Archive for November, 2006

A Grocery Tragedy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on November 30, 2006 by Budd Black

This will be a play in two acts.  The first act is a tragedy.  The second will be a comedy.

Act I

When I moved to my town they had a brand new grocery store that opened about the same time that we moved in.  It was called Bi-Lo.  This place was great.  The prices were good.  They carried regional products.  Even their store brand was quality.  The store was located in a great spot with easy access in and out.  We shopped for groceries there primarily and only ventured away for advertised sales that we couldn't resist. 

About six months ago, they announced that the chain had been bought out by Southern Family Market.  The store closed for one day, the sign changed, and everyone flocked to see what was going to change.  Everyone had optimistic assumptions about the change.  When I went in I noticed that they had taken down the train that went around the store on a track suspended from the ceiling.  Next, I noticed that the prices were higher.  Not only were the regular prices higher, but the sales were not as good.  Upon later visits and the initial Bi-Lo inventory went out and was replaced, the quality of the products carried decreased.  We started shopping more at food lion and Wal-mart.

Act II

I had to pick some things up for dinner on the way home on Tuesday night.  The convenience of shopping at the Southern Family Market has not diminished, so I stopped in to pick up some ground beef, cold medicine, and bread.  A sign on the door said that the store was closing.  They did not have any bread, ground beef, or children's cold medicine.  The prices were actually higher on most things than they were originally. 

My community voted with their dollars and got Southern Family Markets booted out.  It is bittersweet because there are no Bi-Lo stores anymore and no chance that it will come back.  I do hope that someone moves into the location that I can enjoy shopping with.  It is funny that a buy out can take an economically viable store and bring it to ruins.

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Science Fiction VS Fantasy

Posted in Uncategorized on November 28, 2006 by Budd Black

Why are these two genres lumped together as if they are one? I like science fiction and I like some fantasy. When I go to a book store or an online store I usually have in mind what I am in the mood for. What I hate is looking through all of the fantasy books to find the few science fiction novels. It seems that with the popularity of the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Chronicles of Narnia movies, fantasy is all that you see in these sections. A lot of it seems to be assembly line books that are produced on a schedule. Why can I find every volume of every fantasy series in existence and the book store not carry Neal Stephenson or William Gibson.

The Library is the same way. Dewey must be rolling over in his grave about lumping two different subjects together in one section. I realize that there are a lot of crossover fans, but that could be said about many different genres. Women who read romance novels tend to also read true crime books. Why not lump those two together. Sci fi and fantasy fans tend to like computers so lets just move the computer section over. Yes, it is silly. Just as it is silly to put science fiction and fantasy in the same section.

When I want a sci fi novel I want to go over to the science fiction section and browse through nothing but sci fi. I hate picking up a book with a nondescript cover and realizing it is fantasy when I want hard sci fi. The problem isn't so pronounced with fantasy because nine out of ten books in the section will be fantasy.

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QotD: Warning:

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 28, 2006 by Budd Black

If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
Submitted by chris.

Warning:  Subject is immature.  Prolonged exposure to subject may cause immaturity, laughter, or death.  In the case of death, subject is not to be held responsible.

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QotD: Childhood Frights

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 22, 2006 by Budd Black

What were you afraid of as a child that seems silly to you now?
Submitted by navelgazer.

Ventriloquist's Dummies.  I had Howdy Doody at my 4th birthday and it freaked me out pretty good.  I understood that the puppet shouldn't be talking. 

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Top 50 Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 21, 2006 by Budd Black

Thanks Jar!

This is a list of the 50 most significant science fiction/fantasy novels, 1953-2002, according to the Science Fiction Book Club. Bold the ones you've read, strike-out the ones you hated, italicize those you started but never finished, put an asterisk beside the ones you loved and put a '#' next to the ones you intend to read some time.

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R.Tolkien*
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov 
3. Dune, Frank Herbert  *
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein  
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson*
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick

9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley #
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M Miller Jr
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card  **
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman*
Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams

28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson #
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven 
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut 
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson  **
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein  **
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

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This I Believe Redux.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 20, 2006 by Budd Black

"This I Believe" is a radio essay series on NPR.   


In life, there is not much you can be sure about. In fact, I went through life unsure of everything until I opened a science book one day and found the element Plutonium.

Plutonium jumped right out at me with its atomic number of 94, white color, and mass of 244 g/mol. This is the element of the atomic bomb. This is the element, in it's most stable form (244Pu), that has a half-life of 80 million years. So, plutonium isn't just going to up and leave you early in a relationship.

Furthermore, Plutonium is warm to the touch, never cold and distant. This is due to the heat given off by the alpha particle emission. I am not sure what that means, but like Plutonium, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Plutonium can be used for peace bringing nuclear weapons and is used in the space program as well. Future uses of this fine element have still yet to be discovered. I would one day like to build a house out of plutonium.

With all of these things going for it, I only regret that I did not find out about Plutonium sooner. Plutonium has lead me to other elements like Uranium.  Although named after the now non planet Plutonium is sure to have a longer shelf life.

Everyone should be warmed by the naturally heat bringing Plutonium.

This. . . I Believe.


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QotD: Tasty Thanksgiving Treat

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on November 20, 2006 by Budd Black

What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Submitted by Brennan.

I love country ham.  We always have one along with the turkey.  Our family does white beans on thanksgiving as well.  White beans cooked with hog jaw served with johnny/hoe cakes (corn bread in the pancake style not the loaf or pie style). 

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