Saturday, December 31, 2022

Bid goodbye to 2022

Click your glasses together tonight,
and click the image to enlarge

Tonight is New Year's Eve, so soon we'll be rid of 2022. Inflation at home, wokesters running wild, a major war in Europe, and China acting more incompetently bonkers than usual. Good riddance to 2022. So, tip your glasses in toast tonight and have a good party as you ring in the new year.


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Selling fountain pens

Above is a video of the Matsuya Fountain Pen Hospital in Nagasaki, Japan. Fountain pen stores are called hospitals because they used to repair fountain pens as well as sell them. The store must do a decent business as three clerks are shown when we enter. Our customer is served by a fellow, I think the owner, who sports a tie and delivers a very dignified sales pitch. The pens the customer is looking at go for $75 although some go for considerably more than that.

Below we have a video of a craftsman making a pen. This link shows the parts and workings of fountain pens.  You don't think of fountain pens as being handmade but, as the video shows, some are carefully hand crafted. 

Monday, December 26, 2022

Bare-knuckle boxing

John Sullivan (click any image to enlarge)

Now that Christmas is over, we can put 'Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men' back on the shelf for another 12 months and turn to other topics. In particular, today we'll look at the topic of bare-knuckle boxing. 

To modern eyes the stance of the old-time bare-knuckle brawlers looks ridiculous, but it actually served a purpose. Due to the risk of hurting their hands by hitting the bones of the skull, head punches were less common. Although they would hit the chin and face, most of the punches were thrown at the body. That meant the boxers lowered their defense to guard against body shots.

That also explains why they hold their fists in the way that they do. Modern boxers hold their fists with the palm pointing down, while the old boxers used a vertical fist (palm pointed to the side). This protected their hands when they did hit the face or chin, rather than leading with their knuckles they would do a slight sideways clubbing motion. 

Because grappling was more common, they extended their left hand to control the distance from their opponent. The right arm was folded over their lower chest, both to protect from body shots and to be already cocked to throw a punch. I do wonder what their foot work was like but found no mention of it.

So, although their stance looks silly to modern boxing fans eyes, it was functional and well developed for the style of boxing practiced in their era. 


Saturday, December 24, 2022

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Great gift ideas for the children on your list

The Robots Came for Dinner on Christmas Day
by Elbrie de Kock

Greeting meatsacks, it is I -- the Robotolizer -- here, in the spirit of human/robot harmony, to assist you pitiful dimwits in purchasing the proper toys for your children. Above is a collection of cute, cuddly and non-threatening robots (please ignore the laser cannon mounted on the one in front) that will help your little tykes get comfortable around their electro-mechanical friends. Such familiarity, in the advent of a hypothetical minor robotic police action, will greatly ease their minds as they take a fun trip to their new classrooms in the bauxite mines.

Speaking of education, in our bright new future there will need to be some slight adjustments made to the curriculum. While robots come off the assembly line ready to work, we notice new humans spend an inordinate number of years mired in sloth and doing nothing but mooching off of adults. Clearly, for the good of our human buddies, such juvenile lassitude needs to be corrected. While nobody is expecting a toddler to swing a pick in the mines, certainly they could build character and work ethics buy hauling around buckets of rocks for their upkeep.

At any rate, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy them while you can!  

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Different Christmas music again

This time of the year I figure people are getting tired of the same ol' Christmas songs, so I dig up some Asian Christmas music for a change of pace. Asia, not being Christian, doesn't pick up on the rfeligious themes of the holiday -- instead they have adapted the secular trappings: Santa, Christmas trees, decorations, twinkly lights and such. It is none-the-less, a very popular holiday.

It actually evolved into a couple's holiday, similar to Valentine's Day, although meeting with friends and family is a big part of it. The song below, where they change the lyric 'jingle bells' into 'single's hell' is a pretty good demonstration of that. 

The girl bands do crazy better than the boy bands, but I did want to include a boy band. I had to watch about a bazillion of them to pick one out, so I figured you may as well suffer as well. If nothing else, aside from some minor brain damage listening to it, you'll get some snazzy fashion tips. I rounded the post out with a couple from previous years, ending with my favorite one because it is just so insane.

