Thursday, January 29, 2009

Photo of the day, week and month.

From the joy of Billy Preston to, well, this:

A colony of homeless men live in the warehouse. Wednesday morning a few fires were burning inside oil drums. Scott Ruben, 38, huddled under filthy blankets not 20 paces from the elevator shaft.

"Yeah, I seen him," Ruben said. The snow outside howled. The heat from the can warped the landscape of rotting buildings and razor wire.

Did he know who the dead person was?

"I don't recognize him from his shoes."

Did he call the police?

"No, I figured someone else did," he said.

"There's lots of people coming through here with cameras and cell phones. I don't got no phone. I don't got no quarter. Things is tight around here."

His shack mate, Kenneth Williams, 47, returned at that point with an armload of wood.

"Yeah, he's been down there since last month at least."

He was asked if he called the police.

"No, I thought it was a dummy myself," he said unconvincingly. Besides, Williams said, there were more pressing issues like keeping warm and finding something to eat.

"You got a couple bucks?" he asked.
Found via Metafilter. More info on this tragic location here, here and here.

Never let it be said that I left the end of the week on a happy note. See you Monday.

"My Sweet Lord"

I really need to just break down and buy the DVD and CD to the Concert for George. It's just so damn good:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Somebody's got to Shoot the Picture

Currently for sale on Ebay (Via Boing Boing):

Fellini would have had a field day with that thing.

Hillary Duff robs banks and kills people (but no kinky stuff).

Given that people have become sick of remakes, at least one director has found a solution: Just don't call it one:
Singer/actress Hilary Duff has landed her most challenging acting job to date - she is to take over the role made famous by Faye Dunaway in a new version of Bonnie And Clyde. Duff will take on the role of Bonnie in a new adaptation of the legendary story and will be starring opposite Air Bud actor Kevin Zegers.

The new movie, titled The Story of Bonnie and Clyde, will be directed by Tonya S. Holly, who has stressed it will be an entirely new movie, rather than a remake of the 1967 classic, which also starred Warren Beatty.
As a sidenote, this is an interesting role choice for two squeaky clean teen film actors. Glamorous gangsters or not, they're still playing killers. And since American society generally has a stronger stomach for violence than sex, I'm guessing they're not going anywhere near the whole impotent-Clyde-watches-Bonnie-have-sex-with-others aspect of the story.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

But then she couldn't keep an eye on Russia anymore!

It appears that Sarah Palin isn't wasting any time with her political future. As was reported by a number of blogs today, she has created her own PAC (Political Action Committee) called, naturally, SarahPAC.

As you might guess, this is obviously a first step towards a run for the White House in 2012. But perhaps even more frightening is her plan to cut an Alaska-sized hole in the middle of the lower 48 so that she might relocate her state to warmer climes.

Doesn't James Bond usually handle nutjobs like this?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Does this tent have central heat and air?

Question: When you've decided to really rough it, to go out in the middle of the woods and learn how to live off the land, defend yourself from animals, protect yourself from the elements and still come out of it all alive, what one book would you choose to bring along?

If you said the U.S. Armed Forces Survival Guide, then you made a great choice.

If you said the U.S. Armed Forces Survival Guide (Kindle Edition), then you best stick to the suburbs.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

And it has nothing to do with Firefly.

I just finished Slaughterhouse Five for the first time recently, and I was pleased to see the story included several recitations of the Serenity Prayer. I've always liked this prayer, but I have to giggle whenever I see it because I inevitably remember this XKCD comic:

I'd say the prayer is even more useful in the Age of the Internet.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Well, it all started with this arched hole in the wainscotting...

I tried to avoid this story when Need Coffee mentioned it this morning, but it popped up again on IMDb and I ended up reading it:
Warner Bros. intends to revive Tom and Jerry as computer-generated characters in live-action settings for a feature that will reveal how the cat and mouse met and formed their rivalry, Daily Variety reported today (Thursday).
"How the cat and mouse met and formed their rivalry"?


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Nun or Nazi, What's the Dif?

Well, the Oscar nominations are now out and they all are pretty predictable (except maybe for Richard Jenkins). One standout was The Reader, the Kate-Winslet-as-Nazi-war-criminal drama. It snagged nominations for screenplay, director, picture and, yes, a lead actress for Kate.

Now, you'll never see me badmouthing Kate as she is a favorite of both myself and my wife. But I have to smile at her nomination here, given her performance in Extras (start at about 5:10):

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Technically, Aunt Bea is a single lady.

