Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The End Of The World Is Nigh...Kind Of...maybe

It's Science Day here at The Corner. I just read a story about the return of Apophis. Not the ancient Egyptian god of darkness and destruction, and not the Goa'uld poseur either. This Apophis is potentially much more dangerous. This Apophis is a 1,059 foot-wide asteroid that will pass dangerously close to Earth's center in 2029, and if it follows the right trajectory it's orbit will be deflected enough for an impact in 2036. The resulting crater would be two miles wide, and could generate tsunamis that would make last year's look like a ripple in a pond. There is, admittedly, a 1 in 8,000 chance of that happening, but orbital mechanics are extremely difficult to predict, and our understanding of gravitational forces is still kind of shaky, so it might be prudent to keep an eye on this thing. And that's exactly what former astronaut Russell Schweickart petitioned NASA chief Michael Griffin to consider. He's recommending that a transmitter be placed on Apophis so its orbit can be more closely monitored.

Why worry about this thing now? Why spend the money to launch a transmitter to something that big that's in plain view? Why do men have nipples? All excellent questions. We need to worry about this now because this asteroid is what scientists call 'really big' and if we're going to need to alter its course there are two ways to do it. One is wait till it's fairly close, then send a big rocket or explosive device to shove the thing away. The drawbacks to that plan are 1) you need a really big bang to alter the trajectory enough to avoid something as large as the Earth, and 2) most asteroids are loosely formed conglomerations of rocks, dust, and ice, and a big enough bang to move it will most likely shatter it into hundreds of smaller, but still destructive pieces. The other way is to start early, with a smaller, but more sustained deflection. Scientists predict that, done soon enough, a spacecraft similar to the one that slammed into comet Temple 1 in July would do the trick, since a deflection of even a few degrees, multiplied over the billions of miles the thing travels in just few years adds up to a huge distance. Putting a transmitter on Apophis would be relatively inexpensive, and would make it much easier to calculate the orbit with the precision necessary to truly see if we are in for a cosmic smack down. Last year I learned something surprising. Despite all the science fiction shows we've grown up with[Captain, radar just picked up an unknown object entering our system.], finding something smaller than, say a planet, in orbit is very difficult. Astronomers have to compare hundreds of nightly photos to see just which tiny dots actually move. Then you have to observe the moving stuff for a very long time to see just where, and how fast it's going. Since there aren't that many telescopes large enough for the job, it's very difficult to dedicate a single telescope to watch a single object for the requisite time. And if the object is heading toward us, then it's even harder to spot since there will be no relative movement on the photo. So planting a radio on Apophis seems to me to be a no brainer. NASA will respond to the request in a few weeks. I'll keep an ear out to see what the answer is, and let you know the outcome.

Oh, the man-nipple thing. Haven't the foggiest. Some mysteries were just never meant to be solved.

Peace out.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The List

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you...the list.

Last night I mentioned 'the list' to my wife while expressing a somewhat carnal appreciation of a female celebrity. My wife riposted with, 'I'd like to see this list someday'. Her tone was one of slightly forced humor, coupled with some bemusement as I had just added a cartoon character to my list.(more on that later, as I'm still trying to figure it out myself) For those of you unfamiliar with The List, it's a mainly male thing, although more and more women are fessing up to having one. The List consists of the names of celebrities that, should some miracle occur the likes of which hasn't been seen on this Earth since bearded guys with sticks clove major bodies of water in twain and you get the chance to spend a night of sweaty passion with them, there is no marital penalty incurred. Of course, some guys try to cheat and put the hot waitperson at Bennigan's on their list, but unattainability is the chief criterion for The List. The circumstances surrounding the tryst have to be so improbable that your significant other would have no choice but to say, 'I'd have done the same thing.' No harm, no foul.

So, without further ado, I give you my list. In no particular order.

Angelina Jolie
Sandra Bullock
Liz Phair
Janeane Garofolo(sexy brain)
Heather Graham
Raven(the cartoon character)(very hot demon's daughter superhero)
Jessica Simpson(she just can't talk)
Hugh Jackman

Ok, now it's your turn. And don't be shy, ladies. You often say men don't understand you, well your list might just might point that clueless guy in the right direction.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Any of various hoofed, even-toed, usually horned mammals of the suborder Ruminantia, such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes, characteristically having a stomach divided into four compartments and chewing a cud consisting of regurgitated, partially digested food

v. ru·mi·nat·ed, ru·mi·nat·ing, ru·mi·nates
v. intr.
To turn a matter over and over in the mind.

I'ts 3:24am. I went to bed nearly six hours ago, and after a brief, but satisfying tussle with the missus, slept quite soundly. So, why am I here, now, spewing forth into cyberspace like Ron Jeremy at the Miss Teen USA pageant? Don't know. But my pain is your gain here at The Corner. Tonights ruminations are absolutely free! That's right folks, and don't ya wanna know just what these babies can do? Well allright then, let's go!

I've been trying to come up with a comprehensive list of the twelve albums everyone must have. Here it is:
1: American Idiot, Green Day
2: Moving Pictures, Rush
3: Rock Steady, No Doubt
4: Physical Graffiti, Led Zeppelin
5: The Violin Player, Vanessa Mae
6: Workshop of the Telescopes, Blue Oyster Cult
7: Paranoid, Black Sabbath
8: Break Like The Wind, Spinal Tap
9: Brontosaurus, DaVinci's Notebook
10: Jimmy Eat World, Jimmy Eat World
11: Godsmack, Godsmack
12: Cosmic Thing, The B-52's

Your turn.

