web analytics



Within 24 hours, the people of Paris had jammed the blood donation centers and within 48, Hollande launched massive bombing attacks on IS targets. Give them their due; that was just right.

But, holy shit, when I saw the soft toys and the candlelight vigils roll out (especially across the US) before the bodies were even cold, I wanted to punch something. And don’t get me started on social media.

I understand people want to do something, and there ain’t much you can do from thousands of miles away. But that display of mawkishness, the déjà vu of useless gestures…honest to god, if the first thing you felt after the attack on Paris was sadness and not blazing anger, we’ve got a problem.

November 16, 2015 — 11:26 pm
Comments: 27

Not good


Jihadi trouble in Paris tonight. Current reports are three separate scenes, thirty dead and ‘scores’ taken hostage, but it’s all very fog-of-war just now.

I wish we had a decent news outlet on the scene, but failing that: BBC Live Coverage; Sky Live Coverage. They’re as bad as each other, but they have bodies on location.

Unfolding as I type.

November 13, 2015 — 10:19 pm
Comments: 33



Running late tonight, so I shall leave you with this lovely picture of Violence, which I believe Uncle B took a couple of weeks ago. She looks so coy, and her feathery feet are shown to especial advantage here.

She doesn’t actually look like this at the moment. They’re all molting. They look half plucked. They’re crabby as hell and they look like shit. It’s kind of late in the year for this, but we’re having an unseasonably warm November, so I think their little internal chikken clocks are all messed up.

I try to cheer them up with chikken treats, but if I stick my hand near this one, the pecking starts. We don’t call her Violence for nothing.

Looks like there was a pillow fight with casualties in the hen house.

November 12, 2015 — 11:13 pm
Comments: 10



Man, I do this every year — carve pumpkin and then forget about it. These two bad boys were pretty ripe before Onkle B pointed them out to me.

Pity. Dude on the left was one of my better efforts. Carving pumpkins is one of the many things I think I ought to be good at, and I amn’t.

I wish I’d gotten a picture with the candle lit. As it is, it was all I could do to roll him into a trash bag without getting any on me.


November 11, 2015 — 10:11 pm
Comments: 11



Joel Hodgson has opened a kickstarter to get MST3K going again. They’re up to $227,898 of the minimum $2.2 million they hope to raise in a month. Five and a half million will fund a whole season. And

Finally, if we raise $1 BILLION – stay with me on this one – we’re going to adopt a real live teenage boy and “Truman Show” him into believing he is the Pumaman!

Bonus points if you know how to pronounce “Pumaman.”

Eh. I’ll kick in ten bucks. Don’t laugh; I have to work almost an hour down the history mine to make that.

November 10, 2015 — 6:36 pm
Comments: 4

Speak to me, Puff!


Wow. I hope this is just an art fail, because it looks for all the world like a dishful of decapitated cat’s head with ornamental greenery growing out his ears. If I’m reading the credits right, it’s from the Sforza Book of Hours, circa 1490.

I’m leafing through old Books of Hours because I got it in my thick head I’d like to have a Tudor housewife’s costume. You know, like the first lady of Badger House.

She would probably have been the wife of a prosperous peasant farmer, possibly the overseer of a rich man’s farm. Sheep, probably. Like this lady. Or this lady (in the background, slopping the hogs).

So, a kirtle, an apron and a wimple ought to do it.

Now, all I got to do is learn how to sew.

Damn. I knew there was a flaw in my plan. I can’t sew for shit.

November 9, 2015 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 20



I was looking for a picture of a Medieval embroidered glove tonight (don’t judge me!) and I ran across the Worshipful Company of Glovers of London.

Well, of course there’s a Worshipful Company of Glovers of London.

They have a very fun antique glove collection to browse. Surprised to see, though, they only go back to the Seventeenth Century.

If you liked that, you’d probably also like the museum attached to Dents, Her Maj’s glove maker.

Never did find what I was looking for, though.

Have a good weekend, y’all. Don’t get blowed up!

