December 28, 2004

Content Quality Disclaimer

I suppose that with more important things going on in the world, my SF Babe and Aircraft Cheesecake postings might seem at worst, insensitive; at best, frivolous.

I have not really been plugged into many media as I have been enjoying time off with my family during the holidays. I have tried to post an item at least every other day, and these regular features write themselves, although each one reflects at least 30 minutes of work finding the right pictures and links. So, long story short, if you want the best links to these current stories, go to the main news sites like CNN and Fox, then surf through the blogosphere, where you'll find the latest at Instapundit and the Command Post.

I am gratified that several people still drop by every day, so I must be doing something right. I do hope to add a few more regular features that will keep me posting on a regular basis in the new year without burning out.

Posted by JohnL at 09:42 PM | Comments (7) |

SF Babe Poll (Buck Rogers Guest Stars)

I'm loving my new Christmas present. Cheesy plots, a lot of bad writing, and silly acting, but extremely entertaining nevertheless. My kids have been enjoying it, too (especially my eight-year-old son). One thing that's been really fun for me is to identify the various guest stars who appeared -- Jack Palance and Roddy McDowall, among others.

An early episode featured the lovely Markie Post in one of the first appearances of her career, which led me to go searching through IMDB for other recognizable guest stars. Then I popped the DVDs in for some fresh screen caps and -- voila! A new poll for this week (click the thumbs for a full-size image of each candidate):

First up, the aforementioned Markie Post portraying Joella Cameron, in "The Plot to Kill a City," episodes 1.6 and 1.7:

Next, a young Jamie Lee Curtis portraying Jen Burton in "Unchained Woman," episode 1.9:

Finally, a more mature candidate, the original Catwoman Julie Newmar portraying the dangerously seductive Zarina in "Flight of the War Witch," episodes 1.23 and 1.24:

Enjoy! (As always check out the Gallery for previous winners, including last week's).

Results (Posted 4 January 2005):

Joella (Markie Post) 25 votes (69%) WINNER
Jen Burton (Jamie Lee Curtis) 7 votes (19%)
Zarina (Julie Newmar) 4 votes (11%)

36 votes total

Posted by JohnL at 09:32 PM | Comments (0) |

December 26, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (M-50 Bounder)

Another Russian plane this week, the Myasischev M-50 Bounder:

M50 at Monino.jpg

M50 in Flight.jpg

According to the FAS link above, little is known about this plane's performance, though one referenced commenter noted that the M-50 was "an outstanding failure which revealed an embarassing lack of understanding of the problems of high-speed flight."

(Be sure to check out the other exhibits at AXLs Plane Gallery, where I found these images).

Posted by JohnL at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) |

Unlucky 61st Birthday

I've always proudly claimed the number 13 as my lucky number, as I was born on the 13th day of April in 1968.

But now I read from Alan Brain that my 61st birthday may be a profoundly unlucky day for me (and other Earth residents).

According to NASA's data, an asteroid (2004 MN4) will pass very close to Earth on April 13, 2029. The asteroid rates a 4 on the Torino Impact Hazard Scale and has a Palermo value of 1 (any value greater than zero on the Palermo scale is a cause for concern).

With this much advance notice, I expect we have enough time to determine what, if anything, needs to and can be done to minimize the risk of impact. As Heinlein said, the earth is simply to small and fragile a basket to keep all of our eggs in, so I hope we can move more quickly to expand and disperse to the moon, to Mars, and to orbital habitats.

Glenn Reynolds and Jay Manifold have each provided some commentary on this, too.

Update: It now appears that the risk has been significantly downgraded. Whew!

Posted by JohnL at 09:25 PM | Comments (0) |

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday season, and for those of you so inclined, I hope today was as blessed and merry a Christmas as ours was.

For the first time, we hosted the festivities at our house, celebrating with my wife's family and breaking out the good china and family-heirloom silver. The food was perfect: my turkey and gravy were just right and my wife made some incredible chocolate-chocolate chip mini-Bundt cakes with hot fudge sauce and raspberries for dessert. (For big occasions, I'm the chef; she's the baker). The kids behaved well, and we played games most of the afternoon.

