Sunday, November 30, 2008

I Found It!

A couple of John Wayne favorites from True Grit:


Cut shorter than I would have liked, so you miss Rooster Cogburn's philosophy of dealing with criminals: Ya can't argue with a rat, baby sister. Ya gotta kill 'em or let 'em be.

Volcano Blog: Kluchevskaya Sopka, Russia


The second paragraph of the story has me worried:

Geologists say it poses no danger to the nearby village, as a glacier on top of the volcano is preventing the lava flow from moving towards the settlement.

Glaciers don't stop lava, necessarily. What might happen when lava meets ice is that ice melts and forms lahars, which could rush down the mountain and engulf the village. Hopefully experienced vulcanologists are on hand to assess the danger.

A French View of American Forces In Afghanistan

via Cold Fury.

And they are impressive warriors ! We have not come across bad ones, as strange at it may seem to you when you know how critical French people can be. Even if some of them are a bit on the heavy side, all of them provide us everyday with lessons in infantry know-how. Beyond the wearing of a combat kit that never seem to discomfort them (helmet strap, helmet, combat goggles, rifles etc.) the long hours of watch at the outpost never seem to annoy them in the slightest. On the one square meter wooden tower above the perimeter wall they stand the five consecutive hours in full battle rattle and night vision goggles on top, their sight unmoving in the directions of likely danger. No distractions, no pauses, they are like statues nights and days. At night, all movements are performed in the dark - only a handful of subdued red lights indicate the occasional presence of a soldier on the move. Same with the vehicles whose lights are covered - everything happens in pitch dark even filling the fuel tanks with the Japy pump.

And combat ? If you have seen Rambo you have seen it all - always coming to the rescue when one of our teams gets in trouble, and always in the shortest delay. That is one of their tricks : they switch from T-shirt and sandals to combat ready in three minutes. Arriving in contact with the enemy, the way they fight is simple and disconcerting : they just charge ! They disembark and assault in stride, they bomb first and ask questions later - which cuts any pussyfooting short.

excerpted from, and translated by John Ringo. Original in French can be found here. (I'm trusting that this is a legitimate French blog and legitimate translation).

Read the whole thing, as they say.

When Caught, Shift Blame

A drunk woman caught having sex in a toilet stall in the Minneapolis Metrodome is trying to claim that her partner put something in her drinks.

Evil bitch. Why not just cry rape, while you're at it?

Your Honor, Please Send The Jury Out To Wash Their Hands

A study seems to indicate that washing of hands leads to changes in moral judgment, promoting leniency in decision-making.

This might fall under pseudoscience, and so I'll classify it. More study is needed, obviously.

Needed: Cork Lorax

It is an increasing trend to use screwtops or synthetic stoppers in wine bottles. Unfortunately, this has the side-effect of causing the growers of cork trees to cut down the trees to plant other profitable crops, which is putting many species of animals in danger, including the rare Iberian Lynx.

Let me try my mad Microsoft Paint skillz:

UK Stupidity of the Day

How will UK police handle binge drinkers when pubs close? By handing out bubble blowers and other toys.

I shit you not.

Japan Leads The Way In Deterring Illegal Immigrants


To summarize, all immigrants undergo fingerprinting and other biometric checks. The result so far is 846 undesirables caught before they could enter the country.

Beware the Cankles!

Rupert Maas, art critic for the UK TV show Antiques Roadshow, will have to defend himself against the Frankwell Little Boro Women's Institute of Country Shropshire after remarking that a woman in a painting had a "Shropshire ankle."

Apparently the confrontation will be filmed as part of the Antiques Roadshow and will be seen sometime in the near future.


Hunter Gets The Right To Bear Arms Again - - Via Presidential Pardon

Farmer and hunter Leslie O. Collier noticed wild turkeys on his property, and as a measure to ensure their survival as a flock, spread poison to kill predators. A misdemeanor, the poison became a felony when two Bald Eagles succumbed to it. Collier, as a convicted felon, lost his right to keep and bear arms. President Bush, through presidential pardon, has restored it.

Collier is again in the woods with a hunting rifle, hoping to provide meat for his family.

Good story from the New York Times with a neutral point of view.

A Hole In The Blogosphere

Kim and Connie du Toit have retired from blogging. They've showed us all how it's done for six years, and now they're ready to move on.

Kim's Good-Bye.

Connie's Good-Bye.

I've already expressed my sentiments at their comments pages. If you've enjoyed their writings, I hope you'll pay their blogs a last visit to share your own good-byes with them.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deep Defense Cuts = Cold Sailors

Sailors living aboard the disaster-prone Royal Navy warship, HMS Nottingham, have been forced to sleep in their clothes because the heating has broken down.

I'll say it again: what you see in UK today is what you can expect in the US under an Obama administration. Just read the UK newspapers online to find out what your life will be like.

When Celebrities Get Old

Just what will they look like? A gallery of photos, courtesy of the UK Telegraph.

Just for a sample, here's Tobey Maguire:

D'Artagnan's Sword Is Bigger Than Yours

"French Men Need Largest Condoms In Europe."

En garde! Zut alors! Merde!

Diet Cherry Coke Discontinued?

According to a Coca-Cola employee who was stocking shelves at my local grocery, yes. Coca-Cola has a similar product named Cherry Zero, but it doesn't have the same flavor as my favorite. Right now I'm trying to find a substitute. Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi doesn't make the grade. I like Diet A&W Root Beer, but it typically is always priced at a premium and rarely goes on sale. Right now I'm experimenting with my grocer's own Harris Teeter Diet Cherry Cola, which is pretty good and sells at a wonderfully-priced $2.77 per 12-pack.

Damn you, Coca-Cola! Damn you all to Hell!

"I Wished I'd Had A Gun, Not A Camera."

The journalist who captured images of the attack on Mumbai by Muslim terrorists regrets being able to do no more than record the carnage.

Apparently armed police were cowering in fear rather than engaging the terrorists. Not a good reflection on their training or their commitment to the public service.

USMC War Graves Found On Tarawa

It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War, and occasionally the clean-up after fighting, including the internment of corpses, wasn't neat or well organized.

The USMC still has 550 Marines from the Tarawa battle listed as MIA, which means that the bodies have not been located. Hopefully the 139 sets of remains found in this search will reduce that number.

