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Willard Wigan — Microsculpturist November 30, 2008

Posted by Michael in Heroes.
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Art, painstakingly produced in the eye of a needle or on the head of a pin, with tools like a hair plucked from a fly.

This is amazing, and inspiring.  Of his mission, Willard says:

I have learning difficulties.  I can’t read or write . . . The teachers at school made me feel small.  So they made me feel like nothing.  I’m trying to prove to the world that nothing doesn’t exist.

Willard sold his collection for $20,000,000.

Thanks to Average Gay Joe, who also remembers the best Christmas gift ever — Mr. Microphone!!!

We’re Not Rich November 30, 2008

Posted by Michael in Humor.
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But one day, this year, we will be.

Listen to this.

Thanks to my pal Mark in Plano for emailing this to me.

Post Thanksgiving miscellaneous November 30, 2008

Posted by wintersetruss in Music, Politics.
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I found this while shopping online this morning:



  It’s amazing how much ammo prices have gone up since this time last year.  While cleaning up the basement last night, I found a copy of Shotgun News from December 10, 2007.  They had an ad on the cover for .30/06 Greek surplus at $149 for 480 rounds in clips & bandoliers, and 440 rounds of 7.62x54R Bulgarian surplus in a “spam can” for $49.  These prices are currently at least $250 and $80, respectively.   If I really wanted to feel old, I’d go out to the garage and dig out an old copy of SGN from the mid-90’s, when they were selling Mosin Nagant 91/30 rifles for $29.95 plus shipping.   If this keeps up, we’ll be lucky to find ANY surplus ammo on the market in a year or two – so buy early and often while you can.


Prescription Pain Killers Are For Sissies November 29, 2008

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Handblogging, Man Laws, Music, News, Personal Experiences, Sex, Sports.
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This is what I have been using to keep the pain down, and I feel fine:



Two days on, and a gallon of Neosporin and Isopropyl Alcohol later, and I can see a marked improvement. My aunt, who happens to be an ER Nurse, told me the cut wasn’t deep enough to require stitches, and she told me just to keep it wrapped until a good scab develops. Yipee!

Oh, and to keep the squeamish from getting upset, below the fold is what my hand looks like tonight.


Chicken Head Tracking November 29, 2008

Posted by Michael in News.
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First seen at Bits & Pieces.

How To Make Brioche in a Wood-Fired Oven November 28, 2008

Posted by Michael in Food.
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As you all know, Thanksgiving Dinner is nothing without brioche, and an excellent brioche must be baked in a stone oven with real wood coals.

What?  You didn’t know that?

Well, neither did I, to tell the truth, but it’s a new Thanksgiving tradition at our house.  Let me explain.

First, you should know that “brioche” is a French term that is difficult to translate, but it basically means “bread which can be cooked by a moron or an American.”

I am an American, so I am qualified to tell you how you make brioche.  There are four easy steps.

1.  Buy an overpriced house shortly before the housing market collapses, which has one of these stone ovens outside that you never would have thought to buy except it came with the house, and now you are frickin’ determined to use the damn thing:


The recessed area below the oven is for storing wood.  The prior owners left some oak in there, but I burned most of it yesterday making brioche.

2.  Make a fire inside that stone thing until it gets very hot inside.  Leave the doors closed, except to throw more wood in.  You can tell when it gets very hot inside because the bolts on the hinges for those wooden doors (which are lined with steel plates) will burn your finger and raise a blister if you poke them.

Put an ice cube on the burn.  Then, let the fire burn down, and push all the coals to the back.  The oven will be ready when it looks like this:


I know the picture is dark.  Sue me.  My cell phone camera does not have a flash.  You can just take my word for it that the coals are all in the back of the oven.

3.  While the fire is going, tell your spouse that she looks really lovely today.  Then get her to make brioche dough and bring it to you on a stone slab.


4.  Stick the dough in the oven on the stone slab.  Drink bourbon.  Rotate slab once in a while.  Drink more bourbon.  Keep an eye on the turkey you are barbecuing.  Poke brioche with your finger.  When it is crusty on the surface and resilient underneath, and not mushy, remove the brioche.



“Voilà” is another French word.  It means “I am awesomely awesome.”

Don’t forget to celebrate your success at making genuine wood-fired-oven brioche.  You could, for example, do the Wickedpinto happy dance, which is what I did, but you need to have imbibed enough bourbon to do it right.


Happy Thanksgiving Innocent Bystanders November 27, 2008

Posted by BrewFan in Family.
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It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon; and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the LORD.

We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world. May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?.

We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown..

But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to, feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us..

It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens..

–Abraham Lincoln – October 3, 1863

I was a Spud State Paperboy for 50 Years November 26, 2008

Posted by Retired Geezer in Heroes.
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OK, she’s a woman but ‘Paperwoman’ just didn’t sound right.