Car trouble, bar trouble, bar tribble, far tribble, far babble, far cattle, fear cattle, fear chattle, dear chattle, dear john, dear juan, querida juana, ahhhhKelly Clarkson!!!!

Crikey, just look at the size of that beautiful monstah. We'ah hunting the wild Guanabana, a ferocious looking fruit that Latin Americans love to drink the juice of, but will tear your face clean off if they have a mind to. Now this is very dangerous, and don't you eveh try this, but I'm going to put this fierce bull guanabana down me trousers to keep it moist and warm.

Please return the stewardess to her original, upright position for landing.

Dave...my mind is going...I can feel it...I can feel it...would you like me to sing you a song?...I'm the son of rage and love...the...jesus...of...sssssuuuuuubbbbbuuuurrrrbbbiiaaaaaaaaa.................

Why are sex offenders required to make their presence known when they move into a community, but not murderers? Seems to me that might be some valuable information as well. It could actually become quite the tourist trade. Psycho/Perv tours. "And on the left is Bill 'Three Fingers' Mallone's house. He killed fifteen people with a sawed off shotgun, but got out early for good behavior. He got his nickname in prison, and no one yet has survived asking him why.Heh heh. And on the right, Father Mahoney's house. Oh, get your cameras out folks, he's mowing his lawn. And if you don't get a good snap of him now, you can buy a copy of his mug shot in our gift shop back at the tour center. Believe me, you don't want your kids going to his house on halloween. And coming up on the left, Cardinal Law's $14million estate..."

Would it be wrong for a man to entertain a retirement home by swallowing a whole keilbasa?

I think it would be really cool to have an exoskeleton, but it would be a bitch to get the turtle wax onto and off of your back. Especially if your wings kept getting in the way. And while I'm on this subject, do you suppose if insects had recreationist groups they might build skin suits and pretend that every thing that touched them hurt?

Have you noticed that George Carlin isn't so much funny nowadays as he is frighteningly correct?

Little Willy Willy won't go home, but cha can't push Willy round, Willy won't go. Try tell everybody but whoa no! Little Willy Willy won't...go home. God I hate that song.

I'm having trouble trying to sleep.
I'm counting sheep but running out.
As time ticks by, still I try
No rest for crosstops in my mind
On my own, here we go!

String theorists have a sticky wicket with which to struggle. Their theories are made up of some of the most elaborate, and unfathomable math ever invented, and even if they are correct that all particles are really manifestations of cosmic strings, and it's only the frequency of their vibrations in a ten or eleven dimensional universe that differentiates the various bits of matter, they will most likely never be able to prove it through demonstrable experimentation. They will just have to take it on faith that the equations match the real universe. I wonder if they see the religious overtones and appreciate the irony.

Google The Flying Spaghetti Monster. You won't regret it.

Ok, I've chewed my mental cud enough here. I'm going to try the sleep thing again.

Marius, over and out.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Grrr! Posted by Picasa


Lately I've been lamenting over my stressed and insufficient life, and have been struggling with the inward battle of 'am I really in the right line of work?'. Most of my friends, at least those whose level of antiquity approaches my own, are doing better, financially, than I am. Most have been married with multiple offspring for many years. Most own their own homes. SCAwise most of them are peers many times over. I have been trying not to get a case of the green-eyes, and I do not begrudge them one single iota of their successes. They have all worked very hard to get where they are. But their success seemed to me to further put my own shortcomings into sharper relief.

And then an epiphany came, as usual, from the least expected place.

I was just playing an online game where folks can chat as they play. A couple of the players were talking about how sucky it was that their vacations were almost over, and what a drag it would be going back to work. That gave me pause, because I haven't had to say that for more than a decade. I may not be rolling in the dough, but I love my job. Not only do I love doing theatre for a living, I love teaching it even more. I also have to keep reminding myself that most people don't wait to go to grad school until they are 36 or so. So it took me a little while longer than most to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. (I'll let you know when I get there) And every September, without exception, since 1996 I have said at some point, I'm glad the Summer's over. I'm ready to get back to work. Not everyone can say that. And I also didn't get married til I was 38, so y'all got quite a head start on me there.

So Carol, Dave and Robin, Adam and Bi, Jeff and Glea, Bob and Patty, Heff I doff my cap to your success, and I rejoice for you all. But henceforth I shall cease to look for my face reflected in your mirrors, except when I kick your asses at pool!

Peace out, my friends,

Friday, August 26, 2005

Must...Kill..All.. Humans

Mechanical Artificial Replicant Intended for Ultimate Sabotage

Here's where you can get your own cyborg name.


(thanks, Heff!):-)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Crab Riseth

The last few months have brought great upheavals to your friendly, neighborhood Marius. I had to leave a job I rather enjoyed due to tunnel-visioned fundamentalists; lost a dear, too distant family member to leukemia and was robbed of the chance to say goodbye because we weren't told she was in relapse until a week after her death; moved into a hell-hole of an apartment where we are stuck for a year; and in the last couple of days I have found out that two people who mean a great deal to me are fighting for their lives against cancer. I don't know if either of them reads this blog, and I have already communicated my love and concern privately, but I want to reinforce that here. And to anyone else reading this, if there is someone you love out there, and you haven't been in touch with them in ages, call, or email, or write an old fashioned letter and tell them you love them. Don't assume all is well, and don't hesitate to offer a hand, even if it's just to hold for a moment. And if all is well, then rejoice and go grab a beer.

