Monday, April 30, 2012

Does it seem out of character that Han speaks Wookie? (Triweekly Blogfest Challenge!)

The Triweekly Blogfest Challenge has been extended a week, so entries are now due by May 6; leave a comment on this blog to let me know about your entry and I'll post it.  Winner get $10 via an Amazon gift card assuming I ever get my act together enough to order one.  (I know you're out there, prior winners and I will get your prizes as soon as I remember to.)

The theme is "Han shot first, But Time-Traveling Elvis shot second." How you build on that theme is up to you.  This is the Second Last Blogfest Challenge, so time's a runnin' out.

The latest entry is from Andrew Leon, and it's equally as good as the others.  Called  

The Other Bounty Hunter of Ord Mantell,

 it begins:

 “How we doin'?” Han yelled from where he was pinned down behind a bunch of crates. Blaster fire splattered off the other side of the stack, and he ducked down even farther. 

“Same as always!” Luke responded from behind his own stack of crates. “At least Leia got the droids to the Falcon!”

Read the whole entry here.  Andrew is the author of the excellent novel The House On The Corner, an evocative, thrilling story about growing up in the early 80s... in a world where trolls are real and other dimensions exist and you might just be a magician.  Buy that book here.  (Seriously. Go buy it.)

Other entrants: Rusty Webb's begins:

   McGillicutty’s bar is my favorite place on earth. And Greedo from Star Wars is my hero. Those are pretty much the only two things I have an opinion about. Funny, until last week, all I knew was that I loved my bar. The Greedo thing was something that never crossed my mind. 

  Read the whole entry here.

Rusty wrote A Dead God's Wrath, a Civil War era novel in which dead gods are around, and they are wrathful, and the book itself, while short, is one you cannot put down.  Buy that here.

And PT Dilloway's clever entry is here. PT is hard at work on his upcoming Tales Of The Scarlet Knight superhero book, but has lots of great books and short story collections on sale here.

(The Great 100-ish Day, 100-question Star Wars Blogathon, #64)

It's quiet out there.

A little too quiet.

I was going to talk a little bit about the origin of the phrase "a little too quiet," a well-known trope, but in investigating where that phrase came from, I ran across a link to "The Hounds of the Morrigan," which had a reference to the Celtic Goddess of War in it; apparently, in that book, whenever the Celtic Goddess of War focused on something, her ears absorbed all the sound around her, so her enemies would know she was focusing on them because things would get...a little too quiet.

Then I wondered if that was an invention of the author or the "real" (?) stuff of myth, so I went to look up the Celtic Goddess of War, and I found this site which lists not one, not two, but 10 gods/goddesses of war, including Banba, whose particular godhood was dedicated to repelling invaders, as well as being the deification of soil.

Celtic mythology also has innumerable gods and goddesses dedicated to sex, fertility, and love, which is the way to go with a religion, if you ask me, and which include Achtland, who as a mortal found no man could satisfy her, so she married one of the Tuatha de Danann, a sort of cross between Irish gods and Tolkien's elves.  After that, it was said, she found "great delight" ... in brushing her husband's long silken hair.


Anyway, that all got me thinking about the lasting impact of what we do and say and write, something that's on my mind a lot.  That book, The Hounds of The Morrigan, sounds inventive -- but was released something like 20 years ago, if not more.  I frequently wander through bookstores and libraries and look at all the books I've never even heard of and wonder if those authors wonder the impact of what they're doing, if those authors put their books out there hoping they'd be Twilight or Harry Potter or Great Expecatations, only to find out that they're...


That's the kind of thoughts I get when I give a WHAMMY! question and nobody answers.  There were 990 pageviews yesterday, and two comments.  I don't imagine that what I'm doing here is Great Expectations, or even Twilight, but I do wonder, sometimes, when we throw these ideas out into the air, do they land?  And do they take root when they do?  Think of all the things humans create and briefly talk about and then never visit again, and consider how many of them you will remember for a week.  A month?  A year?

Ten years?

Fifty years?

Does the likelihood of being remembered-- that's the best way to measure an impact, isn't it? -- increase as we increase our output? Or does a greater volume mean a weaker impact?

The amount of things we're throwing into the universe as ideas grows exponentially.  In 1977, when Star Wars was released, there were 47 other theatrical releases.  There were 48 movies released in 2011... by April, 2011.

I saw recently an article in Entertainment Weekly that noted that Titanic had the most consecutive weeks at number 1 at the box office, followed by Beverly Hills Cop.

Beverly Hills Cop.  Really?

Sweetie's explanation for that, which I buy into, is that there were fewer movies then on fewer screens, so it was easier to stay at number 1.  (Four of the top 5 in that category were released between 1980 and 1990).

I still remember Beverly Hills Cop.  And Star Wars.  But was the impact of those movies heightened because there was so little competition?

Anyway, that's my musing today, brought on by the eerie quiet amongst the competitors on the Blogathon:  Consider whether abundance equates with lack of concern.

And then answer question #64, worth 24 points:

What was Grand Moff Tarkin's homeworld?

UPDATES/RULINGS: Because nobody answered the WHAMMY! question, I have not penalized Andrew for wagering but not answering, especially since it was unclear whether he would be the only person entering.

I'M EXTENDING THE DEADLINE BY ONE WEEK!  Write your blogfest entry! The Tri(?)weekly Blogfest Challenge -- prize is $10 -- is to post something on the theme of "Han shot first, but Time-Traveling Elvis shot second" by April 29.  Leave a link to your post in the comments to this post. You'll get 100 points for posting it, plus 5 for mentioning the blogathon.  Get it in by next Sunday, whatever day that is.

You can get 1,000 points by mentioning the Yellow Hill fundraiser on your blog; here's the post where I explain that, and you can  click here to go directly to the Yellow Hill fundraising page.  If you don't want the points, you can in the alternative link to/mention it and get a free book of mine.(Find my books here.) (If you've done this, leave me a link and I'll get you the points.)  This one ends in a week.

And I'm going to put another bounty out: 500 points if you get Julian Darius, or anyone from Martian Lit, to leave a comment here. 

Here are the Star Wars Blogathon standings; check your point total here. 

Will it help drive up participation if I post more Leias in bikinis?   Because I'll do that:


Sunday, April 29, 2012

In which I repurpose some Dickens' characters, as I believe they are in the public domain. (Sundays With the Classics)

On Sundays With the Classics, I blog each week about the current classic book I'm reading.  Right now, I'm on Great Expectations.

