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*groan*

chickensedan

Do those chickens look amused? No, they do not. Chickens probably have the least sense of humor of any animal I’ve ever dealt with. Chickens are serious birds.

I’m not taking credit for this stinker. It was sent to me by someone named Mad Ivan.

But the chicken article everyone is sending me is this one: mosquitoes hate the smell of chickens. They are almost never found with chicken blood in their systems, and putting a chicken in a room results in up to 80% fewer mosquitoes landing in the traps.

The BBC’s somewhat bizarre headline for this story is Chicken odour ‘prevents malaria’ research in Ethiopia finds. The Mail’s headline is the rather more jaunty (and accurate) Forget mosquito repellent! Sleeping next to a CHICKEN will keep the blood-sucking insects at bay.

I have not yet convinced Uncle B to try the experiment, even though he suffers horribly from mosquito bites such we have to sleep with all the windows closed and an insecticide plugin. I have made the case that chickens fall asleep instantly when the lights go out, but he’s made the counter-argument that my chickens burble volubly the moment the sun comes up. Stay tuned!

Good weekend, y’all.

July 22, 2016 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 16

Sticks and stones…

tweet

Ladies and gentlemen, my favorite tweet. I don’t know much about Mr the Creator, but he’s a rapper so I’m going to apply stereotypes and assume he’s at least a little bit ghetto. Bullying in his old haunts prolly involved blood loss.

It isn’t much fun to be the target of online abuse. I have been, long ago, not as Stoaty Weasel. But if you get shit on a blog or a forum or Twitter, you have the option to not fucking go there for a while. Not counting having your nudes or your name and address published, which I do see as actual real-world harm, nothing that happens to you in cyber space is real. It’s an essential social skill in [current year] to learn to walk away from, not get wadded up by, strangers in cyberspace trying to get under your skin.

I know, it’s a not-politics week, but I had to mention Milo Yiannapolis’ Twitter permaban, because I’m not sure what the small fry should do about it.

Backstory: Milo got into a slanging match with that black chick from the new Ghostbusters movie. The way I read it, she was ruder to him than he was to her, but because other people went after her with crude racial stuff, he got blamed for incitement. Good writeup of it here, if you care.

In response to the whole business, people were re-tweeting some hair raising things other Twitter users had said without getting banned. Like, advocating cop murder and recruiting for ISIS. All of the obvious pushback is against the right.

For those of you not on Twitter (most of my readership, I think), when a topic is discussed a lot, it appears in the sidebar as “trending”. The #FreeMilo hashtag was trending so hard, it was number three or four (it’s different in different locations) for hours. And then it was just gone. People were still tweeting about it in enormous volumes, but Twitter plucked it off the list and invisibilized it.

Now, I’m not much of a Twitter user. At all. So the obvious thing to do is walk away and hope enough others do so to make an already tanking business model tank harder. But social media have become a beloved crutch for lazy journalists everywhere. Whole tracts of the Daily Mail are just tweets from nobodies now. So what happens when all the nobodies are SJW nobodies?

July 21, 2016 — 9:19 pm
Comments: 16

Jack: 2 Rabbits: nil

jackbunny

Well, technically I suppose it’s Jack: 1 Rabbits: 1. It’s hard to see here (easier to make out in color) but that thing in my right hand is the head of a bunny, which is fortunately still connected to the rest of the rabbit. I distracted Jack just long enough for Mr Buns to get away.

Yes, I felt awful for stealing his rabbit, but I just can’t deal with the screams. He can torture a little animal for hours and hours and never get bored.

Earlier in the day, he (I assume it was he) left quite a large dead one on the front stoop with significant pieces missing. Explains why he never turned up for his Friskies today.

We could use the rabbit control and I’m proud of him for taking down such a big beast (he’s a little squirt). I just wish he’d be a little quicker and cleaner about it, at least when I’m in the garden.

July 20, 2016 — 8:33 pm
Comments: 15

Geography lesson

downsmap

Once upon a time, there was a giant bubble of chalk all around where I’m sitting now. Eventually, the top of it wore off and left a broken ring of chalk hills, now known as the North Downs and the South Downs. ‘Down’ from the Old English dūn, meaning hill. This terrain is now mostly soft, undulating chalk hills covered by a thin cream of short grass.

The white cliffs of Dover you know — that’s the chalky terminus of the North Downs, where it enters the sea. Along its length there are various hill figures made by scraping away the grass to reveal the chalk underneath, like the Long Man of Wilmington.

In the middle of the Downs is the Weald, another Old English word, means ‘forest’ (but it’s not, as you might expect, the related to the word ‘wood’). Most of it was cut down thousands of years ago, but the word “Weald” is still used to describe the area and is incorporated into many local placenames. It must have been a hell of a thing.

All of that was a completely unnecessary setup for this lovely view Uncle B shot this weekend (he’s got a little point-and-shoot camera that does especially good panoramas). It was kind of on the edge of the North Downs, looking due West across the Weald.

The way these country lanes work, there are hedges on either side. Sometimes you can drive for a very long time and see nothing but hedge. And then there’ll be a gate or a break and suddenly — a view! We stop and gawp at this one every year.

You probably have to be there.

July 19, 2016 — 8:24 pm
Comments: 11

Uneasy lies the head that wears the goose

themaster
Shhhhh…Gromulin is on vacation this week and we’ve promised not to harsh his mellow with current events and filthy politics.

