October 31, 2007

My lexicon is prodigious

I made a brief appearance at level 46 on Free Rice. Then I got surmounted...vanquished...swamped.

Get your word on

It's a fun li'l game - Free Rice....

They show a word and ask what the word means. You pick from the four meanings. Get it right, and you get a harder word next time. Get it wrong, and you get an easier word. After a few words, you get a tally in the bottom right corner telling you your vocab level. More words right, a higher vocab level.

I tend to hover around 40-41 most of the time. If I happen upon the right word or two, I can bounce up to my high score (shown up top) of level 44, but generally I don't make it much higher than a 42 or so.

If you get lots of words wrong, you get down to level one - as shown at the bottom.

And in the process, it generates some donation of rice for folks that can use it. All the donations come via the ads that appear at the bottom of the site. The more you play, the more ads pop up. The more you get right, the bigger the donation. And as far as my research finds, it's connected to poverty.com which seems to be on the up and up.

Yet another novel step toward solving a pretty big problem. Use people's willingness to play games to get some real work done. I've mentioned my digging of this concept before.

Have some fun...do some good...try to avoid this...

October 30, 2007

What's a guy to do?

On the thirteenth of this month there are two concerts that I'd love to go to...

The Dropkick Murphys - with the Tossers - down at Bogarts and, even cooler, The Mountain Goats at The Mad Hatter across the river.

Or there's the fact that the true likelihood of me going out to a concert on a week night is all but nil, but we'll ignore that fact for now and imagine that I'll actually go to a concert that I want to see but that isn't quite convenient.

Oh, and if you're not a familiar with the groups playing at Bogarts, check this playlist...

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

Or if you're not down with the Mountain Goats, here ya go...

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

October 29, 2007

Get t' lookin'

I don't know that my dad ever told me how to line up my car mirrors, but now Click and Clack of CarTalk can now help me.

And they can help you, too.

October 28, 2007

Morphing on YouTube

Godley & Creme's "Cry" - the first examples of morphing that I'd seen

Women in film

Women in Art

Aw, morphing kittens

Michael Jackson's morphing faces

Schick commercial, circa 1993

Pretty girls morphing one into the other

Very, very slow morphing

Pugs morphing...also very cute

Psychadelic alphabet morphing

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie back and forth

Morphing mustangs

Aging via morph

Black and white morphing

Old school footage of a morph

From Michael Jackson's "Black and White" video

Apparently morphing technology has become a little too commonplace

Now we're down to getting crap like this

October 27, 2007

The title of the blog - part 2

There are very few choices that I've made in my life that have shaped me in quite the same way that my decision to go overseas for my junior year at Wabash. The Girl had gone to France for a year after high school (we were dating before that and kept faithful to each other while she was gone), and after she got back I spent half a year feeling inferior, less cosmopolitan than she until she sent me packing that next Thanksgiving break.

I spent the rest of that school year moping around and gaining weight. Luckily I was headed to Scotland for the next school year, and I sure as heck wasn't going to head over there (to a college campus, a real city with girls) as fat as I'd let myself get. So I spent the summer playing tennis two hours a day, eating right, and building that destination up into a pretty big thing in my head.

Luckily for me, it lived up to every bit of everything that I had hoped for.

I am who I - in my mind, at least - to a large extent because of that year. I was free to craft whatever personality I wanted - those folks didn't know me. I could party, I could be wild and crazy, I could be academic, I could be thoughful, I could be introspective. It was a fresh start. And I figured out just what kind of person I wanted to be. It took a bit of playing around to figure it out, but I think I got a good idea.

And in my second column for The Bachelor, I chose to encourage the other guys on campus to do the same.
Go. Leave. Get the hell out of Dodge and don’t look back. This may be your only change to leave before you get trapped, stuck forever. So you don’t damn well better take advantage of it. I did, and I know I’m the better for it.

Last year, for the first time in my life, I did leave – the country. I’m a Hoosier by birth, and until September 13th, 1994, I had stayed most all of my life in my home state: first in New Albany and now here. On that day I stepped aboard a flight bound for Detroit. From there my journey continued, landing me eventually in my new home, Aberdeen.

My flight across the Atlantic took eight long hours, but that first step that took me onto my plane to Detroit was even bigger. I know New Albany and Crawfordsville. I knew nothing of Aberdeen. That first step took me away from friends and family for nine months – away from Turkey Run, spring thunderstorms, and backyard basketball. But it gave me Seaton Park, snow in Vienna, and a new meaning for football. I saw a sunrise over the North Sea, and I saw a whole new horizon open up for me.

The light first began to show slowly, bringing the beach into dim focus, and I first saw that horizon at the beginning of my sophomore year. Professor Beck told my German class of his college travels to Germany, and suddenly I knew I had to see Europe, I’d been in the dark there on the beach, and I had before seen what lay ahead of me for my junior year.