I've further refined what I think this feature will be like.  Because I don't want to read nothing but classics all the time, I've decided that Monday through Saturday I can read whatever I like, but Sundays, if I read, the only thing I read will be the classic I'm currently reading.

And also: when I post about them, I'm going to limit myself to 10-15 minutes or so to do the post, tops, to keep this from getting too long.

And also: I'm not sure what book I'll read next, but I'm nearly 1/3 of the way through Great Expectations, so if you've got some ideas, let me know.

Part one of Great Expectations is here.

Here's what I was thinking as I read today:  Have you ever stopped to think how grim the beginning of Great Expectations is?

It opens in a graveyard, for crying out loud, and moves from there to a scene in a pub where Pip is accosted by a stranger who makes gun-pointing gestures at him and shows him the file he stole for Abel Magwitch, and goes from that to the bizarre and haunting estate of Miss Havisham -- an abandoned brewery, weed-strewn courtyard leading to a nearly dark house in which a half-dressed, waxlike corpse-y woman lingers clinging to a timeless existence, making Pip walk her around what was to have been a wedding feast but which is now infested with mice, spiders and beetles.  Then, Mrs. Joe Gargery is nearly killed and rendered insensible by a mysterious assailant (just after the entry of Dolge Orlick, who appears out of nowhere).

Everything is dark and misty and mysterious and full of death and mysterious portents; on the very night that Pip visits Miss Havisham and Mrs. Joe is nearly killed, he spends the evening with Mr. Wopsle and Mr. Pumblechook, with Mr. Wopsle acting out "the affecting tragedy of George Barnwell."*

*The affecting tragedy of George Barnwell is a play about a man who is seduced by a courtesan and convinced to rob his employer and murder his uncle.  It was apparently routinely performed for apprentices, probably because George Barnwell dies, repentant, in the end.  In that respect, it seems to me it was something like the training video a lot of companies relied on in the 1980s, the main training in Dickens' day being "don't murder your relatives or steal from your employer."  Thanks to The Digital Dickens for that info.

If Edgar Allan Poe had written this kind of thing, we couldn't help but be thinking "This is quite a grim story going on, here."  Instead, Friday night, having a burger with my old law school roommate, we were talking about my re-reading the book, and I mentioned that while it wasn't "laugh out loud funny" I found it to all be quite amusing.

I think it's the language.  It has to be the language.  Through all his disliking himself and the scary, gothic doings, Pip remains a funny storyteller and a wry observer of the human condition.  Looking at Camilla, Miss Havisham's relative, as she recounts her tale of the troubles she goes through to worry about Miss Havisham (being so troubled by her thoughts that she must frequently lay down), Pip says:

"Here, Camilla put her hand to her throat, and began to be quite chemical as to the formation of new combinations there."

I don't know why I found that amusing, but I do - -just as I found amusing the story of the fight with the Pale Young Gentleman.

So there's what I noticed most about the book this week: filled with convicts, the Hulks, a bereavement, a spider-filled cake in a gloomy sepulchral room, a fight, a near-murder, fog, marshes, a graveyard, and more -- and Dickens has me chuckling about it. 

I also noticed this line, which isn't funny but which I liked, a lot.  Pip goes into the room where Miss Havisham's bridal-cake rots, and says (in part)

 "Certain wintry branches of candles on the high chimney-piece faintly lighted the chamber; or it would be more expressive to say, faintly troubled its darkness."

Faintly troubled its darkness is such a better way to say that than barely lit the room -- because darkness is the accustomed state of affairs in the room, and the light, rather than being welcome in that horrible place, faintly troubles it.  I couldn't stop thinking about that phrase, all day.**

**the other phrase I couldn't get out of my mind was the part where Miss Havisham's terrible relatives are all talking about some recent event where the children were supposed to be dressed in better bereavement clothing than the husband wanted, and the husband finally gives in and "said with a D" that he would pay for the garments.  I looked up "said with a D" and it apparently means "Said with a Damn."  I bet that back then, Victorians couldn't bring themselves to say Damn anymore than they could say God's name. ***

***The other thing I've been doing all day is calling Mr F and Mr Bunches, respectively,  Pumblechook and Wopsle, because those are fun words to say.*4

*4 Also, I had the idea that perhaps I could do a series of short stories in a collection I'd call "Pumblechook & Wopsle's Guide To Surviving Every Dimension," in which it's revealed that the two men only showed up in Dickens' book as such buffoons because they were real-life Victorian scientists, of a sort, who had adventures in multiple dimensions and were thus heroes of high society, leading Dickens to be jealous of them and want to bring them down.

Eisenhower, Tesla, $1 trillion in gold, and a time-traveling kid. Can I finish in style, or what? (A To Z Challenge, Star Wars Blogathon.)

I guess this is the end?  Or tomorrow? I'm not sure.  I saw where Andrew Leon had his Y post up on Friday, and PT Dilloway said you're not supposed to post on Sunday, so I'm not sure where that leaves me with this post, but frankly I'm too excited to wait until Monday to post this, and also I didn't post anything Friday, so here's the penultimate post in my ongoing exploration of alien alphabets, an exploration that has increasingly little to do with alien alphabets and increasingly more to do with aliens in general, but what're you going to do, sue me?

Go ahead; I can always use the extra work.

Anyhow, what I'm so excited about today is the discovery of exopolitics and specifically a lawyer who practices exopolitics to the point where is is considered an expert on them.

But before we get into exopolitics specifically, a word on how I learned about it: Via The Time-Traveling Lawyer:

A lot of people have a hard time trusting lawyers as it is, but what about one who claims he was part of a secret government time travel program when he was a kid?

Since 2004, Seattle attorney Andrew Basiago has been publicly claiming that from the time he was 7 to when he was 12, he participated in "Project Pegasus," a secret U.S. government program that he says worked on teleportation and time travel under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

That's the lead paragraph in the HuffPo story on this exciting development in time-travel, law, and my ability to not do any work ever again ever, because we have teleportation and we can use it to time-travel.

