Sunday, February 28, 2010


Checked the mail yesterday on the off-chance that my pipe tobacco shipment had come in. Nothing. Turns my wife picked up the mail on her way out to work yesterday and I didn't know about it until I woke up this morning.

So I spent about an hour now packing away three pounds of pipe tobacco--by the way, three pounds doesn't sound like a lot, but man, if you've ever had to pack away three pounds of freakin' pipe tobacco...--as I was saying,* it took me a good solid hour to pack all that stuff away, then cleaned up the old Wellington and am now having my first pipe of Gray Ghost in several months. Yow.

I would be updating my online tobacco cellar right now but I've lost my password and am waiting for the recovery email to come in. Grumble.

*I take a great deal of my writing style from Laurence Sterne.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pipes and hummingbirds

In my tobacco cellar I have a vacuum-sealed bag of a blend from C&D called Bayou Morning, which is basically another Virginia/Perique blend that is quite light on the Perique (compared to some others I have smoked/concocted). Anyway, I sealed this bag up, according to the blue Sharpie in my hand-printing on the bag, on June 6, 2007.

Well, I probably would have smoked it all up a long time ago, just like I did with all the rest of that particular batch, except that it got pushed to the back of the cabinet and I forgot about it for a while. I discovered it again last year sometime, but instead of whipping it open and having a bowl, I thoughtfully and not without some reluctance put it back. You see, some years ago someone told me that (in his opinion) storing tobacco in vacuum-sealed bags was bad because the tobacco oils would very slowly seep out through the pores in the plastic and it would go dry in storage. I have stored a lot of tobacco this way, but I have never kept it stored more than several months (say, 6 to 9 or 10 months) before opening it for smoking.. I intend to keep this bag until it is at least five years old before I cut it open. And then, we will see. It is not quite 3 years of age just now, but I am putting the temptation behind me and leaving it be.

So far, I have had good results with vacuum-sealing. The pressure of the bag sucking down against the tobacco also creates a kind of "pressing" effect, so that when opened the tobacco has to be torn off in chunks and rubbed out before smoking. I haven't sealed any up like this in a while because I haven't bought more than one pound at a time since, oh...a couple of years I guess (2007 for sure) but since I'm getting three pounds in this time I'll probably vacuum-seal at least half a pound of each blend and then put the rest in Pump-n-Sealed Mason jars.

I would like to order more in only 6 months, so that I begin to have a surplus supply on hand. But, we will have to wait and see about that.

BobG commented on my last pipe post that he enjoyed latakia back when he used to smoke the pipe. I used to enjoy latakia also. But I just don't, anymore. I had forgotten to mention in the previous post that I had a 1.5-ounce sample from a place that sent it to me so I could review it--fortunately they gave me a sort of multiple-choice form to fill out and I didn't have to come up with a real review. I had stored it away in a Mason jar and have recently been using it as my going-home smoke. I have nothing against latakia, except that I have completely lost my taste for blends based on latakia. A little smoky latakia in a blend to give it some spice is just fine, in fact my favorite Bayou Night has some in it, but as for blends that use latakia as their primary flavor--they just don't thrill me anymore like they once did. I used to count Pirate Kake as one of my favorites, and I just can't imagine smoking that stuff anymore. Pipe smokers take note: Pirate Kake from C&D is made up of 70% latakia with the remaining 30% mostly burley and I think a little Virginia. It is a palate-blasting wallop of latakia and if you like it then you should really give it a try. The last time I had Pirate Kake I ended up using small bits of it to flavor other blends--I had already started to lose my taste for it.

I have a tin of Maltese Falcon stashed in the cellar but I'm wondering if I should ever open it or just trade it for something I know I will like. I also have a tin of straight latakia but I'm saving it for blending experiments.

