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Is it just racist ol’ me?


Did anyone else notice the signs said Jeb! up front, where they were more likely to appear in print, and ¡Jeb! around the periphery? Is it just me? Am I paranoid?

See, I’m kind of iffy about Jeb from the get-go. His wife, Columba, is a tiny Mexican hobbit. By all accounts, she’s a very nice woman and he’s utterly devoted to her, but rumor has it she never took to English and they speak Spanish at home. He once, supposedly, ticked ‘Hispanic’ on his voter registration form.

I suppose I sound irredeemably racist, don’t I? But, look here, we’re talking about a man running for president. Is it too much to ask that our next leader doesn’t prefer somebody else’s culture over our own?

June 16, 2015 — 8:28 pm
Comments: 16

Happy Magna Carta Day!

fishing weir

The big guy turns 800 today.

The Magna Carta was something of a fetish object in 17th C English law. It was believed to be a fragment or recreation of a sort of ancient Saxon Bill of Rights lost after the Conquest (probably no). As such, it was subject to centuries of scholarly interpretation, hairsplitting and the accretion of penumbra.

The Founding Fathers gave it a shout out. It still has juju for modern American righties.

Not so much lefties. It’s the fashion in the academy today to disparage the Magna Carta as a gentleman’s agreement between a small clique of the superwealthy — the King and his Barons — that was rescinded within days.

Well, yes and no. Mostly no.

A lot of the clauses do specifically outline the relationship between Barons and King, but there was plenty in there about the common man. Like clause 20:

For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. In the same way, a merchant shall be spared his merchandise, and a villein the implements of his husbandry, if they fall upon the mercy of a royal court. None of these fines shall be imposed except by the assessment on oath of reputable men of the neighbourhood.

Or 35, the beginning of standardized weights and measures:

There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russet, and haberject [cloth of mixed color, worn by monks], namely two ells [about two yards] within the selvedges [the bound edges of a piece of cloth]. Weights are to be standardised similarly.

Indeed, clauses 36 to 42 really do form the bones of our modern concepts of justice and liberty. Or fairness and freedom, since ‘justice’ and ‘liberty’ have been tainted by association with fuddy-duddy Tea Party types.

Also, there was stuff to do with managing common resources. Like, it abolished freshwater weirs (fish traps; see picture). Not only were they impacting fish stocks, they were making navigation impossible. So the rivers could become the superhighways until superhighways. And it forbade – I love this phrase – “all evil customs relating to forests and warrens.” That is, the killing or mutilation of poachers out of hand.

And, yes, it was rescinded within a month, but it was revived again and again. Every time a subsequent king wanted to squeeze a little more in taxes out of his people, he had to gin up a new edition of the Charter to appease them first. Which is why, in addition to the four left of the original batch, there are so many later versions.

The original wasn’t broken up into clauses, by the way. That was done by later commentators. The original is a big sloppy run-on Latin mess, but the translation is a pretty short and easy read.

Go on. What’re the odds some day some SJW smartass will bet you never read it?

June 15, 2015 — 8:13 pm
Comments: 11

Round 74: Hazy dayz of Zummer

So m has won a second time (the first was Round 50 and Frank Lautenberg). Poor old Christopher Lee. He hated being defined by the Dracula films (IMDB lists 281 credits to his name) but I’m sure he knew that was going to be the first and last thing in his obit.

He was also called out for Lord of the Rings. I wonder if he felt any better about that.

Another short round and a classic pick down. Now we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom! Ahem. Round 74:

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? Also, make sure you have a correct spelling of your choice somewhere in your comment. These threads get longish and I use search to figure out if we have a winner.

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 I’m fresh out of fairy shit particles.

June 12, 2015 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 75

Dicks. Housekeeping. Some assembly required.

Well, well…Christopher Lee has died, bless him, and closed the DeadPool™. Also — not DeadPool™ related — actor Ron Moody has fallen off the perch (dude who played Fagin in the film version of Oliver!).

