BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin is the other whom Yoda spoke about.

calendar   Sunday - November 15, 2015

gathering dust in the backroom

Hey, look what I found over in a dusty corner in the backroom on the server ...

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Check out those cool cuff links and sideburns, daddy-O !!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/15/2015 at 07:27 PM   
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calendar   Sunday - November 08, 2015

gonna need a bigger sky

Fwooosh. Fwoosh. Fwwoooshh. They got me again.

Remember that scene in Jaws where the Sheriff is ladling out the chum, grousing away, and the shark rises right up behind him, and in shock he backs into the cabin and tells Quint, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”? Seems like something similar happened to me this afternoon.

I was out on the deck enjoying the late crisp afternoon air, nursing a smallish glass of Jamison Black Barrel to soothe my tired arms after digging for several hours in the garden, when I heard that old familiar sound. Fwoosh. Fwoosh. The sound of hot air balloons. So I’m looking up, trying to see through the trees here in our little piece of “friggin’ jungle”, and finally I spot one. It’s a big yellow job, with some kind of Navajo-ish cubist graphic on the side. A thunderbird or similar. It’s at a decent altitude, up there in the bright and gleaming in the late afternoon sun, while I’m in the shadows beneath the trees. “Gosh” I’m thinking, “the sound of those burners really carries a long distance!”. And it does. And then I hear FWWOOOSH FWWWOOOOOSSSSSHH really loud, snap my head around, and there’s a giant multi-colored balloon right the heck in front of me. Not 30 feet away, it had sunk down almost to the roadway behind us here, just the other side of our little cliffy culvert of trees. We’re gonna need a bigger sky!!

“Ach, crivens!” I said (yes, I really did. One of the perils of being alone so much) and ran in to grab the camera. And then ran back to close the door so the kitten couldn’t escape. Then ran downstairs because the camera wasn’t where I’ve been leaving it. Right. Grab the snapper and run back out, and the gas bag has gained a small bounce of altitude and 50 yards of travel, and is landing in the front lawn of the house across the street.

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That’s the view from my porch. It took me a few tries to get the balloon in the picture; not that it was so big, but that it was actually so hard to see. The sunlight lit the colorful panels so well that they were almost transparent, nearly invisible behind the high contrast clump of branches in the dimness. It was that perfect instant in the day when the sun is just high enough to light the sky but nothing lower than the very tree tops. So the chase van shows up, and I’m watching them bounce the basket around as people climb out, and they have to make several big fiery blasts on the heaters to keep the slowly deflating bag from sagging into the tree branches, and of course the camera is too slow to capture those awesome moments ... and then I hear the familiar sound from above again.

Fwoosh Fwooossssh! And we’ve got a third balloon coming down, this one aiming for the landing spot a couple streets away, behind the condo where we used to live (and where balloons have set down several times over the years)

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And as that fellow floats down to earth, another observer comes by. Just over the treetops, flying hardly faster than a horse’s gallop, this obviously old-school, fabric covered, bigger than a typical Cessna, high-winger, who circled the situation a few times and then putt-putted away through the sky.

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I have no idea what kind of airplane this is. Definitely neat looking, and like the second balloon, brilliant in the upper sunshine when seen from the gloaming on the ground. Who’s good with their planes? What is it?

Never a dull moment here in Clinton. Except I’m now out of Jamison. Waily waily waily!!

PS - all these pictures enlarge a bit when you click them.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 11/08/2015 at 10:46 PM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeFun-Stuffplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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calendar   Thursday - September 17, 2015

Is Pravda, Da?

At our condo park, you don’t watch the wildlife.


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Wildlife watches you!

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/17/2015 at 10:10 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-Stuff •  
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calendar   Tuesday - September 15, 2015

creepy find in Ireland

Oh finagle, there’s a great Irish ghost story waiting to be born from this one.  “… and every time they burned a log, the legless screaming man would grasp for them from out of the flames ...”

Forbidden romance, jealous murder, howling weather, an errant bolt of lighting, class warfare, justice from the grave generations later? Come on my authors, crank out a dozen fast pages from this News Muse To Use.


