March 2002

03.28.02 I hit the big time! Well, at least my command of obscure knowledge gets me mentioned in one of my favorite websites - Bonnie Burton's Grrl dot Com. It's a great site full of good writing, fun info, and weird-ass links. Plus Bonnie is Betty Page-elicious!

03.22.02 Today's feature is from the obscure zoology department - the tanuki is a critter native to Japan, Manchuria, and Southeastern Siberia. The name is often translated as Raccoon Dog or Badger, so for years I thought tanuki were just what the Japanese called badgers. In reality the Tanuki is related to neither raccoons nor badgers. Tanuki are related to dogs much like foxes and coyotes are. The last is interesting because Tanuki of Japanese folklore is a character similar to Coyote in the folklore of many American Indian nations. The Tanuki of folkore is most often depicted as carrying a sake bottle, having a pot-belly, and huge balls that drag on the ground.

03.21.02 Enter the world of Victorian-era warfare with hobby miniatures as if it were concieved by the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus - Major General Tremorden Rederring's Colonial-era Wargames Page. "... I killed fifteen of those buggers, sir. Now, at home, they'd hang me! Here, they'll give me a fucking medal, sir! " Speaking of which, did you know (of course you didn't) that the Victoria Cross - Britain's highest military honor - has been awarded to more Irishmen than to any other non-English nationality?

03.20.02 Anthony Arthur's The Tailor King is one of the best books I've ever read. It's the true story of how in the early 1500s the German city of Munster was taken over and held for almost two years by an apocalyptic Anabaptist sect. Though Arthur was inspired to tell the story by the events at Waco in 1993, the story is equally applicable to recent and not so recent events in a certain central asian country which I shall not name.

03.19.02 On his website Senator Ted Kennedy has his recipe for Cape Cod Fish Chowder. "Go on frenchie - say chow-dah!" With links to recipes from Senators John Breaux, Barbara Mikulski, and Patty Murray. Singing Senators my ass. How about the Iron Chef Senators?

03.18.02 If you've ever received this joke picture you've probably wondered what the hell those weird monsters chasing the kitten are. Apparently they're images of a critter named Domo who is a promotional character for the Japanese Broadcasting Corporation's satellite television service. His official website is here, but he's spawned some english-language fan-sites.

03.15.02 While we're on the subject of racist caricatures let me get my whole thing about St. Patrick's Day off my chest. You know the cute little leprechauns associated with Ireland and the holiday I like to call "Yet Another Ethnic Holiday Appropriated By White Men So They Can Get Drunk And Act Like Jack-asses"? It's not well known that the current traditional image of the leprechaun is based on racist Victorian cartoons meant to portray the Irish as inferior - occupying a lower rung on the evolutionary ladder. Maybe I'm being thin-skinned, but I doubt it would be socially acceptable for major businesses to trot out Sambo or Mammy figures as Kwanzaa decorations.

03.14.02 The University of Northern Colorado's intramural basketball team has adopted the name "The Fighting Whities" to raise the issue of sports teams that use american indians as mascots, specifically a local team in Eaton, Co. - "The Fightin' Reds". In many instances this is a complicated issue, but I think it's pretty cut-and-dried when someone is using an ethnic slur like "red" or "redskin" for their team name. After all I doubt the "Washington Honkies" would be viable name for an NFL team. I also doubt Mario Rosas, the Eaton student president would be as proud of his school's team if they were the "Fightin' Wetbacks". Thanks to Ray for tipping me to this story.

03.08.02 As reported at The Astounding B Monster, one of the great classic pinup models and B-movie queens, Irish McCalla died Feb. 1. Despite her popularity as a model she was most famous for playing Sheena, Queen of the Jungle in the short-lived 50s television series of the same name. She appeared in a number of B-movies including such classics as "She Demons" and "The Beat Generation". When she retired from acting in the 60s she took up a career as a professional painter. Some of her works are exhibited at the Los Angeles Museum of Arts and Sciences, and the Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

03.07.02 Jesus has his own website, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised the Dalai Lama has one too. My favorite part of the site is the story of his youth, where he tells that when he was a kid he would go in the hen coop with his mother to collect eggs and he would sit on a nest and make clucking noises. Who'd have thought the reincarnation of the Bodhisattva of Compassion was such a wacky little kid?

03.06.02 Jay Currah has made a really nice site dedicated to the Lee-Enfield Rifle, which for over 60 years was the service rifle of the British Empire and Commonwealth. I love that rifle. Don't know why. It's just... sexy.

03.02.02 Given how terrorists sneaking a 10 megaton nuke into the Big Apple is the news item du jour I thought I'd dig up the old Nuclear Blast Mapper and see how I'd fare if such a thing did occur. It's cool! Just put in where you want the blast to be centered, pick a bomb, press the button, and voila! The resulting map tells you how close to the business-end of the shitstick you'd be in such an event. With the likeliest scenario I could think up I'd be right at the edge of the "20% fatality / single-family residences severely damaged or destroyed" ring. Whew!

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