23 April 2017

Tilly Lockey and her bionic arm

The above video shows her first attempts to use the new arm; In the longer video below she tells her story:

More details at the Meningitis Research Foundation.

"I've never been on a team before. Even if I don't play, I just want to be on the team..."

"He's at home" was the term for a Nantucket dildo - updated

A long and quite interesting article at Literary Hub traces one writer's journey to document the use of dildos by the wives of Nantucket whalers.
On Nantucket, 80-year-old Connie Congdon and I sat in her dim living room looking at the 120-year-old plaster dildo that a mason had found in her chimney...

In the box were the other antiques the mason had found with the dildo: six charred envelopes from the 1890s addressed to Captain James B. Coffin; letters from the same James B. Coffin to Grover Cleveland and Assistant Secretary of State Edwin Dehl; a dirty and frayed shirt collar; a pipe that still smelled of tobacco when I fit my nose in the bowl; and a green glass laudanum bottle. These items must have been hidden in the chimney by James’s wife,­ Martha “Mattie” Coffin, sometime between when the letters were dated and when she died in 1928. The fireplace was later sealed up, and a closet was built in front of it...

She unwrapped the stony phallus from its pink tissue paper and handed it to me. It was heavier than it looked. The head had been painted wild-berry red. The shaft was off-white and touched with light brown stains. Through the center was a hole no thicker than a straw, as if it had been skewered for drying. Saw marks streaked the cross section of the flat base, and it had been circumcised with whittling scrapes. “No mistaking what it is,” Connie said, as I turned it in my hand...

She bent at the waist, snapped on the flashlight, and peered up the chimney. “Up there,” she said, motioning me to kneel down beside her. “It was on the flue shelf.” I craned my neck. Her light swept over the chimney’s charred innards. The damper ledge where the dildo had been hidden was an arm’s length away...

Nantucket wives were dubbed “Cape Horn widows,” because their husbands might be gone for eight years. In Moby-Dick, Captain Ahab tells his first mate, Starbuck, that of the past forty years of “making war on the horrors of the deep” he’d only been ashore three, leaving only “one dent in [his] marriage pillow.” “[W]ife?” Ahab rages, “wife?—rather a widow with her husband alive!” The dildos, called “he’s-at-homes” in some books on the history of the Yankee whale fishery, were meant to be some insurance of fidelity for a husband who was rarely present.
Much more at Literary Hub.  Well worth the read for those interested in the subject matter.

I can't close without including a link to the famous poem(s) "There Once Was a Man From Nantucket."

Reposted from 2015 to add this report of a similar item being auctioned in Ireland:

Lot 475 is a Victorian-era sex toy – an uncannily lifelike-looking phallus, intricately carved from ivory. Sandwiched in the brochure between a pair of antique miniature portraits and a set of decanter labels, the item is described in the brochure as an “antique carved ivory ladies companion in scarlet lined leather upholstered carry box with inset bevelled glass panel”.

“It is a beautiful piece, which comes from one of the well-known Anglo-Irish families,” says auctioneer Damien Matthews...

“This was a very enlightened family, and this would have been a very loving gift from a husband to wife. You can see that because the level of detail is incredible, down to the folds of the skin. There’s a heart carved at the base of it, where her finger would have been, and a receptacle in which she could keep a lock of his hair.”...

The man did return, and the box was subsequently custom-made in Ireland. “The leather box is Irish. She would have got the box carved for it – there’s a stamp on the lock with the name of an Irish locksmith,” Matthews says...

Matthews says there has been considerable interest in the piece, and that it could go to a museum of erotica, to a collector of antique ivory or Victorian art. The guide price is set at €500-€800.
Further details at Irish Times, via The Guardian.

Tongue-and-groove tree felling

Via.  Video here.

21 April 2017

Divertimento #125

The 125th linkdump becomes the first "gifdump". 

Deep-frying rice vermicelli noodles.

Avalanche rescue dog having fun.

Gorilla vs. Canadian goose.  You can guess who wins that one.

Local sports hero.

