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Dead Pool Round 102: Farewell to Hef

Hugh Hefner, dead at last. It’s true that he bought the vault next to Marilyn Monroe, apparently, causing the Guardian to joke about “unwanted advances on women even in death.”

On Hefner, the opinion among men seems to be, “he lived the life he wanted.” And the opinion among women seems to be “ew.”

I believe this is win number four for ‘formerly known as skeptic.’ Also, the very first pick in the last pool. And thus another DeadPool favorite bites the dust.

Ready? Let’s 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. 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.

September 29, 2017 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 100

Are they blind?


We went to the movies tonight. Specifically, we went to see one of those exhibitions-on-screen, where they visit an exhibition in London and give you all sorts of history and detail. They get right up close on the paintings, which is neat.


The thing in the header is Titian’s Venus with a Mirror. I was struck by something in it. He and his studio between them painted at least fifteen versions of this picture, but this is the one he kept in his studio until his death. Several commentaries I found online said perhaps it’s because, in the reflection, she looks like she’s looking out at the viewer.

To which I can only say ARE YOU BLIND? It’s a whole different face. The eye in the mirror is terrified. What could be taken as her hair in reflection could also be described as the saggy jowls of middle age. This is something like, ruined old lady peers in horror across the decades. Well, that’s what this ruined old lady thinks, anyhow.

I’ll not post the full version. I don’t actually like the picture much.

Okay, that’s enough artsy fartsy stuff for one week. Hef has died at last, and the commenter formerly known as Skeptic takes the dick (second dick in recent memory)!
That means…tomorrow.
6:00 WBT.

DEAD POOL ROUND 102. (Or whatever the hell it really is. I’ll have to ask Rich Rostrom).

September 28, 2017 — 10:07 pm
Comments: 7

Curious and true


Here’s a sad little story for you. Going to Bateman’s put me in mind of it.

Edward Julius and Charles Maurice Detmold were twin brothers born in Surrey in 1883. Their father was chronically ill, so they grew up in the house of an uncle who, among other things, collected Japanese woodcuts. The brothers became fascinated with drawing in the Japanese style.

It would be fair to call them prodigies: they both had exhibited in watercolor at the Royal Academy by the time they were 13. Mostly animal pictures. Before they were 20, they had several very successful picture books to their credit. Their fortunes really took off that year when they were asked to illustrate Kipling’s Jungle Book.

There’s a little room in Bateman’s that has some — maybe all — of these illustrations and a few more. I assume they’re the originals. Beautiful stuff.

The success of these pictures allowed them to divide their time between London and Ditchling, Sussex — not far from here. Half a year at each. In 1908, when they were 25, they were preparing to go down to Ditchling. Here’s where it gets weird.

Their local doctor gave them some chloroform to kill the housecat. Which Maurice did. Then he took the remainder of the chloroform and killed himself.

That’s it. That’s all the detail I’ve ever been able to glean from any source, and I have so many questions. Was the cat ill? Did people routinely kill their cats rather than bring them on holiday? I know people were shitty to cats back then, but that seems a bit much. Was Maurice depressed? Could it have been an accident? Or did he — this is my favorite theory — kill the cat and then feel so awful about it aferward that he offed himself?

Edward had a long and successful career after, though many reckon his brother had the more talent. In his seventies, Edward’s eyesight began to fail. He killed himself with a shot to the chest in 1957.

Well worth looking up their work. Here is the full image from the header. It’s a lovely thing. Not sure which Detmold did it, perhaps both. Looking at it, I think they used a combination of watered-down and full strength ink. Or perhaps it’s an etching — they did a lot of printmaking.

I know what your monkeybrain is telling you. It’s telling you if you were super careful and made a zillion little descriptive lines, you could maybe do something that looked like that. I’m here to inform you, sadly, from a lifetime of experience, monkeybrain lies.

September 27, 2017 — 8:42 pm
Comments: 13

I saw the Flit!


We went to Bateman’s today, home of Rudyard Kipling and the setting for my favorite Kipling book, Puck of Pook’s Hill (a collection of short stories about Sussex, and I loved it long before I lived here).

We’ve been to Bateman’s many times, you may remember, but this time there promised to be an exhibition of Arthur Rackham‘s illustrations for Puck of Pook’s Hill. Rackham is one of my all time favorite illustrators, this one one of my all time favorite books — perfect, yes?

Meh. They only had three original paintings and a few framed prints. The room was small and dark and the pictures were framed under shiny glass. Hard to see and underwhelming. They didn’t even have any Rackham books or cards in the gift shop.

I did get to see the original of this picture, though. It’s called the Dymchurch Flit, Dymchurch being a coastal town and “the flit” was the fairies leaving England forever. Chapter 22 of the book.

The story goes that the fairies got sick of our shit in the 1530s, during the nastiness of the Reformation. They turned up on Romney Marsh with their bags packed — Romney Marsh being a stick-out bit of coastline that is the furthest southeast you can go on the island without getting your feet wet. There they begged the Widow Whitgift to let her sons sail them away in a boat, and she did.

They came back after three days, but one son was blind and the other mute, so they never told anyone what they saw. You can read the chapter here, with some footnotes and explanation here.

Not my favorite Rackham painting and not viewed under the best conditions, but it’s always a thrill to see the original of a work that you know well from reproduction.

September 26, 2017 — 7:36 pm
Comments: 13

The glowing sheep of old Sussex


I got nothin’ tonight. I’ve been doing housework(!) all evening, so please enjoy this picture Uncle B took earlier this Summer. (Yes, of course you can have it large and in color).

Now is probably the time to give the old mustelid a shout-out. I’ve taken almost none of the photos I’ve posted during this year’s fete season, he has. Uncle B is an enthusiastic photographer with a much better eye than mine.

