Tuesday, January 27, 2009

10 things that could be crashing through your car window

Domed Reflection
Domed Reflection,
originally uploaded by JoelZimmer.
Recently the subject of novelty items affixed to car windows came up and I thought about other things I would like to see penetrating vehicles.
  • A javelin
  • A karate hand
  • A meteorite
  • An arrow
  • The rear end of a rhinoceros
  • The kind of bowler hat that Odd Job wore
  • The Starship Enterprise
  • Michael Phelps
  • A Stratocaster

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Okay, I take it back

No, not my Budweiser review, but my Raptor drone paintball scheme. Yesterday around 7PM my wife and I were driving back from where I pick her up at the bus stop in town. We were stopped at a traffic light maybe three blocks from the house, and when the light changed, there was a sharp sound like a metal hammer hitting one of the windows. I looked to my left, and I saw what looked at first like a large white bird dropping on the driver's side window. Was it a rock covered with snow? Wait a minute...

Pam: What was that?
Me: I think they shot at me.
Pam: They shot at you?!
I touched the window to see if the glass was broken and I thought I felt something odd at that spot. Then I tried to determine whether something had passed through my body without my noticing, the way you read about sometimes, but that didn't seem to be the case as far as I could tell.

When we got home we tried to figure out what this thing was, white and goopy and with unidentified dark things in it adding to the turd appearance. Unafraid as I was of such things, I dragged my finger through it (thus the smear) and found it to be white paint. The thing that I thought was a crack in the glass was the edge of the sticker you can see in the picture. We called the local police and let them know of the incident; an officer came to the house to take down the details and look at the paint, asking whether we would file a complaint if the perpetrator was stopped. We said "sure," as we didn't want paintball-wielding maniacs frightening motorists to the point of possibly causing heart attacks or leading to insurance claims.

Only long afterward did I make the connection with my rocket-propelled paintball scheme and wondered whether a blog reader might have gone one step further and sent an unmanned drone over town. Not too likely, that part, but still an odd piece of timing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spot the warped, frustrated old man

When pondering the image of Dick Cheney in a wheelchair, this tableau sprang to mind.Original here

Monday, January 19, 2009

Four quick ones

Four by marusann on Zooomr

  • Computer keyboards have those little bumps to help touch-typists know whether they have their hands positioned properly. (They have a rude nickname.) Why hasn't the same idea happened on keyboard instruments such as pianos? Furthermore, by way of analogy with ergonomic computer keyboards, couldn't someone devise a curved piano/organ keyboard to make it easier for the musician to reach the very high and low notes?
  • Citigroup and Morgan Stanley to merge former rival brokerage services. The new company is going to be called Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, but I think it misses an opportunity to resurrect an old brokerage unit name associated with Morgan Stanley and call it instead Dean Witter Reynolds Smith Barney. Or was the Dean Witter marque too downmarket? I know it is probably too late to cancel the order for office stationery, but still.
  • If we do successfully downsize our military operations in Iraq, maybe we can take some of those remotely controlled Raptor drones and set them up with rocket-propelled paintball armament to have simulated aerial warfare. There could robotic convoy of vehicles or something that a second player could control while the first player attempts to splat the target in one particular vehicle, without causing collateral damage.
  • Among religious believers, it is often customary to say a prayer before sharing a meal. It seems to me to make even more sense to say a prayer before partaking in intoxicating drink. Bless us, O Lord, and these, Thy libations, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty. One could be more elaborate, with some mention of avoiding drinking and driving or whatever. Perhaps some public service spots could help to popularize this new custom.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Budweiser? Yes, Budweiser, for your consideration

Yesterday a bunch of us went out to lunch and I had the opportunity to sample a brew I had not had before. Here are some very subjective tasting notes.

Venue: Charlie Brown's steakhouse restaurant (Old Tappan, NJ). One person in our party remarked that the room seemed a bit warmer than we had expected, given past experiences elsewhere and the cold temperatures outside.

Under test: Budweiser American Ale, 16 oz., on draft.

About the name: Fox News was nowhere within sight at the time, though there were little popup cards on the table with a picture of Uncle Sam in his customary posture. It seems to me the kind of thing that every native son should be having this week into next if the opportunity presents itself.

Color: Amber, distinctly tending toward the red end of the spectrum, contrasting greatly with the pale insipid straw color of the Bud Light one of my lunch companions was having.

Body: Of medium density, though not really what anyone would consider heavy. The appearance was slightly cloudy, leading one to speculate to what degree it has been subjected to filtration. The person sitting to my right complained that the glasses were cold enough to support ice crystals, which while exaggerated might have something to do with the sensation of specific gravity.

