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In liberty…


Snapshot of the chooks from earlier this week. That’s Mapp (the old one), Colette, Rosie and Jenny.

I get mail, thanks to this blog. I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten hate mail, which is a little surprising given that I do occasionally touch on politics and politics is so effing fraught these days. A get a smattering of fan mail, some questions and lots of interesting links (thank you for that). And then I get mail like this:

Hi Weasel Times & Stoat Intelligencer editorial team,

My name is Sam and I’m an avid reader of Weasel Times & Stoat Intelligencer. I just wanted to say that I appreciate what you’re doing at Weasel Times & Stoat Intelligencer to encourage an open dialogue from both sides of the aisle. Few Americans today actively engage in meaningful, objective discourse to address the complex and morally significant questions on the national agenda today.

I subscribe to the Weasel Times & Stoat Intelligencer newsletter and regularly send your emails to friends and family. Thanks for being a voice of reason.

In Liberty,

Sam manages to work in “Weasel Times & Stoat Intelligencer” four times in this short message. I’m not sure, but that title might be in the header text (it’s not visible through ‘show source’ – I’d have to look at the page code), which is where a bot would grab it. I can’t find any obvious links in the message or nothing fishy. There is a first and last name, and they match the email address. Any ideas?

Sam — if you there is an actual human being named Sam — on behalf of the whole editorial team, thank you very much. I was afraid to hit ‘reply’. You write like a bot, dude.

August 31, 2017 — 10:17 pm
Comments: 14

Band of Bluehairs


Another from a church flower festival: handbell ringers. Yes, they’re wearing Union Jack hats. It was ironic. They put them on for this one number. Unfortunately, I couldn’t hear what it was.

Land of Hope and Glory, I think.

Here is an important question: when these blue-haired bell-ringers passes on, will that be the end of it? Or will those currently young retire to the country some day and take up the bells?

Will they be allowed to?

Neh. Cold, miserable, wet today (stuck in the middle of a period of sunshine and loveliness). Me for a hot bath and a book.

August 30, 2017 — 8:37 pm
Comments: 20

Guns! Guns! Guns!


I used to love getting the NRA sweepstakes mailing — Guns! Guns! Guns!, it blared cheerfully.

The machine gun from the previous post, because someone asked. Attitudes about guns aren’t so simple here. I know plenty of Brits who think guns are magical self-activating sticks of evil but — especially out here in the country — there are plenty of people who love and miss guns. Including many a sad bastard who had his prize collection confiscated.

I’d say the majority of children at these fetes and festivals are there with their grandparents (blue hair…blue hair as far as the eye can see). Sitting there minding this gun, I wasn’t surprised when grandpa propped a little boy in front of the gun for a picture, but I was very surprised how often grandma did it.

I know what you’re thinking: WWII generation. But no – all the living veterans are in their nineties now. The oldest of these remembered the war from their older brothers going off, or being evacuated to the country themselves. Most have vague memories of rationing. (Uncle B remembers rationing in London, which carried on well into the Fifties. Brits wuz poor after the war).

The laws are a bit strange, too. It’s a hard ban on almost everything, but I’m told they must allow you to buy a shotgun if you apply. The restrictions for keeping it at home are a world of ass-ache, so we haven’t done it.

There was a gun dealer at the airshow we went to last week with a neat selection of old handguns, most of which had been “decommissioned” (ruined, usually by slicing part way through the barrel). But he had one nice little antique revolver that he said was completely intact and I could have bought it on the spot and walked away with it, no restrictions.

“Because the ammunition it needs is no longer being manufactured.”
“Oh,” says I, “it doesn’t look unusual. What is it?”
“320,” says he.
“Wait, what? But that’s .32 – that’s totally still manufactured — ”
“In the US, not here.”

Well, I didn’t know any ammo was still manufactured here. I suppose if I were going to smuggle ammo I might as well smuggle guns to go with, so it isn’t much of a loophole. Still think it’s weird.

