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Twenty years ago today, ten in the morning (it was a Saturday), I sat up in bed and lit up the last half of a cigarette I’d started the night before. And that was it – the last time tobacco passed my lips.

Welllll, not counting the second hand stuff. I’ve been known to sidle up to any sad group of outside smokers and sniff hard. That’s not cheating, right?

Unkle B quit about the same time and never looked back. Me, I miss it every day of my life. I take my vices very seriously. I would’ve liked to live out my life a smoker, and die young of something acute before the first soft tendrils of dementia enwrap my brain.

On the other hand, brand name smokes are approaching £9 a pack here. Given my 2.5 pack a day habit at the end, that would come to $33.75 a day. That would seriously cut into my smack habit.

May 17, 2017 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 22

Dammit, Carl!


I was really hoping someone would win dick with Ian Brady. Carl picked him, but forgot he’d made a pick earlier in the Dead Pool, so no soap. Damn.

Brady was the driving half of the Moors Murderers, a famous and horrible British true crime from the Sixties. He dead. At last.

The reel-to-reel recording of 10-year-old Leslie Ann Downey pleading for her life is still regarded as the most upsetting evidence ever revealed in a British courtroom. (Don’t worry – the transcript’s been out there for years, but the audio won’t be allowed to escape until we’re all safely gone).

Of the two, Myra Hindley was always more a hate object. Brady was a sexual sadist and wannabe Nazi, but he was undeniably screw loose. Hindley, though — her only motivation was to stand by her man. She did those horrible things without having a taste for horrible things.

I don’t think she ever really understood what the fuss was about. She went to her grave complaining that the famous mugshot (upper right) was so unflattering. So I guess she clearly had a screw loose, too — she just seems more evil to his sick, somehow.

When she died in 2002, there were people who were and had been agitating hard for her release for years, including obligatory celebrities. And this, chilrun, is why I favor the death penalty.

Today’s gut fact: a NYT article on a guy who gave up soap in favor of deliberately colonizing his skin with beneficial bacteria.

May 16, 2017 — 9:36 pm
Comments: 8



You may recall I took a course in Advanced Chickenology last year. I was so impressed with the platform that I promised myself I’d take more. Well, I ain’t got around to it…until now. I’m taking a course in guts!

You may have noticed that gut bacteria is, like, the current fad science, holding out hope for everything from weight loss to depression. Well, I’m skeptical, but I’m also interested.

Today was the first day, and it turns out…biochemistry is kinda hard! Who knew? So while I struggle with my homework, a few interesting gut facts:

No doubt, I’ll overshare gut facts over the next six weeks. But I’m just auditing it this time. Who the hell wants a certificate in guts?

May 15, 2017 — 10:33 pm
Comments: 8



The story that goes with is a bit of a downer – it’s about the beginning of factory farming – but I wanted to leave you with a happy image for the weekend.

Something I learned from my chicken behavior course: you know today’s meat chickens are mature in six to eight weeks and ready for market, yes? That’s because they’ve bred them (the old fashioned way, generation-to-generation) to be eating machines.

So. Fine. Six weeks of gluttony and out. There are worse lives, even in modern agriculture.

chick But when you want to make more of these little porkers? You have to raise male and female eating machine chickens to adulthood, without letting them get too obese to function and breed.

That means the parents of these little chubboes are kept strictly to regular chicken rations, making them crazy hungry all the time.

Adult meat birds have the worst escape record of any commercial chicken. Or the best, depending on how you look at it.

Woops! I wanted to leave you with a happy picture. Here’s an adorable fluffy chick I stole off the internet. Have a good weekend!


May 12, 2017 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 10




Our neighbor called this afternoon to warn us that a swarm of bees was seen headed our way. Sure enough, we looked out and they had clustered on the outside of our chimney.

This happened three years ago. They swarmed in the exact same spot. You can see a picture and read the story here.

Last time, we plugged the holes and so far we’ve only seen one bee in the bedroom. Well, several over several days, but finding the odd bee is not that…odd. We couldn’t see them this afternoon, but it’s raining.

