Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Light Bulb War

The UK is on the hunt for world's oldest light bulb.

Right now the champion light bulb is one at the Livermore Fire Station in California, which has burned since 1901.

It'd be nice if even 10% of the bulbs we buy lasted that long. Bad for the light bulb companies though, I guess.

Australian Cops Love Krispy Kreme Donuts

To the point where they endanger their jobs to get one.

Yah, cops and donuts, hardly qualifies as news, does it?

In Iraq...

...the people go out to vote for their government.


That barely even qualifies as news, doesn't it?


Let's Pretend

Billionaire Richard Branson (Virgin Airlines, etc) decided to roleplay recently, pretending to be a hapless victim in a refugee camp, at one point even donning a sling to mimic a bullet wound.

Not Really Injured.

Friday, January 30, 2009

UK: The Rise Of The Vigilantes

A group of men in a Surrey, UK village are fed up with crime and the lack of police response to it.

The Good Guys?

Slideshow: When Cake Decorators Are Morons



Ku Klux Kiwi Klan?

The Ku Klux Klan is looking for a few good racists in New Zealand.

No Wonder Ammo Is So Expensive

This guy was trying to corner the market.

250 guns and 500,000 rounds of ammo. I'd guess he was really ready for the zombie apocalypse.

Well, You Folks DO Drink A Lot, You Know

The famous old sea song "What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor?" has been made clean and sober:

Original Lyrics On Left, Bowdlerised Lyrics On Right

Gee, I wonder if they'd be able to clean up The Good Ship Venus? Warning: Obscene Language!

It's A Freaking Xenomorph!

A shark with retractable jaws, like the terrifying creatures in the movie Alien.

Click the link for a disturbing video.

A Modest Ambition

Erwin Lumanglas, manager of New York's Hotel Carter, has a modest ambition for his hotel: not to be declared the filthiest hotel in the entire USA.

Click the link for more horror.

Right Whale Euthanized On NC Beach

A juvenile Right Whale beached itself near Cape Lookout and had to be euthanized.

Which is too bad. Right Whales are few in number these days, because they were among the most heavily hunted of all the whale species. In fact, they got the name Right because they were the "right" sort of whale to kill for maximum oil with minimal effort, as they were not particularly aggressive.

Maybe The Chicken Wing Shortage Is Explained

There have been rumors of a Super Bowl Weekend chicken wing shortage, and I think I've found the possible culprits:

1. Super Squibb with 203 wings
2. Not Rich with 180 wings
3. Hank the Tank with 153 wings
4. Da Disposal with 153 wings
5. Cadillac Corrigan with 132 wings.

They are the top five finishers in the annual Philadelphia Wing Bowl.

More about this story here, including distressing photographs of vomiting fat guys.

Know Who's Died?

Ramaswamy Venkataraman, that's who.

I don't know a thing about him, haven't even read his obituary, but I just had to post this because I find the name Ramaswamy Venkatamaran so amusing.

And he may have been a serious man, and offended when people laughed at his name. Or maybe not. Maybe in his native India people admired that wonderful name.

Rammy-Swammy Ven-catamaran.

What a great name.


You'll see the term EDC on knife forums, it stands for Every Day Carry (Knife). For knife enthusiasts, it's the one in your pocket or on your belt, or somewhere on your body as you go about your everyday business.

Here's a selection of mine. I've numbered them so you can identify them as I discuss them.

#1 is the US military folding utility knife, often called the demo knife. It's the same pattern as the Boy Scout, but in stainless steel and with stainless steel handle scales. Mine was made by Camillus.

#2 is a Wenger Soldier model. I acquired this one in 2002, it was made in 2001 and is dated 01 on the main blade. I've carred it for the last 7 years, ever since the 9/11 attacks, until quite recently.

#3 is a Leatherman tool. It's the original model that Leatherman produced back in the mid-1980's, I've kept it all these years.

#4 is a Victorinox Safari. Except for the red handle scales, this is the same knife issued to soldiers in the German army. This is a discontinued Victorinox pattern, I believe, at least with these red handle scales.

#5 is a WWII web pouch for .45 auto magazines. It's a good way to carry these two tools, and they are normally to be found in my briefcase.

#6 is a Case Boy Scout pattern, although Case calls it a camper's knife. I like yellow-handled knives because they are easy to spot if you happen to drop them on the ground, unless you're unfortunate enough to drop it in a field of dandelions.

#7 is a Schrade Old Timer single-blade locking Trapper. This is old production, before Schrade went bankrupt and reorganized with Chinese-built knives. This one was made in the USA, and the blade is carbon steel, as proper Old Timers should be. The very point of the Old Timer brand was to hearken back to life in the early 20th century, when every man and boy carried a pocket knife and they were all made of carbon steel.

