Great Opening Lines 
Recently I read Neuromancer, the novel that is credited with launching the cyberpunk genre. The opening sentence of Neuromancer also seems to be widely acclaimed as of the great literary opening lines:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.

Here are some of my favorites:

It was a pleasure to burn. Fahrenheit 451

Elmer Gantry was drunk. Elmer Gantry

Howard Roark laughed. The Fountainhead

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want the truth. The Catcher in the Rye

By ten-forty-five, it was all over. The Moon is Down

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Nineteen Eighty-Four

These lines are mostly simple and almost summarize their respective texts in a nutshell. Holden's opening statement is long but that's about as close to a nutshell summary as Holden can get. The opening sentence to 1984 is just chilling. And, the more I think about it, 1984 was cyberpunk way before cyberpunk; and a whole lot more, obviously.

Edit - as I revisited this topic this morning I remembered that 1984 has a very memorable closing sentence.

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Blight 
In May I planted 12 tomato plants, 12 pepper plants (banana, anaheim, jalapeno), and started two pumpkins from seed. Due mostly to the fact that March lasted about 115 days this year, I have nine peppers still standing and of the 12 original tomato, it appears that only about three will really produce. None are dead yet but many have the ecru-colored leaves indicative of blossom-end rot and the plants are withered and appear to be dying. Most have tomatoes but I don't know how long that will last. On the bright side, the peppers are producing and the third attempt at pumpkins has finally given me two flourishing plants but I don't think the pumpkins will be ready by the end of October.

The constant rain and cooler temperatures of the 3.75 Marches we had this year have wreaked havoc on the tomatoes. The three pepper plants I lost were due to wind gusts from the maelstrom of rainstorms knocking them down and uprooting them - even as they were staked.

So, next year - what to do to guard against this? I will have some work to do.

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Free Shipping 
I bought a 4GB usb flash drive from Newegg on Tuesday. I haven't received it yet. Here's the tracking chart:

8/7/2009 6:05 PM ET LEHIGH VALLEY, PA, US SHIPMENT ACCEPTED BY USPS
8/6/2009 7:10 AM ET ELKRIDGE, MD, US TENDERED TO USPS
8/6/2009 12:49 AM ET ELKRIDGE, MD, US ARRIVAL DESTINATION DHL GLOBAL MAIL FACILITY
8/5/2009 9:48 AM ET RUTHERFORD, NJ, US DEPARTURE ORIGIN DHL GLOBAL MAIL FACILITY
8/5/2009 1:48 AM ET RUTHERFORD, NJ, US PROCESSED
8/4/2009 11:45 PM ET RUTHERFORD, NJ, US ARRIVAL ORIGIN DHL GLOBAL MAIL FACILITY
8/4/2009 7:00 PM ET EDISON, NJ, US PICK UP

The item came with free shipping and, boy, it sure is shipping. Another funning thing is that Edison is only about 50 miles from my house. According to Google Maps, Edison to E. Rutherford to Elkridge to me is 399 miles.

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Letter to the Editor Today 
Letter to the editor, in today's Express-Times:

If life deals you lemons, sue, sue, sue

Original article: http://bit.ly/10bE7n

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Shoot for the Moon 
"First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."

--John F. Kennedy
Special Message to the Congress on Urgent National Needs
25 May 1961

"... There he is, there’s a foot coming down the steps. ... So there’s a foot on the moon, stepping down on the moon. If he’s testing that first step, he must be stepping down on the moon at this point. ... Well, look at those pictures. It’s sort of shadowy, but we sort of expected that in the shadow of the lunar module. Armstrong is on the moon — Neil Armstrong, 38-year-old American, standing on the surface of the moon, on this July 20, 19 hundred and 69."

--Walter Cronkite
20 July 1969

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Find Don Lynch 
FOUND

Local man, and father of three, has been missing since 06/29/09. more information: finddonlynch.com

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Gas Prices 
At this point in June of 2001, the average price for a gallon of gas was $1.58 per gallon, an 8.5% increase from the third week in January of that year when it was $1.456.

Currently, the average price of gasoline in the U.S. is $2.60. In the third week of January of this year, it was $1.813 per gallon. That is a 43.4% increase.

Whereas it took Bush over four years to hit that percentage increase (March '05), BHO has done it in less than five months! He does work miracles! Alleluia!

source

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Mayor Dumbass 
Providence mayor wants to tax college students

Hey dumbass, pull those universities and colleges out of town and watch your local economy go into the crapper and you'll also eliminate just about every reason anyone would want to visit your city. College students provide an enormous benefit to any area. They eat. They drink. They shop. They have friends and family who visit who also happen to eat, drink, shop, and often pay for lodging. For some odd reason, I have a feeling all those are already taxed. Let's not forget the lawyers who stay employed for the lawsuits the colleges always face - workman's comp., discrimination, etc. College students also tend to look for jobs in the immediate area of the college they attend after they graduate; who wouldn't want freshly minted BA's and BS's and MBA's and PhD's and MD's staying local? Plus, colleges provide a plethora of runoff businesses too, akin to what factories and businesses do in any locale. But, hey, if Mayor Dumdum isn't satisfied with that $1 billion a year (I think a low-ball estimate) and 9K employed and the various immeasurables, maybe some other town would be. Yes, Brown, et al, aren't going to move which is why they should all just engage in some resistance to make the mayor can this stupid idea. After all, with schools like Brown and Providence College, we can safely assume that the smartest people in town are not in the mayor's office.

