Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Insect Breeding Song

Summertime and the insect breeding is easy.
That old song rings especially true for 44 species of moths and butterflies in Central Europe, according to an analysis by ecologist Florian Altermatt of the University of California, Davis.
Ah, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve enjoyed a nice singalong to the insect breeding song. Let me see if I can remember the whole thing…

and the insect breeding is easy.

Cicadellidae are jumping,
And the white-tailed zygaenid moth’s diurnal mating flights are high.
Oh, your apis hoarding behaviour has a demonstrable increase,
And the female has consumed the spermatophylax.

So hush, little katydid,
You’re morphologically unable to call.

One of these mornings,
You’re going to rise up singing.
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky.

But until that morning,
A variety of indeterminate environmental factors can harm you,
With researches from the UC Davis Department of Entomology standing by to perform a double-blind assesment of causality.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Zappa or Zombie: Happy Z-day edition

Mr. Zappa would have been 93 today, had he not been tragically gunned down at St. Peter's Basilica back in 1973. Has his vengeful corpse risen from the grave seeking the brains of all those who wronged him? You decide!

Zappa or zombie?





Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Because nothing says "Winter Olympics" like 13 million cranberries

I have a strange interest in the city of Richmond, British Columbia, based solely on tangential research for my Wikipedia entry on Kirkland Island. So I pay attentions to doings along the Fraser River, like the city's recent announcement that in celebration of hosting the speed skating competitions this winter, they'll be constructing a massive, floating Olympic rings logo, in the medium of cranberries.
Thirteen million floating cranberries, weighing about 13,600 kilograms (30,000 pounds), will form a spectacular tribute to the Olympic Games on the Fraser River next February.
Richmond Revealed - Agricultural Spectacle
A massive depiction of the Canadian Olympic Committee’s logo will float in the Middle Arm of the Fraser River, just offshore from the Richmond Olympic Oval throughout the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The stunning, never-before-seen tribute to the Games will be 62 metres long by 70 metres wide (200 by 230 feet) or more than 3,200 square metres (34,000 square feet) in total area. The logo, which consists of a maple leaf and Olympic torch sitting overtop of the five interlocking Olympic rings, will be constructed from cranberries contained in a specially-constructed floating form.
Oh, but the Cranberry Rings are just a small part of Richmond Revealed, which includes
A giant inukshuk, up to seven stories in height, constructed out of stacked shipping containers. An inukshuk is a native shoe made out of seal hide.
  • A room-sized model of the Canadarm, Canada’s internationally-famous contribution to the International Space Station and US Space Shuttle, along with models of the Mars Rover and other aerospace projects contributed to by Richmond’s aerospace leaders.
  • A spectacular double dragon dance accompanied by mass tai-chi performance on Chinese New Year on February 14, 2010.  The dragons are 150 metres and 75 metres in length. They will roast and eat the tai-chi performers before returning to their lairs deep in the Canadian Rockies.
And also:

  • A water feature at Richmond City Hall  filled with cranberries!
  • A meet-and-greet with local cranberry growers!
  • A chance to visit a bog in British Columbia in February to see cranberries harvested!
  • Cranberries!*
No word on whether they'll also be constructing a giant pyramid of disarticulated human feet, but I'm confident they won't leave them out of the celebrations.

*Note: All of those things are true.

Monday, December 7, 2009


This is the famous "redacted" TSA screening document. To view the redacted text, copy the hidden text and paste, as into Notepad. They're just black boxes, the text is still there.

Screening Management SOP Redacted

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Red, Blue and helmets

Interesting, albeit partial, correlation between helmet use laws and so-called "red" and "blue" states. I wonder how close the votes were on both issues in the states which don't align?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Expeditions Sent to Find Her on Mount Huascaran.

Lima. Nov. 15.—Alarm Is felt here for the safety of Miss Annie S. Peck, of Providence, R. I., the noted mountain climber, who on Friday afternoon signalled her arrival at an altitude of 25.000 feet on Mount Huascaran.

Since that time no word has ben had from Miss Peck or the two Alpine guides who accompanied her.

Miss Peck's feat in reaching an altitude higher than that,attained by any other man or woman in the world was learned here with astonishment and admiration, and her return was eagerly awaited. Her failure to return or to communicate in any way since Friday noon caused grave anxiety, and various expeditions were organized
and have started to her assistance.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


The gasoline automobile is fast coming to the front, and with a few objectionable
features removed, will be a great boon to the traveling public. The present objections
to most machines of that order are the noise, the smell and the vibrations.
They are among the handiest, in other respects, for physicians, as they do not require
as much attention as do steam machines; but when they get out of
order, especially far from "home and mother," they are about as mysterious as
boarding house hash. It takes an expert to find out the difficulty, and even he is
often unequal to the task. They are often lugged home by the noble hay motor, with
the once haughty chauffeur perched on his lofty seat with one hand on the steering
handle and the other gently spread over his humiliated features.

