Saturday, March 31, 2012

Google Earth, Basic Training: GRENADE!!

I always seemed to miss out on the "fun" days in Basic.

I was on KP the day our Company went into the gas room; we kitchen-cleaners were run out to the site about the time everyone else was staggering out of the building, a line of poor bastards with their gas masks off and snot, tears, puke and phlegm pouring out of them in varying amounts.

I got a whiff of the stuff, but for whatever reason we KP warriors didn't get to play. I don't feel bad.

I can't remember whether it was KP or Company Driver duty that nearly made me miss grenade day. If I wasn't enthusiastic about the instant sunburn and mucus overload, I can't say the same about the grenade range.

A handful of us were driven out to the range and given the sketchiest walk-through of the care and feeding of the various grenades. We could hear the efforts (BOOOM!!) of the group ahead of ours. Thumb goes on (BOOOM!!) the "spoon," pull the pin, throw (BOOOM!!) the damn thing and duck. They shuffled us out (BOOOM!!) to the range, where we lined up in a concrete (BOOOM!!) bunker, put on heavy flak vests, and led us (BOOOM!!) out in (BOOOM!!) twos.

Now I and my "buddy" were in a big concrete box taller than our heads (or maybe we were just ducking and covering?), open to the sky. The sergeant reminded us how to hold, how to pull, how to throw. My "buddy" yanked the pin and did a straight-armed John Wayne toss over the wall...BOOOM!!

My turn. Thumb goes here, pull the pin--

The impatient sergeant grabbed the baseball-shaped grenade (the "spoon" flew off...and now the damn thing was armed) and hefted it over the wall...BOOOM!!

It's not like I was taking my damn time with it. Maybe he just wanted to be done. *shrug*.

We were herded back to our jobs and that was that.

A few nights ago, spying on Ft. Jackson, I found a pair of grenade ranges side by side, one looking unused and maybe falling apart, the other much cleaner. The older one is scarred mostly by rain runoff from the higher ground surrounding the pit. The newer one is pocked with craters:

Haven't found the gas house yet.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Molly Ringwalds (Mar. 24, 2012)

When I got an invite to head down to the Capt'n Fun Beach Club on Pensacola Beach last Saturday, I had to think it over.

I'm not much for going out--not into the club scene, don't really want to be in the middle of a crowd. I'd rather have a book and a quiet spot in which to read it. I've only gotten more insular since Aorta Day--only now I don't read much. If I'm in that quiet spot, it won't be long before I'm asleep.

I finally decided to go just for the sake of being somewhere else. I brought a sketchbook and some pens.

I'd heard of the Molly Ringwalds, but never had an interest in seeing them before. About all I knew about them was that they're an '80s cover band.

Let's skip all the pre-gig stuff (dinner, hiking back and forth on the Boardwalk, trying to find a chair, sitting and sketching a nearby ice cream shop) that killed the few hours before 11:30 pm and get to it. I perched on a stool on the Boardwalk where I could see maybe a third of the stage (no seats where they were playing, unfortunately).

The Ringwalds' personae are easily recognizable 80s pop-culture icons:
--singer/guitarist "Devon" dressed as Adam Ant
--singer/guitarist "Randi" as one of the Devo guys
--singer/keyboardist "Dickie" as Pee-wee Herman
--bass player "Philip" as Dee "Twisted Sister" Snyder
--drummer "Liam" as Nikki Sixx

Over the next two hours, they kicked ass. Devon, Randi and Dickie traded off a lead singer depending on the needs of a given song. Devon did a passable Prince in the opening "Let's Go Crazy"; Dickie used his higher range for "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," screamed through "Cum On Feel The Noize," and Randi wailed through "Don't Stop Believin' ."

The band put as much effort into performing each song as they did in making it fun. Far from being a bunch of shoe-gazers, they cavorted on stage, took impressive slugs from a big Crown Royal bottle, got various drunk girls in the audience to sing along, and generally just played the hell out of it. They had their own sound guy off to the left of the stage and a professional lighting and sound setup. Very professional.

They kept it up for two solid hours. The audience--split between Spring Break college kids ("Wow! look at all the OLD people here!") and us 40-ish old farts who could vaguely remember when the songs were new ("You damn kids stay off my lawn!")--danced and sang along and generally had a blast.