With a bit more light, I could see the ocean receding from me, the sand taking temporary domain back from the sea. I saw just how far I could go and still be safe. I probably could have gone further than Aberdeen and still been safe, but I didn’t know that until I met Nancy Doemel at the Off-Campus Study fair two Octobers ago. She told me of her program that would fit my major and satisfy my major needs. The ocean looked cold that morning, but my prospects were starting to warm up.

The light grew until I could see other people down the beach form me, plating volleyball and having what sounded like a great time. Once I’d decided upon Aberdeen people I knew who had been there began to seek me out – offering advice, congratulating me, envying me. I even met someone who would be in Aberdeen with me. I wasn’t alone on that beach, nor would I be alone on the shore of the North Sea for those nine months.

Then came the anticipation. The clouds were few and far between. The sky was incredible, waiting for the sun to break the waterline and bathe the whole city behind me in a brilliant, liquid gold. All summer long I waited for my chance to see Aberdeen. I packed and waited, then I stepped onto the airplane. Then I flew and waited, not knowing what I would see when we touched down in Glasgow, when the sun finally shone in full brilliance.

And then there was light. There was a golden-pink sun, a brilliant sea, and another glorious day. There were new friends in Aberdeen. There were castles filled with history and mystery, and there were sunrises like this one.

I want you to have your own moments like that morning to me and there’s no day in hell that you can have them in Crawfordsville. Our Wabash does an excellent job educating us in its ways, but so many more lessons yet to be learned lie beyond our insular, friendly confines. Perhaps you want to walk in the foothills of Kilimanjaro or sift through the ashes of ancient Pompeii or stand triumphant atop Ayers Rock I want you to know that you can do just that. All you have to do is realize that the sun rises differently every day and for every one of us.

You need, however, to start thinking and talking and planning now. Wabash isn’t going to let more than a third of your class leave campus hen it’s your turn. You have to prove to them that you deserve to go more than the fifty other losers who applied for your place. That means that you have to know what you’ll take, where you want to go, and – above all- why.

But they want to send you, honestly they do. John Fischer, Bill Placher, Frank Howland, and the rest of the off-campus study committee all want to let you chase those dreams. Talk to them now; they will help you convince them; they’ll help you to pick where to go. But you’d better hurry up, because once this article gets out there, no telling how quickly their offices will fill up.

I wish you luck…enjoy your travels…and don’t forget to write…

October 26, 2007

From somewhere

Sadly, folks, I can't link to the web comic that this comes from because the series is largely school-inappropriate. This one, however, is perfect and should be on every one of my chemistry tests from now until eternity.

And if you really want to know where it comes from, ask Grace or email me off-blog. It really is worth reading, and I'll happily tell any non-student or at least non-current student.

And here's a second one just to tempt you further.

October 25, 2007

Who needs you?

Today's musical selection is on the break up tip. No particular reason here, just was listening to Chris Isaak earlier this week and got to wondering what some of my favorite break up songs were.

Sadly I couldn't find "Who Needs You" by Queen...'cause it's brutal...

SeeqPod Music beta - Playable Search

I promise tomorrow's post is nothing but happiness and joy.

October 24, 2007

Thoughts on a passing

That's Joey Eger. He graduated from Princeton in 2005. He passed away this last Friday, killed by a train. It might've been suicide.

Today was his funeral, and I've been thinking lately about how the use of the the internet, in particular of Web 2.0, has changed our legacies. I certainly don't have anything profound to say about the subject, and definitely nothing that hasn't been said a dozen times by other folks out on the web, so please don't look for anything truly profound today (not that I frequently offer such words)...just a few thoughts...

On Sunday, I saw the following series of comments under the above video on YouTube:
  • avagrantmind: he died irl I think
  • avagrantmind: search for "joey eger" on google and look for like something from wkrc wcpo or local12 he got hit by a train
  • paintsmeblue: rest in peace <3
I don't have a clue who either of the commentors (sp?) are, but from their profiles, I'm guessing they were either friends of Joey's or friends of friends. Either way, the surrealness of a comment like he died irl I think shocks me. I'm still able to see Joey because he's right there on the video, right there on my computer screen.

And then there's the oddness of what will happen to his posted videos now that he's gone. There's nobody at YouTube who is going to take those down just because he's passed away, nobody who knows in the least that he's gone. His profile lists "last login: 7 days ago", and that's about the only thing that's going to change. As far as that page is concerned, Joey's just changed accounts or flitted his attention someplace else.

My family wasn't a home movie kind of family. I've got video of my dad somewhere around because he was on tv from time to time - he teaches a government class in which they cover local elections and interview candidates - and I've got one of me teaching a class when I was in college, but I don't know that I've a single video of my sister or mother, and I know I don't have one of The Girl anywhere. We're all just a little too old to do what Joey did and video tape some stupid evening, some dumb afternoon, and throw it out there for the whole world to see. I guess there are a couple of me on my school site, but that's about it. Joey will live forever, weirdly, on YouTube. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. It's a thing.

