Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Blogger Bash After-Action Report

Got back a while ago from the bloggers bash and have to say this one was tremendous fun. Again. There was the expected geek-talk about blogging software and tech, of course, but also a lot of talk about movies, fan-made video and film works, the future of entertainment, Scenestars, the murdered body found in Overton Park, Mayor Dr. Willie Baby-Daddy, family name derivations and family history, and babies. And a marathon political discussion at the end.

Garibaldi's was busy but not overwhelmingly so; the music was intermittent and the television's volume was off. Food was good and hot; service very top-notch. It had a nice family / Saturday night out vibe. Phil and his wife and baby girl had commandered some tables already when Mark and I got there. Their baby, Madeline, was a total cutie. You can see pics of all the attendees over at Abby's blog. Yay!

The total roll call was: me, Mark, Phil, Brock and Len, Abby and Aaron, EJ, Rachel, and Steve. Not bad, and certainly a group of folks to hang out with, but I was hoping for maybe double that turnout and am a bit disappointed. I'm open to ideas and constructive criticisms to get turnout up next time.

It was an enjoyable, relaxed evening. I got to chat with Rachel about Scenestars, Memphis music and radio, and other things. I haven't seen her in a while and she is still the Hottness of Memphis. Abby shared with us about the hullaballoo in Overton Park this week. Dead bodies, eek! Aaron wasn't as quiet this time as last; he seems a really nice guy. I didn't get to talk hardly at all with EJ and it was only when he was leaving that I learned who he was. Brock, Len, Mark and Phil all made for funny and entertaining evening companions. I was most happy to get to meet Steve of Left Wing Cracker. I have the feeling I may have monopolised his time and attention somewhat, but he proved to be a good guy, for a Dem. Time flew by; it really did.

The evening ended in a massive political discussion, naturally enough, with Phil, Len, Brock, Steve, Mark and myself. It was spirited, but entirely good-natured. We discussed Harold Ford, Jr.'s prospects, the coming Senate race, the future of the Democratic party and Howard Dean's rise, and who might be the Republican nominee for President in 2008. I sorta put Steve on the spot, sensing he's a political junkie like me, but he was friendly in the give-and-take. I was surprised he agrees with me that the Democratic Party will be in the woodshed for a few election cycles before it can rise again. He thinks Dean will help them regrow; I think it means further marginalisation. It was nice to be able to talk politics with knowledgeable folks; I really enjoyed myself.

As always, we agreed to do it again. Maybe in April? It can't be soon enough, that's for sure. My thanks to everyone who showed up. You made for a revitalising evening. Those of you who missed it: well, you're missing out. Great folks; friendly attitudes; smart and informed talk. You can't pass a more enjoyable evening.

Friday, February 04, 2005


The Major Matt Mason hostage photo (scroll down a bit) is still going strong. The Instalanche is over, but now a lot of smaller blogs have taken it up. Especially in the Hispanosphere, for some reason. My Spanish and Portugeuse is bad enough I can't really follow the discussions, but at least half-a-dozen Hispanic blogs are now linking and driving traffic.

The photo is also being passed around the military world too. I've had hits from several military and Iraqi War discussion threads, even some from!

It shows, as some have noted, that we've turned an important corner in the Second War in Iraq and against the terrorists. They are reduced to faking videos (shooting down planes; captured hostages). Zarqawi calls democracy "evil" just before the Iraqi elections and still 8 million turn out to vote, despite shootings and bombings. We -- the bloggers and the amateurs -- can spot the fakes faster and better than the MSM. We can crank out parodies at an insane rate. We enjoy creating these parodies. It's the American middle finger.

Hollywood can completely avoid the topic in movies and television, and the MSM can twist the news all they want, but the facts on the ground have supplanted them. The American people have outpaced them. There is no quamire; we're making solid forward progress. The situation is improving. We are winning.

Of course, all this downloading is running up the bandwidth over at, where the images are hosted. If you have a few spare dollars, please consider throwing them into the PayPal tipjar on the left. It only goes to pay for hosting and bandwidth.
Alternate Universe Air America?

(AP - Axis Press) The Nazi News Network today announced a new addition to its daily radio lineup, Luft Amerika, with the addition of Party-approved actress Janeane Garofalo. Her film credits include Ho Ho Hitler!, Der Luft Kapitan and the World of Today and My Big Fat Aryan Wedding.

