Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Pirate Report

Following up last Thursday's post on how to find pirate shortwave radio broadcasts, I spent some time looking this weekend and found three.  The sound quality of two of them was awful.  Between low signal strength and lots of lightning crashes, it was hard to dig out any content beyond simply registering something was there.  But the third broadcast was very listenable.  Here are the details.

Friday, 8:20pm CDT, 6880 AM: Possibly clips from vintage horror radio play.  Could just resolve scattered words and phrases.

Saturday, 7:15 CDT, 6935 AM: Radio Appalachia.  Mix of old country and string band music.  Was able to identify several songs, including "White Lightning," something by Johnny Cash, and "I'd Rather Have Jesus," "He Walked withe Me."  Signed off with "God Bless America Again" at 8:11 CDT.  More discussion (should you feel compelled) at HF Underground.

Saturday, 8:15 CDT, 6950 USB: Wolverine Radio (wiki article).  Started with Billie Holliday, worked its way through the 40's, 50's, & 60's, some CCR, a James Taylor song, The Cars' "You're All I've Got Tonight," and wrapped up with Wang Chung.  The signal was clear and strong.  At sign-off, this slow-scan TV QSL image was sent:
Again, more discussion at HF Underground.

Well, these pirates, they're out there.  No, I mean they're out there, and pretty far out there at that.  Kind of interesting stuff though.  Perhaps the most interesting part is the why people make these pirate broadcasts.  I won't delve into that other than to point to a FAQ over at HF Underground.  Another question is why, in this age of crystal-clear podcasts, why bother listening?  Only answers I can come up with are it's something different, it's a technical challenge, and because it's there.  I'm sure that in the future I'll tune in on an occasional basis.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

It's not worth it.

Here, let Werner Herzog spell out what texting while driving does:

All a driver fumbling with his cell phone has cost me was a mailbox and a screwed up sewer line.  I can only imagine what it's putting these people through.

Yeah, it's 35 minutes.  Set aside the time when you can and watch the whole thing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Avast! Ye Lowly Licensed Radio Broadcasters

Now there's a compact how-to article on tuning in shortwave pirate stations, complete with extended mp3 recordings from Wolverine Radio, Radio Casablanca, Ronin Radio, and the like.  I've sampled around on the mp3's, will give live listening a whirl over the next week or so.

Parrot and nautical accessories sold separately.  Eyepatch not included.  Installation of hook should only be attempted by qualified medical professionals.  This offer emphatically not void where prohibited by the FCC.

The Dune that Almost Was: Looks Interesting

Here's the site – go watch the trailer!

Sometimes it's a fine line between genius and crazy, and it appears that this film surveys that line in depth.  Anyway, I'll have my eyes out for this flick.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Garage Find

1969 Shelby GT500, mint condition:

Article here.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Boatload of New Music.. and it's free

Courtesy of NPR, it's their 2014 Austin 100 mix.  Enjoy!

One more thing: hurry the hell up and download this, because the freebie download goes away at the end of the month.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Do not perturb Resting Snake

Go ahead and watch, but put down your coffee first.

To Hell with Cable TV

As explained by Tam and Bobbi, in their usual eloquent way.

Review: Need for Speed

This is one of those movies that's about watching, not thinking.  The plot, what little there is of it, was so far-fetched that I had to actively remind myself to watch not think several times.  But after that, there was plenty to watch!  Real stunts too, not a bunch of CGI-only-possible stuff.  Honestly, it had nearly as much of a story and significantly more realistic physics than Gravity, and that was good for what, seven Oscars?  Believe me, the plot of Need for Speed wasn't really that much more far-fetched.

So... see it or not?  It's a car movie, with speed and crashes and hot chicks and fast cars and if that sounds good to you and you can turn off your analytical brain for an hour and a half and just enjoy the stuff, then go full-tilt and see it in 3D.  If you want two and a half hours of gut-wringing cinematic drama that deeply, deeply means something to film critics, it's probably not the movie for you.