#8 is a Victorinox Standard I purchased while living in Spain. I don't think it's made anymore; it's one of the few Victorinox knives that was made without those horrible toothpicks and tweezers in the handle scales, which is the reason I like it so much. I carried this one for years.

#9 is a very similar knife made by Wenger. It, too, lacks toothpick and tweezers, and it, too, was carried for a number of years.

#10 is a Case Copperlock with yellow handles and carbon steel blade, this one made of Case's proprietary Chrome Vanadium (CV) steel. Case unfortunately doesn't make many of its knives with this steel any more.

#11 is my current EDC knife, a genuine Boy Scout pattern knife by the Ulster Knife Company. It has bone scales and carbon steel blades, as is right and proper for a man's knife. It also has a lanyard attached. A lanyard serves two main purposes: it allows you to grab the knife out of your pocket, and when you are in a situation where you might lose the knife, you can slip your hand through the lanyard before working with it. I purchased this knife used on eBay, because you can't find a Boy Scout pattern in carbon steel any more. No one makes them.

#12 is a Victorinox Farmer. It's the newest of my EDC knives, and I'm not happy with it because of the little eye that the lanyard loop goes through. This little eye wears out a pocket. I may just file that eye off, which will make using a lanyard with this knife impossible.

Not pictured is the Buck 110 I carried in my Navy days. I still have it, but don't want to trudge up to the attic to go get it. It's an old one, from around 1982, the black sheath is well worn, and the blade has an early version of a one-hand-opening aid on it, called a flickit.

There you have it. My EDC knives.

A Less Ambitious Dictator

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, as we know, started World War II and were responsible for the death of millions. Joseph Stalin, likewise, for a much longer period.

Francisco Franco, on the other hand, was content to live peacefully as the dictator of Spain, with the occasional foray into manipulation of song contests...

Still Dead.

One Man Fought, Nine Eunuchs Watched

An 83-year-old veteran of WWII was the only man who acted during an armed robbery at Oldham, Manchester, UK.

Nine younger men stood by and picked their noses, scratched their asses and otherwise used up valuable air while a Man needed help.

He looks like a hero, too, in this dramatic Spielberg-angle photograph:


News Flash: The Germans Finally Invade Switzerland!

And the Swiss are fighting back against the buttzkrieg.

Naked Came The Strangers

Shopping In A Kettenkrad

A UK lorry driver does his shopping in a WWII motorcycle halftrack:


I will be damned. I built one of these as a plastic model when I was a boy, and they are very popular with model builders. I had no idea that there were any real vehicles still in existence.

It's Like The Promiscuous Girl...

...when you give it away, people take advantage, and don't respect you.

A story of sand and salt in Massachusetts.

Labrador Saved By Cop From Drowning In Sewage

A lot of toilet humor in this story.

The dog, a Labrador Retriever, did what labs normally do when they see a body of water: jumped right in. Unfortunately it was a sewage holding tank.

Luckily the the cop, Jeff Skeie, was able to reach in and pull the dog out without getting too soiled.

He forgot, however, that dogs always shake themselves off...

The Labrador was taken to a shelter, where it was adopted by the strangely-yet-fittingly named Gretchen Procop, who is hopefully a supporter of her local police.

And Gretchen named the dog...wait for it...Hershey!


The Appropriately Named Labrador, Hershey.

Prosciutto? Jamon Serrano? Ha! We Have Country Ham!

A lot less of it than formerly, unfortunately.

Prosciutto? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Prosciutto!

Um, Colonel? Remember The Chain of Command?

Colonel James Pohl, one of the judges assigned to the military tribunals in Guantanamo, Cuba, has defied the executive order by President Obama to suspend his work pending review.

Well, today the order is coming down, and Colonel Pohl had better heed it.

If he wishes to remain a Colonel, that is. I rather imagine his next professional evaluation will be marked a bit lower than previous ones. You can't defy a President and get away with it.

Alaska Bandwidth Ain't World Bandwidth

Apparently there are so many people trying to visit the Alaska Volcanoes Observatory website that the server has crashed. This is due to the the imminent eruption of Mt. Redoubt, which is 170 miles SW of Anchorage.

I'd be willing to bet that a lot of the attention is coming from the MSM, hoping for a volcano eruption disaster that they can blame on Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

update: Instalanche! Thank you, Glenn Reynolds! Welcome, Instapundit readers!

update 2: The Alaska Volcano Website is back up, with an advisory about the increased traffic. The website is in a limited text-only mode.

update 3: Pic of Redoubt, just after dawn this morning, via webcam placed 10 miles away:

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Age Was The Final Straw

Monty Python John Cleese could handle his girlfriend talking about his hair plugs and new teeth, probably, but finding out that she was 45 when she claimed to be 27 was the final straw.

