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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Look! VIDEO of me frying those Thanksgiving turkeys!

When I first posted about this Thanksgiving's deep-fried turkey earlier this evening, I forgot to mention that for this past holiday's music to fry to, I chose to use Steve Jablonsky's soundtrack for Gears of War 3. Should have made a note of that earlier 'cuz hey, that kind of thing is important to my personal ritual of deep-frying turkey. Kristen and my friends that I was frying for all thought that it was a terrific score and perfect for the occasion :-)

Well, a short while ago Kristen surprised me with this video that she put together of me preparing the turkey in the kitchen and then putting it into the oil... which turned out to be the most dangerous bird that I have yet to fry!! No seriously: a tiny bit of hot oil jumped up and hit me in the face. It startled me for a second or two but there was no burn (thankfully!). Still, it was a sobering reminder that this is dangerous and it takes considerable forethought and a bit of lunacy to attempt :-P

Okay well without further ado, here is my girlfriend Kristen's video that she shot and edited together!

Once again, great job Kristen!! I especially loved the end credits (including that lil' jab at PETA :-)

Pics of this year's Thanksgiving fried turkey!

As I have done (most) Thanksgivings since 2002, I deep-fried some turkey! Just now getting the pics up 'cuz my girlfriend Kristen stayed here for the holiday: our first Thanksgiving together! And she was the one taking the pics and I hadda wait until she got back home to pull them to her computer and send them to me. So for those who had wondered if I fried turkey this year: ohhhhh yeah!!

In fact, I fried two birds this Thanksgiving. The first for another family that are good friends of mine, and the second was ours. Kristen was there to photo document most of the entire process.

Here I am with that crazy look that I get whenever my mouth starts salivating for fried turkey. It was probably a good thing that Kristen spent this Thanksgiving with me: she got to see how I really am when it comes to deep-frying turkey. I'd been warning her for months that this was coming, but to see it with her own eyes... well, nothing could have truly prepared her. You know how in the past few movies that he's done, how Daniel Day-Lewis gets that murderous glint in his eye before going psycho on some poor shlub? Well, that's pretty much me at this time of year...

Injecting the bird with garlic butter. I began marinading at 4 a.m. on the day before Thanksgiving, and gave each bird three full treatments of marinade and Cajun seasoning!

More marinading after giving a bird a healthy dose of Cajun seasoning. I pour gobs of the stuff onto the skin and then vigorously rub it in hard and deep...

Thanksgiving morning: pouring the cottonseed oil into the pot, which will soon be heated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit...

CAREFULLY lowering the turkey into the oil...

45 minutes later (cooking at 3 minutes per pound) the turkey is done! :-)

Now all that's left to do is carve into it and eat it! And everyone agree that it was incredibly delicious as always! Kristen said that it was lived up to the hype :-)

Now, only 25 days before I get to do it all over again. The second-most deadly form of cooking known to man (after preparing fugu) and in the tenth year of doing it, I haven't burned the house down. Yet. Let's hope my streak of good luck continues for many more years to come :-P

Thanks to Kristen for taking such great photos!

So last night I finally got to watch the mid-season finale of THE WALKING DEAD...

I didn't dare watch it until I went over to my girlfriend's place, 'cuz I've gotten her hooked onto this show and we've taken to enjoying it together. And since she was out of town when "Pretty Much Dead Already" - the last new episode until February - aired on Sunday night, we both held off on catching it until we could hook up again.

So now that I've finally seen it, let me reiterate what I've said all since last night about The Walking Dead's mid-season finale...


Awright, I'll admit that I am not a routine television viewer but even so: if this episode didn't firmly establish The Walking Dead as THE finest show currently being broadcast, then I can't possibly imagine what could be.

The whole heapin' episode was some of the finest television ever scripted and shot. Again, I have to observe that this show is not so much about a "zombie apocalypse" as it is about the intensely and very real human drama. It's what this show does best and "Pretty Much Dead Already" pegged the needle before breaking it off and sending it spinning wildly. Witnessing the tensions rising among Rick's band of survivors and then the clashing with Hershel, culminating in those last five minutes outside the barn where Hershel and his family have been keeping well over a dozen walkers.

If it had stopped with Shane's screaming and ensuing slaughter of the walkers, it would have been a solid point to leave things until February. But then, that one final walker had to come out of the barn...

That might have been the most disturbing and haunting payoff of a lingering plotline that I've seen in a long time. Maybe ever.

It's gonna be a long three months until February. But if the show resumes then with as much high-caliber storytelling, we are gonna be in for something insanely good.

Oh yeah, I couldn't make it out last night but going back on my DVR in high-def: Hershel's Bible study as he eats lunch is Luke 8, beginning with verse 22. That particular selection is about Jesus calming the storm, His healing of the demon-possessed man at Gerasenes, the healing of the woman who had long suffered a bleeding sore and the raising of the dead girl, Jesus sending out the Twelve Disciples, and the feeding of the five thousand. Don't know if that has any bearing on the story but, well... now y'all know :-)

Fan-made BIOSHOCK movie trailer channels all the right vibes!

Okay, I gotta ask: am I the only fan of BioShock who is not really all that jazzed about BioShock Infinite? Because unless that game solidly connects to classic BioShock, I just can't see counting this upcoming game as part of the canon (no offense to Ken Levine). To me BioShock is and always will be about Rapture: that mysterious city on the floor of the northern Atlantic, envisioned by Andrew Ryan to be the ultimate escape from a world surrendering itself to socialism and corrupted religion... before it all went horribly wrong. And there is sooo much more storytelling left in the classic BioShock franchise. I mean, BioShock 2 brought us to, what, 1968? Now you know that eventually the American and Soviet governments are going to come looking for Rapture. And when they do...

Well anyhoo, until we get a proper BioShock 3, behold this awesome fan-made trailer for a BioShock movie, featuring Bobby Darin's "Mack the Knife" as appropriate background score!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The last Lauryn photo

Here it is: the post that I have somewhat dreaded having to make because it's going to plunge a lot of single guys out there into tears.

Lauryn, my ravishingly beautiful cousin (okay, "second cousin" if we're going to be technical about it) who has served as The Knight Shift's official pin-up girl for the past few years, was married to her boyfriend Jason over the weekend! I'm so very happy for the two of them, even though this blog is losing one of its biggest attractions!

