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Phew!

It is actually less hot today, but it’s maximum muggy. We went to the beach for some relief, and there wasn’t any. It’s usually very windy there.

I was watching the animated weather radar yesterday, and it was the first time I’ve seen a clear sky suddenly blow up with lightning storms. I know that’s what happens in the heat, I’ve just never witnessed it before.

That was over London, though, and people on Twitter were bitching that it was a spectacular thunder and lightning show, but it never rained.

We didn’t even get the lightning.

“Blow me” is, incidentally, entirely harmless here. It’s short for “blow me down” and I’ve only ever heard old people say it. My mother-in-law says it often and I swear I shall lose it one day when she does.

If you want your own ‘blow me’ mug, knock yourself out.

August 13, 2020 — 8:14 pm
Comments: 2

Bones.

There’s an amazing archaeological dig that was done in the Eighties and Nineties in a place called Boxgrove in West Sussex. We heard a talk about it once. One of its exciting features were eight piles of stone chips from the manufacture of flint tools showing various levels of skill. If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, the speaker thought it was maybe the remains of a school for novice flint nappers.

Og’s College of Bang Rocks.

According to a BBC article Uncle B sent me a link to, they’ve re-examined some of the artefacts from the site and they’ve decided the bone tools they found are the oldest known bone tools in Europe.

A shinbone they found is the oldest human remains ever found, at 500,000 years, and belonged to a kind of human that was ancestor to both modern humans and Neanderthals. Whoa.

Scroll down and look at the patchwork rock. Some poor grad student had to take all those chunks of rock and put them back together, so they could pour something into the cracks and discover the shape of the tool made from it. Which, irritatingly, the BBC doesn’t show us.

The bone in the picture doesn’t have anything to do with it, though. It’s just a mammoth bone I nicked off Wikimedia.

August 12, 2020 — 7:59 pm
Comments: 4

I am the Queen of Mayo

I love homemade mayo. I love commercial mayo, for that matter. If anybody tells you they put mayo on their fries here, them ’em they’re a filthy, filthy liar. Maybe on the continent, but Brits aren’t real big on mayo, I am sad to report.

Anyway, my homemade mayo was a little hit or miss. You know the drill: blend an egg yolk then slowly drizzle in the oil. Eh. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

Then I lit on a brilliant recipe online. I’d credit the lady, but that was ages ago and I forget where I saw it. She puts everything in at once and gives is a whizz with a stick mixer. And it works great!

You have to put stuff in in the right order, though. And quantities are important (this last was harder for me to work out because I’m using a non-standard bantam egg).

Whole egg in first (I don’t bother to separate the yolk from the white as my eggs have so little white in proportion).
Then salt and mustard (mustard helps the mayo emulsify, but I also like the zing).
Then any light oil (7/10ths of a cup for my little egg).
Finally, a teaspoon of lemon or vinegar, whichever you prefer to cut the oily taste.

Then zizz it up with the stick mixer, leaving the blades at the bottom until it’s done. The mixer will draw the oil down to itself at just the right pace. Makes a lovely stiff mayo. I make it in a screwtop jar, so there’s nothing to clean up afterwards but the stick mixer.

I really shouldn’t do it with my own eggs, though. My girls aren’t vaccinated against salmonella and they have lots of contact with wild birds.

Death by mayo. Tell everyone it’s how I would have wanted to go.

August 11, 2020 — 7:52 pm
Comments: 15

Waiting for it…

Another hot and humid day today – quite a long hot spell by British standards. It’s just sunset now, and the sky has gone…weird. Orange. Threatening.

Looking high up, I spotted a faint but complete rainbow. It isn’t raining. Or it’s raining so lightly that it just feels like a prickling of your skin.

It’s the apocalypse, isn’t it? Come on, 2020, you’ve been teasing it long enough.

August 10, 2020 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 5

Arrrr, matey!

Now, before you go thinking this is a crap photo, it was actually so far away I could barely see it with the naked eye. Only one of Uncle B’s fancy cameras could capture it at all.

I think it looks neat and heat-wavy.

No idea what it’s about. It was just tootling around the English Channel, in and around the container ships.

Changing the subject, I just chased a fox out of the garden. The chickens were kicking up more of a fuss than usual and I looked out the kitchen window to see a gray fox standing a dozen feet from them, just staring. I let out a whoop, but it’s a long way from the kitchen to the front door.

He was still standing in the same spot when I got out there and didn’t run until I gave chase. Goodness knows why he hesitated, but I’m grateful. All chikkens present and accounted for.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

August 7, 2020 — 7:50 pm
Comments: 13

Elderberries!

Bumper crop this year. I usually pick some of them only to keep them from falling around the front door and getting tracked into the house.