The set list:

Let's Go Crazy
We Got the Beat
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
Goody Two Shoes
Walk This Way (Run DMC version)
Talking In Your Sleep
Personal Jesus
When Doves Cry / Sweet Dreams / drunk girl sing-along
Another One Bites the Dust (Pee-wee killed it on vocals!)
Tom Sawyer (Pee-wee again)
Separate Ways (Devo guy on vocals)
Boys of Summer
Don't You Forget About Me
Blister in the Sun
Push It (Salt-n-Pepa)
What About Love?
Hungry Like the Wolf
Sweet Child o' Mine
In the Air Tonight
Take On Me
Livin' On a Prayer
I Don't Wanna Lose You Love Tonight
Cum On Feel the Noize
Don't Stop Believin'

If these guys show up in your area, they're well worth seeing.

Google Earth and Basic Training

I haven't been back to Fort Jackson, South Carolina since I finished Basic in 1987. I've visited a few times via Google Earth, looking for memories. The barracks building was easy enough, and the site of the church we got frog-marched to because some zealous sergeant wanted to watch a holiday gospel concert. The church isn't there, anymore.

I didn't do it.

It was more of a challenge to find some of the firing ranges way out to the east, places where we spent most of our time when we were learning the M-16, M-60, LAW anti-tank rocket, and grenades. The basic rifle ranges are arranged in a loop. The last time spied around, Google Earth's low-altitude imaging wasn't very good. This time, though, I could see foxhole positions on each firing line, blasted cars and trucks, and bleachers where green trainees are taught the basics of killin' stuff.

But I hadn't been able to find the Big One, where we'd had our "live fire" exercise.

For this one, we had to sit in the bleachers after dark, waiting for our eyes to fully adjust to the night. Then we marched along a dirt road and found our way into a long trench. I was somewhere near the middle.

"You're going to climb this wall and hit the deck," we were told. "If you stand up, one of those M-60's at the other end of the course might take the top of your helmet off, so stay the hell down! There's a barbed wire obstacle--all you have to do is roll over on your back and shimmy under it. Just remember NOT TO STAND UP."

Right around then, the 60's started firing, every 5th round a tracer. A bright red flare rocketed into the sky and burst, casting its light on everything (so much for night vision).

Showtime! We went up over the wall, yelling and crawling in the dirt. I could see a low line of sandbags ahead of me. There was a flash and a gut-liquefying BOOOM that earplugs didn't do much about. Those of us near those damn sandbags crabbed sideways in case those ball-breaking bastards set off another blast.

Stay low, keep crawling, rifle slung across my forearms...there's the BOOOM barbed wire (shit! there's another sandbagged pit to the right, so the guys on that end of the line get to crap themselves this time). My knees and elbows felt sandpapered. Stay low...keep crawling. Damn helmet kept riding down my forehead.

No idea how long it took to negotiate the course. It always seems like forever. Everything distilled down to staying low and crawling, ignoring the sand working its way down my sleeves and grinding into my knees. I could see the towers from which the machine guns were firing--and then I was past them, getting to my feet and leaving the course.

I never laid eyes on the place again until last night, when I finally found it in Google Earth. Not as big as it had seemed from a worm's-eye view:

(click to largify)

It's only 200 feet wide and 600 feet long; the starting trench is about 200 feet up from a long, high pile of red dirt (the bullet catcher); the three sandbag-ringed pits, zigzagged obstacles, and machine gun towers stand out much better in daylight.

I got a chuckle out of one detail in the picture: from the trench line, you can clearly see a few dozen belly tracks. It looks like quite a few trainees headed for that middle pit only to have it blow up on them--you can even see where they damn near backtracked to get around the thing.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Fort Google Earth Project

I've been using Google Earth pretty heavily lately, organizing a massive collection of "Forts of the World" waypoints I found a few years ago.

The main batch wasn't an exhaustive list--only 4 from Japan, 10 on the island of Malta (there are more), only a few from the United States. I've still got some sub-foldered waypoints to look through, though, and I don't know how many more I'll find. The count is up to more than a hundred just with what I've finished so far.

After years of not dealing with the long, tangled mess of waypoints seemingly randomly dumped into a Google Earth "places" file--and after years of just not wanting to bother trying to organize it all, because GE doesn't make it easy--I set up subfolders and got to it. Some of the locations are spectacular, such as four French forts up in the Alps and a pair of Italian forts perched on sheer mountain faces with no way to reach them except switchback trails.

