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Rejoice! It is National Chili Day!

There are two things wrong with this illustration. Answers at the bottom of the post.

According to the Bean Institute Bulletin, February 28 is National Chili Day. Rejoice!

Betty Crocker is hosting a chili cookoff.

I have now posted two things Uncle B cannot stand: Betty Crocker and fake national holidays dreamed up by marketing types to sell products. w00t!

While we’re at it, here is a bunch of chili recipes on Pinterest. No idea how Uncle B feels about Pinterest, but I hate it. It’s like some horrible maze that you get trapped in and can’t get out of. Or steal pictures from.

Two things wrong with the illustration: that’s a megaphone, not a spotlight, you goofy artard. And a real Texan chili never includes beans. So I’ve been told. I don’t really understand how that works, though. Plus you can’t get much more Texan than my mother, and there were beans in her chili. And no chili powder. She hated chili powder because it reminded her of Mexicans. In her defense, a Mexican field hand murdered her grandpa.

February 28, 2019 — 8:25 pm
Comments: 13

Okay, last one

Bette Davis. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. She was 54.

By way of context, for those not keeping track: me, I’ll be 59 in May. I’m not sure whether I’m pleased that I think I’m better preserved than famous movie stars of my age or horrified that I’m substantially older than the iconic old hags of the silver screen.

Also, this week I feel about how she looks. We suspect a virus going around Casa del Badger.

February 27, 2019 — 8:56 pm
Comments: 12

Warming to my theme…

Gloria Swanson was 51 when she played Norma Desmond.

My teenage impression of Norma Desmond, she was a thousand years old. But, thinking about it, it the story works better if she is way too old for a comeback, but not clownishly, ridiculously too old.

God, the makeup didn’t do them any favors, though, did it? Like the way your mom’s high school graduation picture made her look about 42.

Oh, speaking of clownish and ridiculous, I’ll close with Carol Burnett’s Norma Desmond. I don’t recommend looking up any of the skits — too broad, too long and totally belabor the joke — but holy shit the stills of her crack me up every time.

February 26, 2019 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 9

God, that’s so depressing

I am older than Madam Arcati.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Margaret Rutherford, a character actress famous for playing old ladies on account of she was one before she became an actress (she was originally a piano teacher).

Somehow, though, I’d managed to miss the film adaptation of Blithe Spirit. Madam Arcati wasn’t her first film role, but it was her first really successful one (reprising a character she played on stage).

Watched it this weekend and found myself deeply suspicious that the old lady I remembered just didn’t seem that much of an old lady.

She wasn’t yet. She was 53.

Happy Monday, everyone!

February 25, 2019 — 9:04 pm
Comments: 8

Hold me back, boys — I got the chicken jones. Bad.

Today, I talked to a chicken lady. She breeds these things (see arrows).

It’s a Poland bantam. Attentive readers will recall that I WANT ONE OF THESE IN THE WORST WAY. I stole the picture from Your Chickens magazine because I think that’s the color she described to me.

She has them in the incubator now. She’s candled them. They’re kicking. Though she says it takes a little longer to accurately guess the sex of Polands, so it’s going to be two months. At least.

Ordinarily, with Polands, I wouldn’t care if I got a rooster. They look even cooler than the hens. But I don’t think I could bear to have three of the screechy little effers in my garden.

She also does gold partridge pekins, my favorite flavor of pekin. So that’s my fallback.

Two months is perfect. That’s getting on for the beginning of May, when it’ll warm up a little and behbeh chicks can peck around in the grass when it’s sunny.

I AM SO EXCITED, Y’ALL. It’s going to be a long two months. Have a good weekend and dream of little pom pom chickens snoozing in their shells.

February 22, 2019 — 9:01 pm
Comments: 9

I moved the couch tonight

Its last night on earth. Couch is 20+ years old. Uncle B, who works from home, has been sitting at one end of it for that long. The cat threw up on my end a few years ago. That wasn’t the problem; the problem was when I panicked and grabbed a bottle of bleach thinking it was a mild detergent.

Under the couch, under the cushions…just what you might expect. My hands still feel grubby. My left eye will not stop itching.

On the upside, I made 73 pence and didn’t find any dead animals.

So the new sofa comes tomorrow lunch time. It is large and red. I brace myself for the howling when the first cat sharpens the first claw upon it.

February 21, 2019 — 8:46 pm
Comments: 13

Was there supposed to be a super wolf blood moon?

Because there was totally a super wolf blood moon. Or something.

I went to put the recycling out, and the moon was huge and close and a dark, dark red. Never seen anything like it. I ran in for Uncle B, but by the time he got there it was merely orange. Still cool, but not what it was.

