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The big blow

Today, everybody was talking about the storm (except any of the news sites, for some reason). There were rumors of a tornado. Certainly, the whole business started off very effing strange indeed.

It had been an unusually hot day for England and thunderstorms were predicted in the afternoon. Everyone who was outside agreed you could stand and watch the storm come. On the one side sun, and behind it roared a great fist of cloud. It hit with a sudden blast. I’ve never felt wind like it. It blew junk from the garden straight through the house. I had to lean my entire bodyweight against the front door to get it to shut and latch.

The extreme wind only lasted ten minutes or so, but there was a pretty good thunderstorm behind it blowing all night long. We lost power early on so we sat in the dark and drank wine. After which I slept through most of it.

I tried to get a picture of the approaching monster — the sun was going down and those first clouds were dyed orange, with an absolutely sharp edge because it was moving so damned fast. It was an amazing thing to see. Alas, that’s when I discovered I busted my camera when I dropped it earlier. By the time I fetched another camera, it just looked like a regular old thunder boomer, see above. And in color.

And that’s why no post yesterday.

July 19, 2014 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 29

Sorry ’bout that

Friday’s post was pre-empted by the most hellacious thunderstorm. The leading edge of it was a blast of wind out of a clear blue sky that was like nothing I’ve felt before (and I played in Hurricane Gloria until the cops fussed at me). It blew garden debris the length of the house. Took my full weight leaning against the door to get it shut and latched.

Anyway, needless to say, we’ve been without power most of the night. All seems well now, but I’ve got to run. When I get back, I’ll see if any of the pictures I took do it justice.

— 8:09 am
Comments: 5

Holy toast!

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation. Your message here.

I see Obama and Bob Dobson and a fleur de lis and a crab and a Star of David and, hey, looks like it’s 4:20 if you wanted to spark a doobie. And if you’ve already sparked a doobie, check out their awesome whirly toast dingus. You can make the toast go ’round and ’round and ’round…

Yeah, sorry for the novelty toast blogging. I’ve been watching the news today (and every day lately) with that “everything’s going to shit” feeling and I just know instinctively these issues don’t call for my special brand of retarded bullshit. So have a little untopical freelance retarded bullshit, on the house.

Hey, I was torn between novelty toast and baby meerkat.

July 17, 2014 — 9:35 pm
Comments: 26

We just missed it…

Lookie here. Somebody’s done made a crop circle near the Long Man of Wilmington. Here’s an aerial view of the Long Man on Google Earth. Squinting at the map, I don’t think it’s the field directly at his feet, I think it’s the field above and to the left of that.

Do poke around Google Earth. It’s always cool to explore England like so. I’m sorry to say, they no longer think the Long Man is Stone Age. More like 17th or 18th Century.

What’s non-obvious from the overhead shot is that he’s on the side of a very steep hill. We climbed up to him once — there’s a footpath both above and below him — and it was one of our most memorable outings ever. Just as dusk fell, a great thick cloud poured over the top of the hill, swallowing up the giant. And us, eventually.

I’m not surprised the farmer in the article is pissed. Between the crop circle and the people going to look at the crop circle, he’s probably out a few hundred pounds in wheat. They’re bringing the crops in now.

We were there just a couple of weeks ago — he’s a couple miles outside Alfriston, where we had lunch.

We didn’t do it, though. I swears.

July 16, 2014 — 10:30 pm
Comments: 16


Uncle B had to go up to London tonight. It’s always “up” to London, by the way. Traditionally. And “down” from London to anywhere else, even if it’s to the North. But as it happens, London is North of here, so I’d be saying “up” in any case.

As he works from home, this is the first time I’ve been alone in this house in, like, six month. I’m’onna eat Doritos and play Hearthstone!

July 15, 2014 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 28


I’m going to recommend another egregious lefty entertainment product to you: A History of the World in 100 Objects. It’s one hundred handy fun-sized fifteen-minute BBC podcasts based around objects in the British Museum and it’s very cool.

