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Happy Summer Solstice!

High Summer, y’all. Just *look* at those boiling temperatures.

I’m sour. I had an adventure today. Not only was it hammering down on the way in but the Highways Agency has allowed the bike path to overgrow completely. And by completely, I mean I couldn’t see the path at all most of the way and in places the weeds were shoulder height. I had a mile of this.

I have a complete yellow slicker wet suit which I capped off with wellies. First thing that happened, the wellies filled up with water.

The way back was worse. The chain kept slipping and at one point a thick rope of grass wrapped around my leg and jerked me off the bike. I had to walk from there, which wasn’t any easier. Either the bike could be on the path or I could, not both. I’m shattered.

I’m currently wrapped in an electric blanket and I refuse to budge until a gin and tonic is waved under my snout.

Another snippet from my Prehistory seminar last week: the DNA guy was interesting. They’ve analyzed around 400 skeletons so far. Iron Age women had their first babies around 20 (this is derived from deaths in childbirth). They married around that age (or whatever the Iron Age equivalent of marriage was) and moved to live with their husband’s family. They were monogamous: they have found no evidence of half-siblings. Which is interesting – you’d think there would at least be remarriages after a death.

So, that proves it. The hippies were wrong about everything.

June 21, 2021 — 6:47 pm
Comments: 14

You’ve been this mad. You know you have.

Happy Killdozer Day, everyone! On this day in 2004, Marvin John Heemeyer climbed into his modified bulldozer and damaged or destroyed a big chunk of Granby, Colorado – including the town hall, the former mayor’s house, his own business and a dozen more buildings. Two hours later, when he got his ‘dozer stuck in the basement of a hardware store, he shot himself.

Backstory. The city insisted he paid $80,000 he didn’t have to hook his muffler shop up to city sewage, and then repeatedly fined him for improperly dumping sewage – among other ways they were dicking him around. The combination of being injured and helpless to do anything about it is a perfect rage inducer, but few people have the sticktuitiveness of Heemeyer.

He took an ordinary bulldozer and spent a year and a half armoring up. Slabs of cement, up to a foot thick, sandwiched between two layers of tool steel covered the cab and vulnerable parts of the treads. For visibility, he had several video cameras feeding two monitors in the cockpit. These were protected by shields of bulletproof lexan three inches thick. He even rigged compressed air nozzles to blow dust off the camera ports. He had gun ports around, too, but I don’t think he used them.

Local and state police followed Heemeyer around shooting at him and what they hoped were vulnerable points. The ‘dozer took 200 rounds, a flash-bang to the exhaust and several other explosions (grenades?), but nothing even slowed him down. The governor was considering bringing in the National Guard to use anti-tank missiles when the whole thing came to an end.

Nobody was hurt (except Heemeyer, of course). It was a thing. A very thing. Good weekend, everyone!

p.s. Oh, gosh – I forgot to link to the footage!

June 4, 2021 — 8:11 pm
Comments: 15

Happy Burns Night!

Haggis! Neeps and tatties! Those are the things in this picture!

We’re having chicken fingers and instant mashed potato.

I like instant mashed potato. Don’t judge me.

I might have a whisky, though. Especially as I have to go finish filing my taxes now.

January 25, 2021 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 9

Farewell and good riddance…

Yay! These came today! They’re for making Chinese dumplings AKA potstickers AKA gyoza AKA Jiaozi AKA 餃子. Yes, of course I looked that last one up.

I love these things. Now I can make them!

I didn’t have any ground pork, so I didn’t bother making proper wonton wrappers either. I had some leftover puff pastry from a disastrous turkey pie I made the other day. That was totally wrong for potstickers but made pretty okay tiny sausage and cheese pasties.

I’m whistling and cooking and slowly backing away from 2020. No sudden moves, people, and we might just make it.

December 31, 2020 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 11

Merry Christmas!

Sandy Claws brought me one of these. Ever since my old office chair went to bits, I’ve been using a hard wooden dining chair at the computer. Elderly butts do not like this.

