Thursday, March 06, 2003

Guilt by association

Drudge points us to this item about a 17 year old spreading AIDS without warning her partners.

That in itself might be remarkable, but what I noticed is that they're also running pictures from personal ads on that page too. Some innocent woman's picture is showing there at the moment. I'm thinking I would want my picture somewhere else, thank you.

She's not pretending

Dumb Celebs offers us this about Chrissie Hynde, the leader of the Pretenders.

After reading of the excesses of the recording industry, I can understand how musicians can get a warped view of reality. And I'd really like to cut Chrissie Hynde some slack - although I don't follow them religiously, I really liked the Pretenders' first album.

But Ms. Hynde wants us to lose in Iraq. Good grief.

I wonder what she thinks of the fact that one of her songs, "My City Was Gone", is used as the intro to the Rush Limbaugh program.

Essential links

Hollywood Halfwits and Dumb Celebs. Stolen from a Ken Summers comment at Right Thinking.

One big idiot

Via WSJ's Best of the Web we find that somewhere in England "The Three Little Pigs" hath been decreed as offensive to Muslims.

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

The big dance

If you're a DanceSport fan in St. Louis, check out the upcoming St. Louis Star Ball. It will be at the Renaissance St. Louis by the airport on March 13-16, 2003. There will be a total of $40,000 in prizes and scholarships. Admission is $20 or $25 at the door, depending on the day.

Marriage at first sight

An article about arranged marriages in the US, right here, via Shiloh Bucher.


is indefatigable commenter Howard Veit's new blog.

What the "peace" movement is really about

Right here. Link snatched from Powerline.

Now Jewish World Review has a tipjar

You may well have seen Jewish World Review's site before. It's a terrific assembly of columns and other matter which apparently is run on a shoestring.

Now they finally have a tipjar here. They're worth a buck or two.

History of anti-Americanism in Europe

Here, as stolen from Instapundit and Gary Farber.

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Revenge of the Nerds Reunion

It's been out for almost 20 years now, so surely you've seen "Revenge of the Nerds" by now. You laughed and cried along with Poindexter, Booger, Ogre, Lewis, Gilbert and the rest of the Tri-Lams as they fought to preserve their dignity to the stirring sounds of "We Are the Champions". And you're wondering what happened to those guys who touched you so. Look no further.

Some of these people actually followed up with careers. John Goodman (the coach) became Dan Connor on "Roseanne". Ted McGinley (the main frat rat/jock) became Jefferson Darcy on "Married With Children". Anthony Edwards (Gilbert, the nerd) was Goose in "Top Gun" and later got on "ER". Timothy Busfield (Poindexter) was on "Thirtysomething". Even Curtis Armstrong (Booger) got a decent gig for a while with "Moonlighting".

Brian Tochi (Takashi) was the obligatory Japanese guy - this was the 80's after all. He has the questionable distinction of being in not only 3 of 4 "Revenge of the Nerds" (ROTN) movies, but was also in the last 2 "Police Academy" movies. Can infomercials be far behind?

Don't forget Donald Gibb, the Ogre. Definitely no Bee Gee, he has a fairly long list of credits, including two "Bloodsport" movies with Jean-Claude Van Damme (you know, that Belgian guy who fights).

What about the kid Wormser and limp-wristed spearchuckin' Lamar Latrell? Well, it looks like their careers peaked in this movie. Andrew Cassese (Wormser) only shows a measly TV appearance on "Law and Order Criminal Intent" since graduating from NYU Film School in 1995. Larry B. Scott (Latrell) has had more roles, but they included such marvels as "The Cheapest Movie Ever Made".

Of course sophisticated women know that the smart guys make the best lovers, and the movie had Robert Carradine (Lewis) showing he had his head in the right place. But it was nothing new for him - he was also a leading stud in "The Pom Pom Girls".

And now for the most important role of them all. Remember the immortal "we've got bush" scene? Yep, that was part of Lisa Welch, Playboy's Miss September 1980. It looks like she married rich and now has 6 kids. Here is a recent picture.