Basiago's achievements as a lawyer are not inconsequential and are related to the ongoing alien theme here, in that in 2008, Basiago published a paper (described here as a landmark one, at that, which it is) proving that there is life on Mars. When not writing books and helping others write books, Basiago also found time (get it?!) to travel back to Abe Lincoln's era, when he was a kid, doing so 7 or 8 times, including trip's to Ford's Theater on the night of the assassination.  He finds proof that he did this in a photograph of Gettysburg he says shows him:

That's him on the left, apparently wearing sneakers because while the Department of Defense was in charge of teleporting kids to Civil War Battlefields (possibly holographically, it's all a bit confusing), they weren't in charge of making sure kids were dressed appropriately for the occasion.  Said Basiago:

"I had been dressed in period clothing, as a Union bugle boy.... I attracted so much attention at the Lincoln speech site at Gettysburg -- wearing over-sized men's street shoes -- that I left the area around the dais and walked about 100 paces over to where I was photographed in the Josephine Cogg image of Lincoln at Gettysburg."

Here's the complete photo that detail is taken from:

And here is a picture of himself at about that age that Andrew Basiago himself presented:

  Basiago did this time-traveling, as I said, possibly holographically (asked how he came back, he couldn't really answer) but definitely using some old stuff Nikola Tesla left behind.

Tesla, the man responsible for beating Edison and thus for our using alternating current as opposed to direct current as the standard for electricity, was interested in teleportation and had an early theory that presaged quantum mechanics, suggesting that light could be a particle and wave.  He proposed a "Wall Of Light" that could be used to travel in time and space, and that's what Basiago says the Department of Defense built based on Tesla's writings.

Tesla was certainly bright; he invented alternating current (and proved it was safe by letting it run through his body in tests), came up with a radio-controlled toy boat, and found a way to transmit electricity directly through the Earth (which, remember, we're calling Planet Awesome now).  Tesla discovered "terrestrial stationary waves."  From

By this discovery he proved that the Earth could be used as a conductor and made to resonate at a certain electrical frequency. He also lit 200 lamps without wires from a distance of 25 miles (40 km) and created man-made lightning, producing flashes measuring 135 feet (41 metres).
Tesla's genius was so unpredictable and outrageous that people weren't ever sure what to believe about him;

Caustic criticism greeted his speculations concerning communication with other planets, his assertions that he could split the Earth like an apple, and his claim of having invented a death ray capable of destroying 10,000 airplanes at a distance of 250 miles.

Nonetheless, the government was so worried that after Tesla's death, the FBI monitored his estate to make sure none of his writings fell into the hands of the Axis.

So if anyone could make a "Wall Of Light" that would teleport people around, it would be Tesla.

What really caught my eye in reading bits and pieces about Tesla was this phrase:

Tesla always claimed to a Venusian probably arrived on a space ship

Which I found on this site, which goes on to claim all kinds of stuff about Tesla's claims to be an alien and to have talked to aliens; I wasn't able to find anything on any credible site about whether Tesla actually claimed he was from another planet.

All of which goes to show that we need a Bureau of Exopolitics, and luckily for us, there is one:

 Dr.Michael E. Salla, is a pioneer in the development of 'Exopolitics', the political study of the key actors, institutions and processes associated with extraterrestrial life. His interest in exopolitics evolved out of his investigation of the sources of international conflict and its relationship to an extraterrestrial presence that is not acknowledged to the general public, elected officials or even senior military officials.
His groundbreaking Exopolitics: Political Implications of the Extraterrestrial Presence (Dandelion Books, 2004) was the first published book on exopolitics and explained the political implications of extraterrestrial life. His more recent, Exposing U.S. Government Policies on Extraterrestrial Life (Exopolitics Institute, 2009) takes exopolitics to a new level of sophistication by revealing how the world's most powerful nation secretly manages information concerning extraterrestrial life and technology. Dr. Salla is an internationally recognized scholar.
 At, you can find the accumulated knowledge you'll need to also become an expert on Expolitics, including links to articles about how Canadian newspapers deliberately insert typos to make exopoliticians look bad,and articles like:

 Exopolitics Comment 117 (April 10, 2012) Pentagon plans for Alien invasion exist according to military professor. (1100 words). 


 Exopolitics Study 13 (Jan 18, 2012) Trillion dollar lawsuit exposes secret Bilderberg Gold Treaty & funding of extraterrestrial project  
All the best countries have an Exopolitics site, even Portugal. And it's a good thing, too, because without such organizations, we might never have known about the lawsuit filed in 2011 which asserted that the Chinese Nationalists during World War II gave the US $134,500,000,000 in gold, and which gold was apparently converted to US Bonds and then intercepted when two Japanese tourists carrying that amount of bonds were caught on a train in Italy.

Here's the crazy thing: That lawsuit exists.

It's case number 11 CIV 8500, and was filed by "Neil F. Keenan, Individually and as Agent for The Dragon Family, citizens of foreign states"

(I will point out that the article I linked to before doesn't explain what The Dragon Family is and I will also remind you of David Icke's Reptoid Hypothesis.)

And the lawsuit names sixteen different defendants ranging from Silvio Berlusconi,

To the then-head of the United Nations.

Here is the actual first paragraph of the Complaint:

This is a civil claim arising out of the concerted, knowing, malicious scheme and international conspiracy engaged in by the Defendants for the designed purpose of defrauding plaintiff KEENAN, the designated Agent of his Principal, the "Dragon Family," for the express purpose of expropriating, stealing and converting certain negotiable financial instruments lawfully owned by the Dragon Family and entrusted to KEENAN in early 2009. 

These assets ... had been intended for participation in select, registered and authorized Private Placement Investment Programs (or "PPPs") for the benefit of a wide range of global humanitarian purposes. At the time of the criminal and deceitful acts of the Defendants, the approximate face value of the stolen DFFI was One Hundred Forty-Five and One Half Billion ($145,500,000,000.00) United States Dollars with an approximate accrued interest value of One Trillion ($1,000,000,000,000.00) United States Dollars.

 So while most of the Exopolitics sites call this a billion dollar suit, it's actually a trillion dollar suit.  It's a thousand times more important than Exopoliticians claim.

(Is that a cover-up? You decide...)(Yes, it is.)

