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Jack Steele

This is the text of the Obituary that ran in the local paper, both here in Canon City where he lived, and in Leoti where he spent a large portion of his life.


John Hyland ‘Jack’ Steele Jr. died peacefully in the presence of family at the St. Thomas More Hospital in Cañon City late Saturday, June 27, 2009.

He was born Sept. 11, 1938, in Witchita Falls, Texas, to John Hyland and Dorothy (Heim) Steele; they preceded him in death. He also was preceded in death by his son, Kelly Steele.

Jack served his country in he United States Air Force for six years and, for most of his life, received joy helping countless people have a good experience buying a car. He never met a stranger and was loved by all who met him.

He leaves behind the love of his life, Charlene “Charley” Steele and children: Ray Anthony Steele, Jonnette Ann Kraft, Dawn Marie Nickell, John Russell Steele, and Damion Lee Steele; his seven grandchildren and his sister, Jean Mohri.

Jack was a fighter and fought until the end.

At his request, there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, Jack would appreciate donations to Fremont County Orchard of Hope, 111 Orchard Ave., Cañon City, CO 81212.

Arrangements handled through Wilson Funeral Home.
I have never been embarrassed to say "my father is a car salesman". Horse trading is a long and honored tradition, and my father just applied the same principles to cars that was once applied to horses. In more than 30 years of working the deal, I never met anyone who thought they hadn't gotten a fair trade from him. Even after he was forced into retirement by his battle with cancer, he could still be found sizing up, buying and selling cars and trucks in his spare time.

A good portion of the population in Leoti probably remembers him as Hyland's son, who inherited the service station that he built. A volunteer fireman and occasional fire chief, my father was active in that small community in ways that would put most activists to shame in this day and age.

He was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. Grandma, when talking about those times, remarked "if he'd have waited another hour, he'd have been born in Oklahoma." that was the life of people who worked the oil fields in the 1930's. It wasn't long, though, before they settled in Leoti, and that small town remained home for three generations of Steeles.

I remember fondly riding the tractor with my Uncles and my Grandfather, working the farms that belonged to friends and relatives. I earned my first wages working in the service station, and my second job was in the fields, clearing weeds from around crops too sensitive to be mechanically maintained.

What I will remember most about my father, though, is his love of fishing and hunting. Long stretches of the summer season would be spent washing lures in Swanson Lake near Trenton, Nebraska. Winter weekends were to be spent in Twin Buttes, Colorado hunting Canada geese; or quail, pheasant, deer and elk when in season. Fishing, more than anything else, defined the good times that I remember from childhood.

His health, in the last years, has been so poor I can't even begin to understand how he managed to drag himself through each day. But he did. He fought his cancer tooth and nail till the end, and survived far longer with it and it's after effects than any of the MD's thought he could. He breathed his last with his youngest adoptive son (as I was also adopted) by his side.

We miss you already, dad.

Courtesy Cindy Crays

Star Trek, 1966-2009, R.I.P.

For the record, I should have stuck to my guns. But I didn't. I caught J.J. Abrams' Star Trek (from here on out to be known as the Abramanation, for brevity's sake) a few days back. By the time it was over, I knew that the universe had changed.

Abrams said he was creating a film that was entertaining, and true to his word, it is. From the initial scenes of the massive Romulan ship appearing and spawning an alternate timeline (this is not a spoiler, this happens two minutes into the film. Spoilers ahead though, be warned) when it engages in a fierce battle with a clearly more archaic Federation vessel, to the final scenes with a triumphant Captain James T. Kirk at the helm of his (way too shiny) Enterprise, this blockbuster is most definitely entertaining.

It's just not Star Trek.

A good portion of the audience applauded at the end of the film. The group I went with all enjoyed it (ages 10, 18 and 55. Definitely the target audience) I even found myself enjoying it. But just as the re-launch of Lost in Space (the film I was most reminded of viewing this one) redefined (in a good way, in my opinion) what Lost in Space was about, the Abramanation has redefined what Star Trek is about, and something significant has been lost in translation.

