August 29, 2008

"The Most Entertaining X-Ray We've Ever Seen."

One lone duck's revenge:

Seems this dog decided to swallow his... oh god, it hurts to type this... his CHEW TOY.  Well, the duckie got his revenge, as the dog required emergency surgery to remove the offended vulcanized anadatae.

Power to the Duckies! 

(ps: I'm glad the dog is okay, click the linky for more x-rays)

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August 27, 2008

Owtch! That's GOTTA Hurt.

From a statement by the Chicago Sun-Times Editor-in-Chief, Michael Cooke, regarding the resignation of the execrable Jay Mariotti from their sports section:

The Chicago Sun-Times had the best sports section in the city before Jay Mariotti came to town -- that's why he signed up with us -- and his departure does not change that.  We wish Jay well and will miss him -- not personally, of course -- but in the sense of noticing he is no longer here, at least for a few days.

Wee-owtchy-owtchy-ow-wow.  (via)

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August 23, 2008

A Bird Dies In Valencia

Is that what I think it is?

Hello, little birdie!  You must be deaf, eh?

Um... climb faster, you feathered rodent!


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August 21, 2008

Flight Deck Round-Downs... Why?

The early days of aircraft carrier design saw a lot of different concepts that eventually went by the wayside.  Such "innovations" as multiple flight decks (so airplanes could launch directly from their hangars),  transverse-mounted catapults that launched planes perpendicular to the direction of travel (ditto), longitudinal arrestor wires, arrestor gear at both bow and stern (so if one end of the flight deck had a hole in it, the ship could steam in the other direction and launch planes from the undamaged end), carriers without islands, the list goes on and on.  All of these elements made sense, however, and one can see why an Admiralty could think they were good ideas at the time.

One design feature of some early carriers, however, has always struck me as being particularly pointless, with no redeeming features whatsoever: the flight deck round-down.

HMS Hermes
As can be seen in the above picture, a round-down is a sharply sloping portion of the aft end of a flight deck, a location particularly unsuitable to topography of any sort.

IJN Akagi, circa 1927-'35.  Note the "fly-off" decks, right, round-down left.
In the book Shattered Sword, it's mentioned that the Akagi's round-down is so pronounced that it, in effect, shortens her flight deck, as planes cannot be spotted there without having them roll off into the sea.

So why are they there at all?  Throughout all my readings through the years, the only reason I've seen is that they were thought to be aerodynamically helpful for landing planes, perhaps by creating an are of calm air behind the ship.

But even if that were so, doesn't it seem that it'd be a rather ill-positioned lee for an aircraft attempting to land, not to mention small?  Further, they also look like a fairly hostile place to try and land upon in the first place.  Imagine: you touch down on the round-down, crest the "hill", and then?  You're thrown back into the air, much like today's "ski-ramp" carrier decks would do.

Do any of you, my readers, have an idea?  I'm completely flummoxed here!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:12 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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August 16, 2008

An Unfortunate Encounter

I'd like to relate to my readers something that happened to me earlier today, something that can only be described as confusing, perplexed and, ultimately, sad.

This morning, I went grocery shopping at a local store that has a fairly decent "international foods" section.  You know the type: Mexican staples, Indian chutneys and the like.  There's also a wide selection of Asian foodstuffs, including Japanese things like soba, 10 different types of soy sauce, some microwaveable beef bowls (awful), a couple of different flavors of Pocky, instant miso, sushi fixings, yadda yadda...

I was browsing through the section, trying to decide if I wanted to get a cheap packet of instant miso (I did, eventually) along with the Pocky and some hot sauce (good to add to chili) when an elderly man said to me "you shouldn't buy that (crap)."  I gave him a surprised look and asked, intelligently, "what?"

He repeated his assertion, adding "it's made by the Nips."

By now, my eyebrows had long left my forehead and headed for the stratosphere.  Like an idiot, though, I asked him what's wrong with getting Japanese food.  It's awfully tasty, after all.  He visibly became angry with me as he said (I'm paraphrasing here) "I fought them in the Philippines, they shot me and killed some of my friends, I hate those damn Japs and I will until the day I die."

I want you to imagine my state of mind at this moment: standing in front of me was a man I automatically honor, a WWII vet, and one who fought in the Pacific theatre no less, an area of history I'm fascinated in.  At the same time, though, he's trashing an entire race of people (including some that I'd call casual friends: Duck U has an exchange program with a Japanese college, so there's always around 5-10 students from there attending) for events that happened over sixty years ago, and a culture that I enjoy learning about to boot.

To say that I was confused and saddened just then would be accurate.  I would have loved to have spoken with him about his experiences if he would have let me, but at the same time his attitude (and don't get me wrong, I understand where it comes from: if you're not going to like someone or something, seeing your friends killed and being shot yourself is a pretty good reason) was distasteful at best.

Fortunately, he didn't recognize the baseball cap I was wearing (the Hanshin Tigers, brought back from Japan by a Duck U student for me).  After heaping some more abuse on "the Nips" and scorn on me, he stalked off (as best he could, using a cane and an old person's shuffle) muttering under his breath.

I'm still disturbed by the whole thing.  I think of Brickmuppet, who's touristing in Japan right now, and wonder if there's old members of the Imperial Japanese Army who might want to chew him out, or skewer him with a bayonet if they could get away with it, just for being American.  I think of my DVD rack, filled with anime, and my end-table, covered with pockyboxes... and one of my bookcases, stuffed with history books about the Pacific war. 

And I wonder which of us has the right of it: the elderly man who fought and bled for our country, who's attitudes are over a half-century out of date?  Or myself, who has the more modern attitudes, but who respects the actions of the other man.

