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It will explain nothing

So, the Benghazi hearings. This is one of those issues that make me feel like I have gone cracked, because nothing about it makes any damn sense.

It looks like State systematically downgraded and denied security in Libya, even as diplomats in country pleaded for more. Why? When the call came for help, it was denied. Why? We’ve always beefed up security in the run up to September 11, but not in this hotbed of Islamism. Why not? (I’ve heard that byzantine thing about a plot to trade Stevens for the blind sheik. I don’t believe a word of it, but it is the only explanation that actually explains any of this screwiness).

Our consulate was burned down and four Americans killed. An attack on a diplomatic compound is universally regarded as an act of war. So that stupid lie about it being a spontaneous riot, not a premeditated attack — why would that have been better? How was that helpful to the ass covering operation? The facility was still undergunned in a bad place and that was going to come out regardless.

And really, MSM? Really? This thing is huge by any objective measure. You have the balls to call the investigation partisan? My, we’ve come a far piece down a dangerous road.

Related: it’s tacky as shit to make Hillary’s presidential aspirations a part of this story. No doubt it’s going through her mind, but to write about the next election as though our biennial horse race is always a natural and important part of any major event is, ummm…excuse me: FOUR DEAD DIPLOMATS.

May 8, 2013 — 10:07 pm
Comments: 30

Happy birthday to xul!

Beg pardon, I was wrong: Xul had Harryhausen in the Dead Pool. And it’s his birthday!

So, happy birthday, Xul — you win the dick! You know what to do if you want it.

The rest of the Justice League, assemble here Friday, 6pm sharp.
Dead Pool Round Fifty!

— 9:50 am
Comments: 11

This guy.

Aw. Ray Harryhausen has been and gone. As Wikipedia put it, “The Harryhausen family announced his death via Twitter and Facebook on May 7, 2013.” He had lived in London since 1960. I did not know that.

I adored every frame of his stop-motion animation, but I think there’s a reason everyone points to this scene from Jason and the Argonauts. A slight jerkiness spoils the effect of an animated monkey or the sinuous snakes on Medusa’s head, but these bone soldier guys? They were splendid little models, and they moved exactly the way you’d expect an animated skeleton to move: all crouchy elbows and knees.

Here’s the fight scene. And here’s a short clip of Harryhausen talking about animating the skeleton fight in Sinbad.

(I’m sure the skeletons in Skyrim are an homage, but I love the fact they’re the biggest pussies in the land: lob a rock at them and they disintegrate into comical bone xylophones).

Anyway, RIP Harryhausen. And no, no-one had him in the Dead Pool.

May 7, 2013 — 9:47 pm
Comments: 20

It’s all about me, me, ME

Long time readers may recall that I celebrate my birthday for the entire month of May, because I’m awesome like that (my actual birthday is early in May, and May is the awesomest month in Sussex). So…this was my big gift this year: a Nexus 7.

I’ve been so absorbed with it, I totally forgot I had to post today. Hell, that’s not even my photograph. Those aren’t my hands. I just grabbed a picture and ran away laughing.

I’m not posting on here with that thing, though. I think it’s of the devil. I clicked the icon for “my location” and it popped up a nice sharp picture of my actual back yard, where I was sitting at the time. I almost screamed. (That’s the scary intersection of built-in GPS and Google Earth). Under some circumstances, like Twitter, it’ll helpfully post that location for you along with your words.

I’m not taking any chances…

May 6, 2013 — 11:20 pm
Comments: 31

Let’s talk narratives…

Big day for this guy: Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party. UKIP picked up 23% of the vote in local elections across England. Yes, that is a Very Big Deal.

UKIP is a lot like the Libertarian Party in the States: their policies make great good sense, but they’re seen as a party of nuts and no-hopers.

Some of that is fair enough — there does seem to be a higher than usual proportion of whackadoodles in both parties. On the other hand, an awful lot of that is our old arch enemy The Narrative.

