Archive for the ‘True Stories’ Category

Frozen Cow Farts

Tuesday, 11 October 2016


… Scientists suggest that the greater contribution to skyrocketing methane levels has more to do with biological sources of the gas. Methane molecules are made of carbon and hydrogen atoms, and the carbon in biological methane tends to be slightly lighter than the carbon in methane associated with fossil fuels. And over the past decade or so, the proportion of lighter methane in the atmosphere compared to heavier methane has been rising. “I think this perspective is basically right,” said Martin Helmann, of the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, in Jena, Germany, in an email. Helmann was not involved in the research.

The authors of the Science paper have some ideas about why biological sources of methane may be increasing. “In the southern hemisphere especially,” Nisbet said, “but also in the northern tropics, a series of really wet years has caused wetlands to expand”—and vegetation decomposing in swamps and shallow lakes is a well known source of natural methane emissions. Another is cows, which generate methane as they digest their food, then belch it out into the air.

These explanations, however, aren’t at all definitive — another key point Nisbet and his co-authors make in the Science paper. “The measurements we make in the air are direct,” he said. “Estimates of where methane is coming from, by contrast, is much less reliable. You estimate the contributions from gas leaks, count up the cows, estimate the emissions from wetlands. There’s obviously going to be a lot of error.”

And in fact, there is: the estimates of how much methane should be going into the atmosphere are greater than what actually ends up there. Tracking methane emissions more accurately is crucial, said the scientists, and not just as an academic exercise.

“If we want to control greenhouse-gas emissions,” Nisbet said, “it’s obviously important to know where the emissions are coming from.”

Global vegetation decomposition, wetlands, the oceans,  rice paddys, rain forests, patio hibachis, your neighbor’s annoying little yapping kikmi dog and Humpback whales are all part of the mix.

Q: So, what happens if atmospheric methane triples?
A: Click on the image of the Flaming Cow Fart to find out.

[Commentary excerpt found here; top image found in here; snarky related posts here.]

Happy Columbo Day!

Monday, 10 October 2016


The feat was both amazing and dangerous, especially given the limited technology of the time. The world was much larger than anyone had previously imagined, and relatively little had been recorded by seagoing cartographers. Much of what they compiled was inaccurate, but they were not completely in the dark.

They had the Martellus Map of 1489 [pictured above].

Cristoforo Colombo changed all that, and for that he should be remembered. He had big cojones, as did every sailor who joined him on his voyages into the unknown. I doubt that his financial supporters (including Queen Isabella of Spain) expected him to ever return from the first exploration, but he did, and he made several round-trip voyages after that, relying on seasonal trade winds.

Here’s to one of the greatest explorers in history.

They kicked the crap out of her over a lawn sign.

Monday, 3 October 2016

this-happened-and-they-laughedAnd the animals laughed about it.




Saturday Matinee – The Reverend Horton Heat, Beverly Watkins & Buckwheat Zydeco,

Saturday, 1 October 2016

I don’t listen to food shows on the radio, at least not intentionally, but sometimes I do by accident.

KFIAM640 features “The Fork Report” on Saturdays, featuring Neil Saavedra, and his themesong is pretty cool. Lordy, lordy. Last night I suddenly realized that he’s been playing The Reverend Horton Heat all this time. If you’re offended by Rockabilly cheesecake videos, click on it, turn away and just listen. The song is fun. The video is funner.

Yeah, I found that mildly amusing, but then I’m easily amused. So let’s go visit Beverly Watkins instead.

From the UToobage description:

Beverly Watkins plays a mean blues guitar, and that’s putting it mildly. Over six decades of performing, the 77-year-old has opened for Ray Charles, James Brown, BB King and other legendary musicians. She’s one of the greatest female blues guitarists, and still plays local gigs in Atlanta.

Not convinced? Try this.

Here’s some bad news.

Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr. passed away Saturday, 24 September 2016 at the age of 68. The vid features Lenny Kravitz and Ry Cooder. Rock on, Buck [via].

We all move on, despite what we would like to believe. Have a great weekend, folks, and let’s all have fun while we still can.

Living Breathing Hot Links

Sunday, 25 September 2016

How The Whale Became

25 September has been designated “National One Hit Wonder Day,” a tribute to the artists and bands that made it into the Top 40 only once. Here’s a list.

Here’s one of my favorite One Hit Wonders. Too retro? Try this one.

Astounding: The real story behind The Sound of Music and The Von Trapp Family.

Interactive Street View map of 1850-2000 San Francisico has some cool photos of historic buildings and streetscapes [via].

The Dancing Straw Hats [via].

Armadillo messes with a dog.

A friend posted this elsewhere:

Found a cool website the other day. Shortwave radio stations from around the world. You can dial in the frequency you want on any of the radios. I found a station called UVB-76 otherwise known as “The Buzzer”. It sends out a buzz tone repeatedly 24/7. Once in a while numbers are spoken in Russian. It’s been broadcasting since 1982 and no one knows why. (frequency 4625 kHz)

Ted Hughes’ “How the Whale Became” is a children’s book I never read, but it was made into an opera, and the opera had an official trailer. [Top image from here. More info here.]