That case is still pending as we sit here today, and it's an important one to follow because it makes clear the link between Eisenhower's so-called "emergency dental visit" when he actually met with aliens,  and the plan for the secretive Dragon Family to use the US court system to finally blow the lid off this international conspiracy by deliberately letting the gold be stolen:

 The Chinese gold transferred to the US Federal Reserve Bank in the mid-1930s is only the tip of the iceberg. Entrusting the Federal Reserve notes and bonds to Keenan appears to have been calculated gamble. In fact,.. the actions of the Dragon Family [are ]an “elaborate sting operation.”  They were fully aware that their bonds would very likely be taken from Keenan at some point, but believed that the eventual lawsuit would be the catalyst for the rest of the world learning about the way in which China’s and other national gold reserves have been secretly taken out of circulation for decades. 

The method that the world has been using to take the Chinese gold out of circulation appears to be the "Bilderberg Treaty." 

Supposedly just a get-together of the rich and powerful to discuss events, the Bilderberg Group actually, according to Study Paper 13, met first to keep 85% of the world's gold reserves hidden from the public and used for "black ops."

Black Ops like "Operation Paperclip," a Henry Kissinger-led project to recruit Nazi scientists to the Allied war effort while Nelson Rockefeller was looking for looted Nazi gold in South America.

(I am having a serious amount of fun just typing this post.)

Rockefeller and Kissinger would go on to bigger positions, of course, but all of Rockefeller's subsequent work as a billionaire spy/politician was simply a cover for his role in coordinating the US' response to extraterrestrial life -- a role that was necessary, given that the aforementioned meeting between Ike and the aliens had been prompted by the aliens' concern over America's growing thermonuclear ability.  (The aliens didn't like nukes, the dirty hippies!)

I know it all sounds confusing, but that's because you haven't properly studied your Exopolitics.  Also, a little confusion is to be expected when the military is mucking around with the time stream, as they obviously are.  Remember David Basiago, from way back at the beginning of this post?  He very coherently pointed out that some of the proof of time-travel can be seen, for example, in the very fact that Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction:

"I only know about how the time travel technology was used during my involvement with Project Pegasus, so this is only speculation," he said. "But it's possible that 'forward intelligence' showed [Iraq leader Saddam] Hussein using the weapons of mass destruction, but our military went in and toppled him before he could use them."

 "Forward intelligence" is code for time travel. But you knew that, right?

Here is the WHAMMY! question today, but first:  Andrew Leon correctly pointed out that he's the only one who wagered -- so only he can get any points.  But as the Random Numbers have decreed that Answer Number 4 will WHAMMY!, if you want to get your answer in quickly, you can maybe make him WHAMMY! even though you cannot get (or lose) any points for answering (in)correctly.

I don't know what happened to everyone.  They're probably all reading Michael Offutt's Slipstream, which I finally bought and started reading last night; I'm five pages in and it's really good.

So here's the question:

What was the number of the protocol droid that greeted Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan after they boarded the Trade Federation craft, and which actress provided the voice?

Remember: don't answer on the blog; email me the answer at thetroublewithroy[at]


I'M EXTENDING THE DEADLINE BY ONE WEEK!  Write your blogfest entry! The Tri(?)weekly Blogfest Challenge -- prize is $10 -- is to post something on the theme of "Han shot first, but Time-Traveling Elvis shot second" by April 29.  Leave a link to your post in the comments to this post. You'll get 100 points for posting it, plus 5 for mentioning the blogathon.  Get it in by next Sunday, whatever day that is.

You can get 1,000 points by mentioning the Yellow Hill fundraiser on your blog; here's the post where I explain that, and you can  click here to go directly to the Yellow Hill fundraising page.  If you don't want the points, you can in the alternative link to/mention it and get a free book of mine.(Find my books here.) (If you've done this, leave me a link and I'll get you the points.)  This one ends in a week.

And I'm going to put another bounty out: 500 points if you get Julian Darius, or anyone from Martian Lit, to leave a comment here. 

Here are the Star Wars Blogathon standings; check your point total here.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's a TRAP! A new entry in the Triweekly Blogfest, and, yeah, I missed yesterday. (A To Z Challenge, Star Wars Blogathon)

So, we're not even trying to pretend this is alphabetical anymore...

First up, Rusty Webb's entry in the Triweekly Blogfest Challenge has been posted.  You can find it on his blog, and here's the intro:

   McGillicutty’s bar is my favorite place on earth. And Greedo from Star Wars is my hero. Those are pretty much the only two things I have an opinion about. Funny, until last week, all I knew was that I loved my bar. The Greedo thing was something that never crossed my mind. 

I didn't think someone could do a gritty reboot of the Star Wars cantina scene, but darned if Rusty didn't nail it.  He did the picture, too.  Read the whole entry here. It won't take you long, and it's worth it.

Entries in the current challenge have to be posted by tomorrow; any blog entry on the theme "Han Shot First... But Time-Traveling Elvis shot SECOND" will qualify.  My own meager effort is here, and PT Dilloway's clever entry is here.

Did I mention the winner gets a $10 gift card to Amazon? Because that might be important. Post your entry, leave a link, and I'll announce the winners Monday or so.

Then, on to the vaguely-alien-alphabet-related posts I sometimes muster up for this A To Z Challenge thing.  I know there's rules and all for the Challenge, but as Balmudo said in Grease, the rules is there ain't no rules, and I have tried to live by those words Every. Day. Of. My. Life.

Things seem more serious if you overpunctuate them, have you noticed????

I started thinking today what topic I might post about alien alphabets ("there ain't no rules") and then I had to take a break and help Mr Bunches set up his Mouse Trap game so he could make the trap work without even bothering to really play it, in blatant defiance of the front page of the rules which say, and I quote:


Mr Bunches is a kindred spirit when it comes to rules like that.  He'll play games the way he wants, thank you very little.  (See what I did there? You thought I was going to thank you but I didn't, really, you rules nerds.)

Anyway, as I sit here watching him play Mouse Trap, which I really thought was one word up until this point, and not being allowed to play:

Me:  Do I get a turn?

Mr Bunches:  No.

Me: When do I get to play?

Mr Bunches: Go sit down.

I began writing this post, and instead of alien languages I began to wonder "Does science have in place a plan to catch an alien?"

I mean, what else would science be up to, once they decided (probably wrongly) to not blow up the moon?

Surely, I figured, things have advanced since E.T. was lured into a house using whatever candy paid the most for the sponsorship, right?

It seems though, that with everything else science has let me down about (tidal pools, cloning myself so I can have a day off and nobody knows), science is woefully lagging in the alien trapping department, leaving it up to Russian fisherman and some guy on Squidoo to lead the way into this Brave New Frontier I'll call "Screw You, Aliens, Don't Mess With Earthlings."

