there is water underground.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Just Say Arrrrrr!

There are all sorts of holidays and days of recognition out there. They range from the sublime (e.g. Martin Luther King Day, Yom Kippur) to the ridiculous (e.g. Patriots Day -- I'm not talking about Sept 11, which on my desk calendar is now called Patriots Day... I'm talking about the "holiday" in April that is "celebrated" by two or three New England states. Schools close, businesses close, and I still can't figure it out.) I'm sure that you could find some excuse to celebrate any given day of the year. (by the way, I share a birthday with both Mike Rinke and Tara Reid. Coincidence? ....yeah, probably... but it's an excuse to dress like a doctor and sleep with anything that moves (and that's just the Rinke part! Ohhhh!!!!))

But I've recently found the best excuse to celebrate: International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

That's right, International Talk Like A Pirate Day. It's right around the corner ("Only 3 weeks till ITLAP Day! Get your shopping done now!") and I fully plan on talking like a pirate all day on September 19. It's going to be especially interesting because I have to go on an airplane that day. What will happen if I wind up in an exit row and the flight attendant needs me to say "yes" when s/he asks if I'm willing to perform the duties? What will happen when my sword sets off the metal detector? Will the flight attendant be pissed if I call her "wench"? These are things that I wonder about. In any case, you've gotta love a holiday that basically owes itself to Dave Barry. Read the site - it's good for a few laughs, and it definitely shows that people have a whole lot of time on their hands.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We Named The Dog Indiana!

So today while playing around on IMDB, I found that a special edition of “Romancing the Stone” will be released soon on DVD. That’s all well and good. It’s a relatively funny movie, with action and adventure and humor in the vein of the Indiana Jones movies. But do you think they could have been a little more creative in their packaging? Wonder if Spielberg will be pissed.

Anyway, that’s my big thought for the day. It’s not a very big thought because I am a bear of very little brain and big words bother me, but it’s a start.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Florida, Eat Your Heart Out

Talk about election scandals! There are 10,000 astronomers in the IAU. Less than 300 voted yesterday on the new definition of a planet. The thousands who couldn't make it to Prague for the vote ("what? all the flights to prague are booked?!?") were not allowed to vote at all. That's bullshit. First of all, how often are the IAU members presented with stuff on which to vote? Probably not very often, considering that the general assembly meets only once every three years, and the last planet to be named was, um... Pluto (and that was in 1930). Second of all, this is a group of 10,000 and they have to go to Prague or else they don't get to vote?? Shit, I sent an absentee ballot to the USA for election day when I lived in Japan! There are millions of absentee and other types of ballots that needed to be counted in the US elections (and we all know how well that turned out). Are you telling me that a bunch of rocket scientists can't figure out a way to send a secure ballot by email?

I agree with Alan Stern, a leading NASA figure:

"If everyone had to travel to Washington DC every time we wanted to vote for
President, we would have very different results because no one would vote. In
today's world that is idiotic. I have nothing but ridicule for this

Granted, he's also the head of the New Horizons mission that recently launched a space probe to Pluto, but he's got a point.

The new definition - now that i've read up on it and understand it a little better - also seems to be really inconsistent. It states that a true 'planet' must have "cleared the neighborhood around its orbit." Well... Jupiter has something like 80,000 tiny asteroids that accompany it. Earth travels with a whole bunch of asteroids that we hope never hit us. And since Pluto crosses Neptune's orbit, shouldn't they both be disqualified according to the new decision?

I dunno... it's very confusing. And yes - I know that this stuff pales in comparison to the importance of what's going on right here on this planet. It doesn't affect the poverty levels or the AIDS crisis in the slightest or improve the situations in the Middle East or New Orleans at all. The $700 million that went toward the Pluto mission could've built countless schools and helped many people. But I'm a nerd and find it interesting. And what'll happen when aliens find the Voyager plaque that says "9 planets"? Will they think "those earthlings are fuckin' liars!!" And now that Pluto is no longer a planet, schoolchildren are upset (heck, the public schools in NYC bombarded the Hayden Planetarium in 2000 when it opened and didn't have Pluto as a planet (and it still doesn't)) and more likely confused. And what'll happen when they go after Uranus (huh-huh)? And are they going to rewrite the textbooks? It's a fascinating debate. (sigh)

And when all else fails, include a link to bunnies.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

And Then There Were Eight.

This day will go down in infamy as 'the day Pluto died.' That's right, the brilliant people at the International Astronomical Union have voted on a new definition of the word 'planet.' Guess they figured it was about time we had one, since people have only been looking at the skies since the fucking dawn of time. Basically, a classical planet is now defined as "a celestial body that (a) is in orbit around the Sun, (b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and (c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit." According to this definition, there are eight classical planets - Mercury through Neptune.

