Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween Everybody

One of the little girly Props went as an Illini cheerleader today. Here's an approximation of what she looked like:

Hey, she does look an awful lot like me.

Cthulhu of the Day III – Are You Ready Kids?

"In his pineaple at Bikini Bottom dead Cthulhu waits dreaming."

Well, because of several reasons (technical, personal, duty…) I was unable to post many of these so I will continue through the week.

Here's one that Major John will like.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Cthulhu of the Day II - Hello

In honor of our OVER ONE THOUSAND VISITORS I want to send a hearty

Thought for the Day V – Thoreau

I'm not too keen on Thoreau, but I like this one:

"When a dog runs at you, whistle for him." – Henry David Thoreau

I dig that. It smacks of Lincoln's never look a gift horse in the mouth. I haven't seen any dogs lately, but if I see one I know what I'm gonna do.

"Excuses don't give reason and reasons don't excuse." I don't know who said this, but I heard it on a Flipping show that my wife was watching (I don't mean "flipping" as a euphemism for another "f" word, but try it like that and see what you think). It's been a crazy week. I forgot my dayplanner at my in-laws' house and I'm really out of sorts. I'll try to get back on track. I've got a lot to tell you about NaNoWriMo.

Hey how did we get to 1,000 visitors? Wow. Congrats everybody and thanks!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cthulhu of the Day I

As Halloween approaches I want to try a new feature, Cthulhu of the Day. I'll post a new image of the Great Cthulhu daily.

Since it's Friday I'm posting Apathulhu

Thought for the Day IV – Toynbee Civilization

"Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor." – Arnold Toynbee

I have a BA in Anthropology so culture and civilization are very interesting to me. I stated in an earlier post that I believe we now live in a worldwide civilization with many facets.

I think I like this definition. It may explain why all civilizations have fallen in the past. When they reach harbor they stop. They cease being a civilization.

I'm also interested in creating civilizations. In Sci-Fi and Fantasy authors often create what is referred to as their fictional Universe or World. I'm a member of a web group called Conculture that discusses constructed cultures. I think I'll share with you in this blog some of my ideas for some of my Concivilizations.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thought for the Day III – Vince Lombardi

"It is time for us all to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenge and does something about it." – Vince Lombardi

After last night's thievery of a win for the Bears against the Arizona Cardinals the only "Doer" I can think of is Brian Urlacher.

He took it upon himself to lead that team out of ignominious defeat. I really didn't think they would win, but when it was 23 – 17 I thought they had at least made it a game. Urlacher said that they even felt confident that they'd block the field goal. They didn't, but I'm sure the fear of the Bears is what made the miss.

I hate saying that sports figures are heroes based only on what they do on the field. Roberto Garza, a Bears rookie, is involved in a housing development project called Hometown Huddle. That heroism and being a "Doer" in my book, but dang it was nice to see the defense say, "enough of this nonsense" and straighten things out.

Let's stand up and cheer a "Doer" today.

Who's your "Doer?"

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thought for the Day II – Calvin Coolidge

"Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshiped." – Calvin Coolidge

So says a man who had a whole orchestra full of instruments at a time when most folks didn't have two spoons to slap together. I'm not sure when he said this, but if it was during the Great Depression then it smacks of Marie Antoinette telling her poor to eat cake.

A shovel is only an instrument to help gain prosperity, but if you don't have one it doesn't matter what marvelous ditches you would have dug, you're not going to put food in your children's mouths.

On the other hand, it looks like a good Protestant work ethic, and I like it (despite my being a good papist).

Friday, October 13, 2006

Thought for the Day I

I'm going to try something. I know I've kept a roman numeral day count before, and I promised a weekly story serial, but this should be shorter and simplier.

I have a Franklin-Covey day planner that has quotes each day. Some of them are really good and profound, and short. I'm going to start with them and see if I can't give you all a thought for the day from quotes and my take on them.

"We must remember that any opperession, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization." - FDR

I agree with this and I think that everybody along the spectrium from Left to Right would agree to it. What I don't think they'd agree to is what to do about it.

I say fight. Don't stand for it and sacrifice everything for our civilization.

What is our civilization? In light of the interconnectedness of the world today I'd say that there is only one civilization today and we are all a part. Therefore if you attack our civilization you are attacking all of humanity.

