Saturday, May 31, 2008

Poem from the front lines of war....

The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner
by Randall Jarrell

From my mother's sleep I fell into the State,
And I hunched in its belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth, loosed from the dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the nightmare fighters.
When I died they washed me out of the turret with a hose.

* This is a poem from WWII. Stark? Yes. But isn't all war? I wanted to post this up for Memorial Day, but I got sidetracked. Enjoy.

Friday, May 30, 2008


The water lilies are the Monet paintings everyone loves. I am drawn to the earlier works, but the lilies have their place. If Monet never painted the lilies, it would be like Led Zepplin never playing rock and roll or Johnny Unitas never playing football. It wouldn't be right. But the lilies always made me tense when I looked at them. And by looking at them, it gets weird cause I really like to look at shit. I carry a magnifying glass around. I dream of binoculars. Hell my daughter can already say binoculars. So I can claim to be an expert observer. It gets weird with paintings cause when I get in the presence of painting I want to see, I check it out from all angles. I get up close as possible, I stand back at 1,2,3,5,7,9,11 feet. Yea all primary numbers. It just brings something to the experience. Don't ever go to the Louver with me. Or the National Gallery of Art. Hell any art gallery. Anyway I digress, the whole point is the lilies collection always got me on edge and I could never figure out why until it struck me that they were painted while WWI marched past Monet's house. All that uncertainty, violence, fear, destruction, devastation was right there in Monet's backyard. And it comes through in the brush strokes, the colors he made during that time. Again another way WWI changed everything. So enjoy this classic painting, Water-lilies, from the year 1914.

Hurricane Season 2008

Great day in the morning my sparse but loyal fanbase! If you live in, on, or around the east coast, this Bud's for you. To our right we see the glory of the sunrise on the eastern seaboard. Pretty nice. Looks good, and nothing spectacular to really get into. Except that little patch of clouds below Cuba.
So I give you the pan o ram of the Atlantic water vapor and you see that spot is pretty dense. And round. Alright peeps have a good weekend. From a tropical storm stand point, the weekend will be TS free. I'm going fishing. Or at least practice flycasting in my front yard and try and catch the cat across the street. Its a lot funner than you think.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Mars scientists ponder polygon mystery.

I have not got into the Phoenix Mars Lander landing yet, but there sure in some interesting data coming in. Check this article out. Good pic.
Mars scientists ponder polygon mystery - space - 27 May 2008 - New Scientist Space

The youngest supernova found.

Phat! and its in our Milky Way. This supernova is only 130 or 140 years old. Killa.

Impressionism Artist of the Week - Claude Monet

I can not remember if I put this up before. This is the impressionism painting that kicked the whole she-bang off. When this showed up in '72 in Paris, some people lost their freakin minds over this painting. And not in a good way. Here is a sample of the critique,
Impression — I was certain of it. I was just telling myself that, since I was impressed, there had to be some impression in it … and what freedom, what ease of workmanship! Wallpaper in its embryonic state is more finished than that seascape.
Nce huh? What a difference a hundred years makes.

Anyway before I knew I was an impressionist junkie, I was drawn to this painting. I had no idea why. Then I found all those London paintings and found the whole series fab. Love it. Any just get up close and look at this baby. There is a lot going on in there.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A decade later...Phil Hartman.

Really has it been ten years? Its funny what hits you in life as a loss. I feel that about Phil Hartman's murder. Before it happened I didn't give Phil Hartman much thought. Kinda just appreciated the fact he was there. Dude was freakin great. I miss that voice. The Simpsons aint the same. I can't even watch the Clinton impression because I can't laugh at it. A while back, my wife and I were flipping channels and came across that Seinfeld episode where he calls Elaine in the middle of the night. I never got into NewsRadio, but I loved him when he was in CB4. Damn I miss this guy.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Summer / Spring Haiku

the day is long now
birds nurture their young to flight
thunder boomers roam

* Yes it is still spring, but since many think it is summer after Memorial Day, we have Summer / Spring Haiku.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Never forget those we lost, do something for those we still got. Seriously, do you think you can do what he is doing? Never forget those that serve.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day, Plus 1

August 1st, 1918

The morning of August 1st, 1918, the 27th Aero Squadron was assigned the duty of escorting 2 aerial recon planes. This was the 4th day of First Lt. Oliver T. Beauchamps service in the war. The events of that day are somewhat vague, but there is one fact that remains, it was one of the worst days for losses in The Great War.