Pluto apparently doesn't cut it anymore. It - along with those other things out there like its partner Charon, the recently discovered ice ball nicknamed Xena, and the object nicknamed Sedna discovered in 2003 - is now classified as a "plutonian object," or a "trans-Neptunian object." This was all announced today, so I'm still a little unclear on what to call Pluto & company. But the point is that Pluto & company don't fit the definition of a classical planet - they have not cleared the neighborhood around their orbits. Pluto's orbit is tilted so that it crosses Neptune's, and Pluto and Charon are actually a double system: they revolve around each other. Earth's moon revolves around a center of gravity that is inside the planet Earth, making it a real satellite. Charon and Pluto revolve around a point in space, so they are a double system. I think Sedna and Xena are also not free and clear - they're part of the Kuiper Belt, a big cloud of millions of small bodies that float way out past Neptune's orbit. Pluto and Charon are actually on the inner part of the Belt too.

So... bye bye Pluto. We hardly knew ye. And when the New Horizons spacecraft that was launched just a few months ago reaches you in 2015, we probably won't give a damn if you are a dwarf planet or a trans-Neptunian object or something else entirely. We just wanna know more.

The captain started feeling around on all the trees!
"We're on Pluto!"
"How can you tell?"
"From the bark, you dummies!"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Let's Fighting Love, or I Heart YouTube.

On Friday of last week, the producer and the director of next year's Transformers movie gave a live internet chat about which robots would make appearances. It was pretty nifty, and it gave me a chance to think back on how excellent the original series was. Later in the day, i found myself on YouTube, and i'm now hopelessly addicted and fascinated with the site. I found the original opening sequence for the original show in Japan, even before it crossed the Pacific. It looks pretty similar, but the theme song is all in Japanese. Watch it here. I understand most of what the singer is saying, but the song is thoroughly out of place. The US version got it right, talking about waging battles, destroying evil forces, and, well... transforming ("more than meets the eye"). This is what the Japanese do - they'll insert English into every song just because it sounds cool, not necessarily because it fits or because it makes sense. Some people get used to it, but it was one of those things that always bugged me. Their culture utilizes much more of the English language than ours does of the Japanese language and English is taught in every school, but they certainly come up with some fascinating skewerings. I'm sure that there are plenty of instances where the reverse is true, but have you ever been in a Japanese school staff meeting and a kid walks in wearing a "Big Apple Megafucker" T-shirt? I have. I had to leave because I was laughing uncontrollably.

Anyway, this inevitably got me thinking about South Park. Fast forward twenty years or so and there's a great anime parody in one of the more recent episodes, and it contains one of the best Engrish songs I've ever heard... and hats off to Stone and Parker for pulling this one off. If you've watched the inane Japanese Transformers theme song, you'll have a much better appreciation for the ninja episode.

And then while I was having so much fun on YouTube, I thought about Kikkoman. The makers of this video have no relationship with the soy sauce company at all - but they really should. It's Mister Sparkle-quality stuff. Watch the English version first for the subtitles, then watch the Japanese version and see how truly weird the clip is. Aside from the language, not much is different... except for the cat's punishment after Kikkoman gets angry. If you like cats, don't watch the Japanese version.

Friday, August 18, 2006

cannot resist....... too... cute!

I was skeptical about a website called at first - can you blame me? But it won me over. It's seriously the perfect thing to look at when you've had a rough day or feel like you need a hug. Puppies, lots and lots of puppies. Kittens too. I'd definitely have a dog of my own if it weren't for two things - the landlord won't allow 'em, and the hours I work would be unfair to the pup. But one day, I'd love to have a little Jack Russell terrier or a lab named Coltrane. Anyway, the "product cuteness" section just shows how Japan hands our asses to us in the world of things cute. One of these days I'll do a big thing on the fantastically useless inventions that the Japanese are famous for coming up with.

Speaking of... aren't these great? You can find 'em at Seems a little unwieldy to pull out a piece of futomaki in order to store your powerpoint, but the shock value alone would be worth it. Go figure that the uni is really expensive.

And finally, if you're not smiling yet, look at this.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Get a hidden camera or two, some velcro, and some old pants, and, well... enjoy. The end is particularly funny.

Jumping on the Bandwagon... er, Memewagon

Thanks Mike and Jay. I’d like to say that this list changes all the freakin’ time. These are my thoughts as of today, right now.