All civilizations throughout history have eventually fallen. We cannot afford to let this one fall, because it is everybody, everywhere. It's all we have.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Army Strong

Wow! I like this new Army ad campaign. This is powerful stuff.

Army Strong, dang straight. "There is nothing on this green earth that is stronger than the US Army."

I hate Hooah, but, well, HOOAH!

This reminds me of this poster:

It also has a little Bernini's David in it:

And also a little Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, "A strength to get yourself over, a strength to GET OVER YOURSELF." (Stick that up your butt Army of One!)

The music is epic too.

It has a sense of history too. It reminds me about an email going around a while back on Veteran's Day with this photo.

The official campaign begins 9 Nov 06 I wonder why they aren't waiting until the 11th? I guess it can't be perfect.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Pseudo Football

I entered a contest at Mirable Visu and lost (this after my startling, come from behind victory, in the last contest). It's a comedy so you may be inclined to laugh. That's okay.

If you're inclined to comment that's okay too.

Here's how the entry ran:


SUBJECTS – Play and Football
OPTIONAL CHALLENGES b) Use both subjects in a comedy set on/in another world.

TITLE: False Foot Ball

“Did you hear about the emergency staff meeting, Amy?”

“No, Bill.”

“It’s right now in the Bored room. I think it’s about restructuring.”

Amy groaned. She and Bill made their way through the starship to the crowded Bored room. Chris and Dan were standing in the front.

“Now that we’re all here I want to take this time to thank Chris for the wonderful job she’s done as Captain.”

There was light applause. Dan whispered something to Chris, got a frowned answer and then addressed the room again.

“Chris has been gracious enough to let me announce her promotion. She is going to be the new head of Sector Vending Management. Let’s give Chris a round of applause and wish her good luck.”

Before the weak applause could begin again Ernie spoke out, “Isn’t this the only ship in this sector?”

“Yes, that’s right,” Dan said. “What’s your position now Ernie?”

“Ship’s Vending Officer.”

Before the moment could get too awkward Bill mercifully led the applause for Chris’ promotion.

“There had to be some restructuring of the crew because of Chris’ promotion and I will be the new Captain,” Dan said. “My old position of Coordination Coordinator will be filled by Frank and Frank’s old position of Ship’s Engineer will be left vacant for the time being.”

Frank stood to receive the undeserved applause.

“Since we’re all here I thought we could just go into the daily shift briefing. It’s okay that you don’t have your PowerSpot slides. Just make sure you get them to my secretary Sue within thirty seconds of the end of the meeting, okay? Who’s first?”

Gus stood. “We just got the marketing report for the planet name and Mongo was considered most favorable.”

“Mongo?” Dan asked.

“They feel that the planet should have a name that’s easy to pronounce with an other worldly, yet familiar sound. Also it’s very small with a fast rotation so that it tends to have only one weather pattern at a time.”

“How small is it?”

“Land area equivalent to the size of an average suburb.”


“Earth equivalent. It’s very dense.”

“Good. That’ll make the population that much easier to exploit.”

“The planet itself is dense sir.”

“Well, we can always exploit the natural resources, and call me Dan. We’re all friends here. Next.”

Henry stood. “Captain Dan, we might be too late to exploit anything. Sensors show that the Soccer Missionaries are already on the planet and have made in-roads with the population who have already formed youth leagues, teams and recently invented the mini-van and Soccer Mom stickers.”

“That’s some sensor,” Dan said tapping his chin in thought.

“Thank you sir,” Henry beamed.

“Call me Dan. This could be hairy.”

“Henry sir.”

“Dan Henry.” Dan threw his arms wide and addressed the room, “Fine. Put us down right next to their ship. Which one is it?”

“SS Wembley.”

Later, as the M$$ Chaching descended, everyone who was not busy looking busy or actually being busy was at the windows.

The Wembley was an impressive site. She was an exact replica of the stadium in London, complete with robotic fans, players and support crew. She was powered by the most advanced improbability drive. The movements of the robots were actually calculated exactly to produce the probability that the stadium would actually lift off the ground and fly through space at superluminal speeds. Surprisingly this was often achieved simply by having the robotic teams actually score more than two goals apiece.