One new fangled phenomenon that I have yet to get on board is music mashups. I've seen them referred to many times and there are even some pairings that sound incredibly intriguing to me (The Beatles and The Beastie Boys, anyone?), but I've yet to listen to one.

But when Boing Boing provided a link to, of all things, a mashup of Beyonce and the theme from the Andy Griffin Show, I clicked on it. Ooooh, boy will that stick in your head. Have a listen.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A new day is dawning

I'm currently at work, so I'm not able to enjoy the inaugural festivities right now. And though I'm recording it, I may not get around to watching it until Sunday (I'm helping Mrs. Mosley study for an exam all this week). But I'd like to thank Daily Kos for highlighting this part of our new President's speech:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.
Damn straight.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dancing about "Architecture"

I found out about this via Boing Boing yesterday. Some website called Brickstructures is selling LEGO sets that are models of real life architectural monuments. They have four sets currently available: The Sears Tower, the John Hancock Center, the Empire State Building and the Seattle Space Needle.

The concept itself is not new, and you can find the Eiffel Tower and the Taj Mahal on sale at the LEGO website. But these Brickstructures sets are microscale, meaning that they tried to use as few bricks as possible. From an artistic standpoint (which is very important to the creators at Brickstructures), this is commendable. You don't get the detail that a larger model would, but the skill that it takes to create a recognizable model with such few basic parts is nothing to sneeze at.

However, what is not terribly commendable is the price. The sets contain between 69 and 77 pieces and cost fifty dollars each (shipping not included). 50 bucks for sixty some odd pieces is pretty damn steep, even if you do get a snazzy booklet with it. Normally, the only LEGO sets that have anywhere near this steep a ratio of brick to dollar come with a remote control motor.

If you look at the aforementioned larger LEGO sets, their prices are also pretty steep. The Eiffel tower is $200 and the Taj Mahal is $300. But you get between 17 and 20 bricks per dollar. That ain't bad. With the Birckstructures sets, you're closer to a dollar a brick, which is nearing ridiculous.

As I said before, these guys see their work as Art (with a capital "A") and the prices are probably indicative of that. Still, given that the raw pieces (which anyone can shop for on the LEGO website) can be purchased for a fraction of what they are asking, it's still a hard pill to swallow.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Drip, Drip, Drip

At about 9:30 on Tuesday night, Mrs. Mosley and I found that our ancient water heater had developed several leaks and was slowly flooding the laundry room. Given that a previous flood had destroyed most of the carpet in there, this wasn't a huge concern. However, all the stuff in the den next door (including the expensive new tile work) was a huge concern.

I cut off the water going into it, leaving a little less than 30 gallons left to leak out. The faucet valve on the bottom didn't seem to work, so draining it that way was out. Since the leaks came from the bottom of the water heater (which was itself propped up on some cinder blocks and a square piece of wood), this meant that the only real way of catching the water was via dixie cups: Fill them for two minutes and then dump them in a bucket. And this was for the leaks we could reach. One other that was unreachable we had to handle via towels that were wrung out every thirty minutes. Mrs. Mosley initially handled the dixie cups while I took care of the existing water that had already leaked and the towel regimen.

By midnight, my pregnant wife's back was very sore and I told her she should go to bed as she had work the next morning (and it was clear that I would be taking the day off). The plumbers had already been called and would be there between 8am and 9am. I decided I would stay up until then and manage all the leaks.

So from midnight to 8:30 (when they eventually showed up) I alternately laid and sat on the floor and bailed out the leak via dixie cup and also did the whole towel thing. Once the old water heater was out and the new one in, I went to take a nap (which lasted all of ninety minutes as my dentist called to remind me of my Friday appointment). I stayed awake for the rest of the day and finally (finally!) went to proper sleep at about 8:30 last night.

So, in the end, I stayed up for about 27 hours without sleep. On one hand, it's nice to know I am still able to do this (I think the last time was 1995) at the ripe old age of 35. On the other hand, my aching bones and muscles from sitting on the floor all night have me feeling about 10-20 years older.

