stop.
Last Tuesday, one 52-year-old evacuee, who told a reporter he was originally from Cuba, stood in the rain outside Wal-Mart for several hours drinking gin and orange juice from a thermos. The same day, a female evacuee bought ice at a supermarket and roughly $30 worth of hard liquor before being driven in a car back to Camp Edwards. Evacuees are banned from bringing booze onto the base.

One Camp Edwards source said evacuees swiped liquor off shelves at the U.S. Coast Guard store on the base and drank it in the aisles.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued more than $1.5 billion to 607,000 Katrina victims in the form of individual cash handouts of $2,000. There are no restrictions on how the money can be spent, FEMA officials said.

I don't know if I'm angry, sad or just don't give a dam. Sure, the money is supposed to be going toward neccessities like food, clothing and maybe putting down a rent payment on a room somewhere. But, the way I sees it, they were given the cash to spend as they saw fit and they'll make their choices.

I just hope they know better than to come staggering out when the tempory camp closes, crying that all the money's gone. Sorry, Chumley, but you could've made quite a few cans of tuna salad sandwiches for the cost of that third lap dance.

Full article is here.

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October 17, 2005

Foggy Memories, pt 10: Charles Rocket

Word has it that Charles Rocket died of a self-inflicted slit throat. Hmmm.

I don't know about that -- or much else about him. All I remember is that he was probably the most reviled of the reviled "new cast" of Saturday Night Live's '80-'81 season. I mean, he hosted Weekend Update looking like this:


His smirky I'm-sooo-gonna-make-you-laugh attitude rubbed skeptical viewers the wrong way from day one. I must admit that I didn't watch much of that season, and neither did many other people. The season did so poorly that, I believe, the entire cast was fired after the final episode. Not sure about that, but that's the way I remember it. (Perhaps Robin Duke was in that cast.)[UPDATE: As the fog clears I recall that Joe Piscopo was a late addition to the "new cast" and was a holdover for season 7.]

The futures of that season's cast-members were in doubt and many, including Rocket, were on edge for the season finale.

That final episode became infamous when Charles uttered the f-work during the final segment where the cast is on stage to say goodnight.

Charlene Tillman (was that her name?) [UPDATE: Tilton. Thanks Stevie!] from the cast of Dallas was hosting, and they did a spoof of the "who shot J.R." cliffhanger. Rocket played J.R. and was seated in a wheelchair during the final curtain call.
They ran a little long on time and the director instructed Charlene to "talk to Charlie". So Charlene simply asked Charles (J.R.) who he thought may have shot him. "How the fuck should I know who did it?" he replied.

It's interesting to note how SNL was not seen as a mainstay program then as it is now. The first season squeaked by; the second, third and fourth seasons really hit the mark and later came to be called the classic SNL; the fifth season, after the departure of John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, skated by despite dwindling ratings as the season wore on.

That awful sixth season with the "new cast" cast doubt on whether Saturday Night Live could go on without the original Not Ready For Prime Time Players. Rocket's outragous gaffe at the end of a dismal season created doubts that a seventh season might even be scheduled.

Enter the anti-Charlie: Eddie Murphy. Add Tim Kazirinski, Mary Gross, Joe Piscopo, Robin Duke and the others that escape me now and all was well from the first episode of season 7 and SNL, now 30 seasons on, will need a few Rocket-like disasters to put a nail in it's coffin.

Then again, I haven't been watching recently. Maybe the show sucks these days.

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September 26, 2005

New London's Burning

What with the Scorsese Dylan documentary airing part 1 tonight on PBS, I figured I'd have yet another evening of non-posting. But, I got home a little early tonight so I figure I'll throw together this one.

I read this in the Connecticut Post this morning:

New London may dissolve agency in land debate
NEW LONDON (AP) -- The decison by New London officials to take back control of the development project at the center of a national debate over eminent domain has raised questions over how that will be done.

Well, well, well. The prime defenders (other than the development agency, of course) of New London's land grab are reconsidering. What brought this on?
On Tuesday, the New London City Council voted unanimously to express no confidence in the development authority. It ordered the corporation to dismiss it's president and chief operating officer, and threatened to dissolve the agency within a week if it did not do so."

Why, you wonder? That's cuz the AP wrote this story a little bit backwards.
The vote came after the corporation angered state and local officials by sending orders to vacate to five Fort Trumbull residents living on property being seized for a hotel and office space.

