Friday, June 30, 2006

Because I'm All About the Guitar: Patiotic Weekend

God has blessed us indeed. I pray that he continues to do so.

We live in tumultuous times, but our founding fathers had it pretty rough as well. Somehow these guys overcame biting, scathing differences of vision about how this country should even come into existence and then they had to stand on this shaky, newly established idea of independence and fight what was at the time the greatest power on Earth to defend it.

They had to overcome wars of ideology, backstabbing and vitriol to produce what many have called the greatest political document ever created: The Constitution. Still, there was much divisiveness among our leaders that eventually led to a duel that ended the life of one of our young country's brightest lights.

The Chinese have a saying: May you live in interesting times. Well, we do. Take it for what it's worth, I guess, but every historical, defining period has plenty of drama. We'll make it through because that's what we do.

'Cause we're the land of the free and the home of the brave, baby:

Hope you all have a great Fourth of July weekend. You'd think gov't employees, out of anyone, would have Monday off, but no. I have to work Monday. What a sham.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

America's got talent?

I've said it before, now I'm saying it again: If you're not watching America's got Talent, you're missing out on the most unintentionally funny show on TV.

First of all, the show appears to be, 85-90 percent of the time, trying to disprove the thesis of its title. And they expect that to be funny. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it's not. What is so, so, so, so damn funny is watching Hasselhoff react to the performances. I do not kid. Funniest. Thing. On. TV.

That and six foot plus Russians dressed as an Angel doing a balancing sword act who later, appealing to the judges to let him go on says: "To you, I may just be a Christmas tree. But to someone else, I may be a god."

You can't write TV like that.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

25,000+ !!

At 10:00:39 a.m. EST, I hit 25,000 unique page hits! Thank you UNKNOWN DOMAIN from Moutain View, California, for your 22 second visit this morning.

Chiropracty sucks

Well, maybe not sucks, but I'm not convinced that it helps.

My back's been bothering me ever since I threw it out a few weeks ago. And my wife's been bugging me the entire time to go to the doctor. I've been hesitant. While initially I was in great pain, I thought that things would get progressively better. I just needed to give it some time. But man, a lot of time has passed.

So I broke down. I'll go to the chiropracter. Let's see what he has to say. The chiropracter said he's not sure what's wrong and referred me to an back specialist.

I have had back problems long enough to know what's coming. Hmm, we're not exactly sure what's wrong here. You probably sprained something. The X-rays are inconclusive. All those tests that your insurance only pays 80 percent of? We're still not sure exactly what's wrong. Take it easy. Here are some really good pain meds. Go on a diet. Lose weight.

While all this may be true, I don't need a doctor to tell me any of this stuff. I've been told it all before. Bastards.

Random thought

Have you ever thought that there will come a point among blogs/news services, etc. that people will assume that everyone already knows about all the stuff and will not post about it leading to no one knowing about crap?

Me either.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Project 2,996

UPDATE: I got my name last night and scrolled through the site briefly this morning. I can't believe how difficult it was. I just happened to read one of the family member's notes and it just floored me.

I think this is a very vital thing to do.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingFound via Lisa, I have also joined the 2,996 project. If you have a blog, please stop by, join, or at least give some publicity.

I've been trying to do this all day, but for some reason I couldn't access the 2,996 site at work.

1st caption contest results

Well, I had some pretty good entries for my first-ever caption contest. It was hard to choose between some of them, but here are my resuts:

First Place: In a stunning first move, circle took the center square in the Annual Galactic Tic Tac Toe Championship. - Rob from Crabapple Lane.

Second: The light at the end of the tunnel is sometimes just an oncoming train. - Ken at It Comes in Pints?

Third: In order to keep up with the times, Hal tries a Queer Eye makeover. White, they say, is more slimming than red. - KG from Cagey Mind.

Thanks to everyone who participated, and now I'm doing it again. Here's this week's photo:

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The orginal cutline:
Participants of the "Fussballwattmeisterschaft" (mud-soccer World Championships) fight for the ball during their match on the mudflats of the river Elbe in Brunsbuettel near Hamburg June 4, 2006. About 300 athletes take part in the so-called "Wattoluempiade" (mud olympics) competing in soccer, volleyball, a mud-bike race, nordic mud-walking and other funny events. (China Daily/Reuters)

Winners will be posted Saturday.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Public opinion poll

UPDATE: No, seriously. I really want your opinions.

