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Weather was atrocious again today – wet and windy. We were going a little stir crazy, so we headed out to a new farm shop. Yes, that’s what we do for kicks. We have to go further and further afield to find new ones, though.

You might think they’re all alike, but wrong again, my imaginary internet friend. There are some things all farm shops seem to have in common – there’s a particular brand of frozen entrée name of Cook that’s in every one of them and some local grocery stores. I think Cook supplies the freezers for free, which explains that.

But they all have their specialities. Some have their own local fruit farm or market gardens. The one nearest us specializes in being terrible, which is a shame. It’s a fake farm shop for tourists.

The one we went to today specializes in meat. They rear their own pigs and sheep and especially cows. We like meat.

On a Summer’s day, you can watch the herd contentedly grazing behind the shop. You probably could’ve watched them discontentedly munching hay in a barn today if you had a mind to get wet.

They clearly have a mixed meat/dairy herd because FRESH MILK DISPENSER, Y’ALL! You buy the bottle (or bring it back washed), press the button and DAIRY MIRACLE. I’m very fond of milk.

I’d like to think on the other side of that wall is a cow hooked up to a milking machine.

March 22, 2023 — 7:15 pm
Comments: 3

Weary and elderly

You and me both, mate.

This sad seal washed up on the beach in Arun. He looked so awful, people kept calling animal control, who sent a vet out.

Because of course they did.

Turns out he’s just old and tired. And moulting.

I did not know seals spend one month a year shedding their hair and the whole layer of skin underneath it. During the month, they stop eating, sleep a lot, roll around on the sand and look like absolute shit.

That’s it, y’all. I’m moulting.

March 21, 2023 — 7:57 pm
Comments: 7

It’s the Equinox, y’all!

Hoo boy, that illustration does not work in black and white at all. I stole it from this article. From the article:

The equinox happens at the same moment worldwide, although our clock times reflect a different time zone…Interestingly, due to time zone differences, there isn’t a March 21 equinox in mainland U.S. during the entire 21st century! We won’t see a March 21 equinox again until 2101.

I’m going to post that paragraph just as if I understood it.

It well and truly felt like Spring over the weekend, but we’re back to damp and miserable today and for the foreseeable.

Changing the subject, I enjoyed this video: man demonstrates the ten types of magic. This guy is a brilliant stop-motion animator, so that’s probably a clue. If you want to know how he did #10, it’s not the obvious. I watched it a bajillion times to work it out.

If you don’t feel like watching it a bajillion times, I’ll spoil it in the comments.

March 20, 2023 — 7:25 pm
Comments: 10

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

I didn’t think I had any Irish forebears at all, but during my free two weeks of Ancestry.com I did discover some of my people left from Irish ports. Who knows?

Also, I didn’t find any evidence my mother’s mother was French, as per legend, except for the French-sounding last name. I traced her line all the way back to a Texas home for imbeciles and decided that was enough genealogy for me.

Have a good weekend!

March 17, 2023 — 6:55 pm
Comments: 5

Paging Dr Pepper

Huh. I didn’t know New Scientist came up with the term. They certainly didn’t come up with the concept. I read a whole book about it, years before 1994. The author phoned people up whose names lined up with their professions.

Some people were like, “how dare you, sir! I chose my profession for the most serious of grownup reasons!” And some were like, “why yes, being born Lester Buttpeep did influence my decision to become a proctologist.”

My favorite personal example was the kitten I rescued on 6/6/06. Naturally, I named him Damian. The vet was like “lady, are you sure you want to do that?”

I’m confident Damian would have grown up to be a hellcat even if I named him Princess Pinkie Fluffybunny, but he was every inch a Damian.

Today, I ran across a real corker of an example in, of all places, New Scientist:

A few months ago, Dr Organ – Dr Jason Organ – was named the new editor-in-chief of the journal Anatomical Sciences Education. This added flesh to the nominative determinism tradition that is occasionally evident in body-parts-centric medical journals, starting (as far as Feedback is aware) with the publication Brain. Henry Head and Russell Brain were each its editor, at different times, Head from 1905 to 1923, Brain from 1954 to 1967.

Those heads of Brain achieved a sort of medico-literary ecstasy in the December 1961 issue of Brain. Readers could savour an article there titled “Henry Head: The man and his ideas”, authored by Russell Brain. It was Brain head Brain on Brain head Head, in Brain.

