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God Bless America

shockwave jet truck

Say ‘allo to my leetle fren’, Shockwave. He’s a Peterbilt mounted with three Pratt & Whitney J34-48 jet engines (angled slightly downward so it doesn’t launch itself directly into the stratosphere). Zero to 300 mph in 11 seconds and burns 400 gallons of fuel per mile on a speed run. And THIS, my friends, is why we simply must drill in ANWR.

Yep. I went to the RI Air Show this Saturday. The British Red Arrows (the RAF’s version of the Blue Angels) were there. They got here by hopping from England to Scotland to Iceland to Greenland to Northern Canada to the civilized world. Uncle B sent me a Red Arrows t-shirt last year, so I had to wear it. Turned out to be a collosal mistake, since they weren’t selling Red Arrow merchandice at the show (pff! Brits!). I nearly got mugged for it, when I wasn’t being mistaken for Red Arrow support staff.

There were some fantastic stunt pilots there, but Weasel’s into the milporn. And there was plenty and plenty of it. Quonset was once our main Navy pilot training base (it’s a peninsula, and the wind from the ocean apparently simulates a deck landing especially well). It’s an aviation museum now, so it’s all over the place with the decommissioned aircraft.

Sadly, the planes on the ground were covered in children, and the ones in the air were too fast or too far away for me to catch properly (a few pics on my Flickr page. Please to ignore all the typos and sorting errors I just noticed).

It was awesome.

At one point, a stunt pilot flew in low, raised the nose until the belly of the plane faced the crowd, and waggled it side to side in a maneuver I cannot begin to wrap my head around the aerowotsis of. The woman next to me said, “wow! But…I can’t help thinking about all that wasted fuel.”

Liberalism really is a mental disease, isn’t it?

June 30, 2008 — 2:57 pm
Comments: 40

Extra crispy stoat

negative weasel

Oof! Went to an airshow yesterday. Damaged my ankle, pulled a muscle in my back and burned myself to a fine, crispy fire-engine scarlet.

It was awesome!

June 29, 2008 — 7:21 am
Comments: 46

Don’t talk to me; I’m sulking

ink drips

Rats! Damn! Pooh! Argh! Zounds! Piffle! My Photoshop has learned a new trick: shutting itself down without warning, dumping my work in the process. Bad, BAD Photoshop.

My boss is taking Fridays off for the rest of the Summer, so I spent today drawing you a pitcher. And it was coming out real good. Srsly.

No, I hadn’t saved. Don’t rub it in.

THIRTY people in this building are retiring today. The company isn’t in trouble or anything; it’s a boring artifact to do with how our pensions are calculated. After breakfast, I spent the morning drifting from cake to cake. And then it was time for lunch. After which, some vendor sent us steak sandwiches as a thank-you for some damn thing somebody in our group did. I’m unclear on the details.

…it was a picture of a great bloated sack of a weasel…

Anyhoo, one of the retirees is an engineer with almost 45 years with the company. I was once in his chain of command. Nice enough man, but boy — what an engineer. He sat down with my boss and me one day years ago and tried to come up with guidelines for the design of publications. I’ll never forget it. One of the questions he asked was, “what is the optimum percentage of white space on a page?”

In case thou art not graphically inclined, this makes as much sense as asking an engineer to write guidelines for composing pop music, including the optimum number of oh, babys per love song.

I know you guys don’t like to hear it, but there are problems for which an engineering approach is ill-suited.

There: time to slide down the brontosaurus. It’s Friday! Let’s go home and drink!

June 27, 2008 — 4:18 pm
Comments: 35

It’s the Circle of Liiiiiiiiiife

worms playing cards


Well! As of today, all (but one) of the original complement of pussoes at the shelter have either been adopted or…done that other thing. I think, with that, my grossly misplaced sense of personal responsibility is more or less satisfied. I think I’ll give Meowschwitz a rest for a while.

There’s a retired dude who tends to show up just as I’m leaving and I have the feeling I horned in on his gig. The front office calls him “the second shift” and the kittehs are, like, “no thanks, we’ve already eaten and had head skritchies.”

But fear not. It’s never long before I find more of somebody else’s bidness to stick my snout into.

June 26, 2008 — 12:34 pm
Comments: 76

Things that are not right

cremainsIn a continuation of my apparent blog death wish, recent comments got me thinking about when I had my tomcat Roughly put down. He got kidney cancer, poor lad, when he was about twelve.

