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Happy birthday, big guy

It’s Big Ben’s 160th birthday today. Or, more accurately, the 160th anniversary of the first time it struck.

I nicked the picture from Wikipedia, so I’m assuming it’s safe. That’s actually from 2007, when he was having his face cleaned.

First time I heard it struck, Uncle B took me into London without telling me why, maneuvered me directly under it just as it bonged out the hour. Just like on the BBC news.

Ironically, it’s under scaffolding today being overhauled. Renovations are expected to last into 2021.


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 12, 2019, 12:02 am


OTD 1940 the Battle of Britain began. Never was so much owed by so many to so few….

Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: July 12, 2019, 12:25 am

I think I’m gonna need a judgement from the Most Honourable High Weasel.

Last night I noticed in a news headline that Denise Nickerson, the actress who portrayed Violet Beauregarde in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, had been taken off life support, but had not yet expired. Being the compassionate, humanitarian soul that I am, my immediate thought was Woot! I can swoop in and claim a Deadpool! So I checked the Deadpool thread to make sure some heartless bastard hadn’t beat me to it, and staked my claim. Early this morning I checked and saw that sometime during the night she had joined the choir eternal.

So, first thing is I don’t know if she’s celebrity “enough”. She mostly retired from acting at age 21 and became a nurse, but there was a fair amount of media coverage upon her demise. Second, I don’t know for certain if she was alive when I made my claim, since none of the media reports give an exact time of death, just sometime Wednesday night. I could have gone on some of the comment threads where people were commiserating about her too early exit and ask “Hey, does anybody know an official time of death? I need it to see if I won the Sweasel Deadpool”, but given my keen instincts on human social interaction, I had a vague feeling that might ruffle some feathers.

She breathed her last in a hospital about 2 hours drive East of me. I swears there was no violation of rule 0, I had nothing to do with it, nobody saw me, you can’t prove anything.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: July 12, 2019, 1:19 am

I read this story about a person who climbed a clock tower (inside) and began peering out one of the clock face access ports. He gazed out, looked around for quite a while and when he tried to remove his head from the hole, one of the clock hands had his head trapped in the hole putting evermore pressure upon his neck.
I think this was a Poe story but not sure.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 12, 2019, 2:04 am

I used to listen to the BBC on my Zenith Trans-Oceanic shortwave receiver. It was actually my grandmother’s radio, but when she came to live with us, I claimed it and carried it off to my room. I was six and they just let me have that radio (and I kept it for 50 years). I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew if I punched a band button and turned the tuning knob, I’d find something to listen to. Like the BBC 🙂

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 12, 2019, 2:24 am

P.S. Those Gothic “Roman” numerals on the clock face mess with my brain.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: July 12, 2019, 11:37 am

I love the chime tones – and I really love that the chime sequence shows up everywhere – doorbells, etc.
Even in Japanese Anime.

I’d wager it’s the single most popular, and known, set of chime tones in the known, and possibly unknown Universe.

Well done Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin.

Shall I just say from the perspective of a former colonist and grandchild of a bunch of His Majesties Ed the VII subjects; considering knighthoods are given to bozo actors these days, one would think that the designer of the world renowned bell tower for Big Ben might have been granted that honor.

But no.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 12, 2019, 8:22 pm

Uncle B reminds me that Big Ben is the bell, not the clock. I think I knew that.

I’m inclined to accept that, gebrauchshund. Too late to re-up the pool this week, though.

Comment from Abu Qalam Al-Hindi
Time: July 20, 2019, 1:20 pm

I am glad Uncle B got to this before I had to chime in, no pun intended. Did not want to rain on your parade on “Big Ben” as bell vs clock.

When I was younger living in Karachi, Pakistan, I got my hands on a shortwave radio. Listening to the BBC was such a joy. I am sure I could have found Voice of America or something, but the British voice was just so alluring. It could be a genetic predisposition for listening to the British voice – 500 years has to count for something.

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