Saturday, February 23, 2008

Kill Me Elmo?

I was configuring a "new" computer last night, and Internet Explorer came up on the default website (I normally use Google as my homepage, but don't bother doing that on new computer installations since I also usually install FireFox and don't use IE). I don't normally visit the MSN website for anything, but there was this interesting looking video there, so I watched it... and thought I'd share with you. I found it on YouTube so I could embed it here:

Wow. What a great toy, eh? Kind of reminds me of Chucky in Child's Play. Fisher Price isn't going to even replace the toy that's making death threats (and teaching a young child to repeat the same). Sort of like the time, once upon a time, that my wife & children were traveling back from B'ham along a backroad, and one of my younger children had to go to the bathroom, and my wife stopped at an Exxon (the only service station along the way), but the "public" restroom was out of service and the service station attendant wouldn't let the young child (I think he was three or something) use the employee restroom. Yes, he ended up wetting his pants before they made it to the next service station. My wife sent a letter to Exxon about the incident, and they replied with an apology and a stuffed tiger (the Exxon mascot). You'd think Fisher Price could replace the Elmo, or at the very least apologize. Oh, and if you see my kids, they might be embarrassed by this story, so maybe it's better not to mention it (and I can't recall which of the kids it was, anyway).

The other night (Thursday night), around 11:00, there was a "boom" followed by shaking. Apparently it was heard over a large section of north Alabama. It wasn't really like thunder, and I wasn't sure what it was (I was watching TV with my wife, and we were both puzzled). But it didn't repeat, so we went back to watching TV. The next morning I had a comment on my MySpace from a fellow reader/blogger asking if I'd heard it... and I know she lives not too terribly close, so that got me wondering. As some, I thought perhaps it was a meteor or piece of the satellite recently shot down traveling at more than the speed of sound causing a small sonic boom (it was similar to the boom I'd heard at an airshow in the Navy; I'll explain more later). But it wasn't... apparently it was a test at the Redstone Arsenal, where they put a rocket motor in an oven and slowly raise the temperature until it explodes. What a great job, eh? "What do you do for a living?" "I blow up rocket engines in an oven!" Cool.

Oh, yeah... the other sonic booms I've heard. Well, when I lived in Orlando we were awoken by these loud booms and shaking in our apartment one Saturday morning... apparently it was the twin sonic booms of the Shuttle landing (don't recall which one). And when I was on the carrier John C. Stennis, CVN-74 (which, by the way, appears in the movie Executive Decision, although they called us the Eisenhower, CVN-69; anyway, if you watch that movie - it's rated R, be warned - when you see the carrier in the film, I'm actually on board somewhere, probably down in the #2 engine room, tending to the main engines that are making the ship go), we had the opportunity for an airshow in which an F14 flew overhead a little over Mach 1 slightly over our heads... that sonic boom was very, very cool... a sound you could feel in your knees as much as hear. Another time I had the opportunity to be on the flight deck (with my parents and aunt and uncle; it was a friends & family cruise) while they were launching & recovering aircraft... to have an F14 be launched from the flight deck, drop off the side of the carrier, and peel away, only a few hundred feet from where you're standing... that's just cool. I never had the opportunity to be launched (inside an aircraft, mind you), which is one of the things I missed during my Navy time. But I am a plankowner of the Stennis... I still have the plankowner thing somewhere in my house (I think it's currently stored in my garage while we try to find a better place to display it).

Ok, I'm hungry now... going to go find something to eat. Until next time... a topato!


Christy said...

I couldn't understand what it was saying. Will you please interpret for me?

Tony M said...

Assuming you're being serious, I'll interpret. The thing was saying:

"Kill James"

(James was the 2-year-old's name.)

Christy said...

OK! That's just creepy! How did it learn that anyway? And why wouldn't I be serious?

Tony M said...

It "learns" phrases from a computer, and "learns" your child's name, too. Apparently the battery change left it in quite an irritable state...

As for being serious, I was just checking. The way you'd phrased your request for interpretation kind of lent itself to a possible alternate interpretation, but I couldn't quite make out what that interpretation might be, so I figured you probably were being serious but I wanted to check anyway. (How's that for a long, rambling sentence?)