In other we moved the bird feeders & bath to a better vantage point so we can see them from more windows. We also put up the hummingbird feeder because it's getting about time for them to come through here. We also put out a new suet block to see if it draws anything. I think the ones we usually see here are the black-chinned hummingbirds; I think I have seen only one ruby-throated here in my whole life.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Quote of the night

"Only trust a Wikipedia article so far on something in the real world (like, Nuclear Power as an example) - trust a Wikipedia article implicitly when reading about comic books, SF movies, or Family Guy."

Friday Night Video: Caitlin Crosby - "Flawz"

Something new(er) this week. Excellent pop song-crafting with a serious message.

Model T

This was in the employee parking lot today when I returned to the office after completing my assignment.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I have been out of my favorite pipe tobacco--Bayou Night from Cornell & Diehl--for a few weeks now. Waiting on the IRS to give me back some of the money they took from me by threat of force and all that. So today I finally placed an order for three pounds of bulk tobacco (three different blends), which at my rate will last me not quite a full year.

So for the past few weeks I've been going back into some of my more "premium tobaccos." I must say that I prefer the relatively cheaper bulk stuff from C&D to most of the more expensive varieties. Today I thought I'd try, for my commute-home smoke, some St. James Woods.

St. James Woods is made by McClelland's, and anyone who has smoked their stuff can tell you that their tobacco pretty much universally--that is, regardless of blend--has a unique characteristic smell. Some describe it as "ketchup-like." I would not describe it as anything but, "that McClelland smell."

Anyhow, St. James Woods is a Virginia/Perique blend, which is why I ordered it because I have so enjoyed other similar blends (e.g., Three Nuns, Escudo). It's okay. I know some will be shocked and horrified that I have such understated praise for it. I guess my palate isn't sophisticated enough or something. I have nothing against it, but it isn't what I would reach for when I'm thinking of my favorite blends. One problem I have with it is that it is so wet.

I've had this batch in a Mason jar for over a year now, and the stuff is still wet. Doing a relight in my pipe today, I slurped up some concentrated St. James punk that made me utter a sound similar to the title of this post. I had to run a pipe cleaner down the stem a couple of times before it was safe to continue.

Other blends I have been biding my time with are the more enjoyable (to me) Luxury Bullseye Flake--another Virginia/Perique, and 1792 Flake, a Virginia flavored with tonquin extract. The flavor of tonquin extract can't really be described, but you can read my thoughts on the matter at the link (also further thoughts here and a more humorous take here). Of these blends mentioned, the 1792 is definitely my favorite--maybe because it has a bigger "hit" than the others (from what I've read about it).

A "flake" tobacco is made by taking the base tobacco (usually some variety of Virginia) and pressing the leaves into slabs, or "flakes." It is the usual custom to "rub out" the flake before smoking it--"rub out" meaning to break it into smaller pieces before loading so that it lights and burns more easily. Flakes should be smoked more leisurelily than bulk, or "loose leaf" tobaccos. I think that was probably my mistake today in choosing St. James for the drive home when I'm still coming down from work. Bulk tobacco is better for that situation. Although I have smoked 1792 several times when coming home with no ill effects.

Anyhow, the three blends I ordered today are my usual favorite Bayou Night along with another favorite, Gray Ghost, and a new favorite I've added to the list: Exclusive. That last one is another Virginia/Perique but with some Cavendish added. "Cavendish" is the term for any tobacco that has been artificially sweetened, and often flavored, although in this case no flavoring has been added. I normally steer clear of anything with Cavendish in it, but a while back when I got a sampler to try I had two ounces of this stuff and enjoyed it thoroughly so I'm going for a whole pound this time.

Gray Ghost is an unusual pipe blend in that it's a mixture of Virginia and maduro cigar leaf.

I probably didn't get the order in soon enough to receive it by this weekend, nevertheless, I'm really looking forward to restocking the cellar with some old standbys.

I'm famous

My gas tank photo made the list at There, I Fixed It.

The belurked tracks

These pix are from Monday, taken about 8:00 AM, but I forgot to post them on Monday. Location: Shane Road and Villamain.

