Friday, December 17, 2004

I'm outa here

You won't have Doc Rampage to kick around any more. No sir. Not till I get back from vacation in two weeks or so. Blogging is likely to be non-existent unless I find that I can blog from my hotel and that I'm not so deluged with beautiful women seeking my attention that I have the occasional evening free. But in that unlikely event, I may end up blogging even while on vacation.

If so, I'll run a series "Rampage through Hawaii".

Yeah, I'm going to Hawaii instead of Central America or Asia. I've always wanted to go there anyway, and I procrastinated so much on my plans that the other choices were pretty much kaput.

That's the problem with the internet. So many choices that you can't decide on one. I eventually solved the problem by going to a travel agent and saying "I want to take a two-week Christmas vacation someplace warm where I can scuba dive." She took care of the rest. Leave it up to the experts, I always say.

By the way, I was trying to get in shape for an active vacation. I timed myself in the fifty-yard freestyle and came in at 33 seconds. Bummer. Actually, I guess it's not that bad for someone who hasn't trained in twenty five years and is moving a lot more water than he did back in the slim days, but it's still kind of disappointing. I used to be able to break 30 pretty reliably.

And don't forget the Storyblogging Carnival at Dodgeblogium. I can't give the exact URL until he gets the carnival up, but I'm sure you can find it.

Merry Christmas!

See you all next year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

color screens bad

I got a new cell phone a couple of days ago. All I asked for was the smallest clamshell phone that didn't have an antena sticking out (I've broken two of them now) and that wasn't AT&T (lousy service in my area) or Sprint (boycotting). There was only one candidate, and it had one of those humongous, bright, color screens.

I bought it, but that color screen is a nuisance. First, I can't turn off the damn wallpaper. All I want is a plain background that makes it easy to read, but they don't give you any choices except about ten enormously stupid images, and all of them have areas where it's hard to read text on that part of the image. Idiots.

In addition, thanks to the display, this phone has about 1/3 the battery life of my previous phone. Idiots.

Some glorious day, designers are going to start doing a mimimal level of user-interface testing before they put out a new product.

Oh, who am I kidding?

was that on purpose?

I can't tell if this is supposed to be a joke or not. Michele Catalano of A Small Victory writes (among other things):
I'm just a bit tired of men thinking that all women they date and/or marry represent every woman.
Uh, Michelle, I'm tired of women thinking that all the men whose blogs they read represent every man. OK, your turn.

that's right

According to NRO's Jim Geraghty:
It takes more to be a conservative in NY, DC, or SF than to be one in God's country... "the hotter the fire, the stronger the steel."
That's right. Uh huh. We're bad.

(Ten points to anyone who can tell me where the "we're bad" quote comes from.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

misleading headlines

Not all misleading headlines are motivated by politics. Here is an article with the headline "Taxi Driver Shoots Man in Bin Laden Mask" even though the mask was not relevant to the shooting. A more accurate headline would have been "Taxi Driver Shoots Idiot That Jumps Out Wearing a Mask and Brandishing a Rifle for a Practical Joke". You have to read the entire article to find out what actually happend. Or you could just read my headline. (link from the Corner)


Roscoe has a video of an F16 attacking some bad guys in Falluja.

UPDATE: Originally this said F14, not F16. Then on my way home last night, I recalled that Roscoe mentioned the Air Force. Does the Air Force have F14s? I don't know, but I always associate that plane with the Navy. So I looked this morning and sure enough, it was an F16, not an F14.

You know, I watched F16s fly when I was in junior high so that plane has to be at least thirty years old. Doesn't it seems like it's time the Air Force got a new new number or something?

Monday, December 13, 2004

killing can be funny

Here is is a hilarious story about dear hunting with a cannon (link from Mostly Cajun).

in sympathy for Scott Peterson

A local TV news show reported that Scott Peterson, the man on trial for murdering his wife and unborn son, became weepy after the guilty verdict. Up until that time he had been smiling and full of good humor, optimistic and joking with his lawyers.

The deaths of his wife and child could not bring down his spirits, but news of his own impending punishment brought him to uncontrollable tears. And why not? He could get the death penalty. If he does, then all that is good and worthy in the world will come to an end. For this is the personality of a man who would murder his wife and unborn child to be with another woman. This is a sociopath, a true emotional solipsist.

Is it presumptuous of me to presume to look upon another's heart. Yes, I suppose it is. But how else to explain the man's actions?

To Scott Peterson, other people are nothing but tools to work his own desires. He manipulates them like he would his car --turn the wheel clockwise and it goes left, turn it otherwise and the car goes right. Press on one peddle and it accelerates, another peddle causes it to slow. To Scott Peterson, Laci was just that: a vehicle for his pleasure, a beautiful prop for his self-presentation, and eventually, an obstacle to his sexual appetite.

There is nothing that matters to Scott Peterson except Scott Peterson. What a burden this must be! When Scott Peterson is unhappy, all the world is a tragedy. When Scott Peterson is frustrated, all the world is hell. There is nothing good when Scott Peterson is feeling bad. And when Scott Peterson ends, nothing worthy of note will go on. There can be no hope, no hopeful future. It is The End. How can a man live such a bleak existence?

