Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another Silly Blog Quiz

"Sieg Heil" On This, Asshole...

The "Would You Have Been A Nazi?" Test

The Resistance

Achtung! You are 15% brainwashworthy, 36% antitolerant, and 57% blindly patriotic

Welcome to the Resistance (Der Widerstand)! You believe in freedom, justice, equality, and your country, and you can't be converted to the the dark side.

Breakdown: your Blind Patriotism levels are borderline unhealthy, but you show such a love of people from everywhere and a natural resistance to brainwashing, you would probably focus your energy to fight the Fuehrer with furor, so to speak.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would have taken up ARMS against the oppressors. Or even your friends' oppressors. Congratulations!

Less than 5% of all test takers earn a spot in the Resistance!

(Note: If you take this test yourself and post the results, it's gonna look a lot different. I modded the code to fit this page, since these quiz-makers can't code for shit. I deleted some extraneous crap and ad links, which probably violates some kind of Terms Of Service. Screw 'em if they can't take a hint...)

Getting Back In The Groove

Just Filling Empty Space For The Moment

I'm having the damndest time trying to climb back in the blogging saddle after almost a week off. I've been pretty haphazard in my reading of other blogs, and I'm not having much luck coming up with something to say myself.

Oh, well. This guy was nice enough to post a list of topics. Maybe I'll borrow a couple...

Friday, September 29, 2006

I'm Back! Well, Mostly Back, Anyway...

News Flash! Austin Is Chock Full Of HIPPIES!!

I got back from my little business jaunt last night, and have been so snowed under with end-of-month drudgery that I'm just now getting around to blogging... at 12:30 a.m., no less.

First, big thanks go to Walrilla, Nelly & Army of Mom for their excellent work at keeping this place running in my absence. Muchas Gracias, amigos!

Second, didja know when you put 50 assorted architects, contractors, & state/local gummint employees in the same room for 3 days, you develop an inescapable vortex of boredom and drowsiness?

Third, yes, I *am* aware of the impending Sitemeter rollover. I'd hoped it would wait until later in October, but more on that wish in... later October.

Off to bed, now. One more hard slog at work tomorrow morning, then hopefully I can blog a bit more once the FedEx guy is dispatched with the fruit of our labors tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Best Potato Soup In The World!

Ok, maybe not the best, but it is pretty darn good!

Sunday, Army of Mom posted a recipe that I have prepared before, with minor differences. It's good! Now, I will try to match that goodness with a Sausage and Potato soup that our family just loves. This is a good cold-weather dish, and it makes enough to have leftovers the next day.

Sausage and Potato Soup

1 lb. Bulk Sausage (Hot, but mild could be substituted)
1 cup Celery, diced
1 med. Onion, diced
4 or 5 large potatoes, Russet or Yukon Gold
14 cups Chicken stock
1 quart Cream
1 stick Butter
5 tbsp White Balsamic Vinegar
1 to 1.5 tbsp Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Flat leaf parsley, chopped(leaves only, no stems)

Brown the sausage and onions. Before they are done, add the celery and saute until soft. At the same time, peel and dice the potatoes into one inch chunks, place into the pot and add the chicken stock. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Add cream and butter, and stir occasionally until butter melts. Add sausage, onions and celery and stir again. Add vanilla and vinegar just a minute or two before serving. Add the parsley right before serving.

I know, I know. "Vanilla and Vinegar? In a soup? Yuck!" I thought the same thing when I found this recipe, but I decided to give it a try. Folks, this is one of the best potato soups I've ever tasted. But, and this is a big but, It has to have the vinegar and vanilla, or else it's bland and not very good tasting. With them, it has a definitely distinct flavor and aroma.

Damn, I'm getting hungry just writing about this!


Check out da grill, yo

Ok, this is some rapper I've never heard of. How about another photo caption contest? Winner gets a swift pat on the back and round-trip tickets to Bisbee, Texas.

Look, yo. Whenever da man needs me to take a drug test, I have my own cup to pee in.

Any other suggestions?

El Capitan's Reincarnation Wish

El Capitan awakes and realizes it was only a dream that he was an Mtv Music Award.

So, then he says a little prayer that in the next life, he can be reincarnated as the precious piece of metal and get sweet kisses from the Pussycat Dolls.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Hubba Hubba, Frauline Hilton

See, this is why El Capitan's traffic isn't as high as he'd like it to be. He is missing hot chicks.

So, we'll fix that.

You can see socialite Paris Hilton poses with a Bavarian style 'Dirndl' dress in Munich Sept. 25 prior to her visit of the Oktoberfest beer festival.

Check on the gams on that gal.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Political Correctness as practised in Natchez, Mississippi

Hi Baboon Pirates regulars. I’m Nelly and I’ve been reading El Capitan for some time now. I found his blog through the late and sadly missed Acidman. A while back ol' El Capitan mentioned he hadn’t many readers from Europe. Hopefully this is about to change.

I’ve never been to Texas. The closest I ever got was Natchez. That was quite a few years ago when we were travelling around the South. We were in this bar and got talking to a really friendly guy called Tommy. He had caught my eye because he seemed to know everybody and was hopping around chatting to everyone. The hoppy thing was a bit odd but the reason became obvious when I saw the empty left leg of his Levis tucked into his back pocket.

It turned out he was a Vietnam veteran. He went out at age 18 and lost his leg to a mine and that was the end of the war for him. We had a good chat with him and a few others in the bar. Before we left Tommy told us that every Thursday the regulars from the bar got together for a barbecue. He said we'd be very welcome to come. We would have liked that but we were running a very tight itinerary. So, because we were leaving next morning, we had to decline. But before we left the bar I asked Tommy to recommend somewhere for breakfast.

Next morning we went to the place he'd suggested and it was pretty good. The lady who ran it was very pleasant and friendly. I told her that we'd had a recommendation from a local and she was very interested to know who this could be.

"Guy called Tommy."

"Tommy? Can't think who that would be."

"Tall man, white hair, slim, neatly trimmed beard, glasses."

"Nope. Can't think who that would be. Where'd you see him?"

"We met him in a bar."

She frowned a bit at this. But I pressed on. There was only one more thing I could add.