(But hey, I lose a poster gal and I gain some family: not a bad deal, and I've another single lady waiting to be the next beautiful attraction on this site :-)

So here it is: the very last pic of Lauryn that I foresee posting on this blog (barring family reunions etc.) Fittingly it's of her being escorted by her father at her wedding...

Congratulations Lauryn and Jason! And may God bless you all the days of your life together :-)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011: What I am thankful for

For the Thanksgiving last year, I did not make a post like this. That's because a year ago I was in the midst of what I've since realized was the longest, darkest and most spiritually trying period of my entire life. Last year at this time, feeling thankful seemed like the last thing that I could muster up.

What a difference a year makes...

If anybody had told me that twelve months from then, that I would be at a totally different place, I could not have believed it. And trust me: there were lots of good friends who were doing their best to encourage me then. Telling me "Chris, God hasn't given up on you! The best is yet to come! You will get through this!"

I've never enjoyed telling so many people that I was wrong and they were right, as I have been compelled to do these past few months.

And today, today... well, I can't feel anything but so very thankful for what God has blessed my life with!

So here I am, picking up again what I hope will continue to be an ongoing tradition of this blog.

I am thankful that this past year has been the very first that I have been able to completely enjoy without my bipolar disorder making life a living hell. And I am also thankful that I have been able to write about that on this blog, and apparently it has become a boon for others who must live with this condition. I'm going to begin writing more about Being Bipolar very soon, incidentally. But that I have been able to at last get a grip on my own mind has been an incredible blessing!

I am thankful for having two very wonderful parents, who have been there for me and encouraged me and have been a bigger inspiration for me than I should have been thankful for already.

I am thankful for my sister, who I honestly have not appreciated nearly enough but hope to do better by that.

I am thankful... and extremely thankful at that... for having what honestly must be the most wildly awesome circle of friends that a guy could possibly have in his life. So too many than I could come close to naming them all.

I am thankful for the many new friends that I have made since 2011 began.

I am thankful for Theatre Guild of Rockingham County and the sense of family that I have come to enjoy from working with so many incredibly talented and wonderful people!

I am thankful for new opportunities.

I am thankful for my iPad: truly an indispensable gadget!

I am thankful for ballroom dancing, which I have come to enjoy more than I had expected and I'm looking forward to getting better at it.

I am thankful that I got to read a bunch more books in this past year (including Atlas Shrugged at last).

I am thankful for the music of "Weird Al" Yankovic, which became a huge catalyst for some insanely good things in this past year!

I am thankful that I finally got to see The People vs. George Lucas and that so much of my own movie got to be part of it and is now making people all over the world laugh to our work!

I am thankful for the chances to travel that I have come to have.

I am thankful for the second chances to make right the mistakes of my life.

I am thankful for Kristen, the abundawonderful lady that God has brought into my life. She is not merely my girlfriend. She is... my soulmate, my sister in Christ, the one who I can always count on to make me smile when I need it most, the girl who has made me more happy than I can ever remember being in my entire life. I am truly thankful beyond words for God bringing us together and, well... I'm soooo looking forward to seeing where He takes us from here! :-)

But most of all, I am thankful to God. And I am thankful that He has brought me through the grief and suffering of the past few years and to a place where I am closer to Him than I have ever been able to be before! I am thankful for the faith that I now have in Him: a faith that had been there before but is now stronger, more resilient, more yielding to Him and His will than I have had before in my life. I am thankful that God brought me through the darkness, that He was faithful and true even when I could not feel Him, when I couldn't even believe He was there at all. But He was. He has been with me and He will always be with me and... I thank Him now that if it took the hardship to draw me into this deep a relationship with Him, that I did endure it.

And last but not least, I am very thankful for you, The Knight Shift's readers, who come to this humble lil' blog and (I like to think anyway) enjoy the insights and commentary of its eclectic proprietor. The readership of this site has grown immensely in the past few years and, I count myself as the luckiest guy on the Intertubes that so many good people come to this place on a regular basis. I hope that I'll be able to keep y'all entertained, educated and Lord willing even enlightened a bit for many more years to come :-)

Fortieth anniversary of Dan Cooper's skyjacking

Forty years ago tonight, a man calling himself Dan Cooper arrived at Portland International Airport and purchased a ticket for Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305: a short flight to Seattle.

Shortly after taking off, "Cooper" passed a note to the stewardess: "I have a bomb in my briefcase. I will use it if necessary. I want you to sit next to me. You are being hijacked."

So began the tale of what has become one of the most brazen and legendary (some have even said heroic) crimes in American history...

Cooper (often referred to as "D.B. Cooper") showed what he purported to be a bomb (some red cylinders in his briefcase that later turned out to be harmless), demanded $200,000 in unmarked bills, and four parachutes: two loaded in the front of the plane and two in the back. After the plane landed at Seattle-Tacoma the demands were met and the Boeing 727 took off again.

At around 8 p.m. Cooper bailed out of the rear of the plane, holding onto his newly acquired satchel of cash. Along with the parachute he wore the business suit he wore when he boarded the plane: seemingly no protection at all against the elements, but Cooper by all accounts was cool and confident nonetheless.

Hurtling himself into pitch black night with freezing rain and driving wind, Cooper was never seen again.

Here's the Wikipedia entry about Dan Cooper, where you can find out much more regarding his infamous skyjacking along with the various theories that have cropped up over the past four decades.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Department of Homeland Security issues turkey fryer safety warning

Janet "Big Sister" Napolitano's Department of Homeland Security (okay let's be fair, it was George W. Bush's "brilliant" idea first) has decided that turkey fryers are a dire threat to national security. "Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before placing in a fryer", the DHS is warning in a new video.

Hey, Janet Napolitano: I'm a hella lot safer with my turkey deep-fryer than anyone is with your X-ray body scanners! You know: the X-ran body scanners that YOU REFUSE TO PUT YOURSELF THROUGH.

Who do these people think they are?

Charlotte TV station reports "Man Killed To Death"

You mean there's another way to do it?!

That's from WBTV-TV 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Tip o' the hat to Mark Childrey for finding this :-)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

48th anniversary of the JFK assassination

Here's a rare photo from happier times, when Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby and "White Hat" were still a band...

Fifteen years after first seeing that and it's still about the gosh-darned funniest Photoshop job that I've ever beheld :-)

Monday, November 21, 2011


I have reposted stuff on this blog twice in the past, on rare occasions. But never three times. This deserves it though (and no doubt will be posted again in years to come).

