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Sturgeon’s Law

Ninety Percent Of Everything Is Crap

Derived from a quote by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon, who once said, “Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud. That’s because 90% of everything is crud.” Oddly, when Sturgeon’s Law is cited, the final word is almost invariably changed to ‘crap’.

A Decade Ago


Reconstituted Dinosaurs



Sonata or Miata

Hunting Aliens

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Ask Brian

Place of Worship

Sneak Peek 1b

On this year’s list of Destinations for the Moss Motoring Challenge along with the ambiguous Adult Playground and the straight forward Tow Truck was something called “Place of Worship.”

I noticed the quotes around Place of Worship and was curious as to their meaning as that was the only one such destination so decorated. I emailed the the fellow in charge of the Challenge: Do the rules of Jeopardy apply to the Place of Worship? i.e. Do those words have to be in the photo somewhere? The answer was: “Place of Worship” is in quotes so that Challengers can use their creative freedom. No sign and no words are required in the photo.

This started Donna and I thinking about just which church we would photograph. Our first thought was America’s smallest church in southern Georgia where we had found a geocache a few years ago. We both remembered a great glass chapel we found in Arkansas about 15 years ago, but it is too far away and don’t think we can get the car close enough to photograph. We were still tossing around ideas when much to our surprise we drove right by the above sign on our adventure last Saturday.

It took about ten seconds before we decided to do a u-turn and seek out this Huguenot Place of Worship that promised to be 2 miles down this side road. After about three miles of driving we saw no further sign or any place that looked like a worship site. We turned around and were almost back to our original route when a gravel road led off to our right with a small sign that read “Worship Site”, so we took it. After a while the gravel gave way to just plain dirt dual track. There were only a couple of places where the grooves were deep enough to force me to get the one side on the center and the other on the edge.

We finally came to a small parking area and the monument marking the Place of Worship was 50 yards down a dirt path. Kind of disappointed we couldn’t park closer we walked down to take a picture anyway. But once there, we realized that because it is January and there are no leaves on the trees, if you squint just so, the car is recognizable in the background, if you know where to look.

Destination - Place of Worship

It is at about 2:30 off my left (stage right) shoulder…

Started down, went up, still up.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1457

Is This The End

Destination - Historic Landmark

We had one other goal yesterday besides the elusive Savannah River sign, snag a somewhat nearby historic landmark. I suppose there are plenty of historical landmarks from various historical societies, but we opted for a place that was bestowed it honor by no other than the Secretary of the Interior of the United States of America. Would we need to fill out some sort of Freedom of Information paperwork? Nope, just surf on over Wikipedia.

Looking at the list for South Carolina shows us there is a National Historic District less than a dozen miles from our front door, Woohoo! But wait a minute, what kind of road trip would that be? Short, that’s what. OK, here’s one in Abbeville, SC, 70 miles away. The Burt-Stark Mansion with a description of “Where the American Civil War ended” fits in with our planned river “cruise.”

If you follow the American Civil War link in the description there is no mention of the house in that article. Inside that article you will find a link for the Conclusion of the American Civil War, but the mansion is not mentioned on that page either.

The only fact I remember about the end of that war was Lee surrendering to Grant at Appomattox (April 9, 1865), but was just the beginning of the end. Confederate President Jefferson Davis had his last meeting with his Cabinet on May 5th in Washington, Georgia where the Confederate Government was dissolved. Mr. Davis was captured on May 10th 150 miles south near Abbeville, Georgia. The last actual Confederate surrender occurred on November 6th when Captain James Waddell turned over the C.S.S. Shenandoah to the Prime Minister of England at Liverpool.

President Andrew Johnson signed a Proclamation that officially ended the war on August 20, 1866. He didn’t do it in Abbeville, South Carolina, so how is it that this, white two story Greek Revival style house came about to claim that it is where the American Civil War ended? For that we have to head over to the mansion’s very own Wikipedia page; Jefferson Davis held his final war council there on May 2, 1865.

Maybe we will have to drive back to Columbia to get another National Historic Landmark to use as a bookend to this one. It could count as one of our sneak peek bonus points. Using that same landmark list, the First Baptist Church in Columbia is listed as “Where the American Civil War started.”

148,000 Hours Ago

Lakes & Rivers - Savannah River

After spending yesterday cooped up in the house, today we decided to go out and take a couple of photos for the Motoring Challenge. Our goal was to get a picture of a Savannah River sign with some of the river in the background. Some of the folks in the challenge have been posting their River & Lake photos with just the required sign, we on the other hand have vowed to have the named water visible along with the sign.

The Savannah River lies between Aiken and Augusta and we have the option of 6 different bridges to cross to get from here to there. Trouble is, using Google Street View (GSV), I can find no place on either end of those bridges (12 opportunities) where the river itself is visible where a car can be parked and have the sign in the frame too. I did find a few places where it looked possible, but they were all further north. Hoping to get lucky I started our trip by crossing the Savannah on I-20, where there was a nice sign on the SC side, the Street View was correct, but no river visible.

