Chris Muir's Day By Day

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hitler's Desk Set For Sale

The desk set owned by Adolf Hitler and which was used by appeaser Neville Chamberlain to sign the agreement to betray Czechoslovakia in exchange for "peace in our time" is up for sale.

Not A Glowing Recommendation Of Australian Womanhood

An Australian zoo is in trouble with red-headed women, known in Australia as rangas, for wanting them to pose with red-headed apes, known worldwide as orangutans.

'There is absolutely no way in the world that I am going to be photographed with a red-haired monkey,' said a red-haired female visitor to the zoo. 'You can just see jokers looking at the pictures and asking "which one is the ape?"'

'We seem to be getting quite a bit of a negative reaction,' admitted the zoo's embarrassed director of conservation programmes, Mr Kevin Evans.


*snort*

Have-A-Go, But Don't Have A Weapon

A Daily Mail story of a doorman who went to the aid of a banker who was being kicked to death by street thugs, and ended up being attacked himself.

While it's commendable that UK has relaxed its inane self-defense laws to allow "have-a-go heroes" to come to the aid of people being attacked by criminals, it is criminal in se to not allow them effective means of defense. If the doorman in this story had been armed with a Smith & Wesson 5-shot snubnose, a Model 642 Airweight in .38 Special, for example, the banker might still be alive, and at least one or more of the criminals might be in jail or even better, dead.



One of these. Lightweight and easily pocketed, similar revolvers were carried by gentlemen of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. It's a shame that honest citizens subjects in UK are treated with less respect than criminals are.

D'oh

We've had high-speed internet on the work computers for a week, but it's taken until today for me to realize I can finally listen to Pandora, Accuradio and Yahoo! Launchcast on them.

*shakes head sadly, mutters to self*

Flabby Flipper Flubs Flips

Dolphins at a Japanese marine park have gained weight on a high-mackerel diet and are not up to snuff in performance, so are on a diet.

Which reminds me of a favorite true story from my navy days. On a voyage on USS Wainwright (CG-28) in the Gulf of Mexico, it was common for us to see dolphins sporting around the ship. One morning three of us were watching the dolphins perform: myself, an African-American sailor named Sam, and our supervisor, Petty Officer Duda. We were bullshitting in the usual fashion when suddenly Sam said, "You know, I can tell the male dolphins from the female dolphins."

We looked at him dubiously. He continued, "Really. I can. Watch." He then began pointing to various dolphins, identifying one as male, another as female, and so on. After pointing out a half-dozen or so we asked the question he was apparently waiting for: "Sam, just how do you tell which is which?"

Sam explained: "Well, it's simple. The dicks on the males drags in the water, so they can't jump as high. See that one?" (pointing at dolphin) "That's a male, he's only jumping out about halfway. Now that one," he continued, pointing at another dolphin, "is a girl dolphin. See how she jumps clean out of the water? She don't have no cock dragging in the water."

We absorbed this bit of information for a minute or so, then Petty Officer Duda suddely gestured with his coffee cup and exclaimed, "Look! A black dolphin!" We looked, and saw a fin barely cut the water. "Yeah, he couldn't even get out of the water at all," Duda continued. "His cock must be this long!" he concluded, gesturing with his arms. Much hilarity ensued, with spraying of coffee and other effects. The story got around the ship within hours, and spread to our home base upon our return; the division chief, Senior Chief Olmstead, always referred to Sam as "dolphin" after that, to Sam's chagrin.

UK: New Bust Of Lord Nelson Unveiled In Portsmouth

Based on a life mask, and showing the battle scars carried by the naval hero.




I was able to visit Portsmouth back in the early '80's courtesy of the US Navy on two different occasions. Both times we tied up in the dockyard next to HMS Victory itself, which wore a courtesy US flag at the mainmast to honor our visit. It's hard not to feel a shiver or two when touring the Victory and entering the orlop deck where Nelson died.

Sumo Wrestling In Need of Reform

Story.

In short, an influx of foreign-born sumo wrestlers is bringing foreign corruption and decadency. The Russians are all smoking pot, apparently, and Mongolian-born Grand Master Asashoryu is accused of fixing fights.

I think the sport needs to be exclusively Japanese, and a reform-minded individual of integrity brought in to run things. The sport seemed to get along well for many centuries under such a regimen, and can go back to it quite easily, I would think.

UK: First They Came For Our Guns...

...then moved to knives, and now they've started on sticks.

They must have known he was a troublemaker the moment they saw him.
With his white hair, wax jacket and glasses, 78-year-old Philip Clarkson Webb clearly ticked all the boxes any eagle-eyed policemen would mark as 'danger'.
And as he shuffled along the pavement towards them there was one thing above all they deemed to pose a threat - his walking stick.


Yep, the police took the cane away from a 78-year-old man. Then, to add insult to injury, they lost the cane, even though they'd given him a receipt for it.

Is it any wonder that, in the same edition of the Daily Mail, is an article on how native Britons are emigrating to places like Australia, New Zealand and Canada?

Creative Loafing Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

The parent company of our local free liberal weekly, Creative Loafing, has filed for bankruptcy.

The Charlotte edition itself isn't doing badly, but other cities using the same title of Creative Loafing aren't doing well at all. It appears to be mostly the transition from paper product to web entity causing the problems.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Meanwhile in LOTRO...

...I caught a 50-pound salmon and earned the title Blarni Stoneskull The Compleat Angler.

Portable Fingerprint ID System In Use With Law Enforcement

Johnson County, Kansas, law enforcement officers are taking advantage of a portable fingerprint ID matcher that can identify subjects in seconds.

I love this idea. It puts an end to the lies that cops hear about subjects not having ID, or pretending to be someone they aren't, or using aliases. It can be a huge help with illegal aliens, also.

Is It Eugenics If It's Voluntary?

A Republican lawmaker from Louisiana is proposing paying poor women $1000 to have their Fallopian tubes tied.

The article uses lots of terminology that is inflammatory. The lawmaker in question is from "David Duke's old haunts," further quotes Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes "Three generations of imbeciles is enough."

Exactly what, though, is wrong with the proposal? I'd in fact extend the offer to cover vasectomies for low-income men, and especially to men in prison; not a cash payment there, but a shortening of sentence in return for volunteering for the procedure.

How can it be eugenics if it's voluntary, and if the only group targeted is the poor?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Thriller From Wasilla

Christopher Hitchens, in the midst of an article in Slate on Henry Kissinger, coins another classic Hitchism to describe Sarah Palin, by way of Muhammad Ali.

UK: Couple Win Britain's Best Cheese Award

Andy and Sandy Rose were judged Supreme Champions at the British Cheese Awards for their Barkham Blue, which takes its name from the Berkshire village where their Two Hoots Cheese company is based.

Mr Rose said: "It is a mild, buttery blue – it doesn't take your head off like some blue cheeses can.



Say Cheese!


Really, that's the only natural caption for that photo. Don't even try to tell me you would have captioned it differently.

Emigrated To The US - - Because Of A Volcano

There are many reasons that a person would emigrate to the US; most will come for an opportunity to succeed that isn't available in the home country; some emigrate to escape oppression, as in the case of the Florida Cubans; some flee famine, such as the Irish.

Others, like the population of Faial in the Azores, emigrated because of a volcano.

