Archive for March, 2013
24 Mar 2013

Pro-Choice Liberalism

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24 Mar 2013

Goats in Trees!

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In Morocco, who would have imagined? goats make their living climbing Argan trees (Argania spinosa) in order to devour their seeds. Traditionally, the undigested seeds then excreted by goats were collected by the natives and pressed to produce Argan oil which is used for cooking and as a salad oil, as well as cosmetically on skin and hair, and even medicinally.

You might suspect the photo was Photoshopped, but here are another 16 pictures of goats in trees.

24 Mar 2013

You’re Going To Need A Bigger Truck…

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A 4.4 meter-14 3/4′ (or 4.8 meter–15 3/4′, depending whom you believe) saltwater crocodile which had made a habit of menacing schoolchildren for two years in the vicinity of Palumpa, in the Daly River Reserve of Australia’s Northern Territory, kept up its local reign of terror too long. After a final incident of the big croc preventing children crossing a causeway to attend school, police and council members trapped the beast in a local billabong last week and shot him.

ABC Australia


23 Mar 2013

Weather Forecast In Elvish

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23 Mar 2013

Peter Scott, Gentleman Cat Burglar, Passed Away at 82

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Renowned British cat burglar Peter Scott warned the Telegraph in 1994 that he would consider it “a massive disappointment” if his passing were to be overlooked by its obituary writing staff. The Telegraph did not disappoint him.

Scott stole jewels, furs and artworks worth more than £30 million. He held none of his victims in great esteem (“upper-class prats chattering in monosyllables”). The roll-call of “marks” from whom he claimed to have stolen valuables included Zsa Zsa Gabor, Lauren Bacall, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Maria Callas and the gambling club and zoo owner John Aspinall. “Robbing that bastard Aspinall was one of my favourites,” he recollected. “Sophia Loren got what she deserved too.”

Scott stole a £200,000 necklace from the Italian star when she was in Britain filming The Millionairess in 1960. Billed in the newspapers as Britain’s biggest jewellery theft, it yielded Scott £30,000 from a “fence”. After Miss Loren had pointed at him on television saying: “I come from a long line of gipsies. You will have no luck,” Scott lost every penny in the Palm Beach Casino at Cannes.

In the 1950s and 1960s he pinpointed his targets by perusing the society columns in the Daily Mail and Daily Express. Nor did he ease up with the approach of middle-age; in the 1980s he was still scaling walls and drainpipes. In one Bond Street caper alone he stole jewellery worth £1.5 million, and in 1985 he was jailed for four years. On his release he expanded his social horizons by becoming a celebrity “tennis bum”, a racquet for hire at a smart London club where — as he put it in his autobiography — he coached still more potential “rich prats”.

By the mid-1990s, Scott had served 12 years in prison in the course of half a dozen separate stretches, and claimed to have laid down his “cane” [jemmy] and retired from a life of crime.

But in 1998 he was jailed for another three and a half years for handling, following the theft of Picasso’s Tête de Femme from the Lefevre Gallery in Mayfair the year before. To the impassive detectives who arrested him, Scott quoted a line from WE Henley: “Under the bludgeonings of chance, my head is bloody but unbowed.” He often drew on literary allusions, quoting Confucius, Oscar Wilde and Proust.

Scott was also a past-master in self-justification of his crimes and misdemeanours: “The people I burgled got rich by greed and skulduggery. They indulged in the mechanics of ostentation — they deserved me and I deserved them. If I rob Ivana Trump, it is just a meeting of two different kinds of degeneracy on a dark rooftop.”

In his memoirs, Gentleman Thief (1995), Scott admitted to an even stronger motivation than fear as he contemplated another “job”: “Even now, after 30 years, it was a sexual thrill.” There was the additional satisfaction in his assumption that the millions reading about his exploits in the papers were silently cheering him on.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to John Brewer.

23 Mar 2013

Here’s Looking At You

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An abandoned church or synagogue in Nizhny Novgorod he calls his “Monster House.”

Russian street artist Nikita Nomerz turns derelict building, mostly in his hometown of Nizhny Novgorod, into… faces!


His web-site, The Living Wall.

Via the Dish.

22 Mar 2013

No Breeders (Or Drunkards) Need Apply

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Projectophile pokes fun at mid-last-century architectural modernism’s dramatic gestures, economies, and built-in lethalities.

The clean lines, the geometric decorative elements, the seamless blending of indoor and outdoor space… I sure do love mid-century modern architecture.

Do you know what I love more? My children. And that is why I will never live in my MCM dream home. Because mid-century modern architecture is designed to KILL YOUR CHILDREN. (Also, moderately clumsy or drunk adults).

Read the whole thing.

Via Walter Olson and Terry Teachout.

22 Mar 2013

North Korea Destroys US Capitol (In Imagination At Least)

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North Korea resumed war against South Korea, the United States, and the United Nations earlier this month when it declared the 1953 armistice that ended Korean War hostilities nullified.

The outbreak of war has attracted little notice in the United States, and North Korea’s efforts at genuine military action have been so far non-existent. North Korean belligerence is, however, expressing itself quite vigorously in propaganda.

in the four-minute video below, loaded by North Korea on to YouTube, ballistic missile carriers are seen, along with artillery firing shells, and “Stalin-organ” Katyusha rocket-launchers pour out endless volleys, all evidently raining “fire storms” upon the “headquarters of war,” i.e. us.