The pilots gear up and take flight. They meet up after take off and head out to meet the two aerial recon planes. The squad is flying the same mission the 27th still has, air superiority. The recon planes were flying in a zig zag pattern across the front lines, snapping pictures of artillery and troop movements. After a few trips across the front, the squad is attacked by The Red Baron's Flying Circus. The Germans wax the Allies with a quickness. The fate of First Lt. Oliver T. Beauchamp is sealed. How he met his end has some debate, but it is known he did not live out the day. The first account (and probably the most accurate) is two German Fokkers jumped Beauchamp and shot him into the ground. He would have had one of three option there. I like to think the machine guns ended him quickly and he didn't suffer. The Spad he was probably flying at the time was made of little more than wood and cloth. The second account has him returning to base only to die from a crash landing. I have even read somewhere he crashed behind enemy lines and dies at the hands of the Germans. Who knows at this point. What we do know is enough. One of our best and brightest young men from Somerset county, MD went to war and he didn't come back.

I read the story of First Lt. Beauchamp and it reminds me of the word sacrifice. Hell his service is the definition of the word. Which brings me back to Memorial Day. I know many remember the names, but thats to individual for me. The families that lost those loved ones will keep the names. They need no help remembering the loss, they live with that everyday. Anyone who died for duty, honor, country is a hero. And thats what I like to think about on Memorial Day, the nameless hero, the unknown soldier, the pilot who saw three days at the front.

You are missed.

Memorial Day, Plus 2

The Pilot

What drives a man to take flight? Better yet what drives a man to take flight with the intention to kill and the notion of being killed? The way I think about it, water and air are as hostile to man as the enemy. I guess thats what sets people apart. I need my feet on the ground, but thats just me. The combat pilot has a special place in the annals of our nations history. During our darkest hour, it was a pilot with nads of steel that pulled a nation up off it knees and got it in the fight. People need something to believe in and pilots can give you a hero to believe in. Sure we love our generals, the commanders, or the occasional CMOH recipient, but its the pilots that become legends. Bastards. Its all about the aces, but if your a determined hard ass pilot, this country will love you too. As a country, we cherish our military. Its a source of pride, sense of identity, and for some a life style they can't live without. The pilots, especially the aces, are the cream of the crop.

Pilots of The Great War were remarkable. Air combat was something that was new to the military. There was not a lot of history to fall back on so the rules were made by trail and error. Sucks because on the field of battle, the margin of error usually costs you your life. If you gotta throw down, you want the tools to succeed. Think about that for a minute. A good example is imagine the surprise of the pilot who figured out the machines guns mounted on the front of his plane just blew his own propeller to hell. And if you got shot down in The Great War, you usually had one of three options: Jump and close your eyes so you don't know when you hit the ground, more than likely your wooden plane has burst into flames and you can burn all the way in with it, or you could pull out the pistol in the cockpit and blow your own brains out. Hard core. Harsh I know, but this is what these guys that flew in combat during WWI were living. Hey its wasn't all doom and gloom, they flew hard and they partied hard also. World War I pilots were the reason the stereotype of the whore loving, hard drinking, cocky ass pilot were made. Thats what endeared them to us. They way they lived. Don't think so? Alright then, how cheap would it feel if this guy's story as a World War One flying ace was never told?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memorial Day, plus 3

The Airplane
The airplane was just coming into its own in the year 1914. By 1918, the warplane would be born into the pages of history. At the start of The Great War, planes were little more than observation and recon tools. That worked great for what it was. The officers on the ground loved the intelligence they got from the flying eyes in the sky. With artillery tearing people apart and causing destruction of entire towns, ground commanders wanted to avoid that reign of terror. But from the jump, pilots were trying to figure out how to shoot down enemy blimps and planes. They would carry small arms with them and take pot shots with pistols. It was like the wild wild west but in the skies over Europe. Once the concept of the fighter interceptor came to be in the minds of all sides engaged in combat, air supremacy would be critical to all future ground battles for the next century.