After all, if you're 69 years old and going around with a sweet young thing, you want her to be a sweet young thing.

Old Enough To Be Daughter, Not Granddaughter.

Let's Make French Onion Soup, Baybee!

New research indicates that men's armpits smell of cheese, and women's armpits smell of onion.


update: Welcome, Ace of Spades Morons!

And It's Not Even Specie Coinage

One in forty UK 1-pound coins in circulation is counterfeit, according to a study.

I guess it's easier to counterfeit coins than currency these days, given the extraordinary number of security measures found on the typical currency note.

Funny What Turns Up On Google Earth

Marijuana plantations, for example...

I Want One

Ruger has returned the Bisley to their Vaquero single-action revolver line.


John Martyn, 1948-2008: R.I.P.


Martyn was one of those artists who was better-known in UK than in the US, never having bothered trying to crack the US music business. Good, soulful singing.

OK, that's two deaths today so far. These things always come in threes, who's the third to be?

The Messiah and Laying On Of Hands

President Obama has a tendency to lay hands on people he is unhappy with.

Which called to mind a favorite scene from one of my favorite movies, Amélie:

h/t Hot Air Headlines.

The Art Is In The Bloodstain They Make When They Hit The Ground

An artist has been charged with manslaughter after his inflatable PVC "artwork" went airborne with volunteers inside, some of whom died when they fell to the ground.

You people just don't understand cutting edge art.

UK Selling Beer For A Penny A Pint


This, My Friend, Is A Pint.

When You Go Into Goomba's Pizzeria...'s best not to complain about the food.

Geez, you think the name of the place would have given them a clue...

The Snark of the Drudge

The MSM must really cringe when they see Drudge write headlines like this:

That there is pretty damned funny, if you ask me.

And Then There Was One

Keyboard player Billy Powell of Lynyrd Skynyrd has died of a heart attack at age 56, leaving guitarist Gary Rossington as the only original member of the band still alive.

I haven't listened to Skynyrd in years, but I am an old Florida boy, and grew up listening to them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Press It Print It Ship It

John Hiatt sings a slightly risqué song, while John Prine, Joe Ely and Guy Clark try to keep their poker faces on:

Vikings Invade Shetland Islands, Drink Lots of Beer


I Knew It Would Come To This

"Recycling could be adding to global warming rather than reducing it, a key government adviser on waste management has said."

*laughs, shakes head sadly*

Where'll You Put Those Gitmo Jihadis?

The Department of Defense is looking at Camp Pendleton, California as a possible home for the Gitmo jihadis.

The only stipulation I'd ask is that they end up in a Democrat's constituency. That's only fair, since they're the ones clamoring to close Gitmo, after all. Build a cell in Pelosi's house and make her feed and care for one. Let her have Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, see how well she gets along with him.

FOX News Cameraman Gets Medal For Saving Marine

Chris Jackson, who was working for FOX News in August 2003, was presented with the Department of the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award last week in a ceremony on Camp Victory, Iraq.

Jackson was embedded with the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines when a Humvee in which he was riding hit 50 pounds of homemade explosives, according to military officials. Three Marines were able to get out of the burning Humvee, but the vehicle commander, Sgt. Courtney Rauch, had been knocked unconscious.

Jackson, who had suffered shrapnel wounds in the attack, moved back to the vehicle and pulled Rauch out to safety.

The Navy Distinguished Public Service Award is the Navy's second-highest civilian honor.

Bravo Zulu, Mr. Jackson. Well done!

Then The Chef Said Børk Børk Børk!

A robber encountered more than he could handle when he tried to rob a restaurant and came face-to-face with a chef armed with a spoon.

The chef hit Geraci on the helmet with a large metal spoon, and the spoon broke in half, according to the complaint.

The chef then grabbed Geraci, put him in a headlock, dislodged the helmet and wrestled him to the floor. A customer and Tess helped pin Geraci down until police arrived, the complaint says.

Minor on Monday said he at first didn't realize Geraci was robbing the restaurant. He said he went after Geraci because Geraci had an employee by the arm.

Good thing Geraci was wearing a helmet when the chef clouted him with the spoon.

They don't provide a photo of the chef, but I have to guess he looks like this:

Regrets, They Have A Few

Insty links to a great YouTube video of British citizens subjects marching in protest of their country's gun and law enforcement policies.

Here's the video, it's a great one:

WTF Is A Four-Spotted Gribble?

The Times of London says they're a marine animal (isopod) that eats wood and processes it into sugar, and will be invaluable in biofuels research.