For non-locals: local area urban legend has it that this railroad crossing is haunted by the ghosts of children who were killed here when their school bus was struck by a train. If you park your car on the tracks (and of course put it in neutral and keep your parking brake off--after all they're only child ghosts), they will push you off the tracks to make sure you don't get hit by a train. Furthermore, if you dust the back of your car with baby powder or something like that, you can see their little handprints left on your car from them pushing you.

Okay. Utter bogosity. Even if you did believe in ghosts, there is no such record of any such train/school bus collision ever occurring at this crossing. Furthermore (once again), some debunkers surveyed the tracks and found that the "level" ground is actually not; if you stop there you just roll downhill.

So anyway, it's not really haunted. And if it were, the haunts are said to be friendly, helpful ghosts.

Still, it feels haunted, or at least, belurked.* Why else would I get a sense of brooding evil every time I go through there?

*I made that word up. If something is haunting a place, that place is "haunted."** If something is merely lurking at some place, that place is "belurked."

**There is a difference between haunting and lurking. Haunting denotes some form of perceptible activity that affects the behavior and reactions of those still living who witness it. Lurking merely means that something is there, but is not making itself known; only waiting...waiting.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Today I got rained on, sleeted on, and snowed on--sometimes all at the same time. Here's what was in the back of my truck at about 12:30 PM today in the 410/Marbach area.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nosferatu alt soundtrack

This weekend I received another version of Nosferatu with the soundtrack by Del Rey & The Sun Kings. I have spent some time ripping the audio and breaking it into individual tracks for mp3 listening. I also ripped the audio from a previously received version which has "various artists" which are unidentified. More details later.

But as for this, I like it quite a lot. If you are a fan of darkwave/dark ambient music then you would probably like this.

Like I said, more details later, but I wanted to make quick mention.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

International Pipe Smoking Day

Read all about it at the International Pipe Smoking Day website.
Today’s hectic environment almost dictates that we run on full efficiency, have total involvement in our work, our families and in every aspect of what we do to survive and achieve in a world set at high speed. With ever-changing values it is the intent that The International Pipe-Smoking Day will allow us, the Brothers and Sisters of the Briar to step back and appreciate our rich historical value. For pipe-smokers and pipe-smoking everywhere the day will be emblematic of our shared values, history, traditions, and aspirations.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Random ramblings and a vintage video

Rough week of work this week. There were a couple of days that I was so tired I felt like even eating was too much effort. All the rain we had has wrecked everything, and now it'll be a month or so of cleaning up before the routes are in decent shape again, and probably several months before they're back at their peaks. Unless we get more heavy rains, which will wreck everything again. Also, there has been a fire ant explosion out in the Foster Road/FM 78 area which has made things out there much worse than usual. It was nice to have a whole week of good weather for a change.

We set up a bird feeder and bird bath this week so my son can get some bird-watching done for a Cub Scout elective. I think I might go get a thistle feeder and perhaps even some suet to increase the variety. So far we've seen the usual: cardinals, scads of chipping sparrows, Carolina chickadees, tufted titmice (titmouses?). Have not seen any American goldfinches yet but I'm still hoping. Several years past I had several makeshift feeders set up, some of them a good distance from the house for the more shy birds, and saw an indigo bunting one time. Also saw some other bluish kind of bird eating a suet block I had up back then, not sure what it was though, maybe a white-breasted nuthatch. I'm hoping if we put up a thistle feeder we might bring in some lesser goldfinches. We will also probably put up a hummingbird feeder this weekend. So far the feeders we have out are strategically placed so that we can stealthily watch from a window and get really good close-ups using binoculars or my old monocular that I bought several years ago for reading gas & electric meters on my old job.

We have a lot of surplus five-gallon buckets. I turn them upside-down at various places and pour some feed on the upturned bottom. The birds don't care and swarm on them like crazy.

Here's a vintage video for everyone who remembers how cool it used to be to watch MTV.

