Kazakhstan’s Spaceship Junkyard

EurasiaNet Culture reports on the fate of the Baikonur launch complex in Kazakhstan:

On April 16, Russia announced that it would henceforth launch military satellites at the Pletsnesk cosmodrome in northern Russia, ending the practice of launching satellites from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This shift will deprive Kazakh children of the chance to watch some satellites take off, though Baikonur will remain the launchpad for commercial “birds” and manned missions. As these photos show, it will also spare Kazakhs the fallout, literal and otherwise, that occurs in a launch’s wake.

The photo essay has some great images of people making the best of the wreckage that falls on their land after every launch, something that will apparently happen a lot less soon…

Indiana Jones 4 News

Coming Soon reports that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have approved a script for Indiana Jones 4. According to the story, before “Paramount can move forward, Harrison Ford still has to sign off on the script, and he hasn’t yet read it.” Although part of me would love to see another Indiana Jones movie if it’s done well, I can’t imagine Harrison Ford pulling it off anymore…

New Jersey Devils – Satanic?

New Jersey State Assemblyman Craig Stanley believes that the New Jersey Devils should change its name to avoid association with “satanic symbols.” However, the assemblyman chooses to ignore the fact that “the [NHL] team’s name, chosen in a 1982 fan contest, comes from the mythical Jersey Devil, not the Christian symbol of the antichrist:”

The mythical Jersey Devil — with bat-like wings, a forked tail and oversized claws — was said to terrorize Pine Barrens dwellers in the 18th-century after being born the 13th child to poor South Jerseyans and morphing into a dinosaur-like beast.

All (unfounded) religious concerns aside, this is just plain stupid. Because there are no other problems in the state of New Jersey to deal with…

Why The Longest Yard Remake Sucks

Bill Simmons of ESPN doesn’t like The Longest Yard remake very much:

Imagine that Al Pacino’s career was going 10 times worse than it was right now, mainly because he had gotten too much plastic surgery and looked like he was wearing an Al Pacino Halloween mask. Then imagine they remade The Godfather with Adam Sandler as Michael, Rob Schneider as Sonny, David Spade as Fredo, Chris Rock as Tom Hagan, Courtney Cox as Connie, Eminem as Carlo Rizzo and Pacino as Don Vito Corleone – marketed as a “funnier, hipper version!” of the original classic – with Pacino’s appearance making it seem like he endorsed the idea (when they were actually taking advantage of a washed-up actor who needed a job).

Wow, what do you really think? There’s a lot more to the article, but that introduction makes Simmons’ feelings on the subject quite clear.

I have to admit that I don’t remember the original version of The Longest Yard very well, but I intend to remedy that soon. I didn’t really have plans to see the remake, but I think I’ve definitely relegated it to “catch it on cable” status now…

Andrews Air Force Base Air Show 2005 Photos

Heritage Flight, Andrews AFB 2005
I went to the air show at Andrews Air Force Base a week ago, an annual pilgrimage that I’ve made every year (except once) since 1988. The picture above links to the web gallery I’ve created with some of the better pictures I took.

I’ve been wanting to better organize my photography page for some time now, as it’s pretty disjointed and clunky. I like the simple format that the Web Album Generator software uses (as opposed to the somewhat tackier, uncustomizable templates that PhotoShop Elements and ACDSee use), but I still need to customize the style sheets to add some missing elements and to bring it somewhat in line with the rest of my site.

The show itself was a little disappointing, mostly because of how disorganized it was. One of the main reasons for this was W himself, as he departed and returned during the air show. This wreaked havoc on the schedule, forcing not only all of the upcoming aerial displays to be grounded and incoming aircraft to loiter God knows where before they could make their flybys, but also halting all ground transportation. The Thunderbirds put on an unusually sloppy show, as one of their aircraft was down and for some reason was not replaced by the alternate. That meant that all of the four-aircraft “Diamond” formations and six-aircraft formations just looked off. And the performance itself was cut short by almost a half-hour when W returned, so overall it was quite an anticlimax.

I know I sound a little whiney, but I look forward to this every year, and having seen it run much better in years past makes it that much more frustrating. I think I got some decent pictures, though, and I’m pretty happy with my new Canon 20D digital SLR. I learned a couple of things about how it behaves under these conditions, so I should be set for the biennial (and local!) Patuxent River Air Expo in September… 🙂

Update: As I detail in this post, I’ve since revamped the photography portion of my site and have fixed the links to the old gallery above. Hopefully I didn’t break anything too badly… 😉

100 Milestone Documents

100 Milestone Documents is:

a list of 100 milestone documents, compiled by the National Archives and Records Administration, and drawn primarily from its nationwide holdings. The documents chronicle United States history from 1776 to 1965.

Printable versions of the documents are available, and a cool interface to see scanned, pannable images of the documents is available as well.