I had a short conversation in my office earlier. I am dissatisfied with the outcome because I believe the participants' points of view were highly skewed. So, I want to pose this question to all my visitors:

Is there a branch of the U.S. military that you believe is more special than another, simply because of who they are? That is, is there a branch that you hold in higher esteem or would expect more from because of who they are?

I understand that my active-duty, retired and former service crew are going to be biased (as I am), but please leave your thoughts. I'd like to get as many different opinions as I can, so speak up.

I'll give y'all the backstory later.

Coffee, coffee, coffee ... Monday

Coffee Heaven
In Cullenland, there would be a town Coffee supply in place of, or in addition to the town water supply.
I didn't want to go to work today. It was a fight, man.

Usually it's pretty easy to fight back the urge to call in. I shave, take a shower and am generally good to go. I mean, not like I'm happy about it or anything, but by this time, I've accepted my fate.

Not this morning, man.

I got up and spit up something alien. Ugh. Nasty green slime you may just give me reason to call in sick. But, I'll give it some time and see if I wake up. See if I change my mind.

Shaved, showered and dressed. I turn on the computer, and make my way to the coffee pot. If anybody can get me to work, you can, black caffeine juice maker.

It's not often that I re-heat coffee. If it's been sitting in the pot overnight, it usually gets dumped. But, this morning, I decided to salvage a cup. Nuked it up as I prepared the regular blend. I guess sometimes the reheat is a good thing. Amazingly, it had great flavor. Better than when I first brewed it.

I could cliche, I guess -- mother's milk, drink of the gods, oil for the motor, yadda, yadda, yadda -- it got me going this morning. Thank you brew.

So, here I am at work. With nothing to do. Should have called in sick.

Hey, I'm gonna close the caption contest today at 6 p.m. EST. Get your entries ready. The only prize you win is bragging rights.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Because I'm All About Being One Day Late: And a Repost

I didn't have time to write anything yesterday, and I'm plugging my Favorites list off to the right over there, so here's a classic BIAAtG:

Because I'm All About the Guitar Pt. 10: What's in the Wood?

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWood for your guitar. This is a highly complex and emotionally charged topic for guitar players and builders. Folks have tried to use physics to explain the uses of wood, others use mojo. Some build for economy, others build for looks. I simply cannot go into all the ins and outs of this topic, I'll only be able to barely brush the top of the surface and only give my impressions and opinions. And only on electric guitars.

The wood chosen for a guitar is pretty important for a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons involve the actual building of the guitar. Like: How well can this wood be worked, or is the wood strong enough to be used for this? Then there's issues of how wood effects the sound of the guitar, and thats where the high emotion lies.

All of the building materials for a guitar, wood especially, directly effects the vibration of the strings and their resonance which directly effects the quality of the sound. This is especially true of an acoustic guitar since you're hearing unfiltered sound, you're hearing naked wood, as it were. In an electric, the pickup does all the work and it is (generally) not microphonic. That is, the pickup doesn't "pick up" the sound of the strings, it picks up the vibration of the strings. This vibration creates a signal in the pickup which is translated to sound.

You might think then that any wood of similar resonant frequency should create guitars that sound the same. Well, I don't know why, but it's not true. Anybody can pick up an Alder body Fender Strat and a Basswood body Strat and hear a subtle difference in tone and color even though the two woods are very similar in grain, weight and resonant frequency. If you ever want to test this out for yourself a strat is a great guitar to use, because they are essentially an assembly line, cookie-cutter product. One of them is going to be very similar to another.

What makes this subject even more complex is when you begin to realize that two guitars, using the same wood, with the same hardware and electronics and similar finishes sound different. Even wood from the same tree isn't necessarily the same. Some is more dense, some has tighter grain -- it's a crapshoot. But there are some generalities and I'm gonna list some of my favorites woods here and some of their supposed tonal qualities:

Image hosted by Photobucket.comQuilted or Curly Maple: Quilted Maple is a rock maple tree that has a wavy or curly appearance. No one knows for sure why the trees get this look to them. Maple is a heavy wood and the non-figured rock maple is usually used in guitar necks. Quilted maple, along with it's cousin flamed or tiger-stripe maple, is used primarily as tops for guitars.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe majority of the guitar body will be made with a different wood like mahogany and the quilted maple will just be a cap. If the cap is thick enough, it will effect the sound of the guitar. However, there are lots of guitar companies that only use a thin maple veneer top. This looks pretty, but doesn't do anything to the sound. Thick maple caps can really brighten up the tone of a guitar.

