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Gimme a ‘T’!

last light of 2007
Traditionally, I take one last photograph of the very last sunset of the year, just as the light goes out on New Year’s Eve. Tonight I was putting away the groceries and…ummm …forgot (but, on the up side, Asda had fountain pens for 79p each! w00t!).

So this is a photo of the penultimate sundown of 2007, shot yesterday during a sprightly walk along the Channel. The big T is a navigation aid of some kind. <shrug>

New Year’s Eve is a time for looking back on the old year — because, let’s face it, coming up with bullet lists is a hell of a lot easier than pulling original content out of your ass before Champagne Time. Me, I didn’t actually get around to compiling my lists, but here are some topics I considered posting about:

 

· The ten vilest smells of 2007
· Killing adorable small animals wounded by my cats; a retrospective
· The top seven remarks I blurted out and then instantly regretted
· What hurts: a musculoskeletal year in review
· 2007: Be fair, it sucked less than 2006
· Movies, music, television, books: things I didn’t pay the slightest attention to this year

I could go on, but then I wouldn’t be drinking, would I? Forty five minutes to the new year in Jollye Olde. Happy 2008, Minions!

December 31, 2007 — 7:17 pm
Comments: 29

Saturday? I overslept!

December 29, 2007

Last Weekend Weasel of the year, and I nearly forgot. Okay, I did remember last night…but by that time, I was sprawled in front of a big fire with a glass of cava balanced on my stomach full of a boozy joie de vivre. Photoshop? I don’t think so…

December 29, 2007 — 1:46 pm
Comments: 28

A dyer dying here has died and thus dyed for the last time

That was the last line of an epic poem written by my grandfather about a fatal accident in a dye plant in Dyersburg, Tennessee. So, ummm…Hugh Massingberd, obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph, died on Christmas Day. The obits are my favorite part of the Telegraph, and (though I didn’t know it) Massingberd is the reason why. He reinvented the genre from the ground up, turning dry just-the-facts into swashbuckling and slightly loopy shortstories.

The military ones are the BEST. Here’s Mark Steyn recalling a few of his favorites:

Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Sanders, who accepted an invitation to lunch from the same Waziri tribesman who a few days earlier had blown him up and cost him his right arm; Bunny Roger, the Mayfair “aesthete” who marched through German lines brandishing a rolled-up copy of Vogue; Warrant Officer “Muscles” Strong, who interrupted his Chinese captors’ lectures on western imperialism with cries of “Bollocks!”; Sir “Honker” Henniker, Bt., an Indian Army brigadier who enjoyed being saluted by his elephants; Charles Upham, the New Zealander who charged two German machine-gun nests singlehanded and is one of only three men in history to be awarded two Victoria Crosses. When my wife’s uncle died, the paper noted that, before leaving for Normandy by glider on D-Day to seize the bridges over the River Orne, he purchased a newsboy’s entire supply of the first edition of the London Evening Standard so that the men who’d landed before dawn would be able to read press accounts of their exploits on the very same day. The Telegraph’s anthologies of military obituaries (edited by David Twiston-Davies) are highly recommended, and a very moving parade of astonishing courage punctuated by dotty elan.

On further search, though, it turns out the one I remember best wasn’t an obit at all. It’s an excerpt from the journal of Capt Robert McLaren, who operated behind Japanese lines in the second World War, and it appeared in the health section under do-it-yourself-appendectomy:

“Made incision through skin, spread the muscle layers with the end of the spoon, bared the appendix, tied off and buried the stump. Healed in three days. Japs pushed in. Took to the hills.”

Some people make you feel like a COMPLETE waste of human skin,
don’t they?

December 28, 2007 — 9:56 am
Comments: 9

Being a foreigner: harder than it looks

weasel crossing

Uncle B and I were out grocery shopping today and I noticed something I guess I’m going to have to get used to. At the sound of my foreign accent, people start and turn to look at me (if nothing else, that tells you how far out of London we are).

It’s not so bad; when they realize what they just did, most people give me a sheepish smile.

I work with a man who is missing the littlest two fingers of his right hand. I didn’t know it until I shook his hand and then — it was completely involuntary — I started and stared down at our handshake. It felt so indefinably…wrong. He must get tired of that look, day after day. Me, I just get grinned at.

Many and high-larious are the zany miscommunications between Weasel and Badger. Like this here thing. The sign up there. It was part of my Christmas loot.

B: It’s Chinese, I guess.
S: What?
B: Weasel zhing.
S: You’re pulling my leg, right?
B: Well, I thought it might be pronounced Weasel ching, but I looked up all the variations I could think of and didn’t find it.