I did what the second commentor suggested. I searched for "joey eger" on google. Here's hit #2. She apparently lived below Joey. She must've known him because she's got a great picture of him.


The funeral today was impressively moving, particularly when Joey father and brother played "Amazing Grace" on guitar and violin. The ceremony offered what most folks there needed - a time to grieve and say goodbye, a community of mourners. The funeral is the right place for that, we're all sad but sad together.

I'm pretty firmly a atheist (or, at best, an apatheist), and it got me to wondering what's going to happen when I slip this mortal coil. I would like to think that there will be some people who would like that same sort of time to grieve my passing, but where would such a place be, what would such a ceremony look like for an apatheist? The Catholic religion does a marvelous job of providing people comfort and routine/ceremony on which they can rely, allowing their body to go on auto-pilot while they grieve.

There are actually a number of times that I wish I had that same faith, that belief that there was some higher power guiding us, that we would eventually be redeemed in some fashion, but I don't have it. I wasn't trained into it, and I haven't found it on my own.


Joey's the third student of mine that I've known to have died. The first died while I was still his teacher. It was my first year in Terre Haute, Indiana, and I don't even remember his name. At the time, I couldn't have told you anything about him other than his name, his grade, and what he looked like. I don't think I knew a single thing that he was interested in or a hobby that he had. I had no clue who he was. He died in a car accident one weekend that year.

The second was Chris Dyer, a student that I had for two years, both of whose sisters I taught. Chris died a Marine's death a year or so after he graduated from Princeton. He was in Iraq and had a fully military funeral when he came home. His parents used the death benefit money to set up a scholarship given to a Princeton student each year. I've known both recipients of that scholarship. I was closer to Chris than I was the other kid. I knew Chris.

Joey falls somewhere in between. I certainly knew who he was, and I knew of a lot of his hobbies. He was a goofy kid in high school, and he had a few challenges in college as he had a couple of alcohol violations in his dorm and had to go through some prescribed counseling program. As you can see in some of his other videos, he was a part-time rapper and an idiot who was willing to do just about anything on his way off a diving board. I've had dozens of students that I've known better than I knew Joey, but I at least knew something more about him than his grades (which weren't, admittedly, always the best in my class).

I don't know that I'll actually miss Joey, as I rarely thought of him unless somebody else mentioned that they'd seen him or heard from him recently. His passing won't exactly leave a void in my life. There are always cliches - all true - about it being tragic when a young person dies, but it happens all the time. Horrible people and wonderful souls get struck down just as easily.

I wish I had something more profound to say.

I wish I had one last chance to say something to JoJo, the decidedly not dog-faced boy.

I wish I could help his brother, whom I have in class this year, and lots of their friends who I saw crying at the funeral today make sense out of any of it.

G'night, Joey.

G'night, folks.

October 23, 2007

A little too vast

To quote Eddie Izzard in Across the Universe:
...and it's a lot of explanation, but don't worry about it, kids. Ok. Just tune in, turn on, drop out, drop in, switch off, switch on, and explode.
That about sums up the movie for me. There's a lot of explanation, kids, but don't worry about it. Instead, enjoy the big production numbers and the pretty singing. We're going to avoid stuff like true characterization and a solid narrative thread in favor of archetypical characters and some pretty singing. The is a big Broadway production of a film, with huge production values and some really neat musical numbers that add up to far less than the sum of its parts.

The film - in case you weren't aware - is told through some of the best-written pop songs ever, creations of the Lennon-McCartney and Harrison hit factory. We get a beautiful recreations of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", "If I Fell", "I've Just Seen a Face", and thirty-some more Beatle songs. All are performed admirably and most were apparently and impressively recorded without overdub. Sprinkled between the various Beatle songs are dozens and dozens more Beatle references, making the film into a bit of a Where's Waldo for Beatle fans, a game that I knew to play and enjoyed throughout but that The Girl (a bigger Beatle fans) wasn't playing because she was pretty much bored throughout the film.

I do have to admit that a number of the production numbers were well done, expecially the reworking of "Let It Be" (also audio only available, sorry) and "Come Together" (only audio available, sorry) to show the inroduction and background of one of the supporting characters. The coreography during the "Come Together" number is easily, I thought, the most impressive, but throughout the whole of the film, the songs just don't make enough of a story to let us truly connect with the characters. As a Broadway play, this just might be really good, but it didn't work for me as a film.

After half an hour, however, The Girl and I were both bored as the concept that "hey, they've reworked Beatle songs" had already worn quite thin. Then the movie kept going for another hundred minutes.

Eventually, we broke down into the game of asking each other questions - something that really is much better played at home rather than in the theater.
  • Hey, there's Bono.
  • Wouldn't they deport him again if he did that?
  • Isn't that Salma Hayek?
  • Are they really trying to force a Jim Hendrix character and a Janis Joplin character into the story?
  • Does the lead guy look like Paul McCartney?
  • Didn't Moulin Rouge open with exactly that same song line? Or maybe he looks more like Ewan McGregor.
  • Hey, that's Joe Cocker.
  • Are they gonna force a happy ending in here?
It's a neat idea. More of the performances are good. The production values are high. But it's not a good film.

