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Huh. That’s weird.

Last night we watched a short film called A Welcome to Britain. It was a WWII film made for American GI’s, going over the basics of how to interact with war-weary Brits. Not too heavy-handed, mildly charming. If you’re inclined’ta, you can watch it for yourself here.

It was narrated by Burgess Meredith, who I don’t suppose was particularly famous in 1943. In the very last scene, he lounges in bed, pops a cigarette in a long cigarette holder and does a sort of Penguin impression. See picture. Uncle B and I both sat up and pointed and made “ook!” noises.

I wondered if maybe the cigarette holder was a Burgess Meredith ‘thing’, but no. IMDB says:

On the television series Batman (1966), he developed his grunting Penguin laugh out of necessity. Meredith had given up smoking some twenty-odd years earlier, but his character was required to smoke with a cigarette holder. The smoke would get caught in his throat and he would start coughing. Rather than constantly ruin takes in this matter, he developed the laugh to cover it up. “Actually, it was a pretty funny noise for a penguin to make,” said Meredith. “I sounded more like a duck.” Needless to say, Meredith gave up smoking again immediately after the series ended.

Which is weird. But it also says this, which is even weirder:

He was fascinated by the subject of non-human intelligence, particularly dolphins. He once believed that a dolphin somehow called to him for help in the middle of the night while he was staying at a friend’s home on the beach. He ran out and found the dolphin, caught in a net under a dock down the beach, although there was no way he should have been able to know it was there. He released it, saving its life. He believed it had made some sort of connection with him, perhaps telepathic, to call for help.

Something to think about on a Monday evening.

May 21, 2018 — 8:44 pm
Comments: 4

Please! I beg you. Make it STOP!

Say, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a royal wedding tomorrow. Because, you know, WE HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE FOR WEEKS. Seriously, I can’t even tune into Classic FM. This keeps up, I’m’a punch a princess, I swear.

We went to the supermarket this afternoon to pick up a few bits and pieces and, stupidly, we got there just as the local elementary school let out. Suddenly, the store was FLOODED with princesses. Yeah, they let the little girls all dress up today. For some stupid reason, it took me a minute to realize why we kept getting stuck behind sparkly logjams of gauzy little girls.

This brings up several interesting points. Like, they’re still gendering kids (none of the boys were dressed up as anything, and certainly not as princesses). Also, most of the little girls obviously already owned princess outfits.

Also, they haven’t tried to make the little ones cynical about the monarchy yet. This is interesting because all of the adults I’ve encountered are cynical as shit about most of the royals in general and this wedding particular (even people who usually aren’t, like my mother-in-law).

Anyway, we’re keeping well away from the TV tomorrow. One of our neighbors is having an all-day party, which she is rigorously not billing as a royal wedding party. So I’m thinking of bringing along something royal wedding themed, just to piss her off.

Have an awesome and princess-free weekend, y’all.

May 18, 2018 — 9:59 pm
Comments: 19

So this came today

In case it isn’t clear, “final edition” means the last ever final printed Yellow Pages, like, ever. I’ve bought magazines that were thicker.

The Yellow Pages as such have only existed here for around fifty years, so they aren’t quite the venerable institution they are in the States. I don’t think we used it even when we were in London and the internet was younger. I can’t imagine what anyone might use them for in CURRENT YEAR and out here in the country. There are so many other local directories that do a fine job with less drama.

Is the phone book still a thing in the States?

Thanks to everyone who helped identify my eBay instrument haul (especially Muldoon, whose pronouncements had the ring of authority). It looks like I got me a set of surgical bone mauling tools.


May 17, 2018 — 9:35 pm
Comments: 11

Spatula, Prince of Darkness

Okay, last one. I have six round ones and five square ones. They are all flat, bent where they flair and have a little hook at the end (see the one in my hand). They’re all made of really nice stainless, so I hope I can grind them into something useful.

So. A) What are they, really? And B) What can I turn them into, with a little effort?

Thanks everyone for your help identifying these things. Good explanations, ridiculous ones — all are welcome.

May 16, 2018 — 9:48 pm
Comments: 15

Need anything…reamed?

The chucks at the top and the bits in the middle fit and lock into the handles at left. The little bits at the top fit into the chucks at the top. My hand for scale. Larger photo on request.