I found Germany's WW2 flak towers in Berlin, Hamburg, and Vienna, lonely desert guardians like Masada in Israel, thickly overgrown batteries like those of Fort Saint Philip on the Mississippi south of New Orleans, fortified cities in the Netherlands, and the "Hermit Fort," Fort Fisher in North Carolina, where an old man named Robert Harrill took up residence in an abandoned WW2 bunker in the 1950's.

There are so many more! Rio de Janeiro, South Africa, Denmark, Sweden, France, Montenegro, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Canada. Makes me wish Mitt Romney would adopt me so I could get an allowance and travel the world just to look at forts and castles (forget about converting to Mormonism, though).

The next part of the project will be adding all of my own placemarks (mostly American forts) and adding new ones for batteries that were added during the late 1900s, WW1 and WW2. Once I've got a honking big batch of them, I'll figure out how to upload the placemarks file and make the world a better place for history buffs.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Song of the Day: Tom Sawyer (The Molly Ringwalds)

I got to see these guys last night at Cap'n Fun near Pensacola Beach. They played a solid 2-hour gig of '80s covers.

If you ever get the chance to the the Molly Ringwalds play, GO. Period. Seeing Pee-wee Herman sing makes it worth it.

I'll be doing a write-up of the show in a bit.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Road Trip: Jacksonville, Pt. 3 (May, 2008)--Part 3: Fort Clinch, then homeward

"Park campgrounds are full on Memorial Day."

Well, crap. I hadn't thought of that during my planning; I never go anywhere.

It's nearly night and I've got camping gear all ready to set up--and nowhere to set it up.

I backtracked through Fernandina Beach and stopped for dinner before calling a few campsites on the list I'd been given at Fort Clinch Park. No, sorry. No, we're full. No vacancy. You might try so-and-so, just up the road from you.

Back on the road toward Yulee. By now it was pitch black and drizzling. The campsite was easy to find. I pulled up in front of the office; there must have been a sign sending customers around back (I don't remember), so I swung around behind the building. The rain was falling harder as I squished over to the open back door.

"Sorry, we're full-up--and we only allow RV's and trailers--no tents."

That's not a campground. That's a PARKING LOT.

Hell with this.

I asked about motels; there was one in Yulee at the next light, turn right.

Squished back to the Tracker and found my way to the dinky motel's office. Thirty-five bucks, don't care whether it's smoking or non-smoking. Park and open the door to my room.

Imagine every loaded ashtray you've ever seen, and the ghosts of every ashtray you've never seen, all trapped in a dinky motel room. They all greeted me at the door, then flowed around me and enveloped me. If I hadn't been worn down to the dregs, I'd have gone to ask for another room, but I could barely even think straight. It was after 10 and I'd been up and running since at least 6 am.

I unloaded the Tracker, found the air conditioner in the back corner of the room, cranked it all the way up.

The place was reasonably clean, painted a shade of Institutional Green. To the right of the door there was a dent in the drywall that looked like the imprint of a fist and forearm. A single table lamp with no shade, TV, microwave, mini-fridge, wobbly table with two chairs. The bathroom was clean enough, but water trickled out of the faucets like someone had a tourniquet on the pipes somewhere.

All those ashtrays curled up around me on the bed and relaxed with me.

Tired as I was, sleep didn't come easily. The ashtray stink permeated the bedding; the only escape would be out in the rain, which didn't let up all night. I heard what might have been a fight outside around 3am, yelling and slamming doors.

By 4 am I was feeling nauseous. I could taste the ashtrays. The next hour lasted a week, and it was puffing on menthols the entire time.

I gave up on sleep and took a trickle (can't call it a "shower"--I'm not that generous), loaded the Tracker, and bailed out of the Ashtray Hilton, headed for Fernandina Beach.

The fort wouldn't open for several more hours, so I drove through town, past the park and its lucky campers to the end of Atlantic Avenue and parked to watch the sunrise over the Atlantic. There were plenty of clouds, some rain to the north, a single dolphin and a handful of surf-casters. Very peaceful, even the waves subdued, just the fresh smell of salt air.

I headed back through town past the first "Dog Bakery and Boutique" I'd ever seen and took my time on breakfast at a Huddle House.

The park opened before the fort, so I drove along a narrow winding road bordered by thick woods. The parking lot was nearly empty. I hiked a short woodland trail round the fort's western flank, stopping to look at a garden spider weaving her web before making my way to the shore of the St. Marys River and the border with Georgia. Not a soul in sight, the sky much clearer than even an hour before.