When, after careful instruction and practical demonstration, I first began to run an
automobile alone I felt as timid and nervous as a young colt before a screeching locomotive,
but as time wore on and experience ripened, I found pleasure in my daily
rides, and now, after an extended experience, I feel safer in it than I would behind
a well fed horse.

The steam machine has some advantages above all others, as it runs more
smoothly, is noiseless and free from odor and vibration. It is also a great hill
climber. The power can be nicely graduated, and the sensation when riding is
more pleasant than in any vehicle yet made.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Zappa or zombie? So hungry

Mr. Zappa thinks something looks good...is it a nice plate of pilaf...or your brains?

Zappa or zombie? Hungry...





Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Zappa or zombie? More brains!

Zappa's been away for a few days, feasting on brains and stunt guitar, but he's back and ready for more!

Zappa or zombie?

pollcode.com free polls

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tell Your Stenographer to Mail This Coupon Today

I would, but that would interfere with our Secretary-type relationship.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Zappa or zombie? Purple edition

Hi there, and welcome to today's installment of

Zappa or zombie?

There you are, going about your business, wandering into your recently-painted Juice Room (in honor of your one true love, Juice Newton), when you see it, looming ominously there in it's little crop top thingy. You've only got seconds to decide whether to break out the bong or the baseball bat. What's it going to be?

All Set? Then it's time to play...Zappa or zombie?

Zappa or zombie?

The Life and times of Xenophon Pearce Huddy

Thanks to resources like the HCFI Library and Google News and Books, it seems as though I'm able to do original research from source materials on a daily basis.

But most of the time, it's only tangential, at best, to the story I'm working on, or proves to be a blind alley of some sort. I don't want to discard all this stuff, nor do I want to print it all out and stick it in a file, or put it on a hard drive somewhere where I'll forget about it. Plus, there's the nagging suspicion that somewhere down the line, I really will need this stuff for a story.

The solution is to put it all in some easily-accessible place, with all the supporting documents and a summary of the research. That describes Wikipedia well, and that's what I did yesterday with Xenophon P. Huddy.

I've run into Xenophon Huddy's name many times over the years, researching for my weekly legislation story. Starting in 1906, he wrote a legislative affairs column himself, for Horseless Age. He was also the author of The Law of Automobiles, the first and seminal text on the subject, which went to at least eight editions in his lifetime. Eventually, it occurred to me to wonder who he was, thinking maybe that was a story in itself.

But for someone with such a high profile--in addition to his often-cited book and other legal writings, he lectured at New York-area automobile clubs--I couldn't find even a thumbnail biographical sketch. Instead, I had to piece together scattered dates and side notes, to come up with a still-incomplete picture of a man who was genuinely formative in today's American automobile law.

The result, such as it is, I put on Wikipedia. I'm hoping somewhere out there the descendant of Huddy, or some scholar laboring in obscurity, will fill in the blanks.

So if you're interested, check out my little biography of Xenophon P. Huddy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zappa or zombie?

Hi there, and welcome to today's installment of

Zappa or zombie?

Today's Zappa or zombie is a bit of a trick, because either way, it's equally dangerous, so here's a little hint:
It's still dark in here . . . It's the same as it ever was. Attack! Attack! Attack!

All set? Then it's time to play!

Zappa or zombie?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Zappa or zombie

Hi there, and welcome to a brand new feature on Davestuff, a little game I like to call

Zappa or zombie?

Now it may sound simple, but they can both fool you: Zappa sometimes liked brains, and zombies go in for stunt giutar. Plus, they're both dead, and a zombie was once electied to the Czech parliament!

Ready to play? Let's go!

Zappa or zombie?
pollcode.com free polls

Monday, July 20, 2009

Amazing Abandonded Adak

I've been following Kensblog for a while now--it's the chonicle of the Great Siberian Sushi Run, a voyage by four Nordhavn trawler yachts from Seattle to Tokyo, for lunch. Our protagonst, Ken Williams, is now on the Alaskan island of Adak, way out in the Aleutians.

Says Ken,

After WWII, Adak was taken over by the Navy. From the 1950s to the late 1990s, Adak was a major Navy air base. At its peak, Adak was home to over 6,000 Navy and Coast Guard personnel.