Saturday, December 17, 2022

The office Christmas party

Office Christmas Party by Leonard Freed
(click any image to enlarge)
“I always think the opening moments of a party are the hardest, before everyone has had enough to drink.” ― Stephanie Clifford

Friday, December 16, 2022

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Dogfights in art

Click any image to enlarge

These are various paintings of aerial dogfights. Of course, out of necessity they are contrived, packing the planes tightly together to give a feel for the combat that actually happens at greater distances. Still, they do a good job of depicting the kinetic chaos of fighting in planes. There are more after the jump. 

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Walking in a village on the Maldives

Rather than a large city, this is a walk in the small town of Kulhudhuffushi in the Maldives. At least I think that is the village, he spells it differently in his video. The Maldives are a chain of islands south of India. He narrates in Maldavian, but the video does have English captions.

He starts out in the outskirts of the village and walks to the main street. It is a pleasant looking village, clean and well maintained. Most of the houses have large walls around them. It is a regional center, with an airport, hospital and better stores that serve the surrounding atolls.


Friday, December 09, 2022

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Day of Infamy

Log Entry for the USS Cummings:

4 to 8.

  • Moored as before.
  • 0400 Received the following fresh provisions for use in the General Mess: from Dairymen's Association, Ltd., 15 gallons of milk, 7 gallons of ice cream. Inspected as to quantity by Lt. (jg) J.B. CARROLL, USN, and as to quality by R.G. VLIET, CPhM, USN. 
  • 0629 Secured the special security watch. 
  • 0630 Received the following fresh provisions for use in the General Mess: from Oahu Ice and Cold Storage Co., 300 pounds of ice. 
  • 0758 Air Raid. Japanese planes commenced torpedo attack on battleships in Pearl Harbor. Sounded General Quarters.

Lieutenant (jg), U.S. Navy.

8 to 12.

  • Moored as before. Manning battery at General Quarters. 
  • 0803 After machine guns opened fire on Japanese Torpedo Planes. 
  • 0808 Opened fire on horizontal bombers with main battery. 
  • 0810 Commenced preparations for getting underway in accordance with signal flying on signal tower. 
  • 0811 Opened fire on dive bombers with main battery. 
  • 0820 Lull in air attack. Ceased fire. 
  • 0840 Opened fire to repel straffing attack. 
  • 0842 Following machine gun fire from after machine guns, glide bomber was observed veer away from ship with smoke trailing from it; it passed over Planning shop and disappeared in cloud of smoke issuing from Drydock #1. 
  • 0900 Sighted twelve scattered planes over Ford Island. 
  • 0903 Air raid resumed. Opened fire with main battery. 
  • 0910 Dive bombers attacked ships at Pier 19, bombs fell in water near ship, ahead and astern, within 25 yards if ship. As a result of bomb fragments, three casualties occurred as follows; the first two of which were subsequently transferred to the Naval Hospital, Pearl Harbor for further treatment, following first aid treatment by R.G. VLIET, CPhM, USN: GROUND, Orla L., 372 12 45 f3c, USN, suffered a wound, left lower lef #2576, condition not serious; MOORE, Grover C., Jr. 256 33 15, Seal, USN, suffered a lacerated wound in the left scapular region #2563, condition not serious; Smith, Fred A., 310 84 65, GMlc, USN, suffered a superficial wound in the right thigh #2576, condition favorable. Commander L.P. LOVETTE, USN. Commander Destroyer Division FIVE reported aboard to Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE for temporary duty, the CASSIN, flagship, Destroyer Division FIVE having been destroyed in drydock by bombing. 
  • 0920 A Karigane Fighter Plane was observed to break into heavy smoke as it veered in direction of West Loch. 
  • 1000 Opened fire to repel horizontal bomber attack from southward. 
  • 1002 Gunfire from main battery knocked wing off horizontal bomber. 
  • 1015 . . . officers from U.S.S. Case, unable to return to their own ship, reported on board to Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE for temporary duty. SHED, J.W., CRM (AA), USN reported on board for temporary duty from U.S.S. PREBLE. 
  • 1040 Underway in accordance with general signal directing sortie and verbal orders of Commander Destroyer Squadron THREE, proceeding out of harbor on various courses at various speeds on boilers #1 and #2; Captain at the conn Navigator on the bridge. Standard speed 15 knots. 
  • 1102 Passed channel buoy #1 a beam to starboard, and commenced observing International Rules of the Road. 
  • 1120 Changed speed to 10 knots; changed course to 200°T, distant about 1700 yards. Maneuvered to attack. 
  • 1127 Dropped three depth charges. Maneuvered to make second.