Another trail led past the fort's westmost bastion, along the south wall, past the latrine well, and looped around the south bastion, bringing me to the long southwest wall. The top half of this wall (and the upper parts of the bastion I'd just passed) is built of dark red brick. I didn't think much of it at the time, but it turns out that while the fort was under construction before the Civil War, the crews were supplied with buff-colored southern bricks. Once hostilities began, the Feds were stuck with two completed bastions and two walls; they lost the partly-built fort until 1862 (the Rebs abandoned it). They couldn't get southern bricks to finish the job, so dark-red northern bricks were brought in.

This little fort is a must-see--especially if you've visited Fort Gaines, its twin on Dauphin Island, Alabama. Its five walls form a clipped hexagon with a bastion at each corner. The longest wall--the gorge--has the only entrance, protected by a drawbridge.

Where most Third-System forts had guns protected by casemates built into thick solid-brick walls, Forts Clinch and Gaines had relatively thin walls, no casemates (except for storage along a single wall), and an earthen embankment ringing the parade ground. The forts' main armament would be mounted atop these embankments and on top of the bastions.

For all their similarities, Clinch and Gaines aren't identical twins; Clinch has that two-tone brickwork; some pretty hurried-looking masonry (wider mortar joints, less precision in placement); brick laid down where stone should have been; and a functional drawbridge.

It's also much closer to original condition than Gaines, which received a pair of large concrete gun emplacements in the late 1890s. Clinch only got a single (much less extensive) emplacement behind its northeast wall.

Another thing Clinch offers is a view. Climb on top and look around, and all you see is nature in any direction. Fernandina Beach is very close by, but thanks to the dense forest of the park you'd never know it. To the north is the river; to the east, the Atlantic. Gaines has plenty of water and trees around it, but there must be a dozen gas rigs near the mouth of Mobile Bay and out in the Gulf of Mexico.

I spent most of the morning exploring, taking pictures, shooting video. The wrap-up was a big group of WW2 reenactors demonstrating period firearms.

I didn't want to leave, but knew it was time. After a few minutes in the tiny bookstore (more of a camp store) and a dip in the Atlantic (and watching a surf-fisher bring in a 5-foot hammerhead shark), I headed south. Man, I could have used a nap, especially after the Ashtray Hilton the night before.

All the same things as on the ride to Jacksonville a few days earlier: long stretches of roadway that all looks the same bordered by trees that all look the same, passed by the same cars and trucks, passing the same exits in reverse.

The only excitement was a yellowfly biting me while I was trying to take a nap at a rest area (holy CRAP did it hurt). The little shit followed me out of my car and almost all the way to the restrooms. Maybe it found someone more tasty while I was in there; I never saw it again.

I usually stop in Tallahassee on any trip headed that way, but by the time I got to the Monroe Street exit, all I wanted to do was get the trip over with so I could sleep for a few weeks.

I made it to the house well after dark and abandoned the Tracker.

Never even got to use my damn tent.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Wingnut Punk to Libs and Non-Christians: "Get out" of U.S.

So Frothy Mix was hosted by some punk-ass preacher-boy loser in Louisiana over the weekend.

Preacher-boy doesn't like non-Christians or Liberals. Says we gotta go. Doesn't like the gays, either. Buys into the comical notion that this country was founded by third-rate Billy Graham wannabe wingnut losers like him.

Loves him some Frothy. Babbled prayers and drooled over him for a bit, then made the obligatory anti-Obama squeals and whines and asked his imaginary sky-buddy to "do a mighty work" on the bad black guy.

Packed house. Lots of gray and blue hair. I wonder whether there's even one stooped-over Rascal-driver in the room who realizes that ol' Frothy is one of "them ol' Catholics."

Oh--and preacher-boy?

You and what army?


Preacher Boy is apparently embarrassed by all the attention he got when this video went all over the Interwebs and has scrambled to yank it off the Web by...deleting it from the church website.

Y'all be nice and don't tell him about the rest of the Internet, 'kay?

Road Trip: Jacksonville, Pt. 2 (May, 2008)--St. Augustine & Fernandina Beach

As I rolled down US-1 toward St. Augustine, the clouds rolled in. By the time I made it to the parking lot in front of the Castillo de San Marcos, things were looking ugly to the west.

I didn't care about rain; I was more concerned about someone dropping the Tracker's plastic rear window and stealing my stuff. Didn't let that stop me from going into the fort.

