Saturday, May 31, 2014

Keep your mouth shut.

Ochobo. It is a Japanese lady thing. East meets west meets east. Japan adopts hamburger, adapts hamburger wrapper. For women. A hamburger chain in Japan marketed a hamburger wrapper that plays to a Japanese bias for women with demure small mouths kept shut. It is considered rude for a woman to open her mouth widely. Thus the hand covering the mouth when laughing. Wouldn't do to be all suggestive and everything. I suppose this means Julia Roberts cannot be considered beautiful in Japan. Roberts can stick her whole fist in her mouth. I've seen it. This marketing ploy is brilliant. And it works. Sales to female customers increased 213% over the month previous to the introduction of the wrapper.

The Mountain Man Toast

The Fort Cookbook pg. 282
In 1990 the meeting hall of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, rang with a toast. More than one hundred Atomic Energy Conference delegates from fifty nations raised their glasses high and repeated lustily after me the "Mountain Man Toast." I had been invited to Vienna as a media consultant by the IAEA for a converence on exploring ways to make atomic plants more user-friendly. At the final session I was asked to lead the toast. The Mouintain Man Toast evokes the Old West, with 1830's fur trade-period jargon.
The toast requires motions as well as words and is the sort of ritual that warms the soul and brings smiles to the faces of hearty eaters and drinkers everywhere.
Before that.
It is a standing offer at The Fort that anyone who gives the Mountain Man Toast from memory has his drink on the house. 
 Well then. Let's hear it, learn it, and get ourselves a free drink.
"Here's to the childs what's come afore  (Glass in right hand, held at shoulder) 
And here's to the pilgrims, what's come arter.  (Glass in right hand, arm extended) 
May yer trails be free of griz,  (Left hand over glass, making clawing motion with fingers) 
Yer packs, filled with plews,  (Left and right arms extended out making a circle) 
And fat buffler in yer pot!  (Glass extended, left hand rubs/ points at your belly) 
WAUGH!"  ( (Extend hand with glass)
In case you couldn't figure it out on your own. 
Childs = What mountain men called one another.
Pilgrim = Lightly derisive term for "sod-busting" covered wagon emigrants coming west
Arter = After
Griz = Grizzley bear
Plews = Large beaver pelts French plus, a plus sign for large size pelt
Buffler in yer pot = Buffalo in your belly
Waugh = Sioux exclamation meaning "right on!"
There you go. Locked in. Free drink for now on.

NYT: Dandelion: A Tenacious Beauty

"The source of the name “dandelion” is probably a corruption of the French “dent de lion,” or the Latin “dens leonis” — lion’s tooth. It takes only a little bit of imagination to see the pointy tines of each leaf as a tooth. But there is room for skepticism. For one, the leaves are soft and, especially when young, delightfully edible. It seems as if any peasant could easily find truly nasty “lion’s teeth” on the common thistle, whose fibrous, dagger-tipped leaves have some real bite, and which frequently calls the dandelion, neighbor." (read more)

NYT: A dispute between Amazon and Hachette

Malcolm Gladwell: "It’s sort of heartbreaking when your partner turns on you. Over the past 15 years, I have sold millions of dollars’ worth of books on Amazon, which means I have made millions of dollars for Amazon. I would have thought I was one of their best assets. I thought we were partners in a business that has done well. This seems an odd way to treat someone who has made you millions of dollars."

"Amazon has been discouraging sales of books published by Hachette in an effort to make the publisher come to terms on a new contract for e-books. The confrontation has dominated publishing and bookselling circles. Amazon has been heavily criticized for using writers as pawns, although it also has its defenders."

"An Open Letter to All my Male Friends"

Estelle Tang: I want to tell you about something that happened to me today.

I was walking to the gym when a guy on a bike rode past and said, "baby, can I smack that ass?" I am used to this kind of behaviour in my New York City neighbourhood, so I usually ignore it. Trust me – if I had it out with every man who said things like this to me, I’d have a much shorter, much more annoying day. So I just kept walking. He said it again, but before I could even decide what to do (or if I should do anything) about it, I felt his hand on my butt.

That’s right. He rode up to me on his bike so he could touch my arse. Then, again before I could think about doing anything, he rode away. (read more)

Friday, May 30, 2014

scrambled eggs

What Gordon does not mention is he is making scrambled eggs as a failed sauce. 

When the eggs are sufficiently warmed to melt cold butter then they are basically cooked. By lifting off the heat while stirring or whisking throughout you control the degree the eggs form curds. 

The instant you notice curd forming then remove the pan from the heat and keep stirring. Gordon places the pot on wood surface to retain the heat of the pot, but if he would place the pot on the cool flat metal surface of the stove  then it would actually cool the pot sufficiently to abate curds forming while continuing to whisk incipient curds back into the liquid egg. Then back on the heat to continue thickening without forming curds. 

You control how stiff the eggs become by controlling the evaporation.  Keep the eggs liquid as sauce, or stiffen the eggs as familiar overcooked scrambled eggs heated in a pan. You have to decide when to stop. If you keep going the eggs will rubberize as people usually have them and these soft sauce-like scrambled eggs are the mark of a cook who knows what they are doing while rubbery scrambled eggs cooked dry are the mark of a dummkopf cook. 

A tablespoon of sour cream or crème fraîche whisked in at the end stops the cooking action completely and prevents further curd formation plus it adds a touch of acid just like a failed Hollandaise sauce. Which should give you ideas about additions such as cayenne and lemon instead of sour cream or crème fraîche. 

Note, no salt until the eggs are finished and ready to serve. Salt makes the eggs go wonky until the eggs are finished then salt to your heart's contentment. Plus anything else that you like, say, green onion or chives, mushrooms whatever. 

I love that Gordon says serve on sturdy thick slice of sourdough bread and not English muffin, funny because English muffin or bagel would be our first instinct. Plus he nearly burns his bread in a toaster behind him, when he has the pan for his mushrooms and tomato right there already hot. He could have used that same pan at the same time with his vegetables and do all that at once, and blow off the toaster altogether. 

So now you are expert. 