[This is a parody of a real Garofalo appearance on MSNBC. I am so not kidding! You can read the story, with more links and the original screencap, here.]

Remember to link to this post, not the image. I am not paying your bandwidth.

Speaking of which, please help me pay these costs by hitting the PayPal tipjar up on the left. All money goes to pay for domain hosting and bandwidth.

WELCOME Tim Blair readers! Please take a moment to read the rest of the blog while you're here. Apartment fires, renegade reporters, Mayor and State Senator baby-daddies, Star Trek, blogger bashes, cat-blogging, the Volunteer Tailgate Party, you name it. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Bandwidth Thievery

Thanks to the success of the Major Matt Mason "hostage hoax photo" it has been spread far and wide. Unfortunately for me, it's finally spread far enough that 'tards are hotlinking directly to the image on their own blogs. Bad bloggers!

It's leaching a lot of bandwidth, so I finally had to do something I've been avoiding to this point: setting up an htaccess file. That should solve the big problem.

It also creates a new one. I've been hosting the Memphis Blogger button and letting anyone who wants to hotlink it. If you're one of those folks, just drop me an email or a comment and I'll add you to the htaccess file so it appears on your blog again. I'm sorry for the trouble, but blame the lazy, greedy and stupid of the Internet.
Bloggers Bash: Final Details

Alrighty, we got us a bloggers bash. Here are the final details:

Garibaldi's (near the U of M)
Saturday, February 5th (next Saturday)
7 PM (nighttime is the right time after all)

Thanks to Steve, here are directions: "The address is 3530 Walker. From Midtown, take Central or Poplar east to Highland; turn right, go past the first stoplight (Midland), go to the 2nd left (where Domino's Pizza is) and you will IMMEDIATELY see the sign for Garibaldi's. They are all the way back in the shopping center."

Please email all the bloggers you know to invite them. Let's really get the word out this time. If anyone goes by there this week, can you stop in and warn them to expect about a dozen folks that night? Hopefully we'll have more, but that's a good round number.

See y'all there.
The Volunteer Tailgate Party

Half-Bakered is a proud member of the Rocky Top Brigade (Motto: "RTB is TCB"), a collection of bloggers in, from and around Tennessee; bloggers who are ex-pat or wannabe Tennesseans, or who just love the Tennessee vibe. It's a motley crew covering the political spectrum, blogging from the deeply personal to the highly intellectual, talking about life where they are in varying degrees, deadly serious to blackly comic. Like the State we love, you can discover some of everything in the RTB.

Every so often, as a service to you the reader, we like to host a Whitman Quality Sampler of RTB writings, to tempt you into reading blogs you may not yet know that you'll love. In honor of a long-standing football tradition, we call it the Volunteer Tailgate Party. Like any good sampler, this edition will tempt you with tasty morsels of a delectable variety.

Thomas of the Newsrack Blog (Motto: "Fair and balanced news and opinion commentary by Thomas Nephew. Can you hear me now?") sends along two posts. The first is his list of blogs he's recently discovered. The second is his tale of attending the second Bush inaugural:
I saw that people were just walking by the lines I was in, and decided to try my luck wherever they were headed. That took me down to near 7th and C, where things got a little dicier. A group came marching down the street waving red and black flags, turned the corner, and were lost from my view -- if I'd had one, I had the hood on as they went by. I then made what was nearly a bad mistake and followed them -- in time to see several PVC pipes and assorted other sticks (used to hold banners) tossed high in the air and towards a line of police. I believe I said "Oh boy."
Oh my! You'll have to read the post to see what happened.

Real life friend Mark of The Conservative Zone (Motto: "Thoughts of a Conservative living with Mental Illness") sent along this post on understanding the liberal mind:
I have wanted to comment on Ward Churchill's essay/speech that has caused quite a controversy. He calls the 9/11 terrorists "Combat teams," and he calls the WTC the "Little Eichmanns." I haven't commented upon this because I wanted to see the original essay before commenting. Well, I found it here and I want you to read it. Nay, I command you to read it, because it is glaring in its inconsistencies and lack of congruency with the real world.
No punches pulled here.