By the time First Lt. Oliver T. Beauchamp made it to the front lines of The Great War, the airplane had evolved to the point of the Nieuport 17, the plane pictured here. Made of wood and canvas, its a far cry from the F-22's of today. Air combat was in its infancy and the fighter pilot was about to become the newest hero for public consumption. What drove these brave men to the skies? I guess they all had their own ambitions or motivations. There was a chivalry attached to air combat, a sense of knighthood. It was like pistols at 40 paces. That gentlemanly conduct in combat feeling. Then again some of these kids may have been nothing more that wild cowboys looking for barnstorming excitement and this was the best fix out there. Fly by the seat of your pants, life and death type of stuff. The beginnings of the g junkie. Was this the kind of man Beauchamp was? I don't know. I have yet to talk to the family about Oliver, but it will come up one day and maybe I can back fill in this story with that. But from where he came from, I have to think his actions to become a combat pilot were along the lines of how many soldiers that signed up after 911 felt. They wanted to do something about it. And that immediate satisfaction can be had by signing up for the service.

By 1918, the airplane was in full blown combat duty. The Red Baron was on his way to 80 kills, air bombing had become rather popular, recon, pictures, interceptor duty, you name it, the airplane was helping with that mission or was the only tool to carry our that mission. The pilot quickly became a player. He was a national hero, a lone warrior with a sense of honor, something to hold up to the public as a bright spot in an otherwise horrid war of which the likes none had seen before. It was important for a country to have its aces. Moral depended on it. Even today the names from wars past you remember are Yeager, Rickenbacker, and Duke. Or the daddy of them all, The Red Baron. So to all those pilots, you will have a special toast this coming Memorial Day.

Memorial Day, plus 4

The Great War

The Great War changed everything we know as a culture, a race, as humans. The amount of death from the ferocity of weaponry was something people were not prepared to see. All the benefits and rewards of modern industry lent a hand to the deaths of millions upon millions of souls in the years from 1914 to 1918. The effect of The Great War is beyond profound. One of the examples I like to use is this etching from Otto Dix. Dix fought for the Germans in The Great War. He didn't shy from the action. He was with an artillery unit and commanded a machine gun unit. He was wounded several times and came away from the army a pretty decorated soldier. What he did and saw got to him. He etched the "Stormtroopers Advancing Under Gas" in 1924. It doesn't look gory, but it sure as hell is creepy. See Dix changed after the war, in fact he became incredibly anti war. He saw himself as the enemy. Thats why he shows the Germans advancing here. Its a view from the enemies standpoint. Hey don't think this didn't mess with him. The Nazi's came after his ass cause he stuck to his guns on the anti war sentiment. Dix lived with a recurring nightmare that stuck me as odd also. He kept dreaming that he was crawling through the rubble of destroyed houses. He didn't get haunted from the killing, but the devastation around him. That was the impact of this war. The utter destruction of the landscape. Entire swaths of uninhabitable land, pounded into uselessness under the heel of modern artillery.

War is truly horrific. People argue all the time its necessary. I don't agree with that. If you feel war is the answer, sign your name on the dotted line, get your weapon and fall in lock step. There is nothing wrong with that. I joined the army the summer after high school. I was in basic training when we started the build up for the first gulf war. Life got very serious very fast. You never want to think you are near the end of your life at the age of 18, but that was on the brain. So I resigned to my fate. I figured if I was going out, I was going out with a fight. Consequently, I really got into basic training. It wasn't a far stretch from life in the Pocomoke Forest. A lot of camping, a lot of walking, a lot of shooting. All I wanted was some money to go to college and suddenly I was in the army and we were going to war. How life can change. Even with that fate hanging over us, we kept at it. We learned how to be the team. And when duty called we were ready to do what was asked. And when you get down to it, thats what we should remember on Memorial Day. The individual effort for the greater good. But lets get back to Oliver T Beauchamp and 1918.

The Great War should have been the war to end all wars, but it wasn't. It was actually the source of many a conflict after The Great War ended. The advances in modern industry and technology introduced some powerful weapons to the battlefield: the airplane, the tank, the machine gun, modern artillery, the automobile, the telephone. Its pretty incredible when you think about it. All that technology used to wipe millions from the earth. And we wonder about hope. But youth springs eternal and by the time 1918 rolled around, Oliver T. Beauchamp was 21 years of age. He was seeing the world with unlimited possibilities. Americans were feeling good about themselves and wanted to help it friends in Europe. No one wanted to feel the teeth of the trenches, modern technology made that tour of duty a virtual death sentence, but there were men that wanted to fight that fight. The comrades in arms. Strength in numbers. That didn't appeal to the soldier that wanted that one vs one combat. There was one piece of technology that drew that certain kind of soldier to this war. The airplane.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Memorial Day, plus 5

