Tuesday, October 29, 2002

For 10 bonus points, guess which industry will jump on the ability to feel things over the Internet first.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Live from Tuscaloosa, it's BamaCam! Actually, the spot where they've set up the web cam doesn't seem to be very interesting. Maybe we can recruit some Malleteers to draw something interesting on the sidewalk or moon the camera or something.
Ok, so fellow fatboy Paul Clemmons and I went to see "The Ring" last night. I didn't really know a lot about the movie, so I didn't know what to expect. It turned out to scare the bejeesus outta me. They definitely did a really great job setting up the suspense and the mood of the film. Paul told me today he had a few nightmares last night about it, so if you like this kind of film, check it out.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Several law schools got together and created a web site to track Cease and Desist letters sent to owners of web sites. This particular Cease and Desist order is pretty funny. Mensa is asking a parody site, Pets or Food, stop claiming that it's fictional owner, Sydney Zwibel, is a member of Mensa. Petsorfood.com is a disturbing, yet humorous site. I can't believe Mensa would be this heavy-handed over what is obviously a joke.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

A skeptic's view of Baseball's Greatest Moment. I'd have to agree with the writer that Ripkin being voted #1 over Hank Aaron's homerun at #2 is pretty sad.
Thought you knew everything about Microsoft FreeCell? Think again. Check out the F.A.Q.
Terrorists everywhere better run for cover! They've got Gene Simmons pissed off and he's not afraid to sound off a few juicy soundbites on the subject. For more funny Simmons quotes, check out this announcement of their upcoming concert in Australia.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

A cool web site that tracks trees that were grown from seeds that orbited the moon on Apollo 14 back in 1971. They're scattered all over the globe now.
My friend Kevino sent in this link for a new "Cool Person Test." I already know how my friend Jeff is gonna score.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Public Hearings Set on Freight and Passenger Rail Cost Benefits
Well, it appears there is at least some work going on to get more rail service going in Tennessee according to this press release (Note: scroll down a few articles). Of course, the major caveat is that now they'll have to identify "possible funding sources." Anything that gets some of the massive amounts of trucks off the Interstate would definitely be worth it.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

The lack of passenger rail service in the Southeast is a real shame, especially in the Middle Tennessee area. Here's an old article that reveals that there's actually no existing rail connection between Nashville and Knoxville anymore. Even to haul freight you have to go to Atlanta to connect them. Sad. There's a group trying to get rail service restored between Louisville and Nashville, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
One of my favorite authors, Stephen Ambrose, recently passed away. He'll be missed. His WWII books were some of the best I've ever read.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Ok, so the wife and kid talk me into going to see Tuck Everlasting last night. It's not a bad movie, and the lead actress, Alexis Bledel was really cute. I can't believe she's 21 years old. I really bought into her being 15.

Even though the movie was OK, I had to make up my own ending so that it would be absolutely perfect. The movie is about a family that can live forever and are invulnerable because they drank from a small spring at the base of a big ass tree. At the end of the movie, the 17 year old Tuck, who is actually about 189 years old, walks into the clearing around the tree in the present day and finds a gravestone at the base of the tree with Winnie's name on it. It seems that she took William Hurt's mumbo jumbo advice about being "part of the wheel" and didn't drink the water and died at age 100. In the real movie, Tuck kneels by her grave and stares in wonder as the credits start to roll.

Now in the Hatch version, he would have walked into the clearing and knelt by her grave. After a few poignant moments, a sound eerily similar to a pack of dogs barking is heard. He quicky turns, stands up, and a sword has almost magically appeared in his hands. Out of the bushes steps a tall figure with long, dark hair. He also has a sword, a katana, in his hand, with a smug smirk on his face.

The stranger speaks. "Tuck."

Tuck stares at him for a few tense moments before replying, "Highlander, wait."

The Highlander rushes into the clearing and a 5 minute sword fight ensues. Eventually, Tuck's head is severed and a massive quickening takes place, which ends up toppling the oak tree and destroying the method of creating new immortals.

The crowd in the theatre, (all 5 of us), goes wild! Cue the Queen music...

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Scientists have found a new method of cave formation that involves microbes creating carbonic acid that eats away the limestone.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I've been watching a lot of CSI lately, and last night's episode featured a case where a young girl was partially eaten by two teenagers high on PCP. We had a discussion about it at work this morning and I made the statement that the story seemed far-fetched. After doing a Google search, however, I came up with this article about a rapper who got high on PCP and then killed and partially ate a woman. The CSI episode must have been based on this story since there are so many similarities. If that doesn't give you the heebie jeebies then I don't know what will.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Ok, so I knew most insurance companys were evil. I did some work a few years ago for one of the big ones (Hint: It's in Bloomington, IL), so I saw first-hand what kind of fartknockers they could be. This story has to take the cake, though. I don't claim to be a math whiz, and anyone is welcome to rebut this, but I don't seem to recall any stories of the insurance industry having any troubles making money the previous couple of hundred years using basic actuarial tables. Maybe the information explosion is actually damaging them. They're using the massive amounts of data they collect to cut their margins so thin that a few good round of claims can put a serious hurting on them. Now they're turning their relationship with their customers into even more of an adversarial one.
Further anecdotal proof of my friend Jeff's cheese factor in his home. Jeff constructed a massive wooden bar between his kitchen and his living room.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