It's been two years since the last time I shared this YouTube video. And since this is the week of Thanksgiving (yes I've already begun preparing to deep-fry a bunch of turkey) and there are perhaps still a lot of people who've never enjoyed this before, I thought it was well worth posting again :-)

It's the short film Thanksgiving With The Kranzes. Produced a few years ago by aviation students, it's a dead-on hilarious parody of Ron Howard's movie Apollo 13.

It is Thanksgiving 1970. This year it's Gene Kranz's turn to host the traditional dinner for his NASA colleagues. The heroic crew of the Apollo 13 mission has been given the command of the kitchen. But then... something happens.

"Take-out is NOT an option!"

Watch now the film that the real-life Gene Kranz has taken to watching with his family every Thanksgiving!

Quote from yesterday evening

"It's Shake 'n Bake and I helped!"
Said aloud by me, at the end of the prologue from last night's The Walking Dead.

Go watch it from your DVR or from iTunes or whatever if you wanna "get" that joke :-P

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A ponderance on the Church, Christ and Christian liberty

There are some who throughout the history of Christianity have claimed to be the "one true church": the only legitimate body of Christ that came into being at Pentecost in the days following the ascension of our Lord. I speak not of those who acknowledge parity with brethren of however peculiar perspective who yet profess Christ as Lord, but instead of those who deign to be the exclusive institution established by divine mandate. Such are the ones who incessantly badger, harass and even lust to destroy their fellow servants out of the notion that doing so makes them "first" in the sight of God and man (mostly man).

Such people are terribly ignorant at best, and outright liars at worst. Invariably their founding tenet is that they are the sole custodians and guardians of "the pattern" of worship found in the New Testament.

Therein rests the fallacy of their argument. One that betrays as much a lack of faith in God as it does an ignoble grasp of theology.

Because to claim to be the "one true church" or the "restored church" or whatever is to imply, nay confess before all that Christ's Church is so invirile, so impotent, so corruptible and so weak that it has not survived and prevailed for these two millenia!

So let me put it succinctly and with some bluntness: the New Testament age... never ended.

Oh sure, the New Testament writings came to an end, when John finished his manuscript in his cave on Patmos. The time of the apostles eventually drew to a close when John died.

But the New Testament era itself?

Nope. It's still here. We're living it even now.

Where is the church of the New Testament, then? I'd say: pretty much anywhere and everywhere. It's wherever it needs to be. It is what-ever it is required to be! It becomes... all things unto all men, so that Christ is preached.

Who are the New Testament Christians? Me and... well quite a lot of people, I can tell you that! And a lot of 'em, are some that many of us don't appreciate that they are seeking after and serving the Kingdom just as we are, albeit perhaps in different ways.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about something that Billy Graham is famous for saying: "Go to the church of your choice." And he's right. Go and worship at the place where... well, wherever it is that you believe that God is leading you to worship Him at. It could be at a Methodist church. Could also be a Baptist church. Or a Presbyterian one. Or a Roman Catholic assembly. Or a Mennonite place. Or a Seventh-Day Adventist congregation. Or a Church of Christ. Or a Lutheran gathering. Or Pentecostal. Or... need I go through them all?

So long as it is a matter of sincere conscience between you and God, it does not matter where I or anyone else tells you to worship Him at. You aren't even obligated by any of us to attend regular worship services if that is how He is leading... but as the writer of Hebrews cautioned, there is a danger in complete forsaking of assembly.

The New Testament Church didn't go away. It's persisted and endured for nearly two thousand years. It is not a brittle thing ready to collapse at the first mild breeze, but a robust edifice built upon a firm foundation. And though I wouldn't dare ascribe any like import to my own writing on par with that of Jude or James, I can at least smile a little in the assurance that mine is a role not unlike Polycarp (in spirit if not in style). The church survived those early years in spite of the weaknesses of men like Peter and Paul, and it will endure in spite of this man's weaknesses also.

I am the New Testament Church... and so can you!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Some classic listening for a Saturday night

From a time of much better music. Here is "November Rain" by Guns N' Roses...

Yes, I have posted this before. Since it's November again and we're looking at a lot more rain in the next few days, it seemed appropriate.

And also because this is one of the greatest songs in the history of anything, to say nothing about the masterpiece of its accompanying video.

Friday, November 18, 2011

First poster for THE EXPENDABLES 2

2010's The Expendables was twelve scoops of action insanity with sprinkles on top! Saw it at the theater with my good friend Steven and, it just all-out assaulted our eyedrums and earballs with high octane metal mayhem and madness. In short it was exactly the kind of movie that we used to dream of seeing happen back in the Eighties and Nineties... and then some!

So if putting all that action heavyweight into the same film was gloriously good fun the first time, what might we expect from The Expendables 2, due this coming summer?

Ah-nuldt, you should have stayed in acting all this time instead of playing at governor of California. And looks like we're gonna get a whole new heapin' helpin' of Chuck Norris whup-ass!

The geek in me wants this movie to premiere first at ActionFest, 'cuz I've been going to that festival since it began in April of last year and it's the perfect venue for this sort of thing! But if not, I can wait 'til August :-)

World's lightest solid material

Crazy buff for wild engineering that I be, this lil' news item just blows my mind...

A team of researchers from the University of California at Irvine, HRL Laboratories and the California Institute of Technology have come up with a metal lattice material that is the lightest solid yet discovered. As you can see in the photo above, a sample of it can be perched atop a dandelion without damaging it at all. This stuff has less density than the air surrounding it! It's also much stronger than aerogel: the previous "lightest solid" title holder.

It's stories like this, friends and neighbors, that still give me a reliable sense of optimism about the future. Who knows what the uses and demand for this stuff will end up being.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An open letter to Ron Price, member of the Rockingham County Board of Education

Dear Ron,

Five years ago last week, on the night before the election that included the names of you, me and fourteen other individuals on the ballot for Board of Education, you were involved in an incident that continued to make headlines long after the polls had closed.

In the many months following that incident, there were individuals who attempted to extract a measure of accountability from someone who was by that time a duly elected public official. I was one of those, as you well know. It is not only a matter of public record what I did with this blog regarding the events of November 6th, 2006, but a legal one also, as I was subpoenaed during your lawsuit against another party.

I am not writing this to reiterate what it is that you may have done, or to again press claim for what I sincerely believed was required from the seeking after a higher standard in good conscience.

