Hasty Ruminations

Speaking out, to remove all doubt. http://hastyruminations.blogspot.com

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Gorbal Warming


The Brits put out a report on Monday that Global Warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression.

Not to mention Noah's flood.

The UK Treasury Chief commissioned the report. Not the scientists, not the academics nor the Ministry of Magic. The accountant. The bean counter. The nerd with the green visor.

This dude said that ex-VP Al Gore has spent a lot of time running in circles about global warming, and so Gore will advise the British government on climate change.

And also ManBearPig, which is equally threatening.


Hubbel Telescope

Hubbel Telescope

Well, here is the grand-bull-moose mother-of-all Rush-Limbaugh quandries in the known universe:

The Hubbel space telescope is one of the greatest things we have ever made to explore the universe. In a league with the Voyager space craft.

The only outfit which can apparently fix it is … NASA. Yeah, the ones who are Not Actually Smart Anymore.

Except for the boss. Michael Griffin, who replaced Sean O’Keefe, worked on Hubbel and is leading the effort for another fix-it mission. O’Keefe was in over his head just driving to work every day.

The news is pretty scant on what needs to be done. Five consecutive space walks, repairing a sensitive instrument on the telescope instead of in the lab, and that’s about all we know. What we are told is that it needs to be done, badly.

Well, in that case, I agree that NASA should try to fix it. I can think of no one else who can do this job as badly as NASA.

Short, Short Stories

Short (!) Story

Here’s a challenge. Write a short story.

A very short story.


Six words.

Here is my set of Very Short Stories, to get you started (1).


Love you forever. Don’t call me.


When she’s grown, I’m outta here.


Just cock the hammer, like this.


Oops. Now the jet is inverted.


Iraq to Korea? About 12 minutes.


DON'T drink that … well, never mind.


If you’re sick, use my purse.

1. (Reg.U.S.Pat.Off., amazon.com contract pending; would I lie about that?)


So, let's see your short, short stories.

Limbaugh on shaky ground with Fox


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The Rush Limbaugh / Michael J. Fox controversy is foolish at the core.

Fox admits that he goes off his pills before testifying to Congress, so that they can better see the effects of Parkinson's disease.

As if they'd notice anything unusual in a witness who fidgets.

And Limbaugh, who should get on satellite radio with the person he most resembles, Howard Stern, offers a conditional non-apology apology to Fox for saying that Fox must either have been off his meds or acting during the campaign video.

Limbaugh knows about that. Remember when he was busted for getting painkillers illegally?

When Limbaugh goes off those pills, he becomes a real pain.

Doctors now tell us that the violent shaking seen in the Fox ad is a side effect of his medication. The medication allows him to walk and to talk coherently, with the shaking as a tradeoff.

The use of embryonic stem cells for research is presently legal, and funded in the federal, state and private arenas. Since 2001, federal funds cannot be used for new stem cell lines. In 2004, California voters approved a $3 billion bond for embryonic stem cell research. New Jersey, Massachusetts and many other states, pharmaceutical companies and foreign countries are starting vigorous programs.

If Fox doesn't like that, maybe he should move to another country. He's done that before. And he should take Rush with him!

Laurel shouldn't go anywhere without Hardy.


Vice President Dick Cheney said that the Bush administration doesn’t frown on waterboarding. He said it’s not torture.

Water boarding

It creates a drowning sensation.

It sounds like someone has been watching old Monty Python movies.

Monty Python - The Holy Grail

BEDEVERE: What do you burn apart from witches?
VILLAGER #2: Wood!
BEDEVERE: So, why do witches burn?
VILLAGER #3: B--... 'cause they're made of... wood?
BEDEVERE: Good! Heh heh.
BEDEVERE: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?

Witch ... Oops!

VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEVERE: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No. No.
VILLAGER #2: No, it floats! It floats!
BEDEVERE: What also floats in water?

Pumpkin sculpture

VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Uh, very small rocks!
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Uh, gra-- gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
ARTHUR: A duck!
CROWD: Oooh.
BEDEVERE: Exactly. So, logically...
VILLAGER #1: If... she... weighs... the same as a duck,... she's made of wood.
BEDEVERE: And therefore?
VILLAGER #2: A witch!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Here Comes...


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(NPR) “South Dakotans will vote next month on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would strip judges, jurors, and other state officials of their immunity from lawsuits for their official actions. The proposal has alarmed not only judges, but also large swathes of South Dakota society.”

