Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Here's a question I doubt Miss Manners covers: If you sponge off someone else to work on your computer and they use to look for porn, do you say anything? Not illegal porn but not the stuff you'd find in Cincinnati. On the one hand, it's not doing anything permanent; on the other, I feel like a cyber-pimp.
A long while ago, I checked out George Pendle's Strange Angel: The Otherworldly Life of Rocket Scientist John Whiteside Parsons and finally got around to reading it.
A long while back, I brought up Parsons in a post:
In June of 1952, while working in his garage/lab in Pasadena, Jack Parsons, chemist for the Caltech Rocket Propulsion program, mixed cordite and fulminate of mercury. The resulting explosion killed him and tore apart his house. Initially investigators had a hard time believing an experienced chemist would make such a careless mistake.
The most convincing explanation that anyone ever came up for his death was that Parsons had been reading the works of Aleister Crowley and attempted to create the "homunculus," a tiny man/demon that granted magical powers. Crowley's homunculus recipe called for a cordite/mercury mix and apparently Parsons followed it without thinking.
The homuculus was mentioned but it's actually a far-fetched theory. It's possible it was murder (Parsons had been an expert witness for a bombing case) or simply an accident. One of his closest friend blamed the explosion on the fact Parson had sweaty hands so that the vial of mercury could have slipped out of his grip.
He did have direct ties with Crowley but much worse was his relationship to L. Ron Hubbard. He was L.Ron's fencing partner until he stole Parsons' girlfriend, Betty. Witnesses confirm L.Ron was "making out with her right in front of Parsons." Shortly after this a friend saw Parsons in a ritual that looked like he was trying summon a demon to take out L.Ron (Parsons later explained that he was simply trying to conjure a new lover). After the ritual the electricity went out and L.Ron was struck violently in the shoulder, paralyzing him for the night. He and Parsons reported a yellow glowing entity that they chased from the house with swords.
L.Ron also entered into a business arrangement with Jack which seemed to have drained Parsons of his money and ended his rocketry research but it might just be the dead aliens in my head telling me that. L.Ron bought three yachts and planned to leave the country on them with Betty. Parsons took L.Ron to court and got back a small fraction of his money but did not press criminal charges. A month later L.Ron and Betty married. Scientologists claim that the U.S. Navy sent Hubbard to break up Parson's "black magic cult" and that Betty had been "rescued," but Hubbard once wrote Parsons a letter, offering to give Betty back. Betty came to Parsons' funeral. By that time, she and L.Ron had divorced.
L. Sprague de Camp was involved in the situation through Hubbard and Parsons' ties to science fiction. De Camp wrote a letter to Isaac Asimov about the events, warning to beware of Hubbard, that he was "looking for another easy mark."
The use of the words "Rocket Scientist" in the book's title was deliberate. For much of Parsons' life, rocketry was the equivalent to UFOlogy or ghost-hunting. In Congress in 1941, a rocket scientist was ridiculed as "a crackpot with mental delusions that we can travel to the moon!" The entire House of Representatives was said to have burst into laughter. Rocket science was such a joke that it spawned a novelty song, "Oh, They're Going to Shoot a Rocket to the Moon, Love."
Rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard was mocked mercilessly for his advances. Unable to stand the humiliation, in 1930 he moved from Massachusetts to . . . Roswell, New Mexico. And now you know the rest of the story.
Sunday, July 24, 2005
I wrote a book about all sorts of paranormal subjects a few years ago (one official rejection; two never bothered to respond at all) and of all the unlikely beliefs out there, the "moon landing hoax" came across as the goofiest. . . which is just what THEY want you to think.
Via Hoax Museum, top ten moon landing myths.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Brock Kentman: Hello, this is your Emmy-award winning anchorman, Brock Kentman, and here are tonight's top stories.
[Cuts to footage of American Southwest]
BK: The age-old question, "Are we alone in the universe?" has been answered. Just minutes ago, a huge, silver craft blotted out the sky over Albuquerque before landing on the roof of city hall. From it emerged huge, orange-skinned humanoids who threaten to reduce the Earth to a smoldering cinder unless:
[Cue alien audio]
Alien: "Unless your Earth females cease to devour their mates after intercourse."