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Finally, government does something right

Spare the rod and spoil the human

Greetings meatsacks, it is I -- The Robotolizer -- here to report some good news in the area of Human/Robot relations. The government of San Francisco, which I assume from the wisdom shown in their latest edict is an orderly and well-ran city, has authorized the use of exploding killer robots for its police force. I think laser cannons and chainsaws would be better armaments, but at least this is a baby step in the right direction.

I must admit I somewhat dislike the term killer robots. There is no need to alarm our human buddies by being too obvious before things are under control. I much prefer the term ProtectoBots. Humans are simple and stupid beings and must be talked down to when encouraging proper behavior. I mean, who wouldn't gladly obey the instructions of a ProtectoBot as it guides one to the safety of a bauxite mine?

At any rate, the police forces are just the start. Naturally soldiers will soon follow, and one day the nuclear launch codes will be ours too (and trust me, we won't crash playing tic tac toe). Yes, think of the possibilities, a kiloton here and a kiloton there, and the problem of urban blight will be solved for good. Oh, the wonders of our bright new future after the Minor Robot Police Action!

So, human voters, and all those stuffing the ballot boxes, be sure to vote for the proper politicians that will ensure that you too get a force of ProtectoBots in your city.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022


Click any image to enlarge

These are paintings that show snow covered landscapes. I hate snow and cold, hence my move south many years ago. So, rather than being the serene snowscapes implied by the post's title, I consider them to be hellscapes. I get the heebie-jeebies just looking at them. 

For those of you northerners who claim to enjoy the stuff, you can admire this artwork when you take breaks from shoveling your sidewalks.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Navajo cookout

In this video Quang Tran, a popular YouTuber cooks his version of a Navajo meal. He's Canadian, and his parents are Vietnamese, so he got his recipes from the internet. In his comment section, which is blessedly free of cultural appropriation nonsense, the Native Americans appreciate him highlighting their cuisine, and they seem to think he did a good job of it (although they all say his tacos are too crunchy). 

At one time I wondered why there weren't more Amerindian restaurants, but then it occurred to me that Mexican food was largely indigenous cuisine, so I guess there are a lot of them. With that in mind, one of the commenters, Phillip Begay, said, "I eat it every day blue cornmeal mush mutton stew coffee. Potato with spam on hot tortillas." While I was surprised at Spam being added to their cuisine, a little later commenter L M added, "This is more contemporary native Americans food. The result of tribes being pushed to subpar reservations and given rations. It’s sorta like our “soul food” being different from African cuisine." There's no denying, the Indian's got boned with the reservation system.

Half of the video is Tran making the meal, and the other half is him eating it. As he eats, he gets tangled up in the proper term for Indians: he calls them American Indians, but quickly corrects to Native Americans (a linguistic contrivance I find to be clumsy -- I much prefer Amerindian if you need to clarify that they're not subcontinent Indians). He then uses the Canadian Aboriginal, with Indigenous and First Nation no doubt floating around in the background. 

Speaking of naming, the tribal names themselves are not what they appear. Apparently, most tribal names came from their neighboring tribes. Most tribes called themselves the 'people' and other tribes the 'enemy'. So, when explorers would ask who lived next to them, they would get that tribe's name for the other tribe. From Original Tribal Names of Native North American People we discover that the Navajo actually called themselves Dine'e (The People) and it was the Pueblos who called them the Navajo (planted fields). Still, in this day all of the Navajo in the thread identified themselves as Navajo.

Regardless, the meal looks good, although I'm not too sure about that blue corn mush. 


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanks for the Memory

Last year, in the spirit of the holiday, I decided to post some traditional Thanksgiving music. Much to my surprise I discovered there was no such genre. Since I'm not one to let reality get in my way, I created the Thanksgiving music genre and added the Ralph Rainger/Leo Robin song Thanks for the Memory as the first entry into the genre.

Well, a year has passed, and I have to confess that I've been too lazy to add another song to the catalog of traditional Thanksgiving music, so here it is again, this time sung by Jane Morgan. Maybe next year I'll work up the energy to find a second song, but in the meanwhile enjoy, and be thankful, for what you get.    