Unlike most other subjects, there are a dearth of gribble images when you do a Google search:

Image came from here.

Kick Him Again In The Head, Boys

Police in UK are searching "footwear databases" to find the type of shoes worn by an attacker who left bootprints on his victim's head:

Of course, if this was a Sherlock Holmes story, Holmes would have already identified the shoe type. Turning to Dr. Watson he'd say I myself have made a study of 147 different shoe patterns and even written a monograph on the subject. Now do please hand me the cocaine bottle, Doctor. Thank you.

Bonus points if you can identify where I got the blog headline.

UK: Tory Cat Requires No Government Assistance


Showing self-reliance and pulling oneself up by one's boot pawstraps, an indomitable cat rescues itself rather than let the government do it:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Goodness Gracious, Great Balls of Fugu

Seven Japanese citizens have become ill, one of them critically, after eating raw flesh and baked testicles of the poisonous puffer fish.

If you aren't aware of this Japanese delicacy, go here for more information.

Now I Have Doubts About Mona Lisa

A study concludes that the famous painting known as The Colossus, attributed to Francisco de Goya, is not the work of that Spanish master after all.

Here's the painting:

It was considered by many to be the most famous of all of Goya's black paintings, the dark, morbid paintings that Goya painted in his old age.

Now scholars have concluded after much study of the painting that it was painted by Asension Julia, one of Goya's protegés.

All sorts of art texts will have to be rewritten, I would guess.

I'm Puzzled

While reading an article in the UK Daily Mail, I came across this photograph:

Could someone from UK or familiar with the customs there explain why the toilet seat is chained down?

UK School Textbook: How To Smoke Pot


It's a 20-page booklet, and not until page 14 is the fact that marijuana is illegal mentioned.

I'd guess that soon you'll be able to go to the school nurse for your rolling papers in addition to getting condoms and birth control pills...

Big Waves Toss Big Ship

Two cruise ships in the Bay of Biscay had to reschedule stops and airlift sick passengers after encountering 50-foot seas.


When I was in the US Navy, I served aboard a couple of our LHA's (amphibious assault ships), the Saipan and the Nassau. These ships when being built were thought to be too big to be effected by heavy seas, so features such as dining tables weren't designed to be secured to the deck. Mistake, as it turned out; in such notorious stormy seas such as the North Sea and Norwegian Sea the towering seas made it necessary to secure all the tables by folding them up and tying them all in corners, while the sailors and Marines ate while seated on the deck, indian-fashion with crossed legs. One of the two ships had a roll-o-meter that looked something like this:

OK, I Like This One

I try not to link memes or LOLcats all that much, but this one I just couldn't resist:

Stupid caption on this one, but I like the photo.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Call It The Toothmobile

Mobile dentists, at work in Iraq to help the soldiers there.

From Indonesia: The Annular Solar Eclipse

Story link.

The photo is wow!

Black Hearts?

In the New York Times, former Marine Captain Tyler Boudreau proposes a new medal, the Black Heart, to be awarded to warriors suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Sorry, but I just can't agree. While PTSD sufferers deserved sympathy and proper medical care, I don't think that they deserve a medal for being unable to cope with stress.

The Purple Heart is already a fringe award, given to those who fail to get out of the way of deadly munitions. I've been pondering if the Purple Heart should be given in degrees based on the type of would and how it was inflicted. For example, a Purple Heart First Class might be awarded to a soldier wounded in direct combat with an enemy soldier, a Purple Heart Second Class awarded to those wounded indirectly, for example by shell fragments, and a Purple Heart Third Class for those who, while technically wounded, suffered no loss of blood and missed no duty because of it (the example cited in the article of burst eardrums, for example).

The proposed Black Heart is even more of a fringe award. PTSD, while a recognized medical condition, is to the military mind a failure; a failure to cope with the stress that all are expected to face. A medal should never be awarded for failure. By doing so you're demeaning all of the soldiers who didn't succumb to stress, and rewarding a condition of failure.

Why a Black Heart, anyway? Why not a Cracked Egg, for example?

The Baby Bullfighter

Michelito Lagravere Peniche, 11 years old, is the son of a bullfighter and a bullfighter himself. He just killed 6 bull calves in Merida, Mexico, to prove it.


Starting out this young he has the potential for a very long career, with the possibility of that career ending at any time. Bullfighters still die in the ring; during the time I lived in Spain, two full matadors, Paquirri and El Yiyo, were both gored to death by bulls.

Well, If YOU Had a Cancerous Tumor On YOUR Genitals...'d probably be grumpy and hostile, too.

Henry the 111-year-old Tuatara (a species of lizard) recently became a father after a cancerous tumor was removed from his genitals.