When in 1957 a volcano in the Azores ruined the farming economy of Faial, the US passed the Azorean Refugee Act, which allowed 175,000 Azorean Portuguese to emigrate to this country. Why haven't they been heard of? Because it was a small emigration compared to others, and the Azoreans settled down quickly, worked hard, and became productive US citizens, not sponging off of government handouts. They made an example of self-reliance and hard work that should be the envy of any immigrant population.

I Hate To Say This, But...

...what if Sarah Palin is being kept from greater media exposure because she is, in fact, dumb as the proverbial stump?

Such a discovery would reflect so badly on John McCain's judgment that it would be sufficient to cost him the election.

I certainly hope that it's not the case. I'm a fan of Sarah Palin, and she did a great job with her speech at the Republican Convention. But in the interviews she's given to the press (Gibson, Hannity, Couric) she hasn't impressed, and in fact has made what amounts to a negative second impression that cancels out the positive first impression.

She can't go on pretending to be well-informed on all issues. Pretending to be knowledgeable about Russia because it's close to Alaska is stupid. She needs to be honest in her answers, and if honesty should be held against her by the American public, it's still a better scenario than being thought to be deceptive and a typical dishonest politician.

Just turn her loose to do interviews. If she sinks, she sinks, and McCain should be held accountable for making a poor choice. Keeping her from interviews only feeds the suspicion (like mine, here) that there is no there, there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Gardens of Alcatraz

Even in a place of brutality and despair, you can find the quiet beauty of a flower garden. More than one, in fact.

Good article from the Sacramento Bee. The gardens on Alcatraz were started by the US Army, even though there was no native water or soil on the island. Gardens were cultivated by prison staff and even a few convicts until the prison closed. Then, the plants survived on whatever rainwater fell on the island, and what was organized became a jungle of growth. Now, the state of California is restoring the various gardens on the island.

Worth reading in full.

Holy Tainted Coffee, Batman!

An Iowa woman is undergoing rabies treatment after she discovered a dead bat in her coffee maker.

Yah, she drank the coffee. No report of whether she's suffered side-effects from the bat-coffee.

Mentioned By Instapundit

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, mentioned me by name here regarding my cogent analysis of the Charlotte, NC, gas shortage situation.

Thank you, Professor Reynolds.

*grins*

Headline of the Day

"Lord of the Skies Was A Giant Goose With A Beak Full of Crocodile Teeth."

And, as anyone who has been around geese will tell you, imagine the capacity for shit...

"Ten Commandments" For Religious Bloggers

I'm an agnostic, so they don't really apply to me. Heh heh heh...

Anyway, here's the list:

Ten commandments for bloggers

1 You shall not put your blog before your integrity.

2 You shall not make an idol of your blog.

3 You shall not misuse your screen name by using your anonymity to sin.

4 Remember the Sabbath day by taking one day off a week from your blog.

5 Honour your fellow-bloggers above yourselves and do not give undue significance to their mistakes.

6 You shall not murder someone else's honour, reputation or feelings.

7 You shall not use the web to commit or permit adultery in your mind.

8 You shall not steal another person's content.

9 You shall not give false testimony against your fellow-blogger.

10 You shall not covet your neighbour's blog ranking. Be content with your own content.

Actor Paul Newman Dead Of Cancer At 83

Story.

I never was much of a fan, and only really remember him in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting. The former move was ruined by the inane bicycle scene, although the climactic gunfight stands out as one of the all-time best last stand scenes in a movie.

I note that he was a radio operator in the US Navy during WWII. Never knew that before.

Rest In Peace.

Why Drink Wine?

It's got cat litter in it, you know.

An excerpt of the book The Great Wine Swindle by Malcolm Gluck. Read the whole hilarious thing. A friend once told me "If you knew what went on in envelope factories, you'd never lick another envelope to seal it ever again." Maybe it will work out that way with wine if Gluck's suggestions aren't heeded.


(Click the image for a hilarious label)

Cherry Juice, The Next Big Health Craze

Story.

It's a UK Daily Mail story, so take it with a grain of salt. They claim that a single glass of cherry juice is the equivalent of 23 portions of fruit/vegetables in the daily diet. That sounds amazing, but the devil's in the details, as usual:

However, the study also revealed eating cherries may not offer the same protection. The scientists tested juice made from the Montmorency tart cherry, which is grown in the U.S.

The type typically eaten in the UK has only a fifth of the antioxidant level of the Montmorency. The juice is available in health food shops and is called CherryActive.


So it appears to be a designer health food, and thus probably only available at a premium price. Still, it may be worth investigating, especially if the stuff tastes good. I like cherries, myself.

Gasoline Flowing Again To Charlotte Area Stations

The gasoline shortage being experienced in Charlotte, NC, and reported nationally in news media and the Drudge Report has begun to ease a bit.

Apparently the pipeline system that covers the Piedmont region of NC and several other southern states has been affected by the gulf hurricanes of last month, and only now is gasoline flowing again. The gasoline flows into holding tanks, where it is dispensed to tanker trucks for delivery to gasoline stations.

This again really points up the need for new construction of gasoline refineries on the east and west coasts of the US. Here on the east coast, refineries in Charleston, Wilmington and the Chesapeake Bay would ensure that gulf hurricanes would not bring the refining capacity of the US to a screeching halt.

Get Those Vaccinations, Please

Several students at Charlotte-Mecklenburg area schools have been suspended for not having proof of current vaccinations for communicable diseases.

I fully approve. Parents have been getting away with not vaccinating their kids for decades now, using the flimsy excuse of problems resulting from vaccines (an infinitesimally small amount compared to risk of spreading of disease), and it's time that they were reminded of their civic duty to keep the population disease-free. This is a civilized country, and one of the benefits (and duties) of living in a civilized country is to ensure that preventing infectious diseases via vaccination is universally observed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

UK Daily Mail: Madonna Looks Like Gollum!

With distressing Daily Mail photographs to point up the similarity, of course.

UK: Jack Sprat Could Eat No Fat

His wife sure could, though. The heifer.

Me Droogies

UK: Two drunken louts, "laughing like hyenas," were jailed after kicking a man to death.

Wasn't this a Stanley Kubrick film?

Want That High-Paying Job? Learn How To Shake Hands

Scientific study.

I got slapped down publicly by a friend of my father's about having a limp handshake when I was about 11 or 12, and never forgot the lesson. I also hated that period during the 70's when the "jive handshake" was popular, you never knew with some young people whether they wanted to shake hands in the usual way or jive-fashion. I'm glad that stupidity is over with.

Best Buy A Watchtower, Next Time

Jehovah's Witnesses go on a killing spree in Russia, offing 13.

Which is why I always answer the door with a pistol in my hand, held behind my back...

He Should Change His Name To Ken?

A man is suing two surgeons after they amputated his penis during what was supposed to be a circumcision.

The reason is that they found cancer during the procedure, but damn, you should at least ask.

Is There Solid Ice In Uranus?

And in Neptune, as well?

Sorry, couldn't resist the opportunity for a double-entendre subject line.

Hot Damn, Pirates In Tanks

This will definitely escalate the pirate/ninja arms race.

Oops

The cover of the magazine Nature features a photograph of Barack Obama and John McCain. Unfortunately, the back cover appears to be mocking the two as a black and white dog peer out in poses similar to the candidates:



Just a mistake, the magazine says.

NOT Captain Cook's Boomerang?

