Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I was out in my parents-in-law's woods the other day and came across a fantastic fungus.  It was quite large (as seen next to my foot), and very, very orange.  The picture does not quite do the color justice:

Hot Pavement

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Nation's Capital

My brother and my daughter overlooking the view of DC from the roof of his building:

The fireworks from his apartment were great.

Friday, May 31, 2013

On Matters Cromwellian

I am lately reading "Wolf Hall" by Hilary Mantel, which won the Booker Prize in 2009.

I am finding it difficult to keep the characters straight.  I just looked up Thomas Cromwell to more properly assess his place in history around Thomas More and the whole treason and execution thing.  This will blow some surprises in the book, but will help me dispel some conflating I think I've done around the various Cardinals, Lords Chancellor, et. al.

Thomas was instrumental in fighting the Pope on behalf of Henry VIII's desire to occasionally divorce his wives.  This lead to the formation of the Anglican church and ultimately to his own execution--a beheading with his spiked head displayed on London Bridge.

A fun discovery and relevant to a brief exchange I had last night with my mother-in-law: Oliver Cromwell is his great, great grand nephew (maybe some more greats in there, they were born 115 years apart).  Oliver is more famous currently, as he's seen as the great butcher of Irish Catholics (and Scottish Catholics, but I hadn't known that since Scots tend to write fewer drinking songs detailing their historical grievances).  He ruled England briefly as a kind of king/non-king.  He was hated enough that having died from malaria, he was dug up three years later to be executed posthumously!  Subsequently his severed head spent 30 years on a spike atop a pole over Westminster Hall and then changed hands for 250 years before being laid to a kind of rest in the 1960s.

Cromwells apparently rest uneasily unless a mob of angry Britons has rent their corpses.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nature or Nurture?


We're also each wearing a shirt from a school the other one attended.

So this sign actually and really exists on Route158 along the Outer Banks in North Carolina (either in Nags Head or Kitty Hawk).  I didn't go into the small store, so I can't report on what this really is about. 

It's not a weirdly specific sign, but it's certainly weird. 

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

How many feet?

Another weirdly specific sign.  No rounding and think fast!

Weirdly Specific Signage

I've been passing this sign for six months, and I finally just had to post it.  I find it so odd... not only is it weirdly specific (you couldn't just round up to half a mile?), but they also didn't reduce their fraction to 2/5 of a mile.

So strange.

And specific.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Showing Great Respect

Mesa Prep is a charter school near Phoenix, AZ.  Their baseball team is really good, and incidentally their starting 2nd baseman is a 2nd basewoman.  Twice this year they played Our Lady of Sorrows, a school of kind-of Catholics for whom the actual Catholics are just far too liberal.  Both times OLoS refused to play Mesa Prep if they fielded their starting 2nd baseman.  They apparently have a rule prohibiting co-ed sports.  So Mesa prep didn't play their best player at 2nd and won both games.

In their league championship Mesa Prep decided that they wouldn't sit her, and OLoS forfeited.

Here's a fun couple of paragraphs from the Washington Post article about the game:

The [OLoS] statement also said the school teaches boys respect by not placing girls in athletic competition, where “proper boundaries can only be respected with difficulty.”

Our Lady of Sorrows is run by the U.S. branch of the Society of Saint Pius X. The group represents conservative, traditional priests who broke from the Catholic Church in the 1980s.

So these boys are learning to respect Paige Sultzbach by refusing to play a game where they will never be forced to touch her.

Mesa Prep remains undefeated, and in every single measure of success, Our Lady of Sorrows just couldn't be more defeated.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


From the food52 blog:

Himalayan Salt: Hand-mined from ancient sea salt deposits from the Khewra Salt Mine in Pakistan, Himalayan salt is rich in minerals and believed to be one of the purest salts available 

How can salt (NaCl) be both "rich in minerals" and "one of the purest salts" at the same time?  "Pure" means not having stuff in your substance that isn't the substance itself.  If you are talking about salt, than then minerals other than salt in your salt makes that salt impure.

Impurities might be good, but they are what they are.

I've been hearing about Himalayan salt now for several years, and it's always hyped as a miracle medicine that can cure you of essentially any ailment, and it can do it in a variety of ways.  When some substance that is purported to actually exist somewhere is said to be able to cure you of anything, then it is helpful to ask about the health of the people living near the miracle substance.  Nepalis who mine this salt do not, despite all the claims for this miracle drug, live forever.

And, by the way, most Himalayan Salt is mined in Pakistan hundreds of miles from the Himalayas.

God Bless Marketing.