I won't out my friends. Such a battle is an intensely private thing, but you both know who you are, and you know I'm here for you, and I know that you will both win your battles.

Love always,

The Mannequin and the Rabbi

Well, well, well. It seems our lovely(?) Senate hopefull dabbles, or at least dabbled in the occult. But Marius, that would be quite offensive to the right-wing Christians who find the Republicans so appealing these days. How can you say such things?

I don't have to. The Orlando Sentinel did. Apparently four years ago the Florida state government, in the person of one Secretary of State Katherine Harris, embarked on a six month study to see if the miracle liquid Celestial Drops would solve the citrus canker problem. Celestial Drops were introduced to our beloved Sec-O-State by rabbi Abe Hardoon, who told her that this holy fluid was water that was 'blessed' by its being kept in proximity to sacred Kaballah texts. It was supposed to have 'improved fractal design', 'high energy and low entropy', and 'infinite levels of order'. This is, of course, fertilizer of the highest grade, but Harris swallowed it hook, line, and sinker. Of course, if citrus canker was a trivial thing, and not the multi-billion dollar destroyer of entire groves, I suppose a little leeway for 'outside the box' thinking might be overlooked. But when a prominent government official can be so easily duped into spending tax dollars on what scientists later proved to be normal water, I strongly question her ability to represent anyone. And before anyone starts quoting Nancy Regan's use of an astrologer, she was not an elected official. The family members of politicians are allowed to be nut-jobs (Billy Carter, the Bush Twins), and add a welcome bit of comic relief to the often boring world of politics, but I don't think I want a senator who can be hoodwinked by every snake-oil salesman with whom she shares a tray of finger sandwiches. Of course, that's just me. ;-)


Science vs Norse Mythology

This is just too funny. Check it out.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Not Mine, but Funny

16 Signs It’s Time To Abandon Your Space Station
1. “Dear Dmitri: We at Mutual of Kazakhstan regret to inform you of the cancellation of your insurance policy....”

2. Ship’s computer calmly says, “I don’t know what air leak you’re talking about, Comrade Dave.”

3. After several days of low oxygen, you’re starting to give serious consideration to Cosmonaut Andrei’s offer to join the “Hundred Mile High” club.

4. It’s down to just you and Sigourney Weaver.

5. Old ladies swatting at you with rakes from their roof tops.

6. Mission Control asks if you can “beam down immediately.”

7. Network news broadcasts have started referring to you as “Spam in a can.”

8. No more Stoli.

9. That’s one small scratch on the port, one giant gash on the starboard side.

10. The Russian Transportation Safety Bureau has issued a recall on all Mir Model 2000 Orbital Space Platforms.

11. The Kremlin announces the space station has a mild cold.

12. The Super Glue is gone and you’re down to one roll of duct tape.

13. They’ve already chosen Tom Hanks to play you in Apollo 13, Part II.

14. You and your comrades realize those weren’t “spare” oxygen generator parts you made the still out of.

15. You overhear Mission Control arguing over who gets to keep your stuff.

16. You translate a Russian message which reads “Jettison the American....”

Mea Culpa

Ok, lately The Corner has been redolent with verbal compost, and for that I apologize. Life in the homestead has been particularly challenging, and the quality of my blogging, such as it is, has suffered. Also the news has been rather bland of late, with the usual conservative shennanigans, and liberal bitching, but nothing really noteworthy. Even on the science front things have been relatively quiet. The biggest news is that the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter launched flawlessly a couple of weeks ago, and deployed all it's antennae and solar panels perfectly. In typical NASA hyperbole one engineer described it as 'the most nominal launch I have ever seen'. They're so cute when they get excited. It will now spend the better part of a year getting to our rusty neighbor, and then take 6 months of gentle aerobraking to settle into its final orbit. Once there it will send back truly specatcular images and data since it is carrying, among many other devices, the largest optical camera ever sent out of Earth orbit. So, in late 2006 things will get all Mars-y again. Until then, I'll try to avoid any more Shakespearean rewrites. ;-)

Love and kisses,

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A State of Flux

My ex and I used to make time to watch Aeon Flux when they made a series out of the mind-blowing shorts from the short lived MTv show Liquid Television. The heroine, a skeletally skinny assasin in full S&M gear in the shorts, looked a bit less like a death-camp inmate on the series, but the plot lines remained more convoluted than the Bush administrations justifications for just about anything they do. Now this La Femme Nikita on acid is coming to the big screen with Charlize Theron as the titular uber-chick. I just watched two trailers, and while Theron is about 100 pounds heavier than her animated counterpart, she has the attitude down pat. I might even allow myself a bit of gleeful anticipation about this film. But only a little. Most of the movies made from television shows of which I am, or have been fond have delivered only the direst of disappointments. Lost In Space, The Avengers, The Wild Wild West, Star Trek V(shudder), all sucked harder than a lamprey in a vacuum chamber, and don't even get me started on the upcoming Six-Million Dollar Man movie starring, hang on a minute while I repress my gag reflex, Jim Carrey. It's bad enough when a much anticipated film fails to impress (you listening Lucas?) but when the creativity-challenged money grubbers in Hollywood get their hands on our childhood heroes the result is usually abyssmal. The bean counters and bottom line feeders are so worried about appealing to every single mouth-breathing yokel with seven bucks to spare that they'll butcher the story in order to insure against offending anyone...anyone but the people who made the original source material a hit in the first place. So you end up with Will Smith fighting a giant spider, Jim Carrey turning an iconic, and truly original astronaut into a comedy worthy of a Jim Neighbors sitcom, and Gary Oldman lipsyncing 'oh the pain' onto a stupid CGI effect specifically designed to make the audience wonder WTF?! For those of you that remember Battle of the Network Stars, and can also remember anything other than Adrien Barbeau in a skin-tight one piece, you might join me in this question:

Where's Robert Conrad when we need him?