If you want to see more, check the following videos that I couldn't fit into my review (and thanks to thekato for posting these):Oddly, the best part of the movie-going experience this weekend was in one of the skant two trailers tacked onto the front of Across the Universe. It's the trailer for Juno:

October 22, 2007

Two more time wasters

Today you've got two possible time wasters to cheer things up in case you're feeling a little down.

Game #1 is a brutal attack on the people of old Rome by way of Caligula. It's got loads of blood - though all in a pretty cartoonish fashion - as you wander the hillsides of Rome trying to master all twenty-six weapons before making it to the next level. Enjoy.

The second game is a little more cebral in nature, requiring you to determine the order in which various stpes must be taken to change a plain white ball into a decorated ball of the type presented to you. Each step's simple, but the challenge of getting them together in the right order is kind of fun. Have a ball, folks...

Thanks to Rob and Sonny Limbo for showing me where these were.

October 21, 2007

A disturbance in the force

I sense a disturbance in the force.

Something has happened, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Chuck Norris on YouTube

Chuck Norris facts as read by...

Even as a cartoon, Chuck kicks butt...

Here are some of the highlights of that cartoon...

The Legend of Chuck Norris trailer...

Chuck's shot at fame with Mountain Dew...

The one time that Chuck let himself be beaten - for the sake of the film's artistic merit, of course...

Conan loves Chuck...

Someone finally takes down that pesky Conan O'Brian...

"Thank you, Chuck Norris"...

Chuck Norris staring contest...

Even in video games, Chuck Norris is a bad man...

Claymation Chuck kick butt, too...nutil the very end, anyway...

Chuck does have a sensitive side, though...

Chuck Norris will not blend...

Chuck explain meiosis...

A summary of Chuck's powers...

A really poor parody of Brokeback Mountain...with Chuck Norris facts...

Chuck Norris beats up Abraham Lincoln...seriously...

How President Bush could have saved his popularity...

October 20, 2007

Where the title of this blog comes from...

In the fall of 1995, JJ, a fraternity brother of mine whose last name I can't remember at all and then-editor-in-chief of The Bachelor asked me if I wanted to write an opinion column for the school newspaper. He didn't give me a word limit or any sort of restriction on the topics, and he got his money's worth.

Over the next thirteen weeks, I'll be giving you a trip through the mind of Lonnie Dusch circa 1995-1996. In reading these again - and thanks to Katydid, Grace, Alex, and Nate for typing them up from the only print copies I had left of the columns - I have a whole jumble of emotions:
  • ...surprise at how little a number of the opinions have changed since then...
  • ...embarrassment at the often clumsy prose...
  • ...shame and my willingness to all but pick fights with my readers...
  • ...thanks to a number of friends and fraternity bros on campus for being willing proofreaders...
  • ...horror at my ignorance...
All that being said, I offer the columns largely unedited. Some of the typos may be the fault of the aforementioned student aides who retyped them, but many of them are probably mine and existed in the original columns.

For good or for ill, all of the ideas and the words are mine.
“On Aug. 9, 1995, Jerry Garcia died in his deep sleep at serenity Knolls drug treatment center, in the Marion Country community of Forest Knolls, north of San Francisco.” This week Rolling Stone magazine opened an article entitles “Funeral for a Friend” with this sentence. The issue was devoted almost entirely to the passing of a great musician and, tangentially, to the passing of the final remnants of a now-bygone era. For almost twenty-eight years now, this magazine has tried to represent, report, and occasionally to create the trends of the times. For the last few years, however, the magazine has seemed to become both a chronicler and a disparager of Generation X.

My offense is aimed, however, not only at Rolling Stone. It is aimed at Richard Linkleiter for his portrayal of this generation in the movie Slacker, from which another nickname for my accusing is of laziness and hopelessness. And it is aimed at Coca-Cola for marketing OK Cola, a drink aimed at a generation that has supposedly lowered its standards even in the soft drink market.

My offense is aimed at anyone, in fact, who hopes to label me by labeling my contemporaries, who disparages each of us by devoting any amount of their time to glorifying “the good old days” whether they be Haight-Ashbury of Woodstock or Post-World War II prosperity. I reject my labels, everyone of them. I am not a Generation X drop-out, nor a member of the slacker generation, nor a product of the Me decade. I am, quite simply put, of a mid-sized southern Indiana city, and an individual.

My friends are – by and large, though not excessively – a group of people who are hard working, are uncertain of the future, and open to new thoughts and experiences. Some of us listen to music of the past – the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin – and look backwards to time that we have been told were ‘better; of ‘free-er’ or somehow, always unexplainably, more real. Some of us live our lives day to day, drudging through classes and jobs, trying only to keep our heads above water. Some of us live today only in anticipation of tomorrow, striving toward medical school of a teaching job and a happy we need to or want to.