The idea of setting up a state wide special grand jury of 12 randomly selected people (who cannot be lawyers or judges) to hear appeals comes from California, and a guy who could not afford to get the number of signatures in California for the November ballot. It’s cheaper in South Dakota. It’s called Jail for Judges.

All special interests are upset: not just judges and lawyers (of course), but also the teachers’ union, car dealers, agri-farm multinationals – everyone who could have a landmark case costing millions of dollars overturned by twelve “amateurs”.

Actually, the Grand Jury won’t overturn the cases. If the bill is approved, the Grand Jury could determine that the judge did something unlawful, and therefore remove his or her immunity from prosecution. Retrying the case, and conviction of the judge, would have to follow in separate trials with their own judges, juries, lawyers and what not.

It looks interesting… if we take it beyond the “remove immunity and re-try the case” step.

Say the teachers’ union wins a close decision in a non-jury case against the Podunk, S.D. school board. As a result, say, to correct years of discrimination, the judge decides that the next ten teachers hired in Podunk must be Muslims. The Judge turns out to be George Smith, a part-time professor at the teachers' college, but his new name is Abdul Hasan Bani Sadr, he having just converted to Islam.

It’s possible that any citizen could convince the Grand Jury to allow the school board to sue the judge for any number of reasons, including failure to recuse himself.

So, what’s the benefit? Knowing the potential for problems, the union might decide not to bring the case to court at all, but to negotiate with the school board.

Hey, not bad! We just took a step away from suing everyone in sight everytime Martha gets a hangnail!

Maybe this is what it takes. It’s for sure that today the lawyers have no incentive to work it out on their own.



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I think that the last time I voted for someone was for Ronald Reagan. Yet, I have voted in each presidential election since I came of age.

Like W.C. Fields, I find that I most often vote against someone.

I voted against Hubert Humphrey, and Nixon got elected.
I voted against George Mcgovern, and Nixon won.
I voted against Jimmy Carter, but he won.
I voted for Ronald Reagan, twice, and he won.
I voted against Michael Dukakis, and the senior George Bush won.
I voted against Bill Clinton, but he won.
I voted against Bob Dole, and Clinton won.
I voted against Al Gore, and the junior George Bush won.
I voted against John Kerry, and W won again.

That’s why it’s a problem for me when someone says, accusingly, to me, “Look what a bone-headed play your guy just made! What a dolt you put into office.”

I want to answer, “Hey, wait! The only way our system lets me vote AGAINST someone is to vote FOR the other guy! Don’t make me try to defend that guy. I just think that, as bad as it is now, it would be even worse under the other guy!”

It’s not the lesser of two evils; it’s the least objectionable of what’s there!

Or the least dangerous.

And that’s pretty bad.

Our Friend Mel


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You gotta try this.

Mel Gibson Dress Up

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Pope Does It Again!


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First it was the speech in a German university, which riled up all of the Muslims.

Now Pope Benedict addressed the faculty and students at a university in Rome, and told them that if they believe only in artificial intelligence and technology, ignoring a deeper vision and morality, they will be like Icarus.

The ancient Greek myth tells us that Icarus escaped Crete by making wings of wax and feathers, but his excessive pride made him fly too closely to the sun. The wax melted, and Icarus crashed to his death.

Didn’t the Pope hear about the Airbus A380 problems this week? An extra year’s delay, rampant cost overruns, and customer cancellations?

Is now a good time to talk about “crashing” and “the wings coming off?”

Global OMG Warming!

According to Al Gore and his movie, Inconvenient Truth, because we're in danger and he's in doubt, we should run in circles, scream and shout.

Global warming is melting everything!

Check out the one million year temperature cycles in the chart below, please. In the past 1,000,000 years or so, there have been at least seven or eight glacial periods, when things froze up. There were eight or more hot times, interglacial periods, when glaciers and snow packs melted. Right now, we're heating up from the last glacial period and, as usual, things are melting. Check it out here.

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Now, here's a closeup of the last 140,000 years. Notice the two coldest times - 130,000 years ago, and 20,000 years ago. The glaciers we have left now were frozen up about 20,000 years ago. And now, it's warming up again. As usual.

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Please stop telling me that Big Ride (my truck) is melting the glaciers in Alaska.

But please don't tell Al Gore. It would just confuse him.

Amnesia, and I Forget What Else


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The following appeared in a story about the amnesiac man who has been "claimed" by his alleged fiancee:

Do you know anyone who has suffered from amnesia?
___ Yes
___ No

I think that they should have included a third answer, but right now I forget what I was going to say.

