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Um, what?

Sometimes I get an image stuck in my head and I can’t rest until I put it on paper (or electrons, as the case may be). It’s like an itch.

Of course, that usually means it’s somebody else’s picture I’ve seen before and I’m stealing it.

November 29, 2011 — 10:57 pm
Comments: 25

So long and thanks for all the hits

There it is; one of my biggest getter-of-hits. It’s the numero uno on a Google images search of “does Barney Frank have any teeth?”

The answer is no. He doesn’t. Not one. He’s as edentulous as a chicken.

Also, he’s not running for another term in Congress.

Well. Seventy is a bit young for a politician. I wonder if he hears the incoming whistle of dropping shoe.

Dude has had nothing but political jobs of one kind or another his whole life, but his personal fortune is getting on for $5M? Hm. Between that and his longtime partner heading up Fannie (or was it Freddie?) the years it injected the poison into our financial system…maybe he sees Congressional financial reform on the horizon and wants no part of it.

I have another theory, if you’ll permit me a moment of conspiracy nuttery. What if he didn’t win the last election (maybe more than one)? What if the crooked party apparatus is starting to creak under the strain of cheating him back into office time after time?

Remember, when he won last time, he gave a victory speech as bitter and angry as any concession speech. For no obvious reason.

I have never understood why the blue-collar union Manly Men who make up the Democrats in his district would turn out to vote, time after time, for a corrupt, nasty, toothless old queen.

Perhaps they didn’t.

November 28, 2011 — 5:39 pm
Comments: 31

I’m onna be a Limey!

Today is the third anniversary of the day I arrived in the UK, making me eligible to ask for citizenship (as a spouse; it’s five years if you’re here on a work visa). It doesn’t have any effect on my American citizenship and if I’m going to live here for the rest of my life, I demand the right to vote for a whole ‘nother bunch of useless lying politicians who won’t do a thing I agree with.

So that’ll be the end of my immigration adventures. My, how time flies when you’re drinking warm beer and eating jellied lamb’s knuckles.

Actually…it’s not quite time. I have to have sponsors attest my good character (hee hee!) and they have to swear they’ve known me for three years. The vicar for one, and we didn’t meet until December ’08 (for pre-marriage counseling. Brrrrrr).

Also, I need time to pull money over from the States to pay for this shindig. But they say you get a New Citizen Welcome Pack after you pinkie swear.

The picture? I ran across it on the Web today and thought it was funny. No idea where it comes from originally, but it was obviously done as a joke from the beginning.

Can you imagine the casting call on this one? “Ladies! Ladies! We need ten ugly ass-faced old cows who look like they’ve never been kissed in their lives…!”

Good weekend, everyone!

p.s. The cat got up on the counter and ate the turkey while we slept last night, so poor Uncle B didn’t get his turkey sangwich. Me, I trimmed off the gnawed bits, fed them to the outside cat and had myself some fine eating.

November 25, 2011 — 10:38 pm
Comments: 64

Happy Thanksgiving from Stinky and the whole flock!

With the colder weather, the older chooks have gotten really crabby. Much chasing and pecking, most of it falling on poor, gormless Vita. So I bought some anti-pecking spray, which is supposed to stop pecking and feather plucking, mostly by tasting bitter.

I figured I’d try it out on Violet first — that’s the off-white one — because she gets a share of the pecks, but she’s utterly fearless. Experiment on the bold chicken, not the shy one. I had no idea — anti-pecking spray is brown, gummy and smells awful. She looks filthy and smells like an old-fashioned BandAid.

So now I have a brown, gummy, stinky chicken. It’s hard to see how that’s going to help. Hell, I was tempted to peck her myself.

Of course we do Thanksgiving in this household. It’s my favorite holiday, and Uncle B didn’t take much persuasion to adopt an extra turkey feast. We do it as an evening meal, though, so I’m still wrapped up pre-mashing sweet potatoes and pre-baking rolls.

Then — let the gluttony begin!

Have a great Thanksgiving, y’all. Don’t strangle any aunties or brain your brother-in-law.

November 24, 2011 — 5:19 pm
Comments: 37

Important sheep update

Sorry for the crappy cellphone pic, but you’re looking at something extremely rare. One of our neighbors woke up to a newborn lamb in September. I asked him how often that happens. “It never happens,” he said.

That’s not, obviously, because sheep are biologically incapable of reproducing at other times of year. It’s because farmers carefully control when rams have access to ewes, so the lambs all come at the same time. In fact, the gentlemen are out doing their duty at this moment.

Rule of thumb, in case you ever need to know: one ram for 50 ewes. Any more than that and the rams fight. Any fewer than that and some ladies get left out. How the rams keep track is anyone’s guess.

Sheep are moved by truck from field to field over the year, everybody in together. So there’s your answer – one of the ewes that didn’t ‘take’ in the Fall got a second chance in the Spring, bumping along in the back of a transport lorry.

I hope they keep this little girl.

Oh, also, we’ve had our first Satanic ritual sheep killing. At least, that’s what the police think. At least, I guess it’s the first.

One of our other neighbors found a ewe in the field, decapitated. Head missing — cleanly removed with one stroke — body (you know, the part that’s worth money) still there. No blood.

Of course, that’s the neighbor with badger troubles.


November 23, 2011 — 11:37 pm
Comments: 20

I don’t usually like sequels…

…but I am LOVING Climategate 2.0.

