Saturday, December 10, 2005


Here's a post from the Museum of Hoaxes about the definition of "Xenacate." It's original meaning was:

Xenacate, v.: To kill a TV or movie character off so completely that no chance remains of bringing her back from the dead. Inspired by the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess. Its occurrence usually indicates that the actor playing the character has lost her job under unpleasant circumstances and has no hope of being rehired.

but judging from the comments, the new definition is:

it primarily means killing a character off in an extremely violent and irreversible way. It only secondarily (and not in all cases) might suggest that the actor was fired.

Can anyone help?

I thought of Ricardo Montalban at the end of the Naked Gun. He is shot, falls from a stadium, is run over by a truck, a steam roller, and a marching band. George Kennedy surveyed the scene and sobbed, "My father went the same way."
Imagine the Spam

Walnut Hills, my old high school, had nude Greek statues in one of the hallways. Did graphic nudity warp my young mind or was it something else? One thing that I couldn't help but notice is that the guys weren't well endowed back in the day.

My only other real input about the average length of a penis was from letters to Penthouse's forum which put the normal penis at approximately 11 inches. This made me feel tremendously inadequate--I was almost half an inch shorter than most.

I haven't spent a whole lot of time on it but later I guessed that the teeny Greeks were the result of prudish sculptors, trying to de-emphasize something they couldn't realistically entirely remove.

I couldn't be more wrong. Tiny Greeks were the equivalent of the American foot-long.
A passage from Aristophanes sums up the most desirable masculine features: "a gleaming chest, bright skin, broad shoulders, tiny tongue, strong buttocks, and a little prick."
Greeks fought wars to prove who were the shortest.

Here's a full explanation.

If the Greeks had e-mail, what would clutter up their in-boxes? "Shrink your penis," "Have the smallest one on the block," "She'll need to invent the magnifying glass!"

In one of Kurt Vonnegut's novels, he states that the average penis is five and a half inches long. I guess the nice thing about modern America and ancient Greece is that nobody wants to be just average.
Groping Angels

Another goofy news story is the horny angel wrapping paper that was handed out by a Canadian movie theater. Not much of a story but when I was looking for a picture of the paper on-line, I found several outraged religious types who threatened to boycott (how many more boycotts until they can't spend their money on anything but Mel Gibson videos?) One holy fellow pointed out that "This isn't an accurate depiction of angels."

How would anyone know what an angel looks like? Even if you accept the Bible as definitive proof, various parts of the Bible describe angels in different forms and list several types of angels. No Biblical descriptions match the cutesy winged angels found in Christian bookstore windows (those look more like Cupid, god of erotic love). For this blasphemy, I'm boycotting Christian bookstores.

Here's what it looks like. I wouldn't have noticed anything except for the big deal the angry folk made.
Dry Ohio Counties

Dope opens bar in dry county.

This has been all over the news but what surprised me is that there are dry counties in Ohio. Driving through the south makes it clear that many areas ban store-bought liquor but I'd hoped that craziness ended at the Ohio River.

How do these places generate revenue without alcohol taxes? I'm guessing they make it up with speed traps.
Computer Pens

I'm sure many techies have seen this already but I was amazed at the size of these computers. How much smaller can they get before they're too small for comfort?
Shot by Police

On the heels of the mentally-ill man shot at the airport comes a dead chimp.

If all the facts are as they've been reported, I think the airport case was a tragedy but that the marshals were not in the wrong.

I worked a summer at the zoo and know chimps can be dangerous (one keeper had part of a finger bitten off) but have to wonder about the English police. Two orangutans escaped from the Columbus Zoo several years ago and Ohio police captured them (eventually) without incident (basis of one of Jack Hannah's books). Orangutans are more physically powerful than chimps (you don't want to mess with Dr. Zaius) so I wonder if the English shooting was necessary.

Here's a police shooting that's a little lighter.
New Ocean

Possible birth of a new ocean. I doubt if any of us will be around to surf on it but it changes projections of what the world will look like in the future.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Candid Camera meets Faces of Death

I'm sitting at the library waiting for my kids to quit piling up Yu-Gi-Oh DVDs. Devilboy just conked out for a nap and I'm balancing him, trying not to wake him up while typing.

But I had to add this link. I've always dreamed of doing something like this (although in a horror movie context). I'm surprised there hasn't been a When Pranks Go Horribly Wrong special on Fox.
Deadlier of the Species II

Yesterday when I was cleaning the hamster cages, one of the females made an amazing jump, landed near one of her brothers, and bit his eye out. They both started fighting and she bit off a piece of my fingertip when I put her back in her own cage (and weighed down the top). The male didn't seem to care that the side of his face was matted down with blood and that his eye was crusted over. He seemed fine today but I'll keep a watch on him.

I guess she wasn't quite as violent as O.J. but it scared the daylights out of me.
Murder and Blogging

Guess I shouldn't mention those six severed heads buried in the rose garden.

I saw a number of posts about this on Pseudojournalist but you'd think this is something even a sloppy killer would consider.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Did I Say "No Class"?

Whoops, I had one more regular NKU class. It was a cushy day on the classplan so it wasn't hard to get through.

NOW, it's just a matter of collecting final papers and grading.
Man Admits Guilt to Fatal Horse Sex

Remember the horribly disgusting case a few months back when the pervert was killed while having sex with a horse?

You can sleep easier knowing the man partially responsible is heading up the river.

Actually he just got a suspended license, a fine, and a few hours of community service but I wanted to throw in a "sleeps with the fishes" joke.

What community service would this guy be best suited for?
Future Darwin Award Winner

A man is dead. Why do I find it so funny?
Ho, Ho, Ho

A four-year old girl wanted to see mall Santa but her mom didn't want to spring for the $21 picture. In the spirit of the season, she was told to take a hike.

She should have kicked him in the crotch and pulled off his damn beard.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

No More Class

What do I and Mean Jean have in common?

I start receiving and grading final papers on Saturday. This will cut down on my blogging time but should partially restore my sanity.
Devilboy's Kryptonite?

(Set roughly 25 years in the future when I have enough energy to write a new Devilboy script)

Devilboy (growing to 75 feet tall a la Apache Chief from Superfriends): All mankind is doomed! Prepare for the portal of hell to be opened and Hell and Earth shall be one.

Person opposing DB, I don't know, let's say...Moe: This ought to stop ya! (throws object)

DB (screams, shrinking to microscopic size): My only weakness! Noooooooooo!!!

Moe (about to say something smug but--)

DB (bursts out of the earth, blasting lava from his eyes, reducing Moe to cinders): I like my peanut chunky style. . . chunky with the tortured flesh of my enemies! (laughs hysterically and vaporizes the world)

(Credits roll)

It cost $55 and two hours of my life but DB doesn't seem to be allergic to peanuts, pecans, almonds, or walnuts.

Years ago when I was tested for allergies, about the age of 12, they dabbed 42 solutions of different solutions (containing cat saliva, pollen, mold, peanuts, etc) on my arm and broke the skin beneath them with a needle. Only cat and ash tree pollen caused a reaction.

Knowing DB would never sit still for something that involved, they tried seven solutions on his back (one was a control that always causes a reaction and peanuts were tested twice). Only the control area broke out.

The doctor wants us to try more blood tests (which ought to be really fun) but DB's problem on Tuesday might be totally unrelated to peanuts. This could be the end of the world as we know it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

One More Class

NKU's class is finished up and two of the Clermont classes. I have one more ENG 103 and it's off to grading final papers. It's been hectic but the students who actually show up for class have been pretty good.
Another Stupid Dragon Question

After the dragon/dinosaur issue from the new Scooby Doo DVD, we watched Rankin/Bass animated Hobbit. My stepdaughter asked about Smaug (if he looked that way in the book) and somehow we started talking about dragon books. She has the new Dragonology book and has read The Hobbit and Harry Potter.

Two questions: What would be your nomination for best dragon book overall? And what would be a good book for 12-year old girls? (She hasn't read Conan and I'm kinda happy to keep it that way. I was thinking the Dragon Riders series which I personally didn't like but has a strong female following.)
Devilboy's Kryptonite

(Set roughly 25 years in the future when I have enough energy to write a new Devilboy script)

Devilboy (growing to 75 feet tall a la Apache Chief from Superfriends): All mankind is doomed! Prepare for the portal of hell to be opened and Hell and Earth shall be one.

Person opposing DB, I don't know, let's say...Moe: This ought to stop ya! (throws object)

DB (screams, shrinking to microscopic size): My only weakness! Noooooooooo!!!

Moe (looking at spot where DB disappeared): Well, he's stopped for now. But if he ever returns, I'll have more of THIS waiting for him.

