Sunday, January 30, 2011

Hot or Not?

I'm watching the Tudors in reruns on BBC America and am slightly annoyed by something Lenora Crichlow (whom I adore in Being Human) says in her Get Tudored intros, to whit that Anne Boleyn wasn't hot, conventionally speaking. I hear this said about women from time to time and they're almost always conventionally beautiful in that they are thin, white, middle to upper class and have "good hair." Maybe they aren't precisely super models but when compared to a hundred women off the street from around the world they're in the top of the beauty tree for our current culture.

Here's a sketch of the former queen done by Hans Holbein the Younger, which I like better than the most popular image of her, which was painted some time after her death.

Sure she has dark hair while blonde was fashionable but blondes are fashionable today and brunettes can still be considered great beauties.

But whether or not the former queen was considered a classical beauty in her lifetime isn't really the point. Hotness isn't determined solely by the face or even a shapely figure. There's charisma and charm and a host of other qualities that go into whether someone is "hot".

Any woman who could make a man want her so much he practically destroys his kingdom and starts a reformation is hot by definition.

(I also wonder whether the thing about her lack of looks isn't just more of the effort to destroy her like the allegation of witchcraft and incest. There have always been people who want to tear down powerful women. Look also at Marie Antoinette, another queen who lost her head and was accused of incest, this time with her own son. She was vilified to the point where even today quite a lot of people believe she said "Let them eat cake" when told her people didn't have any bread.)


Friday, January 28, 2011

This sounds like a joke

I got a warning from the FDA about a recall today. Usually they tell me that there's dairy or tree nuts in a random food item or maybe there's lysteria. Today's warning was a bit different.

Circle City Marketing and Distributing, doing business as Candy Dynamics, Indianapolis, IN, is issuing a voluntary recall of all Toxic Waste® brand Nuclear Sludge® products, all flavors, 0.3 oz (8 g) size pieces. The product is imported from Pakistan.

Apparently it has too much lead.


Friday, January 21, 2011


I love Allie of hyperbole and a half's work. I especially love her drawings. Up until earlier this week my favorite post of hers was about her dog failing the IQ test. This week she outdid herself with this great post about pretending to be a wolf when she was a little girl.

I love how realistic the wolves are when we see how the girls view themselves and I love the way they sprout razor sharp teeth.

I have nine brothers and sisters and we used to play similar games although with less biting.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Do They Even Bother

Fred Phelps sent four of his cronies to American University to tell the students they were all going to hell. (Who isn't going to hell in his book? Heaven must be the loneliest place according to him.) The school handled it really well with an enormous counter protest with around 250 students to each church member.

I especially like the part where freshman Ty Lane discovers the City Paper doesn't mind printing profanity and stops holding back. Also her rainbow underwear is cute.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Police Shooting

So a police officer is doing his thing and he sees a van with a registration violation. He's pretty close to the county line, a couple of miles away, and tries to pull the van over. The van hightails it out of there and crosses into the next county at which point the officer gives up the chase and starts to head back to our county.

What does the van do? Hits the police car and tries to push it into oncoming traffic! Somehow at some point the officer discharges his weapon, hitting the driver of the van. That's quite a shot, going through two windows by my count. Read the full story on the Anne Arundel County Police Department website.


Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Firetruck and an Ambulance Walk Into a Bar

The Baltimore Health Department send out a tweet today saying they were calling a code blue for tomorrow. Snow expected with serious cold weather. We've already had a couple of deaths this winter - two were elderly people who were in their homes but died of the cold.

So I asked Cam to go and check on one of our neighbors, who is quite elderly. I wanted to be sure she was okay and to see if she needed us to pick anything up at the store for her.

She didn't answer the door and Cam reported that her mail was beginning to pile up. I asked him to ask one of our other neighbors if she had seen the first neighbor, or knew the phone number of her son. (When we moved in he asked me to keep an eye on her but forgot to give me her number and we keep missing each other so I haven't been able to get it yet.)

Neighbor number two didn't have the number and hadn't seen any signs of life at neighbor number one's house. By now it was well past sunset and the house was still completely dark. We all agreed that I should do something but what?

I asked Cam to knock on every one of her doors and see if he saw any signs that she was home and okay. Nothing.

I called the fire department and asked them if they check on neighbors and they said they could. I gave them all the info and they said they'd look into it. For some reason I expected them to just drop by in a car, but then I got to thinking they'd likely come in an ambulance in case she was in bad shape (I remember at my old house when they came to check on the lady across the way and loaded her into the back of an ambulance, never to be seen again. A different family moved in a few months later.) Then I thought maybe they'd bring their fire truck in case they needed to break into the house. So not a discreet visit - instead a big show, which is what happened; a fire truck and an ambulance showed up.

In the end it turns out my neighbor had indeed suffered an accident. She'd broken her hip but had already been rescued and was in the hospital! Her son forgot to tell me. I feel bad for wasting the county's money on a false alarm but at least we live pretty close to the fire department. And another of our older neighbors has asked me to keep an eye on her also. She had a pretty fall, breaking her foot and couldn't get back up a couple of years ago. So she wants the same service as the other neighbor. I live to serve.


Tuesday, January 04, 2011

A Cold Baby

The giant anteater at the National Zoo recently ran into trouble after giving birth to her baby. This is a fascinating look at a creature I didn't know much about. Nicely written with a real sense of drama.

On the evening of December 7, we could see on the internal web cam that Maripi seemed at long last to be in labor. At about 7:30 she gave birth to her pup, and within half an hour the baby had climbed up on its mother’s back, and all seemed to be proceeding normally. Maripi is an experienced mom, so when she curled up in her crate with the pup a little while later and stayed there, we all felt that she had the situation in hand. As with most animals giant anteaters prefer to give birth in solitude since that equals safety in the wild. Unless we saw that Maripi was in distress or wasn’t caring for the baby, our plan was to leave the two of them alone. We called it a night at 10 p.m. and looked forward to meeting our newest anteater in the morning.

The next day the keepers arrived at 6:30 a.m. and immediately looked at the web cam to check on the anteaters. We could see Maripi still sleeping in her crate, but the baby was outside the crate on the floor and did not appear to be moving...


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Nice Writeup on James Comtois

I see my friend James Comtois was the subject of a piece on the IT awards website. I didn't realize James is a bad boy. Clearly I need to pay more attention.

And if you have the chance to see one of his shows you should do everything you can to get there. He's funny and scary.


Death, Stray Dogs and Radiation

Here's a fascinating write up about who unprepared most people, and their doctors, are when it comes to discussing end of life care. Not only are the patients often unable to talk about their best options, their families can also be resistant.

With the help of hospice I was able to care for my grandmother at home until her last couple of days, at which point she was placed back in the hospital and given supportive care. She wanted to die at home but at least she was home for most of the time.

This story about Moscow's stray dogs is intriguing, especially if you've been following recent data showing that there are certain traits that show in the most domesticated of animals - floppy ears and black and white spotted coloring are two of the traits. Essentially the further the animal is from its wild appearance the more loving and better pet it will be. Interestingly ginger cats, which look a lot like tigers, are quite loving, despite having none of these characteristics. Anyway, a researcher was able to take wild foxes and give them domesticated traits in only 10 to 15 years! And these dogs have become very similar to wolves.

I'm also reading a book about wolves and dogs and genetically they are virtually identical, which is interesting.,dwp_uuid=a712eb94-dc2b-11da-890d-0000779e2340,print=yes.html

Finally check out this delightful ad for radium suppositories. I shudder to think.

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