Memorial Day has become a bittersweet holiday for me. Before my service, I thought of Memorial Day as the start of summer or a reminder that school was winding down. It was the beginning of the lazy days. All that changed after enlisting in the army. You never really think about the sacrifice that ordinary people make under extraordinary circumstances until you realize you may be put in that position and asked to do the same for duty, honor, and country. Memorial Day. The past few years have been different because I have married and we have a young daughter. So there is more of an emphasis on the family for the first warm 3 day weekend of the summer season. But I always find the time to reflect on the many. This year I want to take just one of the many and tell his story to the people who read this pathetic diary of a common man. So I did some digging and I found that story in Somerset county Maryland in the name of First Lt. Oliver T. Beauchamp. Come back everyday until Memorial Day for this look at one of Somerset counties finest citizens.

November 1896

Oliver T. Beauchamp was born in the fall of 1896 and grew up in Somerset county, Maryland. In the early part of the twentieth century, life on the eastern shore of Maryland was a far cry from the docks in Baltimore or the politics of Washington, D.C. At that time, Somerset county was at the height of its growth. Of the lower 3 counties, in 1910 when young Oliver was 13, Somerset county had the largest population of the 3. Life was all about working the land. Much like Somerset county today, but with some notable differences when you look at the data. In 1910 there were 1986 farms in the county, in 2006 only 301. The farms were more numerous back then, but smaller in size. These smaller farms had very different crops than the Somerset county of today. Back in 1910, Somerset county claimed to be the strawberry capital of the world. The county produced some 2859 acres dedicated to growing those delicious berries, growing some 4.5 million quarts of strawberries. Now there are less than 10 acres with strawberry patches in the county. Oh how times have changed. This is one of those things that our great grandparents had that was better than what we got today. In 1910, no one had an idea that soybeans would be one of the biggest crops we grow. Why would they when they were growing some of the best sweet potatoes, figs, apples, and grains? But we aren't here to talk about the quality of food that our distant relatives enjoyed, are we?

Oliver T. Beauchamp would have seen things that would have excited him around this time. Somerset county was not the poorest country in Maryland back then. Some of these farmers had money. If they didn't, the people that packaged the food did. So things that were considered expensive and so freakin new they defied logic a few decades ago started showing up. A good example is the automobile. Somerset county at the time was mostly a horse town. The concept of a car to get into town was just that, a concept. The world was changing around Oliver and Somerset county. It was getting faster and didn't seem to be the big place it was made out to be. Seriously, you could get on a boat in 1910 and be in England in 3 days. THREE DAYS! Yes the world was and is getting smaller all the time.

The turn of the 20th century saw inventions being patented at an astonishing rate. Ideas that were science fiction just a few decades before 1910 were reality: the airplane, the automobile, electric light, and the telephone. Things that we take for granted today were the cutting edge back then. These inventions made us adventurers and more efficient killers on the battle field. They helped transfer information faster. This in turn kept us in tune with news from around the world. We knew about wars in other lands. We knew about the politics of Europe. For the first time, humans were in the know. And we liked it. It was exciting times indeed. Even for a farm boy from Somerset county Maryland.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hubble still gets the job done.

The Hubble is like the little telescope that could. It just keeps on giving. Check out this shot of Saturn's auroras as seen through the ultraviolet spectrum of light. Pretty. Click on the image for a close up.

Did you know the only thing constant through out the solar system is weather? I find that ironic cause weather is unpredictable and unstable, but its a constant on all the planets. That has nothing to do with this but I like to throw that out there when I talk space smack.

Spring Haiku

hear the rain again
a high tide crests the river
the day sleeps us by

Monday, May 19, 2008

GO Penguins!!!!!

Yes the Penguins are in the Stanly Cup finals. Yes my head hurts a lot. Yes this will be the only post I make today.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Super awesome picture of the day.

Chile’s long dormant Chaitén volcano is now erupting. Check out this lighting storm that is created in the clouds. Just awesome.

Photo: Carlos Gutierrez/UPI/Landov

2008 Atlantic Storm Names

I am loving this future post feature in blogger now!

Here they are, the 08 line up! Who gets to be famous or should that be infamous? time will tell.


I like Gustav. Just sounds strong. Any takers on the strongest storm?


presidents speak words
the world will analyze much
respect can't be bought

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Strata Luxury Tower in Dubai.

