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The Muzeum of Beanz

Jack and I got exiled to the kitchen yesterday for bad behavior, so I organized the canned goods cabinets. Words are inadequate to describe how astonishing it is that I might organize a kitchen cabinet. My housekeeping, it is below average.

Lookit — turns out, in aggregate, we have a whole cabinet’s worth of Heinz beans. Excuse me, “beanz.” They’re likely to last a while, too. I’ve finally plucked up the courage to tell Uncle B that the answer to the question, “would you like a few beans with dinner?” is not merely “no” but “honestly, no.”

Anyways, MacDonald’s is throwing a corporate snit. After forty years of Heinz ketchup, MacDonald’s is dropping them because — get this! — the new CEO of Heinz is the old CEO of Burger King. Word.

Pretty thin gruel of a blog post, I admit, but we were exiled again. If this keeps up, I’m in danger of having a clean kitchen.

October 31, 2013 — 12:04 am
Comments: 41


Ladies and gentlemen, behold — the levitating chickens of Whiterun.

I’m playing through Skyrim again (because awesome is why) and this time I’m doing it with a few mods. Many game companies have traditionally and wisely encouraged players to build and distribute game modifications — bits of extra programming that add anything from new types of clothing to extra music and sound effects to whole new storylines. These extras don’t cost the company anything and help prolong the shelf life of popular games. Also, they sometimes poach talent from their best modders.

Generally speaking, most add-ons behave well. But occasionally, not. What you’re looking at is a glitch, an unintentional result of who knows which mod I have added. Someone somewhere used an identifier for chicken that someone else had used for the height from the ground of a catapulted stone.

Imagine my surprise today when my brother in arms let go the catapult, and every chicken in the neighborhood shot 50 feet straight up into the air, hung lazily in the sky for a moment and slowly drifted down like rose petals. It was…majestic (though I missed a pic of the first time it happened when, like, fifty chickens did this…I was just too transfixed with awe to remember the screenshot button).

Just a reminder of the strange and wonderful things that can happen when multiple people work on the same body of code. And speaking of Obamacare, more and more pols are ‘fessing up that, yes, actually they realized the law meant that millions of people who liked their insurance wouldn’t actually be able to keep their insurance.

I’m transfixed with awe about this one, too. Did they think that would just…blow over? That the joy of the poor gimps who finally got health insurance would drown the screams of the many millions of not-rich people who took a big ol’ financial hit? The level of denial or magical thinking or just plain stupid here is just…I just have no words.

October 29, 2013 — 11:27 pm
Comments: 22

Never forget

I ain’t even made this picture myself. I nicked it off Imgur.

Yeah, our giant megahellstorm was a bit of a fizzle. It was a pretty good blow — and heavier up toward London, where there were a few fatalities — but for these parts, it wasn’t even the worst storm of 2013.

Poor, poor journalists — they had a cool name picked out and everything. The St Jude’s Day storm! See, today was the feast day of St Jude, who is the patron of lost causes. Awesome, amirite?

The overreaction and consequent razzing are all down the to the Great Storm of 1987, which was the most powerful storm to land here in centuries (which had hurricane force winds but was not technically a hurricane, as those bastards are tropical). The size of the storm caught everyone by surprise and the Met Office has overreacted ever since (same thing happened in Rhode Island after the Blizzard of ’78).

There were casualties and disruption, but the main thing people remember is the trees. Brits like their trees, and millions and millions of them were lost in the storm. Including ancient and wonderful trees, like six of the seven oaks in Sevenoaks.

I hear people bring up that storm all the time. But mostly, I hear them bring up Michael Fish, who gave this forecast before the storm. He’s never lived it down. It’s one of Britain’s favorite memes.

I know, I know. A completely unremarkable moment, even in light of the storm, but you have to understand: the English.

October 28, 2013 — 9:21 pm
Comments: 24

Service interruption on account of: kitten

Not pictured: tiny needle-sharp fangs sunk in my flesh.

Mad Jack and I have been exiled upstairs, on account of Uncle B is doing data backups and the cat is having a little episode of bugfuck insanity, so I’m afraid this is it for tonight. Talk amongst yourself.

I understand the Obamacare website is having some problems, maybe you can find something in there worthy of conversation.

Oh, hey. Our clocks change this weekend and we’re supposed to have a hell of a storm Sunday night. The weather service is a buncha pansy drama queens, but maybe it will be something after all. Wish us well, and if you don’t hear from me Monday, don’t panic. Good weekend!

October 25, 2013 — 10:39 pm
Comments: 27

So, there’s a wallaby in Highgate Cemetery

That sounds like one of those Monty Python bad English phrasebook sayings, like “my hovercraft is full of eels.” Or “my nipples explode with delight.” But no, there really is a wallaby loose in Highgate Cemetery in London. None of the local zoos have reported one missing, but expert say the photos look like a Bennett’s wallaby, and there are colonies of those known to live wild in the UK.

Yes, it’s true: there are wild wallaby colonies in Britain. The climate is so congenial — it seldom rises above 85° and never spends long below freezing — that stowaways and escapees find it easy to live off the land. It’s a real problem here.

Like the tiny, terrifying muntjac deer, AKA the vampire deer. False widow spiders. Hungarian laughing frogs.

London is so stuffed full of feral budgies they’re having to shoot the bastards.