Ahhh…that’s better.

We are now post-presents but pre-Christmas dinner. We eat ours late.

The turkey is the largest we’ve ever had and there’s some trepidation about getting it into our usual roasting pan, not to mention the oven. It must have been a very peculiar-looking bird in life – its breast is disproportionately huge and its legs rather small.

We’ve had an excellent Christmas and we hope you have, too. We’re hoping to stretch the Christmas mellow across the weekend.

See you Monday!

 

 

 

 

 

December 25, 2020 — 7:22 pm
Comments: 22

Not going to lie: Old Christmas looks pretty lit. I’m thinking it was a pagan booze holiday.

Last day of work before Christmas today. That’s usually one of the most awesome days of the year, but 2020 has the power to dampen even that. I’ve had so much time off this year, what’s a few more days?

Still, we are on course for a fine Christmas. We have an obscene amount of food, a beautiful tree, a selection of presents and twelve days of bone idleness ahead.

I like bone idleness. I’m good at it.

I’ll still post, but my heart is with the comfy chair. Talk about whatever you like.

p.s. I’ve looked at the picture some more. Is Pagan Santa wearing a three-toed variant of two-toed shoes?

p.p.s. Wait, did he steal that baby from the house in the background?

December 22, 2020 — 7:21 pm
Comments: 12

Happy Solstice, everyone!

I used to avoid celebrating the solstice, such is my disdain for the larping idiots who gather at Stonehenge every year. Well, ha!ha! they couldn’t do it this year, but you can watch sunrise at Stonehenge via English Heritage’s live stream. Spoiler: this is England. It’s completely clouded over. Go watch dark gray turn light gray, if you like.

I am told the Egyptian Temple of Karnak was built with a solstice alignment, as were some of the towers in Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In Peru, the Temple of the Sun in Machu Picchu has a window that the sun shines through on this day, illuminating a ceremonial stone.

The Roman Saturnalia was a solstice party, and how.

The Chinese have the Dongzhi Festival which, like most Chinese celebrations, revolves around food. Here I took a detour and looked up multiple recipes for glutinous rice balls or tang yuan. I made myself hungry.

In dusty places like Iran and Afghanistan, they have Shab e Yalda, the birth of Winter, on this day. They traditionally eat fresh fruit and think of Summer.

So have an extra helping of gruel tonight! The days are getting longer!

And where did I find this list of holiday delights? Oprah Magazine, of course. I’m not proud.

December 21, 2020 — 4:43 pm
Comments: 7

Have a krakentastic Thanksgiving, y’all

We enthusiastically observe Thanksgiving in this household, thank you very much, but it’s an evening meal for us. It’s only 6 in the evening here, so still prep time.

If you can’t tell, that’s me folding an obscene amount of butter into a sweet potato, before adding a disgraceful amount of brown sugar. In the Souf, where I am from, you’d top off the dish with marsh mallows before baking. I haven’t got any and don’t particularly care for them anyway, so you’re spared that outrage.

When I was a kid, we never could believe our luck that candied yams were considered a vegetable.

Eh. Food looks gross in black and white, don’t it? I hope you have had, are having or will have a splendid feast today and have much in your life to be thankful for!

November 26, 2020 — 5:51 pm
Comments: 14

I’m dreaming of a white chicken…

Baby Sam wishes you the merriest of Christmases!

December 25, 2019 — 12:00 pm
Comments: 11

…1843…

It was last posting day for Christmas cards today. I think I got all mine done, though most I got to hand people in person. Fortunately. Stamps are not cheap.

And the thing in the pictures is the very first commercial Christmas card, 1843. Invented by British civil servant Henry Cole, who realized he was spending much of his Decembers writing holiday letters and thought there has to be a better way.

There’s a fun little post about it on the Library of Congress blog.

They take their Christmas cards seriously here. Although maybe it’s me — maybe people take them seriously in the States, too, and I’m just rough and unsocialized.

Did you send any this year?

December 18, 2019 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 11