Treasure Blog: Coins In A Dutch Cornfield

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) — A hobbyist with a metal detector struck both gold and silver when he uncovered an important cache of ancient Celtic coins in a cornfield in the southern Dutch city of Maastricht.

"It's exciting, like a little boy's dream," Paul Curfs, 47, said Thursday after the spectacular find was made public.

Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area.

Curfs said he was walking with his detector this spring and was about to go home when he suddenly got a strong signal on his earphones and uncovered the first coin.

"It was golden and had a little horse on it — I had no idea what I had found," he said.


Lovely, and in apparently great condition, at least the gold coins. Silver tends to tarnish heavily as the centuries pass, but gold stays bright forever.

As If He Cares About Their Opinion At This Point

The New York Times presumes to chide President Bush about the presidential pardon power, warning him that "If he wants to try to reclaim his reputation, he can start by not abusing the pardon power on his way out the door."

Just another thumbing of the nose by the media to an unpopular president whose reputation they helped wreck.

Hitler's Stolen Bookmark Recovered


Apparently it was a gift from Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun, and is made of 18k yellow gold:

Top 5 Most Calming UK Accents


The list:


1. Scottish

2. Estuary English

3. Republic of Ireland

4. Geordie

5. Welsh

Note: Estuary English refers to the dialect spoken in the Thames valley. Geordie refers to the dialect spoken in the Tyneside area of NE England, specifically Newcastle.

Of course, there are soothing, calming Scottish accents, and then there is Billy Connolly's Scottish accent:

I'm Emigrating To Switzerland To Become A Heroin Addict.

Apparently it's free, legal and safe, and there's a shortage of Swiss junkies. A great career opportunity for a slacker such as myself!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Won On EBay

Boy Scout Knife:

I have a weakness for the Boy Scout knife pattern, although I was never a Scout. I was a Cub Scout for one year, and never had an official Cub Scout knife, although I remedied that earlier this year.

Sad to say, it's difficult to find a Boy Scout pattern knife made with carbon steel blade and tools; most new manufacture knives of this pattern are made of stainless steel, which seems fundamentally wrong with a scout knife. A scout knife should be made of carbon steel, should have a nice dark patina from use, and should smell slightly of 3-in-1 oil.

This old Ulster scout knife is a pretty good sample. Judging by the pictures provided on eBay it has handle scales that are properly fitted; can't tell if they are bone or synthetic, although I'd guess the latter.

If some manufacturer really wanted to update the pattern for the 21st century (s)he would use titanium for the blade and tools, and G-10 or carbon fiber for the handle scales. That would make the scout better suited for pocket carry; they tend to be a bit heavy in the steel versions.

My own EDC (Every Day Carry) knife is a Wenger Swiss Army Soldier model, which is basically the same four-blade pattern as the scout, but lighter and more pocket-worthy due to aluminum handle scales. I've carried this one for about 7 years now, it's a 2001 production model, so it reminds me of the attack on the US that took place on September 11, 2001. If this scout knife I purchased today is pretty good in quality it might replace the Wenger as an EDC knife; we'll see.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving To You All.

I'm happy and blessed to have readers, and I thank you for your visits and comments. Our supper here in NC is finished, I have some clothes in the dryer, and soon I will go to sleep, because I have to work tonight, then three weeks of vacation to look forward to.

Mark Twain's Thanksgiving

A fine NY Times article about the sort of foods that Mark Twain ate (and yearned to eat) on Thanksgiving Day, and how many of those dishes have vanished from American tables due to reduction in animal and plant populations and restrictions on serving game.

Well worth reading, especially if you're a hunter or outdoorsman and are used to eating wild foods.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Birthday Request

It's my birthday, and since I don't have a tip jar or other means of soliciting free stuff from readers, I'd ask only that if you like my blog and enjoy the stuff I write and link, take a moment to visit the sidebar feature called join my scurvy crew and add yourself to the list. Doesn't cost anything other than a few seconds and a Blogger account. If you don't have a Blogger account and can't be bothered, that's ok, too.

Oh, yes, the details: I'm 47 today. I'll probably grill a steak and eat a pint of Haagen-Dasz ice cream, or maybe Ben & Jerry's. I work tonight, so I can't justify getting drunk or anything like that.

I'm 2% More Masculine Than Instapundit!

According to the Genderanalyzer, that is.

The Genderanalyzer said that there was a 66% chance that my blog is written by a man. Glenn Reynolds scored 64% chance; thus, if you look at it one way I am 2% more likely to be a man than Glenn Reynolds, or you can look at it that I am 2% more manly than Glenn Reynolds.

Some results from other blogs:

Ace of Spades HQ, 84% man-chance.
Advice Goddess (Amy Alkon), 75% man-chance.
Andrew Sullivan, 82% man-chance.
Rachel Lucas, 52% woman-chance.
Kim Du Toit, 65% man-chance.
Michelle Malkin, 70% woman-chance.
Ann Althouse, 83% woman-chance.
Hugh Hewitt, 87% man-chance.
James Lileks (The Bleat) 85% man-chance.
Mark Steyn, 66% man-chance.

Interesting site.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shipwreck Blog: Slave Ship Trouvadore, Turks & Caicos Islands


Apparently hit a reef and sank in 1841, some of her human cargo settled in the islands and presumably their descendants are still there. Also found were the US Navy vessels Chippewa and Onkahye, ships involved in the interdiction of the slave trade.

UK: Unbelievable Statement of the Day, And Possibly Century

Owners of British strip clubs try to convince Parliament that lap dances aren't sexually stimulating.


Yah, But Can They Do One-Handed Pushups Like Jack Palance?

Scientists study Anole lizards that attract mates by doing pushups.

Seems to me that I recall Joseph Wambaugh's novel The Secrets of Harry Bright begins with a chapter on a macho lizard, and that was back in the '80's.

Cool little video. I've seen our local anoles doing the same thing on our backyard deck.

Gainesville, Fla: 3 Childhood Homes

Through the modern miracle of Google Earth (and it is a miracle, being absolutely free), I would like to show you three of the homes that I grew up in.