Before I begin, though, are we really going to go with Earthlings as our title when we meet other races? Because that seems kind of wimply.  Earthling.  Doesn't exactly inspire confidence or intimidate anyone, does it?  We should hold a world wide contest to come up with a better name.  I submit "Awesomeizers."  Rolls off the tongue.

Oh, and on a related note, I also vote we start calling our planet, instead of a synonym for dirt, "Planet Awesome."

Here on Planet Awesome, great strides are being made in the field of alien capturing not by the government, or "science," but by private industry, the way God The Capitalist would want it.  (When you start a small business, Jesus smiles and an angel gets its wings, then declares bankruptcy two years later.)

I am referring to "A Practical Guide For Those Interested in Capturing Live Alien Beings From Another Planet," the best-rated site on this subject, far outpacing my own "Extremely IMpractical Guide for Those Who Have Better Things To Do Than Capture Alien Beings From This Planet."  Not sure where the marketing was when we came up with that, but heads will roll when I get around to having a marketing department.

The whole article is too long for me to care about, or read, but I could see immediately that there were a lot of very practical tips, such as this one:

How To Get Started Quickly 
 There is no shortcut to finding and capturing aliens.

That part goes on to say that finding aliens will take  "dedication" and "work," two things I'm not known for.  Another thing I'm missing? A rape van:

 If you truly want to capture an alien, consider investing in the following: An older late 80's or early 90's SUV or cargo van in excellent running condition- This means a good starter, heavy duty altenator and a minimum of computerized systems in the vehicle. 

That's the actual picture they supplied of the van they suggest you use.

The van is necessary to avoid electromagnetic influences and/or walking into Chris Hansen's trap house.   You'll also want a lead-lined vest, which you can get from your local medical supplier if you don't already have one.  But you already have one, right?

 Other equipment they suggest? A cage or holding pen.  You'd be surprised how many people leave that off  the list.

So you've got your cage, your stun gun, your weird-vest, and your windowless van, you've registered with the local authorities and introduced yourself to your neighbors, let's get alien capturin'.

In addition to overcoming your fear of aliens by watching movies about alien abductions (an actual tip), you'll also want to place an ad for someone to sleep near you in your van while you hover over them with a stun gun.  Really:

Stakeout and Capture The next step, after you have gained the prospects confidence and cooperation in this matter, is to plan your effort to capture the alien. After all, nobody wants to get abducted in their sleep and your service could put an end to this problem. In most cases, this means staking out the prospects residence, which may sometimes involve one or two months of effort before you produce results. You absolutely want another person involved in this phase, a helper that can provide company, alleviate fear and help subdue the alien. If you do not have a friend, you could place an ad or hire a helper from a temp service.

Here, I've written your Craig's List ad for you:

HELP WANTED:  I've got the van, and the stun gun, and have located a 'prospect.'  I just need someone to camp outside that house with me for a few weeks and then help subdue the 'alien.' Cops and weirdos not welcome.

 Having successfully caught your "alien," what's the first thing you should do next? I'd advise not crossing state lines because you don't want to federalize this.  Squidoo recommends turning yourself in, which is probably for the best:

Profits From Captured Aliens Before you actually capture your alien, make sure you have several sources available that would be happy to purchase a captured alien. Here are the top 4 entities that will pay you instantly for a live alien.
1. Your local FBI office. Get the phone number of key field officers in advance so you can call after you get a capture. DO NOT call them before your have a captured alien or you might end up arrested.
2. A local military base. Again, get the number of key people BEFORE you haul in your capture.
3. A local USDA office. This might not sound like an obvious choice but they are involved deeply with government research and can have access to CASH.
4. A local post office or federal building. Again, these government officials can get cash for you immediately.

Raise your hand if you always secretly suspected the Post Office made all its money off buying captive aliens from locals.  I knew it.

Luckily for us, the Russians are light-years (puns always intended!) behind us in alien-catching, not-at-all-creepy technology.  For one thing, they don't have our Post Office and its ready Cash-for-Aliens program.  All they have are fisherman.  This 2007 article on Pravda details a Close Encounter of The Nyet (it's the only Russian word I know) Kind:

Village residents from the Rostov region of Russia caught a weird creature two weeks ago after a strong storm in the Sea of Azov. The shark-looking creature was producing strange squeaky sounds. The fishermen originally believed that they had caught an alien and decided to film the monster with the help of a cell phone camera. The footage clearly shows the creatures’ head, body and long tail. The bizarre catch was weighing almost 100 kilograms, the Komsomolskaya Pravda reports. 

The Russians, despite probably having not read the Squidoo article, knew exactly what to do: they ate it.

From the article again:

However, ufologists and scientists were greatly disappointed when they found out that the fishermen had eaten the monster. They said that they were not scared of the creature so they decided to use it as food. One of the men said that it was the most delicious dish he had ever eaten. 

And now you know what's going to replace pink slime in your McNuggets.  Russian scientists ruled out the creature being a mermaid, which is good because that seems wrong, cooking and eating a mermaid, doesn't it?

That's all for now.  Here's question 62 in the Great Star Wars Blogathon:

What was the fake slogan Robot Chicken had Admiral Ackbar tell kids for his breakfast cereal?

It wasn't this:

 That's worth 50 points.  Commenters 3, and the last commenter get 10 bonus points.


Since I didn't put a point total on question 61, I've made it worth 25 -- the mid-range.  And I'm going to give it to PT Dilloway even though the "Completely Unofficial Star Wars Encylopedia" says the bounty hunter in disguise was infiltrating "Coruscant," because I don't know how you infiltrate a planet.

Write your blogfest entry! The Triweekly Blogfest Challenge -- prize is $10 -- is to post something on the theme of "Han shot first, but Time-Traveling Elvis shot second" by April 29.  Leave a link to your post in the comments to this post. You'll get 100 points for posting it, plus 5 for mentioning the blogathon.

You can get 1,000 points by mentioning the Yellow Hill fundraiser on your blog; here's the post where I explain that, and you can  click here to go directly to the Yellow Hill fundraising page.  If you don't want the points, you can in the alternative link to/mention it and get a free book of mine.(Find my books here.) (If you've done this, leave me a link and I'll get you the points.)