In the end, I think we'll call it a draw.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Harper's Bizzare

Harper's Magazine has compiled a special three page Dubya version of it's famous index. Some choice excerpts:

Minimum number of Bush appointees who have regulated industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 98

Years before becoming energy secretary that Spencer Abraham cosponsored a bill to abolish the Department of Energy: 2

Number of Chevron oil tankers named after Condoleezza Rice, at the time she became foreign policy adviser: 1

Date on which the GAO sued Dick Cheney to force the release of documents related to current U.S. energy policy: 2/22/02

Number of other officials the GAO has sued over access to federal records: 0


Percentage of the amendments in the Bill of Rights that are violated by the USA PATRIOT Act, according to the ACLU: 50

Minimum number of laws that Bush signing statements have exempted his administration from following: 1,069

Estimated number of U.S. intelligence reports on Iraq that were based on information from a single defector: 100

Number of times the defector had ever been interviewed by U.S. intelligence agents: 0

Date on which Bush said of Osama bin Laden, “I truly am not that concerned about him”: 3/13/02


Percentage of U.S. veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who have filed for disability with the VA: 35

Chance that an Iraq war veteran who has served two or more tours now has post-traumatic stress disorder: 1 in 4

Number of all U.S. war veterans who have been denied Veterans Administration health care since 2003: 452,677

Number of eligibility restrictions for admission into the Army that have been loosened since 2003: 9

Percentage change from 2004 to 2007 in the number of Army recruits admitted despite having been charged with a felony: +295


Portion of his presidency he has spent at or en route to vacation spots: 1/3


Estimated number of juveniles whom the United States has detained as enemy combatants since 2002: 2,500

Minimum number of detainees who were tortured to death in U.S. custody: 8

Minimum number of extraordinary renditions that the United States has made since 2006: 200


Number of the thirty-eight Iraq war veterans who have run for Congress who were Democrats: 21

Percentage of Republicans in 2005 who said they would vote for Bush over George Washington: 62

Seconds it took a Maryland consultant in 2004 to pick a Diebold voting machine’s lock and remove its memory card: 10


Portion of all U.S. income gains during the Bush Administration that have gone to the top 1 percent of earners: 3/4

Increase since 2000 in the number of Americans living at less than half the federal poverty level: 3,500,000


Percentage of EPA scientists who say they have experienced political interference with their work since 2002: 60

Change since 2001 in the percentage of Americans who believe humans are causing climate change: –4

Number of total additions made to the U.S. endangered-species list under Bush: 61

Average number made yearly under Clinton: 65


Days after Hurricane Katrina hit that Cheney’s office ordered an electric company to restore power to two oil pipelines: 1

Days after the hurricane that the White House authorized sending federal troops into New Orleans: 4

Portion of the $3.3 billion in federal Hurricane Katrina relief spent by Mississippi that has benefited poor residents: 1/4

Percentage change in the number of Louisiana and Mississippi newborns named Katrina in the year after the storm: +153


Ratio of the entire U.S. federal budget in 1957, adjusted for inflation, to the amount spent so far on the Iraq war: 1:1

Estimated amount Bush-era policies will cost the U.S. in new debt and accrued obligations: $10,350,000,000,000 (see page 31)

Percentage change in U.S. discretionary spending during Bush’s presidency: +31

Percentage change during Reagan’s and Clinton’s, respectively: +16, +0.3


Number of the five directors of the No Child Left Behind reading program with financial ties to a curriculum they developed: 4

Amount by which the federal government has underfunded its estimated cost to implement NCLB: $71,000,000,000


Average percentage of Americans who approved of the job Bush was doing during his second term: 37

Percentage of Russians today who approve of the direction their country took under Stalin: 37

Monday, January 12, 2009

A taste of what's to come

I think I've hit upon an idea for my LEGO short for this year, and it draws inspiration from a animated short from the 1987 anthology Robot Carnival. The short is titled "A Tale of Two Robots - Chapter Three: Foreign Invasion" and some screencaps (courtesy of Lather's Blather) are provided below:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Friday, January 09, 2009


Today was actually the first time I had heard about Pixar's latest project, Up:

It looks like somebody at Pixar is a fan of The Crimson Permanent Assurance.

I see a "children in peril" thread here

They did it again:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Screencap of the Day

Watch the entirety of the Zero Punctuation 2008 Awards here.

Special Needs Spiders

I have previously pointed out the faults of IMDb's method of pairing pictures with news stories based on the names mentioned in the story itself. It now seems clear that it must be some automated program and not a human that's doing the choosing because this one has me baffled:

I can't even make out the name of the bad Japanimation pictured, but it would seem to have bupkis to do with the boy's tragic death

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Petty to the end

If Bush could just quit crap like this, he would have a slight chance of leaving the White House with some "Bygones be Bygones" goodwill. But homey don't play that, apparently:

In December, President-elect Obama asked the White House if he and his family could move into Blair House — the White House’s guest house — a week early, so that his daughters Malia and Sasha could start school. The White House rebuffed them, saying the house was already booked for another guest. A White House source added that "Blair House was appalled" by the request.