This is the house my mother considered her dream home. She still recalls it with longing. Three bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (possibly 2.5, my memory of that period has faded), living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, and a screened patio that was (and still is, I think) called a Florida Room in that area. It's bigger than it looks because it is square in shape rather than rectangular. I seem to recall the front door was a double set, painted a garish orange, but that may be faulty memory. Had good-sized yards front and back; the back yard was fenced, and my sister and I played there; a swingset and sandbox were favorite places. The dog of that period was a Boxer named Socks, who used to entertain himself chasing the large dragonflies that flew about the back yard. This was the height of the US space program, circa Gemini/Apollo, and my favorite toys were my Major Matt Mason space explorers.

This sadly neglected house was my maternal grandfather's house. He was a Pennsylvania Yankee of German descent who had been a policeman in the Pittsburgh suburb of Mt. Lebanon. He retired with his wife to Gainesville and this is the house that they purchased. Originally there was no screened porch, the original plan had a concrete patio which was blocked from street view by a board fence; my grandfather had rosebushes planted on the inside area of the fence, and they were the climbing variety that soon climbed over the fence. The house had 3 small bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and the kitchen, dining area and den were a single room with a partial wall separating the den area from the kitchen. My grandfather didn't have air conditioning installed, opting instead for an attic fan. In an alcove sat a scary-looking brown oil furnace that warmed the entire house during the winter. The back yard was shaded (and thus a dirt yard, too much shade for grass) by the large oak trees that appear to still be there. The front yard had three white birch trees planted, those are sadly now gone.

An adventure I had while visiting my grandfather was to retrieve some puppies from the house next door; the mother, a Husky, had dug a den for herself in her back yard and the tunnel was too small for her owner to retrieve the pups; I was called on to do it, being young and slim. Sadly, one of the pups had died; I can't remember whether I retrieved it or left it in the hole at the owner's direction.

This was a house we lived in for about a year; I think the bank foreclosed on the mortgage after my father blew income on gambling and whoring (yah, he was a ne'er-do-well). It was a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bathroom house, distinguished only by its roof, which caused everyone in the neighborhood to name it The Pizza Hut for obvious reasons. Gainesville's Hogtown Creek was not far from this house, and I used to hike and explore the creek; you can find fossils and especially fossil sharks' teeth in the creek. I've personally found fossil White Shark teeth that were over 3" in length and razor-edged; you could slice yourself quite easily on them.

So, three of the houses I grew up in. There were others; one I can't remember the house number, only the street number (NE 12th Street), others are gone now (the Manor Motel, we lived in one of the cottages, being the owners of the Motel at the time), and my paternal grandparents' house in nearby Melrose, Florida, which hasn't yet been visited by the Google Earth trucks.

Hope you enjoyed my trip to Memory Lane.

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy?

A young Army recruit in UK was drowned after his commanding officer led his platoon into a stream swollen by rains.

Sorry, couldn't resist a chance to work in a Pete Seeger reference.

DC's Comic Book Batman Killed Off


I don't much like it when an old hero is killed off just to satisfy some writer's ego and spike sales. It's a cheap stunt.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Broken Hip: Update

My mother spent the weekend recovering from her Friday night surgery. The surgery went well, according to the doctor. Her broken right hip (actually a fracture of the femur at the point where it enters its socket in the torso) was repaired with pins. The doctor says that this will allow her a quick recovery and mobility far more quickly than a total hip replacement would have.

My mother seems weaker, and to have aged about 10 years overnight. Apparently the pain and the surgery took a lot out of her. Tomorrow (Tuesday) she will be discharged from the hospital and moved into what's being described as either a rehab facility or a nursing home, presumably for a temporary stay as a measure to build her strength up before returning home. I'll probably be busy most of tomorrow, involved with the details of moving her and checking out the facility. Happily it is nearby, or so I am told.

It's been blessedly quiet here without her, although I shouldn't say that. I've been seeing to her daily needs for the last five years, when she had a fall and was hospitalized with what turned out to be cellulitis. That particular hospital stay turned her into a semi-invalid, able to walk only with the aid of a walker. Since then she has weakened year after year; these days, I'm required to open most containers for her, cut up most of her food, and generally do anything that would require manual dexterity on her part. The last year has seen her ability to dial a telephone diminish to the point that it takes her several tries before success, and I occasionally dial the call for her.

So, perhaps her sojourn here on Earth is drawing to a close. I wish it were otherwise, that she was mobile and agile and had many more years to look forward to, but it is looking as if the case might be otherwise. Her father lived just past ninety, but was far more active than his daughter and kept his mobility far longer.

We shall see what happens. Thank all of you for your kind thoughts.

French Toast Made With...

...King's Hawaiian Sweet Bread is about as good as it gets, French-Toast wise. Slice it about 1" thick and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Oh, That Old Thing, I Thought It Rather Horrid, Actually... I just put it in the attic. Worth £50,000? Imagine that!

The typical forgotten art story. If everyone in the world would check their attics, spare rooms and basements, many treasures would probably be re-discovered.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bureaucratic Bumbling Keeps WWI Vet From Recognition

The records of the enlistment of Netherwood Hughes - - who admittedly never saw combat - - were lost during the London Blitz of WWII. So since there are no records verifying his service, the Ministry of Defense can't declare him a WWI veteran. Sorry about that.

It's not as if there are going to be centenarians crawling out of the woodwork to claim vet status, you know?

At 108 years old and in a nursing home, Netherwood Hughes doesn't much care, presumably.

US Political Leader Flunk Civics Test

Unfortunately they're not identified by name.

US politicians have scored abysmally on a basic test measuring their knowledge of history and economics, with an average grade of just 44 per cent.

Ordinary citizens did not fare much better, scoring just 49 per cent correct on the 33 exam questions compiled by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI).

"It is disturbing enough that the general public failed ISI's civic literacy test, but when you consider the even more dismal scores of elected officials, you have to be concerned," said Josiah Bunting, chairman of the National Civic Literacy Board at ISI.

I just took the test myself and scored 87.88, missing 4 out of 33 questions. Happily, only one of my misses was on government itself, the other 3 were on fiscal policy.

If you'd like to take the test yourself, go here.

Shop Owner Fights Off Robbers For Third Time


I admire his sand, but he's going to end up dead. It's a goddamned shame he's not allowed to have an effective defense against these sub-humans.

Check out the video at the link, it shows all three attacks. Unfortunately it isn't embeddable.

Volcano Blog: San Cristobal, Nicaragua


More info can be found here.