Also, somebody I know does cowboy re-enactment. It needs a license, but you can buy powder and ball handguns, including the early-style revolvers. He has a beautiful one of modern manufacture from Italy. I mean geez, I could totally knock over a gas station with one of those.

Oh, and ExpressoBold asked why they were playing the US national anthem. Dude, if you’re going to have a brass band, you WILL play American music (and German, for that matter). We dominate the repertoire. The National Anthem was just the first chunk of a medley, that went on to Oh, Susanna! and The Yellow Rose of Texas. We came in on the Star Spangled Banner and went out on Sussex by the Sea. Nice.

August 29, 2017 — 7:01 pm
Comments: 21

Sure, that looks safe


This is the last public three-day weekend before Christmas and it was blazing hot. What passes for it here, anyway. There were five flower festivals, a circus and a blacksmith demonstration. We managed to do…most of them.

Just one fete today. The moment I set foot on the field, the band struck up the Star Spangled Banner. Seriously, this happened. I felt like the President.

(Aside: have you heard Bill Clinton’s Hail to the Chief lyrics? It goes, “Hail to the Chief, he’s the Chief and he needs hailing.” Good one, Bubbah).

It was the usual: brass band, cake stall, junk stall, produce, plants, splat the rat, tombola, book stall. Dog show. They’re big on dog shows, or what they call “fun dog shows” (to distinguish them from serious formal dog shows, I guess).

Three old guys were there with an old tractor, an American jeep and a machine gun. They were the only people who brought chairs, so I asked to sit in one and we chatted.

Then they asked me to watch their stuff while they went across to the pub. I thought they’d never come back, but finally one old boy did. Lit up like a Christmas tree. He decided I must have a cartridge as a thank you. This wasn’t entirely right, as the machine gun belonged to one of the other old boys, but I couldn’t resist a souvenir.

When fingers didn’t work, he tried the knife. When the knife didn’t work, he got out a hammer. Thank god they’re dummy rounds.

Yes, I got my souvenir eventually, and nobody lost an eye

August 28, 2017 — 8:07 pm
Comments: 24

Dead Pool Round 100: But not really round 100

Carl takes dick with Bruce Forsyth. If you’re thinking ‘Bruce who?’, well…dude was an enormous star over here in Angle-land, of the host-and-MC variety.

Carl, as everyone knows, is one scary dude. He has won dick with alarming regularity. Do not be pissing off Carl, please.

And finally, Rich Rostrom (whose math skills are infinitely better than mine and whose OCD is apparently epic) tells me this is not really Dead Pool 100. I have blown it several times. It is actually Dead Pool 98. So we shall have to celebrate Dead Pool 102 like it’s 1999.

Ready? Then we’ll begin:

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. Plus (Pupster’s Rule) no picking someone who’s only famous for being the oldest person alive.

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’m fresh out of fairy shit particles.

August 25, 2017 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 87

Be vewy, vewy quiet…


There’s a weasel in this woodpile. A camera-shy weasel.

Uncle B spotted it first and hammered on the front door, calling my name. This made me slam my hands on the desk in alarm, which flipped my fork clear across the room into a pile of books. But that’s not important now.

I dashed out without my glasses and saw an indistinct brownish blob dart under a piece of wood. We went for cameras and chairs (and my glasses) and sat and stared at the woodpile for twenty minutes. Nada.

Eventually, Uncle B lumbered back inside and Jack and I stayed glowering at the hole weez popped out of. Finally, a teeny, tiny slinky beast crept out from under a log, had a look around, didn’t like what he saw (mostly the cat, I assume) and slunk back in again.

A reminder that what Brits call a weasel, we call a “least weasel” — they really are not much bigger than an improbably long mouse.

Weasels don’t appear to like cat food.

Unfortunately for Mr (or Mz) Weasel, that there is not a permanent woodpile. It’s a pile of wood, just where the log man dropped it in the drive three weeks ago, and it all gets moved eventually. I hope there’s not a whole damn weasel fambly in there.