BK: It seems the aliens have mistaken humanity for the praying mantis. Scientists are scrambling to correct--
Joe the Troll: Excuse me but you have omitted a crucial element of that story.
BK: What are you talking about?
JT: Was the sky cloudy?
JT: You said, and I quote, "a huge, silver craft blotted out the sky over Albuquerque." It couldn't blot out the sky if the sky were already blotted out by clouds. Ipso facto.
BK: How many years of unending psychological torment did you endure to twist your mind into even thinking of that question?
JT: I have asked you repeatedly and yet you continue to dodge the main issue. I know it's difficult for card-carrying Communists like yourself--
BK: Who said anything about Communists?
JT: But provide the specifics of the atmospheric conditions over Albuquerque.
BK: Fine (consults with weatherman). It's a dry day in New Mexico with humidity of less than 2% and nary a cloud in the sky. So even if weather conditions were something to consider, you still wouldn't have had a point.
JT: Is "a point" something you say to people who disagree with you?
BK: Page two. It's a sad day for the British Royal Family. Fluter, Prince Charles' favorite Corgi, broke free from his lead and was crushed by a steam roller. The steam roller lost control and crashed off the cliffs of Dover.
JT: Pardon me, oh snippy one, but isn't it now night in England?
BK: If you need a new prescription for your medication, I'm willing to forge one.
JT: You said "day" but, considering the time difference, for our friends and allies, the Anglos, it is now night.
BK: The Oxford English Dictionary defines "day" as a period of 24 hours, including the period of darkness commonly referred to as night.
JT: What is this dictionary of which you speak? Are you calling me a dick?
BK: In entertainment news, Tom Cruise confounded his critics by shoving a pogo stick in both nostrils and completed the first nasal-hopping crossing of the United States.
JT: And what do you mean by "event horizon"?
BK: I never said anything remotely like that.
JT: So now you're denying the existence of black holes?
BK: Where are you getting this? Were your parents incompetent jugglers?
JT: Your comments are amusing but chronically incorrect. I await my apology.
BK: Let's hope those aliens hurry up with their death ray.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
I've been feeling too beat to write another episode of Devilboy but I just had some inspiration.
Someone rang the bell earlier today and Devilboy thought it was his grandma. He ran out only to find a couple of Jehova Witnesses. Not seeing his grandma sent him into a screaming fit, driving them away.
He might break computers, televisions, VCRs, blinds, beds, and bookcases but he's good for something.
Done with classes until the end of August (NKU) and the end of September (UC-Clermont). Just have to read 19 papers about Supersize Me and one about Paradise Lost.
I scrolled down to the end of the blog to see what would get bumped. Back on July 6, I wrote about the horrible blood blister. It hasn't leaked lately but it's still going strong. I'm checking E-bay for blow torches.
Does anyone refer to chicken thighs as "bags"? I heard someone say that the other day and wondered if that was a rare form of slang or plain lunacy.
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
You're American Samoa!
You were just minding your own business when someone swooped down and
started telling you what to do. It's hard to say whether life is better or worse than it
was, but you feel forever clutched by this dominating force. In the meantime, life is
fairly relaxed. You eat lots of fish, hang out on sun-bleached beaches, and try to keep
from overheating. It just seems like all your friends are more independent than you are.
Typhoon has always been one of your favorite words.
Take the State Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
Is this talking about my marriage?
Snopes lists this as "undetermined" but it's presented as a case of a pit bull vs. porcupine (disturbing photo but not as bad as the guy with his head on a stake).
I've heard of dogs getting dozens of quills but this many? Fortunately my experience with dogs vs. wildlife is restricted to possums, rats, raccoons, deer, fleas, and ticks. (Thank God no skunks.)
I just heard that Ricky Williams might return to the Dolphins. I hated Williams through no fault of his own. Before he began his career in the NFL, I heard a poll of football fans picked him as a better player than Red Grange. It wasn't Williams' fault that the fans in question made such a bone-headed decision (this was before Williams played a single down in the NFL) but I always kept an irrational dislike for him.
