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  xThursday, January 29, 2004

exploding cetacean post of the day

The 60-ton carcass of a 56-foot long sperm whale that had died after beaching itself exploded on a Taiwan street today as it was being transported by truck for scientific examination. Apparently gas pressure caused by internal decomposition caused the body of the beast to rupture, spewing blood, entrails, and rotting whale tissue all over cars and shops.

"What a stinking mess. This blood and other stuff that blew out on the road is disgusting, and the smell is really awful," a BBC News report quoted one Tainan resident as saying.

This messy event reminds me of the chapter in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy wherein the Infinite Improbability Drive causes a whale to materialize several miles above a planet, and relates its experiences in the three or so minutes before its terminal impact.

(via Byzantium's Shores)

Here's more from, courtesy BoingBoing.

(Cross-posted at Destroy All Monsters)

Update: Jaquandor provides a follow-up.


apparently, he no longer feels good

He may be the Godfather of Soul, the King of All Funk, and the Hardest Working Man in Show Biz, but yow! James Brown, that's one scary mug shot.

*via Byzantium's Shores)


cheapo dvd alert

I haven't blogged about the last couple of cheapo DVDs I picked up (or anything else, for that matter…). For some reason, marketers of cheapo DVDs seem to have settled on six bucks as the price point. When you consider that amount is barely more than a rental, any movie I judge entertaining enough to watch more than once is a bargain indeed!

A couple of weeks ago, I took The Girls to Best Buy in order to replace a Hello Kitty DVD they got for Xmas but which, unfortunately, broke. (I've had DVDs with apparent encoding problems that prevent them from playing ,but I've never seen the pastic disc itself break.) I planned to take advantage of the opportunity to pick up a DVD of classic Betty Boop cartoons, from the same folks who released the Popeye DVD set I grabbed recently. Like the Popeye cartoons, they're from the Max Fleischer studios, and feature Mae Questel – who also voices Olive Oyl – as Betty. The DVD kicks off with Betty Boop's only color cartoon, a riff on the Cinderella story. And it includes a few Little Lulu and Little Audrey reels as a bonus.

On the same trip, I noticed that Best Buy was featuring the superb Steve Martin/Lily Tomlin comedy All of Me for a mere six bucks, so I grabbed it as well. Martin gives an incredible, madcap performance as a lawyer whose left side is possessed by the spirit of the recently deceased heiress played by Tomlin. He not only manages superb feats of physical comedy, but also an amazing imitation of Tomlin (and later, when Martin's character falls asleep and Tomlin finds herself uncomfortably in control of the whole show, an amazing impression of Tomlin imitating Martin). While the disc is fairly no-frills – just a trailer and cast bios (I'd have loved to have seen a documentary on the making!), it's still an enormously entertaining movie.

While visiting Louisville over the weekend, we stayed with our friends Joe and Jennifer and their young son Cooper. Shortly after we arrived, Joe and I headed out to the grocery to pick up some breakfast and other provisions (especially b33r). The Kroger had a display of cheapo DVDs. After a quick glance, I picked up three, and carried them around the store pondering which one to get.

I selected for consideration The Satanic Rites of Dracula, one of the last Hammer horror films to feature the masterful Christopher Lee as the Prince of Darkness and Peter Cushing as his nemesis, an obscure kung fu flick called Kung Fu: The Punch of Death, which featured some lurid cover art from a Spanish release, and Rage of the Master, starring Ming Tsai Ng and a fellow the DVD case called Tiger Yang. After some deliberation, I settled for Rage of the MasterSatanic Rites has been fairly easy to find, and Kung Fu: The Punch of Death looked like it could be either marvelously entertaining or inept and boring. When I arrived home, I asked if I could satisfy my curiosity by taking a quick look at the disc, and to my delight, it turned out to be an old Jimmy Wang Yu flick! Dub only, of course, but I look forward to watching it – like many cheapo chop socky DVDs, it'll take me back to my childhood, watching kung fu flicks on independent TV Saturday afternoons.

And speaking of chop socky flicks, I'm not sure if I mentioned copping Jackie Chan's 36 Crazy Fists during my Xmas shopping (actually, I did). All told, this latest batch is a total entertainment bargain for a mere 24 bucks and change.


bush mendacity watch

Daily Kos has the goods on the Bush Administration's attempts to claim it never said Iraq was an imminent threat. Not so fast, says Kos.

  xTuesday, January 27, 2004

it's evil! pure evil!