It isn't a problem with the cast, they all performed admirably. It isn't a problem with the dialog, a good portion of which seemed to be lifted word for word from previous episodes and movies. I think the problem is that Star Trek has always been more than just entertainment to me (no matter how many times I repeated the mantra "it's just entertainment, don't take it seriously") and to see it "dumbed down" to the level of blockbuster entertainment (a process started several films ago) leaves me feeling a bit hollow.

I find myself at a loss now. Unlike many fans, I'm not insulted by the content of the film. I just can't grasp what it is that the vast majority of the fans and viewing public see in the film. It's first weekend returns exceeded all other Star Trek films to date, even adjusted for inflation.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979): $11,926,421 (opening weekend)/ $82,258,456 (cume)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): $14,347,221 / $78,737,310
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984): $16,673,229 / $76,389,860
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986): $16,881,888 / $109,713,132
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989): $17,375,648 / $52,210,049
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991): $18,162,837 / $74,888,996
Star Trek: Generations (1994): $23,116,394 / $75,671,125
Star Trek: First Contact (1996): $30,716,131 / $92,027,888
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998): $22,052,836 / $70,187,658
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002): $18,513,305 / $43,126,129

Adjusted for inflation:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979): $34,668,706 (opening weekend)/ $239,115,674 (cume)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982): $35,038,451 / $192,290,437
Star Trek III: The Search For Spock (1984): $35,629,102 / $163,237,856
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986): $32,671,686 / $212,328,919
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989): $31,267,457 / $93,951,918
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991): $30,976,050 / $127,720,425
Star Trek: Generations (1994): $39,707,107 / $129,980,545
Star Trek: First Contact (1996): $49,896,339 / $149,493,266
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998): $33,761,058 / $107,451,468
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002): $22,918,195 / $53,387,173

(numbers compiled by Daniel Garris)
(From Boxoffice: The History of 'Trek')

I've read dozens of posts in support of the film on Trekbbs. Fans are dragging their friends out to watch it; in much the same fashion as if the average American needs to be convinced to chew bubblegum. The Abramanation is bubblegum. I don't see the point in promoting bubblegum; people will chew it anyway.

No, I don't like the film. If you really want to know why read through...

!Spoiler Alert!

Paramount finally gets it's way and removes those pesky Vulcans that are so hard to understand and write for (logic, what's that?) by having Vulcan destroyed by an artificially generated black hole (the explanation for which would be technobabble, had they only attempted to explain it) thus insuring that the only Vulcan they will have to write parts for in the future is the half-Vulcan Mr. Spock, who seems to have a lot more trouble restraining emotion in this universe.

Uhura in essence sleeps her way onto the bridge of the Enterprise by having a relationship with Mr. Spock, who is not only one of her professors, but also a superior officer. The moral issues of this arrangement are never questioned, leading me to wonder if we haven't somehow stumbled into the Mirror, Mirror universe (Sylar, is that you?) where that type of behavior is run of the mill.

James T. Kirk becomes captain of the Enterprise largely influenced by the career of his father. In this alternate timeline, the now fatherless Kirk (dad being killed in the opening sequence of the film. The com conversation between the two parents, as George Kirk is about to be killed, being one of the silliest parts of the film) still becomes captain of the Enterprise; proving the modern belief that fathers are irrelevant in the scheme of things, and can be disposed of with no ill effects for any required plot device.

Then there's the running gag of Bones McCoy infecting the recently reprimanded Kirk with a mock disease in order to smuggle him on the Enterprise. This leads to a subsequent series of injections in order to cure him of humorous side effects. Or the transwarp beaming accident that leaves the recently found Scotty floating in engine coolant until conveniently rescued by Kirk through an inexplicably placed access hatch in the coolant tube. both situations so clearly contrived as to almost be cringe-level uncomfortable for me.

I could go on, but I won't.

!End Spoiler Alert!

I can't help but wonder what Leonard Nimoy (whom I will hold blameless) saw in this film to recommend his tacit approval and his venerable image to it. Spock prime stands in sharp contrast to the new cast, carrying with him into history a mantle of respect this revisioined Star Trek will never achieve. Because unlike Star Trek and it's 42 years of history, the Abramanation is just entertainment.

