Archive for May, 2006

The Propaganda Remix Project

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

I could not pass up this cool Ace books remix. I’d love to read it. It has all of my favorite authors. Edited by Don Wollheim – you can’t beat that!

I don’t like to get political because so many of my friends are conservative, but even conservatives are realizing that Bush and Cheney’s neo-conservatism is way outside of what they signed up for.

(I’m sorry Skip, but I just love the Ace paperback cover.)

The Propaganda Remix Project: “The Propaganda Remix Project”

Moved to new server

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

I moved the blog to my new hosting server. It should be a little faster and I can now start to reorganize

Free Name A Star Starts Off Well

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

My free name a star site had a decent first weekend. I got about 20 registrations and $2.00 in ad revenue. That’s pretty good for practically no promotion and no search page rank. I had my first spam and my first stupid kid entry (a star named Hitler). I had to write the edit program today to start deleting bad stars. I guess I’ll have to watch it closely. I may have to block ip addresses.

Free Name a Star

Friday, May 26th, 2006

I’ve finished setting up my latest get rich slow scheme. lets you register a star name (I scarfed the Smithsonian’s star catalog) and then print out a certificate, just like my site.

On the original NameAGalaxy site I am doing about 5 new galaxies a day, and most people find the site through search engines looking for free name a star. I guess that nameagalaxy is a second rate alternative to the actual free name-a-star site that they are looking for, so I am giving the people what they want. This time I am charging for extras so we’ll see if I make any money.

Also, I have copied Nasa’s Near Earth Object catalog and I will think about making a Name-A-NEO site where people can give names to the asteroids that are likely to wipe out all life on earth someday. (other ideas – name-a-wild-wolf, name-a-tree, name-a-lost-kitten, name-a-nuke, name-a-congressman…)

Free Name a Star: “There are zillions of stars out there. Why pay for one? has set aside a large set of stars. You can register a star name for free.”

This project was very satisfying. It had medium complexity. It required some fancy programming to get the PayPal system to work. I am creating PDF files on the fly, very quickly – cool! I even used a free website template to give it that certain look. It has a “designed by a professionals” look that announces to the world that you asked a creative person to spend 5 minutes making a template that looks like every other template out there.

I have not written any spec-fic in months. I get my creative high from programming and web sites. I find programming akin to writing poetry. I use universal symbols arranged in new and fascinating ways. Completing an on-line system is like finishing a short story. I get that same satisfaction. Also, I don’t get rejection letters.

Pictures of Mill Today

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

This is a picture taken from the same place as the poster picture (circa 1896). It has been a wet spring so it looks like a jungle.

This is a picture of the remains of the dam. There is an access road there now, leading to some houses on the other side of the creek

This poor abused white oak is about 200 years old and was probably a young tree when the witch trial occurred.

More on the Polhemus Grist Mill – The Clarksville Witch

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Here is the story of the Mill from the last post. I have taken part of this from Now and Then in Rockland County, NY, compiled by Cornellia F Bedell. 1941 edition. The house where the witch lived was probably where my house is today.

The Clarksville Witch – 1816

The belief in witchcraft in our county is shown in the following story. I not only gives information regarding the locality, but it is undoubtedly true.
The supposed victim of demoniac power in this Clarksville case, was the widow of a Scotch physician, named Jane Kannif, who moved into the hamlet prior to 1816, took a small house situated a few rods west of the old church on the New City Road, and devoted herself to the care of her only child, a son by a previous marriage, named Tobias Lowrie.
Jane, or she was called in the Vernacular of the Clarksville people, “Naut Kannif” seems to have been exceedingly eccentric, a person who would now be regarded by alienists as insane, but her vagaries at the worst took a harmless form.
She was odd in dress, preferred part-colors of wondrous diversity, queer in the fashion of arranging her hair. She was unsocial in a neighborhood where everyone knew each other; and morose and erratic when forced to meet people. From her deceased husband she had a smattering of medicine, and now, when placed where she could get at the herbs known to her, she made wondrous concoctions which she treated such as came to her for aid, and I have been informed by those who knew her, with most excellent results.

She was brought to trial on witchcraft after neighbors complained of “difficulty in making the churning come off”, cows not giving milk, and sleepless nights.
No legitimate judge would hear the case.

It was finally agreed to put “Naut” to a test that would prove her innocence or guilt, namely to bind her hand and foot, and throw her in the mill pond. If she floated, she must necessarily be a witch, but if she drowned then her innocence would be established beyond a doubt.

They brought the woman to the mill pond, across from my house, where they tied her up and were about to throw her in. Squire Yaupy Vanderbilt and Jake Clark (both ancestors of mine) came and stopped it.

Then other counsels prevailed. Instead of the water test, it was decided to take “Naut” to Auert Polhemus’s grist mill and in his great flour scales weigh her against the old Holland Dutch family Bible, iron bound, with wooden covers and iron chain to carry it by.
If outweighed by the Bible, she must be a witch beyond any doubt, and must suffer accordingly. She was taken to the mill against her most earnest protest, put on the scales, and weighed. Weighing more than the Bible, the committee released her.

Shortly after the trial ended, at Pye’s fulling mill, down the street from the grist mill, a large hammer used for beating cloth weighing 200 pounds fell on one of Pye’s sons and immediately crushed him to death. The Pyes were one of the most vocal speaking against “Naut” at the trial.

