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Saw the chicken pusher today…

Awwwww…dang it to poop! I made you a movie of the Chicken Man’s chickens, but Pinnacle Studio is barfing it up when I go to render it (I love Pinnacle Studio, but it sure goes on the rag a lot). Now I’m late, late, late and no time to fix it.

Here’s a quick recap.

Went to see our chicken guy today. He had many fine birds, but no bantams. He’ll have some bantams in a couple of weeks, though they’ll be a bit older than I’d like. He doesn’t know what colors; his bantam guy gets ratty when he asks and never gives him the right answer anyway. Sounds like Bantam Guy has issues.

Chicken Man is a heckuva guy, though, and is really trying to make a go of it, so we bought lots of other stuff. Shavings. Corn. A run for the new girls to keep Mapp and Lucia from killing them when they’re small and tempting.

I’m casting around on the chicken forums and looking at local bulletin boards. Lots of people raise these things.

On the way home, we stopped in a little antique shop and got talking with the owners. Chicken people. Turns out Antiques Dude used to be a zookeeper and one of his jobs was killing chickens to feed to the animals. He demonstrated the pull-and-twist method, but really prefers putting an air gun pellet in their heads.

So I learned something!

The End.

March 31, 2011 — 11:05 pm
Comments: 13

w00t! I caught the Easter Bunny!

Heard a commotion in the henhouse, and found this in the nest box. I reckon if your chicken passes a bunny, it’s an Easter miracle.

Pursuant to the daffodils of yesterday, I give you the natural calendar of Sussex:

Snowdrops first, February sometime. Then daffodils, March.

Then lambs (and bunnies) — the very first in March, most in April.

May. It’s my birthday and the whole place explodes in white — the hawthorn and blackthorn hedges, and the plum trees and apple trees. The elderflowers. All bloom snowy white.

Then begins the long Summer fête season. June, July, August. (I’m on the church fête committee this year. I hope you appreciate the hilarity). Crops from the gardens and the local fruit farms. The Perseid Meteor Showers.

Then September, November. Elderberries and blackberries. Harvest Festival. Uncle B’s birthday. The Sussex bonfire season begins.

Thanksgiving (okay, I snuck that one onto the Limey calendar). Christmas.

Then…ugh. The six, eight weeks of cold and gray between Christmas and snowdrops is mighty grim. Our anniversary in the middle doesn’t liven it up much.

Still, ten months of stuff to look forward to is a pretty good go. I don’t remember such regular seasonal markers back home. I hiked in all four seasons, so it’s not that I was completely oblivious to nature. I guess the cubicle ate so much of my time.

I’m one wimple short of a Medieval Book of Hours here.

March 30, 2011 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 33


At long last, Spring. Everywhere we go, the roadsides and hillsides are splattered daffodils. Thousands of them in their several colors, all along the main roads and down tiny country lanes. It’s spectacular.

Thing is, these things don’t grow wild. They spread a bit on their own, but first someone has to plant them, way out along sheep fields in the back end of nowhere.

The government doesn’t do it. Somebody — really, a lot of somebodies, over a lot of years — dropped a few quid, bought a few bulbs and spent an afternoon digging holes. They did the math and worked out that, for a couple of hours and a couple of pounds, they could do something everyone (selves included) would enjoy year after year.

Multiply that by an army, and you’ll have some idea of the show the daffs put on.

The word “community” is much abused in our time. When lefties use it — and they use it a lot — they mostly mean a group of people who share a grievance and band together to demand redress from the government.

No, this is community — this gentle, anonymous gift.

March 29, 2011 — 10:45 pm
Comments: 23

Awwww. Sorry, Norman

We went to London Saturday. No, no…we didn’t meet up with the Socialist Rent-a-mob, we went to a Norman Rockwell exhibit at the excellent Dulwich Gallery. First time Rockwell has been shown over here.

The critics here (who probably thought Tracy Emin’s Bed was geeenius) greeted the show with predictable sniffy put-downery. For them art, like medicine, doesn’t work unless there’s something bitterly unpleasant about it.

And the public? It was the Dulwich’s most popular show ever. They sold out of show catalogs two weeks before the end.

I’d never seen a Rockwell original. I was prepared to be disappointed. Rockwell relied heavily on carefully posed photographs and I hate illustration that leans too hard on photo reference — because I had to do a huge amount of that in my career (hey, I worked for an engineering company. Accuracy outweighed my artistic pretensions every…single…time).

It has a certain look. Tracing a photo and making the result look artistic is a totally different mental process than staring at something then turning away and trying to rebuild it on paper. The latter is harder work and almost always results in something more interesting to look at.

Anyhow, I was wrong. Totally, totally wrong. Norman Rockwell was a superb painter. His canvases — particularly the early ones — had a Dutch masters quality, with thick, creamy impasto and beautiful finish. Most were big — bigger than I expected — but he worked in many sizes. And there were plenty of loose, painterly studies. And some beautiful pencil drawings!

How he did thousands of paintings (over 4,000 — 323 Post covers alone) in that quality at that size with that much preliminary work…honestly, I do not know. As a matter of personal taste, I could wish he dialed down the schmaltz just a pinch, but as a matter of painterly chops, dude was a genius.

Turns out, the most reproduced artist EVER really doesn’t reproduce all that well.

March 28, 2011 — 10:53 pm
Comments: 42

ROUND TWELVE: a dozen people died for this!