"He only had one leg."

"Oh yes! Thomas! Thomas the Cripple!"

An Introduction Of Sorts

Hello, everybody! Walrilla here from Walrilla’s Wonderings. After wading through the baboon droppings and the spare cutlasses, I’m finally here. I see now that I am in fine company. Along with Nelly and Army of Mom, I shall endeavor to dispense little pearls of wisdom.

All these shall come from my days of taking Barely Understandable Lower Level Specialized High Intensity Training, hereafter known as B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.

After taking years of B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T., I feel I am qualified to dispense any amount of it. In fact, my family insists I am full of B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T. Of course, it is available from any U.S. government office, free for the asking.

Really, just spend some time with me and you’ll find out, whenever I’m talking, I’m usually speaking B.U.L.L.S.H.I.T.


Mexican casserole

I know El Capitan is fond of recipes and it was Army of Dad who suggested picking one to post.

This is one I'm having this afternoon during Sunday afternoon football. I modified a recipe from a cookbook I received as a high school graduation gift in 1987. The book is "Texas Fixins from Texas Kitchens" sponsored by the Friendship Group of Brownwood, Texas.

Mexican Casserole
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 tsp. chili powder
1 15-oz. can of Ranch Style Beans
1 8-oz can of tomato sauce
6-9 corn tortillas
8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese*
2 packets Old El Paso taco seasoning
*optional - 1 c. chopped onions and 1 can of whole kernel corn

*I like the fiesta/Mexican blend of cheeses with Monterrey Jack, etc. I also season my meat when it is browning. I use liberal application of onion powder and pepper. I also toss a few dashes of garlic powder and season salt in there, too.

Brown beef and onion on stovetop, pouring off excess fat drippings.
Mix in chili powder, beans, tomato sauce. Once those are mixed, add in the cheese (Save some cheese to toss on top of the mixture at the end.)
Spoon mixture in casserole dish and then layer tortillas like you would a lasagne. I usually use three between each layer. Repeat till all the mixture is gone. Toss some cheese on top or wait till you pull it out. Your option.
Cover and bake at 325 degrees for about 30 to 35 minutes.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

All you can eat

Hey there. Army of Mom here. I've highjacked the site while El Capitan is away. First off, some goofy hijinx involving crazy critters.
How about another photo caption contest? Let's hear your best ideas for this one. It is a python on a road in Malaysia. It had swallowed a pregnant ewe (how the photographer knew that for the caption, I'm not really sure). The six-meter reptile weighing 198.5 lbs was too laden to move, making it easy for firemen to capture it, said a local daily newspaper. Picture taken Sept. 5.

My first thought: No more buffet for you. You fat, go home.

We Have Guest Pirates!

Non-El Capitanish Blog Postings Are Coming!!

Oooo, I'm so excited! Got me some guest bloggers to come over and play!

I'm out of town on a bizzy trip the next 4 days, and to my knowledge will be computer-free much of the time. So, I asked a few friends to take over while I was away.

Out of 5 invites, 3 jumped right to the task, one had too much drama goin' on, and one person *really* needs to check their email more than once a month...

So, expect some brilliant posts from the following bloggers: Walrilla, from Walrilla's Wonderings; Nelly from Nelly's Garden and Army of Mom from Army of Mom!!

Have fun, my new little baboon pirates, and turn the lights off when you leave!

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Lawyer

Another Helping Of Amateurish Doggerel

The Lawyer
by Edgar Allan Poe & El Capitan
First Published in 1845
Revised 2006

Once upon a workday dreary, while I labored, weak and weary,
Over many a useless Excel spreadsheet of arcane lore,
While I keyed data, fingers cramping, suddenly there came a stamping,
As of someone loudly rapping, rapping at my office door.
" 'Tis some admin," I muttered, "tapping at my office door;
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in muggy September,
And untidy piles of photocopies lay strewn upon the floor.
Eagerly I longed for liquor; to make the horror fade much quicker,
Of endless busywork and fruitless pleas from the countless poor,
And the growing certainty that my career lay dying, I'd quit trying;
And would languish here forevermore.

And the constant noxious interruptions of many unknown peons
Sickened me---filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the rumbling of my gut, I stood repeating,
" 'Tis some admin entreating entrance at my office door,
Some surly flunky bearing giant piles of unfinished projects galore,
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my resolve grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But, Dammit, I was working, and for once I wasn't shirking,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my office door,
That I was not quite sure I heard you." Here I flung wide the door;---
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Back into the office turning, acid reflux within me burning,
Soon again I heard a pounding, so much louder than before,
"Surely," said I, "surely, that is the window cleaners.
Let me see, then, who these jerks are, and this mystery explore.
Let my gut be still a moment, and this mystery explore.
" 'Tis the window cleaners, and nothing more."

Quickly then I pulled the blinds, but forgot to check back behinds,
'Cause in slunk a craven lawyer, right through my office door!.
Not the least obeisance made she; not a minute stopped or stayed she;
But with mien of Stygian vulture, perched above my file drawer.
Perched upon the lateral file, just inside my office door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this foul attorney began to speak, I knew it was no good news
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance she wore,
"Though you have this month mapped out," She said, "pitch those plans now,
Your ass belongs to me for the duration of this court case, and how!"
"Dammit!" replied I, "There's work to be done! How long will this take?"
Quoth the Lawyer, "Forevermore."

I swore and set my teeth a-gritting, my mind quickly flitting,
Trying to see how to my personage the legal relevancy bore;
And cannot help wondering that this attorney was a-blundering,
And never should have darkened my humble office door,
So I asked how the subpoenas had been issued in this case.
Quoth the Lawyer, "By the score!"

Startled at the candor as t'were spoken, my spirit quickly broken
"Doubtless," said I, "I've much sorrow and grief in store;
Sitting idle in marble hallways, for hours over unknown days,
Able to do nothing until finally called inside courtroom door,
Till the backbone of my patience broke 'neath endless waiting,
Quoth the Lawyer, "Wait some more."