We then turned north and recrossed the Savannah River back into South Carolina hoping that maybe they had put up a nice sign sign the GSV car had been that way 5 years ago. Nope. Eight or so miles later we hung a left and crossed the Thurmond Dam back into Georgia with still no reversing of my Google Street View research. Our next opportunity, which did look promising, was about 30 miles later when we returned back into South Carolina on US378 between Lincolnton, GA and McCormick, SC. The Georgia side sign was not there as they are building a second bridge across the river. Fortunately the the South Carolina sign was still there, but construction forced us into a less than ideal photograph (the one you see above.)

Not real happy with our effort, we drove further north another 25 miles to the next bridge across the Savannah near Calhoun Falls, SC. When using GSV it showed a small sign with the river’s name on it on both the SC side and the GA side. We stopped at the South Carolina side and took a picture. Then because of the angle of the sun, crossed the bridge into Georgia to check if a better shot could be had there. Along with the small Savannah River signs on both sides there were much larger ones for the lake the river had become because of the dam that was between this bridge and the last. In the end we decided to use the above sign for the river and use this one for a lake. All in all we crossed over the Savannah River 6 times.

In the middle of May last year, the Emperor had 140,000 miles on it and after a little less than 148,000 hours since and after our 3rd river crossing today, near Pollard’s Corner, GA, the Emperor passed the 148,000 mile mark.

Started down, went up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1456

Motoring Challenge Points 9, Approx Miles Driven 230
Totals So Far: 18 points & 400 miles

We’re Number 20!

Well, actually, number twenty-three when you take into consideration the top 3 grand prize winners. Today they announced the winners in the 2014 Moss Motoring Challenge. Our 128 points tied us with two other folks (a Miata & an MGB) for twentieth place of the 50 runners up, so to go along with our t-shirt and sticker we get a $50 Gift Certificate to Moss Motors. But everyone was a winner by just participating.

The winner was a fellow driving a 1961 Triumph TR3A. He scored 200 points, only 6 or so less than the most available while second place, in an MGB, was only three points behind him. Both of these fellows visited every one of the 48 contiguous states and difference between them was the winner went to 9 of the 13 Canadian Provinces, while the runner up “only” got six. Third place was a Miata, way back, with only 180 points.

Back in May I thought we could possibly score 139 points if everything went our way and had we achieved that goal we would have been tied for 12th place. This year I’ve set a goal of 150 points and if that happens and the scoring doesn’t jump too much that might place us in the top 10 (of the $50 winners.)

Here is my favorite photo from last year’s contest. If it wasn’t for my shadow you might assume I was just another painted figure in this mural in Johnston, SC.



The above is from last Saturday, but we probably won’t submit it for the Bookstore Destination in 2015 Motoring Challenge. It did get us thinking about how in some* of last year’s photos we went out of the way just to get a person or vehicle in the frame to add some interest to it.

I bet there are quite a few people who live in most densely populated areas had to go the extra mile or wait the extra minutes to try and keep any annoying background or foreground distractions out of their photos.

If you look through the whole set of last year’s challenge entry pictures you can kind of see why we purposely wanted to get “photobombed.” Our modus operendi is to get out early to avoid the crowds and the summer heat. This, along with our mainly back road travels netted us around 80 of the 121 photos with nothing in them except one of us, the car, the challenge poster and the object worth the point(s).

Started down, went up, went down, back up, back down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1454

*For the record, I found six.


Water Tower Alternate

A 16 mile bike ride that accomplished bill paying and breakfast eating.
Home in time to watch CBS’s Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood.
I read a book made out of paper.
Wasted the rest of the day watching football.

Dual Doughnut Shop Day



And an Ice Cream Parlor too, it wasn’t open, we just stopped in for a photograph. I’ve monkeyed with this enough that you can’t read the sign which reads: Pink Dipper an old fashioned ice cream parlour. All the digital darkroom messing around helps hide the fact that I’m holding the Challenge Poster upside down too. I didn’t notice while posing and the camera woman was more worried about composition than content, so it wasn’t until we got home that we noticed the faux pas.

The MMC Breakfast was lightly attended, I’m not sure whether it was because it was January and cold or “Doughnuts for breakfast?!?” or the no chain rule violation. Anyway, there were 10 people in 5 Miatas and 1 Prius who whiled away an hour or so eating puffy fried dough coated in pure sugar and downing hot beverages.

I snagged one of their trademark paper caps, possibly left over from the Free Hat Day on the 15th, with the intention to wear it while being photographed in our Motoring Challenge photos today. Trouble is we dropped the top on the Miata after breakfast, so I threw the hat in the trunk so as not to have it blow off and promptly forgot about it.

Didn’t notice it again until after we were done taking our pictures and were doing a little shopping in Aiken. As I was tossing my newly purchased DD K-Cups in the trunk I did a Homer Simpson head slap (DOH!) Oh well, I left it in there, maybe when we run across another KK I’ll don it and have Donna take my picture with the Miata and Challenge poster to use as a Sneak Peek Bonus point.

As predicted yesterday we did take 4 photos for the Challenge, just substitute Water Tower for One-Lane Bridge.

Started up, went down, still down.
Miata Top Transitions since 10/24/08: 1450

Motoring Challenge Points 4, Approx Miles Driven 40
Totals So Far: 9 points & 170 miles