FUH2 stands for Fuck You And Your H2. The site is “home of the official Hummer H2 salute,” urging everyone to “tell a Hummer owner what you think and show ‘em the bird.” Besides being a monstrously inefficient gas guzzler, the vehicle is nothing but a poseur tax writeoff that will probably never leave a paved road. Also, in my experience, most people that drive these vehicles seem to think that the world revolves around them, driving as if they have a divine right to do whatever they please on the road. Perhaps this is an astigmatic, stereotypical view, but I might as well go all the way with this. :-p Definitely check out their gallery of “salutes…”

The Return Of The King Rocks

I saw The Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King yesterday, taking the afternoon off to catch a matinee on the first day. The movie was a spectacular culmination to the other two, and as many people have said, if the film is not awarded the Best Picture Oscar then the Academy is worthless. Sean Astin’s heartfelt portrayal of Samwise Gamgee and Andy Serkis’ groundbreaking performance as Smeagol/Gollum should definitely be considered for awards as well.

I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone that hasn’t read the books, so I won’t post a detailed review here; I’ll add one in the comments later if there’s enough interest. I do have to point out that once again there are significant departures from the book, although I suppose that’s unavoidable. Still, there is one change/omission in particular that really bothered me. I’ll post my thoughts on that and the movie in general in the comments section soon to avoid spoiling anything for anyone.

Anyone that’s seen the first two movies will probably be itching to see this closing chapter, so I probably don’t need to twist anyone’s arm. Still, if anyone has any lingering doubts about whether they should see The Return Of The King in the theater, they should cast them aside now; you will not be disappointed.

Warning: Comments may contain spoilers!

A Century Of Flight Celebrated

On December 17, 1903 at 10:35 a.m., the Wright Brothers took flight in the sand dunes of Kill Devil Hills near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, completing the first powered flight of a manned aircraft. In doing so, they became the opening chapter in the 100 year history of aviation, innovators that spurred on arguably one of the most important technological advances in the history of mankind. That may sound a bit exaggerated, but when you consider how many other fields the aerospace industry has influenced, then I don’t think it’s an overstatement. As a practicing aeromechanical engineer, I take particular pride in contributing to the continuing history of aviation in my own little way at Patuxent River NAS, the Navy’s premier Test and Evaluation center for all naval aircraft. I didn’t intend to get too schmaltzy on this anniversary, but I’ve always liked this poem that very aptly puts to words the emotional, almost spiritual aspects of flight:

Wright Flyer first flightOh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long delirious, burning blue

I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, or even eagle flew.

And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space,

Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., High Flight, 1941

There are many centennial celebrations today, but the most important one is in North Carolina, where several replicas of the Wright Flyer are to be flown in tribute of the Wright Brothers’ first flight 100 years ago. Here are some sites dedicated to today’s anniversary:

Here are some sites dedicated to the history of aviation, with an emphasis on some pioneers in the field:

Madonna Endorses Clark

In a bid to connect with the 80’s pop culture website-reading constituency, Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark announced today that he has received an endorsement from 80’s pop superstar/actress/mother/children’s book author Madonna. “I think he has a good handle on foreign policy, I think he’s good with people, and I think he has a heart and a consciousness. He’s interested in spirituality – I mean, those things mean a lot to me,” said the pop icon. A decidedly non-political plug for the candidate who would probably get voted, “least likely to become a politician”. Unfortunately, it seems the windbags are getting the support of the political establishment, as usual. Personally, I’d rather listen to Madonna than Al Gore or some union boss any day. Maybe what the general needs is a good scandal. Hmm, which outfit did she wear to that interview anyway? And exactly what did they do for “more than an hour” when they met? 😛 (Hey, it worked for Clinton…)