Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Roadside America

Just got back from a trip across the country. Saw a lotta stuff on the side of the road. Thought you might to see some, with a little help from Roadside America. I don't think I truly appeciated some of the significances until I looked them up.

(arranged geographically)
  1. Unarius Academy of Science: El Cajon, CA - Just a few blocks from where we lived in California, here's the headquarters of the Unarius Academy of Science. RA's article is a bit dated...apparently, the Unarians were awaiting the arrival of UFOs in 2001. I'm not sure what they did when it didn't happen.
  2. Stovall's Space Age Lodge: Gila Bend, AZ - A space themed hotel! A great place to stop for you weary Unarians taking a shortcut between Interstates 8 and 10.
  3. Meteor Crate: Winslow, AZ - We saw signs for this, but not the actual park. It brought back memories of my tour of the Southwest in 1996. Other memories from that trip include getting pulled over at the Grand Canyon, standing on the Four Corners, and visiting Mesa Verdere and Baskin Robinson's (yes, I do know those pronunciations are wrong).
  4. Stewart's Petrified Wood: Holbrook, AZ - There are a lot of dinosaurs roaming Holbrook, AZ. However, these seemed to be the most, um, menacing.
  5. Giant Teepee: Lupton, AZ - I remember seeing this, and though Roadside America doesn't have a specific article about the place, they do have this general article about giant teepees around the country (and Canada).
  6. Cadillac Ranch: Amarillo, TX - I noticed this place where the Cadillacs were planted in the ground, but I don't think I understood the significance until we stopped for lunch and the penny squisher machine told us that this was a major Amarillo landmark.
  7. VW Slug Bug Ranch: Conway, TX - I'm sure this came about in response to the success of the Cadillac Ranch. It's the same thing, but with VW Beetles. They were tie dyed when I saw them.
  8. Second Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere: Groom, TX - You can see this cross from miles away, along with signs advertising it. It is indeed very large. They don't tell you that the largest cross is only three states away.
  9. Leaning Water Tower: Groom, TX - Just down the road from the big cross is the leaning water tower of Groom. Apparently, it's the remnant of a truck stop that used it as a way to get people's attention so they'd stop to ask questions.
  10. Former World's Largest McDonald's: Vinita, OK - On the toll road between Tulsa and the Missouri state line sits this restaurant. It's hard to miss, you have to drive straight through the place. It used to be the world's largest McDonald's, which apparently now resides in Orlando, FL.
  11. Giant Cross: Effingham, IL - Effingham is known as the Crossroads of America, and indeed, this is where we turned north to head for Champaign. It looked exactly like Groom's cross, except without all the stuff at the bottom. It is apprently eight feet taller than the one in Groom.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TV From My Childhood

Ah, those precious moments, rotting my brain with television. Here's:


(presented alphabetically)

  1. Danger Mouse - Danger Mouse was, of course, the greatest secret agent rodent the world has ever known. I loved watching this British cartoon on Nickelodeon, and I have the first four seasons on DVD now. I didn't realize that they were actually shorts of about five minutes each that Nick just edited together until seeing them again on DVD.
  2. Darkwing Duck - There were a bunch of Disney afternoon shows that I watched, like Duck Tales, Chip'n'Dale's Rescue Rangers, and Tale Spin. However, my favorite was Darkwing Duck, which seemed like it never got the shot it deserved. DD was a fairly incompetent duck superhero. The show was very funny to me, and I still quote the catchphrase: "I am the terror that flaps in the night..."
  3. Double Dare - One of the greatest game shows ever. It was hosted by Marc Summers (who now does a lot with Food Network), and involved kids getting very messy for cash and prizes. I really wanted to be a contestant.
  4. Kids Incorporated - I don't remember a whole lot about this show, except that I watched it a lot on Disney, and it was one of those pop singing shows. I had fantasies where I cast myself and my friends (and yes, some of my stuffed animals, proof of which I still think my parents have on their fridge) on the show.
  5. The Muppet Show - Are you kidding me? Greatest show ever. Period. I loved it then, I love it now. And I own the first two seasons on DVD.
  6. The Price Is Right - One of my earliest memories is from sitting on the couch at my sitter's house, eating Frosted Flakes and watching Bob Barker on The Price Is Right. I haven't seen any of the Drew Carey incarnation, so I can't judge, but I know that Bob Barker was the greatest. Come on down!
  7. The Real Ghostbusters - I was a Ghostbusters fan before I watched either movie (and I actually saw the second movie before the first). I watched the cartoon every week, however. A few episodes stand out in my mind, such as the Christmas episode where the Ghostbusters captured Scrooge's ghosts; the Sandman episode, where everyone in New York (except Winston) was put to sleep; and the Boogeyman episode, which gave me nightmares. What a great cartoon.
  8. Square One - This was an educational show about math. It aired on PBS, and it was very clever and funny. I loved Mathnet, the Dragnet parody that featured two mathematicians (Kate Monday and George Frankly) solving crimes. I've seen some clips on YouTube recently, and it still holds up (if slightly cheesier than I remember it).
  9. Tiny Toons - If there's one thing I remember about the shows I watched in my childhood, it is that my father hated this one. I loved it, though what I've seen since hasn't held up as well. I guess my father was not the target audience.
  10. Transformers - I used to watch Transformers, but then something happened and I didn't want to see it anymore. I don't remember if it scared me or not, but it seems like I smelled something bad, associated it with the show, and stopped watching. I don't really know.
  11. You Can't Do That On Television - This was a sketch comedy show for kids on Nickelodeon, and it was great. Don't say water, or get water dumped on you. Don't say "I don't know", or get slimed. And then there were the opposite sketches, the cheesy jokes from the lockers, and Barth. Good old Barth.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ogden Nash