There was essentially no civilian population. The Navy base on Adak had no nearby city that the troops could visit for a little relaxation. The base was essentially in the middle of nowhere, disconnected from the rest of the world. It is perhaps for this reason that the Navy seems to have gone ‘over the top’ to create a livable community here on Adak. Families seem to not only have been tolerated, but welcomed, and encouraged.

In the 1990s, Adak had all the comforts of a ‘real city;’ a college, movie theater, two high schools, elementary schools, roller skating rink, Olympic sized swimming pools, ski lodge, bowling alley, skeet range, auto shop, photo lab, racquet ball courts, day care center, an $18 million hospital, designated bird watching areas, organized fishing trips, hikes and more. The Navy even had a group, called MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) whose only job it was to keep the troops happy.

Then, the Navy left. Today, Adak's population is between 100 and 150 people, who live in the crumbling ruins of a ghost town built for thousands. Needless to say, they don't see many visitors--and there aren't many opportunities to see Adak. Check it out at Adak - Sometimes we win, Sometimes the weather wins.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Burn this Disco Out

Groove on!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blood on the Dance Floor

Day two of all MJ, featuring...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2010 HHR Complete Guide: SS turbo lives!

06 HHR

Wheels, 16" (40.6 cm) steel with full bolt-on wheel covers


Wheels, 16" (40.6 cm) fascia spoke, painted Sterling Silver

Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) Chrome-Tech cast aluminum


Wheels, 18" (45.7 cm) forged, high-polished aluminum


Wheels, 16" (40.6 cm) fascia spoke bright chrome

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Hunter S. Thompson is the enemy


This is the enemy.
Creator (Artist):
Creator (Artist):
Creator (Sponsor):
Creator (Sponsor):
Publisher Name:R. Hoe & Company
Place of Publication:New York, N.Y.
Original Creation Date:[1943?]
Description:Stylized caricature of a scowling German soldier. There is a swastika on his cap. He wears a monocle in one eye; in the monocle is a reflection of a person hanging on a gallows.
Note:Joint artists Karl Koehler and Victor Ancona.

"Winner R. Hoe & Co., Inc. Award - National War Poster Competition. Held under auspices of Artists for Victory, Inc., Council for Democracy, Museum of Modern Art."

All the ear-marks of a sneaky Jap!

Description:Black & white cartoon drawing of two men talking. One hushes the other, while pointing upward at a drawing of a human ear centered on a Japanese flag design. In the background is a large ship and a factory. Two flags fly over the factory: One with an "E" on it, and another with "RCA" on it.
Note:"Litho. in U. S. A."

"Form 1S5269RE"

Based on the printer's mark and RCA flag in the image, this poster was most likely produced by RCA as part of its production incentive campaign. 

E-mailed RCA and its parent company Thomson requesting referral to librarian, but did not receive appropriate response. 5/11/04 

Other posters by Alexander are listed at DB#799 & 800.

Not found in library catalogs or indexes as of 5/28/2004.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The more we sweat, the less our boys bleed.

Original Creation Date:1942
Description:A smiling man wipes sweat from his neck. He wears goggles on his forehead and cap on his head. Heavy machinery or parts can be seen in the background.
Note:"Reproduced by Courtesy of Crane Co."

"Copyright 1942-The Sheldon-Claire Co. 520 North Michigan Ave. Chicago" 

"Lithographed in U. S. A." 

Union stamp at lower right corner: "S. A. No 7 Union LIP & BA Label Milwaukee Registered Shop 9" [Lithographers' International Protective and Beneficial Association]

"Form No. 12"

The Sheldon-Claire Company was a Chicago advertising agency. See http://americanhistory.si.edu/victory/victory6.htm

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Cadillac DTS hearses & limos of 2010: Complete guide

(B9Q) Funeral Coach (6KH69)
(V4U) Coachbuilder Limousine (6KJ69)
(W20) DTS Livery Package (6KD69)

Hummer lives for 2010: Alt-fuel H2 SUT complete guide


Wheels, 5 - 17" x 8.5" (43.2 cm x 21.6 cm) aluminum

Wheels, 5 - 17" x 8.5" (43.2 cm x 21.6 cm) polished aluminum

Wheels, 4 - 20" x 8.5" (50.8 cm x 21.6 cm) chrome

2010 Cherolet Malibu complete ordering guide


Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) fascia spoke

Wheels, 17" (43.2 cm) Chrome-Tech aluminum

Wheels, 18" (45.7 cm) 10-spoke, bright finish aluminum

Wheels, 18" (45.7 cm) 5-spoke, bright finish aluminum

Deliver us from Evil

Original Creation Date:1943
Description:Black & white photo of the head and shoulders of a sad-looking young girl surrounded by smoke or clouds. The photo is centered on a white swastika. Text on poster is in white and blue.
Note:The phrase "deliver us from evil" is a scriptural quote from the Bible, Matthew 6:13, commonly known as a portion of "The Lord's Prayer".