The series ran daily for twenty weeks starting way back in January of 2010, but the whole thing is still available (at the link) for downloading. Also, have a look around the website — it’s cool, too, and includes much more than a hundred objects, in part because they solicited listener submissions. I’ve talked about this series before, but I’m currently re-listening to it from the beginning.

The objects are awesome, but the bias is unmistakable from the beginning. The narration was written and read by the curator of the BM, a lefty cunt-whistle named Neil MacGregor.

Take the above object. It’s a little sandal tag carved out of hippopotamus ivory for Den, one of the earliest Pharoahs of Egypt. Wikipedia says: “Den is said to have brought prosperity to his realm and numerous innovations are attributed to his reign.” Which is the sort of observation we used to make about kings.

MacGregor says this object shows that powerful men have used war and the propaganda of war to control their own people from the beginning of civilization. He called it sadly familiar. To support this contention, he brought in an editorial cartoonist (bound to be from the Guardian, though I was too lazy to check) who said yes, indeedy, he also sometimes drew important people larger than ordinary people. So there you have it.

I’m not reading too much into this, I promise. 2010 was Peak Butthurt over the Iraq War, and he was very clearly calling out Bush’n’Blair.

The BBC is all but unavoidable in this country. We often bitch about it, Uncle B and I. The steady drip-drip-drip of cynical lefty worldview gets into your head no matter how hard you push back. I think it was Melanie Phillips who first described the modern Left as an auto-immune disease: us bad, not-us good. Over and over, all day long. It works its way into the dispirited bones of the unwary.

To this day, they can find a George Bush joke in the gardening program.

Just saying. Listen to the podcasts anyway. Despite everything, there are some wonderful objects and fascinating facts in there. And fifteen minutes is the perfect chunk size for doing doing chores.

July 14, 2014 — 11:23 pm
Comments: 9

Stupid Kindle tricks

Did you know you could email stuff to your Kindle? I learned this recently. I know, I know…moving stuff to the Kindle the regular way is as easy as finding…that goddamned…has anybody seen my Kindle cable?? Forget it.

Go to Amazon>>my account>>manage my Kindle>>settings and it’ll give you an email address for every device you have registered as a Kindle. I have four: my original Kindle, which shat the bed, Uncle B’s Kindle, which I stole when mine shat the bed, a Kindle account for my deskop PC and another for my Android tablet. Each has a separate address. Email stuff to that address, turn on your wifi, and it shoots your text down Whispernet, easy-peasy.

While I’m here — I think I probably mentioned this before — let me recommend Longreads to you. It’s an aggregator of longform journalism — something I can’t bear to read on my PC, but I really have gotten into for Kindle. Don’t ask me the difference, there just is one, okay?

You do NOT have to pay to subscribe. Sign up for the weekly mailing list. When the newsletter comes, press the “read now” button. In the window that opens, choose get them as a Readlist. Next window, choose Send to Kindle (there are other options, like iPhone and Dropbox, if you’d rather). Then give it your Kindle email address and away you go.

I know that sounds like ass-ache, but it isn’t really, and it downloads half a dozen long articles to your dingus in an easy-to-navigate menu’d package.

Ordinarily, I’d ask you to be a good nettizen and give them some money for this service, but a) I think $3 a month is a lot to ask and b) particularly when they don’t actually write any of it, they just collect it. Which I think is a bit cheeky.

And c) Dude. This is long form journalism. Modern journalism at its snootiest. It’s usually good, well-researched stuff, and worth a read, but holy shit is it ever chock full of lefty bullshit. You really have to turn your crap-o-meter on high to make it through. And maybe skip a few of the worst ones.

Good weekend, everyone!

July 11, 2014 — 10:59 pm
Comments: 17


ZOMG, it’s midnight and I haven’t posted anything. Get me a cat picture — STAT!

Here’s he latest shot of Mad Jack, lounging in the garden. Nooo, we didn’t buy the cat a hammock; he’s seen here stretching out the top of the plastic mesh fruit cage.

