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The Return of the Antenna

Rabbit ears were going extinct:

Buying an antenna for a high-definition television seems as out of place as using a rotary phone to make a call. But some consumers are spending thousands of dollars on LCD or plasma TVs and hooking them up to $50 antennas that don’t look much different from what grandpa had on top of his black-and-white picture tube.

They’re not doing it for the nostalgia.

Local TV channels, broadcast in HD over-the-air, offer superior picture quality over the often-compressed signals sent by cable and satellite TV companies.

And the best part? Over-the-air HD is free.

“Eighty-year-old technology is being redesigned and rejiggered to deliver the best picture quality,” said Richard Schneider, president of Antennas Direct. “It’s an interesting irony.”

A few years ago, Schneider started an assembly line in his garage and sold antennas out of the trunk of his car. Now his Eureka, Mo.-based company has seven employees and did $1.4 million in sales last year. He expects revenue to double in 2007.

“People thought I was nuts. They were laughing at me when I told them I was starting an antenna company,” Schneider said.

Before cable and satellite existed, people relied on antennas to receive analog signals from local TV stations’ broadcasting towers. Stations still send out analog signals, but most now transmit HD digital signals as well. (Congress has ordered broadcasters to shut off old-style analog TV broadcasts by Feb. 17, 2009.)

While I like old technology like antennas, I also lament the loss of analog TV.

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UFO’s will save the planet:

OTTAWA (AFP) – A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change, a local paper said Wednesday.

“I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation … that could be a way to save our planet,” Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Alien spacecrafts would have traveled vast distances to reach Earth, and so must be equipped with advanced propulsion systems or used exceptional fuels, he told the newspaper.

Worst MartyEmail News in a long time:

Wisconsin Wonder Spot to Close

In a wooded ravine tucked away from the water parks, restaurants and mega-resorts that dominate this tourist town, a piece of history is quietly dying.

After more than half a century of wowing tourists (and causing probably more than a few cases of nausea), the Wonder Spot, a mysterious cabin where people can’t stand up straight, water runs uphill and chairs balance on two legs, is no more.

Owner Bill Carney has sold the iconic attraction to the village of Lake Delton for $300,000. The village wants to build a road through the crevice where the Wonder Spot has stood since the 1950s.

Now, the Wonder Spot, one of more than a dozen sites around the nation dubbed “gravity vortexes” and a throwback to postwar, family-oriented tourist attractions, has a date with a bulldozer.

“We’re kind of wondering how the town is going to deal with the gravitational forces under the road. That might be an issue with driving and how you bank a curve,” joked Doug Kirby, publisher of RoadsideAmerica.com, which catalogs odd tourist attractions.

Kirby’s site lists the Wonder Spot as one of 21 so-called “mystery spots.” Lake Wales, Fla., has Spook Hill. Irish Hills, Mich., has the Mystery Hill. California has the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz.

The story behind each one is similar — gravity doesn’t work in them. People seem to grow smaller, can’t stand up straight and can barely walk.

It’s a shame. I never stopped by the spot on my travels either. A shame.

Let’s make sure skynet and this character don’t hook up.

Wow, there are tons of funny things out there:

Bob Newhart:

First rule of armed robbery, don’t point a gun at a guy with an “NRA” cap:

Knox County Commission member and car dealer Greg “Lumpy” Lambert says he grew suspicious Saturday when a customer didn’t price haggle over a 2005 Ford Focus.

The young man didn’t ask for a mechanical inspection, either.

Lambert says the man pulled a .25-caliber handgun from his pocket, apparently to rob him. Lambert pulled his own .380 caliber and the two were pointing weapons at each other for a tense moment.

The commissioner says he told the man to put down his gun and the man said he didn’t want any trouble.

The suspect fled on foot and police later arrested 19-year-old Kane Stackhouse on an attempted robbery charge.

At the time of the robbery, Lambert was wearing a baseball cap that read, “Friends of the NRA.” He says the would-be robber never asked for money or made demands — but then, he didn’t get much of a chance to.

Clip from the funniest show of “The Tonight Show” ever:

And more Newhart:

Stonehenge Solved…

Sorta

I love it when people bring innovative ideas to fruition. I’m from the “brute force” philosphy (from everything like math and construction to crime). Despite years of Judo (maximum effeciency through minimum effort) I still get lazy and use brute force while sparring too. Moving a 2 ton block with a thousand slaves isn’t impressive, moving the same block with one grandpa and a free afternoon is.