The photo is a fake. I stole it and faked it up. Poor old B goes flying out with the camera every time the moon does something cool, but it’s hopeless without a tripod and astronomy rig and all that. It’s not like it would work in black and white anyway.

I tried to find if this thing was predicted. Apparently not, so it was just probably a local ‘particulates in the air’ kind of thing. I did discover that last series of blood moons was tied to a Biblical apocalyptic prophecy.

I guess four years since the last one is long enough to assume it ain’t going to happen after all. Pity. Now the only apocalypse I have to look forward to is Brexit.

February 20, 2019 — 8:46 pm
Comments: 7


Henrietta Helen Olivia Robarts Durand-Deacon. I am tempted to say this is the only picture of her, but on closer inspection, it would appear there are two of them taken on entirely different days in completely different outfits, but nearly identical.

She was one of the victims of John George “Acid Bath” Haigh, mentioned in the previous post. He took her to his ‘workshop’ on the pretext of discussing an invention of hers, whereupon he conked her on the head and dissolved her in a vat of acid. For her lambswool coat and the small change in her purse. Kind of a moron, was Haigh.

I very nearly started a True Crime blog years ago, before this one. There are millions of them now — there were probably dozens of them then — but I like to think I’d have brought something a little different to the genre. A little weaselly.

Like, for example, I’d always rather lead with the picture of a victim than the killer (though I was awfully tempted to illustrate this with a picture of Mrs D-D’s gallstones: the only part of her body to survive the acid bath).

I am not fond of murderers. It’s a damn shame that cults of personality spring up around serial killers, because they are always, always, ALWAYS giant losers. Too dumb to make a living some other way or too stunted and damaged to relate to other humans like an actual person.

And it’s tragic when journalists refer to them as “monsters” — they love that. It’s sounds so powerful and scary. And aspiring not-yet-serial-killers hear that and think, “monster. Yes. That is just how I would like to be remembered.”

Anyway, every true crime story has one — or at least one — little nugget of…je ne sais quois. A little factoid, often overlooked.

In Olive’s case, it’s the invention she wanted to discuss with Haigh: artificial fingernails.

Mrs Olive Durand Deacon was the widow of a war hero and had been an active suffragette in her day, even spending a night in the cells after throwing a brick through a window. But now she was a respectable lady in her late sixties – and rich. She was delighted to hear that nice Mr Haigh, who sat on the table opposite her in the hotel, was an inventor. She had a scheme herself to produce and patent artificial fingernails. This was 1949 and the post-war period when women wanted a bit of glamour. Mr Haigh liked the idea, and suggested she come down to the workshop to look at a few blueprints he’d knocked up for the project. That was the last they ever saw of her.

I’m no expert on artificial fingernails, but a cursory Google makes this at least thirty years before artificial fingernails became a thing. I like to think there’s a universe in which Haigh wasn’t an insufferable twat and they both died stinking filthy rich cosmetics barons.

February 19, 2019 — 8:17 pm
Comments: 16

The brown acid, man

I was a printmaking major in art school. Did I ever mention that? Maybe not. I was a printmaking major for about two weeks before I dropped out. It was mostly down to financial issues; I loved printmaking.

Downside of being a printmaking major: I ended up with a big glass carboy of nitric acid in my closet that worried me exceedingly, especially when it came time to move. How do you get rid of such a thing?

As it happens, I paid a man to take it away. I have no idea what he did with it. All’s I know is, the answer to most problems in life is to pay a man to take it away.

I signed myself up for a local printmaking course today, hoping to get back into it. I then went shopping for materials (shopping for materials is the best bit of any artmaking endeavor). These days, it’s apparently murder to get your hands on nitric acid — you can’t mail the stuff and you have to promise you have a proper chemical hood and everything before anyone will sell it to you in person.

All the tutorials are saying to use copper sulfate instead, which is safer to handle and and etches metal just as quickly and well.

My question is…if it’s safer to handle and just as good, why did we ever use nitric acid?

Stay tuned.

Pictured: acid carboys from my field trip to the True Crime Museum in Hastings. They were bought from the workshop of John George “Acid Bath” Haigh. The Museum bought six empty carboys; the acid from three of them was used to dissolve the body of Olive Durand-Deacon…and they don’t know which three.

February 18, 2019 — 8:47 pm
Comments: 10

Dead Pool Round 119: extra special romantic Valentine’s edition

John David Dingell Jr. was the longest-ever serving Congressman in American history, representing Michigan for nearly 60 years. Also co-author of the Dingell-Norwood bill. Also dead. And for this, xul’s fedora is richer by exactly one dick.

Dear people from the future: I assure you, that last sentence made sense.

And now, if you’re all sitting comfortably, 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.

February 15, 2019 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 79