Medieval skeleton bursts out of the ground after centuries-old tree is ripped up by storm

Archaeologists were stunned when the thousand-year-old skeleton of a young man was found among the roots of a tree ripped from the ground.

Storms blew over a 215-year old beech tree outside Collooney, Sligo, Ireland, unearthing a human skeleton.

The National Monuments Service commissioned Sligo-Leitrim archaeological consultancy Archaeological Services (SLAS) to excavate and retrieve the badly disturbed remains.

The burial was that of a young man (17-20 years old) and it id believed he suffered a violent death during the early medieval period.

Radiocarbon dating puts the man’s death at 1030-1200 AD.

Several injuries were visible to the ribs and hand, probably inflicted by a knife.

He had been given a formal Christian burial, however.

As the photos show, the lower leg bones remained in the grave; but the upper part of the body was entangled in the tree roots and raised up into the air.


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Crivens, he wasna tha tall when he wuz aloive!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/15/2015 at 01:21 AM   
Filed Under: • Archeology / AnthropologyFun-Stuff •  
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calendar   Sunday - September 06, 2015

sundown confusion

"Come on out to the bar in the back.” he says. “We’ll have a drink and watch the sun go down over the bay. Who knows, there could be fireworks.”

Spelling never was his forte.



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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/06/2015 at 12:49 AM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffGuns and Gun Control •  
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calendar   Saturday - September 05, 2015

Shear Crazy

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A very naughty sheep from Canberra hid from the shearers for 6 years. When they finally got hold of him, his fleece was so huge he could hardly walk. A whole lot of work later, and nearly 90 pounds of wool came off.

It was the big story of the week locally, and radio call in folks named him Chris. While this will probably set the record for the biggest fleece ever, the wool itself is so matted, burred, and filthy that it isn’t really worth much.

That’s the thing about sheep. You’ve got to shave them naked on a regular basis. Sounds too much like politics for me.

The absurdly fluffy sheep who got a nation talking is completely unrecognisable this afternoon after losing a record-breaking 40kg of fleece in an epic shearing session.

At a media appearance on Thursday, the Canberra sheep - which was blinded by excess wool covering its eyes - appeared trim and comfortable in a green blanket.

An RSPCA spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia vets said the sheep, known as Chris, appeared to be doing relatively well but will remain under observation for some time.

The animal welfare agency is hoping he will find a new home soon, suggesting a local farmer may open his paddock for the sheep. Not much is known about how exactly the sheep managed to balloon to its incredible size.

‘It looks like he was separated from his herd at some point and has been wandering around by himself for a couple of years,’ the spokeswoman said.

‘He’s a new man in many ways, he’s actually moving really well, he’s already eating, he actually came up to us for a cuddle,’ RSPCA ACT Chief Tammy Ven Dange told the ABC.

One wonders what will happen with this walking chunk of mutton now.

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doner kebab!!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/05/2015 at 10:56 AM   
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calendar   Monday - August 24, 2015

just fiddlin about

Mairead Nesbitt of the group Celtic Woman. Talent, beauty, incredibly high energy, and she just has so damn much fun out there. It’s infectious!

found it here, and then it followed me home

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/24/2015 at 01:37 PM   
Filed Under: • Eye-CandyFun-StuffMusic •  
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calendar   Monday - August 17, 2015

Almost Ready

Bugatti 100P almost ready to fly
Space Age 500mph racing airplane designed in 1937, hidden from the Nazis, almost forgotten about, never flown or finished
Only Bugatti airplane ever built
Meticulous Full Size Reproduction Built By Hand

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Kitten Shark too frightened to be test pilot



Loads of links at every search engine. Backstory, construction story, videos, plans, even Ettore Bugatti’s original patents. Sweet.
Personally, I think it’s merely the most bad-ass looking airplane ever dreamed up. For that reason alone it has to fly.

h/t to Vilmar for posting on this last week. No first flight date yet released. 


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/17/2015 at 04:12 PM   
Filed Under: • Fun-Stuffplanes, trains, tanks, ships, machines, automobiles •  
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calendar   Wednesday - August 12, 2015

Riddle Update

Completing today’s A & R Thursday (on a Wednesday) is an update to a silly childhood riddle.

What’s Black And White And Red All Over?


