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Weasels in the mist

I haven’t talked about the weather for a while, because I know a lot of you are still socked in with Winter and…well…no beating about the bush, we’ve had a sunny few days here. When it’s nice in England, it’s first-lovely-warm-day-in-Spring nice. It can be 72, sunny with a cool breeze for months on end, when we get lucky.

But we paid for it today. When the sea is cold and the sun is hot, we can get a weather phenomenon southerners call a sea fog or sea fret. Northerners call it a haar — or har, hare, harl, harr or hoar. It’s where we get the term hoar frost (the fog that freezes and sticks to things).

A sea fret is awesome to watch, because it’s dramatic and sudden. It’s a dense fog with a highly perceptible edge. It comes galloping in from the Channel, drops temps twenty degrees and reduces visibility to sweet fuck-all.

We drove into the one today. Clear one minute, whooff the next. Not the densest fog I’ve ever been in (that would be a cloud I drove into on Grandfather Mountain once), but it was pretty spooky.

I gather most of England got this one.

March 13, 2014 — 10:50 pm
Comments: 8

I am too a special snowflake

One of the art bloggers I read is having a bit of a hissy about negative criticism from commenters (not going to link — blog feuds are the lowest form of traffic whoring). Made me think for the umpty-umpth time about how big the internet is. And how, on the one hand, it allows any old Joe Schmoe to show his wares to the world. On the other, it allows any old Joe Schmoe to find your stuff and inform you that it sux dix.

Even harder to take, though — it puts you in direct competition with, like, the whole world. If you’re a one in a million talent, there are still thousands of others in your league. I don’t care how good you are — If you don’t find trawling the internet humbling, you don’t go to enough places.

Long ago on the header of Christopher Taylor’s blog, he said there were 90 million blogs on the ‘net. I don’t know where he got that number, but I suspect it got away from him pretty quick (like McDonald’s — remember when the signs bragged about the actual number of millions of burgers sold? Eventually, they gave up and put “metric asswad burgers sold”). That was a pretty daunting competition then, whatever it is now.

I got curious about the current number of connected world citizens, but I’m not good at math (I think “umpty-umpth” and “metric asswad” are actual mathematical concepts). So check me here. Wikipedia says the world population is 7.1 billion of which 61% are not using the internet. So, that means 39% are using the internet, and 39% of 7.1 billion is…2.77 billions, yes? Which looks like 2,770,000,000 writ out with all them zeroes, yes? And if you’re a picture blog, you’re pretty much accessible to all of them, regardless of language.

I’m thinking it’s going to be pretty easy to find people who don’t like your stuff.

March 12, 2014 — 11:45 pm
Comments: 20

It’s time

The time has come. It’s time we return to an America where politicians have facial hair (and that’s not another dig at Hillary, who I’m sure has plenty).

I don’t really know enough of about Ted Cruz yet, to be honest. I just know he’s the orneriest cuss in politics at the moment and — whether it’s a posture or not — that’s just what I want to see. Somebody to upset a few apple carts.

That girlie mouth bothers me, though.

March 11, 2014 — 11:18 pm
Comments: 14

And your little dog, too!

I made Hillary a 2016 campaign poster, but it’s too big for my blog so I’ma make you click to see it.

I showed Uncle B while I was working on it and he said, “she’ll sue.” And I said, “she ought to sue — that’s just wrong.

To be honest, if Hillary was that badass, I’d probably vote for her. Have you seen pics of her lately? She looks old, old, old. Older than her 66 years. I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t drop out after all.

UPDATE: ZOMG, Aceolanche! Bless your little cotton socks, Dave. If ya’ll kindly check back tomorrow, I’m working on a color version. It’s a little different from the black and white. I’ll probably put it on some stuff to sell, but I’ll also offer free versions of both the color and grayscale posters, if you’d like to print some out yourself.

March 10, 2014 — 7:20 pm
Comments: 39


Just messing around. (Sure, I got a bigger version). When was the last time Little Lord Fountleroy came up in conversation?

Good weekend, all!

March 7, 2014 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 14

If you can just hold out a *little* longer

We took a long drive up the coast today. It was a good day for it; sunny and mild. Daffodils everywhere. AND WE SAW THE FIRST LAMBS OF THE SEASON. SQUEEE!

Spring is definitely coming. Just don’t lose your grip.

— 12:11 am
Comments: 19

Oh my dog

“Russian President Vladimir Putin’s intervention in Ukraine is not a sign of Russian strength…” said U.S. President Barack Obama, standing in an elementary school classroom on this colorful alphabet rug. Seriously. This happened. (Thanks to MikeW for the link in the comments). Doesn’t he have people to scope out these locations in advance?

