Saturday, May 31, 2008

What, No Martians Up There?

Marvin the Martian's mission was to destroy Earth. Why? Because it blocked his view of Venus.

What does the word Martian mean to you? Martians are the stuff of hundreds of science fiction stories, books, comics, movies and video games. But the excitement of Mars has warn off as of late as a muse for fiction writers. Knowing what we know now about the desolate, Martianless red planet, it sort of spoils the fun.

Here's a few of the more bizarre Martian plots from Wikipedia:

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964) – Known as one of the worst movies ever made, as such it was made fun of on the TV series Mystery Science Theater 3000.

"Omnilingual" (1957) by H. Beam Piper. Short story in which archaeologists excavating the remains of a humanoid Martian civilization find an entire library, but lack a Rosetta Stone.

Red Planet (1949). Robert A. Heinlein, Young adult novel. Includes some very intelligent Martians similar to those mentioned in Stranger in a Strange Land, who help human colonists free themselves of tyrannical Earth authorities.

In The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut (1969), previously uninhabited Mars is populated by brainwashed transplants from Earth, leading to the invasion of Earth by the newly-created Martian army.

The Martian Way (1952) by Isaac Asimov. Arrogant Earth people are scornful of the Martian colonists, who barely survive by salvaging "space junk", yet their way of life is what fits the Martian colonists for further space exploration, reaching Saturn first and eventually (Asimov implies) leading the way to the stars.

A Rose for Ecclesiastes" (1963) by Roger Zelazny. One of the last stories of this type, describing an Earth poet's study of Martian language and literature. The story is deliberately written as an elegiac farewell to the old conception of Mars, complete with canals and an ancient, dying Martian race.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Intergalactic Laxative by Donovan

". . .oh the Intergalactic Laxative will get you from here to Mars."

Since NASA had such a successful mission with the Mars Landing this past week, I wanted to post something.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not THAT Desperate Yet

Goosepath Haiku:

I will not eat Spam.
I don't care if it is cheap,
Things aren't that bad yet.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day... to a Six Year Old

It's Memorial Day Weekend. I spent most of it happily outside planting peppers, planting flowers, and just soaking up as much sun as I could. Other than putting the flag out on the porch,I didn't give much thought to the meaning of the weekend, until a six year old from down the street who was visiting, asked me flat out: Why do we have a holiday this weekend?

Because it's Memorial Day.
Because we set aside a day to honor people who died during a war.
I explained that my grandfather faught in World War I.... (but then I realized he didn't die.... so it wasn't a good example.) Then I hurriedly told her it was good to remember people who go fight in wars even if they don't die.

I was waiting for another "Why?" but she looked at me like she really didn't get it.
Like... why do we honor people who go to war?

It occurred to me, she is only six. She doesn't even know what War is.

So I said to run along and go home. Her family was leaving to go to a picnic, and she needed to get cleaned up. "Have a good time!" I yelled. For her Memorial Day weekend will mean hotdogs and hamburgers, swingsets and cousins to play with, and
maybe some watermelon. It's best to just let her be a kid a while longer.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Brother Louie

I remember hearing this song on the radio all the time in the 1970s... and my dear Aunt Millie absolutely HATED it. She'd say "What do you young people see in this music? All they do is yell Looooieee,looooieeee,looieee!"

What's great are some of the COMMENTS I've read on this video. Someone said the singer looks like Ray Sharkey in a Wig, and another person admited they always thought it was a black chick singing this song. Too funny. It's so great to find stuff like this on YouTube.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Downloading at the Dentist's Office

You know the download countdown? The percentages that either appear as a disappearing bar or a succession of disappearing dots... whatever... showing you how much longer you have to wait until your download is complete? I wish they had something like that in the dentist's office. Right there on the ceiling or on the overhead lamp...

What I'm getting at is, yesterday I even told the assistant to talk. Just TALK TO ME, while she and the dentist are doing their thing in my mouth. The only thing worse then not knowing EXACTLY HOW LONG THIS IS GOING TO TAKE, is the actual drilling interspersed with deafening silence. She politely told me that she and the dentist concentrate on their work. I KNOW that... but would it hurt to give me a play by play to keep me at least informed on progress?

Wouldn't it be comforting, as you are fighting back the urge to swallow spit, and your cheek seems to be tearing open from the mirror handle pulling it back, to hear:"There! All done with drilling... now I'm putting in the silver stuff and packing it nicely....looks good.... only a few minutes left.... going great.... just a little picking around with this instrument for a few seconds... a little buffing...and--- a little heat lamp to seal it up...and... VOILA!"

Rainbow Stew- Cover of Merle's Song

--I looked for Merle Haggard, but couldn't find him. These guys... BCB Band(?)do a decent job with this.