Best surprise present? My wife proving to me that she reads this blog. (She got me Lileks' Interior Desecrations and the complete Buck Rogers in the 25th Century series on DVD).

Feliz Navidad, y'all.

Posted by JohnL at 08:52 PM | Comments (0) |

December 21, 2004

SF Babes (Babylon 5 Supporting Cast)

Well, I think we'll stick with this theme for another week at least.

Our candidates:

Lise Hampton Edgars (portrayed by Denise Gentile)

Talia Winters (portrayed by Andrea Thompson)

and Number One (portrayed by Marjorie Monaghan)

Results (Posted 28 December 2004):

Poll Results 12-21-2004.jpg

Posted by JohnL at 10:39 PM | Comments (2) |

Spaceship Schematics

It's been a while since I've stolen a link from Gravity Lens.

Check out this very cool collection of starship schematics.

Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Babylon 5, and even Star Blazers (i.e., Space Battleship Yamato) are all featured here.

Star Blazers was one of my favorite cartoons back in sixth grade, and I don't think I ever caught every episode. Fortunately, it looks like all three seasons are now available on DVD. Check out the Yamato webring, too.

Posted by JohnL at 02:31 PM | Comments (0) |

December 19, 2004

Those Lexus Commercials

You know -- the ones with the big bows and obnoxious yuppies?

They're really, really dumb.

Posted by JohnL at 11:02 PM | Comments (2) |

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Su-34)

Behold the Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback:"



Posted by JohnL at 10:59 PM | Comments (0) |

December 18, 2004

Google Filler

My first ever posting of the contents of my referrer logs: the last ten Google searches that led to a site visit here:

rush intermission video
battlestar galactica babes
babes posted
Michelle B
plastic surgery horrors
flying lawnmower
lovely babes
diy railgun
meaning of kommissar

Rush, babes, Battlestar Galactica, the Michelle B (an X-prize entrant) -- yeah, that's a pretty fair sampling of my site content...

Posted by JohnL at 08:20 PM | Comments (0) |

December 16, 2004

Rocket Jones Wisdom

More from Ted:

"It's not a fetish if 100 percent of men like it - it's a law of nature."

Sounds right to me.

Posted by JohnL at 08:10 PM | Comments (0) |

Multiple Movie Viewings

Ted asks which movies I could watch over and over and over again.

Well, I'm not sure if once a year every year counts, but each Christmas season we watch:

A Christmas Carol (usually the weekend after Thanksgiving)
Elf (a new tradition in our house)
Miracle on 34th Street (the original B&W version)
It's A Wonderful Life (on Christmas Eve)

Now, for the other, non-seasonal movies:

Star Wars
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
When Harry Met Sally

Posted by JohnL at 08:06 PM | Comments (4) |

December 15, 2004

For My Loyal Readers

This post is tailor-made for Ted and Yobbo.

Never let it be said I don't treat my audience right.

(Link via BoingBoing).

Update: Actually, this BoingBoing post may be more up their alleys.

Posted by JohnL at 09:06 PM | Comments (0) |

December 14, 2004

SF Babes (Babylon 5 Main Cast)

Last week's poll was a real squeaker - a one-vote difference (I think the young Joan Collins should have won, but I don't know how to allocate the electoral votes this time).

This week's poll comes courtesy of an idea from commenter Robin. I never watched much of Babylon 5, so I missed the whole multi-season story arc that made the show a must-see event for Sci Fi fans. I still plan to rent or buy the DVDs someday and watch the series.

First up is Susan Ivanova (as portrayed by Claudia Christian):

Next is telepath Lyta Alexander (as portrayed by Patricia Tallman):

Finally up is Captain Elizabeth Lochley (portrayed by Tracy Scoggins):

Not that I would try to sway the vote, but Lochley is portrayed by a Native Texan.

