Monthly Archives: January 2012

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark (I Hope)

That's Gonna Leave a Mark (I Hope)

USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis

These are the USS Abraham Lincoln and the USS John C. Stennis, two of the ten nuclear-powered Nimitz-class aircraft supercarriers in service with the United States Navy. TheLincolnjust arrived to theStrait of Hormuzas tension keeps mounting up in the area.

She has joined the USS Carl Vinson as the USS John Stennis leaves to the Pacific, according to the Pentagon. It’s nice that the Navy got to show off three carriers in the same area simultaneously, though. Not that Ahmadinejad and his cronies didn’t know that the US had ten of these, but it’s different to see the three of them right in your backyard than just knowing about them. I’m sure that made them a little bit uncomfortable.

RIP A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne, also known as A. A. Milne, was a British author, best known for his books about the teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, and for various children’s poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work.

A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne (January 18, 1882 – January 31, 1956)

Wikipedia Link

In Remembrance – Space Shuttle Challenger & Crew

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated 73 seconds into its flight after an O-ring seal in its right solid rocket booster (SRB) failed at liftoff.

Challenger STS-51 at Launch

Challenger launches on its final mission, STS-51.

Challenger STS-51 Crew

The crew of STS-51. Front row, from left to right: Smith, Scobee, and McNair. Back row, from left to right: Onizuka, McAuliffe, Jarvis, and Resnik.

Challenger STS-51 Mission Patch

STS-51 mission patch.

Wikipedia Link

Happy Birthday, Ray Stevens

Ray Stevens (born Harold Ray Ragsdale on January 24, 1939) is an American country music and pop singer-songwriter known for his novelty songs. His two most-popular songs are “Everything Is Beautiful” and “The Streak”.

Ray Stevens

Harold Ray Ragsdale (January 24, 1939 - )

 Wikipedia Link

Happy Birthday, Benny Hill

Alfred Hawthorn Hill, better known as Benny Hill, was a prolific English comic, actor & singer, best known for his television program, The Benny Hill Show. Since its debut in 1955 his television show has been sold to over 140 countries worldwide, with viewership in the billions.

Benny Hill

Alfred Hawthorn Hill (January 21, 1924 – April 20, 1992)

 Wikipedia Link


“I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got thrown into this war I had a clear understanding with the Pentagon: no guns. I’ll carry your books, I’ll carry a torch, I’ll carry a tune, I’ll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I’ll even ‘hari-kari’ if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun.”

-Hawkeye Pierce

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American poet, short story writer, editor, critic and one of the leaders of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of the macabre, Poe was one of the early American practitioners of the short story and a progenitor of detective fiction and crime fiction. He is also credited with contributing to narrative forms of the emergent science fiction genre.
Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849)


Costa Concordia from Space

Looks quiet and peaceful, doesn’t it… it also looks frickin’ HUGE!

Costa Concordia from Space

Click for larger image

RIP “Curly”

Jerome "Curly" Howard

Curly Howard (October 22, 1903 – January 18, 1952)

Jerome Lester “Jerry” Horwitz, better known by his stage name Curly Howard, was an American comedian, part of the “3 Stooges.”

Wikipedia Link

Happy Birthday, A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne, also known as A. A. Milne, was a British author, best known for his books about the teddy bear, Winnie-the-Pooh, and for various children’s poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work.

A. A. Milne

Alan Alexander Milne (January 18, 1882 – January 31, 1956)

Wikipedia Link

Nerd / Geek

nerd n : a student who studies excessively 1. [mainstream slang] Pejorative applied to anyone with an above-average IQ and few gifts at small talk and ordinary social rituals. 2. [jargon] Term of praise applied (in conscious ironic reference to sense 1) to someone who knows what’s really important and interesting and doesn’t care to be distracted by trivial chatter and silly status games. The word itself appears to derive from the lines “And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo / And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep and a Proo, / A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker, too!” in the Dr. Seuss book “If I Ran the Zoo” (1950). (The spellings `nurd’ and `gnurd’ also used to be current at MIT, where `nurd’ is reported from as far back as 1957.) How it developed its mainstream meaning is unclear, but sense 1 seems to have entered mass culture in the early 1970s (there are reports that in the mid-1960s it meant roughly “annoying misfit” without the connotation of intelligence).


