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August 17th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

The Truth is Out There

» by in: Paranormal

Well, I dreamed I saw the silver space ships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun
There were children crying
And colors flying
All around the chosen ones
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun
They were flying Mother Nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun
Flying Mother Nature’s silver seed to a new home

After the Gold Rush ©1970 by Neil Young

Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The controversy surrounding Man’s first mission on the lunar surface is as strong as ever, perhaps even more so.

Let’s suppose you discover something incredible that would have a huge impact on humanity, yet were sworn to secrecy. Such an enormous burden would no doubt cause a great deal of inner conflict. How would it take its toll? Would you try to escape it by becoming an alcoholic and spiraling into depression [1]? Would you write a book about it, couching the facts as fiction? Would you appear on a sitcom, getting everything off your chest by treating it as comedy [2]?

All of these are ways former American astronauts have tried to cope. I’ll be going over them in more detail later. First things first – what is the incredible secret?

Thanks to former astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, we now know. He was the 6th man to walk on the moon, and along with Alan Shepherd from Apollo 14, holds the record for the longest moon walk at 9 hours 17 minutes.Sometime during the week of 20 July 2008, the 77 year old Mitchell appeared on Kerrang! Radio in the UK.Here’s what he revealed: [3] [4] Mitchell
Dr. Edgar Mitchell
  • UFOs and aliens exist
  • They’re in contact with our governments
  • Governments have been covering up these facts for 60 years or so
  • Aliens have visited us several times
  • A government official described the aliens as “little people who look strange to us.”
  • Aliens look like traditional “greys” — short, slight frame, large eyes and large head.
  • Our technology isn’t nearly as sophisticated as theirs
  • If their intent was hostile, they would have destroyed us by now
  • The Roswell crash ws real
  • The government continues to investigate incidents

Of course, NASA denies everything.

Reaction to the news has been typical. Most people refuse to believe him, laughing and thinking he’s off his rocker. This has been the mainstream reaction for decades now, with authorities ignoring, ridiculing, or discrediting witnesses until people stopped coming forward.

Also, people tend to not want to hear about unpleasant things, such as pus in their milk [5][6], or things that don’t agree with their views, such as about 95% of egyptologists who don’t want to hear that the sphinx and pyramids are at least three times older than they thought [7] [8].

At any rate, this is one witness who’s going to be hard to discredit. The government can’t ridicule him, since doing so would be admitting their screening program for astronauts is deeply flawed. How would a “whacko” have made it so far through the program that he walked on the moon? Their only options are to ignore him and deny everything. NASA chose the latter.In a letter to Kerrang!’s producer[3], NASA stated:
Communion Alien

“Dear Alex,
NASA does not track UFOs.
NASA is not involved in any sort of cover up about alien life on this planet or anywhere in the universe.
Dr Mitchell is a great American, but we do not share his opinion on this issue.
Thanks for the opportunity to comment.”

The Vatican, however, tells us that if aliens did exist, they’d be God’s creatures just as we are.[9] The same day the Mitchell story broke, the Pope’s astronomer said there would be there would be nothing surprising about the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrials.

“Just as there is a multiplicity of creatures on Earth, so there could be other beings created by God [beyond it],” he said.

The existence of alien beings would not create a problem for believers, he insisted, “because one cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God… They would be part of creation.”

So here we have two new sources that seem to be preparing us, trying to acclimate us to the idea that aliens exist. Why?

Former astronaut, former Senator John Glenn allegedly asked to guest star on the hit TV Show Frasier, appearing as himself.[10] The “DocuDrama” episode aired in March 2001. Here are some of his lines:

“Back in those glory days, I was very uncomfortable when they…asked us to say things that I didn’t want to say, and deny other things…

“Some people ask, you know, “were you alone out there?” And we never gave the real answer, and yet we’ve seen things out there, strange things…

“But we know what we saw out there, and we couldn’t really say anything, and the bosses were scared of this, they were afraid of ‘War of the Worlds’ type-stuff, and about panic in the streets, and so we had to keep quiet, and now we only see these things in our – well, in our nightmares, or maybe in-in the movies, and some of them are pretty close to being the truth…”

Glenn draws the path of a U.F.O. with his finger, zipping and stopping from one point to another with incredible speed, making whishing noises.[2]

Visitors
Dude! Visitors!
John Glenn
John Glenn

Was he only joking? Or was he trying to get a message across? We may never know.