Yes, it’s a fair distance from the chicken house. And yes, I’ve locked the flock up as tight as I can tonight. Cross your fingers.

HOLY SHIT I JUST REALIZED: The Fritz had Jerry Lewis in the DeadPool. That means new one tomorrow. The Fritz, honey, you didn’t say anything….

August 24, 2017 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 23

Titt jokes, getcher Titt jokes!


Mr Titt was apparently a successful engineer. In this display of cast metal signs, there were four or five Titts.

August 23, 2017 — 9:36 pm
Comments: 15

Some old guy’s map case


Okay, that’s the inscription inside the top flap of my new German WWII leather mapcase. It’s in blue pen — it looks like ballpoint, but probably isn’t, as someone once told me a long story about how expensive and desirable biro pens were during the War. I make it as follows:

Eigentum des
Uffz. Rudolf Günther
Reichenbach iVgt
Ob. Dunkelgasse
F.Nr 38054 D

And my guess at a translation, based on scootching around Google:

Property of
Unteroffizier Rudolf Günther
Reichenbach im Vogtland
Obere Dunkelgasse
apartment number?

An Unteroffizier is an under-officer, or NCO. There is an Obere Dunkelgasse in Reichenbach im Vogtland (the streetname means “Upper Dark Alley”).

Now, here’s a thing: I get several hits for “Unteroffizier Rudolf Günther”. It seems there’s a 1990 reproduction of a 1900 German military passport in that name floating around (here’s an old German eBay listing, for example).

So, did my intrepid German friend (or someone else) write that name on the bag with a ballpoint to make it more desirable? There were half a dozen there. He didn’t point it out to me and it was no more expensive than the others with no inscription, even though mine is better leather (he said the others were toward the end of the war when the Germans were stretched thin, and he showed me the date letters on several of the bags).

Or is this a commonish German name? Is it weird that he wrote a home address on it, or is that a home address? All very puzzling.

What? Oh, sure…I’ll take a picture of the outside of the bag later. I’m kind of behind on my chores tonight….

August 22, 2017 — 8:24 pm
Comments: 25

Your Nazis, I have found them!


We had a flower festival, a military air show and a Tractorfest this weekend. This is from the flower festival.

HA! KIDDING! I suppose it’s more of a military/airshow than a military air show; there’s always plenty of Nazis and even a few Japs. And planes! And guns! And big bangs!

There’s a German (or possibly Polish) guy there who sells genu-ine Nazi memorabilia. Coffee cups and place settings from the officers’ mess. That kind of thing.

I’m afraid I paid a stupid lot of money for a WWII German leather mapcase. It’s perfect for my sketching stuff — it has little pockets for pencils and a ruler and an eraser. Also, it has the original owner’s name and addressed inked into the cover flap – I’ll have to get onto ancestry.co.uk about that. Unless anyone has other suggestions for tracking down German soldiers.

I did very well at the art show. I meant to mention that. I put in two little paintings of chickens and they were (so I’m told) the first paintings to sell.

Uncle B is threatening to tell everyone I spent my art show earnings on Nazi memorabilia.

Oh, I meant to ask – did you see the eclipse?

August 21, 2017 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 31

While we’re tearing down statues


And Juan is on the left side of the door at the bulk spice company. Pretty sure this would be a hate crime in the US of A at the moment. It probably would be a hate crime here, if we had any Mexican presence at all.

If a statue promotes bigotry and no-one is offended, did it make a stereotype?

Carl wins the dick(™) with Bruce Forsyth, a man who holds the Guiness record(™) for the longest-running television career for a male.

NB: this is Carl’s sixth or seventh win. Do not fuck with Carl.

Too late for this week; come back next Friday for Dead Pool Round…who the hell knows. Rick Rostrom (whose records are better than mine) says it’s not really #100, it’s #97. Because I not math at good.

Have a great weekend, all!

August 18, 2017 — 9:08 pm
Comments: 29