This guitar is a beatiful example of quilted maple in use on a JET guitar. The figured maple really pops out once stained and polished. Depending on the color used it can look like flames or wavy water. Beautiful stuff.

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Spalted maple: Spalted maple is actually wood that has begun to decay. The cool lines and firguring seen in the wood is fungus attacking the grain. This leads to spectacular looking lines and figures throughout the boards. It almost looks like someone has drawn on the wood, but this is all natural.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAs with other figured maples, spalted maple is primarily used as a cap on a guitar body. However, spalted maple cannot really be used for anything else. It has a brittle structure and is not strong enough to be used for anything that could put strain on it. It looks gorgeous though and you can get all kinds of figuring. This guitar is one of Ed Roman's Quicksilver bodies, and I think the spalt looks like a collection of fall leaves. But you can get figures that look like lightening strikes or just random lines. It's truly gorgeous and rare. The sound quality is similar to that of other maple caps.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBlack Walnut: Is a gorgeous, dark, "wood looking" wood. You can occaisionally find some figuring in walnut, but it tends to be pretty normally grained. Walnut is heavy and it's tonal properties are similar to mahogany -- rich, deep and very resonant. It's a very strong wood and easy to work. It's expensice because gunmakers like to use it for gun stocks, cabinet makers and hard-wood floor makers also use it extensively. This, of course, drives up the market.

Here is a guitar I lust after greatly. It's by Jaros Guitars. It's got most of what I love in a guitar; it has an ebony fretboard, a cool but simple fretboard inlay, it's walnut and it has a tune-o-matic bridge. If the hardware was chrome or nickel I'd probably have to rob a bank.
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Image hosted by Photobucket.comBubinga: Bubinga is a gorgeous, red-tinted wood. It is referred to as African Rosewood, even though it's not of the rosewood species. Image hosted by Photobucket.comI've seen is used in a lot of different ways -- as a top cap, as accent stripes in the neck or body and as entire guitar bodies. It is very heavy and has a deep, dense sound. The more solid bubinga used, the better suited it is for a bass guitar. Caps are great for a regular six string.

The guitar is one of Ed Roman's Abstract guitars.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comPurpleheart: The last wood I'm going to talk about today is Purpleheart. It is one of my favorite woods because it's purple and just how often do you see that? Purpleheart is amazingly heavy and dense. If you see a guitar made mostly of Purpleheart and want to buy it, start lifting weights. Sometimes PH is used for an entire guitar or bass neck and even that is enough to throw a guitar's balance way off. Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo, most of the time, you see PH used as accent stripes though the neck or body. Sometimes folks make guitar knobs out of it. You can see on this Alembic guitar how they've worked PH into the guitar body providing beautiful contrast in the woods. I have no idea how PH sounds as I've never seen a guitar made out of enough of the stuff to give me a PH "vibe." I've played some with accents and it is a gorgeous, tight grained wood. Even Ed Roman's site doesn't say too much about it. He does say it makes good fingerboard wood and that makes sense, although I've never seen it. I just had to throw it in this post because it's so cool.

Well, that wraps it up from me. There are literally thousands of species of wood out there that have been used for guitar manufacture. I could write a book on it, as others already have.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Fictional Universe Project

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This is the greatest website ever!

This site was created by a very good friend of mine and his son. Please check out the stuff ... especially the videos.

Caption contest

All right. Based on the complete and utter unfairness of a certain recent contest, I have decided to drive forward with my own contest.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSo, here it is. Caption this, bitches.

I'll run the contest as long as I want. I'll end it with or without warning.

Serenity now!

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHappy birthday Joss Whedon and thanks for bringing us so much entertaining television and film.

I know we're not supposed to ask you for stuff on your birthday, but:

Please choose someone decent for Wonder Woman. I'm not sure if Priyanka Chopra is right.

Oh, a Serenity sequel'd be pretty nice too.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Happy birthday to the KING!

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We should probably get him a new boomstick, eh?

via The Swillers.


Our local talk radio station broadcasts the Rick and Bubba show in the morning. There are better programs ... there's John Boy and Billy on the rock station, but for some reason, the time of the morning I'm driving into work. JB and B just aren't that good.

Now, Rick and Bubba aren't always good, but their down home, country way of handling things is disarming. Sometimes I think they are a bit too down home but man, they are so much better than the show that used to be on. Most of the time, they're enjoyable enough to pass the time until I get into work.

This morning, they hit on a really good topic. They compared WWII's Tokyo Rose and the things she was saying to the outbursts by today's anti-war crowd.