Woman who’s delivered IPT for 50 years seeks Guinness recognition

NAMPA — Imagine doing the same job, day in and day out, for more than 18,250 days.

Darlene Markus has delivered the Idaho Free Press and the Idaho Press-Tribune for more than 50 years and she hopes to make it in the Guinness World Records. Family and her customers gathered Friday at the Press-Tribune to document the historic feat.

Apparently it’s her car that drives down our dirt road every morning at 2:30 am.

Best wishes to a dependable, dedicated woman. I hope she makes it into the Guinness World Record Book.

“Our Message Is That Everybody Should Be Included In Everyday Life.” November 26, 2008

Posted by Edward von Bear in Ducks, Heroes, Man Laws, Music, News, Philosophy.
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A few months ago, I was in a running shoe store owned by a friend of the family. While waiting to pick up a pair of braces to deal with my pronation issues, I happened to read one of those runners magazines that tells you you suck at everything unless you do what the fad of the month is. Well, during the course of reading how my fat ass can’t compete with the gazelles on the cover, I happened to stumble across an article about Dick and Rick Hoyt, a father-son marathon/triathlon team from Massachusetts. All well and good, until I realized that when the two compete in the races together, with the father pulling and pushing his son, challenged since birth, the whole way. They have been racing together for almost thirty years.

It is hard to imagine now the resistance which the Hoyts encountered early on, but attitudes did begin to change when they entered the Boston Marathon in 1981, and finished in the top quarter of the field. Dick recalls the earlier, less tolerant days with more sadness than anger:

“Nobody wanted Rick in a road race. Everybody looked at us, nobody talked to us, nobody wanted to have anything to do with us. But you can’t really blame them – people often are not educated, and they’d never seen anyone like us. As time went on, though, they could see he was a person — he has a great sense of humor, for instance. That made a big difference.”

After 4 years of marathons, Team Hoyt attempted their first triathlon — and for this Dick had to learn to swim. “I sank like a stone at first” Dick recalled with a laugh “and I hadn’t been on a bike since I was six years old.”

With a newly-built bike (adapted to carry Rick in front) and a boat tied to Dick’s waist as he swam, the Hoyts came in second-to-last in the competition held on Father’s Day 1985.

“We chuckle to think about that as my Father’s Day present from Rick, ” said Dick.

They have been competing ever since, at home and increasingly abroad. Generally they manage to improve their finishing times. “Rick is the one who inspires and motivates me, the way he just loves sports and competing,” Dick said.

Not only that, but Rick is able to type out his thoughts, has earned a college degree, and works on projects helping similarly challenged people communicate easier. My quote in the title is from Rick, and it hammers home hat I hold to be my most basic belief (stolen from a Reagan quote) that every life has a purpose.

Meanwhile, I piss and moan when my toenails aren’t trimmed properly.

More Homework November 25, 2008

Posted by skinbad in Family, History.
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We saw John’s nephew’s homework a few days ago. This is what my straight-A 8th-grade daughter was working on tonight. She was supposed to decorate a folder for a unit on the Nazis and the Holocaust. Her teacher provided some stickers and definitions and she was supposed to use some of each to “decorate” the folder she’ll use while they cover this historical event. She asked me if it looked OK and I went basically speechless. We ended up having a pretty good conversation about it which resulted in her feeling like she had done something wrong in putting smiles and hearts next to a definition of the “black wall.” I’m sure the point is one of those “celebrate diversity” things, but it just seemed pretty weird to me. Maybe it’s just me. I told her not to feel bad and just to ask her teacher if this is the kind of thing she was after.


How a Dog Drinks Water November 24, 2008

Posted by Michael in Science.
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Thanks to My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, where the Discovery Channel is rightfully appreciated.

Man in Wheelchair Stabbed November 24, 2008

Posted by Michael in News.
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How low can a human being get?

Some residents of Surprise, Arizona (about 20 miles from Phoenix)  demonstrated on Sunday that they represent the scum of the species.

A 26-year-old man in a wheelchair was stabbed in Surprise Sunday morning in what might have been a random incident, police say.

The victim, James Del Rio, of Phoenix, was treated at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center in Sun City West for four stab wounds, and later released, said Surprise police Sgt. Mark Ortega.

Del Rio told police he was in his wheelchair going north on Parkview Place near Mountain View Boulevard about 12:30 a.m., when a white, four-door car going south stopped next to him.

Fortunately, the town of Surprise lived up to its name for these crooks.

Ortega said a man came out of the rear-passenger door, stabbed Del Rio four times in the right arm and then took off with his backpack. Inside the backpack were a urinal container and a bandana.

Man in wheelchair stabbed