Nicaragua's highest volcano. It appears to have been intermittently active during recorded history. The photo shows it to be a typical young stratovolcano with a relatively clear vent, since it has been able to grow into the classic cone shape. I would thus guess that the volcano's current eruption will result in some additional growth of the summit with little danger to the surrounding area.

Glaciers Found On Mars


An important find, because any future colony will require water to sustain the lives of the colonists.

Picture of the Torc

I blogged here about a golden torc (collar) found in a treasure trove in UK recently, but unfortunately there was no accompanying photo; that is now remedied, thanks to The Times of London.

Here's the pic:

The torc is not pure gold, but instead made of an alloy of gold and silver known as electrum, which was common in ancient times. It's truly a stunning find.

update: I misspelled torc as torque. *hangs head in shame*

Friday, November 21, 2008

Volcano Blog: Nevado del Huila, Colombia


This one has been active since 1994, when it killed over a thousand people. Colombia apparently has much improved its notification/evacuation system since then.

Shipwreck Blog: HMHS Britannic

Titanic's sister ship, she sank off Greece in WWII while being used as a hospital ship.

Apparently she struck a mine. Ironically she sank even faster than Titanic because her watertight doors were left open after the explosion; only 30 lives were lost, though, because of the location and better preparation (more lifeboats).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Broken Hip

While I was at work last night, my 87-year-old mother fell in the bathroom and broke her hip. My sister got her back to her couch, where she lay in pain for the remainder of the night until I came home. After studying her closely for a bit (she's a hypochondriac who fakes Fred Sanford-style death scenes monthly) I realized that she was in actual pain, and called her doctor, who advised me to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital.

I'm back now about 7 hours later. The doctors found a small fracture, and surgery will have to be scheduled. I don't know if this is the beginning of the end for her, she has no chronic illnesses, although she is feeble and mostly bedridden. She has a profound fear of dying, enough to require maximum dosage tranquilizers to keep her rational.

So - - Blogging might be light for a while. Kind thoughts appreciated.

Update: Surgery completed, doctor says all went well. I'll visit later this morning, take my mother some belongings that she'll need. Thanks for the kind thoughts.

Amateur Archaeologist Finds £350,000 Gold Torque


No pic, unfortunately. A torque is a collar worn for adornment.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's Not Exactly News, Is It?

"The Houses of Parliament, Downing Street and other parts of Whitehall are infested with vermin, according to official reports."

I predict this will be the punchline of a million lame blog jokes.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

The Return of the Mammoth

Shades of Jurassic Park.

Um...if they're successful, and mammoths become as widespread and common as fleas on a dog, would it be all right to harvest them for food and ivory? Just curious.

The Appeal of the Scar

Chix dig scarfaced dudes.

That's the ticket.

And it was basically the whole point of the dueling that took place at Germany's Heidelberg University:

Mark Twain witnessed some duels at Heidelberg when he was on a tour of Europe, which he described in his book A Tramp Abroad.

Somali Pirates: A Slideshow

UK Guardian.

They don't drink rum and they don't say arrr!


UK Guardian story.

Well, maybe not quite so savage.

Rather genteel, actually.

Click the link for the full story.

Nonsense, There's One Right Over There

Pygmy Tarsiers aren't as extinct as once thought.

I mean they were tiny little things, and I forgot my eyeglasses that day, and...


Cecil Adams' The Straight Dope can now be found in our local alternative weekly, Creative Loafing.

I should point out that, in reference to the subject matter of Cecil's essay (Cement Overshoe use by the Mafia), John MacDonald used the device in one of his best Travis McGee novels, Darker Than Amber.

They Survived

Two hikers lost in the North Carolina mountains were found, both in comparatively good shape.

They were cold and hungry, as might be expected in current November weather, but they apparently had a blanket, which was enough to prevent hypothermia, and frankly most Americans can skip a few meals without harm.

I don't know what survival gear they had with them, if any, but most experienced hikers are familiar with the Ten Essentials, which are Essentials for a reason: they keep you alive long enough for help to arrive. If you go into the wilderness without them, you're asking for trouble.

I think that these two, other than getting lost, seemed to have done everything right; they survived, which is proof enough that their planning was sufficient.

Simple Solution

North Carolina doctors object to attending executions of murderers, saying it violates their Hippocratic Oath to preserve life.

Oh, that's an easy one to fix. Simply write a law that requires abortionists to attend executions. It's not as if the abortionist has those qualms of conscience.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Lone Nut Theory Proven

Adolf Hitler did only have one ball.

Now they need to do research to discover if Goering's were very small and Himmler's rather similar.

h/t Hot Air Headlines.

Heaven On Earth

When I step outside after work and the sky is the color of sapphire, the temperature is around 30 Fahrenheit, and the wind is blowing at around twelve miles an hour, it's as much a bit of heaven on earth as I think I'll ever find. Air like tonic!

Does Anyone Really Think...

...that a bunch of limpdicks would be gathered around a fire with guitars singing Viva Viagra?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Partisan Patriotism

Now that their side actually has won the White House, Democrats rediscover their patriotism.

You know what? I doubt that Republicans will be hiding their flags away in the closet until Obama leaves office. They'll still be flying their flags and wearing their flag lapel pins, unlike the Democrats, for whom such displays depend on who's in power.

Um...Exactly Who Raised Them To Be That Way?

Times of London: "Most Adults Think Children 'Are Feral And A Danger To Society.'"

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Media Will Be In The Tank Until Obama Leaves Office

The UK Independent, in its lead paragraph on a story about Obama choosing his cabinet, compares him to Abraham Lincoln.

*shakes head in disgust*

First Dog Grumpy At Prospect Of Leaving White House

Barney, the President's Scottish Terrier, has bitten two people in the last couple of weeks.

One of them was a reporter, so it's probably justifiable. The other was a PR flack for the Boston Celtics, which is more problematic but probably can be justified on a National Security basis.

"We'll Probably See Spam Lines Instead of Soup Lines."

Hard times for the world's working people means good times for Hormel, the maker of SPAM.

You know, I'm 47 now and I've never even tried the stuff. Maybe I should correct that as an experiment.

NY Times Goes Hawkish

In an editorial, The New York Times advocates for a larger military.