After weeks of speculation, the mystery guest that trumps the President-elect and his family has finally been revealed. The White House offered the house to John Howard, the former Prime Minister of Australia who is set to receive a Medal of Freedom. Instead of arranging other accommodations for Howard's one-night stay, the Bush administration told the Obama family to stay in a hotel for two weeks. (Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who are also receiving the Medal of Freedom, opted to find other accommodations.)

Last night on MSNBC's "Countdown," Bloomberg journalist Margaret Carlson revealed that when the White House turned down Obama's request in early December, it had not yet even invited Howard to stay at the Blair House:

"I reported…on December 11 and 12 that there were no foreign dignitaries booked into Blair House during that period of time. … I have the feeling they asked him [Howard] to come and stay so that there might be some plausible reason for not letting the Obamas stay there."

She also pointed out that Blair House has "119 rooms with 35 bathrooms. Howard wouldn’t even have to share a sink with the Obamas."

Featuring Big Bald Nazi With Wrench!

During the aforementioned LEGO drought, I went ahead and signed up for the company's email newsletter, the first one of which I received yesterday. They had some sneak previews of new sets coming out. Oh mama:

On the one hand, I'm drooling like a fanboy over this. Out of the three Indiana Jones films (remember, there was just the three) the Flying Wing segment from the first film is a fan favorite and perfect for LEGO. They even include the fuel truck that leads to it's inevitable demise!

On the other hand, they did something that LEGO fans have been griping about for sometime now: Instead of designing a section with regular smaller pieces, they forge a brand new, gargantuan piece. In this case, the wings themselves.

Such large pieces drastically decreases the versatility of the set, especially with the camo colors. The wings could have been pulled off with smaller wing pieces of different colors and looked a lot better.

Oh well, I'm not paid the big bucks to design LEGO (would it were so). And it's not to say that I won't pick this up, but it will only happen if this set makes it as far as Tuesday Morning.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Where has all the LEGO gone?

I found myself wanting to pick up some small LEGO set over my extended New Year's break, so I went to Target. No good. They had a few of the larger sets, but nothing more than that. So Walmart was next. Nada at Walmart. Finally, I decided to bask in the glow of the Toys R Us selection. Only it was the same there as well.

That's when I started breaking out in the sweats.

Well, not really, but I have to admit it kinda freaked me out. What really made matters worse was when I got home and did some looking on the Amazon website. Nearly every set they had was (a) sold by a secondary retailer and (b) had their price inflated to three times larger or more.

I began to wonder if LEGO was pulling some sort of DeBeers crap here. All I knew was that I needed a LEGO fix and there were no dealers to be found!

The next day, I broke down and visited the Toys R Us and SuperTarget in Orange Park. There was a grand total of maybe five sets on the shelf at Target, but Toys R Us proved to be my salvation. Though I was really jonsing for the 7667, I settled for the brand new 8958 set, which is really a snazzy little vehicle (once you ditch big orange scoop that drags behind it).

So, all is well, and it should at least hold me until my next trip to Downtown Disney.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Roscoe Lee Browne Quote of the Month: January 2009

May I present Acrentropy's "Quote of the Month" Hall of Fame:

And so there you have it. For 2009, we will be looking at the work of Mr. Roscoe Lee Browne.

Mr. Browne is the oldest of the actors in our Hall of Fame, or rather was before he died two years ago. Like Keith David, Browne was known for his deep, resonant voice which could give James Earl Jones a run for his money. He did some voice overs for commercials (Tell me if this rings a bell: "Oooohhhhh, the power of cheese!") and he did voice over work for a number of films. It was one of these that was my first introduction to the man.

Yes, I'm speaking of course of the cinematic classic Logan's Run.

For those who haven't been blessed with the experience, this Sci-Fi tale is about a Utopian future where everyone gets put to death at age 30. Logan (Michael York) accidentally gets labeled as such years before his time, and he has to try to escape the city. Along the way, he encounters a robot named Box, who once harvested seafood to supply the city but has long ago malfunctioned and begun harvesting humans that happen to cross his path:

Box: Regular storage procedure. The same as the other food. The other food stopped coming. And they started.

Logan 5: What other food?

Box: Fish, and plankton. And sea greens, and protein from the sea. It's all here, ready. Fresh as harvest day. Fish and sea greens, plankton and protein from the sea. And then it stopped coming. And they came instead. So I store them here. I'm ready. And you're ready. It's my job. To freeze you!

Happy New Year!

I haven't a thousand words, so let's sum up the year with one picture:

Yes, I think that'll do.