You can see a video news report about Henry here.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shipwrecked In The Galapagos


This group of tourists had a lot of luck. The weather was fair, there were other boats nearby to aid in rescue efforts, and the crew had enough discipline not to panic.

The person telling the tale, Griff Rhys Jones, was aware of emergency procedures, as the crew had familiarized the passengers with them sometime during the cruise. Jones also realized that he made a mistake in not taking ID with him when he went into the water. In fact, a small waterproof pouch or even a ziploc bag would be enough to keep ID and other important papers dry, and could be carried on the body with little effort.

More problematical would be the situation if the ship had foundered far from help. Did the crew have emergency beacons and other survival gear ready in the life rafts? It's even possible to purchase water desalinators these days, so that dying of thirst is less of a hazard than formerly. Did the passengers have bugout gear? Obviously they didn't, and didn't plan for that contingency. If you're on the water a lot, it would behoove you to have a bugout bag prepared. You don't want your boat to end up looking like this:

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Treasure Blog: "Blue Baron"

During WWII, a "tramp steamer" loaded with gold and platinum bullion and gems was sunk in the Caribbean by a German U-Boat.

The salvagers who have discovered the wreck, preparing for legal battles, won't even reveal the name or location of the shipwreck, wanting to have 100% of the treasure recovered and in possession before they'll make the information available.

The treasure is estimated to be worth $3,547,696,044.32.

This Deserves A Listen

Guy Clark performing his song Randall Knife. If you're a knife fanatic, you've probably heard it before, but if you haven't, you're in for a treat.

Thanks to Barco Sin Vela II for inspiring me to look for it.

The Message Is Sent*


From: The New York Times
To: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Subject: Guns

Senator Gillibrand: Fall in line with the orthodox Democratic and New York Times position on guns or be destroyed. This is the only warning you will receive. If you do not disassociate yourself from the National Rifle Association forthwith, we will do everything in our power to see that your career in the US Senate is limited to the period for which Governor Patterson appointed you. We will endorse your opponents in the Senate primary and have our team of expert reporters aid in their opposition research efforts. You may expect to see editorials such as the one linked above on a regular basis, and our columnists will be given their assignments to ridicule you and make your life a living hell.

Kind Regards,

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr.

*this is called "satire." The sentiment it expresses, however, is not. The NY Times fully intends to destroy Sen. Gillibrand if she doesn't modify her views on gun ownership to comply with the Brady Campaign, the anti-gun Democrat Party, and the Lightbringer.

Annular Solar Eclipse?

I'm 47 now, and this is the first time I've ever heard of an annular solar eclipse.

It's very similar to the Total Solar Eclipse, with one distinction: due to variance in distance between the Earth and Moon, the Moon's blocking of the Sun is not entirely complete; a small ring of the Sun's surface area remains visible, whereas in a Total Solar Eclipse the entire surface is hidden. This Annular Solar Eclipse is actually more interesting, at least to me, than the Total Solar Eclipse; the photo is definitely cool to look at:

This is what happens when you don't go to college and take a specialty in a particular science: you still can learn something new every day.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Who's To Say I Wouldn't Have Done Likewise?

A sailor was court-martialed, jailed and fined for beating an Iraqi detainee who threw feces on him.

Yes, I know that guards have to be more professional than that, and 99% of them are, and get no credit for it from the US Media or even the ignorant US public.

*goes off muttering angrily*

Not Because They're Fat Or Unhealthy

Germans are being ordered by health authorities to lay off the Schnitzel and Bratwurst, not because it's making them fat or damaging their hearts, but because it harms the planet.

This is wrong on so many levels it's not even funny. What government tells its citizens what it can and cannot eat? Germany, apparently.

'E's Stunned.

A Missouri man hunting for deer didn't make sure of his kill, and paid the price.

Apparently there's a YouTube video. I won't link that one, but instead will link a favorite Monty Python bit about dead and not-quite-dead:

Don't Anger The Sushi Chef

Especially if he's carrying the tools of his trade with him and is Chinese.

You might just suffer the Death of a thousand cuts.

This guy didn't die, but he probably wonders why he didn't:

Well, darn. I tried to find the "death of a thousand cuts" scene from the movie The Sand Pebbles, but it's not on YouTube, except fleetingly in a trailer. Bummer.

Coolest Slideshow Evah!

A UK Sun slideshow of two photographs will have you chuckling, if not ROFLing.

Just go to the link and click the two photos in the slideshow again and again to understand what I'm talking about.

update: Ace gave me a h/t in his Top Headlines. Much appreciated!