Head: Almost minimal, maybe 0.5 cm on top, which is more or less incidental. It seems to me that with heavier bodied beers (porters and stouts) the head has a stronger influence on the taste of the brew by skimming off some of the ingredients, but not in this case.

Temperature: Rather cold, with a good deal of condensation on the outside of the glass.

First impression: The first sip had an impact that was somewhat substantial, clean without being soapy, just a slight amount toward the acid as is typical of many ales. No metallic or harsh notes noted, making it seem like more of a European style beer with a sort of elegance.

Hops: Were there hops? I didn't notice too much of the puckery feel, but there must have been some of this going on. Someone asked me how the beer was and I said that it tasted "red," kind of the way it looks, though not as much as that other ersatz European-style product, Killian's. Is it caramel?

Finish: Pretty clean and short-lived. It was not one of those kinds that had me reaching for the plate of salty things from the salad bar to counteract the aftertaste.

Food pairing: It might not be substantial enough to stand on its own, but seemed to go pretty well with the grilled tuna salad I was having, better than a lager would have I think. If you were having something heavy like a cheeseburger or a Sicilian pizza it probably would be overwhelmed flavor-wise.

Satisfaction: I only had the one, but I am a lightweight that way. But beer is not the kind of thing that really makes me want to have a number of rounds.

Aftereffects: Conviviality enhanced, somewhat toward the silly end of the spectrum. It was not so strong as to have obscured my memories of what went on or led to anything I much regret. I had a strong coffee about an hour later, much appreciated. A drink always makes me want to lie in bed a little longer when the alarm goes off the next morning.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Breeding shows

Slightly NSFW

And today White House insider Gordon Johndroe (his real name) appears to confirm Barney's troubled attitude toward people who do not own him.

Well of course. He's a son of a bitch.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Intelligent design in my soup

DAMN, the ark's full....
DAMN, the ark's full....,
originally uploaded by Scuzzi.
I was listening to Shirley Temple sing about these and thougth I'd do a search on Flickr. Seems to me that someone should have a line of animal crackers including dinosaurs, trilobites, etc., to appeal to those arguing for a young Earth. And don't forget the Serpent!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Have you no sense of decency, sirs?

originally uploaded by urtica.
On our recent Christmas break, I was disappointed to find that among the sundae toppings available at the Friendly's Ice Cream, butterscotch was not listed. Butterscotch! When I was a kid, sundaes came in only three varieties: chocolate, strawberry, and butterscotch. Now, there are a dozen and a half kinds of toppings you can put on your sundae, but when I asked about butterscotch, the waitress suggested only the substitution of caramel.

Which is not the same thing at all, of course, being only composed of sugar and water, no butter at all. What a travesty! How is this to be endured?

This is not the first time I have run into this. Last summer at Baskin-Robbins back here in New Jersey, I inquired about butterscotch and the fellow behind the counter looked at me as if I were crazy. Not only did they not have it, he'd never heard of it, and seemed to suspect that I was making it up. Cold Stone Creamery lists Fat-Free Butterscotch, which seems to me to be an abomination. I am pessimistic that the local Carvel's would be any more likely to come up with the goods either.

Perhaps I'll have to take another trip to New England and sample the hot penuche at Herrell's.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The novelty eyewear crisis of 2010

We have had a decade now of years with the digits 00 in the middle, providing a boon to manufacturers of novelty eyeglasses as they provide a convenient place to put the eye holes to peer through. No more! The next several decades all have a numeral in the tens digit shaped to stymie any attempts to see through it. What will a reveler be able to do in the way of ridiculously topical fake spectacles this time next year? In order of increasing outlandishness (which, in this context, is not construed as a bad thing):

  • Go off-center. Make novelty eyeglasses which use the two zeroes for the eye holes, with the "1" falling roughly over the bridge of the nose. Perhaps one could tack an exclamation point on the end to balance out the "2" on the other end.
  • Cyclopeanism. Maybe one could concoct a novelty monocle using just one of the zeroes.
  • Classical antiquity. The Roman numerals "MMX" are even less hole-y than the conventional ones, but their angularity is always nice looking. Maybe they can sit up atop the top of the frame, looking like a set of spiky glittery eyebrows. Or if you stack them vertically, the "X" could work well as the nosepiece in a futuristic design.
  • Throw technology at the problem. Forget about making actual physical numerals altogether and mount a scrolling LED marquee atop a sturdy set of specs. It could be pricey, but it is to be hoped that we shall all have pockets stuffed with cash by that time anyway.

I pose this question now so that designers can have a good twelve months to look at the looming crisis and implement the best solution (possible with Federal funding), assuring that confidence will not be shaken among the fashionable/silly New Year's reveler segment of our citizenry, both human and other.

Update: Various stratagems came to the rescue.