The vet left the timing entirely up to me. I would have appreciated some guidance, actually. Different vet. Didn’t like him either.

If you go through this, make sure they’re giving your animal the sleepy, tranquilizer stuff. Because there’s another stuff that’s more of a stimulant. It’s quick, but beloved pet has enough time to let out a last yelp. This is not nice at all.

I lived downtown and yardless, so when they asked if I wanted him cremated, I didn’t have much choice. And when they asked if I wanted the ashes back, I said I guess so. I thought he had a better chance of being handled individually that way. I’m not usually sentimental about remains, but it just didn’t seem right to send out the Best Cat Ever cheek by jowl with somebody’s schnauzer (though I suppose that’s what actually happened anyway).

I forgot about it until several weeks later, when they called me to pick him up. I thought the box was strangely heavy. Inside was a big white marble urn!

My mom? She came back to me in a plastic baggie sealed with a twist-tie.

June 25, 2008 — 2:45 pm
Comments: 56



Charlotte had her annual checkup and vaccinations today (got to keep current if we’re going to get her into the UK. Damien? You got one more week, bud). They poked many holes in her. She cried all the way there and sulked all the way home.

She doesn’t know the half of it. She goes back in two weeks to have all her teeth pulled.

She’s got a bad case of the Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions, which is a dreadful disease to try to write a blues song about. It’s when the cells that are designed to resorb calcium into the bloodstream work faster than the ones that lay down new calcium. Basically, her teeth are eating themselves.

As many as a third of our domestic moggies have got some dental resorption going on — often below the gumline, so you have no idea until it’s too late. They’ve only been aware that this happens since, like, the ’70s.

I was kind of hoping to hold off until we got her over the pond (I don’t like my vet much), but I looked it up and discovered that the condition is impossibly painful. This guy says it’s so painful, a cat under general anesthesia will still react if you poke a lesion. So, ow.

I hope they leave her fangs. She’ll look stupid without. Other than that, cats don’t look funny without their teeth, on account of they don’t really have lips.

My old ginger tom Roughly had all his teeth pulled in old age. I took the day off work to look after him. As luck would have it, it was the day Hurricane Gloria landed in Rhode Island. It was wild. My apartment was in an old, drafty former boarding house and, when the wind really got going, it lifted up the carpets and made them ripple like the sea.

Old Roughly was bombed out of his tiny hairy skull and he weaved his way across a rolling, heaving floor like, “dude! I am so wasted! The floor is moving!”

June 24, 2008 — 2:24 pm
Comments: 67

Think what your windshield would look like if they really did have wings

ghost dog

So, Uncle B says to me, “you’ve been really dour on your blog lately.” (Which he pronounces like “poor.” Cracks me up. This is bad, on account of when he tell me he’s in a dour mood, is not to snicker). I told him I’d lighten up this week.

I lied.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the doggie suicide bridge. It’s near Dumbarton in Western Scotland. In the last fifty years, fifty dogs have leapt to their deaths off this thing.

It’s always long-nosed breeds, it’s always on a clear day, and they always jump off at the same spot — the last low parapet on the right-hand side of the bridge, facing the estate.

Naturally, they’re blaming my cousin. Not the one who lives in Alabama, they’re blaming stinky minks. Minks are not native to the UK; they were introduced for the fur trade and got away from it just about the time dogs began offing themselves here. There’s a thriving population of them locally, and my goodness they do smell.

Smell would explain the long-nose breeds and the clear weather, but why the same spot every time?

Boo! Happy Monday!

June 23, 2008 — 1:34 pm
Comments: 30

Happy solstice!

happy solstice -- I knitted you a weasel

June 21, 2008 — 8:43 am
Comments: 49

Things that really should not be rendered in soft, colorful yarn

knitted fetus



That? It’s a knitted fetus change purse. If you knit, you can make your own. Yeah, I’m down here at the AntiCraft. I got here via the Yay or Nay section of Crafty Crafty (where you’ll also find cheerfuller things like knitted meat and felt blenders). How I got here, I cannot say.

Can somebody come get me, please? It’s dark and cold here and it’s Friday and I’d really like to go home now.




June 20, 2008 — 12:57 pm
Comments: 38

What stuff looks like in my head, part one


I tried to model what numbers look like in my head, as described in yesterday’s post. It turned out remarkably boring, so I quit after one.

On a lighter note, my electrical box passed inspection today!

That’s not a euphemism for lunchtime sex or anything.

June 19, 2008 — 2:53 pm
Comments: 51