And so I give you: the Goose Master.

It was a three fete weekend, and the last of the three was in a village noted for its flock of geese. They peck around the village green and occasionally impede traffic and somehow have managed to avoid Meester Fox all these years. Or, at least, made babies quicker than he can eat them.

The highlight of this village fate is therefore naturally goose-related. To wit, goose-shit bingo. They don’t call it that. I’m not sure what they call it. We used to do something similar with cows back in Rhode Island, but a goose is more exciting as it generally shits itself shortly after being placed in the arena.

Mark the field off in a grid, sell grid positions, release the goose, the square he poops in first is the winner.

thegoose

But this grid has upwards of a thousand positions, I heard someone say, and the prize is the not inconsiderable sum of £500. Serious bidness.

So enter the Goose Master, whose word is law. That’s him. In the hat. With the goose on it.

It’s more exciting than it sounds, at least the first-catch-your-goose phase. They aren’t tame. The poor goose always looks completely gobsmacked to find itself in an arena ringed with clapping humans.

And it shits almost immediately.

But that doesn’t necessarily count — only the first whole and proper poop counts, not some panicked half-hearted evacuation. This year, the poop fell across grid lines and the prize was split.

And a lovely weekend we had for it, too. We’re having a spell of warm weather (at last! We had the heat on repeatedly in June and early July). In a little while, we’re going to crack open a bottle of wine and sit outside under the stars. We can see the Milky Way out where we are.

*raises a glass to Grom*

July 18, 2016 — 8:49 pm
Comments: 9

Interesting times, stay the hell away from me

turkey

Current events, holy shit. The Death Truck in Nice, the coup in Turkey. Shit makes the UK government shuffle look (appropriately) like a tea party.

Feel free to discuss, drop links, whatevs. No weaselsnark from me tonight; I’m sitting here staring at my news feeds in amaze.

July 15, 2016 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 22

Sad weasel

witcher

I don’t mean to name-drop, but our new Home Secretary is the MP for nearby Hastings and Rye and, somewhere out there, there’s a picture of me standing next to her.

She’s a squishy, warmenist cow. *spit*

To celebrate my awesome new video card, I bought the last expansion to the Witcher 3, Blood and Wine. I haven’t played that game since February. Is it sad that I was really pleased and happy to see Geralt again?

Yes, that is definitely sad.

July 14, 2016 — 9:30 pm
Comments: 10

The old card with the new card in his arms

cards

By gum, that’s a big-ass video card. It fit in the case, just. For an awful moment, I thought I didn’t have the right power connector — the old one had two banks of six pins, and this one had a bank of six and a bank of eight — but I found that my old power supply had an extra two pin connector zip-tied to the cable for just such an eventuality.

‘Scuse me, I’m off to play the Witcher Wild Hunt, with that last bit of new DLC.

Oh, by the way, I haven’t disabled the rating system, it’s just not working somehow. I started to hunt down the problem and fix it, but I’m kind of torn. On the one hand, I really liked being able to rate comments, but on the other hand I didn’t think this particular widget was very good. Sometimes I had to refresh the page before my vote would take, and the rating thingie popped up at unwanted times sometimes.

Did y’all have problems with it, too?

July 13, 2016 — 7:04 pm
Comments: 9

The 9 types of combs recognized by the American Poultry Association

combs

Heyyyyyy wait, that’s only eight! I was robbed, random internet article!

I know what you’re thinking: what is that there purty Satan bird with the wicked horns and where can I get me one of them? From the link, I guess it’s either an Appenzeller, Crevecoeur, Houdan, La Fleche or Sultan. Yeah, I dunno either.

Not obvious in the picture: the strawberry comb is more of a raspberry comb, with a deep indentation in the middle. Couldn’t help thinking about all the shit that would get in there and get infected and stuff.

Chickens have the best resting bitchfaces in the aminal kingdom, don’t they?

The Labour Party is descending into farce. Jeremy Corbyn is a bugfuck-crazy Marxist Bernie Sanders type. He won party leadership by a huge margin because the chirruns love him, but he’s electoral poison. The other Labour MP’s have tried in vain to kick him out of the nest, so they put his deputy up to run against him for leadership. In fact, they weren’t even going to put his name on the ballot at all, but they lost their nerve on that. The chirruns would kill them. They’re already throwing bricks through his challenger’s headquarters window.

I’d enjoy the hell out of this if the Tories weren’t such shit right now.

See? I’ll make you beg for chikken blogging!

July 12, 2016 — 9:40 pm
Comments: 13

She’s no Maggie

theresa_may

Ladies and gentlemen, our new Prime Minister. After a firehose of yellow journalism was turned on any competitors until they all dropped out, there will not even be a vote of the party faithful. She will be installed this week.

By way of introduction, this is the woman who coined the term “the nasty party” for her own party — and it wasn’t a compliment. She often sounds more Labour than Tory. She speaks approvingly of taxes as “the price we pay to live in a civilized society” (like they don’t pay taxes in the world’s shit-holes). She’s been our Home Secretary for the past six years, and has made a reputation as an appeaser and squish.

In short, a dreadful choice.

And my bike is still busted. But my new video card is on the way!

July 11, 2016 — 9:57 pm
Comments: 23