Surprise the h-e-double wooden spoons out of your main squeeze honey pot with this smoked salmon on croissant idea, forget Christmas, this meal is great anytime:

Close your nasal passage and say, "qua-soo." You have to love how French have so many ideas for stale bread, and they're all great. Dry croissants make the best bread pudding ever, another egg, cream and bread dish. This book is tiny with fantastic photos, it is quite the work of art, and it manages to tell you all you can do with eggs.

The book receives high ratings on Amazon. But why did the few people mark it down? Let's look.
  •  I would have liked more specific tips and ideas (e.g. the book should mention unlined copper bowls and simiar tricks; cooking time depending on different egg size and temperature; doing Hollandaise using bain-marie).
  • What determines the taste of different eggs yolks? 
  • How do you make the perfect scrambled eggs?
  • What are the differnt kind of eggs? 
  • How do eggs vary in taste across countries? 
  • How much omega-3 has omega-3 eggs?
  • I did not realize this was written by a master of french cooking. so it was a disapointment for me
  • I have three chickens and needed the 101 rescipes for the home chicken owner
  • It is very french and I am not fond of french cooking
  • I'm a 20 year old male, and I like to cook. I bought this book because eggs are cheap and they taste good, but for many recipes in the book I don't know what some of the ingredients are.
Ha ha ha ha ha . Stop it, you're killing me.

Eggs are fundamental to cooking. The last comment caused me to cast back when I was a teen myself and decided back then that I needed learn about eggs for myself. On my own I understood then that I must know what eggs do and learn how to get eggs to do various things. If I would master eggs first then that right there would go a very long way in mastering a lot of other things too.

The copper bowl thing mentioned in the first comment is about meringue having to do with copper ions knocked off while whisking. The ions are picked up by the egg whites and strengthening them while imparting a faint copper sheen. Meringue whisked in a copper bowl is sturdier than if whisked in ordinary glass bowl. Also, plastic bowl will not do. No oil allowed and plastic is a petroleum product.

Taste of egg yolks is determined by the diet of the hens laying the egg. The more varied, including leftover human food, seeds, bugs and grub whatever they go around pecking lead to both tastier eggs and tastier chicken. It does make a big difference, not only in taste but also in color and how the yolks stand up taller when cracked into a pan. My egg farmer friends said they do not see a difference, but I sure do. Here is another thing you are not going to like, the eggs I bought at Whole Food, their central one, not the nearby one, are altogether better than the usual grocery store eggs from regular battery chickens. That would be the difference you might see in other countries.


Two versions of that 1970 single exist -- the "Coca-Cola" version and the "cherry cola" version. From the liner notes in "The Kinks The Singles Collection" CD:
'We recorded that twice', Ray Davies reveals. 'When we did it the first time at Morgan Studios, it began with this repeated guitar motif. But when I listened back, I thought, "This sounds like a Top 10 hit, but not a No. 1". So I remembered an old trick -- find a hook in the song that isn't the melody, and repeat it. I used the three-chord guitar riff that was between the verses, and stuck it on the front.' The result was a No. 1 single, helped on its way by Ray's transatlantic flight to overdub the word "cherry-cola" in place of "Coca-Cola", which averted a BBC airplay ban. 

Hidden Cash: There really is no agenda here - not political, not business, not religious - other than bringing people together in a positive way and bringing a smile to people's faces.

"One week ago tonight, on May 22, 2014, after a late dinner with a friend in San Francisco, I was telling him about my desire to give back to the community which I love and has given me so much, and to do it in a fun way. We rejected a few ideas I had as too complex, and decided that I would hide money in a few spots in San Francisco, and then tweet about it. We created the Twitter handle @hiddencash, and did just that, hiding envelopes of cash around midnight in SF, and tweeting clues. I contacted a local blog to tell them what we did. They asked me a few questions, and wrote about it, and it exploded from there."
What was originally meant to be a pay-it-forward scavenger hunt for San Francisco, has become much bigger than San Francisco and more than a scavenger hunt. The worldwide interest that has been spawned is tremendous, and though personally surprising, in some ways it is understandable.
I think we may have struck a chord with people for a few reasons:
1. Everyone likes free cash :)
2. Many people enjoy a real world scavenger hunt.
3. Many people who don't go on the hunt themselves, enjoy following the excitement and positive stories of people participating and so often paying it forward.
4. In many ways, we have become alienated from each other, and perhaps this is a fun way for people to come together.

We would like to keep this movement going, and we thank you for your support keeping it safe and positive. (read more)

Overheard: Ritmo

"Windows 8 is not the platform for a PC, AFAIK. It works awesome on Windows phones, which are massively under-rated (as far as market share goes). The camera features on Nokias surpass just about anything else and the apps Windows offers get better and better." 

I'm still in the Dark Ages with my little red Samsung slider, which I like as far as tactility, size, and cheerful red color. But it has terrible sound quality as far as hearing people speak, and even worse picture function. Terrible resolution.

My sister was raving about how I need to get an iPhone, but I can't handle the touchscreen keyboard. Besides, it will be a while before I upgrade to a smart phone. What do you think is the best phone smart phone?

Ted Talk Video: The Oldest Living Things in the World

"Artist Rachel Sussman has spent years researching the science behind each shot, tracking down researchers to find out what they know — and then figuring out exactly where she needs to head next. “I try to approach them as portraits,” she says of her images. “I want to differentiate them from landscapes or straight documentary; these organisms have so much character and in some way they are all individuals.” In these often quiet, calm images, it’s the story beneath the surface that counts."

LA Times: Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer wins Clippers bidding war for $2 billion

"The Geffen group offered $1.6 billion and the Ressler-Karsh group $1.2 billion. People familiar with both those offers said they were rejected."
Ballmer and Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling concluded a deal late Thursday afternoon. But Bobby Samini, an attorney for Donald Sterling, said as he left the team co-owner's home: "There's been no sale. There can be no sale without Donald's signature." (read more)
Last night's Insta reaction...
I WITHDRAW MY EARLIER SPECULATION THAT DONALD STERLING WAS SUFFERING FROM DEMENTIA: Sources: Ballmer agrees to buy Clippers for record $2 billion. In fact, now I wonder if he set the whole thing up. He bought the team for $12 million.
 Crazy like a fox?

Maya Angelou

A tribute.