And, yes, that thing in the picture is a delicious spotted dick. Let’s do some housekeeping.

This was Round 73 and win #2 for m. If you could send me your details again, m, I would appreciate it.

I owe Drew458 a dick (his second) for Round 68. I was holding it because I thought sure he was going to take #3 in short order with Bobbi Kristina Brown, but that poor soul is still in a coma, and it’s looking kinda permanent. So he’s in the queue.

According to my records, I also haven’t made dicks for Round 69 (homer with Ebola Man), Round 70 (armybrat with Mumbles Menino) and Round 72 (Ripley and BB King). No pressure (I hate giving out my contact details on the innernets and will refuse if I can do so gracefully, so don’t feel obliged). On the other hand, I do owe you dick.

There are also some older dick winners who never claimed their prize. You may step up at any time. Dick wins are forever.

That’s it then. Back here. Tomorrow. 6 sharp WBT. DeadPool Round 74!

June 11, 2015 — 9:14 pm
Comments: 11


Not really technical difficulties as such, but mojo reminded me I haven’t updated my WordPress installation in a thousand years. Shouldn’t be any problems, but I may be down for a while.

Oh, and I have to manually reload my custom smilies. Don’t try smiling for a while; you’ll look stupid.

June 10, 2015 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 33

Release the quacken!

That’s not my joke, that’s his joke. The man who owns these ducks.

The summer fête season is upon us. This was taken at the first one in our annual calendar, in fact. Most of them have a show ring and various entertainments, and trained herd dogs are a regular feature.

This guy was good. He had an experienced dog (seven years in training) and a rescue dog (less than a year) and he was using them to herd a dozen ducks through a series of ramps and obstacle courses.

The new dog was very good, bless her heart. Not as good as the old hand but holding her own. The trainer said the experienced dog thinks nothing of rounding up a flock of 500 sheep all by himself.

He had some interesting observations. Like, if your dog runs off and you yell at him when he comes back, he’ll think you didn’t want him to come back and eventually he’ll run away for good. Also, he never trains dogs with food rewards. He doesn’t want them doing their job for pay, he wants them to work out of pride and a place in the pack. He’s obviously put a lot of thought into this.

Anyway, it’s Summer — stand by for livestock posts!

June 9, 2015 — 9:42 pm
Comments: 11

But maaaahm…!

Somebody on FaceBook tagged Stoaty on this video (thanks, stranger. I don’t know which of you it was, I only know his slave name). Watch it to the end, because stoats are just that awesome.

Should I be concerned that Stoaty Weasel has about twice as many friends as I do? Even though I (big mistake) friended almost my entire High School graduating class? Hm. Nah.

FaceBook apparently has its own video storage thingie now, because I couldn’t get an address for this that didn’t go through FB (and have the FB logo in the corner). I didn’t want to do that to you, my Neanderthal readers. I finally managed to find it on YouTube, though it looks like it’s gone down a generation. On the other hand, the person who posted it motion stabilized the end sequence (hence the funny black frame at the end).

From the swooshing motion of it, I’m sure this is drone footage. Stoats and weasels are incredibly sneaky and shy, and you can see one of the little bastards look curiously up into the camera at one point.

June 8, 2015 — 7:10 pm
Comments: 24

cabbage head

I don’t remember much Tennessee High School French, but I do believe “tête de chou” was a deadly insult, wasn’t it? Anyhow, look at this sucker. Look at it!

I really should have photographed it next to something. I reckon those outer leaves are, like, a yard across. It’s HUGE. Uncle B growed that for me.

Anybody want slaw?

Speaking of food, I was browsing the news and saw The Nine Worst Chain Restaurant Meals. I was surprised to see Red Lobster top the list. That place was my mother’s favorite dinner treat, rest her downmarket soul. The food wasn’t too bad.

