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Another week, another interesting corpse

That’s what I love about Britain — scratch the surface, find an interesting corpse. Or, in this case, dig down eight feet and find fifty thousand plague riddled corpses.

Yes! The Crossrail Project has dug up a plague pit! Well, they think so. They’ve only uncovered thirteen bodies so far, but if it’s the one they’re thinking of (really, they have so many 14th C plague pits to keep track of. What’s a capital city to do?) there are as many as 50,000 bodies to go.

Eight feet down. That really doesn’t seem good enough, does it? It’s in a part of the city that has seen relatively little development (no skyscrapers or anything), which is how it’s remained lost for so long.

It was all over the news tonight. Plague doesn’t survive long in the soil, but they think they may be able to isolate some Yersinia pestis specimens in the tooth dentin. Which doesn’t strike me as very bright, even if they do manage to sequence its genome.

This isn’t the first cemetery this rail project has accidentally dug up. They also unearthed three hundred former guests at Bedlam. Oh, and not long after construction dug up Richard III in a parking lot in Leicester, they’ve dug up a knight in a parking lot in Edinburgh.

It’s like some really twisted game show.

Have a good weekend! Sweet dreams, and don’t dig any holes!

sock it to me

March 15, 2013 — 11:32 pm
Comments: 46

Oh, Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s oldest prostitutes. They’re seventy. They’re twins. And their name is Fokkens. Of course it is.

After fifty years, seven children and and 355,000 men between them, they’re retiring. Of course they are.

Arthritis comes to us all.

sock it to me

— 12:00 am
Comments: 26

Well, there goes my post for tonight

Boo. Looks like that hilarious new North Korean propaganda video about Americans living in tents and cups of coffee made out of snow was, in fact, deliberately written as comedy by something calling itself the North Korea Comedy Show. Who or what that may be is not clear.

I do know they’ve spent the evening talking with lawyers, trying to make their suddenly viral video go un-viral again. So there’s that. You can watch it here. It’s still pretty funny.

Also, Googling around trying to find out who the North Korean Comedy Show is, I found this old article. Which is funny, in a sad North Korean way.

Oh, also – ¡Ay, caramba! We have a new pope! I, for one, am looking forward to saying, “lighten up, Francis” every time he issues a papal edict.

sock it to me

March 13, 2013 — 11:42 pm
Comments: 25

Sheep in a wheelchair

Ladies and gentlemen, sheep in a wheelchair. There you go.

Oh, hey, for some reason, the Freedom of the Press Foundation would like to spread these recordings of Bradley Manning reading a prepared statement, smuggled out of his first hearing. Um, okay!

Not sure what they’re hoping to accomplish. He sounds like an unrepentant, self-absorbed whiny little bitch whose motive for breaking his oath and betraying his country was something like, “because war is H – E – Double hockeysticks.” Particularly when you watch it on a monitor from a comfy office Stateside, apparently.

It’s going to be hard going, making a hero out of this little wiggler.

sock it to me

— 12:00 am
Comments: 56

Wait, I…what? blog?

I just leaned out the kitchen window and took this snapshot. This, actually, is a big improvement. Most of the day, it’s been total blizzard whiteout sideways snow. I could barely make out the poor ewes in the field behind, heavy with lamb. Not really all that much snow, but the wind!

And I’m on Day 2 — right at the misery point — of that cold all the cool kids are coming down with.

If you’ll excuse me, I have drinking to do…

sock it to me

March 11, 2013 — 11:50 pm
Comments: 40

Round 47: I’m’a call it dick no matter what

I called Dead Pool 46 for fawn, who took the dick with Bonnie Franklin. But I have a feeling Hutch was robbed. See, he had Hugo Chavez. And if they’re lying about the day Hugo popped his clogs…well, if he died before March 1 (and I suspect he did), it would be a total Dead Pool upset. So Hutch is getting a consolation dick.

And, hey — good news! They’re going to pickle Chavez and put him on permanent display!

Okay, here we go…

0. Rule Zero (AKA Steve’s Rule): your pick has to be living when picked. Also, nobody whose execution date is circled on the calendar. Also, please don’t kill anybody.

1. Pick a celebrity. Any celebrity — though I reserve the right to nix picks I never heard of (I don’t generally follow the Dead Pool threads carefully, so if you’re unsure of your pick, call it to my attention).

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 to catch the dupes. 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 prize? Good question. It has always been a delicious two-pack of Aunty’s Spotted Dick, but we’re currently debating the merits of a prize that isn’t like trans-Atlantically shipping a brick.

sock it to me

March 8, 2013 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 144

Procedural question. Or, let’s talk dick!

Okay, before we kick off Round 47 of the Dead Pool, I gotta tell you: I’m about six dicks behind mailing them out.

Dick is cheap. Packaging them up properly and sending them, colossal pain in the nethers. Turns out, spotted dick is now widely available in the US (including Aunty’s, in some places), making my little dick joke addiction rather pointlessly expensive. Also, the Post Office tells me shipping time alone for freight is, like, 70 days, going the cheap route. Yuck. Outdated dick.

In the end, most people seem to enjoy the little sketches I put in the envelope more than the dick. Spotted dick is, I have to admit it, not a taste sensation poised to sweep the planet.

So, time to discuss alternatives. But before we do: it is very, very important to me that the prize is something pretty good. See, I don’t get to play the Dead Pool (duh), so the pleasure for me is believing the winner is genuinely tickled to win and looking forward to something fun in the mail. So none of this “winning is its own reward” shit, m’kay?

