The Electronic Voice Phenomenon

For K.C. and I.K.

The E.V.P. movie that I was talking about was White Noise.

It didn’t feature Richard Gere, but another big name: Michael Keaton.

I was getting it mixed up with another movie. Richard Gere was in another somewhat recent paranormal movie, The Mothman Prophecies.

The American Association of Electronic Voice Phenomena

Published in: on 28 February 2009 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ball Lightning

Scientist Looks to Weaponize Ball Lightning (Wired)

Will-O’-The-Wisp (Marvel supervillain)

Ball Lightning (MTG card)

Published in: on 21 February 2009 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Three Classic Sesame Street Songs

Rubber Duckie


High, Middle, Low

Published in: on 16 February 2009 at 9:51 am  Leave a Comment  

New Lincoln Penny

So, four new penny designs will be released on Thursday. So the penny lives on.

Some people want to abolish the penny. I wonder what they make of the new pennies?

A penny for your thoughts; put in your two cents worth; not worth a red cent; penny-wise, pound-foolish.

Published in: on 14 February 2009 at 8:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Oxford Comma

For B.L.

Yeah, that last comma before the “and” is called the Oxford Comma. You can read more about it in Eats, Shoots & Leaves, a very entertaining book which I recommend.

I was taught to use the Oxford Comma in grade school, but I’ve noticed that many people don’t use it. If I recall correctly from Eats, Shoots & Leaves, it is a stylistic matter, and not everybody agrees. But to my eyes, it just looks awful if I see it missing.

She showed me a sample online where it stated that ambiguities occur when enumerating if a comma were not in place:

…the car dealer said the seat covers were available in yellow, red,white, black and tan, and other special colors..

(one may mistake black and tan as two-tone without the comma before “and”). My view: The sentence construction was flawed to begin with. One never uses two “ands” in a sentence. A better version:

..the car dealer said the seat covers were available in yellow, red, white, black, tan and other special colors.

D’accord? …or is my English “archaic”…or so she says?

I wouldn’t say you’re English is archaic; this is a matter of style. But I do subscribe to the Oxford Comma. Yet I also agree, the sentence inherently had some ambiguity that could be resolved with better wording, as you’ve shown. Here’s another way to avoid the two “ands”:

..the car dealer said the seat covers were available in yellow, red, white, black, and tan, as well as other special colors.

Other posts on WordPress on the Oxford Comma: Mr. Comma, and the Oxford Comma.

You might find these interesting.

Here’s a case where an extra comma cost millions of dollars.

Let us not forget the Apostrophe Wars; whole cities just don’t like them.

How To Use The Apostrophe Correctly.

The Apostrophe Protection Society of New Zealand.

Apostrophe Catastrophe (blog).

Not to mention the Semicolon Wars.

Addendum (02/14/09): join the Semicolon Appreciation Society. And this shows some humor: 10% of the proceeds of this semicolon T-shirt goes to support the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

The Time Eater

Ravenous Clock Runs Backward, Scares Children (stumbled upon while reading Clive Thompson, in turn via Give Me Something To Read 02/09/09 entry).

The Corpus Clock, designed by horologist John Taylor, and unveiled by physicist Stephen Hawking, accurate only once every five minutes. (There’s an old saying, even a broken clock is right twice every day.)

The fanged insect atop the clock is a Chronophage, or time-eater. Sounds like a MTG card or deck. Blue, obviously. Hmm, there’s no card called “time eater”, but there’s a Timebug, a Thought Eater, and an Eater of Days.

Published in: on 12 February 2009 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Mango Goose (Dream, 02/04/09)

I dreamt last night, of the old family house. The dream seemed to have three “scenes,” so I was tempted to count them as separate dreams, and indeed I list the three “scenes” separately below. But I believe they were actually just one rambling dream.

Unfortunately, at no point did I achieve lucidity.

1. The Balky Lamp. I was in my old bedroom, back in the old family house. It was dark, so I tried to turn on my lamp but it wouldn’t light. I peered out the venetian blinds and could see a light coming from some source, perhaps a street light. I returned to my lamp, and tried it again. This time it turned on.

I’ve read somewhere that electrical devices have a tendency not to work in dreams. I think The Balky Lamp was a good example of the effect. Perhaps if I had had the presence of mind to do a reality test when the lamp wasn’t working, I could have achieved lucidity. It is another example of the Dry-Cleaning Effect: can you train yourself to have the presence of mind to do a reality check whenever an electrical device doesn’t work in your waking life? If so, the next time a balky electrical device appears in your dreams, you might do a reality test, and you might then go lucid!

2. A Walk Around The House.
Here, I exited the front door of the old family house with B.B.; we went to the west face of the house following a curved path that isn’t there in real life. To the east we saw P.H., a child again, riding his bicycle up and down his driveway.

This dream fragment may have come either immediately after The Balky Lamp or immediately after The Mango Goose. I have placed it second in the list because I think that was the order in which it appeared; but I am not certain.

3. The Mango Goose.
I was back in the entry foyer of the old family house, facing towards the door, looking upwards and over my right shoulder. Somehow, I could see straight through the ceiling and perceive a goose on the roof, as if I had X-Ray vision. I saw that the goose had in its beak a string or vine, about 12′ long, from which dangled a fruit like a mango. Somehow, I was able to catch the goose, grabbed it by its neck so it couldn’t bit me, and lifted it up. Although in real life this would surely injure a goose, in the dream somehow I knew that the goose would be okay. I am not sure what happened to the vine and the “mango.”

Small animals that bite occasionally appear in my dreams. I wonder whether I have some hidden phobia.

Published in: on 4 February 2009 at 9:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Signal to Swarm

How A Brain Chemical Changes Locusts From Harmless Grasshoppers To Swarming Pests. Serotonin is the key.

Reminds me of a novelette by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes entitled The Locusts, in which an unknown signal is transmitted throughout humanity to effect a species transition.

Which in turn reminds me of Greg Bear’s novel, Darwin’s Radio.,

Published in: on 2 February 2009 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Whither The Beast?

For Y.R.

O Lonesome Heart! That aches and weeps,
With unanswered email at thy feet.
The dead letters groan with the weight of days
Stretching into long weeks:

“We remember his name,
That many-syllabled phrase.
But whither the Beast?
Has the Beast withered away?”

Published in: on 2 February 2009 at 12:00 am  Comments (2)  

Sinister Rabbits

Earlier, I had a post about sinister carnivals. Here’s a post about sinister bunny rabbits.

  1. The rabbit in Donnie Darko. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I.K. recommended it. It’s now in my queue.
  2. Jimmy Carter’s killer rabbit. See also this. (And here’s a YouTube video of cute, warm, fuzzy Swamp Rabbit Babies.)
  3. The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog (Monty Python). LOL 😀

  4. Bunnicula. One of the reviews mentions another movie in which a menacing rabbit appears, but I haven’t seen that movie. (It isn’t in my queue.) Bunnicula was made into a cartoon back in 1982 (YouTube video clip); the sound effects remind me of Hanna-Barbera cartoons.
  5. The Zodiac Rabbit.
  6. The Clifton Bunny Man. In 2004 or 2005, I attended the 48 Hour Film Project‘s local DC competition/showcase, and one of the entries was a short film on this legend; that’s how I first heard of this legend. Apparently, the Bunny Man’s haunts have extended to the DC area. Yikes!

Hugo the Abominable Snowman: Just what I always wanted. My own little bunny rabbit. I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him and squeeze him… (113 KB MP3 file).

Also: 39KB WAV file; 112KB WAV file

Addendum (02/15/09): look into my eyes (superbomba on Flickr)