Queen Medb (Motto: "thoughts, photos, miscellany") sends along a pair of photo links. My meager descriptions will have to suffice. The first is a gorgeous, meditative, sepia-toned photo of a graveside angel. The second thoughtfully contrasts early Spring and lingering Winter. Both are very nice.

Moving along, we come to Holding Down the Fort, by Nathan Fortner. He also has a photo post, with pics from his trip to the inaugural. Be sure to scroll down to the street-level view of a flag-draped Capitol. Sitrs my patriotism, it does. His essay post looks at post-Soviet Russia with some trepidation:
Many considered the fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of the Russian Republic to be a big step towards freedom in the old USSR. Are things really going that way though? Anyone keeping up with Russian politics will most likely give you a stout 'No'. During the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, corruption was, undoubtedly, rampant through the Russian government. However, with the election of Vladimir Putin, things reached a new level.
An old evil is rearing its ugly head.

Buddy Don, the Wandering Hillbilly, sent a stack of posts covering his views on the reform of Social Security! Buddy Don writes as he speaks:
thays been a slew of articulls lately on soshul securty. them thats been trine to dismantle it frum the day twuz started claim tiz in a crisis, that we gut to do sumthin now or face a day of reckonin.

when is that day? this feller name of edwin j feulner over at the heritage foundation claims tiz 2018. heres how he puts this dishonest claim:

The revered entitlement program seems fine, but it needs fixing. Starting in 2018, Social Security will start paying out more than it takes in through taxes.

tiz a common lie thats bein tole all over the place. fack is, soshul securty has dun been payin in add vants jes to cover this day, witch we started a'doon that back when president raygun n alan greenspan raised soshul securty taxes on us all back in 1983. that money wuz spozed to be locked away n makin a good rate of interst in a verr secure investment, u.s. gummint bonds.

now tiz gittin close to time to pay em back n folks lack dr feulner wonts us to thank they shouldnt have to pay us whut they owe. n no wunder: ifn thar a'gone make good on that debt, they wont be able to make them tax cuts on the rich a permanent thang. we dun spent all the money on tax cuts fer the rich n a unneeded war in iraq, a'wipin out the surplus without payin off no bills, n runnin up the highest deficit in our histry.
Much more here, here, here, here, here, and here. No blog slouch is our Buddy Don.

Stick your finger into the center of the box and you find our Fearless Leader, Mr. RTB himself, South Knox Bubba (Motto: "OK, then.") His contribution is this somewhat surprising admission:
I believe businesses should not be in the business of delivering health insurance. Not because it will save companies money (which is clearly why Bush and the GOP want to end it). But because it injects employers into their employees private lives in areas that are none of their business. It also makes it harder for an employee to change jobs if they or someone in their family has a preexisting condition.

It also leaves families without a source of health insurance when employees jobs are "downsized" or outsourced. It would be like if employers provided electricity as part of their compensation. Lose your job, they cut off your power, even if you have rainy day savings to get you by until you find another job. And COBRA doesn't help. Small business aren't required to offer it. Companies that do offer it make it so expensive that few can afford it.

But worst of all, it leaves the self-employed, underemployed, and unemployed without access to health insurance.
Ok, it's not such a surprise if you're a regular reader. Which you should be! Ok, then.

Janet's Dagley Dagley Daily (Motto: "Covering the world from the waterfront in Hoboken, New Jersey, USA") offers a triplet of goodies:
Here's my contribution, a series of photo animations of ice on the Hudson River here in the Hoboken, NJ outpost of the RTB.
See? I told you we were everywhere. Check 'em out here, here and here.

From Paisley Dreams, Libby tells us about a very special doll:
Anyway, I was terrified. I hadn't spent a lot of time playing with girls. What would she want to do? Play with dolls? I didn't have any dolls. So, I did what almost every little girl does at some point: I asked my parents for a Barbie. Well, my parents made a move that probably saved them billions of dollars over the next few years, and don't think I don't think they did this for that reason (I just haven't asked). What did they do?
What indeed. You'll have to read to learn the humorous -- and admirable -- answer.

WGBV (Motto: "You'll Always Find a Fifth") reminds us that "almost only counts in horseshoes and handgrenades" with a heartbreak photo.