Gorgeous place, well-preserved by the National Park Service. It's right on the waterfront of Matanzas Bay, bordered on the south and west by US-A1A. Across the bay is Anastasia Island, where the coquina stone for the fort was quarried. If you squint just right to the east you can see a sliver of the Atlantic.

It's not a big fort, but there's plenty to see. The entrance is protected by a ticket booth (I imagine British invaders shelling out five bucks a head to get in) and a pair of drawbridges joined by a ravelin in the moat before the south wall.

Once you're inside, you'll find a modest gift shop, plenty of centuries-old Spanish-style guns and architecture, and lots of room on top to wander around and enjoy the view. I spent most of an hour exploring the towers topping each corner and the arch-ceilinged rooms, snapping photo after photo [lost all but 4 in a computer crash a few months later]. Those clouds kept rolling in from the west, ever darker, and the winds rose. Thunder grumbled louder and louder.

By the time I got back to the Tracker, fat, cold drops of rain were falling; I had to pause, though, for one of the best pics I've ever taken--the Castillo behind its hill, crowned by clouds.

Then the bottom fell out of those clouds; I retreated to the car.

Time to head back north, to Fort Clinch near Fernandina Beach. The rain cleared as I got closer to Jacksonville. I knew better than to try getting onto I-95; it was close to rush hour and I didn't feel like playing "parking lot" with the other commuters. I'd planned ahead (once I found a store that sold freaking MAPS a few days earlier) and swung onto 9A north. I almost had the Dames Point Bridge to myself. The worst of the rain had blown past, but the skies were still gray.

I traded 9A for 17B, 2 lanes passing small communities and big marshes and places like Reni's Redneck Yacht Club. I barely noticed Yulee on the way through. All I wanted now was to get to Fort Clinch State Park, set up camp, and get some sleep before seeing the fort bright and early the next morning. My mind's eye imagining brick walls and graceful arches, I turned east on to FL A1A. It seemed like a long drive from there; but the road finally became 8th Street, took a hard left, and took me to Atlantic Avenue.

Almost there!

I got stuck behind someone who seemed to be sneaking up on her destination. Why, yes, there was oncoming traffic, so I couldn't go around her--how'd you guess?

When you're going slow enough for a Tracker to tailgate you in 3rd gear, you're going too slow. Just saying.

Then she stopped almost in the middle of the lane to let her kid out near a ballpark. I swear the kid was running faster than she'd been driving.

The folks in the westbound lane finally left enough of a gap for me to get past her.

Almost there! Over a causeway...past a stand of trees a few blocks long, on my left...missed the damn park entrance!

Got myself sorted out...and in short order, I was talking to the guy at the park entrance.

Remember that I'd planned to camp somewhere in the park--and remember that I mentioned a slight snag?

"I'm sorry, sir, all the campsites are full because of the Memorial Day weekend. But here's a list of other places that might have openings."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Road Trip: Jacksonville, Pt. 1 (May, 2008)

When I got picked to be on a store setup team in May of 2008, I was all over it. Not because I'd been dying to see Jacksonville--and not because I wanted to drive almost 400 miles to the other end of I-10. There are several forts close by--the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, and Fort clinch up in Fernandina Beach.

The store setup would take a week; I had to be in Jacksonville Sunday to check into the hotel, make it through to Friday, and then the weekend was mine!

I planned out the trip, made note of several campsites, and waited for Departure Day, May 18th.

Yeah, there was a slight snag to that plan. There always is, but I won't spoil it just now.

The 18th brought clear skies and plenty of heat. I was driving the Tracker with all the windows open and all my crap packed in back. The trip was a big test for the little truck; I'd rebuilt the engine the year before, bringing it from "ready for the scrap pile" to "slightly less ready for the scrap pile." For all the stuff I'd been able to fix, there were some more expensive things wrong with the engine.

For its part, though, there were no problems. I pulled 35 miles to the gallon the entire trip--and gas was around four bucks. Forty-four bucks to fill up a Tracker.

So anyway, I howled along I-10 (at 55 mph--the howling was the Tracker's engine and gears; it's a truck), made it to Tallahassee in late afternoon, stopped for dinner, took a short tour around my former home town, and got back to it. Nothing but miles of the same scene: gray concrete road, trees clear-cut way off to the sides, and clear blue sky. No radio, either. Man, that engine only seemed to get louder and louder until it was the only sound in the world.

It was close to 10 at night by the time I made Jacksonville, found the hotel, and got checked in. I was numb from hours in the seat and hours of engine noise. Waffle House first (across the parking lot; I walked), then bed.