I blogged about a month ago about Christie's auction house putting "Captain Cook's Boomerang" up for sale. Turns out it might not be Cook's boomerang after all. Turns out it might be, in the words of a critic, an unsaleable bent stick.

Later on in the article it's theorized that the boomerang had been given to Cook's widow, who survived him by 56 years (!)(can that be right?) That would make it a Cook-related boomerang, anyway.

UK: Yacht Runs Aground, No One Aboard

Ghost ship.



The skipper is described as a veteran yachtsman but not named. Solo sailing in the North Sea can be hazardous; even a vet can be surprised by a sudden squall, a rogue wave, or a shift in the wind that sends the boom of the mast bouncing off your skull...

update: A body has been recovered.

A Magnum of Winchcombe, Please

Newly published research indicates that the English invented Champagne.

Merde!

It's rather like Leif Ericson getting credit for discovering America. Yeah, he technically did it, but it didn't open up the continent for exploration, as Columbus' journeys did.

Dumped On By An Anonymous Quasi-Hurricane

RALEIGH, N.C. A storm that never quite gained tropical strength or a name over the Atlantic has slipped ashore in the Carolinas, dumping up to 4 inches of rain along the coast and bringing some gusty winds inland.

We're getting a bit of the effects of this storm right now, rain and some wind.

White Flight Comes To London

Story.

But I thought that you Europeans were so much better than us ignorant bigoted hicks here in the US of KKKA?

Mother And Son, Off To War In Iraq

Jane Strand won't have to wonder how her son is doing as he deploys for the first time with the N.C. National Guard to Iraq in a few weeks. She'll be right there with him.

Sgt. Strand and her son, Pvt. Timothy Strand, are part of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade, based in Morrisville. The Guard held a farewell ceremony for the brigade Thursday afternoon, an event designed to honor the families of the service members as much as those in uniform.

Strand, 48, of Jacksonville joined the Marine Corps at age 17 and served 11 years. She got out to raise her six children and waited, she said, for her husband -- also a Marine -- to retire. As soon as he did, she joined the Guard.

Timothy Strand, the youngest of Sgt. Strand's brood at age 18, joined the National Guard on July 3. He missed the farewell ceremony Thursday because he's in Aviation Operations school in Alabama. He'll rejoin the 449th before the group leaves for Iraq. Strand's oldest son is in the Army.

Strand said her youngest wanted to deploy with her because he needed to keep an eye on her. She'll let him think that, she said.

Strand said she wasn't worried for herself or either of her sons.

"Things can happen anywhere," she said. "Nothing is guaranteed in this life or the next, and you have to be ready for whatever is in your path.

"Attitude has everything to do with it."

Still, she was a little concerned, she said, about her retired military husband, Bill, who's staying behind to look after the kids and grandkids.




Well, at least when she tells her son to clean his room, it has the force of an order...

Iranians Trying To Acquire Nuclear Fuel?

Ace seems to think so, and a description of what happens when people enter that particular ship (hair loss, sudden death) sounds remarkably like radiation sickness. Follow the links that Ace provides for more details.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Parable

There was once a young man who painted a picture. It was a beautiful picture, and was, in fact, Art. People recognized it as Art. The young man painted again, and again produced a beautiful picture that people loved and recognized as Art. The young man became so good at painting that he opened up a shop to display his art, so that all could see it and comment on it. One young man who seemed helpful and friendly was asked to help at the shop, to stretch canvas and prepare it for paint, and general chores around the shop so that the Artist could focus on painting.

Things went on this way for a while. A lot of people visited the shop to admire the paintings. Some came to discuss Art in general. Over time the shop became an end in itself, and not so much a place for the Artist to visit, other than occasionally. He would drop off a painting and some would notice, others would not, absorbed by their own conversations.

Over time the shop helper began to feel that being in charge of the shop was more important than assisting the Artist. He and the Artist began to quarrel.

The people who visited the shop didn't notice anything until one day they arrived to find the shop locked. Nearby was a sign written by the Artist that read I HAVE BEEN LOCKED OUT OF MY OWN SHOP! On the door of the shop was a sign written by the shop helper saying UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP!


I'm sorry, shop helper. You did a good job running the shop, but what attracted me to the shop was the Art, not the shop itself. The Art is the reason for the shop; the shop is not the reason for the Art.

UK: Pistol That Started WWI To Go On Display

A pistol used to assassinate the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, sparking the First World War, is to go on display for the first time in the UK.

The gun and a homemade grenade are being unveiled at the Imperial War Museum to mark the 90th anniversary of the end of a war which claimed 21 million lives.

The Archduke's assassination in Sarajevo in June 1914 started a domino effect of allied nation disputes which led to the First World War.

Other pieces in the In Memoriam: Remembering the Great War exhibition include the Victoria Cross awarded to poet and soldier Wilfred Owen and a wreath tossed into the carriage carrying Prime Minister Lloyd George after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.


Here's a picture of the pistol, a Browning 1910 in .380ACP, according to Wikipedia:



Also, this is the first I've heard that Wilfred Owen received the Victoria Cross. I think that is in error; Owen received the Military Cross posthumously, according to Wikipedia and other biographies I've read.

Sarah Palin Free From Witchcraft

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A grainy YouTube video surfaced Wednesday showing Sarah Palin being blessed in her hometown church three years ago by a Kenyan pastor who prayed for her protection from "witchcraft" as she prepared to seek higher office.

The video shows Palin standing before Bishop Thomas Muthee in the pulpit of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, holding her hands open as he asked Jesus Christ to keep her safe from "every form of witchcraft."

"Come on, talk to God about this woman. We declare, save her from Satan," Muthee said as two attendants placed their hands on Palin's shoulders. "Make her way my God. Bring finances her way even for the campaign in the name of Jesus. ... Use her to turn this nation the other way around."

Palin filed campaign papers a few months later, in October 2005, and was elected governor the next year.


You know what? That's still better than attending a church where the pastor dances around like a retard and yells God Damn America! and talks of the US of KKKA!

So piss off, whoever dug this up to smear Sarah Palin.

Dutch Pothead Fined For Smoking Tobacco

No, I'm not kidding.

You know how this will be filed.

The Turnip Theory of Economics

When times are hard, people turn to turnips.

Hey, it's not my theory. I'm just pointing it out.

Nicole Kidman: Swimming In Australia Made Me Pregnant

I rather imagine that Keith Urban thought he had something to do with it. Silly me.

She previously spent years unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant by her former husband, Tom Cruise. The couple went on to adopt two children, Bella and Connor.

Maybe, as suggested in my earlier post about rams and ewes, someone should have dyed Tom blue...

If Her Withers Are Blue, You Know She'll Screw

UK: A farmer in Tyneside dyed his rams blue as a way to distinguish which tups (female sheep) had been um...rammed by the rams.

The High Road, Hijacked

via Oleg Volk:

Going to court.
In December 2002, I founded The High Road forum dedicated to the advancement of responsible gun ownership. Recently, it was discovered that in 2006, the volunteer forum systems administrator, Derek Zeanah of Statesboro, Georgia, changed domain registration to himself. After he was confronted, Derek locked out all other staff from accessing the Web server administration and would not share even backup copies of its content. After failed attempts to peacefully resolve the dispute, it has become necessary for me to initiate a lawsuit against Derek Zeanah for the return of thehighroad.org domain name and the forum database.