Results (Posted 21 December 2004):

Poll Results 12-14-2004.jpg

Posted by JohnL at 09:45 PM | Comments (5) |

December 13, 2004

Sprung Slinky

My wife and I went to a "Holiday" dinner with a group of my clients tonight, leaving the kids at home with a babysitter.

When I got home, I found that my second son had left something for me on the kitchen table:


In case you can't see it clearly, the note reads: "Try to fix. Don't throw away." I got a big smile out of this, since it reflects such a simple, childlike faith that I can fix anything. Too bad that's not the case...

Posted by JohnL at 11:03 PM | Comments (4) |

December 12, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (XB-70)

This week's cheesecake helping is the XB-70 Valkyrie:



Posted by JohnL at 10:31 PM | Comments (6) |

December 09, 2004

Religion Preview

One reason I've been blogging so lightly this week is that I have been reading intensely (with all marginal notes and some comparative translations) the book of Job for the Disciple I bible-study class I have been taking with my wife.

While I've read most of the bible many times in the past, and I had some fairly sophisticated theology classes at my Jesuit high school, it seems my current stage in life has opened me (and closed me) to bible stories in a way unlike any earlier time in my life.

Job is undoubtedly one of my favorites, as it addresses (without really answering) one of the most logical arguments against an omniscient, omnipotent, merciful God: namely, why do bad things happen to good people? I'm not really satisfied with the [non]-answer, but I appreciate the fact that this struggle to understand the meaning of things stretches back thousands of years.

Posted by JohnL at 10:44 PM | Comments (0) |

Feather-Light Fare

Tonight's menu contains but a light snack. Feather-light, you might say. (Via Ilyka Damen).

Posted by JohnL at 10:19 PM | Comments (0) |

December 08, 2004

Trade Dress and Hooters

Thank goodness.

Hooters doesn't have a monopoly on waitresses selling hot wings in mildly provocative get-ups.

Update: For my kind commenters, ask and ye shall receive. (All links are mildly NSFW).

Posted by JohnL at 09:45 PM | Comments (2) |

December 07, 2004

SF Babes Poll (Star Trek TOS: Earth's Past)

I have to apologize that these polls have turned into something of a Star Trek dorkle-jerk, but I'm running out of original ideas (I can mine Star Trek for many weeks to come, so if you have a different SF movie or series that you would like to see featured, please let me know!)

In any case, I rather like both candidates in this week's contest. These women were extras playing the roles of women in Earth's past. Both went on to greater fame.

First up is Edith Keeler, from City on the Edge of Forever, a Harlan Ellison-penned episode. Portrayed by the beautiful and youthful Joan Collins:

Our second candidate, from the failed spin-off pilot Assignment: Earth, is Roberta Lincoln as portrayed by the quirky and cute Teri Garr:


Results (Posted 14 December 2004):


Posted by JohnL at 11:06 PM | Comments (1) |

More Movies

I intended to skip this when Rob Llama posted it yesterday, but it makes such cheap filler, I can't avoid it. Bold for ones I've seen, and italics for ones I plan to see (for the first time or again).