He thought it was a slogan, like “grrl power” or “ban the bomb” or “weasels rule, badgers drool.” Poor bastard; he’ll buy me anything with a weasel on it. Most of which seems to come from California.

For the record, they spell it out here: Crossing. It’s all part of their “use more stuff than strictly necessary on signage” campaign. Way Out for Exit. Give Way for Yield.

December 27, 2007 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 15

Happy Boxing Day!

boxing gloves

Happy Boxing Day, everyone! I was all excited until Uncle Badger told me Boxing Day doesn’t mean what I thought it did.

Huh. That’s what he thinks.

December 26, 2007 — 7:21 pm
Comments: 13

Loot. Swag. Plunder. Booty. STUFF!

weasel's christmas tree

Do you know why Christmas is so all-consuming crazy-making to your typical seven year old? Because a seven year old might — just might — find the thing he wants most in all the world tucked under the tree on Christmas morning.

Imagine for a moment you could have come down stairs this morning to find Santa Claus had paid off your mortgage, or left you a villa in the South of France, or fixed your teeth or made you a rock star or…you know, brought about world peace or some junk. Yeah, you bet you’d've been up at the crack of dawn today, pissing yourself with excitement.

You didn’t outgrow the magic; your wish-list simply got unreasonable.

This holiday time of year, when our society is battered from the right and the left (respectively) for its irreligion and shallow commercialism, please join me in remembering what Christmas is really all about: it’s about the STUFF, man! It’s about the swag, the booty, the sweet treats under the tree. It’s about giving each other useless toys and silly gadgets and some very nice things we can’t really afford, too. It’s about eating things that are costly and bad for us and having a dram or five of the good stuff from the back of the liquor cabinet. It’s about self-indulgence.

You know I’m right.

We’re in a happy, astonishing time and place, the first of our kind to be free of the constant grubby preoccupation with mere survival. We are scouts, explorers in this new world of post-evolutionary luxury, and this is the one day a year we give ourselves over to it utterly. Don’t feel ashamed. Don’t — on this day of all days — feel guilt.

Stand with Uncle Badger and me and say “fuck it — it’s Christmas!”

And have one more slice of something roasted in lard.

December 25, 2007 — 5:59 pm
Comments: 26

Melly Clismouse

melly clismouse

 

 

Oh, sure, it looks cute.

When the weather turned this Fall, a plague of cold mice descended on Badger House. Uncle B found them in the trap, roughly one rodent per day. Dead, if he was lucky. Otherwise, he had an unpleasant deal of mouse-dispatchin’ to do.

The Maternal B — his mum — bought him this festive holiday rodent to commemorate all his festive holiday rodent skull-smashing.

That’s not the good part. This is the good part. It’s the song he sings when you press his belly.

I’ll bet you a shiny new penny that’s We Wish You a Merry Christmas sung by a Chinese woman who doesn’t speak a word of English.

Melly Clistmas, minions!

 

 

December 24, 2007 — 6:48 pm
Comments: 16

Meh. Math.

Friday December 21

December 21, 2007 — 11:50 pm
Comments: 19

Math with Stoaty!

british free range turkey

petrol station

 

Hiho, minions! Let’s play the Merry Christmas Exchangemathemohoogical drinking game!

One kilogram = 2.20462262 pounds
One gallon = 3.7853118 liters
Today’s exchange rate is $1.98440 to £1

Calculators ready? That turkey up there weighs 18.2432521805 pounds. It costs $8.09197722blahblahblah per pound. So the price tag on that bad boy is $147.619516.

Merry Christmas! Take a swig!

Okay! Petrol (isn’t that a charming word?) is £1.03 a liter (I’ll give ‘em the .9 for free). That’s $2.04932 per liter. Which works out to $7.7371243blahblahjesuschristouchthat hurts per gallon.

Merry Christmas! Take a swig!

People wonder why Britons drink. I haven’t even made it to the parsnips and I’m pissed as a newt.

I wouldn’t dream of living here if I could do math in my head.

 

— 8:09 pm
Comments: 34

If I just woke up, it’s breakfast

champaign and fire

 

 

The trip was uneventful, but so very, very long. I carried on bravely and as long as I could, like the courageous weasel that I am, but finally crashed out and slept the happy, dreamless sleep of the rabid and feral. Uncle B just woke me up with a bottle of champagne.

It isn’t the best champagne, but very drinkable and plenty good enough to get me out of bed and into some serious drinking.

Huzzah! Christmas is here!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 20, 2007 — 8:44 pm
Comments: 13