More flesh was provided courtesy of Julie Montgomery. She started acting early, even getting a role in a soap in her teens. But she had a high school classmate named Jay Greenspan who went on to surpass her - you know him as Jason Alexander.

Now make sure you remember this fabulous retrospective in case I ever put in a tip jar. On second thought...

Monday, March 03, 2003

Fuel cell power for municipalities

Rebecca's Pocket points to this about fuel cells to provide local electric power to Westerville, OH. The price is still high, but not outrageously so - 9 cents per kWh, vs 6.5 when bought from external utilities.

The fuel cells will run on hydrogen and produce no harmful pollutants onsite. Offsite, well, they still have to make the hydrogen. But it's worthwhile to have the waste at central locations to be handled more readily.

Hey investors - the supplier is FuelCell Energy of Danbury, CT. You can find out more about them and the fuel cell industry in general here.

Alright, you fair-weather greens - you can underwrite this by voting to pay a higher rate.

Or else you can at least admit that you're a bunch of watermelons.

State of the art in stem cell research

From Medpundit right here.

Guitar science 104 - onboard controls

When we left our story we had a signal coming from the strings. But from there a lot still has to happen before it reaches your ear.

For instance, most electric guitars have two pickups and many have three. They can be used alone or in various combinations, by way of a pickup switch. There might be multiple switches, or a given switch might have as many as 5 or more distinct positions.

OK, but why? Selecting the pickup closest to the bridge gives a brighter signal that stands out more for lead work. The one closest to the middle of the string gives a "rounder" tone with more emphasis on the fundamental frequencies, and is more commonly used for rhythm work.

That's if you've chosen only one pickup. Often the wiring will permit selection of multiple pickups. The results can vary from a fuller sound to the "out of phase" sound like the lead at the end of this one Prince song with a name I can't remember ("Let's Go Crazy"?). Or each pickup can have its own output jack so its signal can be processed separately.

OK, we've got a pickup signal or two, but that usually doesn't give us enough control of the signal. So usually the guitar itself will have volume and tone controls as a minimum. If there are multiple pickups, there may or may not be multiple volume and tone controls.

The volume control ordinarily will be just a potentiometer, or variable resistor. It can't add anything to the signal, but it can reduce its voltage, which ultimately lowers the volume. It can be manipulated readily in live performance, often to cut off the "attack" of a note - one example of the sound would be Eddie Van Halen in "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love".

The tone control is another pot with a capacitor added. With the right configuration, the combination permits reduction of the strength of the higher frequencies wrt the lower, with the capacitance determining the frequencies that are affected. Manipulating the tone control gives a "wah wah" effect like what is heard in the long lead in Guns 'n' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine".

In practice much of the volume and tone manipulation are more readily done via pedals. But using the guitar's controls affects the sound of the guitar in ways that appeal more to purists, who also like the idea of having fewer components between their guitar's output and the amplifiers. It also means less to own, maintain, pack, transport and unpack, fewer electrical connections, fewer things for stoned performers to trip over onstage, and the performer doesn't have to be where the pedals are.

Some acoustic guitars and electrics have specially configured pickups and other features which require "active electronics". Basically this means that they add power to the signal, usually with small batteries. These aren't particularly common.

No matter what is installed, it all has to be shielded. Otherwise the electronics can pick up stray signals, resulting in weird unrehearsed noises. This is usually achieved with some foil or other metallic lining surrounding the cavity where the electronics are installed.

That's about it for the electrical stuff on a guitar. Commercial ones, anyway - there's no telling what an individual tinkerer might come up with. All that matters is that the signals have the right electrical properties when they leave the guitar.

And what are those? That'll have to wait for the Next Thrilling Installment of Guitar Science!

Buying the cow

"Why buy the cow when you get the milk free?" I've always found this a charming expression, which usually means something like "if you're sleeping with him, what makes you think he'll ever get around to marrying you?" Gosh, how quaint, eh?

This expression has made it into song, such as "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" by the Georgia Satellites. Poor guy. The least she could do was give him references.

