Wednesday, December 26, 2007

uh.. Never mind the previous post.

How could I possibly have forgotten that something awesome did happen? A tiger ate someone, and now police think there might have been a human accomplice. Word?

Look, don't get me wrong, it sucks that someone got eaten by a tiger. I know that it is in poor taste to be laughing, but we live in the United States of America. Death by tiger is exceedingly rare, and when it happens, it is awesome. What makes it funny is the ensuing backlash.

In this particular case, the backlash is that there is speculation that perhaps visitors were taunting the tiger, causing it to get so angry as to leap across it's enclosure and start kicking ass. There is also speculation that someone might have slid a board across the tigers moat to help it along. If either of these is true, then I feel less sorry for the recently eaten. If your stupid enough to taunt a tiger, you deserve being made into delicious prey. I go to the zoo frequently, and while I occasionally taunt the lemurs, I never taunt the giant predators.

What do you yell at a tiger to get it so mad anyway? "Hey Tiger, your the mascot at Clemson, and they suck!"? I can see where that would enrage the tiger since Clemson ended up second in the Atlantic Coast conference and #15 in the nation. Of course, that's assuming the tiger is a fan of NCAA football, which while likely, is an assumption on my part.

The other option, sliding the board across the moat, just seems stupid beyond comprehension. Why in the world would you make a bridge for the tiger? If that is in fact what happened, I guarantee that one of the following was the reason"
1. Crazy Vegan/PETA supporter who felt the tiger needed to roam free. In San Diego.
2. Crazy, yet inventive, suicide seeker.
3. A combination of the above.

Anyway, I will be keeping close tabs on this story, as it is right up my alley. Watch here for breaking news.

Last post of 2007

Unless something totally awesome happens in the few remaining days we have left of 2007, this will be my last post of the year. To celebrate, I found a funny picture on Neatorama that I will share with you. HNY, ladies.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Your gonna shoot your eye out, kid.

Merry Christmas, and to all a good night.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

How did Oprah make billions?

It's late and I can't sleep, and as I was flipping channels, I happened across the Oprah Winfrey show. On the show, there was a guy trying to explain to her how email gets from one computer to another. Oprah and her audience of acolytes were all amazed and impressed with the shiny colors and the "computer", which they had evidently never heard of.

Here is roughly how it went:
Oprah: So, email travels by wire?
Guy: Yes.
Oprah: It's an actual wire?
Guy: Yes.
Oprah: I thought it just shot out into the ether?
Guy: No, it's a wire
Oprah: A real physical wire?
Guy: Yes.
Oprah: A wire.
Guy: Yes.

I am not quoting exactly, but she literally asked five freaking times if email travelled by wire. I am not sure why she was asking that, and I have no idea why it was so important to her to establish definitively that email travelled via wire, but she rode that horse into the ground.

Next, when the guy finally got past the whole issue of wires and moved on to show Oprah how the email travelled (by wire, of course) from her computer to her company servos, Oprah almost had an aneurysm, all because the guy mentioned the Harpo servers. She said "There are servers in this building?" and the guy said "Yes. Just a couple of doors down from the studio as a matter of fact". Oblivious to the fact that by this point even her audience was laughing at her, Oprah actually seemed amazed that her multi-billion dollar media empire would have a dedicated server room.

Then the guy talked about routers, specifically how servers packet the data, send it to routers, which then distribute it around until it reaches it's final destination. Guess what? Oprah again started in on the wires, asking no fewer than four more times if the routers were physically wired to one another. The guy mumbled something about fiber-optic cables, but by this point it was clear that he wanted to stab Oprah in the throat. It was also at this point that I realized that staring at a blank wall is better than watching Oprah.

I can understand that not everyone understands computers, and I can understand that not everyone is particularly handy with them. However, I can't understand how Oprah has amassed a gazillion dollar fortune by asking such insipid questions repeatedly. I further don't understand how you could broadcast from the same studio for however many years she has been at that studio and not ever notice the big door that says "Harpo Server Room" on it.