How are you going to have a stronger, more effective military when Barney Frank wants to cut defense spending 25%?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Shipwreck Blog: HMS Nessus, Scotland


HMS Nessus was a WWI destroyer that sank after being damaged by another destroyer, HMS Maenad, while traveling in fog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Random Coca-Cola Thoughts

The last few times I've visited the grocery store I've noticed that Diet Cherry Coke has disappeared from the shelves, and Cherry Zero Coke has replaced it. If this is an official but unadvertised decision by Coca-Cola, I'm disappointed, because Cherry Zero Coke doesn't have the good cherry flavor of Diet Cherry Coke.

Also, what idiot at Coca-Cola changed the cap shape on the plastic bottles? They look nice, much like the old metal bottle caps, but it's damned hard to remove the cap now. You can't get a proper grip on it.

Another Severed Foot Washes Ashore In Canada


I still think it's a deranged sawmill serial killer, myself. Click on the tag for other stories in this continuing series.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Green Unicorns At The London Zoo

Snakes, actually; also known as Vietnamese Long-Nosed Snakes or Rhino Rat Snakes.

Here's a pic of an adult:


Mitch Mitchell, 1947-2008: R.I.P.

Hendrix's drummer has passed away.

Royal Navy Faces Off Against Pirates: Navy 1, Pirates 0

The headline on the Drudge Report reads: Pirates open fire on warship...die.

The Brits redeemed themselves for that humiliation last year in Iran, didn't they?

Russian Police Like Their New Submachine Guns

Story. (Registration required).

Here is a pic, the PP-2000 made in Tula:

Veteran Gets Gift: A Dog Tag Lost In Vietnam

Social Worker Sandy Larson, on a trip to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, happened to pass by a market table that was covered with US military dog tags from the Vietnam war era. She purchased three of them, hoping to be able to reunite the tags with their owners.

Gray Taylor, a Vietnam veteran, was stunned and amazed when he found the dog tag in his mailbox one morning.

It's worth reading in full.

Military Atheists Want God Out Of Their Foxholes


About one-fifth of current servicemembers identify themselves as having no religious preference, according to Defense Department statistics.

Only a small percentage of troops identify themselves as atheists or agnostics, but Torpy said that’s because they fear retribution. Without new rules, he said, there isn’t any guarantee they can avoid that kind of treatment.

"We’re as dedicated to the military as our Christian counterparts," he said. "We just want to serve our country, too."

I guess I'd feel much the same way if I were still in the service.

Star Trek: New Enterprise Unveiled

Not a story per se, but a blurb and a photo, with a link to a gallery.

All I Need Is A Tall Ship And A Star To Steer Her By.

On a Happy Note...

...I should mention that, with the election being over, I'm willing to buy Ben & Jerry's ice cream again. I haven't for the last year, since it would be like giving money directly to the Democrat Party. So I can enjoy Phish Phood and Heath Bar Crunch for the forseeable future.

Are Your Guns In Danger From President Obama?

Instapundit links this interesting poll.

I'll say this in addition: Obama has seen that the NRA and gun owners aren't enough to stop anti-gun candidates from being elected any more. Right out of the chute after the inauguration, look for the measures listed in the poll to be presented to Congress. Why? Because these measures don't cost tons of money to enact, that's why. In an economy already in recession, enacting liberal measures that don't cost tons of money will be seen as a win-win for Obama and the liberal Congress.

So he'll throw the gauntlet down, and test you to see if you make him pay the price Clinton paid in 1994. He's betting you won't have the votes anymore.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This Is An Ex-Vicar!

A vicar is banished from performing her duties for 12 years after she showed up on several occasions drink, and on another occasion pronounced herself a "swinger."


For Veteran's Day

I searched for this for a long time and finally found it. Finbar Furey at Paddy Reilly's, singing Eric Bogle's Green Fields of France.

Hope you enjoy it.


Definition of renegade, from Webster:

1 : a deserter from one faith, cause, or allegiance to another.
2 : an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior.

Definition of renege:

to go back on a promise or commitment
— re·neg·er noun

Our new President-Elect, Senator Obama, has been given the nickname "Renegade" by the Secret Service. Seems rather appropriate.

*looks at post closely*

reneger. I'm sure that's racist, somehow.

Hey, Look What I Found

Archaeologists in Egypt have discovered a pyramid.

It's only 16' high, though, and has been hidden under the sand for centuries.

It is the 118th pyramid to be discovered in Egypt.

Cruel and Evil...And Maybe Just A Bit Hilarious?

Bulgarian Evgeni Andreev was one of those people who responds to pleas from pet owners wanting to get rid of beloved pets.

Andreev would respond to the ads, then meet the pet owners, reassure them that the pet would be well cared for...

...then Evgeni Andreev would take the pet home and feed it to one of his pet snakes, filming the death of the pets for his own amusement.

Then, in a final act of ultimate cruelty, Evgeni Andreev would share the videos with people he met online through dating services.

He's a piece of work, isn't he? If he wasn't the real thing, a novelist would have to invent him.

I'll Take That As A Yes

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, the city does polygraph tests on job applicants, and apparently one of the questions included on the test is whether the applicant has had sex with animals.

The Halifax Chronicle Herald revealed the practice after writing a story of a woman whose job application was turned down after her polygraph test:

"They didn't leave any stones unturned," the woman said. "I was told I'm not suitable."



Bullfighting And Firebombs

Bullfighting in Spain is often venal and corrupt, but you don't often hear of mafia-style struggles for domination of the art.

In a Toledo, Spain, courtroom, evidence is being heard that the followers of one bullfighter, Jose Miguel Callejon Martin, hired Columbian criminals to firebomb the horses of a rival, Sergio Galan. By mistake the Columbians targeted the horses of another bullfighting clan, the Domecqs of Spain's Sherry capital, Jerez de la Frontera. Six horses died, another 6 took years to recover from their injuries. The Domecqs are seeking redress for their losses.

I've seen the Domecq horses personally, when I lived in Spain in the mid-'80's. Not only do the Domecqs make money from Sherry and Brandy, they also have bullfighters in the family, play polo, and run a Spanish Riding School that features Cartujano horses, known in Austria as Lippizans.

Here's Luis Domecq in the bullring:

Lost, and Sometimes Found

A group of Belgian volunteers search WWII battlefields for the bodies of those missing in action.

There isn't usually much left after all this time; bone fragments, some scraps of uniforms, so the team concentrates on locating dog tags and ID medallions. They treat all the remains they find with respect.

Good story.