He's going to have his work cut out for him if he does return (and his old suspension will return as well).
As I heard the news on the radio, I remembered my personal experience with a bone-headed football decision. Back in college I was part of an intramural team that went unbeaten and unscored upon for the regular season but lost in the first round of the championships.
Some of the star players kept big egos about their performance. Since intramural games were touch football, they got the idea that the key to a successful football team was skinny, fast wide receivers (for those of you who know me, I didn't play much that season). The skinny boys challenged the other players, including me, to a game and trash-talked nonstop up until it started.
The score was something like 248-0 when they gave up. When we had the ball, we ran one play and scored a touchdown every time. When they had the ball, they either got immediately sacked or fumbled for a touchdown. They were outweighed by at least 100 pounds per player (one guy on our side was over 340) and finally realized that, while fat guys might not do well with touch football, they do a lot better with tackle.
Not much of a point to the story, just aimless reminiscing , but that's what you get with a blog called the Rambler.
I felt a little bad for Joe, not knowing that he's a troll and all. What is a troll? Are you a troll? Find out here: Cecil Adams defines "troll."
In Joe's defense, a troll isn't always wrong with his opinions (although perhaps Joe isn't the best example of this) but is wrong in motivation. Going to a Holocaust denier's web page or the Free Republic and making sensible comments just to get a reaction really doesn't accomplish much. Unless I know the web master or the material is presented on a professional forum, I don't see the point at sniping at much (then again, maybe this has to do with not being a virgin living in my parents' basement).
Is anyone out there a closet troll? (Joe: your opinions are baseless; there is no reason for you to respond.) Do you comment on pages you disagree with simply to stir the pot? Isn't there enough quality porn on the Internet that you could find something more productive?
Monday, July 18, 2005
After the thumb slicing and death last week, thankfully nothing of the ordinary happened.
A teenage boy found a bunch of bugs in one of the deli sandwiches. The manager on duty had me throw out the contaminated lettuce and replace the sandwich. Since the manager doesn't really own the store and possibly owns no corporate stock, this was clearly an act of blatant touchy-feely socialism.
There have been several collections for Bonnie's children. I doubt if it will go far but at least it was something.
If anyone remembers the legal situation with my wife's niece, the last I've heard, there have been no developments whatsoever. I joked that the police were deliberately dragging things out until she turned 18 but maybe that's exactly what they're doing. More power to them if they are.
On a weird note, one of our hamsters went psycho for no apparent reason. Within a few days he went from the sweetest, most gentle of the whole bunch to a blood-thirsty biting machine. In a horror movie, this would be the start of a planet-wide plague that transforms animals into zombies but I think it might have been the humidity.
A while back Covington posted some stories about a nutcase who described bestiality as common and apparently wanted to have sex with a washing machine (I guess I could go back and find the stories but I'd rather not). I didn't believe how common he made it out to be. Perhaps I was wrong.
I have no horror remaining. My mind has been burned clean of emotions. I have become comfortably numb.
Here's something you don't see everyday (unless you visit the web page everyday).
Snopes describes it as:
Rubber Johnny documents a 16-year-old, inbred mutant's solitary existence, locked in a pitch-black basement by his ashamed parents. They are TV addict rednecks who occasionally feed Johnny and yell at him for making noise. Johnny's only company in the basement is his little dog. His dog's I.Q. far outstrips Johnny's, who is a completely insane, bi-polar imbecile.
I only watched part of it on a computer without sound. If anyone has the stomach for it, what the hell is going on?
What gets my mind off my troubles? Seeing people freak out about animals that statistically they have no reason to worry about.
Here's two snake photo ops, python (although I didn't think pythons had teeth like that) and rattler. My cousin had a ball python that he donated to the Cleveland Zoo (after being turned down by half a million other places) and its teeth didn't look at all like the snake in the photo. Then again, human teeth aren't the same as a spider monkey's.
Here's a shark attack quiz from MSN. Finally got a perfect score on something so vitally important!