Nostalgically yours,

Sunday, August 21, 2005


To Blog, or not to Blog, that is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler on the web to suffer the quips and beratings of outrageous comments,
or to take umbrage 'gainst a sea of conservatives
and with a derisive word negate them.
To type, to read
No more
And by a reading to say that I know more about the universe than you do

Tis a fictional affirmation devoutly to be wished

To type, to read. To read, perchance to be read, aye there's the rub

For who knows what readers might come when we have online posted this mortal drivel?

Must give bloggers pause, for who will respect that which makes calamity of so long a posting?

For who would bear the quips and scorns of lurkers;
The conservatives' harangue,
The liberals' belly-ache
The insolence of adolescent sages who spurn logic for a raised lighter and empty keg
When he, himself might his quietus make with a bare delete key?

Who would relevancy bear, to grunt and sweat under a self imposed need for truth and accuracy, but that the dread of being branded 'wrong' puzzles the will and makes us rather paraphrase long dead poets, than fly to news reports the details we know not of? Thus conscience doth make linguistic Onanists of us all, and entries of great wit and merit with this regard are turned to animated frogs, and pointless bitching, and lose the name of action.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Help Me

I'm trapped in a computer training class where the trainer doesn't seem to know how it works, and most of us don't know the number to access the system becuase our boss has that info, and it's a total cluster f*ck. I'm so glad I got to spend my Saturday morning like this. whoo hoo.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Crazy Frog Update

We here at The Corner are nothing if not thorough. When we find something we like, we research it until the very thought of the thing makes us want to spew. (must come from spending more than a decade in school) Anyway, we...well, ok I was curious what the genesis of the Crazy Frog was, so I found out. And I'm sure you are just dying to know it. Well hold on to your hats, Gentle Readers, cause here it comes.

In 1997 a 17 year old Swede by the name of Daniel Malmedahl was playing around with his computer, and he recorded his imitation of a friend's moped. It hovered in realative obscurity on the internet until a guy named ERIK WERNQUIST made an animation to go with the sounds called The Annoying Thing ( http://www.turboforce3d.com/annoying/ ) in 2003. Now, the song and video are from a German group called The Bass Bumpers ( http://www.danceartistinfo.com/bassbump.htm ) who sampled the audio from The Annoying Thing, mixed it with their version of Axel F, and released it into the airwaves. And the rest...is history.

There you go. More than you ever wanted to know about the Crazy Frog.

You're welcome. ;-)

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Penis Mightier...

Before you read this edition of The Corner, go here and watch the Crazy Frog video.


Don't worry. We'll wait for you.

dum dum...dum dum du-dum dum dum...dum dum dum du-DUM dum dum...dum dah dum dee dum dee dum dum dum-dum...Ding Ding! (dammit! can't get that music out of my head)

Ok, aside from it being a fun video, with some very well done CGI, I can't get over the number of people who were bugged by the fact that the crazy frog had a little willy. This nation seems to be terrified by the penis. How strange that something so small(in the grand scheme of things, that is) can carry such power. I showed my 7 year old that video this morning, and she loved it, and I did not detect any trauma because the frog had a little winky. As far as I could tell she didn't even notice...and neither did my wife until I mentioned it. I mentioned it because there is a list of reviews of the video, and several people were bothered by the 'little pecker'. I imagine that the animator got sick of anthropomorphic animals roaming around with no clothing, or genitalia. (not that I particularly want to see Wile E. Coyote's package) but what is it about the male member that frightens people so?

There is such a double standard about nudity in this country. Mores about female nudity in entertainment have grown steadily more lax(unless you are at a football game, which we will all know epitomizes family values) over the last couple of decades, but the prohibition on the penis has remained as...pardon me but I must...rigid as ever. Women's naughty bits leap out at us from all corners on billboards, tv commercials, magazine ads, product lables. And while there is a constant background buzz from religious groups about how awful this is, you don't really hear the caterwauling until Mr. Wiggly rears his cyclopian head and puts in an on-screen appearance. Suddenly a PG-13 or R rating becomes NC-17 quicker than you can say vas deference. And if said creature should get overly interested in things along comes the dreaded X. And on stage, if a woman doffs her duds it might get a mention in the review, but if a male thespian drops trou it's all over the trade rags. Why are people so obsessed with 6"-9"(on average)chunk of wrinkly, erectile tissue? If anything, it's the overly agressive jerk who's driving the winky that should be the offensive part.