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 08/12/2015 at 07:04 PM   
Filed Under: • Eye-CandyFun-Stuff •  
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calendar   Friday - July 24, 2015

The Big Green Beast

I founded it. Finally! Everything is on the internet, but some stuff is just harder to find.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you ... the summers of my childhood:

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We were campers, when camping wasn’t cool. Giant recreational vehicles? Phah, they didn’t even exist! Massive trailers with color TV, running water, and satellite hookups? Posh weekender crap for those spoiled city brats. We went camping. Intense. In tents! Ok, some softies did have those Coleman pop up trailers, the Apaches IIRC, and you did see the families out in the pickup truck camper insert. And they always seemed a bit cramped. Not us.

We had what was nearly a circus tent for the era. It certainly was the circus when we showed up: 2 adults and two kids, a dog, a fire engine red Coleman cooler, and a raffia picnic basket emerge from inside a 2 door 1967 VW Fastback. From high above the car’s roof, from a massive home made car top carrier comes down a heavy duty 18’ Grumman canoe, longer than the car itself, followed by this massive slab of folded canvas, followed by stoves, poles, paddles, sleeping bags, air mattresses, and whatnot. Food and cooking equipment came out of the front trunk onto the camp site’s picnic table, and in minutes was a functioning kitchen making a pot of coffee. Once the plastic ground cloth was out and the tent was loosely staked down, boxes, packs, and duffel bags of clothes came out of the back trunk and went into the rising tent. Main pole up and then the whole family goes fore and aft and raises the end poles at the same time. Hammer in the minor stakes, get the front tarp up. Set the tension in the back window. And we’re done. 15 minutes, tops. We were organized thank you. We could fully set up camp before people had figured out how our car worked. (tiny car, spacious interior, front trunk, rear trunk, no grill ... where’s the engine?? )

And our tent was huge, unlike anything anyone had ever seen. We had the best Hillary money could buy.

No, not her. Him. The real Hillary, Sir Edmund. By the time I was in 3rd grade or so, his name had become a brand name for the value line of outdoor products at Sears. In the same way, baseball great Ted Williams lent his name to the top of the line stuff there, because Sears wasn’t willing to slap a “Craftsman” label on everything.

So we had the big green beast. 8 feet wide, 15 feet long. But better than that, It was almost 6 feet tall at the end opening zipper door, and the roof pole sheath was over 8 feet off the ground. In other words, it was a tent adults could walk in to, and move around in, not squat and crawl.  The nearly vertical canvas walls maximized useful floorspace. It also had tons of room with that 8x15 footprint, giving plenty of room for 4 sleeping bags, packs, duffel bags, a laundry line, towels, and a place for the dog to sleep. Most of the time I think we also had a heavy plastic tarp, bright yellow, tied over the top. That helped when the rain came down in torrents ( to this day my ultimate degree of crazy downpour description is “it’s raining like we’re camping” ), but better than that it kept the acorns, leaves, and other grubby forest bits from making too big a mess.

The thing was awesome. And nearly unique. For whatever reason, I don’t think we ever saw anyone else in the same model tent. And this was at the height of the tent camping family vacation era. Maybe they didn’t advertise. Maybe Sears only pushed the little models. Hey, for all I know, the one pictured here is our tent. Keep it dry, give it a couple days of sunny airing every year, wax the zipper, and it ought to last nearly forever.




In the photo stream where I located this tent, the guy has his just standing in his yard. He hasn’t twigged that the flow thru ventilation window in the back is sleeved, which means you can adjust the poles to add some extra tension to the roof. You can see in the pictures that the happily striped window awnings are massively oversize and built to be reefed; you could tie them open, tie them closed, or tie them partly or even mostly open. Or attach light lines to pull them out to the side, thus ballooning out the side of the tent another foot and some, giving you even more interior volume. That way you got ventilation, protection from the elements, and privacy all at the same time. FTW !!  And the same thing goes for the front flap, a massive piece of canvas as big as the whole front panel of the tent. It was big enough to carefully cook under with the Coleman gas stove when it rained, and when we went out hiking or canoeing we could tie it down, which was kind of like locking your front door ... not that we ever needed to; in all the years of camping, from the blueberry barrens of northern Maine down the entire Atlantic seaboard, up and around into the Florida panhandle, we never once had any of our gear messed with. Well, not by people. Squirrels and raccoons, every night. Poisonous snakes, alligators, giant bears, and once wolves ... ah, I need a good scotch or three to tell those stories. Camping; it’s a adventure. Hey, have I mentioned the freakish rains?