The corporation rescinded the notices under pressure by Gov. M. Jodi Rell. State officials had asked municipalities to hold off on property seizures until the legislature considers changing the state's eminent domain laws in light of the Supreme Court ruling."

Translation: Everyone's pissed about Kelo and "the corporation" -- a quasi-public development authority -- pushed the wrong buttons when they tried to expidite evictions when everyone else is fuming. Even the old supporters of the project were left with a bad taste in their mouths.

Oh, and the more I get to know my new Governor, the more I just love Jodi Rell.

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September 13, 2005


After I lit a cigarette I looked at the warning label stuck to the side of my lighter and recalled that BIC recently announced that it was going out of the pen and disposable shaver biz and would, henceforth, concentrate on their line of lighters.

Seems to me -- if the trend holds true -- that people will be smoking less in the future. People wont be shavcing less or writing lesser enough to warrant giving up on their (BIC's) line of shavers and pens.

Is the decision to concentrate on cigarette lighters a suicidal decision by the current board of a long-lasted nationally-known corporatation?


UPDATE: Either the news story I read was wrong or I read it wrong. Seems that, according to StMack in the comments, BIC isn't going out of the pen and shaver business, they are merely moving those particular manufacturing facilities overseas.

I hope that this doesn't mean that BIC lighters will suddenly be of a quality like those el cheapo lighters. Sure, they may cost about a third less at the register, but their sparkwheel assemblies break into pieces while you've still got half of the butane in the dang things.


I oughta get paid for this rediculously fluid post...

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September 06, 2005

The Blame Game... okay, I'm in for 2¢

It seemed like so much bad taste and pettiness was vented in the days immediately after Katrina hit New Orleans. The devastation in Gulfport, Biloxi and many other cities and towns was more severe, yet the media focused on Louisiana and her tantrum-throwing executives.

Not wanting to get into the blame game, I've been pretty silent all week about all things Katrina. Other blogs have been doing a great job of reporting the facts and fallacies, the timeline and the anarchy. I just wanna say this: As far as I'm concerned the blame lies in the astounding lack of leadership in New Orleans. And I don't mean just in the several days before Katrina came ashore, I mean in the decades before Katrina came ashore.

Ever since I was in junior high school I knew that New Orleans was a valley on the coast below sea level. I knew that it was protected from flooding by mad-made levees. I also knew that there was concern about keeping those levees strong and maintained. Mayor Nagin and everyone else can cry all they want about federal funds that were requested and never granted, and maybe they have a point. But, the thing that makes me furious is that, in all of the concern about the levees ability to withstand a category 4 or 5 hurricane, in all the decades that that concern was being aired and re-evaluated, no past or present administration in the Big Easy ever put an evacuation plan together. The mother of all hurricanes was a day or two away and they Had. No. Plan.

Mandatory evacution was ordered with no procedure in place to evacuate the hundreds of thousands with access only to public transportation. Hundreds of school buses sitting in parking lots for days after the evacuation orders were given. I don't know how long Mister Nagin has been mayor of New Orleans, but I'm sure he feels betrayed by his predecessors at least as much, if not more, as by his counterparts at the state and federal levels of government. At least he should.

A simple bit of foresight; a contingency plan: if that, then this. If the Big One is coming, then the buses will roll. Just a plan, that's all. But no one ever drew one up. As some other blogger wrote (don't remember who, sorry): "It seems they hoped for the best and planned for...well...the best."

The people of New Orleans who had no way of evacuating -- and who had to row or wade through flooded historic streets, pushing floating bodies aside -- have every right to be furious at their own elected officials and their appointees. Their government didn't drop the ball, they couldn't have, because they never even reached for it.

But, even without a plan in place, there was plenty that the current administration could have done. The NOPD chief said something to the effect of "There's going to be a time during and after the storm when we'll just have to say to the people, 'well... you're on your own'.."
This is leadership?! How about "There's going to be a time in the next 48 hours when we'll have to say to the people 'the bus is at the curb and get your ass on board'..."?!

But me point is that they shouldn't have had to wing it when the threat became imminent.
Those who never bothered to figure out a way to deal with the "disaster waiting to happen" need to be shipped to Siberia. Or Alaska. Or the Superdome. Hey, there's a plan...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 24, 2005

Well that was odd

I got home from work and turned on the 'puter to see if the munu server was back up. But, the first stop was to get my new mail. I only had 1 new message, which is strange. I usually have at least 5 or 6 spam items and 1 or 2 other messages.