I used to think that I was going to be saving all my duckies to take my wife and daughter to Europe in like 10 years, it might be Dubai. I got a kink for architecture and some of the most exciting things going on with buildings in in Dubai. So far Dubai has made the Palm Islands, the Burj Al Arab hotel which kicked off all this architecture adventurism, know what instead of making all of the html tags, just carry you ass over to this aol webpage and check out the photo gallery. It will amaze you at all the stuff they got going on in Dubai. It will be the place to vacation.

Time lapse street art. Freakin awesome.

Israel turns 60.

Thats your bit of history today. If you don't know anything about the brief history of Israel, well you aint gonna get it here today. If you want to know, start at Wikipedia for the vanilla version. I don't see the whole Israeli occupied territory and countless wars and incursion they have fought over the last 60 years anymore important than any other violent acts committed by any other sovereign state against another sovereign state. Who ever the Israelis fight its over the same shit everyone is fighting for: land or resources. You think that Israel cares about taking over all of Lebanon? Hell no, they just want enough of Lebanon to get access to more resources, you know farm land and rivers. If you don't think we will all be killing people over bottled water in the near future, you're in denial. Anyway happy birthday Israel. Try not to get trigger happy today.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

What up Germany!

I notice I get a lot of German traffic on my website. Well not a lot, but enough to be 20% or so of my total. Holla all my German friends!

Post Impressionism Art

Check out this from Mr. Vincent Van Gogh. Its not what you think of when you think VVG. You get me? I like the color, mostly cause I am a sucker for yellows. Those calming soothing yellows and when you start mixing with the black I get Steelers and Penguins flash backs. That in turn gets me all fired up and then my coworkers get all worried. But I digress, this painting makes me think about Hemingway stories. It just looks like something from the African plains. Anyway have a good look.

Hurricane Season 2008

Alright, I know that the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season doesn't kick off until June 1st, but the eastern pacific starts on may 15th, so lets get it on. It was this late Nor'easter that got me thinkin about the upcoming tropical storm season and how I should be getting my supplies in order. Update, rotate, and inventory. So if you don't have a list, this is from the NHC website. It is a good start. Don't forget batteries. But if you want to get all hardcore on me and got with the crack radio/weather band, I got no problems with that. And all my amigos that relocated to the Carolinas, they don't call your hockey team the Hurricanes for nothin.

Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days

Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils

Blankets / Pillows, etc.

Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes

First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs

Special Items - for babies and the elderly

Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes

Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio

Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set

Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods


Toys, Books and Games

Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

Tools - keep a set with you during the storm

Vehicle fuel tanks filled

Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash

And here is your sunrise on the eastern seaboard and all points south. Good cloud spread out there. I ain't gonna lie to you, I am eagerly anticipating this season. I think its gonna be active. Look at the plethora of natural disasters going on right now. Earthquakes in China, cyclones in Burma, the Tampa Bay Rays in first place, tornadoes in Virginia, all over the world we are seeing what humans have witnessed through out time- a violent planet. And we are just along for the ride. So you better get ready, cause thats all you can really do at this point. Peace out, enjoy this fabulous sunny 77 degree day on Delmarva peeps.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


I work with some characters. They all have ummmm unique qualities. I don't get it sometimes. Like advice. Why ask for it if you don't use it? What is the point of counsel if you don't take what they say into consideration? So when you ask me something and I tell you what you didn't want to hear, don't get mad. Especially if you are the one in the wrong.

Spring Haiku

cold spring rain soaks bone
rising tides encroach on the land
Nor'easter strikes back

Monday, May 12, 2008

Monday Haiku

coffee is to cold
gassed from weekend adventure
work is such a drag

Look at the sky.

Check it out. A nice threesome in the sky. Enjoy.

Hydro everything.

This is pretty damn cool. I would totally work out on the old treaddy if this were my tread mill. I mean my crap is okay, but it still pounds you to death. This would have me projecting back to the days of fighting the waves and currents trying to survive another summer at the beach. Ahh the days of being drug by the rip current along the bottom. The joys of scraping your face across the broken seashells and coarse sand. The thumping of another wave pounding you back into the surf. I miss childhood. And I think if this were available to me in my childhood, I would have fought better against the waves Howard, but they just seemed to fade away and come back...

Friday, May 9, 2008

Spring Haiku

scattered showers blow
the first warm rain of the year
seagulls squawk over food

Thursday, May 8, 2008

History tid bit.

