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Madame, present your license

Today, I was asked if I had a license to hold human remains. Well, not me, obviously. The historic society I work for.

Sir, this is an archive, not a charnel house.

I can’t even work out how you get one. There are tons of resources out there for how you import, store, handle, display or repatriate human remains, but none of them mentions a permit.

The backstory is that all building work in certain areas requires an official archeologist to be at the site to sift through anything you dig up. This is a good thing (tho expensive). If you wonder how on earth they found Richard III’s body under a parking lot, this is it.

And before the dig begins, the archeologist must find an appropriate place to store anything they might find. If there isn’t a big local museum (and sometimes even if there is), finds often go to the county council, where they are put in boxes and warehoused à la the end of Indiana Jones.

This is a pretty good thing, too. Every once in a while, a local archeology group will get a little money together and revisit stuff. Like, eight years ago, Eastbourne Borough Council’s museum service got a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (yet another good thing) to re-examine 300 skeletons that had been deposited with them over the years.

The most interesting find was Beachy Head Lady, a woman who grew up in southeast England during the Roman occupation. She was of sub-Saharan African descent!

My favorite, though, was a specimen from an archeology program we watched once. I’m irritated that I can’t find a link online; you’ll have to take my word. The bones had little holes drilled in them, almost certainly for re-articulating the skeleton. Thing is, whoever did it didn’t bother getting all the bones from the same body, so it’s not like it was a revered ancestor or anything.

You got that? Somebody dug up ancient bones and strung them together for purposes unknown. I believe it was a prehistoric proto-Hallowe’en prank and nothing will convince me otherwise.

Oh, one other thing I learned today. I, personally, technically need a license of some kind. I think. Someone once gave me a box of 19th Century microscope slides from University of Philadelphia Med School, including human tissue – a thing covered in the Human Tissue Act of 2004. I can be bothered to find out if I’m in breach.

September 30, 2020 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 5

Count Basie looks thoughtful

Yes, that’s definitely a black man on the right. In other variations of this logo, the white people are all staring at him like, “yes, even you, my dusky friend.”

What’s going on with that little girl and her poor stumpy arms, I do not know. It is all cringe.

Anyhoo. Neighbourhood Watch meeting by Zoom tonight, I kid you not.

It’s not quite the League of Busybodies. We do have a serious problem with rural crime, and it’s gotten worse this year. A whole lot of sheep stealing and tractor nicking.

Getting sneaky cellphone pics of strange cars in the neighborhood helps, if you can do it without a confrontation. Which you can’t always. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as “felony staring at sheep.”

Many of the plates lead back to the same nearby town, causing speculation there might be an illicit butcher there.

September 29, 2020 — 6:35 pm
Comments: 12

Is it down for you?

I wanted to show you something from Facebook, but it won’t let me in. Been that way for at least an hour.

Sometimes sites object to my VPN, as if I’m bouncing around Europe like an international spy. I know where I’m ‘coming from’ when my sidebar ads are in Dutch or Spanish.

Oh, wait. Now it’s working. Thanks a lot, Facebook, for embarrassing me in front of my friends.

I wanted to point you to this video of mechanics completely disassembling a car dashboard to get to a rescue kitten that crawled up a vent. Kitten makes an appearance at the 4:00 mark.

Okay, it’s not much, but this is Monday we’re talking about. I’ll take what scraps of cheer I can find.

September 28, 2020 — 8:06 pm
Comments: 7

Round 133: Just like that, Fall was here

Well, well, well. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, at last.

You want tragic? This is what RBG looked like 40 years ago.

Old age is a pig.

She was buds with Scalia, so they say. She had to have her good parts.

Uncle Al takes it. I was sure he’d taken another one recently, but I don’t see it on my list. Admittedly, my list is shit.

Ready? Let’s get started.

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 25, 2020 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 69

That’s the way we all became…

I just hosted a really big Zoom meeting. Well, it was twenty people, but that’s really big meeting when most of the participants are elderly technophobes. I was mutin’ microphones like a bastiche. I think the power went to my head.

I’m exhausted.

Many years ago, on a forum for arguing about politics, someone out of the blue informed me that he pictured me in his mind looking exactly like Ann B. Davis. If you’re wondering which one am I.

I’ve never been sure how I felt about that.

September 24, 2020 — 6:41 pm
Comments: 12


Pallas cat from Uncle Al’s link. Don’t they have awesome faces?

Though, like many a funny cat picture, their most vivid “expression” is actually being caught at the beginning of a yawn.

Pardon me, folks. I’m a bit behind today.

September 23, 2020 — 7:34 pm
Comments: 4

Cat fight!

You know Hokusai? Yeah, you know Hokusai – the Wave guy. About the time he drew that, in 1825, he did a series of illustrations for a picture book.

For reasons unknown, the book was never published. Which is good, because the original illos would have been destroyed in the engraving process. But it’s also bad, because they passed into private ownership never to be seen again.

Until now!

The British Museum bought all 103 of them in the Spring and put them on virtual display last month.

I really recommend having a browse. They’re fun and beautiful. More delicate than the swirly brush Japanese drawings I’m used to.

Toward the end of the Smithsonian article linked above, there is a handwringing about whether the BM should be in possession of them at all. Colonialism, don’t you know?

I may be reading too much into it, but I got the feeing the art historian quoted was shitting himself a little. To think, if countries can’t buy artworks outside their own local culture, the high falutin’ international art market will collapse.

Boo hoo.

September 22, 2020 — 8:22 pm
Comments: 15

Happy Equinox

Older readers may remember that there’s an abandoned orchard next to me (the astute may remember that I tried, unsuccessfully, to buy it once). I went today for my annual bucket of apples and…they had all been hoovered up.

Whoever did it had a good tidy up afterward and left two neat piles of brush, so I suspect something like a church group that was given permission.

Never mind. I got my bucket of apples. One tree was left unpicked, presumably for les autres. Or perhaps they seemed more trouble than they’re worth: they’re tiny and sweet.

Picking apples seemed a thing to do on the equinox.

September 21, 2020 — 7:57 pm
Comments: 8

Synchronized snoozing…

The boys this afternoon. They don’t do this a lot, but I love it when they do. They aren’t exactly like brothers yet, but I trust there will be a time when I find them curled together in a single snoring fuzzy ball.

It will probably have something to do with Winter.

Looks like the little one is fully recovered from whatever ailed him. Also, please note, he’s not such a little one any more (though he’s terribly skinny).

Good weekend, everyone!

September 18, 2020 — 6:23 pm
Comments: 15


I went into the office today for the second time since the lockdown. It was a little like the Mary Celeste. There was a sweater thrown over the back of an office chair, my coffee cup was on the table, the meeting room was set up for a meeting. The plants overgrowing everything out front didn’t help.

I had over 2,500 emails in my main inbox and another 1,800 in messages sent through the website. I’m tempted not to try and sort through them (they’ve been forwarded to me at home all along) but to throw them all in a folder labelled The Plague.

No, that’s not really my inbox in the picture. It’s a screenshot of Outlook that I pinched off the internet. Stop trying to read the email addresses.

Oh, and and I had upwards of fifty voicemail messages, mostly asking if we’re open. And a handwritten note from my boss (who was in earlier today) asking me to re-record the answering machine message to tell people we’re closed.

I hate that. I did it. But when I’m a little nervous, the cornpone sneaks back into my accent. It was particularly noticeable when I directed people to our website. You know, the dubya-dubya-dubya part.

Still, it felt kinda good to be back. Which is nice, as I have to start going in again.

September 17, 2020 — 8:15 pm
Comments: 11