Thane Plambeck
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Site last modified
8:51pm 25 Sep 2003



"Hey Cole! That looks like me!"
Note added 8 December 2003:

This is my "old" web site, circa September 2003. There's a lot here—thousands of pages, in fact. Until I figure out how to merge it back with the new structure, I'm going to leave it as is.


Thane
21 September 2003
We finally got rid of our TV



It's been my idle fantasy over many years to not own a television set. Somehow the moment never seemed right to take the decisive step—final disposal.

Amidst the many slingings of furniture and boxes associated with our recent kitchen remodelling and repainting project, I at last saw the opportunity to strike. With Gloria's silent approval, I hauled the TV out to the dump along with other unworthy artifacts from the early- to mid-1990s, when we moved into our current house.

It cost me $15 to leave our TV at the dump. I cannot say I wish it well.

Long ago, we decided we wouldn't spend money on cable TV in our house. That has meant 10 years of rabbit ears and various fiddlings, mostly to get crummy stuff, and certainly not much worth staring at through static. Over time, pieces broke off the rabbit ears. I found one today while moving the huge piece of furniture in our living room that we've always called THE TV THRONE.

The only TV shows I would say I 'enjoy' are COPS, America's Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, which we don't get, anyway. So it's not too hard to let go.

I first tried to take it to Goodwill, but they said they don't take TV sets. Nor would they take the simple little coffee table that had served us for many years. Only a pair of ancient stereo speakers and a hot plate met their cut.


19 September 2003
Another Modelman



More Modelmen


16 September 2003
Search for your name in the digits of Pi

http://pi.nersc.gov/


9 September 2003
New Kitchen Update: Concrete Countertop Installation



Apparently big slabs of concrete are best hauled by using gigantic clips to attach them to the inside wall of the truck.


7 September 2003
Some Suggested Things to Shout After Inhaling Helium



"Ah, we meet again, Lord Xchltabochev! Only this time, I *know* how to spell your name!"

"These onion snacks are unknown on our planet!"

"Your superior intellects are no match for our puny weapons!"

"Drop the cheese slicer! DROP THE CHEESE SLICER!


7 September 2003
Roomba Testing

I bought a Roomba Robotic FloorVac.
It's the size of large frisbee, only thicker.


The Lobster Trap (click image to expand)


I charged it up overnight and then we let it have a go in a hardwood hallway. It successfully negotiated its way over a bump in a rug, declined the opportunity to enter the next room, then slipped under a shoe stand (and successfully reemerged, although this video [1.33Mb MPG, 15 sec] doesn't show it, because my camera ran out of memory).


5 September 2003
New Kitchen Update: ConcreteWorks Studio



The new countertops are almost ready.


5 September 2003
"I'd like your vote for Governor of California..."

The first few candidates on the California Governor Recall Ballot:

*Iris Adam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Natural Law
*Brooke Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Independent
*Alex-St. James . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Republican
*Douglas Anderson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Republican
*Angelyne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Independent
*Mohammad Arif . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Independent
Or view the whole list...
I thought I would be an informed voter, and carefully consider each candidate.

I began with Iris Adam. She writes:
A candidate’s personal fame or fortune—or “experience” as a career politician—are irrelevant when it comes to successful administration. The ONLY qualifications that matter are the candidate’s profound knowledge and actual expertise in offering proven solutions to the problems confronting our state...

My platform includes:
Proven, prevention-oriented natural and complementary medicine to prevent disease, promote health, and save billions of dollars by keeping people healthy;

Educational innovations shown to develop total brain functioning for maximum success, health and happiness in life;

Renewable energy sources to protect our environment and save our economy from energy dependence on foreign oil;

Organic agriculture to revitalize California’s agricultural economy and for abundant, nourishing, healthy food...
So far so good. I like the the "total brain functioning." And, who's not in favor of "nourishing, healthy food," (so long as appropriate fizzy drinks and other snacks are also available, of course)?

Yes, I'm getting ready to support Iris. Call me one of the "pupils."


4 September 2003
Page Mill Winery 2000 Merlot
Crayola Markers
Unread Books and Magazines





3 September 2003
Das Werden der Habsburgermonarchie

I received this luscious book from the KHM. I've observed that whenever I order something from a European vendor, the receipt or box inevitably has someone's handwriting on it somewhere. Amazon boxes, shipped out of Nevada somewhere, might as well have been packed by robots.


It's a book stuffed with amazing images of 16th century art and artifacts. Here are a couple that I picked at random—not even particularly good ones—for this book, at least!



For the rightmost one:
Das Leichenbegaengnis fuer Kaiser Ferdinand I. am 6. August 1565 in Wien
This raises the question, when did Ferdinand die, really? 1564, or 1565? The Encyclopedia Britannica says 1564:
Ferdinand I: Born March 10, 1503 (Alcalá de Henares, Spain) , died July 25, 1564, Vienna

Holy Roman emperor (1558–64) and king of Bohemia and Hungary from 1526, who, with his Peace of Augsburg (1555), concluded the era of religious strife in Germany following the rise of Lutheranism by recognizing the right of territorial princes to determine the religion of their subjects. He also converted the elected crowns of Bohemia and Hungary into hereditary possessions of the house of Habsburg.
Lizzie lived from 1533 to 1603.
Shakespeare, 1564 to 1616.
Sir Walter Raleigh, 1552 to 1618.
Michaelangelo, 1475 to 1564.
It's always good to have those dates in mind.