A SEAL Tribute

via the Just My Day blog:

When Petty Officer Mike Monsoor, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for smothering a grenade to save comrades was buried, his fellow SEALs gave a very touching and honor-filled tribute: as the wooden coffin passed through the ranks, each man would take his SEAL insignia and slap it down onto the coffin, embedding it in the wood:

By my count, 44 men paid this tribute to a fallen hero.

Good Riddance

Fidel Castro doesn't think he'll live through President Obama's first term.

Maybe the Cubans can commission a painter to do a hagiographic work in the spirit of El Greco's The Burial of the Count of Orgaz, but instead of angels and saints in attendance, Castro can be surrounded by fellow dictators presidents Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Daniel Ortega, and useful idiots like Sean Penn, Danny Glover, Robert Redford, Barbara Walters and Oliver Stone.

For those who aren't familiar with the El Greco painting:

Camera Experiment #4: Fourth Time The Charm

Let's face it, the black plastic grips that Ruger furnishes on its single-action Vaquero look like crap, even though they are perfectly functional. Ruger knows that most people will buy custom grips, so they don't spend as much on handgun grips for the single-actions as they did in years past. (I miss the old walnut grips they used to furnish, myself).

So I found myself with ugly grips. On the Ruger website are some lovely faux-ivory grips with the Ruger medallion: I ordered a pair. They are lovely, but don't provide a firm grip on the pistol, so I went looking again.

I found checkered faux-ivory grips from Ajax grips. This is a step in the right direction, but the fit was abysmal, and the checkering was done as part of the molding process, so the checkering wasn't sharp or attractive.

Finally I went to Hogue grips, and ordered a pair in Pau Ferro wood. Hogue does their checkering in-house, it is all done by hand. The checkering is sharp and the grip, when mounted on my Vaquero, provides a positive grip that I no longer have worries about.

Here's the pic:

Putting The Eyebrows On It*

Cadbury Chocolate has an inventive new advertisement running in UK that features two children, four eyebrows, and a balloon. Click the link to see the video.

*Frank Zappa term used to describe customisations of his music in concert, designed to keep the music fresh.

Camera Experiment #3, Survival Tip #1

Did you know that common, everyday objects become survival tools when you're in a survival situation? Take a look at this photograph:

Those are my keys, I carry them daily. There are keys to my car and to my house. In addition there is a small, lightweight (but very loud) whistle made by Acme, and an LED pinchlight.

How can these be survival tools, you might ask?

Here's how: several months ago, just down the road in South Carolina, a woman drove her car off the road when she fell asleep at the wheel. There were no skidmarks on the road to mark the accident, and the brush-covered embankment her car went down swallowed all traces of her passage. She was trapped in her car for several days, injured and dehydrated, until she was found. If she had had a whistle on her key ring, she might have been found much sooner. At night, the pinch light might have been seen from the road. Neither of these survival tools weigh more than an ounce; you cannot tell they are even on your key ring.

Do you have a way to signal someone by sound or sight in an emergency, that you carry with you everywhere you go?

Why not?

Camera Experiment #2

The banner on my blog has changed. The cutlass shown in the banner is my own personal cutlass. Originally it was an inexpensive model I purchased from Atlanta Cutlery. Originally it had a historically correct brass hilt, but it didn't fit my hand well and was clumsy, so I had a friend, knifesmith Michael McRae of Scotia Metalwork, make a new one. The new hilt features a steel basket with a handle made of desert ironwood. The cutlass is much lighter now and fits my hand properly.

The font used in the banner is called buccaneer. It is the same font used in the frontispiece of the book A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates, written by "Captain Charles Johnson," and reputedly a pseudonym of Daniel Defoe's.

A Boy Who Treasured His Toys So Much...

...that he kept them until the day he died, and hid them from the Nazis during WWII.

I'll file this under treasure, since treasure is not just gold and jewels, but anything valued at more than its inherent worth:

This story brought back a favorite scene from a favorite movie, Amelie: Amelie, a young woman living in Paris, finds a tin box hidden in her apartment, left by a young boy and filled with his toys; she decides to find him and give the toys back to him. On YouTube some kind soul has put up the very scene I want:

If you've never seen this movie, please go rent or buy it. It is one of the most beautiful stories you'll ever want to see on screen.

Camera Experiments #1

Ok, I've taken some photographs that seem worthy. Here is a photo of the most treasured knife in my collection, my Randall #1:

I bought in back in 1988, not long after I arrived here in Charlotte. The wait list for Randalls back then was about 2 years, rather than the current five years. This one is in stainless steel, 8" blade, stag handle (before the stag ban) and brass furniture. I've customized it in two places, thus ruining it as far as collectors are concerned. Since this is my knife and will be mine until I die, this is of no concern to me.