Try this experiment: do a Google Images search of Nigel Farage. Notice how often he’s shown making a goofy face. In almost all of them.

Okay, so maybe he just looks goofy, right? Well, you know who else looks goofy? One-eyed rubbery-faced paranoid nutcase with anger management issues Gordon Brown. Note there are one or two candid and unflattering shots on that first page, but not many.

You look how they want you to look, and UKIP has been declared the clown party by our lords and masters.

But let’s look at The Narrative, International Governance Conspiracy Edition. The BBC did a vox pop this morning featuring several hacked off Tories who voted UKIP. More than one made the same comment: we’ve got a gravely sick economy, a war on, scary times in the Middle East, tense times in the Far East, a general feeling that everything is turning to shit, and what is David Cameron obsessed with? Legalizing gay marriage.

So, riddle me this: why? Why is gay marriage suddenly the big fucking deal in Britain…and the US, and France? Why now, when everything is in crisis, and why all of these countries at the same time? It almost makes one suspect the existence of an international political Journolist.

Anyway, the Clown Party just kicked David Cameron’s ass. Have a good weekend. I know I will!

May 3, 2013 — 9:27 pm
Comments: 28

Arrrrr, that’s embarrasin’!

So, a branch of the Women’s Institute invited a retired sea captain to give a talk about pirates. When the news got around, the ladies gamely decided to dress up as pirates for the occasion.

Turns out, the talk was about Colin Darch’s ordeal at sea — kidnapped by Somali pirates, savagely beaten and held hostage for forty-five days in the Indian Ocean. Goodness, were their faces red. Cap’n Darch was a good sport about it, though, and the talk went on as planned. (Say, that granny on the right with the boots and the do-rag looks a game ‘un, doesn’t she?).

Meanwhile over in Wales, a Welsh woman pled guilty to racially aggravated harassment and was given a 12-month conditional discharge and fined £50 for calling an English woman an “English cow.” The cow in question was sleeping with her father, busting up her parents’ 32-year marriage, so tempers were high.

She could have called the woman a pustulant cunt of a hag of a cow of an elderly whore-flavored douche bucket and it would have been perfectly legal, but “English” makes it a crime.

Y’arrr, we be livin’ in stoopid times, me hearties.

May 2, 2013 — 9:52 pm
Comments: 12



This is my pet mouse, Sixpence. The date stamp says it was 2002. Uncle B sent me flowers, and I put a carnation in her cage.

Check it out. She’s not nibbling it; she hasn’t mistaken it for food. She’s spreading the petals apart, sticking her head in as far as it will go and breathing in the scent.

She’s loving it.

It was an extraordinary thing. I put the flower in there thinking they’d eat it (she had a roommate who wasn’t interested at all) or make a nest out of it or do some other mousey thing with it. I didn’t expect to conduct an experiment on the æsthetic sensibilities of mice (you know I’m an intellectual because I stuck the ‘a’ and the ‘e’ together).

What made me think of it, we had a long drive today in beautiful, sunny weather. The lambs in the field, born in a cold and wet season, were blissing out in the sun, about the first warm sun they’ve ever felt. So were many of their mothers.

And my chickens. And the cat. It’s hard to watch so much sun worship and put store in the notion that animals are heat-seeking machines that would respond equally to the sun or a steam radiator.

Welp, I can’t walk too far down this road. I’ll end up a Jain, I swear.



May 1, 2013 — 10:40 pm
Comments: 17

Thanks, Obama!

NBC’s Chuck Todd on Sunday’s Meet the Press, discussing Obama’s closing remarks at Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner:

It did seem, I thought his pot shots joke wise and then the serious stuff about the internet, the rise of the internet media and social media and all that stuff – he hates it. Okay? He hates this part of the media. He really thinks that the sort of the buzzification – this isn’t just about Buzzfeed or Politico and all this stuff – he thinks that sort of coverage of political media has hurt political discourse. He hates it. And I think he was trying to make that clear last night.