Vietnamese SWAT team tactical training.

A group of wild turkeys marching in a circle around a dead cat.

The "master of disguise" is not the one you expect.

Dog and rabbit are BFF.

The Pope getting a pizza delivered to his vehicle.

When a video camera's shutter speed synchronizes with a helicopter's rotors, the resulting video is unnerving.

Baby bottle robot prototype - unsuccessful.

Unsuccessful attempt at bank robbery.

Windy day.   This one went viral last week.  She holds on to her tablet like a champ.

"Living the dream."

Kinetic wood sculpture.

Tree stump removal.

Hot water and Skittles.

A dog swimming with a breaststroke, not a dogpaddle.

This woman not only counts money faster than you, but faster than you can even imagine.

Fluid dynamics of a drip-free wine-bottle lip.

An astronaut aboard the ISS demonstrates the Dzhanibekov Effect.

This was labeled "bubble gum" but it's probably slime (about which more later this week).

Lightning striking a car.

Rescuers offer a King Cobra water (note the size of this magnificent creature).

Donald Trump signs his "energy independence Executive Order."

A man tries to kick a dog.  Karma ensues.

Girl annoys dog at beach.  Karma ensues.

Every dot in this video moves in a straight line only.

A little bird is ecstatic about receiving pats.

Kingfisher breaching after a successful dive (the minnow can be seen wiggling in his gullet).

This is a "power broom."  Very cool.

A high-definition night vision camera looks like daylight until you realize the stars are visible.

I can't describe this remarkable baseball play.  Just watch.

Throw a lighted cigarette butt in a hole in the sidewalk.  WCGW ?

A "deceased spirit" is set free at a funeral.  WCGW?

HMB while I skimboard across a pool.  WCGW?

Red panda vs. rock.  We'll call it a tie.

Bow down before the awesome power of a crocodile's tail

Add water to compressed soil.

Polyox is a self-siphoning gel.

Donald Trump being reminded to be patriotic.

Hydrophobic sand.

A runaway tire.

What to do when a baby elephant has a stuffy nose.

The Daily Show interviews a man on the street re Obama's role in 9/11.

The smile of a Syrian girl who survived a suicide bombing.

This is an armadillo's defense.  And this is the feline version of the same thing.

I found the pix in the subreddit on Unstirred Paint.  (There seems to be subreddit for everything).

19 April 2017

Seraphine (2009)

I encountered this trailer for Seraphine while watching the DVD of A Man Called Ove and decided to give it a try.  Here's the blurb:
Based on a true story, SÉRAPHINE centers on Séraphine de Senlis (Moreau), a simple and profoundly devout housekeeper whose brilliantly colorful canvases adorn some of the most famous galleries in the world. German art critic and collector Wilhelm Uhde (The Lives of Others Ulrich Tukur) - the first Picasso buyer and champion of naïve primitive painter Le Douanier Rousseau - discovers her paintings while she is working for him as a maid in the beautiful countryside of Senlis near Paris. A moving and unexpected relationship develops between the avant-garde art dealer and the visionary outsider artist. Martin Provost's fictionalized and poignant portrait of Séraphine is a testament to creativity and the resilience of one womans spirit.
That's an accurate summary.  It's not a cheerful movie, but it is extremely well acted and filmed, scoring 89% on Rotten Tomatoes; it received these César Awards in 2009:
If you can't find the DVD at your library, the full movie is online here.

18 April 2017

17 April 2017

It's sad that this is basically true

Source (where you can click through all the Dilbert cartoons).

Canine freestyle

This is better than some of the ones I've seen presented at Crofts.   I can't begin to imagine the countless hours these two have spent together developing this routine.

Via Neatorama.


Normal child's skull (with some overlying bone dissected away) to show the relationship of the baby teeth to the unemerged adult teeth.

Image cropped for size from the original via.