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - here's the big deal for me, Rob: this movie contains perhaps the best soundtrack yet for an SF film, combined with ultra-realistic portrayals of hard-science-based space travel. Forget the acid-trip ending, and you have a genre-defining film that has not yet been outdone.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984)
All That Jazz (1979)
Amadeus (1984)
Animal House (1978)
Annie Hall (1977) - I can't stand Woodie Allen. I was made to watch this in a class for school.
As Good As It Gets (1997)
Awakenings (1990)
Back to the Future (1985)
Barbarella (1968)
Basic Instinct (1992)
Batman (1989)
Benny & Joon (1993)
The Big Chill (1983)
Blazing Saddles (1974)
The Blues Brothers (1980) - "I hate Illinois Nazis..."
The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes (1970)
Creepshow (1982)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
The Crow (1994)
Die Hard (1988)
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Doctor Doolittle (1967)
Dogma (1999)
The Doors (1991)
Ed Wood (1994)
Fargo (1996)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Fatal Attraction (1987) - I won't see this again, as I can't buy the premise. What sane man would risk cute-but-beautiful Anne Archer for skanky Glenn Close?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Field of Dreams (1989)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
The Fisher King (1991) - One of these days I will have all of the Terry Gilliam ouevre on DVD; I plan to have a Gilliam-a-thon when done.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Forrest Gump (1994)
Ghost (1990)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Gods and Monsters (1998)
The Great Escape (1963)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Help! (1965)
Highlander (1986)
The House of Yes (1997)
The January Man (1989)
A Life Less Ordinary (1997)
Little Man Tate (1991)
Mad Dog Time (1996)
Man on the Moon (1999)
Manhattan (1979) - bleh, another Woodie Allen flick.
M*A*S*H (1970)
The Mask (1994)
The Matrix (1999)
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) - Will see this yet again (it's part of our standard Christmas film repertoire). The scenes with the company psychologist are just as funny everytime.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)
Night Shift (1982)
The Nutty Professor (1963)
The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Police Academy (1984)
Poltergeist (1982)
The Princess Bride (1987)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Rain Man (1988)
Raising Arizona (1987)
The Rapture (1991)
Repo Man (1984)
Rio Bravo (1959)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Scream (1996)
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)
Shine (1996)
The Shootist (1976)
Sliver (1993)
Somewhere in Time (1980)
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999) - I can't wait until my kids (esp. my boys) are old enough to watch this with me, since my better half simply doesn't get the humor.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) - Ditto Rob's comments.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
Starship Troopers (1997) - I won't see this out of principle, having read the reviews. It seems that Verhooven made the mistake of reinterpreting Heinlein's thought-provoking story about what full voting citizenship is worth (i.e., what it should cost) as a fascist bug hunt.
The Sting (1973)
Striptease (1996)
Superman III (1983)
That Thing You Do! (1996)
Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993)
Tombstone (1993)
Top Secret! (1984)
Total Recall (1990)
Twelve Monkeys (1995) - See above comment about Gilliam film fest.
Up in Smoke (1978)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Walkabout (1971)
Westworld (1973)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) - This movie, a favorite from childhood, gets sooo much better after you have kids.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
The World According to Garp (1982)
Yellow Submarine (1968)

That's a lot of movies!

Posted by JohnL at 10:02 PM | Comments (3) |

December 06, 2004

Religion Quiz Reminder

I would like to thank those readers (including the best kind -- those I haven't heard from before) who have replied to the questions on religion I posed yesterday.

If you haven't read or replied yet, please take a few minutes to do so.


Posted by JohnL at 09:56 PM | Comments (0) |

In Vino, ?

Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear Swedenburg v. Kelly and Granholm v. Heald, regarding interstate shipment of wine (for more links, see here).

I have to confess a personal interest in the outcome of the case, as my wife and I have been getting into wines. The ability to order directly from out-of-state wineries would be wonderful.

But of course our country has almost as complicated a history with alcohol as it does with race. The Pacific Research Institute has an excellent overview of the issues: Wine Wars: Defending E-Commerce and Direct Shipment In The National Wine Market.

I hope the Supremes take a strong stand for capitalism and free trade and against these unsavory vestiges of Prohibition.

Posted by JohnL at 09:50 PM | Comments (0) |

Christmas Lighting Tips

Like Michele (and unlike Reactionary Scrooge Robert), I like adding some color to my Christmas light displays:

Christmas Lights 2.jpg

I finally settled on this format last year, when I measured the lengths of the sidewalk borders, went to the local Elliott's Hardware store, and cut a custom length of C-9 socket cord. I then got a few boxes of red, green, and white C-9 bulbs, some sturdy metal stakes, and a few hours of labor later, my sidewalks were done. This year, it took about 2 hours to do everything -- the Yaupon trees are strung with basic small mixed lights (white and red or red and green) and I have everything run to switched outlets, so I can turn them on or off with the flick of a switch in the house.