Of course, there is an esthetic consideration at work. All things being equal a well sculpted nude man is as attractive as a well sculpted nude woman, until you lose the speedo. The flaccid penis is not a thing of beauty, and if your sculpture is aroused...well that puts a whole different spin on things. Women's naughty bits are more esthetically pleasing no matter her frame of mind at the time, or the temperature. (shrinkage, people, shrinkage)

I think it has to do with fear. Men still make most of the rules, and men constantly worry that someone else has a bigger crazy frog. When The Terminator came out I heard more about the fact that Arnie's little terminator was visible for a second than I did the plot, but not from any of my female friends. Only the guys noticed enough to mention it. Personally I was not particularly affected by Arnold's mini-me, though it was as impressive as the rest of him, and it did not change my opinion of the movie. I live a healthy, relatively sane existence despite having seen a penis on screen.

Comments, anyone?


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Give the Guy a Chance

There is no need to check the back yard for pods, or stick a hot wire into a petrie dish of my blood, it's really me, and I'm not drunk. Why am I saying this, you might ask. Well, I'm about to agree with George W. in a big way, and while it's bugging the crap out of me, I can remain silent no longer. I like John Roberts for the Supreme Court.

Now before you ask me for my Liberal Membership Card and my bleeding heart lapel pin, hear me out. W could have nominated some crazy, KKK-esque right-wing nut job that would have the Congress tied up in hearings for months, but for once he chose the smart path. Roberts is conservative, yes. This is no surprise; how many judges aren't? Everything I have heard about Roberts tells me that he is a rational, intelligent, and moderate person interested solely in upholding the law. Left-wing extremists have tried to connect a ruling he made in 1991 to an abortion clinic bombing in 1998 in a poorly planned tv spot, which has since been recalled. Right-wing extremists have tried to connect him to gay rights because he once worked on a gay rights case in the 80's. He was a lawyer, working for a firm, and took the case pro bono (without charge) regardless of his personal views, which I think speaks volumes for his respect for the law. I would question a lawyer who would refuse a case because of the client's sexuality. He argued the case based on the rule of law, not the rule of hyberbole.

Roberts strikes me as someone who will carefully examine each case, using precedant and the Constitution as his guides, rather than emotion and dogma.

Here is a quote taken from his wikipedia article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._Roberts,_Jr.):

[S]imply because you have a problem that needs addressing, it’s not necessarily the case that Federal legislation is the best way to address it...[T]he constitutional limitation doesn’t turn on whether it’s a good idea. There is not a ‘‘good idea’’ clause in the Constitution. It can be a bad idea, but certainly still satisfy the constitutional requirements.

Given that Bush was not going to put someone in the Supreme Court who leaned too far left, I'm glad to see that he is nominating someone who is definately on the right, but seems to be more interested in the stability of the middle.

In other words, it could have been a whole lot worse.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Harry Potter Musings {Warning: Half Blood Prince Spoilers}

Hi folks,

I just finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, so I want to post while it's still fresh in my addled little head.

1. I don't think Dumbledore is truly dead. It's either some sort of ploy to fool Voldemort, or an Obi-Wan, if you strike me down I shall only become more powerful thing.

2. Dumbledore wasn't begging Snape for mercy, he was begging Snape to fulfill his obligation to 'kill' him.

3. Snape has not gone back to being a Death Eater. He is still working for Dumbledore. When Snape and Draco were escaping, and Harry kept trying to stop him, Snape seemed more annoyed than murderous. Snape could have easily done a lot more harm to Harry than he did, and seemed to be giving him advise even through his hatred of our hero.

4. Ginny will find a way back to Harry. She's a lot smarter, more patient, and wiser, than anyone gives her credit for. She has watched Harry and his 'hero complex' for quite some time now, and obviously expected his selfless pushing her away. What Harry doesn't realize is that in the eyes of the enemy she's already linked to him, and thus a valid target. Plus she can take care of herself better than most of them. She is also the only other one with a link to Voldemort, so she's not exactly out of harm's way no matter her romantic entanglements.

5. I am an incredibly geek. Not the biggest one, but certainly in the top 20th or 30th percentile. ;-)

I thought this was the best book of the series. I know that puts me in the minority, but the reasons I liked it seem to be the same reasons many didn't. There was much less exposition, and much more story in this one. It almost seems like Rowling has grown as weary of writing every single class and discussion as I have of reading them. I re-read Order of the Phoenix before Half-Blood Prince just to refresh my memory, and it took nearly two-thirds of that book for the story to really kick in. Half-Blood Prince, on the other hand, hit the ground running and never stopped. Admittedly she left a lot of loose ends, and the next book, if indeed if it is to be the last, has a lot of ground to cover. Rowling has already proven that traditional outcomes are not necessarily the way she'll go, so discussions of will Ron and Hermione get married, or will Harry and Ginny are rather moot. So far these characters have avoided the 2-dimensionality of many fictional people and acted more like real teenagers. I don't think we need worry about such classic, and in my opinion trite, wrap-ups as multiple marriages, and happily-ever-afters. I would like to see a father figure enter Harry's life without biting it at the end, but then who's to say if any of the main characters are safe? If Rowling will whack Dumbledore, are any of our heroes out of danger? Only the author knows, or maybe not. I have written short stories where the characters did, or said things that surprised me, but made sense. I think the greatest testament to Ms. Rowlings prowess is not her fame and fortune, Paris Hilton is rich and famous(and completely useless), but rather the fact that so many of us are totally hooked on her stories. What started as a book for young children has become a masterwork of people who don't exist, but we care about as if they did. I cried when James Doohan died, and felt strange for mourning someone I never met. Imagine my incredulity this morning when I teared up while reading about a funeral for someone who I not only never met, but who never existed in the first place. That is the highest praise I think any author can hope for.

