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ZOMG, it’s midnight and I haven’t posted anything. Get me a cat picture — STAT!

Here’s he latest shot of Mad Jack, lounging in the garden. Nooo, we didn’t buy the cat a hammock; he’s seen here stretching out the top of the plastic mesh fruit cage.

Thing is, I think he’s stopped growing. By our reckoning, he’ll be a year old at the beginning of August and I don’t think he’s put on any bulk in the last couple of months. He’s a little squirt. Has a kitteny face, too.

Still a heartbreaker, though.

July 10, 2014 — 11:01 pm
Comments: 17

Things that are hot

So there’s this burger joint in Brighton called Burger Off (see, there’s your first hint this isn’t going to be the feelgood story of the day). One of the condiments they offer is an imported hot sauce. A very fucking hot imported hot sauce.

Like, on the Scoville scale of food hotness, Tabasco peppers are between 30,000 to 50,000 heat units, ghost chilis between 855,000 to 1,463,700 heat units, police pepper spray between 500,000 and 5 million heat units and this shit somewhere between seven and nine million units.

Bit of a fake, the Scoville scale. It relies on humans’ subjective ability to taste hotness, and we all know the more you sample, the less you taste the stuff. Also, in their final forms, all these things are diluted to different strengths. Nonetheless, we can safely say Mr Gambardella of Burger Off is serving a very fucking hot sauce.

Incidentally, I don’t know what kind of ‘burgers’ those are up there, but it’s the picture that went along with the Daily Mail article. Looks like a spleen burger or something. I think I’d need a shot of the hot stuff to take a bite of that.

Anyhoo, Mr Gambardella got sick of customers who sampled his sauce and said, “pff! That’s not so hot.” So he now offers a deadly XXX burger to those over eighteen willing to sign a (really illiterate — wonder if it would hold up in court) disclaimer. This burger routinely sends people to the hospital:

One guy came in and he was just a little bit cocky and when he left he was admitted to hospital because prior to eating the burger he had a stomach ulcer and we believe it perforated his bowel. He wasn’t in a good way but he pulled through.

And these two reporters from the Brighton Argus:

Mr Barratt took a bite and minutes later suffered severe stomach pains which increased. He lost the feeling in his hands, his legs were shaking and his eyes rolled back in his head.

And within two hours Mr Hendy was suffering similar problems, following his colleague to hospital.

Mr Barratt said: “It was hard to walk. I needed to drink milk to neutralise the burning, which was hard because I was hyperventilating so much my hands had seized up.”

Mr Hendy said: “I was in so much pain I was telling people I felt like I was dying.”

Why do people do this? I like a drop of Sriracha on my sammich, but I stop short of foods that come with frightening health warnings in pidgin legalese.

My mother once challenged a neighbor to a hot pepper eating contest. All’s I remember is the two of them sitting around the kitchen table after all the peppers were gone, taking swigs of the pepper water out of the jar with tears streaming down their faces. It’s a sickness, I tell you.

But my mama was from Texas.

July 9, 2014 — 9:09 pm
Comments: 23

I…have no idea

Well, now. I wasn’t expecting our…ummm…mystery gourd-like vegetable to grow to quite THAT size. Things are ‘UGE. I have told you this, yes? We had three — count ‘em, THREE — vines grow up in our raised beds that we most assuredly didn’t plant and locals tell me the things hanging off of them are marrows. Never et one in my life, so how they got in our compost is a puzzler.

Uncle B informs me the village produce contests, they grow ‘em to the size of small children and wheel them in in wheelbarrows. These aren’t quite that big, but they would be if I left them.

Marrow, Wikipedia informs me, is the British word for members of the Cucurbita family. Gourds, pumpkins and squash. These look more like morbidly obese zucchinis, but I’m told zucchinis are called courgettes.

Fuck, it’s hard being a ferriner.

Everyone agrees on the recipe, though. Cut them in half, scoop out the middles and fill them with good stuff.

From our garden: herbs, garlic, onions, this year’s new crop of tomatoes. First the skillet, then scoop into the marrow. Bake for twenty minutes, then: American-style bacon, hamburger. Bread crumbs, cheese. Ten more minutes.

Was it nice? Pff! How bad could anything be stuffed with bacon, hamburger and cheese?

July 8, 2014 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 22

Rule by ignorant busybodies

For many purposes, cadmium is banned in the EU. An exception has been made, repeatedly, for artists’ pigments because quantities are tiny (it’s hella expensive!) and the kind of cadmium used for colors doesn’t get into the human body that easily. The cadmiums are an important and pretty irreplaceable of light-fast series opaque reds, oranges and yellows (I use them only in the tiniest concentrations, but I’m not sure what I’d substitute).

Once again, they are considering applying the ban to colors, as well.

Not a big deal on its own, but of a piece with the EU Experience. I cannot tell you how nagged and nannied we have become. Just in the time I’ve been here — oh, the weed killers and pesticides and cleaning products that have been whisked off the shelves. Not on the advice of the experts, but by diktat of “ZOMG It’s A Chemical!” green ignoramuses in Belgium.

Beg pardon. I say Belgium. Richard North of EU Referendum makes a very good case that many of the most obnoxious impositions that we blame on the EU actually are imposed on the EU by the UN. North is a bit of a Mikey-Hates-Everything, but he does his homework.

Global governance via the UN. I know, I know. I see you over there reaching for your Reynold’s Wrap chapeau.

But if you don’t believe in a de facto, shadowy world government, lemme ask you a question: how y’all liking those twisty light bulbs?

