Hope You Like Our New Direction

Well, it had to happen sometime.  After many years (many!), the ol’ blog design is getting updated.  My thanks to the Ocadia template (by Beccary) for its many years of steadfast service.

For now I’m just using an out-of-the-box template, but I’ll be making changes in the (hopefully near-) future as time permits.  Please pardon any funky in the meantime.  And who knows…I may actually start blogging for real again.  Hey, it could happen.

Meanwhile, The Sprocket Society has a new 3-month series of Sci-Fi Saturday Secret Matinees starting up in January at the Grand Illusion (every Sat. at 2:00 PM, Jan. 7 – Mar. 24, 2012)…so check that out, why doncha.  Every week, you’ll get a thrilling cliffhanger episode of the original Buck Rogers serial (1939), paired with a secret classic sci-fi feature film — favorites, rarities, and cult classics from 1919-1974.

Over-n-out fer now…

HEMP: A Threat Assessment

Another report from the ever-lovin’ Congressional Research Service, this one formerly classified and only recently prised from the grip of the Bush Administration:

“High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments” (PDF)
Congressional Research Service, as updated March 26, 2008

“Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an instantaneous, intense energy field that can overload or disrupt at a distance numerous electrical systems and high technology microcircuits, which are especially sensitive to power surges. A large scale EMP effect can be produced by a single nuclear explosion detonated high in the atmosphere. This method is referred to as High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). A similar, smaller-scale EMP effect can be created using non-nuclear devices with powerful batteries or reactive chemicals. This method is called High Power Microwave (HPM). Several nations, including reported sponsors of terrorism, may currently have a capability to use EMP as a weapon for cyber warfare or cyber terrorism to disrupt communications and other parts of the U.S. critical infrastructure. Also, some equipment and weapons used by the U.S. military may be vulnerable to the effects of EMP.

“…In the past, the threat of mutually assured destruction provided a lasting deterrent against the exchange of multiple high-yield nuclear warheads. However, now even a single, specially designed low-yield nuclear explosion high above the United States, or over a battlefield, can produce a large-scale EMP effect that could result in a widespread loss of electronics, but no direct fatalities, and may not necessarily evoke a large nuclear retaliatory strike by the U.S. military. This, coupled with the possible vulnerability of U.S. commercial electronics and U.S. military battlefield equipment to the effects of EMP, may create a new incentive for other countries to develop or acquire a nuclear capability.”

Millions of Photographs from the LIFE Photo Archive

Overhead view of a 4-propeller plane flying over NY City

The LIFE magazine photo archive hosted by Google has “millions of photographs from the LIFE photo archive, stretching from the 1750s to today. Most were never published and are now available for the first time…”

All fully searchable, of course, or you can just browse like the folks at the WFMU blog, who’ve kindly compiled choice links to myriad photo treasures to be found there.

The Dirty Governor

Dickhead Illinois Gov. Rod BlegojovichThe Dirty Governor is a dirty (contains olive juice) vodka martini, but the bartender is instructed to “steal the olives, leave the pimentos”. The brand of vodka? Effen, of course.

Cooked up at The Fifty/50 bar in Wicker Par, Chicago.

(Source: The Stew (food blog), Chicago Tribune)

Transcript: Dec. 9, 2008 press conference by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

PDF: Criminal Complaint, US vs. Rod R. Blagojovich and John Harris, US District Court; with Affidavit in Support of Application by FBI Special Agent Daniel W. Cain.

I’d just like to say…

Whatever your views, please please vote. And if I may, as someone who has provided hospice care for the dying and after careful consideration, I’d like to ask that you please vote Yes on the WA state death with dignity referendum.

If you run into problems while voting, or feel intimidated or see something strange — report it.  Soberly.  And mind you: in addition to the usual pranks, some partisan interests have been engaging in an extremely aggressive, nation-wide voter purging campaign.  In some states, tens and even hundreds of thousands of voters have been purged from the rolls weeks past the legal deadline, and under otherwise dubious circumstances.  If you should find you are wrongly purged — report it and make a ruckus.  Fight (respectfully) for your vote.  But casting a provisional ballot should be your absolute last resort: most often, they are never counted.