The 1 item I received was, I presume, fake eBay scam spam. But, what was really odd was that all of my backlogged emails were gone. Wiped out somehow!

Ever since I reformatted me hard drive last October I've been asking my elder sister, whenever I see her, to send me an email because I no longer have her address. (I keep old emails from people just so's I have their address handy. I don't keep them in an address book on my 'puter 'cause I hear there's some hackware that can access them.)

So, yesterday Elder Sister emailed me to ask how I wanted to handle the trip up to Massachussetts for our cousin's wedding this weekend. I was going to get back to her tonight, but now her address is gone again and I don't have her phone number.

Hey, Elder Sister! If you're reading this then send me another email!

Now back to our irregularly scheduled blogging...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 21, 2005

And in other news...

This was posted as an exclusive over at Drudge yesterday but is no longer there. (Luckily I went to sleep with the page still on my monitor, heh.)


LIVE 8 founder Bob Geldof is determined to see his international concerts stay focused on the plight of Africa's poor -- and not fall into cliched Bush bashing and global warming rhetoric!

Geldof has ordered show organizers and producers to redouble all efforts to keep LIVE 8 performers "on message" during the July 2 event, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

"Please remember, absolutely no ranting and raving about Bush or Blair and the Iraq war, this is not why you have been invited to appear," Geldoff said to the manager of a top recording artist, who asked not to be identified. "We want to bring Mr. Bush in, not run him away."

[Geldof tells next week's TIME magazine how Bush "has actually done more than any American President for Africa ."]

Bob wants the message to be Africa and nothing else. Can't blame him, of course, but you just know that some of these artists are gonna mistake their musical talent for expertise in global politics and take the opportunity to presumptuously spout off from their soapbox about everything under the global warming sun.
"Bob wants no attention on global warming, or the war," the manager warns, "He is very determined, he does not want to lose control of the message... But we have the most unpopular American president since Nixon, soldiers are dying... you are going to see some righteous anger on stage."

...whether it's off-topic or not. @#$% concert trolls...
LIVE 8 will be a series of free international concerts with unprecedented star power.

Will Smith is host of a hip-hop-heavy show in Philly with 50 Cent and P Diddy headlining; Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols will reunite in London on the same bill as U2, Coldplay, Keane, Madonna, Elton John, Mariah Carey, Sting and Paul McCartney. Concerts will also be held in Paris, Berlin and Rome.

BBC and AOL plan live broadcast and streaming worldwide.

But here's the cool part:
[FOOTNOTE: U2's Bono
has been attacked by his rock peers for associating with Bush and Blair. Fellow Irish star Sinead O'Connor
says, "I think you risk losing your credibility by going to a party at Downing Street. I would draw a line at drinking wine and eating cheese with the Prime Minister."]

Oh, Sinead, Sinead, Sinead. Will you ever grow up?

Bono talks to Bush and Blair because he actually has some credibility. Bob Geldoff and Bono understand what you've yet to learn; that in order to bring the house into order you have to go inside. Y'wanna be little Miss Rebel and shout from beyond the walls that's fine, stay there. But, Geldoff and Bono can do something that you'll never be able to do so long as you have that silly only-outsiders-have-credibility attitude: actually accomplish something.

Geldoff gets it. Bono gets it. Sinead? Honey? Shuddup.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:01 PM | Comments (2)

June 11, 2005

And in local news...

How NOT to write a front page story.

No doubt most of the blogosphere missed this little story as it seems to have appeared only in the dead tree version of the Connecticut Post. This item, by local reporter Rob Varnon, appeared on the front page.

Energy efficiency popular with public, not Congress

Maybe the 6 percent of Americans who think "it's a bad idea" to mandate better gas mileage for automobiles are all U.S. senators, because the rest of the nation appears to like the idea.
Ninety-three percent of the respondents to a survey think requiring the auto industry to make cars that get better gas mileage is a good idea.

I may have only taken one journalism class in my lifetime, but I had writing the first sentence (who, what, where, when) down pat. So, first off, Varnon's second sentence should have been the first, and his snarky first sentence should have been on the op-ed page.

The Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, which did the national survey, blasted Congress on Thursday for being out of touch with Americans.

