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Ye olde swirley

Here’s an interesting article from the BBC: local groups searching churches to catalogue Medieval graffiti. (I would also direct you to the Suffolk group and the Norfolk group for many more pictures).

Basically, it’s a bunch of amateurs (with professional guidance) fanning out across England to document and record ancient church graffiti. The project started in Norfolk in 2010.

2010. Seriously. That fascinating stuff has been hanging around for, like, a thousand years and nobody has formally cataloged and examined it. It blows my mind.

I can’t tell you how strange and common that is here — this weird lack of curiosity about local history — but I can kind of tell you why.

For hundreds of years, serious historians concentrated on Roman Britain. Those generations of academics who believed Greek and Roman culture were the high point of civilization — and that was, let’s face it, most of the modern era — were inclined to be embarrassed by what they saw as the primitive customs of the locals before the edifying arrival of Caesar’s boys.

To these people, the Medieval era was just a sinking back into provincial ignorance — do they still call it the Dark Ages? — the long snooze of Western Civ, waiting to be rescued by Italian culture again (i.e. the Renaissance).

Modern academics are much more inclined to revere primitive cultures. But the peoples who love pagan-y things tend to be Lefties. And Lefties believe showing the slightest interest in English things is raaaaacisssssst.

So there you have it. There are all these amazing places and objects and boxes of bones squirrelled away all over the country, unexamined. Every once in a while an academic turns something over with his toe and goes, “huh.”

Makes me crazy.

July 23, 2014 — 10:40 pm
Comments: 7

Things that are old and give me moneys

I try to keep my secret identity as lovable, wisecracking internet weasel and my j.o.b. as far apart as possible, for obvious reasons. But I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to reveal that my new employer is a historical/archeological society — because there are so many in this area that hardly narrows it down at all.

In many ways, it’s my dream job — a little light clerical work, some audio-visual stuff, photographing and cataloguing the collection when I have time. I mean, holy shit. Perfect.

On the other hand, like all organizations of this kind, most of the work is done by volunteers. So I’m working next to people who are doing it for free, which makes me feel a bit of a ratbag. Except, I end up volunteering, too. I reckon I do at least two free hours for every paid hour.

Still and all, it’s going really well. I love it. And the important thing is, I have a bunch of keys, a desk, an alarm to wake up to and a boss to push me around again. Heaven!

July 22, 2014 — 9:27 pm
Comments: 26

Moar storm

Everybody has a story about Friday’s storm, but I still haven’t seen any official suggestion it was anything but a typical Summer thunderboomer. You can see the leading edge of it again in the photo above (credit to this guy). Tenterden (where that picture was taken) had anecdotal reports of a funnel cloud, but that’s not official either.

It’s amazing the stuff that can happen without much official notice — before, during or after. Occasionally, the sea sneaks in and steals a village here. They are placid people.

Anyway, this is now officially my favorite weather event EVAR. And I just love weather.

And, yes — with the death of James Garner, the Dead Pool is officially won (step forward, Platypuss!). That means…Dead Pool 67! Friday! 6WBT!

July 21, 2014 — 11:01 pm
Comments: 15

The big blow

Today, everybody was talking about the storm (except any of the news sites, for some reason). There were rumors of a tornado. Certainly, the whole business started off very effing strange indeed.

It had been an unusually hot day for England and thunderstorms were predicted in the afternoon. Everyone who was outside agreed you could stand and watch the storm come. On the one side sun, and behind it roared a great fist of cloud. It hit with a sudden blast. I’ve never felt wind like it. It blew junk from the garden straight through the house. I had to lean my entire bodyweight against the front door to get it to shut and latch.

The extreme wind only lasted ten minutes or so, but there was a pretty good thunderstorm behind it blowing all night long. We lost power early on so we sat in the dark and drank wine. After which I slept through most of it.

I tried to get a picture of the approaching monster — the sun was going down and those first clouds were dyed orange, with an absolutely sharp edge because it was moving so damned fast. It was an amazing thing to see. Alas, that’s when I discovered I busted my camera when I dropped it earlier. By the time I fetched another camera, it just looked like a regular old thunder boomer, see above. And in color.

And that’s why no post yesterday.

July 19, 2014 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 29

Sorry ’bout that

Friday’s post was pre-empted by the most hellacious thunderstorm. The leading edge of it was a blast of wind out of a clear blue sky that was like nothing I’ve felt before (and I played in Hurricane Gloria until the cops fussed at me). It blew garden debris the length of the house. Took my full weight leaning against the door to get it shut and latched.

Anyway, needless to say, we’ve been without power most of the night. All seems well now, but I’ve got to run. When I get back, I’ll see if any of the pictures I took do it justice.

— 8:09 am
Comments: 5

Holy toast!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation. Your message here.

I see Obama and Bob Dobson and a fleur de lis and a crab and a Star of David and, hey, looks like it’s 4:20 if you wanted to spark a doobie. And if you’ve already sparked a doobie, check out their awesome whirly toast dingus. You can make the toast go ’round and ’round and ’round…

Yeah, sorry for the novelty toast blogging. I’ve been watching the news today (and every day lately) with that “everything’s going to shit” feeling and I just know instinctively these issues don’t call for my special brand of retarded bullshit. So have a little untopical freelance retarded bullshit, on the house.

Hey, I was torn between novelty toast and baby meerkat.