Then, methought, I'd be a hostile witness, by my scorn I'd
make the judge doubt my fitness, and be sent away from the 17th floor!
"Vulture," I cried, "I told you to get that subpoena quashed! And yet,
You do nothing but make me sit here, naught but my navel to explore!
I want to go back to the office and dodge the slavering press corps!"
Quoth the Lawyer, "Wait some more."

"Harpy!" said I, "thing of evil!-- the Bar shat thee upon our shore!
Whether Satan sent, or whether you masquerade as filthy whore!"
I'm desolate, yet still undaunted, on this courtroom enchanted--
Release me from my bondage and set me free, I implore!
For to escape I'll dial 911 and have them send the Marine Corps!"
Quoth the Lawyer, "Wait some more."

So El Capitan, teeth a-gritting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the lonely bench just outside the courtroom door;
And his eyes have all the sorrow of a wretch with no tomorrow,
And the flourescent light o'er him throws his shadow on the floor;
And his soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted---nevermore!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

El Capitan's Art Gallery

Alas, I Have No Velvet To Paint Upon...

Continuing the trend of posting something a bit different here, we go from videos to fine art. Selections from Old Masters, Surrealists, and even the preschool fingerpainting set. The goal? To have anyone who asks "But... is it art?" to know, without a doubt, that it might well indeed be some art-like object.

First up, a celebrated effort dating back to those heady days of... yesterday. Hey, art trends come & go quickly. If you drop your little black beret, by the time you get it back on your head, the art world has changed!

Without further ado, here's:

Still Life With Pig

(Source image via Cute Overload, photo manipulation via GraphicConverter)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Rush On Over To Youtube

Shiny New Blogtoys!

I thought I'd see if I could get a Youtube video to embed successfully on the blog. I was a bit concerned about the width of the image wonking up my layout, but it seems to fit OK.

So, here's one of my all-time favorite music videos. I'm not a huge Rush fan, but this is one of the best concert videos ever filmed, IMHO. It tracks Rush through 3 decades of concerts, and seamlessly blends the jam session.

Rush, performing 'Closer To The Heart'. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk Like A Pirate Day!

I Can't Wait To Order Dinner Tonight...

September 19th is Talk Like A Pirate Day! Annoy your co-workers with endless "YARRRRS!" and "AHOY THERE, MATEY!"s!!

What the hell... I mean, it's no weirder than Groundhog Day. Plus, no annoying rodents!

Talk Like A Pirate Day BONUS!!!

Look what arrived in the mail today from Walrilla of Walrilla's Wonderings!

How cool is that?? A giant light-up skull & crossbones! A perfect centerpiece for my pirate shrine! Thanks, dude! You're way too cool!

Here's El Capitan's pirate shrine, circa 2002. It currently resides in the Sacred Box Of Storage in the Closet Of Antiquities, but I've added/been gifted with a lot of stuff in the past 4 years... I'll need to recreate it soon!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Boating Now Illegal In All U.S. Navigable Waters

One More Reason To Dislike Federal Judges

See this bit o' cheery news yet?

US federal judge declares boating illegal in all US navigable waters

In a rather bizarre ruling that has marine industry officials worried, Judge Robert G. James of the United States District Court, Western Division of Louisiana, has said that it is criminal trespass for the American boating public to boat, fish, or hunt on the Mississippi River and other navigable waters in the US.

In the case of Normal Parm v. Sheriff Mark Shumate, James ruled that federal law grants exclusive and private control over the waters of the river, outside the main shipping channel, to riparian landowners. The shallows of the navigable waters are no longer open to the public. That, in effect, makes boating illegal across most of the country.

"Even though this action seems like a horrible pre-April fools joke, it is very serious," said Phil Keeter, MRAA president, in a statement. "Because essentially all the waters and waterways of our country are considered navigable in the US law, this ruling declares recreational boating, water skiing, fishing, waterfowl hunting, and fishing tournaments to be illegal and the public subject to jail sentences for recreating with their families."

Last month, James rejected the findings of the Magistrate judge who found earlier that the American public had the right under federal law and Louisiana law to navigate, boat, fish, and hunt on the waters of the Mississippi river up to the normal high water line of the river. Judge James Kirk relied on the long established federal principles of navigation that recognized the public navigational rights "…entitles the public to the reasonable use of navigable waters for all legitimate purposes of travel or transportation, for boating, sailing for pleasure, as well as for carrying persons or property for hire, and in any kind of watercraft the use of which is consistent with others also enjoying the right possessed in common."

"MRAA is working with the Coast Guard, state boating law administrators, and NMMA to fight this onerous ruling," said Glen Mazzella, MRAA chairman, in the statement.

So along with ignoring the McCain/Feingold foolishness and other bits of foul asshattery, I'll plan on ignoring this bit of judicial insanity as well.

Also posted here (Good article, with press release), here and here!

The Random Question Meme

Just What You Wanted, More Personal Trivia...

Stolen from KurtP at A Trainwreck In Maxwell.


What is your salad dressing of choice?
I loves me some Creamy Eye-talian.

What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
Whataburger. That being said, the perfect fast food meal would be:

Appetizer - 3 White Castle cheeseburgers

Main Course - Whataburger double-meat bacon cheeseburger
McDonalds pre-80's fried-in-lard fries w/ Whataburger ketchup
Burger Street onion rings
Taco Bueno Chicken nachos
Jumbo Chicago-style hot dog

Dessert -
Steak & Shake chocolate milkshake
Pint of Dairy Queen soft-serve ice cream.
And... a fistful of Rolaids!

What is your favorite sit down restaurant?
Two defunct places, Harvey's in Houston, TX; and the Key West Grill in Arlington, Tx.
The Keg Steakhouse, a Canadian chain, is very nice, as is Ashiana, a local Indian place.

On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
Usually 20%. If they're an asshole, only 5-10%. I don't penalize the waiter for kitchen screwups.

What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
Chili Dogs.

What are your pizza toppings of choice?
Sausage, onions, mushrooms.

What do you like to put on your toast?
Butter & apricot preserves.

What is your favorite type of gum?
I don't chew gum.

Number of contacts in your cell phone?
Probably 36-40, out of which I call 3 on any regular basis.

Number of contacts in your email address book?