With this film, Paramount can pat itself on the back for finally successfully milking this franchise the way it wanted to when the property was acquired with Desilu Productions. Like so many entertainment properties (Lost in Space, the Brady Bunch, Bewitched, the Flintstones, etc.) before it, sucked dry of nostalgia dollars, Star Trek can be safely shelved in long term storage, probably never to be heard from again.

If there is any mercy in this Mirror, Mirror universe, it won't be. Rest In Peace Star Trek. Say hi to Gene for me.

Star Trek opens this week. Ho Hum?

I just realized I've missed the opening of the new Trek film, an unprecedented event in my adult life.

I took my first high school date to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture (proving conclusively that trekkies do get dates, by the way) cried my eyes out when Spock died in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan; in fact, I watched it two days ago after watching a full day of Biography tribute to Star Trek. (should have known the new film was coming out) Cried that time too.

Watching Star Trek first run in 1967 introduced me to Science Fiction. Since that time I have tried to watch and read everything SF and SciFi (there is a difference) that I had time for. I've read the Larry Niven story that the animated episode Slaver Weapon was drawn from; started reading Niven because of that linkage. I have a fondness for 'hard' SF, exhibited in my interest in series like Babylon 5, Firefly and Battlestar Galactica. But Star Trek, with all it's quirkiness, remains my alma mater, my raison detre, my first love.

One of the first films The Wife and I watched together was Star Trek: The Search for Spock; which was also the first time I witnessed her assault a fellow movie patron for being loud during a film; she hit a friend of ours with her purse for cheering when the Enterprise blew up (That's nothing, she's since punched a total stranger for talking during a film. If you see us in a theater, you better be quiet...) we've watched every Star Trek film together since that one.

...until now. She's not going to see it (she's liable to punch me if I suggest it) and I'm not going until next week. Maybe not even then.

I was opposed to a Star Trek Babies film as far back as the original announcement for the 11th film in the series; and having been burned by Paramount twice before, I'm not inclined to trust their decisions this time. The first one being the decision to hire J.J. Abrams to direct the film. While Abrams insists he didn't shoot a Star Trek Babies film, he did say this on Colbert's show this week;

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
J.J. Abrams
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Specifically, he says "I made a film that was supposed to be entertaining [and] not necessarily for Star Trek fans" 11 films, 5 series, countless books, and he's not doing a film (necessarily) for the fans. Clearly, he doesn't need this fans $8.50 on opening weekend.

Now, I like J.J. Abrams, in general. I'm a LOST watcher (it stumbled a bit over the last few years, but this season has been very good) and his film Cloverfield was probably the best creature feature I've seen (not that that's saying much) Still, if you start mucking around with peoples fondest memories, you better be ready for one hell of a backlash. Because it's J.J. Abrams at the helm, I'll concede to viewing the film at some point. But...

With the impact Star Trek has had on the world in the last 42 years, that's a lot of pissed off fans to deal with. For his sake, the film had better be entertaining, at the very least. Otherwise, he might consider finding a different career.

Suspect Sniffles

Pseudoephedrine interdiction, the other shoe drops.

Google alerts dropped this in my inbox;

Other View: Law doesn't stop meth

At least one government effort to curb methamphetamine production seems to have been a bust.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 ... makes it more difficult to purchase common, non-prescription cold medication containing pseudoephedrine.

Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used in the manufacture of meth. So, instead of simply purchasing drugs like Sudafed over the counter as in the past, everyone must now get them from behind the counter, usually from a pharmacist.

... It turns out, however, that it probably was all for nothing. A study published in the March issue of the American Economic Review found that restricting pseudoephedrine had only a temporary effect on the meth trade.

Yet, the government continues to track cold and allergy sufferers as if everyone with the sniffles is a potential criminal, while meth manufacturers go about their business as usual.

The Decatur Daily, Ala.

(from the Traverse City Record-Eagle website)

It's listed as an opinion piece, but it's based on an evidence based indictment of the entire drug war. If you want to pay $7.50 you can download the study from The American Economic Review website.