July 17, 2014 — 9:35 pm
Comments: 26

We just missed it…

Lookie here. Somebody’s done made a crop circle near the Long Man of Wilmington. Here’s an aerial view of the Long Man on Google Earth. Squinting at the map, I don’t think it’s the field directly at his feet, I think it’s the field above and to the left of that.

Do poke around Google Earth. It’s always cool to explore England like so. I’m sorry to say, they no longer think the Long Man is Stone Age. More like 17th or 18th Century.

What’s non-obvious from the overhead shot is that he’s on the side of a very steep hill. We climbed up to him once — there’s a footpath both above and below him — and it was one of our most memorable outings ever. Just as dusk fell, a great thick cloud poured over the top of the hill, swallowing up the giant. And us, eventually.

I’m not surprised the farmer in the article is pissed. Between the crop circle and the people going to look at the crop circle, he’s probably out a few hundred pounds in wheat. They’re bringing the crops in now.

We were there just a couple of weeks ago — he’s a couple miles outside Alfriston, where we had lunch.

We didn’t do it, though. I swears.

July 16, 2014 — 10:30 pm
Comments: 16


Uncle B had to go up to London tonight. It’s always “up” to London, by the way. Traditionally. And “down” from London to anywhere else, even if it’s to the North. But as it happens, London is North of here, so I’d be saying “up” in any case.

As he works from home, this is the first time I’ve been alone in this house in, like, six month. I’m'onna eat Doritos and play Hearthstone!

July 15, 2014 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 28


I’m going to recommend another egregious lefty entertainment product to you: A History of the World in 100 Objects. It’s one hundred handy fun-sized fifteen-minute BBC podcasts based around objects in the British Museum and it’s very cool.

The series ran daily for twenty weeks starting way back in January of 2010, but the whole thing is still available (at the link) for downloading. Also, have a look around the website — it’s cool, too, and includes much more than a hundred objects, in part because they solicited listener submissions. I’ve talked about this series before, but I’m currently re-listening to it from the beginning.

The objects are awesome, but the bias is unmistakable from the beginning. The narration was written and read by the curator of the BM, a lefty cunt-whistle named Neil MacGregor.

Take the above object. It’s a little sandal tag carved out of hippopotamus ivory for Den, one of the earliest Pharoahs of Egypt. Wikipedia says: “Den is said to have brought prosperity to his realm and numerous innovations are attributed to his reign.” Which is the sort of observation we used to make about kings.

MacGregor says this object shows that powerful men have used war and the propaganda of war to control their own people from the beginning of civilization. He called it sadly familiar. To support this contention, he brought in an editorial cartoonist (bound to be from the Guardian, though I was too lazy to check) who said yes, indeedy, he also sometimes drew important people larger than ordinary people. So there you have it.

I’m not reading too much into this, I promise. 2010 was Peak Butthurt over the Iraq War, and he was very clearly calling out Bush’n'Blair.

The BBC is all but unavoidable in this country. We often bitch about it, Uncle B and I. The steady drip-drip-drip of cynical lefty worldview gets into your head no matter how hard you push back. I think it was Melanie Phillips who first described the modern Left as an auto-immune disease: us bad, not-us good. Over and over, all day long. It works its way into the dispirited bones of the unwary.

To this day, they can find a George Bush joke in the gardening program.

Just saying. Listen to the podcasts anyway. Despite everything, there are some wonderful objects and fascinating facts in there. And fifteen minutes is the perfect chunk size for doing doing chores.

July 14, 2014 — 11:23 pm
Comments: 9

Stupid Kindle tricks

Did you know you could email stuff to your Kindle? I learned this recently. I know, I know…moving stuff to the Kindle the regular way is as easy as finding…that goddamned…has anybody seen my Kindle cable?? Forget it.

Go to Amazon>>my account>>manage my Kindle>>settings and it’ll give you an email address for every device you have registered as a Kindle. I have four: my original Kindle, which shat the bed, Uncle B’s Kindle, which I stole when mine shat the bed, a Kindle account for my deskop PC and another for my Android tablet. Each has a separate address. Email stuff to that address, turn on your wifi, and it shoots your text down Whispernet, easy-peasy.

While I’m here — I think I probably mentioned this before — let me recommend Longreads to you. It’s an aggregator of longform journalism — something I can’t bear to read on my PC, but I really have gotten into for Kindle. Don’t ask me the difference, there just is one, okay?

You do NOT have to pay to subscribe. Sign up for the weekly mailing list. When the newsletter comes, press the “read now” button. In the window that opens, choose get them as a Readlist. Next window, choose Send to Kindle (there are other options, like iPhone and Dropbox, if you’d rather). Then give it your Kindle email address and away you go.

I know that sounds like ass-ache, but it isn’t really, and it downloads half a dozen long articles to your dingus in an easy-to-navigate menu’d package.

Ordinarily, I’d ask you to be a good nettizen and give them some money for this service, but a) I think $3 a month is a lot to ask and b) particularly when they don’t actually write any of it, they just collect it. Which I think is a bit cheeky.

And c) Dude. This is long form journalism. Modern journalism at its snootiest. It’s usually good, well-researched stuff, and worth a read, but holy shit is it ever chock full of lefty bullshit. You really have to turn your crap-o-meter on high to make it through. And maybe skip a few of the worst ones.

Good weekend, everyone!

July 11, 2014 — 10:59 pm
Comments: 17