I have had much time and opportunity to reflect upon what I did on The Knight Shift following those events. And now, I cannot but be left with the conclusion that the vast majority of my actions in that matter came not from a spirit of civil responsibility but, unfortunately, a heart of wrongful disposition.

So I am asking you now to please accept my apologies. I have come very much regret that I went too far, and that I failed to consider whether my own actions were earnestly in accord with the better angels of my nature. Indeed, I now recognize and do acknowledge that much of what I did to you in the name of pursuing justice, was far too much of an akin spirit to certain few in this community who revel in spite and trade in rancor and grief.

That, is not the sort of person that I wish to be or would ever want to be associated with.

And I don't believe that you're a person like that either, Ron. You're only human, like me. You made a mistake, like I have... many more times than I care to count! Maybe it took going through what I have had to endure in the past few years to appreciate anew what it is to be here by the grace of God. Maybe it took going through that to realize that I should have done my best to extend the same grace to you, instead of harping about it too many times than was ever necessary.

So now, tonight, I do extend you my most heartfelt apologies for my own part in that matter. I hope that we can move on from here, as two people who only want the best for Rockingham County and its people. I do believe you have the best interests of the children of Rockingham County at heart, and I am glad that I can now tell you that I do count you among the fine men and women who are serving the schools of this community.

I don't want this bothering me anymore, Ron. I don't want you to think that I will always hold this against you, because I don't. I was petty and inane, and I should have been better than that. And I'm thankful for the opportunity to try and make this right.

Chris Knight

Government redefined reality: Pizza is vegetable, Brillo pads are illegal gun silencers

What is it about food that brings out more than the usual looniness from government? Remember when California tried to impose the "snack tax"? And before that it was President Reagan who sought to have ketchup officially deemed a vegetable.

Now the squabbling between the Obama Administration and the Republican-held Congress has made it so that pizza is to be classified as a vegetable. The article is nigh worth reading, if only because it is the first (and I pray last time) that this blogger has ever agreed with the food Nazis at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (hey, a stopped clock is right twice a day...)

But that's not the most ridiculous act of federal gubmint to come across this desk today, folks. No, that dubious honor belongs to the assorted thugs and goons at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which has now declared it illegal to possess Brillo pads, Chore Boy Pot Scrubber and similar cookware scouring/cleaning material, depending on how it is construed. From the article...

"[S]ound/gas absorbing materials manufactured from Chore Boy copper cleaning pads, along with fiberglass insulation, constitute a silencer.

Therefore, it is illegal for an individual to replace deteriorated material within an already- registered suppressor without an approved ATF Form 1, 'Application to Make and Register a Firearm,'" along with a "$200.00 making tax" and "a 'no-marking' variance...since there is no viable area in which to apply a serial number to the sound-absorbing material."

The article further states that "The original letter included a question about the owner of a legally owned silencer having a reserve of such pads. In case, you know, they needed to clean something. According to the ATF that would be considered a "stockpile" and considered an illegal act."

So in the BATF's eyes, there is an illegal stockpile of munitions, ohhh... inside the cabinet beneath every kitchen sink in America.

I wouldn't put it past the BATF to seek warrants to invade private property on those measly grounds.

William Shatner and State Farm make weird Thanksgiving safety video

One week from today I'm gonna be up to my elbows in marinade, Cajun seasoning and all kinds of other good stuff as I prepare three... count 'em, three... turkeys for a hot fryin' bath in cottonseed oil. Yes it's that time of the year again, when Yours Truly goes bonkers for the deep-fried turkey! As has been done in years before, expect photos chronicling the art, and perhaps even a video or two.

However I cannot emphasize it nearly enough: deep-frying turkey is potentially a very dangerous activity. I haven't been burned (yet) but there have been a few close calls, despite taking every precaution that I know of. To me it's worth the risk because deep-frying honestly does produce the most tender and succulent meat that you'll ever get from any method of cooking a turkey, and I suppose that there's always going to be a possibility of injury with any activity involving a heat source. Unfortunately the vast majority of turkey frying disasters happen because those doing the cooking overlook some ridiculously simple and even common sense issues pertaining to the peculiarities of deep-frying.

And speaking of things "peculiar", State Farm Insurance has produced this wacky and fun public service announcement starring the one and only William Shatner! So without further ado, here is The Shatner in "Eat, Fry, Love"...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street finally ends as police clear park

Two months after it began with no clear mission, Occupy Wall Street was brought to a conclusion as New York's finest cleared out Zuccotti Park in the wee hours of the morning.

Now all that's left is a "campsite" ridden with disease, drugs, rape and Lord knows what else.

Might I make a suggestion for cleanup, courtesy of a certain Corporal Hicks...

"Nuke the site from orbit.
It's the only way to be sure."

Monday, November 14, 2011

HALO: COMBAT EVOLVED for the Atari 2600

Tomorrow is the tenth anniversary of the release of Halo: Combat Evolved. Arguably the most influential video game of the past decade, the first installment of the Halo series drew in millions of loyal players with its combination of breathtaking beauty, tactical ability and mythology on a vast scale.

Fittingly, tomorrow will herald the arrival of Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary in stores. It's the original game with remastered graphics for the high-def Xbox 360 (and you can even switch between the look of the 2001 Xbox game and compare it to the shiny new veneer). But one clever dude named Ed Fries has decided to go really old-school in the classiest way possible: adapting Halo: Combat Evolved as an Atari 2600 game! Yes it's true: Halo 2600 lets you guide Master Chief along on the surface of Halo in his fight against Grunts, Elites and other forces of the dreaded Covenant in all the glorious graphics that 1977's technology had to offer. It's quite a charming lil' conversion, be you a die-hard Halo fan or nostalgic for the 2600 (or both, like me :-) Check it out!

Strange things are afoot in the deserts of China...

Bunches of e-mails, tweets and Facebook discussions today about some downright mystifying patterns that users of Google Earth have spotted carved into the floor of the Chinese desert.

Gizmodo has been on top of this story since it first came to light and you can find pics of many more odd structures. Some readers have also pointed me toward SlashGear's discussion of the patterns. Some of these configurations are huge: one has been measured at being approximately 18 square miles (or 29 square kilometers for our Brittish brethren and others using Metric reckoning).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

THE WALKING DEAD tonight: They grow 'em ripe on Hershel's Farm, don't they?