There's finally an Xbox game coming out that will be 1080i resolution. I'm not sure how good of a game the new Dragon's Lair will be, but at least I can finally use the Xbox to show off my high definition set, which is one of the reasons I originally bought the Xbox for in the first place. Hopefully there will be more Hi-Def games coming out soon.
The latest news on the new home saga is that the inspection we paid for was completed yesterday afternoon. The only problems he found were that there's a small hole in the siding and there's a stain on the linoleum in the upstairs bathroom. Everything is looking pretty good so far. I also locked in the proposed rate on the 5/1 ARM that we're going with. Everyone seems to think I should be scared of using an adjustable mortgage, but right now I'm more concerned with keeping the payments low. I'll have 5 years to figure out what to do next.
I've been trying to spend less money lately, so I've been finding books around the house that I haven't read yet or haven't read in quite a while. This week I finished reading Once a Hero by Elizabeth Moon. I picked it up several years ago in an airport somewhere and never got past the first few chapters. On a scale of 1 to 5 I'd give it a 2.5 or so. It had an interesting premise and a very cool location of a huge repair spaceship, but Moon goes too far out of her way to create a lot of strong female characters. The male characters are almost completely uninteresting and many times come out looking foolish. I'd also have to credit her with coming up with one of the most boring final chapters ever in a novel. We get to sit in on the main character, Esmay Suiza, talking to her psychologist in therapy. Moon also has a strange way of using expletives in this book. Almost no one curses for long stretches and then someone will drop the F-bomb at a place that seems almost awkward. I don't really mind authors using expletives, but they need to at least make it sound natural. The book made for decent late night reading, but I would never recommend someone actually buying it.
Here's a depressing article for anyone around my age (34) in Generation X. A lot of it rings true, but I'm in slightly better shape than a lot of the people they describe.
The wife and I watched Dragonfly last night on DVD. I'd have to mostly agree with Mr. Cranky's review, but maybe only give it 3 bombs. They did manage to set up some very suspenseful scenes, which managed to cover up a lot of Kevin Costner's bad acting. I managed to figure out the "surprise" ending before it happened. I think it was their strategy of avoiding giving clues about the ending that allowed me to figure it out. The picture quality of the DVD was pretty good. So good that Marissa even noticed that Costner had too much makeup on in one scene, which was also mentioned in the DVDFile review. All in all, unless you really like supernatural suspense movies a lot, you could probably get by with skipping this one.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Sigh. The Braves suck so hard in the post-season. Apparently if I take an active interest in a team and start watching them it's the kiss of death for them winning a game. I hadn't cared at all about Alabama football this year until this past weekend when I sat down to watch an entire game. Bleh.

Monday, October 07, 2002

I've found the disc reviews at dvdfile.com are consistently useful, especially if I'm considering buying a DVD. Of course my wife just uses the method of buying any DVD that is remotely a "chick flick." Heh. Her latest acquisition was Britney Spears' Crossroads, which I will hopefully never have to watch. The purchase did send our nine year old daughter into a happy epileptic fit when she found out my wife had bought it.
MSN.com tricked me into clicking on this article today. Very bizarre stuff. Especially the part about the 'ghost child.' Too bad I actually have some moral scruples, or I could make money off dumb people as well.
Here's some details on the latest acquisition by my friend Jeff, the King of Cheese:

"Over the weekend, I did acquire a "Pipe Carousel" from a dead guy's estate, however. It will, of course, be located on the bar. It's got about 10 classic pipes in it with a glass jar in the middle to hold pipe cleaners, filters, and pipe tobacco. The next time you're down, we'll have to fire up some "Black Cherry", my favorite pipe tobacco."

Friday, October 04, 2002

Ok, just as I published that last entry I remembered that I'm also distantly related to Tom Huston, who founded Tom's Peanuts back in 1925.
I only have one relative who could be considered anywhere close to being a celebrity. His name is Harry Stinson and he's in the music business here in Nashville. He's currently the drummer and backup singer in a band called the Vinyl Kings. I've seen them play live three of four times now and I must say, they are very talented musicians with a really good sound. Every time I've been to see them it has been standing room only. They've just released a new album that is a tribute to the Beatles. I'll try to check it out soon and let you know how it is.
Anyone that wants to do some early Christmas shopping for me would be my best friend forever if they got me the Babylon 5 Complete 1st Season on DVD from my Amazon.com Wishlist. It sure took them long enough to come out with this. The best news is that every episode will be released in widescreen and the sound is being redone in Dolby Digtal 5.1.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Everyone has probably heard of Kurt Schilling, the pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I'm sure most people wouldn't know that he's an avid player of Advanced Squad Leader, which I consider to be the best tactical board game ever. When he was still playing in Philadelphia, he and some others started the small company that's keeping ASL and lots of other Avalon Hill games alive. They've even released an updated version of the ASL Rulebook. I just need to find time to play it. Sigh.
There's a new annotated version of my non-famous poem "An Ode to Safe Sex" on my website in the Mallet Literature section. I apoligize in advance for all men who read this poem.
My current favorite bumper sticker of all time: "I want to die in my sleep like my Grandpaw did, not screaming in terror like his passengers."
Well, we finally signed the final contract on the house we want to buy last night. The closing date is Oct. 31 and we take possession on Nov. 2 at 4pm. Next to come is the inspection and I'm working on the financing still. The only crappy thing is that I'll have to move again. Second time this year. Bleh.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Ha, ha, ha, ha! I love it. Barbra Streisand, one of the great pseudo-intelluctuals of our time, quoted something that's been floating around on the web for weeks now. It's attributed to Shakespeare, but ole Willy never wrote it. I first read about it here on www.snopes.com last week. Apparently Barb missed the article.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

This article gives hope to white men everywhere.
My friend Brian Spisak, who lives in Chicago, is currently ranked in the Top 100 players for the League Play "Player of the Year" Competition for Golden Tee Fore! 2002 player of the year contest. Last time I visited Brian, he kept a dishwashing glove with the fingers cut out in his pocket to help him get more grip while he was playing. I don't think he does that anymore, but he's still pretty hard core for a video game golf player.