Varnon gives no details about how the Yalies "blasted" Congress. Was it in a press release? Was it at a press conference? Was it in testimony before Congress? Who knows. And if 93% of Americans want Congress to ban the hideous ugly and not funny Marmaduke and Rugrats from the comics page, I suppose they'd be "out of touch" with Americans for not doing something that would violate the Fist Amendment.

The survey's authors said the Senate's Energy Committee in May scrapped an amendment to the national energy bill that would have increased fuel-efficiency standars for sport-utility vehicles and minivans to the same 27.5 miles per gallon required for cars.

OK, let's get something clear. The way to increase a vehicles mileage per gallon is to make the vehicle lighter. As long as you have clean and properly guaged sparkplugs -- and nothing's out of whack and causing a "drag" on the vehicle -- gasoline can't get much more efficient than it already is and always was.

Making the SUVs lighter will only change what is attractive about SUVs in the first place. That they are heavy duty and have a metal chasis, not fiberglass. Requiring by law that an SUV be altered to go from getting 15 to 27.5 miles per gallon woud simply turn them into cars. And you can't safely tow an RV trailer up or down a hill with a Toyota; you need a heavy truck. If you want to get 35 miles to the gallon then by a 4-cylinder Ford Taurus. How an SUV can do what it can do is precisely what causes it to get only 15 mpg.

Require an SUV to get 30 mpg? You might as well require it to climb an 85 degree incline. T'ain't gonna hap'n.

The CFE [Connecticut Fund for the Envirnment] said the Connecticut Clean Cars Incentive Program was enacted this session to create consumer incentives to buy vehicles that get good gas mileage and produce less pollution. The legislature will vote on the incentive plan in 2006.

There are no clues in the article just as to what any of these "consumer incentives" are. But, in my observations, it usually means that our overlords are planning to punish our freedom to make "wrong" choices. But what if they wanna simply reward "right" choices? Read on:

At the local level, New Haven's Board of Aldermen recently approved a plan to allow New Haven residents who own high-mileage hybrid automoblies to park in the city for free. The policy is expected to be in force July 4.

I consider that little policy to be unConstitutional. Charging or not charging city residents parking fees based on the make and model of the vehicle they're parking? Ho. Ly. Krap.

Dan Esty, a professor and director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy,

Shouldn't that be the "Yale Center for THE STUDY OF Environmental Law and Policy?" Since when was academia a center legislative policy making?

said Congress is not representing the views of the vast majority of AMericans as it shapes energy policy.
He said the 6 percent against fuel-efficiency mandates most likely objected to the government forcing the changes.

Or maybe they object to the de facto banning entire classes of highly useful vehicles...

But what's most amaxing, he said, is that as adverse as many Americans are to forcing companies like these, 93 percent want it done.

Notice the absence of quotation marks. (Sorry. That's just my inner frustrated journalist talking.)

93% of Americans want it done because they actually believe that it CAN be done. If you someone if they'd like their SUV to get 35 miles to the gallon, of course they'll say "YES!". But, ask them if they want the gubmint to ban SUVs and minivans, they'll say "NO!". But that's exactly what it comes down to and that fact is nowhere to be found in this article.

Let's see what else is missing...

The survey also found that 92 percent pf AMericans say dependence on foreign oil is a serious problem.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. residents over the age of 18 included a proportionate number of Republicans and Democrats. [Which leaves out about half the population. -- TS] But what was almost shocking to Esty was that there was little difference in how Democrats and Republicans viewed these problems, despite the political animosity that's welled up over the past decade.

Some people are just dumb, I guess. This Dan Esty fella is shocked -- shocked I tells ya(!) -- that people vote for their pocketbook/wallet. "Democrats and Republicans BOTH wanna save money and be less 'dependent' on foreign oil? I'm shocked! And saddened!"

But here's the thing. If we cut our, oh say, Saudi oil imports by 50% tomorrow, the Saudi's would simply cut production by 50% and raise the price accordingly. The market price is not not NOT simply a due to how much oil is in demand, but also of how much oil is supplied. The Saudis can increase and decrease production in order to get their price. Period.

Lookee here: We could end our "dependence" on foreign oil. But, since we're importing no oil from other countries, we'll have to stop exporting our own oil to still other countries. That's an isolationist policy and we'd have to give up a lot of neato things.