I am seeking and would greatly appreciate donations to help with the cost of litigation. You can use Paypal (olegvolk@gmail.com) or send a check to:
Oleg Volk 3112 Chambley Ct Hermitage, TN 37076

All donations shall be returned if the lawsuit is ultimately avoided. You can also aid me by re-posting this appeal on your blog, forum or web site. My legal position is already endorsed by almost all of The High Road staff as well as Rich Lucibella, the founder of The Firing Line forum.

UPDATE: Derek's reaction was to disable The High Road forum all together. He also removed most of the staff who opposed him.


h/t Xavier Thoughts.

Charlotte, NC Fuel Shortage

Apparently the city of Charlotte, NC is out of gasoline, or close to it. My sister informed me that she will be unable to go to work Friday, not having found any stations selling gasoline in the area. The few that had gasoline had lines stretching for hundreds of yards. She further stated that the crisis was exacerbated by media hysteria which fed runs on gasoline stations.

I heard much the same at work tonight when I arrived. At least two people with future reservations have canceled them due to the gasoline shortage, and one person already in house is leaving early because of it.

We really need new oil refineries on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, people. Putting all of our refining capacity on the hurricane Gulf Coast is stupid.

I guess that the people with propane-powered cars are laughing up their sleeves at the rest of us right now, huh?

As for those of you environmentalists out there that have put us in this situation by lobbying congress to not build new refineries since the 1970's, best start installing that solar panel and sail on your car, and see how far your green power takes you down the road.

Bastards.

update: The Charlotte gasoline problems made The Drudge Report:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Warhorses

For some reason, for the last couple of days I've wanted to hear the piano concertos of Grieg and Tchaikovsky (#1 for the latter composer, of course). I don't have them on CD or on my computer, although I might have an LP of the Tchaikovsky. I'm not going to hook up my turntable (up in the attic) just to satisfy a craving, however. I'll see if the public library has them in CD form I can check out, and if not, I'll buy them.

The title of this post comes from the lazy sort of journalism done by classical music writers. You won't see pieces like those mentioned above unless the word warhorse is featured somewhere in the review. Well, let's be blunt: classical music is listened to by fewer and fewer people each year, and if it wasn't supported in the US on public radio and TV would probably not get any airplay at all. With such a dwindling audience, using terms like warhorse is rather trite.

UK Navy: Admirals Outnumber Warships

A sure sign of a country and service in decline.

Ultimate Halloween Trick: Pumpkin Trebuchet

Some New Jersey teens built a trebuchet, a type of catapult, as a summer project, and have been happily launching pumpkins as projectiles.

They say they want to build a mobile one next (presumably in time for Halloween).

For those who might not be up on medieval siege engines, here is what a trebuchet looks like:



It worked off of a counterweight, and projectiles were loaded into a pouch at the end of ropes attached to the launching arm. The principle is similar to that of a sling.

Sara & Dara, The Iranian "Anti-Barbie" Dolls

Story.

Pic:



In my LiveJournal a few years ago I made a post on a supposed Burqa Barbie, who was dressed head-to-foot in a black Taliban-style Burqa. When a string on Burqa Barbie is pulled, she screams and raises her arms to protect herself from the punishment she so richly deserves, meted out by her husband, Kabul Ken.

File this under...

UK: Dangerous Knife Advisory In Prisons

Story.

Apparently the knife, known as the Wasp, is used by SCUBA divers in encounters with fish and other underwater creatures, and works by injecting compressed air into the target, which causes it to float to the surface.

Picture of the Wasp knife:



And a cutaway illustration showing the knife's interior workings:



Looks like a sort of James Bond assassination weapon, doesn't it?

It Wasn't Her Husband, Was It?

A rogue pig the size of a Shetland pony held an Australian woman hostage in her home yesterday after barging into her bedroom at 4am.

Read the article and see if it doesn't resemble the behavior of certain men.

A Simple Change Makes A Difference

Children of military personnel in on-base schools are showing improved behavior after a simple change in their school schedules: recess now comes before lunch.

Read the whole thing. If it's simple and effective, it should be something that can be spread to civilian schools in the US.

From Cocoa Beach, Florida, To Cape Ferret, France

That's the path a Florida boy's message in a bottle took.

I think that's one of those things that everyone should do at least once in their lifetime. At age 46 I have to confess I've never done it. Just as a matter of practicality, though, I'd advise using a plastic drink bottle rather than a glass bottle with a cork, although the glass would be more traditional.

Blogging Note

For those of you with Blogger accounts, you might take a look down the right side of my blog in the sidebar, where you'll see an invitation to "Join me scurvy crew!" This is a new Blogger feature, and allows you to keep track of blogs that you enjoy reading without actually having to visit them. New posts from blogs you follow will show up on your Dasboard page, and if you use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds, they will show up there, as well. Feel free to join the crew, your avatar will show up there in the sidebar, and visitors can jump to your blog by clicking the avatar (I think).

Dream Fragments

Had some fragmentary dreams last night; in one fragment a tall tower on a rocky island was involved, at issue was whether a storm could cause damage to the tower or otherwise hurt the occupants, at one point a wave crashed against the tower, sending water skyward, but the tower stood tall and strong. This may have been linked in my mind to the recent destruction by Hurricane Ike of the Galveston, Texas area, and especially the Bolivar peninsula opposite Galveston Island. On the peninsula is an old iron lighthouse that has withstood two direct hits now from devastating hurricanes.

The other dream fragment involved singer Jimmy Buffett. I've been a fan of his music since the '70's, although not so much these days when he seems to be more of a corporate brand than a human being. (My theory is that he was replaced with a pod person about the time that he shaved his mustache off, in the mid-80's.) On this occasion Jimmy was planning a trip with his family, and I and other fans were watching the plans from a balcony. No more details than that. This wasn't a new experience, I have been having dreams of meeting Buffett for the last 20 years; usually in these dreams we're in one of his airplanes, discussing his upcoming shows or other events in his life.

I'm sorry these dreams are just fragments, or that they lack much in the way of story.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weather Note

Since we finally got some cooler weather a few days ago, the soy beans have begun to change color in the area bean fields. Right now they are at that mix of yellow and green that works out to chartreuse when you look at the field as a whole. In a few days they will be golden yellow, then will turn brown quickly after that.

Fall, my favorite time of year. Finally.

70 Years of the Supermarine Spitfire

A fine Daily Mail tribute written by Roy Hattersley.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hitchens On Obama: A Dusky Dukakis

The man has a way with words, doesn't he?

Happy Birthday...

...to Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

Bearback Mountain

The story of a man, a bear, and their forbidden love.

In A World Not Ready For It...

It started out innocently enough:



Then one day, the inevitable happened:



Soon they couldn't keep their paws off of each other:



It was bound to end in tragedy; best to remember What Might Have Been:

Sometimes A Phrase Catches Your Eye...

...and you have to blog it.

Case in point: Derringer tuna salad hoagies are recalled.

What a mishmash of images for me to absorb with that phrase. Derringer: small two-shot pistol used by gamblers, or conversely Rick Derringer, who wrote the classic Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo; tuna salad=dead dolphins; hoagies=submarines=torpedoes=grinder=po'boys.

I Don't WANT Buckyballs In My Body

Study: Buckyballs accumulate in the body.

As if I didn't have enough science to be afraid of, with the Swiss Black Hole Doomsday Machine already malfunctioning...