"Music Journalism is the New Piracy"

Music Journalism is the New Piracy | Electronic Frontier Foundation:
In the latest signal of this conundrum, at least six music blogs were deleted last week by Blogger due to copyright complaints. It's uncertain who made the accusations that lead to the deletions, but the most likely culprit is the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), a copyright-enforcement organization which had previously filed copright takedown notices against some of the targeted blogs.

Although the takedowns were made in the name of stopping piracy, the deleted blogs do not appear to have been hotbeds of illegal file-sharing. Indeed, some had operated for years and acquired a serious and substantial readership. Like many music blogs and magazines, they mostly posted reviews of artists, albums and concerts.

In at least one case, IFPI's accusations of copyright infringement were almost certainly incorrect. Bill Lipold, author of the deleted I Rock Cleveland, has outlined in painstaking detail the ways in which he received explicit permission to post every file on his blog, including ones which were later accused of infringement and forcibly removed. In one case, the band's publicist wrote of the takedown, "Just so you know, this is none of our doing...apparently, DMCA operate on their own set of odd rules, as they even requested that the (band's) official blog remove the song....What a headache..."
The music industry is slowing killing itself, as more and more musicians are using the web for self-promotion and telling the industry to go **** itself.

Reading the sidewalk, part 2

It has been well over a year--almost two!--since I've been in this area. Here are a few more random slabs of sidewalk lore from Florida St.


And perhaps my favorite...


And just for kicks, from later in the day, here is the property where the controversial Seymour Perkins' house once stood, now blissfully devoid of hookers, pushers, random junk weird folk art and cryptic racial propaganda. There are still a few junker vehicles off to the right that didn't get into the picture, but maybe they were just abandoned there. Hard to tell.

P.S. Rats! I had a straight connection today and forgot to write it up. Oh well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The straight connection

See this post at There I Fixed It.

I see this all the time. In fact, I get a $10 incentive bonus every time I report one. We call it a "straight connection."

I never thought of taking pix of these and submitting them to the above site, but now I might, because I've seen some real doozies. The one pictured there looks almost professional. I have seen them quite similar to that.

On the other hand, I once came across a straight connect that was made from a 50-foot garden hose. All the extra hose was just curled up around the meter box in the yard.

Sometimes they are attached by threading, as in the linked photo. Sometimes they get lazy and just attach them with hose clamps. This never works, by the way. Once I even saw one in which the hose was too small to fit over the pipe ends, so they just slit the hose ends a few inches and rammed them around the pipes, then screwed them down with hose clamps. Of course it leaked quite badly--if I may be allowed an understatement.

Most times, the water thief will use actual pipes to fit into the space where the meter should go, either PVC or galvanized. This usually works pretty well and if they have half a brain when they put it together, it won't leak.

The most ridiculous one I ever saw was when someone had used a radiator hose and hose clamps. Radiator hoses are not made to withstand that kind of pressure, and the middle part of the hose had swelled out to a diameter of about 6-7 inches and was just about ready to pop.

People always have a standard excuse when they see that I've caught them with a straight connection: "I'm doing a pressure test." Yeah, sure, whatever, dude. If your straight connect is still there when the investigator comes by to check it out in the next day or two, I still get my $10.

There is one other more surreptitious way to create a straight connect, and that is to break the register off the base of the meter so that the magnetic coupling is lost. Then you leave the register sitting there as if it were still attached. However, this only works up until the next time your meter is read. It is almost a certainty that the meter reader will, at the very least, reach in with his hook to knock some dirt off the display, and when he does, the broken register will fall off. He will also almost certainly notice that an unusually low amount of water has been consumed and will quickly discover the sabotage.

So, at best, you're going to run free water for a few weeks at the most before you are discovered.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Space Shuttle desktop wallpaper

A pretty awesome pic thanks to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click to see.

