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Well. Carol Channing has died, age 97. As often happens, I didn’t realize she was still alive, and now she’s not.

Banging around the tubes, I found the above: Carol with Mary Tyler Moore and Julie Andrews. Thoroughly Modern Millie, which I never saw.

One of the signature songs from that film was “Jazz Baby” from 1919, which Wikipedia says they had to buy back from the Washburn-Crosby Company, manufacturers of Wheaties, who had used it with variations for an advertising jingle since 1926.

The link from the Wikipedia article is dead to me (“not released in my country”), but I found this 1926 Wheaties jingle which…honestly doesn’t sound anything like “Jazz Baby” to me, but someone in the comments says it’s the first use of a jingle in a radio ad. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

While you’re there, please enjoy all these other Wheaties ads. Said it before, I’ll say it again — there needs to be a word for that thing you do where you start off with a simple Google search and find yourself an hour later squinting at Bruce Jenner eating Wheaties.

p.s. oh, yah — congratulations to peacelovewoodstock who wins the Dead Pool with Carol Channing. Y’all know what that means!

January 15, 2019 — 8:49 pm
Comments: 9

Swan goes here

There’s been a swan in this spot for the past few nights. I spotted him when I was out looking for the kitten (he’s nine months old now, the Wandering Age). I saw something white in the canal and thought it was an overcoat (yeah, my first thought was a dead body), but it was a sleepy floaty swan.

I can’t get over how swanny this place is. I mean, we had them in ones and twos and threes back in Rhode Island. But here? One foggy morning, some years ago, I stood in the field across the road and counted 35 of them.

(Ah, yes. Here it is. December 31, 2008).

A bunch of them flew over the car this afternoon. I bet it was a dozen. Their wings make the most extraordinary mechanical whuffing sound when they fly. I wonder if my ditch swan has joined them in migration.

An old farmer told me when you see them here on the coast in Winter it means a cold snap inland.

January 14, 2019 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 9

From my clipfile

I don’t have anything in particular to report today, so here’s an illustrator from my clipfile: Willy Pogany (Vilmos András Pogány) (1882 1955) (full illustration here).

Pogany was Hungarian, though he took American citizenship in 1921. He was one of the great names of what is called the Golden Age of Illustration.

No doubt, there was one of those strange historical throwings-up of an unfeasible number talented people during this era, but I’m inclined to blame the Golden Age on technology.

Book illustration went from the sophisticated black and white wood engravings of the late Nineteenth Century (giving rise to geniuses of ink illustration like Charles Dana Gibson) into early, cheap color reproduction (leading to the ascendance of figures like Rockwell).

Illustrators who surfed the timeline just right — like Arthur Rackham, N.C. Wyeth and Willy Pogany — moved successfully from one style to the next.

I admit, though, I like Pogany’s line work most of all.

Have a good weekend, everyone. I have to do my taxes this weekend, or at least get a start. They aren’t complicated on account of I am poor, but they still aren’t a lot of fun.


January 11, 2019 — 9:42 pm
Comments: 10

Oh, look…another one

Remember that time that you and everybody you knew was upset about high taxes and illegal immigration and the people in charge decided that the most important issue in the whole wide world was…gay marriage? Remember that? Or that time you and everybody you knew was upset about high taxes and illegal immigration and the people in charge decided that the most important issue in the whole wide world was…transgender teens?

Yeah. Are you getting the vegan thing at the moment? You can spot a put-up job when suddenly, inexplicably, it’s all anyone is talking about in government and the MSM. Left, right and center. Or left, lefter and leftest.

We’re getting Veganuary in the neck. I tried searching “who is behind Veganuary?” “why Veganuary?” all the way to “fuck off Veganuary” and all the results were tasty vegan recipes and why you should give up meat for the animals.

I find it bizarre that the slideshow at the top of the Veganuary site is a series of adorable farm animals. Because, you know, the only reason those beasts exist is because we eat them. Most bear little resemblance to their natural counterparts.

Cows, chickens and pigs, after so many generations of breeding for characteristics people convenient, can no longer make it in the wild. Maybe if we cut them all loose all and let the predators at them for a hundred years or so, a few hardy specimens would survive to create brand new breeds of wild animal, but I don’t think that’s what the vegans have in mind.