Hawk Attacks Puppet

ATLANTA, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- A hawk mistook a hand puppet resembling a bird for the real thing, swooping into an Atlanta parking lot and attacking two puppeteers, the victims say.

I've heard of the dog bites man story, and the man bites dog story, but this appears to fall into the dog-bites-man-pretending-to-be-cat story.

No word if Glenn Greenwald was involved.

Meanwhile, At Crater of Diamonds State Park...

...a man finds a 4.68 carat diamond.

Here's a pic of the stone:

478-Carat Diamond Found In S. Africa

(CNN) -- A diamond unearthed in the southern African nation of Lesotho could yield one of the largest and highest quality round polished diamonds, according to a statement Monday from company that found it.

The picture circulating in the news shows it the size of a tennis ball.

Dog Shows Promoting Inbreeding?

Seems so.

Hoodah Thunkit?

Acme Secret Agent Kit: FAIL!

An interview with a UK MI6 secret agent had to be halted when the agent's false mustache began falling off.

Oh, bugger. I hate when that happens.

Birdwatching In War Zones

You'll need a good pair of binoculars, guidebooks, and maybe a bullet-proof vest.

There's a great link in the article to a US soldier who has written a book on birdwatching in Iraq.

Need A 14th-Century Recipe To Spice Up Your Cooking?

Look no further.



Of course, a fluency in Middle English would appear to be required.

Will It Still Be Rat Island After They Finish?

Officials in Alaska are going to attempt to totally eradicate rats from an island in Alaska's Aleutian chain.

My own fantasy castaway island of Clipperton Island is infested with rats, wish they'd go clean it up, as well.

Let's do a poll on rats:

Will Rats Make Their Way Into Space?
Yes.
No.
  
pollcode.com free polls


Update: regarding the poll, I don't mean rats as experiment subjects, but as unwanted stowaways.

Tommy Atkins Can't Get...Um...Heynonnynonny

I blogged here about a UK soldier denied a hotel room because of his military status.

Now comes a story of a woman denied a pet cat because her husband is a soldier.

(I changed the last word in the title because I didn't want pornohounds visiting; original word was a synonym for cat)

Tommy by Rudyard Kipling

How about MICHAEL Palin For President?

The subject has been discussed, obviously.

Here's the YouTube video mentioned in the article:

Will It Taste Bitter, Or Sweet?

Less than 2000 men survive of WWII's 1st Marine Division, the Marines who won victories on Guadalcanal and other Pacific islands.

The last man left - - the last of the 1st, as he is referred to - - will receive a bottle of Etournaud cognac that is approximately 160 years old. What will his thoughts be? Will he weep over the memories of his fallen comrades, or share the cognac with a younger generation of Marines, or not even care? No one knows.

Click the link to read the whole thing, it's well worth the time.

Naval Academy, Then and Now

A NY Times story implies that the US Naval Academy of today is better equipped to handle the problems of today's world better than in John McCain's day, and manages to work in a poll of Midshipmen in which Barack Obama wins 13-7 over McCain.

Gee, imagine that sort of result from a NY Times story. Hoodah Thunkit?

1946 Steam Locomotive Comes Out Of Retirement

Yah, I'm anthropologizing an inanimate object, but don't you think an old retiree stuck unwillingly in an old folks' home would maybe rather have some meaning in his life?



And look at him, doesn't he look happy to be useful again?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Volcano Blog: Piton de la Fournaise, Indian Ocean

On Reunion Island, near Mauritius.

Apparently it's an active volcano that erupts regularly, so no worries about a destructive eruption.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Picture Of The Week

The Smiling Dragonfly.



You can guarantee that this one will be in various most emailed listings for the next couple of days, if not weeks.

Man Gives Father Best Birthday Present Ever

Story, Flint Journal.

This story is too heartwarming for me to excerpt it, fair use be damned. I want to be able to read this again sometime in the future without paying for the privilege:

DAVISON TOWNSHIP, Michigan -- Jim Richardson was aware of the odds when he made up his mind on a birthday gift for his father, Virgil Richardson of Davison Township.

The 54-year old Frankenmuth man wanted to track down the M1 Garand .30-caliber rifle his father carried more than 50 years ago as a soldier in the Korean War and present it to him on his 79th birthday next month.

But millions of the rifles were produced during that period -- 7 million to be exact. So you just can't avoid the pun: Finding his dad's weapon was a long shot.

"It'd be like hitting the lottery," said Matt Webb, a local gun expert at Williams Gun Sight & Outfitters in Davison Township.

"I've heard stories about people who used those guns during the war and wanted to get another one, but someone finding the exact serial number, it's just extraordinary -- just phenomenal."

As unbelievable as it is, that's exactly what Jim Richardson did, and he offered the gift to his father last week, almost a month early.

For Virgil Richardson, 78, the shock hasn't quite faded.

"I couldn't even talk when he gave it to me," he said. "It didn't even have to be the same gun to be important to me."

Virgil Richardson admits he didn't believe it was the same gun at first.

The Winchester-manufactured Garand now tucked away in the den of his home is the same weapon he carried while still in his early 20s, a world away from home, marching through areas such as the Punchbowl, a nickname for a region of the Korean mountains, and The Iron Triangle, a battlefield area that served as the headquarters for the North Korean Army.

It's rare for the General Motors retiree to even discuss his time as a U.S. Army radio operator in the 25th Infantry Division, in which he served from 1951-53.

"I had issues I couldn't resolve in my mind, and I finally realized I hadn't allowed God to take care of the problem," he said.

But when Virgil Richardson does speak of the war, he often mentions the rifle and its accuracy and dependability, as well as his own marksmanship.

So it's not surprising that during a family gathering at his daughter's home near Goodrich last month, when the conversation turned to hunting, the subject of the rifle emerged.

But this time, it was an offhand remark about the serial number on the rifle that stuck with his son, Jim Richardson.

"My sister lives in the country, and it came up that you could shoot a deer right from the deck of her home," the younger Richardson said. "Dad made a comment that (during his Army years) he could hit a silhouette target at 500 yards without a scope. Most people can't see that far without a scope.

"I told him my son (Jonathan) and I had been looking for one of those rifles," Jim Richardson continued. "He jokingly said, 'If you ever find one with the serial number 16-22-26-1, I'll give you a $1,000.'"

With a little research, they found that his dad's rifle was one of a small number manufactured by Winchester.

Soon after that August conversation, Jim Richardson was on a business trip when he found himself with a little extra time during an airport layover, so he began searching online for the rifle.

He found a Kentucky gun broker who was in possession of one that fit the description of his father's, with what looked to be an almost identical serial number.

He called the dealer and told him the story and asked for the last two numbers.

Bull's-eye.

"He (the gun broker) didn't believe it," Jim Richardson said. "After the war, the soldiers couldn't bring the rifles back with them. They stayed in Korea (until the 1980s), when they were able to be imported back to the United States."

The rifle was shipped to a Saginaw gun shop, where Jim Richardson was able to pick it up.

He won't say exactly how much it cost, but the early birthday gift is priceless to the Richardson family.

Some collectors of that type of rifle have paid as much as $3,000.

"That particular rifle has such historical interest," explained Webb, who is also a collector of the M1 Garand rifle. "It was used in World War II, the Korean War and even well into Vietnam.

"A lot of target shooters use them in competitions at the national level -- it's a powerful round," Webb continued. "The machine work on them is extraordinary for a wartime, big-production gun. Gen. (George) Patton called them 'the best battle implement ever devised.' You can't get a better endorsement than that."