What is your wallpaper on your computer?
The City Park in San Marcos, Texas.

What is your screensaver on your computer?
A slideshow of my nephew Sammy.

How many televisions are in your house?
5, counting the old MacTV. Two haven't been powered on in months.

What kitchen appliance do you use the least?

What is the radio station you listen to the most?


What do you consider to be your best physical attribute?
The wimmens seem to like my eyes. Who am I to argue?

Are you right handed or left handed?
Both. Depends on what I'm doing.

Do you like your smile?
Yeah, it's OK. Years of orthodontia was worth it. I suppose.

Would you like to have something removed from your body?
Heh. About half my body weight, which would still leave me a fat bastard.

Do you prefer to read when you go to the bathroom?
Nope. Get in, get out. Otherwise the sewer weasels have time to home in on you.

Which of your five senses do you think is keenest?
Used to be my eyesight, but age is taking its toll. I'll go with sense of smell.

When was the last time you had a cavity?
I think I've got one now...

What is the heaviest item you lift regularly?
The 40 lb buckets of kitty litter. Every. Frickin'. Week.

Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
I passed out from a prescription drug interaction once, but was never knocked cold.

**A bunch of stuff-OLOGY**

If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
Yeah, the day of the week, but not the month or the year.

If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
Something non-biblical. When my full name gets read aloud, it's like a New Testament roll call.

How do you express your artistic side?
Why do you think I keep this foolishness going?

What color do you think you look best in?
I'm told blue sets off my eyes. I like dark green & khaki, though.

How long do you think you could last in a medium security prison?
I'm sure I'd get shanked pretty quick, either for refusing to be someone's wife, or pissing off the Aryan Brotherhood.

Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
Do bugs count?

If we weren't bound by society's conventions, do you have a relative you would make a pass at?
No comment. I have relatives that read this thing...

How often do you go to church?
Mostly for funerals.

Have you ever saved someones life?
I like to think so. Hard to say, really. That's a post for another time.

Has someone ever saved yours?
Mom Heimlich-ed me when I was 5 or 6. Took me 20 years before I could eat a butterscotch candy without immediately chewing it up.

Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000?
Can I pick the street? There's some lonely country roads out in West Texas.

Would you kiss a member of the same sex for $100?
I'd do that French peck-on-both-cheeks thing. Otherwise, no.

Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
Ummm, no.

Would you never blog again for $50,000?

Would you pose naked in a magazine for $250,000?
Only if it's never imported into the States.

Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?

Would you, without fear of punishment, take a human life for $1,000,000?
Depends. If you pick out a random person on the street as the target, I'll tell you to go fuck yourself. If it's a shot at Castro, Bin Laden, or some other unquestionably heinous person, whip out that checkbook.

Would you shave your head and get your entire body waxed for $5000?
Sure. It'll take about $5000 worth of wax, though.

Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Betsy Cat, Felis Fluffitous Maximus

Happiness Is A Fluffy Cat

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fan-Boy Geekiness Alert!

The Long Wait Is Almost Over!!!

OK, time to lapse back into shameless geek-mode...

Season Five of Smallville is due for release next Tuesday. Tuesday also happens to be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so it's a double bonus!

I don't get the WB network at the house, so I've had to wait for a year for the box set to be released, and whenever anyone mentions what's happened in Season Five, I've had to cover my ears and run away screaming "LALALALA!!IAMNOTLISTENINGIAMNOTLISTENING!!!"

The wait is over... Don't even bother looking for me next weekend. I'm gonna make a trip to the store for munchies, then a trip to the pharmacy for a catheter and box of Depends, and plop my big ass down in front of the DVD mo-sheen for 26 hours straight. It oughta be fun!

I'm told by a buddy of mine that bats for the other team that Tom Welling (he plays Clark/Kal-El) is quite the posterboy in the gay side of the street. Could be, I suppose.

Some of us watch Smallville for other reasons. Like the intricate plotlines... Yeah! That's it! The plotlines!

Mmmm! Seppuku Sausage!!

OK, That's Pretty Gross.

Not quite enough to turn me off of eating pig, fortunately.

Exactly what target market were the Froggie ad-men aiming at?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Support A Budding Capitalist

Girls & Guns Generate Good Grooviness!

By way of Mad Ogre's site, I read about a little girl's problem, and her inspired solution.

Tina, age 10 and an avid shooter, wants to buy one of these:

To get the scratch, she's selling these:

That's some spiffy kind of sandbag, and I've filled a few!

Read the whole story at Mad Ogre's place, then email the girl's dad, Willie Anderson for details. Cost is around 10 bucks, plus a bit more for shipping, I'd imagine.

I heartily approve of this effort, and plan on buying at least one! Help the girl out, won't you? As an added bonus, KDT said he'd post a video performing his nekkid gun-waving-in-the-front-yard Happy Dance in return for your support. Hell, that's easily worth a sawbuck right there!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Hey, This Lunchmeat Tastes Funny...

Somehow, PETA Is Behind This, I'm Thinking.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Spread 'Em Wide And Say AHHHH!!!

Expertly Boned Once Again...

If there's one thing I can count on in this job, it's that in spite of my best efforts, I'm gonna get a pinkie shoved up the stinkie every so often.

We had a staff meeting this morning, where we're informed that due to the SAP implementation that's affecting most of The Man's departments, our pay cycle is going to be adjusted.

See, we're paid every 2 weeks, 26 times a year. That means twice a year there's a month where we get 3 paychecks. Those rare events are happy occasions, it's money that's "off the budget", and it can be used for frivolous things in a guilt-free manner.

We had a 3-paycheck month in June, and the second one for 2006 was set for December, just in time for Xmas. Half of that freebie paycheck was slotted for Xmas gifties, and the remainder was split between a Metroplex visit and banking for the Blown-Eyed Blodgerfest '07.

Well, no more. They bobble our paycheck cycle in November, and that 3-in-a-month "bonus" just got moved from December to March.

Excuse me just for a second, here.