1. Favorite Beatles song: Revolution
2. Favorite Rolling Stones song: Sympathy For The Devil
3. Favorite Doors song: People Are Strange
4. Favorite Bob Dylan song: My Back Pages
5. Favorite Led Zeppelin song: The Rain Song
6. TV Theme Song: Ren & Stimpy (opening and closing themes)
7. Favorite Prince Song: Sexy MF
8. Favorite Madonna Song: Beautiful Stranger
9. Favorite Michael Jackson Song: Billie Jean
10. Favorite Queen Song: Fat Bottomed Girls
11. Favorite Motorhead Song: Ace of Spades (duh)
12. Favorite Ozzy Song: No More Tears
13. Favorite Public Enemy Song: By The Time I Get To Arizona
14. Favorite Song from a cartoon: The Log Song or The Cheat Is Not Dead
15. Favorite Bruce Springsteen song: Thunder Road
16. Favorite Depeche Mode song: Personal Jesus
17. Favorite Cure song: Friday I’m In Love
18. Favorite song that most of your friends haven't heard: World United Already (by Wheat)
19. Favorite Smiths song: What Difference Does It Make
20. Favorite Beastie Boys song: Get it Together
21. Favorite Clash song: Train In Vain
22. Favorite Police song: King of Pain
23. Favorite Eurythmics song: Sweet Dreams
24. Favorite Beach Boys song: Good Vibrations
25. Favorite Cyndi Lauper song: Time After Time
26. Favorite song from a movie: can’t decide b/w Ghostbusters and Everyone Has AIDS
27. Favorite Duran Duran song: Rio (duh)
28. Favorite Peter Tosh song: Simmer Down
29. Favorite Johnny Cash song: Folsom Prison Blues
30. Favorite song from an 80's one hit wonder: Come On Eileen
31. Favorite song from a video game: Super Mario Bros Theme!
32. Favorite Kinks song: L-O-L-A
33. Favorite Genesis song: Land of Confusion
34. Favorite Thin Lizzy song: Whiskey in the Jar
35. Favorite INXS song: Devil Inside
36. Favorite Weird Al song: Dare to be Stupid
37. Favorite Peter Gabriel song: Steam
38. Favorite John Lennon song: Working Class Hero
39. Favorite Pink Floyd song: Comfortably Numb
40. Favorite cover song: Little Wing (SRV version)
41. Favorite White Stripes: Seven Nation Army
42. Favorite dance song: Dance, MF, Dance (yes, the Femmes… not a huge dance fan, so eat me)
43. Favorite U2 song: Van Diemen’s Land
44. Favorite song from an actor turned musician: King Tut
45. Favorite disco song: Stayin’ Alive
46. Favorite Power Ballad: Silent Lucidity
47. Favorite Guns N' Roses song: I Used To Love Her
48. Favorite The Who song: Drowned
49. Favorite Elton John song: Rocket Man
50. Favorite song, period: Jersey Girl (Tom Waits’ original)

Monday, August 14, 2006

Do It For The Children

One of the greatest debates of our time rages on among the scientists and astronomers: Is Pluto a planet, and if so, what guidelines should be set for including or excluding other celestial bodies? One side says that it shouldn’t be a planet because it’s too small, it’s thoroughly unlike the four preceding planets in composition, and its orbit is skewed so that it sometimes passes closer to the sun than its neighbor Neptune. The other side says that it is a planet because it was not formed by the process that makes stars, gravity is responsible for its shape, it has a little moon, and, well… it orbits the sun. The problem is the Kuiper Belt. It’s a region of space beyond Neptune’s orbit that is populated by thousands of rocks, comets, and other little pieces of stuff. Pluto is on the inner limits of the Kuiper Belt, and for many years it’s been both the 9th Planet and a Kuiper Belt Object. So where does the line get drawn?

Interestingly enough, last year an astronomer discovered an object beyond Pluto’s orbit that also orbits the sun. Turns out that it’s bigger than Pluto and made of the same stuff. The object – officially named 2003 UB313 for now, but the guy who discovered it calls it Xena (yes, after the warrior princess) – is also part of the Kuiper Belt. Therefore, if Pluto remains an official planet, would Xena become the 10th planet? It would only be fair to her/it! And then what’s stopping the astronomers from naming the 20-30 other large Kuiper Belt Objects as planets? The flip side is that if Xena is discounted from being an official planet, then Pluto should also be discounted (along with all other KB Objects) and we’d have a solar system with eight planets.