References

1. Astronaut joins chorus questioning moon project
by Robert Block and Mark K. Matthews, 1 Aug 2008
SentinelSource.com
http://sentinelsource.com/articles/2008/08/01/features/technology/free/id_316412.txt

2. Frasier Season 8 Episode 16: DocuDrama Transcript
by Sam Johnson & Chris Marcil (Original Airdate: 6 March 2001)
TWIZTV.com
http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Derby/3267/816.html

3. Astronaut Says Aliens Are Real
Kerrang! Radio
http://www.kerrangradio.co.uk/Article.asp?id=804160
(Audio broadcast at page bottom)

4. NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell claims alien contact cover-up
News.com
published by The Daily Telegraph
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,24070088-13762,00.html

5. How Much Pus is in Milk?
by Robert Cohen
NotMilk.com
http://www.notmilk.com/pusmilk.html

6. Got Pus? Milk Does: PETA Store
cafepress.com
http://www.cafepress.com/petastore/1650673

7. Erosion Processes on the Great Sphinx and its Dating
by Dr. Robert Schoch, 1999
Universit degli studi di Bergamo
http://www.unibg.it/convegni/NEW_SCENARIOS/Abstracts/Schoch.htm

8. The Great Sphinx Dating Debate
by Dr. Robert Schoch
The Morien Institute
http://www.morien-institute.org/sphinx2.html

9. Pope’s astronomer insists alien life ‘would be part of God’s creation’
By Peter Popham
The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/popes-astronomer-insists-alien-life-would-be-part-of-gods-creation-828303.html

10. Book review by “Dr. Ali Fant Computer Science Ed.D”
Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA
By Richard Hoagland and Mike Bara
Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Mission-Secret-History-NASA/dp/1932595260/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217117795&sr=1-1


August 3rd, 2008 at 3:11 am

To Be a Rock and Not To Roll

» by in: music

Rock is dead they say
Long live rock
Long live rock
I need it every night
Long live rock
come on and join the line
Long live rock
be it dead or alive

Long Live Rock, ©1972 by The Who

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to the upcoming Boston & Styx concert. Two bands I never saw in their heyday, and would love to see play live now. In the late ’70’s and early ’80’s, when they were both releasing new albums and their new songs were played regularly on the radio, who would have thought that there would come a day when they’d fade away, with no one to take their place? It was rock and roll, and it was never supposed to die.

Then one day you wake up and rock and roll is now called classic rock, and the radio stations that play it only have the same 30 songs, playing them over and over as if there wasn’t this enormous 30 year library to choose from.

I began to wonder why these bands were starting to tour again. Peter Frampton, Steve Miller, Journey, and many others from that era. I doubt if they need the money, so I tried to think of other reasons. Obviously, they enjoy performing and going on tour, but that couldn’t be the only incentive.

Then it came to me – when rock and roll became classic rock, radio stations weren’t playing new rock. Even now, over the past two or three years, take a look at who has released new CDs: The Rolling Stones, Journey, David Gilmour, Peter Frampton, Bob Seger, Neil Young, The Black Crowes, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Robin Trower and Jack Bruce, REO Speedwagon, and more. How many songs have you heard from those CDs being played on the radio? Maybe one or two, but most likely none.

Why? Because there’s no on-air venue. No contemporary rock stations. Even though there’s this huge market out there, it remains untapped. Rock and roll hasn’t died, it’s just been shelved. It’s out there if you search for it.

This premature death of rock and roll has left a huge vacuum. I think the older bands realize that and are trying to fill it in their own way, in the only remaining venue for rock and roll. If you play it, they will come. I’m still buying their new releases, except now they’re on small plastic discs instead of large vinyl ones.