I like Rob, so I think I'll get him a really nice Christmas present this year. What do you think about this? Maybe this, too?

Posted by JohnL at 09:19 PM | Comments (1) |

December 05, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (X-5)

This week's serving is yet another X-plane, the Bell X-5. This was the first plane to have a variable-angle wing, making it the forebear of the F-111, F-14, and B-1 aircraft (which will likely make future appearances here):



Posted by JohnL at 10:37 PM | Comments (0) |

Religion Quiz

Sorry for the cryptic nature of this quiz, and the lack of much context, but I've been giving a lot of thought to what will be a fairly lengthy essay on religion. If you wouldn't mind posting a comment or sending me an email on the following questions, I would appreciate your input (if you want to remain anonymous, please let me know). Even if you're an atheist, your input is welcomed and encouraged on many of these questions.

Note to regular readers: please spread the word on this and point as many people here as possible - the larger the sample set, the better, even though I have no pretensions of this being a formal survey.

1. Do you believe in God/gods?
2. What religion/philosophy/tradition, if any, were you raised in? (If your answer to question 1 was "no," you can now skip to question 8).
3. What religion, if any, do you currently observe/practice?
4. If your answer to 3 differs from 2, please explain why you changed.
5. How frequently do you pray?
6. How frequently do you attend church/temple/synagogue/mosque?
7. What is the object of your religion (i.e., why do you believe what you do, what do you hope to get out of your belief)?
8. What do you think is the purpose of religion (broadly defined as an organized faith in the supernatural), in general?
9. Describe your understanding of the basic principles of Christianity.
10. Describe your understanding of the basic principles of Judaism.
11. Optional: Describe your understanding of the basic principles of your religion (if neither Christianity nor Judaism) or of any other religion that you would like to comment upon.

Update: Just to be clear, there's no obligation to answer all 11 questions - answer whatever you're comfortable with. I'm most interested in general comments on 9 and 10, and asked the others mainly to frame those two questions.

Posted by JohnL at 07:20 PM | Comments (9) |

December 02, 2004

Stalin World

Comrade Rob!

Do not subject rug rats to Disney Kingdom of Kapitalist Kitsch, take them to real khorosho People's Park! Learn glorious peoples' history of Uncle Joe! Admire gardens of party-approved workers' art!

Arise ye butcher from your slumber!

(Apologies to Kommissar for nationalizing his schtick).

Posted by JohnL at 12:10 PM | Comments (1) |

December 01, 2004

He Said She Said

Annika has an amusing poem up this week.

A word of warning to married men, though. Do not laugh out loud at this one anywhere within earshot of your [perfect-in-every-way-love-you-very-much-dear] wives.

All I can say is that I am truly glad I'm not married to the stereotypical nag. My wife is more of the "Very Cool" wife model, according to Ted.

Posted by JohnL at 11:04 PM | Comments (1) |

Trains in Virginia

The Country Pundit provides an interesting history of the Virginian Railway.

I only have so much time to become consumed with a hobby, and SF, music, gaming, writing, and the Internet already completely consume my non-committed free time. But if I could score some Provigil and take on an extra hobby, it would be trains.

Posted by JohnL at 09:26 PM | Comments (6) |

Everybody Needs a Montage

Via Ace (who's trying to find his groove), a not-safe-for-work video montage set to the awesome Team America song, America, F--- Yeah!

Posted by JohnL at 08:52 PM | Comments (0) |

Awful Cosmetic Makeover

Via Naked Villainy, a frightening picture of Paris Hilton at The Mirthful Ones.

Now Ms. Hilton was never really my type. But at least in her blond-ditz Simple Life incarnation, she was pretty in a blond-ditz sort of way. But give her trout-pout collagen lips and a stark black wig (or is that a bad dye and cut?) and she looks simply awful.

I wonder how long until her entries at Awful Plastic Surgery are updated?

Posted by JohnL at 08:40 PM | Comments (0) |