Sunday, July 31, 2011

False Advertising


Bacon Bits. We've all heard of them. However, there's not a bit of bacon in them. False advertising. Another example I recall from an episode of the Simpsons. Bart and his friends were on a wild summer vacation and one of the things they did was go to the theater to see the movie, Naked Lunch. They come out and Nelson says, "I can think of two things wrong with that title."

What false advertising have you encountered?


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Give Peace a Chance


“It is no longer good enough to CRY peace, we must ACT peace, LIVE peace and LIVE IN peace.” - Unk, probably Dalai Lama

All throughout the Cold War, there were people saying things like, "Give peace a chance" and "make love, not war". These sayings continued and mutated until it became popular for people in movies making a wish to "wish for world peace".

Oddly enough, many of the people who say they want world peace make very little effort to attain it. Maybe they go to a demonstration or something, but often peace demonstrations turn violent. People protesting abortions have been known to threaten and kill those who perform them. Is this really living up to the ideal?

I'm not talking about complete and utter pacifism here. Even the Dalai Lama has no compunction about defending himself from harm if some beligerent fool should make it necessary, I'm talking about living up to the ideals you espouse.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sugar Rush

from: Daytona Beach, FL, USA
Some friends of mine are discussing Skittles-filled doughnuts and I cringed at the thought. "Too much sugar," I'm tempted to scream as I run away. "I'd get one heckuva sugar rush. I prefer my sugar to be a little more subtle, like half a pound of chocolate, or candied peanut butter, or soft chocolate chip cookies. Skittles are pure sugar."

It then occurred to me that a good chocolate bar probably has as much sugar as a bag of Skittles, so what was the difference?
Well taste, obviously. I won't get a sour-cringe from chocolate. But I realized there are other sweet foods I prefer which give me less of a sugar rush.

For instance, I've always prefered clear soft drinks like Sprite and Slice over the darker ones, like Pepsi and Coke. Even root beer, my favorite, isn't as sweet as a cola. I've also never much cared for fruit-flavored drinks. On the Bataan, when I wasn't drinking water or paying for an overpriced can of pop, I'd drink Red from the galley. Not sure what flavor it was supposed to be, but it wasn't as tart as Orange, and much more appealing to look at than Yellow or Green. We sometimes used it for cleaning brass.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Turtles with Warm Butts

from: Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA

Similar style to the truck I drove, you can
see the space between mirror and cab.
This one's decked out like Optimus Prime!
I was watching an episode of American Dad a little while ago in which a rabbit and a tortise are having a race, and it reminded me of once when I was driving my semi-truck and, in the middle of the highway, there was a turtle trying to cross. He was just moving into my lane and I saw him just in time to dodge a little to the right. I wasn't sure if I'd miss him or not, but I looked in my rearview mirror at my trailer tires and saw them fly past the turtle closely enough to warm his butt without hitting him.

I was elated to see I'd managed to miss him when I didn't think I would. The feeling lasted about two seconds, until the car behind me ran him over.

And this reminds me of seeing birds performing death-defying dives at vehicles and flying out in front of them. One event in particular happened while I was driving a Peterbilt 379P, which has a boxy frame, narrow cabin, and prominent exhaust pipes on the sides. This bird flew right in front of my cabin as I was rolling at speed down the highway.

In the first instant, I thought, "That's gonna be close!" Next, it flew BETWEEN my mirror and the windshield, and I had an instant to think, "WOW! What a lucky bird!" Unfortunately, an instant later, the truck's wind shear trapped the bird and slammed it into the exhaust pipe with a clang. I don't expect he walked away from that one.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Atlantis Airborne

from: Daytona Beach, FL 32114, USA

Space Shuttle Atlantis has blasted off from Florida's Kennedy Space Center just a few minutes ago on its final launch! The weather around here wasn't all that great - too many clouds and the possibility of continuing storms - but the weather around Titusville was good enough that, with only a minor delay, the shuttle launched. I imagine the million or so people who came to see it would have preferred a clearer sky, but I doubt any of them regret their cross-country trips to witness this historic event. It was a very emotional moment for a lot of people.

I didn't go down there, nor did I head over to the beach. When you watch it on TV, you get the best views and you get to see the view FROM the shuttle! Having attended several launches from multiple locations, I know how awesome it is to watch a launch without benefit of the TV, even when the clouds swallow it immediately. If you're close enough to see it, you're also close enough to feel it. You'll also hear it, although if you're far away, it will take a while for the sound to reach you, and hopefully you're not in a loud place.

Up close, it's the biggest blowtorch you've ever seen. You can FEEL the heat from the engines, even from several miles away. (I'll swear up and down that you can feel it from 50 miles away!) Then comes the rumble, loud enough to overwhelm any other sounds.

As the shuttle climbs on a pillar of fire, disappearing far faster than you can really imagine, that sound slowly fades, but you can still feel it pulsing the air. It takes only about two minutes before that gigantic burst of light is so far away that you can't see it any more, and the world resumes moving.

If you're farther away, you can watch the launch, and it's incredible to watch it move across the sky so rapidly, but then when the sound reaches you, it's like experiencing it a second time.

But, no more will you be able to experience this. Maybe in the future there will be a replacement vehicle, but in the meantime, we will have to tide ourselves over with smaller rockets.

Good luck, Atlantis crew!


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