Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Postcard from National Geographic Channel: Extraterrestrial


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Aurelia is the same size as Earth, but it is locked in synchronous rotation making its day equivalent to 80.3 Earth days.

Aurelia is about the same size as Earth, but it is locked in synchronous orbit around a red dwarf, making one side of the planet hospitable to life and the other side a frigid wasteland.

� 2005 Big Wave Productions, Ltd. and National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

While visiting National Geographic Channel's Extraterrestrial Web site, I sent you this interstellar postcard.

Extraterrestial program on National Geographic Channel

Postcard from National Geographic Channel: Extraterrestrial


Send me an e-mail reminder >>
On Blue Moon, a giant Kite dips a tentacle into the pond of a Pagoda tree to catch Helibugs living in the pond.

On Blue Moon, a giant Kite dips a tentacle into the pond of a Pagoda tree to catch Helibugs living in the pond.

� 2005 Big Wave Productions, Ltd. and National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

While visiting National Geographic Channel's Extraterrestrial Web site, I sent you this interstellar postcard.

Pagoda lifeforms

Poetry Contest

This email came the other day:
"Poetry Contest - No Entry Fees
Enter the International Open Amateur Poetry Contest for your chance to win the Grand Prize of 10,000 Dollars!
Visit us here to enter now.

Poetry.com 1 Poetry Plaza Owings Mills, MD 21117 "

I have a feeling about this one that I want to try, a la Penn & Teller's Bullshit! show.

I bet that I can send the following really bad poem to this poetry contest and get a favorable response. They will send me confirmation that it is a good poem and worthy of publication. They will send me an order form to order a $40+ book that includes my poem.

Let's try it. I wrote this really bad poem in high school.

Say It Loud

Never say you do love
If you do not mean it.
You will mean it,
Like it or not.
The shrew brought up to fit her role
Without her say.

Find truth first
And love second.
Without the truth, love cometh not.
Soul must be full to burst
And the truth come out
In what sounds like verse.

Tonight on the National Geographic Channel there was a special called Extraterrestrial. Scientists supposedly came up with the most likely life forms on a world that scientists might discover. Considering that scientists have found 146+ extrasolar planets since 1995, the odds of finding life, any life, intelligent or otherwise, is increasing exponentially. This is a picture of the hypothetical planet Aurelia, that does not rotate. Half of it is shrouded forever in darkness and ice while the other half is temperate under a red dwarf star. Go to the National Geographic site for more information.

Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth, 1948. This is my favorite painting ever, and I've never even seen the original. I saw it in art class as a kid. This one is just such a mystery--it tells a story. Why is she out there? What is she looking at?

Monday, May 30, 2005

Everyone Must Score as Yoda

You scored as Yoda.



Anakin Skywalker






General Grievous


Obi Wan Kenobi


Darth Vader


Clone Trooper




Mace Windu


Padme Amidala


Emperor Palpatine


Which Revenge of the Sith Character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, May 29, 2005

This Day in History

May 29

• In 1953, Mount Everest was conquered by Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tensing Norkay of Nepal.

• In 1901, the Nome Daily News reported that Nome's first great fire erupted after a worker absentmindedly dropped a match into a pile of old wallpaper. The blaze destroyed eight blocks of the town. Firefighters were frustrated by ice in the hoses.

Not the same level of supreme human achievement, is it?

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Superman #75 newsstand edition. First printing. I like this cover (but why does Superman's cape never get all ragged like this any other time?)

Superman #75. This was the cover of the comic book actually inside the bag, different from the newsstand edition.

Scanning doesn't show it. This was the death of Superman mourning arm band that was eclosed in the bagged edition of Superman #75. This was the only goodie that was worth the price of admission. I am such a geek that I actually wore this on my arm to work at the grocery store that day. The scan doesn't show it, but it has the Superman shield in red in that dripping format from the cover of the bag.

Superman poster. I couldn't scan the whole poster--it was pretty big. Unfortunately, it is pretty ruined by telling you in a list to collect all of the issues. And what good was it to list the issues that came previously? At that time, they were all sold out, pretty much immediately. (Do I use the adjective 'pretty' too much?) It is kind of fun to try to name all the characters on the poster (there's a ton more than are shown here). Notice them wearing the death of Superman mourning arm band.

The Superman obituary from The Daily Planet. This flimsy piece of paper, not even newsprint, is supposed to be Superman's obituary as run in the Metropolis newspaper in Superman's world. Remember, this comic did make the news.

Back of the Death of Superman promo card. I just find it amazingly cheesy when it says, "Be there when Superman dies!" I didn't think this was supposed to be fun.

Superman trading card. This exclusive also in the bagged edition of Superman #75 was a promo card for a line of trading cards. This picture comes from the comic inside the bag.

Superman stamps. These flimsy, cheap-looking and cheaply-made sticker-stamps were the special commemorative stamps in the bagged edition of Superman #75. Terrible.

