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Look, the old tenants left some stuff behind

This place has had so many previous owners, and they left so much of their junk behind. Europe, I mean. It’s tough for an American to take.

F’rinstance. In 1962, five Viking ships were dug up in the Danish town of Skuldelev, so they built a museum to hold them in the nearby city of Roskilde. In 1997, they went to enlarge the museum and accidentally dug up nine more Viking ships in the parking lot.

I know, right?

Anyway, one of them was the longest Viking ship ever found. It’s about a hundred feet long, and there’s maybe twenty percent of it left. Curators boxed the thing in flat-packs, like Ikea furniture, and shipped the whole business over here for a big show about Vikings in the British Museum.

They put a £135M extension on the place to house this (and displays like it). We saw it on TV the other night; it’s way cool. The whole end of the building opens so they can drive big objects right in.

On display with the ship is the Vale of York hoard, a collection of Viking silver found by father and son metal detectorists in a field in Yorkshire in 2007.

There’s a lot of that going on these days, too. Amateur metal detectoring leading to big finds, I mean. And for once, the government got wise and works with detectorists through the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Most detectorists know to stop everything when they make a good find and call in the experts.

By law, individuals have to report precious metal finds to a government officer. But here’s the smart part: if any museums want the artifacts, they have to offer the finder a fair market value. So looting is, like, nonexistent. It’s like having a giant voluntary army of archeologists combing the countryside.

If you’re at all interested in this stuff (and you probably wouldn’t be here if you weren’t), any of the links above will take you to hours of thrilling geekery.

March 31, 2014 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 16

I’m sure it’ll all work out…

My mother always warned me not to order anybody around unless I had an answer to the question, “or what?”

Oh, well. I worry about this whole Russia thing, then I remember Dear Leader is a master of four-dimensional chess and I chillax.

Good weekend, y’all!

March 28, 2014 — 10:55 pm
Comments: 20

The hero Gotham needs…?

Look, I can explain. I saw this picture of a guy in a fur collar, and I thought it totally…nah. You know what, I can’t explain. It’s a superhero. You don’t want to know his superpower. But bear in mind, I’m ending all arguments from here on with POW! Mangina!

Have you ever thought how incredibly American the superhero is? Oh, the idea of a morally upright man with supernatural powers who solves problems extra-judicially — that one’s pretty much universal.

But only in America could we come up with a way to enjoy nudity without all those icky, unAmerican genitals and nipples and pubes and such.

Well, except this guy. Obviously.

March 27, 2014 — 11:39 pm
Comments: 22

I heart Michael Ramirez *so hard*

That’s today’s Ramirez cartoon and I just want to take a minute to say how much I admire this guy.

His picture ideas are consistently so awesome. Not just ideologically strong, but visually striking. And he pulls them out of thin air, time after time after time. Hoo boy, I have to tell you, the good strong visual ideas are the hard part.

Most of his cartoons are simple, but he can draw like a dream when he wants to. His likenesses are great and his caricatures are cruel. Despite being a staunch righty, he’s won a ton of journalism awards, including two Pulitzers. I’d say Ramirez is who I want to be when I grow up if he weren’t a year younger than me.

His father is a first generation Mexican-American and his mother is Japanese. He was born in Tokyo (maybe that’s why he didn’t get caught up in the Identity Politics Shuffle — he couldn’t decide which box to tick). I don’t know how old he was when they all moved to the States, but he went to college in California. His brothers and sisters are doctors, and he was headed that way himself before he published a political cartoon in the school newspaper that changed his mind (I don’t know what it was, but everybody demanded he apologize and he thought that was pretty sweet).

No link; I don’t remember where I read all that. I won’t pick any favorites, just do please sample this Google Images search of Ramirez cartoons. Savor. Enjoy.

The thing I love most about Ramirez? That cartoon up there. He said to himself, “black background, a few white circles, blur them a little, it’ll totally look like a circus ring.” And it totally does. Geeenius.

March 26, 2014 — 11:09 pm
Comments: 13

Participation trophy

That was one commenter’s reaction to some particularly lame post I read today. You tried. I dunno, maybe you had to be there — I thought third-degree burrrrn at the time.

Anyhoo, I made this.

My ambition is to make memes that go viral. And then I remember, nobody gets paid for that shit.

March 25, 2014 — 11:18 pm
Comments: 14

Angry ape face

No, no…it’s not Hillary again. Just working on my portfolio today.

This is my glamor shot.