  • When they bury her will they declare it Sinko de Maya day? 
  • She wrote several autobiographies?? 
  • Heh. I had to read that shit in high school. Just like that Hiroshima novel that our black lefty HS English teacher forced on us (as military brats living in Europe in the middle of the cold war). 
  • Hack writer who was gifted a career by the left. She was also very fond of herself, having written seven autobiographies. 
  • Under the genre of "angry black woman literature" IIRC she wrote some about incest as well (something else we were subjected to in high school... one of my friend's dad was a colonel and when he got involved that bullshit ceased)"See also Okrah book club and Mooch Obonghit Travel Agency" 
[Referring to Obama posting a photo of himself with Maya Angelou] 
  • "Nothing can dim the light that shines from within" If Obozo ever has a great idea, one visit from Reggie will plug that escaping light just fine.

  • What's the betting the left takes her funeral as the occasion to call everyone a racist? 
  • Me either. She was a gigantic racist but I have no doubt the funeral will be all about racist Republicans. 
  • I was just sitting here wondering who the next black, racist, Communist, America hating "poet laureate" is going to be. Surely there is no one that could equal Maya Angelou is there? Will that position forever be vacated in her honor? Or will we get yet another oxygen sucking piece of shit to venerate? 
  • As I just said over at Twitchy....Maya will still vote Democrat for the next 100 years. 
  • 200 years according to LBJ. Or does her 80 some years count against that number? 
  • The dead deserve only truth. in that spirit she was a racist communist American hating bitch. 
  • Her poetry sounds like the drivel from that Towson College debate team last week...makes as much sense.... 
  • "Nothing can dim the compact fluorescent that shines within"
    -Maya Angelou
    P.S. White light is racist.
Goodness gracious. I did not know the woman evoked such distemper. Actually, I know nearly nothing about her. She was simply not within my ken. I did not watch Oprah Winfrey. I did not pay attention.

Although I did hear her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" was read on Bill Clinton's inauguration and I felt good about that, but where I understood a Jumbotron or some sort of similar display was set up for the large outdoor audience. Apparently, so I heard, the text was not provided the person typing her poem and that sounded too strange. It seemed odd to me.  Surely they would have the text beforehand, no?  It is not like an extemporaneous interpretation of a speech, as with sign language where the translator has only a clue what to expect and must think on their feet, straddling two languages with different syntaxes is what makes the task so difficult. A few hours of that and you go home with a headache. And yet apparently it was the case then and so right off, the first words are misheard and so then mistyped,

"A rock, a river, a tree."

Picked up and typed into the overhead display in error,

"Iraq, a river, a tree."

"Ewwww through the crowd. Oops, backspace, backspace, backspace, backspace, backspace, backspace. 

The comment threads everywhere I go lately are becoming something to behold, something I've not seen before. I am telling you, lately I read through comments and wonder where I am at. I look up, is it Breitbart? Am I at the Daily Caller, or what? It is becoming intense, and getting worse each passing week. I see people not holding back, politically, people are surfeited and showing they are flat fed up and they're not taking it quietly or politely. This and more ill will here at Weasel Zippers.  Where you will see links to even more indecorous obituary, like this post by Debbie Schlussel.

I did not know any of this about Maya Angelou. For all I knew she was a sweet tender lady. I am genuinely shocked.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Lem's "Cozy w/ Power" post reminded me of Cozy Powell (1947-1998) so here you have "Going Down" from 1972 or thereabouts.

Crowdsourcing answers: A relative is moving to Florida, What do I tell her?... something she doesn't already know.

The good lord has blessed her tremendously, however,  she has decided to leave. She lives here in NJ and works in NY City. She has decided to move to Florida. She is married with three small children.

She has received three job offers so far at different parts of the state. I don't know exactly where.

I wanted to give her some advice, something that she could look at me and say, good thing you mentioned that, or, I hadn't thought that, what a great brother I have ;)

Make me look good people!

Jorge Ramos: Reporters ‘Cozy with Power,’ Act Like They’re in a Club

You turn on the TV, and you see very bland interviews. Journalists in the United States are very cozy with power, very close to those in power. They laugh with them. They go to the [White House] correspondents’ dinner with them. They have lunch together. They marry each other. They’re way too close to each other. I think as journalists we have to keep our distance from power.”

“I’m not seeing tough questions asked on American television,” he added later. “I’m not seeing those correspondents that would question those in power. It’s like a club. We are not asking the tough questions.”

Jorge Ramos Ávalos is a Mexican American journalist and author based in Miami, Florida.

The Wire: Edward Snowden Would 'Like to Go Home'

A round up of some of the highlights of the hour-long special:

On what he didn't take from the NSA: "I didn’t want to take information," Snowden said, "that would cause people to die."

On why he went to the media with the NSA's surveillance programs: Snowden told NBC that he raised concerns internally about the NSA's procedures before going to a journalist with the information, only after his attempts to reform the agency from the inside failed. NBC noted that they have at least one verified email from Snowden, to the General Counsel backing up his claims, and that the network has a pending FOIA request for more.

On whether he is "blameless:" In response to a question from Williams on how he views his own actions, Snowden said "I think the most important idea is to remember that there have been times throughout history where what is right is not the same as what is legal. Sometimes to do the right thing, you have to break a law. And the key there is in terms of civil disobedience." (read more)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Google self-driving car

Google Maps is great. Just so. 


Too soon? Look up!

Colorado mudslide.

The massive three to four mile mudslide occurred in Mesa County, Colorado killing three people, a rancher, his son and another unidentified man. Their truck is also missing presumed buried. The men were checking an interruption to drainage caused by an earlier mudslide. The sheriff said,
"The slide came down with so much force and velocity that it came to a hill and went up and over a hill and then came back down -- a significant hill. So the power behind it was remarkable."

Mesa County is the part that captures my imagination. The mesas in Colorado visible from great distance due to the dryness are quite striking. The city of Golden is nestled beneath such a mesa and the hill is impressively high. Farther south you can see mesa upon mesa upon mesa fading in the distance for miles exactly as a painted background. The landscape is exactly as depicted in Western films (why wouldn't it?) but it is still mind blowing when seen first hand. This is how these mesas are formed after all but one imagines all that occurring a geologic age in the past. The formations really do capture the imagination, they do for me and always have. I imagine myself atop one at the edge, being a native, sending off smoke signals using a wet blanket over a fire. You can actually drive up there and find that people own property on top, own houses, and ranches, Arabian horse breeders are up there and the whole time you're (I'm) driving around on the top one single thought recurs through my mind in apparent endless loop, "I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa... look, a horse! I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa. One imagines, okay I imagine, myself at the edge jumping off in a glider. One also imagines the mesas being stable because nothing has moved for so long.

