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Lookit the tree!

The Majesty Oak in nearby Kent. It is the oldest maiden oak in Britain – meaning it has never been pollarded – but as huge old oaks go, it isn’t that old. 500-700 years. It’s plenty huge, though.

I know, I know…Lavendergirl had Lisa Marie in the Dead Pool. Oooo…this is a tight one. Lisa Marie was taken to the hospital alive Thursday morning and was pronounced dead later. The timestamp of the pick is 10:45. I heard about the death just before I went to bed. I usually go to bed at 10:30, so I’m going to say the death announcement preceded the pick by minutes. So it’s a no.

However, I will give Lavendergirl the benefit of the doubt that she hadn’t heard it yet. Also, valiant effort.

Finally, I give to you a gift: a thing I learned on the Tweeter today. When you are typing text on your phone, you can slide your finger along the spacebar to move the cursor back and forth. Yes, I tried it. Yes, it works. Oh, the time I’ve wasted trying to plop my cursor in the exact spot to fix a typo!

Have a good weekend!

January 13, 2023 — 8:21 pm
Comments: 5

Spider dress, spider dress

Yeah, those legs move. It attacks you if you come too close (not kidding: that’s how she describes it in her bio).

It’s the work of Dutch fashion designer Anouk Wipprecht. She builds (looks liked 3D prints) these little machines into her dresses. Some respond to stimuli. It’s very clever.

One is even controlled by the brainwaves of the wearer – the video (first link) shows them pasting electrodes on a bald woman’s head.

Probably too delicate for practicality, but I can absolutely see some of these things turning up at a few celebrity do’s – before ending up in the movies.

Spider dress is just creepy, though.

January 12, 2023 — 7:54 pm
Comments: 5

“Oh shit – I haven’t posted!”

My exact words to Uncle B just now. A Google Images search of “oh shit I haven’t posted” calls up, among other things, this hilarious ancient meme.

Oh, well. Wednesdays are my day off. Nothing happened. I cleaned out the vegetable crisper drawer on the fridge and got rid of all the pre-Christmas vegetables I didn’t eat. Wondered how you can tell if a parsnip is really off.

Oh, and my dreams of a nautical life are crushed. Uncle B said that boat probably doesn’t have a motor.

And I’m like – “at all? How does it move around?”

And he’s like – “it doesn’t.”

And I’m like – “wait, you just sit around tied to the dock? What’s the fun in that?”

And he’s like – “oh, yeah – it’s great.”

It doesn’t sound great. It sounds stupid. But then, I have to admit, that thing doesn’t really look seaworthy, does it? And there weren’t any pictures of a wheel or an engine or anything. I’ll be damned.

January 11, 2023 — 8:01 pm
Comments: 9

Yo Ho! Yo Ho! A Pirate’s Life for Me!

Uncle B sent me this real estate listing today:

Property description

This remarkable houseboat has been recently commissioned and has never been occupied since her rebuild.

*** She is prohibited from Air Bnb use ***

The structure is based on a 40ft Bourne hull and has two floors with access from the stern into a stylish galley. This is really more of a kitchen/diner – 10ft x 8ft 6in – featuring four burner cooker, refrigerator, stainless steel sink and splash backs and loads of storage space.

Have a look. It’s adorable.

I must say, it’s very appealing, but I grew up a thousand miles from the sea and that old moving water scares me.

When I was a child, we had a good-sized houseboat on the Tennessee River. We spent many sunny days fishing and swimming and zooming up and down the river. It was a wonderful thing.

Then one day – when my mother badly needed the insurance money – it sank. She swore blind she didn’t do it. But it gave me the willies, thinking of a happy, familiar place under thirty feet of cold dark water.

Still gives me the willies. I hate dark water.

January 10, 2023 — 7:52 pm
Comments: 6

Zoom and enhance…

I found it – my old gym. There’s no doubt about it, looking at Google Street View, though it appears to have been a Chinese restaurant in 2019 when the Google van drove down Branch Avenue. I think I remember that Chinese restaurant being there, so the gym was next door (offtopic trivia: did you know the house Queen Elizabeth II was born in is now a Chinese restaurant?).

The Wikipedia article on the neighborhood is illustrated with the picture above, taken in 2014, and you can clearly see Gameday Fitness on the fence (obligatory link to the Wikimedia entry for the photo). I think that’s a different name, but still a gym.

But how on earth did I not remember it was in a historic building? Wanskuck Mills, built in 1862. In the 1880’s, the company spent $20,000 to install electric lights – the first mill to have it.

In my defense, I was only ever there before or after work – in other words, in the dark – and the gym was in what I think was a later addition. It was always apartments above, I think.

In 2015, the feds found 1,400 marijuana plants spread over seven apartments and put the building owner William Ricci in jail for this and other crimes.

But wait! There’s more! Digging behind the mill in 2017, the FBI found the body of Steven A. DiSarro, manager of the Channel nightclub in South Boston, who had been missing since 1993. In 2018 mob boss “Cadillac Frank” Salemme was convicted of the killing. He died last month in prison, age of 89.