Tiring from the many treats you've tasted? Let's stop at the Inn of the Last Home, then. Barry has a couple of things to share. First, there's music "Based on a Cro-Magnon skinning chant" that's unplayable! Look at the score excerpts only if you dare. He also share a vignette of life with his family:
BrainyBoy v8.9 has the flu. Or a reasonable facsmile thereof.

I don't think it's the real flu - we'll find out a diagnosis in a little while.

Wednesday morning he woke up...well, woke up yakking for want of a better term. I stayed with him until Laura relieved me at 2, then I came in to work. He had a fever approaching 103 the rest of that day, though his stomach had settled somewhat before I left.

He spent yesterday at his grandmother's, and - a treat for him - got to sleep on the couch last night. Fever this morning was in the low 100's, unmedicated, so there's hope for him yet.

As he was dozing last night, about 10pm, I was sitting in a chair nearby watching TV. He takes after me, as all good sons should, and was snoring softly. Abruptly I noticed movement and I noticed his hands were moving. He'd picked up part of the comforter I'd thrown over him, and was moving the little fringes around rapidly right in front of his face. I looked more closely, and he was really moving the fringe up and down.

I stood and walked over with trepidation. Looking up at me with an odd, goofy expressions, he smiled and said, "I'm making the little people move!".
Uh oh. How does it end? Read some more on his blog to meet Giggle Girl.

Allow me to inject a bit of personal opinion here. (Hey, it's my blog after all....) Say Uncle (Motto of the day: "An unapproved 2nd Amendment zone.") doesn't blog as much on his family life as he used to. I miss that. On the other hand, if we get posts like this -- a readerpoll on choosing between an AR or AK rifle, with a lively discussion thread -- and
This thread really reinforces this notion that gun owners are racists and homophobes. Note the references to being anti-gay is OK because gays are typically anti-gun. They imply the same thing regarding American Jews. Pretty abysmal stuff.

They don’t realize or don’t care that the number of gun owners in this country seems to decrease (though there was a post 9/11 spike in gun sales) and we are the minority. By a alienating any particular group, they do a disservice to gun rights. There are a few gay gun nuts who are better to have as allies than enemies.
You'll have to read the post to find out the thread and the links! It concludes with a pungent observation.

Smijer (Motto: "STOP TERROR STOP TORTURE STOP GONZALES") rebuts some other bloggers on the Gonzales nomination for Attorney General:
The Gonzales nomination is a chance for every Senator, every blogger, and every citizen to answer a call to conscience. We can oppose confirmation and show the world that we do not promote those who try to craft legal protection for torture and abuse, or we can do nothing and show the world that we truly believe ourselves to be above the law. Call your senator today, and encourage others to do so as well!
Some good point-by-point takedowns to think about, neat and efficient.

Hello! Putting this post together, I found a blog I should be reading: Bob Stepno's Other Journalism Weblog (Motto: " Explorations of personal and community journalism online..."). As he says:
I've been watching for Knoxville-area local non-blog RSS feeds... Bubba pointed to one on the same day that the News Sentinel had an article /about/ RSS, so the coincidence became an excuse to surf around and find a few more.
See what he found. If you are a blogger or a blog reader, RSS is important to be familiar with. This is a quick and informative read.

Alright, let's take a quick breather right about here. Leave some room for the treats to come.

Goobage! (Motto: "statisticulating with the best, fact-checking the rest") Don't you love the name? This blog is the caramel in our sampler. Rich and chewy. Auntie Goob's posts are always chock full o' facts for you to work over. Like this:
That bastion of socialist propaganda, the Tennessean, recently printed articles about evaluating schools using "value-added" scores. One article discusses the nation-wide adoption of the in-bred Tennessee system....

Over half a million annually may not seem like much, but how many half-millions does it take to get to real money? After all, this only amounts to ten cents per citizen. Of course, that's not the only goob foisted on the taxpayers. Who paid for developing the method?
What method? That would be telling....

Gunner over at No Quarters (Motto: "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."), links to R. Lee Wrights' post, "I am a criminal." It's a biting look at the omnipresence of law and regulation in our lives. Gunner adds:
In a sadistic act the government has started playing games with regulations on travel. You have to follow them, and yet they will not tell you what they are. Then there are the instant laws. Regulations handed down by government officers that have the full penalty of law behind them, yet were never voted on and passed. For every law I think there are probably two regulations. All that fine print in government offices that you have to follow, or else.
Gunny's been in the hospital lately, so send good thoughts and prayers his way.