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The one and only online source, with more pictures. He has a replacement bag for the poles. The original one folded over on the end like a duffel bag, and had a carry strap. As if you’d take this thing deep in the woods on a 3 day hike. Riiiiight.


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A Ted Williams tent from the same mid-60s era. It’s the same fabric, the same colors, and uses some of the same musically tuned aluminum poles*. But the cross poles aren’t sleeved so it isn’t as storm proof. And it’s a middle side entrance model with a lower ceiling, just like every other tent out there. Nice, but the only difference between this one and the Coleman was that the Coleman was blue.




* it’s true. The sound of a bag of aluminum poles being dumped on the ground carries for miles. Like the nearly explosive fwoooosh of the Coleman white gas stove lighting off, or the shrieking ghoulish double squeal, slam, Bumpbumpbum of an outhouse door slamming shut against rusty spring hinges, it is one of the sounds of camping etched into my soul.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/24/2015 at 01:35 AM   
Filed Under: • Fun-StuffHistory •  
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calendar   Wednesday - July 08, 2015

Meanwhile In Belgium, 200 Years Later

Waterloo 2015

My, my, at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender
Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself

No no silly. Not that one. This one:

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The decisive battle of Waterloo, in which the Duke of Wellington finally put his boots on and put paid to the ambitions of the Little Emperor, was fought for a couple of days in the middle of June in 1815. It was one of the largest battles in human history, with nearly a quarter million participants. It was a terribly bloody affair, with casualties in the tens of thousands. 50,000 or so dead, and God alone knows how many wounded.

For the past bunch of years, reenactors have been getting together annually to restage the battle or parts thereof. They have a great time dressing up in period costume, camping out in the fields, shooting off their guns and yelling “Huzzah!” This year, being the 200th anniversary, they went all in. More than 5,000 soldiers, hundreds of horses, 130 cannons, and 4 full TONS of black powder. It was the event of the season in Belgium, and something like 65,000 spectators arrived to watch.

And Napoleon still lost.

The Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo is marked Friday by more than 5,000 enthusiastic volunteers from 50 different countries, who are in full 19th century army uniform. This is the biggest historical reenactment ever staged in Europe.

In the interest of historical accuracy, the organizers have brought 360 horses, 100 cannons and 4 tonnes of gunpowder, etc, and arranged three bivouacs to accommodate the numerous groups of reenactors from all over the world in exactly the same conditions soldiers endured 200 years ago.
...
On June 18, 1815, Napoleon’s army clashed with allied troops led by the British commander, the Duke of Wellington. The allied army of British, Dutch and Prussian troops defeated Napoleon’s forces.

The battle of Waterloo that changed the course of European history, is recreated on exactly the same site in the south of Brussels.

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h/t to Rodger

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 07/08/2015 at 01:20 PM   
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calendar   Friday - June 05, 2015

Live Imitates Art. Sort Of.

Back in the days when ethnic humor was both allowable and funny, I knew this Polish joke about a fish.

Fake Killer Whale Almost Sinks And Drowns

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the fiberglass killer whale arrives



Sea lions have been crowding the docks in Portland OR, making it impossible for folks to get to their boats.

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no room for your yacht here

Various ways to annoy or frighten the federally protected aquatic mammals into leaving have failed. So some bright star figured that they could make a big fiberglass orca, a fake Killer Whale mounted over a little power boat. And they could motor it around the bay, while playing orca songs, like the ever popular Lunch Is Ready in C########. They even made a baby orca to tow behind it, to look like a whole family of the attack whales had moved in. Surely that would scare away those lazy sea lions.

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a baby orca came along as to work as a tow toy



It seemed that the Illinois Fish & Game Department wanted to breed a really aggressive big fish to enhance sportsmen’s deep lakes fishing experience.