Thing is, I think he’s stopped growing. By our reckoning, he’ll be a year old at the beginning of August and I don’t think he’s put on any bulk in the last couple of months. He’s a little squirt. Has a kitteny face, too.

Still a heartbreaker, though.

July 10, 2014 — 11:01 pm
Comments: 17

Things that are hot

So there’s this burger joint in Brighton called Burger Off (see, there’s your first hint this isn’t going to be the feelgood story of the day). One of the condiments they offer is an imported hot sauce. A very fucking hot imported hot sauce.

Like, on the Scoville scale of food hotness, Tabasco peppers are between 30,000 to 50,000 heat units, ghost chilis between 855,000 to 1,463,700 heat units, police pepper spray between 500,000 and 5 million heat units and this shit somewhere between seven and nine million units.

Bit of a fake, the Scoville scale. It relies on humans’ subjective ability to taste hotness, and we all know the more you sample, the less you taste the stuff. Also, in their final forms, all these things are diluted to different strengths. Nonetheless, we can safely say Mr Gambardella of Burger Off is serving a very fucking hot sauce.

Incidentally, I don’t know what kind of ‘burgers’ those are up there, but it’s the picture that went along with the Daily Mail article. Looks like a spleen burger or something. I think I’d need a shot of the hot stuff to take a bite of that.

Anyhoo, Mr Gambardella got sick of customers who sampled his sauce and said, “pff! That’s not so hot.” So he now offers a deadly XXX burger to those over eighteen willing to sign a (really illiterate — wonder if it would hold up in court) disclaimer. This burger routinely sends people to the hospital:

One guy came in and he was just a little bit cocky and when he left he was admitted to hospital because prior to eating the burger he had a stomach ulcer and we believe it perforated his bowel. He wasn’t in a good way but he pulled through.

And these two reporters from the Brighton Argus:

Mr Barratt took a bite and minutes later suffered severe stomach pains which increased. He lost the feeling in his hands, his legs were shaking and his eyes rolled back in his head.

And within two hours Mr Hendy was suffering similar problems, following his colleague to hospital.

Mr Barratt said: “It was hard to walk. I needed to drink milk to neutralise the burning, which was hard because I was hyperventilating so much my hands had seized up.”

Mr Hendy said: “I was in so much pain I was telling people I felt like I was dying.”

Why do people do this? I like a drop of Sriracha on my sammich, but I stop short of foods that come with frightening health warnings in pidgin legalese.

My mother once challenged a neighbor to a hot pepper eating contest. All’s I remember is the two of them sitting around the kitchen table after all the peppers were gone, taking swigs of the pepper water out of the jar with tears streaming down their faces. It’s a sickness, I tell you.

But my mama was from Texas.

July 9, 2014 — 9:09 pm
Comments: 23

I…have no idea

Well, now. I wasn’t expecting our…ummm…mystery gourd-like vegetable to grow to quite THAT size. Things are ‘UGE. I have told you this, yes? We had three — count ’em, THREE — vines grow up in our raised beds that we most assuredly didn’t plant and locals tell me the things hanging off of them are marrows. Never et one in my life, so how they got in our compost is a puzzler.

Uncle B informs me the village produce contests, they grow ’em to the size of small children and wheel them in in wheelbarrows. These aren’t quite that big, but they would be if I left them.

Marrow, Wikipedia informs me, is the British word for members of the Cucurbita family. Gourds, pumpkins and squash. These look more like morbidly obese zucchinis, but I’m told zucchinis are called courgettes.

Fuck, it’s hard being a ferriner.

Everyone agrees on the recipe, though. Cut them in half, scoop out the middles and fill them with good stuff.

From our garden: herbs, garlic, onions, this year’s new crop of tomatoes. First the skillet, then scoop into the marrow. Bake for twenty minutes, then: American-style bacon, hamburger. Bread crumbs, cheese. Ten more minutes.

Was it nice? Pff! How bad could anything be stuffed with bacon, hamburger and cheese?

July 8, 2014 — 10:22 pm
Comments: 22