I almost had to draw a sentence diagram.

March 16, 2023 — 6:50 pm
Comments: 12

Trap streets, easter eggs and Mountweazels

Speaking of maps without copyright, when I were a young corporate art drudge, it was beaten into me that I must never, ever steal art. Not for any moral principle, you understand, but because I worked for a big company with a lot of money and my boss would nail my ass to the wall if I got sued for copyright infringement.

To this day, I experience whole-body cringe when someone hands me a book and says, “here, you can use this picture.” Which has happened to me, I swear, hundreds of times.

Maps were always a particular problem, because we always needed good maps and who the hell can develop a map from scratch? Oh, the lengths I went to to steal maps without stealing maps.

I was schooled in the fear of trap streets. They’re fake roads put on maps so the copyright holder can spot when someone has traced their map. Here’s an article about trap streets in London. I pinched the picture at the top from that article, because I thought that would be meta.

Sometimes, the solution would be to put trap streets and easter eggs into a bit of traced topography. Or remove bits. Or stretch or shrink it along an axis. The point being, when one bit of art is overlaid on another, they shouldn’t match.

I have written about trap streets before. See also Mountweazel.

March 15, 2023 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 1

Oh no! It’s retarded!

People have started using AI for clip art, because (as of this writing, anyway) nobody can copyright the stuff AIs generate. You can often tell when this has been done (count the fingers), but it does a pretty passable job at generic illustration.

Well, I need a map of the South coast of England with no copyright. I thought this would be *perfect* for AI. In theory, if I tell it specifically I want a map of Kent, it out to assemble a map out of nothing but other maps of Kent and come up with a generic map of Kent.

In theory.

In practice, this is the best I’ve gotten so far. I mean, it looks more like Kent than it looks like Rhode Island, but that ain’t saying much.

I’m willing to believe that it’s a weakness in the free online tools I’m using. Surely a more sophisticated AI, you could tell it to limit its input to other maps of Kent and not get this output.

I love the fact maps have text on them, so AI has drawn random gibberish squiggles all over it.

March 14, 2023 — 8:26 pm
Comments: 8


Over the weekend. March 11 – about right.

I know, I know – it’s a lousy picture. You have to cut me some slack: I started my day carrying two filing cabinets up a flight of stairs and it just got more delightful from there.

Okay, a man took the weight and I mostly steered, but I got to bring all eight drawers up by myself.

People have no idea what a handicap it is being lazy.

March 13, 2023 — 7:06 pm
Comments: 6

Dead Pool 164: baby lamb edition

LavenderGirl takes it with Tom Sizemore. The article notes “doctors determined that he had suffered a brain aneurysm as the result of a stroke” – but surely he suffered a stroke as the result of a brain aneurysm.

Stupid journalists.

I have never seen Sizemore in anything, ever, so my only observation is…I hate it when someone younger than me dies, and everyone’s like, “well, he had a good run.”

Are we ready? Then let’s begin.

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. Plus (Pupster’s Rule) no picking someone who’s only famous for being the oldest person alive.

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.

March 10, 2023 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 45

It’s snowing in Yorkshire

Robert Fuller is a wildlife artist. Periodically, some thoughtful person sends me a link to his YouTube channel because he raised and rewilded two adorable baby stoats in 2021.

I’m linking because he also is running a couple of live streams, one from Fotherdale:

Welcome to ‘Live from Fotherdale’, a selection of bird cams streamed from inside barn owl and kestrel nests, a buzzard feeding post and a stoat habitat. This livestream also picks up passing foxes, hares, weasels and even badgers – offering the very best of British wildlife for you to enjoy.

And one from Ash Wood:

Welcome to ‘Live from Ash Wood’ where bird cams are streamed from a woodland habitat teeming with British wildlife. See inside tawny owl and kestrel nests, spot deer and badgers drinking at the pond and look out for the occasional sparrowhawk or buzzard flying through. There is a friendly live chat, offering a supportive and informative community of wildlife lovers for you to interact with as you watch the bird cams.

I was watching a little while ago and it was snowing like unto a bastard. This storm has missed us this year – well, it arrived as drizzle – meaning we won’t see any of the white stuff. I miss it. England is purty in the snow.

His streams don’t run 24/7, so I don’t know if those URLs will always work. If not, go to the Home tab on his channel and his livestreams, if any, will be there.

March 9, 2023 — 3:46 pm
Comments: 4