(Holds up a peanut butter jar as credits roll)

Yesterday I had to pick DB up from school because he'd broken out in a rash on his hands and face. I think it was from the peanut butter that he had on his toast (he smears it like crazy). Tomorrow he's getting tested for food allergies but he's never had a reaction to peanuts before.

Then I read about this. Great.

Saturday, November 26, 2005


Had a rough, rough Thanksgiving. My wife is visiting her mother and left me with the kids but it's winding down. It was my first scheduled day off since September 23 (I missed a class at Clermont due to, ahem, problems but yesterday was the first legit full day off). I'm real thankful to be working.
Liberal Bias

A blow to objectivity even if it does sound funny.

I have no problem with teachers having strong views or talking about them when it's appropriate (which is a worthless word since no one can agree when something is appropriate) but this guy just gave his opponents more ammo.

Even though I don't think it should be in the classroom, I would like to see the whole quiz. It's sounds like the opposite of this which was defended by some of the people who will cry foul about the new one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

"It Turns into Kim Cattrall When You're Not Here"

Is this guy really, really stupid or are bad 80s movies coming to life?

And is this guy just stupid or crazy?
Anyone From Mason?

According to Snopes, it's possible that someone in Mason, Ohio, has the most disturbing Christmas light display ever.

Has anyone seen this? Are there 12 people in the south-east Ohio area who would convict me if I shot this guy if he lived next to me?
Chasing the Wolf

I finished Nathan Singer's new novel Chasing the Wolf last night about 2:30. I'll say up-front that I know Nathan Singer but despite my high praise, he hasn't slipped me any payola (although I'm completely open to it).

It has a couple literary elements that I don't regularly care for but it all fits together like a surrealistic jigsaw puzzle. It's like the cyclone from The Wizard of Oz picks you up and you stare through your window at whirling faces who transform from the ordinary into nightmares. Only in this case the cyclone sets you down someplace much darker than Oz.

Although the plot involves time travel, it doesn't have a have a science fiction feel to it at all. Like Richard Matheson's Bid Time Return and Jack Finney's Time and Again, the focus is on the characters, not the mechanics of a time machine but this is far more dangerous. Octavia Butler's Kindred is the closest thing I've ever encountered: dealing with race relations and devotion beyond time.

I'm not normally the type who wants to read a happy-ending version of King Lear or hope for Lear II: Regan's Revenge but in this case I would love to see more of these characters and the world of this novel. Just the theories of Time-walking that one Walker develops are better than any hard-pseudo-science explanation. We get a glimpse of something incredibly intriguing and it ends before I was ready to let go. It's like watching a beautiful woman begin to undress but then she sees you and yanks shut the blinds.

I highly recommend Chasing the Wolf but don't start it at night if you have to wake up early in the morning.
Quick Class

Only about half my class showed up tonight but, being the day before Thanksgiving and after the snow we had earlier today, I wasn't expecting anyone. Naturally the students who came were not the ones who needed most of the lessons to begin with so I cut it criminally short. I've heard (possible urban legend) that this is the busiest bar night of the year so it's probably for the best that they get home before the drunks come out. I had a former student killed by a drunk driver and I'd rather let class out early than have another.

We read How to Give a Pill to a Cat and Dog for the Explaining Processes paper. It's probably the most popular reading assignment in any of my classes.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Science--A Major Disgrace

With everything else I should have read, I thumbed through John A. Keel's Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings. Compared to most of the paranormal crowd, I've always thought Keel was one of the sanest of the bunch. Then he goes and ruins it with:

believing in mass suicide by lemming (and here)and "boa constrictors crush all the bones of their victims before swallowing them whole."

"There has been much speculation since then [1760] that the plant was somehow introduced to our world by a crashing meteor."

"There are creatures which can fly on wings too short to support their bulbous bodies. We call them bumblebees."

"Most newspaper reports are very reliable."

"Science, by and large, is a lot of bull." "Science has become a major disgrace."

Keel classifies scientists as Type A who "works for a large corporation or an important government agency" and Type B "usually a teacher at some university or small college."

Type A: The scientist who works for a tobacco company and proves that smoking is unrelated to cancer.

Type B: Pharyngula.

Type A are trustworthy; "Much of the scientific rubbish you read in your daily newspapers comes from the mouths of Type B." (Okay, if newspapers are reliable, how can they also be full of rubbish? The sad thing is that he makes these statements just pages apart.)

He later chides Type B scientists for claiming that Bigfoot sightings are escaped apes. I can believe that someone has at one time or another claimed that Bigfoot was an escaped ape but most believe this, this, this, and this.

In fairness to Keel's, his claims are no more outlandish and his views on science no more hostile than 90% of the world's religions have been but, when I checked this book out, I really wanted to like it. Keel has a strong writing style and crams a lot of info on a page but attacking scientists doesn't make Mothman sound more credible.
I'll Pass on Russian Meat

You hear about mad cow disease and that dogs, cats, etc. are used in Chinese restaurants.

According to Polyansky, there has been no cannibalism cases in the Rostov region in more than 10 years.

Is it just me or does that remind you of a "No accidents for [blank] days"? I have heard that under Stalin, it was so bad that the government put up "Eating corpses is illegal" posters. Considerate guy, that Joey.
Turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement!

Not exactly. But a bunch of them fell off a truck.
Thanks for the Dragons

A big 90210 thank you for everyone who helped think of dragon movies. (I don't know how I could forget Shrek--how'd my kids forget?

The animators who made The Hobbit and The Last Unicorn also made a movie based on The Dragon and the George called A Flight of Dragons. It's not spectacular but it does feature a boatload of dragons.

My new theory is that my kids didn't think the Scooby Doo dragon was a dinosaur because they don't recognize dragons but because the Scooby gang was vacationing in Scotland in that episode. That was probably the only time any toons have visited Scotland and not seen the dinosaur-like Nessie.

My five-year old is convinced that Nessie is real but Bigfoot is fake because Scooby Doo says so.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Movies with Dragons

The new Scooby Doo DVD has a dragon as one of the fake monsters and my kids initially thought it was a dinosaur. Sleeping Beauty and Sword in the Stone both have witches that turn into dragons but I can't think of many real dragon movies.

There's Dragon Slayer, The Hobbit cartoon, Mystery Science Theater 3000 fodder The Magic Sword (which was probably the best MST3K movie even if it was directed by Burt I. Gordon), the horrible Dungeons and Dragons movie, and a lot of low budget stuff. Am I missing anything or is there a serious lack of dragon movies available. I know Covington had a screen play about one--it could be Hollywood's next hot property.
Flying Machine Debunked

Via the Museum of Hoaxes, a website for disproving the myth that vehicles made of metal can fly.

It's almost too easy to say that's no dumber than Creationism but that was the first thought to come to mind.
Another Argument Against Having Kids

Daughter sells Mom's camera. Mom suddenly becomes popular.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

15-Inch Waist

I've seen this before and kept hoping it's fake. I guess everyone has the right to do whatever they want to their bodies, up to hacking off parts with a clipper.
Fan Cuts Off Own Testicles

I might get so excited over an unexpected sports victory that I'd trim my ear or nose hair. Maybe, if I told everyone that I'd shave my head if my team won, I'd go through with it. But this guy went a bit too far.

"I can't have kids now but still want a family - maybe I'll adopt."
Crisis of Infinite Earths

I got set off over at Walk in Brain about the state of DC Comics. Most of what I don't like about DC goes back to the mid-80s with a storyline called Crisis on Infinite Earths. Yes, I have nothing better to do but think about something that happened to Superman 20 years ago.

Superman, Batman, and a million other superheroes were created back in the 1940s. Max Gaines, father of Bill "Mad Magazine" Gaines, was one of the men who saw the potential in blatantly nonrealistic characters (as opposed to comics about pirates, cowboys, police, science fiction and fantasy [realistic in their own worlds], romance, etc.

During WWII, the public couldn't get enough superheroes. After the war, all but Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman faded away. Twenty-some years later, superheroes made a comeback and DC Comics found themselves with dozens of popular characters.

The trouble was that if Superman and crew had gone up against Hitler and Tojo, they'd start to gray in the 60s, so, starting with a story about the Flash, DC established that the new heroes were on Earth 1, the WWII vets were on Earth 2 in a different dimension. Given that most comic book geeks were also science fiction geeks, familiar with parallel world stories, this wasn't a problem.

Eventually more earths popped up--Earth 3, plagued by evil versions of Earth 1's good guys; Earth X, where the Nazis won; Earth S, where Captain Marvel and his family lived; and many more. One earth was exactly like Earth 1 but everyone's sex was switched (Superwoman, Wonder Man, Louis Lane, etc.). Another was full of talking animals, protected by Captain Carrot.