Monday, February 15, 2010


The Club Above explains the Mariana Trench.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


For me, this is one more small piece of proof that the bureaucracy that wants to control every tiniest aspect of our lives must be dismantled. In the dismantling, feel free to use as much prejudice as you like.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Super Bowl Flush

A fun factoid:
S**S monitoring equipment can see when halftime starts by the quick increase in demand on our potable water system; we see a drop in the average system pressure as viewers take their bathroom breaks as halftime begins. That results in a lot of wastewater that makes its way to S**S water recycling centers. The "Super Bowl Halftime Flush" is an example of how our water and wastewater infrastructure must be built and maintained to handle sudden spikes in demand.
No direct link because I still wish to remain under the G00gl3 radar if possible, but you can find the whole article if you go to you-know-who's website and look under the "news." I went there looking for a public post of an interesting email I just got. It's not there so here's a non-text-spiderable screen cap. Click to enlarge for easier reading.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

In which I finally get an opportunity to use the word "viscous" in a blog post

When I finished today I looked like I had been rolling in mud, which is not entirely inaccurate. I had my regular cycle 7 route today, in the area of Basse Road and West Ave. I found some really strange mud in the alleys. If I dug through it with my hook, it was thick and viscous but somewhat liquid. However, I discovered that if I grabbed a big swath of it with my hands and carefully lifted, I could peel up these thick layer/chunks about 2 inches thick. Of course this meant I got mud on my gloves, but I just wiped them off with grass and kept on as usual. Quite strange.

I wore out my last original tire today. Probably should have replaced it a while back, but didn't. Lasted for 146,000 miles.

They're predicting "ice pellets" as precipitation tomorrow. Did someone decide "sleet" is somehow not politically correct or something? Or is there a difference between "ice pellets" and "sleet?" I prefer sleet to rain. The ground isn't cold enough to make it stick; once it hits it just melts. However, sleet will bounce off of my clothes instead of wetting me like rain does. So although it may be cold, I will remain mostly dry. Only 40% chance though, so I'm not too worried about it. Thursday looks to be our bad day for the week. Seems like every week for a few months now we've had one really bad day when it's cold and rainy. It would be nice to have a full week when every day is like today.

Monday, February 08, 2010

10 more albums #69

Pat Metheny & Lyle Mays - As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls (1981, dub cassette)
Pure Prairie League - Something in the Night (1981, cassette)
The Heath Brothers (and others) - Live from Midem, Cannes France (1983, dub cassette)
Roger Waters - Radio KAOS (1987, dub cassette)
Jerry Giddens - For Lydia (1995, dub cassette)
Various Artists
- Big Sound New Music Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
- Blood and Fire Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
- Ryko Flash of Light Sampler (2009, mp3 download)
Gentle Giant - In a Power Free Interview (2009, mp3 download)
The Osborne Brothers and Mac Wiseman - The Essential Bluegrass Album (1987, CD)

I'm a big fan of Pat Metheny. I don't remember exactly how I acquired this tape. I know I made it myself, but from what and whose? Anyhow I had this CD on my queue but they ran out of stock before I got down to it. Then I discovered this tape while going (yet again) through my old cassette collection so I thought I'd go ahead and convert it. It sounds okay, but I still want the CD.

The PPL tape is another very old cassette that I bought when I was in high school and I'm surprised it hasn't worn out because of its age. They were a group that served as a sort of bridge in my listening habits when they (the habits, that is) were undergoing a somewhat dramatic transformation back then--not quite country, not quite rock, somehow both and neither.

The Heath Brothers album (jazz) is another dub tape that I'm pretty sure I recorded from the radio, but I don't remember the exact details, except that they played the full album with no commercial interruptions, and I'm guessing it was from KRTU but I'm not sure.

Radio KAOS is from a dub tape that I made of the CD that belonged to my friend Babel when we were house-mates many years ago. I think--not totally sure about that.

Jerry Giddens is another dub tape made from a CD that belonged to a co-worker in the mid-90s. He picked it up at one of Giddens' gigs in San Antonio back then. I'm having a hard time finding any info about him on ye olde internette, but here's a link to a review of this album at

The Big Sound Sampler is a free download (Australian alt-rock) from In my weird rating system this gets a 7 out of 20 for notable artists and an overall score of 2.1. Artists that caught my ear were The Middle East, Charles Jenkins, Drawn from Bees, Skinny Jean, The Basics, Elke (who has/have a very "80s" kind of sound) and The Dead Sea. This sampler was apparently produced by the government of Queensland, Australia.