July 7, 2014 — 10:20 pm
Comments: 20

I has a rocket!



I only bought the one because we were invited over to the neighbors’ for a Fourth of July cookout, and I didn’t think their livestock would appreciate fireworks.

We snuck home full of wine and burgers and let it off in the garden. It…wasn’t very good.

I paid £10 for this thing and it just went whizz-bang-fountain. For that kind of money, I thought sure it would spell out “God Bless America” and hum a few bars of Stars and Stripes Forever.

The best part was where we jammed the firing tube thingie into the soil, and Jack immediately rushed over and took a crap. Any time you disturb earth, Jack’ll plant one in it, quite uninhibitedly. We had to wait for him to fuss over his turd coverings before we could light the fuse. I didn’t want to remember this as The Day I Set Fire To The Cat.

Hope you had a jolly 4th!



July 4, 2014 — 10:34 pm
Comments: 20

Another village, another George

‘Tis the season for day trips.

The weather in England is surprisingly lovely surprisingly often, for something so bitched about. It’s incredibly temperate: seldom gets below freezing in Winter, almost never rises above 85° in Summer. The worst it throws at you is a season of gray or rain, but these aren’t endless, no matter how it feels. And rain maketh green.

At the moment, we’re having England at its best and have done for weeks. Sunny and seventies in the daytime, clear and fifties at night. So no matter how hot the sun, it’s always crisp and cool in the shade, with a light breeze. Whur I come from, we called this April, only we don’t get several months of it.

Today we took a long run over to beautiful Alfriston. The hymn “Morning has Broken” was written to honor Alfriston (probably). Love this place. All the shops are ancient, charming and woefully overpriced. The National Trust’s first acquisition is here (the Clergy House, closed today, dangit).

We had lunch in the George (above), first recorded changing hands in Thirteen-something. Then a stroll along the Cuckmere (the river Virginia Woolf drowned herself in). Then a drive back along the coast to…ummm…Tesco’s.

Hey, hey…weasel’s gotta eat.

July 3, 2014 — 11:10 pm
Comments: 11

I’m no sheep farmer…

…but I don’t think this ewe is going to make it.

One of our neighbors invited us over for a barbecue and a walk around his property. I’m pleased to report that this unhappy animal was part of the walk, not the cookout.

Tour also included a badger sett, but as that’s just a hole in the ground and not very interesting to look at with no badgers peeking out, I didn’t include it.

There’s also a big square raised thing that is the remains of some ancient work of man. He was told not to dig into it, so he hasn’t.

Brits are so blasé about their history. First fine night, I’d be out there with a smuggler’s lantern and a spoon.

July 2, 2014 — 10:21 pm
Comments: 11

Crop’s a-coming on

That big bad beautiful boy, believe it or don’t, is a Papaver somniferum. An opium poppy. A vividly pink one, They’re perfectly legal to grow here provided you don’t, Scout’s honor, milk them for latex.

We have it on good authority that there are times and places in Sussex when all the poppy seed-heads mysteriously vanish overnight. Generally villages with a high concentration of herbalists.

We have a couple of patches that bloom every year. The blooms are beautiful but short-lived. I mean, the petals fall off very quickly, not that trained herbalists tiptoe into our garden and steal our opium.

We also have a pair of mystery moon vines growing in Uncle B’s raised beds this year. We thought they were cukes, as we grow those and some are recycled through the compost bin and these looked similar. But the flowers, when they came, were enormous, and the things growing on them aren’t cukes.

Best guess, they’re marrows. I don’t know from marrows, but they look like fat spotty zucchinis. Thing is, neither of us has bought a marrow or a zucchini in our miserable lives, so how did they get in our soil?

I’m not big on gourds. Any serving suggestions?

July 1, 2014 — 10:42 pm
Comments: 29

the boids

The gulls are getting hella aggressive at the seaside Scottish town of Newhaven. Okay, that’s not a very good story, but I liked the picture and the link goes to the Metro — always a fun, trashy read. (Don’t miss “man’s trousers blown off by exploding tyre.” No, Brits can’t spell “tire,” poor things).

In other news, Rolf Harris was convicted of sex offenses today and will undoubtedly do time. In case you’re wondering who the hell Rolf Harris is, he’s the guy who wrote “Tie Me Kangaroo Down.” You still shouldn’t give a shit, but at least you know who he is now. You’re welcome for that song going through your head.

There’s been a lot of that going on in the UK lately: going back and prosecuting men for sex crimes they committed decades ago. In many cases, the things they did were common knowledge at the time, but attitudes were different then. Or, at any rate, there was a whole lot of that kind of thing going on. In a sense, it’s not really fair to roust old men out of their beds and prosecute them for ancient crimes.

But in another sense — screw ‘em, these guys were pigs. The fact that they usually got away with it back then is grossly more unfair than the fact that they’re being locked up for it now.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s garbage night. We’re up to four bins now: rubbish, garden waste, glass and other recyclables. If they add another bin, I’ll be officially too stupid to take out the trash.

June 30, 2014 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 18

Round 66: Death in the High Summer

Hutch wins dick with Eli Wallach! While he was a student at the University of Texas, Austin, Wallach acted in a play with fellow students Ann Sheridan and Walter Cronkite. Just think — in future, when weird-ass things like that happen, somebody will have cellphone footage of it.

He was married to actress Anne Jackson for 66 years. That’s the sign of a mensch, if you ask me — especially in Hollywood.

M’okay! Here we 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.

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 didn’t have any dinosaur shit particles.

June 27, 2014 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 108