Boba Fett is a Terrible Bounty Hunter

Boba Fett, for all of his cool street cred and name recognition and raspy voice and supposed toughness, is just not very good at his chosen profession. Bounty hunters have to go after the worst of the worst, they’re basically mercenary police officers, and those kind of people have to have something about them that screams, “Look, dude, don’t mess with me, because I am so much more of a bad dude than you are.” Boba Fett has that vibe, that je ne sais quoi that projects intimidation, when, in fact, he is anything but a professional. He is, in fact, the clumsiest luckiest SOB in the whole Star Wars universe.

I’m basing this solely off of the original Star Wars films that Mr. Fett appears in and not any of the expanded universe, expanded editions or prequel stuff that came later. If you read books or watch cartoons based on the expanded universe you learn more about Boba Fett, and how he really is a totally bad dude who can survive falling into the stomach of the Sarlacc, but I’m not focusing on that, because diving into the expanded universe is a never-ending slogfest of links and other characters whose names you don’t know. I’ll be focusing only on the parts of the original trilogy where Boba Fett appears or does something, nothing more. Read More…

I Have an Unnatural Aversion to Foods That Are White

The other day the boys wanted to dye Easter eggs. Fine, I said, so we went and got all of our supplies together : Eggs, Paz dye, other artsy implements in case someone was feeling creative were all gathered. We got the water to boiling and carefully dropped the eggs into it, waiting a good amount of time before removing them in case they weren’t completely solid (which is always a bad thing). While letting them cool it hit me like a brick in the face – the smell of those nasty things.

Yuck. I had to leave the kitchen.

Man, I hate the smell of hard boiled eggs, don’t know why, it just smells terrible to me. Like this earthy, wet, warm smell that permeates the entire kitchen. About twenty minutes later, with the aide of a full-torqued celing fan, and the kitchen was no longer a no-man’s-land for my nose.

But this brings up something that I have been dealing with for a long time – my unmitigated hate of white foods. Read More…

The song “Bells” from “Christmas In The Stars” Proves that Earth Exists in the Star Wars Universe

Even though it existed long ago in a galaxy far, far away, the characters of Star Wars appear to know who Albert Einstein was, the proof being the song “Bells” from the 1980 album “Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album”.1 The plot:

C-3PO and R2-D2 have been chatting previously about Christmas (from track one, ‘Christmas in the Stars’) and their talk turns to a sound that R2-D2 hasn’t heard before.

*R2-D2 speak*
“What is that? That my silly friend, is the sound of bells.”
*R2-D2 speak*
“What are bells?”

For shame! C-3PO proceeds to berate R2-D2:

I cannot believe the question
It’s like, “what is indigestion?”
Not that bells and indigestion are the same.

I cannot believe the query
That you ask, “what is Einstein’s theory?”
Compared to “what are bells?” seems almost tame.

*R2-D2 speak*
What is indigestion? Who is Einstein?
Before you ask me, “Who is H.G. Wells?”
I will help your education with a simple explanation of bells.

So now we’ve thrown human digestive problems, one of the greatest minds of the 20th Century, and a British science fiction writer born in the 19th century into the mix. Read More…

Bockscar, the End of WWII and What Might Have Been

Everybody (well, mostly everybody) knows the name of the airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6, 1945 (Enola Gay), but ask almost anybody the name of the airplane that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and you’ll get one of two responses –

1) It was the Enola Gay, or
2) A blank stare

Shall we change that? Yes, let’s.

The airplane, a B-29 Superfortress, was called Bockscar and it dropped the “Fat Man” atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945.

End of story? Well, it could have been different if only the weather had been different and an accompanying plane had arrived as scheduled. Read More…

Art Garfunkel

I’ve always felt sorry for Art Garfunkel because its always felt like he’s gotten a raw deal from the music world. While Paul Simon has basked in the limelight for decades, poor Art could probably walk down the street and go completely unnoticed by the majority of Americans. On further examination though you see that he’s lived the typical rock star life, with both ups and downs.

He teams up with his friend from childhood, Paul Simon, and made their first record that went nowhere. So he and Simon broke up, Simon moved to the U.K., and while he was overseas some stations started playing a song, “The Sounds of Silence”, off of their first album, but instead of the way that they’d written it their producer took Bob Dylan’s band and overdubbed it with electric guitars. “The Sounds of Silence” went to #1.

So to capitalize on their success Simon came back to the U.S. and they toured and made a lot of money but it all came crashing down when Garfunkel’s solo efforts (Simon also was doing solo material) didn’t chart as high as Simon’s and he started to drop out of the spotlight. That was followed by more albums that failed to hardly chart and he dropped into fits of depression. Even after teaming back up with Simon he was mixed out of an album that was supposed to be jointly released by the two of them (Simon’s Hearts and Bones) and before long he was scraping for what seemed like Simon’s table scraps.