Zbgureshpxre! Lbh svygul pbpxfzbxvat, cvtyrg-zbyrfgvat nanyyl-bofrffrq srypuzbaxrlf! Lbh anfgl fpnoebhf chxr-fvccvat juberfbaf sebz hapyrna pnzryf gung jrer shpxrq jvgu ehfgl punvafnjf! SHPX SHPX SHHHHHPPXXXXX!!!!!

December's also the month I gotta write a big honkin' check for all my prescription copays, so I'm officially destitute over the holidays. Sorry, folks, no visit, no gifties. The Man is actually The Grinch.

Gotta go, I hear a page of employment ads calling to me.

The Long-Overdue Book Meme

Doan Be Readin' Dat Fiction! Thass All LIES!!

For some reason, I'd been avoiding this meme, which has been circulating the blogs for a while. Army of Mom's been a good sport about me leaving snarky comments on her blog, so when she tagged me, I knew I'd have to go along...eventually. I think she tagged me a coupla weeks ago!

1) A book that changed my life reading habits:

Robert A. Heinlein's 'Orphans Of The Sky'. First science-fiction book I ever read, at the tender age of maybe 9. OK, that, and Dad's box of 60's vintage Playboys he kept in the basement. Talk about opening up brand new worlds of mystery and adventure...

2) A book I've read more than once:

I've got a library of close to 3000 books, and I'll reread just about anything that strikes my fancy. Sometimes, I'll be trying to remember a particular passage, pull down the book, and end up rereading it.
I read Frank Herbert's 'Dune' at least once a year. Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' every few years, and I'm constantly working my way back & forth through my shelf of every one of Louis L'Amour's westerns.

3) A book I'd take to a desert island:

The Boy Scout Manual. It's an pretty good survival guide, and the sections you don't need for reference make good firestarting material when you run out of coconut hulls. You can use the section warning boys about not jerking off for buttwipe.

D'ya ever think about that phrase "desert island"? Anyone ever see one? Most times, when someone says "desert island" you picture a tropical island surrounded by blue water, a bunch of coconut palms, maybe a craggy mountain or two. Some parrots making that "OOO OOO OOO AAAH AAAH AAAH!" sound in the background... You never see "desert island" referring to a land mass rising out of the water, with a broad plain of sand, some dunes & cacti, maybe a camel or two. Maybe they mean DESERTED island...

4) A book that made me laugh:

Just about anything by PJ O'Rourke. Dave Barry's too goofy, George Carlin's too bitter, and Scott Adams is too depressing. O'Rourke can be laugh-out-loud funny, and still make his point.

I'm quite fond of Joan Hess's Arly Hanks mysteries. Her descriptions of small Southern town hijinks are usually good for a giggle.

5) A book that made me cry:

The World Book encyclopedia, the "S" volume. Dropped it on my toe when I was a wee pup. Hurt like hell. OK, in all honesty, I don't think a book's ever made me cry. I've gotten cold chills, I've gotten so mad I've thrown books down, and every so often I'll read something that hits me so hard I have to set the book down in order to walk away and gather my thoughts. I've gotten sniffly in movies, but not from books.

6) A book I wish had been written:

A sequel to Louis L'Amour's 'The Walking Drum'.
An effective diet book that doesn't include any variation on "eat less" and "exercise more".
A self-help book that'll teach me to quit obsessing over past failures, eff-ups and fruitless endeavours.

7) A book that should never have been written:

Let's assume we're practicing prior restraint, and not censorship of an existing work. I don't approve of censorship, so I'm gonna approach this from a different angle. In other words, which books would the world be better off without...

'Das Kapital', 'Mein Kampf', 'Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion', The Koran, 'Quotations from Chairman Mao TseTung' (aka Little Red Book), 'The Communist Manifesto', 'Silas Marner'... the list just goes on and on.

8) A book I'm currently reading:

'Smoker' by Greg Rucka. Kind of like that Big Tobacco courtroom movie that Russell Crowe did, only this time Big Tobacco uses assassins instead of lawyers to take care of witnesses.

9) A book I'm planning to read:

All future works by Bernard Cornwell, Wilbur Smith, Randy Wayne White, John Ringo, Joan Hess, Lindsay Davis, James Burke, John Scalzi, David Weber, Dewey Lambdin, Alexander Pope, and a few dozen others.

10) Five people I'll send these questions on to (also known as who can I burden with one more thing to do today):

I'll pass. Instead, I'll explain my obscure subheading.

I'm in my local branch of the public library in the mid-eighties. I was probably a junior or senior in high school, doing research on a term paper. See, kiddies, back in the day, we didn't have that Interweb for lookin' up facts. We had to know how to drive a card catalog, use the interlibrary loan system, and know what a Guide to Published Works was.

I'm sitting at one of the study carrels, when I'm distracted by a mild ruckus. You wouldn't think you'd get a mild ruckus in a library, but they happen more often than you think. I look up to see a rather rotund woman applying a plus-sized palm to three kids simultaneously. She's got two of them by the wrist with her other hand, and a third is smooshed up against the checkout counter by a hefty thigh.

While she's flailing away, she's also separating out the books her kids have selected, putting some in one stack, and dumping the others on a library cart. I marvel for a while at her multitasking ability, and, always looking for an excuse to delay studying, watch the mild ruckus.

The kids kept trying to add more books to the checkout pile. Any selection not meeting editorial standards got tossed out, with a backhand across the butt for luck.

'Your Wiggly Friends, The Snakes'. Into the checkout pile.

'Charlotte's Web'. Rejected. Kid whines. SMACK!!!

'Your Toothy Friends, The Sharks'. Into the checkout pile.

'Little House On The Prairie'. Rejected. Kid whines. SMACK!!!

'The Lorax'. Rejected. Kid whines. SMACK!!!

'U.S. Presidents'. Into the checkout pile.

'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry'. Rejected. Kid whines. SMACK!!!

I began to see a pattern forming. All the books she's keeping are nonfiction, either nature-related, or those abysmal history books we suffered through as kids. All the fiction was getting tossed.

I'm wondering about the mom's choice of what goes and what stays, and she suddenly made her point abundantly clear, in a booming voice.

"I done tole y'all enuff! Doan be readin' dat fiction! Thass all LIES!!"