This pisses me off. I went to art school, you know.

On the other hand, I’m also incredibly lazy and opportunistic, so having his visual record of our adventures has been most helpful.

September 25, 2017 — 8:52 pm
Comments: 7

A farewell to Sissinghurst


We went to Sissinghurst today – one of our favorite National Trust properties. We go three or four times every Summer, though this might be the last time for a while. We’ve decided not to renew our National Trust membership when it’s up in Spring.

See, the NT has gone gay. Like very, very gay. Like intrusively, irritatingly gay.

Like asking their tens of thousands of loyal blue-haired volunteers to fill out a questionnaire on their own sexuality. Or insisting that staff wear gay pride buttons during the six weeks of their Prejudice and Pride Campaign, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the partial legalization of buggery. They had to climb down over that one, but meanwhile:

As part of an event to publicise the project, the charity has commissioned a film narrated by Stephen Fry revealing that Felbrigg’s former owner, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, was gay. But his godsons, who left the hall to the Trust on his death in 1969, have objected to him being ‘outed’ to market the hall. The bachelor, who was a magistrate and former High Sheriff of Norfolk, never publicly revealed his sexuality.

Oh, they outted some dead rich guy against his family’s wishes. Nice.

Sadly, we’re a little too far away from Kingston Lacy in Dorset to go see the fifty-one ropes hanging to commemorate the fifty one men who were hanged for sodomy, mostly between 1810 and 1835. They’ve got a recording reading their names over and over and everything!

But not to worry! We got to see Speak Its Name! – an exhibit of pictures from the National Portrait Gallery featuring a bunch of famous old dykes and poofters. A little more justification for this one, as Harold and Vita (Sissinghurst’s most famous owners) were committed and enthusiastic homosexuals (though strangely devoted to each other throughout their marriage).

As you might imagine, LGBTQRST is not the only progressive issue the current lot at the Trust are pursuing aggressively. It’s getting on for £100 a year for the two of us, we’ve been members for 7 years and, frankly, we’ve seen our local properties dozens of times. It’s time.

Oh, we had a lovely day today! The weather was perfect and the holiday crowds have died down. Nice memories. Have a good weekend, fags!

September 22, 2017 — 8:54 pm
Comments: 17

Who thinks up this shit?


Happy Menopause Awareness Month! No, really. This is exactly the kind of thing that very few of us need to be aware of, and those that do need to, are. Future generations are going to be amazed at how up in each other’s business we were.

Forget that. I have a question. I took a nap this afternoon (as I often do) and I had a series of the most amazingly vivid dreams (as I often do when I nap in the afternoon).

I deconstructed them and realized I don’t actually do things in my dreams. I try to do things, but I am thwarted. Like trying to drive someplace and getting lost, or trying to find an office in an office building and finding the elevators closed and the stairs blocked off. I was trying to play music with my father, but I couldn’t find the instruments, then I did and the strings were missing.

I can’t remember if my dreams were always like this. I think so, honestly. I’ve often thought of keeping a dream diary, but I wake up in the most vile mood. By the time I’m able to face a pencil and paper, the dreams are gone.

Are yours like this? Can you remember?

September 21, 2017 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 17

He’s nekkid!


I told you guys I managed to sell both pieces I put in the art show, before the doors even opened. I underpriced them, I’ve been told. As a result of which, I am now a *full member* (and I was able to pay for that frightfully self-indulgent map case and paint box).

Even better, as a direct result, I’ve been asked to join an invitation-only life drawing class. I’m having a blast.

I need this kind of eye training. Because the drawings I did in my last gig were mostly very technical, nearly everything I did was traced in some way — either the old fashioned way, or Photoshopically. Tracing is bad for fine art. Not because it’s cheating — honestly, there is no such thing in art; it ain’t football or canasta — but because it results in boring pictures.

When you draw from life, you’re forced to process what you’re looking at. You have to figure out what’s happening and then you have to figure out how to explain it to someone else. This makes for a much more persuasive and interesting picture. It’s hard as hell, though.

It also, of course, makes for more errors. There’s a classic in this drawing – his hands are way too big, especially his right hand. The human brain exaggerates anything it finds interesting but it’s a rookie mistake not to catch it and fix it. In my defense, they were all thirty minute poses today; shorter than I’m comfy with.

At least they haven’t done any 5 and 15-minutes poses yet. Brrrrr…I hate those.

September 20, 2017 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 12

Yes, that’s a Chinese diagram of a heating pump


Meh. I flipped on the water heater in anticipation of a long, hot bath tonight and…the central heating pump died.

Yes, you heard that right: we don’t heat water all the time. Once every couple of days will do it. We’re reflexively cheap, the both of us.

I’m’a go sulk. And drink. But mostly sulk.

No, wait…mostly drink.

Also smell, because I need a bath.

September 19, 2017 — 9:24 pm
Comments: 12



I didn’t think I’d be with you tonight. I turned on my computer this morning and…nothing. Not even a beep.

Which implied a video card problem. When I got home this evening, I took the lid off and wiggled all the cards and. Yeah. It booted normally. But I don’t like this.

Not least because something similar happened at work last week and we ended up buying a whole ‘nother machine. Fortunately, the techie we got in was able to rescue everything off the hard drive, but it was touch and go for a while. Seems our automatic backup program hasn’t actually run itself for three years and I never checked.

Have I mentioned that I am legally listed as the Information Officer? Yeah, it’s a thing.

Anyway, I suck at backups. Must do better. Good evening!

p.s. illustration not mine. Not to be construed as a book endorsement. Found it on a Google search and liked it.

September 18, 2017 — 9:30 pm
Comments: 6