If radio station managers would wake up and hear the music, they’d have a huge audience. We’re out here, and we’re just waiting. I would love to listen to a radio station that plays new music from “classic rock” artists, or even a mix of “classic rock” and the artists’ new music. Any station with that format would be stealing away an entire generation from their competitors.

But station managers who insist on playing only classic rock? Bunch of idiots.

July 1st, 2008 at 8:14 pm

Subtitle Madness: Why Are Non-Fiction Book Titles So Annoying?

» by in: books

Authors and publishers have been perpetuating a trend over the last few years that is almost laughingly annoying. Take a look at any non-fiction best-seller list, and try to find one that doesn’t contain a colon and subtitle. (Or just look at the ongoing list of books I’ve read.)

I really don’t understand why they feel this is necessary. The title should speak for itself. It should be up to the reader to find out more by reading the book’s jacket. Sometimes a one- or two-word title can have a lot more impact. Adding a long subtitle just dilutes the effect.

If I were ever to write a non-fiction book, I think I’d rather call it something mysterious and ambiguous, like “Fish Toenails.” No subtitle. Let the customers figure it out.

The same trend has invaded the movie industry. In the past, you would actually have to know, or figure out, that a movie was a sequel. Dirty Harry. Magnum Force. The Enforcer. No “Dirty Harry 2: Magnum Force,” no subtitle. People weren’t stupid back then – they figured it out.

Apparently producers and studios now think we’ve become a nation of morons, so every sequel has the same name as the original, followed by a number and subtitle. If I mentioned “The Voyage Home,” would you know what series it belonged to? Would it matter what number it was in the series?

I don’t know, though. “Fish Toenails: The Motion Picture” has a certain ring to it.

June 28th, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Tales of the Prius: Speakers Upgrade

» by in: cars

Ain’t got no speakers
Ain’t got no headphones
Ain’t got no records to play

Life During Wartime ©1979 by the Talking Heads

About the only thing I didn’t like about our 2006 Prius was the sound system. It’s a cheap JBL with cheap speakers, and the sound was what you’d expect from it. I decided to upgrade the system, starting with the speakers.

I ordered some from Crutchfield, where I’d bought my HD radio for the Mustang. I chose two pairs of Boston Acoustics, which arrived in a couple of days.

I followed sparky’s guide and installed the pairs on two separate evenings. I only ran into a couple of problems.

The speakers didn’t come with an installation kit, so I had a hard time taking off the door panels. I had to drill out the rivets to remove the old speakers. After removing them, I couldn’t believe how light and cheap they were. They weighed about an ounce each, compared to at least a pound each for the new ones.

The mounting holes in the new speakers didn’t match up, so I was only able to secure them with three bolts each instead of four.

Other than that, they were easy to install. They sounded better than the old speakers but unfortunately, putting great speakers on a crap system doesn’t really do much for it. The factory radio would be difficult to replace, since it’s integrated into the display console. My only other option is to install an amplifier to increase the frequency response and volume.

Old speaker New speaker
Old Speaker New Speaker
 
Old speaker New speaker
Old Speaker New Speaker
June 27th, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Head Sculpture #2: Queen Bee

» by in: Art

Show me round your fruitcage
‘cos I will be your honey bee
open up your fruitcage
where the fruit is as sweet as can be

I want to be your sledgehammer
why don’t you call my name
you’d better call the sledgehammer
put your mind at rest
I’m going to be-the sledgehammer
this can be my testimony