Among the many options for reporting election anomalies, may I suggest that one avenue might be:

Election Protection – call 1-866-OUR-VOTE or online at www.866ourvote.org — “The nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition.”  Read more about them.  They explain your rights in Elections 101.  Endorsed by the NY Times.

And of course, know your rights:

Washington State Voter Laws (via WA Secretary of State)

The “Help America Vote Act of 2002″ (HAVA) Explained (WA Scty. of State)

And as the sun begins to set…at…long…long…last…on the 2008 election and thus — thank all the deities there are or might be, all the demi gods and bodhisatvas and saints and loa, Allah, Jehova, Yahweh, Zoroaster, John Coltrane and Mother Teresa, Tim Russert and Bill Moyers, Abbie Hoffman and William F. Buckley and most of all, brothers and sisters, thank you Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — the ignominious end comes at last to the bottomless, relentless, soul-wrenching, unholy abomination of the last 8 years, as this horrific epoch in our society’s history comes to a dismal close I’d just like to say to everyone (including numerous beloved friends) who voted for Ralph Nader, a man I have respect for, in 2000…I’d just like to mention one little thing I’ve not brought up before…

I FUCKIN’ TOLD YOU SO.  Didn’t I?  Yes, I did.  Now you see the difference, right?  Okay then.

Ahem.  Thank you for your indulgence.  That’s been a small stone in my shoe for a while now.  No really, I’m good.


Due to a suspicious flood of activity, I’ve disabled user registration — which seems to be of marginal utility, anyways, ya axe me — and a hogshead of bogus “accounts” have been nuked. Everyone should still be able to do RSS should you so choose and comments remain enabled (albeit subject to my approval, as before). But yeah, enough’s enough.

If anyone comes along who was, I dunno, somehow spammed from this domain by one of those bogus accounts or something: my most humble apologies.

Leave it to greedy jackasses and sociopaths to pee in the punch, eh wot?

Recombinant Etymythologisms

My mom (or “Your Dear, Sainted Mother,” as she likes to periodically remind me) recently sent me a fairly hilarious list of neologisms (aka “sniglets” for us ’70s kids who remember the Not Necessarily The News cable show). They allegedly originated from something called “the Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational,” which “asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.”

This purported “invitational” got my net-hoax nose all a-tingly (which I didn’t notice at first since I was lubricating my sinuses with a little milk while reading). I didn’t find the “Mensa Invitational” specifically, but there is indeed something pretty much the same recently offered on the Washington Post’s blog, The Style Invitational, run by a mysterious “Empress.”

(And speaking of homeopathic lacto-nasal treatments, anyone else remember the all-time classic 3rd Annual Nigerian Email Conference?)

Whatever. Here’s the stuff my ma sent, along with some other choice picks from the Post’s site.

Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.

FAQu: The response to frequently asked stupid questions.

Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting lucky.

Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.

Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, and then the Earth explodes, and it’s a serious bummer.

Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you

Glibido: All talk and no action.

Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

Arachnoleptic fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

Elbrow: Extremely long underarm hair.

Eruditz: A philosophy professor who can’t figure out how to work the copying machine.

Entrophy: The consequence of resting on one’s laurels.

Enguish: What elocution teachers feel when they hear the president on the radio.

Unergy: A condition that strikes people on the way to work, mostly on Mondays.

Zencompass: Wherever you go, there you are.

Demoticon: A little symbol signifying bad news on an e-mail from the boss.

Nestrogen: A hormone produced during pregnancy that produces cravings for wallpaper with matching borders and dust ruffles.

Estrogent: Someone who asks if the fabulous pumps are available in a 13 1/2 E.

Farternity: An old boys’ club.

Fistipuffs: Very minor squabbling.

Fatulence: That squishing noise of thighs rubbing together.