1879 - George Selden applied for the first automobile patent.


1847 - The rubber tire was patented by Robert W. Thompson.

I wish it were that simple these days. You can't invent something like the rubber tire anymore. Something that simple yet needed everywhere. Something that wears our, can be punctured, need repair, have an entire industry dependent on you like the auto industry. Sure it was the 1800's, but think of how complicated an invention has to be today. Even simple ideas like the cheap ass folding metal chairs are more complicated than the rubber tire. Man I yearn for the days of yesteryear.

Bad ass mini car design.

Man this thing reminds me of those odyssey atv things from the 80's. Do you remember them jitneys? And how is it jitney gets by spell check?
I would totally use one of these. On the beach, around town, off road, whatever. But the whole thing about these minis (called the Vortex mini car) is
they are safety and crash effective so to speak. Those forms that surround the car absorb most of the impact and spread the shock around the outside of the car. Pretty cool.

You do have some time to think about options tho- these will not hit the public market until 2045. THAT sucks.

Spring Haiku

wild onions drift
with the blades of cut grasses
a bird flying past

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Impressionism Artist of the Week - Chafik Charobim

So I was kickin it on the web on night and find the works of the artist Chafik Charobim. Great website operated by family members here. Mr. C was an Egyptian impressionist. And his work pops. I am totally sucked in by his use of blue. Nile life has always been one of my favorite areas of study and he captures it brilliantly. Go check out the gallery on the website. They have a great many of his works there. You will see more of Mr. C's works here in the future.

The Police Announce Their Final Show

All good things come to an end. If you missed it, you may never see it again.
The Police Announce Their Final Show.

Spring Haiku

rosemary and mint
plays in the warm sun, the wind
still holds a cold hand

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

This is a giant fresh water Stingray. And by giant I mean freakin big.

Dude if I caught this in my canoe, I would cut the line and let her go. That would scare the shit out of me mate. I will stick to flyfishing for bass. This big girl was caught in a river in Thailand. How do they know it was a girl? The ray gave birth about an hour after it was caught. Probably the first time thats happened.

Yankees-Red Sox argument ends in murder - Yahoo! News

Dude I aint a fan of either team since I pull for the O's, but this is outta hand. Running mofos down cause they were telling you the truth? Whats wrong shorty? The truth hurt? The Yankees do suck.
Yankees-Red Sox argument ends in murder - Yahoo! News

Helicopter Jet Pack? Sign me up.

Huh? Huh? How can you not fall in love with this? I have a short commute and I would totally use this to get to work. How cool would that be to land at work, fly home for lunch, or fly over to the bank. And the danger aspect has gotten me all a flitter. Cause having a high speed rotating blade inches from my head does tend to get my attention.
But I admit it would be fun. Ever since I saw James Bond fly around in Thunderball, I was waiting for the day when I could pick up my jet pack from Sears.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Eight Belles' trainer defends jockey | | The Daily Times

Eight Belles' trainer defends jockey | | The Daily Times

I miss her too Mr. Jones.

10 Pictures of Hiroshima you never seen before.

Not for the faint of heart. Pretty damn graphic. And the site is slow, just so you know. But its worth it if your into that sort of thing.
Atomic Tragedy -- Photos

I wept for Eight Belles.

Oh how fast the emotions can turn on you. One second your watching a great finish, the next your crying for a horse that gave us the race of her life. Yeah yeah, Big Brown lived up to the hype. He has that kick. All that. But that will never be the story of the 134th Kentucky Derby. It was Eight Belles. No one gave this filly a chance. Most people said she wouldn't even board. I heard most people write her off saying she never ran with the boys. I guess they thought she would be scared or couldn't hang. But once the gates opened and they hit the 1/2 mile, she was right there with the speed guys trying to push the edge. And as they came around the final turn, Eight Belles hit it. She pushed herself hard than her body would allow. As Big Brown kicked in his gear and hauled ass, Eight Belles was right there. And she beat, out classed, and flat out out ran the other 18 horses that couldn't handle her speed. Little did we know she was pounding the bones in he legs past the breaking point. She ran the race of her life. She gave her life to run that race. It was heartbreaking to watch as she collapsed in the turn. You just knew something was wrong. And minutes later she was put down. Going out on the field of competition. She was a great filly and ran the greatest race I think I have ever seen from a horse. Nothing compares to that effort. She wanted to catch Big Brown so bad she pushed herself beyond her limits.