To see it happen is awesome in the truest sense of the word.

Driving the highways I see rockslide abatement and I think, come on, isn't that being a bit overly cautious? Then rockslides do occur sending down giant boulders that smash whole vehicles with families inside them as if their SUV were a bug.

And all it takes is an unusually wet season, like this season, to cause a mountain to move.

I find it oddly exciting. I found earthquakes oddly exciting too. I have no real sense of physics, nor of geology, all my ideas come from cartoons. I imagine it possible to make quick decisions as crevasses open up underfoot. I imagine it possible to ski an avalanche with no real understanding of what actually happens in seconds. And when these things are explained as they are in science class at school I imagine them all happening in achingly slow motion, barely noticeably to mere humans, hardly applicable to me. Then these things happen in real time and I realize, "Dude, you've always been a real dope."

[Another dopy thing is I would like to watch the videos that come with these news stories on the news sites but I'm put off by the ads placed in front of them. Plus the videos show nothing beyond what the words already describe, half of the video is some random reporter blathering away setting up the situation that you already know. There is never anything new in the video. The ads tacked on actually anger me, and so does the reporter, even though I know that is how the content is financed. So I end up not bothering with videos on news sites.]

Traveling by train from Concord California to Denver the train stopped annoyingly off and on several times for way, way, way too long. The continuous stopping makes the whole trip by train hardly worth the experience. The tracks are shared between interests and passenger trains give way to cargo trains moving the opposite direction. But when they do pass, within inches it seems, that part is a bit fun. It rained the whole time the entire trip and while sitting on the tracks in Nevada and in Utah looking out the window in silence gazing over the landscape you can actually see the hills washing down and realize you are seeing geology in motion. It is impressively beautiful. The colors of massive mud slicks washing through and under the tracks we are riding, clogging the ballast down there with mud when eventually dry. One's imagination opens, the scene utterly Western, and you sense new minerals exposed to the surface and realize how it is possible to walk along and find gold and silver and gems right there for the plucking. I wanted off that train so badly it ached to explore for awhile, just let me walk around in the rain. I would certainly find something worth having, some keepsake of my incredible experience of geology happening around me. I became sure that is how the state's riches were discovered just sitting there on top of the ground.

Could there possibly exist a worst first pitch than President Obama's? (Update)

You be the judge... Here is Obama's first pitch at a Nationals Home Opener.

Our own ChipA, recalling his own throwing pains, called it "... truly embarrassing"

And finally, here is 50 Cents first pitch at City Field, New York City.

As Bob Uecker would say... Just a bit outside.

The de Blasio diaries: NYC Mayor Bans Media From Dozens of Events

AP: From the first moments of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration, when he initially declared his midnight swearing-in off limits to the media, he has established a record of frequently conducting public business in private, with dozens of events closed to the press.
In nearly five months in office, de Blasio barred the media from 53 events and limited access to 30 more, an Associated Press analysis of de Blasio's schedule shows. On a handful of days, his entire schedule was off limits. All told, more than 20 percent of his listed events were closed to the media. (read more)
New York Times where are you?

Peeling Back The Layers Of Stupidity

The Onion blows it: "No Way To Prevent This"

The Onion doesn't explain its layers of deception, but they could start by explaining how guns motivated the carnage and mayhem expressed in the killer's video. If guns weren't the motive, The Onion could explain how guns enabled Rodger's killing of his initial victims (and, btw, explain what was the motive for that initial phase which didn't seem to involve guns).  That's where it started (motive and tools) so that's where the discussion should start if we want to get somewhere.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


It's just so cool. "Spoonful" was on Cream's 1966 debut album and it's another Willie Dixon original, first recorded by Howlin' Wolf.

The Independent: Seth Rogen 'horrified' at suggestion his work inspired mass murderer's shooting rampage

"Seth Rogen has expressed his outrage at an article that suggested films he has starred in inspired mass murderer Elliot Rodger to go on a shooting rampage in California against women over the weekend."
Ann Hornaday, a film critic for the Washington Post, pin-pointed the work of the actor and famed comedy director Judd Apatow as possible motivation for the killing spree, which ended the lives of six young people and injured 13 more.

She wrote that “mass entertainment has been overwhelmingly controlled by white men, whose escapist fantasies so often revolve around vigilantism and sexual wish-fulfilment (often, if not always, featuring a steady through-line of casual misogyny).”
Seth Rogen
“How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like Bad Neighbours and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut-out of college life that should be full of ‘sex and fun and pleasure’?” she continued. (read more)

Others at argue that Mental Illness, not Misogyny, made Elliot Rodger kill.

"What to make of a disturbed young man who rants about killing women in revenge for them not having sex with him, who then murders two, as well as four men?"
There's not much to like about Elliot Rodger - entitled, self-pitying, vain, insecure, histrionic, materialistic, racist, boastful and ungrateful - yet it's difficult for any of us to judge how many of these attributes arose from mental health issues or were simply the result of a nasty little mind. Our knowledge of him is incomplete... 

Much has been made of Rodger's misogyny, yet he stabbed these three Asian men to death and mutilated their bodies. Think about the sort of mind needed to do something like that, then move calmly on to your next victims? Ask yourself if they're the actions of a sane man? (read more)
What do you believe was the cause of the murderous rampage, misogyny, mental illness, both?

Tuesday Flower Afternoon

Full Bloom

Assisted Suicide: "Our members told us to get active on this subject. It was ripe for a decision,"

The Guardian: Exit added "suicide due to old age" to their statutes at an annual general meeting held over the weekend, allowing people suffering from psychological or physical problems associated with old age the choice to end their life.

Assisted dying is legal in Switzerland and technically even a healthy young person could use such services. However, organisations involved in this work set their own internal requirements, which differ from group to group.