F'rinstance, we'll sell oil to China and in return we'll buy rubber beach clogs that cost us 99 cents. If those clogs were made in the U.S. they'd prolly cost about 5 or 6 bucks. But, we get el cheapo crap from China and China buys our oil. If we buy no more oil from Saudi Arabia then they'll stop buying our... our... our whatever the hell they buy from us. It's called "foreign trade" and it's a lot bigger than just frickin' oy'ul.

Oil is the second-most efficient energy resource we've found, and that's why we're "dependent" on it. Solar energy is an efficient energy source for tomatos and cucumbers, but it's not an efficient energy source for motor vehicles. Solar, natural gas, hydro-electric and even biomass are viable sources of energy, but they are suitable only as a suppliment, not as replacement for petroleum.

The problem with oil is that it's a finite source -- ther's only so much much of it. Even though we tend to keep finding new and bigger reserves here and there, it's still a finite resource. There wont be as much oil in the ground in 10 years, and less in 50 years, and still less in 200 years. Relying on oil as an energy source is not a long-term strategy. But, like I said, it's only the second-most efficient energy resource.

With soldiers fighting in Iraq and unrest in other parts of the petroleum-rich Middle East, Esty said Americans realize that they are locked into the struggles of that region because of oil dependence.
"It looks to me that the public has some pretty strong views on the need for a non-oil energy strategy," he said.

Since any "non-oil energy strategy" that I suspect Esty would endorse couldn't run a locomotive from one side of Nebraska to the other, I expect that he will offer no suggestions as to what a preferred "non-oil" energy resource might be.

The survey found that gas mileage improvement was the most popular way to kick the oil habit. But building more solar power facilities and wind-turbine farms was attractive to more than 87 percent of respondents.

Which just shows to go ya that most people don't understand the agenda being the sneaky questions they'r being asked. Solar panels? Windmills? Shall we fire up the old whaling vessels so's we have enough oil for candlelight on them calm and cloudy days and nights?

But this just makes my day. Notice how, in this next paragraph, the word "foreign" is missing:

Esty said the popularity of reducing dependence is common sense, because oil-based and fossil-fuel products increase pollution -- and everyone likes to breathe.
"It seems liike common sense, but what plays out in Washington is nothing near it," he said.
[End of article -- TS.]

What's playing out in Washington is probably more sensical than wishing for things that don't exist.

I said that petroleum is the second-most efficient energy source. No matter how many as of yet untapped reserves we can find, petroleum is still, and always, only a temporary source of energy. In a thousand years it will be a long forgotten memory.

Whether we wanna preserve a status quo or explore more than our own filthy corner of the galaxy, we need to think further ahead than the next election cycle. Are we destined to reach the next star or are we destined to settle for this one? If the future is now then let's see the correct future, not an idealistic wishing-might-make-it-so future.

The only inexaustible energy source is nuclear energy. That's not an argument, that's a fact.

The problem is that's it's pretty tricky for us right now. But, I promise, it wont always be.

Imagine the first critic of fire. "OUCH!" he cried because was new to him and he didn't quite know yet what to make of it. But, eventually, we learned the rules how to work with fire.

Chernobyl will never happen again. I say that with confidence only because I know that, after Chernobyl, nobody wants to make that one dumb mistake ever again. Maybe I'm whistling past the graveyard, but I do think that, after thousands of years of history, if humanity is going to be around and grow(!)0 after another thousand years then we have to face the fact that nuclear energy is the only only only way we're ever gonna get there.

Some want us to go back to picking weeds and "living off the land". Remember that from the early '70s? But we're going frther than that. Of "getting back to nature" is all we're destined for then we're just running backwards. Our future isn't here, it's out there! Accepting what we are is easy. Dreaming of what we can be is... easy, too!

If oil has to go then so does everything we know. We'll be the little house on the prairie in an idyllic quest for the truth that we deny ourselves. Heaven-on-the-range and no more. We've made our choice.?

Not yet.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005

Are Our Guys Bad-Ass or What?


Photo found here

Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers (front), chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and his wife, Mary Jo, head toward the Pentagon to join thousands of military veterans taking part in Rolling Thunder 2005.

The annual motorcycle rally pays tribute to the nation's fallen and missing servicemembers.

Photo by Tech. Sgt. D. Miles Cullen, USAF

Tip o'the tam to Debbye.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:18 PM | Comments (1)

May 29, 2005

Syria and Chiraq get bitchslapped

Well well well. French voters have rejected handing over any of their sovereignty to a vague EU Council with over 57% of the vote.
And in other encouraging news, Lebanese voters have begun to elect their post-occupation leaders.

