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Dead Pool Round 83: First lambs of Spring edition

Oops! Almost forgot to queue up a Dead Pool! Real quick then, ExpressoBold takes another dick with Nancy Reagan. God speed, ma’am. Now she knows if those séances were worth the money.

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.

March 11, 2016 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 74

What the hell, Belgians?


There’s something super creepy about the Belgians. Like, these guys. The Blancs Moussis, or ‘clad in white’, from the mid-Lenten celebration of Stavelot (it was last weekend). “During the afternoon a procession of floats travel through the streets showering crowds with confetti and flogging them with pig bladders.”

Oh, and Kattenstoet (means Cat Parade) where they commemorate that time they threw cats from the towers by throwing toy cats from the towers. Those and more creepy Belgian festivals at the link above.

I’m not sure why this story has floated up again, since it happened in the Nineties. I think because his lawyer has been telling stories to a local magazine. Innyhoo, Marc Dutroux was a pedophile serial killer who kidnapped girls and kept them in his basement. Some he killed, two just plain old starved and a couple were found alive.

During the investigation and trial, the behavior of the police and other authorities was so strange and incompetent that when Dutroux insisted he was part of a large pedophile ring that included people at all levels of government, he wasn’t completely dismissed. This was all going on when I first began travelling to the UK and I remember the scandal festered unresolved for a very long time.

Hence my Belgophobia, probably. Just thought I’d share, since Dutroux is back in the news.

Tomorrow? Dead Pool! Be here, 6 sharp.

sock it to me

March 10, 2016 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 8

Happy birthday, grrl


March 9 is Barbie’s birthday. She’s 57. Lookin’ good (but psssst…I think she’s had some work done).

I suppose you’ve seen the new Fat Barbie. Time magazine did a cover issue on her (subscriber only, but here’s the relevant bit repeated in Slate):

Dockterman watched unattended little girls playing with the doll, presumably through some kind of two-way mirror. In one session, for the pleasure of her peers, a 6-year-old speaks as if she’s the curvy doll. Here’s what she says: “Hello, I’m a fat person, fat, fat, fat.” Later, when an adult arrives, she calls the doll “a little chubbier.” Another child says she doesn’t want to hurt that Barbie’s feelings, so she spells it: “F-A-T.” A Mattel research head told Dockterman that, when adults weren’t in the room, focus-group girls often undressed the curvy dolls and laughed at them.

Of course, Slate being Slate, the message they took away was ZOMG this is why we need curvy Barbie, not don’t use toys for propagandizing; kids see right through you.

I was never much into Barbie qua Barbie, but I absolutely adored miniatures. All those tiny coke bottles and appliances and costumes and sidearms (wait, no…that was GI Joe. Loved his stuff, too). I could not get enough accessories. And, if you recall, you could buy costumes in complete packages, with more tiny thingumbobs.

More Barbie magic: the very first Barbie commercial, 1959; how to make your own zombie Barbie; twenty disturbing special edition Barbies (Tippi-Hedren-pecked-to-death-by-birds Barbie is a must have; reminder that these Barbies are aimed at adult collectors); talking Barbie apparently says “WTF?” over and over. I hear you, girl.

sock it to me

March 9, 2016 — 9:44 pm
Comments: 12

And your little d’….awww g’wan witcha


I just love seeing the Wicked Witch of the West crack up laughing. This is from Margaret Hamilton’s makeup test. An early one.

I’m struck by how much she looks like Carl Sagan here.

sock it to me

March 8, 2016 — 8:24 pm
Comments: 10

Enter title here


Proofing copy tonight. Ugh. I’m sort of the academic version of the rag picker; I scratch a living sifting through the intellectual debris of my betters.

I snatched this picture from a Google Images search of “proofing copy.” I think I was drawn to the juxtaposition of the words “the floor” and “unhygienic.”

Check out the nails on that chick. My nails do not look like that. In fact, I’d be willing to bet the set of women who proof copy for a living and the set of women who have huge long acrylic fingernails do not much overlap in real life.

Anyway, poor Nancy Reagan, eh? Expresso Bold takes dick again (how many times is this?). I apologize: I am remiss in my dicking. There aren’t many of you still waiting but, owing to the unusual length of a few rounds, those that are waiting have been waiting a long time.

So, you know the drill. Back here Friday 6WBT. Dead Pool Round 84.

sock it to me

March 7, 2016 — 10:55 pm
Comments: 15

Oh, just Brit stuffs…


Welp, they do one of these articles about once a year. I know, because I always steal it to post: silliest placenames in Britain. Enjoy!

Food question

I refuse to believe there’s any part of a pig a Tennesseean doesn’t eat, so I suspect what we have here is a failure to communicate. On the menu this week at Badger Manor is gammon or boiled bacon. The internet tells me “Gammon is the leg from a side of a pig which has been cured. Ham is the leg which has been removed and cured separately.”

The internet also tells me “Gammon has been cured in the same way as bacon whereas ham has been dry-cured or cooked.” But, since British bacon bears little resemblance to the good American stuff of that name, I don’t think this is likely to be helpful.

So, the question is, what is this cut called in the US, and how do we usually cook it?

Also served with

The Brit version is, indeed, boiled (or pressure cooked, in our case) and is often served with pease pudding.

Not to be confused with mushy peas, often served with fish’n’chips. I like pease pudding and mushy peas just fine. They sit comfortably in the mashed potato slot.

