Archive for the ‘In the news’ Category

A new toy and a couple of horror stories

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

I recently was given an old Windows XP laptop. As XP is no longer maintained or secure, I’ve decided to play with a Linux-based OS, specifically, Elementary. It ought to be educational.

I’ve also run across a couple of horror-related items.

In the first, Warner Brothers is being sued for big money over the “Conjuring” movies, by an author who claims he has a prior, exclusive, contract with the people who provided the source information. The fun part is, apparently the only way WB can win is by proving the existence of ghosts and witches.

The other involves a family who got together to play a horror-themed desktop game, and ended up with more excitement than they expected. I have a friend who says he has a similar story about watching The Exorcist the first time while attending a conference at Walter Reed.

Well, that wasn’t good news

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

A friend just emailed me the news that Ed Bryant was found dead yesterday. Ed was a local science fiction/horror author I knew slightly – I’d see him at local conventions from time to time, and he was a neighbor to one of my former co-workers. Nice guy, and not much older than me. Sad to think I’ll never see him again.

RIP Boy Scouts

Monday, January 30th, 2017

They’re going to allow girls who identify as boys to join. That’s going to go over really well when they have to share a tent on a camp-out. Then again, do the Boy Scouts still do that? Or is it too retro and manly?

Will the Girl Scouts allow boys who identify as girls to join? If not, why not?

Marble Madness

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

I heard on the radio news that a truck driver lost 38000 pounds of marbles on the highway near Indianapolis the other day.

I called in and requested this song. The DJ said he’d try to find it, but I wasn’t able to listen long enough to see if he actually did. It’s not quite identical with the news story, but … enjoy.

There were giants in those days …

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

… and Steven Den Beste was one of the greatest. Sadly, he’s now gone. His site, USS Clueless, was one of the first websites that became a daily stop – I set up a bookmark for it, but I went there so often that it actually became faster for me to type the URL. His server, which was in his home, apparently died around the same time he did, but there is an authorized mirror available.

Bill Whittle described USS Clueless as the internet’s Krell Mind Machine, and that was an apt description. His long-form writing was well-researched, well-thought-out, and left you better informed, even if you weren’t actually smarter, for having read it. He was an engineer, and his posts on engineering topics, particularly things like alternative energy, were and are worthwhile references. His posts on politics earned him a position in “the Four Horsemen of the ABlogalypse.”

He retired USS Clueless in 2004, because he suffered from a genetically-caused degenerative disease, and the medications he took to allow him to do the in-depth posts became too much for him to want to handle, not to mention that his emails were filled with attacks and nitpicking, which became discouraging.

He continued blogging, but limited himself to anime, personal topics, and the occasional topical post. Chizumatic was never a regular stop for me, but it was a pleasant diversion on those occasions that I went there.

There are many tributes to him that have been posted already, and I’m sure more will be posted in the next days. There is a roundup post here that covers all the ones I’d found myself, and then some.

Farewell, Steven. I’m sorry you’re gone, and I hope you’re feeling better.

UPDATE: Steven talked about whether he’d made an impact here. Given the responses to his death, I feel confident in saying that he did, even apart from his engineering work.

Can’t Sleep, Clowns Will Eat Me

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

What with all the brouhaha concerning clowns in the news recently, I thought I’d dust off a song I wrote a few years ago and post it. I had run across a graphic showing a young boy crying, with the words, “Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat me.” It’s from a Simpsons episode, apparently, but I didn’t know that. I also started off with a blues joke, because it seems that most of the old-time blues songs start with, “I woke up this morning, and <something bad happened>.”

In any case, the following goes to the tune of “Heartbreak Hotel.”

Well, I didn’t wake up this morning,
‘Cause I never slept last night.
The clowns were coming to eat me
And you know that just ain’t right.

Chorus:
And I’m getting so tired, baby,
So frightened and tired.
I’m getting so tired, I could cry.

Well, they’ve got those big, red noses,
And they wear those floppy shoes,
And the way they paint their faces, Lord,
It just gives me the blues.

Chorus

I saw that little car coming,
With twelve of them inside,
And when they started to pour out
Well, I tried to run and hide.

Chorus

They had loaded up big with weapons –
Cream pies and squirting flowers.
The fighting was hot and heavy
And the cleanup just took hours.

Chorus

So I’m watching for polka-dot jumpsuits,
Balloon animals, as well.
I want you people to know
These clowns are making my life hell.

Chorus

9/11 – Remembering both of them

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Today is the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon. Glenn Reynolds has his remembrance here, including a link to his original coverage of the events.

Esquire magazine has an article on the falling man, whose picture has been downplayed and hidden (to the extent that one can hide something on the internet). It’s not the only one. I remember seeing video of Palestinians dancing in the street and handing candy out to children in celebration. You can’t find that anymore. You can find denials that it ever happened, though.

It’s also the 4th anniversary of the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. All the more tragic because it was , and I doubt that we’ll ever have a better explanation for the U. S. government’s response than, “feckless Democrats.”

R.I.P. Gene Wilder

Monday, August 29th, 2016

I’m sorry to hear this. It’s time to watch his classic movie roles again.

He was a funny, funny man. I read this anecdote several years ago, and it points out his comic genius.

wilder wonka

Such a deal!

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

Canadians now pay more in taxes than on food, clothing, and shelter combined.

Have they checked with Sandy Berger?

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

FBI files linking Hillary Clinton to Vince Foster’s suicide have disappeared from the National Archives.