Now there's a movie called "Buying the Cow" which got mixed reviews. I haven't seen it. But it has Alyssa Milano and an R rating, so it can't be all bad (although some of those tattoos have got to go, honey).

In other news, I haven't mentioned Susanna Cornett yet today. She's no cow and certainly can't be bought. But did you know you could send her money? You can use Amazon or

PMS - it's not just for women

Earlier today I was working on a project with a woman I've worked with quite a bit over the last year or so. It didn't seem to be going well. Neither of us had commented until she volunteered something like "I'm PMSing real bad". Given that this project will be going on for the next several days, I just can't wait.

After about another half hour we wrapped it up for the day and I resolved to find a solution for PMS. Something besides alcohol or cyanide. Preferably in a form that can be administered remotely, like a tranquilizer dart.

Well, I got a wild hair and decided to do some field research to see what could help. I'm just that kind of guy.

So I go in a Walgreens and just happen to catch a conversation between two women at the cosmetic counter. It so happened that they were talking about some guy who had said the wrong thing to one of them. I figured that that was about as good a time as any to interrupt them, and I told them I wanted something that could stop PMS in a raging elephant.

They were amused but not helpful. They mentioned Midol, but sneered as if it were useless. Then they directed me to the pharmacy.

There were two more women there, so I asked them about it. They again mentioned Midol, and one of them mentioned ibuprofen. Oh, yeah, and B vitamins. The bad news is that it takes a few days to work...

They did wish me luck in getting over it. Har har.

Then I got to the Web. According to this:
Premenstrual Syndrome: PMS is a disorder characterized by a set of hormonal changes that trigger disruptive symptoms in a significant number of women for up to two weeks prior to menstruation. Of the estimated 40 million suffers, more than 5 million require medical treatment for marked mood and behavioral changes. Often symptoms tend to taper off with menstruation and women remain symptom-free until the two weeks or so prior to the next menstrual period. These regularly recurring symptoms from ovulation until menses typify PMS, premenstrual syndrome.
Only 40 million? Sheesh, I guess I'm lucky - it seems like that's the only kind I meet. Yeah yeah, sounds like a personal problem. Hmm, maybe I'm a carrier.

Surely it's not another one of those things like attention deficit disorder, which at times seems to be applied to every grade school kid? From the same source:
Over 150 symptoms have been attributed to PMS. After complaints of feeling "out-of-control", anxious, depressed and having uncontrollable crying spells, the most common complaints are headache and fatigue. But symptoms may vary from month to month and there may even be symptom-free months. No women present with all the PMS symptoms. Characteristically symptoms may be both physical and emotional. They may include physical symptoms as headache, migraine, fluid retention, fatigue, constipation, painful joints, backache, abdominal cramping, heart palpitations and weight gain. Emotional and behavioral changes may include anxiety, depression, irritability, panic attacks, tension,lack of co-ordination, decreased work or social performance and altered libido.
IOW they suffer in about every way except pregnancy. And silence.

But surely if half of the population is subject to this for half their lives, we at least know the cause, right?:
The exact cause of PMS, headaches and depression are unknown. In fact, it is not known why some women have severe symptoms, some have mild ones, while others have none. It is generally believed that PMS, migraine and depression stem from neurochemical changes within the brain. Hormonal factors, such as estrogen levels, had not been appreciated until recent studies.
Terrific. And women can't claim that men aren't looking for a cure on this one. Although some I know have proposed bounties.

Well, I'll admit that men haven't always had women's health under control. For instance, women once were subject to a scourge called "hysterical paroxysm" which now goes by the modern name "orgasm". But really, could men get by claiming a condition that, um, changed their behavior periodically like this? No, they're just diagnosed as "bastards".

Ah, but men don't have those hormone swings. But who needs them? - we're sympathetic souls. Really. If that sounds farfetched, let me mention couvade.

There's much more on that same page, including diet tips. There is no mention of biting men's heads off, from which some I know find temporary relief.

Well, at least now you know why I don't have a "rate this post" feature. There is a comments feature...never mind, I'll make my own @#$%! comment.

Sunday, March 02, 2003