Y'know, I grew up on a farm. Saw a lot of sicko stuff, like that time the vet came to work on one of Dad's cows. He made an incision in its side and for some reason, Dad had to stick his arm into it, right up to his elbow, to do something with its stomach. One of its stomachs anyway, 'cuz a cow has four, but anyhoo...

NOTHING I saw living and working on that farm however, compared to what the kindly good Christian veterinarian Hershel Green was found keeping in his barn on tonight's The Walking Dead.

"Chupacabra" was one whacked episode, extra-trippy. We got a glimpse of the early days of the zombie apocalypse with that very cool shot of Shane and Lori watching from afar as the United States military opens fire with missiles and napalm on downtown Atlanta. Stuff like that just leaves me hungering for more fluff about those days gone by. Then there is the increasing tension between Rick's band of survivors and Hershel's family.

Andrea, dear Andrea: the Twitter feeds are screaming for your blood tonight. Be darned thankful that you only grazed Daryl, who even before that happened, had already demonstrated that he's the most hard-core bad-ass of the survivors. But what the heck was with that necklace he made?! Shades of Apocalypse Now there...

Then came the worst dinner party ever, Glenn sitting at the card table with the other kiddies before he attempted a midnight tryst in the hayloft at the barn, only to find that Hershel has at least a dozen walkers paddocked-up inside. Ummmmm... yeaaahhhh I know why they are, 'cuz I read some of the graphic novel. But even so, 'twas quite a shock to see that realized on the small screen.

A very, very solid episode, but I'm hoping the search for Sophia gets wrapped up pretty soon 'cuz it's beginning to wear thin.

And please, in the name of all that's good and holy, keep Andrea away from the guns!!

EDIT 10:47 p.m. EST: My girlfriend Kristen thinks that we should refer to that mob of walkers in the barn as "Hershel's Herd" from now on :-P

See BS: Tiffany Network caught discriminating against Paul, Bachmann

If CBS or any other "major media outlet" alleges that this is a matter of time constraint, then I'm gonna have to call it that I see B.S.

Look, five years ago I was one of sixteen candidates for school board in my home county, and in the final week before the election we all took part (well, one of us declined to participate, but that's another story) in a public candidates forum. A "debate", if you will. And each of us got ample time to state our beliefs and opinions on the various issues. For the very same questions, mind ya. Many people to this day still tell me that they got a kick out of my answer about whether school boards should have the power to tax: I told the audience "Look, if I get on that board and we have that power, there are good people on that board but I'm telling you now: DON'T TRUST US!! Don't trust us with that power to tax you!" But I digress...

The point is, even with a considerable number of individual candidates for office, there is PLENTY of equal time and opportunity to be afforded them by the organization sponsoring the debate... IF that organization is determined to be fair, balanced and impartial, that is.

Didn't Howard Stern once say that the term "Tiffany Network" reminded him too much of the name of a prostitute? If so, then last night CBS was certainly caught in the act of selling out its principles. What few it had left anyway...

During yesterday evening's televised debate of the Republican candidates for President, Ron Paul was given a scant 89 seconds of airtime to answer questions and lay out his claim for the Oval Office. Fellow candidate Michelle Bachmann received similarly reduced on-air exposure. The lion's share of the questions and time for answers went to Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich.

It is now a clearly documented fact that CBS was practicing deliberate discrimination against those candidates that it believes the American citizenry would do just as well to ignore.

CBS political director John Dickerson inadvertently forwarded the Bachmann campaign an e-mail stating that Bachmann would not be given much show time because...

“Okay let’s keep it loose since she’s not going to get many questions and she’s nearly off the charts in the hopes that we can get someone else."
CBS later said that they were trying to be "realistic" since Bachmann is "polling" about 4% nationally.

And this blogger says: that don't don't hunt. A study released last month by University of Minnesota notes that Ron Paul, though polling a strong third or fourth nationally, has been given the least amount of debate time during every televised forum.

Now if this ain't intentional bias and discrimination on the part of a major television news outlet, then... what is it? How can anyone defend CBS - and indeed, most of the more corporate-run press in this country - as being an objective and impartial observer of this country and this world?

Some are probably reading this and no doubt determined to tell me "Chris, CBS is a multi-billion dollar corporation and you're just a guy with a blog: what the hell do you think you can do about it?"

True, I don't have CBS's viewing numbers.

But I can document that network's abuse of journalistic ethics. Which in my opinion, this is an example of.

And there are a lot of others out there in the ether of the Intertubes who are likewise documenting it.

Meanwhile, networks like CBS keep losing viewers, 'cuz there are a lot of folks out there who are getting sick and tired of seeing B.S. too.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day is today

Do you want to know why Veterans Day is on this date?

It was November the 11th, 1918, at the 11th hour, that the armistice took effect and the guns of the Western Front fell silent.

World War I, the Great War, the "war to end all wars", had drawn to a close.

Veterans Day - a day which has come to honor all American veterans - was originally a day set aside to honor the service of the millions of soldiers from the United States who went "Over There" to fight in the trenches of Europe.

And this Veterans Day is the first that we have ever had without even one of those brave men and women among us...

Frank Buckles, the last surviving "doughboy", passed away in February of this year. He was 110 years old.

They are all gone now.

May we never forget them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First track from THE GREATEST MIRACLE score

Good friend of this blog Mike Casteel sent this to me. It's from a movie called The Greatest Miracle, that I had not heard of until a short while ago and I had to do more than the usual amount of Google-ing to find its official website. From its synopsis...
The Great Miracle is an inspiring story which illustrates hope and faith. The story revolves around the lives of three characters which are in crisis:

Monica, a widow and the mother of a nine year old child, doing everything she can to keep her house.

Don Chema, a public transport driver who receives the news of a disease which can eventually lead to the death of his son.

Doña Cata, an adult woman who feels her mission in life has already concluded.

The stories intertwine as they feel a great feeling of being in the Church.

And what they cannot imagine is that something is about to change their lives forever.

It's a 3-D animated movie: the first one that I know about to be produced from a spiritual perspective. And I'm curious enough about it that I'd like to check it out sometime.

Until that happens, here's the first track from its score, composed by Mark McKenzie. And it's a rather beautiful piece! Here it is for your listening enjoyment :-)

iOS 5.0.1 has been released

If you've an Apple iOS device that's been plagued by battery problems from iOS 5, be of good cheer: iOS 5.0.1 is now available, and it's said to put those high-drain issues to bed!