The first customization is strictly decorative. I took a small round file and crenellated the brass buttcap:

The second customization is functional. On Randalls, the knife is designed with a ricasso between the guard and the edge of the blade. The user of the knife can move his hand forward a bit on the knife so that the index finger rests in the ricasso area. This "choking up" on the blade allows the knife to be manipulated differently than with a normal grip. On standard Randall knives, though, the sharpened edge of the knife is too close to the guard, making it possible to receive an accidental cut when choking up on the blade. I took a sharpening stone and re-shaped the blade in that area (see arrow) so that the blade will not cut me when I choke up on it:

I actually have three Randalls. I'll show the others off on another occasion. :)

Notes From The Culture War

Looks like President Obama will spend the first year of his presidency (at least) reversing the policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

This is a stupid see-saw that goes on every time the Presidency changes hands from Republican to Democrat, and vice versa.

I don't believe that Obama has done a single thing on his own initiative yet, everything that has been done so far has been a reversal of Bush policies. Be nice if he'd come up with something new (and not harmful to conservatives), but that's probably too much to ask.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Change Coming, Pt. 2

The camera I mentioned in this post has arrived. I'll be familiarizing myself with it over the next few days/weeks/months (it's pretty sophisticated) and will start posting photos as soon as possible.

A generic digital camera question: I notice that the camera comes with software, and the software paperwork says that I have to install it on my computer. Is this true, or just a way to tie me into the camera manufacturer's website? I notice that my sister has a Kodak camera and, without the Kodak software installed, Windows still recognized her camera and was able to download her pictures. Do I really need to install the software that came with the camera?

"This thing was basically a set of testes looking for the female,"

Rather like the Catholic concept of the Holy Trinity, a trio of oceanic fish have been determined to all be one species.

The quote in the subject line describes one version of the fish. Sorry, when I'm offered a line like that to use as a teaser, I go for it!


What About Lawn Darts?

Children should be allowed to break their legs, knock themselves out and eat poisonous plants as a normal part of growing up, according to official guidance.

A Government document says local councils should build playgrounds and parks that may "increase the likelihood of injuries".

They are told to ignore the qualms of "the most anxious parents" because children must learn how to manage risks as part of their natural physical and social development.

It says allowing young people to fall three metres should be permitted and the tiny risk of drowning is "tolerable" when building paddling pools.

The advice - in a paper by Play England and the Department for Children, Schools and Families - comes amid concerns some play areas are being made too safe because of "fear of litigation and a wider blame culture".

This sounds surreal.

UK: Even The Squirrels Know Victims Aren't Armed

Nurses have been told to walk in pairs or carry umbrellas to protect them from attacks by squirrels.

These hoodlum squirrels are thought to be American Grey Squirrels.

See? When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will carry guns, and squirrels will attack, knowing that their victims are unarmed.

Then there's those Black American Squirrels, who may just rape you. We all know how prone blacks are to rape.


*tongue firmly in cheek*

Baden-Powell Would Glow With Pride

A brother and sister credit their Scout training with giving them a leg up in the US Air Force.

That is exactly as Robert Baden-Powell intended when he first advanced the idea of Scouting.

Treasure Blog: Personal Items, Galveston State Park

A contractor cleaning up Galveston State Park after Hurricane Ike discovered buried treasure: a US Military ammo can full of valuables.

The ammo can’s rubber seal preserved perfectly the treasures inside: a pair of diamond rings; dog tags; military medals, possibly from the Vietnam War or World War II; an 1863 Confederate $50 bill; silver certificates with serial numbers in consecutive order; silver bracelets; watches; an Art Donovan football card; and a mint condition, glass, Model A Ford radiator cap.

Pate also found family photographs, along with what he thinks is the owner’s wallet with a $20 bill, driver’s license and Social Security card stuffed inside.

Pate said the name listed on the license is John A. Sidwell.

The name is the same as that of a 59-year-old island man serving a two-year state jail sentence following a conviction on intoxication assault charges. The ages, as reported by Pate, match up, too.

On Aug. 7, 2004, Galveston police said one John A. Sidwell struck three pedestrians walking on the seawall. His truck was said to have been traveling about 60 mph when it swerved onto the sidewalk, hit a man and two women and a parked surrey.

The driver reportedly tried to back up and leave the scene with a 41-year-old Pasadena woman still trapped underneath, according to a Daily News article published the following day. A New Orleans man was critically injured.

Bystanders pulled the driver from the truck and detained him until police arrived.

Sidwell’s release date from a Dayton prison is April, according to state records.

It sounds as if Sidwell hid his most valuable possessions while he was on bail for the driving arrest. It indicates that he either had no friends at all, or that he had no friends he could trust. He apparently didn't trust banks, either, since he didn't place the valuables in a safety deposit box.

