Random Ramblings

Wisdom Tooth Extraction Tomorrow

teeth-6I have two impacted wisdom teeth. The other two are not impacted, but they are  pushing on my lower molars, so they have to come out, too. I’m told that I won’t be aware of the procedure, but my insurance company, God bless them, does not pay for full anesthesia. That means I get some kind of weird hybrid knock-out gas that most people say will make it totally painless. I have my doubts.

Given the fact that I suffer from bad headaches of one variety or another (migraines as well as sinus headaches), I’m no stranger to pain. However, the thought of having four holes in my jawbone where there used to be teeth is somewhat daunting.

I ate steak tonight since I knew I wouldn’t be eating anything that wasn’t pre-chewed for the next couple of days. I’ll probably eat the other steak that I cooked for lunch tomorrow, right before I go into the dentist’s office. I thought about licking a skunk before I went in, just to make sure that my breath was appropriately fresh for the representative of the Spanish Inquisition surgeon doing the work, but I would have to live with the taste, and it’s not worth it, even as a practical joke.

Everyone wish me luck. It’s a solid bet I won’t post for a couple of days. If the revisions on the novel don’t go well tonight, I may schedule up some future dated posts, but don’t count on it. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve moved the (weekly updated) quick hits section to the sidebar, so that should provide some entertaining reading for the nonce.

Weekend Caption Contest


Here’s the re-boot of our weekly caption contest. This week features a harrowing scene of escape. Post away. The winner will be announced in the next contest. While there are no prizes, I’ll certainly respect you more if you can come up with dialog.

Iran Designs New Destructive Weapon

explosion-fingerTEHRAN, IRAN (AP) – This morning, Iranian officials declared themselves a world nuclear power with the invention of the FU-238 Fissile Device. Long suspected of purifying large amounts of weapons-grade uranium, the announcement triggered no surprise from NATO. The nuclear test was conducted in the Persian higlands north of Yazd.

The Iranian weapons program has been under a scandal since it was widely reported that a previous missile test was subject to digital altering, “photochopped” in the parlance of internet junkies who examined the photos and spotted the fake. Iranian officials still insist that the original missile test was unaltered. Mohummad Fakir, the Minister of Informaition, said: “Our technicians are the very best in the Islamic Crescent. There is no way the Great Satan could spot a fake.”

The Ministry of Science offered further clarification. “Big boom. Many big boom. Boom boom like your American strippers.”

Al Jazeera is hailing Iran’s test as a triumph of Islam over a decadent and waning West. The channel has been running the photo nearly around the clock, interrupting only to trumpet their impending exclusive interview with President Barack Obama and his reaction to a new member of the nuclear family.

In a scientific paper released to the European nuclear community, Iranian scientists bragged that they could control the shape and size of a fission reaction with the FU-238 fissile device. “We have sent a message to the world with our first detonation,” they claim (picture shown at left). “We will speak the infidel’s language, using a sign that they cannot mistake about the coming jihad.”

The NSA is dubious about the accuracy of the photo. A  highly placed source said on the condition of anonymity: “While the explosion is characteristic of a high-yield nuclear device, the resemblance to a clenched fist and extended middle finger is uncanny. We know of no means to control an explosion with such accuracy.”

The IAEA’s spokesperson, Helmut von Mittler von Winchel is plainly dismayed. “We searched that country from top to bottom and all we found were hairy women and camels. The women were very hairy. They had mustaches, bigger mustaches than der fuhrer. The camels, now…after a while the camels started to look attractive. They, had these lips…uh, what I mean to say is that if they were making nuclear weapons, then they certainly fooled me.”

Jean Valleaux, a secret advisor on military affairs to French Prime Minister, was less certain than the NSA. “We’ve had the French military practicing. Drill sergeants have the soldiers dropping their rifles repeatedly and placing their hands in the air. If Iran looks to be able to reach continental Europe with ballistic missiles, we want to be prepared to surrender.” Unfounded rumors indicate that the French have hired elements of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard in order to be abreast of the latest techniques in surrendering.

Site Relaunch

launch2Finally, after a month hiatus, we’re having a legitimate site re-launch.

I’m launching in a magazine-style format in an effort to reflect the kind of content I’d like to present over the next few months. I’ll be focusing more on the business of writing, as well as offering my (unsolicited) opinions on all forms of media. As always, I’ll welcome comments and questions.