This ended the last trial for witchcraft in New York State and probably one of the last witch trials in the country. She is buried in the cemetery next to my house and her grave is defaced to show her year of birth as 1247.

Polhemus Mill

Sunday, May 21st, 2006

This is a poster of the Polhemus Mill that was put up down at the West Nyack Post office. The Polhemus family live on Germonds Road, West Nyack, a few hundred feet from my house. They had a dam on the Germonds Creek. I am a direct descendent from Theosophus Polhemus who came the New World in the middle 1600s. The Mill was owned by my family until a a hundred years or so ago. I didn’t know this when I moved into the house.
The first Polhemus’s came on the St. Catarina, known as the Jewish Mayflower from Brazil. Theosophus was a calvanist minister and he and his wife were kicked out of Brazil when the colony got rid of all the non-catholics.
An interesting thing is that the picture was made by Lewis Stockmeyer, who lived across the street from my mother when she was a little girl. I remember Mr. Stockmeyer showing me his pictures when I was a little boy and we went to visit.

Larry and Ward and the 64 Chevy

Saturday, May 20th, 2006

I found this picture of Larry and Ward. That was a great car, but Larry’s job moved to Suffern, about ten miles, and he could no longer afford the gas.
1964 Chevy Bel Air wagon.

Correction: I originally said it was a 65. I have been corrected.

The Sword of Shannara

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

The Sword of Shannara
By Terry Brooks (© 1977)
Read by Scott Brick. 2003 Books on Tape, Inc.
Unabridged 17 cassettes, List price: $144, available for $115. I paid $40 on eBay

Obviously, The Sword of Shannara is a simplified rehash of themes, characters and even some events from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit without Tolkien’s incredible created universe and wonderful use of language.

We might call Brooks the American Tolkien. He’s a faster, cheaper, simpler Tolkien.

However, I must remove myself from the claims that this book is derivative of Tolkien. The issue now is: should I listen to the book? The answer is: yeah, why the hell not?

If you loved LOTR, you’ll like The Sword of Shannara.

The universe of SoS is the far future of our world. A technological holocaust has devastated the earth and has altered men into races called Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, etc. They are still men, though. Man has forgotten science, but he has learned the secrets of the spirit world and an evil dark lord whose name is not Sauron has risen again to threaten the peace of the developing civilizations. An ancient Druid (not a wizard) whose name is not Gandalf takes a short non-hobbit person with his trusty sidekick on a dangerous quest to find the stolen Sword of Shannara.

There are long passages of back-story in the first three or four chapters. The plot still manages to pull the reader along to an action filled ending. Some of the characters are well crafted. A one armed thief and a Troll with a heart of gold are very well done and have no equivalent in LOTR. Terry Brooks, from past readings, takes a while to warm up. His novels begin slowly and build up to a satisfying ending.

I just finished The Sword of Shannara this morning on my way to work, and I could think of worse ways of spending 22 hours of commuting time. The reader, Scott Brick, uses a variety of interesting accents to help keep the characters straight. He has done a very good job, making a so-so book into a good listen.

The first tape is broken and I have to repair it. Ward, my brother, gets it next. Anyone else want to sign up for a listen?

Chesley Bonestell – Mr. Smith Goes to Venus

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

I get quite a few hits for my blog entry on Chesley Bonestell scans. I put a link to a more formal page to view the images. I hope that this helps the searchers.
Chesley Bonestell – Mr. Smith Goes to Venus

Free Name A Star

Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

My website found its way to a few MySpace pages and is now killing me with bandwidth. Hundreds of teeny boppers are naming galaxies after their favorite pet, or heart throb, or their favorite teacher. Mother’s Day nearly brought the site down. I have purchased another 50 Gigs of bandwidth. Each PDF certificate costs me 700K in bandwidth and I have a page where you can see all the galaxy names and view the dedications. I am getting 10-20 new galaxy names a day and hundreds of certificate views.

I registered and downloaded the Smithsonian Institute’s star inventory. I have a few test pages on the site, and I expect to finish it up by next week. I put it on the new host where I have 50 gigs of bandwidth, and I hope this will be enough. This time, I am being smart and I am charging for extras. If you want a star visible to the naked eye, it will cost you.


Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

This site recently hit one of my webrings. What I like about it is that it shows the difference between the terms Science Fiction and Sci-Fi. Hugo Gernsback invented Science Fiction as a genre and then created the words Scientifiction and Science Fiction to describe it. Forest Ackerman invented the term Sci-Fi to describe the monster movies that Hollywood called Science Fiction, but was really just horror. Today, the SciFi channel has only the monster movie type of Sci-Fi and none of Gernsback’s Science Fiction. Simply put, what you read is Science Fiction, what you watch is SciFi.

OFFICIAL SCI-FI BOYS WEBSITE: “This is the story of the Sci-Fi Boys, who started out as kids making amateur movies inspired by FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine and grew up to take Hollywood by storm, inventing the art and technology for filming anything the mind can dream. The DVD has the 80 minute feature, plus over one hour of bonus features of rare sci-fi treasures, described below.”


Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

The Astrodea watch. It costs about $400 and is only available in Japan right now, but it should be available in the states by Christmas. Just in time to buy a christmas present for your favorite blogger.

Straight Up Blues in Nyack Last Night

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

I made a gallery of pictures from the gig last night. Lots of fun!