November 6, 2015 — 9:52 pm
Comments: 10

Remember, remember


Happy November 5, y’all. As I’ve explained in years past, Sussex takes its Bonfire Night very, very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that a single night won’t do it. The villages across the county take turns hosting bonfires, parades and fireworks right through the Fall, from September to December.

Somebody out there observed it tonight, though. I’m not sure which village. ‘Twas a dark and stormy night and we thought at first we were hearing thunder, but we could just make out a flash of fireworks far away on the horizon. The finale, though — holy shit, that rumbled through the earth like the apocalypse. I hope nobody got blowed up for real.

It’s a hoot that Anonymous has adopted Guy Fawkes. It’s never smart to dabble in somebody else’s civil war, and Fawkes was all about knocking over the Protestant government and replacing it with a Catholic one. Bonfire Night is written into law as a celebration of hatin’ on the Catholics. Thusly:

‘An Acte for a publique Thancksgiving to Almighty God everie yeere of the Fifte day of November’ ‘be held in a perpetual Remembrance’ and that the day be ‘a holiday for ever in thankfulness to God for the deliverance and detestation of the Papists’.

Heh. Lub dat spellynge.

If you ever have the chance to interrogate a Fawkes-mask-wearing anarcho-trustafundian, ask him why he loves the Pope so.

p.s. The identity of the year’s effigies is always a closely guarded secret. Lewes (site of the largest celebration, as it was site of the most Protestant martyrs) has six of them. One is usually the Pope. Another this year looks to be David Cameron with a pig’s head.

November 5, 2015 — 9:17 pm
Comments: 16

Just another quaint English village


I have unilaterally declared this our new Hallowe’en tradition. It is a 1966 Hammer Film called the Witches starring Joan Fontaine. It is very silly.

Joan Fontaine. Just look at her. I’ve often wondered if there was something wrong with that eyebrow of hers that made it do that trademark thing.

Says the top commenter on the IMDB listing:

In her autobiography, Miss Joan Fontaine, who had acquired the film rights to the novel years before, complains at length about the “primitive” working conditions at Hammer studios, the small size of her dressing room, the awful food and the unprofessional British actors she had to lower herself in working with. We all know that the real bee in her bonnet was that a movie she had basically designed as a vehicle for HER talents ended up being taken over by Miss Kay Walsh, a superb dancer and talented actress who had had an extensive career in films and theatre (check out her IMDB listing–you’ll be impressed). Luckily Fontaine was (to her credit) too much of a pro herself to let her dissatisfaction show on screen.

Well, I don’t know about that. IMDB also says it was her last film. She died in 2013, so she had a helluva long retirement.

The village scenes were shot in Hambleden in Buckinghamshire, but the action supposedly takes place in Sussex and the inevitable stately home was a place called Parham House. It’s now closed for the season, so I’m making this blog entry to remind myself we should go visit when it reopens in the Spring.

That’s right; I’m using you guys as an appointment diary.

November 4, 2015 — 10:16 pm
Comments: 8



We’ve been socked in with fog the last few days. The UK generally and our little corner particularly. We don’t get that many super foggy days after all, and I love walking around in it. Sheep and seagulls rise up out of it like another, solider fog.

Not nice if you’re waiting at Heathrow, though.

Speaking of fog, we don’t really know what’s going on in Europe generally and Germany specifically. Official news reports show us a Germany willing to take 20 thousand but not fifty thousand ‘refugees’; half a million but not two million. We haven’t yet seen a Germany that asks, “why must we take any?”

On the other hand, there are rumors that the news is being heavily sanitized for our protection. Reports of violence and arson and much-larger-than-reported marches are squeaking out onto the web.

But maybe it’s nothing, after all. It’s hard to overstate how brow-beaten Germany has been with the ‘don’t be Nazis’ message for the last two or three generations. Young Germans sometimes seem maddeningly passive and soft.

The internet is letting me down here. I had hoped, by now, we would be better positioned to bypass the legacy media on the important stories.

November 3, 2015 — 8:38 pm
Comments: 22