Satire! Not a flavor for everyone, but a delight for some. At WhitesCreek Journal (Motto: "Thoughts to share from White's Creek gorge.") he lists his reasons why, if elected State Senator, he will not serve:
3. I don't believe that Jesus wants us to kill Iraqi women and children. See, I am not much of anything, much less, a Baptist. To be elected around here you have to go to a lot of churches and just sit there smiling while preachers say nasty things about the people sitting in other churches saying nasty things about people sitting in other churches. The last church I tried to attend had a good friend of mine as the preacher. He learned fairly quickly to not ask me what I thought about the sermon as we shook hands in the doorway out of there. "Don, that sermon made as much sense as anything else I've heard you say, " I came around to saying and my wife would look very relieved that I hadn't said, "Oh, Bullshit, Don."
Steve sent in this entry with the following comment: "How am I supposed to know what's good and what's not?" An interesting and honest admission. But I don't think he's got anything to worry about.

A quick disclaimer: Soulfish Stew (Motto: "Never Go Hungry Again.") and I are members of the Blogcritics, as well as the RTB, though he's active and I'm not at the moment. Search for his name there for more great posts like this one about his formative influences in his teenage years. In his second submission he writes:
The place was named Phranks N Steins. We were too young to ever attend the rock shows Rick Champion soon started featuring there. Heck, we didn’t even know where the place was. Somewhere out on West End? But the legend is that this event kick started a post 1978 Nashville rock and roll revolution. This is where this survey of Nashville’s rock and roll past begins.

Wally Bangs - I called up good friend and once local Middle Tennesse resident Dr. DD Blank and asked him to come up with a list of 20 great Nashville music artists of the last 27 years. I was to do the same. I would then combine the lists with commentary from both of us. That gave us way more than 20 on the list though it is far from including every great local rock and roll act from this time frame. Whether you’re from Nash Vegas or not let us know what you think we’ve missed. Enjoy.

Nashville20+ Part One of a four part series.
I can't wait for the rest of this. Though I'm not a Nashvillain, I did know two of the bands they discuss. And he namechecks The White Animals, who I saw many times in several cities back in the day. A wonderful trip into the regional musical past.

What Can Brown Do For You? (Motto: "John Brown's take on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.") Good question and he provides excellent answers! In his first post, we get more photos from the Bush inaugural. Then John turns his attention to the future, with his predictions for 2005:
The Bush Administration will push through Social Security reform including allowing investment in private accounts, despite some nay-saying Republicans. The AARP will fight this to the end, proving how much they care about young people. This will cause a new group, a version of the AARP for taxpayers under age 35, which will lobby for even more reforms, possibly even the total privatization of Social Security. Politicians, seeing a chance to gain voters for the next 50 or so years (as opposed to only the next few years, as is the case with seniors), will begin to pander to the youth with as much zeal as Ted Kennedy panders to grandma. Trent Lott will be interviewed on MTV. Bill Frist will be a guest voice on "South Park." Bill Clinton will appear on "Blind Date." Voters under 30 will respond with apathy.

Bush will also announce his plans to reform the tax system. Before seeing his plans, Democrats will denounce them as "tax cuts for the rich."

UT President John Peterson, by serving in his post for two years, will become UT's longest serving president in half a decade.
Ouch! And that's just the start.

Lastly, we have your humble host, Half-Bakered. No links needed, just scroll down. Catblogging, Memphis politics, the global baby bust, apartment fires, Strongbad email, it's all good. I hope you enjoy me as much as all the other blogs you've sampled so far.

But we have reached an end. That's it for our sampler. I hope it wasn't too long, too filling. Make with the link clicky-clicky, widen your interests, expand your tastes. Take a chance on some of the other links in the blogroll in the righthand column. It's a box full of goodness in the Rocky Top Brigade. Thanks for reading. Be good or be careful.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Let's Review

Back in 2001 an audit was being done on the Juvenile Court Clerk's office. The prosecutions that resulted from that audit are still in court today, and nowhere near trial.