And I'm going to put another bounty out: 500 points if you get Julian Darius, or anyone from Martian Lit, to leave a comment here. 

Here are the Star Wars Blogathon standings; check your point total here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Okay, so I know I'm getting a #CoronaRita, but that's not the big question here.

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Chili’s Grill & Bar for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

CoronaRita sm.jpg

So I’m having a little contest in my mind here.  I mentioned on one of my other blogs that every May 13 is my anniversary and that to celebrate Sweetie and I always go out to eat and get a hotel for the night – a break from cooking, cleaning, kids, and everything else.

And every year, we get fancy (for us, at least) and head to the Chili’s near our house for that dinner.  I know, you’re supposed to take your wife to some fancy French restaurant or somesuch, but frankly, who wants that?  I don’t want to eat snails and leeks (whatever a leek is) for a meal, and neither does Sweetie.  We want something we like, and Chili’s has that, and then some.

So Sweetie usually gets a salad or something boring like that; I can see the appeal, maybe, of a cool salad like the Caribbean salad, with pineapples and cherries on it making it kind of a dessert, but that’s about the best I can do.  I don’t bother with salads because I’m a burger guy, and that’s where the contest in my mind comes in: I’m trying to decide which burger to get this year.

While I was leaning towards the “Shiner Bock BBQ Burger,” with Shiner sauce and onion strings on it, they’ve also got this “Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger,” with maple bacon, smoked cheddar, mayo, crispy onion strings and ancho-chile BBQ sauce.  I don’t even know what that last part means, but I want to try it.  And they’ve got these “Big Mouth Bites,” little burgers with bacon and cheese and sautéed onions.  I’m a huge fan of sautéed stuff.  I would sautee everything if I could.

So this is a big deal.  I preplan my burgers because the one night out a year we get cannot be left to last-minute decisions.

And so I’m asking you for help: You go to Chili’s (or you should.) What’s your favorite thing there?

And while you ponder that, let me mention that this year they’ve got a new thing for me to try: a CoronaRita at Chili's , which is apparently a Margarita made with Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila and Coronita.  You know, on a warm spring night eating a burger with my wife, that sounds like it might be fun to try - -wash down a burger with something a little nicer than a diet soda or a bottle of regular old beer. 

(This is the part where I have to say: remember, you must be 21 years or older to drink alcoholic beverages and as always, please remember to drink responsibly.)

(Especially you, Oldest Daughter, Middle Daughter, and The Boy.)

So help me out – I can’t make up my mind as to which burger I should get.  And before you vote, let me throw a wild card in there:

Should I get all of them?

I’m kind of leaning towards that option, now.


Visit Sponsor's Site

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Star Wars means more to some people than others. (Star Wars References)

I've got a soft spot in my heart for kids and especially for kids with any kind of special needs.  Kids like Drake, who I just read about over on The Chive.

This is Drake:
And this is what The Chive said about him:

Drake Earl hasn't had an easy life. When he was two years old, doctors found an arachnoid cyst on his brain. He had surgery when to implant a shunt that drains fluid from his cyst into his abdomen.
Last week, Drake's mother Mallory noticed Drake was yawning a lot - a classic sign that the boy is trying to relieve pressure in his brain. When Drake started getting massive headaches it became obvious to Mallory that Drake's shunt was malfunctioning. It wasn't long before Drake began vomiting and getting dizzy, his brain was filling with fluid.

The family rushed from South Dakota to St. Paul to see one of the few doctors who can perform such a difficult surgery. Drake spent the last 7 days recovering and he's doing well. While in the hospital Mallory would hop on theCHIVE to get her mind off things and she found herself writing me an email which I received last night. Mallory asked for a small favor:
"… Drake is in the hospital recovering and I don't ask for much. The last 6 years have been rough for Drake but he has such a positive attitude about it all. I want to do something special for him and I was wondering if we could ask theCHIVE for a small favor? Drake loves Star Wars and he'd be ecstatic to see a Star Wars themed post. You don't have to mention Drake or anything. I just know a Star Wars post on theCHIVE would make him smile, he's a loyal little Chiver and you've been helping me keep calm through this very difficult time.
At the very least, thank you very much for reading this. - Mallory."
Drake, this post is for you, buddy...

Thursday Scramble!

Thursday Scramble is when I post an entry from one of my blogs onto all the other blogs.  This one comes from Thinking The Lions. For just over a year, every week I would ask Sweetie to name a "Hunk of The Week," and then discuss that Hunk.  Hunk Number 57 has, for nearly two years, been the highest rated post on that blog.  Here it is:



He may have abs and cutoffs, but I have a new nickname for underwear... (Sweetie's Hunk of the Week, 57)

Each week, I sit down to do this with but one thought in mind: should this be the week that I write about a Hunk in entirely limerick form?

Then I answer that thought this way: "Mr Bunches, put your pants back on!"

The 57th Hunk of the Week is:
Robby Benson!

You Don't Know Him Without You Have... man, I don't know. For the past two weeks or so, we've had Beauty And The Beast more or less on continuous play; it's Mr Bunches' favorite movie right now, and that's probably why Sweetie had Robby Benson on the brain, but you can't really say you know him from a cartoon, especially a cartoon where he looked like this:

Which, come to think of it, kind of looks like Robby Benson, now:

And even a little bit like Robby Benson then:

But even if he kind of looks like the Beast, if the Beast were to play Michael Landon in a TV biopic, you can't really say you know Robby Benson from Beauty And The Beast. You might know him from Ice Castles,

But, first, who would admit they watched Ice Castles, besides Sweetie, who considers that one of the top movies of all time (ranking it right up there with Miss March and That One Movie Where They Use A Motorcycle In A Ballet), and

Second, why is that picture of Robby Benson in his underwear just about the only picture you find when you search for "Robby Benson Ice Castles?"

Is Ice Castles some sort of slang for underwear and nobody told me? Are "tighty-whities" now called Ice Castles?

Because they totally should be.

When I asked Sweetie where I might know Robby Benson from, other than those two movies, she said "Ode To Billy Joe," which I heard as Ode To Billy Joel, and I immediately thought "Billy Joel had a movie made about him? And nobody has ever made a movie about Piano Man? Or about Scenes From An Italian Restaurant? I mean, I know nothing about Billy Joel's actual life, other than that for a while there I thought he had married Princess Leia, only that was Paul Simon, but aren't either of those songs better source material for a movie than Billy Joel's actual life?"