Not that the press conference went out this way — the shot was framed in the standard talking-head-plus-flags format. Still, this day and age, they didn’t think other photos would leak to the internets?

Anyway, that’s the image I should have been riffing on tonight. Instead, I did something I haven’t done in years — got a book in the mail this morning and read it all in one go. Blew most of my day and had to sprint at the end.

What? Oh. It was Thomasina. Which Disney made into The Three Lives of Thomasina in the Sixties. I never saw the movie but, knowing Disney, I can pretty much guarantee the book was darker and weirder.

Also by this author: Jennie, a book I read many years ago and loved. And, um, Poseidon Adventure.

March 6, 2014 — 12:13 am
Comments: 18

Things that are crazy

Mad Jack, as he looks tonight relaxing on the sofa. Since you haven’t seen him in a while. I don’t know why he looks grumpy (maybe because I’m pointing a camera at him). The weather is finally improving a little here (sorry, ‘Muricans) and he’s having a spectacularly good time dashing up and down the lawn. Oh, how we worry about the road.

In other insane news, did you catch this thing in the New Republic, about how Vladimir Putin actually might be a little cray-cray? I know, I know…TNR. But this is their hired Putin-watcher, and it’s worth a read. This is Vlad at today’s press conference:

So I don’t know what happened there. It’s unclear. But did you see the bullets piercing the shields of the Berkut [special police]. That was obvious. As for who gave the order to shoot, I don’t know. Yanukovich didn’t give that order. He told me. I only know what Yanukovich told me. And I told him, don’t do it. You’ll bring chaos to your city. And he did it, and they toppled him. Look at that bacchanalia. The American political technologists they did their work well. And this isn’t the first time they’ve done this in Ukraine, no. Sometimes, I get the feeling that these people…these people in America. They are sitting there, in their laboratory, and doing experiments, like on rats. You’re not listening to me. I’ve already said, that yesterday, I met with three colleagues. Colleagues, you’re not listening. It’s not that Yanukovich said he’s not going to sign the agreement with Europe. What he said was that, based on the content of the agreement, having examined it, he did not like it. We have problems. We have a lot of problems in Russia. But they’re not as bad as in Ukraine.

She (the reporter) claims that’s pretty close to verbatim, and he rambled on like that for an hour. Also, Angela Merkel (who’s pretty sympatico with Vlad) said he was in “another world” after talking to him on the phone. Also (I can’t source this, I forgot where I read it, but ever’body’s talking about it) he claims those aren’t Russian troops in the Crimea. They’re locals, loyal to Russia, who just bought themselves Russian military uniforms, which you can totally get at Wal*Mart. Or something.

Honestly, I think the only reason our top guys never go entirely nuts is that they have a maximum of eight years to go loopy in.

March 4, 2014 — 11:54 pm
Comments: 9


Two contradictory observations. One, I’m not sure the situation in Ukraine is as dangerous as it looks. And two, when powerful nutjobs and geopolitical forces are on the move, scary unexpected chainreaction bad things can happen.

Oh, and three — Putin’s nipples scare me.

March 3, 2014 — 10:18 pm
Comments: 20

An explosion was heard in rural Sussex over the weekend

Been on a bean streak lately. You know, dried beans, soak ‘em overnight, cook ‘em with fatback. It’s probably a variety of homesickness; I come from a bean eating people.

When I went away to college, I had to call my mother and ask her, “when we have a bowl of beans…what exactly kind of beans are those?” At the time, my ignorance embarrassed me, but turns out it’s not such a dumb question. There are many varieties of small white bean, and recipes play fast and loose with the definitions.

The one I was looking for was probably the navy bean, which is called that because we stuffed American sailors full of them in the late 19th, early 20th. And I know that’s true, because I’ve just reached the point in Norman Rockwell’s autobiography where he joins the navy, and he describes desperately painting portraits if the officers to ingratiate himself and escape the endless beans in the regular mess. Poor bastards.

Those beans are called haricot beans here and they are the base bean for Heinz baked beans. Yup, hard to believe those vile neon orange fuckers are made out of the innocent white navy bean, but it’s true.

One of our local markets put a bunch of beans on the reduced rack — the more exotic varieties just weren’t selling, I guess — so I have some new and wonderful beans to try. I’m especially looking forward to adzuki beans, which are little read beans used in desserts in the East.

Why I thought you might like to spend the weekend here talking about beans, I couldn’t say, but allow me to recommend the Bean Institute‘s quarterly newsletter if the conversation runs dry. Good weekend, beaners!

February 28, 2014 — 10:45 pm
Comments: 45