Today, the jury has recommended the death penalty and the judge is likely to sentences him to death (link from Instapundit).

Pity the solipsist. For with his death ends not just a life but an entire world. And what could be more tragic?


Dodgeblogium is accepting entries for the next Storyblogging Carnival. I've already entered Zantar and Rolf's latest adventure.

If you write stories on your blog, I encourage you to enter one in the carnival. If you don't write stories, I encourage you to write one and enter it in the carnival. Writing stories is a great way to develop ..., uh, to learn to ..., uh, to get stuff in the storyblogging carnival. And it's fun too.

A Meating of the Mines, scene 5

This is a continuation of the screenplay Heroes for Hire Episode 2 -- A Meating of the Mines.

Rolf and Zantar are sitting in the Barkley drawing room (very similar to the one in the TV series). Rolf is sipping from a wine glass and Zantar is gulping from a mug. Jerrod walks in and over to the bar while speaking:

JERROD: I heard you were attacked.

Zantar shrugs.

ROLF: Yes indeed! And a royal battle it was. A pity there were no crowds to enjoy it.

JERROD: (pouring himself a drink) This will be avenged, of course.

ROLF: We appreciate your concern, but Zantar and I handled it.

JERROD: I'm not concerned about you two. I'm concerned about those Cannons thinking they can get away with this. We have to respond with overwhelming force or they will think we are a bunch of weaklings! (he tosses back the first drink with one swallow and pours another.)

ZANTAR: Well, they're weaklings too, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Jerrod stops pouring and turns around to glare at Zantar.

ROLF: What my phlegmatic friend means by that remark, of course, is that the two of us easily handled a band of six of them, so they can hardly be feeling confident of their own puissance. In addition, I'd like to point out that Zantar and I interrogated a survivor quite thoroughly and we are persuaded that those who attacked us were rogues.

JERROD: (going back to his pouring) Rogues? You mean they were doing the job on their own?

ROLF: Yes. Our source was rather convincing.

ZANTAR: Their boss wasn't feeding them good enough.

ROLF: Quite. They wished to enhance their dining situation. And as all the ambitious diners became fatalities as a result of their efforts, there is no one left for you to take vengeance upon.

JERROD: I see.

ZANTAR: Besides, we don't do wars for no lousy two silver a week.

ROLF: Indeed. If you wish us to engage in an extended period of intense combat, you must adjust our compensation accordingly.

ZANTAR: "Accordingly" means up.

ROLF: Indeed.

JERROD: I ... OK, I guess as long as everyone knows they weren't working on orders from the Cannons...

ZANTAR: "Up" meaning the amount has to go up.

JERROD: I ... what?

ZANTAR: The amount you have to give us is a bigger number which is kind of like being higher. That's why I said "up".

JERROD: Higher?

ZANTAR: Of course it's also like being deeper. Like, if you're a hundred feet down you're deeper than if you're only fifty feet down.

JERROD: Yes...

ZANTAR: But if you want to start a war you have to pay us more money.

JERROD: Well...

ZANTAR: Up or down, it has to be more silvers.

There is a few seconds of silence.

JERROD: I'm going to want you two on every shipment out to the mines from now on.

ROLF: That seems prudent.

ZANTAR: I just thought I should clear up that "up" business because it didn't seem like a metaphor or hyperbole.

JERROD: Meta for her hyper what?

ROLF: Metaphor and hyperbole.

ZANTAR: Non-literal speech. The "up" wasn't either one.

JERROD: Does this mean you two aren't going to try to hang me up for more money to guard all the shipments?

ROLF: You wound me, sir! We had a contract. Nothing written of course, but a man's word is his bond. As long as the situation doesn't change too unexpectedly, that is.

ZANTAR: If it changes too much, we'll let you know.

ROLF: Quite.

JERROD: Well...

ZANTAR: (interrupting) But I guess it was kind of like a metaphor.

JERROD: (after a pause to see if Zantar has any more inscrutable wisdom to provide) Well, that's good. I was worried that you two would think you could just laze around drinking all day like a lot of the other hired spears, but you're making a lot more than them, so I expect you to pull your weight.

ROLF: Indeed we shall. We shall, however, have recourse to your stables for two more steeds. Ours were lost in the confrontation.

JERROD: Both of them?

ROLF: Regretfully so.

JERROD: I heard they killed one horse. Nobody said anything about a second horse getting killed.

ZANTAR: They got Rolf's horse where you couldn't see it and it died later.

ROLF: Yes. I was heartbroken. Poor thing didn't have a chance.

ZANTAR: You think you're heartbroken! My horse saved my life! Saw the arrow coming and took it in the neck to save me.

JERROD: It what?

ZANTAR: I'll never get over losing a great horse like that. Here's to a genuine hero! (he drinks to the horse)

ROLF: (sounding a bit annoyed) Mine did not meekly turn its head. Rather the valiant beast reared up to take not one, but two arrows into its noble breast, saving me from certain death.