German Dog Tags.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Volcano Blog: Reventador, Ecuador; Machin, Nevado de Huila: Columbia

Story, Reventador volcano eruption.

Story, Machin and Nevado de Huila eruptions.

I'm linking these two reports because they are geographically in close proximity. As in the case of the Alaskan volcanoes earlier this year, I am convinced that volcanoes erupting in close proximity to each other are venting gases from the same source deep in the Earth's crust. I'm not saying that these volcanoes share the same magma chambers, only that the gases that fuel explosive eruptions rise from the deep places where the Earth's crust and mantle meet, and vent upward through cracks in the crust. Not being a trained geologist, though, I could well be wrong; this is just my own theory.

Treasure Blog: 2000-Year-Old Earring Found In Jerusalem

Lovely, pearls and emeralds, set in yellow gold.


It's beautifully preserved. Lovely.

UK: The Top 50 Typically British Traits


Here's the top 10, click the link to see the rest:

1. Talking about the weather

2. Great at queueing

3. Sarcasm

4. Watching soaps

5. Getting drunk

6. A love of bargains

7. A love of curtain twitching

8. Stiff upper lip

9. Love of all television

10. Moaning

I'm not certain exactly what curtain twitching and moaning mean specifically to the British; sounds to my American ears like spying on neighbors and complaining, but I may be wrong.

UK: The Royal British Legion Aids Veterans


You'll get misty-eyed reading this story. The Royal British Legion was founded with the idea of helping UK military veterans, its symbol is the red poppy of WWI fame.

Wow! Great Idea!

Worried that teachers responsible for children of military service members might not understand the stress that battle places on a military family, the DoD gave the teachers the opportunity to "play soldier" for a day.

Right now this program is only underway at overseas schools that teach the children of service members. Imagine how helpful it would be if every teacher in the US had some exposure to this program. Well done, DoD.

There Might Not Have Been A Dirty Dozen...

...but there was definitely a "filthy thirteen."

The story of the WWII team that inspired the movie The Dirty Dozen.

Etiquette As Snark


People who lack manners are a particular peeve of mine. Since I work in the service industry (hotel desk employee) I can't really get away with correcting lack of manners via sarcasm, but I do so when I'm not working: If I hold the door for someone, for example, and they can't be bothered to say thank you I'll wait a second or two and say you're welcome anyway, just to shame them. If they're shameless and say I didn't say thank you! I then reply with And you admit it proudly? How terrible for you.

You can easily think of other examples yourself.

New York Times Reveals Classified Program...Again

Under this program, US military teams were allowed to target Al Qaeda personnel secretly in countries that had not given permission for the US to do so.

This will be today's hot piece in the conservative blogosphere, I'd be willing to bet.

"Basically, We're The Bullet Sponge."

A small force of US military, including Army, Navy and Marine Corps personnel, man a small base on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, serving as "bait" to draw Taliban and Al Qaeda attacks.

For now, the soldiers of Apache Troop absorb and repel attack after attack. Sgt. Michael S. Ayres, a squad leader, summarized the practical mentality: standing watch behind heavy machine guns, the soldiers are waiting for reinforcements so they can change the nature of their fight.

“We need all the help we can get out here, so we can push out patrols and get out of the defensive,” he said.

Many also find they are managing their frustration at taking harassment fire from the heights overhead and ambushes from opposite ridges.

Because of the severity of the terrain, and the insurgents’ quickness, there is little ability to fight at close range.

“I’m just so tired of seeing muzzle flashes at 800 yards,” said Gunnery Sgt. Daniel McKernan, who trains and advises the Afghan Army here. “This is like Vietnam. Hike around these mountains and you never see them. But they are always out there. And they always attack you.”

An Interview With Sarah Palin That ISN'T A Hit Piece


The interviewer asks reasonably tough questions designed to solicit an honest, open response and succeeds. Palin comes off as informed and open, nothing to hide.

Good read.

Brit Hume Retiring

Story. Have to wonder who will take his place; my guess is that the job is Chris Wallace's for the asking.

Thanks for all the good reporting and analysis, Brit. Have a happy retirement.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Jack The Ripper: New Clues Surface?

The medical records of Broadmoor Asylum are being made public, and among the records are those of Thomas Hayne Cutbush, a leading suspect in the murders.

New clues still surface regularly, and new theories on suspects just as often, it seems. There will probably never be a definitive answer.

A good introduction to the Ripper can be found at Wikipedia.

Russian Submarine Accident Kills 20


The Russians, (formerly Soviet Union) have a dismal safety record aboard their submarines. For their nuclear power program, it's unlikely that they had anyone as rigorous about safety as Admiral Hyman Rickover in charge of the nuclear program.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

White House Dog Barney Unhappy With Reuters Reporter


I wish President Bush treated reporters the same way, myself. He's been far too kind to them over the years.

Vets, Active Duty Military: Take MENSA Qualifying Tests Free!


MENSA is the organization for those with IQ's in the top 2%. I'm pretty bright with an IQ of 138, but that's not MENSA class.

Anyway, if you're a vet or active duty, MENSA will allow you to take the qualifying tests free.

Friday, November 07, 2008

In Vino Veritas

A UK reporter, in the US to cover the presidential election, gets a bit drunk and says things he now regrets.

And of course it ended up on YouTube...


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Murder In The Marine Corps

via Drudge Report.

A Brooklyn-raised Marine sergeant and his new bride were tortured and killed execution-style in their California home - allegedly by four other Marines under his command.

Sgt. Jan Pawel Pietrzak, who was raised in Bensonhurst, and his wife, Quiana, were found bound and gagged in the ransacked house, each shot in the head.

As I read the headline and looked at the photo I wondered wtf, a bunch of racist redneck jarheads commit a racially-motivated murder? Then I read further:

Charged with murder and other crimes are Pvt. Embrys John, 18, of Maryland; Lance Cpl. Tyrone Miller, 20, of North Carolina; Pvt. Kevin Darnell Cox, 20, of Tennessee, and Pvt. Kesuan Sykes, 21, of California. (emphasis mine).

Those three names - - Tyrone, Darnell, Kesuan - - aren't typically white names. They're very typical black names. The article doesn't identify the accused murderers by race, but their names give clues, and makes me wonder if it is a racial crime, just 180 degrees opposite of the tale I was expecting.