Then we get to the Mustangs in the movie.  At times this flick was little more than a Ford advertisement.  If watching new Mustangs be unveiled before adoring crowds, if hearing Mustangs roar through American cityscapes and landscapes, if watching Mustangs going way too damn fast sounds like fun, then this is your movie.

There are a few bad things to say about this flick.  I had to keep reminding myself "watch, don't think."  The plot got kind of syrupy with some sub-plots that nobody really gave a rat's about.  Dunno, maybe it was a try at making it work as a date movie.  A times, the small-town-down-home-American cliches were coming on faster than the cars.  Those negatives have got to knock some points off, so call it all 2.75 out of 4 stars.  I was entertained.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I Want My Blues!

Digging around on Radio Locator today for my local area, I found something really interesting: WHJA, an actual blues station up in Laurel MS.  Just inside of listening range too!

Tried tuning in... nothing.
Looked on Wikipedia only to find:
The station has been silent since August 25, 2008.[1] According to the station's application to the FCC for authority to remain silent, the station suffered a "massive transmitter failure" and they claim that "repair of the facility may not be economically feasible." The application notes that the financial performance of the station is being assessed "in light of the needed technical expenditures."[1]
Well dang.  Something like two dozen each of classic rock, country pop, spoits twak, and St. Ronald only knows how many political talk stations are in this coverage area... but south Mississippi can't find room on the dial for one little full-time blues station?

Digging deeper and searching Radio Locator's database for all blues stations in the U.S. turns up a dozen (not counting defunct WHJA), six of which are in MS and four more are in neighboring states.  So this situation is at least not a complete regional cultural embarrassment.  But still.

Meh, at least we've got WQRZ-LP's Blues Tuesday (hyper)locally, and WWCR's Last Radio Playing show a couple of times a week.  After that... time to start looking for internet feeds off of these little stations.  If I find anything interesting over the weekend it will be posted.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Here, have some Retrofutureism!

...and in Russian at that.  Go ahead, click through, it's safe.  Enough.

One More for the Road

The road to work that is.  From over at The Argyle Sweater:

It is good to finally know.

It's been a week...

A week of meetings-with-acronymns.  And it ain't over yet, still two more proposals to write today.  (unexpected deadline, surprise, surprise)  Stumbled across some ideas for up over The Shop this morning.  No, I'm not going full-tilt inferior desecrator, but I do kind of dig the doors.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Modern Geography

From the Washington Post:
40 Maps that Explain the World
40 More Maps that Explain the World

I'll refrain from commenting on the current state of secondary education in the United States beyond saying that these two web pages could be the core of a damn fine year-long course.

In the meantime, let's all be happy
because you can reference those 80 maps anytime you want, interspersed with all the recess and bathroom breaks you wish.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Elrond's Airplane

Well not exactly, but if Tolkien's elves ever did build airplanes, they'd probably look something like this:

It's actually a pre-WWII Italian design that never quite flew, then got hidden somewhere in France during the war.  You can read about this beauty's re-creation here at the Bugatti 100p Project's page.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Like Two Hands of Winter...

... coming together to hold onto the Coast one last week to freeze out Mardi Gras:
Sorry Winter, the parade must go on!

1st Annual Seahorse Parade

Good down-home parade, but man was it cold!  Down into the low 40's by the time it was over.  Here are some pics:

The signature float, the USS Seahorse.  Note bow cannon fire.

Here comes the Ugly Pirate float!

And there goes the Ugly Pirate float.  Ultimately they won the Best Float Prize, which is darned cool because they really did have the best float.

Saturday, March 1, 2014


One of Frank Underwood's "Barn Find" series:
Mmmmm, nice.  It's going to look good in the office.

New Krewe & a New Night Parade in Town

The Mystic Krewe of the Seahorse, and they're having a Lundi Gras night parade starting at the waterfront in Bay St. Louis and only a half-block later, going right past my favorite bar.  Sounds good to me.
Here's their web site, and here's their history page from the web site.  Interesting stuff, all ties back to the last events of the War of 1812.  (Though there were a few typos... "Last Navel Battle"?  I'll be sure to keep my shirt on for that one.)
This is gonna be fun.  Probably take Tuesday off though.