And, what if the female is really Jefferina Dahmer? She just waits for an appetizing amnesiac to appear, then she warms up the oven and claims him. Who would know?

Killer Stingray Redux


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Stingray Leaps Into Boat, Stabs Man in Chest

Did you see that story last week? Left its long barb stuck in him.

It’s beginning to look like a pattern: first Steve Irwin, now this guy.

Why isn’t Corvette doing some creative marketing already?

Fraggle Rock, The Movie


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Our hit TV show from the 80’s is being developed by Ahmet Zappa into a full-length musical fantasy starring the classic characters.

He’s a son of Frank Zappa.

Zappa will get musician friends to write original songs for the movie. The original Henson puppets will be refurbished and updated for the film; no computer graphics, they say.

Disney bought the Muppets, but not the Fraggles!

Congress Is Corrupt? Say It Ain't So, Joe!


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Half of all Americans believe most members of Congress are corrupt, according to a new poll released Thursday by CNN.

That’s good news. It means that the men and women in Congress could only bribe half of the people polled to say “No problem.”

The other half either voted their conscience, or refused the bribe because it wasn't big enough.

The General Has Crystal Balls


Gen. Casey and the Ambassador
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General George Casey, Rumsfeld’s four star in charge of Iraq, repeated yesterday what he said a couple of weeks ago: it will take a year and a half for Iraqis to take over peace keeping from the U.S., and another year or so of U.S. support when called on after that.

"We are about 75 percent of the way through a three-step process in building those (Iraqi) forces. It is going to take another 12 to 18 months or so till I believe the Iraqi security forces are completely capable of taking over responsibility for their own security that's still coupled with some level of support from us," Casey said.

Your author has some not insignificant military experience, so here is my perspective on his statement:

- Military officers and enlisted folks are not trained to think in terms of one year from now. Everything in our experience is short range, from the time we join up until the time we retire. In our early years, tours of duty are typically 12 to 18 months long, and we do not dwell on the next duty station until about a month in advance. After thirteen years in the Navy, the longest time I had spent at any duty station was 24 months. Often only people past 20 years of service get tour lengths of four years – sometimes.

- The military does not frown on long time estimates – “How long will it take to fix this?”; “How much longer do you need to re-train that guy?” No, it does not frown; it snarls. Casey’s 12 to 18 months is not his estimate, because it goes against everything he has learned, and against everything he has taught. That’s because he has no backup, no details, no schedule of what happens week-by-week, month-by-month to teach Iraqis how to protect their own country. That’s remarkable, because almost all Iraqis have spent three-quarters of their lives or more in the middle of one war or another. How much training do these former soldiers need?

- 12 to 18 months is a very convenient number. If you say six months, some reporter will come back in six months and ask you about it again. In 18 months, the Defense Department retains a lot of wiggle room, and some reporters and most Americans will have forgotten about it.

- So, that estimate can only be Rummy’s party line.

- W said that this Iraq thing won’t end during his second term, which has two more years to run.

This is smelling more and more like Vietnam when I was there. Someone will find some footage of General William Westmoreland saying the same things in Saigon that they are saying today in Baghdad. The parallels between SecDef Robert McNamara and Don Rumsfeld are spookier than Nightmare on Elm Street, especially when you watch each of them wrestling with the truth to try to get a different truth out of it.

Our military is the best in the world at training, at joining the battle and at delivering a serious whupping to all the bad guys. We do not train our youngsters to be policemen. We have the smallest Department of Defense since it was established in the 1940's. It is wrong to use the finest, most precision, best fighting force in the history of the world to shovel this stuff.

You get to the point that when one of these civilian leader dudes tells you the sky is blue, you have to step outside to see for yourself.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lacy is Ready


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We worked on Lacy's costume this weekend.

She can't wait!

A Different View

Daniel Radcliffe, the lead in the Harry Potter movies, 17 years old, has taken a part in the London stage production of “Equus”. His character will ride a horse naked on stage.

Not a naked horse. Try to keep up here.

I guess the Übergruppe Führer and Control Freq J.K. Rowling, the author, missed this one in the contracts. She required (a) only English actors, (b) filming only in soddy ol’ England and (c) her personal approval of both the screenwriters and the script before filming. Probably approval of the final cut, salaries, selection of director etc., etc.

Maybe she should have required that the actors behave themselves while they are under contract. Most responsible producers do.