First year here, I tried making elderberry cordial from a recipe I found on the web. It didn’t mention that you have to cook elderberries or they’re poisonous. I drank a thimbleful of the stuff and it was a seriously potent emetic. WHOOOSH went the weasel.

I’ve been shy about them ever since.

I think I might make some jelly or syrup this year, though. I’ll try not to go WHOOOSH.

August 6, 2020 — 7:27 pm
Comments: 9

Turns out, I’m something of an expert

The picture is from a blog post from March, 2009 about toilet paper hoarding. As you can see, our brand of choice in 2009 was Velvet – that’s the one with the creepy little-boy-in-a-suit mascot. Yeah, I posted about him, too. Also, ecologically responsible toilet paper.

And don’t get me started on the number of times I’ve posted about toilets.

Let’s face it: I’m a sophisticate.

Anyway, I went looking down back in the Museum of Toilet Paper, where there are old packets of Andrex stashed. No, they did NOT used emboss puppies on the product. I was sure I would have noticed that.

August 5, 2020 — 7:17 pm
Comments: 3

And it is, too

Man, we’ve used this toilet paper for years and I never noticed it’s embossed with puppies.

I really do not understand the marketing thinking behind this. I mean, sure — puppies are soft and fluffy. So wipe your ass with a puppy?, I guess.

We also have toilet paper marketed with tiger cubs (ouch!) and a little boy in a suit and tie (I dunno, you tell me).

August 4, 2020 — 7:21 pm
Comments: 9

It had to happen

Absolutely jack shit going on in my life, day after day, and what do I do? I schedule two Zoom meetings for the same time. Behold, idiot!

That got me thinking about ships that collided in mid-Atlantic, with a whole vasty ocean to navigate. Which is where I found this picture. It is described thusly:

H.M.S. Hawke in collision with R.M.S. Olympic, 1911.

H.M.S. Hawke was an Edgar class cruiser launched in 1891 and on 20th September 1911 was involved in an accident with the recently launched White Star liner R.M.S. Olympic. Olympic was the largest liner in the world at the time displacing 52,067 tons. In the shallow waters of the Solent, it was suggested that during a turn to starboard, the large amount of water displaced forward by the liner had generated a phenomenon of suction behind. With Hawke overhauling Olympic whilst on a parallel course, this suction may have drawn H.M.S. Hawke on to Olympic causing it to ram the hull on the starboard quarter. Here we can see the flattened bow of Hawke with one of the Portsmouth naval paddle tugs alongside.

The Olympic was a sister ship to the Titanic, though Olympic had a long and useful life. Them White Star ladies sure were accident prone, huh?

Happy Monday.

August 3, 2020 — 6:58 pm
Comments: 10

Dead Pool Round 132: Hot as blazes in here…

High 80s, which is as hot as Britain ever gets. Because of that, though, there’s no air conditioning anywhere, except maybe in cars. So, good day to stay home and stay immobile.

Durnedyankee wins it with Olivia de Havilland. Olivia was a sure thing. Olivia has been a sure thing for upwards of ten years. Olivia was the Actress that Wouldn’t Die. And now she’s dead.

Durned has won before, as has Mrs Durned.

Right. Are we ready?

0. Rule Zero (AKA Steve’s Rule): your pick has to be living when picked. Also, nobody whose execution date is circled on the calendar. Also, please don’t kill anybody. Plus (Pupster’s Rule) no picking someone who’s only famous for being the oldest person alive.

1. Pick a celebrity. Any celebrity — though I reserve the right to nix picks I never heard of (I don’t generally follow the Dead Pool threads carefully, so if you’re unsure of your pick, call it to my attention).

2. We start from scratch every time. No matter who you had last time, or who you may have called between rounds, you have to turn up on this very thread and stake your claim.

3. Poaching and other dirty tricks positively encouraged.

4. Your first choice sticks. Don’t just blurt something out, m’kay? Also, make sure you have a correct spelling of your choice somewhere in your comment. These threads get longish and I use search to figure out if we have a winner.

5. It’s up to you to search the thread and make sure your choice is unique. I’m waayyyy too lazy to catch the dupes. Popular picks go fast.

6. The pool stays open until somebody on the list dies. Feel free to jump in any time. Noobs, strangers, drive-bys and one-comment-wonders — all are welcome.

7. If you want your fabulous prize, you have to entrust me with a mailing address. If you’ve won before, send me your address again. I don’t keep good records.

8. The new DeadPool will begin 6pm WBT (Weasel’s Blog Time) the Friday after the last round is concluded.

The winner, if the winner chooses to entrust me with a mailing address, will receive an Official Certificate of Dick Winning and a small original drawing on paper suffused with elephant shit particles. Because I’m fresh out of fairy shit particles.

July 31, 2020 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 60