geek n. A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance. Geeks usually have a strong case of neophilia. Most geeks are adept with computers and treat hacker as a term of respect, but not all are hackers themselves – and some who _are_ in fact hackers normally call themselves geeks anyway, because they (quite properly) regard `hacker’ as a label that should be bestowed by others rather than self-assumed. One description accurately, if a little breathlessly, enumerates “gamers, ravers, science fiction fans, punks, perverts, programmers, nerds, subgenii, and trekkies. These are people who did not go to their high school proms, and many would be offended by the suggestion that they should have even wanted to.” Originally, a `geek’ was a carnival performer who bit the heads off chickens. Before about 1990 usage of this term was rather negative. Earlier versions of this lexicon defined a `computer geek’ as one who eats (computer) bugs for a living – an asocial, malodorous, pasty-faced monomaniac with all the personality of a cheese grater. This is often still the way geeks are regarded by non-geeks, but as the mainstream culture becomes more dependent on technology and technical skill mainstream attitudes have tended to shift towards grudging respect.

World’s Most Expensive Parking Lot

World's Most Expensive Parking Lot

This Aircraft Carrier Is The World’s Most Expensive Parking Lot

What you’re looking at is the deck of the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan covered in the vehicles of Navy Sailors heading to Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, Washington. At a cost of about $4.5 billion this is probably the world’s most expensive parking lot.

It may seem phenomenal, but this is actually a common occurrence for the Navy and a lot cheaper and easier than transporting the vehicles almost any other way. The weight of one E-2C Hawkeye is approximately 43,000 pounds, or about 12 cars, and a Nimitz-class carrier usually carries four of those.

The U.S.S. Ronald recently served in Asia and was en route to Kitsap for upgrades and repairs.

Ringtone interrupts New York Philharmonic

The final movement of Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is a slow rumination on mortality, with quiet sections played by strings alone.

During the New York Philharmonic’s performance Tuesday night, it was interrupted by an iPhone.

The jarring ringtone—the device’s “Marimba” sound, which simulates the mallet instrument—intruded in the middle of the movement, emanating from the first row at Avery Fisher Hall.

When the phone wasn’t immediately hushed, audience members shook their heads. It continued to chime, and music director Alan Gilbert turned his head sharply to the left, signaling his displeasure.

Minutes passed. Each time the orchestra reached a quiet section, the phone could be heard above the hushed, reverent notes.

Finally, Mr. Gilbert could take no more: He stopped the orchestra.

A Philharmonic spokeswoman said Wednesday the music director has never before halted a performance because of a cellphone or any other type of disruption.

As the offending noise continued in a loop, Mr. Gilbert turned in its direction and pointedly asked that the phone be turned off. The audience let out a collective gasp.

The ringtone—believed to be an alarm—played on.

The audience wasn’t pleased. A Wall Street Journal reporter seated in the 19th row heard jeers hurled from the balconies. One man screamed: “Enough!” Another yelled: “Throw him out!” The audience clapped and hollered in agreement—and still the tone continued to sound amid the din.

The Philharmonic, like many performing arts groups, plays an announcement at the beginning of concerts and at the end of each intermission asking the audience members to turn off their cellphones.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal Wednesday, Mr. Gilbert said the ring tone yanked him out of a trance-like state during the symphony’s “most intense, most sublime, most emotional place.”

“It was kind of shocking because you get to a very faraway place emotionally and spiritually,” he said.

And even more surprising, he said, the man who owned the phone, recognized by orchestra members as a regular subscriber, didn’t immediately own up to it—or act to silence the device.

“I had to ask him many times,” Mr. Gilbert said. “It was bizarre. Maybe he was just so mortified that he just shut down and was paralyzed.”

Mr. Gilbert said he didn’t know the man’s name, but said he had heard that the orchestra’s customer relations department was planning to call him to ask why he didn’t act sooner.

Philharmonic officials declined to identify the subscriber.

In another apparent breach of protocol, no ushers came running to find the errant phone and neutralize it.

Avery Fisher Hall and its ushers are managed by Lincoln Center. The ushers stand at the back of the hall during performances, and policy dictates that when a cellphone rings, ushers discreetly ask the owner to turn it off, said Betsy Vorce, a Lincoln Center spokeswoman. She said officials are investigating why that didn’t happen.