Pharyngula has let its evil side come forth, making me recall somber pronouncements by the late, great Donald Pleasance in John Carpenter horror movies.


plame scandal update

I missed observing that a grand jury has opened an investigation into the Valerie Plame scandal, but Mark Kleiman has news of other investigatory possibilities as well, and links to a corker of an editorial that spotlights the shameful failure of Bush's so-called leadership in response to this outrage.
The national security interest at stake is the protection not only of case officers working in the CIA's clandestine operations but of all their informants and contacts.

In the shadow world where human intelligence is gathered, the careless revelation of a case officer's identity can have a destructive ripple effect. Continuing operations can be compromised, and sources in other countries may be exposed to arrest, torture, or execution.

Deterrence, not mere legal punishment, should be the primary aim of any action the Bush administration takes in response to a blow struck by one of its own against the national security. The letter from the former agency officers spoke of a congressional investigation that could "send an unambiguous message" that members of the intelligence community must "never be turned into political punching bags."

But nothing could do more to deter future saboteurs of the war on terrorism than a demonstration of decisive leadership by the president himself. Bush should demand that the leakers reveal themselves to him before the FBI finds them. And then he should fire them, whoever they are, and tell the public what harm they have done.

That Bush has shown no interest in doing anything other than avoiding scrutiny demonstrates even more clearly that, as CalPundit has pointed out, Bush isn't really serious about national security -- just so long as he gets elected. Shameful.


happy birthday, wolfgang!

Jaquandor reminds me that today is Mozart's birthday. C00L!


swank tune of the day

In honor of the wintry weather, here, for a limited time only, is the incomporable Dean Martin singing "Baby, It's Cold Outside."


As always, this song is subject to deletion without notice.


winter wonderland





It's still snowing here in Indy. I'd planned to snap a photo or two for the benefit of my readers from a more Southerly clime, but I can't seem to find our digital camera. The broken image link icon will remain as a placeholder until I find it and post the pix.

Update: The pictures are up.

  xMonday, January 26, 2004

music post of the day

While visiting Louisville this weekend, my friends and I reminisced about one of our favorite quasi-local bands while we were in college, Government Cheese. My friends pointed me to the Web site of the band's former guitarist/backing vocalist Tommy Womack. Womack wrote a great book about his experience in the band, and continues to record. I have his album Positively Na-Na, and I really enjoy it. (It's a regular among the CDs I keep by the player in the kitchen for when I'm cooking.) He even offers some sample MP3s -- including a couple of old Government Cheese live tracks -- on his site! It's good stuff, so check it out.

  xSunday, January 25, 2004

milestone of the day

Since the last time I checked, the hit counter skipped right past 61,000 and now stands at passed 60,000, and currently stands at 62,329. And while I was away this weekend, the hits started skyrocketing -- I've received three days of roughly 500-hit traffic. This despite my relative paucity of posting!

The referral logs show an inordinate amount of Google image searches for this (relatively SFW) image, from the hentai game "Three Sisters Story." I presume someone's linked to it, so I'm considering temporarily taking down the image to see if that stabilizes things.

--There. I've renamed the image file. We'll see what happens.


the ice storm

We spent the weekend visiting friends and family in Louisville. It was a very pleasant visit -- we enjoyed dinner with friends at the great BBQ restaurant Mark's Feed Store, and generally enjoyed visiting with our friends and loved ones.

We had to cut things somewhat short, however, as an ice storm moved through the Kentuckiana area. We got out of town shortly after the storm moved in, but in a scant few hours it'd already made driving difficult at best and hazardous at worst. Fortunately, it didn't extend very far north of Louisville, and we were clear of the worst of it about 30 miles north of the city -- but those 30 miles took more than an hour to drive.

Roads remained snowy the whole way, and when we reached Indy, we discovered snowfall continuing, with more than two inches on the ground and more continuing to fall. Tomorrow's commute promises to be a headache, but it shouldn't prevent me from reaching work.


irony of the day

I don't think I called much attention to it at the time, but I dropped the "recent posts" section powered by the RSS feed I added back in November. Although my recent paucity of posting has made a "recent posts" section rather unneccessary, the truth is it just wasn't updating right.

Now I learn from Jaquandor that Blogger has launched its own syndication service. The dual ironies are that 1) I'm now truly not posting enough to really warrant using it, and 2) the BlogMatrix feed now appears to be working correctly.

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