They compared her themes:
> Your president lied
> This is an illegal war
> You will fail

Sounds strikingly similar to things we're hearing today, does it not?

This is the first time I've heard the Tokyo Rose comparison, but this is not the first time I've heard comparisons of today's U.S. to the WWII-era U.S. Some of the descriptors seems apt, some do not.

But the themes continue.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

You might be missing out

If you're not watching America's Got Talent you are missing one of the funniest shows ever on TV. Unfortunately for the show, it's not supposed to be this funny.

Watching The Hoff sway back and forth like a bobblehead doll is poetry.

I am convinced that if you went out on stage with a box of matches and lit them and threw them into a bucket of water in time to some R&B, The Hoff and Brandi would still let you go on to the next round.

That said, the 8-year-old comedian was cool.


I said I'd do it ... I've now added a "Favorite Posts" section to my long list o' stuff over there on the right.

This was a great way of spending the afternoon, looking back through all my old posts, reading what I said and, mainly, what you guys had to say.

I'd like to thank all you guys for stopping in and taking the time to comment on my little blog here. Honestly, I write about things I find interesting, disturbing or thought provoking and hope others do as well. It's a form of catharsis in one way, a way to pass time in another, but what I really enjoy is when we get a really good conversation going.

So, that's what you'll find at the right: A collection of posts I think either had good content or good discussions, or both.

Thanks again guys.

Last Comic Standing 6/20

Anybody else watch last night's show? After the audition phase, I was kind of thinking that things might get a bit cheesier, but it was hilarious last night.

The joke/heckle between Michelle and Kristin was fantastic. Both of those ladies are highly talented.

It was a shame to see April go. I honestly felt like she could have gone all the way, but someone had to win last night and I do think that Michelle gave the better performance.

Thank Jesus that Stella is gone. During auditions I was praying that she wouldn't make it, but in the back of my mind I knew they were going to choose her. Her abrasive personality makes for good TV, I guess. But I'm glad she's gone. Couldn't stand her comedy, couldn't stand her personality.

Now we just need to get rid of Roz.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Go outside and play? No way!

We had an intersting conversation in the office just before lunch time. The boss read a story about mice and how scientists are finding that country and city mice are healthier than laboratory mice. Their findings, it seems, conclude that mice in labs live in too sterile an environment and don't build up certain immunities which makes them more sickly in the long run.

This led us to turn that observation to our kids. Several observations were made that we think a lot more children today seem to need more medical care. Or, I asked, is it just that we have better access to medical care than when we were young? I don't think so, and neither did my coworkers, but it's worth adding to the debate.

Finally, we wound up talking about the reasons why children are spending more time indoors. Had you asked me before I had kids, or even before my oldest was old enough to play outside by herself, I would have given some answer like: "Doggone kids and their Playstations ... don't wanna go outside ... gettin' fat ... etc." But almost unanimously we started comparing our childhoods with our own kids and remarked that the biggest difference is that now parents are, by and large, too scared to let our kids play outside by themselves.

Test this out for yourself. Drive down any street from your childhood and see if you see anywhere near as many children out playing as there were when you were young. I remember when I was a kid, getting on my big wheel and playing outside for hours. And hours. Just disappearing from sight for hours.

My point ... if my kids were to do this, I would lose my damn mind. There would be an amber alert issued. I would start smoking again. I'd be loading my gun and getting ready to go on a manhunt.

I don't let my kids play outside without an adult looking after them or without checking on them every five minutes or so.

My question ... do you really think child abductions and such are more common or are they just more widely reported? Is our fear justified?

More on GWAR

Here's a video of one of the very few GWAR songs that isn't terribly offensive:

And here's a video of GWAR appearing on Joan Rivers' show. I'm not sure which one she is.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I am so offended

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMichelle and Turtle are at it again. This time the dynamic duo are soliciting suggestions for the most offensive punk songs.

There are already some good suggestions. I personally think GWAR has the most offensive lyrics out there (I mean, they were created to offend). But calling them punk might be a stretch. But hell, it's my suggestion nonetheless.

Make sure to head their way and drop off your ideas.

Be careful what you wish for ...

My wife and kids are away. They left Friday and are heading out to El Paso to visit some good friends of the family. I would have loved to be able to go (and my wife would sure loved to have had me to help deal with the three kids), but classes prevent me from going. So, I'm living the bachelor's life for about two weeks. Which basically means I'm doing the exact same things I normally do but it's a lot quieter and I can watch whatever movie I want without having to worry about the kids.