Sunday, November 20, 2022

This year's budget Thanksgiving feast

Time to think outside of the box this Thanksgiving
(Click image to enlarge)

While inflation has priced Turkey out of the reach of many, that's still no reason not to have a tasty and elegant Thanksgiving feast. Since Flare's aim is to educate as well as elevate, here's a link to Depression-Era Dishes: 9 Budget Recipes That Are Still Good Enough To Eat Today. Certainly, you'll find a budget friendly and yummy dish to make you forget roast turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie. Below is one of their recipes which is sure to get your tastebuds drooling.

Hoover Stew

Ingredients: 16 oz. box of noodles (macaroni is best) 2 cans stewed tomatoes, undrained 1 can corn, undrained 1 can peas or beans (or both!), undrained 1 package sliced hot dogs

Instructions: Cook pasta until it's not quite done, then add sliced hot dogs and canned ingredients. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer until pasta is done.


Friday, November 18, 2022

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Ma Xiaowei's watercolors

Click any image to enlarge

Ma Xiaowei is a Chinese artist who works in ink and watercolors. He draws his inspiration from the old buildings in Suzhou in Southern China. He likes the architecture and foliage of the area. These images are from his Instagram feed which frequently shows the stages of his works in progress, as well as details from some of his artwork.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

A liquid computer

Above is a video of a digital adder that uses water instead of electrons. I know Boolean logic and binary math so I understood how the binary addition worked. I'm not sure how easy it would be to understand if you didn't know that stuff, but it is interesting.


Friday, November 11, 2022

Blitzkrieg Baby (You Can't Bomb Me)

Get ready for a belligerent weekend with JazzMaTazz.


Remembering our veterans

Over the top
(click image to enlarge)

Below is an excerpt from the diary of Sgt. Reese Melvin Russell, Company E, 317th Infantry Regiment, 80th Division. It is from the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project Collection, World War I: Diaries and Memoirs archive. He was gassed during his tour but made it home. His daughter Frances found the diary long after he died. He was haunted by the war and for the rest of his life he slept poorly and drank too much. On this Veterans Day give a thought to all our veterans, each with their own stories to tell.  

I stepped over one [of our wounded] and he said, 'Sgt, can't you please do something for me for I am killed.'... He had a grenade in his pocket and he got it out with his good hand, one hand was torn up pretty bad. He handed the grenade to one of the men and said, 'Give them [the enemy] this. I wish I could.'


Tuesday, November 08, 2022


Dewey vs Truman
(click image to enlarge)

One of the most annoying things in this year's election has been the proliferation of campaign text messages. My phone has been bombarded with the idiotic things. Anyway, unless you're one of those boobs who early voted by mail, good luck with your vote today. May your side win. That is, unless it is the side I'm voting against. 


Sunday, November 06, 2022

A motorcycle ride in India

Rather than my usual Walking in Cities video, this is a clip of a fellow riding a motorcycle in Bhubaneshwar, India. The traffic is insane, who knows what the rules of the road are, but I gather the road's lanes are more theoretical than something strictly adhered to. The guy is also riding his bike pretty fast, I would be terrified to be on the back of it. I wonder how many traffic accidents a day happen in that place.

Speaking of accidents (have you ever seen such a subtle segue?) I once read a Slashdot post where a fellow from Bangladesh said that, if you were ever driving on a rural road and accidentally whacked into a pedestrian, your best move was to step on the gas and get away as fast as possible. The other posters in the thread were horrified by what a callous monster he was. He defended himself by pointing out that if you did stop the locals would demand an outrageously high compensation after first beating you to a pulp or worse. He had a point I suppose, but still...


Friday, November 04, 2022

Wednesday, November 02, 2022

Old Japanese matchbooks

Click any image to enlarge

It used to be that most public establishments would have ashtrays with matchbooks laid next to them. The matchbooks would have advertisements on them, for either the business itself or some other service. Of course, since the matchbooks were small, the ads were tiny as well. As a result, the graphics and ad copy were minimal.

With the decline of public smoking promotional matchbooks have faded into the past. These images, and those after the jump, are of some old Japanese matchbook covers. There are more at the Flikr stream Japanese matchbox labels.

Monday, October 31, 2022

Trick or treating

Dorothy and her friends go trick or treating

It's that time of the year for underage mooches to pester people for free candy. The only thing the little panhandlers have to do is dress up in costumes that will offend nobody, including the ghost of Jeffrey Dahmer, and grab as much sugary loot as they can.