Congratulations, Ms. Rowling, on a job well done.


Friday, August 12, 2005

It's the Captain Obvious Show

I heard on the news today that at last night's taping of the Pamela Anderson celebrity roast (and may I say that if Comedy Central scrapes the bottom of the barrel any harder they're going to fall right through it) Courtney Love was so messed up that they will have to edit most of her antics in order to air the show. That's not the blogworthy part of this. The reason I'm writing about an event you couldn't pay me to watch is that they actually seemed surprised by Love's behavior. Isn't that sort of like going outside, taking a deep breath, and turning to the guy next to you and saying, "Holy shit! You can breathe this stuff?!" What did they expect from someone who's public displays of fucked-uppedness can upstage Madonna? The chick makes Green Day at the VMA's seem like Paul McCartney at the Super Bowl. I would think that the reason you invite Courtney Love to any event is to enjoy the inevitable freak show. She's the reigning court jester in the show biz kingdom. The hell with Ted Nugent and Gary Busey, I'd love to see a reality show called I Love Courtney. It would be like a narcotics riddled rodeo. Twelve unsuspecting people are put in a limo with Love, and the last one standing at the end of the night gets a free liver transplant and one year's dialysis.

Another example of high profile 'Duh!' is an ad campaign I have recently seen for NyQuil. Apparantly there are two or three people living in the Himalayas who don't know that NyQuil will knock you out faster than a crack junkie with a stun-gun, so the geniuses at some advertising firm felt it necessary to inform the public that NyQuil will give you "the best sleep ever with a cold'. Nooooo, really? To paraphrase Dennis Leary the reason they keep the stuff tasting so bad (green death and cherry-from-hell) is that by the time your tastebuds are aware of the assault you're on the floor doing your Sunny Von Bulow impression. (look it up, it builds character) Next I expect to see ads for beaches from the same firm that go something like: The Ocean...it's wet!

Every day you hear about some idiot who assumed that 'all natural' means totally harmless (here's a hint, kiddies: turpentine comes from trees, but we don't want to drink it), or that just because there's no lable saying 'putting pencils in your eyes can really suck' it's ok to sue Ticonderoga for his opthamologist bills. I mean I agree that tobacco company executives are some of the most evil people to ever walk this Earth, but I smoked for several years, and not once did I take a deep drag off my Marlboro Light, smack my lips, and go 'Yup, that's gotta be doing wonders for my insides. I'm so glad that RJ Reynolds made these things so good for me.' Idiots roam our streets like extras from a George Romero movie, but contrary to Darwin, they seem to be multiplying. It's Dawn of the Dork, and we few who make an effort to use that bowl of goo inside our craniums are being overwhelmed by a sea of WWE, and Cops, and the Farrelly Brothers, and the absolute belief that there is a kidney stealing prostitute ring in Las Vegas that smuggles drugs in dead children but forgot to turn off their cell-phones before putting gas in their car and were subsequently blown up. We're seeing fewer thinking caps, and more tinfoil hats that deflect the secret CIA mind control beams.

And finally, allow me to finish this rambling rant with this bit of calm, reasoned debate over a concept that has way more adhearants then it should. <>


Um, I seem to have strayed a bit from my original brief, but in a nutshell, sex is more fun than logic. One cannot prove this, but it is, in the same sense that Mount Everest is, or that Alma Cogen isn't.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Katherine Harris: Viable Republican Senatorial Candidate, or Evil Mannequin From Hell

So our old nemesis from the 2000 presidential election debacle is back. Rising like Freddy Kruger from the shadow of the Florida state legeslature, looking more and more like Katherine Helmond in Brazil every day, Harris has announced her intention to run for the US Senate. I will try to resist the temptation to attack her fasion sense, or steely hair style, as it bothers me when people attack female politicians differently than males. I mean I have read questions in the press as to whether she has had cosmetic surgery or not, or whether she wears too much make-up, and she has even rebutted that some pictures of her were deliberately doctored so she looked more made-up than she really was. No one has ever asked if George W. ever had any 'work done', or whether Dick Cheney needs to get hair plugs, so I won't resort to such juvinile musings here. (no, don't look at the title of this installment...you don't need to see his indentification...these aren't the droids you're looking for) Instead I will simply rejoice that she has thrown her pillbox hat into the arena. (damn! sorry.) I have done some checking into her background, and it's really no better or worse than any of Bush's other Death Eaters. There are numerous allegations of wrongdoing, and conflicts of interest, and then there was that whole election thing. But nothing solid, and nothing prosecuted. She is, in my opinion, at best incompetant-at worst as evil as the rest of them. But the reason I'm glad she's running is that lots, and lots of people in Florida are mad as hell at her for disenfranchising them in 2000. Folks don't usually pay attention to a vote on oil drilling, or whether a tax bill passed or not, but tell them they can't vote, or the vote they did cast didn't count, and they don't forget. Katherine Harris running for any public office is a great thing, because she is so universally despised by the left, and many moderates, that she can only help get people to the polls. And that is our biggest problem in this country--apathy. Too many people don't vote, and then bitch about what's going on with the government. Now if we can just get David Duke, or Zell Miller the GOP nomination in 2008 life will be sweet.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It Was Bound To Happen

Howdy, Folks. The time I knew would arrive has finally come. If you read the comments from my last post I finally offended someone. Not that this was my goal, but I am surprised at which one did it. All of my Bush bashing and NASA criticizing, and Godzilla quoting didn't warrant a real objection (other than my over-religious nemesis who is an inveterate chain-yanker), but getting upset at the ghouls and rubberneckers on the highways did. I have already responded to the injured person, and I sincerely hope that they understand where I was coming from, but this gives me a great opportunity to state clearly that I welcome any and all commentary, especially if you disagree with me. I am frequently, and usually staggeringly, wrong about things, and if you have a reasoned, salient beef I'd love to hear it. I enjoy a good debate, and will gladly change my position should I be proven wrong. On the other hand, if you just want to say I'm full of shit, bring it on...but beware: if you come out swinging, so will I. One of my favorite comments on the First Amendment I ever heard, and I wish I knew who said it, goes something like 'I may not agree with what you are saying, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.'