It's great that she is now becoming politically active, because we can all watch her ask Barack Obama seventeen times if the signatures on a piece of legislation are actual signatures done with real ink.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo y Gabriela, colloquially known as RodGab, are a Mexican duo that play flamenco guitar. Both of them used to play in a thrash metal band back in the early 1990's, and after that band folded, they decided to explore flamenco, and now, here they are.

What makes them interesting is that they embrace their metal roots. They do flamenco covers of Metallica's "Orion", Led Zeppelins "Stairway to Heaven", and a couple of others. Rather than being gimmicky (IE Hayseed Dixie), they are actually just playing the songs that influenced them personally, and as such are paying an homage rather than just trying to trade off someone else's music. In particular, "Orion" lends itself to a Mexican (or, more correctly, Spanish) interpretation.

RodGab also have a few originals, and I really like what they do. I have always been a fan of flamenco because it is very beautiful and extremely difficult to play, but what RodGab do is inject a little youth and a little creativity into it. They don't stray to far from what Flamenco is, but they stray far enough to reinvigorate the style, which is nice.

Anyway, I am giddy with excitement about this pair, and I think that you will like it to.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Megadeth loves coffee.

Dave Mustaine, founder and excellent guitarist for Megadeth, apparently has his own brand of coffee out. I really have nothing bad to say about this, except to point out that I think it is a little weird that Dave Mustaine has a coffee company that touts that it's fair trade compliant and certified organic.

There's nothing wrong with that, but a socially conscious coffee company isn't exactly metal. A Megadeth energy drink that made you puke blood? That would be metal. Coffee? Not so much.

Anyhoo, if you want to order some delicious Dave Mustaine coffee, click here:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

This church is totally metal!

My love of heavy metal is well known, and the Sedlic Ossuary in the Czech Republic is the most metal church ever. Technically, the Sedlic Ossuary isn't a church in and of itself; rather it is simply part of a small Roman Catholic church. By definition, an ossuary is simply a place where human bones are stored, and they are somewhat common in Europe.

The picture you see is of a family crest made entirely of human bones, and each bone in the entire body is represented at least once.. There are actually something like 40,000 bodies worth of bones in this ossuary, and the place is full of bone art, including a chandelier made of skulls.

A chandelier made of skulls? Dudes, if that isn't metal, I don't know what is. I can literally envision Ronnie James Dio singing "Man on a silver mountain" in this church. Not only would it be awesome, but it would make complete sense. Can you imagine a better location for a Slayer video? Me either! I suppose it might be a little disrespectful to the dead, but then again, they have already been formed into various sculptures, so what difference will a little "Seasons of the Abyss" make?

Besides the metalness of this ossuary, I would also point out that the Czech Republic itself is pretty metal. Lots of dark old growth forests, werewolf stories and the bones of the Roman Legions laying around. The place practically screams for some band like Iced Earth to come and play a massive show, which they actually do fairly regularly since the Czechs love melodic power metal. If you play melodic metal and can sing in a high voice, you need to get to the Czech Republic, where they eat that stuff up.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Striking a blow for MMORPG players everywhere, the term w00t (or w007) has now officially been entered into the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

For those not in the know, w00t is the l33t speak spelling of the word "woot", which is typically used to indicate either triumph or delight. For example, lets say that I just slayed some elite mob deep in Angmar. To celebrate, I would simply type out "w00t!!!!!!!" to show my satisfaction at a job well done. Or, lets say that I just defeated some jag in a duel. "w00t" would be the appropriate thing to type over his corpse.

As a teacher, this leaves me with something of a quandary. Typically, any use of l33t or texting talk on a paper is an automatic deduction in letter grade and/or an instant rewrite. Now that "w00t" is recognized by Merriam Webster, am I going to have to accept it? I can see it already... "WWII was won by the allies. W00t!!!!".