2 September 2003
The Art of the Escape, or
Afloat off San Quentin aboard the Rub-a-Dub-Dub

Elderly man to stand trial for bank robbery

Monday, February 14, 2000

Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH - A 79-year-old with an almost legendary record of prison breaks—including an escape from San Quentin—is competent to stand trial on bank robbery charges, prosecutors say.

Forrest Silva "Woody" Tucker suffers from heart and stomach ailments, but two months of court-ordered psychological and medical tests at a prison hospital in Missouri revealed nothing that would keep him from trial, prosecutors told The Palm Beach Post for Sunday's editions. Tucker isn't contesting the finding.

Tucker, who also faces weapons charges, has been in jail since April 22, charged with an armed holdup at a Republic Security Bank in Jupiter. The robber got away with $5,600.

FBI agents arrested Tucker a couple of hours after the robbery at the Pompano Beach house he shared with his wife, 74-year-old Jewell Centers.

Last month, a federal grand jury indicted Tucker on two more counts of hitting the same bank, for $7,282 in January 1999 and a Boca Raton branch for $1,817 a month later.

He also is charged with possession of a .45-caliber pistol, a .357 Magnum revolver and an unregistered .40-caliber M-1 short-barrel rifle.

Neither the prosecutor, Kerry Baron, nor Tucker's lawyer, Charles G. White of Miami, were available for comment. Tucker's trial will begin sometime after March 6 before U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley.

Tucker's criminal record goes back to 1936, when he was arrested at 15 for stealing a bicycle. Florida police have said Tucker was the leader of the Over the Hill Gang, a group of elderly men who robbed banks and stores in Florida in the 1980s.

His notoriety as an escape artist has kept him in semi-isolation at the Miami Federal Detention Center. Despite his age, officials feared he might be capable of pulling off an embarrassing disappearance like the ones he described in a 419-page manuscript about his exploits, titled "The Can Opener," which FBI agents found at his home after his arrest. Tucker claims it is fiction.

Tucker's most notorious escape was from San Quentin, Calif., in 1979, where he was serving a 10-year sentence for robbery. He and two other inmates built a rickety kayak in a prison woodshop, painted it with a Marin County yacht club logo and the name Rub-A-Dub-Dub and paddled across San Francisco Bay to freedom. The other two inmates were captured within months.

Tucker remained on the loose until 1983, when he was arrested in West Palm Beach after a shootout with FBI agents. He took three hostages during the shootout and was captured after he collapsed from blood loss from four gunshot wounds.

Charged with stealing more than $374,000 from a Boston bank, he was convicted and released on parole in 1994. Authorities didn't realize he still had time to serve in California.
More art of the escape, or read the theory.


1 September 2003
We moved by Mayflower too...not a scratch on anything! [1962]



The (deeply flawed) perspective of the truck—if it were ten feet longer, the cab looks like it would be about, say, three feet high.

It's hard to imagine that the destination is not California, with the arid peak, palm trees, and looming ranchero chimney in the middle distance.

But now I read the text of the ad, for the first time:
Mrs. D. U. relates in a letter to us concerning her Mayflower move from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Phoenix, Arizona: "Sure would recommend Mayflower. Our things came out just fine. Not a scratch on anything!"
OK, Arizona instead. That might even be one of the craggy mountains you see on a flight into the Phoenix airport. In the foreground, a virgin pietà. Also several crosses—involving the fence and the road.

Cross-country. Not a scratch in sight, rebirth in the new land. Mrs. Dieu—her things came out fine.

This is from the Devil and Daniel Webster, by Stephen Vincent Benet:
"Attorney of record for Jabez Stone," said Dan'l Webster, but his eyes were glowing too. "Might I ask your name?"

“I’ve gone by a good many,” said the stranger carelessly. “Perhaps Scratch will do for the evening. I’m often called that in these regions.”

Then he sat down at the table and poured himself a drink from the jug. The liquor was cold in the jug, but it came steaming into the glass.

“And now,” said the stranger, smiling and showing his teeth, “I shall call upon you, as a law-abiding citizen, to assist me in taking possession of my property...”
I scanned the image from the 12 January 1962 LIFE magazine, pg 26. Here's more from the same magazine.

The company is still around.


1 September 2003
Bettabilitarian [1929]



"Chauncey Wright[,] a nearly forgotten philosopher of real merit, taught me when young that I must not say necessary about the universe, that we don't know whether anything is necessary or not," [Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.] wrote to Frederick Pollack in 1929, when he was in his eighties. "...So that I describe myself as a bettabilitarian. I believe that we can bet on the behavior of the universe in its contract with us. That leaves a loophole for free will—in the miraculous sense—the creation of a new atom of force, although I don't in the least believe in it."

Oliver Wendell Holmes to Frederick Pollack, August 30, 1929, Holmes-Pollack Letters: The Correspondence of Mr Justice Holmes and Sir Frederick Pollack, 1874-1932, ed. Mark DeWolfe Howe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1941), vol 2, 252, quoted in The Metaphysical Club (2001), by Louis Menand, pg. 217.


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