When Uncle B asked me if we had pease pudding in the colonies, I said we have the rhyme, “pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold, pease porridge in the pot, nine days old,” but really no fucking idea what pease pudding (or porridge) might be.

Does that tally with your experience?

Thanks for the memories

Last two Christmases, we were treated to a dead rat under the master bedroom floor. Or a dead something, anyway. As the floor is made of gigantic Tudor oak planks spiked into the support beams, there’s no chance of getting them up and extricating the corpse. (Some nights I lie awake and imagine the ancient rat boneyard directly under me).

We didn’t get one for Christmas this year. Looks like we’re getting one for Easter instead. Um, yay? My sense of smell is very poor, so I don’t suffer that much. But Uncle B sleeps in agony for the weeks until the smell goes away completely.

Spare his poor nose a thought this weekend. And have a good one your good selves! We saw the first lambs of Spring this week…

sock it to me

March 4, 2016 — 7:39 pm
Comments: 31

Everybody bitches about his job


I goofed off tonight playing Hearthstone (sad, sad little weasel), so please accept a link to this amusing article about marginalia I read earlier this week.

You know, back in the days before Gutenberg, when every book in our world was laboriously hand-copied by monks, sometimes they’d spare a minute to bitch about it in the margins. Like

“Now I’ve written the whole thing: for Christ’s sake give me a drink”


“The parchment is hairy”

or (this is rather sweet)

“This is sad! O little book! A day will come in truth when someone over your page will say, ‘The hand that wrote it is no more.'”

The picture? It’s the third one that turns up in a Google Images search of “marginalia.” If you right click it (using Chrome) and ask Google to identify the image, its best guess is, “kanye west amber rose memes.”

Yeah, you know? Sometimes I don’t want to know.

sock it to me

March 3, 2016 — 10:53 pm
Comments: 4

The Lurve Banjo


It came! And it’s in better-than-expected shape. I got it mostly apart tonight. It was grubby as hell (and full of dead spiders!), but not too damaged and the metal bits don’t seem brittle or otherwise fatigued.

I had doubted that it really was homemade, but I’m not so sure now. See the horizontal guideline across the tailpiece in the picture? Clearly to line up the holes properly. Also, note the slightly crude scroll cuts at the edges. The geared tuners and spunover pot were probably cannibalized from another instrument, but I do think this was a labor of lurve, possibly on the part of a Swiss redneck.

Only hitch is, the neck is held to the pot with a pin through it. I don’t think I can get the pin out without breaking it off flush. It would be a kjillion times easier to fix this up if the neck and the pot were separated, but I may have to eat the inconvenience.

Wanna see another great British eccentric? Check out this eBay zither banjo. Barnes and Mullins is a well-known brand. It’s still around. In fact, my very best banjo is a B&M Lyratone. But I’ll let this one go…errr…unless, of course, the price stays stupid low.

sock it to me

March 2, 2016 — 10:34 pm
Comments: 10

Mine! All mine!


Look at this fugly beast. JUST LOOK AT IT! This is probably the ugliest banjo I’ve ever seen, and now it belongs to me.

Well, it will do, if the eBay seller ever puts it in the post. The suspense is killing me.


If I’d known Britain was the Land of Goofy Banjos, I’d have moved here years ago. This will be goofy banjo number ten, if anyone is keeping score (eleven, if I manage to pull off the ukulele conversion I’ve been playing with). Though technically, this one is (probably) Swiss. From the description:

Here is my uncles old banjo he had in his shed I don’t know exactly how old it is but I’m 50 and remember he had when we were kids my auntie said that he bought it backdrop abroad before she knew him when he was in the army and she thinks it was Switzerland and can only remember him say he got it off an old man on a farm who made it for his loved one

That’s right, it’s a lurve banjo.

It’s a proper five string. Four store-bought ones either side, and then see that peg in the middle? The one that looks like it was chewed out of a rutabaga by a frenzied mink? That’s the fifth string peg: the string goes under the fretboard below the nut and pops out again at the fifth fret (that little white dot is the fifth-string nut). Very common feature in goofy British banjos (actually, a tunneled fifth is now an option on custom-made fine American banjos, one of which this emphatically isn’t).

These old things often don’t age well, owing to some of their more eccentric design features. But, then, they don’t cost much, either. And it’s not like they’re musical instruments or anything.

sock it to me

March 1, 2016 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 13

Well, there’s one


As you guys may have gathered, I am absolutely fascinated with the idea of 3D printing technologies without having the faintest fucking idea what I could do with it.

I was chatting to someone in my electric bicycle forum (yeah, I get around, baby!) who makes his own bike motors, very substantially using parts he 3D prints. When I expressed some skepticism that PLA would be strong enough to do useful work, he said the material is strong under compression and weak under tension and he designs part thicknesses accordingly. Yes, I saw a picture of his motor in action (it’s a friction motor that works by directly driving the front tire).

Later that night, I sat straight up in bed (I did, too — I’m not kidding) when it occurred to me that I could print *・°☆.。banjo components:*・°☆.。. Like, bridges and armrests and ornamental headstocks and shit. I didn’t think PLA would be very impressive tonally, but then I discovered people are printing wild-ass electric guitars. In nylon, I think. How do they sound? I DON’T CARE!

And today this Kickstarter campaign hit my inbox: you download a free cellphone app and scan your feet and they 3D print custom insoles to match. I am unclear whether they offer the shoes, as well but I DON’T CARE!

We live in wondrous times, my friends.

sock it to me

February 29, 2016 — 10:28 pm
Comments: 17