August 31, 2007

The Return Of The Humans (with apologies to Steven DenBeste)

Humans have started hanging out in the back yard of The Pond again. It's a group of about 10, mixed male and female.

Yesterday I fed them a bunch. This morning I didn't see any, but I put out soda and pizza anyway. However, it ended up being ant food instead of human food.

Not totally; about half of it is still there, but it's been picked over pretty fine. Probably end up being food for the local humans, or children, or whatever the heck they're called. Gawky pink humans with brown hair and little round pieces of glass over their eyes. They're really quite unattractive, but I don't have the slightest idea what they are. (Update: I just did some googling, and they're called 'nerds'.)

This area is lousy with humans, but there aren't really all that many kinds. Last year there was a Spaniard in the stream a couple of times, and that was genuinely cool. But what we normally see are Italians, Swedes, those little nerds, us ducks, and Germans. I don't think I've seen a door-to-door salesman since I moved back here. (When I was a kid, I remember door-to-door salesman being everywhere. I wonder what happened to them?)

I'm a little afraid for the field behind The Pond. There are a couple of green tractors trundling back and forth over the whole thing, with the words "John Deere" next to them. Clearly someone is picking corn, and it makes me wonder if the farmers, or someone else, plans on replanting with soybeans.

UPDATE: I'm not expecting to see that Spaniard back again, either. It was standing on top of one of the improvements put in by the local human civil engineers, fishing in the drainage stream behind it. Unfortunately, last winter men from the county came through here and pulled out all the stuff the engineers had put in, the spoil sports. I don't really understand why they did it, either. I thought the stream was a lot neater the way the engineers had it set up.

Of course, for engineers, flooding is a bug, not a feature. That's probably the reason why. Regardless, our creek is no longer inviting territory for Spaniards, so I doubt it will be back.

Our humans aren't redheads. They used to be, though. None of the ones around now have red hair. But some of them have pocket protectors on their shirts; I'm assuming those are geeks.

I'm wondering if my memory has gone bad. I could have sworn the humans were nerds. Of course, one possibility is that the nerds are the winter shift, and the whatever-the-heck-is-out-there-now (geeks?) is the summer detail.

UPDATE: Actually, they might be nerds. It might just be that there are no calculators around. The pocket protectors apparently are for 'math majors'.

(see the post this is blatantly ripped off from here)

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August 23, 2007

Bizzybizzybizzy...

Okay! It's CHRISTMAS!!!

Let me explain.

As you're aware, I work at the Duck U. Bookstore. Yes, I'm one of those people, squeezing ridiculous amounts of cash out of poor struggling college students, yadda yadda yadda.

Whatever. Don't get me started.

Anyway, it's that time again. Froshducks move in on Saturday. Classes for everyone begin on Wednesday. From today thru end of the month, the Duck U. Bookstore will do roughly 1/3rd of our yearly sales.

Gonna be a little busy... I WILL post coverage of the Turkish GP activites, but I may not get to much else.

Of course, some might say that I don't do much else anyway...

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August 12, 2007

Greatest. Headline. Ever.

THIS has to be the all-time greatest bit of unintentional humor. I can see the hundreds of spit-takes from the unsuspecting readers now.

Mr Headline Writer, thank you for making us feel all warm and tingly... again.

Bravo.  Bra-frickin'-vo!

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August 11, 2007

62 Years

Earlier this week saw the 62nd anniversary of the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. As is always the case, there were the usual gatherings of protester groups around Duckford, deploring the use of Fat Man and Little Boy. Usually I ignore these uninformed people, knowing that they are simply kneejerking to the anti-war sentiments of the Cold War era.

Unfortunately, I went to a grocery store today, and in the parking lot was a small group of noisy protestors. None of them were over 30, I'd guess, and none of them had any grasp of the history of the Pacific War, other than that the US was bad for using nukes.

A moment of insanity later, I found myself in a discussion with them. Unfortunately for them, I could answer any of their claims and provide references, to boot. Why?

I wrote a short paper on this topic a few years back, as part of an argument I was having.

Of course, they weren't really listening to me, one even going so far as to claim that the Japanese military was 'a band of noble warriors'. When I asked them about Unit 731 and Bataan (the first two things that lept to mind), they all gave me blank looks.