White House Guest List Speculation

I'd guess that Oprah is a lock for a sleepover in the Obama White House, but do you think he's got the gonads to invite Rev. Wright or Bill Ayers?

And what of Sarah Palin? Do you think that Oprah will issue an invite now, and would Palin accept? What about an invitation from The View? Were I Palin, I'd refuse both offers.

UK: Outrage of the Day

Get this: A blind, retired WWII veteran, wearing his old uniform, is selling poppies for charity, and placing the cash in a tin box. He collects £300. While gathering his belongings he places the tin box with the cash on the ground, where it is stolen by a sneak thief.

I guess we're probably lucky he didn't kick the old man to the ground as well, that's the only way this story could be worse.

Here's a pic of the old fellow, from Rugby Today:

*shakes head sadly*

Gun Note

Spent some time on cleaning the M-38 Mosin-Nagant carbine yesterday, after a bit of work I got the bore looking nice and shiny, it's in good shape. I think I have a pretty nice rifle on my hands; a trip to the range will be necessary to verify it, though.

Weasels Ripped My Boat

Ok, so it's not a real weasel, but a mink, and there's only one of them. I still couldn't resist the opportunity to use a Frank Zappa reference. Sue me.


Volcano Blog: Shiveluch, Russia

Located on the Kamchatka peninsula, it's Russia's northernmost volcano. Spewed an ash cloud 26,000 feet; last eruption was in 2006.

Sounds like a typical stratovolcano eruption. No lives in danger, according to the report.

And I've Got A Scar On Me Willy To Prove It

Ginger Baker, the drummer for Cream, is in a lawsuit against a former assistant who says she was his lover.

He says they never had sexual relations and if they had, she'd be able to describe a scar he has on his...willy. He's willing to drop trou in court to prove it.

Eggs Explode Inside Hens

Get this: A farmer in UK claims that hot air balloons and jets flying low over his farm caused his (presumably free-range) hens to jostle each other in a panic, rupturing the eggs inside their bodies and causing their deaths of peritonitis.

The UPI headline says "explode," which obviously makes you think of a grenade or a stick of dynamite. This is a result of the hens being free-range, so ENVIRONMENTALISTS CAUSED THE DEATHS OF CHICKENS!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

An Omen?

Until today the lights at our front desk could be controlled with dimmer switches, so late at night I could dim the lights for a relaxed effect. Today the dimmer switches have been replaced with closed plates that don't allow the lights to be switched off at all, much less dimmed. Harsh, bright light 24/7 at the front desk.

Will it be thus? Freedom and choice taken away one light at a time?

I'll Probably Be Called Racist For Saying It...

...but, watching the jubilation over the election by our African-American brethren, the theme music for the old TV show The Jeffersons keeps popping into my head as an earworm.

Michael Crichton, 1942-2008: R.I.P.

Novelist Michael Crichton has died of cancer at 66.

I have a great illustrated copy of his Eaters of the Dead in my library somewhere. Good writer.

h/t Ace of Spades HQ Top Headlines.

When Nuns Go Bad

An Italian man has claimed he was beaten up by two 83-year-old nuns and a priest in a row over the ownership of a restaurant in a small southern town.

Aniello Esposito, 49, told police he arrived at the restaurant he runs in Rutino in Campania to find the three throwing furniture into the street and smashing plates.

When he tried to intervene the priest knocked him to the ground with a chair and the two nuns began to kick him, he claimed.

Esposito was taken to hospital in an ambulance after the incident a month ago, where doctors found neck and abdominal contusions, according to his hospital file.


I Guess That His Biggest Constituency...

...will just refer to him as foady-fo.

Russell Brand In Next Pirates Of The Caribbean Movie?

Negotiations are underway for him to play Jack Sparrow's brother Jonathan.

Brand had to give up his BBC radio show recently after making obscene calls on-air to an actor who played in Fawlty Towers.


Now that their chosen candidate has won, the MSM will do a bit of navel-gazing, and concede that yah, in a few isolated instances (shaking a disapproving finger at Olberman and Matthews) they showed some bias, but mostly not.

Watch and see.

So let it be written, so let it be done.

Hotel Work: Hookers

When a male guest calls down at 2:00 a.m. wanting to cash a check, you can make an educated guess that he doesn't want it because of a sudden yearning for a Waffle House run.

Sure enough, the hooker arrived at 2:36.

Late Night Election Watch

Only races that still seem interesting are the Minnesota Senate race between Coleman and Franken, which is still a squeaker, and the Alaska Senate race between convicted felon Ted Stevens and Mark Begich, which Stevens is currently leading. I'm hoping that if Stevens is re-elected he'll be forced to resign, which will give Sarah Palin a chance to appoint a successor who will have a full term to prove his/her worth. (it may be a bit more complicated than that, but hopefully common sense will prevail).

Best analogy I can come up with for the election is that the American people, fed up with a lemon car, traded it in on a shiny new model from a different company without really knowing how reliable it is, or how well it will run once the new car smell wears off. I guess we'll find out.

update (0530): Coleman has a slim lead over Franken with 99% of the precincts reporting. Looks like it might be close enough for a mandatory recount to kick in, whichever man ends up winning. Independent candidate Dean Barkley appears to have played something of a spoiler role in the contest.

Also, with 96% of the Alaska vote counted, the race between Stevens and Begich has tightened a bit, but I don't think that the Alaska population is large enough for Begich to catch up.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Volcano Blog: Ertale? Ethiopia

A poorly written report about an eruption in Ethiopia Monday that apparently hasn't taken any life. Some excerpts:

The institute quoted eye witnesses of saying that they saw heavy lightening during the night the eruption late on Monday.

Ertale is a volcano active and has been repeatedly hit over many years.

The Institute said that satellite pictures showed that the volcano covered a record area of 300 square kilometers.

Researchers describe the area as one of the hottest places on earth.

More information forthcoming, I presume.

Shipwreck Blog: St. Briac, Scotland

The St. Briac was a transport ferry during WWII, took part in the Dunkirk evacuation, and sank after drifting into a British minefield.

I guess it will be classified as a military gravesite and declared off limits for divers, as is only proper.


Congratulations to Senator Barack Obama, to be the 44th President of the United States.

The Custom of the Sea

When you're in a small boat at sea and there is no food and water, how do you survive?

By eating those who die first, and if necessary, killing and eating the weakest.