The Blood and Fire Sampler is another Amazon free download of reggae and reggae-ish music. Overall only a 1.4, with an instrumental by The Boris Gardiner Happening the only thing that caught my ear.

Ryko Flash of Light Sampler is yet another one from Amazon. I liked it a lot better, with a 6 out of 9 for notable artists and an overall of 2.8. Artists worth pursuing further are Will Hoge, Sam & Ruby, Jupiter One, Matt Duke, Leslie Mendelson and Thea Gilmore. This is mostly pop/alt-rock with some Americana flavoring.

Gentle Giant were a British progressive rock group from the 70s and I had never heard of them before I downloaded this sampler. I would probably have liked it a lot more if I had first heard it during the 80s, which was when I was listening to a lot of 70s prog-rock music.

The Essential Bluegrass Album is a collection of excellent bluegrass from the Osborne Brothers, who figure heavily in the previously mentioned collection The Banjos that Destroyed the World.

I have stopped ripping LPs because I've used up all the cleaning fluid I had and I'm planning on buying a better kind of cleaning system before I do any more. I will get it as soon as finances permit.

Album count: 700.


Albatross has a good explanation, with audio examples, of how guitar harmonics are used and how they sound, from classical to metal. Suitable even--or perhaps especially--for those who aren't particularly musically knowledgeable, technically speaking. Anyway, check it out at Speaking of harmonics.

Bungee cords: more versatile than duct tape

This isn't as bad as it looks. This is the improvised gas tank for an ancient and antique fire engine that is used only for local area parades--not actual fire fighting. Still, when I got a close look at it I had to take a picture of it.

I just love that fuel filter hanging there. It makes the picture.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Digital artifact

Many years ago, it seems to me now, I bought a (just barely) obsolete mp3 player via eBay. It held 32 megs. You could just barely get one album on it if you saved them at only 96 kbps or something like that. But I never really used it to listen to music. I would set my shortwave receiver on a timer so it would kick on late at night--while connected up to my computer to record the broadcast--and record Art Bell's "Coast to Coast." In the morning I would save the whole program at 16 kbps--since it was just talk it didn't really matter--and I could squeeze the whole thing on that mp3 player. Then I would listen to it while I was at work. That was the only phase of being a C2C listener I ever went through; it lasted about a year, maybe less.

Anyhow, my son came across that old mp3 player and figured out how to put a new battery in it. Of course the last old Art Bell program I had ever recorded was still burned in the flash memory. How weird. So I went snooping around and after a while I found both the cable (a USB cable that has a special connection on the end that goes into the player--not just a regular USB cable) and the software (WinXP doesn't automatically recognize the player as an extra device) and got it to work. I converted some files to 64 kbps so I could fit a whole album on it, hooked it up to a set of spare computer speakers, and now he's in his bedroom listening to The Dark Side of the Moon.

What a day this has been.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

More dream blogging

I was bored and going through the archives when I noticed this old post about a strangely-detailed dream I had a couple of years ago. So for lack anything better to post, here's another recent one that I wrote down while I still remembered it. I had completely forgotten about that old one.


I dreamed that the whole country, or more likely North America (at least) had been infected by what we called a "zombie virus." We used "zombie" metaphorically; those who were infected were not actually undead. Anyone who had become infected changed to a very different person. They lost all interest in their previous life, severing ties with family and friends, abandoning their jobs, and essentially became mildly retarded. They could look after themselves in a very rough way, but in general were unable to clothe and feed themselves properly. They were not aggressive except that if they saw an uninfected human they would immediately give chase and try to touch that person--the virus being extremely contagious and was transmitted by only a touch. Because of the deterioration of the mental faculties that this caused, it meant that there was a critical shortage of experts such as physicians, scientists, engineers, etc.

