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The first ever naked ping pong tournament took place this weekend in a private room in the Holborn Club in London. According to this article, ’twas the very spot where table tennis was invented in 1901. (Wikipedia disputes that, but really, who the hell cares?).

There are some artfully posed publicity stills at the link. I’m guessing the actual event was more than a little silly, with all that junk bobbling around.

Yeah, the club is really called Bounce. Didn’t make that up.

According to Pixy Misa’s Twitter feed, Ace had a catastrophic server crash today. In case you were wondering. They expect to get it up and running later today.

May 12, 2014 — 8:55 pm
Comments: 11

Round 63: Mayday edition

Catnip bags the dick with Efrem Zimbalist, jr.

Wikipedia tells me his parents were non-practicing Jews, but that he himself was a devout believer in several things in his life, mostly Christian.

He was baptised in the Episcopal Church, but was an early follower of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (he described this later as an interesting waste of time). In the 70s, he was drawn to Charismatic Christianity and was the voice of Trinity Broadcasting Network for a while, but ultimately found this too fundamentalist.

He went back to the Episcopalians later in life and finally landed among the Anglicans. All of which I am happy to regard as a spiritual progression rather than a contradiction.

His daughter Stephanie announced his death like so: “He was 95 years old, a devout Christian. He actively enjoyed his life to the last day, showering love on his extended family, playing golf and visiting with close friends.”

The BBC obit (first link above) somehow mysteriously drops the first sentence.

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.

May 9, 2014 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 113


One last bit of ironmongery. Sorry the focus is none too good, but it’s dark in the kitchen. Note the whirring thingamabob on top: this is a clockwork mechanism to turn the spit, to roast the beast before the fire. The rope leads to a weight which would have to be cranked back to the top periodically. Put some boy out of a job, this newfangled contraption did.

One of our cookery books points out that most of us have never had real roast beef — what we call roast beef is really baked beef. And when you think about the difference between a rotisserie chicken and one from the oven, you’ll realize that’s true.

The posts this week are from Michelham Priory, which we visited on Sunday. As the guide explained to us, a priory was kind of like the social services of the day. Unlike the monasteries, which were shut off from the public, the staff in the priory were priests intended to minister to outsiders. They gave food and shelter to the poor and nursed the sick.

Like all the others, this one was disbanded by Hank the Eighth, but luckily for us lived on as a private residence. Or a piece of it lived on, anyway.

Right. What time is it, kids? It’s Dead Pool time! Well, it will be tomorrow at 6WBT!

May 8, 2014 — 11:05 pm
Comments: 17

More blacksmith

This is also a product of the blacksmith’s art. Despite the fairly elaborate decoration on the latch mechanism, it wasn’t made by a jeweler. It’s the locking mechanism of a 16th C and it’s a surprisingly fiendish object.

The entire box is made of iron. The docent couldn’t tell me how much it weighs, but she reckoned it would take four men to shift it. She let me try the lid on another similar box, and it was honestly all I could do to lift it vertical.

On either side at the top, you can see two stout rings for padlocks. Centered between them in the box proper is the keyhole, and it’s fake. It goes nowhere. The real keyhole is hidden behind a boss in the center of the lid. It slips sideways, and there’s the hole. The sound it makes when you turn the key is epic.

It is further compartmentalized on the inside for papers and jewelry and whatnot. The idea was that great men had to have lots of coin on hand to pay for everything, especially when they traveled. There are four holes in the bottom for bolts, to bolt it to the bed of a cart for just that purpose.

If Robin Hood ever did make off with one like this, I hate to think how many Merry Man it would take to file enough of a slot into it to make room for a wedge to make purchase for a hammer. I don’t know how else you’d get it open.

May 7, 2014 — 9:57 pm
Comments: 8

Steel ivy.

On Sunday, I watched a blacksmith make this on an ancient forge. It’s about the size of the ball of my thumb.

He took a quarter inch mild steel bar and hammered the end into a sort of arrowhead shape.
Folded in half.
Part straightened again (this made the big vein down the middle).
Beat the little veins into the sides of the leaf.
Nipped it from the rod, leaving a nub of the rod behind.
Turned it and hammered at the nub, over and over, until it became a long, thin stem.
Hammered the stem around the nose of the anvil until he’d tied it in a knot.

Not much more than five minutes. It was awesome. We asked to see more examples of his work, and the blacksmith reached his blackened and callused paw into his pocket…and pulled out his iPhone.