In the course of that audit, irregularities in other parts of County government came to light. The County launched a private audit (not State or County) that turned up a lot of abuse of county credit cards. Several individuals were implicated, including then Mayor Jim Rout, but only Tom Jones, long time executive assistant to several mayors, was focused on.

I distinctly remember, but cannot find in the Commercial Appeal's archives, a story from 2002 that mentioned the results of an audit had been known around County Hall since at least April but didn't become public into late summer, election season. In fact, if memory serves, it didn't come to light until after the election. I don't remember any election discussion or debate on this. (If I'm wrong, please let me know. If you can find the story, drop a link in comments.)

Anyway, incoming Mayor AC Wharton, facing his first scandal, declined to reappoint Jones to his position. Jones was never fired, as many still believe. The results of the private audit were turned over to Federal authorities who eventually prosecuted the case (not the State or County). Jones was found guilty, sentenced to one year in jail and ordered to make restitution on $65,000.

While awaiting going to jail, Jones began to name names. Especially his former boss Jim Rout. He threatened to write a tell-all book. To me, this sounded like he was trying to force old "friends" to intervene for him and minimise his jail problems.

It didn't work. He went.

But before he went, he approached old colleagues County Bobby Lanier and Susan Adler Thorp about his pension. Seems that all that credit card unpleasantness had screwed up his retirement. By leaving his position when he did, he missed getting an upgrade to his retirement that nearly doubled his pension payments. Jones, who worked for the County for decades, didn't go to the Retirement Board -- as is standard procedure -- but privately approached Lanier and Thorp to intercede.

Jones was put back on the payroll on a Friday. He wasn't assigned a job and didn't report to County Hall. He was taken off on the following Monday, a County and Federal holiday. But by dint of this, he effectively "retired" on a date that made for a much more generous retirement for him.

The incident became public. Lanier and Thorp insisted that nothing was amiss in the way they handled the situation -- bypassing the Board and not informing Mayor Wharton -- but the smell of "old boys network" was all over it. Lanier and Thorp were pressured to resign; they were not fired, either.

A couple of months later, the Retirement Board met again and Jones' pension adjustment came up. By a unanimous vote, Jones' adjustment was allowed to stand. They ruled that since Jones hadn't done anything wrong, it was all on Lanier and Thorp, the action was justified.

So, where are they now?

Jones is out of jail after six months. He's in a halfway house here in Memphis, being helped to adjust to post-jail employment after incarceration. This for a man who has been working for more than three decades and never spent a day in jail otherwise.

Lanier, who wasn't honest enough to work for Wharton in government, is now Wharton's re-election campaign finance director.

Thorp is now a "consultant" for WMC Channel 5 news. She doesn't appear on air or give advice for broadcasts, but serves to "open doors" to people who might otherwise not be inclined to talk with reporters. A greaser, you might say.

Yeah, reviewing all this just inspires real confidence in local government, doesn't it?

Those of you who don't like cats just skip ahead to the next post.

So, the war for bed dominance seems to have been won by Bennie, my older cat. She's taken over the valley between my legs and it seems that Rocky (the new girl) has given up. Sometimes, Bennie will climb under the covers (after she wakes me up with gentle and insistent paws to the nose to open up the sheets) to lie down in the space between my left arm and my torso, when I'm on my back. If I roll onto my side, she'll adjust so that she's pressed up against my chest. It's so cute.

The downside is that Rocky doesn't always know that Bennie's under there. The other morning, she stepped on Bennie and started off a hissing, clawing fight inches from my face. Bad girls!

Bennie's still not happy with the new addition, though the attitude has calmed down a lot. She still likes to perch somewhere and glare at Rocky as she walks or lies around. It's kinda like when Snoopy does his vulture thing in Peanuts. Fights still happen, but there's less vehemence and more signs of play. I think.

Only problem now is that Rocky has no concept of "Don't sit on the keyboard." Bennie learned when she was a tiny kitten. Rocky is nearly a year old already and hasn't a clue. She leaps onto the desk for attention or companionship and I have to make sure I've saved whatever I'm doing. Teaching her just earns me a lot of meows and petulance. Sigh....
Rocket Blogging

There's been some talk in the big media about corporate blogs; that is, blogs written by company employees on the corporate website. Usually, they serve to give an insider view, to promote products, generate buzz, etc. It's a hard line to walk: blogging tends to be open and to demand access. Corporate culture demands control and to keep the curtains drawn.