Then I realized I misheard her and thought "Who's Billy Joe?"

Robby Benson was also in The Godfather Part II, which I never bothered to see. I saw Part III back when it first came out to theaters, and didn't like it or hate it. Then I finally saw The Godfather on DVD a couple years back, and it was bad. Aside from [SPOILER ALERT BUT UNLESS YOU'RE A FILM BUFF OR 75 YEARS OLD YOU WON'T WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE SO IT DOESN'T MATTER] the part where the guy gets shot at the toll booth, it really was slow-moving and boring. And I couldn't understand Marlon Brando at all. That's not acting; that's talking with your mouth full.

So we're back to you don't know about Robby Benson unless you're Sweetie.

Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm About Him: This is an actual fact Sweetie shared with me about Robby Benson yesterday:

His full name is Robin.

To which I said:

"That's kind of weird."

We then had this exchange:

Sweetie: "I know. I thought so."

Me: "It's kind of a girl's name."

Sweetie: "Yes, it is."

Me: "I know about Robin Williams, and Robin Hood, but still... Robin is a girl's name."

Sweetie: "I know."

So you can see that the romance has not left our marriage.

Also, Robby Benson has been married for 27 years and has two kids, Lyric and Zephyr. I thought for a second there that those were names of the muses, which I would then say was okay because Robby Benson is in the arts, but they're not. They're just words he liked.

Celebrities: Just name your kids regular names. People named "Zephyr" start out a couple steps behind the rest of us in achieving things in society, you know. People named Zephyr, and Kal-El, and other weird names.

Addition: Sweetie also reminded me, after she read this, that she'd mentioned that Robby Benson auditioned for the part of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. That would've made for an interesting kind of movie: Luke leaves Tatooine and heads off with Han to deliver Artoo to the Princess, only to get sidetracked by an ice-dancing competition three parsecs from the Kessel Spice Run, and then wins by batting his eyes a soulful manner.

Reason I Thought Sweetie Liked Him:

Because of this:

Which is a picture of Robby Benson taken back in the 1970s or something, when it was totally cool to take what were essentially child-porn pictures, like that one, or like this one:

Which is the picture that comes up when you Google Ice Castles, so what I assumed is this: Sweetie, having watched Beauty and the Beast 100 gazillion times since we bought it, got nostalgic for the time when she was the only person, ever, who watched Ice Castles, and googled it, got Robby Benson in his underwear, and fell in love all over again.

Actual Reason Sweetie Likes Him: "When I was little I liked him, and Randolph Mantooth and Mark Spitz... I've always been a sucker for guys with dark hair and blue eyes. Plus, Robby Benson just has that innocence about him."

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Actual Reason For Liking Him: I am notably lacking in the departments of (a) blue eyes, (b) dark hair, (c) hair, and (d) being named Mantooth.

But that latter one is actually a plus on my side. Also a plus? I've never worn anything like this:

On the minus side of my scoresheet are that I've also never worn this:

or this:

But I'm thinking of breaking out that outfit for our anniversary next month. Rrrwowr!

Click here to see all the Hunks of the Week, ever. 

W is for "Wait, didn't you do W yesterday?" (A To Z Challenge, Star Wars Blogathon)

Lots of people have ideas on how we could speak to aliens, or learn to do so, at least.  Wired Science, in an article I didn't know about when I wrote about the same thing, said scientists think should first learn to talk to dolphins.

eHow, on the other hand, takes a more serious approach, recommending that you meditate outside in your underwear.  That may seem weird, but it's just a preface to telling them you want to make the sexy times with them; eHow's tip number 7 is:

  • 7
    Ride in their ship if you like. You may not have a choice. Establish an ongoing relationship with them by telling them you want to participate in their breeding program.

  • Sure, that works for aliens, but when I tried it with girls in college, oh, the looks I got.

    Even Forbes got into the act, interviewing scientists about the best way to talk with aliens. My two favorite ideas? Forget the holographic movie about life on Earth, and instead consider these old-school  proposals:

    In 1820, German mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss proposed cutting an enormous right triangle into the Siberian pine forest, creating a monument to the Pythagorean theorem big enough to see from outer space. Twenty years later, Austrian astronomer Joseph von Littrow expanded on that idea, suggesting the excavation of huge trenches in the Sahara desert, which would be filled with kerosene and set ablaze. 

    That. Would. Be. Awesome.  Assuming that the aliens (a) see in our spectrum of light and (b) have angles.  Who says they'd have to have angles at all?  Maybe they never discovered the Pythagorean theorem.  Maybe they have Brifgel's Theorem, which states that straight lines are impossible to make because all time and space is curved, and so there is no such thing as a "right triangle."

    Granted, part of that theory is stolen from Einstein, who had some thoughts on the matter, including the fact that your so-called "triangles" have more than 180 degrees in them and that when you throw a ball into the air you are actually traveling into a fifth dimension.

    The name Brifgel, by the way, is my alien name; according to this site, to make your own alien name, you must use the first three letters of your first name, the first letter of your middle name, and the last three letters of your last name. Which makes the President's alien name Barhama, while his presumptive competitor, the word presumptive being applied by party leaders since Republicans can't believe that they have a choice between a Mormon and a black man for president this year which means that probably the record numbers of people turning in their US citizenship are Tea Partiers, is Wilmney.

    Man, even Mitt Romney's alien name sounds stuffy and boring.

    Which brings me to David Icke.

    David Icke has a site on which he promises to "Expose the dreamworld we believe to be real," and the site looks every bit as Matrixian as that sounds, with all greens and blacks and headlines about things like "Vibrational Awakenings."  This is straight off his Wikipedia page, this being precisely the kind of thing I would actually trust Wikipedia for:

    Icke was a well-known BBC television sports presenter and spokesman for the Green Party, when in 1990 a psychic told him he was a healer who had been placed on Earth for a purpose, and that the spirit world was going to pass messages to him so he could educate others. In March 1991 he held a press conference to announce that he was a "Son of the Godhead" – a phrase he said later the media had misunderstood – and the following month told the BBC's Terry Wogan show that the world would soon be devastated by tidal waves and earthquakes. He said the show changed his life, turning him from a respected household name into someone who was laughed at whenever he appeared in public.
     And this, too, is from the Wikipedians:

    At the heart of his theories lies the idea that a secret group of reptilian humanoids called the Babylonian Brotherhood controls humanity, and that many prominent figures are reptilian, including George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth II, Kris Kristofferson, and Boxcar Willie.