I'm literally dumbstruck by the woman's interpretation. My brain is struggling to process this flawed logic statement. I mean, what she said is technically correct, I suppose, but *completely* misses the point of why fiction exists.

She continues to lecture her brood, but I'm fixated on that one phrase she said. Can't stop thinking about it. In some ways, I've never quite recovered from it. It was one of the earliest examples in my life of encountering people that do not, can not, and will not ever see and experience the world as I do. Also, there's some pretty effin' ignunt people out there.

Now, I've written quite enough. I'm off to read a pack o' lies. I think I'll take in some of Mr. Shakespeare's prevarications. 'Twelfth Night' seems apropos this evening.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Never Forget...

...And Never Forgive...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Lame-Ass Weekend Post

Certified Free Of Quality And Effort!

You Are Rowlf the Dog

Mellow and serious, you enjoy time alone cultivating your talents.
You're a cool dog, and you always present a relaxed vibe.
A talented pianist, you can play almost anything - especially songs by Beethoven.
"My bark is worse than my bite, and my piano playing beats 'em both."
'Why are you going to hell?' at

You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.
However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.
You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.
You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Ballad Of The Zombie Spider

With Apologies To Robert W. Service

The Ballad Of The Zombie Spider
by El Capitan of Baboon Pirates

In waning days of summer's term
Did Arachne construct her snare;
She pulled the hawsers taught and firm
And strung the spreaders middling fair;
To gather vermin night and day
She'd have no time for sport nor play.

The garden seemed a model site
For catching moths and 'hoppers green;
'Twas owned by Eric, Straight and White
Whose five-day beard could not be seen;
A deep thinker whilst sipping scotch
with the sunset he loved to watch.

An afternoon in August heat
The Wife and Eric played a game;
Tennis balls flew both fast and neat
'Til one foul ball went off the frame;
It landed near the 'nanner tree
Eric scrambled for a look-see.

Eric crouched and saw the spider
Munching a bug sans fork or knife;
The man just could not abide her
And swore he'd quickly end her life;
She'd made him look to his own end
A crease 'pon his soul to ne'er mend.

Donning his gloves of thick cowhide
Eric approached the silken shroud;
To show squashed spider to his bride
Would make Eric almighty proud;
His Mighty Clap, both strong and crude
Was watched by Mama Spider's brood.

The spider babies, thousands strong
Were horrified and quite unwell;
The roaring of their vengeance song
'Twas heard in depths of Zombie Hell;
Bringing forth putrid Zombie King
Whose own death chant began to sing.

Waving his decomposing hand
The tiny spiders all fell dead;
A poultice made of monkey gland
Applied by claw to every head;
And with the noxious cantrip spoke
Four thousand undead spiders woke.

From nook and crack, 'neath turning leaf
Lurk Zombie Spiders by the score;
They creep as would a bitter thief
Chasing Eric forevermore;
With patience borne through time and tide
For Eric sleeps with mouth held wide.

For morals seek out a pastor
A Deity or trusted kin;
Train for running ever faster
Should mother spiders you do in;
Learn from Eric, his vexing flaw
He's ne'er able to kill them all!

(It goes without saying that you fortunate folks attending the Southeast Writer's Conference AKA the Yellin' in Helen this weekend have my enthusiastic permission to regale Eric with this little ditty...)

Ignunt Employees of The Man, Part 382

Gadzooks, These People Are Truly Magnificent Swine

Let me present a scenario...

Let's say that you've got a really really rich uncle, who happens to be named Sam. Uncle Sam wants to give you a wad of cash. I'm not talking about some piddly-ass stash of cash, either. I'm talking extensive mounds of greenbacks. Enough money that you could rake it into a huge pile and use it to burn a wet elephant.

In order to get this money, all you need to do is write a report within 60 days of Uncle Sam's notice of cash infusion. It's not a hard report, either. Mostly, it's just a scribbled suck-up to the professionally panty-wadded, assuring them that you'll be nice and play fair and not be a dick.
Doing the report takes a bit of time, since you have to round up all The Man's Nazgül, and get them to sign off on it. So, better plan on 30 days minimum to get the report done.

Again, if you do the report within 60 days, you get the cheese, and all of The Man's hungry mice get to have a nibble from Uncle Sam's largesse. If you fail in this task, The Man will boot you in the nutsack, then turn you over to the Nazgül for extended torture via public excoriation.


I better get a fistful of that cash, that's all I'm sayin'.

I might be busy the next few days.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It Had To Be Said

Just One Snark, And I'm Done...

OK, by now the entire world has marveled at the (alleged) offspring of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, named Suri.

If not, here they are in their glory:

My first reaction was one of restrained horror. "A female Damien, for certain!" C'mon, did no one out there see The Omen? Almost a dead ringer.

My second thought was, they had to be using The Commodore's frozen sperm and a turkey baster for the impregnation.

My final thought? That sure looks like a toupee on that little girl. It's too thick and dark to be a WASPScientologist baby's hair.

In fact, you might even say it's a Suri with the fringe on top...

Carnival Of Recipes #107

More Foodie Goodness

The End of Summer Carnival Of Recipes has been posted at Trinity Prep School.

Go have a taste!

Pass The Eye Bleach, Please!!

How To Make El Capitan Shriek, Vomit & Pass Out In One Post

This post from Cowboy Blob is quite possible the most horrifying thing I've seen in my entire life.

I'm gonna have nightmares for years about that, I'm tellin' ya!

Get small children, and arachnophobic cardiac patients outta the room before you click the link.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Getting Older Sucks: Volume 118

Dealing With Proboscis Pubes Just Makes My Freakin' Day

OK, the grey hairs in the beard, I can deal. The one or two in the head (where I have any hair left...), I can deal.

I'm PO'ed beyond belief, though, that nose hair can go grey. I'm washing up in the bathroom, when I look up in the mirror and see a thin white booger starin' at me out one nostril. Can't have that saying hello to the world, so some exploratory probing was in order.

No booger. Just a white hair. OK, a quick pluck...

OUCH!!! Nothing hurts quite like yanking nose hairs. It gives you that tear-inducing flinchy pain that's almost as bad as stubbing your pinkie toe.