Eventually DC introduced Earth Prime, our earth, which was on the verge of seeing its first superhero (hey, no dumber an idea than the Rapture). For a while it looked like DC was going to switch focus from Earth 1 to Earth Prime and reboot. The heroes of Earth 1 were getting old and could use an update.

Instead DC destroyed most of the earths and combined the few survivors into one world. Okay, given the Quantum Mechanics suggests that there are multiple, if not an infinite, number of our own universe, this makes the DC Comics universe far less wondrous and interesting than our own.

Now when writers tell "what if" stories at DC, they have to label it "Elseworlds, imaginary stories" (as if any story about flying aliens and bat people isn't imaginary). This has affected the way cosmic events are treated (the ending of Mark Millar's Red Son and anything with Jack Kirby's Tomorrow People seems off).

DC execs have admitted that the whole event was to attract attention from Marvel Comic fans and to reboot their titles with a fresh start so new fans wouldn't feel left out.

Not that it's a pressing issue of today but they wiped out a world where Georgia Bush is president for a sales gimmick that could have been avoided with more imagination. Oh yeah, they also killed Flash and Supergirl but it was destroying that transsexual earth that still has me miffed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Rose for Bucca

My dog has a weird effect on reality. His enemies come to gruesome fates.

He was passed along as a puppy and one of his early "owners" kept him in the basement a minimum of 18 hours a day, rarely fed him, and let him run loose in Clifton Heights, eating food from garbage cans. That guy died in a boating accident on the Ohio River, literally losing his head.

On Sunday, three police cars and a coroner's van pulled up in front of our building. After a short while, a horrible stench oozed over the whole area. One of the neighbors, who lived two floors directly below me, had died sometime around Halloween. I don't have full details and don't particularly want them but I can't see how serial killers can stand it. Rotting bodies don't smell so much as old garbage but like old dishes that have sat in a sink full of water for a long, long time.

I feel sorry for the guy and have to wonder if he had any family at all for this to happen. He was relatively young (at least ten years younger than anyone else on his floor) and seemed healthy the last time I saw him. He was known for complaining about dogs (repeatedly about my dog Bucca) and children (repeatedly about Devilboy until I brought up the magic letters "ADA" to the condo association). He also stopped and confronted my stepdaughter when she was walking home from school about making too much noise. Afterwards, when I went down to talk to him afterwards, he was pretty contrite.

One of the neighbors made the comment, "On the bright side, I guess I won't get any more letters about my grandkids."

I don't know if Bucca put the hex on him but it tells me not to complain about everything in life (and, no, that doesn't mean I'm shutting down the blog). I doubt if anyone could have done something to save his life but I don't know of anyone else who could disappear for two weeks and not be noticed.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Human Upgrades

When gene splicing gets ugly. Via the Museum of Hoaxes.
Library List

I haven't done this for a while so here's what is currently checked out on my library card:

Kids’ Videos
The Wiggles. Toot Toot!
Miracle of Mozart: teaching your child-- ABCs (Good for inducing sleep)
Yu-gi-oh! (Wondering what makes Pokemon look good?)
Yu-gi-oh! Battle City duels

Kids' Books
A Cake all for me Beil, Karen Magnuson.
The Firefighters' Thanksgiving Boelts, Maribeth
What can Pinky hear? Cousins, Lucy.
Maisy goes to the library Cousins, Lucy.
Stop and go, Maisy Cousins, Lucy.
One big building : a counting book about construction Dahl, Michael.
We gather together-- now please get lost! De Groat, Diane.
Bart Simpson's treehouse of horror. Spine-tingling spooktacular Groening, Matt. (Yes, I read it too)
Mice squeak, we speak : a poem De Paola, Tomie.
Scooby Doo! and the rowdy rodeo Gelsey, James.
Scooby-Doo! and the caveman caper Gelsey, James.
Giant earthmovers Gould, Robert.
Toot & Puddle : Puddle's ABC Hobbie, Holly.
Picking apples & pumpkins Hutchings, Amy.
Hamsters today : a complete and up-to-date guide Kelsey-Wood, Dennis.
"Eat!" cried little pig London, Jonathan
Polar bear, polar bear, what do you hear? Martin, Bill
Scooby-doo! and the phantom cowboy McCann, Jesse Leon.
Scooby-doo! and the opera ogre McCann, Jesse Leon.
Ripley's believe it or not! Packard, Mary.
Red light, green light Suen, Anastasia.
Fox in Socks Seuss, Dr. (Possibly the best Dr. Seuss book after Green Eggs and Ham)
Buzzy's birthday Ziefert, Harriet.

Stepdaughter’s CDs
The lord of the rings, the fellowship of the ring
[sound recording] Shore, Howard.
Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban

My Books
Mythical and Fabulous Creatures : a source book and research guide
Gypsy Folk Tales
A Chinese Bestiary : strange creatures from the guideways through mountains and seas
The Superhero Book : the ultimate encyclopedia of comic-book icons and Hollywood heroes

The Beast Within Douglas, Adam. (That’s Adam Douglas, not the guy who wrote Hitchhikers)
The Dictionary of Misinformation Burnam, Tom.
Legends of Santería González-Wippler, Migene.
Greek myths Graves, Robert
The Complete Guide to Mysterious Beings Keel, John A.
A Dictionary of Asian mythology Leeming, David Adams
Encyclopedia of legendary creatures McGowen, Tom.
The Beasts of Never : a history natural & un-natural of monsters mythical & magical McHargue, Georgess.
Penn & Teller's how to play in traffic Jillette, Penn.
"Mythopoeikon" : fantasies, monsters, nightmares, daydreams Woodroffe, Patrick
Killing Nessie

Actually, Nessie's hot Swedish cousin, Helga.

"We are not fanatics," said Christer Berko, of the Storsjo monster association. "We see this as very interesting phenomenon that we unfortunately have not been able to document."

I'm not insulting the monster crowd. Back when I was trying to write a book about this stuff, cryptozoologists, like Mr. Berko, as a rule were good-natured, helpful, intelligent, and considerate. UFOlogists ran from nuts to really nuts and psychics were either innocently crazy or blood-sucking leeches.
My Heart Will Go On

Tragedy struck moments ago when I tried to purchase a bag of Raisinets from the downstairs vending machine but accidentally pressed the number for a peanut granola bar. I'm trying to be strong but. . . God, how could you let this happen?

Actually the granola bar wasn't that bad. At least I didn't get a stinking Payday.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Pope Turns Back the Clock

A while back, it seemed that the church was making sensible statements about Intelligent Design. Just got cancelled out.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Teen Titans: Fear Itself

Do you know which superheroes are in the Teen Titans? Unless you're a kid or a comic book geek, here's the current WB cartoon lineup:

Robin: Batman's sidekick. Bats is never directly mentioned but Gotham City comes up a lot and supervillains rob Wayne Enterprises every other episode.

Beast Boy: Goofy green kid who can turn into any animal, including dinosaurs and whales. However, whatever the animal, his skin, hair, scales, etc. remain green. Like this.

Cyborg: Bionic man with the machinery on the outside. Some people have criticized the show because Cy is the only black character but one is orange and another green.

Raven: Half-demon Goth chick with magic powers. In the Breakfast Club standards of teen stereotypes, she is the bitter loner who only speaks in sarcasm.

Starfire: Orange alien with green eyes (not just the iris, the entire eye), capable of flight, super strength, and firing green energy bolts. My five-year old's favorite.

Teen Titans replaced Blue's Clues as Devilgirl and -boy's most requested show. It's not educational in the least bit but is far less annoying than Pokemon. The latest DVD, Fear Itself, has six episodes:

Fear Itself: The night after the team fights the uber-geek Control Freak (a sci-fi geek with a remote control that changes reality and a love for quoting George Lucas movies), they are attacked by an unstoppable monster out of a horror video. This episode causes the kids to scream a lot, especially when Starfire gets grabbed.

Every Dog Has His Day: A green alien dog runs away from its owner, a giant alien brat, and switches places with Beast Boy. Beast Boy is zapped repeatedly by the alien, causing his eyes to bulge out comically. Kids never get sick of this.

How Long Is Forever?: Starfire is thrown into the future, where the Teen Titans have become the Middle-Aged Losers. Much screaming when Starfire is blasted through time.

Only Human: Cyborg fights a robot-bigot who hates all humans (like an unfunny Bender). A very special episode indeed.