The Stupid Ages have Begun:

AP) — The high school class of 2006 recorded the sharpest drop in SAT scores in 31 years, a decline that the exam’s owner, the College Board, said was partly due to some students taking the newly lengthened test only once instead of twice.

Fatigue wasn’t to blame, the College Board insisted, even though this year’s class was the first to take a new version of the exam which added an essay. It now takes an average of three hours and 45 minutes to complete the test, not counting breaks, up from three hours previously.

The results come several months after numerous colleges reported surprisingly low SAT scores for this year’s incoming college freshmen. The nonprofit College Board, which had said scores would be down this year, released figures Tuesday showing combined critical reading and math skills fell seven points on average to 1021.

The average critical reading score fell from 508 to 503, while math dropped from 520 to 518. On the new SAT writing section, the class scored 497 on average, with girls scoring 11 points higher than boys. (View state-by-state results)

In addition to the new writing section, the exam taken by the class of 2006 had other new features, including higher-level math and the elimination of analogies.

The College Board noted the drop in math scores amounts to one-fifth of one test question, and the reading to one-half of one question. But over about 1.5 million test-takers such drops are significant, and this was the biggest year-to-year decline since the class of 1975.

The results come two weeks after it was announced the class of 2006 had posted the biggest score increase in 20 years on the rival ACT exam. The ACT, which is also accepted by almost all colleges that require standardized tests, is generally more focused on material covered in high school classes than the SAT, which is more of a measure of general ability. But more students in traditional SAT states like Connecticut and New Jersey appear to be taking both exams to try to improve their applications to selective colleges.

Article here

I never took the SATs, so who am I to judge (snicker) I’m sure the test scores aren’t indicative of things like intelligence even though I know from studies that they are (muffled laugh).

Awesome!

I think it’s a picture mutant squids fighting giant potatoes. From what I’ve heard it’s from 3 or 4 hundred years ago.

Marty’s Almanac:

Man not allowed visitation with dog
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060602/od_nm/spain_dog_dc;_ylt=ApZfShykFtpRcZCshjXV8Y7tiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ–

Like stealing money from a kid
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060602/od_nm/donations_dc;_ylt=AsC5qme3sDr7iQ_WCyzgzs_tiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ–

Celebrities name their kids stupidly
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060602/od_nm/life_names1_dc;_ylt=AlE24vQE4DaJ1HzOQ6m24z_tiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ–

Betting on hurricanes
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060602/od_nm/hurricanes_odds_dc;_ylt=Al0abbtlO5YdxaRpqATUhjvtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

Rob a bank? Just ask
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060601/od_nm/japan_robber_dc;_ylt=AjQR6s6ntjq99uMqzzwwRFftiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

Chavez opens Venezuela competitor to Hollywood
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060603/od_uk_nm/oukoe_uk_venezuela_film;_ylt=Avtmg3sdjfhWyQ1hZh6Z9.rtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

Matchmakers beware, you can be sued now too:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/matchmaker_lawsuit;_ylt=App4nPQhQ_93AifXcRuoGTrtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA0cDJlYmhvBHNlYwM-

Marty’s Almanac

Lady’s headstone duplicated and littered
http://www.sploid.com/news/2006/05/the_mystery_of.php

Woman left as “deposit” then abandoned
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060518/od_nm/germany_deposit_dc;_ylt=AroJGIpTru4_rgSEysOCTojtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA–

Star Trek garage sale
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060519/od_nm/leisure_startrek_dc;_ylt=AkBMbMdQVxfw.fiSR.tzU73tiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA–

Soda drinks contain Benzene
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=1982443

Saddam novel hits store
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060519/od_nm/japan_saddam_dc;_ylt=An2GVWtQJtxZpwBtynctitrtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTA5aHJvMDdwBHNlYwN5bmNhdA–

Britney almost drops kid
http://www.forbes.com/home/feeds/ap/2006/05/19/ap2759504.html

Jimmy Hoffa Found, we think
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1982902

Drink smoke steal drugs women be doing more
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=386874&in_page_id=1770&ct=5

Monkeys speak in sentences
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2185477,00.html