This is also the first time that iOS can be updated "over the air" via a Wi-Fi connection, which is what I just did with my iPad 2. It's by far the most straightforward process I've ever experienced in upgrading any operating system. Just go into Settings and tell your iOS gadget to check for an updated version. From there it was just a simple matter of about 40 MB of download and the iPad running from there. Total update time: less than 10 minutes. I bet my Dad could even do it... and he hates computers! :-P

Anyhoo, iOS 5.0.1 is out there now. You know you want it...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Darren Aronofsky's four horrifying anti-meth PSAs

Anti-drug ads have sure come a long way from an egg dropped into a frying pan...

Darren Aronofsky, the filmmaker behind Pi and Requiem for a Dream, has produced four public service announcements for the Meth Project, warning against meth abuse.

Here's one of them...

And that's not even the most disturbing example of Aronofsky's latest work.

GeekTyrant has collected all four of them for your convenience. But be mindful: these are all pretty harsh. One of them is intensely disgusting. Consider yourself duly warned.

Bil Keane, creator of FAMILY CIRCUS, has passed away

The very sad news today is that Bil Keane, creator of the long-running comic strip Family Circus that has entertained readers for more than half a century, has died at the age of 89.

Family Circus was one of the best examples of what comic strips could be in their finest form: entertainment for people of all ages. As Keane once said in an interview...

"We are, in the comics, the last frontier of good, wholesome family humor and entertainment... On radio and television, magazines and the movies, you can't tell what you're going to get. When you look at the comic page, you can usually depend on something acceptable by the entire family."

His friend Charles M. Schulz, the late creator of "Peanuts," once said the most important thing about "Family Circus" is that it's funny.

"I think we share a care for the same type of humor," Schulz told The Associated Press in 1995. "We're both family men with children and look with great fondness at our families."

A lot of people today are no doubt going to share their favorite Family Circus cartoon in remembrance of Bil Keane. This blogger however is choosing not to do that. Because my most very favorite cartoon that Bil Keane did wasn't for Family Circus at all!

It's from April 1st 1997, the day of the now-legendary "Great April Fools' Day Comics Switcheroonie". Forty-six comic strip artists "swapped places" with each other for a massive April Fools gag that played out across the funny pages. To many people, myself included, the very first sign that something was amiss that day was when we turned to read Scott Adams' Dilbert and found this instead...

And in case you're wondering what Scott Adams did to Family Circus, click here.

Thoughts and prayers going out to Bil Keane's family today.

Thank you for sharing Billy, Jeffy, Dolly, P.J, Mommy, Daddy, Barfy, Sam, Kittycat, Not Me, Ida Know, and Grandma with us Mr. Keane. Through them, you brought us many years of great laughs and good memories.

Grinch Obama's heart grows three sizes in a hurry as "Christmas Tree Tax" is called off

Late last night this blog joined numerous other outlets in reporting that the Obama Administration was set to impose a 15-cent tax on all freshly cut Christmas trees. You can read that initial post for more information, including some stuff I came across during a bit o' investigatin' (I'm still curious as to who the heck the people behind "Christmas Tree Promotion Now" are...)

Looks like Obama and gang got the message: the tax is being put on hold. But not without some snide commentary from the White House...

White House spokesman Matt Lehrich told ABC News that despite some media coverage, “I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama Administration is not taxing Christmas trees. What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.”

Nonetheless, the criticisms have apparently had an impact as the program is now being delayed.

I did not know until a comment left on my post last night that the "Got Milk?" campaign is funded with money taken from farmers without their consent by the Department of Agriculture. This "Christmas Tree Tax" would have done much the same. And in the case of the dairy farmers we're talking thousands of dollars extracted from their budgets each year. No doubt that the larger commercial milk producers can easily pay that. But as someone who grew up on a small family-run dairy farm and knows people who still operate small farms well... let's just say that five or six thousand dollars a year ain't chicken feed.

More and more I'm inclined to believe that this scheme to tax Christmas trees came in part - however large or small - from larger tree growers. Can't outright prove that mind ya, but even so: it would be good to know who the people are behind the Christmas Tree Promotion Now outfit.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

You're a mean one Mister Obama! President to impose "Christmas Tree Tax"

This is not satire and it's not from The Onion. I already checked and it's true...

President Barack Obama's administration is trying to impose a 15-cent "Christmas Tree tax" on all freshly-cut trees intended for Yuletide celebration. Fifteen cents on the sale of every tree to... get this now... "enhance the image of Christmas trees and the Christmas tree industry in the United States."

Okay, two things that already stick out in this blogger's mind: that this is a tax without any representation or due process, regardless of what the administration is arguing. Indeed, within the text of the "order" issued by the Department of Agriculture it is found that "...the assessment provided for in this type of program is not a tax nor does it yield revenue for the Federal government. These producer and importers funds raised by producers and importers are for the benefit of producers and importers."

What. The. Hell?!? Ummmm this is an attempt to use the force of the federal government to extract from us money against our consent, and they have the audacity to say that this is not a "tax" because it's doesn't "yield revenue for the Federal government"?!

If it's not for the Federal government then what is this money being taken from us for?!?

And then I have to make note of how I'm hard-pressed to see how this isn't acting in respect toward an establishment of religion. True, there are many Christians who do not celebrate the holiday of Christmas, and that is fine. However, I can't find in the text of the order or anywhere else in the Federal Register that there's going to be a parallel tax imposed on Kwanzaa Trees.

Here's the official text of the legislation from the Federal Register. Feel free to peruse it for yourself. Feel even more free to be honked-off at what must be the most ridiculous act of big government in recent memory...

...but I've no doubt that even worse is being thought of as I write this.

EDIT 11:33 p.m. EST: Someone left a comment earlier about how this tax was coming at the urging of the Christmas tree industry. So that led me to performing some research and investigation...

The Department of Agriculture is saying that this request came from something calling itself the "Christmas Tree Checkoff Study". Until tonight this cryptic group barely appeared anywhere, except for the proposal and order in the Federal Register and this website at checkoffstudy.blogspot.com. I went to that errr, "industry site". All I found was that there are ten people said to be from the Christmas tree industry who met with Department of Agriculture to push for this tax. However I can't find out anything about who exactly they are.