Sledgehammer ©1986 by Peter Gabriel

A friend of mine collects bee-related paraphernalia, so I decided to make her a Queen Bee head for a shower gift.
Queen Bee Head before starting Unfortunately, I didn’t take any during photos, but did remember to take them once I’d finished. This one was a lot easier than the previous sculpture. I had to order the tiara and antennae from the internet, and purchase some party blowouts.
Before Starting
Other parts include tubing from a siphon hose and screening from scraps I had lying around. Once I prepped the Styrofoam with spackling, I drilled a hole straight through from front to back. After applying the primer, I spray painted the head yellow. I let each coat dry for 24 hours. Right side of Queen Bee Head
Right Side
Right side of Queen Bee Head Next, I used painter’s masking tape and newspaper to cover the parts I wanted to keep yellow, and covered the rest with black spray paint. I inserted the party blower through the front and the tubing through the back, and glued it in place with a grommet at the base. The tiara and antennae were fastened with hot glue, and I bent some pieces of thin wire to staple the screen eyes in place.
Left Side
That was about it — and it was very well received at the shower. Front of Queen Bee Head
Front View
June 6th, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Tourist Bliss

» by in: Art,computer,pc

I can see you
Your brown skin shinin’ in the sun
You got that hair slicked back and those
wayfarers on, baby
I can tell you my love for you will still be strong
after the boys of summer have gone

The Boys of Summer, ©1984 by Don Henley

Tourist Bliss

 

You may recognize him as “The Accidental Tourist,” “Disaster Dan,” “WTC Guy,” “Danger Boy,” “Tourist of Death,” or just “Waldo.”

He shows up everywhere, so why not?

June 1st, 2008 at 12:46 am

Useless Information = Urban Legend?

You see the world through your cynical eyes
You’re a troubled young man I can tell
You’ve got it all in the palm of your hand
But your hand’s wet with sweat and your head needs a rest

And you’re fooling yourself if you don’t believe it
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t believe it

“Fooling Yourself (The Angry Young Man)” ©1977 by Styx


Recently I finished reading a book called “The Book of Useless Information” by Noel Botham.

If by “useless” the author means “false” or “urban legend,” then he succeeded in his goal. The very first tip-off: no references whatsoever. Here are seven urban legends I found:

 
1. P.70: “In Irish police stations in the nineteenth century – when public indecency was a serious crime – couples were charged with being Found Under Carnal Knowledge. Police abbreviated it to its initials…”

Cecil Adams lists several alleged origins of the word in an article in The Straight Dope. Most of them, like this example, are false.

2. P. 82: “Chevrolet tried marketing a Chevrolet Nova in Spanish-speaking countries – it didn’t sell well because “no va” means “doesn’t go” in Spanish.”

Okay, first of all, what’s with the overuse of the em dash? What’s wrong with commas and periods?Next, a quick search at Snopes.com reveals the following:“False. It’s the classic cautionary tale about the pitfalls of doing business in foreign countries that can be found in hundreds (if not thousands) of books about marketing…” [Read the entire article]

3. P. 84: “The Eskimo language has more than twenty words to describe different types of snow.”

Here’s an excerpt from just one linguist’s article debunking the myth: “The story about Inuit (or Inuktitut, or Yup’ik, or more generally, Eskimo) words for snow is completely wrong. People say that speakers of these languages have 23, or 42, or 50, or 100 words for snow — the numbers often seem to have been picked at random…” [Read the entire article]

4. P. 90: “Coke is used to clean up blood spills on highways.”

…and it can dissolve a t-bone steak overnight! Wrong. Oh, wait. What kind of coke? Debunked by Snopes.

5. P. 159: “The main library at Indiana University sinks more than an inch every year because when it was built, engineers failed to take into account the weight of all the books that would occupy the building.”

Oh, come on! What’s next? “Ducks’ quacks have no echo?” Snopes states: “Such beliefs have been part of campus lore at least since the late 1970s..” [ Read the entire article ]

6. P. 216: “A cockroach’s favorite food is the glue on the back of stamps.”

This one is a distortion of another myth: that cockroaches can survive for days/weeks/months/years (take your pick) on just the glue of a postage stamp. That one’s also very difficult to verify, and I wasn’t able to find any site that confirms or repudiates either one.