Okay, well, it could be just a sketch (see sample). I feel a little squidgy about that. Giving away artwork is what cheap-ass artists do to their friends instead of buying proper gifts. It always makes me feel funny, like mama pinning my pitcher on the fridge and telling me I’m the bestest artist in the whole world. (My actual mother never did that, but I’ve seen it on television).

Or it could be a coin from my awesome collection. I used to buy old circulated coins by the pound, so I have thousands of not valuable but insanely cool coins from all over the world. Boxes of the suckers. I used to give them away freely, so that’s not an issue.

Or…I dunno. It’s always fun to read foreign newspapers and magazines. Britain has some terrific rags of the “My Cheap Breast Implant Exploded in the Cereal Aisle of the Supermarket!” variety. I love those things.

What do you say? What would gladden your shriveled conservative heart? What would you love to think was in the mail and headed your way?

Okay, New Dead Pool. Tomorrow, 6WBT. And I’m still going to call it Winning the Dick, okay? I can’t give up my dick jokes. It’ll be a…metaphor. And only the cool kids will get it, a’ight?

sock it to me

March 7, 2013 — 9:40 pm
Comments: 87

She has worms. Or she’s a witch.

Must be the change of seasons; the cat is going through one of her periodic Ravening Pig phases. (Hm. Note to self: worming pills).

We call her Grizzel Greedigutt when she does this, from this charming woodcut of the Witchfinder General. Yes, yes…I know it looks like it says Griozzdl Greedigutt, but it’s given as Grizzel in the text.

The text! That’s right, you can read Hopkins’ The Discovery of Witches for free! On your Kindle! Knowing that Matthew Hopkins would have had you hanged as a witch if he caught you doing such a thing!

Mmmm. You know, I realize there was a deeply nasty hysteria in the air, and lots of perfectly innocent ugly old crones and unpopular people with funny looking moles got whacked. But surely some of the people accused of witches were so because they believed themselves to be witches. I mean, this cuts both ways. People believed in witchcraft. Believed it could accomplish all sorts of wonderful things. Who wouldn’t be tempted?

I’m not talking the modern hippie notion of wise women and herbalists. From what I can tell, spells of the time were disease cures, love philtres, aphrodisiacs, money callers and getting back at your enemies. Basically, all the shit for sale that landed in your spam filter today.

We’re still the same old shaved monkeys, aren’t we?

sock it to me

— 12:07 am
Comments: 16

Gnarly Mummy Head!

Gnarly mummy head! It isn’t even my title – it’s Discovery’s title: Gnarly Mummy Head Reveals Medieval Science.

Neat story. This is the oldest surviving European anatomical dissection. It’s a proper, prepared anatomical specimen, too — the anatomist ran wax into the arteries for preservation and everything. Carbon dating puts its origins round about 1200 AD.

Yup, during the Middle Ages. When things like autopsies were supposedly verboten.

I’ve read for some time that the Dark Ages were unfairly tagged with that moniker. I mean, that’s been a trend in history books for my whole lifetime: rehabilitating that long stretch between the Romans and the Renaissance.

Until I read the article, though, I didn’t put that together in my head with Protestantism. That newly minted Protestants talked a lot of crap about the state of science before their time, as a sort kind of anti-Church thing. “Oh, boohoo — the Pope didn’t let us cut up dead people!” Which was not, apparently, true.

Worth a read, anyway.

Oh, speaking of dead people! I’m delighted to acknowledge that Hugo Chavez is officially dead. I’m even more delighted to point out that his official date of death is today, Tuesday, March 5. Which means he falls between Dead Pools and I don’t owe dick.

Sorry, Hutch. I suspect you wuz robbed.

sock it to me

March 5, 2013 — 11:30 pm
Comments: 37

When in doubt, go with the willy joke

I bet you thought Canterbury was all cathedrals and Chaucer and dignified shit like that. Well, it turns out all the naughty seaside postcards confiscated by the police in Kent ended up in the University Library. They’re on display in Canterbury at the moment.

I’ve written about the tradition of naughty postcards before. For a brief period in the Fifties, Britain got a huge case of the vapors (or ‘vapours’ I suppose) about it and confiscated the ones they considered over the line. Donald McGill, the most famous maker-of-rude-postcards, even got hauled into court and had to swear on a bzillion Bibles that he didn’t get the joke and certainly didn’t intend any rude double meanings in his illustrations.

Poor old Canterbury (changing the subject). It’s just inside our traveling distance for a day trip, but I find it a sad place to visit.

Hitler bombed it flat, quite on purpose, along with any other historic towns he could reach. They’re called the Baedecker raids, because it’s believed der Führer picked up a Baedecker guidebook to Britain and ordered explosives dropped on every place with a three star rating.

This probably makes me a horrible person, but thinking about that makes me feel sicker than all the WWII carnage and human misery we see endlessly on the History Channel.

Anyway, he somehow missed the honking huge cathedral in the middle of the town. And the Roman wall. The rest of it, pretty much blowed up or burned out. It’s kind of like a big shopping mall now. Every once in a while, you’ll turn a corner and see a 15th Century pub between the greeting card shops and book stores and get a glimpse of what the place must have looked like seventy years ago.

sock it to me

March 4, 2013 — 11:56 pm
Comments: 27