So, I was a bit surprised to find that model rocket company Quest Aerospace now has a corporate blog. So far, it treads much closer to the "behind the scenes" model, and seems intent on serving as a forum to respond to consumer questions. It's really good right now: conversationally written, assumes the reader is informed, and willing to admit when the company says "no." I like it. (And they confirm that an 18mm D motor is coming. For rocketeeers, that's very cool. Small rockets = high flights.)

Also, they provide a link to Model Aerospace, an official seller of Quest kits, run by a member of an earlier Quest corporation -- and a name known well in rocket circles -- Dane Boles.

You are You adapt slowly, but many still rely on you.  You like to organize things.  You are very popular. You like to yodel.
Which Website Are You?
Yodel? No. Air guitar? Yes.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

New Hostage Photo Released

Following on from the hostage photo released Tuesday, another group has surfaced with their own photo, claiming to be holding American Air Force Major Matthew "Matt" Mason. No further details are available.

WARNING! Do not try to link directly to the image. Either host it on your own server or link to this blog post. Use the link at the end of this post. Bandwidth thievery is not tolerated. You are being lazy, stupid or greedy.

With apologies to the guys at Powerline.

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE Wow! I've been privileged to get a few Instalanches since starting this blog, but this one is the biggest yet. I guess when you tap into America's love of action figures, you've hit the gold vein.

Do you think any of these will make it onto the editorial pages of America's newspapers? Are you seeing them on cable or network news? Of course not. And that's too bad.

Welcome and thanks to: Instapundit, Sgt. Stryker, Dean Esmay, Templar Pundit, Joe's Dartblog, and HispaLibertas. Click the links, as there are a lot more of these parodies out there. If I've missed yours, put a link in comments.

A Small Victory traces the hoax-busting back to Fark.

And don't miss the harrowing tale of a hard luck company of men and their evil captors.

WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE I'm having my best traffic day ever. More than 10,000 hits and still going strong. Take a look at the Sitemeter link over in the right column. Thanks to everyone for visiting and linking.

Please take a look at the rest of the blog. Memphis politics is a circus these days: renegade reporters, polygamous senators, baby-daddy mayors. And don't forget to try some of those Rocky Top Brigade (Tennessee bloggers) and Axis of Weevil (Alabama bloggers) links while you're here.

Yet more terrorist cruelty. Children everywhere are crying.

AND THERE'S MORE! Blogdex has me listed at #14, as of 5:30PM CST. Blogdex! That was an eye-opener, no question.

I was wondering how long it would take to bring Team America into this and sure enough, there you go. Go read the "faux FOX" news story. And, in a mind-twisting media double backflip, see how EtherPundit manages to drag the "kidnapping the Secretary of Defense" plot from 24 into the action-figure photo hoax. I'm seriously impressed.

NOT OVER YET Half-Bakered is now a Jokester of Note over at MSNBC. Still surprised at how this bit of humor is spreading.

HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP! Sorry to geek out over a numbers thing, but Half-Bakered is now #12 on Blogdex. (As of 11:30PM CST) I know 99% of you don't care and it sounds unseemly to brag this way, but I'm just a li'l ol' Memphis blog, obscure at best by Internet standards, so it's just, uh... rewarding, I guess. Yay team! I'm number twelve! I'm number twelve!

HE'S DEAD, JIM As of 3AM Thursday morning, I've dropped to #42 on Blogdex. By lunchtime, I'm falling like a rock. Ah, the heady ride is over. I've also spotted people hotlinking to the image, not this post, and had to set up an htaccess file on my server. Shame on y'all. Still getting lots of hits from all over, but the big Instalanche is over. The hoax photos are spreading all over now.
Sinking Feeling

Oh dear. I was having problems with my connection, trying to send an email, so I saved the message as "send later." When I rebooted, logged on and re-opened Thunderbird, I hit the "Send unsent messages" button. Well, it sent off two messages.

For the life of me I can't remember what the other message was. Can't find anything to indicate what it might have been either. I do have the habit of writing angry emails, then deleting them. I do the same at websites: write an ill-advised comment, then not post it. I figure it's better to get it out, then disappear it. Therapeutic for me and not harmful to you.

Except maybe this time. Damn. Now I'll worry for a couple of days about who I've pissed off.