Although sometimes it's nice to have the place to yourself, I am really missing the family.

And I've been sitting here trying for several minutes to come up with a segue into a different thought -- everything I'm coming up with overstates everything I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to come up with a clever way of saying is that most of the time, when you life is clicking along as normal, you don't think much about the state of things. Status quo is pretty good (if it's pretty good, that is). When things aren't clicking along as normal, it's a good time for reflection.

Not that I've been getting maudlin or anything, but if I post up something over the next couple of days that seems a bit deeper than normal, it's because I have had the time to think about stuff and I'll probably be dumping some of it here.

One of those things I've been thinking about (mainly because I'm in an effective management class) is effective communications. So, expect to see some of that.

More later.

UPDATE: Just wanted to share, on movies, make sure to go out and rent The World's Fastest Indian. I rented it this weekend and was blown away. Great, great film. Sheila reviews it here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Obligatory weekend post: A Because I'm All About the Guitar inspiration

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This is the coolest guitar you will see all weekend: the Johnny Ramone signature model Mosrite guitar. The instrument features a solid basswood body; a solid, one-piece mapel neck with a chrome nut; rosewood fingerboard; Dimarzio FS-1 pickup in the bridge and Seymour Duncan SM-1 Mini Humbucker in the neck; mismatched volume (1) and tone (1) knobs; Grover tuners.

The Johnny Ramone signature is not standard. As far as I know he only signed two, they were both carried by Ed Roman and both have been sold.

Friday, June 16, 2006

On the state of the Marine Corps ...

... from a Marine for life.

Uncle Jimbo at BLACKFIVE posts a letter from a lifelong Marine. It is a must read.

Because I'm All About the Guitar: Not quite punk, but almost

It's been a while since I've done a substantive BIAAtG. I feel bad about that. The past couple of weeks have been just a You Tube video posting, and, I'm sorry to say, this week isn't going to amount to much more than that.

I'm really wracking my brain to come up with a good topic. There are plenty of things left to talk about, but nothing I can just rip out. A lot of the things I want to cover require a good bit of time to develop and I simply have not had that luxury. Or, more accurately, I have not had that motivation.

Inspired by Faster Than The World's recent punk list, I wanted to do something punk. There are a couple of posts I want to do on that -- Mosrite guitars for one -- but they all require considerable effort also. So, I found a decent alternative.

The Godfathers of everything metal, the bastards of disaster, Motorhead performing R.A.M.O.N.E.S.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Not another teen movie?

NPR's Talk of the Nation has a list of what they consider the all-time best teen movies. They are listed in no particular order, but it's a pretty decent list.

Listen to the radio segment for a really good discussion. They address a point that I've often felt: most of these teen movies are best appreciated by folks that are either not teens yet or are adults reminiscing. Good discussion.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Hoff: God among men?

The Toledo Blade seeks to answer this very question (with groovy graphic goodness).

An answer for net neutrality

Rob at File it Under has a fantastic post up concerning net neutrality and he has a one-question answer that could make all this nasty stuff go away.

An oversight

The guys at Faster Than The World are holding a vote for the 100 best punk songs from a list they generated over the past couple of weeks. Go check it out and vote (although don't complain that something's not on the list 'cause you could have gone over there and submitted your ideas at any time).

And the Army keeps rolling along ...

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingHappy Birthday U.S. Army! 231 years ago, the Army started kicking ass and it's still going strong today. I'm proud to have been a part of the organization and will always think of myself as a soldier.

Blackfive has a good post up as well.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I've got some new kind of kick

My latest addiction is Last Comic Standing. So far, a very good show. Unfortunately, sometimes the funniest lines of the evening do not translate into the funniest comic, as was the case tonight.

The funniest line: Ironically, a baby ate my dingo.

You shook my nerves and you rattle my brain

I can't even wrap my mind around how massive this thing is. Never been much into astronomy, so that hurts my perspective. But this is truly amazing.

Asthma camp

My oldest, Daughter #1, started a summer camp yesterday -- Asthma Camp. It is mostly paid for by the American Lung Association and is held at one of the local community colleges.

I picked her up after day one and she had a blast. The went bowling, had many snacks and watched a movie.

They also, I learned after several minutes of prying, played "asthma bingo."

"How is asthma bingo different than regular bingo?" I asked.

"I don't know," she said.

"You don't know?" I asked.

"Well, they ask you a bunch of questions about asthma and stuff and in normal bingo they just call out numbers," she said. "And I almost won, but they just didn't call out the last number I had."