I don’t suppose those names mean much to you, but they resonate. Howie Carr (who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Boston mob) was always going on about them. Providence was rumored to be the biggest mafia stronghold in the States (yes, little Providence).

And that’s the story of Weasel’s gym. I kept missing it because I hooked a left on Charles Street. Should have been Branch Avenue.

January 9, 2023 — 7:58 pm
Comments: 3

Dead Pool Round 162: the Afterpope edition

It’s coming to something when you can’t count on the Pope. HottyTottyGirl takes another dick. Gosh, that sounds hilariously wrong.

You can thank ExpressoBold for this round – I had completely forgotten!

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.

January 6, 2023 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 63

It was around here somewhere

Well. The thing I was looking for in Providence yesterday was my old gym. I want to tell a story about it.

I started to put on weight in my thirties. This panicked me, so I looked around for a gym. I found one nearby, not very expensive, so I joined.

It was a kind of grubby gym. All the machines were in good working order, but the upholstery was patched with duct tape. That kind of grubby. They had the full range of equipment, but not too many machines – you sometimes had to wait a few minutes for the one you wanted.

And it was dead serious. Everyone was there to do work. Everyone kept himself to himself – mostly men, but there were some women.

I remember one very old lady, bowed over with age, who came in on the regular. She used to get on the stair stepper and murder that thing. I mean, she’d go at it for half an hour. I’ve never gotten over it. I couldn’t do five minutes.

There was a trainer to show me the proper form for any machines I wanted to use and then leave me to it. I felt invisible.

I loved it. I went faithfully several mornings a week for, maybe a year?

One day I got there and they had walled off a space in the back of the gym as a woman’s area. There was a subset of brand new machines in there. Upon my honor, the upholstery was pink!

I was horrified. I wanted to use the old, familiar machines. But if I did, I’d be taking them away from the men. But if I used the women’s machines, they’d think I supported the whole idea.

I stopped going. Then I quit. I probably should have told them why, but I didn’t. If there’s a motto to the story, you’ll have to work it out for yourself.

I’m still looking for it on the map.

January 5, 2023 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 5


I was trying to find a particular shop in my old neighborhood, which I did by driving around Providence using Google Street View.

Do you ever do this? It’s a lot of fun. (It’s even more fun in Google Earth VR, but I didn’t bother).

So I get to this bridge near my house and it’s blocked at both ends by concrete barrier. From the look of it here – all grown up – it’s been there a while. (In point of fact, it was put up in 2017 and this shot was taken in 2019. I got that from date stamps on the images).

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today reopened the Hawkins Street Bridge in Providence, which was completely replaced. The bridge had been closed since October 2017 after the results of an inspection found that the bridge was so badly deteriorated it could not remain open to traffic.

Eep! I drove over that thing at least twice a day on my daily commute. I hate to think the route I would’ve had to take with it closed – though I suppose it would’ve been preferable to driving over a collapsing bridge. That’s a highway below.

Never found the shop I was looking for, but the old neighborhood is looking sad. The really excellent Italian deli appears to be a generic food mart now and next to it is a mosque that looks like a gymnasium

Truly, you can’t go home again.

January 4, 2023 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 10


First day back to work and I filled and filed yet another grant application. That makes four, of which three successful so far.

I do not like this process. I do not like the language, I do not like the angle (“which ethnic groups will your project benefit?”). Above all, I do not like that there are pools of (nearly always taxpayer) money sloshing around for opportunists (like me!) to grasp at.

We don’t need the money. But if not us, some other grubby parasite will get it. Grants like this seldom trickle down to fill a genuine need in society.

Speaking of, I once read a book about parasites and nearly lost the will to live. You can get a taste of it from this string of Tweets by the author, Carl Zimmer.

The image is an Ophiocordyceps, taken from this NYT article by Zimmer with the charming headline, “After This Fungus Turns Ants Into Zombies, Their Bodies Explode.”

Sweet dreams!

January 3, 2023 — 7:41 pm
Comments: 10

The Judgement of a Weasel

Well! Brouhaha and skullduggery!

I call it for HottyTottyGirl. Leaving a placeholder in the rush of the moment and clarifying it later strikes me as within the spirit of the rules. In fact, I would much appreciate you correct a typo in this way, if you make one. I can’t properly search the thread with misspellings.

However, in the case LesterIII’s described, I probably would have judged otherwise. Making a pick and editing it to a completely different pick later is stretching “dirty tricks” too far. Though there would have been no dirty trick shaming, naturally. I assume it wasn’t a winning entry.

I am a little astonished at Uncle Al fighting his case. I owe him dick and have done for an embarrassingly long time. I’m surprised he’s still willing to play with me. Thank you, Uncle Al. May you harbinge another celebrity death soon. (No, harbinge is not a word).

This is not the giant security hole you might think. Comments are only editable by users for four minutes, after which you have to email and ask me to fix any problems. That’s a pretty tiny window for a self-respecting dirty trick.

And so, tomorrow I go back to work. Had a good holiday. Am sad.

January 2, 2023 — 7:23 pm
Comments: 3