Superman #75--the backside of the bag. It lists all the bonuses that are enclosed within this little black bag. After opening one to get at these goodies, they are not worth opening the bag for. (well, one was worth opening it for, the rest are cheesy)

Superman #75. The death of Superman. This issue made the news and made people that normally never bought comics bombard the Paperback Peddler in Aurora where I was then getting my comics. Comics at that time were going through a craze of extras, especially crazy covers and bagged comics. Some of us fell for it, getting two or more of the same issue, one to keep in the bag and the other to read. This one was no exception. I bought two bagged and one newsstand edition. At least I knew that these would not one day buy me a house, going for less than $4.00 this weekend on Mile High Comics' website.

Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #12.

Frazz by Jef Mallett. This is one of the best of the series, by far, especially for those days of being a teacher when you feel frustrated for even trying. In this episode, the girl asks, "So how do I know I'm being educated and not indoctrinated?" Frazz answers, "If you sit in the back and be quiet, you're being indoctrinated. If you sit up front and ask questions, you're being educated." The girls says, "No way is it that simple." Frazz says, "Excellent, excellent!" If my students knew what 'indoctrinated' meant, I would be halfway there. I think I am going to add that to next year's vocab lists.

Captain America Annual #8. One of the best covers of all time. I think we geek fanboys get the instant answer to whether or not Wolverine's razor-sharp adamantium claws would cut through Cap's adamantium shield. Nope, just a lot of sparks!

Had some fun today since school was out. Today was saved for possible snow day but since we didn't use any snow days this year.... Went to Mt. Rainier. Morgan went camping with Amy's mother and Phil. They do it every year on Memorial Day weekend--go camping at Dosewallips Park here in Washington State. Amy, Madison and I were going to drive to Seattle and Pike Place Market just to hang around. Halfway there, Amy says, "I'm taking you to Mt. Rainier; you've never been there yet and you have to go before we leave."

What a great idea.

In the Seattle area today, the weather was hot and sunny. A record 89 degrees today, and hotter in outlying areas. So we went up above it all. The views were spectacular today. I've never been so up close to such a large mountain (at its peak, 14410 feet). I took some photos on a disposable camera we bought and will have those back soon. (We're still looking for a good deal on a digital camera, especially to document our great driving trip to Anchorage coming up soon.)

Madison was an angel today. It's so much fun to hear her go, "Wow." The only times she was a little troublesome was after stopping on the highway for some photos and getting back in the car. And I can't say I blamed her. I didn't want to get back in the car myself sometimes.

I'm so glad for Amy's suggestion. We saw fabulous closeups of the Mountain and other things, like waterfalls, and snow in late May. It was such a nice day.

I will pay for it tomorrow though. I still have to write my final paper for my Masters multicultural lit class. It's hard because there was hardly any prompt for this paper, just talk about the uses of multiculturalism in one of the stories for 1500 to 2000 words. No problem!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Ronin Hood

Ronin Hood of the 47 Samurai #1 from Beckett Comics. This is actually a retelling of a Japanese tale. I saw it as a clue on Jeopardy! the other day. Go here for the full story.

Those nice guys at Beckett Comics

I sent an email about the free Ronin comic on Free Comic Book Day to Beckett Comics.

Hi there--I picked up the Ronin comic because I absolutely loved Sleeping Beauty. I loved this one too. But did I understand right--the comic book is not continuing but going straight to graphic novel? Is that right? I really enjoyed the serialization of Sleeping Beauty. I would still get the graphic novel because now I'm hooked after the one issue. But future projects may not grab me at full graphic novel price, you know? Thanks for listening,
Matt B.

You know what? They wrote back!

Really appreciate your kind words on both Ronin Hood and Sleeping Beauty. We really appreciate your support. For Ronin Hood we felt that the story was served better by being told in one longer piece - after the tease issue of course. We have always done our best to allow readers to get a sense of our stories at a reasonable price before asking them to invest in a larger story. We will continue to do that in the future. I hope you agree that a free 22 page story isn't a bad (and very cheap) way to find out what the story is about. We do understand your point and appreciate your thoughts. gb

That's Gabriel Benson, manager of Beckett Comics. Isn't that cool?

Concrete: Land & Sea #1. This is a reprint with new material of the critically acclaimed Paul Chadwick series. This is from 1989 and I think I bought it because it was supposed to be so acclaimed. I didn't like it back in 1989 because I was 16 and into flashy superheroes. Glad I held onto it because I just re-read it and it is quite good.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. World's biggest generators. 1947.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. The Grand Coulee Dam in all its 1947 airbrushed glory.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. Giant Turbine Shaft. 1947.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. Travelers visit the Grand Coulee Dam. 1947.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. Inspection gallery, Grand Coulee Dam. 1947.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. Sheep across the Grand Coulee Dam. 1947.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. Dry Falls State Park. 1947.

Grand Coulee Dam postcards. Control boards in powerhouse at Grand Coulee Dam. 1947.