Well, after the last couple of days at work, I may have to get a t-shirt from these guys after all. If the exchange rate evens out before Christmas, that is. It began late Tuesday afternoon, with spectacular proto-thunderstorm clouds on the west side of the mountain, which yielded to a film noir backdrop of a low, lumpy pre-tornado layer on the southeast side by a couple of hours before sunset. Then, by the time it got dark, the large mass of clouds had faded to a lei po`o during the night that allowed stargazing for us and observing at the summit, but with fog in between. On Wednesday morning, beautiful cirrus clouds curved in many directions, translucent and tentacular. And finally, by Wednesday afternoon, some not-quite-realized lenticulars high up to the south. All in all, the solid clouds that prevented observing for most of Wednesday night weren’t as unwelcome as if they had come without the earlier stuff. It also reminded me that cloud types are about as welldefined as are planets.

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Dulce et decorum est

24 March 2007

There are at least three reasons that, elaborate protestations by everyone from the director to reviewers to the contrary, 300 is a highly political movie. Furthermore, the kind of political ideals the movie espouses are exactly those that almost never declare themselves openly, because they don’t come across so well in open debate. The three things that I think demonstrate political intent are listed here as themes of the movie:

1. war is exciting and good, and death in war is glorious death

2. brutal military dictatorships are very concerned with freedom and justice

3. the small number of good guys defending civilization are anglo-european, while the barbarian hordes ravening to destroy motherhood and apple pie are brown or black

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Someone, no doubt, has researched extensively the way in which those pesky Hibernian Celts brought one of the best holidays to America. But I haven’t. So I’ll just say happy (belated, to most of you dear readers) Halloween. Enjoy it, and remember Edward Gorey fondly.
To get your daily dose, pick up a John Bellairs book. They’re fabulous.

The A-Team

10 July 2006

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These organisms promptly escaped a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune.

If I were assembling a team of heroes, I’d include both Suicide Squid

And the lesser-known, but still powerful, Bristol Sloth

If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire. . .