The obvious purpose is for drilling and reaming, but it’s all very awkward and uncomfortable. Like WHAT? Look at the length of the bottom-most one. WHY?

Makes me nuts I couldn’t get the bits to line up properly. Four hundred year old house, wonky floors. I’m lucky the whole business didn’t end up in my lap.

May 15, 2018 — 8:05 pm
Comments: 13

What hath I bought?

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally you’ll be cruising eBay for something else entirely and you’ll see something pretty tasty that’s about to close and nobody’s bid on it at all.

And that, Yer Honor, is how I ended up with fifty-something surgical tools I have no idea what they are. I got two really good pairs of precision pliers and some dental picks that make the whole lot worth the £7 paid, but I’m kind of mystified by the rest.

Let’s start with something easy. I shall call these things “bone clamps”. There are six of the kind on the left and two of the kind on the right.

Sound about right to you?

May 14, 2018 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 15

I don’t own this one…

The collectible statue business is no joke. This bad boy, for example, will put you back upwards of $700.

It’s big, it’s some kind of resin, it’s beautifully handpainted and it’s in an edition of less than a thousand.

Is this the tippy top of the collectible statue market? No idea. Too rich for my blood. I wonder how much of the price is licensing rights from the intellectual property owners…?

Have a good weekend, y’awl.

May 11, 2018 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 11

My Geralt of Rivia, let me show you him

Well, fine. As long as I’m showing off my doll collection. Erm, I mean action figures. Umm, I mean fine pieces of sculpture, this is the Geralt of Rivia I bought myself for my birthday.

Sure, you want to see him in glorious color, to scale, on my desk. A fine example of injection molding, is it not?

These things are regarded as adult collectibles — or ‘adult’ ‘collectibles’ — and can be very, very expensive. Especially when they first come out…or, if you’re lucky, some months later when it turn out they didn’t make enough to satisfy demand. I struck while the iron was lukewarm and didn’t get skinned alive.

Dark Horse is the seller. They make a lot of these things (of varying quality).

May 10, 2018 — 9:38 pm
Comments: 10

Apparently, I bought one of these

Huh. This arrived today. I’d forgotten I ordered it. It’s probably the most Japanese thing I’ve ever bought.

It’s a teeny, tiny artist’s mannequin. It comes with seventeen different hands, two tiny cellphones, a tiny laptop computer and a tiny sumurai sword. By tiny, the whole dude is like 4″ high.

Sadly, the instructions are in Japanese, so I’m struggling. Yes, yes…I know it all should be terribly obvious, but this is Japanese technology we’re talking.

Manufacturer here. No, I didn’t pay anything like that for it (if you want one, check eBay).

Fair warning: if you communicate with them even once, they will try to sell you something every day of your life, forever. Even after you’ve bought one. They’re like the LinkedIn of tiny plastic Japanese artists’ models.

May 9, 2018 — 9:54 pm
Comments: 5

Is this a thing now…?

So I got a new phone for my b’day (woot!). Thankee, Uncle B. The old one just hasn’t been the same since I dropped it in the terlet.

It’s very nifty (it’s a Motorola, like the old one, but newer and bigger and everythinger). One of the apps it comes with is a radio player, so I’ve been busy trying to find my favorites from back home.

Wikipedia has a handy radio stations of Rhode Island page (though the picture is from radio stations of Connecticut, and I finally found the old favorite I was looking for under radio stations of Massachusetts).

I wasn’t particularly surprised to see the number of Spanish-language stations has exploded since I left, but I was very surprised to see the number of religious programming stations. Is that a thing? Since when? What exactly plays on religious programming, Catholic mass? Christian rock?

Yeah, I know I could just listen, but I thought you guys might be able to give me context.

For the record, the station I was looking for is WCTK in New Bedford, Mass. Yes, it’s a country station. If you haven’t listed to country in a while, it’s a long way from honky-tonk or Porter Wagoner these days. It’s weirdly accessible now, like Top 40 pop radio used to be — perfect for a sunny Saturday doing chores.

Also, I really like hearing traffic and weather reports that don’t affect me any more. For some reason.

May 8, 2018 — 9:41 pm
Comments: 21