There's a big, brown cloud in the city,
And the countryside's a sin.
An' the price of life is too high to give up,
Gotta come down again.
When the world wide war is over and done,
And the dream of peace comes true.
We'll all be drinkin' free bubble-ubb,
Eatin' that rainbow stew.
When they find out how to burn water,
And the gasoline car is gone.
When an airplane flies without any fuel,
And the satellite heats our home.
One of these days when the air clears up,
And the sun comes shinin' through.
We'll all be drinkin' free bubble-ubb,
An' eatin' that rainbow stew.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, May 18, 2008

I really thought I'd get a new computer as soon as my income tax check came. But somehow I've delayed it. In the back of my head... I don't know--somewhere in my head then, I don't feel comfortable spending that much money at one time right now on something not absolutely necessary.

Maybe I've been watching too much news. Depressing stuff. And gas prices, grocery prices.... heck... ALL prices have gone up. But am I spending less at the store? Nope. Same amount.... just getting less.

Last night I saw a story where someone is making 3/4 gallon milk cartons. This way, people get almost a gallon of milk at close to the same price. Do they think we are really that stupid?

Of course, this actually is a blessing for me. I don't go through all that much milk. Much of it spoils by the time I need to use it, so I guess this works. But for actual families? Well.... they better get smaller glasses, too.

Maybe they'll make smaller M'nM packs next. Of course, I'll be spending twice as much because I'll need to buy two.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Maxwell's Silver Hammer-- Animated

Another Saturday afternoon on YouTube. This cracked me up. Some people are so creative.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

By Chance, I'm Ordering This Book

I heard a great interview last night on Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. Author Leonard Mlodinow was on the show talking about The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives-- a book that came out this week. The point in the show when I tuned in, he was telling George how Roger Maris' record homerun season was probably just lucky. Knowing very little about baseball, I almost turned the dial, and I'm glad I didn't. The author launched into a very interesting... intelligent and just funny explanation -- using statistics--about how sometimes average players get lucky. A lot of what happens to us in life has to do with random chance.

( from

“A wonderfully readable guide to how the mathematical laws of randomness
affect our lives.”--Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time

If you go to the website, you can read an exerpt from the book. It makes you think about the sheer acts of chance that put you where you are right now. Some people say there are no coinsedences. I have to think about that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

That's Life

My dad will forever be tied with Frank Sinatra. Not because he was a big fan or anything, but because they both died on the same day. At his funeral someone said dad died and "took Frank Sinatra with him." They've both been gone ten years. I don't know where the time went.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, May 11, 2008

It's Mother's Day.
I consider myself lucky to have had a Leave It To Beaver-type mother. My mom got married in the 1950's and quit her job, (Because you couldn't be more than five months pregnant and work in the department store.) Dad built her a house, and she had two children. She was always there to meet the school bus, make supper, sort out neighborhood fights, help with school projects, and scoop out ice cream. She made all my Barbie clothes.

She didn't, however, run the vacuum with high heels and pearls. Instead, I learned from her that a dirty house is better for you because your body needs some germs around to build up your immune system. I live by that credo today.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Donovan Leitch's Catch the Wind

Donovan's 62nd birthday is today.I've had a sort of life long love affair with his music. Catch the Wind was his first hit and is also one of my favorite songs of all time. I like this version a lot. The Donovan singing here is how I remember him from my childhood. That distinctive guitar, the 70's garb, the gentle minstrel. Below is a picture I took of him when I saw him in the late 1980's. Looking right at me, by the way. :)

To me, the best songs speak directly from the heart of the musician. Writing and sharing your music are deeply personal experiences. Maybe that is why I don't watch American Idol. I have no interest in watching people rehash versions of other people's work in hopes of gaining some fleeting stardom. A paint-by-numbers Mona Lisa would illicit a similiar response from me. I want the real thing.

Two Bug's Sagas, and a Lobster

I'm not a fan of bugs. Few people are. But two separate bugs crossed my path and met very different fates. A junebug was on the floor near the door when I came into work yesterday. It was upside down and in obvious trouble with it's little legs flailing. With easily 10 - 15 people using that hallway on a given morning, I feared someone would step on it. But, and I don't know why, I DIDN'T STOP. Three hours later, I walked to the door, and there he was again. Same spot. It's not like anyone could miss him, but no one did anything to help him or kill him. I got a file and let him crawl up and I carried him outside.

This morning, half awake, no contacts, no coffee yet, I went to pour water in the sink and.... YIKES a centipede! Instant panic. Turn the water on real fast, try to drown him, he's crawling, oh no... don't let him get on the counter and run into the wall crack under the window! Panic! Looking around... paper towel... split second decision... I can't do this! But there is no one else HERE! Grab... squish!!! now what? Is it really dead? Do I want to risk it? Can it live without a few legs...just keep going.....

So I flung the balled up paper towel onto the porch. Survival of the fittest.