So, you can keep your stories of Acid Tests and rock festivals and of the Ed Sullivan Show. Remember, also, that these brought Altamont, the Democratic convention in Chicago ’68, seeing twenty shooting stars in one night a week ago, of the first time I made love to my girlfriend, of seeing twenty shooting stars in one night a week ago, of the feeling of writing something of which I am happy, and of my life a year from now. I promise never to make an excuse because I’m just a Gen X’er, because I am not. I’m, just more, no less.

“It seems like hundreds of years,” said Garcia, “and it also seems like not too much time at all. I don’t know. Time, you know. Some things haven’t changed at all, really. And the world has changed.”

The world today is different from the one my mother knew when she first heard Bob Dylan on a scratchy record, but it’s not wholly different. Yesterday was what it was but try to look at today, at me, at my age group on our own. I am, simply put, what I am.

October 19, 2007

Everything old is new again

I the semi-regular perusing of OhIkea.com, I came across a listing for a rockin' cool house up in Middletown ('bout fifteen miles north of The Homestead.

All-steel home from about forty years back. Very open floor plan. Some decently environmentally-friendly aspects here and there. Might be worth a look if they run an open house.

Not that I'm looking to leave The Homestead or anything, but I'm always curious.

Check it...

October 18, 2007

Another first look...

I am a workmanlike webmaster. I have a decent sense of style, and I'm willing to take the extra step to make things look good. But in all honesty, I'm about five years behind the design curve, and I haven't the foggiest idea how to use java or flash to make a more cutting-edge website.

It's probably time for the PHS website to get an overhaul, and luckily we have a professional web designer on retainer to do the heavy lifting. I - and the students I'm working with - will do the maintenance and the updating, but I don't have the time or the skillz to do a full redesign.

Here's attempt #1 from Ed Mullin Designs. It's far from a finished product, though it's not exactly a true first draft. I'd appreciate your thoughts about the design. Be warned, however, that most of the links don't work just yet. It's basically an empty shell of the frontpage, a mockup, if you will.

October 17, 2007

Checking out the comics of late

Loads of comics of late...quick run through coming...

Fables - volumes 5-7...The Mean Seasons...Homelands...Arabian Nights...the run continues, and I continue to be impressed, particularly in volume six and Boy Blue steals away and heads back to the Homelands to kill the adversary - whose identity is finally revealed...the intrigue of an actual insurection going on is a change from the Fabletown stories that we've seen...turns out that it's all part of the larger, ongoing plot that's been rolling since the second volume or so...Fables has me totally hooked, and I'm rolling on down the rest of the series...volume nine is waiting upstairs...sadly, volume eight hasn't come in at the library just yet...outstanding series...

I've done the Frank Miller route - through the first couple of Sin Cities, Dark Knight Returns, and even the abysmal Dark Knight Strikes Again...DKReturns and Sin City are outstanding...DKStrikes Again was horrible, nearly ruining all of the goodwill of the first volume...Ronin wasn't as bas as the latter nor nearly as good as the former...it's an interesting read, throwing down a reincarnation story - futuristic dystopia sees guadrapalegic absorb reincarnated spirit of the Ronin (dead, shamed samauri) - that turns out to maybe not be what we've been lead to believe...the images are hard to follow at a number of times as so many of the characters look pretty similar, and the storyline doesn't give us all that much to latch on to, either...characters go from hair up to hair drastically down (with all looking facially very similar)...and there's some sort of ultimate bio-computer bad guy who may or may not really be bad but who clearly has to be destroyed...all in all, meh...

Again, and often stupidly, I continue to try the Uncanny X-Men this time going for End of Greys. This one wasn't too bad, though. The story's mildly interesting. The artwork's not bad. The characters are pretty clearly laid out, and we get a continuation of the eternal Phoenix storyline that's almost original as the Shiiar show up to kill the last of the Grey family line and to mark Marvel Girl with some kind of unremovable homing mark so that they'll always know where she is - since her mom killed the universe...or something. I'm not really down the the Uncanny, but if you are, this one's one worth checking out.

I finally finished Promethea by slogging through the jumbled mess that was Book 5. Alan Moore's series has continually vascillated between fascinating as it pushed the bounds of graphic storytelling and annoying as it jabbered on and on about various quasi-mythic-religious philosophies. The entire fifth volume falls painfully on the latter, jabbering side of that sway. It's a huge load of crap and absolutely undoes any neatness and good that the previous volumes might've ever produced. Now that I've seen the final installment, I'm pretty sure that it wasn't even worth my effort to read this far. Final, official determination is: crap.