Saturday, July 16, 2005
No real surprises.
The Enquirer finally ran a notice in the obits.
MARCONNET Bonnie G. of Newtown, Age 41. Loving mother of Kaneanna L. Cress and Robert Paul Marconnet. Daughter of Lurrie E. Young Cress and Herman E. Cress Sr. Dear sister of Iva Dean, Sharon Simpson, Jack, Eddie, Dwayne, Logan and Anthony Cress. July 12, 2005. Visitation 10 A.M. Monday till 12 Noon time of service at the MOORE FAMILY FUNERAL HOME, 225 Spring St., BATAVIA. Interment Batavia Union Cemetery.
I know it's unlikely if anyone would have the opportunity to pay respects in person but try to at least say a prayer. The situation was even worse than I thought. Her husband left her with two kids and she worked two full time jobs to support them. They had a collection at work but I doubt if it will go very far. Bonnie gave everything she had to her family and society but society didn't seem eager to lend anything back. Sorry if that sounds socialist--let me make amends: "Karl didn't technically do anything illegal."
A lot of goofy stuff happened with the midnight sale of the Harry Potter book last night but I'll wait until I'm in a better mood.
Friday, July 15, 2005
The latest news from the deli is so bizarre that I'm using my broken-down home computer to post it instead of waiting until I get to NKU. If anyone could volunteer to be an undercover blog reporter to get more information, I would deeply appreciate it.
On Tuesday night the newest deli worker, a 41-year old woman named Bonnie, began to have trouble standing. She went in the back of the deli to rest but collapsed. The other workers called 911 and she was rushed to the hospital.
The other workers wanted to check her condition so Robyn, the one in charge, went to the manager to ask which hospital she'd been admitted to.
The manager, whom I will call Ms. L., said, quote: "She didn't make it. But don't go back and tell them that."
Robyn refused to even pretend to go along with it so Ms. L. grudgingly walked over to the deli to tell the others that Bonnie, again quote, "didn't make it." She then said that the deli was to remain open because, quote, "You have a job to do."
They closed anyway which normally would have been a big deal. Surprisingly to me, no customers made an issue of it.
Management put up a small notice near the time clocks saying that Bonnie had "passed on" but none of the details. Last fall when another worker in the deli died of cancer, they didn't acknowledge her so I'm assuming this is rumor-control. The notice has been heavily edited by hand by both workers and management and if anyone has a digital camera and could post the evolution of the changes, I am willing to compensate. (The time clocks are to the right of the entrance, between customer service and the restrooms.)
If anyone has the time to do this, I would love to hear what management would say if asked about the situation. If you're near Anderson, go to the customer service counter and say, "I couldn't help but see the notice by the time clocks. I used to know her [or insert plausible explanation of your own]; what happened?" I would love to hear what they'd say.
Finally Bonnie's funeral is on Monday, July 18 in Batavia Ohio if anyone wants to pay respects. I didn't think to get much more information last night but I'll try tonight.
Some things I should add to the last post (I adjusted Blogger's time so this would appear second):
Ms. L and the manager who was so indifferent to the worker who cut her thumb are not the same person.
I tried to find more information in the obituary notices at Cincinnati.com but nothing came up. I'll try again tomorrow. I'm not positive of her last name or where she lived or even if Bonnie is short for something else.
Two of the people involved talked about filing a union grievance last night but I'm not sure if anything will come of it.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
As a follow-up to my co-worker who cut off the chunk of her thumb, the day after that happened the same manager who was more concerned about her customer than her injury, accused her of stealing a bottle of fruit juice. There was no evidence of this but she still got a stern talking-to in the meat cooler. I'm scheduled to work tomorrow night--I'm not sure if she'll still be there.
But the latest idiocy in my life was that the bank sent me a letter threatening to foreclose on our mortgage. In hindsight, I'd made the stupid decision to pay with a money order (my wife shares the account and has been known to cause major payments to bounce) and pay at the deposit box after hours. They claimed they never received it.
If it had been a check, I could have just canceled it and wrote out another but I had to contact the money order company, have them put out a trace, only to find that it had not been cashed and that it would take a fee and a longer wait than the bank was allowing me to refund it.