"So, you did know the difference."


It's going to be a fun week.

San Fran: Break out your 'Protected by .357' signs

In one of the coolest and most forward-thinking rulings in San Francisco, ever, a state judge overturned a city ordinance that banned handgun possession and firearm sales in San Francisco.

The money quote:
"My clients are thrilled that the court recognized that law-abiding firearms owners who choose to own a gun to defend themselves or their families are part of the solution and not part of the problem," NRA attorney Chuck Michel said. "Hopefully, the city will recognize that gun owners can contribute to the effort to fight the criminal misuse of firearms, a goal that we all share."

The money, er, shot:
"We're disappointed that the court has denied the right of voters to enact a reasonable, narrowly tailored restriction on handgun possession," Dorsey said. "San Francisco voters spoke loud and clear on the issue of gun violence."

Narrowly tailored ... now that's funny.

Monday, June 12, 2006

No gnus is good gnus

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMan, man, man, man! Does anyone else remember this show? I was inspired by this post at FARK, where they're discussing people/things that were popular when we were kids but no one really remembers now.

Man I so used to love this show as a youngun.

I want to ride my bicycle. Dammit.

It cannot be said often enough

The banjo sucks.

#113 is my favorite.

UPDATE: A HaPD exclusive, a picture of Ken, high as usual, and his banjo. Don't be fooled, that bunny's a killer.

A love letter

Henry Rollins addresses Ann Coulter. NSFW, but funny as hell.

An up-armored placebo?

One of the main missions of the base where I work is up-armoring HMMWVs and LAVs -- both retrofitting and new installation. It is with this in mind that this story is an especially disturbing read.

I'm not up on any of these statistics, and the article doesn't really show any that support their argument. The article begins with this quote:

"I believe the up-armoring has caused more deaths than it has saved," said Scott Badenoch, a former Delphi Corp. vehicle dynamics expert told the Dayton Daily News for Sunday editions.

Hmm. A quote from a contractor. This puts me on the defensive because I immediately begin to ask myself what his agenda is.

Then the writer states:

But serious accidents involving the M1114 have increased as the war has progressed, and the accidents were much more likely to be rollovers than those of other Humvee models, the newspaper reported.

And offers no numbers to support this statement. The very next graph goes into numbers of fatalities showing that fatalities in rollover accidents have increased. But nowhere do they show how much HMMWV accident rates have increased or if the increase is significant.

Finally, we get to the meat where we understand why this guy is making these statements:

"The whole thing is a formula for disaster," said Badenoch, who is working with the military to design a lighter-armored vehicle to replace the Humvee.

Oh, so he stands to make a tidy sum if the HMMWV is scrapped in favor of a new light armored vehicle. So, not only am I defensive, but now I begin to treat everything he says as suspect.

The article rounds off by saying -- in the most, "Oh, really?" fashion it can muster -- that most fatalities in HMMWV rollover accidents are the gunners (you know, the guy who's sticking his head out the top of the thing). Hmm, wonder why?

While it may be true that HMMWV incidents have significantly increased in past couple of years, this article does nothing to show it. I certainly hope that the military is looking into this, but while any accidental death is a true crime, spreading this kind of alarmism is almost as bad. Almost as bad as not having the facts the back up the story you're trying to tell.

UPDATE: Mr. Bingley also tackles the subject.

The many faces of Mike

This is scary. And sad.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Michael Yon asks for help

Michael Yon is again having issues with HFM magazine regarding illegal use of his iconic image.

Please click on the image or here to show your support for him.

Tom Cruise: Lord of the Dance

Don't really need to say much here:

Tom Cruise Is Hustling

Friday, June 09, 2006


Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWith my parents in town, we decided that it'd be nice to take the kids with my mom to a matinee showing of Cars. I was skeptical and wasn't expecting much out of it. All the ads I'd seen just didn't appeal to me at all.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This movie is one of the funniest I've seen in quite some time. It might have something to do with the low expectations, but I was quite happy with the film. At no point did I feel it drag on and a lot of it was laugh-out-loud funny. I've been to few movies where the entire theater was rolling like they were in this one.

Not looking at the cast listing before hand, I couldn't pick Owen Wilson's voice out as that as the lead character -- Lightening. Knowing that doesn't change my opinion plus or minus, it was transparent and that was good. The rest of the cast was equally great. John Ratzenberger has a particularly funny part at the end of the movie.

Give yourselves and your children (if applicable) a treat this weekend and see this great flick. Highly recommended.