Let's hope this doesn't pass. For if it does, it will set a precedent and sooner or later, most colleges will employ this shameless tactic. As if students don't have enough to pay for - tuition, which always increases higher than inflation, texts - price a textbook lately? Yikes! Plus all those hidden fees the colleges zap the students with - "technology" fees, "activities" fees, et al. It never ends. Hopefully, someone will educate and enlighten Mayor Dumbass before every town with a college has a Mayor Dumbass too.

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Hype 
Swine flu may be less potent than first feared

No kidding. Just like SARS, Bird Flu, Killer Bees, the coming Ice Age, Global Warming, and so on. *yawn*

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Boston Marathon and Fermi 
I saw this on Runnersworld.com and thought it was amusing:



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I'll take that in 28 Quarters, please 
Earlier this week I got an email from payroll about some stimulus plan that just kicked in and that some of us might see less federal taxes taken out.

So, my check was $7 more.

Payday happened to coincide with the day my IRA statement came.

Keep the "change" coming!

It will take longer than 28 quarters to recoup my losses. Hoping, of course, that the market will come back. Given the current competence level of the executive and legislative branches of our government, one can't be too sure.

Someone emailed me this with the subject "Americans Following Obama":



...and this acronym:

OBAMA: One Big Ass Mistake America

Only time will tell. However, had the market dropped 20% seven weeks into Bush's first term*, there would've been calls for a recall or impeachment.



*DJIA was down 2%, 10686 to 10468, certainly tolerable.

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<sarc> I'm glad 
...that so many of us voted for "change." I really enjoy watching 13 years of investing dwindle into nothing. </sarc>

Gee, let's vote in a left of left liberal to complement the nincompoops in Congress; you know, that Democratic majority of nincompoops we elected in in 2006. Worst congress ever (approval ratings much lower than Bush and a historic Gallup low) and an inexperienced candidate - and one who was part of that congress; yeah, that'll work.

I think it's time for a recall; not just of the President but of congress too.

Whatever the current dopes in congress are pushing, our President, if he cared for the average American, would DO THE EXACT OPPOSITE!

Instead of talking down the economy, try to pump it up1. Everything that this current lot does, sends the DJA into another tailspin. If you're heading over the falls, turn around and paddle faster in the OPPOSITE direction. Idiots.

Say what you want about Dubya, but at least he held the ship together. This current lot is bailing us out by poking holes in the hull. Frankly, I am surprised they are smart enough to even do that but I guess if you try to shoot yourself in the foot long enough, eventually you'll hit it.

Maybe under Dubya people didn't have confidence in his Presidency but at least there was confidence in business. Now, there is no confidence in business and no confidence in the presidency. Businesses at least usually find ways to make money. Government only looks for ways to spend money and nothing could be truer today.

As of now, the Bush years seemed pretty darn good. Things didn't start to slide until the 110th Congress took office and the major meltdowns didn't really happen until the polls started indicating that BHO's lead over McCain was insurmountable for McCain and thus became imminent that BHO would win the election. And once he did, things got even worse2.

And let's not forget the media that began cheering for a recession after the 2004 election. Repeat a lie often enough and it does become truth. Treasonous bastards.

Hopefully, I should have time to recoup these losses. Unfortunately, many don't.

1 No sooner than I type this, Ben Bernanke says that the recession may end this year and stocks get an upwards bounce; good, even if it's a small step. Think positive. Let's see of BHO negates this by talking down the economy again tonight during his address.

2Frankly, I think this meltdown was too well timed to be the result people who can't pay their mortgages. The sh*t hit the fan after McCain got the bump from the Palin announcement.
I think some bigwig liberals with lots of money (George Soros types) had a plan in place in case the Republican nominee was leading or rising in the polls 8-10 weeks out from election day. Call me crazy and maybe I'm wrong but we'll know for sure in perhaps 10 years or so. We could know sooner if anyone in the media cared to investigate this odd coincidence but don't hold your breath. I'm not convinced that this isn't an October surprise gone awry or, perhaps worse, a carefully crafted plan to force drastic socialist-type policies into our lives. An October surprise is supposed to be something with some truthful elements spun the right way that it taints the character or questions the ability of the candidate, not something that wrecks the economy and puts people's jobs and retirement savings in jeopardy. This time, someone went way too far.

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