Not really technical difficulties as such, but mojo reminded me I haven’t updated my WordPress installation in a thousand years. Shouldn’t be any problems, but I may be down for a while.
Oh, and I have to manually reload my custom smilies. Don’t try smiling for a while; you’ll look stupid.
June 10, 2015 — 9:07 pm
That’s not my joke, that’s his joke. The man who owns these ducks.
The summer fête season is upon us. This was taken at the first one in our annual calendar, in fact. Most of them have a show ring and various entertainments, and trained herd dogs are a regular feature.
This guy was good. He had an experienced dog (seven years in training) and a rescue dog (less than a year) and he was using them to herd a dozen ducks through a series of ramps and obstacle courses.
The new dog was very good, bless her heart. Not as good as the old hand but holding her own. The trainer said the experienced dog thinks nothing of rounding up a flock of 500 sheep all by himself.
He had some interesting observations. Like, if your dog runs off and you yell at him when he comes back, he’ll think you didn’t want him to come back and eventually he’ll run away for good. Also, he never trains dogs with food rewards. He doesn’t want them doing their job for pay, he wants them to work out of pride and a place in the pack. He’s obviously put a lot of thought into this.
Anyway, it’s Summer — stand by for livestock posts!
June 9, 2015 — 9:42 pm
Somebody on FaceBook tagged Stoaty on this video (thanks, stranger. I don’t know which of you it was, I only know his slave name). Watch it to the end, because stoats are just that awesome.
Should I be concerned that Stoaty Weasel has about twice as many friends as I do? Even though I (big mistake) friended almost my entire High School graduating class? Hm. Nah.
FaceBook apparently has its own video storage thingie now, because I couldn’t get an address for this that didn’t go through FB (and have the FB logo in the corner). I didn’t want to do that to you, my Neanderthal readers. I finally managed to find it on YouTube, though it looks like it’s gone down a generation. On the other hand, the person who posted it motion stabilized the end sequence (hence the funny black frame at the end).
From the swooshing motion of it, I’m sure this is drone footage. Stoats and weasels are incredibly sneaky and shy, and you can see one of the little bastards look curiously up into the camera at one point.
June 8, 2015 — 7:10 pm
I don’t remember much Tennessee High School French, but I do believe “tête de chou” was a deadly insult, wasn’t it? Anyhow, look at this sucker. Look at it!
I really should have photographed it next to something. I reckon those outer leaves are, like, a yard across. It’s HUGE. Uncle B growed that for me.
Anybody want slaw?
Speaking of food, I was browsing the news and saw The Nine Worst Chain Restaurant Meals. I was surprised to see Red Lobster top the list. That place was my mother’s favorite dinner treat, rest her downmarket soul. The food wasn’t too bad.
Then I saw it was as rated by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the penny dropped. The CSPI are the extreme left whackadoodle pretend scientists who first came to public attention fighting against the obscene deliciousness of movie theater popcorn. May they rot in hell.
What they did was, Red Lobster apparently has a “Create Your Own Combination” special, CSPI put theirs together out of the most fattening things on offer and discovered that the resulting plate was really, really fattening. Red Lobster spokesperson said there are, like, five hundred different possible combinations, *eyeroll*.
That’s it. It’s Friday. The weather here is finally turning nice. Have a good one!
Oh, one more thing. Reader Wandering Neurons has started a blog. Visit him at wandering neurons dot org.
June 5, 2015 — 9:16 pm
It’s Summer reading season and I’m working my way through my backlog of saved articles. I’ve just finished this interesting story from the New Yorker’s January issue on Emerson Spartz, one of those irritating young new media booboos who are transforming the internet into a eyeball abusing listicle shithole. Things that don’t surprise me:
■ 80% of his company’s time is spent on social media (mostly FaceBook) promoting content, 20% on developing actual content.
■ His content isn’t his content. It’s borrowed from other sites (like mine, I s’pose, but I’m not running a clickfarm).
■ His every fiber yearns for you to hit that button. There is no other purpose to his activity.
He has a staff of elves that actually feed content into his sites. Himself sits all day in front of a screen of analytics. He will publish the same exact story on FaceBook with ten different titles, then watch which title get the most clicks in realtime, then winnow out the losers until he has found the perfect Darwinian clickbait.
Yes, it looks as though he is the creator of my current favorite hate title: X pictures of Y, #Z will blow your mind!
I’m a veteran of these things because I hang out on FaceBook passively stalking old friends and family members, and I love looking at pictures.
You click on the first picture and there’s, like, ten ads all around it. Usually animated. Usually the next button is hidden and several of the ads have right arrow buttons that look like the next button. Next picture, whole new set of ads. I’ve gotten so wadded up about these things I’m currently taking a positive delight in not clicking the bastards.
I’ve got one in front of me now. The obvious next button is actually an ad for M&S Men ‘s Linen Trousers (one above and one below the picture). Marks and Spencer’s. What are they thinking? What the hell kind of customer relationship do you build when you trick people into clicking an ad they didn’t want to click?
One of two possibilities: either the internet is so huge that if one in a hundred of the one in ten people who mistake-click your ad go on to buy your crappy trousers, it’s worth your advertising money, even if you piss off everyone else.
