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Well, poop. HotAir has just announced they’re turning their comments over to FaceBook. I don’t totally get how that works — I’ve not seen this done before — but it means the main articles still appear at HotAir.com, but to comment you’ll have to be a member of, and logged into, FaceBook.

And comment under your own real name. In front of your grandma and your boss and everything. On a conservative political site. In 2016.

How do you say “no, thank you” in rage-fuelled gibberish?

HotAir was never a great site and it’s been in decline for some time. The best thing about it was always Allahpundit, and he’s been mighty quiet since Salem took over. But still, it was my favorite straight-up, minimal-commentary news aggregator and I’ll be a little lost without it.

Can anyone recommend another? I want something that links to the top two dozen mainstream news stories (of interest to a righty) every day, preferably with a sample or synopsis so I don’t have to click through if I don’t wanna. More stories than Ace, more MSM than Breitbart. More meat than Drudge. And open comments, pls.

p.s. Sober readers will recall that I do have an FB account in the name of Stoaty Weasel. I opened that before I knew it was a TOS violation. They have since cracked down on anonymous and second accounts, but they somehow missed ol’ Stoaty. Still, I log in with a different browser to access it and I hardly ever do. I’m sure if I pop up and start commenting on the new HotAir, I’ll get rumbled and shut down in short order. I’m accepting suggestions of fun and creative ways we can send Stoaty down in flames.

February 15, 2016 — 9:02 pm
Comments: 30

witches and how to disinvite them


In the comments to the thread below this one, there was some brief mention of the hex marks in Badger House. I thought I’d posted extensively about it once before, but all I can find is this brief mention.

Well. This house was built some time between 1505 and 1610. It’s a timber-framed Tudor farmhouse, with the timbers exposed on the inside (they probably were originally exposed on the outside, too, but this place has seen a LOT of alteration over the centuries). There are things scratched into the beams at various points, and we didn’t think anything of it. Just old graffiti, we thought. But, as it turns out, what we have here are classic ‘witch marks.’

Or, if you want to sound all sciencey and shit, apotropaic marks. Click that link, and you’ll see tons of examples that look exactly like these two pictures from Badger House. And we have since taken many pictures and had many a conversation about them in National Trust properties.


The one above is a hexafoil or daisy wheel, the most common apotropaic mark in English houses. It’s believed to be a very ancient sun symbol. Like prehistoric. It both brings good luck and wards off evil. This one is in the main beam above the downstairs fireplace.

The one at right, that looks like “TW” or “IW” we just assumed were somebody’s initials (they appear more than once in our house, above the fireplace in the master bedroom), but it’s another terribly common mark. “T” and “O” ward off evil somehow and the “W” is actually Marian — an interlocking “V V” for virgin of virgins, or an upside down “M.”

Or, you know, everyone is talking out their asses and no-one really knows. Some of the straight marks we’re convinced were made by the builders and had a more practical purpose. In a house near here, a series of room beams are marked, in order, “I” “II” “III” “IIII” and — tellingly — “V”.

If you want to read more about it — and, believe me, this is a real fun Google rabbit hole to fall down — try a search of witch marks, ritual protection marks, house magic or the charmingly named Wookey Hole. (It’s a cave. They age cheese in it).

Good weekend, folks — and keep them witches out!

February 12, 2016 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 19

This guy


This is beautiful Llanwenarth House, which inspired the hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful. It’s a 16th C building with a largely 18th C interior.

Or was. It was bought by a property developer who gutted it and redid it, inside and out, to modern (and bad) taste. Not surprisingly, he did all this without planning permission, because he totally would never have gotten planning permission to vandalize an historically important building like that.

All this happened last Summer and it would have been a story but not a very big one, but for one thing: when they dug up the new patio and turned over the stones, they found writing on the back. He’d used headstones from a local disused children’s cemetery, leaving a host of Victorian unfortunates in unmarked graves. None of the sources were very specific about how he got them or induced the workmen to chop them up. I suppose one good villain was all the story required.

As it happens, making unauthorized alterations to a listed building is a criminal, not a civil, offense. We know this because we live in a listed building. Every time I wad up a newspaper and stick it in a drafty crack, I think to myself, “self — you could go to jail for that.” Or gaol, as they call it here. They can’t spell for shyte.

Welp, today the news comes that the legal process has done its evil work and dude has gone bankrupt defending himself. I’m not usually a fan of lawfare, but in this case, I’ll make an exception.

Phun phact: Cecil Alexander, who wrote All Things Bright and Beautiful, was a woman.

February 11, 2016 — 10:32 pm
Comments: 16

a fragment of the starry vault of heaven


I got a note from one of my arty suppliers tonight that Michael Harding — manufacturer of excellent handmade oil colors — is offering a genuine Afghan lapis lazuli oil paint. He’s not the only one — I knicked the photo from this article on genuine lapis watercolor — but there sure isn’t a lot of it out there.