I've mentioned my thoughts about the gigando Civil War event. The main thread was good but rather episodic and jumpy. By filling in the various side and plotlines, I'm getting a much fuller picture of the choices that the authors are making the characters make. It's pretty clear that they've set up Spider-Man as the readers' connection to the story. He's the conscience that we're all supposed to feel connected to. And, surprisingly, this volume sort of lives up to that. Even though there's a little too much exposition at times, we get a Parker who is fully conflicted, signing on first with one side and then questioning his choice once he sees how far that side of willing to go to achieve their ends. The echos of the current US government's war on terror are, at times, a bit heavy-handed, but that doesn't blunt the effectiveness of the storyline. Civil War is one of the few cross-over events of the past decade or more to actually live up to the hype. But it sure does take a ton of reading to get the full story. If you're choosing piecemeal, this one's a must, however.

Another, less essential Civil War: Captain America. It's the story of the one of the two main characters, but he stays pretty much one-dimensional throughout. He's got some remorse, yeah. But he's the "good guy" in this fight. He's the one in favor of freedom, so we're supposed to side with him. We get some fighting and punching, and Red Skull in the sideplot - which doesn't come even close to fruition in this volume - so it's pretty much the standard Cap'n. And his SHIELD girlfriend ditches the Helicarrier to side with the Cap'n. The only issue in the collection that really works well is the final one - without the captain is barely in it - as the Winter Soldier shows some remorse for the things that he's done. The final issue is surprisingly effective even though the rest of the collection is only about average.

I was shocked that Relentless is outstanding, easily one of the best trades that DC has put out in years and the best of the high quality Catwoman run. It's not happy, I warn you, as the villain does just about every possible thing to destroy Selina's world - killing and bombing through her friends and relatives, turning one old friend against her and all but destroying a couple of long-lost family members. It's a very, very dark story arc that only just barely leaves hope in the end. The emotional rollercoaster, however, is beautifully plotted and drew me in without a bit of hesitation. Be ready for a tough fight but for an oustanding character exploration - especially in the late issues as the writer and new artist (a change that works masterfully in shifting the emotional tone of the tale) explore the after-effects of the horror inflicted on Selina.

This one probably deserves to be added to the best DC comics list that I recently posted.

Here's this week's fun...

Thanks to Yesbutnobutyes.com for bringing today's show to you...

October 16, 2007

Truly fitting of the title

Caught this one at my parents' house this Sunday. It took me three reads through before I got the gag, but once I did, I had to share it.

If you're struggling, read the second to last panel out loud. If you're still struggling, click on this sound bite.

Thanks to Pearls before Swine for posting the day's comic online.

October 15, 2007

Is it working?

Happy Blog Action Day, folks. If you haven't already joined in, you've still got some time.

In this month's Wired magazine, I came across an interview with the authors of a new book, Break Through. The book came out earlier this month, and it looks to be nothing short of an absolute refuting of the steps being taken by the current environmental movement.

(Disclaimer: In the spirit of honesty, I should probably point out that I haven't gotten a chance to read the book just yet, so everything that I know about it comes from the Wired article and the book's official site.)

The article's skimming of the book's ideas absolutely thrills and excites me. My understanding of the basic premise is that the small steps being currently taken by the various parts of the environmental movement - pushing bike riding over car driving, suggesting that we turn our lights off, reminding folks to carpool whenever they can - are failing. They're just examples of folks spitting into the wind because no matter how many small steps in the right direction we take, other folks - developing nations, primarily - are taking gigantic strides in the opposite direction by opening up more coal-fueled power plants, chopping down the rainforest, and dumping mercury into the water supply.

What we need, says the book, is a massive, coordinated investment from our government:
What if the economic solution to global warming weren't a matter of putting on the brakes but of stepping on the gas? What if environmentalism's emphasis on limits and "not in my backyard" restrictions was hopelessly at odds with the average American's belief in a limitless future? With a handful of like-minded partners, they drafted the New Apollo project, the first version of their plan for a federally subsidized greening of the economy. They hired an economist to run the numbers and determined that a $300 billion government investment could call forth another $200 billion in private capital. (To prove their independence from traditional environmental politics, they picked someone who had worked for the Bush administration.)

The public loved the idea. In polls the two conducted, a New Apollo scale investment plan got a thumbs-up from practically every group, including, most surprisingly, non-college-educated males — classic Reagan Democrats — the very voters who are generally antitax, anti-government spending, and anti-environmentalist. In fact, instead of being a drawback, the scope of the project was a selling point.
Instead of taking small, uncoordinated steps and hoping that the green revolution will take place slowly, coming together from these slight movements, the authors want to throw huge amounts of money at the problem, knowing the public money in this large a project drags in private money along the way. With such a sizable investment, we'll be able to come up with the revolutionary technologies that we need to even consider solving the global warming problem. Everybody loved the idea, and I do, too. But there was a hitch:
It soon became clear that the project conflicted with the shorter-term goals of those same interest groups, and ultimately the duo was asked by other environmental lobbyists to stop pushing the legislation in Congress. "Labor groups were interested in protecting existing jobs in the US rather than creating jobs in the new-energy economy," Shellenberger says. "Environmental groups were more concerned with regulatory limits on greenhouse gases and raising fuel-economy standards." They had tried to be strategic by forming a coalition of interest groups, but interest groups were, in fact, the problem.