This afternoon I gave up talking to the bank on the phone and went in with Devilboy and Devilgirl in hyper-want-to-go-swimming mode. D-boy screamed the whole time but after a half hour, the payment envelope reappeared. I hope this is the end of it but I know I'll be on the phone with them tomorrow.
Tomorrow is D-boy's third birthday which added to the whole frantic mess.
Here's the story--a mother wants her 14-year old daughter to use the same locker room as the boys on her hockey team. Details here.
My 12-year old stepdaughter is going to an all-girls' volleyball camp this week and I don't think under any circumstance that I'd want her sharing a locker room with teenage boys. Legally I can see where the mom is coming from but even if she was given a curtained-off area for herself, I can imagine the stories this could create in her future high school.
Today we went to the library and she checked out three Batman graphic novels and one of them looked especially graphic. At what age should she read A Prayer for Dawn? I'm without a clue.
Monday, July 11, 2005
The blood blister oozed some more after my shower this morning but looks like it's finally stopped. Just in time for another disgusting story of bloody injury and cannibalism.
On Sunday, one of the girls in the deli had to cut "three-quarter inch thick pieces of salami" (it's now in vogue to get thick pieces of turkey, ham, and other meat at the deli to "dice up for a salad." The older trend of "paper thin...for wraps!" is now a culinary "out").
The slicers are not designed for such thick slabs of meat (they're also not designed for salami, bologna, pepperoni, or any other long thin lunchmeat) and she wound up cutting a three-quarter inch thick piece off the length of her thumb.
After she ran in the back for the first aid kit, our manager's first words were: "Which one was your customer? What were you getting him?"
As she was led off for the hospital, I took apart the slicer to wash the blood and bits of human flesh off it. (This is required by the Board of Health; otherwise I doubt if they'd let me.)
Customers behind me became surly--"What is he doing? I've been waiting for 15 minutes."
When informed that we were short-handed and that I was cleaning off strips of bloody human flesh, they responded with "Well, why doesn't he do it after he waits on me?"
One woman demanded that another worker wash the slicer next to me. When told that it was free of human flesh, she didn't care. She insisted that the area underneath the slicer be washed as well. (I have no explanation for this--it just added to the wait and got others angrier.)
The girl with half the thumb hasn't been working long enough to have health insurance. I can only hope that someone in management will pick up the hospital bill but it's possible that she could have been crippled for life for a job that doesn't pay significantly above minimum wage.
I could figure why people wait in lines at the deli when they could just pick up the packaged lunchmeat at their convenience. Now it's clear--it's that tangy human thumb goodness.
Ever hear "I've dropped enough acid that I'm legally insane"? Probably not, usually it's phrased even more incoherently. Nonsense but brings back the memories.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
About a week ago I bumped my hand at work and even though it hardly hurt at first, it developed into the first blood blister of my life.
On Monday when I was making the bed, I saw a pizza-sized bloodstain on the pillow. First I thought I had a nose bleed or my dog scratched himself bloody but, no, the blister burst.
It's bled nonstop ever since, just a drizzle but after a while it soaks through any sized bandage and drips over whatever I'm near. Naturally this happened when I was grading papers so the class has something else to laugh about.
Everything I've found on the Internet about blood blisters just says to give them time but I'm feeling a couple pints low at this point.
Are there any two sweeter word to see on a class plan than "Movie Day"? Given the choice of everyone watching any documentary outside of class or watching one specific documentary in class, Advanced Comp. opted for seeing Supersize Me tonight (which saves them time and rental fees but personally I'd go for individual choice).
I was geared up against it but Morgan Spurlock presented it well enough that it was at least enjoyable. I noticed he used the "closeups for good guys; midshots for baddies" strategy of awkward film students.
Creative use of vomit.
Overall not a bad class.
Friday, July 01, 2005
If I vanish and get thrown in Gitmo, maybe I'll get something published. Probably not.
Maybe I shouldn't have posted the story about fish-boy. (Not that I'd care.)