So pretty much all infrastructure broke down, except for in a very few isolated communities. I was in one such community that centered around an enclosed compound and was dedicated to protecting a small group of doctors and scientists. The leader of the community was (mostly by acclamation) a doctor named Dane (first name or last name--I don't know). I was one of the people tasked with patrolling the grounds around the community to stop "zombie" incursions.

They didn't come to seek us out, but they had a tendency to wander around and occasionally one would stumble over us. Since they would immediately attempt to infect us, we had to kill them on sight.

The doctors in our community were convinced that this was a virus that could be cured and prevented. They had captured a couple of "zombies" (somehow) and were studying them to find the cure. And then I went out on a secret mission to observe the "zombies." I kept my distance and watched with binoculars and so forth. I saw some of them driving cars, although very badly and none of them had the wherewithal to maintain or repair automobiles. I even saw one small group engaged in a sort of rough football game. They were essentially scavenging off of what was left of the country but had no capability to renew, preserve or manufacture anything. Eventually I was discovered but since they were all not very clever I was able to outwit them and safely return to my home community.

There I discovered that one of the captured zombies had infected someone, and almost the whole community had become infected. The disease took several weeks to manifest and the doctors were working feverishly to formulate a cure while they still had the capability. They had discovered that the herpes virus killed the "zombie" virus: in order to be safe from the disease everyone would have to be infected with herpes.

At this point, I woke up.

Another "expert" in trouble

Journal Retracts 1998 Paper Linking Autism to Vaccines

Doctor Who Started Vaccine, Autism Debate in Ethics Row

I don't think that's exactly what they meant...

From a company email.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Quaff, oh quaff!

William Shatner recites/performs "The Raven." With some kind of weird zombie face make-up or something.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bootleg Stones

I have never really been a fan of the Rolling Stones, but here is a very interesting article about the Rolling Stones bootleg record business.
It doesn't take long for even relatively casual students of Stonesology to realize that there is a hefty chunk of their back catalogue that has never been released. The reasons are many and various, including all kinds of contractual grief, an acrimonious split with a manager whose estate still has a stranglehold on the rights to the cream of their back catalogue and a weird kind of hubris which attaches itself to the band and dictates that they really don't wish to have to compete with their younger and infinitely groovier incarnations as they still have the occasional album to release or the occasional tour to contemplate, Keith's arthritis and Ronnie's ongoing dalliances with the demon drink notwithstanding.

The fact that really amazing material is held under lock and key, while all that devoted fans can access through legitimate channels are pseudo rarites which in effect are nothing new just adds to the sense of frustration.

So the reasons why bands such as the Stones created such a long standing gap in the market are fairly plain to see but with all gaps in the market there are always entrepreneurs ready to satisfy these latent demands.

In the late sixties when there was still a genuine buzz of excitement around bands such as the Stones, there sprang up in America a generation of young guys that were not just into the music but were also enterprising enough to cater to the desires of collectors whose needs were not sufficiently sated by the corporate decision making (or lack of) of the sprawling and sluggish behemoth otherwise known as the music biz.
Read the whole thing at Cloud 109.

via Collecting Vinyl Records

Monday, February 01, 2010

World's oldest Swiss army knife found...

...and it's Roman.

First Quest: the hiphop

Remember my old post about that First Quest album? I noticed a new referral link and followed it up to a website called jaaam.

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm not sure if this is only the name of the website or if it's the name of the group. Anyhow, the site is for a musical group who appear to dabble a little in almost everything, and they have created a hiphop remix version of the opening theme ("The Quest Begins") from First Quest. To hear it, just follow the link here where you can download it.

Hiphop is not really my kind of music, but I must say that I like this version better than the original. My only complaint is that the vocals are so far down in the mix that I can barely hear them. Over-dubbing Valentine Dyall's narration at the beginning was also a cool idea.

Missed the big picture

Refilling the beer bottle with more beer IS recycling.