Ammo cans make pretty good treasure boxes. They have the advantage of being cheap, also.

First Airplane Bird Strike On Film: 1916

WWI, in France:

And like the recent USAirways plane that landed in the Hudson River, the pilot survived this encounter with a hawk.

Australian Mullah: It Should Be Lawful To Rape And Beat Wives

That is what Samir Abu Hamza of Melbourne interprets the Koran to mean.

Asswipe. Left hand, of course.

Um...Check The Carpet?

Some schoolgirls in UK are being threatened with expulsion for not complying with standards for hair color. The girls are, according to the headmaster involved, too blonde, their hair a shade of blonde not found in nature.

Well, there's an easy way to check to see if their hair really is that shade...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Matt Drudge's Puckish Sense of Irony

Seen here, the day after the inauguration:

Drudge is a real master at juxtapositions like this. Well done, Matt!

The French Are Eating All The World's Frogs!

The frogs are on their "last legs," according to the UK Sun.

Hmm, I wonder if frogs are farmed commercially? Good opportunity for an entrepeneur...

If The Political Party Is Omitted, It's A Democrat

From The Handbook For Editors Of US Newspapers and News Broadcasts:

Rule Seven: When reporting on a political scandal, bury the story if the subject is a Democrat, and feature it above the fold on page one if it is a Republican. If you can't avoid writing about the scandal because of its public nature, be sure to omit party affiliation if the subject is a Democrat, and mention the party affiliation in the headline and lede paragraph if the subject is a Republican.

The Mayor of Racine, Wisconsin, Gary Becker, has resigned his office after being arrested for soliciting sex with an underage girl. Mayor Becker is a DEMOCRAT.

Mayor Becker is yet another member of NY Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun coalition.

update: linked by David Codrea at The War On Guns. Thanks, David!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Shipwreck Blog: On Titanic, British Men Too Polite To Survive

Unlike those pushy American men.

Scene: Deck of the Titanic:

Crewman: Women and children first, please!

Englishman: Are the women and children safe? I take it we men may enter the lifeboats now?

Crewman: That's right.

Englishman tries to enter lifeboat, is pushed aside by American.

Englishman: I say, fellow. Queue with the rest.

American: I am. I was here before you.

Englishman: Were you indeed? My apologies. Carry on, then.

American: Sucker!

I'm not persuaded by the study, obviously.

New UK School Fashion: Stab-Proof Vests


Schoolchildren are wearing stab-proof vests in class because they fear knife attacks, a report has revealed. The study of gang violence also found that some pupils bring weapons into school and hide them in the grounds in case they need to defend themselves.

One child told researchers: “I can protect myself with a knife or a gun. I would rather be arrested than dead.”

The report, commissioned by the National Association of Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers, was carried out by Perpetuity Group, a consultancy specialising in crime reduction. Researchers spent time in areas with “deeply entrenched gang problems” in London and Birmingham. Teachers at one inner-city school said they were “aware of young people wearing bullet-proof and stab-proof vests in school”.

They Went To Sea In A Sieve

Two Burmese fishermen were rescued at sea in the Torres Strait, after being spotted adrift in a large icebox.



Which brings to mind one of Edward Lear's poems, The Jumblies:

The water it soon came in, it did,
The water it soon came in;
So to keep them dry, they wrapped their feet
In a pinky paper all folded neat,
And they fastened it down with a pin.
And they passed the night in a crockery-jar,
And each of them said, `How wise we are!
Though the sky be dark, and the voyage be long,
Yet we never can think we were rash or wrong,
While round in our Sieve we spin!'
Far and few, far and few,
Are the lands where the Jumblies live;
Their heads are green, and their hands are blue,
And they went to sea in a Sieve.

Moral of the story: don't go to sea in a Sieve.

UK: Coast Guards Required To Fill Out Forms Before Rescue Begins


Can't make this stuff up, folks.

In Local News...

...we're experiencing our first snowfall of the year. It could be the only one this year, as a matter of fact; North Carolina winters are fairly mild.

So Starts 4, Or Possibly 8 Years...

...of absolute media sycophancy.

All hail President foady-fo.


update added photo

Monday, January 19, 2009

Do You Think...

...that if Barack Obama's inaugural speech tomorrow is a grand slam home run, members of the MSM will point out that it was written by a professional speechwriter?*

*when Sarah Palin accepted the VP nomination at the Republican Convention and made an electrifying speech, the MSM talking heads all mentioned that her speech had been written by a professional speechwriter.

Poe Toaster Returned!

He showed up!

The crowd of about 50 people was reportedly well-behaved; the Toaster left his usual tribute and departed without incident.

*sigh* I'm glad.