According to Jim Richardson's research, four different manufacturers made the rifle for the military.

Winchester was one of the manufacturers that made the fewest. The special receiver -- a term for a part of the weapon -- on it makes it even more rare.

"It didn't matter. Once I found it, I was going to buy it," he said. "My mom told me that since he got it, my dad has been scouring the Internet, doing more research on the rifle. He's like a kid in a candy shop."

Virgil Richardson admits he's just hoping his marksman skills will come back to him quickly when he fires the gun for the first time on his birthday, Oct. 26.

"What shocked me the most is how very heavy it is," he said. "I have trouble now holding it up and aiming it. I guess they were made for 20- and 21-year-olds."

Jim Richardson wants to take a few special shots, too, but not with the rifle. He plans to capture the moment on film.




Yes, I know that to purists, unless all of the rifle's components have matching serial numbers that the rifle isn't the rifle, but that's a quibble, argue that in the comments if you wish to.

Leave Well Enough Alone, Please

A couple of scientists who apparently believe in man-made global warming are advocating tinkering with Earth's climate by adding mineral particulates and dusts into the atmosphere to cool things down.

They want to do experiments along the lines of what happens when a major volcanic eruption occcurs, i.e., the blasting of sulfate particles into the upper atmosphere, resulting in global cooling.

Letting climate scientists tinker with the Earth's climate is rather like letting your neighbor's kid fix your Rolex watch: he may be a good kid, but his grasp on the task at hand leaves a lot to be desired, nor does he have the proper tools to do the work. Climate is only imperfectly understood, despite the cocksure declarations of global warming scientists.

NY Times Anthropology Class: Alaskans

The finer points of eating moose.

Funny how they study fellow Americans as if they're an entirely new species, isn't it?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sister Fiorenza, Could I Have A...

...blowjob?

Story.


Italian Prostitutes To Dress As Nuns

Prostitutes in Italy who have been ordered to stop wearing skimpy clothing while they tout for business in broad daylight plan to dress as nuns instead.

By donning nuns' black and white habits street walkers hope to make the tough new legislation so confusing that it becomes unworkable.

Thousands of women, many of them from Eastern Europe and South America, sell themselves for sex on the side of major roads leading in and out of Italy's main cities, where brothels and red light districts are banned.

But they face a crackdown from the centre-right government of Silvio Berlusconi, as well as individual city councils such as Rome, Milan and Florence.

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, unveiled a decree this week which will ban the capital's thousands of street prostitutes from wearing "unseemly and indecent clothing", saying the sight of barely clothed young women distracted male motorists and caused accidents.

Even the way in which sex workers stand is under scrutiny - the decree bans the women from "adopting poses or behaviour or wearing clothing that unequivocally manifest the intention to solicit or practise the activity of prostitution".

Sex worker welfare groups have called the decree absurd and have pledged to challenge it in any way they can.

"We'll dress as nuns so that the police will arrest scantily dressed girls outside discos or other women with their cleavage on show," said Pia Covre, of the Committee for the Rights of Prostitutes.

"The idea of wearing gowns or habits down to the feet is to confront the decrees which limit even the freedom of what you can wear," she told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.



Being an old Catholic schoolboy, myself, I have to say that I only ever thought that just one of the nuns that taught me was even attractive, and most of them were, to put it politely, dogs. We had one with eyeglasses and braces on her teeth; another was short and fat and had outsized grotesque breasts that she would plop up in front of her on her desk. Her name was Sister Mary Helen, but we all called her Sister Hairy Melons.

*laughs*

Treasure Blog: New Mozart Music Discovered

PARIS (AP) — A French museum has found a previously unknown piece of music handwritten by Mozart, a researcher said Thursday. The 18th century melody sketch is missing the harmony and instrumentation but was described as important find.

Apparently it is a complete melody, but without harmony or instrumentation, so it's the sort of thing you could whistle or play on a solo instrument, I would guess.

Not all treasure is gold or gems, after all.

Turkey: Hotel Horndog

The manager of the Image Hotel in Marmaris, Turkey, has fired all her male employees because they kept having sex with British female guests.

The manager, Pelin Yucel, has replaced the fired male workers with women.

So, British men (and lesbians), the Image Hotel in Marmaris, Turkey, is your place to go for all-female staff.

Presumably if this doesn't work out Ms. Yucel will be advertising for eunuchs.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shipwreck Blog: The Nancy

The Nancy shipwreck of 1784 is 'found'

A shipwreck which has eluded treasure hunters for more than 200 years has been found, two divers have claimed.

The whereabouts of The Nancy, which sank off the western shores of the Isles of Scilly in 1784, has long remained a mystery.

The loss of the ship was all the more tragic because on board was Ann Cargill, a famous 18th century opera singer who was returning from India with her illegitimate child.

Her body - still clutching the baby - was recovered and then buried, but the wreck of the The Nancy was never traced.

Cargill, who made her name in Covent Garden and Drury Lane, was known for her colourful romantic life and eloped several times before heading to India to be with her latest love who was stationed in Calcutta with the British East India Company in 1783.

By now a wealthy women, she was sent home by Prime Minister William Pitt The Younger, who said "an actress should not be defiling the pure shores of India". On her death, she was said to be worth £200,000.


And yah, there is supposedly unrecovered treasure on the wreck.

Shipwreck Blog: Mystery Solved?

Yesterday I posted about a shipwreck uncovered on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, by winds and tides associated with Hurricane Ike. More information has been uncovered. (heh)

The ship has been uncovered in the past, at least as far back as the 1960s, according to Press-Register reports. A 1970 story in the newspaper quoted sources saying the vessel could be the blockade runner Montecello, run aground near the site during the Civil War.

A 2000 report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said, however, that the vessel is most likely the schooner Rachel, which ran aground in 1933, said Mike Bailey, site curator at Fort Morgan. Bailey said the ship has been uncovered by storms in the past and has been buried again as the beach builds back.


So, the mystery is solved, or as much as it will be. And then the wreck will be covered again, and years or decades from now a storm will uncover it again and it will be briefly in the news again, and someone will do some research and the mystery will be solved once again. The wheel turns.

You Could Ask For A Manacle Rider, I Suppose

Van Morrison is trying to ban drinking by his fans during his upcoming tour because it distresses his artistic nature to have the audience wandering around while he's trying to sing.

What's the male version of a Prima Donna called, again? *consults Wikipedia* Ah, a primo uomo. That's the word.

File this under, among other things...

Swiss Restaurant To Serve Human Breast Milk

Story.

I'll only buy if I can watch the milking.

Why Not Throw Rocks, Too?

(Actor) Ricky Gervais says obese people should be greeted in the street as "fatty" to shame them into losing weight.

Why not provide bored children with goads, then, to encourage fatties to run and keep active when out in public? It's a very UK sort of idea.

Where Not To Go

In the grand tradition of What Not To Wear, I suppose.

Can't Be Arsed: 101 Things Not To Do Before You Die points out that most "once in a lifetime" experiences will either end in disappointment or something much worse.

Author Richard Wilson, the TV producer behind Have I Got News For You, has written a book which bears a slight resemblance to the cult 1999 travel guide, 100 Things To Do Before You Die co-written by Dave Freeman, who died after falling at his home last month, and Neil Teplica.