The move has been criticised by the Swiss Medical Association amid fears it will encourage suicide among the elderly. "We do not support the change of statutes by Exit. It gives us cause for concern because it cannot be ruled out that elderly healthy people could come under pressure of taking their own life," said the association's president, Dr Jürg Schlup.  (read more)

Scientific American: The Winners of the 2014 Best Illusion of the Year Contest

The First Prize winner of the contest, an illusion by Christopher Blair, Gideon Caplovitz and Ryan Mruczek from University of Nevada Reno, took the classical Ebbinghaus illusion, where the perceived size of a central circle varies with the size of surrounding circles, and put it on steroids by making it into an ever-changing dynamic display. Blair rhymed his 5-minute presentation Dr. Seuss-style.

Second Prize went to Mark Vergeer, Stuart Anstis and Rob van Lier from the University of Leuven, UC San Diego and Radboud University Nijmegen, for showing that a single colored image can produce several different color perceptions depending on the position of black outlines over the image.

Third Prize went to Kimberley Orsten and James Pomerantz from Rice University. Their illusion consists of three images, of which two match and one is a mismatch. Viewers see one of the matching images as odd, and mistakenly perceive the other two as identical.

Monday, May 26, 2014


h/t: Darcy (who first linked this video in my microblogosphere).

Greenwald's Finale:

Naming Victims of Surveillance. 

Real Clear Politics, Toby Harnden
Greenwald said the names would be published via The Intercept, a website funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder and chairman of eBay. Greenwald left The Guardian, which published most of the Snowden revelations, last autumn to work for Omidyar.

“As with a fireworks show, you want to save your best for last,” Greenwald told GQ magazine. “The last one is the one where the sky is all covered in spectacular multicoloured hues.”
Good. I cannot wait. I've had a difficult time appreciating Greenwald but I'm coming around. Here is the link to where  The Intercept is hosted.

The article does not specify when, I assume soon. Most likely in drip, drip, drip form as Breitbart made popular, for ease of digestion, and to allow things to sink in, to induce people to take positions, and then see their own names. This is going to be good.

Memorial Day

You may not know that Kris Kristofferson joined the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of Captain. He became a helicopter pilot after receiving flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He also completed Ranger School.  During the early 1960s, he was stationed in West Germany as a member of the 8th Infantry Division.  It was during this time that he resumed his music career and formed a band. In 1965, when his tour of duty ended, Kristofferson was given an assignment to teach English Literature at West Point.

On this day, and every day, I miss my father and my uncle Nick, both Navy veterans.

Dad fought on Guadalcanal.  He was one of forty in his battle group who survived.  Uncle Nick went in as a Pharmacist's Mate, served in combat, and stayed in the Navy to become a Psychologist who treated vets at several VA hospitals for decades after the War.

Iwo Jima

The famous photograph of raising the flag at Iwo Jima that immediately struck the heart of a nation, the first photograph to win a Pulitzer prize in the year of its publication, depicts the second raising of a larger flag ordered to replace a smaller flag that was raised earlier that day. The men shown are not taking fire. The first smaller flag was raised following a blistering bloody five day ordeal overtaking the Japanese stronghold of Iwo Jima, the flag ordered raised on the strategically important Mt. Suribachi. Three Marines depicted in the photograph made famous were killed in fighting over the course of the following few days. Two Marines and one sailor survived the war.

Patriotic Fervor and the Truth About Iwo Jima.

Publishing these facts led to no end of trouble because it is the intense feeling the photograph evokes, and its monumental statue, and the statue's many copies all over the place, and statue's original mold and its cement prototype, and its plaster model, and its miniature all evoke that count, and not the pedantic facts of first flag vs second flag and of the men involved in the scene.

Although, the men depicted in the famous photograph are all hailed as national heroes while the original men do not get that same recognition. Conversely, they do get recognition, after all the holiday is for the fallen, and if not fallen in service, another holiday for having served. But not the intense national personal recognition received by the group of sex men raising the second flag. Men who served in the war will say that does not matter. They will say the people who did not come home are the true heroes. I say they all are. I am simply awestruck.

First flag raising at Iwo Jima, somewhat smaller flag, somewhat less compositionally artistically dramatic. This wouldn't make a bad statue either, come to think of it, now that I'm looking at it more closely.

It is interesting to me the photographer, Joe Rosenthal, with a small group of photographers had to break military restrictions, bust a move on their perimeter security, in order to get at the scene and take these photographs that touch pretty much everyone who sees them. I recall my own puny security fence violations at bases here and there as a boy, I could not do that today.

Here's the thing. The image is appropriated for all kinds of things, anything involving a long and hard-fought struggle. I've even seen the U.S. flag replaced with rainbow colors, a long hard struggle, yes, in the courts and not under direct fire. The usage, the appropriation of the composition, I find... inappropriate.

In that same sense, and it is only a sense, a personal sense, the flag in the photograph has forty-eight stars and that number of stars with its distinct pattern lock the men in their time at that place under those conditions, and by using modern flags on the monument for today takes the real life men out of their time and places them in ours. Perhaps that is fine. The image is timeless, so I suppose that is okay and we are living as we are today because of these men and what others like them did for us and our prosperity, their posterity. I do see the appropriateness of us using a fifty-star flag for the timeless nature of gratitude, but I do also prefer a forty-eight star flag used to place these men in their time. It is only my personal sense.

Sometimes I do not understand myself.

Here is a go at trying to understand myself. Imagine a statue made of Washington crossing the Delaware. What flag do you think is appropriate?

As to fame, as to recognition, shortly before he passed I asked my dad what his ribbons meant on his uniform. I asked what each one means specifically. They tell his whole history. They read like a curriculum vitae, his patient description sounded like a résumé of a sort.

"This one is for serving in Korea."

"I didn't know you were in Korea."

"I was at Okinawa."

"So you weren't in Korea but you got the ribbon?"  Oh, I am so clever sometimes.

My dad looked straight at me and laughed in good nature at his little dummkopf. How stupid, how pathetic I am, how tender.

"Okinawa was the center for communications in the Far East during the Korean War. We were prime target during that war. It was very dangerous."