May 19th was another bright, clear day. When I found the new store (several miles from the hotel in rush-hour traffic), it was already a beehive of activity, with boxes and shelving stacked everywhere, guys from the phone company trying to finish up their wiring, pallet-loads of car parts staged in the parking lot, and several big trash containers.

We had five days: the store would open for business on Saturday the 24th.

Most of the work is tedious; once the shelves had been set up, we started stocking them. Clutch kits, brake pads, brake hardware kits (holy crap, there was a lot of that), brake shoes, batteries, tune-up parts, air filters, oil filters, transmission filters, anything that's kept behind the counter. By Wednesday, we had knocked out almost all of that and started filtering out onto the sales floor to help the other crew. Cleaning products, air fresheners, light bulbs, more air filters, more oil filters, more batteries, jacks, tire repair, tools, signs, and floor displays. By late Thursday, the guys handling the boss end of things were acting nervous--holy crap, we're not going to be done in time!

If the days were hectic, the time after work was quiet. I spent some time in the pool, or just watching TV, too tired to explore Jacksonville or go very far afield for dinner. I had a room all to myself (my roommate never showed).

Friday morning brought some clouds and the threat of rain, but we only cared about pushing to get everything done. Nearly everything had been stocked, but there were little details, things that hadn't been accounted for, things that hadn't been stocked properly. We went up and down the aisles several times apiece, occasionally having to fix something, sometimes having to reset an entire 4-foot section because some numbskull had screwed it up. I pushed a broom around, then a dustmop, hoping it would finally be over soon.

They let us go a little after noon. We had filled the store (and several trash containers) and had emptied several loaded semi-trailers of parts and fixtures each day, dulled our knives on shrink-wrap, inhaled several pounds of warehouse dust, and somehow had the place ready to go.

Now I was ready to go. I'd loaded up the Tracker and checked out of the hotel, so I found my way over to US-1 and ran south to St. Augustine.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Ride the Booster"--Shuttle Launch with Sound

Crank up the speakers, boost the subwoofer, and violate your neighborhood noise ordinances!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Song of the Day: Thor--Lightning Strikes

I don't know whether this is so bad it's awesome or it's just funny as hell.

Oh what the hell--it's both!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Song of the Day: Rush--Paint It Black / The Spirit of Radio

The Canadian badasses at the Toronto Rocks benefit in 2003:

Look at the size of that audience! 450,000 to 500,000 people, Canada's largest ticketed outdoor event.

Lifeson tears up the solo.

Those are real clothes dryers behind Geddy; in the late '90s he stopped using amps onstage (running his bass directly to the soundboard). He needed something to fill in the space to balance out Lifeson's wall of amps.

In 1996, he had a fridge.

For the Vapor Trails tour (2003), there were three dryers loaded with special T-shirts ("I GOT THIS T-SHIRT FROM DRYER NUMBER 3"). The stage crew even added dummy mics for more humor.

On the R30 tour, he swapped one of them out and added a vending machine stocked with memorabilia (bobbleheads and such).

For Snakes and Arrows, Geddy put three working rotisserie ovens and an "attendant."

Most recently, on the Time Machine tour, there was a Steampunk time machine/sausage maker.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Name That Kook!

Over at the Kook blog, I'm starting a game--Name That Kook!

I don't have a set schedule for posting the answer, given the low traffic around here. Maybe this Wednesday?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Song of the Day: Rush to Limbaugh: Get off, eh?

I knew the Vulgar Pigboy was using my favorite band's music on his show.

Not anymore.

Bob Cesca broke the story: "The Spirit of Radio" was playing while Pigboy was demanding Sandra Fluke's sex tapes. Cesca contacted Anthem Entertainment and the band to ask about his use of their music. Their attorney sent out a cease and desist (full text posted on Cesca's blog).

In your face, Pigboy.

Here's a Rush song he should have used, since the lyrics are about him and his fellow travelers:

Good tags are for the band, bad ones for Pigboy.

Monday, March 5, 2012

RIP: Ralph McQuarrie

The man most responsible for the look and feel of the Star Wars universe has died. McQuarrie brought us X-Wings, cloud cars, Stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and the droids he was looking for.

Ain't It Cool News has a writeup with lots of conceptual art from McQuarrie's Star Wars, Empire, Jedi and Battlestar Galactica.

McQuarrie's own site features a gallery of his work with the American space program during the Apollo missions.