The only one happy about this is Danny Radcliffe.

Oh, and ex-Congressman Mark Foley, who is trying to get tickets.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Best Trailer Park Dog

Here is Lacy in Big Easy (the trailer) this morning. After her walk, and before her breakfast.

This IS my smile!
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She's very patient.
She likes to stretch out on the couch and snooze while I am at work.

What's that sound?
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It's nice that the trailer is so big - she can run around and chase after things.

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For dinner, she gets Eukanuba Low Fat for Large Breed Dogs with her chicken breast, and a mix of Milkbones for breakfast. I used to make Milkbone, so I know it's great for her.

She's a wonderful friend!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bye Bye, Grandma


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One night, a father passed by his son's room and heard his son praying: "God bless Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma. Bye bye, Grandpa."

The father didn't quite know what this meant, but was glad his son was praying. The next morning, they found Grandpa dead on the floor of a heart attack. The father reassured himself that it was just a coincidence, but he was still a bit spooked.

The next night, he heard his son praying again: "God bless Mommy and Daddy. Bye bye, Grandma."

The father was worried, but decided to wait until morning. Sure enough, the next morning Grandma was on the floor, dead of a heart attack.

Really concerned now, the father decided to wait outside his son's door the next night. And sure enough, the boy started to pray: "God bless Mommy. Bye bye, Daddy."

Now the father was scared. He stayed up all night, and went to the doctor's office early the next day to make sure his health was fine. When he finally came home, his wife was waiting on the porch. She said, "Thank God you're here -- we could really use your help.

"We found the milkman dead on the porch this morning."

A Different Kind of Jolt


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In a surprise move,
coffee giant Starbucks has recalled 73,000 eight cup coffee brewers sold at its shops for use in homes and offices.

They said that the coffee makers, made in China (maybe sub-contracted to North Korea?), have defective wiring. They were sold for $100.

Yeah, right. How much coffee do they drink in China or North Korea, you think?

Could it be that someone finally added it up: Eight cups a day times 73,000 at $4 a cup… “Good grief, we could have been selling these guys Moca Loca Fattay Latte instead of letting them make their own! We’re losing billions of dollars!”

So if you return the melted-down coffee maker, they will give you … wait for it … a free pound of coffee!

“Now, what am I supposed to do with THAT?”

Great Cockpit Conversations


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These quotations may be real. Or not.

Tower: "Delta 351, you have traffic at 10 o'clock, 6 miles."
Delta 351: "Can you give us another hint? We have only digital watches."

"TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees."
"Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?"
"Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?"

From an unknown aircraft waiting in a very long takeoff line: "I'm f...ing bored!"
Ground Control: "Last aircraft transmitting, identify yourself immediately!"
Unknown aircraft: "I said I was f...ing bored, not f...ing stupid!"

Control tower to a 747: "United 329 heavy, your traffic is a Fokker, one o'clock, three miles, Eastbound."
United 239: "Approach, I've always wanted to say this.... I've got the little Fokker in sight."

A DC-10 had come in a little hot and had a very long roll out after touching down. San Jose Tower said: "American 751, make a hard right turn at the end of the runway, if you are able. If you are not able, take the Guadalupe exit off Highway 101, make a right at the lights and return to the airport."

A military pilot called for a priority landing because his single-engine jet fighter was running rough. Air Control told the fighter pilot that he was number two, behind a B-52 that had one engine shut down.
"Ah," the fighter pilot remarked, "The dreaded seven-engine approach."

A Pan Am 727 flight waiting for start clearance in Munich overheard the following:
Lufthansa (in German): "Ground, what is our start clearance time?"
Ground (in English): "If you want an answer you must speak in English."
Lufthansa (in English): "I am a German, flying a German airplane, in Germany. Why must I speak English?"
Unknown voice from another plane (in a twangy New York accent): "Because you lost the friggin’ war."

Tower: "Eastern 702, cleared for takeoff, contact Departure on frequency 124.7"
Eastern 702: "Tower, Eastern 702 switching to Departure. By the way, after we lifted off we saw some kind of dead animal on the far end of the runway."
Tower: "Continental 635, cleared for takeoff. Did you copy that report from Eastern 702?"
Continental 635: "Continental 635, roger; and yes, we copied Eastern... we've already notified our caterers."