This is known as The Custom of the Sea. It's based on the Law of Necessity: Necessity knows no law. It's always shocking when it happens, and the survivors must be ready to face an inquiry when they finally reach land, and possible punishment, if the inquiry determines evil intent rather than necessity.

This is why a survival mindset is vital for anyone who puts him/herself into a situation that might result in such desperate measures. Be Prepared, say the Boy Scouts, and better yet Semper Paratus (Always Prepared), the motto of the US Coast Guard.

Go thou and do likewise.

h/t Hot Air Headlines.

Election Day Blogging Note

I'm not going to obsessively blog the election all day today. It would be depressing to read the propaganda coming out of the MSM designed to depress Republican turnout, so I'm going to ignore it. Sometime tonight at work I'll probably know who the new President will be, and I'll mention it at that time. In the meantime I'll blog my normal subjects, and spend most of the day in Middle-Earth, fighting evil in a direct fashion, sword in hand.

Good luck to Senator John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin. Confusion to the Democrats!

Irony Of The Day

The New York Times in an editorial today riffs on First Amendment rights today, saying that the FCC should allow the occasional "fuck" or "shit" in the name of free speech, and urging the next president to appoint FCC commissioners "with a greater respect for the First Amendment."

Gee, I wonder if that means that the NY Times will oppose the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine on First Amendment grounds if Obama and the Democrats try to impose it?

We all know the answer to that, don't we? And if we question this, they'll throw Emerson at us: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Getting A Little Ahead Of Ourselves, Aren't We?

"Obama weeps for dead grandmother - just hours before he is set to be crowned America's first black president."

That's a UK Daily Mail headline this election morning. More than a bit presumptuous, isn't it? Maybe you might wish to let the voters in the US actually vote before bestowing the crown?

UK: The Hangman's Diary For Sale

The diaries of two different hangmen, actually: Henry Pierrepoint and Harry Allen.

What does the hangman put in his diary? Professional notes about how long to make the noose, and the state of the condemned person's neck: "muscular neck," "strong neck" are a couple of the notes in Pierrepoint's diary.


The tape measure is for measuring height of the condemned person, an aid to calculating the length of the noose.

Yearn For The Troglodyte Life?

Always wanted to get in touch with your primitive self? Did Tolkien's tales of Moria and the Glittering Caves of Aglarond enchant you as a child, or were you scared by Injun Joe in the cave from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Now's your chance to own your own caverns:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. Calling Batman: Cave owner Steve Rush has a deal for you. Rush, 49, is auctioning off the Mystic Caverns in the hills of Ozark Mountains on eBay. The 28-acre property in Arkansas includes a gift shop and three caves, two of which are safe enough for visitors.

The bidding starts at $899,900, cut from Rush's original asking price of $1.2 million.

Rush bought the property near Harrison in 1988 and began giving tours in 1992 to the two accessible caves, Mystic cavern and the Crystal Dome cavern. A third cave on his 28-acre property, Not Much Sink cavern, remains too dangerous for tours.

You probably couldn't find a better fallout shelter than a deep cavern, and in fact, caverns have been designated in the past for just that purpose. For a survivalist-minded individual with some funds, this is a great opportunity.

I seem to recall seeing a cavern for sale in the Knoxville area back in 1979, during one of my family's drives through the countryside house-hunting. Seems to me it was closer to Oak Ridge than to Knoxville, and may have been known on the sign as "Cherokee Caverns." (yah, just Googled it, found this.) I actually was inspired by this cavern to outline a science fiction novel, still unwritten.

Actually, the very first cave I ever entered was the wonderful small faux cave at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida. As a child I spent many happy hours in that cave; the coolest feature was a "crack" in the rock near the entrance in which a lifelike replica of an Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake took refuge. He probably startled more than a few people out of their wits.

The Octopode

Love means never letting your girlfriend be made into calamari.

h/t Roberta.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Mosin-Nagant M38 carbine in 7.62x54R caliber. It looks like this, (this is not my actual rifle, but is a representative photo):

This is a short rifle, as short as the typical .22 rimfire. Looks like it has a healthy kick to it. *laughs*

The Goofy Little Air-Powered Car



I'll say that there are a lot of Americans, myself included, who probably would have a hard time fitting into a car that small.

Japanese Develop Blue Roses

Story. Gene splicing involved, apparently.


A blue rose calls to my mind David Eddings' wonderful Sparhawk novels, in which a blue stone carved in the shape of a rose plays a central role.

Weather Note

November is my favorite month of the year; it's the height of autumn here in the NC Piedmont. There are two types of weather I like a lot this time of year: the dry, sunny, cool days, with a sky the color of sapphire and the smell of leaves everywhere; and the grey, cool, overcast days that I associate with childhood and Christmas season.

Today is one of the grey days. One of the big sugar maples in the side yard has dropped most of its leaves, making a golden carpet. A red-shouldered hawk called from a nearby tree as I took the dog out, and a Carolina Wren scolded me from the low brush in the area where the dog took a dump. We've mowed the lawn for the last time this year, hopefully, and soon wild onions will make their appearance, pushing up through the grass.

The sugar maples are the big show-offs right now with their golden foliage; the sweet gums drop scarlet leaves, as do the few hickories in the yard. The oaks, mostly scarlet oak, turn coppery and then brown before dropping their leaves. Poison Ivy, believe it or not, is a handsome creeper in the fall, turning a pretty red color before shedding its toxic leaves. Don't rake poison ivy leaves into a bonfire pile, the smoke itself is toxic.

I have been taking my annual vacations in the fall for the past dozen years or so. With my mother an invalid, I can't really go anywhere, so it will be three weeks here at the house in early December, trying to catch up on sleep lost during the year. When I return to work it is the quietest time of year at the hotel, so it is like having an additional couple of weeks' vacation.

Shipwreck Blog: Schooner Riverside, Great Lakes


1870's schooner Riverside. Seems to be in good condition, other than algae growing on it. Shipwrecks in cold climates typically can be found in better condition than in tropical climes, and shipwrecks in fresh water are usually exceptionally well preserved.


Look a bit like green jack-o-lanterns, don't they?

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sorry For The Light Blogging

Sometimes Middle-Earth, even with the threat of Sauron to deal with, is more hopeful than the possibility of having to deal with Obama.

Obama's Aunt An Illegal Alien


November surprise?