We see crosshairs lining up the White House, but the projectile fired appears actually to blow a large hole in the dome of the US Capitol. That’ll show us!

large size version of 4:09 video

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

22 Mar 2013

Imaginary Penguins

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21 Mar 2013

Federal Government Still Paying Civil War Veteran Benefits in 2013

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Juanita Tudor Lowrey, 86, receives a federal pension for being the daughter of Civil War veteran Hugh Tudor.

One squishy liberal I know was posting an editorial on Facebook yesterday which complained that the government was not doing enough for veterans.

Why! In fact, the government in 2013 is still actually paying survivor benefits to two (or possibly 10) living offspring of veterans of the War Between the States.

The Des Moines Register notes:

The Civil War payments are going to two children of veterans — one in North Carolina and one in Tennessee — each for $876 per year.

Surviving spouses can qualify for lifetime benefits when troops from current wars have a service-linked death. Children under the age of 18 can also qualify, and those benefits are extended for a lifetime if the person is permanently incapable of self-support due to a disability before the age of 18.


Take Mrs. Lowery above:


(Her father, Hugh) Tudor moved with his unit through Kentucky and Tennessee to the East Coast. He probably would have participated in Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman’s march to the sea except that an apparent case of the measles kept him back.

Born in Iowa in 1847, the son of Welsh immigrants lived in Missouri most of his life. That he has a daughter proudly talking about him in the year 2012 is a remarkable mathematical stretch, but not a stretch of the truth.

After the war, Lowrey’s father settled in Dawn, Mo., a farming community south of Chillicothe, with his wife, Elizabeth Watkins. They had been married 50 years when she died in 1917. They had no children.

Three years later, at age 73, Tudor married 36-year-old Mary Morgan, who hadn’t been married before but who had known “Mr. Tudor” her whole life.

Besides romance, Lowrey says, probably there were practical concerns. He likely needed a housekeeper and she security. And it seemed he still fancied having children.

Indeed, to the new union came two daughters, HuDean Grace in 1924 and Juanita Mary in 1926.

21 Mar 2013

Hogwarts Reading Lists

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Bookshelves featuring this term’s reading for members of each of the four Hogwarts houses.

21 Mar 2013

“Hey There, Cthulhu”

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20 Mar 2013

A Most Evocative Photo from WWII

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RAF officer Francis R.L. Mellersh (1922-1996) reads John Buchan’s thriller Greenmantle and smokes his pipe, while getting in a haircut between fighter sorties to intercept the Luftwaffe.

Boots loosened, pipe in mouth, reading his book, being attended to by a servant, the pilot resembles a medieval knight resting between the lists at a tournament.

David Frum got hold of the photo from the pilot’s daughter, who tells us:

We have the original of the photo, and the book (he was crazy about John Buchan) and that bloody pipe killed him in the end at 72. I’m afraid those who have been to war and daily diced with death are rather cavalier with their health. I’ll tweet you a pic of him in his 60s…the red hair’s faded to strawberry blonde but still recognisably the chap getting his hair cut.

Instead of resuming his Oxford studies at the end of the war he remained in the RAF for another 30 plus years and flew right until the end (often with the Red Arrows – stress!). He reached Air Vice Marshal and was Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff. He was a very modest man, very laid-back (that photo says it all) and spoke little of the war.

You’ll like this bit. My grandfather, his father, was a WW1 ace and was on the sortie which downed the Red Baron. Forensic historians of course now say he was shot from the ground…my grandfather’s eye witness account is often quoted. We have a little box made from Richthofen’s propeller wood. He too made a career of the RAF, was in charge of operations in Burma etc in WW2 and, at one point, my father’s boss…somewhat disastrously! He died in a bizarre accident shortly after retiring…ironic given he survived the RB.

My grandfather was AVM Sir Francis (FJW) Mellersh, nickname “Tog” and my father AVM Francis (FRL) Mellersh, known always as Togs (nanny’s nickname ie. “of Tog”). Quite ridiculous. I have their obituaries and citations and some extracts from Aces High etc as well as my father’s log book filled in somewhat irreverently. He flew Beaufighters, Mosquitoes and Spitfires.

David Frum adds:

Francis Mellersh was twice awarded Britain’s Distinguished Flying Cross and was recommended for the Victoria Cross.


RAF records state:

He was quite a successful night-fighter pilot, ending the war with a tally of eight destroyed and one probable, however, during 1944, he destroyed 39, possibly 42, V-1 flying bombs. …

Citation for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

    “Flying Officer Francis Richard Lee MELLERSH (105145), Royal Air Force Volunteer ‘Reserve, No.600 Squadron.

    This officer is a tenacious and skilful fighter and has destroyed 5 enemy aircraft in combat. On 1 occasion in April,1943, during a patrol off Algiers at dusk, he encountered a large formation of enemy aircraft. In the ensuing engagement, Flying Officer Mellersh shot down 2 of them. Although his aircraft was badly damaged he flew it to base. More recently, in July, 1943, Flying Officer Mellersh destroyed 2 enemy aircraft during 1 sortie. This officer has set a praiseworthy example.”

(London Gazette – 20 August 1943)

Citation for the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

    “Flight Lieutenant Francis Richard Lee MELLERSH, D.F.C. (1105145), R.A.F.V.R., 96 Sqn.

    This officer has proved himself, to be a night fighter pilot of outstanding ability and determination and his skill and keenness have set an excellent example. Flight Lieutenant Mellersh has completed many sorties and has destroyed eight enemy aircraft; he has also destroyed a large number of flying bombs.”

(London Gazette – 3 October 1944)


This is obviously the cover of the book he is reading.

20 Mar 2013

Star Wars: Death Star Truth Movement

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