Monday, June 30, 2008

Reflections on the John Adams Show...

I just finished watching the last part of John Adams tonight. I have to say it was excellent. Once again HBO has done a great job with a non-fiction book being turned into a mini-series.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were NOT the last two signers of the Declaration of Independence to survive.

Charles Carroll of Carrollton, one of the four signatories from MARYLAND was the last surviving signer of the Declaration.

There are some other things that need to be fixed, but I couldn't let that pass without a rebuttal.

Despite the error, watch this mini-series. It is very very good and Paul Giamatti does a very good job as John Adams.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The John Adams Show...

I'm watching my newly purchased DVD set of John Adams. I just got through part 1 tonight, which deals with the Boston Massacre and Adams' defense of the British soldiers and then to his departure for Philadelphia, PA.

So far I really like it. Giamatti does a serviceable job as Adams and Laura Linney is very good as Abagail.

Aside from the acting, the scenery is excellent and I'm still wondering how one does an accurate tar and feathering scene like they did without making it look fake.

Doing stupid things...

Last night I tempted fate.

Seriously, I came close to disaster but I survived.

What did I do?

I lifted a 99 lb TV by myself with a back that's gone "BOING" twice in the past and will do so again. (According to the docs it's not "if" but "when" I'll pinch my nerve again.)

However, I did it. The TV is on its new stand. I've ordered cable. There's a little more than a month before pre-season football and I'm in the last 9 weeks of my course work for Grad Degree II. Life is pretty good right now.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin 1937-2008...

George Carlin died yesterday. This is a great loss of the comedic history of the United States.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Good-bye Twitter...

I've removed Twitter from my blog.

Why? Well, I only really can use it from my job via the IM function. It's fast and unobtrusive. For MONTHS that feature has been down and I'm not seeing anything from Twitter that makes me think they are close to solving it.

So, like an old time saloon keeper taking care of a patron who is too drunk to keep paying, I'm throwing them out.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I now own...

An exercise bike.

And I have already used it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Last week of laziness...

Okay, this is it. My last week off before the final quarter. I just got my grades for the previous quarter, they're all good so I just need three more credits to graduate with the Masters of Science in Library and Information Sciences aka MSLIS.

In keeping with my enjoyment of a week off, here's what I'm reading, in addition to the Forbes Trail Guide:

Yep, nothing else says a fun couple of weeks off than reading about the very violent end to World War Two in the Pacific.

Actually I'm a latecomer to Max Hastings' works. I picked up Armageddon: The Battle for Germany 1944-1945 when I was commuting back and forth from Northern VA in 2005. I really enjoyed it. It was a broad sweeping history of the end of World War Two in Europe and very crisply written. He was able to cover the major topics without getting too far into the minutiae to bore readers but still provide enough detail to provide a clear picture of the events.

Retribution is so far written with the same quality. I'm very pleased he's actually writing about the war in Indochina which for most Americans is truly the forgotten theater of World War Two. There's more to come like the liberation of the Philippines and Iwo Jima and the bomb, but I haven't gotten there yet.

So, based on the first hundred pages I've read, I definitely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the subject.

Friday, June 13, 2008

French and Indian War Guide for Review

Just got something in the mail today!

I was sent this guidebook to review so I'll be uncapping the red pen and taking notes. It's a good sign that Fred Anderson wrote the Preface. If you don't know who Fred Anderson is, he wrote the best modern history of the French and Indian War (in my opinion); Crucible of War: The Seven Years' War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766.

More to come.

Quick someone talk some sense into me...

Okay, it's that wistful two weeks between quarters at Drexel's On-Line MS Program in Library and Information Science.

In fact it's the last two weeks I will enjoy between quarters for I am due to complete my degree at the conclusion of the summer quarter.

This means I will have no academic requirements to meet. No readings to read or blow off, no papers to write and no assignments to complete.

Just loans to pay...many many loans.

Now as I am looking at this chasm of academic inactivity, I find myself wandering to the University of Delaware's graduate program page. Dr. Nick...hmmm sounds interesting.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Heh, this is a dumb line but...

Can you smell the rocks we're cooking?

Yes, it's time for another tangent on what's doing at NASA today. And it's that the Phoenix lander has successfully gotten its first sample of Martian soil into its oven for analysis. We're looking for water or evidence of water on the Martian surface or just below the surface of the polar regions. The idea is if we find water, we'll find life.

Please enjoy this brief training film on Martian Life:

Monday, June 09, 2008

As I was ruding while I was sayly interrupted...

My apologies for the dearth of posts, but grad school work just knocked my blogging schedule right on its keester.

Okay...historically, what's been going on:

Well, tonight was the first night of "When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions" on the Discovery Channel. I have been pleased with the footage they've shown but they really just threw people right into the narrative with no prep. The space race really goes back to WW2 when the Germans were working on missiles and the Americans and Brits were building A-bombs and the Soviets were looking on with concern. I wouldn't have minded a bit more prep-work, heck even a pre-show just about that at 8pm EST. But that's water under the bridge.

This is definitely a show worth watching and worth buying on DVD. First, it's probably one of the last times we get to see interviews with some of these people. We're down to TWO of the original SEVEN Mercury Astronauts. The mission control staff and the engineers aren't getting any younger either and the New Nine and Astronaut Group 3 aren't spring chickens themselves.
Second, people, your kids need to see this. We went to the moon with computers that were less sophisticated than what's in our CARS. We went on kerosene, oxygen, hydrogen and slide rules.

Think about that.

Also, just for grins here's my favorite crew of the entire history of the US space program:

(NASA Image found at: GRIN)
This is the crew of Apollo 12. Left to right: Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon and Alan Bean. They made the first pinpoint landing on the moon and actually brought back pieces of another space probe that had landed years before. In addition, they were probably the closest buddies of the Apollo crews and had more laughs on the way to and back from the moon than any other crew.
I'll take people who enjoy their jobs for $200 Alex.

You can read the Apollo 12 Flight Journal HERE and the Apollo 12 Surface Journal HERE