New this week:
Guide to Wunderland
- News Archives
are they now?
I'm staring at a wire shelf unit in the cleanroom,
thinking of using it as a makeshift instrument rack, while I
sing to myself some lines from an old Jon & Vangelis song:
"Chances could call and accept that,
be no other
Science as it might disappear, correspond with color
Chance is the fruit will outlive..."
n. literally, a child raised by its grandmother; hence,
a spoiled child. from Greek mamma grandmother + threptos
- The Musketeer :(
Mix Kung Fu swordplay,
Old Westerns, and French novels.
Could it be good? No!
The Amazing Race
I've gotten hooked on two very similar new reality game shows:
Lost, and The Amazing Race. Both shows send two person teams
(each followed by a cameraman or two) on a globe-trotting race
that ends in NYC, with a big cash prize going to whoever gets
there first. I'm really enjoying them both, but so far, I'd have
to say I prefer The Amazing Race. [more]
Gallery by AIGA
gets my vote for best expansion of a card game for 2001 in the
GAMA awards. It's really no contest. The expansion is as good
as *you* make it. Encouraging homebrewn gaming. Gads, that's
what made Doom and Quake popular. Promotes creativity." -- Paul Blake on the Fluxx mailing list
||A Tornado Struck Our Town!
I was a kid, I always took it seriously when I heard about a
"Tornado Watch", worriedly gazing through the window
for signs of any cyclones that might sweep our house away to
a land of munchkins and witches. However, as I grew older, I
stopped worrying. Tornadoes just don't happen here. Or so it
On Monday, the most powerful tornado this area has felt in
over 75 years came smashing right through my home town. It first
touched down at the University of Maryland, where it destroyed
a small building and countless cars. Tragically, two sisters
were killed when their car was picked up by the wind and crashed
into the woods. The tornado then moved north, tearing up power
lines and trees and local business, going right by our house
(a mere 2000 feet to the west), eventually petering out in Laurel,
after ripping off the roof of the high school there. Early estimates
of damage come to $16.5M.
Although friends of ours actually saw the funnel cloud (Allen
even took pictures
of it), the storm seemed like just another thunderstorm to us,
even after the power went out. But as we started scrounging up
candles and tracking down the wind-up radio, we began getting
phone calls asking if we were OK. By the time it was dark, we
had a pretty good idea of where the tornado had traveled and
which local landmarks it had damaged, and since it was all within
walking distance we decided to take a stroll and look for scenes
of devastation in the dark.
We saw much destruction. Many trees were damaged and even
torn out of the ground, and all the glass was smashed out of
some storefronts and bus shelters. As we approached a Home Depot
that reportedly suffered a lot of damage, we found a couple of
their big metal carts lying crumpled in the lawn many yards from
their parking lot. We cautiously stepped over downed power lines
that probably would have been dangerous if anything in the area
had electricity. After awhile it started to rain pretty hard
again, and we had to take shelter for awhile at #12's
place, which was even closer to the path of destruction than
we live... right along it in fact!
As we looked at twisted wreckage in the darkness and thought
about those unlucky enough to be directly in harm's way, it was
sobering to realize that the events of September 11 were literally
a thousand times worse, and then some. Well, at least the disaster
that struck our town was a natural calamity. "We can't blame
this one on the terrorists" was an oft-heard joke that night.
I was a kid, I always enjoyed the adventure of living without
electricity, on those occasions when a (tornado-free) storm would
knock out the power. (Well, almost always... we didn't have VCRs
in those days, so back then we couldn't just get a friend who
still had power to tape the new episode of Star Trek for us...)
Even today, the novelty of living by candlelight can be fun for
awhile... but of course, it does get tiresome eventually. Fortunately,
our power came on after only about 18 hours (i.e. in plenty of
time for the premiere of the new Star Trek series). Others in
our neighborhood weren't as lucky, but I believe by now that
most or all of the town is back on the grid.
Anyway, you can be sure I'll once again be taking those Tornado
Watches as seriously as I ever used to. I didn't take any pictures
of the devastation myself, but other people did; here's a site
with many pages of photos, along with accounts, by students on
the scene at the campus.
In other news, Chort
and Paula got married this week! I didn't take any pictures there
either, but it was a lovely wedding, and we had a great time.
Congrats and best wishes, you two!
in Peace, tornado (and September 11th) victims...
||The current issue (Oct 2001) of Wired magazine
features a really cool map among the illustrations for an article
on all things Tolkien: The world of the Lord of the Rings rendered
as a subway map, showing the routes of the Middle Earth Transit
||"Indeed, where is the United States military
to fight? Afghanistan, which has sheltered deadly terrorists
for years, is an almost certain target. But Pakistan, which has
sheltered deadly terrorists for years, is suddenly an ally. And
how is the United States military to fight? It could bomb Afghanistan
to mountains and scrub, but Afghanistan is already little more
than mountains and scrub. It could send in troops, but if you
are a terrorist, and you see the US Army coming, you make like
a civilian and head for a crowd - or better, the border. The
Soviet Army killed more than a million people in Afghanistan
before giving up and withdrawing in defeat. Washington has fought
this kind of war before. Every president since Richard Nixon
has declared "war" on drugs. Every presidential candidate
has emphasized that he will win the war on drugs, because each
president before him has failed. But there is no drug lord in
chief, no single network to break, no one nation to beat or sanction
into submission. The idea of a war on drugs implies that we can
eradicate the problem - as likely as police eradicating crime
or firefighters eradicating fire - and that dooms the US to failure." -- Douglas McGray, "Don't
Oversell An 'Idea War'"
||"I call my plan 'Operation UNCLE SAMta Claus,'
and it would work like this. Every year the State Department
could release a list of naughty and nice nations. The former
will get rewards in the form of desirable American consumer goods;
the latter, lumps of coal. If we're afraid the naughty nations
might use the lumps of coal for fuel we could give them Chia
Pets, handkerchiefs, or other completely undesirable gifts. Nations
falling in the middle would get nice cards wishing them happy
holidays. The whole world would spend the year trying to get
on our good side so that come Christmas they'd get nice presents.
Governments whose representatives calls us dirty names at the
U.N. or who taught their schoolchildren to chant 'Death to The
Satanic Zionist Yankee Imperialists' would be overthrown by angry
mobs when their citizens realized they were getting stale fruitcakes
for the holidays while the residents of nearby pro-American nations
were getting attractive Timex watches or Amana Radar Ranges." -- Alvin Orloff, I Married an Earthling, page