7. P. 245: “In Miami, Florida, roosting vultures have taken to snatching poodles from rooftop patios.”

This is a new spin on the eagle/hawk snatching a poodle/Chihuahua. According to Snopes,

“Folklorist Jan Harold Brunvand makes the point that in addition to ‘never trust[ing] a dead cat story,’ one should also be royally suspicious of pet-nabbing tales…” [ Read the entire article ]

That’s as many as I recognized, although many more sounded fishy. I’ll be sure to check future books very carefully to make sure there are references before purchasing.

May 27th, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Gump Bliss

» by in: Art,computer,pc

Gump sat alone on a bench in the park
“My name is Forrest,” he’d casually remark
Waitin’ for the bus with his hands in his pockets
He just kept sayin’ life is like a box of chocolates

He’s Gump, He’s Gump
What’s in his head?
He’s Gump, He’s Gump, He’s Gump
Is he in-bred?

Gump, ©1996 by Weird Al Yankovic

Click to download After seeing so many spoofs of Microsoft XP’s “Bliss” wallpaper, I decided to make my own.

WinMatrix has some Bliss remixes that are much better than mine.

You can also find more at Deviant Art.

May 26th, 2008 at 10:05 pm

Head Sculpture #1: Dot Com

» by in: Art,computer,pc

You’re wondering who I am
machine or mannequin
With parts made in Japan
I am the modern man

I’ve got a secret I’ve been hiding under my skin
My heart is human, my blood is boiling, my brain I.B.M.

Mr. Roboto, ©1983 by Styx

I’m not exactly sure why I decided to make head sculptures. It may have been a visit to the American Visionary Art Museum that inspired me to exercise my artistic side.

Styrofoam head I’d always thought about gluing a bunch of computer parts or a motherboard to a canvas to make a folk art piece. Now I thought, what if I glued them to a Styrofoam head instead?

I found some on ebay marketplace, so I ordered a pair in case I messed up the first one.

I’d thrown out my two burnt-out Pentium motherboards, but I still had a couple of old computers and lots of cables and parts from building my own desktops over the years. I decided to sacrifice my first computer, a Magnavox 286 that ran at a blazing 20 MHz with a whopping 1 megabyte of memory.

Some rough work More refined carvingFirst I coated the Styrofoam with spackling to seal the holes and protect it from the spray paint, which I’d found to have a corrosive effect on it. I also spread some spare bondo on it in an effort to grind some angles into it á la Kryten. That didn’t quite work out, though. I carved out some rough eye and mouth holes with an X-Acto knife.

In between drying and sanding, I found six ide hard drive cables and began separating the individual wires by cutting between them with a wire cutter and peeling them apart. I also refined the holes for the eyes and mouth, and cut holes for inserting the cable connectors.

More carving More carvingI decided to use some old memory cards and install them on the right side of the robot’s head to simulate removable memory. So I cut holes to fit those on an angle. I also wanted to give her a pony tail, so I stripped an old parallel cable and embedded a port in the back of the head. The cable is actually screwed into the port.

For simulated power, I cut a rectangular hole in the neck to embed a Molex connector. I then cut the wires to a Molex plug to leave sticking out of it.

By this time I’d coated the head with primer, and taken apart a keyboard to cannibalize the lights for eyes and plastic pieces under the keycaps for teeth. There was also a sheet of reflective foil that I used to cut out discs to use as reflectors for the eyes.

More carvingLeft profileFor eyeballs, I used two of the keyboard lights with a 3 volt battery pack from a hand-held fan.

I soldered wires to the LEDs, glued the eye sockets with hot glue, and hollowed out holes for the wires that went straight through to the center of the head. I made another hole going up from the bottom to run the wires to the battery pack. I found that the small switch from the keyboard was way too tiny, so I used a larger single-pole single-throw switch I had on hand. After testing it out, I hollowed out a place for it on the back of the base. I also carved out some slots on the right side of the head to insert the memory cards.

Right ProfileTop viewNow it was time for the spray painting, which was probably the easiest part. I applied two coasts of grey primer, and a coat of silver paint, letting each coat dry for 24 hours.