Just how many petting zoos do they think the market will support?

January 10, 2019 — 10:53 pm
Comments: 12

Dammit, EU…!

Every day, multiple times a day, the typical resident of the EU bumps into an EU reg, and it is never — IT IS NEVER — a good thing.

The General Data Protection Regulation came into force almost a year ago. This is the one where the mediocrities in Brussels thought to themselves, “wouldn’t it be nifty if we protected the privacy of our citizens?”

The result was a shit-ton of pointless new regulations. Every organization in the EU (including little ones like the historic society I work for) had to elect an Information Officer (that’s me!), pay a registration fee to the government (tax had to come into this somehow, yes?) and develop dozens of make-work policies and procedures to deal with the fact our members voluntarily gave us their mailing addresses when they signed on.

Naturally, this does nothing to curb serious information breaches by the usual suspects — banks, government agencies, social media and the like — but eats up the scarce resources of little orgs with pointless hamster-wheel exercises.

You can bet Brexiteers are people who have to deal with this shit, and Remainers have people who do it for them.

Oh, and then there’s this ^^^. About once a day, surfing the web, I run across a website from outside the EU that thought to itself, “fuck it — I can’t be bothered to comply with some overseas regulation I don’t understand. I’ll just block the whole continent!” Probably forever.

Thanks, faceless bureaucrats!

January 9, 2019 — 9:41 pm
Comments: 6

Word of the day: blatticulturist

For the Love of Cockroaches: Husbandry, Biology, and History of Pet and Feeder Blattodea

Hardcover – 18 Sep 2017
by Orin McMonigle (Author), Jonathan Lai (Foreword), Louis M. Roth (Contributor)

The amazing diversity of color and form in cockroaches around the world has rarely been displayed to the average animal enthusiast. Several well known species have been bred for decades as feeder insects for reptiles and other exotic pets, but there has only been a handful of dedicated blatticulturists keeping and breeding a wider range of species for sheer enjoyment. As exotic cockroaches receive more attention, more and more people are trying their hand at them, but with very little attention given to these creatures in the popular literature. That changes now, as Orin McMonigle shares his enthusiasm and wealth of knowledge in this new book, For the Love of Cockroaches. Orin provides experienced instruction for proper housing, feeding, and breeding cockroach species, followed by details on the many species available to enthusiasts (illustrated in full color). At 350 pages, this is the definitive cockroach manual for anyone branching out into these fascinating insects.

Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 reviews

Beautiful book and everything you need to know to keep cockroaches successfully
14 August 2016 – Published on Amazon.com
In my opinion, this is Orin McMonigles best book yet! It is enjoyable to read and look through and covers the basics of cockroach biology and their history with humankind. Most important, this book contains extensive information on keeping cockroaches as pets or as feeders for other pets — although if you start off keeping them only as feeders, I’ll bet these wonderful creatures will win you over into keeping them for their own sake as well. 😉 I have found the extensive species-specific information very interesting and helpful and am grateful that the author took the time to include photos of each species, as well as the many other beautiful photos throughout the book.

Highly recommended!
11 people found this helpful.

I was only looking for an automatic chicken feeder.

January 8, 2019 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 18

History’s slowest invasion force

In the last six weeks, hundreds of people — mostly men, mostly describing themselves as Iranian or Iraqi — have crossed the Channel in dinghies to land on their own or be picked up by our Coastguard. Which, of course, they do. And bring them here. Which, of course, is why they keep doing it.

Mostly next door in Kent, (that’s where Dover is), though a few washed up closer to home. We carefully lock doors these days.

Where are they getting the dinghies from? Why now? Why Iranians/Iraqis? Nobody knows. But at least they’re allowing us a lively discussion (see above).

Around 60 migrants are believed to have come ashore between December 23 and December 30 but reports from charities and refugees in Calais suggest the figures could be higher.

The Mail on Sunday reports that 66 migrants made it to Britain on Christmas Day alone.

Last month Home Secretary Sajid Javid declared a “major incident” over the number of migrants trying to cross the Channel to reach the UK.