Here's the abstract;
In mid-1995, a government effort to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors successfully disrupted the methamphetamine market and interrupted a trajectory of increasing usage. The price of methamphetamine tripled and purity declined from 90 percent to 20 percent. Simultaneously, amphetaminerelated hospital and treatment admissions dropped 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Methamphetamine use among arrestees declined 55 percent. Although felony methamphetamine arrests fell 50 percent, there is no evidence of substantial reductions in property or violent crime. The impact was largely temporary. The price returned to its original level within four months; purity, hospital admissions, treatment admissions, and arrests approached preintervention levels within eighteen months.

(emphasis added)
So, like all attempts to curb demand by targeting supply, this effort has simply lead to alternative methods of getting meth to the people who want it.

How long are we going to throw away billions (perhaps even trillions) of dollars trying to keep people from pursuing what they see as 'happiness'?

Hooray for ISP & cable provider choice!

I've never been happier than I am right now, to not be a Time Warner subscriber.


To: Grandecom
Subject: Thank you!

Just got word that Time Warner is about to stick it to the local customer base (http://www.businessinsider.com/time-warner-cable-putting-more-bandwidth-hogs-on-a-diet-2009-4)

I'd like to take this time to thank Grande for NOT doing this to it's subscribers, and to suggest that this should be your marketing focus for the foreseeable future. (My wife is once again offering her services to Grande if they need help with this...) 40 gb a month is a ridiculously low 'maximum' cap on usage. They should be run through the ringer for this action.

So, thank you, thank you, thank you. I look forward to seeing Grande's gain in market share in the near future.

Sincerely,
R. Anthony Steele

Why don't you try USING the computer...?

Who else finds this annoying?

You call in for service, and the computer that answers the phone (annoying in itself. Uppity computers) demands that you identify yourself so that you can be routed to the right department (which, BTW, never gets you where you want to be) and several hours later, when the live person finally gets around to answering your call, they promptly ask you for the exact same information.

Woe be to he who complains about this, too. Then you get booted to another department, where they ask you for the same information, again.

Or, how about this?

"all calls are recorded for training and blah, blah, blah" but if I have a complaint, I have to submit the complaint in writing. Why not try listening to the recording? submitting a complaint through the $5000 solitaire machine sitting on the desktop in front of you?

Why not try using the computer that answers the calls? Routing information gathered to the person who ultimately handles the call? Actually using recorded customer calls to improve service instead of a blanket CYA device?

A radical concept, I know.

Best science fiction movie?

Answered this Yahoo Question today...

Best science fiction movie?

i'm watching tv-movie "supernova" while typing this and im afraid it's just a complete insult to my own intelligence ... can anyone recommend a really good science fiction movie to make up for this friggin' atrocity?

If I was subjected to torture (being strapped into a chair and forced to watch an endless loop of Barney reruns, for example) and forced to select One Film above All Others as The Best SF film ever made...

I'd have to say Blade Runner. It has the timeless quality of a real classic film, and it is very nearly flawlessly SF.

Since I'm not being subjected to torture, I'll offer some further thoughts on the subject of "Great" SF films.

The last great SF film was "Wall E", that I've seen. Yes it's a kids film, go see it anyway.

The Essential SF list runs like this

Metropolis
Forbidden Planet
A Clockwork Orange
Blade Runner
Alien
Serenity
Vanilla Sky
The Abyss
The Terminator
Aliens
Pitch Black
A.I. Artificial Intelligence
Children of Men
The Truman Show
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Source(s):

Top 10 Things To Do on Tuesday Mornings

The servers are down, Blizzard is "maintaining". What to do, what to do?
  • Visit the guild portal (or your blog!) and mope.
  • Walk dogs. Nope, 42 degrees and drizzle.
  • Clean house for the first time in a month. Not dirty enough yet.
  • See if you can find the floor in the laundry room. Did that last week.
  • Identify the various molds in the refrigerator. Can't identify most of them.
  • See if you can remember how to access cable on your TV.
  • Failing that, see if you can find a DVD that you haven't seen.
  • Find a book to read that doesn't put you to sleep.
  • Sleep.
Failing to fall asleep, in pure desperation you might
  • Balance the checkbook and pay the bills.
Luckily, I won't have trouble sleeping.