(Irony of all this is that I ate an African lobster tail last night. Delicious. But I only ate the white meat already taken out of the big part of the shell...and I didn't pick around. All those little legs bothered me. As a matter of fact, they are somewhat similiar to that creature in my sink! Sure enough, I looked it up, centipedes are distant relatives of lobsters.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Parceling Out Your Snacks

Those little one hundred calorie packs:

"That's just enough Doritos to piss me off." OVERHEARD BY LLOYD


The line above comes from 'Overheard Lines' which is a great blog to check for a laugh now and then. You can't walk an aisle in a store anywhere without seeing these 100 calorie packs of cookies, crackers, chips, etc. Doritos are still more economical by the bag. But if you really want to lose weight, this might be a good way to go. Unless you eat like 10 bags of them.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Don't Tell Me - Blancmange

One of my favorite videos of 1984. I wonder where these guys are now?

Candy Dish Placement = Weight Gain

This guy is dry as toast, but stay with him. He makes a good point at the end.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Sunday Morning Muse, May 4, 2008

People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.

--Isaac Asimov

It's amazing how little patience I have these days. I blame it on Television. My remote already "knows" not to stop on Basketball, Fox News and Lawrence Welk a half second before it fully registers in my own mind. But I am particularly fast on the trigger with talking head political shows these days, as there is rarely if ever anything of substance said, and the chance of my blood pressure going up increases with every second I don't click past it.

I've observed that we are past a sort of communication "tipping point." At one time there were people, very smart people, with great ideas. The kind that would actually serve the common good to be more disseminated among the masses. A lot of exchange of really important ideas naturally occurred at universities, where educated people came together. Common folk in the hills could find out what was happening outside of their small towns in any way they could--- filtered through the papers, perhaps attending a 'guest' lecture at a local hall or church now and then.. but getting their "own" ideas out was a much more difficult matter. It was tough to "get above your raisin'."

And here we are in the age of instantaneous communication just about everywhere, and it would seem the old adage, "the weeds are taking over the garden," can be sadly applied when it comes to any sort of education to common people. Indeed, education itself was looked upon with disdain in the Gore Versus Bush election. Wasn't George Bush trying to portray himself as "plainspoken?" (Not like those elists who think they are better than you!) The Candididate you would "most want to have a beer" with?

Look where it has gotten us. I want the smartest, most educated, intellectual, savvy, creative, intelligent, progressive, free thinker there can be as President of the United States. I hope I get my wish someday.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Empty Feedbag Blues

I wanted to post a good blues song.... something maybe about a horse, since I'm feeling kind of bad about today's big race. This is the first video I came across. I probably should have kept looking.

Hang on to Your Hat, It's Derby Day

It's about 20 minutes till the Kentucky Derby and my bets are in. I didn't go hog wild this year, perhaps succumbing to the hype surrounding Big Brown and Colonel John. After years of failed strategies, I have narrowed it down to this:
I picked the two favorites and added Court Vision at 20 -1, just for a shot at more money on a trifecta.
This, after I had considered just picking Big Brown and taking practically the whole field for second place. I also could have just plunked down a bigger bet on him to win, but... I saw an interview with Big Brown's owner and ... confidence is one thing, but a braggart with an attitude is quite another. People like him tend to get smacked by the Horse Gods, so I wasn't going to put all my eggs in one basket.
UPDATE: Okay, so I lost again. At least I was right about a "favorite" winning. I had Big Brown with Colonel John and Court Vision. I feel really bad that the only female horse in the race had to be euthanized after breaking both ankles. The horse gave it all.....and came in second place. What a heartache for the owner. Rest in Peace Eight Belles.

Now You See Me...

Invisibility has come up several times this week, starting with a prankster at work who left this article about spontaneous invisibility lying around the copy machine to spark a discussion. We're not talking Optical Camouflage technology like in Harry Potter with his Invisibility Cloak. Rather, the more mystic stuff.

There are those of us who do move in and out of dimension psychically, but this seems to be a physical phenomena that is not controlled by the person who disappears. This is a rare phenomena in which a person is physically still present, although unable to be seen or heard. From the point of view of the invisible person, the world looks normal. They have no idea that they cannot be seen or heard by people around them.
Strange stuff. If you read to the end, the "science" of this type of disappearance involves electron clouds...
...such a cloud of free electrons will absorb all light entering it; it will not reflect nor refract light waves, nor are light waves able to pass through a human being. Consequently the observer1s eye sees nothing there and the person surrounded by such a cloud is invisible. Since light is necessary for human sight, when there are no reflected or refracted light waves bouncing off a person and hitting the observer's retina, the person is not able to be seen and is not visible under normal circumstances.
Obviously we've all "felt" invisible at times. Like when our voice is drowned out in a conversation, or when we find out we aren't part of the "in" crowd and are left out of the reindeer games. Maybe we really are invisible sometimes, and just don't know it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008