Finally, a winner! After five months, Liz Taylor has won her last dick (congratulations, harbqll). I never liked Liz, but I read Camille Paglia‘s take and changed my mind a little (Paglia is a lefty nutcase, but I have a sneaking fondness for her exuberance).

Right! The roolz:

1. Pick a celebrity. Any celebrity — though I reserve the right to nix picks I never heard of.

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?

5. It’s up to you to search the thread and make sure your choice is unique. I’m waayyyy too lazy. 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 don’t want the fabulous prize, you’re too smart to be a regular. It takes me forever to put them in the mail, packages go by slow boat, typically take minimum eight to ten weeks and lose the will to live along the way.

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

The fabulous prize? Sweasel dot com’s unofficial sponsor, Aunty’s Spotted Dick! Mmmmm…it’s dickalicious!

March 25, 2011 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 152

Good news! Words don’t mean things anymore!

I hope Gaddafi is enjoying his airstrikes, humanitarian intervention, kinetic military action, time-limited, scope-limited military action, skittle-pooping unicorns!

Looks like Obama WTF again!

See y’all here tomorrow 6pm WBT for the new Dead Pool. Looks like my new server is every bit as shit as the old one. I’ll set it up to autopost, so if it’s locked up, just keep refreshing. Good luck!

March 24, 2011 — 11:15 pm
Comments: 22


By now, I know you’re all asking yourselves, “sure, but what does Stoaty think about this here Libya adventure?”

In principle, I’m all for it. We should have smashed Gadaffi flat forty years ago.

Having such explicit anti-assassination policy is extremely stupid of us. And kind of unAmerican. In the case of Gaddafi (or Castro or Saddam), we’re saying it’s morally better to let millions of little guys suffer and thousands die than to kill the one raving nutcase princeling causing the problem. Doesn’t add up.

Not that we should travel ’round the world killin’ bad guys. That’s an idea for a comic book, not a foreign policy. But we also shouldn’t promise faithfully that we’ll never, ever target the man at the top, even when he has American blood on his hands.

Telling enemies in advance all the bad things you’re not going to do under any circumstances is strategically dumb.

But this thing? This has Operation Clusterfuck written all over it with a Sharpie. A few weeks ago, we might have made a big difference with a small intervention. Now? God knows.

Nobody’s in charge. Nobody knows what the mission is. Obama’s doing his best not to get any of it on him. Oh, and for all we know, the rebels we’re protecting are ululating Islamist douch-hats like we’re busy killing in other parts of the world.

So, yes, I’m against this operation just because Obama is in office. But it’s not about his politics, it’s about his naked incompetence.

March 23, 2011 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 82


Harbqll wins the dick with Liz Taylor. And it’s about damn time somebody in the Dead Pool croaked, says I.

You know what that means. Harbqll, if’n you want your dick, drop me a line. The rest of you…Friday, six p.m. Weasel Blog Time, the new pool goes up. We aren’t on British Summer Time yet, but I truly have no idea if that affects WBT.

Check the timestamp. Be here or be squeer.

— 1:45 pm
Comments: 16

This is just alllllll kinds of wrong

This is the fighting in Libya. This picture bugs the shit out of me, and I’m struggling to put together a coherent post about it.

I’m not calling fake. These photographers put themselves in actual danger. The photo is nicked from this article describing the four NY Times journalists (including the lady at the far left of this shot) who were later picked up by Gaddafi’s goons at a checkpoint and given a very rough week before being released.

And we certainly have a proud tradition of embedded journalists who show courage and provide a valuable service in times of war. So I’m not knocking that.

But this thing here, this smells wrong. That young man can’t be firing at anything significant, or they’d all be hauling ass for cover. So, he’s…what? Posing? Mmm.

I just. I dunno. When reporters seemingly outnumber the thing being reported upon three to one — and all the cameras point the same way — they aren’t so much reporting as shaping the narrative.

All the cameras but one. The guy who took this picture told me something a lot more interesting than an image of another angry young brown fellow with a shoulder-fired doo-dah.

March 22, 2011 — 10:08 pm
Comments: 33

Optics: FAIL

I know what y’all are thinking — you did this P’shop last week, Stoaty. Yeah, well, hey — HE DID IT AGAIN. His current political advisers flat out suck.

Anyway, shut up, I have some important news: Mapp laid her first egg today. She’s the little ginger chicken. You never heard so much clucking and be-GAK-ing. I told you she’d be a drama queen if she ever got around to laying an egg.

Actually, poor thing, it took her all morning and she shed a little blood over it, so I shouldn’t make fun. I wouldn’t care to blow large hard objects out my vent after breakfast. Especially if it took me by surprise.

In honor of Ovum Prime, I broke out the Oscar Mayer bacon I’d been saving and fried up a proper breakfast-lunch. Oh, don’t get me wrong — English bacon is lovely stuff. But it’s thick and chewy. Like Canadian bacon. But not round.

Oscar Mayer (made in Spain) is the only American-style bacon I can get — and I can’t always get it. I suspect English people think there’s something terribly, terribly wrong with it.

“Oh, I say, Clive, there’s something terribly, terribly wrong with this bacon — it shriveled away to nothing and left the most extraordinary pool of grease behind.”

Anyhow, if I picked up a dose of salmonella, I’m going to drop kick that silly ginger bird into the next county.

March 21, 2011 — 9:20 pm
Comments: 31