Terra: The Teen Titans meet another teenager with superpowers. Although they ask her to join, their arch-enemy, Slade, breaks them apart. Set up for a future episode where they wind up as enemies.

Date With Destiny: The episode for parents who shelled out the money for the stinking DVD in the first place. Killer Moth is on the verge of defeating the Titans and taking over the city when his bratty daughter demands that he find her a date to the prom. Setting his evil plans on hold, Moth forces Robin to take her. Poor Moth would have ruled the world if only he'd had the sense to stay single. Devilboy and crew don't seem to like this one as much as I do.
Update on the Cheerleader Sex Scandal

Hot denial

If this doesn't increase traffic, nothing will.
Husky Women and Strong Language

You read all sorts of articles, supposedly written about unfair practices of the past. Most are fakes.

Snopes says this isn't.

And this was intended to be helpful. You have to wonder what a smart-ass would have come up with.
I've Wasted My Life

You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.
You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

Via Pseudojournalist

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

NFL Cheerleaders Sex Scandal

Now that ought to bring in some hits.

So, you're in a bar and two NFL cheerleaders go into the bathroom and start making love to each other. Isn't that one of the things you've always wanted to happen in a bar but it never did? I would have thought better of Tampa bar-goers. Couldn't just wait or use and empty mug, eh your highness?

Maybe it was because the two were from out of state but they should be used to that in Tampa.
Upside Down X-Mas Tree

I was in a creative writing seminar with a writer who used an upside down Christmas tree in a scene. Now available at Target.

If you're into upside down trees, go buy one. Just don't use it as proof that you're a daring nonconformist because you shop at a chain store.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Real Kong

They discovered the fossils of hobbits a while back--now we have giant apes and humans living together.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Which Evil California Proposition Are You?

You are Prop 78!

You are the proposition with a sense of humor.
Drug manufacturers pretending to care about the
sick and poor among us? Hysterical. Too bad
Prop 79 is going to kick your ass.

Which evil California proposition are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, November 05, 2005

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Man, I stink. And suicide booths won't be invented for another 1,000 years.
Godzilla Scandal

Everything you know is wrong--Godzilla only officially appeared in one movie (Godzilla, King of the Monsters (1954)). Other than that (plus remakes like Godzilla 1985 and the stupid American version starring Ferris Buehler) Godzilla never appeared in another movie.

Godzilla never fought Mothra, Rodan, King Kong, Mechagodzilla, Ghidrah, Angilas, Spigas, the Smog Monster or anyone else.

In all those cases, the monster called Godzilla was really Gigantis.

Gigantis, the Fire Monster (1959) was sort of a sequel to Godzilla, with two mutant prehistoric monsters--Gigantis and Angilas-- awakened from the sea and brought havoc to modern Japan. At the end of the movie, Gigantis was buried in an avalanche and left under a mountain of ice. A few years later, he broke free and suddenly everyone called him Godzilla.

Gigantis came out a few years after the original Godzilla movie and bombed in both Japan and America. The monster was still a guy in a rubber suit that looked exactly like Godzilla except for slight modifications with the teeth and ears.

Toho Productions decided to go with name recognition so when the monster got loose again in 1962, it was King Kong vs. Godzilla. There's never been an official explanation--continuity doesn't matter a whole lot in giant monster movies.

It's not that Gigantis is known for his conversation so it doesn't really matter but the real Godzilla died at the end of his first movie (which most people have never seen) and most of his fame comes from an entirely different monster.
Jeff Rovin's The Encyclopedia of Monsters

Some factoids I picked up:

The movie The Beast from 20,000 Fanthoms was not based on the Ray Bradbury story by the same name (as is widely reported). Originally the movie was called Monster from the Sea but someone noticed a similarity between Bradbury's story and the movie before they began shooting (both monsters are prehistoric throw-backs from the days of the dinosaurs and both arrive at lighthouses). The monster in the movie was designed to look like the illustrations from the story but nothing else was changed in the working script. Bradbury changed the name of his story when it was reprinted.

Writer Edmond Hamilton brought up the issue of global warming in 1940 in his story "Liline, the Moon Girl," published in Amazing Stories but presented it as entirely positive.

William O. Douglas Jr., son of Supreme Court Justice, was a B-movie actor and appeared in the Outer Limits episode "The Galaxy Being" in 1963.

Some of the featured films included:

Cy Roth's Fire Maidens from Outer Space (1956)
Dan Milner's The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) (sea monster from 10,000 leagues down; 10,000 leagues equals 30,000 miles--the earth's diameter is only about 8,000 miles)
Dan Milner's Tabanga (1957) Movie about a killer, man-eating tree
Tom Graeff's Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)
Ray Kellogg's The Giant Gila Monster (1959) and The Killer Shrews (also 1959)
Bernard L. Kowalski's The Giant Leeches (1959)
Joseph Green's The Brain that Wouldn't Die (1962)
Jack Woods' Equinox (released on video as The Beast) (1971) Cameo by Fritz Leiber.
William F. Claxton's Night of the Lepus (1972)
Douglas Cheek's C.H.U.D. (1984)
Fred Dekker's Night of the Creeps (1986) featuring the canine that gave the name to Evil Dog magazine.
Plastic Man

Here's an abbreviated list of graphic novels I meant to write about but never got around to it:

Spider-Man: Blue
: Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale; Batman: Hush: Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee; JLA: Trial by Fire: Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke; JLA: New World Order: Grant Morrison; JLA: Another Nail. Alan Davis and Mark Farmer (containing every character in the Pre-Crisis DC universe--if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, you might want to sit this one out); Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth: Grant Morrison, illustrated by Dave McKean; The New Smithsonian Book of Comic Book Stories From Crumb to Clowes, edited by Bob Callahan.

The one that actually motivated me to write was Plastic Man: On the Lam, written by Kyle Baker (who recently worked with Aaron McGruder and Reginald Hudlin in Birth of a Nation).

Plastic Man was always one of the sillier superheroes ever since he was created back in the 1940s. His original artist even sold cartoons to Playboy of Plas doing such non-heroic acts as groping women from a block away (yeah, they could have done this with Superman's X-ray vision but they didn't even consider it). Baker's artwork matches the irreverent tone of some very funny situations:

FBI agent: "Uh, do you really think we should do this? I mean, we're the FBI! We can't just massacre civilians in a house of worship!"
CO: "You must be the new guy."

The story involves Plastic Man's struggle with his arch-enemy Eel O'Brian who was transformed from normal guy to superfreak almost exactly as the Joker.

The Joker was originally a villain called the Red Hood. While he was robbing a factory full of toxic goo, Batman surprised him, forcing him to swim through raw chemical run-off to make his escape. He got away but the chemicals mutated him into his present chalk white, green-haired Clown Prince of Crime.

Eel O'Brian was robbing the Crawford Chemical Works when a guard surprised and shot him, and caused him to be doused by a vat of acid. Abandoned by his gang, Eel crawled through chemical slop until he lost consciousness but was saved by the leader of a conveniently located monastery. Nursed back to health, Eel found that the chemicals transmogrified his body--he'd become plastic, capable of changing shape into anything he could imagine. Inspired by the monks, Eel turned from crime to become the world's goofiest superhero. Naturally the one criminal Plastic Man was never able to capture was the notorious Eel O'Brian.

In Baker's tale, when Plas is assigned to investigate a murder allegedly committed by Eel O'Brian, he winds up losing his secret identity, his status as a hero, and his even goofier sidekick, Woozy Winks.

In the early days of Mad Magazine, they ran a Plastic Man parody that tried to be sillier than the original. Baker must have read that issue because some of his scenes are dead-on imitations of Mad's treatment; Plastic Man parodies the parody and the story moves along without losing speed. The solution to the murder is unexpected but obvious in hindsight and manages to be as subversive and sweet as a good Simpsons episode.

Flipping through, I stopped at random on a page with lines like "It's a good thing fish have no civil rights" and "Eeew! You melted my butt." What's not to like?
Hung Like a Whale

Is the elusive sea serpent some unknown species of marine life? Or is it a giant whale penis? You make the call.
Driving in the Car Pool Lane

Dr. Nick used cadavers but this guy got caught with a kick-boxing dummy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Good News From the Vatican

Cardinal to World: We're Smarter than Protestants.

I'd like to become Pope (technically I could--the requirements are that 1. You're Catholic (and even bad Catholics who haven't been to mass in years and disagree with official policy count--hell, standards are so broad that they'd lump Covington and Nathan Singer in the "yes" column), 2. You're male (again, the way the rules are written, a transexual would still count, 3. You're alive (this is the most stringently enforced.)

Anyway I'd make about ten wide-spanning reforms (one of which would involve requirement #2) and resign.

