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Current Events

Jeff Bezos has managed not to blow up Captain Kirk. That would have been an ironically ignominious demise. I did notice that Shatner wore a blue, rather than red uniform for the launch.

Judging by his public comments, Prince William seems to think that sub-orbital tourist launches will help us find new habitable planets. (A Very Bad Thing, in his estimation.) I doubt that he's really that profoundly ignorant.

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The Olympic Flame is lit, and on its way to Peking!

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What does Ethopia need? A Peace Process! That's the ticket! Those never fail!

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* ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/237501.html
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Recently...

The Good Ol' Boys at Talladega are in fine form! Even during the Indianapolis road course race, back in August, there was a certain amount of that, although not nearly so extensive, nor nearly so spirited, as of late.

By far the most entertaining, though, was in the line waiting for hotdogs. There were two, side by side, each moving with glacial slowness. Some wit, at the back of one line, roared out "HEY! That other line is moving faster! That's INEQUITABLE!", which went far to brighten the mood. ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/236911.html
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Mystery

The Indiana Gaming Commission, of all people, are conducting a search for this missing woman. To my knowledge, they oversee the Lottery, casinos, and horse-racing tracks. Why and how they're searching for a missing person, and why the police are not involved, I do not know, nor do they seem inclined to say why. That "believed to be in extreme danger" is just standard boilerplate that shows up on every missing person notice, regardless of circumstances. ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/236717.html
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    Pink Floyd: The Narrow Way
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R. Kelly

So, this R. Kelly fellow finally got convicted (after only 2 1/2 or so years of being on trial - Ambrose Bierce thought he was being an absurdist when he wrote "My Favourite Murder"). KTLA has the absolute *best* picture! ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/236315.html
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    Iron Butterfly: Inna Godda da Vida
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Tell el-Hamman

So, I've been hearing for the last few days about this bronze age city destroyed by a meteor. I finally went and found the actual article. It is full of quiet horror, in its restrained, understated way. The mud brick city took a several megaton-equivalent airburst, from about 5km away. Ordinary materials, like mud bricks, tiles, pottery, gold, and silver, all melted in the initial heat-pulse. Some of them boiled. Little bits of diamond grit shotgunned exposed objects. Shattered bits of brick, household goods, and people were blown out in a fan-shaped pattern.

Of the pictures that are included with the article, the two most affecting, for some reason, are a cross-section through the collapsed royal palace, with these elongated, carbonized cavities that were apparently carpets and tapestries; as well as one of the surface of a vase struck by a near-microscopic composite diamond. It made a little splash crater in the melted surface of the vase, and the diamond is still sitting where it hit. There's also mud brick that still has silicified remains of straw running through it as glassy cavities, tiny formless blobs of gold and silver that were probably someone's jewelry, and thousands and thousands of bits of crushed bone from people and animals literally pulverized as they were swept along by the shock, all part of the tumbling debris of an entire smashed city.

There's also mentioned (but with no picture) a skeleton found reasonably intact, presumably in a sheltered place, that had time to assume the classic 'duck and cover' position. That alone horrifies and amazes me. Presumably he was somewhere inside, felt the ground shock, and covered for an earthquake, before tons of brick came down on him.

There's speculation that this may be the original Sodom. Certainly it's a mighty enough smiting to have made a lasting impression. The entire plain remained unoccupied for several hundred years afterward, at least due in part to the salt splashed out from the Dead Sea, although I have to speculate that it may also have just been a 'shunned' area, after something like that.

Addendum: The related article from last year about Abu Hureyra, which had entirely escaped my notice. Granted that they're separated by 9000 years or so in time, but that's a remarkably close proximity in space. ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/236207.html
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Miscellania

Yee-haw!! Republican Gun Bingo is coming!

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I'm unsure whether this is just a clever ploy to garner sympathy for the taxi companies, or a legitimate effort to grow food. Perhaps a bit of each. It reminds me uncomfortably of the Roman Forum being used for pig farming, when its original purpose had passed from the scene.

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Today I saw a (new, I think) station wagon. Those used to be everywhere in the late 60s / early 70s, for all that one never sees them anymore. We used to could be able to get four or more kids in back, usually laying down, which led to the inevitable jokes about 'riding in the hearse'. Uncomfortable, and one supposes dangerous as well, but a lot of fun!

And, for all of the pickup trucks one sees these days, you never see kids riding in the back anymore. It was like being in a hurricane, and kind of scary, but also a lot of fun. You were dead in a crash, of course, but back then you were really no better in the cab, so...

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And, 'riding in the hearse' triggered a random memory from high school. Back when everyone had custom vans, this one guy that I didn't really know that well had a used hearse, all solemn and bible-black, that he'd fitted out with a bed and plush carpetting in the back. It still had purple curtains on the windows too. It was basically good for camping, along with other (ahem...) uses. He called it 'The Party Hearse'.

I haven't thought about that for years.

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* ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/235947.html
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I Learned Today...

That all railroad locomotives in the United States, by law, must have the letter 'F' painted on them to identify the front end. Srsly. ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/235675.html
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The Return of the Birds

According to the state, whatever pestilence ran rife among the birds in the latter part of summer is now past us, and it's safe to once again feed and provide baths/water to them. I've got all my stuff set up again, and a fair crowd in the backyard, even as I type. As one might expect at this time of year, the food is being passed over in favour of what can be had from the land, but the bath is immensely popular! Even though no-one is eating from the feeder, just having the bath there apparently makes the back yard a popular place. I've got little groups of Starlings hunting through the grass for bugs, as well as some Sparrows eating seed that I spilled under the tree, apparently convinced that it's 'wild' food. I didn't have nearly this kind of activity when my bath and feeders were shut down. And, of course, every few minutes someone jumps into the bath and splashes around. ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/235309.html
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Sneks!

There was evidently a Lost Age of Sneks! Such achingly beautiful creatures, and yet there's almost no way to connect emotionally with them. They can learn that you're not going to hurt them. If you're lucky, they may even enjoy your warmth while you handle them. They weren't nurtured and fed as children, though, and they completely lack that allogrooming reflex that's so useful when trying to befriend a mammal. I suspect that even were Snakes intelligent, there'd be no real romantic impulse there, although they might well enjoy snuggling with one in cold weather. ***** Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/235205.html