(presented alphabetically by title)

    There was an old man of Calcutta,
    Who coated his tonsils with butta,
    Thus converting his snore
    From a thunderous roar
    To a soft, oleaginous mutta.
  2. THE DOG
    The truth I do not stretch or shove
    When I state that the dog is full of love.
    I've also found, by actual test,
    A wet dog is the lovingest.
  3. THE FLY
    God in His wisdom made the fly,
    And then forgot to tell us why.
    Behold the hippopotamus!
    We laugh at how he looks to us,
    And yet in moments dank and grim,
    I wonder how we look to him.
    Peace, peace, thou hippopotamus!
    We really look all right to us,
    As you no doubt delight the eye
    Of other hippopotami.
    The hunter crouches in his blind
    'Neath camouflage of every kind,
    And conjures up a quacking noise
    To lend allure to his decoys.
    This grown-up man, with pluck and luck,
    Is hoping to outwit a duck.
    The one-l lama,
    He's a priest;
    The two-l llama,He's a beast.
    And I will bet
    A silk pajama
    There isn't any
    Three-l lllama.
    The panther is like a leopard,
    Except it hasn't been peppered.
    Should you behold a panther crouch,
    Prepare to say Ouch.
    Better yet, if called by a panther,
    Don't anther.
    The people upstairs all practice ballet.
    Their living room is a bowling alley.
    Their bedroom is full of conducted tours.
    Their radio is louder than yours.
    They celebrate week ends all the week.
    When they take a shower, your ceilings leak.
    They try to get their parties to mix
    By supplying their guests with Pogo sticks,
    And when their party at last abates,
    They go to the bathroom on roller skates.
    I might love he people upstairs wondrous
    If instead of above us, they lived just under us.
  9. THE PIG
    The pig, if I am not mistaken,
    Supplies us sausage, ham, and bacon.
    Let others say his heart is big-
    I call it stupid of the pig.
    Some primal termite knocked on wood
    And tasted it, and found it good!
    And that is why your Cousin May
    Fell through the parlor floor today.
    More than a catbird hates a cat,
    Or a criminal hates a clue,
    Or the Axis hates the United States,
    That's how much I love you.
    I love you more than a duck can swim,
    And more than a grapefruit squirts,
    I love you more than gin rummy is a bore,
    And more than a toothache hurts.
    As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
    Or a juggler hates a shove,
    As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
    That's how much you I love.
    I love you more than a wasp can sting,
    And more than a subway jerks,
    I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
    And more than a hangnail irks.
    I swear to you by the stars above,
    And below, if such there be,
    As the High Court loathes perjurious oaths,
    That's how you're loved by me.

And, for those interested, find these and more on my Geeklist at BoardgameGeek.

Monday, April 21, 2008


The following list items are all cryptograms, and based on the same code. They have a common thread, and if you translate the title, you'll have it. Also, they're in alphabetical order by answer. I'll reveal the code in a future post. Maybe.



Need another hint? These all relate to DGZITK UGGLT.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Some YouTube nuggets for your approval.


  1. Dancing Pixel People.
  2. Don't talk on your phone during a concert.
  3. OK Go on treadmills.
  4. Look where you're going.
  5. Road rage meets its match.
  6. A squirrely obstacle course.
  7. 911 - Elephant edition.
  8. 911 - Math edition.
  9. 911 - Brownie edition.
  10. Four hands on the guitar.
  11. A prison Thriller - spoooooky.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Books & Movies

I don't always like movies based on books. I'll like the book, then I won't like the movie. Or vice versa, in much less frequent cases. However, here are:

(presented alphabetically)