Martin Sheen once worked on a documentary about the Vatican. He'd make a helluva Pope. Charlie could be Cardinal of Partying Down.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Godel's Mathematical Proof of God's Existence

Godel was a brilliant mathematician at Princeton and a close friend of Einstein (he only ate food prepared by his wife or Albert). Among his more unusual theories was a design for a time machine that Einstein agreed would allow travel backwards. . . if certain physical properties of the universe exist (and most scientist now believe they don't).

He developed a mathematical proof of God which reads as follows:

Axiom 1. (Dichotomy) A property positive if and only if its negation is negative.
Axiom 2. (Closure) A property is positive if it necessarily contains positive property.
Theorem 1. A positive property is logically consistent (i.e., possibly it has some instance).
Definition. Something is God-like if and only if it possesses all positive properties.
Axiom 3. Being God-like is a positive property.
Axiom 4. Being a positive property is (logical, hence) necessary.
Definition. A property P is the essence of x if and only if x has P and P is necessarily minimal.
Theorem 2. If x is God-like, then being God-like is the essence of x.
Definition. NE(x): necessarily exists if it has an essential property.
Axiom 5. Being NE is God-like.
Theorem 3. Necessarily there is some x such that x is God-like.

Maybe it's just me but it doesn't seem overly convincing, but, then again, I majored in English.
Disturbing Bible Quotes

You can probably find these all over the Internet but here's a few quotes that stick with you:

"When Israel had finished killing all the men of Ai in the fields and in the desert where they had chased them, and when every one of them had been put to the sword, all the Israelites returned to Ai and killed those who were in it. Twelve thousand men and women fell that day—all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back the hand that held out his javelin until he had destroyed all who lived in Ai. But Israel did carry off for themselves the livestock and plunder of this city, as the Lord had instructed Joshua. So Joshua burned Ai and made it a permanent heap of ruins, a desolate place to this day. He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate.” (Joshua 8:24-30)

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations. . . then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. . . Break down their altars. . . You must destroy all the peoples the Lord your God gives over to you. Do not look on them with pity. . . You must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy it completely, both its people and its livestock.”

“Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.” I Samuel 15:3-4

“I will smash them one against the other, fathers and sons alike. I will allow no pity or mercy or compassion to keep me from destroying them” Jeremiah 13:14

“The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth--men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air--for I am grieved that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:6-7)

“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the earth, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth; and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. (Genesis 7:23)

“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations--the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you--and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” (Deuteronomy 7:1,2)

“At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them [the Canaanites]--men, women, and children. We left no survivors.” (Deuteronomy 2:34)

“A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to the tenth generation shall he not enter.” Deuteronomy 23:2

“For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. No descendants of Aaron the priest who has any defects is to come near to present the offering made to the Lord by fire. (Leviticus 21:21)

“At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown in the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” Daniel 6:24

“If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property.” Exodus 21:20-21

“If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay the girl’s father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the girl for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.” Deuteronomy 22:28-29

“Moses and Eleazar the priest did as the Lord commanded Moses. The plunder remaining from the spoils that the soldiers took was 675,000 sheep, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 women who had never slept with a man. . . And the half, the portion of those who had gone out to war was 16,000, of which the tribute for the Lord was 32.” Numbers 31:31-40
(The soldiers were given 16,000 virgins; God was given 32. It's unclear what God did with the virgins)

Body Count by Book
Numbers 16:21-49 (God creates a plague that kills 14,700)
Numbers 25:1-9 (God kills 24,000 Jews for sleeping with Moabite women)
Numbers 25:16-17 and 31:7-8 (All men and king of Middianites killed; women and children sold into slavery)

Joshua 6: “Utterly destroyed all the city [of Jericho], man and woman, youn and old, and ox. . . with the edge of the sword.”
Joshua 8:1-30: 12,000 people of city of Ai, men, women, and children

Judges 1:4: 10,000 Perizzites and Canaanites
Judges 3:20: 10,000 Moabites
Judges 8:10: 120,000 Midianites

1 Samuel 6:19: 50,070 people, in part for looking inside the Ark
2 Samuel 24:15: 70,000 from a plague, Â&#Israel the Lord sent a plague on Isreal”

2 Kings 19:35: 185,000 Assyrians, killed by an angel of the Lord

Monday, October 31, 2005

Fairly Dumb Quizzes

Monster test. Some of the answers are completely wrong (they refer to Dawn of the Dead zombies and the Japanese King Kong, not the originals.

Monster rating that refers to Fred Munster. Herman, you idiot!
Bad Baptism

Electricity. Water. Not a good mix.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shocking Movie Moments

Via Ebert, list of ten shocking moments in movie history.

Off the top of my head, I don't think this is a bad list but, given time, I might be able to think of a few better.

UPDATE: It might help if I include the link.
Weird Class

Due to strange circumstances, I had to bring Devilgirl to class. She didn't set the place on fire like one of my children would have but she was a huge distraction. We got out of class over an hour early. My students on Thursday would have been so jealous.
Murder and Ghosts at UC

Wow, UC is getting a reputation almost as kooky as Bob Jones.
Fake Shakespeare

Via the Hoax Museum, one of the textbook paintings of Shakespeare is actually of somebody else.
"Are there inbred families in the Ozarks/Appalachians like in Deliverance?"

Cecil Adams' answer: this.

My answer: "You're not from around here, are you?"

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Yuk, Yuk, Yuk

Possible identity theft problems with a searchable data bank of driver's licenses.
Kill Me Kate

During class I tried to think of all of Shakespeare's plays. I got all but one (which would be impressive if I didn't have such a long time to think).

Got Timon of Athens.
Got Troilus and Cressida.
Got Two Noble Kinsmen and Two Gentlemen from Verona (containing the best of Shakespeare's fart jokes).
Got Pericles and everything else but Taming of the Shrew.

My dog even caught a shrew the other day! How could I forget the Bard's guide to abusing your spouse into becoming your slave?

Guess my wife would be happy about it.
Longest Class Ever

I meant to show the 2000 version of Hamlet starring Ethan Hawke tonight but I couldn't hook up my DVD player and had to show the 1948 Olivier version. The older version cuts out more material (the entire Rosencrantz and Guildenstern subplot is dropped) but runs for nearly 45 minutes longer. Class was 20 minutes late in getting out.

The only other time I kept a class more than a few minutes in overtime was the first time I showed the Olivier version. I think I'll show Mel Gibson's next quarter.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Devilboy Strikes Again

About a year ago, I posted about how Devilboy stuck his finger into my eye socket, ripping out my contact, and got his fingernails stuck in the tissue below my eye. He then got upset that he couldn't pull his hand loose.

He didn't quite get that bad but he did it outside in the rain this time and I couldn't find the contact. My insurance won't kick in until Tuesday so I'm getting by with an old lens until then.

Strange fascinations with eyes is a symptom of an autism-related disorder but it could be that he's destined to be a serial killer who keeps his victims' eyes in a pickle jar.
Crocodile Bites Off Diver's Head

Well, I think it's funny. (Of course, it's not real.)
Kid on the Windshield

The old legend about the drunk driver and the eight year old is back in circulation.

I've never hit a person but I have hit a deer, a rabbit, and a bird (thankfully not all at the same time). None of them stuck to the car as depicted in the legend. I've heard of deer (and, now through Snopes, people) getting stuck in the windshield but only after breaking partially through.

Is it physically possible for a human, even a light child, to remain on a grill? I'd like to test out the possibility sometimes but don't think I'll be able to get a license.
Nathan's New Page

If you haven't heard by now, The Prayer for Dawn page has been remade as Thank God, the old link still works--it takes me forever to update that stuff.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


How much is this blog worth?

My blog is worth $6,209.94.
How much is your blog worth?

Going once. . . twice. . . SOLD!

I expect some students to drop out of class unofficially, never to be seen again, but a couple of the better students from my ENG 101 at NKU haven't been showing up.

Today we started the Evaluation Paper with the old evaluate-a-potato-chip-using-concrete-standards exercise. It went okay but about a third of the class was missing.

Last time I did this exercise at Clermont, many of the young male students were too health conscious to sample the chips, even the one with a big "No Transfat" label. NKU students apparently aren't as squeamish.

When I was in ENG 101, the nutritional implications of potato chips wasn't my biggest worry. (Although maybe I'd be better off it if had been.)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Pages Down

Just noticed that both Independent Edge and A Prayer for Dawn's forum are down. Hackers? Updates? The Rapture?