Almost Squeeky Clean Hot Links

Sunday, 18 September 2016


Van’s Shoes made them for Squeeky The Clown and others. Here’s a Short history of Clown Shoes.

This would have scared the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks out of me at that age. I’m guessing Squeeky was a friend of the family.

Clown Shoes Beer. Barista Breakfast Brown Ale is now on my bucket list.

Dude, your car is total clown shoes.
Example of usage of the slang pejorative “Clown Shoes” via Urban Dictionary.

The Eight Commandments of Clowning.

Joseph “Joey” Grimaldi was possibly the most influential clown you never heard of.

Krinkles The Clown is just a tad bizarre [via].

Puddles Pity Party is awesome.

Then there’s Wavy Gravy. There’s a movie about him, too.

[Top image of McFootwear found here.]

Saturday Matinee – Dancing In The Street

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Martha & The Vandellas‘ 1964 hit “Dancing In The Street” has staying power, and was covered by many, including The Mamas & The Papas (1966):

Gah! See how long you can stand it. (At least Mama Cass did the Mash Potato.) Sixteen years later, it was covered by Van Halen (1982):

Holy crap. That was actually worse than the Mamas & Papas’ version. It wasn’t until David Bowie and Mick Jagger got together to do a halfway decent video cover (1985):

You don’t need to watch that full video either – it’s only posted for those who have never seen it and to restore faded memories for the rest of us. All that preening and prancing takes away from the original, but finally there’s an excellent stripped-down studio cut version, vocals only (2016):

Martha Reeves is laughing her JaggerBowie off about now.

Tip ‘o the Tam to Octopus for the heads-up on the strip-down. Have a great weekend folks. See you back here tomorrow for more suffrage.

On the border.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

U.S. Mexico Border Fence at Morelia St.2

View of Calexico from Mexicali on the US/Mexico border.

Found via Google Maps.

James Dean’s Last Stop

Monday, 29 August 2016

Maggie at James Dean's Last Stop Ofer Wolbeger

James Dean’s Last Stop in Lost Hills, California, was where he and his mechanic stopped to gas up his Porsche 550 Spyder and get something to eat before heading off to Salinas for a road race. Most of you know the rest of the story.

Why did I post this? The Missus and Bunkarina went on a roadtrip to see Bunkessa, stopped in Lost Hills, so I axed Mr. Google for a map. The James Dean mural came up and it led me to photographer Ofer Wolberger‘s quirky collection entitled “Life With Maggie.” [More about Wolberger here.]

Hot Links with Extra Sour Cream

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Humpty Doo Big_Boxing_Croc

The US Naval Institute released the results of their informal poll “Who Was The Greatest Woman In Military History?
The results are both surprising and unsurprising. I voted for Boadicea. She gave the military a spine to fight the Romans.

We posted a photo of Stanley The Great in April 2014 without really knowing who he was. Check out the update.

Bravo Land is now on my bucket list, if only to re-install erased history removed by evil people on The Slab o’ Time:

Inside the chain of stores, we immediately spotted the Bravo Land Slab o’ Time, an impressively massive tree cross-section propped against a wall. It’s from a Giant Sequoia blasted down in the 1950s, over 2,000 years old. It features a scattering of little metal labels nailed to it. A plaque explained: “The tags on the log denote growth rings that grew in the same year as various significant world events.”

“214 BC – Great Wall of China”…”197 BC – Roman Empire Begins.” There’s a 1,284 year gap, though, and the sign noted the “conspicuous absence of tagged growth rings from the 5th to the 15th centuries…. That period of time produced few significant events in world history.”

We’re not totally buying that. Closer inspection revealed missing tags radiating out from the slab center, two small holes indicating where each notable achievement used to be. We asked about it, and were told that “some political people” had come in and pointed out which milestone labels should be removed (you know, to fix world history).

We’ve seen timelines ravaged by tourism slab deniers before — but always on public land, at national and state parks. Complainers raise a stink, form a committee, and voila, adjusted! Bravo Land is a private enterprise. But once a slab is called out for being on the wrong side of history, there’s little choice but to get out the pliers and pry off the “Magna Carta,” and Columbus and Ponce de Leon “discovers” tags (we’re just guessing about the discards, since they’re gone).

Petey was a seal, but his real name was Shag. TRUE.

Stupid joke from a long time ago:

Okay, so a penguin is driving through the Mojave to Las Vegas when his A/C breaks down. He pulls into a repair garage in Pahrump and tells the mechanic that he needs air conditioning to survive the heat. Mechanic says, “There’s an ice cream shop a block away, cool down and be back in an hour.”

The penguin hits the ice cream shop, hangs out in the freezer eating ice cream, but since he only has flippers to hold the cones he makes a mess. An hour later he pays for the ice cream, cleans up the mess and returns to the mechanic and asks, “So what did you find?”

Mechanic says, “Looks like you blew a seal.”

Penguin wipes his beak and says, “Nah. It’s just ice cream.”

Trouble at Taminmin Humpty Doo.

Yeah, I said Humpty Doo.

[Top image is a tourist attraction at Humpty Doo and it cost $137,000 in 1983 bucks.]

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