Shellenberger and Nordhaus became convinced that as long as policy was shaped by special interests — including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club — there would be no policy other than short-term, narrowly focused fixes.
The stupid environmental groups were getting in the way. Special interest groups were getting in the way. Instead of letting the revolution get funded, they wanted to fight for their little steps. Instead of pouring gasoline onto the fire of the global economy by investing in a revolution in greentech, they want to reign back production because currently we can only produce if we're polluting.

It's an interesting proposal, and lord knows that we have to do something to pull back our carbon emissions, but I want to read a little more before I throw more money than God after the problem.

In the meantime, I'm certainly going to be swapping out my incandescents for fluorescents, buying low emission paints, composting, combining trips, and doing all the good stuff that we've been asked to do for years.

Whadda ya have to say about that, folks?

October 14, 2007

Chris Isaak on YouTube

Chris Isaak - a guy you've probably heard of and a couple songs by. He gives a hell of a concert though seems to rarely tour the Eastern half of the nation. We got lucky and saw him in Louisville a few years back and would love to see him again if he comes 'round. He's got a solid boxer's nose and a voice that we haven't heard since Elvis and Roy Orbison - the two guys he's far and away most commonly likened to.

Sadly, from what I can tell, he's gone through and made sure that lots of his videos aren't available for embedding. I'll include some links at the end of the post. Feel free to check 'em out as you choose.

We'll open with the obvious and only hit that he's ever really had - "Wicked Game" video

"Blue Hotel" video

The other song you might know by him - "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing" video

"Life Will Go On" video

"Graduation Day" video

Live, solo with a guitar "Forever Blue"

Live with the band "Somebody's Crying"

An interview with a video for "Dancin" halfway through

Dueting (sp?) with Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day on "Time of Your Life"

Live in the studio for KFOG doing a medley with "Blue Christmas"

"Solitary Man" video

On stage with Michael Buble showing off his voice and comedy chops

From Eyes Wide Shut another video for "Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing"<

"Blue Spanish Sky" video

I'm noticing a heck of a pattern in the videos - Chris, pretty girl, rolling around...close ups...repeat...

He does tend to be good with the ladies, apparently...

"The Star Spangled Banner" home in San Fran

"Don't Make Me Dream About You" video

With Leann Rimes (who's looking odd in this one) covering "Devil in Disguise"

As Roy Orbison in American Dreams

"Washington Square" - a bit of Christmas, live

And no embedding of these...

October 12, 2007

Fmeat, take two

I was asked today about what's a good source of vitamin B. In searching through the number one source on the world wide interweb, Wikipedia, I found out yet another amazing factoid: tempeh is a great source of the various vitamins B.

Right, tempeh!

Who knew?

Tempeh, in case you weren't aware, is a meat substitute made from hulled, soaked soybeans left to ferment for a 24-36 hours at eighty-six degrees fahrenheit after a funsal starter is mixed in. And apparently it's fairly nutritious as it's soybeans and mycelium.

In all honesty, I'd never heard about tempeh before today, and it sounds absolutely hilarious as you're pretty much letting soybeans mold at a certain temp so that the fungus will knit the beans together and make 'em all firm and tasty. Sounds interesting.

I'm kind of curious to try tempeh myself, but from the minor reading I've done - wikipedia's article, tempeh.info, TooManyChefs - it looks like it's best fresh, and I have no clue as to whether The Jungle would have it around anywhere.

If anybody out there can offer a little assistance in my continuing attempts to check out fmeat, feel free to do so.

October 11, 2007

Oh, wow...gotta try this

Two updates

I actually did a little better on another game (196K distance) but didn't get a screen cap, 'cause I'm 'tupid. One of my students reports a max height of 70K and a distance of well over a million. He apparently hit one of the glitches that are mentioned on this board:
Yep - got the same bug/bonus myself. Was flying along at a distance of about 50,000 feet when I caught a few bad bounces on the lumpy ground and almost stopped - until I hit a crane, whose minigame's speed boost meter was stuck on higher than the maximum. I quickly tapped space before it disappeared, to find myself flying upwards with a speed of about 60,000 MPH. I continued to rise to the dizzying height of 513,000 feet, with my speed dropping slowly. At my zenith my distance had progressed to around 550,000 feet then fall back to earth. Presumably vertical, as although my speed was showing as 500 MPH (and no longer falling), I was no longer making any forward progress.

I waited for the ground to come up and meet me, hoping to catch a crane and somehow continue, but as my altitude registered zero, it just carried on decreasing into negative figures. Currently falling vertically at 500 MPH into the centre of the earth.

Max height: 513,501 feet. Max Distance: 564,769 feet.