Unintentionally, that is.

Monday, January 31, 2005

The Herenton Recall

I spoke briefly with Thaddeus Matthews today about the Recall the Mayor petition drive. He said that he'd have something ready to go Wednesday. If I get the chance to speak with him further, I'll offer some webspace and bandwidth for hosting PDF copies of the petition signature list, even a webpage if needed.

He OK'd me giving out his cell number for those who'd like to speak wiht him directly: 949-3000.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Pixies, and Hot Bass-playing Rock Babes

I just happened to go past Austin City Limits as the program was starting and who was on? The Pixies! This was the recently reunited band and they were sounding awfully good. The set seemed to run chronologically, but was way too short. They played one of my favorites ("Monkey Gone to Heaven") but not the other ("I'm Tired").

It was an odd performance. Frank seemed to be in his own world, visibly disconnected from the rest of the band. Same for Kim Deal, who had this very spooky fixed grin on her face; one of those pharmacological ones. As in prescription, not recreational. Only Joey and the drummer seemed to be interacting with the rest of the band. Very odd. But musically they were as tight and powerful as you could ask for.

It was only in the encore, "Gigantic," late in the jam at the end of the song, that Frank walked over to Kim with a huge grin on his face and kept asking her something. You could see her plainly say to him at one point, "No!" But he kept on, both of them smiling and talking as they played. She finally turned to her mike and boomed, "Thank you for coming to the show!" It was almost the only really interactive moment of the program. But they were fantastic.

Kim Deal still looks as hot as ever. (Except for a slight tendency to soccer-mommishness.) And that brings me to the second part of this post. I must admit to having a fatal weakness for women bass players. No joke. I'm not sure what it is, but a cute woman swinging that bass guitar around is just the sexiest thing going. And for some reason, women bass players (at least in rock) tend to be really hot!

Take a look: Talking Head's Tina Weymouth, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon, Hole's Melissa Auf Der Maur, Sahara Hotnight's Johanna Asplund, Patricia Morrison, and Echobelly's Ruth Owen in one of my all-time favorite rock pictures. Her face is much cuter than the pic suggests (look elsewhere on that site), but I get all uncomfortable in the pants at that leather, the tight tee, and that stance! Yowza. That's nowhere near a complete roster, either. I don't follow music like I used to any more, and there is a whole new crop of all- or majority-female bands out there now. The list keeps going, but I don't have time to track down more pic links.

Even one of my favorite songs is about a female bass player: "Behind the Wall of Sleep," by the Smithereens.
She had hair like Jeannie Shrimpton back in 1965
She had legs that never ended
I was halfway paralyzed
She was tall and cool and pretty
And she dressed as black as coal
If she'd ask me to I'd murder
I would gladly lose my soul

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her
Behind the wall of sleep

Well she had a bass guitar and
She was playing in a band and
She stood just like Bill Wyman
Now I am her biggest fan
Now I know I'm one of many
Who would like to be your friend
And I've got to find a way
To let you know I'm not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her
Behind the wall of sleep

Got your number from a friend of mine
Who lives in your hometown
Called you up to have a drink
Your roommate said you weren't around
Now I know I'm one of many
Who would like to be your friend
And I've got to find a way to
Let you know I'm not like them

Now I lie in bed and think of her
Sometimes I even weep
Then I dream of her
Behind the wall of sleep.
Oh yeah. A bit too much of me in that song. Anyway, if you play rock'n'roll bass, are a hot or cute babe, are single and looking for a fat, balding, middle-aged guy who will slavishly worship you, hit the email up there. I'm your sucker.
Colin Farrell Alert

It seems some of the ladies find this Colin Farrell actor-guy attractive. Just thought I'd let distaff readers of Half-Bakered know that you can see a very young "Col" Farrell on WKNO/10 right now in Memphis. He stars as Danny, a troubled young Dubliner staying with his Uncle Eammon in the rural Irish village of Ballykissangel, the Irish comedy/drama you can catch on Saturday nights at 9M. It repeats at 1AM for the night owls.

For the guys, unfortunately the series' most attractive actress, Dervla Kirwan left at the end of last season along with co-star and then-husband Stephen Tompkinson. Still smoking hot, but she's not starring in anything you can see in America right now.