Yep, it’s the anniversary of Climategate 2009, and the anonymous benefactor who released the first batch of purloined emails has released another 5,000. Also, he’s put a zip file of 250,000 more into the public domain encrypted with a strong password which he claims he won’t release — an insurance policy, a piñata for hackers and the Sword of Damocles, all in one delightful package. (Note to Julian Assange: anonymous leakers not in jail). Same deal as before: dropped on a Russian server linked to comment threads on well-known skeptical blogs.

Follow along, won’t you? The four blogs who were the recipients of largesse:

Watts Up With That
Tall Bloke
Climate Audit
Air Vent

The BBC is already spinning it like a very spinny thing indeed.

I confess, I have a weakness for Scientists Behaving Badly stories. This one is my favorite.

November 22, 2011 — 8:36 pm
Comments: 35

Can’t talk. New banjo.

Huh. First time I’ve ever gotten overnight service on an eBay purchase (turns out the seller has a relative in the courier business).

Yep, this is the banjo I bought by accident. I watch interesting banjos and put in a bid if I think they’re underpriced. It’s usually harmless fun; an underpriced instrument always goes through the roof in the last seconds of the auction.

Not this time. I was all on my ownsome bidding on this one. Oh, well…I got a great instrument at a great price.

It’s such a buyer’s market, I’d put all my dough in underpriced banjos. If I had any dough.

This is an English banjo of the Twenties. It was played in a dance orchestra. As it happens, the seller was able to tell me quite a bit about it and its first owner, which is really weird because he didn’t until I asked. Today. After the sale.

Why not put it all the interesting bits in the description? Might’ve fetched a few more quid. People are so weird.

The pre-War Gibsons beloved of bluegrass players were also originally sold for this market, the orchestral and dance band market of the Twenties and Thirties. They’re loud as hell, because they had to be to hold their own against the brass section.

Which is why the bluegrass boys love them. Earl Scruggs played a Gibson Granada in the Forties which set the standard for what a banjo should sound like. An especially good Gibson with all its original bits will easily sail over $200K.

This one…didn’t cost anything like that, but I don’t believe I’ve ever heard a louder banjo. It is, in the terminology of banjophiles, a hoss.

November 21, 2011 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 41

It’s Crazy Bitch Friday!

Did you see this thing on Drudge? A baby doll that says something that sounds remarkably like “hey, crazy bitch!”

It does, too — but the story is a bit of a put-up job. They play it to shoppers and ask them if they’re outrageously outraged, which the dutifully try to pretend to be for the camera. Except this lady right at the end, who is clearly the crazy bitch they’re talking about.

Many years ago, there was a Po the Teletubby doll that said something suspiciously like unto “bite my butt!” Closest I’ve ever come to soiling myself in public, I was in a department store in downtown London, gave Po a poke, and sure enough…

Oh, also…film has surfaced of the guy who took a couple of shots at the White House. It was taken back in September and he’s wangling for a spot on Oprah. He claims to be Jesus and all kinds of crazy shit, but — funny thing — he doesn’t peg my crazy meter. Usually I have pretty good schitz-dar. I wonder if he’s more Hinckley than M’Naghten.

Oh, also, there’s this crazy dude, who forges works of art and then gives them to museums for free. Just a garden variety crazy dude, apparently.

And finally, from those crazy bitches at the European Food Standards Authority: EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration. They picked a bad time to land themselves on the front page doing something retarded again.

Good weekend, all!

November 18, 2011 — 9:09 pm
Comments: 51

We are building something ever so strange…

Look, it’s me! I’m a naked acid-puking necromorph!

This is the multiplayer Dead Space 2, which is played on servers belonging to Electronic Arts. It’s a fairly long wait before enough people jump in to make up a game (it’s played in two teams, humans versus aliens; you need a good 6-8 people to start) so I listen in on the the chatter of players who’ve left their microphones open.

Now, I realize I’m in Britain, so the closest servers are probably in Europe somewhere, but I’m gob-smacked at the range of voices I hear. Not just European languages…there are quite a few from further afield. Russians and Chinese. Indians, I think. I’m not the best at identifying languages. The voices belong to older people than I would have guessed (or maybe it’s just older people who are dumb enough to leave their mics on). I often hear children and TV in the background.

Thing is, this mirrors my observations in art and music forums: thanks to the internet, we’re cobbling together a weird international monoculture. It’s heavily but not exclusively American. Anime and Manga are powerful influences in the visual arts, for example. Chinese martial arts in gaming.

In many countries, it can only be a tiny minority who have access to broadband and gaming-spec computers. But among those people, we are all sharing a single culture: music, movies, comics, animation…and especially video games. I have no idea what this means, but I’m sure it’s important. And weird. And completely unprecedented.

There are kids in Beijing and Bangalore playing rock and roll, and you would recognize the song.

— 12:06 am
Comments: 20

Hey, how about a tall, frosty glass of…

What the hell…?




Well, actually, it’s Orangina (and very nice it is, too), but I have to stop and remember that whenever I open the fridge.

Wednesday is Life Drawing class, so I’ve been spending the last few hours staring at a naked lady. The model was a couple of minutes late, and she swept in with a little old blue-haired lady in tow.

“I have my mother with me tonight. She can just sit in the back, if that’s okay.”

The whole class froze. The embarrassment threshold of British people is generally set somewhere well below sea level. Then a little voice to my right piped, “I’m just going down the pub. See you in a couple of hours!”

November 16, 2011 — 11:23 pm
Comments: 37