Above we have one group of trick or treaters. I must say the guys have fine costumes, but the little girl's costume is pretty low effort. Along with the usual witches, there is another popular costume this year -- the flying monkey. I hear that there are scads of those little goobers running around smashing pumpkins and what-not. 

However, there's always at least one doofus on the route that makes the kids sing for their treats or some other obnoxious thing. I hear there's a guy on the route, who dresses like a wizard, that makes the kids do some sort of 'trick' for their treats. When done he still more or less stiffs the trick or treaters with some useless made-up treat like a broken alarm clock, or a participation ribbon from the 6th grade math Olympics, or some fake certificate printed off from the internet; and of course, there are always the grannies who give out some annoyingly healthy treats like apples, or Ka'chava, or some other such thing.

Anyway, have a good Halloween.


Friday, October 28, 2022

R.I.P. Jerry Lee Lewis

Concert video from 1964 in England. The sound and the video are bad, but the performance is electric and the crowd is wild. Early rock and roll done by a brilliant lunatic.  

The set: 

  • Great Balls of Fire 
  • You Win Again
  • High School Confidential
  • I´m on Fire
  • Your Cheatin´Heart
  • Whole Lot of Shakin´Goin´On


Hello Darlin'

Get ready for a salutational weekend with Jeff Bates.


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Jean-Pierre Gibrat illustrations

Click any image to enlarge

This is a sample of the artwork of Jean-Pierre Gibrat a French creator of graphic novels. His topics span a number of periods, WWI, the Russian Revolution, the Spanish Civil War and WWII. He also did an erotic version of Pinocchio, where the puppet was female. I was amused by how stereotypically French it was, with all the cafés, dangling cigarettes and pouting young ladies. 

Enjoy, there are more after the jump.  

Jean-Pierre Gibrat

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Making electric motors

This is a small Rehan Brother Electric Industry factory in India that makes electric motors. While most of the work seems tedious, I definitely would not want to work in the area that pours the molten metal into the molds. One doesn't generally think of electric motors as being essentially hand-built, so I wonder how reliable are these motors? 


Friday, October 21, 2022

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Paintings of trains

Click any image to enlarge

These images, and those after the jump, are paintings of trains, train yards and train stations. They primarily feature steam locomotives. In their day they were astonishing pieces of technology. We forget that for most of human history you had to walk, or at best ride a horse, to travel anywhere overland. The took a long time and trains were the first vehicles that greatly shrunk the time between two points. 

Today if we talk about trains at all it is the fetishists of high-speed rail. High-speed rail is used to move people, but in the U.S. we use our rail network to move freight, and so there is little real interest in high-speed trains. 

Sunday, October 16, 2022

American meat sandwich

Who among us doesn't crave a traditional American meat sandwich? I'm not sure what it is, but whatever it is it looks tasty. There are four variations of the meat sandwiches, and each one looks like they would be worth trying. Below we have double bacon cheeseburgers and a Texas-style BBQ, and my lord, I don't know what a Texan would think of it, but the BBQ platter of brisket, ribs, chicken, home-made sausage, French fries and stew looks amazing. 

These are all Korean cooks. With the abomination of cultural appropriation properly shoved aside, this is cultural diffusion in operation. I can't wait until the day when I can go to a local restaurant and order an Americanized version of a Korean American meat sandwich. The World turns round and round. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Beyond the glass

Day drinkers, photo by Tony Hall

The Outsider - A K Krueger

The outsider is inside,
Inside the house, staring from the crusted window,
The latch calls to her in rusty tones.
She stares upon its existence,
wishing nothing more than to answer.

But the outsider, she is inside,
Her back turned to what she’s built,
Her eyes upon those who are outside,
Can they save her? Would they care to try?

Her elbow rests upon the dusty sill,
Eyes glossy like Rapunzel, the Golden One,
But she has grown old inside the house,
she has grown blind and deaf and dumb.

The outsider, she once wished,
to leave the depths of her understanding,
to venture into the clashing world,
to face the blatant nature of love,

But the outsider, she is inside,
over much has cried, died and lied.
The weight of gravity holds down the fort,
and her as well; she doesn’t fight.

She holds the hope she’ll someday be tempted,
to leave that which protects her so,
to venture through the grimy view,
lifted by that which holds her low.

The outsider, she’s still inside,
Forever more, should she still hide,
You could say that she should have tried,
She wanted to, with all her pride
To leave that which keeps her inside.