Last time, they moved off on their own after a couple of days. If they cluster again tomorrow, we’ll build a gentle fire. I do not fancy hoovering dozens of bees out of my bedchamber every morning.

You know, I always assumed that .gif was an edit of the time Oprah gave a car to every member of her audience, but that video is here and it’s clearly not the same event. Did she do that more than once?

May 11, 2017 — 10:03 pm
Comments: 16

This is why I hate the art world


Alcoholic Snow White? That’s hilarious!

Oh. Wait. You’re serious? Like very, very serious? Like Disney Princesses face Rape and Murder kind of serious?

Sigh. My first taste of this was Dadaism, which I thought was playful and fun when I first read about it as a wee lass. Turns out, it’s not. It’s super cereal.

Eh. The photographer is a kid still in art school. Good on her for figuring out how to manipulate her milieu into giving her asspats. Which a mature her can convert into genuinely good art, I hope. Maybe even something playful and fun.

May 10, 2017 — 9:16 pm
Comments: 12

Your inspirational photo of the day


More photos at the link.

Mustelid sympathizer that I am, don’t ever watch YouTubes of this. Quite horrible, the stoat kills I’ve seen. The bunny sits placidly staring into space while the weasel chaws on its neck, then suddenly screams and kicks and dies.

Still, you have to wonder what’s going on in this lady’s head:

OK, I wouldn’t know how I would have reacted int he same situation – but sounds like he had enough time to drive the stoat away, rather than taking photos of which he is “proud”. When I have seen cats about to pounce on rodents or birds, I have interrupted the cat – allowing the would-be victims to get away. And I am a vegetarian…before the inevitable Red Arrowers start saying it’s no different to me eating meat…

Yeah, lady, the difference is that nobody is going to put Whiskas out for the stoat.

Many years ago, I heard a chick interviewed on BBC radio who was of the opinion if we started early enough, we could teach foxes to be vegetarians. I can’t even…

May 9, 2017 — 8:30 pm
Comments: 30

Huh. That’s kind of…huh.


It’s a modern Dutch building, where the gargoyles are emojis.

I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, modern architecture is so plain and dire and serious and determined to impose sick-making non-Euclidean silhouettes on the landscape.

On the other hand, emojis.

The firm that designed it is Attika Architekten. Hit the link for more pitchas.

May 8, 2017 — 7:13 pm
Comments: 18



Just LOOK at these woolly fuzzballs! Onkle B took this picture in our back yard!

Okay. Yeah, he had to use a fairly long lens. Our property line is an irrigation/drainage ditch, which is why the wildlife isn’t more spooked by us moving around and gawping at them. And it wasn’t a miracle shot, as these babies were sound a sleep and didn’t move while he took a whole huge series of identical pictures.

Just, SQUEEEEE! Have a good weekend, y’all!

disclaimer: blog not responsible for ovaries suddenly acquired by viewers of this image.

May 5, 2017 — 8:50 pm
Comments: 11

If you have to explain the joke…


Okay, last one from the miniature railway exhibit, and I don’t know if this joke will translate. Or work in black and white. Do they run Michael Portillo in the States?

He’s an ex-politician who has done series after series of TV programs of himself taking train journeys across Britain, accompanied by a Victorian guidebook called Bradshaw’s Guide. He’s an ugly brute with a comically bulbous nose, known for wearing improbably loud clashing jacket-and-trouser combinations.

Anyway, here he is in an assortment of colors (we all agreed that none was loud enough) clutching his Bradshaw’s. No modern diorama complete without its Portillo.

If you can catch any of his programs, do. I call them ‘England porn’ — though he’s done a few in other countries, as well.

We gave up on his American series after the first three. He was riding Amtrak down the Eastern seaboard and Every Single Program he brought the conversation around to the history of slavery or civil rights abuses wherever it was he happened to be.

You can only take so much scolding before you grab the remote.

May 4, 2017 — 10:00 pm
Comments: 15