Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Today's launch of Discovery and America's return to manned spaceflight was picture perfect. The new tank-mounted real time camera provided a spectacular view of the tank separation event from space. Spectacular though it may be, here's to hoping that NASA will get serious about a safer shuttle replacement this time and retire the aging beast as scheduled in 2010.

Word of the day: Nominal. NASA bureaucrats are congenitally incapable of exuberance. In this vein, a perfect launch is termed "nominal." Usage: "Wow, we just launched a 4.5 million pound Roman candle into space with a terminal velocity of twenty-five times the speed of sound. I feel nominal!" In a nutshell, this word sums up why manned spaceflight can, should and will be in the hands of private enterprise.

ADDENDA: The F-22 Raptor is America's primo warplane of the future. We paid a gazillion bucks for these things. Here's a pic of the first operational spec plane. At least it looks cool. Hat tip: Blackfive.  (The F-35 is the cheaper companion plane to the Raptor. It's not yet fully baked.)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Anyone see the King of the Hill episode where they attend a country music festival? It turns out Randy Travis is a schmuck -very funny. No offense to Mr. Travis, but the episode was hilarious.

RIP Scotty. The Lord hath beamed you up.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


As a fan of the comedic arts, the movie the Aristocrats looks like a must-see. Watch the trailer here. Precious few movies that delve into the subject matter exist. Seinfeld's the Comedian was a noteworthy exception. Before that, I believe you have to go as far back as Punchline, with Sally Field and Tom Hanks. The small screen always has been and probably will continue to be a much better window for what fuels the creative process of a comedian with such fare as Dave Attell's Insomniac and Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Muni meters are those big-box replacements for the ubiquitous parking meter. You can load up a muni meter receipt with pretty much as you want, and leave your car on a street parking spot in, say, the theater district for roughly 1/4 the price of a garage. The trick is having 6 to 8 bucks in change to feed the muni meter. For this I recommend keeping a stash of Sacagawea (or Susan B. Anthony) coins in your glove compartment. Alternately, going into a local shop and asking for change is a lot less offensive if you ask the shopkeeper for dollar coins. While proprietors may be reluctant to part with quarters from their register, they are usually more than happy to swap dollar coins for bills.

ALTERNATE MUSINGS: Are bullet points evil?

Friday, July 08, 2005


Wife & I made it out to see Mike Birbiglia last night at Caroline's.  It was billed in his advance newsletter as an experimental hourlong session with lots of new material, so we were excited to go. Plus, we never seem to get out anymore what with the baby & all. Mike didn't dissapoint, IMHO. Some notes:

  • The bit on everything these days also having a built-in camera got us laughing. Reminded us of the Malibu Rum ad we just saw with the melons. Those Malibu ads are hilarious, I wish they were available on the 'net -they're some of the most original and funny ads out there.
  • I forget the joke, but Mike made use of what I've called the 2-5 progression. Basically, jumping from the number 2 to the number 5 seems to be funny, as in: "Sex between two people is wonderful...between five it's fantastic" -Woody Allen, Standup Comic (sometime in the '60's.) I've heard that progression used in comedy before and it's a good one.
  • The guitar sketches are new and quite funny. I hope this doesn't mean Mike's becoming a prop comic, though. I wonder, does the atheist's menu choices (bagel, cream cheese) indicate Jewish origin?

Sure fire way to initiate a monsoon in your neighborhood: Start watering the garden.

Peace out.