So where does that leave her? She ran the 5th best derby for a filly in all of the 134 years of it running, hell maybe 4th, depends on where that other #2 finished. Three fillies have won it, and one other filly finished second, Eight Belles being one of the seconds. I always have a soft spot for the phillies. So when runs the derby, I keep an eye on them. Damn she was a beautiful horse. Ran such a good race. She showed what the heart of a champ is.

Eight Belles, you will always be remembered.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Poems from the commons.

I have been writing poems on and off for over 15 years now. I have always like to write and once I got into the arts of efficiency, poems seemed a natural avenue to explore. So after years of scribbling words in notebooks, I have decided to go digital. I used to fancy the idea of publishing a book, but that just seems lame for some reason. Plus no one wants to publish that shit anyway. Trust me I know. After getting through university, I can handle the criticism, so let it flow. In truth, most of these are not polished works. They are first runs and unedited. So lets crank this party and get to it.

First up is Doodles. Enjoy.


Words on paper
so I see
writing to write
trying to be free.

Mind is open-
subject to talk.
argument seems the topic
so often discussed.

Prickly feelings all around,
sticky arguments simmering,
bubbling to the surface-
sad times for the clowns.

Boredom is eminent
all i can see
is cruel intent
on the horizon for me.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

The 134th Kentucky Derby.

Hey you can't be from the state of Maryland and not talk about horse racing. If you are from Maryland and can't talk track smack, you suck. Its part of your heritage you chode. I live in the backwoods of the state and I am 30 miles from the farm that War Admiral called home. Anyway I digress, as my girl Beckeye of The Pop Eye fame points out in the comments of my Ironman post, she has her money on Colonel John. For reasons other than horse lineage also. I like Pyro and my sleeper is Anak Nakal. I love a long shot. Anyway we are going to the track and throw down on this with some off track betting. My wife and I are suckers for the horses. Man Maryland needs to go all out on the betting. I don't care if this state allows slots. I want a full sports book betting at OTB establishments. I want to legitimately bet on all the sports I watch. But that is another post altogether. Below is what you need to know about the horses running in the derby. Hopefully this will allow you to drop knowledge and impress those chuggin beer around you.
1. Cool Coal Man (20-1) – Toss out his last, the Blue Grass, as it came over the synthetic surface at Keeneland. However even in his best efforts, winning the Fountain of Youth and the two Allowance races, it’s questionable whether he’s quick enough to capture the $1,240,000.

2. Tale of Ekati (15-1) – One of six horses with only two starts this year - Court Vision, Colonel John, Monba, Recapturetheglory and Big Brown are the others. Ekati’s Wood Memorial victory certainly gives him a shot although he received a perfect trip in that one. He flattened out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year finishing 13 lengths back of Pyro.

3. Anak Nakal (30-1) – This one’s effort in the Wood actually was better than his 5th place finish but his Louisiana Derby and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile races left much to be desired. Anak will need a reversal of form here and his 46 and change work last week was a step in the right direction.

4. Court Vision (20-1) – Closed well for 3rd in the Fountain of Youth and then again in the Wood so the added distance here can only help. That closing kick can’t be ignored and I would expect it’ll show up on the tote board. Can’t ignore.

5. Eight Belles (20-1) – The only filly in the race and she’s never run against the boys. Belles has won four straight and her grandpappy is Unbridled but I doubt that’s enough to hit the board.

6. Z Fortune (15-1) – Achieved a 102 Beyer in his last, 2nd behind Gayego in the Arkansas Derby, and split Pyro and Visionaire after taking the lead at the top of the stretch in the Risen Star at the Fairgrounds earlier in the year. Bears consideration.

7. Big Truck (50-1) – Another that didn’t take well to the synthetic surface at Keeneland but other than that Tampa Derby win, not much can be said about this one.

8. Visionaire (20-1) – Ran 3rd to Pyro and Z Fortune in his first attempt at a Stakes race (Grade 3. He then won the Gotham in the fog at New York before going 10 wide to close six lengths back in the Grade 1 Blue Grass. Watch the tote board on Visionaire. He’s a tough one to figure with works that have been rather uneventful.

9. Pyro (6-1) – The early favorite before that Blue Grass disaster, but again, another that couldn’t handle the synthetic surface. Couldn’t seem to get by War Pass last year but doesn’t have to worry about that one here. He certainly can’t be overlooked especially since he was clearly the best in his two wins this year; the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. Pyro is the top money earner in this race.