Of course, it eludes the first pluck. And the 2nd. And the third. Eventually, I've got a bald nostril to match my head, and still, one goddamed white hair hanging down until I finally corner the bastard.

I really need to get one of those nostril trimmers...

Never Start A Fight You Can't Win

Didja Know That In Your Entire Life You're Never More Than 8 Feet Away From A Spider?

Eric, just inject a moth with scotch and toss it in the web! The spider will enjoy it, and you won't piss off the 4000 of her offspring that are watching you right now!

Hat tip to Bou, who gave me the idea!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Busy Holiday Weekend

Well, Busy In The Figurative Sense, Anyway.

I managed to blog a bit in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday, but that's about all I did. Most of Saturday was spent horizontal, with occasional trips to the can and to the kitchen. Perfect start to a three day weekend, as far as I'm concerned.

I get too little sleep during the week, due to early starts and late bedtimes, so Saturday is my catchup day. My hibernation in front of a 74 degree A/C vent and an oscillating fan was spoiled a bit by the rattle & hum of the lawn care service, but that's a small price to pay (that, and a $40 check) for not having to get up and do it yourself. I don't think I've got another bill I so cheerfully pay.

Sunday was spent con mi familia, with my sister and BIL coming into town for an all-too brief visit. Sis still has friends scattered all over Houston, so we get whatever time is left over between her social calls.

Got to see my favorite little man for a while. He's growing like a weed.

I wish I could say today was spent doing cookouts in the park, or trips to the beach. Alas, I spent it driving around Houston doing actual Labor, since I'm behind schedule at work. I needed to go put some Mk.1 eyeballs on some trouble spots, since minions of The Man weren't giving me reliable info.

The best part of a Monday holiday is the short week that follows. I made the mistake of volunteering for project on Friday, which will gain me brownie points with the uber-boss, at the cost of even more lost sleep. Oh, well. That's what *next* Saturday's for...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Presidential Action Figures?

There's Only 113 Shopping Days Until Xmas!!

Target has a new product offering available only online... Just what you've always needed for your collection! It's Presidential Action Figures!!

These true-to-life representations of our presidents come complete with tailored suits, a biographical pamphlet, and best of all, they each have a voice chip allowing them to speak 25 different phrases!

They've got historical figures, like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and what the website lists as "Franklin Roosevelt". I'm thinking they mean Ben Franklin. Some idjit needs to get canned over that goof-up.

They've got modern presidents, like Reagan, JFK, Bush The Elder, Bush The Junior, and what is supposedly Dhimmi Carter. Bill Clinton is conspicuously absent. One assumes it's a liability issue, due to the hordes of brainwashed liberals who would likely stuff the Clinton doll up their tailpipes in a fit of idol-worship.

And then, there's this President...

I've got to have this one. With 25 phrases on the voice chip, it's an even bet that "I'm not a crook" got a spot. Even better would be some of the uncensored Oval Office tape excerpts. I wish I could go check it out at the store, but it's an online-only offering.

If I Wanted Drama, I'd Go To The Theater...

Well, We Certainly Didn't See THAT Coming...

To: Chris Muir, artist/writer - Day By Day webcomic.

Re: Sun. 9/3/06 Comic

Mr. Muir,

One hopes that the below panel (© 2006 C. Muir, yadda yadda, etc.) is referencing the welcome interruption of a car theft getaway in progress.

Otherwise, you're one cruel bastard. I'm just sayin', is all...

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Case For Space

Recycled Material For Your Reading Pleasure!

In honor of NASA's announcement that Lockheed Martin will be building the next Moon vehicle, I'm reposting my essay called "The Case For Space". It was originally written last summer as a guest post on my friend Andy's blog. Andy's a great guy, but is extremely liberal, so I took his invitation to guestblog as an opportunity to tweak the noses of the bleeding hearts that frequented his now-defunct blog.

If you read it before, it's been a year, so go get a fresh drink and read it again!

The Case For Space

Wednesday, July 13, 2005 was supposed to be the day we sent astronauts back into space aboard the shuttle after a 2 1/2 year delay following the Columbia disaster. A fuel tank sensor glitch will kick the launch back to Saturday at the earliest, and odds are that one or two other gremlins will be found, possibly pushing the launch back even further.

This is disappointing, but after watching two shuttles burn up with the entire crews lost, I'm not going to question NASA's caution. The 3rd times the charm, as they say, and one more shuttle mishap will pretty much nail the coffin shut on NASA's credibility, and kill the space program until private industry is in a position to take the ball and run with it.

Every time a delay comes up, however, is more time and opportunity for the doomsayers to get up on their soapbox and piss & moan about the colossal "waste" of taxpayer dollars on NASA's pie-in-the-sky programs. The detractors come in many different flavors, everything from the "The Apollo Moon Landing never happened" whackazoid crowd to the "This Money Could Be Better Spent On...." social justice whiners.

Is NASA wasteful? Yeah, more than likely. No governmental entity will ever be as cost-efficient as the private sector. The importance of what NASA is doing, however, is sufficiently significant that I'm willing to accept the bloated NASA bureacracy in order to keep taking these baby steps into space.

"Well, El Capitan, why's it more important to futz about up in space than to feed the poor?" you might ask.

OK, I'll tell you my opinion, and if you're a regular reader of Andy's who shares his general worldview, you probably ain't gonna like what you hear. In fact, you might even be offended. Well, that's a risk I'm willing to take! Here goes...

1) The Ends Justify The Means

In the case of NASA and our space exploration up to this point, the 'Means' is measured mostly in dollars (several billion of them), but also in human lives. While it is by no means inevitable that we'll expand humanity's base of operations from this one planet to colonies throughout the solar system and beyond, there's a very good chance that we will. We're going to lose more lives along the way in pursuit of that goal. Tens, dozens, hundreds, possibly thousands of lives are going to be lost in the effort over the next thousand years. That part IS inevitable. So, how can any reasonable person ever justify deliberately putting our explorers in harms way?