Noel Sheppard on Newsbusters, discussing Chuck Todd’s remarks:

Todd was likely quite correct, but chose not to disclose why Obama hates new media. It’s because most of it isn’t in the tank for this President and can’t be controlled by him.

That’s obviously not true of folks such as Todd and his colleagues in the old media who echo the current White House resident’s talking points, mercilessly attack his opponents, and cover for his missteps.

It’s therefore no wonder the President hates “the rise of the internet media and social media,” and although Todd is very active on Twitter, one thinks he also hates this rise because it’s making him and his colleagues less relevant.

Stoaty Weasel, on this blog, right now:

Thank you, Obama. If ever I falter, if ever I waiver, if ever I wonder what I’m doing down here in the ass-end of the internet drawing stuff on people’s faces and cracking dick jokes, I will remember this. I do it because you don’t like it. Because you can’t control it and it isn’t kind to you. Mine is a small, silly, anonymous ‘fuck you’ to you and the whole the ruling class, but it’s mine and it’s persistent and it’s right out in public.

April 30, 2013 — 9:33 pm
Comments: 35


This here contraption weds a camera to a kite for some intriguing low-aerial photography. (Ummm…I was sent the link by email and forgot to ask if I could say by whom). There are some cracking good pictures at the link.

The head photographer and my old art gig requisitioned (and got!) quite a large a remote-control helicopter to use as a photography platform. It didn’t turn out so well. Gear in those days was bulky, remotes were hinky and the camera shake was fierce. On the other hand, he spent weeks playing with a big, expensive toy and got the company to pay for it. So, w00t, really.

Also in my inbox today, also from someone who will remain anonymous because I forgot to ask, this link to an excellent album of some dude playing classical guitar pieces on a ukulele. Two ukes, actually, I think. It works surprisingly well.

You have to sign up at the link to download the album (it’s kind of interesting what they’re trying to do there, but no thanks)…but they’ll let you listen to the whole thing for free.

Me, I’ve got my annual bloodwork tomorrow morning early. I really, really don’t want to go on a statin, but I really, really don’t want to pick a fight with my doctor, either. He’s a crabby sod as it is. So I’ve been living on a diet that includes lots of oat bran, almonds, lecithin granules, apples and niacin. Does this shit really lower cholesterol? I don’t know and, in the bigger scheme of things, I don’t much care. I don’t think they’ve worked out the role of cholesterol yet; I’m just trying to queer the test.

I’m about an hour into my 14-hour fast and I’m feeling a lot of class envy at the moment. You people in the “sure, I’m going to eat dinner tonight” class, you really frost my ass. You know that?

April 29, 2013 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 41

Meer Nederlandse

That’s Queen Bea again, taking the Scout Oath. -=Kidding=-. That’s her and Prince Claus on her Coronation Day in 1980. Then they went off to live in Castle Drakensteyn.

I bet you thought that’s where Scrooge McDuck lives.

Anyway, I don’t have anything meaningful to say today, so I thought I’d tell you my one Dutchman story.

I used to hang out in USENET back in the day and in this one newsgroup there was a particularly obnoxious Dutch guy. You know the type: boring faux-sophisticate European smarty pants always ragging on Americans.

Oh, you Americans and your flag and your pledge and your primitive nationalism and your silly patriotism, always chanting U-S-A…U-S-A. We Europeans have moved beyond such childish notions of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah. I think he lived in a committed threesome with two women and drank a lot of wine. You know what I’m talking.

Well, one day, I made a remark about Queen Beatrice. It wasn’t even particularly rude remark — I think I referred to her as “Queen What’s-her-name” — and the man came unstrung. I mean howling and screaming about respect and my betters. The bulgy eyes and flecks of spittle were implied, as this was in the days of text only.

Um-hm. Because nothing says ‘modernity’ like groveling subservience to royalty.

Have a good weekend, folks!

April 26, 2013 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 17