And there's a lawnmower droning on outside my window and I'm heating up the oven for some homemade pizza. Aah, what a gorgeous Sunday.

Oh! And come join the discussion in the recent posts at Closet Extremist!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 07, 2005

Runaway bride appears on breakfast toast

Maybe I'm one of the last to find out about it, but THIS is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.


"Valued" at over $15,000 as I write! Bidding ends 4:42am EDT!

Tip o'the tam to Rachel Ann

UPDATE: Auction over. Winning bid: $15,400.00! Some things just cannot be explained.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:13 PM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2005

Well, this is weird

According to this story a 10-yr old boy in Sherman, California suffered first degree burns after a Motorola cellphone exploded in his pocket.

Anybody know how in the world that can happen?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:53 PM | Comments (1)

April 22, 2005

And in local news...

Wasn't this in a Simpson's episode?

Sorry for the lousy photo. It's an enlargement of a very small photo -- the only one provided at the Connecticut Post's website.


FAIRFIELD — A woman being transported from a minor Merritt Parkway accident Thursday allegedly suffered additional injuries when her American Medical Response ambulance suddenly flipped onto its side and crashed near a tree while rushing to a hospital.

She remained lashed to a stretcher inside the ambulance until freed by rescue workers.


The woman, Delea Delima, 34, of Shelton, was reported to be in stable condition late Thursday at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport. State Police said she complained of neck pain after the ambulance crash.

You can't make this stuff up. Full story HERE.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:12 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2005

this post

I know I promised no more Terri Schiavo posts until her demise, but Andrew Sullivan wrote:

A MUST-READ: From one of my favorite conservative-libertarians, Neal Boortz . His is the Christian position I hold. There are worse things for a Christian than death. Let Terri go. She has suffered and been used enough.

Andrew's link takes you HERE. I absolutely must post my thoughts on Neal's column and will simply die if I don't.

As Rush opens the hour he has a question; a question for “you liberals.” He wants to know “Why do you want Terri Schiavo to die?”

I’m on the opposite side of this issue from Rush, Hannity, Liddy and most of my not-liberal talk radio colleagues. So the question intrigued me. Why, indeed, do I want Terri Schiavo to die?

Rush’s question deserved an answer. Not some glib response, but an honest, heartfelt answer. So, … here’s mine.

I want Terri Schiavo to die because I believe she’s earned it.

Let me be presumptuous and say that I don't believe that either Andrew Sullivan or Neal Boortz believe in God. I think they're like me; athiests or agnostics, depending on their state of wonder at the time. I think that Boortz is presenting a theological argument that supports his inclination to "let Terri go" because he desires to engage Believers on their own turf, not because he, himself, is a Believer.

But, like I said, I'm being presumptuous and I have no idea what Andrew or Neal really think in their quiet moments, only what they choose to write. Anywho, with my skepticism now outed, Neal writes:

I don’t view death as the end of the journey of a human soul. I view it as a transition. The God I believe in would not waste the total life experiences of a man or woman made in his image on a total and complete death; a dead end, if you will, with nothing to follow. I cannot believe that it is God’s plan that the life experiences of a man; wisdom gained, lessons learned and love experienced, should, upon death, disappear as if they never were. I believe that there’s something to follow the life we know on this earth; and I believe that most of the people fighting to keep the body of Terri Schiavo alive feel the same way.

Here Neal is invoking the existence of a Hereafter as a salve to our disgust at Terri's pointless death. But, if he is a God-fearing man, I would remind him that Jesus asked Peter "'Who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.'" Throughout the gospels there are references to something called "the God of the living".

I was sitting on a bar stool in my sister's kitchen when my ex- said to my sister, "Bob believes in God, but he doesn't believe in an afterlife." I almost corrected her on the first part. But, I realized that that might explain exactly the way I see it. What I call "God", others would call the Laws of physics, mathematics, chemistry, biochemistry. It's what I think of when I hear the term "Natural Law".

When I release a hammer it'll fall to the ground because God told it to. When I pull the nob on my television set it'll turn the set ON because God told it to. When I betray someone close to me she will suffer immensely because God tells her to. Nicheren Buddhists call it "myoho"; the mystical law of cause and effect. But there's not too much mystery about it. We're geared to work within it because God told us to.