"Oh."  I felt like an ass. Because I am one. I've seen the photographs he sent home. I should have known better than that.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries. (read more)


"Man killed wife for making vegetarian dinner"

"Noor Hussain, 75, was so outraged over the vegetarian fare that he pummeled his wife, Nazar Hussain, 66, with a stick until she was a “bloody mess,” according to prosecutors and court papers."
“Defendant asked [his wife] to cook goat and [his wife] said she made something else,” the court papers indicated as Hussain’s murder trial opened on Wednesday.

“He comes from a culture where he thinks this is appropriate conduct, where he can hit his wife,” Clark said in her opening statements at the Brooklyn Supreme Court bench trial. “He culturally believed he had the right to hit his wife and discipline his wife.”

Prosecutors, however, said Hussain meant for his wife to die.

“His intentions were to kill his wife,” Assistant District Attorney Sabeeha Madni said in court. “This was not a man who was trying to discipline his wife.”
Last night, when I read the Insta tweet referencing this story, I made a flippant gun connection response, believing, reassured somehow, that this tragic event had occurred thousands of miles away, in some far flung Islamic country, somewhere half way around the world. England, the closest among them.

Little did I imagine that tragic place to be the borough of Brooklyn, New York City, home of our beloved Trooper York, where a man would kill his wife for making him "lentils for dinner, instead of the hearty meal of goat meat that he craved", to quote the story.

Even though Intapundit does clearly say on his post "AMERICA".

It wasn't until this morning when I went back to Instapundit, to check if I had missed something worth posting (re-posting) here, that I saw how much attention, via the overnight comments, the alleged uxoricide caused. I finally clicked on the Insta link that took me to the NY Post, instead of Al Jazeera or Islam Online, as I had somehow imagined.

It's coming, Sharia law is coming.

WaPo: White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan

"The CIA’s top officer in Kabul was exposed Saturday by the White House when his name was inadvertently included on a list provided to news organizations of senior U.S. officials participating in President Obama’s surprise visit with U.S. troops."
The White House recognized the mistake and quickly issued a revised list that did not include the individual, who had been identified on the initial release as the “Chief of Station” in Kabul, a designation used by the CIA for its highest-ranking spy in a country.

The disclosure marked a rare instance in which a CIA officer working overseas had his cover — the secrecy meant to protect his actual identity — pierced by his own government. The only other recent case came under significantly different circumstances, when former CIA operative Valerie Plame was exposed as officials of the George W. Bush administration sought to discredit her husband, a former ambassador and fierce critic of the decision to invade Iraq.

The Post is withholding the name of the CIA officer at the request of Obama administration officials who warned that the officer and his family could be at risk if the name were published. The CIA and the White House declined to comment.
Smart Power! (via Instapundit)

domestic abuse

Vive la différence.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

kids at state capitol


Saw the picture on birdhurd and I cannot help myself. So don't blame me, because I cannot help myself.

Don't Be A Dunce!

The term dunce is named after a person, John Duns Scotus (ca. 1265-1308), who was a so-called "hairsplitting scholastic."  The term was used derisively by so-called liberals to mock more conservative-thinking opponents.

My unlinkable "The Oxford Dictionary Of English Etymology" (dead tree edition) offers a bit more:
dunce  disciple of Duns Scotus; dull pedant; dullard, blockhead xvi. orig. Duns, name of John Duns Scotus (died 1308), celebrated scholastic theologian, known as the Subtle Doctor, whose works were textbooks, and whose disciples, called Scotists, formed a predominant scholastic sect at universities until they were attacked by humanists and reformers; occurring first in contemptuous allusions in Tyndale's works in phr. Duns men, Dunces disciples, whence duns, dunce was evolved in the above senses. 
The dunce cap is no longer used in caricature, but occasionally, scholarly pedants use similar symbolism to derisively mock students of human nature.

Cut & Paste: Plausible Denial aka We’re on Benghazi Committee to ‘Scream Bloody Murder’

ZeroHedge: No matter the headline, no matter the scandal, no matter how few or how many might be involved, one thing will become crystal clear: nobody that should have known – will have known.
MediaIte: Early this month, when Democrats still hadn’t made up their minds about participation in the Benghazi select committee, Congressman Adam Schiff said there’s no way Democrats would participate in that “colossal waste of time.” Well, funny story: Schiff is one of the five Democrats Nancy Pelosi picked yesterday to actually serve on that committee. And on Rachel Maddow‘s show last night, Schiff explained they decided to participate to keep the Republicans from making it a partisan, stunt-driven affair.
ZeroHedge: There was a time when this art form of creating circumstances as to protect people of influence had its place and was used sparingly and tactfully. However, as of today both the frequency along with how and where it is used has gone from “useful ruse” to a downright childish alibi. No one seems to be accountable today. And I mean nobody!
MediaIte: He (Congressman Adam Schiff) told Maddow that all the Republicans want to do here is “provoke a fight with the administration” they can exploit to their advantage during the midterms, and even though there was some fierce internal debate within the Democratic caucus, they eventually agreed it’s “important to have people in that room to contest the abuse of that kind of power and process.” 
And Schiff promised if the Republicans try to keep any information from them, they will “scream bloody murder” about it and expose them for the “sham” proceedings they’re orchestrating.


I bought an American flag. Huzzah! My first flag of my very own. Jingoistic innit, but I don't care. This one; a pole, a bracket, a little eagle, nylon for outside, everything. I'm set. It will be the flappiest flag around here.

Placed the order May 16th for the holiday May 26, and I do realize that is cutting it close. This might not work. I know that going in and I'll have only myself to blame if it does not arrive in time. Oh well, there is always July 4th and that is a better holiday anyway.

The order is processed more rapidly than I expected and confirmed shipped the next day and I tingle with a spark of faint hope of the chance that my flag could arrive on time. Although the document does not say, so I do not know how the package is shipped.

I expect a knock on the door any day after this or a call from the office downstairs. USPS is usually fast. The ladies in the office are expecting it too because I tell them my plan and ask for their help intercepting. I keep in touch each day. They got my back. They like me because I feed them all the time.

This morning an email from USPS saying they tried to deliver but failed, but I know, we know that is nonsense. If they tried it would be here.

The document is titled "one day shipping" Ha! The vendor did not get what he paid for. Dated the 24th, it notes they received the package the 20th, a mere 4 days after the order was placed and 4 days previous to the one day shipping notification, the last day possible to make it time for the holiday. They have a strange calculation for days.