You know all those illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance frescoes with the intense blue skies and amazingly blue saints’ robes? Lapis. Very dear stuff. Kings used to inventory pots of lapis paint in their treasuries and dole it out to painters after they were commissioned.

The common pigment ultramarine is a synthetic version invented in the early Nineteenth C — a much clearer and more powerful color, but lacking a certain sparkly je ne sais quoi.

Or so I’m told. I’ve never worked with the real thing.

I once splashed out $80 for a tube of Winsor and Newton’s genuine rose madder and got a tube of paint the color of bleeding gums and the consistency of snot. That learned me.

I see rose madder is down to a measley £8.80 now. And this here lapis stuff is suggested retail £71.57, but available for a modest £57 a tube.

February 10, 2016 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 8

Yes, thanks


Shrove Tuesday — wot today is — is known as Pancake Day here in Jollye Olde. They make pancakes, traditionally, to use up flour and eggs before Lent.

Which makes no damn sense, if you ask me. Flour keeps forever (if it’s dry) and eggs is laid by chickens, who will presumably continue to do so despite anyone’s position in the liturgical calendar.

Anyway, you don’t see them eating pancakes here so much as running races where everyone dashes down the high street flipping one in a pan. And they aren’t pancakes, they’re crêpes.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with a nice crêpe, except if a certain hypothetical weasel went into a Little Chef and ordered pancakes expecting to get the IHOP Big Breakfast. That was a sad, sad hypothetical weasel.

The English also traditionally had enormous football matches on Pancake Day, ruleless affairs in which the flower of each little town’s manhood turn up to kick the shit out of each other while a football looks on helplessly. A few towns maintain the tradition.

If you’re interested, Brit papers are full of pancake articles today, most of them illustrated by photos of American-style flapjacks oozing maple syrup. Which made Uncle B cross. Teehee.

NB: Zsa Zsa is spending her 99th birthday in the hospital. Is another longstanding Dead Pool favorite about to fall? Don’t count on it; that is one tough old broad.

February 9, 2016 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 16

Oh, dear


Oh, dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. In what’s being called “the design fail of the year,” San Fran designer Lehu Zhang apparently really and truly didn’t mean this minimalist monkey to look like a Communist propaganda poster for gay sex.

Eh. Well. Gong Hey Fat Choy, y’all. Happy Year of the Fire Monkey. Here’s a better article about Chinese New Year, what am today.

February 8, 2016 — 9:11 pm
Comments: 19

Sadly, there isn’t a Church of Crom


I’m not even positive there’s a t-shirt. This link on Pinterest doesn’t seem to go to an actual shirt on Etsy.

Oh, well. I probably wouldn’t be all that good at smiting. Or wearing a brass bikini, for that matter.

Have a good weekend, y’all!

February 5, 2016 — 9:49 pm
Comments: 17



So, this guy died today. Joe Alaskey. He voiced Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny and Sylvester.

If you’re thinking he looks too young for that and who the heck is he anyway, you’re quite right — he’s one of the voice actors who took over after Mel Blanc died in ’89. Alaskey himself was a comparatively young 63.

So. Non-story really. Condolences to his family.

Sorry I’ve been avoiding politics lately. I have a good excuse: I’ve been avoiding politics lately.

It’s gotten to the point I’m considering shaving my head and joining a hard-ass religious cult of some kind. Preferably one with a savage deity and a martial arts component.

Anyone want to start one…?

February 4, 2016 — 10:51 pm
Comments: 15

Immortality on the cheap



Here’s a fun game on a rainy day. Go to eBay (you can go to .com, but I think .uk is more fun). Search for collectables/postcards. Refine your search to “used“.

Voilà — you hear dead people.

The one in the picture is of Brighton Pier. The message on the back is “have not seen many of these about, have you.” 1903, I think.

Or how about, “Meta[?] wants me to say that the Bishop is going to be consecrated on St Paul’s Day in Westminster Abbey but she is not certain if she will be able to go up with you for it, as probably a houseful is coming that day. She will be very sorry if she cannot as she would v. much like it. With love from T.B.H. We have had a yet better account of Auntie.”

Some of the most interesting are too illegible to transcribe properly. On a Valentine: “A love letter. That is what. Annie said good bye.” It was neither signed by nor addressed to Annie. It was never sent.


February 3, 2016 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 4

Oh, I think I know this one…


This came across my threshold tonight: Being a ‘morning person’ has a genetic basis, 23andMe study says.

Now, usually when I get a news article from 23andme, it’s from their own site. And that’s cool, because when they talk about the relevant SNP, they give a link to your result on that particular marker. In other words, click here to see how you scored on this one.

The article linked above is to The Verge, though, and the linked article is the source study — a proper scientific paper not cut up into weaselly-digestible chunks.

But that’s okay. I know how I score on this one. I have three copies of the genetic marker for ‘I will rip out your spleen and piss on it if you speak to me during my first waking hour.’

February 2, 2016 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 11