The Best Luck Ever!

Except for the bitter cold, Wednesday, March 1, 1950, started off like any other day in Beatrice (Bee-AT-riss), Nebraska. Kids went to school, dads went to work, and housewives did their shopping. Everything seemed perfectly normal in this small town of around 10,000 people.

Wednesday was the day that Beatrice’s West Side Baptist Church usually held choir practice. Owing to the piercing cold, pastor Walter Klempel went to the church late that afternoon and lit the furnace so that the sanctuary would be warm by the time practice started at 7:30 that evening. He then went home for dinner, expecting to come back at around 7:15 when choir members usually started showing up.

At 7:25 that night, West Side Baptist Church exploded. The blast was so intense that it blew the sides out of the building, causing the roof to fall straight down. Windows were shattered in many neighboring houses, and the town’s only radio station was temporarily knocked off the air.

Investigators would later determine that the explosion was caused when a gas leak outside the church came in contact with the furnace’s pilot light. But that’s not what makes the “West Side Explosion” so interesting. No, what makes the story so remarkable is that no one was hurt. It might sound like an urban legend, but in this case it’s true… all 15 members of the church choir ran late that night:

– Reverend Klempel normally brought his wife and child to practice. But at 7:10 that night his daughter Marilyn Ruth spilled something on her dress. Mrs. Klempel had to iron another dress, causing the family to run late. They were at home when the blast occurred.

Continue reading “The Best Luck Ever!”

All About Bookmarklets

Bookmarklets are tiny snippets of JavaScript code that can be stored in a bookmark (or Favorite, if you’re an Internet Explorer user).

Although many bookmarklets can handle tasks that browser extensions or plug-ins can do, bookmarklets have a few added advantages: they’re platform agnostic (most bookmarklets work in all browsers, so if you want to switch from Firefox to Opera most of your bookmarklets will still work); they don’t require any type of installation (Firefox extensions require a browser restart after installation, and also occasionally “break” when a new version of Firefox is released); they use far less memory than even a well-written extension; and lastly, bookmarklets work with bookmark synchronization sites and software, so if you use something like Weave or Foxmarks, you can easily have the same bookmarklets on every browser you use.

So… what can you do with bookmarklets? Check out this quick list I threw together:

Share on Facebook – One of Facebook’s most popular features is the “Share Link” app, which allows you to paste a website address into a Facebook window and send it out to all your friends. To use this feature, you normally have to to copy the target URL to your clipboard, open a new tab and login to Facebook, then paste the URL into the “Share:” box. With this officially-supported bookmarklet, you just go to a web page that you want to share and load the “Share on Facebook” bookmark; this makes a pop-up window appear with all the pertinent sharing information, so you can share it on Facebook with far fewer mouse clicks than the old way.

PressThis! – PressThis is like “Share on Facebook” for WordPress. You can highlight some text on a web page and click the “PressThis!” bookmark… a pop-up window will open to your WP blog with the text you highlighted already added to a new post. It’s awesome! Go to your WP dashboard and click on the main “Tools” menu to find out more.

Legiblize – converts the active web page to a more readable format. Excellent for older web pages or long Wikipedia articles.

Continue reading “All About Bookmarklets”

Sprint Fail

The missus is looking at new cell phones, so we stopped by our local Sprint store yesterday. Here’s a pic of their automated payment kiosk:

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Sorry about the “shaky cam” – the store manager was giving me the stink-eye when I snapped it.

Worst Week Ever!

Talk about your bad luck!

Japan has certified a man aged 93 as the only known survivor of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both hit by atomic bombs towards the end of World War II.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip on 6 August 1945 when a US plane dropped the first atomic bomb.

He suffered serious burns and spent a night there before returning to his home city of Nagasaki just before it was bombed on 9 August.

via BBC NEWS | Man survived both atomic bombings.


Hey everybody! I just thought I’d post a bunch of funny or interesting pics for a bit of Friday fun!

A few weeks ago, someone posted dozens of high-res historical pictures on \hr\ over at 4chan. One of them was this cool picture of Sting from the early 80s:

(WARNING: this pic is 2417×3670 and is 1.97MB)

(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)

Hard to believe the “Desert Rose” guy was once that cool!

Continue reading “FRIDAY FUN: Pics!”

New Vid Card Goodness!

As you may know, I got a new computer for Christmas. The new machine’s pretty boss, but came with a rather disappointing onboard graphics chipset. So I ordered a new video card for my birthday: a Sparkle GeForce 9400 GT from Newegg. My first PCIe card, the 9400GT has some pretty amazing specs, considering the less than $50 price tag.

I suppose the most amazing is the 1GB of onboard video RAM. I remember getting really excited when I doubled the amount of video RAM on my old Pentium II 350 from 8MB to 16MB. That was something… and here I am, years later, fawning over a video card with 1000MB RAM!

The new card really boosts my WEI rating, too. Here’s a screencap from before the upgrade:

(Click to enlarge)
(Click to enlarge)

Continue reading “New Vid Card Goodness!”

My County

I would say “only in Gaston County… but you know stuff like this happens elsewhere all the time… right?

Aggressive prostitution apparently led to a first-degree burglary charge Thursday against a 26-year-old Lincolnton woman.

Nicole Mary Scarpone of 122 Star Light Drive reportedly forced her way into an apartment on Pembroke Road, near Cox Road and I-85, and asked the three men inside to give her $10 in exchange for sex.

“Defendant stated that she was dropped off over there and had been there before and performed sexual acts, but stated that she was not invited over there tonight and indicated that she just showed up to make some quick money,” Officer B.H. Carr wrote in his warrant affidavit. “Ms. Scarpone asked all the male subjects in the apartment if they had $10 for sex.

(Bolding mine)

via Local News – Gaston Gazette.

NFL Re-Ups with DirecTV

This is bad news:

The National Football League has reached a four-year contract agreement with DirecTV for the leading satellite provider to remain the TV home for the Sunday Ticket package through 2014.

Announced during the NFL owners meeting in Dana Point, Calif., the pay-per-view pact, according to sources familiar with the negotiations, is valued at about $1 billion annually from 2011-2014. DirecTV currently pays some $700 million on its Sunday Ticket contract that expires after the 2010 season.

However, the agreement opens the door to a wider reach for the out-of-home package, which will become available to broadband subscribers that can’t receive DirecTV. This service is aimed at those who reside in multi-unit dwellings or satellite customers with poor sightlines to a satellite signal.

I had hoped that the NFL would finally allow cable operators to offer Sunday Ticket as a cable package (or, even better, games a la carte)… but no dice, at least until 2014. This sucks, but I guess $4 billion is nothing to sneeze at.

via NFL Scores With $4 Billion DirecTV Sunday Ticket Extension – Broadcasting & Cable.