  1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - We start this off with a wonderful book that actually became two movies I like. Roald Dahl, the author, was reportedly unhappy with the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory that starred Gene Wilder, classic though that film has become. Tim Burton's version was closer to the spirit of the original, but I have to say I like them both for what they bring.
  2. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk burst onto the fiction scene with his first novel that became a movie directed by David Fincher. Palahniuk's style really brings out the narrator's state of mind with definite stream of consciousness writing, and the adaptation managed to stay faithful to the source material without revealing the big twist at the end. Both are violent, gritty, darkly funny, and, for me, very good.
  3. The Godfather - Mario Puzo's novel was long, dramatic, spellbinding, and included an absolutely pointless subplot set in Hollywood. Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation was everything good about the book, with only a hint of the terrible Johnny Fontane story, and that was all that was necessary. I'm not as big of a fan of the second movie, though the young Vito Corleone story, taken from the original novel, was excellent.
  4. High Fidelity - Nick Hornby's first fictional novel was about a man with a record store trying to figure out his life and relationships in Britain. The movie version, starring John Cusack, moved the locale to America and lost none of its punch. The story is very deep and insightful about the way men think, and though I don't really have the same lifestyle or subscribe to the same philosophies, I can still relate.
  5. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - This Douglas Adams story began life as a radio program, then as a book, then as a TV series for BBC, then as a movie produced after Adams' death. Not a lot of people like the movie, but I really do. It is a departure from the original story, but Adams publicly stated that every version would be different to give them more reason for being. And I must say, Sam Rockwell's Dubya-inspired performance steals the show.
  6. Jurassic Park - I wouldn't say Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Michael Crichton's novel is great, but it was definitely groundbreaking. I guess my problem is all the giant holes in the movie, but the story is great. It's Crichton's greatest work, and the movie is fun, so what the heck. On the list it goes!
  7. The Princess Bride - William Goldman "adapted" this book from a book he claims his father read to him. The movie took another fourteen years to make it to theaters, but was well worth the time. An absolutely perfect cast, some of the most quotable lines on celluloid, and a beautiful story made the film a classic, but it all came from the novel. Goldman wrote the screenplay as well.
  8. A Series of Unfortunate Events - The first three books of Lemony Snicket's thirteen book series were made into a film by Brad Silberling in 2004. It was not a major box-office success, but I really enjoy its quirky charm. Jim Carrey was excellent in his role, which some critics disagree on. They think he was too goofy, but come on. It's an over-the-top role, who better than Jim Carrey?
  9. The Shining - Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of his book. I'm not sure of the exact quote, but I think he said something about Kubrick not understanding horror. No offense, Steve, but I found the movie terrifying The book was equally as terrifying, and I read that second. You'd think I knew what was going to happen and wouldn't be scared, but no. So, in a sense, Kubrick's version helped King's version by not spoiling the suspense.
  10. The Silence of the Lambs - The Thomas Harris novel was really good to begin with; in fact, I would say it is the best of Harris' few novels. The movie, behind stellar performances by Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, really brought the story to life. The movie was very faithful to the book, and though the Hannibal Lecter franchise has gotten completely out of hand, this is definitely one of the gold standards of book adaptations.
  11. Thank You For Smoking - Christopher Buckley's satire about the tobacco lobby was hysterical, and the movie definitely emulated the sentiment. My biggest complaint about the movie was that it changed the culprit, but I'd still recommend both. Aaron Eckhart made a great lead for the movie.

Honorable mention - The Lord of the Rings. I didn't include it because it was three books and three movies and I didn't want to waste the space. But yes, a fantastic (if wordy) trilogy of books by JRR Tolkien made into a fantastic trilogy of movies by Peter Jackson.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

People always come up to me and say, "HEY! Blogger guy! You've gotta lotta nerve! Telling us stuff without really telling us stuff! Why don't you tell us some stuff?" You want some stuff? You got some stuff!

(presented in the order I thought of them, or by awesomeness if you prefer)
  1. Pachelbel's Canon in D - It doesn't matter that it's not really a canon. It's just such a purty song.
  2. Grease - The music is just so good! Not annoying at all.
  3. Country Music - See above.
  4. UNC - I'm from North Carolina, so I guess that makes me a Tar Heel fan. I have no other choice.
  5. Kids with roller skates in their shoes - Whee!
  6. Slow people in the left lane - Exercising their right to go under the speed limit in the fast lane. Good job!
  7. David Spade - He's never made a bad movie, and his sarcastic brand of sarcasm goes right to the heart of any issue.
  8. Chihuahuas - Mexican rats pretending to be dogs? Maybe, but those Taco Bell commercials were so funny!
  9. Taco Bell - How could you not like them? Remember the commercials with the chihuahua?
  10. People who own poodles - I'm sure all poodles love being humiliated with bad haircuts. Doesn't everyone?
  11. April 1 - The only day I could ever get away with publishing this list.