This Bodes Ill

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2013 by heckblazer

Anyone who’s watched horror movies knows that when you find a stone coffin with a mysterious sealed lead coffin inside, opening it is a Bad Idea.

We still don’t know who is inside – so there is still a question mark over it… None of us in the team have ever seen a lead coffin within a stone coffin before. We will now need to work out how to open it safely as we don’t want to damage the contents when we are opening the lid.

Vampires!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2013 by heckblazer

A possible vampire graveyard has been found in Poland:

Four skeletons were found at the site, where mandatory digs were being carried out prior to the construction of a ring road.
In each case, the deceased had been buried with the head between the legs.
According to folk beliefs, this prevented a possible vampire from finding his or her way back to the land of the living.
There was no trace at the burial ground of any earthly possessions, such as jewellery, belts or buckles.
“It’s very difficult to tell when these burials were carried out,” archaeologist Dr Jacek Pierzak told the Dziennik Zachodni newspaper.
However, it is believed that they took place in the early modern period.

 

An older news story that has a first line that can’t be beat:

The vampire attacked just before midnight on the porch of a vacant Hooters.

Boston

Posted in Uncategorized on April 17, 2013 by heckblazer

Boston

North Korean People’s Army Funky Get Down Juche Party

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2013 by heckblazer

North Korea is the funkiest place on Earth. Dear leader said so.

Authentic Thai Food

Posted in cooking on February 27, 2013 by heckblazer

IWater bugs ‘m fortunate to have a Thai food market within walking distance.  Finding frozen giant water bugs in the freezer section makes me think they cater to people who know hat they’re doing.  It seems they’re the species Lethocerus indicus, and that you need them to make a really authentic chili sauce to go with fried mackerel.

I also came across an article on the history of Pad Thai (via).  Apparently it  was a dish invented as part of a nationalist modernization campaign, and aside from the patriotism imputed to it it’s not really distinctively Thai.  It also seems that the bright orange American stuff is that way due to the use of ketchup.

Literacy Test

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2013 by heckblazer

While surfing I came across  an online copy of the Louisiana  literacy test at the Civil Rights Movement  Veterans website and tried taking it to see precisely how unfair it was.  I failed.  I failed in multiple ways.  The instructions say “You have ten minutes to complete the test,” but it took me twelve because of the ambiguous and confusing questions.  It took me a bit to parse question 27, “Write right from the left to the right as you see it spelled here,” so I’d lay good odds someone with a fifth grade reading level would have it worse.   I also got it wrong by printing “right” instead of writing out the whole phrase in cursive.  Since any mistake means you flunk the test that’s strike two.  Question 20 says “Spell backwards, forwards”  which can be interpreted several ways, and no doubt whichever way I picked would turn out to be wrong if I were black.  Quite a few of the questions are like that.   Then there are questions that aren’t even a even a grammatical sentence, like number 30 which says “Draw five circles that one common inter-locking part.”  

Just to remove all doubt that Louisiana is dealing from the bottom of the deck, question 25 is a noted word illusion:

Paris

The great state of Louisiana was about a step a way from just asking “Are you black, yes or no?” and failing the yeses.

Guns

Posted in guns on December 30, 2012 by heckblazer

This piece by Alan Jacobs in The American Conservative of all places captures quite a bit of my feelings about American gun culture, especially this part:

“But what troubles me most about this suggestion — and the general More Guns approach to social ills — is the absolute abandonment of civil society it represents. It gives up on the rule of law in favor of a Hobbesian “war of every man against every man” in which we no longer have genuine neighbors, only potential enemies. You may trust your neighbor for now — but you have high-powered recourse if he ever acts wrongly.

Whatever lack of open violence may be procured by this method is not peace or civil order, but rather a standoff, a Cold War maintained by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Moreover, the person who wishes to live this way, to maintain order at universal gunpoint, has an absolute trust in his own ability to use weapons wisely and well: he never for a moment asks whether he can be trusted with a gun. Of course he can! (But in literature we call this hubris.)”

This column from the Portland Press Herald happens to have a case study of such paranoia in action:

“Welcome to Justin’s world – and that of all those other gun owners whose love for their weaponry is rooted not in Maine’s time-honored tradition of hunting, not in the camaraderie of the shooting range or the thrill of owning a rare collectible.

No, this is a world of pure paranoia. A world where the bad guys, however invisible, might be anywhere. A world where your personal safety is directly proportional to how much firepower you’re packing – and if that scares the hell out of everyone around you, well, that’s just not your problem.”

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