In this multi-culti, politically correct world, are the experiences of the old soldier scornworthy?  I'm glad I don't feel the way he does, but is he wrong to feel that way?

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:29 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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August 15, 2008

It's Happy Fun Time At Duck U!

Really, though, I kinda mean it.  On Saturday, the new students to Duck U move in to their dorm rooms.  Returning students come back on Tuesday, and the new school year begins on Wednesday.

What the campus will look like on Monday...
So it's a little bit hectic around the ol' Duck U Bookstore these days.  Throw in the D. Duck Memorial College of Nursing, who's books we also supply, and it gets even more exciting!

Starting Monday, posts might be a wee tad thin on content (and for all you who are currently saying they already are, well, pbpbpbpbpbth!), but never fear, the F1 UPDATE! crew will keep us all informed about the August 24th race at the new street circuit in Valencia.

Anyway, this is the Duck U Bookstore's Christmas season.  Approximately 25% of our annual sales comes from this next week... Christmas for sure!

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August 14, 2008

Olympic Scandal?

This is bigger than that Chinese gymnast being too young to compete... a lot bigger.

And has deeper ramifications for all of us.


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August 12, 2008

It Was 20 Years Ago Today...

...that Momzerduck and Ph.Duck were married, with young Wonderduck as the Best Man. 

Congrats, you two lovebirds, and here's to the next 20 years!

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August 11, 2008

A View From Japan

As you may or may not be aware, The Brickmuppet is over in Japan (too many entries to link, just scroll and enjoy).  Last night (Pond time; it was closer to noon where he was) he sent me a picture with instructions to do with it what I will, as it would be "perfect for The Pond".

He was right, and here it is for your enjoyment:

Not quite as cool as the sailor-suited curry-seller, but still awfully great.  'Muppet tells me that it's a cell-phone drop box for recycling purposes... he thinks.  And a wholehearted thanks to him for letting me use it here at The Pond, too!

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Testing, testing...

Well, this one worked, Pixy, but the larger file still isn't working.

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:31 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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August 09, 2008

Tech Help Requested

Okay, here's the problem.  Chiyo-chan keeps popping the DVD drive open, and/or attempting to read the DVD in the drive, seemingly at random.  Even when there's NO disc in the drive, it tries to access it.

This makes trying to play games pointless, as it only takes a few minutes for the DVD to either eject or access at the wrong time, resulting in a program crash.

If I don't use the drive for a period of time (week to 10 days), the problem goes away.  Of course, if I try to play a CD, or burn something, that starts everything up again.

As I've typed this, I've done the "close drive, watch it open on its own" routine five or six times.

Anybody have this happen to them?  Anybody heard of this before? 

Posted by: Wonderduck at 08:39 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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August 05, 2008

Still Weatherblogging

Continuing with yesterday's impromptu weatherblogging, tonight is much more calm.  No thunder, no lightning, no cows being thrown past The Pond's balcony, nothing like that.  However, there is one thing that's the same: the humidity.

Hot + humid = a miserable Wonderduck.  I've had a rather offensive sinus headache since yesterday afternoon, but today was unbearable.  By 2pm I gave up on the day at work and came home, took my fourth and fifth tylenol, ate something, and went to bed hoping that when I woke up, my face wouldn't feel like it was either going to fall off or explode.

An accurate representation of how my head felt.
It's now after 8pm, and I just got out of bed.  While I'm still a little rocky, I feel like a new duck, albeit one that's just cracked out of its shell.  I don't think that blogging much tonight will help matters any, though, so I'm going to call it a night. 

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August 04, 2008

Cross Your Fingers...

There are reports of tornadoes on the ground in the vicinity of the north side of Chicago... more specifically, in the area of Wrigley Field.  The Cubs were playing the Houston Astros tonight at Wrigley, with a full house of around 41000 people in attendance. 

The storms in question came through the Duckford area, and here at The Pond, it was actually quite terrifying.  Nearly constant air-to-ground lightning strikes, and reportedly, the storm actually got stronger as it moved away to the east... towards Chicago.  The weather folks say there's about 30000 people without power in Duckford, trees down, yadda, you know the drill.  You can see the bow shape in the picture above, meaning that there's strong winds in there.

As I said, it was terrifying enough here at Pond Central... I can't imagine what it'd be like outside at Wrigley.  Let's hope everything's okay... as I typed that, the weather folks say there's reports of heavy cloud rotation near O'Hare Airport.

All is well here at The Pond, the power never even fluctuated.  Momzerduck and Ph.Duck report that they're okay, too.

UPDATE 840pm: A few minutes after I hit 'save' on this post, WGN radio, which has gone to continuous weather coverage, reported 80mph winds blowing on Michigan Avenue and heavy, heavy rain.  Still nothing heard from Wrigley, but considering that WGN (the flagship station of the Cubs radio network), isn't saying anything about it anymore, I'd say that a bullet has been dodged.  Holy crap, a weather reporter says that there were 100mph winds on the south side of Chicago, too.

UPDATE 850pm: "We've never seen anything like this at Wrigley Field before."  No tornado, thankfully, but Cory Probst, the play-by-play team's info guy, says that the rain was incredibly heavy, there's standing water on the warning track (and this after an off-season renovation of the field to improve drainage), and there's loads of debris.  Nobody's said anything about the game coming back on, and hopefully everybody at Wrigley is okay.  The worst of the weather has moved into Indiana and Lake Michigan, reportedly.  Neo couldn't have dodged the bullet any closer.

UPDATE 1025pm: The Cubs just retook the field after what must have been a miracle job by the groundscrew.  And there are still plenty of fans there, too!  The foul lines are pretty much gone, though, and I've never seen that before!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 07:31 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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