JERROD: Look ...

ZANTAR: (interrupting) Yeah!? Well _my_ horse caught the first arrow in its teeth. The second one came before it could spit out the first one. It had no other way to save me.

JERROD: Now see here...

ZANTAR: (interrupting) _Great_ horse.

ROLF: Indeed, your horse was agile, Zantar, but my own valiant steed reared up to take into its heart the two flaming arrows meant for me. I leapt free, fearing it would fall atop me in its death throes, but I had desperately underestimated the great, savage, pierced heart of the noble beast. Already dieing from its wounds, it charged our attackers! Two more arrows hit it! Then two more! Then a volley of four at once! Still the fiery stallion came on!

JERROD: It was a gelding!

ROLF: A juggernaut! A rampaging bull! Unstoppable! (Rolf stands and begins to tell the story with motions) It crashed into the attackers, crushing two or three to death (Rolf pounds his chest with both hands) against the chest that held it's magnificent dieing heart. It grabbed one in it's teeth and tossed him bodily over it's back! It caught up another one and reared up, shaking the poor man like a terrier shakes a rat. (Rolf mimics being held by one shoulder and shaken) I could hear the bones snap from thirty feet away! It dropped the corpse but stayed up, lashing out with its hooves. Crushing a chest here, a head there. Never have I seen a beast in such a thorough and perfect berserk rage!

JERROD: It was a mild-mannered, elderly, gelded pony! What ...

ROLF: (interrupting, completely lost in the tale) They surrounded it, cowardly dogs baiting a valiant bear, stabbing with swords and spears, piercing it's flesh in dozens of places. The horse's feet came down to crush two more men beneath it. It's powerful real feet lashed out, sending one man flying all the way back to me, thirty feet away, to land, a broken doll of rag, in the branch of a tree!

ZANTAR: (annoyed) Krikey!

ROLF: Again it reared up, spears and swords hanging from it's body like the spines of a porcupine! It was the archery target after the volley! The magnificent beast was weakened, but it’s great heart would not let it fall. It lived on nothing but courage now. But weak as it was, the terrified attackers could only the fiery eyes, the demonic ferocity, the unbreakable will. They panicked and fled! (Rolf's voice goes quiet) The valiant stallion ...

JERROD: (interrupting) Gelding.

ROLF: still reared, but it wobbled unsteadily, like a drunken man, confused at its unaccustomed weakness...

JERROD: (interrupting) THAT'S ENOUGH! (slamming his drink down) No more stories about heroic horses! I bred and gelded and trained those ponies to be gentle saddle stock! (heading for the door) Save your heroic horse stories for the children! Don't bother me with them! Just do your jobs!

Jerrod storms out and Rolf and Zantar stare after him for a moment.

ROLF: I wonder why he hates horses so much?

ZANTAR: Probably afraid of them.

ROLF: Of course. Doubtless a man of peasant stock seeking to put on the airs of a gentleman, yet fearful of the animal that is the very sign of a gentleman. It stirs understandable resentments.

Rolf sits back down and they go back to drinking for a while.

ZANTAR: Maybe it _was_ a metaphor.

ROLF: Or a turn of phrase. Sometimes these things are on the line and it's difficult to tell.

After another silence:

ROLF: It's a shame he cut me off before the heroic death scene. Would you like to hear it?

ZANTAR: Krikey, Rolf. Why didn't you have fire shooting from the damn horse's mouth and lightning from his eyes?

ROLF: Without magical influences...

ZANTAR: Farting deadly poisons too. Krikey. I expect after the death scene the gods would come down and resurrect the nag and make it a holy steed or something.

ROLF: You don't think that would have been a bit over the top?

ZANTAR: Krikey.

UPDATE: continued.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

preparing people for totalitarianism

Mostly Cajun links to a story about a ten-year-old girl who was put in handcuffs and carted off to the police station for having scissors at her school.

I'm generally pro-police, but what kind of asshole would do that to a harmless ten-year-old girl? She was crying and confused and hadn't done anything to deserve that treatment, and they just terrified the hell out of her. One thing is for sure, the girl and the other terrified kids who watched it happen are well on their way to becoming the helpless, frightened, perfect citizens that some people seem to want in this country.

Wonder what the kids are saying? I hazard they are reflecting, "You don't even have to do anything bad!". They have learned, "All you have to do is break some arbitrary rule and they come down on you like a brick wall! Don't cross where there isn't a crosswalk, don't say bad things about any non-Christian religions, and whatever you do, don't ever, ever do anything that any paranoid idiot teacher, might under any circumstances view as a threat to his or her authority."

Kweisi Mfume, moderate?

Armstrong Williams has a shocking article about how Mfume was kicked out of the NAACP for trying to get along with Republicans. No one else seems to be aware of this, given the anti-Mfume commentary from the right.

Did you know that Mfume nominated Condoleeza Rice for their image award? I didn't. Did you know that he sent a letter to Bush after the election saying he wanted to work with him? I didn't.

Instead of a sign of progress, this resignation may be a sign that the Democrats have just repelled a challenge to their iron grip on the organization.