"Official U.S. Treasury Poster"

"WSS 808"

"U.S. Government Printing Office : 1943-O-523825"

Artist information is from "The Camera and the Poster: A Discussion by Matlack Price of the Photographic Entries in the National War Poster Competition", in the January 1942 issue of American Artist.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Christie's returns to the car auction biz

This is going to run at work on Friday (the link will not be active until then), but that's a long time to wait for a blog post, especially one it took me all freaking day to assemble. As no one reads this, I can post it here and at least have the satisfaction of seeing it myself.

HAM, GEO (GEORGES HAMEL 1900-1972)   M.C.F.   lithograph in colours, printed by Max Courteau, Paris, condition A-; not backed  16 x 12in. (40 x 30cm.)HAM, GEO (GEORGES HAMEL 1900-1972) M.C.F. (Motor Club de France--ed) lithograph in colours, printed by Max Courteau, Paris, condition A-; not backed 16 x 12in. (40 x 30cm.)

At their May 20 South Kensington sale next week, Christie's is featuring period posters, with dozens of iconic racing and advertising images. These are not from the age of Jimmy's Photoshopped Corvette Posters--these are serious works of art, some closing in on a century old and priced as such.

BELIGOND, MICHEL (1927-1973)   24H DU MANS, 1959   lithograph in colours, 1959, printed by Thivillier, condition A-; backed on linen  22 x 16in. (56 x 40cm.) BELIGOND, MICHEL (1927-1973) 24H DU MANS, 1959 lithograph in colours, 1959, printed by Thivillier, condition A-; backed on linen 22 x 16in. (56 x 40cm.)

Christie's sale is not as comprehensive as l'art et l'automobile's, but it is highly selective, and the images on these posters are more than timeless--they're part of the fabric of car culture. And also, they look incredibly cool. Too bad they'll never hang in any garage of mine. Click through for a gallery of some of the standouts.

The American Automobile Factory Map project

As part of a story I'm working on, I put the Staver factory in Chicago on a Google map. Since then, I've added another few dozen factory locations, and am launching it as an open map project, since I couldn't find anyone else who had done such a thing. Collaborators are welcome.

American automobile plants in a larger map

Monday, May 11, 2009

2010 Corvette: The Wheels

I thought I'd break out the wheel designs for the 2010 Corvette. The (QG7) 5-spoke, forged polished aluminum wheels are gone for 2010; the (PYD) Grand Sport Competition Gray and  (PYE) Grand Sport Chrome wheels are new.


Wheels, 5-split spoke, Silver-painted aluminum, 18" x 8.5" (45.7 cm x 21.6 cm), front and 19" x 10.0 " (48.3 cm x 25.4 cm), rear

Wheels, 5-spoke, forged chrome aluminum, 18" x 8.5" (45.7 cm x 21.6 cm) front and 19" x 10.0 " (48.3 cm x 25.4 cm) rear

Wheels, 5-split spoke, Competition Gray-painted aluminum, 18" x 8.5" (45.7 cm x 21.6 cm) front and 19" x 10.0 " (48.3 cm x 25.4 cm) rear


Wheels, Grand Sport Silver painted aluminum, 18" x 9.5" (45.7 cm x 24.1 cm) front and 19" x 12" (48.3 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, Grand Sport Competition Gray-painted aluminum, 18" x 9.5" (45.7 cm x 24.1 cm) front and 19" x 12" (48.3 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, Grand Sport chrome aluminum, 18" x 9.5" (45.7 cm x 24.1 cm) front and 19" x 12" (48.3 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, spider design, Z06 Silver-painted aluminum, 18" x 9.5" (45.7 cm x 24.1 cm) front and 19" x 12" (48.3 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, ZR1 sterling silver painted aluminum, 19" x 10" (48.3 cm x 25.4 cm) front and 20" x 12" (50.8 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, spider design, Z06 Competition Gray-painted aluminum, 18" x 9.5" (45.7 cm x 24.1 cm) front and 19" x 12" (48.3 cm x 30.48 cm) rear


Wheels, spider design, Z06 chrome aluminum, 18" x 9.5" (45.7 cm x 24.1 cm) front and 19" x 12" (48.3 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, ZR1 Competition Gray aluminum, 19" x 10" (48.3 cm x 25.4 cm) front and 20" x 12" (50.8 cm x 30.48 cm) rear

Wheels, ZR1 chrome aluminum, 19" x 10" (48.3 cm x 25.4 cm) front and 20" x 12" (50.8 cm x 30.48 cm) rear