    Wait, what?  I mean, I'm more than willing to believe that George Worst President Ever was controlled by reptilian humanoids

    but let's not drag Boxcar Willie into this, what do you say?

    Also, who is Boxcar Willie?

    I googled him and found out he's a dead country-western singer, which means that the Babylonian Brotherhood is not very good at selecting their pawns.  Country-western singer?  You'd have been better off picking The George Baker Selection, because who could resist the seductive harmonies of Una Paloma Blanca?

    After resigning from his broadcasting position, announcing that he was the son of the Godhead and sometimes intimating that he might be the actual son of God, then declaring that the world was going to end in 1997, Icke was criticized openly by the press and the public, which Icke seemed to think was unfair:

    One of my very greatest fears as a child was being ridiculed in public. And there it was coming true. As a television presenter, I'd been respected. People come up to you in the street and shake your hand and talk to you in a respectful way. And suddenly, overnight, this was transformed into "Icke's a nutter." I couldn't walk down any street in Britain without being laughed at. It was a nightmare. My children were devastated because their dad was a figure of ridicule
     That seems sad until you consider that David Icke gives lectures that cost up to $100 to attend and which lure several thousand people to them and that his website draws 600,000 hits per week and is apparently doing okay financially.

    And the alien connection?  According to Icke, the reptoid Babylonians are not just reptiles who ingest monatomic gold to speed up the processing of nerve impulses to make them supersmart, but are extradimensional extraterrestrial aliens who reside in the "lower levels" of the 4th dimension and who have themselves mated with humans and other aliens.  The reptoids -- Annunaki, I think they're called but I can't be sure because I've barely spent any time "researching" this -- are descended from reptilian aliens around the constellation Draco:

     Which makes perfect sense because everyone knows that constellations are like little star subdivisions and those stars in that constellation are probably only about 50 feet apart (less with a zoning variance, but the Constellation Council is notoriously stingy with those).

    The Annunaki mate with humans to create the chosen ones for political reasons, so simply volunteering for their breeding program probably won't work, thanks for nothing, eHow!, and anyway maybe you don't want to because the Annunake also breed with an alien race called the Nordics which produces Aryan-almost-human people.

    The Annunaki are, by the way, using the moon to control your mind, which is why if we'd all listened to Iranian-American mathematician's proposal to blow up the moon, we'd be better off in numerous ways.   Why do we even bother having a space program if we never use it to blow something up, is what I'd like to know.  Every single other program the government runs has blown something up at one time or another.

    Yep. Every single one.  Medicare once deliberately exploded my grandpa's favorite rocking chair.  He swore that was a true story and that's why he hated the revenooers.

     So that is my W post. Or my second W post.  I'm not even sure where I'm going with this, but that probably doesn't matter because thanks to the Reptoids and Alien Nordics, I probably don't have free will anyway -- only a small portion of the people do, Icke points out, with the remainder of humanity being divided into sheeple that do what they're told, and "Red Dresses," software people whose bodies are only holographic projections.

    I assume I'm one of those Red Dressed, because I can not lose any weight, no matter how hard I exercise.  And now I know it's not that I have pizza for breakfast, it's alien reptiles controlling me from the moon.  That's certainly a relief!

    Here is Question 61 in the Great Star Wars Blogathon!

    Who disguised himself as the bounty hunter Snoova, and what was he trying to infiltrate?

    With apologies to Andrew, I'm not sure how I could make the questions any harder what with me not knowing much of anything about Star Wars and simply cribbing these from other sources. Commenter number 3 gets the 10 bonus points if (s)/he is not a reptilian alien or commenter number 2; the last commenter gets 10 points, and don't forget:

    Write your blogfest entry! The Triweekly Blogfest Challenge -- prize is $10 -- is to post something on the theme of "Han shot first, but Time-Traveling Elvis shot second" by April 29.  Leave a link to your post in the comments to this post. You'll get 100 points for posting it, plus 5 for mentioning the blogathon.

    You can get 1,000 points by mentioning the Yellow Hill fundraiser on your blog; here's the post where I explain that, and you can  click here to go directly to the Yellow Hill fundraising page.  If you don't want the points, you can in the alternative link to/mention it and get a free book of mine.(Find my books here.) (If you've done this, leave me a link and I'll get you the points.)

    And I'm going to put another bounty out: 500 points if you get Julian Darius, or anyone from Martian Lit, to leave a comment here. 

    Here are the Star Wars Blogathon standings; check your point total here.

    Now, here's some more George Baker Selection:

    Wednesday, April 25, 2012

    W is for "Whoa, nelly, I've got a lot of work to do" (A To Z, Star Wars Blogathon)

    And so today you only get a quick question, plus that POP!Best I posted today.  Plus some thoughts on how money in politics sometimes literally means money in politics, but that's on another blog.

    So here's question 60, worth 30 points:  What type of ship smashed into the Executor, sending that Star Destroyer crashing into the Death Star?

    Commenter number 5 gets 10 extra points.  Last commenter gets 10 extra points.  In response to Andrew's questions from yesterday about points: I invoke my Fifth Amendment right to counsel, and, for good measure, my Third Amendment right to have no troops quartered in my house.

    And in response to PT Dilloway's comment? U is also for Whoa, Nelly, I've got a lot of work to do."

    STUFF, and Junk:

    Write your blogfest entry! The Triweekly Blogfest Challenge -- prize is $10 -- is to post something on the theme of "Han shot first, but Time-Traveling Elvis shot second" by April 29.  Leave a link to your post in the comments to this post. You'll get 100 points for posting it, plus 5 for mentioning the blogathon.

    You can get 1,000 points by mentioning the Yellow Hill fundraiser on your blog; here's the post where I explain that, and you can  click here to go directly to the Yellow Hill fundraising page.  If you don't want the points, you can in the alternative link to/mention it and get a free book of mine.(Find my books here.) (If you've done this, leave me a link and I'll get you the points.)

    And I'm going to put another bounty out: 500 points if you get Julian Darius, or anyone from Martian Lit, to leave a comment here. 

    Here are the Star Wars Blogathon standings; check your point total here.