Last week I saw that Evil Ambitions had be re-released as Satanic Yuppies. Connection? No idea yet.
Missed Class

Not to go into details but, due to a certain person I'm married to, I had to miss my ENG 99 class last night. It's the first time I ever missed a night class. Two of the students have to drive in from Adams County so it's a bigger deal than if it had happened on a non-commuter campus.

Things don't look like they'll get any better for a week and a half.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Why is Shakespeare Great?

Cecil Adams explains to a guy with my own name that Shakespeare is greater than Tom Clancy.

Go at it with an open mind, and with any luck you'll see what all the fuss is about. If not--well, not to be brutal, dear Mark, but the fault isn't in Shakespeare.

That would be surfer Mark from California he's talking to. It's hard to convince a student that "It's not the writer being too cryptic but that you never learned to read or think very well."

I was up until 3:19 on Thursday night and 3:05 yesterday, trying to grade papers for today's class. Only six of them showed up.

The head of the program agreed with me that starting class at 11:00 next semester would be a good idea.
Snake Handling and the Law

Here's the legal background of outlawing snake handling at church.

At first glance, prohibiting a person from practicing a religion would seem to violate the First Amendment. In several bizarre cases, the Supreme Court ruled that there are limits to our liberties when it comes to how we worship.

Before anybody gets worked up, consider the court's words in one such case: "
Suppose one believed that human sacrifices were a necessary part of religious worship, would it be seriously contended that the civil government under which he lived could not interfere to prevent a sacrifice?"
If some lunatic decided that to appease his god, he needed to tear your beating heart out, should his First Amendment rights trump your Fourteenth Amendment rights? The court (and common sanity) say no.

Advanced reading.

The case I'm familiar with went to court because of a rivalry between a snake-handling church and a non-snake-handling church. The leader of the snake people (let's call him "Rev. Loony") invited the leader of the other church (let's call him "Rev. Sane") to observe his services. Trying to be tolerant and considerate, Rev. Sane and wife attended Rev. Loony's church the next Sunday. Despite Rev. Loony's earlier assurances that they wouldn't be pressed to hold a snake, a rattlesnake was shoved towards Mrs. Sane, strongly against her will. Rev. Sane brought the matter to the civil authorities, and despite Rev. Loony's protests, the Supreme Court ruled that banning dangerous snakes in religious ceremonies is indeed acceptable under the U.S. Constitution.

These decisions are still violently fought by the snake-handlers and, with the upcoming changes in the Supreme Court, they may finally get such laws ruled unconstitutional. Hurray! Cobras for everyone!

Thinking about becoming a snake-handler? Here's some info for you, nutjob!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bless the Animals

What struck me as funny as taking a worm to church is that it would be illegal to do this for many pets in Kentucky and five other states.

Kentucky bans reptiles from religious ceremonies (upheld by the Supreme Court). Some states extend the ban to amphibians as well. You could take your pet dog, gerbil, fish, worm, or parrot to this type of church blessing but Timmy the Turtle must stay at home.
Indian Giant Fossil

This looks incredibly fake (and probably linked to a video game) but it would put the fossilized hobbits to shame.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Better Dead than Non-Breastfed

The American Academy of Pediatrics has come up with new recommendations to help prevent SIDS.

Not surprisingly, the Milk Mafia has come out against it. You don't get a good dose of it here but I heard a radio interview with a breastfeeding advocate who was foaming at the mouth about pacifiers and parents not sleeping in the same bed as an infant because they might cause a slight decrease in breastfeeding.

I'm not against breastfeeding but, if you haven't met one of the Lactose Lunatics, you can't begin to imagine how pompous, self-righteous, and condescending they are. You might have met non-smoking advocate, religious nuts of all stripes, health food fanatics, or anyone else with a Noble Cause but none compare to the Milk Mafia.

To the M.Mob, there can be no reason not to breast feed. Suppose a woman had breast cancer and had a mastectomy . Then she wasn't fit to become a mother in the first place. Suppose a woman can't produce enough milk. Then there is something seriously wrong with her and her child should be removed to a more proper setting.

They don't admit to feeling like Tom Cruise in that there's no such thing as postnatal depression (just dead aliens in your head) but they certainly act like it, hitting women when they're most vulnerable and causing as much guilt and pain as they can.

Again, I'm not against breastfeeding but if you'd rather see a child take a greater risk from SIDS than take anything but a natural nipple, I'd say you have problems.
Pumpkin Farm

Devilboy and -girl went to Shaw Farm for a field trip today. I rode with DB which caused DG to throw a fit but her bus was filled to capacity. He was wild and I had to pick him up a few times but compared to a few of his classmates, I guess I don't have so much to complain about.

For once, Peter Bronson wrote a decent column about what some of the kids and their families go through and as much as I bitch about it, DB has a good chance of a "normal" life. A lot of the kids and their families don't.

One of the strangest feelings from the trip was that it seemed like they didn't really need me. Any time I volunteered for Cincinnati Public, it was like the whole place would fall down without me (and probably still would despite my efforts). I guess it's a good thing that so many people volunteer but it doesn't give you the same "I'm-giving-my-damnedest-to-a-hopeless-cause" feeling that came with CPS.

Oh, well. They had a fun time and got pumpkins.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Brian at the Cincinnati blog posted about this idiot. I think if a paper that has endorsed every Republican presidential candidate except Lincoln says the bar owner is racist, it's hard to make an argument otherwise.

Is this an example of suburb or rural thinking? And does "suburb or rural thinking" even really exist anymore? The bar in question is a throw-back to when Mason was a good spot to buy a tractor or bulk volumes of squash. Mason in general is a suburb but Warren County is mixed at best.

Driving through Warren County, I pass mainly barns and corn fields. These are not representative symbols of a suburb. I've mentioned the anti-Catholic and white supremacist yard signs about a million times but they never stop amazing me. Is rural still applicable to any area in Ohio or is that reserved for REALLY rural parts of Kansas?

With relatives from Tennessee, Florida, and Texas, I can see that Warren County is West Paris compared to some of the mountain folk outside of Chattanooga. (And how do you class Point Barrow, Alaska? That's clearly beyond rural.)

On the other hand, can neighborhoods like Mt. Washington and Mt. Lookout be considered anything but suburbs? True, they're part of the city but they're less diverse than most of the municipalities bordering Cincinnati. I have several relatives in Mt. Washington but I wonder why anyone would live there. Nothing but ranch houses, barber shops, pizza places, cul-de-sacs AND a crappy school district.

I loved living in Clifton far more than any other place I've stayed but I'm not sure if it is truly "urban." Are we using words without meaning, and if so what would be a better classification?
Cars for Dogs

Honda designs a car with dogs in mind.

I think my dog is too big and too old for this to do any good but I'd probably still get more use out of it than a cigarette lighter.

One of five Japanese households have a dog? From my aunt and uncle's experiences in Singapore with dog-snatchers/dog-eaters, I would never have guessed.
How Much of the Internet Is Porn?

I haven't linked to the Straight Dope for a while but here's something that everyone must have considered--what percent of the Internet are pornographic?

Sadly no secondary links.
Banned Parent

Parental involvement is obviously a good thing but I agree it can be taken too far.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pope Scares Kids

Kinda funny. Not real funny but it made me smile.
No Porn in India (Especially Loud Porn)

One of the obnoxious things I was involved with in college was helping a guy hook up a huge stereo (relation to owners of the old Steinberg stores) to his television so he could blast porn at our neighbors. After about three minutes, he thought it would be funnier to play the Scorpions over the brilliant dialogue and sound effects. It was hilarious to watch but I don't think the neighbors heard anything but "Rock Me Like a Hurricane."

This could have been 90 days in India. Maybe if they had access to porn instead of having to do the real thing, their population wouldn't be so critical.
Gross Stuff on Snopes

Shark fishing using live dogs as bait. I'm betting this is a faked picture by a PETA-esque group but maybe I'm wrong.

Gator bursts through a python. Yep, that's a Florida alligator for ya. One of them puny Georgian gators could get eaten by a goldfish.
Been a Week

I didn't have office hours on Saturday because I had to pick up Devilgirl from my parents and yesterday I couldn't access any blogger page. Not that a lot has happened but it was annoying.

My e-mail was down for a few days (and right at the beginning of the quarter) and when I got it working again, I had 691 messages backed up. Virtually all were spam but I had a couple from students.

Devil B&G had school pictures yesterday. In his first set of pictures, he has a dazed expression. I have to wonder how these will turn out.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Decent Class

No one died during my emergency class but they were hoping for automatic "A"s and not entirely happy that the administration found a substitute instructor. (I don't blame them--having a professor skip town is on the level of the legendary roommate suicide rule.)