Did I say “congenial”? I guess I meant survivable. For a laugh, I used to visit the meerkat cam at the Bristol zoo (camera link didn’t work for me when I tried it just now, but it feels wrong not to link). Bristol. Ah, poor bastards. I’d watch those old meerkats standing disconsolately in the rain, water dripping off their fur. Generations removed from the Kalahari Desert, but the looks on their little faces plainly said, “something is terribly wrong with my life.”

Anyway, back to the wallaby. Let’s hope he shits on Karl Marx’s grave.

Update: Obamacare.gov is still boned.

October 24, 2013 — 10:10 pm
Comments: 21

Lookit the little tiny life preserver in the water

Ha! Ha! I bet you thought this was an Obamacare metaphor.

Nope. Four generations of the Gibson family from the Islands of Scilly were photographers, and 125 years of their shipwreck pictures are going to auction at Sotheby’s.

585 glass plate negatives (214: 12 x 10in. and 382: 8 x 6in.) housed in 16 original wooden boxes and one cardboard box, a few plates with cracks, or loss to glass or image, some boxes worn; 407 glass plate copy negatives (6½ by 4¾in.) in 4 cardboard boxes; 179 glass plate negatives (4¼ x 3¼in.); 198 film negatives (5 x 4in.) in three boxes; 335 cut film negatives (various sizes); and 39 (35mm.) film negatives 97 original photographs of shipwrecks (silver prints, 12 x 10in.) manuscript ledger by Alexander and Herbert Gibson on the shipwrecks of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (folio, 330 x 205mm.; approximately 149pp. of notes on wrecks and 32pp. of records of telegraph messages sent from the Isles of Scilly, 1876-77) a collection of books by John Fowles, John Arlott, John Le Carré, and Rex Cowan on the Gibsons of Scilly (see detailed list below), together with newspaper and magazine articles

WANT. Well worth clicking the first link and browsing the photographs. Or this slide show in the Telegraph with larger pictures and longer descriptions.

Oh, but hey…it makes a pretty good Obamacare metaphor, too.

October 23, 2013 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 11

Just in time for Christmas

The RoboRoach.

It’s a little backpack that sends tiny signals to one or other antenna, causing the roach to run left or right. Via Bluetooth.

I don’t think it’s a joke. They’ve got a Kickstarter going and they’re taking pre-orders (projected delivery: November 13). Only $99.999999! (PETA’s going to have a cow).

Still watching the O’care rollout with stunned amaze. I fully expected the insurance to be a big steaming pile of FAIL, but I honestly didn’t think they could fuck up the website this badly. After all, the IRS site isn’t too bad. I understand the Medicare site works pretty well. I know this administration is paranoid about outsiders, but surely that doesn’t include their brothers and sisters in government?

I honestly have a hard time understanding how anyone could lose control of a project on this scale. And then release it anyway. All I can think is industrial-grade arrogant combined with monumental stupid.

October 22, 2013 — 10:05 pm
Comments: 22


The Obama administration Sunday said it’s called on “the best and brightest” tech experts from both government and the private sector to help fix the troubled website at the root of the Obamacare enrollment problems.

Oh, they are SO boned now.

If you haven’t run across it today, allow me to introduce you to Brooks’ Law:
“Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.”

Which is exactly right, when you think about it. All those new people — no matter how good they are — have to come up to speed. The have to read the code, work out what’s happened so far and what’s gone wrong and plan a way out. And now the managers will have a much bigger team to communicate with. Think meetings, meetings and more meetings.

I think it was also Brooks who said nine women can’t make a baby in one month. Programming jobs can only be diced up in specific ways; you can’t just throw infinite smart people on the fire and put it out faster.

If these guys had ever, you know, actually DONE anything in their lives, they’d know good intentions and a can-do attitude don’t get the job done. Here’s Bruce at And Still I Persist on Lefties and wishful thinking. Good read, AND he got an NRO link out of it.

I’m hoping the website problems last long enough to disillusion a whole new generation on government, but not forever. Because nothing is going to help kill Obamacare faster than a functioning Obamacare.

Please god they get it up and running before the midterms.

October 21, 2013 — 10:26 pm
Comments: 22

Round 54: they fall like Autumn leaves

So, Steve is determined to creep everyone out by winning the Dead Pool again and again until we sacrifice a goat to him or something. I’m unclear. He hasn’t issued his demands yet.

This time, his pick was Erich Priebke. Priebke was an SS captain involved in the massacre at the Ardeatine caves in Italy in 1944. After the war, he fled to Argentina and lived a quiet life with his family for fifty years. Then he decided it was safe to come out and give an interview to Sam Donaldson.

Huh. Turns out, you can live a lifetime of bad decisions and still make it to a hundred.

Okay, ready? Here we go. Quick, before Steve gets in:

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?

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 w00t!

October 18, 2013 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 119

Weird-ass sheep

So these things were turning up all over Britain last year: sheep with spooky-ass smiles stenciled on their sides. Turns out — eventually, after letting folks stew for a while — that it was a PR stunt for a new amusement park’s roller coaster.

Yeah, it’s a year old. I ran across it while I was doing a Google images search of sheep. Never you mind why.

Remember, now: tomorrow. Here. Six sharp. Dead Pool Round 54!

October 17, 2013 — 10:04 pm
Comments: 11