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Don't anger the van gods.

While watching the Broncos today, I saw a Honda ad in which they compared the custom vans of the 70's to the newly redesigned Honda Odyssey. Evidently, Honda is attempting to convince people that the van gods are pleased with the new iteration of the Odyssey, and should therefore buy it.

Duck and cover, Honda. Duck and cover...

Minivans are not cool. Practical and comfortable is what they are, but cool they are not. Anything that is intended to haul around a soccer team, a months worth of groceries, the family dog and have good city gas mileage is definitively not cool. 70's vans, on the other hand, existed for one purpose: Chicks. Sure, the vans were theoretically practical, but any vehicle that spawns the saying "If this vans a'rocking, don't come a'knocking" has transcended mere utility. I suppose that if you were a fantasy muralist, you could also make the argument that they existed as a canvas for your art, but really, how many fantasy muralists are there?

Honda, ignoring the simple fact that literally no one has ever gotten laid because they owned a mini-van, is really doing nothing more than pissing the van gods off. If I were in Honda's marketing department, I would immediately start rewriting the ads to say things like "The new Honda Odyssey: Something you can drive to Walmart" and "The New Honda Odyssey: Drive it to a Barack Obama stump speech".

Whatever. If you need a minivan, they are pretty practical and I can dig that. You will never convince me that they are cool.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Zoologically, Africa is a horrible place.

I was sitting here eating a bowl of cereal and reading through Yahoo news today when I came across a horrible, horrible article. Evidently, a new species of giant spitting cobra has been identified in Kenya. That's right, I said "Giant Spitting Cobra".

This new species of giant spitting cobra apparently grows to be about 9 feet long and has enough venom to kill 300 people or something. Really, I never pay much attention to venomous snake reports after I read how long they get because I really don't care how many people total they can kill. I care that they can kill me, period. I also want to know if they are in my immediate vicinity, which in this case is a blessed "no".

I know I have complained about there being no monkeys in North America before, but I am happy beyond all comprehension that we don't have spitting cobras here, giant or otherwise. This report got me to thinking that Africa has a lot of animals I want nothing to do with. There are lots and lots of venomous snakes, there are giant scorpions, centipedes, hyenas, and weird insects. All of them only want one thing: The utter destruction of all humanity.

Don't get me started on all the weird germs, bacteria and viruses that come out of Africa. I just read the other day that a different strain of Ebola is popping up. Evidently, one virus that liquefies your guts and kills you wasn't bad enough, so now there is a now evolution of the virus that does it a little bit faster. Great. Good for you, Ebola! Having spent time in Somalia, I am convinced that we all got some weird and undetectable virus that is going to wait until our 42nd birthday, at which point our intestines will turn inside out and try to escape through our ear-holes or something. Looking forward to that!

So, whatever. Africa has a few things going for it, but there are enough things that want to kill me that come in either regular or super size that I won't be returning there, ever.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007


As evidenced by my previous couple of gun blogs, I like guns. What I do not like is the trend towards labelling every gun possible as tactical. Additionally, I hate the huge amount of "tactical" gear that is out there.

Aside from the fact that nerds that want to pretend that they are "operators" buy this stuff by the metric ton, there are some very good reasons why I hate it, and the events in Nebraska today sort of illustrated some of them, which I will get to in a second. Before I flip the rant switch, let me say that there actually is some very good gear out there, and even though it is labelled as "tactical", it is still well made, useful stuff. Maxpedition bags immediately come to mind, as do 5.11 pants.

Now then, let me talk a little about the Nebraska rampage. It saddens me deeply that this sort of thing happens. On a human level, I am sad thinking that 8 people died today, simply because they went shopping at the wrong time. On a more selfish level, I am sad because there are going to be a lot of people who view the gun itself as the problem, and not the shooter. Let me state categorically that I do not believe that guns cause crime any more than I believe that booze causes drunken driving accidents. In both cases you have things that can be dangerous, but when used responsibly are no more dangerous than anything else. I would also point out that it is already illegal to drive when drunk, and it is certainly illegal to murder people. By the same token, it is not illegal to drink, and it is not illegal to own guns, at least in a broad sense.