Wonder if this is how the guys at the top of the leaderboard registered scores of over 3 million? Although they must have stayed above ground as I cannot register my score due to the fact that I cannot end my go as I continue to fall deeper and deeper underground (probably for the best as it would be cheating to record a score attained as a result of a bug I suppose).

Apart from the bugs - quite a fun game - I got a score of 98,000 on my first go, which remains my best
And if you were curious, I finally crossed off one of my goals of Wii golf a couple of days ago. I managed to birdie every hole in a round playing the Aviara course. It was in the final round of the US Open which I won by ten shots at seventy strokes under par.

I'm even more of a beast than i'd previously mentioned.

Thanks for asking...

October 9, 2007

You be the judge

Depending on which ESPN.com article you read......you might have a totally different opinion about Jackie Gagne's accomplishment of having hit seventeen holes in one in the past couple of years.

Personally, I'm going to side with Dave Kindred and say that the accomplishment might have been near total bunk. Interesting reads, though...

I'll admit that I've hit fifteen holes in one on Wii golf, but that's because I'm a beast on the virtual links. I finished my last tournament seventy strokes under par. 'Cuase I'm a beast...I think I've mentioned.

October 8, 2007

It's too warm...

We've had an frighteningly dry summer 'round the Cincinnati area. We've had, I think, one solidly rainy day in the past two or so months. The trees are turning colors earlier than they normally would, and it's still 90+ degrees around here.

The weather certainly isn't right for being three weeks into fall, but I'm ready for the heat to break and the season to change. I'm totally feeling the fall season.

I went to Friday night's PHS football game, and there are only a couple of things more indicative of fall than a good high school football game.

There's Harvest Homecoming, The Hometown's fall festival complete with the slightly cheating basketball games, roasted corn, and persimmon pudding just like Grandma used to make. I'm hoping to talk The Girl into heading into the hometown for an evening of fall festivities because, like I said, I'm feeling the fall season.

While I'm in town, I might just pick up a half gallon of Huber's hard cider. The Girl picked up a half gallon from The Jungle this past week, and I've been taking small glasses and sipping them slowly. It's absolutely amazing. Wonderful, great, rich, fall taste. Seriously, do yourself a favor an pick up a drink or two.

Then there's the entire world of pumpkin that shows up in the fall. There's the Velvet Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, The Cone's pumpkin milkshakes, and The Girl's marvelous pumpkin pie - if I'm lucky.

If the weather would just cooperate. If we could just start using the word crisp instead of as a joke, then it would really start feeling like a bit of fall in the air.

I think I'm gonna go pick some leaves.

PS - Weather forecasters are now calling for a high of 61 degrees on Wednesday. Fall may finally be in the air.

PPS - Yup, too hot. Middletown - the hottest place in the US yesterday - is about 15 miles up the road from my house.

October 7, 2007

Prince on YouTube

Prince apparently doesn't want his stuff on YouTube, so I had a heck of a time searching the various video sites (thanks, Google) to put today's video-fest together, but Prince deserves a compilation. I can, however, think of a dozen clips that I wish I could've included. Have a blast...

The "Kiss" video

An award show performance of "Lolita"

The not-too-well-known "Computer Blue" from Purple Rain
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"When Doves Cry"

"When Doves Cry" - in case the other disappears

Prince in the studio doing a bit "Partyman"

The more well-known and near-perfect "Purple Rain" from the eponymous film
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"I Would Die 4U"
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"Let's Go Crazy"
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"Push and Pull" with Nikka Costa
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"Get Wild" live


"The Beautiful Ones"
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"Purple Rain" live

Live in Britain

At the Superbowl

In case the Superbowl video doesn't work

I've posted it before, but Michael Jackson, James Brown, and Prince together

Prince being interviewed by Larry King

Prince accepts an Oscar

"Purple Rain" live at the American Music Awards

A bonus of Morris Day & the Time doing "Jungle Love"
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I would've had a double bonus of Prince hooping it up from the Chapelle show, but it's not school appropriate.

October 6, 2007

Welcome back my friends to the wonderous interweb

Prowling 'round the henhouse

Over the course of the summer vacation - back in those halcyon days when I wasn't perpetually behind on my grading - we wandered through Madison, WI. On one of our many journeys up and down State Street, I happened upon a bluegrass band playing on the sidewalk. They'd played in Madison the night before and were just busking for a few extra bucks before heading out of town. They were impressively professional with a tight sound, and I wish they'd wander their way down to the Cincy area, because I'd love to hear a full set rather than the half dozen songs I got to hear live on that sidewalk.

In the meantime, though, I'll just have to satisfy myself with checking their website where they offer a free listen to their new album as well as some free downloads from before that.


October 5, 2007

Comic quiz time

In searching for a link related to yesterday's DC comics love fest, I stumbled across this killer comic book quiz. Sadly I went to the answers by mistake first. Give it a try folks and see if you can drag even half of 'em right.