The stadium seats were actually empty and the ship was idling with the robotic grounds crew maintaining the field.

The Chaching set down gently beside the Wembley, just as you would expect a beige, multistory office building not to land if thrown across billions of miles of vacuum. Undersized pitches filled with children in bright uniforms and disgruntled adults screaming alternately at the referees, their children, other people’s children, other parents, the coach and at whatever passed as a divinity on that planet surrounded them.

Amy, Chris, Dan and Henry walked out of the Chaching and took a look around. Dan seemed to notice Chris for the first time.

“Why are you here Chris?”

“There may be vending opportunities here.”

Dan laughed; “You actually think that that position is re-” he stopped himself. “Right. Good idea Sector Vending Manager.”

Henry typed into his Boysenberry. Amy pulled hers out and read it. “There appears to be no intelligent life here anywhere.”

Dan looked around, confused. “Hardly.”

“Henry sir.”

“Look,” Amy said, “the crew from the Wembley must be under that canopy.”

They walked over and knew she was right when they saw the elaborate paperwork and the multitude of golf shirts with logos from various positions and previous years.

A native, alien woman was at the table trying to fill out a form. She looked exactly like a human woman in early middle age, except she had a mole on her nose.

"Um, I'm not sure what's on my son's third allele of his tenth chromosome."

"Just put 'yes,'" said a woman who wore a shirt embroidered with the name "Ida."

"Excuse me. Are you Soccer Missionaries?" Dan said, standing in a classic starship Captain's stance.

"We prefer Association Football Proselytizers." Ida said. Clearly she was the bossiest.

"We're from the Corporation ship Chaching," Dan jerked his thumb back toward their ship.

"If you're from a Corporation ship, what's your Prime Directive?" The Proselytizer asked.

"To make money for the stockholders," Dan said.

"Well, we demand the right to spread the word of 'The Beautiful Game' to the dominant life form of this planet." A man wearing John's shirt said.

"There are no ri-" Dan began, but at that very moment all the Chaching crew's Boysenberries and the cell phones of the Proselytizers rang. At the same time three "creatures" approached them as gracefully and stealthily as three giant mechanical geese with malfunctioning necks, one leg too short, dragging their mufflers and with desiel engines that weren't tuned properly.

Not that they looked at all like giant mechanical geese.

The creatures looked like ceramic bathtubs on ceramic tank treads. The "tubs" were topped by what looked like a stand-alone shower curtain that tightly ringed the tub. Out from under each curtain poked two snail-like eyestalks.

Henry read his text message aloud. "Excuse us. You are mistaken. These creatures are not the dominant life forms on this planet, we are."

"Who are you and how are you texting us?" Dan demanded.

The text flowed again. Henry continued to act as translator by reading. "We are what you humans don't have a word for yet. You may call us 'Snails' since they are the creatures most similar to ourselves from your planet. We extrude these shells that you see and we wear these curtains on our radio antenna which we also extrude naturally. We are texting you because we communicate through natural radio transmissions. We're WiFi compatible."

"We may seem like cold, hard, unfeeling bathtubs on the outside, but on the inside we're really soft and vulnerable."

"Way to expose our fatal weakness Jack."

One of the snails clanked into the flank of another.

"Ouch," Henry read.

"How do you know about our planet?"

"We've been watching and listening to your broadcasts for decades. We were most intrigued by your World Cups and thought Soccer would be a good pastime for our pets."

"Pets? Do you mean that these people are your pets?" Amy asked.

"Do they like snack food?" Chris asked.

"You mean you were the ones who invited us here and you only want us to teach 'The Beautiful Game' to your slaves?" John the Proselytizer asked.

"Pets yes. Yes they do. Pets. Yes." Henry read the answers to all the questions.

"Don’t you want to learn 'The Beautiful Game' too?" One of the younger Proselytizers asked plaintively.

"We have no feet, therefore we have no use for your Soccer, but the crew of the M$$ Chaching may be able to help us with a different sport. One better suited to our strengths."

What looked like a loofah brush and a chrome soap caddy stuck out from under one of the Snail's curtains. "We have hands as you can see. We also have brilliant minds and armor."

"Of course!" Dan exclaimed with a pronounced American accent, "The best game for you would be-"

Henry interrupted with his reading of the text, "Office politics."