There's a high percent of teenage males which typically makes for rough work with poetry. In my other class, a good chunk of the young males have kids which make Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein references work. A lot of 18 year olds have made up their minds to hate poetry and nobody's gonna change it.

There's at least one SF/Fantasy fan who knows literature well but, in typical SF fan style, doesn't say a word. My favorite lit class was with a crazy comic/SF fan who related everything to comic books. I hope this guy opens up but he has a "heavy shy" feel to him.
Judge Bans Sex

A judge in Texas ordered a teenage girl not to have sex as part of her sentence.

Is this just judicial showboating? How are they going to prove that one way or another? A chastity belt? Does oral sex count? (Strong precedent that it doesn't.) Does masturbation?

I'm not in favor of the girl having sex but this looks more like the judge was playing to the media than trying to work for justice.
I'm Out of Here

I've been told where to go before but never like this:

#################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### #################################################### ####################################################
Your personality type is RCOAI
You are reserved, moderately calm, moderately organized, accommodating, and intellectual, and may prefer a city which matches those traits.

The largest representation of your personality type can be found in the these U.S. cities: Albuquerque/Santa Fe, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Tucson, Dallas/Ft. Worth, San Antonio, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Orange County, Los Angeles and these international countries/regions Indonesia, Ukraine, Denmark, Middle East, Czech Republic, India, Caribbean, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Guam, Israel, South Korea, Norway, Mexico

What Places In The World Match Your Personality?
City Reviews at


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Oh, That's What He Does

I only include this link because up until this point I had no idea who Kanye West was or what he did for a living. Either the articles I read about him simply mentioned him by name or I just skimmed the headlines of the story. I'll sleep easier tonight knowing he's a Pepsi-endorsing rapper.
More Class

Last Thursday one of the ENG 103 instructors never showed up for class and isn't answering phone calls. I was drafted as the replacement (now four days of classes and three days of Kroger).

I'm not sure what to expect. Thursday night classes in the fall are always compressed so condensing the syllabus even more might get rough for freshmen.

ENG 103 is the "Writing about Literature" sequence of College Writing. It's my favorite to teach but it's the hardest one to prune material out of.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Pop Explosion

If only I'd known this in school. How to make a bomb out of Coke and candy.
Eat Your Leaders

Fight hunger--eat a politician. Apparently it's happened in Holland.
New Orleans Gator

A while back I showed a pro-Florida bias, insinuating that only alligators in the Sunshine State grow into true monsters. I just read an account of a seven-foot alligator in New Orleans but it looks like it was somebody's pet.

In the St. Augustine alligator farm, they've got a 15-foot alligator (and that's northern Florida).
Little Willy Sighting

This might not seem like a big deal but the poetic form of the "Little Willy" has been on a decline for quite some time. Similar to the grue, the Little Willy is generally a four-line poem that involves death or hideous cruelty, usually to an individual named Little Willy.

Little Willy has turned up in Australia and now librarians want him out.
"Look Up in the Sky! It's a--"

Remember the idiot who claimed that Hurricane Katrina took the shape of an unborn fetus to punish sinners for abortions?

Snopes is claiming that this shape of Rita is legit. What the hell's the message here?
Slavic Gods

I'm a month and a half late bringing Myroslava T. Znayenko's The Gods of the Ancient Slavs: Tatishchev and the Beginning of Slavic Mythology back to the NKU library. Before I drop it off, I might as well post something from it.

From the Primary Chronicle of Vladimir (980AD), we get that the primary pagan gods of Russia included Perun, the chief god; Xors Dazbog; Stribog; Simargl; and Mokos.

Other sources include Volos, god of animals; Pozvizd (called Poxvist in Poland), god of air; Lado, god of the underworld (like Pluto but cheerful) who was appealed to for success in marriage; Kupalo, god of abundance; and Koljada, "honored in evil ceremonies on December 24."

Later sources (Russia became Christian about AD 1000) began to include "new and improved" gods that probably were distortions or outright lies including Zuarasici, the new chief Slavic god; Jesza, equivalent to Jupiter; Lada, Mars; Dzidzileyla, goddess of marriage; Dziewanna, Diana; Nya, Pluto; Marzanna, Ceres; Pogoda, weather god;) and Zywie, God of life.

The worship of Norse/Germanic gods invaded Russia so devotions to Thor, Wotan, and Frikko (god of peace and pleasure) were common, particularly in the west.

Some of the old gods were incorporated into Orthodox beliefs but nowhere near the extent that the Irish converted old gods into Catholic saints. Devotions to the spirit world (leaving food and milk to supernatural creatures) was well documented before the Russian Revolution and some of the stories still survive in modern folklore.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Hamsters are Crying

Last night my wife called me at Krogers to tell me the cat died. He was in the shower stall and must have gone through convulsions so that his back foot was caught in the drain cover.

My wife and daughter were in tears. According to D-girl, all her hamsters were crying too. D-boy didn't pay the slightest attention. My step-daughter said to my daughter (but probably really intended for my wife), "I don't see what's you're so sad about. Cats die every day." Gotta love those 12-year olds.

I buried him at Woodland Mound park this morning. The cat bit the hell out of all three kids and I can't honestly say I was ever very fond of him but I wish he hadn't died that way.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Pretty nasty crocodile via Snopes.
Deli Update

Ron just made me remember a couple of the stupid things that happened in the deli.

A third employee since mid-May went into a berserk screaming fit and quit/was fired. The one before this was the 19-year old who couldn't tell time ("I can tell time but not from those kinds [analog] of clocks.") She was also the one who had her crack dealer come to the store and threaten her for owing $300. She is expecting a baby in the next couple of months. Neither she or the father have any sort of legal employment.

Another employee had a "mini-stroke" on the job but was back working within a few days. Another just had surgery and will be out for the next few weeks. Another lost her dentures while waiting on a customer.

Over in the produce department, a customer began to shout at an elderly deaf mute employee over a question about celery. When another worker explained that the old woman could not hear or speak, the customer responded, "Then why did they hire her?" Again, the PRODUCE department with a job description of stacking and sorting vegetables. I think we can all agree that putting her in customer service would be an abuse of the ADA but I'd think paying her own way and not living off the government is a good thing. Maybe that's just me.

Actually my computer is up and running. I'm the one with the virus.

Big news is that right after I made my last post two weeks ago, I went home and found that my stepdaughter got in an argument with her mom and ran away.

My instincts were to give her a few hours and she'd be back but my wife went out searching for her and had me call the police.

An officer came by and took information about her but, before we'd finished, guess who was at the door?

He grilled her a little which seemed to help. Things have been calm since then but considering she's only 12 now, it should be an exciting six years.

My home computer is running again but I didn't get much of a chance to use it. The kids picked up a stomach virus that they both got over in a couple days. I've had it for nine days now and it's still going strong. On the bright side, at least I lost some weight.

D-boy and D-girl started the Early Childhoold program at Mercer Elementary this Monday. Other than losing his backpack on Tuesday (found on the bus on Wednesday), nothing major to report. It would be a great three hour break if I didn't have to spend it all in the bathroom.

UC is starting this week. I'm teaching two classes at Nagel Middle School, fairly close to my house. Last fall, they offered classes at Anderson High School--within a few quarters, I'll get moved to a day-care center.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thanks, Nana

With all the misery in the world right now, this shouldn't be a big deal. But I'd love to work this idiot over with a tire iron.
$6 Gas

SUVs crumble at the sight.
New (old) Computer

Well, the big news is that my home computer died. Looks like I'll be down to posting on Saturdays only. My dad had an old computer that I'm borrowing until I get mine fixed/replaced but I don't know yet if it even has a modem.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Germs Nicer than Americans

This is old news but it's the first I heard of it. I found it in Jeanette Farrell's Invisible Allies: Microbes that Shape our Lives (2005)

According to the "1941 Census of Bacteria in the United States," scientists estimated the number of good or neutral bacteria in the U.S. as 10,031,000 quintillion, vs. 308 quintillion bad ones.

This works out to one disease-causing bacteria to every 29,999 good or neutral ones.

Compared to humans in the U.S. at the same time, 7,569 people were convicted of murder, which comes to one killer per 17,000 humans. Based on these numbers, bacteria are twice as nice as people.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Fucking, Austria

Just the name of a town. Yahoo has an article on the unfortunately named(for English speakers) municipality.

Most of these quotes seem incredibly fake but years ago, Snopes published an article on this so "Fucking" in and of itself seems legit.

"I'm looking for Fucking."
"Vienna wasn't as much fun as Fucking."
"My, there are quite a number of Fucking old people here tonight."