Well, further along at checkoffstudy.blogspot.com it is found that Christmas Tree Checkoff Study is allegedly acting at the behest of an outfit called Christmas Tree Promotion Now. Christmas Tree Promotion Now has a slightly more proper website at christmastreepromotion.com... but there again, there can be found NO information at all about who exactly constitutes this "industry-wide group of producers and importers".

In the past hour or so I've contacted two friends who each grow Christmas trees for commercial sale, and they didn't know anything about this tax either until I told them about it. Nor had either of them ever heard of Christmas Tree Checkoff Study or Christmas Tree Promotion Now.

I don't think it's an invalid question at all: WHO is asking for this tax? Let's see some names!

And I'm especially curious about knowing that, in light of this statement on Christmas Tree Promotion Now's Frequently Asked Questions...

Why not a voluntary program?

Voluntary marketing efforts have had success in the Christmas tree industry; however the challenge has always been the ability to sustain funding. A program that provides fair, consistent funding for promoting farm grown Christmas trees is needed so that all producers and importers can benefit.

There will always be a small minority attempting to side step the system. Because this would be a Federal program, then those who are assessed are legally required to comply.


And that "there will always be a small minority attempting to side step the system" so there needs to be "a Federal program" to make those dissidents "legally required to comply"?!

That is government-enforced thuggery at its worst!

Again, I would like to know who exactly is pushing for this tax. As things stand at this moment, there are only two possibilities that come to mind: either it is the Obama Administration itself, or it is... well, let's just call it "crony capitalism".

85-year old grandma reels in 849 pounds of marlin!

Very cool story from Down Under today...
An 85-year-old Australian woman said she "didn't feel 85" when she reeled in a 849-pound marlin off the north coast of Queensland.

Connie Laurie, a grandmother who said she has been fishing all her life, said she was on a fishing charter trip during the weekend off the coast of Cooktown when she caught, and then released, the hefty marlin, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Monday.

"I certainly didn't feel 85 when I was bringing it in, I was too busy concentrating on keeping it on and getting it into the boat," she said.

You go Grandma!! Gotta love reading about stuff like this :-)

"Smokin' Joe" Frazier has passed away

Former heavyweight boxing champion Joe Frazier, better known to his many fans as "Smokin' Joe" Frazier, has passed away at the age of 67. His death comes just days after publicly disclosing that he was fighting liver cancer.

Frazier will always be remembered as one of the greatest - some say the greatest - boxers in the sport. His 1971 bout with Mohammed Ali that saw Frazier keeping his belt would still be considered one of the most legendary matches of all time. But even that was eclipsed by the "Thrilla in Manilla" a few years later: the third and final fight between the two and the end of Frazier's attempt to win back the heavyweight title.

But y'know, it doesn't matter that he didn't, not really. Joe Frazier was one of the greatest in the ring and he was a true gentleman out of it. A guy with as much heart and love for God and others as he had for his sport. He will always be a man remembered for those qualities.

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family tonight.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

THE WALKING DEAD tonight made Chris go freaking bonkers!!!

For the record, that was the MOST intense scene that I have personally witnessed from any television drama. If you saw it then you know what I'm talking about even if I don't say it: the walker down the well at Hershel's farm and how the gang uses Glenn as, ummm... bait.

No kidding: I was screaming HARD and grabbing the sides of my head during that part. Kristen was hollerin' loud too! That was definitely one of the best filmed and edited sequences that I've seen in a very long time.

The Walking Dead has been consistently raising the bar with each passing week and tonight's episode, "Cherokee Rose", upped the ante across the board. Especially watching Shane wrestle with the internalized anguish of the choice he made at the high school in the previous episode. That and the interaction between Rick and Hershel: a character who I am enjoying more and more every time he gets screen time. Sorta reminds me of the "man of science versus man of faith" dynamic that Jack and Locke had on Lost.

And speaking of The Walking Dead, longtime friend and fellow blogger/geek Geoff Gentry directed my attention to the website of Bear McCreary, the composer of The Walking Dead's music. Prior to that he scored Ronald D. Moore's Battlestar Galactica series. McCreary maintains a blog on his site in which he discusses his musical work and the process of composing for television, and it's quite a fascinating read! The latest thing he's shared via his site is this very cool video of himself doing an "accordion orchestra" of one of the pieces from Battlestar Galactica. Check it out!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES orchestral score needs YOUR voice!

In what has to be one of the coolest efforts at crowdsourcing ever, composer Hans Zimmer has put the word out that he needs our vocal talents for next summer's The Dark Knight Rises: Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman film.

Want to contribute? All you gotta do is record yourself repeating the same crazy chant that's been heard in the teaser that came out a few months ago. As Zimmer puts it...

"I'm shining the bat-signal up into the sky to call you all! We need to hear your voices! Now and Loud! We are creating the sound of a worldwide chant. Everyone come and be part of it. It's easy: There is no such thing as out-of-tune, no timing we can't fix later. If you mumble, growl, scream or whisper, it's all good. Make it yours. If you only get halfway through, no problem! Do it alone, bring your friends, but do it with energy and commitment. Let your voice be heard and be a part of our adventure!"
The chant itself is apparently "Deh-shay, deh-shay bah-sah-rah, bah-sah-rah", which means in Moroccan "He rises, he rises!" Go to the project's main site, read and agree to the rules, then start chanting away! Who knows: that could be your voice booming across those IMAX speakers come July!

Andy Rooney has passed away

Only a month after his final appearance on 60 Minutes, the sad news is coming out this morning that commentator/curmudgeon Andy Rooney has passed away at the age of 92.

Whether you enjoyed his segments or not (and there were more than a few which were downright infuriating) it can't be denied that Rooney was one of the most accomplished performers of the very fine art of satire. The man had a way with taking the routine and miniscule elements of daily life, and turning them into fodder for good laughter... and even serious contemplation. Even if one didn't appreciate his cantankerous style, Rooney was still to be respected for his many years as a broadcast journalist, especially his time as a war correspondent on the front lines of the European theater in World War II.

Thoughts and prayers going out to his family today.

Friday, November 04, 2011

German public TV airing "Patterns of Force" - AKA the Nazi episode of STAR TREK - for first time tonight

Forty-three years after it first aired on American television in 1968 as part of Star Trek's second season, "Patterns of Force", the episode that had Kirk, Spock and the crew of the Enterprise looking for a Starfleet historian and finding an alien civilization modeled after Nazi Germany instead, will be broadcast for the first time tonight on public television in Germany.