But instead of marvelling at world sites, Wilson suggests avoiding places like the Taj Mahal and the Egyptian pyramids.

Wilson writes: "Advice to anyone about to travel to Thailand is simple. Before you go, sort out a decent photo of yourself, preferably taken at a party smiling and celebrating the joy of being alive, because the newspapers and TV news bulletins will want something to accompany the article about your tragic death."

Mr Freeman's book suggested taking a voodoo pilgrimage in Haiti, nude night surfing in Australia and competing in a yelling competition in North Carolina.

And about Machu Picchu, he writes: "It's a 6,000-mile journey – 12 thrombotic hours on a plane followed by a bladder-bursting seven-hour bus ride – to see something you could watch Michael Palin climbing up on TV – all in the company of the 400,000 intensely irritating gap-year students who think it's totally awesome, dude."


*snort*

Scotland: Savage Nature In Tooth and Claw (And Beak and Wing)

Declining stocks of food fish are forcing Guillemots (sea birds) to resort to infanticide of neighbors' chicks in a Darwinian display of natural selection.


It helps if you call it a "fetus," Marge.

Revealed: The Nine Types Of UK Drunks

Story.

They are:

· "De-stress drinkers" use alcohol to regain control of life and calm down. They include middle-class women and men.

· "Conformist drinkers" are driven by the need to belong and seek a structure to their lives. They are typically men aged 45 to 59 in clerical or manual jobs.

· "Boredom drinkers" consume alcohol to pass the time, seeking stimulation to relieve the monotony of life. Alcohol helps them to feel comforted and secure.

· "Depressed drinkers" may be of any age, gender or socioeconomic group. They crave comfort, safety and security.

· "Re-bonding drinkers" are driven by a need to keep in touch with people who are close to them.

· "Community drinkers" are motivated by the need to belong. They are usually lower middle class men and women who drink in large friendship groups.

· "Hedonistic drinkers" crave stimulation and want to abandon control. They are often divorced people with grown-up children, who want to stand out from the crowd.

· "Macho drinkers" spend most of their spare time in pubs. They are mostly men of all ages who want to stand out from the crowd.

· "Border dependents" regard the pub as a home from home. They visit it during the day and the evening, on weekdays and at weekends, drinking fast and often.


Take it with a grain of salt, this probably qualifies as pseudo-science.

"Lost Tribe" In Wales Gets Permission To Exist

They created their own "eco-village" on private property, but without jumping through the necessary government hoops. Now they have the government's permission to live as they wish.

It appears to be a commune/cult sort of set-up, the sort of thing that we have all over the place here in the US. Apparently they were able to hide the existence of their village in Wales for five years because it wasn't visible from the road; an aerial survey revealed it.

What Fresh Hell Is This?

UK: "'Smoking police' will hound smokers at bus stops to get them to quit."

I'm not now and never have been a smoker, but this seems excessive and far too Orwellian for my liking.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Too Good Not To Share

Welcome To The Republican Party at Lagniappe's Lair.

One of those perfect stories.

My Theft of the Day

I'm sorry, but I have to steal this one lock, stock and barrel from Yahoo! because they have a tendency to break the links after only a week or two, and I want to save this one forever:



And here's the text that goes with it:

He Pingping from Inner Mongolia, China's autonomous region, the world's smallest man sits on the lap of Svetlana Pankratova from Russia, the Queen of Longest Legs, as they pose at Trafalgar Square in London, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2008. Pingping, born with primordial dwarfism, holds the Guinness World Record for the smallest man at 74.61 cms (2 feet and 5.37 inches) and Pankratova holds the Guinness World Record for the longest leg of any woman at 132 cms (4 feet 4 inches) in length.

Original link here.

Torpedo Vindicator Palin

According to the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator, my Palin White Trash Alaskan Hillbilly baby name would be Torpedo Vindicator Palin.

That fucking RULES!

h/t Ann Althouse

Music Arrival

Soundtrack from the movie The Long Riders.



Back a while when the gunbloggers were talking about favorite Western movies, I left this one out. The special effects were spectacular for the time period, it had a cool gimmick (three sets of brothers: Carradines, Quaids, Keach) and a soundtrack by Ry Cooder. What more could you ask for, except perhaps for John Wayne or Clint Eastwood?

Two Hurricanes 100 Years Apart, Different Results




Pictured above is the Point Bolivar Lighthouse, built in 1852 of iron. Back in 1900 came the worst natural disaster to ever befall the US: the nameless hurricane that hit Galveston. Over 8000 people lost their lives in that hurricane. At Point Bolivar, frightened residents of the Port Bolivar area took refuge in the lighthouse with the keeper, over 150 of them, terrified, huddled together in the raging darkness as the storm surge began flooding the lower steps of the tower. They climbed higher until the water stopped rising, and stayed there until it receded. When it did, they were horrified to find the bodies of those who weren't able to get inside the tower before the surge came.

The Point Bolivar Lighthouse again provided a refuge from a smaller hurricane in 1915.

The lighthouse was closed in 1933, its lamp extinguished.

108 years later and Hurricane Ike is here, ravaging the Bolivar peninsula even as the 1900 hurricane did, destroying all in its path. The Point Bolivar Lighthouse, empty, stood strong and steady once again as outside people huddled in fear and died, denied the shelter the lighthouse once provided, since it was private property, locked against trespassers.

Which is just another tragedy in this whole sad situation.

Personal: I lived in Galveston briefly in the late 1980's, and often visited Port Bolivar to sit on the beach, look at the old coast artillery batteries, and view the lighthouse. My heart goes out to all the residents of Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula.

Race War? Don't Go There, The Sequel

The stupid Philadelphia columnist who called for a race war is back for a second helping, complaining that her rabble-rousing, ill-considered article...roused the rabble.

h/t Drudge Report. Matt likes fanning the flames, doesn't he?

Shipwreck Blog: Uncovered By Hurricane Ike

Video of a wooden-hulled steamship discovered on a beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama, uncovered from a sandy grave by the winds of Hurricane Ike.

The upper part of the ribs and exposed areas have been burned at some point. The wood is fresh and sturdy-looking, and the rudder pintle, made of iron or steel, has minimal corrosion. Was it set afire at sea and ran aground? Did it run aground and then was burned after being stripped? So far it's a mystery.

I love mysteries. *grins*

update 1: another story.

update 2: and another story from Navy Times.

Shipwreck Blog: Namibian Portuguese Wreck

I blogged about this particular shipwreck before, it was discovered by diamond miners on the coast of Namibia. More information has been discovered, it is 16th-century Portuguese, the earliest one found from this era, and may be associated with the exploration voyages of Bartholomew Diaz.

Apparently journalists will be allowed to photograph and inspect the wreck in the next week or so, so more information may be available then, hopefully including photos.

Volcano Blog: UK Sun Article On Volcano Photographer

50-year-old American Brad Lewis and his wonderful photos of Kilauea.

Do check out the slideshow, it's special.

It's not a job without dangers. In 2003, world-famous volcano photographers Maurice and Katya Krafft were killed in a pyroclastic flow from the Japanese volcano Unzen.

Sarah Palin, Elitist?

The New York Times is trying this out as a new meme, citing her "$35,000" tanning bed.

Yah, that's going to fly.

Random Thought #...?

Just started thinking of jobs that aren't done much anymore, and whether I'd enjoy doing them.