Because I'm All About the Guitar: Chris Impellitteri

Continuing on my shred theme, this week's featured guitarist is Chris Impellitteri. An amazing and gifted player who was obviously schooled similarly to Yngwie. I've always found Impellitteri's stuff far more listenable. Oh, and he's considered one of the fastest guitarists ever.

I wish the quality was better on this one. But you get an idea of what he's about:

Here he is with his band (inexplicably named Impellitteri), playing my favorite tune of theirs (if you can't take the '80s-esque song, fast forward to minute 2:40 for the solo):

Lastly, it's not like this is a great song (it's not bad, though), but it was a Headbanger's Ball video, and I'm nostalgic:

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The turning point

Tracey has a fantastic, fantastic, fantastic post up: When bad actors go good. The premise is easy -- list actors who you previously didn't like, but had some kind of turning point that made you like them.

She lists 10, I can barely think of any. I try not to hold grudges, but there are some actors I just don't like and usually don't get over that. It would be far easier for me to list actors that I used to like but have gone and done something that I really thought sucked. But, in keeping with her criteria, here is my short list of actors that I didn't think much of and later learned to like.

George Clooney in From Dusk 'til Dawn: I know, I know, I know ... it's George freakin' Clooney. But man, I hated him in ER. Seriously. He made me hate the show. I still can't stand the show. I remember the first time I saw Clooney, in Return of the Killer Tomatoes (a movie I love) and I found it so funny that this guy who got his start in an effing B-movie franchise film was playing this smug dude on ER.

But I changed my mind when I saw From Dusk 'til Dawn -- one of my all-time favorite movies. I think the reason I like him so much in this is that the movie doesn't require him to do too much in the way of really reaching any emotional depths and actually requires him to play his character just on the border of cheese. And the smugness fits in perfectly with the character. Love the movie, love the character, and pretty much, after this, have really grown to appreciate Clooney.

Ben Affleck in Jersey Girl: I know that most people don't like this movie. Further, Affleck quickly jumped right back on my list of actors I couldn't care less about, but the span of this brief flick is his turning point for me. Everything I don't like about him in every other movie is made bearable in this because it's all shoved through the filter of him being the daddy to an adorable little girl. And George Carlin helps smooth out the other rough edges.

I'm a Kevin Smith fan and that helps. I'm a fan of almost everyone else in the movie, and that helps. I don't know, Affleck just clicks in this movie in ways I hadn't seen before and haven't seen since.

Julia Styles: No, there's been no turning point. I just didn't want to pass up this opportunity to state that I still don't like her.

Alicia Silverston in Blast From the Past: It's not so much that I didn't like Alicia Silverstone as much as she just didn't really do much for me. I just lumped her into the a category of forgettable actors. I didn't get Clueless -- I mean, I get it, I just don't understand what was any good about it. And she went on to earn my dislike when she picked up the Batgirl mantle. By this point in the Batfranchise, anyone associated kinda earned my disfavor so it was more guilt by association than anything.

Blast From the Past was a breath of fresh air about her persona. I finally understood what other people saw in her. She just melded with everything that was going on in that fantastic and highly underrated movie. The scene where Brendan Fraser is talking about the musical tension in a Perry Como song -- priceless. But that's another post for another day. Anywho, she endeared herself to me since then and I haven't seen anything that's made me change my mind.

Well, that's my list. If I think of anyone else, I'll add them later. But make certain you hit Tracey's list as her post is phenomenal.

Caption away

The guys at File it Under are celebrating their second anniversary with a rather funny caption contest.

Make sure to stop by and caption away.

Al-Zarqawi: Pushing up daisies

The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, has been killed.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

An explanation,

Or, "Um, hey, this is why updates have been few and far between and have, in general, sucked."

My parents have been visiting us this week. That's why the wife and kids went up to Canton, GA, last week -- to meet up with them at my uncle's house.

So, I've been taking off half days to spend time with the whole family. Unfortunately, last week's back incident means I can't take any full days off this week (to many small things to do here and there), but I'm pretty much of top of stuff and being able to take off half a day ain't too shabby.

The annoying thing about this is that there's so much to write about right now: Stupid amendments up for vote, Iran, cerebral palsy-suffering comedians (seriously, if you didn't watch the show last night, you really missed out) ... the material is ripe. The timing is not.

Oh well. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A National Day of SLAYER

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Michell and The Turtle at one of my new favorite sites, Faster Than The World, are blogging this which has inspired me to do the same.

