Archive for October, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (DH-4)

October 31, 2004

This week we feature yet another De Havilland aircraft, the DH-4.
I saw a plane very similar to this one, the Boeing 40B-2, at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry last week. The exhibit was accompanied by the following letter from Leonard B. Hyde-Pearson, an airmail pilot who died in a plane crash in a De Havilland mail plane on March 7, 1924:

“To Be Opened Only After My Death:
Capt. Leonard Brooke Hyde-Pearson, USAMS
“My Beloved Brother Pilots and Pals”

I go west, but with cheerful heart.
I hope whatever small sacrifice I have made
May be of some use to the cause.
When we fly we are fools, they say.
When we are dead, weren’t half-bad fellows.
But everyone in this wonderful aviation service
Is doing the world far more good than the public can appreciate.
We risk our necks; we give our lives;
We perfect a service for the benefit of the world at large.
They, mind you, are the ones who call us fools.
But stick to it, boys. I’m still very much with you all.
See you all again.

It’s always risky to open a new frontier. The next time you buckle into a commercial jetliner, remember these words of Captain Hyde-Pearson, since you owe safe, routine, air travel in large part to pioneers like him.


The Al-Corbomite Maneuver

October 30, 2004

Is Osama’s latest video a surrender proposal?
A threat to President Bush? An endorsement of Senator Kerry?
I don’t know, but watching it I kept wondering whether Ron Howard’s half-naked little brother would invite us back to drink some Tranya:
Update: Looks like Rusty had a similar idea.

SF Babes Poll Number 7

October 28, 2004

Well, I see from last week’s results that the “soft” Leia in a metal bikini made just as strong an impression on my fellow geeks as she did on me. She claimed 50% of the popular vote. Not sure if either major party candidate will do that this year…
Politics aside, this week’s poll celebrates the distinctive beauty of five passengers/crewmembers on Jean Wuss Picard’s Enterprise: Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden), Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby), Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), and Lwaxana Troi (Majel Barrett, for any of you milf types out there).
Vote often and early. I hope that we will know the final results of our presidential election by the time we know the results of this poll next week. Enjoy!
Results (Posted 4 November 2004):

SF Babes – Star Trek:TNG
Crusher.jpg Dr. Beverly Crusher
22 votes
troi02.jpg Deanna Troi
41 votes
Natasha.jpg Tasha Yar
19 votes
Guinan.jpg Guinan
1 vote
Lwaxana.jpg Lwaxana Troi
0 votes

Back in Town

October 28, 2004

I got back safely last night, but lacked the time and energy to post my usual humble brilliance.
I had given Rob the Llamabutcher the key to the place for about a day, but unfortunately Munuviana crashed during his window of opportunity to leave Llama droppings here. Look back later today for the new SF Babe poll, along with the final results of the Leia/Padme contest.

Slow Posting Ahead

October 25, 2004

I find myself out of town in Chicago for the next few days for a continuing legal education conference. Unfortunately, I only have dialup access and find it frustrating to surf or blog, so expect limited-to-no posting until Wednesday evening.
I’ll have a belated aircraft cheesecake posting ready by then. I got some ideas at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry yesterday.
As additional away-from-home sightseeing, I caught Team America: World Police at the theater last night. This is a must-see, especially for the supposedly “open-minded” leftists who like cutting-edge humor. It is the antidote to Fahrenheit 911: rather than taking down Fahrenheit 911’s lies point-by-point, it undermines the whole self-loathing, defeatist premise of that movie and the laughable self-importance of the media elite. America! F*** Yeah!
Update: Instapundit is traveling, too. I wish I could call on some quality writing talent (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) to fill in the blanks here while I’m gone.

SF Babes Poll Number 6

October 21, 2004

This week’s entry pits mother against daughter. Padme (Amidala) against Princess Leia Organa.
But this week, there’s a new twist: both of our candidates display both a soft, stereotypically feminine side and an assertive, commanding, warrior side. You get to choose not only between the two women, but also between their personas.
Results (Posted 28 October 2004):

SF Babes – Star Wars
SoftLeia1.jpg “Soft” Leia
35 Votes
SoftPadme.jpg “Soft” Padme
15 Votes
LeiaBlaster.jpg “Warrior” Leia
5 Votes
AmidalaBlaster.jpg “Warrior” Padme
15 Votes

Required Reading

October 20, 2004

If you haven’t read any Neal Stephenson, you must at least read Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon.
I know, I know. Cryptonomicon is a BIG book, as are the recent Baroque Cycle works. If you haven’t time or inclination to read those, then at least read this great interview on Slashdot, which I found via SFSignal.
Aside from the hilarious [fictional] anecdotes of Neal’s epic battles with William Gibson, there’s some real gold here. For example, this nugget about Blue Origin:

As for my visions of future private space flight: here I have to remind you of something, which is that, up to this point in the interview, I have been wearing my novelist hat, meaning that I talk freely about whatever I please. But private space flight is an area where I wear a different hat (or helmet). I do not freely disseminate my thoughts on this one topic because I have agreed to sell those thoughts to Blue Origin. Admittedly, this feels a little strange to a novelist who is accustomed to running his mouth whenever he feels like it. But it is a small price to pay for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a minor character in a Robert Heinlein novel.

I like the sound of that: a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become a minor character in a Robert Heinlein novel.” Unfortunately Blue Origin doesn’t seem to be looking for an in-house lawyer at this time.

“Edwards to Fabulous, Come in Fabulous…”

October 20, 2004

Best assessment yet of the candid John “Breck Girl” Edwards primping clip:

Getting prepped for the harsh blare of TV lights is a peculiar experience, and you learn to sit still and think of England. So no, the clip isn’t particularly unusual.
Until he whips out – well, you’ll see. It’s like Captain Kirk whipping out his communicator to contact the USS Fabulous. Set phasers on stunning!

My not-so-inner geek loves that.

Geek Quiz

October 19, 2004

In case it’s not already abundantly clear, I am, in fact, a geek.
And proud of it.
Moreover, I am a Level 3 geek.
Take this quiz, and figure out your own geek quotient. (My score was 575).
Update: Not just a geek. A geek that can’t read the instructions. I missed the two-year time frame on the first part of the quiz.
Retaking with that timeframe, my raw score was 590, less 350 for the “anti-geek” points, yields a revised score of 240, or Level 0 Wannabe.

D&D Babes Video

October 19, 2004

This video is especially suited for Rob (to show him what he missed out on) and Ace (to relive past dork glories).
Via BoingBoing.