The motorized fiberglass orca was brought to the seaside town of Astoria on Thursday as a sort of maritime Clint Eastwood called upon to deal with ne’er-do-wells, in this case sea lions crowding onto docks and making it difficult for locals to access their boats.

...

About 1,000 people cheered as the dummy whale — with its human operator inside — took to the water Thursday night. Jim Knight, executive director of the Port of Astoria, said sea lions that were crowded onto the docks became “deathly silent.”

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Captain sQuint takes the whale helm



So they brought in some genetic engineers, and the first attempt they made was to cross a Coho with a Walleye. This created a great big fish with huge teeth but it was very docile. They named this hybrid the Cowal.

But as a cargo ship passed by, the phony orca started to list from the vessel’s wake. And then the bogus orca capsized.

“Our crew from the port had to go rescue the operator so he didn’t drown,” Knight said.

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That she blows! Square rigger under power approaches the orca

(and yes, that’s a fully connected Warren Through Truss bridge)



Having had partial success, next they crossbred a Walleye with a Muskie. The result was a super aggressive fish that would attack anything in sight, but it was a tiny little thing hardly bigger than a minnow. They named this hybrid the Walskie.

So what did the sea lions thing about this spectacle?

“They probably think it’s dead now that it’s belly up,” Knight said. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

That was not the first fiasco for the dummy orca. The replica whale, loaned by a whale-watching business, was delivered overland on Thursday from Bellingham, Washington. After arrival, the orca’s outboard motor flooded and a replacement had to be found.

...

The fake orca was outfitted with recordings of real killer whale calls, especially the “call to dinner” — usually emitted in the wild after they kill a sea lion or seal.

The orca capsized before the recording could be tried out.

As of mid-Friday, the fake orca was still submerged in water at the Astoria docks, while hundreds of sea lions congregated and barked nearby.

Finally, these ace scientists crossbred the Cowal and the Walskie, and came up with the Kowalski. This gave them the best of both worlds. It’s a big mean fish that fights like hell and is wildly aggressive.

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Hauled from the belly of the whale-fish. Will they rename him Jonah now?



Unfortunately, the new Kowalski is so dumb that they have to teach it how to swim.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 06/05/2015 at 08:51 PM   
Filed Under: • AnimalsFun-Stuff •  
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calendar   Wednesday - April 08, 2015

Sharpen Your Brain: Go Fencing

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A small but growing body of research suggests that fencing and other sports that require quick decision-making may improve cognition in both young and old people, and help stave off certain mental declines associated with aging.

In a study published in 2012, researchers led by Francesco Di Russo of the Foro Italico University of Rome hypothesized that sports in which participants must constantly move and adapt to changes around them might counteract age-related breakdowns in learning, memory and processing speeds. They found that fencing, “which requires fast decisions and . . . places high demands on visual attention and flexibility,” was associated with improvement of certain cognitive functions, such as attention and processing, that naturally decline with aging.

Aside from building up a good healthy sweat, fencing really does hone your reflexes and sharpen your mind. It’s like chess, only 1000 times faster, and you don’t have to wait your turn. How fast is it? The sport is hardly worth televising because it moves faster than the television cameras can capture. Even the best modern HDTV sets with 240Hz refresh rates can barely show the blades moving. Valid hits last only milliseconds. Doing it well requires such complete concentration, such immersion, that it’s a tremendous stress reliever. Nothing else exists other than your bout. Not to mention the satisfaction you get from whacking your opponent with a 3 foot long steel whip. Plus ... sssh ... it’s great for the libido. Seriously. “Survivor’s Rush” or whatever they call it; nothing like a good old fashioned sword fight to get the juices flowing.  Etes-vous prêts? Allez!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/08/2015 at 04:47 AM   
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calendar   Monday - April 06, 2015

I bet it worked as long as the hay lasted

Roman motorboat, circa 337 AD.

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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 04/06/2015 at 09:28 PM   
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DISCLAIMER
Allanspacer

THE SERVICES AND MATERIALS ON THIS WEBSITE ARE PROVIDED "AS IS" AND THE HOSTS OF THIS SITE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, WITH RESPECT TO THE SERVICE OR ANY MATERIALS.

Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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