Of the 504 migrants seeking to cross the English Channel in 2018, 276 managed to get to British waters and coasts, and 228 were intercepted by the French authorities.

If you haven’t seen anything on your news, not to worry — we haven’t much either. Except local sources.

They have to explain where all those abandoned dinghies on the beach are from after all.

January 7, 2019 — 8:24 pm
Comments: 9

Stupid commies never learn


E-Bike Anti-Dumping and Anti-subsidy Measures Re-Shore Thousands of Jobs

“Re-shoring of e-bike (Electric Power Assisted Cycles, EPAC) production will immediately create up to 4,600 new jobs, if definitive anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures are imposed on imports of EPACs from China,” according to the European Bicycle Manufacturers Association.


Since the imposition of the provisional dumping duties in July 2018, e-bike exports from China to the EU have dropped significantly. According to EBMA “There have been only approximately 10-15,000 units per month in August through October, while the Chinese e-bike exports peaked to an average of 100,000 units per month from January to May.”


It is with great regret, that FreeGo Electric Bikes Limited has ceased trading and will soon be going into liquidation

For any enquiries, please contact the administrator below

To recap, the EU noticed the Chinese were selling an awful lot of bikes in Europe. So, they put a stop to that. Result: almost five thousand new jobs magically transferred to the EU? Lol no. Local bike manufacturers and retailers forced out of business because who the hell did you think was selling those bikes?

FreeGo, which specialized in inexpensive electric bikes, used to make their stuff in Germany, until it because prohibitively expensive. Moving to Chinese factories was the only way they could stay afloat in the low-end market. And now they’re gone.

Yeah, my bike is a FreeGo. Stupid commies. I am pissed.

Have a good weekend, Capitalists!

January 4, 2019 — 7:42 pm
Comments: 17

Somebody ported Nethack to Steam!

I’ve posted about Nethack before. It’s one of the first dungeon slash-em-up games. It was the very first computer game I ever played and it ate a whole year of my life. Thirty four years later, it’s still the most fun game I’ve ever played.

Because even the very first PCs were capable of storing incredibly large and complex relationships between variables, which is “all” Nethack is.

Take the humble cockatrice. If you touch a dead cockatrice, you turn to stone. Fine, once you learn that, you never touch another dead cockatrice. You probably know better than to eat a tinned food ration that smells of cockatrice. Ah, but what if you fall into a pit on top of a cockatrice? Stone. What if you’ve been temporarily blinded and you’re feeling your way across the floor and suddenly, dead cockatrice? Stone.

But wait. But what if you have a pair of gloves? Can you run around poking monsters with a dead cockatrice and turn them into stone? Yes. Yes, you can. Just don’t trip and fall on it.

Under the hood, the formulae that create the dungeon and the monsters therein are incredibly complex. I could never work out some relationships from behavior alone. It wasn’t until I peeped at the source code that I began to understand how complicated a thing it really is.

Anyway, Steam reviewers are crying foul. Nethack is a giant cooperative labor of love and you’re not supposed to charge for it. There are plenty of places still to play it for free.

But I paid less than £4 for this version and, as far as I’m concerned, I’m not paying for Nethack. I’m paying for the dev’s effort putting it on Steam. It includes some light music and effects and a decent manual. And Steam achievements, if you care.

I paid for my very first version, too. It was technically to cover the cost of the floppy.

See? I play semantic games, too.

January 3, 2019 — 9:30 pm
Comments: 6


Eh. I tried to combine a picture of a weasel with a picture of a sulky toddler. It didn’t work out so good.

Reminds me of when I were just a lass and I had a new job as an illustrator for an engineering company. A boiler engineer asked me to draw a cartoon of a boiler with a stomach ache. I did my best.

His reaction was, “no, no…that’s a boiler with a headache.”

The worst part was, I knew exactly what he meant and he was right.

So anyway. First day back to work tomorrow. There’s nothing too onerous waiting for me, it’s just the idea of the thing.

I’m going to go take a long, hot soak in my expensive Christmas bath goo and ponder, for the umpty-umpth time, why I was not born to wealth.




January 2, 2019 — 9:44 pm
Comments: 7