After Mr. Gilbert took matters into his own hands, the man reached into his pocket and silenced the device. Mr. Gilbert asked him: “Is it off? It won’t come on again?”

The man nodded.

Satisfied, the conductor addressed the audience. Usually, Mr. Gilbert said, it is best to ignore disruptions, because the reaction itself can be even more disruptive. “This was so egregious that I couldn’t let it go by,” Mr. Gilbert told the audience, apologizing.

The audience applauded vigorously.

“We’ll try again,” he said on a more upbeat note.

He turned to the orchestra, told them the cue, and picked up from a vigorous fortissimo section. As Mahler’s Ninth Symphony reached its final, hushed note, the conductor held his arms suspended and the musicians froze for a long moment of exquisite silence.

The audience didn’t breathe.

Happy Birthday, Gilligan

Bob Denver

Robert Osbourne "Bob" Denver (January 9, 1935 – September 2, 2005)

Robert Denver was an American comedic actor best known for his role as Willy “Gilligan” Gilligan on the television series Gilligan’s Island.

In later life it was rumored that he hated being known as “Gilligan,” but he’ll always be Gilligan to most of us.

In tribute to a wonderful set of memories, my picture is subtle, “Gilligan”-esce, but with style.

I hope he wouldn’t mind.


It all began with an iPhone…

March was when our son celebrated his 17th birthday, and we got him an iPhone. He just loved it. Who wouldn’t?


Read more »

It’s a Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 Frank Capra film, produced by his own Liberty Films and released originally by RKO Radio Pictures. Dubbed by the American Film Institute one of the best films ever made, it placed #1 on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Cheers, a list of the most inspirational American movies of all time. It ranks 11th on AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies, a list of the greatest American films. The film has also been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.
The movie is the story of the life of everyman George Bailey, as told to his guardian angel Clarence Oddbody, who has been recruited to save him in his moment of need.

It's a Wonderful Life

The film premiered on December 20, 1946 in the New Globe Theater on Governors Island.

The film was released in theaters January 7, 1947.


Dear George:
— Remember no man is a failure who has friends.
Thanks for the wings!

Happy Birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien

All hail the birthday of J.R.R. Tolkien, born this day in 1892.

JRR Tolkien is best known as the author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. He was a professor of Anglo-Saxon language at Oxford from 1925 to 1945, and of English language and literature, also at Oxford, from 1945 to 1959.

JRR Tolkien

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien CBE (January 3, 1892 – September 2, 1973)

Happy Birthday, Isaac Asimov

All hail the birthday of Dr. Isaac Asimov, born this day in 1920.
Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov (c. January 2, 1920 - April 6, 1992)

 Wikipedia Link

Dr. Isaac Asimov was a Russian-born American Jewish author and biochemist, a highly successful and exceptionally prolific writer best known for his works of science fiction and for his popular science books. Asimov’s most famous work is the Foundation Series, which was part of one of his two major series, the Galactic Empire Series, later merged with his other famous story arc, the Robot series. He also wrote mysteries and fantasy, as well as a great amount of non-fiction. Asimov wrote or edited more than 500 volumes and an estimated 90,000 letters or postcards, and he has works in every major category of the Dewey Decimal System except Philosophy. Asimov was by consensus a master of the science-fiction genre and, along with Robert A. Heinlein and Arthur C. Clarke, was considered to be one of the “Big Three” science-fiction writers during his lifetime.

Most of Asimov’s popularized science books explain scientific concepts in a historical way, going back as far as possible to a time when the science in question was at its simplest stage. He often gives nationalities, birth dates and death dates for the scientists he mentions, as well as etymologies and pronunciation guides for technical terms.

The Three Laws of Robotics (often shortened to The Three Laws or Three Laws) are a set of rules devised by the science fiction author Isaac Asimov and later added to. The rules were introduced in his 1942 short story “Runaround”, although they were foreshadowed in a few earlier stories. The Three Laws are:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Happy Birthday, Roger Miller

Roger Miller

Roger Dean Miller (January 2, 1936 – October 25, 1992)

Roger Miller was an American singer, songwriter, and musician.
 Wikipedia Link

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown