Sunday, January 31, 2010

Just Call It...

Chairman Mao's Pork.

Maybe it will become as famous as General Tso's Chicken.

My Theory Has Always Been...

...that Angelina Jolie is actually a Succubus, and in truth needs to have a stake driven through her demonic heart. Or an exorcism. Or, to be absolutely certain, both.

Succubus: In folklore that stems from medieval legend, a succubus (plural succubi) is a demon who takes the form of a woman to seduce men in dreams to have sexual intercourse. In modern times, a succubus may or may not appear in dreams and is often depicted as highly attractive, while in the past succubi were depicted as frightening and demonic. The male counterpart is the incubus.

Succubi draw energy from men to sustain themselves, often until the victim becomes exhausted or dies. In one such story, a man in the town of Koblenz is bewitched by a succubus, with whom he is forced to repeatedly fornicate in the presence of his wife. The story says that, "After an incredible number of such bouts, the poor man at last sinks to the floor utterly exhausted and disgusted beyond belief."

UK: Let's Put Cigarettes In Plain White Wrappers

That will discourage smoking, surely.

An idea I had a long time ago was for a cigarette maker to start a new brand of cigarettes called Coffin Nails, with a coffin shown on the packaging and a celebrity spokeskeleton for advertising; advertise the hell out of them and watch them become the #1 brand of cigarettes on the market.

Moob Jobs

A growth industry, so to speak.

From the Land Of Socialized Medicine...

...comes yet another tale of systemic incompetence and apathy.

But it's free!

Nothing New Under The Sun - - Most of the Time, Anyway

In 200 A.D., the Romans made tools similar to modern Swiss Army Knives:

Frame and tools are silver, blade is iron (and rusted).

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Our President, a constitutional lawyer and senior lecturer teaching that subject, apparently can't distinguish between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

Damn, if Bush had made a mistake like that...or Sarah Palin...

But you know how that goes, right?

Meme of the Day

Hmm, got the exact same result as Roberta, although I'm sure the answers to the questions were quite different:

The Zombie Bite Calculator

Created by Oatmeal

Dog Bites Man Story of the Day

Police in Kenansville, NC, (north of Wilmington) issued citations to members of Willie Nelson's band for possession of marijuana and moonshine whiskey.

Willie wasn't on the bus at the time, and canceled the concert after the incident, citing illness; it seems obvious to me that the message being given is that if you want to harass Willie and his people, you can forego seeing them in concert; maybe the pressure brought by fans and promoters will be enough to cause podunk law enforcement to turn a blind eye to such incidents in the future. It's not as if it's exactly a secret that Willie likes to spark up a doob now and then, and he's not going out of his way to contribute to the delinquency of minors.


Well, we've been hit by the Winter Storm of 2010, just as much of the midwest and eastern seaboard has. Since this part of North Carolina doesn't see a lot of snow these days (thanks, Global Warming!) it is viewed by the weather weasels with alarm bordering on hysteria. Bread, milk, and beer sail out of the grocery stores; when we visited the Bi-Lo last night, all of the carts were in use and we hand to hunt to find an empty one.

Outside just now I saw some robins hopping around in the snow, no doubt thinking, WTF is up with this? They are in the area now as they transit north, but I guess that they'll have to re-think their decision to head north so early.

We're all snug and buttoned up here; I'm in a jacket because Sara doesn't like paying high electric bills. No worries; we have flannel sheets on the bed and we're both high in body fat, so we'll survive the Snowpocalypse.

Update: Here's a shot from through the front door of Sara's condo:

Friday, January 29, 2010

Parenting In Colorado Apparently Includes...

...teaching the little tykes to attack police officers and bite their faces off.

We'll have to call them Pit Kids and legislate against them.

His Id Has A Real Talent For Invective

Sleep Talkin' Man, that is:

"You're more attractive than a seeping anal gash. But only just."

He probably needs his own HBO show.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If He'd Scratched His Armpit They Might have Arrested Him

A UK man was ticketed for blowing his nose.

Japan: The Future of Sumo Wrestling

Retired Yokozuna (Grand Champion) Takanohana is trying to keep sumo alive in Japan, but is running into interference from the sumo establishment.

I used to watch sumo on ESPN several years ago, every 3 months they featured a show called Sumo Digest that summarized the quarterly tournaments of the highest Japanese professional sumo league. With the majority of the pre-match rituals removed and only the actual wrestling shown, the bulk of the tournament could be shown in a one-hour tv show. Takanohana was the last Japanese Yokozuna; the current Yokozunas are both from Mongolia.

Here's a pic of Takanohana during a tournament ritual dance:

Where Have All The Negroes Gone?

Long time passing?

Lordy, it would be easy to make up lyrics to that parody song. Couldn't sing it and not get in trouble, though.


Treasure Blog: 270-Year-Old Chinese Vase

It was being used as an umbrella stand and could be worth up to $800,000.

It has some slight damage, which hurts its value; undamaged, it could have brought more than double the estimated value.

It's a pretty thing:

It was made for the Emperor Qianlong and at one time was owned by the family of Florence Nightingale.

The old folks should have a more comfortable retirement, now.

"I've Got a Golden Ticket, I've Got a Gold..."THUD

A lottery winner celebrating her sudden wealth was run over by a car.

Oompa, loompa, loompity doo...

Got To Pay Yer Dooz...

...if yer gonna sing the blooze.

And you know it don't come easy. Unless you're Susan Boyle, whose idol, Elaine Paige, snarks on her sudden success.

Elaine Paige, Virus

Bonus points for identifying the song and artist referred to in the blog post title.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dying Breed: Sheffield Knifemaker

A wonderful slideshow featuring Trevor Ablett, a "little mester" knifemaker working in Sheffield, England, the cutlery capital of UK.

Very much worth watching.

Irony Alert of the Day

From the new book by Andrew Young, the assistant to former North Carolina senator John Edwards:

He allegedly once told Mr Young that he disliked appearing at state fairs where "fat rednecks try to shove food down my face. I know I'm the people's senator, but do I have to hang out with them?"

Don't put on too many airs, John. Your career and private life at this point would make a pretty good episode of The Jerry Springer Show, so how about showing a little contrition and humility? Despite your ambulance-chasing wealth, many of those rednecks you disparage live far more virtuous lives than you do.

Attention Navy Battleship Veterans

If you have detailed knowledge about the teak decks found on our old battlewagons, your Navy needs your expertise once again.

Photo Gallery: Up Helly Aa Viking Festival, Shetland Islands

An annual festival.

Here's a sample pic:

Burn The Ship! Børk Børk Børk!

Well Damn, My Heart Just Bleeds

Serial killer Arthur Shawcross died in prison over what is alleged to be medical neglect.

Although in truth, if this is a deliberate policy it would, of course, violate the 8th Amendment to the US Constitution.

UK Royal Navy: The "Catch And Release" Theory of Anti-Piracy

Because we all know how well catch-and-release works in reducing crime in UK, right?

Can We Get You Smokes? Fuel? Food? Comfy Chairs?

UK Science Advisor: Stop Exaggerating Climate Change...

...stop treating climate skeptics with contempt, be willing to show your research and understand that skepticism is what science is all about.

Finally, the beginning of sanity.

update: bad link, fixed now. Thanks, Borepatch!

"They Are All Dead Anyway..." piss on 'em.

The sort of thing that results when patriotism is denigrated and patriots are viewed as naïfs.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You CAN Rely On Them To Be Offended

In UK, a woman who wished to place a "Help Wanted" advertisement was told she couldn't ask for reliable workers because it would discriminate against unreliable workers.

Some days these blog posts almost seem to write themselves, folks.

The Bag Lady of York, SC

98-year-old Flossie Matthews, who lives in a nursing home but still crochets strips of plastic bag into useful objects, such as hats and doormats.

Really great human-interest story; the sort of person who would appear on the old Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was host, usually closing out the last five minutes of the show.

Here's a pic of Flossie, wearing a hat she made herself:

Flossie Matthews

Mother of the Year Nominee

Fifty-year-old Judith Martin, who drove her son Bobby to the scene of a burglary he was committing.

You know the old saying: the family that does crime together, does time together.

Ah, Well, It Could Be Worse... least Father Poole isn't buggering altar boys, too.

Prison: You Got Yer Nation of Islam, Yer Aryan Brotherhood, and...

...Yer Dungeons & Dragons Gang.

Or you did until first-degree murderer Kevin T. Singer lost his lawsuit against the Wisconsin prison system, which had banned Dungeons and Dragons materials from the prison.

Singer was in prison for murdering his sister's boyfriend with a +3 Sledgehammer of Smiting. The man apparently missed his saving throw vs. hammers.

I'm sure, though, that the D&D gang will persevere and find a way to play their game, possibly carving dice out of pieces of soap, or something.

I tell ya, though, what's prison coming to these days, buncha murdering nerds...

Did You Try To Stuff The Powdered Donut Up Yer Nose, Ma'am?

Police in Maryville, Tennessee who pulled a woman over for a traffic stop found white powder around her nostrils. She claimed it came from a powdered sugar donut.

Yah, lady, like we haven't heard that one a million times. Got yer receipt from Dunkin Donuts? A bag, maybe? Another donut you haven't yet stuffed up yer nose?

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Last One Left

It's difficult for me to read a story about the US's last late-term abortionist.

It's a well-written story, though, and well worth the few minutes it takes to read it. It probably won't change anyone's attitudes about this tragic procedure, but perhaps it will increase a bit of understanding.

A Self-Sufficient Lifestyle - - No Money Necessary

Mark Boyle lives a suburban lifestyle, with all of his needs met by scrounging.

Do I think he'll continue this existence for the rest of his life? Unlikely; not even Thoreau did that.

The First Few Hesitant Steps On The Path To Rehab

For Tiger Woods? Courtney Love, maybe? Some other celebrity with a problem?

No, it's rehab for George W. Bush's tarnished reputation.

And I don't think it will take as long as some of you might think.

A Fleet of USNS Comforts Needed

But unfortunately, they don't exist.

The Most Violent Country In Europe Is, Statistically Speaking...

...the United Kingdom.

An article from back in July of last year, but statistics have probably not changed in six months, with the same Labour government in place in UK.

Wow, hoodah thunkit?

h/t New Jovian Thunderbolt.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Weekend Ramblings

Sara and I headed for points west this past Saturday, visiting antique stores in Belmont and Shelby, North Carolina. Sara found a nice purse in Shelby, made of cloth in the same manner a quilt is made; she's already quite fond of it, and my mother has expressed a desire for a similar purse for herself.

While we were in Shelby we again ate at Bridge's BBQ Lodge, which is on the NC BBQ Society Historic Trail. We'll be using that particular resource when choosing travel destinations in the near future.

After leaving Shelby we headed south into South Carolina, narrowly avoiding the gravity well of Whitmire, South Carolina, a small town in the depths of the Sumter National Forest. We've found ourselves there twice on our travels, and we have a fear that if we find ourselves there a third time, we may never be able to leave.

While fleeing the baleful influence of Whitmire we found ourselves east of Lockhart, SC, and saw the following street sign, which we had to photograph; it apparently is popular with travelers, and I suspect it has been subject to theft and vandalism in the past:

The location of this road is not far from the village of Skull Shoals, SC, so a comedy sketch about living in that particular area would be quite amusing.

Surprise Surprise Surprise!

The inevitable end of Brangelina occurs.

h/t Ann Althouse.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Let's Just Ramp Up That Culture War, Shall We?

Borepatch features a story about the BBC TV show Top Gear in Alabama, going out of their way to stereotype and provoke the locals there.

Mission accomplished, guys.

And you wonder why some of us refer to you as Eurotrash?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Peine Forte et Dure

In UK, a 336-pound woman won an argument with her boyfriend by sitting on him and squashing him to death.

Since she had no criminal record, she was let off with 3 years' probation.

Ain't that civilized?

Hammer the Hamster

When Lynn Middlebrook Geter's 12-year old son brought home his report card from school with bad grades on it, for punishment Ms. Geter made the boy kill his pet hamster with a hammer.

She then put on her Vote Palin! t-shirt and drove to a local Tea Party rally.*

Monty Python did a sketch on a similar use of mallets:

*maybe she did, maybe she didn't. I'm sure I have at least reader who'd say Well of course she did! You know who you are.

Comment Moderation Switched Back Off

Since it appears that the spamming attack yesterday was isolated, I'll turn comment moderation off. It will go back on if the spamming resumes.

UK: Yer Budget RAF

The Royal Air Force is being urged to cut costs by switching to propeller-driven planes.

Good Enough For Grandpa, Good Enough For You.

Wooden Ships, Iron Men, Golden Glory

The UK Daily Mail features an outstanding book review on HMS Temeraire, a line-of-battle ship that fought at the Battle of Trafalgar and was featured in one of Turner's most famous paintings:

Here's a great cutaway illustration of the Temeraire:

The book is titled The Fighting Temeraire by Sam Willis.

Air America: The Dollar Coin of Radio


Like the dollar coin, Air America fills a need that is already met (dollar bill/NPR).

As long as people have the original alternative (NPR, dollar bill) there is no reason to switch.

Since NPR operates on the liberal principle already (tax the entire US population to support something that is enjoyed mainly by the Left) why would they want to switch to an alternative that actually is forced to compete in the marketplace of ideas?

So, Air America was doomed from the start; until the dollar bill/NPR is eliminated, there is no need to switch to the dollar coin/Air America.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sphincter Need Exercise?

You can watch this video to give it a bit of exercise.

"We Amputated Every Body Part You Can Possibly Amputate."

Because of the time period between the Haitian earthquake and the arrival of the hospital ship USNS Comfort in Haiti, many of the injured have life-threatening infections that can only be treated by amputation.

And the Haitians really have nowhere to go once it is time to leave the Comfort. Too many buildings gone, no facilities.

I wonder if we still make Quonset Huts, or a modern equivalent? Tent cities would be good for immediate use, but something a bit more longer-lasting and cheap would help out long-term.

*Gasp* Not the Dreaded Lesbian Defense!

Prosecutors in New York are worried that two women charged with prostitution in a strip club sex sting will try to claim that they are lesbians and thus wouldn't have sex with a man.

They plan to call one of the women's "so-called fiancé" to rebut the charges.


Atheists 1, Trijicon 0

Filthy lucre triumphs over religious conviction.

Anyone want to bet me on how quickly Chik-Fil-A restaurants will begin opening on Sundays after their founder dies? Will his corpse even be cold?

You Could Put Your Eye Out, Or Something

At the Macdonald Portal Golf and Spa Hotel, in Tarporley, Cheshire, UK, they won't give you a toothpick for health and safety reasons.

Even though there are deadly knives and forks on the table.

When Octogenarians Attack!

If you're in New York City, don't try and take Gersh Gofman's parking spot.

He might just get out of his car, go upside your head with a tire iron, and curse you out. In Russian. And threaten to cut your balls off, too. That's what he did to nonagenarian Steve Pulwers, anyway.

You've been warned.

When The Salmon Return

Rivers in Wales that were dead from coal mining pollution are now so clean that salmon have returned and can be found from sea to headwaters.

A remarkable environmental success story, and the kind that really ought to get more attention, rather than the apocalyptic OMG we're all gonna die if we don't do something about glowball warming this week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Mel Gibson: I'll Make A Viking Movie Starring Leonardo DiCaprio

It'll be similar to Braveheart. Right now the working title is Limpdick.

Of course, seeing Leonardo DiCrappio tortured to death in a Mel Gibson film would be good entertainment, almost enough to make me forget how much I loathe Leo.

I Don't Know How We Did Without It All These Years*

The developers of the SarcMark, which I blogged about here, announced that thousands of people have purchased the new punctuation mark that is intended to convey sarcasm.

It looks like this, remember:

Who knows, maybe it will turn out to be the Post-It Note® of this decade!*

*sarcasm intended. I, at least, have yet to pay for a SarcMark.

Comment Moderation In Place

My apologies for turning comment moderation on, but when I get comments I can't read because they are in Arabic script, that's the way it goes.

UK: How's That "Café Culture" Working Out For You?

Even the UK government is finally admitting that the experiment in relaxing liquor laws to allow 24-hour-a-day drinking hasn't worked out like they planned.

Imagine that.

Kate McGarrigle, 1946-2010: R.I.P.

One of the great folk singers has died.

UK Crime: Tories Vow To Protect "Have-A-Go Heroes."

Unlike the Labour Party, which has a tendency to arrest and even jail them.

There are a string of examples of have-a-go heroes ending up in the cells. These include Paul Catlow, 25, who stood up to teenagers intimidating his family in Sidcup, Kent.

After his mother was threatened, he performed a citizen's arrest on one of the youths.

He decided not to call the police when the teenager agreed to apologise, and took the boy to his mother's house to do so.

The next day, Mr Catlow was charged with assault and kidnap. He spent six days in jail and was put on trial. The case was thrown out due to lack of evidence.

There have been warnings by a number of experts, including the Government's own anti-social behaviour tsar, that Britain is in danger of becoming a 'walk on by' society.

In a report ordered by Downing Street, Louise Casey said people are terrified they will be attacked themselves or face arrest.

In the article mention is made of Munir Hussain, who with some relatives beat a robber to the point of brain damage. He's in prison to this day, even though he had a clean criminal record for nearly 50 years. Hussain shouldn't have been placed in that situation; if the robber had been jailed for any of the dozens of crimes that he had been charged with, the situation would never have come up.

Update: Munir Hussain has been freed by the UK Court of Appeal.

Update 2: Belatedly, the Labour Party realizes that jailing people who defend themselves from criminals is probably not the best way to enjoy good relations with the public.

Dog Bites Man Story of the Day

A 17-year old volunteer firefighter has been charged with 14 counts of arson.

Imagine that.

"Nest of Rattlesnakes," Huh?

The president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation compares Christianity to "a nest of rattlesnakes" after an ABC News report disclosed that Trijicon Corporation, a maker of gun sights, was inscribing references to Bible verses on its products, which are used by the US military.

Weinstein said troops have complained that an inscription on the Advance Combat Optical Gunsight, used by thousands of Marines and soldiers, includes “JN8:12,” a reference to John 8:12, a Christian gospel reference: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

The inscription on another optic includes “2COR4:6,” which refers to Second Corinthians 4:6 of the New Testament, which reads: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Weinstein said his group was glad to see the Marine officials say they are concerned, but is incredulous the service was not aware of it. After initially signing a $7.5 million contract with Trijicon in 2005 for 6,000 optics, it entered into an additional multi-year deal worth up to $660 million for as many as 800,000 optics.

“It’s like a husband and wife sleeping in a bed for two years and saying they weren’t aware of the nest of rattlesnakes in it,” he said.

Nice. Maybe Weinstein should rename his organization the Military Religious Disparagement Foundation.

Did The Poe Toaster Die Last Week?

A discussion at this website theorizes about the identity of the Poe Toaster and concludes that the annual ritual came to an end with his death.

No way of knowing, unless the Toaster either comes forward or we receive some verifiable news of his death.

Meanwhile, At Arlington National Cemetery...

...a faint voice is heard on the breeze, coming from the area of the Eternal Flame:

What's that spinning sound I hear?

From another grave comes a second voice:

Oh, that's Ted. The Senate seat you gave him was just won by a Republican.

Well, tell him to quiet down, would you, Bobby? He's keeping a lot of the people here awake, and they're cranky enough already about having him here.

I will, Jack. Sleep well, brother. Sorry about the noise.

It's ok, Bobby.
*ghostly chuckle* A Republican got Ted's seat? God, will Da be pissed when he hears that!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Robert B. Parker, 1933-2010: R.I.P.

Mystery writer Robert B. Parker, the creator of Spenser, has died.

Maybe Spenser and Travis McGee are having some drinks in Heaven right now, discussing world affairs.

A Lot Of Years Cobbling

In a shop in Ocala, Florida, a team of cobblers is working busily. Business is good for cobblers when the economy is down.

John Heinold, Cobbler.

Not To Put Too Fine A Point On It

Mark Steyn on the race for the US Senate seat in Massachusetts:

Well, as a wintry election day dawns in Massachusetts, I'll believe it when I see it. If all but one of those polls are right, Scott Brown now has a lead well beyond the margin of error. But, as that Boston Globe "Dead Heat!" headline suggests, it's not necessarily beyond the margin of Acorn, the margin of lawyer, and the margin of Franken-style recounts. On the other hand, if you're minded to (as MSNBC's electokleptomaniac Ed Schultz recommends) steal the vote, you don't really want to have to steal it big, on a Mugabe-esque scale.

I hope Brown wins by a landslide, so the Dems, even if they wanted to, can't steal the election as they did in Minnesota.

h/t Instapundit.

Poe Toaster Day

It's Edgar Allan Poe's birthday today, and also the day that a mysterious caped figure leaves 3 roses and a partially consumed bottle of brandy on Poe's Baltimore grave. It's one of the US's more famous traditions, and the identity of the Poe Toaster (as the mysterious figure is called) has never been revealed, although it is known that the current Toaster is from a different generation than the original Toaster.

Be watching for news of the Poe Toaster!

In other Poe news, a portrait of the poet as a young man has surfaced and is for sale:

update: The tradition has been broken. The Poe Toaster did not show up this year.

update 2: Another story on the no-show of the Toaster.

Monday, January 18, 2010

That's Real Head-Banging Stuff, That Is

A Wisconsin man was ticketed by police for playing John Denver music too loudly.

When asked, the man said he was "rocking out."

Brothers, Are You Your Brothers' Keeper?

In Scotland, Benedictine monks produce a fortified wine called Buckfast that is very often abused by Scottish drinkers.

It is estimated that Scots spend £50,000 a day on the drink, which is variously known as “bottle of beat the wife”, “liquid speed” and “wreck the hoose juice”.

It has 15% alcohol and 281 milligrams of caffeine, as much as 8 cans of soda. So it's quite profitable, but also quite damaging to those who abuse it. Let's have a poll, tell me what you think about this situation: should monks manufacture something so subject to abuse?

Incredulity Test of the Day

In his op-ed for The New York Times today, Paul Krugman says that Barack Obama's first year has been unsuccessful because he didn't blame the previous adminstration for his economic woes.

Damn, Krugman, even Linda Lovelace couldn't swallow a whopper that large.

Gunfight At The Getaway Lounge

Looks as if there has been a gunfight at a bar here in Charlotte, on the west side of town by the Catawba River.

I think that this particular place is a biker bar, but I'm not certain. Sounds as if an argument started in the bar, two of the subjects went and got guns and started shooting, wounding two other patrons. A bar employee then opened fire with his own gun, striking one of the attackers in the head and stomach; the other attacker fled. The wounded attacker is in the hospital. I'll link more news as available.

Here's a video:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Weigh-In #2, 17 Jan 2010

After two weeks on the new diet, I've gone from 407 to 402, a loss of five pounds.

Restaurant Review: Hillbilly's BBQ & Steaks (Charlotte, NC location)

Sara and I ate dinner Saturday night at the new location of Hillbilly's BBQ & Steaks at 838 Tyvola Road, Charlotte, in what used to be Carolina Country BBQ Restaurant. The restaurant features an open pit, so the smell of hickory and smoked meat hits your nostrils as you get out of your car.

I had never eaten at this particular location when it was still Carolina Country BBQ, so I was impressed by the stained-glass windows in the place; very classy touch. The pit is visible from the dining area, so you can actually see the preparation of the meats.

The dining area features tables only, no booths, an advantage for fatsos like myself. The server was friendly and quick but not overly experienced, making several mistakes during service: had to be asked twice to bring non-sugar sweetener, did not provide small plates for eating hush puppies, and, worst of all, brought entrees and appetizers out simultaneously before Sara had even finished her salad.

Sara had a pork plate, I had a sliced beef plate (brisket). Sara said that her pork was dry, indicating overcooking; my brisket was also overcooked, but still quite flavorful and edible. I sampled some of Sara's pork after eating much of my own plate and found that the pork had almost no flavor compared to the brisket. Sara, sampling my brisket, said it was superior to her pork. I'll make a Texas BBQ fan of her yet.

Hush puppies are shaped like dog turds and are sweet, although the batch we ate were slightly overcooked. Hillbilly's serves their hush puppies with a hot tub of their wonderful tangy BBQ sauce; the sauce is so good that it makes otherwise mediocre food taste good.

We were able to get corn on the cob as a substitute for slaw; Sara said hers was cold, mine was warm; since I don't like corn on the cob blistering hot, that was fine with me. They were full ears as opposed to half ears, a nice touch.

I'll give Hillbilly's 4/5 on food and service. Wait staff needs more experience, but are attentive and polite.

We don't have enough BBQ places actually within the city limits of Charlotte; a few Sonny's locations, Spoon's (limited hours), Q Shack; most of the BBQ places tend to be on the outskirts of town, or out of town entirely. It's nice to have a quality BBQ restaurant actually in the city limits again. We'll definitely be making Hillbilly's a regular lunch or dinner stop.

Hey, Officer Almendarez...

...were you trying to refuel that girl at the Fuel Pizza Restaurant?

And did you check her oil and wash her windshield while you were at it?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Summary of the Day So Far

It's 60 degrees outside, a heat wave compared with the 20's and 30's of the recent week; the sky is clear and the sun is shining.

I just assembled a new Weber Smokey Joe tabletop grill. In the refrigerator are three ribeye steaks, seasoned with Weber Chicago Steak seasoning; there is Green Giant corn in the freezer, King's Hawaiian Rolls in the breadbox, and a Key Lime Pie thawing on the bar.

Sara gets off from work at 3:30, a couple of hours from now, and will be here around 4:15; the grill will be lit and those gorgeous steaks will fill the cool North Carolina air with the fragrance of grilled beef.

There's bad days, and there's good days. This is one of the good days.

Damned If You Do...

and damned if you don't.

The officers in the US Army who didn't pass on their reservations about Major Nidal Malik Hassan, the Ft. Hood murderer, will be punished for not doing their job.

Strangely enough, the very reason that those officers didn't pass on their reservations about Major Nidal Malik Hassan, the Ft. Hood murderer, was that they feared punishment for racial profiling.

Political correctness strikes again.

Hold the Robbers, Hold The Rapists, British Crime Does Not Upset Us...

In UK, the Thames Valley Police have discontinued a flirtation with baseball caps for their officers after a complaint that it made the officers look like Burger King employees.

I doubt that it made them look like the BK employees in this old commercial; I remember those uniforms, they were double-knit polyester, just the thing for working around boiling fat in deep fryers:

Gallery: Annular Solar Eclipse

Damn, the UK Telegraph has some wonderful news photo galleries. Check out this one from a recent solar eclipse that covered parts of Asia and Africa.

An annular solar eclipse differs from a total solar eclipse in that the moon doesn't fully obscure the sun when it passes in front, but leaves a "ring of fire" instead, as shown in this photo from the gallery:

Somewhere Over China

Jimmy Buffett fans should enjoy this shot, taken in an area where the moon wasn't fully covering the sun:

Fins UP!

Shipwreck Blog: Shackleton's Endurance

Shipwreck hunter David Means wants to locate the wreck of Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic polar exploration ship, the Endurance.

Tough task, to say the least. They'd have to search in the coldest environment on Earth, risking becoming trapped in the sea ice even as Endurance was, and operate their equipment in incredibly harsh conditions. If found, though, Endurance is likely to be in good shape, as ships that sink in cold latitudes tend to suffer less damage over time than those in warmer climes.

Here's a pic of the ship, found at Wikipedia:

"Like A Starving Pit Bull Let Loose On A Lamb"

The UK Telegraph's list of the most influential liberals and conservatives in the US concludes today.

Dick Cheney was voted the #1 conservative, beating out Rush Limbaugh (the post title quote is from the Limbaugh essay). These two lists are a great introduction to prominent Americans on both sides of the political divide and there is some good analysis offered by the Telegraph journalists. Well worth reading.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Another Good One Leaving

Xavier is hanging it up.

Good luck and fair travels to you, Xavier.

Ever Wondered...

...what Star Wars stormtroopers do on their day off?

h/t Violins & Starships.

Don't Be Cruel

The Commanding Officer of the USS Cowpens, Captain Holly Graf, has been relieved of command at an Admiral's Mast for cruelty and conduct unbecoming an officer.

What on earth do you have to do in this day and age to be charged with cruelty in the Navy?

Well, here she is, the female Bligh:

Well, Well, Well. Imagine That.

Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter has been caught in an online sex sting trying to arrange a sexual encounter with a 15-year-old girl who turned out to be a policeman.

Scott Ritter, UN Weapons Inspector, Sex Pervert

About Damned Time

Two stories by prominent African-American men on the subject of black men and guns.

Al Sharpton, civil rights activist.

Leonard Pitts, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.

It's overdue, and it's overdue because it's something that they can't blame on white men, although I'm sure they'd like to.

UK: Let's Cut Prison Population By 1/3.

And just let 28,000 felons go. That'll get the crime rate down.

I think that this makes it official: the UK Labour Party wants to lose the election coming up this year.

My New Favorite Blog

Sleep Talkin' Man.

The blog kept by a housewife of her husband's insane rambling conversations while he is asleep.

A few samples:

"It's CHICKEN and you LIKE IT. Lentil-loving, bean burger-shitting wanker."

"Fluffy bunny + twitchy nose + big ears = great stew."

"Flap's on fire. Your flap's on fire! Chili in the vagiiiiina. I'm a bad bad boy."

[yelled upon waking] "COCK HUNTER!"

"Dogs' scrotums. They stretch."

Found via Daily Mail.

*BARK BARK!* What Is It, Lassie? What Is It, Girl?

"Dog Leads Owner To Elderly, Unconscious Minn. Man."

Good girl, Lassie!

Thursday TV Recommendation

Hey, give BBQ Pitmasters a look tonight if you're bored and can't find something to watch. It's on TLC, and features a bunch of BBQ cooks as they tour the country and compete in various BBQ contests. Along the way you get to see great tips on how to cook BBQ.

Watch the arrogant but knowledgeable Myron Mixon put down the other competitors, but who often takes home the trophies; Johnny Trigg, the old guy with the beer belly and the cold blue gunfighter's eyes; Paul Peterson, the BBQ noob who is as ignorant as he is arrogant; Harry Soo, who is Chinese and from California, but still makes good BBQ; Tuffy Stone, who makes BBQ cooking more of a bean-counting science than an art; and Lee Ann Whippen, the hot blonde BBQ girl (you always have to have a hot blonde, right?)

I'll say now that the website that TLC has set up is kind of crappy, but the show is still fun to watch.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

UK: They Vill Be MADE To Comply!

"Anna Maxted on the research that shows that most parents fail to comply with nutritional standards when they make their children's lunchboxes."

Jail for the parents, force-feeding tubes for the kiddies...

The Ultimate Fat Indignity

Too Fat To Fit In A Crematorium.

Maybe you could save on fuel charges for the cremation, since the fat in your body will serve as its own fuel?

It's Bad For Your Job Security, Though

"Telling Your Boss What You Think of Them 'Good For Your Health.'"

Maybe I'll just call the ol' boss up now, say, "Hey, you know that 3rd week of vacation you stole from me next year that you announced just before Christmas? That fucking sucked. Just thought you'd want to know that."

Headline of the Day

Not a headline, per se, but the RSS headline:

sacked Nutt.

update: On the off chance you wish to read the story shown in the pic, you can find it here.


Um...Couldn't He Have Adopted?

A childless Indian man (convenience store variety, not casino variety), desperate to become a father, sliced off his tongue with a razor blade as an offering to the god Shiva.

Senior inspector R P Mishra added that Mr Kumar remained childless after more than four years of marriage.

He added: "An ardent devotee of Lord Shiva, an angry Kumar left his house following a tiff with his wife for not being able to conceive. He went to the temple, where he offered his tongue to the deity."

Asked to comment, the man said, "Nngngggghhh unngghggghuh." The man's wife said, "If he can't lick it then he can't stick it. Sucks to be him."

I Tell Ya, Life Ain't Easy For A Magazine Named Beaver

Founded in 1920, Canada's magazine The Beaver is getting a name change.

It's a good thing that Johnny Cash's dad didn't name him "Beaver" in that famous song:

Just What We Needed Most*

A company in Michigan has created a symbol to indicate sarcasm in a sentence.

Looks like this:

All yours for just $1.99.

But Wait! Order now and we'll send you ABSOLUTELY FREE...

*meant sarcastically

Don't Anger The Wife If She's An Electrician

The results could be rather...shocking.

*rim shot*

Yer Going To Hell For That

A student at a northeastern Pennsylvania Roman Catholic college has apologized for urinating on a public nativity scene. The student, 22, said Monday he "was being a drunken idiot" a day earlier when he urinated on the nativity scene in Wilkes-Barre's public square.

He was charged with public drunkenness, indecent exposure, open lewdness and desecration of venerated objects. He said he plans to plead guilty at a Jan. 20 preliminary hearing.

Desecration of venerated objects?
That's an actual crime on the books in Pennsyslvania?


It always gives me a small thrill to find a silver coin in the cash drawer at work, in this case a 1953 Roosevelt dime. Usually I can tell instantly when one of the dimes is silver, also, just from the silvery ting when it falls amongst the other dimes in the tray.

A small talent, but mine own.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Monday, January 11, 2010

Are The Taliban Jewish?

Scientists are checking to see if this might be the case.

It's theorized that the ethnic Pashtuns who make up the Taliban may be descendants of one of the 10 Lost Tribes of Israel, the Ephraimites.

Gods, wouldn't that be ironic?

UK: Got A Vicious Dog?

Don't expect to be given government-subsidized housing, then.

Pretty good idea.

The Worms Crawl In, The Worms Crawl Out

Environmentally friendly burials for eco-conscious Baby Boomers.

I think that if you wanted a green cremation you might consider having your remains dropped into a pool of lava, such as is found in Hawaii at Kilauea volcano. Of course, if you didn't already live in Hawaii you'd be faulted for your carbon-wasting ways for flying over there.

Little Heroes

Two 8-year-old Australian boys helped rescue a drowning man off the Queensland coast.

Well done, lads.

Gallery: 101 Uses For A Pothole


Ok, 13 actually, not 101, I was just using the 101 figure to parody the title of a famous book from the 80's:

Anyway, artists in New York got tired of potholes (who doesn't?) and the city's slow response time in getting them filled, so they decided to make a statement:


And my personal favorite:

Very imaginative, and the artists plan to introduce the idea into other cities.

It's Honorary, Rather Like A Knighthood

Some writer for the UK Guardian, writing about Kentucky Fried Chicken, felt it necessary to disparage "Colonel" Harland Sanders and point out that Sanders was only a private in the US Army.

The rank of Kentucky Colonel, although once an actual rank in the state militia with regular military duties, long has been an honorary title only, given to prominent people. You can see a partial list of people who have joined the ranks of Kentucky Colonels here.

Basically, then, the rank is similar to titles of nobility, granted to friends and acquaintances of the monarch. In the US where such titles are forbidden by law, military rank suffices instead.

It's The Real Thing

Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia, plans to market a knock-off version of Coca-Cola that has active coca leaf extract in it.

At least, I think that's what the linked article is indicating. US Coca-Cola, while once made with active coca leaf extract, has been made with "spent" coca leaf extract for most of its history, meaning that there is no active drug in the drink.

Remember the old jingle?

Treasure Blog: William Blake Etchings

They were found in an old book of train schedules, and sold for over $700,000.

And because they were preserved inside the pages of a book for all these years, they are in remarkably good condition, with no fading of the tempura that was used to make them.

William Blake, Elohim Creating Adam.

Apple Didn't Fall Far From The Tree

I hadn't heard Hank Williams III sing until just a minute or so ago; damn, it sounds as if his granddaddy was still alive. Listen and see if you don't agree:


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Went To See...

...Sherlock Holmes this afternoon. If Robert Downey, Jr., wasn't someone whom I would envision as Holmes in a movie, neither was he totally improbable in the role. Jude Law gave a fine performance as Watson, although he takes a far more active role in the movie than Conan Doyle ever envisioned for him, I would imagine.

Contrary to some reviewers' complaints, Downey-as-Holmes has several of Holmes' mannerisms: steepling his fingertips together when listening to a case being outlined, meditating with pipe in mouth ("It is quite a three-pipe problem!" he says in the original stories) when working out details in his mind, and he uses several of the lines of dialog that Conan Doyle wrote in the stories.

Director Guy Ritchie plays fair with the revelation of clues, also; when Holmes observes a room, his eyes light on various objects, and you see quick glimpses of his thought processes at work, but it is up to the movie viewer to join the visual clues into the narrative exposition that Holmes explains at the denouement of the film.

Other details in the movie are accurate to Conan Doyle, also, such as the bulldog that is mentioned only in A Study In Scarlet and never again thereafter.

There are a lot of great fistfighting scenes in the movie, with Watson as well as Holmes showing themselves to be no beginners at streetfighting, and Watson in particular quite skilled at using a walking stick in a martial fashion, both as a stick and as a sword cane. The plot is simpler than many reviewers have said, though I'll not detail it here so as to not spoil the movie for those who haven't seen it. Needless to say it looks as if it will be successful enough to spawn a sequel should the cast and director all wish to do one.

Quite enjoyable as a movie!

Sara and I also saw a few trailers we liked, especially The Wolf-Man, a remake of the 30's Universal film with Benicio Del Toro taking the lead role originally done by Lon Chaney, Jr. That one will be coming out in about a month.

Pet Story of the Day

Found over at Xavier's.

Update: got bamboozled, not by Xavier, but by whoever sent him the email. Damnit.

The Tumbling Tumbleweeds of Winter

A rare weather phenomenon occurred in UK, as snow, propelled by wind, rolled down hills, forming snowballs:

It's a phenomenon also parodied in movies, such as this clip from 1988's Willow (skip ahead to 6:23)

Lede Paragraph of the Day

"Sam Taylor-Wood, 42, is expecting a baby with her 19-year-old fiancé and Madonna, 51, is enjoying a romance with a model called Jesus Luz aged 22, but Catherine Zeta-Jones is prepared to stick with well hung game."


I Know Why The Caged Bird Stopped Singing

Because he was given a Miranda warning about the right to remain silent.

UK: Celebrity Brandishes Knife At Burglars, Is Threatened By Police

Myleene Klass is a model for the Marks & Spencer's UK department store chain, and has also sang in the pop group Hear'Say. When confronted with two burglars trying to break into her home, Ms. Klass brandished a knife at them, causing them to flee.

Miss Klass, 31, who was alone in her house in Potters Bar, Herts, with her two-year-old daughter, Ava, called the police. When they arrived at her house they informed her that she should not have used a knife to scare off the youths because carrying an "offensive weapon" – even in her own home – was illegal.

Jonathan Shalit, Miss Klass's agent, said that had been "shaken and utterly terrified" by the incident and was stepping up security at the house she shares with her fiancé, Graham Quinn, who was away on business at the time.

He said: "Myleene was aghast when she was told that the law did not allow her to defend herself in her own home. All she did was scream loudly and wave the knife to try and frighten them off.

"She is not looking to be a vigilante, and has the utmost respect for the law, but when the police explained to her that even if you're at home alone and you have an intruder, you are not allowed to protect yourself, she was bemused.

"Her questions going forward are: what are my rights, and what are you actually allowed to do to defend yourself in your own house?"

You aren't, dear. And as long as the Labour Party is in power, you can expect it to remain that way.

Update And an 87-year-old WWII veteran who came to blows with a burglar in an October 2008 crime has died.

At The Avatar Casino...

...a man idly feeds coins into a slot machine. At the next machine is another man doing the same. He looks over at the first man and recognizes him.

"Hi, Bill," he says. "What are you doing here? You said this place cheats people, that all the games are rigged. Why are you standing here spending your hard-earned money on games that cheat you?"

The other man looks at him sadly. "Hi, Pat," he replies. "All of that is true, of course. But damn, it's the only game in town."

He goes back to feeding coins into the slot machine.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Soldier Reunited With Lost Wallet, 61 Years Later

Jack Grose joined the US Army and was serving in post-WWII Germany in 1948 when he happened to lose his wallet. 61 years later Grose's wallet was found in an attic, and Grose was recently reunited with his lost possessions.

Grose is now 78 years old, and was overjoyed to be reunited with his old wallet. He has suffered a stroke in recent years that affected his ability to speak.

The question I'd have for Grose is: what were you doing in that attic, which was apparently so deserted that something lost there would not be found for so many decades? Was it a work detail? Were you catching a little nap? Inquiring minds want to know! *grins*

Treasure Blog: 1913 Liberty Head Nickel

Once owned by King Farouk of Egypt and featured in an episode of Hawaii Five-O, it sold for over 3 million dollars. It's one of only 5 known to exist of this particular nickel.

A nickel. 3 Million dollars. Amazing, isn't it?

Friday, January 08, 2010

It's Over...

...the fat lady won't sing.

Headline of the Day

"Having Sex Twice A Week 'Reduces Chance of Heart Attack By Half.'"

So if I have sex four times a week I can expect to never have a heart attack? Is that how the math works?

Egyptian Pharaonic Statues Found In Sudan

Found further south in Sudan than any previous statue of a pharoah.

So far south that one of the finder's colleagues was shocked:

Dr. Anderson confirmed that no statue of a pharaoh has ever been found further south of Egypt than this one. “That’s one reason it’s so exciting and very interesting,” she said. The discovery was such a surprise that one colleague of Anderson's didn't believe it at first saying that the statues “can’t possibly be (at) Dangeil.”

I guess that like with global warming, the science had been settled...

Anyway, here's a pic of the statue:

Look On My Works, Ye Mighty, And Despair!

The Brain Was Expertly Wrapped And Bagged For Takeout

A New Mexico family is suing a funeral home after they were given their grandmother's brain in a bag as part of her personal belongings.

San Francisco Sea Lions Now In Oregon


They must have heard that Nancy Pelosi was going to start taxing them to help pay for Obamacare.

Wow, Hoodah Thunkit?

A study determined that the anti-Semitism of German students was increased after hearing of the suffering of Jews resulting from the Holocaust.

Further study found that Ku Klux Klan members' racial hatred toward African-Americans was increased after cross-burnings and lynchings.

Ain't science great?

James Cagney Has Nothing On This Man

A man in Bradenton, Florida, informed by his wife that she was leaving him, smeared the dinner meatloaf in her face.

The dirty rat.

That's How They Caught The Invisible Man

Two burglars in UK were caught after police followed their footprints through the fresh snow.

Death of the Invisible Man.

Why Did The Chickens Cross The Road?

Because the truck they were being transported in overturned.

A bit of local traffic news to provide some light-hearted blogging fodder.

Scientist's Solution To The Terrorism Menace

"The leaders of the agencies responsible for security need to lose their bunker mentality, venture out into nature and stare into the eye of an octopus."

Click the link for more of this psychobabble.

Guy thinks he's Master Po, I guess.

"Republicans Buy Gym Shoes Too"

Ed Bernero, Hollywood screenwriter and showrunner, discusses (among other things) the decline in TV viewership, and what he sees as one of the causes for it:

I also think one of the things that’s really hurting us is political activism of any stripe. Michael Jordan had it exactly right, he was my idol -- when he was asked about a political question at one point and he said I’m not going to answer it, and they said why not, and he said: Because Republicans buy gym shoes too, right? That doesn’t exist anymore, that kind of smarts.

Any time someone says anything right, left, whatever, I think we lose viewers. And somewhere around the country somebody says, I’m not going to watch what Hollywood does anymore. I wish we would go back to just being entertainers. Anytime we sign a petition that says let’s ignore the fact that Roman Polanski raped a 13-year-old, we lose viewers. And I think that has reached a critical mass. We live in a very polarized country right now. So why would someone like Megan Fox want to diss middle America?

And it’s not just that they’re not going to watch her material, they’re not going to watch mine. There are people in Kansas who are going to say, you know what? Screw Hollywood. Because we are sort of thought of as this monolith, and I wish people would take that into account.

It's akin to the Dixie Chicks controversy of a few years ago. The Chicks basically have a hippy/leftist political outlook, but they worked in a music genre (country music) that caters to mostly conservative fans. The Chicks' singer, Natalie Maines, figured that rather than just sing, which is what sells the records, she'd share her political opinions with everyone, and was shocked, shocked when fans didn't much agree with her. Stones were cast on both sides and the Chicks basically gave the fans the finger, deciding that keeping it real was more important than keeping fans; now they cater to the fanbase of leftists that like country music, a much smaller one (and much less lucrative) than the one that they enjoyed before the controversy.

Entertainers used to try and win the largest audience possible by either ignoring political content entirely, or by being careful to skewer both political parties equally. Think of Bob Hope, or Johnny Carson, or Red Skelton, or Carol Burnett, or anyone from that era; did you know what their politics were? No. They wanted the largest audience possible, since that is how they earned their living. Apparently these days there is so much money in the entertainment industry that you can enjoy a surfeit of it just catering to half of the audience. Hoodah thunkit?

h/t Big Hollywood.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

In Personal News...

...I made a New Year's resolution to get serious about weight loss, and decided that the best way to go about doing this was to cut portions down to one per meal instead of multiple portions, and to snack on apples between the meals. I'll also be walking in our local park, once it warms up just a bit more. Sara will be making a similar effort. We acquired a bathroom scale as a gift from Sara's mother, weighings stated the day after New Year's and will be held weekly.

My initial weight was 407 pounds. Yes, I'm that fat. I need to work off the equivalent of one human from my body.

Wish me luck, all. I'm going to need it.

Shipwreck Blog: Helen E., Oregon Coast

Last seen in 1951 after running aground in a storm.

What the sands of the beach cover, they also can uncover, so the Helen E. reappeared last Thanksgiving. Good series of photos showing various stages of the shipwreck, both in 1951 and current.

Hitchens and Totten

Part 1 of a fine interview with my favorite contrarian.

A sparkling nugget from the introduction to the interview:

Hitchens is certainly famous, and is recognized on the street a lot more often than I am. A tall and slightly disheveled man in his fifties rudely interrupted our conversation outside the bar at one point and said "I can't remember your name, but I recognize you from YouTube."

"You should read more," Hitchens said. He didn't remind the man of his name.

Not two minutes later, an attractive young woman walked up to him, squeezed his arm gently, and said "I love you."

"How often does this happen?" I said.

"This," he said and smiled at the pretty young woman, "doesn't happen nearly enough. But that," he said and gestured to the man who recognized him from YouTube and would not go away, "happens too often."

It's always worth contributing to Michael Totten's journalism. He's an independent journalist who supports his travels through contributions from readers.

h/t Instapundit.

Christopher Lee, Heavy Metal Singer?

Looks like it.

Well, Sir Christopher studied and has sung opera, but he's 87 years old, a bit long in the tooth (heh) to start a new career as a heavy metal singer. It sounds like a train wreck waiting to happen.