The Zanclean flood

According to this model, water from the Atlantic Ocean refilled the cut-off inland seas through the modern-day Strait of Gibraltar. The Mediterranean Basin flooded mostly during a period estimated to have been between several months and two years. Sea level rise in the basin may have reached rates at times greater than ten metres per day (thirty feet per day).  Based on the erosion features preserved until modern times under the Pliocene sediment, these authors estimate that water rushed down a drop of more than 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) with a discharge of up to  2×108 m3/s (7.1×109 cu ft/s), about 1,000 times that of the present day Amazon River. Studies of the underground structures at the Gibraltar Strait show that the flooding channel descended in a rather gradual way toward the bottom of the basin rather than forming a steep waterfall.

Not all scientific studies have agreed with the catastrophistic interpretation of this event. Some researchers have estimated that the reinstallment of a "normal" Mediterranean Sea basin following the Messinian "Lago Mare" episode took place in a much more gradual way, taking as long as 10,000 years.
Related: flooding of the Black Sea basin.

I do hope someone invents time travel soon, because I'd like to go back and watch this.

Bowler, 1937

Via Sloth Unleashed.

Beware of buglers

At common law, “burglary” was the crime of breaking into a house at night with intent to commit a felony. These days the time and type of building usually don’t matter...  Say it. Burglar. The verb form is “burgle,” or “burglarize,”... the adverb used to be “burglarily” (e.g. “evill disposed person or persons, attempting to murder, rob, or burglarily to breake mansion houses” (1533)), which was bad enough, but the modern form seems to be “burglariously..."

A “bugler,” of course, is one who bugles. “Bugle” is also French, although that word apparently comes from back when the noise was made with the horn of a wild ox (bugle, in French)... But the OED just blew my mind by telling me that there’s no such word as “buglery.” Surely “buglery” is the art of playing the bugle? Nope, not there. One can certainly “bugle,” or engage in “bugling.”.. But at least as far as the OED is concerned, “buglery” is not a word.
Image cropped for size from the original at Crossing The Bar.

Questioning the Passover story

From the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, an op-ed piece questions whether Jews were ever enslaved in Egypt, and whether the Passover story is a myth.
"Even if we take the earliest possible date for Jewish slavery that the Bible suggests, the Jews were enslaved in Egypt a good three hundred years after the 1750 B.C. completion date of the pyramids. That is, of course, if they were ever slaves in Egypt at all...

...one of the biggest events of the Jewish calendar is predicated upon reminding the next generation every year of how the Egyptians were our cruel slave-masters, in a bondage that likely never happened... I'm talking about real proof; archeological evidence, state records and primary sources. Of these, nothing exists.

It is remarkable that Egyptian records make no mention of the sudden migration of what would have been nearly a quarter of their population... Furthermore, there is no evidence in Israel that shows a sudden influx of people from another culture at that time.

...let us enjoy our Seder and read the story by all means, but also remind those at the table who may forget that it is just a metaphor, and that there is no ancient animosity between Israelites and Egyptians. Because, if we want to re-establish that elusive peace with Egypt that so many worked so hard to build, we're all going to have to let go of our prejudices."
Addendum: A tip of the blogging cap to reader Drabkikker for finding this relevant Wikipedia page.

Basketball court adapted to available space


"This is the ancient site of Dubrovnik's metal forge, re-discovered by archeologists only about a decade ago. Before then this corner of the city had been a pile of construction rubble and ruins. The basketball court is actually the rooftop of a climate-controlled museum that has preserved the entire excavated site. See that sunken door on the right side of the court? That's the museum entrance. Walk in there and a Croatian archeology doctorate candidate will lead you on an hour-long guided tour through the catwalks suspended over the dig site.

I was there last summer with my girlfriend and two friends of ours and we decided to check out the museum out of curiosity, ended up being one of the most interesting parts of the whole trip. The ancient metalworks were extensive and the guide did a great job of explaining via his broken English exactly how each step of the process worked."
"We went on this tour too and it was excellent. The guide said he doesn't get many folks through the door because it is well hidden, so if you see this thread, go visit!... name of museum is The Foundry Museum (Gornji Ugao)."
A gallery of photos in the museum is here.   Photos and comments from the discussion thread at the MildlyInteresting subreddit.
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