10. Colonel John (4-1) – Morning line 2nd choice with four wins and two seconds in his six lifetime races. The Colonels backers boast that he’s the best from the West after his Santa Anita Derby win and pointing out that Gayego won the Arkansas Derby after all his previous races were in the West on the synthetic surfaces. Others will say that he’s never been tested on the dirt (all six races on the West Coast version of the synthetic surface). Has served notice especially after that five furlong bullet drill Sunday (57&4).

11. Z Humor (30-1) – This “Z” finished 19-plus lengths back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and hasn’t been very impressive in his efforts this year. His 3rd in the Illinois Derby was his best. Would need to improve dramatically to capture a part.

12. Smooth Air (20-1) – Was no match for Big Brown finishing 2nd, five lengths back in the Florida Derby and only has two races over a mile in his seven starts. However, don’t think that the added distance here will be a major problem but may be asking much to top his last effort.

13. Bob Black Jack (20-1) – One more West Coast horse that hasn’t ventured a trip on the dirt but showed good in the Santa Anita Derby, 2nd by a half-length behind Colonel John. Another horse with only two races over a mile but handled those two well. Should be close up, if not on top, in the early going.

14. Monba (15-1) – Big effort in winning the Blue Grass after a disastrous last place finish in the Fountain of Youth. While Monba broke his maiden (plus Blue Grass win) at Keeneland and won an allowance contest at Churchill, still can’t forgive that 39-plus length loss at Gulfstream.

15. Adriano (30-1) - Hasn’t raced since his Grade 2 victory in the Lanes End on March 22. Plus in his only race on the dirt (two on synthetic and four on the turf) this one finished 9th, 17 lengths back in the Fountain of Youth. Good luck.

16. Denis of Cork (20-1) – Won his first three races but didn’t fire in the Illinois Derby after going off as the even money favorite. You might want to consider that he’s off the Grade 2 Southwest Stakes victory at Oaklawn but the step up to the Grade 2 Illinois Derby was a disappointment.

17. Cowboy Cal (20-1) – Consistent sort after 3 wins and 2 seconds following his first maiden effort (7th by 11 ¼) but those 5 consisted of 4 turf races and 1 synthetic surface race. Yes, that garbage maiden race was on the dirt.

18. Recapturetheglory (20-1) – Clearly the best in the Grade 2 Illinois Derby with a 102 Beyer and 100 speed rating in his initial Stakes race. Likes to run on or near the front but doesn’t really have that much speed. Still, he certainly prefers the dirt to either the turf or the synthetic stuff.

19. Gayego (15-1) – Proved that a horse can make the transition from the synthetic surface to the dirt with his Arkansas Derby victory after two wins and two 2nds on the synthetic out West. Owns a 102 Beyer at Santa Anita and a 103 Beyer on the dirt (Oaklawn). Must be respected.

20. Big Brown (3-1) – The morning line favorite even with only three lifetime races. Of course all three were monster efforts, won by 11-plus breaking his maiden then by 12-plus in his only Allowance try and finally by his five-length drawing away win in the Florida Derby. But are three lifetime races enough? Remember Curlin last year? A front runner from the 20 post? Still, the one to beat according to Churchill’s Battaglia.

Breakdown courtesy of

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spring Haiku

a warm morning breeze
a gaggle of gulls circle
a frost grip abates

IRONMAN - a preview of thoughts. With Update!!!

(Update: Check out the youtube clip. Breaks it down nicely.)

Yahoo Trailers here. Alright, Ironman was not one of my must reads back in the day. When I was kickin it with the Marvel universe, it was Excalibur, X-men, Todd Mc's Spidey, and I had a thirst to read anything that was a solo adventure by a character. You know like the Wolverine miniseries, or the Nightcrawler mini. I just couldn't get into Ironman. I dig the character because he is as complex as anyone ever written. He is to the Marvel world what Batman is to the DC world. Rich undercover superhero with no real power other than a sharp mind, deep pockets, and a great cast of toys. So it was inevitable that Ironman was coming to the big screen. Its really doable as far as movies go. Like Spiderman would have looked like crap if it was made in 1993. You know what I mean? So I admit, I want to see this, but will I go out to the theater to see it? Maybe. I admit I am still looking past this to the 22nd when Indy 4 arrives. And there is the Kentucky Derby this weekend. I think some OTB maybe in order.