Or this approach to marketing is a big stupid obvious mistake that we will look back on some day and shake our heads.
June 4, 2015 — 10:35 pm
Ladies and gentlemen, my one functional hen.
My flock is down to three, and two of my nutty birds have decided they’re going to be mamas. Not only do I not have a rooster, they aren’t sitting on any eggs, but don’t try explaining reproductive biology to a chikken. It always ends in tears.
They stopped laying and sit on each other in the nest box all day, screaming and poofing themselves up to improbable size when you raise the lid. I lift them out several times a day, put them in the warm grass and give them a handful of food. They are quite capable of doing this until they totally lose condition, if not starve to death. Bantams are famous for going hardcore broody.
Leaving this poor bird on her ownsome. Her name was originally Violet, but we changed it to Violence when it became clear she had serious anger management issues. She’s been known to fly clear across the lawn just to deliver that good peck on the foot we all know I so richly deserve.
No more. I think she must be lonely without her chikken buddies. She does a little dance when I walk up, a little dance that used to be a precursor to some serious beak action but now appears to be something approaching delight. It looks something like a honeybee’s waggle dance, but I don’t think she’s trying to tell me anything.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Weasel, this is an awfully grainy picture to come out of your fancy new birthday camera.” Well, let me tell you something, Mister Smarty: this is a teeny tiny section from the middle of the picture, at 100% zoom. Quite extraordinary.
June 3, 2015 — 9:49 pm
I wasn’t going to do a Bruce Jenner thread. I find it grubby and sad. I’m all for giving the man some privacy to work through his…
Wait, what? The cover of Vanity Fair?
So, twelve hours of facial surgery, hormone treatment, the Vanity Fair hair and makeup team, celebrity photog Annie Leibovitz, and it still took a fuck-ton of Photoshopping to make him look…really creepy and wrong.
Oh, well. Let’s talk about Annie Leibovitz’ growing reputation for bad Photoshop.
June 2, 2015 — 4:05 pm
Today’s mini scandal, Hillary! telling a supporter to get to the end of the line. ‘Tis a small thing, Twitter’d out of all proportion, but it is remarkable how much robot Hillary! projects whenever she opens her mouth.
As a side observation, I’m going to become so familiar with extant photographs of European aristocracy in the next two years.
Oh, speaking of icky, they’ve moved my bin day. While Monday really sucked enough without a garbage collecting exercise at the end of it, I am NEVER going to remember to put it out Wednesday night.
June 1, 2015 — 9:47 pm
I promised you a post on the British elections and didn’t deliver. Fridaypost’s as good a time as any.
A Conservative win wasn’t the worst possible outcome — obviously — but it wasn’t the one I was hoping for. I was hoping for a divided, unstable government with a small Conservative majority that would force Cameron to jig right. Here’s some bullet points in no particular order:
■ The Liberal Democrats went from part of a ruling coalition to near annihilation. Seriously, they may be done. Forever.
■ None of the pollsters came close to predicting the outcome, which sadly won’t be the end of pollsters.
■ Labour lost big.
■ The SNP won big (at the expense of Labour).
■ UKIP took a healthy chunk of the vote, but only one seat.
■ They lost Nigel Farage’s seat.
■ Cameron is bound to see a big Conservative win as a big Cameron win.
Here’s a simplistic weasel-eye-view of why this happened, also in fun, easy-to-digest bullet points:
■ It was inevitable that the LibDems would collapse at their next election test. They were a far left party that had entered into a coalition government with the main right party.
■ It became clear early on that the Scottish National Party was going to murder the Labour vote in Scotland. Stirred up nationalism and leftover bad feeling from the failed Scottish split-off (Labour had encouraged them to stay in the union).
■ Sawed off SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon began to strut and crow that if Labour got in, she’d call the shots.
■ Brits got in the voting booth and panicked at the thought of gormless weirdo Ed Miliband running the country under the thumb of the Scots. (Which may or may not have depressed the UKIP vote, although the UKIP vote wasn’t bad — they came in third in the popular vote).
Early appearances are that the election will pull Cameron to the right, not least because he can’t blame the LibDems for his leftist inclinations. In conclusion, here’s the 2006 audio snippet of Cameron calling UKIP “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.”
May 29, 2015 — 8:43 pm
Sorry. Got jammed up with, ummm…work. Yeah, that’s it.
I definitely wasn’t playing Far Cry 4 what I bought myself for my birthday, prancing around the Himalayas with Booboo, my trained attack tiger.
You don’t get the tiger all the time. Just when you’re in Shangri La, which may or may not be a drug induced state.
It’s basically the identical game as Far Cry 3, except instead of being a white boy running around killing black men on a Caribbean island, you’re a Tibetan boy running around killing Tibetan men in a mountainous backwater. I never read game reviews, but I’d be amazed if they didn’t get lots of criticism for the first one for the skin color thing (though they didn’t take out the part where you kill endangered species for their skins so you can make useful fashion accessories).
Anyway, it’s very pretty and very fun and I definitely wasn’t playing that instead of doing whatever it is I should have been doing.
May 28, 2015 — 9:54 pm