Our bodies know how to live. They can grow from one cell to two. From two to sixteen. Our bodies know how to grow in the womb and how to push ourselves out into the world. Our bodies know how to suckle, how to see and listen, how to accomplish puberty, how to fight an infection and heal a wound, how to grow old and, at our end, how to die.

It's when our bodies are fighting infections and healing wounds that God is most obviously present. Absent modern medical care, we can't do those things for ourselves. Our bodies are instructed, by God, to do them for us.
What the God of the living wants, then, is for us to have eternal Life. But that same God knows that that's impractical. If we all lived forever then the planet would be shoulder-to-shoulder with animal creatures. No one would die except by accident or deliberate killin'. So, instead, we have youth, adulthood, old-age and a death process. Call it "planned obsolescence".

And, yes, there is a "death process". Our bodies know when we're going and our brains instruct it on how to do it right. Certain synapses will be deprived of oxygen and they will then disconnect. The healing mechanisms go from treating a wound to preparing a body and it's consciousness for their end. Whatever consciousness Terri Schiavo has, it is now being told that it's ending has come... and it is comforting her at the same time.

I believe that Terri Schiavo's brain stem sent her signals, in the first few days, that she was starving and dehydrating. Eat! Drink! I am causing you pain because we are suffering! And I believe that she suffered then.

But I also believe that her near-reptilian consciousness knew that it's warnings and directives were going unheeded. Somewhere along the line her "Carteasean theater" showed her that all was lost and that it was time to say good-bye. Our bodies know how to die.

She is breathing and, so, her extant synapses remain intact. She may be dreaming. If so, we can only hope that what's left of her brain knows how to make all of her dreams pleasant ones.

Recent reports say that her eyes and tounge are dried and bleeding. Her skin is dried and flaking. Her body, hopefully, knows that the battle is lost and is delivering every comfort to her awareness that God allows it to give to her. She is at peace. I believe that. God, at this point, wouldn't have it any other way.

Neal correctly asks two different questions. They each address a more fundamental question: Does the soul leave a body when the consciousness leaves or only when Life leaves? (Of course, I believe that it's when Life leaves; it's the end of the sweet tangle of matter and ghost.) Neal makes an argument addressed to both, each conclusion favoring death for Terri. Then Boortz asks:

Where do your concerns truly lie, with the eternal soul of Terri Schiavo, or with her earthly body?

They are one and the same. Her soul is lying in a bed. Hungry. Thirsty. To care for her soul is to feed it. The God of the living would do no less. What we are forgetting about here is that God instructs us on how to live. This is IT, folks. This is the Test. This is the time. This is who we are. Right frickin' NOW!

Neal continues....:

Most of us are aware of the stories related by people who have near-death experiences. The usual scenario is a surgical procedure or some other medical emergency. These people describe a sensation of leaving their body at the very time the heart stops beating and the brain ceases functioning. They tell of floating above their body while watching doctors below working hard to resuscitate, to bring them back to life. As the heart once again starts beating and as the brain resumes its functions, they tell of a sensation of falling back into their own bodies to resume life.

We don’t hear from the patients upon whom resuscitation efforts are not successful. We don’t hear from them because they’ve left us. They’re gone to experience whatever lies beyond. They died.

I don't believe in any of that. That's just '70's wacko mystical shite that belongs in a bin with the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot stories. If they saw themselves outside of their bodies then it's because their bodies let them imagine it. We can't see without eyes when we're dead anymore than we can when we're asleep. (Like I said, I'm being presumptuous today...)

Neal concludes:

Is it possible that the soul of Terri Schiavo has been floating – held in some prolonged and excruciating limbo – waiting for doctors to stop interfering with the process of her death? I believe that this is so, and that is why I have supported her husband’s desires to have her feeding tube removed. Terri Schiavo isn’t being murdered. She’s being allowed to die. Death will not be an end for Terri Schiavo, it will be a beginning. She will finally be allowed to claim the reward that ultimately we all seek, a reward she’s earned and deserves.

Wow. That's pretty wacky. "Allowed to die"?! Should a guy, with 3rd degree burns on his hands be "allowed to die" because he can't feed himself? I'm guessing not. What Neal is accepting/endorsing -- no matter how much he feigns to appeal to believers -- is the ending a God-given life that need not be ended. Et tu, Neal?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:48 PM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2005

Saving Private Schiavo

"Private Schiavo"? Well, okay, it's an inept attempt at a bad pun. Privacy is long gone. Terri Schiavo's scheduled demise will be very public.