May 6, 2014 — 9:48 pm
Comments: 13

And then there were two…

I strongly suspect both these guys are from the same nest. Same species, same size. Jack has been haunting one corner of the garden. He’s either able to climb the tree or he’s waiting for them the fledge and scooping them off the ground.

Blackbird #2 was uninjured, maybe sliiiightly bigger than the first, and very freaked out by the whole Weasel Experience. He kept opening his mouth for food and then spitting it out. I think, actually, the open beak was aggression in his case. Eventually, he got hungry enough to be a good bird. He sure wanted out of the cage, though.

We went out for a few hours yesterday, so I took a chance. I locked Jack up in the house and left the cage outside, high up, near the nest, with the door open. When we came home, one bird was gone and I didn’t find him on the ground. Zo! Happy ending, let’s hope.

Unfortunately, the one left behind appears to be Irritating Spit Bird.

NB: yes, indeed, catnip takes the dick with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. I think I’m about three dicks behind at the moment. Apologies if you’re waiting. I’ve got an Irritating Spit Bird on my drawing desk at the mo. So, back here, Friday, 6pm WBT, Dead Pool Round 63!

May 5, 2014 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 11

I can see a lot of this in my future

In case you can’t quite make it out, that’s me poking a glob of KitEKat on a toothpick into the open maw of Jack’s latest victim (he didn’t mean to hurt innybody, he just wants to playyyyyyy). This is a very birdy place and Jack is a bird-loving sociopath, so I might as well learn to do this now.

Birdy alert and feeding well. Making a nuisance of itself hopping all over my study. Very nearly a fledgling (perhaps it was on its first flight) so it shouldn’t be in care long, assuming it survives the encounter with the deadly cat’s mouth bacteria. In fact, I tried to give it back to its parents twice by putting it on branches near the nest, but he couldn’t quite make his way home. When I brought him in the first time, I thought the cold had done for him and it was quite a while before I got him hopping and chirping again.

I can roughly make out where the nest is, but I can’t possibly get there because it’s very high and the fruit cage is in the way. Parents followed me all around the garden all day calling me the worst names they could think of.

Anyhoo, he’s a baby Common Blackbird (Turdus merula). This is a completely different bird than the New World blackbirds of home. In case you ever wondered why the Beatles wrote a pretty lilting song about a bird that goes SKWA, Eurasian blackbirds don’t go SKWA. They have one of the nicest calls going. Check out their Wikipedia page for a couple of examples.

Have a good weekend, folks, and send nice thoughts to the little birdie.

May 2, 2014 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 18

Throw your paws in the air like you just don’t care

I don’t usually talk about my personal life — ‘tcha, no wait, successful bloggers don’t talk about their personal lives; I talk about mine all the time! Anyway, we’ve been waking up achey and we think our mattress is shot.

Either that or we’re just old. (Attentive readers will recall that May is my birthday month — not merely the month my birthday appears in, but a month-long celebration of the awesomeness of me).

Mattresses are expensive and science is cool, so we bought a cheap air mattress and just popped it on top of the old one. Not a permanent answer, but to test the age-versus-crap-mattress hypothesis. So far so good, but the top of the bed is, like, four feet from the floor now.

Illustrated: what happens when you hop up onto an air mattress where a cat is sleeping.

Bonus: I found this while image searching “bouncy castle” — bouncy Stonehenge!

May 1, 2014 — 10:50 pm
Comments: 26

Happy Walpurgis Night!

It is the 30th of April, the night before the Feast of Walpurga, AKA Walpurgisnacht. Walpurga was an 8th C English missionary to Germany, and that’s enough about her, because it’s mere coincidence that she was canonized on the 1st of May.

Walpurgis Night is the Germanic version of Beltane or May Day. It’s halfway between Spring equinox and Midsummer. A remnant of pagan “welcome Spring!” celebrations. But with witches and bonfires.

I burned some shit in the garden tonight, but for the comfort and safety of my neighbors, I kept my blouse on.

April 30, 2014 — 9:28 pm
Comments: 8

A bargain!

Géza Nikelszky (1877 – 1966) was a Hungarian artist and this is his “Jug with Pigeon and Weasel,” for some reason.

You can own this spectacular object for a Buy It Now price of only £4,999.00, shipped direct from Budapest.

Mr. eBay may be trying it on here. One came up for auction in 2012 with a starting bid of $783. They don’t say what the winning bid was, though, so perhaps demand for…this object went through the roof in the final moments.

Uncle B sent me the link. I fear he is shopping for me.

April 29, 2014 — 10:30 pm
Comments: 11