Why hasn't "Patterns of Force" been widely aired (it was made available as a pay-per-view episode previously) until now? The official reason is that later in the episode, the Nazi era is described as "the most efficient society” in Earth's history. But widespread consensus is that the extreme hesitancy regarding "Patterns of Force" mostly has to do with what remains the shocking and startling image of James T. Kirk in an S.S. officer's uniform (along with Spock's similar attire, before being captured and tortured in the only scene in Star Trek history that has Leonard Nimoy without a shirt).

Maybe not as fun a watch as is "A Piece of the Action", the other classic Star Trek episode about cultural contamination. And I remember one of the episode's own creators calling it "pretty hokey" in retrospect. But even so, that "Patterns of Force" (read more about the episode at Memory Alpha) is finally getting serious airtime in Germany is a pretty fascinating thing.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Airline "security" costs: $85 billion and 900,000 lost jobs

It can safely be said ten years after the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration that the federal government's efforts to make air travel "safer" constitute one ginormous cluster%#@&.

Now we have an idea of the economic impact: $85 billion wasted and 900,000 jobs destroyed. From e-Travel Blackboard...

After a decade of enhanced aviation security post 9/11, US Travel Association president Roger Dow is set to testify in a Senate Committee Hearing on 2 November, claiming current security procedures are hampering travel and US economy growth.

According to the US Travel Association, the US economy is missing out on $85 billion in consumer spending and 900,000 jobs because American travelers are avoiding flying due to the “hassles of air travel”.

“A 2010 study…found that American travelers would take an additional two to three flights per year if the hassles in security screening were eliminated,” the US Travel Association said.

“The price of security has come at the cost of efficiency and billions of dollars are being lost every day.”

I'm telling y'all here and now: whoever running for President right now will come out and tell us that the Department of Homeland Security was one of the biggest blunders in the history of anything and that it should be scrapped completely, will go a long LONG ways toward earning my vote a year from now.

(Tip o' the hat to Lee Shelton for directing my attention to this article.)

Fifteen years ago today, I found God

I'd wondered throughout today if I should make a note of it on the blog. Finally I remembered what The Knight Shift is here for: to chronicle my thoughts and reflections, to document the occasional odd adventure (or misadventure), and more or less journal my growth through life's journey... including (more often than not) the mis-steps.

Well, today is a big deal to me. Especially looking back on those first few years, and then this past year which saw me fall into the darkest valley that I've yet known... before God brought me through and closer to Him than ever before.

I have failed and fallen more times than I would have liked. But all the same: it was fifteen years ago today that I first became a follower of Christ.

Not a "Christian". I've never preferred being "only a Christian". It always had to be about relationship with God for me, instead of mere religion. And thankfully, God put some amazing people into my life at that time, when I was studying at Elon, who demonstrated beautifully that to follow Christ is a relationship not to be entered into lightly... but it is also the most rewarding relationship that I have ever known.

Fifteen years later and I really can see how far He has brought me. Just as I can see that God has been there every step of the way with me.

Chris, Dalerie, Brent, if you happen to read this site: fifteen years later, I haven't forgotten our time together that day. I hope you are all well, and I'm sorry that we all seem to have lost touch. But I am still following Christ, as best I can. I am thankful that He put the three of you there at the start of this journey. I'm still seeking after Him, so very grateful for where He has taken me already and... just excited about where He might yet be taking me!

Fifteen years later and I really can see how far He has brought me... and how much more growing I still have ahead of me.

And that's a good thing :-)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Meeting Addy Miller AKA the little girl zombie from THE WALKING DEAD

Just over a year ago AMC's hit series The Walking Dead premiered. And in its very first minutes it introduced us to what has since become one of television's most iconic images of horror ever...

The "little girl zombie" that Rick Grimes comes across during his early traipsing across a post-apocalyptic Georgia. A few months ago when the Blu-ray set came out I wrote about how disturbing it was to see that this sweet innocent cherub-turned-flesheater had a mouthful of braces.

Well, this past weekend at Woods of Terror north of Greensboro, we got to meet this young actress! Her name is Addy Miller and in addition to The Walking Dead she's already notched up quite an acting resume already. She'll soon be appearing in Plan 9 (a remake of Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space) and will also be in next year's The Three Stooges biopic.

And here she is with Kristen and me!

Addy autographed a photo for us, writing on it "You're next!"

But I couldn't resist asking her something that had been bugging me since getting the Blu-ray set of Season 1: were those her real braces? Turns out: nope! Addy told us that it was all prosthetics and makeup, that they made molds of her jaws and that was a rotting decaying appliance that we saw instead of her actual teeth. VERY cool!

Addy is a delightful actress and it was very much a pleasure to have the opportunity to meet her. Here's wishing her all the best with her career :-)

Classic SESAME STREET: It's not HDTV, it's H-TV!

The bloggin' might be sparse the next few days as I am going out of town on a mission of considerable import. So in the meantime...

It occurred to me this afternoon that I haven't posted a vintage Sesame Street clip in a good long while. The ones with Bert and Ernie seem to be especially popular. So here's one from the 1970s (way before the advent of 1080P) which finds Bert plagued with "H" all over his television screen...

I remember this sketch cracking me up bad when I first saw it as a pre-schooler! Thirty years later, it's lost none of its hilarity :-)

J.R. Hafer delves into aviation history with new blog

Good friend of this blog J.R. Hafer has a keen mind for a vast array of topics: everything from real estate to our mutual admiration of the late Popcorn Sutton! And now J.R. has turned our attention toward another one of his interests: the history of manned aircraft. J.R. Hafer Aviation Blog went live a short time ago and it promises to educate, illuminate and entertain with matters of aviation. Like, I didn't know until today that the world's first scheduled commercial flight was on January 1st 1914, made with a Benoist XIV (right) soaring across Tampa Bay in Florida.

Here's wishing you all the best with your new blog J.R.! Looking forward to seeing what else you're gonna post :-)

Gotta love cocker spaniels!

Every so often... okay very often, I find myself on YouTube looking at videos of dogs and puppies. And after seeing this one, I couldn't resist sharing. I've had two cocker spaniels in my time and... well my heart just melts at the sight of them.

Anyhoo, this is a clip from a puppy breeder up in Canada, and it has to be one of the sweetest and cutest videos that I've ever found on YouTube. I couldn't resist sharing it :-)