Anonymous, I regret that you were hurt by my rant, but I thank you for taking a stand and letting me know about it.


Random Thoughts

I think it should be legal to ram rubberneckers. You know, those ghoulish assholes who tie up the freeway by slowing to a crawl when passing an accident scene in the hopes of seeing some carnage. Actually, based on stories I have heard from emergency response folks I have known, I think that it should be legal, nay encouraged, to severly pummel anyone standing around gawking at an accident, fire, crime scene. That's it! Hire people to ride with ambulances and fire rescue vehicles whose sole purpose is to knee-cap the ghouls with a steel pipe. And then the K-9 officers can train their dogs to piss on them while they writhe on the ground. Oh, oh, and then the press can publish pictures of them on special 'dirtbag of the week' web sites, so kindly grandmothers and Boy Scouts can spit on them when they get recognized at Target, and their own mothers would disown them, and then they'd be ever so sorry they took pleasure in someone else's pain.

Or even worse, make them George W. Bush's personal valet for a week.

On second thought, that's just too cruel.

Welcome Home

I know I've been bitching a lot about NASA here at the Corner lately, but I got a lump in my throat as I was driving to work today and heard the words "Discovery is home' come out of my radio. Congratulations to the crew of Discovery, and to the thousands of men and women who made the mission a success.


Monday, August 08, 2005

In Vino Veritas

Saturday night, while deep into our cups, Dave, Jeff, and I set about to solve the world's problems. And I think we did a fair job of it. We managed to realign algebra, evaluate the Civil War more realistically, and establish once and for all that George W. Bush is an asshole. But one thing came to me that I think might bear closer scrutiny in the light of sober dawn. We were talking about 911, and the belief that Al Queada (or however the fuck you spell it) awoke the sleeping giant, and got more than they bargained for when we flattened Afghanistan. We were trying to fathom just what they had hoped would happen, when it dawned on my that, given that most of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, maybe the intended result would be the US coming down on Saudi Arabia. It could be that Bin-Laden and the rest of his penile-length challenged dirtbags are a puzzled by our inaction against the Saudi's as most of we are.

Discussion? Comments?



Greetings, Gentle Readers.

The last three weeks have seen some wonderful reunions twixt your friendly neighborhood Marius and some of my oldest and dearest friends. First was a journey a couple of hours southward to visit Adam and Bi, and their kids. They have built a house out on the fringes of civilization (at least for now) which is gorgeous, and decorated in the very highest of geek-chic. Superheroes and Loony Toons characters greet you from every shelf and corner, as do a very snooty cat, and a fluffy, happy tongue with a puppy attached. The kids got along great, as did the wives. There was much silliness, some drinking, games were played, giggling children were chid at the wee small hours, and not much sleeping was done on anyone's part. In other words, a grand time was had by all. (no Wampuses were harmed in the making of this blog entry)

This weekend saw the recalling of the gang that went to NYC to surprise Dave on his birthday. I don't know if he's just good at taking things in stride, or he was on to us, but he didn't seem particularly surprised to see us waiting for him with balloons and streamers and such. He was delighted, though. We spent the majority of the day/evening just goofing off, drinking, swimming, playing pool, and chasing the 7 children that were there. If there were some way to harness the energy generated by a small group of children we could tell OPEC to take a flying leap. Gradually, as the night wore on, wives and children went to bed, and then one by one the men dropped off. Around 3ish I finally crashed, and then Jeff and Dave could hold out no longer.
Sunday, after some half-hearted chastisement from the spouses about how drunkenly loud we had been, we went out on Dave's boat for a couple of hours. We fished a bit, saw some dolphins and gars, and lots of birds, but mostly just did nothing...and enjoyed every minute of it. Then it was time to drag screaming children away from the video games, gather up the debris of the weekend, distribute hugs and promises of quick and frequent returns, and head home.

This apartment complex still sucks, but being so close to those I love the most is certainly making it more endurable. I am going to try to get us a little further south if I can, by Grapthar's Hammer, but at least for now being able to get to my friends in hours, instead of days is very, very welcome.

Yours from a very warm and fuzzy Marius

Friday, August 05, 2005

Scenes from the Future

Astromechanic Bob Schwartzman cursed for the fiftieth time in as many minutes. The dehumidifier in his suit was malfunctioning again, and sweat was stinging his eyes. Considering that just a few centimeters past the end of his nose was hard vacuum, with temperatures that could fluctuate hundreds of degrees in mere seconds he decided he couldn’t complain too much about a little extra moisture, but it sure as hell made a tough job more difficult. The waste disposal unit on Ell-5 Station’s third quadrant habitation ring failed again, and was steadfastly refusing to reclaim the water and minerals needed by the denizens of the station. This was his fourth EVA to fix the unit. He shook his head violently in a vain effort to keep the droplets out of his eyes, but in the micro-gravity environment they just floated around inside his helmet.