But, to paraphrase a line from Saving Private Ryan: In this media circus, in all this madness and this argumentation over her alledged wishes and this very public, private, judicial and congressional debate, perhaps saving Terri Schiavo's life might be the one the only good thing that can come of it.

Let's think ahead for a moment.

If nothing changes then over the next week or two Terri's condition will deteriorate. She will dehydrate. She will become more and more irritated. She will moan. She will wail. Her lips will crack. Her pangs will consume her making her writhe in extreme discomfort. The vigils will become more and more solemn as her death becomes near and her dying becomes nearly unwatchable.

All of this will happen in public. Even if her room is quarantined, with no access by a camera or her family allowed, her last days will be public. Her last waking moment will be announced. Her last breaths will be counted. Her time of death will be noted.

How will those who allowed this to happen, those who refused to obstruct this horror, those who claimed that this was what Terri wanted all along, defend their judgement?

If Terri Schiavo wants to die (which she doesn't), and the courts can't find any reason to keep Michael Schiavo from killing her (which they can), then, for chrisakes, call Doctor Kevorkian and let him set up his little chemical apparatus. He knows how to put someone to sleep properly; the way a right-to-die excercizer would want it. Pulling out her feeding and tube letting die like this is absolutely monsterous.

Yes, she'd still end up dead. But, at least it wont be the horrifying and agonizingly public death-by-torture that we appear to be about to witness. We wouldn't do this to a fucking mouse (pardon my freedom).

Michael Schiavo and Judge Greer are using the Law to accomplish what the Law designed to prevent.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:57 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Pretty Words and Polite Polemics

Ned: Y'know, I can help you get rid of that crab grass.
Homer: What crab grass?!
Ned: Well, that crab grass over there. And over there. And there's quite a big patch over there.
Homer: Oh, sure, let's all gang up on the crab grass! We only hate it because of the name. We'd all love it if it had a cute name, like "elf grass".

I wonder if part of the reason why Terri Schaivo's feeding tube was removed is because we've given that act a pretty name: euthenasia. Would this idea have gotten anywhere if we just called it what it was: killin' sick people?

By changing the words we use to describe things -- or even simply the sound of those words -- we can change the way we think of those things. A garbage man magically becomes a sanitation specialist; a tax becomes a contribution; desertion becomes un-volunteering and murder becomes an assisted suicide.

It can lead to some very bizarre argumentation. Here's some of what came out of George Felos' mouth on Friday.

"To have her feeding tube inserted by a subsequent act of Congress before she dies would be a horrific act upon her body."

"It is cruel and inhuman to say to a patient who says I don't want to be artificially fed to remove her feeding tube, have her enter the death process and then start life support again."

The pro-euthansia attorney said it was "cruel and inhuman" not to starve Ms. Schiavo to death.

"Wear your shame for what you did and atone for it, because to trample on [Terri's] rights again would be abhorrent."

[Collected from Newsmax]

Yes, Terri has rights. And one of them is a right to sue for divorce. I mean, look;

  • Her "loving and devoted" husband is living with another woman with whom he's had two children.
  • The $800,000 he received in his malpractice suit was to fund her rehabilitation. Instead he used it to fund her execution.
  • He's forbidden any and all usual therapy to assist her possible - if only partial - recovery.
  • He's forbidden any and all actions that would help her including treating bed sores.
  • He claims that Terri once mentioned to him that she wouldn't want to be kept alive "artificially". No one else heard her say it. Yet it's granted that she had said it based on the testimony of someone who wants her dead.

Seems to me that a "right-to-die" case ought to be based, at the very very least, on a direct, first-hand request, not the say-so of someone with an interest in his or her demise. Talk about a conflict. But I digress.

"I promise to love leave and to cherish abandon through richer or poorer ill-gotten gain, in sickness starvation and in health dehydration, until death do us you part die already."


At least euthenasia's a pretty word.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:45 PM | Comments (2)

March 14, 2005

Ashley Smith: Friend or Freak?


Two of my favorite blogbabes seem to have a different impression of Ashley Smith. Michelle sees an angel, Rachel smells a rat.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:31 PM | Comments (5)
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