The worst part about his whole musical career? He never wrote any of the songs he and Paul Simon sang together; he was just a singer, a good one, but not a songwriter. It wasn’t until 2003 that he released his first album of songs that he wrote (Everything Waits to Be Noticed).

He’s tried acting, poetry and he’s gone through the suicides of several people close to him. Probably in spite of all of what’s happened to him we ought to call him a semi-failed Renaissance man, albeit a semi-failed Renaissance man whose made a truckloads of money.

So Art, after all these years I salute you. You’ve never given up. Keep on truckin’.

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

Here it is in its entirety, verbatim from the original –

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America
A PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houfes of Congress have, by their joint committee, requefted me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to eftablifh a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in moft humbly offering our prayers and fupplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and befeech Him to pardon our national and other tranfgreffions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private ftations, to perform our feveral and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a bleffing to all the people by conftantly being a Government of wife, juft, and conftitutional laws, difcreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all fovereigns and nations (especially fuch as have shewn kindnefs unto us); and to blefs them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increafe of fcience among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind fuch a degree of temporal profperity as he alone knows to be beft.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand feven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

 

 

 

 

The Blue’s Clues Ability to Skidoo Could Have Astounding Military Applications

On almost every single episode of Blue’s Clues the human character (either Joe or Steve, or in the UK, Kevin) and the dog Blue “skidoo” somewhere, which is an amazingly simple form of teleporting (transporting oneself from one place to another instantly), whether onto the surface of a globe or into the image on a picture or a computer game or into a diorama, but it always involves our human protagonist and Blue being transported to somewhere else that moments ago they weren’t. It seems that other characters on the show can also skidoo, like Mr. Salt when he needs to go to the grocery store.

And skidooing is an important plot point to the show, because while on their skidoo adventures the characters have learn things and get to play and also may find a Blue’s Clue, whichis  great and all, but you wanna know who else could really use skidooing, especially in these trying economic times?

The military. Could totally help them out.

One top of all of the budget cutting that could be done, getting rid of transport planes/ships that are no longer required, there’s the instantaneous benefits of such a power. Does the president need to insert a highly skilled team of Navy SEALs into Tehran RIGHT NOW to take out Mahmoud Ahmadinejad before he does something else crazy? Done! Does South Korea want to finally finish the Korean War once and for all and skidoo into Pyongyang and take on the entire populace of North Korea before they can completely mobilize? It’s doable. Anything could be doable, as long as we have a picture of where we need to put our military and our boys could remember those easy to recite words – “Blue skidoo, we can to.” Maybe end it with a “Sir, yes sir,” too.

If Robert Oppenheimer had been working on a secret skidoo project instead of the Manhattan Project our boys could have ended WWII early and gotten to Berlin even before the Russian army was thinking about moving westward from Stalingrad and we never would have had to invade North Africa or Italy or obliterate the Atlantic Wall. And LBJ could have won the Vietnam War, probably, if we’d been able to skidoo into Hanoi and convince Ho Chi Minh that we really did want him to be in favor of democracy. He might even have decided to run for reelection and change the course of history.

The major drawback is that our people need a picture on the other end of the skidoo to return the same way. If they lose that picture…well, Mr. Secretary of Defense, order a new transport, since we got rid of them after the budget cuts allowed through skidooing. Enjoy hitchhiking home, soldiers!

But we could get rid of Air Force One, also, just keep that little blue dog with the President whenever he goes on the road.

I think Blue would have to remain non-partisan though. Can’t be favoring one political party over another. He’d also have to have a code name.

Anyway, just an idea. A completely cool idea, but just an idea.

George is a Monkey, and He Can Do Things That You Can’t Do. Ever.

My oldest son loves the Curious George show on PBS. He laughs along with it and afterwards will tell me the intricate plot points that moved the show from point A to Z. He has his favorites and his not-so-favorites, but generally he enjoys all of them, somewhat, even if he doesn’t love all of them.

I think Noah likes the show because it reminds him of himself. George is curious, fairly bright, and always getting into situations that he’d be better off not getting into. He’s smart and funny and cute, just like George, and he probably smells better than George, even though TMWTYH bathes George regularly.

But the show does one thing that, the first time I heard it, I knew immediately what it meant when I heard it.

In between the two CG segments of the show they will cut to kids taking some lesson that George learned and put it to practical real-world use. Kids will make telescopes out of paper towel tubes or trace their shadows and watch the sun move and stuff like that, but they always say the same thing after each cartoon segment: “George is a monkey, and he can do things that you can’t do.”