I think the debate is fascinating, and it shows that nothing is static amongst the astronomers. The big poster I had when I was a kid showed nine planets, but I was recently at the Hayden Planetarium in NYC and guess what? Pluto is nowhere to be found. I’m definitely of the opinion that Pluto remain a planet – why can’t there be more than one kind of planet? Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune can be “gas planets” (especially Uranus – there’s a gaseous name), and Pluto, Xena, and other KB Objects can be “ice planets.” Imagine the science fiction stories that would arise if the solar system suddenly included 37 planets.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Say Cheese

I was at CVS yesterday waiting to pick up some photos. I still use a "real" camera with manual focus and film. Anyway, the one-hour photo service is apparently a sham, so although I dropped my film off at 2 and went to get it at 6, it still wasn't ready. Wasn't in any hurry, so I stuck around for a few minutes while they scrambled to get the pictures together. It was then that I realized that the people processing the film get the chance to look at all of my photos. Not like this was a shock to me, but I've never really thought about it. You drop off your film, you go pick it up, and then you open the package as if your eyes are the first to see the results. But one or two 18-year-olds ("pull up your pants!") likely chuckled at your photos... you just didn't see it happen. And it's not like i had any embarrassing pictures (well, there was that one shot where i painted my penis blue and white so that it looked like an elongated smurf), but watching a complete stranger go through my pictures was a very strange feeling. I guess it's similar to restaurants - you place an order, the food comes, you never see it being prepared (except for sushi bars), and you don't want to see it being prepared. But maybe it's just me - guess I like the suspense - and I'm definitely on the strange side. So stick with digital cameras or shake it like a polaroid picture... or not.

And why can't this be every day?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

He Shoots, He Scores!!

This is fantastic for any SportsCenter fan, and even if you're not it's still a lot of fun.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Okay, so people have asked about the name of the blog. Cookie is a rabbit who lives in Toronto with my colleague Amanda. A real rabbit, not the Donnie Darko kind. Anyway, last year I went out to Toronto to visit Sean and Gordon, and we stayed at Amanda’s place while she was away. Her gracious offer was only contingent on one thing – we had to look after Cookie. Not a difficult task. Anyway, Sean and I stayed out all night drinking and talking and having a good time (much easier to stay out all night in Toronto than in Boston, by the way), and we finally got back around 5AM. We stayed up for a while longer drinking, playing guitar, and talking philosophy, and at one point there was a lull in the conversation. We both looked at Cookie and simultaneously said “What would Cookie do?” And there you have it. As awesome as Aubrey's blog is, there is no titular relation. The “there is water underground” is from the Talking Heads and has no real relation to Cookie either; it’s just a few words from a great song. In any case, I’d kinda like to get some shirts made up with “W.W.C.D.?” and have little rabbit ears coming out of the letter C.

And now for something completely different… Imagine a flower that’s seven feet tall and, depending on the news coverage, smells like "rotting flesh" or “several days’ old roadkill on a hot, sunny day.” Thankfully, the "corpse flower" only blooms once every few years for a couple of days at a time. I guess there’s a place for everything in nature… and I’m glad that the place for this plant is not in my apartment (and I feel sorry for the people at Virginia Tech who have to smell the damn thing). Georgia O’Keefe would probably love this plant.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Things that make you go hmm...

I woke up this morning (I know, begin blues riff right here) and found a very peculiar sight when I opened my front door.

Yes, it’s a large box of unopened beef jerky packages. (Admittedly, my first thought was “is it still good?”) I don’t buy beef jerky – and if I did, I doubt I’d buy it by the crate – but I like it. Unfortunately, the jerky expired about a month ago, so into the trash it went. I am trying to figure out who placed it on my front steps – I live on the first floor of a 3-apartment house, and the people occupying the other two floors are all away this week. Also, there’s a high fence between the house next door and mine, so someone would have to come out to the street, around the front of the fence, and back to my steps. This seems like a weird thing to do when garbage pickup occurs right on the street. But hey, maybe alcohol was involved in some prank that went awry and I’m the wrong recipient of a case of jerky. In any case, all I could think of was the movie Trading Places (can’t believe that movie was made 23 years ago… damn, I’m old).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Here kitty kitty...

There are people with way too much time on their hands. I mean, I do procrastinate, but I feel like I'm pretty busy most days. On the weekends, especially in the summer, I like to get out and not be in front of a TV or a computer. But some people, well.... they create things like the Infinite Cat Project. I'm utterly fascinated.

Basically, there was one person who posted a picture of his cat (Frankie) on the internet. Then, another person sent him a photo of his own cat looking at Frankie's picture. Then another person sent a photo of her cat looking at that photo, and, well... you know when you're in a bathroom with mirrors that face each other and it seems to go on to infinity? Or when you're watching that scene in Spaceballs when they look at the video of Spaceballs? ("You're looking at now now. Everything you see now is happening now." "What happened to then?" "We passed then!" "When?" "Just now!") Yeah, it's kinda like that. Click on the 'select a cat group' box and then choose the first group.

I'm not sure why I'm fascinated with this site... probably because it's completely random and probably says something about infinity or technology or the mystery that computers must be to cats. Or maybe it's because I'm just a dork.

...yep, dork it is. (sigh)