Lighthouse Keeper is the one I'd want to do the most. Not a tower lighthouse on a shore, but a screwpile lighthouse out in a bay somewhere.

Bellringer?

Gravedigger? Sexton or Beadle?

Lamplighter?

Cordwainer?

Roper?

Reeve?

Greater Love Has No Man

A local man died when he ran into his burning house to try and save his wheelchair-bound wife.

The wife's body was found in the living room. The man, Roy Farmer, died of smoke inhalation after being found by firemen near the side door.

*shakes head sadly*

I don't know why I post these stories. These aren't people I know.

Day By Day Fundraiser A Huge Success

If you look at today's Day By Day cartoon, you'll notice that Chris Muir was successful beyond his wildest dreams, having earned enough in the last couple of weeks to see him into November of 2009. This is good news for fans of the strip, and for conservatives everywhere. Congratulations, Chris!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty

She must have been as nearsighted as Mr. Magoo:

MOUNT CARMEL, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman who thought she was petting a neighbor's cat got a smelly surprise when it turned out to be a skunk.


Not A Cat.

Taken Too Young: Richard Wright, 1943-2008, R.I.P.

The keyboard player for Pink Floyd has died. Cancer.

Fisherman Who Inspired "Jaws" Dead At 82

HONOLULU (AP) — Frank Mundus, the legendary shark fisherman said to have inspired the Captain Quint character in the movie "Jaws," has died. He was 82.

Mundus died Wednesday at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu after a heart attack, his wife said.


So let me link my favorite scene from the movie:



And that great line from Robert Shaw:

"So...eleven hundred men went into the water, three hundred sixteen came out, sharks took the rest, June the 29th, 1945."

Chilling, absolutely chilling.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And So, Of Course...

...having invoked Young Frankenstein on Brigid's blog, I had to spend the next hour watching YouTube clips...

Outtakes 1:



Outtakes 2:

Comedian Ron White Arrested For Marijuana Possession

VERO BEACH — Comedian Ron White told police the marijuana he was carrying with him when he stepped off his jet Wednesday was for medicinal purposes, according to the arrest affidavit released Thursday.

Oh, no. Say it ain't so, Tater.

Ron's a favorite of mine, his sarcastic booziness and unapologetic excessiveness appeal to me. The charges are rather a bullshit set of charges, like busting Willie Nelson or Keith Richards, just for an arrest feather in the cop's cap.

h/t Radley Balko.

Here Come The Droids!

A Daily Mail story about US Army "Robodogs," designed to carry cargo over rough terrain.



Note: be sure to click on the link for the video presentation, it's great. BigDog looks like two skinny-legged guys with a huge pack on their joined backs, and makes a noise like a chainsaw when it moves. The section of the video where the BigDog slips on ice is worth the price of admission, itself.

I notice it's a DARPA project, so it's a fun use of taxpayer dollars.

update: Instalanche! Thank you, Glenn Reynolds!

The Intelligence War Continues

Apparently the Taliban are using Skype phones to communicate and coordinate attacks.

And the Daily Mail mentions in their report that the US and UK governments are spending tons of money on technology to intercept these calls, and pressuring providers of Skype to turn over records of users.

I'm conflicted when I read stories like this. On the one hand, I like to be informed, but on the other, I'm fully aware that stories like this caused Osama bin Laden and other Al Qaeda leaders to stop using cell phones to communicate, thus crippling an intelligence effort that could have resulted in his death or capture.

I Wonder...

...what inspired Chris Muir to come up with this cartoon:




Could it have been this? We wonders, precious, aye, we wonders...

*grins*

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Speak of the Devil...

I mentioned novelist/travel writer Paul Theroux in the Spam entry, and naturally enough he appears in a UK Guardian article, airing his hatred of moose hunting, hunting in general, Republicans in general and Sarah Palin in particular. He invokes Henry David Thoreau to castigate Palin, and mentions most of the usual leftist complaints, and calls her a Philistine in the bargain.

Theroux is a yellow-dog Democrat, probably has never voted for a Republican in his life; he's still worth reading, though. His latest travel book, Ghost Train To The Eastern Star, has just been published.

63 Years Later, A Japanese Sailor Returns To Iwo Jima

His mission, to say a final farewell to some dead comrades.

Worth reading in full. The sailor, Tsuruji Akikusa, never surrendered on Iwo Jima, was captured after he became too weak to move, and was hospitalised in the US, spent a short time in a prisoner-of-war camp, then returned to Japan for a career as an electrician. Recently he wrote a novel of his experiences on Iwo Jima; I hope it gets translated into English.

South Korea: Spam Spam Spam Spam

Koreans, hungry during the hard times of the Korean War in the 1950's, developed a taste for a common American foodstuff eaten by GI's: Spam.

The U.S. military introduced nonperishable, easily portable Spam to Korea during the Korean War, when many people were starving, said Kim Jong-su, a history professor at Kunsan National University.

During the lean post-war years, when most Koreans survived on barley, and even fat and white rice were scarce, people considered American foods like Spam a luxury.

"I still remembered the first moment I ate Spam," said Kim, now 50. "My relatives brought it home from a U.S. military base when I was an elementary school student. It was a shock — too delicious to describe."


These days, still popular with the South Korean populace, it's even sold in packaging for use as gifts.

Travel writer/novelist Paul Theroux in his book The Happy Isles of Oceania noted that natives in the old cannibal islands of Fiji and other places visited by the US during WWII also had a fondness for Spam.

Ah, well, at least it's not Soylent Green. Yet.

update forgot this; it's traditional.

Wonder Woman Hates On Sarah Palin

Wonder Woman, AKA actress Lynda Carter, chimes in with her professional opinion on Sarah Palin:

Don’t get me started. She’s the anti-Wonder Woman. She’s judgmental and dictatorial, telling people how they’ve got to live their lives. And a superior religious self-righteousness … that’s just not what Wonder Woman is about. Hillary Clinton is a lot more like Wonder Woman than Mrs. Palin. She did it all, didn’t she?

No one has the right to dictate, particularly in this country, to force your own personal views upon the populace — religious views. I think that is suppressive, oppressive, and anti-American. We are the loyal opposition. That’s the whole point of this country: freedom of speech, personal rights, personal freedom. Nor would Wonder Woman be the person to tell people how to live their lives. Worry about your own life! Worry about your own family! Don’t be telling me what I want to do with mine.


All a bunch of leftist boilerplate, basically.

Note To Readers

I don't have a tip jar or PayPal system set up, I don't think I get enough traffic to justify it. I would appreciate comments, though, it makes me feel less like I'm in an empty lecture hall. I try to comment on blogs I visit, even if I don't have anything profound to say (which is all too often), just so the blogger feels that (s)he isn't shouting down a rain barrel.

UK Government Money-Saving Idea: Sell Nelson's Flagship!

Let's sell HMS Victory!

England expects every man to save some money...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Noonan On Palin

Story.

Here's the passage I like best:

Then Mrs. Palin, and the catastrophe of the Democratic and media response to her. Books will be written about this, but because it's so recent, and so known, we're almost not absorbing how huge it was, and is. Here was the central liberal mistake: They used the atom bomb just a few days in. They used it so brutally, and yet so ineptly, in a way so oblivious to the true contours of the field, that the radiation blew back over their own lines. They used it without preliminary diplomatic talks, multilateral meetings or Security Council debate. They just went boom. And it boomeranged.