In order to familiarize you with the user interface, I should point out a couple of items. Hyperlinks are not readily apparent with the CSS that I’m using, so mouse over anything that looks like it might take you somewhere else. Odds are, it will. That includes my normally snarky links that I bury in posts. Consider them “Easter Eggs.” Additionally, to comment on any article, click the small number next to square with lines in it (a tiny icon that looks like page) to the right of the title. This number in parentheses indicates the number of posts on a given thread. If you’re reading the full version of the article, you can comment as usual at the bottom.

The pages are arranged on the top, in the header section. Here you’ll find easy access to my completed works (sort of like a curriculum vitae), the podcasts we’ve done on the site, and a consolidated book list of most of the books I’ve read over the past three years. The post categories are arranged immediately below my name and the blog tagline. If you’re looking for an article that fits one of my categories, those links will sort the posts by topic. I’ve tested the code in Google Chrome, Safari, and IE 7.0. If anyone has Firefox/Mozilla and has issues with it, please let me know.

One last thing, and probably the most onerous of the bunch–when I restored the backup of my WordPress database, the user information did NOT come with it. If you’ve created an account before, you’ll need to re-create account. Please do so at your earliest convenience.

Enjoy the site re-launch, and stay tuned for some bulky content, including reviews of all the books I’ve been reading in my hiatus.

UPDATE: It looks as though the images for the archived caption contests are gone. Since they were gathered from hither and yon on the web, I don’t see them being replaced any time soon. Also, if you’re having issues with the RSS feed, I am told by the Web Mistress (Kate) that this is now working. If it is NOT, then please let me know.

Star Wars Cantina Song…Done Right


Enjoy this young harpist playing the Star Wars Cantina song. I wonder if he really likes it, or if his parents made him do it?

What is particularly amazing is how much concentration the lad has while he’s playing.

Lex Asks For a Bailout











Monday caption contest













This one is below the cut. As John Scalzi notes on his website, polar bears are not necessarily cute’n’cuddly.

Read More

Reading Lists

Since the Now Reading plug-in remains borked, and I lack the wherewithal and the skills to fix it, I’ve moved my reading lists to pages at the top. I’ll keep them updated just as I did the Now Reading Sidebar. As I have time, I’ll begin hyperlinking this year’s items to Amazon.

More on the Economy

Home prices in some parts of the the DFW metroplex have fallen according to realtors, but (of course) tax assessments for property either remain constant or slightly increases. What you are seeing is that the number of homes sold is on the decline.

My previous post is me indulging a bit Swiftian satire, but what  I am serious about is that I think there’s a difference in attitude between recently prosperous states (such as the Sun Belt) and the older states (Rust Belt, New England). What makes this difference is hard to say, but I honestly believe that, as a general rule, the opportunities available here have leached a great deal of talent from the north and the midwest. With our transition to a full service economy (away from manufacturing), I don’t see those areas recovering as quickly, nor do I see them being terribly resilient to harsh economic times.

Enter our illustrious President.

A quick view at the electoral map will illustrate my point pretty clearly. States that have been hit the hardest by the migration of our manufacturing sector to overseas markets are an electorate ripe for a message of entitlement and free money. Obama, running ostensibly as a moderate despite his voting record in the Senate, has come full circle with a brutal attack on capitalism. I’m reminded of Nero, who (according to legend) played his lyre while Rome burned. Even Jim Cramer, talk show host of CNBC’sMad Money and Obama supporter, believes that Obama has made things worse the economy.

Obama is a progressive in the European mold, through and through. With his tele-prompter scripted charisma, he is leading our country into economic paralysis. Banks still are reluctant to lend; small business owners can’t even get access to the supposed “stimulus” funds.

Wake up, sheeple!

The America we know and love today as the land of opportunity is fast becoming the land of government control.

The Ultimate Star Wars Mash-up

You’re probably all familiar with Party Ben (since you’re all way cooler and more intarweebs hip than me), but I came across this tonight and thought it merited sharing.

I know, I know, it’s what I typically call “shitty dance music,” but it has Star Wars music in it…one of the most iconic pieces of Star Wars music at that.

Give it a listen and tell me what you think.