March 24, 2014 — 11:52 pm
Comments: 17

Round 61: Equinox edition

Carl wins his third dick with Tony Benn, British politician. Here’s all you need to know about Tony Benn: 1) he was an egregious lefty twat-waffle and 2) his great uncle was murdered with a chamberpot by his own son, who later got out of the loony bin and fathered Margaret Rutherford.

End of.

Okay, here we go. Pity Fred Phelps couldn’t join us:

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? Also, make sure you have a correct spelling of your choice somewhere in your comment. These threads get longish and I use search to figure out if we have a winner.

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’ve won before, send me your address again. I don’t keep good records.

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

The winner, if the winner chooses to entrust me with a mailing address, will receive an Official Certificate of Dick Winning and a small original drawing on paper suffused with elephant shit particles. Because I didn’t have any dinosaur shit particles.

March 21, 2014 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 96

Holy stinky barrels of Medieval Danish shit!

Doing a big urban archeological dig in Copenhagen, when they turned up these priceless artifacts. Yes, those are huge barrels of 14th Century human shit. And yes, apparently they do still stink.

Before they were used as latrines, they were used for storing other things, so archeologists hope to learn a lot from those barrels. Some very unlucky undergraduate is going to have a memorable job prepping them for inspection, I tell you what.

We went to a lecture the other night on the vanishing trades of Kent and Sussex (segue: barrel making). Most of them involve wood. This is the woodiest part of England and trees have been grown very much as a renewable resource here for millenia. Harvested, mostly, by pollarding and coppicing.

The problem with wooden wheel making, basket weaving, barrel making and the like — they’re hard to master, incredibly physical, and nobody in his right mind would pay a living wage to a smart guy for hand weaving a freaking basket. So a lot of that is inevitably going to be lost.

Which is a pity. Fun fact: a tree that is pollarded once and then left to go natural will live another hundred years, or two. A tree that is continually pollarded at regular intervals is effectively immortal. There are trees in this county that have been perpetually harvested that are reckoned to be several thousand old. Think on that.

Right! Tomorrow, 6pm WBT, Dead Pool Round 61. Fred Phelps didn’t make it to the next round. His last act on earth was to deprive poor StPatrick_TN of a dick. Asshole ’til the end.

March 20, 2014 — 10:50 pm
Comments: 16

In otter news tonight

These two adorable behbehs became orphlings when construction workers scared off their mom. They’re in care and doing fine a long way from here; I just wanted to run the picture.

Had coffee with the neighbors this morning. We’ve been told there’s an otter in the neighborhood.

We know there’s a mink in the ditch by the church. Mink are serious pests here. They’re not native and they’re madly aggressive. They’re all over the countryside because hippies released them from fur farms, and they’re endangering many local species. (Honestly, the ecological disasters we can trace to people who claim to care most about the environment…).

But, no. Mink apparently undulate up and down when they swim. This thing was about three times bigger and undulated side to side. So. Not the usual thing.

One of my neighbors lost two young chickens she had nursed through the Winter (they were born late in the season last year). A great big dog fox tore off the side of her shed and got at ’em. It was a new shed, too.

The people on the corner had to have their dog put down. It got out one night and was worrying sheep (a serious offense here) and when his master went to collect him, he went for his master. Dude had to fend it off with a flashlight. At this point in the story, somebody says shar pei, and everyone else nods sagely. I wouldn’t know a shar pei from a Sharpie.

And I asked a sheep farmer about Jack leading the ewe parade, and he said he wasn’t a bit surprised. Sheep are very curious, he said, and will check out anything unfamiliar in their enclosure.

And that’s it for the Farm Report this evening…

March 19, 2014 — 11:01 pm
Comments: 18

Leader of the band

They’ve put ewes in the little field in front of the house, for lambing time is upon us. Which is nice. Today, I looked up to see the whole flock walking toward me. That’s an odd thing — sheep are shy of people. Particularly strangers. Particularly in strange places. Particularly at lambing time.

And then I spotted Jack, leading the parade. It was the oddest sight. The sheep weren’t trotting; they weren’t running him off. The were slowly walking, converging on him, like they were curious. And he was sashaying in front, calmly, waving his wild tail, not looking back, like he couldn’t give a ripe fuck.

He’s going to be trouble, this one. He’s had his first night out, and his first day outside while we ran errands. Last week, a cab driver spotted him sunning himself in the middle of the road and carried him to the nearest house. That would be our neighbor next door, who said he not only waltzes into her house like he owns the place, he wanders in and out of the house next door to her.

I tried to make the appointment for the ol’ snip snip, but ran into scheduling problems. I don’t imagine it’ll slow him down much.

March 18, 2014 — 10:08 pm
Comments: 18