Then I saw it was as rated by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the penny dropped. The CSPI are the extreme left whackadoodle pretend scientists who first came to public attention fighting against the obscene deliciousness of movie theater popcorn. May they rot in hell.

What they did was, Red Lobster apparently has a “Create Your Own Combination” special, CSPI put theirs together out of the most fattening things on offer and discovered that the resulting plate was really, really fattening. Red Lobster spokesperson said there are, like, five hundred different possible combinations, *eyeroll*.

That’s it. It’s Friday. The weather here is finally turning nice. Have a good one!

Oh, one more thing. Reader Wandering Neurons has started a blog. Visit him at wandering neurons dot org.

June 5, 2015 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 24

Number seven will blow your mind

It’s Summer reading season and I’m working my way through my backlog of saved articles. I’ve just finished this interesting story from the New Yorker’s January issue on Emerson Spartz, one of those irritating young new media booboos who are transforming the internet into a eyeball abusing listicle shithole. Things that don’t surprise me:

■ 80% of his company’s time is spent on social media (mostly FaceBook) promoting content, 20% on developing actual content.

■ His content isn’t his content. It’s borrowed from other sites (like mine, I s’pose, but I’m not running a clickfarm).

■ His every fiber yearns for you to hit that button. There is no other purpose to his activity.

He has a staff of elves that actually feed content into his sites. Himself sits all day in front of a screen of analytics. He will publish the same exact story on FaceBook with ten different titles, then watch which title get the most clicks in realtime, then winnow out the losers until he has found the perfect Darwinian clickbait.

Yes, it looks as though he is the creator of my current favorite hate title: X pictures of Y, #Z will blow your mind!

I’m a veteran of these things because I hang out on FaceBook passively stalking old friends and family members, and I love looking at pictures.

You click on the first picture and there’s, like, ten ads all around it. Usually animated. Usually the next button is hidden and several of the ads have right arrow buttons that look like the next button. Next picture, whole new set of ads. I’ve gotten so wadded up about these things I’m currently taking a positive delight in not clicking the bastards.

I’ve got one in front of me now. The obvious next button is actually an ad for M&S Men ‘s Linen Trousers (one above and one below the picture). Marks and Spencer’s. What are they thinking? What the hell kind of customer relationship do you build when you trick people into clicking an ad they didn’t want to click?

One of two possibilities: either the internet is so huge that if one in a hundred of the one in ten people who mistake-click your ad go on to buy your crappy trousers, it’s worth your advertising money, even if you piss off everyone else.

Or this approach to marketing is a big stupid obvious mistake that we will look back on some day and shake our heads.

June 4, 2015 — 10:35 pm
Comments: 14

As usual, Violence is the answer

Ladies and gentlemen, my one functional hen.

My flock is down to three, and two of my nutty birds have decided they’re going to be mamas. Not only do I not have a rooster, they aren’t sitting on any eggs, but don’t try explaining reproductive biology to a chikken. It always ends in tears.

They stopped laying and sit on each other in the nest box all day, screaming and poofing themselves up to improbable size when you raise the lid. I lift them out several times a day, put them in the warm grass and give them a handful of food. They are quite capable of doing this until they totally lose condition, if not starve to death. Bantams are famous for going hardcore broody.

Leaving this poor bird on her ownsome. Her name was originally Violet, but we changed it to Violence when it became clear she had serious anger management issues. She’s been known to fly clear across the lawn just to deliver that good peck on the foot we all know I so richly deserve.

No more. I think she must be lonely without her chikken buddies. She does a little dance when I walk up, a little dance that used to be a precursor to some serious beak action but now appears to be something approaching delight. It looks something like a honeybee’s waggle dance, but I don’t think she’s trying to tell me anything.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Weasel, this is an awfully grainy picture to come out of your fancy new birthday camera.” Well, let me tell you something, Mister Smarty: this is a teeny tiny section from the middle of the picture, at 100% zoom. Quite extraordinary.

June 3, 2015 — 9:49 pm
Comments: 12