With that being said, I am staring at my new issue of "Guns" magazine, and inside there is tons of advertisement regarding tactical gear and guns. In fact, on the back page of the magazine, there is an ad for the new Kimber Covert 1911 pistol, with the tag line "Out of sight, Peace of mind". While I have zero problems with the pistol, I have some issues with the wording. If a person that is on the fence about gun control reads this, I believe that they are just as likely to wonder why something like a pistol needs to be "covert" as they are to think "Hey, that's a nice pistol". People active in the gun culture understand that a gun is a gun is a gun, but I am not so sure that the fence sitters do.

Now, I am not saying that the pistol itself is evil. Cops carry Kimber pistols, people compete with Kimber pistols, and Kimber pistols are perfectly suitable weapons for self-defense and pleasure. I wouldn't look down at anyone who bought a Kimber Covert (even though I think Kimbers are horrifically over-priced), and in fact would even go so far as to suggest a similar pistol to anyone who happened to be looking. What I am saying is that perhaps the time has come for a bit of decorum on the part of advertising departments.

A perfect example of what I am talking about is "Extreme Shock" ammunition, the ad for which is posted at the top of this page. Aside from being an extremely stupid advertisement that gun-guys regularly make fun of, the ammo itself borders on false advertisement, at least in my opinion. While I have not personally tested it, this guy has, and if you read his conclusions you can see quite clearly that there isn't anything "Extreme" about this particular brand of ammunition:

Now, for the record, this guy is not a ballistics expert. You can read his bio on his page, and you will see that he has been around the block and has some expertise in the field of firearms training. I think he is credible, but I will say that he is not an "expert".

Anyway, my point is this: Image is everything. If the image that we want is that of wannabe SWAT members running around saving the day, that is the image that we will get, as stupid as that is. I know for a fact that the large majority of gun owners are not wannabe SWAT operators. The vast majority of us are law-abiding citizens (you have to be to legally purchase and own a firearm) that shoot for pleasure or for game or both. The vast majority of us will never have to defend ourselves with firearms, but we will, if we have to. The vast majority of us are just regular, average people that happen to own guns. What we aren't is spree-killers in waiting, ticking time-bombs, or potential crimes of passion.

sigh... I hope I managed to state my position clearly, even though I don't think I did...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Funny Song.

This is a spoof song done by comedian Jon LaJoie that I thought was pretty funny.

Not appropriate for people who frown on cursing.

If you got a pet cat throw your hands up!

Monday, December 3, 2007

The Crimean War is pretty nerdy.

I love history. Love it. I love it so much that I went out and got a degree in it! What I specifically love is military history, although I have to confess that I am not a particularly good military historian. In any event, I was surfing the web the other day trying to find credible sources on a war that I know very little about, the Crimean War.

By way of summary, The Crimean War, which was fought from 1853 to 1856, was a war between Imperial Russia and an alliance made up of France, the Ottoman Empire, the UK and the Kingdom of Sardinia. Put in the simplest terms possible, the war was fought over territory (Afghanistan) and disputes over Frances "sovereign" right to rule the holy lands. One other interesting fact is that the Crimean War is generally considered to be the first "modern" war, meaning that indirect artillery fire, electric communications (telegraph) and rifled gun barrels coupled with the use of the Minie ball were first implemented during this conflict.

Where it gets nerdy is in respect to the Kingdom of Sardinia. I swear, if you look at the names and places from the history of that kingdom and if you look at the names and places of those listed in The Lord of the Rings, you will have a hard time telling which is which. To see what I mean, try this test:

All you have to do is either guess KoS or LotR for each word, and then score yourself.