“Hey Charlie!” Bob growled into his mic.

“Yeah, what?”

“I thought you fixed this damn suit.”

“I did. Is it my fault you sweat like a 16 year old girl on prom night?”

“Ha fucking ha!” Bob’s tone carried very little amusement. “When are you gonna finish screwing around and get out here and give me hand?”

“I’m almost done here, but you’re not gonna believe the news story I just found in the archives. Remember reading about the first space shuttle program in history class?”

“Yeah, barely. What about it?”

“Well, apparently they weren’t really able to do any repair work on the ship in orbit.”

“What the fuck? Why not?”

“It doesn’t really say. It seems like the ship was too fragile to risk touching it or some shit. Don’t quite follow how it can take micro-meteor strikes but not a screwdriver, but whatever, they couldn’t.”

Bob was wrestling with a stubborn o-ring, and was growing impatient with his shift-mate’s irrelevancies. “So what’s that got to do with anything?”

“So I’m looking at these old news stories from near the end of the program, and I find hundreds of megabytes of video of this guy going EVA to pull out a bit of filler that popped out on the belly of the ship during launch. They spent days watching NASA prepare for the ‘repair’”

The o-ring finally snapped; sending the two halves flying into orbit.

“Shit!” Bob exclaimed.

“What’s wrong?” Charlie asked.

“Damn o-ring tore my glove. Hang on a minute.”

Bob retrieved his tube of stop leak from a pocket on his suit and squirted the gooey substance over the tear in his glove. It sealed instantly. He put the tube away and turned back to the open bulkhead in front of him.

“Ok, I’m fine. Not that I really care about this, but is there some point to your story?”

“Yeah, I just thought you would find it funny that they spent two days preparing to send the guy out, and then it took hours for him to go under the ship, since it was too fragile to touch. Finally, when he gets to the stuff all he does is pull it out with his hands and the world goes fucking nuts! All he did was yank out a bit of foam and they treat him like a goddam hero. Here we are, busting our butts every day doing real work, and we’re lucky to get so much as a thank you. How d’ya like that?”

“It’s a real fucking crime.” Sarcasm dripped from Bob’s voice. “So how ‘bout you play the hero and get your ass out here and help me with this shitbot? Or do I have to pull rank?”

“All right, don’t get your panties in a twist. I just thought you’d find it funny s’all.”

“Sure, I’m laughing my ass off. Now get out here, and bring another number 6 o-ring!”

Charlie sighed and turned off the computer terminal. “Aye aye, sir!” he said in his best, mock military manner.

Bob started removing the restraining bolts holding the waste unit in place. “Kiss my ass.” He muttered under his breath.


Monday, August 01, 2005

How Much More Bush Can We Take?

It's no secret that I have no love for the current administration, nor for that overblown, underqualified fratboy at the helm, but this takes the cake. I am so sick of the Machiavellian tactics employed by the Republicans in power that I would love to go to Washington just to vomit on the White House lawn. George W sidestepped the democratic process to appoint John Bolton, a man well known for being about as diplomatic as Roseanne, to be our ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton's appointment has been held up in Congress by most Democrats, and some Republicans, because of his comments in the past disdaining the U.N., and for allegedly being a dick to work for/with. Seems to me that those would be the sorts of things we wouldn't want in one of our chief diplomats. But be that as it may, that's not what has me so incensed. Putting people in jobs for which they are eminently unqualified is a long-standing Washington tradition; a place where back scratching, nepotism, and a non-existent gag reflex are the keys to the kingdom. What I'm sick of is the American people's total willingness to let these assholes do whatever they want with impunity.

It is true that the 'recess appointment' is an important tool for presidents, but usually the appointments are of an emergency nature (i.e. someone died), or for relatively minor positions (i.e. ambassador to Luxembourg). The appointment of John Bolton has been a major bone of contention for quite some time now, and Bush's reasoning, "This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about UN reform," is just more smoke and mirrors. Ever since 911 Bush, Cheny, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft (thank God he's gone), and the rest of the Republican majority have been spewing out meaningless platitudes to justify their 'we know best, so don't you dare question us' policies. And far too many Americans eat this shit up like it's $500 a can Russian caviar.

Technically recess appointments are temporary, but in this case temporary means until January of 2007! I think that this is far more dangerous to the country than whether the president got blown, or a fading pop star showed her nipple at a football game, or a video game that is already loaded with reprehensible depictions of graphic violence suddenly having graphic sex in it. It's time this country woke up and realized that the ruling majority are using irrelevancies to distract us from the real damage they are doing. Real issues, like health care, welfare reform, and reigning in the rampaging excesses of government are hidden in the smoke of abortion, gay marriage, and a war that was started with lies, and is maintained with the blood of our youngest, and poorest citizens. Where is the cry for impeachment? Where is the indignation every time another civil liberty is trampled? Where is the challenge to such false red flags such as 'liberal media', 'war on terror', 'pro life', or that most oxy-moronic of terms 'compassionate conservative'? Maybe someone needs to find a young intern who is willing to take one for the team and get caught in the oval office with Dubya. But then again, the way things are today people will probably just say, 'That poor man works so hard, who could blame him for needing some relief.' I love America, but Americans are pissing me off.