But here is the thing. The notification says, "print your label and show it in the nearest post office to get my package."

So much presumption in one little sentence; that I have a printer, that it works reliably, that I know where the Post Office is, that I have transportation to get there, or that I can walk to it.

But when I do try to go along with their demands and print the label the click through I get a 404 error page and the address ends in .it for Italy. I think. Maybe "it" means something else. I do not know for sure They give me no information at all. Do this: no information.

So I did go to the Post Office near my house. I do have a printer that works but nothing to print, I do have transportation and I can walk. So their presumptions turn out to be right, but how would they know that? I figured my I.D. will just have to do. And they are closed, just after noon. Although the mailman showed up today he did not bring my package with him. And that makes me sad, and disgusted, and cross, and disappointed all at the same time. All for a flag. So now when it does come, or when I go back to get it after the holiday, I will most likely feel only resentment. And when July 4th comes I'll go, "pfffft" stupid flag.

But I did get a wonderful deal, a $75.00 flag for $25.00. Not bad, eh?  I should just shut up and appreciate the good things that are offered, but I am human with emotions and cannot always be so reasoned as that.

Devil's claw

In the summer of 1845, Lieutenant James Albert, a recent West Point graduate, spent some time at Bent's Fort and kept a journal documenting flora and fauna. Several entries concern a plant with  large seed pods called Myrtinia proboscidea, or devil's claws. He wrote that when pickled, these pods resembled pickled okra and were good to eat. 
In the late 1980's a retired botanist named Dexter Hess read these journals and went in search of devil's claws on the prairies south of La Junta, Colorado. Pickling the seed pods at just the right time of year wasn't an easy task. Early August is a hot time in Colorado; the plant is not much over two feet tall; and more than a few rattlesnakes inhabit the plains. But Dexter and his wife gathered enough for some experiments. Pickled, the little pods were delicious, and I commissioned him to pick and pickle devil's claws for The Fort.  
They should be picked in late July or early August when the pods are young and before the antennae have formed and hardened. Use a long pin to probe the pods before pickling, to check for the tender tip. if hardened, the sharp hook (the devil's claw, no doubt) may cut your mouth. Eat carefully because it's nearly impossible to tell if the pods will be soft all the way through. 
What? I cannot imagine. Plus okra does not sound that great to begin with. Search: [myrtinia proboscidea]

 Titled "unicorn plant" from liseed.

Yikes. There are pictures of animals with these mature pods caught in their coat and people with them on their shoes socks and clothes, and hooked onto plants that turn into tumbleweed. And all sorts of little objects made from them like dragons.

Patch from Waynes word. Other photos show different flowers. Some look like poppies or snapdragon flowers.

Young pods from gardening with Tom Leroy.

The whole pickling thing seems like a lot of trouble.
Pickled devil's claws have a slightly crunchy, sour pickle taste, and the seed pod and antennae are tasty as well as fun to eat. I keep a secret store of them to feed adventurous "foodies."  Makes a gallon: 
Approximately 85 devil's claw pods, pickled young
1 quart water
1 quart white vinegar
3 tablespoons salt
4 whole dried red chile pequin
6 fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
6 bay leaves
2 tablespoons mustard seed
2 sprigs fresh dill 
Clean the devil's claw pods and prick each with a knife to allow pickling juices to enter
Pour boiling water into the widemouth gallon jar to sterilize it, then drain
Bring the water, vinegar, and salt to a boil. Add the chile, garlic and peppercorns, bay leaves, and mustard seed. Pack the pods into the gallon jar and then add the dill. Carefully pour the boiling liquid over the pods and seal the jar. 
Sour pickle taste. You think? With all that vinegar. Sam Arnold must have forgot the sugar. There is no sweet/sour thing going on here, just sour, and that seems odd.  The whole thing is odd.


Art From the Heart Deviantart gallery

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Girls Saw Through Him, Electric Blue

News: 7 Dead in "Mass Murder" Drive-By Shootings Near UC Santa Barbara

"Seven people are dead and seven injured after a swift and deadly “mass murder” rampage by a gunman who plowed through the streets in a black BMW, spraying bullets into Friday night crowds in the Southern California seaside town of Isla Vista near UC Santa Barbara."

"The gunman -- identified by an attorney for his father as Elliot Rodger -- was later involved in at least one shootout with sheriff's deputies and died of a gunshot wound to the head, Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said at a Saturday morning news conference." (read more)

Suspected video of suspected now deceased gunman

two dogs

This is a joke that nobody gets, and I mean nobody. I showed this card to some twenty people before mailing it and not a single person understood the gag. And jokes are simply not funny when they must be explained. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to go through such trouble as to construct a three-page pop-up card, to be so hilarious as this and have no one understand? Like I am the weird one?


I almost ripped it up in disgust. The thing is, the viewer is expected to notice there are two breeds of dog. Two different types. Is that so hard to notice?  It is so obvious. This card convinced me it is an American thing that jokes need be glaringly obvious, overt, slapstick, cutting, hurtful to somebody, childish, and involve no thought at all, because I can draw the same joke in one picture, post it on a British satire site, and be congratulated for my impressive sense of humor. Make that humour.

The dog actually moves into the wall and the word "BLAM" flips out of the wall. That took some effort to get right.

"That answers your question." This one page is the whole joke. It should be a one page joke but I stretched it to three to make the joke easier to grasp. 

I get angry all over again just thinking about it. I hated having to explain it. It ruined the whole effort. Nearly put me off cards altogether. 

Look at that, there's a hole in the wall.

Bashed in nose, bits of brick laying around. Come on! That's funny! 

Video: In a Message sent back in time, what would Patrick Stewart say to his younger self?

Fancy A Tea Party?

Britain's UK Independence Party headed by Nigel Farage is making substantial gains against mainstream British polity: link

Farage is a charismatic speaker, as most any video of him speaking about against the European Union shows.  Here's one of my favorites:

If you're the sort who's cheered by the likes of Farage, relish the moment. If instead you're alarmed by his ilk, take note that the Dutch express similar politics, as do the French. In my opinion, it's a big dynamic equilibrium: push on one side, see an effect on the other side. And the balance shifts when things heat up. Here's a parting thought:

Video: Sen. Pat Roberts Stands Up To Harry Reid on the Senate Floor

"Kansas Senator Pat Roberts recently performed something like an intervention (as the Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross called it) addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “Koch addiction.” The Kochs are of course among Roberts’s constituents."