Really? It’s really come to that? Telling kids that a monkey might be able to climb up telephone poles and swing from power lines without being fried to a crisp? Or that he can knock down an entire dinosaur exhibit and put it back together before some scientists return? What is the meaning of this?

If you’re like me you already know what this is – the legal disclaimer. Yes, George is a monkey, and he can do things that you can’t do, like get kidnapped from his homeland in Africa and be brought to New York City (wait – some people a long time ago did do that), or go up in a rocket and repair a satellite (that’s been done too), or go skiing and rescue a pig (I’m sure someone has done those exact same things on a ski trip before).

Get real, PBS. Kids are just as smart and brave and crafty and mischievous as Curious George, and while the disclaimer could read “George is a monkey, and he can do things that you shouldn’t do without asking your parents first,” all of the things he does are in fact doable, but some little kid might get hurt or die doing what George does on your show.

When I was a kid there was a park near my house and it had great things to play with there. My favorite thing to do there was swing as high as I could on the swings and then jump off the swing at its highest point, flying probably ten feet or so from a height of about nine to ten feet in the air. It was pretty thrilling to do, and I never broke my arm or ankle, and I could have, but it was fun. And Curious George has fun too, but PBS, don’t tell kids they shouldn’t be adventurous. That sometimes takes all the fun out of being a kid, and if that’s the case you might as well just call him Dullard George.

Elijah McCoy, Lewis Latimer and Granville Woods: African-American Inventors of the 19th Century – A Postscript

I got my paper back from Dr. Sullivan the other night. For some reason, as with everything in this class the past semester, I’ve been a tad nervous when receiving something back that has been graded; it’s just a thing with me, I don’t know why I’m apprehensive about it. And when I got my paper back I saw at the top the grade – a 75. Wow. C+. Awesome…for real.

No, it wasn’t awesome. It was kinda sucky.

But then I remembered that Dr. Sullivan has kind of a screwy grading scheme, 100 isn’t always the top score that you can get, so I asked someone, “What was the top score you could get on this paper?” And they replied, “Seventy-five.”

So I got an A+, a 100%, or as I said, “a perfect,” and it only took about two weeks and some furious editing.

And he said –

Excellent paper. I like the way you presented the three inventors in the context of a broader picture of invention – and its influence within the African-American experience.

And I feel good about the paper. Very good.

Elijah McCoy, Lewis Latimer and Granville Woods: African-American Inventors of the 19th Century – Part 6 – How They Made a Difference and Conclusion

Each of the men discussed in this paper made a rather remarkable contribution to the scientific pursuits, some more lasting than others. McCoy’s invention has probably been the one with the longest-lasting significance. As was true then, if you don’t lubricate an engine it will quit working from the friction. All engines, whether they are automobile, airplane or boat, must be lubricated in order to remain functional. McCoy’s drip cup became the basis for the self-lubricating engines of modern times.

Woods’ Synchronous Multiplex Railway Telegraph brought efficiency and safety to rail travel at a time when train collisions could be common. With the invention of the telephone and further advancements in communications technology, the telegraph became an antiquated means of communication. Although obsolete on its own, his invention was one of a serious of steps into a wider world of communication that we use today.

Latimer’s invention set the standard in lighting for the 25 years that followed. In 1904 William D. Coolidge developed an incandescent light bulb using tungsten, which extended bulb life far beyond Latimer’s carbon-filament bulb.

As Henry E. Baker  said in The Colored American, “It is held to be of far greater importance to show that the Negro as a race has actually accomplished very much of value in the line of invention, and thus to show how much in error are those who constantly assert that the Negro has made no lasting contribution to the civilization of the age. These facts ought clearly to show that under favorable environment the Negro is capable of performing his whole duty in the work of mankind, whether it be tilling the earth with his hoe or advancing the world by his thought.”18

Summary

McCoy, Woods and Latimer all came from modest beginnings. They didn’t have privilege but they worked hard and found recognition, and some a measure of fame, from what they were able to do with ideas, sweat and ingenuity. Their ability to rise up paved the way for modern African-American inventors like Dr. Mark Dean, who was instrumental in the creation of the personal computer for IBM; George Alcorn, the developer of the imaging x-ray spectrometer; and theoretical physicist Dr. Shirley Jackson, who helped create the portable fax, the touch tone telephone and the fiber optic cables used to provide clear overseas telephone calls.19 As pioneers in their scientific fields, these men broke past the barriers of their time to open up new avenues for others that would follow.

Next time, what happened after I got the paper back.
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