1. Crown of Aragon
2. Rohan
3. Oristano
4. Gonario II
5. Mordor
6. Marianus IV of Arborea
7. Gondor
8. Gallura
9. Bree
10. House of Savoy.

Allrighty. Here are the correct answers:

1. KoS. The Crown of Aragon was the title given to James II the Just, who ruled over a confederation of fiefdoms.
2. LotR
3. KoS. Oristano was/is a small community in Sardinia.
4. KoS. Gonario II was an early king of Sardinia, and the first to actually claim that title officially.
5. LotR
6. KoS. Marianus IV of Arborea was the ruler of, not unsurprisingly, Arborea.
7. LotR
8. KoS. Gallura is a geographical and cultural region in Sardinia
9. LotR
10. KoS. The House of Savoy refers to the dynasty of Sardinian nobles that ruled Sardina over the year.

Okey-Dokey, so maybe this wasn't as funny or cool as I thought it would be, but it is pretty nerdy. And since it is history-nerdy, that means that you learned a little something along the way. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

One of my all time favorite gun websites,, is posting new articles again, which makes me very happy.

SurplusRifle was owned by a guy named Jamie Mangrum, who both managed and wrote for the website. About a year ago, Jamie announced that the site was closing down because he had cancer. That crisis was averted after the owners of Tennessee Gun Parts assumed control of the site, but sadly, no new posts were made. All of the useful information and old articles were still available, which was great, but nothing new was posted. Beginning this month, Jamie and a couple of the other frequent contributors are now writing again, which means that for all intents and purposes, Surplusrifle has been reborn.

Jamie was pretty much at death's door, but is now cancer free. He is still recovering from the effects of chemo and a couple of surgeries, but it looks like he will be able to contribute monthly, which is good news, at least for all of us that are interested in military surplus firearms. I had tiny little dialogue with Jamie once, and I am happy to see that he is healthy, as he really did seem like a pretty good guy.

One thing that Tennessee Gun Parts did do that was very useful is make available different manuals for some of these guns, in addition to putting together some CD's containing all of the articles, tech sheets, etc.. If you happen to buy a milsurp firearm, and want hard data on it, check out what they have to offer by going to the "Store" section of surplusrifle. If not, most of the data is free and easy to get from the site itself.

All Hail Evel.

Evel Knievel died the other day, and America is a slightly worse country because of it. Evel represented a simpler time in America, a time when concerns of a full scale nuclear apocalypse could be put on hold in order to watch Evel try, and fail, to jump a rocket car over a canyon. A time when Red, White and Blue caped jumpsuits seemed perfectly ordinary, and a time when drinking Wild Turkey straight out of a juice glass at dinner seemed even more ordinary.

Evel lived like he rode: Reckless, wild and free. All reports indicate that Evel was kind of a major a-hole, but so what? You break every bone in your body and see how friendly you become. Evel smoked a lot, drank a lot and cursed a lot, but I can dig it. When your entire day is filled with pain, you have earned the right to drink, smoke and curse. In my opinion, Evel should have been allowed to shoot one or two people a month, just because he was that awesome.
I have two Evel Knievel related stories that I would like to mention, even though neither one has anything to do with me:

1. My mom, who will be most embarrassed that I am telling this story, earned the nickname "Neval Kneval" because she jumped a dune buggy over a hill. Gnarly.

2. Evel Knievel gave Jim Rome a cane that contained Wild Turkey. That's just cool, because no one gives out gifts like that anymore. Jim Rome mentions it pretty frequently too.
So, anyway, say a prayer for Evel, as I am sure he is jumping helicopters in Hell right now and could use the support.

Frustratingly, blogspot won't let me make a couple of spaces between paragraphs that I really want to make despite the fact that I have been trying to make those changes for the last 5 minutes. Anyway, don't let the technical issues take away from the meaning of the post.