In the end, I told them that I agreed with them: nuclear weapons are terrible things, and I hoped they'd never be used again, but I disagreed with them regarding their use in WWII... and that I'd put my paper here on The Pond for them to read.

If any of them are reading this, welcome and click below for OLYMPIC AND TRINITY. If any of my usual readers have gotten this far, I'd enjoy your thoughts! more...

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August 08, 2007

Something Completely Different.

Thanks to the good offices of Vaucaunson's Duck, I've recently been exposed to the glories and wonders of "A Bit of Fry and Laurie."

May I now present... The Barman Sketch.

It's a beautiful thing.

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Nope, It's Merde all right...

The rain that was supposed to occur last night actually happened around 1pm today, and it just bucketed. Animals were walking by the Duck U. Bookstore in pairs, though I didn't see an annoyed, long-bearded man in robes anywhere nearby.

Unfortunately, you may have seen something about Duckford on TV yesterday, as we DID get flooding... just not anywhere near the Duck U. campus. It was an area of town that was flooded during last year's Labor Day storm ... That particular day was termed a "100 years' storm"... which puts the past few days in perspective, I suppose.

That area of town hadn't yet recovered from the flooding of last year, now they got it again. Is the Gorebot nearby or something? It must be global warmening! Or coldening. Or, more likely, raininging.

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August 07, 2007

Merde. (UPDATE: Not So Merde After All)

My phoneline is down at The Pond, so I may not be around much for a couple of days... we had something like a half-foot of rain last night, and all of Duckford is suffering.

UPDATE, 1030pm: Honey, I'm home! The phone came back about 20 minutes ago, about 24 hours sooner than was predicted... they must've found the break/water-damage/whatever.

Quite the interesting day, all told. As I mentioned, Duckford got a half-foot of rain overnight. When I went to bed, it was raining, but nothing out of the ordinary. From people I spoke to, around 4am all hell broke loose, and there were sightings of pairs of animals heading north.

By the time I woke up (around 720am), the rain had stopped, and around The Pond there was no obvious sign that there had been anything untoward about the storm. It was on the drive in to Duck U. that I started to notice little things... like entire yards covered with water, or big honkin' trees down, or live power lines sparking and zatzing in the road... that seemed to indicate that something large had happened.

Then the city evacuated the land to the west of Duck U. The U. is positioned on top of a hill, y'see... along with a 'water retention structure' located in a park. Said structure (aka 'dam') was about, oh, a foot or so from being overfull (additional rumors were that the dam was leaking and about to let go), and was beautifully positioned to swamp a chunk of the business district to the west.

As you can guess, we weren't all that busy at the Duck U. Bookstore today. When I did leave, I went to pay a visit to Momzerduck and Ph.Duck, and drove by the park in question... which was completely submerged. I noticed one of the baseball diamond backstops, just the top of which was visible... eep.

However, all is right now... except it's damn hot, and really damn humid.

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August 05, 2007

EVERYBODY PANIC!!!

Earth to go splat on the Sun like bugs on windshield.

When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

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August 01, 2007

I-35W Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis

About 3 hours ago, a major bridge across the Mississippi river collapsed during rush hour in Minneapolis. I-35W is a large traffic artery in the Twin Cities, and this bridge carries an average of 100K-200K cars every day. It's very close to the U of Minnesota (MSP Campus), and near Dinkytown.

Breaking news shows six dead, six in life-threatening condition, and dozens (possibly hundreds) with 'minor' injuries. The whole bridge just fell down with no apparant warning. We're not just talking about some of the bridge, but the entire thing. The section over the river, the sections that run to the land, everything.

photo from cnn.com

The bridge was an "over-under" span, with a road bridge over a rail bridge. There was a train loaded with tanker cars on the bridge when the road span collapsed on top of it.

Photo from wcco.com

Eyewitness reports say that there "had to have been" hundreds of cars bumper-to-bumper on the bridge at the time of the collapse. There was construction ongoing on the bridge, but not structural: pothole fixes and that sort of thing.

Fortunately, Ph.Duck's family, many of whom drive this bridge every day, have all checked in: everybody's okay.

photo from wcco.com

I lived in Minnesota for two years, and have driven across this bridge dozens of times. I'm just... stunned.

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