One day the pilot of a Cherokee 180 was told by the tower to hold short of the active runway while a DC-8 landed. The DC-8 landed, rolled out, turned around, and taxied back past the Cherokee. Some quick-witted comedian in the DC-8 crew got on the radio and said, "What a cute little plane. Did you make it all by yourself?" The Cherokee pilot, not about to let the insult go by, came back with: "I made it out of DC-8 parts. Another landing like yours and I'll have enough parts for another one."

The German air controllers at Frankfurt Airport are known as short tempered. They not only expect a pilot to know his gate location, but how to get there without any assistance from them. So it was with some amusement that we (a Pan Am 747) listened to the following exchange between Frankfurt ground control and an American 747, call sign American 206.
206: "Frankfurt, 206 clear of active runway."
Ground: "206. Taxi to gate Alpha One-Seven."
The 747 pulled onto the main taxiway and slowed to a stop.
Ground: "206, do you not know where you are going?"
206: "Stand by, Ground, I'm looking up our gate location now."
Ground (with arrogant impatience): " 206, have you not been to Frankfurt before?"
206 (coolly): "Yes, twice in 1944, but it was dark...... and I didn't land."

While taxiing at London's Gatwick Airport, the crew of a US Air flight departing for Ft. Lauderdale made a wrong turn and came nose to nose with a United 727. An irate female ground controller lashed out at the US Air crew, screaming: "US Air 2771, where the hell are you going?! I told you to turn right onto Charlie taxiway! You turned right on Delta! Stop right there. I know it's difficult for you to tell the difference between C and D, but get it right!"

Continuing her rage to the embarrassed crew, she was now shouting hysterically: "God! Now you've screwed everything up! It'll take forever to sort this out! You stay right there and don't move till I tell you to! You can expect progressive taxi instructions in about half an hour and I want you to go exactly where I tell you, when I tell you, and how I tell you! You got that, US Air 2771?"

US Air 2771: "Yes, ma'am," the humbled crew responded. Naturally, the ground control communications frequency fell terribly silent after the verbal bashing of US Air 2771. Nobody wanted to chance engaging the irate ground controller in her current state of mind. Tension in every cockpit out around Gatwick was definitely running high. Just then an unknown pilot broke the silence and keyed his microphone, asking: "Wasn't I married to you once?"

Baby Madonna

Here it is, folks. The first picture of David, Madonna’s souvenir from Africa.

Infant?! The blanket doesn't even cover his leg.

He's not really shaped like the Elephant Man, I hope.

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David Madonna and Stranger

(When she does the crucifixion scene in her new show, do you think that they'll use real nails?)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Rare Meteorite May Have Been Found


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Meteorologists lift what they claim is a "meteorite" in Kansas


Scientists found a rare meteorite in a Kansas field using ground penetrating radar.

Maybe not so rare. This is part of the 1882 Brenham fall, and they’ve found a few meteorites there over the years. 15,000 pounds worth.

With characteristic precision, the “astrogeologists” were able to debunk prevailing wisdom that the spectacular Brenham meteorite fall occurred 20,000 years ago. Its location in the Pleistocene epoch soil layer puts that date closer to 10,000 years ago.

Well, I could have told ‘em THAT.

Of course, the field is on a farm, and the farmer admitted churning up the soil pretty well every year before planting wheat. “Pleistocene, pliocene, holocene, Calvin Coolidge era – they’re all purty much mixed together now,” he said, spitting some tobaccy.

The ground penetrating radar is cool. It's actually a police radar gun, which Officer Clem hasn't noticed as missing yet. It first latched onto something that gave a very strong signal. They followed it for a few miles – “Could be very big,” someone excitedly observed – until they found out it was a steel cable going to a 7-Eleven Store.

Not shown in the picture is Bossy, a 1,300 pound Angus cow who was standing nearby, snacking from a barrel of Metamucil, and eyeing the “meteorite” warily. She apparently had had a long, difficult night, and wanted to stay as far away as possible from that thing.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Lacy and the New Home


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Brenda raised a good point about the last post: maybe Lacy wouldn't be comfortable making our new home in the Vatican, if there aren't a lot of trees.

Rome, as you see above, has some trees, though a lot of them were used to make anti-elephant barriers during Hannibals invasions, and the Romans used most of the rest to make crosses to kill Christians.

Of course, girl dogs like Lacy don't need trees or fire hydrants to, uhm, relieve themselves. They just kinda squat down...

The folks who may be our new landlords always put up one special tree at Christmas time, which Lacy would like a lot:

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And, as to pictures, Lacy got her autumn bath today, so she should be ready to pose for new portraits tonight! (The trailer should have dried out by then.)