Now, I have blogged about Slayer before. I proclaimed Reign in Blood the best heavy metal album of all time, I talked about 1986 being my pick for the best year for music, and I wrote a good bit about Seasons in the Abyss in this piece.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingWhile I didn't rank it in my top 100 metal albums of all time, my favorite Slayer album is actually South of Heaven. I don't think it's their best album and I don't think it's their most influential, but it's still my favorite.

It doesn't have the raw power and agression that Reign in Blood has, but it's far more polished and focuses more on the grooves. It doesn't have the studio quality of Seasons in the Abyss but maintains an edgy agressive sound that they lost every album after this one. It's part gated mess and part agressive masterpiece -- I love every second of it.

The title track is probably my favorite from the album. But everything's good. Make sure to check it out.

And make sure you hit F.T.T.W. and check out there stuff also.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Work again, work again

After several days of pussing out, I'm draggin my ass back to work. The back's a bit better but is still not 100 percent.

There will probably be much catching up to do on my end, so in case I don't make the rounds today, here's a funny/sad story brought to you from, where else, Florida:

West Boca -- No charges are expected to be filed against the Pompano Beach mother of a 6-year-old boy who was left at Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant after his birthday party Saturday, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said.

Lacqetta Monroe, 23, thought her son, Michael Emanuel, was going to sleep over a relative's house and the mother didn't immediately realize he was left behind in the restaurant in the 21600 block of U.S. 441, investigators said. Detectives said the boy was abandoned because of a miscommunication between Monroe and her relatives. The child was not harmed.

I wonder what Chuck E.'s sleepover rates are running these days?

via FARK.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Can you feel the awesome?

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe wife and kids are in Canton, Ga., at my uncle's house. I was supposed to go too, but with the back being all gimped up, I didn't want to spend four hours cramped up driving.

The practical upshot is that I've had tons of time to watch movies. And, by God, I believe that I have just watched the most unintentionally funny film ever made - Return of the Living Dead: Necropolis.

I'm not even sure where to begin with this goody bag of ghoulish treats. I guess, first and foremost I must say that this movie goes beyond bad. I mean, it cycles around bad and becomes a parody of its own badness. To say that it's so bad it's good, like Plan 9 From Outer Space or This Island Earth, undermines its badness. You know how you can do something that hurts a little bit, like maybe poking yourself a little with a straight pin, and after a while it stops hurting and starts feeling good? Well, this movie is kind of like that. Except that instead of good, it's funny. So maybe it's more like stabbing someone else with a straight pin.

Some zombie movies have made attempts to make high-minded commentary on concepts like social classes and moral relativism, and ROTLD:N is no exception. They sought to explore an underground and some might say under-reported concept - dirt bike racing. Yes, ideologically breaking barriers no zombie has before and hopefully will never do again, this installment of the Return of the Living Dead series has introduced us to what is perhaps the gayest team of dirt-bike riding teens ever. Things kick off when they happen upon an illegal human harvesting operation by the local chapter of EVIL BIG CORPORATION, INC. when one of their friends is harvested. Oh, did I mention that they road dirt bikes when doing this. Oh, and did I mention that they ride the dirt bikes to a hip soundtrack featuring tracks by bands (that lost all their popularity in like 1998) like Powerman 5000 and SPF 1000. And what is with putting a thousand number after your band name? The next band I start is going to be called Thousand 9000 or something. We will rock the treads off the dirt biking world.

So, after discovering their friend has been abducted by EVIL BIG CORPORAION, INC. after some judicious hacking by I Get To Play Two Stereotypes: signature African-American and computer geek, the team gets their gear together and decides to release their friend.

I won't bore you with any more details, I'll leave that to the movie. It is suffice to say that zombies escape, security guards get eaten, chaos ensues.

To sum up: this guy wears that look for most of the movie trying to find his friend (when not dirt bike riding) and also because they did this to his mom. All the while being chased by these guys.

But what really sets this movie apart from other zombie movies ... what caused this movie to shoot right to the top of my all-time favorite really bad movies is this: When said friend is released and, of course, becomes a zombie. He has a kung fu fight with former best friend that ends with him being blown apart by a grenade. And really, don't we all need some more kung fu fighting zombies being blown apart by grenades in our life? I know I do.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Laid up again

I planned on writing something yesterday, but my back went out on me and I spent the majority of the day in bed. I'm a bit better today, but I'm still dragging.

So, since I gotta play catch up on a lot of crap and probably won't be able to post anything else today, I declare this an open thread.

What's on your mind?