WSJ Essay: Too many Americans assume that troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan must be traumatized.

"A couple of years ago, I spoke at a storytelling competition about some Marines I'd known during our deployment in Iraq and my feelings on getting out of the Corps. After I left the stage, an older woman in the crowd came up to me and, without asking, started rubbing my back. Startled, I looked over at her. "It was very brave of you to tell that story," she said."
"Oh, thank you," I said, a little confused by what was happening. "I'm OK."

She smiled sympathetically but didn't stop. I wasn't sure what to do, so I turned to watch the next performer—and she remained behind me, rubbing me down as if I was a startled horse in a thunderstorm.

It was my first really jarring experience with an increasingly common reaction to my war stories: pity. I never thought anyone would pity me because of my time in the Marine Corps. I'd grown up in the era of the Persian Gulf War, when the U.S. military shook off its post-Vietnam malaise with a startlingly decisive victory and Americans eagerly consumed stories about the Greatest Generation and the Good War through books like "Citizen Soldiers" by Stephen Ambrose and movies like "Saving Private Ryan." Joining the military was an admirable decision that earned you respect. (read more)

Western Engineer

The Fort Cookbook pg 10.
The Fort's nine dining rooms are built around a central courtyard. In Summer months a typical Plains Indian tipi stands in the courtyard and may be booked for special private dinners. It can accommodate up to twelve people , and shoes must be removed within. Since servers must work on theri knees, they get an extra twenty-five dollars. (Is that all?)
Oddly both spelling tipi and teepee are used.

Photo from Roadfood.
Bent's Quarters, a private dining room recreates much of the feel of the 1840's.  A collection of medical herbs of New Mexico and various items of the fur trade period line the shelves; knives, beads, buckles, musket caps, tobacco twists and "segars," tea bricks, loaf sugar, Florida water, lucifers, and much more.
Bent is the name of the original fort in southern Colorado from which The Fort restaurant is modeled.

Tobacco twists

Tea brick
Florida Water is an American version of Eau de Cologne, or Cologne Water. It has the same citrus basis as Cologne Water, but shifts the emphasis to sweet orange (rather than the lemon and neroli of the original Cologne Water), and adds spicy notes including lavender and clove. The name refers to the fabled Fountain of Youth, which was said to be located in Florida, as well as the "flowery" nature of the scent.
Ha! Wikipedia, always so reliable. (neroli is oil from bitter orange tree)

Florida water bottles
Cologne or
(guess which on steamboat exploring Missouri River, first doesn't count)
photos nicked from ebay
In 1829, Scots inventor Sir Isaac Holden invented an improved version of Walker's match and demonstrated it to his class at Castle Academy in Reading, Berkshire. Holden did not patent his invention and claimed that one of his pupils wrote to his father Samuel Jones, a chemist in London who commercialised his process.[16] A version of Holden's match was patented by Samuel Jones, and these were sold as lucifer matches. These early matches had a number of problems- an initial violent reaction, an unsteady flame and unpleasant odor and fumes. Lucifers could ignite explosively, sometimes throwing sparks a considerable distance. Lucifers were manufactured in the United States by Ezekial Byam.[6] The term "lucifer" persisted as slang in the 20th century (for example in the First World War song Pack Up Your Troubles) and in the Netherlands and Belgium today matches are still called lucifers (in Dutch).


Back to The Fort.
On the east wall of "Bent's" hangs a wonderful oil painting of the Western Engineer, the 1819 flagship of Major Stephen Long and his army on their reconnaissance expedition up the Missouri River. The primitive steamboat had a sea serpent head that belched steam and a serpentlike waterline to throw fear into the Indians observing from the riverbank. The painting was done for The Fort's thiritieth anniversary by Gary Lucie, an artist well known for his intricately detailed and accurate renderings of steamboats and historic American waterways.

Western Engineer

This steamboat is the impetus of this post on account of the sea serpent. I have never heard of such a thing.
[A letter dated June 19, 1819, from St. Louis, ten days after the boats arrival there, further describes this unusual craft: 
"The bow of this vessel exhibits the form of a huge serpent, black and scaly, rising out of the water from under the boat, his head as high as the deck,darted forward, his mouth open, vomiting smoke, and apparently carrying the boat on his back. From under the boat at its stern issues a stream of foaming water, dashing violently along. All the machinery is hid. Three small brass field pieces mounted on wheel carriages stand on the deck. The boat is ascending the rapid stream at the rate of three miles an hour. Neither wind nor human hands are seen to help her, and, to the eye of ignorance, the illusion is complete, that a monster of the deep carries her on his back, smoking with fatigue, and lashing the waves with violent exertion. Her equipments are at once calculated to attract and to awe the savages. Objects pleasing and terrifying are at once placed before him--artillery, the flag of the Republic, portraits of the white man and the Indian shaking hands, the calumet of peace, a sword, then the apparent monster with a painted vessel on his back, the sides gaping with portholes and bristling with guns. Taken altogether, and without intelligence of her composition and design, it would require a daring savage to approach and accost her."]

Terrified indians. 

[My first boss at the FRB was a troll of an old man who smoked a pipe and stank of it. He was very close to retirement and completely old school nose-to-the-grindstone type and his speech pattern was unique involving a lot of "ohs" and a mouthful of saliva. Near the end of each shift all workers would gather in a mad rush to get out the checks processed that evening behind a wall of bins representing each bank. His voice was easy to imitate so in his absence I copied it, a fairly food rendition, from the other side of the bins and put words in his mouth he would never speak in his life involving swears. Then show myself to the workers on the other side and have a good laugh. Within days everyone there had their own version of his voice some much better than my own and saying imaginative and ridiculous things as boys do and thereafter none of us could listen to him with any seriousness at all. It was hopeless. We could hardly contain our laughter with serious matters. He carried these kind of wooden matches in his pocket and told us one time he brushed against a bumper of a truck and they ignited inside his pants. Naturally that became incorporated in our routine.]