Because that's where trailblazers have to be. Progress is rarely made by those taking the safe, easy route. Think about the untold thousands of explorers, sailors, soldiers and settlers that perished in the opening up of the New World. What rational person could say that their sacrifice hasn't been repaid many times over? To paraphrase R.A. Heinlein, the birth of a new nation, like any birth, involves blood and pain. So it is with the birth of our outward expansion to the rest of the galaxy. There will be more fatalities, more accidents, more weeping families being handed folded flags. As we honor the fallen heroes of this nation's founding, so too will we eventually honor the ones who died to take humanity to the stars.

2) Scientific Advancement

The space program has produced an almost immeasurable increase in our advancement of technology. I'm not referring to Tang or freeze dried ice cream or zero-G ballpoint pens. Instead I'm thinking in terms of the advances in electronics, miniaturization, composite materials,and the hundreds of small innocuous improvements in technology that make it possible for you to be reading this in the comfort of your home on a computer that's easily affordable to anyone with a minimum-wage job.

The kind of rapid development the space program has fostered is really only possible in a capitalistic society, usually under threat of conflict. You always see great leaps forward when you really need to whoop up on the other guy. Once the techno-genie is out of its military-issue bottle, though, the sky's the limit, no pun intended! Anyone with intelligence, a vision of the future and some investment capital can do what they will with the know-how.

Case in point is Burt Rutan & Paul Allen, whose company Scaled Composites won the $10 million X Prize for having the first reusable suborbital spacecraft reach 100 km in altitude, then do it again inside a 2 week period. No government funding involved, and the long term benefits of their investment will be huge.

35 years from now, when you're paying $500 for a first class ticket on the 45 minute ballistic orbital flight from D/FW to Tokyo to see your grandkid graduate from Tokyo A&M (Gig 'em, Ninjas!) you won't mind so much the $55 per taxpayer annual price tag for all that NASA does.

3) Taking The Long View & Cheating Malthus

No doubt some of you raised an eyebrow in the above example where I mentioned the possibility of lives lost over the next thousand years. It's not too surprising if you have never thought that far ahead. Our current society rarely expects us to look past the next commercial break, much less to the year 3005.

Taking the long look ahead is absolutely necessary if you want to do more than just take life as it comes. You need to ask yourself, where do I want humanity to be in a thousand years? In 10,000 years? Does that sound presumptive to you? If it does, you need to shed that inferiority complex pretty damned quick. Those are going to be your ancestors reaping the outcomes of the decisions we make today. The pace of world events moves too quickly now to think about only ourselves and our kids. Like it or not, we have a responsibility to future generations.

So, what kind of life do you want your progeny to have? Are you interested in having your grandkids having the majority of their incomes sucked up by the government to give to poor people overseas because "it's just not faaaaiiiirrr...." that we have so much and they have so little? Well, keep voting liberal Democrat, and that's a likely outcome. In the name of 'doing what's fair', they'll have your grandkids living on a 1200 calorie a day diet and busting ass 7 days a week to keep the teeming world fed.

Personally, I'd rather have my grandkids working on an orbital farm, taking advantage of constant sunlight and harvested ice from comets or asteroids, growing virtually unlimited amounts of food and turning a healthy profit at the same time. I just don't see that happening unless there's a government in place that will reward those that lay out a substantial investment on a long-term project and not be in fear that their labors will be nationalized by politicians looking to win votes. Oh, don't get me wrong, conservatives can be scumbags, too. Hell, they don't even try to hide it behind a cloak of morality like the liberals. It's hard to argue, though, that the party of big business is going to be more helpful than the social justice crusaders in helping private enterprise go where it wants to go.

OK, here's where I'm going to seriously annoy some people. Buckle up...

Until such time as we can generate unlimited amounts of power, have nanobot factories create any item we desire out of stockpiles of raw materials, and have unlimited room for expansion, we are *ALWAYS* going to have poor people. Untold millions of 'em. It is inevitable. Sure, that bell curve of human prosperity may have its median shift back and forth, but there's always a bottom half.

Give a group of capitalist entrepreneurs 50 billion dollars, and odds are you'll wind up with several huge companies employing many thousands of people, and generating (over time) 200 billion dollars in tax revenues and profits, each one with the potential to spin off other successful ventures.

Give 50 billion dollars to millions of poor people, and you mostly end up with several thousand extremely wealthy corrupt officials, and several million additional poor people. Global populations are expanding at an unprecedented pace, thanks mostly to advances in food-producing techniques created by those Eeeeevil multinational conglomerations. Sooner or later, though, the Law of Diminishing Returns is going to catch up with us, and Malthus is going to raise his ugly head.

If we reach the point (through poor planning, natural progression, whatever) that food production no longer keeps pace with global population growth, you can count on several things happening.

First, your grandkids and great-grandkids will more than likely already be sacrificing whatever futures they might have had into the effort to keep the world fed. When those efforts fail to measure up, look for wars, purges, epidemics, and the general setback of progress for a good long while.

We've got a pretty good chance of outrunning Malthus in the long run, but only if we don't play the Social Justice game, and we don't keep all our eggs in one basket. To generate the unlimited amounts of power and the nanobot factories and have unlimited room for expansion, we've got to drag ourselves off of this rock and get out where things can get done. No, it's not particularly fair that Americans have reached their current level of prosperity while the 3rd world has languished in general poverty. OTOH, it would be criminally negligent for us to cease our efforts to advance our society in a fruitless effort to make everyone on the planet live in relative parity. No one has EVER been taxed into prosperity, and a world where everyone is forced to be equal means any blade of grass growing too fast is gonna get mowed down. That way lies stagnation and disaster.

If there's one thing we are good at as a democratic & capitalist society, aside from making piles of dollars, it's giving others a helping hand. When we've reached the technological level that we can have unlimited amounts of power, the nanobot factories and unlimited room for expansion, you better believe that we're not going to keep it for ourselves. We may have a drive to succeed, but we have a conscience as well.

The poor of the world may well have to wait a while longer before they get all they desire, but they'll get it a lot quicker if they start hauling on their own bootstraps instead of our coattails. Heading out into space offers humanity its greatest opportunity, but only if we have the desire and fortitude to achieve it.

For more info on taking the 'Long View', please visit these sites: (Down earlier today, 9/1/06, guess they lost a bet...)