Next was the hot glue gun’s role. Once everything was wired and soldered, I glued the eyes and the switch on. The battery pack fit snugly without any glue, and a quick test ensured the eyes would be switched on and off.

I glued in the ports to attach the Molex and parallel cables to, then the memory cards and eyebrows. These were followed by the teeth and lastly, the cables for hair.

The finished product

It didn’t quite come out the way I’d originally planned,
but it looked reasonably scratched and dented enough.

I decided to name her Dot. Dot Com.

May 10th, 2008 at 2:49 am

Dexter the texter sent me this

» by in: music

ordnary ppl by neil yung

2 out of work models n a fashion slave
try 2 dance away the Michelob nite
the bartender poured herself another drink
while 2 drunks were watchin the fight
the champ went down then he got up again
then he went out like a lite
fightin 4 the ppl
but his timing wasn’t right
the hi rollin ppl
takin limos in the neon nite
las vegas ppl
they came 2 see a las vegas fight
fightin’ 4 the ppl

there’s a man in the window with a big cigar
says everything’s 4 sale
the house n the boat n the railroad car
the owner’s gotta go 2 jail
he acquired these things fm a life of crime
now he’s selling them 2 make bail
he was rippin’ off the ppl
sellin guns 2 the underground
livin off the ppl
skimmin the top when there’s no 1 around
tryin 2 help the ppl
lose their ass 4 a piece of ground
patch of ground ppl

he was dealing antiques in a hardware store
but he sure had a lot 2 hide
he had a backroom full of the guns of war
n a ton of ammunition beside
well he walked with a cane kept a bolt on the door
with 5 pit bulls inside
just a warning 2 the ppl
in case they try 2 break in at nite
protection fm the ppl
selling safety in the darkest lite
tryin 2 help the ppl
get the drugs 2 the street all right
tryin 2 help the ppl

well, it’s hard 2 say where a man goes wrong
might be here n it might be there
what starts out weak might get 2 strong
if u can’t tell foul fm fair
but it’s hard 2 judge fm an angry throng
of hands stretched up in the air
vigilante ppl
takin the law in2 their own hands
the conscientious ppl
crackin down on the druglord n his band
government ppl
confiscatin all the dealer’s land
tpatch of ground ppl

a new Rolls Royce, a company car
they were racin down the street
each 1 was tryin 2 make it 2 the gate
before employees manned the fleet
the trucks full of products 4 the modern home
were set 2 roll out in2 the street
of ordnary ppl
tryin 2 make their way 2 work
downtown ppl
some are saints n some r jerks
everyday ppl
stoppin 4 a drink on the way 2 work
alcoholic ppl
yeah, takin it 1 day at a time

down on the assembly line
they keep puttin the same things out
the ppl today, they just ain’t buyin
nobody can figure it out
they tried like hell 2 build a quality inn
they’re workin hard without a doubt
ordnary ppl
but the dollar’s what it’s all about
lee iacocca ppl
but the customers are walkin’ out
on nose to the stone ppl
yeah, they look but they just don’t buy
the patch of ground ppl

in a dusty town a clock struck hi noon
2 men stood face 2 face
1 wore black n 1 wore white
but of fear there wasn’t a trace
a hundred and eighty years later 2 hot rods drag race
through the very same place
n a half a million ppl
moved in 2 pick up the pace
A factory full of ppl
Makin’ parts 2 go 2 outer space
A train load of ppl
They were leavin 4 another place
Out of town ppl

down at the factory, they’re puttin new windows in
the vandals made a mess of things
n the homeless just walked right in
well, they worked here once, n they live here now
but they might work here again
they’re ordnary ppl
they’re just livin in a dream
hard workin’ ppl
just don’t know what it means
to give up people
just like they used to be
patch of ground people

out on the railroad track, they’re cleanin up ol number 9
they’re scrubbin the boiler down, she really is lookin fine
times will be different soon
they’re gonna bring her back on line
ordnary ppl
they’re gonna bring the good things back
hard workin ppl
put the business back on track
evryday ppl
i got faith in the regular kind
patch of ground ppl