And so it goes.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

More Blood

First day of class and what happens? The blood blister (or small tumor) on my finger rips open and gushes blood like a fire hose. I had to rip a piece off an old baby blanket and tape it over my finger to dam it up.

Meanwhile, I am unable to strike the semi-colon key with any degree of accuracy.
Chupacabra Captured?

Even the Scooby Doo series, which backed the existence of Nessie, openly dismissed the possibility of the chupacabra. Now a Texan is claiming he's caught one.

I dunno--it still looks phony.
I'm an Evil Person

I can't help but laugh.

Yes, it's horrible and I'm a sick, sick monster to snicker but I can't keep it inside.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Literature Suppressed on Social Grounds

At last, the final chapter. This has a good mix of nuts, all across the political spectrum. Again, I tried to force many of the censors into left/right positions when they might be better described as just plain crazy.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)
Conservative: First banned in the Concord Public Library of Massachusetts and later libraries for language, behavior, and use of alcohol.

Liberal: Confiscated in Soviet Union, no explanation given (along with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer); 1957 the NAACP protested for racism and demanded it removed from NYC schools; 1969, Miami Dade Junior College removed it from required reading lists because it created emotional problems for black students that inhibited learning; repeatedly challenged and removed from schools for racial language

Other: Taylor County High School of Butler, Georgia objected to the "improper grammar"

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (1947)
You Call It: Repeatedly revised and edited in early publications; challenges due to sexual content, that the book "undermines adult authority, portrayal of "the mistreatment of the Jewish people" and Jewish girls; in 1983, four members of the Alabama Textbook Commission wanted to pull the book from schools because they felt it was "a real downer."

Annie on my Mind, Nancy Garden (novel about two girls who fall in love, 1982)
Conservative: Challenged and removed from school libraries because "it promotes and encourages the gay lifestyle" (despite the fact that the girls suffer and are humiliated for being lesbians)

Another Country, James Baldwin (1962)
Conservative: J. Edgar Hoover personally sent a copy of the book to FBI laboratories, upset over the interracial sex and homosexuality; bookseller arrested in New Orleans in 1963 for having copies of the book in stock

Appointment in Samarra, John O'Hara (1934)
Conservative: Boston's Watch and Ward Society, U.S. Post Office (banned from distribution by mail and placed on the U.S. Post Office Index of Banned Books, something I never knew existed), New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, National Organization for Decent Literature which had the book banned for sale in St. Cloud, Minnesota; Port Huron, St. Clair County, Michigan; and Detroit. The NODL limited sales in many other areas until the organization dissolved in the 1950s.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1791)
Conservative: Franklin's grandson, William Temple Franklin made 1,200 changes to an edition he published; various other publishers; the U.S. Post Office (due to sexual content and flatulence jokes)

Baby Be-Bop, Francesca Lia Block (young adult novel, 1995)
Conservative: bans in school libraries (homosexual themes and language)

The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1963)
Conservative: "People who Care" and various school challenges for sexual content, use of birth control, negative attitude towards marriage; says a member of People who Care: "School decisions should be based on the absolutes of Christian behavior."

Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin (1961)
Conservative: various school challenges; described as "integration-centered, vulgar, filthy and unsuitable for any age level"; restricted in Missouri "because of black people being in the book.") One protestor explained, "In a rural community, people don't care to have their children read about Negroes,"

Brave New World, Aldous Huxley (1932)
Conservative: Banned in Ireland (1932); various school challenges ("language and moral content")

The Canterbury Tales (1387-1400)
Conservative: Fundamentalist Christians and various school challenges for "sexual explicitness," "vulgar language," "Promotion of women's lib" [from a minister in Florida], and promotion of communism [in 1953, Texans objected to the book because it was illustrated by a suspected Marxist]

Captain Underpants
Conservative: School challenges for humor based on "bathroom and bodily functions"; described as "a piece of poop," "irreverence to authority," and "no moral value to that poop character."

Catch-22 (1961)
Conservative: School challenges ("completely sick," "garbage")

Liberal: School challenges (treatment of women, one female character is only referred to as "Nately's whore")

The Catcher in the Rye (1951)
Conservative: Australia and America (a censorship group made a Smutmobile that they promoted around Oklahoma City when the state government debated censorship issues)
Objections because the book is "filthy and profane," promoted premarital sex and homosexuality, "explicitly pornographic," 785 uses of profanity, belief that the books was "part of a communist plot that was gaining a foothold in the schools," "centered around negative activity," and "the Lord's name is taken in vain."

A Clockwork Orange (1962)
Conservative: bookseller arrested for obscenity by stocking the novel in Orem, Utah; various school challenges

Cujo (1981)
Conservative: School challenges for "unacceptable language," "violence," "profane and sexually objectionable," "explicit sex scenes"; described as "a bunch of garbage"

The Drowning of Stephan Jones, Bette Greene (novel about homophobia, 1991)
Conservative: Removed or challenged from school libraries because it promotes "anti-Christian beliefs" and "illegal activity" (presumably homosexuality). One parent described the book as "a rattlesnake that needed to be killed right then and right there."

Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
You Call It: In 1967, the publisher edited out 75 passages to eliminate words like "damn," "hell," and "abortion" to heighten sales. Bradbury was not informed by the publisher but only learned about it in 1979. He demanded the book be restored.

Conservative: A few school districts; Venado Middle School blacked out all objectionable words with black marker.

Quote from the book I'd forgotten: "the word ‘intellectual' became the swear word it deserved to be."

Fallen Angels, Walter Dean Myers (Novel about Vietnam, 1988)
Conservative: Challenged or banned in many schools (Contains 300 "vulgarities")

Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying (1991)
Conservative (but not Americans): Varying degrees of bans and challenges in Australia, New Zealand, France, and England

Go Ask Alice (1971)
Conservative: Massive school challenges (drug use, sexual situations, homosexuality; words including "shitty, goddamned, pissing, ass, goddamned be Jesus, screwing, ass, and shit.")

Howl and Other Poems, 1956
Conservative: Seized as obscene in the U.S. (even after U.S. Customs cleared the book); described as "coarse and vulgar"; containing words like "cock," "fuck," "ass," "cunt," "gyzym," and "asshole"

Last Exit to Brooklyn, Hubert Selby Jr. (1964)
Conservative: American and European but the most severe in England. The last major novel, poem, or play prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act of 1959.

Leaves of Grass (1855)
Conservative: American and English, including Boston's Watch and Ward Society and the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice; book stores refused to carry it from initial publication; banned in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia.
In a landmark of the American legal system, jurors in New York were told that the poems were "too grossly obscene and lewd to be placed on the records of the court." In other words, they were asked to find it obscene without reading or hearing it.

One critic said of the book, "a generation cannot be entirely pure which tolerates writers who, like Walt Whitman, commit, in writing, an offense like that indictable at common law of walking naked through the streets."

Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown (autobiography, 1965)
Conservative: Baton Rouge's Concerned Citizens and Taxpayers for Decent Books and various schools; described as "too explicit" and "filth and obscenity"; one protestor was quoted as saying students "have no need to understand life in a black ghetto."

Liberal: Parkrose High School of Oregon ("women are degraded")

Naked Lunch (1959)
Conservative: Last literary work to be legally declared obscene; described as "mentally sick" and "grossly offensive"

Of Mice and Men (1937)
Conservative: Banned in Ireland (1953); banned in many U.S. municipalities by school groups including the Parents' Coalition of Hamilton, Ohio; challenged by the Klu Klux Klan of Greenville, North Carolina in 1977 for "profanities and using God's name in vain," parent claimed her daughter was a victim of "psychological and emotional abuse" by reading it in school; described as "vulgar" and "Steinbeck is known to have had an anti-business attitude"; 108 uses of profanity;
"It should be burned up, put in a fire," said an unnamed minister in Hamilton, Ohio

Liberal: NAACP; various school challenges; (use of the word "nigger"; 12 racial slurs throughout the novel; treatment of the mentally retarded)

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962)
Liberal: Use of "racial slurs" such as "nigger," "coons," "boys," and "Jap"; portrayal of women

Conservative: Use of "obscene, filthy language" such as "boobs," "bitch," "fuck," "ballcutter,"; descriptions of "bestiality, bizarre violence and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination."

The Scarlet Letter (1850)
Conservative: American clergy and Tsar Nicholas I (Tsar Alexander II lifted many of Nicholas's bans, including many American works)

Described as "a dirty story," should only be in "a Brothel Library," "brokerage of lust" (in two separate occasions), and charged with promoting prostitution, adultery, and illegitimate children.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1960)
Liberal: Use of "nigger"; "institutional racism"

Conservative: Use of "damn" and "whore lady"; "anti-white"